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STATUTES FOR RELIGION.
subject, so he kept his conscience never so modestly to himself, and the refusal [1559. to take the same oath, without further circumstances, was made treason. But contrariwise, her majesty not liking to make windows into men's hearts and secret thoughts, except the abundance of them did overflow into overt and express acts, or affirmations, tempered her law so as it restraineth every manifest disobedience, in impugning and impeaching, advisedly and maliciously, her majesty's supreme power, maintaining and extolling a foreign jurisdic tion."* In contrast to this, we must not forget that some of the laws against Roman Catholics, in a later period of this reign, were conceived in a far less moderate spirit. By this law of the first year of Elizabeth, it was provided that the commissioners who might be appointed by the crown to exercise spiritual and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, were not to adjudge matters to be heresy, but such as had been decided to be so by the Holy Scripture, or by the first four General Councils. This provision is held to be "equivalent to an exemption of Roman Catholics, as such, from the imputation of heresy."+ Care was also taken, under the Act which was passed "for the uniformity of Common Prayer" to omit from the Service book of Edward VI., the offensive passage in the liturgy, praying for deliverance "from the bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities." Yet the change thus established was so sweeping, after six years of the Latin mass-book, that we cannot be surprised that nine prelates and nine temporal peers voted against the statute. In the Commons there was only one dissentient. The Act must, however, have been felt as a great grievance by a large body; for it absolutely interdicted the celebration of the Catholic rites, even in private ; and rendered all persons who should absent themselves from church, on Sundays and holidays, liable to a fine of one shilling. The statute was, as all enactments are which interfere with the rights of conscience, capable of being converted into an instrument of public oppression or private malice. Many Roman Catholics went into exile, to avoid imprisonment under the authority of the Court of High Commission. The moderation which was professed by the government of Elizabeth was in some degree rendered difficult, if not impossible, by the uncompromising temper of the clergy in convocation. Disregarding a warning from the queen, they set forth a document asserting the supremacy and the exclusive right of the church to treat of doctrine and regulate public of the pope, the real presence in the sacrament, worship. A solemn disputation, the lord-keeper presiding, was held in Westminster Abbey, between catholic and protestant divines, which only produced mutual irritation. The new statutes for taking the oath of supremacy, and for the use of the English liturgy, came into operation on midsummer-day, 1559. Fifteen bishops refused the oath; and resigned their sees, or were deprived. There were ten vacant sees. Only two bishops conformed. A very small proportion of the beneficed clergy surrendered their livings. At the end of the year Matthew Parker was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury; and he then proceeded to the consecration of four other bishops, who had been exiles in the time of Mary.
There were some peculiarities in Elizabeth's religious opinions which were not wholly in accordance with the great change which her government had carried through with so little opposition. She had a dislike to the marriages
Barnet, partii. book 3.
Mackintosh, "History," vol. iii. p. 10.
PEACE WITH FRANCE.
of the clergy; and she had a lingering fondness for some of the gorgeous ceremonies of Catholicism. But to the general principles of Protestantism she was fully committed, not only by inclination, but by the force of political circumstances. A peace with France was concluded in April, 1559, in which the restoration of Calais was postponed for eight years, under a condition that if either party acted in contravention of the treaty, all claim to the disputed territory should be forfeited. At the congress during the last days of queen Mary, the English envoys said, that if they returned without the recovery of Calais they would be stoned to death by the people. The condition in the treaty of April was evidently introduced only to conciliate this popular feeling, by the delusion that the old conquest had not been irrevocably lost. Scotland was included in this peace. Philip II., of Spain, and Henry II., of France, were now free to pursue their plans for the extermination of heretics; and their friendship was completed by the marriage of Philip with Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry. The duke of Alva officiated as his sovereign's proxy. In the tournaments which followed this wedding, the French king was acci
dentally killed by the lance of Montgomery, a young Scottish noble. He was succeeded by his eldest son, who became Francis II. Mary Stuart was now queen of France. She was the next heiress to the throne of England. According to the catholic notions of that time that the pope had the disposal of earthly crowns, a pretence was set up that Elizabeth's claim having been rejected by the pope, the queen of France and Scotland was now also the lawful queen of England. Amongst Cecil's papers there are "notes of queen Elizabeth's reign," in which are the following entries, under the year 1559:
Jan. 16. "The dauphin of France, and his wife, queen of Scots, did by the style of king and queen of Scotland, England, and Ireland, grant to the Lord Fleming certain things."
June 28. "The justs at Paris, wherein the king dauphin's two heralds were appareled with the arms of England and Scotland."
July 16. "Ushers, going before the queen of Scots, being now the French queen, to the chapel, cry, Place pour la Reine d'Angleterre.'"
At the marriage of the French king's daughter there were shown escutcheons of the arms of Scotland and England, as "the arms of Mary, queen dolphin of France," recording, moreover, that she was of Scotland
PROTESTANTISM IN EUROPE.
queen, of England, and of Ireland. The constable Montmorency interfered to stay these dangerous exhibitions. But these pretensions were stimulated by Mary's ambitious relatives of the house of Guise; and they became the foundation of that hostility which was the cause of so much disquiet to Elizabeth, and of such dire calamity to Mary. Scotland became a theatre for the contests between a French party, representing Roman Catholic interests, and the national party of Reformers, with whom Elizabeth allied herself. When the connection of Mary with France was terminated by the death of her boyish husband, she came to a government in which her own opinions were opposed to those of the predominant religious power, and she became an alien amidst a majority of her subjects.
The character and position of Elizabeth very soon placed her at the head of the Protestant party of Europe; and her whole reign must be viewed with reference to this leadership. It was a struggle which called forth all the decision of her own nature, all the prudence of her counsellors, and all the energies of her people. This was a great period, in which the English mind asserted itself with a vigour and independence which heralded every future triumph of the national intellect and the national courage. There was a battle for life and death going on in Europe, and England was joined in the battle with the weaker numerical party. The serious differences between the various Protestant persuasions;-the hostilities between the puritan party at home and the church, which had retained many of the ceremonials of the ancient faith; these dissensions did not disqualify Elizabeth from being the acknowledged head of the reformed religion. The great leader of the Roman Catholic party was Philip II. England had as her companions in the struggle, the Scandinavian countries, and those who spoke the German language on the eastern shores of the Baltic. A large part of Germany was Protestant. "A Venetian ambassador reckons that only a tenth part of the inhabitants of Germany had remained faithful to the old religion." * In France Protestantism had taken root; but its growth was to be stopped by barbarities which were in contemplation when Elizabeth came to the throne. In the Netherlands Charles V. and his son were pursuing the work of extermination. Spain was in the. grasp of the Inquisition; one of the powers which had been organised to support the Church of Rome in the contest which had assumed such formidable dimensions. Another engine devised for the security of Catholicism was the Order of the Jesuits. With the Inquisition and the Jesuits, the papal power had a devoted army at its command, every member of which was prepared to extinguish heresy by force or by cunning. When these spiritual arms were wielded under the temporal power of a determined bigot such as Philip II., such scenes of horror were exhibited as still curdle the blood when they are related. Such scenes would probably have been exhibited in England had the throne not been left vacant for the accession of Elizabeth. Had Philip ruled here, the spirit of her people might have been crushed, as Spain was crushed two centuries ago, when "the hand of the Inquisition drew the line which said, No Further."+ The time was coming when the English government, not only for its own safety, but for the assertion of a high principle, would have to mix itself up
*Ranke, vol. ii. p. 12.
Prescott, Philip II.
AFFAIRS OF SCOTLAND.
with the affairs of Scotland in a way which involved much dissembling policy and many acts which the spirit of better times must regard as oppressive; but which could scarcely be avoided in the position of self-defence which England was compelled to take against the force and intrigue which would have subjected that portion of the island to a foreign Catholic domination. The time was close at hand when England would have to fight the Protestant battle, by giving aid to the reformed faith in France and the Netherlands. The government of Elizabeth had taken its side, and wisely, because the cause of Protestantism was the cause of progress. The bold, masculine signature of Elizabeth to the State Papers in which she proclaimed her consistent adherence to the opinions upon which political and religious liberty were eventually to be built-a liberty much more enlarged than she and her advisers could contemplatewas the terror of superstition and tyranny; and when we look upon that signature let us never forget, amongst her many faults, what we owe to that great woman.
From the time when the ecclesiastical policy of the government of Elizabeth was fully manifest, the affairs of Scotland became all-important to England. In the relations, either by Scottish or English historians, of the -complicated transactions between the two countries for more than forty years, it has been too generally assumed that the intrigues of England were constantly fomenting the divisions of Scotland; and, to use the words of one of the most sensible of antiquaries "Elizabeth has been set forth in this respect as the very demon of discord, ever occupied in blowing coals of
strife." * This writer adds, "Upon this point we desire to see an entire revision of the historical evidence." At the beginning of Elizabeth's reign the connexion of the house of Guise with the queen of Scotland—a house determined to oppose Protestantism by the most violent proceedings-made
* Mr. Bruce. Introduction to Letters of Elizabeth and James VI., p. xx.
THE QUEEN REGENT'S HOSTILITY TO THE REFORMERS. [1559. the watchfulness and even hostile intervention of England a measure of selfdefence. Cecil broadly laid down this principle: "It is agreeable to God's law for every prince and public state to defend itself, not only from present peril, but from perils that may be feared to come. It is manifest that France cannot any way so readily, so puissantly offend, yea, invade and put the crown of England in danger, as if they recover an absolute authority over Scotland. The long, deep-rooted hatred of the house of Guise, which now occupieth the king's authority, against England, is well known." * Although the foolish demonstrations of a claim to the throne of England on the part of the queen of Scotland had been disavowed by the French minister, that claim was not allowed to sleep by the bigoted uncles of Mary. In 1559 a great seal was sent to Scotland, on which were engraved the arms of France, Scotland, and England. Elizabeth had to choose between two policies; either to unite in friendship with the cousin who indirectly claimed not only succession but a prior title to the English crown-a queen whose stedfast opposition to the reformed religion was at variance with the opinions of her own subjects;-or to manifest a sympathy with the Protestant leaders in Scotland, who were bent upon resisting the attempts of the French to rule over them. One of the reformed leaders, Maitland of Lethington, wrote to Cecil, "When we see them, the French, attempt conquest, and you, the English, show us friendship, shall we not hate them and favour you, especially now that we are come to a conformity of doctrine?" The differences between the regent, the mother of Mary, and the Scottish reformers, were coming to a head. By the assistance of the reformers she had attained her own position as the actual ruler of the country; and the dauphin of France, the husband of her daughter, had been recognised as king of Scotland. But after the peace of 1559 she was won over to the designs of the house of Guise for the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in Europe, and, as a necessary consequence, for putting down the Reformation in Scotland, and eventually for removing Elizabeth from the throne of England. The queen-regent of Scotland boldly issued a proclamation for conformity of religion; in which all persons were commanded to resort daily to mass and confession. She was reminded of her promises of toleration, by some of the Lords of the Congregation-the leaders of the reformers being so styledto whom she replied that "promises ought not to be urged upon princes, unless they can conveniently fulfil them." At this juncture John Knox arrived in Scotland. During an absence of two years the doctrines which he had boldly preached in the face of danger had made extraordinary progress ; although in many places the ascendancy was still with the Romish party. Within a week of his arrival, under the excitement produced by his vehement oratory operating upon the indignation caused by the regent's hostility, there was an outburst of popular fury at Perth, when the religious houses of the Grey Friars and Carthusians were devastated and plundered. The struggle appeared likely to end in bloodshed; for an army was assembled on either side. But a treaty was concluded, which Knox denounced as only intended to deceive. Tranquillity was not long preserved. After various acts of violence, the reformers having obtained possession of Perth, the army
* Forbes' State Papers.