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4. Elizabeth.

Daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn.

A.D. 1558-1603.


The Parliament and people of all classes, as if by common consent, hailed with joy the advent of Elizabeth to the throne. On her way from Hatfield to London, crowds thronged the roads with cheers of congratulation. Elizabeth, entering the Tower where she had once been a prisoner, fell on her knees, thanking God for her deliverance from her persecutors. She proclaimed a general amnesty, and met all with an open countenance, except Bishop Bonner, from whom she averted her head with manifest horror and repugnance. A proposal of marriage by the Spanish king (Philip) she declined, and met the arrogant assumption of Pope Paul IV. to treat England as a fief of the Holy See, by recalling her ambassador from Rome. To eleven of her sister's counsellors, whom she retained, Elizabeth joined eight of her own choosing, one of whom was Sir Nicholas Bacon, whom she created Lord Keeper, and the other, Sir William Cecil, a singularly prudent and sagacious adviser, who throughout his life retained the royal confidence.

Elizabeth at once manifested such favourable inclinations towards the Reformation that the irritated bishops refused to assist at her coronation, with the exception of the Bishop of Carlisle, who unwillingly performed the ceremony. As the coronation procession passed through London, a boy personating Truth was let down from a triumphal arch, and presented to the queen a Bible,

A.D. 1558.]



which, pressing to her heart, she declared to be the most precious gift that day bestowed.

The elections for the new Parliament had gone against the Roman Catholics, and when it met (1558), it suppressed the new monasteries and declared the queen "Governor" of the Church (this word being substituted for Head, to avoid giving unnecessary offence), invested with the whole spiritual power, which she was authorized to exercise through ecclesiastical commissioners. It was made a high penal crime to deny the queen's supremacy, and the statutes passed in King Edward's time regarding religion were all confirmed. The liturgy was restored and the mass abolished, and penalties enacted against those who absented themselves from the church and the sacraments. The clergy generally conformed; the few who refused were deprived of their livings.

In Scotland, the Reformation had been stimulated by the presence of fugitives from the persecutions of Mary, as well as by the return of exiles for conscience' sake from Geneva, where they had deeply imbibed the principles of the French reformer John Calvin. Headed by Argyle and other noblemen, the Scottish reformers, under the name of the Congregation, entered into a covenant for the support of their religion (3d December 1557). The preaching of John Knox inflamed the public zeal, which vented itself in the destruction of images and in assaults on monasteries. To punish such excesses the Queen-regent, Mary of Guise, marched at the head of her French and native troops to the neighbourhood of Perth, which submitted upon condition of an indemnity for past offences, and an engagement not to retain there a French garrison. In consequence of the violation of these conditions, the Congregation renewed the covenant in stronger terms than formerly, and gave themselves up to the guidance of Knox. The destruction of idolatrous images was renewed. The Queen-regent again took arms, but feeling herself too weak to meet the insurgents, she took shelter in Dunbar, while the reformers triumphantly marched into Perth, Stirling, and Edinburgh, and the Queen-regent, to save the capital, consented to an Act of toleration.

When reinforced by fresh troops from France, the Regent again showed signs of hostility, and as more foreign troops were on the way, the reformers resolved upon making application to Elizabeth for aid, which the Queen was the more disposed to give, as Mary1 (daughter of James v. and Mary of Guise), married to Francis the Dauphin of France, had assumed the arms of England, and in other ways indicated her pretensions to the English throne. Elizabeth, in support of the Congregation, despatched a fleet of thirteen ships of war to the Firth of Forth, appointed the young Duke of Norfolk lieutenant in the northern counties, and assembled an army of 8000 men at Berwick under Lord Grey (1560), engaging never to desist until the French had evacuated Scotland. The French, beaten at Leith by the English and Scotch, were obliged to evacuate the country, and to consent to the abandonment by Mary of pretensions to the English crown. The Scotch Parliament, thus supported by Elizabeth, immediately proceeded to complete the work of Reformation, which they effectually accomplished.

Mary's husband dying without having ratified the Scotch treaty, the widowed queen sailed from Calais, 19th August 1561, and passing in a fog an English fleet sent to intercept her, arrived safely at Leith. Her youth (she was only nineteen), her extreme beauty, grace, and affability, won the hearts of her Scotch subjects, who welcomed her warmly. Mary strengthened the prepossessions in her favour by giving her confidence to the leaders of the reform party. But after the first burst of loyalty was over, the queen's personal religion proved an insuperable barrier to mutual confidence between her and her people.

The English Parliament, which met early in 1563, alarmed by an illness from which Elizabeth had just recovered, and dreading the prospect of a disputed succession, expressed its wish to see the Queen married, or the right of Mary as next heir settled; but Elizabeth evaded both suggestions. In support of the French Huguenots, the Earl of Warwick, at the head of 6000 men and 700 pioneers, took Havre, which, in consequence of the plague break

1 For genealogy, see p. 135.

A.D. 1564.]


ing out, he was obliged to surrender.


The soldiers on their return

spread the epidemic throughout England.

Mary's powerful relatives in France now desired to see her married to some illustrious prince, a design which Elizabeth successfully thwarted. When, however, Lord Darnley,' son of the Earl of Lennox and Mary's cousin-german, was proposed (1564), she at first raised no obstacles to their union, but when it was too late her jealousy broke out; she commanded Darnley to return to England, seized on the English estate of Lennox, and threw the countess and her second son into the Tower. The marriage was equally disliked by the Scotch reformers, who suspected Darnley of being at heart attached to the Roman Catholic religion; and their suspicions were confirmed when they saw the queen's favour bestowed upon the Earls of Bothwell, Athol, Sutherland, and Huntley, all known to be inclined to the Roman Catholic party. The malcontent lords, led on by Murray, and encouraged by Elizabeth, took arms, but seeing their followers so few, left the country and took shelter in England, where they were shamefully repudiated by the English queen. Mary attainted the banished lords before the Scottish Parliament. At this time, however, her husband, instigated by jealousy of her secretary David Rizzio, broke into her presence at the head of a band of confederates, and there murdered their victim. This atrocious indignity and crime diverted Mary's resentment from the banished lords, whom she reinstated in their fortunes and honours. Her husband she never forgave. Not long after she gave birth to a son, afterwards James Sixth of Scotland and First of Great Britain.

Darnley, during an attack of illness, had been removed to a quiet isolated house, called the Kirk of Field, where, on the morn

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ing of the 9th of February 1567, an explosion took place. house had been blown up, and the king's body was found lying at some distance in a neighbouring field. Suspicion fell on the Earl of Bothwell. He was openly accused by the Earl of Lennox, along with some others, and Mary sent Lennox a citation to appear in Court and prove his charge. In the meantime Bothwell continued to retain the queen's favour and confidence; and Lennox, afraid of Bothwell's power, did not appear at the trial that followed, and the latter was pronounced in the absence of accuser and witnesses "not guilty."

A considerable number of the nobility now signed an address to the queen, in which they went so far as to recommend Bothwell for her husband. That nobleman, encouraged by such a demonstration, assembled a body of 800 horse, and waylaying the queen, carried her to Dunbar, and partly by force, partly by entreaties, obtained her consent to marry him. The marriage was solemnized on 15th May 1567, and excited general dissatisfaction. Several lords now formed a confederacy for the protection of the young prince, and for punishing Darnley's murderers, among whom they counted Bothwell and the Earl of Murray. The latter retired to France, and the confederate lords took the field. Mary's troops proved unwilling to support her, and she had to put herself into the hands of the rebels, on which Bothwell fled to Norway, where he died ten years after. Mary was placed under a guard in the Castle of Lochleven, where, under compulsion, she abdicated in favour of her son.

The young prince was proclaimed King at Stirling by the title. of James VI., and the Earl of Murray was appointed Regent, to be assisted by a Council during the king's minority. A Parliament called by Murray ratified Mary's abdication, pronounced her an accomplice in her husband's murder, and condemned her to imprisonment. Many of the Scotch nobility, indignant at such harshness, met at Hamilton, where they resolved upon taking measures for her liberation. Mary, through the contrivance of young George Douglas, made her escape from Lochleven, and joining her friends at Hamil

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