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CHA P. the favourite of the nation. A parliament had been as-
XXXIX. sembled a few days before Mary's death; and when

Heathe, archbishop of York, then chancellor, notified to 1558.

them that event, scarcely an interval of regret appeared;
and the two houses immediately resounded with the joy-
ful acclamations of " God save queen Elizabeth! Long
“ and happily may she reign !” The people, less actua-
ted by fa&ion, and less influenced by private views, ex-
pressed a joy still more general and hearty on her procla-
mation; and the auspicious commencement of this reign
prognosticated that felicity and glory, which, during its
whole course, so uniformly attended it A.

ELIZABETH was at Hatfield when she heard of her
sister's death; and after a few days the proceeded thence
to London, through crowds of people, who strove with
each other in giving her the strongest testimony of their
affe&tion. On her entrance the tower, she could
not forbear reflecting on the great difference between her
present fortune and that which a few years before had
attended her, when she was conducted to that place as
a prisoner, and lay there exposed to all the bigotted ma-
lignity of her enemies. She fell on her knees, and ex-
pressed her thanks to heaven, for the deliverance, which
the Almighty had granted her from her bloody persecu-
tors; a deliverance, she said, no less miraculous than
that which Daniel had received from the den of lions.
This a&t of pious gratitude seems to have been the last
circumstance, in which she remembered any paft hard-
ships and injuries. With a prudence and magnanimity
truly laudable, the buried all offences in oblivion, and
received with affability even those who had acted with
the greatest malevolence against her. Sir Harry Benni-
field himself, to whose custody she had been committed,
and who had treated her with uncommon severity, never
felt, during the whole course of her reign, any effects
of her resentment B. Yet was not the gracious recepti-
on which she gave, prostitute and undistinguishing.
When the bishops came in a body to make their obei.
fance to her, she expressed to all of them sentiments of re-
gard; except to Bonner, from whom she turned aside,
as from a man polluted with blood, who was a just

objeđ

A Burnet, vol. ii. p. 373.

B Idem ibid. p. 374:

obje& of horror to every heart susceptible of humani- CHAP. ty C.

XXXIX. AFTER employing a few days in ordering her domestic affairs, Elizabeth notified to foreign courts, her sister's

1558. death, and her accession to the crown. She sent lord Cobham to the Low Countries, where Philip then resided; and she took care to express to that monarch, her gratitude for the protection which he had afforded her, and her desire of persevering in that friendship which was so happily commenced between them. Philip, who had long foreseen this cvent, and who still hoped, by means of Elizabeth, to obtain that dominion over Enga land, of which he had failed in espousing Mary, immediately dispatched orders to the duke of Feria, his ambalsador at London, to make proposals of marriage to the queen; and he offered to procure from Rome a dispensation for that purpose. But Elizabeth foon came to the resolution of declining this proposal. She saw, that the nation had entertained an extreme aversion to the Spanish alliance during her sister's reign ; and that one great cause of the popularity, which she herself enjoyed, was the prospea of being freed, by her means, from the danger of foreign fubje&tion. She was sensible, that her affinity with Philip was exactly similar to that of her father with Catherine of Arragon; and that her marrying that monarch was, in effea, 'declaring herself illegitimate, and incapable of succeeding to the throne. And though the power of the Spanish monarchy might still be sufficient, in opposition to all pretenders, to support her title, her masculine spirit disdained such precarious dominion, which, as it would depend solely on the power of another, must be exercised according to his inclination. But while these views prevented her from entertaining any thoughts of a marriage with Philip, she gave him a very obliging, though evasive, answer; and he still retained such hopes of success, that he sent a messenger to Rome, with orders to solicit the dispensation.

The queen too, on her sister's death, had written to Sir Edward Carne, the English ambassador at Rome, to notify her accession to the pope ; but the precipitate na

B 2

ture

D Camb

C Burnet, vol. ii. p. 374. Heylin, p. 102. den in Kennet, p. 370. Burnet, vol. ii. p. 375.

1558.

CHA P. ture of Paul broke through all the cautious meafures XXXIX concerted by this young princess. He told Carne, that

England was a fief to the holy see; and it was great temerity in Elizabeth to have assumed, without his participation, the title and authority of queen: That being illegitimate, she could not possibly inherit that kingdom; nor could he annul the sentence pronounced by Clement the seventh, and Paul the third, with regard to Henry's marriage: That were he to proceed with vigour, he should punish this criminal invasion of his rights, by rejeđing all her applications ; but being willing to treat her with paternal indulgence, he would still keep the door of grace open to her : And that if she would renounce all pretensions to the throne, and fubmit entirely to his will, she should experience the utmost lenity compatible with the dignity of the apostolic see. When this answer was reported to Elizabeth, she was astonished at the character of that aged pontiff, and having recalled her ambassador, she continued with more determined resolution to pursue those measures, which she had

already secretly embraced. Re-efab- The queen, not to alarm the partizans of the catholishment of lic religion, had retained eleven of her sister's counselibe proef- lors; but in order to balance their authority, she added iant reli- eight more, who were known to be affectionate to the gion. proteftant communion ; the marquis of Northampton,

the earl of Bedford, Sir Thomas Parry, Sir Edward Rogers, Sir Ambrose Cave, Sir Francis Knolles, Sir Nicholas Bacon, whom she created lord keeper, and Sir William Cecil, secretary of state F. With these counsellors, particularly Cecil, she frequently deliberated concerning the expediency of restoring the protestant religion, and the means of executing that great enterprise. Cecil told her, that the greatest part of the nation had, ever since her father's reign, inclined to the reformation: and though her fifter had constrained them to profess the antient faith, the cruelties, exercised by her ministers, had still more alienated their affections from it: That happily the interests of the sovereign concurred here with the inclinations of the people ; nor was her title to the crown incompatible with the authority of the Roman pontiff: That a sentence fo folemnly pronounced

by

E Father Paul, lib. 5.

F Strype's Ann. vol. i. p. 5.

1558.

by two popes against her mother's marriage, could not CHAP, pofsibly be recalled, without indicting a mortal wound on XXXIX. the credit of the fee of Rome, and even if she were allowed to retain the crown, it would only be on an uncertain and dependant footing: That this circumftance alone counterbalanced all dangers whatsoever; and these dangers themselves, if narrowly examined, would be found Very

little formidable : That the curses and execrations of the Romish church, when not seconded by military force, were, in the present age, more an object of ridicule than of terror, and had now as little influence in this world as in the next : That though the bigotry or ambition of Henry or Philip might incline them to execute a sentence of excommunication againft her, their interests were so incompatible, that they never could concur in any plan of operations; and the enmity of the one would always ensure to her the friendship of the other: That if they encouraged the discontents of her catholic subje&s, their dominions also abounded with protestants, and it would be easy to retaliate upon them: That even such of the English as seemed at present zealously attached to the catholic faith, would, most of them, embrace the religion of their new sovereign; and the nation had of late been so much accustomed to these revolutions, that men had lost all idea of truth and falfehood in such subjects: That the authority of Henry the eighth, fo highly raised by many concurring circumstances, first enured the people to this submissive deference ; and it was the less difficult for the succeeding princes to continue the nation in a track, to which it had so long been enured: And that it would be easy for her, by bestowing on protestants all preferments in civil offices and the militia, the church and the universities, both to ensure her own authority, and to render her religion entirely predominant G.

The education of Elizabeth, as well as her intereit, led her to favour the reformation; and she remained not long in suspence with regard to the party, which she should embrace. But though determined in her own mind, she resolved to proceed by gradual and secure steps, and not to imitate the example of Mary, in encouraging the bigots of her party to make immediately a vio

lent

G Burnet, vol. ii. p. 377. Cambden, p. 370.

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CHA P.lent invasion on the established religion ". She thought
XXXIX. it requisite, however, to discover such symptoms of her

intentions, as might give encouragement to the protes1538.

tants, so much depressed by the late violent persecution.
She immediately recalled all the exiles, and gave liberty
to the prisoners, who were confined on account of reli-
gion. We are told of a pleasantry of one Rainsford on
this occasion, who said to the queen, that he had a pe-
tition to present her on behalf of other prisoners called
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John : She readily replied,
that it behoved her first to consult the prisoners themselves,
and to learn of them whether they desired that liberty,
which he demanded for them.

ELIZABETH also proceeded to exert, in favour of the
reformers, some acts of power, which were authorized
by the extent of royal prerogative, during that age,
Finding, that the protestant teachers, irritated by pro:
secution, broke out in a furious attack on the antient su-
perstition, and that the Romanists replied with no less
zeal and acrimony, she published a proclamation, by
which she inhibited all preaching without a special li.
cencek; and though she dispensed with these orders in
favour of some preachers of her own fea, she took
care, that they should be the most calm and moderate
of the party. She also suspended the laws so far as to
order a great part of the service, the litany, the Lord's
prayer, the creed, and the gospels; to be read in Eng-
lifh. And having first published injunctions, that all the
churches should conform themselves to the practice of
her own chapel, she forbade the host to be any more
elevated in her presence; an innovation, which, how-
ever frivolous it may appear, implied the most material
consequences

These declarations of her intention, concurring with the preceding suspicions, made the bifhops foresee with certainty a revolution in religion. They therefore refused to officiate at her coronation,; and it was with some difficulty, that the bishop of Carlisle was at last preyailed on to perform that ceremony, When she was

conducted

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# Burnet, vol. ii. p. 378. Cambden, P: 371.

! Heylin, P. 103. K Heylin, p. 104. Strype, vol. i. p. 41.

L Camb: den, P. 371. Heylin, p. 104. Strype, vol. i. p. 54. Stowe,

P: 635.

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