Изображения страниц

A.D. 1553.]



3. Mary.

Daughter of Henry VIII. and Catherine of Arragon.

A. D. 1553-1558.


Henry VII.


Mary, m. (1.) Louis XII.

(2) Charles duke of Suffolk. Frances Brandon m. Grey marquis of Dorset.

Lady Jane Grey.

On the death of Edward it was Northumberland's design to proclaim the Lady Jane Grey; and while Mary, aware of this design, was taking

measures to defeat it, he, accompanied by several of the nobility, waited upon the Lady Jane, approaching her with the respect due to a sovereign. Taken by surprise, she at first refused the Crown, which she declared belonged to the Princess Mary, and after her to Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn; but overcome by the entreaties of her father, her father-in-law, and her husband, she most reluctantly yielded. Meanwhile the nobility and gentry, as well as the people, flocked to the support of Mary in Suffolk, where she was holding forth promises not to interfere with the laws of the late King Edward in favour of the reformed religion. The Council of Regency, perceiving how matters stood, sent Northumberland orders to lay down his arms, while Mary was proclaimed queen amidst universal approbation. Lady Jane Grey was permitted, much to her own satisfaction, to return to the enjoyment of her books; for she was as learned and accomplished as she was amiable and good. Mary at once brought Northumberland to the block (22d August). Several of his relations and friends she imprisoned, including Lady Jane Grey and her husband Lord Guildford Dudley, whose youth and innocence

(they were each only seventeen) excited universal compassion. Mary, on the other hand, liberated the Duke of Norfolk, with Courtney, son of the Marquis of Exeter, and the Roman Catholic bishops Gardiner, Tonstal, and Bonner. Notwithstanding her promises to the Protestants, Mary reinstated the dispossessed Roman Catholic bishops in their sees, and silenced all preachers. She threw into prison the Protestant bishops Holgate, Coverdale, Ridley, Hooper, and Latimer, and put in the pillory some sturdy laymen who ventured to remind her of her promises. The Archbishop Cranmer was declared guilty of high treason, on the pretext that he had concurred with the Council in proclaiming Lady Jane Grey. The bones of two foreign reformers, Bucer and Fagius, were dug up and committed to the flames at Cambridge, and the remains of the wife of another were likewise dug up and thrown upon a dunghill. Protestants, foreseeing the storm of persecution, began to emigrate along with the foreign Protestant settlers whose congregations had been broken up. Even the Princess Elizabeth, sister to Mary, became exposed to serious danger on account of her religious sentiments.

The Queen having accepted a proposal of marriage from Philip 1. king of Spain, the Parliament began at length to show signs of alarm, for Philip was a furious persecutor of heretics; but Mary, to prevent remonstrances, dissolved the House, and the treaty of marriage was signed 15th January 1554. A conspiracy against the hateful union was immediately formed. Sir Thomas Wyatt proposed to raise Kent; Sir Peter Carew, Devonshire; and the Duke of Suffolk the midland counties. Wyatt was the only one whose movements were attended with serious effect. The people flocked to him in such numbers, that the Duke of Norfolk, who had been sent against him, after being deserted by a large body of his own troops, retreated to London, where Wyatt, after unskilful proceedings, was made prisoner (6th February), and forthwith executed along with great numbers of his accomplices. Mary, pretending to believe her sister Elizabeth compromised in this rebellion, confined her in the Tower, and resolved upon putting Lady Jane Grey to death. She

A.D. 1554.]



allowed her three days for preparation, during which the poor lady was harassed by priests sent by Mary for her conversion. Lady Jane, in proof of the constancy of her faith, sent a copy of the Testament in Greek to the queen, with a letter penned by her own hand in the same tongue. That her fortitude might not give way she refused to have a parting interview with her husband on the day of her execution, 12th February 1554; but she watched to see him led forth that she might give him a parting sign as he preceded her to the scaffold. Firm to the last, she uttered no reproaches against the queen, and only lamented that she had not persisted in rejecting the crown. Her father, the Duke of Suffolk, and Lord Thomas Grey, were executed soon after.

The Parliament, now obliged to ratify the marriage treaty, passed a law depriving Philip of any right of authority in England, but, having refused to revive laws against heretics, was dissolved. Philip arrived at Southampton 19th June, and the marriage was celebrated a few days after at Westminster. Through the intrigues of Bishop Gardiner the chancellor, the new Parliament was packed with a majority, which voted an address to Mary and Philip avowing sorrow for defection from the true Church, and praying absolution, which was readily administered by the Pope's legate, Cardinal Pole. They then proceeded to re-enact the old sanguinary laws against heretics, and persecution unto death began. The first victim was Rogers, prebendary of St. Paul's. Before being brought to the stake at Smithfield, he begged of Gardiner that he might be allowed to take leave of his wife, the mother of his ten children, and was refused. He met his death with unshaken resolution. Before Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, was laid the queen's pardon, which was offered to him as the reward of recantation. He preferred death by fire. Though his tortures were most prolonged he never winced, but continued to exhort the people to remain constant in their faith. So many suffered, without any apparent diminution of Protestant zeal, that Gardiner, seeing no hope of producing the effect he expected, consigned to Bonner the work of



persecution, which the latter undertook with a savage joy. monster delighted in cruelty, which he used to inflict with his own hands. Ferrar, bishop of St. David's, was burned in his own diocese; Ridley, bishop of London, and Bishop Latimer, who were burned at Oxford, supported each other by their mutual exhortations. "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man," said Latimer to his friend on their way to the stake: "we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as shall never be put out." After a long confinement Archbishop Cranmer was, on the 21st March 1556, brought to the stake. Having previously seen from his cell his friends Ridley and Latimer led to execution, his fortitude relaxed, and advantage was taken of his weakness to induce him to sign a retractation of his religious opinions on the promise of pardon and escape from torture. As soon as he discovered the cruel hypocrisy of his enemies, who meant to embitter his end by degrading him, his courage returned. On his way to the stake he was stopped at St. Mary's Church to hear a sermon by Dr. Cole, at the end of which Cranmer rose and proceeded to utter what was supposed to be the recantation he had signed, but which turned out to be an expression of penitence and sorrow for his denial of the reformed faith, ending with a resolution that he would punish the guilty hand that had subscribed such an act by thrusting it first into the flames. He kept his word; for when brought to the stake he held his hand in the fire until it was burnt, exclaiming, "This hand hath offended!" and with a composed countenance, submitted to his fate. Women suffered with no less firmness. It is computed that, during the three years that the persecution raged, 277 were brought to the stake, beside the countless number of persons who were punished by fines, confisca tions, and imprisonments. The married clergy were expelled from their livings.

At the same time, Mary contrived, in various illegal and oppressive ways, to extort money from her subjects to send to her husband Philip, who had left England for his own country, there to assume the government abdicated by his father Charles v.



To please Philip, Mary declared war against France, to support which she had recourse to the most arbitrary exactions. She seized on the farmers' corn in Suffolk and Norfolk to victual the fleet, and she put in prison many who were supposed to be discontented with her violent proceedings. The English auxiliaries, under the Earl of Pembroke, behaved with great courage at the battle of St. Quentin, where the French suffered a disastrous defeat. But whatever credit the English gained in this war-undertaken for the King of Spain, was dearly paid for by the loss of Calais, which the Duke of Guise surprised in the depth of winter, when, according to ordinary calculations, no attack was to be apprehended (January 1558). It had been in the possession of England for 211 years. An expedition against Brest failed, but the English ships contributed to a victory gained by the Spaniards over the French. Negotiations for peace followed, in the midst of which Mary, whose health had long been declining, died on the 17th November 1558. The only palliation that can be offered for her cruelty is, that religious persecution was at that time almost universal, and that her eyes may have been blinded to the enormity of offences which were committed for the supposed good of the Church to which she was attached.

In this reign coaches were first seen in England, and a commercial treaty was made with Russia.

Cotemporary Sovereigns and Events.-France: Henry II. Scotland: Mary. Charles v. grants toleration at the Diet of Augsburg (1555).

Questions.-1. Who was brought forward as Mary's rival; and what was her fate and that of her supporters? 2. What steps did Mary take in order to re-establish Roman Catholicism? 3. Name some of the distinguished martyrs of the reign, and write an account of Cranmer's closing days. 4. Whom did Mary marry; into what war did he lead her; and what was the result of it?

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »