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Sights and events in London in the first year of the persecution-King Philip leaves EnglandAbdication of Charles V.-Parliament-Pope Paul IV.-The Dudley Conspiracy-The princess Elizabeth again suspected -Pole consecrated archbishop of Canterbury-Visitation of the Universities-Exhibitions of bigotry-Philip returns to England-Quarrel of the Pope with Spain, and his alliance with France-Philip urges a declaration of war against France-Stafford's seizure of Scarborough Castle-English forces sent to the Flemish frontier -Battle of St. Quentin-Hostilities between England and Scotland-Calais taken by the French-Guines surrendered, and Hammes evacuated-The war ill-conducted-Interview of Philip's ambassador with Elizabeth-Death of Mary.
THERE is no more curious record of the outward life of London in these fearful times than "The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant Taylor." Let us glance at the jottings-down of the sights beheld, and the events gossiped about, by this dweller near Queenhithe, for a few months of 1555, to obtain a notion of the strange scenes which were then exhibited. On the 30th of April, tidings came that the queen was delivered of a prince; and the bells were rung in every steeple, and Te Deum sung in every choir. The intense desire of the queen for an heir to the throne was the repeated source of ridiculous rumours, not confined to the gaping Londoners, but solemnly transmitted to the emperor, as the crowning joy of the marriage of his son. On the 5th of May, the ambassador to Charles V. writes home that the emperor had sent for him at four o'clock in the morning, to know if the news were true.* Machyn's record tells of the disappointed hope in few words. "The morrow after, it was turned otherwise." The Whitsun season
* Tytler, vol. ii. p. 470.
SIGHTS IN LONDON-KING PHILIP LEAVES.
brings various amusements. Master Cardmaker, the vicar of St. Bride's, with an upholsterer and his wife, are burnt at Smithfield. The Clerks go in procession; and a goodly mass is performed; and the waits are playing round Cheap, and the host is borne about by torch-light. There are May games at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and at Westminster, with giants and morrisdancers, and the hobby-horse, and the lord and lady of the May riding gorgeously. In a day or two after, seven men are taken out of Newgate, to be carried to Essex and Suffolk, to burn; and on the 1st of July, Master Bradford and a tallow-chandler's apprentice are burnt in Smithfield, with a great company of people. With an occasional burning to keep the multitude in remembrance of their blessings, the summer passes; and on the 15th of September the pope's jubilee and pardon are declared at St. Paul's," and as many as will receive his pardon, to be shrived and fast three days in one week, and to receive the blessed sacrament the next Sunday after, and then clean remission of all their sins." In November, the Romish ceremonies burst forth in unusual splendour, upon the occasion of the death of Gardiner, chancellor and bishop of Winchester; when there are dirges in every parish, and the mass of requiem, "and so prayed for after the old custom." The great burnings at Oxford have preceded the death of the chancellor, and Bonner does not immediately honour his memory by any exhibitions in Smithfield. But "a stripling" is whipt about Paul's Cross, "for speaking against the bishop that preached the Sunday before;" and "an old man, a shepherd," who spoke certain things before the sermon at the Cross, is taken to the Counter. There was a delay of three months before Gardiner was carried to his final resting-place at Winchester; and whilst his embalmed body lay in a hearse at St. Mary's Overies, five men and two women went into Smithfield to burn; and there was a commandment through London over night, that "no young folk should come there." The Christian duty of putting men and women to a cruel death for their opinions was too subtle to be properly impressed upon tender minds, by the bonfire lighting up the gabled roofs on a dark January morning.
It is recorded in the citizen's diary that on the 29th of August," the king's grace took his journey toward Dover, and with a great company; and there tarried for the wind." Philip reached Calais on the 4th of September. His sojourn in England had not been an agreeable one to him. The parliament would not consent to his being crowned as king of England. He was obnoxious to the people; although he conducted himself with an evident desire not to offend by unnecessary interference with the ordinary course of government, and by keeping his haughty nature under control. He maintained his state without being a burthen upon the English revenue; and scattered his money with a liberal hand. "With all this," says Micheli, "he cannot live with dignity in this country, on account of the insolence with which foreigners are treated by the English." Mary wept over his departure, but was somewhat consoled by his promise to return in the spring. He returned not to England till March, 1557. When the sickly and irritable queen expected her husband, and received only his excuses, she would shut herself up in her room, and see no one for days. On one occasion, according to a document dated March 26th, 1556, "the queen, on hearing that the king would not return to England for a long time, was in a rage, and caused
ABDICATION OF CHARLES V.
[1555. his picture to be carried out of the Privy Chamber."* Philip was called to a destiny more suited to his proud and ambitious nature than to be the unequal partaker of sovereign power over a jealous insular people. He was summoned to become the head of the greatest European monarchy, by the voluntary abdication of his father. Charles had been sovereign of the Netherlands for nearly fifty years; he had been king of Spain for forty years; he had been emperor of Germany for thirty-six years. On the 25th of October, 1555, Charles, in a solemn assembly at Brussels, although only in his fifty-sixth year, and in full possession of his faculties, resigned the sceptres of the Netherlands and of Spain in favour of his son. He had already bestowed upon Philip the kingdom of Naples and Sicily. In a monastery of Estremadura, the greatest prince of his time was to close his long career of ambition. His "cloister life" offers a curious study of
It has been pointed out that Philip, when he had left England, and the prospect of a child who should succeed to the English crown had become visionary, did not disregard "the affairs of a turbulent people, upon whom he had no hold but the slight thread of a hypochrondiacal woman." The opinion of his neglect which Mackintosh expressed is disproved by communications between the privy council and the king. The minutes of the council were translated into Latin, and transmitted to him at Brussels, and were returned with his remarks, also in Latin. His notions of the functions of parliament, as expressed in one of these papers, show how well it was for the civil as well as religious liberty of our country that his influence and authority here were soon at an end. He "desires that nothing should be proposed in parliament without its having been first communicated to his majesty."+ Better was it for us that the bigoted Romanist should be free to preside at auto-da-fés in Spain, rather than dictate laws to England through the subservient Council of his confiding wife. The absence of Philip from England probably caused the parliament, which assembled on the 21st of October, 1555, to dare some opposition to the proceedings of the crown. Sir Anthony Kingston was imprisoned by the Council for his conduct as a member of the House of Commons. Although the parliament of England had crouched at the feet of Rome, and the supremacy of the pope was established, there were certain limits beyond which the most strenuous Romanists were not willing to go. Under a pontiff of moderate views, Julius III., the restitution of the church property was not insisted upon; and the success of Cardinal Pole's measures had been mainly accomplished by his concessions to those possessors of the abbeylands and chantry revenues who were not disposed to show their aversion to the Reformation by any great sacrifice of their own interests. The queen had manifested her strong convictions by placing in the hands of the legate such church lands as remained in the possession of the crown. But in 1555 Julius III. was succeeded by Paul IV. "It was the destiny of this most furious zealot to contribute more perhaps than any of his predecessors to the spread of that protestantism which he hated, abhorred, and persecuted." At the period of his accession he had not exhibited those passionate resolves for the
"Calendar of State Papers," p. 57.
Tytler, vol. ii. p. 484,
Ranke, "History of the Popes," vol. i. p. 817.
PARLIAMENT-POPE PAUL IV.
re-establishment of the temporal dominion of the see of Rome, which brought him into a posture of hostility to Philip of Spain. But he endeavoured most unwisely to assert his spiritual supremacy, by proclaiming, to the English ambassadors, "the restitution of the lands of the church to be an indispensable duty, the neglect of which would draw upon the culprit the penalty of eternal damnation. He also tried to re-establish the collection of the Peter's pence."* Mary was herself ready to yield to the first thunders of the Vatican; and caused some of the lay-nobility to be sounded upon this very delicate question. The answer was, "that they would never part with their abbey-lands, as long as they were able to wear a sword by their sides."+ An Act was however passed, not without strong opposition, to restore the tenths and firstfruits to the church; and the impropriations in the queen's gift. This Act had many saving clauses; and one especially, that the legate should apply the revenues so restored to the increase of poor livings; for the finding of able curates to instruct the people; and for the exhibition of scholars. A proposal to give the queen a subsidy and two-fifteenths was so strenuously opposed, that the secretary of state declared to the House of Commons that her majesty would only accept the subsidy. There was no other parliament held for two years.
The disquietudes and suspicions which were associated with the fact that, however prudent was the princess Elizabeth, she was the hope of those both abroad and at home who were op
pressed by the bigotry of the government, were kept alive by the most trifling incidents. Dr. John Dee, an astrologer and magician, who went on casting nativities, and raising spirits, till the days of James I., had come into repute in the middle of the sixteenth century; and he got into trouble, according to his own account, through being suspected of "endeavouring, by enchantments, to destroy queen Mary." In June, 1555, some persons were apprehended "that did calculate the king's and queen's, and my lady Elizabeth's nativity; whereof one Dee, and Davy, and Butler, and one other of my lady Elizabeth's, are accused, and that they should have
a familiar spirit." The familiar spirit was believed in, because one of their accusers had "immediately upon the accusation, both his children stricken, the one with present death, the other with blindness." But there was a danger gathering, somewhat more formidable than the conjurations of Dee and his associates. Some young men of good family had conceived the project of
THE DUDLEY CONSPIRACY.
[1556. assembling together the English exiles of Germany and other parts of the continent, to free England from the Roman pontiff and the Spanish king. Mary was to be sent to Spain; and Elizabeth placed on the throne. The chief leader was Henry Dudley, supposed to have been connected by relationship with the duke of Northumberland who had paid the price of his rash ambition. His notion was, to organise those whom Mary called heretics and traitors; and to land them in the Isle of Wight. He would drive out the Spaniards, he said, or he would die for it. He had obtained some encouragement from the French ambassador in London; and had been courteously received by the French king. But although Richard Uvedale, the captain of Yarmouth castle, in the Isle of Wight, had agreed not to molest their landing, there was little hope of transforming into armed hands the serious and aged religious exiles, even if they had countenanced any attempts to change the government by force. They were mostly suffering extreme poverty. Money was to be got to raise soldiers; and a bold device was set on foot, which none but the most sanguine of men would have ventured upon. In the office of the receipt of Exchequer at Westminster, there were bars of Spanish silver lying idle in chests, to the value of 50,000l. William Rossey, keeper of the Star Chamber, lived near this office; and had a garden running along the margin of the Thames. Three of the conspirators were enabled to obtain access to these precious chests. They were too heavy to be removed; and they were therefore to be broken open, and the bars carried through Rossey's garden, to a vessel which was to be brought up alongside. The ship was hired; the searcher at Gravesend was bribed to let it pass; and the "great bullion robbery" might have been accomplished, had not Thomas White, one of the company, revealed the scheme to the government. On the 18th of March, 1556, about twenty of the accused were conveyed to the Tower. There were persons of good family among them who had opposed the measures of the court in the preceding parliament. Throgmorton, a connexion of the man whose acquittal had made him famous, and Uvedale, were first tried. They were convicted; and suffered the death of traitors on the 28th of April. Eight others were executed in May, June, and July. Lord Bray was confined many months on suspicion; but was finally released. Others were pardoned. Mr. Bruce, who has related with great spirit the history of this plot, upon which most historians are silent, says that the ease with which some who were the queen's officers were seduced from their allegiance, must have added to the many evidences of how slight was the queen's hold upon the affections of the people." It was the misfortune of the princess Elizabeth, although a natural consequence of her position, to afford cause of jealousy and suspicion to the court, upon the discovery of any treasonable conspiracy. All that could be established against lord Bray was that he had said, " If my neighbour of Hatfield might once reign (meaning the lady Elizabeth), he should have his lands and debts given him again, which he both wished for, and trusted once to see." Elizabeth was again questioned by an agent of the Council, and was written to by her sister; "whereat she wrote a well-penned letter," dated the beginning of August, utterly detesting and disclaiming the rebellion and its actors.+
* Verney Papers, p. 58 to 76.
Strype, "Ecclesiastical Memorials," vol. iii. part i. p. 547,