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PAPAL BULL OF EXCOMMUNICATION.
days of martyrdoms-their dread of a foreign domination, with a Council of Blood and an Inquisition-made the ascendant party furious and the government revengeful. The triumph of 1569 was disgraced by fearful executions. It might have been disgraced by a more terrible act of vengeance. There is a letter written by Leicester to Walsingham in 1586, in which he urges the execution of the queen of Scots, and says, "Remember how, upon a less cause, how effectually all the Council of England once dealt with her majesty for justice to be done upon that person; for, being suspected and informed to be consenting with Northumberland and Westmorland in the rebellion, you know the great seal of England was sent then, and thought just and meet, upon the sudden, for her execution."* Had the powers of the great seal thus been exercised - and the expressions of Leicester do not imply that any trial was contemplated— the reign of Elizabeth would have been stained with a greater crime than the eventual execution of Mary, after seventeen years more of hopeless plots and ever-present suspicions. But, whatever justification there may have been for the intrigues to recover liberty and power made by this victim of an almost insurmountable state necessity, there can be no doubt that her life was a constant source of alarm to the English nation; and that at every hostile movement against Protestantism her death was loudly called for. If the unhappy Mary had warm friends amongst the Catholic party in both divisions of the island; if there were many who regarded her as innocent of the crimes laid to her charge, and were touched by a real pity for her misfortunes; the great body of the English people, who lived in security under the sagacious government of the queen, and looked with admiration upon her extraordinary abilities and strength of character, would have most gladly heard of the removal, even by some violence to which long years of despotism had familiarised them, of one whom they justly regarded as a public enemy. nation was in a more earnest mood than when it had quietly passed from the Protestantism of Edward to the Catholicism of Mary, and back again to the Protestantism of Elizabeth. The number of enthusiasts on either side was rapidly increasing. Puritan and Jesuit were coming into closer warfare. There was a great battle of principle still to be waged by the Reformers; for their victory could scarcely be held as thoroughly achieved. Opposed to them were men as zealous, and more united. The power of the state was with the Protestant cause; the ancient habit of implicit obedience to the head of the universal church gave a coherence to every movement of the Romanists. When Pius V., on the 25th of February, 1570, signed the threatened bull of excommunication against Elizabeth, which anathematised her and her adherents as heretics; absolved all her subjects from their oath of allegiance; and enjoined them, under pain of excommunication, not to obey her commands; it was not likely that the principles at issue would approach nearer to accommodation. We are told by the catholic historian, "the time was gone by when the thunders of the Vatican could shake the thrones of princes." † When Alva sent copies of the bull to England, and Felton, an enthusiastic catholic, fixed it up on the gates of the
"Leycester Correspondence," edited by Mr. Bruce, p. 431.
STATUTES AGAINST PAPISTS.
bishop of London's residence, they could scarcely have meant its publicity as harmless sport. Felton was executed; but he died, avowing himself a martyr, and gave the queen the title of "the pretender." There was at this time a conspiracy detected in Norfolk. With a less vigilant government the thunder might not only have alarmed, but the lightning might have struck. The danger was not so much to be apprehended from the catholics in a united body, as from the jesuits and refugee priests who were constantly passing from the continent to England to dissuade the wavering from conformity, and to stimulate the hostile to acts of rebellion. An English college for these zealous missionaries had been established at Douay, about a year before the issue of the bull of excommunication. The natural issue of these attempts to shake the government and the established religion was the enactment of more stringent laws against Roman Catholics,-laws, which in the happier spirit of our own age we may justly decry as harsh and unjust, but which we can scarcely venture to consider as simply tyrannical.
The parliament met on the 2nd of April, 1571, after a suspension of legis lation for more than four years. The speech of the lord-keeper, sir Nicholas Bacon, sets forth, with considerable eloquence, the past blessings of the queen's reign, the setting at liberty God's Word, and deliverance from Roman tyranny; the inestimable benefit of peace; and the clemency and mercy of the government. "I pray you," he says, "hath it been seen or read, that any prince of this realm during ten whole years' reign, and more, hath had his hands so clean from blood? That this peace had been disturbed and this clemency interrupted, he then imputes to "the raging Romanist rebels." This is the prelude to the first Statute of the session, which makes it treason to set forth that the queen ought not to possess the crown but some other persons; or to affirm that she is a heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel, or usurper. The second clause of this Statute is evidently directed against Mary Stuart, enacting that all persons of any degree, nation, or estate, who during the queen's life should claim title to the crown should be disabled from inheriting the same; and that any claimant to the right of succession, contrary to any proclamation on the matter that might be issued by the queen, should be declared guilty of high treason. The queen's advisers were desirous to carry the principle of exclusion further; and to make a law that the queen of Scots was unable and unworthy to succeed. A committee of the Commons presented an address to Elizabeth, asking her to proceed criminally against Mary. Divines and statesmen concurred in urging violent measures against the prisoner. With archbishop Parker she was "one desperate person." With Walsingham she was "that dangerous woman." Each called for "justice." It is the fashion to represent Elizabeth as always thirsting for her rival's blood; yet it is perfectly clear that she resisted Council and Parliament when they called for extreme proceedings against "the pretended Scottish queen." Parker asked for justice upon the desperate person that "the papists' daily expectation " might be "vanquished." The difficulties of the crisis were held to be met by the enactment of strong laws against the papists themselves. The statute of the 5th of Elizabeth against upholding the jurisdiction of the See of Rome had been transgressed by bringing in bulls and instruments of absolution. It was now enacted, that the putting in use or publishing any such bull, or giving absolution under the same, or
PURITANICAL PARTY IN HOUSE OF COMMONS.
[1570. obtaining such an instrument from Rome, shall be adjudged high treason; and that such as brought into the kingdom crosses, pictures, beads, or other "vain and superstitious things," claiming to be hallowed by the bishop of Rome, or under his authority, should incur the penalties of præmunire. This statute was more comprehensive in its severity than at first sight appears; for the outward conformity of Romanists had been tolerated under absolution, without which they were excluded from the communion of their own church. How far it was politic to force the pliant and wavering into the established religion against the rights of conscience, or to render them liable to extreme dangers in asserting these rights, is a question of which we cannot wholly judge. Of the injustice of such a proceeding there can be no doubt. But we cannot quite go along with the belief of one whose opinion is entitled to the utmost respect, that "the nation, as it was clearly ready to profess either religion, would, beyond all doubt, have been ready to tolerate both;" and that "Elizabeth might have united all conflicting sects under the shelter of the same impartial laws and the same paternal throne, and thus have placed the nation in the same situation, as far as the rights of conscience are concerned, in which we at last stand." * We can as readily believe that, without the experience of three centuries, Elizabeth might have bestowed upon her people the relief from the system of commercial restriction which we have at length attained. "Confidence," said Chatham, "is a plant of slow growth;" and so is toleration. Lament as we may with the great historian over "the heart-burnings, the persecutions, the conspiracies, the seditions, the revolutions, the judicial murders, the civil wars, of ten generations," we have no assurance that the rights of conscience could have been established without such fearful trials of a nation's courage and endurance. Whilst the storm of papal bigotry was raging in the Netherlands and in France, whilst Knox was proclaiming in Scotland that one mass was more fearful to him than ten thousand armed men, and carrying the people with him, it is difficult to imagine that England could have been smoothed into a perfect indifferentism, or that England would have been what she is if she had been so "rocked and dandled" into liberality. But there was, moreover, a strong party in England that would not have endured anything approaching to union between Protestant and Roman Catholic. The Act of the 5th of Elizabeth, which excluded Roman Catholics from the House of Commons, gave an ascendency in that house to the more earnest reformers-those who had very influential supporters in the queen's own councils, though their hostility to any ceremony or practice of the church supposed to be an approach to the old worship, was very obnoxious to the queen herself. That contest between the establishment and the Puritans which convulsed England for many a year, and of which the traces are by no means extinct, was actively beginning before the "halcyon days" were past. That spirit which would admit of no toleration for papists had, in a few years, to fight its own battle against intolerance. But the "ice-brook temper" of the sword, then in its sheath, which was to be drawn seventy years afterwards, was known to some in this parliament. A motion for a further reformation of religion was made in the House of Commons on the 6th of April, by Mr. Strickland, "a grave and
Macaulay, "Essays-Burleigh and his Times.'
TRIAL OF THE DUKE OF NORFOLK.
ancient man, of great zeal," says the reporter, sir Simonds D'Ewes. Having set forth various abuses he moved that a convenient number of the house might have conference with the Lords spiritual. During the Easter recess, Mr. Strickland was called before the Privy Council, and commanded not to resume his seat in the house. Then rose in his place Mr. Carleton, and moved that Mr. Strickland should be sent for to the bar of the House, "forasmuch as he was not now a private man, but specially chosen to supply the room of a multitude;" and Mr. Yelverton "showed it was fit for princes to have their prerogatives, but yet the same to be straitened within reasonable limits." The ministers of Elizabeth understood the force of such words, and they whispered with the Speaker. The debate was suspended; and the next day Mr. Strickland took his seat, amidst cheers whose echoes reverberated in that Chapel of St. Stephen, when kings, long afterwards, had forgotten their import.
The duke of Norfolk had been released from his imprisonment in the Tower on the 4th of August, 1570. On the 7th of September, 1571, he was again arrested. During the thirteen months of his comparative freedom he was in a sort of honourable custody, and was not called to Council or to Parliament. Before his release from the Tower he had sent a declaration to the queen, in which he had solemnly engaged never to deal in that cause of marriage of the queen of Scots, nor in any other cause belonging to her, but as your majesty shall command me." In April, 1571, a correspondence was detected, which showed that some treasonable project was in course of formation. Further correspondence was intercepted in August, and various persons were arrested. Amongst these was the bishop of Ross, who, after pleading in vain that his privilege as an ambassador from the queen of Scots ought to shield him from answering questions, made a full declaration, which was corroborated by the confessions of the other prisoners. The duke was tried on a charge of high treason by his peers, on the 16th of January, 1572. All the previous transactions connected with the plan of marriage with the queen of Scots were entered into; and it was urged that his continued desire for that alliance had a view to Mary's claim to the present possession of the crown of England. This was very slight matter upon which to found the accusation of an overt act of treason. The more serious charge was, that through the agency of Rudolphi, an Italian, who had been sent by Mary to the pope, the king of Spain, and the duke of Alva, he had received assurances of the support of these personages to a plan for uniting Mary with the duke, for seizing the person of Elizabeth, and for landing a foreign army in England. Mr. Jardine, in his excellent report of this great trial, expresses his opinion, from a critical examination of the voluminous documents connected with the Rudolphi conspiracy, that, "though the duke was probably a tool in the hands of persons more artful than himself, he probably participated in the scheme." The trial itself was conducted with such fairness as is compatible with evidence mainly resting upon the confessions of absent persons, some of which were extorted by the rack, or by its terror. Norfolk was unanimously condemned; but his execution was deferred till the 2nd of June. Again and again, Elizabeth revoked the warrant which consigned him to the block. The duke was the chief of the English nobles. He was of royal lineage. He was the son of the illustrious Surrey who had perished under the jealousy of
TROUBLES IN SCOTLAND. HUGUENOTS.
her father. There were many causes for Elizabeth hesitating when, for the first time, she was called to shed the blood of an English peer, besides the dissimulation which some are ready to impute to her. There is a real struggle of mind to be traced in her letter to Burleigh, received by him at two o'clock of the morning of the 11th of April, when, in her obscure style, she writes, "My lord, methinks that I am more beholding to the hinder part of my head than well dare trust the forwards side of the same, and therefore sent to the lieutenant and the S. [sheriff?], as you know best, the order to defer the execution till they hear further. . . The causes that move me to this are not now to be expressed, lest an irrevocable deed be in mean while committed."* The spectacle of a great nobleman perishing upon the scaffold was not amongst the experiences of the rising generation of England. The catastrophe of Norfolk made a popular impression in proportion to the rarity of such an exhibition. The very aspect of the place of punishment was sug gestive of political remembrances. "Upon Tower-hill," says Holinshed, "a scaffold had been builded many years ago, serving for execution; which being old was both rotten and ruinous. For queen Elizabeth having with mercy governed her commonwealth, there was no punishment there inflicted upon any for the space of fourteen years; wherefore a new scaffold must needs be made." The penalty which the duke had incurred by meddling with the affair of the queen of Scots could not deter others from the same dangerous course. Two Derbyshire gentlemen were tried and executed in May, upon a charge of having corresponded with Mary for the purpose of delivering her from the custody of the earl of Shrewsbury. The affairs of Scotland had become more and more distracted since the period of the detention of the queen. The regent Murray had been assassinated, from motives of private revenge, at Linlithgow, in January, 1570. Lennox, the father of Darnley, had succeeded him. He, also, was assassinated in September, 1571. The country was enduring some of the worst miseries of a civil war between the two factions of catholic and presbyterian, contending, one in the name of Mary, and the other in the name of her son. On the 30th of July, 1572, there was a truce between these fierce opponents; and it is possible that some negociations might have successfully proceeded between those who made the restoration of Mary a condition of pacification, and the reformers, who might have thought it possible to secure their ascendency, even under "the wicked woman" whom Knox continued to denounce, had not an event occurred which produced a rage against the Romanists, both in England and Scotland, compared with which all previous indignation was moderate.
The Huguenots of France were a body isolated from their countrymen, who viewed them with dislike,-sometimes conciliated and sometimes persecuted by the Court, as their support was sought or rejected by the mere ambitious factions that alternately prevailed. In 1570, a treaty was concluded between them and the young king, Charles IX.; who professed great anxiety for reconciliation with this portion of his subjects. The great Huguenot leader, Coligny, Admiral of France, was earnestly pressed to repair to the king's court; to which, after some manifestations of distrust, he went in the autumn of 1571. The sister of Charles was pressed in marriage
* Ellis, First Series, vol. ii. p. 203.