Изображения страниц


friends wanted to put her to death. But as nothing could be proved against her, they were obliged to content themselves with shutting her up in the Tower, where her only indulgence was a daily walk in a little garden enclosed within the walls of the prison. The little children of the officers of the Tower pitied the poor captive lady, and used to watch for her coming out that they might bring her flowers. But her sister's ministers soon deprived her of these harmless companions, giving orders that the children should be locked in-doors all the while the princess was out.

Elizabeth was at length permitted to remove into the country; but was so rigorously guarded there, that when she heard a milkmaid singing at her work under the trees of Woodstock park, she could not help wishing to change places with her. After the marriage which the people hated so much had taken place, her captivity was lightened. The queen's health was very feeble; Philip thought she would probably not live long, and he wished to be on good terms with Elizabeth, so he persuaded Mary to send for her to court, and show her some kindness. We are sorry to read that Elizabeth earned her sister's good-will by concealing her true opinions and conforming to the Roman-catholic religion.


REIGN OF MARY I.-(continued).



(From 1554 to 1558.)

SOON after the queen's marriage Cardinal Pole arrived in England. He was empowered by the pope to receive the humble submission of the nation, and to pardon England for having thrown off its obedience to Rome in the time of Henry the Eighth.

The lords and gentlemen who had been enriched by the plunder of the monasteries refused, at first, to have anything to do with the pope; for they thought he would require them to give back all the lands which had once belonged to the Church. But when the pope gave them leave to keep all this property, they were satisfied; and, although many of them had professed to be Protestants in the reign of Edward the Sixth, they readily consented to pass laws for burning their Protestant fellow-subjects. Only thirty-seven just men, members of the House of Commons, refused their assent, and withdrew from the parliament, for which they were punished by fines and imprisonment.

And now the fires of martyrdom were lighted. Rogers, prebendary of St. Paul's, was the first of that noble band, which was to include not only clergymen and bishops, but husbandmen and artificers, women and young boys. He was burnt in Smithfield, February the 4th, 1555; and within a few days, Laurence Saunders suffered in like manner at Coven



try; Rowland Taylor, near Hadleigh, in Suffolk; and Bishop Hooper, at Gloucester. Their persecutors sent them to die in the places where they had chiefly taught, hoping that the sight of their sufferings would terrify the people. But the patience of the martyrs was equal to their pains. Hooper, who in the sight of seven thousand people was burnt to death in a slow fire, endured that lingering torment without the slightest struggle, and died as quietly as a child in his bed. Ridley and Latimer were burnt together at Oxford. "Be of good cheer, Master Ridley," said his aged friend, "and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

It was even so, and while the servants of the pope thought they were strengthening their master's cause by these cruelties, England was becoming a more Protestant country than it had ever been before. The spirit of the martyrs fell on those who beheld their sufferings, and multitudes, who had turned a deaf ear to their sermons, were won to their religion, when they saw them, unmoved amidst the flames, forgiving their persecutors, and praising God with their latest breath. At the last moment, when they were chained to the stake and the fire was about to be kindled, many of the martyrs were tempted with offers of pardon if they would abjure their faith; but none yielded to the temptation.

Yet there was one sad instance in which the love of life prevailed over the love of truth; and the man who was revered above all others as the great reformer of the English Church lost for a little while his integrity. Cranmer had been tried with Ridley and


Latimer, had with them witnessed a good confession, and had been condemned like them to the fire. But instead of being carried to the stake with his fellowconfessors, he was reserved for several months, taken out of prison, and surrounded by persons who treated him with great respect, while they continually urged him to abjure his faith.

Cranmer, who had always been a timid man, was overcome at last; to save his life, he consented to sign some papers which contained a denial of the truth he had taken so much pains to teach. This was all the Romanists wanted; they had planned to make him contemptible first, and then to burn him. But they were deceived in their expectations. Cranmer regained in his death the love and veneration which he had lost by his apostasy; the perfidious cruelty of his persecutors dishonoured no one but themselves. He was kept in ignorance of the fate which awaited him, until the day on which he was to die; but he was not unprepared for the fiery trial: sorrow for his fall had swallowed up all fear of suffering.

When they brought him into St. Mary's Church at Oxford, before a great multitude of people, and bade him say, in the hearing of them all, that he heartily embraced the Roman Catholic faith; Cranmer, in a most humble, penitent, and yet noble speech, confessed his great sin in having denied the truth which in his heart he believed. "And forasmuch," said he, "as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, my hand, if I may come to the fire, shall first be burned." He kept his word. Having been carried to the stake and fire being now put to him, he thrust

[blocks in formation]

his right hand into the flame, and held it there without flinching, so that all the people saw it consuming away, before the fire reached any other part of his body, while he repeated in a firm voice-" This hand hath offended." No martyr bore the torment more bravely, nor was any cry heard from him but this— "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

It is impossible to say what share Queen Mary had in all these horrible deeds. She was in very bad health, and may not always have known what her ministers and bishops were doing; but she had given them full power to persecute her Protestant subjects. Some of the bishops were humane men, and would have no burnings in their dioceses; but Kent, Sussex, and the eastern counties, suffered dreadfully; the diocese of London worst of all. For Bonner was one of those monsters in human shape, who make a pastime of inflicting misery on their fellow-creatures. From February, 1555, to November, 1558, two hundred and ninety persons were burnt alive, besides a great number who perished in prison, of hunger and other torments inflicted on them.

The queen was very miserable. Philip had become King of Spain, and made that an excuse for withdrawing from England; he did not care for Mary at all, but she was very fond of him, and tried in all things to please him. Because he was at war with France, it pleased the queen that England should go to war; the consequence of which was that in January, 1558, the English lost Calais, after possessing it upwards of two hundred years. The whole country broke out in loud complaints; but no one was so grieved and mortified as the queen, who used

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »