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: England under the Tudors
Author: Innes, Arthur D. (Arthur Donald)
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 "England under the Tudors" ***

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







In England, as in France and Germany, the main characteristic of the last
twenty years, from the point of view of the student of history, has been
that new material has been accumulating much faster than it can be
assimilated or absorbed. The standard histories of the last generation need
to be revised, or even to be put aside as obsolete, in the light of the new
information that is coming in so rapidly and in such vast bulk. But the
students and researchers of to-day have shown little enthusiasm as yet for
the task of re-writing history on a large scale. We see issuing from the
press hundreds of monographs, biographies, editions of old texts,
selections from correspondence, or collections of statistics, mediaeval and
modern. But the writers who (like the late Bishop Stubbs or Professor
Samuel Gardiner) undertake to tell over again the history of a long period,
with the aid of all the newly discovered material, are few indeed. It is
comparatively easy to write a monograph on the life of an individual or a
short episode of history. But the modern student, knowing well the mass of
material that he has to collate, and dreading lest he may make a slip
through overlooking some obscure or newly discovered source, dislikes to
stir beyond the boundary of the subject, or the short period, on which he
has made himself a specialist.

Meanwhile the general reading public continues to ask for standard
histories, and discovers, only too often, that it can find nothing between
school manuals at one end of the scale and minute monographs at the other.
The series of which this volume forms a part is intended to do something
towards meeting this demand. Historians will not sit down, as once they
were wont, to write twenty-volume works in the style of Hume or Lingard,
embracing a dozen centuries of annals. It is not to be desired that they
should--the writer who is most satisfactory in dealing with Anglo-Saxon
antiquities is not likely to be the one who will best discuss the
antecedents of the Reformation, or the constitutional history of the Stuart
period. But something can be done by judicious co-operation: it is not
necessary that a genuine student should refuse to touch any subject that
embraces an epoch longer than a score of years, nor need history be written
as if it were an encyclopaedia, and cut up into small fragments dealt with
by different hands.

It is hoped that the present series may strike the happy mean, by dividing
up English History into periods that are neither too long to be dealt with
by a single competent specialist, nor so short as to tempt the writer to
indulge in that over-abundance of unimportant detail which repels the
general reader. They are intended to give something more than a mere
outline of our national annals, but they have little space for controversy
or the discussion of sources, save in periods such as the dark age of the
5th and 6th centuries after Christ, where the criticism of authorities is
absolutely necessary if we are to arrive at any sound conclusions as to the
course of history. A number of maps are to be found at the end of each
volume which, as it is hoped, will make it unnecessary for the reader to be
continually referring to large historical atlases--tomes which (as we must
confess with regret) are not to be discovered in every private library.
Genealogies and chronological tables of kings are added where necessary.




THE TUDOR PERIOD, 1485-1603 An era of Revolutions--The Intellectual
Movement--The Reformation and Counter-Reformation--The New World--The
Constitution--Nobility, Clergy, and Gentry--International Relations.


HENRY VII (i), 1485-1492-THE NEW DYNASTY 1485. Henry's Title to the Crown--
Measures to strengthen the Title--1486. Marriage--The King and his Advisers
--Henry's enemies--1487. Lambert Simnel--The State of Europe--France and
Brittany--1488. Henry intervenes cautiously--England and Spain--1489.
Preparations for war with France--Spanish treaty of Medina del Campo--The
Allies inert--1490. Object of Henry's Foreign Policy--1491. Apparent Defeat
--1492. Henry's bellicose Attitude--Treaty of Etaples.


HENRY VII (ii), 1492-1499-PERKIN WARBECK Ireland; 1485--1487-1492. The Earl
of Kildare--1491. Perkin Warbeck's Appearance--Riddle of his imposture--
1492-5. Perkin and Margaret of Burgundy--Diplomatic Intrigues--Ireland:
Poynings, 1494-6--1495. Survey of the Situation--Perkin attempts Invasion
--Success of Henry's Diplomacy--1496. Perkin and the King of Scots--A
Scottish Incursion--1497. The Cornish rising--Its suppression--Perkin's
final effort and failure--The Scottish Truce--The End of Perkin Warbeck:
1497-9--1498. The situation.


HENRY VII (iii), 1498-1509-THE DYNASTY ASSURED Scotland and England--
Henry's Scottish Policy--France and Scotland--Relations in 1498--Marriage
Negotiations; 1498-1503--Marriage of James IV. and Margaret, 1503--Spain
and England; Marriage Negotiations, 1488-1499--France, 1499--Spain;
Marriage Negotiations, 1499-1501--1501; the Spanish Marriage--1502. New
Marriage Schemes--1504. The Papal Dispensation--The Earl of Suffolk;
1499-1505--1505. Henry's Position--Schemes for Re-marriage--1506: The
Archduke Philip in England--Philip's Death--1507-8. Matrimonial Projects
--The League of Cambrai--Wolsey--1509. Death of Henry.


HENRY VII (iv), 1485-1509--ASPECTS OF THE REIGN 1485; Henry's Position
--Studied Legality--Policy of Lenity--Repression of the Nobles--The
Star-Chamber--Henry's Use of Parliament--Financial Exactions--Sources of
Revenue--Henry's Economics--Trade Theories--Commercial Policy--The
Netherlands Trade--The Hansa--The Navigation Acts--Voyages of Discovery--
The Rural Revolution--The Church--Henry and Rome--Learning and Letters--


HENRY VIII (i), 1509-1527--EGO ET REX MEUS Europe in 1509--England's
Position--The New King--Inauguration of the reign--Henry and the Powers--
1512. Dorset's Expedition--Rise of Wolsey--1513. The French War--Scotland
(1499-1513)--The Flodden Campaign--The Battle--Its Effect--Recovery of
English Prestige--1514. Foreign Intrigues--The French Alliance and Marriage
--1515. Francis I.--Marignano--1516-7. European changes--1518-9. Wolsey's
Success--1519. Charles V.--The Imperial Election--1520. Wolsey's Triumph--
Rival Policies--Field of the Cloth of Gold--Wolsey's Aims--Charles V. and
Francis I.--Scotland: 1513-1520--1520-1. Affairs Abroad--1521. Buckingham
--Wolsey's Diplomacy--1522. A Papal Election--War with France--Scotland--
1523. Progress of the War--Election of Clement VII.--1524. Wolsey's
difficulties--Intrigues in Scotland--1525. Pavia--The Amicable Loan--A
Diplomatic struggle--1526-7. Wolsey's success--A new Factor.


HENRY VIII (ii), 1509-1532--BIRTH OF THE REFORMATION _The Reformation in
England_--Its true Character--Religious Decadence--The Scholar-
Reformers--Ecclesiastical Demoralisation--Monastic Corruption--The
Proofs--Corruption of Doctrine--Evidence from Colet and More--Later
Evidence--Dean Colet--His Sermon: 1512--Erasmus--The _Utopia_: 1516--
Exaggerated attacks--Clerical Privileges--Tentative Reforms--The
Educational Movement--Wolsey and the Reformation--_The Lutheran
Revolt_: 1517--Luther's Defiance--The Diet of Worms; 1521--The German
Peasants' Revolt; 1524--Its Effect in England--1525. The Empire and the
Papacy--The Sack of Rome, 1527--Diet of Augsburg, 1530-The Swiss Reformers;
1520-1530--English Heretics Abroad--Contrasted Aims.


HENRY VIII (iii), 1527-1529--THE FALL OF WOLSEY "The King's Affair"--Story
of the Marriage--Anne Boleyn--1527. The King Prepares--Theoretical
Excuses--The Need of an Heir--The Plea of Invalidity--Conjunction of
Incentives--The Orleans Betrothal--Conclusions--The first Plan--The second
Plan--Knight's Mission--Its Failure--The Pope and the Cardinal--1528.
Gardiner's Mission--Wolsey's Critical Position--Campeggio and Wolsey--
Henry's Attitude--1529. The Trial--The Storm Gathers--The Storm Breaks--
Wolsey's fall--1530. Wolsey's Death--His Achievement--Appreciation of


HENRY VIII (iv), 1529-1533--THE BREACH WITH ROME 1529. No Revolt Yet--
Growth of Anti-clericalism--Thomas Cranmer--Appeal to the Universities
--The New Parliament--Thomas Cromwell--Pope, Clergy, and King--Double
Campaign Opens--1530. Answer of Universities--Preoccupation of the
Clergy--Menace of Praemunire--1531. "Only Supreme Head"--Proceedings in
Parliament--1532. Parliament--Supplication against the Ordinaries--
Resistance of Clergy--"Submission of the Clergy"--Mortmain, Benefit of
Clergy, and Annates--The Powers and the Divorce--The Turn of the Year--
1533. The Crisis--Restraint of Appeals--Cranmer Archbishop--The Decisive


HENRY VIII (v), 1533-1540--MALLEUS MONACHORUM 1533. Ecclesiastical Parties
--Pope or King?--1534. Confirmatory Acts--The Pope's Last Word--The Nun of
Kent--The Act of Succession--The Oath Refused--The "Bishop of Rome"--
Parliament--Treasons Act--1529-1534: The New Policy--Thomas Cromwell--1535.
More and Fisher--Cromwell Vicar--General--The German Lutherans--Overtures--
Visitation of the Monasteries--1536. Suppression of Lesser Houses--The
Evidence--The Black Book--The Consequent Commission--The Policy--Anne
Boleyn Threatened--Her Condemnation and Death--The Succession--Punishment
of Heresy--The Progressive Movement--The Ten Articles--The Lincolnshire
Rising--The Pilgrimage of Grace--Aske Beguiled--1537. Suppression of the
Rising--Turned to Account--Scotland, 1533-6--1536-7. Naval Measures--1537.
An Heir--1538. Diplomatic Moves--The Exeter Conspiracy--1539. Cromwell
Strikes--Menace of Invasion--The King and Lutheranism--The Six Articles--
Final Suppression of Monasteries--Royal Proclamations Act--Anne of Cleves--
1540. The Marriage--Fall of Cromwell.


HENRY VIII (vi), 1540-1547--HENRY'S LAST YEARS 1540. Katharine Howard--The
King his own Minister--England and the Powers--Scotland and England; 1541--
Cardinal Beton--1542--Solway Moss--1543. Henry's Scottish Policy--Alliance
with Charles V.--French War--1544. Domestic Affairs--Intrigues in Scotland
--Sack of Edinburgh--French War--Peace of Crepy--1545. Ancram Moor--A
French Armada--1546. Peace concluded--1532-1549. _Europe_--Lutherans
and the Papacy--Conference of Ratisbon-Council of Trent: first stages--
Death of Luther-Charles and the League of Schmalkald--The Jesuit Order--
Calvin--_England_: the Ecclesiastical Revolution--Progressives and
Reactionaries--1543. The King's Book-1546. Surrey--1547. Death of Henry.


HENRY VIII (vii), 1509-1547--ASPECTS OF HENRY'S REIGN _Ireland_:
1509-1520--Surrey in Ireland, 1520--Irish Policy, 1520-1534--Fitzgerald's
Revolt--1535-1540: Lord Leonard Grey--1540: St. Leger--"King of Ireland"--
_England_: Wolsey's work--The Army--The Navy--The New World--
Absolutism--The Parliamentary Sanction--Depression of the Nobles--
Parliament and the Purse--Finance--The Land--Learning and Letters--The
_Utopia_--Surrey and Wyatt--_Appreciation of Henry VIII._: Morals
and Character--Abilities and Achievement--Dominant Personality--


EDWARD VI (i), 1547-1549--THE PROTECTOR SOMERSET 1547. The New Government--
Relations with France and Scotland--with Charles V.--Somerset's Scottish
Policy--Pinkie--The Advanced Reformers--Benevolent Legislation--
Ecclesiastical Legislation--1548. Progress of the Reformation--Somerset's
Ideas--The French in Scotland--The Augsburg Interim--Parliament--1549. A
New Liturgy--The Treason of the Lord Admiral: 1547-9--1549--Troubles in the
Provinces--The Western Rising--Ket's Insurrection--The Protector's
Attitude--The Council attacks him--His Fall--Ireland: St. Leger and


EDWARD VI (ii), 1549-1553--THE DUDLEY ASCENDANCY 1549. Foreign Relations--
State of England--1550. Terms with France--Protestant zeal of Warwick--
Treasons Act--Protestant Fanaticism-1551. The Council and Charles V.--His
Difficulties--Groups among the Reformers--Somerset--His final overthrow--
1552. Execution of Somerset--Pacification of Passau--English Neutrality--
The Reformation: its Limits hitherto--Revision of the Liturgy--
Nonconformity--Parliament--1553. A New Parliament--Northumberland's
Programme--Plot to change the Succession--Adhesion of King and Council--
Death of Edward VI.--Willoughby and Chancellor.


MARY (i), 1553-1555-THE SPANISH MARRIAGE The Marian Tragedies--1553.
Proclamation of Queen Jane--The People support Mary--Collapse of the Plot--
Mary's Leniency--Cause of the Popular Loyalty--Problems: Marriage and the
Reformation--Possible Claimants--Moderate Reaction--Proposed Spanish Match
--Parliament: Repeal of Edward's Legislation--1554. Wyatt's Rebellion and
the Lady Elizabeth--Subsequent Severities--The Marriage Treaty-Pole,
Renard, and Gardiner--Public Tension--Parliament; Reconciliation with Rome
--Reaction consummated, 1555.


MARY (ii), 1555-1558-THE PERSECUTION Mary's early Policy--The Persecution--
Who was Responsible?--Comparison with other Persecutions--Some
Characteristic Features--1555. The First Martyrs--Trial of Cranmer--Ridley
and Latimer--Fate of Cranmer--His Record and Character--Policy of Philip--
Paul IV.--Mary disappointed of an Heir--A New Parliament--Gardiner's Death
and Character--Mary's Difficulties--1556. The Dudley Conspiracy--Foreign
Complications--1557. War with France--1558. Loss of Calais--National
Depression--Mary's Death and Character.



1558. Accession--Mary Stewart's Claim--Strength of Elizabeth's Position--
Sir William Cecil--Finance--Philip II. and Elizabeth's Marriage--The
Religious Question--A Protestant Policy--1559. Parliament: Act of
Supremacy--The Prayer-Book--France and Peace--State of Scotland--Arran and
Elizabeth--The Archduke Charles--Wynter in the Forth--1560. Difficulties of
France--Vacillations of Elizabeth--Siege of Leith--Treaty of Edinburgh--
Elizabeth's Methods--The Dudley Imbroglio--The Huguenots--The Pope--1561.
Return of Mary to Scotland.


ELIZABETH (ii), 1561-1568-QUEENS AND SUITORS 1561. The Situation--Council
of Trent--France; State of Parties--1561-8. France: Catholics and Huguenots
--The Netherlands: Philip's Policy--Prelude to War--1561. The Queens'
suitors--1562. Mary in Scotland--1562-3. Elizabeth and the Huguenots--The
English Succession-1564. Darnley and Others--1565. The Darnley Marriage--
Mary and Murray--1566. The Murder of Rizzio--1567. Kirk o' Field--The
Bothwell Marriage--Mary at Loch Leven--Murray Regent--1568. Langside, and
the Flight to England--1562-8. Protestantism of Elizabeth's Government--
Religious Parties--1566-7. Parliament and the Queen's Marriage--The Queen
and the Archduke.


ELIZABETH (iii), 1568-1572--THE CATHOLIC CHALLENGE 1568. Mary in England--A
Commission of Enquiry--Proceedings at York--Attitude of Philip--The
Commission at Westminster--Comment on the Enquiry--Seizure of Spanish
Treasure--1569. The Incident passed over--The Northern Rebellion--1570.
Murder of Murray--The Bull of Deposition--The Anjou Match--1570-1. The
Ridolfi Plot--1571. Parliament--Collapse of the Anjou Match--The Ridolfi
Plot Develops--1572. Parliament and Mary Stewart--Lepanto--The Netherlands
Revolt--The Alençon Match--St. Bartholomew.


ELIZABETH (iv), 1572-1578--VARIUM ET MUTABILE Elizabeth's Diplomacy--The
Queen's Subjects--Development of Protestantism--1572. Katharine de Medici
--The Aim of Elizabeth--England and the Massacre--Spain seeks Amity--1573.
A Spanish Alliance--Scotland: End of the Marian Party--The Netherlands,
France, and Spain--The Netherlands, England, and Spain--1574. Amicable
Relations of England and Spain--1575. A Deadlock--1576. Attitude of the
Nation--The Queen evades War--Alençon and the Huguenots--The Netherlands
and Don John--Elizabeth's Attitude--1577. The Political Kaleidoscope--The
Archduke Matthias--1578. Mendoza--Orange and Alençon--Death of Don John--
NOTE: The Portuguese Succession.


ELIZABETH (v), 1558-1578--IRISH AND ENGLISH 1549-58--1558. Shan O'Neill--
The Antrim Scots--1560-1. Shan and the Government--1562. Shan in England--
1563-5. Shan's supremacy in Ulster recognised--1566. Sir Henry Sidney
Deputy--Overthrow of O'Neill--Catholicism in Irish Politics--1568. The
Colonising of Munster--1569. Insurrection in Munster--Ireland and Philip--
Experimental Presidencies--1573-4. Essex in Ulster--1576-8. Sidney's second


ELIZABETH (vi), 1578-1583--THE PAPAL ATTACK 1579. The Union of Utrecht--
1578. The Matrimonial Juggle--Alençon's wooing--1579. Popular Hostility to
the Match--Loyalty to Elizabeth--Yea and Nay--The Papal Plan of Campaign--
1580. Philip annexes Portugal--_Ireland_: 1579; the Desmond Rising--
1580: Fire and Sword--Development of the Rebellion--Smerwick: and after--
_Scotland_: 1579-1581--_England_: 1580--The Jesuit Mission--
Walsingham at Work--1581. An Anti-papal Parliament--Alençon redivivus--His
visit to England--1582. Alençon in the Netherlands--1583. Exit


ELIZABETH (vii), 1583-1587-THE END OF QUEEN MARY 1583. Throgmorton's
Conspiracy--Catholics abroad sanguine--Division in their Counsels--The Plot
discovered--1584. Assassination of Orange--The "Association"--1585. Its
Ratification--France: The Holy League--Elizabeth's agreement with the
States--Drake's Cartagena Raid--Elizabeth's Intrigues-1586. Leicester in
the Netherlands--The Trapping of Mary--Babington's Plot--Trial of the
Queen of Scots--Elizabeth and Mary--1587. Execution of Mary.


ELIZABETH (viii), 1558-1587-THE SEAMEN The New World--The English Marine
before Elizabeth--The Royal Navy--Privateering--"Piracy"--Reprisal--The
Explorers--Spain in America--John Hawkins, 1562-6--San Juan d'Ulloa, 1567--
Francis Drake--Darien Expedition, 1572--Oxenham, 1575--_Drake's Great
Voyage_: 1577--Drake in the Pacific, 1578--in the North Pacific, 1579--
his Return, 1580--_Various Voyages_: 1576-1587--Raleigh--Humphrey


ELIZABETH (ix), 1587-1588-THE ARMADA 1587. Results of Mary's Death--
Attitude of Philip--Attitude of Elizabeth--The situation--Drake's Cadiz
Expedition--Negotiations with Parma--Elizabeth's Diplomacy--French Affairs
--Preparations for the Armada--1588. Plans of Campaign--Forces of the
Antagonists--The New Tactics--Defective Arrangements--The Land Forces--May
to July--The Fleets off Plymouth--The Fight off Portland--The Fight off the
Isle of Wight--Effect on the Fleets--The Armada at Calais--The Battle off
Gravelines--Flight and Ruin of the Armada.


ELIZABETH (x), 1588-1598-BRITANNIA VICTRIX After the Armada--A new
Phase--Death of Leicester--France, 1588-9--England aggressive--Alternative
Naval Policies--Don Antonio--Plan of the Lisbon Expedition--1589. The
Expedition; Corunna and Peniche--The Lisbon Failure--Policies and Persons--
France, 1589-1593--1590. Death of Walsingham--The Year's Operations--1591.
Grenville's Last Fight--France, 1590-3--Operations, 1592-4--Survey, 1589-94
--Spain and the English Catholics--Scottish Intrigues--Ireland: 1583-1592
--Tyrone, 1592-4--1595. Drake's Last Voyage--1596. The Cadiz Expedition--
Ireland--The Second Armada--1597. The Island Voyage--1598. Condition of
Spain--Death of Philip--Death of Burghley: Appreciation.


ELIZABETH (xi), 1598-1603--THE QUEEN'S LAST YEARS A new Generation--1598.
Ireland--The Earl of Essex--1599. Essex in Ireland--His Downfall--Catholic
Factions--Philip III.--1600--Ireland--Succession Intrigues--The End of
Essex--Robert Cecil--1601. Ireland: Rebellion broken--1602. The Succession
--Last Intrigues--1603. Death of Elizabeth.


ELIZABETH (xii), 1558-1603--LITERATURE Birth of a National Literature--
_Prose_: before 1579--1579-1589--_Euphues_--Sidney--Hooker--
_Verse_: before 1579--1579-1590--_Drama_: before Elizabeth--
early Elizabethan--_The Younger Generation>_: pervading
Characteristics Displayed in the Drama--and other Fields--Breadth of
view--Patriotism--Normal Types.


ELIZABETH (xiii), 1558-1603--ASPECTS OF THE REIGN Features of the Reign--
_Religion_: State and Church--The State and the Catholics--The Church
and the Puritans--Archbishop Whitgift--The Persecutions--_Economic
Progress_--Retrenchment--Wealth and Poverty--Trade Restrictions and
Development--_Travellers_--Maritime Expansion--_The Constitution--
Elizabeth_: her People--her Ministers--Appreciation.











I. THE WORLD: AS KNOWN _circa_ 1485-1603.
II. WESTERN EUROPE: _circa_ 1558
IV. SPANISH AMERICA: _circa 1580





[Sidenote: An era of Revolutions]

The historian of the future will, perhaps, affirm that the nineteenth
century, with the last years of the eighteenth, has been a period more
fraught with momentous events in the development of the nations than any
equal period since the Christian era commenced. Yet striking as are the
developments witnessed by the last four generations, the years when England
was ruled by Princes of the House of Tudor have a history hardly if at all
less momentous. For though what we call the Tudor period, from 1485 to
1603, is determined by a merely dynastic title affecting England alone, the
reign of that dynasty happens to coincide in point of time with the
greatest territorial revolution on record, a religious revolution
unparalleled since the rise of Mohammed, and an intellectual activity to
match which we must go back to the great days of Hellas, or forward to the
nineteenth century: revolutions all of them not specifically English, but
affecting immediately every nation in Europe; while one of them extended
itself to every continent on the globe. Moreover, the accompanying social
revolution, though comparatively superficial, was only a little less marked
than the others. Nor was there any country in Europe more influenced by the
general Revolution in any one of its aspects than England.

_Nihil per saltum_ is no doubt as true of historical movements as of
physical evolution. Before Columbus sighted Hispaniola, Portuguese sailors
had told tales of some vast island seen by them far in the west.
Botticelli had passed out of Filippo Lippi's school, and Leonardo was
thirty, before Raphael was born; the printing press had reached England,
and Greek had been re-discovered, in the last years of the previous
"period"; the Byzantine Empire had fallen; the power of the old Baronage in
England and France had been broken before Richard fell on Bosworth
field. There were Lollards at home and Hussites abroad before Luther came
into the world. The changes did not begin in 1485, or in any particular
year. In Italy the intellectual movement had already long been active, and
had indeed produced its best work; outside of Italy, its appearances had
been quite sporadic. At that date, the Ocean movement was in its initial
stages. There had been foreshadowings of the Reformation; and, to speak
metaphorically, the castles which had maintained the power of the nobility,
overshadowing the gentry and the burghers, were already in ruins. But the
fame of every one of the great English names which are landmarks in every
one of these great movements belongs essentially to the years after 1485.
And every one of those movements had definitely and decisively set its mark
on the world before Elizabeth was laid in her grave.

[Sidenote: The Intellectual Movement]

The intellectual movement to which we apply the name Renaissance in its
narrower sense [Footnote: In the more inclusive sense the Renaissance of
course began in the time of Cimabue and Dante, but it was not till the
latter half of the fifteenth century that it became a pervading force
outside of Italy.] has many aspects. Whatever views we may happen to hold
as to schools of painting and architecture, it is indisputable that a
revolution was wrought by the work of Raphael and Leonardo, Michael Angelo
and Titian, and the crowd of lesser great men who learned from them. The
limitations imposed on Art by ecclesiastical conventions were deprived of
their old rigour, and it was no longer sought to confine the painter to
producing altar pieces and glorified or magnified missal-margins. The
immediate tangible and visible results were however hardly to be found
outside of Italy and the Low Countries; and if English domestic
architecture took on a new face, it was the outcome rather of the social
than the artistic change: since men wanted comfortable houses instead of
fortresses to dwell in. The Renaissance in its creative artistic phase
touched England directly hardly at all.

On its literary side, the movement was not creative but scholarly and
critical, though a great creative movement was its outcome. In the earlier
period the name of Ariosto is an exception; but otherwise the greatest of
the men of Letters are perhaps, in their several ways, Erasmus and
Macchiavelli abroad and Thomas More in England. Scholars and students were
doing an admirable work of which the world was much in need; displacing the
schoolmen, overturning mediaeval authorities and conventions, reviving the
knowledge of the mighty Greek Literature which for centuries had been
buried in oblivion, introducing fresh standards of culture, spreading
education, creating an entirely new intellectual atmosphere. An enormous
impulse was given to the new influences by the very active encouragement
which the princes of Europe, lay and ecclesiastical, extended to them, the
nobility following in the wake of the princes. The best literary brains of
the day however were largely absorbed by the religious movement. The great
imaginative writers, unless we except Rabelais, appear in the latter half
of the sixteenth century--Tasso and Camoens and Cervantes, [Footnote:
_Don Quixote_ did not appear till 1605; but Cervantes was then nearly
sixty.] Spenser and Marlowe and Shakespeare, as well as Montaigne. But even
in the first half of the century, Copernicus enunciated the new theory that
the Sun, not the Earth, is the centre of the astronomical system; and
before the end of our period, the new methods had established themselves in
the field of science, to be first formulated early in the new century by
one who had already mastered and applied them, Francis Bacon. Essentially,
the modern Scientific Method was the product of the Tudor Age.

[Sidenote: The Reformation and the Counter-Reformation]

For many centuries, Christendom had in effect been undivided. There had
indeed been a time when it was uncertain whether the Arian heresy might not
prevail over orthodoxy, but that was a thousand years ago. The Byzantine
Church later had separated from the Roman on a subtle point of Theology;
but in spite of various dissensions, and efforts on the part of kings and
of Churches which may be called national to assert a degree of
independence, all Western Europe had acknowledged the supremacy of the
papacy; and though reformers had arisen, the movements they initiated had
either been absorbed by orthodoxy or crushed almost out of sight. The Tudor
period witnessed that vast schism which divided Europe into the two
religious camps, labelled--with the usual inaccuracy of party labels--
Catholic and Protestant: the latter, as time went on, failing into infinite
divisions, still however remaining agreed in their resistance to the common
foe. Roughly--very roughly--in place of the united Christendom of the
Middle Ages, the end of the period found the Northern, Scandinavian, and
Teutonic races ranged on one side, the Southern Latin races on the other;
and in both camps a very much more intelligent conception of religion, a
much more lively appreciation of its relation to morals. The intellectual
revolution had engendered a keen and independent spirit of inquiry, a
disregard of traditional authority, an iconoclastic zeal, a passion for
ascertaining Truth, which, applied to religion, crashed against received
systems and dogmas with a tremendous shock rending Christendom in twain.
But the Reformers were not all on one side; and those who held by the old
faiths and acknowledged still the old mysteries included many of the most
essentially religious spirits of the time. If the Protestants won a new
freedom, the Catholics acquired a new fervour and on the whole a new
spirituality. For both Catholic and Protestant, religion meant something
which had been lacking to latter-day mediaevalism: something for which it
was worth while to fight and to die, and--a much harder matter than dying
--to sever the bonds of friendship and kinship. That these things should
have needed to be done was an evil; that men should have become ready to do
them was altogether good. The Reformation brought not peace but a sword;
Religion was but one of the motives which made men partisans of either
side; yet that it became a motive at all meant that they had realised it as
an essential necessity in their lives.

[Sidenote: The New World]

It is hardly necessary to dwell at length on the magnitude of the
maritime expansion; the Map [Footnote: See Map 1] is more eloquent than
words. In 1485 the coasts that were known to Europeans were those of
Europe, the Levant, and North Africa. Only such rare adventurers as
Marco Polo had penetrated Asia outside the ancient limits of the Roman
Empire. In 1603, the globe had been twice circumnavigated by Englishmen.
Portuguese fleets dominated the Indian waters; there were Portuguese
stations both on the West Coast of India and in the Bay of Bengal;
Portuguese and Spaniards were established in the Spice Islands whence
there was an annual trade round the Cape with the Spanish Peninsula:
the English East India Company was already incorporated, and its first
fleet, commanded by Captain Lancaster, had opened up the same waters
for English trade. Mexico and Peru and the West Indies were Spanish

** Two pages missing from original book here

[Sidenote: Nobility, clergy and gentry]

In the business of managing the Estates, the problem was further simplified
to the Tudors because circumstances enabled them arbitrarily to replenish
their treasuries largely from sources which did not wound the
susceptibilities of the Commons. Henry VII. could victimise the nobles by
fines or benevolences, and Henry VIII. could rob the Church, without
arousing the animosity of the classes which were untouched; while neither
the nobility nor the clergy were strong enough for active resentment. In
each case the King made his profit out of privileged classes which got no
sympathy from the rest--who did not grudge the King money so long at least
as they were not asked to provide it themselves, and in fact felt that the
process diminished the necessity for making demands on their own pockets.

The disappearance of the old almost princely power of the greater barons,
completed by the repressive policy of Henry VII., with the redistribution
of the vast monastic estates effected by his son, were the leading factors
which changed the social and political centre of gravity. The old nobility
were almost wiped out by the civil wars; generation after generation, their
representatives had either fallen on the battlefield, or lost their heads
on the scaffold and their lands by attainder. The new nobility were the
creations of the Tudor Kings, lacking the prestige of renowned ancestry and
the means of converting retainers into small armies. With the exception of
the Howards, scarce one of the prominent statesmen of the period belonged
to any of the old powerful families. For more than forty years the chief
ministers were ecclesiastics; after Wolsey's fall, the Cromwells, Seymours,
Dudleys, and Pagets, the Cecils and Walsinghams, and Bacons, the Russels,
Sidneys, Raleighs, and Careys, were of stocks that had hardly been heard of
in Plantagenet times, outside their own localities. It was the Tudor policy
to foster and encourage this class of their subjects, who from the Tudor
times onward provided the country with most of her statesmen and her
captains, and in the aggregate mainly swayed her fortunes. At the same time
the political influence of the Church was reduced to comparative
insignificance by the treatment of the whole hierarchy almost as if it were
a branch, and a rather subordinate branch, of the civil administration; by
the appropriation of its wealth to secular purposes, to the enrichment of
individuals and of the royal treasury; and by the suppression of the
monastic orders. The effect of this last measure, limiting the clerical
ranks to the successors of the secular clergy, was to restrict them much
more generally to their pastoral functions; and at any rate after the death
of Gardiner and Pole, no ecclesiastic appears as indubitably first minister
of the Crown, and few as politicians of the front rank. England had no
Richelieu, and no Mazarin. Lastly while the diminution in the importance of
the ecclesiastical courts increased the influence of the lay lawyers, the
great development in the prosperity of the mercantile classes, due in part
at least to the deliberate policy of the Tudor monarchs, led in turn to
their wealthy burgesses acquiring a new weight in the national counsels
which, however, did not take full effect till a later day.

[Sidenote: International relations]

Finally we have to observe that in this period the whole system of
international relations underwent a complete transformation. At its
commencement, there was no Spanish kingdom; there was no Dutch Republic;
the unification even of France was not completed; England had a chronically
hostile nation on her northern borders; the Moors still held Granada; the
Turk had only very recently established himself in Europe, and his advance
constituted a threat to all Christendom, which still very definitely
recognised one ecclesiastical head in the Pope, and--very much less
definitely--one lay head in the Emperor. Elizabeth's death united England
and Scotland at least for international purposes; France and Spain had each
become a homogeneous state; Holland was on the verge of entering the lists
as a first-class power. The theoretical status of the Emperor in Europe had
vanished, but on the other hand, the co-ordination of the Empire itself as
a Teutonic power had considerably advanced. The Turk was held in check, and
the Moor was crushed: but one half of Christendom was disposed to regard
the other half as little if at all superior to the Turk in point of
Theology. The nations of Western Europe had approximately settled into the
boundaries with which we are familiar; the position of the great Powers had
been, at least comparatively speaking, formulated; and the idea had come
into being which was to dominate international relations for centuries to
come--the political conception of the Balance of Power.



[Sidenote: 1485 Henry's title to the Crown]

On August 22nd, 1485, Henry Earl of Richmond overcame and slew King Richard
III., and was hailed as King on the field of victory. But the destruction
of Richard, an indubitable usurper and tyrant, was only the first step in
establishing a title to the throne as disputable as ever a monarch put
forward. To establish that title, however, was the primary necessity not
merely for Henry himself, but in the general interest; which demanded a
secure government after half a century of turmoil.

Henry's hereditary title amounted to nothing more than this, that through
his mother he was the recognised representative of the House of Lancaster
in virtue of his Beaufort descent from John of Gaunt, [Footnote: See
_Front_. and Appendix B. The prior hereditary claims of the royal
Houses of Portugal and Castile and of the Earl of Westmorland were
ignored.] father of Henry IV.; whereas the House of York was descended in
the female line from Lionel of Clarence, John of Gaunt's elder brother, and
in unbroken male line from the younger brother Edmund of York. On the
simple ground of descent therefore, any and every member of the House of
York had a prior title to Henry's; the most complete title lying in
Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV.; while the young Earl of Warwick,
son of George of Clarence, was the first male representative, and John de
la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, son of Edward's sister, had been named by Richard
as heir presumptive.

But Henry could support his hereditary title, such as it was, by the actual
fact that it was he and not a Yorkist who had challenged and overthrown the
usurper Richard.

[Sidenote 1: Measures to strengthen the title]
[Sidenote 2: 1486 Marriage]

Now the idea that the rivalry of the Houses of York and Lancaster should be
terminated and their union be effected by the marriage of the two
recognised representatives had been mooted long before. But in Henry's
position, it was imperative that he should assert his own personal right to
the throne, not admitting that he occupied it as his wife's consort. His
strongest line was to claim the Crown as his own of right and procure the
endorsement of that claim from Parliament, [Footnote: The intricacies of
descent, and the position of the crowd of hypothetical claimants, are set
forth in detail in Appendix B, and the complete genealogical chart
(_Front_.).] as Henry IV. had done on the deposition of Richard II. He
could then without prejudice to his own title effectively bar other rivals
by taking as his consort Elizabeth of York; since the Yorkists, as a group,
would at any rate hesitate to assert priority of title to hers for either
Warwick or De la Pole (who in fact never himself posed as a claimant for
the throne). In accordance with this plan of operations, the contemplated
marriage with Elizabeth of York was in the first instance postponed as a
matter for later consideration. Henry proceeded forthwith to London,
entering the City _laetanter_, amidst public rejoicings; [Footnote:
Gairdner, _Memorials of Henry VII_., p. xxvi, where a curious
misapprehension is explained for which Bacon is mainly responsible.] writs
for a new Parliament being issued a few days later. The coronation took
place on October 30th; a week afterwards Parliament met, and an Act was
promptly passed, declaring--without giving any reasons, which might have
been disputed--that the "inheritance of the Crowns of England and France
be, rest, remain and abide, in the person of our now Sovereign Lord, King
Harry the Seventh, and in the heirs of his body". This was sufficiently
decisive; but the endorsement of Henry's title in the abstract was
confirmed by further enactments which assumed that he had been King of
right, before the battle of Bosworth (thus repudiating title by conquest),
since they attainted of treason those who had joined Richard in levying war
against him. Thus Henry had affirmed his own inherent right to the throne;
and had hedged that round with an unqualified parliamentary title. In the
meantime he had also disqualified one possible figure-head for the Yorkists
by lodging the young Earl of Warwick in the Tower. It remained for him to
convert the other and principal rival into a prop of his own dignities by
marrying Elizabeth of York. Accordingly he was formally petitioned by
Parliament in December to take the princess to wife, to which petition he
graciously assented, and the union of the red and white roses was
accomplished in January. Any son born of this marriage would in his own
person unite the claims of the House of Lancaster with those of the senior
branch of the House of York.

[Sidenote: The King and his advisers]

It is difficult to think of the first Tudor monarch as a young man; for his
policy and conduct bore at all times the signs of a cautious and
experienced statesmanship. Nevertheless, he was but eight and twenty when
he wrested the kingdom from Richard. His life, however, had been passed in
the midst of perpetual plots and schemes, and in his day men developed
early--whereof an even more striking example was his son's contemporary,
the great Emperor Charles V. Young as Henry was, there was no youthful
hot-headedness in his policy, which was moreover his own. But he selected
his advisers with a skill inherited by his son; and the most notable
members of the new King's Council were Reginald Bray; Morton, Bishop of
Ely, who soon after became Archbishop of Canterbury and was later raised to
the Cardinalate; and Fox, afterwards Bishop of Durham and then of
Winchester, whose services were continued through the early years of the
next reign. Warham, afterwards Archbishop, was another of the great
ecclesiastics whom he promoted, and before his death he had discovered the
abilities of his son's great minister Thomas Wolsey. For two thirds of his
reign, however, Bray and Morton were the men on whom he placed chief

[Sidenote: Henry's enemies]

Difficult as it was after Henry's union with Elizabeth to name any
pretender to the throne with even a plausible claim, Bosworth had been
in effect a victory for the Lancastrian party, and many of the Yorkists
were still prepared to seize any pretext for attempting to overthrow
the new dynasty. Not long after the marriage, Henry started on a
progress through his dominions; and while he was in the north, Lord
Lovel and other adherents of the late king attempted a rising which was
however suppressed with little difficulty. A considerable body of
troops was sent against the rebels, while a pardon was proclaimed for
all who forthwith surrendered. Many of the insurgents came in; the
promise to them was kept. Of the rest, one of the leaders was executed,
Lovel escaping; but the affair, though abortive, illustrated the
general atmosphere of insecurity which was to be more seriously
demonstrated by the insurrection in favour of Lambert Simnel in the
following year--some months after the Queen had given birth to a son,
Prince Arthur.

Outside Henry's own dominions, the Dowager Margaret of Burgundy, widow
of Duke Charles the Bold and sister of Edward IV., was implacably
hostile to Henry, and her court was the gathering place of dissatisfied
Yorkist intriguers. Within his realms, Ireland, where the House of York
had always been popular, offered a perpetual field in which to raise
the standard of rebellion, any excuse for getting up a fight being
generally welcomed. In that country the power of the King's government,
such as it was, was practically confined to the limits of the Pale--and
within those limits depended mainly on the attitude of the powerful
Irish noble, Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, who held the office of Deputy.

[Sidenote: 1487 Lambert Simnel]

At the close of the fifteenth century accurate information did not travel
rapidly, but vague rumours were readily spread abroad. Rumours were now
rife that one of the princes murdered by Richard III. had really escaped
and was still living; and on the other hand that the boy Warwick was dead
in the Tower. Some one devised the idea of producing a fictitious Richard
of York, or Warwick. A boy of humble birth named Lambert Simnel was taught
to play the part, carried over to Ireland, and produced after some
hesitation as the Earl of Warwick. Presumably the leaders of the Yorkists
intended to use the supposititious earl only until the real one could be
got into their hands; but Lincoln, who certainly knew the facts, espoused
the cause of the pretender, in complicity with Lovel and Margaret of
Burgundy. In Ireland, Simnel was cheerfully and with practical unanimity
accepted as the king, and a band of German mercenaries, under the command
of Martin Swart, was landed in that country to support him; though in
London the genuine Warwick was paraded through the streets to show that he
was really there alive. Lincoln, who had first escaped to Flanders, joined
the pretender; they landed in Lancashire in June. Within a fortnight,
however, the opposing forces met at Stoke, and after a brief but fierce
conflict the rebel army, mainly composed of Irish and of German
mercenaries, was crushed, Lincoln and several leaders were slain, and their
puppet was taken captive. Henry's action was the reverse of vindictive, for
Simnel was merely relegated to a position, appropriate to his origin, in
the royal kitchen, and was subsequently promoted to be one of the King's
falconers. Kildare, [Footnote: The narrative in the _Book of Howth_
gives the impression that Kildare was at Stoke, and was made prisoner; but
this is probably a misinterpretation arising from a lack of dates.] in
spite of his undoubted complicity in the rebellion and the actual
participation therein of his kinsmen, was even retained in the office of
Deputy. Twenty-eight of the rebels, however, were attainted in the new
Parliament which was summoned in November, the Queen's long-deferred
coronation taking place at the same time.

The same Parliament is noteworthy as having given a definitely legal status
to the judicial authority of the Council by the establishment of the Court
thereafter known as the Star Chamber, of which we shall hear later. Besides
this, however, it had the duty of voting supplies for embroilments
threatening on the Continent.

The complexities of foreign affairs form so important a feature in the
history of the next forty years that it is important to open the study of
the period with a clear idea of the position of the Continental powers.

[Sidenote: The state of Europe]

Lewis XI., the craftiest of kings, had died in 1482, leaving a tolerably
organised kingdom to his young son Charles VIII., under the regency of Anne
of Beaujeu. With the exception of the Dukedom of Brittany, which still
claimed a degree of independence, and of Flanders and Artois which, though
fiefs of France, were still ruled by the House of Burgundy, the whole
country was under the royal dominion; which had also absorbed the Duchy of
Burgundy proper. The daughter of Charles the Bold, wife of Maximilian of
Austria, inherited as a diminished domain the Low Countries and the County
of Burgundy or Franche Comté.

East of the Rhine, the kingdoms, principalities, and dukedoms of Germany
owned the somewhat vague authority of the Habsburg Emperor Frederick, but
the idea of German Unity had not yet come into being. On the south-east the
Turks who had captured Constantinople some thirty years before (1453) were
a militant and aggressive danger to the Empire and to Christendom; while
the stoutest opponent of their fleets was Venice. Switzerland was an
independent confederacy of republican States: Italy a collection of
separate States--dukedoms such as Milan, kingdoms such as Naples, Republics
such as Venice and Florence, with the Papal dominions in their midst. In
the Spanish peninsula were the five kingdoms of Navarre, Portugal, the
Moorish Granada, Aragon, and Castile. The last two, however, were already
united, though not yet merged into one, by the marriage of their respective
sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella. Sardinia and Sicily were attached to

Finally we have to note that Maximilian, son of the Emperor, had married
Mary of Burgundy; but on Mary's death the Netherlanders recognised as their
Duke not Maximilian but his young son Philip--the father exercising only a
very precarious authority as the boy's guardian; while the Dowager
Margaret, the second wife of Charles the Bold, the lady whose hostility to
the House of Lancaster has been already noted, possessed some dower-towns,
and considerable influence. In 1486 Maximilian was elected "King of the
Romans," in other words his father's presumed successor as Emperor.

[Sidenote: France and Brittany]

For the time, then, the consolidation of France was more advanced than that
of any other Power; her desire was to complete the process by the
absorption of Brittany. Spain, i.e., Castile and Aragon, had made
considerable progress in the same direction, but for her the conquest of
Granada was still the prime necessity.

The absorption of Brittany, however, was opposed alike to the interests of
Maximilian, of the Spanish monarchs, and of England. To the former two, any
further acquisition of power by France was a possible menace. To the last,
France was traditionally the enemy, and if Breton ports became French
ports, the strength of France in the Channel would be almost doubled. Henry
personally was under great obligations both to France and to Brittany,
especially to France; but political exigencies evidently compelled him to
favour the maintenance of Breton independence.

During 1487 France had been carrying on active hostilities in Brittany, but
the results had been small and a treaty had been signed. Lewis, Duke of
Orleans, and others of the French nobility who were hostile to the regency
of Anne of Beaujeu, were actively promoting the Breton cause within the
dukedom; there was no longer an active French party there; and now that
Henry in England had suppressed the Simnel rising France became anxious to
secure English neutrality. But, if Henry could not keep clear of the
complication altogether; if once the parties in the contest began appealing
to him; he was liable to find himself forced to take part with one side or
the other. Hence the necessity for calling upon Parliament to vote money
for armaments.

[Sidenote: 1488 Henry intervenes cautiously]

Thus in the opening months of 1488 we find Henry on the one hand fitting
out ships, and on the other offering friendly mediation both to France and
to Brittany: while his policy was not simplified by the unauthorised
interposition of his queen's uncle Edward Woodville, who secretly sailed
with a band of adventurers to support the Bretons. Henry repudiated
Woodville's action, and extended the existing treaty of peace with France
to January, 1490. In the same month (July, 1488) the Bretons suffered a
complete defeat, and the Duke was obliged to sign a treaty on ignominious
terms. Within a fortnight, however, the Duke was dead, and his daughter
Anne, a girl of twelve, succeeded him.

The result was the renewal of war; since Anne of Beaujeu and the Breton
Marshal de Rieux both claimed the wardship of the young Duchess, for whose
hand the widower Maximilian was already a prominent suitor. Now up to this
point Henry had refused to adopt a hostile attitude towards France, and had
treated overtures from Maximilian with frigidity. But in six months' time
he was concluding alliances both with Brittany and with Maximilian.

[Sidenote: England and Spain]

The determining factor in this change of attitude, practically involving a
French war, is probably to be found in Henry's relations with Spain. It was
of vital importance to him to get his dynasty recognised in an emphatic
form by foreign Powers. In Spain under its very able rulers he saw the most
valuable of allies, and during the first half of 1488 he had made it his
primary concern to procure the betrothal of his own infant son Arthur to
their infant daughter Katharine. And virtually his hostility to France was
the price they demanded. The preliminaries were settled in July, 1488; the
treaty was not definitively signed till March of the next year; and as the
essential nature of the Spanish requirements became more apparent, Henry
found himself compelled to accept active antagonism to France as part of
the bargain. With his subjects, a French war was always secure of a certain
popularity, though the provision of funds for it would entail a degree of
opposition. Moreover, though foreign wars might give extreme malcontents
their opportunity, it is a commonplace of politics that they distract
attention from domestic grievances. Thus it is easy to perceive how the
benefits of the Spanish alliance would very definitely turn the scale. And
we shall still find that Henry had no intention of expending an ounce of
either blood or treasure which might be saved consistently with the
ostensible fulfilment of the Spanish Compact.

[Sidenote 1: 1489 Preparations for war with France]
[Sidenote 2: Spanish treaty of Medina del Campo]

So in December, 1488, Henry was sending friendly embassies to all the
Powers, but while that to France was merely offering mediation, the envoy
to Brittany was offering military assistance--on terms. In January a new
Parliament was asked for, and after considerable debate granted, £100,000.
In February the embassy to Maximilian concluded an alliance for mutual
defence; while that to Brittany pledged Henry to defend the young Duchess,
but exacted in return the occupation by the English of sundry military
positions in the duchy, and the right to forbid any marriage or alliance
except with Maximilian or Spain. Then in March the Spanish treaty was
completed: whereof the terms were very significant. The children were to be
betrothed. If Spain declared war on France, England was to support her.
Spain might retire independently if she recovered the small districts of
Roussillon and Cerdagne, which had been surrendered (though only in pledge)
to Lewis XI.; England might similarly withdraw if she got back Guienne--a
very much more visionary prospect. Otherwise, one was not to retire without
the other being equally satisfied. If England attacked France, Spain was to
help; but occupied as she was with Granada the amount of aid likely to be
forthcoming was problematical. In brief, Henry was prepared to pay for the
marriage, and Spain could exact a high price.

France then was occupied in the west with the contest in Brittany, and in
the north she was supporting the Flemings in their normal resistance to
Maximilian. The English could use Calais as a base for operations on this
side, and also began to throw troops into Brittany. Incidentally there was
a rising in the north of England headed by Sir John Egremont, of which the
pretext was resistance to the levying of taxes; this, however, did not take
very long to suppress, nor was any one of importance involved in it. Still
the hostilities with France were carried on in a very half-hearted fashion;
being confined to defensive operations in Brittany which were supposed to
be no violation of the peace recently prolonged to January, 1490.

[Sidenote: The allies inert]

Henry was satisfied to make a show of fighting, and Spain made no haste to
help him, England not being formally at war. As early as July, Maximilian,
shiftiest and most impecunious of princes, concluded at Frankfort an
independent treaty with France; who agreed to give up the places she
occupied in Brittany if Henry were compelled to withdraw his garrisons;
while there were signs that she might cede Roussillon and thus deprive
Henry of his claim to Spanish support. Within the duchy itself, the Marshal
de Rieux and his ward were in a state of antagonism; since he wished her to
marry the Sieur D'Albret, a powerful Gascon noble who was not too
submissive to the French monarchy; while the Duchess declared she would
rather enter a convent. Anne at last announced her adhesion to the treaty
of Frankfort; but as Henry had no intention of evacuating his forts,
nothing particular resulted. The English King could not afford simply to
drop the contest, and when the New Year came in, he demanded and obtained
from Parliament fresh supplies for carrying on the war.

[Sidenote: 1490 Object of Henry's foreign policy]

The game Henry had to play in 1490 was a sufficiently difficult one: and he
played it with consummate skill. He meant to hold his position in Brittany
until he received adequate indemnities; he had to satisfy his own subjects
that he was not going to draw back before the power of France; and he had
to carry out the letter of his obligations to Spain under the treaty of the
previous March, On the other hand, he had in fact no ambitious military
projects, and while Spain abstained from sending active assistance in
force, she could not complain if he merely stood on the defensive. The
Duchess, finding herself no better off for accepting the Frankfort treaty,
adopted the alternative policy of throwing herself on his protection. So he
welcomed a mediatorial embassy from the Pope and showed no unwillingness to
negotiate, but continued to strengthen his own position; while he could
exhibit a sound reason for abstaining from aggressive action and still
accumulate war-funds.

By Midsummer France had enlarged her demands since the treaty of Frankfort,
requiring the withdrawal of the English from Brittany as a preliminary not
to her own withdrawal but to arbitration on her claims. In September the
shifty King of the Romans reverted to an alliance with Henry for mutual
defence; and the scheme of his marriage with the Duchess Anne was pressed
on. Marshal de Rieux had by this time become reconciled to the Duchess,
thrown over D'Albret, and come into agreement with Henry. At this time,
moreover, Henry ratified publicly the Spanish treaty which had been
accepted by Ferdinand and Isabella eighteen months before; but he also
submitted an alternative treaty [Footnote: Busch, _England under the
Tudors_. pp. 59, 330; and Gairdner's note, p. 438.] (which Spain
rejected) modifying the portions which placed the contracting Powers on an
unequal footing. By this step he forced the Spanish monarchs to resign any
pretence of having treated him generously or having placed him under an
obligation; and the step itself was significant of the increased confidence
he had acquired in the stability of his own position. In December
Maximilian was married by proxy to Anne--whom he had never seen--and not
long afterwards she assumed the style of Queen of the Romans.

[Sidenote: Apparent defeat of Henry's policy]

Ostensibly, the object of Henry's diplomacy had failed. Spain had rejected
his proposals: and the direct results of Anne's marriage were that the
activity of France was renewed; Spain, with the pretext of the Moorish war
to plead, was less inclined than ever to render assistance; Maximilian as a
matter of course proved a broken reed; D'Albret, his pretensions being
finally shattered, surrendered Nantes to the French by arrangement. England
was apparently to bear the entire brunt of the war. Henry was justified in
appealing to his subjects for every penny that could be raised, and
resorted to "benevolences"--an insidious method of extortion which had been
declared illegal in the previous reign, but under the existing abnormal
conditions could hardly be resisted. A great demonstration of warlike
ardour was made, on the strength of which Spain was urged to pledge herself
to throw herself into the war next year with more energy and on more
reasonable terms than the existing treaty of Medina del Campo provided for.
But in the meantime the French were reducing Brittany, and held the Duchess
besieged in Rennes. The French King, Charles VIII., proposed that the
marriage with a husband whom she had never seen should be annulled, and the
dispute be terminated by his wedding her himself. Resistance seemed
hopeless; Anne assented; the necessary dispensations were secured from
Rome, and Anne of Brittany became Queen of France.

[Sidenote: 1492 Henry's bellicose attitude]

Now the defence of Brittany had been the primary ground of England's
quarrel with the French; with Henry himself, however, this object had been
secondary to the matrimonial alliance with Spain, from which the latter was
now not likely to withdraw. Henry, moreover, had made use of the whole
affair to acquire a full money-chest; and since it was of vital importance
that this should be done without turning his subjects against him, it had
been necessary to lend the war as popular a colour as possible. Hence it
was part of his policy to emphasise at home as his ultimate end the
recovery of the English rights in the French Crown, so successfully
utilised by his predecessor Henry V. in the first quarter of the century.
It would have been manifestly dangerous for him in establishing his dynasty
to recede from a claim which both Yorkists and Lancastrians had maintained.
Incidentally also, there was the matter of indemnities owing to him by Anne
of Brittany for which Maximilian had been made responsible.

[Sidenote 1: France makes peace]
[Sidenote 2: Treaty of Etaples (Dec.)]

Since then it was impracticable simply to retire, the alternative course
was to demonstrate; and Henry spent the greater part of 1492 in making the
greatest possible display of preparation for war on a great scale--with a
view to obtaining satisfying terms of peace. The one real piece of military
work taken in hand was the siege and capture of Sluys in Flanders (in
conjunction with Albert of Saxony, on behalf of Maximilian); from which
port much injury of a piratical order had been wrought upon English
merchants. Meantime negotiations had been carried on, but with no
appearance of success. At last in October the King actually crossed the
Channel to take command of the army of invasion; and sat down before
Boulogne. Then on a sudden the air cleared. Charles in fact did not want a
serious English war, out of which he could make nothing. But he had
developed a very keen ambition to enter Italy and win the Crown of Naples.
Henry by himself, or even in conjunction with the much offended Maximilian,
was hardly likely to penetrate very far into France, if the forces of that
kingdom were arrayed against him; but while he threatened, Charles could
not move on Italy; moreover, his presence was an encouragement to those of
the nobility whose allegiance was doubtful. So the French King resolved to
buy off the English King at his own price. Lewis XI., threatened by Edward
IV., had agreed to pay what Edward called a tribute, in return for which he
held his claim to the French throne in abeyance. Henry need have no qualms
about following his Yorkist predecessor's example. Beyond that, Charles was
prepared to pay off the Brittany indemnities. Thus Henry secured Peace with
Honour and a solid cash equivalent for his expenditure; besides being able
to silence the complaints of the warlike by emphasising the gravity of
embarking on a great campaign with winter coming on. He threw over
Maximilian, but the faithlessness of the King of the Romans was so palpable
and notorious that at the worst Henry was only paying him back in his own
coin. As to Spain, Henry knew that the monarchs had been endeavouring to
negotiate a separate peace, and they had never carried out their part of
the contract. So far as he was breaking engagements with his allies, their
own conduct had given him ample warrant. The event had justified Henry's
management of a very difficult situation. The Peace of Etaples was ratified
in December; and Henry emerged from the war with England's continental
prestige restored to a respectable position, a full treasury, and his
throne in England infinitely more secure than it had been three years
before. He was never again driven to enter upon a foreign war; and now the
appearance of Perkin Warbeck on the scene, though it kept England in a
state of uneasiness for some years, was incomparably less dangerous than it
would have proved at an earlier stage.



[Sidenote: Ireland, 1485]

Before entering upon the career of Perkin Warbeck, we must give somewhat
closer attention to the affairs of the sister island, to which reference
has already been made in connexion with the Simnel revolt. Ireland had
never been really brought under English dominion. Within the district known
as the English Pale, there was some sort of control, extending even less
effectively over the province of Leinster, and beyond that practically
ceasing altogether, except in a few coast towns; the Norman barons who had
settled there having so to speak turned Irish, and even in some cases
having translated their names into Celtic forms. The most powerful of the
nobles at this time were the Geraldines, at whose head were the Earls of
Kildare and of Desmond, and the Butlers whose chief was the Earl of
Ormonde. But the primacy belonged to Kildare, who moreover had stood high
in favour with the House of York. It had been the practice for the English
kings to appoint a nominal absentee governor, whose functions were
discharged by a Deputy; and Kildare was Deputy under both Edward IV. and

[Sidenote: 1487-92 The Earl of Kildare]

Henry, on his accession, had seen that the one chance of keeping the
country in any degree quiet lay in securing Kildare's allegiance and
support; and proposals for his continuation in the office of Deputy had
been under discussion when Lambert Simnel was hailed as King and crowned,
with the open support not only of Kildare but of nearly all the barons and
bishops. It did not suit Henry's policy to attempt punishment under these
conditions; he preferred conciliation; and after Stoke, Kildare was
retained as Deputy, when he and Simuel's principal adherents had sworn
loyalty. In 1490 Henry had found it necessary to reprimand Kildare for
sundry breaches of the law, commanding his presence in England within ten
months. Kildare made no move, but at the end of the ten months wrote to say
that he could not possibly come over, as the state of the country made his
presence there imperative. The letter was written in the name of the
Council, and signed by fifteen of its members. This was backed by another
letter from Desmond and other nobles in the south-west, declaring that they
had persuaded the Deputy that the peace of Ireland quite forbade his

Probably it was much about this period--that is, some time in 1491--that a
new claimant to Henry's throne (Perkin Warbeck) appeared in the south-west
of Ireland, declaring himself to be that Richard Duke of York who was
reported to have been murdered in the Tower along with his brother Edward
V. Desmond espoused his cause, while Kildare and others coquetted with him.
Agents from Desmond and the pretender visited the court of the young King
of Scots James IV., in March, 1492, and in the summer Charles VIII., whose
territories Henry was then ostentatiously preparing to invade, invited the
young man over to France where he was received as the rightful King of
England. The conclusion of peace, however, at the end of the year, made it
necessary for the French King to withdraw his countenance from Henry's
enemies; and the pretender retired to the congenial atmosphere of the court
of Margaret of Burgundy. In the meantime Kildare, whose complicity with
Desmond it had become impossible entirely to ignore, had been deprived of
his office, and a new Deputy appointed.

[Sidenote 1: 1491 Perkin Warbeck's appearance]
[Sidenote 2: Riddle of his imposture]

The self-styled Richard of York is known to history as Perkin Warbeck. The
account of his early career subsequently given to the world in his own
confession is generally accepted as genuine. The son of a Tournai boatman,
he served during his boyhood under half a dozen different masters in three
or four Netherland cities and in Lisbon. At the age of seventeen he took
service with one Prégent Meno, a Breton merchant, and incidentally appeared
at Cork where he paraded in costly array. Such was the effect of his
appearance and bearing that the citizens of Cork declared he must be a
Plantagenet. Taxed with being in reality either the Earl of Warwick or an
illegitimate son of Richard III., he swore he was nothing of the kind; but
his admirers declared that in that case he could only be Richard of York,
who had somehow been saved from sharing his brother's fate in the Tower.
Perkin found himself unable to resist such importunity, accepted the
dignity thrust upon him, and set himself to learn his part. The partisans
of the White Rose had shown in the case of Lambert Simnel their preference
for even a palpable impostor bearing their badge, as compared with the
objectionable Tudor; and a genuine Duke of York would have the advantage of
a claim stronger even than that of his sister Elizabeth, Henry's queen.
Perkin, however, must have acted up to his part with no little skill to
have maintained himself as a plausible impostor up to the time when
Margaret of Burgundy received him--even though he met no one in whose
interest it was to pose him with inconvenient questions. So apt a pupil
would then have had little difficulty in assimilating the instructions of
Margaret; and, after a couple of years' training with her, in at least
supporting his role with plausibility. That Perkin himself told this story
is not very conclusive, since the confession was produced under
circumstances quite compatible with the whole thing having been dictated to
him; yet difficult as it is to believe, it is less incredible than the
alternative--that he was the real duke, who had been smuggled out of the
Tower eight years before he was produced, and kept in concealment all
through the interval, even while the Yorkist leaders had been reduced to
setting up a supposititious Earl of Warwick for a figurehead.

[Sidenote: 1492-95 Perkin and Margaret of Burgundy]

It certainly does not seem that on Perkin's appearance in Ireland he had
any active supporters outside that country, or that he caused any
perturbation in Henry's mind. Foreign princes, whether they regarded him as
genuine or as an impostor, would certainly not espouse his cause unless
they were at enmity with Henry. Even Charles VIII. made no haste to lend
him countenance until it seemed almost certain that there was to be a war
with England on a great scale; and he had no hesitation in dismissing the
pretender when peace was concluded; while the Spanish sovereigns, though
quite ready to intrigue against their Tudor ally, had no intention of
committing themselves to an open breach with him. The peace, however, which
dismissed Perkin from France, gave him a zealous adherent in the person of
Maximilian, who was now filled with a righteous animosity to Henry; and the
young lord of the Netherlands, his son Philip, Duke of Burgundy, declared
that he had no power to control the Dowager Margaret, dwelling on her own
estates. So Perkin made her court his head-quarters--a useful tool for the
weaving of Yorkist intrigues. Henry might, if he would, have legitimately
founded a _casus belli_ on this attitude, but he preferred to
institute a commercial war; from which, however, the English merchants
suffered little less than the Flemings.

In 1493 the Emperor died, and was in effect succeeded by the King of the
Romans, though his election to the Imperial throne did not take place for
some years. Maximilian, however, remained impecunious and inefficient;
Charles VIII. was giving his entire attention to his Italian projects; the
whole affair of Perkin Warbeck was carried on mainly below the surface on
both sides, by a process of mining and counter-mining. Henry was well
served by Sir Robert Clifford and others, who wormed themselves into the
confidence of the Yorkist plotters, revealing what they learnt to the King.
When the time was ripe (January, 1495), Henry's hand fell suddenly on the
unsuspecting conspirators in England; whose chiefs, including Sir William
Stanley, who was supposed to be one of the King's most trusted supporters,
were sent to the block. It was this same Sir William Stanley who, striking
in at Bosworth on the side of Henry, had been mainly instrumental in
deciding the fortunes of the day; and he had been rewarded with the office
of Chamberlain.

[Sidenote: Diplomatic intrigues]

During the two years following the Treaty of Etaples Charles VIII. had
early made his peace also with Spain by the treaty of Barcelona and with
Maximilian by that of Senlis. The desired provinces, Roussillon and
Cerdagne, were restored to Ferdinand and Isabella, who adopted a distant
attitude to Henry. The French King, free to follow his own devices, entered
Italy towards the close of 1494, marched south without opposition, and was
crowned at Naples in February, 1495, the reigning family fleeing before
him. So early and important an accession of strength to the French Crown
had hardly been anticipated, and the European sovereigns made haste to form
a League against France. Spain was desirous of bringing England into the
league; but the wayward Maximilian was still determined to support Perkin
Warbeck, apparently thinking that by substituting a Yorkist prince for
Henry he would secure a more amenable ally.

[Sidenote: 1492-95 Ireland]

Meanwhile, Ireland also had been undergoing judicious treatment. Kildare,
removed from the Deputy-ship in 1492, came over to England to give an
account of himself in the following year. Here he was detained until, in
the autumn of 1494, the King appointed a new three-year-old Governor in the
person of his second son Henry, whom he also created Duke of York, making
Sir Edward Poynings Deputy. Poynings was an experienced and capable
soldier, who had been in command before Sluys in the recent campaign; and
on his departure for Ireland Kildare went with him. Both the ex-Deputy and
the Earl of Ormonde promised to render loyal service; but it was no very
long time before Kildare was sent back to England under accusations of
treason. We may here anticipate matters by observing that this was the last
case of misbehaviour on his part. He won his way once more into the royal
favour, and when Poynings left Ireland in 1496 Kildare yet again went back
as Deputy, which office he retained for the remainder of Henry's reign, and
a portion of his son's also.

It is curious to observe in the turbulent Deputy traits of that audacious
humour which we are wont to regard as peculiarly Irish: a characteristic
fully appreciated by the English King. When taken to task for burning the
Cathedral at Cashel, he is reported to have said that he would not have
done so, only the bishop was inside. His casual announcement on a previous
occasion that he could not obey the royal summons to England because the
country could not get on without him was paralleled either in 1493 or 1495
--it is uncertain which--by his defence against the Bishop of Meath's
charges. He said he must be represented by Counsel; the King replied that
he might have whom he would. "Give me your hand," quoth the Earl. "Here it
is," said the King. "Well," said Kildare, "I can see no better man than
you, and by St. Bride I will choose none other." Said the Bishop, "You see
what manner of man he is. All Ireland cannot rule him." "Then," said the
King, "he must be the man to rule all Ireland."

[Sidenote: Poynings in Ireland 1494-96]

The government of Poynings was not prolonged, but it was very much to the
point. "Poynings' Law," passed by the Parliament assembled at Drogheda in
December, 1494, fixed Constitutional procedure for a very long time. Irish
Parliaments were to be summoned only with the approval of the King's
Council in England, and only after it had also approved the measures which
were to be submitted to them by the Irish Deputy and Council. In effect,
however, these legislative functions at this time were hardly more limited
than those of English Parliaments, which were summoned at the King's
pleasure, and only had what might be called "Government Bills" submitted to
them. The royal Council was practically in the position of a Cabinet
holding office as representing not the parliamentary majority but the
King's personal views. The Parliament might discuss and accept or reject,
but had not as yet acquired a practical initiative itself. At the same time
that this law was passed, a declaratory Act abolished the theory which had
grown up at an early stage of the conflict between the White and Red Roses,
of regarding Ireland as a country where a rebel in England was a free man:
a notion which had greatly facilitated the intrigues of both Lambert Simnel
and Perkin Warbeck on Irish soil. Further, besides some enactments for
checking feudal customs which tended to disorder, it was ordained that the
principal castles should always be under the command of Englishmen.
Poynings also endeavoured, by bestowing pensions (on terms) on some of the
principal chiefs outside the Pale--such as O'Neill in Ulster and O'Brien in
the west--to convert their position into one of semi-official
responsibility to the official Government. A basis for the maintenance of
law and order having thus been provided, the Irish difficulty was solved
for the time when "the man to rule all Ireland," benevolently disposed to a
King who had shown that he knew the right way to take him, was restored to
the office of Deputy.

[Sidenote: 1495 Survey of the situation]

In the early spring, then, of 1495, this was the position of affairs.
Perkin Warbeck lay at the court of Margaret of Burgundy; but his plans had
been upset by Clifford's information and the punishment of the ringleaders
in England. Poynings was in Ireland, and the prospect of keeping that
country in reasonable order was unusually promising. Charles VIII. had just
made himself master of Naples; and the Spanish sovereigns (who had
completed the destruction of the Moorish dominion in Granada some three
years earlier) were now occupied in forming with the Pope, Venice, Milan,
and Maximilian the Holy League against French aggression; into which they
were anxious to draw Henry, whose weight if thrown into the other scale
would be of considerable value to France. For the last two years, since the
treaty of Barcelona, they had evaded the recognition or reconstruction of
any compact with England; but under the changed conditions, while they
would not admit that the old engagements were binding, they offered to
frame new treaties for Henry's inclusion in the League, at the same time
confirming the project of the marriage between their daughter Katharine and
the Prince of Wales. Henry, however, was now in a much stronger position at
home; and though he desired the Spanish alliance, he had no intention of
allowing that bait to seduce him into making himself a cat's-paw. France
was offering a counter-inducement in the shape of a marriage with the
daughter of the Duke of Bourbon; Henry indicated that while Maximilian was
fostering the pretensions of the impostor Warbeck, it was not serious
politics to talk of being associated with him in the League. Spain might
make promises on Maximilian's behalf, but could not ensure that he would
keep them.

[Sidenote: 1495 Warbeck attempts invasion]

Time was working in Henry's favour. In July (1495) an expedition sailed
from Flanders to place Perkin on the English throne. Maximilian's hopes
were high: he bragged to the Venetians that the "Duke of York" would
immediately unseat the Tudor, and when he was on the throne, England would
be at the beck of the League. The Emperor's impracticability was
sufficiently shown by his having procured from Perkin his own recognition
as heir, if the pretender should die without issue. The expedition
attempted to land at Deal, but the men of Kent assembled in arms, and drove
it off with ignominious ease. For once Henry was severe, and put to death
no fewer than 150 of Warbeck's followers, who had been taken prisoners.
Warbeck himself did not even set foot on the realm he claimed, but made for
Ireland where he had first been so warmly welcomed. Here his old supporter
Desmond took up his cause again, and Waterford was attacked by sea and
land; but there was no general rising, and Poynings had no difficulty in
raising the siege. Foiled both in England and Ireland, Perkin now betook
himself to Scotland to obtain the help of the young King, James IV.

[Sidenote: Success of Henry's diplomacy]

The affair showed conclusively how small was the danger in England of a
Yorkist rising in favour of the pretender--a fact very fully recognised by
Ferdinand and Isabella, though Maximilian clung pertinaciously to his
protégé. Moreover, the position of the League was somewhat precarious,
since both Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and the Venetians, were
suspected with justice of readiness to make their own terms with France. It
was more than ever necessary to bring Henry into the combination; and
Henry, still diplomatically suave, was less than ever prepared to accept
conditions which would fetter him inconveniently. He would not commit
himself to make war on France except at his own time; and Maximilian must
definitely and conclusively repudiate Warbeck. At last in July, 1496, the
new League was concluded. Henry's diplomacy achieved a distinct triumph.
His alliance had been won, but only on his own terms; all he wished to
secure had been secured. The Spanish sovereigns were so far from feeling
that they could make a tool of him that they were in considerable
trepidation lest he should still throw them over if a tolerably legitimate
excuse offered, and were anxious to do all they could to conciliate him
without betraying the full extent of their fears. Henry had already, in
February, terminated the commercial war with the Flemings by the treaty
with Philip known as the _Intercursus Magnus_, which included a
proviso against the admission into Philip's territories of rebels against
the English King.

[Sidenote: 1496 Warbeck and the King of Scots]

When Perkin Warbeck made his way to Scotland the young King of that country
was already fully informed as to the nature of his claims. James, when a
boy of sixteen, had taken part in the rebellion headed by Douglas Earl of
Angus, in which his father the late King had been overthrown at Sauchie
Burn and murdered after the battle. He was now twenty-four years of age, of
brilliant parts, no mean scholar, an admirable athlete, and ambitious to
raise the name of Scotland among the nations. His weakness lay mainly in a
boyish impulsiveness, which often caused him to mar well-laid plans on the
spur of the moment, and in an exaggerated fondness for chivalric ideas more
appropriate to a knight-errant than to a king or a leader of armies. Perkin
appealed to him as early as 1492; and before the pretender's expedition
sailed, Tyrconnel, chief of the O'Donnells of the north-west of Ireland,
presented himself in Scotland to renew the appeal. The antagonism of
Scottish feeling to the ruling powers in England was chronic. There was a
treaty of peace between England and Scotland, but the unfailing turbulence
of the borders kept each country constantly provided with a tolerable
excuse for accusing the other of having broken its engagements. James was
well within his rights in receiving the claimant; of the justice of whose
title he evidently persuaded himself, since he bestowed a kinswoman of his
own upon him in marriage, Lady Katharine Gordon. In the summer of 1496 he
was making active preparations for an incursion into England on Warbeck's
behalf; largely influenced no doubt by the promise that, should it prove
successful, Berwick, which had been finally ceded to England fourteen years
before, was to be once more surrendered to the Scots. The astute Henry
turned all this to account, by impressing on the Spanish and Venetian
agents the urgent necessity laid on him to abstain from military operations
against France while Scotland was so threatening.

[Sidenote 1: A Scottish incursion (Sept.)]
[Sidenote 2: 1497]

James did in fact raid the North of England in September; but the incursion
was a raid and nothing more. Perkin, to the surprise and even contempt both
of Scots and English, protested against the sanguinary methods of border
warfare, on behalf of the people whom he aspired to rule over. But the
people themselves would have none of him. The expedition withdrew without
having produced even the semblance of a Yorkist rising. After that, James
no longer felt eager to plunge into a war on behalf of the pretender: but
was inclined to retain him as a political asset. When, in the following
year (1497), Charles VIII.--with a precisely similar object in view--
offered him a considerable sum if he would send his guest over to France,
the Scots King declined. In July, however, Perkin sailed from Scotland,
apparently with intent to try Ireland again, where Kildare was once more
Deputy. Henry had utilised the raid to obtain the recommendation of a large
grant and loans from the Great Council forthwith; Parliament, which was
called for January (1497), ratifying the grant as a subsidy. The raising of
the loans had, however, been proceeded with, without waiting.

[Sidenote: The Cornish rising]

The defence of England against invading Scots was a matter of much
importance to the northern counties, but lacked personal interest in
Cornwall. Year after year the King had been receiving subsidies to arm for
impending wars, borrowing, and levying benevolences. When a hostile France
was the excuse, the population might murmur but was quite as willing to pay
as could reasonably be expected. But the Scots had never invaded Cornwall,
and the Cornishmen felt that it was time to protest. They would march to
London--peaceably, of course--to demand according to custom the removal of
the King's evil counsellors; Morton and Bray, to wit, who probably used
their influence in reality to mitigate rather than intensify the royal
demands. The insurgent leaders were a blacksmith, Joseph, and a lawyer,
Flamock--appropriate chiefs for working men trying honestly enough to
formulate what they had been led to regard as a grievance of what we should
now call an unconstitutional character. With bills and bows, some thousands
of them started on their march; preserving their peaceable character, till
at Taunton the appearance of a commissioner for collecting the tax proved
too much for their self-restraint, and the man was killed. A little later
they were joined by Lord Audley, who became their leader. They expected the
men of Kent, who of old had risen under Wat Tyler and again under Jack
Cade, to take up the cause: but Kent did not recognise the similarity of
the present conditions and gave them no welcome.

[Sidenote: The suppression (June)]

Meantime, Henry had not been idle; but he saw that the insurgents were not
rousing the country as they progressed, and therefore he judged that the
further they were drawn away from their own country the better. Except for
a slight skirmish at Guildford, the Cornishmen were not actively interfered
with till they encamped on Blackheath. Then, on June 17th, the royal forces
proceeded to envelop them. Some two thousand were slain on the field.
Audley, the lawyer, and the blacksmith, were put to death as traitors; the
rest were pardoned, as having been not so much rebels as victims of
demagogic arts.

[Sidenote: Warbeck's final failure (Sept.)]

The policy of leniency was not entirely successful, for the Cornishmen
imagined it merely meant that the King recognised the impossibility of
dealing sternly with every one who thought as they did. Warbeck, now in
Ireland, where he was not finding the sympathy for which he had hoped,
received messages to the effect that if he came to Cornwall he would find
plenty of supporters. He came promptly, with a scanty following enough; but
only a few thousand men joined him. He marched on Exeter, but that loyal
town stoutly refused to admit him, and his attempts to carry gates and
walls failed completely. Royal troops were on the march: the gentlemen of
Devon, headed by the Earl, were up for the King. Perkin marched to Taunton,
and then fled by night to take sanctuary at Beaulieu in Hampshire, where he
was surrounded, and very soon submitted himself to the King's clemency.

[Sidenote: The Scottish truce]

In the meantime the Scottish King, though his sentiments towards Perkin had
sensibly cooled, had no intention of leaving him in the lurch, and had
advanced on Norham Castle very shortly after his protégé had sailed for
Ireland. The Earl of Surrey, however, who commanded in the north, was well
prepared, and very soon took the field with twenty thousand men. James was
obliged to withdraw, and though he challenged the Earl to single combat
with Berwick as the stake, Surrey replied that Berwick was not his property
but his master's, and he must regretfully decline the proposed method of
arbitrament. He advanced over the border, making some captures and doing
considerable damage; but after a week, commissariat difficulties made him
retire in turn. In September Perkin's Cornish rising collapsed, and a seven
years' treaty was entered upon between the two countries.

[Sidenote: The end of Perkin Warbeck 1497-99]

Towards the pretender and his followers, the King behaved with his usual
leniency. A few leaders only were put to death; other penalties were
reserved. Warbeck was compelled publicly to read at Exeter and later in
London a confession of the true story of his own origin and that of the
conspiracy; and was then relegated to not very strict confinement under
surveillance. His supporters were allowed to purchase their pardon by heavy
fines, which satisfactorily aided in the replenishment of the royal

The end of the pretender's story may be told in anticipation. It was
ignominious and less creditable in its accompanying circumstances to Henry.
In the summer of the next year, 1498, Perkin tried to escape, was promptly
recaptured, set in the stocks, and required to read his confession publicly
both in Westminster and London. He was then placed in strict confinement in
the Tower, where the luckless Warwick had been kept a prisoner for thirteen
years. The son of Clarence, still little more than a boy, was the only
figure-head left for Yorkist malcontents. Another attempt to impersonate
him by a youth named Ralph Wilford was nipped in the bud at the beginning
of 1499; but Henry's nerve seems to have been seriously shaken by it, and
probably he now began to make up his mind to get rid of his kinsman. Then
some kind of conspiracy was concocted, in which both Warbeck and Warwick
were involved; on 23rd November, 1499, Perkin was hanged, and five days
later Warwick was beheaded, dying as he had lived a victim to his name;
suffering for no treason or wrong-doing of his own, but simply because he
was the nephew of Edward IV.

[Sidenote: 1498 The situation]

When the year 1497 closed, the preliminaries of a Scottish peace had been
agreed upon; Perkin Warbeck was a prisoner: and the French King had already
found his position in Italy untenable, and agreed to evacuate Naples and
surrender the crown. His death and the accession of the Duke of Orleans as
Lewis XII. in April of the next year further altered the face of
international politics, already changing with the final collapse of Warbeck
and his disappearance as a pawn in the game.



[Sidenote: Scotland and England]

From time immemorial almost, it might be said that Scotland had been a
perpetual menace to her southern neighbour. Since the days of Bruce she
had, it is true, been torn by ceaseless dissensions; a succession of long
royal minorities with intrigues over the regency, family feuds between the
great barons, strong kings who found themselves warring on a turbulent
nobility, weak ones who could exercise no control, had not given the
country much chance of consolidation; but the one binding sentiment that
could be relied on in a crisis was antagonism to England. To settle the
question by conquest had been proved impossible. Scotland might be
over-run, but she could not be held in subjection. If England's eyes were
bent on France, she must still manage to keep a watch on the north: but so
long as dissensions were raging, there was not much fear of anything more
serious than raiding expeditions.

[Sidenote: Henry's Scottish policy]

To keep Scotland innocuous was a primary object with the Tudor King. At the
time when he grasped the sceptre of England, the King of Scots, James III.,
was a feeble ruler surrounded by unpopular favourites, with a baronage
preparing to rise against him, and there was little danger to be
apprehended. He was over-thrown and murdered in 1488. But James IV, who
succeeded to the throne was of a different type. He was only a boy,
however, and Henry was not long in initiating a policy, more fully
developed by his descendants, of purchasing the support of leading nobles,
notably at this time and for forty years to come, the Earls of Angus-with
whom there was a compact as early as 1491. James, however, soon proved
himself a popular and vigorous monarch, of a type which attracted the
loyalty of his subjects, with a strong disposition to make his country a
serious factor in the politics of the time, and by no means devoid of
political sagacity despite his unfortunate impulsiveness and want of
balance. To block Scotland out of the field by the simple process of
keeping her thoroughly occupied with internal factions was not practicable
under these conditions, and the attitude of James in the affair of Perkin
Warbeck showed that he must be taken into serious account. Henry's
political acuteness recognised in alliance with Scotland a more hopeful
solution of the national problem than in eternal strife. The idea of a
matrimonial connexion had indeed once before, since the days of Edward I.,
taken shape in the union of James I. to Jane Beaufort; but with little
practical effect. This idea Henry revived in a form destined ultimately to
revolutionise the relations of the two kingdoms. His own eldest daughter
Margaret was but eighteen years younger than the King of Scots--quite near
enough for compatibility. From the time of the peace entered upon after
Warbeck's capture, Henry began to work with this marriage as one of his
objects. His foresight and sagacity is marked by the fact that he
recognised--and did not shrink from the possibility--that a Scottish
monarch might thus one day find himself heir to the throne of England.

[Sidenote 1: France and England]
[Sidenote 2: 1498]

The peace-policy towards Scotland was facilitated by the development of
friendly relations with France, especially after the accession of Lewis
XII.: for the traditional "auld alliance," between France and Scotland, had
proved times out of mind too strong to be over-ridden by English treaties.
If France wanted Scottish help, or Scotland wanted French help, there was
always some excuse for rendering it; the plain truth being that no treaties
could restrain the forays and counter-forays of the border clans on both
sides of the Tweed, whether the Wardens of the Marches winked at them or
not; so that there was, in either country, a standing pretext for declaring
that the other had broken truce. An instance of these border difficulties
occurred within a few months of the truce of December, 1497. A small party
of Scots crossed the border, and appeared in the neighbourhood of Norham.
They were challenged, and replied--with insolence or with proper spirit,
according to the point of view. Thereupon they were attacked by superior
numbers; some were slain; in the pursuit, damage was done on the north side
of the border. The Scots King felt that he had been outraged, and was on
the verge of breaking off all negotiations with his brother of England. It
required all the diplomatic skill of Fox (at this time Bishop of Durham),
and the mediatorial efforts of the Spaniard Ayala to prevent a serious
breach from resulting.

[Sidenote: Marriage negotiations, 1498-1503]

The opportunity, however, was seized by Fox to emphasise his master's
pacific intentions by bringing forward the proposal for the marriage of
James with Margaret. Nevertheless, for the next twelve months, Henry
displayed no eagerness in the matter. Margaret was only in her eighth year,
so that in any case the marriage could not be completed for some time; but
apart from that, there was already existing a project of marriage between
James and one of the Spanish princesses--which Spain had no real wish to
carry out, while James was disposed to push it. It would appear, therefore,
that Henry meant to give effect to his own scheme, but did not intend Spain
to feel free of the complication while it could be used as a means of

[Sidenote: Marriage of James IV, and Margaret 1503]

At last, however, in July, 1499, a fresh treaty of peace was concluded with
Scotland, but it was not till January, 1502, that the marriage treaty was
finally ratified; the marriage to take place in September, 1503 (when
Margaret would be nearly thirteen), and the two Kings to render each other
mutual aid in case either of them was attacked. James, however, declined to
bind himself permanently to refuse renewal of the French alliance. There
was much characteristic haggling over dower and jointure, matters in which
the Tudors always drove the hardest bargain they could. The ceremony was
performed by proxy, after the fashion of the times, the day after the
treaty was ratified; and the actual marriage took place at the time fixed,
in the autumn of 1503--a momentous event, since it brought the Stuarts into
the direct line of succession, next to descendants of Henry in the male
line; and--inasmuch as one of Henry's sons had no children, and the other
no grandchildren--ultimately united on one head the Crowns of England and
Scotland, exactly one hundred years after the marriage.

[Sidenote: Spain and England: marriage negotiations, 1488-99]

In the meantime the other and much older project for the union between the
Prince of Wales and a daughter of Spain had been carried out. Originally,
Henry's prime motive in this matter had been to secure a decisive
recognition of his dynasty by the sovereigns, whom he regarded as the
greatest political force in Europe. By this time, however, (1498), the
stability of his throne and of the succession was no longer in peril; but
Spain was still the Power whose alliance would give the best guarantees
against hostile combinations. Neither Spain nor England wished to be
involved in war with France; but neither country could view her
aggrandisement with complete equanimity. At the same time, while her
ambitions were chiefly directed to Italy both could afford for the most
part to abstain from active hostilities. On the other hand, times had
changed since Henry had been ready to go almost cap-in-hand to Ferdinand
and Isabella for their support. The Spanish sovereigns were now quite as
much afraid of his joining France as he was of any step that they could
take. So the marriage treaty was ratified in 1497 on terms satisfactory
enough to Henry; and both in 1498 and 1499 proxy ceremonies took place. In
the latter year, clauses left somewhat vague in the earlier treaties were
given a clearer definition in a sense favourable to Henry.

[Sidenote: 1499 Lewis XII]

The accession of Lewis XII. in 1497 affected French policy. Lewis required
in the first place, to gain the friendship of the Pope Alexander VI., in
order to obtain a divorce from his wife and a dispensation to marry
Charles's widow, Anne of Brittany, so as to retain the duchy. In the second
place, he claimed Milan as his own in right of his descent from Valentina
Visconti (not as an appanage of the French Crown). He was anxious then to
conciliate both Spain and England, and ready to make concessions to both in
order to hold them neutral. His first steps, therefore, aimed at satisfying
them, and at detaching the Archduke Philip from his father Maximilian; all
of which objects were rapidly accomplished, England obtaining the renewal
of the treaty of Etaples, with additional undertakings in the matter of
harbouring rebels. Lewis made separate treaties with Spain and with Philip;
but the former remained none the less anxious on the score of a possible
further _rapprochement_ between France and England.

[Sidenote: The Spanish marriage negotiation, 1499-1501]

So long as Perkin Warbeck had been able to pose as Richard of York, he was
necessarily, to all who believed in him, the legitimate King of England.
Setting him aside, it was still possible to argue for the Earl of Warwick
as against his cousin Elizabeth, Henry's queen. But when Perkin and Warwick
were both put to death at the end of 1499, there was no arguable case for
any one outside Henry's own domestic circle. Even if it were held that
Henry's title was invalid, and that a woman could not herself reign in her
own right, Elizabeth's son had indisputably a title prior to any other
possible claimant. It was stated, though the truth of the statement is
doubtful, that the Spanish sovereigns had never felt at ease as to the
stability of the Tudor dynasty till November, 1499; but, at any rate, after
that date they could not even for diplomatic purposes pretend to feel any
serious apprehensions. The year 1500 presents the somewhat curious
spectacle of Henry on one side and Ferdinand and Isabella on the other,
each quite determined to carry through the marriage of Arthur and
Katharine, but each also determined to make a favour of it. In this
diplomatic contest, Henry proved the more skilful bargainer, though the
Spaniards were adepts. He frightened them not a little by crossing the
Channel and holding a conference with the Archduke Philip, which was
suspected of having for its object the negotiation of another marriage for
the Prince of Wales with Philip's sister (Maximilian's daughter) Margaret,
who was already a widow. [Footnote: Margaret had been married to Don John,
son of Ferdinand and Isabella; while Philip married their second daughter
Joanna. Their eldest daughter married the Portuguese Infant.] In fact,
there was no such intention; but an agreement was actually made that Prince
Henry should many Philip's daughter, while the youngest Tudor princess,
Mary, should be betrothed to Philip's infant son Charles, then a babe of
four months, in after years the great Emperor Charles V.

[Sidenote: Marriage of Prince Arthur and Katharine 1501]

So the marriage treaty was once more ratified. But it was not till the
summer of the next year (1501) that Katharine sailed from Spain; and in
November the actual marriage took place with no little display. It is
probable, however, that Arthur and Katharine were still husband and wife in
name only when, six months later, the Prince of Wales was stricken with
mortal illness and died; leaving his brother Henry heir to the throne, and
a fresh crop of matrimonial schemes to be matured.

[Sidenote 1: 1502 New marriage schemes]
[Sidenote 2: 1504 Dispensation granted]

The truth was that Ferdinand of Aragon and Henry of England were men of
very much the same type. Both were crafty diplomatists, cautious and
long-headed, not to be inveigled into rash schemes, keenly suspicious,
masters of the art of committing themselves irrevocably to nothing; both
had a keen appreciation of the value of money, and were experts at striking
a bargain; while each wanted the political support of the other. Each had
been working up to the matrimonial alliance which was now nullified by
Arthur's death. Ferdinand had already paid over half his daughter's dower;
he now declared that the Princess and her dower ought to be returned to
Spain. Henry argued on the other side that the balance of the dower should
be paid over. The Spaniards then proposed that the young widow should be
betrothed to the still younger prince, Henry; but at a comparatively early
stage in the negotiations over the new project, Henry's own queen died
(February, 1503), and it was no long time before the English King began to
contemplate a new marriage for himself. He is even said [Footnote:
Gairdner, _Henry VII._ (_Twelve English Statesmen_), p. 190. The
rumour was current, but it is doubtful whether it was more than a rumour;
_cf._ Busch, p. 378.] to have thought of proposing that he should take
his own son's widow to wife. Logically, of course, as a mere question of
affinity, the idea was not more inadmissible than that of Katharine's
marriage with Henry Prince of Wales; but it was infinitely more repellent,
and Isabella was horrified at the suggestion. At any rate, nothing came of
it, and an agreement for the marriage of Katharine with the younger Henry
was ratified in the course of the year [Footnote: It was in the August of
this same year (1503) that the other marriage, between James of Scotland
and Henry's elder daughter Margaret, was finally concluded.]--subject, of
course, to a papal dispensation. This was obtained, during 1504, from the
successor of Alexander VI., Pope Julius II., and Isabella had the
satisfaction of seeing it before her death. Political exigencies had only
recently been accepted by Pope Alexander as justifying a dispensation for
the divorce of Lewis XII. from his wife, to enable him to marry Anne of
Brittany; but this dispensation of Pope Julius was destined to an immense
importance in history--to be the hinge whereon swung open the gates of the
English Reformation.

[Sidenote: 1499-1506 Affairs on the Continent]

The years from 1498 to 1503 had not been without importance in Franco-
Spanish relations, more particularly with reference to the position of the
two Powers in Italy. Lewis had made himself master of Milan in 1499; but
the kingdom of Naples presented a more difficult problem; since, after
disposing of the reigning family, the French King would still find a rival
claimant in Ferdinand of Spain. In 1500 these two monarchs agreed to a
partition; but French and Spaniards quarrelled, war broke out, the Spanish
captain Gonsalvo de Cordova expelled the French; and in 1508 Naples was
annexed to Aragon. A renewed attempt of France upon Naples in the following
year proved a complete failure.

In 1503 died the Borgia Pope, Alexander VI.--poisoned, as it was believed,
by the cup he had intended for another. The personal wickedness of
Alexander and his relatives was the climax of papal iniquity, the
_reductio ad absurdum_ of the claim of the Roman Pontiff to be the
representative of Christ on earth. His immediate successor hardly survived
election to the Holy See; and was followed by Julius II., an energetic and
militant Pope, who was bent on forming the Papal States into an effective
temporal principality.

In the next year Isabella of Castile died, and by her death the European
situation was again materially affected. While she lived she worked in
complete accord with her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon; her name stands high
among the ablest of European sovereigns. But with her death the Crowns of
Castile and Aragon were no longer united. Ferdinand was not King of
Castile; the sceptre descended to the dead Queen's daughter Joanna,
[Footnote: The elder sister was already dead, as well as the one brother.]
and in effect to her husband, the Archduke Philip, Maximilian's son, and
after her to their son Charles. At the most, Ferdinand could hope only to
exercise a dominant influence (converted after Philip's death in 1506 into
practical sovereignty as Regent), with a perpetual risk of Maximilian
turning his flighty ambitions towards asserting himself as a rival.

[Sidenote: The Earl of Suffolk 1499-1505]

Although both Warbeck and Warwick had been removed in 1499, Henry had not
been altogether free from Yorkist troubles in the succeeding years. Edmund
de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, was brother of that Earl of Lincoln who had
fallen at the battle of Stoke, and son of a sister of Edward IV. The Earl
had not hitherto come forward as a claimant to the throne; but in 1499 he
developed a personal grievance against the King, and betook himself to the
Continent, where a certain Sir Robert Curzon espoused his cause with
Maximilian. At the time, nothing came of the matter; Henry was not afraid
of Suffolk, whom he induced to return to England with a pardon. In 1501,
however, the Earl again betook himself to the Continent and made a direct
appeal to Maximilian for assistance. But Henry was now on particularly good
terms with the Archduke Philip, and Maximilian was inclining to revert to
friendly relations with England. He was in his normal condition of
impecuniosity, and Henry was prepared to provide a loan to help him in a
Turkish war if his own rebellious subjects were handed over. The issue of
these negotiations, towards the end of 1502, was a loan from Henry of fifty
thousands crowns, and a promise from Maximilian to eject Suffolk and his
supporters. In the meantime several of Suffolk's accomplices were executed
in England, including James Tyrrel who had abetted Richard III. in the
murder of the Princes in the Tower; and [Footnote: See genealogical table
(_Front_.).] William de la Pole and William Courtenay (son of the Earl
of Devonshire) were imprisoned on suspicion of complicity. Suffolk,
however, remained at Aix la Chapelle, Maximilian making him many promises
and providing inadequate supplies, while with equal lightness of heart--
having got his loan--he left his pledges to Henry unfulfilled by anything
more substantial than professions that he was doing his best to carry them
out. In 1504 the migratory Earl had the misfortune to fall into the hands
of the Duke of Gueldres, who detained him for use as circumstances might
dictate--to the annoyance of the Kings of France and Scotland, both of whom
wished him to be handed over to the King of England.

[Sidenote: 1505 Henry's position]

In 1505 then Henry's relations with all foreign Powers were satisfactory:
that is, none of them were hostile and most of them were anxious for his
friendship. In these later years, however, of Henry's reign he appears
consistently in a more definitely unamiable light than before. The two
counsellors who, however thoroughly they endorsed his policy, had probably
exercised a moderating and refining influence--Cardinal Morton and Reginald
Bray--were now both dead, and there is no doubt that Elizabeth of York,
popular herself, had been a very judicious helpmeet to her husband.
Moreover, though he was still by no means an old man, Henry was becoming
worn out; yet he could never escape from dynastic anxieties, the younger
Henry being now his only son. Marriage schemes had always been prominent
features in his policy, and the marriage schemes for himself which he
evolved one after the other in the closing years of his reign show him in a
singularly unattractive light, at the same time that his financial methods
were growing increasingly mean, and his evasions of honourable obligations
increasingly unscrupulous.

Now the Duke of Gueldres was in conflict with the Archduke Philip--at this
time not only lord of the Burgundian domains, but also in right of his wife
King of Castile and not on the best of terms with his father-in-law of
Aragon. In 1505 Philip got possession in his turn of the person of Suffolk,
by capturing the town where the Duke of Gueldres held him. Therefore during
this year Henry became particularly anxious to make friends with Philip,
and lent him money; having got which, Philip preferred placing his hostage
again in the hands of the Duke of Gueldres, who had submitted to him.

[Sidenote: Schemes for his marriage]

Out of these conditions rose another futile suggestion of a marriage for
Henry: who had already considered and dismissed the idea of marrying the
younger of the two living ex-Queens of Naples--both named Joanna--a niece
of Ferdinand of Aragon. The wife now proposed was Philip's sister,
Margaret, who on her first widowhood had been spoken of as a possible
alternative to Katharine for Arthur of Wales. Since then, she had become
Margaret of Savoy, the name by which she is generally known; but had been
widowed a second time. This proposal probably came from Philip, but was
resolutely resisted by Margaret herself.

[Sidenote: 1506 Philip in England]

In 1506 fortune favoured Henry. Philip sailed from the Netherlands in
January to take possession of the throne of Castile: but was driven on to
the English shores by stress of weather. The English King received him
royally, but while the utmost show of friendliness prevailed, Philip found
that he had no alternative to acceptance of Henry's suggestions. Before the
King of Castile departed, he had not only entered on a treaty for mutual
defence against any aggressor, but had actually delivered over the person
of the unhappy Suffolk [Footnote: So Busch. Gairdner is doubtful.] to his
sovereign, though under promise that he should not be put to death. The
prisoner, however, was committed to the Tower, and though Henry kept his
word, he is reported to have advised his son that the promise would not be
binding on him. At any rate Suffolk was executed, apparently without
further trial, early in the next reign. His brother Richard, known as the
"White Rose," who had abetted him, remained abroad, and was ultimately
killed in the service of Francis I. at the battle of Pavia in 1525, leaving
no children.

Philip had hardly departed from England when a new commercial treaty which
he had authorised was signed with the Netherlands, terminating the war of
tariffs which had again become active in recent years. This treaty, it is
not surprising to remark, was so favourable to England that in
contradistinction to the older _Intercursus Magnus_ the Flemings
entitled it the _Intercursus Malus_.

[Sidenote: Death of Philip]

The few remaining months of Philip's life were troubled. The position in
Castile was difficult enough, and in his absence the Duke of Gueldres again
revolted, with some assistance from France. Henry interfered, as he was
bound to do by the recent treaty, not without some effect. But Philip's
death in September left his wife Joanna Queen of Castile, with her father
Ferdinand as Regent, and her young son Charles Lord of the Netherlands,
with Margaret of Savoy at the head of the Council of Regency. Under these
new conditions Henry agreed to modifications in the new commercial treaty,
which indeed, as it stood, was almost impossible of fulfilment; probably in
the hope that his project of marriage with Margaret of Savoy might still be
carried out, the dowry she would bring being very much more satisfactory
than that of Joanna of Naples.

[Sidenote: 1507-8 Matrimonial projects]

In a very short time, however, Margaret had another rival, at least for the
purposes of diplomacy. This was Joanna of Castile, Philip's widow, whom
Henry had seen in the spring of 1506. That her sanity was already very much
in question seems to have made very little difference. Throughout the
greater part of 1507 and 1508 the English King was making overtures to
Margaret herself, and for Joanna to Ferdinand, blowing hot and cold in the
matter of his son Henry and Katharine, and pushing on the betrothal of his
younger daughter Mary with the boy Charles--a proposal brought forward,
when the latter was but four months old, in 1500, but not at that time
sedulously pressed. In part, at least, the explanation of all this
diplomatic play lies in Henry's relations with Ferdinand. The King of
Aragon, having lost his wife Isabella, wished to retain control of Castile;
at the same time he was in difficulties about paying up the balance of
Katharine's dowry, without which Henry would not allow her marriage with
his son to go forward, while the luckless princess was kept scandalously
short of supplies. Henry certainly wished to put all the pressure possible
on Ferdinand to get the dowry; perhaps he seriously contemplated marriage
with Joanna as a means of himself depriving Ferdinand of control in
Castile; the marriage of Charles to his daughter Mary would have a similar
advantage. On the other hand, if he married Margaret of Savoy he would get
control of the Netherlands, and still grasp at the control of Castile
through Charles, while playing off the boy's two grandfathers, Maximilian
and Ferdinand, against each other. Henry was in fact paying Ferdinand back
in his own coin; but the picture is an unedifying one, of craft against
craft, working by sordid methods for ends which had very little to do with
patriotism and no connexion with justice.

[Sidenote: 1508 The League of Cambrai]

If, however, it was now Henry's primary object to isolate Ferdinand so that
he could impose his own terms on him, the object was not attained.
Maximilian had just taken up a new idea--the dismemberment of Venice; an
object which appealed both to Lewis of France and to Pope Julius.
Ferdinand could generally reckon that if he joined a league he would manage
to get more than his share of the spoils for less than his share of the
work. The League of Cambrai--a simple combination for robbery without
excuse--was formed at the end of 1508. Henry was left out, for which,
indeed, he cared little, knowing that the process of spoliation would
inevitably result in quarrels among the leaguers. But though he advanced
the arrangements for the marriage of Charles and Mary so far as to have a
proxy ceremony performed, the marriage project with Joanna was withdrawn,
and his overtures were also finally declined by Margaret of Savoy.

[Sidenote: Wolsey]

In the last year of his life, however, his diplomatic successor--destined
to outshine him in his own field--came into employment as a negotiator. It
was Thomas Wolsey who probably carried through the arrangement for the
union with Charles; Wolsey also who re-established friendly relations with
Scotland, which had been becoming seriously strained. In 1505 James had
more definitely promised not to renew the French alliance; but had
considered himself absolved from this and other obligations, on the usual
ground of border raids, in which Wolsey himself admitted that the English
had been very much more guilty than the Scots.

[Sidenote: 1509 Death of Henry VII.]

But Henry's own days were numbered. As a boy and as a young man he had
lived a hard life; throughout the four-and-twenty years of his reign he had
never been free from the strain of anxiety, never relaxed his labours,
never allowed himself to cast his cares upon other shoulders. In 1508 he
had a serious illness, from which he never fully recovered; in the early
spring of 1509 his health finally and fatally broke down. On April 21st
the founder of the Tudor dynasty and of the Tudor system left the throne,
which he had won by the sword, to a son, whose right by inheritance was
beyond dispute.



[Sidenote: 1485 Henry's position]

The task before Henry when he ascended the throne was a difficult one. He
had to establish a new dynasty with a very questionable title, under
conditions which could not have allowed any conceivable title to pass
without risk of being challenged. It was therefore necessary for him not
merely to buttress his hereditary claim by marrying the rival whose title
was technically the strongest, and securing the pronouncement of Parliament
in his favour, together with such adventitious sanction as a Papal Bull
afforded; but further to make his subjects contented with his rule.

Two things were definitely in his favour. The old nobility who between the
spirit of faction and the love of fighting had kept the country in a state
of turmoil for half a century were exhausted--not merely decimated but
almost wiped out; while the mass of the population was weary of war and
ready to welcome almost any one who could and would provide orderly
government. The country was craving to have done with anarchy.

[Sidenote: Studied legality]

A firm hand and a resolute will were thus the primary necessities; but
tired as the nation was, it was still ready to resent a flagrant tyranny.
The Yorkist Kings had seen that absolutism was the condition of stability;
Henry perceived that, applied as they had applied it, the stability would
still be wanting. He had to find a mean between the wantonly arbitrary
absolutism which had been attempted a century before by Richard II. and
recently by Edward IV. and Richard III. on the one hand, and on the other
hand the premature application of constitutional ideas under the House of
Lancaster. The actual method evolved was the concentration of all control
in the hands of the King, accompanied by an ostentatious deference to the
forms of procedure which were liable to be put forward as popular rights,
and a very keen attention to the limits of popular endurance.

Thus Henry's first step was to summon Parliament and follow the Lancastrian
precedent of obtaining its ratification of his own title to the throne. The
next step, necessitated by his position, was to cut the claws of the
Yorkists as a faction by striking at Richard's principal supporters. This
could only be done effectively by treating them as traitors--a proceeding
which could not but savour of tyranny, since they had at any rate been
supporting the _de facto_ King: so again Henry took the only means of
minimising the arbitrary character of his action, by obtaining
parliamentary sanction. Some ten years later, at the time of Perkin
Warbeck's attempted landing at Deal, he procured the remarkable enactment
that support of a _de facto_ King should not in the future be
accounted as treason to the successor who dethroned him--a measure
characterised by Bacon, writing a hundred years later, as too magnanimous
to be politic. In 1485 it would have been so; but at the actual time Henry
was himself the _de facto_ monarch; he had no wish to punish his
predecessor's supporters further; and he was really providing an inducement
to his subjects to be loyal to the ruling dynasty. At the same time he
could pose as advocating abstract justice in preference to the prevailing
practice by which he had himself profited; strengthening his own hands in
fact, while in theory he was introducing into politics the recognition of
an ethical principle which--as it happened--no longer conflicted with his
own advantage.

[Sidenote: Policy of lenity]

In fact Henry had an unusual perception of the political uses of a
judicious leniency: but the leniency was deliberate and considered. He
could also strike hard, on occasion. The rebels who were taken in the
fighting near Deal met with scant mercy; and a very few months earlier, the
execution of the apparently trusted and powerful William Stanley had been a
sharp reminder that the royal clemency could not be taken for granted.
Three years later he carried severity altogether beyond the limits of
justice in executing Warwick. But as a rule he was lenient to a degree
which had even its dangers. Simnel was treated as of too small account to
be worth punishing. Warbeck from his capture till his attempt to escape was
maintained in comfort and almost in freedom. Suffolk's earlier escapades
were pardoned. Kildare was repeatedly forgiven, and really converted into a
loyal subject. The Cornish insurgents of the Blackheath episode were dealt
with so tenderly that they took clemency for weakness. Warbeck's Cornish
rising was turned conveniently to account for the replenishment of the
royal treasury by the infliction of fines, but no one who had supported it
could complain of harsh treatment; rather they must have felt in every case
that they had been let off very easily according to all precedents.

Even when Lovel's and Simnel's risings were in actual progress, pardons
were offered to such of the rebels as would make haste to repent; and there
was no withdrawal of those pardons afterwards on more or less plausible
pretexts, in the manner of preceding Kings and of Henry's successor after
the Pilgrimage of Grace. Broadly speaking it was the King's policy to
emphasise the fact that he had no intention of attempting to play the
tyrant, or to vary a rash generosity by capricious blood-thirstiness, like
Richard III. The sole victim of tyrannous treatment in this sense
throughout the reign was the unhappy Warwick.

[Sidenote: Repression of the nobles]

But the attitude of strict conformity to law was entirely compatible with
that steady concentration of all real control in the King's hands, which
was the leading object of Henry's policy. For this purpose the primary
condition was that none of his subjects should be sufficiently powerful to
challenge his authority and raise the standard of revolt, as the King-Maker
and others had done in the past. The old nobility were practically wiped
out. Insignificant husbands were chosen for the daughters of York. The
blood of the Plantagenets ran in the veins of the house of Buckingham; but
it was only in the last generation that the De la Poles had mated with the
royal house, and their estates were much diminished; the Howards had
suffered as supporters of Richard. Surrey indeed was deservedly restored
to grace; but no amount of personal loyalty or of royal favour exempted the
nobles from the severe restriction of the old practice of maintaining
retainers in such numbers as to form a working nucleus for a fighting
force; nor were they allowed to accumulate wealth dangerously. Henry was
well pleased that his subjects should gather sufficient riches to feel a
strong interest in the maintenance of order, but not enough to use it to
create disorder.

Beyond this, however, he was careful to employ the nobles as ministers no
more than he could help. He laid the burdens of statesmanship as much as
possible on the clergy--on Morton and Fox and Warham. Fox, as Bishop of
Durham, played a part in the relations of England and Scotland at least as
influential as that of Surrey. After Morton's death Warham became
Chancellor. Yet each of these three bishops felt happier in the conduct of
his ecclesiastical functions than as a minister of the Crown. All three did
worthy and conscientious service, but would willingly have withdrawn from
affairs of State. They were counsellors, not rulers; the one real ruler was
the King himself.

While the King restrained the power of the nobility as military factors in
the situation, he developed his own control of military force by the
revival of the militia system, always theoretically in force, but
practically of late displaced by the baronial levies; and his hands were
further strengthened by the possession of the only train of artillery in
the realm, the value of which was markedly exemplified in the suppression
of the Cornish insurgents.

[Sidenote: The Star Chamber]

Another instrument in the King's hands, invaluable for the purpose of
holding barons and officials in check, was the institution which came to be
known as the Star Chamber. [Footnote: _Cf._ Maitland in _Social
England_, vol. ii., p. 655, ed. 1902; Busch, p. 267.] Beside the
development of the House of Peers as the highest court of judicature in the
realm, the development of the Great Council on similar lines had long been
going on. The two bodies differed somewhat in this way--that the peers had
the right of summons to the former, when the judges might be called in to
their assistance; whereas there were _ex officio_ members of the
Council who were not peers, and considerable uncertainty prevailed as to
the right of peers as peers to attend the Council. The customary powers of
the Council arose from the need of a court too powerful and independent to
be in danger of being intimidated or bribed by influence or wealth, able to
penalise gross miscarriage of justice fraudulently procured, and to take in
hand cases with which the ordinary courts would have had grave difficulty
in dealing. In exercising this function the Council practically came to
resolve itself into a judicial committee, meeting in a room known as the
Star Chamber, and its authority was regularised by Act of Parliament in
1487. Absorbing into its hands offences in the matter of "maintenance" and
"livery,"--_i.e._, broadly speaking, practices which the nobility had
indulged in for the magnification of their households, and the provision of
a military following--and being peculiarly subject to the royal influence,
it was exceedingly useful to the King in keeping the baronage within
bounds. Following, on the other hand, a procedure analogous to that of the
ecclesiastical courts, unchecked by juries, and having authority to punish
officers of the law whom it found guilty of illegal or corrupt practices,
its influence was gradually extended, so that the fear of it guided the
judgments of inferior courts. Under Henry VII., however, its functions were
exercised at least mainly in the cause of justice--they were used, not
abused--to the public satisfaction, as well as to the strengthening of the
King's own hands. The moderation with which Henry used the powers he was
accumulating concealed the latent possibility of the misuse of those same
powers by a capricious or arbitrary monarch.

[Sidenote: Henry's use of Parliament]

Not less conspicuous is Henry's application of the same principles in his
dealings with Parliament. He was careful, as we have seen, to secure for
his own claims the sanction of the National Assembly, and to give due
recognition to the authority of the estates of the realm. But he gave it no
opportunity of acquiring powers of initiative, and he directed his
financial policy to placing himself in such a position that he could escape
that extension of its controlling powers, which naturally followed whenever
a King found himself dependent on it for supplies. Throughout the first
half of his reign he summoned frequent Parliaments, obtaining considerable
grants on the pretext of foreign wars which were in themselves popular; but
he turned the wars themselves to account by evading extensive military
operations, and securing cash indemnities when peace was made. He even
resorted, when a serious emergency arose, to benevolences, which were
illegal; but he first secured the approval of the Council, which could
still act to some degree as a substitute for Parliament when the
Legislature was not in session, and he afterwards obtained the ratification
of Parliament itself. By this means he obtained more than sufficient for
the actual expenditure; in the meantime accumulating additional treasure by
forfeitures from rebels and fines for transgression of the law. We have
already observed his method of consistently resorting to pecuniary
penalties as an apparently lenient form of punishment, which conveniently
replenished his treasury. Thus, during the latter part of his reign, he was
able to do without Parliaments almost entirely; supplementing his revenues
through his agents Empson and Dudley, who made it their business to
discover pretexts for enforcing fines under colour of law, and often with
the flimsiest pretence of real justice.

[Sidenote: Financial exactions]

It was in this field that Henry overstepped his normal policy of not only
working through the law but avoiding misuse of it. For the filling of
Henry's treasury, the law was abused. The exactions of Empson and Dudley
were made possible by the statute of 1495, empowering judges, upon
information received, to initiate in their own courts trials of offenders
who were supposed to have escaped prosecution through the corruption or
intimidation of juries. Empson and Dudley being appointed judges found it
an easy task to provide informers, who laid before them charges on which a
case could be made out for fining the accused. In theory, of course, the
King was not responsible, and the guilty judges paid the penalty with their
lives early in the following reign. But the King did in fact get his full
share of the discredit attaching; and perhaps his methods in this
particular have been emphasised out of proportion to other traits in his
character and policy by popular writers. There is some reason to doubt if
Henry was ever quite fully aware of the extent to which these extortions
were distortions of law; and there is no doubt at all that Empson and
Dudley did not conduct their operations with a single eye to their master's
benefit, but contrived to intercept ample perquisites on their own account.
The statute was soon repealed under Henry VIII.

[Sidenote: Trade theories]

Modern economic theories depend for their validity on the postulates of the
transferability of capital and of labour. In proportion to the limitation
of the industries possible to a community, their laws apply, or fail to
apply, within that community. The development of a new industry may be
impossible, in the competition with established rivals, without artificial
assistance--assistance given to that industry at the expense of the
community at large; the preservation of an existing industry may demand
like assistance. When the labour and capital employed can be transferred
productively to another industry, it is obviously better that the transfer
should take place, and the failing industry lapse, than that the community
should be charged with maintaining an industry which cannot support itself
--whether or no the competitors driving it out of the market are enabled to
do so only by like extraneous assistance. When the capital and the labour
cannot be transferred, but the industry can be maintained by assistance,
the question becomes one of weighing the cost of maintenance to the
community against the injury to the community from the collapse of the
industry. Thus in any state with its commerce in the making, when the
transferability of capital and labour is at best in dispute, the theory of
buying in the cheapest market, wherever it is to be found, is not in
favour. It is held better to raise the prices to the point at which the
native product pays its native producers. In mediaeval times the foreigner
was _prima facie_ a person who came not to bring trade but to
appropriate it. Hence he was subjected to regulations, limitations and
charges for permission to carry on his operations. The next stage is
reached when reciprocal free trade is recognised as an advantage and mutual
concessions are made, restrictions and duties becoming, so to speak,
implements of war, often enough proving two-edged.

[Sidenote: Henry's commercial policy]

Henry VII. was not an economist far in advance of the theories of his age;
but economic considerations, as they were then understood, carried much
more weight, and generally played a much larger part in his policy than was
customary with the king-craft of the times, or with state-craft outside the
commercial republic of Venice, the commercial association of German Free
cities known as the Hansa or Hanseatic League, and the Netherlands.
Accordingly we find him using every available means to obtain a footing in
fresh foreign markets for the main English products of his day--wool and
woollen goods; to secure for English merchants the rights and privileges
which would enable them to compete on equal terms with the foreigner, and
to curtail those privileges of the foreigner in England. In the matter of
wool, the primacy of the English article was so thoroughly established that
little extraneous aid was required. But with manufactured woollen goods the
case was different, since the Flemings held the lead; and shipping also
demanded artificial encouragement--first, because it was necessary to
enterprise in the development of the export trade, at present largely
carried on in foreign bottoms; second, because the King was, at least to
some extent, alive to the strategic uses of a fleet which could be
requisitioned for war purposes.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands trade]

The great mart for English wool was the Netherlands, whose manufacturing
business required the raw product: the Netherlanders were more dependent on
England than the English were on them. Hence this trade was used by Henry
throughout his reign as a political lever--a means to political ends rather
than an end in itself. If his own subjects suffered from a customs war,
Philip's suffered more. So long as Burgundy made trouble on behalf of
Perkin Warbeck the battle went on. In 1496 Philip gave up the contest, and
the _Intercursus Magnus_ followed. Soon after the beginning of the new
century the fight was renewed, to be terminated by what the Flemings called
the _Intercursus Malus_, an arrangement so one-sided and pressing so
hard on them that its terms were practically impossible of fulfilment; and
Henry assented to their modification before his death, partly with a view
to overcoming the reluctance of Margaret of Savoy to accept his matrimonial

[Sidenote: The Hansa]

When Henry came to the throne, he found the export trade mainly in the
hands of two foreign groups--the Hansa, who had acquired privileges in
England which they did not reciprocate, and the Venetians, who held their
own without privileges by superior commercial acuteness--and of two English
groups, the Merchants of the Staple, who controlled the wool markets, and
the Merchant Adventurers, who were mainly interested in the manufactured
goods. The King therefore followed a consistent policy of straining, in a
restrictive sense, the interpretation of the concessions made to the Hansa,
of emphasising grievances against them and of pressing for counter-
privileges; and he successfully negotiated with Denmark in 1489 a
commercial treaty, which interfered with the Hansa monopoly of the
Scandinavian trade, by placing English merchants on a competitive footing
with them. In a similar manner, he brought pressure to bear on the
Venetians by opening direct relations with the Florentines at their port of
Pisa. It is curious to note incidentally that the export dues on raw wool
were enormously heavier than those on the manufactured goods; the
difference being made in order to encourage the home sale of the wool and
to stimulate the home manufacture by this means, as well as by encouraging
the foreign sale of the manufactured goods. It is also observable that when
an attempt was made by the London merchants to capture the worsted trade,
Henry nipped it in the bud. It was no part of his policy to allow
corporations--any more than individuals--to become powerful enough to
demand terms for their political support.

[Sidenote: The Navigation Acts]

Recognising, as we saw, the commercial advantage to England of doing her
own carrying trade and of multiplying ships and seamen, Henry--tentatively
at first, but with increasing confidence--adopted artificial methods of
encouraging this branch of industry, at the expense of free competition.
Very early in the reign a Navigation Act required that goods shipped for
England from certain foreign ports should be embarked on English vessels,
during a specified period. Then the Act was renewed for a longer period,
and finally without a time limit, and with more extended application. A
great impetus was given to English shipping, with momentous results which
can hardly have entered into Henry's calculations. He could not have
anticipated the vast extensions of empire which were to be the prize of the
nations with ocean-going navies, with the ocean itself for the great
battlefield; or even the extent to which commerce and naval preponderance
were destined to go hand in hand. The monopoly of the States with a
Mediterranean sea-board was coming to an end.

[Sidenote: Voyages of discovery]

Yet it was in his reign that the vast change was initiated. In 1492
Christopher Columbus made his great voyage: in 1497 Vasco da Gama sailed
for India, not westwards but southwards and eastwards round the Cape of
Good Hope. Ten years later, Albuquerque was founding a Portuguese Empire in
the Indian seas. Spain and Portugal, pioneers of the great movement, led
the way, one in the new world of the West, the other in the fabled world of
the East; where for many a year to come they were to divide a monopoly
authorised by the Papal Bull of Alexander VI. Before another century
closed, their dominion was to be challenged by England grown mighty and by
Holland emancipated. As yet, however, men dreamed only formless if gorgeous
dreams of what the unknown realms might bring forth. England played no very
large part in these early voyages. Christopher Columbus, craving to
discover a westerly route to the Indies, and failing of Portuguese support,
sent his brother Bartholomew to petition the English King for aid; but
Bartholomew was captured by pirates. Ultimately he reached England, but
before he could achieve his purpose, Christopher had found other helpers;
the prize fell to Ferdinand and Isabella. The first historic expedition
which sailed from English ports was captained not by an Englishman but by
another Italian, John Cabot, and his son Sebastian, in 1497. The Cabots
were Venetians who had for some time been established at Bristol. They
aimed for a north-west passage, and found Labrador and Newfoundland, cold,
inhospitable, producing no wealth: the explorers who sailed under Spanish
auspices struck the wealthy and entrancing regions of the south. There was
little enough material inducement beyond the simple spirit of enterprise to
attract capital to expend itself in aid of the Bristol men who followed in
the wake of Cabot. Henry deserves full credit for the encouragement and
actual pecuniary help which he rendered at first, and no blame for its
discontinuation. The daring of the adventurers was but ill repaid for the
time; yet a mighty harvest was to be reaped by England in the days to come.

[Sidenote: The rural revolution]

If England, however, did not for more than half a century turn the new
discoveries to material account, wealth and prosperity did increase greatly
in the towns, and the country recovered her lost position among the
commercial nations--partly from Henry's policy directed to that end, partly
from the comparatively settled conditions of life which gradually
prevailed. In the agricultural districts, however, this was hardly the
case, owing to the increasing tendency to substitute pasture for
cultivation. The country had no difficulty in producing sufficient for its
own consumption; and the development of the woollen manufacture made
sheep-farming in particular much more lucrative. But sheep-farming called
for the employment of many fewer hands; proprietors dispossessed small
tenants to make large sheep-runs; migration from the rural districts to the
nascent manufacturing centres was not a simple matter; and thus there was
no little distress, and a great multiplication of beggars and vagabonds.
The monasteries, which in the past had been progressive farmers, had
degenerated into landlords easy-going indeed but without enterprise. The
wealth of the gentry increased, but unemployment increased also, and labour
at the same time became cheaper. The evil was to a great extent realised;
in the Isle of Wight, which was rapidly becoming depopulated, an attempt
was made to improve matters by limiting the size of farms; the heavy export
duties on raw wool were doubtless intended actually to restrict the output
as well as to divert it to English rather than foreign manufacturers; but
since this did not effectively check the growing demand at home, the
production of wool remained so lucrative that it continued to be more
attractive than cultivation. Attempts were made to transfer labour from
agriculture to manufacture by interfering with, the restrictions imposed by
the trade-guilds (which always aimed at making themselves close bodies),
the object of such legislation being quite as much to prevent idleness as
to relieve distress. Nevertheless, the evil grew. Sir Thomas More in his
introduction to the _Utopia_, written early in the next reign, gives a
vigorous sketch of the prevalent vagabondage just before the death of
Cardinal Morton, adding to the causes above mentioned the number of lackeys
employed by the wealthy who when dismissed became a useless burden on the
community. He also charges the land-owners, expressly including many abbots
and others of the clergy, with causing depopulation and misery by forcing
up rents. From him too as well as from other sources we learn of the
frequency of crimes of violence, attributed by him to the reckless
employment of the death penalty for minor offences, encouraging the
fugitive criminal--already doomed if caught--to take life without

[Sidenote: The Church]

To a certain extent, then, we have to note among the causes of change in
rural districts the failure of the monasteries to discharge their old
function of agricultural leadership. In other respects, also, these
communities had fallen from the high standards of earlier days. Discipline
was lax. Visitations instituted by Cardinal Morton revealed the presence of
gross immorality, not only among the very small houses, but in so great an
institution as the Abbey of St. Albans, where the highest officials were
guilty of the gravest misbehaviour; and the correspondence seems to imply
that the disapprobation was by no means in proportion to the offences, from
which it is fair to infer that no high standard was normally expected. The
most to be looked for was an absence of flagrant misconduct. The clergy
were much more particular about ceremonial observances and ecclesiastical
privileges than about the morals either of themselves or of their flocks.
But as yet there was no sign of a coming Reformation. Lollardry, it is
true, had never been killed; its anti-clerical propaganda was by no means
inactive. But it worked beneath the surface, and could not be taken to
indicate an approaching convulsion. The greatest Churchmen of the day,
Morton, Warham and Fox, were absorbed--albeit reluctantly--in affairs of
State. Blameless, even austere in their own lives, patrons of learning,
sincerely pious, they lacked the Reformer's passion, without which it was
vain to combat the _vis inertiae_; generated by long years of clerical
sloth, and of the formalism by which the highest Mysteries were vulgarly
distorted into superstitions and Faith into ceremonial observances.

[Sidenote: Henry and Rome]

The first Tudor himself was a pious man, as piety was reckoned: punctual in
observances, commended and complimented by Popes. His chapel in Westminster
Abbey is evidence of his zeal in one direction; he gave alms with a
business-like regard to their post-mortem efficacy. Throughout his reign
the Popes made much talk of a new crusade, and Henry seems to have been the
one European monarch who took the idea seriously. It is true that when
Alexander VI. appealed in 1500 for funds to that end, the English King
preferred to be excused; but the polite irony of his refusal was more than
justified by his confidence that if the Pope got the money it would not be
expended for the benefit of Christendom; moreover, he did actually hand
over four thousand pounds. In fact, he took the Church as he found it.
There was but one almost infinitesimal curtailment of ecclesiastical
privileges in his reign, necessitated by political considerations and
accepted by the Pope, whereby the right of Sanctuary was withdrawn in cases
of treason.

[Sidenote: Learning and letters]

Practically it is only in the beginnings of an educational revival that we
find promise of the dawn of a new order. It was in Henry's reign that the
study of Greek, and with it the new criticism, began to establish itself.
Grocyn and Linacre led the way. In the last decade of the century John
Colet was lecturing at Oxford, the apostle of the new learning on its
religious side; calling his pupils to the study of the Scriptures
themselves, rather than of the schoolmen or doctors of the Church; treating
them as organic treatises, not as collections of texts. There he won the
friendship of young Thomas More; thither on flying visits came Erasmus
twice. Colet, made Dean of St. Paul's about 1505, continued to carry on his
educational work as the founder of the famous St. Paul's School; winning
renown also as a great preacher and a fearless moralist; a man of rich
learning, of a reverent enthusiasm, of a splendid sincerity, of a noble
simplicity; the prophet of much that was best, and of nothing that was not
best, in the coming Reformation.

But during Henry's reign Colet's figure is almost the only one--apart from
such representatives of erudition and scholarship as Grocyn and Linacre--
which stands forth holding out a promise of intellectual and moral
progress. In effect there was no literature; in this respect Scotland was
in advance of England with the verse of William Dunbar. More's
_Utopia_ was still unwritten. When Henry died the Universities had not
yet, or had only just, received within their portals the men who were to
fight the theological battle of the Reformation. More than half a century
was to pass before the splendid sunrise of the Shakespearian era.

[Sidenote: Henry's character]

It has hardly, perhaps, been the custom to render full justice to the
founder of the Tudor dynasty. His reign is stamped with a character sordid
and unattractive. There is no romance in it, no clashing of arms, no
valiant deeds, no suggestion of the heroic. The King's enemies are, for the
most part, contemptible persons; the King himself is a cold-blooded,
long-headed ruler, merciful indeed, but from policy, not from generosity,
and of a meanness in money matters very far from royal. Yet he was not
without virtues. He was not unjust; he was a statesman more loyal to his
pledges than most of his contemporaries or their successors. He gave
something like order and rest to a distracted land, and raised her again to
a position at least respectable among the nations, securing himself on a
most unstable throne without resorting to the usual methods of the tyrant.
Had he died when Morton died, the baser aspects of his reign would never
have achieved so unlovely a prominence as they have done.

The truth is, indeed, that judged by the first half of his reign alone
Henry might have been numbered among the princes with a title to be
regarded almost with affection. It is only in the light of the later years
that even his financial policy really assumes a mean aspect, though
occasionally it came perilously near what may be called sharp practice--and
the excuse was great, seeing that a full treasury was an absolutely
necessary condition of establishing the new rule. The imprisonment of
Warwick was an act of palpable injustice, yet the risk of letting him go
free would have been enormous. In another ruler than Henry, the leniency
which we attribute to astute policy would have been freely described as
surprising magnanimity. He never betrayed a loyal servant. His genuine
appreciation of the true spirit of chivalry was shown when he took Surrey
[Footnote: Surrey, the son of "Jockey of Norfolk," Richard's supporter, was
imprisoned in the Tower. At the time of Simnel's insurrection his gaoler
offered to let him escape, but he refused, saying that the King had sent
him to confinement, and only from the King would he accept release.] from
the Tower to entrust him with high command in the North. The luckless Lady
Katharine Gordon, the wife of Perkin Warbeck, was treated with remarkable
courtesy and liberality. There was even a genial humour in the King's
behaviour to Kildare. His own marriage he doubtless looked upon as a purely
political affair; but while his wife lived his loyalty to his marriage vow
is in strong contrast to the general licentiousness of the princes of his
day; and the picture of Henry and Elizabeth striving in turn to comfort
each other on Prince Arthur's death, as recorded by a contemporary,
[Footnote: Gairdner, _Chron._, i., p. 36; Leland's _Collectanea_,
v., p, 373.] can hardly be fitted on to the conception of Henry as a man
almost without the more tender feelings of humanity.

[Sidenote: Deterioration after 1499]

Yet all this is forgotten or discoloured by reason of the ugly picture of
those later days when Morton and Prince Arthur and Elizabeth were gone. It
seems, indeed, as though a certain moral deterioration had set in from the
time when Henry made up his mind to do violence to his conscience by making
away with Warwick in 1499. Morton, his wisest counsellor, of whom More
gives a most attractive portrait in the _Utopia_, died the next year;
Arthur, whom he loved, in the spring of 1502; Elizabeth, always a refining
and softening influence, within a twelvemonth of Arthur. To these latter
years belong almost entirely the extortions of Empson and Dudley; the harsh
treatment of Katharine of Aragon, a helpless hostage in his hands; the
revolting proposal for a union with the crazy Joanna of Castile. This view
is further borne out when we observe that in these years also his political
foresight degenerates into craftiness, personal animosities playing a
larger part. The intellectual falling off is hardly less marked than the
moral. For the personal repute of a King who was almost, if not quite, one
of the great, it is to be regretted that his last years have cast a
permanent cloud over a reign which emphatically made for the good of the
nation over which he ruled.



[Sidenote: Europe in 1509]

Roughly speaking, the forty years preceding the accession of Henry VIII.
had witnessed the birth of modern Europe. The old feudal conception of
Christendom had passed away: the modern conception of organic States had
taken its place. The English Kings had for some time ceased to hold sway in
France, whether as claimants to the throne or as great feudatories. France
herself had become a united and aggressive nation; the fusion of the
Spanish monarchies was almost completed: the Emperor was no longer regarded
as the titular secular head of Christendom, but was virtually the chief of
a loose Germanic confederation. The Turk, finally established in Eastern
Europe, was shortly to find himself regarded as a possible ally of
Christian Powers; Christendom still reckoned the Pope as its spiritual
head, but the cataclysm was already preparing; and the enterprise of daring
seamen had but just rent the veils that had hidden from the nations of
Europe the boundless possibilities of a new world in the West and an
ancient world in the East, converting the pathless ocean into the great

[Sidenote: England's position in Europe]

Since the death of the conqueror Henry V., England herself had been rent
and torn by internal broils. For many a long year she had taken but little
share in the affairs of Europe. But it had been the part of the first Tudor
King to win for her breathing time; to secure a period for rest and
internal recuperation, which should fit her to hold her own in the counsels
of Europe should her interests demand it. The civil broils were ended;
trade had revived; wealth had been accumulating. Henry had not sought
military glory, but he had played the game of diplomacy with acuteness and
finesse. When he ascended the throne, the princes of Europe had regarded
England as a Power that might safely be neglected unless she could be used
as a cat's-paw; but before he died they had learned that they could no
longer negotiate with him except on equal terms. In a sense, perhaps, it is
true that England was still reckoned as no more than a third-rate
[Footnote: _Cf._ Brewer, _Reign of Henry VIII._, i., p.3;
Creighton, _Wolsey_, p. 11. The estimate, however, seems to be rather
the outcome of an inclination to magnify Wolsey's achievement.] power,
since her military prestige had fallen and the chances of its restoration
were untested, while her interests would not naturally lead her into active
participation in European complications; but she had at least achieved
sufficient importance for the Powers to desire her favour rather than her
ill-will, and for herself to be able to put a price on her support when it
was asked.

[Sidenote: The new King]

So far, however, it was rather respect for the personal ability of Henry
VII. than a high estimate of the English nation that had secured the
English position; and when the astute old monarch was succeeded on the
throne by a frank, high-spirited lad of eighteen, the Princes of Europe
flattered themselves that England would revert to the position of a
cat's-paw. From this point of view the first beginnings of the reign were
promising. Europe, however, was soon to be undeceived; to discover that the
young King had an unfailing eye for a capable minister, a sincere devotion
to his own interests, and an unparalleled power of reconciling the dictates
of desire and conscience.

At home, circumstances combined to render Henry extraordinarily popular.
Handsome, endowed with a magnificent physique, a first-rate performer in
all manly exercises, gifted with many accomplishments, scholar enough to be
proud of his scholarship, open of hand, frank and genial of manner, with a
boyish delight in his endowments and a boyish enthusiasm for chivalric
ideals, all English hearts rejoiced in his accession. The scholars looked
forward to a Saturnian age; his martial ardour fired the hopes of the
fighting men; the populace hailed with joy a King who began his rule by
striking down the agents of extortion to whom he owed the wealth inherited
from his economical sire. Henry in fact was blessed with the most valuable
of all possessions for a ruler of men, a magnetic personality, which made
his servants ready to go through fire and water, to stifle conscience, to
forgo their own convictions at his bidding.

When he ascended the throne, however, none had the glimmering of a
suspicion whither that imperious will was to direct the destinies of the
nation: his earliest acts gave little indication of the later developments
of his character and policy.

[Sidenote: 1509 Marriage]

His first step was to complete the marriage with Katharine of Aragon, to
whom he had been betrothed, under the papal dispensation, on the death of
his elder brother, her husband. It is not without interest to note, in view
of a plea put forward against the "divorce" in later years, that the bride
was arrayed for the wedding as one who was not a widow but a maiden.
Shortly afterwards Empson and Dudley, his father's unpopular agents, were
brought to the block after attainder on a not very credible charge of
treason, [Footnote: Brewer, i., p. 44; _L. & P._, i., 1212.] since the
misdeeds of which they had been guilty could hardly be construed into
capital offences.

Now, however, events on the Continent were to offer a field for Henry's
ambitions, and incidentally to disillusion, at least in part, his young

[Sidenote: The Powers: 1509-12]

The three great Powers--France, Spain, and the Empire--which had been
evolved out of the mediaeval European system, were united in the desire of
preventing Italy from following their example and consolidating into a
nation. Venice, as the one Italian State strong enough to have some chance
of combining the rest under her leadership, was the object not only of
their jealousy but also of the Pope's. A few months before the death of
Henry VII., these four combined in the League of Cambrai, for the
dismemberment of Venice. The allies, however, were not guided in their
actions by any altruistic motives--any excessive regard for the interests
of their associates. The French King, Lewis XII., by prompt and skilful
action, made himself master of the north of Italy before the rest were
ready to move. This was by no means to the taste of Ferdinand or of Pope
Julius; but as yet Maximilian had seen no reason to be displeased.
Ferdinand would not risk a quarrel with Maximilian, which might have led to
that monarch's interference in Castile on behalf of the boy Charles--his
grandson as well as Ferdinand's--the nominal King of that portion of what
Ferdinand looked on as his own dominions. So the crafty old King bided his
time, dropping a quiet hint to young Henry in England that a moment might
be approaching favourable to an English attack on France, in revival of the
ancient claim to the crown, or at any rate to Guienne.

Henry, as yet unskilled in the tortuous diplomacy of his father-in-law, was
well content to be guided by his advice. Ferdinand intrigued to unite
Julius and Maximilian against France, and to shift the burden of battle,
when it should come, off his own shoulders on to Henry's. Meantime, the
outward professions to France remained of the most amicable character.

[Sidenote: 1512 Dorset's expedition]

Then Lewis made a blunder which gave his enemies their opening. He called a
General Council at Pisa which was in effect an attack on the spiritual
authority of Rome. By the end of 1510, Julius was at open war with the
French King; Ferdinand was in alliance with the Pope; in the course of the
next year, the Holy League was formed; a combined attack was concerted; and
in June, 1512, an English expedition, under the command of Lord Dorset,
landed in Spain, on the theory that it was to be assisted by Ferdinand in
the conquest of Guienne.

The expedition was a melancholy failure. The English troops and their
commander were alike inexperienced in war; Ferdinand would not move against
Guienne, urging with some plausibility that the securing of Navarre was a
needful preliminary; the soldiers wanted beer and had to put up with
Spanish wines; finally they insisted on returning to England, and Dorset
had to put the best face he could on a very awkward situation. Officially
it was announced that the withdrawal was made with Ferdinand's approval.

So far, the European anticipations of England's incapacity had been duly
fulfilled. A military fiasco had accompanied an innocence of diplomatic
guile which looked promising to the Continental rulers. But the promise was
to be disappointed.

[Sidenote: Rise of Wolsey]

Henry VII. had avoided war and had been his own foreign minister; when he
died, he left to form his son's Council some capable subordinates like Fox
the Bishop of Winchester, but no one experienced in the responsibilities of
control. Among the noble houses, the Howards were shortly to display at
least a fair share of military capacity. But it was to a minister of at
best middle-class origin, a rising ecclesiastic who had, however, hitherto
held no office of the first rank, that England was to owe a surprisingly
rapid promotion to European equality with the first-class Powers.

With that skill in selecting; invaluable servants which distinguished his
entire career, Henry VIII. by the time he was one-and-twenty had already
discovered in Thomas Wolsey the man on whose native genius and unlimited
power of application he could place complete reliance.

Wolsey had been employed on diplomatic missions by the old King; whose
methods he had gauged and whose policy he had assimilated, but only as a
basis for far-reaching developments. He was brought into the Royal Council
by Fox, partly no doubt in the hope that he would counteract the influence
of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, and others of the nobles who were
martially inclined and imbued with a time-honoured hostility to France. It
was no long time before he outshone his patron, who, however, had rightly
judged his tendencies. Wolsey was no friend to war, and had no hostility to
France, for the plain reason that he preferred diplomatic to military
methods, and was quite as well pleased to advance English interests by
alliance with France as by alliances against her if he saw his way to
profit thereby. It is probable enough that he would have avoided the war
with France if he had had the power; since he had not, he devoted his
energies to making the war itself as successful as possible.

[Sidenote: 1513 The French war]

The arrangements for the Guienne expedition had not unnaturally been
singularly defective. Wolsey devoted himself with untiring zeal to the
organisation of a new expedition in the following spring. Nothing was left
to chance over which it was possible for one man's energy to exercise
supervision. The first outcome was a naval engagement off Brest on 25th
April, wherein the English admiral, Sir Edward Howard, restored at least
the English reputation for valour, falling--overwhelmed by numbers--on the
deck of the French flag-ship which he had boarded almost single-handed. The
French fleet was much larger than that of the English, and the attack on it
which he led was a desperate enterprise in which his ships were beaten off;
but those who had jeered at the failure in Guienne were silenced, and Henry
was enabled to land his troops undisturbed at Calais at the end of June.
Both the King and Wolsey were with the army, and proceeded to lay siege, on
1st August, to Terouenne, which was partially re-victualled by the bold
dash of a relief party of horsemen through the besieger's lines. Here the
besiegers were shortly joined by a contingent under Maximilian (who
professed himself a mere volunteer under the English King). The advancing
French array was put to complete rout in the "battle of the Spurs"--the
consequence of a sudden panic--and on August 22nd Terouenne
surrendered. Tournai followed suit a month later.

In the meantime, events of moment had been taking place on the Scottish

[Sidenote: Scotland 1499-1513]

James IV., as we have seen, had by no means been on continuously good terms
with Henry VII., and had lent a good deal more than merely moral support to
the pretensions of Perkin Warbeck. At the close of the adventurer's active
career in the end of 1497, a treaty was made between England and Scotland
which was to remain in force till a year after the death of either monarch;
and there were further treaties when James married Margaret Tudor in 1503.
On the other hand, James had always maintained the traditional alliance
with France, and in 1507 had declined the papal invitation to enter the
league then formed to resist French aggression. Since the accession of
Henry VIII., the relations between the two countries had been exceedingly
strained. There were personal quarrels about jewels retained in England
which James claimed for his wife. Scottish sea-captains had been treated as
pirates by the English authorities. Henry, having joined the league against
France, wished to patch up the quarrel with James; James, incited by the
French, would not make friends with the active enemy of France; the French
Queen sent him a message bidding him strike a blow on English ground as her
knight. West, [Footnote: Brewer, _Henry VIII._, p.29. _L & P_.,
i., 1926, 3128, 3129, 3811, 3838, 3882.] the English ambassador, gives a
highly uncomplimentary account of James's bearing at this time, but his
evidence may be coloured. At any rate, there can have been little doubt in
James's mind that a successful war with France would leave Henry ready to
make himself extremely unpleasant to Scotland, even though he might not
patently set the treaty aside; and for himself there was a degree of
obligation to help France when she came to open hostilities with England;
while Henry's instructions to West are hardly consistent with a character
for stainless and unassailable honour. [Footnote: _Cf._ Lang,
_Hist. Scot._, i., p.375; commenting on Brewer, _Henry VIII._,
pp.28, 29 _q.v._]

[Illustration: Map: Campaign of FLODDEN showing Surrey's March]

[Sidenote: 1513 James invades England (Aug.)]

At any rate, the conclusion of the matter was that when Henry sailed for
Calais, James soon made up his mind, with the support of most of the
nobility, to declare war, and sent Henry his defiance--as he had promised
West to do before opening hostilities. On 22nd August he was in England at
the head of a great army; by the end of the month, Norham Castle, Ford, and
other strongholds were in his hands. [Footnote: _Cf._ Lang, _Hist.
Scot._, i., p. 377.] Thereafter, he entrenched himself on Flodden Ridge,
and awaited the approach of the English army.

Queen Katharine and the Earl of Surrey had been left in charge at home when
the King with Wolsey and Fox also crossed the channel. To the Queen's
energy the successful results were in no small degree due, as well as to
the military skill and audacity of the Howards, and to James's reckless
disregard of strategical and tactical principles.

Had the Scottish monarch held to his plans, his campaign could hardly have
failed to be successful. His army was large, and well victualled; his
position on Flodden Edge was exceedingly strong; he had secured the
fortresses which might otherwise have threatened him on flank or rear. His
object was to entice the English commander, Surrey, away from his base, and
force him to fight at a disadvantage, or to see his levies melt away, for
lack of provisions. Surrey, advancing from Alnwick to Wooler, tried to
inveigle him into descending from the Ridge to the open plain, but James
was not to be tempted.

[Sidenote: Flodden (Sept.)]

Eastward of Flodden the Till flows north to join the Tweed. Surrey put the
Till between himself and the Scottish army, and marched north, his movement
masked by hills on his left, with the intention of reaching Berwick, or of
threatening the Scottish communications. Arrived at Barmoor Wood, the
Admiral, Thomas Howard, Surrey's son, proposed to march west, cross the
Till, and move south again, threatening the rear of James's position. The
operation, involving a very hard march, was carried out. The main army
crossed at Twizel Mill, the rearguard fording the stream as high up as
Sandyford; the junction being effected behind Branxton Marsh. The passage
of the troops might easily have been prevented; but James, very
inefficiently served in scouting, knew nothing of what was going on. When
the approach of the English became known, he suddenly resolved to descend
and give battle [Footnote: The traditions concerning the King and the old
Earl of Angus on this occasion have been very untenderly handled by
Mr. Andrew Lang, _Hist. Scot._, 1., p. 390.] on the plain, instead of
remaining in his almost impregnable position. So on the afternoon of
September 9th was fought the bloody and decisive battle of Flodden. Of the
two armies, the Scottish was probably the larger; but the English captains
had their troops better in hand than the border lords on the Scottish left,
or the highland chiefs on their right. After fierce fighting, the Scottish
wings were broken, and the Scottish centre was completely enveloped. There,
headed by the King, fought the pick of the Scottish chivalry. The stand
made was magnificent, the slaughter appalling. The English victory this
time was one not of the bow--as so often before--but of the bill or axe
against the spears in which the northern nation trusted. By hewing away the
spear-heads, the English disabled their opponents; yet they fought on, till
man by man they fell around their monarch. The King himself, brave as any
man on the field, was slain; in the ring of his dead companions in arms
were found the bodies of thirteen earls, three bishops, and many valiant
lords. There were few families in Scotland which did not contribute to that
hecatomb, whereof the memory is enshrined in the national song of
lamentation, "The Flowers of the Forest".

[Effects of Flodden]

For many a long year the military power of Scotland was broken on the black
day of Flodden. From that quarter Henry was to have no more serious fears.
Great and decisive, however, as Surrey's [Footnote: Surrey was rewarded
with the Dukedom of Norfolk, held by his father. Accordingly, after this he
becomes "Norfolk," and his son Thomas becomes "Surrey". In 1524 the son
succeeded to the Dukedom, and is the "Norfolk" of the latter half of the
reign, the "Surrey" of its last years being his son Henry.] triumph was,
the English also had paid a heavy price, and were unable to follow up
victory by invasion. But Scotland had not only lost the best and bravest of
her sons; the King's death left the Crown to a babe not eighteen months
old, and the government of the country to the babe's mother, Margaret, the
sister of Henry VIII., and to a group of nobles, to whose personal feuds
and rivalries, constantly fomented by English diplomacy, the interests of
the Scottish nation were completely subordinated.

[Sidenote: Recovery of English prestige]

The year 1513 had completely restored the reputation of the English
arms. The sea-fight off Brest, the successes at Terouenne and Tournai, and,
finally, the great victory of Flodden, proved beyond dispute that
Englishmen only needed to be well led to show themselves as indomitable as
ever they had been in the past. The march of 8th and 9th September
immediately before Flodden was a feat which not many commanders would have
cared to attempt, and few troops could have carried out. And it had become
evident that generalship was not, after all, a lost art. It was now time
for Europe to discover that England, habitually inferior to other nations
in the arts of diplomacy, possessed in Wolsey a diplomatist of the highest
order. The old King had indeed been as little susceptible to the
beguilement of fair promises, as shrewd in detecting his neighbours'
designs, little less capable of concealing his own, little less tenacious
in pursuing them; but his designs themselves had not the amplitude of
Wolsey's, who shewed all Henry's skill combined with a far greater audacity
in execution, commensurate with the greater audacity and scope of his
conceptions. Wolsey was one of those statesmen, rare in England, who for
half a generation aimed, with a large measure of success, at dominating the
combinations of the European Powers without involving the country in any
tremendous war.

[Sidenote: 1514 Foreign intrigues]

Before the winter of 1513 Henry VIII. returned to England, with every
intention of following up his successes in the French war in the ensuing
year. The campaign, however, had not been at all to the liking of
Ferdinand, who gained nothing by the English victories in the north-west.
These tended to strengthen his grandson Charles in the Netherlands, where
Maximilian's influence over him was stronger; while Ferdinand was bent
above all things on maintaining his own control over the boy, and by
consequence over Castile. So Ferdinand set about making his own peace
privily with France, and trying to draw off Maximilian so as to isolate
Henry. In April, 1514, he accomplished his object, and a truce was declared
between Ferdinand, the Emperor, and France.

In mid-winter Henry had been struck down by small-pox; he recovered to find
these intrigues in active progress, and was highly indignant. His martial
projects were, of course, thrown entirely out of gear. Ferdinand, however,
had found his match. The English King, when the dictates of his personal
interests, translated into terms of conscience, did not obscure the issues
at stake, had an acute perception of political expediency, untrammelled by
the traditional sentiment which biased the judgment of advisers of the type
of Surrey (now raised to the Dukedom of Norfolk). It was Wolsey who swayed
his counsels, and Wolsey perceived in an alliance with France an effective
alternative to the collapsed alliance against her.

[Sidenote: Policy of French alliance ]

No sooner had he detected the intrigues of Ferdinand than he set his
counterplot on foot through the medium of the Duc de Longueville, who had
been taken prisoner at the battle of the Spurs and sent over to
England. The death of the French Queen, Anne of Brittany, gave him a
convenient opening as early as January.

Throughout this century, as in the reign of Henry VII., royal betrothals
and royal marriages play an immense part in international negotiations:
princesses are the shuttlecocks of statesmen. This particular form of
diplomatic recreation now springs again into sudden prominence.

[Sidenote 1: The French marriage]
[Sidenote 2: 1515 Francis I]

Henry's younger sister Mary was plighted to the young Charles of Castile
and the Netherlands, who was to marry her in the ensuing summer; he being
now fourteen, and she about seventeen. The boy's two grandfathers, now both
disposed to leave England detached and isolated, began finding excuses for
deferring the match. Wolsey pressed them, while secretly negotiating for
Mary's marriage with Lewis of France. Thus when his plans were ripe, and
not before, he found himself able to declare that the breach was entirely
the fault of the other side, whose objects were frustrated by the new
alliance, which had not entered into their reckoning. There was no further
prospect of keeping France and England embroiled while they appropriated
the spoils. Mary was married to the French King in October, and Henry was
certainly projecting, in conjunction with him, an aggressive movement
against his former allies, on the plea that his wife Katharine shared with
her sister the succession to Castile, when the tangible results of the
marriage were nullified by the death on January 1st of Lewis, and the
succession to the French throne of his cousin Francis I., a prince who was
some years younger than Henry himself, and quite as much athirst for
military glory.

Again diplomacy intrigued about the person of Lewis's widow. Charles
Brandon, [Footnote: Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk in the last reign,
and Yorkist intriguer, was executed, apparently without further trial, in
1513. The Dukedom of Suffolk was bestowed on Brandon whom Mr. Froude's
imagination has somehow developed into "the ablest soldier of the age," but
he never did anything to justify a high estimate of his abilities.] Duke of
Suffolk, an intimate personal friend of Henry's and a stout man-at-arms,
who was also personally devoted to the Princess Mary, was selected by
Wolsey as a better negotiator than one of the anti-French party. Henry and
Francis were both keen hands at a bargain, and there was serious trouble as
to Mary's dower and the financial arrangements connected with her
return. Francis gained his purposes by alarming Mary and at the same time
encouraging Suffolk to marry her out of hand; which he did, secretly. After
that, there could be no more talk of Mary's dowry being repaid; and Henry
had to content himself with making heavy demands on Suffolk's purse. The
event is of further significance, because Henry at present had no
offspring, and the young King of Scotland, son of his sister Margaret, was
heir presumptive to the throne; whereas if his younger sister Mary should
have children, it was certain that there would be a party to support their
claim in preference to that of the Scottish monarch. In fact, ultimately,
Mary's grandchild Lady Jane Grey was actually put up as a claimant to the

[Sidenote: Marignano (Sept.)]

The general effect however was, that Francis drew away from the English
alliance, and associated himself more closely with Ferdinand; having
Italian conquests and more particularly Milan in view. In the summer he set
out, crossed the Alps with unexpected success, and in September won the
great victory of Marignano, routing the Swiss troops which had hitherto
been reputed invincible. Such triumphant progress however was more than the
other monarchs or the Pope, Leo X., had reckoned for, and there was a rapid
and general reaction in favour of checking the French King's career. The
inflation of the power of France was satisfactory to no one else; but
incidentally the effect was not disadvantageous to Wolsey, since it forced
Pope Leo into an attitude of compliance with English demands in order to
secure English support, with the result that Wolsey was raised to the
Cardinalate, having recently been made Archbishop of York. "The Cardinal of
York" is the title by which he is named in official references from this
time (Nov., 1515).

Here it may be noted that a daughter, afterwards Queen Mary, was born to
the King early in 1516. Before this time, two sons at least--according to
some authorities no fewer than four--had been born, but had died either at
birth or shortly after.

[Sidenote: 1516-17 European changes]

During the winter, Wolsey--having no wish to plunge England into war--
persuaded Maximilian (by means of a very able diplomatic agent, Richard
Pace) to take up arms against Francis in Italy. As a rule, Maximilian took
sides with any one whose gold he expected to divert into his own pocket;
but Pace managed to keep the English subsidies, which were to pay the Swiss
Mercenaries, out of the Emperor's hands; so the Emperor retired from the
war in the spring. Early in this year, too, Ferdinand died, leaving Charles
lord of all Spain as well as of the Netherlands. This left the young King
to the guidance of advisers whose interests were mainly Flemish, and who
were consequently anxious in the first place for the friendship of
France. Hence in August the treaty of Noyon was contracted between Francis
and Charles; in which the Emperor shortly afterwards joined when he found
that England would not provide him with funds unless he earned
them. Wolsey's real strength lay in the fact that neither Maximilian nor
Charles could afford any serious expenditure without his financial support;
Francis was waking up to the fact that as allies they were both broken
reeds, though in active combination with Wolsey against him they would be
dangerous; and as the year 1517 passed, the inclination for France and
England to revert to amicable relations revived; becoming more marked in
the following year when the birth of a dauphin suggested his betrothal to
the little Princess Mary.

[Sidenote: 1518-19 Wolsey's success]

During these two years, the reality of Wolsey's control of the situation
was further demonstrated by his management of the Pope, who refused him the
office of legate after having reluctantly made him Cardinal. Leo however,
like other Princes, was in want of cash, and sent legates to the European
Courts to raise funds under colour of a crusade: whereupon Henry declined
to admit Cardinal Campeggio to England, on the ground that to receive a
legate _a latere_ was against the rule of the realm. Wolsey seized the
opportunity to suggest that if he himself, being an English prelate, were
placed on the same official footing as Campeggio, the objection might be
withdrawn; and Leo had to agree.

In the result, an alliance was concluded with France under which the
infants were betrothed, Tournai was restored to France. France was to pay
60,000 crowns and promise not to interfere in Scottish affairs to the
detriment of England, and Wolsey was enabled to pose as the pacificator of
Europe; the other Powers with more or less reluctance all finding
themselves constrained to give their adherence to the new treaty of
Universal Peace.

Thus when the year 1519 opened, Wolsey's policy was triumphant. France was
bound to England; the young King of Spain wanted her friendship; Maximilian
was still looking to her for money; and the Pope was obliged to applaud her
for having usurped his official function as peacemaker. But in the days
when war and peace and the movements of armies turned habitually on the
personal predilections, quarrels, and amours of monarchs, the political
atmosphere was liable to violent disturbances without warning. In January,
1519, Maximilian died suddenly; and his death in fact involved a complete
rearrangement of ideas as to the positions of the Powers.

[Sidenote 1: 1519 Charles V.]
[Sidenote 2: The Imperial election]

Ten years before, when Henry came to the throne, he was the only young man
among the European sovereigns. The Emperor and the King of France were both
more than middle-aged: so was the King of Aragon who was virtually King of
Spain and the Sicilies. Before six years were out there was a youthful King
of France; not much later, all Spain was under the dominion of a boy. These
three Kings were now twenty-eight, twenty-four, and nineteen respectively,
while the succession to the Empire lay with the Electoral Princes. Charles
was an obvious candidate, since the Habsburgs had actually retained the
office among themselves for three generations; yet the Electors were in no
way bound to maintain the tradition. In ability and in character, one of
their number was fit for the purple--Frederick of Saxony; but Saxony was
only one among a number of German States, and Frederick himself had no mind
to undertake the office. Thereupon ensued the somewhat curious spectacle of
the French King entering the lists, he being the one possible rival of
Charles. Of all the Continental Princes, these two alone were powerful
enough to sustain the burden of the Empire: yet either of them, achieving
it, would have his power dangerously expanded, and would become a serious
menace to the Pope.

So Charles and Francis both intrigued and bribed the Electors; the Pope
tried to avoid helping either; Wolsey promised support to both; and the
Electors themselves watched for opportunities of raising the price of their
suffrages. And presently Henry himself conceived the idea of getting
himself put forward as a third candidate, through whom a way of escape
might be found for those who regarded Francis and Charles as Scylla and
Charybdis. The combination however of the Crown of England with the
Imperial diadem was no improvement in their eyes. Leo did not wish to find
himself in Wolsey's grip. The scheme must almost inevitably have been
fraught with disaster both to England and the Empire. Wolsey of necessity
made himself the instrument of his master's desires; but while he selected
as his agent Pace, the most astute of his subordinates, Pace's own
correspondence is a good deal concerned with hints that an over-zealous
pursuit of the policy would be a bartering of the substance for the shadow
of power, and with explanations of the impracticability of an effective
electoral campaign. Pace, in fact, went very little beyond sounding the
Electors and declaring the results to be extremely unpromising; a state of
things to which we may infer that neither he nor Wolsey had any
objection. In the end, the influence of England was employed in favour of
Charles, who was chosen Emperor in the middle of summer. The three
sovereigns, Charles V., Francis I., and Henry VIII., dominated Europe for
nearly thirty years to come--an unusually long period for three princes to
reign side by side.

It was now Wolsey's difficult business to keep both Francis and Charles as
suitors for the favour of England; and, having placated the latter in the
contest for the Empire, to turn his attention to the former.

[1520 Wolsey's triumph]

Francis was at this time ready to meet Wolsey more than half way. He was
particularly desirous of holding a formal interview and a personal
interchange of courtesies with the King of England; and to this end he
actually appointed Henry's minister his own plenipotentiary, a position
without precedent or parallel for an English subject. Wolsey prepared to
make the meeting an occasion for such a display of magnificence as has
rarely been witnessed. At the same time he emphasised the independent
position of England by arranging for a separate preliminary interview
between Henry and the Emperor, and making it clear that herein it was not
the Emperor who was doing the King a favour, but the contrary. If Charles
wished to meet Henry, he must come to England for the purpose. Meantime
both monarchs sought to obtain the great minister's goodwill by promises of
support when the Papacy should become vacant--promises which Wolsey would
not permit to influence his plans; whether because he rated them at their
true value, or because he had no great anxiety to barter the position he
had already secured for one which, however magnificent, however dominant in
theory, might convey actual power of a much less substantial kind.

[Sidenote: Rival policies]

The French alliance, it must be observed, was never popular in England.
Tradition was against it; the nobles of the old families were against it;
the Queen was also naturally against it and very anxious for close and
friendly relations with Spain. A degree of antagonism was thus generated
between Katharine and the Cardinal, who held resolutely to his policy of
maintaining the balance and never so committing himself to one party as to
preclude a _rapprochement_ with the other.

There was much intriguing on the part of Francis to bring on the meeting of
the Kings before Charles could visit England. The state of the French
Queen's health on one side and of the English Queen's wardrobe on the other
figured largely as conclusive reasons for haste or delay. Wolsey however
gained the day. The meeting was fixed to take place early in June between
Guisnes and Ardres. In the last week of May (1520), Charles came to
England, remaining three days; a week later, Henry sailed for Calais.

[Sidenote: Field of the Cloth of Gold]

It might almost be said that the entire courts of England and France,
nobles and knights and ladies, met on the famous "field of the Cloth of
Gold". Jousts and feastings were the order of the day. Wolsey understood
how to impress the popular imagination; and he had a magnificent scorn or a
cynical contempt for the enmities and jealousies aroused, of which he
himself, as responsible for all the arrangements, became the centre. It may
be doubted, however, whether any great goodwill between the two nations was
born of all the display of amity; nor were there any very marked diplomatic
results. If it was Wolsey's particular object to evolve a triple league, he
was disappointed. The two Kings met and parted, Henry proceeding to a fresh
conference with his nephew of Spain, from which Francis, in his turn, was
excluded. Neither Charles nor Francis knew in the end which of them stood
in the more favourable position with England; but the little Princess Mary,
betrothed to the Dauphin, was half-pledged to Charles himself; while
Charles was still formally betrothed to the French Princess Charlotte, and
was inclining to substitute for both the well-dowered Infanta Isabella
[Footnote: Otherwise called Elizabeth. The names are interchangeable.] of
Portugal. Among all the surprising matrimonial complications of this
half-century, one particular feature appears to be tolerably constant--that
when Charles was not actually married, he was rarely without at least one
fiancée actual, and another prospective.

At any rate, the total result in 1520 was that Henry was in separate
alliance with Francis on one side and with Charles on the other; alliances
which neither could afford to break, but on which neither could rely.

[Sidenote: Wolsey's aims]

The main interest of Wolsey's career, from the national point of view,
attaches to his conduct of foreign policy: and in the confusion of
alliances and counter-alliances it is not always easy to recognise the
objects of that policy or its fundamental consistency. The aim always in
view was to prevent any Power or combination of Powers from dominating
Europe; to substitute diplomacy for the actual arbitrament of arms; to
secure for England recognition as the true arbiter without involving her in
war. The three first-class Powers of the earlier years were reduced to two
by the combination under one head, Charles V., of Spain and the Empire,
with France as the sole Continental rival.

But behind Wolsey's own policy was the traditional one of hostility to
France, popular in the country, supported by the nobility, and offering
attractions to an ambitious and martial-minded monarch who was not yet
thirty years of age: whose Queen moreover was by birth and sympathy a
strong partisan of Spain. Hence the Cardinal was liable to be forced out of
his mediatorial position into one of hostility to France.

[Sidenote: Charles and Francis]

On the other hand, Francis and Charles each desired to strengthen his own
position at the expense of the other. Each therefore desired an alliance
with England close enough to secure her aid in an aggressive programme. But
while Charles required active assistance and subsidies, seeking to throw on
England the real burden of accomplishing his designs, Francis was
comparatively satisfied with English neutrality. Again, while an
aggressive alliance with Charles offered some uncertain prospects of the
acquisition of French territory, circumstances were once more tending to
enable Francis to utilise the ancient Scottish alliance as a means of
holding England in check.

[Sidenote: Scotland 1513-20]

Since the decisive battle of Flodden, Scotland had not to any marked degree
influenced Wolsey's European diplomacy. The blow dealt to her had been too
serious: and the nobles, always turbulent, had never been more so than
during the years which followed the great defeat. Queen Margaret, sister of
the English King, a woman of only five and twenty when James was killed,
made haste to marry the young Earl of Angus within a year of the event. The
Douglases had frequently headed the Anglicising factions of the Scottish
nobility, whereas the country at large constantly favoured the traditional
alliance with France and hostility to the Southron. At present, the
Douglases of whom Angus was the chief headed one faction: the Hamiltons,
whose chief was Arran, headed the other. The marriage put an end to the
arrangement under which Margaret had been Regent; there was intriguing and
fighting to obtain possession of the person of the infant King; the Duke of
Albany, [Footnote: Albany's father had been brother of James III.; their
sister was Arran's mother.] of the royal house, who had been bred in
France, was sent for, in the hope that as Regent he would compose discords.
In the summer of 1515 he arrived. In the meantime, Dacre, in charge of the
English border, had been fomenting quarrels [Footnote: _Lang_,
_Hist. of Scotland_, i., 395. L. & P., ii., 779, 795.] and suborning
outlaws to raid and devastate in the border counties, and plotting
unsuccessfully to have James carried off into England to the tender care of
his uncle. Albany, for his part, demanded the custody of the child, which
was refused by Margaret; who however was forced to surrender with a show of
friendliness. But she herself very shortly took refuge in England.

In 1517 Albany withdrew to France with a view to resuscitating the French
alliance; the rivals Arran and Angus were again the two most powerful of
the nobles; Margaret returned to Scotland, but quarrelled with her husband.
In 1520 Albany was still in France which he probably found more cheerful
than his own country. Angus got the better of Arran, who fled to France.
There however Francis was still aiming at close alliance with England; and
under such a combination of favourable conditions the truce between England
and Scotland, entered upon in 1514 and now about to terminate, was extended
for a couple of years. But Margaret herself being now hostile to Angus,
there was every prospect that, should Albany return to Scotland, Wolsey
would have to reckon seriously with the anti-English party there as a
factor in his diplomatic relations with France.

[Sidenote: 1520-21 Affairs abroad]

The closing months of 1520 arid the opening months of 1521 witnessed events
of importance at the time-and one at least which had very far-reaching
consequences. The Emperor's wide do-minions were disturbed by a local
outbreak in Germany, a revolt in Spain, and an attempt on the part of the
claimant to the throne of Navarre to recover that territory. The Diet of
the Empire met at Worms, and Martin Luther was cited before it; with the
result that the Empire was practically divided into two camps, Charles
ranging himself on the papal side. As Henry VIII. was so far a loyal son of
the Church, wielding an anti-Lutheran pen in theological controversy, while
the French King's reverence for the papacy was under suspicion, the present
tendency of this event was favourable to the union of Charles and Henry
with the Pope against Francis. On the other hand there was very little
question that the troubles in the Emperor's dominions were fostered by
Francis, who was preparing for an Italian expedition. Had Charles and
Wolsey trusted each other, their alliance would certainly have been drawn
closer; but Wolsey was not the man to take up Charles's cause without
securing an adequate return, while Charles wished to involve England on the
strength of promises which he expected subsequently to find no necessity
for carrying out. Charles found his justification in the unexpected success
of his arms in Navarre, in Spain, and in Germany. Good fortune relieved
him from the more pressing need of English aid, and thus the prospect of a
close and active alliance faded.

[Sidenote: 1521 Buckingham]

In the late spring of 1521 there occurred in England a domestic episode
which must have impressed both Charles and Francis with the power wielded
in England by Henry; the first notable instance among the numerous
executions marking the reign for which treason was the pretext. [Footnote:
Unless we except that of Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, in 1513.] The
Duke of Buckingham stood at the head of the nobility; accepted as
representing the House of Lancaster, next in order to the Tudors.
[Footnote: The Staffords of Buckingham on one side descended, like Henry,
from the Beauforts. They were also the representatives of Thomas of
Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III. See _Front_, and p. 9,
note.] The Duke no doubt had a sufficiently strong dislike to Wolsey, and
had used very incautious language about him, and the Cardinal was popularly
held responsible for his downfall, though there is no evidence that this
was actually the case. Buckingham had consulted soothsayers, and was
reputed to have used compromising expressions about tyrants and the
succession. At any rate, he suddenly found himself arrested for high
treason. The King had made preliminary inquiry on his own account--not in
the presence of Wolsey--and had made up his own mind that Buckingham was to
die. The peers were summoned to try him on May 10th, under the presidency
of Norfolk. The depositions of the witnesses against the Duke were read;
there was no cross-examination; he denied the charges, but was not allowed
counsel. The decision was of course a foregone conclusion. One by one the
peers pronounced him guilty; he was condemned to death, and executed. No
one was found to challenge the justice of the sentence, though on a review
of the evidence it is almost incredible that any human being could have
honestly endorsed it. The world at large however knew nothing about the
evidence, and merely accepted the judgment as final and indisputable. By a
single ruthless act, Henry had practically established his own right to
judge cases of treason on the hypothesis not that guilt had to be
demonstrated but that the accused must prove his own loyalty or suffer the
extreme penalty. For the King to entertain an accusation was tantamount to
condemnation. Even to plead on behalf of such a one was dangerous: to
maintain his innocence would have been a short way to the block.

[Sidenote: Wolsey's diplomacy]

By the execution of Buckingham, Henry vindicated his own authority in
England while popular opinion laid the responsibility on the Cardinal's
machinations. In the meantime, an impetus was given to the anti-French
policy of Charles by the death of his Burgundian minister Chievres. As the
summer advanced, the prospect of keeping the peace between the rival
monarchs grew fainter. The parties however agreed to hold a conference at
Calais, at which Wolsey should act as mediator. But matters looked as if
England would be forced to take a side in a European war; and if she did so
the balance of advantage to her lay on the side of the Emperor.

In August the conference met. Ostensibly with a view to obtaining from
Charles himself more concessions to France than his envoys would allow, the
Cardinal visited him at Bruges; where however he was really engaged in
coming to comparatively satisfactory terms as to the conditions upon which
Charles should receive English assistance. These included the deferring of
actual participation in hostilities, and indemnification for the inevitable
loss of the Tournai purchase-money, of which France had paid only a part.
Wolsey returned to Calais with a secret treaty, and the conference
continued, the Cardinal still making every effort to avert war; but towards
the end of November it became clear that his endeavours must be fruitless,
and the conference was broken up. He was followed to England by the news of
Imperial successes both in Italy and in Picardy--which went far to justify
Charles in his refusal to postpone hostilities for his own part. Henry,
whose own predilections were in favour of war, was very well pleased with
the result, and rewarded his minister by presenting him to the vacant and
lucrative office of Abbot of St. Albans. Such were the conveniences of
being served by an ecclesiastic.

[Sidenote: 1522 A papal Election]

The year closed with an event of importance. Leo X. died unexpectedly and
there was an election to the papacy. There is no doubt that Wolsey desired
the papal crown; and both Francis and Charles in courting his favour had
held out as a bait the influence they were prepared to promise on his
behalf. But he had not allowed these offers to influence his actions.
Charles now gave him fair words, but evidently intended his real support to
be given to some candidate whom he expected to be more pliant. The man he
would have chosen was the Cardinal de Medici, afterwards Clement VII.: but
Italian party spirit among the Cardinals ran too high for this to prove
practicable, and Adrian VI. who had been tutor to Charles was the new Pope.
Wolsey can hardly have been disappointed, and never gave undue weight to
the Emperor's promises: but the event was not calculated to increase his
confidence or his goodwill. The present fact however of the alliance
between the Emperor and England, with the corollary that England must
before long be at war with France, remained unaltered.

[Sidenote 1: War with France]
[Sidenote 2: Scotland]

By the end of May the war could no longer be postponed, and was duly
declared. It was still some months before Surrey took the field in France
at the head of the English forces--conducting his campaign on the general
principles of Anglo-Scottish border warfare--ravaging, burning, and rousing
the hatred of the country population, but striking no blow. If Henry
seriously contemplated the idea of reviving old claims to the French crown,
he could have adopted no worse policy. Charles of course gave no practical
assistance, and the allies each blamed the other for the futility of the
operations. Albany on the other hand had been back in Scotland for some
months; and in opposition to Angus--in conjunction therefore with Margaret
--threatened an invasion as soon as the French expedition started. The
ingenious Lord Dacre however by sheer bluff--there is no other word--
succeeded in procuring an armistice when the English border was all but
defenceless. After this exhibition, Albany found it as well to retire to
France; while Wolsey used the occurrence to urge upon Charles that Scotland
required too much attention to allow French expeditions to be practicable.

[Sidenote: 1523 Progress of the war]

With 1523 events took a turn more favourable to Charles. The Duke of
Bourbon, Constable of France, turned against the King, on the ground of
insults more or less fancied, and of a genuine attempt to deprive him of
his inheritance by legal process. The idea was revived in Henry's mind that
in alliance with some of the French nobility he might make himself King of
France as Henry V. had done; so Wolsey had to develop an active policy
against France. His hand being thus forced, the Cardinal devoted his
energies to making the combination against the French King really serious,
coercing Venice into the coalition. The military operations however were
not in train till the autumn; Suffolk, whose military skill was extremely
limited, commanded the English expedition, and marched into the interior
instead of falling on Boulogne as Wolsey had advised; Bourbon did nothing
useful; Charles's troops gave their attention to Fontarabia instead of to a
combined operation. From the English point of view the whole campaign was a
complete fiasco. Wolsey had been set to carry out a policy of which he
disapproved, with instruments of whose incompetence he was fully conscious;
and the results were probably neither better nor worse than what he and the
cooler onlookers like Sir Thomas More expected. The one thing that Wolsey
could do, he had done: he had placed Surrey on the Northern border to deal
with the inevitable return to Scotland of Albany with threats of invasion.
Surrey was successful: Albany having advanced into England was obliged to
fall back, and the border country was subjected to the usual process of
raiding and harrying.

[Sidenote: Election of Pope Clement VII.]

Once again, the closing months of the year witnessed a papal election; and
for the second time Wolsey was disappointed. The reign of Adrian closed in
September. It had been brief, well intentioned, and honest: but
ineffective. The Pope's efforts at reform had been met by the solid _vis
inertiae_ of the ecclesiastical world. His successor, the Medici,
Clement VII., was destined to play a much more important part in history,
and, buffeted by forces which he could not control, to become the
instrument whereby England was severed from Rome. In this election Charles
played the same part as before. He promised Wolsey his support, wrote
letters to Rome which were delayed till too late, and actually expended his
influence on behalf of Medici. Again, though Wolsey's anxiety to achieve
the papacy has probably been much exaggerated, he would have been more than
human if he had not inwardly resented the Emperor's behaviour. It is to be
noted in connexion with this election that Wolsey actually proposed the
employment of armed coercion to secure a convenient choice--a rather gross
method of condemning the theory that the Conclave reached its decision by
Divine guidance.

[Sidenote: 1524 Wolsey's difficulties]

The year had but six weeks more to run when Clement was finally elected. In
1524 the belligerents were all desirous of ending the war, but none was
willing to make concessions to hasten that end. The allies had good reason
to suspect each other of trying to make separate terms with Francis; each
hoped to extract concessions from the French King as the price of
defection. Wolsey in fact was neither able nor willing to carry on active
hostilities. England had gone into the war with a light heart; but when
Parliament was called upon in the summer of 1523 to vote the necessary
funds, the light-heartedness was modified, and the funds were voted with
extreme reluctance, under something very near akin to compulsion; and the
collecting of the taxes aroused angry complaint--the blame being as usual
laid on the Cardinal. He was well aware that any increase in the burden
would be a dangerous matter to propose, and very dangerous indeed to try
and carry through; yet without more funds an active campaign was
impossible. Therefore, as concerned the Continent, Wolsey on the one hand
sought to induce Charles to assent to a fresh conference where England
should mediate as to the claims and counter-claims of Charles and Francis;
and on the other made private overtures to Francis.

[Sidenote: Intrigues in Scotland]

In Scotland, the game of intrigue was actively carried on. Albany retired
permanently to France soon after the failure of his invasion. While he was
in Scotland, Margaret had sided with him; now she began to fall in with the
English policy, and was eager for the "erection" of her son--that is for
his recognition as actual King though he was barely twelve years old.
Throughout the summer, schemes were on foot for a peace conference--the
real object being the kidnapping of Beton, the Archbishop of St. Andrews,
coadjutor of Albany, Chancellor of Scotland, and the most resolute opponent
of the Anglicising party and policy. Wolsey is quite explicit on this point
in a letter to Dacre, though Surrey, who had just succeeded to the Dukedom
of Norfolk by the death of the victor of Flodden, never grasped this
peculiar method of diplomacy. Beton declined to be trapped; still, the
"erection" was carried through. [Footnote: _L. & P._, vol. iv., part
i., 549. _Cf._ Lang, _Hist. Scot_., pp. 405, 406. Beton was to
have a safe-conduct, and the kidnapping was to be done by Angus, at the
time in England, quite as a private personal matter. Angus had come to
England from France, whither he had been removed by Albany.] By dint of
bribery, many of the anti-English party had now changed sides along with
Margaret, with the curious result that Angus, who was bound to be in
opposition to his wife, allied himself to Beton. Next year, however, the
French or anti-English party in Scotland suffered a serious blow when the
French King was vanquished and taken prisoner at the battle of Pavia.

[Sidenote: 1525 Pavia]

Meantime, Wolsey had found Francis not too ready to accept his overtures,
and had therefore set about making a show of pursuing a more actively
antagonistic policy in conjunction with Bourbon. The Cardinal however,
whose object was to make Francis think it necessary to conciliate him--not
to be forced into expeditions and armaments--intentionally made his
conditions to Bourbon such as the Constable would not agree to; while
obtaining the desired result of moving Francis to enter seriously on
negotiations. He even felt that matters were progressing favourably enough
to justify a "diplomatic episode"--the interception of the Imperial
ambassador's dispatches, his virtual imprisonment, and the lodging of a
protest against his conduct with the Emperor. But the battle of Pavia
wrecked Wolsey's schemes, as well as those of his adversaries in Scotland.
For the disaster to Francis wakened anew in Henry's breast the belief that
the French crown was still attainable: and the minister found himself
forced to seek means to provide war-funds, while he was alive to the
practical impossibility of persuading Parliament to grant them.

For Wolsey to protest would have been vain. He did not in any way dominate
Henry, who was ready enough to follow his advice or allow him to carry out
his own policy so long as it fell in with the royal views. But if the King
chose to lay down a different policy, the Cardinal had to carry it out as
best he could--or else to retire in disfavour. And he could not afford to
retire in disfavour, since, if the royal countenance were once withdrawn,
the malignity of his many enemies would be given rein, and his utter ruin
would be inevitable. Therefore, while watching for any opportunity to
convert the King from his martial designs, he made a desperate effort to
fill the exchequer.

[Sidenote: The Amicable Loan]

Two years before, when Parliament had been called, it had been induced to
vote the money asked for. But (according to Hall) the Speaker, Sir Thomas
More, had taken the opportunity to resist Wolsey's high-handed methods, to
insist on parliamentary privileges, and to refuse to debate the matter in
the Cardinal's presence, though he actually exerted his influence in favour
of the grant. To repeat the demand now would be to risk rebellion; at the
best, to court an inevitable refusal. Therefore Wolsey reverted to ancient
precedents, and demanded an "Amicable Loan," on the ground that the King
was going to lead his armies, and must therefore go fittingly equipped. The
loan was to amount to about one-sixth of a man's property. Very soon
however it became clear that this was more than the country would endure.
Wolsey revoked the demand and called for a "Benevolence". London replied
that benevolences were illegal, by reason of the statute of Richard III.
Wolsey protested against appealing to the laws of a tyrant; but the
Londoners remarked that the fact of Richard having been a tyrant did not
annul the excellence of good laws when he made them. In Norwich the
aggrieved populace assembled in force, and presented their case
allegorically, but convincingly, to the Duke of Norfolk, who was sent to
deal with them. The Cardinal's attempt to raise money was a failure. The
King grasped the situation and remitted the demand, taking all the credit
for his clemency, while his minister had the odium for the proposal. For
the first time, Wolsey had failed to carry his master's wishes through, for
the simple reason that the task set him was an impossible one. The
soundness of his own antagonism to the French war was conclusively
demonstrated, since without the funds war could not be waged: but the cost
of the demonstration was the increase of his unpopularity, and an
appreciable diminution of Henry's favour. He did what he could to mollify
the King by presenting him with his palace of Hampton Court--a present
graciously accepted.

[Sidenote 1: A diplomatic struggle]
[Sidenote 2: 1526-27 Success of Wolsey]

Now, however, a _rapprochement_ with France was again possible.
Charles and Wolsey returned to the attitude of mutually desiring nothing so
much as to prove their complete accord, their own anxiety to fulfil all
obligations, provided only that the other would reasonably recognise his
own obligations in return. Each wanted to extract what he could from
Francis without regard to his ally: each wanted an excuse for evading his
contract with that ally--the Emperor because he now perceived the more
immediate pecuniary profit of the Portuguese marriage. In the diplomatic
contest Wolsey had the advantage, that Charles, in spite of Pavia, could
not bring the necessary pressure to bear on his captive, if the support of
England was felt to be withdrawn. He had something to lose by an open
breach: Wolsey had not--provided the responsibility for the breach could
plausibly be laid on Charles. Moreover, although the French King was the
Emperor's prisoner, the French Government was much less bitterly opposed to
the English demand for money than to the Imperial demand for territory.
Thus by the end of the year Wolsey achieved his end--a treaty with France,
involving the payment of two million crowns to England, and including
Scotland in its terms. Charles being isolated made his own peace with his
prisoner in the following February (1526); but Francis, before signing,
declared that his promises were extorted and not binding, and after his
release repudiated their validity. The Cardinal in fact had extricated
England from a very awkward situation, recovered her position as arbiter,
and once more made the rival European monarchs feel that they could neither
of them afford to have her definitely ranged as an enemy. As the year
advanced, the tendency for the French alliance to draw closer, and for the
Imperial alliance to dissolve became more marked. Charles, in his desire to
dominate Italy, allowed a Spanish force to enter Rome and terrorise the
Pope--though he disavowed their actions. In 1527, while he was continuing
this policy, and preparing for the sack of Rome and the seizure of the
Pope's person in May, Wolsey was carrying through a new French alliance, by
which Orleans (afterwards Henry II.) was betrothed to the Princess Mary,
and France not only bound herself to make heavy payments but also
surrendered Boulogne and Ardres. It seemed as though the isolation of
Charles was about to be completed, his opponents becoming the champions of
the papacy--while his own antagonism to the Pope had been emphasised at the
Diet of Spires by the withdrawal of the anti-Lutheran decrees, and the
temporary recognition of each State's right to adopt or reject the
Reformer's doctrines in its own territories.

[Sidenote: 1527 A new factor]

But in 1527 Henry had developed a single purpose; he had set his mind on
one object to the achievement whereof every political consideration was to
be subordinated. The state-craft of the great minister was dominated by and
subjected to the king-craft of a master who never brooked opposition to his
will; and Wolsey, failing to carry out that will, was hurled without
remorse from his high estate. The Cardinal's fall, the breach with Rome,
the defining of the shape which the Reformation was to take in England,
were all the outcome of Henry's resolve to be released from the wife to
whom he had been wedded for eighteen years. Hitherto we have made only
incidental allusion to the Reformation; it is now time to examine the
development of that movement, down to the moment when Henry took into his
own hands the conduct of it within his own realms.



[Sidenote: The Reformation in England]

Down to a comparatively recent date, the popularly accepted accounts of the
Reformation in England treated it as a spontaneous outburst of the deep
religious spirit pervading the mass of the people; a passionate repudiation
of the errors of Rome, born of the secret study of the Bible in defiance of
persecution, and of repulsion from the iniquities of the monastic system.
Then there arose a picturesque historian, who recognised in Henry VIII. and
Thomas Cromwell the men who created the Reformation; and having once
imagined them as the captains of a great and righteous cause, succeeded in
interpreting all their actions on the basis of postulating their single-
eyed devotion to reform as their ever-dominant motive. A view so difficult
to reconcile with some other stereotyped impressions has invited criticism;
and it is not unusual now to be told that the changes effected by the
Reformation were small, except in so far as the Church was robbed by the
destruction of the monasteries.

[Sidenote: Its true character]

As a matter of fact the change which took place was very great and very
far-reaching for the nation, though it is easy to exaggerate the deviations
from Roman doctrine imposed by it on the clergy of the Anglican Communion.
But the movement was one in which many factors were at work. Moralists,
theologians, and politicians, all had their share in it; some who were
prominent promoters of it in one phase were its no less active antagonists
in another; and not infrequently were guided by purely personal ambitions
and interests throughout. In its essence however the Reformation was a
revolt against conventions which had lost the justification of the
conditions that had brought them into being, and had become fetters upon
intellectual and spiritual progress instead of aids to its advancement.
Each group of reformers was ready enough to impose on the world a new set
of conventions of its own manufacture, but no group succeeded in dominating
the aggregate of groups; and thus in the long run toleration became the
only working policy, though its practice was by no means what the Reformers
had set before themselves. After long years, religious liberty was the
outcome of their work; but few indeed were the martyrs whose blood was
consciously shed in that great cause. The men who died rather than submit
their own convictions to the dictation of others were for the most part
ready, when opportunity offered, to sit in judgment on those who would not
accept their own dictation.

[Sidenote: Religious decadence]

The prevailing conditions of the Church at the dawn of the Reformation were
exceedingly corrupt, with the corruption of worn out institutions; but they
appeared to be part of the necessary order of things. Hitherto, occasional
heretics had arisen, but (superficially at least) they had been suppressed
without serious difficulty. The State, in England and elsewhere, had
entered upon conflicts with the priesthood; secular monarchs had even
challenged the authority of the Pope; but such quarrels had ended in
compromises formal or practical. Moral reforming movements like that of
St. Francis had arisen within the Church herself; they had not been
antagonistic to her, and they had thriven and decayed without producing
revolutionary results. Clerical abuses had been for centuries the objects
of satire, but the satirists rarely had any inclination for the role of
revolutionaries or martyrs. The recent revival of learning had developed a
scepticism which was however habitually accompanied by a decent profession
of orthodoxy. That there was prevalent unrest had long been obvious; that
there was risk of disturbing developments was not unrecognised; but that
these things were the prelude to a vast revolution had been realised
neither by Churchmen, Statesmen, nor literati.

[Sidenote: The Scholar-Reformers]

It did not appear, then, that the revolt of Wiclif in England and of Huss
in Europe was about to be renewed: though they had in fact prepared the
soil to receive the new seed. Lollardry had been driven beneath the
surface. Still, so far at least as it represented anti-clericalism rather
than a theological system, its secret disciples were accorded a
considerable measure of popular sympathy; though it numbered few professors
among the cultivated classes, it had semi-adherents even among the
wealthier burgesses of London; it was active enough to cause some alarm to
Convocation, and to excite reactionary bishops. But it was not in this
quarter primarily that any notable movement seemed likely to arise. The
demand for Reformation during the first quarter of the century was
formulated by scholars who were not heretics--Dean Colet of St. Paul's;
Thomas More; the cosmopolitan Erasmus, who was but a bird of passage in
this country, yet one who was warmly and generously welcomed.

To men of this school, a schism in the Church never presented itself as a
desirable end. Luther had not yet burned Pope Leo's Bull when Colet died;
Lutheranism changed More into a reactionary, as, centuries later, the
French Revolution changed Edmund Burke; Erasmus would not range himself
beside the stormy controversialists of Germany and Switzerland. To the
scholars, the Roman system was not irreconcilable with truth; its defects
were accidents, excrescences, curable by the application of common-sense
and moral seriousness. In the eyes of Luther and Zwingli, the corruption of
Rome was vital, organic, incurable. Ecclesiastical Authority was the
corner-stone of the Roman system: Colet and More never attacked it; Luther
attacked it because it maintained opinions which he held to be
fundamentally false; but in England it is possible to doubt whether the
attitude of More and Colet would ever have been officially discarded, had
it not been for the political and personal considerations which led Henry
and Cromwell to trample ecclesiastical authority under foot. Nevertheless,
by their attacks on ecclesiastical abuses, Colet and More helped
intelligent people to perceive that the abuses were intolerable, and to
acquiesce even in the extreme remedy of schism rather than continue to
endure the burden.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical demoralisation]

It is not disputable that the existing corruption was so serious that some
kind of Reformation was absolutely necessary. Where the head is corrupt,
there cannot be much general health. If the spiritual head of Christendom
were unworthy of his office the ecclesiastical body was certain to suffer;
nor could much spirituality be looked for therein, if it habitually
acquiesced in the election of Popes in whom spirituality was the last
quality recognisable. The climax was perhaps reached when a Borgia--
Alexander VI.--was raised to the papal throne; a man who revelled in the
practice of every imaginable vice, and shrank from no conceivable crime.
The mere fact that such an election was possible is sufficient proof of the
utter absence of religious feeling in the ruling ranks of the clergy: nor
was its presence compatible with the appointment either of his free living
and warlike successor Julius II. or of Leo X. who followed--a person of no
little culture, a patron of art and of letters, whose morals were not
exceptionally lax as compared with those of the average Italian noble, but
in all essentials a pagan. With few exceptions, the princes of the Church
owed their position to their connexion, by birth or otherwise, with great
families; not a few of them were territorial lords of considerable
dominions, for whom it was a sheer necessity to be politicians first,
whether they were scholars, ministers of the Gospel, or mere pleasure-
seekers afterwards. Italians completely dominated the college of cardinals,
looking upon the control of the Church as a national prerogative. The
characteristics of the ecclesiastical princes were shared in due degree by
bishops and abbots. The fact that until recent years learning had been
practically a clerical monopoly necessarily made the clergy the fittest
instruments for carrying on much State business, thereby withdrawing many
of the better men from the service of religion to the service of politics.
In brief, the whole system tended to entangle the able members of the
ecclesiastical body in the temptations not so much of the Flesh and the
Devil as of the World.

[Sidenote: Monastic corruption]

Further, the monastic system had utterly fallen away from its pristine
ideals. It had served a great purpose. Born as it was when the world was
just emerging from paganism, and the Roman civilisation was being engulfed
in the flood of barbarian invasion, the men and women who withdrew from the
desperate turmoil without to the sheltering walls of the monastery or the
convent, invested with a sacrosanct character which was at least in part
respected, found therein the opportunity for prayer, meditation and study
which was denied them elsewhere. They could maintain a standard of piety,
and keep a rudimentary education from altogether dying out. For centuries
they were the only source of alms and succour to which the afflicted and
needy could turn; and so long as the rules of the Orders were observed in
the spirit and in the letter, they were a genuine help towards a life of
self-devotion, of self-abnegation whereof the ultimate motive was not
always a subtle form of self-seeking. But as time passed, the monasteries
became the recipients of the bounty of pious benefactors. Their
inhabitants, in spite of ascetic regulations, found that life was none so
hard--at least in comparison with that of serfdom or villeinage; luxuries
were not less available than to the laity. The privileges of the sacred
office gave increasing opportunities for vicious indulgence when once
corruption had entered a Religious house. Promotion became the prize of
intrigue instead of the recognition of piety; till it came to be no scandal
when a political priest was rewarded for his services by presentation to
the rule of a wealthy abbey, with which he was connected only as the chief
recipient of its revenues, as when Wolsey had St. Albans bestowed on him in
return for his diplomatic labours. Apart from the diatribes of zealots and
the evidence of interested informers, apart also from the inclination to
generalise from well authenticated but extreme examples, it is evident
that, in the absence of a positive religious enthusiasm, the system was
peculiarly liable to grave degeneration; and it was long since there had
been any active spiritual revival to counteract that tendency.

[Sidenote: The proofs]

To these general considerations we have also to add the direct positive
evidence in connexion with Cardinal Morton's visitations of the Monasteries
in the reign of Henry VII. It was neither shown nor attempted to be shown
that the Religious houses _en bloc_ were hotbeds of vice. But it was
shown beyond question that even among the great Abbeys there were to be
found appalling examples of corruption and profligacy, where the heads were
the worst offenders and the rank and file imitated their superiors; and
that small houses were not infrequently conducted in the most scandalous
manner--for the simple reason that, when once corruption had found an
entry, there was no supervising external authority sufficiently interested
to intervene vigorously.

_Mutatis mutandis_, what was true of the Monasteries was also true of
the Mendicant Orders. The class of men who had no desire to dig, and no
shame about begging, found the friar's robe a useful adjunct to the latter
occupation. Long after enthusiasm had ceased to draw any large numbers into
the ranks of the friars, they were increased and multiplied by crowds of
ignorant and idle rogues, who were subjected to no adequate control.

[Sidenote: Corruption of doctrine]

But the corruption of the clerical body fostered also the degeneration of
popular religious conceptions. The actual teaching of the clergy was a
grotesque distortion of the doctrines they professed to expound. The
intelligible doctrine of absolution following on repentance and confession,
and accompanied by penance, had been transformed into that of absolution
purchasable by cash. Reverence for the relics of saints and martyrs had
been degraded by their spurious multiplication. The belief that such relics
were endowed with miraculous properties had been utilised to convert them
into fetishes, and pampered by fraudulent conjuring tricks. The due
performance of ceremonial observances was treated as of far more vital
importance than the practice of the Christian virtues. The images of the
Saints had virtually come to be regarded not as symbols, but as idols
possessed of various degrees of power, the assistance of one and the same
saint proving more or less efficacious according to the shrine favoured by
his suppliant.

[Sidenote: Evidence from Colet and More (1512-18)]

These facts are not disputable. They were fully recognised by Reformers of
the type of Colet and More, who would have had the Church reform herself by
reverting to the primitive and orthodox expression of the doctrines of
which these deformities were a corrupt latter-day misrepresentation, and to
the ideals of life and conduct which had been overlaid by ceremonial
observances. The primitive doctrines they accepted without question; as
regarded the ceremonial observances, they objected to them not in
themselves but only so far as they obscured in practice the much higher
value of moral ideals. In the view of such men the remedy for heresies lay
in the hands of the clergy: would they but bring their lives into some
conformity with primitive ideals, surrendering the pursuit of place,
profit, or pleasure to tread in the footsteps of the apostles, heresy would
perish of inanition.

[Sidenote: Later evidence]

When Colet was preaching at St. Paul's, when More was imagining the
_Utopia_, when Erasmus was preparing his _Praise of Folly_ and
his edition of the Greek Testament, the name of Luther was still unknown.
Their aim was the active propagation of reform; not to exercise thereon a
restraining influence, which at that time would have seemed superfluous.
The only reason they could have had for understating the existing
corruption would have been fear of the authorities, a fear from which both
Colet and More always showed themselves conspicuously free. Colet's most
vigorous exhortations were addressed to prelates and persons in high
places; More never throughout his career hesitated to oppose Chancellors,
or even Tudor Kings, when a principle was involved. We are therefore
entitled to assume that they neither over-coloured nor deliberately toned
down the prevalent conditions. A decade later, when fanaticism had broken
loose, the anathemas hurled at the clergy by irresponsible pamphleteers, or
zealots who were sheltered in the Lutheran States of Germany, were of a
much more sweeping character. Later, again, the reports of the
Commissioners for the suppression of monasteries formed an appalling
indictment. Later still, when the Protestant party won the upper hand after
a season of relentless and embittering persecution, the pictures they
painted of the past were lurid in the extreme. But the evidence of such
witnesses could not be other than passionately biassed, just as the
evidence of persecuted monks and nuns must have been biassed on the other
side: whereas the evidence of Colet, of More in his earlier days, and, with
certain reservations, of Erasmus, is that of honest and high-minded men of
great intellectual capacity, speaking without prejudice of conditions with
which they were in direct contact. Their assertions, and the fair
inferences from their assertions, are a safe basis from which we can
ascertain both the gravity and the limits of the corruption which existed
in England.

[Sidenote: Dean Colet]

John Colet was appointed to the Deanery of St. Paul's four or five years
before the death of Henry VII., being transferred thither from Oxford,
where he had won high repute, not merely for character and learning, but as
the initiator of a new and rational method of Scriptural study in place of
the old scholasticism. At St. Paul's the Dean proved himself a great
preacher, exercising also in private life a powerful influence on all who
came in contact with him, alike from the splendour of his intellect and the
large-hearted purity of his character. His outspoken sermons were by no
means to the liking of his bishop; but some of the leading prelates,
notably Warham of Canterbury and Fox of Winchester, were well disposed to
the new school of learning and exposition and to higher moral standards, as
Cardinal Morton had been. When the young King ascended the throne in 1509,
his accession was hailed by all men of the new school as heralding the
reign of intellectual liberty and enlightenment.

[Sidenote: Colet's sermon, 1512]

Accordingly, when Convocation was summoned in 1512 to discuss the
suppression of heresy, in consequence of some stray reappearances of
Lollardry, the prevalence of a wider spirit was shown by the selection of
Colet to preach the opening sermon, and by the subsequent ignominious
failure of the Bishop of London to have the Dean punished as a heretic. It
is to the sermon preached on this occasion that we must turn to see how
Colet viewed the situation. It was a direct indictment of the manner of
life of the clergy from Wolsey down; a summons to them to amend their ways,
to set a higher example to their flock; an appeal to them to fix their eyes
on apostolic ideals, and so to remove the real incitement which turned
men's minds to heretical speculation. While the positive arguments of the
preacher are evidence not only of the purity of his own aims and his
courage in supporting them, their reception shows that the substantial
justice of the indictment was recognised by the audience at whom it was
personally directed, however little disposed they might be to act
individually on his appeal. On the other hand however, it is a striking
fact that the charges brought are almost exclusively of worldliness,
laxity, indiscipline, unbecoming in pastors and in ministers of the Gospel
of Christ--though these charges were pressed home relentlessly; not at all
of that rampant immorality and vice of which the clergy were so freely
accused in later years. From what Colet did _not_ say, we may fairly
infer a reasonable average of respectability among them.

[Sidenote: Erasmus]

If, in the _Encomium Moriae_ or _Praise of Folly_, which Erasmus
wrote at about the same period (1511), the vices and follies of the Church
were lashed with a mockery still more unsparing, we have to note, first,
that the great scholar drew his picture less from England than from the
Continent; next, that it had no injurious effect on his appointment to the
professorship of Greek at Cambridge. The patronage extended to him by the
Primate, and by Fisher of Rochester, the most orthodox and saintly of the
English bishops, is a sufficient proof that the authorities were not
bigoted enemies of all reform; a proof borne out by the enthusiastic
welcome extended to his edition of the Greek Testament in 1518, by Fox of
Winchester amongst others.

[Sidenote: The _Utopia_, 1516]

From the _Utopia_ of Sir Thomas More we derive precisely the same
impression. In 1516, when the work was published, Luther had not yet defied
the Pope; the German Peasants' War had not yet broken out, nor the spread
of new ideas been associated with Anarchism under the name of Anabaptism.
Persecution, which fifteen years later More advocated and practised as the
unavoidable remedy for the spread of doctrines which he had come to regard
as actively pernicious, was alien to his instincts; in his ideal
Commonwealth, men might expound whatever they honestly held, provided they
did not deny God and the Future Life. More's nature was tolerant and
charitable. But his own convictions were thoroughly orthodox; he had at one
time a strong disposition to enter the priesthood himself; he held the
priestly office in high reverence. Yet his restriction of the number of
priests in _Utopia_ shows his vivid consciousness of the evil wrought
by their unrestricted multiplication in England; and in the description of
English social conditions in the introductory portion of his work, he
refers in emphatic terms to the large proportion of "sturdy vagabonds"
among them. His whole tone in the section of his book devoted to religious
matters implies that he is pointing a contrast between his ideal order of
things and that familiar to his readers, wherein non-essentials are so
emphasised that essentials are practically forgotten. Yet More, like Colet,
makes no sweeping attack on the morality (in the narrower popular sense of
the term) prevalent among the clerical body.

[Sidenote: Exaggerated attacks]

The wholesale condemnation of later days has been largely due to the
acceptance without qualification of denunciations poured forth in the heat
of controversy, in days when men did not mince words and were not given to
the careful weighing of evidence. Typical of such works is the
_Supplicacyon for the Beggers_ produced by one Simon Fish in 1527,
which has been seriously treated as a sober indictment. The Clergy, from
Bishops to "Somners" are a "rauinous cruell and insatiabill generacion"
... "counterfeit holy and ydell beggers and vacabundes" ... "that corrupt
the hole generation of mankind," committing "rapes murdres and treasons".
They are a "gredy sort of sturdy idell holy theues" habitually guilty of
every conceivable form of vice and profligacy. The pamphlet teams with
arithmetical absurdities. It is simply inconceivable that the growth within
the realm of such an organisation as is here depicted would have been
permitted; or that, if there, it would not have been sternly repressed by
Henry VII.; or that if it had survived the first Tudor, the second would
have suffered it to flourish unregarded for eighteen years of his reign.
The exaggeration is so flagrant that we can hardly infer from it even a
substratum of truth. Such diatribes as this must be referred to, not as
being valid evidences against the accused, but as proving the passion of
the controversy, and the hesitation necessary before accepting conclusions
traceable to the wild and whirling words of such controversialists.

[Sidenote 1: Clerical privileges]
[Sidenote 2: Tentative reforms]

In another respect however there was a serious demand for reform; namely
the legal and judicial privileges which the ecclesiastical body had
acquired in the course of centuries, and which had gradually become the
source of serious abuses. The administration of certain branches of the
Civil Law had been absorbed by the Clerics, who were charged with
converting their functions into an elaborate machinery for extorting fees;
and on the Criminal side, what was known as Benefit of Clergy, as well as
the rules of Sanctuary, had become not merely anomalous but an actual
encouragement to crime. Any criminal or accused person who succeeded in
reaching Sanctuary was safe from the secular arm; and any one who could
produce evidence, even of the flimsiest character, that he was a cleric
could claim to be tried by the ecclesiastical instead of the secular
courts. Originally these privileges had been of very great service in the
wild days when judicial treatment was at least more readily obtainable from
the Clergy, when trial by ordeal was common, and the merciless punishments
of the ordinary law gave place to the milder but not ineffective penalties
of Ecclesiastical discipline. Even the legal fictions by which evildoers
were allowed to claim Benefit of Clergy as Clerics had their justification.
But when even murderers could escape with a moderate penance as Clerics,
because they could read, the general public were hardly the better. A
beginning of reform in this direction had been made when Henry VII.
obtained a Bull diminishing the rights of Sanctuary in cases of treason;
and again in 1511 when the rights both of Sanctuary and Benefit of Clergy
were withdrawn from murderers. It was noteworthy however that there was a
protest against even this made by the Clergy in 1515; when one Dr.
Standish, for justifying the measure, was attacked by the Bishops in
Convocation. Warham and Fox both supported the old privileges. The temporal
lords on a commission appointed to enquire into the matter sided with
Standish, and declared that the Bishops had incurred the penalties of
praemunire. Wolsey tried to persuade the King to refer the question to the
Pope, but the King asserted the rights of the Crown in uncompromising
terms. The Bishops had to submit to a sharp rebuke, and Standish was made a
Dean not long after. The episode was a premonition of future events.

[Sidenote: The Educational Movement]

It does not appear that the writings or the preaching of the scholars had
any marked effect on the conduct of the clergy, or aroused any general
reforming zeal. But in one direction, that of education, they exercised a
very material influence on the intellectual attitude of the younger
generation. Dean Colet is known to-day to many even of those who take
little interest in his times, as the founder of St. Paul's School, where he
endeavoured to make the teaching of the young a real training instead of a
drill in pedagogic formulae. And as he set the example which was by degrees
followed in other grammar schools, so the example he had already set at
Oxford was followed both there and at Cambridge by his disciples. To him,
more than to any other man, was due the practical application of the new
knowledge of Greek to the study of the New Testament, resulting primarily
in the treatment of the Pauline Epistles as organic structures; as
connected treatises, instead of collected texts according to the custom of
the schoolmen; who, dragging phrases from their context, expanded,
interpreted and harmonised them with other phrases for fresh expansion and
interpretation; neglecting the apostolic argument to illustrate their own
theses or those of the mediaeval doctors. Fox, of Winchester, when he
founded Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Fisher in the Lady Margaret
foundations at Cambridge, put into them men of the new school. Wolsey
himself had evidently been influenced by the new methods, for his active
connexion with Oxford had not ceased when Colet was there; and when in
later years he founded Cardinal College, afterwards Christ Church, the men
he appointed to it were chosen from the disciples of the school of Colet
and Erasmus. To this higher ideal of University education, perhaps the
strongest impulse was given by Erasmus himself, during the brief time about
1512 when he was Professor of Greek at Cambridge, where he proved himself
the most brilliant exponent of the principles which in part at least he had
imbibed from the Dean. Cranmer, his great rival Gardiner, and many others
among the protagonists in the coming religious struggle, received their
training under the new conditions--conditions very markedly affected by
that edition of the New Testament, to which reference has already been
made, issued by Erasmus from Basle in 1516 after he had left England: a
work in which the Greek text appeared side by side with a new Latin
translation, in place of the orthodox "Vulgate" whereof the stereotyped
phraseology had acquired, through centuries of authorised interpretation, a
meaning often very far removed from that of the original.

[Sidenote: Wolsey and the Reformation]

Thus what the Scholars accomplished was not Reform but the preparation of
men's minds for Reform. What Wolsey the Statesman might have done, if
foreign affairs had not occupied the best of his energies, we can only
guess. His point of view was that of a Politician, not that of a man of
religion. Such reforms as he might have been prepared to introduce would
not have been the outcome of any lofty idealism, but only such as seemed to
be dictated by public decency. As a Statesman, he was alive to the
advantages of education, desired much of the wealth of the Church to be
turned into that channel, and founded colleges, which he staffed with men
of the new school and financed in part from the proceeds of suppressed
religious houses. He went so far as to procure a papal Bull for the
abolition of all Houses numbering less than seven inmates. But it may be
doubted whether the real motive of the suppression was not rather the
appropriation of funds for his favourite schemes than zeal for monastic
morality. As Cardinal and Legate and an aspirant to the Papacy, he could
never have lent himself to a policy calculated to weaken the ecclesiastical
organisation; he could never have associated himself with Colet's campaign
against clerical worldliness, of which there was no more conspicuous
example in the kingdom than he. Having children himself by an illicit
union, he could hardly have taken high ground as a reformer of morals. In
brief, he must have confined his treatment of the situation within the
limits of the work of a politician with educational leanings. What he
actually did was to renew the monastic visitations set on foot by Cardinal
Morton, to suppress some few small houses as corrupt or superfluous, and to
encourage the new school of teaching which no one of authority had hitherto
condemned as heretical. As to actual heresy, he looked on it with the eyes
not of a theologian but of a politician; as a thing to be suppressed if it
threatened public order, but otherwise negligible. He sought also to
diminish the abuses connected with the ecclesiastical courts by the
establishment of a Legatine Court of his own. But there is no sign that he
was ever alive to the volcanic forces at work; or recognised that sooner or
later the revolution which Luther initiated in Europe would have to be
reckoned with in England also. Even at the time when the great Cardinal
fell from power, there were but slight signs within the realm of the coming
revolt, mutterings of a growing storm. No prophet had arisen denouncing the
evil of the times convincingly, no statesman propounding drastic remedies;
only the scholars had been preaching amendment, and occasional zealots had
been bringing discredit on the cause of reformation by the violence of
their incriminations. The far-reaching political effect of the religious
differences was long in being realised on the Continent; in England it was
still longer in making itself felt. Yet the Lutheran revolt was destined
vitally to influence both the international relations and the internal
order of every State in Christendom.

[Sidenote: The Lutheran Revolt, 1517]

In 1517 Pope Leo X. was in want of money: and one of the recognised methods
of obtaining it was the sale of Indulgences--that is to say, remissions in
the duration of Purgatorial sufferings, ratified by His Holiness, and
purchasable for cash. The whole thing being simply a commercial
transaction, the Indulgences were offered at popular prices. There was
nothing new in the method. The Lay Princes had no objections to the sale in
their territories, since they could demand a share in the profits as the
condition of their permission. The system moreover had been held up to
ridicule before. But on this occasion, there were two novel features: one,
the unprecedented scale on which the transaction was to be worked, the
other the nature of the opposition it aroused. Doctor Martin Luther, an
Augustinian monk and Professor at the University of Wittenberg in Saxony
had been coming to the conclusion that the practices of the Church were not
what they should be, and that much of her teaching was false. The affair of
the Indulgences brought things to a head; and when Tetzel the Papal
Commissioner was approaching Saxony, Luther drew up a counterblast in the
form of a series of propositions which he nailed up publicly on the Church
doors. Moreover he received unexpected support from the "Good Elector"
Frederick, who forbade Tetzel to enter his dominions.

[Sidenote: Luther's defiance, 1520]

Leo was occupied with political affairs, which seemed for the time to be
more important than the heretical vagaries of an obscure monk. Wolsey's
diplomacy was working up to the point at which in 1518 he attached France
to England in the alliance which culminated in the "Universal Peace," the
Cardinal having supplanted the Pope as the moderator in the disputes of the
great Powers. Then Maximilian died, and the Imperial Election absorbed
political attention, with the ensuing complications described in a previous
chapter. Meantime however, Luther was waxing increasingly determined;
instead of quailing at threats, he was fully resolved to maintain his
convictions and fight the matter out. As to what he had done, he appealed
to a General Council; what he was going to do he made clear by exhorting
the German Princes to stop their tributes to Rome. The advice had a natural
attraction for the German Princes though they might lack enthusiasm on
questions of theology. Leo issued a Bull condemning Luther. Luther answered
by publicly burning the Bull (December 10th, 1520).

[Sidenote: The Diet of Worms, 1521]

The young Emperor, fresh from his coronation at Aachen, was about to hold
the Diet of the Empire at Worms. It was his policy to maintain friendly
relations with Rome; and Luther was summoned to the Diet under a
safe-conduct. The precedent of Huss showed how little such a safe-conduct
was worth; but the great Reformer was undaunted. Frederick of Saxony,
encouraged by Erasmus, was known to be on his side. He faced the Diet,
reaffirmed his heresies, and emphasised his flat repudiation of Papal
Authority. He had fiery supporters and fiery opponents. His life was in the
gravest danger, and his death would have been followed by a bloody
collision between the two parties. The disaster was averted by the Elector
Frederick who kidnapped him for his own sake and carried him off to a
secure retreat in the Wartburg: where he remained for nearly a year,
working at his translation of the Bible. The Diet however confirmed an
edict condemning Luther and his doctrines. The English King moreover, who
accounted himself no mean theologian, issued a refutation of the Lutheran
heresies which won for him from Pope Leo the title of Defender of the

At this time, and for some time to come, the Papacy regarded Francis I.
with hostility, and looked upon his Italian ambitions as dangerous to
itself. Hence there was a natural tendency to alliance between Rome and the
Emperor. 1521 was the year of the ineffectual Conference of Calais,
followed by the death of Leo X., the election of the (Imperial) Pope Adrian
in the next year, and the embroilment of England in the European wars.
Charles was sufficiently occupied with these high political matters, and
was personally withdrawn from Germany, whose affairs were more or less
controlled by an Imperial Council in which Frederick of Saxony was the
guiding spirit; popular sentiment was on Luther's side, and the Worms edict
was practically a dead letter. But the seclusion of the great Reformer
threw the movement largely into the hands of extremists such as Carlstadt
and Münzer to whose anarchical theories he was opposed as vehemently as to

[Sidenote: 1524 The German peasant rising]

Now we shall presently see that in England itself there was strong ground
for discontent with the prevailing social order and the relations between
the peasantry and the landed classes: but in Germany matters were very much
worse. In England there had always been a tendency for the religious
reformers to associate their movements with demands for social reform; and
so it was now to an exaggerated degree in Germany. Social revolution was no
part of the scheme of Luther and his lieutenant Melanchthon; but in defying
the authority of Rome they had awakened the revolutionary spirit. Fired
with religious fanaticism, the demagogues acquired a new character, a
devouring zeal, a reckless courage. At last in 1524 the peasants rose
demanding redress for their grievances. What they asked was indeed bare
justice according to any intelligent modern view; yet the granting of their
demands would have been completely subversive of the existing social order.
The upper classes were united against them, Luther and his associates
denounced them. The fiercest passions broke loose: there were ghastly
massacres and ghastly reprisals, ending in the slaughter of scores of
thousands of peasants, and the complete suppression of the rising.

[Sidenote: Its effect in England]

The Lutherans proper had emphatically dissociated themselves from the
zealots who stirred up the "peasants' war," which did not alter the general
attitude of the Germans on the religious question. But in England, these
things had a serious effect. The Lutheran heresies were condemned as
heresies in this country before the outbreak, and a considerable number of
heretically inclined Englishmen took refuge in the German States, where
they looked to find countenance. Being for the most part men of extreme
tendencies, those tendencies were quickened; whence it resulted that in
importing the new religious doctrines from Germany they combined them more
or less with the doctrines of social revolution. Thus the distinction
between the two movements was lost sight of, and the profession of the new
doctrines was regarded as not merely heretical but in itself anarchical--a
thing which must be suppressed in the interests of public order. Hence we
find the curious paradox of Thomas More, the one-time advocate of a
toleration which was obviously in accord with his instincts, becoming in
course of time the advocate and agent of a rigorous intolerance and a
relentless persecution.

[Sidenote 1: 1525 The Empire and the papacy]
[Sidenote 2: 1527 The sack of Rome]

The Peasants' Revolt was crushed in the summer of 1525. Before this end was
accomplished, the Good Elector passed away--a wise, kindly, tolerant man
who had exercised an immense moderating influence by simple benignity,
shrewdness, and force of character. A little earlier, the ambitious schemes
of Francis I. had been shattered by the disaster of Pavia. In effect, the
whole European situation was changed completely since the death of Leo X.
in 1521. His successor Adrian was a man of good intentions but limited
purview; the great issues at stake were beyond his grasp, and his attempts
at disciplinary reforms were made nugatory by the stolid immobility of the
hierarchy. After a brief reign he was succeeded by Clement VII., a man of
considerable talent and inconsiderable ability: a man shifty and fearful,
not fitted to cope with the stubborn wills of the reigning princes and
their ministers, or with the moral and intellectual forces which were
threatening the supremacy of the historic Church. The collapse of the
French in Italy gave Charles a power which filled Clement with alarm, since
his friendliness was no longer of political moment to the Emperor, while
sentimental considerations would certainly not suffice to retain the active
support of Wolsey and England. In 1526 the insecurity of his position was
emphasised by the attitude of the Imperial Diet held at Spires, where
Charles through his brother Ferdinand withdrew from the position of
anti-Lutheranism to adopt that of impartial toleration, and it was decreed
in effect that each Prince might sanction what religion he would, within
his own territories; thus cancelling the Decree of Worms. The capture and
occupation of Rome by troops mainly Spanish in the same year, despite the
Emperor's repudiation, was another alarming symptom; which received a
terrifying confirmation in 1527, when the Imperial troops, Spanish and
German, headed by the "Lutheran" Frundsberg and the Constable of Bourbon,
turned their arms upon the Holy City, stormed it, sacked it with a savage
thoroughness unparalleled since the days of Alaric, and held the Pope
himself a prisoner.

[Sidenote: 1530 Diet of Augsburg]

Thus the Pope himself was now not merely dominated by the Emperor but
actually in his hands. The successes of Charles however urged Francis--who
had been liberated in 1526--to renewed activity, and for a time it seemed
not unlikely that he would recover his ascendency in Italy, a consummation
as little to Clement's taste as the Imperial dominance. But the French King
misused his opportunities and his armies met with fresh disasters. In 1529,
the Pope and the Emperor were reconciled, with the result that at another
Diet of Spires the Worms edict was revived and the last Spires edict
revoked, in face of the protest of the Lutheran Princes which earned for
them the title of Protestants. That party however was sufficiently strong
to prevent its opponents from enforcing the decree over the Empire. At the
Diet of Augsburg next year (1530) the decree was confirmed: the Protestants
replying by drawing up the Confession of Augsburg, formulating their
doctrines, a document which became the definite expression of Protestantism
in the least general sense of the term--while they bound themselves for
mutual support in the League of Schmalkald. The two parties seemed to be on
the verge of war; but the sentiment of nationality in face of the
threatening of a Turkish advance and of the non-German leanings of Charles
--a sentiment most zealously preached by Luther who was a typical German
patriot as well as a religious reformer--deferred the rupture till after
Luther's death.

[Sidenote: The Swiss Reformers, 1520-1530]

The active aggressive Reformation began in Germany with Luther's attack on
Indulgences. In France it made no headway for many years; in Spain and
Italy none at all; in England none, till the meeting of Parliament in 1529.
But the movement in Switzerland was as marked as that in Germany, and
hardly less important in the influence ultimately exercised by the Swiss
teachers, though of less direct political weight. Nor is it possible to
follow the course of the Reformation in England, unless the separate
existence of the Swiss School is duly appreciated. Switzerland was not a
Political entity which could rank effectively as a make-weight in
international rivalries; but its geographical conditions preserved it from
interference, and permitted it, so to speak, to work out its own salvation.
The country was a federation of small democratic States or Cantons, with no
Princes and no nobility. It followed that when once the question of
ecclesiastical reform was raised, the theories of Church Government which
would find acceptance would be democratic in principle: and accordingly it
was from Switzerland that the vital opposition to Episcopal systems sprang.
But the main fact to be observed at this stage is, that the Swiss Reformers
were not the outcome of the Lutheran movement; their movement was
spontaneous, independent, and parallel. Their leader Zwingli anticipated
rather than followed Luther. But an agitator who appealed to Germany and an
agitator who appealed to Switzerland seemed to be of very different degrees
of public importance. Hence comparatively speaking Zwingli was ignored by
the authorities. Half Switzerland might--and did--revolt from the Pope,
without greatly exercising the Papal mind. But in the process Zurich became
hardly less important as a teaching centre and an asylum for heretical
refugees than Wittenberg; and in many respects, the teaching of Zurich
departed from the teaching of Rome more seriously than did the teaching of
Luther. The element of Mysticism, to which the German genius is generally
prone, had no attraction for the Swiss mind, while it was essential in the
eyes of the Wittenberg school; so that Luther and the Zurich Reformers
assailed each other with hardly less virulence than they both lavished on
the Papal party. It was a long time before the term "Protestant" was
extended so as to include the disciples of Zurich and Geneva.

[Sidenote: English heretics abroad]

Alike to Switzerland and to the German States which may by anticipation be
called Protestant, there gathered during these first years an appreciable
number of Englishmen, who were either already touched with Lollardry, or
found themselves in revolt against prevailing doctrines or practices, or
were discovering by the light of the New Learning discrepancies between the
teaching of the Gospels and the current interpretation. In these
territories they were for the time assured of such liberty as enabled them
to issue pamphlets, dissertations, and commentaries, which found their way
into England and not infrequently received effective advertisement by being
publicly condemned and burnt, with the result that the few copies which
escaped acquired an adventitious interest and influence. Considering the
violence of the invective often conspicuous in them, and the extravagance
of the controversial methods usually adopted, the treatment they met with
can hardly be condemned as oppressive; whether it was politic is another
question. The modern English view generally is that such repressive acts
tend to defeat their own ends. On the whole however it would seem that it
was the manner rather than the matter of these productions which caused the
authorities to treat them and their authors with such severity, though it
was done largely at the instigation of theological partisans. Thus Tindal's
translation of the Bible was attacked as being _per se_ dangerous; but
it was the accompanying commentary which ensured its suppression.

[Sidenote: Contrasted aims]

The fundamental fact, however, which must be borne in mind in the early
stages of the Reformation in England is this: that whereas the cause to
which both Luther and Zwingli devoted themselves was primarily a revision
of dogmas and of the practices associated with them, the work which Henry
VIII. and Thomas Cromwell were to take in hand was the revision of the
relations between Church and State--of the position of the Clerical
organisation as a part of the body politic; not the introduction of
Lutheran or Zwinglian doctrines. Such countenance as was given to
Lutheranism was given for purely political reasons. Luther's was a
Religious Reformation with political consequences: Henry's was a Political
Reconstruction entailing ultimately a reformed religion.



[Sidenote: "The King's affair"]

The whole prolonged episode concerned with the "Divorce" of Queen Katharine
is singularly unattractive; the character of almost every leading person
associated with it is damaged in the course of it--save that of the unhappy
Queen. Unfortunately it is an episode which demands close attention and
examination, because its vicissitudes exercised a supreme influence on the
course of the Reformation initiated by the King, besides bringing into
powerful relief the nature of that strange historical phenomenon, the
Conscience of Henry VIII. Moreover it has received from the pen of a
particularly brilliant writer a colouring which is so misleading and so
plausible that the evidence as to facts requires to be presented with
exceptional care.

[Sidenote 1: Story of the marriage]
[Sidenote 2: Anne Boleyn]

It is not till 1527 that the project of a Divorce emerges definitely, so to
speak, into the open; but the evolution of the project had its origin at a
considerably earlier date. We have to begin with a review of the conjugal
relations between the King and the Queen. Arthur, Prince of Wales had
celebrated his marriage with Katharine, daughter of Ferdinand of Spain and
aunt of the infant who was to become Charles V. A few months later he died.
The young widow was thereafter betrothed to Henry; a dispensation being
obtained in 1504 from the Pope, Julius II, since marriage with a brother's
widow is forbidden by the laws of the Church. Henry VII. however, who never
liked to make any pledges without providing himself with some pretext by
which they might be evaded, instructed his son to make a sort of protest at
the time. The second marriage was not carried out till Henry VIII. was on
the throne: the bride being robed in the manner customary for maidens, not
for widows, on such occasions. She was older than her husband, and not
particularly attractive; but they lived together with apparent affection.
It is uncertain how many children were actually born; but none lived long
after birth until Mary (1516), when the King showed himself conspicuously
fond of his infant daughter. Henry does not in fact seem to have displayed
that extreme licentiousness which characterised most of the monarchs of the
time, though one illegitimate son was born to him, three years after Mary,
by Mistress Elizabeth Blount--"mistress" being the courtesy title of
unmarried ladies. The Court however was undoubtedly licentious, and many of
his favourite companions were notoriously profligate. In 1522 Anne Boleyn,
then an attractive girl of sixteen, the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, came
to Court. At what time Henry became seriously enamoured of her is
uncertain; but from 1522 her father became the recipient of numerous
favours; and in 1525 was made a peer. It was a symptom of alienation
between Henry and his wife that the six-year-old son of Elizabeth Blount
was at the same time created Duke of Richmond and Lord High Admiral, with
much pomp. [Footnote: Brewer, ii., 102. _L.& P._ iv., 639.]

[Sidenote: 1527 The King prepares]

Apart from expressions in letters of 1526 which can only be reasonably
interpreted as having reference to a contemplated divorce, letters of
Wolsey's and the King's in the early months of 1527 prove incontestably
that Henry had at that time determined that he would marry Anne, and that
Wolsey [Footnote: Brewer, ii., 182, 184; _S. P. Henry VIII._, i, 194.
_L. & P._, iv., 1467.] was elaborating a case, for presentation to the
Pope, against the validity of the dispensation under which the marriage
with Katharine had been contracted.

What, then, was the King's attitude? In April 1527, he had made up his mind
to break with Charles, Katharine's nephew, and concluded a treaty with
France; but under this the French King's second son, the Duke of Orleans,
was to marry the Princess Mary. It is difficult to believe that when this
was done, the King was actually intending at a later stage to have Mary
declared illegitimate. He would hardly have proposed to alienate Charles
and Francis simultaneously. Possibly he anticipated no difficulty in
legitimating Mary while annulling her mother's marriage--as was ultimately
done. It may be noted that it is absolutely impossible to maintain that
_both_ Mary and Elizabeth were born in lawful wedlock; yet the country
accepted both as legitimate without demur. But this French treaty darkens
rather than illuminates the problem.

The only fact definitely apparent in the papers of 1527 is that Henry had
determined to make Anne his wife. There is no hint of the conscientious
scruples or the patriotic motives afterwards alleged, though that of course
does not preclude their having been present. Those two alleged motives
require to be examined merely as _a priori_ hypotheses.

[Sidenote: Theoretical excuses]

There was one possible plea, then, for urging that a divorce was necessary:
namely that political considerations made it imperative for the good of the
nation that the King should take to himself a wife who might bear him a
male heir to the throne. And there was one possible plea for demanding a
formal enquiry into the validity of the dispensation: namely a
conscientious doubt on the part of the King or Queen whether the union with
a brother's widow was contrary to the Moral Law. No doubt existed as to the
Pope's power of abrogating a law, made by the Church for the public good,
in a specific case; but it was not claimed that he could abrogate the Law
of God in like manner. If this was a case in which the Pope possessed the
dispensing power, the dispensation held; if it was not, the marriage was no
marriage however innocently the parties entered upon it. One or other of
these pleas must be made the pretext of any public action.

[Sidenote: The need of an heir]

The plea that Henry must have a male heir is so absolutely conclusive in
the judgment of Henry's great apologist that he feels it necessary to offer
excuses for the womanly weakness which blinded Katharine to her obvious
duty. It may also have appealed with considerable force to a statesman who
regarded all pledges and bonds as being in the last resort dissoluble on
grounds of national expediency. England had suffered enough from disputed
successions; and while it is not probable that a title so incontrovertible
as Mary's would have been directly challenged, it is evident that
disastrous complications might have been involved by her union with any
possible husband, or by her death. It may have been that it was Henry's own
wish to act directly on this view, and to declare his marriage null,
arbitrarily, on the ground of public expediency. But whatever were Wolsey's
views on expediency, and on the desirability of nullifying the marriage,
such a course would have been too flagrant a violation of the universally
accepted belief in the sanctity of the marriage tie to meet with his
support. Moreover the offspring of a new marriage contracted under such
conditions could hardly escape having his legitimacy challenged when
opportunity offered. The security of the succession could not therefore be
obtained by this method. Yet the burden of discovering some way to enable
Henry to marry again was laid upon the Cardinal's shoulders.

[Sidenote: The plea of invalidity]

A pretext was forthcoming, whether devised by the Cardinal or another. The
marriage with Katharine might be held invalid on the ground that the
dispensation under which it was contracted was invalid, as being _ultra
vires_. [Footnote: _Cf._ however Wolsey's letter, Brewer, ii., 180.
Katharine argued that since she had remained a maiden, no actual affinity
had been contracted, therefore the re-marriage was not contrary to God's
Law. Wolsey was prepared to reply that in that case, the dispensation was
invalid; since it specified only the impediment of "affinity" but not that
of "public honesty" created by a contract not consummated, and so failed to
cover the admitted circumstances. It appears from the complete context that
this plea was hit upon only as a rejoinder to this particular plea of
Katharine's. But see Taunton, _Thomas Wolsey_, chap, x., where a
different view is taken; the whole context, however, is not there cited.]
This was the line that Wolsey advised, and to which the King committed
himself. It should be clear that it finally precluded the other line of
arbitrary dissolution, since it rested on the inviolability of a marriage
once validly contracted. If the Pope could not set aside the bar to
re-marriage with a dead husband's brother, the King could hardly set aside
his own marriage, if it had been itself lawful. Stated conversely; if the
King could, so to speak cancel a living wife on the ground of public
expediency, the Pope had surely been entitled to cancel a dead husband on
the same ground.

[Sidenote: Conjunction of incentives]

When Wolsey had propounded the theory that the validity of the dispensation
was doubtful, it is easy enough to see how Henry might have persuaded
himself that his conscience must be set at ease. What if the death of all
his male children had been a Divine Judgment on an unlawful union? The wish
is father to the thought. From this point, it was a short step to a
conviction that, whatever any one might say, the union was unlawful. Thus
Henry could with comparative equanimity adopt the role of one who merely
felt that his doubts must be set at rest, while he would be only overjoyed
to be finally certified that they were groundless. It is not till this
professed hope is in danger of being realised that the mask is dropped and
the King's determination to have a divorce by hook or by crook is avowed.

On this view of the policy pursued, passion and patriotism may have
combined--in uncertain proportions--to make the King desire a new marriage;
obedience and patriotism may have likewise combined to produce the same
desire in the Cardinal. But it is extremely difficult to doubt that the
King's conscientious scruples were an after-thought, since they had not
overtly troubled him for eighteen years of married life; while the
Cardinal's position was painfully complicated by an intense aversion to the
particular marriage in contemplation. The Boleyns were closely associated
with the group of courtiers who were most antagonistic to Wolsey; while on
the other hand, Katharine had for long regarded him as her husband's evil

[Sidenote: The Orleans betrothal]

There is a single feature of the situation in the spring of 1527 which
might be taken as pointing to a belief on the King's part that the validity
of the marriage would be confirmed: namely the betrothal of his daughter to
Orleans. This however would completely negative the activity of that
patriotic motive by which Mr. Froude set so much store. Moreover, it is
flatly contradicted by the letter to Anne [Footnote: _L. & P._, iv.,
1467.] in which Henry unmistakably declares his determination to marry her:
and by Wolsey's [Footnote: _S. P._, i., 194. Brewer, ii., 193 ff.]
letter to him, stating the case for the divorce.

[Sidenote: Conclusion]

The only possible conclusion is that the one motive which really actuated
the King was the desire to gratify an illicit passion. Other subsidiary
motives he may have called in to justify himself to himself, on which he
dwelt till he really persuaded himself that they were genuine. For it was
his unfailing practice to do or get done whatsoever served his personal
interest, and to parade some high moral cause as his unimpeachable
motive--or if this proved quite impossible, to condemn a minister as the
responsible person. Yet however difficult it is to reconcile such avowed
motives with the known facts, the avowal always has about it a tone of
conviction which can only have been the outcome of successful

[Sidenote: The first plan (May)]

It was the Cardinal's task then to procure by some means a formal and
authoritative pronouncement that the Papal Dispensation was invalid. The
first scheme was that he should hold a Legatine Court before which the King
should be cited for living in an unlawful union with his brother's widow.
Since the Legate was also the King's subject, the royal assent had to be
formally given. This was duly arranged in May, the affair being conducted
with the utmost secrecy; but after the first beginnings [Footnote: _L. &
P._, iv., 1426.] these proceedings were dropped: presumably because, if
they had been carried through, Katharine might have appealed to the Pope
and Wolsey would have had no voice in the ultimate decision. [Footnote: The
Pope in that case must either have decided the case himself, or have given
full powers to a Legatine Court to act without appeal. In the latter event,
Wolsey could not have been appointed, since Katharine's appeal would have
been an appeal against his previous decision.]

In the same month the world learnt with amazement that the troops of
Bourbon and the Lutheran Frundsberg had stormed and sacked Rome; and that
the Imperial troops held Clement himself a prisoner in the castle of
St. Angelo. The Pope was thus completely in the Emperor's power: the
Emperor was Katharine's nephew and would most certainly veto the divorce.
Moreover, Katharine had now an inkling that steps to obtain a divorce were
being projected; and, unknown to Henry, Mendoza the Spanish ambassador had
already warned the Emperor.

[Sidenote: The second plan (June)]

Thus the difficulties of Wolsey's task were increased; since the next move
must be to get a Papal Commission appointed which should be under Wolsey's
control. To that end, the ecclesiastical support of the English Bishops and
the political support of Francis were requisite. Wolsey played upon the
guilelessness of Fisher of Rochester, till he persuaded the saintly bishop
that the confirmation of the marriage was the one thing desired--that the
Queen's opposition was due to an unfortunate misconception, and entirely
opposed to her own interests. The same course was pursued with Warham of
Canterbury. [Footnote: Brewer, ii., pp. 193 ff.] The necessity for the
enquiry was fathered upon the Bishop of Tarbes, a member of the French
embassy which had settled the betrothal of Orleans and Mary, who was said
[Footnote: There is some reason to suppose that this story of the Bishop of
Tarbes was merely concocted by Wolsey and Henry. It appears to have been
referred to only in Wolsey's communications with Warham and Fisher.--
Brewer, _Henry VIII._, ii., 216. But _cf._ Pollard, _Henry
VIII., sub loc._] to have questioned the validity of the dispensation,
and by consequence the certainty of the princess's legitimacy.

In July Wolsey proceeded to France, ostensibly for the settlement of
details in connexion with the recent treaty: actually, that Francis might
be induced to bring pressure to bear on Charles for the release of the
Pope--in the somewhat desperate hope that Clement in his gratitude would
thereupon grant Henry's wishes. Should the Pope's release be refused,
Wolsey had the idea (soon to be abandoned) that the Cardinals might be
summoned to meet in France, on the ground that the Pope was being forcibly
deprived of the power of action. [Footnote: _S. P_., i., 230, 270.
Brewer, ii., 209, 219.]

[Sidenote: Knight's mission (Autumn)]

The treaty of Amiens, cementing the union between Francis and Henry, was
signed late in August without reference to divorce. Now however Henry began
to conduct operations independently of Wolsey, sending his own secretary
Knight to Rome with private instructions, the object of which was to evade
the ultimate submission of the question to Wolsey's jurisdiction. Under the
influence of the Boleyn clique, and knowing Wolsey's aversion to the Boleyn
marriage, the King may have suspected that his minister would play him
false if he lost all hope of averting that conclusion to the divorce. Or he
may merely have resolved that it was time to check any development of his
minister's authority. On Wolsey's return to England, instead of being
received in privacy according to precedent, he was summoned on his arrival
at Richmond Palace to meet his master in the presence of Anne Boleyn.

[Sidenote: Its failure (Dec)]

Knight's mission was a failure. In December, Clement escaped in disguise
from his Imperial guards: Knight found him at Orvieto. It was evident that
the secret plan of getting the Pope's permission to marry again without
upsetting the existing marriage [Footnote: Brewer, ii., 224, 234-239. Both
the Conscience of the King and the need of an heir, are dwelt on in the
instructions.] was out of the question. So the Secretary presented a form
for a dispensation, and for a Commission which was to give Wolsey power to
decide summarily against the validity of the dispensation granted by Pope
Julius, without appeal; and power to declare Mary legitimate at the same
time. The dispensation was to enable Henry to marry thereafter in despite
of difficulties which might be raised on certain specified
grounds--intelligible only if those difficulties applied in Anne Boleyn's
case: and implying the truth of allegations subsequently made as to
relations between Henry and Anne's mother and sister. Knight was outwitted
by a Cardinal, Lorenzo Pucci, who redrafted the documents so as to make
them useless for Henry's purpose. The deluded envoy returned to England
under the impression that he had achieved a diplomatic triumph. But the
King saw that he must leave the management of such delicate matters to

[Sidenote: The Pope and the Cardinal]

It is evident that the Pope's one desire was to evade all responsibility in
the matter; as it was Wolsey's, on the contrary part, to fix the ultimate
responsibility on him. Clement wanted the support of England and France;
but, though now no longer actually the Emperor's prisoner, he was
distinctly in greater danger from him than from the other Powers. Moreover
for one Pope to be invited to nullify the proceedings of another was a
somewhat dangerous precedent: as implying that a papal decision was not
necessarily unimpeachable. The Cardinal however required the Pope's
authority. The divorce was not popular in England, where the general
inclination was towards the Imperial alliance. Besides, Katharine was
firmly convinced that Wolsey was the moving spirit; so was the general
public. If the divorce were carried through by any method which seemed to
bear out that theory--if it could be looked upon as a political job of the
Cardinal's--Henry too would come in for a share of the odium, and might be
trusted to visit that misfortune on his minister. So Wolsey would have
nothing to say to the suggestion that the King should act on his own
account without the Pope, and take his chance of an appeal.

[Sidenote: 1528 Gardiner's mission]

Early in 1528, the negotiations were again on foot. This time they were in
the hands of Wolsey's own men--Steven Gardiner and Foxe, the King's
almoner. Their instructions were to obtain a commission with absolute
authority, in which a legate--Campeggio for choice--should be associated
with Wolsey; failing that, a legate without Wolsey but one on whom Wolsey
could depend; finally, as least desirable, the commission was to consist of
Wolsey and Warham. If the Pope continued recalcitrant, he was to be given
to understand that the results for him might be very awkward. Gardiner in
fact did not hesitate to indulge in threats which were more than
hints. England's goodwill was at stake. If Clement had so little faith in
his own authority that he dared not exercise it in a manifestly righteous
cause, Henry might repudiate papal authority altogether. Nevertheless, in
spite of all Gardiner's skill and vigour--and he showed himself deficient
in neither--the result was unsatisfactory. A commission was obtained for
Wolsey with Campeggio; but it was not absolute. The decision they might
arrive at could not take effect till referred to Rome for confirmation.

[Sidenote: Wolsey's critical position]

Although the purpose of Gardiner and Foxe was not completely achieved, it
certainly appeared at this time that Wolsey had practically won over the
Pope; in other words, had made sure that the King should get his desire
under cover of law, and of the highest moral sanctions, without any breach
with the Church, defiance of Authority, or association with heresy. So far,
the credit was the Cardinal's, who had dissuaded his master from following
a much more arbitrary course. Nevertheless indications were not wanting
that the Boleyn influence was at work in a manner very detrimental to
Wolsey; that Henry was fully alive to his minister's unpopularity; and that
if occasion served he might take the popular side. Thus when Wolsey
appointed a suitable person to be Abbess of Wilton, instead of a very
unsuitable person who was connected with the Boleyns, the King reprimanded
him in his most elevated style--taking occasion at the same time to be
scandalised at the subscriptions to Wolsey's educational schemes provided
by monasteries which had pleaded poverty at the time of the "Amicable
Loan". It was at least tolerably evident that "the King's matter" as the
divorce was generally called would have to be brought to a speedy and
successful issue if Wolsey was to retain the royal favour.

Clement VII. however was a dexterous procrastinator. Campeggio got his
Commission in April. But he did not start from Rome till June: he did not
reach French soil till the end of July: in September he got as far as
Paris. Meantime, the French troops in Italy were not doing so well, but the
Pope was strongly suspected of Imperial leanings. The French King formed
the opinion--which he transmitted to his brother of England--that
Campeggio's object was to induce Henry to change his determination.

[Sidenote: Campeggio and Wolsey (Autumn)]

When at last Campeggio reached London, still suffering seriously from the
gout which was the ostensible cause of his dilatory journeying, Wolsey was
explicit. He warned the Legate that the business must be put through
promptly. The need of a male heir was imperative; the King was convinced
that his wedlock with Katharine was contrary to the Divine law: if he were
not quickly released, the respect hitherto shown for the Church by the
Defender of the Faith would certainly vanish; while Wolsey himself, whose
influence had hitherto kept his master loyal in the face of strong
temptation, would no longer be able to restrain him. From Campeggio's
letters, [Footnote: Brewer, ii., 296.] it is evident that the King had
mastered his own case thoroughly, and knew the legal aspects better than
any one else: also, that the intention was to declare Mary his heir unless
there should be male issue of the new marriage. The Legate let slip that in
view of the determined attitude of Henry and Wolsey, he would have to await
further instructions from Rome; whereupon he was again threatened with the
secession of England from the Roman Obedience. Next, the two Cardinals
tried to induce Katharine to accede to a divorce without a formal trial; on
the ground that thereby she would ensure that save on the single point of
the re-marriage any demand she might put forward would be granted, and much
scandal would be averted. The Queen took some days to consider her reply:
but was absolutely obdurate. She was Henry's wife; she could not and would
not profess that she was not. On every ground, she would fight to the last.

Campeggio did his best to impress the Pope with the urgency of the case:
but Clement was more than ever afraid of Charles, and persisted in the
first place that proceedings were to be postponed and prolonged by every
effort of ingenuity, and in the second that no verdict adverse to the
marriage was to be pronounced without his ratification.

[Sidenote: Henry's attitude]

Henry for his part, learning or knowing before that Ferdinand had received
from Pope Julius a confirmation of the dispensation in ampler terms, urged
upon Katharine the necessity of obtaining this document in her own
interests--hoping that there would be a chance of repudiating it as a
forgery. Also he instructed his agents at Rome to persuade the Pope to give
him a dispensation for re-marriage, without a divorce, if Katharine retired
into a nunnery; [Footnote: _L. & P._, iv., 2157, 2161. Brewer, ii.,
312, 313, and note. Such a marriage was admissible according to some of the
Lutherans.] or even for an openly bigamous union. Moreover about the same
time, Henry openly separated himself from his wife, and began to treat Anne
Boleyn publicly as his partner-elect on the throne.

[Sidenote 1: 1529]
[Sidenote 2: The trial]

The Pope's one object was to evade the responsibility of any pronouncement.
The Imperialist cause in Italy was progressing: Charles was growing
steadily stronger. Clement dared not pronounce in Henry's favour; he was
only less afraid of pronouncing against him. He told the agents that the
King should act on his own responsibility on the ground of dissatisfaction
with Campeggio's conduct; whereas the King was quite resolved to act, but
also quite resolved to force the responsibility for his action on Clement.
There was a limit to the possibilities of procrastination, but it was not
till June 1529 that the Court opened proceedings, citing the King and Queen
to appear. Fisher of Rochester, appearing on behalf of the Queen, boldly
declared that the marriage was valid and could not be dissolved. Standish
supported him, less vigorously. The Queen challenged the jurisdiction of
the Court, and appealed from it to the Pope. She regarded Wolsey as the
source of her woes; Anne believed that the procrastination was due to his
machinations; the King was quite capable of crushing the Cardinal to
relieve his own feelings. Popular sentiment was entirely on the Queen's
side, but held the Cardinal to blame rather than the King: though even in
Court Henry declared, in answer to Wolsey's appeal, that the minister had
not suggested but had deterred him from the course adopted. Campeggio
prorogued the Court in July. At about the same time, Clement, acting under
Imperial pressure, formally revoked the case to Rome. Before the revocation
reached England, a desperate attempt was made to persuade Katharine to
place herself in the King's hands: it failed. A sharp public altercation
between Wolsey and Suffolk showed how the current was setting.

[Sidenote: The storm gathers]

During the following months, Wolsey's loss of the royal favour became
increasingly evident, and the opposition to him on the part of the nobility
more and more open. Steven Gardiner, who had proved his conspicuous
ability, was made the King's private secretary, and became the normal
medium of communication--the close personal intercourse hitherto prevalent
was at an end. Wolsey's European policy was thrown over by Henry, who
allowed Francis and Charles to come to terms without his claiming any voice
in the negotiation. A treaty of amity was signed at Cambrai, which
terminated all prospect of Francis being induced to assist Henry in
bringing pressure to bear either on the Emperor or the Pope, and released
Clement from serious alarms as to the results of his accepting the Imperial
policy. England had deliberately vacated the position of arbiter, because
Henry was too thoroughly engrossed with the divorce to care about anything
else. Since both Francis and Charles were for the time satisfied to
restrict their ambitions so as not to collide with each other, there was no
further demand for the Cardinal's diplomatic genius. The best to which
Wolsey could now look forward was that he might be permitted to turn his
vast talents to the reform of administration, ecclesiastical, legal, and
educational, which he had always postponed to what he regarded as the more
vital demands of international politics.

[Sidenote: The storm breaks (Oct.)]

It was not long before even these hopes were destroyed. At the beginning of
October, Campeggio departed from England. At Dover, his baggage was
ransacked by the King's authority, in the hope of discovering documents
which would enable Wolsey to deal with the divorce in his absence. The
documents were not forthcoming. Wolsey was of no more use to his master.
The day after Campeggio reached Dover a writ was demanded by the King's
attorney against the Cardinal for breach of the statute of Praemunire in
acting as Legate.

[Sidenote 1: Wolsey's fall]
[Sidenote 2: 1530]
[Sidenote 3: Wolsey's death (Nov.)]

The fatal blow had been struck. From that hour, the Cardinal's doom was
sealed. He ceased absolutely to be a political force and became merely an
object for the King, and for every enemy he had raised up against himself,
to buffet. A week later, on October 16th, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk
demanded the seals from Wolsey as Chancellor; he was deprived of all his
benefices and retired to his house at Esher, where he abode in poverty.
This contented Henry for the time, and he sent gracious messages--but
restricted them to words. Even Thomas More, who succeeded him as
Chancellor, is said to have acted so far out of character as to speak of
him publicly in insulting terms. Parliament had been summoned for November;
a bill depriving him for ever of office was introduced in the Lords: in the
Commons, it was boldly resisted by Thomas Cromwell who won thereby great
credit for his loyalty; and it was dropped--not against the wishes of the
King, who was as yet disinclined to deprive himself of the chance of
resuscitating the great minister. In February Wolsey was restored to the
see of York, whither he departed to act in the novel capacity of a diocesan
devoted solely to his duties--duties which he so discharged as to change
bitter unpopularity into warm affection. The King kept a firm hold on his
forfeited properties, Gardiner was advanced to his see of Winchester: the
college at Ipswich was dissolved. Wolsey was rash enough to attempt to open
secret communications with Francis I., in the hope that his influence might
be exercised to restore to favour the man who had done so much for him. But
Norfolk, in power, had to cultivate Francis; and Francis, finding him a
much simpler diplomatic antagonist, had no wish to reinstate the
Cardinal. The attempted correspondence became known, and in November,
without warning, Wolsey was arrested for high treason. Sick and worn, he
started on his last journey towards London; but was stricken with mortal
illness, and could travel no further than Leicester Abbey where the end

[Sidenote: Wolsey's achievement]

So died the great Cardinal who for nearly twenty years had mainly swayed
the destinies of England. Henry VII. had slowly recovered a place among the
nations for a country brought low by long years of reckless civil strife.
His son's minister again raised her to be the arbiter of Europe, holding
the scales between the two mighty princes who virtually ruled Christendom:
not by deeds of arms like Edward III. or Henry V., for no English soldier
of real distinction arose in his time; but by a diplomatic genius almost
without parallel among English statesmen. In this field, the superiority of
his abilities to those of his contemporaries made his position with his
master absolutely secure, so long as foreign relations were the primary
consideration; for though the ends the minister himself had in view were
always the same, he was ready to exert his powers to the full, even at the
expense of those objects, in carrying out any policy on which Henry himself
might determine; and as a general rule the King's wishes did not run
counter to his own.

[Sidenote: Appraisement of Wolsey]

His absorbing aim was to magnify England and the King of England in the
eyes of Europe: nor was personal ambition lacking, but it was subordinate.
That he desired the popedom is clear, and that Henry desired it for him;
but he was above the temptation of allowing that desire to dominate his
national aims, and had he achieved it, he would have regarded the alliance
of the Ecclesiastical Power with England as the real prize secured. His
personal weight in the Counsels of Europe would hardly have been increased;
and he cared more for Power than for the appearance of it, though he had a
possibly exaggerated perception of the practical value of magnificence in
securing both national and personal prestige. In part at least this was the
cause of that habitual display which, while impressing, also roused the
anger of the nobles, who regarded him as an upstart, and of the satirists
of ecclesiastical ostentation and luxury. Secure in the confidence of the
King, he never attempted to conciliate either popular sentiment or the
rivals whom he deposed.

But at all times, if he magnified his own office, it was as the King's
right hand. If the King's will, even in opposition to his own, necessitated
unpopular measures, he carried those measures out, and took the odium for
them on his own head, preserving his master's popularity at the price of
his own. He ruled the country on autocratic principles, and the increase of
his power was the increase also of the King's. And the King rewarded him
after his kind.

But for the all-absorbing interest of diplomacy, his vast abilities as an
administrator and organiser might have achieved great things. He would at
least have pruned ecclesiastical abuses; and would have forced upon the
clergy as an ecclesiastic those reforms which they were always on the verge
of introducing when they found themselves anticipated by the drastic action
of the temporal Power. Reform was the inevitable corollary of Education,
and the development of Education was of all schemes the nearest to Wolsey's
heart. Yet whether, if the Divorce question had never arisen, he would have
played an effective part in the Reformation is open to doubt, for at bottom
the Puritan movement in these islands, the Lutheran movement, and the
Counter-reformation, were all the outcome or expression of Moral ideals,
not of state-craft; and for Wolsey morals were subordinate to state-craft.
It is probable that in any case the assertion in England by the State of
its supremacy over the Church would only have been deferred; but Wolsey
might have deferred it. As it was, Henry willed otherwise. The great
statesman, failing to carry out his master's demands, was hurled from
power. The battle of the Reformation was to be fought under other captains.


The term "Divorce" has been employed above, because, although a misnomer,
it is universally applied. Properly a divorce is the cancellation of a
legally contracted marriage. What Henry sought was a _declaration of
nullity_--that no valid marriage had ever taken place.



[Sidenote: 1529 No revolt as yet]

It will have been observed that when Wolsey found that the divorce was
inevitable, his energies were concentrated on the single purpose of
securing it under papal authority. For this he had two reasons--one, that
without that authority the King's act would appear in all its
arbitrariness, causing grave scandal: the other that if that authority were
refused, he foresaw the cleavage between England and Rome which did
eventually take place. Apart however from the divorce, there had not been
up to the time of Wolsey's fall any hint of an opinion in high places that
such a cleavage was _per se_ desirable or desired--although both
Wolsey himself and Gardiner had given Clement fair warning that Henry was
likely to reconsider the papal claims altogether unless the Pope complied
with his wishes. The revocation of the cause to Rome immediately brought
the execution of this threat into the sphere of practical politics.

In the second place there had been no tendency to encourage or allow
deviations from recognised orthodox doctrine. The new criticism had been so
far admitted as to produce a rigid section and a liberal section among the
orthodox, such leading prelates as Wolsey himself, Warham, Fox, Fisher, and
Tunstal, all favouring the new learning in various degrees, and being
supported therein by such learned laymen as Sir Thomas More. Their
toleration however had not extended to anything censurable as heresy, and
their attitude had been somewhat stiffened by the course of the Lutheran
revolt on the Continent. The increased licence within the Empire, following
the edict of Spires in 1528, led to an increased activity in the
suppression of heretics and heretical publications in England, first under
Wolsey and then under his successor in the Chancellorship.

[Sidenote: Growth of anti-clericalism]

In a third direction however, though not much had been done in the way of
measures, an _anti-clerical_ party had been growing up: a party which
sought to diminish clerical jurisdiction, clerical privileges, and clerical
emoluments. Among the ecclesiastics themselves there were not a few who
desired to improve clerical administration from within, but without
diminution of ecclesiastical authority; the anti-clericals were laymen who
wished the reforms to be forced on the Church from outside, reducing
ecclesiastical authority in the process. These two policies were in direct
opposition, seeing that antagonism to Wolsey--emphatically a reformer of
the prior class--was the leading motive with the nobility who headed the
second class; while the Commons in general desired primarily to be freed
from the exactions by which the clergy benefited, and from which they did
not believe the clergy would of their own initiative cut themselves
off. Wolsey had begun the internal amendment, by his visitation and
suppression of the smallest monasteries and the appropriation of
ecclesiastical property to educational purposes, and by some substitution
of the superior organisation of the legatine court for that of the
Ordinaries; but the latter step had been cancelled by his fall and by the
ominous appeal to the statute of Praemunire against legatine
jurisdiction. On the other hand, the anti-clerical action had been
practically confined so far to the modifications as to Benefit of Clergy;
unless we include the publication of pamphlets and rhymes attacking the
ecclesiastical body in general, or Wolsey in particular as the incarnation
of their shortcomings.

Some years were still to elapse before any material changes from orthodox
theological doctrine were to be entertained. But in 1529, the suspension of
the Trial was forthwith followed by the adoption of a policy--as yet only
provisional--setting aside the Pope's authority; and the assembly of
Parliament in November was marked by an immediate attack on ecclesiastical

[Sidenote: Thomas Cranmer]

In the last six months of this year the King discovered two instruments
consummately adapted for executing his will. It appears that the idea of
obtaining the opinions of the Doctors at the English Universities had
already been mooted, and that one of those selected [Footnote: Strype,
_Memorials of Cranmer_. Hook, _Life of Cranmer_.] at Cambridge
was Thomas Cranmer, a learned and amiable divine with marked leanings
towards the New Learning; who in his early graduate days had fallen under
the influence of the teaching at Cambridge of Erasmus; in scholarship
subtle and erudite, in affairs guileless and easily swayed; timorous by
nature, but capable of outbreaks of audacity as timid persons often are: a
gentle and lovable man, but lacking in that robust self-confidence needed
by one who would take a resolutely independent line; a man intended to be a
student and forced by an unkind fate to assume the role of a man of action.
Such a character, brought under the direct influence of a powerful will and
a magnetic personality, is readily led to see everything as it is desired
that he should see it, and at the worst to differ from the master-mind only
with submission.

[Sidenote: Appeal to the universities]

When Campeggio suspended the sittings of the Commission the, King withdrew
to Waltham Cross. Steven Gardiner and Foxe the King's almoner, who were in
his suite, met Cranmer who had left Cambridge on account of an outbreak of
the sweating sickness. They had, as was natural, a conversation on "the
King's affair"; when Cranmer propounded the theory that if the Universities
of Europe--that is, the qualified divines--gave it as their opinion that
the union with Katharine had been contrary to the Divine Law, the King
might follow the dictates of his conscience and pronounce the marriage null
without recognising Papal jurisdiction. This was clearly quite a different
thing from producing the judgment of the Doctors merely as an expert
opinion which must carry weight with the Judge at Rome. It was practically
an assertion that the Pope's judgment was not of higher authority than the
King's; an answer to a question as to jurisdiction; a suggestion of
replying to the Pope's revocation of the case by a counter-revocation. Foxe
reported the conversation to Henry, who caught at the new method of giving
a constitutional colour to an arbitrary proceeding. Cranmer was summoned to
court, attached to the Boleyn household, set down to write a thesis on the
point of conscience, and sent off early in 1530 in the train of the Earl of
Wiltshire (to which dignity Sir Thomas Boleyn--had been raised) on an
embassy to the Emperor at Bologna. Moreover his plan for consulting the
Universities was actively taken in hand.

[Sidenote: The new Parliament]

In the meantime, in November, Henry's most famous Parliament had opened
session. The last, called six years before under Wolsey's regime to obtain
supplies, had shown a qualified submissiveness. The new one, whether packed
or not, displayed prompt signs of activity. Known to fame as the "Seven
Years'" or "Reformation" Parliament, it consistently displayed three
characteristics: it was anti-papal and anti-clerical; it endorsed the Royal
will; but it refused dictation where its pocket was concerned. Its first
session lasted only a few weeks, but was marked by an attack on clerical
abuses, and by the sudden prominence achieved by Thomas Cromwell.

[Sidenote: Thomas Cromwell]

Concerning Cromwell's early years, much is reported and little is known.
The common rumour declared that he was the son of a blacksmith--as it
declared Wolsey to be the son of a butcher. He is said to have tried
various trades, among others those of man-at-arms in the mercenary troop of
an Italian nobleman, wool-merchant and usurer at Antwerp, usurer and petty
attorney in England. On all these points the evidence is scanty and
inconclusive. About 1520, he found his way into Wolsey's entourage, and was
a member of the 1523 parliament. Wolsey found him an apt man of business,
and entrusted him with a good deal of the financial management of his
educational schemes; in the course of which it is at least probable that he
applied the twin practices of bribery and blackmail, which not without
reason were attributed at a later date to his servants. Yet, however
unscrupulous he may have been in his dealings with others, to the master
whose service he had followed he was always loyal. Wolsey made him his
secretary; and when the Cardinal fell, the secretary's position seemed
exceedingly precarious. Whether from an admirable fidelity or through
amazingly astute hypocrisy, he boldly and openly took up the cudgels in
parliament on behalf of the stricken minister, apparently challenging
imminent ruin for himself. Action so courageous won him applause and
good-will instead of present hostility. More than that, it immediately
marked him in the eyes of the King--an exceedingly shrewd judge of men--as
an invaluable prospective servant for himself. A combination of audacity
and fidelity with shrewdness, resourcefulness, and unscrupulosity, was
precisely what he wanted and precisely what he had found. The Cardinal's
secretary became the King's secretary, and forthwith identified himself
with the policy of establishing the Royal autocracy in a stronger form than
it had ever before assumed in England. Whether or no Thomas Cromwell learnt
his political principles as an adventurer in Italy, he became himself the
living embodiment of those doctrines of state-craft which were systematised
by Macchiavelli in his treatise "The Prince".

[Sidenote: Pope, Clergy and King]

In the reconstruction of the relations between Church and State which
covers more than nine-tenths of the Reformation under Henry VIII. there
were three parties concerned; the Pope, the Sovereign, and the Clerical
Organisation in England. From time immemorial, Popes and Kings had striven
periodically with each other in asserting antagonistic control over the
ecclesiastical body; and the ecclesiastical body had made common cause, now
with the Pope and now with the King, in resisting encroachments by the
rival authority. If the clergy submitted to one or the other, it was always
with a reservation that submission to physical force could not impair the
inherent rights of the successors of the Apostles. Similarly, if the Pope
gave way to the King or the King to the Pope, their respective successors
regarded the claims surrendered as rights not cancelled but in abeyance.
The prevailing conditions at any given time were always looked upon as a
_modus vivendi_ liable to readjustment when any of the three parties
felt impelled to claim a larger freedom of action or a larger power of
control. In the past however the Spiritual Powers had drawn effectively
upon their armoury of excommunications and interdicts in the conflict; it
was now to be seen whether these ancient weapons had become obsolete. If
they could be defied with comparative impunity, there could be but one end
to a struggle between the Spiritual and the Temporal forces.

[Sidenote: Double campaign opens]

By the appeal to the Universities, Henry gave warning of a possible
anti-papal campaign: in which he could look for a considerable degree of
clerical support up to a certain point, more particularly because the
clergy generally were ready to be released from the financial exactions of
the Holy See, as well as from its practical exercise of patronage.
Parliament opened an anti-clerical campaign, but its measures at first were
confined to dealing with almost indefensible and obvious abuses. Bishop
Fisher recognised the familiar thin end of the wedge, and charged the
Commons with desiring "the goods, not the good" of the Church; but the
opposition was slender. In the six weeks of the first session, there were
passed, the Probate and Mortuaries Acts, abolishing, reducing, or
regulating fees, and the Pluralities Act, forbidding the clergy in general
to hold more than one benefice, and requiring Residence--a very
inconvenient arrangement for papal nominees. The general value of the Act
however was impaired by a schedule of exemptions. Fisher's protest had its
counterpart in the protest of Convocation, not against the avowed objects
of this legislation but against Parliament as its source: the position
being that Convocation was itself preparing legislation with the same ends
in view, and was the proper body to do so.

[Sidenote: 1530 Answers of the Universities]

During 1530, Parliament remained inactive. The Earl of Wiltshire's embassy
to Bologna, of which the object was to induce Charles to withdraw his
opposition to the divorce, naturally proved abortive. The consultation of
the Universities however went on apace. The theory propounded for their
acceptance was that Katharine had been in actual fact the wife of Henry's
brother; that this being so her marriage with Henry was contrary to the Law
of God; and that by consequence the second contract was actually not only
voidable but void, the dispensation being under those circumstances a dead
letter. On the other side it was maintained that whatever validity there
might be in this argument, it fell to the ground if--as was asserted on the
Queen's behalf--her first marriage had been ceremonial only. The answers of
the Universities were inconclusive, some declaring the marriage valid,
others declaring it void, and others, including Oxford and Cambridge,
declaring that it was against the Law of God without pronouncing the
dispensation of Julius _ipso facto_ invalid. Moreover, had the
opinions given been decisive in themselves, the method by which they were
obtained would have destroyed their moral value. Francis, finding that
England's friendship was in the balance, dictated a favourable reply to the
French Universities. Those in England knew they were not free agents.
Clement professed to give those in Italy a free hand, but in that country
Charles was the dominant power. In Germany the Lutherans were hostile to
Henry personally on account of his own anti-Lutheran pronouncements.
Nowhere was a judgment on the simple merits of the case procurable.

[Sidenote: Preoccupation of the Clergy]

In the meantime, the clergy in England had been mainly occupied with a
campaign against heresy, and with the suppression of dangerous literature;
[Footnote: According to Mr. Froude, Henry only assented with reluctance to
the suppression of Tindal's Testament on condition of the preparation of an
authorised version being agreed to. But even Hall, whom he cites, only says
that both proposals were adopted after long debate.--Froude, i., p. 298
(Ed. 1862).] but willingly or not found themselves committed to approving
the preparation of an authorised translation of the Scriptures--the one
movement under Henry which tended definitely, in effect though not of set
purpose, to a revision of Doctrine.

[Sidenote 1: Menace of Praemunire]
[Sidenote 2: 1531 "Only Supreme Head"]
[Sidenote 3: Proceedings in Parliament]

In December of 1530, however, the Church was to receive a rough reminder
that the Defender of the Faith was a stickler for the rigidity of the
statutes. He had already struck at Wolsey because, urged thereto by
himself, the Cardinal had obtained and exercised legatine powers contrary
to the Statutes of Praemunire. Such was the King's reverence for the Law
that after it had been transgressed with his sanction for ten years he felt
it his duty to penalise the transgressor. After another twelve-month, he
felt it his further duty to penalise all who had submitted to the illegal
authority. The clergy were informed that they lay one and all under the
royal displeasure for breach of praemunire (of which they had in fact been
technically guilty), and could only hope for pardon by purchasing it for
something over £100,000--practically equivalent to about a couple of
millions now. Convocation, alive to the futility of resistance, apologised
for its iniquity and admitted the justice of the punishment. Thereupon, in
the preamble to the bill by which they were to mulct themselves, the King
required the insertion of a clause which designated him "Protector and Only
Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy in England". This roused general
resistance. Convocation proposed conferences, and sought some compromise
which they could reconcile with their consciences. The King would have no
compromise, demanding instant submission. At last Warham hit upon the
expedient of one of those saving phrases which might mean everything or
nothing, and yet could not be objected to on the face of it; inserting the
words "so far as the laws of Christ permit": the precise degree to which
the said laws did permit being susceptible of unlimited argument, as the
royal claims or the clerical conscience might respectively demand. Even so
had Becket in the past shielded himself with the words "Saving the rights
of my Order". For the time being, this diplomatic evasion or pitiful
subterfuge, as the advocates and contemners of the clergy respectively call
it, saved the situation. At the time, it must be remarked, Henry did not
intend the title to be read as repudiating the Papal Supremacy, which had
not hitherto been formally called question. On the face of it, it looks
like a touch of Cromwell's; in a thing designed to force the hand of the
Clergy in the future if the Papal Supremacy should be directly challenged.
The clause was accepted (for the Province of Canterbury) on March 22nd; six
weeks later it was also accepted by the Convocation of York, with a protest
from Tunstal, now bishop of Durham, who had been distinguished by his
diplomatic services under Wolsey's régime. During the corresponding session
(January-March 1531) no anti-clerical measures were introduced in
Parliament; which registered the Royal pardon and received the formal
announcement of the decision of the Universities. The "stern and lofty
moral principles" [Footnote: Froude, i., 307, 310 (Ed. 1862). The
historian's enthusiasm may seem to require some qualification. The
retrospective creation of crimes is a dangerous practice: and the penalty
applied might even be considered savage.] of the nation were however
vindicated, in consequence of the wholesale poisoning of the bishop of
Rochester's household, attributed to an attempt to make away with Fisher
himself. By a special enactment, the essentially un-English practice of
poisoning was retrospectively classified as high treason, and the criminal
sentenced to death by boiling.

[Sidenote: 1532 Parliament]

In the beginning of 1532 the campaign was renewed with vigour; whether from
the laudable desire of reforming abuses, or with the object of terrorising
the Church into complete subservience. Incidentally it is to be observed
that so far as the activity of the Commons was directed against the payment
of extortionate fees, the Church had a part only, not the whole, of their
opposition. They logically and manfully resisted a "Bill of Wards"
legalising claims of the Lords in sundry cases of the marriage of wards.
This has been jibed at [Footnote: Moore (Aubrey), _Hist. of the
Reformation_, 103.] as showing that they cared for cash and not for
principle. As a matter of fact it appears to prove the first, but to have
no bearing on the second. It also proves that when they did care, they
could be obstinate, for the Bill was dropped: which illustrates the tact
with which the King could yield on a point unimportant to him personally.

In especial however this session was signalised by three Acts, dealing with
Mortmain, Benefit of Clergy, and Annates: and by the "Supplication against
the Ordinaries" which took partial effect in the "Submission of the

[Sidenote: Supplication against the Ordinaries]

The Supplication [Footnote: Mr. Froude, i., 211 (Ed. 1862), dates this
1529, but without apparent reason. _Cf._ Dixon, i., 77, note.] was in
effect a statement of grievances, directed against the powers of
Convocation in the way of ecclesiastical legislation, and the conduct of
the ecclesiastical Courts and their fees. Under this second head it was
simply the expression of a popular outcry, which had already begun to take
effect in the legislation of 1529; an outcry so far justified that the
clergy themselves met it, in part, by declaring that they were giving
independent attention to the abuses complained of. As an indictment its
weakness lay in the inadequate support by specific instances of the general
charges of miscarriage of justice. Under the first head it has the
appearance of being inspired by Cromwell, of whose policy a main feature
was the concentration of all effective legislative power in the King.

[Sidenote: Resistance of Clergy]

The Supplication was presented, and laid before Convocation for an answer.
The answer was given on the lines that, as concerned the grievances in
general, so far as they were real they were in process of removal, and that
as concerned miscarriage of justice it was impossible to answer effectively
unless the charges were made specific. As to ecclesiastical legislation it
was replied that this was a function of the Clergy, and that their canons
were in accord with Scripture and therefore not antagonistic to the Civil
Law; to which was added an appeal to the King as the Protector of the
Faith. They were informed that this answer was "too slender"; so sent a
second in which appeal was made to Henry's own book against Luther, and an
offer was added that they would publish no ordinances without the royal
assent excepting on matters of faith. In both answers Gardiner, now bishop
of Winchester, is reputed to have been the guiding spirit--thereby showing
that Henry could not count upon his assistance in reducing his Order to

[Sidenote: "Submission of the Clergy"]

This attitude however was by no means sufficient for Henry and Cromwell.
It is in fact clear that they had made up their minds to put an end to an
anomalous condition of affairs. Hypothetically, the Church and the State
had been making laws independently of each other side by side. The two
sets of laws might involve incompatibles; the King's lieges might be
harassed by the canons of the Church, and loyal churchmen might be
embarrassed by the laws of the realm. The time had come when one ultimate
authority must be recognised. There was no manner of doubt which of the two
that ultimate authority was to be. Yet for the attainment of this end, the
Clergy must be required to surrender what they had always accounted a right
inviolable, sacred, vested in them by divine commission. The Clergy had to
surrender or take the risk of martyrdom: and they elected to surrender--in
effect to recognise that they were beaten _de facto_ if not _de
jure_. They struggled hard for a compromise which would salve their
collective conscience. Finally (May) they agreed to enact no new canons
without the Kind's authority, and to submit to a commission such of the
existing canons as were contravened. The wording of this "Submission of the
Clergy," as it is called, does not leave it absolutely clear whether the
entire canon law or only a portion was to be subjected to the revision of
the commission--which was to consist of thirty-two members, half laymen and
half clergy--but the balance of opinion is in favour of the partial
theory. The defeat was a crushing blow to the aged Warham who never
recovered from it and died three months later; and it caused the immediate
resignation of the Chancellorship by Sir Thomas More--a _rara avis_
among statesmen of the day, with whom conscience actually had the last
word, not the King's will.

[Sidenote 1: Mortmain and Benefit of Clergy]
[Sidenote 2: Annates Act]

The other Acts referred to above were passed before the Submission of the
Clergy was completed. The Mortmain and Benefit of Clergy Acts were
respectively in limitation of bequests to the Church and of privileges of
clerical criminals. They were merely normal steps in the reform of
abuses. The Annates Act however demands closer attention. Every bishop on
appointment to his see paid the first year's income to Rome--whether on an
original appointment, or on translation from one see to another. Obviously
this was a tremendous tax on the bishops and a source of large income to
Rome. There had been frequent complaints, and suggestions that the Pope
should reduce his claim. Very recently, Gardiner had been obliged to borrow
heavily to meet the exaction on becoming bishop of Winchester. The Bill
provided that five per cent. only should be paid, by way of compensation
for expenses of papal Bulls, the ground taken up being that the papal claim
was contrary to the ruling of the General Council of Basle, and that the
payment, being an alienation of the property of the See, was contrary to
the bishops consecration oath. The Bill was passed, the bishops--according
to letters of the foreign ambassadors in London--dissenting; a course
perfectly natural on their part as a protest, not in favour of the payment,
but against the authority of the temporal power to intervene. Yet it is
frequently stated as a matter of common knowledge that the clergy
themselves were the prime movers, and that the Bill was brought in on their
petition. This belief would seem to rest exclusively on the
misinterpretation of a document attributed by a later historian [Footnote:
Strype, _Eccl. Memorials_ I., ii., 158. Froude, i., 361 ff.
(Ed. 1862). But _cf._. Gairdner, _English Church_, p. 116. The
present writer fell into the usual error in a previous volume on
_Cranmer_; and has to thank Mr. Tomlinson for correcting him.] to
Convocation, but almost certainly of parliamentary origin.

The Act however was not put in immediate execution: but the English agents
in Italy were instructed to hold it _in terrorem_ over Clement's head.

[Sidenote: The European Powers and the Divorce]

The subsequent methods of procedure were largely the outcome of the
diplomatic situation on the Continent. In the first place, the idea of
calling an Oecumenical Council had been much in the air. Each of the three
great monarchs was desirous of calling one, on his own terms; so were the
Lutherans. But for each the terms must be such as should ensure practical
subservience to his own dictation: while to the Pope the proposal, so long
as it was hypothetical, was a thing he could produce as either a sop or a
threat, as circumstances might commend. In the next place, for the time
Charles dominated the Pope; but while he was making terms with the
Lutherans, under pressure of the advance of the Turks on the east, whereby
his loyalty to the papacy was made doubtful, he was also on the other hand,
Katharine's unyielding champion. Thus any positive declaration on the
divorce from Clement was tolerably certain to finally alienate either
Charles or Henry. Now the rivalry of Charles was the great obstacle to
Francis: whose object had come to be to utilise England so as to obtain for
himself the concessions he wanted from the Emperor; extorting them as the
result of joint pressure on the part of France and England or as the price
of a separation between France and England. The thing he most feared was a
compromise between Henry and Charles. Thus his policy was, by associating
himself with Henry, to detach the Pope also from Charles, by the menace of
a joint Anglo-French schism from the Roman obedience. Therefore in the
summer and autumn of 1532 Francis was ostentatiously friendly to Henry and
the cause of the Divorce. Conferences to which Henry was invited to bring
Anne Boleyn as his Queen-elect were arranged, and took place at Calais and
Boulogne. Henry thereafter made up his mind to a decisive step and on their
return to England in November or perhaps in the following January he
married Anne privately. Francis however had successfully avoided committing
himself unequivocally to an uncompromising English alliance.

[Sidenote: 1533 The crisis arrives]

In December, the Pope and the Emperor both being at Bologna, Clement
professed to the English agents a more amenable spirit, suggesting that the
divorce should be held over for a General Council, or that Henry should
agree to have the trial held outside his own realms; propositions, however,
to neither of which the King could be lured to assent. But the year 1533
had hardly opened when Charles was enabled to publish a Papal warning of
excommunication against Henry unless he restored Katharine to her full
rights as his wife (Feb.); while he detached France from England by the
promise of concessions restoring her position in Italy.

Clement might now defer a pronouncement in favour of Katharine; there was
no practical room for hoping that he might still pronounce against her.
Henry stood alone; if the Pope were finally driven to choose between
defying the King or the Emperor there could be no doubt which of the two he
would rather have for an enemy. It only remained for Henry to put it beyond
question that the declaration must be made, and that his own enmity would
take an energetic form. His reply to the Pope was decisive. Early in April,
parliament passed the great Act in Restraint of Appeals, which was
virtually the announcement of the repudiation of the Roman allegiance;
before the end of May, the new Archbishop of Canterbury in his court
pronounced the marriage with Katharine void _ab initio_, and the
recent marriage with her rival valid.

[Sidenote: Restraint of Appeals]

In form, the Act in Restraint of Appeals was not a fresh piece of
legislation but a declaration of the existing law; a flat assertion that
any appeal to the jurisdiction of Rome from the English courts brought the
appellant under the penalties of praemunire, the "spiritualty" of the
country being competent to deal with spiritual cases, and the sovereign
recognising no jurisdiction superior to his own. It did not raise the
question of authority in matters of doctrine; nor was it a formal
declaration of schism from Rome. Its meaning however was clear. The
constitutional theory of independence, put forward on many occasions as the
warrant for legislation, was henceforth to be acted upon in its most ample
interpretation: though, as with the Annates Bill, the final confirmation
was suspended to leave Clement a last chance of surrender. Taken on its
merits the Act laid down principles entirely acceptable to all parties who
claim or claimed independence of Rome: yet it was quite obviously issued
with the direct purpose of setting aside the Pope's authority in a
particular case already referred to him.

[Sidenote 1: Cranmer Archbishop]
[Sidenote 2: The decisive breach]

It is in fact doubtful whether Henry could have procured a judgment from
Warham; but Warham was dead, and the successor appointed was Thomas
Cranmer, who already before he had been dragged into public life had
committed himself to the sufficiency of the judgment of the English
courts. Since taking part in Wiltshire's embassy in 1531 he had been for
the most part in Germany on diplomatic affairs, associating with
Protestants and imbibing their views. The most pronounced and definite of
his doctrines was that of the supremacy of the crown; and on his
installation as Archbishop in March, he had qualified [Footnote: Moore
(Aubrey), _Hist. of Reformation_, 109, finds a proof in this of
"servility and dishonesty," which terms appear to be in his view
equivalents of Erastianism.] his oath of allegiance to Rome accordingly.
Other ecclesiastics, from Becket to Gardiner, had been appointed to
bishoprics under the impression that they were going to support the secular
arm against the claims of their Order, and had falsified
expectation. Cranmer maintained as Archbishop the theories of clerical
subordination which he had adopted as a University Doctor. Convocation was
called on to express an opinion on the marriage; and whether from
conviction or despair, it supported the King by a majority. The Archbishop
obtained the royal licence to convene a court. Katharine, refusing to
appear, was declared contumacious; and the Court pronounced her marriage
void while confirming Anne's. The Pope rejoined by pronouncing the judgment
void. Henry retorted by confirming the Acts in Restraint of Annates and
Appeals; and himself appealed against the Pope to a General Council. Until,
in March of the next year, Clement himself definitely pronounced judgment
in favour of Katharine, there remained a shadow of a chance of a
reconciliation tantamount to the submission of the Holy See; but the chance
was not accepted. Practically the judgment of Cranmer's court marked the
definite schism from Rome.



[Sidenote: 1533 Ecclesiastical Parties]

WE have noted that a proportion of the higher clergy were at least not
unwilling to be freed from the domination and the financial exactions of
Rome; this attitude being either the cause or the effect of the line they
took as to the divorce. When, however, it was borne in upon them that the
price of escaping the yoke of the Popedom was to be the subjection of the
Church, in form to the lay monarch, and in fact to the State, the bulk of
them endeavoured to protest against the newly imposed subordination. With
the "Submission of the Clergy" and the appointment of Cranmer as Warham's
successor, it became entirely clear that to protest or resist would be
worse than useless. Accordingly we shall now find this section of the
clerical body, including such prelates as Gardiner of Winchester, Stokesley
of London, and Tunstal of Durham, devoting themselves to evading or
rendering nugatory the directions of the Temporal power and its instrument
Cranmer, under colour of obedience, while dissociating themselves from the
more rigid of the Old Catholics such as Fisher of Rochester, More, the
London Carthusians and others. On the other hand, the newer school, who
were much more antagonistic to the papacy, such as Cranmer, Latimer and
Barlow, found more personal favour with the King and with Cromwell, though
their leanings towards the doctrinal tenets of Continental reformers were
checked from time to time with sufficient rudeness.

[Sidenote: Pope or King?]

A very peculiar situation however soon resulted from the Royal rejection of
the Papal supremacy. To hold the opinion that the Pope was head of the
Church implied the recognition of a divided allegiance, casting a doubt on
the holder's loyalty to the Secular Sovereign, and easily translated into
treason; since the papal party were bound to maintain in theory the
validity of the marriage with Katharine, and the rights of her daughter
Mary. Henry never lacked a plausible theory to justify his most tyrannous
actions. Modern historians however who carry their support of Henry to the
extreme point ignore the two facts, that to hold an opinion which if acted
on would lead to treason is not in itself treason; and that it was quite
logical to maintain the supreme authority of the Pope in matters spiritual,
without admitting his power to depose a recalcitrant monarch or to
determine the line of succession--which was in fact the position adopted by
Sir Thomas More.

[Sidenote: 1534 Confirmatory Acts]

The Spring session of Parliament in 1534 was devoted mainly to the passing
of Acts in confirmation and extension of what already been done. The
Submission of the Clergy and the Restraint of Appeals were re-affirmed in
one Act; but with the important difference that the whole of the Canon law
was to be subjected to the Commission when appointed, [Footnote: See
p. 128, _ante_]. till which time the clergy would be acting at their
peril in enforcing any rules which might subsequently be condemned as
against the Royal Prerogative. This was accompanied by an Act in
confirmation of the Annates Act, coupled with the _congé d'élire_,
assuring to the King the right of nomination to ecclesiastical appointments
under the form of permitting the Chapters to elect his nominee. A third,
the "Peter Pence" Act, abolished the remaining contributions to the Papal
Treasury. At the same time the "exempt" monasteries--those, that is, which
had not been subject to the supervision of the bishops--were conveyed to
the King's control, still without episcopal intervention. A fourth Act, not
_prima facie_ ecclesiastical in character, was the Act of Succession,
declaring the offspring of Anne Boleyn (the princess Elizabeth had been
born in the previous September) heirs to the throne.

[Sidenote: The Pope's last word]

While these proceedings were in progress, the last attempt to subdue the
Pope by diplomacy was failing. At the end of March, Clement gave the long
deferred judgment on the divorce, pronouncing the marriage with Katharine
valid, and that with Anne Boleyn void. Clement survived but a short time.
His successor Paul III. had at one time been in Henry's favour; but
reconciliation was now outside the range of practical politics, and the new
Pope soon found himself more definitely antagonistic to the English monarch
than his predecessor had been.

[Sidenote: The Nun of Kent]

The prevailing superstitions of the day and their reality as factors even
in public life are curiously illustrated by the story of the "Nun of Kent"
--a story concluded by her execution about this time. The "Nun" was a young
woman named Elizabeth Barton of humble birth, who was subject to fits or
trances, presumably epileptic in character, in which trances she gave vent
to utterances which were supposed to be inspired, being generally religious
in their bearing. Having acquired some notoriety and a reputation for
sanctity, her prophesyings before long took the form of denunciation of the
divorce, at that time in its earlier stages. She was exploited by sundry
fanatical persons honest or otherwise--in such cases it is seldom possible
to fathom the extent to which mania, intentional deception, conscious or
unconscious suggestion, and mere credulity, are mingled. In those days,
there were few people who would venture to attribute such phenomena to
purely natural causes. Such a man as Thomas More, who was eminently
rational as well as deeply religious, was not easily beguiled; but the more
credulous and equally honest bishop of Rochester was unable to regard the
prophesyings as mere imposture, as was also the case with Warham; and being
thus countenanced, when the Nun's utterances reached the point of
denouncing the wrath of Heaven upon those who consented to the Divorce, she
became really dangerous. She and her associates were charged with treason
and executed, while Fisher was necessarily to some degree
implicated. Before her death the Nun made a confession of elaborate
imposture, but too much weight should not be attached to confessions made
under such conditions. Given a certain degree of mental aberration, the
case is not without parallels pointing to an absence of conscious fraud.
But whether in her case it was fraud or mania, the important fact remains
that there were numbers of people who attributed her utterances neither to
the one nor the other but to inspiration; numbers more who were in doubt on
the point; and that those utterances were to some extent utilised in a
seditious propaganda; for to declare as a message from on high that the
King and his advisers had brought upon themselves the curse of the Almighty
must be recognised as effectively, even if not intentionally, preaching

[Sidenote 1: The Act of Succession]
[Sidenote 2: The oath refused]

The proceedings against Elizabeth Barton had been accompanied by
revelations of more or less suspicious conduct on the part of the Countess
of Salisbury and of Poles, [Footnote: The Countess of Salisbury's
children. The de la Poles were now extinct. The Nevilles were the
Countess's kinsfolk, her mother having been a daughter of the Kingmaker.
See _Front_.] Courtenays and Nevilles, while the Princess Mary
declined to regard herself as illegitimate. This was made the pretext for
adopting a very irregular course in connexion with the Act of
Succession. The Act not only established the order of Succession to the
throne, but in the preamble asserted the invalidity of Katharine's
marriage, it was accompanied by an authority to exact an oath of obedience
to the Statute, the form of the oath not being laid down. Commissioners
were appointed to exact the oath, which was drawn up in a form accepting
the entire terms of the Act, not merely promising adhesion to its
provisions. Presented to them in this form, both More and Fisher refused to
take the oath. Both were prepared to swear to maintain the succession as
laid down; neither would avow a belief that the marriage with Katharine was
void _ab initio_. More laid down definitely the doctrine that it was
in the power of the State to determine the succession, and the duty of the
citizen to accept its decision; but that obviously does not involve an
opinion that the reasons for its decision are sound. Cranmer would fain
have persuaded the King to accept the oath thus modified as sufficient--not
realising that the primary object of Henry and Cromwell was to drive the
opponents of the divorce into a public recantation of their opinion. More
and Fisher were resolute, and were sent to the Tower, though in form an
indictment ought first to have been brought against them in the courts.
Cromwell expressed and no doubt felt a very genuine regret at the failure
of the plan; but it was ever Cromwell's method to strike at the most
influential opponents of his policy. If they would bend, well: if not, they
must break. The device of the oath would force the surrender or else the
destruction of the best members of the high Catholic party. Three of the
most zealous and most irreproachable monastic establishments--the London
Carthusians, the Richmond Observants, and the Brentford Brigittines--were
inveigled or cowed into temporary submission, but later reverted to the
position of More and Fisher, and suffered accordingly. The Greenwich
Observants refused submission altogether, and were dissolved.

[Sidenote: "The Bishop of Rome"]

Before the administration of the oath, the news of Clement's decision had
come from Rome, with a Bull of Excommunication to follow. It was well for
Henry that Francis could be relied on to keep Charles in check; for the
foreign ambassadors, whether well-informed or mainly because the wish was
father to the thought, were reporting serious disaffection in the country,
which otherwise might have led to armed intervention by the Emperor. The
answer to Rome however took the emphatic form of a declaration by
Convocation and the Universities that "the Bishop of Rome has no more
authority in England than any other foreign Bishop"; in addition to the
Acts of Parliament already recorded.

[Sidenote 1: Parliament (Nov.)]
[Sidenote 2: Treasons Act]

Before the end of the year (1534) Parliament was again in session. The
argument submitted to the Pope before the passing of the Annates Act--that
it pressed with undue severity on the bishops--was shown in its true
character by a new Annates Act which appropriated to the King the funds of
which the Pope had been deprived. The relief of the bishops was ignored. By
the "Act of the Supreme Head," Parliament also professedly confirmed the
declaration of Convocation in 1531; but omitted the saving [Footnote: See
p. 125] clause; and by a fresh Act of Succession, regularised the treatment
of More and Fisher, enforcing the oath in the form in which it had been
submitted to them, retrospectively. Then came the Treasons Act, the coping
stone of Resolute Government; bringing into the category of Treason not
only the specific overt actions to which it had been limited by the Act of
Edward III., but also "verbal treason" and even the refusal to answer
incriminating questions. It is easy to see what vast opportunities were
thus given for fastening a practically irrefutable charge of treason on any
victim selected, when the recognised principle was that the _onus
probandi_ lay with the accused. An irresistible instrument of tyranny
was created, justified of course by the usual argument that without such
powers it was not possible to deal adequately with the abnormal dangers of
the situation. It need only be remarked that where there is practically no
check on the abuse of such powers save the scrupulosity of the persons in
whom they are vested, the risk of flagrant injustice becomes almost
incalculable. Since the days of Edward III., no monarch had occupied the
throne with less risk of serious treason than Henry VIII. Under all save
Henry V. there had been active rebellion, and under him there was at least
one serious plot. Yet the treason statute of Edward III. had under them
been held sufficient. The new Act was in truth but one step in the
systematic development of autocracy under constitutional forms to which the
policy of Thomas Cromwell was devoted.

[Sidenote 1: 1529-34 The New Policy]
[Sidenote 2: Cromwell]

When Wolsey fell in 1529 the Duke of Norfolk became ostensibly the King's
most powerful subject. But it is impossible to trace to him or to his
following among the nobility the formulation of any sort of definite
policy. Nevertheless, a quite definite policy had been initiated after a
short lapse of time. Starting with the checking of palpable ecclesiastical
abuses, it had gone on to assert with steadily increasing rigour the
subjection of the entire clerical organisation to the Supreme Head, and to
embody the assertion of the theory in practical legislation, and dictation
to Convocation. It had threatened the papacy, till the threats issued
virtually in an ultimatum followed by repudiation of papal authority. It
had placed papal and ecclesiastical perquisites under gradual restrictions,
till by the last Annates Act it began transferring them openly to the
Crown. In many instances, the initiative had been ostensibly taken by
Parliament; in others, the King had exercised direct pressure on the
clergy, but had obtained from Parliament a ratification of the
ecclesiastical concessions. The whole trend of the policy, culminating in
the Treasons Act, was to concentrate effective control in the hands of the
sovereign, by consent of Parliament. And now Cromwell emerges as the man
who was to give that policy tremendous effect, and by inference at least as
its probable creator and organiser from the close of 1530. It is not till
1535 however that he becomes openly and indisputably first minister;
Wolsey's successor in Henry's confidence--and to Henry's gratitude.

[Sidenote: 1535 More and Fisher]

Before the prorogation of Parliament in February (1535) the two
recalcitrants in the Tower, More and Fisher, were attainted High Treason
for maintaining their refusal to take the prescribed oath under the Act of
Succession. It was perhaps in the hope that the King might hesitate to
proceed to extremities, in the face of a very marked expression of
sentiment, that the new Pope, Paul III., proceeded to nominate Fisher a
Cardinal. It ought to have been obvious that the very contrary effect would
have been produced: the step was naturally looked upon as a challenge. More
and Fisher were condemned to death and executed in the summer--martyrs
assuredly to conscience. The whole of their offence consisted in the single
fact that they could not and would not recant their belief in the validity
of Katharine's marriage. Had they sought to make converts to that opinion,
or to make it a text for preaching sedition, there might have been some
colour of justice in their punishment. As it was, such danger as there
might be in their holding that view lay entirely in the advertisement of it
by insistence on the oath. All Europe shuddered, and half England trembled
at the demonstration of ruthless power, when those two were struck down--
the aged bishop whose spotless character and saintly life had for many a
year given the lie to those who included all the higher clergy in a
universal condemnation; and the ex-chancellor, the friend of Erasmus, whose
wide learning, kindly wit, intellectual eminence, and unswerving rectitude
had won for him a European reputation greater than that of any other
Englishman of his time. The Carthusians, Brigittines, and Observants who
had been induced to give way on the question of the Oath reverted to the
position of More and Fisher. Their heads also were put to death, and the
houses broken up.

The wrath of the Pope was expressed in a Bull of Deposition; which however
on second thoughts he found it advisable to hold in suspense till three
years later.

[Sidenote: Cromwell made Vicar-General]

When More and Fisher opposed themselves obstinately to the King's will,
there was no doubt that the King would see to it that they paid the
penalty. But we may suspect that it was not Henry's brain but Cromwell's
which devised the policy of presenting them with the fatal dilemma. Before
they were put to death, the minister's supremacy was already established by
his appointment as Vicar-General, with full power to exercise on the King's
behalf all the rights vested in the Supreme Head of the Church: rights
which--however it might be asserted that they were and had been at all
times inherent in the sovereign--were now to be interpreted in a novel and
comprehensive spirit. But besides the development alike in extent and
intensity of the attack on the clerical organisation, we now find foreign
policy taking a new direction for which Cromwell was assuredly responsible.

[Sidenote 1: The German Lutherans]
[Sidenote 2: Overtures]

Hitherto, since the fall of Wolsey, the Emperor had been in steady
antagonism to the English King: so had the Pope, except when he had hopes
of the Imperial pressure on him being removed. France had on the whole
given support to England, usually of a lukewarm character. But it does not
appear that, until this time, Henry had learnt to look upon the German
Lutherans as an available political force: while his active hostility to
the Lutheran theology seemed to preclude anything in the nature of a
_rapprochement_ with the Protestant princes. Yet the Lutherans, like
Henry, had repudiated papal authority. Recently the French King had taken
up the idea of bringing about a compromise between the Pope on one side,
and the Lutherans and English on the other, which would place Charles in
dangerous straits. The prospect however was unpromising at the best; a
reconciliation with Rome was really impossible. Cromwell, then, conceived
the idea of a Protestant league, which would suggest to Francis the
advantage of following Henry's lead in throwing off the Roman allegiance,
and ranging himself with the Lutherans and the English. Henry's own
theological predilections stood in the way, and the Lutherans regarded him
with suspicion: but Cromwell looked to political expediency as a potent
salve for healing controversial differences. Thus in the late summer of
1535, the first advances were made in the direction of seeking a mutual
understanding with the German Protestants--not without hints that Henry had
an open mind on the subject of the Augsburg Confession. The Germans however
were in no haste to accept Henry as a brand plucked from the burning;
rather, they had a not unnatural suspicion that he merely wanted to make
use of them. They propounded conditions, which Cromwell submitted to
Gardiner, at this time ambassador at Paris. Whatever Gardiner's views were
as to papal ascendancy, he was no Lutheran; and he pointed out that to
accept the terms would deprive England of her ecclesiastical
independence. Thus the negotiations fell through--as might have been
expected. Nevertheless, the desire for the Lutheran alliance remained at
the back of Cromwell's policy; not avowed but latent; and it was in an
attempt to entangle Henry irrevocably in that policy that he committed, not
five years later, the blunder which cost him his head.

[Sidenote: Visitation of the Monasteries]

In the same Autumn--1535--Cromwell as Vicar-General opened his great
campaign against the monasteries; actuated, according to the historians on
one side, by a determination to remove a cancer which was destroying the
morality of the nation; according to the historians on the other side, by
the vast opportunities afforded for plunder.

[Sidenote: 1536 Suppression of Lesser Houses]

Heretofore the visitation of "exempt" monasteries had lain with the
Superiors of their respective orders, except when special authority had
been granted by the Pope to a Morton or a Wolsey. In other cases it had
been deputed to the bishops, each in his own diocese. At the time of the
recent Peter Pence Act (1534) the exempt houses had been formally subjected
to the King. Cromwell now took upon himself the right of visitation, not
only of the exempt monasteries, but of the others as well, suspending the
jurisdiction of the bishops while his enquiries were going forward, and
thus emphasising the doctrine that that jurisdiction was derived from the
King. Commissioners were appointed--Legh, Leyton, Bedyl, and Ap Rice--to
investigate and report upon the conduct and the finances of the various
houses. In a period of about three months (Oct.-Jan.), they made their
investigations and prepared their report, keeping up an active
correspondence with Cromwell in the meantime. On the strength of this
report, a bill was laid before Parliament and passed in February (1536),
suppressing all houses with less than £200 a year, 376 in number--of which
however 31 were reinstated later in the year as having been well
conducted. In part, their inmates were to be redistributed among the
greater houses; in part they were to be released from their vows; and in
part they were to receive some compensation.

[Sidenote: The evidence discussed]

Now it is clear that in the time at their disposal, the commissioners could
not possibly have sifted thoroughly the evidence brought before them. In
many cases there was enough that was gross, palpable, obvious, to warrant
condemnation at sight. But the scandalous levity and domineering insolence
with which they carried out their task must have suggested to the
ill-conditioned members of every community that slander and false-witness
might lead to favour and profit, and were not likely to be too carefully
tested: while it is easy to see how the insulting interrogatories would be
angrily resented, and answers be refused, or given in the most injudicious
manner, by perfectly innocent persons; while demands for inventories of
valuables were met by prevarication and concealment, when the object of the
commissioners was suspected of being spoliation. The letters of Leyton and
Legh convey the impression that the fouler the scandals unearthed or
retailed, the more enjoyment and humour they discovered in their
occupation. There can be no doubt that the state of things they found was
in general bad; but by their own statement it was by no means universally
so; and it is also clear that they accepted adverse witness almost without
examination and wilfully minimised all that was favourable.

[Sidenote: The Black Book]

Also, it is very doubtful whether the "black book" of monastic offences was
ever laid before parliament. The preamble to the bill set forth, luridly
enough, the conclusions arrived at by the King and the vicar-general, and
summed up the grounds for them. But it seems by no means improbable that
parliament simply accepted the statement thus laid before it. The black
book itself disappeared. The Protestant historians of Elizabeth's reign
said that Bonner destroyed it; the Roman Catholics affirm that it was the
other party who took care that the evidence on which they acted should
never be made known. The actual surviving evidence is to be found in the
partial summaries known as the Comperta and in the letters of the
commissioners to Cromwell. The examination of these can hardly fail to
leave the reader with a conviction that the methods of the Commissioners
were atrociously iniquitous, but that a strictly judicial investigation
would still have revealed a state of things often appalling, not seldom
vicious, and commonly reprehensible, without the elements which might have
made effective reform possible: while it is beyond a doubt that especially
among the younger monks and nuns, the desire to escape from the bonds of
monastic rule was common.

[Sidenote: The Consequent Commission]

In favour of the monasteries however, it is to be noted that these 376
minor houses were suppressed not as having been individually condemned, but
on the theory that the report pointed to the system of maintaining minor
houses as bad. Mixed commissions were now appointed to continue the
visitation, carry out the suppression, and recommend exemptions when it was
desirable; and the reports of these commissions were of a far less
unfavourable character, though (as we have seen) only 31 houses were
actually reinstated. It is to be observed also, in a somewhat different
connexion, that the further visitation was accompanied by the issuing of
Injunctions for the conduct of monastic establishments which may have been
designed solely with a view to enforcing a pure and pious manner of living,
but are undoubtedly open to the suspicion of having been deliberately
calculated to make the monastic life insupportable and so to encourage the
religious houses to efface themselves by voluntary surrender--a course
which was not infrequently adopted.

[Sidenote: The policy discussed]

There was sufficient precedent for laying the Church under heavy
contributions to the exchequer. The idea of deliberately confiscating
Church property had before now been seriously put forward. There had been
previous suppressions of monastic establishments; but in these cases the
funds, ostensibly at least, had been diverted to other purposes recognised
as ecclesiastical, such as Wolsey's schools and colleges. The
differentiating feature of Cromwell's confiscation was that the funds were
for the most part withdrawn from any ecclesiastical purpose whatever.
[Footnote: There was precedent for the proposal however in Parliamentary
petitions of Richard II.'s reign; but these had not taken effect in
legislation.] The monastic lands passed to lay owners by grant or purchase;
they enriched the King or his friends or those whom Cromwell thought fit to
enrich or to gratify. The evidence that in the public interest it was time
for the religious houses to go is convincing; the method of proceeding
against the smaller houses first was tactically shrewd, as evoking less
opposition at the outset; but even if it be conceded that the Church had
forfeited her property, it is impossible to find any excuse for the
application of the spoils to other than public objects. The Church might
simply be looked upon as a vast corporation, holding its wealth in trust
for the nation, and rightly deprived of that wealth when it failed to
fulfil the trust. But on that view, the wealth was bound to be handed over
to another body, to administer as a trust for the nation. The fact that
this was not done makes possible only one conclusion as to the motive of
the suppression. The Church was both the wealthiest and the least dangerous
victim available for bleeding, besides being open to the charge of
deserving to be penalised.

[Sidenote 1: Anne Boleyn threatened]
[Sidenote 2: Her condemnation and death]

In January 1536 the deeply-injured Katharine died; to be followed ere many
months had passed by her supplanter. Ostensibly, Henry had married Anne
Boleyn, because a male heir was needed to secure the succession; but she
had borne him only a daughter and a still-born son. Henry was disappointed
in her. Moreover, his passion had for some time been cooling: nor was her
character--even on the most favourable reading--calculated to retain
affections that had begun to wane. She was frivolous and undignified; her
arrogance and her assumption had left her few friends. She was jealous of
the attentions paid by her husband to Jane Seymour, who had been one of
Katharine's ladies-in-waiting--attentions which she received with a
becoming reserve. Suddenly it appeared that Anne had been guilty of gross
misconduct. Sundry gentlemen of the court, including her brother Lord
Rochford were charged with sharing her guilt. One of them ultimately made
confession--true or false. There were stories, flatly denied, that she had
been contracted to Northumberland: that she had actually been his wife when
she married Henry. There were stories that the marriage was void, because
of earlier relations between Henry and her mother and sister. Whether the
queen was guilty or not, the judges of course did what they were expected
to do; she was tried for treason and condemned. Cranmer was torn between an
affectionate conviction that she was really a good woman and an inability
to believe that the King could be misled, much less do her a deliberate and
conscious wrong. But some sort of admission which she made before him was
interpreted by the Archbishop as involving the nullity of the
marriage. Anne was executed: next day, the King married Jane Seymour; the
marriage with Anne was officially declared to have been invalid; Elizabeth
being of course de-legitimatised, and so occupying precisely the same
position as Mary. Thus Henry was left with three illegitimate children (the
third being the Duke of Richmond who died not long after), and no
legitimate heir--truly an ironical outcome of that divorce which his
apologists defend as having been demanded by the need of a successor with
an indisputable title to the throne!

[Sidenote: The Succession]

Within three weeks of Anne Boleyn's execution (May 19th, 1536), a new
parliament was sitting; for that which had commenced its sessions at the
end of 1529 had been dissolved in the spring of this year. The first
business was formally to ratify the late proceedings, and fix the
succession on the offspring of the new queen; the second was formally to
authorise the King himself to lay down the order of succession
thereafter. Incidentally we may note that the actual legitimate heir
presumptive [Footnote: See _Appendix B_, and _Front_.] to the
throne was now the King of Scotland, the son of Henry's elder sister
Margaret. The claims of a child of Jane Seymour could alone on legitimist
principles take precedence of his, if the judgments invalidating the two
previous marriages held good. It is only by admitting the power of
parliament to fix or delegate its power of fixing the succession, that
James's claim to be heir presumptive could be challenged. But there was no
sort of doubt that it would be in actual fact challenged, simply because
the English would not take a King from another land. There was not much
room in England for advocates of the doctrine of Divine Right. Neither
Henry IV, and his successors, nor Henry VII., nor Elizabeth, could have
maintained a plausible claim to the throne apart from their title by Act of
Parliament. Of present importance however was the fact that both Katharine
and Anne were dead before the marriage of Queen Jane; there could therefore
be absolutely no ground for challenging the legitimacy of any children of
hers, while any conceivable claims on behalf of either Mary or Elizabeth
would necessarily yield precedence to the claim of Jane's son, should she
bear one. Moreover, since there was now no Katharine to claim rights as a
queen, and her supplanter had died a traitor's death, Mary might without
risk be re-instated as a Princess on sufficient grounds. Thus a door was
opened for a renewal of amity with the Emperor.

[Sidenote: Punishment of Heresy]

The aims and objects of the Reformation in England had been entirely
political and financial. There had been no official movement towards a new
doctrinal standpoint. On the contrary, the suppression of heresy had been
not less active after Cranmer's accession to the primacy than before. The
prosecutions however do not at any time appear to have originated with the
clergy: and the Ordinaries habitually endeavoured to procure the
recantation of heresy rather than the exaction of its penalties. But the
most advanced of the clergy, even those who like Latimer were continually
verging on doctrines which their stricter brethren regarded as heretical,
showed as little mercy as any one to the upholders of Anabaptism; whose
theology was usually combined--or supposed to be so--with perverted views
on the political and social order. To this class belong most of the martyrs
of the period; with the notable exception of John Frith. Frith was a young
man of great piety and learning, who would probably never have been
arrested but for his association with the distributors of forbidden
literature. Being arrested, he maintained--in spite of earnest efforts to
persuade him to recant--the Zwinglian doctrine of the Lord's Supper: but
further he stood almost alone in declaring that to hold a correct opinion
on this point of doctrine could not be essential to salvation. Frith was
the first and almost the only martyr (July, 1533) to the theory of
toleration, to which neither Romanists nor Protestants, Anglicans nor
Zwinglians, were yet ready to give ear.

[Sidenote 1: Progressive Movement]
[Sidenote 2: The Ten Articles]

Although, however, there had been no revolt from orthodox doctrine the
course of the Reformation abroad could not be without influence in
England. There was a growing inclination to think and speak of minor
questions as being debatable; an increasing suspicion on one side that the
spread of knowledge and of discussion tended to heresy and to
irreverence--on the other, that they tended to edification. In theory the
leading ecclesiastics agreed that an authorised translation of the Bible
would be good, but half of them were afraid that it would lead to novel and
dangerous interpretations. The general attitude may be regarded as one of
uneasiness. Hence the commission appointed under Cranmer's auspices did
little; and Cranmer himself, whose heart was really in the scheme, was
overjoyed [Footnote: Dr. Gairdner (_Eng. Church_, p. 192) thinks
however that it was Matthew's Bible, issued next year, to which Cranmer's
expressions of satisfaction were applied.] when Coverdale produced a
rendering to which an authoritative _imprimatur_ could be given. The
general sense of unrest, aggravated perhaps by some alarm lest the Augsburg
Confession should attract adherents--especially since the Lutherans had
been told that there might be room for its discussion--led to the
enunciation of the first of the Anglican formulae of Faith, known as the
Ten Articles "for establishing Christian Quietness," in July 1536:
professedly prepared by the King's own hand. These Articles contained no
deviation from orthodox dogma; but their most notable feature lay in the
distinction drawn between institutions necessary and convenient, with the
implication that the latter were liable to modification.

[Sidenote: The Lincolnshire rising]

The issuing of these Articles with the sanction alike of King, Parliament,
and Convocation, was probably intended to counteract the alarm attendant on
the visitation and suppression of the monasteries. Those institutions,
though not popular in cities, and viewed with jealousy by the secular
clergy, provided in many country districts the only existing charitable or
educational organisations; and moreover, whatever their defects were in the
eyes of the Economist, they were much more lenient landlords than the
average lay landowner. It would have been strange indeed if some of the
dispersed monks had not allowed their tongues to wag, to the stirring up of
alarm and discontent. In the autumn of this year, the effect of these
things were seen in a rising in Lincolnshire. This was promptly suppressed
without any undue tenderness either of speech or action; but it was very
soon followed by the much more significant and formidable insurrection in
the North, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.

[Sidenote: The Pilgrimage of Grace]

The insurgents were headed by a very remarkable man, a lawyer named Robert
Aske of a good North-country family. He had taken no part in inciting
rebellion; but the position of leader was thrust upon him, and as it would
seem not unwillingly accepted. His abilities were great: the rising was
organised with much skill, and with wonderful system and discipline. Yet
Aske's very virtues unfitted him for his office under the existing
conditions. He was honest himself; he wished to avoid bloodshed: what he
sought was the remedying of genuine grievances. As with the Lincolnshire
insurgents, this meant the restoration of the monasteries, the removal of
evil councillors, notably Cromwell, the removal of the advanced bishops,
such as Cranmer and Latimer, the remission of a tax granted in 1534 which a
commission was collecting, the repeal of a recent land-act ("Statute of
Uses") which had increased the difficulty of providing younger sons with
sufficient endowments, the restoration to the Church of revenues lately
attached by the Crown. All over the North, cities and strongholds fell
into the hands of Aske's followers without a blow. With thirty thousand
well equipped and fairly disciplined troops he advanced to the Don, where
he was faced by Norfolk with a far smaller force.

[Sidenote 1: Aske beguiled]
[Sidenote 2: 1537 Suppression of the rising]

It was then that Aske committed his fatal but noble error. Had he struck
then, he could in all probability have marched triumphantly to London and
have dictated his own terms. But he did not wish to strike. He sought a
conference, and laid his proposals before Norfolk. Norfolk temporised, and
referred the proposals to London. The insurgents were allowed to believe
that they would be pardoned, and their demands be essentially conceded. The
nobles and gentry among them were appealed to privately; Norfolk even
sought to get Aske betrayed into his hands. Aske still would not give up
the hope of a peaceful solution. At last in December the King gave Norfolk
powers to concede a free pardon and a Parliament at York; but there is no
doubt that Norfolk's statements to the insurgents gave the totally
different impression that they could count upon the fulfilment of their
demands. By the King's command the leaders went South to be personally
interviewed, and returned in sanguine mood. But their army was breaking up,
and it was very soon apparent that in fact the North was being rapidly
garrisoned for the King. The pardons were accompanied by a new oath of
allegiance which showed very clearly that the grievances were not going to
be remedied. Wild spirits broke out again in deeds of violence. By this
time, the royal armies were in a position to strike. It was declared that
the conditions of the pardon had been violated; the insurgents had now no
prospect of making head in the field. Hangings were freely resorted to;
Aske and other leaders were seized and executed: an impressive series of
abbots and priors was among the victims. And so, early in 1537, ended the
one formidable insurrection of Henry's reign.

[Sidenote: The rising turned to account]

Not only had half the nobility and gentry of the North been seriously
implicated in the rising; the clergy had taken active part in fomenting
it. Being followed up by a visitation from Cromwell's most energetic
commissioners, such guilt as there had been was presented in the strongest
colours and was made a new ground for Suppression, or the application of
the drastic regulations which induced voluntary surrender; and at the same
time pains were taken to impress the Ten Articles on the public mind. These
were supplemented by the publication of the "Institution of a Christian
Man" otherwise known as the "Bishops' Book"; in which some points which had
been omitted or left vague in the Articles were laid down with a more
defined orthodoxy, though the prelates of every shade of opinion had their
share in the work. On the other hand, the preparation of an authorised
version of the Scriptures was going forward. In spite of Cromwell's
Injunction that the Bible should be set up in English and Latin in the
Churches, Coverdale's work had not been adopted; and though this was
followed by "Matthew's Bible," a combination of Tindal's and Coverdale's,
in 1537, it was not till the issue of the revised version, known on account
of its size as the Great Bible, more than a year later, that the injunction
was given general effect.

[Sidenote: 1533-36 James V.]

Abroad, the reluctant but anxious desire to maintain friendly relations
with England which attended the domination of Wolsey had practically
disappeared since the Cardinal's fall. From 1529 to 1536, there had been no
prospect of a reconciliation between Henry and Charles; Francis had only at
intervals been disposed to make advances; the demeanour of the Lutheran
princes had been cold at the best. In Scotland, the young King, who only
attained his majority in 1533, displayed that lack of confidence in the
disinterested generosity of England which seems to be always a cause of
pained surprise to the English politicians and historians. In fact it was
his firm and extremely natural conviction that his uncle was responsible
for keeping the whole border country in a perpetual state of unrest,
fomenting the rivalries of the Scottish nobility, and generally promoting
disorder, in order to bring about the subordination of the Northern to the
Southern kingdom. The clerical body in Scotland, which had always been most
energetic in maintaining resistance to England, was of course rendered more
Anglophobe than ever by Henry's ecclesiastical policy; and its influence
was strong, since it had done a good deal in the way of fighting James's
battles with his nobles. Henry proposed a conference with his nephew, to be
held at York, in 1538; James had at first welcomed the proposal, but
presently evaded it in the belief that his uncle would kidnap him, as he
had before designed to kidnap Beton. Instead he went to France, to arrange
a marriage with a daughter of Francis; and on his return was reported to
have given encouragement to the North-country rebels.

[Sidenote: 1536-37 Naval measures]

Meantime, in the Channel, the estimation in which England was held had been
shown by the increasingly piratical proceedings of French, Spanish, and
Flemish ships; since of late Henry's hands had been too full for him to
give clue attention to naval affairs. Now however the opportunity was taken
to devote some of the monastic funds to coast defence. A series of forts
was raised, commanding the principal harbours on the south coast; and a few
ships, secretly prepared, were suddenly sent out under competent captains,
to teach the channel pirates a lesson in English seamanship; which was very
effectively accomplished.

[Sidenote 1: 1537 Birth of Prince Edward]
[Sidenote 2: Marriage projects]

The problem of the succession to the throne was at last settled by the
birth of a prince in October (1537). There was now an heir whose claims if
he lived would be unassailable. But within a few weeks the queen died; and
there was still only the life of one baby to shield the country from
anarchy, in case Henry himself should die. With probably genuine
reluctance, the King agreed that he would marry again if a suitable wife
could be found for him; and the whirligig of intriguing for his union with
one or another foreign princess was set in motion; princesses related to
Charles, or to Francis, or to one of the Lutheran chiefs. Two years elapsed
before the choice was made which, led to Cromwell's downfall. And in the
meantime Mary of Guise (or Lorraine) was withdrawn from the lists by her
marriage with James V., whose Queen Madeleine had died a few months after
the nuptials: while the Duchess of Milan, a youthful niece of the Emperor,
was for some time utilised by Charles as a diplomatic asset. The risk of an
Anglo-Imperial alliance was employed by him in negotiations with Francis;
and when these negotiations were brought to a successful issue the proposed
alliance was gradually allowed to drop.

[Sidenote: 1538 Diplomatic moves]

During 1538 however, this marriage was being dangled before Henry,
accompanied by the hope that it might cause a rupture between Charles and
the Pope, from whom a dispensation would be necessary--a question which
could not now be raised without the kindling of explosive
materials. Further the English quarrel with Rome was being embittered by a
campaign against spurious relics, miracle-working shrines, and the like,
involving a particularly virulent attack on St. Thomas of Canterbury, the
type of defiant ecclesiasticism. Moreover, the arrival of a deputation of
Lutheran divines in England was ominous of the closer association of the
bodies which had revolted from Rome. Reginald Pole, a member of the house
which stood high in the Yorkist line of succession [Footnote: See
_Front_.], who had been not long before raised to the Cardinalate, had
for some time been carrying on from the Continent a violent propaganda
against Henry. Pope Paul's Bull of Deposition was again being talked of,
though there is some doubt as to whether it was actually published.

[Sidenote 1: The Exeter Conspiracy]
[Sidenote 2: Cromwell strikes]

Under all these circumstances, it is scarcely surprising that a new and
formidable conspiracy, essentially Yorkist, was brought to light. In fact
the whole country was sown with spies, and there was not much difficulty in
obtaining information of treasonable speeches, when hasty expressions of
discontent counted for treason. Now outside the offspring of Henry VII.,
the Marquis of Exeter, Edward Courtenay, was a grandson of Edward IV.; the
Poles were grandsons of his brother, Clarence, whose daughter, their mother
the Countess of Salisbury, was living still. The theory that a tyrant might
be deposed and another scion of the royal house substituted, had ample
precedent; and it is in no way improbable that the Courtenays, who were
all-powerful in the West, might have been ready enough in conjunction with
the Poles to make a bid for the throne, if they could have found or created
a favourable opportunity. The Cardinal had warning from Cromwell that the
safety of his kinsmen was jeopardised by his diatribes; while Lord
Montague, the head of the family, was on very close terms of friendship
with Exeter. Exeter's own conduct on the occasion of the Pilgrimage of
Grace had been suspicious. Out of these materials there was no difficulty
in constructing a damning case against as many members of these Plantagenet
houses as might be considered advisable: since there was no need to prove
that rebellion was actually organised. It was enough to have a record of
the use of disloyal expressions, or even of the concealment of the
knowledge that such expressions had been used. Finally it was notorious
that there was no love lost between Cromwell and the suspected
nobles. Cromwell, having collected sufficient evidence for his purpose,
struck. Geoffrey Pole, a younger brother, learned that the blow was coming
in time to turn informer. How far there was anything really deserving the
name of a conspiracy the evidence produced did not show; but the existence
of treason under the Treasons Act was indisputable. The policy which had
struck down Buckingham nearly a score of years before was repeated even
more ruthlessly. The materials for formulating a Yorkist rising were
destroyed; there was no figure-head for one left when Exeter and Montague
had been executed (Dec.), even though the old Countess of Salisbury's doom
was deferred. And men realised afresh--if there was need that they should
do so--the irresistible machinery that Cromwell had prepared for the
certain annihilation of any one worth annihilating.

[Sidenote: 1539 Menace of Invasion]

The warning was perhaps necessary; for in the beginning of 1539 the
attitude of the foreign Powers was menacing. The Pope was planning a sort
of crusade, with invasion and insurrection in Ireland as its basis. The
marriage of James of Scotland to Mary of Guise would make matters the more
dangerous if France assumed a definitely hostile attitude; and the pretence
of negotiating the union between Henry and the Duchess of Milan had been
ended by the reconciliation of Charles and Francis. A combination including
the Emperor was threatening. Wriothesly the English ambassador in the Low
Countries, did not believe on the whole that there would be a breach of the
peace, unless the Imperialists felt that their victory would be assured.
Nevertheless, a great armament was assembled in the Dutch harbours.
England, however, had awakened to the need of defence in the Channel;
fleets were assembled and forts manned. The solidarity of the country had
been demonstrated by the easy suppression of the Courtenays and Poles. If
an invasion was contemplated--which can hardly be doubted--the invaders
thought better of the situation, and the armada dispersed without any overt
hostilities taking place.

[Sidenote 1: The King and Lutheranism]
[Sidenote 2: The Six Articles]

The Lutheran conference of the previous year had been without direct
results: but it had the effect of forcing to the front the settlement of
the official position as to several points of doctrine. The advanced
bishops were distinctly inclined to admit the Lutheran views: the other
powerful body within the English Church was in strong opposition.
Theologically, the King was in agreement with the latter section, although
he retained a particularly strong and persistent personal affection for
Cranmer--apparently the only persistent affection of his life. The result
was the production of the Six Articles Act, pronouncing in favour of
Transubstantiation, clerical celibacy, auricular confession, communion in
one kind only for the laity, prayers for the dead, and the permanence of
vows once taken. On the first head there was not as yet any real difference
of opinion. As to the second, Cranmer was actually a married man when he
became archbishop, and many of the clergy, especially in country districts,
had wives, in spite of the fact that the law did not recognise the
relationship: so that an awkward situation was created. Considering the
abolition of the monasteries, the Article concerning vows was
remarkable. But on all these doctrines the views of the reformers were not
yet sufficiently crystallised to prevent their submission when the Jaw
demanded it, though it justified a determined opposition to the passing of
the law; in this Cranmer was particularly conspicuous, and two of the
bishops, Latimer and Shaxton, lost their sees. That the Act should have
been passed is not surprising; but the ferocity of the attendant penalties
is best explained by the fact that, on an attempt being made to apply the
statute in a wholesale fashion, the accused were promptly pardoned and set
at liberty. The object was not so much to punish as to silence the advanced

[Sidenote: Final Suppression of Monasteries]

At the same time two other Acts of grave import were passed. One was the
Act for the suppression and forfeiture of those religious houses which had
not been accounted for in the Act of 1536. The new Act was merely the
logical corollary of the old one. The distinction in morals between the
lesser and greater monasteries was not marked: and to the old charges of
the commissioners were added the new charges of complicity in the rebellion
of the North and in Exeter's conspiracy, and of fomenting disloyalty
generally. The measure was carried out with great harshness, and especial
severity was shown in the cases where abbots and monks attempted to conceal
the monastic treasures. The aged and beloved abbot of Glastonbury was found
guilty of treason and put to death. The great estates became for the most
part the prizes of the nobility. Some few of the houses were converted into
Chapters. There was a scheme for constructing twenty-one new bishoprics out
of the proceeds of the suppression, but the twenty-one dwindled to six.
[Footnote: Chester, Peterborough, Oxford, Gloucester, Bristol and
Westminster.] A fraction of the money was expended on the Channel
defences. But broadly speaking the vast bulk of the spoils went to no
national or ecclesiastical purpose but to the enrichment of private
individuals. Still the amount realised by the National Exchequer did no
doubt relieve the present necessity for taxation in other forms, which
would have been a more fruitful source of murmuring and discontent than
sympathy with the dispossessed monks.

[Sidenote: Royal Proclamations Act]

The second measure was the Royal Proclamations Act, giving to Royal
Proclamations made with the assent of the Privy Council the force of
law. This was the coping stone of that edifice of absolutism built up by
parliamentary enactments of which Cromwell was the Architect: an adaptation
of the system initiated by Henry VII. and developed by Wolsey; springing
now from the assertion of the doctrine of the Supreme Head, continuing with
the novel practical interpretations of that doctrine in matters
ecclesiastical, and buttressed by the Treasons Act, which effectually
translated discontent into Treason. Now the King was left in such a
position that his will became formally law unless his Privy Council opposed

[Sidenote: Anne of Cleves]

Cromwell had shattered the ecclesiastical power of resistance: he had
shattered also the dangerous elements among the nobility: he had
systematically secured parliamentary confirmation for every step. But he
wished to carry still further the anti-clericalism which was part of his
policy. He desired the domination in England of the Lutheranising section
of Churchmen, and the central idea of his foreign policy was the
construction of a Protestant League. In these respects he went beyond his
master, and in the attempt to carry his master with him, he made ship-wreck
of himself. The question of another marriage for Henry was still unsettled;
if more children were to be hoped for, it must be settled soon. Cromwell
fixed upon Anne of Cleves as politically the wife to be desired. By wedding
with her, Henry would be drawn into closer relations with the Protestant
League of Schmalkald. He painted for the King a misleading picture of the
lady's charms: the King consented to his plans; the negotiation flowed

[Sidenote 1: 1540 The Marriage]
[Sidenote 2: Fall of Cromwell]

Early in the year (1540) the bride came to England; bringing
disillusionment. Matters had gone too far for the King to draw back, and
the marriage was carried out; but his wrath was kindled against its
projector. The blow fell not less suddenly than with Wolsey. The Earl of
Essex--such was the title recently bestowed on Cromwell--was without
warning arrested and attainted of high treason. The instrument he himself
had forged and ruthlessly wielded with such terrible effect was turned as
ruthlessly against him. He had over-ridden the law. He had countenanced and
protected anti-clerical law-breakers. He had spoken in arrogant terms of
his own power. As it had availed Wolsey nothing that his breach of
praemunire had been countenanced by the King, so it availed Cromwell
nothing that the King had seemed to support him. If the King had done so,
in each case, it was merely because he in his innocence had been misled by
his minister, so that in fact their crime was aggravated. For the merciless
minister, there was no mercy. That the process against Essex was by
attainder and not by an ordinary trial is of little moment. His fate would
have been the same in any case; nor was he so scrupulous in such matters
that he can claim sympathy on that head. No voice but Cranmer's--in
lamentation rather than protest--was raised on his behalf. The mighty
minister, the most dreaded of all men who have swayed the destinies of
England, found himself in a moment as utterly helpless as the feeblest of
his victims had been. He was flung into the Tower; his stormy protests were
unheeded by the King; on July 28th, his head fell beneath the executioner's

[Sidenote: Nemesis]

Cromwell had learned his ethics and his state-craft in that school whose
doctrines are formulated in "The Prince" of Macchiavelli. He had applied
those principles with remorseless logic, untinged by the fear of God or
man, to the single end of making his master actually the most complete
autocrat that ever sat on the throne of England. His loyalty was as
unfailing as it was unscrupulous; his work had been thorough and
complete--the King was placed beyond further need of him. His reward was
the doom of a traitor. Unpitying he lived, unpitied he died. Regardless of
justice, he had swept down each obstacle in the way of his policy:
regardless of justice he was in turn struck down. By his own standards he
was judged; his end was the end he had compassed for More and
Fisher. History has no more perfect example of Nemesis.



[Sidenote: 1540 Katherine Howard]

The complaisant and very plain lady who had been the cause of Cromwell's
downfall had no objection (subject to compensation), to being discarded on
technical grounds by her spouse. Before the minister was dead, the marriage
had been pronounced null: not without compensatory gifts. But her brother
the Duke of Cleves was less easily pacified, and all prospect of an
alliance with the Protestant League was at an end. A new bride was promptly
found for the King in the person of Katharine Howard, a kinswoman of the
Duke of Norfolk--a marriage which marked the renewal of the ascendancy of
the old nobility in alliance with the reactionary Church party.

[Sidenote: The King his own Minister]

Thirty-one years had passed since Henry, in the first flush of a manhood
exceptionally rich in promise, but untried and inexperienced, had taken his
place on the throne of England as the successor of the most astute
sovereign in Europe. For nearly twenty years thereafter Wolsey had served
him with such latitude of action that nearly every one except the Cardinal
believed that he dominated the King. After a brief interval, for nearly ten
years more the same statement would have applied to Cromwell. While those
two great ministers held office, each of them towered immeasurably above
all his fellow-subjects: though each knew that the brilliant boy had
hardened into a masterful King who could hurl him headlong with a nod. But
when Cromwell had fallen, none took his place; there is no statesman who
stands out conspicuous. Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, brother of Jane
Seymour, showed some military capacity; Paget proved himself an astute
diplomatist; Cranmer and Gardiner led the rival Church parties, but neither
the parties nor their leaders exercised any semblance of control over the
Supreme Head. Abroad, Henry's battle with the Pope was won: at home his
autocracy was established alike as temporal and spiritual head of the
nation. There was no one left who needed crushing. Cromwell had seen to
that before he was dispensed with. After that revolutionary decade, there
were no more marked changes. There were incidents in the now slowly moving
course of the reformation; there was even an unimportant insurrection; but
the chief interest of Henry's closing years is once more to be found mainly
in foreign relations, and more especially in those with Scotland.

[Sidenote: England and the European Powers]

On the continent, the two leading Powers, France and the Empire, were in a
chronic state of antagonism only occasionally veiled: while the Pope was in
permanent opposition to England. This situation was complicated by the
Schmalkaldic League of Protestant German Princes. When Charles was disposed
to religious toleration, the League were his very good subjects, the Pope
became antagonistic, and a Franco-papal alliance threatened. When Charles
leaned to intolerance, the Pope grew favourable to him, and Francis turned
a friendly eye on the perturbed Protestant League. Charles, Francis, and
the League, would each of them have been pleased to make use of England,
but none of them wished to be of service to her: and now Thomas Cromwell's
great desire of bringing about a cordial relation between England and the
League had been frustrated instead of furthered by the affair of Anne of
Cleves. The risk of this alliance had forced Charles into a conciliatory
attitude towards Francis; relieved from it, he could now revert to his
normal attitude. At the end of 1540, the Emperor and the French King were
almost within measurable distance of hostilities, while the relations
between the latter and Henry were becoming seriously strained by his
neglect to pay the instalments of cash due under past treaties. For the
time being, however, there was no immediate likelihood of a breach of the

[Sidenote: Cardinal Beton]

In Scotland, James Beton Archbishop of St. Andrews, the most consistent
enemy of England, had died in 1539, and had been succeeded, both in his
office and his influence, by his nephew, the still more famous Cardinal,
David Beton. The Cardinal was the last of the old school of militant
ecclesiastical statesmen; a foe to the English the more deadly because of
Henry's anti-clerical policy, as well as on account of traditional views,
and of the specific grounds of distrust for which Henry himself had been
responsible during twenty years past--including the proposal to let Angus
kidnap James Beton [Footnote: _Cf._ p. 81.] under a safe-conduct. He
was moreover a zealous persecutor of heretics; which greatly intensified
the bitterness with which all the historians of the reforming party treated
not only the man himself but the whole policy which he was supposed to have
instigated. In Scotland, religious reformers were almost of necessity
Anglophiles, since Henry did all he could to encourage their doctrines.

North of the Tweed, English writers have relied so much on the statements
of John Knox and Buchanan that the persistent hostility not only of the
King and the clergy but also of the Scottish Commons to Henry's overtures
is generally represented as mere frowardness. It was in fact due to a
distrust sufficiently accounted for by the English King's undeniable
complicity in the deliberate fostering of disorder, and more than justified
by his re-assertion in public documents of the English claim to suzerainty
which had been finally and decisively repudiated at Bannockburn--a
repudiation confirmed by treaty [Footnote: It is true that this had not
prevented Edward III. from re-asserting the claim.] in 1328.

[Sidenote: Scotland and England, 1541]

In 1541 the attempt was renewed to bring about a conference with the Scots
King at York; again it failed, after James had seemed to commit
himself. Henry was indignant, and recriminations passed on the subject and
on that of border raids, which culminated in the following summer in the
affair of Haddon Rigg when an English party was very badly handled. It is a
curious illustration of Henry's notions of honour that--although the two
countries were nominally at peace--Wharton, one of the English Wardens of
the Marches, proposed to take advantage of James's 1542 roving propensities
and arrange to have him captured and brought prisoner to England; a scheme
which Henry apparently approved, but fortunately for his own credit
referred to his Council, whose consciences were less adaptable. In October,
the English indulged in a week's invasion of Scotland, and the Scottish
King would have responded in kind but that his nobles thought better of it.

[Sidenote: Solway Moss (Nov.)]

The counter-invasion however was not long delayed. The popular accounts of
it are mainly derived from the narrative of John Knox; according to whom
the Scottish army, ill-led and disorderly, was utterly routed with immense
slaughter by three or four hundred English yeomen who succeeded in
gathering together and smiting them after the analogy of Gideon. But the
dispatches of Wharton [Footnote: _Hamilton Papers._ Lang, Hist.
Scot., i., 455. Froude, iv., 190 (Ed. 1864), follows Knox picturesquely.],
the Warden of the Marches, show that, acting on some days' information, he
had ready a force of from 2,000 to 3,000 men, with whom, having watched his
opportunity, he fell upon the very badly organised Scottish levies and
entangled them in the morass called Solway Moss. The completeness of the
disaster has not been over-rated; but it was an intelligible operation of
war, not a miracle. James was prostrated by the blow. In three weeks time
(December 14th, 1542) he was dead, and his week-old daughter Mary inherited
the woful burden of the Scottish crown.

[Sidenote: Intervening events]

In the meantime, there had been a futile insurrection in the North, headed
by Sir John Neville, in the Spring of 1541; which led to the execution not
only of Neville himself, but of the old Countess of Salisbury--niece of
Edward IV., mother of the Poles, and grandchild of the "King-maker". Not
long after this, the Norfolk interest suffered a severe shock at Henry's
court from the discovery of flagrant and confessed misconduct on the part
of the monarch's fifth spouse, Katharine Howard; she was attainted and
beheaded, in February, 1542, and succeeded by Katharine Parr; who was
fortunate enough to outlive her husband.

[Sidenote: 1543 Henry's Scottish policy]

Solway Moss inspired Henry with a fresh determination to invade and
chastise Scotland; but James's death suggested a simpler method. For the
moment, Beton was in the hands of his enemies. Henry proposed that the baby
Mary should be betrothed to his own son Edward, that the government of
Scotland should be vested in a Council which he could control, and that
sundry English garrisons should be planted in the country. The Scots lords
captured at Solway Moss were quite ready to promise support to his plans as
the price of returning home: they were also ready to break faith with the
English King when they got there; and did so. As soon as the lords were out
of Henry's reach, the Scots Estates demanded modifications in the proposed
treaty which would have made it nugatory from the English point of view. A
Scottish Prince might have been allowed to wed an English Princess; but
Scotland would not take her King from England. It was not long before the
Cardinal recovered his ascendancy, and, acting in conjunction with the
queen-mother, Mary of Guise, sought the aid and alliance of France.

[Sidenote: Alliance with Charles]

The French King was already at war with Charles, and his relations with
England were exceedingly strained; whilst he was openly declaring his
determination to support Scotland, and French ships were playing the pirate
in the Channel. The Emperor on the other hand had quieted the Protestant
league by his tolerant attitude at the Diet of Ratisbon (1541); but the
Duke of Cleves, Henry's enemy, was defying him. Hence the whole conditions
pointed to an anti-French _rapprochement_ between Charles and Henry;
which took the form of a treaty of alliance early in 1543. If the
territories of either Power were invaded, the other was to render
assistance: and thereafter neither was to make peace unless his ally was
satisfied also. The French King attempted to detach England by offering to
meet the bulk of her separate requirements; and considering the prevailing
standard of bad faith, it is to Henry's credit that he refused these

[Sidenote: War with France]

In the early summer Francis invaded Flanders, and an English force, not
numerous but in good trim, entered Picardy. The Imperial troops however
awaited the arrival of Charles himself from the South, and it was not till
August that he took the field, having gathered his army, largely composed
of Spanish soldiery, at Spires. But his first objective proved to be not
France but Cleves which he brought to rapid submission and treated with
great severity. In October he began to concert operations with the English,
and a scheme was prepared, to be given effect in the following summer: when
the English were to invade France by way of Calais, and the Emperor by way
of the Upper Rhine, the two armies converging on Paris.

[Sidenote: 1544 Domestic Affairs]

Though the French campaign was thus deferred, the early months of 1544 were
not uneventful. In the realm of domestic affairs, we observe that the King
was now resorting with vigour to the worst expedient of bad financiers, a
monstrous debasement [Footnote: See _infra_ p. 180] of the
currency. Also he had recently raised a considerable forced loan, pending
the collection of subsidies already voted by Parliament but not yet due. An
act was now passed in effect converting the loan into a gift, by reason of
the necessities of the war--a measure not practically different from the
voting of an additional subsidy. Parliament also had the satisfaction of
being invited to lay down the succession to the throne in accordance with
Henry's wishes, although he had already been empowered to fix it without
appeal--an apt illustration of his preference for following Constitutional
forms whenever there was no risk of his objects being interfered with.
After Prince Edward and his heirs, Mary was to succeed, and after her
Elizabeth. Beyond Henry's own offspring, the claims of the Stewarts through
Margaret Tudor were postponed to those of the descendants of the younger
sister Mary.

[Sidenote: Intrigues in Scotland]

In Scotland, Beton was in power, carrying out a drastic policy of religious
persecution; the nobility were in their normal condition of kaleidoscopic
flux, taking sides for or against Henry, the Cardinal, and each other, as
the moment's interests might suggest. The Anglicising party made a pact
with England to repudiate the French alliance, hand over the baby Queen if
they could, and accept Henry's control. Scotland was to be invaded. Certain
zealous spirits proposed to assassinate the Cardinal if they could do so
under Henry's aegis, but the opportunity passed before he replied to their
overtures--to the effect that the scheme was eminently laudable, but that
he could not openly move in the matter. The assassination of a tyrant was
not looked on as an act deserving of severe moral condemnation; many
zealots would have accounted it a virtuous deed, to risk their lives for
such an end. But a King [Footnote: Froude, iv., 319 (Ed. 1864), apparently
defends Henry on the ground that he regarded Beton as a traitor; and saw
"no reason to discourage the despatch of a public enemy".] who encouraged
even while declining to hire assassins stands in a different category from
such persons.

[Sidenote: Edinburgh Sacked]

In the beginning of May, Edinburgh was startled by the appearance in the
Forth of a great English fleet. The idea of an invasion in this form had
never presented itself. There was no army to give battle. The Cardinal and
his friends fled. The English landed and sacked Leith. Edinburgh was in no
condition for defence; the resistance of the citizens, though stubborn, was
easily overwhelmed. The city was pillaged; the county for miles round was
laid waste; and then, satisfied with his work of simple destruction,
Hertford, the English commander, withdrew. Scotland was leaderless and
powerless to strike: for months to come, the English Wardens of the Marches
were free to carry out a series of devastating raids with practical
immunity. Under these circumstances, Henry dismissed the idea of organising
a subordinate government: anarchy in Scotland suited him equally well,
without involving responsibilities or taxing his resources. His serious
attention was given to the Continent.

[Sidenote: The French War]

During May, separate overtures were made on behalf of France both to
Charles and Henry with a view to severing their alliance; each however
declined entirely to treat apart from the other. More-over, at the Diet of
Spires, Charles took a strong line in favour of the maintenance of the
ordinances of Ratisbon and generally of deferring all religious differences
till the war with France should be over. With the Pope supporting France
and advocating alliance with the Turk as a less dangerous enemy to
Christianity than the ecclesiastical rebel of England, Charles was not
disposed to show favour to the Catholic princes of the Empire.

[Sidenote: Charles makes peace at Crepy (Sept.)]

The time was now at hand for the campaign to commence: and Henry proposed a
modification of the original scheme. According to his view, it would be
better for the two armies to concentrate in force on the frontiers while a
single detachment penetrated as far into France as might seem wise. Charles
however insisted on his plan of two separate invasions. Henry could not
refuse, but pointed out that his own march on Paris was conditioned by the
thorough reduction of the country as he advanced; notably of Boulogne and
Montreuil which would otherwise perpetually threaten his
communications. The English proceeded to lay siege to these two places, and
the Emperor attacked St. Dizier. Until these strongholds were captured, the
two armies were respectively unable to advance. With August, Francis
renewed his scheme of making separate overtures accompanied by suggestions
to each monarch that his ally was trying to make terms for himself. Each
again refused to treat apart from the other. At last St. Dizier fell, and
Charles advanced into France, passing by Chalons and a considerable French
army which was enabled to act on his line of communications. Hence he very
soon found himself in grave difficulties. Thereupon he informed Henry that
unless the English marched straight upon Paris, regardless of Boulogne and
Montreuil, (which he knew to be strategically impossible) he would have to
accept for himself the terms offered by Francis. Boulogne was taken
(September 14th) three days after the message was received, but Montreuil
held out. Henry had honourably refused to make terms for himself; but on
September 19th Charles signed the peace of Crepy--amounting to a simple
desertion of his ally.

Boulogne was lost to the French, and though they were now free to
concentrate their forces against the English, all attempts to re-capture it
were repulsed. Henry felt no disposition to abate his own terms or to
resign Boulogne: Francis required him to do both. Charles politely
repudiated any obligation to armed intervention, despite the efforts of
Gardiner to persuade him--much to the bishop's disappointment, since the
Lutheran Princes, alarmed by the Emperor's conduct, were again making
overtures to England.

[Sidenote: 1545 Ancram Moor]

In Scotland, the policy of destruction adopted by the English throughout
1544 had driven the country to a temporary rally, and a severe reverse was
inflicted on the Southron, beguiled into an ambuscade, at Ancram Moor in
February 1545; whereby Francis was encouraged to maintain, and Charles to
assume, hostility to Henry: who in turn unsuccessfully sought the Lutheran
alliance--a failure due to the persistent distrust of the German Princes,
who could never make up their minds whether the promises of the King or the
Emperor were the less to be relied on. To the quarrel over the desertion of
England by Charles at the peace of Crepy, was added a quarrel over the
seizure by the English of Flemish ships carrying what would now be called
contraband of war, and the arrest in retaliation of English subjects in

[Sidenote: A French Invasion]

The isolation of England was complete: and Francis now looked to effect a
successful invasion; to which end a great fleet was collected. But there
was now a respectable English navy, supplemented by ships from every port
on the southern coast. The threat of invasion raised the whole country in
arms. In the latter part of July, the French armada was off the Solent, and
a landing was accomplished in the Isle of Wight; but though there were
various demonstrations and a few skirmishes, there was no general
engagement. The French could not get into the Solent: the English would not
come out in force, so long as the lack of a sufficient breeze gave the
fighting advantage to the enemy's oar-driven galleys. Finally, plague broke
out in the French fleet which retired about the middle of August. Its
dispersion allowed of the relief of Boulogne; which was becoming somewhat
straitened, being blockaded on the land side by a large army.

[Sidenote: 1546 Terms of Peace]

Thus when the autumn set in, the offensive operations of the French had
resulted in complete failure though there had been no important engagement:
and in the meantime, the temporary nature of the reverse at Ancram Moor had
been demonstrated by renewed ravages in Scotland directed by Hertford. The
altered aspect of affairs made Francis ready to treat, and changed the tone
of Charles from hostility to conciliation. Negotiations were set on foot;
but in the course of them it became clear not only that Henry was
determined to keep Boulogne but that Charles had no intention of letting
Milan go. England's readiness to continue the struggle was demonstrated by
the strength of the forces she threw onto French soil in the following
March, and in May Francis proposed terms. Most of the cash claims were to
be paid up; part were to be referred to arbitration; and Boulogne was to
remain for eight years in the hands of the English as security. The
financial pressure of the war had been terribly heavy, so that the
expedient of debasing the coinage had been repeated in order to supplement
taxation. Henry accepted the French terms; and almost simultaneously his
hands were strengthened by the assassination of his most resolute opponent
in Scotland, Cardinal Beton (May 29th, 1546). The Peace with France was
concluded in June.

[Sidenote: 1532-46 Events in Europe]

Before proceeding with the account of the ecclesiastical movement in
England during these six years, and with the narrative of the concluding
six months of Henry's reign, we must turn aside to observe certain events
on the Continent which have not hitherto fallen under our notice, since
they did not at the time exercise a direct effect on English policy, and
were not immediately influenced thereby. Yet since the treaty of Nuremberg
in 1532--the point down to which, in a previous chapter, we followed the
course of the Reformation in Europe--a compromise which served as a
_modus vivendi_ between the Protestant League and the Catholic
subjects of the Empire, important developments had been taking place, which
very materially, if indirectly, affected the subsequent course of events in
England as well as on the Continent. The period corresponds roughly with
the pontificate of Paul III. which lasted from 1534 to 1549.

[Sidenote: The Lutherans and the Papacy]

The idea that the ecclesiastical reconciliation of Christendom was still
possible--apart from the banned and recalcitrant sovereign of England--was
one of which a considerable body of Churchmen by no means despaired. There
were men like Contarini and Pole on the one side and Melanchthon on the
other whose doctrinal attitude did not seem to be hopelessly
irreconcilable. But while the Lutherans demanded for themselves a latitude
of opinion beyond what the Pope would ever have been prepared to concede,
the two sides laid down two contradictory propositions as the condition of
reconciliation, in respect of the validity of Papal authority. Each was
willing, even anxious, for a General Council; but neither would admit one
unless so constituted as to imply that its own view was postulated and
_ipso facto_ the opposing view ruled out of court. The Emperor, though
anti-Lutheran, was unwilling either to enforce his view at the sword's
point, or to subordinate himself to the Pope. The French King was equally
ready to win papal favour by persecuting his own protestant subjects, and
to encourage the protestant subjects of the Emperor, according as one
course or the other seemed more likely to embarrass Charles. Finally the
Pope, while set upon the suppression of the Lutheran heretics, was
desperately afraid of the accession of strength to Charles which would
result from their complete disappearance as a political factor: and he was
almost equally afraid that if a Council could not be carried through,
Charles would call a national Synod of the Empire to settle the religious
question independently.

[Sidenote 1: 1541 Conference of Ratisbon]
[Sidenote 2: 1542 Council of Trent]

Thus attempts to bring about a General Council failed repeatedly. The
nearest approach to reconciliation was achieved when a conference was
arranged at Ratisbon (1541) at which there were papal as well as Lutheran
representatives and it seemed as if common ground of agreement was in
course of emerging. But Luther himself held aloof; Paul III. would not
ratify the concessions that Contarini and others were willing to make. The
Conference ended in failure; and Charles--always embarrassed in his
dealings with the Protestants by his need of their support against
threatening Turkish aggression--was obliged, a good deal against his
private inclinations, to reaffirm the Nuremberg toleration. The result was
a renewal of negotiations between Pope and Emperor for the calling of a
General Council; whereof the outcome was that in May 1542 the Pope summoned
the famous Council of Trent which did not conclude its sittings till twenty
years later. Although the Council was formally called for the end of the
year, it did not succeed in holding a working Session till 1546; after the
spring of 1547 it was transferred to Bologna; nor did it get to work again
(once more at Trent) till 1551. The fundamental point however is that, by
its constitution, the Lutheran controversy was prejudged and the Lutheran
party effectively excluded. It was not a Council representing Christendom;
it stood for the Church of Rome seeking internal reformation for itself and
arrogating Catholicity to itself. Hence arose the custom of using the terms
Catholic and Protestant as party labels for those within and without the
"orthodox" pale, in spite of the objection more particularly of the
Anglican body to its implied exclusion from the "Catholic" Church and
inclusion in the same category with the Lutheran and Calvinistic
bodies. The historian cannot admit that Rome has a right to monopolise the
title of Catholic; but during the period when Europe was practically
divided politically into two religious camps, it is difficult to avoid
using the current labels though their adoption is in some degree

[Sidenote: 1548 Death of Luther]

With the convocation of the Council of Trent, such hope as there had been
for a reunion of Christendom was practically terminated. Its first working
sessions in 1546 were contemporaneous with the death of the man who had led
the revolt against Rome. But if Martin Luther had been a great cleaving
force, in Germany itself his influence had been consistently exerted for
national unity. To him more than to any other man it was due that Germany
had not as yet been plunged into a civil war. He was hardly gone, when the
forces of discord broke loose.

[Sidenote: 1546-49 Charles and the Protestant League]

Charles in fact found the Schmalkaldic League a thorn in his side, and had
for some time been resolved on its extinction should a favourable
opportunity occur. His war with Francis was terminated by the Peace
[Footnote: P. 162, _ante._] of Crêpy in September 1544; the pressure
from Turkey was relaxed; there was no probability that either England or
France would commit themselves to helping the League. In the summer of
1546, the League was put to the ban of the Empire; in the following summer
it was crushed at the battle of Mühlberg, largely owing to the support
given to the Emperor by the young Protestant Duke of Saxony, Maurice. But
while this triumph broke up the League, and led Charles to regard himself
as all-powerful, it frightened the Pope into an attitude of hostility; the
Protestants were not annihilated; the course taken by Charles satisfied
neither party within the Empire; and we shall shortly find a new and
formidable Nationalist and anti-Spanish movement evolved in Germany with
surprising suddenness and effectiveness.

During these years two religious developments had been in progress--one
among the Protestants, the other among the Catholics--both destined to play
a very large part in future history. These were the rise of John Calvin on
one side and on the other the institution of the Society of Jesus
familiarly known as the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: The Order Of Jesuits]

This Order was the creation of a Spaniard, Ignatius Loyola. Born in the
same year as Henry VIII. he was taking active part as a knight in the wars
of 1521, when he was crippled by a cannon shot. He rose from his sick bed a
religious enthusiast; with the conception forming in his brain of an
association for the service of his Divine Master based on the principles of
military obedience carried to the extreme logical point. He devoted many
years to training himself, body and brain and soul, for the carrying out of
the idea. In course of time he found kindred spirits; at Montmartre in 1534
a little company of seven solemnly vowed themselves to the work. All of
them men of birth and high breeding, with rich intellectual endowments and
full of an intense devotional fervour, they soon attracted disciples; and
in 1543 the new Order was formally sanctioned by the Pope. Utter obedience
was their rule, thorough education of their members the primary
requirement. Every Jesuit was a consummately cultivated man of the world as
well as a religious devotee, responding absolutely to the control of a
superior officer as a finished piece of machinery answers to the touch of
the engineer; accounting death in the service a welcome martyrdom;
shrinking from no act demanded for the fulfilment of orders which might not
be questioned. Within a few years of its institution, the Society had
developed into one of the most potent organisations, whether for good or
for evil, that the world has ever known.

[Sidenote: Calvin]

While Loyola was preparing himself for his work, John Calvin was growing up
in Picardy. Having adopted the tenets of the Swiss Reformers, the
persecution of the heretics--within French territory--by the Most Christian
King compelled him to take refuge in Switzerland. There, when only
twenty-seven years of age, he published the work known as the "Institutes,"
setting forth that grim theology, the extreme logical outcome of the
Zwinglian position, which is associated with his name; a system far more
antagonistic to that of Rome than was Luther's. His head-quarters, save for
a brief interval of banishment, were at Geneva, where he established about
1542 an absolute authority, no less rigorous or intolerant of opposition
than the papacy itself; constructing a theory of ecclesiastical government
that dominated the civil as the old Church had never dominated the State,
and carried the stark severity of its controlling supervision into every
detail of private conduct: banishing the comparative tolerance and charity
which had distinguished the Zurich school.

[Sidenote: The ecclesiastical revolution in England]

In the meantime the course of the Reformation in England had been almost
stationary. The whole movement in fact during Henry's reign took outwardly
the form not of a revision of Religion but of a revolution in the relations
of Church and State--a revolution already completed when Cromwell was
struck down. Until his day, Englishmen--ecclesiastics and laymen
alike--recognised the authority of the Holy See, though not always its
claim to unqualified obedience. That authority was now finally and totally
repudiated: none external to the kingdom was admitted; the Church was
affirmed to be the Church of England, coterminous with the State; while a
new interpretation was put upon the supremacy heretofore claimed from time
to time by the secular Sovereign. Not only was the right assumed by the
crown of diverting or even confiscating ecclesiastical revenues and of
controlling episcopal appointments--so that it was even held doubtful
whether the demise of the ruler did not necessitate re-appointment--but the
power was appropriated, (though not in set terms), of ultimately deciding
points of doctrine and promulgating the formulae of uniformity. This was
the essential change which had taken place: resisted to the point of
martyrdom by a few like More and Fisher; submitted to under protest by the
majority of the clergy; actively promoted by only a very few of them, such
as Cranmer. In asserting the position of the Crown, however, the Defender
of the Faith admitted no innovations in doctrine and not many in ritual and
observances. Now and again, for political purposes, Henry dallied with the
Lutheran League; but in this direction he made no concession.

[Sidenote: 1540-46 Progressives and Reactionaries]

No marked alteration then appears after the death of the Vicar-General.
Nevertheless, the contest between the progressive and reactionary parties
was not inactive. In one direction alone, however, did the former achieve a
distinct success. There was an increasing feeling in favour of the use of
the vulgar tongue in place of Latin, not only in rendering the Scriptures
but also in the services of the Church. The advanced section had already so
far won the contest in respect of the Bible that the reactionaries could
only fight for a fresh revision in which stereotyped terms with old
associations might be re-instated in place of the new phrases which were
compatible with, even if they did not suggest, meanings subversive of
traditional ideas--a project which was quashed [Footnote: A revising
Commission had been appointed; but was suddenly cancelled, with an
announcement that the work was to be entrusted to the Universities; which
however was not done. The probable explanation is that Cranmer, seeing the
bent of the Commission, influenced the King to withdraw the work from their
hands, and it was then allowed to drop.] when its intention became
manifest. Measures however were taken to restrict the miscellaneous
discussion of doctrine, which had not unnaturally degenerated into frequent
displays of gross irreverence and indecent brawling; while on the other
hand the use of a Litany in English instead of Latin was by Cranmer's
influence introduced in 1544.

[Sidenote: 1543 The King's Book]

A year earlier the third formulary of faith--the two preceding had been the
Ten Articles and the Bishops' Book--was issued under the title of the
"Erudition of a Christian Man," popularly known as the "King's Book". This
was the outcome of a group of reports drawn up by bishops and divines,
severally, in answer to a series of questions submitted to them. The
reports showed great diversities of opinion on disputed questions; but the
book which received the imprimatur of Convocation and of the King was in
the main a restatement of the doctrines of the Bishops' Book with a more
explicit declaration on Transubstantiation and on Celibacy in accordance
with the Law as laid down in the Six Articles. Throughout the preliminary
discussions, Cranmer had championed the most advanced views which had
hitherto been held compatible with orthodoxy; and, becoming shortly
afterwards the object of direct attack as the real disseminator of heresy,
he openly avowed to the King that he retained the opinions he had held
before the passing of the Six Articles Act although he obeyed the
statute. Henry, to the general surprise, refused to withdraw his favour
from the Archbishop, and caused much alarm to the opposing party by the
manner in which he rebuked the Primate's traducers. The circumstances
deserve special notice because they show that Cranmer was not the mere
cringing time-server that he is sometimes represented to have been; and
also as proving that the King himself was for once capable of feeling a
sincere and continuous affection.

[Sidenote: Henry stationary]

The hopes of the reactionary party were in fact somewhat dashed by the
"King's Book"; since, despite Cromwell's death, the Six Articles still
marked the limit of their influence. A companion volume, known as the
_Rationale_, dealing with rites and ceremonies on lines antagonistic
to Cranmer, was refused the royal sanction. Henry never lapsed from his
professed attitude of rigid orthodoxy. But he showed an increasing
disposition to check random and malignant prosecutions for heresy and to
give the accused something like fair trial; more especially after the
culminating iniquity of Anne Ascue's martyrdom (in the last year of his
reign) for denying the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. The
system of ecclesiastical spoliation was also in 1546 rounded off, by the
formal transfer to the crown of chantries which had not been swept away in
the dissolution of the monasteries.

[Sidenote: 1546 Attainder of Surrey]

The autumn of 1546 arrived. The King's health was known to be exceedingly
precarious, and it was practically certain that there must be some form of
regency or protectorate until the boy prince of Wales should attain a
responsible age. The most prominent men were on the one side the Duke of
Norfolk and Gardiner, on the other the Earl of Hertford and Cranmer. The
King's attitude was more favourable to the second of the two parties; the
conduct of the Earl of Surrey, Norfolk's son, ensured them the domination.
Surrey was entitled to bear on his shield the Arms of England, as a
descendant of the Plantagenets; [Footnote: See _Front_. He traced
through his mother and the Staffords to Edward III, and also through the
other line to Thomas, son of Edward I.] but he assumed quarterings proper
only to the heir-apparent. He used language which showed that he counted on
a Norfolk regency and might have meant that it would be claimed by force.
And he was proved to have urged his own sister, Lady Richmond, to become
the King's mistress in order to acquire political influence over him. It
was also found that the Duke, his father, long a partisan of France, had
held secret conversations with the French Ambassador. These charges were
easily construed into treason under the comprehensive interpretation of
that term which Thomas Cromwell had introduced. Surrey was sent to the
block: his father escaped the same fate merely by the accident that death
claimed Henry himself only a few hours after the Act of attainder was
passed. The inevitable result followed, that practically the whole power of
the State was found to be vested in Hertford and his supporters.

[Sidenote: 1547 Death of Henry]

On the 28th of January 1547, the masterful monarch was dead: to be followed
to the grave two months later by one of his two great rivals, Francis. Of
the three princes who for thirty years had dominated Europe, only one was
left. A greater than any of them--he who, also thirty years ago, had
kindled the religious conflagration--Martin Luther, had passed away a
twelvemonth before.



[Sidenote: Ireland, 1509-20]

Affairs in the sister island did not, after the final collapse of Perkin
Warbeck directly affect the course of events in England: so that they lend
themselves more conveniently to summary treatment. Ireland in fact hardly
thrust herself forcibly on English notice until Thomas Cromwell was in
power, and even then she only received incidental attention.

[Sidenote: Surrey in Ireland, 1520]

It appears to be generally recognised that when Gerald Earl of Kildare
finally made up his mind to serve Henry VII. loyally and was for the last
time re-instated as Deputy, he proved himself a capable ruler and kept his
wilder countrymen in some sort of order. In 1513 he was succeeded in the
Deputyship by his son Gerald, who bore a general resemblance to him, but
lacked his exceptional audacity and resourcefulness. It was not long before
the Earl of Ormonde--head of the Butlers, the traditional rivals of the
Fitzgeralds, and chief representative of the loyalist section--was
complaining of disorder and misgovernment; and in course of time, Kildare
was deposed and Surrey [Footnote: The Surrey who became Duke of Norfolk in
1524, and was under attainder when Henry died in 1547.]--son of the victor
of Flodden--was sent over to take matters in hand (1520). Kildare was
summoned to England, where after his father's fashion he made himself
popular with the King whom he accompanied to the Field of the Cloth of
Gold. Surrey was a capable soldier, and took the soldier's view of the
situation. There would be no settled government until the whole country was
brought into subjection; it must be dealt with as Edward I. had dealt with
Wales. The chiefs must be made to feel the strong hand by a series of
decisive campaigns, the whole country must be systematically garrisoned,
and the Englishry must be strengthened by planting settlements of English
colonists. Half-measures would be useless, and he could not carry out his
programme with a less force than six thousand men.

[Sidenote: Irish policy, 1520-34]

Henry however had no inclination to set about the conquest of Ireland. His
own theory, with which it may be assumed that Wolsey, now in the plenitude
of his power, was in accord, was more akin to his father's. Moreover,
Wolsey and the Howards were usually in opposition to each other. Surrey was
instructed to appeal to the reason of the contumacious chiefs; to point out
that obedience to the law is the primary condition of orderly government;
to authorise indigenous customs in preference to imposed statutes where it
should seem advisable. In fact there were two alternatives; one, to govern
by the sword, involving a military occupation of the island; the other to
endeavour to enlist the Irish nobles on the side of law and order and to
govern through them. The first policy, Surrey's, was rejected; the second
was attempted. But the Irish chiefs had no _a priori_ prejudice in
favour of law and order, and something besides rhetoric was needed to
convince them that their individual interests would be advanced by such a
policy. Henry VII. had prospered by reinstating the old Earl of Kildare;
Henry VIII. tried reinstating the young one. But precedents suggested the
unfortunate conclusion that a little treason more or less would hurt no
one, least of all a Geraldine. Things went on very much as before. Kildare
was summoned to London again, rated soundly by Wolsey, suffered a brief
imprisonment, and was again restored. Desmond, his kinsman, intrigued with
the Emperor, who was in a state of hostility to Henry because of the
divorce proceedings; Kildare was accused of complicity, and going to London
a third time in 1534 was thrown into the Tower from which he did not again
emerge. Henry had just burnt his boats in his quarrel with Rome and was by
no means in a placable mood.

[Sidenote: Fitzgerald's revolt, 1534]

Kildare had named his eldest son Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, a young man of
twenty-one, to act as Deputy in his absence; moreover he had so fortified
his castle of Maynooth and otherwise made military preparations, as to give
colour to the idea that he had rebellion in contemplation. Excited by a
report that his father had been put to death, Lord Thomas--known as Silken
Thomas from a badge worn by his men--burst into the Council at Dublin,
threw down the sword of office, and renounced his allegiance; then raised
an insurrection at the head of his friends and followers. Dublin Castle was
soon besieged by a large miscellaneous force; the Archbishop, a leader of
the loyalists, attempted to escape but was taken and foully murdered; bands
of marauders ravaged the Pale. The only effective counter-move was made by
Ormonde who rejected Fitzgerald's overtures, and, in spite of Desmond's
menacing attitude on the South-west, raided the Kildare country, and
brought Silken Thomas back in hot haste to defend his own territories.

[Sidenote: 1535 The revolt quelled]

Fitzgerald's rising began in June. Henry had appointed as Deputy Sir
William Skeffington, an old soldier who had held that office before during
Kildare's last suspension. But his departure from England with his troops
was delayed. Fitzgerald was back before Dublin in September, after a vain
attempt to win over Ormonde who defied him boldly. Again the Kildare lands
were raided, and Lord Thomas had to raise the siege; and now at the end of
October Skeffington succeeded in crossing the channel and securing Dublin,
while the rebels carried fire and sword through the neighbouring
districts. For the rest of the winter Skeffington did nothing but send out
a futile expedition, a detachment of which was ambuscaded: while the
loyalists fumed. In the spring however he shook off some of this
inactivity, whether due to sickness, advancing years, or general
incompetence, and besieged Maynooth which was reputed impregnable. The
fortress fell before long; owing to treachery as tradition relates, but
more probably to the improved siege artillery as the official despatches
affirm. Most of the garrison were promptly hanged; a fatal blow was dealt
to the insurrection. The "pardon of Maynooth" became a proverb.
Skeffington, retaining the deputyship, was replaced in command of the army
by Lord Leonard Grey, Kildare's brother-in-law, son of Lord Dorset; to whom
ultimately Silken Thomas surrendered under a vague half-promise of lenient
treatment. Kildare himself had died in the Tower not long before; Lord
Thomas and his principal kinsmen were executed after a little delay; the
one surviving representative of the great house which had "ruled all
Ireland" was a child, preserved in hiding by loyal friends and
retainers. The Geraldine power was at an end.

[Sidenote: 1535-40 Lord Leonard Grey]

Grey himself was now appointed to the deputyship in place of Skeffington,
Desmond in the south-west and O'Neill in Ulster carried on the resistance,
but were no match for Grey, who followed up his military successes by
attempting to carry out the principles of conciliation which Henry had laid
down--to the bitter indignation of those loyalists who favoured the methods
advocated in the past by Surrey. To this and to Grey's insolent temper were
due violent altercations between him and the Council. A Commission was sent
over to examine and set matters straight, but instead the commissioners
took sides with the Council or with the Deputy. Affairs were complicated by
the application to Ireland of the English theory of ecclesiastical
Reformation as understood by Henry and Cromwell. The suppression of the
monasteries was acquiesced in (though not till 1541); since their condition
was undeniably bad, and the distribution of their property convenient for
the recipients; but the revolt from Rome was antagonistic to Irish
feeling. Disloyalty to England, the natural and normal condition of
three-fourths of the island, received a new authority from the sanction of
loyalty to the Church. Grey persisted in his policy of domineering over the
English party--who would have preferred to do the domineering
themselves--and of laying himself open to the charge of favouring and
fostering rebels, especially of the Geraldine faction. Another rising of
O'Neill and Desmond in 1539 forced him to reassert his authority, but he
again allowed it to appear that he was influenced by his connexion with the
Geraldines; and in 1540 he was recalled, attainted, and
executed. Experience of Henry had taught the conclusion that to fight the
charge of treason was useless; but Grey gained nothing by throwing himself
on the royal clemency, though his admission of guilt is not under the
circumstances very conclusive.

[Sidenote: 1540 St. Leger]

Whatever the extent of his actual guilt, his downfall was due not so much
to his professed policy as to the personal methods adopted which in the end
had excited almost universal distrust and hostility. The proof of this lies
in the fact that St. Leger, his successor as Deputy, carried out the same
nominal policy with very remarkable success, and, it would seem, with
general approval: mainly because he applied the principles impartially
instead of as a partisan. The agent of conciliation was judicious,
clear-headed, and tactful, instead of being injudicious, hot-headed, and
tactless. The new Deputy distributed titles and monastic lands with a
shrewd perception of the value of the services to be purchased thereby;
legal commissioners were appointed who were allowed a due latitude in
applying native customs and relaxing the rigour of English law; a number of
important chiefs were converted into supporters of the Government instead
of its more or less open enemies; the Pale settled down into the condition
of a reasonably well ordered State. In the last years of Henry there is a
complete disappearance of the wonted turmoil. At length he had found a man
capable of administering the policy he had enunciated in 1520. The
Deputyship of St. Leger gave promise of initiating a new era; but it showed
also how completely the working out of the Irish problem would depend on
the character and capacity of the men to whom the task should be
successively entrusted.

[Sidenote: Henry "King of Ireland"]

One significant change remains to be noted. Hitherto the King of England
had borne the title of Lord of Ireland, the theory being that Ireland was
held as a fief from the Pope. As marking a final repudiation of every kind
of papal authority, Henry, after the suppression of the Geraldine rising,
assumed the style of King of Ireland. The fact that the change was needed
has some bearing on the opposed papal and royal claims to Irish
allegiance. Wales, it may be remarked, acquired citizenship when for the
first time she sent representatives to Parliament in 1537.

[Sidenote: Wolsey's work]

Throughout the first half of Henry's reign the figure of the great Cardinal
dominates the political field. In two respects at least his work was the
extension of what Henry VII. initiated. By his efforts, the personal power
of the crown became irresistible; and as the old King raised England from
being almost a negligible quantity on the Continent to become at the lowest
an effective make-weight in European combinations, so Wolsey raised her
still further to a position of equality with the two great Powers which
overshadowed all the rest. This he did by the same method of evading
serious military operations whenever the evasion was possible, and by the
exercise of a diplomatic genius almost unmatched among English
statesmen. After his fall, the King's domestic interests withdrew him from
a like active participation in the quarrels of Charles and Francis,
although in his last years he became involved in a French war.

[Sidenote: The Army]

It is singular however to observe that Wolsey won for England all the
prestige of a great military Power, after a period during which that
ancient reputation of hers had been all but completely lost, without any
single achievement memorable in the annals of war, and without producing
any commander even of the second rank. With the sole exception of Surrey's
victory at Flodden, due rather to the disastrous blunder of James than to
the Earl's exceptional ability, no striking strategical or tactical feats
are recorded, and few remarkable displays even of personal valour: nothing
at all comparable to the brilliant if sometimes hazardous operations of the
great Plantagenets. Nothing more is heard of that once triumphant arm, the
Archery: the English bowmen had not, it would seem, lost their cunning, but
they could no longer overwhelm hostile battalions. Nor does this seem to
have been owing as yet to the displacement of the bow by firearms, though
cannon both for defence and destruction of fortresses were improving--as
exemplified at Maynooth. In the Scots wars, the border moss-troopers fought
after their own fashion: but in the French wars the levies, no longer
fighting in bodies following their own lord's flag, and feeling neither a
personal tie to their leaders nor any particular bond among themselves,
repeatedly displayed mutinous tendencies--as befel in Ireland under Lord
Leonard Grey, and earlier with the entire army commanded by Dorset in 1512
and again with Suffolk's soldiery in 1523. The transition period from the
era of feudal companies to that of disciplined regiments was a long one,
particularly in England. During the whole of that period, English armies
accomplished no distinguished military achievement.

[Sidenote: The Navy]

It was otherwise with English navies. All through the Tudor period, the
nation was steadily realising its maritime capacities. Whether the
strategic meaning of "ruling the seas" was understood or not, the century
witnessed the rise of the English naval power from comparative
insignificance to an actual pre-eminence. The two Henries fostered their
fleets; when Elizabeth was reigning, the sea-faring impulse was past any
need of artificial encouragement. But it is noteworthy that coast defence
and ship-building were almost the only public purposes to which an
appreciable share of the King's ecclesiastical spoils was appropriated. The
King's ships were few, but they were supplemented by an ever-increasing
supply of armed merchant-craft; and in the French war at the end of Henry's
reign is the premonition of the great struggle with Spain, in which one
most characteristic feature was the comparative reliance of England on
sails and of her rivals on oars. As yet however, naval fighting was still
governed by military analogies.

[Sidenote: The New World]

Though Henry was keenly interested in ship-building and naval construction,
in the matter of ocean voyages and the acquisition of new realms Spain and
Portugal still left all competitors far behind. Albuquerque had already
founded a Portuguese Maritime empire in the Indian Ocean when Henry
VIII. ascended the throne, and Spain was established in the West Indies. In
1513, Balboa sighted the Pacific from the Isthmus of Darien. In 1519 Cortes
conquered Mexico; in 1520 Magelhaens passed through the straits [Footnote:
It was still believed that Tierra del Fuego was a vast continent stretching
to the South.] that bear his name, and his ships completed their voyage
round the globe in the course of the next two years; in 1532 Pizarro
conquered Peru; Brazil and the River Plate were already discovered and
appropriated. All that England had done was represented by some Bristol
explorers in the far North, some tentative efforts in the direction of
Africa; and some four voyages to Brazil, the first two under William
Hawkins, father of the more famous Sir John.

[Sidenote: Absolutism]

As Wolsey's policy was a development of that of Henry VII. in the direction
of raising England's international prestige, so it was also in the
concentration of power in the hands of the sovereign: and the process was
carried still further though in a somewhat different way when Wolsey had
fallen. It is curious to note that Henry VII. for the first half of his
reign ruled by a skilful reliance on parliamentary sanctions, in the second
half almost dispensing with parliaments. This order was reversed by his
son. For the first twenty years, there were hardly any parliaments: from
1529 there was no prolonged interval without one. The economies of the old
King sufficed to support the extravagant expenditure of his successor with
only an occasional appeal to the purses of the Commons. It was only the
necessities of a war-budget that involved such an appeal, so that none took
place between 1514 and 1523. Had Wolsey been permitted to maintain his
peace-policy unbroken, there would have been no rebuff from the House of
Commons in 1523, no trouble over the Amicable Loan two years later. The
country, habituated to an absence of parliaments, might have come to accept
a monarchy absolute in form as well as in fact.

[Sidenote: The Parliamentary sanction]

But when Wolsey fell, Henry was embarking on a policy in which he knew that
he must keep the nation on his side; the support of the body representing
the nation must be secured. Whether that support was granted spontaneously,
or was encouraged by manipulation, or spurred by the menace of coercion,
was comparatively unimportant. The powers which the King was resolved to
exercise must ostensibly at least have the sanction of national
approval. The thing was managed with such thoroughness that long before the
close of the reign the royal absolutism was confirmed by the Act which gave
the force of law to the King's proclamations, and by the authorisation for
him to devise the crown by will; and with such skill that Henry's and
Cromwell's critics are obliged to fall back on the alleged subserviency of
the parliaments to account for it, although these same subservient
parliaments were quite capable of offering an obstinate resistance whenever
their own pockets were threatened. Henry was one of those born rulers who
impress their own views on masses of men by force of will. He made the
country believe that it was with him. But behind the dominant force of
will, he possessed the instinctive sense of its limits, besides being
endowed with that final remorseless selfishness which made him ready to
make scape-goats of the most loyal servants, to deny responsibility himself
and to fling the odium upon them, as soon as he found that those limits had
been transgressed.

[Sidenote: Depression of the Nobles]

Alike, then, by his disuse and his use of parliaments, Henry strengthened
the royal power, the initiative of all legislation remaining in his
hands. To the same end he continued to depress the great nobles and to
create a new nobility dependent on royal favour. All who threatened to
display a dangerous ambition, from Buckingham on, were struck down; the
House of Norfolk survived till the end of the reign, when the Duke was
attainted and his son was sent to the block. No ancient House was
represented in the Council of Regency nominated under Henry's will. The men
who served the King were those whom he had himself raised, and could
himself cast down with a word. The edifice of his absolutism was complete,
though it was modified by the conditions under which his son and his two
daughters succeeded to the throne.

[Sidenote: Parliament and the purse]

The theory of absolutism from Richard II. to Wolsey had been that the King
should make it his aim to rule without parliaments; whereas we are
confronted with the apparent paradox that Henry was never more absolute
than when his parliaments were in almost continual session. The explanation
lies in this, that he did not usually call them to ask them for money out
of their own pockets; for the most part he invited them to approve of his
taxing some one else, by confiscations or the conversion of loans received
into free gifts--a much more congenial task. The King had found other
methods of raising revenues than by appealing to the generosity of his
faithful Commons--methods which in effect relieved them of demands which
they would otherwise have been obliged to face. The vast sums wrung from
Convocation or from the Monasteries went to relieve the Commons from
taxes. The parliament of 1523, summoned to grant subsidies, faced Wolsey
with an independence which fully justified the minister in avoiding the
risk of similar rebuffs: the Reformation parliament itself offered a
stubborn resistance to the Bill of Wards, which touched its own pocket.
Independence and resistance vanished when the incentive was withdrawn, and
the diversion of the stream of ecclesiastical wealth into the abysses of
the royal treasury was acquiesced in with a certain enthusiasm. The King
got the credit of the ends secured, his minister the odium for the methods
of obtaining them: and so year by year the crown became more potent.

[Sidenote: The Land]

The economic troubles brought about mainly by the new agricultural
conditions in the reign of the first Tudor were exaggerated in that of the
second, and were further intensified by the dissolution of the
Monasteries. The evils at which More pointed in his _Utopia_, when
Henry VIII. had been but seven years on the throne, showed no diminution
when another thirty years had passed. The new landowners who came into
possession of forfeited estates or of confiscated monastic lands continued
to substitute pasture for tillage, and to dispossess the agricultural
population as well by the reduced demand for labour as by rack-renting and
evictions. The country swarmed with sturdy beggars; and the riotous
behaviour encouraged when religious houses were dismantled or even
"visited" must have tended greatly to increase the spirit of disorder,
evidenced by the frequent popular brawling over the public reading of the
Bible. The usual remedies of punishing vagabondage, and of attempting to
force industry into unsuitable fields and to drive capital into less
lucrative investment in order to provide employment, failed--also as
usual. The landowners did not emulate the monastic practice of dispensing
charity, so that distress went unrelieved. Charity often encourages
un-thrift; but its absence sometimes leads not to industry but to thieving;
and in this reign, crimes of violence were notably abundant. The economic
conditions were therefore in fact unfavourable to thrift. But apart from
economic conditions, the practice of that virtue is apt to be largely
influenced by social standards. An ultra-extravagant court, and the
calculated magnificence of such a minister as Wolsey, went far to induce a
reckless habit of expenditure in the upper classes; and the inordinate
display of the Field of the Cloth of Gold was merely an extreme instance of
the prevalent passion for costly pageantries.

[Sidenote: Finance]

The resulting distress was not compensated in other directions. During the
earlier half of the reign, Commerce did no doubt continue to prosper; but
the King's financial methods were hardly more conducive to public industry
and thrift than his personal example. Wolsey indeed was an able finance
minister. In spite of the enormous expenditure on display, his mastery of
detail prevented mere waste; and until the pressing necessities of a
war-budget arose in 1523, enough money was found by tapping the sources to
which Henry VII. had applied, supplemented by the ample hoards which that
monarch had left behind. In 1523, the Cardinal's scheme of graduated
taxation was sound and scientific in principle, so far as existing methods
of assessment permitted. But for the remaining years of his life, the
process of raising money to meet the King's requirements was exceedingly
difficult and unpopular. After his death, the King discovered an additional
and productive source of revenue in the property of the Church; but even
this did not suffice for his needs.

[Sidenote: The Currency]

Henry therefore resorted to an expedient as disastrous as it was
dishonest--a wholesale debasement of the coinage, which was continued into
the following reign and was remedied only under Elizabeth. The first
experiment was made as early as 1526; but it was the financial
embarrassments of Henry's last years which brought about a debasement that
was almost catastrophic. From 1543 to 1551 matters went from bad to worse
till the currency was in a state of chaos: and the silver coin issued in
the last year contained only one-seventh of the pure metal that went to
that of twenty-five years before.

It followed that the purchasing power of the debased coinage sank--in other
words, prices went up. On the other hand, the new coin remaining legal
tender in England up to any amount, creditors who were paid in it lost
heavily, the Royal debtor--and others--discharging their obligations by
what was practically a payment of a few shillings in the pound. Also as a
matter of course, the better coins, with each fresh debasement, passed out
of the country or at any rate out of circulation, the base coins becoming
the medium of exchange. Thus the foundations of commercial stability were
sapped, while foreign trading operations were thrown into desperate and
ruinous confusion.

Nor did the evil end here. For the influx of silver and gold from the
Spanish possessions in America, though its effects were felt only very
gradually, tended to depreciate the exchange value of the metals
themselves. This depreciation, added to the debasement, further increased
the rise of prices. But while prices went up, money-wages did not rise in
anything like the same proportion; labour being cheapened by the continuous
displacement of the agricultural population, which was not attended by an
equivalent increase of employment in the towns, and by the dissolution of
the monasteries, which at the same time wiped out the sole existing system
of poor-relief. The natural Economic transition that began in the previous
reign, while producing wealth, was also attended by distress: now, for a
vast proportion of the population, Henry's artifical expedients for filling
his own coffers converted distress into grinding want, destitution, and

[Sidenote: Learning and Letters]

The earlier half of the reign promised well for Education; but the promise
was not duly fulfilled in the latter portion. The funds which Wolsey would
have devoted to that object were wanted for other purposes. The
Universities discarded the study of the schoolmen, but their attention was
absorbed rather by loud-voiced wrangling than by the pursuit of learning.
Nevertheless, in great families at least, the education of the younger
members was carried to a high pitch. The King, a man of accomplishments
which would have made him remarkable in any station, himself set the
example, and in this respect at least his children were not lacking; the
literary impulse was at work.

[Sidenote 1: The _Utopia_]
[Sidenote 2: Prose and Verse]
[Sidenote 3: Surrey and Wyatt]

Yet the literary achievements of Henry's time can hardly be called
great. One work by an Englishman, More's _Utopia_, alone stands out as
a classic on its own merits: and that was written in Latin, and remained
untranslated till a later reign. In its characteristic undercurrent of
humour, and its audacious idealism, it betrays the student of Plato;
standing almost alone as a product of the dawning culture. Partly by direct
statement, partly by implication, we may gather from it much information as
to the state of England in Henry's early years, much as to the political
philosophy of the finer minds of the day. But that philosophy was choked by
revolution; More himself so far departed from its tenets of toleration as
to become a religious persecutor. Most of the English writing of the reign
took the form of controversial or personal pamphlets in prose or verse;
such as the extravagant _Supplicacyon for the Beggers_, a rabid tirade
against the clergy, or Skelton's rhyme _Why come ye nal to Court_, an
attack chiefly on the Cardinal. The splendid raciness of Hugh Latimer's
sermons belongs to oratory rather than to letters. The exquisite prose of
Cranmer found its perfection in the solemn music of the Prayer-book of
Edward VI. The translations of the Bible made no great advance on
Wiclif. In the realm of verse, John Skelton was a powerful satirist with a
unique manipulation of doggerel which has permanently associated a
particular type of rhyme with his name; an original and versatile writer
was Skelton, but without that new critical sense of style which was to
become so marked a feature of the great literary outburst under
Elizabeth. Herein, two minor poets alone, Surrey and Wyatt, appear as
harbingers of the coming day. A hundred anonymous writers of Gloriana's
time produced verses as good as the best of either Wyatt or Surrey; but
these two at least discovered the way which, once found, became
comparatively easy to tread. They introduced the sonnet, learnt from
Petrarch; Surrey (the same who was executed on the eve of Henry's death)
wrote the first English blank verse. The moribund tradition of the
successors of Chaucer continued to find better exponents in Scotland than
in England, in the persons first of bishop Gawain Douglas--who perhaps
should rather be connected with the previous reign--and later of Sir David
Lyndsay. But doctrinal controversy does not provide the best atmosphere for
artistic expression. The whole literature of the reign, while showing
emphatic signs of reviving intellectual activity, is remarkable not for its
own excellence, for profundity of thought, intensity of passion, or mastery
of form, but as exhibiting the first random and tentative workings of the
new spirit.

[Sidenote: Estimate of Henry VII.]

The most arresting figure of the period is that of Henry himself. No
English King has been presented by historians in more contradictory colours
than he. One has painted him as the Warrior of God who purged the land of
the Unclean Thing: to another he is merely a libidinous tyrant. One
contrasts his honesty and honour with the habitual falsehood of his
contemporaries: to another he appears supreme in treachery. In fact, there
is an element of truth in both estimates, however exaggerated.

[Sidenote: His Morals]

In the matter of personal morality, in the restricted sense, it does not
appear--in spite of his list of wives--that he compares unfavourably with
contemporary princes. He had only one child certainly born out of
wedlock--which cannot be said even of Charles V., [Footnote: It should
perhaps be remarked that whenever Charles had a wife living he appears to
have been faithful to her. His divagations took place in the intervals.]
and contrasts with the unbridled profligacy of Francis, the frequent amours
of his Stewart brother-in-law and nephew. The stories of his relations with
both Anne and Mary Boleyn before the marriage, even if untrue (which is not
probable), would never have been told of a man whose life was clean; but it
is what may be called the accident of his numerous marriages which has
given a misleading prominence to licentious tendencies not perhaps
abnormally developed. With the exception of his passion for Anne Boleyn,
there is no trace of his amours influencing his general conduct: and it is
at least probable that after the death of Jane Seymour he would have
remained a widower, but for the desire to make the succession more
secure. Yet the story of his reign hinges upon the Divorce; and in the
divorce, however much other considerations may have influenced him, the
controlling consideration was the determination to make Anne Boleyn his
wife since she would have him on no other terms. That fact, with the
disastrous termination of the marriage with her, the fiasco of Anne of
Cleves, and the catastrophe of Katharine Howard, is responsible for the
somewhat mythical monster of popular imagination. The man who divorced two
wives and beheaded two more is too suggestive of Bluebeard to be readily
regarded as after all to some extent the victim of circumstance.

[Sidenote: His general character]

While Anne Boleyn was the object of his pursuit, Henry was dominated by his
passion for her: but that passion cooled quickly enough after
possession. Jane Seymour was not his wife long enough to put him to the
test: but it would certainly seem that his affections were short-lived and
easily transferred. This was manifestly the case with men: at least it
never appeared to cause him a moment's compunction to hand over an intimate
to the executioner. While a man was rendering him efficient service the
King was lavish of praises and rewards; when the need for him was past the
services were forgotten. His sentiments were always of the loftiest; it
habitually "consorted not with his honour or his conscience" to do
otherwise than he did; but the correspondence between his honour and
conscience on one side and his personal advantage on the other presents a
unique phenomenon. His conscience permitted him to connive at schemes for
kidnapping the King of Scots or assassinating his ministers, and his honour
permitted him to encourage his own servants in a course of action for which
he had subsequently no hesitation in sending them to the block. He could
give, prodigally; but what he gave had generally been taken from some one
else. He could protest against the cruel burden of the annates, and then
absorb them himself. And with all this, it is not difficult to suppose that
he constantly persuaded himself that he was an honest man beset with
dishonest rogues, since he rarely broke the letter of an engagement except
on the pretext of bad faith made manifest in the other party.

[Sidenote 1: His peculiar abilities]
[Sidenote 2: Intention and achievement]

Henry's ethical standards were thus in no way calculated to hamper his
actions, owing to his happy capacity for colouring his actions in
conformity with them. When he set an end before himself, no influence could
make him waver a hair's-breadth in his pursuit of it, and he spared neither
friend nor foe in the attainment of it. As a statesman he did not lay down
far-seeing designs. But he had the art of maintaining popularity, and a
shrewd eye for a good servant. Thus as a rule he gave Wolsey a free hand
and very vigorous support. But when he elected to order a change of policy,
the Cardinal proved to have been right and the King wrong. His candidature
for the Empire, and his dreams of the French and Scottish thrones show him
capable of indulging in entirely impracticable visions. The vital
achievement of his reign was the severance from Rome; and that was
merely--as far as he was concerned--the accidental outcome of the Pope's
opposition to the Divorce. In the destruction of the ecclesiastical
_imperium in imperio_, the subordination of the Church to the State,
it is difficult to tell how far the policy was his own and how far it was
Cromwell's; but the King never recognised as Cromwell did that the logical
corollary of the whole ecclesiastical policy was a Protestant League. The
defiance of Rome, and the subjection and spoliation of the Church, were
accompanied by a measure in which Cranmer was the moving spirit, and to
which Henry gave full support--the open admission of the Scriptures in the
vernacular--which made it no longer possible for the individual to disclaim
responsibility on the score that the priesthood alone held the key to the
mysteries of religion. This was in truth the keystone of the Reformation,
since it entailed upon every man the _duty_ of private judgment even
though the _right_ continued to be denied; yet this was not the effect
which Henry contemplated. Hence, out of the four points in the
ecclesiastical revolution of the reign: the subordination of the Church to
the State was a constitutional change absolutely Henry's or Cromwell's own;
the spoliation was the same, but reflects no credit on either; the
severance from Rome was an accident; and the creation of the duty, to be
ultimately recognised as the right, of private judgment was
unintentional. And on the kindred subject, the persecution of innovators
labelled as heretics, Henry's policy represented nothing but the
commonplace attitude of Authority in his times.

[Sidenote: A Dominant personality]

We cannot, in short, find in Henry a statesman remarkable for far-sighted
perceptions or ennobling idealism: but he gauged the sentiment of his
subjects and the abilities of his servants acutely and was shrewd enough as
a rule to identify himself with the schemes of those whom he trusted.
Nevertheless he stands out, with all his faults, as a very tyrannical King
yet a very kingly tyrant. If his personal ambitions and desires over-ruled
other considerations, he never forgot the greatness of the country he
ruled, and his personal ambitions at least involved England's
magnification. For good or for evil, his actions were on a great scale. He
knew his own mind, and he never shrank from the risks involved in giving
his will effect. He defied successfully the Power which had brought the
mightiest monarchs to their knees. He had the kingly quality, shared by his
great daughter, of inspiring in his servants a devotion which made them
ready to sacrifice everything for his glorification. Two of the most
powerful ministers known in English history recognised the domination of
his personality whenever he chose to exercise it.

[Sidenote: Summary]

Even when he was most feared he maintained his place in the popular
affection. His parliaments carried out his will, but his will and theirs
were in conformity: while Wolsey ruled, he rarely consulted them, but after
Wolsey's fall they were called upon to ratify all the King's measures, and
were in frequent session. He promoted a revolution, but while he lived he
controlled it; through all the accompanying shocks and upheavals his
mastery remained unshaken. The proof of the man's essential force, the
greatness we may not deny him, is made manifest by the chaos which followed
his death. He was gross; he was cruel; he was a robber; he suborned
traitors and was prepared to suborn assassins; but his selfishness,
flagrant as it was, did not wholly absorb him; behind it there was a sense
of the greatness of his office, a desire to make England great; and
therewith he had the indomitable resolution and the untiring energy for
lack of which statesmen have failed who intellectually and morally stand
far above him, while no monarch has left on the history of England a stamp
more indelible than Henry VIII.



[Sidenote: 1547 Jan.-Feb. The New Government]

In accordance with the extraordinary powers granted to him, Henry VIII.
laid down in his will both the order of succession to the throne and the
method of government to be followed during his son's minority. Under this
instrument he nominated sixteen "executors," forming virtually a Council of
Regency, giving precedence to none. Superficially, the list represented
both the progressive and the reactionary parties. Cranmer was balanced by
Tunstal of Durham; Wriothesly the Lord Chancellor was a strong
Catholic. But as a matter of fact, the influential men belonged for the
most part to the advanced section. Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, was their
leader: but Paget, Dudley (Lord Lisle), Russell, and Herbert, were all of
the same way of thinking. None of the rest were of the same weight as
these; while Norfolk, the natural head of the conservative nobility was a
prisoner in the Tower, and Gardiner, the ablest of the ecclesiastics, was
omitted from the list.

Henry died in the early morning on January 28th; the fact was not made
public till the 31st; and in the meantime, Hertford had carried the
Council, which forthwith nominated him Lord Protector. The next step was a
distribution of honours: Hertford was made Duke of Somerset; his brother,
the Lord Admiral, (not an executor), Lord Seymour of Sudeley; Dudley became
Earl of Warwick, Wriothesly Earl of Southampton, and Parr, brother of the
late King's widow, Earl of Northampton. A couple of months later, that
lady--who had succeeded in surviving two husbands including Henry--herself
wedded Seymour of Sudeley,

Southampton was the one man whose opposition on the Council was to be
feared; and he gave himself into his enemies' hands by an act of
indiscretion. He issued a commission appointing four judges to act in the
Court of Chancery, under the Great Seal, on his own responsibility: and was
promptly declared to have forfeited his office which was bestowed upon
Rich. This was immediately followed by the granting of new powers to the
Protector, enabling him to act virtually without consulting the Executors:
while he was already guardian of the King's person. In effect, Somerset
meant himself, as representing Edward, to exercise all those powers which
had been surrendered to the formidable Henry. In the meantime, the trend of
the ecclesiastical policy to be anticipated was shown by the treatment of
the bishops; who--with the approval of Cranmer--were required to receive
their commissions anew from the new King as though they had been Civil
servants. Cranmer, in the Coronation sermon, made pointed references to
Josiah, which could only be regarded as precursors of a war against
"images," and the more advanced among the clergy began to express
themselves with a freedom which would have been very promptly and
unpleasantly dealt with by the late King. Ecclesiastical conventions
received a startling shock when it was made known that the Primate himself
was openly eating meat in Lent.

To carry the Reformation beyond the stage at which it had been left by
Henry in a tolerably peaceful manner was a sufficient task in itself; but
the situation which the new Government found that it had to face, by the
time Somerset had secured his position, towards the end of March, was
complicated by many additional problems--not least among these being the
lack of funds.

[Sidenote: Relations with France]

The recent peace with France had given the English Boulogne for eight years
as security for the payment of a substantial annual sum. But while this
might be looked upon as a valuable diplomatic asset--a means to graceful
concession in return for adequate benefits--it remained an incitement to
French hostility; the more so when Francis I. followed his great
contemporary to the grave after less than two months, and was succeeded by
Henry II.; with whom the retention of Boulogne was a particularly sore
point, as he had failed in an attempt to recapture it. If England found
herself in difficulties it was tolerably certain that France would try to
recover Boulogne without waiting the eight years for its restitution.

[Sidenote: with Scotland]

France was not unlikely to find her opportunity in Scotland. There the
group who had murdered Cardinal Beton in the previous summer retained the
castle of St. Andrews in defiance of the weak government, at whose head
were the regent Arran and the queen-mother Mary of Guise, whose family was
now the most influential in France. The one means by which an English party
could be maintained in Scotland was the giving active support to the
"Castilians" as the St. Andrews faction was called; whereas French
interference on behalf of the Government would immensely strengthen the
anti-English party.

[Sidenote: with Charles V.]

The German situation was more complicated. The Emperor, supported by
Maurice of Saxony, was at war with the Lutheran League. As yet the issue of
that contest was doubtful; the League had at least a chance of success, but
had appealed to England for aid. Charles on the other hand, not wishing for
war with England, had declined the Pope's suggestion that he should enforce
the substitution of Mary for Edward on the English throne: the Pope was
annoyed, because the Schmalkaldic war was being fought on a political and
not a theological issue; and he was alienating Charles by withdrawing the
Council of Trent from that city, which was within Imperial territory, to
Bologna where Italian influences would be predominant. If then England
intervened on behalf of the League, she would reconcile the Pope and the
Emperor, and possibly unite them with France against herself. If she stood
aside, she would lose the chance of creating a powerful Protestant League,
while experience had shown that any gratitude Charles might feel would
count for less than nothing in determining his future policy. The
Government hesitated; and while they temporised, the Emperor by a sudden
blow became master of the situation. At the end of April, crossing a river
by night, he fell upon the unexpectant army of the League at Mühlberg,
crushed it, and secured its chiefs. The League of Schmalkald was
irrevocably shattered. No effective counterpoise to his power was apparent
within the Empire. Now however the task before Charles was to organise the
supremacy which had at last become convincingly actual. This, and his
quarrel with the Pope over Trent and Bologna, was likely to keep his hands
full for some time. Thus the important thing for the Protector was more
emphatically than before to conciliate France and gain over a strong party
in Scotland to support the policy of friendly relations with England;
whereof the chief corner stone was still the marriage of Edward who was
about ten years old to the four-year-old Queen of Scots.

[Sidenote: Somerset's Scottish policy]

But Somerset did not conciliate France, which had recently been further
irritated by the construction of so-called harbour works at Boulogne which
were evidently intended to be fortified, contrary to the treaty; while in
Scotland he was meditating a step which could only drive that country into
the arms of France.

Somerset in fact was one of those visionaries who are the despair of more
clear-sighted persons who are in sympathy with their objects. He suffered
from a permanent incapacity for realising the immense difficulties in his
way, and the infinite tact necessary to the accomplishment of his
aims. Hence the methods he adopted were invariably calculated to bring into
full play every conceivable force that could act in opposition. Sincerely
anxious to alleviate the lot of the rural population, he went out of his
way to irritate the landlord class into more effective combination. Almost
alone in a desire for the widest religious toleration, the moderation of
his ecclesiastical laws was discounted by the licence of speech and action
allowed to the progressives. In like manner, his theory of Scottish policy
was admirable, his practice absurd. The Union of England and Scotland was
his ideal, as it was to be the ideal in later years of that most acute of
Scottish politicians, Lethington. But he could not appreciate the absolute
necessity that the Union should be by consent; and even while endeavouring
to procure it by consent, for which he appealed in noble language whereof
the sincerity is apparent, he adopted methods which aroused the hostility
even of those Scots who were most favourably disposed to Union in the
abstract. By making common cause with the Reformers, he might have
check-mated France; yet he neglected his opportunity. His own solution of
the problem was the marriage of Edward and Mary, which he might have
brought about by diplomatic persuasion, or by carrying the Reformers with
him. Yet he could see nothing for it but to dictate his terms at the
sword's point, the one quite certain way of making sure that they would be
rejected, by setting even the Reformers against him. To make matters worse,
it was in his mind to re-assert the English sovereignty; to which Henry
had indeed audaciously affirmed his claim, though only as a right held in
reserve. This intention he had already conveyed not to the Scots but to the
French who warned him that they would stand by their old allies: while the
mere suspicion of such an insult in Scotland was enough to rouse the
fiercest hostility of the whole nation.

[Sidenote: Pinkie (Sept.)]

The natural result was that while Somerset was contenting himself with
border raids, instead of espousing the cause of the Castilians, Prance was
acting. About the beginning of July a French fleet appeared off St.
Andrews; at the end of the month the castle surrendered. English ships
might have prevented this, but the Protector elected instead to prepare a
great invasion. In September he was over the border, in command of a
considerable army, supported by a large fleet. The Scots of all parties
mustered in force and were lying between the advancing English and
Edinburgh in a strong defensive position not far from the spot made
memorable two hundred years later by the rout of Prestonpans. The English
ships were in the Forth hard by. The Scots in essence repeated the blunder
of Flodden before and of Dunbar later. A successful attack by Somerset, who
had the smaller army, was almost impossible; they thought that he was
delivered into their hand, and mistook a tactical movement for a retreat to
the ships. Abandoning their position and racing to cut him off, their
leading troops received and broke a charge of horse; but the mass of the
English, who were greatly superior in cavalry and artillery, and whose
advance had been concealed by the formation of the ground, were already at
hand and fell upon them. The Scottish army was completely shattered; ten
thousand dead or dying men were left on the field of Pinkie Cleugh. The
English loss was small.

[Sidenote: Effect of Pinkie]

Somerset however merely did very much what he had done before when he
sacked Edinburgh in the last reign, ravaging and retiring. Pillage and
destruction were arguments which invariably stiffened Scottish defiance,
and it was now absolutely certain that the Scots would not consent on any
terms to the English marriage. Dictation from England by force of arms was
the one method of minimising the internal warring of factions in the
Northern Country. Had Somerset been prepared to follow up his campaign by
an effective military occupation, his plans might have been dignified with
the name of a policy. In practice, they amounted almost to a negation of
policy. A month after the battle the only effective result for Scotland was
a renewed and intensified bitterness of hatred to England, and a
corresponding inclination to amity with France. The practical reply to the
invasion was the proposal to France of a marriage between the Queen of
Scots and the Dauphin.

For the Protector himself however, the victory of Pinkie was a personal
triumph. He returned to England in a halo of military glory and popularity,
to receive new compliments and honours, and to assume the rôle of
beneficent dictator with self-complacent confidence when Parliament met for
the first time in the beginning of November.

[Sidenote: The Progressive Reformers]

In the meantime the progressive Reformers, increasingly guided by Swiss
rather than Lutheran ideas, were already hurrying forward with their
schemes, acting upon Royal proclamations under the authority of the
Council. Injunctions were issued for the destruction of "abused" images
which term was liberally interpreted so as to cover stained glass,
paintings, and carvings which might conceivably be regarded as objects of
idolatry--that is to say, become in themselves objects of worship instead
of being recognised as mere symbols: a process which unless conducted with
the most studied moderation and caution was absolutely certain to give the
rein not only to passionate zealotry but to wanton irreverence. Cranmer
obtained an order for the reading in churches of the "Book of Homilies,"
for the most part in lieu of all other preaching. The _Paraphrase_ of
Erasmus, done into English, was ordered to be set up in the churches. A
commission was issued for a Royal Visitation, superseding the authority of
the bishops, though some months elapsed before this was fairly at
work. Paget, having the instincts of statesmanship, endeavoured to warn
Somerset against keeping too many irons in the fire; but Paget was guided
solely by political expediency, not by principle. The one man who did
boldly take up his stand on principle was Gardiner. His remonstrances were
open. He urged that the intentions of the dead King should be carried out;
that no revolutionary changes should be introduced during Edward's
minority; that arbitrary proclamations by the Council had no sanction of
law; that the personal powers bestowed upon Henry remained in abeyance
until the young King should be of age; that aggressive measures in Scotland
ought to be similarly deferred. The introduction of the Homilies, he
argued, to which authorisation had been refused in the last reign, was in
itself unjustifiable in the circumstances; the more so as--mainly by their
omissions--they were inconsistent with the doctrinal attitude affirmed by
Henry's legislation. Gardiner's remonstrances, supported by Bonner, bishop
of London, were of no effect. Matters came to a head when the two bishops
refused to submit without qualification to the injunctions. Both were
imprisoned in the Fleet, while Somerset was in Scotland.

[Sidenote: Nov. Repeal of more stringent laws; Social legislation]

In November, Parliament met, and began its career of benign legislation.
Since Cromwell's day, the land had lain under the grip of ruthless laws.
Of these the sternest were repealed as no longer necessary. The Treasons
Act disappeared; so did the old Acts against the Lollards; so did the Act
of the Six Articles. A curious attempt was made to deal with the problem of
vagrancy, the outcome of prevalent economic conditions, which the penalties
of flogging and hanging had failed to repress. The vagrant was to be
brought before the magistrates, branded, and handed over to some honest
person as a "slave" for two years. If he attempted to escape from
servitude, he was to be branded again and made a slave for life; if still
refractory he could be sentenced as a felon. The intention of the Act was
merciful, its effect probably more degrading than that of the superseded
statutes. At any rate, it failed entirely of its purpose and was repealed
after two years.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical legislation]

In matters ecclesiastical, Parliament on its own account abolished the form
of the _congé d'élire_, giving the appointments directly into the
King's hands. Also the chantries and other foundations which had been
conferred on Henry, but had not been suppressed by him, were now--despite
the strong opposition of Cranmer, Tunstal, and a few of the bishops--
formally subjected to the Council and for the most part abolished. It is to
be noted however that of the Church property acquired by the crown in this
reign a comparatively respectable though still niggardly proportion was
re-appropriated to educational purposes. [Footnote: In most cases, only in
the way of restoring pre-existing endowments.]

[Sidenote: 1548]

Convocation, sitting concurrently with Parliament, presented petitions for
representation of the clergy in parliament, for the administration of the
Communion in both kinds to the laity, for the suppression of irreverent
language about the Sacrament, and for sanctioning the marriage of the
clergy. The first was ignored; the two next were embodied in Acts of
Parliament; the last was deferred for a year. The session was rounded off
in January by a general pardon, except for the graver offences; with the
result that the imprisoned bishops were for a time released.

[Sidenote: Progress of Reformation]

Between this and the next session of Parliament, in November, the arbitrary
method of proceeding by proclamations was in full force. The Reformers did
not as yet press advanced doctrinal views. There was a proclamation for the
observance of the Lenten Fast--expressly for the sake of the
fisheries. Another enforced a new Communion Office, pending the completion
of a new Prayer-book; but in this the service of the Mass remained
unaltered and in Latin: no doctrinal change was implied, though the
Communion in both kinds was ordered to be administered to the laity, in
accordance with the recent Act and the recommendation of Convocation. More
significant was a further proclamation for the destruction of "images," in
which the distinction between "abused" images and others, previously laid
down, was cancelled. In the meantime no unauthorised innovations were to be
permitted. Cranmer was still striving vainly after his ideal of a
conference between leading continental and English reformers, who should
come to an agreement upon a common body of doctrine. It was _prima
facie_ reasonable that while awaiting the new authoritative formularies,
now avowedly in course of preparation by a commission on which the Catholic
party was not unrepresented, partisan preaching should be discouraged, and
all but licensed preachers be confined to the Homilies; it was however
unfortunate that the licences for preaching should have been systematically
granted both by Somerset and Cranmer--to whom the power was
restricted--only to keen and sometimes extravagant partisans of the "New
Learning"; a term at that time appropriated to the advocates of
Protestantism at large. It is not surprising that Gardiner so far placed
himself in opposition as to be called upon to express publicly his approval
of these proceedings, nor that he should have found himself unable to do so
in terms satisfactory to the Council. Before the summer was over the Bishop
of Winchester was relegated to the Tower. More unfortunate still was the
encouragement to sacrilegious irreverence given by the personal conduct of
the Protector, who pulled down one chapel and began to lay hands on another
in order to build himself a new palace.

[Sidenote: Somerset's ideas]

Nor were Somerset's activities confined to the campaign against "idolatry,"
a term conveniently used to include any observances which, in the eyes of
the Swiss school, savoured of superstition. With no sense of the
limitations of his own intelligence, no suspicion of the subtle skill in
adjustment needed at all times to impose ideals on a materially minded
community, unable to realise that though his object might be excellent the
methods adopted in achieving it might be fruitful of unexpected evils, he
conceived in his arrogant self-confidence that he had but to say the word
and difficulties would vanish. He resolved to appear as the Poor Man's
Friend, establishing a Court of Requests in his own house so that appeal
might be made personally to him from the normal processes of the Law; also,
he appointed a commission to investigate and deal with that evasion of the
agricultural statutes which he imagined to be the actual cause of the
prevailing distress. The end in view was admirable, the method high-handed
and unconstitutional: the policy won him popularity for the time among the
depressed classes, but roused the enmity of nobility and gentry without
achieving useful results.

[Sidenote: The French in Scotland]

Meanwhile, affairs in Scotland were aggravating the tension with France,
where the proposal to marry the Scots Queen to the French Dauphin was
approved. English troops harried the borders, and in the course of the
spring captured and garrisoned Haddington. French troops were landed in
Scotland, and the marriage proposal was formally ratified; in spite of a
belated offer from the Protector to leave Scotland alone and postpone his
own marriage scheme till Edward and Mary were old enough to have views of
their own, provided that Scotland would hold aloof from France. French
ships, evading the English by sailing round the Orkneys, took Mary on board
on the west coast and carried her off in safety to France. A diplomatist
would have seized the chance of reviving an English party, when it was
found that a violent animosity was growing up between the Scots and the
French troops; but the opportunity was allowed to pass, and the animosities
were reconciled by some minor successes of Scots and French together
against the English: while privateering operations--in other words,
authorised piracy--were going on in and near the Channel, which amounted to
something not far removed from a state of war between France and England.

[Sidenote: The Augsburg Interim]

It was fortunate that affairs in Germany continued to preclude that union
of the Catholic Powers against England which the Pope desired; since
neither Charles nor Paul would bend to the other. Charles, with no one to
fear since Mühlberg had witnessed the destruction of the League of
Schmalkald, was preparing future disaster by his high-handed attitude
within the Empire. Deeming his position absolutely secure, his tone to the
Pope was peremptory and dictatorial. The French King encouraged Paul to be
equally peremptory. In May 1548, Charles, repudiating the authority of the
Council, or section of the Council, sitting at Bologna, took the law in his
own hands and imposed the "Interim of Augsburg" on the Germans. It was one
of those compromises which satisfies no one; schismatical in the eyes of
the Catholics, in the eyes of the Protestants an insignificant
concession. Many of the latter, including the moderate and conciliatory
Bucer, withdrew to England rather than accept it. The Protector however was
secured against any present danger of a coalition between Henry II. and
Charles; while the incursion of foreign Protestants of extreme views,
especially those of the Swiss school, had a marked influence on the
ecclesiastical movement in England.

[Sidenote: Nov. Parliament]

At the end of November, Parliament again met--to reject a first, a second,
and a third Enclosures Bill, based on the report of the Agricultural
Commission; for the labouring classes were unrepresented in the
House. Making the rough places smooth proved not so simple a process as the
Protector had imagined. The petition of the clergy for the legalisation of
their marriages, deferred from the last session, was given effect, and
fasting was again enjoined on economic grounds. The real business of the
session, however, was the discussion of the new Prayer-book and the first
Act of Uniformity.

[Sidenote: 1549 A New Liturgy]

Hitherto, there had been no uniform Order of Service: a variety of "Uses"
being sanctioned. The idea however was by no means new, and had in fact
long been theoretically approved, though never pressed with sufficient
fervour to pass the stage of theoretical approbation. Cranmer had expended
an infinity of learning and labour on the work now to be issued, and to him
we owe chiefly the solemn harmonies, the gracious tenderness, of its
language. To him too in chief, but partly also to the composite character
of the "Windsor Commission" under whose auspices [Footnote: _Cf._
Moore, 183.] it was prepared, is due that conscious ambiguity of
phraseology which enables persons of opinions so diverse on points so
numerous to find in it a sufficiently satisfactory expression or
recognition of their own views. It was possible alike for Day and for
Ridley, even for Tunstal and for Hooper, to conform to it. Whether it was
actually submitted to Convocation is a moot question, [Footnote: Moore,
186,187.] as to which the evidence is inconclusive, but informally, if not
formally, it is clear that it received the _imprimatur_ of general
clerical opinion. In the discussions, the Archbishop--generally regarded by
the Swiss school as sadly backward--won from that section unexpected
approval; but his other utterances continued to be so difficult to
reconcile with their attitude that it is at least doubtful whether he went
so far with them as they supposed. At any rate the book known as the
Prayer-book of 1549 was accepted, and in January the Act of Uniformity was
passed, compelling the clergy throughout the kingdom to adopt it uniformly
under severe pains and penalties for recalcitrance. The Act was to come
into force at Whitsuntide. Eight of the bishops however opposed the Bill,
including some who had been on the Commission. It may be inferred that
while they gave the book itself their sanction, they resisted its
imposition on the clergy by lay authority.

[Sidenote 1: 1547-49 The treason of the Lord Admiral]
[Sidenote 2: 1549 Fall of the Lord Admiral]

One other matter was to occupy the attention of Parliament before the close
of the session, namely the treason of the Protector's brother, the Admiral,
Lord Seymour of Sudeley. He was the King's uncle; he had taken to wife the
late King's widow on being refused the hand of the Princess Elizabeth; he
was violently jealous of his brother and angry at not having the
guardianship of the King entrusted to him--an office which in his opinion
ought to be separated from that of Protector of the realm. After marrying
Katharine Parr he did obtain from the Council the guardianship of
Elizabeth, and from Lord Dorset that of his daughter Lady Jane Grey, who,
under Henry's will, stood next in succession to the throne after his own
offspring. As Admiral, he had refused to take command of the fleet which
accompanied the march to Pinkie; and had entered into secret relations with
the pirates who infested the Channel. It had long been palpable that he was
intriguing for power, but no one was disposed to take part with him, and
Somerset was lenient to him. His principal ally was one Sharington, master
of the mint at Bristol, who abused his office by debasing the coinage and
pocketing or sharing his nefarious profits: Dorset and probably his
brother-in-law Northampton (Parr) favoured him. Thus supported, he had
money enough in hand to maintain a considerable armed following should
occasion arise, and had established a private cannon foundry. When his wife
died, he renewed his pretensions to the hand of Elizabeth, and was not
unnaturally suspected of having hastened Katharine's end with that
intention. Trusting to the soreness of Southampton (Wriothesly) at his
deprivation of the Chancellorship, he tried to win him over, and also
Rutland. The attempt failed, and was reported to the Protector; who
summoned him to give an account of himself before the Council. Seymour
refused to attend, using defiant language; and on January 17th he was
arrested. Practically there is no doubt of his treason, and had he then
been fairly brought to trial, Somerset would have been free from reproach.
But the question was debated in parliament whether the Admiral should be so
tried, or attainted, and attainder was decided on after he had refused to
answer to the Council; as he was entitled to do. He was allowed to plead
before a committee of both Houses in his own defence, but did not take
advantage of the permission: virtually he was denied the right of an open
trial, and was condemned without such defence as he had to make being
heard. Cranmer signed the death-sentence: Latimer defended it. The fact is
significant of the chaos into which English ideas of justice and fair play
had fallen. The Protector's brother was executed at the end of March.

[Sidenote: Troubles in the Provinces]

From April to September, Somerset's troubles thickened. Formidable
insurrections took place both in the western and eastern counties, and the
hostilities with France, not yet openly at war, were assuming an aggravated
form. The one piece of good fortune for England was that the antagonism
between Charles and the French King in other fields still prevented any
rapprochement between them.

[Sidenote: The Western Rising]

In the country districts there were two exciting causes of disturbance
--one, the general agricultural distress due to the selfish policy of the
landowners, the extension of sheep-farming and consequent displacement of
labour, the enclosure of common lands and evictions from small holdings;
the other, the innovations in religion and interference with immemorial
practices to which the people were attached with the persistent
conservatism of rural folk. The two types of grievance were associated by
the recent abolition of the monasteries, and the transfer of their lands to
the most obnoxious class of landlord--a class in the nature of the
circumstances popularly identified with the enemies of the old
ecclesiastical system, since it was they who conspicuously profited by the
change. The North and the West, then and for more than a century to come,
were the strongholds of traditional faiths and traditional ideals, as
Yorkshire had shown by the Pilgrimage of Grace. Now the main trouble arose
in the West. The introduction of the new Service Book at Whitsuntide was
met with violent opposition; the men of Cornwall and Devon rose, and
demanded the redress of grievances. They would have the religious houses
reinstated, and at least half their lands restored. They would have the old
services, not the new one which was "like a Christmas play". They would not
have it in English which the Cornishmen "did not understand". Elsewhere
there had already been disturbances, the peasants anticipating Somerset's
efforts to remedy the agricultural grievances by a commission to enforce
what was actually the law, and assembling in mobs to level fences and
enclosures; whereat the Council was wrath, but the Protector as Friend of
the People was disposed to applaud them. A religious revolt however was an
attack on the Protector's own policy, and must be put down. Foreign
mercenaries were called in, to embitter the quarrel. The insurgents
besieged Exeter, and had been for some months in arms before they were at
last crushed by the Government forces, in August, after desperate fighting.

[Sidenote: Ket's insurrection]

In the meantime a separate rising came to a head in the Eastern counties,
where however the religious question was not involved. In that part of the
country, destined to be the head-quarters of puritanism, the new ideas had
made early way with the population; and Ket, the leader of the rising,
conducted it on the hypothesis that his followers were merely enforcing
legal rights because the agents of the Government neglected to do so. A
great camp was formed at Mousehold Hill near Norwich; order was strictly
maintained; morning and evening the new services were read. There was so
much to be said in favour of the insurgents that they were offered a free
pardon if they would disperse; but unfortunately Ket cavilled at the word
"Pardon" on the ground that no offence had been committed, whereupon the
herald called him a traitor. The indignant insurgents, ready enough to
disperse before, thereupon changed their tone, assaulted and captured
Norwich, and carried off the guns and ammunition. Northampton was sent down
in command of the Government forces, but the rebels attacked him with such
determination that he had to fly--the insurgents maintaining their policy
of abstaining from robbery and violence generally. At last however, at the
end of August, Warwick, who replaced Northampton, succeeded by the aid of
German and Italian mercenaries in inflicting a crushing defeat on them; Ket
himself being taken and hanged soon after.

[Sidenote: Somerset's attitude]

Another rising was also attempted in Yorkshire, but this was easily quelled
by the local authorities. It is however of interest to note that the
nobility regarded Somerset as the real cause of these troubles, on account
of the open sympathy he expressed for the grievances of the rural
population, and his public admonitions to the landowners urging them to
amend their ways. He was driving the country faster than it was prepared to
go in the direction of religious innovations; he was attacking the
privileges which the new landowners had usurped; his Scottish policy had
been upset, in spite of Pinkie, by the young Queen's escape to France; he
was further alienating all but a few of the nobility by his increasing
arrogance of demeanour and disregard of advice, as well as by an assumption
of powers which had no precedent; he was giving a handle to his enemies by
the profusion of his own household, his appropriations of clerical lands
and even of the fabric of consecrated buildings to his own use; and finally
his conduct of foreign affairs had been so incompetent that while the
Emperor declined an English alliance, the position of Boulogne--which
remained quite inefficiently garrisoned--was becoming critical, and a
French squadron, ostensibly in pursuit of English pirates, attacked the
island of Jersey. By the end of September war was declared with France.

[Sidenote 1: The Council attacks the Protector]
[Sidenote 2: Fall of Somerset (Sept.)]

The lords of the Council, headed by Warwick, made up their minds that it
was time the protectorate should end, and that one vain-glorious nobleman
should not absorb so undue a share of power and profit. Somerset,
discovering that there was a cabal on foot, attempted to stir up popular
feeling against the Council, and retired hurriedly to Windsor with the
King, accompanied by Cranmer and Paget; a journey which is said to have
materially shaken the health of Edward, who was in a very delicate
condition. But the people did not rise in Somerset's favour; the Council
had so far taken no improper action, whereas the Protector had evidently
incited to violence by the steps into which panic had led him; Herbert and
Russell, returning from the West with the troops employed there to put down
the insurrection, declared in favour of the Council; who were of course
forced--very much to their own satisfaction--to stand on their right to
control the Government, and call the Protector to account, at the same time
promising him life and declaring that they had never sought his personal
injury. By mid-October, Somerset had fully realised that he was without
effective support; he surrendered to the Council, and was sent to the
Tower. His deposition from the Protectorate was confirmed by Parliament
three months later, and a substantial portion of his estates was forfeited,
after which he was again set at liberty. But his control in politics was at
an end.

[Sidenote 1: Ireland, 1547-49]
[Sidenote 2: Bellingham Deputy]

Before proceeding to the second division of Edward's reign, it remains to
deal with affairs in Ireland, where Sir Anthony St. Leger held sway, with
general approval, during the closing years of Henry's life. St. Leger
embodied the policy of conciliation by the method of converting Irish
chiefs into responsible supporters of the government in return for honours
gilded with spoils of the Church. The method worked well, but the
condoning--almost, it might be said, the rewarding--of treason, initiated
by Henry VII., carried risks which are obvious. Whether it was that the
extension to Ireland of the energetic iconoclasm of the English Reformation
in 1547 excited new hostility; or that a repressive policy was anticipated
from the new Government; or that death withdrew the loyal influence of the
old Earl of Ormonde, whose young heir was in England; or that the chiefs
were tired of behaving peaceably after six years; or that all these causes
combined: signs of disturbance and rumours of French intrigues
arose. St. Leger was recalled, and replaced by Sir Edward Bellingham, a
stern and rigorous soldier, who ruled autocratically with a strong
hand. Fortresses and garrisons were established up and down the country
outside the Pale, among the tribes which had been in the habit of raiding
or levying blackmail--very much after the fashion of various Highland
clansmen in Scotland; while O'Connor and O'More, two chiefs whose lands lay
between the English Pale and the Shannon, were attached for treason. In
short, Bellingham asserted the authority of the English government, not, it
would seem, unjustly, but certainly with severity, and in a dictatorial
fashion which thoroughly re-awakened the normal rebellious instincts of a
population never really subjugated. While he was present, his power was
feared and respected; but if St. Leger's policy had been taking real
effect, that effect was thoroughly cancelled. Bellingham died in 1549, and
Desmond told Allen the Chancellor, that the Deputy's methods had reduced
all Ireland to despair. [Footnote: A phrase expanded by Mr. Froude, v.,
421 (Ed. 1864)--perhaps legitimately--into "despair of being able to
continue their old habits".] In any case, no long time elapsed after
Bellingham's death before the country was again in a ferment. The fall of
Somerset left the new Government, controlled by Warwick, with a normally
distracted Ireland on its hands as well as an abnormally distracted
England. So long, however, as ferment did not mean active rebellion, the
English rulers were not greatly troubled.



When Somerset fell, the state of affairs which his successors had to face
was singularly threatening, calling for the most skilful statesmanship both
at home and abroad.

[Sidenote: 1549 (Winter) The Situation]

Externally, the chance of maintaining the hold on Boulogne was
disappearing: but while it was maintained, the hostility of France was
assured. Scotland, defiant, allied with France and helped by French troops,
might become actively embarrassing. Within two months of the Protector's
fall Pope Paul died. He was succeeded by Julius III. who promptly made
friends with the Emperor; to whom there was now hardly any open resistance
save at Magdeburg which stubbornly refused to accept the Interim. With the
Protestants apparently under his heel, and on good terms with the Papacy,
he might assume a hostile attitude to England. The one hope for her lay in
buying from France the friendship of the party in that country which, ever
mindful of the Italian provinces, might make common cause against the
Emperor if the immediate source of friction with England were removed.

[Sidenote: State of the Country]

At home there were the rural discontents and the swelling ardours of
religious partisanship to deal with, while the financial position was
growing worse from day to day. The natural fall in the value of silver
everywhere, owing to the quantities of the metal now beginning to pour into
Spain from America, depreciated the purchasing power of wages; and this was
made infinitely worse in England by the persistent debasement of the
coinage. The rulers of the country rewarded their own very inconspicuous
merits with the forfeited spoils of the Church, instead of applying them to
the public needs. The Treasury was nearly empty, and was maintained even at
its alarmingly low level only by borrowing from foreign bankers at usurious
interest. For the time being, the country had lost its moral balance;
landowners, merchants, and manufacturers were absorbed in rapid
money-making at the expense of their traditional integrity. Religion had
fallen into a controversial wrangle between contradictory dogmas; the most
earnest of the Reformers have given us the blackest pictures of the
prevailing irreligion and moral anarchy, rampant products of theological
acrimony. It is true that the Moralists of all ages have usually been
engaged in expressing a vehement conviction that the decadence of their own
age exceeds that of any other known to history; and within the next decade,
the denunciations of Latimer were to be lost in the paean of the martyrs.
Had the corruption he depicts been vital, those sublime tragedies would
never have taken place. But for the time, chaos prevailed. It is true that
some of the subjects of controversy were logically vital ultimately; but it
is true also that, absorbed in them, the controversialists lost sight of
other matters more spiritually vital immediately. If the Christian is
taught that his duty to God is comprised in the acceptance or
non-acceptance of dogmas and ceremonial observances, while his duty towards
his neighbour comprises the whole of his moral conduct; if then his
spiritual guides omit to preach the latter in their devotion to the former
subject; his morality is in danger of being entirely neglected. "This ought
they to have done, but not to leave the other undone."

[Sidenote: 1550 Terms with France]

In one respect, the new Government recognised the force of facts. It made
up its mind that France must be reconciled by the evacuation of Boulogne,
if any colourable concession could be obtained in return. France however
so obviously held the whip-hand that even Paget's diplomacy could do little
to qualify the completeness of the surrender. There was a brave display of
preparation for a determined defence, but the negotiators on both sides
were fully aware of its emptiness. There was nothing that Henry II. desired
more than the termination of strife with his excellent neighbours, provided
that they would hand over Boulogne, cancel most of the money claim under
the treaty of 1546 for which they held it as security, and withdraw their
troops from the forts they still retained in Scotland. The reconciliation
might then be sealed by the betrothal of Edward to a French princess, the
young Queen of Scots being bespoken by the Dauphin--only nothing
considerable in the way of a dowry could be expected. France however would
pay within a few months what might pass as a ransom for Boulogne. Such were
the terms which Paget, the cleverest statesman in England, was obliged to
advise the Council to accept: though the suggested marriage project was
dropped. The treaty of peace was signed on March 24th (1550).

[Sidenote: Warwick's Protestant zeal]

On the religious question, Warwick lost little time in showing that he was
on the same side as Somerset. For a moment, the Protector's fall raised
vain hopes in the breasts of those who supported the Old Learning. Gardiner
appealed from his prison: so did Bonner who not long before had not only
been incarcerated for the second time, but even, in October, deprived of
his see. It was useless. Warwick saw that he must either pose as an
enthusiastic reformer, or bring the reactionaries into power. In the former
case, he could lead; in the latter, he would have to throw himself on the
support of the old nobility. Not only Gardiner but Norfolk also would have
to be released from the Tower, and he himself would inevitably drop to the
second rank. Warwick, with a fine consistency, never permitted any other
motive to influence him when his own aggrandisement was involved in the
issues. The first step of the parliament which re-assembled in November
(1549) was to pass an Act for the removal of Images. Gardiner, and Bonner,
remained in prison. Even an attempt of the whole body of Bishops to have
something of their disciplinary jurisdiction restored, in the interests of
public morality, was quietly suppressed. Three more bishops of the Old
learning were at intervals sent to prison and deprived--Heath, Day, and
Tunstal. Every vacancy was filled from the ranks of the advanced reformers.

[Sidenote: A new treasons and felonies Act]

Norfolk, like the bishops, continued a prisoner. Somerset on the other
hand, no longer regarded as dangerous, was released in February, the major
part of the fine imposed on him was remitted, and after a brief interval he
was even re-instated in the Privy Council, and his official reconciliation
with Warwick sealed by a family marriage. But while his anti-clerical
policy was carried to much greater lengths, his social policy and his
relaxation of the treason laws were entirely reversed. Parliament made
felony or treason out of assemblages presumed to intend disturbance of the
peace, to some extent legalised enclosures, made acts against Privy
Councillors treasonable as if they were against the King, and included in
the ban assemblies for the purpose of altering the laws.

[Sidenote: Activity of the extreme Reformers]

The peace with France still left opportunities for friction; but Warwick's
reforming enthusiasm drove him into the course--manifestly irritating to
the Emperor--of interfering with the private devotions of the Princess
Mary, who was ordered to give up the Mass: to which she replied that she
was bound by the law as left by her father, and would not recognise orders
in contravention thereof, as long as her brother was a minor. Charles
himself was at this very time reverting to an intolerant policy in the Low
Countries, and Protestants were hastening to England from Flanders. The
risk that the Emperor might adopt Mary's cause in arms was obvious, and it
was known that the Guise party at the French court would miss no
opportunity of reviving the war with England in the hope of capturing
Calais. In the meantime, the extreme reformers of the Swiss school were
steadily gaining weight, in comparison with that section which, like
Cranmer, continued to favour less drastic changes. One of their chiefs,
Hooper, being nominated to a bishopric, for a long time declined to accept
it on account of the vestments ordered to be worn at consecration--an
attitude however for which he was condemned by all the cooler heads,
including some of the most advanced. Hooper ultimately gave way--a
narrow-minded but sincere man, who at the last won the crown of
martyrdom. An unsuccessful effort was made to obtain Gardiner's
release--the failure being the more pointed because Somerset interested
himself on the bishop's part. Gardiner, with thorough consistency, declared
himself ready to accept the Prayer-book since it did not preclude his view
of the Sacrament; but he would not profess opinions in contradiction of the
doctrines formally affirmed in the last reign. In the end, he was not only
kept in prison, but deprived of his see of Winchester.

[Sidenote 1: 1551 The Council and the Emperor]
[Sidenote 2: Charles's difficulties]

In the early months of 1551 the friction with the Emperor on the subject of
the Princess Mary's Mass was becoming alarming; Charles was refusing to let
the English Ambassador in his dominions use the English Communion Service;
and the Council went so far as to propose making the Princess personally
and alone exempt from Conformity: fortunately, however, for them, affairs
in Italy took a turn which gave fresh impulse to the anti-Imperialists in
France. The Protestant city of Magdeburg was still holding out against the
Imperial troops which were under the command of Maurice of Saxony, and the
French King was becoming inclined to give active support to the
resistance. The Pope had devoted himself to Charles's interests, and
assented to the return of the Council to Trent; and there were hints that
Henry might call a Gallican synod, instead of allowing the French
ecclesiastics to attend, unless the Lutherans were also represented. The
Emperor could no longer imagine himself to be completely master of the
situation. In April, the Council felt that he was so far hampered that they
could venture to assume a bold front. They informed him that the Act of
Uniformity was the Law; that it applied to all subjects, including the
Princess; and that they claimed the same freedom for their own ambassador
which they were willing to concede reciprocally to his. About the same time
the German Diet foiled a pet scheme of Charles, who wished his son Philip
(afterwards Philip II. of Spain) to be nominated as his successor to the
Imperial crown in place of his brother Ferdinand [Footnote: Charles had
ceded the Austrian dominions of the house of Habsburg to Ferdinand in
1522.] who was already King of the Romans. The Germans however preferred
the Austrian to the Spanish succession, and rejected the proposal. In June
he found that the English and French had come to terms, and had agreed to a
French marriage for Edward, on exceedingly easy conditions for France. He
still continued to threaten war unless England gave way on the disputed
points; but the Council answered only by temporising, and he was soon in no
position to threaten. The unrest of the German Protestants and later in the
year the assembling of the Council at Trent demanded all his attention. In
fact, though he did not suspect it, Maurice of Saxony was even now laying
his plans for snapping the bonds which the Emperor was seeking to rivet
upon his German subjects. The incompetent hand-to-mouth conduct of foreign
affairs in England did not bring disaster on the country, mainly because
Charles had not rightly taken the measure of his own strength and of the
forces in the Empire adverse to his policy.

[Sidenote: Groups among the Reformers]

The domestic history of England during 1551 is not marked by events of
magnitude, but the general trend of affairs is not without significance.
No serious attempt was made to deal with any of the existing causes of
disorder and uneasiness. Warwick, a man whose entire career presents no
evidence of his having possessed any religious convictions whatever, had
fixed upon the ultra-protestants as the party whose support would be most
valuable to him. Honest enough themselves, these men, typified by Bishop
Hooper, were ready to credit with a like honesty any one who talked their
particular jargon with sufficient fervour, and to stigmatise as Laodiceans
any one who did not go to every length along with them. Cranmer and more
positively his right-hand man Ridley--recently made bishop of London in
Bonner's room--were now leaning more towards them than when the Prayer-book
of 1549 was promulgated; and a considerable personal animus cannot but have
entered into their feeling towards Gardiner, whose present unimpeachable
attitude of legality was discounted by his participation in the intrigues
against Cranmer during the last reign.

[Sidenote: Attitude of Somerset]

It is less really surprising than it seems at first sight to find in
Somerset the one man who really interested himself on the side of
toleration towards individuals, in the cases both of Mary and of
Gardiner. As a matter of fact, although when Protector he had been
particularly zealous in the war against images, had carried desecration to
abnormal lengths in his private appropriation of spoils, and had grossly
transgressed his constitutional powers for the repression of the bishop of
Winchester as the ablest of the opponents of his policy: yet he was not
generally vindictive, was probably quite satisfied with the compromise of
the first prayer-book which did not actually contravene the _King's
Book_, and--except when he was commanding troops in Scotland--liked at
least the posture of magnanimity. Entirely devoid of statesmanlike
qualities, but afflicted with inordinate vanity, he had been an intolerably
incompetent ruler: yet his intentions were usually quite commendable; while
the government which succeeded the Protectorate had failed in every
particular to establish a claim to respect, nor could he be, like the
zealots, hoodwinked into a belief in its honesty. Apart therefore from
personal considerations he did not favour its extreme policy, and personal
considerations suggested that he might once more oust his rival from
power. Lacking the capacity to organise an opposition, he still lent
himself to intrigues. He was a possible danger to the Government for one
reason and only one--that popularity with the commonalty which had been
gained by his well-meant but ill-directed efforts to espouse their cause
against the oppression of the wealthier classes.

[Sidenote 1: Fresh attack on Somerset]
[Sidenote 2: 1552 Execution of Somerset]

Warwick therefore, endowed with plentiful cunning and no scruples, decided
to be rid of him once for all, and put in the mouth of an accomplice a
story, with enough truth in it to be plausible, which sufficed for his
purpose. In October Warwick, having procured his own elevation to the
Dukedom of Northumberland, that of Dorset to the Dukedom of Suffolk, and
that of Herbert to the Earldom of Pembroke, arrested Somerset at the
Council. The Duke was accused of compassing the deaths of several Lords of
the Council, and of preparations for an armed revolt and for appealing to
the populace. On the greater part of the specific charges, the evidence was
quite inadequate--but finding that Somerset might be held to have gone far
enough to incur the death-sentence for felony under the law passed by the
parliament of 1549-50, Northumberland (as Warwick must now be called) made
a show of magnanimously withdrawing the accusations so far as he was
personally affected. Somerset was duly condemned; but it was not till the
end of January (1552) that he was actually executed, in spite of the
somewhat pathetic demonstrations in his favour of the populace, who refused
to the last to believe that the sentence would really be carried out, and
lamented his doom with tears.

[Sidenote: Pacification of Passau]

While Somerset's trial was still going on, agents arrived in England from
the German Protestants, inviting assistance in the contemplated revolt
against Charles--a movement carried out with sudden and triumphant
effectiveness by Maurice of Saxony in the following spring. Had
Northumberland given his adhesion, the formation of a Lutheran alliance at
this juncture might have very materially altered the subsequent course of
events. The opportunity however was not taken. Indeed it is scarcely
surprising that the signs of the times should have been misread. Maurice
had helped Charles against the Schmalkaldic League before; yet everything
depended on his discarding the apparently erratic politics of his past
career, and displaying in full measure the organising and military genius
of which he had given promise, though it still remained to be conclusively
proved. He did in fact prove it a few months later, when he all but
succeeded in pouncing on the Emperor at Innsbruck. Charles was forced to a
hasty flight, and, finding a practically united Germany in arms against
him, was reduced to accept the pacification of Passau (July), conceding all
that the Lutherans demanded. Maurice's brilliant exploit not only
terminated Charles's resistance to the Reformation in Germany; it also
released England from all danger of his active hostility.

[Sidenote: England stands aside]

In view however of the uncertainty still, at the end of 1551, attendant on
the motives, the aims, and the capacity of Duke Maurice, the decision of
the professedly enthusiastic protestants in England to stand aside is
hardly a ground for reproach. Disaster had so often been escaped during
recent years, through some lucky turn of events abroad supervening on the
purely temporising policy of the Government, that they had good reason to
hesitate about committing themselves to any irrevocable course; while
personal intrigues and the strife of religious parties gave the individual
leaders sufficient occupation. Possibly also the influence of the Swiss
school, antagonistic as ever to the peculiar tenets of Lutheranism, was not
altogether in favour of a too intimate association with German

[Sidenote: The Reformation;]

We have remarked upon the increasing influence of this party in the Church;
an influence which, as far as concerns the formularies of the Anglican
body, was to reach its high-water mark in 1552 and 1553, in the revised
prayer-book authorised by Parliament immediately after Somerset's death,
and the "Forty-two Articles" promulgated about a year later.

[Sidenote: Its Limits under Henry and under Somerset]

In the reign of the late King, the Reformation which had taken place was
almost entirely political and financial--in the constitution of the
government of the ecclesiastical body, and the allocation of its
endowments. The Sovereign had claimed and enforced his own supremacy,
involving the repudiation of papal authority, the submission of the clergy
to the Supreme Head, and the appropriation by the Crown of Monastic
property. As a necessary corollary, the Crown had also taken upon itself to
sanction formularies of belief and to regulate rites and ceremonies; but in
doing so it had held by the accepted dogmas, suppressed little except
obvious and admitted abuses, and affirmed no heresies. The Archbishop had
been in favour of further innovations, but these had not been allowed. All,
however, that Cranmer had then advocated, was adopted by Somerset's
administration--the extended destruction of images, the liturgy in the
vulgar tongue, the marriage of the clergy, the Communion in both kinds; the
last being perhaps the most marked deviation from the established
order. But though the new liturgy might be reconciled with acceptance of
doctrines hitherto accounted heretical, it did not enjoin them; it was
still reconcilable also with the _King's Book_. It had aimed, in short
at the maximum of comprehension. The result was to include within the same
pale the adherents of a very slightly modified Mass and the extremists of
the Swiss school, for whom the Communion Service was purely and simply

[Sidenote: The extremists dissatisfied]

Until the death of Henry, the English clergy from the Archbishop down had
almost without exception held the hitherto authorised view of the
Eucharist. Since then however Cranmer had followed the lead of Ridley,
under the influence of the foreign theologians, and had adopted personally
a conception [Footnote: This conception is expressed in the phrase of the
Catechism that "the Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken
and received by the faithful," coupled with the direct repudiation of
Transubstantiation, _i.q._ the doctrine that the substance of the
bread and wine is changed by the Act of Consecration.] which rejected
alike in set terms the Transubstantiation of the Roman Mass, the
Consubstantiation of the Lutherans, and, implicitly though not explicitly,
the purely commemorative theory of Hooper and the Zwinglians.

[Sidenote: 1552 The Liturgy revised]

Thus the extreme comprehensiveness of the first Prayer-book failed to
satisfy the school who could not away with the Mass, and those who regarded
the Swiss doctrine as heretical. Greater precision, closer definitions,
were called for--by way not of changing doctrines but of removing
uncertainties. To this end a revision of the volume had been taken in hand,
and now received the sanction of Parliament: a revision favouring in the
main the Swiss interpretations, the term "minister" taking the place of
"priest," "altar" giving way to "table," and the doctrine of
transubstantiation being clearly eliminated. At the same time the
instruction that the Sacrament was to be received kneeling conveyed a
presumption, though not the necessity, that the rite involved a Mystery,
that it implied an act of adoration. This was most unsatisfactory to the
ultra-protestants, recently re-inforced by the vigorous presence in the
North of England of John Knox the Scottish reformer; and before the volume
was issued from the press at the end of the year a determined attempt was
made to have the obnoxious instruction removed by order. The Archbishop
however with resolute dignity protested against the arbitrary subversion of
what Parliament had sanctioned. He carried his point, and the instruction
was retained, though an explanatory note (known as the Black
Rubric)[Footnote: _Cf_. Dixon, iii., 475 ff.] was appended, with which
Knox and his friends were forced, however reluctantly, to be satisfied.

[Sidenote: Nonconformity]

This episode, with that of the consecration of Hooper as bishop of
Gloucester, are illustrative of the original sense of the term
Nonconformity. Nonconformity, of which Hooper is often referred to as the
"father," did not seek separation from the ecclesiastical organisation, but
expressed dissatisfaction with particular observances, which it sought to
have modified in the Swiss sense: not as being in themselves intolerable,
but as tending to encourage superstitious and papistical ideas. So Hooper,
after an obstinate struggle, submitted to don the vestments ordered at his
consecration; so also Knox, when he was finally worsted in the "kneeling"
controversy, submitted to the order though with a very ill grace. The
Nonconformists in short may be defined as Puritans who still remained
within the pale of the Church. The idea of forming sects outside her
borders, of challenging the right to enforce uniformity where points in
dispute were not "essential" but "convenient," was still opposed to all
recognised principles; the Nonconformists themselves being by no means
disposed to surrender the position that if they became predominant they
would be entitled to enforce their own views no less rigidly. No one
thought of protesting against the burning of one Joan Bocher, in 1550, for
affirming a peculiarly unintelligible heresy concerning the mode of the

[Sidenote: Parliament]

The session at the beginning of 1552 was the last held by this, the first,
Parliament of Edward VI. Besides authorising the revised Prayer-book, it
passed a second Act of Uniformity, of which the novel feature was that
penalties were imposed on laymen for non-compliance. In other respects, it
did not show itself altogether subservient to Northumberland. A new
Treasons Act further reviving some of Henry's provisions was introduced in
the Upper House, but rejected by the Commons; who did indeed restore
"verbal treason," but pointedly required that two witnesses at least should
prove the guilt of the accused to his face-with evident reference to the
recent trial of Somerset.

Cranmer had been occupied not only with the Prayer-book, but also with the
preparation of Articles of Belief, and of a scheme which, as drawn up, was
generally known as the _Reformatio Legum_, elaborating a plan of
ecclesiastical administration. The latter appears to have seen the light
either in 1551 or 1552, but it was never authorised. The Forty-two
articles, substantially the same as the Thirty-nine of the present
Prayer-book, certainly did not come before parliament and probably did not
come before Convocation, [Footnote: Dixon, iii., 513 ff. Gairdner,
_English Church_, 311.] but were sanctioned by almost the last act of
the King in Council in 1553.

[Sidenote: 1553 A new Parliament]

The national finances continued in an increasingly chaotic condition, and
Northumberland's struggles to raise money during 1552 were attended with
such inadequate results that he found it necessary to summon a new
Parliament in the spring of 1553. There were not wanting, from the last
reign, precedents for bringing royal pressure to bear on constituencies to
secure the selection of amenable representatives, and the principle was now
applied with a reckless comprehensiveness. Nevertheless the Houses when
assembled were by no means prepared to carry out a programme which would
satisfy Northumberland.

[Sidenote: Northumberland's programme]

In fact that man of many wiles lacked the art, necessary for one with his
ambitions, of securing a devoted personal following. For some time past the
probability of the young King's early decease had been recognised, and
Northumberland's intrigues had been directed to excluding Mary from the
succession, and securing a sovereign whom he would himself be able to
dominate. He had had his chance, when the Protector was overthrown in 1549,
of taking the line of policy which would bring him into accord with the
heir presumptive; he made his election, and thenceforward was committed to
the Reforming party and to political destruction if Mary should become
Queen. He devoted his attention then primarily to gaining a predominant
influence over the young King, with great success-the result, in no small
measure, of his posing as a puritan; for the boy had all the uncompromising
partisanship natural to the morbid precocity which his ill-health and Tudor
cleverness combined to develop. If Edward had lived, no doubt the Tudor
penetration would have unmasked Northumberland in due course; but this the
Duke would hardly have anticipated in any case, and, as it was, he laid his
plans on the hypothesis that Edward would die without leaving an heir of
his body. Now the succession was fixed by Henry's Will, ratified by Act of
Parliament, first on Mary and then on Elizabeth, though both had been
declared illegitimate. If they could be set aside, the first claim by
descent would lie with Mary Stewart, grandchild of Henry's sister Margaret;
but the country would not take her at any price. The next claimant,
confirmed also by Henry's Will, would be Lady Jane Grey, passing over her
mother Frances Brandon, daughter of Henry's second sister Mary. Frances
Brandon had married Lord Dorset, created Duke of Suffolk at the same time
that Dudley became Duke of Northumberland.

[Sidenote: Plot to change the succession]

The Duke's scheme then was to supplant the Tudor princesses, on the score
of their illegitimacy once officially affirmed, by Lady Jane Grey; having
first secured a dominating influence over his unhappy puppet by marrying
her to one of his sons, Guildford Dudley. It might plausibly be argued
that, since the courts had definitely declared that neither Mary nor
Elizabeth was born in lawful wedlock, no subsequent legitimation could give
them precedence over an indubitably legitimate descendant of Henry VII. and
Elizabeth of York: while political expediency excluded the sole claimant
with a prior hereditary right.

There remained, however, the inconvenient fact that the whole country from
the Council down had deliberately and unhesitatingly pledged itself to
maintain the order of succession laid down in Henry's Will. Something more
than an abstract argument from legitimacy was needed to cancel a decision
arrived at and established after mature deliberation. Had Mary made
herself feared or detested--had Lady Jane been a popular favourite with an
organised following--there might have been some chance for a _coup
d'état_. But the treatment of Mary coupled with her dignified and
courageous conduct had made her the object of popular sympathy; the only
people who feared her were those who had been prominent in attacking the
Old Learning, and their following in the country was by no means
proportionate to their political and theological activity. Their
support--all that Northumberland could hope for--would be quite
insufficient for carrying his plan through; while the Duke himself, very
unlike his late rival Somerset, was an object of such general aversion that
any scheme calculated to maintain him in power would have excited keen
popular antagonism.

[Sidenote 1: Northumberland gains over Edward and the Council]
[Sidenote 2: Death of Edward]

The marriage of Lady Jane was accomplished early in May (1553); Pembroke,
as well as Suffolk, was apparently secured by the marriage [Footnote: After
Northumberland's fiasco, this marriage was judiciously voided.] of his son
to a sister, Katharine Grey. Besides these Northumberland could count on
Northampton. Further, he could be sure that France would go as far as
diplomacy permitted to prevent the accession of Mary, on account of her
relationship with the Emperor, to whom she had all her life looked for
counsel. As Edward's death drew nearer, the Duke prepared his final
_coup_. If Henry by Will could lay down the course of succession, his
son was equally free to change it. It was not difficult to persuade the
dying boy of the woes that would follow when a reactionary monarch was on
the throne--though there had hitherto been no sign that the reaction would
go beyond a reversion to the position of Henry's last years. Under
Northumberland's influence, he devised the crown to the issue of the
Duchess of Suffolk who was herself passed over in favour of her eldest
daughter. In June this "device" was submitted to the Council, with whom
however it found little favour. But in view of the personal danger in which
they stood, they gave assent subject to the approval of Parliament, arguing
that it was unprecedented for a King, to say nothing of one who was still a
minor, to set aside an Act of Parliament by his own authority. The Judges,
summoned to the Royal presence, unanimously declared that it would be
unconstitutional--in effect treason--if they drew up letters patent in the
sense desired without authority of parliament; and the more they examined
the law, the more convinced they were of their position. But the King was
insistent; and at last one by one, they reluctantly gave way, on condition
of receiving positive instructions under the Great Seal and an anticipatory
pardon in case their obedience should prove--as they believed it--to be a
crime. The Letters were drawn, and at last signed by a number of peers and
representative men, Cranmer finally yielding his adhesion after prolonged
resistance, on the strength of the assertion that the judges had given
their sanction. He was not informed how that sanction had been
obtained. Cecil, the Burghley of a later reign, would only sign "as a
witness". The signatures were appended on June 21st. The affair was still
kept secret--though the existence of some conspiracy to supplant Mary was
becoming generally suspected. The interval was spent in making preparations
to support the _coup d'état_ in arms. On July 4th the rumour that the
King was already dead was only partially dispelled by letting his face be
seen at a window. On the 6th he actually died. On the 8th the fact began to
leak out, and on the 10th Lady Jane was proclaimed Queen in London.

[Sidenote: A memorable voyage]

One incident of note occurred during King Edward's last months--the
departure of Chancellor and Willoughby's expedition in search of a
North-East passage, an entirely novel direction. Chancellor reached the
White Sea, and from thence was conveyed to Moscow, with the result that
relations were opened between England and Russia. In other respects there
was some private activity in the voyages of this and the ensuing reign, but
nothing else demanding special attention.



[Sidenote: The Marian Tragedies]

From first to last, Tragedy is the note of the reign of England's first
Queen regnant: the human interest is so intense that the political and
religious issues seem, great as they were, to sink into the background of
the picture, mere accessories of the stage on which are presented the
immortal figures of Doom. First is the tragedy of the sweet-souled and most
innocent child, Lady Jane Grey, sacrificed to the self-seeking ambition of
shameless intriguers. Then the tragedy of the Martyrs--of Rowland Taylor,
of Ridley and Latimer, of Ferrar and Hooper, of many another of less note,
who died for the Glory of God, giving joyful testimony to the faith that
was in them; the tragedy of Cranmer, the gentle soul of wavering courage,
the man born to pass peaceful days in cloistered shades, torn from them to
be the unwilling pilot of revolution, who at the tenth hour fell as Peter
fell, yet at the last rose to the noblest height. Last, and greatest, the
tragedy of the royal-hearted woman whose passionate human love was answered
only with cold scorn; who won her throne by the loyalty of her people only
to bring upon her name such hate as attaches to but two or three other
English monarchs; who, for the wrongs done to her personally, showed almost
unexampled clemency, yet, shrinking not to shed blood like water in what
she deemed a sacred cause, is popularly branded for ever amongst the
tyrants of the earth; who, sacrificing her own heart in that cause, died in
the awakening knowledge that by her own deeds it was irreparably ruined. No
monarch has ever more utterly subordinated personal interests, personal
affections, all that makes life desirable, to a passionate sense of duty;
none ever failed more utterly to work anything but unmixed woe.

[Sidenote: 1553 (July) Proclamation of Queen Jane]

Northumberland's plans had been carefully laid. The military forces were at
the service of the Government. The whole Council--with varying degrees of
sincerity and reluctance--had endorsed his scheme; the persons of its
members were apparently at his mercy; he meant also to have Mary safely
bestowed in the Tower before any opposition could be organised. The foreign
ambassadors, and their masters, hardly dreamed that there was any
alternative course to submission. Neither they nor Northumberland realised
the intensity of the general feeling in Mary's favour, or its practical
force; nor did they appreciate the capacity of Henry Tudor's daughters for
rising to an emergency. On the day of Edward's death, Mary was on her way
to London, when she was met with the secret warning that all was over. She
turned and rode hard for safer country, just escaping the party who had
been sent out to secure her. Jane Grey, the sixteen-year-old bride of a few
days, was summoned to the throne by the Council; every person about her
implored her to claim what they called her right and fulfil her duty in
accepting the crown: what else could she do? Yet, child as she was, they
found to their indignant astonishment that she would not move a
hair's-breadth from the path her conscience approved. She knew enough to
refuse point blank the notion that her young husband should be crowned
King. The men of affairs, of religion, of law, having unanimously affirmed
that the heritage of royalty was hers, she could not dispute it; but no one
could pretend that the heritage was his. Her refusal was of ill omen for
Northumberland's ascendancy, and the ill omens multiplied.

[Sidenote 1: The people support Mary]
[Sidenote 2: Collapse of the Plot]

The refusal was given on the evening following the proclamation of Lady
Jane as Queen: even at the proclamation, a 'prentice was bold enough to
remark aloud that the Lady Mary's title was the better. That same night, a
letter arrived from Mary herself, claiming the allegiance of the Council in
true queenly style. They were not yet prepared to defy Northumberland, and
a reply was penned the next day affirming Lady Jane's title. Two of the
Duke's sons were already in pursuit of Mary, and a general impression
prevailed that they had captured her and were on their way to London. They
had indeed reached her, but their whole force promptly acclaimed her as
queen, and the Dudleys had to fly for their lives. The Eastern midlands and
the home counties were gathering in arms to her support. It was necessary
to take the field without delay, but of those members of the Council who
were fit to command there was none on whom Northumberland could rely, when
once out of his reach. The Duke must go himself. On the eighth day after
Edward's death, the fourth after the proclamation of Lady Jane, he rode
gloomily from London at the head of a force which he mistrusted, without a
plaudit from the populace which, for all its Protestantism, listened with
apathy two days later to the declamations of Ridley at St. Paul's Cross.
Northumberland was hardly on his way before news came that the crews of the
fleet had compelled their captains to declare for Mary. He had not advanced
far before his own followers in effect followed suit. In the meantime, the
Council reinstated Paget; who had always been in ill odour with Dudley as
being a friend of Somerset, and had been recently dismissed from office and
relegated to the Tower. On the 19th came news of further reinforcements for
Mary. On that day several members of the Council, who had hitherto been
practically under guard in the Tower, escaped, and, headed by Pembroke,
declared for Mary. One party returned in arms, to demand surrender; another
marched to Paul's Cross and proclaimed Mary amid enthusiastic
acclamations. That night they dispatched a message to Northumberland at
Cambridge ordering him to lay down his arms. Before it reached him, he had
thrown up the struggle. The messengers arrived to arrest a cringing
traitor. The stream of his repentant supporters was already hastening to
sue for pardon.

[Sidenote: The Queen's leniency]

Never did rebellion collapse more ignominiously; never were rebels treated
so leniently. The conspicuous but calculated clemency of the seventh Henry
pales in comparison with the magnanimity of his grand-child. Those who had
been most active and prominent in word and deed were arrested; but after a
brief interval the majority even of these were pardoned. Some, including
the innocent figurehead of the rebellion, the nine days' queen, her
husband, and Ridley, were detained, in ward; but even Suffolk was allowed
to go free; and it was only in deference to the remonstrances of every
adviser that the Queen ultimately consented to the execution of the
Arch-traitor Northumberland with two of his companions.

[Sidenote: Meaning of the popular attitude]

Mary's triumph, swift and bloodless, in defiance of all prudent
presumptions, requires some explanation; which is not to be found in the
theory of a sweeping Catholic reaction. London and the eastern counties
were the strongholds of the new ideas, yet they went uncompromisingly in
her favour. But it seems to prove that the country had definitely made up
its mind some years before to accept a given solution of the problem of the
succession, and to abide by it. Mary and Elizabeth might both be
illegitimate technically, but each had been supposed legitimate at the time
of her birth, and it seemed only fair that both should be reinstated in the
line of succession. But the decision had been left to Henry, and had gone
precisely in accord with popular sentiment. The English people had no mind
to allow their settled conclusions to be set aside at the dictation of the
best-hated politician in the country. They would have none of
Northumberland, and the attempt to coerce them simply collapsed. The fact
that all their sympathies--apart from judgment--were with the hitherto
persecuted princess, and were not extended to her helpless rival, is in no
way remarkable; for Lady Jane had been brought up in retirement, and her
charms of mind and of character, though known to posterity, were quite
unknown to the world in her own day. She had lent herself, however
innocently, to an outrageous conspiracy; nor would any one have thought of
remonstrance if the Queen had followed the advice of her counsellors
instead of the dictates of her own magnanimity, and sent the girl with her
husband and her father to the block along with Northumberland.

[Sidenote: The Queen's marriage and the Reformation]

A woman more politic and less conscientious than Mary--a woman such as her
sister Elizabeth--might now have seized a great opportunity for making
herself exceptionally popular. The Roman allegiance had been wiped out by
Henry, with the entire approval even of Bonner and Gardiner; but of late
years the extreme puritan party had gone much further in imposing their
theories than the nation generally approved. They, at least, might now
have been bridled without exciting serious opposition. Toleration within
reasonable limits was what the bulk of the people wanted. Too many of them
had really taken hold of the new ideas for a ready assent to be given to a
strong reaction; too many still clung to the old ideas for the censorship
of the Knoxes and Hoopers to be acceptable.

No one was more thoroughly alive to the impolicy of religious coercion than
the Queen's life-long adviser, Charles V.--who had had his lesson in
Germany--and his ambassador at Mary's court, Simon Renard. A policy of
judicious toleration was the first condition of domestic peace, and would
have met with their entire approval. But there was another question of
pressing importance on which counsels were likely to be divided--the
question of the Queen's marriage. Popular sentiment was flatly opposed to
her union with any one who, being a foreigner, might subordinate England's
interests to those of his own country, and drag her into the vortex of
continental broils. On these two points anxiety was concentrated when the
Queen arrived in London.

[Sidenote: Mary's rivals]

The situation was the more complicated because, however popular Mary might
be for the moment, there were at least three possible nominees who might be
put forward if she lost her popularity. There was her half-sister
Elizabeth, who was a protestant. There was Mary Stewart, whom the French
would make every effort to place on the throne. Noailles, the French
ambassador, would exercise all his powers of intrigue to shake Mary, on the
chance of his master having an opportunity of intervention; indeed, but for
the rapidity of the Queen's success, there is little doubt that French
troops would have come to Northumberland's assistance--for the time; to
turn affairs to their own account as soon as might be. And finally there
was still Lady Jane, with a title of a sort.

[Sidenote: Moderate Reaction]

There was immediate alarm, when it was known that Mary intended her brother
to be buried with the old rites; and though she was with difficulty
dissuaded from carrying out that intention she nevertheless did celebrate a
requiem Mass. It was however only natural that her first step was to
release and restore the old Duke of Norfolk, young Edward Courtenay,
[Footnote: Courtenay, a boy of eleven at the time, had been sent to the
Tower when his father was executed in 1538.] son of the Marquis of Exeter,
and the imprisoned bishops, making Gardiner her Chancellor: though London
did not welcome Bonner. Mary frankly professed her desire that religion
should return to the position at her father's death, but she was equally
definite about exercising no compulsion without parliamentary sanction. The
reinstated bishops had been suspended in the most arbitrary manner; those
now dispossessed had been appointed under the new theory that they held
office only during the royal pleasure. The prompt departure of the foreign
preachers and their English allies was facilitated and encouraged. The
imprisonment of Ridley was a legitimate reward for his activity on behalf
of Lady Jane, in August, Latimer was arrested for seditious demeanour, but
was carefully allowed the opportunity of flight. Cranmer was not touched
till the draft of a letter he wrote, courageously repudiating the libel
that he had restored the Mass, had been copied and widely disseminated.
Then he was removed to the Tower, ostensibly for his support of
Northumberland. He, like Latimer, was given ample opportunity to fly, but
also like Latimer stood to his colours. In all this there was no savour of
injustice, though it filled the Protestants with apprehension: as also did
the removal of sundry bishops on the ground that they were married. Mary,
like Gardiner, had always denied the validity of legislation during the
minority; but to take action on that hypothesis without waiting for
parliament was hardly consistent with her declarations. Great pressure was
also brought to bear on Elizabeth, to induce her to recant her
protestantism; but while she declared herself open to argument, and
actually presented herself at Mass though with patent reluctance, she
steadily refused to pronounce herself converted--which Renard at least
attributed to political not to say treasonable intentions.

These events took place during August, and in the meantime Mary reopened
communications with the Pope, resulting in the appointment of Cardinal Pole
as legate--though more than a twelvemonth elapsed before he reached
England. A matter of still greater importance was the Emperor's proposal,
not at first openly put forward, that Mary should marry his son Philip.

[Sidenote: Proposed Spanish Marriage]

Now, the sequence of events of which the Peace of Passau between Charles
and the Lutherans was a part had resulted in war between France and the
Empire. To Charles, the projected marriage might obviously be of immense
value. The French on the other hand desired not Mary's marriage but her
deposition to make way for Mary Stewart. National sentiment in England
demanded her union with an Englishman, pointing to Courtenay, now restored
to the earldom of Devon; he and Reginald Pole being the representatives of
the House of York. [Footnote: See Genealogical Table. _Front_.] Pole,
though a Cardinal, had never taken priest's orders, so was also eligible as
a husband, but had no desire for the position, recommending Mary to remain
unwedded. Mary herself was already inclining towards the Spanish marriage,
though Paget was almost the only prominent Englishman who favoured it;
Gardiner being in strong opposition, and pressing for Courtenay. Noailles
intrigued against it; but his object was to use Elizabeth as a
stalking-horse for Mary Stewart. Finally, before anything could be done,
parliament must meet to give its sanction; and before parliament could
meet, the seal must be set on Mary's authority by her coronation. It is
curious to note that Mary felt it necessary to obtain the Papal pardon for
herself and Gardiner for the performance of the ceremony while the nation
was still excommunicate. The Coronation took place on October 1st, and four
days later parliament assembled.

[Sidenote: Oct. Parliament revokes Edward's legislation]

It began by abolishing once more all new treasons created since the ancient
Act of Edward III., and new felonies since the accession of Henry VIII. It
proceeded to declare Mary legitimate, though by so doing it did not
invalidate Elizabeth's title as heir presumptive, since that rested on
Henry's will, which had ignored equally the illegitimacy of both his
daughters. It repealed the whole of the ecclesiastical legislation of the
last reign, reverting to the position at Henry's death. As originally
submitted, these two bills asserted the validity of the papal dispensation,
and repealed Henry's ecclesiastical legislation as well as his son's: but
in this form the Commons would not accept them. Some past attainders were
also reversed, and the Archbishop, as well as Lady Jane, her husband, and
one of his brothers, were attainted, though not, it would seem, with any
present intention of inflicting the full penalty. Early in December,
parliament was dissolved.

In the meantime the Queen definitely made up her mind that she would marry
Philip, and was extremely indignant when the Commons petitioned her to wed,
but not to wed a foreigner. So far, parliament at any rate did not ratify
the Spanish connexion, though the Lords--including Gardiner--had
practically lost all hope of resisting it, and were giving their attention
to introducing into the treaty stipulations for the safe-guarding of
English interests.

[Sidenote: 1554 Wyatt's rebellion]

Enough however had been done to raise the anti-Spanish sentiment to a
painful pitch; the national nerves being already over-strung with
excitement and uncertainty as to the coming course of events, deliberately
aggravated by the subtle manipulation of the French ambassador. The
marriage treaty was signed on January 12th: within a week, there was a
rising in Devon--the Courtenay country--a premature movement in the great
conspiracy known as Wyatt's rebellion. The leaders were all strong
protestants, and it is likely enough that fear of the reaction was with
them the primary motive; but their cry was anti-Spanish, not anti-Catholic,
they appealed to the national not the religious sentiment. The rising in
Devon forced the hand of the other conspirators, before they were really
ready to act. Suffolk, pardoned for his share in Northumberland's plot, ill
requited the Queen's clemency by an attempt--futile though it was--to raise
the Midlands; but for a time it seemed that Sir Thomas Wyatt, who headed
the rebellion in Kent--a county prolific of popular movements against the
Government--might actually succeed in dethroning Mary.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth]

Ostensibly, the cry was against foreigners. There is very little doubt that
Wyatt really intended to marry Elizabeth to Courtenay, and set her on the
throne. Whether Elizabeth herself, now twenty years of age, was in the
plot, remains uncertain. There were suspicious circumstances, but no
proofs, and Wyatt himself ultimately exonerated her. But the atmosphere was
thick with suspicions which later historians have crystallised into facts
according to their sympathies. Mary is charged with having desired her
sister's death, but on insufficient evidence; [Footnote: Stone, _Mary
I. Queen of England_, p. 270. The historian asserts Elizabeth's
complicity without proof, while criticising Froude for inventing a proof of
Mary's culpability.] double-dealing was not the Queen's way, and her
behaviour towards her sister points rather to a desire to believe in her
innocence coupled with something like a conviction of her actual
guilt. Renard certainly did his best to blacken Elizabeth's character, even
while he urged her arrest--a measure to which both Gardiner and Paget were

[Sidenote: Progress of the rebellion]

The news of Wyatt's own rising arrived on January 26th, some days after
Gardiner had frightened Courtenay into betraying at least the existence of
the plot. Elizabeth had been summoned from Hatfield to London, but declared
herself too ill to travel. While it was believed that the only aim was to
stop the Spanish marriage, feeling favoured Wyatt, and it seems as if even
Gardiner and his supporters were in no haste to put down the rising. Wyatt
and his followers were at Rochester: Norfolk was sent down with guns and a
company of Londoners to deal with him, but the men deserted to Wyatt crying
"we are all English," and the Duke had to ride for safety. London was in a
panic: the Council could only quarrel among themselves. Wyatt advanced
towards the Capital. Mary rose to the occasion, and herself addressed the
populace, her speech going far to allay the panic. Wyatt found the bridge
at Southwark impassable, and after some hesitation marched up the river,
crossing at Kingston. The loyalists however had plucked up heart. The
insurgents' column, in the advance to London, was cut in two. Wyatt at the
head of the leading section made a desperate effort to reach Ludgate with
ever dwindling numbers; but when he arrived at the City gates, though he
did indeed in his own words "keep touch," his small and exhausted following
was in no condition for prolonged fighting. He was taken prisoner without
difficulty. Many of his followers were captured. The whole affair was over
in less than a fortnight from the first rising.

[Sidenote: Subsequent severities]

The leniency previously shown could not be repeated. It seemed dangerous to
leave Lady Jane any longer as a possible centre for plots, and she was
executed with her husband and father. Wyatt was beheaded; about a hundred
of the rebels were hanged. Elizabeth and Courtenay were both committed to
the Tower, but were liberated after some two months. At the worst the
punishment meted out may be compared favourably with the proceedings after
the Pilgrimage of Grace. It was severe, but could not reasonably be called

[Sidenote: The Marriage Treaty]

Neither the expectation of leniency nor the experience of severity allayed
the antagonism to the Spanish marriage. The treaty however, which came up
for ratification in Mary's second parliament--summoned to meet in London at
the beginning of April--conceded every safeguard against Spanish domination
which could be secured by words; and in addition the succession to Burgundy
for the offspring of the union, in priority to Philip's son, born to him of
his first wife. The terms could not have been more favourable, but the
unpopular fact remained that the connexion would inevitably influence
Mary's policy in Europe. It was not till July that it was considered that
Philip could safely entrust his person in England, when the wedding was

[Sidenote: Pole, Renard, and Gardiner]

Up to this point at least, the Emperor's influence had been exercised in
favour of toleration, and in restraint of any disturbance of the subsisting
religious conditions. On the other hand he had taken pains to impress upon
Mary that the union itself was a practical step towards reconciliation with
Rome, which he knew to be her ideal. But he was afraid of the protestants
being so much alarmed as to make opposition to the marriage
irresistible. For this reason he raised constant obstacles to the arrival
in England of Cardinal Pole, believing that the legate's presence would be
an irritant. Pole being also entrusted with the task of endeavouring to
reconcile Charles with Henry II., it had not been difficult to find
imperative reasons for occupying him on the Continent. But when the
marriage was safely accomplished, an effective counterpoise secured to the
betrothal of the young Queen of Scots to the Dauphin, and time allowed for
the English to become accustomed to the new state of affairs and to settle
down, it was no longer so important to exercise a restraining
influence. Mary was eager for the country to be once more received into the
bosom of the Church: and Gardiner, who was bent on the restoration of the
old worship, had now come fully to the conclusion that the maintenance of
it was conditioned by the restoration of the Roman obedience, although
twenty years before at the time of the schism he had been one of Henry's
most useful supporters. Still however it was necessary to ensure that the
Pope would consent to leave the holders of former Church lands in
undisturbed possession, as they might otherwise be relied on to become
ardent protestants. It was not till these conditions were assured that the
legate was allowed, in November, to set sail for England.

[Sidenote: Public tension]

Between the Wyatt rebellion which collapsed in February and the arrival of
Pole in November, the great event was the royal marriage, but there were
several other occurrences not without significance. Sir Nicholas
Throgmorton, who had certainly been in communication with Wyatt, was
nevertheless unanimously acquitted by a jury, and the result was hailed
with acclamation by the populace though the jurymen were summoned before
the Star-Chamber and fined. Renard, and, if Renard's accusations and the
general tongue of rumour are to be trusted, Gardiner also, did their best
to persuade Mary to strike at her sister; but Paget and the Council
generally were stoutly opposed to the idea, and Mary herself declared that
Elizabeth should not be condemned without full legal proof, which was not
forthcoming. After some two months she was released from the Tower but kept
under surveillance at Woodstock. A Romanising preacher at St. Paul's Gross
was fired at, and the culprit was not given up. On the other hand, not only
married Bishops but married clergy in general were deprived, though some
were restored on doing penance and parting with their wives. These are said
to have numbered about one-fifth of the beneficed clergy, a computation
which does not seem excessive as Convocation had itself petitioned for the
permission of marriage. Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, were taken from
London to Oxford to hold a disputation on those doctrines as to which their
views were held to be heretical. The ecclesiastical condemnation of their
argument was of course a foregone conclusion. The parliament, however,
which ratified the marriage treaty, was chiefly remarkable for following
Paget in refusing assent to bills excluding Elizabeth from the succession
and restoring the Six Articles Act and the old Act against Lollards. Paget
acquired considerable strength from the fact that William, Lord Howard of
Effingham, who was in command of the fleet, was known to be in agreement
with his views. The parliament was dissolved in May. It is noteworthy also
that France was affording harbourage to many gentlemen of the West Country
who had been more or less implicated in the January rising.

[Sidenote: Nov. Reconciliation with Rome]

Mary's third parliament--in which the nation by its representatives was to
be formally reconciled to Rome--was called in November. Its first task was
to reverse the attainder against Pole which was of ancient date. The
Cardinal had distinguished himself in Henry's time by the vehemence of his
opposition (from abroad) to the divorce and to the King's subsequent
ecclesiastical proceedings, and his brothers as well as his mother had all
been found guilty of treason in connexion with real or manufactured
conspiracies. The reversal of the attainder was required to legalise his
position. On the 25th he landed with official pomp at Westminster. On the
29th, the Houses agreed--with but one dissentient in the Commons--to a
"supplication" entreating for pardon and the restoration of the nation to
communion with Rome. The next day was performed the ceremony of presenting
the supplication to the Legate and receiving his solemn Absolution. Two
days later, Gardiner from the pulpit confessed the sin of which he in
common with the nation in general had been guilty in the great schism, and
declared himself a loyal and repentant son of the Church. Since loyalty and
repentance did not involve restitution of Church property, most of his
countrymen were equally ready to declare themselves loyal and
repentant. Yet were there not a few who would by no means repent.

[Sidenote 1: Reaction consummated]
[Sidenote 2: 1555]

The Reconciliation of the Authorities to Rome was complete. It remained to
compel her erring children to return to the fold. During the month
following the submission, two fateful Acts were passed; one, almost without
discussion, reviving the old acts, "_De heretico comburendo_" and
others, which had been restricted under Henry and abolished under Somerset;
the other repealing all the anti-Roman legislation since the twentieth year
of Henry (1529), with a proviso, however, securing the alienated wealth of
the Church to its present holders. On this there was more debate, and it
was not actually passed till January 3rd. The former authority of the
bishops and of the canon law was restored. It is to be observed that in all
this legislation, the Commons were a good deal more amenable than the
Lords; and this was even more markedly the case with the purely political
measures. An Act was passed to secure the regency to Philip if there should
be a child and Mary herself died, it being supposed at the time that the
Queen was _enceinte_. But the suggestion that the succession should be
secured to Philip was emphatically rejected, and the regency was by the
Lords made conditional on his residence in England. He bore the title of
King of England, but his Coronation was refused. Parliament was dissolved
on January 16th.



Here we reach the turning point of the reign; the point at which the great
persecution began. If anything like justice is to be rendered to the
leading actors in the ensuing tragedy, it is necessary to differentiate
between these two divisions of Mary's rule.

[Sidenote: Mary's policy, 1553-4]

We must remark that throughout these first eighteen months, Mary had proved
herself to be the reverse of a vindictive woman. Her leniency in the case
of Northumberland's accomplices had been almost unparalleled. A second
rebellion when she had been barely six months on the throne was treated
with no more than ordinary severity, though a very few of those implicated
with Northumberland, who would otherwise have been spared, were executed in
consequence. The advocates of the old religion had come into power, but
their power had certainly not been used more oppressively than that of the
opposition party under Warwick or even under Somerset: and there was more
excuse for the treatment of Cranmer and Ridley at least than there had been
for that of Gardiner and Bonner. If Latimer and Hooper, Ferrar and
Coverdale, were imprisoned, it was no more than Heath and Day and Tunstal
had suffered. The deprivation of the married clergy was certainly a harsh
measure, since the marriages had been made under the aegis of the law; but
that appears to be the one measure which had hitherto savoured of
bigotry--at least, which had gone beyond the bounds of even-handed
retaliation. What, then, was the change which now took place? And how may
we account for it?

[Sidenote: 1555 The persecution]

The sanction of parliament had at last been obtained by the Acts just
passed for the enforcement of the old religion by the old methods. There
was nothing novel about the procedure or the penalties; but practically a
reversion to the pre-latitudinarian line of demarcation between heresy and
orthodoxy. All or very nearly all of the martyrs of the Marian persecution
would have been sent to the stake under Henry for making the same
profession of faith. The crucial question was acceptance of
Transubstantiation, for the denial of which several victims had perished
within the last twenty years, whose doom both Cranmer and Latimer had at
the time held to be justified. But in the interval, the conditions had
changed. A large proportion of the most learned scholars had adopted the
new doctrine, and the legislature had sanctioned it. The methods which were
usually efficacious in stamping out sporadic heresy, methods which only
involved an execution here and there, lost their efficacy when the heresy
had ceased to be sporadic. Hecatombs were required instead of occasional
victims; and even the sacrifice of occasional victims had already begun to
revolt the public conscience before Henry's career was closed. But this did
not alter the vital postulate. Falsehood was none the less falsehood
because it had been sanctioned for a time, none the less demanded drastic
excision. Gardiner, standing for the old order, saw nothing revolting in
applying again the principles which had been consistently applied before he
became an old man. It is probable also that he expected immediate success
to result from striking fearlessly and ruthlessly at the most prominent
offenders--the rule of action habitually adopted by Henry and Cromwell--a
rule generally maintained while Gardiner himself lived: that he never
anticipated the holocaust which followed. It is remarkable that in his own
diocese of Winchester there were no burnings. Mary had already sufficiently
proved her own freedom from vindictiveness; it cannot fairly be questioned
that she was moved entirely by a sense of duty however distorted.

[Sidenote: Whose was the responsibility?]

From the Spaniards [Footnote: See Renard's correspondence, _passim_.
But the numerous citations therefrom alike in the Anti-Catholic Froude and
the Catholic Stone (_Mary I._) are sufficiently conclusive on the
point.] there was no incitement to persecution, but the contrary--not that
Philip had any abstract objection, but both he and Renard were concerned
entirely with the present pacification of the country and its
reconciliation to the Spanish marriage; both were aware that persecution
would have the opposite effect. The demand for the suppression of heresy
did not take its rise among the lay nobility, of whom the majority were
prepared to accept whatever formulae might be most convenient. The theory
[Footnote: Moore, p. 221, asserts this view.] that they rather than a
section of the clergy were the moving cause has no foundation in the
evidence, beyond the fact that the Council officially as a body urged
Bonner and others forward. Paget and his associates certainly resisted the
enactments at first. Still neither they nor the Commons can be freed from
responsibility. The persecution was not however a move of one political
party against the other; no section was so committed to protestantism as to
be exposed to serious injury: no political motive can be even
formulated. Vindictiveness, or a moral conviction of the duty of stamping
out heresy, alone can make the proceedings intelligible. Of the former
there is no fair proof, while the latter is entirely consistent with the
prevailing spirit among the zealots on both sides, and with the known
character of the persons who must be regarded as the principal
instigators. Its source lay with Mary herself, a passionately devoted
daughter of the old Church, and with a few ecclesiastics. Since there is no
doubt that from the time of Pole's arrival, his influence predominated with
her personally, he, more than Gardiner, must share with her the ultimate

[Sidenote: Comparison with other persecutions]

Of old, an occasional example had sufficed to hold heresy in check; the
changed conditions were not now realised. The case had ceased to be one of
checking; nothing short of up-rooting would now be of any avail. For Mary,
with her intense conviction of the soul-destroying effect of heresy, no
sufferings in the flesh would have seemed too severe to inflict if thereby
souls might be saved. But a persecution such as she initiated was
absolutely the most fatal of all courses for the end she had in view. Tens
of thousands among her subjects had assimilated the new ideas, and were
prepared to die rather than surrender their hope of Heaven. These the
martyrdom of a few hundreds could not terrify; and the heroic endurance of
the martyrs changed popular indifference into passionate sympathy. Applied
on this scale, the theory of conversion by fire, hitherto generally
acquiesced in, brought about its own condemnation. Such a persecution, on
the simple issue of opinion, has never again been possible in England.
Catholics or Covenanters might be doomed to death, but the excuse had to be
political. Religious opinions as such might be penalised by fines,
imprisonment, the boot or the thumbscrew, the imposition of disabilities;
still the ultimate penalty had to be associated at least with the idea of
treason. In Mary's time, heresy as such was the plain issue. The status of
all but some half dozen of the early clerical victims precludes any other
view: and the first movement against the heretics in January 1555 was
contemporaneous with an amnesty for the surviving prisoners of the Wyatt
rebellion. The immediate practical effect was that every martyrdom brought
fresh adherents to protestantism, and intensified protestant sentiment
while extending the conviction that persecution was part and parcel of the
Roman creed. That any of those responsible, from Mary down, took an unholy
joy in the sufferings of the victims, appears to be a libel wholly without
foundation; for the most part they honestly believed themselves to be
applying the only remedy left for the removal of a mortal disease from the
body politic; Bonner, perhaps the best abused of the whole group,
constantly went out of his way to give the accused opportunities of
recanting and receiving pardon. The fundamental fact which must not be
forgotten in judging the authors of the persecution is, that the general
horror of death as the penalty for a false opinion was not antecedent to
but consequent upon it. What they did was on an unprecedented scale in
England because heresy existed on an unprecedented scale; and the result
was that the general conscience was awakened to the falseness of the
principle. The same ghastly error for which Christendom has forgiven Marcus
Aurelius was committed by Mary and endorsed by Pole, both of them by nature
little less magnanimous and no whit less conscientious than the Roman
emperor, though the moral horizon of both was infinitely more restricted.

[Sidenote: Gardiner]

The Marian persecution lasted for nearly four years. During that time, the
number of victims fell little if at all short of three hundred, of whom
one-fourth perished in the first year. The striking feature of the year is
the distinction of the sufferers. One only of high position went to the
stake after Gardiner's death--which took place only a few days after the
burning of Ridley and Latimer, in November--that one, the highest of all,
the whilom head (under the King) of the English Church. And he had then
already been doomed. These facts point to the definite policy pursued by
the Chancellor--the application of the principles which had proved so
effective under Henry and Cromwell. Every prominent leader of the
Reformation party who had not elected to conform was either dead or doomed
or in exile within a twelve-month of the revival of the Heresy acts. After
his time there was no process of selection; the victims were simply taken
as they came. To find a sort of excuse in the conviction of an imperative
duty to crush out the poison of heresy at any cost is in some degree
possible. The attempt to explain the matter as in fact a crusade against
Anabaptism [Footnote: _Cf._ Moore, P. 220.] as a social and political
crime makes the thing not better but incomparably worse; while the
endeavour to compare it with any other persecution in England is absurd.
Henry before and Elizabeth afterwards could be ruthless; but while one
reigned thirty-eight years and the other forty-five, yet in neither reign
was the aggregate of burnings or executions for religion so great as in
these four years of Mary's.

[Sidenote: Some characteristics]

In London itself, in Essex, and in the dioceses of Norwich and Canterbury,
many informations were laid. Some five-sixths of the deaths were suffered
within this restricted area, nearly half of these falling under the
jurisdiction of Bonner; so that he was naturally looked upon as the moving
spirit, and his conduct was imagined in the most lurid colours. As a matter
of fact there is little sign that he initiated prosecutions--indeed he
received a fairly strong hint from the Queen and Council that he was less
active than he might have been; he certainly tried hard to persuade the
accused to recant and escape condemnation; in several cases where he had
hopes he deferred handing them over to the secular arm. But protestants
were very disproportionately numerous in his diocese; if the accepted
principle were sound at all, he of all men was most bound to strictness
with the persistently recalcitrant, and that fact of itself sufficed to
encourage heresy-hunters. Moreover in London, it must also be remarked,
heresy was particularly defiant and audacious, and was not infrequently
accompanied by acts of gross public disorder which merited the sharpest
penalties quite apart from questions of orthodoxy. Acts of ruffianism were
done in the name of true religion, [Footnote: _E.g._ the notorious
cases of William Branch or Flower, and John Tooley.] and the doers thereof
were enrolled among the martyrs. Moreover among the genuine martyrs for
conscience' sake--by far the majority of those who suffered--not a few were
zealots who took up their parable against the judges when under examination
in a fashion calculated to enrage persons of a far less choleric
disposition than the bishop of London. In short if once the postulate be
granted that to teach persistently doctrines regarded by authority as false
is deserving of the death penalty, the manner [Footnote: The popular
impression is derived mainly from accounts based on Foxe's _Book of
Martyrs_. Stripped of picturesque adjectives and reduced to a not
superfluously accurate statement of facts resting on easily accepted
stories by a strongly biased reporter, his evidence against Bonner and
Gardiner is not very damnatory.] in which Bonner and his colleagues
conducted their task is not to be greatly censured. In Ireland, and in
several English dioceses, there were no actual martyrdoms.

[Sidenote: The first Martyrs]

The new year, 1555 had barely begun before the revived heresy laws were set
in operation. For Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, all now at Oxford, there
was to be some delay; for the chief prisoners elsewhere there was none.
These were headed by Hooper and Ferrar, both bishops; Rogers, commonly
identified with the "Matthew" of _Matthew's Bible_; Rowland Taylor of
Hadley, a man generally beloved; Bradford, who had begun life as a rogue,
but becoming converted, had lived to make restitution, so far as was
possible, for the wrong doings of his youth, a very genuine instance of a
striking reformation. Most of them belonged to the school of Ridley rather
than of Hooper; but on the question of Transubstantiation, all were equally
firm--and all were now in the eye of the law undoubtedly heretics. Had they
recanted, they would have suffered but lightly. They were urged to do so,
but steadfastly refused. It must even be admitted that they challenged
martyrdom, for before they were brought to trial, the London group,
including most of those above named, had issued an appeal which was
practically a solemn reproof to those whose opinions differed from their
own. Rogers was the first to suffer; after brief intervals all of those
named went to the stake.

[Sidenote 1: Trial of Cranmer (Sept.)]
[Sidenote 2: Martyrdom of Ridley and Latimer (Oct.)]

Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, were all condemned as a result of the
disputation held at Oxford in 1554: but since this preceded the
reconciliation with Rome, it was not accounted sufficient. On the old
Catholic theory, the Metropolitan of England could only be condemned by the
authority of the Pope himself--direct, or delegated _ad hoc_. The
first move was made against him in September, before a court whose business
was not to adjudicate, but to lay its conclusions before the Pope himself.
Cranmer declined to recognise the authority, answering the charges brought
against him not as a defendant on trial but as making a public profession
of his views. Judgment however could not be passed till the results were
submitted to the Pope. In the meantime, Ridley and Latimer were condemned
under legatine authority, and were burnt at Oxford in November. Cranmer is
said to have witnessed the martyrdom from his prison. The aged Latimer's
exhortation to his companion at the stake rang like a trumpet note through
the Protestant world. Ridley was the learned theologian and keen
controversialist who more than any other man had moulded the plastic mind
of the Archbishop since he had been released from the thraldom of Henry's
moral and intellectual domination: who had led the campaign against
"idolatry" but stood fast against the extravagances of the Nonconformists:
who had without hesitation opposed Mary's accession. No one could have
murmured against his punishment for treason two years before; but he died a
martyr, for denying Transubstantiation and the Papal authority. Latimer was
no theologian; but he was a pulpit orator of extraordinary power, an
enthusiastic if erratic moralist, who had suffered for his own freely
expressed opinions in the past and shown scant consideration for false
teachers--a quixotic but heroic figure.

[Sidenote: Fate of the Archbishop 1555-56]

The condemnation by the court which tried the Archbishop carried with it no
penalty; that was reserved for the Pope to pronounce--by implication, in
handing him over to the secular arm, and explicitly by sentence of
degradation, which was notified in December. Until this time Cranmer
remained steadfast; but about the new year, he displayed signs of wavering,
and was said to have been influenced by the arguments of a Spanish friar,
Garcia. Possibly he attended Mass; certainly, about the end of January and
beginning of February (1556) he wrote three "submissions" recognising the
papal authority. These did not avail to save him from public degradation,
in the course of which ceremony he produced a written appeal to a General
Council, which was ignored. Two more "submissions" followed, but in neither
did he go beyond the admission that the papal authority was now valid,
since the Sovereign had so enacted. Nevertheless, on February 24th the writ
committing him to the flames was issued. There is no reason to suppose that
the idea of sparing him was ever entertained; but, wherever the blame lay,
he was led to believe that a recantation might save him; and he did now at
last break down utterly, and recant in the most abject terms. Had this won
a pardon, the blow would have been crushing; the Court in its blindness
suffered him to retrieve the betrayal. His doom was unaltered. While the
fagots were prepared, he was taken to St. Mary's Church to hear his own
funeral sermon and make his last public confession; but that confession, to
the sore amazement and dismay of the authorities, proved to be the cry of
the humble and self-abasing sinner repenting not his heresies but his
recantations. And in accordance with his last utterance, when he came to
the fire he was seen to thrust forth his right hand into the flame, crying
aloud "this hand hath offended"; and so held it steadfastly till it was
consumed. The chief prelate of the English Church was struck down at the
bidding of a foreign Ecclesiastic; the recusant had been gratuitously
glorified with the martyr's crown. It is likely enough that he won less
personal popular sympathy than his fellows; but the moral effect must have
been tremendous.

[Sidenote: Cranmer's record]

It is natural but hardly just that Cranmer should be judged on the basis of
the impression created by his last month of life. That the protagonist in a
great Cause should recant in the face of death seems to argue an almost
incredible degree of pusillanimity, and suggests that pusillanimity and
subservience are the key to his career. Nevertheless, but for that short
hour of abasement nobly and humbly retrieved, the general judgment would
probably be altogether different. And that breakdown does not appear to
have been characteristic. Twice in the reign of Henry he had bowed to the
King's judgment, acknowledging that Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell must be
guilty since Henry was convinced: but there was no man in the country who
took the part of either. To have defied the King would have been heroic,
and there is a wide interval between failing of heroism and being
pusillanimous. He withdrew his resistance to Northumberland's plot; but he
resisted on the ground that it was illegal and withdrew only when he was
assured that the Judges had unanimously affirmed its legality. He changed
his views on Transubstantiation; but to surrender an abstruse dogma is not
a crime. He repeatedly maintained opinions in opposition to Henry as well
as to Mary at the risk of losing royal support and favour--which loss would
certainly have meant delivering himself into the hands of his enemies. In
practice he conformed to the restrictions laid upon him, but it was only on
points of expediency that he personally gave way, though he would fain have
allowed to others a larger latitude of opinion than he required for

[Sidenote: His character]

Yet the virtues of Thomas Cranmer fail of recognition. The extreme Anglican
joins with the Roman Catholic in condemning the ecclesiastical leader of
the Schism; the puritan condemns the advocate of compromise; and the
advocate of compromise, at least within the clerical ranks, condemns the
Erastian cleric. In his day, and in Elizabeth's, the lay statesmen were
Erastians to a man; that is forgiven to them; but the ecclesiastic who
adopts and preaches without reservation the theory that the Church--its
organisation, its administration, even its doctrines--is ultimately subject
to the secular sovereign, essentially and not owing to the accidental
sanction of force--such a one is inevitably regarded as a traitor to his
order; that he was guided by honest conviction seems incredible. Cranmer
was a man of peace, driven to do battle in the front rank; an academic,
forced to take a leading part in exceedingly practical affairs; a student,
compelled so far as he might to control a revolution. Yet to him, more than
any other single man, it is due that the Church of England allows a larger
latitude of opinion within her borders than any other, and that she
possesses a liturgy of unsurpassed beauty. A man so weak, so lacking in
self-reliance, can hardly be called great; yet one who, despite his
weakness, has carved himself so noble and so lasting a monument can hardly
be denied the epithet.

For the rest of the persecution it is sufficient to say that year by year
the number of victims did not diminish; neither sex nor age brought
immunity; but as they were of less standing, an attempt was made to
intensify the effect by putting them to death in larger batches--which
increased the horror. The laymen of station, it may be remarked, with one
accord conformed, at least outwardly.

[Sidenote: 1555 Philip's policy]

The Parliament which passed the Heresy Acts was dissolved before the end of
January. Rogers was burnt some three weeks later. Symptoms of unrest were
quickly apparent, and Philip felt it necessary to dissociate himself
publicly from the persecution. On this point Renard was urgent, and he was
also anxious about the succession. If the Queen's hopes of a child should
be disappointed, neither Mary Stewart nor Elizabeth would be
satisfactory. The only thing to be done was to secure a convenient husband
for the latter, and a project was on foot (not with her approval) for
marrying her to the Prince of Savoy, which might incidentally make the
English more disposed to join in the war with France, which was in
occupation of Savoy. But by April the belligerents were thinking of holding
a conference to discuss terms of peace, with an English Commission to

[Sidenote 1: Pope Paul IV.]
[Sidenote 2: Mary has no child]

The death of Pope Julius, however, promptly followed by that of his
immediate successor Marcellus, caused the election of the Cardinal Caraffa
who became Paul IV. On both occasions, Reginald Pole had been perhaps the
favourite candidate: but the election of Paul was a victory for the French,
the new Pope being an austere zealot with a violent anti-imperial
prejudice. Having thus secured the papal alliance, Henry of France was by
no means disposed to so easy a compromise as had been looked for. The
conference collapsed. If Philip really had hoped, as rumour said, to be
enabled by the peace to introduce Spanish troops into England for his own
ends, he was doomed to disappointment. So it was also with his hopes of an
heir to secure him the English succession. Mary had been misled partly by
the symptoms of what proved to be a fatal disease and partly by hysterical
hallucinations. It became certain that there was no prospect of her ever
having a child at all; which necessitated a complete reconsideration of the
Spanish prince's policy. Possibly also the expectation that the Queen's
life could not be a long one led the nobles with protestant inclinations to
acquiesce in the prolonged persecution rather than countenance a danger of
civil war. Neither they nor Elizabeth could be implicated in any of the
abortive conspiracies which cropped up periodically during the remainder of
the reign.

[Sidenote: Effect on Philip]

In August, Philip left the country, not to return again till more than
eighteen months had passed; and then only for a very brief sojourn.
Already his father was meditating abdication in his favour, and Philip was
pondering how he might secure at least a preponderating influence with
Elizabeth, whose ultimate accession he regarded as inevitable. Thus the
Spanish counsels were now directed largely to securing favourable treatment
for her--a complete reversal of Renard's earlier policy. It may be that the
idea of marrying her himself after her sister's death was even now present
in Philip's mind.

[Sidenote: Oct. A new parliament]

In October, about the time of the martyrdom of Ridley and Latimer at
Oxford, a fresh parliament was summoned, which was called upon to grant a
subsidy. The diminution in the royal revenues from normal sources, which
had been growing steadily more serious throughout the last twenty years,
made the appeal necessary; the more so as the Queen had been honestly
struggling to pay off the debts bequeathed to her. The subsidy was granted
in part at least owing to the exertions of Gardiner, who in spite of mortal
illness attended the opening of parliament.

[Sidenote: Nov. Gardiner's death and character]

It was his last public act. A few days later he followed Ridley and Latimer
to the grave; dying stoutly, in harness almost to the last. He was of the
old school of ecclesiastical statesmen. Five and twenty years before, he
had been statesman first, churchman afterwards; but when he found that the
ecclesiastical organisation as well as the Pope was the objective of
Henry's attack, he took his stand by his Order, though stubbornly loyal to
the King. In Henry's later years, he tried a fall with Cranmer and was
worsted through the King's favour. All through the reign of Edward, he
watched with continual protest--mostly from prison--the toppling over of
the fabric which Henry had established; himself, as he judged, the victim
of unconstitutional oppression. Released and restored to power by Mary, he
repented what he conceived to have been his initial error, the repudiation
of Roman authority, and was not averse to exacting the full penalty from
those who had dealt hardly with him; was zealous to restore the power of
the Church and to stamp out heresy. But to the last, he stood for the Law,
and for English freedom from foreign domination, and to the last he fought
for his Queen. His wildest panegyrist would not call him a saint; but
according to his lights he was rarely cruel or even unjust, though often
harsh; the records of his life have been written almost entirely by
bitterly hostile critics; [Footnote: This applies not only to the
Protestant historians, but also to the correspondence of Renard (on account
of the Chancellor's anti-Spanish attitude), and of Noailles who detested
him personally.] and his name deserves more honour and less obloquy than is
usually attached to it.

[Sidenote: Mary's difficulties]

An embassy to Rome earlier in the year, which had been charged with the
formal announcement of the reconciliation, had also intimated Mary's
intention of restoring to the Church such of the alienated property as
still remained in the hands of the Crown. The new Pope was with difficulty
restrained from demanding more. Parliament however, when a bill was
proposed for the restoration of "first-fruits and tenths" displayed so much
resentment at the suggestion that it was so modified as only to authorise
the Queen to dispose personally of the "tenths" actually remaining in her
hands. Even this was not carried without vehement opposition. An
impoverished exchequer which required replenishment by a subsidy could not
afford to surrender a solid portion of revenue to Rome. The hostility to
any such tribute was no less active than it had been twenty-five years ago:
and the Pope's attitude served only to intensify the feeling, and to stir
up general animosity towards the Papacy. The Opposition was so outspoken
that some of the members were sent to the Tower. Parliament was dissolved
before Christmas.

[Sidenote: 1556; The Dudley conspiracy; Foreign complications]

In January, Charles abdicated--his Burgundian possessions he had resigned
to his son three months before--and Philip became King of Spain. Next
month, the peace of Vaucelles was signed between France and Spain; but with
a consciousness that war was likely to be renewed at the first convenient
opportunity. Philip's hands were full, and the French King did not cease
from intrigues in England, while French soil continued to be an asylum for
English conspirators. In March, Cranmer closed the tragedy of his life, and
Pole, who had long ago been nominated to the Archbishopric, was immediately
installed. Before Easter, a plot on the old lines was discovered. Elizabeth
was to be made Queen and married to Courtenay (now in Italy where he died
soon after); France was to help. A number of the conspirators were taken
and put to death after protracted examination; others escaped to France,
including a Dudley, a connexion of the dead Northumberland, who gave his
name to the plot. Most of them were hotheaded young men, who did not
appreciate, as did their shrewder elders, the danger of relying on French
assistance which would only be granted for ulterior ends. As the year went
on, the violent temper of Paul IV. involved him in war with Philip; France
naturally took up his cause; and it was more difficult than ever for Mary
to escape being dragged into the imbroglio--a singularly painful position
for so fervent a daughter of Rome; while the English refugees checkmated
their own party at home by their readiness to pay any price-even to the
betrayal of Calais-for French support. But for timely reinforcements, the
English foothold in France would probably have been captured by a _coup
de main_ before the close of 1556. Meantime in England the severity of
the persecutions was increased.

[Sidenote 1: 1557, June: the War with France]
[Sidenote 2: 1558, Jan: The loss of Calais]

In the spring of 1557, France and Spain were again at open war, and Philip
paid his last brief visit to his wife to obtain English co-operation.
Anti-Spanish feeling was strong; but when one of the refugees, Sir Thomas
Stafford, [Footnote: A grandson of Buckingham] starting from France, landed
in Yorkshire, captured Scarborough Castle, and attempted to raise a
rebellion, jealousy of French interference proved an effective
counterpoise. The rebellion collapsed at once, and war with France was
declared in summer. The success of Philip's troops, which included a
considerable English contingent, at St. Quentin in Picardy compelled the
French to withdraw from Italy; and the Pope, thus deserted, was forced to a
reconciliation with Philip. His animosity however, now aroused against
England, was not easy to remove: and it was an additional source of grief
to Mary and a great vexation to the Cardinal that Paul deprived him of his
Legatine authority. The contest between Philip and Henry of France
continued. It is curious that after the experience of the previous year the
English authorities still did not realise the precarious position of
Calais, and allowed the garrison to be weakened again--though the strain of
maintaining its strength with the depleted exchequer would have been almost
impossible. The natural result followed. At the end of December, Guise
appeared before its walls: on January 6th 1558 it surrendered. Calais was
lost for ever. A fortnight later, Guisnes, after a desperate resistance by
its commandant, Lord Grey de Wilton, was forced to surrender also.

[Sidenote: National depression]

Whatever else was won or lost in France, the maintenance of the English
grip on Calais had been a point of military honour for centuries--like the
retention of its colours by a regiment. Nothing substantial was lost with
its fall; but the wound to the national honour was deep and bitter. For
Mary herself it was the bitterest portion in a cup that was filled with
little else than bitterness. Talk of recapture was vain. A subsidy was
demanded and granted, but only on the theory that the whole was required
not for expeditions but to set the home defences in order against invasion.
More could not be done without taxation, which the country could not
support. In the attempt to fulfil what Mary and Pole deemed a pious and
supreme duty--the restoration to the Church of the property whereof it had
been sacrilegiously robbed--political considerations had been ignored and
the absolutely necessary expenditure on national objects had been diverted
into ecclesiastical channels, at a time when the national revenue was
already desperately impoverished. The loss of Calais was reckoned as one
more item in the account against Rome.

[Sidenote: Mary's death Nov.]

The whole country was in fact in a condition of irritated despondency, sick
of persecution, sick of disaster, disheartened by epidemics and bad
harvests; without the spirit or the material means to attempt a whole-
hearted prosecution of the war, yet too sore to be willing to make peace
till Calais should be recovered. And so in despair and gloom dragged out
the last months of Mary Tudor's life. The last message she received from
her husband was to beg her to make no difficulties about the succession of
the sister who, she knew, would seek to reverse her policy. It was not till
November that she passed away--to be followed in a few hours by her one
trused friend, Cardinal Pole: the most disastrous example on record of one
who with conscientious and destructive persistence aimed at an ideal which
her own methods made for ever impossible of attainment.

[Sidenote: and character]

From the time of her childhood she was exposed to unceasing harshness; a
princess born, she was treated as a bastard; despite it all, her natural
generosity survived. Royally courageous, loyal and straightforward; to her
personal enemies almost magnanimous; to the poor and afflicted pitiful;
loving her country passionately: she was blind to the forces at work in the
world, obsessed with the idea of one supreme duty, and she set herself, as
she deemed, to do battle with Antichrist by the only methods she knew,
though they were alien to her natural disposition, facing hatred and
obloquy. She whose life was one long martyrdom, for conscience' sake
offered up a whole holocaust of martyrs: she who thirsted for love died
clothed with a nation's hate. Where in all history is a tragedy more
piteous than that of Mary Tudor?



[Sidenote: 1558 Accession of Elizabeth]

On November 17th 1558, the sun had not yet risen when Mary passed away;
within a few hours, Elizabeth had been proclaimed Queen. No dissentient
voice was raised in England. Heath, Mary's Chancellor and Archbishop of
York, announced her accession to the Houses of Parliament; the proclamation
was drawn up by Sir William Cecil, the Council's Secretary under Edward
VI. From one quarter, and only one, could a colourable challenge come. In
the legitimate course of succession by blood, the claim lay with Mary
Stewart, Queen of Scots and now Dauphiness of France. But the Will of Henry
VIII., authorised by Parliament, was paramount. That Will had given
priority to the two children of his body who had both been declared
illegitimate--not born in wedlock--by the national courts. The Papal
pronouncement in an opposite sense in Mary's case would have made nugatory
any attempt on the part of a Catholic to question her rights; but that
difficulty did not apply in the case of Elizabeth. As a matter of practical
politics, the Scots Queen might waive her claim; as a matter of high
theory, no personal disclaimers could cancel the validity of her title; as
a matter of English Constitutional theory, Elizabeth's legal title rested
on the superior validity of a Parliamentary enactment as compared with the
divine right of inheritance. And in the minds of the entire English nation,
there was unanimity as to the acceptable doctrine. But the rejected
doctrine remained to fall back on if discontent should arise.

[Sidenote: The claim of Mary Stewart]

The English people might settle the antagonistic claims of Mary and
Elizabeth to their own satisfaction: but the rivalry also of the very
strongest interest to the European Powers. was actually queen of Scotland;
prospectively she was also queen of France. If to these two crowns she
united that of England, the hegemony of the empire thus formed would
inevitably fall to France, and France would become the premier European
Power. That position was now occupied by Spain, [Footnote: See _Appendix
A_, ii.] which, in the face of such a combination, would lose its naval
ascendancy, and be cut off from the Netherlands both by sea and land. For
Philip therefore it was absolutely imperative to support Elizabeth at ail

[Sidenote: Strength of Elizabeth's position]

Here then lay the strength of Elizabeth's position, which she and her
chosen counsellors were quick to grasp. The only alternative to Elizabeth
was the Queen of Scots; her accession would mean virtually the conversion
of England into an appanage of France. Of Elizabeth's subjects none--
whatever their creed might be, or whatever creed she might adopt--would be
prepared to rebel at the price of subjection to France; the few hot-heads
who had ventured on that line when Mary Tudor was at the height of her
unpopularity had found themselves utterly without support. For the same
reason, do what she would, Philip could not afford to act against her--more
than that, he had no choice but to interfere on her behalf if Henry of
France acted against her. He might advise--dictate--threaten--but he must,
as against France, remain her champion, whether she submitted or no. As
long as she kept her head, this young woman of five and twenty, with an
empty treasury, with no army, a wasted navy, and with counsellors whose
reputation for statesmanship was still to make, was nevertheless mistress
of the situation. Mary Stewart's claim presented no immediate danger,
though it might become dangerous enough in the future.

There were two things then on which Elizabeth knew she could count; her own
ability to keep her head, and the capacity for loyalty of the great bulk of
her subjects. If either of those failed her, she would have no one but
herself to blame. The former had been shrewdly tested during her sister's
reign, when a single false step would have ruined her. The latter had borne
the strain even of the Marian persecution--nay, of the alarm engendered by
the Spanish marriage, which showed incidentally that fear of domination by
a foreign power was the most deeply rooted of all popular sentiments; a
sentiment now altogether in Elizabeth's favour, unless she should threaten
a dangerous marriage.

But the cool head and the clear brain, and unlimited self-reliance, were
necessary to realise how much might be dared in safety; to distinguish also
the course least likely to arouse the one incalculable factor in domestic
politics--religious fanaticism; which, if it once broke loose, might count
for more than patriotic or insular sentiment. And these were precisely the
qualities in which the queen herself excelled, and which marked also the
man whom from the first she distinguished with her father's perspicacity as
her chief counsellor.

[Sidenote: Cecil]

Throughout the last reign, Cecil had carefully effaced himself. In matters
of religion, though he had been previously associated with the Protestant
leaders, he had never personally committed himself to any extreme line, and
under the reaction he conformed; as did Elizabeth herself, and practically
the whole of the nobility. He had walked warily, keeping always on the safe
side of the law, never seeking that pre-eminence which in revolutionary
times is apt to become so dangerous. He was not the man to risk his neck
for a policy which he could hope to achieve by waiting, and he was quite
willing to subordinate religious convictions to political expediency. On
the other hand, he never betrayed confidences; he was not to be bought; and
he was not to be frightened. Further, he was endowed with a penetrating
perception of character, immense powers of organisation, and industry which
was absolutely indefatigable. It was an immediate mark of the young queen's
singular sagacity that even before her accession she had selected Cecil to
lean upon, in preference to any of the great nobles, and even to Paget who
had for many years been recognised as the most astute statesman in England.

[Sidenote: Finance]

Secure of her throne, Elizabeth was confronted by the great domestic
problem of effecting a religious settlement; the diplomatic problem of
terminating the French war; and what may be called the personal problem of
choosing--or evading--a husband, since no one, except it may be the Queen
herself, dreamed for a moment that she could long remain unwedded. To
these problems must be added a fourth, less conspicuous but vital to the
continuance of good government--the rehabilitation of the finances, of the
national credit. A strict and lynx-eyed economy, a resolute honesty of
administration, and a prompt punctuality in meeting engagements, took the
place of the laxity, recklessness, and peculation which had prevailed of
recent years. The presence of a new tone in the Government was immediately
felt in mercantile circles, and the negotiation of necessary loans became a
reasonable business transaction instead of an affair of usurious
bargaining, both in England and on the continent. Finally, before Elizabeth
had been two years on the throne, measures were promulgated for calling in
the whole of the debased coinage which had been issued during the last
fifteen years, and putting in circulation a new and honest currency. It
seems to have been owing to a miscalculation, not to sharp practice, that
the Government did in fact make a small profit out of this transaction.

[Sidenote: Marriage proposals: Philip II.]

Philip of Spain and his representatives in England had not realised the
true strength of Elizabeth's position, and certainly had no suspicion that
she and her advisers were entirely alive to it. On this point they had
absolutely no misgivings. They took it for granted that the English queen
must place herself in their hands and meekly obey their behests, if only in
order to secure Spanish support against France. Philip began operations by
proposing him self as her husband, expecting thereby to obtain for himself
a far greater degree of power than he had derived from his union with her
sister, while inviting her to share the throne of the first Power in
Europe. But Elizabeth and Cecil were alive to the completeness of the hold
on Philip they already possessed; and Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne
Boleyn, would have utterly stultified her own position by marrying her dead
sister's husband, since it would be necessary to obtain a papal
dispensation, acknowledge the Pope's authority, and recognise by
implication the validity of her father's marriage with Katharine of
Aragon. To the ambassador's amazed indignation, the Queen with the support
of the Council, decisively rejected the honour. Paget, who had in the last
reign stood almost alone in commending the Spanish match, would have
repeated his counsel now; but he had been displaced, while Cecil and his
mistress were entirely at one.

The Queen's argument that the marriage, however attractive to herself or
desirable politically, was, from her point of view out of the question, was
unanswerable. The Spaniards had to cast about for some other candidate for
her hand, whose success would still be likely to attach England to the
chariot-wheels of Spain; besides seeking another bride for their own King.

When Philip's hand was definitely declined, three months after Elizabeth's
accession, the most pressing danger arising out of the Marriage question
was at an end. Thenceforward, dalliance with would-be suitors became simply
one of the tactical tricks of Elizabeth's diplomacy, employed by her
perhaps not less to the torment of her own advisers than to the
perturbation of foreign chancelleries; seeing that whether she knew her own
mind or not, up to the last she invariably took very good care that no one
else should know it.

[Sidenote: The Religious Question]

One of Philip's main objects was as a matter of course to secure England,
through its queen, for Catholicism; and there is very little doubt that at
this time the majority of Englishmen--at any rate outside the dioceses of
London, Norwich and Canterbury--would have acquiesced much more readily in
the maintenance of the old forms of worship than in institutions modelled
after Geneva. Elizabeth however, with her trusted advisers, leaned neither
to the one nor to the other. They were guided by considerations not of
creed but of politics. They had realised that the repudiation of the
authority of the Holy See, and the assertion of the supremacy of the
sovereign in matters ecclesiastical, were essential. If they were
determined not to submit to Papal claims, they were equally disinclined to
submit to the claims of a Calvinistic Ministry, posing as the mouth-pieces
of the Almighty, demanding secular obedience on the analogy of Samuel or
Elijah. As to creed, what the statesmen saw was that the utmost latitude of
dogmatic belief must be recognised; provided that it was consistent with
the supremacy of the secular sovereign, and with a moderately elastic
uniformity of ritual. The personal predilections of Elizabeth might be in
favour of what we call the Higher doctrines, or those of Cecil might lean
to the Lower; but neither was willing to impose penalties or disabilities
for opinions or practices which did not tend either to the anarchism of the
Anabaptists, or to the Sacerdotalism of Rome on the one hand or Geneva on
the other hand; both were even disposed to remain in official
unconsciousness of such individual transgressors as could conveniently be

[Sidenote: A Protestant policy]

While the Spanish ambassador, De Feria, like his master, had almost taken
it for granted that if Philip offered to marry Elizabeth he would be
accepted, he was from the first greatly perturbed as to the attitude of the
new Government towards the religious question. That Cecil was going to be
chief minister, and that he was, in the political sense, a Protestant, were
both manifest facts. All the extreme Catholics, and some of the moderate
ones, were displaced from the Council; those who were left might prefer the
Mass to the Communion, but only as King Henry had done. The new members
were definitely Protestants. Heath, Archbishop of York, Mary's Chancellor,
though personally esteemed, gave place to Nicholas Bacon (as "Lord
Keeper"), whose wife and Cecil's were sisters, and measures were being
taken to secure a Protestant House of Commons when Parliament should
meet. The number of lay peers was increased by four Protestants; among the
twenty-seven bishoprics, Archbishop Pole had omitted to fill up several
vacancies, while a sudden mortality was afflicting the episcopal
bench. Around the queen, Protestant influences were immensely
predominant. It is quite unnecessary to turn to an injudicious letter from
Pope Paul to find a motive for the anti-Roman attitude which from the very
outset was so obvious to De Feria. [Footnote: _MSS. Simancas, apud_
Froude, vii., p. 27. De Feria to Philip.] Whatever prevarications or
ambiguities Elizabeth might indulge in to him, it is quite clear that,
whether she liked it or not, she felt that her position required an
anti-Roman policy, if her independence was to be secured and the prestige
of England among the nations was to be restored.

[Sidenote: 1559 Parliament: The Act of Supremacy]

The methods of the new Government however were to be strictly legal;
changes must have parliamentary sanction. At the coronation, the authorised
forms obtained. But at the end of January, the Houses met; and during the
following four months the whole of the Marian legislation was wiped out, as
Mary had wiped out the legislation of the preceding reign. The first
measures brought forward were financial--as the first step Cecil had taken
was to dispatch an agent to the Netherland cities to negotiate a loan--a
Tonnage and Poundage bill, a Subsidy, and a First-fruits bill which marked
the revival of the claims of the Crown against ecclesiastical
revenues. These bills were skilfully introduced, and well-received; for it
was expected that the money would be expended where it was needed, on
national defence. Next, the new Act of Supremacy was introduced, against
which the small phalanx of bishops fought with determination, supported by
the protest of Convocation. It was not in fact carried till April; and then
the actual title of "Supreme Head," which Mary and Philip had surrendered,
was not revived, but a different formula was used, the Crown being declared
"Supreme in all causes as well ecclesiastical as civil". The Act once more
repealed the lately revived heresy Acts, and forbade proceedings on the
ground of false opinions, except where these were opposed to the decisions
of the first four General Councils or the plain words of
Scripture. Moreover, the refusal of the Oath was not to be treason, as
under Henry VIII.; it merely precluded the recusant from office. All save
one of the Marian bishops did refuse it and were deprived; most of them
doubtless would have done so even in the face of the old
penalties. Incidentally it authorised the appointment of a Commission to
deal with ecclesiastical offences, which took shape five and twenty years
later as the Court of High Commission. But taken altogether, the measure
was a long step in the direction of a much wider toleration than had ever
been practised before.

[Sidenote: The Prayer-book, etc.]

In the meantime, the Prayer-book had been undergoing a final revision; and
here Elizabeth's own wish would undoubtedly have been to revert to that of
1549. The disciples however of the Swiss school were too strong, and the
last Prayer-book of Edward was the basis of the new one, though some
sentences were so modified as to cause them dissatisfaction, and higher
practices in the matter of ornaments and ceremonial were enjoined. The Act
of Uniformity, imposing the use of the Prayer-book on the clergy, resulted
in resignations which according to the records did not exceed two
hundred. To account for so small a number, we must suppose that the
regulations were to a considerable extent evaded; if not, the clergy must
have been singularly obsequious.

The only remaining Act of importance was that for the Recognition of the
Queen, which declared her to be the lawful sovereign by blood, and repealed
in general terms all Acts or judgments [Footnote: _Cf._ Moore,
p. 241.] passed in a contrary sense, legitimating her without examining the
grounds on which her mother's marriage had been declared invalid--a method
of settling the question entirely sufficient on the theory of parliamentary
sovereignty, but wholly inadequate on the theory of Divine Right.

It was not till some months later that the depletion of the bench of
Bishops by deaths or deprivations was remedied. Matthew Parker, a man of
moderation and ability, was selected as Archbishop of Canterbury, the
consecration being performed by Barlow--who had resigned Bath and Wells
under Mary--with Coverdale, Scory, and Hodgekins. The question whether the
Apostolic Succession was duly conveyed at the hands of these prelates
belongs rather to ecclesiastical history--even to theological
controversy--than to general history. It is sufficient here to observe that
it turns mainly on the doubt which has been thrown without real
justification on Barlow's own ordination as a Bishop. [Footnote: See the
Lives of Parker by Strype and Hook; and a brief summary in Moore,
pp. 245-247.] After the Archbishop's consecration, the vacant sees were
filled up, generally with moderate men, with a leaning towards Zurich or
even Lutheranism rather than the old Catholicism or Calvinism, but always
in accord with the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity.

In point of time, however, the story of these last events has carried us a
year forward, and we have to return to the first six months of the new
reign and the relations of Elizabeth to France.

[Sidenote: France and Peace]

Before Mary's death, an armistice was in operation. England did not mean to
conclude peace with France, unless Calais was restored, and Philip could
not desert England lest an effort should be made to place Mary Stewart on
the throne--on which Henry could not venture while Spain supported
Elizabeth. Unsuccessful diplomatic attempts were made to negotiate
separately with the allied Powers, and to induce Elizabeth formally to
recognise the Queen of Scots as heir presumptive--which however she stoutly
declined to do, being aware that the obvious effect of such a course would
be to invite her own immediate assassination, to secure Mary's immediate
accession. Moreover, Philip was not without a direct interest in England's
recovery of Calais, because of its position on the border of the
Netherlands. In the event, however, the English felt that, since the
Spanish marriage was rejected, the claims on Philip must not be pressed too
hard; and in the final terms of the Peace of Cateau Cambresis, France was
allowed to retain Calais under promise to restore it after eight years,
while she was formally to recognise Elizabeth as lawful queen of England,
with the adhesion of Mary and her husband.

Now however, parties and persons in Scotland become so inextricably
interwoven with the English queen's policy and her relations with parties
and persons in France, that Scottish affairs demand close attention.

[Sidenote: State of Scotland]

In December, 1542, James V. of Scotland had died leaving a daughter just a
week old. When Elizabeth ascended the English throne, the Northern country
had for sixteen years been governed or misgoverned by regents and Councils
of regency. From early childhood, the little queen had been brought up at
the French court, under the more particular tutelage of her uncles, the
Duke of Guise and his brothers. In 1558, at the age of fifteen, she was
married to the Dauphin. Now (and for some time past) her mother, Mary of
Guise--not the least able member of a very able family--was Regent of
Scotland, supported in that position against the Protestant factions by a
French garrison. In the natural course of events, the Scottish Protestant
party looked to England for support, and favoured in the abstract the idea
of uniting the English and Scottish crowns, though in the concrete they
would not admit an English King. All Scottish sentiment, without
distinction of party, rebelled against any prospect of Scotland becoming an
appanage of any foreign Power, and the idea of subordination to France was
only less unpopular than that of subordination to England. Moreover, with
their young queen married to the Heir Apparent of France, and with a Guise
supported by French troops as Regent in Scotland, this latter danger seemed
the less pressing.

Now the extremes of religious partisanship were more general and more
deeply rooted in Scotland than in England; partly because the corruption of
the clergy had been more flagrant; partly because in a country where deeds
of violence were comparatively ordinary, they had been freely committed
under the cloak of religion. The French influence had been cast against the
Reformation. The Reformers had murdered Cardinal Beton; John Knox had been
taken from St. Andrews to the French galleys; and the Preachers were at war
with the Regency. The two men who were about to prove themselves along with
Knox the ablest statesmen in Scotland--James Stewart, afterwards famous as
the Regent Murray, and young Maitland of Lethington--were on the side of
the Preachers, and of what was the same thing, now that a Protestant
government was restored in England, the English alliance. Moreover it has
to be borne in mind that whereas in England the Reformation was imposed,
whether willingly or unwillingly, on the Nation by the Government; in
Scotland it was a popular movement which a Government, itself half French,
endeavoured to repress. Whatever the sincerity of the aristocratic leaders
might be, the Scottish Reformers felt themselves to be fighting for their
liberties against an alien domination.

[Sidenote: 1559 Religious parties in Scotland]

In the spring of 1559 the quarrel between the party of the Preachers and
the Regency assumed a very threatening aspect. After the peace of Cateau
Cambrésis, in March, the French King decided in favour of an
anti-Protestant policy. In spite of the promise to recognise the title of
the English queen, the Dauphin and his wife were allowed to assume the Arms
of England, and it seemed that Mary of Guise in Scotland was about to wage
a more active war than of late against the heretics; also that more French
troops would be sent to help her. On the other hand, Knox, who on his
retirement from England had withdrawn to Geneva, to await an opportunity
when his presence might be effective, now returned to Scotland in a very
unconciliatory spirit. For the party who desired union with England, it was
unfortunate that the great preacher while in exile had issued a tract
entitled _The Monstrous Regiment of Women_, aimed against the two
Maries, but inferentially (though not of set purpose) condemning Elizabeth;
who entirely refused to forgive him, while he on the other hand refused to
eat his words. The fact undoubtedly increased the difficulty of harmonious
accord between the English Government and the Scottish "Lords of the
Congregation," as the Protestant leaders entitled themselves collectively.

[Sidenote: Arran as a suitor to Elizabeth]

The situation however produced a new candidate for the hand of Elizabeth in
the person of the Earl of Arran, son of the quondam Earl of Arran now Duke
of Chatelherault. The Duke was head of the house of Hamilton, and was in
fact at this time heir presumptive [Footnote: As descending from the
daughter of James II., sister of James III, Albany was now dead.] to the
throne of Scotland. If then a legitimate ground could be devised for
dethroning Mary--as for instance, if she employed foreign (_i.e._
French) troops against her subjects lawfully maintaining their
constitutional rights--the succession would fall to the Hamiltons; and if
Arran and Elizabeth were married, the crowns of the two kingdoms would be
united. Thus this marriage became a primary object with the Lords of the
Congregation; and the Earl was included in the list of those with whose
aspirations Elizabeth coquetted.

In July, the French King was killed in a tournament. Francis and Mary
became king and queen of France and Scotland, and Mary's uncles the Guises
immediately became decisively predominant with the French Government.

[Sidenote: The Archduke Charles]

The Spanish ambassador was in the greatest anxiety. The one thing his
master could not afford was to see the queen of France and Scotland
established as queen of England also. But it was only less necessary to
avoid war with France on that issue. If the Arran marriage were in serious
contemplation, Mary would have very strong justification for asserting her
claim to England as a counter-move. What Philip wanted was that Elizabeth
should marry his cousin the Archduke Charles, a younger son of his uncle
the Emperor Ferdinand who had succeeded Charles V. Then Philip would
practically have control of England; France would not venture to grasp at
the crown; and Elizabeth would of course have to leave the Scots to
themselves. Elizabeth saw her advantage. She prevaricated with the Scots
about the Arran marriage, and with Philip about the Austrian marriage. She
did her best to make the Lords of the Congregation fight their own battles,
a task which they were equally bent on transferring to England. And
meantime, Cecil never wavered in his determination of at least maintaining
the Scottish Protestants against active French intervention: while the
whole body of Elizabeth's more Conservative Counsellors favoured the
Austrian marriage and non-intervention in Scotland.

[Sidenote: Wynter sails for the Forth; 1560]

Elizabeth's own procedure was entirely characteristic. She had, it would
seem, no sort of intention of marrying either Charles or Arran; but she
worked her hardest to persuade their respective partisans of the
contrary. Her officers were in secret communication with the Scots, and
were supplying them with money, while she was openly vowing that she was
rendering them no assistance whatever. Neither Scots nor Spaniards trusted
her, but neither altogether disbelieved. Finally--having devoted the
parliamentary grants and all available funds to the equipment of her
fleet--when it was evident that a French expedition was on the point of
sailing for the Forth, she allowed Admiral Wynter to put to sea; with
orders to act if opportunity offered, but to declare when he did so that he
had transgressed his instructions on his own responsibility. In January,
1560, Wynter appeared in the Forth, seduced the French into firing on him
from the fort of Inch Keith, and blew the fort to pieces--in self-defence.
Meantime, D'Elboeuf, brother of Guise, had sailed with a powerful flotilla,
which was however almost annihilated by a storm. For a time then at least
there was no danger of another French expedition to Scotland. Wynter's
fleet commanded the Firth of Forth, and the French soon found that, except
for an occasional raid, they would have to confine their efforts to making
their position at Leith impregnable.

[Sidenote: Difficulties of France]

Wynter's protestations that he was not acting under orders can hardly have
deceived any one, though the Queen, Cecil, and Norfolk [Footnote: Grandson
of the old duke, and son of the Earl of Surrey executed by Henry VIII.]--
who had accepted the command on the Border, after refusing it--confirmed
his story. The Spaniards were intensely annoyed. Philip proposed that he
should himself send an army to Scotland, to put affairs straight; but this
was equally little to the taste of the French and the English. Moreover,
Philip had not yet grasped the fact that the one way to make Elizabeth
definitely defiant was, to threaten her. Hitherto she had repudiated
Wynter's action, and refused to allow Norfolk to march in support of the
Congregation, though she had secretly given them encouragement and hard
cash; now she came to a definite agreement with them, and by the end of
March Norfolk was over the Border. The Queen had doubtless drawn
encouragement from the latest turn of affairs in France. D'Elboeufs
disaster had greatly diminished the present danger of attack from that
quarter; while now the conspiracy of Amboise revealed such a dangerous
development of party antagonisms in France as to make it unlikely that she
would be able to spare her energies for broils beyond her own borders. The
aim of the plot was to overthrow the Guises, and place the young king and
queen under the control of the Protestant Bourbon princes, Condé and
Anthony King of Navarre. [Footnote: See _Appendix A_, vi.] The
conspiracy itself collapsed, but it served as a very effective

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's vacillations]

Elizabeth had no sooner allowed the advance into Scotland than she was
again seized with her usual desire to avoid becoming involved in active
hostilities; and she continued the exasperating practice--for her servants
--of sending them contradictory and hampering instructions. The very men
who, like Norfolk, had been flatly opposed to the policy of interference
were now convinced that, being once committed to it, there must be no
turning back. Vacillation would presently drive the Congregation to such a
pitch of distrust that they would break with England in despair; whereas
the primary object of interference had been to make sure of a powerful
party which would be inevitably committed to forwarding Elizabeth's
interests. However, Philip again stiffened her by dictatorial messages,
which failed to frighten because the essential fact remained true that he
dared not facilitate the substitution of Mary for Elizabeth on the English
throne. The Queen refused to recall her troops, and explained elaborately
that she was not taking part with rebels against their sovereign, but with
loyal subjects who were resisting the abuse by the Guises of authority
filched from Mary, who in her turn would approve as soon as she came to
Scotland and saw the true state of affairs.

[Side note: The English at Leith]

And so the English army sat down before Leith and set about starving it and
bombarding it; till the process appeared to be too slow, and Lord Grey de
Wilton, who was in command of the operations, was forced by urgent messages
against his own judgment to attempt an assault which was repulsed with very
severe loss. Elizabeth was shaken, but her Council remained resolute. Then,
if she had really been afraid that Philip might actually mean what he
threatened, her fears were dispelled by a disaster to his fleet in a battle
with the Turks. She became aggressively inclined once more. The position of
Leith, despite the valour of its garrison, was becoming hopeless; and in
June the central figure of the French and Catholic party was removed by the
death of the Regent Mary of Guise--an able woman, who had played her part
with unfailing courage, no little skill, and quite as much moderation as
could reasonably be expected, under extraordinarily difficult conditions.

[Sidenote: the Treaty of Edinburgh July 6th]

Cecil had already been sent north to negotiate. The terms required were the
entire withdrawal of French troops from Scotland, the recognition of
Elizabeth's right to the throne of England, the recognition of her compact
with the Congregation as legitimate, and the confirmation of their demands
for toleration. It was not till after the Regent's death that the
arrangement known as the Treaty of Edinburgh was signed; by this instrument
the French gave the promise that the demands of the Congregation should be
conceded, but without formally admitting that Elizabeth was ever entitled
to make a compact with Mary's subjects. The other two points were allowed,
and the French departed for ever. Fortunately a dispatch from Elizabeth
requiring more stringent terms (which would have been refused) arrived a
day too late, after the treaty was signed. It was comparatively of little
consequence that Mary declined to ratify the treaty. When the French had
gone, the Congregation were masters of the situation; and before the year
was out, the French and Scottish crowns were separated by the death of
Francis. The Guise domination in France was checked, and while Mary's
accession to the English throne remained desirable to the Catholic party in
that country, the hope of combining the three crowns under the hegemony of
France came to an end.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's methods]

The whole episode deserves to be dwelt on at length, because it very
forcibly illustrates the strength and the weakness of Elizabeth's methods
and the character of her entourage. She saw the sound policy; she
maintained her confidence in the men who also saw it. Yet she perpetually
wavered and hesitated till the eleventh hour to authorise the steps
necessary to carrying it out. At the eleventh hour, she did authorise them;
and that, repeatedly, because at the last moment an injudicious threat
stirred her to defiance. For herself, she could have secured inglorious
ease by simply accepting Philip's patronage, but she elected to play the
daring game, and won. Her methods were tortuous. She lied unblushingly,
but she was an adept at avoiding acts which palpably would prove beyond a
doubt that she was lying. The Spanish ambassador lived under a perpetual
conviction that she was rushing on her own ruin--that she would drive his
master to choose between the deplorable alternatives of fighting on her
behalf or allowing the Queen of France and Scotland to become Queen of
England also--that the Catholics would rise to dethrone her. But her
calculations were sound, and Norfolk himself commanded her armies and
served her loyally in a policy which, in his opinion, ought never to have
been initiated. She never allowed herself to be bullied or cajoled; but she
perpetually kept alive the impression that a little more bullying or a
little more cajolery might turn the scale. And she drove the French out of

[Sidenote: The Dudley Imbroglio]

All the intriguing at this time about suitors for the hand of Elizabeth is
mixed up with the scandals associated with the name of Lord Robert Dudley
(afterwards made Earl of Leicester), a son of the traitor Duke of
Northumberland. Lord Robert, although a married man, was allowed an
intimacy with the Queen which not only points conclusively to an utter
absence of delicacy in the daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, but
filled the entire Court circle with the gravest apprehensions. It was the
current belief that if Dudley could get free of his wife, Elizabeth would
marry him, and that this desire was at the back of her vacillation. The
affair was brought to an acute stage by the sudden death of Amy Robsart,
Dudley's wife, in September; when already for some time past, his
innumerable enemies had been hinting that he meant to make away with
her. The facts are obscure; but the impression given by the evidence is
that she was murdered, though not with the direct connivance of her
husband. Still, the suspicion of his guilt was so strong that if the Queen
had married him she would have strained the loyalty of her most loyal
subjects probably to breaking point. Yet so keen was her delight in playing
with fire that it was many months before English statesmen began to feel
that the danger was past; while overtures were certainly made on Dudley's
behalf to the Spanish Ambassador, De Quadra, to obtain Philip's sanction
and support, in return for a promise that the Old Religion should be
restored. Sussex alone expressed a conviction that Elizabeth would find her
own salvation in marrying for Love. Every one else was convinced that,
whatever might be her infatuation for Dudley, marriage with him would spell
total ruin for her: and there was a general belief that Norfolk and others
would interfere in arms if necessary; while the secret marriage of Lady
Katharine Grey (who stood next in succession under Henry's will) to Lord
Hertford, son of the Protector Somerset, was suspected of being a move to
which even Cecil was privy, for placing her on the throne should the worst
befall. At last, when the limit of endurance was almost reached, Elizabeth
finally declared that she was not going to marry the favourite. Judging her
conduct by her whole career, it would seem that she never really
contemplated the commission of so fatal a blunder, but could not resist the
temptation of tormenting her best friends, and torturing politicians of
every kind with uncertainty--perhaps even of half believing herself that
she actually would set all adverse opinion at defiance if she chose.

[Sidenote: The Huguenots]

From one suitor at any rate Elizabeth felt herself freed by the death of
the young French King in December. The main interest of France in the
Scottish Crown was thereby ended; more than that, the Huguenot Bourbons,
who stood in France next in succession to the sons of Katharine de Medici,
recovered for the time much of their power. The political arguments in
favour of the Arran marriage lost enough of their force to enable the
English Queen to brave the wrath of the Congregation and finally decline
the Hamilton alliance. It is of interest to find Paget, once again called
in to her Counsels, declaring in favour of a Huguenot alliance, in despite
of Spain.

[Sidenote: The Pope]

The position of the Huguenots in France, and the proposed resuscitation of
the Council of Trent under the auspices of Pope Pius IV., who had succeeded
Paul in 1559, had revived ideas of Protestant representation therein; and
Elizabeth, after her fashion, played with the hopes of the Catholic party,
at home and abroad, that she might be drawn into participation. It was only
when it had become perfectly clear that the admission of the Papal
Supremacy was a condition precedent, that these hopes were dashed, and the
proposal that a papal Nuncio should be received in England, with which the
Queen had been coquetting, was definitely declined; while Philip was
obliged to intimate to the Pope that he must not launch against the
recalcitrant England ecclesiastical thunderbolts which would involve him in
war, whether against or on behalf of Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: 1561 Mary sails for Scotland]

In the meantime however, both the Catholic party in Scotland and the
Congregation were hoping to bring Mary back from France, and to control her
policy when she should arrive. For the Protestants felt now that without
foreign interference they could hold their own. Elizabeth had rejected
their scheme for bringing the union of the crowns in reach by the Arran
marriage: they were now bent on the alternative course of inducing
Elizabeth to acknowledge their own Queen as her heir presumptive. Mary
herself was more than ready for the adventure. Elizabeth refused her a
passage through England which might easily have been utilised, especially
in the North, for the organisation of a Stewart party within the realm;
while on the other hand it would obviously be an easy thing for an
"accident" to happen while the Scots Queen was running the gauntlet of her
ships on the seas. But Mary was nothing if not daring. In August,
accompanied by her Guise uncle, D'Elboeuf, she set sail from the "pleasant
land of France," and four days later, without disaster, the Queen of Scots
landed at Leith.



[Sidenote: 1561 The Situation]

On August 19th, 1561, Mary Stewart returned to Scotland; in May 1568, she
left her kingdom for ever. During those seven years, what she did, what she
was accused of doing, what she was expected to do, what she intended to do,
formed the subject of the keenest interest and anxiety in England at the
time; and the problems and mysteries of those years, never unravelled to
this day, never with any certainty to be unravelled at all, continued to
perplex English statesmen and to complicate the situation in England for
nearly nineteen years more. We shall have to follow them therefore in much
greater detail than would _a priori_ seem justifiable in a volume
ostensibly dealing not with Scottish but with English History.

During these same years it may be said that the great antagonisms were
formulated, which were to rend the two great Continental monarchies for
forty years to come. Thus in order to follow the subsequent story
efficiently even from the purely English point of view, we must devote what
may seem somewhat disproportionate attention to foreign affairs, which do
not appear at first sight to have a very intimate connexion with events in
England. For France these events may be summed up as the opening of the set
struggle between Catholics and Huguenots; for Spain, as the preliminaries
to the revolt of the Netherlands: while for all Europe, the effective
sessions of the Council of Trent laid down finally the sharp dividing line
between Protestant and Catholic--terms which have a well defined political
meaning, in neither case identical with their original or correct
theological import, in which latter sense half the Protestant world
continued to assert its claim to membership in the Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: (1) The Council of Trent]

That Council reassembled under the auspices of Paul's successor, Pius IV.,
in January 1562. While the Protestants could not recognise it as a Catholic
Council, in the sense of representing the whole Catholic Church, it claimed
that character for itself, and those who maintained its authority
appropriated the name, which thus became a party title. In the course of
its sessions, it rejected doctrines, notably that of Justification by
Faith, which had been strongly favoured even by such men as Pole and
Contarini, so narrowing the bounds of orthodoxy. But while cutting off all
possibility of reconciliation with the Protestants, it marked a strong
tendency to reformation not of dogma but of practice; while an increased
intolerance of what was stigmatised as error, an intensification of the
spirit which demanded the most merciless repression of heresy, was
accompanied in other respects by an elevation of the standard of
ecclesiastical morals, and a zeal for the Faith more pure and less
influenced by worldly considerations, if narrower, than in the past. From
this time, as the exemplar both of the new discipline, and of the new
warfare against heresy, the Order of Jesuits takes its place as the
dominating force. The Council terminated in 1563; in 1566 the Pope died and
was succeeded by Pius V., the nominee of the most rigid section of the

[Sidenote: (2) France: Catholics, Huguenots, and _Politiques_]

In France, from the days of Francis I., the tendency had been to persecute
the followers of the reformed doctrines, who were for the most part
disciples of Calvin rather than of Luther. On the other hand, the political
attraction of alliance with the German Lutherans had served to keep the
mind of the court open, and throughout the sittings of the Council of Trent
there had been and continued to be threats that the Gallican Church might
follow the Anglican in claiming independence of the Pope. In France however
the opposition lay between the Catholics and the Calvinists, who by 1561
had acquired the general name of Huguenots: in England, the Reformation was
carried through under the auspices of a middle ecclesiastical party. In
France the middle party was purely political, not aiming at a compromise
tending to amalgamation, but rather at holding the two parties balanced.

Before the death of Henry II., the Guise brothers were recognised as the
heads of the Catholic faction. The Duke, Francis, was the popular and
successful soldier who won back Calais from England: his brother, the
Cardinal of Lorraine, was one of the ablest of living ecclesiastics and
statesmen. There were four more brothers, all men of mark; and their sister
was the mother of Mary Stewart. On the other hand, the family came from
Lorraine only in the time of Francis I., and though the first Duke of Guise
married a daughter of the house of Bourbon, they were regarded with
jealousy by a considerable body of the French nobility, who, partly in
consequence, threw their weight in favour of the Protestants. At the head
of these now were Anthony of Bourbon, nominal King of Navarre in right of
his wife, his brother Condé, and Admiral Coligny, with his brother the
Cardinal Chatillon. When Henry II. died, the Guises--uncles of the new
Queen (Mary Stewart)--assumed unmistakable supremacy; but when Francis also
died, and was succeeded by his younger brother Charles IX., the
Queen-mother, Katharine de Medici, obtained for herself the regency, which
would naturally have fallen to Navarre as next Prince of the Blood, and the
control passed not to the Huguenots but to the "_Politiques_".
[Footnote: The name for the "Middle" Party, which was not however generally
adopted till a later date.] It may be remarked that this century is
noteworthy for the number of women who made their mark in history as
politicians; for Isabella of Castile was still living when it opened, and
Elizabeth of England when it closed; Katharine de Medici and Mary Stewart
were of ability not much inferior; while Mary of Guise, regent of Scotland,
and Mary Tudor in England, were both striking figures; and the women of
Charles V.'s family were conspicuous as Governors of the Netherlands.

[Sidenote: Religious war in France 1561-68]

The rule of the Politiques was, unlike that of the Guises, favourable to
toleration--as a matter not of conscience but of policy. Katharine's was
the controlling spirit, and her chief supporters in the policy were the
Chancellor L'Hôpital and the Constable Montmorency, a connexion of
Coligny's but an orthodox Catholic. In January 1562 a large extension of
toleration was granted to the Huguenots, which roused the fanaticism of the
other party and drew the Constable over to their ranks. Navarre was induced
to go over to the Catholics, leaving the Protestant leadership to
Condé. Some of Guise's followers massacred a number of unarmed Huguenots at
Vassy; Paris, frantically anti-Huguenot, gave a triumphal reception to
Guise, who held Katharine and the boy-king practically prisoners. The
Huguenots rose in arms; Navarre was killed, leaving a boy--afterwards Henry
IV.--as his heir and the hope of the Huguenots; for his mother Jeanne of
Navarre had not followed her husband in his apostasy. A great battle,
indecisive in result, was fought at Dreux, in which each of the commanders,
Condé and Montmorency, fell into the hands of their antagonists; and then,
in February 1563, Francis of Guise was assassinated by the fanatic Poltrot.
About the same time died two of his brothers, D'Aumale and the Grand Prior.
The result was the termination of the war by the Peace of Amboise,
practically confirming the recent edict of toleration. Katharine still
refused to adopt the policy, urged on her by Spain as well as by the Guise
faction, of suppressing the Huguenots by the sword. The Huguenots, however,
believing that Katharine was merely actuated by motives of expediency, and
would seek to crush them if a favourable opportunity offered, organised
with a view to enforcing their demands in arms, and again took the field in
1567, thereby deciding the Regent in the policy which they had--up to this
time perhaps erroneously--attributed to her. For the time being, however,
the war was closed in the spring of 1568, by a treaty confirming the terms
of the previous Peace of Amboise.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands and Spain]

The Netherlands or Low Countries was the general title of a group of
provinces, corresponding in area roughly but not accurately to the modern
States of Holland and Belgium. These provinces, originally independent
States, but latterly associated in a loose federation, had owned allegiance
to the Dukes of Burgundy, and so had passed in due course to Charles V.,
who in turn transferred them to Philip shortly before his own abdication of
the Spanish crown. The institutions within the provinces varied, as did the
character and race of their populations: but in general their industrial
development was of a high standard, and their wealth was of great
importance to the Spanish monarchy. At the hands of Charles, who was
brought up as a Netherlander, they enjoyed considerable favour; but Philip,
by instinct and training, was a Spaniard, who looked on them as a paying
appanage of Spain, had no sympathy with them, and no regard for their
political organisations, and did not set foot among them after 1559. Before
that year, most of his time since his marriage with Mary had been spent
there; but in 1559 he departed, leaving as Governor his sister Margaret of
Parma, and ignoring the nobility of the country.

The Reformation doctrines had obtained a very extensive hold, more
particularly in the Northern provinces; but had been suppressed with
considerable rigour by Charles, who early established the Inquisition in
the country. By Philip the severities were increased, and the government of
Margaret of Parma was conducted on the like intolerant principles: her
chief adviser being Philip's nominee, Cardinal Granvelle. The native
nobles--at whose head were Egmont, Horn, and William (the Silent), Prince
of Orange [Footnote: William was a Netherlander in virtue of the lordship
of Breda.] and Count of Nassau--as well as the burghers, were indignant at
the encroachment on the constitutional liberties of the provinces by the
appointment of foreigners to offices of State, and by the presence of
Spanish troops; and the removal of both was demanded. The multiplication of
bishops and endowment of the new bishoprics constituted another grievance.
The troops had to be withdrawn, and in 1564 Granvelle left the Netherlands
to join his master in Spain; but Philip's determination to bring the whole
country into the system of Spanish despotism remained unchanged: and
whereas the whole population was in favour of general religious toleration,
he insisted, in the face of remonstrance, on intensifying instead of
relaxing the edicts against the Reformed doctrines. To avoid the
persecution, multitudes of Flemish weavers left the country, to be welcomed
by Elizabeth in England, which was rapidly supplanting the commercial
supremacy of the Low Countries.

[Sidenote: 1566 Resistance in the Netherlands]

In 1565 it was generally believed that Katharine de Medici was concerting
measures, with the Duke of Alva on behalf of Spain, for the suppression of
heretics; and this brought matters in the Netherlands to a head. In 1566 a
League, widespread though not openly supported by the greatest nobles, was
formed for the abolition of the Inquisition, an institution, introduced
forty years before by Charles V., which had worked as mercilessly as in
Spain. The supporters of the league included Lewis of Nassau, brother of
William of Orange; it was known as the Compromise, and its adherents were
nick-named the _Gueux_, or beggars. The general ferment resulted in
violent anti-"idolatry" riots, accompanied by great destruction of Church
property. The disturbances were quieted down by the exertions of Egmont and
William of Orange; the Governor, Margaret of Parma, promising the
concessions they advised. Philip however was enraged, repudiated the
concessions, and in 1567 sent Alva with an army of Spanish and Italian
veterans to restore order. Margaret, finding herself virtually superseded,
retired. Alva's conception of order was the enforcement of the worst type
of combined military and ecclesiastical tyranny. Egmont (a Catholic), and
Horn, though both had rendered the Government conspicuous assistance, were
arrested; Orange escaped by retiring to his German dominions. Not
Protestants only, but even Maximilian who now occupied the Imperial throne
in succession to Ferdinand, remonstrated; yet Philip obstinately encouraged
Alva to go on his way. William of Orange avowed himself a Protestant; and
in the spring a mixed army of Netherlander, Huguenots, and Germans, took
the field under Lewis of Nassau. The revolt of the Netherlands may be
reckoned as dating from the first engagement, at Heiligerlee, in May
1568. The Spaniards were worsted, and as an immediate consequence, Egmont
and Horn were sent to the block.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth, Mary, and their Suitors]

The arrival of Mary Stewart in Scotland brings her personality into more
intimate relation with that of Elizabeth than before. The problem of
finding bridegrooms politically and personally acceptable to the two queens
becomes particularly prominent. Arran, flatly declined by Elizabeth,
becomes for a time one of her cousin's actual suitors. The Archduke Charles
becomes a possible candidate for either. Dudley, still looked upon as
Elizabeth's favoured lover, is offered by her to Mary as a husband. Now,
too, we first meet with Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, [Footnote: See
Appendix A, iii.] whose mother, Lady Lennox, was daughter of Margaret Tudor
by her second husband, the young man himself being a possible successor to
the English throne. Being an English as well as a Scottish subject, brought
up in England and therefore not, like Mary--whatever her claims by
descent--an alien, that technical ground for disputing her succession did
not apply to him. He too was mentioned as a possible suitor both for
Elizabeth's and for Mary's hand. Then there was Don Carlos, son of Philip
of Spain by his first wife, to whom Mary had a political inclination; or
again there was for her a possibility of marrying her dead husband's
brother, the boy-king Charles IX. of France. Mary herself, it must be
remembered, was still some months short of nineteen when she landed at
Leith. And it was a matter of grave political importance to Elizabeth, who
should be the man to share the Scottish throne.

[Sidenote: 1562 Mary in Scotland]

Mary's reception was austere not to say brutal on the part of Knox and his
friends; but the Earl of Murray (as Lord James Stewart soon after became)
and Maitland, confident now in the security of Protestantism, were not
disposed to subordinate polities to zealotry. They were ready for a degree
of toleration. Their ultimate goal was the union of the crowns; and they
wished Mary to repose her confidence on them. They would not press her to
ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh, at any rate unless she was formally
recognised as heir presumptive of England. Mary, for her part, though
holding by her own faith, was not slow to perceive that for the present at
least she must not challenge the Reformers. Her first business was

The year 1562 was not far advanced when the first Huguenot war broke out in
France. Condé was soon making overtures to Elizabeth, and her Protestant
counsellors, headed by Cecil, were zealous that she should lend his party
active support, with the restoration of Calais to England as the
price. Philip of Spain, bent on suppressing the Netherlands heretics, was
strongly on the side of the Guises, and threatened Elizabeth if she should
venture to intervene. The house of the Spanish Ambassador in London was the
centre of much Catholic intriguing; and much of what was going on was
betrayed to Cecil by a secretary. Elizabeth was angry enough, but could not
afford an open rupture with Philip, who, now that Mary was no longer Queen
of France, might find it in his interest to support her pretensions to the
English throne. On the other hand, the French Queen-mother could not now
view with complacency the succession of Mary with her Guise connexions,
coupled with the possibility of her matrimonial alliance either with the
Spanish Don Carlos or the Habsburg Archduke Charles. Elizabeth's own desire
now was to be in amity with Mary, and to have her married to some one who
would not be dangerous. For a long time she dallied with the idea of
meeting Mary with a view to a settlement as to the ratification of the
Edinburgh treaty and her recognition as heir presumptive; and Catholic
hopes ran high. But the successes of the Guise party in France forced her
hand by alarming the Protestants. She had to decline the meeting with Mary,
and at least to make a show of enforcing the laws against attendance at
Mass more energetically. She had, in fact, been letting herself believe
that she could indulge her personal predilection for the more ceremonial
worship of the old faith; but as usual when a crisis seemed, really
imminent, her personal predilections were suppressed for the time.

[Sidenote: 1562-63 Elizabeth and the Huguenots]

As the year went on, the intrigue with Condé reached a point at which the
Huguenot leader actually handed over Havre to the English, and promised the
restitution of Calais; and before the autumn was far advanced, the town was
garrisoned, and a troop of English--ignoring instructions from home--went
to join Condé. The colour for Elizabeth's action was that the Guises had
usurped the government, and that they palpably and avowedly directed their
policy to the injury of England; also that she was entitled to take
measures to ensure the restoration of Calais, promised by treaty. The
fighting went steadily against the Huguenots, and Elizabeth made the
mistake--in which the country supported her even with passion--of holding
Condé to his promise as to Calais, instead of applying herself to the
establishment of the Huguenots as a powerful Anglophil anti-Guise
party. Throwing over the method which had so successfully cleared Scotland
of the French, she staked everything on the recovery of Calais, forced half
Condé's friends to look upon him as something very like a traitor, and
alienated Huguenot sentiment completely. The battle of Dreux in December,
followed early in the next year by the murder of Guise, led to the truce of
Amboise, in April, between the warring factions; England was left in the
lurch. A desperate effort was made to retain the grip on Havre, but an
outbreak of the plague among the garrison ruined all chance of success. It
fell, and with it the last hope of recovering Calais (July 1563). It was
not till the spring of 1564 that the French war was formally terminated by
the treaty of Troyes, when the English, after much vain haggling, found
themselves obliged to accept the French terms.

[Sidenote: The English Succession]

Near the end of 1562 the Queen had been stricken with smallpox and her life
all but despaired of; so that the grave problem of the Succession assumed a
momentary prominence. Henry's Will had never been set aside; but no one
would have viewed with favour the claims of the Greys. Mary of Scotland,
the heir by inheritance, was an alien, and abhorrent to the Protestants.
Darnley was the only remaining claimant of Tudor stock; [Footnote: Except
the Clifford or Stanley branch, junior to the Greys. See _Front._]
while the House of York had still representatives living, in two grandsons
of the old Countess of Salisbury executed by Henry--the Earl of Huntingdon
and Arthur Pole, the latter of whom did actually become the centre of a
still-born plot. What would have happened had the Queen died at this
juncture it is impossible to guess: happily for England, she recovered. But
the interest attaching to Mary's course was intensified.

The Scots Queen had in the meantime ostensibly given her support to Murray
and Maitland, accompanying her half-brother on an expedition to crush
Huntly, the head of the Catholic nobility. Murray and Maitland did their
best during the early months of 1563 to force the recognition of their
Queen as Elizabeth's heir by the menace of her marriage with the Prince of
Spain; Elizabeth in turn did her own best to induce Mary to marry Dudley,
whom she later on raised to the rank of Earl of Leicester. This union
however was one which neither Mary herself nor any of her counsellors would
accept; and when the year closed, Knox and the extreme Calvinists were
grimly assimilating the to them portentous probability that she would end
by marrying either Don Carlos or the young King of France--either event
threatening the restoration of the Old Church in Scotland.

[Sidenote: 1564 Darnley and others]

The civil war in France ended, as we saw, in the triumph of the
Politiques. The corollary was the treaty of Troyes with England in the
spring of 1564. The French court was now disposed to be friendly towards
Elizabeth; the Guises had lost weight by the death of the Duke; Philip of
Spain saw nothing to gain by further embroilments; so the chances of Mary's
marriage either with his son or with Charles IX. were small. The Scots
Queen began to give Darnley a leading place in her own mind, feeling that a
marriage with him would give a double claim to the English succession, and
one in favour of which the whole of the English Catholics would be
united. So far Elizabeth had only urged her to marry an English nobleman,
with an implication that Leicester [Footnote: Dudley was not in fact raised
to the Earldom till the year was well advanced.] was intended. Mary tried
to extract approval for Darnley, but with the result only that Leicester
was definitely and explicitly nominated. Yet even on behalf of her
favourite, the English Queen would not commit herself on the subject of the
succession. On the other hand, with the exception of Maitland of Lethington
who was not actually opposed to the Darnley marriage on condition of
Elizabeth's public approval, the Scottish Protestants were very
unfavourable to that solution. So the year passed in perpetual diplomatic
fencing, Mary trying to draw Darnley to Scotland, while Elizabeth kept him
at her own court, to which he with both his parents had been attached for
many years past. It is not a little curious to find all this intriguing
crossed by a proposal from Katharine de Medici that King Charles should
marry not Mary but Elizabeth, who was eighteen years his senior: while
Elizabeth herself was trying to revive the idea of her own marriage with
the Archduke Charles, whose brother Maximilian had just succeeded Ferdinand
as Emperor. In February 1565, Elizabeth found it no longer possible to
prevent Darnley's return to Scotland, and in April it was tentatively
announced that he was to be Mary's husband.

[Sidenote: 1565 The Darnley marriage]

It is not impossible [Footnote: The case for this view is effectively put
in Lang, _Hist. of Scotland_, ii., pp. 136 ff.; and _cf._
Creighton, _Queen Elizabeth_, p. 87.] that privately Elizabeth had
expected and desired that Mary should jeopardise her position precisely in
this manner, counting on the animosity to the marriage not only of Knox's
party but of all the adherents of the rival house of Hamilton. If so she
was justified in the event. But publicly she expressed a strong
disapproval, which took colour from the risk that the marriage might serve
to rally the English Catholics in support of the joint Stewart succession.
At any rate, whether Mary merely miscalculated the political forces; or,
weary of the shackles which preachers and politicians sought to impose on
her, determined to take her own way at last at any cost; or allowed herself
to be swayed by an unaccountable fancy for the person of her young cousin,
a spoilt, arrogant, and vicious boy; marry him she did, at the end of July:
in defiance of the sentiment of all her Protestant subjects, half of whom
were really afraid of the attempted revival of Catholic domination, while
the rest foresaw, at the best, the gravest political complications, and the
revival of internecine clan and family feuds and intrigues. Mary however
had not taken the step until she was sure in the first place that there was
no prospect of her marriage with Don Carlos, and had in the second place
received assurances of support from Philip [Footnote: _Cf._ Hume,
_Love Affairs of Mary Queen of Scots_, p. 262. Mary was aiming at a
Catholic combination under Philip, with the active co-operation of Rome.
Cecil and Elizabeth however had good reason from experience to count on
Spain's immobility, and may very well have counted also on Darnley's
imbecility. They knew him.] if she married Darnley. For a girl of two and
twenty, working single handed, it was an exceedingly clever move--on the
hypothesis that Philip was capable of taking open action, and Darnley of
acting with common decency and common intelligence.

[Sidenote: Mary and Murray]

The Protestant lords however were not unanimous. Maitland and the Douglases
did not join Murray and the Hamiltons who, even before the actual marriage,
were practically in open rebellion. But Mary was now playing for her own
hand; if she had any trusted counsellor it was her deformed Italian
secretary, David Rizzio. She dropped diplomatic fencing. Elizabeth, who had
been privately sending money to Murray, remonstrated on his behalf; but
Mary asserted her right to deal with her own rebellious subjects. Now, as
always, she maintained that she had no intention of subverting the
Protestant religion, though she desired the same freedom for Catholics as
for Calvinists. But she would not submit to dictation; and any promises she
was willing to make were conditional on the recognition first of herself
and her heirs and afterwards of Lady Lennox's heirs, as Elizabeth's
successors. At the end of August she marched against Murray and the
insurgents; they however avoided battle. On October 6th Murray and his
principal adherents crossed the Border. A little later he was allowed to
present himself at the English court, where Elizabeth [Footnote: Froude,
viii., pp. 213 ff. (Ed. 1864): with which cf. Lang, _Hist. Scotland_,
ii., pp. 150 ff., and authorities there cited.] publicly rated him, and
declared that she would never assist rebels against their lawful
sovereign. Murray, who had just written to Cecil that he would "never have
enterprised the action but that he had been moved thereto by the Queen" of
England, accepted Elizabeth's lecture without protest.

[Sidenote: The murder of Rizzio, 1566]

The expulsion of Murray from Scotland did not hinder the coming tragedy;
perhaps it had the contrary effect. The lords round Mary were bitterly
aggrieved by Rizzio's influence; Darnley long before he was six months
married, chose to be jealous of the secretary, a sentiment carefully
fostered by the lords. The common hatred united them in a "band" for the
murder of Rizzio, of which Sadler, the English envoy, was cognisant; Murray
probably knew just so much as he chose to know. The plot was carried out in
March. The conspirators broke into Mary's room at Holyrood, and butchered
Rizzio almost before her eyes.

[Sidenote: Kirk o' Field, 1567]

It may be doubted whether Mary ever forgave any one who was implicated or
supposed to be implicated in that outrage. For her husband, as the offence
in him was foulest and the insult from him to her deepest, she assuredly
conceived and cherished a bitter loathing. But there was one man who had
always been ready to champion her cause, the daring, reckless, ruffianly
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who nevertheless was no mere
swash-buckler, but according to Scottish standards of the day, a man of
education [Footnote: Lang, _Hist. Scotland_, ii., p. 168.] and even,
it would seem, of some culture. From this time, Bothwell was her one ally.
She had the policy and the self-control to profess a desire for
reconciliation even with Darnley: to receive Murray and even Lethington
into apparent favour. But Darnley's brief rapprochement with the lords was
soon over; his intolerable arrogance was made the worse by his
contemptibility. Three months after Rizzio's murder, the envy of the Virgin
Queen of England was roused by the birth of a son to Mary. The history of
the following months becomes a chaos of which there are a dozen conflicting
versions. The one clear fact is that another "band" was formed to put
Darnley out of the way. There were pretences at attempted reconciliation
between Mary and Darnley, while the Queen's relations with Bothwell were so
intimate as to produce rumours no less scandalous than those which had
prevailed about Elizabeth and Dudley. Darnley fell ill; a better appearance
than usual of reconciliation was patched up. The sick man was conveyed to
Kirk o' Field, a house near Edinburgh, where Mary joined him. Thence one
evening she went to Holyrood to attend a bridal masque. That night the
house was blown up; Darnley's unscathed corpse was found in the garden.

From the tangled mass [Footnote: The evidence has been discussed in many
volumes. The most judicial examination with which the present writer is
acquainted is that in Mr. Lang's _Mystery of Mary Stewart_, summarised
in his _History of Scotland_, ii., pp. 168 ff.] of letters,
narratives, and confessions, it remains, and will for ever remain,
impossible to ascertain more than a fragment of the real truth. As to many
of the documents, it is hard to say whether the theory of their genuineness
or of their forgery is the more incredible. For the confessions, every man
had a dozen good reasons for sheltering some of the guilty, implicating
some of the innocent, and garbling the actual facts. That the thing was
done by Bothwell is absolutely certain; it is hardly less doubtful that
both Maitland and Morion helped to hatch the plot; there is no conclusive
proof that Mary was active in it. No single act can be brought home to her
which was necessarily incompatible with innocence--or with guilt. It is the
accumulation of suspicious circumstances which makes the presumption lean
heavily to guilt; but it remains no more than a presumption; no jury would
have been justified in convicting. Her accusers had a strong case; but they
tried to strengthen it by inventing or suborning additional evidence
palpably false, with the result of discrediting the whole--and her friends
adopted the same tactics. That both Mary and Murray knew that _some_
plot existed, and that neither of them stirred a finger to frustrate it, is
hardly an open question.

Guilty in the fullest sense or not guilty, Mary's detestation of Darnley
was notorious; and within three months of the murder she was the wife of
the man whom the whole world accounted the murderer. Naturally, the whole
world believed that she was Bothwell's accomplice in the act, and his
mistress before it. There was a show at least of the marriage being brought
about by force. A formal attempt at investigation into the murder had
collapsed. Bothwell had his supporters; he kidnapped the Queen and
Maitland--_not_ one of his supporters-with her. A scandalous divorce
was pronounced between him and his wife, and Mary wedded him. The only
credible explanation is that she was over-mastered by a passion for the
daring ruffian who at least had always stood by her. The lords--accomplices
in the murder with the rest--were almost immediately in arms to "rescue"
the Queen, who took the field by her husband's side. The opposing forces
met at Carberry Hill; Bothwell, seeing the contest to be hopeless, fled;
Mary surrendered.

[Sidenote: Mary made prisoner]

The Queen was forthwith imprisoned in Lochleven Castle; and just at this
time the famous casket of letters from Mary to Bothwell was seized, in the
custody of a servant of Bothwell's. Of the documents subsequently produced
as having formed part of that collection, the experts are totally unable to
prove decisively whether any or all are genuine, or forged, or a mixture of
forgeries and transcripts from genuine originals; though on the whole the
last hypothesis is the least incredible of the three.

[Sidenote 1: Murray made regent]
[Sidenote 2: 1568 Mary's escape to England]

All this took place in June. Elizabeth was now suggesting that the baby
prince James should be sent to her safe-keeping: there were similar
hints--_mutatis mutandis_--from France. The Scots lords played off
French and English against each other, and kept the child in their own
hands. There was a strong desire in some quarters that Mary should be put
to death; she was actually compelled, at the end of July, to sign her
abdication in favour of the infant James. Soon after Murray arrived from
France, whither he had gone shortly after the murder, and she assented to
his appointment as Regent--indeed begged him to undertake it, having
virtually no other course open. Both he and Lethington probably desired to
protect her. Meantime however, Elizabeth was demanding her release, the
successful rebellion of subjects against their lawful prince being by no
means to her liking. Murray, however, felt that such a course could only
involve civil war, and if pressed would force him to have Mary executed on
the strength of the evidence, genuine or forged, of her complicity in the
murder of Darnley. Yet it was universally believed that many of the lords
now with Murray were no less guilty; over their heads too the sword was
hanging by a thread. Murray as Regent ruled with vigour; and his
enforcement of the anti-Catholic laws soon roused the hostility of that
section. After many months of imprisonment, the Queen succeeded in escaping
from Lochleven in May (1568); but the attempt to rally her followers was
desperate. There was a fight at Langside on May 13th; Mary's party were
completely routed; she herself fled south; and on May 16th she crossed the
Solway; becoming, and remaining from thenceforth, Elizabeth's prisoner.

Thus, in June 1568, there was in France an uneasy truce between Catholics
and Huguenots; in the Netherlands, the struggle between the Prince of
Orange and Alva was just commencing; in Britain, the Queen of Scots had
just fallen into the power of her sister of England--disgraced in the eyes
of the world by her marriage with Bothwell, and on almost all hands
credited with the murder of Darnley; so that whatever might happen it was
certain that no foreign Power would have either the will or the means to
intervene on her behalf.

The affairs of Ireland will demand our attention; but, as they did not at
the time directly influence English policy, it will be more convenient to
treat of them consecutively in a later chapter. The same may be said of the
great sea-going movement, which was now active and was in a few years' time
to be revealed as a feature of the first importance in the development of
"our island story". Here we will merely note that the consideration of
these subjects is deferred. The progress however of the religious
settlement, always a present factor in the relations of England with other
Powers, requires to be treated _pari passu_ with the other events of
the period; as also do the relations between the Queen and her Parliament.

[Sidenote: England: Protestantism of the Government]

We have already observed that Elizabeth had personal predilections in
favour of the ceremonial, if not the actual theological, position adopted
by her father. The weightiest of her counsellors however, headed by Cecil
and Bacon, succeeded in a more definite protestantising of the bench of
bishops than the Queen herself would have desired. The formularies of the
Church, confirmed by the Act of Uniformity, were very much easier to
reconcile with Calvinism than with what Calvinists called idolatry, and in
particular the abolition of the law of celibacy in itself had a very strong
tendency to abolish the sense of differentiation between clergy and laity
so essential to the old Catholic position. It may have been the
consciousness of this which made Elizabeth feel and express with much
freedom her own objection to married clerics. But Cecil and his party were
alive to the fact that the religious cleavage was everywhere becoming
intensified as a political cleavage also; that politically, England would
be obliged to declare for one side or the other, or would be rent in twain;
that danger to Elizabeth's throne--and this she fully recognised herself--
was much more likely to arise from Catholic than from Protestant
quarters. Being therefore determined that she should take the Protestant
side--whether from genuine religious conviction or from motives of
political expediency--they steadily encouraged moderate Protestants of the
type of Archbishop Parker, and others who were still more under the
influence of the Swiss, or at least the Lutheran, reformers; a course in
which they were greatly aided by the direct hostility to Elizabeth of the
Guise party in France. In that country, the _Politiques_ found
themselves driven into the Catholic camp; in England, the Queen, whose
personal sentiments were not unlike those of Katharine de Medici, was
reluctantly compelled by the force of circumstances to yield to her
Protestant advisers.

[Sidenote: Religious parties]

Elizabeth's first Parliament was puritan in its tendencies, and only fell
short of that which had approved the second prayer-book of Edward. The bulk
of the clergy still no doubt favoured the old religion, but it was the
followers of the new lights who received promotion, and it was they who
were encouraged by the Act of Uniformity. In many parts of the country,
however, and especially in the North, the magnates countenanced a hardly
veiled disregard of the new laws: and the Queen's apparent inclination to
find a way of recognising Mary as her successor, as well as her favour for
crosses and disfavour for married clergy, raised the hopes of the
Catholics. The Huguenot war in 1562 compelled her to change her tone, and
enabled Cecil to enforce the law against attendance at Mass with greater
vigour. The first Parliament had been dissolved in 1559; the second, which
met in the beginning of 1563, was not less strenuously Protestant and
opposed to the Stewart succession. It was only the determined stand of the
Catholic peers which prevented sharp legislation against the Catholics in
general; and even as it was, the application of the oath of Supremacy was
widened. Then Parliament was prorogued, and the affair of Havre caused the
Huguenot alliance to cool. By the winter of 1564-5, the English Queen was
irritating the bishops and the clergy, the most capable of whom were
increasingly identifying themselves with puritan views, by insistence not
altogether successful on obedience to the Act of Uniformity in the matter
of vestments; although it was notorious that there was strong feeling
against some of the regulations, which in not a few instances were
habitually ignored. The feeling was intensified by a lively suspicion that
she really wished for the Darnley marriage which actually took place a few
months later, though she was professedly urging Leicester's suit, and
beyond all doubt encouraged Murray and the Scottish Protestants to

[Sidenote: 1566-67 Parliament and the Queen's marriage]

It was not till the autumn of 1566 that Parliament reassembled; more than
ever determined to get the Queen committed to a marriage which should end
the menace of the Stewart succession. This desire was in some cases the
cause and in others the effect of a zealous protestantism. A Bill was
introduced, at the instance of the Bishops acting on a vote of Convocation,
to compel the clergy to subscribe the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, a
slight modification of Edward's Forty-two Articles; but this was withdrawn
after passing the Commons. The Queen was enraged by the audacity of the
Commons in discussing the question of her marriage and the succession, and
she attempted to suppress debate; but was met with a stubborn insistence,
headed by Cecil, on the constitutional rights of the House. Elizabeth had
to give way; but while on the question of principle the Parliament was
victorious, it did not press the victory and the Queen was enabled to evade
the immediate issue. The house voted supplies generously, after which she
succeeded in dissolving it with a sharp reprimand and without definitely
committing herself on the subject either of her own marriage or of the
succession. But this was hardly accomplished, when the murder of Darnley,
for the time being at least, divided the party which had hitherto supported
Mary's claim to the English throne.

[Sidenote: The Queen and the Archduke]

For some months, the question of Elizabeth's marriage was allowed to fall
into abeyance; but the effect of the murder was in some degree counteracted
by the imprisonment of Mary in Lochleven the appeal to chivalry of a
deserted, helpless, and lovely woman, and the very unattractive character
of most of the men now at the head of the Scottish Government. The Stewart
cause seemed to be in some danger of reviving, and once again the English
Council began to urge the marriage with the Archduke Charles. Elizabeth
pretended concurrence, but when she refused to promise that Charles should
be allowed the free exercise of his own religion in England, it was no
longer possible to doubt that she was merely playing with the idea; while
there were certainly a great many of her subjects who entirely sympathised
with the ostensible grounds on which the negotiation was broken off. The
prospect of a closer union with the House of Habsburg was dispelled, almost
at the moment when the Scots Queen fell into Elizabeth's hands, and the
standard of revolt against the Spanish system was being raised in the



[Sidenote: 1568 May, Elizabeth and Mary]

Before crossing the Solway, Mary wrote to Elizabeth throwing herself on
her hospitality. She followed hard on the heels of her missive, and
awaited the reply at Carlisle, where the Catholic gentlemen of the
North rallied to receive her. The situation indeed was a singularly
embarrassing one for the English Queen. Mary claimed in fact that
Elizabeth should either restore her, or allow her to appeal to those
who would do so--that is, to France. To take her part unconditionally
had its obvious dangers; not less obvious were the dangers of acceding
to the alternative demand. To detain her in England, on the other hand,
would inevitably make her the centre of Catholic intrigue. The most
convenient arrangement would be to restore her under conditions which
would minimise her power of becoming dangerous; and, in the meantime,
she was perhaps less to be feared under careful supervision in England
than anywhere else. So Elizabeth took the line of informing her that if
she cleared herself of the charges of crimes such as made it impossible
to support her if she were guilty, she should be restored; which being
interpreted meant that there was to be an investigation, and Elizabeth
would act on the findings. Murray on the other hand was in effect
advised that the English Queen would not countenance him in levying war
but that he might read between the lines of her instructions; in view
of course of the fear that the party opposed to Murray might seek to
procure French intervention.

[Sidenote: A Commission of enquiry]

Elizabeth was in fact in a position to dictate her own terms. Whatever
right she might think fit to assume, whatever technical grounds she
might assert for that right, Mary was effectively in her power. The
Scots Queen--transferred for greater safety to Bolton, away from the
dangerous proximity of the Border--indignantly repudiated the
jurisdiction, demanded to be set at liberty, asseverated her own
innocence. Elizabeth could not afford to set her at liberty; and with
some plausibility declared that the innocence must be proved, before
her rule could be re-imposed on a nation which had rejected it.
Elizabeth quite evidently intended that the investigation should
neither clear nor condemn her. Mary's objections were perfectly
compatible with innocence. Submission might be taken as implying the
recognition of English suzerainty; and if the investigation was to be
earned just so far as suited her sister sovereign, if evidence was to
be admitted, tested, or sup-pressed, with a view not to ascertaining
truth but to securing a convenient judgment, innocence was no sort of
reason for welcoming enquiry. [Footnote: Mr Froude (viii., Ed. 1866)
informs us in one breath that Mary was impelled to protest by the
consciousness of guilt (p. 253), but admits in the next that Elizabeth
had no intention of allowing either her guilt or her innocence to be
definitely proved (pp. 262, 270, 277).]

The plan of operations was that a Commission should be appointed,
before whom the Scots lords should answer for their rebellion;
obviously they would defend themselves on the ground of Mary's guilt of
which they professed to hold ample proof in the casket of letters,
which if genuine were assuredly damning. On the other hand, Maitland
and others of the lords must have suspected at least that evidence of
their own complicity in Darnley's murder would be forthcoming. The
English Protestants were convinced beforehand of Mary's guilt; they
were too much interested in preventing her succession to the English
throne to form an unbiased judgment; whereas her condemnation would
have been a serious blow to the Catholic party, which included
professing Protestants like Norfolk. Altogether, what Elizabeth desired
was a compromise between Mary and the Scots lords, by which both should
assent to her restoration as queen with Murray as actual ruler, coupled
with the confirmation of the unratified Treaty of Edinburgh, and the
establishment of the Anglican form of worship as Elizabeth's price. Her
real difficulty perhaps was that she did not want Mary cleared to the
world by the definite withdrawal of the charge of murder; she wanted
the charge to be made and to be left indefinitely not-proven.

[Sidenote: Oct. Proceedings at York]

The commission--Norfolk, Sussex, and Sadler, who had spent many years
in Scotland as ambassador--was to sit at York in October. Thither came
the Scots lords. Murray was prepared to rely upon the general charges
of misgovernment, while privately submitting the evidence as to the
murder to the Commissioners. Norfolk was staggered by the letters, and
very nearly threw up a scheme which the Catholic party had been
hatching for his own marriage with Mary. But Elizabeth's sudden
discovery that this scheme existed filled her with alarm, and for the
moment she cancelled the Commission.

[Sidenote: Doubts of Philip's attitude]

For the course of events on the Continent was making the outlook more
complicated. The initial success of the Netherlanders had been very
soon followed by the crushing disaster of Jemmingen, and the country
seemed to be under Alva's heel. Catholicism in its most militant and
merciless form was predominant; what if Philip, irritated by the
practically open piracy of English ships in the Channel and elsewhere,
should espouse the cause of Mary? De Silva, the ambassador whose
relations with the English court were highly satisfactory, was replaced
by the less diplomatic and more aggressive Don Guerau de Espes. The
English envoy in Spain was so unguarded in his own religious
professions as to give Philip fair ground for handing him his passports.
If the English Catholics, irritated by the growth of Calvinism and the
increased vigilance of Protestantism in England, founded new hopes on
these signs of a changing attitude in Philip, their present loyalty
might very soon alter its colour with Mary Stewart in England.

[Sidenote: Nov. The Commission at Westminster]

It seemed safer then that the enquiry should be held in London, with a
large increase in the number of the Commissioners. Of the Scots lords,
Lethington was undoubtedly anxious that the murder charge should be
withdrawn. Nevertheless, at the sitting held at the end of November,
Murray definitely put in the charge, producing copies or translations
of the Casket Letters. These the commissioners examined; later on, they
were shown the originals, which they judged to be genuine documents in
the Queen's hand. Whether they were competent to test forgeries
executed with tolerable skill is at least open to question. The rest of
the evidence produced was not only that of interested persons, but
contained inconsistencies; neither Mary herself nor her agents were
ever put in possession of copies of the incriminating documents; one
side only was heard. If it was Elizabeth's object to create in the
minds of the English lords a strong presumption that Mary was guilty,
that purpose was successfully effected. Under such conditions Mary
declined compromises. The Commission was broken up. The farce was over.
Murray returned to Scotland: the Queen remained a prisoner in England,
to be--with or without her own complicity--the centre of every papist
plot till the final tragedy.

[Sidenote: Comment on the enquiry]

So the mystery of Mary Stewart remains a mystery to this day. That she
was cognisant of the plot to murder Darnley is the more probable theory,
in view of facts which no one denies; yet those facts remain
intelligible if she was innocent. There are no admitted facts which
preclude her guilt: none which prove it conclusively. The various
confessions of interested witnesses, voluntary or extorted, are
untrustworthy. The genuineness of the Casket Letters is doubtful. No
opportunity was given for cross-examining the witnesses or examining
the letters. The world believed that Mary was guilty, however it may
have been disposed to condone the guilt. The world was probably right.
But to pretend that there was a fair or complete investigation--that
Mary's guilt was proved before the Commission--is absurd. That Mary
from first to last protested against being brought to the bar of an
English tribunal--whose authority she could not acknowledge without
implying a recognition of that suzerainty which Edward I of England had
claimed, and Robert I of Scotland had wiped out at Bannockburn--was
entirely compatible with the innocence of a high-spirited and
courageous princess: and would have been so, even if she could have
counted on the absolute impartiality of her judges. Knowing that she
could count on nothing of the kind, fully aware that Elizabeth herself
would in fact be the judge, and suspecting with very good reason that
any verdict pronounced by her would be shaped strictly with a view to
her own political convenience, it is almost inconceivable that Mary
should have acknowledged the jurisdiction merely because Innocence in
the abstract ought to invite enquiry. Had Mary been less beautiful,
less unfortunate, less of a heroine of romance, it is likely enough
that she would find few champions; but the pretence that she had a fair
trial would still be none the less untenable.

[Sidenote: Dec. Seizure of Spanish Treasure]

In the meantime, an incident had occurred which shows what an immense
change had been taking place in England during the ten years of
Elizabeth's reign; how completely the nation had recovered confidence
in itself. Throughout these years, English ships had been multiplying,
English sailors had been ignoring the Spanish and Portuguese monopolies
of ocean traffic, and English captains had been, with only the most
perfunctory official discouragement, and under colour of the flimsiest
pretexts or of no pretext at all, indulging in what was virtually
piracy. Now, the religious struggle, after a few months' smouldering,
had again broken out in France. La Rochelle, the Huguenot head-quarters,
was a nest of privateers, with whom the English adventurers consorted,
and the water-way for Spanish ships to the Netherlands was infested
with dangers. Alva was in want of money. Philip borrowed a great sum
from the Genoese bankers. The vessels conveying the bullion were forced
to put into English ports, in fear of capture. Elizabeth was not ready
to declare war in favour of the revolted provinces; but Cecil was
extremely anxious to render them all the help possible short of
declaring war. The treasure-ships had sailed into a trap. Don Guerau
invited Elizabeth to send them on under escort to the Netherlands; she
replied that as the money belonged not to Philip but to the Genoese
bankers, who would not object, she intended to borrow it herself. Don
Guerau was furious, and sent messages to Alva, who promptly seized all
English goods and persons in the Netherlands. With equal promptitude,
all Spaniards and Spanish goods were seized in England. The balance of
loss was heavily in favour of the English.

It seemed most probable that this astonishingly audacious proceeding
must result either in the fall of Cecil, to whom it was due, or in open
war with Spain, and the immediate committal of England to the formation
of a Protestant League; which might force the English Catholics in
their turn directly to espouse the cause of Mary. The reception given
in this country shortly before to the Cardinal of Chatillon, Coligny's
brother, was a symptom of Cecil's Protestant policy, and he at least
was probably willing enough that any tendency of the English Catholics
towards revolt should be precipitated rather than delayed.

[Sidenote: 1569 The incident passed over]

Even Cecil however was not anxious for open war, while Elizabeth always
shrank from that last extremity. On the other side, Philip had three
very good reasons for passing over the affront he had received. First,
the Netherlands were giving him enough to do for the time. Secondly,
Don Guerau was satisfied that the downfall of Cecil and the reversal of
his policy were imminent. Thirdly, the French court would assuredly
subordinate religious questions to the political gain of uniting with
England against him. A definite league between Condé and the English
might have averted that danger, by driving the French Catholics to make
common cause with Spain; but any immediate prospect of such a solution
of the entanglement vanished when the Huguenots were defeated and Condé
himself killed at the battle of Jarnac in May. The result of that event
was the immediate prohibition of the English adventurers from joining
the Huguenot fleet of Rochelle and sailing under the Huguenot flag; as
many of them had been in the habit of doing.

In May, then, the risk of a rupture between the French Government and
England, and of the formation of a universal Protestant league, was
over for the time at least; and within a few months, in England, the
Northern Earls, by a premature rising, inflicted a severe blow on their
own party, and decided large numbers of the Catholics to take their
stand as in the first place patriots and loyalists.

[Sidenote: The Northern Rebellion]

What we have called the Catholic party included many professing
Protestants--_i.e._ men who conformed with entire equanimity, yet
would have preferred to see the old worship restored; such as Norfolk.
Extreme men saw in the union of the Duke with Mary a prospect of
immediately placing the captive Queen on the English throne. The
moderate men wanted the marriage, accompanied by her recognition as
heir presumptive. There were others outside the Catholic connexion who
dreamed rather of Mary under the circumstances conforming to the
Anglican faith. Norfolk dallied with all three. There was a moment when
Elizabeth herself might have been persuaded to assent; but the Duke
missed his opportunity, and she, reverting to a conviction that the
marriage would soon be followed by her own assassination, presently
forbade it, and summoned Norfolk to answer for his loyalty. After brief
hesitation he surrendered himself and was confined in the Tower: but
the Northern Earls, Northumberland and Westmorland, believing that they
must strike at once if at all, rose and marched to deliver Mary from
Tutbury--whither she had been suddenly conveyed to safe keeping, in the
expectation of some such event. The rest of the Catholics however were
not ready for such a venture; being forced to make up their minds, they
resolved to stand loyal. The royal musters were quickly advancing to
meet the insurgents, who presently concluded that the cause was
hopeless, and fled. Northumberland was subsequently arrested and
detained by Murray in Scotland: Westmorland made his way to Spain.
Sussex received and carried out orders to punish with a heavy hand
those who had taken part in the rebellion; and so without any great
difficulty the one serious revolt of the reign was stamped out.

[Sidenote: 1570 Murder of Murray]

The year 1570 had hardly opened when Elizabeth lost one of her most
valuable allies by the murder of the Regent Murray, assassinated by
Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh. Murray's figure in history is a sombre one,
and the sombreness is thrown into the greater relief by the picturesque
brilliancy of his hapless sister. It was his fate to fight on the
gloomy side; to stand at the head of a nobility conspicuously sordid
and unprincipled, half of whom, when not occupied in plotting against
the life of a hereditary foe or a political rival, were posing as
representatives of the "godly"--an attitude held to be entirely
compatible with a total disregard for the decalogue. Perhaps there is
no prominent statesman of his times who came through the heavy ordeal
of public life with cleaner hands. There is no fair ground for
associating him directly and actively with any of the great crimes in
one or another of which almost every one of the Scots lords had a share.
When his sister married Darnley, he took up arms against her: he did so
again when she married Bothwell: and on both occasions he was probably
obeying an elastic conscience. While he was endeavouring to fix the
odium of the Darnley murder on Mary, he must have been quite aware that
both Lethington and Morton, his allies, were steeped in the guilt of it.
But he could neither stand aside from the turmoil, nor pick and choose
his associates. The political support or countenance of Elizabeth
seemed absolutely necessary to the cause of the Reformation in Scotland.
A man of a more generous spirit would more than once have felt that the
price was too high, that he was accepting a too ignominious position;
he stooped to a course which if not exactly dishonourable was
perilously near it. But the part he was forced to play was the hardest
and the most thankless imaginable; and he played it with a constant
effort to be tolerant, to be as just as circumstances permitted, to be
true to himself. He was the one man in Scotland who had striven
resolutely amid the kaleidoscopic chaos of factions to maintain some
sort of order, some sort of liberty, some sort of standard of public
spirit. With his fall, anarchy became more rampant than ever. Elizabeth
lamented, not without reason, that she had lost her best friend; but
while he lived she had not made his task the easier.

[Sidenote: March The Bull of Deposition]

In March, the Pope took the step which paralysed Catholicism as an open
political force in England, by issuing a Bull against Elizabeth which
virtually declared loyalty to the Queen and loyalty to the Faith to be
incompatible; yet since the profession of loyalty was to be condoned,
every Catholic was _ipso facto_ rendered suspect. The suspicion of
disloyalty breeds the disease. Englishmen of the Roman Communion have a
right to be proud that so many in those years of storm and stress
neither relinquished their faith nor forgot their patriotism; yet when
their fellow-subjects had been thus absolved of their allegiance, the
Protestants can hardly be blamed for being over-ready to assume that
they were in league with the Queen's enemies. The Pope could have done
nothing calculated more thoroughly to translate the ordinary sentiment
of loyalty into a passion of resentment against its opposite.

[Sidenote: The Anjou Match]

The immediate situation however was fraught with sufficient peril. Mary
for the sake of liberty was by this time fairly ready to promise
anything, and trust to the chapter of accidents to find some plausible
ground for repudiating her promises later. Elizabeth would have been
glad enough to get her out of the country if she could by any means be
rendered harmless. Once again, to the dismay of Cecil, a restoration,
on terms, seemed probable, while the Queen herself showed a tendency to
try at any cost to recover the support of the Catholics. In fact
however, she would make up her mind to no decided course. But affairs
in France suggested to her a new scheme which could be played with
indefinitely. In spite of Jarnac, and of another defeat later in the
year at Montcontour, Coligny and the Huguenots remained unvanquished in
1570. In the autumn, there was a fresh pacification, and Coligny became
once more a power at Court as well as in the country. The younger
brother of the young French King, Henry Duke of Anjou, was now old
enough to marry. There had been talk of uniting him to Mary. But if he
were to marry Elizabeth, who was only some seventeen years his senior,
Protestants and Catholics in both countries might make their peace, and
all present a united front to Philip and to Papal aggression--for even
the Cardinal of Lorraine had dallied with the notion of Nationalism in
matters ecclesiastical. Cecil and Walsingham, who had recently come to
the front and now represented England in Paris, were keenly in favour
of the scheme. As for the Queen she probably intended to use it
precisely as she had used all the previous marriage schemes, simply as
an instrument for manipulating foreign courts and her own ministers.

[Sidenote: 1570-71 The Ridolfi plot initiated]

Under these conditions, a new plot was initiated for the liberation of
Mary, her marriage to Norfolk, and the removal of Elizabeth; to be at
last actively if secretly aided by Alva and Philip, on whom the
vehement remonstrances of the Pope were now taking effect--in view of
the threatened alliance between England and France. The agent was one
Ridolfi, who combined cleverness sufficient to deceive even Walsingham
for a time with a garrulity and carelessness which proved ruinous in
the long run. It was fortunate for Elizabeth that of the two necessary
figure-heads for any conspiracy, Mary and Norfolk, one was more than
half-believed even by her own party to be stained by the grossest
crimes, while the other was nerveless and vacillating.

[Sidenote: 1571 April, Parliament]

At this juncture, need of funds made it impossible for Elizabeth to
continue longer without calling a Parliament, which met early in April
(1571). The bulk of the peers were still in sympathy with Catholicism
and the ideas associated therewith; the lower House, always Protestant,
was now more emphatically so than ever. The Puritan element, naturally
enough, had come to regard Catholicism as _prima facie_ evidence
of treason, and was bent on enforcing a more uncompromising conformity,
with a greater severity, than heretofore. The Commons insisted on
discussing religious matters, and ignored the Queen's attempts to
silence them. They gave, what the last parliament had refused, their
sanction to the Thirty-nine Articles. The effect of the Papal
excommunication was seen in an Act making it high Treason to question
the Queen's title, or to call her a heretic, and disqualifying from the
succession any one who laid claim to the crown; they sought even to
make the Act retrospective, which would have forthwith excluded Mary
permanently. They submitted however to some modification of the
original harshness of their intentions; whereby it is probable that not
a few Catholics, who would otherwise have been fatally alienated, did
as matters turned out remain loyal. Finally, a substantial grant of
money was made. The Commons in short were thoroughly at one with Cecil,
now known as Lord Burghley. They were intensely loyal, and showed their
loyalty none the less emphatically because they ignored the Queen's
predilections in the manner of doing it.

[Sidenote: Collapse of Anjou marriage]

At the end of May, Parliament was dissolved. In the meantime, and for some
months longer, the affair of the Anjou marriage was running the usual
course. As mere postponement seemed to become impossible, the old pretended
difficulties by which the Archduke Charles had been finally evaded were
rehabilitated. Anjou must not have even his private Mass. The Queen's
Ministers understood the position, and their one object became the
avoidance of a breach with France. By the exercise of much dexterity, Anjou
was drawn into taking the initiative in breaking off the match in a quite
complimentary manner; and there was even discussion of the substitution for
him of his still younger brother Alençon. France, in fact, at this time was
swaying strongly towards antagonism to Spain, at any price which would
secure English support; the idea of partitioning the Netherlands being part
of the programme. Cecil and Walsingham, believing with reason that an
accident might again turn the balance with the French government, and
painfully distrustful of Elizabeth's endless vacillations, were on
tenterhooks till the amicable conclusion of the Anjou affair.

[Sidenote: Developments of the Ridolfi plot]

They had also been on the alert over the Ridolfi plot. In the spring,
Ridolfi was concocting with Alva designs for an invasion; in the summer he
was in Spain. In the meantime, the capture of an agent, and the liberal use
of spies and of the rack, placed important clues in Burghley's hands. At
this juncture the famous seaman Sir John Hawkins, in collusion with
Burghley, placed himself at the service of Mary and Philip, in the
character of an ill-used and revengeful servant of Elizabeth. Yet it was
only by another accidental capture, and more use of the rack, that
complicity was actually brought home to Norfolk, who was arrested in
September. Norfolk once arrested, traitors and spies soon did what else was
necessary to reveal the whole plot, in which invasion and assassination
were combined. It was no longer possible to account Spain and the Spanish
King as anything but mortal enemies to England and the English Queen. Don
Guerau was ordered to leave the country; his parting move was a plot for
Burghley's assassination, duly detected by spies, Norfolk was convicted for
treason, and condemned to a death which was deferred for some months. Mary
Stewart expected a like fate. Elizabeth however still rejected the extreme
measure. But the _Detectio_ of George Buchanan--in other words a
complete _ex parte_ statement of the case against Mary, including the
contents of the Casket Letters--was published.

[Sidenote: 1572 Parliament and Mary (May)]

The effect was seen when a new Parliament met in May. The people of England
believed with an absolute conviction in the truth of the whole indictment
against the Scots Queen. Nor was there any question that she had appealed
both to France and Spain to liberate her; so far at least she was
implicated in the Ridolfi plot, even if the assassination proposals had not
come within her ken. She was believed to be a criminal, who had forfeited
all right to sympathy and consideration; she was palpably a standing menace
to the internal peace of the realm, a standing incitement to its enemies
abroad. The Commons therefore demanded her attainder; as for the technical
right, no sovereign at the time or in the past would have hesitated to
ignore or evade the point. The question was outside the range of
technicalities. The plea that England had no right to detain her, or to
judge her, that she had a right to seek her own release by any available
means, was perfectly sound; the counter-plea that the safety of the State
forbade her release, and her attempts to procure war against it justified
her destruction, was equally unanswerable. But Elizabeth could not resolve
to act upon either plea, ignoring the other. So Mary remained a prisoner,
and the centre of intrigue. Even an alternative Bill, supposed to have
Elizabeth's approval, which merely excluded Mary from the succession, never
reached the statute book.

[Sidenote: Lepanto; April Revolt of the Netherlands]

A notable triumph had recently been achieved for Philip's arms, in the
crushing defeat of the Turks at Lepanto by the combined Venetian and
Spanish fleets commanded by the Spanish King's half-brother, Don John of
Austria. To this perhaps may be attributed the less defiant tone of
communications with Spain. The narrow seas were swarming not only with
English privateering craft, but with Dutchmen commanded by the privateer De
la Marck on behalf of William of Orange, who were habitually succoured in
English harbours. But though these were now ordered to depart, and the
English mariners aboard them were commanded to leave them, there is no
doubt that their privy equipment was deliberately connived at, in the
flattest possible contradiction to the public declarations. At the close of
March, De la Marck's fleet sailed from Dover to fall upon a Spanish convoy;
a few days later, it appeared in the Meuse before Brille. The town promptly
surrendered. The whole of the Netherlands was seething under Alva's savage
rule; trade, already in a fair way to be ruined by the cessation of
commerce with England since the seizure of the treasure ships, was being
throttled also by the system of taxation which Alva had recently
instituted. The capture of Brille fired the train. City after city raised
the standard of revolt. The rebellion which Alva fancied he had utterly
stamped out was suddenly in full blaze once more; and on the south, Mons,
like Brille, was seized by a rapid dash of Lewis of Nassau, operating from
French territory.

[Sidenote: The Alençon marriage]

In the meantime also the Alençon marriage project seemed to be
advancing, and in April a defensive treaty was struck between England
and France, where it appeared that Coligny was paramount at court. Both
English and French volunteers were fighting in the Netherlands. Small
wonder that Burghley and Walsingham believed that a French marriage
would clinch matters, make France a virtually Huguenot Power, and
secure a combination which would bring the Pope and the King of Spain
to their knees. The approaching marriage of the French King's sister,
Margaret, to young Henry of Navarre--now standing next after the King's
brothers in the line of succession--pointed emphatically in the same

Walsingham however also knew that, to achieve the desired end, the
Huguenots must at once have convincing proofs that they could depend on the
English alliance. The marriage, and concerted armed intervention in the
Netherlands, were the conditions. But Alençon [Footnote: He was singularly
ugly, and Elizabeth who had nicknames for many of her Court, used to call
him her "Frog" when he was wooing her, later.] was an incredibly
distasteful husband; and however near Elizabeth might suffer herself to be
brought to the brink of war, she hung back when the time came. There was
very good reason [Footnote: _State Papers: Spanish,_ ii., 338.] for
believing that even now she was secretly negotiating with Alva, and in a
very short time the English and French volunteer contingents in Flushing
[Footnote: _S.P., Foreign,_ x., 491, 530.] were on the verge of
hostilities. The power of the Huguenots was on the surface; fanatics
themselves when their religion was not merely political, they were the
objects of savagely fanatical hatred. The queen-mother, who had always
striven to preserve her own domination by holding the balance between
Guises and Huguenots, saw Charles falling more and more under Coligny's
influence instead of her own. It may be that if she had felt sure of
Elizabeth, she would have gone through with the proposed policy;
distrusting the English Queen she resolved to end it. She made a desperate
and successful attempt to recover her ascendancy over her weak-minded
son. She played upon his terrors, and prepared for one of the most
appalling tragedies in all history.

[Sidenote: Aug. St. Bartholomew]

A plot for the assassination of Coligny failed, the Admiral being but
slightly wounded. Paris was full of Huguenots, who had gathered for the
celebration of Navarre's marriage on August 18th; the attempt on Coligny
led to threatening language against the Guises. Katharine stirred her son
into a sudden panic. The attack on the Admiral had taken place on August
22nd; with the booming of a bell on the early morning of the 24th, St.
Bartholomew's day, the most recklessly devastating mob in the world found
itself let loose on its prey, headed and urged on by the Guises and other
Catholic chiefs. The Huguenots, utterly surprised, were slaughtered from
house to house; with the taste of blood the populace went mad; Paris was a
shambles. How many thousands were massacred in that awful frenzy none can
tell. The tale of the tragedy flew from end to end of France; all over the
country, wherever the Catholics were in a majority, like scenes were
enacted. The total of the victims has been computed as high as a hundred
thousand; a fourth of that number would certainly not be an exaggerated
estimate. In England, all the martyrs for religion in the century did not
amount to a thousand, on both sides; in France, twenty thousand at least
were slain in a few days' orgy of fanaticism. And the new Pope Gregory sang
_Te Deum_ in solemn state; and the morose monarch of Spain laughed
aloud in unwonted glee; but Charles of France, men said, was haunted to the
hour of his death by red visions of that ghastly carnival of blood.



[Sidenote: The Queen's diplomacy]

The picture of Elizabeth and of her surroundings hitherto presented in
these pages has been one which rouses rather a reluctant admiration for
a combination of good fortune and dexterity than a moral enthusiasm.
Statesmen, in fact, had to pick their way with such extreme wariness
through such a labyrinth of intrigues that little play was permitted to
their more generous instincts; and it is undeniable that Elizabeth
herself loved intricate methods, and made it quite unnecessarily
difficult for her ministers to pursue a straightforward course. This is
the aspect of the national life which is inevitably forced on our
attention--the diplomatic aspect in an age when diplomacy was playing
an immense part in public affairs. For England, it might almost be said
that diplomatic methods had been created by Henry VII., maintained by
Wolsey, dropped again for thirty years, and then re-created by
Elizabeth. As Wolsey had played France and the Empire against each
other, to make England the arbiter of Europe, so Elizabeth played
France and Spain against each other, so that neither could afford to go
beyond empty threats against her in her own territory; while both
governments had recalcitrant Protestant subjects who were a good deal
more hampering and disquieting to them than were Elizabeth's Catholic
subjects to her. In Scotland, Elizabeth's policy, like her father's,
was that of maintaining factions which kept the country divided.

Now the persons with whom Elizabeth had to deal were for the most part
perfectly unscrupulous. The Queen-mother in France, the Scots lords,
Philip of Spain, and the Spanish ambassadors with the exception of De
Silva, were as ready to make and ignore promises and professions as was
Elizabeth herself. If they found her fully a match for them at their
own game, we can hardly reproach her if we cannot applaud. But it is
notable that in England, the arch-dissembler is Elizabeth herself. It
is she who manages the undignified but eminently successful trickery of
the marriage negotiations. It is she who evades committing herself
irrevocably to the Huguenots or to the Prince of Orange. It is she who
preserves Mary's restoration as a possibility, to be held _in
terrorem_ over Scotland after publishing her accusers' evidence
against her.

[Sidenote: The Queen's subjects]

But the success of this supreme wiliness, a quality in which perhaps
Elizabeth's one rival was Lethington, was due to the presence in her
ministers and in her people of moral qualities which she did not
herself display. First and foremost was their loyalty to her. They
acted boldly on secret instructions, with entire certainty that they
must take the whole responsibility upon themselves; that to be pardoned
for success was the highest official recognition they could hope for;
that flat repudiation and probable ruin would follow failure. Burghley
in particular repeatedly risked favour to save the Queen from herself,
when her vacillation, calculated or not, was on the verge of being
carried too far; nor was he alone in speaking his mind; yet in spite of
merciless snubs his fidelity was unimpaired; none of her enemies ever
dreamed for an instant that he could be tampered with. Nor did it ever
appear that more than a very few even among the most discontented of
her subjects would lend themselves to open disloyalty. In England,
there were almost none who would have anything to say to the political
assassinations which repeatedly stained the annals of the nations of
the Continent and of Scotland: a peculiarity remarked on in the Spanish

Again, the religious tone and temper of the country were in striking
contrast to those prevailing where the Reformation assumed the
Calvinistic model. In France and in Scotland, Protestants and Catholics
were ready to fly at each other's throats; in England that inclination
was confined to extremists of either party. The bulk of the population
was quite content with conformity to a compromise, and was tolerant of
a very considerable theoretical disagreement, and even of actual
nonconformity, so long as it was not actively aggressive. It was not
till Jesuits on one side, and ultra-puritans on the other, developed an
active propaganda directed against the established order, that there
was any general desire to strike hard at either; nor did even the
puritan parliaments display any violent anti-Catholic animus till
roused by the insult to the nation of the Bull of Deposition.

[Sidenote: Development of Protestantism]

While the characteristically English love of compromise and devotion to
conventions kept the bulk of the population loyal to the established
Forms of religion, acquiescent but not enthusiastic, their normal
conservatism also disposed them more favourably to teachers of the old
than of the innovating school; but other forces were at work, which
encouraged the growth of what may be called the Old Testament spirit of
militant religiosity directed against Rome and all that savoured of
Rome. Stories of the doings of the Inquisition, the enormities
perpetrated by Alva in the Netherlands, the fate of English sailors who
might, not without justice, have been punished for piracy, but were in
fact made to suffer on the ground of heresy, the crowning horror of St.
Bartholomew, appealed luridly to the popular imagination. The country
was threatened with internal discord by the presence of a Catholic
aspirant to the throne, which concentrated the forces of
disorganisation on the Catholic side. Protestantism, thereby at once
extended and intensified, took its colour from the most active and
energetic of the religious teachers, and developed a vehement popular
sympathy with the French Huguenots and the revolting Netherlanders; and
however politicians might evade official entanglement, English
sentiment--at any rate after St. Bartholomew--was always ready to take
arms openly in the Protestant cause.

[Sidenote: Katharine de Medici]

When Katharine and the Guises let the Paris mob loose on the Huguenots,
they had doubtless no intention of perpetrating so vast a slaughter.
They found that it was one thing to cry "Havoc" and quite another to
cry "Halt". When the thing was done, they could not have disavowed it
wholly, even if they would. Katharine however made desperate efforts to
minimise her own responsibility, and to justify what she had done by
charges of treason against the murdered admiral and his associates. She
had in fact meant to cripple the Huguenots by destroying their leaders,
yet to provide a defence sufficiently plausible to prevent a breach
with England. Her object had been to recover her own ascendancy in
France, not to replace Coligny by the Guises. What she succeeded in
doing was to turn France into two hostile camps; since the massacres
had not sufficed to destroy the Huguenot power of offering an organised
defence and defiance. On the other hand Alva was prompt, and Philip as
prompt as his nature permitted, to realise that some capital might be
made out of the revulsion in England against the French Government.

[Sidenote: The aim of Elizabeth]

Walsingham, the English Ambassador in Paris, was a sincere Puritan;
Burghley's sympathies, personal as well as political, were strongly
Protestant. For some time past, both had desired on the mere grounds of
political expediency to bid defiance to Spain and frankly avow the
cause of the Prince of Orange. They believed that England was already
strong enough to face the might of Philip. The moral incentive was now
infinitely stronger. That this would be the generous and the courageous
course was manifest. Now, too, the English people would have adopted it
with a stern enthusiasm worth many ships and many battalions. The
course Elizabeth adopted was less heroic, more selfish, safer for the
interests of England. That sooner or later a duel with Spain was all
but inevitable she must have recognised; but she had seen the power and
wealth of England growing year by year, the stability of the Government
becoming ever more assured; if an immediate collision could be averted,
she calculated that the process would continue, whereas the strain of
repressing and holding down the Netherlanders would tell adversely on
the power of Spain. The longer, therefore, that the struggle could be
staved off, the better.

Fortune favoured her: for the resistance of the Netherlands was very
much more stubborn than could have been anticipated. The Protestant
fervour in her people, aroused by St. Bartholomew, was kept alive and
intensified, as time went on, by other events, and was moreover
concentrated upon animosity to Spain. When the great conflict took
place, sixteen years later, its result was decisive. It cannot be
affirmed with confidence that it would have been so now. From the
prudential point of view, Elizabeth was justified by the event. But it
is at least possible that the victory would have been equally decisive
at the earlier date, and its moral value in that case would undoubtedly
have been greater.

[Sidenote: 1572 England and St. Bartholomew]

At the first moment when intelligence of the massacre at Paris was
brought to England, the Queen as well as her ministers believed that it
was simply the prelude to a Romanist crusade. It was imagined that the
plot had been concocted in collusion with Philip and Alva, the outcome
of the suspected Catholic League of 1565. Instant preparations were
made for war; the musters were called out, the fleet was manned, troops
were raised in readiness to embark for Flushing; and immediate
overtures were made to Mar--the second Regent in Scotland since the
murder of Murray--for handing Mary over to him to be executed. The
popular indignation was expressed in bold and uncompromising terms by
Walsingham in Paris, in answer to the attempts of the French Government
to excuse itself. In England, it was long before the Queen would admit
the French Ambassador to audience; when she did so, her Council was in
presence; all were clad in mourning; Elizabeth spoke in terms of the
most formal frigidity; on her withdrawal, Burghley, speaking for the
Council, expressed their sentiments in very plain language. It is
abundantly clear that the whole nation from the Queen down was grimly
and confidently prepared for war if war should come.

[Sideline: Spain seeks amity]

But war was not to come. Katharine was not in collusion with Philip;
she knew well enough that as things stood, in such an alliance France
would begin in a subordinate position, and success would only
accentuate and render overwhelming the predominance of Spain. Her one
desire was to patch up a reconciliation with England. Alva had no
illusions about a Catholic crusade; he only rejoiced that the danger of
an Anglo-French coalition was scotched; and only desired to make sure
that Elizabeth, left to herself, should not make his task in the
Netherlands more difficult. Therefore he strove strenuously, and with
ultimate success, to impress the same view of affairs on the slowly
moving mind of his master at Madrid, who was at first bitten with the
idea of effecting a Catholic revolution in England and marrying Mary to

So when Mons, with Lewis of Nassau in it, was forced to capitulate,
Alva, by way of contrast to the massacre at Paris, allowed the
Huguenots to march out with the honours of war--ostentatiously
reversing his usual merciless policy: and he pointedly adopted the most
conciliatory attitude towards England.

[Sidenote: 1573]

Elizabeth for her part was ready enough to respond. A renewal of the
commercial relations in the Netherlands was eminently desirable. The
war going on in that country was not to her own taste; politically and
theologically she thought the example of the Netherlanders dangerous--
one of the real reasons which helped to make her hold back from
espousing their cause--and she offered to mediate between Alva and
William of Orange, expressing readiness for her own part to have a
settlement of all the outstanding grievances between Spain and England.
She even went so far as to revive the suggestion of a really
representative Council, for the purpose of arriving at a general
religious settlement---a suggestion so entirely impracticable that it
was quite safe to make it. Also with regard to some of the grievances,
it was tolerably certain that no solution could be offered in which
both the parties would acquiesce. But the fundamental thing, both in
her eyes and in Alva's, was to revive the old status of amity,
officially if also superficially.

[Sidenote: April: A Spanish alliance]

Finally, in spite of the remonstrances of the Pope and the protests of
the English Catholic exiles of the Northern Rebellion, who had found an
asylum in the Netherlands under the aegis of Spain, a provisional
alliance was effected, to last for two years, in April 1573. Spain
deserted the English revolutionary Catholics; Elizabeth recalled the
English volunteers from Flanders; and commerce was restored. There was
a brief lull in the piratical activity of English sailors; and the
French were officially left alone to settle the domestic hostilities
which afforded them a quite sufficient occupation.

[Sidenote: Scotland: End of the Marians]

By this time, too, the last serious struggle of the Marian party in
Scotland was entering on its final stage. There, after Murray's death,
the Hamiltons, joined by Lethington and Kirkcaldy of Grange, refused to
acknowledge the young King, or the authority of the Regency---an office
in which Murray was succeeded first by the incompetent Lennox, and
afterwards by Mar, Lennox being killed in the course of a fight.
Finally Lethington and Grange were shut up in Edinburgh Castle, where
they continued to bid defiance to the Government. When however
overtures were made by England for the delivery of Mary to Mar for
execution, the negotiation broke down on the question of Responsibility.
Mar would not carry out the extreme measure, unless supported by
English troops and by the presence of high English officials. Elizabeth
as usual insisted, in effect, that she must be able to repudiate
complicity. As the fear of a combined Catholic attack melted away, the
English Queen lost her anxiety to be rid of her rival. Mar died; Morton
was nominated to the regency. Then also died John Knox, the last of the
men who had seen the Reformation through from its commencement; grim to
the end.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands, France, and Spain]

When the new year, 1573, came in, Elizabeth, fearing that the Scots
lords might, unless they received something besides vague promises,
turn to France after all, at length acknowledged the Regent and the
King. A compromise was accepted by the Marian lords with the exception
of Lethington and Grange in the Castle. But while these held out, the
conflagration might be renewed at any time. Elizabeth then reluctantly
yielded to the pressure on her from every side. Money, troops, siege-
guns, and Drury in command, were sent in April to the help of Morton.
After a stubborn resistance, the siege artillery proved too much for
the garrison; their outworks were carried, their water-supply cut off,
and they were forced to surrender in the last days of May. Lethington
survived only a few days; rumour had it that he died by his own act.
The craftiest brain in Scotland was stilled but a few months after her
sincerest and fiercest tongue was silenced. With Maitland's death, all
prospect of reconstructing an organised Queen's-party vanished. It was
not many months after these events that Alva, in accordance with his
own wishes, was recalled. Conquest did not mean pacification. Haarlem
after a prolonged and desperate resistance, fell in July, and the
garrison was put to the sword; but there was no hint of yielding on the
part of the Hollanders. When the Spaniards advanced on Alkmaar, they
were threatened with the opening of the dykes.

Hardly less significant of the determination of Orange and his
following never to submit, at whatever cost, is the fact that they were
prepared in the last resort to receive Anjou as their Protector---Anjou,
who was regarded as a ring-leader in the Paris massacre. The same fact
is convincing evidence of the overwhelming antagonism of French and
Spanish political interests. Had the French been capable of arranging
their religious quarrels on the basis of a fairly inclusive compromise,
like that in England, so that the moderates could have worked together,
such a league as Walsingham had hoped for before St. Bartholomew would
have been entirely in the interest both of France and of England. The
advantage of it to France was so obvious that, even after the massacre,
it was possible for the perpetrators to contemplate friendly relations
with foreign Protestants, and for foreign Protestants to regard such
relations as possible. Still it was only in the last resort that the
Anjou scheme could have been embraced, and perhaps it was now
propounded more by way of forcing Elizabeth's hand than for any other
purpose. At any rate the project did not deter Anjou from accepting the
crown of Poland---only to drop it and hurry back to assume the sceptre
of France as Henry III. when King Charles IX. sank to the grave in 1574.

[Sidenote: 1573-74 The Netherlands, Spain, and England]

Requescens, Alva's successor, adopted a comparatively conciliatory
policy. The restoration of the constitutional Government of the States
of the Netherlands was offered, on condition of acceptance of
Catholicism. In the eyes of Elizabeth, who regarded religious
observances as falling entirely to the supreme government to settle,
while she could not understand a conscientious objection to outward
conformity, the refusal of those terms by Orange seemed quite
unreasonable; even Burghley was detached from Walsingham and from those
who, thinking with him, still counted the maintenance of Protestantism,
and as a necessary corollary hostility to Spain, as the first object
which ought to be pursued. This attitude of England, coupled with the
irreconcilable character of French religious animosities, which made
the prospects of effective French interference a mere will-o'-the-wisp,
reduced Orange and his party to a condition verging on desperation.

[Sidenote: 1574 Spain amicable]

Requescens, however, made no haste to crush the stubborn remnant. It
was his policy rather to achieve a _modus vivendi_ in which the
bulk of the Netherlands would concur, and to conciliate England. Alva
before him had realised the true danger of the island-nation's
hostility. As we shall presently see in more detail, the growth of the
English marine had rendered it extremely formidable. Not only had
English rovers for years past been giving unspeakable trouble on the
Spanish Main and the Ocean highways, but the English fleets also
practically controlled the narrow seas: and could make it impossible
for any ordinary convoys, whether of transports, or merchantmen, or
treasure-ships, to pass up-channel. In other words, England could block
the lines of communication between Spain and the Netherlands. Until
Spain should bestir all her might, rise up, and annihilate the English
shipping, Elizabeth must be kept neutral; whereas, if Orange were
pressed too hard, she might be forced even against her will to support
him vigorously, if only to prevent France from doing so single-handed,
and perhaps thereby capturing the Netherlands for herself.

[Sidenote: Reciprocal Concessions; 1575]

So the Spaniard was polite to Elizabeth, Elizabeth was polite to the
Spaniard, and in France the factions fought furiously round Rochelle or
rested in temporary truce. The politeness was carried to very
considerable lengths. Allen's seminary at Douay, where young English
Catholics had been trained to go forth as missionaries and seek
martyrdom in their native land, was ordered to remove itself. The
refugees who had found shelter at Louvain and elsewhere were required
to depart across Philip's borders. Claims on either side for the
seizure of merchandise or treasure were balanced against each other. In
the spring of 1575, Elizabeth fell upon certain anabaptists with
ostentatious severity, by way of demonstrating how narrow after all was
the division between Anglican and Catholic in their fundamental ideas.
Yet there remained one serious difficulty to adjust; one point, or
perhaps we should say two points, on which neither side could or would
give way.

[Sidenote: A Deadlock]

On the soil of Spain the dominating force was the Inquisition. Within
his own dominions, Philip was absolutely committed to the rigid
enforcement of orthodoxy, as understood by the Holy Office. The Holy
Office claimed, and the claim was endorsed by Philip, that its
jurisdiction extended over vessels in Spanish waters, and it was in the
habit of haling English sailors from their ships into its dungeons, as
heretics. In this Elizabeth declined to acquiesce; and Sir Henry Cobham
was sent to Madrid to demand recognition of the English view, and to
propose that resident Ambassadors should again be established, the
Englishman to be privileged--as the Spaniard should be in England--to
enjoy the Services of his own Church. Further, inasmuch as fortune had
so far smiled upon Orange of late that Leyden had triumphantly resisted
a determined siege, Elizabeth offered friendly mediation; emphasising
the suggestion by a hint that unless Spain could see her way to a
pacification, Orange could now appeal with a prospect of success to
France; and England could not afford to decline the preferable
alternative of an appeal to herself.

On Spanish soil, however, Catholic zealotry was too strong. Alva would
fain have made diplomatic concessions, which could be revoked when
convenient; Philip was dominated by the extremists, who were
scandalised by the presence of a heretic envoy, who in his turn was
furious at being called a heretic. The proffered mediation was
declined; Philip flatly refused to concede religious privileges to an
Ambassador, suggesting only that the difficulty could be got over by
sending a Catholic; as to the action of the Inquisition, he was pledged
not to interfere.

[Sidenote: 1576 Attitude of the Nation]

With this message Cobham returned, to find that the revolted States
were on their part offering the sovereignty of the Provinces to
Elizabeth. Walsingham and his allies were supporting the proposal, and
under present conditions Burghley too inclined to it. Elizabeth,
confident that Spain would not declare war, was ready to carry what we
can only call bluff to the extreme limit, though she scolded her
Council with energy. The Spaniards took the opportunity to render the
Council most effective support, by seizing the crew of another English
ship. Elizabeth sent warnings or threats to Requescens; and in February
(1576), Parliament was summoned to vote supplies; which it did without
hesitation. If the action of Parliament was any sort of index to
popular sentiment, the idea that there was any widespread or deep-
rooted feeling in the country against a war of religion is certainly
fallacious; while there can be no question that the entire sea-going
population--which had attracted into its ranks all that was most
adventurous, most daring, most energetic, and most capable in the
country--was heart and soul hostile to Spain. How much of that feeling
was due to enthusiastic Protestantism, and how much to the fact that
men hankered after the Spanish El Dorado may be matter of debate; but
that the feeling was there is patent. That the attitude of Parliament
was not due to any subserviency is emphasised by the open attack in
this session on the granting of Monopolies to the Queen's favourites,
which sent Wentworth who made it to the Star-Chamber--and found for him
early and popular pardon instead of severe punishment.

[Sidenote: The Queen evades war]

Evidently, the force which did really operate against war was the Queen
herself. From beginning to end of her reign, she never entered upon any
war at all, so long as any possible means could be found for evading it
without surrendering some right or claim vital in her eyes either to
the nation's interests or her own. On such points she was never
prepared to yield: in the last resort she would fight, but at the same
time make the most of her reluctance, and relieve her feelings by
roundly rating her ministers. Yet repeatedly she went as far as it was
possible to go without actually declaring war, relying securely on the
certainty that the irrevocable step would not be taken by the other
party, and that she could find some plausible though perhaps
undignified excuse for not taking it herself.

So it was now. So long as France could be deterred from espousing the
cause of Orange, she saw no necessity for her own intervention. If the
Inquisition maltreated some of her sailors, others might be relied on
to effect reprisals and to collect compensation, on their own
responsibility, without her actually applying the grievance as a
_casus belli_: it could always be employed to that end, if
occasion should arise. Requescens died suddenly, a few days before the
prorogation of the English Parliament in March. Elizabeth dismissed the
States' envoys, refused all assistance, and threatened open hostility
if they appealed to France. The Spanish arms were prospering again, and
as the summer advanced, Orange was reduced to such straits that he
seriously contemplated a wholesale emigration to the New World, from
the two States which remained stubborn, Holland and Zeeland.

[Sidenote: 1575-76 The Huguenots and Alençon]

The involved state of French parties probably accounts for Elizabeth's
action. Since the death of Charles IX., the middle party or
_Politiques_ had been revived, and with this, for some time, both
Henry of Navarre and Alençon--now heir presumptive to the French
throne--were associated. In the autumn of 1575 however Alençon betook
himself to the Huguenots at Dreux. Being thus openly supported by the
heir presumptive, the Huguenot position was considerably strengthened.
Once more the English Queen resolved to employ matrimonial negotiations,
as a means for keeping others inactive and evading action herself. The
idea that she should marry Alençon was revived, and found favour at
least with the Politiques. The French King approved. In May 1576, a
peace was patched up which promised to give neither party undue
ascendancy. The great danger of the winter months--that Alençon and the
Huguenots would make common cause with the Netherlanders--had passed;
and Elizabeth thought she could now afford to decline both the marriage
and the entreaties of the revolted States.

[Sidenote: 1576 The States and Don John]

But the impending collapse of the Hollanders was averted. Before a
successor to Requescens arrived, the Spanish troops, whose pay was
heavily in arrear, mutinied, took the law into their own hands,
pillaged in the States which had submitted, and finally perpetrated the
sack of Antwerp, known as "the Spanish Fury," when some thousands of
the inhabitants were wantonly slaughtered. The result was that the
States General, meeting at Ghent, were so alarmed and angered that all
the Provinces again united and by the Pacification of Ghent, resolved
unanimously to demand the total withdrawal of the Spanish troops before
they would admit the new Governor, Don John of Austria, Philip's
illegitimate brother, the victor of Lepanto. Vehemently Catholic as
were the Southern Provinces, they were even ready to demand freedom of
worship for the Protestants, for the sake of political unity in the
face of the Spaniard.

[Sidenote: Attitude of Elizabeth]

Don John's military reputation stood exceedingly high; he was known to
entertain very ambitious ideas; his brother was gloomily jealous of him.
It was more than suspected that in his own mind Don John wished to
invade England, raise the Catholics, marry Mary, set her on the throne,
and from that vantage ground secure the erection of the Netherlands
into a separate kingdom for himself. It was Elizabeth's policy to
retain the good-will of Philip, who would certainly hold Don John in
check, unless she provoked him beyond endurance. Therefore, while she
was ready to lend money but no troops to the States, it was on
condition that they would yield on the question of religion; so that
she could impress upon Philip that while she must support them in the
demands which, after the recent outrages, were obviously reasonable,
her influence was being exerted to make them in turn submit to what she
did and some of them did not consider reasonable terms.

[Sidenote: The Political Kaleidoscope]

When the new year (1577) opened, Don John saw nothing for it but to
accede to the bulk of the States' demands, reserving the question of
freedom of worship for Philip. The Catholic Provinces accepted the
compromise, and the others had to follow suit. The new Governor was
admitted into the Netherlands. Elizabeth sent to Spain a new Ambassador,
Sir John Smith, to demand again that the Inquisition should recognise
the rights of English sailors. Sir John asserted himself with energy;
forced his way into the presence of the Grand Inquisitor, when the two
stormed at each other with picturesque vigour; carried his point with
the King; and, so far as promises went, returned successful towards the
end of the year. In the meantime, the Spanish troops were paid and
withdrawn from the Netherlands: but letters to Spain from Escobeda, Don
John's Secretary, were intercepted, which showed that the Governor
meant after all to reconquer the Provinces, though desiring to postpone
that operation to his schemes in England. Also in the meantime, Alençon
had been won over to the Guises, and there was a danger of France
reviving an aggressively Catholic policy. Once more, circumstances were
forcing Elizabeth towards a Protestant alliance, to counteract the
schemes not so much of Philip as of Don John.

[Sidenote 1: The Archduke Matthias]
[Sidenote 2: 1577-78 Diverse Measures]

Yet fortune again enabled Elizabeth to put off the evil day. The
discovery of Don John's intentions again set the whole of the Provinces
against him, but they were divided on the question of leadership. The
Catholics of the south, disliking the sovereignty of Elizabeth or the
dictatorship of Orange, turned to the Catholic Archduke Matthias,
brother of the Emperor Rudolf. The Archduke favoured the proposal; and
though the English Queen began by promising help in men and money,
before the year was out she had made up her mind that Matthias must
look after his own affairs, and that she could afford to continue an
interested spectator. Nor did her views change materially when, in
January 1578, Don John--having reassembled a number of the recently
withdrawn troops--moved suddenly against the forces of the Southern
States and shattered them at Gemblours (January 29th). She did indeed
send Orange some money, and promised to increase the loan, but declined
to do more. Her public policy, however, had not prevented her from
privately sanctioning, in November 1577, the departure of Francis Drake
on that famous voyage, wherein he circumnavigated the globe, and
incidentally wrought much detriment to Spain. Of that voyage, which
reached its triumphant conclusion almost three years later, in
September 1580, we shall hear more in another chapter.

[Sidenote: 1578 Mendoza]

Since the expulsion of Don Guerau de Espes there had been no regular
Spanish Ambassador in England. Now, in accordance with the arrangements
effected by Sir John Smith, the complete restoration of friendly relations
was to be sealed by accrediting Don Bernardino de Mendoza to England. In
March Mendoza arrived. The English Council was as usual much more inclined
to war than its mistress. But the Ambassador's instructions were entirely
conciliatory. As concerned the Netherlands, Philip could not give way on
the point of allowing religious freedom--for which Elizabeth cared nothing
--but he would concede all the political demands, even to the withdrawal of
Don John in favour of a substitute less dangerous to England.

[Sidenote: Orange and Alençon]

Elizabeth would have been satisfied; but the Protestant provinces were as
resolute as Philip on the religious question. The plan of calling in the
Archduke had collapsed at Gemblours; but the sovereignty of the Netherlands
was still a bait which would tempt Alençon from the Guise alliance; though
no one could tell what he might ultimately do if he were received by the
States, even that desperate remedy was preferable to submission.
Nevertheless, Elizabeth still tried, in despite of her ministers, to force
Orange's hand by the singular process of with-holding the bonds by which
her last loan to him had been effected. Walsingham, who was sent to
overcome Orange's scruples was so disgusted that he thought of giving up
his position; naturally his negotiation was a failure. It was announced
that Orange would wait no longer and that the arrangement with Alençon
would be carried through. Also at this time Don John met with a defeat at
Rymenant, mainly owing to the obstinate valour of a battalion of English
volunteers commanded by Sir John Norreys. For a moment the Queen was
carried away, but immediately reverted to her antagonistic attitude. All
she could be induced to do was at last to issue the bonds. The old trick,
which had so often served her purpose of suspending action, was to do duty
once more. The matrimonial shadow was more alluring to Alençon than the
Netherland bone.

[Sidenote: Sept. Death of Don John]

The persistence of happy accidents--of unforeseen events which saved
Elizabeth from the disasters which her ministers anticipated, giving
her tortuous policy an undeserved success and thereby in the eyes of
some historians discrediting the more honourable and straightforward
courses which Walsingham and Burghley habitually advocated--is one of
the most remarkable features of Elizabeth's reign. Her good fortune did
not desert her now. Don John died suddenly, not without the usual
suspicions of foul play. The peculiar danger of his association with
Mary Stewart, disappeared with his death. No wild schemes were likely
to be conceived or encouraged by his successor Alexander of Parma, one
of the ablest statesmen and probably the ablest soldier of the day.
Moreover about the same time, King Sebastian of Portugal was killed--as
was also the English adventurer Thomas Stukely who had been diverted
from invading Ireland to take part in this affair--in an expedition
against Morocco. Dying without issue, Sebastian was succeeded by his
great-uncle Henry, a cardinal whose Orders precluded the possibility of
his leaving an heir. Philip of Spain therefore was now, through his
mother, claimant to the position of heir apparent. [Footnote Philip
claimed as the son of Isabella, sister of Henry and of John III.,
Sebastian's grandfather. The prior right however really lay with the
daughters of their younger brother Edward, of whom the elder, Katharine,
was married to John of Braganza and the younger, Mary, to Alexander of
Parma. Parma's title was invalidated by Braganza's, and Braganza did
not push his own claim. Don Antonio of Crato who did come forward as a
pretender was himself the illegitimate son of another brother, Luis.
Thus when, later on, Philip claimed the English throne as the lineal
descendant of John of Gaunt, his title, such as it was, was inferior to
that of either Braganza or Parma.] The prospect of this further
accession to his dominions, and increase of his power and resources,
made it more than ever necessary for France to hold aloof from any
alliance with him, in which she must play an entirely subordinate part,
and to court the friendship of England. The stars in their courses
seemed to fight for Elizabeth's policy.

Down to this point the course of events in Ireland does not appear as
materially influencing English policy; and it has seemed better, for
the sake of clearness to defer its history for consecutive treatment.
To this we now turn in the chapter following; after which Irish affairs
will be dealt with in the regular progress of the general narrative.



[Sidenote: 1549-58]

The Deputyship of Bellingham in Ireland, which terminated just before
the fall of Somerset, left the Irish chiefs in a state of angry
discontent. As inaugurating a system of severe but consistent
government, Bellingham's rule might have been valuable; as matters
stood, no doubt he gave the Irish what is commonly called a lesson--
from which nothing was learnt. If the Geraldines--Kildare and Desmond--
of the South, the O'Neills and O'Donnells of the North, the Burkes and
O'Briens in the West, had possessed the slightest capacity for working
in harmony, they might have raised such a revolt as the incapable and
distracted governments of Edward VI. and Mary could not have coped with.
Ormonde however served as a permanent check on the Geraldines, while
the young Kildare had neither the inclination nor the opportunity to
head rebellions: and the great septs were far too ready to turn on each
other for any effective combination. Leix and Offally, the territories
of O'More and O'Connor [Footnote: See p. 201, _ante_.] on the west
of the Pale, were absorbed into it and partially colonised, becoming
King's County and Queen's County; and when Elizabeth ascended the
throne, the extent of the Pale corresponded roughly, though not
accurately, to the Province of Leinster.

[Sidenote: 1558]

In matters ecclesiastical, religion officially swung with the pendulum
in England. Church lands were distributed among the great men under
Edward, and within the Pale the clergy generally conformed after a
fashion, reverting again under Mary. Outside the Pale no great
attention was paid to the orders of the Government. On Elizabeth's
accession, the Act of Uniformity was enforced and some bishops resigned.
But the new Queen had plenty to occupy her in England, and in Ireland
was fain to take the least troublesome course, giving diplomatic sops
to the chiefs and spending as little money as possible: Sussex, who was
Deputy when Mary died, being continued in that office.

[Sidenote: Shan O'Neill]

The policy was destined to prove difficult. The two great chiefs of
Ulster, O'Donnell of Tyrconnel in the West, and O'Neil, created Earl of
Tyrone, in the East, had been more or less successfully conciliated by
the policy of St. Leger. But Tyrone had a numerous progeny, and the
laws of legitimacy were at a discount. The English elected to recognise
as his heir a favourite son, Matthew, who certainly was not legitimate.
But another legitimate son, Shan or Shane, a man of great if erratic
abilities, declined to submit to this arrangement when he grew up.
Matthew was killed in a brawl, leaving a young son to claim the
succession. Thereupon Shan virtually deposed his father, and in
accordance with ancient practice was elected "The O'Neill," head of the
clan which claimed that their chiefs were the old-time Kings of Ulster:
ignoring the choice of the English Government, and scorning the earldom
bestowed by them. Next, no doubt with a view to alliance, Shan married
O'Donnell's sister; but when he found that the minor chiefs were
disposed to attach themselves rather to him than to O'Donnell, he
decided to adopt the policy of breaking his rival in Ulster, as
preferable to alliance with him; and his maltreatment of his wife very
soon resulted in hostilities.

[Sidenote: The Scots of Antrim]

Now in Antrim there was a considerable colony of Scots from the Islands,
whose chief was James M'Connell. Also, a sister of the Earl of Argyle,
curiously referred to in the records as the Countess of Argyle, was the
wife of O'Donnell. The Antrim Scots were supposed to be in alliance
with O'Donnell; whom however Shan's proceedings were now causing to
seek English friendship, whereas the Scots were antagonistic to
Elizabeth, holding that their own Queen Mary had the better title to
the English throne. So Shan got rid of his O'Donnell wife, and married
the sister of James M'Connell by way of cementing a union with the
Scots; but then proceeded to write to Argyle, suggesting that he should
get rid of the M'Connell wife in turn, and that the Countess should be
transferred from O'Donnell to himself, on the assumption that this
would give him an equal hold on the Antrim Scots. Whereby he merely
enraged the Scots and disgusted Argyle. However, a short time
afterwards, Shan raided Tyrconnel's country, and carried off the chief
and his wife; who seems to have been fascinated by her captor, and
willingly became his consort, irregular as the conditions were.
M'Connell was somehow outwardly pacified despite the insult to his
sister; but the bad blood engendered took effect in due time.

[Sidenote: 1560-61 Shan and the Government]

Before the overthrow of Tyrconnel, O'Neill was already becoming a
serious source of alarm to the English. It is the fact that a
considerable number of farmers migrated from the Pale into Ulster,
feeling greater security under the aegis of O'Neill than under English
law; which did little to protect them, while the English soldiery,
badly disciplined and badly maintained, were in effect a serious
element of disorder. O'Neill, cited to appear in England, wrote a
letter to Elizabeth in which he dwelt with some complacency on this
testimony to his own superior government, besides arguing very
conclusively in favour of his own claim to recognition as head of the
O'Neills. But he evaded the journey to London, and made his raid on
Tyrconnel instead.

That exploit made Shan more completely master of Ulster than ever. The
result was that in the summer of 1561, Sussex marched into the Northern
Province. Shan after some preliminary skirmishes surprised his
rearguard, and would have cut his whole force to pieces but for a
desperate rally. When Elizabeth learned what had happened, she made up
her mind that it would be best to concede O'Neill's demands, and induce
him to visit England, while Sussex was actually trying to drive a
bargain for his murder. The plot fell through, but Sussex received some
supplies and was allowed to make another less disastrous expedition
before Kildare was sent to negotiate with O'Neill on the Queen's behalf.
The chief stipulated for complete amnesty, a safe-conduct, and the
payment of his expenses, as a condition of his paying the desired visit.

[Sidenote: 1561-2 Shan in England]

When Shan arrived in London, he made his formal submission, but was
informed that though he had his safe-conduct for return the date when
that return would be permitted lay with the Queen. He must wait for his
rival, young Matthew, to have their claims tried. Meantime Shan, who
seems to have adopted Henry VIII. as his matrimonial model, suggested
that he should be given an English wife, and that he would manage the
government of Ulster admirably in Elizabeth's interests, as soon as he
went back--with the Earldom. But as time went on he learned that
Matthew was being intentionally kept in Ireland. Then another of
O'Neill's kinsmen, Tirlogh, succeeded in murdering Matthew, while Shan
in England was vowing that his great desire was to be instructed in
English ways by Dudley (not yet Earl of Leicester). Now he remarked on
the necessity for his return to keep his kinsmen in order. There was a
good deal of ground for believing that he was in fact the only person
who could rule Ulster: and after four months (April 1562) he was
allowed to return, with promises on his part to be a model ruler and on
the Queen's part a concession of something not far short of sovereignty.

Before the end of the year it was evident enough that Shan's promises
were not intended to be kept. His murder had been plotted; Sussex had
certainly endeavoured to entrap him treacherously; his detention in
England had been technically justified by a distinctly dishonourable
trick. He did not mean to be tricked again, and if there was duplicity
in his conduct the English had set the example. He entered into
correspondence with the Queen's potential enemies on all hands, and
proceeded to suppress every one in the North whose submission to
himself was doubtful.

[Sidenote: 1563 Shan's supremacy recognised]

So in the spring, Sussex made another futile raid, after which
Elizabeth thought it best once more to play at conciliation, and to
adopt the scheme of formally constituting Ulster, Munster and Connaught
into Provinces, with O'Neill as President in the north, Clanricarde
(Burke) or O'Brien in the west, and Desmond or Kildare in the south.
Shan was to be so completely supreme that he was even to be free to
make his own Catholic nominee Archbishop of Armagh. An indubitable
attempt to poison O'Neill gave him a moral advantage, though the
English authorities indignantly repudiated the perpetrator. Shan was
content to allow the affair to be hushed up, and established his own
rule throughout Ulster with a combination of barbarity and real
administrative ability which to students of Indian History recalls the
methods and the ethics of Ranjit Singh or Abdurrhaman. Within the Pale,
the exceedingly corrupt administration of recent years was overhauled
by Sir Nicholas Arnold; who was no respecter of persons, but outside
the Pale regarded the Irish--in his own words--as so many "bears and
bandogs" who were best employed in ravaging and cutting each other's
throats. And in the south, the Butlers and Geraldines carried out that
policy with devastatory results. It is to be noted however that Cecil
found Arnold's views very difficult to stomach. [Footnote: _State
Papers_, _Ireland_, i., p. 252.]

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that in spite of Shan's
peculiar views as to marriage and murder, Ulster under his sway was on
the whole better off than any other part of Ireland.

[Sidenote: 1565]

In 1565 Mary Stewart married Darnley, in pursuit, as we have seen, of
an aggressive policy towards England. In this year, O'Neill was hand in
glove with Sir Thomas Stukely, a gentleman-adventurer of Devon, who
made the harbours of the west coast his base for piratical cruises in
search of treasure-ships. Englishmen at home were devising paper
schemes for an ideal government in the sister island, but something
very different was required if Shan was not to become strong enough to
endanger the very existence of English dominion there. There was
considerable risk that Argyle, in disgust at Elizabeth's double-dealing,
would sink his differences with the Irish Chief, and give him the
active support of the Antrim Scots. Meantime, though Shan himself was
careful to render plausible explanations of his very obvious activity,
Sir Henry Sidney, a man of very different calibre from Sussex, was
appointed to succeed that nobleman in the Deputyship.

[Sidenote: 1566 Sir Henry Sidney Deputy]

Sidney had been in Ireland before and knew the conditions. He said
plain terms that he would not accept office, unless he could have the
troops and the money needed to compel the success of the military
movements of which he foresaw the necessity if order was to be secured.
He required in fact that the Government should possess actually the
sanction of superior force. The experiment of constituting Munster a
Presidency was to be tried, with Ormonde, Desmond, and the other
southern lords as a Council. But before he arrived early in 1566,
Argyle and O'Neill had already made their new pact, and a crisis seemed
to be at hand.

Sidney found the Pale in a state of anarchy, Munster half devastated by
the Ormonde and Desmond feud, and O'Neill supreme in the north.
Summoned to meet Sidney in the Pale, Shan replied in effect that he
knew too much about the traps previously laid for him to run any risks.
Sidney employed Stukely to negotiate. Stukely reported that Shan was
defiant. Sidney wrote urgently both to Leicester and to Cecil that he
mush put O'Neill down and must have money to pay his troops and keep
them paid. The Council were willing enough, but Elizabeth kept the
purse-strings tight. Moreover she was pleased to rate Sidney for
stoutly refusing to settle the Ormonde-Desmond dispute in favour of the
former; the Deputy declaring that the questions between them involved
complicated points of laws which could only be properly dealt with by
lawyers. In April, she sent him half the money he demanded, and
dispatched her kinsman, Knollys, to oversee Sidney. Knollys, who was
given to speaking his mind, promptly told her that Sidney was entirely
in the right and ought to have a free hand. An immediate aggressive
campaign against Shan was necessary, especially as the chief was now in
correspondence with Charles IX. of France. This was at the time when a
general suspicion was prevalent that a universal Catholic League for
the destruction of Protestantism was being formed; and Shan wrote as an
enthusiastic Catholic.

[Sidenote: 1567 End of O'Neill]

Under extreme pressure then, Elizabeth at last increased the supplies.
Unluckily for O'Neill, Argyle's friendship was cooling under pressure
from Murray, and the Antrim M'Connells, in spite of recent marriages,
did not forget the old feud: while Desmond, encouraged by Sidney's
attitude, was deaf to his appeals. Sidney swept Ulster, establishing a
strong garrison in a new and well-chosen fort which in course of time
developed into Londonderry, and restored Tyrconnel in the north-west.
Sidney himself was seriously hampered by constant reproofs from
Elizabeth; but O'Neill was now grievously harassed by the O'Donnells on
one side, the M'Connells on another, and by the garrison at Derry.
Renewed attempts to obtain aid from the Guises, in February (1567),
failed; and though Derry had to be abandoned owing to an outbreak of
plague, the death of the commandant, and a fire which destroyed the
buildings, O'Neill's fate was already sealed. He marched to meet an
incursion of the O'Donnells, but was completely overthrown, and had to
flee for his life to seek the ambiguous hospitality of the M'Connells
of Antrim; who received him for the sake of subsisting relationships.
But the situation was too volcanic. Insults passed over the wine-cup,
knives were drawn, and O'Neill was slaughtered. So perished the most
formidable challenger of the English rule who had appeared in Ireland;
for his one predecessor of equal ability, the old Kildare, had never
schemed for the creation of an independent Nation.

The death of O'Neill was followed by a brief period of rest from
perpetual warfare: but the peace was not to last for long.

[Sidenote: Irish Catholicism in politics]

From the days of Elizabeth until now the antagonism of the Irish to
protestantism has been one of the two great sources of disaffection. As
the English power extended, efforts were made to carry out beyond the
Pale the principles of the Act of Uniformity, and the cause of
Rebellion became more and more identified with the cause of Catholicism.
Before the fall of Shan, Queen and Deputies had been disposed to shut
their eyes to the open disregard of the Act all over the country. Now,
recalcitrant chiefs began to make the preservation of religion the
ground of appeal for foreign assistance to cast off the yoke of England.
Curiously, however, neither they nor the Catholic clergy grasped the
political situation. Irish nationality, _per se_, was profoundly
uninteresting to foreign potentates. In England, Scotland, and Ireland,
the cause of Catholicism was the cause of Mary Stewart. Unless in
support of her, it was impracticable for either France or Spain to move
against Elizabeth. The murder of Darnley, three months before O'Neill's
fall, destroyed the Queen of Scots' chances, but only for a time. Shan
himself had been acute enough to seek Mary's friendship; but now the
disaffected prelates and chiefs will be found hoping vainly to place
themselves under the dominion of a foreign power, in preference even to
a Catholicised English supremacy. Any such scheme would have destroyed
the relations between the English Catholics and their friends abroad.

Of the second great disturbing factor, the Land, we have hitherto heard
little; but now was about to commence the era of attempts at forcibly
establishing an English landed proprietary, displacing the native
owners; on the hypothesis that they would be able to keep the
population in subjection.

[Sidenote: 1568 The Colonisation of Munster]

The first schemes would probably have been beneficial had they been
practicable, as they involved nothing in the shape of forfeiture. But
they would have been costly, while offering no temptations to
Adventurers. In 1568 a scheme was devised which tempted the Adventurers,
made little demand on the exchequer--Elizabeth always argued that
Ireland ought to pay for itself--but involved forfeitures on a large

Desmond, who had declined alliance with O'Neill, was summoned to answer
charges of treason. He surrendered at once, and was sent to London.
Then he tried to escape, and was only allowed to purchase freedom from
close imprisonment or worse by surrendering all his lands to the Queen
to receive back so much as she chose to grant. A group of Devonshire
gentlemen proposed that the titles of other landowners in Munster
should be investigated, and that all the lands held under
unsatisfactory titles should be handed over to themselves. They would
occupy and rule at their own charges, and compel complete submission by
the strong hand; a process by which it is quite evident that they
intended practical extermination of the Irish. The business was started
on Desmond lands; but it was carried to a dangerous point when Sir
Peter Carew took possession of Butler property--seeing that the loyalty
of the Ormonde connexion was the one source of Irish support which had
never been even suspected of failing. There were massacres and
reprisals; but fortunately when the other Munster chiefs took the
opportunity to petition Philip of Spain to come and take possession,
the Butlers still stood firmly to their allegiance.

[Sidenote: 1569 Insurrection in Munster]

An insurrection was headed in 1569 by Fitzmaurice (Desmond's brother);
some of the English households were wiped out. The O'Neills in Ulster
and the Burkes in Connaught rose. Ormonde declared plainly that if the
colonising policy were carried on it would be impossible for him to
support the government. Sidney ravaged Munster, and left Sir Humphrey
Gilbert in command behind him for a time: but the actual scheme was
dropped. There is no evading the fact that the English, who could wax
hot enough over the cruelties of Spaniards in America or in Holland,
did without compunction or any sense of inconsistency regard the Irish
not even as mere human savages but as wild beasts. And many of these
were men who in any other circumstances were capable of displaying an
admirable chivalry and a heroic valour. Gilbert was a man full of noble
ideals, learned, pious, cultivated, valiant, kindly; but if there was a
chance of killing an Irish man, woman, or child, he took it.

[Sidenote: Ireland and Philip II.]

In England, 1569 was the year of the Northern rebellion. France was
viewing the Scots Queen's pretensions with increasing lukewarmness, and
Philip was regarding her with corresponding favour. The Ridolfi plot
was developing in 1570 and 1571. In brief, at this period Philip's
disposition towards Elizabeth was becoming definitely, though not
avowedly, hostile instead of--as hitherto on the whole--friendly. Yet
he would not accept the Irish invitation to intervene. But he received
at Madrid, and treated with great favour, the very remarkable
adventurer Thomas Stukely, already mentioned as a piratical ally of
Shan O'Neill's. Stukely had been sent over to England to answer for his
miscellaneous misdeeds; but was--perhaps intentionally--allowed to
escape to Spain; where he represented himself as an enthusiastic
Catholic, and the most influential man in Ireland, and bragged hugely
of the coming conquest of that country, of which he was to become in
some sort the Prince, with the assistance of Spain. The entertainment
of Stukely however summed up all that Philip was prepared to do for
Ireland. By September 1572 he was again seeking Elizabeth's amity.

[Sidenote: Experimental Presidencies]

In the meantime, the experiment of constituting Connaught a Presidency
had been tried and failed ignominiously. The curse of the English
Government--a soldiery whose pay was permanently and hugely in arrear,
who were constantly on the verge of mutiny, and lived virtually by
pillage--remained unabated; and Sidney, having tried vigorous
government first and then, lacking the means to maintain it properly,
extirpation as an alternative, but still without success, clamoured to
be recalled, and at last got his wish.

Desmond was still detained in England, but the Geraldines in Munster
had not been crushed either by Sidney or by Gilbert. Despite the
failure in Connaught, the Presidency plan was tried in the southern
province, Sir John Perrot being appointed thereto. Perrot blew up
strongholds, captured and hanged some hundreds of the population, but
could not lay hold of the chiefs or bring the country into subjection.
In 1572, Fitzmaurice made his way to Ulster, gathered a force of Scots,
and came down the Shannon. The President got his chance of a fight, and
shattered the force: but Elizabeth was dissatisfied with the results of
an unwonted if still inadequate expenditure, and declared that the
whole experiment was too costly. A general amnesty and the withdrawal
of Perrot ended it.

[Sidenote: 1573 Essex (the elder) in Ulster]

Yet experiments continued to be the order of the day. The one expedient
not attempted was a government supported by obviously efficient
physical force, but aiming at the prosperity of the people, and not
running violently counter to the customs and the prejudices of
centuries. Another inefficient colony was started in Ulster, which only
excited popular animosity; Desmond was at last in 1573 allowed to
return to Munster with many promises on his part, from which, like
O'Neill before him, he considered himself absolved by a breach of faith
towards him. Finally Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, was allowed to try
the biggest and perhaps the most disastrous of the whole series of
experiments; being virtually granted authority to invade Ulster with a
free hand to make laws and generally to do what seemed to him good
there--all at his own cost--save only for some provisions safe-guarding
the royal prerogative. He went with excellent intentions, romantic
ideals, a respectable force, and a sublime ignorance of facts. The
Irishmen, mindful of the Munster colonisation, tricked him with an
apparently warm welcome at Carrickfergus, permitted him to congratulate
himself on roseate prospects, and then at one swoop cleared the
district of provisions. They professed to owe allegiance to the Queen,
but repudiated the claims of a private adventurer. His own troops were
volunteers, with no mind for hardships and no prospects of plunder. In
three months he found his dreams hopelessly dissipated, and himself
almost deserted, with no remotest chance of carrying out the Utopian
projects with which he had started.

[Sidenote: 1574]

The volunteer method having failed thus ignominiously, Essex was made
officially Governor of Ulster, and supplied with troops; for the
O'Neills were now threatening, and the Deputy, Fitzwilliam, was
inactive. Tirlogh O'Neill and his kinsman Sir Brian were very promptly
brought to submission. In the south Desmond, between threats and
promises, was persuaded to resume an air of loyalty. Essex however had
learned to adopt the common view of the Irish in its extremest form. By
a ruse which anywhere else he would have counted a piece of the
blackest treachery, he seized Sir Brian and his wife and cut up their
following when they were actually his own guests; and followed up the
performance by a hideous and wanton massacre of women and children and
decrepit men at Rathlin off the Antrim Coast; of which things he wrote
with a perfect complacency, and for which he was highly applauded.
Thereafter he returned to England.

[Sidenote: 1576 Sidney's second Deputyship]

Once more, Sidney was persuaded to accept the Deputyship. It is
probable that his honest desire was to govern firmly and justly,
although, when denied the means for steady rule he had fallen back on
extirpation. At any rate the Irish themselves, genuinely or not, hailed
his return with apparent enthusiasm. The chiefs hoped that after so
many experiments had collapsed, the pristine plan of making them
responsible for their own districts and leaving them alone might be
tried again. But no English statesman could divest himself of the idea
that no government was worth having unless it was conducted by English
methods. Sidney insisted on reconstituting the Presidencies of
Connaught and Munster, Malby taking charge of the former and Drury of
the latter. Naturally enough, and with plenty of excuse, they set about
hangings on an extensive scale, and where they met with resistance gave
no quarter. English methods, as usual in Ireland, promptly degenerated
into massacre and devastation. Sidney left the country again two years
after he had returned to it--and left it as ripe for rebellion as it
had ever been.

And the omens abroad were dangerous. For the Jesuit Sanders was seeking
to stir up a Catholic crusade, Stukely was in high favour at Madrid,
and the ablest of the Geraldines, James Fitzmaurice, was in Spain.
Moreover Philip's indisposition to interfere was on the verge of being
seriously disturbed by Drake's great expedition, which had sailed from
England in 1577.



[Sidenote: Union of Utrecht 1579]

The presence of Alexander of Parma in the Netherlands soon resulted in
a definite division between the seven northern and the ten southern
States. The latter, Catholic themselves, were not inclined to hold out
for religious liberty. The rest, being Protestant, and realising that,
while William of Orange lived, two at least, Holland and Zealand, would
hold out to the very death, resolved to stand together; combining,
under the title of the United Provinces, in the Union of Utrecht at the
beginning of 1579. Their strength lay in their command of the estuaries
of the Scheldt and the Meuse.

[Sidenote: 1578 The Matrimonial juggle]

Elizabeth's great object now was to keep Alençon (otherwise known as
Anjou, the title held by Henry III. before he ascended the throne; also
very commonly as "Monsieur") dancing in obedience to her manipulation
of the wires. In this, as in all the previous matrimonial negotiations,
not one of her ministers seems ever to have grasped her policy; the
policy, that is, which modern historians attribute to her: a policy of
which the successful issue really depended on its never being
suspected; which was possible only to one who was entire mistress of
all arts of dissimulation; which did in fact succeed completely every
time she applied it; a policy however of which no statesman could have
dared to recommend the risk. This was, in brief, to make the whole
world including her ministers believe that she really intended to marry,
to keep that conviction alive over a protracted period of time, and yet
to secure a loop-hole for escape at the last moment. She had played the
farce for years with the Archduke Charles; she had played it with Henry
of Anjou; she had already played it with Alençon once; yet every time
she started it afresh, potentates and ambassadors, her own ministers,
and the wooer she selected, took the thing seriously, played into her
hands, and were cajoled by her boundless histrionic ingenuity. Either
she treated the world to a series of successful impositions, carried
through, unaided and unsuspected, with the supreme audacity and skill
of a consummate _comedienne;_ or she was a contemptibly capricious
woman whose inordinate vacillations invariably took the turn which
after-events proved to have been the luckiest possible in the
circumstances. Of these two interpretations, the theory of a deliberate
policy is the more acceptable, if only because it is inconceivable that
the habitual indulgence of sheer wanton caprice should never once have
involved her in some irrevocable blunder, some position from which she
could not be extricated. Yet history affords no parallel to such
repeatedly and universally successful dissimulation.

[Sidenote: Alençon's wooing]

The comedy had fairly begun three months before Don John's death. In
response, as it would seem, to a private invitation, Alençon's envoys
came over at the end of July to propose the marriage. Monsieur wanted
the affair settled at once, as he must decide whether he was going to
help Orange or Don John. After a little formal procrastination,
Elizabeth had her answer ready. She was quite prepared to receive him
as a suitor though somewhat hurt by his conduct before; still she could
not promise to marry any man till they had met, and could really feel
sure that they would be happily mated. He had better come over and see

Alençon did not want to come over and see her; but his alternative plan,
of taking part with Don John, was opportunely spoilt by the Governor's
death, coupled with the new Spanish prospects opened up by the death of
the Portuguese King. An alliance with Parma under these conditions was
not at all the same thing for the French prince as an alliance with the
ambitious and somewhat Quixotic schemer who was now dead. Elizabeth,
thus strengthened, added a new condition, that he must withdraw for the
present from the Netherlands. He could hardly, under the circumstances,
support Orange against her will, and he obeyed her behest. Then she
consented to receive another representative on his behalf, but held to
her declaration that she would settle nothing till she had met Monsieur
himself in person.

[Sidenote: 1579 Popular hostility]

At the beginning of the year (1579) Alençon's emissary Simier arrived.
In England however practically every one--except apparently the Queen
herself--was opposed to the marriage. The traditional animosity to
France was strong, and had been intensified by the Paris massacre. The
French Huguenots, for whom there was some sympathy, had no confidence
in Alençon. The more unpopular the marriage showed itself, the more the
Queen seemed to incline to it--since the more reasonably she could also
insist to him on the necessity of delay, that her people might first be
reconciled to it. Yet however much the Council might dislike it, they
now felt bound to advise that Monsieur should be allowed to pay his
visit. In August he arrived, and she could no longer urge the plea that
she had not seen him. Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, thought she
would marry him, that a civil war would follow, and the end would be
the return of England to Catholicism. On the whole Mendoza was not ill

[Sidenote: Loyalty to the Queen]

Now however capricious and apparently irrational the conduct of the
Queen might be, however her ministers might resent it, condemn it,
bewail it to each other, and remonstrate with her, they remained always
obstinately loyal. We may cynically attribute the fact to their
consciousness that if they deserted her their doom under her rival
would be sealed. Were that the true interpretation--were they really
guided merely by a more or less enlightened self-interest--it is rather
natural to suppose that some of them would have played a double game
and secured friends in the other camp, like the Whig and Tory statesmen
of the early eighteenth century; that they would have managed their own
affairs so that they could change sides. None of them ever did anything
of the kind. Whatever the Queen did, they held to their own views,
advocated them stubbornly, but obeyed their mistress, even when they
thought her caprices were on the verge of bringing them all to ruin.
And yet they never seem to have fully realised the extent to which
their own loyalty was shared by the people at large. Men may surrender
themselves to such a sentiment, without venturing to count upon its
influence on others. But Elizabeth reckoned on it in ministers and
people alike; and her calculation was invariably justified.

[Sidenote: Yea and Nay]

So it was in this instance. What might have happened if she really had
married Alençon can only be guessed. Short of that, popular loyalty was
equal to the strain. A passionate pamphlet against the marriage was
issued by a lawyer named Stubbs. The Council, confident in the real
strength of the country, urged her to take the bold attitude, place
herself frankly at the head of European protestantism, and take
measures at home to make a Catholic rising impossible. They could see
no alternative but the marriage. She stormed at them, burst into tears,
vowed that she had expected them all to declare that the marriage would
be the fulfilment of all their hopes. They replied that since she would
have it so they would do their best to make the marriage acceptable.
She had Stubbs and his publisher pilloried, and their right hands
struck off--on the strength of a most iniquitous misinterpretation of a
law of Queen Mary's. The victims waved their caps with the hand that
was left and cried "God save the Queen". The marriage treaty was drawn
up (November) but a couple of months were to pass before its
ratification, to quiet the public mind. When the two months were over
it was still unratified, and the whole negotiation was treated as
having lapsed. Burghley at the end of January (1580) was falling back
on the leadership of Protestantism as the only alternative to adopt,
since France must be regarded as hopelessly alienated.

[Sidenote: The Papal plan of Campaign]

In the meantime the Papal plan of campaign against England--a plan
which appears to have been matured early in 1579--was well under way.
The Pope himself could not, and Philip of Spain would not, prepare
Armadas to bring the recusant island back to the Roman submission. But
there were other means to be tried than Armadas. Setting aside schemes
for assassination, there was trouble to be made for Elizabeth in
Ireland, trouble in Scotland, and trouble in England itself. Ireland
was ripe for rebellion; a Catholic faction might be reorganised in
Scotland; missionary zeal and martyrs' crowns might still revolutionise
sentiment in England. The triple attack was resolved on--war in Ireland,
diplomacy in Scotland, in England Seminarists from Rheims (whither
Allen's Douay college had migrated some years before) and Jesuits from

In Ireland we have already seen the scheme taking shape, but scotched
for the time by Stukely's diversion to Morocco and his death there, in
1578. In the following summer however, an expedition landed in Kerry,
with Sanders as Papal Nuncio, and half the island was soon in a blaze.
There, for some little time, such of the wilder spirits of English
youth as were not occupied with ventures on the high seas were to find
ample employment: and though Philip would not make open war, Philip's
subjects were not restrained from seeking to pay back the blows which
Drake had been dealing to Spain on the other side of the ocean--the
report whereof had already found its way to Europe. In Scotland, the
autumn was not far advanced when young Esmé Stewart, Count D'Aubigny,
of the House of Lennox, James's cousin, arrived in Scotland to win his
way into the boy-king's favour and plot the overthrow of Morton and of
the Preachers. In the summer of 1580, Campian and Parsons began to
deliver their message to the Catholics of England.

[Sidenote: 1580 Philip annexes Portugal]

In this same summer, the Cardinal-King of Portugal, Sebastian's
successor, died. Philip's opportunity for annexation had arrived, and
he seized it, expelling with little difficulty another claimant, Don
Antonio, prior of Crato, the bastard son of the Cardinal's brother
Luis; who however for the next ten years hovers through English
politics as a pretender to be supported or dropped at convenience; used
as a menace to Philip, much as the enemies of Henry VII. had used
Perkin Warbeck. Then, in September, the great English seaman was back
on English shores, in the ship that had sailed round the world--back
with the spoils of Spain on board.

With this impression in our minds of the leading features of the year
1580, we can turn first to the detailed record of events in Ireland.

[Sidenote: Ireland: 1579 The Desmond rising]

The Expedition which landed in July at Dingle on the furthest south-
west coast was small enough; but it brought with it Sanders the
accredited representative of the Pope, and Fitzmaurice, cousin of
Desmond. It appealed therefore at once to the Catholics at large and
the Geraldine connexion in particular. There was no strong or united
English force in the country; it was the custom of Elizabeth to provide
her officers with the very minimum of equipment. Desmond at first
hesitated; but his brother seized an early opportunity to commit him by
treacherously murdering two English officers and their servants. Half
Munster was up in arms at once, and the new arrivals made haste to
fortify Smerwick, in the neighbourhood of Dingle where they had landed.
It was expected and declared that reinforcements from Spain would soon
be forth-coming. Malby, the President of Connaught, acted with
promptitude and energy, marching south with his own troops and some of
the Burkes who were at feud with the Geraldines. Fortune favoured them;
Fitzmaurice was slain almost at the outset, and the Papal standard
captured and sent off to Dublin. Desmond with his immediate following,
who had not taken part in the engagement, fell back on Ashketyn, near
Limerick; the rest of the insurgents retired on Smerwick. Drury however,
advancing from Cork, was less fortunate, his troops being attacked by
the Irish and very severely handled, so that he was forced to retreat.
He died soon after.

The vigorous Malby assumed control of the Presidency, marched through
Desmond's country dealing miscellaneous slaughter and destruction,
burnt the town at Ashketyn since the castle could not be carried
without cannon, and then went his way into Connaught. When Malby was
gone, Desmond sallied forth, marched quietly south to Youghal where
there was an English colony, sacked it, put the English to the sword,
and burnt the place. Thence, with increasing musters, he marched upon
Cork, which however he abstained from attacking. In January the
insurgents were encouraged by the arrival of some military stores from
abroad, with promises of further assistance in response to messages
from Desmond to the King of Spain.

[Sidenote: 1580 Fire and Sword]

Meantime, neither Malby at Athlone nor Pelham in Dublin had sufficient
troops to take the field in force. Ormonde, dispatched from England to
take the chief command, had neither money nor material allowed him to
take the offensive. It was not till March that the Queen was induced to
send the urgently needed reinforcements, and Admiral Wynter with a
squadron of ships arrived at the mouth of the Shannon. Ormonde from
Kilkenny in the Butler country, and Pelham from Dublin, marched in two
columns converging on Tralee, burning and slaughtering mercilessly
along the route, sparing none. Then they turned on Carrickfoyle,
impregnable without artillery, but easily breached by the heavy guns
landed from Wynter's ships. The garrison was put to the sword. Desmond
at Ashketyn, having no mind for a like fate, withdrew from it, blowing
up the castle behind him. But Elizabeth stopped the supplies; the
English were again forced to inaction, and parties of insurgents went
marauding over Cork and Kerry, taking their turn of murdering. In June
the purse-strings were loosened again; Pelham marched into Kerry, and
only just failed to surprise Desmond and his people, with Sanders, in
their beds. They escaped however, and Pelham went on to Dingle. Ormonde,
making his way to the same point, added considerably to the tale of
burnings and slaughterings. This loyal earl in 1580 accounted for
"forty-six captains and leaders, with eight notorious traitors and
male-factors, and four thousand other folk". [Footnote: _Carew

[Sidenote: Development of the Rebellion]

The people in despair were beginning to turn against Sanders and the
Geraldines, though persistently loyal to Desmond himself. But a
diversion was created by a rising of the Catholics of the Pale. Lord
Grey de Wilton had just arrived in Dublin as Deputy. He marched against
the rebels, but the greater part of his force was ambushed and cut to
pieces in the Wicklow mountains. And on the top of this disaster, the
long delayed foreign expedition landed at Dingle--Wynter having
withdrawn--and Smerwick was re-occupied by a force mainly consisting of
eight hundred Italian and Spanish adventurers. The rebellion seemed to
be reviving everywhere. Ormonde, again marching into Kerry with four
thousand men, accomplished nothing. But the murderous work of the
summer had had effect, and the septs would not openly take the field
without immediate cash inducements, which were lacking.

[Sidenote: Smerwick: and after]

In October Grey made a fresh start and marched down from Dublin to
Kerry: in the first week of November, Wynter's fleet reappeared, having
been held back by stress of weather with the exception of one vessel
which had been lying off Smerwick for three weeks. The siege now was
brief enough. On the 9th, the garrison, after a vain attempt to obtain
terms, surrendered at discretion. The officers were put to ransom; the
rest were slaughtered; even women were hanged. The dead numbered 600.
Grey doubtless regarded the measure as a just return for the doings of
the Inquisition, and the punishment of English sailors as pirates, for
his retort to the garrison's overtures had been that their presence in
Ireland was piracy. But the whole business illustrates the sheer
ruthlessness which characterised both sides, at least where there was a
technical excuse for denying belligerents' rights to the vanquished.

It was no longer possible for the rebellion to make head; but for the
next two years a guerrilla warfare was kept up, in which English and
Irish killed each other without compunction whenever anything in the
shape of an excuse offered itself. Most of the English honestly
believed that the only practicable policy was one of extermination, and
the Irish retaliated in kind. There is nothing so ugly as this history
in the annals of a people which, outside of Ireland, has shown a unique
capacity for tempering conquest with justice. The very men whose blood
boiled, honestly enough, over cruelties to the Indians, adopted to the
Irish the precise attitude of mind which so horrified them in the
Spaniards. Elizabeth herself, Burghley, Walsingham, and Ormonde, were
opposed to the extermination policy; but the bloodshed went on,
unsystematically instead of systematically. Sanders, wandering a hunted
fugitive, died in a bog. It was not till 1583 that Desmond himself was
surprised and slain in his bed. In the meantime, there had been no
variation in the story. But the exhaustion of ceaseless slaughters and
ceaseless famines had practically terminated the struggle. Sir John
Perrot, who became Deputy in 1584, could adopt a conciliatory attitude,
without fear that his leniency would be immediately abused--though it
led to his recall and condemnation for treason [Footnote: This sentence
however was not carried out. It is perhaps worth noting that Sir John
was reputed to be a natural son of Henry VIII.] three years later.

[Sidenote: Scotland, 1579-81]

The diplomatic campaign in Scotland need not detain us long. Morton as
Regent governed that country with a strong hand, and at least held down
its normal turbulence: but while his forcefulness was recognised, he
went his own way, quite regardless of the enemies he made. Despite his
religious professions, he treated the preachers with scant courtesy,
and was unpopular with all parties. D'Aubigny on his arrival promptly
found his way into the young King's good graces, was made Duke of
Lennox very shortly, and set himself to conciliate the Puritans by
professing to have been converted from Popery by James's dialectical
skill. In England, there was no doubt that he was an agent in the papal
programme, and Walsingham would have had him removed in the usual
lawless fashion, failing other means. But Elizabeth, as always, was
confident of the practical impossibility of making Scotland united for
any purpose except resistance of an English invasion. She made it
evident that armed intervention from her need not be looked for; and in
December (1580) Lennox (D'Aubigny) struck at Morton by accusing him of
complicity in the murder of Darnley. The agent in this proceeding was
another James Stewart, an adventurer, now Captain of the Guard, who was
shortly after advanced to the Earldom of Arran. Morton was imprisoned,
brought to trial in the following June (1581) and executed. The strong
hand being gone, the usual chaos supervened. For the time the Papal
party was uppermost, but Elizabeth's calculations were correct. The
risk of French intervention was brought nearer, but it was
counterbalanced partly by the bait of the Alençon marriage, which the
Queen managed to keep dangling, partly by the fact that many of the men
who had overthrown Morton were anti-papal, and preferred playing for
their own hand to encouraging a French ascendancy. By the "Raid of
Ruthven" in 1582 James was removed from the influence of Lennox, who
had to leave the country; and in 1583 James Stewart Earl of Arran was
carrying out a policy which was to make the King himself, with Arran at
his elbow, the force predominating alike over preachers and nobles.

[Sidenote: England 1580]

We may now revert to England and Elizabeth in 1580. Throughout the
earlier half of the year, it was as usual the Queen's first object to
commit herself to nothing, but to persuade Orange that she might yet
help him, and Alençon that she might yet marry him. But in July, Philip
was master of Portugal, and the Jesuit campaign was beginning in
England. In September, Orange's patience was worn out, and the crown of
the Netherlands was definitely offered to Alençon; within a few days
Drake and the Pelican were home, and Mendoza was demanding restitution;
and again a few days later Spanish and Italian adventurers were
fortifying themselves at Smerwick.

[Sidenote: The Jesuit Mission]

The Papal Bull of Deposition ten years before had stiffened the
attitude of Government towards the English Catholics, but had neither
broken down the loyalty of the latter nor led to any serious
persecution. On this head, the mission of 1580 was the turning point of
the reign. The moving spirit was Allen, of Douay and Rheims; a man of
high ability and character who conceived that the recovery of his
country for the true Church was the highest of all objects for a
patriot, and one to which all other considerations should give way.

[Sidenote: Campian and Parsons]

It cannot be disputed that the aim of the Mission was to sow disloyalty
as well as to gain converts, though the allegation that incitement to
assassinate the Queen was part of the programme is not quite
conclusively proved. Of the two chief missioners, Parsons and Campian,
it is at least tolerably certain that the latter, an amiable enthusiast,
was quite innocent of complicity in any such design. That certainty
does not apply to Parsons. But the instructions were clearly
treasonable in character. The Catholics were told that in spite of the
Bull of Deposition they might profess loyalty to the Queen, but must
assist in her overthrow if called upon. That is to say that if treason
were brewing against the _de facto_ Government, it was to be a
point of conscience and a condition of the Church's approval for all
Catholics that they should assist that treason. There is nothing about
that instruction which can fairly be called hypocritical; but _ipso
facto_, it converted every Catholic, willy nilly, into a potential
traitor, who if treason arose could only remain loyal under censure of
the Church. Moreover it was the business of the missioners not only to
impress on those who were already Catholics this view of their duty;
but also, by an active propaganda, to increase the number of such
potential traitors; while it was quite certain that under such
conditions, converts would be actuated by a zeal which would render
them doubly dangerous.

For some months the emissaries travelled the country in various
disguises, shifting their quarters secretly, but in favourable
districts occasionally appearing quite openly, more or less winked at
by the authorities. Their immunity made them the more sanguine, but it
also alarmed the Protestants, and before the end of the year, there was
a change.

[Sidenote: Walsingham]

Walsingham--a sincere Puritan, a man who never soiled his hands for
private gain, who by his outspoken opposition to her political double-
dealing provoked Elizabeth's anger more frequently than any other of
her many outspoken advisers, of whom more than any other statesman of
the day it might be said that he loved righteousness and hated
iniquity--had yet the fault of the Puritan character, a certain
remorselessness in dealing with the servants of the Scarlet Woman. He
would have connived at the murder of D'Aubigny; his organisation of
"Secret Service" was as unscrupulous as Burghley's; and he more than
any one else approved and fostered the revival of the illegal
application of torture as a means of extorting information from
recalcitrant prisoners. In this iniquity, however, it is fair to
recognise that the rack and the boot were not employed wantonly but, as
it would seem, honestly: with the single intention of obtaining true
information for the unravelment of plots which endangered the public
weal, and only on persons who were known to possess that information.

[Sidenote: 1581 An anti-papal Parliament]

Walsingham then, at the close of 1580, appears to have undertaken the
conduct of the operations against the emissaries, several of whom were
promptly captured and put to the torture without result, though one or
two made haste to change sides to save themselves. The rest showed that
magnificent constancy which had characterised alike the Carthusians
under Henry and the Protestants under Mary. In January (1581)
parliament was called, and passed a very stringent act making it
treason to proselytise, or to join the Church of Rome; imposing a heavy
fine as well as imprisonment for celebrating Mass, and a fine of £20
per month for exemption from attendance at the Anglican ritual. Drastic
as the measure was, and a complete departure from the comparative
toleration hitherto prevalent in practice if not altogether in theory,
the basis of it was quite manifestly the conviction that as a result of
the mission every Catholic must now be suspect of treason, and every
convert to Catholicism something more than suspect.

When the parliament had completed its business by voting supplies, it
was prorogued. Through the spring and the summer the pursuit of the
Emissaries and the oppression of the Catholics under the new Act went
on. Campian himself was taken in July, and after some months'
imprisonment, in the course of which he was racked, was executed for
treason at the end of the year: his martyrdom, with others, producing
the usual effect.

[Sidenote: Alençon again]

In the meantime, the acceptance in January of the lordship of the
Netherlands by Alençon forced Elizabeth to redouble her pretence of
desiring the furtherance of the Alençon marriage--a pretence through
which Walsingham alone seems to have penetrated. The French King sent
over a magnificent embassy in April, which was magnificently received.
Then Elizabeth suggested that a League would serve every purpose.
France replied that the League was what it wished for, but the marriage
was a condition. Everything was discussed and agreed upon--but the
Queen succeeded in retaining her saving clause; the agreement was
subject to Alençon and herself being personally satisfied. She was
still able to hold off, while she had brought France into such a
position that if war should be declared between England and Spain,
France must join England. Walsingham was sent off to Paris, with the
task before him of evading the marriage, avoiding war while entangling
France in it, and all with a full conviction that his instructions
would vary from week to week. He believed, and he told her, that France
would make the League without the marriage, if her sincerity were only
guaranteed by something more substantial than promises; but that if
neither the League nor the marriage were completed, she would have
Spain, France, and Scotland--where Morton had just been executed--all
turning their arms against her at once. But contrary to all reasonable
expectation Elizabeth succeeded in avoiding a breach with France and in
keeping Alençon still dangling: and however Mendoza--who had quite
failed to obtain any compensation for Drake's expedition--might
threaten, Philip still refused to declare war openly.

[Sidenote: His visit to England]

The story of the Alençon farce, if it were not unquestionable fact,
would be almost incredible. Monsieur was some twenty years younger than
the amorous Queen; in person he was offensive and contemptible; his
character corresponded to his person, and his intelligence to his
character. Elizabeth was eight and forty. Yet the man's amazing vanity
made him a perpetual dupe, while it must have taken all her own vanity
to persuade the lady that she could play Omphale to his Hercules. Yet
she did it. In November she had him back in England. She kissed him
before Walsingham and the French Ambassador, [Footnote: _State Papers,
Spanish,_ iii., p. 226.] and gave him the ring off her finger,
declaring that she was going to marry him. But as soon as it came to
business, she made one fresh demand after another. When concession was
added to concession, she capped the list by requiring the restoration
of Calais, an obvious absurdity. Burghley thought the whole thing was
ended, and was for conciliating Spain by restoring Drake's booty.
Walsingham would have handed those spoils over to Orange. The Queen did
neither, but told Alençon that his presence in the Netherlands had now
become quite necessary to his own honour--which was true--and that with
a little patience unreasonable people would be pacified, and she would
still marry him.

[Sidenote: Alençon in the Netherlands]

Thus this most unlucky dupe was once more got out of the country, in
February (1582), a dupe still; and the United Provinces swore
allegiance to him under the new title of Duke of Brabant--giving him to
understand, however, that they accepted him simply as a surety for
English support. When he was safely out of the country, Elizabeth
became more emphatic than ever in her declarations that she would marry
him. After all, however, she was reluctantly compelled to salve her
lover's wounded feelings by cash subsidies, real and substantial though

[Sidenote: Exit Alençon]

At the end of March an attempt was made to assassinate the strong man
of Holland, William the Silent. He was in fact very dangerously wounded,
and Elizabeth became alarmed lest a like danger were in store for her.
Orange recovered, but Parma continued his course of gradual conquest,
and Alençon bethought him of playing the traitor, seizing the principal
towns, and handing them over to Spain as a peace-offering. In the
following January he made the attempt; but the capture succeeded only
here and there, and at Antwerp, where he himself lay, the _coup_
failed ignominiously and disastrously. The city got wind of what was
going to happen; the French troops were admitted, and, being in, found
themselves in a trap and were cut to pieces. Alençon was deservedly and
finally ruined, and no one in France or England could pretend any more
that he was a possible husband. The year after he sank to a dishonoured
grave, leaving the Huguenot Henry of Navarre heir presumptive to the
throne of France.

[Sidenote: Scotland]

Before Alençon's disaster, Elizabeth's policy in Scotland had been
justified by results: the raid of Ruthven had placed the King in the
hands of the Protestant nobles again, and Lennox was out of the country
for good. It is probable that from Elizabeth's point of view, it was
not worth while to attempt to obtain the friendship of an Anglophil
party, either by force or by bribery. Bribes would have told only just
for so long as they were accepted as an earnest of more to follow;
while force would have had its invariable result of uniting Scotland in
determined resistance. The one thing which would have given reality to
the overtures perpetually passing between Scotland and the Guises was
an English attempt to grasp at domination. Elizabeth, with Mary a
prisoner, had a permanent diplomatic asset in her hands, since she
could hint a threat of either executing her, or liberating her, or
surrendering her on terms as might seem most convenient at a given
crisis. Intrigues which like the marriage projects were never intended
to be consummated were more effective than either bribery or force--and



[Sidenote: 1583 The Throgmorton Conspiracy]

The collapse of Alençon was the precursor of a comprehensive conspiracy.
Before the Raid of Ruthven (August 1582), the Guise faction in France had
contemplated a descent on Scotland in conjunction with Lennox's friends
there, with a view of course to raising England in favour of Mary.
Alençon's relations with Elizabeth had not made the French King or his
mother, neither of whom loved the Guises, particularly favourable to the
scheme. The Raid destroyed the prospects of the definitely Catholic party
in Scotland; on the other hand, the failure of Alençon affected, though
only slightly, the objections on the part of King Henry. But any enterprise
against England would have to take a somewhat different form. In May, Guise
was planning a fresh scheme of assassination and invasion; [Footnote:
_State Papers, Spanish_, iii., pp. 464, 479.] while as against the
Guise intrigues still going on in Scotland, Elizabeth at the suggestion of
the French ambassador was again proposing diplomatically to release Mary
[Footnote: _Ibid_., p. 465.]--on terms.

[Sidenote: Sanguine Catholic forecast]

The English refugees and the Seminarists suffered from the same sanguine
conviction that two-thirds of the country was thirsting to throw off the
hated yoke of the existing Government, by which Jacobite agents were
eternally possessed in the first half of the eighteenth century; and with a
good deal less reason. For whereas the House of Hanover had no enthusiastic
adherents, while the House of Stuart had many, and the Whig politicians
were for the most part ready to transfer themselves to the other side if
the other side should look like winning: at this time, the most energetic
portion of the population, gentry and commons, including practically all
who had practised the art of war by land or sea, in the Low Countries, in
Ireland, on the Spanish Main and in Spanish waters, were fierily
Protestant, and the Ministers, nearly all irrevocably bound to the Queen,
were singularly prompt and alert men of action. Enthusiasts there were on
the other side, but they were few. Yet in their prolific imaginations, the
enthusiasts multiplied their own numbers pathetically, and believed
passionately in phantom hosts only waiting for the word to draw the sword,
or at least the dagger, in the sacred cause.

Neither the Spaniards nor the Guises appear ever to have allowed themselves
to accept unreservedly the Churchmen's estimate of the state of feeling in
England; but the Spanish Ambassadors, one after another, and Mendoza
certainly not the least, gave more credence to these impressions than they
deserved, placing far too high a value on the assurances of a very small
number of the nobility. It is probable also that the Jesuits greatly
exaggerated the exciting effect of the martyrdom of Campian and his
associates; for these bore no sort of comparison with the burnings of
Mary's reign, of which every man nearing forty years of age was old enough
to have a tolerably vivid personal recollection. At any rate the advices of
Mendoza went far to confirm the declarations of Allen that a determined
Catholic rising might be relied on, in case of an invasion which should
have for its object the substitution of Mary for Elizabeth and the
restoration of the old Religion.

[Sidenote: Divided Counsels]

The counsels however of the plotters were divided. The priests would have
kept the French out of the affair altogether. Philip was as reluctant as
ever to take an English war upon his shoulders until he had completed the
subjugation of the Netherlands. Mendoza, recognising that Guise was not
France--for now as always, Spain could not afford to let France dominate
England--was willing enough that Guise should head an expedition in which
Frenchmen should otherwise play no more than an equal part; on the
hypothesis that, when the revolution was accomplished, circumstances would
compel the new regime to dependence on Spain. All the parties--Guise,
Philip, Allen--were prepared to yield unofficial sanction to the
simplification of the problem by assassination. Even when the different
interests in the scheme had been compromised, prompt action was obviously
essential if the English Government, with its vast network of spies and
secret agents, was not to get wind of the plot. Promptitude however was the
one thing of which Philip was constitutionally incapable, and Guise was
obliged to consent to wait till the following spring.

[Sidenote: The plot discovered]

As a natural result, an active member of the conspiracy, Francis
Throgmorton, was suddenly pounced upon in his house in London. He succeeded
in conveying sundry important documents to Mendoza, but lists of the
English conspirators and other conclusively incriminating documents were
found. The rack did the rest. The unhappy man endured through the first
application: the second conquered him. He told the whole story--possibly
more than the truth, though that is hardly probable; but of course the
persons incriminated denied complicity, and there was in some cases no
other evidence against them, while the confessions of a victim under
torture are--biased.

The main facts at any rate were indisputable--the plan of a Guise invasion,
under Spanish auspices, with the complicity of a number of English
Catholics, as well as of Mendoza. The presumption that Mary was cognisant
of it was supported by Throgmorton's confession, but such presumptions and
such evidence fall short of being absolutely conclusive. [Footnote:
Mendoza's letters of this period (_State Papers, Spanish,_ iii.)
implicate Mary _prima facie_: but do not _necessarily_ mean more
than that her life was endangered by the discoveries.] Under such
conditions however, grave and well founded suspicion was enough to justify
the severest precautionary measures. Northumberland and Arundel [Footnote:
Son of the late Duke of Norfolk. The title came through his mother.] were
thrown into prison; several of the seminarists, already in ward, were
executed; a number of arrests were made; known Catholics all over the
country were placed under strict surveillance, and removed from any
commands they might hold. Mendoza was ordered in uncompromising terms to
leave the country; fleets were manned, and musters levied. The delay had
proved fatal to the combined scheme.

The collapse of two assassination plots, not forming part of the
Throgmorton conspiracy, may be mentioned. One was that of an apparently
half-crazy person named Somerville, who betrayed himself by bragging; the
other, the more curious affair of Parry, who got himself introduced into
the Queen's presence several times, but "let I dare not wait upon I would"
persistently, till he retired with nothing accomplished; to reappear

[Sidenote: 1584 Death of Orange]

Elizabeth escaped; but death was soon to lay his hand on two personages of
consequence. In May (1584) Alençon decayed out of a world in which accident
only had allowed him for a time to occupy a very disproportionate share of
the political stage. A month later, the most heroic figure of a time when
heroes were rare among politicians was struck down by the hand of a
fanatic. William of Orange, the head, hand, and heart of the great fight
for freedom being waged in the Netherlands, was assassinated by a zealot.
More than ever it seemed that the Hollanders must submit to Philip, unless
the power of France or the power of England were devoted whole-heartedly to
their cause. The death of Alençon made Henry of Navarre the actual heir
presumptive to the throne of France. The King and his mother hated and
feared Protestantism less than they hated and feared the Guises, and
publicly acknowledged Navarre as next in succession.

As usual, Elizabeth's advisers would have had her play boldly for
Protestantism; as usual, she herself was bent on evading the open collision
with Spain. Her hope was to entangle France in the Netherlands war, and
herself to strike in--if she must strike in at all--only when her
intervention would enable her to make her own terms. The French King would
not be inveigled. If he could have relied on her support, or if the Guises
had been somewhat less dangerous, he would have been ready to strike; but
his distrust of the English Queen was too justifiably complete. She was in
fact saved from the absolute necessity of yielding to the persuasions of
Burghley and Walsingham only by the dogged tenacity with which the
Hollanders held out. And while they held out, she still held off.

[Sidenote: The "Association"]

In England however, one fact was more universally and vividly present in
men's minds than any other. In the eyes of every Protestant, the supreme
danger still lay in the death or deposition of Elizabeth and the elevation
of Mary Stewart to the throne. Recent events had brought home the enormous
risks of assassination; and an Association was formed for the defence of
the Queen. A declaration was framed, the signatories whereof bound
themselves by a solemn vow not only to pursue to the death all persons
concerned in any plot against the Queen, but also any person in favour of
whose succession to the throne any attempt should be made against her; to
bar any such person absolutely from the succession; and to treat as
perjured traitors any of the Association who failed to carry out this
oath. It was sufficiently obvious that the declaration was aimed directly
against Mary; but it may be said that the entire nation forthwith enrolled
itself. And with the bulk of them, the enrolment was anything but an empty

[Sidenote: 1584-85 The Association ratified]

At the same time, it was difficult to see how the members of the
Association could carry out their pledge without a breach of the law;
stronger legal measures for the defence of the Queen and the frustration of
assassination as a means to secure the inheritance in any particular
quarter were required. Parliament was summoned at the end of November.
Ministers wished to have definite provision made for carrying on the
Government in case of the Queen's murder; but she would go with them no
further than to sanction the Association, with the entirely laudable
modification that the person for whose sake the deed was done should not be
held _ipso facto_ guilty of complicity. The differences of opinion
were so strong that the session closed without the passing of any Act. In
January however, an accomplice of that Parry already mentioned [Footnote:
See p. 330] denounced him for intending to kill the Queen. Threatened with
the rack, Parry made a full confession, and was hanged, drawn, and
quartered. At the renewed Session in February, it was enacted that an
invasion, rebellion, or attempt on the Queen's person, on behalf of any one
with a claim to the succession, should disqualify such person from the
succession absolutely, if complicity in the attempt should be proved after
due enquiry. A commission was appointed to put the Act in execution in the
event of assassination; and the Association was sanctioned subject to these
provisions. Subsidies were then voted, and parliament prorogued, after an
unusually gracious speech from the throne.

[Sidenote: 1585: France: the Holy League]

Meantime the United Provinces, despairing of an English overlordship, were
again making overtures to France for a Protectorate, or even annexation if
France should insist on that alternative. Relations between the King and
Mendoza, now Ambassador at Paris, were so strained that war seemed all but
inevitable; Henry seems to have been held back only by the well-founded
fear that Elizabeth was intriguing to draw him into the war and frustrate
him in carrying it on. But in that fear he declined the offer of the
Provinces. In March the Guises produced a new development by the open
announcement of the formation of the Holy League, for the exclusion of
Navarre from the succession and the enforcement in France of the decrees of
the Council of Trent.

But for the unconquerable mutual distrust of Henry and Elizabeth, Henry,
relying on English support, would have bidden defiance to the League; but
the memories of St. Bartholomew and Elizabeth's character as an intriguer
made confidence on either side impossible. The great siege of Antwerp
seemed to be on the verge of terminating in a catastrophe for the revolting
States, which would enable Parma to co-operate actively with Guise; and
Henry found himself threatened with excommunication. Before midsummer he
capitulated, and declared for the League. On the other hand, Navarre was
not the man to yield, and while Elizabeth again had the chance of playing a
bold part and espousing his cause heartily, she judged rightly that he was
strong enough unaided to keep the alliance of the League and the Court very
thoroughly occupied for some time to come. As a factor in the Netherlands
question. France was for the present at least a negligible quantity. So she
left Navarre to fight his own battles in France, while she should dole out
to the Netherlanders just so much or so little support as might suffice for
her own ends.

While the French King was surrendering to the League, the Spanish King took
a step which was intended to frighten England, and had as usual the
precisely contrary result. He ordered the seizure of all English ships and
crews on his coasts. The order was carried out; and England instead of
being cowed was forthwith ablaze with defiance. The effect was promptly

[Sidenote: Agreement with the States]

The United Provinces were again offering themselves to England. In August
an agreement was arrived at. The Queen was to hold Ostend and Sluys as well
as Flushing and Brille, as security. She was to send over five thousand men
with Leicester in command. Some Queen's troops and large numbers of
volunteers were shipped off in a few days--too late however to save
Antwerp. Still weeks and even months passed before pay or commanders were
allowed to follow. But before the year was out, Sidney, Leicester, and
others had taken up their commands, the last named representing the Queen
of England.

[Sidenote: Drake's raid]

Already, however, an enterprise still more ominous to Spain was in
hand--unofficial, like most other great enterprises of the reign. Letters
of reprisal for the seizure of the English ships had been promptly issued,
and numbers of privateers were quickly in Spanish waters. Among others,
Francis Drake fitted out a flotilla, the Queen being an interested
shareholder in his venture--though even under those conditions he put to
sea before time, lest counter-orders should arrive. The adventurers sailed
into Vigo, demanded the release of all English prisoners in the province,
which was promised, captured some prizes, and betook themselves to the
ocean, with a view to seizing the Spanish Plate Fleet, which was on its way
from America. They just missed the Fleet, but proceeded to San Domingo
(Hayti) which they held to ransom, went on to treat Cartagena in like
manner, and then being attacked by Yellow Fever, came home with the spoils.
Whatever fears of a Spanish war might be entertained by Elizabeth herself,
the English seamen had no qualms as to their own immeasurable superiority,
and desired nothing better than opportunities for demonstrating it.

[Sidenote 1: Elizabeth's intrigues]
[Sidenote 2: 1586 Leicester in the Netherlands]

While Drake was thus congenially employed, Elizabeth was carrying on her
system of inaction and double-dealing. She intrigued--behind the backs of
her ministers--with Parma, for the surrender to him of the towns she held,
on terms which from her point of view were quite good enough for the
Provinces, namely the restitution of their old Constitutional Government
without religious liberty; although in their own view, religious liberty
was primarily essential. Leicester complicated matters for her by
accepting, in flat contradiction to her orders, the formal Governorship of
the United Provinces: finding in fact that if he was to stay in the
Netherlands nothing short of that would prevail against the suspicions of
the Queen's treachery. At home, Burghley himself threatened to resign if
she would not take a straightforward course. Walsingham wrote to Leicester,
with his usual bitterness, of the "peril to safety and honour" from her
behaviour. If she had indeed contemplated the surrender of the cities to
Parma, that plan was frustrated. Still she stormed at Burghley and
Walsingham, flatly and with contumely refused to ratify Leicester's
arrangement, and continued to keep back the pay of the troops. Parma,
though he too was starved in men and money by Philip, continued inch by
inch to absorb the revolted territory. All that Leicester succeeded in
accomplishing by the month of September was the brilliant and entirely
futile action of Zutphen where in one great hour Philip Sidney won death
and immortality (September 22nd). Thereafter, inaction and short supplies
continued to be the rule, on both sides. In November, Leicester was back in
England, where a fresh situation was developing.

[Sidenote:1585-86 The trapping of Mary]

While the arrangements for armed intervention in the Netherlands were in
progress, Walsingham had been busy preparing for the last act in the
Tragedy of Mary Stewart. The Secretary was foremost among those who held
not only that the captive Queen deserved death, but that her death was more
necessary to the welfare of England than any other event. Yet it was quite
certain that Elizabeth would not assent to her death, unless she thought
she could convince herself and the world that Mary had been actively
engaged in treasonous plots. Recently however at Tutbury under the charge
of Sir Amyas Paulet, she had been guarded so strictly that no surreptitious
correspondence had a chance of passing. Walsingham was confident that if
the opportunity were given, a treasonous correspondence would be opened. It
became his object therefore to give her the opportunity in appearance,
while securing that the channel through which communications passed should
be a treacherous one, and the whole of what was supposed to be secret
should be betrayed to him. To this end, the Queen was removed in December
1585 to Chartley Manor, avowedly in response to her own demands for a less
rigorously unpleasant residence than Tutbury. The instrument of the plot
was a young man named Giffard, supposed to be in the inner counsels of the
Jesuits, actually in Walsingham's service. Through Giffard, communications
were opened between Mary and a devoted adherent of hers in France named
Morgan: but every letter passing was deciphered and copied, and the copies
placed in the Secretary's hands.

[Sidenote: 1586 Babington's plot]

In the late spring, the great Babington conspiracy was set on foot; whereof
the main features were, that Elizabeth was to be assassinated by a group of
half a dozen young men who had places at court and occasional access to her
person. The two leading spirits were Anthony Babington and a Jesuit named
Ballard. Of course a Catholic rising and a foreign invasion were part of
the plan, and Mendoza at Paris was playing his own part. Much of the plot
was confided to Giffard, who reported to Walsingham. The Secretary and his
Queen were satisfied to let the plot develop while they gathered all the
threads in their own hands before striking. The correspondence, as copied
for Walsingham at Chartley, conveyed not details but general intelligence
of what was on foot to Mary, and approval from Mary to the conspirators. In
August, Walsingham's moment came: the conspirators were seized; under
torture or threat of torture they made complete confession. The Scottish
Queen's rooms at Chartley were ransacked, and all her papers impounded.
Again, as after the Throgmorton conspiracy, fleets were manned and musters
called out. In September, the conspirators were tried and executed, and a
Commission was appointed to try Mary herself in October.

[Sidenote: Trial of Mary]

Mary, as before, denied the jurisdiction, professing readiness to answer
only before Parliament. She ignored an invitation from the Queen to obtain
pardon by a confession of guilt. She assented under protest to appear
before the Court, and there avowed that she had consistently appealed to
the Powers of Europe to aid her, as she was entitled to do, but flatly
denied complicity in the Babington plot. The evidence against her was
entirely that of letters--said to be copied from her correspondence, but
quite possibly invented in whole or in part--and the confessions of the
conspirators or of her secretaries, extorted under torture or the fear of
it. Those letters might even have been concocted to suit Walsingham without
his actual privity, by the man who had the task of deciphering and copying
them. Having heard her denial, the Court was transferred from Fotheringay,
where it first sat, to Westminster: and at Westminster, after further
examination of the documents and of Mary's secretaries, it unanimously
pronounced her guilty. The sentence was left for Parliament and the Queen
to settle. The Parliament which had passed the recent Act for the Defence
of the Queen was dissolved, and a new one was summoned. On its meeting in
November, it petitioned for Mary's execution, in accordance with the terms
of the "Association" which Mary herself had offered to join. The
publication of the sentence was received with public acclamation: but
whether the Queen would assent to it remained to be seen.

What then were the guiding considerations, whether of Ethics or of

[Sidenote: The situation reviewed;]

For eighteen years, Mary had been in Elizabeth's power. Elizabeth had held
her captive for the sufficient reason--amongst others--that were she
outside of England and free from restraint, there was nothing to prevent
her from actively agitating the Catholics of Europe to assert her claim to
the English throne. No monarch having in his grip a claimant with an
undeniably strong title to his throne would have allowed that claimant to
escape from his clutches. Few would have hesitated to concoct some more or
less plausible pretext for the claimant's death. Half England considered
that a sufficient pretext was provided by Kirk o' Field; but even assuming
that Mary's guilt in that matter was legally proved, which it assuredly was
not, it is sufficiently obvious that the sovereign of England had no
jurisdiction. Still any monarch situated like Elizabeth would have
maintained, and probably have acted upon, the right to put the captive to
death, if proved to be guilty of complicity in treason or subornation
thereof. Throughout the eighteen years, Elizabeth had deliberately
abstained from seeking to prove definitely that Mary was an accomplice in
the various plots on her behalf, while she was no less careful to leave the
imputation of complicity clinging to her. But now, if the Chartley
correspondence were genuine, the case was decided. The Court, which cannot
be said to have been packed, was satisfied. Again it does not appear that
any monarch, regarding the captive's death as _per se_ desirable,
would have doubted the sufficiency of the ground for her execution.

But hitherto the English Queen had not regarded her rival's death as _per
se_ desirable. Conceivably there was an element of generosity in that
view. Certainly there was the fact that Mary was an anointed Queen, and
Elizabeth had a most profound respect for the sanctity of crowned
heads. But apart from this, there was the purely political argument. Mary
living, and in her power, was an asset. She might always be set at liberty
on terms. Elizabeth hated parting with a political asset even at a high
price, for good value. Hitherto she had reckoned the living Mary as worth
more than Mary's death would be: for Mary might simply be replaced as a
claimant by James, who was not, like his mother, in her power, and might
very well think the crown of England worth a Mass.

[Sidenote: its recent developments]

Now however, a considerable change had come over the situation. Failing
Mary the English Catholics were divided as to the succession. James could
profess filial affection when it suited him; but for some time past he had
dropped that attitude; he had just made a convenient compact with England;
and his mother, making up her mind to his antagonism, had by will
disinherited him and bequeathed her rights to Philip of Spain, who had a
clear claim to the blood Royal of England as descending through his mother
Isabella of Portugal from John of Gaunt. [Footnote: See _Front._
Philip's cousins, however, the duchesses of Braganza and Parma, daughters
of Isabella's brother, had a better title--as they also had to the crown of
Portugal. See p. 303. The exiled Westmorland had a better title still.] The
accession of Philip would suit neither France, nor the Pope; the accession
of James would be at best an uncertain gain to the Catholics; and so Mary's
execution would leave no one claimant for the discontented to rally to. On
the other hand, if Mary were allowed to live, her restoration by Elizabeth
would be almost incredible. Her value as an asset had fallen, the security
given by her death would be much more assured. Political expediency,
therefore, entirely favoured her death, unless the execution would bring
France or Scotland against Elizabeth in arms. France protested earnestly,
but clearly intended nothing stronger than protests, and it very soon
became equally clear that no serious trouble need be feared from James.

[Sidenote: 1587 The sentences carried out]

Still through December and January Elizabeth continued to vacillate. The
sentiment as to the sanctity of an anointed Queen still influenced her; yet
it is sufficiently clear that her real motive for hesitation was the
desire, not to spare Mary, but herself to escape the odium of sanctioning
the execution. At last however the warrant was signed, and received the
Chancellor's seal. Yet she made the Secretary Davison write to Paulet and
urge him to put Mary to death without waiting for the warrant. Paulet
flatly refused. She used such terms to Davison that he feared on his own
responsibility to forward the warrant to the appointed authorities
Shrewsbury and Kent. He went to Burghley: Burghley summoned privately all
members of the Council then in London. They agreed to share the
responsibility for acting without further reference to the Queen. On
February 4th, the letters were issued. On the 7th, in the afternoon, Kent
and Shrewsbury presented themselves at Fotheringay and told Mary that on
the following morning she must die.

[Sidenote: Death of Mary]

It was characteristic of her that during the few hours of life left to her,
she forgot neither loyal servant nor victorious foe. Her last written words
were to bid her friends remember both. When the morrow came, she mounted
the low scaffold in the great hall with unfaltering step, far less moved
outwardly than the six attendants whom she had chosen for her last moments,
a splendid tragic figure; every word, every gesture those of a woman
falsely charged and deeply wronged, majestic in her proud self-control. Was
it merely a superb, an unparalleled piece of acting? [Footnote: See
Appendix C. Mr. Froude is dramatically at his best in telling the story;
but his partisan bias is correspondingly emphasized.] Was it the heroism of
a martyr? The voice of England had doomed her; she appealed to a higher
Tribunal than England. King or Queen never faced their end more
triumphantly. Mary Stewart, royal in the fleeting moments of her
prosperity, royal throughout the long years of her adversity, was never so
supremely royal as in her last hour on earth.


ELIZABETH (viii), 1558-87--THE SEAMEN

As before we postponed the story of Ireland, in order to give a consecutive
narrative down to the point at which the interaction of Irish and English
affairs became marked and definite, so we have hitherto deferred
consideration of the most tremendous factor in the Elizabethan evolution,
the development of the Island nation into the greatest Ocean Power in the
world. The charter of the Queen of the Seas was drawn by the Tudor seamen,
and received its seal when the great Armada perished. It is time therefore
to see how it came about that England was able to challenge and to shatter
the Power which threatened to dominate the world.

[Sidenote: The New World]

Throughout the Middle Ages, until what we conveniently term, from the
English point of view, the Tudor Period, the European peoples were
confined to the European Continent and the adjacent islands. In Asia
and in Mediterranean Africa the Mohammedan races were a militant
barrier to expansion. The discoveries of Columbus and Vasco da Gama
opened new fields, whereof the inheritance was destined to the nations
who should achieve the dominion of the Ocean. Always important, the
capacity for maritime development now became the primary condition of
ultimate greatness. The fact was at the first recognised by Spain and
Portugal; and an immediate incentive was given to those two Powers, and
something of a check to the rest, when Pope Alexander VI., with an
authority as yet unchallenged, divided between them the newly found
countries and the lands still to be discovered. Acquiescence in the
award was limited; with the ecclesiastical revolt from Rome it
vanished; but Spaniards and Portuguese were already in full possession
of vast territories before their exclusive title to the whole was
called in question.

[Sidenote: The English Marine before Elizabeth]

Nevertheless, more than before, the eyes of statesmen were turned to
the sea and the eyes of merchants to the ocean. The nucleus of a Royal
Navy was formed by Henry VII., and his son very greatly increased the
number of the King's ships and built many tall vessels. The merchants
of Bristol and the western ports made daring voyages in hitherto
unexplored and half-explored waters, as we have seen; while the general
activity of the mercantile marine was greatly increased.

Prosperity, and as a necessary result, enterprise, suffered a check
under the disastrous financial conditions prevalent in the reigns of
Edward and Mary; yet the closing months of Edward's reign had been
marked by the departure of the expedition of Willoughby and Chancellor
in search of a North-East Passage; while several voyages to the Guinea
Coast--whither William Hawkins had sailed in Henry's day--were
undertaken by John Lock and Towerson, during the reign of Mary. We have
seen also how the young hot-heads of Protestantism had taken to
privateering in the Channel, in the name of Patriotism and true
Religion. That course was reprehensible enough; but it led at least to
the cultivation of the art of seamanship. On the other hand, that art
suffered from a curious draw-back. The partial cessation of the
practice of fasting which accompanied the development of Protestantism
reacted on the fishing trade, which was the regular school of sailors;
insomuch that not only Somerset but Cecil in Elizabeth's time, proposed
ordinances in favour of fasting, simply and solely to check the
collapse of that industry.

[Sidenote: The Royal Navy]

The Royal Navy developed by Henry VIII. was allowed perforce to decay
under his two immediate successors. According to the most authentic
lists, [Footnote: Sir W. Laird Clowes, _The Royal Navy_, vol. i.,
pp. 419 ff. Throughout this chapter, the figures for tonnage are
adopted from this work.] in 1548 there were 53 ships in the Fleet, with
a total tonnage of about 11,000. In 1558 there were but 26, with a
tonnage of little more than 7,000. During the first half of Elizabeth's
reign, the numbers were not increased; in 1575 there were but 24
vessels; but the tonnage had risen 50 per cent., and was within 10 per
cent, of what Henry had bequeathed to Edward. When the Armada came, in
the twenty-ninth year of Elizabeth's reign, 34 ships of the Royal Navy
were engaged, which had a slight superiority [Footnote: Clowes,
_Royal Navy_, i., p. 561.] of armament over any equal number of
the enemy's fleet. The aggregate tonnage is given [Footnote:
_Ibid_., p. 588.] as 15 per cent. more than that of Henry's 53--an
average per ship of very nearly double. It is clear therefore that the
policy of strengthening the navy was not neglected; but it took the
form of acquiring not more ships, but larger and better fighting
craft. [Footnote: Corbett, _Drake and the Tudor Navy_, i., pp. 370
ff. It is pointed out (p. 372) that medium sized ships were regarded as
better weapons in general than those of the largest size.] The
multiplication of smaller craft would have been a far less effective
means for achieving the desired end. The Royal Navy, a creation of the
century, was not supposed to constitute the naval defences of the
country. It occupied a position among the marine fighting force
analogous to that of our white troops in India to-day; who form only
one-third of the army there while reckoned and intended to be its

[Sidenote: Privateering]

It is possible that in the simple legitimate processes of trade, the
merchant captains would never have learnt the art of extracting every
ounce of value out of their ships as fighting machines; certainly they
would not have developed the very marked supremacy in gunnery which was
so decisive a feature in the contest with Spain. The mere temptations
of successful barter would not have sufficed to attract the fiery and
alert young gentlemen of Devon or elsewhere, and the daring mariners
who revelled in meeting and overcoming any apparent odds. But the
circumstances of the time presented to the men, who in other days would
have found no outlet for their energies but in land-service abroad, the
opportunity of giving those energies a wider scope in the more exacting
but also more inspiring service by sea: where richer prizes were to be
won, with greater risk no doubt, but risk which called every faculty of
manhood into vigorous play.

[Sidenote: Piracy?]

It has become the common practice to apply the term "piracy" at large
to the doings of the Elizabethan seamen; but a single category which
embraces Captain Kidd and Francis Drake ceases to imply any very
specific condemnation. The suggestion that their acts were on the same
moral plane is absurd. The "piracy" of the great Elizabethans was
compatible with a clean conscience. At the present day we rightly
account a man a murderer who slays another in his own private quarrel;
but we do not give that name to one who two centuries ago killed his
man in a duel. We decline to recognise the validity of the reasoning by
which men justified such acts to themselves; but before the fallacy in
that reasoning was understood, the degree of guilt involved in acting
upon it was something very different from what it would be to-day. In
the same way, a century ago honourable and honest men countenanced
smuggling; but we do not classify them with footpads. Yet a similar
confusion of thought is involved in this indiscriminate application of
the term piracy, unless we emphasize the fact that in this connexion it
must be divested of its ordinary moral connotation.

Plain sea-robbers there were, not a few, who had no compunction about
seizing and looting any vessel of any nationality except--for politic
reasons--their own. The records show clearly enough that there were
plenty of these, who found harbourage in the Scillies or on the Irish
Coast, or even on the English Channel, or would lie in wait to cut out
peaceable traders of any nation almost at the mouth of the Thames. The
Government took little enough pains to repress them. They did not
attack their own countrymen, and were a useful source for recruiting:
but they were indisputably Pirates.

[Sidenote: Volunteers]

Then there were the privateers who had a colour for their depredations;
professedly volunteers on the side of recognised belligerents. As it
was considered legitimate for troops of English volunteers to fight for
the revolted Netherland States, while the Government refused to
acknowledge that their doing so constituted an act of war against
Spain; so Englishmen were allowed to man ships and sail under the flag
of the Huguenots of Rochelle, carrying a commission to wage war on
"Papist" ships, French, or others regarded as in alliance with them.
This was not piracy in the accepted sense, though it was not perhaps
very far removed from it in the majority of cases. The kind of
fanaticism which, two hundred years after Elizabeth's accession,
elevated Frederick the Great into "the Protestant Hero" could easily,
without conscious insincerity, make Religion an excuse for spoiling the
Papists in Elizabeth's day; and the privateers who looted a Spanish
vessel or one carrying Spanish treasure or merchandise believed as a
rule that they were thereby laying up treasure in Heaven as well as on
Earth, Their Ethics were derived from the Old Testament; and they
looked upon the "Idolaters" very much as the Israelites were told by
the prophets to look upon the Philistines, or Amalek, or Ammon.

[Sidenote: Reprisal]

Moreover it must be borne in mind that as concerned the raiding of
Spanish ships, the Government balanced the injury done against the
grievances of the British sailors and ships seized in Spanish ports by
the Inquisition. So long as the Spanish King refused to interfere with
the jurisdiction of the Holy Office, the English Queen in effect
refused to interfere with acts of reprisal. If these rovers could have
been caught and hanged at the yard-arm, she could hardly have
protested; but as breaches of international amity the practices were
very much on a par. In the technical sense, that they made war on their
own account on the ships of a theoretically friendly Power, the rovers
of this class were no doubt pirates; what we have to recognise is that
the normal condition of affairs was one unknown to the law-books, a
state of quasi-war; having no little resemblance to that prevalent for
centuries on the Anglo-Scottish border, where it was not to be expected
that the Wardens of the Marches on the one side would carry out their
duties while the Wardens on the other side were neglecting theirs with
the connivance of the Government. And in this case, Philip's connivance
at the proceedings of the Inquisition was open and avowed; by
consequence, the English Government refused to treat the proceedings of
the privateers as piracy; and again by consequence the privateers
considered themselves to be acting in a perfectly legitimate, not to
say laudable, manner, in treating the enemy's commerce precisely as
they would have done under a state of declared war.

No doubt the desire of plunder was usually a stronger incentive than
either retaliation or religion. Privateering was not _per se_
admirable or praiseworthy. But it was something entirely different from
what we understand by Piracy pure and simple. And manifestly it
provided a very excellent and efficient school for the sons of a nation
which was about to challenge the Colossus of the South for the title to
the Empire of the Seas.

[Sidenote: The Explorers]

But while privateering bred in numbers men who knew how to handle and
fight their ships, something more was needed to produce a race of great
captains; something which was provided by the vast fields opened to
exploration. Here was to be found the necessary training in calculated
daring, in conquering seemingly impossible obstacles, in defying
apparently insurmountable dangers, in rising to overwhelming
emergencies, in learning to a nicety what it was possible for
seamanship to accomplish.

[Endnote: Spain in America]

At the opening of Elizabeth's reign, Spain and Portugal were
practically and theoretically in possession of the inheritance of the
explorers and the Conquistadores. The latter Power held complete sway
on the African Guinea Coast, and in the Indian Ocean, undisturbed by
European rivals; while the Pope had bestowed upon it so much of the New
World as lies East of the mouth of the Amazon--in effect, what lies
behind the coast-line of Brazil. All that lies west of the mouth of the
Amazon he had bestowed upon Spain; and this gift the swords of
Spaniards had made good. In the West India Islands, their head-quarters
were the Island and port of San Domingo (Hayti). From Florida, north,
to the mouth of the Amazon, south, all was Spanish territory. On the
Atlantic coast: Mexico had Vera Cruz with its haven of San Juan
d'Ulloa; on Darien was Nombre de Dios; on the _Tierra Firma_ known
to the English as the Spanish Main lay Cartagena and several other
ports of varying importance. On the Pacific coast, the most notable
spots were Panama, the port whither came the treasure ships from Peru
to transport their stores by land to Nombre de Dios; Lima, the great
city of Peru, which had its port of Callao; and further south the town
of Santiago and the harbour of Valparaiso. The straits of Magellan, the
only known entry for ships to the Pacific from the Atlantic, were
deemed virtually impassable, while Tierra del Fuego was supposed to be
the head of another Continent extending continuously to the south. In
all these regions, the Spaniard claimed an absolute monopoly, and the
right of excluding foreign vessels and foreign trade from what he
regarded as Spanish waters.

It is chiefly with transactions on these seas and territories that we
are concerned, in giving some account of the rovers, who first in their
private capacity challenged the power of Spain, and then led the
English fleets to their triumph over the "Invincible" Armada.

[Sidenote: John Hawkins's early voyages, 1562-1566]

First on the roll stands the name of John Hawkins--greatest of the
"sea-dogs" till his fame was surpassed by the mightiest of all, Francis
Drake. In Henry's day his father, old William Hawkins, had won high
repute, for himself as a sailor and for his countrymen as honourable
dealers, by his voyages to the Guinea coast, where the Portuguese were
in very evil odour, and to the Brazils. John Hawkins fell as far behind
his father in the latter respect as he surpassed him in the former: for
he was responsible for initiating the Slave-trade. His first notable
voyage was made in 1562, when he sailed to the Guinea coast, purchased
or kidnapped from the African chiefs some three hundred negroes,
crossed the Ocean, and sold them to the Spaniards in Hayti (or
Hispaniola). In 1564 he sailed again with four ships; but on reaching
America he was told at Rio de La Hacha and Cartagena that the traffic
was forbidden. The Englishmen, however, held that these regulations
were invalid, as a contravention of ancient treaty rights of free trade
with the Spanish dominions. The Spaniards for their part were willing
enough to find an excuse for transgressing their orders, which was
given by a slight display of force; and Hawkins came home again with
large profits, after visiting Florida where there were Huguenot
settlers, and Newfoundland where fishing fleets of all nations
congregated. It is noteworthy that while the Queen herself and sundry
of her courtiers had a large pecuniary interest in these ventures of
Hawkins, Cecil conscientiously declined to have part or lot in them,
now or later: lawlessness being to him a thing abominable.

Philip was naturally indignant at the Englishman's method of overriding
his trade regulations, and Hawkins had to lie quiet for a time; but in
1567 he sailed for the third time, taking with him his young cousin
Francis Drake.

[Sidenote: San Juan d'Ulloa 1567]

For a while all went well. The Spaniards wanted to buy in spite of the
regulations; though at Rio de La Hacha Hawkins had to emphasise the
advantages of trading with him by seizing the town in force. But when
he started for home, contrary winds and storms compelled him to put
back to the Mexican port of San Juan d'Ulloa (Vera Cruz) to refit his
three vessels. He was well received; but while he was in harbour, a
Spanish fleet of thirteen sail arrived. The entry was narrow, and
Hawkins could have held them at bay; but his theory was that he was
behaving in a perfectly regular and well-conducted manner. For three
days there was a peaceful interchange of courtesies; then without
warning the Spaniards attacked him. Two of his ships succeeded in
escaping, despite the heavy odds against them, taking a number of
survivors from the third. But next day they parted company; Hawkins's
ship was terribly overcrowded; a hundred of his men, by their own
desire, were landed--to fall into the hands of the Inquisition; and
Hawkins and Drake finally reached England separately with a remnant of
their crews, and the loss of all that had been gained in the first
stages of the venture.

[Sidenote: Francis Drake]

Now the Spaniards manifestly had a very good case for arresting Hawkins
on the ground of his overriding forcibly the regulations which they
were, in their own view at least, entitled to make: but they had chosen
to receive him hospitably and attempt his capture by flagrant treachery.
When his men fell into their hands, they might have been tried as
participators in his lawlessness; but the crime laid to their charge
was heresy. It is small wonder then that the feeling inspired by the
affair of San Juan d'Ulloa was: first, that the Inquisition, claiming
itself to be above international law, was outside international law, a
tyranny which should be fought without regard to law: second, that
Spain had no more right to the wealth of the New World than any one
else; third, that since in the New World she elected to rule not by
legal methods but by the high hand, it was legitimate to ignore law in
dealing with her. There and then Francis Drake, now twenty-seven years
old, made up his mind that he would for his own hand wage war on Spain
and the Inquisition in the New World. If to do so was piracy, Drake
resolved to become a pirate. But he assuredly did not conceive himself
to be a pirate; nor were his motives the same; and his methods were
utterly unstained by the blood-thirstiness and cruelty inseparably
associated with the title. He was rather an Ocean knight-errant,
smiting and spoiling, and incidentally enriching himself, but in
knightly fashion and for a great cause: not a miscellaneous robber, but
a scourge of the enemies of his country and his faith.

[Sidenote: The Venture of 1572]

Drake laid his plans with care and deliberation, making two more
voyages in small vessels to the West Indies to acquire thorough
knowledge and information, before starting on the first of his great
expeditions. Then in 1572, some months before the _rapprochement_
with Spain which followed St. Bartholomew, he sailed for the Spanish
Main; his whole force consisting of three small ships of a burden
ranging from 25 to 70 tons [Footnote: _Royal Navy,_ i., p. 621.]
with picked crews numbering in all 111 men. With this small company,
arriving by night, he fell suddenly upon Nombre de Dios, a principal
port of embarkation on the Isthmus of Darien. The surprise was not
complete, and though the resistance of the Spaniards was overcome and a
large capture of silver ingots was effected, Drake himself was somewhat
severely wounded. One of the ships went home; the other two with the
commander remained, and took several prizes. But this did not satisfy
him, and he conceived the daring scheme of landing and crossing the
Isthmus, to intercept the trains of treasure on their way overland from
Panama. In February he got, from a tree-top, his first sight of the
Pacific. He succeeded in ambushing a small train of mules laden with
gold, and, on his way back, another large one laden with silver. Then
where he expected to meet his own ships he found a Spanish squadron;
but undaunted by this ill-fortune, reached the shore undiscovered,
improvised a raft, put to sea, found his own ships, and returned to
Plymouth a rich man: having won golden opinions from the Cimmaroons--
escaped slaves of the district--from the contrast between the English
and the Spanish methods of treating them.

[Sidenote: 1575 John Oxenham]

This was but the precursor of that most famous of his voyages which
made his name more terrible to the Spaniards than that of John Hawkins
had ever been. More than four years, however, elapsed before that
expedition started; and in the interval one of his lieutenants, John
Oxenham in 1575 undertook his own disastrous venture, [Footnote: The
details of his story are familiar to all readers of Westward Ho.] which
well illustrates the boldness of conception and audacity of execution
that characterise the Elizabethan seamen. His plan was a development of
Drake's Darien exploit. On reaching the Isthmus, he hid his ship and
guns, crossed the mountains as Drake had done, built himself a pinnace,
and first of all Englishmen sailed on the Pacific. He captured two
treasure-ships, which of course had never dreamed of meeting a hostile
vessel; but allowed the crews to depart. Naturally a force was soon in
pursuit. Oxenham, with a fourth of their numbers, attacked them: half
his men were killed in the fight, and nearly all the rest including
Oxenham himself were put to death. Drake had already started before the
news reached England.

[Sidenote: Drake's great voyage, 1577]

In December 1577 Drake sailed from Plymouth with five ships; himself on
board the largest, the _Pelican_, of 100 tons. His purpose was to
invade the Pacific by the straits of Magellan. Therefore, after
touching at the Cape Verde Islands, he made not for the Spanish Main
but for Patagonia. Here at Port St. Julian occurred the famous episode
of the execution of Thomas Doughty, [Footnote: See the examination of
the authorities and the evidence in Corbett, _Drake and the Tudor
Navy_, i., ch. viii.] on charges which may be summed up as those of
treason and incitement to mutiny, wherewith was apparently mixed up a
conviction on Drake's part that Doughty exercised witch-craft to bring
on bad weather. It is not improbable at least that Doughty was really
acting in the interests of that party in England which was opposed to
the whole policy of the raid, and believed that he would have at his
back Lord Burghley, from whom the objects of the expedition were
supposed, erroneously, to be a secret. The Straits were reached at the
end of August; but were scarcely passed when a storm parted the ships.
John Winter, Drake's second in command, after waiting some while, gave
his consorts up for lost and returned home. The Pelican, which Drake
had re-christened the Golden Hind, alone remained to carry on the
adventurous voyage. The precise course taken by the ships in the storms
at this time is uncertain: but it seems clear that in some way or other
Drake obtained satisfactory evidence that Tierra del Fuego was only an
island, and that the Pacific could be reached by rounding Cape Horn.
[Footnote: _State Papers, Spanish_, iii., p. 341. See also Corbett,
i., pp. 269, 270.]

[Sidenote: Drake in the Pacific, 1578]

In due time then, when there seemed to be no more prospect of being
rejoined by Winter, the Pelican proceeded on its expedition. In
December, Drake astonished Valparaiso by sailing in and seizing a prize
and stores: no one had dreamed of an English ship in the Pacific.
Thence he proceeded, exploring the coast, and creating general alarm,
till he reached Callao, the port of Lima; where he secured a prize,
with which he started in pursuit of a great treasure ship known as the
Cacafuego, which he learnt had sailed a few days before. A couple of
ships were sent after him; so he cleared out his prize, left it adrift
for his pursuers to recover, and showed them a clean pair of heels.
After a long pursuit, and the capture of more minor prizes--which he
let go, after taking what he wanted, leaving intact the private
property of those on board--he overtook the Cacafuego, securing an
immense treasure and some exceedingly useful charts.

[Sidenote 1: Drake in the Northern Pacific 1579]
[Sidenote 2: The return, 1580]

Satisfied, after securing two more prizes, with the damage done to
Spain, and the rich spoils collected, he turned his attention to
geographical discoveries; for in passing Magellan's Strait he had had
two predecessors, but none in the northern regions which he had now
reached. Finding harbourage on the Californian coast, he repaired the
Pelican thoroughly, and then proceeded on a voyage of circumnavigation;
the spring of 1579 being now well advanced. His first idea was to look
for that imagined North East Passage, in the search for which
Willoughby had lost his life nearly five and twenty years before: and
with this object in view he sailed some hundreds of miles further North
than any explorers in the Pacific had hitherto gone. Coming, however,
to the conclusion that he was not equipped for such a venture as this
promised to be, he again returned to California to refit. There he
established most friendly relations with the natives, who were anxious
to deify him: and thence he started again to find his way across the
Pacific to the Cape of Good Hope. After much intricate and dangerous
navigation among the Spice Islands-in the course of which Drake made a
treaty with the Sultan of Ternate, and the Pelican was all but lost on
a reef-she rounded the Cape in January, sailing into Plymouth Sound on
September 26th, 1580, a little less than three years from the day when
she began her voyage. Drake was the first commander who conducted a
circumnavigation from start to finish. His precursors had died on the
voyage, and left their ships to be brought home by subordinates.

Luckily perhaps for Drake, he arrived just at the time when Philip's
subjects were aiding the Irish rebellion; and the English Queen could
claim that her great subject had been doing to Spain nothing so bad as
what Philip was countenancing in Ireland. Burghley alone refused to
have part or lot in the profits of what he held to be a lawless exploit,
but the rigid Walsingham applauded. Drake was knighted, and his name
was on every lip. More than that, the whole performance imbued English
sailors with an un-conquerable conviction that they were more than a
match for all the maritime power of Spain, and with an ardent longing
to put that conviction to the proof. Drake was the idol not only of
every seaman who had sailed under him, but of the entire English People.

Hawkins after 1567 and Drake after 1580 made no more great voyages for
their own hand. Hawkins, a past master in all that concerned ships and
shipping, was presently appointed Treasurer and practically controller
of the Royal Navy, and brought the Queen's ships to a high pitch of
perfection. Drake became, practically if not nominally, the first of
the Queen's admirals. Both, with two more among the explorers of whom
we have still to speak, were to play leading parts in the fight with
the Armada.

[Sidenote: Various Voyages, 1576-88]

Of these two, the more famous is Martin Frobisher, who in the early
sixties was one of the captains who made war on Philip's ships in the
English Channel. Between 1576 and 1578, he made three voyages in search
of the North West Passage-accompanied on two of them by the second
explorer referred to, Edward Fenton-visiting Greenland and exploring
Frobisher's Strait. [Footnote: Now known to be not a Strait but a Bay.]
The ships with which he made the first voyage were of no more than 25
and 20 tons [Footnote: _Royal Navy,_ i., p. 624.] respectively. In
1582 Fenton captained another expedition, which seems to have been
intended for Magellan but got no further than the Brazils, returning
after a successful engagement with some Spanish ships. Another
circumnavigation was accomplished by Thomas Cavendish (1586-8), who
wrought great damage to the Spanish settlements, burning as well as
looting, and brought home considerable spoils; but this expedition was
undertaken when England and Spain were technically at war.

Just before Cavendish sailed, John Davis, second to no English explorer
save Drake, commenced his series of Arctic voyages, learned much of
ice-navigation, and on the third voyage in 1587 discovered Davis'
Strait. These Arctic expeditions were of course quite unconnected with
the Spanish struggle; but while they exemplified the magnificent spirit
of English sailors, they also materially advanced English seamanship.

[Sidenote: Raleigh]

In these years preceding the Armada, there were those who, not content
with adventure and exploration by sea, made the first tentative efforts
from which in after days was to spring the vast colonial dominion of
Britain. There was hardly one of these enterprises which was not
directly due to the initiative, the exertions, and the persistence of
Walter Raleigh. Others no doubt took their share, whether moved by his
arguments or in a miscellaneous spirit of adventure; but Raleigh's was
the vision of a New England beyond the seas; a goal to dream of and to
strive for through weary years of failure and disappointment: an ideal
which appealed at once to an intellect among the keenest and an
imagination among the boldest of a time which abounded in keen
intellects and bold imaginations.

[Sidenote: Gilbert]

As early as 1578, when he was but six and twenty, Raleigh took part in
one such abortive venture, along with his half-brother the enthusiast
and dreamer Humphrey Gilbert: the same man whose paradoxical barbarity
in Ireland [Footnote: See p. 311, _ante_.] we have already
noticed: a barbarity very difficult at first sight to reconcile with
the high chivalrous spirit, the odd sentimentality, and the fundamental
piety which, besides his absolutely fearless courage, characterised Sir
Humphrey in a degree only a little more marked than numbers of his
contemporaries. A few years later, in 1583, Gilbert made his second
disastrous attempt to establish a colony in "Norumbega," the name given
to a vague region in the Northern parts of North America. Five ships
sailed. The attempt was a complete failure, and on the return voyage
Sir Humphrey went down with the little _Squirrel_, the smallest of
his ships, which foundered with all hands. The last time a consort was
within hail, he greeted her with the natural expression of his faithful
and courageous soul--"we are as near God by sea as by land". The story
is worth pausing over, for it is supremely characteristic. We may call
these men what we will; they persuaded themselves of the righteousness
of acts which shock an age in some respects more sensitive; but they
wrought mightily for England, and a main source of their triumphs was
their trust in the God whose cause they identified with their own, a
faith which was a living, impelling, force.

[Sidenote: Virginia]

Raleigh had not accompanied the expedition though he was one of the
promoters. In the following year he dispatched an expedition for
exploration and settlement in Norumbega, which took possession of a
district in what is now Carolina, naming it Virginia in honour of the
Virgin Queen. Thither, again on an expedition of Raleigh's, went Sir
Richard Grenville with Ralph Lane and others a year later (1585). Lane
remained with a company of a hundred men at Roanoake; Grenville
accomplished a characteristic feat of arms against a Spaniard on his
way home. But when after another year Raleigh sent succours to his
colony, the company was found to have withdrawn, having been taken off
by Drake's flotilla after he had accomplished his raid on Cartagena.
[Footnote: see p.334, _ante_.] Grenvilie however, reappearing,
left a small party. In 1587 Raleigh sent again; Grenville's party had
vanished, but a new colony was left. Twice again he sent, in 1590 and
in 1602, but both times without success. The colonists, except some
half dozen, had been massacred. The path to Empire is whitened by the
bones of the Pioneers. In the reign of the Virgin Queen, the attempt to
colonise Virginia failed utterly; but the failure was the precursor of
ultimate triumph. The United States owe their being to Sir Walter



[Sidenote: 1587 Results of Mary's Death]

If Mary Stewart displayed the most royal side of her character in the hour
of her doom, Elizabeth displayed the least royal side of hers in the weeks
that followed. She disavowed Davison's act, disgraced him, sent him to the
Tower; she would have had him tried for treason but that the judges
declared emphatically that the charge could not hold water. She was obliged
to be content with the infliction of a heavy fine, and dismissal. She could
not trample on the whole of her Council, who had deliberately assumed the
responsibility: but to France and to Scotland she clamoured that the deed
was none of her doing. There was an elvish humour in the Scots King's reply
that he would hold her innocent when she had faced and disproved the charge
--accentuated by her answer that as a sovereign she was not amenable to
trial; for it was a quite precise reversal of the tone adopted eighteen
years before, when Mary was the accused party; and Elizabeth now found
herself reduced to the very plea which she had ignored when Mary urged it
in her own behalf. The position was ignominious; yet Elizabeth had no one
but herself to thank. She might have avowed and justified the Act;
disavowing it, the only logical course was to punish those on whom the
guilt lay. She tried to evade the dilemma, by crushing the most
insignificant one among them and scolding the rest, while protesting on her
own part an innocence which was a palpable hypocrisy.

The Scots however might rage; James might find gratification in an
argumentative victory; but for more pronounced action he wanted more than a
sentimental inducement. Politically Elizabeth had won the game by the
method peculiar to herself and her father--of counting on their servants to
shoulder the responsibility. While Mary lived there was always the chance
that the Catholics of England might be rallied to the standard of a
Catholic princess whose legitimacy was indisputable. But they would not
rally to that of her Protestant son, or consent to have England turned into
a province of the Spanish King. Even Catholic Europe could not view such a
prospect with enthusiasm or even equanimity, however much the
uncompromising devotees of the Holy See might desire it. In France it was
only the extremists of the League who could countenance such a scheme. In
England, the death-blow of the Scots Queen was the death-blow also to the
chances of a Catholic revolt. Despite the fervid dreams of Allen and
Parsons, the entire Nation was ready to oppose an undivided front to any
foreign assailant.

[Sidenote: Attitude of Philip]

The time, however, had at last arrived when Philip had definitely made up
his mind that the overthrow of Elizabeth must no longer be deferred. This
was an end which he had desired certainly for eighteen years past.
Whenever he had an ambassador in England, that ambassador had been more or
less deeply involved in every plot or attempted insurrection against the
throne. But Philip had never concentrated his efforts on that design. He
had held on to the theory that the Netherlands must be first crushed. When
once they were brought into complete subjection, he would make England feel
the full extent of his power. And so year after year passed, the revolted
Provinces obstinately holding out in a struggle which year after year it
had seemed impossible for them to go on maintaining. More than once
advisers had suggested that it would be better to reverse the order; to
crush England first, and then finish off the Netherlands at his
leisure. But this scheme always involved a danger: he had no alternative,
if he succeeded, but to set Mary on the throne in place of her cousin;
Mary, once established, even by his aid, might attach herself to France
instead of to Spain; and the balance of parties in France was so uncertain
--depended so much on the action of the Politiques--that in such an event
he might still find that he had a very dangerous Anglo-French combination
to reckon with in settling his accounts with the Provinces.

[Sidenote: Attitude of Elizabeth]

On the other hand, whether Elizabeth's policy had been dictated by a most
consummate, if by no means elevated, state-craft based upon an abnormally
astute calculation of risks and chances, or merely by a desperate desire to
stave off an immediate contest, whatever shifts might be involved; whether
it was in fact peculiarly long-sighted, or opportunist to the last and
lowest degree; it had been actually a complete success. She had given the
Provinces just that minimum of assistance or apparent countenance which did
enable them to keep their resistance alive. In France she had done just
enough, for the Huguenots, to hamper the Guises and no more; and she had
kept up the eternal marriage juggle, the eternal menace of an alliance with
the French court, which would have doubled Philip's difficulties in the
Netherlands, and might have trebled the dangers of a direct attack on
England--thereby perpetually driving Spanish diplomacy to seek to detach
her decisively from France by professions of a desire for amicable alliance
with her. She had replied to the Spanish efforts by perpetual declarations
of a corresponding order, and by constant negotiations, always at the last
moment rendered futile by the introduction of some condition at the time
impossible of acceptance.

[Sidenote: The situation]

At last, however, the endless evasion had ceased to be possible.
Leicester's campaign in the Netherlands, feeble as it was, and Drake's
expedition to Cartagena, put an end to the theory that Spain and England
were at peace. It was known that in the ports of Spain and Portugal Philip
was making his slow preparations for a naval attack; his ablest admiral,
Santa Cruz, had formulated a vast scheme--vaster indeed than Philip was
ever prepared to adopt. The Guises were prepared to go any lengths to
prevent the legitimate Protestant succession in France; and the French King
had publicly thrown in his lot with the Guises. Now also Mary Stewart was
not only out of the way herself, but before her death had declared against
the succession to her own claims of her son, and had acknowledged Philip,
[Footnote: _State Papers, Spanish,_ iii., p. 581; and _ante,_ p.
338.] a legitimate descendant of John of Gaunt, as her heir. At last in
Philip's mind the suppression of Elizabeth acquired precedence over the
suppression of the Provinces.

The near approach of a life-and-death struggle made no difference whatever
in the English Queen's methods. Eighteen months before, she had struck one
hard blow by sea, when she dispatched Drake on the Cartagena expedition,
but otherwise had merely played at helping the Netherlanders, by sending an
army and paralysing it for action. She did exactly the same thing now.

[Sidenote: April: Drake's Cadiz expedition]

Drake, with a squadron not large either in numbers or in tonnage but
exceedingly efficient, had orders to sail from Plymouth to "singe the King
of Spain's beard," as he phrased it. Drake knew his Queen, and got himself
out of port before the appointed day, on April 2nd. The expected counter-
orders arrived in due time--when he was out of reach. Elizabeth possibly
knew her Drake and reckoned on his premature departure, while she had
secured her loop-hole for shuffling out of the responsibility. He carried
out the singeing business most effectively. Making for Cadiz, where it was
known that stores and ships were accumulated, he stood into the harbour,
sunk one ship of war there, cleared out so much of the stores as he could
accommodate, and fired the bulk of the shipping, cutting the cables. Drake
then captured the Sagres forts at Cape St. Vincent, intending to lie in
wait for an expected squadron from the Mediterranean; but departed after a
short interval, being minded to sail into the port of Lisbon where the
Admiral Santa Cruz lay with the bulk of the Armada. This exploit, however,
he was obliged to forgo, [Footnote: Corbett, _Drake and the Tudor
Navy_, ii., pp. 97 ff. The account there given is followed here. The
author points out that Froude and others have been misled by the almost
certain misdating of a letter of Drake's which he attributes to 1589.]
contenting himself with a challenge to Santa Cruz to come out and fight,
which he was in no condition to do. Returning to Cape St. Vincent, Drake
there remained long enough to stop the expected squadron, and throw the
whole of Philip's transport arrangements out of gear. Satisfied with the
destruction wrought, which served to cripple at least the mobility of the
Armada for many months, he then sailed for the Azores, where he fell in
with a great Spanish _East_ Indiaman, the _San Felipe_, whereof
the spoils very satisfactorily filled the pockets of his crews; and so
returned home, having made it all but impossible that the invading fleet
should sail during 1587.

[Sidenote: Negotiations with Parma]

Then, month after month, Elizabeth carried on the old practice in the
Netherlands. She negotiated persistently with Parma, on the old basis, that
the Provinces had a right to their old constitution but nothing more. Of
course she knew that the Provinces would never assent to that solution. On
the favourable view of her policy, it must be held to have rested on a
fixed determination not to make the Netherlands her field of battle. For
Sluys, one of the forts which she held, so to speak, in pawn from the
States, was taken after a stubborn siege and at immense cost both in money
and men by Parma, simply because Maurice of Nassau was too uncertain as to
her real intentions to make a serious effort for its relief. Confidence in
her had sunk to the lowest point when, some months before, an English
captain, Stanley, had handed over the town of Deventer, which was in his
charge, to the Spaniards, whose service he himself entered. The Provinces,
Parma, Elizabeth's own Ministers, believed that she meant the negotiations
in earnest. Parma, who knew how tremendous a task the invasion of England
must be, would have liked to come to terms, but Philip would not give him
the authority; the terms approved by his lieutenant must be referred back
to him. They were never finally formulated. All through 1587, through the
first months of 1588, the thing dragged on; and then Elizabeth declared
that the surrender of the Cautionary Towns, always hitherto treated as the
necessary first step, was only to be thought of as the last step--a quite
impossible condition from the Spanish point of view. But by the time the
negotiations had thoroughly broken down, a whole year had been practically
wasted by Spain. Taking on the other hand the unfavourable view--which
appears to have been that of almost every statesman and soldier of the day
--she engaged in a highly discreditable negotiation for a betrayal of the
Provinces by the surrender of the Cautionary Towns, in the hope of
obtaining with Philip a peace which would have rendered him infinitely more
dangerous than he actually was; being only saved from that disaster by
saner counsels and against her own will at the last moment.

[Sidenote: The Queen's Diplomacy]

From beginning to end, the facts are consistent with either view of her
character. If the second view be true, history affords no parallel to the
amazing good fortune which attended her; for her whole career was a
succession of apparently hopeless entanglements, each one leading to
inevitable disaster; yet from every one a loop-hole of escape was found.
If the first be true, history again affords no parallel to the invariable
success which attended a series of deceptions practised alike upon her
servants, her friends, and her enemies. But whichever solution we accept--
and there is no third alternative--her personal policy remains one of pure
political opportunism, either very short sighted or singularly long
sighted, without a particle of the idealism which, mixed though it might be
with other motives, was so emphatically characteristic of half her
ministers and more than half her subjects. Towards the cause of the
Reformation, as such, she was entirely cold; to her, its adherents in the
Netherlands and in France were merely pieces on the political
chess-board. It is an odd paradox that such a ruler should have won and
maintained among her own people a personal popularity amounting to
enthusiasm, which was a very strong force in binding the nation together.

[Sidenote: 1587-88 French affairs]

While Elizabeth was keeping up the diplomatic game above described, she was
very materially aided by the state of affairs in France, where what is
known as the "War of the three Henries"--Henry III., Henry of Navarre, and
Henry of Guise--was in full progress. The King, professing to support the
League, was in fact doing his best to play into the hands of his nominal
opponent, Navarre, and to paralyse his nominal adherent, Guise, who had
Philip of Spain behind him. Philip, aware of this ambiguous position--as
also was Elizabeth--found himself unable to trust to France for support, or
absolutely to repudiate her demands to share in the Armada expedition
viewed as a Catholic Crusade. The position became acute when Guise,
ignoring the King's orders, entered Paris in force, receiving a general
ovation while the King himself had to fly, on the "Day of the Barricades"
(April-May, 1588). There was a nominal reconciliation in July; but it was
then already too late for the Guises to hold the French ports at the
service of the Spaniard.

Neither from Scotland nor in Ireland was any danger to be apprehended in
the coming struggle. We turn again to the story of the Armada itself.

[Sidenote: 1587 Preparations for the Armada]

Great as was the damage wrought by Drake, it was energetically repaired,
and Philip warned Parma to be ready for the arrival of the Armada in
September 1587. The plan of operations was for Santa Cruz to sail up the
Channel, dominate the passage from the Low Countries, and so enable Parma,
heavily reinforced by the soldiers on board the great fleet, to pour his
troops into England. Philip's plans were quite unaffected by the talk of
peace; but the English were justified in their confidence that the Armada
would not be ready to sail in time. When it was ready, Santa Cruz
pronounced that the storms to be looked for so late in the year would make
the voyage itself dangerous, and would render it impossible to keep the
necessary control of the water-ways: which was what the English authorities
had calculated on.

[Sidenote: 1588 Plans of Campaign]

There was indeed a very considerable risk in deferring the mobilisation of
the English fleet; for in January, Philip resolved to delay no longer, and
if the Armada had sailed then there was no force ready to meet it. But the
death of Santa Cruz at the critical moment destroyed the plan. In February
the English were in trim to take the seas; the opportunity was lost, and
another was not given. If the seamen had been allowed their own way, the
Lord Admiral Howard of Effingham, Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher and the other
captains would have sailed for the Spanish coast; nor can it be doubted
that they would then have done completely what Drake and his squadron had
done only in part a year before, and practically have annihilated the
Armada in its own ports; but other counsels prevailed, to their great
chagrin. The idea that the Spanish fleet might evade the English, if the
latter left the Channel, and make the invasion a _fait accompli_
without a sea-fight at all, was too alarming to the landsmen. Whether Parma
would ever have taken the enormous risk of throwing himself into a hostile
country, with an unfought fleet hastening to cut him off from his base, is
another matter. It is noteworthy however that even the seamen do not seem
to have realised the enormous risk involved in such an undertaking. They
knew that a small squadron was quite sufficient to frustrate any invasion
that Parma without the Armada could contemplate. But when the Armada was
already in helpless and headlong flight round Scotland, Drake [Footnote:
Laughton, S. P. _Armada,_ ii., pp. 99, 100: Drake to Walsingham.]
still regarded an attempted coup by Parma as a danger to be seriously
guarded against.

[Sidenote: The opposing forces]

We are in the habit of looking upon the destruction of the Armada as a feat
verging on the miraculous. Yet it is apparent that every one of the great
sailors anticipated a complete victory with entire confidence. They knew
that they understood the conditions of naval warfare, and that the enemy
did not. Although, on paper, the Spaniard had all the best of it, he never
really had a chance, for the plain reason that his fleet was utterly
outclassed. The Armada put to sea with about 130 ships. Of these, 62 were
of over 300 tons burden. The whole English fleet is given as 197 ships
including the 34 of the Royal Navy. Of these, only 49 exceeded 200
tons. The average [Footnote: Laughton, i., p. li.] tonnage of the 62 was
quite double that of the 49; and the aggregate of the 130 was approximately
double that of the 197. The recorded lists and estimates also give the
Spaniards double the number of men and guns. Many of the great Spaniards
were little more than transports; on the other hand, half the English ships
were too small for effective fighting. But there is little doubt that the
English fighting ships were much better armed relatively to their size;
that the guns were better, and infinitely better handled. The ships were in
fact far superior as fighting machines, because the two fleets were built,
armed, and manned, on two diametrically opposed theories of naval tactics:
which may be summed up by saying that the Spaniards relied upon mass, and
hand to hand fighting, the English on mobility and artillery; applying
unconsciously by sea the principles by which the great land-tacticians of
the past, Edward III. and Henry V., had shattered greatly superior hosts at
Crecy and Agincourt. The finer comprehension of naval strategy on the part
of the English admirals had been made of no account by the ignorance of the
supreme authority, which detained the fleet on the coast: but their
tactical developments were unhampered. For the first time on a large scale
the accustomed rules were about to be discarded.

[Sidenote: The New Tactics]

Hitherto, naval battles had been assimilated to land battles; ships had
attacked, moving abreast in military formation; they had grappled and
fought for possession of each other's decks; the work had been soldiers'
work, and for that the Spaniards were equipped, carrying two soldiers for
every mariner. But this was to be mariners' work, and on the English ships
the complement of soldiers was quite insignificant in comparison to that of
mariners and gunners. The English ships were handled by seamen, many of the
Spanish by landsmen. The English ships answered the helm and could go
"about," with a rapidity which amazed the Spaniards. They were constructed
to deliver broadsides, which the Spaniards could not do. Their guns could
be discharged three times or more to the Spaniards once. The Spaniards,
with a dim perception of the English point of superiority, tried to nullify
it by futile firing at the rigging, which was for the most part a pure
waste of shot; the English pounded the Spanish hulls and their crowded
decks; systematically refusing to come to close quarters, so that the enemy
never had a chance of utilising his soldiery. With ships built and rigged
for speed and for manoeuvring, with men who had learnt how to handle them
in many a storm, with captains whose seamanship was trusted by every
sailor, the Englishmen repeatedly secured the weather-gauge, joining battle
or refusing it as they liked; and the final result was never seriously in

[Sidenote: Defective arrangements]

From the month of March then, the departure of the Spanish fleet was
delayed only by its own unreadiness to sail, due in part to the obvious
incompetence of the Duke of Medina Sidonia who had been appointed, very
much against his own will, to the command; for he was absolutely devoid of
any naval or even military experience. The English ships were in admirable
order; [Footnote: Laughton, i., p. 79: Howard to Burghley, Feb. 21.] but
the great trouble with them was in the commissariat. The emergency was
quite without parallel, and the system, such as there was, was quite
inadequate to cope with it. To maintain, month after month, supplies for so
large an armament, was next to impossible; and to this much more than to
the "niggardliness" of the Queen, [Footnote: Laughton, i., pp. lvii ff.
Froude's latitude of paraphrase makes his handling of the evidence
peculiarly inconclusive.] must be attributed the vehement complaints of
deficiencies. Sanitary conditions also were not at all generally
understood, and it was dangerous to keep crews constantly on board. On the
whole, the denunciations of the authorities were not different from those
to which they always have been, and probably always will be, subjected.
Individuals did their best to work a defective organisation with only
partial success. And there was very much the same tale from the Spanish as
from the English; the notable difference lay mainly in the great
superiority of the latter in the purely naval department of administration.

[Sidenote: The Land forces]

As concerns the adequacy of the arrangements on land for resisting the
invader if he succeeded in reaching the shore, it is difficult to speak.
It was almost a matter of course that Leicester was given the command,
though he had no military talent; but he had at his elbow the one
thoroughly experienced captain available, Sir John Norreys. A great camp
was formed at Tilbury to cover London; the raw country musters were in
readiness every where to fly to arms when the signal beacons should flash
their message over the land. How much resistance they could have offered to
Parma's veterans, none can tell. But it may safely be laid down, that while
the English fleet was in being, the invaders' chances of ultimate success
were infinitesimal, but that if the fleet had been wiped out they would
have been, at least _prima facie_, exceedingly promising. As
Leicester, not Norreys, was in command of the army, so Howard of Effingham,
not Drake, was in command of the fleet. But of Effingham we know that he
was not himself ignorant of naval matters, and that he had no notion of
ignoring the judgment of the colleagues who were technically his
subordinates. With Drake as Vice-Admiral and Hawkins as Rear-Admiral, there
was no danger of inefficient command. The naval appointments were in every
way admirable; and even the noblemen and gentlemen who were captains of so
many of the ships knew better than to overrule the practical command of
their mariner-subordinates. On May 20th the Armada sailed from Lisbon, but
was scattered by a storm in the second week of June, reassembling at
Corunna--when Medina Sidonia vainly urged that the expedition should be
given up. Some of the ships had proceeded within ken of the Scillies,
causing considerable excitement; but these too put back to Corunna, whence
the whole armament made its final start on July 12th.

At the end of May, the English fleet was collected at Plymouth, a squadron
with Seymour and the veteran Wynter being left on guard at the East end of
the Channel. The admirals were again anxious to seek out the Spaniards and
give account of them in their own seas, but supplies were short, and Howard
was again definitely ordered to remain on the coast. It is however inferred
by some authorities [Footnote: Corbetts ii., pp. 179-181.] that Drake and
Howard did make a dash for the Spanish coast, about July 7th, while the
Armada was at Corunna, in the hope of striking a swift and decisive blow;
but that the favouring wind was lost, a South-Wester set in, and they had
to return to the Channel, being insufficiently provisioned to remain at a
distance from home.

Howard then, with Drake and Hawkins and the major part of the English fleet
was lying in Plymouth, getting stores aboard as fast as might be, while
Seymour and Sir William Wynter with their squadron were lying at the East
end of the Channel, when on July 19th the news came that the Armada had
been sighted off the Lizard, coming up with a favouring wind. There was
nothing for it but to work out of Plymouth Sound in the teeth of the
wind. When the Spaniards came in view on the 20th (Saturday) the move had
been accomplished. In the night, the English passed out to sea, across the
Spanish front, and so in the morning found themselves to windward and
attacked--as it would seem, for the first time in naval warfare, in
"line-ahead" formation, pouring successive broadsides into the enemy's
"weathermost" ship. This action lasted little more than two hours. Not many
of the Spaniards were actually engaged, but the working effect of the new
tactics was tested, Admiral Recalde's ship was crippled, some others had
suffered from a very severe fire very inadequately returned; incidentally
too, one great galleon had been almost blown to pieces by an accident, and
the ship of Valdez was disabled through collision. The Duke of Medina
Sidonia left her to her fate, and she surrendered to Drake early next
morning, the two fleets in the meantime having proceeded up Channel. Drake
ought to have led the pursuit during the night, and by not doing so caused
some confusion and delay-also, it would seem much indignation on the part
especially of Frobisher; [Footnote: Laughton, ii., pp. 101 ff.] but his
conduct is capable of legitimate if not complete justification. [Footnote:
Corbett, ii., pp. 231 ff.]

[Sidenote: The fight off Portland, July 23]

In consequence however, the English were unable to form for attack--though
the half-blown-up ship, the _San Salvador_, fell into their hands--
till late on the next day, when they were foiled by the falling of a
calm. When the breeze got up again on Tuesday, the Spaniards were to
windward, off Portland, and challenged an engagement. In manoeuvring to
recover the weather-gauge, Frobisher, with some other vessels, was for a
time cut off, and fought a very valiant fight, till a change in the wind
enabled them to extricate themselves, and there was more sharp fighting in
which the Spaniards suffered most. Neither side however could claim a
victory. But it was seen that much more would have been effected had the
Armada been less systematically organised, and the English more so. Before
the next general engagement, the defect had been remedied by the
distribution of the fleet into four divisions, under Howard, Drake,
Hawkins, and Frobisher respectively.

[Sidenote: The fight off the Isle of Wight, July 25]

It was supposed to be the intention of the Armada [Footnote: Corbett, ii.,
228. This was no doubt the recommendation of Recalde and others. But it was
in the teeth of Philip's instructions. In any case however, it was what the
English expected, and their action was based on that hypothesis.] to secure
the station at the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth; and it was to frustrate
this object that the third battle was fought on Thursday. In the interval,
Howard had only worried the enemy, being in need of fresh supplies of
ammunition which were now arriving. On the Thursday, the fluctuating airs
again forced the English to manoeuvre for the weather gauge, in order to
attack. The brunt of the resulting engagement was borne by Frobisher and
Howard, who occupied the enemy and were very thoroughly occupied
themselves; until the Armada, which had not in appearance been getting the
worst of it, went about and sailed off up Channel in good order. The
explanation would appear to be that the Spaniard found himself suddenly
threatened with a crushing flank attack [Footnote: Corbett, ii., p. 254.
The explanation is Mr. Corbett's conjecture.] by the combined squadrons of
Drake and Hawkins, which would have driven him upon the banks known as the
"Owers"; and to escape destruction, he had no alternative but to give up
the design on Portsmouth, if he had ever entertained it, and continue his
unimpeded course up Channel. To fight where he was had become impossible.
Thus, although the comparative injury to his fleet was not very great, the
action was a very decisive victory for the English. The Spaniards had to
revert to the desperate plan of a junction with Parma, instead of securing
a station in the Channel.

[Sidenote: Effects on the fleets]

Although strategically a great point was secured by this third engagement,
the ostensible strength of the Spanish fleet remained virtually unaltered,
and the English captains were evidently disappointed at having achieved no
more marked results. Of course, on the theory that the odds were,
professionally speaking, all in favour of the Armada, they had done
exceedingly well; but they were fighting under the perfectly correct
impression that the odds were in their own favour, and yet they had done no
signal injury. In fact however they had accomplished a good deal more than
appears on the surface. Their losses were far short of 100 men all told;
their ships were intact; the spirit of the fleet had been tested; and they
had already learnt and remedied the defect in their organisation at the
start. On the other hand, the Armada had lost three ships, several more had
suffered so severely as to be useless for further action, its ammunition
was running short, some hundreds of men had been killed or wounded, and the
whole fleet had realised that in manoeuvring capacity it was completely
outclassed, so that its _morale_ was failing. Already it felt itself
fighting a losing battle. Whereas, when the Isle of Wight was left behind,
the English were more confident than ever that they themselves were
fighting to win.

[Sidenote: The Armada at Calais]

The Duke then made his course for Dunkirk, sending urgent messages to Parma
to come out and help him: which it was not possible for Parma to do. On
Saturday evening, without any further fighting, the Armada anchored in
Calais Roads. The same evening, Howard was joined by Seymour's squadron,
and for the first time his fleet was at its full strength. It now became
his great object to force the decisive engagement before Medina Sidonia and
Parma at Dunkirk could effect a junction. To this end it was needful to
dislodge the Armada from its anchorage. Wind and tide both favouring, on
Sunday night eight fire-ships were sent drifting on to the Spanish fleet.
A panic arose; the Spaniards cut their cables and made for the open, to
escape the danger. They were to suffer later on for this loss of their
anchors. Now, when the morning broke, the great fleet which had
successfully preserved its formation hitherto, was scattered along a
dangerous coast, with the entire English force lying to windward within
striking distance.

[Sidenote: The battle off Gravelines, July 29]

For the Duke, the first thing to do was to recover his formation; for the
English, to prevent his doing so. Howard should have led the attack, but
turned aside to make sure of a crippled galleon. Drake, followed by
Hawkins, Frobisher, and Seymour, sailed down on the Spaniards, and the last
decisive engagement began. Medina Sidonia was never able to bring more than
half his ships into action. He gained some time, by Howard's aberration,
but in the course of the day the entire English fleet was engaging him. The
ships and the captains, however, who were able to rejoin him, were the best
in the Armada, and they made a magnificent and desperate struggle. Raked
with broadside after broadside they fought on, drifting into ever more
dangerous proximity to the shoals, their hulls riddled, their decks
charnel-houses; resolved to sink rather than strike; while the English
poured in a ceaseless storm of shot at close range but always evaded the
one danger, of being grappled and boarded, the sole condition under which
the Spaniard could fight at an advantage. At last the English drew off;
partly because their ammunition, like the Spaniards', was all but
exhausted, except in Howard's squadron, the expenditure having been quite
unparalleled; partly because a fierce squall for a time provided them with
a new enemy which it took all their energies to meet. That squall was the
salvation of the Spaniards; when it cleared, they were already in full
flight to the North East.

[Sidenote: The Armada in flight]

The Armada was now to leeward of Dunkirk, and a junction with Parma had
been rendered impossible. On the following day indeed, it seemed that the
whole fleet was doomed to destruction on the shoals, when a change of wind
enabled them to make for the North Sea, the main part of the English fleet
following in pursuit, while Seymour's squadron, to his intense disgust, was
left to guard the Channel. But for the English shortage of ammunition,
which made it impossible to provoke another general engagement, half the
Armada might very well have fallen a prey to the pursuers; for it was a
fleet that knew itself hopelessly beaten; its morale was gone, its
ammunition was exhausted, its best crews were much more than decimated,
many of its vessels were hopelessly crippled. As it was, the English were
content to follow and watch while the Spaniards drove Northwards before a
stiff gale; giving up the chase on August 2nd, by which time it was evident
that the enemy had no course open to them but to attempt the passage round
the North of Scotland, and so to make for home by the Irish coast as best
they might; though later, the wind changing to the North created a passing
fear that they might return with it to Denmark, to refit.

[Sidenote: The End of the Armada]

In the whole series of actions, the English lost only about a hundred men
and one ship. Out of that great Armada which had sailed with the Papal
blessing to lower the insolent pride of heretic England, not more than half
the ships found their way back to Spain. Of the sixty or more that were
lost, nine [Footnote: Clowes, _Royal Navy_, i., p. 585.] only are
definitely accounted for in the actual fighting. Of the rest, nineteen are
recorded as wrecked on the Scottish or Irish coast: there must have been
many more. Of their crews, those whom the winds and the waves spared, the
Irish slew; and those who escaped the Irish, the English soldiery slew. Of
the fate of the remainder, one-fourth of the entire fleet, nothing is

_Dominus flavit, et dissipati sunt._ The Lord blew and they were
scattered. Small wonder that the puritan spirit saw in that huge disaster
the direct intervention of the Almighty, smiting on behalf of His
People. Yet the winds and the seas had but given an awful completeness to
the already triumphant handiwork of the English Seamen. From first to last,
through all the fighting, till the desperate _sauve qui peut_ of the
battered and shattered foe across the Northern seas began, no particular
good fortune in the matter of wind and weather had favoured England. She
had won, against apparent odds, because her sons had found out on many a
venturous voyage how the great game of war by sea ought to be played; and
her enemy had not. She had won decisively. Philip might stiffen his pride
and boast that he could yet send forth fleets mightier than the lost
Armada. But on the day of the fight off Gravelines the doom of his power
was sealed; and the Empire of the Ocean passed from Spain to England.



[Sidenote: After the Armada]

The sceptre had passed. The world awoke suddenly to the truth of which
the great debacle was only the unexpected testimony. The Spanish People
were slow to realise the overwhelming fact--overwhelming, because for
the best part of a century at least they had accounted themselves the
nation favoured by Heaven, chosen for the crushing of the heathen and
the heretic, assured of victory. So, for a few years, had the English
thought of themselves; but with a difference; for their spirit was that
expressed in the later Puritan adage, "Trust in God and keep your
powder dry". The Spaniard had neglected to keep his powder dry. The
nation which observes both injunctions is tolerably certain to defeat
that which observes only one.

The sceptre had passed; but Spain would not acquiesce without a
struggle, and, in his slow fashion, Philip set himself to adapt to his
own navy the lesson taught by the fate of the Armada. England had won
the lead, but she was not to hold it unchallenged, though she did
maintain it convincingly. For her alertness did not leave her, and to
her had been transferred not the power only but also the enormous
prestige which Spain had hitherto enjoyed, and which counts for much in
every struggle where it is recognised on both sides.

But the re-organisation of the Spanish Navy was a matter of time. For
the moment, the result of the collision was absolutely to reverse the
hypothetical though not the actual position of the two countries. Spain
was reduced completely to the defensive. England no longer thought of
guarding herself, but only of smiting her foe--a theory of the mutual
relations on which, unofficially, the seamen had been acting for the
last decade.

If during the closing ten years of his life Philip's strongest desire
was to recover the lost supremacy, his energies were still divided by
his extreme anxiety to prevent the Bourbon succession in France; while
the conviction was proving day by day more irresistible that the
Protestant Netherlands would be lost for ever to Spain. Yet the eternal
series of abortive plots for restoring the old religion and placing
either Philip or a tool of Philip on the English throne went on; not in
fact ending till the death of Elizabeth joined England and Scotland
under a single crown.

[Sidenote: A new phase]

Politically the dramatic climax of Elizabeth's reign is the dispersion
of the Armada. The dragon has been fought and vanquished, and at this
point, the curtain ought to ring down and leave the audience to imagine
the Red-cross knight and his ladye-love living happy for ever
afterwards. But in history no climax is more than an incident; at the
most it is but the decisive entry on a new phase. The chain of
causation, of the interdependence of events, is continuous.

The moment of the Armada then may be regarded as the conclusion of a
phase. The work of the great statesmen, whose names are most intimately
associated with that of Elizabeth, was accomplished. They had kept
England united and at peace within her own borders through a long
period of recurring crises. They had so fostered the national spirit
and the national resources that she had finally proved herself a match
for the mightiest Power in Europe. They had achieved for her the
premier position upon the Ocean. They had defeated every attempt to
entice or to force her back to the Roman obedience. They had secured a
larger latitude of religious tolerance than prevailed in any other
State of Europe. These things they had definitely won, though there was
still need of keen brains, stout hearts, strong hands, and sturdy
consciences to hold them. They had been responsible for the planting
and watering. It was left mainly to others in the last years of
Elizabeth to assure the beginnings of the increase.

[Sidenote: 1588 The Death of Leicester]

Of the counsellors who had played a prominent part in Elizabeth's reign,
Nicholas Bacon had died in 1579. The rest still lived, but none of them
for long. The next to disappear was Leicester, who survived the
dispersion of the Armada by only a few weeks. So long as he had been an
aspirant to the hand of his royal mistress, he existed chiefly to
trouble the minds of statesmen--a piece of grit in the machinery; an
apparently quite worthless person After he had settled down into the
less ambiguous position of a mere personal favourite, with no chance of
satisfying swelling ambitions, he became a definite partisan of the
Walsingham school whose ideal lay in the advancement of protestantism
and antagonism to Spain. When not warped by the vain imaginings of his
earlier years, he would seem to have been a person of respectable
abilities, little decision of character, decently loyal; an ornamental
figurehead whose position enabled him to serve his friends; shallow;
neither dangerous, nor conspicuously incapable; not entirely deserving
of the extreme contempt which is usually poured upon him; but at best a
poor creature whose importance was wholly adventitious.

[Sidenote: France, 1588-89]

Of infinitely more consequence in its influence on the political
situation was the death on December 23rd, by the hands of assassins of
the Duke of Guise. The murder, planned by Henry III., deprived the
League of its head, and decisively forced the French King into the arms
of his Protestant heir. Nine months later (August 1589), Henry III. was
assassinated in turn, and Henry of Navarre laid claim to the crown, his
uncle Charles, Cardinal of Bourbon, being proclaimed King by the
Catholics. Hence in Philip's eyes a closer union than ever between
himself and the League--now headed by Mayenne, brother of the murdered
Guise--became imperative. A Huguenot king in France, a heretic queen in
England, and heretic rebels in the Netherlands, threatened a
combination which he was bound to try and paralyse. The attempt went
far to thwart itself; for numbers of the French Catholics were ready to
go a long way towards a compromise with Henry of Navarre when they felt
the alternative to be a Spanish domination; while that astute prince
hailed the opportunity which enabled him to claim the role of patriot,
and to point to the Leaguers as the clients of the foreigner. On the
other hand, Philip's energies during the remainder of his life were
largely absorbed in futile efforts to redress on French soil the loss
of Spanish supremacy on the seas.

[Sidenote: 1588 England aggressive]

Under the new conditions, the antagonism between the two schools of
English statesmanship takes a slightly altered form. Walsingham among
the ministers, Drake among the seamen, had always believed fervently in
the theory of breaking the power of Spain to pieces. Elizabeth and (in
the main) Burghley had clung to the theory of gradually making England
so secure and so formidable that Spain and England alike should
ultimately recognise a condition of amicable equality as the best for
both. Spain would then become amenable to reason in matters
ecclesiastical and commercial, the old intercourse would be restored in
its fulness, and general prosperity would result. Against their wishes,
matters had been by the inevitable trend of events forced to the
arbitrament of battle. But even now, terrible as the disaster of the
Armada had been, Spain was by no means shattered; in fact, though the
English nation was more than jubilant, the seamen themselves were
evidently disappointed that they had not in the encounter inflicted
more complete ruin upon their rivals. They had found the Spaniards less
easy to dispose of than they had anticipated.

[Sidenote: Alternative Naval policies]

The victory however had been won by the great captains of the
aggressive party; it was followed almost immediately by the revolt of
Henry III. from the Guise domination; all the conditions were in favour
of an offensive campaign. For the time being, a peace-party had ceased
to exist. The only question now was, how to strike. And at this stage
we see the two rival theories of naval policy in war time beginning to
be formulated, since naval policy on a large scale was only brought
into being by the development of an oceanic field for it to work in. Of
the one policy which has constantly prevailed with our great English
admirals, that of making the destruction of the enemy's fighting fleet
the primary object, with mere commerce-destroying secondary, Drake was
in practice the father; of the other, that of concentrating on his
trade-routes and menacing his commerce, not unusually favoured by
France in her wars with England, John Hawkins was the advocate.

For the moment Drake, being undoubtedly the hero of the hour, appeared
to triumph. His was the scheme of operations approved. But before it
could be put in practice, its essential features were distorted;
through no fault of his the plan failed of its full effect; disfavour
followed; and war on Spanish commerce again became the prevalent policy.
Its attractions for adventurers are obvious; and its inferiority as a
method of transforming superiority into supremacy was not yet

[Sidenote: Don Antonio]

Drake's actual design, however, was not on this occasion a precise
exemplification of the theory just associated with his name, although
its failure brought the supporters of the opposing school to the front.
The Armada disaster had already given the English for the time complete
command of the sea, and his intention was to strike a crippling blow at
the Spanish power by establishing the Pretender Don Antonio on the
throne of Portugal and in control of the Azores. Ever since Philip had
grasped the Portuguese crown in 1580, Elizabeth had played
diplomatically with the notion of helping Don Antonio to challenge his
title by force of arms, and Walsingham would have found a grim joy in
turning the play into earnest. But Antonio could count upon no support
worth mentioning from other quarters; Elizabeth's help had been in
quality the same as and in quantity less than she had doled out to
Huguenots and Netherlanders. The one real attempt in his favour,
wherein there had hardly been a pretence of English participation, had
been crushed by Santa Cruz at the naval battle of Terceira in the
Azores in 1583. But what had been impracticable before the Armada was
so no longer. With the command of the sea, Portugal might now be won;
the loss in itself would be a grievous weakening to Spain; and in
alliance with England. Portugal would be to her neighbour very much
what Scotland would have been to England had Mary been restored--and
accepted--by Spanish aid.

[Sidenote: Plan of the Lisbon Expedition, 1588-89] Such was Drake's
idea, which was to be carried out after the method beloved by the Queen.
It was not to be exactly a Government affair, but the enterprise of a
Company, in which her Majesty was to hold shares, providing some money
and half a dozen ships from her fleet, and various guarantees. It was
to be a joint naval and military venture, with Drake and Norreys
respectively in command of the two arms, with a free hand in the
conduct of operations. All through the winter of 1588 Drake and Norreys
were hard at work preparing this counter-Armada; but as spring came on,
the Queen's passion for tying her servants' hands developed on the
familiar lines. It was not till April that Drake succeeded in
definitely starting, and he went with a very fine armament; but with
only a month's commissariat, without the siege train promised, and
fettered by instructions wholly inconsistent with his own plan of

The Spaniards acquired what purported to be a statement of the terms
agreed on between Elizabeth and Don Antonio, under which Portugal, with
the Azores, was to be reduced to a province of England. It does not
appear however that this document was based upon facts; and the
instructions [Footnote: _Cf._ Corbett, ii, ] issued to the
expedition are quite inconsistent with the whole idea. The attempt to
establish Antonio in Portugal was only to be made if the conditions
were favourable; if it succeeded, the English were then to retire; if
it were dropped, they were to make for the Azores. But in any case they
were to begin by attacking the shipping in Biscayan and other Northern
harbours of Spain--an entirely superfluous proceeding, as Spain for the
time had no naval force which could give trouble.

[Sidenote: 1589 May: Corunna and Peniche]

Consequently the expedition--which was accompanied by Elizabeth's
latest favourite, the young Earl of Essex, a runaway and from his
Mistress--instead of making straight for Lisbon attacked Corunna. The
troops were landed, the town stormed and sacked, and the shipping
destroyed, the Spaniards being driven into the citadel. Immediate
departure being prevented by the wind, after nearly a week's operations
a fierce but unsuccessful attempt was made to storm the citadel also.
This however was followed by a brilliant action, at the Bridge of El
Burgo, in which Norreys decisively defeated a relieving force of
greatly superior numbers, prodigies of valour being performed during
the battle. But the capture of the citadel was unimportant; and the
wind improving, the expedition proceeded--with many prizes and much
spoil--to operate against Lisbon. On the way, for some not very
intelligible reason, Peniche, some fifty miles from Lisbon, was stormed
by the soldiers--as it would seem, against Drake's will. The whole army
was here disembarked, to operate against Lisbon by land, while the
fleet proceeded to the mouth of the Tagus.

[Sidenote: Failure at Lisbon]

Drake at once captured Cascaes, which commanded the entry. But he could
do nothing more till the army was ready to co-operate. Norreys arrived
presently: but he had no siege train, and resolved that unless the
Portuguese rose, as Don Antonio had promised, the attempt on Lisbon
must be abandoned. It is practically certain that had the attack been
made, the resolute commandant and his slender garrison would have been
easily overpowered, the mob favouring the assailants. But Norreys was
unaware of the facts; the partisans of Don Antonio did not rise; and
the English fell back to Cascaes to reimbark; having destroyed a
considerable quantity of stores, and defied Spain on her own soil with
a handful of men, but otherwise having failed to accomplish the purpose
of the expedition. Drake however also captured a great convoy of store-
ships. Contrary winds prevented the fleet from proceeding to the Azores,
and nothing more was accomplished but the destruction of Vigo, while in
the subsequent storms a number of ships were damaged or lost. The
business was a failure, though it had given convincing proof that even
in Spanish territory--much more on the seas--Spain was incapable of
taking the offensive. The expedition found its way home about the end
of June; a few weeks before the assassination of the French King, which
transformed the Prince of Navarre into Henry IV., a legitimate monarch
fighting for his throne against a threatened alien domination.

The ships had suffered; the booty was small; the crews and the troops
had been wasted by sickness and sharp fighting. Consequently Drake and
Drake's policy were generally discredited. It had in fact been quite
clearly demonstrated that Spain was on her knees, and that nothing but
inadequate armament and deficient supplies had prevented the admiral
from reducing her to a condition still more desperate. But
superficially, he had failed.

[Sidenote: Policies and Persons]

Now the policy of the forward school, of which Drake was the leading
example and Walter Raleigh was to be the exponent both with sword and
pen, was twofold; to prostrate Spain and her naval power, and to plant
English colonies in direct competition with and open antagonism to the
colonies of Spain. But the men who had grasped the whole conception
were few. Walsingham, the one among the elder statesmen who was in
touch with these ideas, had but a few months to live. The ordinary idea
of the ordinary Anti-Spaniard was to damage Spain as much as possible;
but the means to that end which he recognised lay mainly, if not
entirely, in the raiding of Spanish commerce and the interception of
treasure-fleets. This was avowedly the view of John Hawkins, which
naturally appealed to the Adventurers of the day.

On the other side was the school of Burghley himself, and of Elizabeth;
who had never wished, and did not now wish, to see Spain prostrate, and
had never been without hopes of converting the rivalry into an alliance,
though not averse to the bringing of severe pressure to bear for the
recovery of commercial privileges and the suppression of political
antagonism. Burghley had not by any means always approved of
Elizabeth's methods; when it was only by those tortuous wiles that
peace could be preserved he had joined with Walsingham and Leicester in
counselling war; but if war could be with honour avoided, it had been
his constant desire to avoid it; while he had consistently and
honourably opposed Drake, condemned his buccaneering methods, and
refused to profit by his daring ventures. Burghley's second son Robert,
destined to be the old statesman's successor, already establishing his
position, was the agent of his father's policy. The Queen's latest
favourite, the young Earl of Essex--a son-in-law of Walsingham, and
stepson of Leicester--was no statesman in fact, though he fancied
himself one. His ambition was unlimited; and while, as an anti-Spaniard,
he was a leader of the party opposed to the Cecils, he was not less
hotly jealous of his rival within that party, Walter Raleigh (at an
earlier period, and also afterwards, associated with the Cecils), whose
large conceptions he could hardly appreciate. Finally the Queen herself,
with the same political ideals as her old minister, had still never
been able to resist the temptation of the profits accruing from the
unauthorised raiding policy--a policy which dealt no blows from which
it was impossible for Spain to recover, while it kept her in too
bruised a condition to have any prospect of fighting again at an

It was Elizabeth who had ensured the failure of Drake's expedition, for
which Drake himself was made responsible. Drake's policy was in
consequence driven off the field, which was held by that of Essex and
Hawkins--to which, as a policy, the Cecils were not vehemently opposed,
while it satisfied the aroused bellicosity of the nation. Private
enterprise was left to struggle with schemes of colonisation; and Spain
held her trans-oceanic possessions.

[Sidenote: France, 1589-93]

But Spain's activity was crippled, her recuperation checked; and thus,
indirectly, as well as with some direct assistance from England, Henry
IV was enabled more than to hold his own in France, until in 1593, by
accepting the Mass, he definitely won over to his side all but the
extreme supporters of the League: from which time his ultimate triumph
and that of at least limited toleration in France was secured: since
Alexander of Parma, the one man whose military genius was more than a
match for that of Henry, died in 1592.

[Sidenote: 1590 Death of Walsingham]

Here however we are anticipating. From the summer of 1589, Drake drops
into the background. How matters might have gone if Walsingham or even
Leicester had lived and retained their influence, it is not easy to
say; both were staunch supporters of the admiral. But Leicester was
already dead; and though the Queen had full confidence in the Secretary,
she never liked him. Already he was practically in retirement; and in
the following April he too died. With him, a very genuine puritanism
and a determined antagonism to Spain had always been first principles.
No man had expressed himself more openly in Council or more bitterly in
private correspondence in condemnation of the tricks and the falsehoods
which constituted--with a success which cannot be denied--the stock in
trade of the Queen's diplomacy. He repeatedly risked favour and
position by his outspokenness. His own policy and conduct had at all
times been conducted in accordance with a standard of morals and of
honour which was none the less strict though it does not always command
sympathy. To Mary Stewart he was a relentless enemy. He had no
compunctions in his system of espionage, and in his employment of
traitors and of the _agent provocateur._ He, more than anyone else,
was probably responsible for the extensive and extended application of
torture as a means to extract information. These, in his eyes, were
methods without which it was impossible to fight the enemy who must be
fought at any cost. He was ready, even eager, to join battle openly
with Spain in the cause of the Religion, which to him was a reality,
while to Elizabeth, if not also to Burghley, it was only a political
factor which it annoyed her to be obliged to recognise. And of his high
personal integrity, the final proof is that when he died, he left means
insufficient to provide a decent funeral. If his mantle may be said to
have fallen on anyone, it was on Walter Raleigh; and Raleigh was not of
the Council, while his favour with the Queen was at best an extremely
fluctuating quantity.

[Sidenote: Operations in 1590]

It was not Drake then, but Hawkins and Frobisher who in 1590 commanded
the armaments sent out to Spanish waters; with the primary intention of
intercepting the annual convoy of treasure-ships. Disappointment was
again in store, for the Spaniards had news of the expedition, the
treasure-fleet did not sail, and the admirals returned home without
spoils. Not, however, without hurting the enemy; for Spanish finance
was dependent on the arrival of the bullion, Philip was crippled for
want of it, and for the same reason Parma was almost paralysed. The
Huguenot cause was advanced in France by Henry's victory at Ivry. In
spite of his difficulties, however, Parma prevented the King from
capturing Paris and so completing his triumph; but, with his resources
so exhausted, even his genius was unable to accomplish more.

In the same year the splendid qualities developed by English seamen
were illustrated by a valiant fight, in which twelve Spanish ships of
war attacked a flotilla of ten English merchantmen, who fought so
stubbornly that after six hours of conflict the Spaniards drew off,
fairly defeated; the English having lost neither a ship nor a man.

[Sidenote: 1591 The "Revenge"]

In the meantime, however, Philip was making strenuous efforts to adapt
his navy to the conditions of maritime warfare introduced by the
English. In Havana, ships were being built of a greatly improved
construction for fighting and manoeuvring, and the Spanish yards were
busy. So when in 1591 a fleet sailed from England under Lord Thomas
Howard [Footnote: Son of the Duke of Norfolk (executed in 1572) by his
second wife; and half-brother of the Earl of Arundel, who died in the
Tower in 1589.] and Richard Grenville, with much the same intent as
that of Hawkins and Frobisher in 1590, they found themselves no longer
in possession of the same complete command of the seas. Their squadron
was a comparatively small one, including only six regular fighting
ships; and as they lay in the Azores, in waiting for the treasure-fleet,
tidings reached them that an armada of fifty-three vessels was hard at
hand on its way to convoy that fleet. Howard put to sea at once,
avoiding an action; but Grenville on the _Revenge_ [Footnote: The
_Revenge_ was Drake's ship in the Armada conflict.] of set purpose
allowed himself to be entangled in the Spanish fleet; and thereupon
ensued that great fight, that glorious folly, which has been told in
immortal prose and sung in immortal verse; in which for fifteen hours
Drake's favourite vessel did battle, almost unaided, with fifty-three
Spaniards. Not more splendid, not less irrational, were the great deeds
of the three hundred at Thermopylae, of the six hundred at Balaclava.
False moves in the game of war, all of them, from the scientific point
of view; objectless, unreasoning, without possibility of material gain
accruing; but for all that, deeds which for their sheer daring will
ring for ever in the ears of men; of which the bare memory is an
inspiration; whereof the fame in their own day roused the emulous
courage of every Spartan and of every Englishman, making them ready to
face any odds, and chilling the blood of their foes. Vain deeds, when
we count the cost and the tangible gain--but very far from vain when we
take into account the intangible moral effect.

Yet it was but the supreme example of that heroic spirit, shown times
and again, at Zutphen, at the Bridge of El Burgo, in countless fights
with Spaniards and with the elements, which in Elizabeth's day raised
England to be the first among the nations. A deed therefore to be dwelt
upon, if we would understand aright the history of those times, in
which the historian must perforce discourse most frequently and at
greatest length on doings of a less inspiring order. The craft of the
statesman, the skill of the general, are the prominent factors in the
making of history; but the character, the types, of the men of whom
nations are constituted, are no less fundamental and vital.

[Sidenote: France, 1590-93]

In the meantime, the death in France of Henry IV.'s nominal rival, his
uncle the titular Charles X., had increased the difficulties of the
League, which was reduced to putting forward as its candidate the
Infanta Isabella, the daughter of Philip and his third wife Elizabeth
of Valois--whom also Philip destined as his nominee for the English
throne when he should overthrow the heretic Queen. This involved the
setting aside of the Salic law of succession, and an unmistakable
Spanish ascendancy, which no conceivable marriage could make
satisfactory to any one but Philip. Thus Elizabeth still found herself
compelled to give Henry material assistance, and the English contingent
before Rouen, which the French King was seeking to capture in the
latter part of 1591, was commanded by Essex. Again however Parma
intervened, compelling the siege to be raised: though his death a year
later left no commander of equal ability to oppose Henry.

[Sidenote: Operations of 1592-94]

During the next three years, 1592-94, no attacks were made on a large
scale. One was planned for the first year, to be commanded jointly by
Raleigh and Frobisher. But Raleigh was recalled; the men who had joined
his flag were indisposed to serve under Frobisher; the squadron divided,
and ultimately accomplished little beyond the capture of a single rich
prize. Nevertheless, the process of raiding Spanish commerce by
privateering ships or squadrons was carried on, with much injury to
Spanish trade, and collection of considerable spoils; the chief of the
raiders being perhaps the Earl of Cumberland, who never failed to
conduct at least one such expedition annually. But though Philip's
finances continued thereby to be materially crippled, he was not
prevented from carrying on the work of reorganising his navy; while
towards the end of 1593 he had secured more than one station at Blavet
and elsewhere on the coast of Brittany, where he hoped to establish an
advanced base from which he could constantly threaten the Channel and
Ireland. This scheme however was frustrated at the end of 1594 by a
successful joint attack of Frobisher by sea and Norreys by land on a
position at Crozon which threatened to dominate Brest; and by the
expulsion of the Spaniards from other points in that neighbourhood
where they had sought to plant themselves. Frobisher however died from
a wound he received in the fighting. The move was one that Raleigh had
advocated zealously; and it proved thoroughly effective.

Important as was this blow to Philip's naval aspirations, the political
situation was still more decisively affected during these three years
by the death of Parma in December 1592, Henry's acceptance of the Mass
in July 1593, and his consequent recognition by the bulk of the French
Catholics early in 1594: although the extremists of the League
continued their opposition to him, and their support of the Spanish
Infanta, a course which secured the maintenance of the alliance between
Henry and Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: 1589-94 A survey]

From 1589, when the English Queen had deliberately dislocated the plans
of Drake's Lisbon expedition, changing it from a great political stroke
into an unsatisfactory raid, till the closing months of 1594 when once
again a decisively damaging blow was dealt to Philip's naval schemes,
the war had given ample occasion for stirring deeds of valour and
brilliant feats of arms, but the scheme of operations throughout had
been narrow and shortsighted. Though the honours still lay unmistakably
with England, Spain had in fact been gaining ground, slowly remedying
those defects in her organisation which had been so glaringly exposed
by the breakdown of the Armada: and when Frobisher fell at Crozon, she
was more formidable than at any time since Medina Sidonia had sailed
from Corunna But besides the main open contest, Philip throughout these
years had been dallying after his old fashion with the factions outside
of England which might be looked to as possible instruments for shaking
the throne of Elizabeth.

These were to be found among the exiled English Catholics, in Scotland,
and in Ireland.

[Sidenote: Spain and the English Catholics]

With the Catholic exiles however, there was little to be done. Those
indeed who were closely associated with the Jesuits founded their hopes
of a Catholic restoration on Spanish dominion, with the Infanta
Isabella as Queen of England; but the fact by itself sufficed to keep
the bulk of the party cold if not antagonistic. The price was too high
to pay, for any but Parsons and his associates. English Catholics
looked by preference to the succession possibly of the Catholic
Stanleys of Derby [Footnote: See _Front_]--who unfortunately stood
aloof--or of either James of Scotland or his cousin Arabella
(representing the half-English Lennox Stewarts), both Protestants of
whose conversion hopes were maintained. Patriotism, Nationality, held
precedence over Religion: even although in 1593 fresh and harsh
measures against Catholics as well as Puritans were adopted by
Parliament. Under these conditions, plots for the removal of Elizabeth
by methods which would make all the lukewarm elements in England
actively hostile to Spain were not likely to receive encouragement from
Philip. A variety of such plots were in fact concocted and duly
revealed by informers or suspects under torture, and fathered on Philip
or his ministers; but in every case the evidence connecting them with
the Spaniards is of the weakest. Naturally, Essex and the war-party in
England made the most of these stories, in order to inflame public
opinion against Philip, and with no little success. Nevertheless,
whatever element of truth they may have contained, they are too flimsy
and unsubstantial to be seriously included in the indictments against
Philip's character-which are indeed sufficiently grave without
them. [Footnote: See Hume's _Treason and Plot,_ cc. iv. v., where
the evidence in a series of these plots is impartially set forth. The
most notable of the group is that of Lopez, who was executed in 1594.]

[Sidenote: Scottish Intrigues]

Scottish intrigues with Philip were equally abortive. James, on the
throne, played an unceasing game of chicane and double-dealing,
perpetually playing off parties and persons against each other with
that curious cunning which he designated "king-craft". The Catholic
nobles alternated between hopes of capturing him, or of ejecting him,
and fears of their own suppression. They tried to bargain with Philip,
on the hypothesis of effecting James's conversion and placing him on
the English throne; on the hypothesis of a Catholic restoration in
Scotland; for one brief interval, on the hypothesis of giving Philip a
free hand. But James had an ingenious trick of playing at friendship
with his Catholic lords and introducing himself into these
negotiations; whereas Philip had no idea of stirring a finger to help
James to the English succession: and the Scottish Catholic lords
themselves were by no means ready to relinquish the national aspiration
to seat a Scots king on the throne of England. So that while these
intrigues caused some perturbation in the English court, and led
Elizabeth to lecture her young kinsman and disciple with a fine show of
pained indignation, they never came within measurable distance of
definite action.

[Sidenote: Ireland, 1583-92]

Ireland however offered a more promising field of operations. For a
decade following the suppression of Desmond's rebellion, that country
had lain in a state of exhaustion. English "under-takers" had been
planted in the desolated and forfeited lands of Munster. In the North,
Tyrconnel was loyal--that is, was not disposed to rebellion; Tirlough
Lynagh, head of the O'Neills, was of a like mind; and Hugh O'Neill, the
successor to the Earldom of Tyrone, had been brought up in England, and
was a professed supporter of English rule: against which there was no
one to make head. Even the coming of the Armada, while creating some
nervousness, produced no disturbances, though the assistance given by a
chief here and there to ship-wrecked Spaniards brought them into
trouble. But this was the calm of exhaustion merely. The unvarying
impression produced by the Irish letters of the time is that Englishmen
regarded the native chiefs as a low type of savage, and the common folk
as a noxious kind of vermin; and it is painfully clear that the
standard of civilisation was of that debased type which must prevail
where the governing powers have habitually set the example of
distorting the first four commandments of the decalogue and ignoring
the other six. The normal attitude of the bulk of the native Irish and
Anglo-Irish was one of repressed hatred and veiled defiance towards the
English, ready to break out openly whenever an opportunity should seem
to present itself. That attitude would probably have been universal had
not some of the chiefs, like Ormonde, been convinced that even the
English system was preferable to the anarchy and strife of septs which
would result from a temporarily successful rebellion: finding in
friendly relations with the Government the best guarantee for the
security of their own position.

Masterful and capable men however like the old Kildare and Shan O'Neill
had demanded more. To Kildare the Henries had granted that more; Shan
had come near to securing it in despite of Elizabeth. Now an abler man
than either, Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, dissatisfied with his
treatment at the hands of the English was making up his mind to renew
the contest.

[Sidenote: Tyrone, 1592-94]

Tyrone did not raise the standard of revolt. But in 1592-3, Tyrone, his
brother in law Hugh Roe O'Donnell, [Footnote: Hugh O'Donnell had been
trapped and held prisoner in Dublin as a hostage for Tyrconnell's good
behaviour; but succeeded in making his escape.] Tyrconnell's son, his
neighbours Maguire and O'Rourke, and the McWilliams or Burkes of
Connaught--dwellers in the parts furthest from the Pale--were in active
defiance of the Government. Tyrone was engaged in officially placating
or repressing or remonstrating with them, ostensibly doing his best to
serve the Queen; ready to hand over hostages, to present himself in
person to the Deputy Fitzwilliam and demonstrate his loyalty, or to
take the field against the rebels with the royal forces. The Deputy,
and the President of Connaught, had information that he was in fact in
collusion with the rebels, but none which could be brought home to him;
and the royal forces--amounting only to between four and five thousand
men--were as usual inadequate to doing more than march into disturbed
districts, accomplish some burnings and hangings, enjoy one or two
sharp skirmishes, and march out again. But by 1594 Tyrone and his
friends were in communication with Spain, and Philip was again
contemplating the expulsion of the English from Ireland as an effective
line of operation in his war with Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: 1595 Drake's last voyage]

By this time the Queen was waking up to the fact that the Spanish sea-
power was not diminishing but recovering: the attack on the Brittany
ports points to the revival of a more far-seeing naval policy; Drake
was returning to favour, and the younger Cecil was well-disposed
towards him. It was decided that he and old John Hawkins should revive
the past methods and conduct a grand attack on the Spanish Main and
Panama. As usual however, fluctuating orders from the Queen delayed the
start till some months after the intended date; the Plate fleet reached
its destination in safety; the Spaniards got wind of the expedition;
and when Drake and Hawkins at last put to sea they had instructions
calculated effectively to prevent their accomplishing anything like a
surprise. Porto Rico, the first main objective, had due warning, and so
was able to offer a successful resistance to the attack, energetically
as it was conducted. The death of Hawkins, who had grown too cautious
to work well with Drake, relieved the expedition of divided counsels;
but Drake had not realised that in the years of his inaction the
Spaniards had profited by the lessons he had taught them. Though he
sacked and burnt La Hacha, Santa Marta, and Nombre de Dios, the spoils
were small; the enemy, prepared for his coming, had secured the passes
through Darien to Panama, and it was found that there was no
possibility of forcing them. Then came the final disaster; Drake
himself was seized with dysentery, and on January 28th, 1598, the great
seaman died. He found in the Ocean his fitting grave: and the
expedition returned to England having failed to accomplish anything
noteworthy, though it had to fight a not unsuccessful battle with a
slightly superior fleet on the way home.

Six months before Drake sailed on his last voyage, Raleigh had gone on
a notable exploring expedition to the Orinoco; the forerunner of not a
few voyages in search of the fabled Eldorado. Beyond some extension of
geographical knowledge however, the venture was unfruitful.

[Sidenote: 1596 The Cadiz expedition]

Although Drake's expedition had been spoilt, his theories were once
more, in the main, in the ascendant; and in June 1598 a great attacking
force was again organised, with Cadiz for its principal objective. An
effective blow at Philip's navy was made all the more necessary at the
moment, because the Archduke Albert, now in command in the Netherlands,
had just succeeded in capturing Calais from the French. Howard of
Effingham again commanded as admiral, with Essex as general in chief, a
council which included Raleigh and Lord Thomas Howard, and a Dutch
contingent which was under the orders of the English chief. The
Spaniards had this time no suspicion of what was on foot. The harbour
of Cadiz was full of shipping; which included however a number of ships
of war in fighting trim. Thus it was not without a fierce conflict that
the English drove their way in. Two ships only were captured, and
transferred from the Spanish to the English navy, but numbers were sunk
or burnt. The exploit was a brilliant one, owing its success largely to
a change from the original plan of attack, for which that advocated by
Raleigh was substituted. Cadiz itself was stormed, captured, and put to
ransom; but the victors displayed what was in those days a singular and
notable restraint and courtesy in their treatment of the vanquished. In
spite, however, of the protests of Essex, who wished to remain in
occupation of Cadiz, Lord Howard was content with the heavy spoils
secured and the immense destruction wrought, and the expedition
returned home.

[Sidenote: Ireland, 1595-96]

Tyrone in the meantime was playing his difficult game in Ireland with
remarkable success. He consistently maintained his professions of
loyalty, though by now calling himself "The O'Neill," like Shan, he
fostered the belief that he was only waiting to declare himself anti-
English; he continued to evade action against the more open rebels; he
continued to correspond with Spain; and yet Sir John Norreys, now in
command of the army in Ireland, could not resist the belief that he
meant to be loyal and would be loyal and would make the other chiefs so,
if his assistance were loyally accepted and his position frankly
confirmed by the English. Whether such anticipations would have proved
true if he had been treated as Henry VII. treated Kildare, it is
impossible to say. But the Deputy Fitzwilliam, and his successor
Russell, regarded him as a traitor at heart, and persistently provided
him with palpable excuse for distrusting them [Footnote: Tyrone received
a letter from Philip, which he showed the Deputy, as a proof of the
tempting offers made to him and of his own loyalty, on condition that
it should neither be copied nor retained. But it was kept by the
English, and used by them to attack Philip, and others.] in turn. Under
such conditions, loyal or not at bottom, it was no part of the Earl's
policy to break with Philip, or on the other hand to commit himself too
deeply till Philip should be also irrevocably committed to rendering
real solid assistance.

So Norreys went on recommending conciliation, and Russell went on
opposing that policy, while Elizabeth persistently abstained alike from
effective conciliation and from the one practicable alternative policy
of placing a really strong organised and orderly garrison in the
country: maintaining instead only a few ill-paid ill-disciplined ill-
behaved troops who might on occasion meet the raw Irish levies but were
wholly unfitted to be the instruments of a firm government. And all the
time from every officer in Ireland arose the perpetual petition to be
recalled from service in a country where neither a soldier nor an
administrator could possibly escape lowering any reputation he might
have previously acquired. It was well for England that Drake's last
expedition demanded the entire attention of the Spanish Fleet; and that,
following thereon, the Cadiz expedition was even more destructive to
the prospects of the new Armada which Philip was still seeking to
organise, than Drake's former Cadiz expedition had proved itself to the
Great Armada in 1587. Tyrone was thereby baulked of Spanish help,
without which he would not plunge into such a rebellion as might
threaten seriously to embarrass Elizabeth and benefit Philip.

[Sidenote: 1596 The second Armada]

So matters stood in the summer of 1596. One quality however Philip
possessed with which Englishmen must sympathise; he never recognised
that he was beaten. Crushing as the blow at Cadiz was, the northern
ports were left alone, and there the laborious building up of a great
fleet was in steady progress. Philip was stirred to deal a
counterstroke, and late in October a huge new Armada of nearly a
hundred vessels sailed from Vigo Bay, its destination unknown save to
Philip, its very existence unrealised in England, where no one believed
that a Spanish fleet would put to sea so late in the year. The Irish
chiefs however had notice that an invading force was coming. But the
old story was repeated. The preparations had been thrown out of gear by
the disaster of the summer; all the provisions were incomplete; the
ships were hopelessly ill-found; and the fleet had hardly started when
a terrific storm fell on it and shattered it. Thirty or more of the
vessels were lost at sea; when the rest of the battered armament
struggled back to Ferrol, pestilence broke out, and the crews died and
deserted by hundreds if not by thousands. The stars in their courses
fought against Philip and ruined the second Armada--this time without
the help of hostile man.

[Sidenote: 1597 The Island Voyage, etc.]

This was followed again in the next summer by another English
expedition, known as the "Island Voyage," with Essex, Lord Thomas
Howard, and Raleigh in command; with a score of ships from the Royal
Navy, and a Dutch contingent as in the Cadiz expedition. [Footnote: The
soldiers wanted an army to attack Calais. Raleigh's insistence however
carried the day in favour of a naval blow. (Raleigh, _Opinion on the
Spanish Alarum_.)] The affair however was mismanaged. From the start,
there were adverse tempests. [Footnote: _S. P. Dom._ iv., p. 463.]
Corunna and Ferrol, which it was intended to attack, were found warned
and armed for defence; and the gales were unfavourable. The fleet made
for the Azores, and captured Fayal, Graciosa, and St. Michael's; but
the treasure-fleet by good fortune evaded the English and found safety
at Terceira. Raleigh and Essex quarrelled violently; and the fleet
returned home with little accomplished. It succeeded however in
weathering a storm which once more had made havoc of still another
Spanish Armada, which sought to seize the opportunity for making a raid
on Cornwall with a view to seizing and holding some port, to be used as
an advance post for operations in the Channel--a sufficiently wild
scheme at the best, with Essex's fleet returning almost on the heels of
the expedition.

The failure decided Tyrone that Spain was a thoroughly broken reed; and
he succeeded in making terms with the English Government [Footnote: _S.
P. Irish,_ vi., pp. 477-479.] that winter, if only with a view to
organising a more determined and independent rebellion in the near

[Sidenote: 1598 Spain]

It is abundantly evident in this the last year of Philip's life that he
was beaten at every point, however his obstinate fanaticism might
refuse to admit it. His designs on the throne of France were foiled;
the negotiations were already far advanced for the Peace of Vervins
which was to set the French King free from the war. The prospect of
placing Isabella [Footnote: Philip was now arranging to bestow Flanders
upon her as an independent sovereignty.] on the English throne was more
visionary than ever. The Spanish party among the English Catholics were
growing more and more out of favour; pride in the prestige of English
arms, scorn that England should be dominated by a nation which could
not match her in open fight, strengthened the patriotic section. The
Scots would not stir a finger except to make their own monarch king of
the neighbouring country. The Pope himself had no desire to see Spain
so aggrandised as to be able to dictate to Christendom. The prospect of
the Netherlands being reduced to submission had all but vanished. As
for the maritime rivalry, all the Spanish efforts had been in vain. The
ships had been improved; the defence of the trade-routes had been
better organised. Several of the blows aimed by England had been more
or less abortive; but one at least had been staggering, and every
attempt at a counterstroke had ended in plain disaster. Moreover from
first to last the Spaniards, valiant as they often proved themselves,
had fought as beaten men, the English as assured victors; both alike
with a perfect conviction that the latter were certain to win against
any but overwhelming odds. Such a fight as that of the _Revenge,_
with the nationalities of the combatants reversed, was unimaginable.

Yet even in 1598 Philip and some of his ecclesiastical counsellors were
unconvinced, and a brief alarm was created when a Spanish flotilla
dashed up the Channel and made its way to Calais, not yet restored to
France. Completely unexpected as it was, however, English squadrons
were on the seas almost at a day's notice. Half the flotilla was lost
outside Calais, and immediately afterwards the Spanish ports were in a
ferment at the report that Cumberland was hovering off their own coast
--very sufficient evidence of the immense superiority of the English,
both in organisation and _morale._

[Sidenote: Death of Philip, Sept.]

In September, Elizabeth's great enemy breathed his last. He was not
exactly the monster of iniquity that he has been painted; not a
criminal for the love of criminality. He was a Tiberius rather than a
Nero; a morbid influence, not a devouring pestilence. A perfectly
sombre bigot; an example of what the Greeks would have called [Greek:
hubris] of a very exceptional kind, who believed devoutly in himself as
the instrument chosen by the Saints for the overthrow of heretics;
convinced that his aims and interests were favoured by Heaven, ranking
before those of the Papacy itself; without a qualm as to the
righteousness of all means he could adopt to further those aims. Save
in one slight instance, we seek in vain to find in him any sign of
human affections--tenderness, sympathy, generosity. Infinitely
laborious, his idea of government was to elaborate an enormous
machinery, of which every portion should be under his personal control;
eternally suspicious, he trusted no man, and kept the hands of his
servants tied and bound; immovably cautious, he always waited to strike
till he thought he could do so with overwhelming force, and he always
waited till the time to strike had passed--till his opponent had
crippled him by striking first. Forty years before, he was lord of the
New World, lord of the seas, lord of Spain, of half Italy, of the
Netherlands, and seemed destined to be lord of England, almost of
Europe. Elizabeth and Cecil had seen where lay the weakness of his
position; they had evaded, cajoled, finally had defied and triumphed
over him. When he sank to the grave, the lordship of the sea had passed,
the lordship of the Netherlands was passing, the lordship of the New
World was tottering. His overweening egotism had sucked the life-blood
of Spain. The Power which forty years before had threatened to dominate
the world was no better than a decrepit giant; the form still loomed
gigantic, but the substance was gripped with the chill paralysis
wherewith Philip had smitten it, since he had entered like a poisonous
blight upon his inheritance.

[Sidenote: Death of Burghley, Aug.]

Philip was seventy-one when he died. Six weeks earlier Lord Burghley,
seven years his senior, passed away, leaving Elizabeth with none beside
her of her own generation. For forty years too, he had been the Queen's
first minister. However we read the enigma of Elizabeth's apparent
frivolity, vacillation, trickery and success, he had been throughout
the one man with whose counsel she would not dispense, even when she
seemed to flout him. Essentially he was a master of compromise, of
balance; a devotee of moderation, of the _via media._ Hardly less
averse to war than his mistress, he would yet have preferred war to
some of the ignominious shifts by which she evaded it; for he had a
cool level-headed confidence in England's essential vitality and power
of weathering the storm, if it should burst, even at times when outside
observers imagined that that confidence was hurrying her to ruin. When
obliged to lean to one side or the other in religious controversy, he
adopted the cause of "his brethren in Christ" as Elizabeth dubbed them
with a sneer, because that was more compatible with his _via
media_ than the other: but he had none of Walsingham's puritanic
enthusiasm. His ideal for England was a prosperous respectability:
breaches of political propriety shocked him. He would take no share in
the profits of buccaneering exploits: but it was the same mental
quality which kept him from any zeal for Causes which might drag the
country into incalculable ventures. When it seemed to him that a
vigorous support of European Protestantism was the only alternative to
submission to Spain, he went with Walsingham, though Elizabeth found
her own alternative in spite of them both: but he did it reluctantly,
and always at bottom with the hope that Spain and England might yet
attain mutual amity. After the death of Nicholas Bacon in 1579 he
inclined more to believe in that possibility, and in proportion as the
war-party was strengthened by the Armada his antagonism to it became
the more marked. After his seventieth year his direct interference in
politics had become less; but his astute son, Robert Cecil, represented
him. All through his career, he was a consistent opportunist, using
without scruple all currently admissible tools, never missing the
chance of the half-loaf. The most industrious of men, a supremely
shrewd judge of character and motive, he was rarely--save in the case
of the Queen--misled by superficial appearances; though his own lack of
sentiment prevented him from fully appreciating the sentimental factor
in politics. Always at all risks he was loyal to Queen and Country; and
habitually, even at some risk, to servants and colleagues. If he does
not stand absolutely in the first rank of English statesmen, they are
yet few who stand above him.



[Sidenote: A new generation]

By Burghley's death, Elizabeth was left alone, reft of all her earlier
counsellors. Nicholas Bacon had died as far back as 1579, Leicester in
1588, Walsingham in 1590, her kinsmen Knollys and Hunsdon--less prominent,
but of sober weight--more recently. Except Howard of Effingham (created
Earl of Nottingham after the Cadiz expedition), Burghley was the last; and
their sombre antagonist of forty years had followed him in a few weeks. She
herself was sixty-five years old. The leading men at home and abroad--Henry
IV., Philip III., Robert Cecil, Raleigh, Essex, who was now only thirty--
were of a younger generation. Lonely but stubborn and indomitable as ever
she ruled still to the end.

Those last five years were troubled enough.

[Sidenote: 1598 Ireland]

We have seen that in Ireland Tyrone was resolved to place no more
dependence on Spanish aid; but it was equally clear that the Government as
constituted was quite unable to quell him. Norreys was now dead, and
Ormonde was in command of the Queen's army, such as it was. The English
garrison was quite incapable of vigorous aggression. In 1598 a few raw
levies were sent over, instead of the strong disciplined force without
which nothing could be effected. In the middle of August a force was
dispatched against Tyrone, who was beleaguering the Blackwater fort not far
from Armagh; and Tyrone inflicted on it a complete and disastrous defeat,
[Footnote: S. P. _Irish_, pp. 236 ff.] which caused nothing less than
a panic among the Council at Dublin. The practical effect was that outside
the Pale the chiefs were doing as they chose, and the English could hardly
move beyond their fortifications; even within the Pale ravaging was almost
unchecked; and if it had been possible for Tyrone to march in force on
Dublin, the capital would probably have fallen.

In the troubles of Ireland, Essex was to seek a ladder for his ambitions,
and to find, as others before and after him have found, the road to ruin.

[Sidenote: Essex]

The personal interest of these years belongs very much to the rivalries of
three men; Robert Cecil, sly, cautious, and plausible; Raleigh, brilliant
and bitter, intellectually a head and shoulders above the rest; Essex, not
lacking in abilities distorted by inordinate vanity. Associated on equal
terms, in war, with the experience of Howard and the genius of Raleigh, at
the Council-board with the astute and consummately trained Cecil, petted
and spoiled by the elderly Queen as she had spoiled no one since the days
of Leicester's youth, a public favourite by reason of his undoubted courage
and his popular habits, Essex, young as he was, had long imagined himself
the greatest man in the kingdom, chafing at every favour bestowed on a
rival, and treating men who knew themselves his superiors with intolerable
arrogance. Now, when the state of Ireland, and the remedies, were the
subject of grave anxiety, he clamoured of the blank incompetence to the
task of every one who had undertaken it or could be suggested as fitted for
it; with the result that he was invited to undertake it himself. Thereupon
he made unprecedented conditions. Some months elapsed before the conditions
could be arranged; it would certainly seem that his object was to get under
his own captaincy a force large enough to enable him to defy all control,
though he was not without friends to warn him that his influence with
Elizabeth depended on the fascination of his presence--a fact of which his
ill-wishers were equally aware, and by which they intended to profit to the
full. Not the least part of the danger to Essex lay in the fact that the
political air was thick with intrigues as to the succession when Elizabeth
should die, and that his rivals might utilise his absence to secure the
throne for a candidate who under the circumstances would be certain to
prove unfriendly to him.

[Sidenote: 1599 Essex in Ireland]

But the hot-headed Earl had deprived himself of the power of choice though
he was almost equally unwilling to resign or to undertake the task to which
he was committed. In April 1599 he appeared in Ireland as Lord Lieutenant,
virtually with plenary powers alike in civil and military affairs, and a
warrant to return in a year's time. Yet he chafed at such restrictions as
were imposed upon him, at the incompetence of the officers with whom he was
provided, at the refusal to permit appointments objectionable to the Queen,
at the inefficiency of his troops and the inadequacy of his supplies. In
theory, he was come to Ireland to strike straight at the heart of the
rebellion and crush Tyrone in his own fastnesses. He found that the
condition of the country absolutely precluded an immediate campaign in the
North. He proceeded instead on a military progress through Leinster and
Munster, capturing castles which surrendered with no more than a show of
resistance, scattering small garrisons, perpetually harassed by guerilla
companies who avoided pitched battles. He gave Southampton command of the
cavalry in defiance of the Queen's orders, and then received from her so
peremptory a message that he dared not maintain the appointment. The rebels
cut up the forces of the President of Connaught, and another detached
column in Wicklow: and on his way back to Dublin, Essex himself had much
ado to beat off an attack on his main army at Arklow.

In the meantime, he was writing letters of furious complaint that the
Council in London--in especial Raleigh, who was now associated with
Cecil--were deliberately seeking to cripple him for their own ends--a
charge which they declined to answer, as being merely a piece of excited
extravagance; and Elizabeth rated him, not more sharply than he deserved,
for wasting the unusually large sums provided for Ireland on a procedure so
vain. Further, she peremptorily ordered him to march against O'Neill
without delay, warning him on no account to withdraw from the country.

[Sidenote: Fall of Essex]

So at the end of August Essex set out. But when he found himself within
striking distance of Tyrone's forces, the latter invited him to a
parley. It was granted and held, and was followed by two more meetings;
with the amazing result that a truce was concluded and both armies
withdrew. That some personal compact was made can hardly be doubted; what
it was remains unknown, and it was never carried out; but the presumption
is that there was some joint scheme for securing the succession of King
James to the throne, with Tyrone supreme in Ireland and Essex in England.
Tyrone himself gave the Spaniards an obviously improbable version of the
plan (after it had collapsed), according to which he had induced Essex to
contemplate adhesion to the ultra-Spanish party, though he was the most
pronouncedly hostile to Spain and to Catholicism of all the English

Whatever the plot, the ignominy of such a termination to the lavish
preparations and boastings preceding was palpable. Elizabeth was furious,
and her expressions of resentment were scathing. Whereupon Essex took the
very worst step possible in his own interests. Relying on the Queen's
curious infatuation for his person, which had survived innumerable quarrels
and flagrant impertinences, he left his office, sped across the channel,
rode post haste across England, flung himself, all mud-bespattered into the
presence of his mistress in her chamber, and prayed for pardon. For the
moment, she was too utterly taken aback to be herself; he left her thinking
he had won. But the outrage was too gross. That evening he found himself
under arrest. His enemies' policy of "giving him rope enough" had been more
completely successful than they could have hoped. He had set the noose
about his neck with his own hand, though it was not yet tightened.

[Sidenote: Catholic factions]

The whole of the Essex story is inextricably interwoven with the crowd of
intrigues in progress in connexion with the succession. In England by this
time the ultra-Spanish or Jesuit faction, which would have enthroned the
Inquisition with a Spanish nominee as sovereign, was all but non-existent.
The division was into two main parties. One desired a sovereign under whom
either Catholicism should be restored under such tolerant conditions as
prevailed under Henry IV. in France, or else Anglicanism might be retained,
extending a like toleration to Catholics. There was of course a
fundamental divergence between these two positions; but very many of the
nobility, whether professed Anglicans or professed Catholics, were prepared
to accept either alternative. Of this party the intellectual chief was
Cecil. The second party, that of which Essex was the head, relied primarily
upon the Puritan element, and advocated persistent hostility to Spain.

Now the effective Spanish position had been materially changed since,
shortly before his death, Philip II. had erected the Netherlands into a
separate sovereignty under the Infanta Isabella and the Austrian Archduke
Albert to whom she was betrothed: he had thus made possible for England a
revival of the old-time Burgundian alliance independent of Spain. The
Archduke knew that as a Spanish Princess Isabella would never be accepted
in England, but the union under one head of England and Burgundy was a very
different matter, which might provide a key to the religious problem very
much akin to that which France had recently found. It was in this direction
that the eyes of the majority of the Cecil party were probably turned. For
Essex however--unless indeed he really contemplated the hare-brained scheme
of striking for the throne himself--the course was clearly to bring in
James as his own puppet. It is no doubt easy to remark that that crafty
prince would very soon have outwitted and tripped up the shallow and
overweening Earl: but the Earl himself was the last person to anticipate
such a _denouement_.

[Sidenote: Philip III]

But outside England there was the cunning King of Scots, on the one hand
intriguing with Essex, on the other appealing to the Pope, as a Catholic at
heart who was only waiting for adequate support to drop the mask--bidding
in fact for the countenance of both camps. There was Tyrone in Ireland,
similarly posing to Spain as the champion of Catholicism, while intriguing
with Essex and James indubitably for something like sovereignty for himself
as the price of supporting the Scots King. And there was the young Philip
III. of Spain, idle and vain, who, with a bankrupt treasury and a rotten
administration had his head full of the most inflated ideas of his own
power, and still fancied himself quite capable of conquering England at a
blow; a delusion from which the fanatical religionists who trusted not in
the arm of flesh, were also suffering. To him therefore the idea of James
ascending the English throne even as a Catholic was quite repugnant; as was
also the succession of his sister, unless she restored the Netherlands to
him. Whereas the union with the Netherlands was precisely the one condition
which made her candidature possible in England.

While Essex was still in Ireland this imagination of Philip's had borne
curious fruit. He ordered the preparation of another Armada: the greatest
of all. The Spanish vapourings on the subject actually created some alarm
in England; Raleigh and Lord Thomas Howard very promptly had efficient
fleets on the narrow seas; the Lord Admiral (now Earl of Nottingham) was
appointed Lord General and there was a great mustering of troops and
raising of companies by noblemen and gentlemen. But it is more than
probable that, as far as the land forces were concerned, these measures
were intended quite as much to be a hint to Essex that he would find any
attempt at coercion an exceedingly dangerous game, as for protection
against any effort which Philip was capable of putting forth. In fact this
Armada ended in the feeblest of all these feeble fiascoes: for while it was
making ready, a Dutch fleet was raiding the Canaries and the trade routes;
when it put to sea its energies were absorbed in a futile attempt to catch
these audacious enemies; and before it reached the Azores, a fourth part of
it had foundered and the balance had been practically crippled by foul

Such then was the position when in the autumn of 1599 Essex suddenly found
himself a prisoner. Cecil however did not think it politic to go to
extremities. The Earl was not haled before the Star-Chamber as was proposed
in some quarters; it was not till the following June that he was brought
before a commission of the Privy Council for enquiry and censure; and some
two months later he was released. But from October 1599 to August 1600 he
remained in custody.

[Sidenote: 1600 Ireland]

In the meantime, Tyrone was appealing to Spain and to the Archduke Albert.
The latter, with ulterior objects, was negotiating for peace with Cecil--
who was following a path of his own--and had no mind to complicate the
intrigue by an Irish embroilment. Philip immediately gave orders that
everything was to be provided to conquer Ireland out of hand; but as the
means for carrying out those orders were entirely lacking, there were no
results. Moreover, Elizabeth had at last realised that the systematic
reduction of Ireland was now an absolute necessity which could only be
accomplished by adequate forces under a competent commander. Montjoy, a
connexion of Essex, was sent over; his dealings with Tyrone met with
increasing success. Essex had at first counted on Montjoy acting in effect
as his own deputy; but in this he was disappointed. Placed in a position of
responsibility, the Deputy immediately rejected the overtures he made. The
army in Ireland was not to be the instrument of Essex's ambition.

[Sidenote: Succession intrigues]

Where so many of the actors were simultaneously engaged in alternative
intrigues, some of them with entire insincerity, and solely for the purpose
of keeping inconvenient persons or groups in play until they were harmless,
it is not possible to be sure in most cases of the real policy intended.
Cecil's party were in some sort of communication even with Parsons, who
persuaded himself that if only Philip would definitely commit himself to a
nominee, and would strike in before the Scots King could secure himself,
the chiefs of that party would support him. It is not credible that this
was really the case, but it is at least probable that the group were
deliberately seeking to produce that impression at the Spanish head-
quarters. For them the essential thing was to wreck Essex on the one side
and out-wit the extreme Catholics on the other. Others might be deceived,
but Cecil and Raleigh at least must have been fully alive to the
worthlessness of any programme which assumed political intelligence on the
part of Philip, or effective activity in Spain. James was playing for the
support of every section, by inducing each to believe that his overtures to
the other sections were mere blinds: and during this year he was working
for the support of Henry IV., as being at heart a tolerant Catholic.
Whether Essex, who must have been aware of the intrigue, accepted the
policy or regarded it as merely a useful diplomatic deception remains
uncertain; at any rate it did not alienate him. But the appearance of a
Franco-Scottish rapprochement was an immediate incentive to and excuse for
counter negotiations with Philip and the Archduke on the part of the
English government.

[Sidenote: The end of Essex 1600-1]

At the end of August, Essex was released, though still excluded from
favour. The Cecil party had complete control of the situation, and to all
appearance meant to come to terms with the Archduke: which would wreck the
Earl's ambitions irretrievably. Now, when his one chance lay in playing the
repentant and tearful adorer of a mistress cruel and fair if somewhat
mature--a very familiar role for him--his cry was all for the restoration
of lost pecuniary privileges; and his mistress would naturally have none of
a lover so self-centred. Despairing of the Queen's favour, he was rash
enough to pose as a popular champion, declaiming against the intriguers who
were selling England to the Infanta, and drawing round him the young
hot-heads and scape-graces of the nobility, in the insane belief that their
swords and the cheers of the London mob would enable him to effect the
overthrow of Cecil by a _coup de main_. When the time was ripe, early
in February, Cecil struck. Essex was summoned to appear before the Council.
He evaded the summons, and next day with his friends made a frantic attempt
to raise the City for the removal of the Queen's false Counsellors. That
evening he was a prisoner in the Tower. A few days later, he was brought to
trial for treason before a Court of Peers, and was condemned and
executed. Pardon was impossible, though Elizabeth's grief at signing his
death warrant was poignant and permanent.

[Sidenote: Robert Cecil]

The triumph of Cecil was complete. The utter overthrow of Essex had been
his first objective; now he was free to work his own underground policy.
Publicly and ostensibly as before he remained the chief of the "moderate"
party, seeking reconciliation with Spain and a _modus vivendi_ between
Catholics and Anglicans; privately he took Essex's vacated place as the
friend of the Scots King. Thenceforth, from the Moderate camp, directing
the Moderate programme, he was in intimate correspondence [Footnote: Now
published in its entirety by the Camden Society.] with James; working for
the ultimate destruction of his rivals and associates, when the Stewart
should become King of England, owing his crown to Cecil's dexterity. James,
realising his position, promptly fell in with Cecil's plans, dropped
coquetting with Catholics abroad, and was quite content to wait for a dead
woman's shoes, and to give up irritating demands for an immediate
recognition, of which, with Cecil on his side, he felt ultimately assured.

[Sidenote: Ireland 1600-1]

During 1600, Montjoy had already been doing good service in Ireland. The
14,000 troops at his disposal--though thrice as many as had been allowed to
Norreys--were insufficient for dealing a rapid and crushing blow at the
heart of the rebellion in Ulster. In Munster, however, the Deputy had a
vigorous lieutenant in Carew, and the chiefs were of a divided mind--
largely because many of them held their positions precariously, in virtue
of the English tenure which had been officially substituted for the Irish
method of succession--so that the forces of resistance were to a great
extent broken up. But in Ulster, Montjoy accomplished a fine strategic
stroke by making a feint of invading the province from the south, while he
sent a large force of 4000 men by sea, under command of Docwra, to Loch
Foyle, where they established themselves at Londonderry. He was thus in a
position to strike at Tyrone or O'Donnell whenever those chiefs should
attempt to move southward in force: as was exemplified next year, when
Donegal was seized, and the Blackwater fort was recaptured by a move from
the South, because Tyrone could not withdraw his attention from Derry.

[Sidenote: 1601 The Irish rebellion broken]

About the time of Essex's crash, there were again rumours of a Spanish
invasion. Carew could deal with the Irish rebels alone, but hardly with a
strong invading force as well. When in September 1601 a real Spanish force
did arrive at Kinsale, Montjoy had to concentrate in Munster. But though
this expedition showed the limits of Philip's capacities, it was as usual
so ill found that many of the ships had been obliged to put back to
Corunna, and others, failing to make Kinsale, put in at Baltimore. Montjoy
was in strength near Cork, Carew at Limerick ready to intercept the
approach of the rebels from the North. In a very short time, Kinsale was
beleagured, and when a portion of a Spanish reinforcement managed to reach
the coast in December, it found an English flotilla before it, and its
troops were isolated in a third station at Castlehaven. O'Donnell however
succeeded in evading Carew, who then joined forces with Montjoy and the
fleet before Kinsale. When Tyrone arrived, an attempt was made to relieve
Kinsale; but Montjoy was unusually well served by his intelligence, his
dispositions were skilful, and the rebels were totally routed beyond
possibility of present recovery. Aguilar, the Spanish commander, was
admitted to terms; Baltimore and Castlehaven were surrendered. Thus
abortively collapsed the last effort of Philip III. The Irish rebellion was
broken. Many of the chiefs after vain and desperate resistance escaped to
Spain; others surrendered to the Queen's mercy. O'Donnell was of the
former; he died soon after reaching Spain. But Tyrone the diplomatic
succeeded in making terms. It seemed that once more the English Government
was supreme.

[Sidenote: 1602 The Succession]

Once again, as the death of the great Queen becomes imminent, we must
remind ourselves that to the last she refused to recognise any heir, and
that there were various claimants, [Footnote: Genealogical Tables;
_Front._ and _App. A_, iii.] each one with a colourable claim.
In point of priority by heredity King James of Scotland unquestionably
stood first of the descendants of Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York; yet the
fact that he was not only an alien but King of Scotland made him in himself
an unwelcome candidate. Next to him, since like him she descended from
Margaret Tudor, stood his cousin Arabella--a Stewart too, but of the Lennox
Stewarts, not the Royal House: an English subject; but with the drawback
that she was a woman and unmarried. Third, but first under the will of
Henry VIII. was Lord Beauchamp, son of Katharine Grey and the Earl of
Hertford; about the validity of his parents' marriage however there was a
doubt. The Stanleys of Derby, who through Margaret Clifford could claim
descent from the younger daughter of Henry VII., would have nothing to do
with inheriting the crown; no more would the Earl of Huntingdon who
descended from Edward IV.'s brother, George of Clarence. But Philip of
Spain claimed the crown for himself as a descendant of John of Gaunt;
though, the union of the crowns of England and Spain being admittedly
impracticable, he was under promise to transfer his claim to a hitherto
unnamed nominee, presumably his sister. Virtually therefore Isabella ranked
as a possible though not very enthusiastic candidate.

[Sidenote: The last intrigues]

By this time, it was perfectly obvious that the Infanta could not be forced
upon England, though it was supposed that the Moderates would have favoured
her candidature provided she brought Flanders with her: whereas the
negotiations controlled by Cecil were not tending to bring about any such
result. As 1602 drew to a close, the ablest man in Spain, Olivares, was
emphasising the necessity for giving the English Catholics as a body a free
hand to nominate an English candidate instead of an alien. It is probable,
though it cannot be called certain, that there was a plot to unite the
claims of Arabella and Lord Beauchamp by marrying them, with an implication
that both were prepared in due time to declare themselves Catholics.
Meantime the Moderates were awaiting direction from Cecil; who ostensibly
was himself waiting on a hint from the Queen, but was privily keeping the
way clear for James, while seeking to implicate Raleigh and others in
language and actions which might at any rate be interpreted as hostile to
him. In this secret intriguing, Cecil's great ally was Lord Henry Howard, a
brother of the last Duke of Norfolk; and he had with him the Careys of the
Hunsdon family. Of the Moderates in general it can only be said that, while
there was no candidate in whose favour they could combine with any warmth,
James was rather more obnoxious to them than others. Yet they did not
combine against him, while if any of them sought to ingratiate themselves
with him Cecil was particularly careful to sow distrust of them in the
Scots King's mind, unless they happened to be partisans of his own or at
any rate probable allies. When Arabella tried to escape from what was
practically the custody of her grandmother the Dowager Countess of
Shrewsbury, the famous "Bess of Hardwick," the attempt was nipped in the
bud: and the Catholics were still without any declared candidate when the
lonely old Queen was seized in March with her last mortal illness.

[Sidenote: 1603 Death of the Queen]

As Elizabeth lay on her death-bed, her entourage consisted almost
exclusively of Cecil and his friends, among whom is to be numbered the old
Lord Admiral, though he was innocent of the intrigues going on. The ships
in the Thames, the troops in the North, were commanded by members of the
same group; almost before the breath was out of her body Robert Carey was
galloping North to hail James I. King of England: and the world was told
that Elizabeth's last conscious act was to ratify by a sign the succession
of her old-time rival's son. In her seventieth year, in the early hours of
March 24th, 1603, ended the long and glorious reign of the Virgin Queen.


ELIZABETH (xii), 1558-1603--LITERATURE

The Elizabethan Literature demands from the general Historian something
more than the incidental references which may suffice in other periods. In
earlier days, he may draw upon Piers Plowman or Chaucer for evidence and
illustrations of the prevalent social conditions; in the century following
he may appeal to Milton and Bunyan to elucidate aspects of Puritanism. But
the Elizabethan literature is in a degree quite unique, the expression of
the whole spirit of the time, its many-sidedness, its vigour, its creative
force; helping us to realise how it was that Elizabeth's Englishmen made
Elizabeth's England. And this of course is beside the other fact that for
the historian of literature _per se_ there is no period quite so
interesting and instructive, none of such vital importance in the evolution
of English Letters.

[Sidenote: Birth of a National Literature]

In the five centuries since the Norman Conquest, ending in 1566, England
had produced but one single poet of the front rank or anything approaching
it, Geoffrey Chaucer. From the time when Edmund Spenser in 1579 delighted
his contemporaries by the publication of the _Shepherd's Calendar_,
she has never been without writers whose claim to eminence among poets can
be at least plausibly maintained. Before very much the same date, English
prose as a consciously artistic medium of utterance had hardly begun to be
recognised; even Thomas More wrote his _Utopia_ in Latin, and it was
not translated into English till many years after his death. The
possibility of an English Prose Style--written prose as distinguished from
spoken oratory--had hardly presented itself except to the translators of
Scripture and the Liturgy. Before the century closed, the world was
enriched by the compact and pregnant sentences of Francis Bacon's
_Essays_ and the dignified simplicity of Hooker's _Ecclesiastical
Polity_. As with the Poets, so also the chain of masters of English
Prose is unbroken from that day forward. But most sudden and startling of
all the various developments was that of the Drama. It may be doubted if
any critical observer in 1579 would have ventured even to suspect that the
crowning glory of Elizabeth's reign was to be the work of playwrights; yet
before she died the genius of Marlowe had blazed and been quenched,
_Hamlet_ had appeared on the boards, Jonson's "learned sock" had
achieved fame; the men whose names we are wont to associate with the
"Mermaid" had most of them already begun their career, even if they had not
yet passed the stage of merely adapting, doctoring, and "writing up" for
managers the stock-plays in their repertory. The Drama, proving itself the
form of literary expression most perfectly adapted to the spirit of the
age, absorbed the available literary talent as it has never done since.

Sudden as the outburst was however, it had been made possible by many years
of wide and miscellaneous experiment, though little of any permanent
intrinsic value had been actually achieved.

[Sidenote: Prose: before 1579]

Except for Ascham's _Toxophilus_, very few passages [Footnote: Such as
may be lighted on for instance in "Sir John Mandeville," Mallory, and
Hall's _Chronicle_.] of English prose notable as prose--that is,
consciously essaying what is connoted by the term _style_--had been
produced before Elizabeth's accession, apart from the liturgical,
rhetorical, or controversial work of the clergy or clerical disputants. The
_Acts and Monuments_ of Foxe, popularly known as, the "Book of
Martyrs," published in the first decade of the reign, showed the
development of a power of vigorously dramatic narrative which should not be
overlooked. The enormous popularity however which that work achieved was at
least in part the outcome of the general sterility. Men had not yet learned
to write, but they were ready to read even voraciously. Culture was in
vogue. As things stood culture, in practice, meant and could mean little
else than the study of Latin and Italian authors--Greek being still
reserved for the learned--of whose works translations, some of notable
merit, were very soon beginning to appear on the market. It was inevitably
to these two literatures--the Latin and the Italian--that men turned in the
first instance to find the models and formulate the canons of literary art;
with only occasional divagations in the direction of France or Spain,
countries which were scarcely a generation in advance of England. We remark
that the old idea that for prose which was intended to live the true medium
was still the one international literary language, Latin, died exceedingly
hard; Bacon himself, great master though he was of his mother-tongue,
maintaining it quite definitely. This pedantic attitude however was not
involved in the idea of culture, and men welcomed with avidity an author
who made his appeal to the non-academic public in vigorous English. The
conversion even of the academic mind was close at hand.

[Sidenote: 1579-89]

The year 1579 is in the strictest sense an epoch in the history of English
Literature; as witnessing the first appearance of a new and original force
in English verse, and the first deliberate and elaborate effort in the
direction of artistically constructed English Prose. In that year, John
Lyly published his _Euphues: the Anatomy of Wit_, and Edmund Spenser
his _Shepherd's Calendar_.

[Sidenote: Euphues]

_Euphues_, and its companion volume _Euphues and His England_
enjoyed a very remarkable if temporary vogue; running through numerous
editions in the course of the ensuing fifty years. After that, it dropped.
It is not surprising that it dropped. The work is tedious, prolix,
affected, abounding in pedantry and in intellectual foppery. But its whole
meaning and significance at the time when it was written are lost to us if
we pay attention only to the ridicule which very soon fell upon it, to the
mockery in Shakespeare's burlesques of Euphuism, or to Scott's later parody
of it in the character of Sir Piercie Shafton. The everlasting antitheses,
the perpetual playing with words, the alliterative trickery, the
accumulation of far-fetched similes, the endless and often most
inappropriate classical, mythological, and quasi-zoological allusions and
parallels, are indeed sufficiently absurd and wearisome; and when
"Euphuism" became a fashionable craze, its sillier disciples were a very
fit target for jesting and mirth, very much as in our own day the humorists
found abundant and legitimate food for laughter in the vagaries of what was
known as "aestheticism". In both cases, the extravagances were the
separable accidents, the superficial excrescences, of a real intellectual
movement with a quite healthy motive. _Euphues_ itself was a real and
serious if somewhat misdirected effort at making a moralised culture
fashionable, and at elevating; the English tongue into a medium of refined
and polished expression. If the Euphuists included Armados among them, they
numbered also their Birons and Rosalines. Though Lyly practised exuberances
of verbal jugglery, he was not their inventor; they were a vice of the
times, largely borrowed from foreign models; and Shakespeare himself, in
moments of aberrant ingenuity, produced--not for laughter--samples which
Lyly might have admired but could never have emulated.

[Sidenote: Sidney's prose works]

Lyly's work was a novel experiment in prose, without previous parallel;
critical judgments were no very long time in detecting and condemning his
extravagances. But the same intellectual motive was soon to find a more
chastened and artistic expression in the work of one who was still but a
literary experimentalist when he meet his death at Zutphen. When Sir Philip
Sidney, that "verray parfit gentil knight," scholar, soldier, and
statesman, if the unanimous appraisement of the best of his contemporaries
is worth anything, wrote his _Defence of Poesie_, he had not indeed
broken free from the trammels of academic theory; but it is a very often
acute and always charming piece of critical work in scholarly and graceful
language. More affected and generally inferior in style, but also still on
the whole scholarly and graceful in its language, is his _Arcadia_, an
example of the indefinitely constructed amorphous Romances out of which in
course of long time the novel was to be evolved. The dwellers in that
Arcady are as far removed from the nymphs and swains of Watteau's day as
from a primitive Greek population; they behave as no human beings ever did
or could behave; they belong in short to a particularly unconvincing kind
of fairy-land, of which the vogue happily died out at an early stage. The
_Arcadia_ is not intrinsically a great book, nor can it be read to-day
without a considerable effort; yet it must always be notable as not merely
an experiment but a positive achievement in English prose style. Neither of
these works was published till after 1590; but both must have been written
before 1583.

[Sidenote: Hooker 1594]

It was not till the last decade of the reign had begun that the first great
monument of English Prose appeared; nor is it surprising that, when it did
come, it was an example of the Ecclesiastical or politico-ecclesiastical
order. With the publication in 1594 of the first four books of Richard
Hooker's _Ecclesiastical Polity_, the full claims of English as a
great literary language were decisively established by his rhythmical,
stately, and luminous periods. In their own field, Poets and Dramatists had
already secured those claims; with the works of Marlowe, the earliest plays
of Shakespeare, and the opening books of the _Faerie Queene_.

[Sidenote: Verse; before 1579]

While the Eighth Henry was still ruling England, Surrey and Wyatt, heedful
of things Italian, had already discovered that verse-making was at any rate
a delectable pastime for a gentleman of wit, especially if he had a
love-affair on hand; a pastime certainly pleasing to himself and probably
agreeable to his mistress. They made metrical experiments, introducing both
the sonnet and blank verse. The example they set was followed by others,
and _Tottel's Miscellany_, published towards the end of Mary's reign,
shows that a considerable skill in this minor art had already been
acquired, and not only by the two principal contributors, though the
writers were still working within very narrow metrical limitations. In 1559
appeared the _Mirrour for Magistrates_, for the most part dull and
uninteresting but containing in the _Induction_ and the _Complaint
of Buckingham_ two contributions by Thomas Sackville (afterwards Lord
Buckhurst) which are a good deal more than clever verse-making. But after
one other experiment--the part-authorship of the first English Tragedy in
blank verse, _Gorboduc_--Sackville deserted the Muses, for public
affairs; in his later years becoming a leading member of Elizabeth's
Council. The little verse that he left is of a quality to make us wish that
he had written more: for there is in him at least a hint of some
possibilities which were actualised in Spenser. But twenty years passed
before the appearance of the _Shepherd's Calendar_, during which it is
probable enough that courtiers and lovers continued to practise, after the
school of Surrey and Wyatt; nothing however was published that has
survived, save the work of the universal experimentalist and pioneer George
Gascoigne, who tried his hand at most forms of literary production,
achieving distinction in none but a laudable respectability in all.

[Sidenote: 1579-90 Spenser and others ]

The _Shepherd's Calendar/_ by itself would give Spenser nothing more
than a high position among minor poets; but with him verse reappeared as
something more than an elegant exercise for courtiers, scholars or lovers.
Above all, the _Shepherd's Calendar_ gave unexpected proof of the
metrical capacities and verbal felicities of the English language, though
setting it forth to the accompaniment of an excessive use of archaic forms
and expressions. Even that excess had its value as a protest against the
pedantic precision of the Latinists, who were already indulging in a
grotesque attempt to displace natural English metres by Ovidian and
Horatian prosody. Spenser himself made some futile efforts in this
direction; so did Sidney--sundry more or less ingenious examples are
scattered about the _Arcadia_; but Sidney realised his error in time
to write the _Astrophel and Stella_ sonnets (about 1581-2), which
though still somewhat stiff and academic might well have been the
precursors of some noble poetry had the writer lived longer. As it is, his
life and death form the noblest poem he has bequeathed to us.

Those sonnets also remained unpublished till some years later. The first
three books of the _Faerie Queene_, which at once established Spenser
for all time as a true poet of the highest rank, did not appear till
1590. In the interval, the English Drama was finding itself, and some of
the dramatists were revealing that gift of song--in the restricted sense of
the word--which was bestowed in such unparalleled measure on the later
Elizabethans. To this decade belong songs by Lyly and Peele, Lodge and
Greene, which have already caught the delicate daintiness and the exquisite
lilt of Shakespeare's songs and a host of others found in the later
songbooks--qualities of which there is little more than a rare hint here
and there in the earlier Miscellanies, for all the bravery of such titles
as _A Paradise of Dainty Devises_ (1576): _A Gorgeous Gallery of
Gallant Inventions_ (1578): or _A Handefull of Pleasant

[Sidenote: The Drama before Elizabeth]

The definite triumph of Christianity over Paganism killed the Drama of the
old world, the Church deliberately setting its face against the
theatre. But primitive popular instincts, embodied in the continued
celebration, as holiday sports, of what had originally been pagan rites,
kept in existence crude and embryonic forms of dramatic representation at
the festival seasons; which after a time the ecclesiastics saw more
advantage in adapting to their own ends than in suppressing. Hence arose
the miracle plays or Mysteries (probably _ministerium_, not [Greek:
mystaerion]) of the middle ages--representations chiefly of episodes in the
Biblical narrative. These in turn suggested the Moralities, dialogues with
action in which the characters were personifications of virtues or vices
relieved, in consideration of the weakness of the flesh, by passages of
broad buffoonery. Lastly in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth
centuries came the representation of what were called "Interludes," for the
most part short farces of a very primitive order--probably the offspring of
the aforesaid passages of buffoonery. These did not constitute a literary
drama; but they kept the idea of dramatic representation in being, though
no such thing as a theatre or building constructed for the purpose existed
as yet. The performances were given either in Church, or, later, in a
nobleman's hall, or in the courtyard of an inn. The "masque" or pantomimic
pageant, without dialogue, was also a familiar spectacle of the later
times, and remained an occasional feature of the drama in its development.

The revival of interest in the classics caused some attention to be paid to
the Roman drama; and hence Italy led the way--as in all things literary--in
producing imitations of the plays then known. These however hardly got
beyond the stage of being mere imitations; though as models Terence and
Seneca were superior to the compilers of miracle plays, something more was
required than copying their works before a Drama worthy of the name could
be evolved. But from about the middle of the sixteenth century, the
dramatic instinct in England was struggling to find for itself new and
adequate expression.

[Sidenote: Early Elizabethan Drama]

With the Educational revival, it would appear that schoolmasters
occasionally caused their pupils to act scenes, in Latin or perhaps at
times in a translated version, from Terence: and it is not surprising to
find that what is recognised as the first English Comedy was written by a
schoolmaster for his boys to perform. _Ralph Roister Doister_ derived
from the Latin model, and is in doggerel couplets. It was the work of
Nicholas Udall who was Master of Eton and afterwards of Westminster; but
whether it was produced in the earlier or later period is not certainly
known. At any rate it preceded the accession of Queen Mary. _Gammer
Gurton's Needle_, dated 1553, holds the second place in point of time;
and _Gorboduc_ otherwise known as _Ferrex and Porrex_, the first
English blank-verse tragedy, the work of Sackville and Norton, was acted in
1561. From this time, we have notices of the production of a considerable
number of plays of which it may be assumed that they were exceedingly
crude, being either very formless experiments derived from the interludes
or else direct imitations or translations of Latin or Italian plays; to
which Gascoigne contributed his share. A nearer approach to the coming
Comedy is found in the plays of John Lyly preceding his _Euphues_. By
this time dramatic performances had achieved such popularity that the City
Fathers were scandalised--not indeed without reason--by their encroachments
on the more solid but less inviting attractions of Church Services; and by
banishing them from the City precincts caused the first regularly
constructed theatres to be established outside the City bounds in
Shoreditch: a departure which no doubt tended to the more definite
organisation of the Actor's profession. As the Eighties progressed, a
higher standard of dramatic production was attained by the group of
"University" play wrights---Peele, Greene, Nash, and others; wild Bohemian
spirits for the most part, careless of conventions whether moral or
literary, wayward, clever, audacious; culminating with Marlowe, whose first
extremely immature play _Tamburlaine_, was probably acted in 1587 when
he was only three and twenty; his career terminating in a tavern brawl some
six years later. By that time (1593) it is certain that Shakespeare, born
in the same year as Marlowe, was writing for the managers; though none of
his known work can with confidence be dated earlier than the year of
Marlowe's death. The great age of the Drama had begun.

[Sidenote: The younger generation]

It will have become apparent from this survey that, although we talk with
very good reason of the Elizabethan Age of English Literature, the Queen
had been reigning for thirty years, the great political crisis of her rule
had been reached, the Armada had perished, before any single work had been
written, or at any rate published, which on its merits--judged by the
criteria of an established literature with established canons--would have
entitled its author to a position of any distinction on the roll of fame.
Up to 1589, the most remarkable productions had been: in prose, Foxe's
_Book of Martyrs_ and Lyly's _Euphues_; in verse, some lines of
Sackville, and the _Shepherd's Calendar_. Even when we have added to
these Sidney's _Sonnets_ and his _Arcadia_--written but not
published--the significant fact remains that he, as well as Spenser and
Lyly, was not born till the second half of the century had begun: and all
three were older than any of the group of dramatists who are named as
Shakespeare's precursors. Spenser was actually the eldest of all the men
whose writings shed lustre on the great Queen's reign: and Spenser himself
had not attained to the full maturity of his genius--had not, at least
given its fruits to the world--at the hour of England's triumph. Had he
died in the year of Zutphen, "Colin Clout" would have ranked little if at
all higher than "Astrophel." Further: save for Sidney and Marlowe, who were
both cut off prematurely, and Spenser himself who died at forty-six, the
work of all the greater Elizabethan writers--Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson,
Bacon, Hooker, Raleigh, Middleton, Drayton--lies as much in the time of
James as in that of Elizabeth; while a whole group of those to whom the
same general title is applied--Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster, Ford,
Massinger--belong in effect wholly to the later reign.

Broadly speaking therefore it is worth noting that state-craft, soldiering,
seamanship, affairs of a very practical character, absorbed the keen brains
and the abundant energies of the earlier generation; even for the men born
in the fifties, like Raleigh and Sidney, literature (except with Spenser)
held a quite secondary place. But no sooner is the National triumph ensured
than the younger generation displays in the literary field characteristics
essentially the same as those whereby their elders had raised England in
war and in politics to the first rank among the nations.

For years to come, for the first time certainly in English History,
literature in one form or another appropriates the best work of the best
brains. There are men of ability in politics, but no giants: or if one of
the giants, like Bacon, divides his attention between the two fields, the
best half of it goes to literature. Yet it is essentially the same spirit
which works in the great men of Elizabeth's closing years as in the great
men of her youth and of her maturity.

[Sidenote: Pervading Characteristics]

The quality which conditions the whole English character through the period
is an exuberant, often even a riotous energy, a vast imaginativeness, which
breeds in the first place an immense daring, saved from degenerating into
mere recklessness by a coolness of head in emergencies which is singularly
marked. Whether we look at Elizabeth, Cecil, and Walsingham, or at Hawkins
and Drake and Frobisher, or broadly at the actions of the rank and file,
these characteristics are apparent. They are no less patent in the poets.

[Sidenote: displayed in the Drama and other fields]

Thus if we consider the tragedies of the period, their tremendous audacity
is perhaps their most prominent feature. The stage reeks with blood and
reverberates thunder, to an extent which could not fail to become merely
grotesque but for the immense pervading vitality. These men could and did
venture upon extravagances and imbue them with a terrific quality, when in
weaker hands they would have become ridiculous. For anything less than the
vibrating energy of Marlowe, the final scene of his _Faustus_ would
have sunk to burlesque. A cold analysis of the plot of _Hamlet_ or
_Macbeth_ would suggest mere melodrama. A Shakespeare or a Marlowe had
no hesitation in facing tasks which offered no mean between great success
or great failure. Nor was the audacity in their choice of subjects more
remarkable than in their methods, their defiance of recognised canons. Just
as the seamen had ignored the convention of centuries, creating a new
system of naval tactics and a new type of navy, so the Tragedians brushed
aside the academic convention, creating new dramatic canons and a new type
of drama. The innovation in the structure of comedy was no less daring,
since it proceeded on parallel lines. And here again the same quality of
superabundant vitality is equally prominent. But it is to be noted that
while the Elizabethan vitality would have made the drama great in spite of
its audacity, the greatest productions are distinguished from the less
great precisely by that peculiar sanity which stamped the master-spirits of
the time. As it is with the dramatists, so is it with the rest. The same
fulness of life is apparent in the luxuriance of Spenser's imagination, and
in the spontaneity of half a hundred anonymous song-writers, the same
audacity in Raleigh, embarking on his History of the World, and in Bacon,
assuming all knowledge to be his province, while affirming and formulating
the principles of Inductive Reasoning in substitution for the Deductive
methods by which the Schools had lived for centuries. Wherever the critic
turns his glance, he can find no sign of the Decadent. In every field of
life, in politics, in war, in religion, in letters, the Elizabethan was
virile even in his vices. His offences against morals or against art were
essentially of the barbaric not the effete order; as the splendours of his
productions were the natural beauties of plants nurtured in the open, not
in the hothouse.

[Sidenote: Breadth of view]

Other aspects of the national character could be readily inferred from the
prevalent tone of this literature. Toleration as a political principle was
not yet recognised: tolerance as a private attitude of mind was very
prevalent. The Jesuit and the extreme Puritan, the doctrinal propagandists
who would endure no deviation from their own standard, were thoroughly
unpopular, and managed to put themselves outside the field of
consideration; the immense bulk of the nation was in sympathy with neither
the one nor the other, and it is only to the extremists that the men of
letters show a direct antipathy. Catholics can make a presentable case for
the theory that Shakespeare himself was a "crypto-Catholic," though the
case is not more than presentable. Rome is abhorrent to Spenser, yet it is
apparent that many of his ethical conceptions are infinitely nearer akin to
those of mediaeval Catholicism than of the current Puritanism. Hooker, most
earnest of Christians, was also the most liberal-minded of men. Jonson was
half a Catholic. All were manifestly men of deep religious feeling, but
none can be associated with any religious party. When England was pitted as
a Protestant Power against a Power aggressively determined on the
eradication of Protestantism, it was inevitable that the prevailing
sentiment should be increasingly Protestant; on the whole, it is surprising
that there should have been so little bigotry in it. The public inclination
was to be tolerant of all but the intolerant, and that attitude is
reflected in all the literature of the time, except the specifically
partisan writings of controversialists.


So also another note of the day was the general patriotism, national pride,
or insularity; the sentiment which made the Catholics themselves, even when
they were most under suspicion and had most cause to welcome an opportunity
for rebellion, ready and eager to fall into line and resist the invader who
was to liberate them. Again the poets gave voice to the national feeling,
none more emphatically or more admirably than Shakespeare himself.
Patriotic lines might of course be written for the sake of the gallery's
inevitable applause; but Shakespeare's panegyrics of England are absolutely
and unmistakably whole hearted, and it may be doubted if in all his plays
he presented any single character with a more thorough and convincing
sympathy and appreciation than his Henry V., the incarnation of English

[The Normal Types] Finally, what manner of men and women they were who
peopled the England that Shakespeare knew, we can see from the men and
women whom Shakespeare drew. The types manifest themselves; the normal and
the exceptional are readily distinguishable. The normal type is keen of
wit, impulsive; it is observable for instance that both men and women
habitually--almost invariably--fall in love unreservedly at first sight;
generous for the most part; in action prompt and more often than not
over-hasty, but resourceful--the women more resourceful than the men. It is
a commonplace of course to remark that his types are types for all time;
but different types are more prevalent at one time than another, and the
inference is that Shakespeare's prevalent types were the prevalent ones of
his own day. Hamlet, Brutus, Cleopatra, belonged to eternal but not to
normal types; Hotspur and Mercutio, Rosalind and Cordelia--even if the
latter were glorified examples--were obviously normal. For in play after
play, whether as leading or as minor characters, they recur again and
again; and more than that we find the same characteristics--presented no
doubt with less incisiveness and less brilliancy--reappearing in the
Dramatis Personae of the whole Elizabethan group. Such were the gentlemen
of England who fought the Spaniard and overthrew him; such were their
sisters and their wives.



[Sidenote: Features of the Reign]

The reign of Elizabeth may be said to have been distinguished primarily by
three leading features. The first is the development and establishment of
England as the greatest maritime power in the world, a process which has
been traced with some fulness. The second is that sudden and amazing
outburst of literary genius in the latter half, and mainly in the last
quarter, of the reign, for which there is no historical parallel except in
Athens, unless once again we find it in England two centuries later:
whereof the last few pages have treated. The third is the Ecclesiastical
settlement, on which it has hitherto been possible only to touch. This,
with certain other aspects of the reign, remain for discussion in this
concluding chapter.

[Sidenote: State and Church]

In this settlement, the primary fundamental fact, politically speaking--
for theological problems do not fall within our range--is the recognition
by the State of the Church as an aspect of the body politic, and of her
organisation as a branch of the body politic, subject to the control of the
Sovereign and maintained by the sanction of the Sovereign's supremacy;
precluding the interference of any external authority, and overriding any
claims to independent authority on the part of the organisation itself;
requiring from all members of the body politic conformity, under penalties,
to the institutions thus regulated, and rejection of any authority running
counter thereto. The secondary fact is that the State thus sanctioned such
institutions as, under a reasonable liberty of interpretation, might be
accepted without a severe strain of conscience by persons holding opinions
of considerable diversity; so that conformity should be possible to the
great bulk of the nation, including many who might not in theory admit the
right of the State to a voice in the matter at all.

The politicians, that is, deliberately chose a _via media_.
Theologically, the dividing line lay between those who desired the Mass and
reunion with Rome, and those who rejected the Mass and derived their dogmas
from Geneva. Under Mary, the Government had thrown itself on the side of
the former; under Edward, mainly on that of the latter. Elizabeth's
Government would have neither. It would not admit the papal claim to
override the secular authority, or the equally dictatorial claims of the
Genevan ministry as exemplified by John Knox; the first necessity for it
was to assert secular supremacy, the second to make its definitions of
dogma sufficiently ambiguous to be reconcilable with the dogmatic scruples
of the majority of both parties; with the result however of shutting out
both determined Romanists and determined Calvinists, while the Church thus
regulated contained two parties, one with conservative, the other with
advanced, ideals.

The outward note of Conservative churchmen was insistence on ceremonial
observances, as that of the advanced men was dislike of them. But as the
reign advanced, another feature acquires prominence--the protest of the
Puritans against the Episcopalian system of Church Government, with the
correspondingly increased emphasis laid on the vital necessity of that
system by the Conservatives.

[Sidenote: The State and the Catholics]

The Queen's personal predilections were at all times on the Conservative
side; those of her principal advisers always leaned towards the Puritans--
at the first Cecil, Bacon, and Elizabeth's own kinsmen, Knollys and
Hunsdon; then Walsingham, drawing Leicester with him. But in the early
years of her rule, when it was imperative to minimise all possible causes
of discontent, the admission of the largest possible latitude in practice
was required, even if it was accompanied by legislation which gave
authority for restrictive action. It followed however from the political
conditions that direct hostility to the Queen was to be feared only from
the Catholics--the whole body of those who would have liked to see the old
religion restored in its entirety. This was emphasized by the Papal Bull
excommunicating Elizabeth in 1570--a political blunder on the part of the
Pope which greatly annoyed and embarrassed Philip at the time. The result,
joined with the Northern Rising, the Ridolfi plot, and the indignation
aroused by the day of St. Bartholomew, was to strengthen the hands of the
Puritans and to give open Catholicism the character of a political offence;
and to this an enormously increased force was added in 1581 by the Jesuit
mission. During these years, parliaments were all unfailingly and
increasingly Puritan, and Puritanism was steadily making way all over the
country, not without the favour of the leading divines. Elizabeth herself
viewed this tendency with extreme dislike, mercilessly snubbing bishops and
others who seemed to betray inclinations in this direction--Grindal in
particular, Parker's successor at Canterbury, suffered from her
displeasure; but she could not suppress it. She might--and did--say a good
deal; but she could not in act go nearly as far as she would have wished,
in opposition to subjects whose political loyalty was indisputable, as well
as extremely necessary to her security.

[Sidenote: The Church and the Puritans]

So long as the advanced movement concerned itself chiefly with the
"Vestiarian Controversy" and matters of ceremonial observance, it did not
assume primary importance in the eyes of politicians. But by the middle of
the reign the question of the form of Church Government had come to the
front, and the demand to substitute the Presbyterian system for the
Episcopalian was being put forward by Cartwright and his followers and had
even produced a Presbyterian organisation within the Church. Moreover the
school commonly called Brownists, who developed into the sect of
Independents, were propounding the theory that the Church consisted not of
the whole nation but only of the Elect. Puritanism was therefore
threatening to become directly subversive of the established order. Then
came the mission of Parsons and Campian. The effect of this in regard to
Catholics was twofold. It necessitated an increased severity in dealing
with any one who recognised papal authority: and made it more imperative
than ever to induce Catholics to be reconciled with the State Church, by
emphasizing the Catholic side of her institutions, and consequently by
checking Puritan developments. On the other side, it was so obviously
impossible for the Puritans to withdraw their loyalty from Elizabeth that
to conciliate them was superfluous; they were adopting an attitude
antagonistic to the approved constitution of the Church; and there was a
suggestion of rigid even-handed justice in waging war upon their propaganda
at the same time as on that of Rome. Whitgift, succeeding Grindal at
Canterbury in 1583, opened the campaign against Puritanism--not indeed with
the favour either of parliament or of the leading statesmen, whose personal
sympathies were with the advanced party, but manifestly with encouragement
from the Queen.

[Sidenote: Archbishop Whitgift]

Whitgift's own attitude was that of the Disciplinarian rather than of the
theologian. The method of operation was by the issue of Fifteen Articles to
which all the clergy were required to subscribe: the sanction thereof being
the authority of the Court of High Commission. Under the Act of Supremacy
of 1559, the appointment of a Commission to enforce obedience to the law in
matters ecclesiastical had been authorised. This Court was fully
constituted in December 1583, and proceeded by methods which Burghley
himself held to be too inquisitorial. A good deal of indignation was
aroused, and the Puritans were in effect made more aggressive, their
attacks on the existing system culminating in 1589 in the distinctly
scurrilous "Martin Mar-prelate" tracts, which were so violent as to
produce a marked reaction. This on the one side, coupled with the partly
genuine and partly mythical plots of the ultra-Catholics on the other,
brought about sharp legislation in 1593, resulting in an increased
persecution of the Catholics after that time, and in the compulsory
withdrawal of the extreme nonconformists to the more sympathetic atmosphere
of the Netherlands. At the same time the "High" theory of the Church's
authority was formulated by Bancroft (afterwards Archbishop), and what may
be called the Constitutional theory of Church Government was propounded in
the _Ecclesiastical Polity_ of Hooker. All of this was the prologue to
the great controversy which was to acquire such prominence under the

[Sidenote: The Persecutions]

In writing of the persecutions under Elizabeth alike of Catholics and of
Puritans, it is not uncommon to imply that the political argument in their
defence was a mere pretext with a theological motive. As a matter of fact
however, the distinction between Elizabeth's and Mary's persecutions is a
real one. Broadly speaking, it is now the universally received view that no
man ought to be penalised on the score of opinions conscientiously held,
however erroneous they may be; but that if those opinions find expression
in anti-social acts, the acts must be punished. Punishment of opinions is
rightly branded as persecution. Now although in effect not a few persons,
Puritans or Catholics, were put to death by Elizabeth, and many more
imprisoned or fined--as they would have said themselves, for Conscience'
sake--this was the distinction specifically recognised by her; which,
without justifying her persecutions, differentiates them from those of her
predecessors. Henry and Mary frankly and avowedly burnt victims for holding
wrong opinions--for Heresy. Anabaptism no doubt was accounted a social as
well as a theological crime; but no one ever dreamed of regarding Ann Ascue
or Frith as politically dangerous. Mary kindled the fires of Smithfield for
the salvation of souls, not for the safety of her throne. Whereas the
foundation of Elizabeth's persecutions was that _opinions_ as such
were of no consequence: but that people who would not conform their
_conduct_ to her regulations must either be potential traitors
politically or anarchists socially. Her proceedings are brought into the
category of persecutions, because she treated potential anarchism or
treason as implying overt anarchism or treason, though unless and until she
discovered such implication in a given opinion, any one was at liberty to
hold it or not as he chose; its truth or falsity was a matter of entire
indifference. To punish the implied intention of committing a wrong act is
sufficiently dangerous in principle; but it is to be distinguished from
punishment for holding an opinion because it is accounted a false one.

Finally, while we must condemn her persecution both of Puritans and of
Catholics alike, it is only fair, in comparing her with her predecessor, to
remember that, in the five and forty years of her reign, the whole number
of persons who suffered death as Catholics or as Anabaptists was
considerably less than the number of the Martyrs in four years of Mary's

[Sidenote: Economic progress]

By adopting Cecil's ecclesiastical policy of the _via media_,
Elizabeth saved England from the internecine religious strife which almost
throughout her reign made the political action of France so
inefficient. The constant wars of the Huguenots with the Leaguers or their
predecessors had their counterpart for Philip also, whose struggle with the
Netherlanders was to a great extent in the nature of a civil war. Fully
realising how seriously both France and Spain were hampered by these
complications, she was able to conduct her diplomatic manoeuvres with an
audacity quite as remarkable as her duplicity, gauging to a nicety the
carrying capacity of the very thin ice over which she was constantly
skating. Thus while both those Powers were perpetually exhausting their
resources and draining their exchequers with costly wars, England, free
from any similar strain, was rapidly growing in wealth; and while the
national expenditure was kept comparatively low, manufactures were
multiplied, and the commerce which was driven by the stress of war from the
great trade-centres of the Netherlands was being absorbed by English ports.
Moreover that forcible trading indulged in by John Hawkins in the earlier
ventures of the reign--giving place, as time went on to the process of
systematic preying upon Spanish treasure--provided very substantial
dividends for the Queen, as well as filling the pockets of her loyal
subjects. Thus again she was able to avoid making perpetual demands on her
parliaments, and when demands were made the parliaments could usually meet
them in a generous and ungrudging spirit.

[Sidenote: The currency; Retrenchment]

Nevertheless, no little financial skill and courage were required to
restore the public credit which had fallen to such disastrous depths in the
two preceding reigns; and this was done to a large extent by a policy of
determined financial honesty. The miserable system of debasing the coinage
was brought to an end; the current coins were called in and paid for at not
much under their actual value in silver, and the new coins issued were of
their face value. Debts contracted by Government were punctually paid, and
as an immediate consequence the Government soon found itself able to borrow
at reasonable instead of ruinous rates of interest. Private prosperity and
public confidence advanced so swiftly that before Elizabeth had been a
dozen years on the throne substantial loans could be raised at home without
applying to foreign sources. Elizabeth never spent a penny of public money
without good reason; sometimes--as in Ireland habitually, and to some
degree at the time of the Armada though not so seriously as is commonly
reputed--her parsimony amounted to false economy; often it took on a
pettifogging character in her dealings with the Dutch, with the Huguenots,
and with the Scots, though in the last case at least it must be admitted
that either party was equally ready to overreach the other if the chance
offered. But for very many years a very close economy was absolutely
essential if debts were to be paid. That economy was facilitated by the
lavish expenditure of prominent men on public objects; due partly to a
desire for display, partly--at least in the case of the buccaneering
enterprises--to bold speculat