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THE QUEEN PRESSED TO MARRY.
who from her resemblance to himself, is said to have regarded her with peculiar fondness." Elizabeth told the ambassador of Philip that she could take no step without consulting her parliament. The two houses met on the 21st of January, six days after the queen's coronation. She had soon the opportunity of declaring her opinions on the subject of marriage. On the 10th of February the Commons waited upon her with an address that she would vouchsafe some match capable of supplying heirs to her royal virtues and dominions. Elizabeth's answer was as follows:*-" The queen, after a sweet graced silence, with a princely countenance and voice, and with a gesture somewhat quick but not violent, returned answer, that she gave them great thanks (as she saw great cause) for the love and care which they did express as well towards her person as the whole state of the realm; and first,' said she, 'for the manner of your petition, I like it well, and take it in good part, because it is simple, without any limitation, either of person or place. If it had been otherwise; if you had taken upon you to confine, or rather to bind, my choice; to draw my love to your likings; to frame my affections according unto your fantasy; I must have disliked it very much; for as, generally, the will desireth not a larger liberty in any case than in this, so had it been a great presumption for you to direct, to limit, to command me herein, to whom you are bound in duty to obey. Concerning the substance of your suit, since my years of understanding, since I was first able to take consideration of myself, I have hitherto made choice of a single life, which hath best, I assure you, contented me, and, I trust, hath been most acceptable to God; from which, if, either ambition or high estate, offered unto me by the pleasure and appointment of my prince, whereof I have some testimony in this place (as you our treasurer well do know); or, if avoiding the malice of my enemies, or the very danger of death itself, whose messenger, or rather continual watchman, the prince's indignation, was daily before my eyes; if any of these, I say, could have dissuaded me, I had not now remained as I do. But so constant have I always continued in this determination-albeit my words and my youth may happily seem hardly to agree that it is most true I stand now free from any other meaning. Nevertheless, if any of you suspect that, in case it shall please God hereafter to change my purpose, I will determine something to the prejudice of the realm, put the jealousy out of your heads, for I assure you-what credit my assurance have with you, I cannot tell, but what it doth determine to have, the sequel shall declare-I will never conclude anything in that matter which shall be hurtful to the realm, for the preservation and prosperity whereof as a loving mother I will never spare to spend my life. And upon whomsoever my choice shall fall, he shall be as careful for your preservation,-I will not say as myself, för I cannot for another as for myself,-but my will and best endeavour shall not fail that he shall be as careful for you as myself. And albeit it shall please God that I still persevere in a virgin's state, yet you must not fear but he will so work, both in my heart and in your wisdom, that provision shall be made, in convenient time, whereby the realm shall not remain
* Sir Simonds d'Ewes kept a record of the parliamentary proceedings during the whole of this reign, which is accepted as authority. We give the speech of Elizabeth from Sir John Hayward, which contains the substance of d'Ewes's report.-"First Four Years of Queen Elizabeth." Camden Society, p. 31.
THE CORONATION PROGRESS.
[1559. destitute of an heir who may be a fit governor, and, peradventure, more beneficial than such offspring as I should bring forth, for, although I be careful of your well-doings, and ever purpose so to be, yet may my issue degenerate, and grow out of kind. The dangers which you fear are neither so certain, nor of such nature, but you may repose yourselves upon the providence of God, and the good provisions of the state. Wits curious in casting things to come are often hurtful, for that the affairs of this world are subject to so many accidents that seldom doth that happen which the wisdom of men doth seem to foresee. As for me, it shall be sufficient that a marble shall declare that a queen, having lived and reigned so many years, died a virgin. And here I end, and take your coming in very good part, and again give hearty thanks to you all; yet more for your zeal, and good meaning, than for the matter of your suit."
The progress of the queen from the Tower to Westminster, on the 14th of January, previous to her coronation on the 15th, is described by Holinshed with an extraordinary fulness. The pageants were of the most gorgeous description; but the chronicler dwells with an evident satisfaction upon the minutest circumstances that illustrate the demeanour of Elizabeth. It is clear that she felt that her strong hold upon power was to be found in the affections of the people. She was the first sovereign of England that built up the security of dominion upon so broad a foundation. She had enough of the "haughty and imperious qualities inherited from her father; but from the very first she had the wisdom to see that the days had gone by when a king could repose safely upon the fear of the nobles or the amity of the churchmen. She desired to be loved and obeyed by a People, and not by a class. She and her wise advisers had taken their resolution to abide by Protestantism, with a conviction that the English were a people unsuited for burnings and inquisitions. The determination was not to be carried out without danger and difficulty; but the affections of the People would make that easy which would have been impossible to a selfish despotism. Let us see how Elizabeth cultivated those affections in the simplest courtesies of a city pageant:-"When the people made the air ring with praying to God for her prosperity, she thanked them with exceeding liveliness both of countenance and voice, and wished neither prosperity nor safety to herself, which might not be for their common good. As she passed by the Companies of the city, standing in their homes, she took particular knowledge of them, and graced them with many witty formalities of speech. She diligently both observed and commended such devices as were presented to her, and to that end sometimes caused her coach to stand still, sometimes to be removed to places of best advantage for hearing and for sight; and in the meantime fairly entreated the people to be silent. And when she understood not the meaning of any representation, or could not perfectly hear some speeches that were made, she caused the same to be declared unto her. When the recorder of the city presented to her a purse of crimson satin, very richly and curiously wrought, and therein a thousand marks in gold, with request that she would continue a gracious mistress to the city; she answered, That she was bound in a natural obligation so to do, not so much for their gold, as for their good wills that as they had been at great expense of treasure that day, to honour her passage, so all the days of her life she would be ready to expend not only
CECIL-HIS PLANS FOR RESTORING PROTESTANTISM.
her treasure, but the dearest drops of her blood, to maintain and increase their flourishing state. When she espied a Pageant at the Little Conduit in Cheape, she demanded (as it was her custom in the rest) what should be represented therein: answer was made, that Time did there attend for her: Time? (said she) how is that possible, seeing it is time that hath brought me hither?' Here a bible in English richly covered was let down unto her by a silk lace from a child that represented Truth. She kissed both her hands, with both her hands she received it, then she kissed it; afterwards applied it to her breast; and lastly held it up, thanking the city especially for that gift, and promising to be diligent reader thereof. When any good wishes were cast forth for her virtuous and religious government, she would lift up her hands towards Heaven, and desire the people to answer, Amen. When it was told her that an ancient citizen turned his head back and wept: 'I warrant you,' said she, it is for joy;' and so in very deed it was. She cheerfully received not only rich gifts from persons of worth, but nosegays, flowers, rosemary-branches, and such like presents, offered unto her from very mean persons, insomuch as it may truly be said, that there was neither courtesy nor cost cast away that day upon her. It is incredible how often she caused her coach to stay, when any made offer to approach unto her, whether to make petition, or whether to manifest their loving affections."*
The parliament which met on the 21st of January, 1559, had a task before it which required the greatest discretion. A great ecclesiastical revolution was to be accomplished, with as little violence as possible, and with some show of conciliation. Cecil was the chief adviser of Elizabeth. He was the first person sworn of her privy council; and to his sagacity must be attributed the comprehensive view which was taken of the whole domestic and foreign policy of the country. During the reign of Mary, the retired secretary of Edward VI., who had been so sound a Protestant, was one of those who outwardly conformed to the Roman Catholic religion, though unlike Paget, Petre, and others of Edward's counsellors, he held no office. But he was on terms of friendship with Cardinal Pole; and he lived in affluence and security. The statements of some over-zealous writers that, under Mary, he was a conscientious adherent to protestant opinions, are disproved by documents which show that he attended mass, and confessed to the priest, in the parish in which he held church-lands. He was more happily employed than in the disgusting service of persecution in which Mary's ministers were engaged. He was superintending his mother's property at Burleigh; making additions to the old family house there; holding correspondence about purchasing ewes, and setting kernels of apples, and pears, and chestnuts. It is interesting information to him that his fawns do well in the closes where the maidens go to milk, and that his calves are to be put in the horse-pasture when the snows shall be gone. These unambitious occupations were Cecil's safety; and in his years of comparative freedom from business of state, he was enabled to devise a broad plan of action if the sceptre should again pass into the hands of a protestant ruler. He was held by the Romanists, as we have seen, to have "the character of a prudent and virtuous man, although a heretic."
This description by Sir John Hayward is a condensation of the more interesting points of Holinshed's account. + Letter in Tytler, vol. ii. p. 489.
DEVICE FOR THE ALTERATION OF RELIGION.
When the time for action arrived, Elizabeth had the benefit of those earnest yet temperate convictions which he had formed during his retirement. He had studied the temper of the people of England. He knew the character of the princess, who, in all probability, would quickly succeed to the throne. When Cecil was called to the councils of Elizabeth he was prepared with the whole scheme for the restoration of Protestantism. He saw all the dangers of the course that was to be pursued; but he did not counsel evasion of its difficulties; or any delay beyond the time for the meeting of parliament. His "Device for the alteration of religion" is an interesting document, which has been thus abridged by Camden :*
"It seemed necessary for the queen to do nothing before a parliament were called; for only from that assembly could the affections of the people be certainly gathered. The next thing she had to do, was to balance the dangers that threatened her both from abroad and at home. The Pope would certainly excommunicate and depose her, and stir up all Christian princes against her. The king of France would lay hold of any opportunity to embroil the nation; and by the assistance of Scotland, and of the Irish, might perhaps raise troubles in her dominions. Those that were in power in queen Mary's time, and remained firm to the old superstition, would be discontented at the Reformation of religion; the bishops and clergy would generally oppose it; and since there was a necessity of demanding subsidies, they would take occasion, by the discontent the people would be in on that account, to inflame them; and those who would be dissatisfied at the retaining of some of the old ceremonies, would on the other hand disparage the changes that should be made, and call the religion a cloaked papistry, and so alienate many of the most zealous from it. To remedy all these things, it was proposed to make peace with France, and to cherish those in that kingdom that desired the Reformation. The courses and practices of Rome were not much to be feared. In Scotland those must be encouraged who desired the like change in religion; and a little money among the heads of the families in Ireland, would go a great way. And for those who had borne rule in Queen Mary's time, ways were to be taken to lessen their credit throughout England; they were not to be too soon trusted or employed, upon pretence of turning; but those who were known to be well affected to religion, and the queen's person, were to be sought after and encouraged. The bishops were generally hated by the nation: it would be easy to draw them within the statute of Præmunire, and upon their falling into it, they must be kept under it, till they had renounced the pope, and consented to the alterations that should be made. The commissions of the peace, and for the militia, were to be carefully reviewed, and such men were to be put in them, as would be firm to the queen's interests. When the changes should be made, some severe punishments would make the rest more readily submit. Great care was to be had of the universities, and other public schools, as Eton and Winchester, that the next generation might be betimes seasoned with the love and knowledge of religion. Some learned men, as Bill, Parker, May, Cox, Whitehead, Grindall, Pilkington, and sir Thomas Smith, were to be ordered to meet and consider of the Book of Service. In the meanwhile the people were to be restrained from innovating
As translated by Burnet.
STATUTES FOR RELIGION.
without authority; and the queen, to give some hope of a Reformation, might appoint the Communion to be given in both kinds."
Sir Nicholas Bacon, the brother-in-law of Cecil-a lawyer who had filled no important office, and had attained no great distinction-was appointed lord keeper. He opened the session of parliament with a speech of which the moderation was the most remarkable feature. He exhorted the members to "fly from all manner of contentions, reasonings, and disputations, and all sophistical, captious, and frivolous arguments and quiddities, meeter for ostentation of wit than consultation of weighty matters." He trusted that "contumelious and opprobrious words, such as heretic, schismatic, papist," would be banished out of men's mouths. He implored them to use great and wary consideration that nothing be advised or done, which might " breed or nourish any kind of idolatry or superstition;" but, on the other hand, to take heed lest, by "licentious or loose handling, any manner of occasion be given, whereby any contempt or irreverent behaviour towards God and godly things, or any spice of irreligion might creep in, or be conceived." * It was certainly in a spirit of moderation that the parliament, though decidedly Protestant, proceeded to establish the great religious change by statute law. The first Statute is called, " an Act restoring to the Crown the ancient jurisdiction over the state ecclesiastical and spiritual, and abolishing all foreign power repugnant to the same." The Lords and Commons say that by the repeal by Philip and Mary of the statutes of Henry VIII., the queen's subjects "were eftsoons brought under an assumed foreign power and authority, and yet do remain in that bondage." Two temporal lords, the archbishop of York, eight bishops, and the abbot of Westminster, opposed this bill. Lord Montacute, who, with the bishop of Ely, had negotiated with the pope that England might be restored to the unity of the church of Rome, contended that "the hazard would be as great as the scandal, should the pope thunder out his excommunication; and expose the nation, by that means, to the resentment of its neighbouring enemies." The government of Elizabeth was not to be frightened by the thunders of the Vatican. It went steadily forward in carrying the measures necessary for bringing back the kingdom to its ecclesiastical condition at the end of the reign of Edward VI. In the act against foreign jurisdiction the statute for receiving the Sacrament of the Altar in both kinds was restored; and the statute of Philip and Mary for reviving the old laws for the punishment of heresies was repealed. All archbishops, bishops, judges, and all ministers and officers spiritual and temporal, were to make a declaration upon oath," that the queen's highness is the only supreme governor of this realm, and of all other her highness's dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes, as temporal." The title " supreme governor" was adopted in preference to that of "head of the church." The penalties under this act, against persons maintaining the authority of any foreign prince or prelate were,-fine and imprisonment for a first offence; the incurring a præmunire for the second; and death for a third, as in cases of high treason. The sagacious statesman, Walsingham, pointed out the lenity of this law, as compared with the statutes of Henry VIII., "whereby the oath of supremacy might have been offered at the king's pleasure to any
* As reported by D'Ewes. "Parliamentary History," vol. i. p. 638. + Ibid., p. 659.