By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A History of England Principally in the Seventeenth Century, Volume I (of 6)
Author: Ranke, Leopold von, 1795-1886
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of England Principally in the Seventeenth Century, Volume I (of 6)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.







Once more I come before the public with a work on the history of a
nation which is not mine by birth.

It is the ambition of all nations which enjoy a literary culture to
possess a harmonious and vivid narrative of their own past history. And
it is of inestimable value to any people to obtain such a narrative,
which shall comprehend all epochs, be true to fact and, while resting on
thorough research, yet be attractive to the reader; for only by this aid
can the nation attain to a perfect self-consciousness, and feeling the
pulsation of its life throughout the story, become fully acquainted with
its own origin and growth and character. But we may doubt whether up to
this time works of such an import and compass have ever been produced,
and even whether they can be produced. For who could apply critical
research, such as the progress of study now renders necessary, to the
mass of materials already collected, without being lost in its immensity?
Who again could possess the vivid susceptibility requisite for doing
justice to the several epochs, for appreciating the actions, the modes of
thought, and the moral standard of each of them, and for understanding
their relations to universal history? We must be content in this
department, as well as in others, if we can but approximate to the ideal
we set up. The best-written histories will be accounted the best.

When then an author undertakes to make the past life of a foreign
nation the object of a comprehensive literary work, he will not think
of writing its history as a nation in detail: for a foreigner this
would be impossible: but, in accordance with the point of view he
would naturally take, he will direct his eyes to those epochs which
have had the most effectual influence on the development of mankind:
only so far as is necessary for the comprehension of these, will he
introduce anything that precedes or comes after them.

There is an especial charm in following, century after century, the
history of the English nation, in considering the antagonism of the
elements out of which it is composed, and its share in the fortunes
and enterprises of that great community of western nations to which it
belongs; but it will be readily granted that no other period can be
compared in general importance with the epoch of those religious and
political wars which fill the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In the sixteenth century the part which England took in the work of
emancipating the world from the rule of the western hierarchy
decisively influenced not only its own constitution, but also the
success of the religious revolution throughout Europe. In England the
monarchy perfectly understood its position in relation to this great
change; while favouring the movement in its own interest, it
nevertheless contrived to maintain the old historical state of things
to a great extent; nowhere have more of the institutions of the Middle
Ages been retained than in England; nowhere did the spiritual power
link itself more closely with the temporal. Here less depends on the
conflict of doctrines, for which Germany is the classic ground: the
main interest lies in the political transformation, accomplished
amidst manifold variations of opinions, tendencies, and events, and
attended at last by a war for the very existence of the nation. For it
was against England that the sacerdotal reaction directed its main
attack. To withstand it, the country was forced to ally itself with
the kindred elements on the Continent: the successful resistance of
England was in turn of the greatest service to them. The maintenance
of Protestantism in Western Europe, on the Continent as well as in
Britain, was effected by the united powers of both. To bring out
clearly this alternate action, it would not be advisable to lay weight
on every temporary foreign relation, on every step of the home
administration, and to search out men's personal motives in them; a
shorter sketch may be best suited to show the chief characters, as
well as the main purport of the events in their full light.

But then, through the connexion of England with Scotland, and the
accession of a new dynasty, a state of things ensued under which the
continued maintenance of the position taken up in home and foreign
politics was rendered doubtful. The question arose whether the policy
of England would not differ from that of Great Britain and be
compelled to give way to it. The attempt to decide this question, and
the reciprocal influence of the newly allied countries, brought on
conflicts at home which, though they in the main arose out of foreign
relations, yet for a long while threw those relations into the

If we were required to express in the most general terms the
distinction between English and French policy in the last two
centuries, we might say that it consisted in this, that the glory of
their arms abroad lay nearest to the heart of the French nation, and
the legal settlement of their home affairs to that of the English. How
often have the French, in appearance at least, allowed themselves to
be consoled for the defects of the home administration by a great
victory or an advantageous peace! And the English, from regard to
constitutional questions of apparently inferior importance, have not
seldom turned their eyes away from grievous perils which hung over

The two great constitutional powers in England, the Crown and the
Parliament, dating back as they did to early times, had often
previously contended with each other, but had harmoniously combined in
the religious struggle, and had both gained strength thereby; but
towards the middle of the seventeenth century we see them first come
into collision over ecclesiastical regulations, and then engage in a
war for life and death respecting the constitution of the realm.
Elements originally separate unite in attacking the monarchy;
meanwhile the old system breaks up, and energetic efforts are made to
found a new one on its ruins. But none of them succeed; the
deeply-felt need of a life regulated by law and able to trust its own
future is not satisfied; after long storms men seek safety in a return
to the old and approved historic forms so characteristic of the
German, and especially of the English, race. But in this there is
clearly no solution of the original controversies, no reconciliation
of the conflicting elements: within narrower limits new discords break
out, which once more threaten a complete overthrow: until, thanks to
the indifference shown by England to continental events, the most
formidable dangers arise to threaten the equilibrium of Europe, and
even menace England itself. These European emergencies coinciding with
the troubles at home bring about a new change of the old forms in the
Revolution of 1688, the main result of which is, that the centre of
gravity of public authority in England shifts decisively to the
parliamentary side. It was during this same time that France had won
military and political superiority over all its neighbours on the
mainland, and in connexion with it had concentrated an almost absolute
power at home in the hands of the monarchy. England thus reorganised
now set itself to contest the political superiority of France in a
long and bloody war, which consequently became a struggle between two
rival forms of polity; and while the first of these bore sway over the
rest of Europe, the other attained to complete realisation in its
island-home, and called forth at a later time manifold imitations on
the Continent also, when the Continent was torn by civil strife.
Between these differing tendencies, these opposite poles, the life of
Europe has ever since vibrated from side to side.

When we contemplate the framework of the earth, those heights which
testify to the inherent energy of the original and active elements
attract our special notice; we admire the massive mountains which
overhang and dominate the lowlands covered with the settlements of
man. So also in the domain of history we are attracted by epochs at
which the elemental forces, whose joint action or tempered antagonism
has produced states and kingdoms, rise in sudden war against each
other, and amidst the surging sea of troubles upheave into the light
new formations, which give to subsequent ages their special character.
Such a historic region, dominating the world, is formed by that epoch
of English history, to which the studies have been devoted, whose
results I venture to publish in the present work: its importance is as
great where it directly touches on the universal interests of
humanity, as where, on its own special ground, it develops itself
apart in obedience to its inner impulses. To comprehend this period we
must approach it as closely as possible: it is everywhere instinct
with collective as well as individual life. We discern how great
antagonistic principles sprang almost unavoidably out of earlier
times, how they came into conflict, wherein the strength of each side
lay, what caused the alternations of success, and how the final
decisions were brought about: but at the same time we perceive how
much, for themselves, for the great interests they represented, and
for the enemies they subdued, depended on the character, the energy,
the conduct of individuals. Were the men equal to the emergency, or
were not circumstances stronger than they? From the conflict of the
universal with the special it is that the great catastrophes of
history arise, yet it sometimes happens that the efforts which seem to
perish with their authors exercise a more lasting influence on the
progress of events than does the power of the conqueror. In the
agonising struggles of men's minds appear ideas and designs which pass
beyond what is feasible in that land and at that time, perhaps even
beyond what is desirable: these find a place and a future in the
colonies, the settlement of which is closely connected with the
struggle at home. We are far from intending to involve ourselves in
juridical and constitutional controversies, or from regulating the
distribution of praise and blame by the opinions which have gained the
day at a later time, or prevail at the moment; still less shall we be
guided by our own sympathies: our only concern is to become acquainted
with the great motive powers and their results. And yet how can we
help recognising manifold coincidences with that conflict of opinions
and tendencies in which we are involved at the present day? But it is
no part of our plan to follow these out. Momentary resemblances often
mislead the politician who seeks a sure foothold in the past, as well
as the historian who seeks it in the present. The Muse of history has
the widest intellectual horizon and the full courage of her
convictions; but in forming them she is thoroughly conscientious, and
we might say jealously bent on her duty. To introduce the interests of
the present time into the work of the historian usually ends in
restricting its free accomplishment.

This epoch has been already often treated of, if not as a whole, yet
in detached parts, and that by the best English historical writers. A
native author has this great advantage over foreigners, that he thinks
in the language in which the persons of the drama spoke, and lets them
be seen through no strange medium, but simply in their natural form.
But when, too, this language is employed in rare perfection, as in a
work of our own time,--I refer not merely to rounded periods and
euphony of cadence, but to the spirit of the narrative so much in
harmony with our present culture, and the tone of our minds, and to
the style which by every happy word excites our vivid sympathy;--when
we have before us a description of the events in the native language
with all its attractive traits and broad colouring, a description too
based on an old familiar acquaintance with the country and its
condition: it would be folly to pretend to rival such a work in its
own peculiar sphere. But the results of original study may lead us to
form a different conception of the events. And it is surely good that,
in epochs of such great importance for the history of all nations, we
should possess foreign and independent representations to compare with
those of home growth; in the latter are expressed sympathies and
antipathies as inherited by tradition and affected by the antagonism
of literary differences of opinion. Moreover there will be a
difference between these foreign representations. Frenchmen, as in one
famous instance, will hold more to the constitutional point of view,
and look for instruction or example in political science. The German
will labour (after investigation into original documents) to
comprehend each event as a political and religious whole, and at the
same time to view it in its universal historical relations.

I can in this case, as in others, add something new to what is already
known, and this to a larger extent as the work goes on.[1]

In no nation has so much documentary matter been collected for its
later history as in England. The leading families which have taken
part in public business, and the different parties which wish to
assert their views in the historical representation of the past as
well as in the affairs of the present, have done much for this object;
latterly the government also has set its hand to the work. Yet the
existing publications are far from sufficient. How incredibly
deficient our knowledge still is of even the most important
parliamentary transactions! In the rich collections of the Record
Office and of the British Museum I have sought and found much that was
unknown, and which I needed for obtaining an insight into events. The
labour spent on it is richly compensated by the gain such labour
brings; over the originals so injured, and so hard to decipher, linger
the spirits of that long-past age. Especial attention is due to the
almost complete series of pamphlets of the time, which the Museum
possesses. As we read them, there are years in which we are present,
as it were, at the public discussion that went on, at least in the
capital, from month to month, from week to week, on the weightiest
questions of government and public life.

If any one has ever attempted to reconstruct for himself a portion of
the past from materials of this kind,--from original documents, and
party writings which, prompted by hate or personal friendship, are
intended for defence or attack, and yet are withal exceedingly
incomplete,--he will have felt the need of other contemporary notices,
going into detail but free from such party views. A rich harvest of
such independent reports has been supplied to me for this, as well as
for my other works, by the archives of the ancient Republic of Venice.
The 'Relations,' which the ambassadors of that Republic were wont to
draw up on their return home, invaluable though they are in reference
to persons and the state of affairs in general, are not, however,
sufficient to supply a detailed and consecutive account of events. But
the Venetian archives possess also a long series of continuous
Reports, which place us, as it were, in the very midst of the courts,
the capitals, and the daily course of public business. For the
sixteenth century they are only preserved in a very fragmentary state
as regards England; for the seventeenth they lie before us, with gaps
no doubt here and there, yet in much greater completeness. Even in the
first volume they have been useful to me for Mary Tudor's reign and
the end of Elizabeth's; in the later ones, not only for James I's
times, but also far more for Charles I's government and his quarrel
with the Parliament. Owing to the geographical distance of Venice from
England, and her neutral position in the world, her ambassadors were
able to devote an attention to English affairs which is free from all
interested motives, and sometimes to observe their general course in
close communication with the leading men. We could not compose a
history from the reports they give, but combined with the documentary
matter these reports form a very welcome supplement to our knowledge.

Ambassadors who have to manage matters of all kinds, great and small,
at the courts to which they are accredited, fill their letters with
accounts of affairs which often contain little instruction for
posterity, and they judge of a man according to the support which he
gives to their interests. This is the case with the French as well as
with other ambassadors in England. Nevertheless their correspondence
becomes gradually of the greatest value for my work. Their importance
grows with the importance of affairs. The two courts entered into the
most intimate relations: French politicians ceaselessly endeavoured to
gain influence over England, and sometimes with success. The
ambassadors' letters at such times refer to the weightiest matters of
state, and become invaluable; they rise to the rank of the most
important and instructive historical monuments. They have been
hitherto, in great part, unused.

In the Roman and Spanish reports also I found much which deserves to
be made known to the readers of history. The papers of Holland and the
Netherlands prove still more productive, as I show in detail at the
end of the narrative.

A historical work may aim either at putting forward a new view of what
is already known, or at communicating additional information as to the
facts. I have endeavoured to combine both these aims.


[1] _Note to the third edition._--In the course of my researches for
this work the representation of the seventeenth century has occupied a
larger space than I at first thought I should have been able to give
it; it forms the chief portion of the book in its present form. I have
therefore allowed myself the unwonted liberty of altering the title so
as to make this clear. Still the representation of the sixteenth
century, which is not now mentioned in the title, has not been
abridged on this account. The history of the Stuart dynasty and of
William III make up the central part of the edifice; what is given to
the earlier, as well as the later times may, if I may be allowed the
comparison, correspond to its two wings.


'The History of England, principally during the Seventeenth Century,'
which is here laid before the reader in an English form, is one of the
most important portions of that cycle of works on which Leopold von
Ranke has long been engaged. His History of the Popes, his History of
the Reformation in Germany, his French History, his work on the
Ottomans and the Spanish Monarchy, his Life of Wallenstein, his volume
on the Origin of the Thirty Years' War, and other smaller treatises,
all aim at delineating the international relations of the states of
Europe. His History of England may well be regarded as the concluding
portion of this series; for the relations of England, first with
France, and then with Holland, eventually determined the course of
European politics.

The book however is more than a history of this period, for Professor
Ranke, according to his custom, has prefixed to it a luminous and
interesting sketch of the earlier part of our history, presented, as
all summaries ought to be, in the form of studies of the most
important epochs. And at the end of the work are Appendices, which
supply not only happy examples of historical criticism in the
discussions on the chief contemporary writers of the period, but also
a mass of original documents, most of which have never before been
published. Above all, the critiques on Clarendon and Burnet, and the
correspondence of William III with Heinsius, will well repay careful
study; and the Appendices throw light on some of the more important
details connected with the history of the time, besides shewing the
student how a great master has found and used his materials.

The present translation was undertaken with the author's sanction, and
was intended in the first instance for the use of students in Oxford.
Its publication has been facilitated by a division of labour, the
eight volumes of the original having been entrusted each to a separate
hand. The translators are Messrs. C. W. Boase, Exeter College; W. W.
Jackson, Exeter College; H. B. George, New College; H. F. Pelham,
Exeter College; M. Creighton, Merton College; A. Watson, Brasenose
College; G. W. Kitchin, Christchurch; A. Plummer, Trinity College. The
task of oversight, of reducing inequalities of style, and of
supervising the Appendices and Index, has been performed by the
editors, C. W. Boase and G. W. Kitchin. Notwithstanding the
disadvantages incident to a translation, it is hoped that the work in
its present shape will be welcomed by a large number of English
readers, and will help to increase the deserved renown of the author
in the country to the history of which he has devoted such profound
and fruitful study.





  INTRODUCTION                                                      3

    CHAP. I. The Britons, Romans, and Anglo-Saxons                  5

             The Anglo-Saxons and Christianity                     10

         II. Transfer of the Anglo-Saxon crown to the Normans
                 and Plantagenets                                  22

             The Conquest                                          28

        III. The crown in conflict with Church and Nobles          39

             Henry II and Becket                                   41

             John Lackland and Magna Charta                        47

         IV. Foundation of the Parliamentary Constitution          58

          V. Deposition of Richard II. The House of Lancaster      74



  INTRODUCTION                                                     91

    CHAP. I. Re-establishment of the supreme power                 93

         II. Changes in the condition of Europe                   104

             Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey in their earlier
                 years                                            109

        III. Origin of the Divorce Question                       120

         IV. The Separation of the English Church                 134

          V. The opposing tendencies within the Schismatic State  151

         VI. Religious Reform in the English Church               171

        VII. Transfer of the Government to a Catholic Queen       186

       VIII. The Catholic-Spanish Government                      199



  INTRODUCTION                                                    221

    CHAP. I. Elizabeth's accession. Triumph of the
                 Reformation                                      222

         II. Outlines of the Reformation in Scotland              238

        III. Mary Stuart in Scotland. Relation of the two Queens
                 to each other                                    254

         IV. Interdependence of the European dissensions in
                 Politics and Religion                            280

          V. The fate of Mary Stuart                              300

         VI. The Invincible Armada                                316

        VII. The later years of Queen Elizabeth                   330



  INTRODUCTION                                                    359

    CHAP. I. James VI of Scotland: his accession to the
                 throne of England                                361

             Origin of fresh dissensions in the Church            361

             Alliance with England                                364

             Renewal of the Episcopal Constitution in Scotland    368

             Preparations for the Succession to the English
                 Throne                                           375

             Accession to the Throne                              381

         II. First measures of the new reign                      386

        III. The Gunpowder Plot and its consequences              403

         IV. Foreign policy of the next ten years                 418

          V. Parliaments of 1610 and 1614                         436

         VI. Survey of the literature of the epoch                450



  INTRODUCTION                                                    467

    CHAP. I. James I and his administration of domestic
                 government                                       469

         II. Complications arising out of the affairs of the
                 Palatinate                                       484

        III. Parliament of the year 1621                          497

         IV. Negotiations for the marriage of the Prince of
                 Wales with a Spanish Infanta                     509

          V. The Parliament of 1624. Alliance with France         522

         VI. Beginning of the reign of Charles I, and his First
                 and Second Parliament                            537

        VII. The course of foreign policy from 1625 to 1627       554

       VIII. Parliament of 1628. Petition of Right                566

         IX. Assassination of Buckingham. Session of 1629         580



As we turn over the pages of universal history, and follow the
shifting course of events, we perceive almost at the first glance one
comprehensive process of change going on, which, more than any other,
governs the external fortunes of the world. Through long periods of
time the historic life of the human race was active in Western Asia
and in the lands bordering on the Mediterranean which look towards the
East: there it laid the foundations of its higher culture. We may
rightly regard as the greatest event that meets us in the whole course
of authentic history, the fact that the seats of the predominant power
and culture have been transplanted to the Western lands and the shores
of the Atlantic Ocean. Not merely the abodes of the ancient civilised
nations, but even the capitals which were the medium of communication
between East and West, have fallen into barbarism; even the great
metropolis, from which first political, and then spiritual, dominion
extended itself in both directions over widespread territories, has
not maintained its rank. It was due to this tendency of things,
combined with a certain geographical cause, that neither could the
medieval Empire attain its full development, nor the Papacy continue
to subsist with unimpaired authority. From age to age the political
and intellectual life of the world transferred itself ever more and
more to the nations dwelling further West, especially since a new
hemisphere was opened up to their impulses of activity and extension.
So it was that the chief interests of the Pyrenean peninsula drew
towards its ocean coasts; that there grew up on either side of the
Channel which separates the Continent from Britain, the two great
capitals in which modern activity is chiefly concentrated; that
Northern Germany, together with the races which touch on the North Sea
and the Baltic, developed a life and a system of their own; it is in
these regions latterly that the universal spirit of the human race
chiefly works out its task, and displays its activity in moulding
states, creating ideas, and subjugating nature.

Yet this transmission, this transplanting, is not the work of a blind
destiny. While civilisation in the East succumbed and died out before
the advance of races incapable of culture, it was welcomed in the West
by races possessing the requisite capacity, which by their inborn
force gave it new forms and indestructible bases for its outward
existence. Nor have the nations and kingdoms arisen each from its
mother earth, as it were in obedience to some inward impulse of
inevitable necessity, but amid constant assimilation and rejection,
ever repeated wars to secure their future, and a ceaseless struggle
with opposing elements that threatened their ruin.

The object of universal history is to place before our eyes the
leading changes, and the conflicts of nations, together with their
causes and results. Our purpose is to depict the history of one of the
chief of the Western nations, the English, and that too in an age
which decisively modified both its inner constitution and its outward
position in the world, but it cannot be understood unless we first
pourtray, with a few quick touches, the historical events under the
influence of which it became civilised and great.



The history of Western Europe in general opens with the struggle
between Kelts, Romans, and Germans, which determined out of what
elements modern nations should be formed.

Just as it is supposed that Albion in early times was connected with
the Continent, and only separated from it by the raging sea-flood
which buried the intermediate lands in the abyss, so in ethnographic
relations it would seem as if the aboriginal Keltic tribes of the
island had been only separated by some accident from those which
occupied Gaul and the Netherlands. The Channel is no national
boundary. We find Belgians in Britain, Britons in Eastern Gaul, and
very many names of peoples common to both coasts; there were tribes
which, though separated by the sea, yet acknowledged the same prince.
Without being able to prove how far natives of the island took part in
the expeditions of conquest, which pouring forth from Gaul inundated
the countries on the Danube and Italy, Greece and Western Asia, we yet
can trace the affinity of names and tribes as far as these expeditions
extend. This island was the home of the religion that gave a certain
unity to the populations, which, though closely akin, nevertheless
contended with each other in ceaseless discord. It was that Druidic
discipline which combined a priestly constitution with civil
privileges, and with a very peculiar doctrine of a political and even
moral purport. We might be tempted to suppose that the atrocity of
human sacrifice was first introduced among them by the Punic race. For
they were from primeval times connected with the Carthaginians and
Phoenicians, who were the first to traverse the outer sea, and sought
in the island a metal which was very valuable for the wants of the
ancient world. Distant clans might retain in the mountains their
original wildness, but the southern coasts ranked in the earliest
times as rich and civilised. They stood within the circle of the
relations that had been created by the expeditions of the Keltic
tribes, by the mixture of peoples thence arising, by the war and
commerce of the earliest age.

In the great war between Rome and Carthage, which decided the destiny
of the ancient world, the Keltic tribes took part as allies of the
Punic race. If Carthage had conquered, they would have maintained in
most, if not all, the lands they had occupied, and especially in their
own homes, their old manners and customs, and their religion in its
existing form. It was not merely the supremacy of the one city or the
other, but the future of Western Europe that was at stake when
Hannibal attacked the Romans in Italy. Rome, which had already grown
strong in warring against the Gauls, won the victory over the
Carthaginians. Thenceforth one after another of the Keltic nations
succumbed to the superiority of the Roman arms, which at last invaded
Transalpine Gaul, and struck its military power to the ground.

From this point the reaction against the Keltic enterprises
necessarily extended itself also to Britain.

The great general who conquered Gaul did not feel sure of being able
to accomplish his task unless he also obtained influence over the
British tribes, from which those of the Continent constantly received
help and encouragement, unless he established among them the authority
of the Roman name.

It was an important moment in the world's history, well worthy of
remembrance, when Caesar first trod the soil of Albion. Already
repulsed from the steep chalk cliffs of the island, he found the flat
shore on which he hoped to disembark occupied by the enemy, some in
their war-chariots, others on horseback and on foot; his ships could
not reach the shore; the soldiers hesitated, encumbered with their
armour as they were, to throw themselves into a sea with which they
were not familiar, in presence of an enemy acquainted with the
ground, active, brave, and superior in numbers; the general's order
had no effect on them; when however an eagle-bearer, calling on the
gods of Rome, threw himself into the flood, the men would have thought
themselves traitors had they allowed the war-standard, to which an
almost divine worship was paid, to fall into the hands of the enemy;
fired by the danger that threatened their honour, and by the religion
of arms, from one ship after another they followed him to the fight;
in the hand-to-hand combat in the water which ensued they gained the
superiority, supported most skilfully by their general wherever it was
necessary; the moment they reached the land, the victory was won.[2]

We cannot reckon it a slight matter, that Caesar, though not at the
first, yet at the second and better prepared expedition, succeeded in
carrying away with him hostages from the chief tribes. For this very
form was the one customary in that century and among those tribes, by
which he bound them and their princes to himself.

It was the first step towards the Roman supremacy. But Gaul and West
Germany had first to be subdued, and the Empire securely concentrated
in one hand, before--a century later--the conquest of the island could
be really attempted.

Even then the Britons still fought without helmet or shield, as did
the Gauls of old before Rome. In Britain, just as on the Lombard
plains, the war-chariot was their best arm; their defective mode of
defence necessarily yielded to the organised tactics of the legion.
How easily did the Romans, pushing forward under cover of their
mantelets, clear away the rude entrenchments by which the Britons used
formerly to secure themselves against attack. The Druids on Mona
trusted in their gods, whose will they thought to ascertain from the
quivering fibres of human sacrifices; and for a moment the sight of
the crowd of fanatics collected around them checked the attack, but
only for a moment: as soon as they came to blows they were instantly
scattered, and their holy places perished with them. For this is the
greatest result of the Roman wars, that they destroyed the rites which
contradicted the idea of Humanity. Yet once more an injured
princess--Boadicea--united all the sympathies which the old
constitution and religion could awaken. Dio has depicted her,
doubtless according to the reports which reached Rome. A tall form,
with the national decoration of the golden necklace and the chequered
mantle, over which her rich yellow hair flowed down below her waist.
She called on her peoples to defend themselves at any risk, since what
could befall those to whom each root gave nourishment, each tree
supplied shelter: and on her gods, not to let the land pass into the
possession of that insatiable, unjust foe of foreign race. So truly
does she represent the innate characteristics of the British race,
when oppressed and engaged in a desperate defence. She is earnest,
rugged, and terrible; the men who gathered round her were reckoned by
hundreds of thousands. But the Britons had not yet learnt the art of
war. A single onslaught of the Romans sufficed to scatter their
disorderly masses with a fearful butchery. It was the last day of the
old British independence. Boadicea would not, any more than Cleopatra,
adorn a Roman triumph; she fell by her own hand.

Within a few dozen years the Roman eagles were masters of Britain as
far as the Highlands: the Keltic clan-life and the religion of the
Druids withdrew into the Caledonian mountains, and the large islands
off that coast; in the conquered territory the religion of the arms
that had won the victory, and the might of the Great Empire, were
supreme. The work which was begun by superiority in war was completed
by pre-eminence in civilisation. It seemed an advantage and an
improvement to the sons of the British princes, to adopt the Roman
language, and knowledge, and mode of life; they delighted in the
luxury of colonnades, baths, feasts, and city life. Men like Agricola
used these modes of Romanising Britain by preference. Just as the
Britons exchanged their rude shipbuilding and their leathern sails for
the discoveries of a more advanced art of navigation, so they learnt
to carry on their agriculture in Roman fashion; in later times
Britain was considered as the granary of the legions in Germany. Most
of the cities in the land betray by their very names their Roman
origin; London, though it existed earlier, owes its importance to this
connexion. It was the emporium destined as it were by nature for the
peaceful commerce that now arose between the Western provinces of the
Empire. Once in the third century an attempt was made to make the
island independent, but it failed the moment the marts on the opposite
coast fell into the hands of the Emperor who was universally
recognised. Britain seemed an integral part of the Roman Empire. It
was from York that Constantine marched forth to unite its Eastern and
Western halves once more under one government.

But soon after him an epoch began in which the third great
nationality, at first thought to be part of the Keltic race, then
driven back or taken into service by the Romans, but always
maintaining its peculiar original independence--the German, rose to
supremacy in the West. In the fifth century it had become everywhere
master in the militarily-organised Roman frontier districts:
encouraged by the embarrassments of the authorities it advanced into
the peaceful provinces.

It is of importance to remark what the fate of Britain was in these

From the Romanised territory an Augustus, called Constantine, set up
by the revolted legions, invaded Gaul, not merely to check the inroads
of the barbarians, but at the same time to possess himself of the
Empire. He at one time held a great position, when the legions of Gaul
and Aquitaine also took his side, and Spain saluted him Emperor. But
the authority of Honorius the generally recognised Emperor could not
be so easily set aside: discontented followers of the new Augustus
again went over to the old one: before them and the barbarians
combined Constantine fell, and soon after paid for his attempt with
his life.

The result, then, was that Honorius restored his authority to a
certain extent everywhere on the Continent, but not in Britain. To the
towns which had taken up arms while Constantine was there he gave the
right of self-defence--he could do nothing for them. The Roman Empire
was not exactly overthrown in Britain--it ceased to be.[3]

At this time, when the connexion between Rome and Roman Britain was
broken off, the Germans possessed themselves of the latter country.

_The Anglo-Saxons and Christianity._

Germans had been long ago settled in this as in so many other
provinces of the Western and Eastern Empires. Antoninus had brought
over German tribes from the Danube, Probus others from the Rhineland.
In the legions we find German cohorts, and very many others joined
them as free allies. In the civil wars between the Emperors we hear of
one side relying on the Franks, the other on the Alemanni in their
service; Constantine the Great is called to be Caesar by help of the
chiefs of the Alemanni. But besides this, German seafarers, who
appeared under the name of Saxons, after they had learnt shipbuilding
and navigation from the Romans, settled on the opposite coasts of
Britain and Gaul, and gave their name to both. Not then for the first
time, nor at the invitation of the Britons, as the Saga declares,[4]
did the descendants of Wodan make their first trial of the sea in
light vessels. Alternating between piracy and alliance--now with a
usurper and now with the lawful Emperor, between independence and
subjection, German seafarers had long ago filled all seas and coasts
with the terror of their name. In the North too they are mentioned
together with Scots and Attacotti. When now the Roman rule over the
island and the surrounding seas came to an end, to whom could it pass?
To the peaceful Provincials, if they could indeed gird on the sword,
or to the old companions in arms of the Romans? There is no doubt
that the same general impulse which urged on the German peoples, in
the great revolution of affairs, into the Roman provinces, led the
enterprising inhabitants of the German and Northern coasts, Frisians,
Angles, and Jutes, as well as Saxons, into Britain. A fearful war
broke out, in which it may be true to say the ruined towns became the
sepulchres of their inhabitants, but no man found the quiet time
necessary for depicting its details. After it had filled a century and
a half with its horrors, and men again lifted up their eyes, they
found the island divided between two great nationalities, which had
separated themselves as opposing forces. The natives had as good as
abandoned the civilisation they had learnt from Rome, and leant on
their kinsfolk in North Gaul, and the Scots in Ireland and the
Highlands; they occupied the west of the island. The Germans were
settled in the east, in the greatest part of the south, and in the
north, in most of the old Roman settlements,--but they were far from
forming a united body. Not seven or eight merely, but a large number
of little tribal kingdoms, occupied or fought for the ground.

If we wish to point out in general the distinction between the
Anglo-Saxon and other German settlements, it lies in this, that they
rested neither on the Emperor's authorisation whether direct or
indirect, nor on any agreement with the natives of the land. In Gaul
Chlodwig assumed and carried on the authority of the Roman Empire;--in
Britain it went wholly to the ground. Hence it was that here the
German ideas could develop in their full purity, more so than in
Germany itself, over which the Frankish monarchy, which had also
adopted Roman tendencies, had gained influence.

Just as the natives who would not submit were driven out of the German
settlements, so within their boundaries the germs of Christianity,
which had already spread in the island, were as good as annihilated.
Among the victorious Germans the Northern heathenism existed in full
strength. In many names of places, at the water-springs, the
watersheds, in the designations of the days of the week, the names of
the gods of Germany and the North appear; the kings trace their
descent directly from them as their immediate ancestors; the Sagas and
poems about them symbolise those battles with the elements, the
storm, the sea, and the powers of nature, which are peculiarly
characteristic of the Northern mythology. With this, however, arose
the question, so important for the history of the world, whether the
great territory already won for the ideas of the universal culture and
religion of mankind should be again lost.

Towards the end of the 6th century the epoch began in which, as the
German invaders of Gaul had already done, so now those of Spain and
Italy, whether Arians or heathens, came over to the Catholic faith of
the Provincials. This took place under the mediation of the chief
Pontiff, who had raised the city, from which the Empire took its name,
to be the metropolis of the Faith. Lombards and Visigoths became as
good Catholics as the Franks already were. The relationship of the
royal families, which held all Germans in close connexion, and the
zeal of Rome, which could not possibly suffer the loss of a province
that it had once possessed, now combined to call forth a similar
movement among the Anglo-Saxons, yet one which worked itself out in a
very different way. Since among the natives a peculiar form of
church-life, not unconnected with the Druidic discipline, had arisen,
with which Rome would hold no communion, and which rejected all
demands of submission, the spiritual enmity of the missionary was
united to the national enmity of the conqueror. When a king still
heathen, while attacking the Britons, directed his weapons against the
monks of Bangor, who (collected on a height) were offering up prayers
against him, and massacred them to the number of twelve hundred, the
followers of the Roman Mission saw in this a punishment decreed by God
for apostasy, and the fulfilment of the prophecies of their
apostle.[5] On the other hand British Christian kings also made common
cause with the heathen Angles, and wasted with fire and sword the
provinces that had been converted by Rome. Had not in the vicissitudes
of internal war the native church organisation of the North won
influence over the Anglo-Saxons, heathenism would never have been
conquered; it would have always found support among the Britons.

When this however had once taken place, the whole Anglo-Saxon name
attached itself to the Roman ritual. Among the motives for this change
those which corresponded to the naive materialistic superstition of
the time may have been the most influential, yet there were other
motives also which touched the very essence of the matter. Men wished
to belong to the great Church Communion which then in still unbroken
freedom comprehended the most distant nations.[6] They preferred the
bishops whom the kings appointed (with the authorisation of the Roman
See), to those over whom the abbot of the great monastery on the
island of Iona exercised a kind of supremacy. Here there was no
question of any agreement between the German king and the bishops of
the land, as under the Merovingians in Gaul; they even avoided
restoring the bishops' sees which had flourished in the old Roman
times in Britain. The primitive and independent element manifests
itself in the decision of the princes and their great men. In
Northumberland, Christianity was introduced by a formal resolution of
the King and his Witan: a heathen high priest girt himself with the
sword, and even with his own hand threw down his idols. The
Anglo-Saxon tribes in fact passed over from the popular religion and
mythology of the North and of Germany, which would have kept them in
barbarism, to the communion of the universal religion, to which
belonged the civilisation of the world. Never did a race show itself
more susceptible of such an influence: it presents the most remarkable
example of how the old German ideas, which had now taken living root
in this soil, and the Roman ecclesiastical culture, which was
vigorously embraced, met and became intertwined. The first German who
made the universal learning, derived from antiquity, his own, was an
Anglo-Saxon, the Venerable Beda; the first German dialect in which men
wrote history and drew up laws, was likewise the Anglo-Saxon. Despite
all their reverence for the threshold of the Apostles they admitted
foreign priests no longer than was indispensable for the foundation of
the new church: in the gradual progress of the conversion they were no
longer needed, we soon find Anglo-Saxon names everywhere in the
church: the archbishops and leading bishops are as closely related to
the royal families, as the heathen high priests had been before.

It was exactly through the co-operation of both principles, originally
so foreign to one another, that the Anglo-Saxon nature took firm and
lasting form.

The Kelts had formerly lived under a clan system which, extending over
vast districts, yet displayed in each spot characteristic weaknesses
which the hostility of every neighbour rendered fatal. Then the Romans
had introduced a military administrative constitution, which displaced
this tribal system, while it also subjected Britain to the universal
Empire, of which it formed only an unimportant province. A
characteristic form of life was first built up in Britain by the
Anglo-Saxons on the ruins of the Roman rule. The union into which they
entered with the civilised world was the freely chosen one of the
religion of the human race; they had no other connexion to control
them. Their whole energies being concentrated on the island, they gave
it for the first time, though continually at war with each other, an
independent position.

Their constitution combines the ideas of the army and the tribe: it is
the constitution of armies of colonists bringing with them domestic
institutions which had been theirs from time immemorial. A society of
freemen of the same stock, who divided the soil among themselves in
such a manner that the number of the hides corresponded to that of the
families (for among no people was there a stronger conception of
separate ownership), they composed the armed array of the country, and
by their union maintained that peace at home which again secured each
man's life and property. At their head stands a royal family, of the
highest nobility, which traces its origin to the gods, and has by far
the largest possessions; from it, by birth and by election combined,
proceeds the King; who then, sceptre in hand, presides in the court
of justice, and in the field has the banner carried before him; he is
the Lord, to whom men owe fidelity; the Guardian, to whom the public
roads and navigable rivers belong, who disposes of the undivided land.
Yet he does not stand originally so high above other men that his
murder cannot be expiated by a wergeld, of which one share falls to
his family--not a larger one than for any other of its members,--and
the other to the collective community, since the prince belongs to the
former by birth, to the latter by his office. Between the simple
freeman and the prince appear the eorls, ealdormen, and thanes, in
some instances raised above the mass by noble birth or by larger
possessions, natural chiefs of districts and hundreds, in others
promoted by service in the King's court and in the field, sometimes
specially bound to him by personal allegiance: they are the Witan who
have elected him out of his family (in a few instances they depose
him); they concur in giving laws, they take part in making peace. Now
the bishops take place by their side. They appear with the ealdormen
in the judicial meetings of the counties: if the Gerefa neglects his
duty, it is for them to step in; yet they have also their own
spiritual jurisdiction. It is a spiritual and temporal organisation of
small extent, yet of a certain self-sufficing completeness. Many of
the present shires correspond to the old kingdoms, and bear their
names to this day. The bishops' sees often coincide with the seats of
royalty; for the kings wished each to have a bishop to himself in his
little territory, since they had to endow the bishopric. How many
regulations still in force date from these times!

The Anglo-Saxons always had an immediate and near relation to the
kingdom of the Franks.

It was with the daughter of a Frankish prince that the first impulse
towards conversion came into a Saxon royal house. By the Anglo-Saxons
again the conversion of inner Germany was carried out, in opposition
to the same Scoto-Irish element which they withstood in Britain. Carl
the Great thought it expedient to inform the Mercian King Offa of the
progress of Christianity among the Saxons in Germany: he looked on him
as his natural ally. Both kingdoms had moreover a common interest as
against the free British populations on their western marches, who
were allied with each other across the sea: decisive campaigns of Carl
the Great and King Egbert of Wessex coincide in point of time, and may
have supported each other.

Similarly, we may suppose that Egbert, who lived a number of years as
an exile at Carl's court, and could not have remained uninfluenced by
his mode of government and improved military tactics, was then also
incited and enabled, after his return, to subdue the little kingdoms
and unite them with Wessex: by the side of the 'Francia' of the
continent he created in the island a united 'Anglia.' But still there
subsisted a yet greater difference. Sprung from the stock of Cerdic,
Egbert belonged to the popular royalty which we find throughout at the
head of the invading Germans; he is, so far, more like the
Merovingians whom Carl's predecessors overthrew, than like Carl
himself; and he was almost entirely destitute of that strong
groundwork of military institutions on which the Carolingians
supported themselves. His rise depended much more on the fact that the
old families in Mercia, Northumbria, and Kent had disappeared, and the
succession in general had become doubtful; after Egbert had conquered
the claimants to the throne in a great and bloody battle, he was
recognised by the Witans of the several kingdoms as their common
prince, and his family as that which in fact it now was,--the leading
one of all. After the example of Pipin's family, whose alliance with
the Papacy was the most important historical event of the epoch and
founded Western Christendom, the descendants of Cerdic also got
themselves anointed by the popes--for the religious movement still had
the predominance over every other. The amalgamation of the tribes and
kingdoms found its expression in the Church, through the prestige and
rank of the Archbishop of Canterbury, almost earlier than it did in
the State; the unity of the Church broke down the antipathies of the
tribes, and prepared the way for that of the kingdoms. In the midst of
this work of construction, so incomplete as yet, but so full of hope,
of these birthpangs of a new life, the very existence of the country
was threatened by the rise of a new Great Power. For so may we well
designate the influence which the Scandinavian North exercised by land
over Eastern Europe, and at the same time over all the Western coasts
by sea.

Only a part of the German peoples had been influenced by the idea of
the Empire or the Church; the inborn heathenism of the rest, irritated
by the losses it had sustained and the dangers that continually
threatened it, roused itself for the most formidable onslaught that
the civilised world has ever had to withstand from the heroic and
barbarous children of Nature.

The mischief they wrought in Britain, from the middle of the ninth
century onwards, is indescribable.

The Scoto-Irish schools, then in their most flourishing state (they
trained John Scotus Erigena, of all the scholars of that time the man
who had the widest intellectual range), fell before the Danish, not
the Anglo-Saxon assaults; an element of intellectual activity which
might have been of the greatest importance was thus lost to the
Western world. But the Northmen persecuted the Romano-English forms as
bitterly as they did the Irish. In the places where those Anglo-Saxon
scholars had been trained, who then enlightened the West, the Northmen
planted the banner which announced utter destruction; with twofold
rapacity they threw themselves on the more remote abbeys which seemed
to derive protection from their inaccessibility, and to guarantee it
by their dignity; in searching for the treasures which they believed
had been placed in them for security, they destroyed the monuments and
means of instruction which were really there; in Medeshamstede, where
there was a rich library, the flames raged for fourteen days. The
half-formed union of the various districts into one kingdom seems to
have crippled rather than strengthened the power of local resistance:
the Danes became masters of Kent and of East-Anglia, of
Northumberland, and even of Mercia; at last Wessex too, after already
suffering many losses, was invaded; from both sides at the same
moment, from the inland and from the coast, the deluge of
robber-hordes poured over its whole extent.

Things had come to such a point that the Anglo-Saxon community seemed
inevitably devoted to the same ruin which had overtaken first the
Britons and then the Romans, they seemed doomed to make way for
another reconstruction. Britain would have become an outpost of the
restored heathenism, which could then have been with difficulty
repulsed from the Eastern and Western Frankish empires, afflicted as
they were by similar attacks, and governed by the discordant and weak
princes who then ruled them. At this moment of peril King Alfred
appeared. It was not merely for his own interests, nor merely for
those of England, but for those of the world, that he fought. He is
rightly called 'the Great;' a title fairly due only to those who have
maintained great universal interests, and not merely those of their
own country.

The distress of the moment, and the deliverance from it, have been
kept in imperishable remembrance by popular sagas and church legends.
It is well worth the trouble to trace out in the authenticated
traditions, brief as they are, the causes that decided the event. We
may state them as follows:--Since the attacks of the Vikings were
especially ruinous, from their occupation of the strong places whence
they could command and plunder the open country, one step in the work
of liberation was taken when Alfred, for the first time, wrested from
them a stronghold which they had seized, deep in the west. Then he,
too, occupied strong positions, and knew how to defend them. With the
bravest and most devoted of his nobles, and of the population that had
not yet submitted, he established a hill-fortress on a height rising
like an island out of the standing waters and marshlands in the still
only slightly cultivated land of Somersetshire; this not only served
him as an asylum, but also as a central point from which he too ranged
through the land far and wide, like the enemy, except that his object
was to guard it, and make it ring once more with the already forgotten
name of the King. Around his banners gathered, with reviving courage,
the population of the neighbouring districts also: the Saxons could
again appear in the open field; from their advancing shield-wall the
disorderly onsets of the Vikings recoiled, the victory was theirs.
Hereupon, moreover, as if the decision between the two religions
depended on the result of the war, the leader of the heathens came
over to Christianity, and took an Anglo-Saxon name. The Danes attached
themselves to the principles and the powers which they had come forth
to destroy.

King Alfred is a marvellous phenomenon: suffering from a disease which
sometimes broke out with violence, and which he never ceased to feel
for a single day of his life, he not merely withstood the extreme of
peril at that moment so big with ruin, but also founded a system of
resistance throughout the kingdom, in which his arms so worked
together by sea and land that each new band of Vikings betook
themselves again to their ships, and those that had already penetrated
into the country, gave way step by step. We remark with interest how,
under Alfred and his children, his son who succeeded him, and his
manlike daughter, the protecting fortresses advance from place to
place, and provide free space for the Anglo-Saxon community. The
culture already existing, the whole future of which had been saved by
Alfred, attained in him its fullest development. How many years had
passed since the hour when an illuminated initial letter gave him his
first taste for a book, before he could master even the elementary
branches of knowledge! then he devoted his whole efforts to instil new
life into the studies that had almost perished, and to give them a
national character. He not merely translated a number of the later
authors of antiquity, whose works had contributed most to the
transmission of scientific culture; in the episodes which he
interweaves in them he shows a desire for knowledge that reaches far
beyond them; but especially we find in them a reflective and
thoughtful mind, solid sense at peace with itself, a fresh way of
viewing the world, a lively power of observation. This King introduced
the German mind with its learning and reflection into the literature
of the world; he stands at the head of the prose-writers and
historians in a German tongue--the people's King of the most primeval
kind, who is also the teacher of his people. We know his laws, in
which extracts from the books of Moses are combined with restored
legal usages of German origin; in him the traditions of antiquity are
interpenetrated by the original tendencies of the German mind. We
completely weaken the impression made on us by this great figure, so
important in his first limited and arduous efforts, by comparing him
with the brilliant names of antiquity. Each man is what he is in his
own place.

Though the Anglo-Saxon monarchy wanted that element of authority which
the kings of other German tribes drew from the Roman government by
transmission or succession, yet it had strengthened itself, like the
others, by union with the Church. Alfred, too, was at Rome in his
boyhood: it stood him in good stead that he had been anointed, and, as
men said, adopted by a Roman pope. In the reconquest of the land,
Church ideas had played an important part. It was impossible to drive
out the invading foes, they could only be held in check; never would
they have submitted to the Anglo-Saxon commonwealth had they not at
the same time been converted to Christianity. Nothing, moreover,
contributed more to this than the effort, which was then the order of
the day in the Christian world, to base the organisation of the Church
on monasticism: from Italy this tendency spread to Germany, from South
France to North, from thence to England, where it produced its
greatest effect. Now the power of conversion is inherent only in
sharply-defined doctrines; and it was precisely this tendency that
penetrated the Northern natures: the sons of the Vikings became the
champions of monachism; to the fury with which the fathers had
destroyed the monasteries succeeded in the sons a zeal to restore
them. And in what good stead this stood the Anglo-Saxon kings! The
kingly power obtained, through the splendour which the union with
religion bestowed on its victorious arms, a reverential recognition by
the old native population as well as by the invaders.

Alfred's grandson had regained Northumbria by a somewhat doubtful
title, and had then maintained his right in a great battle, renowned
in song; his great-grandson, Edgar, in one of his charters thanks the
grace of God which had permitted him to extend his rule further than
his predecessors, over the islands and seas as far as Norway, and over
a great part of Ireland. We are not to look on it as a mere piece of
vanity, when he seeks after new titles for his power, when he calls
himself Basileus and Imperator; the former is the title of the
Eastern, the latter of the Western emperors; he will not yield the
precedence to either the one or the other, though the latter are so
closely related to him by blood. We cannot express the feeling of a
supreme power, independent of men, derived from the grace of God, the
King of kings, more strongly than it was expressed by Edgar under
Dunstan's influence; the ruling motives of life in Church and State
make it conceivable that a monkish hierarch, such as Dunstan, shared,
as it were, the King's power, and shaped the course of the authority
of the state.

It was still the ancestral Anglo-Saxon crown which glittered on
Edgar's head, but, if we may so say, its splendour had at the same
time received a monkish and hierarchic colouring.


[2] The words of some MSS. in Caesar's Commentaries, iv. 25,
'deserite, milites, si vultis, aquilam, atque hostibus prodite,' might
well be taken for the genuine words, originally noted down in his
Ephemerides (journal).

[3] Brettanian mentoi hoi Rômaioi anasôsasthai ouketi eschon, all'
ousa hupo tyrannois ap' autou emene. Procop. de bello Vand. I. No. 2.
p. 318 ed. Bonn. Compare Zosimus, vi. 4. on, we may assume, the better
authority of Olympiodorus.

[4] The simplest form of the Saga occurs in Gildas, with very few
historical ingredients. Nennius enlarges it with Anglo-Saxon
traditions. Beda has combined both with some notices from the real
history. Since the departure of the Romans was rightly fixed about
409, and Gildas said the Britons had rest for forty years, Beda
settled that the Saxons arrived in 449.

[5] Beda, Hist. Eccl. ii. 2. Some have wished to consider the remark,
that Augustine had been then long dead, as a later interpretation, 'ad
tollendam labem caedis Bangorensis;' this, however, is against the
spirit of that age.

[6] 'Omnem orbem, quocunque ecclesia Christi diffusa est per diversas
nationes et linguas uno temporis ordine.' Beda, Hist. Eccl. iii. 14.



In the families of German national kings we not unfrequently find
among the women a hideous mixture of ambition, revenge, and
bloodthirstiness, which brings kings and kingdoms to ruin. In England
it appears, despite of Christianity and monastic discipline, in its
most atrocious form after the death of Edgar. His eldest son, for some
years his successor, was treacherously murdered by his stepmother (who
wished to advance her own son to the throne), at a visit which he paid
her as he returned from hunting. It was that Edward whose innocence
and leaning towards the Church have gained him the name of Martyr. The
son of the murderess did ascend the throne, but the guilt of blood
seemed to cleave to the crown; he met with the obedience of his
father's times no more. The Anglo-Saxon magnates seized the occasion
which this crime, or the subsequent vacillation of the government
between violence and weakness, offered them, to aim at an independent
position, and to indulge in a personal policy, each man for himself.

At this very moment the Danes renewed their invasions.

Little did Edgar and those around him understand their position, when
they attributed the peace they enjoyed to their own military power, in
the splendid and extensive display of which they took delight. In
reality it was the state of the world at large that brought this peace
about. First of all, it was due to the settlement of the Normans in
North Gaul, under the condition that they should be of one religion
and one realm, and should fulfil the natural duty of keeping off
fresh incursions: the current of Northern invasion thus lost its aim
and direction. But it was of still more decisive effect at the first
that the energetic family which arose in North Germany, and even
assumed the imperial authority, not content with warding off the
Danes, sought them out in their own country instead, and carried the
war against heathenism into the North. The Saxons beyond the sea were
indebted for the peace which they enjoyed chiefly to the great and
splendid deeds of arms of their kindred on the mainland. How much all
depended on this became very clear when Otto II, in the full glow of
great enterprises, met with an unlooked for and early death. Within
the empire two able women and their advisers succeeded in maintaining
peace; but in Denmark, as in other neighbouring countries, the hostile
elements got the upper hand. The Danish king's son, Sven Otto,
abandoned the religion which he regarded as a yoke laid on him by the
German conquerors; he could not destroy the order of things
established in Denmark, but he revived the old sea-king's life, and
threw himself with the old superiority of the Viking arms on the
English coasts.

Ethelred on this attack fell into the greatest distress, mainly
because he was not sure of his great nobles. How often did the
commanders of the fleet desert it at the moment of action, and the
leaders of the inland levies go over to the enemy! Ethelred sought for
safety by an alliance with the Duchy of Normandy, then daily rising to
greater power. Thus supported, he proceeded to unjustifiable outrages
against his domestic as well as his foreign foes. The great nobles
whom he suspected were mercilessly killed or exiled, and their
children blinded. The Danes who remained in the land he caused to be
murdered all on one day.

The consequences of this deed necessarily recoiled upon himself. When
Sven some years after again landed with redoubled enmity, which was to
a certain extent justified, he experienced no effectual resistance
whatever; Ethelred had to fly before him and quit the island. But now
that Sven too, who had been already saluted by many as King, died in
the first enjoyment of his victory, a question arose which extended
far beyond the personal relations and embarrassments of the moment.

The influence always exercised by the Witans of the Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms in determining the succession to the throne remained much the
same when they were all fused into a single kingdom; even among the
descendants of Alfred, the great men designated the sovereign. In the
disturbed state of things in which they now found themselves, the
lawful King having fled, and the other, who had put himself into
actual possession of the supreme authority, being dead, they framed
the largest conception of their right. They formally made conditions
with Ethelred for his return, and he consented to their demands
through his son.[7] Since he, however, did not fulfil his promise--for
how could he have altered his nature?--they held themselves released
from their engagement to maintain this family on the throne. Sven's
son, Canute, had taken his father's place among the Danes; he had been
long ago baptised, he was of a character which commanded confidence,
and possessed at the time overwhelming power. After Ethelred's death
the lay and spiritual chiefs of England decided to abandon the house
of Cerdic for ever, and to recognise Canute as their King. How many
jarls and thanes of Danish origin do we find around the kings under
all the last governments. Edgar was especially blamed for the very
reason that he took them under his protection. But they had been
subjected only by war; no hereditary sentiment of natural loyalty
attached them to the West Saxon royal house. The ecclesiastical
aristocracy was besides determined by religious considerations; to
them these disasters and crimes seemed sufficient proof of the truth
of those prophecies of coming woe which Dunstan was believed to have
uttered. They repaired to Canute at Southampton, and concluded a peace
with him, the conditions of which were that they would abandon the
descendants of Ethelred for ever, and recognise Canute as their King;
he, on the other hand, promised to fulfil the duties of a King truly,
in both spiritual and temporal relations.[8] Yet once more, Ethelred's
eldest son, Edmund Ironsides, who was himself half a Dane by birth,
roused himself to a vigorous resistance: London and a part of the
nobility took his side; he gained through force of arms a settlement
by which, though indeed he lost the best part of the land and the
capital itself, he maintained the crown; he died however, soon after,
and then the whole country recognised Canute as King. The last scion
of the royal house in the land was banished, and all the claims of the
family to the crown again declared void. The Anglo-Saxon magnates
undertook to make a money payment to the Danish host; in return they
received the pledge from the King's hand, and the oath by his soul
taken by his chiefs.[9] It was a treaty between the Anglo-Saxon and
the Danish chiefs, by which the former received the King of the latter
as also their own.

This extremely important event links the centuries together, and
determines the future fortunes of England. The kingly house, whose
right and pre-eminence was connected with the earliest settlements,
which had completed the union of the realm and delivered it from the
worst distress, was at a moment of moral deterioration and disaster
excluded by the spiritual and temporal chiefs, of Anglo-Saxon and
Danish origin. They had first tried to limit it, to bind it by its own
promise; when this led to nothing, they annihilated its right by a
formal resolution of the realm, and procured peace by raising to the
throne another sovereign who had no right by birth. Canute did not owe
the crown to conquest, though his greater power contributed to the
result, but to election, which now appeared as the superior right:
hitherto the Witan had always exercised it within the limits of the
royal family; this time they disregarded that family altogether.

Canute decreed or allowed some bloody acts of violence, in order to
strengthen the power that had fallen to his lot; but afterwards he
administered it with a noble spirit answering to his position. He
became the leading sovereign of the North: men reckoned five or six
kingdoms as subject to him. England was the chief of them all, even
for him; it was in possession of the culture and religion which he
wished should prevail in the rest: the missionaries of the North went
forth from Canterbury. England itself, however, gained a higher
position in the world by its union with a power which ruled as far as
Norway and North America, and carried on commerce with the East by the
Baltic. In Gothland the great emporium of the West, Arabic as well as
Anglo-Danish coins are found; the former were carried from the North
as far as England. Canute favoured the Anglo-Saxon mode of life; he
liked to be designated the 'successor of Edgar;' he confirmed his
legislation; and it was his intention, at least, to rule according to
the laws: as he even submitted himself to the military regulations of
the Huskarls, so he commanded right and law to be administered in
civil matters without respect to his own person.

But a union of such different kingdoms could only be a transitory
phenomenon. Canute himself thought of leaving England again
independent under one of his sons.

With this object he had married Ethelred's widow Emma. For, according
to Anglo-Saxon ideas, the Queen was not merely the King's wife, but
also sovereign of the land, in her own right. It was settled that the
children of this marriage should succeed him in England. Probably
Canute did not wish the inheritance of the crown in his house to
depend merely on the goodwill of the Witan.

After Canute's death we can observe a wavering between the principles
of election and birthright. The magnates again elected, but limited
their choice to the King's house. After the extinction of the
Danish-Norman family, they came back to the English-Norman one; they
called the son of Ethelred and Emma, Edward the Confessor, to the
throne of his fathers, though, it is true, without leaving him much
power. This lay rather in the hands of the Earls Godwin of Kent and
Leofric of Mercia; especially in the former, whose wife was related
to Canute, did the Anglo-Saxon spirit of independence energetically
manifest itself. He was once banished, but returned and recovered all
his offices. When however, Edward too died without issue, the dynastic
question once more came before the English magnates. It might have
seemed most consistent to recall the Aetheling Edgar a member of the
house of Cerdic from exile, and to carry on the previous form of
government under his name. But the thoughts of the English chiefs no
longer turned in that direction. Not very long before a king from the
ranks of the native nobility had ascended the throne of the
Carolingians in the West Frank empire; in the East Frank, or German
empire, men had seen first the mightiest duke, then one of the most
distinguished counts, attain the imperial dignity. Why should it not
be possible for something similar to happen in England also? The very
day on which Edward the Confessor died, Godwin's son, Harold, was
elected by the magnates of the kingdom, and crowned without delay[10]
(Jan. 5, 1066). The event now happened which was only implied in what
occurred at Canute's accession: the house of Cerdic was abandoned, and
the further step taken of raising another native family to its throne.

It was not this time a pressing necessity that brought it about; but
we cannot deny that, if carried through, it opened out an immeasurable

For such would have been the case, if the attempt to found a Germanic
Anglo-Saxon kingdom under Harold, and maintain it free from any
preponderating foreign influence had been successful. By recalling
Edgar the influence of Normandy, against which the antipathies of the
nation had been awakened under the last government, would have been
renewed. But just as little were those claims to be recognised which
the Northern kings put forward for the re-establishment of their
supremacy. Even as regards the Papacy, the government began to adopt
an independent line of conduct.

The question now was, whether the Anglo-Saxon nation would be
unanimous and strong enough to maintain such a haughty position on all

The first attack came from the North; it was all the more dangerous,
from the fact that an ambitious brother of the new King supported it:
only by an extreme effort were these enemies repelled. But, at the
same moment, an attack was threatened from another enemy of infinitely
greater importance--Duke William of Normandy. It was not only this
sovereign, and his land, but a new phase of development in the history
of the world, with which England now entered into conflict.

_The Conquest._

Out of the antagonism of nationalities, of the Empire and the Church,
of the overlord and the great chiefs, in the midst of invasions of
foreign peoples and armies, the local resistance to them and their
occupations of territory, a new world had, as it were, been forming
itself in Southern Europe, and especially in Gaul. Still more
decidedly than in England had the invading Vikings in France attached
themselves to the national element, even in the second generation they
had given up their language; they discovered at the same time a form
which reconciled the membership in the kingdom, and the recognition of
the common faith, with provincial freedom. In France no native power
successfully opposed and checked the advancing Normans, such as that
which the Danes had encountered in England. On the contrary they
exercised the greatest influence over the foundation of a new dynasty.
A system developed itself over the whole realm, in which, both in the
provincial authorities and in the lower degrees of rank, the
possession of land and share in public office, feudalism and freedom,
interpenetrated each other, and made a common-weal which yet
harmonised with all the inclinations that lend charm and colouring to
individual life. The old migratory impulse and spirit of warlike
enterprise set before itself religious aims also, which lent it a
higher sanction; war for the Church, and conquest (which meant for
each man a personal occupation of land) were combined in one. Starting
from Normandy, where great warlike families were formed that found no
occupation at home (for these young populations are wont to multiply
quickest), North French love of war and habits of war transplanted
themselves to Spain and to Italy. How must it have elevated their
spirit of enterprise when in the latter country the Papacy, which had
just thrown off the supremacy of the emperor, and entered on a new
stage in the development of its power, made common cause with their
arms, and a practised Norman warrior, Robert Guiscard, appeared as
Duke of Apulia and Calabria 'by grace of God and of S. Peter and,
under his protection, of Sicily also in time to come'![11] The Pope
gave him lands in fief, which had hitherto belonged to the Greek
Empire, and which the Germans had been unable to conquer; he promised,
in return, to defend the prerogatives of S. Peter. Between the
hierarchy which was striving to perfect its supremacy, and the warlike
chivalry of the 11th century, an alliance was formed like that once
concluded with the leaders of the Frankish host. The ideas were
already stirring from which proceeded the Crusades, the foundation of
the Spanish kingdoms, and the creation of the Latin Empire at
Constantinople. In the princely fiefs of the French Crown, and above
all in Normandy, they seized on men's minds. Chivalrous life and
hierarchic institutions, dialectic and poetry, continual war at home
and ceaseless aspirations abroad, were here fused into a living whole.

In the Germanic countries also this close alliance of hierarchy and
chivalry now sought to win influence, but here it met with a strenuous
resistance. In England, Edward the Confessor had tried to prepare the
way for it: Godwin and his house opposed it. And when the former named
the Norman Robert Archbishop of Canterbury, and the latter drove him
out, the English quarrels became connected with those of Rome;
Stigand, the archbishop put in by Godwin, received his pallium from
Pope Benedict X, who had been elected in the old tumultuous manner
once more by the neighbouring Roman barons, but had to succumb to
Hildebrand's zeal for a regular election by the cardinals, on which
the emancipation of the Papacy depended. It seemed, then, intolerable
at Rome that there should be a primate of the English Church,
connected by his Church position with a phase of the supreme
priesthood now condemned and abolished: it is very intelligible that
this priesthood in its present form took up a hostile position towards
the England of that time. In this, moreover, it found an ally ready to
act in Duke William of Normandy, who wished to be regarded as the born
champion of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty, and as the natural successor to
its rights. Once already his father had collected a fleet to restore
the exiled Aethelings, and was only kept back from an invasion by
unfavourable weather. There had often since been rumours, that Edward
had destined Duke William to be his successor; men asserted that
Harold had previously recognised this right, and that in return
William's daughter, and a part of the land as an independent
possession, had been promised him.[12] In his own position William had
cleared the ground for himself with a strong hand. He had beaten his
feudal lord in the open field, and thus not only recovered a frontier
fortress lost during his minority, but also strengthened the
independence of the duchy. At the same time William had vanquished his
rebellious vassals in arms, banished them, deprived them of their
possessions, and got rid, with the Pope's consent, of an archbishop
who was allied with them. Death freed him from another mighty
opponent, the Duke of Brittany, who threatened him with a great
maritime expedition. It throws a certain light on his policy, to see
how he made himself master of the county of Maine in 1062. On the
ground that Count Heribert, whom he had supported in his quarrel with
Anjou, had become his vassal and made him his heir,[13] he overran
Maine, and put his adherents in possession of the fortresses which
commanded the land. However we may decide as to the details told us
about his relations to Edward and Harold, it seems undeniable that
William had received provisional promises from both--for Harold loved
to side with Edward. He was not the man to put up with their being
broken. The system, however, which through Harold's accession gained
the upper hand in England, was in itself hostile to the Norman one:
and that a king of England like the present might some day become
dangerous to the duke, amidst all the other hostilities which
threatened him, is clear. To these motives was now added the
approbation of the Roman See. The Pope's chief Council deliberated on
the enterprise, above all did the archdeacon of the Church,
Hildebrand, declare himself in its favour. He was reproached--then or
at a later time--with being the author of bloodshed; he declared that
his conscience acquitted him, since he knew well, that the higher
William mounted, the more useful he would be to the Church.[14]
Alexander II now sent the duke the banner of the Church. As a few
years before Robert Guiscard had become duke, so now a Norman duke was
to become king, in the service of the Church. The Normans were still
divided in their views as to the enterprise, but when this news
arrived, all opposition ceased, for in the service of S. Peter and the
Church men believed themselves secure of success; then lay and
spiritual vassals emulously armed ships and men; in the harbour of S.
Valery, which belonged to one of those who had been last gained over,
the Count of Ponthieu, the fleet and the troops gathered together.[15]
The Count of Flanders, the duke's father-in-law, secretly favoured the
enterprise; another of his nearest relations, Count Odo of Champagne,
brought up his troops in person; Count Eustace of Boulogne armed, to
avenge on Godwin's house an affront he had once suffered at Dover; a
number of leading Breton counts and lords attached themselves to
William in opposition to their duke, who cherished wholly different
projects. To the lords and knights of North France were joined many of
lower rank, whose names show that they came from Gascony, Burgundy,
the duchy of France, or the neighbouring districts belonging to the
German Empire. Of their own free will they ranged themselves round
William, to vindicate the right which he claimed to the English crown,
but each man naturally entertained brilliant hopes also for himself.
William is depicted as a man of vast bodily strength, which none could
surpass or weary out, with a strong hardy frame, a cool head, an
expression in his features which exactly intimated the violence with
which he followed up his enemies, destroyed their states, and burnt
their houses. Yet all was not passionate desire in him. He honoured
his mother, he was true to his wife. Never did he undertake a quarrel
without giving fair notice, and certainly never without having well
prepared for it beforehand. He knew how to keep up a warlike spirit in
his vassals: there were seen with him only splendid men and able
leaders; he kept strict discipline. So also he had seized the moment
for his enterprise, at which the political relations of Europe were
favourable to him. The two great realms, which might otherwise have
well interposed, the East Frank (or the Roman-German) as well as the
West Frank, were under kings not yet of age: the guardianship of the
latter lay with the Count of Flanders, who thought he did enough in
not standing openly by his son-in-law, of the former with great
bishops devoted heart and soul to the hierarchic system.[16] Harold,
on the other hand, had no friend or ally, in North or East, in South
or in West. To encounter the combined efforts of a great European
coalition he had only himself and his Anglo-Saxons to rely on. Harold
is depicted as coming forth perfect from the hands of nature, without
blemish from head to foot, personally brave before the enemy, gentle
among his own people, and endowed with natural eloquence. His enemy's
passion for, and knowledge of, war were not in him; the taste of the
Anglo-Saxons was directed more to peaceful enjoyments than to
ceaseless wars. At this moment too they were weakened by great losses
in the last bloody war; many of the most trustworthy and bravest had
fallen, others wavered in their fidelity; Harold had not been able to
put even the coasts in a state of defence; William landed without
resistance, to demand his crown from him. When reminded of his promise
Harold was believed to have answered in the very spirit of Anglo-Saxon
independence, that he had no right to make any such promise without
the consent of the Anglo-Saxon chiefs and people. And not to meet the
invading foe instantly at the sword's point would have seemed to him
disgraceful cowardice. And so William and Harold, the North French
knights and the national war-array of the Anglo-Saxons, encountered at
Hastings. Harold fell at the very beginning of the fight. The Normans,
according to their wont, knew how to separate their enemies by a
pretended flight, and then by a sudden return to surround and destroy
them in isolated bodies. It was the iron-clad, yet rapidly moving
cavalry, which decided the battle.[17]

William expected, now that his rival had fallen, to be recognised by
the Anglo-Saxons as their King. Instead of this the chiefs and the
capital raised Edgar the Aetheling, grandson of Edmund Ironsides, to
the throne: as though William would retire before a scion of the old
West-Saxon house, of which he professed to be the champion. He held
firmly to the transfer made to him by the last king without regard to
any third person, ratified as it was by the Roman See, and marched on
the capital.

Edgar was a boy, and the magnates were at variance as to who should
have the authority to exercise guardianship over him. When William
appeared before the city, and threatened the walls with his
siege-machines, it too lost courage. The embassy which it sent him was
amazed at the grandeur and splendour of his appearance, was convinced
as to the right which King Edward had transferred to him,[18] and
penetrated by the danger which a resistance, in itself hopeless, would
bring on the city. Aldermen and people abandoned Edgar, and recognised
William as King. There is an old story, that the county of Kent, on
capitulating, made good conditions for itself. To the nobles also, who
submitted by degrees, similar terms may have been accorded, but their
position was almost entirely altered. We need notice only this one
point. Their chief right, which they exercised to a perhaps
unauthorised extent, was that of electing the King; they had now
elected twice, but the first election was annulled by defeat in the
open field, the second by increasing superiority in arms; they had to
recognise the Conqueror, who claimed by inheritance, as their King,
whether they would or no. There is something almost symbolic of the
resulting state of things in the story of William's coronation, which
was now celebrated by the tomb of Edward the Confessor at Westminster.
For the first time the voices of the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans were
united to greet him as King, but the discordant outcry of the two
languages seemed a sign of conflict to the troops gathered outside,
and made the warlike fury, so hardly kept under control, boil up again
in them; they set the houses of London on fire. Whilst all hurried
from the church, the ceremony it is said was completed by shuddering
priests in the light of the flames: the new King himself, who at other
times did not know what fear was, trembled.[19]

By this coronation-acclaim, two constituent elements of the world,
which had been fundamentally at conflict with each other, became
indissolubly united.

That against which the Anglo-Saxons had set themselves to guard with
all their strength during the last period, the inroad of the
Norman-French element into their Church and their State, was now
accomplished in fullest measure. William's maxim was, that all who had
taken arms against him and his right had forfeited their property;
those who escaped, and the heirs of those who had fallen, were
deprived alike. In a short time we find William's leading comrades in
the war, as earls of Hereford, Buckingham, Shrewsbury, Cornwall; his
valiant brothers were endowed with hundreds of fiefs; and when the
insurrection which quickly broke out led to new outlawries and new
confiscations, all the counties were filled with French knights. From
Caen came over the blocks of freestone to build castles and towers, by
which they hoped to bridle the towns and the country. It is an
exaggeration to assume a complete transfer of property from the one
people to the other; among the tenants in chief about half the names
are still Anglo-Saxon. At first, those who from any even accidental
cause had not actually met William in arms were left in possession of
their lands, though without hereditary right: later, after they had
conducted themselves quietly for some time, this too was given back to
them. In the next century it excited surprise that so many great
properties should have remained in the hands of the Anglo-Saxons.[20]
It would have been altogether against William's plan, to treat the
Anglo-Saxons as having no rights. He wished to appear as the rightful
successor of the Anglo-Saxon kings: by their laws he would abide, only
adding the legal usages of the Normans to those of the Danes,
Mercians, and West Saxons; and it was not merely through his will, but
also by its higher form, and connexion with the ideas of the century,
that the Norman law gained the upper hand. But however much we may
deduct from the usual exaggerations, this fact remains, that the
change of ownership which took place, like the change in the
constitution and the general state of things, was of enormous extent:
the military and judicial power passed entirely into the hands of the
victors in the war. And in the Church alterations no less
thoroughgoing ensued. Under the authority of Papal legates, the great
office-holders of the English Church, who had been opposed to the
newly arisen hierarchic system, were mercilessly deprived of their
places. The King was afterwards personally on tolerably good terms
with Stigand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, but was not inclined on
his account to oppose the Church. The archbishopric, and with it the
primacy of England, passed to the man in whom the union of the Church
authority and orthodoxy of that which we may call the especially
hierarchic century was most vividly represented, the man who had been
the chief agent in establishing the dogma of Transubstantiation, the
great teacher of Bec, Lanfranc. In most of the bishoprics and abbeys
we find Normans of kindred tendency. It was precisely in the
enterprise against England that the hierarchy concluded its compact
with the hereditary feudal state, which was all the more lasting in
that they were both still in process of formation.

In this way was England attached by the strongest ties to the
Continent, and to the new system of life and ecclesiastico-political
constitution which had then gained the upper hand in Latin Europe.
Under the next three successors of the Conqueror, none of whom enjoyed
a completely legal recognition, it sometimes appeared as though
England would again tear herself away from Normandy: such variances
were not without influence on home affairs: in the general relations
of the country they wrought no change at all. On the contrary, these
were developed on a still larger scale, owing to the complicated
family connexions which so peculiarly characterise that epoch. From
the county of Anjou which, like the dominion of the Capets, had been
formed in the struggle against the invasion of the Normans, a
sovereign arose who had the right to rule the Norman conquests, the
son of the Conqueror's granddaughter, Henry Plantagenet. He had
become, though not without appeal to the sword, which his father
wielded powerfully on his behalf, master of Normandy, and had then
married Eleanor of Poitou, who brought him a great part of South
France: he then succeeded more by fair means than by force in
establishing his right to the throne of England. Henry was the first
to establish in France the power of the great vassals, by which the
crown was long in danger of being overthrown. The Kings of Castille
and Navarre submitted to his arbitration. And under a sovereign whose
grandfather had been King of Jerusalem, and one of the mightiest
rulers of that Western kingdom established in the East, the
tendencies, which had led so far, could not fail to extend themselves
to the utmost in all their spheres of action? The hierarchic and
chivalrous spirit of Continental Europe, which under the Normans had
seized on England, was much strengthened by the accession of the
Plantagenets. It thus came to pass that after the disastrous loss of
Jerusalem, the knights of Anjou and of Guienne, from Brittany (for
Henry had added this province also to his family possessions) and from
Normandy, gathered together in London, and took the Cross in company
with the English. England formed a part of the Plantagenet Empire--if
we may apply this word to so anomalous a state--and contributed to its
extension, even though no interest of its own was involved. But
towards such a result the relations which this alliance established
between England and Southern Europe had long tended. Not seldom was
the military power of the provinces over the sea employed for
enterprises that aimed at the direct advantage of England itself.
Whether and when the German element without this influence would have
become master of the British group of islands none could say. The
English dominion over Ireland in particular is derived from Henry II,
and his alliance at that time with the Papacy; he crossed thither
under the Pope's authorisation: at the Pope's word the native kings
did homage to him as their lord.[21] And the foreign-born Plantagenets
struck living root in England itself. As Henry II's mother was the
daughter of a princess descended from the West-Saxon house, he was
hailed by the natives as their lawfully-descended King; in accordance
with Edward the Confessor's prophecy, that from the severed bough
should spring up a new tree: they traced his descent without scruple
back to Wodan. This King, moreover, has impressed his mark deeply on
English life; to this day justice is administered in England under
forms established by him.

The will of destiny cannot be gainsaid. Just as Germany without its
connexion with Italy, so England without its connexion with France,
would never have been what it is. More than all, the great
commonwealth of the western nations, whose life pervades and
determines the history of each separate state, would never have come
into existence. But on this ground first, amidst continual warfare,
was gradually accomplished the formation of the nationalities.


[7] Se in omnibus eorum voluntati consensurum, consiliis acquieturum.

[8] Florentius Wigorniensis: 'Post cujus (Aethelredi) mortem episcopi
abbates duces et quique nobiliores Angliae, in unum congregati pari
consensu in dominum et regem Canutum sibi elegere--ille juravit, quod
et secundum deum et secundum seculum fidelis eis esse vellet dominus.'
The oath which Ethelred had taken was, however, only 'secundum deum.'

[9] Florentius, 593: 'Accepto pignore de manu sua nuda cum juramentis
a principibus Danorum, fratres et filios Eadmundi omnino despexerunt
eosque esse reges negaverunt.'

[10] In Ingulphus (Savile Script. 511) it is said expressly: per
Archiepiscopum Eboracae, Aedredum (Aldredum). But it is surprising
that the Bayeux Tapestry expressly names Stigand (Lancelot:
Description de Tapisserie de Bayeux, in Thierry, I). Yet Harold could
not possibly have meant, by passing over the Archbishop of Canterbury,
to declare him to be incompetent, since he had been appointed by his

[11] Juramentum fidelitatis Roberti Guiscardi: 1059 in Baronius,
Annales Eccles. ix. 350.

[12] The simplest statement occurs in the Carmen de bello Hastingensi,
p. 352, according to which Edward promised the succession, and sent
ring and sword to the duke by Harold; but as early as in William of
Jumièges we have the tale of Harold's captivity in Ponthieu, and the
promise made him, and the chief outlines of what in Guilielmus
Pictaviensis, and Ordericus Vitalis, lies before us with further
embellishments, and to which the Bayeux Tapestry (itself, too, a kind
of historical memorial of the time) adds some further traits.

[13] Guilielmus Pictaviensis, Gesta Wilhelmi ducis, in Duchesne 189,
already relates this in reference to the English affair.

[14] Gregorii Registrum, vii. 23; Mansi, xx. 306.

[15] William of Jumièges, Hist. vii. 34. 'Ingentem exercitum ex
Normannis et Flandrensibus ac Francis ac Britonibus aggregavit.'

[16] Guilielmus Pictaviensis 197 assures us that help was promised
from Germany in the name of Henry IV.

[17] William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, III. § 245. 'Magis temeritate
et furore praecipitati quam scientia militari Wilhelmo congressi.'

[18] 'Contulit Eguardus quod rex donum sibi regni Monstrat et adfirmat
vosque probasse refert.' So Guido (Carmen de bello Hastingensi, 737)
makes Ansgard on his return speak to the citizens.

[19] Ordericus Vitalis 503. In Guido the ceremony is described with
the greatest calmness, as though it passed undisturbed; but the
conclusion of his work seems wanting.

[20] Dialogus de Scaccario, i. 10. 'Miror singularis excellentiae
principem, in subactam et sibi suspectam Anglorum gentem hac usum
misericordia, ut non solum colonos indempnes servaret, verum ipsis
regni majoribus feudos suos et amplas possessiones relinqueret.' In
Madox, History of the Exchequer, ii. 391. In Domesday Book the memory
of Edward the Confessor is always treated with the greatest respect.
Ellis, Introduction to Domesday Book, i. 303.

[21] 'Ut illius terrae populus te sicut dominum veneretur.' Breve of
Hadrian IV.



Highly as we may estimate the due appreciation and expression of those
objective ideas, which are bound up with the culture of the human
race, still the spiritual life of man is built up not so much on a
devout and docile receptivity of these ideas as on their free and
subjective recognition, which modifies while it accepts, and
necessarily passes through a phase of conflict and opposition.

In England the authority both of Church and State now came forward
with far more strength than before. The royal power was a continuation
of the sovereignty inherited from Anglo-Saxon times, but, leaning on
its continental resources, and supported by those who had taken part
in the Conquest, it developed itself much more durably. The clergy of
the land were far more closely and systematically bound to the Papacy;
thus it had become more learned and more active. The one sword helped
the other; just at this very time, the King and the Archbishop of
Canterbury were depicted as the two strong steers that drew the plough
of England.

But yet, below all this there existed a powerful element of
opposition. After the new order of things had existed more than eighty
years, among a portion of the Anglo-Saxon population the design was
started of putting a violent end to it, of destroying at one blow all
those foreigners who seemed its representatives, just as the Danes had
all been murdered on one day.

It was an evil thought, and all the more atrocious because manifold
ties had been already gradually formed between the two populations.
How could they ever become fused into one nation if the one was always
plotting the destruction of the other?

It was not merely by alliances of blood and family, but even still
more by great common political and ecclesiastical interests that the
English nationality, which contains both elements, was founded. And,
in truth, the leading impulse towards it was that the conquerors, no
less than the conquered, felt themselves oppressed by the yoke which
the two supreme authorities laid on them, and hence both combined to
oppose them. But centuries elapsed before this could be effected. The
first occasion for it was given when the two authorities quarrelled
with each other, and alternately called on the population to give its
voluntary aid.

For, as the authorities which represent the objective ideas are of
different origin, they have never in our Western Europe remained more
than a short time in complete harmony with each other. Each retains
its natural claim to be supreme, and not to endure the supremacy of
the other. The one has always more before its eyes the unity of the
whole, the other the needs and rights of the several kingdoms and
states. Amidst their antagonism European life has moulded itself and
made progress.

Close as their union was at the time of the Conquest of England, yet
even then their quarrel broke out. Though the Conqueror pledged
himself again to pay a tribute which the Anglo-Saxon kings had
formerly charged themselves with, and which had been long unpaid, yet
this was not sufficient for the Roman See: Gregory VII demanded to be
recognised as feudal lord of England. But this was not what William
understood, when he had allowed the papal banner to wave over the
fleet that brought him to England. It was not from the Pope's
authorisation that he derived his claim to the English crown, as if
this had been merely transferred to him by the Papal See, but from the
Anglo-Saxon kings, as whose heir and legal successor he wished to be
regarded. He answered the Pope that he could enter into no other
relation to him than that in which his predecessors in England had
stood to previous popes.

For the first time the popes had to give up altogether the attempt to
make kings their feudal dependents; they attempted, however, an
almost deeper encroachment into the very heart of the royal power,
when they then formed the plan of severing the spiritual body
corporate, which already possessed the most extensive temporal
privileges, from their feudal obligation to the sovereigns. The
English kings opposed them in this also with resolution and success.
Under the influence of the father of scholasticism, Anselm of
Canterbury, Primate of England, a satisfactory agreement was arranged
long before the Concordat was obtained in Germany. In general there
was little to fear, as long as the Archbishop of Canterbury had a good
understanding with the Crown; and this was the case in the first half
of the 12th century, if not on all points, yet, at least on all
leading questions. Far-reaching differences did not appear until the
higher ecclesiastics embraced the party of the Papacy, which happened
in England through Thomas Becket.

_Henry II and Becket._

It was precisely from him that this would have been least expected. He
had been the King's Chancellor, or if we may avail ourselves of a
somewhat remote equivalent expression, his most trusted cabinet
minister, and had as such, in both home and foreign affairs, rendered
the most valuable services. The introduction of scutage is attributed
to him, and he certainly had a large share in the acquisition of
Brittany. It was through the direct influence of the King that he was
elected archbishop.[22] But from that hour he seemed to have become
another man. As he had hitherto rivalled the courtiers in splendour,
pleasure, and pomp, so would he now by strictness of life equal the
sanctity of the saints; as hitherto to the King, so did he now attach
himself to the interests of the Church. It might, so we may suppose,
be some satisfaction to his self-esteem, that he could now confront
his stern and mighty sovereign as Archbishop 'also by the grace of
God,' for so he designates himself in his letter to the King; or he
might feel himself bound to recover the possessions of his Church,
which had been wrested from it by the Crown or the high nobility. But,
as spiritually-minded men are moved more by universal ideas than by
special interests, so for Becket the determining impulse without doubt
lay above all in the sympathy which he devoted to the hierarchic
movement in general.

Those were the times in which the attempt of the Emperor Frederic I to
call a council, and in it to decide on a contested papal election, had
created general excitement among the peoples and churches of Southern
Europe, which would only consent to be led by a pope independent of
the empire. Driven from Italy, Alexander III, the Pope rejected by the
Emperor, found a cordial reception in France; and here he now
collected on his side a papal council in opposition to the imperial
one, in which the cardinals, whose election the Emperor was trying to
annul, and the bishops of Spain and South Italy, and those of the
collective Gaulish dioceses (more than a hundred in number), and the
English bishops also, gathered around him, and laid the Pope elected
by the Emperor under the anathema. It was inevitable that the idea of
the Church, as independent of the temporal power, should here find its
strongest expression. Some canons were passed which prohibited the
usurpation of ecclesiastical property by the laity, and made it a
crime in the bishops to allow it.[23]

Thomas Becket was welcomed in this council with a seductive kindness;
but besides this, what is harder than to set oneself against the
common feeling of one's own order, when moderation already appears to
be apostasy? He returned to England filled with the ideas of
hierarchic independence; in preparing to carry it through, he
necessarily brought on the conflict which had hitherto been avoided.

The Plantagenet King, whose whole heart was in the work of securing
the obedience of the manifold provinces that had fallen to his lot;
who hastened ceaselessly from one to the other (when people thought
him far away in South France, he had already recrossed the sea to
England), ever occupied in extending his inherited power by
institutions of a legal and administrative nature, was not inclined to
give way to the Church in this attempt. He would neither make the
election of the higher clergy free, nor allow their excommunication to
be valid without State control; he not only maintained the right of
the lay courts to try ecclesiastics for heinous offences, which else
often remained unpunished; but, even in the sphere of spiritual
jurisdiction, he claimed to hear appeals in the last instance without
regard to the Pope. In all this the lay and spiritual nobility agreed
with him; in a Council at Clarendon they framed 'constitutions,' in
which they declared these rules to be the law of the realm, as it had
always been observed, and ought to be observed henceforth.[24]

Becket did not possess the inflexible obstinacy which distinguishes
most of the champions of the hierarchy. As the accordant voice of
Europe moved him to take up the hierarchic principles, so now the
accordant voice of his country's rulers made an impression on him: he
listened to the ecclesiastics who entreated him not to draw the King's
displeasure on them, and to the laymen, who prayed him not to bring on
them the necessity of executing it on the ecclesiastics: he virtually
accepted the Constitutions of Clarendon. But then again he could not
prevail on himself to observe them. Only when his vacillation
endangered him personally, so that he could expect nothing else to
follow but a condemnation by a new assembly of the royal court, did he
come to a decision. Then he took the hierarchic side resolutely; in
contradiction to the Constitutions, he appealed to the Pope. It is a
remarkable day in English history, that 14th October 1164, on which
Thomas Becket, after reading mass, appeared before the court without
his archiepiscopal dress, but cross in hand. He forbade the earl, who
wished to announce the judgment to him, to speak, since no layman had
power to sit in judgment on his spiritual father;[25] he again put
himself under the protection of God and the Roman Church, and then
passed from the court, no man venturing to lay hands on him, still
armed with his cross, to a church close by, from whence he escaped to
the Continent. By this he brought into England the war of the two
powers, which had already burst into flame in Italy and Germany. The
archbishop and primate rejected the supreme judicial authority of the
Curia Regis; only in the chief pontiff at Rome did he recognise his
rightful judge: by undertaking to bring into full view the complete
independence of the spiritual principle on this ground also, he broke
down that unity of authority, which had, been hitherto maintained in
the English realm, and entered into open war with his King.

Henry II was, like most of the sovereigns of that age, above all
things a warrior; you could see by his stride that he spent his days
on horseback; and he was an indefatigable hunter. But yet he found
time besides for study; he took pleasure in solving, in the company of
scholars, the difficulties of the theologico-philosophical problems
which then largely occupied men's minds; there is no doubt that he
also fully understood these politico-ecclesiastical questions. He was
by no means a good husband, rather the contrary, but, in other things,
he could control himself; he was moderate in eating and drinking.
Success did not make him overweening, but all the more prudent:[26]
ill-success found him resolute; yet it was remarked that he was more
severe in success, milder in adversity. If contradicted, he showed all
the excitability of the Southern French nature; he passed from
promises to threats, from flatteries to outbursts of wrath, until he
met with compliance. His administration at home witnesses to a noble
conception of his mission and to a practical understanding; from his
lion-like visage shone forth a pair of quiet eyes, but how suddenly
did they flame up with wild fire, if the passion was roused that
slumbered in the depths of his soul! It was the passion of unlimited
power; an ambition for which, as he once said, the world appeared to
be too small. He never forgave an opponent; he never reconciled
himself with an enemy or took him again into favour.

He would of himself have been much inclined to abandon Alexander III,
and attach himself to the Pope set up by the Emperor: his ambassadors
took part in a German diet at which the most extreme steps were
approved of. But Henry was not sufficiently master of his clergy nor,
above all, of his people for this; the solemn curse of Thomas Becket
wrought on men from far away. Was there really any foundation for what
men then said, that the King thought it better that his foe should be
in the country rather than out of it? An apparent reconciliation was
brought about, which, however, left the main questions undecided, each
side only consenting generally to a peace with the other. Becket did
not allow himself to be hindered by it, on his return to England, from
excommunicating leading ecclesiastics who had supported the King's
party. But at this Henry's deep-seated wrath awoke. Beset by the
exiles with cries for protection, he let the complaint escape him in
the presence of his knights, that among so many to whom he had shown
favour there was not one who had courage enough to avenge the insults
offered to him.[27] As opposed to the Church sympathies which through
the clergy wrought on all people, the temporal state was mainly kept
together by the reciprocal relations of the feudal lord and sovereign
to his vassals and knights, and of them to him: to spiritual reverence
was opposed personal devotion. But these feelings, too, as they have
their justification, so they have their moral limitations; they are as
capable of exaggeration and excess as all others. Enflamed by the
King's words which seemed to touch the honour of knighthood, four of
his knights hastened to Canterbury, and sought out the man, who dared
to bid the King defiance in his own kingdom; as Becket refused to
recall the excommunication, they murdered him horribly in the
cathedral. When required to obey the King, Becket was wont to reserve
the rights of the Church and the priesthood; for this reservation he

Henry II by calling forth, intentionally or not, this brutal act of
violence in the ecclesiastical strife, drew on himself the catastrophe
of his life.

By Becket's murder the ideas of Church independence gained what was
yet wanting to them, a martyr: his death was more advantageous to them
than his life could ever have been. The belief that the victim wrought
miracles, which were ascribed to him in increasing measure, at first
slight, then more and more surprising ones, viz. cures of incurable
diseases,--who does not know the resistless nature of this illusion,
bound up as it is with the nearest needs of man in every form?--made
him the idol of England. Henry II had to live to see the man who had
refused him the old accustomed obedience, reverenced among his people
with almost divine honours as one of the greatest saints that had ever
lived. The great Hohenstaufen in the unsuccessful struggle with the
Papacy was at last brought to declare that all he had hitherto done
rested on an error; and in like manner, but one far more humiliating
and painful, Henry II had to do penance, and receive the discipline of
the scourge, at the tomb of the man who had been murdered by his loyal
subjects. On a hasty glance it seems as though his Constitutions were
established, but a more accurate inquiry shows that the articles which
displeased the Pope were left out. The hierarchic ideas gained the day
in England also.

It was precisely the Church quarrel that fed the discords which broke
out in the King's own house. His eldest son found a pretence for his
revolt, and essentially promoted it, by alleging that the murderers of
the glorious martyr were unpunished; he on his side promised the
clergy to make good all existing injuries, since what belonged to the
Church should not serve man's ostentation. The example of the elder
wrought on the younger sons too, who, to withstand their father,
recognised the supremacy of the King of France. Henry's last years
were filled with depression, and even with despair; when dying he was
believed to have bequeathed his curse to his children. In the
cloisters his death was ascribed to the intercession and merits of S.

For with the acceptance of the hierarchic ideas the prestige of their
martyr grew day by day. In the crusade of 1189 men saw him appear in
dreams, and declare that he was appointed to protect the fleet, to
calm the storms.

It was under these auspices that the chivalry of the Plantagenet realm
took part in the Third Crusade: King Richard (in whom the ideas of
Church and Chivalry attained their highest splendour) at their head
gave back to the already lost kingdom of Jerusalem, in despite of a
very powerful foe, a certain amount of stability: as he served the
hierarchic views with all his power, there was no question under him
as to any dispute between Church and State. But this power itself
could not be increased owing to his absence. Whilst he fought for the
Church far away, elements of resistance were stirring in his realm
which had been there long ago, and soon after his death came to the
most violent outbreak.

_John Lackland and Magna Charta._

Despite all the community of interests between the sovereigns of the
Conquest and their vassals, grounds of hostility between them had
never been altogether wanting. The Conqueror's sons had to make
concessions to the great lords, because their succession was not
secure; they needed a voluntary recognition, the price of which
consisted in a relaxation of the harsh laws with which the monarchy
had at first fettered every department of life. But when the great
nobles had managed, or decided, contests for the throne, Were they
likely to feel bound unconditionally to obey the man whom they had
raised? Besides Henry II in his ecclesiastical quarrel needed the
consent of his vassals; his court-Assemblies were no longer confined
to proclamations of ordinances from the one side only; consultations
were held, leading to decisions that concerned them all.

But what is now surprising is the fact, that even the associates in
the Conquest, and much more their descendants, claimed the rights
which the Anglo-Saxon magnates had once possessed. They, too, appealed
incessantly to the _Laga_, the laws of Edward the Confessor, by which
was meant the collection of old legal customs, the observation of
which had been promised from the first. Following the precedent of
their kings, the families that had risen through the Conquest regarded
themselves as the heirs of the fallen Anglo-Saxon chiefs, into whose
place they had stepped. The rights of the old Witan and of the vassals
of the new feudal state became fused together.

We must now lay greater weight than is commonly done on the incidents
that occurred during King Richard's absence. He had entrusted the
administration of the realm to a man of low origin, William, bishop of
Ely, who carried it on with great energy, and not without the pomp and
splendour, which grace authority, but arouse jealousy. Hence lay and
spiritual chiefs combined against him: with Earl John, the brother of
the absent King, at their head, they banished the hated bishop by the
strong hand, and of their own authority set another in his place. The
city of London, which had been already allowed the election of its own
magistrates by Henry II, had then formed a so-called _Communia_ after
the pattern of the Flemish and North French towns; bishops, earls, and
barons, swore to support the city in it.[28]

These first attempts at an opposition by the estates obtained fresh
weight when on Richard's death a contest again arose about the
succession. Earl John claimed it for himself, but Arthur, an elder
brother's son, seemed to have a better right, and had been moreover
recognised at once in the South French provinces. The English nobles
fortified their castles, and for some time assumed an almost
threatening position; they only acknowledged John on the assurance
that each and all should have their rights.[29] John's possession of
the crown was therefore derived not merely from right of inheritance,
but also from their election.

A strong territorial confederacy had thus gradually grown up,
confronting the royal power with a claim to independent rights; events
now happened that roused it into full life.

King John incurred the suspicion of having murdered Arthur, who had
fallen into his hands, to rid himself of his claims; he was accused of
it by the peers of France, and pronounced guilty; on which the
Plantagenet provinces which were fiefs of the French crown went over
to the King of France at the first attack. The English nobility would
at least not fight for a sovereign on whom such a heinous suspicion
lay: on another pretence it abandoned him.

But then broke out a new quarrel with the Church. The most powerful
pontiff that ever sat in the Roman See, Innocent III, thought good to
decide a disputed election at Canterbury by passing over both
candidates, including the King's, and caused the election of, or
rather himself named, one of his friends from the great school at
Paris, Stephen Langton. As King John did not acknowledge him, Innocent
laid England under an Interdict.

Alike careless and cruel, naturally hasty and untrustworthy, of
doubtful birthright, and now rejected by the Church, John must have
rather expected resistance than support from the great men of the
realm. He tried to assure himself of those he suspected by taking
hostages from their families; he confiscated the property of the
ecclesiastics who complied with the Pope's orders, and took it under
his own management; he employed every means which the still unlimited
extent of the supreme authority allowed, to obtain money and men;
powerfully and successfully he used the sword. But in the long run he
could not maintain himself by these means. When a revolt broke out in
Wales at the open instigation of the Pope, and the King's vassals were
summoned to put it down, even among them a general discontent was
perceptible; John had reason to dread that if he came near the enemy
with such an army he might be delivered into their hands or killed: he
did not venture to carry out the campaign. And meanwhile he saw
himself threatened from abroad also. King Philip Augustus of France
armed, to attack his old opponent at home (whom he had already driven
from in those provinces over which he himself was feudal sovereign),
and to carry out the Pope's excommunication against him. He boasted,
probably with good grounds, of having the English barons' letters and
seals, promising that they would join him. He would have restored all
the fugitives and exiles; the Church element would have raised itself
all the more strongly, in proportion to its previous depression; a
general revolt would have accompanied his attack, the English
government according to all appearance would have been lost.

King John knew this well: to avoid immediate ruin he seized on a means
of escape which was completely unexpected, but quite decisive--he gave
over his kingdom in vassalage to the Pope.

What William I had so expressly rejected was now accepted in a moment
of extreme pressure, from which such a step was the only means of
escape. The moment the Pope was recognised as feudal lord of England,
not only must his hostility cease, but he would be bound to take the
realm under his protection. He now forbade the King of France, whom he
had before urged on to its conquest, to carry out the invasion, which
was already prepared.

It appears as if the barons had originally agreed with the King's
proceeding, although they did not entirely approve its form. They
maintained that they had risen up for the Church's rights,[30] and saw
in the Pope a natural ally. They thought to gain their own purpose all
the more surely now that Stephen Langton received the see of
Canterbury, a man who, while he represented the Papal authority, at the
same time zealously made their interests his own. At the very moment
when the archbishop absolved the King from the excommunication, he made
him swear that he would restore the good laws, especially those of King
Edward, and would do all according to the legal decisions of his
courts. It may be regarded as the first time that a Norman-Plantagenet
king's administration was acted on by an obligatory engagement, when
King John, on the point of taking the field against some barons whom he
regarded as rebels, was hindered by the archbishop who reminded him
that he would thus be breaking his last oath, which bound him to take
judicial proceedings. The tradition that a forgotten charter of Henry I
was produced by the archbishop (who was certainly, as his writings
show, a scholar of research), and recognised as a legal document which
gave them a firm footing, may admit of some doubt; there is no doubt
that it was Stephen Langton who gathered around him the great nobles
and bound them by a mutual engagement, to defend, even at the risk of
life, the old liberties and rights which they derived from Anglo-Saxon

It was, in fact, of considerable importance that the primate, on whose
co-operation with the King the Norman state originally rested, united
himself in this matter as closely as possible with the nobles; among
all alike, without regard to their origin, whether from France or from
England, had arisen the wish to limit the crown, as it had been
limited in the Anglo-Saxon period.

Here, however, they had to discover that the Pope was minded to
protect the King, his vassal, not only against attacks from abroad,
but also against movements at home. The engagements which the barons
had formed, when he released them from their oath of fidelity to the
King, he now declared to be invalid and void. The legate in England
reported unfavourably on their proceedings, and it was seen that he
was intimately allied with the King. The war was still raging on the
continent, and the King had been again defeated, at Bouvines, July 27,
1214; he had returned disheartened, but not without bodies of
mercenaries, both horse and foot, which excited anxiety in the allied
nobles. This feeling was strengthened by the fact that, after the
death of a chancellor connected with them by family, and on good terms
with them, he raised a foreigner, Peter des Roches, to that dignity,
and it was believed that this foreigner would lend a hand to any
attempt at restoring the previous state of things. Acts of violence of
the old sort, and the King's lusts, which brought dishonour into their
families, added to their indignation. In short, the barons, far from
breaking up their alliance, confirmed it with new oaths. While they
pressed the King to accept the demands which they laid before him,
they sent one of the chief of their number, Eustace de Vescy, to Rome,
to win the Pope to their cause, by reminding him of the gratitude due
to them for their services in the cause of the Church. As lord of
England, for they did not hesitate to designate him as such, he might
admonish King John, and, if necessary, force him to restore unimpaired
the old rights guaranteed them by the charters of earlier Kings.[31]

But not so did Innocent understand his right of supreme lordship in
England; he did not side with those who had helped to win the victory
for him over the King, but with the King himself, to whose sudden
decision he owed its fruits--the acknowledgment of his feudal
superiority. He blamed the archbishop for concealing the movements of
the barons from him, and for having, perhaps, even encouraged them,
though knowing their pernicious nature: with what view was he stirring
questions of which no mention had been made either under the King's
father or brother? He censured the barons for refusing the scutage,
which had been paid from old times, and for their threat of proceeding
sword in hand. He repeated his command to them to break up their
confederacy, under threat of excommunication.

As one step lower the primate and nobles, so in the highest sphere
Innocent and John were in alliance. The Papacy, then in possession of
supremacy over the world, made common cause with royalty. Would not
the nobles, some from reverence for the supreme Pontiff's authority,
others from a sense of religious obligation, yield to this alliance?
Such was not their intention.[32]

The King proffered the barons an arbitration, the umpire to be the
Pope, or else an absolute reference of the whole matter to him, who
then by his apostolic power could settle what was right and lawful.
They could not possibly accept either the one or the other, after the
known declarations of the Pope. As they persevered in their hostile
attitude, the King called on the archbishop to carry out the
instructions of a Papal brief, and pronounce the barons
excommunicated. Stephen Langton answered that he knew better what was
the true intention of the holy father. The Pope's name this time
remained quite powerless. Rather it was preached in London that the
highest spiritual power should not encroach on temporal affairs;
Peter, in the significant phrase of the time, could not be Constantine
as well.[33] Only among the lower citizens was there a party
favourable to the King, but they were put down at a blow by the great
barons and the rich citizens. The capital threw its whole weight on
the side of the barons. They rose in arms and formally renounced their
allegiance to the King; they proclaimed war against him under the name
of 'the army of God.' Thus confronted by the whole kingdom, in which
there appeared to be only one opinion, the King had no means of
resistance remaining, no choice left.

He came down--15th June, 1215--from Windsor to the meadow at
Runnymede, where the barons lay encamped, and signed the articles laid
before him, happy enough in getting some of them softened. The Great
Charter came into being, truly the 'Magna Charta,' which throws not
merely all earlier, but also the later charters into the shade.

It is a document which, more than any other, links together the
different epochs of English history. With a renewal of the earliest
maxims of German personal freedom it combines a settlement of the
rights of the feudal Estates: on this twofold basis has the proud
edifice of the English constitution been erected. Before all things
the lay nobles sought to secure themselves against the misuse of the
King's authority in his feudal capacity, and as bound up with the
supreme jurisdiction; but the rights of the Church and of the towns
were also guaranteed. It was especially by forced collections of
extraordinary aids that King John had harassed his Estates: since they
could no longer put up with this, and yet the crown could not dispense
with extraordinary resources, a solution was found by requiring that
such aids should not be levied except with the consent of the Great
Council, which consisted of the lords spiritual and temporal. They
tried to set limits to the arbitrary imprisonments that had been
hitherto the order of the day, by definite reference to the law of the
land and the verdict of sworn men. But these are just the weightiest
points on which personal freedom and security of property rest; and
how to combine them with a strong government forms the leading problem
for all national constitutions.

Two other points in this document deserve notice. In other countries
also at this epoch emperors and kings made very comprehensive
concessions to the several Estates: the distinctive point in the case
of England is, that they were not made to each Estate separately, but
to all at the same time. While elsewhere each Estate was caring for
itself, here a common interest of all grew up, which bound them
together for ever. Further, the Charter was introduced in conscious
opposition to the supreme spiritual power also; the principles which
lay at the very root of popular freedom breathed an anti-Romish

Yet it was far from possible to regard them as being fully
established. There were also conditions contained in the Charter, by
which the legal and indispensable powers of the King's government were
impaired: the barons even formed a controlling power as against the
King. It could not be expected that King John, or any of his
successors, would let this pass quietly. And besides, was not the Pope
able to do away with the obligation of which he disapproved? We still
possess the first draft of the Charter, which presents considerable
variations from the document in its final form, among others the
following. According to the draft the King was to give an assurance
that he would never obtain from the Pope a revocation of the
arrangements agreed on; the archbishop, the bishops, and the Papal
plenipotentiary, Master Pandulph, were to guarantee this assurance. We
see to what quarter the anxieties of the nobles pointed, how they
wished above all to obtain security against the influences of the
Papal See. Yet this they were not able to obtain. There was no mention
in the document either of the bishops or of Master Pandulph; the King
promised in general, not to obtain such a revocation from any one;
they avoided naming the Pope.[34]

In reality it made no difference, whatever might be promised or done
in this respect. Innocent III was not the man to accept quietly what
had taken place against his declared will, or to yield to accomplished
facts. On the authority of the words 'I have set thee over the nations
and over the kingdoms,' which seemed to him a sufficient basis for his
Paramount Right, he gave sentence rejecting the whole contents of the
Charter; he suspended Stephen Langton, excommunicated the barons and
the citizens of London, as the true authors of this perverse act, and
forbade the King under pain of excommunication to observe the Charter
which he had put forth.

And even without this King John had already armed, to annul by force
of arms all that he had promised. A war broke out which took a turn
especially dangerous to the kingdom, because the barons called the
heir of France to the English throne and did him homage. So little
were the feelings of nationality yet developed, that the barons fought
out the war against their King, supported by the presence and military
Power of a foreign prince. For the interests of the English crown it
was perhaps an advantage that King John died in the midst of the
troubles, and his rights passed to his son Henry, a child to whom his
father's iniquity could not be imputed.[35] In his name a royalist
party was formed by the joint action of Pembroke, the Marshal of the
kingdom and the Papal Legate, which at last won such advantages in the
field, that the French prince was induced to surrender his claim,
which he himself hardly held to be a good one--the English were
designated as traitors by his retinue,--and give back to the barons
the homage they had pledged him. But he did so only on the condition
that not merely their possessions, but also the lawful customs and
liberties of the realm should be secured to them.[36] At a meeting
between Henry III and the French prince at Merton in Surrey, it was
agreed to give Magna Charta a form, in which it was deemed compatible
with the monarchy. In this shape the article on personal freedom
occurs; on the other hand everything is left out that could imply a
power of control to be exercised against the King; the need of a grant
before levying scutage is also no longer mentioned. The barons
abandoned for the time their chief claims.

It is, properly speaking, this charter which was renewed in the ninth
year of Henry III as Magna Charta, and was afterwards repeatedly
confirmed. As we see, it did not include the right of approving taxes
by a vote.

Whether men's union in a State in general depends on an original
contract, is a question for political theorists, and to them we leave
its solution. On the other hand, however, it might well be maintained
that the English constitution, as it gradually shaped itself, assumed
the character of a contract. So much is already involved in the first
promises which William the Conqueror made at his entry into London and
in his agreement with the partisans of Harold. The same is true of the
assurances given by his sons, especially the second one: they were the
price of a very definite equivalent. More than any that had gone
before however does Magna Charta bear this character. The barons put
forward their demands: King John negociates about them, and at last
sees himself forced to accept them. It is true that he soon takes
arms to free himself from the obligation he has undertaken. It comes
to a struggle, in which, however, neither side decidedly gains the
upper hand, and they agree to a compromise. It is true the barons did
not expressly stipulate for the new charter when they submitted to
John's son (for with John himself they could certainly have never been
reconciled), but yet it is undeniable that without it their submission
would never have taken place, nor would peace have been concluded.

As, however, is generally the case, the agreement had in it the germs
of a further quarrel. The one side did not forget what it had lost,
the other what it had aimed at and failed to attain. Magna Charta does
not contain a final settlement, by which the sovereign's claims to
obedience were reconciled with the security of the vassals; it is less
a contract that has attained to full validity, than the outline of a
contract, to fill up which would yet require the struggles of


[22] He says himself later, 'terror publicae potestatis me intrusit,'
in Gervasius, 497.

[23] Canones Concilii Turonensis, Article III, 'ut laici ecclesiastica
non usurpent;' and Article I of those previously omitted in Mansi,
XXI. 1178 seq.

[24] Concilium Clarendoniae, 8 Cal. Febr. MCLXIV, Article VIII, de
appellationibus. 'Si archiepiscopus defuerit in justitia exhibenda, ad
dominum regem perveniendum est postremo; ita quod non debeat ultra
procedi absque assensu domini regis.' Wilkins, i. 435.

[25] Rogeri de Hoveden Annales ed. Savile, 283. 6. 'Prohibeo vobis ex
parte omnipotentis dei et sub anathemate, ne faciatis hodie de me
judicium, quia appellavi ad praesentiam domini papae.' None, however,
of the accounts we have can be looked on as quite accurate.

[26] 'Ambigua fata formidans.' Knyghton de eventibus Angliae, 2391.

[27] Gervasius 1414 'se ignobiles et ignavos homines nutrivisse,
quorum nec unus tot sibi illatas injurias voluerit vindicare.'

[28] 'Episcopi comites et barones regni--juraverunt quod ipsi eam
communiam et dignitatem civitatis Londinensis custodirent.'

[29] Hoveden, p. 450, 'quod redderet unicuique illorum ius suum, si
ipsi illi fidem servaverint et pacem.'

[30] 'Quod ipsi audacter pro libertate ecclesiae ad mandatum suum se
opposuerint,--honores quos ei (Papae) et romanae ecclesiae
exhibuistis, id per eos coactus fecistis.'--Mauclerc, literae ad
legem, in Rymer, Foedera, i.

[31] Mauclerc, literae de negotio Baronum, in Rymer, Foedera, i. 185:
'Magnates Angliae--instanter domino Papae supplicant, quod cum ipse
sit dominus Angliae vos--compellat, antiquas libertates suas--eis
illaesas conservare.'

[32] Literae Johannis regis, quibus quae sit baronum contumacia
narrat. Apud Odiham, 29 die Maii.

[33] In Matthew Paris: 'Quod non pertinet ad papam ordinatio rerum

[34] Articuli magnae cartae libertatum, § 49. Magna carta regis
Johannis. In Blackstone, the Great Charter, 9, 23.

[35] Matthew Paris. 'Nobiles universi et castellani ei multo facilius
adhaeserunt, quia propria patris iniquitas filio non debuit imputari.'

[36] Forma pacis inter Henricum et Ludovicum, in Rymer, i. 221.
'Coadiutores sui habeant terras suas--et rectas consuetudines et
libertates regni Angliae.'



There is a very accurate correspondence in this epoch also between the
general history of the Western world and events in England: these last
form but a part of the great victory of the hierarchy and its advance
in power, which marks the first half of the 13th century. By combining
with the vassals the Popes had overcome the monarchy, and had then in
turn overcome the vassals by combining with the monarchy and its
endangered rights. It must not be regarded as a mere title, an empty
word, if the Pope was acknowledged to be feudal Lord of England: his
legates, Gualo, Pandulph, Otho, and with them some native prelates,
devoted to him (above all that Peter des Roches, who, by his conduct
when Bishop of Winchester, through the mistrust awakened, incurred
almost the chief responsibility of the earlier troubles), spoke the
decisive word in the affairs of the kingdom and crushed their
opponents. It was reported that Innocent IV was heard to say, 'Is not
the King of England my vassal, my servant? At my nod he will imprison
and punish.'[37] Under this influence the best benefices in the
kingdom were given away without regard to the freedom of election or
the rights of patrons, and in fact mostly to foreigners. The Pope's
exchequer drew its richest revenues from England; there was no end to
the exactions of its subordinate agents, Master Martin, Master Marin,
Peter Rubeo, and all the rest of them. Even the King surrounded
himself with foreigners. To his own relations and to the relations of
his Provençal wife fell the most profitable places, and the advantages
arising from his paramount feudal rights; they too exercised much
influence on public affairs, and that in the interests of the Papal
power, with which they were allied. Riotous movements occasionally
took place against this system, but they were suppressed: men suffered
in silence as long as it was only the exercise of rights once
acknowledged. But now it happened that the Popes in their war with the
last of the Hohenstaufen, whom they had resolved to destroy, proposed
to employ the resources of England and in a very different manner than
before. They awoke Henry III's dynastic ambition by promoting the
elevation of his brother to be King of the Romans, and destining his
younger son Edmund for the crown of Naples and Sicily. King Henry
pledged himself in return to the heaviest money-payments. It began to
appear as if England were no longer a free kingdom, using its
resources for its own objects: the land and all its riches was at the
service of the Pope at Rome; the King was little more than a tool of
the hierarchy.

It was at this crisis that the Parliaments of England, if they did not
actually begin, yet first attained to a definite form and efficiency.

The opposition of the country to the ecclesiastico-temporal government
became most conspicuous in the year 1257, when Henry, happy beyond
measure in his son's being raised to royal rank by the Apostolic See,
presented his son to the Great Council of the nation, already wearing
the national costume of Naples, and named the sum, to the payment of
which he had pledged himself in return. The Estates at once refused
their consent to his accepting the crown, which they considered could
not be maintained owing to the untrustworthiness of the Italians, and
of the Romish See itself, and the distance of the country; the
money-pledge excited loud displeasure. Since they were required to
redeem it, they reasonably enough gave it to be understood that they
ought to have been consulted first. It was precisely the alliance of
the Pope and the King that they had long felt most bitterly; they said
truly, England would by such a joint action be as it were ground to
dust between two millstones. As, however, despite all remonstrances,
the demands were persevered with,--for the King had taken on himself
the debts incurred by Pope Alexander IV in the Neapolitan war, and the
Pope had already referred to England the bankers entrusted with the
payments,--a storm of opposition broke out, which led to what was
equivalent to an overthrow of the government. The King had to consent
to the appointment of a committee for reforming the realm, to be named
in equal proportions by himself and by the barons; from this, however,
was selected a council of fifteen members, in which the King's
opponents had a decisive majority. They put forth Statutes, at Oxford,
which virtually stripped the King of his power; he had to swear to
them with a lighted taper in his hand. The Pope without hesitation at
once condemned these ordinances; King Louis IX of France also, who was
called in as arbiter, decided against them: and some moderate men drew
back from them: but among the rest the zeal with which they held to
them was thus only inflamed to greater violence. They had the King in
their power, and felt themselves strong enough to impose their will on
him as law.

Without doubt they had the opinion of the country on their side. For
the first time since the Conquest the insular spirit of England, which
was now shared even by the conquerors themselves, manifested itself in
a natural opposition to all foreign influence. The King's
half-brothers with their numerous dependents were driven out without
mercy, their castles occupied, their places given to the foremost
Englishmen. The Papal legate Guido, one of the most distinguished
members of the Curia, who himself became Pope at a later time, was
forbidden to enter England. Most foreigners, it mattered not of what
station or nationality, were forced to quit the realm: it went hard
with those who could not speak English. The leader of the barons,
Simon de Montfort, was solemnly declared Protector of the kingdom and
people; he had in particular the lower clergy, the natural leaders of
the masses, on his side. When he was put under the ban of the Church
his followers retorted by assuming the badge of the cross, since his
cause appeared to them just and holy.[38]

At this very juncture it was that the attempt was made to form a
Parliamentary Assembly corresponding to the meaning of that word.

The Statutes or Provisions of Oxford contain the first attempt to
effect this, by enacting that thrice every year the newly formed royal
Council should meet together with twelve men elected by the Commonalty
of England, and consult on the affairs of the kingdom.[39] There is no
doubt that these twelve belonged to the nobles and were to represent
them: the decisive point lies in the fact that it was not a number of
nobles summoned by the King, but a committee of the Estates chosen by
themselves that was placed by the side of the Council. The Council and
the twelve persons elected formed for some years an association that
united the executive and legislative powers.

But this continued only as long as the King acquiesced in it. When he
had the courage to resist, it is true that in the first encounter
which ensued, he was himself taken prisoner: but his partisans were
not crushed by this; and soon after his wife, who had collected about
her a considerable body of mercenaries, in concert with the Pope and
the King of France, thought herself strong enough to invade England.
Simon felt that he needed a greater, in other words, a broader, basis
of support. And the design he then conceived has secured him an
imperishable memory. He summoned first of all representatives of the
knights of the shires, and directly afterwards representatives of the
towns and the Cinque Ports, to form a Parliament in conjunction with
the nobles of the realm. This was not an altogether new thing in the
European world; we know that in the Cortes of Aragon, as early as the
12th century, by the side of the high nobility and the ecclesiastics
there appeared also the Hidalgos and the deputies of the Commons; and
Simon de Montfort might well be aware of this, since his father had
been in so many ways connected with Aragon. In England itself under
King John men had come very near it without however carrying it
through: not till afterwards did the innovation appear a real
necessity. In opposition to the one-sided power exercised by the
foreigners, nothing was so much insisted on in daily talk and in the
popular ballads as the propriety of calling the natives of the land to
counsel, since to them its laws were best known. This justifiable wish
met with adequate satisfaction now that the Commons were summoned; the
public feeling against the foreigners, on which Simon de Montfort
necessarily relied, thus found expression. The assembly which he
called together doubtless sympathised with his party views. As he
invited only those nobles to it who remained true to him (they were
not more than twenty-three in number), so he appears to have summoned
those only of the towns which adhered to him unconditionally. But the
arrangement involved more than was contemplated from his point of

Amid the storms he had called forth Simon de Montfort perished: the
King was freed, the royal authority re-established. A new Papal legate
entered London in the full splendour of his office, Cardinal Ottoboni;
Guido having meanwhile himself obtained the tiara, and using every
means to subdue the unbending spirits, from which danger even to the
Church was dreaded.[40] Yet the old state of things was not restored:
neither the rule of foreigners, nor the absolute dependence on the
Papal policy. The later government of Henry III has a different
character from the earlier: the legate himself confirmed Magna Charta
in the shape finally accepted. It is not merely at the great national
festivals that we find representatives of the towns present, whom the
King has summoned; it is beyond a doubt that one of the most important
statutes of the time was passed with their consent.[41] Yet
regulations for the summons of representatives from the towns were as
little fixed by law as those for voting the taxes. It would by no
means harmonise with the constitution of Romano-German states, that
organic institutions should come into full force in mere antagonism to
the highest authority. They must coincide with the interests of that
authority, as was the case in England under Henry's warlike son Edward

Without doubt Edward, who once more revived in the East the reputation
of the Plantagenet Kings for personal valour, would have preferred to
fight there for the interests of Christendom, he even speaks of it in
his will; or else he would have wished to recover from the French
crown the lands which his father had inherited, and which had passed
into French possession; but neither the one nor the other was
possible; another object was assigned to his energy and his ambition,
one more befitting an English king: he undertook to unite the whole
island under his sceptre.

In Wales, the conquest of which had been so often attempted and so
often failed, there lived at this time Prince Llewellyn, whose
personal beauty, cunning, and high spirit fitted him to be a brilliant
representative of the old British nationality. The bards, reviving the
old prophecies, promised him the ancient crown of Brutus; but when he
ventured out of the mountains, he was overpowered and fell in a
hand-to-hand conflict. The English crown was not to fall to his lot,
but Edward transferred the title of Prince of Wales to his own son.
The great cross of the Welsh, the crown of Arthur, fell into his
hands: he no longer tolerated the bards: their age passed away with
the Crusades.

From Wales Edward turned his arms against Scotland. There Columban had
in former days anointed as king a Scottish prince, who was also of
Keltic descent; how the German element nevertheless got the upper hand
not merely in the greatest part of the country, but also in the ruling
family, is the great problem of early Scottish history: a thoroughly
Germanic monarchy had arisen, but one which after it had once given a
home to the Anglo-Saxons who fled before the Normans, thought its
honour concerned in repelling all English influences. A disputed
succession gave Edward I an opportunity of reviving the claims of his
predecessors to the overlordship of Scotland: he gave the Scotch a
king, whom the Scotch rejected simply because he was the English
King's nominee. The war, which sometimes seemed ended--there were
times at which Edward could regard himself as the Lord of all
Albion,--ever blazed out again; above all, the support the Scotch
received from the King of France brought about complications which
filled all Western Europe with trouble and war; but it was in the home
politics of England that their effect was destined to be greatest.

Compelled to make incessant efforts, which exhausted the resources of
the crown, Edward appealed to the voluntary assistance of his
subjects. He laid down to them the principle, that their common perils
should be met with their united strength, that what concerns all must
also be borne by all. In the war against Wales he had gathered
together the representatives of the counties and the towns, to hear
his demands and to act accordingly; chiefly to vote him subsidies.
After the victory he had called an assembly of nobles, knights, and
towns, to take counsel with them about the treatment of the captives
and the country. Similarly he drew together the representatives of the
towns in order to decide the affairs of Scotland. With especial
emphasis did he call for their united help against Philip the Fair of
France, who thought to destroy the English tongue from off the earth:
knights and towns were pledged to help in carrying out the resolutions
thus adopted by common consent.

In spite of all this appealing to free participation in public
matters, Edward I did not refrain from the arbitrary imposition of
taxes, and those the most oppressive: the eighth, even the fifth part
of men's income. For the campaign in Flanders he summoned the
under-tenants as well as the tenants in chief. We find instances of
arbitrary seizure of whatever was necessary for the war.

King Edward excused this by his maxim that the interests of the land
must be defended with the resources of the land,[42] but we can
conceive how, on the boundary line between two different systems,
acts of violence, which combined the arbitrariness of the one with the
principles of the other, caused a general agitation. In the year 1297
the spiritual lords under their archbishop, as well as the temporal
ones (who denied the obligation to serve beyond the sea) under the
Constable and Marshal, set themselves energetically to oppose the
King. The people, which had the most to suffer from the arbitrary
exactions, took their side with cordial approval. They set forth all
the grievances of the country, and insisted on their immediate and
final redress.

To avoid the pressure, the King had already quitted England, to carry
on his campaign in Flanders: the demand was laid before the
Councillors whom he had left behind as assessors to his son, who was
named Regent. They however were in great perplexity, partly from the
trouble of this agitation itself, but mainly from the revolt in
Scotland which had broken out in a formidable manner. William Walays,
like one of those Heyduck chiefs who rise in Turkey against the
established order of things, the right of which they do not recognise,
had come down from the hill country, at the head of the fugitives and
exiles, a robber-patriot, of gigantic bodily strength and innate
talent for war. His successes soon increased his band to the size of
an army; he beat the English in a pitched battle, and then swept over
the borders into the English territory. If the royal commissioners
would oppose a strong resistance to this inroad, they must needs
ratify a provisional concession of the demands brought forward. The
King, who had meanwhile reached Flanders, which the French had entered
from two sides, could not possibly yield to the Scottish
movement--whether he wished to carry on the war or make a truce:
nothing therefore remained to him but to confirm the concessions made
by his councillors.

It is not absolutely certain how far these had gone; one word of
discussion may be allowed on the matter.

The historians of the time have maintained that the right of voting
the taxes was granted to the Estates, and in fact conjointly to the
nobles whether spiritual or temporal, and the representatives of the
counties and towns: the copy of a statute is extant, in which this is
very expressly stated.[43] But since the statute does not exist in an
authentic shape, and is not to be found in the Rolls of the Realm, we
cannot safely base any conclusion on it. As to the date too at which
it may have been passed, our statements waver between the
twenty-eighth and the thirty-fourth year of Edward. On the other hand
we find in the collection of charters an undoubted charter of
confirmation given at Ghent and dated 5 November 1297, in which not
merely are the Great Charter of Henry III and the Forest Charter
confirmed, but also some new arrangements of much importance
guaranteed, and confirmed by ecclesiastico-judicial regulations.[44]
According to it the grants of taxes and contributions which had been
hitherto made to the King for his wars were not to be regarded as
binding for the future. He reserves only the old customary taxes: to
the higher clergy, the nobility, and the commons of the land the
assurance is given, that under no circumstances, however pressing,
should any tax or contribution or requisition--not even the export
duty on wool--be levied except by their common consent and for the
interests of all.[45] In the Latin text all sounds more open and less
reserved: but even the words of the authentic document include a very
essential limitation of the prerogative of the crown, which hitherto
had alone exercised the right of estimating what the state needed and
of fixing the payments by this standard. The King was averse at heart
to the limitation even in this form. When he came back from Flanders
after concluding a truce with France, and army and people were met
together at York, to carry out a great campaign against Scotland, he
was pressed to confirm on English soil the concessions which he had
granted on foreign ground.[46] He held it advisable that the campaign
should be first carried through; four of his confidential friends
swore in his stead (since an oath in person was thought unbecoming to
the King), that, the campaign ended, the confirmation should not be
wanting. The enterprise was most successful, it led to a great victory
over the Scots, and it was the leaders of the English aristocracy who
did the best service there; nevertheless, when they met together next
Lent (1299) in London, the King strove to avoid an absolute promise:
he wished to expressly reserve the undefined 'rights of the crown.'
But this delay aroused a general storm: and as he was quite convinced
that he could not, under this condition, reckon on further support in
the war which still continued, he at last submitted to what was
unavoidable, and allowed his clause to drop.[47]

I do not know whether I am mistaken in ascribing to these concessions
a different character from that of the earlier ones. It was not a
sovereign defeated and reduced to the deepest humiliation who made
them, nor did the barons obtain articles which aimed at securing their
own direct supremacy: the concessions were the result of the war,
which could not be carried on with the existing means. When Edward I
laid stress on the necessity of greater common efforts, the
counter-demand which was made on him, and to which he yielded, merely
implied that a common resolution should be previously come to. His
concessions included a return for service already done, and a
condition for future service. It did not abase the royal authority; it
brought into clear view the unity of interests between the crown and
the nation.

Another great crisis united them for the second time. As Edward led
the forces of England year by year across the Tweed, to compel the
Scots to acknowledge his overlordship by the edge of the sword, the
Pope who assumed himself to be the Suzerain of the kingdoms of the
world, Boniface VIII, met him with the assertion that Scotland
belonged to the Church of Rome, the King therefore was violating the
rights of that Church by his invasions. To confront the Pope, King
Edward thought it best, as did Philip the Fair of France about the
same time, to call in his Estates to his aid, since without them no
answer to the claim was possible. The Estates then in a long letter
not merely maintain the right of the English crown, but also reject
the Pope's claim to decide respecting it as arbiter, as incompatible
with the royal dignity: even if the King wished it, yet they would
never lend a hand to anything so unseemly and so unheard of.[48] The
King, without regard to the Pope, continued his campaigns against
Scotland with unabated energy.

It marks the character of Edward I that he nevertheless did not break
with the Papacy on this account; so too he still raised taxes that had
not been voted, and held Parliaments in the old form: when
representatives of the counties and towns were summoned it is not
always clear whether they were elected or named.[49] Edward I could
not free himself from the habits of arbitrary rule and the old ideas
connected with them. But with all this it is still undeniable that
under him the monarchy took a far more national position than before;
it no longer stood in a hostile attitude as against the community of
the land, but belonged to it.

And his successors soon saw themselves forced to complete still
further the foundations of a new state of things, which had been thus

Under Edward II the old ambition of the barons to take a preponderant
part in the government reappeared once more with the greatest
violence. The occasion was afforded by the weakness of this sovereign,
who allowed his favourite, the Gascon Gaveston, a disastrous influence
on affairs. Discontented with this, the King's nearest cousin, Thomas
of Lancaster, placed himself at the head of the great nobles, as
indeed he was believed to have sworn to his father in law (whose rich
possessions passed to him, and who feared a return of the foreign
influences), that he would adhere to the interest of the barons, which
was also that of the country. In the fourth year of his government
Edward was obliged to accept all the regulations made by a Committee
of the Nobles called the 'Ordainers.'

Without advice of the nobles he was forbidden either to begin a war,
or to fill up high offices of State, or even to leave the country: the
officers of the crown were to be responsible to them. Gaveston had to
pay for his short possession of influence by death without mercy.

It was long before the King found men who had the courage to defend
the lawful authority of the crown. At last the two Hugh Despencers
undertook it: under their leadership the barons were defeated, and
Thomas of Lancaster in his turn paid for his enterprises with his
life. For in England, if anywhere, the assumption of power led
inevitably to the scaffold.

It is hardly needful to say that the regulations of the Ordainers were
now revoked. But must not some means be also thought of, to prevent
similar acts of violence for the future? It was deemed necessary to
declare even the form, under cover of which they had been ratified,
invalid for all time. And so an enactment was now made, in which the
first definite idea of the Parliamentary Monarchy becomes visible. It
was declared that never for the future should any ordinance affecting
the King's power and proceeding from his subjects be valid, but only
that should be law which was discussed, agreed on, and enacted in
Parliament by the King with the consent of the prelates, the earls and
barons, and the commonalty of the realm.[50] For it was above all
things necessary to withdraw the legislative authority for ever from
the turbulent grandees. The monarchy opposed to them its alliance with
the commonalty of the realm, as it was expressed by the
representatives of the knights and the commons. Among the founders of
the English constitution these Hugh Despencers, through whom the
legislative power was first transferred to the united body of King
Lords and Commons, take a very important position.

This thought was however rather one left for the future to carry out,
than one which swayed or contented the English world at the time.
Edward II fell before a new attack of the revolted barons, with whom
even his wife was allied: he had to think it a piece of good fortune
that, on the ground of his own abdication, his son was acknowledged as
his successor. The latter however could only obtain real possession of
the royal power by overthrowing the faction to which his father had
succumbed. While he restored the memory of the two Despencers, who had
been condemned and executed by the barons, he also decided to carry on
a Parliamentary government; it is the first that existed in England.

For the general course of the development it is significant that the
rights of Parliament in relation to the voting of taxes, and now also
to legislation as a whole, were acknowledged before an appropriate
form was found for its consultations. In the first years of Edward III
its four constituent parts, prelates, barons, knights, and town
deputies, held their debates in four different assemblies; but
gradually the two first were fused into an Upper, the two last into a
Second House, without any definite law being laid down to that effect:
the nature of things led to the custom, the custom in course of time
became law.

That which had been already preparing under the first Edward came
under the third for the first time into complete operation, viz. the
participation of the Estates in the management of foreign affairs and
of war.

In the year 1333 the Parliament advised the King to break the peace
with Scotland, which the barons had concluded of their own authority
according to their own views, not to put up with any more outrages,
and not merely to take back the lost border-fortress of Berwick, but
to force the Scots to acknowledge the supremacy of England.

In the year 1337 and afterwards the Parliament more than once approved
the King's plan of asserting the claim he had through his mother on
the French throne by force of arms and through alliances with foreign
princes,[51] and promised to support him in it with their lives and
properties; it was all the more ready for this, as France had been
repeatedly threatening England with a new Conquest. In the year 1344
the Peers, each in his own name, called on the King to cross the sea
and not let himself be hindered by any one, not even by the Pope, from
appealing to the judgment of God by battle. The clergy imposed on
themselves a three-years' tenth, the counties a fifteenth, the towns
two tenths; the great nobles followed him in person with their squires
and horsemen, without even alluding to their old remonstrances. So
that splendid army made its appearance in France, in which the weapons
of the yeomen vied with those of the knights, and which, thanks
chiefly to the former, won the victory of Cressy. Whilst the King made
conquests over the French, his heroic Queen repelled the Scotch. In
these wars the now united nation, which put forth all its strength,
came for the first time to the feeling of its power, to a position of
its own in the world and to the consciousness of it. The King of
Scotland at that time, and the King of France some years later, became
prisoners in England.

A period followed in which England seemed to have obtained the
supremacy in Western Europe. The Scots purchased their King's freedom
by a truce which bound them to long and heavy payments, for which
hostages were given as a security. A peace was made with the French by
which Guienne, Gascony, Poitou, and such important towns as Rochelle
and Calais were surrendered to the English. The Prince of Wales, who
took up his residence at Bordeaux, mixed in the Spanish quarrels with
the view of uniting Biscay to his territories in South France. As the
result of these circumstances and of the well-calculated encouragement
of Edward III, we find that English commerce prospered immensely and,
in emulous alliance with that of Flanders, began to form another great
centre for the general commerce of the world. It was still chiefly in
the hands of foreigners, but the English made great profits by it.
Their riches gained them almost as much prestige in the world as their
bravery.[52] The more money-resources the towns possessed, and the
more they could and did support the King, the greater became their
influence on the affairs of the realm. No language could be more
humble than that of these 'poor and simple Commons,' when they address
themselves to 'their glorious and thrice gracious King and lord.'[53]
But for all that their representations are exceedingly comprehensive
and pressing; their grants are not to take effect, unless their
grievances are redressed; they never leave out of sight the interests
of their staple; they assail the exactions of the officials or the
clergy with great zeal. The regard paid to them gives the whole
government a popular character.

On an attempt of the King to exercise the legislative power in his
great council, they remonstrated; they had no objection to the
ordinances themselves, but insisted that valid statutes could only
proceed from the lawfully assembled Parliament.

Now too the relations to the Papal See came again into consideration.
Seated at Avignon under the influence of the French crown, the Popes
were natural opponents of Edward III's claims and enterprises; they
sometimes thought of directing the censures of the Church against him.
On the other hand, the complaints in England against the encroachments
and pecuniary demands of the Curia were louder than ever, without
however coming to a rupture on these points. But at last Urban V
renewed the old claim to the vassalage of England; he demanded the
feudal tribute first paid by King John, and threatened King and
kingdom, in case they were not willing to pay it, with judicial
proceedings.[54] We know the earlier kings had seen in the connexion
with Rome a last resource against the demands of the Estates: on the
King's side it required some resolution to renounce it. But the very
nature of the Parliamentary government, as Edward III had settled it,
involved a disregard of these considerations for the future. It was
before the Parliament itself that he laid the Papal demands for their
consent and counsel. The Estates consulted separately: first the
spiritual and lay lords framed their resolution, then the town
deputies assented to it. The answer they gave the Pope was that King
John's submission was destitute of all validity, since it was against
his coronation-oath, and was made without the consent of the Estates;
should the Pope try to enforce satisfaction of his demand by legal
process or in any other manner, they would all--dukes earls barons and
commons--oppose him with their united force.[55] The clergy only
assented to the declaration of invalidity; to threaten the holy father
with their resistance, they considered unbecoming. But the declaration
of the lay Estates was in itself sufficient for the purpose: the claim
was never afterwards raised again.

The Estates had often been obliged to contend against the King and the
Roman See at the same time; now the King was allied with them against
the Papacy. Now that the Parliamentary constitution was established in
its first stage, it is clear how much the union of the Crown and the
Estates in opposition to external influence had contributed to it. It
was destined however shortly to undergo yet other tests.


[37] Matthew Paris, Historia Major ann. 1253, p. 750.

[38] In Henr. Knyghton, 2445. According to Matthew Paris they swore,
not to let themselves be held back by anything--'quin regnum, in quo
sunt nati homines geniales et eorum progenitores, ab ingenerosis et
alienigenis emundarent.'

[39] 'Les XXIV ont ordene, ke treis parlemens seient par an,--a ces
treis parlemens vendrunt les cunseillers le rei eslus,--ke le commun
eslise 12 prodes hommes ke vendrunt as parlemens--pur treter de
besoigne le rei et del reaume.' On the explanation of this passage,
the 'Report on the dignity of a peer' 102 contains matter wellweighed
on all sides.

[40] Letter of Clement IV to Louis IX, in Rainaldus, 1265, p. 167.
'Quid putas--per talia machinamenta quaeri? Nisi ut de regno illo
regium nomen aboleatur omnino: nisi ut Christianus populus a devotione
matris ecclesiae et observantia fidei orthodoxae avertatur.'

[41] 'Convocatis discretioribus regni tam ex majoribus quam
minoribus.' Statute of Marleberge, 1267.

[42] 'Nostrae voluntatis fuit ut de bonis terrae ipsa terra
conservaretur.' In Knyghton, ii, 2501.

[43] Statutum de tallagio non concedendo, or Nova additio cartarum; in
Hemingburgh, articuli inserti in magna charta.

[44] 'Carta confirmationis regis Edwardi I,' in the collection of
charters prefixed to the collection of the Statutes in the 'Statutes
of the Realm,' p. 37.

[45] 'Avuns graunte--as Arceevesques etc. e as Countes--e a toute la
communauté de la terre que mes pur nule busoigne tieu manere des aydes
mises ne prises de nre Roiaume ne prendrums fors ke par commun assent
de tout le Roiaume e a commun profist de meismes le Roiaume, sauve les
auncienes aydes e prises due e acoustumees.' The Articulus insertus in
Magna Charta, according to the other statements, runs, 'nullum
Tallagium vel auxilium imponatur seu levetur sine voluntate atque
assensu communi Archiepiscoporum Episcoporum et aliorum liberorum
hominum in regno nostro.'

[46] Hemingburgh: eo quod confirmaverat eas in terra aliena.

[47] Matthew of Westminster, 433. 'Procrastinatis quampluribus diebus
demum videns rex quod non desisterent ab inceptis nec adquiescerent
sibi in necessitatibus suis, respondit se esse paratum concedere et
ratificare petita.'

[48] At Lincoln, 21 Feb. 1301. In Rymer, Rainaldus, Spondanus.

[49] Report 183; Hallam, Additional Notes 332.

[50] Revocatio novarum ordinationum, 1323, 29 May, Statutes of the
Realm I. 189, 'les choses, qui serount à establir--soient tretées
accordees et establies en parlaments par notre Sr. le Roi et par
lassent des Prelats Countes et Barouns et la communalté du roialme.'

[51] Speech of W. Shareshall 1351, Parliamentary History (1762) i.

[52] We know the letter of the Duke of Guelders, in which he praised
equally 'lanae commoda,--divitias in comparatione ad alios reges
centuplas,' and the 'probitas militaris, arcuum asperitas,' in Twysden
ii. 2739.

[53] Report 324.

[54] 'Est en volunté de faire procès devers le roy et son roialme pur
le dit service et cens recoverir.'

[55] 'Qu'ils resisteront et contre esteront ove toute leur puissance.'
Edw Coke first published the document, Institutes iv. 13. In Urban V's
letter to Edward in Rainaldus 1365, 13, the demand is not so clearly
expressed, but mention is made in it of the Nuncio's overtures; it is
to these that the resolution of the Parliament referred.



England did not long maintain herself in the dominant position she then
occupied; the plan of extending her rule into Spain proved ruinous to
the Prince of Wales. Not merely was his protégé overpowered by the
French 'Free Companies,' which had gathered round his opponent: a
Castilian war-fleet succeeded in destroying the English one in sight of
the harbour of Rochelle. On this, their natural inclination towards the
King of France awoke in the nobles and towns of South France; without
great battles, merely by the revolt of vassals tired of his rule,
Edward III again lost all the territories conquered with such great
glory, except a few coast towns. Then a gloom settled down around the
aged conqueror. He saw his eldest son, who, though obliged to quit
France, in England enjoyed the fullest confidence and had every
prospect of a great future, sicken away and die. And he too
experienced, what befalls so many others, that misfortune abroad raised
him up opponents at home. In the increasing weakness of old age, which
gave rise to many well-grounded grievances, he could not maintain the
independence of the royal power, with the re-establishment of which he
had begun his reign. He was forced to receive into his Council men whom
he did not like. He was still able to effect thus much, that the
succession to the kingdom came to the son of the Prince of Wales,
Richard II. But would he, a boy of eleven, be able to take the helm of
the proud ship? Men saw factions arise that grouped themselves round
the King's uncles, who were not fully disposed to defend his authority.

The great question for English history now was, whether the
Parliamentary constitution, whilst it limited the King's prerogative,
would also give him security. For the Commons had been at last
admitted into the King's Council chiefly in order that they might
withstand the violence of the factions. The situation however was not
without its complications, for with the political movement one of yet
wider aim was connected.

When the kingdom was at the very height of its power there arose in a
college at Oxford the man who began that contest against the Papal
supremacy which has never since ceased. John Wiclif attached himself
first of all to the political movements of his time. One of his
earliest writings was directed against the feudal supremacy of the
Popes over England. He supported the Parliament's complaints of Romish
Provisions and exactions of money, with great learning and at great
length. Had his activity confined itself to these subjects, he would
be hardly more remembered than perhaps Marsilius of Padua. What gave
him quite a special significance was the fact that he brought into
clear view the contradiction between the ruling form of the Church and
the original documents of the Faith. From the claim of the Popes to be
Christ's representatives, he drew the conclusion that they ought also
to observe the Gospel which comes from the God-Man, follow His
example, and give up their worldly power.[56] The leading Church
dogma, that most closely connected with the hierarchic system, the
dogma of Transubstantiation, he attacked as being one which equally
contradicted Scripture and Reason. He urges his proofs with the
acuteness of a skilful Schoolman, but throughout he shows a deep inner
religious feeling. We may distinguish in him two separate tendencies.
His appeal to Scripture, his attempt to make it accessible to the
people, his treatment of dogmatic and religious questions which he
will allow to be decided only by Revelation,--all this makes him an
evangelic man, one of the chief forerunners of the German Reformation.
But, as he himself felt, his strength lay rather in destruction than
in construction. In asserting the doctrine that the title to office
depends for its validity on personal worth, that even the rule of
temporal lords rests on the favour in which they stand with God, and
in raising subjects to be the judges over their oppressive masters, he
entered on a path like that which the Taborites and the leaders of the
peasants in Germany afterwards took.[57]

And these were precisely the doctrines for which his scholars, who
traversed the land to make them known, found a well prepared soil in
the people of England. How could the rise of popular elements fail to
call forth a kindred effort also among the lower classes? The belief
arose that Nature intended all men to be equal. The country people
spoke of their primitive rights, traces of which were found in the
memorials of the Conqueror's times, and which had then been taken from
them. When now, instead of seeing these respected, they were subjected
to new impositions, and this with harshness and insolence, they rose
in open revolt. So overpowering was the attack which they directed
against the capital and the King's palace, that Richard II found
himself forced to grant them a charter which secured them personal
freedom. Had they contented themselves with this, they might have done
best for themselves and perhaps for the crown, but when they demanded
yet further and more extreme concessions, they roused against
themselves the whole power of the organised State, for which they were
as yet no match. The Mayor of London himself struck down with his
dagger the leader of the bands, Wat Tyler, because he seemed to
threaten the King; the Bishop of Norwich was not hindered by his
spiritual character from levelling his lance against the
insurgents;[58] after which he accompanied the leaders, who were taken
and condemned to death, to the scaffold, with words of comfort; in
other places the lay nobles did their best. When therefore in the next
Parliament the King brought forward the proposal to declare the serfs
free by a united resolution,--for the previous charter that had been
wrung from him was considered invalid,--both Lords and Commons
rejected it, as tending to disinherit them and prove pernicious to the

It is not to be supposed that a movement like this, which the lower
class of citizens in the towns had joined, just as in the German
peasant war, and which was mainly directed against the landed gentry,
could be stifled by one defeat: it continued to ferment
uninterruptedly in men's hearts.

Still less did the condemnation passed by Convocation on the
deviations from the teaching of the Church effect their suppression.
On the basis of Wiclif's doctrines grew up the sect of the Lollards,
which condemned the worship of images, pilgrimages, and other external
church ceremonies, designated the union of judicial authority with
spiritual office as unnatural--'hermaphroditism'--rejected
excommunication with abhorrence, and made secret and systematic war
against the whole Church establishment.

But further besides these feuds there was one within the State system
itself which now became most conspicuous.

In the midst of the general ferment how necessary had a strong and
resolute hand become! But Richard's government had shown itself
somewhat weak; by many it was suspected of having meant to turn the
disturbances to its own advantage. The commons, who mainly represented
the lower gentry and the upper citizens, abandoned him, and attached
themselves to the nobles, just as these revived their old jealousy
against the crown. For the almost inevitable result of success in
suppressing a popular agitation is to heighten the self-confidence of
an aristocracy. Impatient at being excluded from all share in the
government, and strengthened in his ambition by the military disasters
of the last years, the youngest of Richard's uncles, Thomas of
Gloucester, put himself at the head of the grandees, whose plans the
commons, instead of opposing, now on the contrary adopted as their
own. The great questions arose, which have so often since then
convulsed the European world, as to the relation of a Parliamentary
assembly to the Monarchy, and their respective rights.

The first demand of the English Parliament was that the ministers of
State should be named by it, or at least should be responsible to it.
Much as this demand itself implies, yet even more extensive views were
behind. The Peers told the King plainly that if he would not rule
according to the common law and with their advice, it was competent
for them to depose him, with consent of the people, and to raise
another of the royal house to the throne;[59] they threatened him
openly with the fate of Edward II.

Richard could do nothing but submit. Eleven lords were appointed to
restore order in the country; Richard had to swear to carry out all
they should ordain (November 1386). There remained but one way by
which to oppose this open violence: the King collected the chief
judges at Nottingham, and laid the question before them, whether the
Commission now forced upon him did not contravene the royal power and
his prerogative. The judges were far from so interpreting the
Constitution of England as to allow that the King is unconditionally
bound by the commands of Parliament. They affirmed under their hand
and seal that the appointment of that Commission against the King's
will contravened his legal prerogative; those by whom he had been
forced to accept it, and who had revived the recollection of the
statute against Edward II, they declared to be guilty of high treason.
But Parliament itself saw in this sentence not a judgment but an
intolerable outrage. At its next sitting it summoned the judges before
its tribunal, and in its turn declared them to be themselves guilty of
high treason. Chief Justice Tresilian died a shameful death at Tyburn.
The King lived to find yet harsher laws laid upon him: his uncle
Gloucester was more powerful than he was himself.

He was not however disposed to bear this yoke for ever. He first freed
himself from the war with France, which tied his hands; by his
marriage with Charles VI's young daughter he sought to win that king
over as an ally on his own side; at home too he gained himself
friends; when all was prepared, he struck a sudden blow (July 1397),
which no one would have expected from him. He removed his leading
opponents (above all his uncle Gloucester, and Arundel Archbishop of
Canterbury), banished them or threw them into prison: then he
succeeded in getting together a Parliament in which his partisans had
the upper hand. It moreover completely adopted the ideas of the judges
as to the Constitution; it revoked the statutes which had been forced
on the King,[60] and gave effect to the sentence of Nottingham. By
making the King a very considerable grant for his lifetime, it freed
him from the necessity of summoning it anew; he rose at once to a high
pitch of self-confidence: he was believed to have said that the laws
of England consisted in his word of mouth.

In England, just as in France at the same epoch, political opinions
and parties ebbed and flowed in ceaseless antagonism. Richard's
success was only momentary. He too, like so many of his ancestors, had
incurred a grievous suspicion; the crime laid to his charge was that
his uncle, who died in prison, had been murdered there by his command.
Besides his absolute rule was not free from arbitrary acts of many
kinds; among the great nobles each trembled for his own safety; the
clergy, never on good terms with Richard, were impatient at being
deprived of their Primate, who was to them 'the tower in the
protecting bulwark of the Church.' In the capital too men were against
a rule which seemed to put an end to popular influence; it needed only
the return of an exile, the young Henry of Lancaster (whom the King
would not allow to take possession of his inheritance by deputy, and
who in conformity with the feeling of the time broke his ban to do
himself right); all men then deserted the King; the nobles could now
think of carrying out the threat which they had once hurled against

Richard was compelled to call a Parliament, and at the moment it met
to pronounce his own abdication. The Parliament was not contented with
accepting this; it wished to put an end to all doubt for the future,
and to establish its own right for ever.

A long list of articles was drawn up, from which it was concluded that
the King had broken his coronation oath and forfeited his crown; the
assembled Estates, when severally and conjointly consulted, held them
sufficient to justify them in proceeding to the King's deposition.
They named Proctors, two for the clergy, two for the high
nobility--one for the earls and dukes, the other for the barons and
bannerets, two for the knights and commons--one for the Northern, the
other for the Southern counties. They sat as a court of justice before
the vacant throne, with the Chief Justice in their midst: then the
first spiritual commissioner, the Bishop of S. Asaph, rose, and in the
place and name and under the authority of the Estates of the realm
announced the sentence of deposition against the late King, and
forbade all men to receive any further commands from him. Some
opposition was raised; it is said that the Bishop of Carlisle very
expressly denied the right of subjects to sit in judgment on their
hereditary sovereign;[61] but how could this have had any effect
against the Parliament's claim which had been formulated so long?

As the crown was now regarded as vacant, Henry of Lancaster arose,--in
the name of God, as he said, whilst he made the sign of the cross on
his forehead and breast,--to claim it for himself, in virtue of his
birth and the right which accrued to him through God and the help of
his friends. It was not properly speaking an election that now took
place: the spiritual and lay lords, as well as the other members of
the Parliament, were asked what their opinion of his claim was: the
answer of all was that the Duke should be their King. When, conducted
by the two archbishops, he ascended the vacant throne, he was greeted
with the joyous acclaim of those assembled. The Archbishop of
Canterbury made a speech full of unction, the drift of which was, that
henceforth it would not be a child, such as the late sovereign had
been, self-willed and void of understanding, but a Man that would rule
over them, in the full maturity of his understanding, and resolved to
do not so much his own will as the will of God.[62]

Thus did the spiritual and lay nobility, in and with the Parliament,
make good their claim to dispose of the crown. They went to work
against Richard II with less reserve than against Edward II. In the
latter case the Queen had taken part in the movement; they had set the
son in his father's stead. But this time they did not wait for the
actual consummation of the King's marriage; they raised a prince to
the throne who had openly opposed him in the field, and was not even
the next in succession. For there were still the descendants of an
elder brother left, who according to English usage had a prior right.
The Parliament held itself competent to settle on its own authority
even the succession to the crown. It enacted that it should belong to
the King's eldest son, and after him to his male issue, and on their
failure to his brothers and their issue. The proposal formally to
exclude succession in the female line did not pass; but for a long
while to come the actual practice had that effect.

Besides the motives involved in the extension of the Power of the
Estates in and for itself there was yet another reason for such a
proceeding. And this arose out of the growth, and increasing urgency,
of the religious divisions. The Lollards preached, and taught in
schools, according to their views: in the year 1396 in a petition to
Parliament they traced all the moral evils and defects of the world to
the fact that the clergy were endowed with worldly goods, and showed
the advantage which would arise from the application of these to the
service of the state and the prosecution of war.[63] They seem to have
flattered themselves that by this they would win over the lay lords,
but they were completely mistaken. For these remarked on the contrary
that their own property had no better legal foundation than that of
the clergy,[64] and only attached themselves to the rights of the
Church all the more zealously.

That which would have been impossible under Richard II's vacillating
government, the first Lancaster now undertook: in full agreement with
the Estates he a few days after his accession announced to Convocation
that he purposed to destroy heretics and heresies to the best of his
power.[65] In the next Parliament a statute was drawn up in which
relapsed heretics were condemned to the flames. And still more
remarkable than this mode of punishment, which was that of the
Church-law, is the regulation of the procedure in this statute. In
former times the sentence had been pronounced by the archbishop and
the collective clergy of the province, and the King's consent had to
be asked before it was executed. The decision was now committed to the
bishop and his commissary, and the sheriff was instructed to inflict
the punishment without further appeal, and to commit the guilty to the
fire on the high grounds in the country, that terror might strike all
the bystanders. It is clear how much the power of the bishops was thus
extended. Soon after, on the proposal of the lay lords, at whose head
the Prince of Wales is named, a further statute passed, in which to
spread the rumour that King Richard was yet alive, and to teach that
the prelates ought to be deprived of their worldly goods, are treated
as offences of equal magnitude and threatened with a similar
punishment; the object being alike in both,--to raise a tumult. And in
fact, when Henry V himself had ascended the throne, an outbreak did
occur, in which these causes co-operated. The Lollards were
strengthened in their resistance to the government of the house of
Lancaster by the rumour that their rightful King was yet alive. Henry
V was obliged to crush them in open battle, and then force them to
remain quiet by a new statute, which enacted the confiscation of their
goods as well.[66] His alliance and friendship with the Emperor
Sigismund was based on the fact, that he regarded the Hussites as only
the successors of the Lollards.

This orthodox tendency was now moreover combined with a strict
Parliamentary government. Under the Lancasters there is no complaint
as to illegal taxes; they allowed the moneys voted by the Parliament
to be paid over to treasurers named by itself and accountable to it;
that which earlier Kings had always rejected as an affront, the claim
of Parliament to exercise a sort of supervision over the King's
household, the Lancasters admitted; the royal officers were bound by
oath to observe the statutes and the common law; the prerogative,
hitherto exercised by the Kings, of softening the severity of the
statutes by proclamations contravening their purpose was expressly

The Lancasters owed their rise to their alliance with the clergy and
the Parliament: a fact which determined the character and manner of
their government. The most manifold results might be expected, even
beyond the borders of England, from their having by this very alliance
won for themselves a great European position.

Nowhere was greater interest taken in Richard's fate than at the
French court. Louis Duke of Orleans, whose voice was generally
decisive there, once challenged the first Lancaster to a duel, and
when he refused it pressed him hard with war. That Owen Glendower
could once more maintain himself as Prince in Wales was entirely due
to his French auxiliaries. That we find Henry IV more secure of his
throne in his later years than in his earlier is a phenomenon the
explanation of which we seek in vain in English affairs alone: it
results from the fact that his powerful foe, Louis of Orleans, was
murdered in the year 1407 at the instigation of John Duke of Burgundy,
and that then the quarrel of the two parties, which divided France,
burst out with increased violence, and remained long undecided. From
the French there was no longer anything to fear: they emulously sought
the alliance of the highest power in England; there even arose
circumstances under which the Lancasters could think of renewing the
claims of Edward III, from whom they too were descended.

At the time that Henry V ascended the English throne, the Orleanists
had again gained the preponderance in France: they unfurled the
Oriflamme against the Duke of Burgundy, who was now in fact hard
pressed. Henry negociated with them both. But while the Orleanists
made difficulties about granting him the independent possession of the
old English provinces, Burgundy declared himself ready to acknowledge
him as King.[67] The common interests moreover of home politics allied
him with this house.

Henry could reckon on the sympathies of a part of the population of
France, when he led the power of England across the sea. A successful
battle in which he destroyed the flower of the French nobility gave
him an undoubted superiority. The vengeance which the Orleanists
wreaked even under these circumstances on the Duke of Burgundy, who
was now murdered in his turn, brought the Burgundian party over
completely to his side, together with the greater part of the nation.
Things went so far that Charles VI of France decided to marry his
daughter to the victorious Lancaster and to acknowledge him, as his
heir after his death, as his representative during his life.

It was a very extraordinary position which Henry V now occupied. The
two great kingdoms, each of which by itself has earlier or later
claimed to sway the world, were (without being fused into one) to
remain united for ever under him and his successors. Philip the Good
of Burgundy was bound to him by ties of blood and by hostility to a
common foe: as heir of France Henry sat in the Parliament by which
the murderers of the last duke, who were also the chief opponents of
the new state of things, were prosecuted. Another promising connexion
was opened to him by the marriage of the youngest of his brothers with
Jaqueline of Holland and Hainault, who possessed still more extensive
hereditary claims. Henry recommended the eldest to Queen Johanna of
Naples to be adopted as her son and heir. The King of Castile and the
heir of Portugal were descended from his father's sisters. The
pedigrees of Southern and Western Europe alike met in the house of
Lancaster, the head of which thus seemed to be the common head of all.

In England Henry did not neglect to guard the rights of the National
Church; but at the same time no one exerted himself more energetically
to close the schism: the solemn condemnation of Wiclif's doctrines by
the General Council of Constance served to vouch for his attitude in
religious matters: the English Church obtained in it a place among the
great National Churches.

Henry V found himself in the advantageous position of a potentate
raised to power by a usurpation for which he was not however
personally responsible. He could spare and reinstate Richard II's
memory, as much as in him lay, though he owed the crown to his
overthrow. That he furthered and advanced also in France the municipal
and parliamentary interests, which were his mainstay in England,
procured him the obedience which was there paid him, and a European
influence. In his moral character Henry ranks above most of the
Plantagenets. He had no favourites and let no unjust acts be imputed
to him. He was stern towards the great and careful for the common
people; at his first word men could tell what they had to expect from
him. The French were frightened at the keenness of his expression, but
they reverenced his high spirit, his bravery and truthfulness. 'He
transacts all his affairs himself; he considers them well before he
undertakes them; he never does anything fruitlessly. He is free from
excesses, and truthful: he never makes himself too familiar. On his
face are visible dignity and supreme power.'[68] He possessed in full
measure the bold impulses of his ancestors, their attention to the
general affairs of Western Christendom. In the war with the Lollards
he was once wounded; that he recovered from his wound was designated
as the work of divine Providence, which had destined him to be the
conqueror of the Holy Land. He informed himself about its state as it
was then constituted under the Mameluke rule: a Chronicle of Jerusalem
and a History of Godfrey of Bouillon were two of the books he loved
most to read. And without doubt such an undertaking would have been
the true means, if any such means were possible, of uniting more
closely, by common undertakings successes and interests, the realms
already bound together under one sceptre. The Ottomans had not yet
extended themselves in the East with their full force: something might
yet have been effected there; for the King of France and England, who
was yet young in years, a great future seemed to be at hand.

Sometimes it seems as though fortune were specially making a mock of
man's frailty. In this fulness of power and of expectations, Henry V
was attacked by a disease which men did not yet know how to cure and
to which he succumbed. His heir was a boy, nine months old.

Of the two surviving brothers of the deceased King, the younger ruled
England under the already established predominance of the Estates of
the Realm, while the elder governed France with an increased
participation on the part of the Estates: their efforts could only be
directed towards preserving these kingdoms for their nephew Henry VI.
We might almost wonder that this succeeded so well for a time: in the
long run it was impossible. The feeling of French nationality, which
had already met the victor himself with secret warnings, found its most
wonderful expression in the Maid who revived in the French their old
attachment to their native King and his divine right; the English, when
she fell into their hands, with ungenerous hate inflicted on her the
punishment of the Lollards: but the Valois King had already gained a
firm footing. It was Charles VII who understood how to appease the
enmity of Burgundy, and in unison with the great men of his kingdom to
give his power a peculiar organisation corresponding to its character,
so that he was able to oppose to the English troops better armed than
their own, and make the restoration of a firm peace even desirable for
them. But this reacted on England in two ways. The government, which
was inclined for peace, fell into as bitter a quarrel as any that had
hitherto taken place with the national bodies politic, which either did
not recognise this necessity, or attributed the disasters incurred to
bad management. The man most trusted by the King fell a victim to the
public hate. But, besides this, there arose--awakened by these events
and in a certain analogy with what happened in France--the recollection
of the rights which had been set aside by the accession of the house of
Lancaster. Their representative, Richard Duke of York, had hitherto
kept quiet; for he was fully convinced that a right cannot perish
merely because it lies dormant. Cautiously and step by step, while
letting others run the first risk, he at last came forward openly with
his claim to the crown. Great was the astonishment of Henry VI, who as
far as his memory reached had been regarded as King, to find his right
to the highest dignity doubted and denied. But such was now the case.
The nation was split into two parties, one of which held fast to the
monarchy established by the Parliament, while the other wished to recur
to the principle of legitimate succession then violated. Not that
political conviction was the leading motive for their quarrel. First of
all we find that the opponents of the government--though themselves of
Parliamentary views--rallied round the banners of the hitherto
forgotten right of birth. Every man fought, less for the prince whose
device he bore, the red or the white rose, than for his own share in
the enjoyment of political power. On both sides there arose chiefs of
almost independent power, who clad their partisans in their own
colours, at whose call those partisans were ready any moment to take
arms: they appointed the sheriffs in the counties and were lords of the
land. But when blood had once been shed, no reconciliation of the
parties was possible. Ha, cried the victor to the man who begged for
mercy, thy father slew mine, thou must die by my hand. In vain did men
turn to the judges: for the statutes contradicted each other, and they
could no longer decide where the right lay. From the Parliaments no
solution of these questions could be expected; each served the
victorious party, whose summons it obeyed, and condemned its opponent.
As the resources on each side were tolerably equal, even the battles
were not decisive: the result depended less upon real superiority than
on accidental desertions or accessions, and most largely on foreign
help. After the English had failed, during the antagonism of Valois and
Burgundy, in establishing their supremacy on the Continent, the
quarrel--quieted for a moment--which broke out again between Louis XI
and Charles the Bold in the most violent manner, reacted on them with
all the more vehemence. King Louis would not endure that a good
understanding should exist between Edward IV and Duke Charles, to whom
Edward had married his sister: he drew the man who had hitherto done
the most for the Yorkist interests, the Earl of Warwick, over to his
own side; and scarcely had the latter appeared in England when Edward
IV was forced to fly and Henry VI was reinstated. Louis had prepared
church-thanksgivings to God for having given the English a king of the
blood of France and a friend to that country. But meanwhile Edward was
helped by Charles the Bold, to whom he had fled, though not openly in
arms, yet with ships which he hired for him, with considerable sums of
money, and even with troops which he allowed to join him.[69] To these,
his Flemish and Easterling troops, it was chiefly attributed that
Edward gained the upper hand in the field and recovered his throne. But
what a state of things was this! The glorious crown of the
Plantagenets, who a little while before strove for the supremacy of the
world, was now--stained with blood and powerless as it was--tossed to
and fro between the rival parties.


[56] 'I take it as a holesome counsell, that the Pope leeve his
worldly lordship to worldly lords as Christ gafe him and move all his
clerks to do so.' Wickleffs Bileve, in Collier i. Rec. 47.

[57] 'Quod nullus est dominus civilis, nullus est episcopus, nullus
est praelatus, dum est in mortali peccato--quod domini temporales
possunt auferre bona temporalia ab ecclesia habitualiter delinquente
vel quod populares possunt ad eorum arbitrium dominos delinquentes

[58] Walsingham: 'Antistes belliger velut aper frendens dentibus.'

[59] 'Si rex ex maligno consilio--se alienaverit a populo suo nec
voluent per jura regni et statuta et laudabiles ordinationes cum
salubri consilio dominorum et procorum regni gubernare et
regulari--extunc licitum est eis cum communi assensu et consensu
populi regem ipsum de regali solio abrogare et propinquiorem aliquem
de stirpe regia loco ejus sublimare.' In Knyghton ii. 2683.

[60] 'Comme chose fait traitoirousement et encontre sa regalie, sa
coronne et sa dignitée--le roy de lassent de touts les srs et
coes ad ordeine et establi que null tiel commission ne autre
sembleable jammes ne soit purchacez pursue ne faite en temps advenir.'
Statutes of the Realm II. 98.

[61] Hayward, Life of King Henry IV, gives a detailed copy of this
speech, which however can possess no more claim to authenticity than
the words that Shakespeare puts into the Bishop's mouth.

[62] Le record et procès de la renonciation du roi Richard avec la
deposition. Twysden, ii. 2743.

[63] Conclusiones Lollardorum porrectae pleno parliamento. Wilkins
iii. 222. From the document in 229 we see that these doctrines had
penetrated into Oxford.

[64] The temporal possessions with which the prelates are as rightly
endowed as it has been or might be best advised by the laws and
customs of our kingdom; and of which they are as surely possessed as
the lords temporal are of their inheritances.

[65] Convocatio 6 die Oct. 1389 ... modus procedendi contra
haereticos. Wilkins iii. 238, 254.

[66] He imputes to them, 'l'entent de adnuller la foie chretienne auxi
a destruer le roi mesme et tous maners estates dicell royaume et auxi
toute politie et les leies de la terre.'

[67] Treaty of 23rd May 1414. Certainly Duke John in September 1414
concluded the treaty of Arras which is based on the assumption of his
having no understanding with England; but he never ratified it.

[68] 'De diligence portoit le gonphanon de ses besoignes.'
Chastellain, Chronique du duc Philippe, ch. 98.

[69] Chastellain, Chronique des derniers ducs de Bourgogne, ch 191.
'Le duc cognossoit bien, que ceste mutacion en Angleterre étoit
pratiquée pour le desfaire et non pour autre fin.'



We may regard it as the chief result of the Norman-Plantagenet rule,
that England became completely a member of the Romano-German family of
nations which formed the Western world. In however many ways the
invading nobility had mingled with the native houses, it yet held fast
to its ancient language; even now it is part of the ambition of the
great families to trace their pedigree from the Conquerors. Attempts
had been made, sometimes of a more political, sometimes of a more
doctrinal nature, to break loose from the hierarchy, which prevailed
throughout these nations; but they had only increased its strength;
the native clergy saw that its safety lay in the strictest adherence
to the maxims of the Universal Church. Similarly the character of the
Estates in England was akin to that of those in North France and
especially in the Netherlands; on this rests the sympathy which the
enterprises of Edward III and Henry V met with; for it was indeed the
feeling of these centuries, that the members of any one of the three
Estates felt themselves quite as closely bound to the members of the
same Estate in other lands as to their own countrymen of the other
Estates. There was but one Church, one Science, one Art in Europe: one
and the same mental horizon enclosed the different peoples: a romance
and a poetry varying in form yet of closely kindred nature was the
common possession of all. The common life of Europe flowed also in the
veins of England: an indestructible foundation for culture and
progressive civilisation was laid. But we saw to what point matters
had come notwithstanding, as regards the durability of its internal
system and its power. The Plantagenets had extended the rule of
England over Scotland and Ireland: in the latter it still subsisted,
but only within the narrow limits of the Border Pale; in the former it
was altogether overthrown. The best result that had been effected in
home politics, the attempt to unite the Powers of the country in
Parliament had, after a short and brilliant success, led to the
deepest disorder by disregarding the rights of birth. The degraded
crown above all had thus become the prize of battle for Pretenders
allied with France or Burgundy. But it could not possibly remain thus.
The time was come to give the English realm an independent position
and internal order corresponding at once to its insular situation and
to the degree of culture it had attained.

The first who attempted this with some success was Edward IV, of the
house of York, who in the war of the Roses had remained master of the

But everywhere there began once more an era of autocratic princes.



Edward IV was a most brilliant figure, the handsomest man of his time,
at least among the sovereigns, so that the impression he thus made was
actually a power in politics; we find him incessantly entangled in
love affairs: he was fond of music and enjoyment of all kinds, the
pleasures of the table, the uproar of riotous company: his debauched
habits are thought to have shortened his life, and many a disaster
sprung from his carelessness; but he had also Sardanapalus' nature in
him: with quickly awakening activity he always rose again out of his
disasters; in his battles he appeared the last, but he fought perhaps
the best; and he won them all. In the history of European Monarchy he
is not unworthy to be ranked by the side of Ferdinand the Catholic,
Charles the Bold, Louis XI, and some others who regained prestige for
their dignity by the energy of their personal character.

In itself we must rate it as important that he made good the
birthright of the house of York, independent as it was of the maxims
of Parliament, or rather contradictory to them, and maintained the
throne. He deemed himself the direct successor of Richard II; the
three kings who had since worn the crown by virtue of Parliamentary
enactments were regarded by him as usurpers. We have Fortescue's
contemporary treatise in praise of the laws of England, which (written
for a prince who never came to the throne) contains the idea of
Parliamentary right which the house of Lancaster upheld: but Edward IV
did not so apprehend it. He allowed the lawfulness of his accession to
be recognised by Parliament, because this was of use to him: but
otherwise he paid little regard to its established rights. We find
under him for five years no meeting of Parliament; then a Parliament
that had met was prorogued some four or five times without completing
any business, till it at last agreed to raise the customs duties,
included under the names of Tonnage and Poundage; a revenue which
being voted to the Kings for life (and this came gradually to be
regarded as a mere formality) gave their government a strong financial
basis. Other Parliaments repaid their summons with considerable
grants, with large and full subsidies: yet Edward IV was not content
even with these. Under him began the practice, by which the wealthy
were drawn into contributions for his service in proportion to their
property, of which the King knew how to obtain accurate information;
these contributions were called Benevolences because they were paid
under the form of personal freewill offerings, though none dared to
refuse them:[70] we may compare the imposts which in the Italian
republics the dominant parties were wont to inflict on their
opponents. Though holding Church views in other points, and at any
rate a persecutor of the Lollards, he did not however allow the clergy
to enter on their temporalities without heavy payments: he created
monopolies in the case of some especially profitable articles of
trade. In short, he neglected no means to render the administration of
the supreme power independent of the money-grants of Parliament. He
made room for the royal prerogative as understood by the old kings, as
well as for the right of birth.

But yet he had not established a secure position, since the party of
the enemy was still very powerful, and after his early death a quarrel
broke out in his own house which could not fail to destroy it.

To the characteristic traits of the Plantagenets, their world-wide
views, their chivalry abroad, their versatility at home, the ceaseless
war they waged with each other and with others for power, their
inextinguishable love of rule, belongs also the way in which those who
held power rid themselves of foes within their own family. As formerly
King John had murdered in prison Arthur the lawful heir to the throne,
so Richard II imprisoned and murdered his uncle Thomas of Gloucester,
who was dangerous to himself. Richard II, like Edward II, died by the
hand of a relative who had wrested the crown from him; of the details
of his death we have not even a legend left. Another Gloucester, who
had for many years guarded the crown for the infant Henry VI, was, at
the very moment when he might become dangerous to the new government,
found dead in his bed. So Henry VI perished in the Tower the day
before Edward IV made his entry into London. Edward IV preferred to
have his brother Clarence, though already under sentence of death,
privately killed. But the most atrocious murder of all was that of the
two infant sons of Edward IV himself; they were both murdered at once,
as was fully believed, at the behest of their uncle Richard III, who
had put himself in possession of the throne. I know not whether the
actual character of Richard answered to that type of inborn wickedness
which commits crime because it wills it as crime, such as following
the hints of the Chronicle[71] a great poet has drawn for us in
imperishable traits, and linked with his name: or whether it was not
rather the love of power, that animated the whole family, which in
Richard III grew step by step into a passion that made him forget all
laws human and divine: enough, he did such deeds that the world's
abhorrence weighs justly on him.

But it was owing to the internal discord of the ruling family that
throughout the course of its history a path was made for political and
national development, and so it was now: these crimes opened a way out
of the disorders of the time. For as Richard, while continuing to
persecute the house of Lancaster, struck still harder blows against
the chief members of that of York, he gave occasion to the principal
persons of both parties, who were equally threatened, and had the
same interest in opposing the usurper, to draw nearer to each other.

The widowed Queen Elizabeth, who was lingering out her life in a
sanctuary, was brought into secret connexion through the mediation of
distinguished friends with the mother of the man who now came forward
as head of the Lancasters, Henry Earl of Richmond, and it was
determined that Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, in whom the claims of
both lines were united, should marry each other, a prospect which
might well prepare the way for the immediate combination of the two
parties. Henry of Richmond at their head was then to confront the
usurper and chase him from the throne. The fugitives scattered about
in the sanctuaries and churches called him to be their captain.[72]

The question arises--it has been often answered in the
negative--whether Henry was rightfully a Lancaster, and whether he had
any well-grounded claims on the English crown. He loved to derive his
family from the hero of the Welsh, the fabulous Arthur. His
grandfather, Owen Tudor, a Welshman, was brought into connexion with
the royal house by his marriage with Henry V's widow, Catharine of
France: for unions of royal ladies with distinguished gentlemen were
then not rare. And Owen Tudor of course obtained by this a higher
position, but there could be no question of any claim to the crown.
This was derived simply from the fact that the son of this marriage,
Edmund Tudor Earl of Richmond, married a lady of the house of
Somerset, descended by her father from John of Gaunt, the ancestor of
the Lancasters, by his third marriage with Catharine Swynford. It has
been said that this marriage, in itself of an irregular nature, was
only recognised as legitimate by Richard II on the condition that the
issue from it should have no claim to the succession--and so it is in
fact stated in the often printed Patent. But the original of the
document still exists, and that in two forms, one of which is in the
Rolls of Parliament, the other on the Patent Rolls. In the first the
limitation is wanting, in the second it exists, but as an
interpolation by a later hand. It may be taken as admitted that
Richard II in legitimising the marriage did not make this condition,
and that it was first inserted by Henry IV (who took offence at the
legitimisation of his half-brothers) at the ratification. But the
legitimisation once effected could not possibly be limited in a
one-sided manner by a later sovereign. I think no objection can be
made to the legality of Henry VII's claim, which then passed over to
his successors.[73] The limitation belonged to those proceedings of
one-sided caprice by which Henry IV tried to secure for his direct
descendants the perpetual possession of the crown. It was not from
him, but from his father, the founder of the family, that the Earls of
Richmond derived their claim.

Now that the banner of a true Lancaster appeared again in the field,
and the discontented Yorkists, ill-treated by Richard, joined him, it
might certainly be hoped that the usurper would be overthrown, and
that a strong power would emerge from the union of both lines. Yet the
issue was even then very doubtful.

As in the earlier civil wars, so now too the help of a foreign power
was necessary. With French help the Earl of Richmond led about 2000
men, of which not more than perhaps 800 were English, to Wales;[74] in
his further advance he was joined by proportionately considerable
reinforcements; yet he did not number more than 5000 men under his
banners, badly clothed and still worse armed, when Richard with his
chivalry came upon him in overwhelming numbers. Henry would have been
lost, had he not found partisans in Richard's ranks. Even before the
engagement the desertion from Richard began: then in the middle of the
battle the chief division of his army passed over to Henry. Richard
found the death he sought: for he was resolved to be King or die: on
the battlefield itself Henry was proclaimed King.

There is no doubt that he owed to his union with the house of York,
whose right was then generally regarded as the best, not only his
victory, but the joyous recognition also which he experienced
afterwards: yet his whole nature revolted against basing his state on
this union: he cherished the ambition of ruling only through his own

At the first meeting of Parliament, which he did not call till he was
fully in possession and crowned King, he was met by a very genuinely
English point of law. It arose from the fact that many members of the
Lower House had been attainted by the late government. How could they
make laws who were themselves beyond the pale of law? Who could
cleanse them from the stain that clove to them? This objection could
be raised against Henry himself. In this perplexity recourse was had
to the judges: and they decided that the possession of the crown
supplied all defects, and that the King was already King even without
the assent of Parliament.[75] In the general disorder things had gone
so far, that it was necessary to find some power outside the
continuity of legal forms, from which they might start afresh. The
actual possession of the throne formed this time the living centre
round which the legal state could again form itself. By exercising the
authority inherent in the possession of the crown, the King could
effect the revocation of the sentences that weighed on his partisans
and on a large portion of the Parliament. After the legal character of
that Assembly had been established, it proceeded to recognise Henry's
rights to the crown in the words used for the first of the Lancastrian

In the papal bull which ratified Henry's succession, three grounds are
assigned for it: the right of war, the undoubted nearest right to the
succession, and the recognition by Parliament. On the first the King
himself laid great stress: he once designates the issue of the battle
as the decision of God between him and his foes. He thus avoided any
mention of the marriage with Edward IV's daughter, which he did not
complete till he was acknowledged on all sides. The papal bull
declared that the crown of England was to be hereditary in Henry's
descendants, even if they did not spring from the Yorkist marriage.

We can easily understand this: Henry would not tolerate by his side in
the person of his wife a joint ruler of equal, and even better, right
than his own; but we can understand also that this proceeding drew on
him new enmities. At the very outset the widowed Queen gave it to be
understood that her daughter was rather lowered than raised by the
marriage. The whole party of York moreover felt itself contemned and
insulted. To the ferment of displeasure and ambition into which it
fell must be attributed the fact that a pair of adventurers, who acted
the part of genuine descendants of the house of York, Lambert Simnel
and Perkin Warbeck, supported from abroad, found the greatest sympathy
and recognition in England. The first Henry VII had to meet in open
battle, the second he got into his hands only by a great European

But he did not wish to have always to encounter open disturbance. He
was entirely of the opinion which his chancellor gave, that enmities
of such a sort could not be extinguished by the sword of war, but only
by well-planned and stringent laws which would destroy the seed of
rebellion, and by institutions strong enough to administer those laws.
Above all he found it intolerable that the great men kept numerous
dependents attached to them under engagements which were publicly
paraded by distinctive badges. The lower courts of justice and the
juries did not do the service expected from them in dealing with the
transgressions of the law that came before them. Uncertainty as to the
supreme authority, and the power which the great party-leaders
exercised, filled the weaker, who had to sit in judgment on them, with
dread of their sure revenge. To put an end to this disorder Henry VII
established the Starchamber. With consent of the Parliament, from
which all hostile party-movements were excluded, he gave his Privy
Council, which was strengthened by the chief judges, a strong
organisation with this end in view. It was to punish all those
personal engagements, the exercise of unlawful influence in the choice
of sheriffs, all riotous assemblies, lastly to have power to deal with
the early symptoms of a tumult before it came to an outbreak, and that
under forms which were not usual in the English administration of
justice. This powerful instrument in the hands of government might be
much abused, but then seemed necessary to keep in check unreconciled
enemies and the spirit of faction that was ever surging up again. We
see the prevailing state of things from the fact, that the King's
councillors themselves, to be secured against acts of violence, passed
a special law, which characterised attacks on them as attacks on the
King himself. But then, like men who stood in the closest connexion
with the King and his State, they used their authority with
unapproachable severity. The internal tranquillity of England has been
thought to be mainly due to the erection of this court of justice.[76]

Since Henry laid so much stress on his being a Lancaster, it might
have been expected that he would revive the rights of the Parliament.
But in this respect he followed the example of the house of York. He
too imposed Benevolences, like Edward IV, and that to a yet greater
extent; he made an ordinance that what was voluntarily promised should
be exacted with as much strictness as if it were an ordinary tax.
Another source of financial gain, which has brought on him still worse
reproaches, was his commission against infractions of the law. It was
inevitable that in the fluctuation of authority and of the statutes
themselves innumerable illegalities should have taken place. And they
were still always going on. The King took it especially ill that men
omitted to pay the dues which belonged to the crown in right of its
feudal superiority. All these negligences and failures were now
visited and punished with the severity of the old Norman system, and
at the same time with the officiousness of party-men of the day, who
saw their own advantage in it. This proceeding pressed very many
heavily on private persons and communities, and ruined families, but
it filled the King's coffers. One of his maxims was that his laws
should not be broken under any circumstances, another that a sovereign
who would enjoy consideration must always have money: in this instance
both worked together.

If we look at the lists of his receipts we find that they consist, as
in other kingdoms, of the crown's revenue proper, which was
considerably increased by the escheated possessions of great families
which had become extinct, the customs duties settled on him for life,
the tenth from the clergy, and the feudal dues. It was estimated that
they produced nearly the same revenue as that of the French kings at
this time, but it was remarked that the King of England only spent
about two-thirds of his income. He did not need a Parliamentary grant,
especially as he kept out of dangerous foreign entanglements. In his
last thirteen years he never once called a Parliament.

This precisely corresponded to the idea of his government. After all
had become doubtful owing to the alternate fluctuations of parties he
had established his personal claim by the fortune of arms, and made it
the central point of his government. Was he to allow it to be again
endangered by the ceaseless ebb and flow of popular opinion? He
founded a supreme court independent of popular agitation, a finance
system independent of the grants of a popular assembly.

But he thus found himself under the disadvantage of having to apply
compulsion unceasingly: his government bore throughout the bitter and
hateful character of a party-government. With untiring jealousy he
watched the secret opponents who still looked out for some movement
from abroad, as a signal for fresh revolt: he kept diaries of their
doings and conduct: it was said he availed himself of the confessional
for this purpose: men whose names were from time to time solemnly
cursed at S. Paul's on account of past treasons, so that they counted
for open enemies, became useful to him as spies. If the decision lay
between services received and suspicious conduct, the latter easily
weighed down the balance, to the ruin of the victim. William Stanley,
who had played the most important part in the battle which decided the
fate of the crown, and was regarded as almost the first man in the
realm after the King, had at the appearance of Perkin Warbeck (who
gave himself out as Edward's younger son, Richard of York) let slip
the words, 'he would take his side, if he were the person he gave
himself out to be.' He had to atone for these words by his death,
since he had intimated a doubt as to the King's lawful right, which
might mislead others into sedition. Gradually the movements ceased:
the high nobility showed a loyal submission to the King: yet it did
not attach itself to him, it let him and his government alone. The
King's principle was, to execute the laws most strictly, yet he was
not cruel by nature; if men implored his mercy, he was ready to grant
it. The contracted position of a sovereign, who maintains his
authority with the utmost strictness, does not however exclude a
paternal care for the country. Henry clipped his people's wings, to
accustom them to obedience, and then was glad when they grew again. We
find even that he made out a sketch of how the land should be
cultivated so that every man might be able to live. The people did not
love him, but it did not exactly hate him either: this was quite
enough for Henry VII.

A slight man, somewhat tall, with thin light-coloured hair, whose
countenance bore the traces of the storms he had passed through; in
his appearance he gave the impression of being a high ecclesiastic
rather than a chivalrous King. He was in this almost the exact
opposite of Edward IV. He too certainly arranged public festivities
and spared no expense to make them splendid, since his dignity
demanded it, but his soul took no pleasure in them, he left them as
soon as ever he could; he lived only in business. In his council sat
men of mark, sagacious bishops, experienced generals, magistrates
learned in the law: he held it to be his duty and his interest to hear
their advice. And they were not without influence: one or two were
noted as able to restrain his self-seeking will. But the main affairs
he kept in his own hands. All that he undertook he conducted with
great foresight and as a rule he carried it through. Foreigners
regarded him as cunning and deceitful; to his own people his
successful prudence seemed to have something supernatural about it. If
he had personal passions, he knew how to keep them under; he seemed
always calm and sober, sparing of words and yet affable.

He directed almost his chief energies to this object, to keep off all
foreign influences from his well-ordered kingdom.


[70] Historiae Croylandensis Continuatio II. 'Concessae sunt decimae
ac quintodecimae multiplices in coetibus clericorum et laicorum,
habentibus in faciendis concessionibus hujusmodi interesse. Praeterea
haereditarii ac possessionati omnes de rebus immobilibus suarum
possessionum partem libere concedebant. Cumque nec omnia praedicta
sufficere visa sunt, inducta est nova et inaudita impositio oneris, ut
per benevolentiam quilibet daret id quod vellet, imo verius quod

[71] At least Sir Thomas More has not invented the nature and manner
of the murder; it is derived from a confession of the persons
concerned in it in Henry VII's time. 'Dightonus traditionis hujus
principale erat instrumentum' (Bacon 212). Tyrel too seems to have
known of it.

[72] 'Videntes, quod si novum conquestionis suae capitaneum invenire
non possent brevi de omnibus actum foret.' Hist. Croyl. 568.

[73] I take this from Nicolas, Observations on the state of historical
literature, 1830, p. 178. Hume's objection, that the mother's right
came before the son's, is done away with by the fact that men had in
general never yet seen reigning Queens.

[74] How the world regarded it then we ascertain from the words of the
Chroniques de Jean Molinet, ed. Buchon, iii. 151. 'Le Comte de
Richmond fut couronne et institué Henri VII, par le confort et
puissant subside du roi de France.'

[75] 'A quo tempore Rex coronam assumpserat, fontem sanguinis fuisse
expurgatum--ut regi opera parlamentaria non fuisset opus.' So Bacon,
Henricus VII. 29.

[76] Edw. Coke: 4 Inst. cap. ix. 'It is the most honourable court, our
Parliament excepted, that is in the Christian world.--In the judges of
the same are the grandees of the realm: and they judge upon confession
or deposition or witness.--This court doth keep all England in quiet.'



For the history of the world the decisive event of the epoch was the
rapid rise of the French monarchy, which after it had freed itself
from the English invasions, became master of all the hitherto separate
territories of the great vassals, and lastly even of Brittany, and
rapidly began to make its preponderance felt on all sides.

Considered in itself no one would have been more called on to oppose
this than the King of England, who even still bore the title of King
of France. In fact Henry did once revive his claim on the French
crown, on Normandy and Guyenne, and took part in a coalition, which
was to have forced Charles VIII to give up Brittany; he crossed to
Calais and threatened Boulogne. But he was not in earnest with these
comprehensive views in his military enterprise, any more than Edward
IV had once been in a similar one. Henry VII was contented when a
considerable money payment year by year was secured to him, as it had
been to Edward. The English called it a tribute, the French a pension.
It was acceptable to the King, and advantageous for his home affairs,
just at that moment--1492--to have a sum of money at his free

And no one could have advised him to attach himself unconditionally to
the house of Burgundy. Duke Charles' widow was still alive, who found
it unendurable that the house of York, from which she sprang, should
be dethroned from its 'triumphant majesty, which shone over the seven
nations of the world'--for so she expressed herself. With her the
fugitive partisans of the house of York found refuge and protection:
by herself and her son-in-law Maximilian of Austria the pretenders
were fitted out who contested the crown with Henry VII. Henry could
not really wish Brittany to pass to his sworn foe, so that he might be
threatened from this quarter also at every moment. For how could he
delude himself with the hope that a transitory alliance would prevail
over a dynastic antipathy?

At this crisis Ferdinand the Catholic of Spain offered him an alliance
and connexion by marriage.

That which induced this sovereign to do so was above all Charles
VIII's invasion of Italy, and his conquest of Naples, to which the
crown of Aragon had just claims. His plan was to oppose to the mighty
consolidated power of France a family alliance with the
Austro-Burgundian House, with Portugal, above all with England: he
hoped that this would react on Italy, always wont to adhere to the
most powerful party. Ferdinand offered the King of England a marriage
between his youngest daughter Catharine and the Prince of Wales. In
the English Privy Council many objections were made to this; they did
not wish to draw the enmity of France on themselves and would have
rather seen the prince united to a princess of the house of Bourbon,
as was then proposed. It was on Henry VII's own responsibility that
the offer was accepted. In September 1496 an agreement was come to
about the conditions: on 15th August 1497 the ceremony of betrothal
took place in the palace at Woodstock.[77]

The motive which impelled Henry to his decision is sufficiently clear;
it was his relation to Scotland, on which the Spaniards already
exercised influence.

There the second pretender, Perkin Warbeck, had found a warm reception
from the young and chivalrous James IV: he there married a lady of one
of the chief houses: accompanied in person by this sovereign he made
an attempt to invade England, which only failed owing to the
unfavourable time of the year. The Spanish ambassador Pedro de Ayala
then out of regard to Henry secured Perkin's withdrawal from Scotland.
But in 1497 the danger revived in a yet greater degree. Warbeck landed
in Cornwall where all the inhabitants rallied round him, and a revolt
already once suppressed broke out again; at this moment James IV,
urged on by the nobles of the land, crossed the border with a splendid
army: the co-operation of the two movements might have placed the King
in a serious difficulty. Again it was the Spanish ambassador who made
James IV determine not to let himself be urged on further; but rather
to give him the commission, to adjust his differences with England.
Henry VII was set free to suppress the revolt in Cornwall; Perkin
Warbeck was taken in his flight.

As the object of the Spaniards was to sever Scotland from her old
alliance with France, and that too by means of a family alliance, it
was an essential point in their mediation that Henry VII, as he
betrothed his son Arthur to a Spanish Infanta, should similarly
betroth his daughter Margaret to James IV. The understanding with
Spain and that with Scotland went hand in hand.

And on another side too the alliance with Spain was very useful to the
King of England. Ferdinand had married his elder daughter Juana to
Maximilian's son the Archduke Philip: Philip could not possibly uphold
the Yorkist interests so zealously as his father or his grandmother.
It was an event of importance that at Whitsuntide 1500 a meeting took
place between the English and the Austro-Burgundian Court in the
neighbourhood of Calais. Henry applied himself to win over those whom
he knew to be his enemies: but at the same time he wished it to be
remarked that the Archduke showed him the honour which belongs to a
lawful King. If there were still Yorkist partisans in England, who
placed their hopes in the house of Burgundy, they would find that they
had nothing more to hope from that quarter.

So the Spanish alliance served the prudent and circumspect politician,
to secure him from any hostile action on the side of Scotland and the
Netherlands. When Catharine in 1501 came to England for her marriage,
she was received with additional joy because it was felt that her near
connexion with the Burgundian house promised good relations with the

But never was a more eventful marriage concluded.

We do not know whether the Prince of Wales had really consummated it
when he died before he was yet sixteen. But the two fathers were so
well satisfied with an alliance which increased the security of the
one and gained the other great consideration in the world, that they
could not bring themselves to give up the family connexion, by which
it was so much strengthened. The thought occurred to Ferdinand--a very
unusual one in the rest of the European world, though not indeed in
Spain--of marrying the Infanta to Henry, brother of the deceased
prince, who was now recognised as Prince of Wales. With his condolence
for the loss he united a proposal for the new marriage. In England
from the beginning men did not hide from themselves that as regarded
the future succession, which ought not to be contested from any side,
the matter had its delicate points. The solution which Henry found
shows clearly enough the natural tactics of the old politician. He
obtained from the Roman Court a dispensation for the new marriage,
which expressly included the case of the first marriage having been
consummated. But it almost appears as though he did not fully trust
this authorisation. High as the prestige of the supreme Pontiff still
stood in the world, there were yet cases in which canonists and
theologians doubted as to his dispensing power; men could not possibly
have forgotten that, when Richard III wished to marry his niece
Elizabeth, a number of doctors disapproved of such a marriage, even if
the Pope should sanction it. At any rate Henry VII instigated, or at
least did not oppose, his son's solemnly entering a protest, after the
marriage ceremony between him and Catharine was performed, against its
validity (on the ground of his being too young), the evening before he
entered his fifteenth year, in the presence of the Bishop of
Winchester, his father's chief Secretary of State. Hence all remained
undecided. Catharine lived on in England: her dowry did not need to be
given up; the general influence of the political union was saved; it
could however be dissolved at any moment, and there was therefore no
quarrel on this account with France, whence from time to time
proposals proceeded for a marriage in the opposite interest. The
prince kept himself quite free, to make use of the dispensation or

For the King himself too, whose wife died in 1503, many negociations
were entered into on both sides. The French offered him a lady of the
house of Angoulême; he preferred Maximilian's daughter, Margaret of
Austria, not indeed for her personal qualities, however praiseworthy
they might be; he stipulated after his usual fashion for the surrender
of the fugitive Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, who was regarded
as the chief representative of the house of York, and (as once
previously in France) had at that time found a refuge in the
Netherlands. Philip, who after the death of his mother-in-law wished
to take possession of his wife's kingdoms in Spain, was on his voyage
from Flanders driven by a storm on the English coasts: he was Henry's
guest at Windsor, Richmond, and London. Here then the King's marriage
with Philip's sister was concerted, and with it the surrender of
Suffolk. Philip strove long against this: when he yielded, he at least
got a promise that Henry VII would spare the life of the earl, whom he
accused of treason. He kept his word: the prisoner was not executed
till after his death.

Margaret had no inclination to wed herself with the harsh and
self-seeking King, who was growing old: he himself, when Philip
shortly after his arrival in Castile was snatched away by an early
death, formed the idea of marrying his widow Juana, though she was no
longer in her right mind. He opened a negociation about it, which he
pursued with zeal and apparent earnestness. The Spaniards ascribe to
him the project of marrying himself to Ferdinand's elder daughter, and
his son to the younger, and making the latter marriage, which he was
purposely always putting off, the price of his own. One should hardly
ascribe such a folly to the prudent and wise sovereign at his years
and with his failing strength. That he made the proposals admits of
no doubt: but we must suppose that he wished purposely to oppose to
the pressure of the Spaniards for the marriage of his son with the
Infanta a demand which they could never grant. For how could they let
the King of England share in Juana's immense claims of inheritance?
Henry wished neither to break off nor to complete his son's marriage;
for the one course would have made Spain hostile, while the second
might have produced a quarrel with France. Between these two powers he
maintained an independent position, without however mixing in earnest
with their affairs, and only with the view of warding off their enmity
and linking their interests with his own. His political relations
were, as he said, to draw a brazen wall round England, within which he
had gradually become complete lord and master. The crown he had won on
the battlefield, and maintained as his own in the extremest dangers,
he bequeathed to his son as an undoubted possession. The son succeeded
the father without opposition, without a rival--a thing that had not
happened for centuries. He had only to ascend the throne, in order to
take the reins of government into his hand.

_Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey in their earlier years._

But that the political situation should continue as it was could not
be expected. What has not seldom in the history of great kingdoms and
states formed a decisive turning point now came to pass: to the father
who had founded and maintained his power with foresight and by painful
and continuous labour, succeeded a son full of life and energy, who
wished to enjoy its possession, and feeling firm ground under his feet
determined to live in a way more after his own mind. Henry VIII too
felt the need of being popular, like most princes on their accession:
he sacrificed the two chiefs of the fiscal commission, Empson and
Dudley, to the universal hate. In general his father's point of view
seemed to him too narrow-hearted, his proceedings too cautious.

The first great question which was laid before him concerned his
marriage: he decided for it without further delay. No doubt that in
this political reasons came chiefly into account. France had been ever
growing mightier, it had just then struck down the republic of Venice
by a great victory; men thought it would one day or another come into
collision with England, and held it prudent to unite themselves
beforehand with those who could then be useful as allies. At that time
this applied to the Spaniards above all others.[79] Yet, unless
everything deceives us, political considerations only coincided with
the prince's inclinations. The Infanta was in the full bloom of her
age; the prince, was even younger than herself and against his will
had been kept apart from any association with her, might well be
impressed by her: besides she had known how to conduct herself with
tact and dignity in her difficult position; with a blameless earnest
mien she combined gentleness and loveable qualities. The marriage was
carried out without delay; in the ceremonies of her husband's
coronation Catharine could actually take part as Queen. How fully did
these festivities again breathe the ancient character of chivalrous
splendour. Men saw the King's champion, with his own herald in front,
in full armour, ride into the hall on his war-steed which carried the
armorial bearings of England and France; he challenged to single
combat any one who would dare to say that Henry VIII was not the true
heir of this realm; then he asked the King for a draught of wine, who
had it given him in a golden cup: the cup was then his own.

Henry VIII had a double reason for confidence on his throne,--the
blood of the house of York also flowed in his veins. In European
affairs he was no longer content with keeping off foreign influences,
he wished to take part in them like his ancestors with the whole power
of England. After the dangers which had been overcome had passed out
of the memory of those living, the old delight in war awoke again.

When France now began to encounter resistance in her career of
victory, first through Pope Julius II, then through King Ferdinand,
Henry did not hesitate to make common cause with them. It marks his
disposition in these first years, that he took arms especially because
men ought not to allow the supreme Priest of Christendom to be
oppressed.[80] When King Louis and the Emperor Maximilian tried to
oppose a Council to the Pope, Henry VIII dissuaded the latter from it
with a zeal full of unction. He drew him over in fact to his side:
they undertook a combined campaign against France in which they won a
battle in the open field, and conquered a great city, Tournay. Aided
by the English army Ferdinand the Catholic then possessed himself of
Navarre, which was given up to him by the Pope as being taken when it
was in league with an enemy of the Church. Louis's other ally, the
Scottish King James IV, succumbed to the military strength of North
England at Flodden, and Henry might have raised a claim to Scotland,
like that of Ferdinand to Navarre: but he preferred, as his sister
Margaret became regent there, to strengthen the indirect influence of
England over Scotland. On the whole the advantages of his warlike
enterprises were for England small, but not unimportant for the
general relations of Europe. The predominance of France was broken: a
freer position restored to the Papacy. Henry VIII felt himself
fortunate in the full weight of the influence which England had won
over European affairs.

It was no contradiction of the fundamental ideas of English policy,
when Henry VIII again formed a connexion with Louis XII, who was now
no longer formidable. He even gave him his younger sister to wife, and
concluded a treaty with him, by which he secured himself a money
payment, as his predecessors had so often done before. Yet he did not
for this break at all with Ferdinand the Catholic, though he had
reason to complain of him: rather he concluded a new alliance with
him, only in a less close and binding manner. He would not have
endured that the successor of Louis XII (who died immediately after
his marriage), the youthful and warlike Francis I, after he had
possessed himself of Milan, should have also advanced to Naples. For a
moment, in consequence of these apprehensions, their relations became
less close: but when the alarm proved to be unfounded, the alliance
was renewed, and even Tournay restored for a compensation in money.
Many personal motives may have contributed to this, but on the whole
there was sense and system in such a policy. The reconquest of Milan
did not make the King of France so strong that he would become
dangerous, particularly as on the other side the monarchy which had
been prepared by the Spanish-Netherlands' connexions now came into
existence, and the grandson of Ferdinand and Maximilian united the
Spanish kingdoms with Naples and the lordship over the Netherlands.

To this position between the two powers it would have lent new weight
and great splendour if the German princes could have been induced to
transfer to the King of England the peaceful dignity of a Roman-German
Emperor. He bestirred himself about this for a moment, but did not
feel it much when it was refused him.

But now since the empire too was added to the possessions in Spain,
Italy, and the Netherlands, and hence redoubled jealousy awakened in
King Francis I, which held out an immediate prospect of war, the old
question came up again before King Henry, which side England was to
take between them, and that in a more pressing form than ever. A
special complication arose from the fact that yet another person with
separate points of view now took part in the politics of the age.

In another point Henry VIII departed from his father's tactics and
habits; he no longer sat so regularly with his Privy Council and
deliberated with them. He had been persuaded that he would best secure
himself against prejudicial results from the discords that reigned
among them, by taking affairs more into his own hand. A young
ecclesiastic, his Almoner Thomas Wolsey, had then gained the greatest
influence over him; he had been introduced alike into business and
into intimacy with the King by Fox, Bishop of Winchester, who wished
to oppose a more youthful ability to his rivals in the Privy Council.
In both relations Wolsey was completely successful. It stood him in
good stead that another favourite, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk,
who had married Henry's sister (Louis XII's widow), and was the King's
comrade in knightly exercises and the external show of court-life, for
a long time remained in intimate friendship with him. Wolsey was
conversant with the scholastic philosophy, with Saint Thomas Aquinas;
but that did not hinder him from cooperating also in the revival of
classical studies, which were just coming into notice at Oxford: he
had a feeling for the efforts of Art which was then attaining a higher
estimation, and an inborn talent for architecture, to which we owe
some wonderful works.[81] The King too loved building; the present of
a skilfully cut jewel could delight him; and he sought honour in
defending the scholastic dogmas against Luther's views; in all this
Wolsey seconded and supported him, he combined state-business with
conversation. He freed the King from the consultations of the Privy
Council, in which the intrinsic importance of the matter always weighs
more than one's own will; Henry VIII first felt himself to be really
King when business was managed by a favourite thoroughly dependent on
him, trusted by him, and in fact very capable. Wolsey showed the most
many-sided activity and an indefatigable power of work. He presided in
court though he was not strong in law; he mastered the department of
finance; the King named him Archbishop of York, the Pope
Cardinal-Legate, so that the whole control of ecclesiastical matters
fell into his hands; foreign affairs were peculiarly his own
department. We have a considerable number of his political writings
and instructions remaining, which give us an idea of the
characteristics of his mind. Very circumstantially and almost
wearisomely do they advance--not exactly in a straight line--weighing
manifold possibilities, multiplied reasons: they are scholastic in
form, in contents sometimes fantastic even to excess, intricate yet
acute, flattering to the person to whom they are addressed, but withal
filled with a surprising self-consciousness of power and talent.
Wolsey is celebrated by Erasmus for his affability, and to a great
scholar he may have been accessible, but to others he was not so. When
he went to walk in the park of Hampton Court, no one would have dared
to come within a long distance of him. When questions were asked him
he reserved to himself the option of answering or not. He had a way of
giving his opinion so that every man yielded to him; especially as the
possession of the King's favour, which he enjoyed, made it impossible
to oppose him. If the government was spoken of, he was wont to say,
'the King and I,' or 'we,' or at last 'I.' Just because he was of
humble origin, he wished to shine by splendid appearance, costly and
rare furniture, unwonted expenditure. Early one morning his
appointment as Cardinal arrived, that same morning at mass he
displayed the insignia of his new dignity. He required outward tokens
of reverence, and insisted on being served on bended knee. He had many
other passions, of which the chief was ecclesiastical ambition
pervaded by personal vanity.

It gave him high satisfaction that both the great powers emulously
courted the favour and friendship of his King, of which he seemed to
have the disposal.

In June 1520 took place within the English possessions on French soil
the meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, which is well designated
as the Field of the Cloth of Gold. It was properly a great tournament,
proclaimed in both nations, to which the chief lords yet once more
gathered in all their splendour. With the festivities were mingled
negociations in which the Cardinal of York played the chief part.

Immediately before this in England, and just afterwards on the
continent, Henry VIII met Charles V also, with less show but greater
intimacy; the negociations here took the opposite direction.

In 1521, when war had already broken out between the two great powers,
the cardinal in his King's name undertook the part of mediator. There
in Calais he sat to a certain degree in judgment on the European
powers. The plenipotentiaries of both sovereigns laid their cases
before him: with apparent zeal and much bustle he tried at least to
conclude a truce: he complained once of the Emperor, that he
disregarded his good advice though weighty and to the point: on which
the latter did come a step nearer him. It was a magnificent position
if he understood and maintained it. The more powerful both princes
became, the more dangerous to the world their enmity should be, the
more need there was of a mediating authority between them. But the
purity of intention which is required to carry out such a task is
seldom given to men, and did not exist in Wolsey. His ambition
suggested plans to him which reached far beyond a peace arbitration.

When he promoted that first interview with Francis I against the will
of the great men and of the Queen of England, the Emperor's
ambassadors, who were thrown into consternation by it, remarked that
the French King must have promised him the Papacy, which however, they
add, is rather in the Imperial than in the royal gift. It does not
appear that the Emperor went quite so far at once, he only warned the
cardinal against the untrustworthy promises of the French, and sought
to bring him to the conviction--while making him the most advantageous
offers--that he could expect everything from him.[82] Clear details he
reserved till they met in person; and then he in fact drew him over
completely to his side. Under Wolsey's influence King Henry,
immediately on the outbreak of the war, gave out his intention of
making common cause with the Emperor. For he had not, he said, so
little understanding as not to see that the opportunity was thus
offered him of carrying out his predecessors' claims and his own, and
he wished to use it. Only he preferred not to commence war at once,
since he was not yet armed, and since a broader alliance should be
first formed. The cardinal hoped to be able to draw the Pope, the
Swiss, and the Duke of Savoy, as well as the Kings of Portugal,
Denmark, and Hungary, into it. What an impression then it must have
made on him, when Pope Leo X, without being pressed, at once allied
himself with the Emperor! Wolsey's attempt at mediation--no room for
doubt about it is left by the documents that lie before us--was only
meant as a means of gaining time. At Calais Wolsey had already given
the imperial ambassadors, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio, the
most definite assurances as to the resolution of his King to take part
in the war against France. Before he returned to England to call the
Parliament together, which was to vote the necessary ways and means,
he visited the Emperor at Bruges. At the last negociations, being at
times doubtful about his trustworthiness, Charles V held it doubly
necessary to bind him by every tie to himself. He then spoke to him of
the Papacy, and gave him his word that he would advance him to that

The opportunity for this came almost too soon. When Leo X died, just
at this moment, Wolsey's hopes rose in stormy impatience. When the
Emperor renewed his assurance to him, he demanded of him in plain
terms to advance his then victorious troops to Rome, and put down by
main force any resistance to the choice proposed. Before anything
could be done, before the ambassador whom Henry VIII despatched at
once to Italy reached it, the cardinals had already elected, and
elected moreover the Emperor's former tutor, Hadrian. But was not this
a proof of his irresistible authority? Hadrian's advanced age made it
clear that there would be an early vacancy: and to this Wolsey now
directed his hopes. He gave assurance that he would administer the
Papacy for the sole advantage of the King and the Emperor: he thought
then to overpower the French, and after completing this work he
already saw himself in spirit directing his weapons to the East, to
put an end to the Turkish rule. At his second visit to England the
Emperor renewed his promise at Windsor castle; he spoke of it in his
conferences with the King.[84] Altogether the closest alliance was
concluded. The Emperor promised to marry Henry's daughter Mary,
assuming that the Pope would grant him the necessary dispensation.
Their claims to French territories they would carry out by a combined
war. Should a difficulty occur between them, Cardinal Wolsey was fixed
on as umpire.

So did the alliance between the houses of Burgundy and Tudor come to
pass, the basis of which was to be the annihilation of the power of
the Valois, and into which the English minister threw his world-wide
ambition. From England also a declaration of war now reached Francis
I. Whilst the war in Italy and on the Spanish frontiers made the most
successful progress, the English, in 1522 under Howard Earl of Surrey,
in 1523 under Brandon Earl of Suffolk, both times in combination with
Imperial troops, invaded France on the side of the Netherlands,
invasions which, to say the least, very much hampered the French.
Movements also manifested themselves within France itself, which awoke
hopes in the King that he might make himself master of the French
crown as easily as his father had once done of the English. Leo X had
already been persuaded to absolve the subjects of Francis I from their
oaths to him. It was in connexion with this that the second man in
France, the Constable of Bourbon, slighted in his station, and
endangered in his possessions, resolved to help himself by revolting
from Francis I. He wished then to recognise no other King in France
but Henry VIII: at a solemn moment, after receiving the sacrament, he
communicated to the English ambassador, who was with him, his
resolution to set the French crown on King Henry's head: he reckoned
on a numerous party declaring for him. And in the autumn of 1523 it
looked as if this project would be accomplished. Suffolk and Egmont
pressed on to Montdidier without meeting with any resistance: it was
thought that the Netherland and English forces would soon occupy the
capital, and give a new form to the realm. Pope Hadrian was just dead
at Rome; would not the united efforts of the Emperor and the King of
England succeed, by their influence on the conclave, especially now
that they were victorious, in really raising Wolsey to the tiara?

This however did not happen. In Rome not Wolsey but Julius Medici was
elected Pope; the combined Netherland and English troops retreated
from Montdidier; Bourbon saw himself discovered and had to fly, no one
declared for him. This last is doubtless to be ascribed to the
vigilance and good conduct of King Francis, but in the retreat of the
troops and in the election of the Pope other causes were at work. In
the conclave Charles V certainly did not act with as much energy for
Wolsey as the latter expected: Wolsey never forgave him. But he too
has been accused of having basely abused the confidence of the two
sovereigns: he had kept up friendly connexions all along with Francis
I and his mother, and they likewise had given him pensions and
presents: he had purposely supported the Earl of Suffolk so ill that
he was forced to retreat.[85] Of all the complaints raised against
him, not so much before the world as among those who were behind the
scenes, this was exactly the most hateful and perhaps the most

In 1524 the English took no active part in the war. Not till February
1525, when the German and Spanish troops had won the great victory of
Pavia and King Francis had fallen captive into the Emperor's hands,
did their ambitious projects and thoughts of war reawaken.

Henry VIII reminded the Emperor of his previous promises, and invited
him to make a joint attack on France itself from both sides: they
would join hands in Paris; Henry VIII should then be crowned King of
France, but resign to the Emperor not merely Burgundy but also
Provence and Languedoc, and cede to the Duke of Bourbon his old
possessions and Dauphiné. The motive he alleges is very extraordinary:
the Emperor would marry his daughter and heiress, and would at some
future time inherit England and France also and then be monarch of the
world.[86] Henry declares himself ready to press on with the utmost
zeal, provided he can do it with some security, and himself undertake
the conduct of the war in the Netherlands and the support of Bourbon.
The letter is from Wolsey, full of copious and pressing conclusions;
but should not the far-reaching nature of its contents have been a
proof even to him that it could never be taken in earnest?

Charles V could not possibly enter into the plan. He had lent it a
hearing as long as it lay far away, but when it came actually close to
view, it was very startling for him. The union of the crowns of France
and England on the head of Henry VIII would in itself have deranged
all European relations, above all it would have raised that
untrustworthy man, who was still all powerful in his Council, to a
most inconvenient height of power. The Spanish kingdoms too were
pressing for the settlement of their succession. He was in the full
maturity of manly youth: he could not wait for Mary of England who had
barely completed her tenth year: he resolved to break off this
connexion, and give his hand to a Portuguese princess, who was nearly
of his own age.

It could not be otherwise but that to the closest union, which was
broken at the moment when it might well have been able to attain its
object, the bitterest discord should succeed.


[77] Zurita Anales de Aragon v. 100. The Spanish ambassador who then
negociated the marriage was Doctor Ruyz Gonzales de Puerta. But the
idea was much older: in 1492 at the first alliance mention was made of
it (v. II); in the recently published Journal of an English Embassy to
Spain, there appears in March 1489, 'donne Katherine al notre princess
de Angleterre.' Memorial of Henry VII, 180.

[78] Zurita v. 221. 'La princesa fue recibida con tanta alegria
communemente de todos, que affirmavan aver de ser esta causa, no solo
de muy grande paz y presperidad de sodo a' quel reyno, pero de la
union del y de los estados de Flandes.'

[79] Zurita vi. 193. 'Por que el rey Luys cada dia se yva haziendo mas
poderoso y no teniendo el rey de Inglaterra confederation y adherencia
con los que avian de ser enemigos forçosos del rey de Francia, quedava
aquel reyno en grande peligro.'

[80] He accepts the doctrine: 'Christi vicarium nullum in terris
judicem habere nosque ei debere vel dyscholo auscultare.' Lettres de
Louys XII, iii. 307.

[81] As it is said in Cavendish, Cardinalis Eboracensis:--

    'My byldynges somptious, the roffes with gold and byse
    Craftely entaylled as conning could devise,
    With images embossed most lively.'

[82] In an opinion given at Corunna it is said that he must be
persuaded, 'qu'il prende pour agreable et accepte ce que l'empereur
lui a offert, luy traynant d'une souppe en miel parmy la bouche, que
n'est le (que du) bien, que l'empereur luy veut (20 April 1520).'
Monumenta Habsburgica ii. 1. 177, 183.

[83] In a letter to his ambassador, the Bishop of Badajoz, the Emperor
mentions 'les propos, que luy (au cardinal) avons tenu a Bruges
touchants la papalité.' Monumenta Habsburgica ii. 1. 501.

[84] Wolsey mentions in his letter to the King 'the conference and
communications, which he (the Emperor) had with your grace in that
behalf.' In Burnet iii. Records p. 11.

[85] Du Bellay au Grandmaistre 17 October 1529, in Le Grand, Histoire
du divorce iii. 374: 'Que il avait toujours en tems de paix et de
guerre intelligence secrette a Madame, de la quelle la dicte guerre
durant, il avoit eu des grants presens, qui furent cause, que Suffolc
estant a Montdidier il ne le secourut d'argent comme il devoit dont
advint que il ne print Paris.'

[86] The Instructions to Tunstall and Wingfield (30 March 1525),
hitherto known only from the extract in Fiddes, are now printed in the
State Papers vi. 333. Compare my German History, Bk. IV. ch. 2, but
the statement there made needs revision in accordance with the
newly-found documents.



Perhaps it is not a matter of such very great weight whether the
Emperor did his best for Wolsey in the conclave, or Wolsey his best
for the Emperor in the campaign of 1523. That the result did not
correspond to the expectations on either side was quite enough to
bring about an estrangement. What could the Emperor do with an English
minister who was not in a condition to support warlike enterprises
properly? what could the English do with an ally who appropriated to
himself exclusively the advantages of the victory they had won? Henry
VIII, while trying to win the French crown, had only weakened it, and
thereby given the house of Burgundy a preponderance in European
affairs, by which all other powers, and himself as well, felt
themselves threatened.

After the battle of Pavia a feeling prevailed throughout the world
that the rule of Spain and Burgundy would be intolerable, if France
were no longer independent. The ministers of the Pope in Rome first
came to a consciousness of this: as the best means of restoring the
balance, they looked to the dissolution of the alliance between Henry
VIII and Charles V. The Pope's Datary, Giberti, made approaches to the
English Court, though still with timid caution, in order in the first
place only to propose a reconciliation between England and France.[87]

To his joy he remarked that Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey were more
inclined to this plan than he had expected. If not before yet
certainly since his alienation from the Emperor, the cardinal had
entered into secret negociations with the mother of the King of
France: the last proposals to the Emperor had been only an attempt to
turn the success of his arms to the advantage of England also: when he
rejected them, the cardinal entered into the French connexion with
increased zeal. Before the end of the summer of 1523 peace between
England and France was effected with the sympathising co-operation of

In it the Regent Louise accepted the conditions laid down by the
cardinal: she did not neglect to secure him by a considerable pension.
From the beginning she had on her side also tried to excite his
world-wide ambition; for Francis I and Henry VIII, if once they became
friends, would do noble deeds to their own-undying renown and to the
glory of God, and the direction of their enterprises would fall to the

Even after Henry VIII abandoned him, the Emperor still kept the upper
hand. He extorted the Peace of Madrid; the League of the Italian
princes with France, by which its execution was to have been hindered,
and to which England lent her moral support without actually joining
it, led Charles V to new victories, to the conquest of Rome, and hence
to a position in the world which now did really threaten the freedom
of all other nations. The necessary result was that France and England
drew still more closely together. Cardinal Wolsey appeared in France;
a close alliance was concluded and (not without considerable English
help) an army sent into the field, which in fact gained the upper hand
in Italy and restored to the Pope, who had escaped to Orvieto, some
feeling of independence. Soon the largest projects were formed on this
side also, in which the two Kings expected to have the Pope entirely
with them. The French declared their wish to conquer Naples and never
restore it to the Emperor, not even under the most favourable
conditions. Wolsey thought that the Pope might pronounce the
deposition of the Emperor in Naples and even in the Empire, for which
certain German electors could be won over; he boasted that he would
bring about such a revolution as had not been seen for a century.

It was at this crisis in the general situation, and when an attempt
was being made to direct politics towards the annihilation of the
Emperor, that the thought occurred of dissolving Henry VIII's marriage
with the Emperor's aunt, the Infanta Catharine.

It is very possible, as a contemporary tradition informs us, that
Wolsey was instigated to this by personal feelings. His arrogant and
wanton proceedings, offensive by their excesses, and withal showing
all the priestly love of power, were hateful to the inmost soul of the
pure and earnest Queen. She is said to have once reproached him with
them, and to have even repelled his unbecoming behaviour with a
threatening word, and he on his part to have sworn to overthrow
her.[89] But this personal motive first became permanently important
when joined with a more general one. The Queen was by no means so
entirely shut out from the events of the day as has been asserted; in
moments of difficulty we find her summoning the members of the Privy
Council before her to discuss the pending questions with them. When
Wolsey began a life and death struggle with the Emperor, the influence
of the Queen, whose most lively sympathies were with her nephew, stood
not a little in his way; it was his chief interest to remove her.

It was indeed the feeling of the time, that family unions and
political alliances must go hand in hand. At the very first proposal
for a reconciliation between England and France, Giberti had advised
the marriage of the English princess Mary, who had been rejected by
the Emperor, with a French prince, and there had been much negociation
about it. But owing to the extreme youth of the princess it was soon
felt that this would not lead to the desired end. If a definitive
rupture was to take place between England and the Burgundo-Spanish
power, Henry VIII's marriage with Catharine must be dissolved and room
thus made for a French princess. This marriage however was itself the
result of that former state of politics which had led to the first war
with France. Wolsey formed the plan of marrying his King, in
Catharine's stead, with the sister or even with the daughter of
Francis I who was now growing up:[90] then only would the alliance
between the two powers become indissoluble. When he was in France in
1527, he said to the Regent, the King's mother, that within a year she
would live to see two things, the most complete separation of his
sovereign from Spain, and his indissoluble union with France.[91]

But to these motives of foreign policy was now added an extremely
important reason of home policy: this lay in the precarious state of
the Succession.

When the King several years before was congratulated on the birth of
his daughter, with an intimation that the birth of a son might have
been still more acceptable, he replied quickly, they were both still
young, he and his wife, why should they not still have a son? But
gradually this hope had ceased, and as hitherto no Queen had ever
reigned in her own right in England, the opinion gained ground that at
the King's death the throne would fall vacant. It had a little before
created a party among the people for the Duke of Buckingham, when he
maintained that he was the nearest heir to the crown, and would not
let it be taken from him. He had been executed for this: Mary's right
to the succession met with no further opposition; but even so it was
still always a doubtful future that lay before the country. People
wished to marry Mary at one time to the Emperor, at another to the
King or a prince of France: so that her claim to the inheritance of
the crown should pass to the house of Burgundy or to that of Valois.
But how dangerous this was for the independence of the country! Henry
would surely not have lost himself in Wolsey's intrigues, had he had a
son and heir, to represent the independent interests of England.

In other times relations of this kind would have probably been
reckoned as in themselves sufficient reason for a divorce: but not so
in that age. The very essence of marriage lies in this, that it raises
the union, on which the family and the order of the world rests, above
the momentary variations of the will and the inclination; by the
sanction of the Church it becomes one of that series of religious
institutions which set limits on every side to individual caprice. No
one yet dared so far to deny the religious character of marriage, as
to have avowed mere political views in wishing for a separation,
either before the world, or even to himself. But now there was no want
of spiritual reasons which might be brought forward for it. The King's
own confessor revived the doubts in him which had once been raised
before his marriage with his brother's widow. And when the King was
then reminded that such a marriage had been expressly forbidden in the
books of Moses, and threatened with the punishment of childlessness,
how could it fail to make an impression on him, when this threat
seemed to be strictly fulfilled in his case? Two boys had been born to
him from this marriage, but both had died soon after their birth. Even
within the Catholic Church it had been always a moot point whether the
Pope could dispense with a law of Scripture. The divine punishment
inflicted on the King, as he thought, seemed to prove that the Pope's
dispensation (encroaching as it did on the region of the divine
power), on the strength of which the marriage had been concluded, had
not the validity ascribed to it. Scruples of this sort cannot be said
to be a mere pretence; they have something of the half belief, half
superstition, so peculiarly characteristic of the spirit of the age
and of that of the King. And none could yet foresee what results they
implicitly involved.

It still appeared possible that the Pope would revoke the dispensation
given by one of his predecessors, especially as some grounds of
invalidity could be found in the bull itself. Wolsey's idea was that
the Pope, in the pressing necessity he was under of ranging England
and France against the preponderance of the Emperor, could be brought
to consent to recall the dispensation, and this would make the
marriage null and void from the beginning. Always full of arrogant
assumption of an influence to which nothing could be impossible,
Wolsey assured the King that he would carry the matter through.[92]

When tidings of this proposal first reached Rome, those immediately
around the Pope took special notice of the political advantages that
might accrue from it. For hitherto there was a doubt whether Henry
VIII was really so decidedly in favour of France as was said: a
project like this, which would make him and the Emperor enemies for
ever, left no room for doubt about it. When the Pope saw himself
secure of this support in reserve, his word, in a matter which
concerned the highest personal and civil interests, acquired new
weight even with the Emperor.[93]

It is undeniable that the Pope at first expressed himself favourably.
It appeared to make an especial impression on him, that the want of a
male heir might cause a civil war in England, and that this must be
disadvantageous to the Church as well.[94] He only asked not to be
pressed as long as he was in danger of experiencing the worst
extremities from the overwhelming power of the Emperor. In the spring
of 1528, when the French army advanced victoriously into the
Neapolitan territory and drove back the Emperor's forces to the
capital, Wolsey's request for full powers to inquire into the affair
in England was taken into earnest consideration by the Pope. It was at
Orvieto, in the Pope's working room, which was also his
sleeping-chamber: a couple of cardinals, the Dean of the Roman Rota,
and the English plenipotentiaries sat round the Pope, to talk over the
case thoroughly. One of the cardinals declared himself against the
Commission demanded by Wolsey, since such a grant contravened the
usage of the last centuries in the Roman tribunals; the Pope answered,
that in a matter concerning a King who had done such service to the
Holy See, they might well deviate from the usual forms; he actually
delegated this Commission to Cardinal Campeggi, whom the English
esteemed as their friend, and to Wolsey.

By this nothing was yet effected: it even appears as though Clement
VII had given tranquillising promises to the Emperor; the Bishop of
Bayonne declared that the Pope's intention was thus to keep both sides
dependent on him--but it was at all events one step on the road once
taken, which aroused hope in England that it would lead to the desired

But let us picture to ourselves the enormous difficulty of the case.
It lay above all in the inner significance of the question itself. In
his first interview with Henry VIII Campeggi remarks that the King was
completely convinced of the invalidity of the Papal dispensation,
which could not extend to Scripture precepts. No argument could move
him from this; he answered like a good theologian and jurist. Campeggi
says, an angel from heaven would not make him change his opinion. He
could not but see that Wolsey cherished the same view.

But was it possible for the Roman court to yield in this and to revoke
a dispensation, which involved the very substance of its spiritual
omnipotence? It would have thus only strengthened, and in reality
confessed, the antagonism against its authority which was based on
Holy Scripture. Campeggi could not yield a hair's breadth.

The only solution lay--and Campeggi was authorised to attempt it--in
inducing Queen Catharine to renounce her place and dignity. Soon after
his arrival he represented to her at length how much depended on it
for her and the world, and promised her that in return not only all
else should be secured to her that she could desire, but above all
that the succession of her daughter also should be guaranteed. The
wish, in which both Pope and King agreed, that she should enter a
convent, Campeggi at first did not mention to her; he thought she
would herself seek for some expedient. But she avoided this. Campeggi
had spoken to her in the name of the Pope: she only said she thought
to abide till death in obedience to the precepts of God and of the
Church: she would ask for counsellors from the King, would consult
with them, and then communicate to the Holy Father what her conscience
bade her. Her consent still remained possible. This gained, the legate
would have no need to mention further the validity or invalidity of
the dispensation. He was still hoping for it, when Wolsey came to him
one morning early (26 Oct. 1528) and told him the Queen had asked the
King for leave to make her confession to him (Campeggi), and had
obtained it. A couple of hours later the Queen appeared before him.
She told him of her earlier marriage, which was never really
consummated; that she had remained as unchanged by it as she had been
from her mother's womb; and this destroyed all grounds for the
divorce. Campeggi was however far from drawing such a conclusion; he
advised her in plain terms to make a vow and enter a convent,
repeating the motives stated before, to which he now added the example
of a Queen of France. But his words died away without effect. Queen
Catharine declared positively that she would never act thus; she was
called by God to her marriage, and resolved to live and die in it. A
judgment might be pronounced in this matter; if the marriage was
declared to be invalid, she would submit, she would then be as free as
the King; but without this she would hold fast to her marriage union.
She protested, in the strongest terms conceivable, that they might
kill her, they might tear her limb from limb, yet she would not change
her mind; had she two lives, she would lay them both down in such a
cause. It would be better, she said, for the Pope to try to divert the
King from his design; he would then be able to trust all the more in
the inclination of her kinsman the Emperor to help in bringing about a

In the presence of the counsellors given her at her wish, both legates
repeated two days later in a formal audience their admonition to the
Queen not to insist on a definite decision; but already Campeggi had
little hope left; he was astonished that the lady, usually so prudent,
should in the midst of peril so obstinately reject judicious

The question between King and Queen was, we might say, also of a
dogmatic nature. Had the Pope the right to dispense with the laws of
Scripture or had he not? The Queen accepted it as it had been accepted
in recent times, especially as the presupposed conditions of a
marriage had not been fulfilled in her case. The King rejected it
under all circumstances, in agreement with scholars and the rising
public opinion.

But into this question various other general and personal reasons now
intruded themselves. If the question were answered in the negative
Wolsey held firmly to the view of forming an indissoluble union
between France and England, of securing the succession by the King's
marriage with a French princess, of restoring universal peace; to this
he added the project, as he once actually said in confidential
discourse, of reforming the English laws, doubtless in an
ecclesiastical and monarchic sense; if he had once accomplished all
this, he would retire, to serve God during the rest of his life.

But he had already (and a sense of it seems almost to be expressed in
these last words so unlike his usual mode of thought) ceased to be in
agreement with his King. Henry VIII wished for the divorce, the
establishment of his succession by male offspring, friendship with
France, and Peace: but he did not care for the French marriage. He was
some years younger than his wife, who inclined to the Spanish forms of
strict devotion, and regarded as wasted the hours which she spent at
her dressing table. Henry VIII was addicted to knightly exercises of
arms, he loved pleasant company, music, and art; we cannot call him a
gross voluptuary, but he was not faithful to his wife: he already had
a natural son; he was ever entangled in new connexions of this kind.
Many letters of his survive, in which a tincture of fancy and even of
tenderness is coupled with a thorough sensuousness; just in the
fashion of the romances of chivalry which were then being first
printed and were much read. At that time Anne Boleyn, a lady who had
lately returned from France, and appeared from time to time at Court,
saw him at her feet; she was not exactly of ravishing beauty, but full
of spirit and grace and with a certain reserve. While she resisted the
King, she held him all the faster.[96]

The reasons of home and foreign policy mentioned above, and even the
religious scruples, have their weight; but we cannot shut our eyes to
the fact that this new passion, nourished on the expectation of the
divorce which was not unconditionally refused by the spiritual power,
gave the strongest personal impulse to carry the affair through.

The position of parties in the State also influenced it. Wolsey who
had diminished the consequence of the great lords, and kept them down,
and offended them by his pride, was heartily hated by them. Adorned
though he was with the most brilliant honours of the Church, yet for
the great men of the realm he was nothing but an upstart: they had
never quite given up the hope of living to see his fall. But if he
brought the French marriage to pass, as he designed, he would have won
lasting support and have become stronger than ever. Besides the great
men took the Burgundian side, not that they wished to make the Emperor
lord of the world, but on the other hand they did not want a war with
him: merchants and farmers saw that a war with the Netherlands, where
they sold their wool, would be an injury to all. When Wolsey flattered
the Pope with the hope of an attack on the Netherlands, he was, the
Bishop of Bayonne assures us, the only man in the country who thought
of it. He felt keenly the universal antipathy which he had awakened,
and spoke of the efforts and devices he would have need of, to
maintain himself.

It was therefore just what the nobles wanted, that Wolsey fell out
with the King in a matter of such engrossing nature, and that they
found another means of access to him.

The Boleyns were not of noble origin, but had been for some time
connected with the leading families. Geoffrey the founder of the house
had raised himself by success in business and good conduct to the
dignity of Lord Mayor of London. His son William married the daughter
of the only Irish peer who had a seat and vote in the English
Parliament, Sir Thomas Ormond de Rochefort, Earl of Wiltshire. His
titles passed through his daughter to his grandsons, of whom one,
Thomas Boleyn, was created Viscount Rochefort, and married the
daughter of the Duke of Norfolk; his daughter was Anne Boleyn: she
took high rank and an especially distinguished position in English
society because her uncle, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, was Henry VIII's
chief lay minister (he held the place of High Treasurer) and was at
the same time the leading man of the nobility. He had the reputation
of being versed in business, cultivated, and shrewd; he was Wolsey's
natural opponent. That the King showed an inclination to his niece,
against the cardinal's views, was for him and his friends a great
point gained.[97] It was soon seen that Anne's influence had obtained
the recall of an opponent of Wolsey, who had insulted him and was
banished from the Court.[98] It was of the greatest importance for
home affairs, that the King was inclined to make Anne Boleyn his wife.
The English kings in general did not think marriages in their own rank
essential. Henry's own grandfather, Edward IV, had married a lady of
by no means distinguished origin. It was seen beforehand that, if this
happened, Wolsey could not maintain himself, and authority would again
fall into the hands of the chief families. Even the cardinal's old
friend, the Earl of Suffolk, now joined this combination: the whole
of the nobility sided with it.

But besides this the chief foreign affairs took a turn which made it
impossible to carry out Wolsey's political ideas. In the summer of
1528 the attacks of the allies on Naples were repulsed, and their
armies annihilated. In the spring of 1529 the Emperor got the upper
hand in Lombardy also. How utterly then did the oft-proposed plan, of
depriving him of the supreme dignity, sink into nothingness: he was
stronger than ever in Italy. The Pope was fortunate in not having
joined the allies more closely; the relations of the States of the
Church with Tuscany made a union with the Emperor necessary; he had a
horror of a new quarrel with him. And as the Emperor now took up the
interests of his mother's sister in the most earnest manner, and
protested against proceeding by a Commission granted for England, the
Pope could not possibly let the affair go on unchecked. When the
English ambassadors pressed him, he exclaimed to them (for apart from
this he would gladly have shown more favour to the King) that he felt
himself as it were between anvil and hammer. Divers proposals were
made, one more extraordinary than the other, if only the King would
give up his demand;[99] but this was no longer possible. The two
cardinals, Campeggi and Wolsey, had to begin judicial proceedings:
King and Queen appeared before the Court, Articles were put forward,
witnesses heard: the Correspondence shows that the King and Anne
Boleyn expected with much confidence a speedy and favourable
decision.[100] Wolsey too did not yet abandon this hope. It was
thought at the time that he did not do all he might have done for it,
that in fact he no longer favoured it, seeing as he did that it would
turn out to the advantage of his rivals.[101] But it was in truth his
fate, that the consequences of the design which originated with him
recoiled on his own head. If it succeeded, it must be disadvantageous
to him: if it failed, he was lost. The exhortations he addressed to
the French Court, to exert yet once more its whole influence with the
Papal Court for this matter, sound like a cry of distress in extreme
peril. He had only undertaken it to unite France and England; the
thing was reasonable and practicable, the Pope would not wish by
refusing it to offend both crowns at once; he would value it more
highly than if he himself were raised to the Papacy. But he had now to
find that King Francis, as well as Pope Clement, was seeking a
separate peace with the Emperor. Wolsey had given Henry the strongest
assurances on this point, that such a thing would never happen, France
would never separate herself from him. But yet this now happened, and
how could any influence from that quarter on the Roman Court be still
expected in favour of England, in a matter which was so highly
offensive to the Emperor! The legates received from Rome distinct
instructions to proceed slowly, and in no case to pronounce a
decision.[102] While King Henry and those around him were eagerly
expecting it, the cardinals (using the holidays of the Roman Rota as a
pretence) announced the suspension of their proceedings.

It appeared in an instant into what a violent ebullition of wrath,
which unsettled every thing, the King fell in consequence; it seemed
as if all his past way of governing had been a mistake. In
contradiction to many of the older traditions of English history he
had hitherto ruled chiefly through ecclesiastics to the disgust of the
lay lords: now he betook himself to the latter, to complain of the
proceedings of the two cardinals. These were still in the hall where
they had sat, when Suffolk and some other lords appeared, and bade
them bring the matter to an end without delay, even if it were by a
peremptory decree, that might be issued on the next day, on which the
holidays would not have begun. But the prorogation was in fact only
the form under which the cardinals fulfilled their orders from Rome;
they could not possibly recall it. Suffolk broke out into the
exclamation that cardinals and legates had never brought good to
England. The two spiritual lords looked at each other with amazement.
Had they any feeling that his words contained a declaration of war on
the part of the lay element in the State against ecclesiastical and
foreign influences in general? Wolsey, at any rate, could not shut his
eyes to the significance of such a war. He often said that what Henry
VIII took in hand he could not be brought to give up by any
representations; he had sometimes tried it, he had fallen at his feet,
but it had been always in vain.

Henry contained himself yet a while, as hopes had been given him that
the proceedings might be resumed. But when a Breve came, by which
Clement VII recalled his Commission and evoked the question of the
divorce to Rome, he saw clearly that the influence of the Emperor in
the Pope's Council had quite gained the upper hand over his own on
this point. He was resolved not to submit to it. Had he not, before
the mayor and aldermen of London, declared with a certain solemnity
his resolution to carry through the divorce for the good of the land?
his passion and his ambition had joined hands for this purpose before
the eyes of the country. To prevent the need of recoiling, he formed a
plan of incalculable importance, the plan of separating his nation and
his kingdom from the spiritual jurisdiction of the Roman See.


[87] 'Giberto al Vescovo di Bajusa. 3 Luglio. Ci sono avisi
d'Ingliterra de' 14 del passalo che mostrano gli animi di la e
massimamente Eboracense non dico inclinati ma accesi di desiderio di
concordia con Francia'.... Lettere di principi I. 168.

[88] 'Le dit Cardinal sera conducteur, moderateur et gouverneur de
toutes les entreprises.' The Regent's Instructions in Brinon,
Captivité de François I. 57.

[89] Riccardus Scellejus de prima causa divortii (Bibliotheca
Magliabecch. at Florence). 'Catharina ita stomachata est, ut de
Vulseji potentia minuenda cogitationem susciperet, quod ille cum
sensisset, qui ab astrologo suo accepisset, sibi a muliere exitium
imminere, de regina de gradu dejicienda consilium inivit.'

[90] Lodovico Falier, Relatione di 1531 'avendo trattato, di dargli a
sorella del Cristianissimo adesso maritata al re di Navarra, gli
promese di far tanto con S. Sta che disfacesse le nozze.'

[91] Du Bellay au Grandmaistre 21 October 1528; after Wolsey's own
narrative in Le Grand, Histoire du divorce de Henri VIII, iii. 186.

[92] He says so himself. Bellay's letter in Le Grand iii. 318.

[93] In Sanga to Gambara, 9 February 1528. L. d. p. ii. 85. 'La cosa
che V. S. sa, che non potrà seguire senza gran rottura, fa S. S.
facile a creder che posse essere ciò che dice (Lotrec).

[94] 'Considering the nature of men, being prone into novelties--the
realm of England would not only enter into their accustomed divisions,
but also would owe or do small devotion unto the church: wherefore his
Holiness was right well content and ready to adhibit all remedy that
in him was possible as in this time would serve.' Knight to the
Cardinal, 1 Jan. 1528, in Burnet i. Collect. p. 22.

[95] Incorrupta. Campeggi's letters to Sanga, 17, 26, 28 Oct. 1528.
Laemmer, Monumenta Vaticana, 18 Oct. p. 25 seq. He gives his motive
for communicating what the Queen said to him in confession as being
her own wish. The archives too have long kept their secret.

[96] According to Ricc. Scellejus, she prays the King, 'ne pergat suam
oppugnare castitatem, quae dos erat maxima, quam posset futuro offerre
marito, quaque violanda reginam etiam dominam proderet,--quoniam se
illi fidelitatis sacramento obligasset.'

[97] It seemed helpful to their working against the cardinal.
Particularities of the life of Queen Anne, in Singer's Cavendish ii.

[98] Du Bellay in Le Grand iii. 296. 'Le duc de Norfolk et sa ande
commencent deja à parler gros (28 Jan. 1520).'

[99] In a letter of Sanga to Campeggi (Lettere di diversi autori
eccellenti p. 60), we read the following words: 'In quanto alla
dispensa di maritar il figliolo con la figliola del re, se con haver
in questa maniera stabilita la successione S. M. si rimanesse del
primo pensiero della dissolutions S. Bne inclineria assai Più.' This
looks as if a marriage between Henry VIII's natural son and Mary was
spoken of.--So I wrote previously. The thing is quite true. Campeggi
writes 28 Oct. to Sanga. 'Han pensato si maritar la (la figliola) con
dispensa di S. Sta al figlio natural del re, a che haveva pensato
anch'io per stabilimento della successione.' (Monumenta Vaticana p.

[100] Sanga to Campeggi 2 Sept. 1528 in the Lettere di diversi autori
eccellenti, Venetia 1556, p. 40. 'V. Sra. vedra l'esito che ha havuto
l'impresa del regno.--Bisogna che S. Bne vedendo l'imperatore
vittorioso non si precipiti a dare all'imperatore causa di nuova
rottura.... Sia almanco avvertita di non lasciarsi costringere a
pronuntiare senza nuova et expressa commissione di qua.'

[101] Falier says so very positively.

[102] Sanga 29 May. 'S. Bne ricorda che il procedere sia lento et in
modo alcuno non si venghi al giudicio.' Of the same date is Bellay's
letter in which those exhortations of Wolsey to the French Court are



Already at Orvieto Stephen Gardiner had told the Pope that, if the
King did not obtain justice from him, he would do himself justice in
his own kingdom. Later it was plainly declared to the Pope that, if
they saw the Emperor had the ascendancy in his Council, the nobility
of England with the King at their head would feel themselves compelled
to cast off obedience to Rome. It seems as though the Roman Court
however had no real fear of this. For the King, so they said, would do
himself most damage by such a step.[103] The Papal Nuncio declared
himself positively convinced, that it was necessary to deal with the
English sharply and forcibly, if one would gain their respect.

But these tendencies were more deeply rooted among the English than
was remembered at Rome. They went back as far as the Articles of
Clarendon, the projects of King John, the antipapal agitation under
Edward III; the present question which involved an exceptionable and
personal motive, exposed to public disapprobation, nevertheless
touched on the deepest interests of the country. The wish to make the
succession safe was perfectly justifiable. According to Clement VII's
own declarations, the English were convinced that he was only hindered
by regard for the Emperor from coming to a decision which was
essential to them. His vacillation is very intelligible, very natural:
but it did not correspond to the idea of the dignity with which he was
clothed. There was to be an independent supreme Pontiff for this very
reason, that right might be done in the quarrels of princes, without
respect of persons, according to the state of the case. It clashed
with the idea of the Papacy that alterations of political relations
exercised such a decisive influence as they did in this matter. There
was indeed something degrading for the English in their being made to
feel the reaction of the Emperor's Italian victory, and his
preponderance, in their weightiest affairs.

Henry VIII had now made up his mind to throw off that ecclesiastical
subjection, which was politically so disadvantageous; the
circumstances were very favourable. It was the time at which some
German principalities, and the kingdoms of the North, had given
themselves a constitution which rested on the exclusion of the
hierarchic influences of Rome: the King could reckon on many allies in
his enterprise. Moreover he had no dangerous hostilities to fear, as
long as the jealousy lasted between the Emperor and King Francis.
Between them Henry VIII needed only to revert to his natural policy of

And the accomplishment of the affair was already prepared in the
country itself, through no one more than through Cardinal Wolsey.

The dignity of legate, which was granted him by Pope Leo, and then
prolonged for five, for ten years, and at last for life, gave him a
comprehensive spiritual authority. He obtained by it the right of
visiting and reforming all ecclesiastical persons and institutions,
even those which possessed a legal exemption of their own. Some orders
of monks, which contended against it, were reduced to obedience by new
bulls. But from the visitation of the monasteries Wolsey proceeded to
their suppression: he united old convents (such as that one which has
brought down to recent times the name of an Anglo-Saxon king's
daughter, Frideswitha, from the eighth century) with the splendid
colleges which he endowed so richly, for the advancement of learning
and the renown of his name, at Oxford and at Ipswich. His courts
included all branches of the ecclesiastical and mixed jurisdiction,
and the King had no scruple in arming him with all the powers of the
crown which were necessary for the government of the Church. What
aspirations then arose are shewn by the compact which Wolsey made with
King Francis I to counteract the influence which the Emperor might
exert over the captive Pope. When it was settled in this, that
whatever the cardinal and the English prelates should enact with the
King's consent should have the force of law, does not this imply at
least a temporary schism?

When Clement became free, he named Wolsey his Vicar-General for the
English Church: his position was again to be what it had been from the
beginning, the expression of the unity between the Pope and the Crown.
But now how if this were dissolved? The victorious Emperor exercised a
still greater influence over the Pope when free than he had ever done
over him when captive. Under these circumstances Wolsey submitted to
the supreme spiritual power, the King resolved to withstand it: it was
exactly on this point that open discord broke out between them. For a
time the cardinal seemed still to maintain his courage; but when on
St. Luke's day--the phrase ran that the evangelist had disevangelised
him--the great seal was taken from him, he lost all self-reliance.
Wolsey was not a Ximenes or a Richelieu. He had no other support than
the King's favour; without this he fell back into his nothingness. He
was heard to wail like a child: the King comforted him by a token of
favour, probably however less out of personal sympathy than because he
could not be yet quite dispensed with.[104] The High Treasurer,
Norfolk, who generally acted as first minister, received the seals,
and held them till some time afterwards Thomas More was named
Chancellor. While these administered affairs in London, Suffolk, as
President of the Privy Council, was to accompany the King in person.
The chief direction of the administration passed over to the two
leading lay lords.

Henry VIII's resolution to call the Parliament together was of almost
greater importance for the progress of events than the alteration in
the ministry.

During the fourteen years of his administration Wolsey had summoned
Parliament only once, and that was when, in order to carry on the war
in alliance with the Emperor against France, he needed an
extraordinary grant of money. But his opening discourses were received
with silence and dislike. Never, says a contemporary who was present,
was the need of money more pressingly represented to a Parliament and
never was there greater opposition; after a fortnight's consultation
the proposal only passed at a moment when the members of the King's
household and court formed the majority of those present.[105] The
Parliament and the country always murmured at Wolsey's oppressive and
lavish finance management;[106] a later attempt to raise taxes that
had not been voted doubled the outcry against him. His fall and the
convocation of a Parliament seemed a return to parliamentary
principles in general, which in themselves exactly agreed with the
view taken by the King in the present questions.

In the first years of Henry VIII the Parliament had wished to do away
with some of the most startling exemptions of the clergy from the
temporal jurisdiction, for instance in reference to the crimes of
felony and murder; the ecclesiastics had on the other hand extended
their jurisdiction yet further, even to cases that had reference
solely to questions of property. Hence the antagonism between the two
jurisdictions had revived at that time with bitter keenness. It is
noticeable that the temporal claims were upheld by a learned Minorite,
Henry Standish, who declared it to be quite lawful to limit the
ecclesiastical privileges for the sake of the public good; especially
in the case of a crime that did not properly come before any spiritual
court. Both sides then applied to the King: the ecclesiastics reminded
him that he ought to uphold the rights of Holy Church, the laymen that
he should maintain the powers of jurisdiction belonging to the crown.
The King's declaration was favourable to the laymen; he recommended
the clergy to acquiesce in some exceptions from their decretals. But
the contest was rather suspended than decided. Wolsey's government
followed, in which the spiritual courts extended their powers still
further, and in reality exercised an offensive control over all the
relations of private life. Even the ecclesiastics did not love his
authority: they acquiesced in it because it was ecclesiastical: the
laity endured it with the utmost impatience.

It was inevitable that at the first fresh assembly of a Parliament
these contests about jurisdiction should be mentioned. The Lower House
began its action with a detailed charge against the spiritual courts,
not merely against their abuses and the oppression that arose from
them, but against their very existence and their legislation; the
clergy made laws without the King's foreknowledge, without the
participation of any laymen, and yet the laity were bound by them. The
King was called on to reconcile his subjects of the spiritual and
temporal estate with each other by good laws, since he was their sole
head, the sovereign, lord and protector of both parties.

It was a slight phrase,[107] 'the sole head of his subjects spiritual
and temporal,' but one of the weightiest import. The very existence of
the clergy as an order had hitherto depended precisely on their claim
to a legislative power independent of the temporal supremacy as being
their original right: on its universal maintenance rested the Papacy
and its influence on the several countries. Were the clergy now to
leave it to the King, who however only represented the temporal power,
to adjust the differences between their legislation and that of the
state? Were they, like the laity, virtually to recognise him as their

It is clear that they would thus sever themselves from the great union
under one spiritual Head, from the constitution of the Latin Church.
Whoever it was that introduced the word 'Head,' no doubt had this in
view. The King and the laity took it up, they wished only to induce
the clergy themselves to come to a resolution in this sense.

The chief motive which was to serve this purpose is connected with the
lordship which the Popes possessed in England in the thirteenth
century, or rather with the reaction against it which went on
throughout the fourteenth. This is most distinctly expressed in the
statutes of 1393, which threatened with the severest penalties all
participation in any attempt, to the injury of the King's supremacy,
to obtain a church-benefice from Rome; and this too even where the
King had given his consent to it. Clergy and laity were thus allied
against the encroachments of the Roman Curia. Wolsey was now accused
of having transgressed this statute:[108] he had in virtue of his
legatine power given away benefices, and established a jurisdiction by
which that of the King was encroached on; he was found guilty of this
in regular form. He anticipated the full effect of this sentence by
submitting without any defence and surrendering all his property to
the King. It was then that York House in Westminster, with its gardens
and the land adjoining, the Whitehall of later times, passed into the
possession of the crown.[109] He still kept his archbishopric; we find
him soon after at Caywood, the palace belonging to it, and in fact
even busied once more with his buildings. At times the King again
thought of his old counsellor, and to many it quite seemed as though
he might yet recover power. In those days the general belief was, that
Anne Boleyn had exerted her whole influence against it. But most of
the other persons of distinction in court and state were also opposed
to Wolsey. Did he then really, as was imputed to him, try to gain a
party among the clergy, and move the Pope to pronounce excommunication
against the King?[110] A pretext at any rate was found for arresting
him as a traitor: but as he was being brought to the Tower, he died
on the way. He wished, so far as we know, to starve himself to death;
it was at that time supposed that in his wish to die he was aided by
help from others.

Neither for his mental nor for his moral qualities can Wolsey be
reckoned among men of the first rank; yet his position and the ability
which he showed in it, his ambition and his political plans, what he
did and what he suffered, his success and his fall, have won him an
imperishable name in English history. His attempt to link the royal
power with the Papacy by the closest ties rent them asunder for ever.
No sooner was he dead than the clergy became subject to the Crown--a
subjection which could forebode nothing less than this final rupture.

The whole clergy was so far involved in Wolsey's guilt that it had
supported his Legatine Powers, and so had shared in the violation of
the statutes. It shows the English spirit of keeping to the strict
letter of the law, that the King, though he had for years given his
consent and help in all this, now came forward to avenge the violation
of the law. To avert his displeasure the Convocation of Canterbury was
forced to vote him a very considerable sum of money, yet even this did
not satisfy him. Rather it seemed to him the fitting and decisive
moment for forcing the clergy, conformably with the Address of the
Commons, to accept the Anglican point of view. He demanded from
Convocation the express acknowledgment that they recognised him as
_the Protector and the Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of
England_; he commanded the judges not to issue the Act of Pardon
unless this acknowledgment were at once incorporated with the bill for
the money payment. It is not hard to see what made him choose this
exact moment for so acting; it was the serious turn which the affair
of his Divorce had taken at Rome. He had once more made application to
the Curia to let it be decided in England; the Cardinals discussed the
point in their Consistory, Dec. 22, 1530, but resolved that the
question must come of right before the Assessors of the Rota, who
should afterwards report on it to the Sacred College.[111] What their
sentence would be was the less doubtful, since the Curia was now
linked closer than ever with the Emperor, who had just closed the Diet
of Augsburg in the way they wished, and was now about to carry out its
decrees. The traces of a new alliance with Rome, which was imputed to
Wolsey as an act of treason, must have contributed to the same result.
The King wished to break off this connexion by a Declaration, which
would serve him as a standing-ground later on, and show the Court of
Rome that he had nothing to fear from it. On Feb. 7, 1531, the King's
demand was laid before both Houses of Convocation. Who could avoid
seeing its decisive significance for the age? The clergy, which had
without much trouble agreed to the money-vote, nevertheless strove
long against a Declaration which altered their whole position. But a
hard necessity lay on them. In default of the Pardon, which, as the
judges repeatedly assured them, depended on this Declaration, they
would have found themselves out of the protection of the King and the
Law. They sent two bishops, to get the King's demand softened by a
personal appeal; Henry VIII refused to hear them. They proposed that
some members of both Houses should confer with the Privy Council and
the judges; the answer was that the King wished for no discussion, he
wanted a clear answer. Thus much however they ascertained, that the
King would be content with a mode of statement in which he was
unconditionally recognised as the protector and sovereign of the
Church and clergy of England, but as its supreme head only so far as
religion allows. This was comprehended in the formula _in so far as is
permitted by the law of Christ_, an expression which men might assent
to on opposite grounds. Some might accept it from seeing in it only
the limitation which is set to all power by the laws of God; others
from thinking that it excluded generally the influence of the secular
power on what were properly spiritual matters. When the clause was
laid before them, at the morning sitting of Feb. 11, it was received
with an ambiguous silence; but on closer consideration, it was so
evidently their only possible resource, that in the afternoon, first
the Upper House of Convocation, and then the Lower, gave their
consent. Then the King accepted the money-bill, and granted them in
return the Act of Pardon.[112]

The clergy had yet other causes for seeking the King's protection. The
writings of the Reformers, which attacked good works and vows, the
Mass and the Priesthood, and all the principles on which the
ecclesiastical system rested, found their way across the Channel, and
filled men's minds in England also with similar convictions. The only
safeguard against them lay in the King's power; his protection was no
empty word, the clergy was lost if it drew on itself Henry's aversion,
which was now directed against the Papal See.

The heavy weight of the King's hand and the impulse of
self-preservation were however not the only reasons why they yielded.
It is undeniable that the conception of the Universal Church,
according to which the National Church did but form part of a larger
whole, was nearly as much lost among the clergy as among the laity. In
the Parliament of 1532 Convocation had presented a petition in which
they desired to be released from the payments which had been hitherto
made to the supreme spiritual authority, especially the annates and
first-fruits. The National Church was the existing, immediate
authority--why should they allow taxes to be laid on them for a
distant Power, a Power moreover of which they had no need? As the
bishops complained that this injured their families and their
benefices, Parliament calculated the sums which Rome had drawn out of
the country on this ground since Henry VII's time, and which it would
soon draw at the impending vacancies; what losses the country had
already suffered in this way, and would yet suffer.[113]

The tendency of men's minds in this direction showed itself also in
the understanding come to on the chief question of all.

Parliament renewed its complaints of the abuses in the ecclesiastical
legislation, and learned men brought out clearly the want of any
divine authority to justify it; at last the bishops virtually
renounced their right of special legislation, and pledged themselves
for the future not to issue any kind of Ordinance or Constitution
without the King's knowledge and consent. A revision of the existing
canons by a mixed commission, under the presidentship of their common
head, the King, was to restore the unity of legislation.

The clause was then necessarily omitted by which the recognition of
the Crown's supremacy over the clergy had been hitherto limited. The
defenders of the secular power put forth the largest claims. They
said, the King has also the charge of his subjects' souls, the
Parliament is divinely empowered to make ordinances concerning them

So a consolidation of public authority grew up in England, unlike
anything which had yet been seen in the West. One of the great
statutes that followed begins with the preamble that England is a
realm to which the Almighty has given all fulness of power, under one
supreme head, the King, to whom the body politic has to pay natural
obedience, next after God; that this body consists of clergy and
laity; to the first belongs the decision in questions of the divine
law and things spiritual, while temporal affairs devolve on the laity;
that one jurisdiction aids the other for the due administration of
justice, no foreign intervention is needed. This is the Act by which,
for these very reasons, legal appeals to Rome were abolished. It was
now possible to carry out what in previous centuries had been
attempted in vain. All encroachments on the prerogative of the
'Imperial Crown' were to be abolished, the supreme jurisdiction of the
Roman Curia was to be valid no longer; appeals to Rome were not only
forbidden but subjected to penalties.

The several powers of the realm united to throw off the foreign
authority which had hitherto influenced them, and which limited the
national independence, as being itself a higher power.

As the oaths taken by the bishops were altered to suit these statutes,
the King set himself to modify his coronation oath also in the same
sense. He would not swear any longer to uphold the rights of the
Church in general, but only those guaranteed to the Church of England,
and not derogatory to his own dignity and jurisdiction; he did not
pledge himself to maintain the peace of the Church absolutely, but
only the concord between the clergy and his lay subjects according to
his conscience; not, unconditionally, to maintain the laws and customs
of the land, but only those that did not conflict with his crown and
imperial duties. He promised favour only for the cases in which favour
ought to find a place.[115]

How predominant is the strong feeling of aggrandisement, of personal
right, and of kingly independence!

Henry VIII too regarded himself as a successor of Constantine the
Great, who had given laws to the Church. True, said he, kings are sons
of the Church, but not the less are they supreme over Christian men.
Of the doctrines which came from Germany none found greater acceptance
with him than this--that every man must be obedient to the higher
powers. We possess Tyndale's book in which these principles are set
forth; by Anne Boleyn's means it came into Henry's hands. That Pope
Clement summoned him formally before his judgment-seat, he declared to
be an offence to the Kingly Majesty. Was a Prince, he exclaims, to
submit himself to a creature whom God had made subject to him; to
humble himself before a man who, in opposition to God and Right,
wished to oppress him? It would be a reversal of the ordinance of

Whilst we follow the questions which here come into discussion--on the
relations of Church and State, the rights of nations and
kings--questions of infinite importance for this as for all other
states, we almost lose sight of the affair of the Divorce, which had
been the original cause of quarrel, and which had meanwhile moved on
in the direction given it once for all. Pope Clement restrained
himself as much as possible, he still more than once made advances to
the King and offered him conciliatory terms; but the King had already
gone too far in his separation from Rome to be able to accept them. At
the beginning of 1533 he celebrated his marriage with Anne Boleyn
privately. He had once, when he was still waiting for the Pope's
decision, tried to influence it by favourable opinions of learned
theologians.[117] With this view he had applied to the most
distinguished universities in Italy and Germany, in France and in
England itself; and managed to obtain a large number of decisions, by
which the Pope's right of dispensation was denied; and this in spite
of the constant efforts in various ways of the Imperial agents; even
the two mother-universities, Bologna and Paris, had declared in his
favour. He protested that he had been thereby enabled in his
conscience to free himself from the yoke of an unlawful union,
bordering on incest, and to proceed to another marriage. But all the
more urgent was it that the legality of this marriage should be
recognised according to the forms at that time lawfully valid. He no
longer wished for a recognition from the Pope; he laid the question
before the two Convocations of the English Church-provinces. For the
general course of Church history we must admit it to be an event of
the highest significance, that they dared to pronounce the
dispensation of Pope Julius II invalid according to God's law. The
authority hitherto regarded as the expression of God's will on earth
was found guilty, by the representatives of the Church of one
particular country, of transgressing that will. It now followed that
the King's marriage, concluded on the strength of that dispensation,
was declared by the Archbishop's court at Canterbury null and void,
and invalid from the beginning. Catharine was henceforth to be
treated no longer as Queen but only as still Princess-dowager.

She was unable to realise the things that were happening around her.
That she was expected to renounce her rank as Queen awoke in her quite
as much astonishment as anger. 'For she had not come to England,' she
said, 'on mercantile business at a venture, but according to the will
of the two venerated kings now dead: she had married King Henry
according to the decision of the Holy Father at Rome: she was the
anointed and crowned Queen of England; were she to give up her title,
she would have been a concubine these twenty-four years, and her
daughter a bastard; she would be false to her conscience, to her own
soul, her confessor would not be able to absolve her.' She became more
and more absorbed in strict Catholic religious observances. She rose
soon after midnight, to be present at the mass; under her dress she
wore the habit of the third order of S. Francis; she confessed twice
and fasted twice a week; her reading consisted of the legends of the
saints. So she lived on for two years more, undisturbed by the
ecclesiastico-political statutes which passed in the English
Parliament. Till the very end she regarded herself as the true Queen
of England.

Immediately after the sentence on Catharine followed Anne's
coronation, which was performed with all the ancient ceremonial, all
the more carefully attended to because she was not born a princess. On
the Thursday before Whitsuntide she was escorted from Greenwich by the
Mayor and the Trades of London, in splendidly adorned barges, with
musical instruments playing, till she was greeted by the cannon of the
Tower. The Saturday after she went in procession through the City to
Westminster. The King had created eighteen knights of the Order of the
Bath. These in their new decorations, and a great part of the
nobility, which felt itself honoured in Anne's elevation, accompanied
her:[118] she sat on a splendid seat, supported by and slung between
horses: the canopy over her was borne by the barons of the Cinque
Ports; her hair was uncovered, she was charming as always, and (it
appears) not without a sense of high good fortune. On Sunday she was
escorted to Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury and six
bishops, the Abbot of Westminster and twelve other abbots in full
canonicals: she was in purple, her ladies in scarlet, for so old
custom required; the Duke of Suffolk bore the crown before her, which
was placed on her head by the hands of the archbishop. Nobles and
commons greeted her with emulous devotion, the ecclesiastics joined
in; they expected from her an heir to England.--Not a son, but a
daughter, Elizabeth, did she then bear beneath her heart.

Anne's coronation was at the same time the complete expression of the
revolt of the nation collectively from the Roman See: it is noteworthy
that Pope Clement VII, in his all-calculating and temporising policy,
even then reserved to himself the last word. As he had once yielded to
the Emperor, to conclude his peace with him, so now again--for he did
not wish to be entirely dependent on him--he had entered into close
relations with King Francis, who on his side saw in the continuance of
his union with England one of the conditions of his position in
Europe. The political weight of England reacted indirectly on the
Pope: he indeed annulled Archbishop Cranmer's decision, but he could
not yet bring himself to take a further step, often as he had promised
the Emperor and pledged himself in his agreements to do so.[119]
Charles V supplied his ambassador at Rome with yet another means to
advance (as he expressed himself) the decision of the proceedings with
the Pope and with the Holy See--for he made a distinction between
them. The Pope inquired of him what, after this had ensued, would then
be done to carry it out. The Emperor answered, his Holiness should do
what justice pledged him to do, what he could not omit if he would
fulfil his duty to God and the world, and maintain his own importance;
this must come first, the Church must use all its own means before it
called in the temporal arm: but if the matter came to that point, he
would not fail to do his part; to declare himself explicitly
beforehand might excite religious scruples.[120] And however much the
policy of the Pope might waver, there could be no doubt about the
decision of the Rota. On the 23 March 1534 one of the auditors,
Simonetta, bishop of Pesaro, made a statement on the subject in the
consistory of the cardinals: there were only three among them who
demanded a further delay: all the rest joined without any more
consideration in the decision that Henry's marriage with Catharine was
perfectly lawful, and their children legitimate and possessed of full
rights. The Imperialists held this to be a great victory, they made
the city ring with their cries of 'the Empire and Spain':[121] yet
even then the French did not give up the hope of bringing the Pope to
another mind. But meanwhile in England the last steps were already

King Henry reckons it as honourable to himself that he had not yielded
to the offer of the Roman Court, made to him indirectly, to decide in
his favour, but had set himself against its usurped jurisdiction,
without being influenced by the proposal,[122] not for himself alone
but in the interest of all kings. Yet once more had he laid the
question before learned ecclesiastics, whether the Pope of Rome had
any authority in England by divine right; as the University of Oxford
declares, their theologians had searched for this through the books of
Holy Scripture and its most approved interpreters; they had compared
the places, conferred with each other on them and come at last to the
conclusion, to answer the King's question unreservedly in the
negative. The Cambridge scholars and both Convocations declared
themselves in the same sense. On this the Parliament had no scruple in
abrogating piece by piece the hierarchic-Romish order of things; it
was nothing but a revocable right which they had hitherto borne with.
The Annates were transferred to the crown; never more was an English
bishop to receive his pallium from Rome. It was made penal to apply
for dispensing faculties; with their abolition the fees usually paid
for them also ceased. The oldest token of the devotion of the
Anglo-Saxon race to the Roman See, the Peter's penny, was definitely
abolished. Care was taken that for the appeal in the last resort,
hitherto made to the Roman courts, there should be a similar court at
home. On the other hand the King granted a greater freedom in the
election of bishops, at least in its outward forms. The existing laws
against heretics were confirmed, though those independent proceedings
of the bishops which had been usual in the times of the Lancasters
received some limitation. For the episcopal constitution and the old
doctrine were to be retained: the wish was to establish an
Anglo-Catholic Church under the supremacy of the crown. The King added
to his titles the designation of 'Supreme Head on earth of the Church
of England immediately under God.' The Parliament awarded him the
right of Visitation over the Church in reference to abuses and even to
errors, as well as the right of reforming them. For the exercise
moreover of the Papal authority, which so far passed over to him, he
had an example before him which he had only to follow. Wolsey for a
series of years, as Legate of the Pope and then as his Vicar General,
had administered the English Church by means of English courts: the
unity of the English common-weal had been represented in his twofold
power as legate and first minister; practically it was no violent
change when the King himself now appointed a Vicar General who,
empowered by him, exercised this authority without any reference to
the Pope. It was an assistant of Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, who was at
the same time Keeper of the Great Seal, who regulated the management
of these affairs in a way not altogether new to him. From this point
of view Wolsey represents exactly the man of the transition, who
occupied the intermediate position in nationalising the English

Though Henry VIII did not always follow in his father's footsteps, he
was yet his genuine successor in the work he began. What the first
Tudor achieved in the temporal domain, viz. the exclusion of foreign
influence, that the second extended to spiritual affairs. The great
question now was, whether the conflicting elements, in themselves
independent but ceaselessly agitated by their connexion with the rest
of Europe, would continue loyal to the idea of the common-weal; then
even their opposition might become a new impulse and help to perfect
the power of the State and the Constitution.


[103] 'Quasi che quello, che minacciano, non fosse prima a danno
loro.' So it is said in a letter of Sanga, April 1529, Lettere di
diversi autori p. 69.

[104] 'Pour ce qu'il n'est encoires temps qu'il meure que premierement
l'on n'ayt entendu et veriffié plusieurs choses.' Chapuis to Charles
V, 25 Oct. 1529, in Bradford, Correspondence of the Emperor Charles V,
p. 291.

[105] A letter printed in Fiddes (Life of Wolsey, Records II. p. 115,
no 58), adds to the laconic parliamentary notices the desirable
explanation: 'the knights being of the King's council, the King's
servants and gentlemen ... were long time spoken with and made to see
(a misprint for "say") yea, it may fortune, contrary to their heart.'

[106] Giustiniani: Four Years, I. 162. 'They see that their treasure
is spent in vain, and consequently loud murmurs and discontent prevail
through the kingdom.'

[107] 'The only head sovereign lord and protector of both the said
parties, your subjects spiritual and temporal.' Petition of the
Commons 1529, in Froude, History of England i. 200.

[108] Indictment in Fiddes, Life of Wolsey p. 504.

[109] 'Pro domino rege, de recuperatione.' Ibid. Collections no. 103.

[110] Falier: 'cominciò a machinar contra la corona con S. Sta.'

[111] Pallavicino, Concilio di Trento III, XIV, V, from a Roman diary.

[112] Original accounts in Burnet iii. 52, 53.

[113] Proceedings in Burnet, History of the Reformation i. 117. Strype
had already remarked its difference from the original demands.

[114] Matters to be proposed in Convocation (in Strype, Ecclesiastical
Memorials i. 215.) 'That the King's Majesty hath as well the care of
the souls of his subjects as their bodies, and may by the law of God
by his Parliament make laws touching and concerning as well the one as
the other.'

[115] Facsimile in Ellis's Original Letters, Ser. ii. vol i. But this
alteration cannot have taken place at the beginning of his government.
This would presuppose all the results won by so much effort. The
handwriting too is not that of a boy, but of a grown man.

[116] Instruction for Rochefort, State Papers vii. 427.

[117] Jean Joachim au roi (de France) 15 Feb. 1510, afinche questa
opinion (della Faculta di Parigi) insieme con altre opinion delle
universita di Angliterra et d'altrove per Mr. Winschier [father of
Anne Boleyn] al papa si possino monstrar o presentar.

[118] 'The moste part of the nobles of the realm.' Cranmer's letter to
Hawkyns. Archaeologia xviii. 79.

[119] In the treaty of Bologna (1 Feb. 1533) is an article, 'pro
administranda justitia super divortio Anglicano et--amputando omnem
superfluam dilationem'

[120] Instruccion para el Conde de Cifuentes y Rodrigo Avalos. Papiers
d'état de Granvelle ii. 45

[121] In a later report to the Emperor it is said, that the rights of
the Queen and Princess were recognised, 'a l'instante poursuite de S.
Me. Imperiale.' Ibid. ii. 210.

[122] In Halliwell, Letters of the Kings of England i. 337.



Among the results of these transactions in England that which most
directly concerned the higher interests of the nation was the
abolition, by a formal decision of Parliament, on religious grounds,
of the hereditary title of the King's daughter by his Spanish Queen,
and the recognition of the succession of Queen Anne's issue to the
throne, even in the case of her having only the one daughter who had
been meanwhile born. This does not depend so much on the actual
measures taken as on the fact, that now, according to Wolsey's plan,
the government had broken with the political system which had
prevailed hitherto, and indeed in a sense that went far beyond his
views. Not merely was a French alliance avoided; the separation from
the Church of Rome was to become the basis of the whole dynastic
settlement of England.

At home men felt most the harshness and violence of basing a political
rule on Church ideas. The statute contains threats of the sharpest
punishments against all who should do or write or even say anything
against it: a commission was appointed, in which we find the Dukes of
Norfolk and Suffolk, which could require every one to take an oath of
conformity to it. It was to be carried out with the full weight of
English adherence to the law.

It was to this very statute that Bishop Fisher of Rochester and Sir
Thomas More fell victims. They did not refuse to acknowledge the order
of succession itself thus enacted, for this was within the competence
of Parliament, but they would not confirm with their oath the reason
laid down in the statute, that Henry's marriage with Catharine was
against Scripture and invalid from the beginning. More ranks among the
original minds of this great century: he is the first who learnt how
to write English prose; but in the great currents of the literary
movement he shrank back from the foremost place: after he had aided
them by writings in the style of Erasmus, he set himself as Lord
Chancellor of England to oppose their onward sweep with much rigour:
he would not have the Church community itself touched. Of the last
statute he said, it killed either the body if one opposed it, or the
soul if one obeyed: he preferred to save his soul. He met his death
with so lively a realisation of the future life, in which the troubles
of this life would cease, that he looked on his departure out of it
with all the irony which was in general characteristic of him. The
fact that the Pope at this moment had named Bishop Fisher cardinal of
the Roman Church seems to have still more hastened his execution. They
both died as martyrs to the ideas by which England had been hitherto
linked to the Church community of the West and to the authority of the

If we turn our eyes abroad, the succession statute above all must have
made a most disagreeable impression on the Emperor Charles V. He saw
in it a political loss, an injury to his house, and indeed to all
sovereign families, and a danger to the Church. With a view to
opposing it, he formed the plan of drawing the King of France into an
enterprise against England. He proposed to him the marriage of his
third son, the Duke of Angoulême, with the Princess Mary, who was
recognised as the only lawful heiress of England by the Apostolic See,
and whose claims would then accrue to this prince.[123] And they would
not be difficult, so he said, to establish, as a great part of the
English abhorred the King's proceedings, his second marriage, and his
divergence from the Church. At the same time the Emperor proposed the
closest dynastic union of the two houses by a double marriage of his
two children with a son and a daughter of Francis I. What in the whole
world would he not have attained, if he had won over France to
himself! His combination embraced as usual West and East, Church and
State, Italian German and Northern affairs.

Perhaps the success of such a scheme was not probable; but
independently of this, Henry VIII had good cause to prepare himself to
meet the superior power of the Emperor, with whom he had so decidedly
broken. As we have already hinted, he could have no want of allies in
this struggle. It was under these circumstances that he entered into
relations with the powerful demagogues who were then from their
central position at Lubeck labouring to transform the North, and to
sever it from all Netherlandish-Burgundian influence. But it was of
still more importance to him to form an alliance with the Protestant
princes and estates of Germany proper, who had gradually become a
power in opposition to Pope and Emperor. In the autumn of 1535 we find
English ambassadors in Germany, who attended the meeting of the League
at Schmalkald, and the most serious negociations were entered on. Both
sides were agreed not to recognise the Council which was then
announced by the Pope, for the very reason that the Pope announced it,
who had no right to do so. The German princes demanded an engagement
that if one of the two parties was attacked, the other should lend no
support to its enemy; for the King this was not enough; he wished, in
case he was attacked, to be able to reckon on support from Germany in
cavalry, infantry, and ships, in return for which he was ready to give
a very considerable contribution to the chest of the League. It was
even proposed that he should undertake the protection of the

All this however was based on a presupposition, which could not but
lead the English to further ecclesiastical changes. It was not a
schism affecting the constitution and administration of justice, but a
complete system of dissentient Church doctrines, with which Henry VIII
came in contact. The German Protestants made it a condition of their
alliance with England, that there should be full agreement between
them as to doctrine.

We may ask whether this was altogether possible.

If we compare the Church movements and events that had taken place
during the last years in Germany and in England, their great
difference is visible at a glance. In Germany the movement was
theological and popular, corresponding to the wants and needs of the
territorial state; in England it was juridico-canonical, not connected
with appeals to the people or with free preaching, but based on the
unity of the nation. Though the German Diet had for a moment inclined
to the Reform and had once even given it a legal sanction, it
afterwards by a majority set itself against it: to carry it through
became now the part of the minority, the Protesting party. In England
on the contrary all proceeded from the plan of the sovereign and the
resolutions of Parliament, in which the bishops themselves with few
exceptions took part. Perhaps a more deep-seated ground of difference
may be that the German bishops were more independent than the English,
and that an Emperor was then ruling who, being at the same time King
of Spain and Naples, troubled himself little about the unity of
Germany in particular; while in England a newly-formed strong
political power existed which made the national interests its own and
upheld them on all sides.

Despite all this the English Schism had nevertheless a deep inner
analogy with the German Reformation.

From the beginning the dispute as to jurisdiction was based on the
historical point of view, on which Luther too laid much stress.
Standish, who has been already mentioned, derived the right to limit
the ecclesiastical prerogatives, from this among other grounds, that
there were Christian churches in which they were altogether rejected,
for instance the rule as to the celibacy of the clergy was not
accepted by the Greeks. He inferred too, that, as no one disputed the
claim of the Greek Church to be Christian, the conception of the
universal Church must be different from that which Romanism asserts.
Both countries also found the groundwork of the true church-community
in Scripture. In the chief instance before them, that of the divorce,
the German theologians were not of the same mind as the English; but
both sides agreed in this, that there was a revealed will of God,
which the ecclesiastical power might not contravene: the conviction
took root that the Papacy did not represent the highest communion of
men with divine things, but that this rested on the divine record
alone. The use of Scripture had at last influenced various questions
in England also. For abolishing the Annates it was argued that such an
impost contradicts a maxim of the Apostle Paul; for doing away the
Papal jurisdiction, that no place of Scripture justifies it. This is
what was meant when the assertion that the Papacy is of divine right
was denied. This becomes quite clear when Henry VIII instead of the
previous prohibitions against distributing the Bible in the vernacular
gave his licence for it. As he once declared with great animation, the
advancement of God's word and of his own authority were one and the
same thing.[125] The engraved title-page of the translation which
appeared with his _privilegium_ puts into his mouth the expression
'Thy word is a light to my feet.' The order soon followed to place a
copy of the Book of books in every church: there every man might look
into the disputed places, and convince himself, by this highest of
codes, as to the rightfulness of the procedure that had been chosen.

But then it was impossible to stop at mere divergences of
jurisdiction. The German interpretation of Scripture gained ground in
every direction: a theological school grew up, though only here and
there, which adhered to it more or less openly.

It must needs have had the greatest effect, that the followers of this
view obtained a great number of bishoprics. The archbishopric of
Canterbury had already fallen to the lot of a man who had completed
his theological training in Germany: this very man, Thomas Cranmer,
had carried through the divorce; his was one of those natures which
must have the support of the supreme power to help them to follow out
their own views; as they then appear enterprising and courageous, so
do they become pliant and yielding when this favour fails them; they
do not shine through moral greatness, but they are well suited to
preserve, under difficult circumstances, what they have once embraced,
for better times. Hugh Latimer was cast in a sterner mould; he
actually dared, in the midst of the persecutions, to admonish the
King, whose chaplain he was, of the welfare of his soul and his duty
as King. However little this act effected for the moment, yet he may
have thus contributed to enlighten the King (who now and then showed
him personal goodwill) as to his title of 'Defender of the Faith.'
Latimer was a fervent and effective preacher: he was made bishop of
Worcester. Nicolas Shaxton, Bishop of Salisbury, Hilsey of Rochester,
Bisham of S. Asaph's and then S. David's, Goodrich of Ely, were all
disposed to Protestantism. Edward Fox who had been named Bishop of
Hereford, had at Schmalkald openly declared the Pope to be Antichrist,
and assured the Protestants in the strongest manner of his sovereign's
inclination to attach himself to their Confession. It was the grand
union of these biblical scholars among the bishops, which in the
Convocation of 1536 undertook to carry through the work of drawing
their church nearer that of Germany. Latimer opened the war by a
fervent sermon against image-worship, indulgences, purgatory, and
other doctrines or rites which were at variance with the Bible.
Cranmer proved that Holy Scripture contains all that is necessary for
man to know for the salvation of his soul, and that tradition is not
needed. The Bishop of Hereford communicated it, as an experience of
his journey, that the laity everywhere would now be instructed only
out of the Revelation. Thomas Cromwell, who took part in the sittings
as the King's representative, lent them much support, and once brought
with him a Scottish scholar who had just returned from Wittenberg, to
combat the received doctrine of the Sacrament.[126] On the other side
also stood men of weight and consideration, Lee archbishop of York who
had expressly opposed himself, together with his clergy, to the
adoption of the King's new title, Stokesley of London who broke a
lance for the seven sacraments, Gardiner of Winchester and Longland of
Lincoln who after contributing materially to the King's divorce
nevertheless rejected any alteration in doctrine, Tonstall of Durham,
Nix of Norwich.

It seems as though the King, who was still busied in the Parliament
itself with the confirmation of his church regulations, thought he
detected in this party too much predilection for the Papacy. He found
another motive in the necessity of having allies for the coming
Council; he decisively took the side of Reform. Ten articles were laid
before the Convocation in his name, the first five of which are taken
from the Augsburg Confession or from the commentaries on it; as to
these the Bishop of Hereford agreed with the theologians of
Wittenberg. In them the faithful were referred exclusively to the
contents of the Bible, and the three oldest creeds; only three
sacraments were still recognised, Baptism, Penance, and the Lord's
Supper. The real presence was maintained in them, in the words of
those commentaries, and entirely in Luther's original sense.[127] But
still this tendency was not yet so strong as to be able to make itself
exclusively felt. In the following articles, the veneration, even the
invocation, of saints, and no small part of the existing ceremonies,
were allowed--though in terms which with all their moderation cannot
disguise the rejection of them in principle. Despite these limitations
the document contains a clear adoption of the principles of religious
reform as they were carried out in Germany. It was subscribed by 18
bishops, 40 abbots and priors, 50 members of the lower house of
Convocation: the King, as the Head of the Church, promulgated it for
general observance. His vicegerent in Church affairs commanded all the
clergy entrusted with a cure of souls to explain the articles, and
also at certain times to lay before the people the rightfulness of the
abrogation of Papal authority. He required them to give warnings
against image-worship, belief in modern miracles, and pilgrimages.
Children were henceforth to learn the Lord's Prayer, the articles of
the Creed, and the Ten Commandments in English.[128] It was the
beginning of the Church service in the vernacular, which was rightly
regarded as the chief means of withdrawing the national Church from
Romish influence.

But Cromwell was also engaged in another enterprise, not less hostile
and injurious to the Papacy.

As many of the great men in State and Church thought, so thought also
the pious members of the monasteries and cloistered convents; they
opposed the Supremacy, not as they said from inclination to
disobedience, but because Holy Mother Church ordered otherwise than
King and Parliament ordained.[129] The apology merely served to
condemn them. In the rules they followed, in the Orders to which they
belonged, the intercommunion of Latin Christianity had its most living
expression; but it was exactly this which King and Parliament wished
to sever. Wolsey had already, as we know, and with the help of
Cromwell himself, taken in hand to suppress many of them: but in the
new order of things there was absolutely no more place for the
monastic system; it was necessarily sacrificed to the unity of the
country, and at the same time to the greed of the great men.

But it cannot be imagined that innovations which struck so deep could
be carried through without opposition. After all the efforts of the
old kings to establish Christianity in agreement with Rome, after the
victories of the Papacy when the kings quarrelled with it, and the
violent suppression of all dissent, it was inevitable that the belief
of the hierarchic ages, which is besides so peculiarly adapted to this
end, had in England as elsewhere sunk deep into men's minds, and in
great measure still swayed them. Was what had been always held for
heresy no longer to merit this name because it was avowed by the
ruling powers? In the northern counties neither the clergy nor the
people would hear of the King's supremacy; they continued to pray for
the Pope; Cromwell's injunctions were disregarded. It may be that
horrible abuses and vices were prevalent in the cloisters, but all did
not labour under such reproaches; many were objects of reverence in
their own districts, and centres of hospitality and charity. It would
have been wonderful if their violent destruction had not excited
popular discontent. And this temper was shared by those who enjoyed
the chief consideration in the provinces. Among the nobles there were
still men like Lord Darcy of Templehurst, who had borne arms against
the Moors in the service of Isabella and Ferdinand: how offensive to
them must innovations be which ran counter to all their reminiscences!
The lords in these provinces were believed to have pledged their word
to each other to suppress the heresies, as they called the Protestant
opinions, together with their authors and abettors. The country
people, who apprehended yet further encroachments, were easily stirred
up to commotion; collections of money were made from house to house,
and the strongest men of each parish provided with the necessary
weapons: in the autumn of 1536 open revolt broke out. A lawyer, Robert
Aske, placed himself at its head; he set before the people all the
damage that the suppression of the monasteries did to the country
around, by diverting their revenues and abstracting their treasures.
In a short time he had gained over the whole of the North. The city of
York joined him; Darcy admitted him into the strong castle of Pomfret:
in that broad county only one single castle still held out in its
obedience to the government: then the neighbouring districts also were
carried away by the movement: Aske saw an army of thirty thousand men
around him. He took the road to London to, as he said, drive base-born
men out of the King's council, and restore the Christian church in
England: he called his march a 'Pilgrimage of Grace.' But when he came
into contact with royal troops at Doncaster he paused; for it was not
a war, which would cost the country too dear, but only a great armed
remonstrance in favour of the old system that he contemplated. He
contented himself with presenting his demands--suppression of
heresies, restitution of the supreme charge of souls to the Pope,
restoration of the monasteries, and in particular the punishment of
Cromwell with his abettors, and the calling of a Parliament.[130]

When we consider that Ireland was in revolt, Cornwall in a state of
ferment, men's Catholic sympathies stirred up by foreign princes, it
is easy to understand how some voices in the King's Privy Council were
raised in favour of concession. Henry VIII, a true Tudor, was not the
man to give in on such a point. He upbraided the rebels in haughty
words with their ignorance and presumption, and repeated that all he
did and ordered was in conformity with God's law and for the interests
of the country; but it was mainly by promising to call a Parliament at
York that he really laid the gathering storm. But at the first breach
of the law that occurred he revoked this promise;[131] if he had
relaxed the maintenance of his prerogative for a moment, he exercised
it immediately after all the more relentlessly. He at last got all the
leaders of the revolt into his hands, and appeared to the world to be
conqueror. But we cannot for this reason hold that the movement did
not react upon him. His plan was not, and in fact could not be, to
incur the hostility of his people or endanger the crown for the sake
of dogmatic opinions. True, he held to his order that the Bible should
be promulgated in the English tongue, for his revolt from the
hierarchy, and demand of obedience from all estates, rested on God's
written word: nor did he allow himself to swerve from the legally
enacted suppression of the monasteries; but he abandoned further
innovations, and an altered tendency displayed itself in all his
proclamations. Even during the troubles he called on the bishops to
observe the usual church ceremonies: he put forth an edict against the
marriage of priests (although he had been inclined to allow it) from
regard to popular opinion. The importation of books printed abroad,
and any publication of a work in England itself without a previous
censorship, were again prohibited. Processions, genuflexions, and
other pious usages, in church and domestic life, were once more
recommended. The sharpest edicts went forth against any dissent from
the strict doctrine of the Sacrament and against any extreme
variations in doctrine. The King actually appeared in person to take
part in confuting the misbelievers. He would prove to the world that
he was no heretic.

It had also already become evident that no invasion by the Emperor was
at present impending. Soon after his overtures to the King of France,
Charles V perceived that he could not win him over to his side. In the
Spanish Council of State they took it into consideration that Henry
VIII, if anything was undertaken against him, would at all times have
the King of France on his side, and in his passionate temperament
might be easily instigated to take steps which they would rather
avoid.[132] After Catharine's death they made mutual advances, which
it is true did not bring about a good understanding, but yet excluded
actual hostilities. It would only disturb our view if we were here to
follow one by one the manifold fluctuations in the course of these
political relations and negociations. One motive in favour of peace
under all circumstances was supplied by the ever-growing commerce
between England and the Netherlands, on which the prosperity of both
countries depended, and the destruction of which would have been
injurious to the sovereigns themselves. When, some time after, the
prospect of an alliance with France against England was presented to
him by the interposition of the new Pope, Paul III, Charles declined
it. He remarked that the German Protestants, to whom his attention
must be mainly directed, would be strengthened by it.[133] At the most
an interruption of this system could only be expected in case civil
disturbances in England invited the Emperor to make a sudden attack.
Once it even appeared as if a Yorkist movement might be combined with
the religious agitation. A descendant of Edward IV, the Marquis of
Exeter, formed the plan of marrying the Princess Mary, and undertaking
the restoration of the old church system. He found much sympathy in
the country for this plan; the co-operation of the Emperor with him
might have been very dangerous.

Henry lost no time in fortifying the harbours and coasts against such
an attack.

But the chief means of preventing all dangers of this kind lay in
cutting from under them the ground on which they rested. Henry VIII
was not minded to yield a jot of the full power he had inherited: on
the contrary his supremacy in church matters was confirmed in 1539 by
a new act of Parliament: another finally ordained the suppression of
the greater abbeys also, whose revenues served to endow some new
bishoprics, but mainly passed into the possession of the Crown and the
Lords: the unity of the Church and the exclusive independence of the
country were still more firmly established. But the more Henry was
resolved to abide by his constitutional innovations, the more
necessary it seemed to him, in reference to doctrine, to avoid any
deviation that could be designated as heretical. And though he some
years before made advances to the Protestants because he needed their
support against the Emperor and the Pope, things were now on the
contrary in such a state that he could feel himself all the safer, the
less connexion he had with the Germans. Under quite different auspices
of home and foreign politics was the religious debate, that had led in
1536 to the Ten Articles, resumed three years later. The bishops who
held to the old belief were as steady as ever and, so far as we know,
bound together still more closely by a special agreement. They knew
how to get rid of the old suspicion of their having thought of
restoring the Papal supremacy and jurisdiction, by showing complete
devotion to the King. On the other hand the Protestants had suffered a
very sensible loss in Bishop Fox of Hereford, who had always possessed
much influence over the King, but had died lately. An understanding
between the two parties on questions which were dividing the whole
world was not to be thought of; they confronted each other as
irreconcilable antagonists. The debates were transferred on Norfolk's
proposal to Parliament and Convocation; at last it was thought best
that each of the two parties should bring in the outline of a bill
expressing its own views. This was done: but first both bills were
delivered to the King, on whose word, according to the prevailing
point of view, the decision mainly depended. We may as it were imagine
him with the two religious schemes in his hand. On the one side lay
progressive innovation, increasing ferment in the land, and alliance
with the Protestants: on the other, change confined to the advantages
already gained by the crown, the contentment of the great majority of
the people, who adhered to the old belief, peace and friendship with
the Emperor. The King himself too had a liking for the doctrines he
had acknowledged from his youth. The balance inclined in favour of the
bishops of the old belief: Henry gave their bill the preference. It
was the bloody bill of the Six Articles, mainly, so far as we know,
the work of Bishop Gardiner of Winchester.

The doctrine of transubstantiation and all the usages connected with
it, private masses and auricular confession, and the binding force of
vows, were sanctioned anew; the marriage of priests and the giving the
cup to the laity were prohibited; all under the severest penalties.
The whole of the high nobility to a man agreed to it: the Lower House
raised the resolutions of the clergy into law.

How completely did the German ambassadors, who had come over with the
expectation of seeing the victory in England of the theologians who
were friendly to them, find themselves deceived! They still however
cherished the hope that these resolutions would never be carried out.
Their ground for hope lay in the King's marriage with a German
Protestant princess, which was just then being arranged.

Some years before Anne Boleyn had fallen a victim to a dreadful fate.
How had the King extolled her shortly before his marriage as a mirror
of purity, modesty and maidenliness! hardly two years afterwards he
accused her of adultery under circumstances which, if they were true,
would make her one of the most depraved creatures under the sun. If
we go through the statements that led to her condemnation, it is
difficult to think them complete fictions: they have been upheld quite
recently. If on the other hand we read the letter, so full of high
feeling and inward truthfulness, in which Anne protests her innocence
to the King, we cannot believe in the possibility of the
transgressions for which she had to die. I can add nothing further to
what has been long known, except that the King, soon after her
coronation, in November 1533, already showed a certain discontent with
her.[134] Was it after all not right in the eyes of the jealous
autocrat that his former wife's lady in waiting now as Queen wore the
crown as well as himself? Anne Boleyn too might not be without blame
in her demeanour which was not troubled by any strict rule. Or did it
seem to the King a token of the divine displeasure against this
marriage also, that Anne Boleyn in her second confinement brought a
stillborn son into the world? It has been always said that the lively
interest she took in the progress of the outspoken Protestantism,
whose champions were almost all her personal friends, contributed most
to her fall. For the house from which she sprung she certainly in this
respect went too far. In the midst of religious and political parties,
pursued by suspicion and slander, and in herself too tormented by
jealousy, endangered rather than guarded by the possession of the
highest dignity, she fell into a state of excitement bordering on

On the day after her execution the King married one of her maids of
honour, the very same who had awakened her jealousy, Jane Seymour. She
indeed brought him the son for whom his soul longed, but she died in
her confinement.

In the rivalry of parties Cromwell after some time formed the plan of
strengthening his own side by the King's marriage with a German
princess; he chose for this purpose Anne of Cleves, a lady nearly
related to the Elector of Saxony, and whose brother as possessor of
Guelders was a powerful opponent of the Emperor. This was at the time
when the Emperor on his way to the Netherlands paid a visit to King
Francis, and an alliance of these sovereigns was again feared. But by
the time his new wife arrived all anxiety had already gone by, and
with it the motive for a Protestant alliance for the King had ceased.
Anne had not quite such disadvantages of nature as has been asserted:
she was accounted amiable:[135] but she could not enchain a man like
Henry; he had no scruple in dissolving the marriage already concluded;
Anne made no opposition: the King preferred to her a Catholic lady of
the house of Howard. But the consequent alteration was not limited to
the change of a wife. The hopes the Protestants had cherished now
completely dwindled away: it was the hardest blow they could receive.
Cromwell, the person who had been the main instrument in carrying out
the schism by law, and who had then placed himself at the head of the
reformers, was devoted to destruction by the now dominant party. He
was even more violently overthrown than Wolsey had been. In the middle
of business one day at a meeting of the Privy Council he was informed
that he was a prisoner; two of his colleagues there tore the orders
which he wore from his person, since he was no longer worthy of
them;[136] that which had been the ruin of so many under his rule, a
careless word, was now his own.

Now began the persecution of those who infringed the Six Articles, on
very slight grounds of fact, and with an absence of legal form in
proving the cases, that held a drawn sword over innocent and guilty
alike. Bishops like Latimer and Shaxton had to go to the Tower. But
how many others atoned for their faith with their life! Robert Barnes,
one of the founders of the higher studies at Cambridge, well known and
universally beloved in Germany, who avowed the doctrines imbibed there
without reserve, lost his life at the stake. For what the peasants
had once demanded now again came to pass;--the heretics perished by
fire according to the old statutes.

After some time a check was given to extreme acts of violence. Legal
forms were supplied for the bloody laws, which softened their
severity. To Archbishop Cranmer, who was likewise attacked, the King
himself stretched out a protecting hand. When he once more made common
cause with the Emperor against France, and undertook a war on the
Continent, he previously ordered the introduction of an English
Litany, which was to be sung in processions. The fact that the Bible
was read in the vernacular, and popular devotional exercises retained
in use, saved the Protestant ideas and efforts, despite all
persecution, from extinction.

It gives a disagreeably grotesque colouring to the government of Henry
VIII to see how his matrimonial affairs are mixed up with those of
politics and religion. Queen Catharine Howard, whose marriage with him
marked also the preponderance of the Catholic principle, was without
any doubt guilty of offences like those which were imputed to her
predecessor Anne: at her fall her relations, the leaders of the
anti-Protestant party, lost their position and influence at court. The
King then married Catharine Parr, who had good conduct and womanly
prudence enough to keep him in good temper and contentment. But she
openly cherished Protestant sympathies; and she was once seriously
attacked on their account. Henry however let her influence prevail, as
it did not clash with his own policy.

Now that once the sanctity of marriage had been violated, the place of
King's wife became as it were revocable; the antagonistic factions
sought to overthrow the Queen who was inconvenient to them; that which
has been at various times demanded of other members of the household,
that they should be in complete agreement with the ruling system, was
then required with respect to their wives, and indeed to the wife of
the sovereign himself; the importance of marriage was now shown only
by the violence with which it was dissolved.

This self-willed energetic sovereign however by no means so completely
followed merely his own judgment as has been assumed. We saw how after
Wolsey's fall he at first inclined to the protestant doctrines, and
then again persecuted them with extreme energy. He sacrificed, as
formerly Empson and Dudley, so Wolsey and now Cromwell to the public
opinion roused against them. He recognised with quick penetration
successive political necessities and followed their guidance. The most
characteristic thing is that he always seemed to belong body and soul
to these tendencies, however much they differed from each other: he
let them be established by laws contradictory to each other, and
insisted with relentless severity on the execution of those laws.

Under him, if ever, England appears as a commonwealth with a common
will, from which no deviation is allowed, but which moves forward
inclining now to the one side now to the other. It was no part of
Henry VIII's Tudor principles and inclinations to call the Parliament
together; but for his Church-enterprise it was indispensable. He gave
its tendencies their way and respected the opinion which it
represented: but at the same time he knew how to keep it at all times
under the sway of his influence. Never has any other sovereign seen
such devoted Parliaments gathered round him; they gave his
proclamations the force of law, and allowed him to settle the
succession according to his own views; they then gave effect to what
he determined.

In this way it was possible for Henry VIII to carry through a
political plan that has no parallel. He allowed the spiritual
tendencies of the century to gain influence, and then contrived to
confine them within the narrowest limits. He would be neither
Protestant nor Catholic, and yet again both; an unimaginable thing, if
it had only concerned these opinions: but he retained his hold on the
nation because his plan of separating the country from the Papal
hierarchic system, without taking a step further than was absolutely
necessary, suited the people's views.

In the earlier years it appeared as though he would alienate Ireland
by his religious innovations, since there Catholicism and national
feeling were at one. And there really were moments when the insurgent
chiefs in alliance with Pope and Emperor boasted that with French and
Scotch help they would attack the English on all sides and drive them
into the sea. But there too it proved of infinite service to him that
he defended dogma while he abandoned the old constitution. In Ireland
the monasteries and great abbeys were likewise suppressed; the
O'Briens, Desmonds, O'Donnels, and other families were as much
gratified as the English lords and gentlemen with the property almost
gratuitously offered them. Under these circumstances they recognised
Henry VIII as King of Ireland, almost as if they had a feeling of the
change of position as regards public law into which they thus came:
they received their baronies from him as fiefs and appeared in

Towards the end of his life Henry once more drew the sword against
France in alliance with the Emperor. What urged him to this however
was not the Emperor's interest in itself, but the support which the
party hostile to him in Scotland received from the French. Moreover he
did not trouble himself to bring about a decisive result between the
two great powers: he was content with the conquest of Boulogne. He had
reverted to his father's policy and resolved not to let himself be
drawn over by any of his neighbours to their own interests, but to use
their rivalry for his own profit and security.[137]

And he was able to do yet more than his father to increase England's
power of defence against the one or the other. We hear of fifty places
on the coast which he fortified, not without the help of foreign
master-workmen: the two great harbours of Dover and Calais he put into
good condition and filled them with serviceable ships. For a long time
past he had been building the first vessels of a large size (such as
the Harry and Mary Rose) which then did service in the wars.[138] It
may be that the property of the monasteries was partly squandered and
ought to have been better husbanded: a great part of their revenues
however was applied to this purpose, and conferred much benefit on the
country so far as its own peculiar interests were concerned.

The characteristic of his government consists in the mixture of
spiritual and temporal interests, the union of violence with fostering
care. The family enmities, which Henry VII had to contend with, are
combined with the religious under Henry VIII, for instance in the
Suffolk family: as William Stanley under the father, so Fisher and
More under the son, perished because they threw doubt on the grounds
for the established right, and still more because they challenged that
right itself. It raised a cry of horror when it was seen how under
Henry VIII Papists and Protestants were bound together and drawn to
the place of execution together, since they had both broken the laws.
Who would not have been sensible of this? Who would not have felt
himself distressed and threatened? Yet at the opening of the Session
of 1542, after the Chancellor had stated in detail the King's services
(who had taken his place on the throne), Lords and Commons rose and
bowed to the sovereign in token of their acknowledgment and gratitude.
In the Session of 1545 he himself once more took up the word. In
fatherly language he exhorted both the religious parties to peace; a
feeling pervaded the assembly that this address was the last they
would listen to from him; many were seen to burst into tears.

For his was the strong power that kept in check the fermenting
elements and set them a law that might not be broken. On their
antagonism, by favouring or restraining them, he established his
strong system of public order. In Henry VIII we remark no free
self-abandonment and no inward enthusiasm, no real sympathy with any
living man: men are to him only instruments which he uses and then
breaks to pieces; but he has an incomparable practical intelligence, a
vigorous energy devoted to the general interest; he combines
versatility of view with a will of unvarying firmness. We follow the
course of his government with a mingled sense of aversion and


[123] Papiers d'état du Cl. de Granvelle ii. 147, 210.

[124] Documents in the Corpus Reformatorum ii. 1032, iii. 42.

[125] Henry VIII to the judges--in Halliwell i. 342 (25 June 1535).

[126] Burnet, History of the Reformation i. 213. Soames, History of
the Reformation ii. 157.

[127] Seckendorf, Historia Lutheranismi iii. 13, xxxix. p. 112: my
German History iv. 46.

[128] Injunctions given by the authority of the King. Burnet's
Collection p. 160.

[129] Prior of Charterhouse (Houghton), Speech, in Strype i. 313.

[130] Froude, History of England iii. 104.

[131] 'The people were unsatisfyed that the parliament was not held at
York; but our King alledged that since they had not restaured all the
religious houses [as they had promised] he was not bound strictly to
hold promise with them.' Herbert, Henry VIII, p. 428.

[132] Los impedimentos en que esta S. M. por la malignidad del dicho
rey de Francia que haze gran fundamento en la adherencia del dicho rey
de Inglaterra, y la obstinacion ceguedad y pertinacia en que esta.
(Report in the State Archives at Paris.)

[133] As it is said in the Emperor's letter of refusal to his
ambassador at Rome. 'Los desviados de Germania se juntarian mas
estrechamente con el rey de Inglaterra.' (Document in the Archives at

[134] In a letter of the Emperor, 2 November, is mentioned 'le
descontentement, que le roi d'Ingleterre prenoit de Anna de Bolans.'
Papiers d'état ii. 224.

[135] Marillac au roi, 8 Juillet 1540. 'Le peuple l'aymoit et estimoit
bien fort, comme la plus douce gracieuse humaine Reyne, qu'ils eurent

[136] A description of the scene, which deserves to be known, is
contained in the letter of the French ambassador, Marillac, to the
Constable Montmorency, 23 June 1540.

[137] Froude iv. 104.

[138] Marillac assures us that there were not more than eight vessels
in England over 500 tons, that then the King built in 1540 fourteen
larger ones, among them 'le grand Henri,' over 1800 tons; he had
however 'peu de maistres que entendent a l'ouvrage. Les naufs
(navires) du roi sont fournies d'artillerie et de munition beaucoup
mieux que de bons pilots et de mariniers dont la plus part sont
estrangers.' (Letter of 1 Oct. 1540.)



The question arises, whether it was possible permanently to hold to
Henry's stand-point, to his rejection of Papal influence and to his
maintenance of the Catholic doctrines as they then were. I venture to
say, it was impossible: the idea involves an historical contradiction.
For the doctrine too had been moulded into shape under the influence
of the supreme head of the hierarchy while ascending to his height of
power: they were both the product of the same times, events,
tendencies: they could not be severed from each other. Perhaps they
might have been both modified together, doctrine and constitution, if
a form had been found under which to do it, but to reject the latter
and maintain the former in its completed shape--this was

When it was seen that Henry could not live much longer, two parties
became visible in the country as well as at court, one of which,
however much it disguised it, was without doubt aiming at the
restoration of the Pope's supremacy, while the other was aiming at a
fuller development of the Protestant principle. Henry had settled the
succession so that first his son Edward, then his elder daughter (by
his Spanish wife), then the younger (by Anne Boleyn), were to succeed.
As the first, the sovereign who should succeed next, was a boy of
nine, it was of infinite importance to settle who during the time of
his minority should stand at the helm. The nearest claim was possessed
by the boy's uncle on the mother's side, Edward Seymour, Earl of
Hertford, who had begun to play a leading part in Henry's court and
army, was in close alliance with Queen Catharine Parr, and like her
cherished Protestant sympathies. But the Norfolks with their Catholic
sympathies who had previously so long exercised a leading influence on
the government, would not give way to him. Norfolk's son, the Earl of
Surrey, adopted the immoral plan of ensnaring the King, who though
dying was yet supposed to be still susceptible to woman's charms, by
means of his sister, in order to draw him back to the side of his
family and the strict Catholics: a plot which failed at once when his
sister refused to play such a part. The ambitious announcements into
which he allowed himself to be hurried away could only bring about the
opposite result: he himself was executed, his father thrown into
prison, and the man who could have done most in the Catholic
direction, Bishop Gardiner, was struck out of the list of those who,
after the King's death, were to form the Privy Council.[139]
Immediately afterwards, January 1547, Henry died. He had composed the
Privy Council of men of both tendencies in the hope, as it appears,
that in this way his system would be most surely upheld. But men were
too much accustomed to see the highest power represented in one
leading personage, for it to continue long in the hands of a Board of
Councillors. From the first sittings of the Privy Council Edward VI's
uncle, the Earl of Hertford, came forth as Duke of Somerset and
Protector of the realm. In him the reforming tendency won the upper

It appeared at once with full force at the Coronation, which was not
celebrated at all after the form traced out by Henry VIII, since even
this would have tied them far too much to the existing system;
Cranmer, in the discourse which he there addressed to the young King,
departed in the most decided manner from all the ideas hitherto
attached to a coronation. Whither had the times of the first Lancaster
departed, in which a special hierarchic sacredness was given to the
Anointing through its connexion with Thomas Becket? Becket's shrine
had been destroyed. The present Archbishop of Canterbury went back to
the earliest times of human history: he brought forward the example of
Josias, who likewise came to the government in tender years and
extirpated the worship of idols: so might Edward VI also completely
destroy image-worship, plant God's true service, and free the land
from the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome; it was not the oil that made
him God's anointed, but the power given him from on high, in virtue of
which he was God's representative in his realm. His duty to the Church
was changed into his duty to religion: instead of upholding the
existing state of things, it at once pledges and empowers him to
reform the Church.[140]

The great question now was, how an alteration could be prepared in a
legal manner, and how far it would be possible to maintain in this the
constitution of the realm in its relation to the states of Europe. On
the ground of the supremacy and of a precedent of Henry VIII, they
began with a resolution to despatch commissions throughout the realm,
to revive the suppressed Protestant sympathies; the precedent was
found in the ordinances that had once proceeded from Thomas Cromwell,
just as if they had not in the least been annulled by what had
happened since, but simply set aside by party feeling and neglect.
They were to enquire whether, as therein ordered, the bishops had
preached against the Pope's usurpation, the parish priests had taught
men to regard not outward observances but fulfilment of duty as the
real 'good works,' and had laboured to diminish feast-days and
pilgrimages. Above all, images to which superstitious reverence was
paid were at last to be actually removed: the young were to be really
taught the chief points of the faith in English, a chapter of the
Bible should be read every Sunday, and Erasmus' Paraphrase employed to
explain it. In place of the sermon was to come one of the Homilies
which had been published under the authority of the Archbishop and
King. For this last ordinance also authority was found in an
injunction of Henry VIII. Archbishop Cranmer, whose work they are,
establishes in them the two principles, on which he had already
proceeded in 1536, one that Holy Scripture contains all that it is
necessary for men to know, the other that forgiveness of sins depends
only on the merits of the Redeemer and on faith in Him. On this
depends absolutely the possibility of rooting out of men's minds the
belief in the binding force of Tradition, and the hierarchic views as
to the merit of good works. The Archbishop's views were promoted by
eloquent and zealous preachers such as Matthew Parker, John Knox, Hugh
Latimer; more than all by the last, who had been released from the
Tower, weak in body but with unimpaired vigour of spirit. The fact of
his having maintained these doctrines in the time of persecution, his
earnest way and manner, and his venerable old age doubled the effect
of his discourses.

No direct alteration could be thought of so long as the Six Articles
still existed with their severe threats of punishment. In the
Parliament elected under the influence of the new government it needed
little persuasion to procure their repeal. The Protector assured the
members that he had been urgently entreated to effect this, since
every man felt himself endangered.[141]

One of those popular beliefs gained ground, which are often more
effective in great assemblies than elaborate proofs: the conviction
that doctrine and authority were too closely akin for the separation
from Rome to be maintained without deviation in doctrine; the breach
must be made wider if it was to continue, and the hierarchic doctrines
give way.

So it came about that by a unanimous resolution of Convocation, which
Parliament confirmed, the alteration was approved, which almost more
than any other characterises those Church formularies that deviate
from the Romish, the administration of the communion in both kinds.

Now it was exactly from this that the transformation of the whole
divine worship in England proceeded. The very next Easter (1548) a new
form for the communion office was published in English. This was
followed, according to a wish expressed by the young King, by a
Liturgy for home and church use, in which the revised Litany of Henry
VIII was also included. In this 'Common Prayerbook' they everywhere
kept to what was before in use, but everywhere also made changes. The
Reforming tendencies obtained the upper hand in reference to its
doctrinal contents; thus even one of the rubrics previously in favour
by which auricular confession was declared to be indispensable was now
omitted; it was left to every man's judgment to avail himself of it or
not. At times they again sought out what had been disused in later
ages: they recurred to Anglo-Saxon usages. The Common Prayer-book is a
genuine monument of the religious feeling of this age, of its learning
and subtlety, its forbearance and decision. In the Parliament of 1549
it was received with admiration: men even said it was drawn up under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The order went forth for its
adoption in all churches of the land, no other liturgy was to be used;
it has nourished and edified the national piety of the English

And just as it was now asserted that in all this they were only
carrying out the views of the deceased King, as he had set them forth
many years before and had at the last again proclaimed them, so now
Somerset undertook to carry through another of his intentions as well,
which was closely connected with his religious plans.

In 1542 Henry VIII had agreed with some of the most powerful nobles of
Scotland that in that country too the Church should be reformed, all
relations with France broken off, and the young Queen brought to
England in order if possible to marry his son Edward at some future
day. The scheme broke down owing to all kinds of opposition, but the
idea of uniting England and Scotland in one great Protestant kingdom
had thus made its appearance in the world and could never again be set
aside. The ambition to realise it filled the soul of Somerset. When,
before the end of the summer of 1547, he took up arms, he hoped to
bring about an acknowledgment of England's old supremacy over
Scotland, to prepare the way for the future union of both countries by
the marriage, and to annihilate the party there which opposed the
progress of Protestantism. A vision floated before him of fusing both
nations into one by a union of dynasty and of creed. It was mainly
from the religious point of view that his ward regarded the matter.
'They fight for the Pope,' wrote Edward to the Protector when he was
already in the field, 'we strike for the cause of God, without doubt
we shall win.[143]'

Somerset had already penetrated far into the land when he offered the
Scots to retreat and make peace on the one condition that Mary should
marry Edward VI. But the ruling party did not so much as allow his
offer to be known. A battle took place at Pinkie, in which Somerset
won a brilliant victory. Not a little did this victory contribute to
establish his consequence in the world: even in Scotland some
districts on the borders took the oath of fidelity to King Edward. But
in general the antipathies of the Scotch to the English were all the
more roused by it; they would hear nothing of a wooing, carried on
with arms in the hand: the young Queen was after some time (August
1548) carried off to France, to be there married to the Dauphin. The
Catholic interests once more maintained their ascendancy in Scotland
over those of the English and the Protestants.

And how could Somerset's plans and enterprises fail to meet with
resistance in England itself? All the elements were still in existence
that had once set themselves in opposition to King Henry with such
energy. When an attempt was made in earnest to carry out the
innovations at home, in the summer of 1549, the revolt burst into
flame once more.

In Cornwall a tumult arose at the removal of an image, and the King's
commissary was stabbed by a priest. The troubles extended to
Devonshire, where men forced the priests to celebrate the mass after
the old ritual, and then took the field with crosses and tapers, and
carrying the Host before them. When their numbers became so large as
to embolden them to put forth a manifesto, they demanded before
all--incredible as it may seem--the restoration of the Six Articles
and the Latin Mass, the customary reverence to the Sacrament and to
images. They did not go so far as to demand the restoration of the
authority of the Roman See, like the rebels under Henry VIII; but they
pressed for a fresh recognition of the General Councils, and of the
old church laws as a whole. At least half of the confiscated church
property was to be given back, two abbeys at least were to remain in
each county. But this movement owed its peculiar character to yet
another motive. The enclosures of the arable land for purposes of
pasture, of which the peasantry had been long complaining, did not
merely continue; the nobility, which took part in the secularisation
of the church-lands in an increasing degree, extended its grasp also
to the newly-gained estates. So it came to pass that a rising of the
peasants against the nobles was now united with tendencies towards
church restoration, as in previous times with ideas of quite a
different kind. East and West were in revolt at one and the same time
and for different reasons. On a hill near Norwich, the chief leader, a
tanner by trade, called Ket, took his seat under a great oak which he
called the Oak of Reformation; he had the mass read daily after the
old use: but he also planned a remodeling of the realm to suit the
views of the people. The wildest expectations were aroused. A prophecy
found belief according to which monarchy and nobility were to be
destroyed simultaneously, and a new government set up under four
Governors elected by the common people. And woe to him who wished to
reason with the peasants against their design. They were already
bending their bows against a preacher who attempted to do so, he was
only saved with difficulty. But they were still less capable this
time of withstanding the organised power of the State than they had
been under Henry VIII. In Devonshire they were beaten by Lord Russel,
the ancestor of the Dukes of Bedford; in Norfolk, where they had risen
in the greatest force, by John Dudley Earl of Warwick. Under his
banners we find German troops as well, who were untouched by the
national sympathies, and in the rebels combated only the enemies of
Protestantism. The government obtained a complete victory.

The insurrectionary movement was suppressed, but it once more produced
a violent reaction in home affairs, by which this time the head of the
government was himself struck down.[144] Among English statesmen there
is none who had a more vivid idea of the monarchical power than the
Protector Somerset. He started from the view that religious and
political authority were united in the hand of the anointed King in
virtue of his divine right. The prayer which he daily addressed to God
is still extant; it is full of the feeling that to himself, as the
representative and guardian of the King, not only his guidance but
also the direction of all affairs is entrusted. Such was also the view
of the young sovereign himself. In one of his letters he thanks the
Protector for taking this employment on him, and for trying to bring
his State to its lawful obedience, the country to acknowledge the true
religion, and the Scots to submission. Somerset did not think himself
bound by the opinion of the Privy Council, since with him, and with no
other, lay the responsibility for the administration of the State. He
held it to be within his competence to remove at pleasure those of its
members who showed themselves adverse to him. He too had that jealousy
of power, which always directs itself against those who stand nearest
to it. There is no doubt that his brother, Thomas Lord Seymour,
impelled by a restless ambition, hoped to overthrow the existing
government and put himself in possession of the highest place, and
committed manifold illegal acts; he--the Lord Admiral of the
realm--even entered into alliance with the pirates in the
Channel.[145] But despite this it was thought at the time very severe
when the Protector gave his word that the vengeance of the law should
be executed on his brother. His reason was that Lord Seymour would not
submit to sue in person for mercy to him the injured party and
possessor of power. Such were these men, these brothers. The one died
rather than pray for mercy: the other made the bestowal of it depend
on this prayer, this confession of his supreme authority.[146] The
Protector took all affairs, home and foreign, exclusively into his own
hand. Without asking any one, he filled up the ministerial and civil
posts: to the foreign ambassadors he gave audience alone. He erected
in his house a Court of Requests,[147] which encroached not a little
on the business of Chancery. The palace in the Strand, which still
bears his name, was to be a memorial of his power; not merely houses
and gardens, but also churches which occupied the ground, or from
which he wished to collect his building materials, were destroyed with
reckless arbitrary power. Great historical associations are
indissolubly linked with this house. For it was Somerset after all,
who through personal zeal opened a free path for the Protestant
tendency which had originated under Henry VIII but had been repressed,
and gave the English government a Protestant character. He connected
with this not merely the Union of Scotland and England, but a yet
further idea of great importance for England itself. He wished to free
the change of religion from the antipathy of the peasantry which was
at that time so prominent. In the above-mentioned dissensions he took
open part for the demands of the commons: he condemned the progress of
the enclosures and gave his opinion that the people could not be
blamed so heavily for their rebellion, as their choice lay only
between death by hunger and insurrection. It seemed as though he
wished in the next Parliament by means of his influence to carry
through a legal measure in favour of the commons.

But by this he necessarily awakened the ill will of the aristocracy.
He was charged with having instigated the troubles themselves by
proclamations which he issued in opposition to the Privy Council; and
with not merely having done nothing to suppress them but with having
on the contrary supported the ringleaders and taken them under his
protection.[148] No doubt this was the reason why the campaign against
the rebels in Norfolk was not entrusted to him, as he wished, but
(after some vacillation) to his rival, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.
The victory gained by him, with the active sympathy of the nobility,
which was defending its own interests, was a defeat for Somerset. Even
those who did not believe that he had any personal share in the
movement, nevertheless reproached him with having allowed conditions
to be prescribed to himself and his government by the people; the
common man would be King. Financial difficulties arising from an
alteration in the coinage, and ill success in the war against France,
contributed to give his opponents the ascendancy in the Privy Council.
Somerset once entertained the idea of setting the masses in movement
on his own behalf: one day he collected numerous bands of people at
Hampton Court, under cover of summoning them to defend the King, by
whose side his enemies wished to set up a regency. But this pretext
had little foundation, it was only himself whom his rivals would no
longer see at the head of affairs: after a short fluctuation in the
relations between the main personages he was forced to submit. He
saved his life for that time: after an interval he was released from
prison and again entered the Privy Council: then he once more made an
attempt to recover the supreme power by help of the people, but thus
drew his fate on himself. The masses who regarded him as their
champion showed him loud and heartfelt sympathy at his execution.

On Somerset's first fall it was said that the Emperor Charles V had a
share in bringing it about, and this is very conceivable; for what
result could be more displeasing to this sovereign than that
Protestantism, which he was putting down in Germany, should have
gained at the same moment a strong position in England: it is certain
that the change of administration was greeted with joy by the court at

But it brought the Emperor no advantage. At the moment the new
government assumed a hostile attitude towards France: but soon
afterwards the Earl of Warwick, who now took the lead of affairs as
Duke of Northumberland, found himself driven to the necessity of
making a peace with that power, by which Boulogne was given up and
Scotland abandoned to French influence. One article of the treaty
contains indirectly a renunciation of the proposed marriage between
the King of England and the Queen of Scotland. And this treaty was
greatly to the Emperor's disadvantage, since it now set the French
free to renew the hostility against him which had been broken off some
years before by an agreement all in his favour. They allied themselves
for this purpose with the German princes who found the Emperor's yoke
intolerable. These princes had even applied to the English government:
and Edward would personally have been much inclined to lend an ear to
their proposals. If the fear of being involved in war with the Emperor
on this account withheld him from open sympathy, yet it is certain
that his general political attitude essentially contributed to enable
them to take up arms and break the Emperor's ascendancy.

Among the determining causes of a movement which is part of the
history of the world must be specially reckoned the personal
disposition of this prince, young as he was even at the close of his
reign. Somerset had kept him rather close: the Duke of Northumberland
gave him greater freedom, allowed him to manage his own money, and was
pleased when he made presents and showed himself as King; he was
careful to see that immediate obedience was paid him.[150] Whilst
Edward had been hitherto almost exclusively busied with his studies,
he now turned to knightly exercises for which he also showed aptitude:
he sat well on horseback, drew his bow and broke his lance as well as
any other young man of his age. But with all this his learning was not
neglected.[151] Edward VI not merely possessed for his years
extraordinary and manifold attainments; the written remains which are
extant from his hand display a rare mental growth. What he has written
for instance on his connexion with the two Seymours, his uncles,
indicates a clear and almost a judicial conception of existing
relations, which is very uncommon. On his tutor's advice, to prevent
his passing thoughts from getting confused, he regularly noted them
down, and composed a diary which has the same characteristics and may
be regarded as a valuable historical monument. But studies and
religion coincide in him: he is Protestant to the core; his chief
ambition is by means of his rank and power to place himself at the
head of the Protestant world. The duke could not have ventured to
oppose the progress of the Reformation.

In the days of distress, after the defeat in the Schmalkaldic war,
England was regarded as the refuge of the gospel: men welcomed the
scholars who fled thither, whose co-operation in the conflict with
Catholicism, still so powerful, was very desirable. In Cranmer's
palace at Lambeth were assembled Italians, French, Poles, Swiss, South
Germans and North Germans; the Secretary of State, William Cecil, who
had been trained in the service of the Protector, but had kept his
place after his fall, obtained them the King's support. Martin Bucer
and Paulus Fagius received promotion at Cambridge, Peter Martyr at
Oxford: he there maintained the Calvinistic views on the communion in
a great disputation. There were Walloon and French churches in the old
centres of Catholic worship, Canterbury and Glastonbury; John a Lasco
preached in the church of the Augustines in London. With no less
vigour than these foreigners did natives, sometimes returned exiles,
maintain the views then prevailing on the Continent. Under these
influences it was impossible, in conformity with the view taken up in
1536, to abide by the dogmas, which had been put forth by the school
of Wittenberg, now completely overthrown. The difference comes out
very remarkably when we compare the Common Prayer-book of 1549 with
the revised edition of 1552. Originally men had held fast to the real
presence in England also: Cranmer in his catechism expressly declared
for it: in the formula of the first book, which was compiled out of
Ambrose and Gregory, this view was retained:[152] but men in England
had since convinced themselves that this doctrine had not prevailed so
exclusively in Christian antiquity as had been hitherto thought:
following the example of Ridley, the most learned of the Protestant
bishops, the majority had given up the real presence: in the new
Common Prayer-book a controversial passage was even inserted against
it. First on their own impulse, and then with the help of the Privy
Council, the zealous Protestant-minded bishops removed the high altars
from the churches and had wooden tables for the communion put in their
place: since with the word Altar was associated the idea of Sacrifice.

It was now inevitable that the question from which all had started in
England, as to the relation between State and Church, should be
decided completely in favour of the secular principle. It is very true
that Cranmer held fast to the objective view of the visible church. If
the ceremonies were altered with which the Romish church imparts the
spiritual consecration, yet in this respect only the mystical usages
introduced in recent centuries were abandoned, and the ritual restored
to the form used in more primitive times, especially in the African
church. But it was surely a violent change, when those who wished to
receive consecration were now previously asked, whether their inward
call agreed both with the will of the Redeemer and the law of the
land; they were required to assent to the principle that Scripture
contains all which it is necessary for man to know, and to pledge
themselves to guard against any doctrine not in conformity with
Scripture. It is generally believed, and the fact is of lasting
importance, that the Convocation of the clergy, a commission of the
spiritualty, the Primate-Archbishop and a number of bishops, took part
in the change; but yet the decisive decrees went forth from the
Parliament, to which the spiritual power had been irrevocably attached
since Henry VIII, and sometimes from the Privy Council alone. To
establish a normal form of doctrine, men set to work to compose a
Confession, which was completed at that time in forty-two Articles.
There had been a wish that Melanchthon should have come over in person
to aid in composing it; at any rate his labours had much influence in
deciding the shape it took. The Articles belong to the class of
Confessions, as they were then framed in Saxony by Melanchthon, in
Swabia by Brenz, to be laid before the coming Council. And it is just
in this that their value lies, that by them England attached herself
most closely to the Protestant community on the Continent. They are
the work of Cranmer, who was entrusted with their composition by the
King and Privy Council, and communicated his labours first to the
King's tutor, Cheke, and the Secretary of State, Cecil: in conjunction
with them he next laid them before the King; with the assistance of
some chaplains their final form was given them; then the Privy Council
ordered them to be subscribed. The influence of the government on the
nominations to the office of bishop was now still more open: the
bishops were to hold office as long as they conducted themselves
well,--in other words, as long as the ruling powers were content with
them: the church jurisdiction was no longer administered in the name
of the bishopric, but, like the temporal jurisdiction, in the King's
name and under the King's seal; when they proceeded to revise the
church laws, the primary maxim was, not to admit anything that
contravened the temporal laws.[153] The use of the power of the keys
was also derived by Cranmer from the permission of the sovereign.
Against this ever-increasing dependence some bishops of the old views
made a struggle; to avoid coming into direct conflict with the
supremacy, which they had acknowledged, they put forth the assertion
that it could not be exercised by a King under age; they connived at
the mass being read in side-chapels of their cathedrals, or refused to
allow the change of the altars into communion-tables, or kept alive
the controversy as to the doctrine of faith. The government on their
side persisted in enforcing uniformity. They brought all opponents
before a commission consisting of secular as well as ecclesiastical
dignities, which had no scruple in pronouncing the deprivation of the
bishops: a fate which befell Gardiner of Winchester, Bonner of London,
Day of Chichester, Heath of Worcester. In vain did they plead that the
court before which they were brought was not a canonical one; the
government appealed to the general rights of the temporal power as it
had once been exercised by the Roman Emperors. In the conflict of
church opinions the Protestant-minded prelates now had the upper hand.
Many who did not conform bought toleration from the government by
sacrifices of money and goods. Elsewhere the newly-appointed bishops
assented to concessions which did not always profit even the crown,
but sometimes, as at Lichfield, private persons.[154] Already the
further question was discussed whether there is in fact any essential
distinction between bishops and presbyters: a church of foreigners was
set up in London, to present a pattern of the pure apostolic
constitution as an example to the country. The government which had
acquired such a thorough mastery over the clergy developed an open
disinclination to the old forms of constitution in the church. Who
could have said, so long as things remained in the path thus once
entered upon, whither this would lead?


[139] Froude iv. 515 (extracts from the documents).

[140] Collier ii. 220 (Records lii).

[141] Proclamation of 8 July 1549 in Tytler, England under Edward VI
and Mary I, p. 180.

[142] The point of view under which it was drawn up appears in a
declaration inserted in the edition of 1549: 'the most weighty cause
of the abolishment of certain ceremonies was, that they were abused
partly by the superstitious blindness of the unlearned, and partly by
unsatiable avarice.--Where the old (ceremonies) may be well used there
they [their opponents] cannot reprove the old only for their age. They
ought rather to have reverence unto them for their antiquity, if they
will declare themselves to be more studious of unity and concord, than
of innovations and newfangleness which--is always to be eschewed.'

[143] 12 Sept. 1547 in Halliwell ii. 31. Cranmer appointed a prayer in
church for the marriage of Edward and Mary, 'to confound all those,
which labour to the lett and interruption of so godly a quiet and
amity.' In Somerset's prayer printed, since the first edition of this
book, in Froude v. 47, it is said: 'Look upon the small portion of the
earth, which professeth thy holy name; especially have an eye to thy
small isle of Britain;--that the Scotismen and we might thereafter
live in one love and amity, knit into one nation by the marriage of
the King's Majesty and the young Scotish Queen.'

[144] Godwin, Rerum Anglicarum Annales 315.

[145] Proofs in Froude v. 136.

[146] So Queen Elizabeth tells us. Ellis, Letters ii. ii. 257.

[147] Cecil however was not the first Master of Requests: Thomas More
already appears under this title; Nares, Life of Burghley i. 179.

[148] 'You have suffered the rebels to lie in camp and armour against
the King his nobles and gentlemen; you did comfort divers of the said
rebels.' Articles against the Lord Protector, in Strype, Memorials of
Cranmer ii. 342.

[149] Marillac 26 Oct. 1549. 'Ceux-ci (at the Emperor's court) font
une merveilleuse demonstration de joye de ce que le protecteur est
abattu.' In Turnbull, Calendar of State Papers 1861 p. 47 an
Instruction of the Council is mentioned, 'to acquaint the Emperor with
the proceeding taken against the Duke of Somerset.' We should like to
be better informed about this Instruction, in which too the Emperor
was asked for aid.

[150] Soranzo, Relatione d'Inghilterra 1554. 'Per posseder la sua
grazia ben amplamente, non solo faceva qualche spettacolo, per dargli
piacere, ma gli diede liberta di danari.' Florentine Collection viii.

[151] As he advises a friend: 'Apply yourself to riding shooting or
tennis--not forgetting sometimes when you have leisure, your learning,
chiefly reading the Scripture.' Halliwell ii. 49.

[152] Wheatly in Soames, History of the Reformation iii. 604.

[153] In the commission of 32 members (bishops, divines, civilians,
lawyers) we find the names of Will. Cecil, Will Peters, Thomas Smith.

[154] Compare Heylin, History of the Reformation 50, 101.



We can easily see how the power of the crown, founded by the first
Tudor, and developed by the second through the emancipation from the
Papacy, was further strengthened under the third. From Edward VI we
have essays, in which he speaks about the spiritual and temporal
government with the consciousness of a sovereign, whose actions depend
only on himself. In the Homilies, which obtained legal sanction, there
is found an express condemnation of resistance to the King, 'for Godes
sake, from whom Kings are, and for orders sake.'

Whilst men were now expecting that Edward VI would arrive at manhood,
and take the government completely into his own hands, and conduct it
in the sense he had hitherto foreshadowed--not merely carrying out the
Reformation thoroughly at home, but assuming the leadership of the
Protestant world, symptoms appeared in him of the malady to which his
half-brother Richmond had succumbed at an early age. But how then if
the same fate befell him? According to Henry VIII's arrangement Mary
was then to ascend the throne who, through her descent from Queen
Catharine and from an inborn disposition which had become all the more
confirmed by her opposition to her father and brother, represented the
Catholic and Spanish interest. Nothing else could be expected but that
she would employ the whole power of the State in support of her own
views, would, so far as it could possibly be done, bring back the
church to its earlier form, would depress the men who had hitherto
played a great part by the side of the King and subject them to the
opposite faction. But were they quietly to acquiesce in their fate?

The ambition of the Duke of Northumberland associated itself with the
great interests of religion, to prevent the threatening ruin. He
persuaded the young King that it lay in his power to alter his
father's settlement of the succession, as in itself not conformable to
law, neither Mary nor the younger sister Elizabeth being entitled to
the throne, as the two marriages from which they sprang had been
declared illegal, and a bastard could not be made capable of wearing
the English crown by any act of Parliament. Henry VIII had in his
settlement of the succession passed over the descendants of his elder
sister, married in Scotland, as foreigners, but acknowledged those of
the younger, Mary of Suffolk, as the next heirs after his own
children. Mary's elder daughter Frances had married Henry Grey of
Dorset, who had already obtained the title of Suffolk, and had three
daughters, the eldest of whom was Jane Grey. It was to her, whom the
Duke of Northumberland married to one of his sons, that he now
directed the King's attention, and induced him to prefer her to his
sisters. Yet it was not so much to herself in person as to her male
issue that Edward's attention was originally directed. Never yet had a
Queen ruled in England in her own right, and even now there was a wish
to avoid it. Edward arranged that, if he himself died without male
heirs, the male heirs of Lady Frances, and if she too left none, then
those of Lady Jane, should succeed. He hoped still to live till such
an heir should be eighteen years old, in which case he could enter on
the government immediately after himself. If his death occurred
earlier, Jane was to conduct the administration during the interval,
not as Queen but as Regent, and conjointly with a Council of
government still to be named by him.[155] This Council of executors
was to avoid all war, all other change, and especially not to alter
the established religion in any point: rather it was to devote itself
to completing the ecclesiastical legislation in conformity with that
religion, and to the abolition of the Papal claims.[156] We see that
Edward's view was, like that of many other sovereigns, to secure the
continuance of his political and religious system of government for
long years after his own death. The members of the Privy Council,
before whom these arrangements were laid in the King's handwriting,
promised on their oath and their honour to carry them out in every
article, and to defend them with all their power.[157]

And if the affair had been undertaken in this manner, who could say
that it might not have succeeded? Northumberland did not neglect to
form a strong family interest in favour of the new combination that he
designed. He married his own daughter to Lord Hastings, who was
descended from the house of York, and one of Jane's sisters with the
son of the powerful Earl of Pembroke. He could reckon on the support
of the King of France, to whom the succession of a niece of the
Emperor was odious, and on the consent of the Privy Council, which was
in great part dependent on him; how could the Protestant feeling have
failed to gain him a large party in the country, especially since
something might be said for the plan itself.

But Edward VI's malady developed quicker than was expected. At the
last moment he was further induced to award the succession not to the
male heirs of Lady Jane, but to herself and her male heirs.[158] He
died with the prayer that God would guard England from the Papacy.

Lady Jane Grey had hitherto devoted her days to study. For father and
mother were severe and found much in her to blame: on the other hand
quiet hours of inward satisfaction were given her by the instructions
of a teacher, always alike kindly disposed, who initiated her into
learning and an acquaintance with literature: bending over her Plato,
she did not miss the amusement of the chase which others were
enjoying in the Park. After her marriage too, which did not make her
exactly happy, she still lived thus with her thoughts withdrawn from
the world, when she was one day summoned to Sion-House where she found
a great and brilliant assembly. She still knew nothing of the King's
death. What were her feelings, when she was told that Edward VI was
dead; that to secure the kingdom from the Popish faith and the
government of his two sisters who were not legitimate, he had declared
her, Lady Jane, his heiress, and when the great dignitaries of the
realm bent their knees and reverenced her as their Queen! At times
they had already talked to her of her claim to the throne, but she had
never thought much of it. When it now thus became a reality, her whole
soul was overcome by it: she fell to the ground and burst into a flood
of tears. Whether she had a full right to the throne, she could not
judge: what she felt was her incapacity to rule. But whilst she
uttered this, a different feeling passed through her, as she has told
us herself: she prayed in the depths of her soul that, if the highest
office belonged to her legally, God might give her the grace to
administer it to his honour. The next day she betook herself by water
to the Tower, and received the homage offered her. The heralds
proclaimed her accession in the capital.

But here this proclamation was received in silence and even with
murmurs. The succession had been settled by Henry VIII on the basis of
an act of Parliament: nothing else was expected but that this would be
adhered to, and Mary succeed her brother: that Edward without any
legal authorisation of a similar kind had now put a distant relative
in his sister's place, seemed an open robbery of the lawful heir. It
made no impression, that at the proclamation men were reminded of the
Popery of the Princess Mary and her intention to restore the Papal
power. Religious discord had not yet become so strong in England as to
make men forget the fundamental principles of right on its account.
The man who brought the princess the first news of Edward's death
(which was still kept secret) remarks expressly in telling it, that he
did not love her religion but abhorred the attempt to set aside lawful
heirs. Mary prudently betook herself to Norfolk, where she had the
most determined friends, to a castle on the sea; so as to be able, if
her opponent should maintain the upper hand, to escape to the Emperor.
But every one declared for her, the Catholics who saw in her the born
champion of their religion and were strongest in those very districts,
and the Protestants to whom the princess made some, though not
binding, promises; she was proclaimed Queen in Norwich. If the Duke of
Northumberland wished to carry out his projects, it was necessary for
him to suppress this movement by force. He at once took the field for
this purpose, with a fine body of artillery and two thousand infantry,
and occupied a position in the neighbourhood of Cambridge.

It seemed as though the crown would once more be fought for in open
field just as it had been a century before, and that in fact, just as
then, the neighbouring powers would interfere. On Northumberland's
side French help was expected; on the other hand application was
already made to the Emperor to send armed troops over the sea to his
cousin.[159] It was not however this time to reach such a point: while
the combination attempted in favour of Jane Grey met with strong
popular resistance, it was shattered to pieces by internal discord. If
the new Queen had such a good right as they told her, she would share
it with none, not even with her husband; she would not appear as a
creature of the Dudleys and a tool of their ambition: she would only
name him a duke and would not allow him to be crowned with her as
King. We recognise in this her high idea of the kingly power and its
divine right; but we can also easily conceive that the discord which
broke out on this point in the family could not but act on the members
of the Privy Council, of whom only a section were in complete
understanding with Northumberland, while the rest had merely yielded
to the ascendancy of his power. While the duke was expecting armed
reinforcements from London, a complete revolution took place there:
under the management of the Privy Council Mary was proclaimed Queen,
and a summons sent to Northumberland to submit to her. The fleet which
was destined to prevent Mary's flight had already declared for her;
the troops which were called out in the counties to fight against her
crossed over to her side; in Northumberland's camp the same opinion
gained the upper hand: the duke felt himself incapable of withstanding
it: he allowed himself to be carried along by it like the rest. Men
saw the extraordinary spectacle of the man who had marched out to
destroy Mary now ordering her accession to be proclaimed in his
encampment, he accompanied the herald and himself cried out Mary's
name.[160] These English nobles have boundless ambition, they grasp
with bold hand at the highest prizes: but they have no inner power of
resistance, as against the course of events and public opinion they
have no will of their own. However the duke might behave, he could not
save either his freedom or his life. Soon afterwards Mary entered
London amid the joyous shouts of the people. She was still united as
closely as possible with her sister Elizabeth: they appeared together
hand in hand. Jane Grey remained as a prisoner in the Tower, which she
had entered as Queen. Never did the natural right of succession, as it
was established by the testator of the inheritance and the Parliament,
obtain a greater triumph.

After the succession was decided, the great questions of government
came into the foreground, above all the question what position Mary
should take up with regard to religious matters.

Among the Protestants the opinion prevailed that it could not yet be
known whether she would not let religion remain in the state in which
she found it. Towns where the Protestant feeling was strongest
joyfully attached themselves to her in this expectation.

Her cousin, the Emperor Charles, who justly regarded her accession as
a victory, and who from the first moment exercised the greatest
influence on her resolutions, advised her before all things to
moderate her Catholic zeal. She should reflect that many of the lords
by whom she was now supported, a part of the Privy Council, and the
people of London, were Protestants, and guard against estranging them.
She should at once call a Parliament to show that she meant to rule in
the accustomed manner, and take care that the Northern counties, as
well as Cornwall, where men still held the most firmly to Catholicism,
were represented in it.

This good advice was not without influence on the Queen. In a tumult
which arose two days after her arrival in the city, she had the Lord
Mayor summoned in order to tell him that she would force no man's
conscience, she hoped that the people would through good instruction
come back to the religion which she herself professed with full
conviction. When she repeated this soon after in a proclamation, she
added that these things must shortly be ordered by common consent. But
of what kind this order would be, there could be already no doubt
after these words: she desired a change, but intended to bring it
about in a legal manner.

In all the steps taken by her government her Catholic sympathies
predominated. She felt no scruple in using the spiritual rights, which
the constitution gave her, in favour of Catholicism. As 'Head of the
Church next under God,' Mary forbade all preaching and interpretation
of Scripture without special permission. But she entrusted the power
of giving this permission to the same Bishop Gardiner who had offered
the most persevering resistance to the Protestant tendencies of the
previous government. The antagonism between the bishops entered again
on an entirely new phase: the Catholics rose, the Protestants were
depressed to the uttermost. Tonstal, Heath, and Day were, like
Gardiner, restored to their sees on the ground of the protests lodged
against the proceedings taken with reference to them at their
deprivation, protests which were regarded as valid. Ridley had to give
up the see of London again to Bonner: the Bishops of Gloucester and
Exeter experienced the royal displeasure; not merely Latimer but also
Cranmer were imprisoned in the Tower. Everywhere the images were
replaced, in many churches the celebration of the mass was revived.
Those preachers who declared themselves against it had to follow their
bishops to prison. The Calvinistic model-congregation was dissolved.
The foreign scholars quitted the country; and their most zealous
followers also fled to the continent before the coming storm of

At the beginning of October the Queen's coronation took place with the
old customary ceremonies, for which the Emperor's leading minister,
Granvella, Bishop of Arras, sent over a vase of consecrated oil, on
the mystical meaning of which great stress was again laid. The Queen
had some scruples about the coronation, as she wished previously to
get rid of her title, 'Head of the Church': but the Emperor saw danger
in delay; he thought the declaration she had in the deepest secrecy
made to the Roman See, that she meant to re-establish its authority,
removed any religious scruple. He fully approved of the coronation
preceding the Parliament, and recommended the Queen, in virtue of her
constitutional right, without any delay to name bishops and prelates,
who might be useful to her at its impending meeting.

But the supreme power once constituted, as formerly in the civil wars,
so also in the times of the Reformation movement, had always exercised
a decisive influence on the composition of the Parliamentary
assemblies; would not this then be the case when it had declared
itself again Catholic? No doubt the government, at the head of which
Gardiner appeared as Lord Chancellor, used all the means at its
disposal to guide the elections according to its views. It appears to
have been with the same motive that the Queen in a proclamation, which
generally breathed nothing but benevolence, remitted payment of the
subsidies last voted under her brother. Yet we can hardly attribute
the result wholly to this. Parliamentary elections are wont to receive
their impulse from the mistakes of the last administration and the
evils that have come to light: and much had undeniably been done under
Edward VI which could not but call forth discontent. The ferment at
home was increased by financial disorder: church property had suffered
enormous losses. But above all the supreme power had taken a sudden
start in breaking through its ancient bounds. And, last of all, the
Protestant tendencies had allied themselves with an undertaking which
ran directly counter to the customary law and to previous
Parliamentary enactments. And so it might come to pass that the same
feelings swayed the elections which had mainly brought about Mary's

But, after all, the result of these elections was not such as to make
a complete return to the Papal authority probable. The Emperor
Charles, who mainly guided the Queen's steps, warned her from
attempting it. She had prayed him to communicate to her the Pope's
declarations issued in favour of her hereditary right: he sent them to
her, but with the advice to make no use of them, since they might
involve her in difficulties without end. It seemed to him sufficient
if the Parliament simply repealed the enactments which had formerly
been passed respecting the invalidity of her mother's marriage with
her father. In the bill which was drawn up on this point in the Upper
House it was merely stated that the marriage, in itself valid and
approved by the wisest persons of the realm, had been made displeasing
to the King through evil influences and annulled by a sentence of
Archbishop Cranmer, on whom the greatest blame fell. To many men this
seemed already going too far, since together with the dispensation the
old church authority was again recognised: but as there was not a word
about the Pope in it, this was less apparent: the bill was passed
unanimously. The act might be regarded as a political one. On the
other hand religion was very directly affected by the proposal to
repeal the alterations in the church service which had been introduced
under Edward VI, and to abolish the Common Prayer-book. On this ensued
the hottest conflict. Once the proposal had to be laid aside: when it
was resumed, the debate on it lasted six days: a third of the members
were steadily against it. But in the majority the opinion again
prevailed that Henry VIII's church constitution--retention of the
Catholic doctrines and emancipation from the Papacy--was the most
suitable for England: a resolution was carried to the effect that only
such books as were in use under Henry VIII should be henceforth used
in the church. The new forms of divine service, which contained a
clearly marked body of doctrine, were abolished and the old ones

The position which the Parliament took up in relation to another
scarcely less important question coincided with this sense of national

It was a very widespread wish in England that the Queen should give
her hand to young Courtenay, son of that Marquis of Exeter who had
himself once thought of marrying Mary against her father's wishes. He
was a young man of suitable age, handsome figure, and mental activity;
Mary had not merely freed him from the prison in which her brother had
kept him, but also endowed him with the Earldom of Devon, one of his
father's possessions; in this act many saw a token of personal
inclination. Bishop Gardiner was decidedly in his favour, and we can
conceive how a great ecclesiastic, who had the power of the state in
his hands, wished to altogether exclude every foreign influence; he of
course knew that Courtenay would also conform in church matters.

Gardiner spoke once with the Queen about it and was very pressing: she
was absolutely against it. The old chronicle is entirely in error when
it repeats the then widespread rumour of Mary's inclination for
Courtenay. Mary told the Imperial ambassador that she was altogether
ignorant of what love was; she had never seen Courtenay but once in
her life, at the moment when she released him. She intended to marry,
since she was assured that the welfare of the realm required it, but
not an Englishman, not one who was a subject. As in other things, so
in this, she requested the Emperor to give her his advice.

Charles V would not have been absolutely against the plan of his
cousin giving her hand to an English lord, whom England might obey
more easily than a stranger: but, when she showed such an aversion to
it, he did not hesitate for a moment as to what advice to give her.
One of his brother's sons was taken into consideration, but rejected
by him on the ground that there was already much ill-will against
Spain stirring in the Netherlands, and a union of the German line with
England might some day make it difficult for his own son to maintain
those provinces: he therefore proposed him to the Queen. Don Philip,
not yet thirty but already a widower for the second time, was just
then negociating for a marriage with a Portuguese princess. These
negociations were broken off and counter ones opened with England.
Mary showed a joyful inclination to it at the first word: it was to
this that her secret thoughts had turned.

It looked as if the dynastic union of the Burgundian-Spanish house
with the English, which was also a political alliance and had been
violently broken off at the same time with that alliance, would now be
restored more closely than before, and this time for ever. Men took up
the idea that Philip's eldest son was to continue the Spanish line, as
Ferdinand and his sons the German, but that from the new marriage, if
it should be blest with offspring, an English line of the house of
Burgundy was to proceed: a prospect of the extension of the power of
England and of her influence on the continent, which it was expected
would set aside all opposition.

In England however every voice was against it, among nobles and
commons, people and Parliament, high and low. The imperial court fully
believed that it was Gardiner who brought the matter forward in
Parliament. The House resolved to send a deputation to the Queen with
the request that she would marry an Englishman. Mary, who had as high
an idea of her prerogative as any of her predecessors or successors,
felt herself almost insulted; she interrupted the speech as soon as
she understood its purport, and declared that Parliament was taking
too much on itself in wishing to give her advice in this matter: only
with God, from whom she derived her crown, would she take counsel
thereon.[161] When the Parliament, not satisfied with this, prepared a
fresh application to her, it was dissolved.

But if this happened among men who adhered to her views in other
points, what would those say who saw themselves, contrary to their
expectation, oppressed and endangered by the Queen's measures in
religious matters?

The agitation was so general that men caught at the hope of putting an
end to all that was begun by a sudden rising. We find a statement
which must not be lightly rejected, that the English nobility, which
had taken great part in the Reformation movement and put itself in
possession of much church property, came to an understanding at
Christmas 1553, and decided on a general rising on the next Palm
Sunday, 18th March:[162] thus doing as the French, German,
Netherlandish and Scotch nobility had done, who took the initiative in
this matter. In Cornwall Peter Carew was to have the lead, in the
Midland Counties the Duke of Suffolk, in Kent Thomas Wyatt. As the
Queen's Privy Council was even now not unanimous, they hoped to bring
about an overthrow of the government before it was yet firmly
established: and either to compel the Queen to dismiss her evil
counsellors and give up the Spanish marriage, or if she remained
obstinate to put her sister Elizabeth in her place, who would then
marry Courtenay. The French, who saw in the Queen's marriage with the
prince of Spain a danger for themselves, urged on the movement, and
had a secret understanding with the rebels; their plan was to support
it by an incursion from Scotland where they were then the masters, and
an attack on Calais.[163] But as often happens with such comprehensive
plans, the government detected them; the attempt to carry them out had
to be made before the preparations were complete; in most of the
places where an effort was made it was suppressed without much
trouble. Carew fled to France; Suffolk, who in vain tried to draw
Coventry over to his side, was captured. On the other hand Sir Thomas
Wyatt's rising in Kent was formidable. He collected a couple of
thousand men, defeated the royal troops, some of whom joined him, and
as he had the sympathies of a great part of the inhabitants of London
with him, he attempted forthwith an attack on the capital. But the new
order of things had too firm a legal foundation to be so easily
overthrown. The Queen betook herself to the Guildhall and addressed
the assembled people, decided as she was and confident in the goodness
of her cause; the general feeling was in favour of supporting her. All
armed for defence. For a couple of days, during which Wyatt lay before
the city, every one was under arms, mayor, aldermen and people; the
lawyers went to the courts with armour under their robes: priests were
seen celebrating mass with mail under their church vestments. The
Queen had some trustworthy troops, whose leader, the Earl of Pembroke,
told her he would never show his face to her again if he did not free
her from these rebels. When Wyatt at last appeared in Hyde Park with
exhausted and badly fed men, he was met and beaten by an overwhelming
body of Pembroke's troops; with a part of his followers he was driven
into the city, and there made prisoner without much bloodshed.

It has always been reckoned to the Queen's credit that amid the alarm
of these days she never quitted the unfortified palace. She had now an
opportunity to rid herself completely of Northumberland's faction.
Jane Grey, whose name at least had been mentioned, her father Suffolk,
her uncle Thomas Grey, were executed; Wyatt also and a great number of
the prisoners paid for their rebellion with their lives.[164]


[155] King Edward: My devise for the succession: in 'Chronicle of
Queen Anna, with illustrative documents and notes' by Nicholls, 89.

[156] King Edward's Minutes for his last will. In 'Chronicle of Queen
Anna, with illustrative documents and notes' by Nicholls, 101.

[157] Engagement of the council, the signatures all autograph. Ibid.

[158] This was done by a correction. The original text was 'to the
Lady Jane's heires masle;' instead of 'Jane's,' the King now wrote 'to
the Lady Jane and her h. m. (Nares' Burghley i. 452. Nicholls, 87.)

[159] Lettre écrite à l'empereur par ses ambassadeurs en Angleterre 19
Juill. Luy (au roi de France) sera facile, d'envoyer 2 ou 3 m.
Français et quelques gens de chevaux. Plusieurs de ce royaume sont
d'opinion, si V. M. assistoit ma dite dame (Mary) de gens et de
secours contre le dit duc, la dite dame ne diminueroit en rien
l'affection du peuple.

[160] Proclama avec le dict herault Mm. Marie à haute voix. Lettre des
ambassadeurs a l'empereur. Papiers d'état de Granvelle iv. 58.

[161] To the reports of the French and Spanish ambassadors (compare
Ambassades de Mss. de Noailles en Angleterre ii. 269, Turner ii. 204,
Froude vi. 124) may be added that of the Venetian: 'ch'ella si
consiglierebbe con dio e non con altri.' I combine this with Noailles'
account; for these ambassadors were immediately informed by their
friends of the deputation and have noted down that part of the Queen's
speech which made most impression on the bystanders.

[162] Soranzo Relatione 79, a testimony worth consideration, as
Soranzo stood in a certain connexion with the rebels.

[163] So Simon Renard reports 24th Feb. 1553-4 to the Emperor after
Wyatt's confession. 'Le roy feroit emprinse de coustel d'Escosse et de
coustel de Guyenne (it should without doubt be Guisnes) et Calais': in
Tytler ii. 207. Wyatt's statements in the 'State Trials' refer to a
confession which is not given there, and from which the ambassador may
have taken his account.

[164] Renard à l'empereur, 8 Feb. The communications in Tytler, which
come from Brussels, and the Papiers d'état de Granvelle, which come
from Besançon, supplement each other, yet even when taken both
together they are still not quite complete.



The effort to overthrow Mary's throne had strengthened it: for the
second time she had rallied around it the preponderant majority of the
nation. And this was all the more surprising, since no one could doubt
any longer in what direction the Queen's exclusive religious views
would lead her. In her victory she saw a divine providence, by which
it was made doubly her duty to persevere, without looking back, in the
path she had once taken. In full understanding with her Gardiner
proceeded without further scruple, in the Parliament which met in
April 1554, to attempt to carry through the two points on which all
else depended, the abrogation of the Queen's spiritual title, which
implied restoration of the Pope's authority, and the revival of the
old laws against heretics. These views and proposals however met with
unexpected opposition, both in the nation, and no less in the Privy
Council and Parliament, especially in the Upper House. The lay lords
did not wish to make the bishops so powerful again as they had once
been, and rejected the restoration of the Pope's authority unless they
previously had security for their possession of the confiscated church
property. The first proposition could not, so far as can be seen, even
be properly brought forward:[165] the second, the revival of the
heresy laws, was accepted by the Commons over whom Gardiner exercised
great influence, but the Peers threw it out. It was especially Lords
Paget and Arundel who opposed Gardiner's proposals in the Privy
Council and the Lords and caused their rejection.

Only in one thing were the two parties united, in recognising the
marriage contract concluded with Spain: it was passed unanimously by

In July 1554 Don Philip reached England with a numerous fleet, divided
into three squadrons, with a brilliant suite on board. At Southampton
the leader of one of the two parties, the Earl of Arundel, received
him; Bishop Gardiner, the leader of the other, gave the blessing of
the church to the marriage in Winchester cathedral. The day before the
Emperor had resigned the crown of Naples to his son, to make him equal
with the Queen in rank. How grand it sounded, when the king-at-arms
proclaimed the united titles: Philip and Mary, King and Queen of
England, France, Naples, Jerusalem, Ireland! A title with an almost
Plantagenet sound, but which now however only denoted the closest
union between the Spanish monarchy and the Catholics of England.
Philip was solicitous to gain over the different parties and classes
of England: for he had been told that England was a popular monarchy.
He belied his Spanish gravity and showed himself, despite the
stiffness that was his natural characteristic, affable to every man:
he tried to make the impression, and successfully, that he desired the
prosperity of England. One of the chief resources of the time, that of
securing the most considerable persons by means of pensions, he made
use of to a great extent. Both parties were provided for by annual
payments and presents, Pembroke and Arundel as well as Derby and
Rochester. We are assured that this liberality exercised a very
advantageous influence on the disposition of the country.[166]
Gardiner looked on it as a slight, that he was passed over in the
list, for these pensions were considered at that time an honour, but
this did not prevent him from praising the marriage in his sermons as
ordained by heaven for the restoration of religion.

All now depended on whether the King's influence would be sufficient
to carry at the next meeting of Parliament in November, the proposals
which had been rejected in the last session.

But for this, according to the view not merely of the English lords,
but of the imperial ambassador and of the Emperor himself, a previous
condition was indispensable. The English nobles must be relieved from
all apprehension lest the confiscated ecclesiastical property should
ever again be wrested from them. Cardinal Pole had been already for
some time residing in the Netherlands: but he was told that his
arrival in England would be not merely fruitless but detrimental
unless he brought with him a sufficient dispensation with regard to
this. In Rome the concession was opposed on the ground that it would
be setting a bad precedent. But when it was pointed out that the
English confiscations did not touch any church lands, but only
monastic property, and still more that without this concession the
restoration of obedience to the church could not be attained, Pope
Julius III yielded to the request. Two less comprehensive forms were
rejected by the Emperor: at last one was granted which would satisfy
the English. The form of the absolution which the Pope was to bestow
after their submission was previously arranged: it was agreed to avoid
everything that could remind men of the old pretensions and awaken the
national antipathies.

Meanwhile the elections to Parliament were completed. The proclamation
issued gives the ruling points of view without reserve. An invitation
to elect Catholic members of merit was coupled with the assurance that
there was no intention of disturbing any kind of property. The means
lately used for preventing any hostile influence were not yet
sufficient: the advice was given from Brussels to go back to the older
and stricter forms.

The leading men of the Upper House were won over: there could be no
doubt about the tone of the Lower. At their first sitting a resolution
to release Cardinal Pole from the attainder that weighed on him, and
invite him to return to England, passed without opposition. Now the
Emperor had no longer any scruple in letting him go. He said as to
this very matter, that what is undertaken at the wrong time hinders
the result which might else have been expected; everything has its
time: the time for this appeared to him now come. From Philip we have
a letter to his sister Juana in which he extols himself with much
satisfaction for the share he had taken in recalling the cardinal and
restoring the Papal authority. 'I and the most illustrious Queen,' he
says in it, 'commanded the Parliament of the three Estates of the
realm to recall him; we especially used our efforts with the chief
among them to induce them to consent to the cardinal's return: at our
order prelates and knights escorted him to our Court, where he has
delivered to us the Breve of his Holiness.'--'We then through the
Chancellor of the realm informed the Estates of what seemed to us
becoming, above all how much it concerned themselves to come to a
conclusion that would give peace to their conscience.'[167]

The Parliament declared itself ready to return to the obedience of the
Roman See, and repeal all the statutes against it, provided that the
cardinal pronounced a general dispensation, that every man might keep
without scruple the ecclesiastical property which had fallen to his
share.[168] On this understanding Cardinal Pole was allowed to
exercise his legatine power, and the King and Queen were entreated to
intercede that the absolution might be bestowed.

With heartfelt joy Cardinal Pole pronounced it without delay, first at
a meeting of the Parliament in the palace, then with greater solemnity
at S. Paul's at a high mass attended by the Court with a brilliant
suite; among those present were the knights who wore the Burgundian
order of the Golden Fleece, and those who wore the English Order of
the Garter. The King stood by the Chancellor when from the outer
corridor of the church he announced the event and its motives to the
great crowds there assembled. It made an impression on the imperial
ambassadors that no outward sign of discontent was heard.

The agreement that now followed bears more of a juridical than of a
religious character. The jurisdiction was given back to the Pope which
he possessed before the twentieth year of Henry VIII (1529): the
statutes by which it was abolished were severally enumerated and
repealed: on the other hand the Pope's legate in his name consented
that the owners of church property should not be disturbed in their
possession, either now or at any future time, either by church
councils or by Papal decrees. Such property was henceforth to be quite
as exclusively subject to the jurisdiction of the crown as any other;
whoever dared to call in question the validity of the title in any
spiritual court whatever, within or without the realm, was to be
punished as an enemy of the Queen. The cardinal legate strove long to
prevent the two enactments, as to the restoration of obedience and the
title to the ecclesiastical property, from being combined together in
one Act, since it might look as if the Pope's concession was the price
of this obedience to him; he once said, he would rather let all remain
as it was and go back to Rome than yield on this point. But the
English nobility adhered immoveably to its demand; it wished to
prevent all danger of the restoration of obedience becoming in any way
detrimental to its acquisitions, an object which was clearly best
secured by combining both enactments in a single statute, so that they
must stand or fall together; even the King's representations effected
no alteration in this; the cardinal had to comply.

On the other hand the King's influence, if we believe himself, had all
possible success in the other affair, which was at any rate not less
weighty. 'With the intervention of the Parliament,' he continues in
the above-mentioned letter, 'we have made a law, I and the most
illustrious Queen, for the punishment of heretics and all enemies of
holy church; we have revived the old ordinances of the realm, which
will serve this purpose very well.' It was more especially the
statute against the Lollards, by which Henry V had entered into the
closest alliance with the hierarchy, that was to be re-enacted by
Parliament. Gardiner had not been able to carry it through in the
previous session, though it was known that the Queen wished it. Under
the King's influence, who was accustomed to the execution of heretics
in Spain, the Lords after some deliberation let their objections drop
and accepted the bill.

If we put together these four great Acts, the abolition of the Common
Prayer-book, the Spanish marriage, the restoration of obedience to
Rome, and the revival of the heresy laws, we could hardly doubt the
intention of the members of the government, and of the Parliament, to
return completely to the ancient political and religious state of
things. With some members such an intention may have been the
predominant one: to assume it in all, or even in the majority, would
be an error.[169]

The agreement then legalised as to ecclesiastical property, and the
abolition of the monastic system, already formed such an anomaly in
the Roman Catholic church, that the ecclesiastical condition of
England would have always retained a very abnormal character. And the
obedience expressed was by no means complete. For it should have
included above all a recognition of that right of dispensation, about
which the original quarrel had broken out, and the revocation of the
order of succession which was based on its rejection. In fact
Gardiner's intention was to bring matters to this; being besides a
great enemy and even persecutor of Elizabeth, he wished to see her
illegitimacy pronounced in due form;[170] the resolutions passed
seemed necessarily to lead to it. Men however did not proceed this
time so logically in England. They did not wish to base the future
state of the realm on Papal decrees, but on the ordinances once
enacted by King and Parliament. They could not deceive themselves as
to the fact that Elizabeth, though she conformed outwardly, yet
remained true at heart to the Protestant faith; but not on that
account would the Parliament deny her right to the English throne. It
also by no means entertained exactly Spanish sentiments. The Emperor
expressed the wish that his son might be crowned: his ambassador's
advice however was against proposing it in Parliament; since, with the
high ideas entertained in England of the rights implied in the
coronation, this would never be allowed. In the event of the Queen's
dying before Philip, and leaving children, the guardianship was
reserved to him: but even for this object conditions had been
originally proposed which would have been much more advantageous to
him: these the Upper House threw out. So little was even then the
policy of the Queen and King at the same time the policy of the nation
and Parliament. In the Privy Council the old discords continued. The
government obtained a greater unity by the fact that Gardiner, who now
followed the Queen's lead in every respect, carried most of the
members with him by the authority which her favour gave him. As Paget
and Arundel, since they could effect nothing, refused to appear any
more, there always remained a secret support for the discontent that
was stirring. In the beginning of 1555 traces of a conspiracy in
favour of Courtenay were again detected: if the inquiry into it led to
no discovery, it was because--so it was thought--the commission
entrusted with it did not wish to make any.

At this moment the revived heresy-laws began to be put into execution.
Prosecutions were instituted for statements that under another order
of things would have been considered as fully authorised. Still more
than to single offences was attention directed to any variations in
doctrine. In these proceedings we can remark the points which were
then chiefly in question.

The first of the accused, one of the earliest and most influential of
the martyrs, John Rogers, was reminded of the article which speaks of
the faith in one holy catholic church; he replied that by it was meant
the universal church of all lands and times, not the Romish, which on
the contrary had deviated in many points from the main foundation of
all churches, Holy Scripture. Rowland Taylor, who gloried in a
marriage blest with children, which Gardiner would not acknowledge to
be a marriage at all, maintained that Christian antiquity had allowed
the marriage of priests. Gardiner accused him of ignorance. 'But,'
said Taylor, 'I have read the Holy Scripture, the Latin and the Greek
fathers;' a canon of the Nicene council, which was cited on the point,
he interpreted far more correctly than the bishop. John Hooper was
called in question because he held divorce to be permissible on the
ground given in Scripture, and because he found that the view of the
real presence had no foundation in Scripture.[171] Their offence was
the conception of church-communion as resting on the foundation of
Scripture and extending therefore far beyond Romanism: the most
telling defence could not save them here, for only the carrying out of
old laws was concerned, and these unconditionally condemned such
opinions. As the condemned were being taken back by night to their
prison, many householders came out of their doors with lights in their
hands, to greet them with their prayers and thank them for their
steadfastness: a deep and sorrowful sympathy, but one which scarcely
dared to utter itself, and thus renounced the attempt to effect
anything. Rogers suffered death in London, Hooper at his episcopal see
of Gloucester, Taylor (who on the way showed as much good wit as Sir
Thomas More had formerly done) in his parish, Saunders at Coventry,
Ferrar in the market-place at Caermarthen. Their punishment, in every
place where they had taught, was intended to confirm the doctrines
they had rejected. There have been more bloody persecutions elsewhere:
this was distinguished by the fact that many of the more eminent men
of the nation became its victims. Among them, besides those we have
named, were Ridley, who was looked on as the most learned scholar in
England, the eloquent Latimer, Bradford a man of deep piety, Philpot
who united learning and religion. How could Archbishop Cranmer, who
had contributed almost more than any one to carry through the
Reformation, who had pronounced the divorce of the Queen's mother,
possibly find mercy? He persuaded himself of it once; and, yielding as
he was, allowed himself to be tempted into a recantation, in despite
of which he was condemned to death. But then there awoke in him also
the whole consciousness of the truth of his belief. The hand with
which he had signed the recantation he held firm, and let it burn in
unutterable agony, as an expiation which he imposed on himself, before
the flame of the faggots closed over him. The executions extended
themselves over the whole country and even over the neighbouring
islands; the diaries show that they continued till 1558. Many could
have fled, but wished to testify to the firmness of their belief by
dying for it, and thus to strengthen in their faith the people from
whom they were taken away. Most of them showed a sublime contempt of
death, which inflamed others to imitate them. How many would have been
prepared to throw themselves with their friends into the flames! And
no one could say that here there was any question of tendencies to
revolt. The Protestants had on the whole kept themselves far from it:
they did not contest the Queen's right to the throne; they died as her
obedient subjects.

But now what an impression must these executions produce, combined
with what preceded and followed them.

Gardiner appears in all this imperious, proud, and with that confident
tone which the possessors of power assume, implying that they regard
themselves as being also mentally superior; Bonner Bishop of London
fanatical, without any power of discernment, and almost bloodthirsty.
His attention was once drawn to the ill effects of his rough acts of
violence; he replied that he must do God's work without fear of men.
Under the last government they had both had much to endure: they had
been deprived by their enemies and thrown into prison: now they
employed the temporal arm in their own favour; they felt no scruple in
sentencing their old opponents to death in accordance with the
severity of the laws which they had again brought into active
operation. Such was the issue of the contest between the bishops
under the changing systems of government.

As Queen Mary is designated 'The Bloody,' we are astonished when we
read the authentic descriptions, still extant, of her personal
appearance. She was a little, slim, delicate, sickly woman, with hair
already turning grey. She played on the lute, and had even given
instruction in music; she had a skilful hand; on personal acquaintance
she made the impression of goodness and mildness. But yet there was
something in her eyes that could even rouse fear; her voice, which
could be heard at a great distance, told of something unwomanly in
her. She was a good speaker in public; never did she show a trace of
timidity in danger. The troubles she had experienced from her youth,
her constant antagonism to the authority under which she lived, had
especially hardened in her the self-will which is recognisable in all
the Tudors. A peculiarity found elsewhere also in gifted women, that
they are weary of all which surrounds them at home, and give to what
is foreign a sympathy above its worth, had become to her a second
nature. She rejected with aversion the idea of marrying Courtenay, for
this reason among others that he was an Englishman. She, the Queen of
England, had no sympathy for the life, the interests, the struggles of
her people: she hated them from her childhood. All her sympathies were
for the nation from which her mother came, for its views and manners:
her husband was her ideal of a man: we are assured that she even
overlooked his infidelities to her because he did not enter into
permanent relations with any other woman. Besides this he was the only
man who could support her in the great project for which she thought
herself marked out by God, the restoration of Catholicism.[172] This
is the meaning of her pledging herself in her bedchamber before a
crucifix, when she had not yet seen him, to give her hand to him and
to no other. For with him and his fortunes were linked the hopes of a
restoration of Catholicism. Mary was absolutely determined to do all
she could to strengthen it in England. Gardiner assures us, and we may
believe him in this, that it was not he who prompted the revival of
the old laws against the Lollards; the chief impulse to it came on the
contrary from the Queen. And as those laws ordered the punishment of
heretics by fire, and Parliament had consented, and the orthodox
bishops offered their aid, it would have seemed to her a blameable
weakness, if out of feelings of compassion she had stood in the way of
the execution of those laws, to the suspension of which the bishops
ascribed the spread of heretical opinions. Many of the horrors which
accompanied their execution may have remained concealed from her;
still it cannot be doubted, that the persecutions would never have
begun without her. No excuse can free her memory from the dark shade
which rests on it. For that which is done in a sovereign's name, with
his will and consent, determines his character in history.

The conduct of the Queen and her government, without whose help
ecclesiastical authority would have been null and void, had a result
that extended far beyond her time: men began to inquire into the
claims of the temporal power. John Knox, who had now to fly from
England before a Queen, as he had previously from Scotland before a
Queen-regent, and whose word was of weight, poured forth his feelings
in a piercing call, which he himself named 'a blast of the trumpet,'
against the right of women to the government of a country, which ought
to be exercised only by men. And while Knox went no further than the
immediate case, others examined into the powers of all State
authority: above all, to prevent its taking part in religious
persecution, they brought forward the principles according to which
sovereignty issues originally from the people. Mary's government had
awakened in Protestantism, and that not merely in England, the
hostility of political theory.

But besides no man could hide from himself, that discontent, even
without theory, had grown in England in an alarming manner. The French
and Imperial ambassadors both gave their courts information of it,
the former with a kind of satisfaction, the latter with apprehension
and pain. He laments the bad effect which the religious persecution
produces, makes pressing objections to it and demands that the bloody
zeal of the bishops shall be moderated; but the matter was regularly
proceeding in a kind of legal way; we do not find that he effected

The Queen had hitherto flattered herself and her partisans with the
hope that she would give the country an heir to the throne. When this
expectation proved fallacious in the summer of 1555 it produced an
impression which, as the imperial ambassador says, no pen could
describe. The appearance had been caused by an unhealthy condition of
body, which was now looked on rather as a prognostic of her fast
approaching death. It is already clear, remarks the ambassador, that
least confidence can be placed in those who have been hitherto most
trusted: many a man still wears a mask: others even show their
ill-will quite openly. For so badly is the succession at present
arranged that my lady Elizabeth will without doubt ascend the throne
on Mary's death and will restore heresy.

While things were in this state, Philip II was led to resolve on going
to the Netherlands by the vicissitudes of the French war and his
father's state of health; he wished either to bring about peace, or to
push the war with energy.

He had hitherto exercised a moderating influence on the government.
Not to let all fall back into the previous party-strife, he thought it
best to give the eight leading members of the Privy Council a
pre-eminent place in the management of business. He could not avoid
admitting men of both parties even among these; but he had already
found a man whom he could set over the others and trust with the
supreme rule of affairs in complete confidence. This was Cardinal
Pole, who after Cranmer's death received the Archbishopric of
Canterbury, long ago bestowed on him at Rome, and was released from
the duty of again returning to the Roman court. He was descended from
the house of the Yorkist Suffolks, persecuted by the earlier Tudors
with great severity; but how completely did this family difference
recede before the world-wide interests of religion! He served with the
most entire devotion a queen of the house of Lancaster-Tudor who on
her side reposed in him unlimited reliance: she wished to have him
about her for hours every day. Reginald Pole was a man of European and
general ecclesiastical culture; he shared in a tendency existing
within Catholicism itself, which approached very nearly to
Protestantism on one dogmatic question: we also hear that he would
gladly have moderated the persecution;[173] but when it is said, that
the obstinacy of the Protestants hindered him in this, all that can be
implied is, that they held fast to a confession which was now
absolutely condemned by the hierarchic laws, while he was bound and
resolved to carry these laws into effect. His chief care was above all
not to be involved in English party-divisions: he therefore usually
worked with a couple of Italian assistants who shared his sentiments
and his plans. The union of the ecclesiastical and temporal authority
is seen once more in Pole, as it had been in Wolsey: he combined the
powers of a legate with the position of a first minister. His
distinguished birth, his high ecclesiastical rank, the confidence of
the King and Queen, enhanced by completely blameless personal
conduct,[174] procured him an authority in the country which seemed
almost that of the sovereign.

A singular government this, composed of an absent king, who however
had to be consulted in all weighty matters, a cardinal, and a dying
queen who lived exclusively in church ideas. Difficulties could not be
wanting: they arose first in church matters themselves.

We know how much the recognition of the alienation of the church
property, to which Julius III was brought to consent by the Emperor,
contributed to the restoration of church obedience; among the English
nobility it formed the main ground of its submission. But in May 1555
Pope Paul IV ascended the Papal throne, in whom dislike of the
Austro-Spanish house was almost a passion, and who wished to base his
ecclesiastical reputation on the recovery of the alienated church
property. His third Bull orders its restoration, including the
possessions of monastic foundations, and the revenues hitherto
received from them. The English ambassadors who had been sent to Rome
under wholly different conditions, to announce the restoration of
obedience, found this Pope there on their arrival. When they mentioned
the confirmation of the alienation of the monastic property, he
answered them in plain terms: for himself he would be ready to
consent, but it lay beyond his power; the property of the church was
sacred and inviolable, all that belonged to it must be restored to the
uttermost farthing. And so ecclesiastically minded was Queen Mary that
she in her heart agreed with the Pope. The monasteries in particular
she held to be an indispensable part of the church-system, and wished
for their restoration. Already the fugitive monks were seen returning:
a number of Benedictines who had remained in the country resumed the
dress of their Order; the Queen made no secret of her wish to restore
the monastery of Westminster in particular. Another side of church
life was affected by the fact that, owing to the suppression of the
great abbeys, a number of benefices, which were dependent on them, had
lost their incomes and had fallen into decay. That Henry VIII should
have appropriated to the crown the tenths and first-fruits, which
belonged to the church, seemed to Queen Mary unjustifiable; she felt
herself straitened in her conscience by retaining these revenues, and
was prepared to give them back, whatever might be the loss to the
crown. But she could not by herself repeal what had been done under
authority of Parliament: in November 1555 she attempted to gain over
that assembly to her view. A number of influential members were
summoned to the palace, where first Cardinal Pole explained to them
that the receipt of the first-fruits was connected with the State's
claim of supremacy over the church, but that, after obedience was
restored, it had no longer any real justification. He put forward some
further reasons, and then the Queen herself took up the word. She
laid the greatest stress on her personal wish. She asked the
Parliament, after having shown obedience to her in so many ways, to
prove to her that the peace of her soul lay near their hearts, and to
take this burden from her. But the conception of the crown and its
property had in England already ceased to be so merely personal. The
most universally intelligible motive in the whole church-movement was
the feeling, that the resources of the nation ought to be devoted to
national purposes, and every one felt that the diminution of the royal
revenues would have to be made up by Parliamentary grants. In addition
to this, it appeared to be only the first step to such an universal
restitution, as Pope Paul IV clearly contemplated and directed. Was
there not much more to be said for the recovery of the church revenues
from private hands than for their withdrawal from the crown which used
them for public purposes?--A member of the Lower House wished to
answer the Queen at once after her address: but, as he was not the
Speaker, he was not allowed to do so.

When the proposal came under discussion in the Lower House, it met
with lively opposition. A commission was then appointed, to which the
Upper House sent two earls, two barons, and two bishops, and to which
some lawyers were added; by these the proposed articles were revised
and then laid before them again. The decisive sitting was on the 3rd
December 1555. The doors were closed: no stranger was allowed to enter
nor any member to leave the House. After they had sat in hot debate
from early morning till three in the afternoon--just one of those
debates, of which we have to regret that no detailed account has
survived--the proposal was, it is true, accepted, but against such a
large minority as was hitherto unheard of in the English Parliament,
120 votes to 183. Queen and cardinal regarded it as a great victory,
for they had carried their view: but the tone of the country was still
against them. However strong the stress which the cardinal laid on the
statement that the concession of the crown was not to react in any way
on private men's ownership of church property, the apprehension was
nevertheless universal,[175] that with the Queen's zeal for the
monasteries, and a consistent carrying out of the Pope's principles,
things would yet come to this. But the interests which would be thus
injured were very widespread. It was calculated that there were 40,000
families which in one way or another owned part of the church
property: they would neither relinquish it nor allow their title to be
called in question. Powerful lords were heard to exclaim that they
would keep the abbey-lands as long as they had a sword by their side.
The popular disposition was reflected in the widespread rumour, which
gained credence, that Edward VI was still alive and would soon come

From time to time seditious movements showed the insecurity of the
situation. At the beginning of 1556 traces were detected of a plan for
plundering the treasury in order to levy troops with the money.[176]
The Western counties were discontented because Courtenay was removed
from among them: he died subsequently in Italy. Sir Henry Dudley, the
Duke of Northumberland's cousin, rallied around him some zealous and
enterprising malcontents, who planned a complete revolution: he found
secret support in France, whither he fled.[177] In April 1557 a
grandson of the Duke of Buckingham, Thomas Stafford, also coming from
France, landed and made himself master of Scarborough castle. He had
only a handful of followers, but he ventured to proclaim himself
Protector of the realm, which he promised to secure against the
tyranny of foreigners, and 'the satanic designs of an unlawful Queen.'
He was crushed without difficulty. But in the general ferment which
this aroused, it was observed how universal was the wish for a

Meanwhile foreign affairs took a turn which threatened to involve
England in a dangerous complication. The peace between the great
powers had not been concluded: the truce they had made was broken off
at the instigation of the Pope; hostilities began again, and Philip II
returned to England for a couple of months to induce her to join in
the war against France. The diplomatic correspondence shows that the
imperial court from the beginning valued their near relation to
England chiefly as the basis of an alliance against France. We can
easily understand how this early object was now attained. Besides many
other previous wrongs, Stafford's enterprise, which was ascribed to
the intrigues of France, was a motive for declaring war against that
Power. And a French war still retained its old charm for the English:
their share in it surpassed all expectation. The English land forces
co-operated with decisive effect in the great victory of S. Quintin,
and similarly the appearance of the English fleet on the French coasts
ensured Philip's predominance on the ocean. But it is very doubtful
whether this was the part the English power should have played at this
moment. By his father's abdication and retirement into the cloister
Philip had become lord and master of the Spanish monarchy. Could it be
the mission of the English to help in consolidating it in his hands?
On the foundation then laid, and mainly through the peace which France
saw herself compelled to make, its greatness was built up. For the
Spanish monarchy the union with England, which rested on the able use
to which the existing troubles and the personal position of the Queen
were turned--and which, strictly speaking, was still a result of the
policy of Ferdinand the Catholic--was of indescribable advantage: to
the English it brought a loss which was severely felt. They had
neglected to put Calais in a proper state of defence; at the first
attack it fell into the hands of the French. The greatest value was
still laid in England on a possession across the sea, which seemed
indispensable for the command of the Channel; its extension was the
main object of Henry VIII's last war: that now it was on the contrary
utterly lost was felt to be a national disaster; the population of the
town, which consisted of English, was expelled together with the

And as Pope Paul IV was now allied with the King of France, the result
was that he found himself at war with Philip II (whom he tried to
chase from Naples), and hence with England as well. His hatred to the
house of Austria, his aversion to the concessions made in England with
reference to church property, and to the religious position which
Cardinal Pole had hitherto taken up in the questions at issue within
the Catholic Church, determined the Pope to interfere in the home
affairs of England with a strong hand. For these Cardinal Pole was the
one indispensable man, on whose shoulders the burden of affairs
rested. But it was this very man whom Paul IV now deprived of his
legatine power, on which much of his consequence rested, and
transferred it to a Franciscan monk.

But what now was the consequent situation of affairs in England! The
Queen, who recognised no higher authority than that of the Papal See,
was obliged to have Paul IV's messages intercepted, lest they should
become known. While the ashes of the reputed heretics were still
smoking on their Calvaries, the man who represented the Catholic form
of religion, and was working effectively for its progress, was accused
of falling away from the orthodox faith, and summoned to Rome to
answer for it.

Meanwhile England did not feel herself strong enough, even with the
help that Philip offered, to attempt the reconquest of Calais. The
finances were completely disordered by the war; and the Parliament
showed little zeal in restoring the balance: just before this the
Queen had found herself obliged even to diminish the amount of a
subsidy already as good as voted. However unwilling she might be to
take the step after her previous experiences, she had to decide once
more in the autumn of 1558 on calling a Parliament. Circumstances wore
an appearance all the more dangerous, as the Scotch were allied with
the victorious French: the Queen represented to the Commons the need
of extraordinary means of defence. A number of the leading lords
appeared in the Lower House to give additional weight to the demand of
the Crown by their presence. The Commons, though not quite willingly,
were proceeding to deliberate on the subsidies demanded, when an event
happened which relieved them from the necessity of coming to any

A tertian or quartan fever was then prevalent in the Netherlands and
in England, which was very fatal, especially to elderly persons of
enfeebled health.[179] The Queen, who had been for some time visited
by her usual attacks of illness, could not resist this disease, when
suffering besides, as she was, from deep affliction at the
disappointment of all her hopes, and from heart-rending anticipations
of the future: once more she heard mass in her chamber--she died
before it was ended, on the 17 November 1558. Cardinal Pole also was
suffering: completely crushed by this news he expired the following
night. It was calculated that thirteen bishops died a little before or
after the Queen. As if by some predetermined fate the combination of
English affairs which had been attempted during her government came at
once to an end.


[165] The Queen imputed the chief blame to Paget 'Quand l'on a parlé
de la peyne des heretiques, il a sollicité les Seigneurs pour non y
consentir ny donner lieu à peyne de mort' Renard à l'empereur, in
Tytler ii. 386.

[166] Les seigneurs quils ont pension du roy font tels et si bons
offices es contrées et provinces du roy ou ils ont charge que l'on ne
oye dire si non que le peuple est content de l'alliance; ce que
divertit les mauvais.' Renard à l'empereur, 13 Oct. Papiers d'état iv.

[167] Carta del rey Don Felipe a la princesa de Portugal Donna Juana
su hermana, in Ribadeneyra, Historia del Scisma 381.

[168] Renard informs King Ferdinand that this resolution would be
adopted the 29 Nov (Papiers d'état iv. 344), 'Confiant que la dispense
soit generale, pour sans scrupule confirmer la possession des biens
ecclesiastiques es mains de ceux qui les tiennent.'

[169] 'La chambre haulte y faict difficulté pour ce, que l'autorité et
jurisdiction des évesques est autorizee et que la peine semble trop
griefve.' Renard à l'empereur, Papiers d'état iv. 347.

[170] Renard, ibid. 341. 'Le chancellier insistoit, que l'on declaira
Mme. Elizabeth bastarde en ce parlement' They feared 'l'evidente et
congnue contrariété qui seroit en tout le royaume.'

[171] Condemnatio Johannis Hooper, in Burnet Coll. iii. 246. Compare
Foxe, Martyrs vol. iii; Soames iv.

[172] According to a despatch of Micheli (25 Nov. 1555) she says to
the Parliament: 'che non ad altro fine dalla Maesta di dio era
predestinata e riservata alla successione del regno, se non per
servirsi di lei principalmente nella riduttione alla fede cattolica.'

[173] Erat tanta in plerisque animorum obstinatio ac pertinacia, ut
benignitati et clementiae nullum plane locum relinquerent.' Vita Poli,
in Quirini i. 42.

[174] Micheli, Relatione, 'Incontaminatissimo da ogni sorte di
passione et interessi humani, non prevalendo in lui ni l'autorità de
principi ni rispetto di sangue ni d'amicizia.'

[175] 'Assicurando e levando il sospetto, che per quello che
privatamente ciascuno possedeva, non sarebbe mai molestato ni
travagliato.' Micheli, despatch 25 Nov., from whose reports I draw my
notices of these proceedings in general.

[176] Micheli, despatch 1556, 7 April, notes 'la maggior parte dei
gentilhuomini del contado di Dansur (Devonshire) come conscii et
partecipi della congiura.' 5 Magg. 'Tutta la parte occidentale è in

[177] The Constable to Noailles, Amb. v. 310. 'Le roy a advisé
d'entretenir doulcement Dudelay et secrettement toute fois, pour s'en
servir s'il en est de besoing luy donnant moyen d'entretenir aussi par
de là des intelligences, qu'il faut retenir.'

[178] Suriano, despatch 29 April 1557. 'Si è scoperto l'animo di
molti, che non si sono potuti contener di mostrarsi desiderosi di
veder alteration del stato presente.'

[179] Godwin 470 'Innumeri perierunt, sed aetate fere provectiores et
inter eos sacerdotum ingens numerus.'



To appreciate the motives which led Henry VIII to attach such
importance to a male heir, and to exclude his daughter by the Spanish
marriage from the succession, we need only cast our eyes on what
happened under her, when in spite of all she had become Queen. The
idea with which the Tudors had ascended the throne, and administered
the realm, that of founding a political power strong in itself and
alike independent of home factions and foreign influence, was
sacrificed by Mary to her preference for the nation from which her
mother came and from which she chose her husband. The military power
of England served to support the Spanish monarchy at a dangerous and
doubtful moment in the course of its formation. And while Mary's
father and brother had made it the object of their policy to deprive
the hierarchy of all influence over England, she on the contrary
reinstated it: she put the power and all the resources of the State at
its disposal. Though historically deeply rooted, the Catholic tendency
showed itself, through the reactionary rule which it brought about and
through its alliance with the policy of Spain, pernicious to the
country. We have seen what losses England suffered by it, not merely
in its foreign possessions, but--what was really irreparable--in men
of talent and learning, of feeling and greatness of soul; and into
what a state of weakness abroad and dissolution at home it thereby
fell. A new order of things must arise, if the national element, the
creation of which had been the labour of centuries, was not to be
crushed, and the mighty efforts of later ages were not to succumb to
religious and political reaction.



During Mary's government, which had been endurable only because men
foresaw its speedy end, all eyes were directed to her younger sister
Elizabeth. She was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who bore her under her
heart when she was crowned as Queen. After many changes, Henry VIII,
in agreement with Parliament, had recognised her right of inheritance;
the people had risen against the enterprise of the Duke of
Northumberland for her as well as for Mary. And it had also been
maintained against Mary herself. Once, in Wyatt's conspiracy, letters
were found, which pointed at Elizabeth's having a share in it: she was
designated in them as the future Queen. The predominant
Spanish-Catholic party had her examined and would have much wished to
find her guilty, in order to rid themselves of her for ever. But
Elizabeth was not so imprudent as to lend her hand to a movement,
which if unsuccessful--a result not hard to foresee--must destroy her
own good title. And moreover she, with her innate pride, could not
possibly have carried out the wishes of the French by marrying
Courtenay, whom her sister had rejected. The letter, which she wrote
to Mary at this crisis, is full of unfeignedly loyal submission to her
Queen, before whom she only wishes to bend her knee, to pray her not
to let herself be prejudiced by false charges against her sister; and
yet at the same time it is highminded and great in the consciousness
of innocence. Mary, who was now no longer her friend, did not
vouchsafe her a hearing, but sent her to the Tower and subjected her
to a criminal examination. But however zealously they sought for
proofs against her, yet they found none: and they dared not touch her
life unless she were first publicly found guilty. She was clearly the
heiress to the throne appointed under the authorisation of Parliament:
the people would not give up the prospects of the future which were
linked with her. When she appeared in London at this moment of peril,
surrounded by numerous attendants, in an open litter, with an
expression in which hopeful buoyant youth mingled with the feeling of
innocence and distress, pale and proud, she swayed the masses that
crowded round her with no doubtful sympathy.[180] When she passed
through the streets after her liberation, she was received with an
enthusiasm which made the Queen jealous on her throne.

Yet Elizabeth was not merely the head of the popular opposition to her
sister's policy: from the first moment onwards she was in collision
with another female foe, whose pretensions would determine the
relations of her life. If Henry VIII formerly in settling the
succession passed over in silence the rights of his married sister in
Scotland, which had now come to her granddaughter Mary Stuart, the
memory of them was now all the more vividly revived by the Catholic
party in the country. For with the religious reverence which men
devoted to the Papacy it was not at all possible to reconcile the
recognition of Elizabeth, whose very existence was as it were at
variance with it. Nor was a political motive for preferring Mary
Stuart wanting. That for which Henry VIII and Somerset had striven so
zealously, the union of England and Scotland, would be thus attained
at once. They were not afraid that Scotland might thus become
predominant; Henry VII at the conclusion of the marriage, having his
attention drawn to this possible risk, replied with the maxim, that
the larger and more powerful part always draws the smaller after it.
The indispensable condition for the development of the English power
lay in the union of the whole island: this would have ensued in a
Catholic, not in a Protestant, sense. Was not this union of political
advantage and religious concord likely to influence the Privy Council
of England, which under Mary was again zealously Catholic, and also to
influence Queen Mary Tudor herself?

Great political questions however do not usually present themselves to
men in such perfect clearness, but are seen under the modifying
circumstances of the moment. It was at that time all important that
Mary Stuart had married the Dauphin: she would have united England not
merely with Scotland, but at the same time with France, thus bringing
it for ever under the influence of that country. How revolting must
such a prospect have been to all English feeling! England would have
become a transmarine province of France, it would in time have been
absorbed like Brittany. Above all, French policy would have completely
gained the upper hand in Europe. This apprehension induced the Spanish
statesmen--Elizabeth's eager enemies as long as they expected their
King to have issue of Mary Tudor--when this hope failed, to give the
princess sympathy and attention. Philip II, when her troubles revived
(for both Gardiner and Pole were her enemies), informed her through
secret messengers, that he was her good friend and would not abandon
her. Now that Mary was failing before all men's eyes, and every one
was looking forward to her death, it was his evident interest to
further Elizabeth's accession. In this sense spoke his ambassador
Feria, whom he sent at this moment to England, before the assembled
Privy Council;[181] even Mary was urged to declare herself to the same
effect. From an advice written for Elizabeth during the first moments
of her reign we see that all still looked very dangerous: she was
urged in it to possess herself of the Tower and there to receive the
allegiance of the high officers of State, to allow no departure from
the English ports, and so on. Men expected turbulent movements at
home, and were not without apprehension of an attempt at invasion
from France. The decision however followed without any commotion and
on the spot. Though most of its members were Catholic, the Privy
Council did not hesitate. A few hours after Mary's decease the Commons
were summoned to the Upper House, to receive a communication there: it
was, that Mary was dead, and that God had given them another Queen, My
lady Elizabeth. The Parliament dissolved; the new Queen was proclaimed
in Westminster and in London. Some days afterwards she made her entry
into the capital amidst the indescribable rejoicings of the people,
who greeted her accession as their deliverance and their salvation.

But if this, as we see, involved in its very essence a hostile
attitude towards France and Scotland, on the other hand the question
was at once laid before the Queen, and in the most personal way
imaginable, how far she would unite herself with Spain, the great
Power which was now on her side. Philip resolved, inasmuch as
propriety in some measure allowed it, to ask for her hand--not indeed
from personal inclination, of which there is no trace, but from policy
and perhaps from religion: he hoped by this means to keep England firm
to the Spanish alliance and to Catholicism.[182] And on the English
side also much might be said for it. An ally was needed against
France, even to obtain a tolerable peace: there was some danger that
Philip, if rejected by the Queen, might perhaps marry a French
princess; to be secure against the French claims the Queen seemed to
need the support of Spain. Her first answer was not in the negative.
She declared she must consult with Parliament as to the King's
proposal: but he might be assured that, if she ever married, she would
not give any one else the preference over him.

Well considered, these words announce at once her resolution not to
marry. Between Mary Tudor who thought to bring the crown to the heir
of Spain, and Mary Stuart similarly pledged to the heir of France,
nothing was left for her--since she would not wish the husband of her
choice to be of inferior rank--but to remain unmarried. From
listening to Philip's wooing she was kept back by her sister's
example, whose marriage had destroyed her popularity. And for
Elizabeth there would have been yet another danger in this alliance.
Was not her legitimacy dependent on the invalidity of her father's
marriage with his brother's widow? It would be a very similar case if
she were to marry her sister's husband. Besides she would have needed
the Pope's dispensation for such a union--as Philip had already
explained to her--while her birth and crown were the results of a
Papal dispensation being declared a nullity. She would thus have
fallen into a self-contradiction, to which she must have succumbed in
course of time. When told that Philip II had done her some service,
she acknowledged it: but when she meditated on it further, she found
that neither this sovereign nor any other influence whatever would
have protected her from her enemies, had not the people shown her an
unlimited devotion.[183] This devotion, on which her whole existence
depended, she would not forfeit. After a little delay she let Philip
know that she felt some scruples as to the Papal dispensation. She
gave weight to the point which had been under discussion, but added
that she was altogether disinclined to marry. We may doubt whether
this was her immoveably formed resolution, considering how often
afterwards she negociated about her marriage. It might seem to her
allowable, as an instrument of policy, to excite hopes which she did
not mean to fulfil: or her views may in fact have again wavered: but
these oscillations in her statements can mean nothing when set over
against a great necessity: her actual conduct shows that she had a
vivid insight into it and held firm to it with tenacious resolution.
She was Henry's daughter, but she knew how to keep herself as
independent as he had thought that only a son could possibly do. There
is a deep truth in her phrase, that she is wedded to her people:
regard to their interests kept her back from any other union.

But if she resolved to give up the relation of close union in which
England had hitherto stood with Spain, it was indispensable to make
peace with France. It was impossible to attain this if she insisted on
the restoration of Calais; she resolved to give it up, at first for a
term of years. Of almost the same date as her answer of refusal to
Philip's ambassador is her instruction empowering her ambassador to
let Calais go, as soon as he saw that the Spaniards would conclude
their peace with France without stipulating for its restoration. She
was able to venture this, for however deeply the nation felt the loss
of the place, the blame for it could not be imputed to her. Without
repeating what was then asserted, that her distinct aim was to turn
the hatred of the nation against the late government and its alliance
with Spain, we may still allow that this must have been the actual
result, as it really proved to be. It was indeed said that Philip II,
who not merely concluded peace with France but actually married a
daughter of Henry II, would make common cause with him against
England: but Elizabeth no more allowed herself to be misled by this
possibility, which also had much against it, than Henry VIII had been
under similar circumstances. Like him and like the founder of her
family, she took up an independent position between the two powers,
equally ready according to circumstances for war or peace with one or
the other.

Meanwhile she had already proceeded to measures which could never have
been reconciled with the Spanish alliance, and to ecclesiastical
changes which first gave her position its true character.

Her earliest intimation of again deviating from the Church was given
by restoring, like a devoted daughter, her father's monument, which
Mary had levelled with the ground. A second soon followed, which at
once touched on the chief doctrine in dispute. Before attending a
solemn high mass she required the officiating bishop to omit the
elevation of the host. As he refused, she left the church at the
moment the ceremony was being consummated. To check the religious
strife which began to fill the pulpits she forbade preaching, like her
predecessors; but she allowed the Sunday Lessons, the Litany, and the
Creed to be read in English. Elizabeth had hitherto conformed to the
restored Catholic ritual: it could not be quite said that she
belonged to either of the existing confessions. She always declared
that she had read no controversial writings. But she had occupied
herself with the documents of the early Church, with the Greek and
Latin Fathers, and was thoroughly convinced that the Romanism of the
later centuries had gone far astray from this pattern. She had made up
her mind, not as to every point of doctrine, but as to its general
direction: she believed too that she was upheld and guarded by God, to
carry out this change. 'How wonderful are God's ordinances,' she
exclaimed, when she heard that the crown had fallen to her.

What course however was now to be taken was a question which, owing to
the antagonism of the factions and the close connexion of all
ecclesiastical and political matters, required the most mature

The Queen was advised simply to revert to Edward VI's regulations, and
to declare all things null and void that had been enacted under Mary,
mainly on the ground that they had been enacted in violation of legal
forms. A speech was laid before her, in which the validity of the last
elections was disputed, since qualified members had been excluded from
the sittings of both houses, although they were good Englishmen: the
later proclamations of summons were held to be null, because in them
the formula 'Supreme Head of the English Church' had been arbitrarily
omitted, without a previous resolution of Parliament, though on this
title so much depended for the commonwealth and people: but no one
could give up a right which concerned a third person or the public
interest; through these errors, which Mary had committed in her
blindness, all that had then been determined lost its force and
authority.[184] But the Queen and her counsellors did not wish to go
so far. They remarked that to declare a Parliament invalid for some
errors of form was a step of such consequence as to make the whole
government of the nation insecure. But even without this it was not
the Queen's purpose merely to revert to the forms which had been
adopted under her brother. She did not share all the opinions and
doctrines which had then obtained the upper hand: she held far more to
ceremonies and outward forms than Edward VI or his counsellors: she
wished to avoid a rude antagonism which would have called forth the
resistance of the Catholics.

In the Parliament that met immediately after the coronation (which was
still celebrated by a Catholic bishop), they began with the question
which had most occupied the late assembly, namely, should the Church
revenues that had been attached to the crown be restored to it. The
Queen's proposal, that they should be left to the crown, was quite the
view of the assembly and obtained their full consent.

The Parliamentary form of government however had also the greatest
influence on religious affairs. Having risen originally in opposition
to Rome, the Parliament, after the vicissitudes of the civil wars,
first recovered its full importance when it took the side of the crown
in its struggle with the Papacy. It did not so much concern itself
with Dogma for its own sake: it had thought it possible to unite the
retention of Catholicism with national independence. Under Mary every
man had become conscious that this would be impossible. It was just
then that the Parliament passed from its previous compliant mood into
opposition, which was not yet successful because it was only that of
the minority, but which prepared the way for the coming change of
tone. It attached itself joyfully to the new Queen, whose birth
necessarily made her adopt a policy which took away all apprehensions
of a union with the Romish See injurious to the country.

The complete antagonism between the Papal and the Parliamentary
powers, of which one had swayed past centuries and the other was to
sway the future, is shown by the conduct of the Pope, when Elizabeth
announced her accession to him. In his answer he reproached her with
it as presumption, reverted to the decision of his predecessors by
which she was declared illegitimate, required that the whole matter
should be referred to him, and even mentioned England's feudal
relation to the Papacy:[185] but Parliament, which had rejected this
claim centuries before, acknowledged Elizabeth as legitimately sprung
from the royal blood, and as Queen by the law of God and of the land;
they pledged themselves to defend her title and right with their lives
and property.

Owing to this the tendencies towards separation from Rome were already
sure to gain the superiority: the Catholic members of the Privy
Council, to whom Elizabeth owed her first recognition, could not
contend effectively against them. But besides this, Elizabeth had
joined with them a number of men of her own choice and her own views,
who like herself had not openly opposed the existing system, but
disapproved it; they were mainly her personal friends, who now took
the direction of affairs into their hands; the change which they
prepared looked moderate but was decided.

Elizabeth rejected the title of 'Supreme Head of the Church,' because
it not merely aroused the aversion of the Catholics, but also gave
offence to many zealous Protestants; it made however no essential
difference when she replaced it by the formula 'in all causes as well
ecclesiastical as civil, supreme.' Parliament declared that the right
of visiting and reforming the Church was attached to the crown and
could be exercised by it through ecclesiastical commissioners. The
clergy, high and low, were to swear to the ecclesiastical supremacy,
and abjure all foreign authority and jurisdiction. The punishment for
refusing the oath was defined: it was not to be punished with death as
under Henry VIII, but with the loss of office and property. All Mary's
acts in favour of an independent legislation and jurisdiction of the
spiritualty were repealed. The crown appropriated to itself, with
consent of Parliament, complete supremacy over the clergy of the land.

The Parliament allowed indeed that it did not belong to it to
determine concerning matters really ecclesiastical; but it held itself
authorised, much like the Great-Councils of Switzerland, to order a
conference of both parties, before which the most pressing questions
of the moment, on the power of national Churches, and the nature of
the Mass, should be laid.

The Catholic bishops disliked the whole proceeding, as may be
imagined, since these points had been so long settled; and they
disliked no less the interference of the temporal power, and lastly
the presidency of a royal minister, Nicolas Bacon. They had no mind to
commit themselves to an interchange of writings: their declarations by
word of mouth were more peremptory than convincing. In general they
were not well represented since the deaths of Pole and Gardiner. On
the other hand the Protestants, of whom many had become masters of the
controverted questions during the exile from which they had now
returned, put forward explicit statements which were completely to the
point. They laid stress chiefly on the distinction between the
universal, truly Catholic, Church and the Romish: they sought to reach
firm ground in Christian antiquity prior to the hierarchic centuries.
While they claimed a more comprehensive communion than that of
Romanism, as that in which true Catholicity exists, they sought at the
same time to establish a narrower, national, body which should have
the right of independent decision as to ritual. Nearly all depended on
the question, how far a country, which forms a separate community and
thus has a separate Church, has the right to alter established
ceremonies and usages; they deduced such an authority from this fact
among others, that the Church in the first centuries was ruled by
provincial councils. The project of calling a national council was
proposed in Germany but never carried out: in England men considered
the idea of a national decree, mainly in reference to ritual, as
superior to all others. But we know how much the conception of ritual
covered. The question whether Edward VI's Prayer-book should be
restored or not, was at the same time decisive as to what doctrinal
view should be henceforth followed.[186]

The Catholic bishops set themselves in vain against the progress of
these discussions. They withdrew from the conference: but the
Parliament did not let itself be misled by this: it adopted the
popular opinion, that they did not know what to answer. At the
division in the Upper House they held obstinately fast to their
opinion: they were left however, though only by a few votes, in the
minority.[187] The Act of Uniformity passed, by which the Prayer-book,
in the form which should be given it by a new revision, was to be
universally received from the following Midsummer. The bishops raised
an opposition yet once more, at a sitting of the Privy Council, on the
ground that the change was against the promises made by Mary to the
See of Rome in the name of the crown. Elizabeth answered, her sister
had in this exceeded her powers: she herself was free to revert to the
example of her earlier predecessors by whom the Papal power was looked
on as an usurpation. 'My crown,' she exclaimed, 'is subject only to
the King of Kings, and to no one else:' she made use of the words,
'But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' The Protestant
bishops had perished at the stake, but the victory was theirs even in
their graves.

The committee of revision consisted of men, who had then saved
themselves by flight or by the obscurity of a secluded life. As under
Edward men came back to the original tendencies prevalent under Henry
VIII, so they now reverted to the settlement under Edward; yet they
allowed themselves some alterations, chiefly with the view of making
the book acceptable to the Catholics as well. Prayers in which the
hostility of decided Protestantism came forward with especial
sharpness, for instance that 'against the tyranny of the Bishop of
Rome,' were left out. The chief alteration was in the formula of the
Lord's Supper. Elizabeth and her divines were not inclined to let this
stand as it was read in the second edition of Edward's time, since the
mystical act there appeared almost as a mere commemorative
repast.[188] They reverted to a form composed from the monuments of
Latin antiquity, from Ambrose and Gregory, in which the real presence
was maintained; this which already existed in the first edition they
united with the view of the second. As formerly in the Augsburg
confession in Germany, so in England at the last recension of the
Common Prayer-book an attempt was made to keep as near as possible to
the traditional system. For the Queen this had also a political value:
when Philip II sent her a warning, she explained that she was only
kept back from joining in the mass by a few points: she too believed
in God's presence in the Sacrament.[189]

She was of a similar mind in reference to other matters also. If at
first, under pressure from zealous Protestants who saw in images an
occasion for superstition, she ordered their removal, we perceive that
in a short time she regretted it, especially as it made a bad
impression in Wales and the Northern counties; in her chapel men again
saw the cross and the lighted tapers, as before. The marriages entered
into by priests had given much offence, and not unjustly, as they were
often inferior unions, little honourable to them, and lowering the
dignity of their order. Elizabeth would have gladly forbidden them
altogether: she contented herself with setting limits to them by
ordering that a previous permission should be requisite, but she
always disliked them. She felt a natural pleasure in the splendour and
order of the existing church service. For the future also the
spiritualty were to be bound to appear--in the customary dress--in a
manner worthy of God's service, with bent knees and with ceremonious
devotion. When they proceeded to revise the confession drawn up by
Cranmer, which two years afterwards was raised to a law in the shape
of the 'Thirty-nine Articles,' they struck out the places that leant
to Zwingli's special view; on the other hand they added some new
propositions, which stated the right of the higher powers, and the
authority of each kingdom to determine religious usages for

For in this consisted the essence of the alteration, that the Civil
Authority, as it was then composed, decided the church-questions that
arose, and raised its decision into law.

The Statute was, that no person should hold a public office, whether
spiritual or temporal, who did not conform to this law. Thirteen
bishops, four-and-twenty deans, eighty rectors of parishes, and most
of the heads of colleges resigned. It has been said that this number,
about two hundred, is not very considerable, since the English clergy
held 9000 benefices and offices; but it comprehended all those who
held the government of the church and represented the prevalent
opinion in it. The difficulty arose how to replace the bishops in
conformity with the principles of the English church constitution as
then retained: perhaps the difficulty was intentional. There were
however two conforming bishops who had received the laying on of hands
according to the Roman ritual, and two others according to the
Reformed: these consecrated the new Archbishop of Canterbury. It was
objected to this act that none of them was in actual possession of a
bishop's see: the Queen declared every defect, whether as to the
statutes of the realm or church-usages, since time and circumstances
demanded it, to be nullified or supplied. It was enough that,
generally speaking, the mystery of the episcopal succession went on
without interruption. What was less essential she supplied by the
prerogative of the crown, as her grandfather had done once before. The
archbishop consecrated was Dr. Parker, formerly chaplain to Anne
Boleyn: a thoroughly worthy man, the father of learned studies on
English antiquities, especially on the Anglo-Saxon times. By him the
laying on of hands and consecration was bestowed on the other bishops
who were now elected: they were called on to uphold at the same time
the idea of episcopacy in its primitive import, and the doctrines of
the Reformation.

In regard to the election of bishops also Elizabeth went back one step
from her brother's system; she gave up the right of appointment, and
restored her father's regulations, by which it is true a strong
influence was still reserved for the Civil Power. Under her supreme
authority she wished to see the spiritual principle recognised as
such, and to give it a representation corresponding to its high

Thus it must needs be. The principle which comes forward for the first
time, however strong it may appear, has yet to secure its future: it
must struggle with the other elements of the world around it. It will
be pressed back, perhaps beaten down: but in the vicissitude of the
strife it will develop its inborn strength and establish itself for

An Anglican church,--nationally independent, without giving up its
connexion with the reformed churches of the continent, and reformed,
without however letting fall the ancient forms of episcopacy,--in
accordance with the ideal, as it was originally understood, was at
length, after a hard schooling of trials, struggles, and disasters,
really set on foot.

But now it is clear how closely such a thoroughgoing alteration
affected the political position. Reckoning on the antipathies, which
could not but hence arise against Elizabeth in the catholic world, and
above all on the consent of the Roman See, the French did not hesitate
to openly recognise the claims of the Dauphiness Mary Stuart to the
English throne. She was hailed as Queen, when she appeared in public:
the Dauphin's heralds bore the united arms of England, Ireland, and
Scotland.[191] And this claim became still more important after the
unexpected death of Henry II, when the Dauphin ascended the French
throne as Francis II. The Guises, uncles of Mary the new Queen, who
saw their own greatness in her success and were the very closest
adherents of the church, got into their hands all the powers of
government. The danger of their hostility lay above all in this, that
the French already exercised a predominant influence over Scotch
affairs, and hoped in a short time to become complete masters of that
country in the Queen's right. She moreover had already by a formal
document transferred to the French royal house an eventual right of
inheritance to her crown. But if matters came to this, the old war of
England and France would be transferred from the fields of Boulogne
and Calais to the Scotch border. An invasion of the English territory
from that side was the more dangerous, as the French would have
brought thither, according to their custom, German and Swiss troops as
well. England had neither fortresses, nor disciplined troops, nor even
generals of name, who could face such an invasion. It was truly said,
there was not a wall in England strong enough to stand a cannon
shot.[192] How then if a defeat was sustained in the open field? The
sympathies of the Catholics would have been aroused for France, and
general ruin would have ensued.

It was a fortunate thing for Elizabeth that the King of Spain, after
she had taken up a line of conduct so completely counter to his wishes
and ideas, did not make common cause with the French as they requested
him. But she could not promise herself any help from him. Granvella
told the English as emphatically as possible, that they must provide
for themselves. Another Spanish statesman expressed his doubt to them
whether they were able to do so: he really thought England would one
day become an apple of discord between Spain and France, as Milan then
was. It was almost a scoff, to compare the Island that had the power
of the sea with an Italian duchy. But from this very moment she was to
take a new upward flight. England was again to take her place as a
third Power between the two great Powers; the opportunity presented
itself to her to begin open war with one of them, without breaking
with the other or even being exactly allied with it.

At first it was France that threatened and challenged her.

And to oppose the French, at the point where they might be dangerous,
a ready means presented itself; England had but to form an alliance
with those who opposed the French interests in Scotland. As these
likewise were in opposition to their Queen, it was objected that one
sovereign ought not to combine with the subjects of another.
Elizabeth's leading statesman, William Cecil, who stood ever by her
side with his counsel in the difficulties of her earlier years, and
had guided her steps hitherto, made answer that 'the duty of
self-preservation required it in this case, since Scotland would else
be serviceable to France for war against England.'

Cecil took into his view alike the past and the future. It was France
alone, he said, that had prevented the English crown from realising
its suzerainty over Scotland: whereas the true interest of Scotland
herself lay in her being united with England as one kingdom. This
point of view was all the more important, since the religious interest
coincided with the political. The Scots, with whom they wished to
unite themselves, were Protestants of the most decided kind.


[180] 'Ayant visage pale fier haultain et superbe pour desguyser le
regret qu'elle a.' Renard to the Emperor 24 Feb. 1554, in Tytler ii.
311. He adds, 'si pendant l'occasion s'adonne, elle (la reine) ne la
punyt et Cortenay, elle ne sera jamais assurée.'

[181] 'Manifestò el contentamiento grande que tendria el rey de saber
que se declaba la sucesion en favor de ella (Isabel), cosa que S. M.
habia descado sempre.' In Gonzalez, Apuntamientos para la historia del
rey Don Felipe II. Memorias de la real academia de historia, Madrid,
vii. 253.

[182] One of the documents which Mackintosh (History of England iii.
25) missed, the commission for the proposal to Elizabeth, which gives
its contents, was soon after printed in Gonzalez, Documentos I. 405.

[183] Feria: 'Dando a entender, que el pueblo la ha puesto en el
estado que esta, y de esto no reconoce nada ni a V. M., ni a la
nobleza del reino.'

[184] An oration of John Hales to the Queen delivered by a certain
nobleman, in Foxe, Martyrs iii. 978. 'It most manifestly appeareth,
that all their doings from the beginning to the end were and be of
none effect force or autority.'

[185] P Sarpi, Concilio di Trento, lib. v. p. 420, confirmed by
Pallavicino lib. xiv.

[186] Horne's Papers for the reformed, in Collier ii. 416.

[187] Ribadeneyra: 'No fueron sino tres votos mas, los que
determinaron en las cortes, que se mudasse la religion catolica, que
los que pretendian que se conservasse.' Ribadeneyra says the Queen
gained Arundel's vote by allowing him to hope for her hand, and then
laughed at him; but Feria's despatches show that she mocked at his
pretensions even before her entry on the government.

[188] Soames iv. 675. Liturgiae Britannicae 417.

[189] From Feria's despatches, Apuntamientos 270.

[190] In Heylin there is a comparison of the original forty-two with
the later thirty-nine Articles; but he did not venture at last to do
what he proposed at first, give his opinion as to the reason and
nature of the variations.

[191] Leslaeus de rebus gestis Scotorum: Henricus Mariam Reginam
Angliae Scotiae et Hiberniae declarandam curavit,--Angliae et Scotiae
insignia in ipsius vasis aliisque utensilibus simul pingi fingique ac
adeo tapetibus pulvinis intexi jussit. (In Jebb i. 206.)

[192] From one of Cecil's first notes, 'if they offered battle with
Almains, there was great doubt, how England would be able to sustain
it.' In Nares ii. 27.



In its earliest period church reform was everywhere introduced or
promoted by the temporal governments; in Germany by the government of
the Empire, and by the Princes and towns which did not allow the
authorisation, once given them through the Empire, to be again
withdrawn; in the North by the new dynasties which took the place of
the Union-Princes; in Switzerland itself by the Great-Councils which
possessed the substance of the republican authority. After manifold
struggles and vicissitudes this tendency had at last yet once more
established itself in its full force under Queen Elizabeth in England.

But another tendency was also very powerful in the world. In South
Europe, France, the Netherlands, and a part of the German territory,
the state attached itself to the principles of the old Church. At this
very time in Italy and Spain this led to the complete destruction of
what was there analogous to the Reformation; it has had more influence
on the later circumstances of these countries than it had then. But
where the religious change had already obtained a more durable
footing, as in France and the Netherlands, politico-religious
variances of the most thoroughgoing nature arose almost of necessity:
the Protestantism of Western Europe was pervaded by anti-monarchical
ideas. We noticed how much everything was preparing for this under
Queen Mary in England also: that it did not so happen was owing to the
arrangements made by Elizabeth. But this tendency appeared in full
force in Scotland, and in fact more strongly there than anywhere else.

In Scotland the efforts made by all the monarchic powers of this
period in common were not so successful as in the rest of Europe. The
kings of the house of Stuart, who had themselves proceeded from the
ranks of the nobility, never succeeded in reducing the powerful lords
to real obedience. The clannish national feeling, closely bordering on
the old Keltic principle, procured the nobles at all times numerous
and devoted followers: they fought out their feuds among themselves,
and then combined anew in free confederacies. They held fast to the
view that their sovereigns were not lords of the land (for they
regarded their possessions as independent properties), not kings of
Scotland but kings of the Scots, above all, kings of the great
vassals, who had to pay them an obedience defined by laws. It gave the
kings not a little superiority that they had obtained a decisive
influence over the appointment to the high dignities in the Church,
but this proved advantageous neither to the Church nor at last to
themselves. Sometimes two vassals actually fought with each other for
a rich benefice. The French abuses came into vogue here also:
ecclesiastical benefices fell to the dependents of the court, to the
younger sons of leading houses, often to their bastards: they were
given or sold _in commendam_, and then served only for pleasure and
gain: the Scotch Church fell into an exceedingly scandalous and
corrupt state.

It was not so much disputed questions of doctrine as in Germany, nor
again the attempt to keep out Papal influence as in England, but
mainly aversion to the moral corruption of the spiritualty which gave
the first impulse to the efforts at reformation in Scotland. We find
Lollard societies among the Scots much later than in England: their
tendencies spread through wide circles owing to the anticlerical
spirit of the century, and received fresh support from the doctrinal
writings that came over from Germany. But the Scotch clergy was
resolved to defend itself with all its might. Sometimes it had to sit
in judgment on invectives against its disorderly and luxurious life,
sometimes on refusals to pay established dues: or Lutheran doctrines
had been preached: it persecuted all with equal severity as tending to
injure the stability of holy Church, and awarded the most extreme
penalties. To put suspected heretics to death by fire was the order of
the day; happy the man who escaped the unrelenting persecution by
flight, which was only possible amid great peril.

These two causes, an undeniably corrupt condition and relentless
punishment of those who blamed it as it well deserved, gave the Reform
movement in Scotland, which was repressed but not stifled, a peculiar
character of exasperation and thirst for vengeance.

Nor was it without a political bearing in Scotland as elsewhere. In
particular Henry VIII proposed to his nephew, King James V, to remodel
the Church after his example: and a part of the nobility, which was
already favourably disposed towards England, would have gladly seen
this done. But James preferred the French pattern to the English: he
was kept firm in his Catholic and French sympathies by his wife, Mary
of Guise, and by the energetic Archbishop Beaton. Hence he became
involved in the war with England in which he fell, and after this it
occasionally seemed, especially at the time of the invasions by the
Duke of Somerset, as if the English, and in connexion with them the
Protestant, sympathies would gain the ascendancy. But national
feelings were still stronger than the religious. Exactly because
England defended and recommended the religious change it failed to
make way in Scotland. Under the regency of the Queen dowager, with
some passing fluctuations, the clerical interests on the whole kept
the upper hand. In spite of a general sympathy the prospects of Reform
were slender. It could not reckon on any quarrel between the
government and the higher clergy: foreign affairs rather exercised a
hostile influence. It is remarkable how under these unfavourable
circumstances the foundation of the Scotch Church was laid.

Most of the Scots who had fled from the country were content to
provide for their subsistence in a foreign land and improve their own
culture. But there was one among them who did not reconcile himself
for one moment to this fate. John Knox was the first who formed a
Protestant congregation in the besieged fortress of S. Andrew's; when
the French took the place in 1547 he was made prisoner and condemned
to serve in the galleys. But while his feet were in fetters, he
uttered his conviction in the fiery preface to a work on
Justification, that this doctrine would yet again be preached in his
fatherland.[193] After he was released, he took a zealous share in the
labours of the English Reformers under Edward VI, but was not
altogether content with the result; after the King's death he had to
fly to the continent. He went to Geneva, where he became a student
once more and tried to fill up the gaps in his studies, but above all
he imbibed, or confirmed his knowledge of, the views which prevailed
in that Church. 'Like the first Reformers of French Switzerland, Knox
also lived in the opinion that the Romish service was an idolatry
which should be destroyed from off the earth. And he was fully
convinced of the doctrine of the independence of the spiritual
principle side by side with the State, and believed that the new
spiritualty also was authorised to exclude men from the Church, views
for which Calvin was at that very time contending. Thus he was equally
armed for the struggle against the Papacy and against the temporal
power allied with it, when a transient relaxation of ecclesiastical
control in Scotland made it possible for him to return thither. In the
war between France and Spain the Regent took the side of France: she
lighted bonfires to announce the capture of Calais; out of antipathy
to Mary Tudor and her Spanish government she allowed the English
fugitives to be received in Scotland. Knox himself ventured to return
towards the end of 1555: without delay he set his hand to form a
church-union, according to his ideas of religious independence, which
was not to be again destroyed by any State power.

Among the devout Protestants who gathered together in secret the
leading question was, whether it was consistent with conscience to go
to mass, as most then did. Knox was not merely against any one doing
wrong that good might come of it, but he went on further to restore
the interrupted Protestant service of God. Sometimes in one and
sometimes in another of the places of refuge which he found he
administered the Communion to little congregations according to the
Reformed rite; this was done with greater solemnity at Easter 1556 in
the house of Lord Erskine of Dun, one of those Scottish noblemen who
had ever promoted literary studies and the religious movement as far
as lay in his power. A number of people of consequence from the Mearns
(Mearnshire) were present. But they were not content with partaking
the Communion; following the mind of their preacher they pledged
themselves to avoid every other religious community, and to uphold
with all their power the preaching of the Gospel.[194] In this union
we may see the origin of the Scotch Church properly so called. Knox
had no doubt that it was perfectly lawful. From the power which the
lords possessed in Scotland he concluded that this duty was incumbent
on them. For they were not lords for themselves, but in order to
protect their subjects and dependents against every violence. From a
distance he called on his friends--for he had once more to leave
Scotland, since the government recurred to its earlier severity--not
again to prefer their own ease to the glory of God, but for very
conscience' sake to venture their lives for their oppressed brethren.
At Erskine's house met together also Lord Lorn, afterwards Earl of
Argyle, and the Prior of S. Andrews, subsequently Earl of Murray; in
December 1557 Erskine, Lorn, Murray, Glencairn (also a friend of
Knox), and Morton, united in a solemn engagement, to support God's
word and defend his congregation against every evil and tyrannical
power even unto death.[195] When in spite of this another execution
took place which excited universal aversion, they proceeded to an
express declaration, that they would not suffer any man to be punished
for transgressing a clerical law based on human ordinances.

What the influence of England had not been able to effect, was now
produced by antipathy to France. The opinion prevailed that the King
of France wished to add Scotland to his territories, and that the
Regent gave him aid thereto. When she gathered the feudal array on the
borders in 1557 (for the Scots had refused to contribute towards
enlisting mercenaries) to invade England according to an understanding
with the French, the barons held a consultation on the Tweed, in
consequence of which they refused their co-operation for this purpose.
The matrimonial crown was indeed even afterwards granted to the
Dauphin, when he married Mary Stuart;[196] but thereupon
misunderstandings arose with all the more bitterness. Meetings were
everywhere held in a spirit hostile to the government.

It was this quarrel of the Regent with the great men of the country
that gave an opportunity to the lords who were combined for the
support of religion to advance with increasing resolution. Among their
proposals there is none weightier than that which they laid before her
in March 1559, just when the Regent had gathered around her a numerous
ecclesiastical assembly. They demanded that the bishops should be
elected for the future by the nobility and gentry of each diocese, the
parish clergy by the parishioners, and only those were to be elected
who were of esteemed life and possessed the requisite capacity: divine
service was to be henceforth held in the language of the country. The
assembled clergy rejected both demands. They remarked that to set
aside the influence of the crown on the elections involved a
diminution of its authority which could not be defended, especially
during the minority of the sovereign. Only in the customary forms
would they allow of any amendments.

But this assembly was not content with rejecting the proposals: they
confirmed the usages and services stigmatised by their opponents as
superstitious, and forbade the celebration of the sacraments in any
other form than that sanctioned by the Church. The royal court at
Stirling called a number of preachers to its bar for unauthorised
assumption of priestly functions.

The preachers were ready to come: the lords in whose houses they
sojourned were security for them. And already they had the popular
sympathy as well as aristocratic protection. It was an old custom of
the country that, in especially important judicial proceedings, the
accused appeared accompanied by his friends. Now therefore the friends
of the Reformation assembled in great numbers at Perth from the
Mearns, Dundee, and Angus, that, by jointly avowing the doctrines on
account of which their spiritual leaders were called to account, their
condemnation might be rendered impossible.

As to the Regent we are assured that she was not in general firmer in
her leaning towards the hierarchy than other Princes of the time, and
had once even entertained the thought that the supreme ecclesiastical
power belonged to her;[197] but, perhaps alarmed by the vehemence of
the preachers, she had done nothing to obtain such a power. It now
appeared to her that it would be a good plan to check the flow of the
masses to the place of trial by some friendly words which she
addressed to Erskine of Dun.[198] The Protestants saw in them the
assurance of an interposition in the direction of lenity, and stayed
away; but without regard to this and without delay the Justiciary at
Stirling, Henry Levingstoune, proceeded to business on the day
appointed, 20 May 1559. As the preachers did not appear, those who had
become security for them were condemned to a money-fine, while they
themselves were denounced as rebels,[199] as having withdrawn
themselves from the royal jurisdiction; an edict followed which
pronounced them exiled, and in the severest terms forbade any to give
them protection or favour.

The news fell like a spark of fire among the inflammable masses of
Protestants assembled at Perth. The sentence promulgated was an open
act of hostility against the lords, who felt themselves bound by their
word which they had given to the preachers and by their vow to each
other. They considered that the Regent's promise had given them a
right against her; Lord Erskine, whom the others had warned, declared
that he had been deceived by her. While the Regent had prevented a
collision between the two parties at Stirling, she had occasioned in
one of them, at Perth, the outbreak of a popular storm against the
hierarchy of the land, their representatives, and the monuments of
their religion. John Knox, who had come, as he said, to be where men
were striving against Satan, called on them in a fiery sermon to
destroy the images which were the instruments of idolatry. The attempt
of a priest, after the sermon, to proceed to high mass and open the
tabernacle of the altar, was all that was needed to cause a tumult
even in the church itself, in which the images of the saints were
destroyed; and the outbreak spreading through the city directed itself
against the monasteries and laid them too in ruins. How entirely
different is Knox from Luther! The German reformer made all outward
change depend on the gradual influence of doctrine, and did not wish
to set himself in rebellious opposition to the public order under
which he lived. The Scot called on men to destroy whatever contravened
his religious ideas. The Lords of the Congregation, who became ever
more numerous, declared themselves resolved to do all that God
commands in Scripture, and destroy all that tended to dishonour his
name. With these objects, and with their co-operation and connivance,
the stormy movement once raised surged everywhere further over the
country. The monasteries were also destroyed in Stirling, Glasgow, and
S. Andrews; the abbeys of Melrose, Dunfermline, and Cambuskenneth
fell: and the proud abbey of Scone, an incomparable monument of the
hierarchic feeling of earlier ages, was, together with the bishop's
palace, levelled to the ground. It may be that the popular fury went
far beyond the original intentions of the leaders, but without doubt
it was also part of their purpose, to make an end above all of the
monasteries and abbeys, from which nothing but resistance could be
expected.[200] It has been regarded even in our days as a measure of
prudence, dictated by the circumstances, that they destroyed these
monuments, which by their imposing size and the splendour of the
service performed in them would have always produced an impression
adverse to the Reformation. On the other hand the cathedrals and
parish churches were to be preserved, and after being cleansed from
images were to be devoted to Protestant worship. Everywhere the
church-unions, which were at once formed and organised on Protestant
principles, gained the upper hand. The Mass ceased: the Prayer-book of
King Edward VI took its place.

So the reformed Scotch Church put itself in possession, in a moment,
of the greatest part of the country. It was from the beginning a
self-governed establishment: it found support in the union of some
lords, whose power likewise rested on independent rights: but it first
gained free play when the French policy of the Regent alienated the
nobility and the nation from her. On the one side now stood the
princess and the clergy, on the other the lords and the preachers. As
their proposals were rejected and preparations made to defend the
hierarchic system with the power of the State, the opposition also
similarly arose, claiming to have an original right: revolt broke out;
the church system of the Romish hierarchy was overthrown and a
Protestant one put in its place. In the history of Protestantism at
large the year 1559 is among the most important. During the very days
in which the revised Common Prayer-book was restored in England (so
definitely putting an end to the Catholic religion of the realm), the
monuments of Roman Catholicism in Scotland were broken in pieces, and
the unrevised Common Prayer-book introduced into the churches. But
yet how great was the difference! In the one country all was done
under the guidance of a Queen to whom the nation adhered, in
consequence of Parliamentary enactments, the ancient forms being
preserved as far as possible: here the whole transaction was completed
in opposition to the Regent, under the guidance of an aristocracy
engaged in conflict with her, amidst very great tumult, while all that
was ancient was set aside.

At the beginning of July the Scotch lords had become masters of the
capital as well, and had reformed it according to their own views,
with the most lively sympathy of the citizens. They were resolved to
uphold the change of religion now effected, cost what it would, and
hoped to do so in a peaceful manner. When Perth again opened her gates
to the Regent after the first tumult, under the condition that she
should punish no one, she promised at the same time to put off the
adjustment of all questions in dispute to the next Parliament. There
they intended to carry at once the recognition of the Reformation in
its whole breadth, and the removal of the French. We perceive that it
was their plan in that case to obey the Regent as before, and to unite
the abbey-lands to the possessions of the crown. 'But if your Grace
does not agree to this,' so runs the letter of a confederate, 'they
are resolved to reject all union with you.'

It was soon shown that the last was the only alternative. The regent
collected so many French and Scotch troops that the lords did not
venture to stop her return to Edinburgh. They came to an agreement
instead, in which she promised to prosecute no member of the
Congregation, and especially no preacher, and not to allow the clergy
on the ground of their jurisdiction to undertake any annoying
proceedings: in return for which the lords on their side pledged
themselves not to disturb any of the clergy or destroy any more of the
church buildings. It was a truce in which each party, sword in hand,
reserved to itself the power of defending its partisans against the
other. The two parties encountered in Edinburgh. The inhabitants had
called Knox to be their preacher, and when he thought it unsafe to
stay in the city after the Congregation withdrew, another champion of
the Reformation, Willok, filled his place with hardly less zeal and
success. But on the other side the bishop of Amiens appeared with some
doctors of the Sorbonne at the Regent's court. Here and there the
Protestant service was again discarded; the Paris theologians defended
the old dogma among the Scotch scholars, and made even now some
impression; the mass and the preaching contended with each other. As
to the Regent's views there can be no doubt. She drew the attention of
the French court to the frequent intercourse between the nobles of
Protestant views in France and Scotland, and to the encouragement the
Scots had from the French; but she gave the assurance that she would
soon finish with the Scots if she received support. Some French
companies had just landed at Leith, they had brought with them
munitions of war and money: the Regent demanded four companies more,
to make up twenty, and perhaps 100 hommes d'armes; if only four French
ships were stationed at Leith to keep off foreign assistance, she
pledged herself to put down the movement everywhere.[201]

Then the Scots also decided that they must employ their utmost means
of resistance. They had framed politico-religious theories, in virtue
of which they believed in their right to do so. The substance of the
whole is that they acknowledged indeed an obligation on the conscience
which required obedience to the sovereign, but at the same time they
held that the obligation came to an end as soon as the sovereign
contravened the known will of God: an idolatrous sovereign, so said
the preachers, could be deposed and punished:--should the supreme Head
put off the reform which was required by God's law, the right and the
duty of executing it falls on the subordinate authorities.

But the lords claimed also an authority based on the laws of the land.
When the French troops began to fortify Leith, they held themselves
justified in raising remonstrances against it: they demanded that the
Regent should desist from the design. As she replied with a
proclamation which sounded very offensive to themselves, they had no
scruple in taking up arms. Each noble collected his men round him and
appeared at their head in the field. Relying on the fine army which
was thus brought together, they repeated their demand, with the
remark, that in receiving foreign troops into the harbour-town there
was involved a manifest attempt to enslave the land by force: if the
Regent would not lend an ear to their remonstrances, they being the
hereditary councillors of the crown, they would remember their oath
which bound them to provide for the general welfare. The Regent
expressed her astonishment to the lords through a herald that there
should be any other authority in the realm than that of her daughter,
the Queen. She already felt herself strong enough to order them and
their troops to disperse, on pain of the punishment appointed for high
treason. On this the great men met in the old council-house at
Edinburgh, to consider the question whether it was obligatory to pay
obedience to a princess, who was but regent, and who disregarded the
opinion of the hereditary councillors of the crown. The consultation,
at which some preachers supported the views of the lords with similar
arguments, ended in the declaration that the Regent no longer
possessed an authority which she was using to the damage of the realm.
In the name of the King and Queen they announced to her that the
commission she had received from them was at an end. 'And as your
Grace,' so they continued, 'will not acknowledge us as your
councillors, we also will no longer acknowledge you as our

To this pass matters had now come. The combined interests, on the one
side of the crown and the clergy, on the other of the lords and the
Protestants, came into open and avowed conflict. The Act of Suspension
is but the proclamation of war in a form which would enable them to
avoid directly breaking with their duties towards their born prince.

The lords' first enterprise was directed against the French troops
which held Leith in their possession, and which were now first of all
to be driven out of the country: but the hastily-constructed
fortifications there proved stronger than was expected. And not merely
were their assaults on Leith repelled, but the Lords soon saw
themselves driven from their strongest positions, for instance from
Stirling; their possessions were wasted far and wide; the war, which
was transferred to Fife, took an unfortunate turn for them; to all
appearance they were lost if they did not obtain help from abroad.

But to whom could they apply for it if not to their neighbour, just
now rising in power, Elizabeth Queen of England?

They might have hesitated, as they had indeed repelled the influence
of Henry VIII and of Somerset, even when it was united with reforming
tendencies. But how entirely different were matters now from what they
had been then! With their own hands they had already given themselves
a Protestant church-system, which was national in a high degree, and
somewhat opposite to the English one. So long as it existed, the
influence England would gain by giving them help could never become
the supremacy, at which it is certain attempts had previously been

We know too the objections which were made in England against a union
with the Scots. To these were added the Queen's decided antipathies to
the new form of church government and to its leaders: she could not
bear the mention of Knox's name. But all these considerations
disappeared before the pressing danger and the political necessity. In
opposition to France, Protestant England and Protestant Scotland,
however different the religious and even the political tendencies
prevailing in each of them, held out their hands to each other.

Elizabeth had already at an earlier time privately given the Scots
some support: the moment at which she gave them decisive assistance is
worth noticing.

The Regent's French and Scotch troops were planning an attack on S.
Andrews, and had made themselves masters of Dysarts; the lords, again
retreating, marched along the coast, and the French were in pursuit
when a fleet hove in sight in the distance. The French welcomed it
with salvos of cannon, for they had no doubt that it was their own
fleet, bringing them help from France, long expected, and now in fact
known to be ready. But it soon appeared that they were English
vessels, in advance of the larger fleet which had put to sea under
Vice-admiral Winter. Nothing remained for the French, when thus
undeceived, but to give up their project and withdraw. But the whole
state of things was thus altered. Soon after this the Scots, to whose
assistance English troops had also come by land, were able to advance
against Leith and resume the suspended siege.

Everything that is to come to pass in the world has its right time and
hour. Incredible as it may seem, the champion of the strictest
Catholicism, the King of Spain, was at this moment not merely for help
being given to the Scots, but pressing for it; his ministers
complained not that the Queen interfered, but that she did not do so
more quickly. For in the union of Scotland and France, which was
already complete in a military sense, they saw a danger for
themselves. The enthusiastic Knox, who only lived and moved in
religious ideas, was, more than he foresaw, a link in the chain of
European affairs. Without the impulse which he gave to the minds of
men, that resistance to the Regent, by which a complete union with
France was hindered, would have been impossible.

A treaty was made in Berwick between Queen Elizabeth and the Scotch
lords, by which they bound themselves to drive the French out of
Scotland with their united strength. The lords promised to remain
obedient to their Queen, but Elizabeth assented to the additional
words, that this was not to be in such cases as might lead to the
overthrow of the old Scottish rights and liberties. This was a very
comprehensive clause, which placed the further attempts of the Scotch
lords against the monarchical power under English protection.

While the siege of Leith was being carried on by land and sea,
commissioners from France appeared on the part of Queen Mary Stuart
and her husband, as they had now assumed the place of the Regent (who
had died in the midst of these troubles), to attempt to bring about an
agreement. The chief among them was Monluc, bishop of Valence, a
well-meaning and moderate man even in religious matters, who,
convinced of the impossibility of carrying on the war any further with
success, gave way step by step before the inflexible purpose of the
English plenipotentiary, William Cecil. He put his hand to the treaty
of Edinburgh, in which the withdrawal of the French troops from
Scotland and the destruction of the fortifications of Leith were
stipulated for. This satisfied the chief demand of the lords, and at
the same time agreed with the wish of the neighbouring Power. The King
and Queen of France and Scotland were no longer to bear the title and
arms of England and Ireland. For Scotland a provisional government was
arranged on the basis of election by the Estates; it was settled that
for the future also the Queen and King should decide on war and peace
only by their advice. It is easy to see how much a limitation of the
Scotch crown was connected with the interests of the Power that was
injured by its union with the crown of France.

Religion was not expressly mentioned; Queen Elizabeth had purposely
avoided it. But when the Scotch Parliament, to which the adjustment of
the matters in dispute was once more referred in the treaty of
Edinburgh, now met, nothing else could be expected than what in fact
happened. The Protestant Confession was accepted almost without
opposition, the bishops' jurisdiction declared to be abolished
according to the view of the confederate lords, the celebration of the
Mass not only forbidden, but, after the example of Geneva, prohibited
under the severest penalties.

How mightily had the self-governing church-society, founded three
years and a half before in the castle at Dun, secured its foothold! By
its union with the claims of the aristocracy it had broken up the
existing government not merely of the Church but also of the State. It
was of unspeakable importance for the subsequent fortunes of England
that this vigorous living element had been taken under the protection
of the Queen of that country and supported by her.

But at the same time, if we may so say, it complicated her personal
relations inextricably.


[193] Extract in M'Crie, Life of John Knox 36.

[194] Knox, History of the Reformation,--a work which some later
insertions have not deprived of its credit for trustworthiness, which
it otherwise deserves,--p. 92. 'That they refussit all society with
idolatri and band them selfes to the uttermost of their powery to
manetein the trew preiching of the evangille, as God should offer unto
thame preichers and opportunity.'

[195] 'That we sall--apply our haill power substance and our verie
lyves, to mantein set forward and establish the most blissit word of
God, and his congregatioun sall labour--to have faithful ministeris,
puirlie and trewlie to minister Christis evangell and sacramentis to
his pepyll.'

[196] According to Leslaeus 205, in this the promise was specially
emphatic, that everything should be done, 'Ne regina nostra Angliae
sceptro excluderetur.' This was during Mary Tudor's lifetime.

[197] So King James said at the Conference of Hampton Court, State
Trials ii. 85; negociations must have taken place of which we know

[198] Knox: 'That she wald tak sume better order:' and so in
Calderwood. Buchanan xvi. 590: 'Se interea nihil adversus quemquam
illius sectae molituram.' Spottiswood i. 271: That the diet should
desert and nothing be done to the prejudice of the ministres.'

[199] Praefati Paulus Methven, Joannes Cristesoun, Willielmus Harlaw
et Joannes Willok denunciati sunt rebelles S. D. N. regis et reginae.
From the Justiciary records in M'Crie, Note GG. 360.

[200] Kirkaldy of Grange, one of the leaders of the Protestants, to
Sir Henry Percy, Edinburgh, 1 July, in Tytler vi. 107. 'The manner of
their proceeding in reformation is this. They pull down all manner of
friaries and some abbeys, which willingly receive not the reformation:
as to parish churches they cleanse them of images and other monuments
of idolatry and command that no masses be said in them.' Even now
M'Crie says: 'I look upon the destruction of those monuments as a
piece of good policy.' Life of Knox 130.

[201] I find this only in Lesley 215, who is in general the best
informed as to the relations of the Regent with the French court.

[202] 'As your grace will not acknowledge us, our soverane lords and
ladyis liegis for your subjectis and counssail, na mair will we
acknowledge you for our regent.' Declaration of 23 Oct. 1559.



People were now fully satisfied that they had obtained something
great, and had laid a firm foundation for secure relations throughout
all future time: but it became clear at once that this was not the
case. Francis II and his wife seemed to have forgotten that they had
promised on their royal word, in the instructions to their
ambassadors, to accept whatever they should arrange: they refused to
ratify the treaty of Edinburgh. For it was really concluded by the
Queen of England with men in rebellion against them, by whom it was
chiefly subscribed. They regarded it as an insult that the Scots
deputed an embassy of great lords to England, whilst the request to
confirm all that was arranged in Scotland was laid before them, their
Queen and their King, by a gentleman of less distinguished birth. They
felt themselves highly injured by a Parliament being called even
before they had ratified the treaty, without any authorisation on
their side. How were they to accept its resolutions? Francis II on the
contrary said, he would prove to the Scots that they had no power to
meet together in their own name, just as if they were a republic.[203]
And as little was he inclined to give up the title and arms of England
according to the treaty: he said he had hitherto borne them with good
right, and saw no reason to give satisfaction to others, before he had
received any himself.

Those were the days in which the French government, guided by the
Queen's uncles, including the Cardinal of Lorraine, had considerably
repressed the Protestant movements which were stirring in France, had
brought the insurgent princes into its power, and was occupied in
establishing a strict system of obedience in ecclesiastical and
political matters; with kindred aims it sought in Scotland also to
revert to its earlier policy; all concessions made to the contrary it
ignored. I see here, says the English ambassador Throckmorton, more
intention of vengeance than inclination to peace.

At this juncture occurred the unexpected event which gave French
affairs another shape. King Francis II died at the beginning of
December 1559 without issue; and the Guises could not maintain the
authority they had hitherto possessed. The kingdom which, by the
extent and unity of its power, was wont to exercise a dominant
influence over all others, fell into religious and political troubles
which engrossed and broke up its force.

Elizabeth took some part also in these movements within France itself:
it was her natural policy to support the opponents of the Guises, who
likewise stood so near her in their religious confession. With their
consent she once occupied Havre, but allowed it without much
hesitation to fall again into the hands of the French government which
was then guided by Catharine Medici, who for some time even made
common cause with the leaders of the Huguenots. We cannot here follow
out these relations any further, for to understand them fully would
require us to go into the details of the changeful dissensions in
France: for English history these are only so far important as they
made it impossible for the French to act upon England.

On the other hand the entire sequel of English history turns on the
relation to Scotland: Scotch affairs already form a constituent part
of the English, and demand our whole attention.

At first sight it would not have seemed so impossible to bring about
peace and even friendship between the Queen of Scotland and the Queen
of England: for the former was of course no longer bound to the
interests of the French crown. But this expectation also proved
deceitful. A primary condition would have been the acceptance of the
treaty of Edinburgh; Elizabeth demanded this expressly and as if it
were obligatory on Mary, who would as little consent to it after, as
before, the death of her husband. She ceased to bear the arms of
England: all else she deferred till her arrival in Scotland.
Immediately on this, at the first step, the mutual antipathy broke
out.[204] In consequence of the refusal to ratify the treaty,
Elizabeth declined Mary's request to be allowed to return home through
England. Mary regarded this as an insult: it is worth while to hear
her words. 'I was once,' so she said, 'brought to France in spite of
all the opposition of her brother: I will return to Scotland without
her leave. She has combined with my rebellious subjects: but there are
also malcontents in England who would listen to a proposal from my
side with delight: I am a Queen as well as she, and not altogether
friendless, and perhaps I have as great a soul too.'

Few words, but they contain motives of jealousy rising out of the
depths of her inmost heart and announce a stormy future. But at first
Mary could not give effect to them.

Some Catholic lords did indeed request her to come to them in the
northern counties, whence they would escort her to her capital with an
armed force. But who could advise her to begin her government with a
civil war? She would then have herself driven the Protestant lords
over to the side of her foe. But she had connexions with them as well.
Their leader, her half-brother James, Prior of S. Andrews, whom she
now created Earl of Murray, a man of spirit, energy, and comprehensive
views, appeared before her in France; his experience and caution and
even the inner tie of blood-relationship always gave him a great
influence over her resolutions. He showed her how it was possible to
rule Scotland even under existing circumstances, so as to have a
tolerable understanding with Elizabeth, but reserving all else for the
future. These counsels she followed. Not with Elizabeth's help, but
yet without hindrance from her, she arrived at Holyrood in August
1561. Murray succeeded in obtaining, though not without great
opposition, and almost by personally keeping off opponents, that she
should be allowed to have mass celebrated before her. He took affairs
into his own hands; the Protestants had the ascendancy in the country
and in the royal council.

Not that Queen Mary by this fully acquiesced in what had happened, or
recognised the state of affairs in Scotland. She even now confirmed
neither the treaty of Edinburgh, nor the resolutions of Parliament
based on it: but in the first place took possession of her throne,
reserving her dynastic rights.

A sight without a parallel, these two Queens in Albion, haughty and
wondrous creatures of nature and circumstances!

They were both of high mental culture. From Mary we have French poems,
of a truth of feeling and a simplicity of language, which were then
rare in literature. Her letters are fresh and eloquent effusions of
momentary moods and wishes: they impress us even if we know that they
are not exactly true. She has pleasure in lively discussion, in which
she willingly takes a playful, sometimes a familiar, tone; but always
shows herself equal to the subject. From Elizabeth also we have some
lines in verse, not exactly of a poetic strain, not very harmonious in
expression, but full of high thoughts and resolves. Her letters are
skilful but, owing to their allusions and antitheses, far from
perspicuous products of reflection, although succinct and rich in
matter. She was acquainted with the learned languages, had studied the
ancient classics and translated one or two, had read much of the
church-fathers: in her expressions there sometimes appears an insight
into the inner connexion between history and ideas, which fills us
with astonishment. In conversation she tried above all things to
produce a sense of her gifts and accomplishments. She shone through a
combination of grandeur and condescension which appeared like grace
and sweetness, and sometimes awakened a personal homage, for which in
the depths of her soul she cherished a longing. She did but toy with
such feelings, to Mary they were a reality. Mary possessed that
natural power of womanly charm which awakens strong, even if not
lasting, passion. Her personal life fluctuates between the wish to
find a husband who could advance her interests and those passionate
ebullitions by which she is also herself overpowered. This however
does not hinder her from devoting all her attention to the business of
government. Both Queens work with like zeal in their Privy Council:
and they only deliberate with men of intimate trust; the resolutions
which are adopted are always their own. Elizabeth yields more to the
wisdom of tried councillors, though even these are not sure of her
favour for a moment, and have a hard place of it with her. Mary
fluctuates between full devotion and passionate hate: she is almost
always swayed by an unlimited confidence in the man who meets her
wishes. Elizabeth lets things come to her: Mary is ever restless and
enterprising.[205] Elizabeth appeared once in the field, to animate
the courage of her troops in a great peril. Mary took a personal share
in the local Scottish feuds: she was seen riding at the head of a
small feudal army against the enemy, with pistols at her saddle-bow.

But we here discontinue this representation of the antitheses of
character between them, which first acquired historical import through
the differences of position in which the two sovereigns found

Elizabeth was mistress of her State, as well in its religious as its
political constitution. She had revived the obedience once paid to her
father; and remodelled the Church in the decidedly Protestant spirit
which corresponded to her personal position; at first every man
submitted to the new order of things, though many looked on its growth
only with aversion. Mary on the contrary had to accommodate herself to
a form of Church, and even of State, government, which was founded in
opposition to the right of her predecessors, and above all to her own
views. If she ever thought of making her own religion predominant, or
of oppressing that which was newly established, open resistance was
announced to her in threatening terms by its leader John Knox.
However much this reaction against her religious belief straitened her
on the one side, yet on another side it opened out to her a wider
prospect. She already had numerous personally devoted partisans in
Great Britain, both in Scotland where she could yet once more call
them together, and in England where she was secretly regarded by not a
few as the lawful Queen; but, besides this, she had many in Catholic
Europe, which had become reunited during these years (the times when
the Council of Trent was drawing to a close) around the Papal
authority, and was preparing to bring back those who had fallen away.
This great confederacy gave Mary a position which made her capable of
confronting a neighbour in herself so much more powerful.

Elizabeth once touched on the old claims of England to supremacy over
Scotland: the ambition of all the Scotch kings, to prove to the
English that they were independent of them, still lived in Mary: when
queen was set over against queen, it took a more sharply-expressed
shape; any whisper of subjection seemed to her an outrage.

For the moment Mary had, as before mentioned, given up the title of
'Queen of England': but all her thoughts were directed towards the
point of getting her presumptive hereditary right to that kingdom
recognised, and of preparing for its realisation at a later time.

But now there were two ways by which she might gain her end. She might
either get her claim to the English throne recognised by an agreement
with its present possessor, which did not appear so unattainable, as
Elizabeth was unmarried, and such a settlement would have been legally
valid in England; or she might enter into a dynastic alliance with a
neighbouring great power, so as to be enabled to carry her claims into
effect one day through its military strength.[206]

With this last view negociations were during several years carried on
for a marriage with Don Carlos the son of the Spanish King. For in
the same proportion that the union of Scotch and French interests
dissolved, did the opposite alliance between Spain and England become
looser. The most varied reasons made Philip II wish to enter into
direct and close relations with Scotland. Immediately after the death
of Francis II, a negociation was set on foot with a view to this
alliance, on Mary's giving an audience to the Spanish ambassador, to
the vexation of Queen Catharine of France, who wished to see this
richest of princes, and the one who seemed destined to the greatest
power, reserved for her own youngest daughter. After Mary returned to
Scotland similar rumours were renewed, and from time to time we meet
with a negociation for this object. When her minister Lethington was
in London in the spring of 1563, he agreed with the Spanish ambassador
that this marriage was the only desirable one: it was longed for by
all Scotch and English Catholics. Soon afterwards the ambassador sent
a young member of the embassy to Scotland, in the deepest secrecy, by
a long circuit through Ireland; not without difficulty he obtained an
interview with Mary Stuart, in which he assured himself of her
inclination for the marriage. In the autumn of 1563 Catharine Medici
showed herself well informed about this negociation and much
disquieted by it.[207] It appeared to depend only on Philip's decision
whether the marriage was concluded or not.[208] After some time the
Scotch Privy Council sent the bishop of Ross to Spain, to bring the
matter about. The Queen herself corresponded on it with Cardinal
Granvella and the Duchess of Arschot.

Don Carlos was too weak, too morbidly excited, to be married when
young. King Philip, who did not wish to feed his ambition, at last
gave the plan up, and recommended, instead of his son, his nephew the
Archduke Charles of Austria.

But the one was as disagreeable to the English court as the other.
Elizabeth had announced eternal enmity to Queen Mary if she married a
prince of the house of Austria. Besides, the Spanish influence in
England troubled her: she now saw herself already under the necessity
of demanding and enforcing the recall of the Spanish ambassador,
because he drew the Catholic party round him and incited them to
oppose the laws of England. What might have come of it, if a prince of
this house should now obtain rule over a part of the island itself?

But while Mary through these secret negociations tried to obtain the
support of a great Catholic house for her claims, she neglected
nothing that could contribute at the same time to make a good and
friendly understanding with Queen Elizabeth possible, and to bring it
about. In the company of her half-brother Murray, who held the reins
of government with a firm hand, supported by his religious and
political friends, she undertook a campaign into the Northern counties
(which inclined to Catholicism), to make them submit to the universal
law of the land. Only one priest was allowed at court, from whom she
heard mass; some of those who read the mass elsewhere were
occasionally punished for it; clergymen who complained of the hardship
they experienced were referred to Murray. This proceeding too was only
temporary, it was intended to incline the Queen of England to her
wishes. All quarrel was carefully avoided: on solemn festivals she
drank to the English ambassador, to the health of his mistress.
Besides, there were negociations for a meeting of the two Queens in
person at York, where Mary hoped to be solemnly recognised as
presumptive heiress of England.[209] However much it otherwise lies
beyond the mental horizon of this epoch of firm and mutually opposed
convictions, Mary was then thought capable of willingly adopting the
forms of the English Church; to this even the Cardinal of Lorraine had
assented. She herself unceasingly declared that she wished to honour
Elizabeth as a mother, as an elder sister. But the Queen of England,
after all sorts of promises, preparations, and delays, declined the
interview. She would hear absolutely nothing of any recognition of
the claim of inheritance. With naive plainness she inferred that such
a declaration would not lead 'to concord with her sister, the Queen of
Scotland,' since naturally a sovereign does not love his heir;--how
indeed could that be possible, since every one is wont to make the
heir the object of his aim and hopes;--she might increase Mary's
importance by the recognition, but at the same time she would
undermine her own;--whether Mary had a right to the English throne,
she did not know and did not even wish to know: for she was (and as
she said this, she pointed to the ring on her finger in proof) married
to the people of England; if the Queen of Scotland had a right to the
English throne, that should be left to her unimpaired.

And none could deny that such a declaration as Mary required had its
hazardous side for Elizabeth. Henry VIII's settlement of the
succession, on which Elizabeth's own accession rested, excluded the
Scotch line: in virtue of it the descendants of the younger sister,
who were natives of England, possessed a greater right. And how if the
Queen of Scots, when recognised as heir to England, afterwards gave
her hand to a Catholic prince hostile to Elizabeth? The dangers
indicated above would then be doubled, the followers of the ancient
Church would have attached themselves to the royal couple, and formed
a compact party in opposition to Elizabeth's arrangements, which would
never have attained stability.

To meet this very objection, it was suggested that Mary might marry a
Protestant, in fact Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester, who was looked
upon as the favourite of the Queen of England herself. Elizabeth could
have been quite secure of him: she herself recommended him. Mary was
at the first moment unpleasantly affected by the idea that she was
expected to take as a husband one who was a born subject of England;
but she was by no means decidedly against it, always supposing that in
that case Elizabeth would recognise her right of inheritance in a
valid form for herself and her issue by this marriage. Above all men
Murray was in favour of this. He said, although his power must be
diminished by the Queen's union with Leicester, yet he wished for it,
in so far as it was bound up with the confirmation of the heirship;
for that was the hope by which he had kept Mary firm to the existing
system, and separated her from her old friends all these years past.
Such was without doubt the case: it is this point of view that renders
Mary's policy and conduct during the last years intelligible. If he,
so Murray continued, could not make his promise good, Mary would think
he had deceived her: should she afterwards marry a Catholic prince,
what would be their position?[210] Once more was the request brought
before Queen Elizabeth. But even under these circumstances she could
not be induced to grant it. She said, if Mary trusted her and married
Leicester, she should never repent it: but these words, which
contained no definite engagement, had rather an opposite effect on
Mary. In the hope of the recognition of her heirship she had hitherto
endured the absolute constraint of her position: she would even have
agreed to the choice of a husband by which she feared to be disparaged
and controlled: for how could she have concealed from herself, that by
it she would have fallen into a permanent dependence on the policy of
England? With all her compliances and advances she had nevertheless
gained nothing. Her vexation relieved itself by a violent outburst of
tears: but during this inward storm she decided at the same time to
drop her union with Elizabeth, and thus leave herself free for an
opposite policy.

She had refused the Archduke because his possessions were too small to
secure her ends, too distant for him to be able to help her. Then
another suitor presented himself for her hand, who would not indeed
bring her any increase of power, but would strengthen her claims,
which seemed to her very desirable. This was the young Henry Lord
Darnley, through his mother likewise a descendant of Henry VII's
daughter who had married in Scotland, and through his father Matthew
Earl of Lennox related to that family of the Stuarts which was
descended from Alexander, a younger son of James Stuart the ancestor
of the Scotch kings. In his descent there lay a double recommendation
for him. It was remarked also that he had in his favour in Scotland
itself the numerous and important Stuarts (Lord Athol too belonged to
them); but mainly that a scion of this marriage would not find in
England any rival of similar claims, which might be easily the case if
young Darnley should marry into a family of the English nobility and
bring it his rights.[211] Darnley was a youth remarkable for his fine
figure, tall and well built; he made a great impression on the Queen
at his very first appearance. In July 1565 the marriage was celebrated
and Henry Darnley proclaimed King: the heralds named his name first,
when they delivered the royal proclamations.

He had hitherto, at least publicly, held to the Protestant faith: even
now he occasionally attended the preaching: but after a little
wavering he avowed himself a Catholic and drew over a number of lords
with him by his example. The Catholic interest thus obtained a
complete ascendancy at court.

And now Mary did not delay a moment longer in making decisive advances
to the Catholic powers. She had in fact no need to fear that the King
of Spain would be offended at her refusing his nephew, if she attached
herself to him in other matters. When she announced her marriage to
him, she not merely requested him to interest himself for her and her
husband's claims in England; she designated him as the man whom God
had raised up above all others to defend the holy Catholic religion,
and asked for his help to enable her to withstand the apostates in her
kingdom: as long as she lived, she would join him against all and
every enemy.[212] This quite fell in with the ideas which Philip
himself cherished. From the park of Segovia in October 1565 he
commissioned Cardinal Pacheco to reassure the Pope with the
declaration that he meant to support the Queen of Scots not less than
the Pope himself. In this they must, he remarked, keep three points in
view: first the subjugation of her rebellious subjects, which he
thought not difficult, as Elizabeth would not support them; then the
restoration of the Catholic Church in Scotland, than which nothing
would give him greater satisfaction; lastly, the most difficult of
all, the obtaining the recognition of her right to the English throne:
in all this he would support the Queen with his counsel and with
money: he could not however come forward himself, it could only be
done in the Pope's name.[213]

The ordinary accounts of the conferences at Bayonne have proved
erroneous, as the proposals which were certainly made there by the
Spaniards were not accepted. But Philip II's resolutions seem not less
comprehensive in this case; these were his hostility to Queen
Elizabeth, still concealed from the world but fully clear to his own
consciousness, and his resolve to do everything in his power to place
Mary, if not now, yet at a future time on the English throne. The
great movement he was designing was to begin from Scotland. Like the
Guises at a later time, so now Mary and her partisans in England and
Scotland, if he supported her, were to be instruments in his hand.

Mary had the good fortune to break up the seditious combination of
some lords who opposed her marriage. Strengthened by this she prepared
for quite a different state of things. She received money from Spain:
Pope Pius V had promised to support her as long as he had a single
chalice to dispose of. She expected disciplined Italian troops from
him: artillery and other munitions of war were brought together for
her in the Netherlands. Leaning on Rome and Spain the spirited Queen
hoped to become capable of any great enterprise.[214]

It was clearly to be expected that she would unite a political
tendency with the religious one. In the letter quoted above Philip
reminds her how dangerous to monarchy were the doctrines of the
pretended Gospellers:[215] opinions like those which Knox, regardless
of all else, put before her personally, as to the limitations of royal
power justified by religion, she as a matter of course would not
endure. It is more surprising to find that she also called in question
the rights which the nobility claimed as against the royal government,
assigning a sort of theoretic ground for her view. The nobles base
them, so she said, on the services of their ancestors; but if the
children have renounced their virtue, neglect honour, care only for
their families, despise the King and his laws and commit treason, must
the sovereign even then still let his power be limited by theirs? How
vast were the plans which this Queen entertained--to restore
Catholicism in Scotland, to resume the war against the nobility in
which her ancestors had failed, to overthrow the Protestant opinions,
and therewith to become one day Queen of England!

Among those around her was an Italian, David Riccio of Poncalieri in
Piedmont, who had previously been secretary to the Archbishop of
Turin, and then in the same capacity accompanied his brother-in-law,
the Conte di Moretta, who went to Scotland as ambassador of the Duke
of Savoy. He knew how to express himself well in Italian and French,
and was besides skilful in music.[216] As he exactly supplied a voice
which was wanting in the Queen's chapel, she asked the ambassador to
let him enter her service. Riccio was not a blooming handsome man;
though still young, he gave the impression of advanced years: he had
something morose and repellent about him; but he showed himself
endlessly useful and zealous, and won greater influence from day to
day. He not merely conducted the foreign correspondence, on which all
now depended and for which he was indispensable,--it became his office
to lay everything before the Queen that needed her signature, and
through this he attained the incalculable actual power of a
confidential cabinet-secretary; he saw the Queen, who took pleasure
in his company, as often as he wished, and ate at her table. James
Melvil, whom she had commissioned to warn her, if he saw her
committing faults, did not neglect doing it in this case; he
represented to her the ill effects which favouring a foreigner drew
after it: but she thought she could not let her royal prerogative be
so narrowly limited.[217] Riccio had promoted the marriage with
Darnley: the latter seemed to depend on him;[218] it was even said
that the secretary used at pleasure a signet bearing the King's
initials. It was no wonder indeed if this influence created him
enemies, especially as he took presents which streamed in on him
abundantly: yet the real hostility came from quite another quarter.

The English Council of State did not fail to notice the danger which
lay in a policy of estrangement on the part of Scotland. It was
proposed to put an end to its progress once for all by an invasion of
Scotland: or at least the wish was expressed to arm for defence, e.g.
to fortify Berwick, and above all to renew the understanding with the
Scotch lords; Murray, whom Mary had in vain tried to gain over by
reminding him of the interest of their family and the views of their
father, would most gladly have delivered Darnley at once into the
hands of the English. By thus openly choosing his side he had been
forced, together with his chief friends, Chatellerault, Glencairn,
Rothes, and some others, to leave Scotland: the Queen, refused with
violent words the demand of the English court that she should receive
them again; she called a Parliament instead for the beginning of
March, in which their banishment was to be confirmed and an attempt
made to restore Catholicism. This was not so difficult, as the
resolutions of 1560 had never yet been ratified. There appeared at
court the Catholic lords, Huntley, Athol, and Bothwell who was ever
ready for fighting (he had returned from banishment); they came to an
understanding with Riccio. But now it happened that the personal
union (on which all rested) between the King, the Queen, and the
powerful secretary changed to discord. Darnley, who wished not merely
to be called King but to be King, demanded that the matrimonial crown
should be conferred on him by the Parliament; this would have given
him independent rights. The Queen on her side wished to keep the
supreme power undiminished in her hands: and Riccio may well have
confirmed her in this, as his own importance depended thereon: Darnley
ascribed the opposition he met with from his wife not so much to her
own decision as to the low-born foreigner against whom he now
conceived a violent hatred. His father, Lennox, who cared little for
the restoration of Catholicism in itself, entirely agreed with him as
to this. They held it allowable to put out of the way the intruder who
dared to hinder their house from mounting to the highest honours, and
who by the confidential intimacy in which he stood with the Queen gave
rise to all kinds of offensive rumours. With this object they--for the
instigation came from them--joined in a union with the Protestant
nobles. These regarded Riccio as their most thoroughgoing opponent:
they too wished him to be got rid of; but his death alone could not
content them. A Parliament was to meet at once, from which they
expected nothing but a complete condemnation of their former friends,
and absolutely ruinous resolutions against themselves. They made the
overthrow of this system a condition of their taking a share in
getting rid of Riccio. The King consented that Murray should be again
placed at the head of the government, in return for which the
matrimonial crown was promised him.

On the 7th March the Queen went to the old council-house of Edinburgh
to make the necessary arrangements for the Parliament. The insignia of
the realm, sword crown and sceptre, were borne before her by the
Catholic lords, Huntley, Athol, and Crawford, the heads of those
houses which had once already, in France, offered her their alliance.
The King had refused to take part in the ceremony. She named the Lords
of Articles, who from of old exercised a decisive influence in the
Scotch Parliaments, and restored the bishops to their place among
them. As the Queen declares, her object was to promote the restoration
of the old religion and to have the rebels sentenced by the assembled
Estates. In Holyrood, besides Huntley and Athol, Bothwell, Fleming,
Levingstoun, and James Balfour had also found favour, all men who had
taken an active part for the restoration of Catholicism or for the
re-establishment of the power of the crown: how much it must have
surprised men to find that the Queen granted Huntley and Bothwell, who
had been declared traitors, admittance into the Privy Council. If the
Parliament adopted resolutions in accordance with these preliminaries,
it was to be expected that the work of political and religious
reaction would begin at once, with the active participation not only
of the Pope from whom some money had already come, but also of other
Catholic powers with whom Riccio kept the Queen in communication.

A serious danger assuredly for the lords and for Protestantism; there
was not a moment to lose if they wished to avert it; but the attempt
to do so assumed, through the wild habits of the time and the country,
that character of violence which has made it the romance of centuries.
The event had such far-reaching results that we too must devote a
discussion to it.

In the low, narrow, and gloomy rooms of Holyrood House there is a
little chamber to which the Queen retired when she would be alone: it
was connected by an inner staircase with the King's lodgings. Here
Mary was sitting at supper on Saturday the 9th March 1566, with her
natural sister the Countess of Argyle, her natural brother the Laird
of Creich, who commanded the guard at the palace, and some other
members of her household, among whom was also Riccio; when the King,
who had been expected somewhat earlier, appeared and seated himself
familiarly by his wife. But at the same moment other unexpected guests
also entered. These were Lord Ruthven, who had undertaken to execute
the vengeance of King and country on Riccio, and his companions; under
his fur-fringed mantle were seen weapons and armour: the Queen asked
in affright what brought him there at that unwonted hour. He did not
leave her long in doubt. 'I see a man here,' said Ruthven, 'who takes
a place that does not become him; by a servant like this we in
Scotland will not let ourselves be ruled,'[219] and so prepared to lay
hands on him.

Riccio took refuge near her; the Queen declared that she would punish
an attack on him as high treason, but swords were bared before her
eyes, Riccio was wounded by a thrust over her shoulder, and dragged
away: on the floor and on the steps he received more than fifty
wounds: the King's own dagger was said to have been seen in the body
of the murdered man. This may be doubted, as his jealousy was by no
means so real; yet he said soon after that he was responsible for the
honour of his wife. In the turmoil he had only just stretched out his
hand, to guard her person from any accident. For the nobles, who
though acting with the utmost violence yet did not wish to risk their
whole future, it was enough that he was there: his presence would
authorise their act and give it impunity. When the murder was done
Ruthven returned to the Queen and declared to her that the influence
she had given Riccio had been unendurable to them, as had been also
his counsels for the restoration of the old religion, his enmities
against the great men of the land, his connexions with foreign
princes; he announced to her plainly the return of the banished lords,
with whom the others would unite in an opposite policy. For they had
not merely aimed at Riccio: at the same time the Lords Morton and
Lindsay, who had collected a number of trustworthy men, had advanced
with them and beset the approaches to the palace-yard. Their plan was
to get into their hands all their enemies who had gathered round the
Queen. But while their attention was fastened on Riccio's murder, most
of the threatened persons succeeded in escaping. All the rest who did
not belong to the household, and were taken in the palace, were
removed without distinction: the Queen was treated like a
prisoner.[220] She still possessed a certain popularity, as being
hereditary sovereign: a movement arose in the city in her favour, but
this was counterbalanced by the antipathies of the Protestants, and a
declaration of the King sufficed to still it. The next day a
proclamation appeared in his name which directed the members of the
Parliament, who had already arrived, to depart again.

It was at any rate secured that a restoration of Catholicism or a
legal prosecution of the banished lords was not to be thought of; the
original plan however was not completely carried out. As it appears,
the temper of the country had not been so far prepared beforehand as
to make it possible to deprive the Queen of her power. And the
spirited princess did not let herself be so easily subdued. Above all
she succeeded in gaining over her husband again, to whom the
predominance of the lords was itself derogatory; he helped her to
escape and accompanied her in her flight. When they were once safe in
a strong place, her partisans gathered round her; she placed herself
at the head of a force, small though it was, and occupied the capital;
the chief accomplices in the attack of Holyrood, Morton and Ruthven,
fled from the country. She did not however revert to her old plans:
she resumed her earlier connexions instead, her half-brother Murray
again obtained influence, the old members of the Privy Council stood
by his side, after some time Morton was able to return. Foreigners
found that Scotland was as quiet as before.

But this apparent quiet concealed a discord destined to produce still
greater complications. The Queen had only learnt afterwards the share
which Darnley had taken in Riccio's murder: it was her husband who had
instigated this insult to her royal honour: how could she ever again
repose confidence in him? And he no longer found support in the lords
whom he had deserted at the moment of the crisis. He was very far now
from obtaining the matrimonial crown or even any real influence: he
saw himself excluded from affairs more than ever, and despised. When
his son was baptised at Stirling, the father could not appear, though
he was in the palace: he was afraid of being insulted in public. His
condition filled him with shame: he often thought of leaving the
kingdom, and made preparations for doing so. But he was not able to
state and prove his grievances: he had to acknowledge before the
assembled Privy Council that he had no complaints worth mentioning.

The Queen on her side had sometimes let drop her wish to be rid of
such a husband. She could not however think seriously of having her
marriage with him dissolved, as this could only be done by declaring
it null and void, and by that step her son, of whom she had just been
delivered, and who was to inherit all her rights, would have been at
the same time declared illegitimate. She was told that means would be
found to carry the matter through without prejudice to her son. She
warned her friends not to undertake anything which, though meant to
help her, might prepare yet more trouble.

How men stood to each other is clear from the fact that on the one
side Darnley and his father linked themselves with the Catholic
party--they were said to have adopted a plan of seizing the
government, in the Queen's despite, in the name of her new-born
son[221]--while on the other side the rest of the barons pledged
themselves not to recognise him but only the Queen. A league was
already concluded between some of them, originating with Sir James
Balfour (who had been marked out for death by the halter in Holyrood),
to rid the world by force of a tyrant and enemy of the nobility,
against whom men must secure their lives.

Thus all was in preparation for a fresh catastrophe; a new personal
relation of the Queen brought it to pass.

Among the nobles of Scotland James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, was
especially distinguished for a fine figure, for youthful strength,
intrepid manly courage, proved in a thousand adventures, and decided
character. Though professedly a Protestant, he had attached himself to
the Regent without wavering, and assured the Queen of his assistance
while she was still in France. Can we wonder if Mary, under the
pressure of the party combinations around, needing before all things
a friend personally devoted to her, sought for support in this tried
and energetic man? As she in general prized nothing more highly than
bold and valiant deeds, she had often told him how much she admired
him; but yet more than this,--we cannot doubt that she let herself be
drawn into a passionate connexion with him. Who does not know the
sonnets and the love-intoxicated letters she is believed to have
addressed to him? I would not say that every word of the latter is
genuine; through the several translations--from the French original
(which is lost) into the Scotch idiom, from this into Latin, and then
back into French as we now have them--they may have suffered much
alteration: we have no right to lay stress on every expression, and
interpret it by the light of later events: but in the main they are
without doubt genuine: they contain circumstances which no one else
could then know and which have since been proved to be true; no human
being could have invented them.[222] It does not seem as if Mary's
fondness for Bothwell was returned by him in the same degree: in her
letters and poems she is constantly combating a rival, to whom his
heart seems to give the preference. This was Bothwell's own wife whom
he had only shortly before married: she stayed with him for a time in
the neighbourhood of the court, but he took care that the Queen knew
nothing of her being there. As he was before all things ambitious and
desirous of power, he only cared for the Queen's love and the
possession of her person so far as it would enable him to share her
authority and to obtain the supreme power in Scotland. But for this
another thing was necessary; the King must be removed out of the way.
As Darnley had once joined Riccio's political enemies in the Holyrood
assassination, so Bothwell now united himself with Darnley's enemies
with a view to his murder, for which they were already quite prepared.
Morton was asked to join the enterprise this time also: but he
demanded a declaration from the Queen that she was not against it:
and this Bothwell could not obtain.

But, it may be said, was not the Queen in collusion with him? Did she
not purposely bring back her husband, who had fallen sick at Glasgow,
to Edinburgh, and did she not lodge him in a lonely house there not
far from the palace under the pretence that the purer air would
contribute to his recovery, but in fact to deliver him over all the
more surely to destruction? Such has been always the general belief:
even her partisans, the zealous Catholics, at that time inclined to
believe that the Queen at least connived in the plot.[223] But there
was yet another view taken at the time, according to which the better
relations that had begun between husband and wife were not due to
hypocrisy but were genuine, and a complete reconciliation and reunion
was to have been expected: the returning inclination towards her
husband was contending in the Queen with her passion for Bothwell; and
he was driven on, by the apprehension that his prey and the prize of
his ambition would escape him, to hasten the execution of his
scheme.[224] And psychologically the event might be best explained in
this way. But the statement has not sufficiently good evidence for it
to be maintained historically. A poet might, I think, so apprehend it:
for it is one of the advantages of poetic representation, that it can
take up even a slightly supported tradition, and following it can
infer the depths of the heart, those abysmal depths in which the
storms of passion rage, and those actions are begotten which laugh
laws and morality to scorn, and yet are deeply rooted in the souls of
men. The informations on which our historical representation must be
based do not reach so far: on a scrupulous examination they do not
allow us to attain a definite conviction as to the degree of
complicity. Only there can be no doubt as to the fact that this time
too ambition and the lust of power played a great part. If Bothwell
once said he would prevent Darnley from setting his foot on the necks
of the Scotch, he thereby only expressed the feeling of the other
nobles. Yet he executed his murderous plot without their joining in it
and by means of his own servants.[225] In the house before mentioned
he caused a quantity of gunpowder to be laid under the chamber in
which Darnley slept, in order to blow him into the air: alarmed at the
noise made by opening the door, the young sovereign sprang from his
bed; while trying to save himself, he was strangled together with the
page who was with him: the powder was then fired and the house laid in

So the dreadful deed was done: the news of it filled men at first with
that curiosity which always attaches to dark events that touch the
highest circles; they then busied themselves with the question as to
who would ascend the Scottish throne and give the Queen his
hand,--among the other suitors Leicester now thought the time come for
him, and for renewing good relations between England and
Scotland:--but meanwhile to every man's astonishment and horror a
rumour spread that the Queen would unite herself with the man to whom
the murder of her husband was ascribed. Men fell on their knees before
her, to represent the dishonour she would thus draw on herself, and
even the danger into which she would bring her child. Letters from
England were shown her in which the ruin of all her prospects as to
the English throne was intimated, if she took this step: for it would
strengthen the suspicion, which had arisen on the spot, that she had
been an accomplice in her husband's murder. But she was already no
longer her own mistress. Bothwell now did altogether what he would. He
obtained from the lords, who feared him, a declaration that he was
guiltless of any share in the King's murder, and even their consent to
his marriage with the Queen. He said publicly he would marry the
Queen, whoever might be against it, whether she would or not. And if
Mary wished ever again to govern the country, and make the lords feel
her vengeance, Bothwell might appear to her the only man who could
assist her in this. Half of her free will, half by force, she fell
into his power and thus into the necessity of giving him her hand. An
archiepiscopal matrimonial court found in a near relationship between
Bothwell and his wife a pretext for dissolving his previous
marriage.[227] Bothwell was created Duke of Orkney: he began to
exercise the royal power for his own objects; his friends, even the
accomplices in the murder, were promoted.[228]

But how could it be expected that the Lords would tolerate in the much
more dangerous hands of Bothwell a power they would not have endured
in Darnley's? Against him they had the full support of the people;
filled with moral aversion to the Queen for the guilt she had
incurred, or which was attributed to her, they expressed their loyalty
only in hostility to her; a general uneasiness showed itself as to the
safety of her son who was likewise threatened by his father's

Under a banner on which were depicted the murdered King and his child
the latter praying for help, a great army marched against the castle
where the newly-married pair dwelt. Bothwell merely regarded the
hostile lords as his rivals, who envied him the great position to
which he had raised himself, and thought to rout them all with the
feudal array which gathered round him at the Queen's summons. But at
the decisive moment the feeling of the country infected his own people
as well; instead of being able to fight he had to fly. He was forced
to live as a pirate in the Northern Seas; for he could no longer
remain in the country. The Queen fell into the power of the Lords, who
placed her in the strong castle which the Douglas had built in the
middle of Loch Leven, and detained her as a prisoner.

In France it was not wholly forgotten that she had once been the Queen
of that realm; a fiery champion of the Catholics boasted that, if they
would give him a couple of thousand arquebusiers, he would free her
from custody in despite of the Scots; but Catharine Medici, who
besides was no friend of hers, rejected this absolutely, as they had
already so many irons in the fire.[229] On the other hand Elizabeth
concerned herself for the interests of her endangered neighbour with a
certain emphasis. But the Scots were already discontented with the
conduct of England, and complained loudly that since the treaty of
Leith nothing good had come to them from thence;[230] they were
resolved to pay their neighbour no more attention, but to manage their
own affairs for themselves.

Their path was clearly marked out for them. They had murdered Riccio,
conspired against Darnley, driven Bothwell away, and all for the
special reason that they had tried to create a strong supreme power
over them: they could not possibly allow the Queen, irritated and
insulted as she was, to again obtain the exercise of her power. Mary
therefore was forced to resign the Scotch crown in favour of her son,
and to name her brother Murray regent during his minority. Immediately
on this the ceremony of anointing and crowning the child was performed
in an almost grotesque manner.[231] Two superintendents and a bishop
set the crown on his head, which the Lords there present touched in
token of their consent; two of them, Morton and Hume, then swore in
the name of the new King, James VI, that he would uphold the religion
now prevailing in Scotland, and combat all its enemies.

When after this Murray, who had exiled himself to France, and had
taken no share in the last catastrophe (which he foresaw), returned,
he was in a position once more to conduct the government according to
his old policy, only with greater independence. A Parliament was
called which now for the first time confirmed the statutes made in
1560 in favour of the Kirk, and also came to such an arrangement about
the confiscated church-property as made it possible for it to exist.

So ruinous for Mary were the results of her attempt to break through
the combination which formed the condition of her government in
Scotland, and to effect a restoration of the old ecclesiastical and
political forms. Before the power which she wished to overthrow her
own had gone down.

But she was not yet minded to submit to it. And mainly through a
personal relation which she had entered into with the young George
Douglas, who conceived hopes of her hand, she succeeded in escaping
out of her prison and over the lake, bold and venturous as she always
was. In the country there were many who thought themselves to stand so
high above the bastard Earl of Murray, that they held it a disgrace to
obey him: all these gathered round her; and as she then, the very day
after her escape, revoked her abdication, they bound themselves
together to replace her on the throne. In the league, at the head of
which stood the Hamiltons, we find eight bishops and twelve
abbots,--for the re-establishment of the Catholic Church was part of
the plan: a considerable army was brought into the field with this
object. Murray and his party were however the stronger of the two,
they represented the organised power of the State, and their soldiers
were the best disciplined. The Queen, who, at Langsyde, from a
neighbouring eminence, looked on at the battle between the two armies,
had to witness her own men being scattered without having done the
enemy any damage,--Murray is said to have lost only one man. He
himself put a stop to the slaughter of the fugitives. Still even now
her affairs did not seem to those around her utterly lost, for all her
friends had not yet appeared in the field, and there were still strong
places to which she could retreat. But she aimed not merely at
defence, but at overpowering her enemies. As what she had just seen
left her no hope of this in Scotland, she adopted the idea of
demanding help from the Queen of England. For the latter had in the
strongest terms made known to the Scotch barons her displeasure at the
treatment of their Queen, which was not in harmony with the laws of
God or man, and had threatened to punish them for the wound thus
inflicted on the royal dignity. She had once sent Mary herself a jewel
as a pledge of her friendship. Mary was warned by those around her not
to put full trust in these assurances. But she was quite accustomed to
take her resolutions under passionate emotion, and could not then be
dissuaded from her views. Through forests and woods, over stock and
stone, without a single woman attendant, without any other food than
the Scotch oatcake, day and night she kept on her way to the coast,
from which she betook herself in a small boat to Carlisle. Her soul
was thirsting to subdue the rebels: her firm trust was to draw Queen
Elizabeth into the war against them: she came, not to seek a refuge,
but to gain troops and assistance.


[203] Throckmorton to Chamberlain, 21 Nov. 1560, in Wright, Elizabeth
i. 52.

[204] Throckmorton, in Tytler, History of Scotland vi. 194. In a
memoir of Cecil, 'a note of indignities and wrongs done by the Queen
of Scots to the Queen's Majesty,' in Murdin 582, the greatest stress
is justly laid on this refusal.

[205] Castelnau, Mémoires iii. 13. 'Cette jeune princesse avoit un
esprit grand et inquiète, comme celui du feu Cardinal de Lorraine son
oncle, auxquels ont succedé la pluspart des choses contraires à leurs

[206] As it is once expressed in one of her letters: 'pour
l'advanchement de mes affaires tant en ce pays (Scotland) qu'en celuy
là, ou je pretends quelque droit (England).' In Labanoff, Lettres et
Mémoires de Marie Stuart i. 247.

[207] 'Que la conveniencia publica, en especial la de la religion
aconsejaba que la reina su ama, se casase con el principe Don Carlos.'
From the ambassador's reports in Gonzalez 299.

[208] 'Qu'il ne tiendra, qu'au dit Espagne qu'il (ce mariage) se ne
fasse.' Additions à Castelnau.

[209] Compare Conaeus, Vita Mariae, in Jebb i. 24.

[210] Conversation with Randolph, in Tytler vi. 316. Murray says to
him: 'the Queen would dislike and suspect him, because he had deceived
her with promises which he could not realise: he was the counsellor
and devizer of that line of policy, which for the last five years had
been pursued towards England; he it was that had induced her to defer
to Elizabeth.'

[211] Spottiswood, History of the Church of Scotland ii. 25. 'If it
should fall him to marry with one of the great families of England, it
was to be feared that some impediment might be made to her in the
right of succession.'

[212] Lislebourc (Edinburgh), 24 July 1565, in Labanoff vii. 430.

[213] Compare Apuntamientos 312. The letter itself in Mignet ii. App.

[214] Sacchinus, Historia societatis Jesu, pp. iii, xiii, no. 166.

[215] Fragment d'un Mémoire de Marie Stuart sur la noblesse. Labanoff
vii. 297.

[216] Mémoire adressé à Cosme I, from the Archivio Mediceo at
Florence, in Labanoff vii. 65.

[217] James Melvil, Memoirs 59.

[218] From a despatch of Randolph's in Mackintosh, History of England
iii. 73. 'David is he that worketh all, chief secretary of the Queen
of Scotland, only governor to her good man.' Can the date be right?

[219] 'Volemo quel galante la e non volemo esser governati per un
servitor.' Letter to Cosimo I, in Tuscany, in Labanoff vii. 92.

[220] Queen Mary to the Archbishop of Glasgow, 2 April 1566, in Keith
and Labanoff. Of all the reports on this event the most important and

[221] 'That the king ... suld take the prince our son and crown him
and being crownit as his father suld tak upon him the government.'
Mary to the Archbishop of Glasgow, in Labanoff i. 396.

[222] Compare Robertson, Dissertation on King Henry's murder, Works
i., History of Scotland 243. From a letter of Thuanus to Camden (1606)
it is clear how much trouble it already cost him to arrive at a
decided opinion.

[223] 'Monsenor de Moreta ... anadio (to his narrative of the event)
algunas particularidades, que en juicio del embajador probaban o
inducian mucha sospecha que la reina avia sabido y aun permetido el
suceso.' Apuntamientos 320. The affair has been very wrongly drawn
into the sphere of religious controversy.

[224] Account in the collection for the history of the times of the
Emperor Maximilian II, which Simon Schardius embodied in the tomus
rerum Germanicarum iv, not authentic, yet based on what was then held
in Scotland to be true. It runs: 'Rex cum illa se accedente ita
suaviter sermones commutat, ut reconciliatae annulum daret, hoc pacto,
ut illa se in lectum conjugalem intra duos dies admitteret. Erant in
aula, qui hanc offensionem placari minime vellent, unde, priusquam rex
voti compos fieret, eum e medio tollere constituerunt.'

[225] Trial of James Earl Bothwell. State trials.

[226] Report of the Nuncio, which agrees fairly with the statements in

[227] Mary's confessor told the Spanish ambassador in answer to his
questions: 'Que el caso se habia consultado con los obispos catolicos
y que unanimemente havian dicho que lo podia hacer (casarse) por que
la muger de Bodwell era pariente sua en quarto grado.'

[228] Memorandum of Cecil. 'She committed all autority to him and his
compagnons, who exercised such cruelty as none of the nobility that
were counsel of the realm durst abide about the Queen.'

[229] Norris to Elizabeth 23 July 1567, in Wright i. 260.

[230] Throckmorton to Cecil: 'upon other accidents [since Leith] they
have observed such things in H. My's doings, as have tended to the
danger of such as she had dealt withall.' Wright 251.

[231] Calderwood ii. 384: 'Modo cha ha usato la regina di Scotia per
liberarsi,' from the Florentine archives, in Labanoff vii. 135.



If we inquire into the reason why Philip II gave up his previous
relations with England and sided with the Queen of Scots, we shall
find it mainly in the fact that the victory of Protestant ideas in
England exercised a counter-action which was insupportable for the
government he had established in the Netherlands. But that he gave
Mary no help in her troubles, though information was once collected as
to how it might be done, may also be traceable to the disturbances
that had broken out in the Netherlands, the suppression of which
occupied all his attention and resources.

In 1568 the Duke of Alva was master of the Netherlands: he was already
able to send a considerable force to help the French government, which
had once more broken an agreement forced upon it by the Huguenots; the
stress of the religious war was transferred to France, and there too
the Catholic military force by degrees gained the upper hand.

It was under these circumstances that Mary Stuart appeared in England
with a demand for help. If in the Netherlands the attempts of the
nobles and the Protestant tendencies had been alike defeated, they had
on the other hand, by a similar union, achieved a decisive victory in
Scotland. Was Elizabeth to join Mary in combating them?

Elizabeth disliked the proceedings of the Scotch nobles towards their
lawful Queen; the adherents of the Scotch church-system were already
troublesome to her in England: but, however much she found to blame in
them, in the great contest of the world they were her allies. Mary on
the other hand held to that great system of life and thought with
which the English Queen and her ministers had broken. Whatever
Elizabeth might have previously promised, she did not mean to be bound
by it under circumstances so completely altered.[232] Had she chosen
to restore Mary, she would have opened the island to all the
influences which she desired to exclude. Nor did she wish to let her
retire to France, for while Mary had resided there previously, England
had not had a single quiet day: without doubt the Catholic zeal
prevailing there would have been at once excited in support of her
claims to the English throne. An attempt was again made to reconcile
the Scotch nobles with their Queen: but as this led to an enquiry
respecting her share in the guilt of the King's murder--those letters
of Mary to Bothwell now first came to the knowledge of the public--the
dissension became rather greater and quite irreconcilable.

One now begins to feel sympathy with the Queen of Scots, especially as
her share in the crime imputed to her is not quite clear. Of her own
free will she had come to England to seek for assistance on which she
thought she could reckon: but high considerations of policy not merely
prevented its being given but also made it seem prudent to detain her
in England.[233] Elizabeth and her ministers brought themselves to
prefer the interests of the crown to what was in itself right and fit.
Mary did not however on this account vanish from the stage of the
world: rather she obtained an exceedingly important position by her
presence in England, where one party acknowledged her immediate claim
to the throne, the other at least her claim to the succession; and
hence arose not merely inconveniences but very serious dangers for the
English government. Even in 1569, at a moment when the Catholic
military power had the superiority in France and the Netherlands,
Mary's uncle, the Cardinal of Lorraine, proposed to the King of Spain
an offensive alliance against Queen Elizabeth.[234] In the civil wars
of France they had just won the victory in two great battles. Who
could say what the result would have been if in the still very
unprepared condition of England an invasion had been undertaken by the
combined Catholic powers?

But the life and the destiny of Europe depend on the fact that the
great general antagonisms are perpetually crossed by the special ones
of the several states. Philip did not wish for an alliance with the
French; it seemed to him untrustworthy, too extensive and, even if it
led to victory, dangerous. He declared with the greatest distinctness,
that he thought of nothing but of putting down his rebels (including
at the time the Moriscoes), and the complete pacification of the
Netherlands; he would not hear of a declaration of war against
England. The difficulty of this sovereign's position on all sides and
his natural temperament were the determining element in the history of
the second half of the sixteenth century. His great object, the
re-establishment and extension of the Catholic religion, he never
leaves out of sight for a moment; but yet he pursues it only in
combination with his own special interests. He is accustomed to weigh
all the chances, to proceed slowly, to pause when the situation
becomes critical, to avoid dangerous enterprises. Open war is not to
his taste, he loves secret influences.

In November 1569 a rebellion broke out in England, not without the
connivance of the Spanish ambassador, but mainly under the impression
made by the Catholic victories in France, as to which Mary Stuart also
had let it be known that they rejoiced her inmost soul. It was mainly
the Northern counties that rose, as had before been the case in 1536
and 1549. Where the revolt gained the upper hand, the Common
Prayer-book and sometimes the English translation of the Bible as well
were burnt, and the mass re-established. Many nobles, above all in the
North itself, still held Catholic opinions. At the head of the present
insurrection stood the Percies of Northumberland, the Nevilles of
Westmoreland, the Cliffords of Cumberland; Richard Norton, who rose
for the Nevilles, venerable for his grey hair, and surrounded by a
troop of sons in their prime, carried the Cross as a banner in front
of his men. The nobility did not exactly want to overthrow the Queen,
but it wished to force her to alter her government, to dismiss her
present ministers, and above all to recognise Mary Stuart's claim to
the succession--which would have given her an exceedingly numerous
body of supporters in England and thus have seriously hampered the
Queen. But now the government possessed a still more decided
ascendancy than even in 1549. It had come upon the traces of the
enterprise in time to quell it at its first outbreak, and had at once
removed the Queen of Scots out of reach of the movement. The commander
in the North, Thomas Ratcliffe, Earl of Sussex, one of the Queen's
heroes, who bore himself bravely and blamelessly in other spheres of
action as well as in this, and has left behind him one of the purest
of names, encountered the rebels with a considerable force, composed
entirely of his own men; these the rebels were the less able to
withstand, as they knew that still more troops were on the march. As
the ballad of a northern minstrel says, the gold-horned bull of the
Nevilles, the silver crescent of the Percies, vanished from the field:
the chiefs themselves fled over the Scotch border, their troops
dispersed, their declared partisans underwent the severest
punishments. Many who knew themselves guilty passed over to the
Queen's party in order to escape.

But at the very time of this victory the war against the Queen at home
and abroad first received its most vivid impulse through the supreme
head of the Catholic faith. Pope Pius V, who saw in Elizabeth the
protectress of all the enemies of Catholicism, had issued the long
prepared and hitherto withheld excommunication against her. In the
name of Him who had raised him to the supreme throne of Right, he
declared Elizabeth to have forfeited the realm of which she claimed to
be Queen: he not merely released her subjects from the oath they had
taken to her: 'we likewise forbid,' he added, 'her barons and peoples
henceforth to obey this woman's commands and laws, under pain of
excommunication.'[235] It was a proclamation of war in the style of
Innocent III: rebellion was therein almost treated as a proof of

The way in which the Queen opened her Parliament in 1571 forms as it
were a conscious contrast to the Papal bull, and its declaration that
she was deposed. She appeared in the robes of state, the golden
coronal on her head. At her right sat the dignitaries of the English
Church, at her left the lay lords, on the woolsack in the centre the
members of the Privy Council, by the sides stood the knights and
burgesses of the lower house. The keeper of the great seal reminded
the Houses of the late years of peace, in which--a thing without
example in England--no blood had been shed; but now peace seemed
likely to perish through the machinations of Rome. All were of one
accord that they must confront this attempt with the full force of the
law. It was declared high treason to designate the Queen as heretical
or schismatic, to deny her right to the throne, or to ascribe such a
right to any one else. To proselytise to Catholicism, or to bring into
England sacred objects consecrated by the Pope, or absolutions from
him, was forbidden and treated as an offence against the State. What a
decidedly antipapal character did the Church, which retained most of
the hierarchic usages, nevertheless assume! The oath of supremacy
became indispensable even for places at court and in the country
districts, in which it had not hitherto been required. Men deemed the
Queen's ecclesiastical power the palladium of the realm.

In this form the war of religion appeared in England. The Protestant
exiles from the Netherlands and France sought and found a refuge here
in large bodies; it has been calculated that they then composed
one-twentieth of the inhabitants of London, and they were settled in
many other places. But the fiery passions, which on the Continent led
to the re-establishment of Catholicism, reacted on the old English
families of the Catholic faith as well, and produced, under the
influence of Spanish or Italian agitators, ever new attempts at
overthrowing the government.

It was just then, there cannot be any doubt of it, that Thomas duke of
Norfolk, who might be regarded as almost the chief noble of the realm,
became concerned in such an attempt. Somewhat earlier the idea had
been entertained that his marriage with Mary Stuart might contribute
to restore general quiet in both kingdoms: but Queen Elizabeth had
abandoned this plan, and he had pledged himself to her under his hand
and seal not to enter into any negociation about it without her
previous knowledge. Nevertheless he had allowed himself to be drawn by
an Italian money-changer, Roberto Ridolfi, who had lived long in
England, not merely into a new agreement with this object in view but
into treasonable designs. Norfolk possessed an immense following among
the nobility of both religious parties: and, as he would not declare
himself a Catholic at once, he thought to have the Protestant lords
also on his side, if he married Mary Stuart, whom many of them
regarded as the lawful heiress of the realm. He applied for the Pope's
approval of his proceedings, and promised to come forward without
reserve if a Spanish force landed in England: he affirmed that his
views were not directed to his own advancement, but only to the
purpose of uniting the island under one sovereign, and re-establishing
the old laws and the Catholic religion. These thoughts hardly
originated with the duke, they were suggested to him by Ridolfi, who
himself drew up the instructions with which Norfolk and Mary
despatched him to the Pope and the King of Spain.[236] Ridolfi had
been sent to Mary with full powers from the Pope, and also well
provided with money. When he now appeared again in Rome with his
instructions, which really contained simply the acceptance of his
proposals, he was, as may be imagined, received with joy: the Pope,
who expected the salvation of the world from these enterprises,
recommended them to King Philip. In Spain also they met with a good
reception. We are astonished at the naiveté with which the Council of
State proceeded to deliberate on the proposal of a sudden stroke by
which an Italian partisan undertook to seize the Queen and her
councillors at one of her country-houses. The King at last left the
decision to the Duke of Alva. Alva would have been in favour of the
plan itself, but he took into consideration that an unsuccessful
attempt would provoke a general attack from all sides on the
Netherlands, which were only just subdued and still full of ferment.
He thought the King should not declare himself until the conspirators
had succeeded in getting the Queen into their hands, alive or dead. If
Norfolk made his rising contingent on the landing of a Spanish force
in England, Alva on the other hand required that he should already
have got the Queen into his power before his own master made his
participation in the scheme known.[237]

But while letters and messages were being exchanged in this way (for
Ridolfi held it necessary to be in communication with his friends in
England and Scotland), Elizabeth's watchful ministers had already
discovered all. Even before Ridolfi reached Spain, Elizabeth gave the
French ambassador an intimation of the commission with which the Queen
of Scots had entrusted him.[238] The latter had not yet received any
kind of answer from Spain when the Earl of Shrewsbury, in whose
custody she then was at Sheffield, reproached her with the schemes in
which she was implicated, and announced to her a closer restriction of
her liberty as a punishment for them: further Elizabeth would not at
that time as yet proceed against her. In Spain and Italy they were
still expecting the Duke of Norfolk to take up arms, when he was
already a prisoner. Elizabeth struggled long against giving him over
to the arm of the law, but her friends held an execution absolutely
necessary for her personal security. On the scaffold in the Tower
Norfolk said he was the first to die on that spot under Queen
Elizabeth and trusted he would be the last. All people said Amen.

The scheme of this revolt proceeded more from Italy and Rome than from
Spain: King Philip had taken no active part in it, the Duke of Alva
had rather set himself against it: but we need only glance at their
correspondence to perceive how completely nevertheless they were
implicated in the matter. To carry on the war against Elizabeth not in
his own name but in the name, and for the restoration of the rights,
of the Queen of Scotland, would have exactly suited the policy of
Philip II: he thought such an opportunity would never present itself
again; they must avail themselves of it and finish the affair as
quickly as possible, that France might not take part in it. If Alva
counts up the difficulties which manifestly stood in the way of the
scheme, yet he promises to execute the King's wishes with all the
means in his power, with person and property: 'God will still send the
King other favourable opportunities as a reward for his religious

Queen Elizabeth expelled the Spanish ambassador, Gueran de Espes, who
had undeniably taken part in Ridolfi's schemes as well as in the last
rising, from England; as soon as he reached Brussels, the English and
Scotch fugitives gathered round him, and communicated to him many new
schemes of invasion, to which his ear was more open than that of the
Duke of Alva. An attack was to be tried, now on Scotland, now on
Ireland, now on England itself.

We cannot suppose that in England they knew every word that was
uttered about these plans, or that everything they did believe there
was well grounded. But from year to year men's minds were more and
more filled with the idea that Philip II was the great enemy of their
religion and of their country. In the sphere of classical literature
the translation of Demosthenes in 1570 is noteworthy in this respect.
What Demosthenes says against Philip of Macedon, in regard to the
Athenians, the translator finds applicable to Philip II; he calls the
English to open war in the words of the ancient orator, 'for as it was
then, so is it now, and ever will be.'

But for this Elizabeth on her side did not feel inclined or prepared.
Many acts of hostility took place at sea in a piratical war, in
politics they stood sharply opposed to each other: but they were not
inclined on either side for an open contest, front to front.

Above all the English held it necessary now to come to a good
understanding with the other of the two great neighbouring powers. It
stood them in good stead that a tendency to moderate measures gained
sway in France; the English ambassadors took a very vivid interest in
the project of a marriage between Henry of Navarre and Margaret of
Valois. While the victory of Lepanto filled the hearts of the
partisans of Spain with fresh hopes, the jealousy it awakened in the
French contributed largely to their withdrawal from Spain and the
Pope, and their readiness for an alliance with England. The two powers
promised each other mutual support against any attack, on whatever
ground it might at any time be undertaken. A later explanation of the
treaty expressly confirmed its including the case of religion.[240]

Thus secured on this side the Queen proceeded to carry out an idea
which had immense consequences. It is not a mere suspicion, partially
derived from the result, to suppose that she thought King Philip's
combining with her rebels gave her a right to combine with the King's
revolted subjects: she herself said so once to the French ambassador:
while talking with him, she one day dropped her voice, and said that
as Philip kept her state disturbed, she did not hold herself any
longer bound to treat him with the regard she had hitherto shewn him
in the quarrels of the Netherlands.

It is not quite true that she supported with her own power the Gueux
('Beggars'), who had fled to the sea from Alva's persecutions, in the
decisive attacks they now made on Brielle and Vliessingen (Brill and
Flushing): but this was hardly needed, it was quite enough that her
feeling was known, she merely let things take their way, she did not
prevent the attack of the rebels against Philip II (powerful at sea as
they were) being supported by the fugitive Walloons residing in
England, and by Englishmen also. It was estimated that there were then
in Vliessingen 400 Walloons and 400 English: 1500 English lay before
the town, to keep off the attacks of the Spaniards. French troops gave
aid in corresponding numbers. They were all recalled at a later time;
but meanwhile the insurrection had gained a consistency which made it
impossible for the Spaniards to subdue the Netherlands.

As formerly Elizabeth had joined the Scotch lords against the Regent
and the Queen of Scotland, so now she helped the insurgents of the
Netherlands against the King of Spain. In the first case she had
Philip II himself on her side, in the second case France.

By this policy she found the means of securing herself at home, from
the Spanish attacks. It was more than ever necessary for Philip to
concentrate on the war in the Netherlands all the forces of which he
could dispose. The Queen did not yet take direct part in it, and
Philip had to avoid everything that could induce her to do so. It was
not her object to bring about the independence of the Provinces: but
she insisted on the departure of the Spanish troops, the observance of
the provincial constitutions, and above all assured liberty for the
Protestant faith. In 1575 she offered the King her mediation, not
however without including one special English matter, namely the
mitigation of the severe religious laws in reference to English
merchants in the Spanish countries: the King took the opinion of the
Grand Inquisitor on it. As if he could ever have been in its favour
himself! The Pacification of Ghent in 1576 was quite in accordance
with the Queen's views, since it established the supremacy of the
Estates, and freedom of religion for the chief Northern provinces. To
maintain this, she had no hesitation in concluding an alliance with
the States, and in consequence despatching a body of English troops to
the Netherlands. She informed the King himself of this, and requested
him to recall the Stadtholder Don John, his half-brother (who was
trying to break the peace), and to receive the Estates into his
favour: she did not by this think to come to a breach with him.

The idea of entrusting Don John of Austria, the victor of Lepanto,
with the restoration of Catholicism in West Europe had been at that
time adopted in Rome. His was a fiery nature pervaded by Catholic
principles, and seized with the most vivid ambition to be something in
the world and to effect something. The Irish wished him to be their
king; he was to free Mary Stuart from prison, vindicate her rights
alike in Scotland and in England, and at her side ascend the throne of
the British kingdoms now united in Catholicism. Mary gladly acceded to
this, as she had already long wished for a marriage with the Spanish
house. It was probably to give this combination a firmer basis that
she proposed, in case her son did not prove to be a Catholic, to
transfer her claims on the throne of England to the King of Spain, or
to any of his relatives whom he should name in conjunction with the
Pope.[241] But whom could she mean by these last words but Don John
himself, who then stood in close connexion with the Guises, whom she
also recommended most pressingly to the King. But she had at the same
time directed her aim towards Scotland. There her enemies Murray and
Lennox had perished by assassination; under the following regents, Mar
and Morton, Mary had still nevertheless so many partisans, that they
never could have ventured, as they were requested to do from England,
to allow Mary to come to Scotland and be put on her trial: their own
power would have been endangered by it. Mary too believed herself to
have prepared everything there so well for an enterprise by Don John
that, as she says, an overthrow of the Scotch government would
infallibly have ensued if Philip II had only put his hand to the work.
And how closely were his interests bound up with it! Without a
conquest of the island-kingdom, as his brother represented to him, the
Netherlands could never be subdued. But even now he shunned an open
rupture. Besides this his brother's restlessness and thirst for
action, and his political intrigues which were already reacting on
Spain, were disagreeable to him; he could not make up his mind to take
a decisive step.

He had again and again been vainly entreated to interest himself in
the population of Ireland, in which national and religious antagonism
contended against the supremacy of England. One of the confidential
agents secretly sent thither assured him that he was implored by
nine-tenths of the inhabitants to take them under his protection and
save their souls, that is restore them the mass, which they could no
longer celebrate publicly: they appealed to their primeval
relationship with the Iberian people, to ancient prophecies which
looked forward to this, and to the great political interests at stake.
Philip was not disinclined to attempt the enterprise; but he required
the co-operation of France, without doubt to break the opposition of
this power in the affairs of the Netherlands; a condition which could
not be made acceptable to the French by any interposition of Rome.

And so, if Pope Gregory XIII wished to undertake anything against
Ireland, he had to do it himself. Men witnessed the singular spectacle
of an expedition against Ireland being fitted out on the coasts of the
States of the Church. A papal general from Bologna came to the
assistance of the powerful Irish chief, Fitzmaurice. They commanded
the Irish districts far and wide, and made inroads into the English:
for a long time they were very troublesome, although not really

King Philip was then busied in an undertaking which interested him
still more closely than even that of the Netherlands: he made good his
hereditary claim to Portugal, without being obstructed in it either by
the opposition of a native claimant or by the counter-working of the
European powers.

In the face of this success, by which the Spanish monarchy became
master of the whole Pyrenean peninsula and its many colonies in East
and West, it was all the more necessary for the other two powers to
hold together. Many causes of quarrel indeed arose between them. How
could the shocking event of the night of St. Bartholomew fail to
awaken all the antipathies of the English, and indeed of Protestantism
in general! Elizabeth did not let herself be prevented by her treaty
from supporting the French Protestants in the manner she liked, that
is without its being possible to prove it against her. Under Charles
IX she contributed to prevent them from succumbing, under Henry III
she helped them in recovering a certain political position: for this
very object the Palsgrave Casimir led into France German troops paid
with English money. Catharine Medici often reproached her with
observing a policy like that of Louis XI. But the common interest of
the two kingdoms was always more powerful than these differences;
frequent and long negociations were carried on for even a closer
union. The marriage of Queen Elizabeth with Catharine's youngest son
was once held to be as good as certain: he actually appeared
personally in England. We refrain from following the course of these
negociations. The interest they awaken constantly ends in
disappointment, for they are always moving towards their object
without attaining it. But perhaps it will repay our trouble to
consider the reasons which came into consideration for and against the
proposed connexion.

The main reason for it was that England must hinder an alliance
between Spain and France, especially one in favour of the Queen of
Scots. And certainly nothing had stood the English policy in Scotland
in such stead as the good understanding with France. But much more
seemed attainable if France and England were united for ever. They
would then be able to compel the King of Spain to conclude a peace
with the Netherlands which would secure them their liberties; and, if
he did not observe it, they would have grounds for a common occupation
of a part of the Provinces. If there should be any issue of the
marriage, this would put an end to all attacks on Elizabeth's life,
and greatly strengthen the attachment of her subjects.

But against it was the fact that this marriage would bring the Queen
into disagreeable personal relations; and the country would be as
unwilling to see a French king as it had once a Spanish one. And how
would it be, if a son sprung from the marriage, to inherit both the
French and the English throne? was England to be ruled by a viceroy?
What an opposition the world would raise to the union of these mighty
kingdoms, into what complications might it not lead! Scotland would
again attach itself to the French: the Netherlands and the German
princes would be alienated.

The members of the Privy Council, after they had weighed all these
considerations, at last pronounced themselves on the whole against it.
They recommended the continuance of the present system,--the support
of the Protestants, especially in France, a good understanding with
the King of Scotland, and the maintenance of religion and justice in
England: thus they would be a match for every threat of the King of

But that sovereign had one ally against whom these precautions could
not suffice, the Order of Jesuits and the seminaries of English
priests under its guidance.

Young exiles from England, who were studying in the Universities of
the Netherlands, to prevent the Catholic priesthood from perishing
among the English at home, had been already in Alva's time brought
together in a college at Douay, which was then removed to Rheims as
the revolt spread in the Netherlands. Pope Gregory XIII was not
content with supporting this institution by a monthly subsidy; he was
ambitious of imitating Gregory the Great and exercising a direct
influence on England: he founded in Rome itself a seminary for the
reconversion of that country. He made over for this purpose the old
English hospital which was also connected with the memory of Thomas
Becket. The first students however fell out with each other, and there
was seen in Rome the old antagonism of the 'Welsh' and the 'Saxons';
in the end the latter gained the upper hand, it was mainly their doing
that the institution was given over to the Jesuits. Not long after its
activity began. Each student on his reception was bound to devote his
powers to spreading the Catholic doctrines in England; by April 1580 a
company of thirteen priests was ready, after receiving the Pope's
blessing, to set out with this object. The chief among them were
Robert Parsons, who passed into England disguised as a soldier, and
Edmund Campion as a merchant. The first went to Gloucester and
Hereford, the other to Oxford and Northampton: they and the friends
who followed them found everywhere a rich harvest.[243] It was
arranged so that they arrived in the evening at the appointed houses
of their friends: there they heard confessions and gave advice to the
faithful. Early in the morning they preached, and then broke up again;
it was customary to provide them an armed escort to guard them from
any mischance.

Withal the forms of the church-service in England had been so arranged
that it might remain practicable for the Catholics also to take part
in it. How many had done so hitherto, perhaps with a rosary or a
Catholic book of prayers in their hands! The chief effort of the
seminarist priests, on their return to the country, was to put an end
to this: they dissuaded intercourse with the Protestants even on
indifferent matters. The Queen's statesmen were astonished to find how
much the number of recusants increased all at once; from secret
presses proceeded writings of an aggressive, and exceedingly
malignant, character; in many places Elizabeth was again designated as
illegitimate, a usurper, no longer as Queen. On this the repressive
system, which had been already set in motion in consequence of Pope
Pius V's bull, was made more stringent; this is what has brought on
the Queen's government the charge of cruelty. The Catholics too began
to compose their martyrologies. One of the first priests whose
execution they describe, Cuthbert Mayne, was condemned by the jury for
bringing the Bull with him into other people's houses together with
some _Agnus Dei_.[244] Young people were condemned for trying to make
their way to the foreign seminaries. On the wish of the missionaries
Pope Gregory XIII explained the bull so far, that the excommunication
pronounced in it against all who should obey the Queen's commands was
meant to be in suspense till it was possible to execute it against the
Queen herself on whom it continued to weigh.[245] This limitation
however rather increased the danger. The Catholics could remain quiet
till rebellion was possible, then it became a duty. The law-courts now
sought above all to make the accused priests declare themselves as to
the validity of the bull and its obligation. Men held themselves
justified in extreme severity against those who 'slip into the country
at the instigation of the great enemy, the Pope, and poison the hearts
of the subjects with pernicious doctrines.'[246] On this ground
Campion met his death; Parsons escaped. Assuredly there were not so
many executed as the Catholic world wished to reckon, but yet probably
more than the statesmen of England admitted. They persisted that it
was not a persecution for religion: and in fact the controverted
questions lay mainly in the region of the conflict between Papacy and
Monarchy: those executed were not so much martyrs of Catholicism as of
the idea of the Papal supremacy over monarchs. But how closely
connected are these ideas with each other! The priests for their part
believed that they were dying for God and the Church. But the effect
which the English government had in view was, with all its severity,
not produced. We are assured on Catholic authority that in 1585 there
were yet several hundred priests actively engaged. From their reports
it is clear that they were still always counting on a complete
victory. They vigorously pressed for the attempt at an invasion, which
they represented as almost sure of success; 'for two-thirds of the
English are still Catholic; the Queen has neither strong places nor
disciplined troops: with 16,000 men she might be overthrown.' This
time also the house of the Spanish ambassador, Bernardino Mendoza,
formed the meeting-point for these tendencies; he kept up a constant
communication with the emigrants who had been declared rebels, and
with the discontented at home, with Mary Stuart and her friends in
Scotland, with the zealous Catholics throughout the world, especially
with the Guises, with whom Philip II himself now had an understanding.
The increasing power of his sovereign gained him also an
ever-increasing consideration.

It was in these days that the Western and Southern Netherlands were
again subdued by King Philip. After the death of his brother, his
nephew Alexander Farnese of Parma had formed an army of unmixed
Catholic composition, which had naturally from its inner unity gained
the upper hand over the government of the States, which had called now
a German and now a French prince to its head, and was composed of
different religions and nationalities. First the seaports, then the
towns of Flanders, and at last the wealthy Antwerp also, which by its
mental activity and commercial resources had materially nourished the
revolt, fell into the hands of the Spaniards. The Prince of Orange was
assassinated by a fanatic. Alexander of Parma, who ascribed his
victories to the Virgin Mary, pushed on his conquests gradually till
they reached the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

The reaction of these events, even while they were still in progress,
was first felt in Scotland. There the young King James VI after many
vicissitudes had, while still under age, taken the reins of government
into his own hands: and a son of his great uncle, Esmé Stuart (who
exchanged the title Aubigny which he brought from France for the more
famous name of Lennox, and was a great friend of the Guises and the
Jesuits) obtained the chief credit with him. Lennox promoted
Catholicism, which was not so difficult, as part of the nobility still
adhered to it, at least in secret; he too lived and moved in
comprehensive plans for the re-establishment of the Church. Through
the Guises he hoped to be placed in a position to invade England with
a Catholic army of 15,000 men; if the English Catholics then did their
duty, everything they wanted could be attained: for himself he was
resolved to liberate Mary or die in the attempt. Mary was also to
reascend the Scotch throne: her son was to be co-regent with her,
provided that he himself returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church.
Mary Stuart with her indestructible energy was involved in these
designs also. She commended them warmly to the Pope and the King of
Spain: for it was precisely in Scotland that the universal
re-establishment could best be begun.[247] She wished only to know on
what resources in men and money her friends there might reckon. We
must remember the situation and the peril of these schemes and
preparations, if we would understand to some degree the violent
measures on which the Protestant lords in Scotland resolved. As in a
similar case of an earlier time in Germany, they closed the castle, in
which King James was received, against his attendants: Lennox had to
leave Scotland. But the young King was shrewd enough, and sufficiently
well advised, to rid himself of the lords almost in the same way that
they had taken him. He succeeded, chiefly through the help of the
French ambassador, a friend of the Guises. Hereupon too he seemed much
inclined to favour the undertaking with which Henry Guise occupied
himself in 1583, a scheme for a revolution in the affairs of both
countries. Guise hoped, with the support of the King of Spain, the
Pope, and the Duke of Bavaria, to be able to effect something
decisive. James VI let his uncle know his full agreement with the
proposed schemes. But, in fact, it did not seem to matter much
whether he agreed or not. It was reported to Queen Mary, that the
Catholic party in Scotland reckoned on having the most powerful king
of Christendom on their side, with or against James' will; that Philip
II was building so many vessels that in a short time he would become
completely master of the Western ocean, and be able to invade whatever
countries he pleased.

It is evident how dangerous for England these Scotch movements were in
themselves: Queen Elizabeth thought herself most vulnerable on the
side of Scotland: moreover she already saw herself directly
threatened. A plan fell into her hands, in which the number of ships
and men necessary for an invasion of England, the harbours where they
were to land, the places they were to seize, even the men on whose
help they could reckon, were enumerated.[248] She convinced herself
that the plan came from Mendoza, who held out the prospect of his
King's assistance for the purpose, as the attack was to be made
simultaneously from the Netherlands and from Spain. This time too
Elizabeth dismissed the hostile ambassador; but how could she flatter
herself with having thus exorcised the threatening elements? Now that
the foe, with whom she had been for fifteen years at war--though not
an open war yet one of which both sides were conscious--had become
very much stronger, she was forced to take up a decisive position
against him, to save herself from being overpowered.

In 1584 her chief minister, William Cecil, now Lord Burleigh, High
Treasurer of the kingdom, drew her attention to this necessity. He
represented to her that she had nothing to fear from any one in the
world except from Spain--but from Spain everything. King Philip had
gained more victories from his cabinet, than his father in all his
campaigns: he ruled a nation which was thoroughly of one mind in
religion, ambitious, brave, and resolute; he had a most devoted party
among the discontented in England. The question for the Queen was,
whether she hoped to tame the lion or whether she wished to bind him.
She could not build on treaties, for the enemy would not keep them.
And, if he was allowed to subdue the Netherlands completely, no one in
the world could avoid seeing to what object his power would be
directed. He advises the Queen not to let things go so far--for those
countries were the counterscarp of England's fortress--but to proceed
to open war, to withstand the Spaniards in the Netherlands and attack
them in the Indies. 'Better now,' he exclaims, 'while the enemy has
only one hand free, than later when he can strike with both.'[249]

In August 1585 Antwerp fell into the hands of the Spaniards; in the
capitulation the case is already taken into consideration, that
Holland and Zealand also might submit. The Northern Netherlands were
threatened from yet another side, as Zutphen and Nimuegen had just
been taken by the Spaniards. In this extreme distress of her natural
ally she delayed no longer. The sovereignty they offered her she
refused anew, but she engaged to give considerable assistance, in
return for which, as a security for her advances, the fortresses
Vliessingen and Briel were given up into her possession. To prove how
much she was in earnest in this, she entrusted the conduct of the war
in the Netherlands to Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was still
accounted her favourite and was one of the chief confidants of her
policy. In December 1585 Leicester reached Vliessingen; on the 1st of
January 1586, Francis Drake appeared before St. Domingo and occupied
it. The war had broken out by land and by sea.


[232] Randolph states that the promise was given before Darnley's
death. Strype, Annals iii. i. 234.

[233] That this was thought of from the first is not to be supposed;
the Queen had once previously declared herself against it. 'We fynde
her removing either into this our realm or into France not without
great discommodities to us.' Letter to Throckmorton, in Wright i. 253.

[234] Gonzalez, Apuntamientos 338. From the 'short memoryall' of 1569
in Hayne's State Papers 585 (though much in it is incorrect), we see
that men believed in the union of both crowns against England, with
'the ernest desyre to have the Quene of Scotts possess this crown of

[235] 'Sentenza declaratoria contra Elizabetta, che si pretende reina
d'Inghilterra.' In Catena, Vita di Pio V, 309. The agreement of the
bull (e.g. as to the 'huomini heretici et ignobili,' who had
penetrated into the royal privy council) with the manifesto of the
last rebellion, is worth observing.

[236] The instructions which Mary and Norfolk gave their Italian agent
for the Roman See are preserved in the Vatican archives and printed in
Labanoff iii. 221. From Leslie's expression (Negociations, in Anderson
iii. 152) that the duke negociated with Ridolfi through a Mr. Backer,
'because he had the Italian tongue,' and that then all the plans were
communicated to _him_ ('the whole devises'), we might conclude that
Norfolk was in general very much in foreign hands.

[237] Lo que se platico en consejo 7 Julio 1571. Some other weighty
documents are in Appendix V to Mignet's Histoire de Marie Stuart, vol.

[238] Already on the 16th April the French ambassador, while speaking
with Elizabeth on the conclusion of the treaty agreed on, remarks,
'qu'elle a quelque nouvelle offence contre la dite reyne d'Ecosse,'
which could have been nothing else but the first news of the seizure
of one of Ridolfi's servants at Dover on the 10th April, who then
under torture had confessed all.

[239] 'Vendran otras ocasiones en tiempo di V. M. per pagarle dios el
celo, con que tam caldamente abraza este su negocio.' Contestation del
duque di Alba, in Gonzalez 450.

[240] De la Mothe Fénélon au roi de France 22 Dec. 1571.
Correspondence diplomatique de Bertrand de Salignac de la Mothe
Fénélon iv. 317.

[241] Sketch of a will, in Labanoff iv. 354. 'Je cedde mes droits, que
je pretends et puis pretendre à la couronne d'Angleterre et autres
seignuries et royaulmes en dependant au roy catholique ou autres des
siens qu'il lui plaira, avesque l'advis et consentement de S. S.'

[242] Conference at Westminster touching the Queen's marriage with the
Duke of Anjou 1579. Egerton Papers 78. Sussex, who had previously
given a somewhat different opinion, was one of those who signed.

[243] Sacchinus, Historia societatis Jesu iii. 1; vii. 1; viii. 96.

[244] 'Perche contro alle leggi d'Inghilterra egli havesse portato
seco una bollo papale, alcuni grani benedetti et agnus dei.' Martyrio
di Cutberto Maino, in Pollini, Istoria eccl. delle rivolutioni
d'Inghilterra p. 499. It is a pity that the eminent Hallam had not the
first reports at hand.

[245] Facultates concessae Rob. Personio et Edm. Campiano 14 April
1580. 'Catholicos tum demum obliget, quando publica ejusdem bullae
executio fieri poterit.'

[246] Execution of Justice in England. Somers Tracts i.

[247] Lettre a Don Bernardino de Mendoza 6-8 April 1582. 'La grande
aparence, qu'il ha de pourvenir (parvenir) maintenant au dict
restablissement de la religion en ceste isle, començant pour la Scotia
(par l'Ecosse).' In Mignet App. 522.

[248] According to the Venetian accounts (Dispaccio di Spagna, Marzo
1584) the King had sent an experienced soldier as a spy to England to
investigate the possibility of a landing, 'havendo pensato di
concertarsi bene con il re di Scotia, perche ancora egli a un tempo
medesimo si movesse da quella parte.'

[249] The Lord Treasurers advise in matters of Religion and State.
Somers Tracts i. 164.



How completely the circumstances of these times are misunderstood,
when they are measured by the rules of an age of peace! Rather they
were filled with hostilities in which politics and religion were
mingled; foreign war was at the same time a domestic one. The
religious confessions were at the same time political programmes.

The Queen took up arms not to make conquests, but to secure her very
existence against a daily growing power that openly threatened her,
before it had become completely an overmatch for her: she provoked an
open war: but she had not done enough when she now, as is necessary in
such cases, took into consideration the training of soldiers, securing
the harbours, fortifying strong places, improving the navy: the most
pressing anxiety arose from the general Catholic agitation in the

Elizabeth's statesmen were well aware that the sharp prosecution of
the seminarist priests was not enough to put an end to it. With
reference to the laity, the Lord Treasurer, however strict in other
respects, recommends to his sovereign quite a different mode of
proceeding. We should never proceed to capital punishment of such men:
we should rather mitigate the oath imposed on them: in particular we
should never force the nobles to a final decision between their
religious inclinations and their political duties, never drive them to
despair. But at the same time he gives a warning against awakening any
hope in them that their demands could ever be satisfied, for this
would only make them more obstinate. And on no consideration should
arms be put into their hands. 'We do not wish to kill them, we cannot
coerce them, but we dare not trust them.' Nothing would be more
dangerous than to assume a confidence which was not really felt.

Even before this the Privy Council had recommended the Queen to employ
Protestants only in the government of her State, and to exclude all
Catholics from a share in it.[250] The before-mentioned 'Advice' of
Lord Burleigh is remarkable for extending the Protestant interest and
adding a popular one to it. He thinks it intolerable that the
copyholders and tenants of the Catholic lords, even when they fulfil
their obligations in all other respects, experience bad treatment from
them on account of religion: it is impossible to let many thousand
true subjects be dependent on such as have hostile intentions. The
plan Henry VIII had once entertained, of diminishing the authority of
the Lords, is now brought by the High Treasurer at this crisis once
more into vivid recollection. The Queen is to bind the Commons to
herself, to win over their hearts. And Burleigh advises allowing the
followers of dissenting Protestant Churches, especially the Puritans,
to worship as they please: in preaching and catechising they are more
zealous than the Episcopalians, very far more successful in converting
the people, and indispensable for weakening the popish party. We see
how the necessity of the war acts on home affairs. The chief minister
favoured the elements which were forcing their way out through the
existing forms of the state.

In this general strain on men's minds their eyes once more turned to
the Queen of Scots in her captivity. What would there have been at all
to fear at other times from a princess under strong custody and cut
off from all the world? But in the excitement of that age she could
even so be still an object of apprehension. Her personal friends had
from the first not seen a great mischance in her enforced residence in
England. For by blameless conduct she refuted the evil report which
had followed her thither from Scotland; and her right as heiress of
the crown came to the knowledge of the whole nation.[251] In the days
at which we have arrived we know with certainty that her presence in
the country formed a great lever for Catholic agitation. A report
found in the papal archives has been published, by which it is clear
how much support men promised themselves from her for every resolute
undertaking.[252] This document says that since she has numberless
partisans, and although in prison has uninterrupted communication with
them, she will always find means, when the time comes, of giving them
notice of the approaching opportunity: she is resolved to encounter
every hardship, nay even death itself, for the great cause.[253]

Occupied with measures of defence on all sides, the English government
had already long been considering how to meet this danger. This was
the very reason why Elizabeth's marriage was so often spoken of with
popular approbation: if she had children, Mary's claims would lose
their importance. Gradually however every man had to confess to
himself that this was not to be expected, and on other grounds hardly
to be wished. Then men thought how to solve the difficulty in another

The chief danger was this: if an attempt on Elizabeth's life
succeeded, the supreme authority would devolve on Mary, who was on the
spot, who cherished entirely opposite views, and would have at once
realised them:--the thought occurred as early as 1579 of declaring by
formal act of parliament that all persons by whom the reigning Queen
should be in any way endangered or injured should forfeit any claim
they might have to the crown;[254] terms which though general were in
reality directed only against the Queen of Scots; at that time the
proposal was not carried into effect.

The negociations are not yet completely cleared up which were carried
on with Mary in 1582-3 for her restoration in Scotland. The English
once more repeated their old demand, that Mary should even now ratify
the treaty of Edinburgh, and annul all that had been done in violation
of it by her first husband or by herself. She was further not merely
to renounce every design against the security and peace of England,
but to pledge herself to oppose it: and in general, as long as
Elizabeth was alive, to put forward no claim to the English throne:
whether she had such a right after Elizabeth's death the parliament of
England was to decide.[255] Here too the old view came into the
foreground: Parliament was to be made the judge of hereditary right.
The negociation failed owing to the Scotch intrigues of these years,
in which the intention rather was to assert the claim of inheritance
with the strong hand.

And from day to day new attempts on Elizabeth's life came to light. In
1584 Francis Throckmorton, who took part in these very schemes, was
executed: in 1585 Parry also, who confessed having been in connexion
with Mary's plenipotentiary in France, and who had come over to
assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Writings were spread abroad in which
those about her were called on to imitate, against this female
Holofernes, the example set in the book of Judith.

Protestant England in the danger of its sovereign saw its own. In all
churches prayers were offered for her safety. The most remarkable
proof of this temper is contained in an association of individuals for
defending the Queen, which was at that time subscribed to far and wide
through the country. It begins with a statement that, to promote
certain claims on the crown, the Queen's life was threatened in a
highly treasonable manner, and enters into a union in God's name, in
which each man pledges himself to the others, to combat with word and
deed, and even to pursue with arms, all who should make any attempt on
the Queen's person; and not to rest till these wretches were
completely destroyed. If the attempt was so far successful as to raise
a claim to the crown, they pledged themselves never to recognise such
a claim: whoever broke this oath and separated himself from the
association should be treated by the other members as a perjurer.[256]

The main object of this association was to cut off all prospect of the
succession from any attempt in favour of the Queen of Scots: a great
part of the nation pledged itself to reject a claim made good in this
manner as exceptionable in every respect. The Parliament of 1585, many
of whose members belonged to the association, not merely confirmed it
formally: it now also expressly enacted, that persons in whose favour
a rebellion should be attempted, and an attack on the Queen
undertaken, should lose their right to the crown: if they themselves
took part in any such plots, they were to forfeit their life. The
Queen was empowered to appoint a commission of at least twenty-four
members to judge of this offence.

These resolutions and unions were of a compass extending far beyond
the present occasion, however weighty. How important the
ecclesiastical contest had become in all questions concerning the
supreme temporal power! That the deposition of Queen Elizabeth,
pronounced by the Pope, had no effect was due to the Protestant
tendencies of the country, and to the fact that her hereditary claim
had been hitherto unassailed. But now it was a similar hereditary
claim, made by Queen Mary, not, it is true, formally recognised, but
also not rejected, on which the partisans of this princess based their
chief hope. Mary herself, who always combined the most vivid dynastic
feelings with her religious inclinations, in her letters and
statements does not lay such stress on anything as on the
unconditional validity of her claim to inherit the throne. When for
instance her son rejected the joint government which she proposed to
him, she remarked with striking acuteness that this involved an
infringement of the maxims of hereditary right; since he rejected her
authorisation to share in the government, and recognised as legitimate
the refusal of obedience she had experienced from her rebellious
subjects. Once she read in a pamphlet that people denied Queen
Elizabeth the power to name a successor who was not of the Protestant
faith: she wrote to her that the supreme power was of divine right,
and raised high above all these considerations, and warned her against
opinions of that kind which were avowed by some near her, and which
might lead to the elective principle and become dangerous to herself.
This could not fail to have an exactly opposite effect on Elizabeth.
She was again threatened through the strict dynastic right that she
also enjoyed: she needed some other additional support. Despite all
inclination to the contrary, she decided to look for it in the
Parliament. She likewise aimed at making Mary submit the validity of
her claim to its previous decision. She could not but be thankful that
her subjects pledged themselves not to recognise any right to the
succession which was to be asserted by an attack on her life; she
ratified the act by which Parliament gave these feelings a legal form.
It is obvious how powerfully the rights of Parliament were thus
advanced as against the absolute claim of the hereditary monarchy. In
the course of the development of events this was to be the case in a
still higher degree.

Mary rejected with horror the suspicion that she could take part in an
attempt on Elizabeth's life: she wished to enrol herself in the
Association for her security.[257] And who could have failed to
believe at least that the threats against her own right and life, in
case of a second attempt at assassination, would deter her partisans
as well as herself from any thought of it! For they well understood
the energy with which the Parliament knew how to vindicate its laws.

But it is vain to try to bridle men's passions by showing them their
results. If the attempt on the Queen's life succeeded, this
Parliament of course would be annihilated as well as the Queen
herself, and another order of things begin.

In the seminary at Rheims the priests persuaded an English emigrant,
called Savage, who had served in the army of the Prince of Parma, that
he could not better secure himself eternal happiness than by ridding
the world of the enemy of religion who was excommunicated by the holy
father. Another English emigrant, Thomas Babington, a young man of
education and ambition, in whom throbbed the pulse of chivalrous
devotion to Mary, was informed of this design by a priest of the
seminary, and was fired with a kind of emulation which has something
highly fantastic about it. Thinking that so great an enterprise ought
not to be confided to one man, he sought and found new confederates
for it; when the murder was effected, and the Spanish troops landed,
he was to be the man who with a hundred sturdy comrades would free his
Catholic Queen from prison and lead her to her throne. Mendoza at that
time (and indeed by Mary's recommendation, as she tells us) was
Spanish ambassador in France: he was in communication with Babington
and strengthened him in his purpose. Of all the distinguished men of
the age Mendoza is perhaps the one who took up most heartily the idea
of uniting the French and Spanish interests, and advocated it most
fervently. King Philip II was also informed of the design. He now, as
he had done fifteen years before, declared his intention, if it
succeeded, of making the invasion simultaneously from Spain and
Flanders. The Queen's murder, the rising of the Catholics, and at the
same moment a twofold invasion with trained troops would have
certainly been enough to produce a complete revolution. The League was
still victorious in France: Henry III would have been forced to join
it: the tendencies of the strictest Catholicism would have gained a
complete triumph.

If we enquire whether Mary Stuart knew of these schemes, and had a
full understanding with the conspirators, there can be no doubt at all
of it. She was in correspondence with Babington, whom she designates
as her greatest friend. The letter is still extant in which she
strengthens him in his purpose of calling forth a rising of the
Catholics in the different counties, and that an armed one, with
reasons for it true and false, and tells him how he may liberate
herself. She reckons on a fine army of horse and foot being able to
assemble, and making itself master of some harbours in which to
receive the help expected not merely from Flanders and Spain, but also
from France. In the letter we even come upon one passage which betrays
a knowledge of the plot against Elizabeth's life; there is not a word
against it, rather an approbation of it, though an indirect one.[258]

And we have yet another proof of her temper and views at this time
lying before us. As the zeal of the Catholics for her claim to the
succession might be weakened by the fact that her son in Scotland, on
whom it naturally devolved, after all the hopes cherished on his
behalf, still remained Protestant, she reverted to an idea that had
once before passed through her mind: she pledged herself to bring
matters in Scotland to such a point that her son should be seized and
delivered into the hands of the King of Spain: he was then to be
instructed in the Catholic faith and embrace it; if James had not done
so at the time of her death, her claim on England was to pass to
Philip II. Day and night, so she said, she bewailed her son's being so
stiffnecked in his false faith: she saw that his succession in England
would be the ruin of the country.

So it stands written in her letters: it is undeniable: but was that
really her last and well-considered word? Was it her real wish that
Elizabeth should be killed, her son disinherited notwithstanding her
dynastic feelings, and that Philip II should become King of England?
Were the Catholic-Spanish tendencies of Elizabeth's predecessor, Queen
Mary Tudor, so completely reproduced in her?

I think we can hardly maintain this with full historic certainty. Mary
Stuart was not altogether animated by hot religious zeal: if she had
been, how could she formerly have left the Protestant lords in
possession of power so long as she did, and even have once thought of
marrying Leicester with his Protestant views? Her son affirmed that he
possessed letters from her, in which she approved of his religious
views and confirmed him in them. It was not religious conviction and
the abhorrence of any other faith, as in Mary Tudor, but her dynastic
right and her self-confidence as sovereign that were the active and
predominant motives in all the actions of Mary Stuart. And if there
are contradictions in her utterances, we cannot hold her capable, like
Catharine Medici, of taking up and secretly furthering two opposite
plans at the same time; her different tendencies appear consecutively,
not simultaneously, in exact accordance with her impulses. For Mary
Stuart was never quiet an instant: even in her prison she shared in
the movement of the world; her brain never ceased working; she was
brooding over her circumstances, her distress and her hope, how to
escape the one and realise the other: sometimes indeed there came a
moment of resignation, but only soon to pass away again. She throws
all her thoughts into her letters which, even if they are aiming at
some object close at hand, are at the same time ebullitions of the
moment, passionate effusions, productions of the imagination rather
than of the understanding. Who could think such a letter possible as
that in which she once sought to inform Elizabeth of the evil reports
about her which the Countess of Shrewsbury made, and recounted a mass
of scandalous anecdotes she had heard from her. The communication was
meant to ruin the countess: Mary did not remark that it must also draw
down the Queen's hatred on herself. No one would have dared even to
lay the letter before the Queen. Mary's was a passionate nature,
endowed with literary gifts: she let her pen run on without saying
anything she did not really think at the instant, but without
remembering in the least what lay beyond her momentary mood. Who will
hold women of this character strictly to what stands in their letters?
These are often as inconsiderate and contradictory as their words.

While Mary was writing the above-mentioned letters, she was completely
taken up with the proposals made to her. She guarded herself from
inserting anything that could hinder their being carried into effect:
by the eventual transfer of her son's claims to the foreign King, all
opposition on the part of zealous Catholics would be done away. Her
hopes and wishes hurried her away with them, so that she lost sight of
the danger in which she thus placed herself. And was she not a Queen,
raised above the law? Who would take it on himself to attack her?

Mary Stuart was then under the charge of a strict Puritan, Sir Amyas
Paulet, of whom she complained that he treated her as a criminal
prisoner and not as a queen. The government now allowed a certain
relaxation in the external circumstances of her custody, but not in
the strictness of the superintendence. There hardly exists another
instance of such a striking contrast between projects and facts. Mary
composes these letters full of far-ranging and dangerous schemes in
the deepest secrecy, as she thinks, and has them carefully re-written
in cipher: she has no doubt that they reach her friends safely by a
secret way: but arrangements are made so that every word she writes is
laid before the man whose business it is to trace out conspiracies,
Walsingham, the Secretary of State. He knows her ciphers, he even sees
the letters that come for her before she does: while she reads them
with haste and in hope of better fortune at hand, he is only waiting
for her answer to use it against her as a decisive proof of her guilt.

Walsingham now found himself in possession of all the threads of the
conspiracy; as soon as that letter to Babington was in his hands, he
delayed no longer to arrest the guilty persons: they confessed, were
condemned and executed. By further odious means--the prisoner being
removed from her apartments on some pretence and the rooms then
searched--possession was obtained of other papers which witnessed
against her. Then the question could be laid before the Privy Council
whether she should now be brought to trial and sentenced in due form.

Who had given the English Parliament any right to make laws which
should be binding on a foreign queen, and in virtue of which, if she
transgressed them, she could be punished with death? In fact these
doubts were raised at the time.[259] Against them it was alleged that
Mary, who had been forced to abdicate by her subjects and deprived of
her dignity, could not be regarded any longer as a queen: while a
deposed sovereign is bound by the laws of the land in which he
resides. If she was still a queen, yet she was subject to the feudal
supremacy of England, and because of her claim to its crown also
subject to its sovereignty--two arguments that contradict each other,
one of a feudal, the other of a popular character and closely
connected with the idea of popular sovereignty. Whether the one or the
other convinced any person, we do not hear; it was moreover not a
matter for argument any longer.

For how could anything else be expected but that the judicial
proceedings prepared several years before would now be put in force? A
law had been passed calculated for this case, if it should occur. The
case had occurred, and was proved by legal evidence. It was necessary
for the satisfaction of the country and Parliament--and Walsingham
laid particular stress on this--that the matter should be examined
with full publicity.

The commission provided for in the Act of Parliament was named: it
consisted of the chief statesmen and lawyers of the country. In
Fotheringhay, whither the prisoner had now been brought, the splendid
ancestral seat of the princes of the house of York, at which many of
them were buried, they met together in the Hall on the 14th October.
Mary let herself be induced to plead by the consideration that she
would be held guilty, if she did not make any defence: it being
understood that it was with the reserve that she did not by this give
up any of the rights of a free sovereign. Most of the charges against
her she gradually admitted to be true, but she denied having consented
to a personal attempt on Elizabeth's life. The court decided that this
made no essential difference. For the rebellion which Mary confessed
to having favoured could not be conceived of apart from danger to the
Queen of England's life as well as her government.[260] The court
pronounced that Mary was guilty of the acts for which the punishment
of death had been enacted in the Parliamentary statute.

We cannot regard this as a regular criminal procedure, for judicial
forms were but little observed; it was the decision of a commission
that the case had occurred in which the statute passed by Parliament
found its application. Parliament itself, then just summoned, had the
proceedings of the Commission laid before it and approved their

But this did not bring the affair to an end. Queen Elizabeth deferred
the execution of the judgment. For in relation to such a matter she
occupied quite a different position from that of Parliament.

From more than one quarter she was reminded that, by carrying out the
sentence, she would violate the divine right of kings; since this
implied that subjects could not judge, or lay their hands on,
sovereigns. How unnatural if a queen like herself should set her hand
to degrade the diadem.[261]

In the Privy Council some were of opinion that, as Mary could not be
regarded as the author of the last plot, but only as privy to it,
closer imprisonment would be a sufficient punishment for her.
Elizabeth caught at this idea. The Parliament, she thought, might now
formally annul Mary's claim to the English throne, declare it to be
high treason to maintain it any longer, and high treason also to
attempt to liberate her from prison: this would deter her partisans
from an attempt then become hopeless, and also satisfy foreign
nations. But it was urged in reply, that now to repudiate Mary
Stuart's claim for the first time would be equivalent to recognising
its original validity; and an English law would make no impression
either on Mary or on her partisans. The remembrance of what had
happened in Scotland revived again; of Darnley's murder, which men
imputed to her without hesitation: she was compared to Johanna I of
Naples who had taken part in her husband's murder: it was said, Mary
has doubled her old guilt by attempts against the sacred person of the
Queen; after she had been forgiven, she has relapsed into the same
crime, she deserves death on many grounds.[262]

Spenser, in the great poem which has made him immortal, has depicted
the conflict of accusations and excuses which this cause called forth.
One of his allegorical figures, Zeal, accuses the fair and splendid
lady, then on her trial, of the design of hurling the Queen from her
throne, and of inciting noble knights to join in this purpose. The
Kingdom's Care, Authority, Religion, Justice, take part with him. On
the other side Pity, Regard for her high descent and her family, even
_Grief_ herself, raise their voices, and produce a contrary
impression. But Zeal once more renews his accusation: he brings
forward Adultery and Murder, Impiety and Sedition, against her. The
Queen sitting upon the throne in judgment recognises the guilt of the
accused, but shrinks from pronouncing the word: men see tears in her
eyes; she covers her face with her purple robe.

Spenser appears here, as he usually does, an enthusiastic admirer of
his Queen. But neither should we see hypocrisy in Elizabeth's
scruples, which sprang much more from motives which touched her very
nearly. She kept away from all company: she was heard to break her
solitary meditation by uttering old proverbs that applied to the
present case. More than once she spoke with the deputation of
Parliament which pressed for a decision. What she mainly represented
to them was, how hard it was for her, after she had pardoned so many
rebellions, and passed over so much treason in silence, to let a
princess be punished, who was her nearest blood-relation: men would
accuse her, the Virgin Queen, of cruelty: she prayed them to supply
her with another means, another expedient: nothing under the sun would
be more welcome to her. The Parliament firmly insisted that there was
no other expedient; it argued in detailed representations that the
deliverance of the country depended on the execution of the sentence.
The Queen's own security, the preservation of religion and of the
state, made it absolutely necessary. Mary's life was the hope of all
the discontented, whose plots were directed only to the object of
enabling her to ascend the throne of England, to destroy the followers
of the true religion, and expel the nobility of the land--that is the
Protestant nobility. And must not satisfaction be given to the
Association which was pledged to pursue a new attempt against the
Queen's life even to death? 'Not to punish the enemy would be cruel to
your faithful subjects: to spare her means ruin to us.'

Meanwhile they came upon the traces of a new attempt. In presence of
the elder French ambassador, Aubespine, a partisan of the Guises,
mention was made of the necessity of killing Elizabeth in order to
save Mary at the last moment. One of his officers spoke with a person
who was known in the palace, and who undertook to pile up a mass of
gunpowder under Elizabeth's chamber sufficient to blow it into the
air; he was led to hope for rewards from Guise and his brother
Mayenne, whose interests would have been greatly promoted by such a
deed.[263] But this time too Elizabeth was made acquainted with the
design before it came to maturity. She ascribed her new danger to the
silence, if not to the instigation, of the ambassador, the friend of
the Guises: in its discovery she saw the hand of God. 'I nourish,' she
exclaims, 'the viper that poisons me;--to save her they would have
taken my life: am I to offer myself as a prey to every villain?'[264]
At a moment when she was especially struck with the danger which
threatened her from the very existence of her rival, after a
conversation with the Lord Admiral, she had the long-prepared order
for the execution brought to her, and signed it with quick and
resolute strokes of the pen.

The observation of Parliament, that her safety and the peace of the
country required her enemy's death, at last gained the upper hand with
her as well. But this did not imply that her conflicting feelings were
completely silenced. She was haunted in her dreams by the idea of the
execution. She had once more recourse to the thought that some
serviceable hand might spare her the last authorisation, by secretly
executing the sentence of the judges--an act which seemed to be
justified even by the words of the Association; the demand was made in
due form to the Keeper of the prisoner, Sir Amyas Paulet; he rejected
it--and how could anything else have been expected from the
conscientious Puritan--with an expression of his astonishment and
indignation. Elizabeth had commissioned Secretary Davison, when she
signed the order, to have it sealed with the Great Seal. Her idea
seems to have been that, when all the forms had been duly complied
with, she might the more easily get a secret execution, or that at
some critical moment it might be at once performed; but she still
meant to keep the matter in her own hand: for the custom was, before
the last step, to once more ask her approval. But Davison, who marked
her hesitation, did not think it advisable at this moment. Through
Hatton he acquainted Lord Burleigh with the matter, and Burleigh put
the question to the other members of the Privy Council: they took it
on themselves to despatch the order, signed and sealed as it now was,
without further delay to Fotheringhay.[265]

On the 8th of February 1587 it was executed on Mary in the very hall
where the sittings of the court had been held. As compared with
Elizabeth's painful disquiet, who shrank from doing what she held to
be necessary, and when she at last did it wished it again undone and
thought she could still recall it, the composure and quiet of soul,
with which Mary submitted to the fate now finally decided, impresses
us very deeply The misfortune of her life was her claim to the English
crown. This led her into a political labyrinth, and into those
entanglements which were connected with her disastrous marriage, and
then, through its combination with the religious idea, into all the
guilt which is imputed to her more or less justly. It cost Mary her
country and her life. Even on the scaffold she reminded men of her
high rank which was not subject to the laws: she thought the sentence
of heretics on her, a free queen, would be of service to the kingdom
of God. She died in the royal and religious ideas in which she had

It is undeniable that Elizabeth was taken by surprise at this news:
she was heard sobbing as though a heavy misfortune had befallen
herself. It may be that her grief was lightened by a secret
satisfaction: who would absolutely deny it? But Davison had to atone
for taking the power into his own hands by a long imprisonment: the
indispensable Burleigh hardly obtained pardon. In the city on the
other hand bells were rung and bonfires kindled. For the universal
popular conviction agreed with the judgment of the court, that Mary
had tried to deliver the kingdom into the hands of Spaniards.


[250] Consultation at Greenwich 1579, In Murdin 340. 'Pluck down
presently the strengthe and government of all your papists and deliver
all the strengthe and government of your realm into the hands of wise
assured and trusty protestants.'

[251] Bishop Leslie's negociations, in Anderson iii. 235.

[252] 'De praesenti rerum statu in Anglia brevis annotatio,' in
Theiner, Annales ecclesiastici iii. 480 (at the year 1583). As mention
is made in this writing of the restoration of order in the States of
the Church, 'per felicissima novi pontificis auspicia,' we must
certainly attribute it to the first years of Sixtus V.

[253] 'Tam ad hos (haereticos) quam ad catholicos omnes ad nostras
partes trahendos supra modum valebit, licet in carcere, reginae
Scotiae opera. Nam illa novit omnes secretos fautores suos et hactenus
habuit viam praemonendi illos atque semper ut speramus habitura est,
ut cum venerit tempus expeditionis, praesto sint. Sperat etiam--per
amicos--et per corruptionem custodum personam suam ex custodia
liberare.' In Theiner, Annales ecclesiastici iii. 482.

[254] The means to assure Her Majesty of peace. Egerton Papers 79.

[255] 'Jus successionis judicio ordinum Angliae subjecturam.' Camden,
i. 360. Compare Strype, Annals iii. i. 131.

[256] Association for the assecuration of the Queen, subscribed by the
members of Lincoln's Inn (Egerton Papers 208). We may assume that this
was the general idea.

[257] In a pamphlet of the time it is stated that she had subscribed
and sworn to the Association.

[258] Tytler (History of Scotland viii. App) maintains that the
passage was inserted by Mary's enemies, and brings forward some
reasons for this view which are worth considering. But Mignet (ii.
348) has already remarked how many other improbable suppositions this
necessitates. And what would have been the use of it, as the letter
even without this addition would have sufficed to condemn her.

[259] 'Objections against bringing Maria Queen of Scots to trial, with
answers thereunto.' In Strype, Annals iii. 2. 397.

[260] Evidence against the Queen of Scots. Hardwicke Papers i. 245.
'Invasion and destruction of Her Majesty are so linked together, that
they cannot be single. For if the invader should prevail, no doubt
they would not suffer Her Majesty to continue neither government nor
her life: and in case of rebellion the same reason holdeth.'

[261] The French ambassador began, according to Camden 480, with the
maxim 'regum interesse ne princeps libera atque absoluta morte
afficiatur.' What Camden quotes from a letter of James makes a certain
impression; the words are still more characteristic in the original:
'quho beingh supreme et immediate lieutenants of godd in heaven,
cannot thairefoire be judget by thaire aequallis in earth, quat
monstruous thing is it that souveraigne princes thaimeselfis shoulde
be the exemple giveris of thaire own sacred diademes prophaining.' 27
Jan. 1586-7. In Nicolas, Life of Davison 70.

[262] Reasons gathered by certain appointed in Parliament. In Strype
iii. 1, 534.

[263] According to the protocol of an interview with the ambassador
(in Murdin, 579) there can be no doubt of the reality of the plot. The
ambassador does not deny that he had been spoken to about it, he only
excuses himself for not having had the Queen informed of it, but
asserts that he had rejected it with abhorrence.

[264] To James I, Letters of Elizabeth and James 42.

[265] Arraignment of Mr. Davison in the Star Chamber, State Trials
1230. In Nicolas, Life of William Davison, are printed the statements
and memoranda of Davison as to his share in this matter. They are not
without reserve; but, in what they contain, they bear the stamp of



At this moment the war with the Spaniards--the resistance which the
English auxiliaries offered to them in the Netherlands, as well as the
attack now being made on their coasts--occupied men's minds all the
more, as the success of both the one and the other was very doubtful,
and a most dangerous counter-stroke was to be expected. The lion they
wished to bind had only become exasperated. The naval war in
particular provoked the extreme of peril.

Hostilities had been going on a long while, arising at first from the
privateering which filled the whole of the Western Ocean. The English
traders held it to be their right to avenge every injustice done them
on their neighbours' coasts--for man has, they said, a natural desire
of procuring himself satisfaction--and so turned themselves into
freebooters. Through the counter operations of the Spaniards this
private naval war became more and more extensive, and then also
gradually developed more glorious impulses, as we see in Francis
Drake, who at first only took part in the mere privateering of injured
traders, and afterwards rose to the idea of a maritime rivalry between
the nations. It was an important moment in the history of the world
when Drake on the isthmus of Panama first caught sight of the Pacific,
and prayed God for His grace that he might sail over this sea some day
in an English ship--a grace since granted not merely to himself but
also in the richest measure to his nation. Many companies were formed
to resume the voyages of discovery already once begun and then again
discontinued. And as the Spaniards based their exclusive right to the
possession of the other hemisphere on the Pope's decision, Protestant
ideas, which mocked at this supremacy of the Romish See over the
world, now contributed also to impel men to occupy lands in these
regions. This was always effected in the main by voluntary efforts of
wealthy mercantile houses, or enterprising members of the court and
state, to whom the Queen gave patents of authorisation. In this way
Walter Ralegh, in his political and religious opposition to the
Spaniards, founded an English colony on the transatlantic continent,
in Wingandacoa: the Queen was so much pleased at it that she gave the
district a name which was to preserve the remembrance of the quality
she was perhaps proudest of: she called it Virginia.[266]

But at last she formally undertook the naval war; it was at the same
time a motive for the league with the Hollanders, who could do
excellent service in it: by attacking the West Indies she hoped to
destroy the basis of the Spanish greatness.

Francis Drake was commissioned to open the war. When, in October 1585,
he reached the Islas de Bayona on the Gallician coast, he informed the
governor, Don Pedro Bermudez, that he came in his Queen's name to put
an end to the grievances which the English had had to suffer from the
Spaniards. Don Pedro answered, he knew nothing of any such grievances:
but, if Drake wished to begin war, he was ready to meet him.

Francis Drake then directed his course at once to the West Indies. He
surprised St. Domingo and Carthagena, occupied both one and the other
for a short time, and levied heavy contributions on them. Then he
brought back to England the colonists from Virginia, who were not yet
able to hold their own against the natives. The next year he inflicted
still more damage on the Spaniards. He made his way into the harbour
of Cadiz, which was full of vessels that had either come from both the
Indies or were proceeding thither: he sank or burnt them all. His
privateers covered the sea.

Often already had the Spaniards planned an invasion of England. The
most pressing motive of all lay in these maritime enterprises. The
Spaniards remarked that the stability and power of their monarchy did
not rest so much on the strong places they possessed in all parts of
the world as on the moveable instruments of dominion by which the
connexion with them was kept up; the interruption of the
communication, caused by Francis Drake and his privateers, between
just the most important points on the Spanish and the Netherlandish
coasts, seemed to them unendurable: they desired to rid themselves of
it at any price. And to this was now added the general cry of
vengeance for the execution of the Queen of Scots, which was heard
from the pulpit in the presence of the King himself. But this was not
the only result of that event. The life of Queen Mary and her claim to
the succession had always stood in the way of Spanish ambition: now
Philip II could think of taking possession of the English throne
himself. He concluded a treaty with Pope Sixtus V, under which he was
to hold the crown of England as a fief of the Holy See, which would
thus, and by the re-establishment of the Church's authority, have also
attained to the revival of its old feudal supremacy over England.[267]

Once more the Spanish monarchy and the Papacy were closely united in
their spiritual and political claims. Sixtus V excommunicated the
Queen afresh, declared her deposed, and not merely released her
subjects from their oath of allegiance, but called on every man to aid
the King of Spain and his general the Duke of Parma against her.

Negociations for peace however were still being carried on in 1587
between Spanish and English plenipotentiaries. It was mainly the
merchants of London and Antwerp that urged it; and as the Spaniards at
that time had manifestly the best of the struggle, were masters of the
lower Rhine and the Meuse, had invaded Friesland, had besieged and at
last taken Sluys in despite of all resistance, we can understand how
the English plenipotentiaries were moved to unexpected concessions.
They would have consented to the restoration of the Spanish supremacy
over the northern Netherlands, if Philip would have granted the
inhabitants freedom of conscience. Alexander of Parma brought forward
a proposal, to make, it is true, their return to Catholicism
obligatory, but with the assurance that no Inquisition should be set
over them, nor any one punished for his deviation from the faith. Even
if the negociation was not meant to be completely in earnest, it is
worth remarking on what rock it was wrecked. Philip II would neither
grant such an assurance, which in its essence involved freedom of
conscience, nor grant this itself completely in a better form. His
strength lay precisely in his maintaining the Catholic system with
unrelenting energy: by this he secured the attachment of the priests
and the zealous laity. And how could he, at a moment when he was so
closely united with the Pope, and could reckon on the millions heaped
up in the castle of St. Angelo for his enterprise, so completely
deviate from the strictness of exclusive belief. He thought he was
within his right when he refused any religious concession, seeing that
every other sovereign issued laws prescribing the religion of his own

If the war was to be continued, Alexander of Parma would have wished
that all his efforts should be first directed against Vliessingen,
where there was an English garrison; from the harbour there England
itself could be attacked far more easily and safely. But it was
replied in Spain that this enterprise was likewise very extensive and
costly, while it would bring about no decisive result. And yet
Alexander himself too held an invasion of England to be absolutely
necessary; his reports largely contributed to strengthen the King in
this idea; Philip decided to proceed without further delay to the
enterprise that was needful at the moment and opened world-wide
prospects for the future.

He took into consideration that the monarchy at this moment had
nothing to fear from the Ottomans who were fully occupied with a
Persian war, and above all that France was prevented from interfering
by the civil strife that had broken out. This has been designated as
the chief aim of Philip's alliance with the Guises, and it certainly
may have formed one reason for it. Left alone, with only herself to
rely on (so the Spaniards further judged), the Queen of England would
no longer be an object of fear: she had no more than forty ships; once
in an engagement off the Azores, in the Portuguese war, the English
had been seen to give way for the first time: if it came to a
sea-fight, the vastly superior Spanish Armada would without doubt
prove victorious. But for a war on land also she was not prepared, she
had no more than six thousand real soldiers in the country, with whom
she could neither meet nor resist the veteran troops of Spain in the
open field. They had only to march straight on London; seldom was a
great city, which had remained long free from attack, able to hold out
against a sudden assault: the Queen would either be forced to make a
peace honourable to Spain, or would by a long resistance give the King
an opportunity of forming out of the Spanish nobility, which would
otherwise degenerate in indolence at home, a young troop of brave
warriors. He would have the Catholics for him and with their help gain
the upper hand, he would make himself master of the strong places,
above all of the harbours; all the nations of the world could not take
them from him again; he would become lord of the ocean, and thus lord
and master of the continent.[269]

Philip II would have preferred to begin the work as early as the
autumn of 1587. He hoped at that time that Scotland, where the
Catholic lords and the people showed a lively sympathy with Queen
Mary's fate, would be thrown open to him by her son, who was supposed
to wish to avenge her death. But to others this seemed not so certain;
in especial the experienced Admiral Santa Cruz called the King's
attention to the perils the fleet might incur in those seas: they
would have to contend with contrary winds, and the disadvantage of
short days and thick mists. Santa Cruz did not wish to endanger his
fame, the only thing he had earned during a long life, by an ill-timed
or very venturous undertaking. He held an invasion of England to be
more difficult than most other enterprises, and demanded such
preparations as would make the victory certain. While they were being
made he died, after having lost his sovereign's favour. His successor,
the duke of Medina Sidonia, whom the King chose because he had
distinguished himself at the last defence of Cadiz, did not make such
very extensive demands; but the fleet, which was fitted out under him
and by him, was nevertheless, though not in number of ships (about
130), yet in tonnage, size, and number of men on board (about 22,000)
the most important that had ever been sent to sea by any European
power. All the provinces of the Pyrenean peninsula had emulously
contributed to it: the fleet was divided into a corresponding number
of squadrons; the first was the Portuguese, then followed the
squadrons of Castille, Andalusia, Biscay, Guipuzcoa, and then the
Italian--for ships and men had come also in good number from Italy.
The troops were divided like the squadrons; there was a 'Mass in time
of war' for each province.

With not less zeal did men arm in the Netherlands; the drum beat
everywhere in the Flemish and Walloon provinces, all roads were
covered with military trains. In the Netherlands too there were a
great number of Italians, Corsicans and inhabitants of the States of
the Church and Neapolitans, in splendid accoutrements; there were the
brothers of the grand duke of Tuscany and of the duke of Savoy: King
Philip had even allowed the son of a Moorish prince to take part in
the Catholic expedition. Infantry and cavalry also had come from
Catholic Germany.

It was a joint enterprise of the Spanish monarchy and a great part of
the Catholic world, headed by the Pope and the King, to overthrow the
Queen who was regarded as the Head, and the State which was regarded
as the main support, of Protestantism and the anti-Spanish policy.

We do not find any detailed and at the same time authentic information
as to the plan of the invasion; a Spanish soldier and diplomatist
however, much employed in the military and political affairs of the
time, and favoured with the confidence of the highest persons, J.
Baptista de Tassis, gives us an outline, which we may accept as quite
trustworthy. We know that in Antwerp, Nieuport, and Dunkirk, with the
advice of Hanseatic and Genoese master-builders, transports had been
got ready for the whole force: from Nieuport (to which place also were
brought the vessels built at Antwerp) 14,000 men were to be conveyed
across to England, and from Dunkirk 12,000. But where were they to
effect a junction with each other and with the Spaniards? Tassis
assures us that they had selected for this purpose the roadstead of
Margate on the coast of Kent, a safe and convenient harbour;[270]
there immediately after the Spanish armada had arrived, or as nearly
as possible at the same time with it, the fleet of transports from the
Netherlands also was to make the shore, and Alexander of Parma was
then to assume the command in chief of the whole force and march
straight on London.

All that Philip II had ever thought or planned was thus concentrated
as it were into one focus. The moment was come when he could subdue
England, become master of the European world, and re-establish the
Catholic faith in the form in which he professed it. When the fleet
(on the 22nd July 1588) sailed out of Corunna, and the long-meditated,
long-prepared, enterprise was now set in action, the King and the
nation displayed deep religious emotion: in all the churches of the
land prayers were offered up for forty days; in Madrid solemn
processions were arranged to our Lady of Atocha, the patroness of
Spain: Philip II spent two hours each day in prayer. He was in the
state of silent excitement which an immense design and the expectation
of a great turn in a man's fortune call forth. Scarcely any one dared
to address a word to him.

It was in these very days that people in England first really became
conscious of the danger that threatened them. A division of the fleet
under Henry Seymour was watching, with Dutch assistance, the two
harbours held by the prince of Parma: the other and larger division,
just returned from Spain and on the point of being broken up, made
ready at Plymouth, under the admiral, Howard of Effingham, to receive
the enemy. Meanwhile the land forces assembled, on Leicester's
advice,[271] in the neighbourhood of London. The old feudal
organisation of the national force was once more called into full
activity to face this danger. Men saw the gentry take the field at the
head of their tenants and copyholders, and rejoiced at their holding
together so well. It was without doubt an advantage, that the
threatened attack could no longer be connected with a right of
succession recognised in the country; it appeared in its true
character, as a great invasion by a foreign power for the subjugation
of England. Even the Catholic lords came forward, among them Viscount
Montague (who had once, alone in the Upper House, opposed the
Supremacy, and had also since not reconciled himself to the religious
position of the Queen), with his sons and grandsons, and even his
heir-presumptive who, though still a child, bestrode a war-horse; Lord
Montague said, he would defend his Queen with his life, whoever might
attack her, king or pope. No doubt that these armings left much to be
desired, but they were animated by national and religious enthusiasm.
Some days later the Queen visited the camp at Tilbury: with slight
escort she rode from battalion to battalion. A tyrant, she said, might
be afraid of his subjects: she had always sought her chief strength in
their good will: with them she would live and die. She was everywhere
received with shouts of joy: psalms were sung, and prayers offered up
in which the Queen joined.

For, whatever may be men's belief, in great wars and dangers they
naturally turn their eyes to the Eternal Power which guides our
destiny, and on which all equally feel themselves dependent. The two
nations and their two chiefs alike called on God to decide in their
religious and political conflict. The fortune of mankind hung in the

On the 31st July, a Sunday, the Armada, covering a wide extent of sea,
came in sight of the English coast off the heights of Plymouth. On
board the fleet itself it was thought most expedient to attempt a
landing on the spot, since there were no preparations made there for
defence and the English squadron was not fully manned. But this was
not in the plan, and would, especially if it failed, have incurred a
heavy responsibility. Medina Sidonia was only empowered and prepared
to accept battle by sea if the English should offer it. His galleys,
improved after the Venetian pattern, and especially his galleons
(immense sailing ships which carried cannon on their different decks
on all sides), were without doubt superior to the vessels of the
English. When the latter, some sixty sail strong, came out of the
harbour, he hung out the great standard from the fore-mast of his ship
as a signal for all to prepare for battle. But the English admiral did
not intend to let matters come to a regular naval fight. He was
perfectly aware of the superiority of the Spanish equipment and had
even forbidden boarding the enemies' vessels. His plan was to gain the
weather-gauge of the Armada, and inflict damage on them in their
course, and throw them into disorder. The English followed the track
of the Armada in four squadrons, and left no advantage unimproved that
might offer. They were thoroughly acquainted with this sea, and
steered their handy vessels with perfect certainty and mastery: the
Spaniards remarked with dissatisfaction that they could at pleasure
advance, attack, and again break off the engagement. Medina Sidonia
was anxious above all things to keep his Armada together: after a
council of war he let a great ship which lagged behind fall into the
hands of the enemy, as her loss would be less damaging than the
breaking up of the line which would result from the attempt to save
her: he sent round his sargentes mayores to the captains to tell them
not to quit the line on pain of death.[272]

On the whole the Spaniards were not discontented with their voyage,
when after a week of continuous skirmishing they, without having
sustained any very considerable losses, had traversed the English
channel, and on Saturday the 6th August passed Boulogne and arrived
off Calais: it was the first point at which they had wished to touch.
But now to cross to the neighbouring coast of England, as seems to
have been the original plan, became exceedingly difficult, because the
English fleet guarded it, and the Spanish galleons were less able in
the straits than elsewhere to compete with those swift vessels, It was
also being strengthened every moment; the young nobility emulously
hastened on board. But neither could the admiral proceed to Dunkirk,
as the harbour was then far too narrow to receive his large ships, and
his pilots were afraid of being carried to the northward by the
currents. He anchored in the roadstead east of Calais in the direction
of Dunkirk.

He had already previously informed the Duke of Parma that he was on
the way, and had then, immediately before his arrival at Calais,
despatched a pilot to Dunkirk, to request that he would join him with
a number of small vessels, that they might better encounter the
English, and bring with him cannon balls of a certain calibre, of
which he began to fall short.[273] It is clear that he still wished to
undertake from thence, if supported according to his views, the great
attempt at a disembarkation which he was commissioned to effect. But
Alexander of Parma, whom the first message had found some days before
at Bruges, had not yet arrived at Dunkirk when the second came: the
preparations for embarking were only then just begun for the first
time; and they could scarcely venture actually to embark, as English
and Dutch ships of war were still ever cruising before the harbour.

Alexander Farnese's failure to effect a junction with Medina Sidonia
has been always traced to personal motives; it was even said in
England, at a later time, that Queen Elizabeth had offered him the
hand of Lady Arabella Stuart, which might open the way to the English
throne for himself. It is true that his enterprises in the Netherlands
appeared to lie closest to his heart; even Tassis, who was about his
person, remarks that he carried on his preparations more out of
obedience than with any zeal of his own. But the chief cause why the
two operations were not better combined lay in their very nature. The
geographical relation of the Spanish monarchy to England would have
required two separate invasions, the one from the Pyrenean peninsula,
the other from the Netherlands. The wish to combine the forces of such
distant countries in a single invasion made the enterprise, especially
when the means of communication of the period were so inadequate,
overpoweringly helpless. Wind and weather had been little considered
in the scheme. In both those countries immense materials of war had
been collected with extreme effort; they had been brought within a few
miles of sea of each other, but combine they could not. Now for the
first time came to light the full superiority which the English gained
from their corsair-like and bold method of war, and their alliance
with the Dutch. It was seen that a sudden attack would suffice to
break the whole combination in pieces: Queen Elizabeth was said to
have herself devised the plan and its arrangement.

The Armada was still lying at anchor in line of battle, waiting for
news from Alexander Farnese, when in the night between Sunday and
Monday (7th to 8th August) the English sent some fire-ships, about
eight in number, against it. They were his worst vessels which Lord
Howard gave up for this purpose, but their mere appearance produced a
decisive result. Medina Sidonia could not refuse his ships permission
to slip their anchors, that each might avoid the threatening danger:
only he commanded them to afterwards resume their previous order. But
things wore a completely different appearance the following morning.
The tide had carried the vessels towards the land, a direction they
did not want to take; now for the first time the attacks of the
English proved destructive to them: part of the ships had become
disabled: it was completely impossible to obey the admiral's orders
that they should return to their old position. Instead of this,
unfavourable winds drove the Armada against its will along the coast;
in a short time the English too gave up the pursuit of the enemy, who
without being quite beaten was yet in flight, and abandoned him to his
fate. The wind drove the Spaniards on the shoals of Zealand: once they
were in such shallow water that they were afraid of running aground:
some of their galleons in fact fell into the hands of the Dutch.
Fortunately for them the wind veered round first to the W.S.W., then
to the S.S.W., but they could not even then regain the Channel, nor
would they have wished it; only by the longest circuit, round the
Orkney Islands, could they return to Spain.

A storm fraught with ruin had lowered over England: it was scattered
before it discharged its thunder. So completely true is the expression
on a Dutch commemorative medal, 'the breath of God has scattered them'
(_flavit et dissipati sunt_).

Philip II saw the Armada, which he had hoped would give the dominion
of the world into his hand, return home again in fragments without
having, we do not say accomplished but even, attempted anything worth
the trouble. He did not therefore renounce his design. He spoke of his
wish to fit out lighter vessels, and entrust the whole conduct of the
expedition to the Prince of Parma. The Cortes of Castille requested
him not to put up with the disgrace incurred, but to chastise this
woman: they offered him their whole property and all the children of
the land for this purpose. But the very possibility of great
enterprises belongs only to one moment: in the next it is already gone

First the Spanish forces were drawn into the complications existing in
France. The great Catholic agitation, which had been long fermenting
there, at last gained the upper hand, and was quite ready to prepare
the way for Philip II's supremacy. But Queen Elizabeth thought that
the day on which France fell into his hands would be the eve of her
own ruin. She too therefore devoted her best resources to France, to
uphold Philip II's opponent. When Henry IV, driven back to the verge
of the coast of Normandy, was all but lost, he was by her help put in
a position to maintain his cause. At the sieges of the great towns, in
which he was still often threatened with failure, the English troops
in several instances did excellent service. The Queen did not swerve
from her policy even when Henry IV saw himself compelled, and found it
compatible with his conscience, to go over to Catholicism. For he was
clearly thus all the better enabled to re-establish a France that
should be politically independent, in opposition to Spain and at war
with it; and it was exactly on this opposition that the political
freedom and independence of England herself rested. Yet as his change
of religion had been disagreeable to the Queen, so was also the peace
which he proceeded to make; she exerted her influence against its
conclusion. But as by it the Spaniards gave up the places they
occupied on the French coasts, which in their possession had menaced
England as well, she could not in reality be fundamentally opposed to

These great conflicts on land were seconded by repeated attacks of the
English and Dutch naval power, by which it sometimes seemed as if the
Spanish monarchy would be shaken to its foundations. Elizabeth made an
attempt to restore Don Antonio to the throne from which Philip II had
driven him. But the minds of the Portuguese themselves were very far
from being as yet sufficiently prepared for a revolt: the enterprise
failed, in an attack on the suburbs of Lisbon. The war interested the
English most deeply. Parliament agreed to larger and larger grants:
from two-fifteenths and a single subsidy (about £30,000), which was
its usual vote, it rose in 1593 to three subsidies and six-fifteenths;
the towns gladly armed ships at their own expense, and sailors enough
were found to man them: the national energy turned towards the sea.
And they obtained some successes. In the harbour of Corunna they
destroyed the collected stores, which were probably to have served
for renewing the expedition. Once they took the harbour of Cadiz and
occupied the city itself: more than once they alarmed and endangered
the West Indies. But with all this nothing decisive was effected; the
Spanish monarchy maintained an undoubted ascendancy in Europe, and the
exclusive possession of the other hemisphere: it was the Great Power
of the age. But over against it England also now took up a strong and
formidable position.

Events in France exercised a strong counter-action on the Netherlands;
under their influence the reconquest of the United Provinces became
impossible for Spain. Elizabeth also contributed largely to the
victories by which Prince Maurice of Orange secured a strong frontier.
But these could not prevent a powerful Catholic government arising on
the other side in the Belgian provinces: and though they were at first
kept apart from Spain, yet it did not escape the Queen that this would
not last for ever: she seems to have had a foreboding that these
countries would become the battleground of a later age. However this
might be, the antagonism of principle between the Catholic Netherlands
(which were still ruled by the Austro-Spanish House) and the
Protestant Netherlands (in which the Republic maintained itself), and
the continued war between them, ensured the security of England, for
the sake of which the Queen had broken with Spain. Burleigh's objects
were in the main attained.


[266] Oldys, Life of Sir W. Raleigh 38.

[267] Spondanus, Continuatio Baronii ii. 847. The word 'dicitur,'
which Spondan uses, is omitted in Timpesti, Vita di Sisto V, ii. 51.

[268] A letter of Philip's to the King of Denmark, in the Venetian
Dispacci of this year, which in general would be of great value for a
detailed account of the event.

[269] The reports are in Herrera, Historia del mundo iii. 60 seq. In
1860 Mr. Motley (History of the United Netherlands ii. ch. xviii.)
communicated extracts from the letters exchanged at that time between
Alex. Farnese and Philip II, which reveal the wishes of each
successive moment.

[270] J. B. de Tassis Commentarii: 'eo consilio, ut cum adventasset
classis et constitisset in Morgat, qui est prope Dormiram [I read
Douvram, as the copy from which the printed text is taken is very
defective] districtus maris quietus portumque efficit satis securum,
trajiceret Parmensis cum navigiis.' Papendrecht, Analecta Belgica II.
ii. 491. In Motley i. ch. viii we now see that Al. Farnese in his very
first plan pointed out the coast between Dover and Margate as the most
proper place for the landing. A junction of the whole transport fleet
with the Armada before Calais has something too adventurous in it to
have been contemplated from the beginning.

[271] The Earl of Leicester to the Queen. Hardwicke State Papers i.
580. The dates given above are New Style.

[272] Diario de los sucesos de armada Ilamada la invencible, in Salva,
Collection de documentos ineditos xvi. 449: essentially the same
report as that used by Barrow, Life of Sir Francis Drake.

[273] Diario 458: 'mandase salir 40 filipotes luego para juntarse con
esta armada para poder con ellos trabarse con los enemigos, que a
causa de ser nuestros baseles muy pesados en comparacion de la
ligereza de los enemigos no era posible en ninguna maniera venir a las
manos con ellos.'



Every great historic existence has a definite purport; the life of
Queen Elizabeth lies in the transactions already recorded, and their
results in the change of policy which she brought about.

The issue of the war between the hierarchy, which had once swayed
every act and thought of the West, and those who had fallen off from
it was not yet decided as long as England with its power vacillated
between the two systems. Then this Queen came forward, attaching
herself to the new view as by a predetermined destiny; she carried it
out in a form answering to the historical institutions of her kingdom,
and with an energy by which she at the same time upheld that kingdom's
power. It was against her therefore that the hierarchy, when it could
renew the contest, mainly directed its most energetic efforts: an
author of the period makes those leagued with the Pope against the
Queen say to each other, 'come let us kill her, and the inheritance
shall be ours.' The chief among these was the mighty King who had
himself once ruled England. She maintained a war with this league, in
which it was at each moment a question of existence for her. She was
assailed with all the weapons of war and of treason; but she adopted
corresponding means of defence against every assault: she not only
maintained herself, but created in the neighbouring countries a
powerful representation of the principle which she had taken up,
without pressing the adoption of a form for it exactly like her own.
Without her help the church-reformation in Scotland, and at that time
in France, would have been probably suppressed, and in the Netherlands
it would have never taken actual shape. The Queen is the champion of
West-European Protestantism and of all the political growth that was
attached to the new faith. She herself expresses her astonishment at
her success in this: 'more at the fact,' she says once, 'that I am
still alive, than that my enemies would not have me to live.' That
Philip effected so little against her, she believes to be due above
all to God's justice; for the King attacked her in an unkingly manner
while negociations were still going on: she sees in this a proof that
an ill beginning leads to a disgraceful end, despite all power and
endeavour. 'What was to ruin me, has turned to my glory.'[274]

It is surely the greatest happiness that can be granted to any human
being, while defending his own interest, to be maintaining the
interests of all. Then his personal existence expands into a central
part of the world's history.

That personal and universal interest was likewise a thoroughly English
one. Commerce grew amidst arms: the maintenance of internal peace
filled the country with wellbeing and riches; palaces were seen rising
where before only huts had stood: as the philosophic Bacon remarks,
England now won her natural position in the world.

Elizabeth was one of those sovereigns who have beforehand formed an
idea for themselves as to the duties of government. Four qualities,
she says once, seemed to her necessary for it: justice and
self-control, highmindedness and judgment; she might pride herself on
the two first: never in a case of equal rights had she favoured one
person more than another: never had she believed a first report, but
waited for fuller knowledge: the two others she would not claim for
herself, for they were men's virtues. But the world ascribed a high
degree of these very virtues to her. Men descried her subtle judgment
in the choice of her servants, and the directing them to the services
for which they were best fitted. Her high heart was seen in her
despising small advantages, and in her unshaken tranquillity in
danger. While the storm was coming on from Spain, no cloud was seen on
her brow: by her conduct she animated nobles and people, and
inspirited her councillors. Men praised her for two things, for
zealous participation in deliberation and for care in seeing that
what was decided on was carried into effect.[275]

But we may not look for an ideal female ruler in Queen Elizabeth. No
one can deny the severities which were practised under her government
even with her knowledge. The systematic hypocrisy imputed to her may
seem an invention of her enemies or of historians not thoroughly
informed; she herself declares truthfulness a quality indispensable
for a prince; but in her administration, as well as in that of most
other rulers, reasonings appear which rather conceal the truth than
express it; in each of her words, and in every step she took, we
perceive a calculation of what is for her advantage; she displays
striking foresight and even a natural subtlety. Elizabeth was very
accessible to flattery, and as easily attracted by an agreeable
exterior as repelled by slight accidental defects; she could break out
at a word that reminded her of the transitory nature of human affairs
or of her own frailty: vanity accompanied her from youth to those
advancing years, which she did not wish to remark or to think were
remarked. She liked to ascribe successes to herself, disasters to her
ministers: they had to take on themselves the hatred felt against
disagreeable or doubtful regulations, and if they did not do this
quite in unison with her mood, they had to fear her blame and
displeasure. She was not free from the fickleness of her family: but
on the other hand she displayed also the amiable attention of a female
ruler: as when once during a speech she was making in a learned
language to the learned men of Oxford, on seeing the Lord Treasurer
standing there with his lame foot, she suddenly broke off, ordered a
chair to be brought him, and then continued; indeed it was said she at
the same time wished to let it be remarked that no accident could
discompose her. As Harrington, who knew her from personal
acquaintance, expresses himself: her mind might be sometimes compared
to a summer morning sky, beneficent and refreshing: then she won the
hearts of all by her sweet and modest speech. But she was repellent in
the same degree in her excited state, when she paced to and fro in her
chamber, anger in every look, rejection in every word: men hastened
out of her way. Among other correspondence we learn to know her from
that with King James of Scotland,--one side of her political
relations, to which we shall return:--how does every sentence express
a mental and moral superiority as well as a political one! not a
superfluous word is there: all is pith and substance. From care for
him and intelligent advice she passes to harsh blame and most earnest
warning: she is kind and sharp, friendly and rough, but almost ever
more repellent and unsparing than mild. Never had any sovereign a
higher idea of his dignity, of the independence belonging to him by
the laws of God and man, of the duty of obedience binding on all
subjects. She prides herself on no external consideration influencing
her resolutions, threats or fear least of all; when once she longs for
peace, she insists on its not being from apprehension of the enemy,
but only from abhorrence of bloodshed. The action of life does not
develop merely the intellectual powers: between success and failure,
in conflict and effort and victory, the character moulds itself and
acquires its ruling tone. Her immense good fortune fills her with
unceasing self-confidence, which is at the same time sustained by
trust in the unfailing protection of Providence.[276] That she,
excommunicated by the Pope, maintains herself against the attacks of
half the world, gives her whole action and nature a redoubled impress
of personal energy. She does not like to mention her father or her
mother: of a successor she will not hear a word. The feeling of
absolute possession is predominant in her appearance. It is noticeable
how on festivals she moves in procession through her palace: in front
are nobles and knights in the costume of their order, with bared
heads; next the bearers of the insignia of royalty, the sceptre, the
sword, and the great seal: then the Queen herself in a dress covered
with pearls and precious stones; behind her ladies, brilliant in
their beauty and rich attire: to one or two, who are presented to her,
she reaches out her hand to kiss as she goes by in token of favour,
till she arrives at her chapel, where the assembled crowd hails her
with a 'God save the Queen,' she returning them thanks with gracious
words. Elizabeth received the whole reverence, once more unbounded,
which men paid to the supreme power. The meats of which she was to eat
were set on the table with bended knee, even when she was not present.
It was on their knees that men were presented to her.[277]

Between a sovereign like this and her Parliament points of contention
could not be wanting. The Commons claimed the privilege of absolute
freedom of speech, and repeatedly attacked the abuses which still
remained in the episcopal Church, and the injurious monopolies which
profited certain favoured persons. The Queen had members of the Lower
House imprisoned for speeches disagreeable to her: she warned them not
to interfere in the affairs of the Church, and even not in those of
the State, and declared it to be her prerogative to summon and
dissolve Parliament at her pleasure, to accept or reject its measures.
But with all this she still did not on the other hand conceal that, in
reference to the most important affairs of State, she had to pay
regard to the tone of the two Houses: however much she might be loved,
yet men's minds are easily moved and not thoroughly trustworthy. In
its forms Parliament studied to express the devotion which the Queen
claimed as Queen and Lady, while she tried to make amends for acts by
which the assembly had been previously offended: for statements of
grievances, as in the instance of the monopolies, she even thanked
them, as for a salutary reminder. A French ambassador remarks in 1596
that the Parliament in ages gone by had great authority, but now it
did all the Queen wished. Another who arrived in 1597 is not merely
astonished at its imposing exterior, but also at the extent of its
rights. Here, says he, the great affairs are treated of, war and
peace, laws, the needs of the community and the mode of satisfying
them.[278] The one statement is perhaps as true as the other. The
solution of the contradiction depends on this, that Queen and
Parliament were united as to the general relations of the country and
the world. The Queen, as is self-evident, could not have ruled without
the Parliament: from the beginning of her government she supported
herself by it in the weightiest affairs; but a simple consideration
teaches us how much on the other hand Parliament owed precisely to
that introduction into these great questions, which the Queen thought
advisable. They avoided, and were still able to avoid, any enquiry
into their respective rights and the boundaries of those rights. And
besides Elizabeth guarded herself from troubling her Parliament too
much by demands for money. She has been often blamed for her economy
which sometimes became inconvenient in public affairs: as in most
cases, nature and policy here also coincided. That she was sparing of
money, and once was actually in a condition to decline a grant offered
her, gave the administration an independence of any momentary moods of
Parliament, which suited her whole nature, and without this might have
been easily lost.

William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, her treasurer, as economical as herself,
was likewise her first minister. He had assisted her with striking
counsel even before her accession, and since lived and moved in her
administration of the state. He was one of those ministers who find
their calling in a boundless industry,--he needed little sleep, long
banquets were not to his taste:[279] never was he seen inactive even
for half an hour; he kept notes of everything great and small;
business accompanied him even to his chamber, and to his retirement at
S. Theobald's. His anxious thoughts were visible in his face, as he
rode on his mule along the roads of the park; he only lost sight of
them for a moment when he was sitting at table among his growing
children: then his heavy eyebrows cleared up, light merriment even
came from his lips. Every other charm of life lay far from him: for
poetry and poets he had no taste, as Spenser was once made to feel:
in literature he patronised only what was directly useful; he
recommended no one except for his being serviceable. Magnanimous he
was not; he was content with being able to say to himself, that he
drew no advantage from any one's ill fortune. He was designated even
then as the man who set the English state in motion: this he always
denied, and sought his praise in the fact that he carried out the
views of the Queen, as she adopted them after hearing the plans
proposed or even after respectful remonstrances. He had to bear many a
slander: most of the reproaches made against him he brought himself to
endure quietly: but if, he said, it could be proved against him that
he neglected the Queen's interest, the war against Spain, and the
support of the Netherlands, then he was willing to become liable to
eternal blame. He was especially effective also through a moral
quality--he never lost heart. It was remarked that he worked with the
greatest alacrity when others were most doubtful. For he too had an
absolute confidence in the cause which he defended. When the enemies'
fortune stood highest, he was heard to say with great tranquillity,
'they can do no more than God will allow.'[280]

By the side of this pilot of the state, Robert Dudley, who was
promoted to be Earl of Leicester, drew all eyes on himself as the
leading man at court. Burleigh was looked on as Somerset's creation,
Dudley was the youngest son of the Earl of Northumberland: for it was
of advantage to Elizabeth, especially at first, to unite around her
important representatives of the two parties which had composed her
brother's government. One motive for her attachment to Leicester is
said to have been the fact that he was born on the same day, and at
the very same hour with herself: who at that time would not have
believed in the ruling influence of the stars? But, besides this, the
Earl dazzled by a fine person, attractive manners, and an almost
irresistible charm of disposition. The confidential intimacy which
Elizabeth allowed him caused scandalous rumours, probably without
ground; for if they had been true, Leicester, who had his father's
ambition, would have played a very different part. Elizabeth heard of
them; she once actually brought a foreign ambassador into her
apartments, to convince him how utterly impossible it would be for her
to see any one whatever without witnesses; she censured a foreign
writer for letting himself be deceived by a groundless rumour, but she
would not on this account dismiss the favourite from court. She liked
to have him about her, and to receive his homage which had a tinge of
chivalry in it: his devotion satisfied a need of her heart. He could
not however take any power to himself which would infringe on her own
supreme authority; once, when such a case occurred, she reminded him
that he was not in exclusive possession of her favour: she could
bestow it on whom she would, and again recall it; at court, she
exclaimed, there should be no Master, but only a Mistress.[281]
Neither did Leicester display great mental gifts: in the campaigns of
the Netherlands he did not at all answer even the moderate
expectations that had been formed of him. If the Queen nevertheless
put him at the head of her troops when the Spanish danger threatened,
this was because he possessed her absolute personal confidence.

With Leicester the Sidneys were most closely allied. Henry Sidney, his
sister's husband, introduced civilisation and monarchic institutions
into Wales, and was selected to extend them in Ireland. In his son
Philip the English ideal of noble culture seemed to have realised
itself; he combined a very remarkable literary power peculiar to
himself, and talents suited for the society of men of the world (which
well fitted him for the duties of an ambassador), with disinterested
kindness to others, and a chivalrous courage in war, which gained him
universal admiration both at home and in presence of the enemy.

Leicester's good word is also said to have opened an entrance to court
for young Walter Ralegh and to have promoted his first successes.
Ralegh combined in his own person the aspirations of the age in a most
vivid manner. He was ambitious, fond of show, with high aims, deeply
engaged in the factions of the court; but at the same time he had a
spirit of noble enterprise, was ingenious and thoughtful. In
everything new that was produced in the region of discoveries and
inventions, of literature and art, he played the part of a fellow
worker: he lived in the circle of universal knowledge, its problems
and its progress. In his appearance he had something that announced a
man of superior mind and nature.

Around Cecil were grouped the statesmen who had been promoted by him,
and worked in sympathy with him: for instance Bacon the Keeper of the
Seals, whom the Queen regarded as the oracle of the laws, and who also
amused her by many a witty word; Mildmay, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, who though adhering to the principles now adopted yet
gladly favoured the claims of Parliament, and even the tendencies of
the Puritans; Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State, who had once
suffered exile for his Protestantism and now supported it after his
return with all the resources of the administration; it is said of him
that he heard in London what was whispered in the ear at Rome; he met
the crafty Jesuits with a network of secret counter-action which
extended over the world; there has never been a man who more
vigilantly and unrelentingly hunted down religious and political
conspiracies; to pay his agents, in choosing whom he was not too
particular, he expended his own property. Cecil and Bacon had married
two daughters of that Antony Cooke, who had once taken part in Edward
VI's education: the other sisters, wedded to Hobby and Killigrew, men
who were engaged in the most important embassies, extended the
connexion of these statesmen. Walsingham was allied by marriage with
Mildmay, and with Randolph the active ambassador in Scotland.

Once the Queen brought a man among them, who owed his rise only to her
being pleased with his person and conversation, which likewise brought
her much ill repute:[282] she promoted her vice-chamberlain
Christopher Hatton to be Lord Chancellor of England. The lawyers made
loud and bitter complaints of this disregard of their claims and their
order. Hatton had however been long on good terms with the leading
statesmen: in all the late questions of difficulty as to Mary Stuart's
trial he had held firm to them. His nephew and heir soon after married
a granddaughter of Burleigh.

The Queen's own relations on the mother's side had always some
influence with her. Francis Knolles who had married into this family,
and was appointed by the Queen treasurer of her household, won himself
a good name with his contemporaries and with posterity by his
religious zeal and openness of heart. A still more important figure in
this circle is Thomas Sackville, who is also named with honour among
the founders of English literature; the part of the 'Mirror for
Magistrates' which was due to him witnesses to an original conception
of the dark sides of man's existence, and to a creative imagination.
But the poet likewise did excellent service to his sovereign: he makes
his appearance when an important treaty is to be concluded, or the
people are to be called on to defend the country, or even when any
agitation is feared in the troubles at home. He was selected to inform
the Queen of Scots that the sentence of death had been pronounced on
her. He is the Lord Buckhurst from whom the dukes of Dorset are

The distinguished family to which Anne Boleyn belonged, and which had
such an important influence on her rise, that of the Howards, proved
in its elder branch as little loyal to the daughter as it had once
been to the mother. On the other hand Elizabeth had experienced the
attachment of the younger line, that of Effingham, and had since
repaid it with manifold favours. From this branch came the Admiral,
who commanded the sea-force in the decisive attacks on the Spanish
Armada. We know that he was not himself a great seaman; but he
understood enough of the matter to enable him to avail himself of
those who understood more than he did. The Queen looked on him as the
man marked out by Providence for the defence of herself and of the

General Norris, who gained reputation for the English arms on the
continent by the side of Henry IV, was also related to her though more
distantly: besides this, she wished to repay him for the good
treatment she had formerly received in her distress from his

How predominantly the personal element once more manifests itself in
this administration! As the Queen's own interest is also that of all,
those who belong to her family or have won her favour and done her
essential service, are the chiefs of the State and the leaders in war.
The royal patronage extended this influence over the Church and the
universities. But we find it no less in all other branches. Sir Thomas
Gresham, the Queen's agent in money-matters, was the founder of the
Exchange of London, to which she at his request gave the name of the
Royal Exchange.

In literature also we see the traces of her taste and her influence.
Owing to the tone of good society the classics were studied by every
one. The higher education was directed to them, as indeed the Queen
herself found in them refreshment and food for the mind: many
classical authors were translated, and the forms of the old poets
revived or imitated. The Italians and Spaniards, who had led the way
in similar attempts, further awoke the emulation of the English. In
Edmund Spenser, in whom the spirit of the age shows itself most
vividly, we constantly meet with imitations of the Latin or Italian
poets, which here and there aspire to be paraphrastic translations,
and may be inferior to his originals, even to the modern ones, in
delicacy of drawing, since he purposely selected their most successful
passages: yet how thoroughly different a spirit do his works breathe
in their total effect! What in the Italians is a play of fancy is in
him a deep moral earnestness. The English nation has an inestimable
possession in these works of a moral and religious grandeur, and a
simple view of nature, which happily expressed in single stanzas stamp
themselves on every man's memory. Spenser has assigned to allegory, as
a style, a larger sphere than perhaps belongs to it, and one allegory
is always interweaving itself with another; the heroes whom he takes
from the old romances become to him representatives of the different
virtues, but he possesses such an original power of vivid
representation that even in this form he gains the reader's interest.
But, if we ask what is the main thing which he celebrates, we find
that it is precisely the course of the great war in which his nation
is engaged against the Papacy and the Spaniards. The Faery Queen is
his sovereign, whose figure under the manifold symbols of the
qualities which she possessed, or which were ascribed to her, is
always coming forward afresh in his verse. With wonderful power
Elizabeth united around her all the aspiring minds and energies of the

Not a few of the productions of the time have so strong an infusion of
reverence for the Queen that we cannot help smiling: but it is true
nevertheless that at her court the language formed itself, and all
great aspirations found their central point. Elizabeth's statesmen,
who had to deal with a Parliament that could not be led by mere
authority, studied the rules of eloquence in the models of antiquity,
and made their doctrines their own. On their table Quintilian lay by
the side of the Statutes.

The Queen, who loved the theatre and declared it a national
institution by a proclamation, made it possible for Shakespeare to
develop himself; his roots lie deep in this epoch, he represents its
manners and mode of life: but he spreads far out beyond it. We shall
return to him in a more suitable place than this, in which we are
treating of the Queen's influence.

It would contradict the nature of human affairs were we to expect that
the general point of view, which swayed the State as a whole, could
have induced every one who took part in its administration to move on
to their common aim in one way. Of the great nobles of the court many
rather supported the Puritans, as indeed the father of the Puritan
Cartwright owed his position at Warwick to Leicester's protection;
others inclined to favour the Catholics. The severity which the
bishops thought themselves bound to exercise met with opposition among
the leading statesmen: and to these again the soldiers were opposed.
It was a society full of life, and highly gifted, but for that very
reason in continual ferment and internal conflict.

We have still to grasp clearly the event in which these antagonisms
and the Queen's temperament yet once more led to a great catastrophe.

       *       *       *       *       *

The aged Burleigh, who had provoked the war with Spain, wished also to
end it. From his past experience he concluded that he could not
inflict any decisive blow on the Spanish monarchy, which still
displayed a vast power of resistance; in 1597 it could again offer a
high price for peace. The Spaniards, who had taken Calais from the
French by a sudden attack, offered the Queen the restoration of this
old English possession in exchange for the strong places in the
Netherlands, entrusted to her in pledge.[283] For the Netherlands no
other provision would have been thus made than was proposed in 1587:
but England would have again won as strong a position on the Continent
as it had before, and would have established its rule over the
neighbouring seas: an open commerce would have been re-established,
and Ireland freed from the hostile influence of the Spaniards: the
Queen would have enjoyed peace in her advancing years. Burleigh saw as
it were the conclusion of his life in this: he said that, if God
granted him a good agreement with Spain, his soul would depart with

But for this policy he could not possibly get the approval of the
young, whose ambitious hopes were connected with the continuance of
the war. They measured the power of the country by their own thirst
for action. If the Queen, so they said, would only not do everything
by halves and not follow her secretaries so much, she could,
especially now she had the Dutch as allies, tear the Spanish monarchy
in pieces. How could they fail, with some effort, in occupying the
Isthmus of Panama? And then they would at one blow deprive the
monarchy of all its resources. And above all, the man who then played
the most brilliant part at court, Robert Devereux Earl of Essex, was
of this opinion. He was Leicester's stepson, introduced by him at
court, and after his death his successor as it were in the Queen's
favour. An attractive manly appearance, blooming youth, chivalrous
manners, won him all hearts from the very first. With the Queen he
entered into that rare relation, in which favour on the one side and
homage on the other took the hues of mutual inclination, and even

What Essex's idea of it was he once revealed at a dramatic festivity
which he arranged for the Queen in honour of her accession. There he
made a hermit, an officer of state, and a soldier come forward and
address their exhortations to an esquire who was intended to represent
himself. By the first the knight was desired to give up all feelings
of love, by the second to devote his powers to State affairs, by the
third to apply himself to war. The answer is: the knight cannot give
up his passion for his lady, since she animates all his thoughts with
divine fire, teaches him true policy, and at the same time qualifies
him to lead an army. Essex had taken part in some campaigns of Henry
IV, and afterwards commanded the squadron which was in possession of
the harbour of Cadiz for a moment, but without being able to hold it:
he also failed in another enterprise which was planned to seize the
plate-fleet; but this did not prevent him from evermore designing
fresh and comprehensive plans. His view in this matter he also once
represented dramatically.[284] He brought forward a native American
prince who utters the wish to be freed from the Castilians and their
oppressive rule: an oracle refers him to the Queen whose kingdom lies
between the old and the new world, and who is naturally inclined to
come to the aid of all the oppressed.

The negociations for peace were wrecked mainly through their inherent
difficulties: the Spaniards however had no hesitation in ascribing the
ill result to the influence of the Queen's favourite, who had been won
over by the King of France.[285] But the war could not after this be
waged on the grand scale contemplated, because Henry IV himself now
concluded peace, which freed the hands of the Spaniards to act against
England, and even awoke once more their ideas of an invasion.

Under the double influence of English oppression and the instigation
of both Spain and Rome a revolt broke out in Ireland, in which the
English suffered a defeat on the Blackwater, which is designated as
the greatest mishap they had ever suffered in that island. Ulster,
Connaught, and Leinster were in arms: their chief, Tyrone, who had
learnt war in the English service, came forward as The O'Neil, and was
already recognised by the Pope as sovereign of Ulster; the Irish
reckoned on Spanish assistance, either in Ireland itself, or through
an attack on England. Priests and Jesuits fed the Irish with hopes
that this time they would free themselves, and destroy the very memory
of the English rule.

The Queen decided, in order to keep her hold on the island, to send
over an unusually strong armament of horse and foot: and Essex, who
had always been the loudest in blaming the errors of previous
commanders, could not avoid at last himself undertaking its direction,
though he did not do it with complete alacrity.

Though Burleigh was dead, his son Robert Cecil nevertheless maintained
himself in possession of the secretaryship of state and was at the
head of his father's old friends, joined as they were by others who
were not indeed his friends but were enemies of Essex. It was
unwillingly that Essex quitted the court and thus left the field open
to them: especially as his personal relation to the Queen was no
longer what it had been of old. Aspiring by nature, supported by the
good opinion of the people (on which his grand appearance and his bold
spirit of enterprise had made much impression), and by the devotion
of brave officers who were ready to follow him in any undertaking by
land or sea, he presumed to desire to be something for himself. He
wished to be no longer absolutely dependent on the nod of his
mistress. The story goes that she once, in a violent passion at his
disrespectful conduct, gave him a box on the ear, and that he laid his
hand on his sword. Even in his letters expressions indicating
resistance break through his declarations of submission. His friends
indeed advised him to return to absolute obedience: then the Queen
would raise the man whom she honoured above all others. He rejected
this advice because he held that the Queen was a woman, from whom one
gets nothing but by superior authority. It almost appears as though he
thought he might obtain such an authority by the Irish war.

But he found this expedition far harder than he had expected.
Previously he had always said that the great rebel, Tyrone, must be
tracked to Ulster, where were the roots of his power, and conquered
there: then the rest of the country would return to obedience of
itself. How great was the astonishment when he now nevertheless began
with a march into Munster and Leinster, in which he wasted his
resources without obtaining any great success! He maintained that the
Privy Council of Ireland had urged him on to this: its members denied
it. At last the campaign to the North was undertaken: but in this
region the Irish were found to have the complete superiority: the
Queen's newly-levied troops on the other hand were neither adapted,
nor quite willing, to venture on a decisive action: the officers
signed a protest against it: and Essex saw himself obliged to enter
into negociations with Tyrone.

The conditions which that chief demanded in return for his submission
are exceedingly comprehensive: complete freedom of the Catholic church
under the Pope, and a transfer of the dignities of state to the
natives, so that only a viceroy, who should always belong to the high
nobility, was to come from England: the chief Irish families were to
be restored to their old possessions, and freed from the most
oppressive laws, for instance that of wardship; and the Irish were to
be allowed free trade with England.[286] These stipulations would
have promised a free development to the Irish nation, and made the
yoke of England exceedingly light. Essex accepted them, because the
Spaniards were just now threatening an attack on England, and Tyrone
could only be separated from them on these conditions; even then
Tyrone begged that for the present they might be kept a profound
secret, that he might not quarrel with the Spaniards too soon.

But how could such comprehensive concessions be expected from the
proud Queen? How could her counsellors, who always preferred direct
negociation with Spain, have accepted them?

The idea occurred to the Earl of Essex to return to England with a
part of his troops, and at their head enforce the acceptance of his
treaty, after which he would throw himself with all his might into the
Spanish war. And without doubt this would have been the only way to
carry out his plan, and become altogether master of the government.

But it was represented to him that this looked exactly like an attempt
at rebellion. Essex was induced to give it up, and make everything yet
once more depend on the influence which he was confident he could
exercise on the Queen by appearing in person. Even this however was a
great risk: he not merely had no leave to do so, but it had been
expressly forbidden him just previously: he thought it however the
only way of obtaining his end. Without even having announced his
departure to the Queen, he suddenly appeared with slight attendance at
Nonsuch, her country house.[287] He dismounted before the door, and
did not even take time to change his dress: as he was, with the dust
of the journey on his face and clothes, he hastened to the Queen: that
he did not find her in the reception-room did not check him; he rushed
on into her chamber, where he entered without being announced, and
kissed her hand: her hair was still flying about her face. At the
first moment she received him graciously--in a couple of hours he
might see her again: when he returned to her at table, she began to
reproach him. From minute to minute the Queen predominated in her over
the friend: by evening his arrest was announced to him.

Already by his conduct in Ireland Essex had supplied food for the
slander of his enemies: how much more must this have been the case
through his self-willed return! As he was fond of tracing his descent
from royal blood, he was accused of even aspiring to the throne, after
the example of Bolingbroke: for this purpose he had leagued himself
with Tyrone and the Irish grandees, whose loyalty he praised
notwithstanding their revolt. We can say with certainty that the views
of the Earl of Essex never went so far. In the question as to the
Queen's successor, which occupied every one, he had taken his side for
the rights of the King of Scotland: he imputed to his enemies the
design of favouring on the other hand the claim of the Infant of Spain
(which was at that time put forward in all seriousness in a book much
read) with the view of purchasing peace by his recognition. He
assigned, as the motive for his conduct, his inability to endure the
atheists, papists, and Spanish partisans in the Queen's council: as a
Christian he could not possibly look on while religion perished, and
as an Englishman he would not stand aloof while his fatherland was
being ruined.[288] He had never wished to be anything else than a
subject--but 'only of his Queen, not the underling of an unworthy and
low vassal.' So far as men saw, he stood in connexion with both the
parties opposed to the prevailing system. He was prayed for in the
churches of the Puritans: Cartwright was one of his friends; the
Scotch doctrine, that the Supreme Power, if it showed itself negligent
in matters of religion, could be compelled by those immediately under
it to take them in hand, is said to have been preached with reference
to him. As Earl Marshal of England, Essex indeed thought he possessed
an independent right of interference. But the mitigation of the
ecclesiastical laws would also have benefited the Catholics; and it
was among them that he had perhaps the most decided allies. If we
might combine his views into a whole, they were directed towards
raising the natives of America against Spain, at the same time that by
toleration both in England and Ireland he united all patriots in the
war against that power, in which he discerned that the chief interest
of the nation lay.

Essex remained a long while in the custody of the Keeper of the Seal,
who was favourably disposed towards him; then he was sentenced by the
Star Chamber not to exercise any longer his high offices as member of
the Privy Council, as Earl Marshal, and Master of the Ordnance, and to
live as a prisoner in his own house during the Queen's pleasure. He
seemed to reconcile himself to this fate, and behaved modestly for a
considerable time: he was still flattering himself with the hope of
regaining his sovereign's favour, when a monopoly was withdrawn from
him which formed the chief part of his income. This new victory of his
enemies was intolerable to him: he would not let himself be brought so
low by them as to be forced to live like a poor knight, without
influence and independence. The thought occurred to him that, if he
could but see the Queen once more, he might effect a change in his own
destiny and in that of England. The popularity he enjoyed in the
capital, the continued attachment of his old companions in arms, the
friendship of some considerable nobles, allowed him to entertain the
hope that he could attain this in despite of those around her, could
make himself master of the palace, and force her to summon a
Parliament--in which the change of government and the succession of
the King of Scotland should be alike confirmed. Essex was no longer
the blooming man of times past, he was seen moving along with his neck
bowed down, but he still had his mind fixed on wide-ranging and
ambitious thoughts: from his youth up elevated by good fortune and
favour, he held everything possible which he set his hand to do. On
the 8th February 1601 an armed band assembled at his house under
certain lords; the Keeper of the Seal and his attendant, whom the
Queen despatched in order to inform herself of the cause of the
agitation, were detained. Essex dared to march through the capital
with his armed men, in order to raise it on his behalf. He reckoned on
the desertion of the city militia to him, and the connivance of the
city magistrates; but instead of finding support he only excited
astonishment. No one stirred in his favour. He was scarcely able--for
royal troops were soon in arms against him--to make his way back to
his house: there was nothing left for him but to surrender at

At his trial the principle, which had already had so much weight in
the proceedings against Mary Stuart, was expressly stated, that every
attempt at rebellion must be looked on as directed against the life of
the reigning sovereign.[289] A crisis had occurred which obliged
Elizabeth to execute the man for whom among all men living she
cherished the deepest and warmest feeling, just as formerly she had
been forced to condemn one of the grandees connected with her by
blood, and then her sister Queen of equal rights with herself--all of
them for traitorous attempts against her government and person. She
said she would gladly have saved Essex, but she was forced to let the
laws of England take their course.

Essex is to be compared with his contemporary Biron in so far as they
both rebelled against sovereigns with whom they had stood in the
closest relations. In both it was mainly injured self-esteem which
goaded them on. As Biron had a portion of the lower French nobility
for him, so Essex had the soldiers by profession and the officers of
the army to a great extent on his side: they both appealed once more
to religious antipathies. But above all they thought of again making
room for the old independence of the warlike nobles: they both
succumbed to the authority of the firmly-rooted power of the state.

At that time there were fresh negociations going on for a peace
between Spain and England; but they could as little now as before
agree on the great subjects in dispute, the question of the
Netherlands, and the interests of commerce, which at the same time
involved points of religion. And the Spaniards broke off negotiations
all the more readily, as exaggerated rumours of Essex's conspiracy
resounded everywhere, making a revolt in England appear possible. They
then instantly thought of a landing in an English harbour, and this
the Catholics promised to support with considerable bodies of horse
and foot. In Ireland, where the refusal of the concessions held out to
them by Essex revived the national enmities, the Spaniards really
effected a landing: under Don Juan d'Aguilar they occupied Kinsale:
and hoped not merely to become masters of Ireland but to cross from
thence to their friends' assistance in England.

Hence Queen Elizabeth, who perceived the connexion of these
hostilities, now reverted to the necessity of carrying on the war
again on a larger scale. Her view was chiefly directed to a new
enterprise against Portugal: its separation from Castile she held to
be the greatest European success that was possible: but she hoped to
bring about a change in Italy as well: there Venice was to attack the
nearest Spanish territories. When she called the Venetians to
aid--among other things she wished also to obtain a loan from the
government--she put them in mind how much her resistance to the
Spanish monarchy had benefited the European commonwealth: hence it was
that Spain had been prevented from carrying out her tyrannical views
throughout the world, in the Netherlands and in Germany, in France and
Italy; the Republic, which loved freedom, would recognise this.
Elizabeth thought to resume the war, if possible, at the head of all
that part of Europe which was opposed to Spain, and in league with
Henry IV, with whom she negociated on this subject. In the beginning
of 1603 a squadron was fitted out under Sir Richard Lawson to attack
the coasts of the Pyrenean peninsula. Men discussed the comparative
forces which the two kingdoms could bring into the field.

But the Queen's days were already drawing to a close.

In February 1603 the Venetian secretary Scaramelli had an audience of
her, and gives a report of it from which we see that she still
completely preserved her wonted demeanour. He found the whole court,
the leading ecclesiastics and the temporal dignitaries, assembled
around her: they had been entertained with music. When he entered, the
Queen rose in her usual rich attire, with a diadem of precious stones,
almost encircled with pearls: rubies hung from her neck; and in her
mien no one could detect any decay of her powers. 'It is time at
last,' she said to the secretary, who wished to throw himself on his
knees before her, while she raised him with both hands, 'it is time at
last for the Republic to send its representative to a Queen by whom it
has been always honoured.' The letter of the Republic was handed to
her, and she gave it to the Secretary of State; after he had opened it
and given it back to her again, she sat down to read it: it contained
a complaint that Venetian ships had been seized by the English
privateers, who then made all seas unsafe. The English nation, she
then said, is not so small but that evil and thievish men may be found
in it: while she promised enquiry and justice, she nevertheless
reverted to her main point that she had received nothing from the
republic during the forty-four years of her government but grievances
and demands,--even the loan had been refused;--Venice had hitherto,
contrary to her custom, not sent any embassy to her; not, she thought,
because she was a woman, but through fear of other powers. Scaramelli
answered that no temporal or even spiritual sovereign had any
influence on the Republic in such matters; he ascribed the neglect to
circumstances which no one could control. The Queen broke off: I do
not know, she added, whether I have expressed myself in good Italian:
I learned the language as a child, and think I have not forgotten it.
After that serious address she again seemed gracious, and gave the
secretary her hand to kiss, when she dismissed him. The next day
commissioners were appointed to enquire into his grievances.[290]

At that time the affairs of Ireland were once more occupying the
Queen. The Spaniards had been compelled by Lord Mountjoy to leave the
island; he had beaten them together with the Irish in a decisive
action: but, despite his victory, many further conflicts took place,
and the rebellion was not suppressed; Tyrone still maintained himself
in the hills and woods of Ulster; and, as a return of the Spaniards
was feared, Mountjoy too was at last disposed to come to an agreement
with him. The Queen was in her inmost soul against this, for only
fresh rebellions would be occasioned by it; she required an absolute
surrender at discretion: if she once allowed the rebels to have their
lives secured to them, she soon after retracted the concession. She
even spoke of wishing to go to Ireland, in person; the impression
produced by her presence would put an end to all revolt.

But at this moment a sudden alteration was remarked in her: she no
longer appeared at the festivities before Lent, which went off in an
insignificant style. At first her seclusion was explained by the death
of one of her ladies whom she loved, the Countess of Nottingham: but
soon it could not be concealed that the Queen herself was seized with
a dangerous illness: sleep and appetite began to fail her: she showed
a deep melancholy. 'No,' she replied to one of the kinsmen of her
mother's house, Robert Cary, who at that moment had come back to court
and addressed friendly words to her about her health, 'No Robin, well
I am not, my heart has been for some time oppressed and heavy;' she
broke off with painful groans and sighing, hitherto unwonted in her,
now no longer suppressed. It was manifest that mental distress
accompanied the bodily decay.[291]

Who has not heard of the ring which Elizabeth is said to have once
given to the Earl of Essex with the promise that, if it were presented
to her, she would show him mercy, whatever might have occurred: he
had, so the tale runs, in his last distresses wished to send it her
through the Countess of Nottingham: but she was prevented from giving
it by her husband who was an enemy of Essex, and so he had to die
without mercy: the Queen, to whom the Countess revealed this on her
death bed, fell into despair over it. The ring is still shown, and
indeed several rings are shown as the true one: as also the tradition
itself is extant in two somewhat varying forms; attempts have been
made to get rid of the improbabilities of the first by fresh fictions
in the second.[292] They are both so late, and rest so completely on
hearsay, that they can no longer stand before historical criticism.

Nevertheless we cannot deny, as the reports in fact testify in several
places, that the remembrance of Essex weighed on the Queen's soul. It
must certainly have reminded her of him, that she was now brought back
exactly to the course he had insisted on, namely a friendly agreement
with the invincible Irish chief. She had allowed less imperious, more
compliant, declarations to reach Ireland. But was the man a traitor,
who had recommended a policy to which they had been forced to have
recourse after such repeated efforts? Had he deserved his fate at her
hands?[293] It was remarked that the anniversary of the day on which
Essex two years before had suffered on the scaffold, Ash Wednesday,
thrilled through her with heart-rending pain; the world seemed to her
desolate, since he was no longer there; she imputed his guilt to the
ambition, against which she had warned him, and which had misled him
into steps, from the consequences of which she could not protect him.
But had she not herself uttered the decisive word? She burst into
self-accusing tears. Her distress may have been increased by finding
that her statesmen no longer showed her the old devotion, the earlier
absolute obedience. When they, as we know, had framed a formal theory
for themselves, that they might act against an express command of the
Queen, on the assumption of her general intention being directed to
the public good, could the sharp-sighted, suspicious, sovereign fail
to perceive it? Could she fail to remark the agitation as to her
successor, which occupied all men's minds, while the reins were
slipping from her hands? The people, on whose devotion she had from
the first moment laid so much stress, and partly based her government,
seemed after Essex' death to have become cold towards her.

In every great life there comes a moment when the soul feels that it
no longer lives in the present world, and draws back from it.

Once more Elizabeth had the English Liturgy read in her room: there
she sat afterwards day and night on the cushions with which it was
covered, in deep silence, her finger on her mouth: she rejected physic
with disdain.[294] Most said and believed she did not care to recover
or to live any longer, that she wished to die. When she was at last
got to bed, and had a moment left of consciousness and interest in the
world, she had the members of her Privy Council summoned: she then
either said to them directly that she held the King of Scotland to be
her lawful and deserving successor, or she designated him in a way
that left no doubt.[295]

Amidst the prayers of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was kneeling
by her bed, she breathed her last.

It is not merely the business of History to point out how far great
personages have attained the ideals which float before the mind of
man, or how far they have remained below them. It is almost more
important for it to ascertain how far the universal interests, in the
midst of which eminent characters appear, have been advanced by them,
whether their inborn force was a match for the opposing elements,
whether it allowed itself to be conquered by them or not. There never
was a sovereign who maintained a conflict of world-wide importance
amidst greater dangers and with greater success than Queen Elizabeth.
Her grandfather had begun a political emancipation from the ruling
influences of the continent, her father an ecclesiastical one:
Elizabeth took up their task and accomplished it victoriously against
Rome and against Spain, while her people had an ever-increasing part
in public affairs, and thus entered into a new stage of development.
Her memory is inseparably connected with the independence and power of


[274] Elizabeth to James VI, August 1588, in Rymer and Bruce 53.

[275] Molino: 'Fu prudentissima nel governare diligente nel
consultare, perche voleva assistere a tutti li negotii,
perspicasissima nel provedere le cose ed accuratissima perche le
deliberationi fatte fossero eseguite.'

[276] One of her expressions was: 'He that placed her in that seat
would preserve her in it.' Contemporary notice in Ellis, Letters ii.
iii. 194.

[277] Hentzner, Itinerarium 137.

[278] De Maisse, in Prevost-Paradol, Mémoire sur Elizabeth et Henri
IV. Séances et travaux de l'académie des sciences morales, tom. 34.

[279] Ockland, in Strype iii. 2, 237: 'Somni perparcus, parce vinique
cibique in mensa sumens, semper gravis atque modestus.'

[280] Letter to a friend, in Strype iii. 2, 379. Certain true general
notes upon the actions of Lord Burleigh, in Strype iii. 2, 505. A
letter from Leicester is in existence, in which he tries to prove that
William Cecil had obligations to his father and not merely to the

[281] Naunton, Fragmenta regalia.

[282] Sir H. Nicolas, Life and Times of Christopher Hatton,
communicates (p. 30) fragments of the Queen's letters, which lead him
to remark that the supposition of an immoral relation (which he
elsewhere adopts) is refuted by them. The Queen inquires for instance,
What is friendship? 'The union of two minds bound to each other by
virtue. He is no more a friend who desires more than the other can
reasonably grant.'

[283] Herrera, Historia del mundo iii. 754.

[284] Device made by the Earl of Essex: Devereux, Lives and Letters of
the Devereux, Earls of Essex, ii. App. F.

[285] Herrera complains at first of the 'ministros infideles' of the
Queen: among them he names Essex.

[286] In Winwood, Memorials i.

[287] Rowland Whyte to Sir Robert Sidney, Michaelmass Day 1599 (the
day after the Earl's arrival). Sidney Papers ii. 127.

[288] 'I could not but see and feel what misery was near unto my
country by the great power of such as are known indeed to be atheists
papists and pensioners of the mortal enemies of this kingdom.'
Confession to Ashton, in Devereux ii. 165.

[289] 'As foreseeing that the rebel will never suffer the King to live
or reign, who might permit or take revenge of the treason and
rebellion.' In Campbell, Lives of the Lord Chancellors ii. 199.

[290] Dispaccio di Carlo Scaramelli 19 Feb. 1603 (Venetian Archives).

[291] Memoirs of Robert Cary 116.

[292] The first appears in Aubery's Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire
de Hollande 1687, 214; with another apocryphal tale about finding the
bones of Edward IV's children as early as Elizabeth's time. Aubery
asserts that he heard the history of the ring from his father's mouth,
who had heard it from Prince Maurice of Orange, to whom it had been
communicated by the English ambassador Carleton. According to him the
Queen then took to her bed, dressed as she was, sprang from it a
hundred times during the night, and starved herself to death. Who does
not, in reading this, feel himself in a sphere of wild romance? Lady
Spelman has tried to clear away the improbability involved in it, that
Essex should have applied to the wife of one of his enemies, by making
Essex give the ring to a boy passing by, who was to give it, not to
the Countess of Nottingham, but to her sister, and then mistook the
two ladies.

[293] Scaramelli, 27 March: 'per occasione del perdono finalmente
fatto al conte di Tirone cadde in una consideratione, che il conte di
Esses gia tanto suo intimo di cuore fosse morto innocente.'

[294] Letter of the French ambassador from London, 3rd April 1603.
'C'est la verité que delors, qu'elle se sentit atteinte du mal, elle
dit de vouloir mourir.' Villeroy, Mémoires d'estat iii. 212. Cary:
'The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be so.' Compare
Sloane MS. in Ellis iii. 194.

[295] Scaramelli writes to his Signoria 7th April (New Style) what was
said during those days: 'La regina nel fine della infirmita et della
vita dopo haver dormito alcune poche hore ritornata di sana mente
conoscendosi moribonda il primo di Aprile corr. fece chiamare i
signori del regio consiglio--e commandava loro,--che la corona
pervenisse al Più meritevole ch'ella ha trovato sempre nel suo secreto
esser il Re di Scotia cosi per il dritto della successione, che per
esserne Più degno che non è stata lei, poiche egli è nato re et ella
privata--egli le portera un regno et ella non porta altro che se
stessa donna.' Without quite accepting this, we must not pass it over.
Winwood too writes to Tremouille: 'le jour avant son trespas elle
declara pour son successeur le roy d'Escosse.' Mémoires i. 461.



Under no dynasty in the world have great national changes been so
dependent on the personal aims of princes as in England under the
Tudors. Just as all Henry VIII's subsequent proceedings were
determined by the affair of the divorce, so also the policy of his
three children was due to the relations into which they were thrown by
their birth.

No one however could derive the course of English history at this
epoch from this cause alone. How could Henry VIII have even thought of
detaching his kingdom from the Roman See, but for the ancient and
deep-seated national opposition to its encroachments? But the nation
had also for ages had manifold and deep sympathies with Rome; and Mary
Tudor allied herself with these. Together with subjective personal
agencies, national influences of universal prevalence were at work.
The different leanings of the sovereigns appear as exponents of
opposite tendencies already existing in the nation. The struggle
between these was decided when, as in the reign of Elizabeth, the most
vigorous nature combined with the most powerful interests and the most
influential motives to gain the mastery, although others of a
different character were still by no means suppressed.

Now however the energetic race of the Tudors had disappeared from the
throne. By the right of natural inheritance another family ascended
it, which had its roots and associations in Scotland, the crown of
which country it united with that of England. If a long time elapsed
before the English commonwealth was as closely attached to the new
dynasty as it had been to the old, under which it had developed; so
it is also clear that the point of view from which this dynasty
started could not be exactly the same as that which had hitherto
prevailed. This could not be expected under a prince who had already
reigned for a quarter of a century and had long ago taken up, in his
native country, a firm position with regard to the great conflicts of
the age. This position we must first of all endeavour to represent.



_Origin of fresh dissension in the Church._

Our eyes again turn to the man to whom the last great religious and
political change in Scotland is mainly due--John Knox.

We find him, propped on his staff and supported on the other side by a
helping arm, stepping homewards from the church where he had once more
performed a religious service: the multitude of the faithful lined the
road, and greeted him with reverence. He could no longer walk alone,
or raise his voice as before; it was only in a more confined space
that he used still to gather a little congregation round him, to whom
on appointed days and at fixed hours he proclaimed the teaching of the
Gospel with unabated fire. He lived to hear of the wildest outbursts
of the struggle on the continent, and to pronounce his curse on the
King of France, who had taken part in the massacre of St. Bartholomew;
but, in one respect, he was more fortunate than Luther, who in his
last days was threatened with mischief from hostile elements about him
which he could not control; for around John Knox all was peace. He
thanked God for having granted him grace, that by his means the Gospel
was preached throughout Scotland in its simplicity and truth: he now
desired nothing more than to depart out of this miserable life; and
thus, without pain, in November 1572, after bearing the burden and
heat of the day, he fell asleep.

With him and his contemporaries the second generation of the reformers
came to an end. They had fought out the battle against the papacy, and
had established the foundations of a divergent system: now however a
third generation arose, which had to encounter violent storms within
the pale of the new confession itself.

In Scotland the Regents Mar and Morton now thought it necessary, even
for the sake of the constitution, in which the higher clergy formed an
important element, to restore episcopacy, which had been laid low in
the tumult of the times; and to fill the vacant offices with
Protestant clergy, appointed however in the old way, by the election
of the chapters on the recommendation of the Government: it was
desired at the same time to invest them with the power of ordination
and a certain jurisdiction. Knox was at least not hostile to this
measure. The resolution to convene an assembly of the Church at Leith
was formed while he was still alive, and was ratified by Parliament in
January 1573.

But in the Church, which had formed itself in perfect independence by
means of free association, this project, which besides was spoiled by
many blunders in the execution, necessarily provoked strong
opposition. Andrew Melville may be regarded as Knox's successor in the
exercise of the authority of leader; a man of wide learning, who had
in his composition still more of the professor than of the preacher,
and united convictions not less firm than those of Knox with an equal
gift of eloquence. He however on principle excluded episcopacy in any
form from the constitution, as, in his opinion, the Scriptures
recognised only individual bishops: he especially disapproved of the
connexion between the bishops and the crown. The spiritual and the
temporal powers he considered to be distinct kinds of authority, of
which the one was as much of divine right as the other. But he did not
regard the clergy or ministry of preaching as alone charged with
spiritual authority: he thought that the lay elders formed the basis
of this authority: that, once elected, they were permanent, had
themselves a spiritual rank, watched over the purity of doctrine, took
the lead in the call of the preachers, and, together with these,
formed assemblies by whose conclusions every member of the
congregation was bound. A General Assembly erected on this basis had
the legislative authority in the Church, with the right of visitation
and of spiritual correction. It was incumbent on the King to protect
them; but he was amenable to their sentence. Such is the discipline
laid down in the Second Book, which was approved in the year 1578, in
a General Assembly, of which Melville was Moderator.[296]

With these opposite principles before his eyes, the young King grew
up. He showed himself to be imbued with the reformed doctrine, but he
was decidedly averse to this form of church government, which created
a power in the nation intended to counterbalance and withstand that of
the monarch. The political views of his teachers, highly popular as
they were, awoke in him, as was natural, the inborn feelings of a
king. He longed with all his soul for the restoration of episcopacy,
which, according to his view, was of almost chief importance for both
Crown and Church.

This was indeed a different strife from the battle between Catholicism
and Protestantism, which filled the rest of the world: but they had
points of contact with one another, inasmuch as the reform of doctrine
had almost everywhere put an end to episcopal government. And the
larger conflict was constantly exercising fresh influence on the state
of the question in Scotland.

When the Catholic party was on the point of becoming master of the
young King, the Protestant lords, as has been mentioned above, gained
possession of his person by the Raid of Ruthven. They were the
champions of Presbyterianism in the Church; but as they had been
overthrown, and overthrown moreover in consequence of the support
which the King received from an ambassador friendly to the Guises,
that form of government could not survive their fall. In the
Parliament of 1584, which obeyed the wishes of the ruling powers,
enactments distinctly opposed to it were passed. By these the
constitution of the Three Estates united in Parliament was ratified.
They forbade any one to attack the Estates either collectively or
singly, and therefore to attack the bishops. No meeting in which
resolutions should be taken about temporal or even about spiritual
affairs was to be held without the King's approval: no jurisdiction
was to be exercised which was not acknowledged by the King and the
Estates. The judicial power of the King over all subjects and in all
causes, and therefore even in spiritual causes, was therein expressly

At that time however Jesuits and Seminarists effected an entrance into
Scotland as well as into other countries, and produced a great effect:
Father Gordon especially, who belonged to one of the most
distinguished families in the country, that of the Earls of Huntly,
was exceedingly active; and for two months the King allowed his
presence at court. Who could guarantee that the young prince would not
be entirely carried away by this current when his chief counsellor,
with whom the final decision mainly rested, belonged to the party of
the Guises?[297] A great reward was offered to him: he was to be
married to an archduchess; and at some future day, after the victory
had been won, he was to be raised to the throne of England and
Scotland. When we take into consideration that Melville, who set
himself to oppose this influence, had spent ten years at Geneva and
among the Huguenots, we see plainly how the struggles which distracted
the continent threatened to invade Scotland as well.

_Alliance with England._

In this danger Queen Elizabeth, who for her own sake did not venture
to allow matters to go so far, resolved to interfere more actively in
the affairs of Scotland than she had hitherto done. It is not
perfectly clear what share her government had in the return of the
exiled Protestant lords, whose attack had compelled King James to
allow the conviction for high treason of his former minister and
favourite, who fled to France in consequence. But their return was
certainly welcome to her; and she advised the King not to alienate
the great men of his kingdom, that is to say the returned lords, from
his own side. In the instructions to her ambassador it is expressly
said that he should aim at withholding the King from any alliance with
the League in France, which was then growing powerful. She had just
determined to make open war upon the King of Spain, who guided all the
proceedings of the League; what could be more important for her than
to retain the King of one division of the island on her own side? For
that object she need not require him to support the Presbyterians; his
point of view was the same which she contended for in the Netherlands
and in France, and very closely akin to her own.

She had besides a great reward to offer him. Distasteful as it was to
her to speak of her successor, she then determined to give the King
the assurance that nothing should be done which was prejudicial to his
claim, and she agreed to a secret acknowledgment of it.[298] Her
ambassador gave expression to these views in Scotland, and she herself
spoke in similar terms to the Scottish ambassador in England.

The acceptance of these overtures by King James was the decisive event
of his life. He was not so blind as not to see that any promise on the
part of England, although not binding in regular form, afforded a kind
of certainty entirely different from all the assurances of the League,
however comprehensive. The Queen moreover pledged herself to a subsidy
that was very acceptable to the poverty of the Scots, while her
protection served the King himself as a stay against his nobles, whom
he dared not alienate, but on whom he could not allow himself to be

Thus in July 1586 an offensive and defensive alliance was concluded at
Berwick between the King and Queen in order to protect the religion
adopted in their dominions, which, in the language of the Prayer-book,
they termed the 'Catholic,' and to repel, not only every invasion, but
every attempt on the person of their majesties or their subjects,
without regard to any ties of blood or relationship. The King promised
the Queen to come to her assistance with all his forces in the event
of any attack on the Northern counties, and not to allow his subjects
to support any hostile movements which might take place in Ireland.
Every word shows how absolutely and entirely in the events that were
at hand he identifies the interests of England with his own.[299]

It was of more especial advantage to the Queen that James entirely
renounced the cause of his mother. He had exerted himself in her
behalf, but his intercession never went beyond the limits of friendly
representation. Mary's secret resignation of her claims in favour of
Philip II had certainly not been unknown to him; he complained on one
occasion that she threatened him on his throne and was as little
attached to him as to the Queen of England. He loudly condemned her
conspiracies against Elizabeth and gave utterance to the unfeeling
remark that she might drain the cup which she had mixed for herself.
At the trial of his mother he was content with obtaining an assurance
from the English Parliament, which was of great importance to him,
that his rights should not be impaired by her condemnation. The claims
to the English throne which brought Mary to destruction rather served
to strengthen her son, as it threw him altogether on the side of the
English system.[300]

On the approach of the Spanish armada James at once placed his power
and his person at the disposal of the Queen. He assured her that he
would behave not as a foreign prince, but as if he were her son and a
citizen of her realm. With unusual decision he put himself at the head
of the Protestant nobles, and pursued the Catholic lords who gave ear
to those Spanish overtures which he had resisted.

He now sought for a wife in a Protestant family. With the concurrence,
if not at the instigation, of the English ministers, he solicited the
hand of a daughter of Frederick II, King of Denmark, whom Elizabeth
had praised for adhering to the general interests of the Protestant
world. In this enterprise James was influenced by the consideration
that if any other state opposed his claims on England, Denmark with
its naval power could afford him substantial assistance. A touch of
romance is imparted to his youth by the circumstance that he set out
in person to fetch home his bride, who was detained in Norway by
contrary winds, and who had been promised to him by her mother after
her father's death. Their marriage was celebrated at Opslo (Nov. 23,
1589), but their homeward voyage was now attended with difficulty;
James therefore took his wife over the snow-clad mountains and the
Sound, back to her mother to Kronborg and Copenhagen, and spent a
couple of months there. He had many conversations with the divines of
the country, during which the idea of an union of both Protestant
confessions was mooted. He also paid a visit to Tycho Brahe on the
island of Hveen, which gave him indescribable pleasure: he believed
that in his company he fathomed the marvels of the universe, and
lauded the astronomer in spirited Latin verse as the friend of Urania,
and as the master of the starry world.[301] And a general influence
was exercised in Europe both by his alliance with the house of
Oldenburg, and the connexion which he formed through it with many of
the most distinguished families in Germany. His consort was niece of
the Elector of Saxony, sister-in-law of the Elector of Brandenburg,
and granddaughter of the German Nestor, Ulric of Mecklenburg. Her
sister had just married Henry Julius Duke of Brunswick; at whose
marriage, which was celebrated at Cronberg, a company of North German
princes met together, which seemed like one single family. But the
days of this assemblage were not occupied with banquets and
festivities alone. To the impression which was then made on James may
be traced the despatch of an embassy to the Temporal Electors of the
Empire, which he deputed soon after his return to invite them to
mediate between England and Spain. If the King of Spain were
disinclined for peace, he thought that a powerful alliance should be
formed against him for the maintenance of religion.

For such an alliance as this, England and Scotland seemed to offer a
centre. In an assemblage of the clergy, the King had once
congratulated himself on living at a time when the light of the Gospel
was shining; and in the same spirit his Chancellor gave Lord Burleigh
to understand, that this British microcosm, severed from the rest of
the world, but united internally by language, religion, and the
friendship of its princes, could best oppose the bloodthirstiness of
an anti-Christian League.[302]

_Renewal of the Episcopal Constitution in Scotland._

In Scotland, as well as elsewhere, the waves of the all-prevailing
struggle kept raging.

Embassies went backwards and forwards between Spain and the powerful
lords, Huntly, Errol and Angus, who kept alive Catholicism in the
Highlands; and a plan was formed to assemble a force of Scots and
Spaniards in Scotland, which should first overthrow the forces of that
country, and thence advance into England.[303] King James at least
believed that he had gathered a definite statement to this effect from
an examination of those who had been arrested. Philip the Second's
design of getting the crown of France into his own family would have
been powerfully seconded by this undertaking, by which it was designed
to treat Great Britain in the same way. In the beginning of 1593 we
find James at Aberdeen engaged on a campaign against the Highlands:
the lesser nobles and the Protestants were on his side: the great
earls were driven back into the most remote districts as far as
Caithness, and the larger part of their domains fell into the hands of
the King. But they were not yet entirely conquered, and the next
Parliament showed that they had the greater part of the nobility on
their side. No one wished to be too severe on them;[304] even the
legal advisers of the crown recommended the King not to commence a
suit against them, in which they might probably be acquitted. It is
impossible to describe the displeasure which affected Elizabeth on
this turn of affairs, which she ascribed to the pusillanimous and
negligent government of James. Did he not know, she asked, that the
religion of the rebels was only a cloak for treason? Would he trust
men who had so often betrayed him? He could never expect them to keep
their plighted faith in the future, if their great offences in the
past were not even acknowledged: a lax government set all turbulent
spirits in motion, and led to shipwreck. With this advice, and similar
suggestions from the clergy, came the news of fresh commotion. Francis
Stuart, who had been made Earl of Bothwell by James, but who after
this had given great trouble by frequently changing sides, had now
joined the Catholic lords; and a plan had been concerted between them
to deal with James as they had formerly dealt with his mother, to make
him prisoner, and to put the prince just born to him in his place. At
last in September 1594 we find the King again in the field. The young
Argyle, whom he sent before him as his lieutenant, was met by the
earls in open fight, but they did not venture to encounter the King
himself. He took Strathbogie, the splendid seat of the Earls of
Huntly; Slaines, the principal castle of the Earls of Errol; some
strongholds in Angus; Newton, a castle of the Gordons; and had most of
them razed. Even in these districts he proceeded at last to erect a
regular government in the name of the King. His superiority was so
decided that the earls left Scotland in the spring of 1595; Father
Gordon also followed them reluctantly, after he had once more said
mass at Elgin. But even this was not such a defeat of the Catholic
party as might have been followed by their annihilation. The earls
felt the hardships of exile with double force from the loss of the
consideration which they had enjoyed at home; and when they offered
their submission to the King, and satisfaction to the Scottish Church,
James and his Privy Council were quite ready to accede to their offer:
for they thought that disunion with his most powerful lieges lessened
the reputation of the crown, and might be very dangerous at some
future time if the throne of England became vacant; as these important
personages might then, like Coriolanus, side with the enemy.

The only question now was, how the Presbyterian Church would regard
this. James had come to a general understanding with the Church, when
they made common cause against the League. In the year 1592 an
agreement was arrived at, by which the King gave a general recognition
to Presbyterianism, although he still left some grave questions
undecided; for instance, that of the rights of the Crown, and the
General Assemblies. But in proportion as he now gave intimation of a
retrograde tendency in favour of the Catholic lords, he roused the
prejudices of the Protestants against himself. They told him that the
lords had been condemned to death according to the laws of God, and by
the sentence of Parliament, the Great Assize of the kingdom: that the
King had no right to show mercy in opposition to these. He had allowed
their return into the country; the Church demanded the renewal of
their exile: not till then would it be possible to deliberate upon the
satisfaction offered by them. All the pulpits suddenly resounded with
invectives against the King. The proud feeling of independent
existence was roused in all its force in the breasts of the churchmen.
Andrew Melville explicitly declared, that there were two kingdoms in
Scotland, of which the Church formed one: in that kingdom the
sovereign was in his turn a subject; those who had to govern this
spiritual realm possessed a sufficient authorisation from God for the
discharge of their functions. The Privy Council might be of opinion
that the King must be served alike by Jews and heathens, Protestants
and Catholics, and become powerful by their aid; but in wishing to
retain both parties he would lose both. The King forced himself to ask
support for his projects from Robert Bruce, at that time the most
prominent of the preachers, who answered him, that he might make his
choice, but that he could not have both the Earl of Huntly and Robert
Bruce for his friends at the same time.[305]

By dealing gently with the Catholic lords the King had intended not
only to win them over to his side, but also in prospect of the English
succession, which was constantly before his eyes, to give the English
Catholics a proof of the moderation of his intentions. Even in
Scotland he wished not to appear the sovereign of the Presbyterian
party alone. It was absolutely repugnant to him to adopt the ideas of
the Church entirely as his own. But the leaders of the Church were
bent on shutting him within a narrow circle in accordance with their
own ideas, from which there should be no escape. In his clemency to
Catholic rebels they saw a leaning to that Catholicism which fought
against God and threatened themselves with destruction. The efforts
which had been necessary to overpower these adversaries, and the
obligations under which they had laid the King himself during the
struggle, inspired them with resolution to bind him to their system by
every means in their power.

But as the King also adhered to his own views, a conflict now broke
out between them which holds a very important place in the history of
the State as well as of the Church of Scotland.

The King ordered the Commissioners of the Church, who made demands so
distasteful to him, to leave the capital. The preachers then turned to
the people. From the pulpit Robert Bruce set before an already excited
congregation the danger into which the ecclesiastical commonwealth had
fallen owing to the return of the Catholic lords and the indulgence
vouchsafed to them; and invited those present to pledge themselves by
holding up their hands to the defence of their religion on its present
footing. They not only gave him their assent, but went so far as to
make a tumultuous rush for the council-house in which the King was
sitting with some members of the Privy Council and the Lords of
Session. With difficulty was the tumult so far quieted as to allow
James to retire to Holyrood.[306] Here a demand was laid before him to
remove his councillors, to allow the commissioners to resume their
functions, and to banish the lords again from the country. It was
intended that religious profession should supply a rule for the
guidance of the State.

But in political conflicts nothing is more dangerous than to overstep
the law by any act of violence. It was the violence attempted by the
leaders of the Presbyterians against the King, their attack on the
rights of his crown, that procured him the means of resistance. He
betook himself with his court to Linlithgow and there collected the
nobles, who for the most part stood by him, the borderers, whose
leaders the Humes and Kerrs took up arms for him, and bodies of
Highlanders, a force to which the magistrates succumbed, not wishing
their city to be destroyed; so that even the ministers thought it
advisable to leave. On New-Year's Day 1597 James made his entry with a
warlike retinue into Edinburgh, where a convention of the Estates met
and passed decisive resolutions in his favour. Both the provost and
baillies of the town were obliged to take a new oath of fealty by
which they bound themselves to suffer no insults to the King and his
councillors from the pulpit: and it was resolved that the citizens
should henceforth submit the magistrates of their choice to the King
for his approval. The right of deposing the ministers was assigned to
the King, who was acknowledged sole judge of all offences, even of
those committed in sermons and public worship.[307]

The King had now the Temporal Estates on his side; for however popular
the footing on which the Presbyterian Church might be constituted, no
one wished to give it uncontrolled sway. King James was able to form
plans for transforming its constitution in such a manner as to make
it consistent with the authority of the crown.

A series of questions which he dedicated to the consideration of the
public was well calculated to further his end. He asked whether the
external regimen of the Church might not be controlled both by King
and clergy, and the legislative power be vested in them in common.
Might not the King, as a religious and pious magistrate, have the
power of summoning General Assemblies? Might he not annul unjust
sentences of excommunication? Might he not interfere if the clergy
neglected their duties, or if the bounds of the two jurisdictions
became doubtful.

At the next assembly of the Church at Perth (Feb. 1597) the current
set in the opposite direction. 'Mine eyes,' so says one of the most
zealous adherents of the Church, 'witnessed a new sight, preachers
going into the King's palace sometimes by night, sometimes in the
morning,--mine ears heard new sounds.' The greatest pains had been
taken to secure the presence of a number of ministers from the
northern provinces, who were still more anxious about the spread of
their doctrines than about controversies touching the constitution of
the Church; and who rather reproached the clergy of the southern
counties with having taken on themselves the government of the Church.
But even among the latter the King, who spared neither threats nor
flatteries, won adherents. Moreover an opinion gained ground that
concessions must be made to him, as far as conscience allowed, in
order not to alienate him entirely from the Church or drive him to
take the opposite side. The answers to his questions contained
admissions. The right of taking the initiative in everything relating
to the external government of the Church was conceded to him, together
with a share in the nomination of ministers in the principal towns;
properly speaking the patronage of the Church in these towns was made
over to him. The Church itself made a most important concession in
renouncing its right of using the pulpit to attack the crown.
Henceforward no one was to venture to impugn the measures of the King,
until an officer of the Church had made a remonstrance to him on the
subject. And the same ideas prevailed also in the subsequent
assemblies at Dundee and Perth. The former of these conceded to the
King a share in all the business which the Church took in hand; it
allowed him to stay the proceedings of the Presbyteries when they ran
counter to the royal jurisdiction or to recognised rights. In Dundee
the excommunicated lords were admitted to a reconciliation and
acknowledged as true vassals of the King, after making a declaration
by which they acknowledged the Scottish to be the true Church;
although the stricter party would not even then forgive them. But the
point of chief importance was that the King succeeded in getting a
Commission formed to co-operate with him in maintaining peace and
obedience in the kingdom. Invested with full powers by the Church but
dependent on the King, this Commission procured him a preponderating
influence in all ecclesiastical affairs. For the most part it
consisted of men of moderate views.

There is a contemporary narrative of the decay of the Church in
Scotland which begins from this date. For here, it was thought, ended
the period during which the word revealed from Sinai and Zion to the
apostles and prophets was the only rule of doctrine and Church
discipline without any mixture of Babylon or the City of the Seven
Hills, or of policy of man's devising; when the Church was 'Beautiful
as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an
army with banners.'

James, who regarded all this as due merely to the opposition of
enemies, went on his way without bestowing further consideration on
the depth, strength, and inward significance of this spirit which was
destined once more to agitate the world. He again took up in serious
earnest the design of erecting a Protestant episcopacy which had been
entertained by Mar and Morton. Not only was this necessary for the
constitution but for the sake of the clergy also: as George Gladstaine
explained before a large assembly at Dundee, it was desirable that
they should take part in the exercise of the legislative power. A
small majority, but still a majority, in this assembly decided in
favour of the proposal. The King assured them that he wished neither
for a Papistical nor for an English prelacy; he wished only that the
best clergy should take cognizance of the affairs of the Church in the
council of the nation. In order to unite both interests he desired
that the General Assembly should propose to the King six candidates
for each vacancy and should have the right of giving instructions to
the King's nominee for his Parliamentary action, and of demanding an
account from him of his execution of the same. The King esteemed it a
great triumph when in the Parliament of 1600 he was able actually to
introduce two bishops whom he had nominated with the concurrence of a
Commission of the Synods.

It appears a general result worth noticing that he had again brought
both parties in the country into subjection to the crown, the one
however by open battle, the other by compliance which had somewhat the
air of inclination towards it.

_Preparations for the Succession to the English Throne._

That the former of these parties was properly speaking Protestant, and
the latter in its sentiment Catholic, created a certain feeling of
surprise. Queen Elizabeth, who had been attacked and insulted by the
Presbyterians sometimes even from the pulpit, could not find fault
with the crown for liberating itself from the ascendancy of the new
Church as it had done from that of the old: on the contrary she had
expressly approved of this policy; but she warned the King not to
allow himself to be so blinded by personal preference as again to put
confidence in any traitor, and not to separate himself from the flock
which must fight for him if he wished to stand. In the case of
Scotland, as well as in the case of her own dominions, she always kept
before her eyes the contrast between the Catholic and the Protestant
principle, in comparison with which all other differences appeared to
her subordinate.

In his own views less rigid and consistent, King James had on the
contrary even made advances to the Papacy. He at one time found it
advisable to enter into relations with Pope Clement VIII, whose
behaviour about the absolution of Henry IV showed that he did not at
least belong to the party of Spain and the zealots. A letter to the
Pope was forwarded from the Scottish cabinet addressing him as Holy
Father, with the signature of the King as his obedient son. A Scot, by
profession a Catholic, afterwards made the statement that, at the time
when Pope Clement was encamped before Ferrara, he had been sent to him
in order to seek his friendship, and to promise him religious liberty
for the Catholics if King James should ascend the English throne.[308]

According to the account of King James himself Pope Clement invited
him to return to the Catholic faith; to whom he made answer, that the
prevailing controversies might be again submitted to a general
council; and that to the decision of such a council he would submit
himself unconditionally. Clement replied that he need not speak of a
council, for at Rome no one would hear of it; that the King had better
remain as he was. These transactions are still enveloped in doubt and
obscurity: the announcements of pretended agents cannot be depended
on. There were often men who did not fully share in the secret and who
in consequence far outran their commission.[309] But it cannot be
denied that there were attempts at an approximation. Among the English
refugees after Mary's death two parties had arisen, one of which
supported the Spanish claims, while the other was quite ready to
acknowledge King James supposing that some concessions were made.
Every day men who were inclined to Catholicism were seen rising into
favour at the Scottish court. It was remarked that the Secretary of
State, the Lord Justice, and the tutors of the royal children, were
Catholics. Queen Anne of Scotland does not deny that many attempts
were made to bring her back to the old religion: though she assures us
that she did not hearken to them, it is notwithstanding undeniable
that she felt a strong impulse in that direction. She received relics
which were sent her from Rome, probably from superstition rather than
from reverence for the saints, but at all events she received them.
Her intimate friend, the Countess of Huntly, who often shared the same
bed with the Queen, fostered these views in her. King James remained
unaffected by them. He attended sermons three times a week; he was
riveted to Protestantism by convictions which rest on learning: but
how did it come to pass that he allowed these deviations from
Protestantism about him? Was it from weakness and connivance, or was
it from policy?

With the English Catholics also he established a connexion. Offers and
conditions with a view to his succession were put before him; and
English Catholics presented themselves at his court in order to
proceed with the business or to maintain the connexion.

All this threw Queen Elizabeth into a state of great excitement. It
was insufferable to her that any one should even speak of her death,
or, as she said, celebrate her funeral beforehand. But now when James
without her knowledge formed relations with her subjects, she regarded
his conduct as an affront. Through her ambassador in Scotland she had
an English agent named Ashfield arrested, and gained possession of his
papers. Great irritation on both sides ensued, of which the
above-mentioned correspondence between the King and Queen gives
evidence. In angry letters the latter complained of the disparaging
expressions which James had let fall in his Parliament. In respectful
language but with unusual emphasis the King complained that the
accusations of an adventurer charging him with a plot against the life
of the Queen were not repressed in England with proper severity. A
period followed during which James expected nothing but further acts
of hostility from Elizabeth's ministers. He pretended to know that the
claims to the throne advanced by his cousin the Lady Arabella,
daughter of Charles Darnley, the younger brother of his father Henry,
who had the advantage of not being a foreigner, supplied them with a
motive for their proceedings. He even thought it possible that a book
published by Parsons under the name of Doleman, which maintained the
claims of Isabella daughter of King Philip, was inspired by the
English ministers themselves in order to throw his rights into the
background. He ascribed to them the intention of coming to an
agreement with the Spaniards to his disadvantage, only in order to
maintain their own power.

So far the dislikes of King James and the Earl of Essex coincided.
Although a formal understanding between them cannot be proved, they
were nevertheless allies up to the point of regarding the Queen's
ministers as their enemies.

Very significant were the instructions which James gave to an embassy
which he despatched to England after the downfall of the Earl. His
ambassadors were directed to ascertain whether the popular discontent
went so far as to contemplate the overthrow of the Queen and her
ministers, in which case they were to take care that the people
'invoked no other saint,' i.e. sought protection and support from no
one else but him. Above all he wished to be assured with regard to the
capital that it would acknowledge his right: he wished to form ties
with the leading men in the civic and learned corporations; the
greater and lesser nobles who inclined to him were to have early
information what to do in certain contingencies, and to keep
themselves under arms. As he had always thought it possible that he
might require naval assistance from Denmark, so now he instigated a
sort of free confederation of the magnates and barons of Scotland:
they were to prepare their military retainers in order to enforce his
rights. Not that he had formed any design against the Queen, but he
believed that after her death he must give battle to her ministers in
order to gain the crown, and he appeared determined not to decline the

In reality however this mode of action was foreign to his nature. How
often he had said that a man must let fruit ripen before plucking it:
and a foreign prince, to whose sayings he attached great value, had
advised him to proceed by the safest path. This was the Grand Duke
Ferdinand of Tuscany, who then played a certain part in Europe, as he
had set on foot the alliance between Henry IV and the Pope in
opposition to Spain: Mary de' Medici, Queen of France, was his niece.
With the house of Stuart also he stood on the footing of a relation:
his consort, like the mother of King James, was a scion of the house
of Lorraine, and a marriage at some future day between the King's
eldest son and the daughter of the Grand Duke was already talked of.
This relationship, and Ferdinand's reputation for great political
far-sightedness and prudence, caused his advice to exercise great
influence on James's decisions, as James himself tells us. So long as
victory wavered between Essex and his opponents, or, as he conceived,
between the existing government and the people, James did not declare
himself: when the issue was decided he gave his policy a different
direction and made advances to the ruling ministers, whom up to this
time he had regarded as his enemies.

They were quite ready and willing to meet him. Robert Cecil asserted
later that he had by this means best provided for the safety and
repose of the Queen, for that by an alliance between the government
and the heir to the crown the jealousy of the Queen was best appeased:
yet still he observed the closest secrecy with regard to it. It is
known that he dismissed a secretary because he feared that he might
see through the scheme and then betray it. He thought that he was
justified in keeping the Queen in ignorance of a connexion that could
only be distasteful to her at her advanced age, which had deepened the
suspicion natural to her disposition, although at the same time this
connexion was indispensable for her repose. These ministers were
tolerably independent in their general conduct of affairs. They had
embarked on other negotiations also without the knowledge of the
Queen; they thought such conduct quite permissible, if it conduced to
the advantage of England. And was not Robert Cecil moreover bound to
seize an opportunity of calming the prejudices of the King of Scotland
against himself and his house, which dated from his father's
participation in the fate of Queen Mary? This was the only way of
enabling him to prolong his authority beyond the death of his
mistress, with which it would otherwise have expired.

The letters are extant which were exchanged in these secret
transactions between Henry Howard, whom the Secretary of State
employed as his instrument, and a minister of King James. They are not
so instructive as might have been expected; for the Asiatic style of
Howard, which serves him as a mask, throws a veil even over much which
we should like to know. But they now and then open a view into the
movements of parties, especially in reference to the opposition of
Cecil and his friends to Raleigh and Cobham, which towards the close
of the Queen's reign filled the court with suppressed uneasiness.

The intercourse which had been opened certainly had the effect of once
more putting England and Scotland on a friendly footing. One of his
most trusty councillors, Ludovic Earl of Lennox, son of that Esmé
Stuart who at one time had stood so high in the King's esteem, was
sent by James on a mission to the Queen, in order to convince her of
his continued attachment;[310] and this ambassador in fact found
favour with her. James declared himself ready to send his Highlanders
to the assistance of the Queen in Ireland, and to enter as a third
party into the alliance with France against Spain, if it were brought
about. He did not hesitate to give her information of the advances
which had been made by the other side, even by the Roman court. Among
these he mentioned a mission of James Lindsay for the purpose of
bringing him to promise toleration to the Catholics. It may be doubted
whether it is altogether true, as he affirms, that he declined the
proposal: but the Roman records attest that Lindsay in fact could get
nothing from him but words.[311]

It is enough to remark that on the whole the views of James were again
brought into harmony with those of the Queen: but that does not mean
that he had also broken off all relations with the other side. It
would have been extremely dangerous for him if Pope Clement had
pronounced against him the excommunication which was suspended over
Elizabeth, and he was very grateful to the Pope for not going so far.
And if he would not agree to treat the Catholics with genuine
toleration, yet without doubt he let them hope that he would not
persecute those who remained quiet.[312] It was probably not
disagreeable to him if they looked for more. He was of opinion that he
ought to have two strings to his bow.

He had now formed connexions with all the leading men in England of
whatever belief. There was no family in which he had not won over one
member to the support of his cause.[313]

_Accession to the Throne._

Thus on different sides everything had been carefully prepared
beforehand when the Queen died. Although it may be doubtful whether
she had in so many words declared that James should be her successor,
yet it is historically certain that she had for a long time consented
to this arrangement. The people had not yet so entirely conquered all
hesitation on the subject.

At the moment of the Queen's decease the capital fell into a state of
general commotion. Perhaps 40,000 decided Catholics might be counted
in London, who had considered the government of the Queen an
unauthorised usurpation. Were they now to submit themselves to a King
who like her was a schismatic? Or were there grounds for entertaining
the hope held out to them that the new prince would grant them freedom
in the exercise of their religion. People pretended to find Jesuits in
their ranks who were accused of stimulating the excitement of their
feelings: and the government thought it necessary to arrest or keep an
eye upon a number of men who were regarded as leaders of the Catholic

The trained bands of the town were called out to meet the danger, and
they consisted entirely of Protestants. But they also were agitated by
uncertainty about the intentions of their new sovereign. What the
Catholics wished and demanded, the free exercise of their religion,
the Protestants just as strongly held to be inadmissible and

Meanwhile the Privy Council had met at Richmond, where they were
joined by the lords who were in town. Some points of great importance
were mooted--whether the Privy Council had still any authority, even
after the death of the sovereign from whom their commission
proceeded--whether this authority was not entirely transferred to the
lords as the hereditary councillors of the crown. The question was
probably raised whether conditions should not be prescribed beforehand
to the King of Scotland with regard to his government. But the
prevailing ferment did not allow time for the discussion of these
questions. On the same day (March 24) the heralds proclaimed James
king under the combined titles of King of England, Scotland, France,
and Ireland.

It could not be perceived that the pomp of this proclamation produced
any extraordinary impression. No mourning for the death of the Queen
was exhibited; still less joy at the accession of James: all other
interests were absorbed by the anticipation of coming events. The tone
of feeling first became decided some days afterwards, when a
declaration from the new King was published, wherein he promised the
maintenance of religion on its present footing, and the exclusion of
every other form of it.[314] On this the Protestants were quieted; the
Catholics shewed themselves discouraged and exasperated. Yet the heads
of the party who were held in custody were released on bail, and
assured by the King's agents, that if even they were not permitted to
worship in public, they should not have to fear either compulsion or

No movement was made against the acknowledgment of King James,
although this was contrary to the old arrangements recognised by
Parliament. But no one was forthcoming who could have enforced rights
based upon these. The aged Hertford came forward to sign the
proclamation of the lords both for himself, and in the name of his son
who represented the Suffolks. The Lady Arabella made a declaration
that she desired no other position than that which the present King
might allow her. The Privy Council besought King James,--according to
its own expression 'falling at his feet with deep humility,'--to come
and breathe new life into the kingdom of England that had been
bereaved of its head.

We must not stay to discuss incidental questions, e.g. how the first
news reached James, and how he received it. He remained quiet until he
had obtained sure intelligence, and then without delay prepared to
take possession of the throne, to which his mother's ambition and his
own had for so many years been directed. Once more he addressed the
people of Edinburgh assembled in the great church after the sermon. He
would not admit the statement which had occurred in the discourse,
that Scotland would mourn for his departure; for he was going, as he
said, only from one part of the island to the other: from Edinburgh it
was hardly further to London than to Inverness. He intended to return
often; to remove pernicious abuses in both countries; to provide for
peace and prosperity; to unite the two countries to one another. One
of them had wealth, the other had a superabundance of men: the one
country could help the other. He added in conclusion that he had
expected to need their weapons: that he now required only their

What filled his soul with pride and the consciousness of a high
calling, was the thought that he would now carry into effect what the
Romans, and in later times the Anglo-Saxon and Plantagenet kings, and
last of all the Tudors, had sought to achieve by force of arms or by
policy, but ever in vain--the union of the whole island under one
rule, like that which native legendary lore ascribed to the mythical
Arthur. When he came to Berwick, around which town the two nations had
engaged in so many bloody frays, he gave utterance, so it is said, to
his intention of being King not of the one or of the other country but
of both united, and of assuming the name of King of Great

At York he met his predecessor's Secretary of State, Robert Cecil. As
no one knew the relations into which he had already entered with
Cecil, every one was astonished at the kind reception which he
accorded to him. That did not prevent him however from being just to
the other side as well. He greeted the youthful Essex as the son of
the most renowned cavalier whom the realm of England had possessed; he
appointed him to be the companion of the Prince of Wales, and made him
carry the bared sword before him at his entrance into some of the
towns. Southampton and Neville were received into favour; the Earl of
Westmoreland was placed in the Privy Council. He gave it to be
understood that he would again raise to their former station the great
men of the kingdom, who up to this time, as he said, had not been
treated according to their merits.

In order to begin the work of union at once in the highest place, he
added some Scottish members to the Privy Council, and placed Scots
side by side with the Secretary of State and Treasurer of England. The
Keeper of the Privy Seal was raised to the Lord Chancellorship, but
obliged to resign the post of Master of the Rolls, which fell to the
share of a Scot, who however contented himself with drawing the income
without discharging the duties of the office. The main feature of the
condition of affairs which now grew up was the understanding between
Cecil and those Scots who were most influential with the King. These
were the leaders of the two parties, one of which hitherto had rather
inclined to Spain and the other to France, Lennox and Mar, and
especially the most active, perhaps the cleverest man of all, George
Hume. These were consulted on affairs of importance. The Scots had
the advantage, to which custom almost gave them a right, of seeing the
King as often as they wished: but Cecil and his English friends, in
consequence of their knowledge and practice in business, had the chief
management of affairs in their hands.

The times were gloomy owing to the prevalence of an infectious
disease; still extraordinary numbers of the English nobility thronged
to London, in order to see the King, who took up his residence at
Greenwich. It is computed that there were 10,000 people at court.
James felt infinitely happy amidst the homage which clergy and laity
vied with one another in rendering him.


[296] M'Crie, Life of Andrew Melville, ch. iii.

[297] In a memoir in the Barberini Library, 'De praesenti Scotiae
statu in iis quae ad religionem spectant brevissima narratio,' it is
said, 'supra hominum opinionem auctus est Catholicorum numerus.'

[298] Abstract of Randolph's instructions, from his own pen (Strype,
Annals iii. i. 442): 'Nothing shall be done prejudicial to the King's
title, but the same to pass by private assurance from Her Majesty to
the King.'

[299] Tractatus foederis et arctioris amicitiae. Rymer vi. 4. Randolph
says, 'Three were the causes (of the alliance), viz. the noblemen, the
money, and the assurance.' Strype iii. i. 568.

[300] Courcelles, in Tytler vii. 333.

[301] Slangen, Geschichte Christians iv. i. 117. Chyträus, Saxonia
864, 870. Cp. Melvil, Memoires, 175.

[302] Thirlstane to Burleigh, Aug. 13, 1590. In Tytler ix. 49.

[303] Lord Burleigh's speech in the House of Lords, Strype, Annals iv.
192. According to the 'Narratio de rebus Scoticis,' the Scottish
magnates were the first movers.

[304] James to Elizabeth. 'The sayde rebellis hadd so travelled by
indirect means with everie nobleman, as quhen I feld thaier
myndis--thay plainlie--refusid to yeild to any forfaiture.' 19 Sept.
1593. In Bruce, Letters of Queen Elizabeth and King James VI of
Scotland, 87.

[305] Calderwood, v. 440. 'As to the wisdom of your counsell, which I
call devilish and pernicious, it is this: that yee must be served with
all sorts of men to come to your purpose and grandour Jew and Gentile,
Papist and Protestant. And becaus the ministers and protestants in
Scotland are over strong and controll the king they must be weakenned
and brought low.'

[306] The tumult in Edinburgh, in Calderwood v. 511.

[307] In James Melville's Diary (p. 383) an act is mentioned with the
date of January 1597, 'discharging the ministers stipends that wald
not subscryve a Band acknawlaging the king to be only judge in matters
of treassone or uther civill and criminall causses committed be
preatching, prayer or what way so ever--Thair was keipit a frequent
convention of esteates wharin war maid manie strange and seveire

[308] So Crichton informs the Venetian secretary, Scaramelli, July 10,

[309] With regard to the offers brought by Ogilvy to Spain this has
been undeniably proved on the evidence of another Jesuit. Winwood i.

[310] He expressed to her an 'humble desire that I would banish from
mynde any evill opinion or doupt of your sincerity to me.' (Dec. 2,
1601, in Bruce.)

[311] 'Breve relazione di quanto si è trattato tra S. Sta ed il re
d'Inghilterra.' MS. Rom. From no other quarter moreover is any direct
proof adduced of a promise of toleration properly so called.

[312] The abbot of Kinloss told the Venetian secretary, 'che il re si
trova obligatissimo col pontefice, chiamandolo veramente Clemente,
perche per istanze che sono state più volte fatte a S. Bene da
principi, non ha voluto mai dishonorarlo con divenire ad
escommunicatione di sua persona, e che perciò S. M. desirera di
corresponderle, aggiungendo che i catolici mentre staranno quieti et
honestamente occulti non saranno cercati nè perseguitati.'
(Scaramelli, 8 Maggio, 1603.)

[313] Scaramelli, from the lips of one of the King's agents, March 27.

[314] Scaramelli (April 12) alludes to a declaration from the King,
'Per la conservatione della religione in che vive essa citta e regno.
Questo aviso,' he proceeds, 'ha reso sicuri gli heretici.' In
Halliwell, Letters of the Kings of England ii. 97, there is a letter
from the King to the same effect addressed to his agent Hambleton, the
contents of which were probably divulged at the moment.

[315] Scaramelli, April 17, 'Dicendosi che lasciando i nomi di uno e
l'altro regno habbia qualche intentione di chiamarsi re della Gran
Bretagna per abbracciar con un solo nome ad imitatione di quel antico
e famoso re Arturo tutto quello che gira il spatio di 1700 miglia



How often in former times, when England was in the midst of great and
glorious undertakings, had the Scots, who feared lest they themselves
should be subjected to the power of their neighbours, taken the side
of the enemy and obstructed the victory! Even the last wars might have
taken quite a different course had Scotland made common cause with
Spain. It was this connexion between the two kingdoms which made union
with Scotland a political necessity for England. Ralegh describes this
union under the present circumstances as no less fortunate for England
than the blending of the Red and White Rose had been, as the most
advantageous of all the means of growth which were open to her.

The kingdom of Scotland, like that of England, had extended the
supremacy of the Teutonic over the Keltic races, for these two
elements formed the main constituents of both kingdoms. The German in
conflict with the Keltic race had developed its character and energy.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1603.]

The Orkney Islands, to which Scotland asserted its claim even against
the kindred race of the Norwegians, and the Hebrides, which were
reputed the home of warriors of extraordinary bravery, were now united
in one kingdom with the Channel Islands, which still remained in the
possession of England from the days of the old connexion between the
Normans of Normandy and that country. The Gael of Scotland, the
Gwythel of Erin--and the Irish still appear in most records as
savages--the Cymry of Wales and their Cornish kinsmen, who still spoke
their old language, now appeared as subjects of the same sceptre. The
accession of James to the throne exercised an immediate influence on
Ireland. Tyrone, the O'Neil, threw aside the agreement which the
Queen's ministers had concluded with him against their will, thinking
that he no longer required it, since the right heir had ascended the
throne. The people seemed willing to espouse the cause of the new King
as that of the native head of their race, and a genealogy was
concocted in which his descent was traced to the old Milesian kings.
The whole circuit of the British Isles was united under the name of
Stuart. As a hundred years before the last great province of France
had been gradually united to the French crown, and even within human
memory Portugal, like the other provinces of the Spanish peninsula,
had been added to the crown of Spain, so now a united Britain was
formed side by side with these two great powers. James himself noticed
the resemblance, and a proud feeling of self-confidence filled his
breast, when he reflected that the change had been made without the
help of arms, as if by the force of the internal necessity of things.
Just as formerly the claim to universal supremacy together with the
spread of the Church had greatly increased the importance of the
Papacy, so now the claim to hereditary right possessed by James seemed
to him of immeasurable value, for by it he had won so great and
coveted a prize: it appeared to him the expression of the will of God.

Surprise might be felt that France, which for several centuries had
exercised a ruling influence on Scotland, and which in this union of
the two crowns might have seen a disadvantage if not a danger for
herself, allowed it to take place without obstruction. This conduct
may be explained principally by the violent opposition which existed
between Henry IV and Spain even after the peace of Vervins, and by the
hostile influence incessantly exercised by that power upon the
internal relations of his kingdom, in the pacification of which he was
still engaged. It would have been dangerous for Henry himself to
revive the hatred between England and Scotland, which could only have
redounded to the advantage of his foes.

James I however did not intend, and could not be expected to occupy
exactly the same position as his predecessor. If he had adopted her
views, yet this was a compliance exacted from him by a regard to the
succession: he had felt that it was wrung from him. It is
intelligible, and he did not attempt to disguise the fact, that he
felt the death of Elizabeth to be in some sense his emancipation. He
avoided appearing at her obsequies; every word showed that he did not
love to recall her memory. In London people thought to please him by
getting rid of the likenesses of the glorious Queen, and replacing
them by those of his mother. The first matter which was submitted to
him whilst still in Scotland, and which engaged him on the journey and
immediately after his arrival, was the question whether he should
proceed with the war which Elizabeth had planned; whether in fact he
should continue her general policy. Henry IV sent without delay one of
his most distinguished statesmen, who was moreover a Protestant,
Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully, as Ambassador Extraordinary; and
Sully did not neglect to explain to the King the plan of an alliance
between the States of Europe under the lead of France, that should be
able to cope with the Austro-Spanish power, a plan which Sully had
entertained all his life. James gave the ambassador, as he wished, a
private audience in a retired chamber of his palace at Greenwich,
asked many questions, and listened with attention, for he loved
far-reaching schemes; but he was far from intending to embark on them.
As he had reached the throne without arms, so he wished to maintain
himself there by peaceful means.[316] It was natural that the Queen,
who had been excommunicated by the Pope, and had carried on a war for
life and death with the Spanish crown, should have intended to renew
the struggle with all her might: such designs suited her personal
position; but his own was different. Deeply penetrated by the idea of
legitimacy, he even hesitated whether he should support the
Netherlanders, who after all, in his judgment, were only rebels. To
the remark that it would be a loss for England herself if the taking
of Ostend, then besieged by the Spaniards, were not prevented, he
replied by asking unconcernedly whether this place had not belonged
in former times to the Spanish crown, and whether the English trade
had not flourished there for all that. In these first moments of his
reign however the difficulties of his government were already brought
into view, together with the opposition between different tendencies
latent in it. If he was unwilling to continue the policy of his
predecessor, yet he could not absolutely renounce it: there were
pledges which he could not break, interests which he could not
neglect. In order to meet his objections the argument employed by
Elizabeth was adduced, that she supported the Provinces only because
the agreements, in virtue of which they had submitted themselves to
the house of Burgundy, had been first broken by the other side.[317]
The King's tone of mind was such that this argument may well have had
an effect upon him. At last he consented to bestow further assistance,
although only indirectly. He conceded that one half of the sum which
Henry IV paid to the States General should be subtracted from the
demands which England had against France, and should be employed by
the Netherlanders in recruiting in the English dominions. By this
expedient he intended to satisfy the terms of the old alliance between
England and the Provinces, and yet not be prevented from coming to an
agreement with Spain.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1604.]

The ambassador of the Archduke and the Infanta, the Duke of Aremberg,
was already in the country, but he was afflicted with gout and
somewhat averse to transact business in writing; and nothing more than
general assurances of friendship were exchanged. In October 1603 one
of the Spanish envoys, Don Juan de Tassis, Count of Mediana, made his
appearance. Astonishment was created when, on his entrance into the
hall where the assembled Court awaited him, he advanced into the
middle of the room before he uncovered his head. He spoke Spanish; the
King answered in English: an interpreter was required between them,
although they were both masters of French. But however imperfect
their communications were, they yet came to an understanding. The King
and the ambassador agreed in holding that all grounds for hostility
between Spain and England had disappeared with the death of Queen

After a fresh and long delay--for the Spaniards would have preferred
to transfer the conference to some town on the continent--negotiations
were first seriously undertaken in May 1604, and then after all in
England. The affairs of the Netherlands formed the principal subject
of discussion.

The King of Spain demanded that the King of England should abstain
from assisting his rebellious subjects. The English explained the
reason why the United Netherlanders were not considered rebels. The
Spaniards demanded that the fortresses at least, which the Provinces
had formerly surrendered to the Queen as a security for the repayment
of the loan made by her, should be restored to their lawful owner the
King, who would not fail to repay the money advanced. King James
answered that he was tied by the pledges of the Queen, and that he
must maintain his word and honour.[318] The Spaniards on this started
the proposal that the English on their part should break off their
traffic with the United Provinces. The English replied that this would
be most injurious to themselves. In these transactions James was
mainly guided by the consideration that, if he decidedly threw off the
Provinces, he would be giving them over into the hands of France, to
the most serious injury of England, and without advantage to Spain. On
this account principally he thought that he was obliged to maintain
his previous relations with them. The English found a very
characteristic reason for peace with Spain in the wish to restore
their old commercial connexion with that country. The Spaniards were
ready to make this concession, but only within the ancient limits,
from which the trade with both the Indies was excluded. They argued
that their government did not allow this even to all its own subjects;
how then could foreigners be admitted to a share in it? Cecil on this
remarked that England by its insular position was adapted for trading
with the whole world, and could not possibly allow these regions to be
closed against her; that she already had relations with countries on
which no Spaniard had ever set foot, and that a wide field for further
discoveries was still open. At no price would he allow his countrymen
to be again excluded from America or the East Indies, to which
countries they had just begun to extend their voyages.[319]

The peace which was at length brought about is remarkable for its
indefiniteness. The English promised that they would not support the
rebellious subjects and enemies of the King of Spain; and it was
arranged that an unrestricted trade should again be opened with all
countries, with which it had been carried on before the war. At the
first glance this looked as if any further alliance with Holland, as
well as the navigation to the Indies, was rendered impossible. The
Venetian envoy once spoke with King James on the subject, who answered
that it would soon be shown that this opinion was erroneous. In fact,
as soon as the first ships returned from the East Indies, preparations
were at once made for a second expedition. The States General were not
interfered with in the enlistment which they had been allowed to
begin; for it was maintained that they could not be included under the
term rebellious subjects. The only difference made was that similar
leave to enlist in the English dominions was granted to the Spaniards
also, who for that purpose resorted especially to Ireland. In this way
the peace exactly expressed the relations into which England was
thrown by the change of government. James, who for his own part would
have wished simply to renew the friendly relations which had formerly
existed, found himself compelled to stipulate for exceptions owing to
the form which the interests of England had now assumed. The Spaniards
allowed them, because even on these terms the termination of the war
was of the greatest advantage to them, and they did not surrender the
hope of changing the peace into a full alliance later on, although
their proposals to that effect were in the first instance declined.

And notwithstanding any ambiguity which might arise as to the scope of
the treaty with regard to individual questions, the conclusion of
peace was in itself of great importance: it implied a change of policy
which created the greatest stir. It affected the United Provinces and
filled them with anxiety, for in their judgment not only was the
action of Spain against them no longer fettered, but the Spanish
ambassador in England was sure in time by means of gold and intrigues
to acquire an influence which must be fatal to them.

The King thought that he had achieved a great success. His intention
was to be as fully acknowledged by the Catholic powers as by the
Protestant; to occupy a neutral position between those who were
favourable, and those who were opposed, to Spain, and to live in peace
with all, without however losing sight of the interests of England.
Men could not be blind to the correspondence between this policy and
the general tendency of these times. From the epoch of the Absolution
of Henry IV and the overthrow of the League, the separation between
religious and political interests had begun. Men on either side no
longer regarded the ascendancy of Spain as a support or as a danger to
religion. The Spanish government itself under the guidance of the Duke
of Lerma acquired a peaceful character. Thus King James was made happy
by seeing embassies from the Catholic states arrive in England. Not
until he stood between the two parties did he feel himself to be in
truth a king, and to surpass his predecessor.

This sovereign assumed a similar attitude towards the Catholics of
England as well. He could not vouchsafe to them a real toleration; but
a few months after his arrival in England he actually carried out what
he had already promised, an alleviation of those burdens which weighed
most heavily on them. The most grievous was the fine collected every
month from those who refused to take part in the Protestant service.
James declared to an assemblage of leading Catholics, that he would
not enforce this fine so long as they behaved quietly, and did not
show contempt towards himself and the State. The Catholics reminded
him that their absence from the service of the Church might be
interpreted as contempt. He assured them that he would not regard it
in this light. The fines, which in late years had amounted to more
than £10,000, decreased in the year 1603 to £300, and in 1604 to £200.
The King, like his predecessor, would not tolerate Jesuits and
Seminarists, but he was content with their banishment; it would have
been contrary to his temper to have had them executed. He sought to
avoid all the consequences that must have been provoked by the
hostility of this element which was still so powerful in the world at
large and among his own subjects.

But even within the domain of Protestantism he was now encountered by
a similar problem.

The investigation of the influence which the Scots and English have
exercised on one another in the last few centuries would be a task of
essential importance for the history of intellectual life; for in the
development of the prevailing spirit of the nation the Scots as well
as the English have had a large share. Even under Elizabeth these
relations had begun to exist. The growth of English Puritanism
especially, which had already given the Queen much trouble, must be
regarded as but the dissemination of the forms and ideas that had
arisen in the Church of Scotland. But how much stronger must the
action of this cause have become now that a Scottish king had ascended
the English throne! The union between two populations which so nearly
resembled one another in their original composition, and in the
direction taken by their religious development, could not be a merely
territorial union: it must lead to the closest relation between the
spirit of the two peoples.

It was natural from the state of the case, that on the accession of a
Scottish king in England the English clergy who leaned to the Scottish
system should embrace the hope of being emancipated to some extent
from that strict subordination to their bishops which they endured
with reluctance. On the first arrival of James, whilst he was still on
his way to London, they laid before him an address signed by eight
hundred of the clergy, in which they besought him, in accordance with
God's word, to lighten the rigour of this jurisdiction and of their
condition in general, and in the first place to allow them to set
before him the feasibility of the alteration. They had nourished the
hope that the King might be prevailed on to reduce the English
episcopate to the level of the Scottish, in the shape in which he had
just restored it.[320]

But the tendencies which the King brought with him out of Scotland ran
in an altogether different direction. He had often been personally
affronted by the Presbyterians: he hated their system; for in his
opinion equality in the Church necessarily led to equality in the
State. His intention was rather by degrees to develop further on the
English model those beginnings of episcopacy which he had introduced
into Scotland. In December 1603 he convened, as the Puritans wished,
an assembly of the Church at Hampton Court, to which he also invited
the leading men among the opponents of uniformity. But he opened the
conference at once with a thanksgiving to Almighty God 'for bringing
him into the promised land where religion was purely professed, where
he sat among grave, learned, and reverend men, not, as before,
elsewhere, a king without state, without honour, without order, where
beardless boys would brave him to his face.' He declared that the
government of the English Church had been approved by manifold
blessings from God himself; and he said that he had not called this
assembly in order to make innovations in the same, but in order to
strengthen it by the removal of some abuses. In the conference which
he opened he held the office of moderator himself. Certainly the
suggestions of the Puritans were not altogether without result. When
they expressed the wish to see the Sunday more strictly observed, to
have a trustworthy and faithful translation of the Bible provided, and
to have the Apocrypha excluded from the canonical scriptures, they met
with a favourable reception; but the King would neither allow the
confessions of faith to be tampered with, nor the ceremonies which had
been brought under discussion to undergo the least diminution. He
thought that they were older than the Papacy, that the decision of
deeper questions of doctrine ought to be left to the discussion of the
Universities, and that the articles of the faith would only be
encumbered by them. And every limitation of episcopal authority he
entirely refused to discuss. The bishops themselves were amazed at the
zeal with which the King espoused the cause of ecclesiastical
jurisdiction, and allowed their justification of it even on a point of
great importance for the constitution, the imposition of the oath _ex
officio_.[321] They even exclaimed that God had bestowed on them a
king, the like of whom had not been seen from the beginning of the
world. It had been the intention and custom of other princes to limit
the jurisdiction of the clergy, and to diminish their possessions. How
much had they suffered from this even under Elizabeth! On the contrary
it was one of the first endeavours of James I to put an end for ever
to these attacks. For as in Scotland the abolition of bishoprics had
been attended with a diminution of the authority of the crown, he had
reason to be deeply convinced of the identity of episcopal and
monarchical interests. In the heat of the conference at Hampton Court
he laid down as his principle, 'No bishop no king.'

But in all this did King James fall in with the spirit of the English
constitution? Did he not rather at this point intrude into it the
sharpness of his Scottish prejudices? The old statesmen of England had
acknowledged the services of the English Puritans in saving the
Protestant confession in the struggle with Catholicism. The Puritans
only wished not to be oppressed. He confounded them altogether with
their Scottish co-religionists with whom he had had to contend for
the sovereignty of the realm.

In less than two months from the Hampton Court Conference the Book of
Common Prayer was re-issued with some few alterations, with regard to
which the King expressly stated that they were the only alterations
which were to be expected; for that the safety of states consisted in
clinging fast to what had been ordained after good consideration. This
was soon followed by a new collection of ecclesiastical laws, in the
shape which they had taken under the deliberations of Convocation. In
them the royal supremacy was insisted on in the strongest terms, and
that over the whole kingdom, Scotland included. The same competence
with regard to the Church was therein assigned to the King which had
belonged to the pious kings of Judah and to the earliest Christian
emperors: their authority was declared to be second only to that of
Heaven. Henceforward no one was to be ordained without promising to
observe the Book of Common Prayer and to acknowledge the
supremacy.[322] And this statute had a retrospective application, even
to those who were already in possession of an ecclesiastical benefice.
The King and Archbishop Bancroft ordered that a short respite should
be given to those who were inclined to acquiesce; but that those who
made a decided resistance should without further ceremony be deprived
of their benefices.

On this the whole body of Puritans necessarily became agitated. A
number of clergymen sought out the King at Royston in December 1604.
While they announced to him their decision rather to resign their
benefices than to submit to these ordinances, they called his
attention to the danger to which the souls of the faithful would be
subjected by this severity. In February a petition in favour of those
ministers who refused to subscribe was presented to the King by some
of the gentry of Northamptonshire. He expressed himself about this
with great vehemence at a sitting of the Privy Council. He said that
he had from his cradle suffered at the hands of these Puritans a
persecution which would follow him to his grave. But in England the
tribunals were quite ready to come to his assistance. In the Star
Chamber it was declared a proceeding of seditious tendency to assail
the King with joint petitions in a matter of religion.

Towards the end of February 1605 the bishops cited the clergy of
Puritan views to appear at St. Paul's in London in order to take the
oath. There were some members of this party who held it lawful to
conform to the Anglican Church because it at least acknowledged the
true doctrine. These had time for reflection given them; the rest who
persevered in an opposition of principle were deprived of their
offices without delay.

These proceedings for the first time recalled most vividly to men's
minds the memory of the late Queen. People said that, though she
disliked the Puritans, she had never consented to persecute them on
religious grounds, for that she well knew how much she owed to them in
every other respect. They saw a proof of the King's incapacity in his
departure from her example and pattern. They thought him to blame for
remitting in favour of Catholic recusants the execution of the penal
laws enrolled among the statutes of the realm. And the foreign policy
of the King awakened no less disapproval. It was felt as an injury,
that he had put an end by the peace to the hostilities against Spain,
which had now become even popular. Even the severe edicts issued
against the piracy, which had found support in different quarters,
produced in many places an unfavourable impression. The King was
obliged to compensate the admiral for the losses which he affirmed
that he had suffered in consequence.[323] And how much greater were
the apprehensions for the future which were connected with this
policy! It was remarked that he sacrificed the interests of religion
and of the country to those of the Catholics and the Catholic powers.

But there was now an organ of political opposition in the country in
which all these hostile feelings found their expression. The
resentment of injured interests, the resistance of the Puritans, and
the excitement of the capital, impressed themselves on the Parliament.

All previous governments had exercised a systematic influence upon the
election of members of the Lower House, and had encroached on their
freedom. When the first elections under King James were about to be
held he declared himself against the exercise of any such influence.
He ordered that the elections should be conducted with freedom and
impartiality, without regard to the bidding of any one and without the
interference of strangers; and that the electors should be allowed to
return the most deserving candidates in each county. He thought that,
as he avoided unpopular measures, men would voluntarily meet his
wishes. It appeared to him sufficient, if, in issuing the writs, he
coupled with them the admonition to avoid all party spirit, and
especially to abstain from electing such as from blind superstition on
the one hand, or from fickleness or restlessness on the other, wished
to disturb the uniformity of religion.[324] But in politics personal
gratitude is only a feeble motive. The elections followed the current
of opinion which had been set in motion by the Hampton Court
Conference. In the very first Parliament of King James many Puritans
obtained entrance into the House: the new line which this Parliament
struck out influenced the whole subsequent period.

The speech with which King James opened the session on the 19th of
March 1604, immediately before the conclusion of the first year of his
reign, has been often and often reproduced. It is full of the ideas
with which his mind was principally occupied, of the union of both
kingdoms in one great whole, and of the establishment of religious
uniformity. He thought that in neither of the two kingdoms ought the
memory of their special privileges to be kept alive, for they were
pure monarchies from the first: no privilege could separate them from
their head. He explicitly called the Puritans an ochlocratic sect.

It is extraordinary that, while he sought to win men's affections, it
was his fortune to use expressions which were sure to provoke the
strongest religious and political antipathies.

Parliament acknowledged his succession to be rightful and lawful, and
granted to him, as to his predecessors, tonnage and poundage, i.e. the
right of levying customs, for his life: it arranged according to his
wishes for the withdrawal of many sentences which had been pronounced
against his interest; but in other matters it offered him from the
very first persistent opposition. Contrary to what might have been
expected, the first point concerned the validity of the elections.

In Buckinghamshire the King's officers had annulled an election on the
ground of illegality, and had held a second. The Lower House found
that this was improper, on the ground that the right of deciding in
matters concerning the election of representatives belonged from
ancient times to the House of Commons alone. They declined to confer
on this subject with the Privy Council, or with the Upper House.
Ill-will and jealousy were excited against those of higher rank who
had wished to bring one of their own party into the House of Commons,
and the tempers of the members seemed to be becoming no little
inflamed. At last, by the personal mediation of the King,[325] the
Lower House was induced to allow both of the elected candidates to be
unseated, and a third to be elected in their place. Even this it
agreed to reluctantly; but it was at least its own resolution, and not
the result of official influence: and the Speaker issued his writ for
a new election. One of the foremost principles of parliamentary life,
that the scrutiny of elections belonged to the Parliament alone, was
in this manner indubitably established afresh.

Even his ideas on the union of the two kingdoms, which were nearest to
his heart, were shared by few members of the Lower House; and he was
obliged to raise the question by a new and urgent address. A
commission of both Houses was indeed nominated to deliberate together
with the Scots on the execution of the plan. The commission however
was so numerous, and so large a number was required to be actually
present for the transaction of business, that it was evident
beforehand that no result would be achieved; especially as it was
confidently to be expected that the Scots would appoint just as
numerous a commission on their side.[326] And the King was already
aware that the opposition against him was not confined to the Lower
House, but in this matter at least was most widely diffused. The
proclamation was already drawn up by which he intended to declare
himself King of Great Britain. The judges were consulted by the Upper
House, but their sentence favoured the view that this alteration could
not take place without disadvantage to the State.

The grant of a subsidy was most urgently needed by the King, whose
purse had been emptied by the expenses of taking possession and by his
prodigality; but the tone of feeling was so unfavourable that he
forbore to apply for it, as he would not expose himself to a refusal
which was certain beforehand.

A petition in favour of some indulgence for the Puritans was drawn up
in complete opposition to the King's views, although it seems not to
have been carried through or sent in. A rigorous bill against the
Jesuits and recusants on the other hand actually passed through the
House. Lord Montague, who spoke against it, was brought before the
House of Lords to answer for some expressions which he used on that
occasion, and which savoured of Catholic principles.

It is quite clear that the very first Parliament of King James set
itself systematically in opposition to him. He desired union,
clemency to the Catholics, and punishment of the Puritans; and he
required subsidies: on all these subjects an opposite view prevailed
in Parliament. And the divergence was not confined to single points.
The maintenance of that extended prerogative which had been once
established, had been endured under a sovereign who was a native of
the country, had deserved well of her subjects, and was thoroughly
English in her sentiments. But similar pretensions appeared
insufferable in a king of foreign birth, who pursued ideas that were
British rather than English, or rather who had combined for himself a
number of tendencies arising out of the position in which, grand as it
was, he stood alone among English sovereigns. We perceive that by this
time the notion had been definitely formed of reviving the rights of
Parliament which had fallen into abeyance in the late reigns.[327]
Even under the Tudors Parliament had exercised a very considerable
influence, but had more or less submitted to the ruling powers. Under
the new government it thought of winning back the authority which it
had wrung from more than one Plantagenet, and had possessed under the
house of Lancaster. Already members were heard to assert that the
legislative power lay in their hands; and that, if the King refused to
approve the laws for which they demanded his sanction, they would
refuse him the subsidies which he needed.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1605.]

And this resolution was strengthened by the ill-feeling which the
treatment of the Puritan ministers excited. The Parliament had been
adjourned from August 1604 until February 1605: but the King feared
that these clergymen, who had been assailed just at that time, might
apply to the Lower House in which so many Puritans had seats.[328] He
therefore prorogued it afresh in the hope of getting rid of certain
persons who were especially hostile, or of bringing them over to his
own side.

Instead of this, new grievances were constantly accumulating. In the
absence of regular subsidies the King helped himself to money by a
voluntary loan, which gave great offence, and in this matter also led
people to contrast the late Queen's conduct with that of James. She
had, so people said, conducted the war in Spain, afforded help to the
Netherlands, and maintained garrisons on the Scottish border, three
measures which had cost her millions; of all this there was no mention
under the present King. On the contrary he had additional revenues
from Scotland; for what reason did he require extraordinary
subsidies?[329] Men complained of his movements to and fro in the
country, and of the harshness with which the right of the court to
transport and cheap entertainment on these occasions was enforced; of
his hunting, by which the tillage was injured; most of all, of his
intended advancement of the Customs Duties, for this would damage
trade and certainly would benefit only the great men who were
interested in the farming of the Customs. The King had once thought of
dissolving Parliament, but afterwards renounced the idea. As it was,
when Parliament was summoned for November 1605, a stormy session lay
before it, owing to the attack made by the Parliamentary and Puritan
party upon the behaviour of the King in ecclesiastical and political
questions, as well as upon the financial disorder which was gaining

An event intervened which gave an entirely different direction to the
course of affairs.


[316] Économies royales v. 23.

[317] Molino, Giugno 9, 1604: 'Se ben è vero, ch'erano suddite del re
di Spagna, è anco verissimo, che quei popoli si erano soggettati alla
casa di Borgogna--con quelle conditioni e capitoli, che si sa: i quali
se fossero stati osservati dalli ministri di Spagna, senza dubio quei
popoli non se sariano ribellati. Da queste parole restarono li
Spagnoli offesi.'

[318] Cecil to Winwood, June 13. 'That he is tied by former contracts
of his predecessors, which he must observe.

[319] From the reports of the French ambassador, in Siri, Memorie
recondite i. 278.

[320] Letter from the South (Winchester) to Berwick, in Calderwood vi.
235. 'I would the scotish presbytereis would be petitioners that our
bishops might be like theirs in autoritie though they keep their
livings. The King is resolved to have a preaching ministry.'

[321] The High Commission was compared with the Inquisition: 'men are
urged to subscribe more than law requireth and by the oath _ex
officio_ forced to accuse themselves.' The archbishop answered that
this was a mistake: 'if the article touch the party for life, liberty,
or scandall, he may refuse to answer.' State Trials ii. 86. The
account in Wilkins iv. 374 is more unsatisfactory than the character
of the book would lead us to expect.

[322] Art. 36: 'Neminem nisi praevia trium articulorum subscriptione

[323] Duodo relates (Dec. 6, 1603) that the King said to him: 'Che
dubita, che li suoi capitani di mare siano alquanti interessati che
anzi, e mostro di dirlo in gran confidenza era stato necessitato
assegnar non so che provisione del suo proprio denaro all'Amiraglio;
perche si doleva di non poterse sostentare per esserli mancato alcun
utile di questa natura.'

[324] 'The choice to be made freely and indifferentlye without respect
of any commaunde sute prayer or other meanes to the contrary.' From a
memorandum of the Lord Chancellor Egerton, Egerton Papers 385. Molino,
May 12, 1604: 'Stimò il re che il concedere la liberta alle provincie
di poter far elettione degli huomini per mandar al parlamento conforme
agli antichi privilegi del regno et il non haver voluto osservare li
molti tratti delli precessori suoi che non avrebbero permesso che la
elettione cadesse in altre persone che in suoi confidenti e
dipendenti, dovesse disponer gli animi di ogn'uno a sodisfarlo e

[325] Molino: 'Havendo voluto troncar l'occasione di qualche maggior
scandalo; perche di gia li sangui si andavano riscaldando molto.'

[326] Molino (Dispaccio 19 Maggio) states this reason.

[327] Molino: 'Parlando molto liberamente della liberta e della
autorita del parlamento in vista pero sempre degli antichi privilegi,
quali erano andati in desuetudine e se saranno reassonti--senza dubio
sera un detrimento dell'autorita e potesta regia.' (12 Maggio.)

[328] Molino: 'Dubitando che quando li capi di questa setta facessero
qualche moto al parlamento, dove ne sono tanti di questa professione,
potesse nascer qualche inconveniente.'(20 Oct. 1604.)

[329] Molino: 'Queste cose vanno spargendo quelli che han poco volunta
di sodisfar alli desideri di S. M. che per se ne sta molto dubiosa.'
(3 Nov. 1605.)



James I was welcomed, if one may say so, by a conspiracy on his
entrance into England.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1603.]

Two men of rank, Markham and Brook, who had before held communications
with him, and had cherished bright expectations, but found themselves
passed over in the composition of the new government, now imagined
that they might rise to the highest offices if they could succeed in
detaching the King from those who surrounded him, and in getting him
into their own hands, perhaps within the walls of the Tower or even in
Dover Castle. They conspired for this object with some Catholic
priests, who could not forgive the King for having deceived their
expectations of a declaration of toleration at the commencement of his
reign. They intended to call out so great a number of Catholics ready
for action, that there could be no doubt of the successful issue of a
coup-de-main. A priest was then to receive the Great Seal and above
all things to issue an edict of toleration. We are reminded of the
combination under Essex, when even some Puritans offered their
assistance in an undertaking directed against the government. One of
their leaders, Lord Grey de Wilton, a young man of high spirit and
hope, was now induced to join the plot. But on this occasion the
Catholics were the predominant element. The priests thought that the
pretence of the necessity of supporting the King against the effect of
a Puritan rising would best contribute to set the zealous Catholics in
motion; and it is undeniable that other persons of high rank were also
connected with these intrigues. The principal opponents of Cecil and
his friends, whose hostile influence on Elizabeth had at an earlier
period been feared by the minister, were Lord Cobham, the brother of
Brook, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Cobham, who like most others had looked
for the overthrow of Cecil on the accession of the King, fell into an
ungovernable fit of disappointed ambition when Cecil was more strongly
confirmed in his position; and his anger was directed against the King
himself, from whom he now had nothing to expect, and who had brought
with him a family which made the hope of any further alteration appear
impossible. He had let fall the expression in public that the fox and
his cubs must be destroyed at one blow. Negotiations, aiming at the
renewal of the Lady Arabella's claims, had been opened with the
ambassador of the Archduke, who then perhaps felt anxiety lest King
James, under the influence of Cecil, should adhere to the policy of
his predecessor. In order to effect a revolution, Cobham launched into
extravagant schemes which embraced all Europe.

The affair might have been dangerous, if a man of the activity,
weight, and intelligence of Walter Ralegh had taken part in it. Ralegh
does not deny that Cobham had spoken to him on the subject, but he
affirms that he had not heeded the idle words, and had even forgotten
them again:[330] and in fact nothing has been brought to light which
proves his complicity, or even his remote participation, in this plot.
Still without doubt he was among the opponents of the government. If
it is true, as people say, that he made an attempt by means of a
letter to the King to procure the fall of Cecil, it is easily
conceivable that the latter and his friends availed themselves of
every opportunity to involve him in the accusation. Ralegh defended
himself with so much courage and vigour, that the listeners who had
come wishing to see him condemned went away with a tenfold stronger
desire that he might be acquitted. He himself did not deny that he
might be condemned by the cruel laws of England: he reminded the King
however of a passage in the old statutes, in which for that very
reason mercy and pity were recommended to him. The accused were all
condemned. Brook and the priests paid the penalty of death: Markham,
Cobham, and Grey were reprieved when they were already standing on the
scaffold--reprieved moreover by an autograph mandate of James, which
was entirely due to an unexpected resolution of the King, who wished
to shine by showing mercy as well as by severity. The first of these
lived henceforward in exile: the second continued to live in England,
but weighed down by his disgrace: Grey and Walter Ralegh were
imprisoned in the Tower. We shall meet with Ralegh once more: he never
lost sight of the world, nor the world of him.

This conspiracy which, although wrongly as we have seen, bears the
name of Ralegh, was an attempt to put an end in some way or other to
the government, in the shape in which it had been erected by the union
of English statesmen with the Scottish King. Its movers wished to
effect this object by getting rid either of the statesmen, or even of
the King himself. But on the contrary they only succeeded in
establishing the government so much the more firmly; and it then under
the joint influence of both its components entered on the course which
we have described. But if it was so seriously endangered at its
commencement, its progress also could not be free from hostile
attacks. The Puritans threw themselves into the ranks of the
Parliamentary Opposition. The Catholics were brought into a most
singular position.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1604.]

In public they found themselves far better off under James than they
had been under Elizabeth. Far greater scope was allowed to the local
influence of Catholic magnates in protecting their co-religionists.
The penal laws, which as regards pecuniary payments were virtually
abolished, were moreover no longer vigorously enforced in any other
respect. Not only were the chapels of the Catholic ambassadors in the
capital numerously attended, but in some provinces, especially in
Wales, Catholic sermons were known to be delivered in the open air,
and attended by thousands of hearers.[331] At times the opinion
revived that the King was inclined to go over to Catholicism. He
repudiated the supposition with some show of indignation. But, as we
stated, the Queen incontestably sympathised with the Papacy. She even
refrained from attending the Anglican service, and formed relations
with the Nuncio in Paris, from whom she received communications and
presents. Though Pope Clement on a former occasion had issued breves
which made the obedience of Catholics to a new government dependent on
the profession of Catholicism by the sovereign, yet these were
virtually recalled by a later issue. When the English ambassador in
Paris complained to the Nuncio there of the above-mentioned
participation of Catholic priests in a conspiracy against the King,
the Nuncio laid before him a letter of the Pope's nephew, Cardinal
Aldobrandini, in which he declared it to be the Pope's pleasure that
the Catholics in England should be obedient to their king, and should
pray for him.[332] Thus it exactly fell in with the King's views to be
a Protestant, as was absolutely necessary for his authority in England
and Scotland, and yet at the same time not to have the Catholics
against him, and to be able to reckon the Pope of Rome among his

It is evident that this state of affairs, as it was inconsistent with
the laws of England, could not be permanently maintained. Even men of
moderate views in other respects disapproved the middle course taken
by the King: for they thought it necessary to concede nothing to the
adherents of the Papacy, if they were to be saved from the necessity
of conceding everything. The Catholics desired a public declaration of
toleration. But this could only have emanated from Parliament: the
King had not the courage, and his ministers had not the wish, to make
a serious proposal to that effect. On the contrary, when the
Protestant spirit of the capital displayed itself so unmistakably in
consequence of the severities with which the Puritans were threatened,
the King and his Privy Council, while affirming that they were merely
executing the laws, announced their intention of introducing a like
severity in the treatment of the Catholics. James I appeared to feel
himself insulted if any one threw a doubt on his wish to allow the
laws to operate in both directions. And as the Parliament which was so
zealously Protestant was expected to reassemble in the autumn of 1605,
the laws against the Catholics began to be applied without
forbearance. A renewed persecution was first set on foot against the
priests, who it is true were not punished with death, at least in the
vicinity of the Court, but were thrown into prison, where they not
infrequently succumbed to the rough treatment which they had
undergone. But even the laity daily suffered more and more from the
violence of the spies who forced their way into their houses. They
complained loudly and bitterly of the insecurity of their position,
which had already gone so far that often no tenants could be found for
their farms; and they considered that the least evil, for to-day they
lost their possessions, to-morrow they would lose their freedom, and
the day after their life.[333] There had now for a long time been two
parties among them, one of which submitted to what was inevitable,
while the other offered a violent resistance. With the fresh increase
of oppression, the latter party obtained the upper hand. They mocked
at the hope, in which men indulged themselves, of a change of religion
on the part of the King, who on the contrary was in their view an
irreclaimable Protestant, and assumed an air of clemency to the
Catholics, only to draw the rein tighter hereafter. A brief from the
Pope exhorted them to acquiesce: but even the Pope could not persuade
them to allow themselves to be sacrificed without further ceremony.
Some of the most resolute once more applied to the Spanish court at
this time as they had done before. But in that quarter not only had
peace been concluded, but the hope of effecting a close alliance with
England had been conceived. A deaf ear was turned to all their

While they were thus hard pressed and desperate, the thought of
helping themselves had, if not originated, at least ripened, in the
breast of one or two of the boldest of them. They conceived a plan
which in savage recklessness surpassed anything which was devised in
this epoch so full of conspiracies.

Among the families which sheltered the mission-priests on their
arrival in England, and who were moved by them to throw off their
reserve in the profession of Catholicism, the Treshams and Catesbys
were especially prominent in Northamptonshire. They belonged to the
wealthiest and most important families in that county; and the penal
laws had borne upon them with especial severity. The Winters of
Huddington, who also were very zealous Catholics, were related to
them. It is easy to understand, how the young men who were growing up
in this family, such as Thomas Winter and Robert Catesby,
acknowledging no duty to the Protestant government, retorted the
oppression which they experienced from it with bold resistance and
schemes of violence. In these they were joined by two brothers of the
same way of thinking, John and Christopher Wright, stout and
soldier-like men, belonging to a family which came originally from
York. They all participated in the attempt of the Earl of Essex, for
above all things they were eager for the overthrow of the existing
government: and Robert Catesby was set at liberty only on payment of a
heavy fine, which he could hardly raise by the sale of one of the most
productive of the family estates. They were among those who, when
Queen Elizabeth lay on her death-bed, proclaimed most loudly their
desire for a thorough change, and were arrested in consequence.[334]
They had expected toleration at least from the new government: as this
was not granted them they set to work at once on new schemes of
insurrection. Christopher Wright was one of those who had invited
Philip III to support the Catholics. When the Constable of Castile
came to Flanders to negotiate the peace, Thomas Winter visited him in
order to lay their wish before him. Though they met with a refusal
from him as well as from his master they found nevertheless a support
which was independent of the approval of individuals. In the archducal
Netherlands a combination of a peculiar kind, favourable to their
views, had been formed, in consequence of the permission to recruit in
the British dominions, which by the terms of the peace had been
granted to Spain as well as to the Netherlands. An English regiment,
about fifteen hundred strong, had been raised, in which the chaplains
were all Jesuit fathers; and no officers were admitted but those who
were entirely devoted to them. An English Jesuit named Baldwin, and a
soldier of the same opinions, Owen by name, were the leading spirits
among them. There was here, so to speak, a school of soldiers side by
side with a school of priests, in which every act of the English
government provoked slander, malediction, and schemes of opposition.
Pope Clement was blamed for not threatening James with excommunication
as Elizabeth had formerly been threatened; and the necessity for
violent means of redress was canvassed without disguise. These views
were repeated in congenial circles in Paris and reacted also upon
their friends in England. Robert Catesby had been most active in the
enlistment of the regiment. Christopher Wright on his journey to Spain
was attended by one of the most resolute officers of this regiment,
Guy Fawkes. The latter returned with Winter to England, and was
pointed out by Owen as a man admirably qualified to conduct the
horrible undertaking which was being prepared for execution. It must
remain a question in whose head the thought of proceeding to it at
this moment originated: we only know that Catesby first communicated
it to another, and then with the aid of this comrade to the rest of
the band. To this another member had been added, who was connected, if
only in a remote degree, with one of the most distinguished families
among the English nobility. I refer to Thomas Percy, a kinsman of the
Earl of Northumberland, who through his influence had once received a
place in the court establishment of King James of Scotland, and had
then been the medium for forming a connexion between this prince and
the Catholics. He was enraged because the assurances which he then
thought that he might make to the Catholics in the name of the King,
had not been fulfilled by the latter. In the spring of 1604, just at
the time when the peace between England and Spain was concluded, by
which no stipulations were made for the Catholics, they met one day in
a lonely house near S. Clement's Inn, and bound themselves by a sacred
and solemn oath to inviolable secrecy. It had been their intention
once more to submit to the assembled Parliament an urgent petition in
the name of the Catholics: but the resolutions of the House had
sufficed to convince them that nothing could be gained by this step.
Quite the contrary: it was apparent that the next session would impose
far heavier conditions on them. An attack on the person of the King,
or of his ministers, in the shape in which it had so often been
resolved upon, could not do much even if it were successful: for the
Parliament was always in reserve with its Protestant majority to
establish anti-Catholic statutes, and the judges to execute them.
Catesby now disclosed a plan which comprehended all their opponents at
once. The King himself and his eldest son, the officers of state and
of the court, the lords spiritual and temporal, the members of the
House of Commons, one and all at the moment when they were collected
to reopen Parliament, were to be blown into the air with gunpowder in
the hall where they assembled--there where they issued the detested
laws were they to be annihilated; vengeance was to be taken on them at
the same time that room was to be made for another order of things in
Church and State.

This project was not altogether new. Already under Elizabeth there had
been a talk of doing again to her what Bothwell had done or attempted
to do to Henry Darnley: but men had perceived even at that time that
this would not conduce to their purpose, and had hit upon a plan of
blowing the Queen and her Parliament into the air together. Henry
Garnet, the superior of the Jesuits, had been consulted on the
subject; and he had declared the enterprise lawful, and had only
advised them to spare as many of the innocent as possible in its
execution.[335] The scheme which had been started under Elizabeth was
resumed under King James, when men saw that his accession to the
throne did not produce the hoped-for change. On this occasion also
scruples were felt on the ground that many a Catholic would perish at
the same time. To a question on the subject submitted to him without
closer description of the case Garnet answered in the spirit of a
mufti delivering his fettah, that if an end were indubitably a good
one, and could be accomplished in no other way, it was lawful to
destroy even some of the innocent with the guilty.[336] Catesby had no
compassion even for the innocent: he regarded the lords generally as
only poltroons and atheists, whose place would be better filled by
vigorous men.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1605.]

Without delay, before the end of December 1604, the conspirators
proceeded to make their preparations. Percy, who was still numbered
among the retainers of the court, hired a house which adjoined the
Houses of Parliament. They were attempting to carry a mine through the
foundation walls of that building--a design that says more for their
zeal than for their intelligence, and one which could hardly have been
effected--when a vault immediately under the House of Lords happened
to fall vacant, and, as they were able to hire it, offered them a far
better opportunity for the execution of their scheme. They filled it
with a number of powder-barrels which are said to have contained the
enormous quantity of 9,000 pounds of powder, and they confidently
expected to bring about the great catastrophe with all its horrors on
November 5, 1605, the day which after many changes had been appointed
for the opening of Parliament. Their intention was, as soon as the
King and the Prince of Wales had perished, to gain possession of the
younger prince or of the princess, and to place one or other on the
throne, with a regency under a protector during their minority.[337]
All preparations had been made for bringing an effective force into
the field; and its principal leaders were to assemble at Dunchurch in
Warwickshire under pretence of hunting. The English regiment in
Flanders was to be brought over and was to serve as the nucleus of a
new force. There is no doubt that Owen was thoroughly conversant with
their plans. Many other trustworthy people were admitted into the
secret, and supported the project with their money. One of these was
sent to Rome in order to convince the Pope of the necessity of the
undertaking and to move him to resolutions in support of it. On All
Saints' Day Father Garnet interrupted his prayer with a hymn of praise
for the deliverance of the inheritance of the faithful from the
generation of the ungodly.

But warnings had already come to the government, especially from
Paris, where the priests of the Jesuit party ventured to express
themselves still more plainly than in London. The warning was conveyed
with the express intimation that 'somewhat is at present in hand among
these desperate hypocrites.'[338] What an impression must now have
been produced when one of the Catholic lords, who at an earlier period
had followed this party, but had for some time withdrawn from it, Lord
Mounteagle, communicated to the first minister a letter in which he
was admonished in mysterious language to hold aloof from the opening
of Parliament. It may be that the King, as he himself relates, in
deciphering the sense of a word hit upon the supposition that a fate
similar to that of his father was being prepared for him; or it may be
that the ministers had, as they affirm, come upon the traces of the
matter; but however this may have been, on the evening before the
opening of Parliament the vaults were examined, when not only were the
powder-barrels found among wood and faggots, but also one of the
conspirators, Guy Fawkes, who was busy with the last preparations for
the execution of the plot. With a smiling countenance he confessed his
purpose, which he seemed to regard as the fulfilment of a religious
duty. The pedantic monarch thought himself in the presence of a
fanatical Mutius Scaevola.

The rest of the conspirators who were in London, alarmed by the
discovery, hastened to the appointed rendezvous at Dunchurch; but the
news which they brought with them caused general discouragement. With
a band of about one hundred men, they set off to make their escape to
Wales, the home of most of the Catholics, hoping to receive the
promised reinforcements and the support of the population on their
way. They once actually attempted to assure themselves of the latter;
but on declaring that they were for God and the country, they received
the answer that they ought also to be for the King. No one joined
them, and many of their comrades had already dispersed when they were
overtaken at Holbeach by the armed bands of Worcestershire under the
Sheriff. Percy and Catesby, as they stood back to back, were shot dead
by two balls from the same musket; the two Wrights were killed, and
Thomas Winter taken prisoner.[339]

The authority of government triumphed over this most frantic attempt
to break through it, as it had triumphed in every similar case since
the time of Henry VII.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1606.]

It was perhaps the most remarkable feature in this last, that it was
directed especially against the Parliament. During the Wars of the
Roses, it had only been necessary to drive the then reigning prince
out of the field, or to chase him away, in order to create a new
parliamentary rule. The attempts against Queen Elizabeth rested on the
hope of producing a similar result by her death: but it was apparent
in her last years that her death would be useless, and the
comparatively free elections after that event returned a Parliament of
the same character as the preceding. Even under the new reign the
Protestant party secured their ascendancy in the elections; and the
only possibility of an alteration for the future was to be found in
the annihilation of the Parliament, not so much of the institution--at
least this was not mooted--but of the men who composed it and gave it
its character. The violent attempt on the Parliament is a proof of its
power. The Gunpowder Plot was directed against the King, not in his
personal capacity as monarch, but as head of the legislative
authority. It was felt that this power itself with all its component
parts must be destroyed without scruple or mercy, if an order of
things in the State corresponding to the views of the hierarchical
party was ever again to obtain a footing.

The necessary and inevitable result of the conspiracy was that
Parliament, which did not enter on the session until January 1606,
still further increased the existing severity of its laws. The great
body of Catholics had not in any way participated in the plot; but
yet, as it had originated among them, and was intended for the redress
of their common grievances, they were all affected by the reaction
which it produced. The Catholic recusants were to be subjected to the
former penalties: they were sentenced to exclusion from the palace and
from the capital; they were forbidden to hold any appointment in the
public service either in the administration of justice, or as
government officials, or even as physicians; they were obliged to open
their houses at any moment for examination; the solemnisation of their
marriages and the baptism of their children were henceforth to be
legal only if performed by Protestant clergymen. It is evident that
the Papal See would have preferred to restrain the agitation of the
Catholics at this juncture; but as the latter appealed to the
principle which had been impressed on them by their missionaries, that
men had no duties to a king who was a heretic, the Parliament thought
it necessary to impose on them an oath which concerned the authority
of their Church as well as that of the State. Not only were they to be
compelled to acknowledge the King as their legitimate prince, to
defend him against every conspiracy and every attack, even when made
under the pretext of religion, and to promise to reveal any such to
him; they must also renounce the doctrine that the authority of the
Church gave the Pope the right of deposing a king, and absolving his
subjects from their oath of allegiance; and they must condemn as
impious and heretical the doctrine that princes excommunicated by the
Pope could be dethroned or put to death by their subjects.[340]
Attention was directed to the English regiment in the service of the
Archduke; and it was thought dangerous that so many malcontents should
be assembled there, and should practise the use of arms, in order
perhaps to turn them some day against their country. It was enacted
that the Oath of Supremacy should be imposed on every one who took
service abroad before his departure, with a pledge that he would not
be reconciled to the Papacy: even securities for the observance of the
oath were to be exacted.

In the spring of the year 1605 the whole state of England still showed
a tendency to clemency and conciliation. In the early part of 1606 the
opposite tendency had completely obtained the upper hand.

But this state of affairs necessarily reacted on Catholic countries
and governments. In Spain, where it was easiest to rouse the
susceptibilities of Catholicism, the severe measures of the Parliament
of themselves created a feeling of bitterness: but besides this, Irish
refugees resorted thither who gave an agitating account of the way in
which these measures were carried out in Ireland:[341] so that the
nation felt itself affronted in the persons of its co-religionists.
Both governments, that of Spain and that of the Netherlands, refused
to hand over to the English government men like Baldwin and Owen, who
were taxed with participating in the plot, or to banish others whom
the English government considered dangerous. The pious were reminded
of the will of Queen Mary, in which she had transferred her
hereditary right over England, France, Ireland and Scotland, to the
House of Spain in case her son should not be converted to the Church.

And how deeply must the Court of Rome have felt itself injured by the
imposition of the Oath of Supremacy. A Pope of the Borghese family had
just been elected, Paul V, who was as deeply convinced of the truth of
the Papal principles, and as firmly resolved to enforce them, as any
of his predecessors; and who was surrounded by learned men and
statesmen who looked upon the maintenance of these principles as the
salvation of the world. Their religious pride was galled to the quick
by the imposition of such an oath as that exacted in England, by which
principles at that time zealously taught in Catholic schools were
described not only as objectionable but as heretical. They thought it
possible that the temporal power might prevail on the English
Catholics to accept this oath, as in fact the archpriest Blackwell who
had been appointed by Clement VIII took it, and advised others to do
the same. But by this act the supremacy of the King would be
practically acknowledged, and the connexion of the English Catholics
with the Papacy dissolved. Moved by these considerations, Paul V, in a
brief of September 1, 1606, declared that the oath contained much that
was contrary to the faith, and could not be taken by any one without
damage to his salvation. He expressed his anticipation that the
English Catholics, whose constancy had been tested like gold in the
fire of the persecutions, would show their firmness on this occasion
also, and that they would rather undergo all tortures, even death
itself, than insult the Divine Majesty. At first the archpriest and
the moderate Catholics, who did not consider that the political claims
referred to in the oath were the true principles of the Papacy,
declared that the brief was spurious; but after some time it was
confirmed in all due form, and an address appeared from the pen of the
most eminent apologist of the See of Rome, Cardinal Bellarmin, in
which he reminded the archpriest that the general apostolical
authority of the Pope could not be impugned even in a single iota of
the subtleties of dogma: how much less then in this instance, where
the question was simply whether men should look for the head of the
Church in the successor of Henry VIII, or in the successor of S.

These statements however greatly irritated the King, both as a man of
learning and as a temporal potentate. He took pen in hand himself in
order to defend the oath, in the wording of which he had a large
share. He expressed his astonishment that so distinguished a scholar
as Bellarmin should confound the Oath of Supremacy with the Oath of
Allegiance, in which no word occurred affecting any article of faith,
and which was only intended to distinguish the champions of an attempt
like the Gunpowder Plot from his quiet subjects of the Catholic
religion. He said that nothing more disastrous to these could have
happened than that the Pope should condemn the oath, and thereby the
original relation of obedience which bound them to their sovereign;
for he was requiring them to repudiate this obedience and to abjure
again the oath which had already been taken by many, after the example
of the archpriest. James I took much trouble to justify the form of
oath by the decrees of the old councils.[342]

Criminal attempts, even when they fail, have at times the most
extensive political consequences. James I had started with the idea of
linking his subjects of every persuasion to himself in the bonds of a
free and uniform obedience, and of creating harmonious relations
between the rival powers of the world and his own realm of Great
Britain. Then intervened this murderous attempt; and the measures to
which he had recourse in order to secure his person and his country
against the repetition of criminal attacks like this last, rekindled
the national and religious animosities which he desired to lull, and
fanned them into a bright flame.


[330] Letter to the King. Works viii, 647; cf. i. 671.

[331] Discursus status religionis, 1605: 'Ipsi magnates non verentur
se profiteri catholicos et plerique alii ex nobilitate, praecipue in
principatu Walliae et in provinciis septentrionalibus,--ubi numerus
eorum non ita pridem crevit in immensum.

[332] 'S. Sta vole e comanda, che li Catolici siano obedienti al re
d'Inghilterra, come a loro signore e re naturale. Vra Sria attenda
con ogni diligenza e vigilanza a questi negotii d'Inghilterra
procurando che conforme alla volonta di N. Sra obedischino al suo re
e non s'intrighino in congiure tumulti ed altre cose, per le quali
possino dispiacere a quella Ma.'

[333] The Venetian Ambassador in his reports mentions 'doglienze e
querelle accompagnate di lacrime di sangue.' The Roman reports are to
the same effect. De vero Statu Angliae. La vera relatione dello stato.
Agosto 1605. The persecution of the Catholics had begun on July 26.

[334] Camden in writing to Cotton names Bainham, Catesby, Tresham, and
the two Wrights. He calls them 'gentlemen hunger-starved for
innovation.' Camdeni Epistolae 347.

[335] Garnet says, in his conference with Hall, which was overheard,
that he was accused of giving 'some advice in Queen Elizabeth's time
of the blowing up of the parliament house with gunpowder; I told them
it was lawful' Jardine, Gunpowder Plot 202.

[336] From his examination: Jardine 206.

[337] Lingard ix. 52. From Greenway's memoranda.

[338] From a letter of Parry to Sir T. Edmondes, Paris, October 10,
1605; in Birch's Negotiations 234.

[339] Molino just at the time reports this, as the King also relates
it in his 'Conjuratio sulphurea.' Cf. Barclay, Series patefacti
parricidii 569.

[340] 'Juro quod ex corde abhorreo detestor et abjuro tanquam impiam
et haereticam hanc damnabilem doctrinam et propositionem quod
principes per papam excommunicati vel deprivati possint per suos
subditos vel alios quoscunque deponi aut occidi'. The form originally
drawn up had asserted that the Pope generally had no right to
excommunicate kings. But King James, in his fondness for weighing
every side of the question, did not wish to go so far as this.

[341] June 1606. Winwood, Memorials ii. 224. Cornwallis to Salisbury:
'Such an apprehension of despair here they have of late received to
make any conjunction or further amitie with us, by reason of the
extreame lawes and bitter persecution, as they terme it, against those
of their religion both in England and especially in Ireland.' June 20,
229. 'They repair to the Jesuits, priests, fryars, and fugitives; the
first three joyne with the last children of lost hope, who having
given a farewell to all laws of nature--dispose themselves to become
the executioneris of the--inventions of the others.'

[342] Apologia pro juramento fidelitatis, opposita duobus brevibus ...
et literis Bellarmini ad Blackwellum Archipresbyterum. Opera Jacobi
Regis, p. 237. Lond. 1619.



What had already taken place before James ascended the throne,
occurred again under these circumstances. Although belonging to one of
the two religious parties which divided the world between them, he had
sought to form relations with the other, when circumstances which were
beyond all calculation caused and almost compelled him to return to
his original position.

The Republic of Venice enjoyed his full sympathies in the quarrel in
which at this time it became involved with the Papacy. The laws which
it had made for limiting the influence of the clergy appeared to him
in the highest degree just and wise. He thought that Europe would be
happy if other princes as well would open their eyes, for they would
not then experience so many usurpations on the part of the See of
Rome; and he showed himself ready to form an alliance with the
Republic. The Venetians always affirmed that the lively interest of
the King of England in their cause had already, by provoking the
jealousy of the French, strengthened their resolution to arrange these
disputes in conjunction with Spain.[343] When the Republic, although
compelled to make some concessions, yet came out of this contest
without losing its independence, it continued to believe that for this
result also it was indebted to King James.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1609.]

In the same way, there can be no serious doubt that the refusal of the
alliance, which the Spaniards had more than once proposed to the King
of England, impelled the former to turn their thoughts to a peaceful
adjustment of their differences with the Netherlands. They had made
similar overtures to France also, but these had been shipwrecked by
the firmness and mistrust of Henry IV. They were convinced however
that, without winning over at least one of these two powers, they
would never even by their strongest efforts again become masters of
the Netherlands. In spite of some advantages which they had obtained
on the mainland, they were so hard pressed by the superiority of the
Dutch fleet, that they at last came forward with more acceptable
proposals than they had before made. The English government advised
the States-General to show compliance on all other points if their
independence were acknowledged: not to stand out even if this were
recognised only for a while through a truce, for in that case they
would obtain better conditions on the other points: and that in regard
to these England would protect them.[344] By their conduct to both
sides, by standing aloof from the one and by bestowing good advice on
the other, the English thus promoted the conclusion of the twelve
years truce, and thereby procured for the United Provinces an
independent position which they did not allow to be wrested from them
again. The Spaniards attributed the result not so much to the
Provinces themselves as to the two Powers allied with them: they
thought that the articles of the treaty had been drawn up by the
former, but devised and dictated by the latter. It was their serious
intention that this agreement should be only temporary; they reckoned
upon the speedy death of the King of France, and upon future troubles
in England, for an opportunity of resuming the war.[345] But whatever
the future might bring to pass, England, as well as France, derived an
incalculable advantage at the time from the erection of an independent
state under their protection, which could not but ally itself with
them against the still dominant power of Spain.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1610.]

On the whole the general understanding which King James maintained
with Henry IV secured a support for his State, and imparted to himself
a political courage which was otherwise foreign to his nature. The two
sovereigns also made common cause in the Cleves-Juliers question. Two
Protestant princes with the consent of the Estates had taken
possession of it on the strength of their hereditary title. When an
Archduke laid hands on the principal fortress in the country, a
general feeling of jealousy was roused: and even in England it was
thought that the point at issue here was not the possession of a small
principality, but the confirmation of the House of Austria and the
Papacy in their already tottering dominion over these provinces of the
Lower Rhine, which might exercise such an important influence on the
State of Europe.[346] When Henry IV joined the German Union and the
Dutch for the protection of the two princes and for the conquest of
Juliers, James also decided to bestow his aid. He took into his own
pay 4000 of the troops who were still in the service of the Republic,
sent them a general, and despatched them to the contested dominions to
take part in the struggle.

It does not appear that any one in England was aware of the great
designs which Henry IV connected with this enterprise. When, on the
eve of its execution, he was struck down in the centre of his capital
by the dagger of a fanatic, friends and foes alike were thrilled with
the feeling that the event affected them all, and would have an
immeasurable influence on the world. In England also it was felt as a
domestic calamity. Robert Cecil, now Earl of Salisbury, said in
Parliament that Henry IV had been as it were their advanced guard
against conspiracies of which he had always given the first
information: that the first warning of the Gunpowder Plot must have
come from him; that he had as it were stood in the breach, and that
now he had been the first victim. The crimes of Ravaillac and of
Catesby had sprung from the same source.

The enterprise against Juliers was not hindered by this event. The
forces of the Union under the Prince of Anhalt, and the Dutch and
English troops under Maurice of Orange and Edward Cecil, with the
addition of a number of volunteers from such leading families in
England as those of Winchester, Somerset, Rich, Herbert, had already
made considerable progress in the siege when, at last, at the orders
of the widowed Queen, the French also arrived, but in the worst plight
and suffering severely from illness, so that they could not carry out
the intention, with which they came, of sequestrating the place in the
interests of France. When the fortress had been taken it was delivered
to the two princes, who now possessed the whole country. This was an
event of general historical importance, for by this means Brandenburg
first planted its foot on the Rhine, and came into greater prominence
in Europe on this side also. It took place, like the foundation of the
Republic of the Netherlands, with the concurrence of England and
France, and in opposition to Austria and Spain, but at the same time
by the help of the Republic itself and of those members of the Estates
of the German empire who professed the same creed.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1611.]

The times had gone by when the Spaniards had taken arms as if for the
conquest of the world; but their pretensions remained the same. It was
still their intention, in virtue of the privileges assigned them by
the Pope, to exclude all others from the colonisation of America and
from commerce with the East Indies. They laid claim to Northern Africa
because it had been tributary to the crown of Aragon, to Athens and
Neopatras because they had belonged to the Catalans, to Jerusalem
because it had belonged to the King of Naples, and even to
Constantinople because it had passed by will to Ferdinand II of Aragon
from the last of the Palaeologi. On the strength of the claims made by
the old dukes of Milan they deemed themselves to have a right to the
towns of the Venetian mainland, and to Liguria. Philip III was in
their eyes the true heir of the Maximilian branch of the German house
of Austria: according to their view the succession in Bohemia and
Hungary fell to him. The progress of the Catholic revival afforded
them an opportunity of exercising a profound influence on the German
empire, while the same cause extended their influence over Poland;
they obtained through their commercial relations even the friendship
of Protestant princes and towns in the North. Their intention was now
to associate the two antagonistic powers of the West with their policy
by means of alliances with the reigning families. The first
considerable step in this direction was made after the death of Henry
IV, when they succeeded in concerting with his widow a double
marriage, between the young King of France and an Infanta of Spain,
and between the future King of Spain and a French princess. It was
thought certain beforehand that they would get the conduct of French
policy into their hands during the minority of Louis XIII. But they
were already seeking to draw the house of Stuart also into this
alliance in spite of the difference of religion. In August 1611 the
Spanish ambassador, whose overtures had hitherto been fruitless, came
forward to announce that an alliance between the Prince of Wales and a
Spanish infanta would meet with no obstacle on the part of Spain, if
it should be desired on the part of England. It was thought that the
Queen, who found a satisfaction of her ambition in this brilliant
alliance, and the old Spanish and Catholic party, who were still very
numerous in the highest ranks and among the people, might employ their
whole influence in its favour.

But there was still at the head of affairs a man who was resolved to
oppose this design, Robert Cecil, to whom it is generally owing that
the tendencies of Elizabeth's policy lasted on so long into the time
of the Stuarts as they did. I do not know whether the two Cecils can
be reckoned among the great men of England: they would almost seem to
have lacked that independent attitude and that soaring and brilliant
genius which would be requisite for such an eminence; but without
doubt few have had so much influence on its history. Robert Cecil
inherited the employments, the experiences, and the personal
connexions of his father William. He knew how to rid himself of all
rivals that rose to the surface[347] by counteracting their
proceedings in secret or openly, justifiably or not: enmity and
friendship he reciprocated with equal warmth. He made no change in the
method of transacting business which was conducted by the whole Privy
Council; but his natural superiority and the importance that he
gradually acquired always brought the decision into accordance with
his views. The King himself gave intimations that he did not look upon
his predominance as altogether proper. In one of his letters he jests
over the supremacy calmly exercised by his minister at the centre of
affairs, while he, the King, so soon as his minister summoned him,
must hasten in, and yet at last could do nothing but accept the
resolutions which he put into his hands. A small deformed man, to whom
James, as was his wont, gave a jesting nickname on this account, he
yet impressed men by the intelligence which flashed from his
countenance and from every word he spoke; and even his outward bearing
had a certain dignity. His independence was increased by his enormous
wealth, acquired mainly by investments in the Dutch funds, which at
that time returned an extraordinarily high interest. Surrounded by
many who accepted presents, he showed himself inaccessible to such
seductions and incorruptible. At this time he was the oracle of

Among the English youth the wish was constantly reviving that the war
with Spain, in which success was expected without any doubt, might be
renewed with all vigour. Robert Cecil was as little in favour of this
as his father formerly had been. Peaceful relations with Spain were
rendered especially necessary by the condition of Ireland, where
Tyrone, not less dissatisfied with James than he had been with
Elizabeth, had again thrown off his allegiance, and had at last gone
abroad to procure foreign aid for his discontented countrymen. But if
Cecil could not break with Spain, yet he would not allow that power
to strengthen itself or to obtain influence over England herself. In
regard to the proposal of marriage that was made he had said that the
gallant Prince of Wales could find blooming roses everywhere and did
not need to search for an olive.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1612.]

The notion continued to prevail that James I, even if he did not take
arms, ought to put himself at the head of the anti-Spanish party in
Europe, now that Henry IV was no more.

The King and his ministers thought that for maintaining in the first
place the state of affairs established in Cleves and Juliers, an
alliance of the countries which had co-operated in producing it was
the only appropriate means. In March 1612 we find the English
ambassador at the Hague, Sir Ralph Winwood, at Wesel, where a
defensive alliance that had long been mooted between James I and the
princes of the Union, including those of the Palatinate, Brandenburg,
Hesse, Wurtemberg, Baden, and Anhalt, was actually concluded. Both
contracting parties promised one another mutual support against all
who should attack them on account of the Union or of the aid they had
given in settling and maintaining the tenure of Cleves and Juliers.
The King was accordingly pledged to bring 4000 men into the field, and
the Princes 2000 as their contingent, or to pay a sum of money fixed
by rule at the choice of the country which should be attacked.[349]
The agreement was concluded for six years, the period for which it was
also agreed that the Union should still continue. The idea was
started, I do not know whether by King James or rather by the leading
English statesmen, of making this alliance the basis of a general
European coalition against the encroachments of the Spaniards.[350]
The German princes invited the Queen-Regent of France to join it, and
to bring the Republic of the United Provinces into it. Mary de'
Medici refused, on the ground that this was unnecessary, as the
Republic was sufficiently secured by the defensive alliance previously
concluded; but her ministers at that time still lent their assistance
for the object immediately in view. The Spaniards had conceived the
intention of raising the Archduke Albert to the imperial throne after
the death of the Emperor Rudolph. A portion of the Electors, among
others the Elector of Saxony, which had been prejudiced by the
settlement of Juliers, was in his favour. He possessed the sympathies
of all zealous Catholics; but England and France saw in the union of
the imperial power with the possession of the Spanish Netherlands a
danger for themselves and for the republic founded under their
auspices. They plainly declared to the Spaniards that they would not
permit it, but would set themselves against it with their allies, that
is to say, of course, with the Republic and the Union.[351]

Little seems to have been heard in Germany of the protest of the
powers in regard to the imperial succession: but it was effectual. The
imperial throne was ascended not by Albert but by Matthias, who had
far more sympathy with the efforts of the Protestants and approved of
the Union. Indeed the Spaniards too, under the guidance of the pacific
Lerma, were not inclined to drive matters to extremities.

In the youthful republic of the Netherlands an estrangement, involving
also a difference of opinion on religious questions, arose at that
time between the Stadtholder and the magistrates of the aristocracy.
The party of the Stadtholder clung to the strict Calvinistic
doctrines; the aristocratic party were in favour of milder and more
conciliatory views, which besides allotted to the temporal power no
small influence over the clergy, as Arminius had maintained in his
lectures at Leyden. After his death a German professor, Conrad
Vorstius, had been invited to Holland, who added to the opinions of
his predecessor others which deviated still more widely from
Calvinism, and inclined to Socinianism. The world has always felt
astonished that King James took a side in this controversy, wrote a
book against Vorstius, and did not rest till he had been ejected from
his office. In fact learned rivalry was not the only motive which
induced him to take pen in hand: we perceive that the adherents of
Arminius, the supporters of Vorstius, were obnoxious to him on
political grounds also. The leaders of the burgher aristocracy showed
a marked coldness to the interests of England after the conclusion of
the truce, and a leaning to those of France. The King moreover was of
opinion that positive orthodoxy was necessary for maintaining the
conflict with Catholicism, and for upholding a state founded on
religion: and he sent an invitation to the Prince of Orange to unite
with him in this cause. The strict Calvinism of the prince was at the
same time an act of homage to England.

While religious and political affairs were in this state of
perplexity, which extended to the French Reformed Church as well, a
marriage was settled between the Princess Elizabeth of England and the
Elector Palatine, Frederick V.

This young prince, who at that time was still a ward, had the prospect
of succeeding at an unusually early age to a position in which he
could exert an influence on the German empire. By the mother's side he
was grandson of the founder of Dutch independence, William of Orange;
his uncles were the Stadtholder Maurice and the Duke of Bouillon, who
might be considered the head of the Reformed Communion in France, and
who had married another daughter of William. Frederick had spent some
years with the Duke at Sedan. The Duke of Bouillon, like Maurice, took
an active part in various ways in the European politics of that age:
these two men stood at the head of that party on the continent which
most zealously opposed the Papacy and the house of Austria. Bouillon
had first directed the attention of James to the young Frederick, and
had painted to him his good qualities and his great prospects, and,
although not without reserve, had pronounced a match between him and
the Princess Elizabeth desirable,[352] as it would form a dynastic
tie between the Protestantism of England and that of the continent.
The brother of the Duke of Wurtemberg, Louis Frederick, who then
resided in England on behalf of the Union, still more decidedly
advocated the match. He told the King that he would have in the young
count not so much a son-in-law, as a servant who depended on his nod;
and that he would pledge all the German princes to his interest by
this means.[353] After the conclusion of the alliance at Wesel the
Count of Hanau, who was likewise married to a daughter of William,
visited London with two privy councillors of the Palatinate, in order
to bring the matter to an issue: they were to meet there with the Duke
of Bouillon, to whose advice they had been expressly referred. Another
suit for the hand of the Princess was then before the English court.
The Duke of Savoy had made proposals for a double marriage between his
two children and the English prince and princess. There appeared to be
almost a match between Catholic and Protestant princes to decide which
party should bear off 'this pearl,' the Princess of England. Without
doubt religious considerations mainly carried the day in favour of the
German suitor. The Princess displayed great zeal in behalf of
Protestantism; and James said that he would not allow his daughter to
be restricted in the exercise of her religion, not even if she were to
be Queen of the world.[354] On the 16th of May the members of the
Privy Council signed the contract in which the marriage was agreed
upon between 'My Lady Elizabeth,' only daughter of the King, and the
Grand-Master of the Household and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire,
Frederick Count Palatine, and the necessary provisions were made as to
dower and settlements. This may be regarded as the last work of Robert
Cecil: he died a few days after. The pulpits had attacked the marriage
of the princess with a Catholic, and had exhorted the people to pray
for her marriage with a Protestant. The common feeling of Protestants
was gratified when this result came to pass.

The question of the future marriage of Henry Frederick Prince of Wales
was treated in a kindred spirit though not exactly in the same way.

All eyes were already directed to this young prince and his future
prospects. He was serious and reserved; a man of few words, sound
judgment, and lofty ideas; and he gave signs of an ambitious desire to
rival his most famous predecessors on the throne.[355] He understood
the calling of sovereign in a different sense from his father. On one
occasion when his father set his younger brother before him as a model
of industry in the pursuit of science, he replied that he would make a
very good archbishop of Canterbury. For one who was to wear the crown
skill in arms and knowledge of seamanship seemed to him indispensable;
he made it his most zealous study to acquire both the one and the
other. His intention undoubtedly was to make every provision for the
great war against the Spanish monarchy which was anticipated. He
wished to escort his sister to Germany in order to form a personal
acquaintance with the princes of the Union, whom he regarded as his
natural allies. These views could not have been thwarted if the
proposal of the Duke of Savoy, which had been rejected in behalf of
the Princess, had been accepted in behalf of the Prince.[356] For
every day the Duke separated himself more and more from the policy of
Spain: he had even wished at one time to be admitted into the Union.
He offered a large portion with the hand of his daughter, and was
ready to agree to those restrictions in the exercise of her religion
which it might be thought necessary to prescribe. Meanwhile, however,
another project came up. The grandees of France wished to bring a
prince of such high endowments and decided views into the closest
relations with the house of Bourbon, in order to oppose the action of
Spain on the French court by another influence. They made proposals
for a marriage between the Prince of Wales and the second daughter of
Henry IV, the Lady Christine of France. They found the most cordial
reception for this scheme among the English who favoured
Protestantism, and understood the course of the world. It was thought
that the new League, for this was the designation given to the
increasing preponderance of Spanish and Catholic views in France,
would by this means be thrown into confusion in its own camp; the
French government would be brought back to its old attitude of
hostility towards Spain, and would only thus be completely sure of the
States General, which could never separate themselves both from
England and France at the same time. The Prince embraced the notion
that the Princess must immediately be brought to England to be
instructed in the Protestant faith, and perhaps to be converted to it.
As she was still very young his notion was so far reasonable, although
in other respects her age was a considerable obstacle. While he
referred the decision to his father, he yet made a remark which shows
his own leanings, that this marriage would certainly be most
acceptable to all his brother Protestants.[357] What a prospect would
have dawned on these if a young and energetic king of England,
confederate with Germany and Holland, and looked up to in France for a
double reason, both on account of the old and still unforgotten
claims,[358] and on account of his marriage, had taken the Huguenots
under his protection or actually appealed to them in his own behalf!

The 5th of November 1612 was fixed as the day on which the question
was to be decided by a commission expressly appointed for this
purpose. King James, who is represented as favourable to the connexion
with France, went from Theobald's to the meeting: the Prince had drawn
out for himself the arguments by which he thought to refute the
objections of opponents. On the very same day he was taken ill, and
was obliged to ask for an adjournment; but from day to day and hour to
hour his illness became more dangerous. He exhibited a composed and,
when addressed on religious questions, a devout frame of mind, but he
did not wish to die. When some one said to him that God only could
heal him, he replied that perhaps the physicians also might do
something. On the 17th of November, two hours after midnight, he
died--'the flower of his house,' as men said, 'the palladium of the
country, the terror of his foes.' They even went so far as to put him
at this early age on a level with Henry IV, who had been proved by a
life full of struggles and vicissitudes. The comparison rested on the
circumstance that the young and highly-gifted prince was forced to
succumb to an unexpected misfortune while preparing for great
undertakings which, like those of Henry IV, were to be directed
against Spain.

It is very probable that this prince, if he had lived to ascend the
English throne, would have attempted to give to affairs a turn
suitable to the vigorous designs which engrossed his thoughts.
According to all appearance he would not have trodden in the footsteps
of his father. He appeared quite capable of reviving the old plans of
conquest entertained by the house of Lancaster: he would have united
outspoken Protestant tendencies with the monarchical views of Edward
VI, or rather of Elizabeth. With the men who then held the chief power
in England he had no points of agreement, and they already feared
him.[359] They were even accused of having caused his premature death.

Yet the course which had been struck out with the co-operation of the
young prince was not abandoned at his death.

The Elector Palatine had already arrived in London. His demeanour and
behaviour quieted the doubts of one party and put to shame the
predictions of the other: he appeared manly, firm, bent on high aims,
and dignified: he knew how to win over even the Queen who at first was
unfavourable to him. Letters exchanged at that time are full of the
joy with which the marriage was welcomed by the Protestants. But it
was just as decidedly unwelcome to the other party. An expression
which was then reported in Brussels shewed how lively the hatred was,
and how widely and how far into the future political combinations
extended. It was said that this marriage was designed to wrest the
Imperial throne from the house of Austria; but it was added, with
haughty reliance on the strength of Catholic Europe, that this design
should never succeed.[360]

Another collision seemed at times to be immediately impending. In the
year 1613 the English government sent to ask the districts most
exposed to a Spanish invasion, how many troops they could severally
oppose to it, and had appointed the fire signals which were to
announce the coming danger. It is indeed not wonderful that under such
circumstances it continued the policy which was calculated to promote
a general European opposition to the Spaniards.

When the French grandees though fit to contest the Spanish marriages
which Mary de' Medici made up, they had King James on their side, who
regarded it as the natural right of princes of the blood to undertake
the charge of public affairs during a minority. At the meeting of the
Estates in 1614, it was their intention to get the government into
their hands, and then to bring it back again to the line of policy of
Henry IV. The English ambassador, Edmonds, showed that he concurred
with them.

Soon afterwards the differences between the Duke of Savoy and the
Spanish governor in Milan terminated in an open rupture. The French
grandees, though they had not carried their point in the
States-General, yet showed themselves independent and strong enough to
follow their own wishes in interfering in this matter. While the
Queen-Regent supported the Spaniards, they came to the assistance of
the Duke. In this struggle King James also came forward on his side in
concert with the Republic of Venice, which was still able to throw a
considerable weight into the scale on an Italian question.

The cause of Savoy appeared the common cause of opposition to Spain.
James deemed himself happy in being able to do something further for
that object by removing the misunderstanding which existed between
Protestant Switzerland and the Duke. On his own side he carefully
upheld the old connexion between England and the Cantons. He gave out
that in this manner the territories of his allies would extend to the
very borders of Italy, for Protestant Switzerland formed the
connecting link between his friends in that country and the German
Union which, in turn, bordered on the Netherlands.

With the same view, in order that his allies might not have their
hands tied elsewhere, he laboured to remove the dissensions between
Saxony and Brandenburg, and between the States-General and Denmark. At
the repeated request of certain German princes, he made it his
business to put an end, by his intervention, to the war that had
broken out between Sweden and Denmark. By the mediation of his
ambassadors the agreement of Knäröd was arrived at, which regulated
the relations between the Northern kingdoms for a considerable time.
James saw his name at the head of an agreement which settled the
rights of sovereignty in the extreme North 'from Tittisfiord to
Weranger,' and had the satisfaction of finding that the ratification
of this agreement by his own hand was deemed necessary.[361] A general
union of the Protestant kingdoms and states was contemplated in this

In connexion with this, the commercial relations that had been long
ago concluded with Russia assumed a political character. During the
quarrels about the succession to the throne, when Moscow was in danger
of falling under the dominion of Poland, which in this matter was
supported by Catholic Europe, the Russians sought the help of Germany,
of the Netherlands, and especially of England. We learn that the house
of Romanoff offered to put itself in a position of inferiority to King
James, who appeared as the supreme head of the Protestant world, if he
would free Russia from the invasion of the Poles.

Already in the time of Elizabeth the opposition to the Spanish
monarchy had caused the English government to make advances to the

Just at the period when the fiercest struggle was preparing, at the
time when Philip II was making preparations for annexing Portugal, the
Queen determined to shut her eyes to the scruples which hitherto had
generally deterred Christian princes from entering into an alliance
with unbelievers. It is worth noticing that from the beginning East
Indian interests were the means of drawing these powers nearer to one
another. Elizabeth directed the attention of the Turks to the serious
obstacles that would be thrown in their way, if the Portuguese
colonies in that quarter were conquered by the far more powerful
Spaniards.[362] The commercial relations between the two kingdoms
themselves presented another obvious consideration. England seized the
first opportunity for throwing off the protection of the French flag,
which had hitherto sheltered her, and in a short time was much rather
able to protect the Dutch who were still closely allied with her. The
Turks greatly desired to form a connexion with a naval power
independent of the religious impulses which threatened to bring the
neighbouring powers of the West into the field against them. They knew
that the English would never co-operate against them with Spaniards
and French. Political and commercial interests were thus intertwined
with one another. A Levant company was founded, at the proposal of
which the ambassadors were nominated, both of whom enjoyed a
considerable influence under James I.

As in these transactions attention was principally directed to the
commerce in the products of the East Indies carried on through the
medium of Turkish harbours, was it not to be expected that an attempt
should be made to open direct communication with that country? The
Dutch had already anticipated the English in that quarter; but
Elizabeth was for a long time withheld by anxiety lest the
negotiations for peace with Spain, which were just about to be opened,
should be interrupted by such an enterprise. Yet under her government
the company was formed for trading with the East Indies, to which,
among other exceptional privileges, the right of acquiring territory
was granted. It was only bound to hold aloof from those provinces
which were in the possession of Christian sovereigns. We have seen how
carefully in the peace which James I concluded with Spain everything
was avoided which could have interrupted this commerce. James
confirmed this company by a charter which was not limited to any
particular time. And in the very first contracts which this company
concluded with the great Mogul, Jehangir, they had the right bestowed
on them of fortifying the principal factories which were made over to
them. The native powers regarded the English as their allies against
the Spaniards and Portuguese.

In the year 1612 Shirley, a former friend of Essex, who had been
induced by the Earl himself to go to the East, and who had there
formed a close alliance with Shah Abbas, returned to England, where he
appeared wearing a turban and accompanied by a Persian wife. He
entrusted the child of this marriage to the guardianship of the Queen,
when he again set off for Persia, in order to open up the commerce of
England in the Persian Gulf.

But it was a still more important matter that the attempts which had
been made under the Queen to set foot permanently on the other
hemisphere could now be brought to a successful issue under King
James. It may perhaps be affirmed that, so long as the countries were
at open war, these attempts could not have been made, unless Spain had
first been completely conquered. England could not resume her old
designs until a peace had been concluded, which, if it did not
expressly allow new settlements, yet did not expressly forbid them,
but rather perhaps tacitly reserved the right of forming them. Under
the impulse which the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot gave, I will not
say to war, but certainly to continued opposition to Spain, the King
bestowed on the companies formed for that purpose the charters on
which the colonisation of North America was founded. The settlement of
Virginia was again undertaken, and, although in constant danger of
destruction from the opposition of warlike natives and the dissensions
of its founders, yet at last by the union of strict law and personal
energy it was quickened into life, and kindled the jealousy of the
Spaniards. They feared especially that it would throw obstacles in the
way of the homeward and outward voyages of their fleets.[363] Their
hands, however, were tied by the peace: and we learn that when they
made overtures for the marriage of the Prince of Wales with a Spanish
Infanta, they proposed at the same time that this colony should be
given up. But the Prince of Wales from the interest which he took in
all maritime enterprises was just the man to exert himself most warmly
in its behalf. Under his auspices a new expedition was equipped, which
did not sail till after his death, and then materially contributed to
secure the colony. Not without good reason have the colonists
commemorated his name.

How immensely important at least for England have her relations with
the Spanish monarchy been shown to be! She had been formerly its ally,
its attacks she had then withstood, and now resisted it at every turn.
Only in rivalry with this power, and in opposition to it, was the
great Island of the West brought into relations, for which it was
suited by its geographical position, with every part of the known


[343] Contarini, Relatione 1610: 'Pareva che nelli moti passati col
papa havesse la republica aggradito Più l'offerte dei Inglesi che gli
offizii et interpositioni di Franza e da quelle pia che da questi
riconosciuto l'accommodamento: il che per tutta la Franza si è potuto

[344] The Lords of the Privy Council to Sir Richard Spencer and Sir
Ralph Winwood. Aug. 1, 1608. In Winwood ii. 429.

[345] This is affirmed by Bentivoglio, who as Nuncio at Brussels was
closely acquainted with these transactions. Historia della guerra di
Fiandra iii. 490.

[346] Winwood to Salisbury, October 7, 1609. Memorials iii. 78.

[347] Molino: 'E huomo astuto sagace e persecutore acerrimo de' suoi
nemici ... ne a avuto multi et tutti egli a fatto precipitare.'

[348] Ibid.: 'L'autorità del quale è cosi assoluta, che con verità si
puo dire essere egli il re e governatore di quella monarchia'

[349] Alligantia inter regem et electores Germaniae, in Rymer vii. ii.

[350] Francesco Contarini visited him in September 1610 in the
country, and joined him in the chase, on which occasion James touched
on various topics in conversation: 'De' pensieri di Spagnoli con poca
loro laude ... non mostro far alcun conto del Duca di Sassonia suo
cognato ni della investitura data li dall'imperatore nel ducato di

[351] Beaulieu to Trumbull, Paris, June 29, 1612: 'Both from this
state (France) and the state of England it hath been plainly enough
intimated unto them (the Spaniards) that if they would go about to
make the Archduke Albert Emperor or king of the Romans, both these
states with their allies would set the rest to hinder it.'

[352] Green, Princesses of England v. 180; De la Boderie ii. 248.

[353] This is the report of A. Foscarini, Jan. 20, 1612.

[354] Winwood to Trumbull, Memorials iii. 357.

[355] Correro 1609, May 20: 'Non solo riesce esquisitamente in tutti
gli esercitii del corpo, ma si dimostra nelle attioni sue molto
giudicioso e prudente.'--Ant. Foscarini 1612: 'Amplissimi erano i suoi
concetti; di natura grave severa ritenuta di pochissime parole.'

[356] W. Ralegh: On a marriage between Prince Henry and a daughter of
Savoy. Works viii. 237.

[357] Given in French by Levassor, Histoire de Louis XIII, i. 2, 347.
So far as I know, the original has not yet been brought to light,
although its genuineness cannot be doubted, as Levassor was acquainted
with Robert Carr's letter to the Prince, which was first printed by
Ellis ii. iii. 229.

[358] Foscarini, to whom we are indebted for information on many of
these points: 'teneva mal animo contra Spagna e pretension in

[359] It was affirmed that Henry Howard (Earl of Northampton) had been
heard to say that 'the prince if ever he came to reign would prove a
tyrant.' Bacon: Somerset's Business and Charge. Works vi. 100.

[360] Trumbull to Winwood, March 2, 1613. 'These men are enraged,
fearing that we do aim at the wresting of the empire out of the
Austrians hand which they say shall never be effected so long as the
conjoyned forces of all the Catholiques in Christendom shall be able
to maintain them in that right.' Winwood, Mem. iii. 439.

[361] Dispaccio di Antonio Foscarini, 5 Luglio 1612: 'Si aplica il re
assai il pensiero a metter in pace li due re di Suecia e Danimarca et
hieri fu qui di ritorno uno de' gentilhuomini inviati per tal
fine:--poi si camineva immediatamente a stringere unione con tutti li
principi di religione riformata.'

[362] A letter of Germigny in Charrière, Negociations de la France
dans le Levant iii. 885 n, mentions the representations of the first
agent. 'Cet Anglais avait remontré l'importance de l'agrandissement du
roy d'Espagne mesmes où il s'impatroniroit de Portugal et des terres
despendantes du dit royaume voisines à ce Seigneur au Levant.'

[363] A. Foscarini 1612, 9 Ag.: 'Preme grandemente a Spagnoli veder
sempre Più stabilirsi la colonia in Virginia non perche stimino quel
paese nel quale non è abondanza nè minera d'oro--ma perche
fermandovisi Inglesi con li vascelli loro, correndo quel mare
impedirebbono la flotte.' 1613 Marzo 8: 'Le navi destinate per
Virginia al numero di tre sono passate a quella volta e se ne
allestiranno anco altre degli interessati in quella popolatione.'



For the full occupation of this position in the world, and for
maintaining and extending it, nothing was more necessary than internal
harmony in Great Britain, not only between the two kingdoms, but also
in each of them at home. While Robert Cecil procured full recognition
for considerations of foreign policy, he conceived the further design
of bringing about such an unity above all things in England itself,
as, if successful, would have procured for the power of the King an
authority paramount to all the other elements of the constitution.

The greatest standing evil from which the existing government
suffered, was the inequality between income and expenditure; and if
the lavish profusion of the King was partly responsible for this, yet
there were also many other reasons for it. The late Queen had left
behind no inconsiderable weight of debt, occasioned by the cost of the
Irish war: to this were added the expenses of her obsequies, of the
coronation, and of the first arrangements under the new reign. Visits
of foreign princes, the reception and the despatch of great embassies,
had caused still further extraordinary outlay; and the separate
court-establishments of the King, the Queen, and the Prince, made a
constant deficit inevitable. Perpetual embarrassment was the result.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1610.]

James I expresses himself with a sort of naive ingenuousness in a
letter to the Lords of Council of the year 1607. In this letter he
exhorts them not to present to him any 'sute wherof none of yourselves
can guess what the vallew may prove,' but rather to help him to cut
off superfluous expenses, as far as was consistent with the honour of
the kingdom, and to assist him to new lawful sources of revenue,
without throwing an unjust burden upon the people. 'The only disease
and consumption which I can ever apprehend as likeliest to endanger
me, is this eating canker of want, which being removed I could think
myself as happy in all other respects as any other king or monarch
that ever was since the birth of Christ: in this disease I am the
patient, and yee have promised to be the physicians, and to use the
best care uppon me that your witte, faithfulnes and diligence can
reach unto.'[364]

As Lord Treasurer, Robert Cecil had the task of taking in hand the
conduct of this affair also. He had refused to make disbursements
which he thought improper, but to which the King had notwithstanding
allowed himself to be led away: he would not hear of increasing the
revenue by such means as the sale of offices, a custom which seemed to
be at that time transplanting itself from France into England. He
sought to add to the revenue in the first place by further taxation of
the largely increasing commerce of the country. And as tonnage and
poundage had been once for all granted to the King, he thought it
appropriate and permissible to raise the custom-house duties as an
administrative measure. Soon after the new government had come into
power it had undertaken the rearrangement of the tariff to suit the
circumstances of the time. Cecil, who was confirmed in his purpose by
a decision of the judges to the effect that his conduct was perfectly
legal, conferred with the principal members of the commercial class on
the amount and nature of the increase of duty.[365] The plan which
they embraced in accordance with the views prevalent at the time
contemplated that the burden should principally fall upon foreigners.

The advantages which were obtained by this means were not
inconsiderable. The Custom-House receipts were gradually increased
under King James by one-half; but yet this was a slow process and
could not meet the wants that likewise kept growing. The Lord
Treasurer decided to submit a comprehensive scheme to Parliament, in
order to effect a radical cure of the evil. The importance of the
matter will be our excuse for examining it in detail.

He explained to them that a considerable increase of income (which he
put down at £82,000) was required to cover the regular expenditure,
but that a still greater sum was needed for casual expenses, for which
in the state, as in every household, certainly a quarter of the sum
reached by the regular expenditure was required. He therefore proposed
that £600,000 should be at once granted him for paying off the debt,
and that in future years the royal income should be raised by

This request was so comprehensive and so far beyond all precedent,
that it could never have been made without a corresponding offer of
concessions on a large scale. The Earl of Salisbury in his proposal
formally invited the Parliament to adduce the grievances which it had,
and promised in the King's name to redress all such so far as lay in
his power. It is affirmed that his clear-sighted and vigorous speech
made a favourable impression. Parliament in turn acceded to the
proposal, and alleged its most important grievances. They affected
both ecclesiastical and financial interests: among the latter class
that which concerned the Court of Wards is the most important

Of the institutions by which the Normans and Plantagenets held their
feudal state together, none perhaps was more effectual than the right
of guardianship over minors, whose property the kings managed for
their own advantage. They stepped as it were into the rights of
fathers; even the marriage of wards depended on their pleasure. From
the time of Henry VIII a court for the exercise of this jurisdiction
and for feudal tenures generally had existed, which instituted
enquiries into the neglect of prescriptive custom, and punished it.
One of the most important offices was that of President of the Court,
which was very lucrative, and conferred personal influence in various
ways. It had been long filled by Robert Cecil himself.

The Lower House now proposed in the first place that this right and
the machinery created to enforce it, which gave birth to various acts
of despotism, should be abolished. How often had the property of wards
been ruined by those to whom the rights of the state were transferred.
The debts which were chargeable against them were never paid.[366] The
Lower House desired that not only the royal prerogatives, but also
that the kindred rights of the great men of the kingdom over their
vassals should cease, and especially that property held on feudal
tenures should be made allodial.

It is evident what great interests were involved in this scheme, which
was thoroughly monarchical, and at the same time was opposed to
feudalism. Its execution would have put an end to the feudal tie which
now had no more vitality, and appeared nothing more than a burden; but
at the same time the crown would have been provided with a regular and
sufficient income, and, what is more, would have been tolerably
independent of the grants of Parliament, so soon as an orderly
domestic system was introduced. We can understand that in bringing
this matter to an issue a minister of monarchical views might see an
appropriate conclusion to a life or rather two lives, his father's and
his own, dedicated to the service of the sovereign. And it appeared
that he might well hope to succeed, as a considerable alleviation was
offered at the same time to the King's subjects as well.

The King reminded them that the feudal prerogative formed one of the
fairest jewels of his crown, that it was an heirloom from his
forefathers which he could not surrender; honour, conscience, and
interest, equally forbade it. The Lower House replied that it would
not dispute about honour and conscience, but as to interest, that
might be arranged. They were ready by formal contract to indemnify the
crown for the loss which it would suffer.[367]

The crown demanded £100,000 as a compensation for the loss it would
suffer; and besides this, the £200,000 before mentioned which it
required for restoring the balance between income and expenditure. We
need not here reproduce the repulsive spectacle presented by the
abatement of demands on the one side, and the increase of offers on
the other. At last the Lord Treasurer adhered to the demand for
£200,000 everything included. He declared that if this was refused the
King would never again make a similar offer. On this at last the
Parliament declared itself ready to grant the sum; but, even then, set
up further conditions about which they could not come to an immediate
agreement, so that their mutual claims were not yet definitively

On the contrary these negotiations had by degrees assumed a tone of
some irritation. Parliament found that the Earl of Salisbury had acted
unconstitutionally in proposing to raise the scale of duties without
its consent, and would not be content with his reference to the
decision of the judges mentioned above, and to the conferences with
the merchants. He endeavoured at a private interview with some of the
leading members to bring round the opinion to his side: but the House
was angry with those who had been present at it, and their good
intentions were called in question.[368]

The speeches also, with which the King twice interrupted the
proceedings, produced an undesirable effect. He was inclined to meet
the general wishes, without surrendering however any part of his
prerogatives. But at the same time he expressed himself about these in
the exaggerated manner peculiar to him, which was exactly calculated
to arouse contradiction.[369] Whilst he was comparing the royal power
to the divine, he found that the House on one pretext or another
refused even to open a letter which he had addressed to them about the
speech of some member which had displeased him: on the contrary he was
obliged to receive back into favour the very member who had affronted
him. Parliament regarded liberty of speech as the Palladium of its
efficiency; foreigners were astonished at the recklessness with which
members expressed themselves about the government.

As a rule the investigation of relative rights has an unfavourable
result for those who are in actual possession of authority. The
prerogative which the King exalted so highly presented itself to the
Parliament in an obnoxious aspect. In the debates on the contract the
question was raised, how Sampson's hands could be bound, that is to
say, how the King's prerogative could be so far restricted as to
prevent him from breaking or overstepping the agreement.

During a dispute with the House of Lords the sentiment was uttered,
that the members of the Lower House as representing the Commons ranked
higher than the Lords, each of whom represented only himself.[370] It
is easy to see how far this principle might lead.

Even his darling project of combining England and Scotland into a
single kingdom could not be carried out by the King in the successive
sessions of Parliament. One of the leading spirits of the age, Francis
Bacon, was on his side in this matter as in others. When it was
objected that it was no advantage to the English to take the
poverty-stricken Scots into partnership, as for example in commercial
affairs, he returned answer, that merchants might reckon in this way,
but no one who rose to great views: united with Scotland, England
would become one of the greatest monarchies that the world had ever
seen; but who did not perceive that a complete fusion of both elements
was needed for this? Security against the recurrence of the old
divisions could not be obtained until this was effected. Owing to the
influence of Bacon, who at that time had become Solicitor-General, the
question of the naturalisation of all those born in Scotland after
James had ascended the English throne, was decided with but slight
opposition, in a sense favourable to the union of the two kingdoms, by
the Lord Chancellor and the Judges. The decision however was not
accepted by Parliament. And when the question was now raised how far
the assent of Parliament was necessary in a case like this, the
adverse declaration of the Lord Chancellor was exactly calculated to
provoke a contest of principle in this matter also.[371] With the
advice of the Lord Chancellor and the Council James had declared
himself King of Great Britain, and had expressed the wish that the
names of England and Scotland might be henceforth obliterated; but his
Proclamation was not considered sufficient without the assent of
Parliament; and in this case the judges took the side of the
Parliament. The dynastic ideas with which James had commenced his
reign could not but serve to resuscitate the claim of Parliament to
the possession of the legislative power. At other times the precedents
adduced by the Lord Chancellor in the debate on the 'post-nati' might
have controlled their decision: at the present time they no longer
made any impression. The opposition of political ideas came to the
surface in this matter as in others. The King held the strongly
monarchical view that the populations of both countries were united
with one another by the mere fact of their being both subject to him.
To this the Parliament opposed the doctrine that the two crowns were
distinct sovereignties, and that the legislation of the two countries
could not be united. They wished to fetter the King to the old legal
position which they were far more anxious to contract than to expand.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1613.]

The consequences must have been incalculable, if the Earl of Salisbury
and the Lord Chancellor had succeeded in carrying out their
intentions. A common government of the two countries would have held
in all important questions a position independent of the two
Parliaments, and the person of the sovereign would have been the
ruling centre of this government. If besides an adequate income had
been definitely assigned to the crown independent of the regularly
recurring assent of Parliament, what would have become of the rights
of that body? Not only would Elizabeth's mode of government have been
continued, but the monarchical element which could appeal to various
precedents in its own favour would probably have obtained a complete

But for that very reason these efforts were met by a most decided
opposition. It is plain that these rival pretensions, and the motive
from which they sprang, paved the way for controversies of the most
extensive kind.

The scheme of the contract was as little successful as that of the
union of the two kingdoms. The parties were contented with merely
removing the occasion for an immediate rupture; and after some short
prorogations Parliament was finally dissolved.

The King, who felt himself aggrieved by its whole attitude as well as
by many single expressions, was reluctant to call another. In order to
meet his extraordinary necessities recourse was had to various old
devices and to some new ones; for instance, the creation of a great
number of baronets in 1612, on payment of considerable sums: but
notwithstanding all this, in the year 1613 matters had gone so far,
that neither the ambassadors to foreign courts, nor even the troops
which were maintained could be paid. In the garrison of Brill a mutiny
had arisen on this account; the strongholds on the coast and the
fortifications on the adjacent islands went to ruin. For this as well
as for other reasons the death of the Earl of Salisbury was a
misfortune. The man on whom James I next bestowed his principal
confidence, Robert Carr, then Lord Rochester, later Earl of Somerset,
was already condemned by the popular voice because he was a Scot, who
moreover had no other merit than a pleasing person, which procured him
the favour of the King. The authority enjoyed by the Howards had
already provoked dissatisfaction. The Prince of Wales had been their
decided adversary, and this enmity was kept up by all his friends.
Robert Carr, however, thought it advisable to win over to his side
this powerful family to which he had at first found himself in
opposition. Whether from personal ambition or from a temper that
really mocked at all law and morality he married Frances Howard, whose
union with the Earl of Essex had to be dissolved for this
object.[372] The old enemies of the Howards, the adherents of the
house of Essex, many of whom had inherited this enmity, now became the
opponents of the favourite and his government. When at last urgent
financial necessities allowed no other alternative, and absolutely
compelled the issue of a summons for a new parliament, the contending
parties seized the opportunity of confronting one another. The
creatures of the government neglected no means of controlling the
elections by their influence; but they were everywhere encountered by
the other party, who were favoured by the increasing dissatisfaction
of the people.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1614.]

At the opening of Parliament in April 1614, and on two occasions
afterwards, the King addressed the Lower House. Among all the
scholastic distinctions, complaints of the past, and assurances for
the future, in which after his usual fashion he indulges, we can still
perceive the fundamental idea, that if even the subsidies which he
required and asked were granted him, he would notwithstanding agree to
no conditions on his side, and take upon himself no distinct pledges.
He was resolved no longer to play the game of making concessions in
order to ask for something in return, as he had done some years
before; he found that far beneath his dignity. Still less could he
consent that all the grievances that might have arisen should be
heaped up and presented to him, for that would be injurious to the
honour of the government. Each one, he said, might lay before him the
grievances which he experienced in his own town or in his own county;
he would then attend to their redress one by one. In the same way he
would deal with each House separately. If he is reproached with
endeavouring to extend his prerogatives he denies the charge; but he
affirms that he cannot allow them to be abridged, but that, in
exercising them, he would behave as well as the best prince England
ever had.[373] He has no conception of a relation based on mutual
rights; he acknowledges only a relation of confidence and affection.
In return for liberal concessions he promises liberal favour.

This was a view of things resting upon a patriarchal conception of
kingly power, in favour of which analogies might no doubt have been
found in the early state of the kingdoms of the West, but which was
now becoming more and more obsolete. What had still been possible
under Elizabeth, when the sovereign and her Parliament formed one
party, was no longer so now; especially as a man who had attracted
universal hatred stood at the head of affairs. Besides this a dispute
was already going on which we cannot pass over in silence.

It arose upon the same matter which had caused such grave
embarrassment to the Earl of Salisbury, the unlimited exercise of the
right of levying tonnage and poundage entirely at the discretion of
the government. It was affirmed that the Custom-House receipts had
increased more than twentyfold since the commencement of James's
reign, and that a great part of the increased returns was enjoyed by
favoured private individuals. The Lower House demanded first of all an
examination into the right of the government, and declared that
without it they would not proceed to vote any grant.[374]

In the Lower House itself on one occasion a lively debate arose on the
subject. The opinion was advanced on the part of the friends of the
government that, in this respect as in others, a difference existed
between hereditary and elective monarchies, that in the first class,
which included England, the prerogative was far more extensive than in
the latter. Henry Wotton, and Winwood, who had been long employed on
foreign embassies, explained what a great advantage in regard to their
collective revenues other states derived from indirect taxes and
customs. But by this statement they awakened redoubled opposition.
They were told that the raising of these imposts in France had not
been approved by the Estates and was in fact illegal; that the King
of Spain had been forced to atone for the attempt to introduce them
into the Netherlands by the loss of the greater part of the provinces.
Thomas Wentworth especially broke out into violent invectives against
the neighbouring sovereigns, which even called forth remonstrances
from the embassies. He warned the King of England that in his case
also similar measures would lead to his complete ruin.[375] It was not
only urged that England ought not to take example by any foreign
country, but the very distinction drawn between elective and
hereditary monarchies suggested a question whether England after all
was so entirely a hereditary monarchy as was asserted. It was asked if
it might not rather be said that James I, who was one of a number of
claimants who had all equally good rights, owed his accession to a
voluntary preference on the part of the nation, which might be
regarded as a sort of election. These were ideas of unlimited range,
and flatly contradicted those which James had formed on the rights of
birth and inheritance. He felt himself outraged by their expression in
the Lower House.

In order to give the force of a general resolution to their assertion,
that in England the prerogative did not include the fixing of the
amount of taxes and customs without the consent of Parliament, the
Commons had made proposals for a conference with the Upper House. But
hereupon the higher clergy declared themselves hostile, not only to
their opinion, but even to the bare project of a conference. Neil,
Bishop of Lincoln, affirmed that the oath taken to the King in itself
forbade them to participate in such a conference; that the matter
affected not so much a branch of the royal prerogative as its very
root; that the Lords moreover would have to listen to seditious
speeches, the aim and intention of which could only be to bring about
a division between the King and his subjects. The Lord Chancellor had
asked the judges for their opinion; but they had declined to give any.
The result was that the Upper House did not accede to the proposal of
a conference.

The Commons were greatly irritated at the resistance which was offered
to their first step. They too in conferences which related to other
matters disdained to enter into the subjects brought before them. They
complained loudly of the insulting expressions of the bishop which had
been repeated to them. An exculpatory statement of the Upper House did
not content them; they demanded full satisfaction as in an affair of
honour, and until this had been furnished them they declared
themselves determined to make no progress with any other matter.

The King however on his side now lost patience at this. He considered
that an attack was made on the highest power when the general progress
of business was hindered for the sake of a single question, and he
appointed a day on which this affair of the subsidy must be disposed
of. He said that, if it were not settled, he would dissolve

One would not expect such a declaration to change the temper of the
Lower House. Speeches were heard still more violent than those
previously made. The Scots, to whose influence every untoward
occurrence was imputed, were threatened with a repetition of the
Sicilian Vespers. There were other members however who counselled
moderation; for it almost appeared as if the dissolution of this
Parliament might be the dissolution of all parliaments. Commissioners
were once more sent to the King in order to give another turn to the
negotiations. The King declared that he knew full well how far his
rights extended, and that he could not allow his prerogatives to be
called in question.[376]

These passionate ebullitions of feeling against the Scots, although
they referred to matters of a more alarming, but happily of an
entirely different nature, made the King anxious lest the destruction
of his favourites, or even his own ruin, might be required to content
his adversaries. On the 7th of June he dissolved Parliament. He
thought himself entitled to bring up for punishment the loudest and
most reckless speakers, as well as some other noted men from whom
these speakers had received their impulse, for instance Cornwallis,
the former ambassador in Spain. He considered that they had intended
to upset the government: not only had they failed, but they themselves
must atone for the attempt.[377]

The estrangement was not too great to allow the hope of a
reconciliation. It had been represented to the King that he ought not
to be ready to regard financial concessions as a compliance unbecoming
to the crown, for that in these matters he was at no disadvantage as
compared with any person or any foreign power; that on the contrary
the decision always proceeded from himself; that he was the head who
cared for the welfare of the members. It was said that he need by no
means fear that men would make use of his wants to lay fetters on him;
that bonds laid by subjects on their sovereigns were merely cobwebs
which he might tear asunder at any moment. Even Walter Ralegh had
stated this.[378] But the King had no inclination, after the
Parliament had repelled his overtures with rude opposition, to expose
himself by summoning a new one to new attacks on his prerogatives as
he understood them. By the voluntary or forced contributions of
different corporations, especially of the clergy and of the great men
of the kingdom, he was placed in a condition to carry on his
government in the ordinary way. Every measure which would have
necessitated a great outlay was avoided.

It is plain however into what a disagreeable position he was thus
brought. His whole method of government was based upon the superiority
of England. He had at that time brought the system of the Church in
Scotland nearer to the English model. The bishops in that country had
even received their consecration from the English. But he had not
effected this without violent acts of usurpation. He had been obliged
to remove his most active opponents out of the country; but even in
their absence they kept up the excitement of men's feelings by their
writings. The Presbyterians saw in everything which he succeeded in
doing, the work of cunning on the one side and treachery on the other,
and gave vent to the deepest displeasure at his deviation from their
solemn Covenant with God.

Relying on the right of England, but for the first time inviting
immigrants from Scotland, James undertook the systematic establishment
of colonies in Ireland. The additional strength however which by this
means accrued to the Protestant and Teutonic element entirely
annihilated all leanings which had been shown in his favour at his
accession to the crown, and aroused against him the strongest national
and religious antipathies of the native population in that country.

He then met with this opposition in Parliament which hampered all his
movements. It was foreign to his natural disposition to think of
effecting a radical removal of the misunderstanding that had arisen.
On the contrary he kept adding fresh fuel to it on account of the
deficiencies of his government, which began to impair his former
importance. The immediate consequence was that in foreign affairs he
was no longer able to maintain the position which he had taken up as
vigorously as might have been wished. His allies pressed him
incessantly to bestow help on them: but if even he had wished it, this
was no longer in his power. It was not that Parliament in withholding
his supplies had disapproved of the object which they were intended to
serve. On the contrary the Parliament lamented that this object was
not pursued with sufficient earnestness; but it wished above all to
extend its right of sanction over the whole domain of the public
revenues. But the King was not inclined to treat with Parliament for
the supplies of money required; he feared to incur the necessity of
repaying its grants by concessions which would abridge the ancient
rights of his crown. The centre of gravity of public affairs must lie
somewhere or other. The question was already raised in England whether
for the future it was to be in the power of the King and his
ministers, or in the authority of Parliament.


[364] Letter to the Lords, anno 1607: in Strype, Annals iv. 560.

[365] Antonio Correro, 25 Giugno 1608: 'Con l'autorità ch'egli tiene
con li mercanti di questa piazza li ha indutti a sottoporsi ad una
nova gravezza posta sopra le merci che vengono e vanno da questo

[366] Molino: 'La gabella dei pupilli porge materia grande a sudditi
di dolorsene e d'esclamare sino al celo studiando ogn'uno di liberasi
da simili bene.--Se uno aveva due campi di questa ragione e cento
d'altra natura, i due hanno questa forza, di sottomettere i cento alla
medesima gravezza.'

[367] Beaulieu to Trumbull. Winwood, Memorials iii. 123.

[368] Carleton to Edmonds: Court and Times of James I, i. 12, 123.

[369] Chamberlain to Winwood. Mem. iii. 175. 'Yf the practise should
follow the positions, we should not leave to our successor that
freedome we received from our forefathers.'

[370] Tommaso Contarini, 23 Giugno 1610: 'Che le loro persone, come
representanti le communita, siano di maggior qualita che li signori
titolati quali representano le loro sole persone, il che diede
grandissimo fastidio al re.'

[371] Campbell, Lives of the Lord Chancellors ii. 225.

[372] Lorking, writing to Puckering (The Court and Times of James the
First i. 254), remarks as early as July 1613 on the first mention of
the marriage, that its design was 'to reconcile him (Lord Rochester)
and the house of Howard together, who are now far enough asunder.'

[373] The King's second speech. Parliamentary History v. 285.

[374] A. Foscarini 1614, 20 Giugno. 'Il re ha sempre avuto seco (on
his side) la camera superiore e parte dell'inferiore: il rimanente ha
mostrato di voler contribuir ogni quantita di sussidio ma a conditione
che si vedesse prima qual fosse l'autorità del re, sull'impor

[375] Chamberlain to Carleton, May 28. Court and Times of James I, i.

[376] According to a report furnished by A. Foscarini: 'Elessero 40
d'essi a quali diede Lunedi audienza S. M.--dissero che la
supplicavano per tanto lasciar per ultima da risolvere la materia di
danari.' Unfortunately we have only very scanty information about this

[377] Extract from a letter of Winwood to Carleton, June 16. Green,
Calendar of State Papers, James I, vol. ii. 237.

[378] The Prerogative of Parliaments. Works viii. 154.



The times in which great political struggles are actually going on are
not the most favourable for production in the fields of literature and
art. These flourish best in the preceding or following ages, during
which the impulse attending those movements begins or continues to be
felt. Just such an epoch was the period of thirty or forty years
between the defeat of the Armada and the outbreak of the Parliamentary
troubles, a period comprising the later years of Queen Elizabeth and
the earlier years of King James I. This was the epoch in which the
English nation attained to a position of influence on the world at
large, and in which at the same time those far-reaching differences
about the most important questions of the inner life of the nation
arose. The antagonism of ideas which stirred men's minds generally
could not but reproduce itself in literature. But we also see other
grand products of the age far transcending the limits of the present
struggle. Our survey of the history will gain in completeness if we
cast even but a transient glance, first at the former and then at the
latter class of these products.

In Scotland the studies connected with classical antiquity were
prosecuted with as much zeal as anywhere else in Europe; not however
in order to imitate its forms in the native idiom, which no one at
that time even in Germany thought of doing, but in order to use it in
learned theological controversies, and to maintain connexion with
brother Protestants of other tongues. S. Andrew's was at one time a
centre for Protestant learning: Poles and Danes, Germans and French
visited this university in order to study under Melville. Even Latin
verse was written with a certain elegance. A fit monument of these
studies and their direction is to be found in Buchanan's History of
Scotland, a work without value for the earlier period, and full of
party spirit in describing his own, as Buchanan is one of the most
violent accusers of Mary Stuart, but pervaded by that warmth and
decision which carry the reader along with it: at that time it was
read all over the world. Buchanan and Melville were among the
champions of popular ideas on the constitution of states and the
relations between sovereign and people. It cannot be affirmed that
classical studies were without influence upon their views, but the
doctrine to which they adhered grew out of a different root. It rests
historically upon the doctrine of the superiority of the Church, and
the councils representing the Church, over the Papacy, as it was put
forth in the fifteenth century at Paris. A Scottish student there,
John Major, made this doctrine his own, and after his return to his
native country, when he himself had obtained a professorship, he
applied it to temporal relations. The positions of the advocates of
the councils affirmed that the Pope, it was true, received his
authority from God, but that he might be again deprived of it in cases
of urgent necessity by the Church, which virtually included the sum of
all authority in itself. In the same way John Major taught that an
original power transmitted from father to son pertained to kings, but
that the fundamental authority resided in the people; so that a king
mischievous to the commonwealth, who showed himself incorrigible,
might be deposed again. His scholars, who took so large a part in the
first disturbances in Scotland, and their scholars in turn, firmly
maintained this doctrine. They differed from their contemporaries the
Jesuits, who considered the monarchy to be an institution set up by
the national will, in ascribing to it a divine right, but they urged
that a king existed for the sake of the people, and that as he was
bound by the laws agreed on by common consent, resistance to him was
not only allowed, but under certain circumstances might even be a
duty. We must also remark the opposite view, which was developed in
contradiction to this, but yet rested on the same foundation. It was
admitted that the king, if the people were considered as a whole,
existed for their sake, and not the people for his; but the king, it
was said, was at the same time the head of the people; he possessed
superiority over all individuals: there was no one who could say in
any case that the contract between king and people had been broken: no
such general contract existed at all; there could be no question at
all of resistance, much less of deposition, for how could the members
rebel against the head? King James maintained that the legislative
power belonged to the king by divine and human right, that he
exercised it with the participation of his subjects, and always
remained superior to the laws. His position rests on these views, in
the development of which he himself had certainly a great share; he,
like his opponents, had his political and ecclesiastical adherents. In
the Scottish literature of the time both tendencies are embodied in
important historical works; the latter principally in Spottiswood's
Church History, which represents the royalist views and is not without
merit in point of form, so that even at the present day it can be read
with pleasure; the former in contemporary notices of passing events
which were composed in the language and even in the dialect of the
country, and which in many places are the foundation even of
Buchanan's history. They are the most direct expression of national
and religious views, as they found vent in the assemblies of preachers
and elders; in them we feel the life-breath of Presbyterianism.
Calderwood and the younger Melville, who collected everything which
came to hand, espoused the popular ideas; for information on facts and
their causes they are invaluable, although in respect of form they do
not rival Spottiswood, who, like them, employs the language of the

It might perhaps be said that it was in Scotland that the two systems
arose which since that time, although in various shapes, have divided
Britain and Europe. In the historians just mentioned we might see the
types of two schools, whose opposite conceptions of universal and
especially of English history, set forth by writers of brilliant
ability, have exercised the greatest influence upon prevailing ideas.

In England these ideas certainly gained admission, but they did not
make way at that time. When Richard Hooker expresses the popular ideas
as to the primitive free development of society, this is done
principally in order to point out the extensive authority of the
legislative power even over the clergy, and to defend the
ecclesiastical supremacy of the English crown, which had been
established by the enactments of that very power. The question was
mooted how far the sovereign was above the laws. Many wished to derive
these prerogatives from the laws; others rejected them. Among those
who maintained them unconditionally Walter Ralegh appears, in whose
works we find a peculiar deduction of them in the statement that the
sovereign, according to Justinian's phrase, was the living law: he
derives the royal authority from the Divine Will, which the will of
man could only acknowledge. He says in one place that the sovereign
stands in the same relation to the law, as a living man to a dead

What a remarkable work would it have been, had Walter Ralegh himself
recorded the history of his time. But the opposition between parties
was not so outspoken in England as in Scotland; it had not to justify
itself by general principles, to which men could give their adhesion;
it contained too much personal ill-feeling and hatred for any one who
was involved in the strife to have been able to find satisfaction in
expressing himself on this head. The history of the world which Walter
Ralegh had leisure to write in his prison, is an endeavour to put
together the materials of Universal History as they lay before him
from ancient times, and so make them more intelligible. He touches on
the events of his age only in allusions, which excited attention at
the time, but remain obscure to posterity.

In direct opposition to the Scots, especially to Buchanan, Camden, who
wrote in Latin like the former, composed his Annals of the Reign of
Queen Elizabeth. His contemporary, De Thou, borrowed much from
Buchanan. Camden reproaches him with this, partly because in Scotland
men preached atrocious principles with regard to the authority of the
people and their right of keeping their kings in order. The elder
Cecil had invited him to write the history of the Queen, and had
communicated to him numerous documents for this purpose, which were
either in his own possession or belonged to the national archives.
Camden set cautiously to work, and went slowly on. He has himself
depicted the trouble it cost him to decipher the historical contents
of these scattered and dusty papers. He has certainly not surmounted
all the difficulties which stand in the way of composing a
contemporary history. Here and there we find even in his pages a
regard paid to the living, especially to King James himself, which we
would rather see away. But such passages are rare. Camden's Annals
take a high rank among histories of contemporary transactions. They
are of such authenticity in regard to facts, and show so intimate an
acquaintance with causes gathered from trustworthy information, that
we can follow the author, even where we do not possess the documents
to which he refers. His judgments are moderate and at the same time in
all important questions they are decided.

When we read Camden's letters we become acquainted with a circle of
scholars engaged in the severest studies. In his Britannia, which
gives a more complete and instructive picture of the country than any
other work, they all took a lively interest. Their works are clumsy
and old-fashioned, but they breathe a spirit of thoroughness and
breadth which does honour to the age. With what zeal were
ecclesiastical antiquities studied in Cambridge, after Whitaker had
pointed the way! Men sought to weed out what was spurious, and in what
was genuine to set aside the part due to the accidental forms of the
time, and to penetrate to the bottom of the sentiments, the belief,
and activity of the writers. The constitution of the Church naturally
led them to devote special study to the old provincial councils. For
the history of the country they referred to the monuments of
Anglo-Saxon times, and began even in treating of other subjects to
bring the original sources to light. Everywhere men advanced beyond
the old limits which had been drawn by the tradition of chroniclers
and the lack of historical investigation hitherto shown.

Francis Bacon was attracted by the task of depicting at length a
modern epoch, the history of the Tudors, with the various changes
which it presented and the great results it had introduced, in which
he saw the unity of a connected series of events. Yet he has only
treated the history of the first of that line. He furnishes one of the
first examples of exact investigation of details combined with
reflective treatment of history, and has exercised a controlling
influence on the manner and style of writing English history,
especially by the introduction of considerations of law, which play a
great part in his work. The political points of view which are present
to the author are almost more those of the beginning of the
seventeenth than those of the beginning of the sixteenth century. But
these epochs are closely connected with each other. For what Henry VII
established is just what James I, who loved to connect himself
immediately with the former monarch, wished to continue. Bacon was a
staunch defender of the prerogative.

The dispute which arose between Bacon as a lawyer and Edward Coke
deserves notice.

Coke also has a place in literature. His reports are, even at the
present day, known without his name simply as 'The Reports,' and his
'Institutes' is one of the most learned works which this age produced.
It is rather a collection provided with notes, but is instructive and
suggestive from the variety of and the contrast of its contents. Coke
traced the English laws to the remotest antiquity; he considered them
as the common production of the wisest men of earlier ages, and at the
same time as the great inheritance of the English people, and its best
protection against every kind of tyranny, spiritual or temporal. Even
the old Norman French, in which they were to a great extent composed,
he would not part with, for a peculiar meaning attached itself, in his
view, to every word.

On the other hand Bacon as Attorney-General formed the plan of
comprising the common law in a code, by which a limit should be set to
the caprice of the judges, and the private citizen be better assured
of his rights. He thought of revising the Statute-Book, and wished to
erase everything useless, to remove difficulties, and to bring what
was contradictory into harmony.

Bacon's purpose coincided with the idea of a general system of
legislation entertained by the King: he would have preferred the Roman
law to the statute law of England. Coke was a man devoted to the
letter of the law, and was inclined to offer that resistance to the
sovereign which was implied in a strict adherence to the law as it
was. In the conflict that arose the judges, influenced by his example,
appealed to the laws as they were laid down, according to the verbal
meaning of which they thought themselves bound to decide. Bacon
maintained that the Judges' oath was meant to include obedience to the
King also, to whom application must be made in every matter affecting
his prerogative. This is probably what Queen Elizabeth also thought,
and it was the decided opinion of King James. He made the man who
cherished similar views his Lord Chancellor, and dismissed Coke from
his service. Bacon when in office was responsible for a catastrophe
which, as we shall see, not only ruined himself, but reacted upon the
monarchy. The English, contemporaries and posterity alike, have taken
the side of Coke. Yet Bacon's industry in business is not therefore
altogether to be despised. He urged the King, who was disposed to
judge hastily, to take time and to weigh the reasons of both parties.
He gave the judges who went on circuit through the country the most
pertinent advice. The directions which he drew up for the Court of
Chancery have laid the foundations of the practice of that court, and
are still an authority for it. His scheme of collecting and reforming
the English laws still, even at the present day, appears to statesmen
learned in the law to be an unavoidable necessity; and the opinion is
spreading that steps must be taken in this matter in the direction
already pointed out by Bacon.

Bacon was one of the last men who identified the welfare of England
with the development of the monarchical element in the constitution,
or at all events with the preponderance of the authority of the
sovereign within constitutional limits. The union of the three
kingdoms under the ruling authority of the King appeared to him to
contain the foundation of the future greatness of Britain. With the
assertion of the authority of the sovereign he connected the hope of a
reform of the laws of England, of the establishment of a comprehensive
system of colonisation in Ireland, and of the assimilation of the
ecclesiastical and judicial constitution of Scotland to English
customs. He loved the monarchy because he expected great things from

But it cannot be denied that he brought his ideas into a connexion
with his interests, which was fatal to the acceptance of the former.
His is just a case in which we feel relieved when we turn from the
disputes of the day to the free domain of scientific activity, in
which his true life was spent. He has indeed said himself that he was
better fitted to hold a book in his hands than to shine upon the stage
of the world. In his studies he had only science itself and the whole
of the world before his eyes.

The scholastic system founded on Aristotle, the inheritance of
centuries of ecclesiastical supremacy, had been assailed some time
before he took up the subject; and the inductive method which he
opposed to that system was not anything quite new. But the idea of
Bacon had the most comprehensive tendency: it tended to free the
thoughts and enquiries of men of science from the assumptions of a
speculative theology which regulated their spiritual horizon. The most
renowned adversaries of scholasticism he had to encounter in turn,
because they covered things with a new web of words and theories which
he could not accept. He thought to free men from the deceptive notions
by which their minds are prepossessed, from the fascination of words
which throw a veil over things, and of tradition consecrated by great
names, and to open to them the sphere of the certain knowledge of
experience. Nature is in his eyes God's book, which man must study
directly for His glory and for the relief of man's estate; he thought
that men must start from sense and experience, in order that by
intercourse with things they might discover the cause of phenomena.
He would have preferred for his own part to have been the architect of
an universal science, an outline of which he had already composed; but
he possessed the self-restraint to hold back from this in the first
instance, to work at details, and to make experiments, or, as he once
says, to contribute the bricks and stones which might serve for the
great work in the future. He only wanted more complete devotion and
more adequate knowledge for his task. His method is imperfect, his
results are untrustworthy in points of detail; but his object is
grand. He designates the insight for which he labours by the
Heraclitean name of dry light, that is, a light which is obscured by
no partiality and no subordinate aim. He would place the man who
possesses it as it were upon the mountain top, at the foot of which
errors chase one another like clouds. And in his eyes the satisfaction
of the mind is not the only interest at stake, but such discoveries as
rouse the activity of men and promote their welfare. Nature is at the
same time the great storehouse of God: the dominion over nature which
men originally possessed must be restored to them.

In these speculations the philosopher became aware that there was a
risk lest men should imagine that by this means they could also
discover the nature of God. Bacon lays down a complete separation of
these two provinces; for he thinks that men can only attain to second
causes, not to the first cause, which is God; and that the human mind
can only cope with natural things; that divine things on the contrary
confuse it. He will not even investigate the nature of the human soul,
for it does not owe its origin to the productive powers of nature, but
to the breath of God.

It had been from the beginning the tendency of those schools of
philosophy erected on the basis of ancient systems, in which Latin and
Teutonic elements were blended, to transfuse faith with scientific
knowledge; but Bacon renounces this attempt from the beginning. He
puts forward with almost repulsive abruptness the paradoxes which the
Christian must believe: he declares it an Icarian flight to wish to
penetrate these secrets: but so much stronger is the impulse he seeks
to give the human mind in the direction of enquiry into natural

Among these he ranks the state of human society, to which all his life
long he devoted a careful and searching observation. His Essays are
not at all sceptical, like the French essays, from which he may have
borrowed this appellation: they are thoroughly dogmatic. They consist
of remarks on the relations of life as they then presented themselves,
especially upon the points of contact between private and public life,
and of counsels drawn from the perception of the conflicting qualities
of things. They are extremely instructive for the internal relations
of English society. They show wide observation and calm wisdom, and,
like his philosophical works, are a treasure for the English nation,
whose views of life have been built upon them.

What better legacy can one generation leave to another than the sum of
its experiences which have an importance extending beyond the fleeting
moment, when they are couched in a form which makes them useful for
all time? Herein consists the earthly immortality of the soul.

But another possession of still richer contents and of incomparable
value was secured to the English nation by the development of the
drama, which falls just within this epoch.

In former times there had been theatrical representations in the
palaces of the kings and of great men, in the universities, and among
judicial and civic societies. They formed part of the enjoyments of
the Carnival or contributed to the brilliancy of other festivities;
but they did not come into full existence until Elizabeth allowed them
to the people by a general permission. In earlier times the scholars
of the higher schools or the members of learned fraternities, the
artisans in the towns, and the members of the household of great men
and princes, had themselves conducted the representation. Actors by
profession now arose, who received pay and performed the whole year
round.[380] A number of small theatres grew up which, as they charged
but low entrance-fees, attracted the crowd, and while they influenced
it, were influenced by it in turn. The government could not object to
the theatre, as the principal opposition which it had to fear, that of
the Puritans, shut itself out from exercising any influence over the
drama, owing to the aversion of their party to it. The theatres vied
with one another: each sought to bring out something new, and then to
keep it to itself. The authors, among whom men of distinguished talent
were found, were not unfrequently players as well. All materials from
fable and from history, from the whole range of literature, which had
been widely extended by native productions and by appropriation from
foreign sources, were seized, and by constant elaboration adapted for
an appreciative public.

While the town theatres and their productions were thus struggling to
rise in mutual rivalry, the genius of William Shakspeare developed
itself: at that time he was lost among the crowd of rivals, but his
fame has increased from age to age among posterity.

It especially concerns us to notice that he brought on the stage a
number of events taken from English history itself. In the praise
which has been lavishly bestowed on him, of having rendered them with
historical truth, we cannot entirely agree. For who could affirm that
his King John and Henry VIII, his Gloucester and Winchester, or even
his Maid of Orleans, resemble the originals whose names they bear? The
author forms his own conception of the great questions at issue. While
he follows the chronicle as closely as possible, and adopts its
characteristic traits, he yet assigns to each of the personages a part
corresponding to the peculiar view he adopts: he gives life to the
action by introducing motives which the historian cannot find or
accept: characters which stand close together in tradition, as they
probably did in fact, are set apart in his pages, each of them in a
separately developed homogeneous existence of its own: natural human
motives, which elsewhere appear only in private life, break the
continuity of the political action, and thus obtain a twofold dramatic
influence. But if deviations from fact are found in individual points,
yet the choice of events to be brought upon the stage shows a deep
sense of what is historically great. These are almost always
situations and entanglements of the most important character: the
interference of the spiritual power in an intestine political quarrel
in King John: the sudden fall of a firmly seated monarchy as soon as
ever it departs from the strict path of right in Richard III: the
opposition which a usurping prince, Henry IV, meets with at the hands
of the great vassals who have placed him on the throne, and which
brings him by incessant anxiety and mental labour to a premature
grave: the happy issue of a successful foreign enterprise, the course
of which we follow from the determination to prepare for it, to the
risk of battle and to final victory; and then again in Henry V and
Henry VI, the unhappy position into which a prince not formed by
nature to be a ruler falls between violent contending parties, until
he envies the homely swain who tends his flocks and lets the years run
by in peace: lastly the path of horrible crime which a king's son not
destined for the throne has to tread in order to ascend it: all these
are great elements in the history of states, and are not only
important for England, but are symbolic for all people and their
sovereigns. The poet touches on parliamentary or religions questions
extremely seldom; and it may be observed that in King John the great
movements which led to Magna Charta are as good as left out of sight;
on the contrary he lives and moves among the personal contrasts
offered by the feudal system, and its mutual rights and duties.
Bolingbroke's feeling that though his cousin is King of England yet he
is Duke of Lancaster reveals the conception of these rights in the
middle ages. The speech which Shakspeare puts into the mouth of the
Bishop of Carlisle is applicable to all times. The crown that secures
the highest independence appears to the poet the most desirable of all
possessions, but the honoured gold consumes him who wears it by the
restless care which it brings with it.

Shakspeare depicts the popular storms which are wont to accompany a
free constitution in the plots of some of his Roman dramas: of these
Plutarch instead of Holinshed furnishes the basis. He is right in
taking them from a foreign country: for events nearer to his audience
would have roused an interest of a different kind, and yet would not
have had so universal a meaning. What could be more dramatic, for
example, and at the same time more widely applicable than the contrast
between the two speeches, by the first of which Caesar's murder is
justified, while by the second the memory of his services is revived?
The conception of freedom which the first brings to life is set in
opposition to the thought of the virtues and services of the possessor
of absolute power, and thrust by them into the background; but these
same feelings are the deepest and most active in all ages and among
all nations.

But the attested traditions of ancient and modern times do not satisfy
the poet in his wish to lay bare the depths of human existence. He
takes us into the cloudy regions of British and Northern antiquity
only known to fable, in which other contrasts between persons and in
public affairs make their appearance. A king comes on the stage who in
the plenitude of enjoyment and power is brought by overhasty
confidence in his nearest kin to the extremest wretchedness into which
men can fall. We see the heir to a throne who, dispossessed of his
rights by his own mother and his father's murderer, is directed by
mysterious influences to take revenge. We have before us a great
nobleman, who by atrocious murders has gained possession of the
throne, and is slain in fighting for it: the poet brings us into
immediate proximity with the crime, its execution, and its recoil: it
seems like an inspiration of hell and of its deceitful prophecies: we
wander on the confines of the visible world and of that other world
which lies on the other side, but extends over into this, where it
forms the border-land between conscious sense and unconscious madness:
the abysses of the human breast are opened to view, in which men are
chained down and brought to destruction by powers of nature that dwell
there unknown to them: all questions about existence and
non-existence; about heaven, hell, and earth; about freedom and
necessity, are raised in these struggles for the crown. Even the
tenderest feelings that rivet human souls to one another he loves to
display upon a background of political life. Then we follow him from
the cloudy North into sunny Italy. Shakspeare is one of the
intellectual powers of nature; he takes away the veil by which the
inward springs of action are hidden from the vulgar eye. The extension
of the range of human vision over the mysterious being of things which
his works offer constitutes them a great historical fact.

We do not here enter upon a discussion of Shakspeare's art and
characteristics, of their merits and defects: they were no doubt of a
piece with the needs, habits, and mode of thought of his audience; for
in what case could there be a stronger reciprocal action between an
author and his public, than in that of a young stage depending upon
voluntary support? The very absence of conventional rule made it
easier to put on the stage a drama by which all that is grandest and
mightiest is brought before the eyes as if actually present in that
medley of great and small things which is characteristic of human
life. Genius is an independent gift of God: whether it is allowed to
expand or not depends on the receptivity and taste of its

It is certainly no unimportant circumstance that Shakspeare brought
out King Lear soon after the accession of James I, who, like his
predecessor, loved the theatre; and that Francis Bacon dedicated to
the King his work on the Advancement of Learning in the same year

Of these two great minds the first bodied forth in imperishable forms
the tradition, the poetry, and the view of the world that belonged to
the past: the second banished from the domain of science the analogies
which they offered, and made a new path for the activity displayed by
succeeding centuries in the conquest of nature, and for a new view of
the world.

Many others laboured side by side with them. The investigation of
nature had already entered on the path indicated by Bacon, and was
welcomed with lively interest, especially among the upper classes.
Together with Shakspeare the less distinguished poets of the time
have always been remembered. In many other departments works of solid
value were written which laid a foundation for subsequent studies.
Their characteristic feature is the union of the knowledge of
particulars, which are grasped in their individuality, with a
scientific effort directed towards the universal.

These were the days of calm between the storms; halcyon days, as they
have well been named, in which genius had sufficient freedom in
determining its own direction to devote itself with all its strength
to great creations.

As the German spirit at the epoch of the Reformation, so the English
spirit at the beginning of the seventeenth century, took its place
among the rival nationalities which stood apart from one another on
the domain of Western Christendom, and on whose exertions the advance
of the human race depends.


[379] In a letter to Casaubon he says 'vitam et res humanas et medias
earum turbas per contemplationes sanas et veras instructiores esse
volo.' (Works vi. 51).

[380] Sam. Cox in Nicolas' Memoirs of Hatton, App. XXX.



It has been my wish hitherto in my narrative to suppress myself as it
were, and only to let the events speak and the mighty forces be seen
which, arising out of and strengthened by each other's action in the
course of centuries, now stood up against one another, and became
involved in a stormy contest, which discharged itself in bloody and
terrible outbursts, and at the same time was fraught with the decision
of questions most important for the European world.

The British islands, which in ancient times had been the extreme
border-land, or even beyond the extreme border-land of civilisation,
had now become one of its most important centres, and, owing to the
union just effected, had taken a grand position among the powers of
the world. But it is nevertheless clear at first sight that the
constituent elements of the population were far from being completely
fused. In many places in the two great islands the old Celtic stock
still existed with its original character unaltered. The Germanic
race, which certainly had an indubitable preponderance and was
sovereign over the other, was split into two different kingdoms,
which, despite the union of the two crowns, still remained distinct.
The hostility of the two races was increased by a difference of
religion, which was closely connected with this hostility though it
was not merged in it. As a general rule the men of Celtic extraction
remained true to the Roman Catholic faith, while the Germanic race was
penetrated by Protestant convictions. Yet there were Protestants among
the former, and we know how numerous and how powerful the Catholics
were among the latter. Besides this, moreover, opposite tendencies
with regard to ecclesiastical forms struck root in the two kingdoms.
It was now the principal aim of the family by whose hereditary claim
the two kingdoms and the islands had been united, not only to avert
the strife of hostile elements, but also to reconcile them with one
another, and to unite them in a single commonwealth under its
authority, which all acknowledged and which it was desired to extend
by such an union. This was a scheme which opened a great prospect, but
at the same time involved no inconsiderable danger. Each of the two
kingdoms watched jealously over its separate independence. They would
not allow the dynasty to bring about a common government, which would
thus have set itself up above them, and would have established a new
kind of sovereignty over them. While the crown sought to enforce
prerogatives which were contested, it had to encounter in both
kingdoms the claims advanced by the holders of power in the nation,
whom in turn it endeavoured to repress. The quarrel was complicated by
a conception of the relations of the crown to foreign powers answering
to its new position, and running counter to the national view. At the
same time very perceptible analogies to this state of things were
offered by the religious wars, which began to convulse the continent
more violently than ever, and aroused corresponding feelings in the
British isles. The dynasty which tried to appease the prevailing
opposition of principles might find that, on the contrary, it rather
fomented the strife, and was itself drawn into it. This in fact took
place. Springs of action of the most opposite nature and antagonisms
growing out of nationality, religion, and politics, which could not be
understood apart from one another, co-operated in giving rise to
events which do not form a single continuous course of action, but
rather present a varied and changing result, due to elements which
were grand and full of life, but still waited for their final
settlement. It is clear how much this depended on the character and
discernment of the king.



At one period of his youth James I had been accustomed to vary his
application to his lessons with bodily exercises. At that age he had
divided his days between learned studies and the chase of the smaller
game in Stirling Park, accompanied in both pursuits by friends and
comrades of the same age; and he retained during all his life the
habits he had then formed.[381] He spent only a couple of months in
the year in London, or at Greenwich: he preferred Theobald's, and
still more distant country seats like Royston and Newmarket, where he
could give himself up to hunting. Even before sunrise he was in
motion, surrounded by a small number of companions practised in the
chase and selected for that object, amongst whom he was himself one of
the most skilful. He thought that he might vie with Henry IV even in
field sports; but he was not hindered by his fondness for these
amusements from continuing his studies with unwearied application. He
was impelled to these not, strictly speaking, by thirst for general
knowledge, although he was not deficient in this, but principally by
interest in the theological controversies which engaged the attention
of the world. He more than once went through the voluminous works of
Bellarmin; and, in order to verify the citations, he had the old
editions of the Fathers and of the Decrees of the Councils sent him
from Cambridge. In this task a learned bishop stood at his side to
assist him. He endeavoured with many a work of his own to thrust
himself forward in the conflict of opinions. He had the vanity of
wishing to be regarded as the most learned man in the two kingdoms,
but he could only succeed in passing for a storehouse of all sorts of
knowledge; for a man who overestimates himself is commonly punished by
disregard even of his real merits. These may not meet with recognition
until later times. The writings of James I wore the pedantic dress of
the age; but in the midst of scholastic argumentation we yet stumble
upon apt thoughts and allusions. The images which he frequently
employs have not that delicacy of literary feeling which avoids what
is ungraceful, but they are original and sometimes striking in their
simplicity. Naturally thorough and acute, he labours not without
success to prove to his adversaries the untenableness of the grounds
on which they proceed, or the logical fallacy of their conclusions.
Here and there we catch the elevated tone of a consciousness that
rests upon firm conviction. Even in conversation he sought to turn
away from particulars as soon as they came under discussion, and to
pass to general considerations, a province in which he felt most at
home. In his incidental utterances which have been taken down, he
displays sound sense and knowledge of mankind. It is especially worth
noticing how he considers virtue and religion to be immediately
connected with knowledge--the confusions in the world appear to him
for the most part to arise from mediocrity of knowledge[382]--and how
highly moreover he estimates a sense for truth. He finds the most
material difference between virtue and vice in the greater inward
truthfulness of the former. King James delivers many other
well-weighed principles of calm wisdom: it is only extraordinary how
little his own practice corresponded with them.[383] When in one of
his earlier writings we mark the seriousness with which he speaks of
the duty incumbent on a king of testing men of talent, of measuring
their capacity, and of appointing his servants not according to
inclination but according to merit, we should expect to find him in
this respect a careful and conscientious ruler. Instead of this we
find that he always has favourites, whose merits no one can discover;
to whom he stands in the extraordinarily compound relation of father,
teacher, and friend, and to whom he allows a share in the power which
he possesses. He could never free himself from a ruinous prodigality
towards those about him, in spite of resolutions of amendment. How
soon were the costly objects flung away which Elizabeth had collected
and left behind at her death![384] How many possessions or sources of
revenue accruing to the crown did he allow to pass into private hands!
Any regulation of his household expenditure was as little to be
expected from him in England as in Scotland. Like the princes of the
thirteenth century he considered that the royal power assigned him
privileges and advantages in which he had a full right to allow his
favourites and servants to share. Not seldom the most scandalous
abuses were connected with these: for instance, when the court was to
be provided with the common necessaries of life during its journeys,
it was required that they should be delivered to it at low prices: the
servants exacted more supplies than were wanted, and then sold the
surplus for their own profit. In grotesque contrast with the
disgraceful cupidity of his attendants is the exaggerated conception
which James had formed for himself of the ideal importance of the
royal authority, which at that time some persons attempted with
metaphysical acuteness to lay down almost in the same terms as the
attributes of the Deity. He had similar notions about his dignity and
the unconditional obligation of his subjects. Even in his
Parliamentary speeches he did not refrain from expressing them. He
made no secret of them in his life in the country, where he met with
unbounded veneration from every one. It was remarked as a point of
contrast between him and Elizabeth, that while she had always spoken
of the love of her subjects, James on the contrary was always talking
of the obedience which they owed him on the ground of divine and human
right. And people recognised many other points of contrast between
them besides this.[385] When the Queen had formed a resolution, she
had never shrunk from the trouble of directing her attention to its
execution even in the minutest details. King James did not possess
this ardour; for he could not descend from the world of studies and
general views in which he lived, to take a searching interest in the
business of the government or of justice. He had indeed been known to
say that it was annoying to him to hear the arguments on both sides
quietly discussed in a question of right submitted to him; for that in
that case he was unable to come to any conclusion. The Queen loved
gallant men and characters distinguished for boldness: the King was
without any sense of military merit, and felt uncomfortable in the
presence of men of enterprising spirit. He thought that he could only
trust those whom he had chained to himself by favours, presents, and
benefits. The Queen served as a pattern of everything which was proper
and becoming. James, who restricted himself to the intercourse of a
few intimate friends, formed attachments which he thought were to
serve as the rule of life. He himself was slovenly; in England, as
formerly in Scotland, he neglected his appearance, and indulged in
eccentricities which appeared repulsive to others, and were taken
amiss from him. Even at that time there was a common feeling in
England in favour of what is becoming in good society; and although
the feeling was for a long time less deeply engraved on men's minds,
and less sensitive to every outrage than it became at a later period,
men did not pardon the King for coming into collision with it.

Hence this sovereign appeared in complete contradiction with himself.
Careless, petty, and at the same time most unusually proud; a lover of
pomp and ceremony, yet fond of solitude and retirement; fiery and at
the same time lax; a man of genius and yet pedantic; eager to acquire
and reckless in giving away; confidential and imperious; even in
little matters of daily life not master of himself, he often did what
he would afterwards rather have left undone. With all his knowledge
and acuteness, the high flight of his thoughts was often allied to a
moral weakness which among all circles did serious injury to that
reverence which had hitherto been reserved for those who held the
highest authority, and which was partly bestowed even on him. It could
not seem likely that such a man should be able to exercise great
influence on the fortunes of Britain.

He did however exercise such an influence. He gave the tone to the
policy of the Stuart dynasty, and introduced the complication in which
the destiny of his descendants was involved.

In the first years of his reign in England, so long as Robert Cecil
was alive, King James exercised no deep influence. The Privy Council
possessed to the full the authority which belonged to it by old
custom. James used simply to confirm the resolutions which were
adopted in the bosom of the Council under the influence of the
Treasurer: he appears in the reports of ambassadors as a phantom-king,
and the minister as the real ruler of the country.[386] After the
death of Cecil all this was changed. The King knew the party-divisions
which prevailed in the Council: he let its members have their own way,
and even connived at the relations they formed with foreign powers for
their own interest; but he knew how to hold the balance between them,
and in the midst of their divisions to carry out his own views. In
those country seats, where no one seemed to take thought for anything
except the pleasures of the chase and learned pursuits, the business
of the state also was carried on in course of time with
ever-increasing ardour.[387] The secretaries about the King were
incessantly busy, while the secretaries' chambers in London were
idle. Great affairs were generally transacted between the King and the
favourite in the ascendant at the time, in conferences to which only a
few others were admitted, and sometimes not even these. The King
himself decided; and the resolutions which were taken were
communicated to the Privy Council, which gradually became accustomed
to do nothing more than invest them with the customary forms. If it be
asked what the object of the King's efforts was, the answer must be
that it was to set the exercise of the supreme power free from the
controlling influence of the men of high rank to whom the King had
deferred on his first accession. This was generally the aim of the
great rulers of that century. This had been the principal end of the
policy of Philip II of Spain during his long political life: however
the Kings and Queens of France may have differed on other points, they
were all, both Henry III and Henry IV, Mary de' Medici while she was
regent, and Lewis XIII so soon as he succeeded to the exercise of
power, at one in this endeavour. James, who was a new sovereign in one
of his kingdoms, and almost always absent from the other, had more
difficulties in his way than other monarchs. Wherever it was possible
he proceeded with energy and rigour. People were astonished when they
reckoned up the number of considerable men who served him in high
offices, and were then deprived of them. He laboured incessantly to
make way for the impartial exercise of justice in the King's name
throughout Scotland, in spite of the privileges of the great Scottish
nobles as its administrators. In his ecclesiastical arrangements in
that country, he was fond of insisting on his personal wishes: in
cases of emergency indeed he made known that all the treasures of
India were not of so much value in his eyes as the observance of his
ordinances; and he threatened the opponents of the royal will with the
King's anger, to which he then gave unbridled indulgence.[388] As he
looked upon the Church of England as the best bulwark against the
influence of the Jesuits which he feared on the one side, and that of
the Puritans which he hated on the other, it was naturally his
foremost endeavour to fortify his power, and to unite the two kingdoms
with one another by the promotion and spread of the forms of that
Church. The essential motive of his system of colonisation in Ireland
was the wish to establish the Church, by the aid of which he designed
to subjugate or to suppress hostile elements. In England he imparted
to it a character still more clerical and removed from Presbyterianism
than that which had previously distinguished it: he wished it to be as
much withdrawn as possible from the action of civil legislation. But
in proportion as he supported himself on the Church he fell out with
the Parliament, in which aristocratic tendencies and sympathies with
popular rights and with Puritanism were blended with a feeling of
independence that was hateful to him. He once said that five hundred
kings were assembled there, and he thought that he was fulfilling a
duty in resisting them. The most momentous questions affecting
constitutional rights in regard to the freedom of elections, freedom
of speech, the limits of legislative power, and above all the right of
granting taxes, were brought forward under King James. And on every
other side he saw himself involved in a struggle with hostile
privileges and proud independent powers, from whose ascendancy both in
Church and State he was careful to keep himself free, while at the
same time he did not proceed to extremities or come to an absolute
rupture. He was naturally disposed, and was moreover led by
circumstances, to make it a leading rule of conduct, to adhere
immovably to principles which he had once espoused, and never to lose
sight of them; but, having done this, to appear vacillating and
irresolute in matters of detail. His position abroad involved the same
apparent contradiction. Placed in the midst of great rival powers, and
never completely certain of the obedience of his subjects, he sought
to ensure the future for himself by crafty and hesitating conduct. All
the world complained that they could not depend on him; each party
thought that he was blinded by the other. Those however who knew him
more intimately assure us that we must not suppose that he did not
apprehend the snares which were laid for him; that if only he were
willing to use his eyes, he was as clear-sighted as Argus; that there
was no prince in the world who had more insight into affairs or more
cleverness in transacting them. They say that if he appeared to lack
decision, this arose from his fine perception of the difficulties
arising from the nature of things and their necessary consequences;
that he was just as slow and circumspect in the execution as he was
lively and expeditious in the discussion of measures; that he knew how
to moderate his choleric temperament by an intentional reserve,[389]
and that even his absence from the capital and his residence in the
country were made to second this systematic hesitation; that, if a
disputed point awaited decision, instead of attending a meeting with
the Privy Councillors who were with him, he would take advantage of a
fine day to fly his falcons, for he thought that something might
happen in the meanwhile, or some news be brought in, and that the
delay of an hour had often ere now been found profitable.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1613.]

It was then through no mere weakness on King James's part that he
conceded power to a favourite. In a letter to Robert Carr he describes
what he thought he had found in him, viz. a man who did not allow
himself to be diverted a hair's-breadth from his service,[390] who
never betrayed a secret, and who had nothing before his eyes but the
advantage and good name of his sovereign. The greater share that he
secured for such a man in the management of affairs the greater the
power which he believed that he himself exercised in them. The
favourite who depended entirely on the will of the king and knew his
secrets, he supposed would be both feared and powerful as a first
minister, and would pave the way by his influence upon the state for
the carrying out of the views of the sovereign. He thought that he
could combine the government of the state and the advance of
monarchical ideas, with the comfort of a domestic friendship with an

James himself brought about the alliance, which we noticed, between
Robert Carr, whom he raised to the earldom of Somerset, and the house
of Howard. By the union of the hereditary importance of an old family
that had almost always held the highest and most influential offices,
with the favour of the King which carried with it the fullest
authority, a power was in fact consolidated which for a while governed
England. Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, the Lord Treasurer Thomas
Howard, Earl of