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of commons, "that she, by God's grace, would marry ; but that the perils to the person of a sovereign from the nomination of a successor, of which she had seen a specimen in her sister's reign, though the successor was then only expected, not nominated, were so great that the time would not allow it now to be fully treated of."
A subsidy, consisting of a tenth and a fifteenth of all personal estate, measured according to the ancient usages, and made payable in two instalments, was granted by this parliament, in consideration, as the preamble alleges, of her having forborne to make such demands of money on her people as her needs required, " of the comfortable assurances that her majesty would marry, and that she would fix a successor as soon as the safety of her person would allow."* We must here anticipate so far as to observe, that in the next parliament, which met in 1571, sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper, reminded the parliament that of the late subsidy the queen's majesty, from her own bountifulness, had remitted the one half- was the like here in England ever seen or heard of? It was on this occasion that one of her memorable sayings came forth, that the money was better in the pockets of her people than in her coffers. The remission of this subsidy, however, may be rather ascribed to a just reliance on her people, and to an equitable regard to the motive of the commons for the grant, than to principles of political economy, of which the prevalence could not have then been foreseen without the gift of prophecy.
We have seen that she made too strong a declaration in favour of marriage, in order to cover her refusal to nominate a successor. A person of less sagacity might easily see the policy of keeping contending claims to the crown suspended and dependent upon her, and the danger of offending one party by a nomination which might encourage the opposite faction to anticipate the allegiance to which it would by such a choice be declared that their favourite candidate would one day be entitled. An in† D'Ewes, 138.
* 8 Eliz. c. 18.
cident occurred, almost immediately after her accession, which cruelly exemplified, in the person of the sister of lady Jane Grey, the sternness of those political maxims which the queen was little disposed to relax, in cases relating to the royal family, and which might affect the descent of the crown. The sovereigns of England had in all ages claimed, and have not yet renounced, an unreasonable latitude in that part of their prerogative which consists in superintending the conduct, and more especially in controlling the marriages, of the princes and princesses of the royal blood. Lady Catherine Grey, the descendant of Henry VII. by his second daughter, the queen-dowager of France, was undoubtedly the first princess of the blood, with the illustrious exception of the queen of Scots. Her marriage was not unjustly deemed to concern the order of succession. It was maintained, with much appearance of reason, that the queen's consent was necessary to an union which might otherwise render the succession doubtful, distract the kingdom, and overthrow her throne. Princely rank was dearly purchased by this young lady. She had been wedded, or rather affianced, to lord Herbert when she had scarcely ceased to be a child, at the period of her admirable sister's nuptials with Dudley. But the earl of Pembroke, the most noted weathercock of a variable age, who was said to have "got, spent, and left more than any subject since the Norman conquest * " as soon as he veered round to Mary Tudor, which was when the first ray of fortune shone on her, immediately caused his son to repudiate the espoused lady, and secured a lasting separation from the child of misfortune, by wedding him to Margaret Talbot, daughter of the earl of Shrewsbury. Lady Catherine Grey resided in attendance upon the queen, where she contracted a passion for the earl of Hertford, the son of the protector Somerset, in spite of the deadly feud between their fathers. They were secretly married while Elizabeth was on a hunting party. On her acknowledging, in August, 1560, that she was preg* Naunton's Fragm. Regal. Ellis, second series, ii. 272.
nant, she was committed to the Tower. Hertford, on his return from his travels, was sent to the same prison. Archbishop Parker, bishop Grindal, and sir William Petre, were named commissioners to enquire into these matters. Witnesses of the marriage not being produced in time, it was pronounced to be null, and the imprisonment of both parties was continued during the queen's pleasure. But the popular feelings were unfavourable to this odious policy; and, Hertford easily eluding the watchfulness of the gaolers, a second pregnancy heightened the displeasure of the queen. Hertford was fined 15,000l. in the star-chamber, for the threefold offence of deflowering a virgin of the royal blood, of repeating that outrage after sentence of nullity, and of breaking prison. The ravages of the plague, in 1563, which, in the little London of that time, swept away 1000 persons a week, produced some relaxation of severity to lord and lady Hertford. The latter was allowed to reside at the country-seat of her uncle lord John Grey.* In 1565, both were re-committed to the Tower. The rigour of their treatment was partly occasioned by the indiscretion of John Hales, who, in April, 1564, published a book in support of the rights of the house of Suffolk, and of the validity of lady Hertford's marriage; for which he was imprisoned, to prevent the appearance of encouraging attacks on the title of the queen of Scots. Lady Catherine died, with calmness and piety, on the 27th of January, 1567, after a confinement of more than six years. She besought those around her to solicit from Elizabeth forgiveness of her acts of disobedience, and protection of her three infant sons. She desired her wedding-ring to be delivered to her husband, together with another ring on which was painted a death's head, with these words around it,While I live, yours." Perceiving her nails to look purple, she said, "Lo, here he is! — and putting down her eyes with her own hands, she yielded unto God her meek spirit."+ Nearly half a century afterwards, her * Haynes, 414. Ellis, ut supra, ii. 289.
memory was relieved from imputation by the verdict of a jury, which by necessary inference established the validity of her marriage.*
The importance of matrimonial propositions to Elizabeth, and of all circumstances affecting the succession, was hardly diminished, when, by the death of Francis, Mary had become free to accept any other offer which might be made to her, however opposed to the policy of Elizabeth. The archduke Charles was at one time engaged, with the sanction of the brothers Guise, in the pursuit of Mary's hand. It has been before related, that the duke of Anjou was offered by the French court at once to Mary and Elizabeth. The duke of Ferrara and several princes of the empire were also candidates for the hand of Mary; and the prince of Condé was at one time suggested as a husband for her, with a view to a reconciliation between the French houses of Guise and Bourbon.†
In 1562 a rumour was prevalent, that when Philip II. offered to cede Sardinia to the king of Navarre, in consideration of his renouncing that titular monarchy, Mary was offered to him, if he were divorced from Jeanne d'Albert for her heresy. England was also said to be held out as a part of the lure, on the deposition of the heretical queen but it is unlikely that Philip, who had not yet sacrificed his jealousy of French greatness to his zeal for the catholic cause, should have been willing to place so much power in the hands of French princes. It was apparently from this jealousy that an offer sprung, which was far more threatening to the peace of Elizabeth than any other which had been made to Mary. When the marriage of the queen of Scots to the archduke was seriously agitated, Philip informed cardinal Granville, in a confidential despatch, that he was content to sacrifice the suit of his son, Don Carlos, to that of his cousin, the archduke; but as he had heard, with no small uneasiness, that the king of France had turned his mind to an union with Mary Stuart, he should willingly con* Collins's Peerage, Brydges' ed. i. 173.
Castelnau, liv. v. c. 11, 12.
Thuanus, lib. xxviii. c. 27.
sent to the marriage of his son, the heir of the Spanish monarchy, to the queen of Scotland.* The escape of Mary from the hand of Don Carlos was the only fortunate event of her remaining life, and it must have been considered by Elizabeth as the removal of one of the greatest dangers that could have threatened her safety. For this reason, perhaps, it may be excusable to insert in this place, without a strict regard to the order of time, the circumstances of an event which, though not strictly a part of English history, was extremely characteristical of the monarch destined to be the most formidable antagonist of Elizabeth, and was calculated to display the odious nature of pretensions to that authority over a royal family, which was exercised blamably by Elizabeth over lady Catherine Grey, but which appears in a far more hideous form in the treatment of the prince of Asturias.
This wretched prince had from his infancy manifested every species of imbecility and depravity which can be united in the mind of one man. Incapable of instruction, yielding without bounds to every passion, stupid as the most grovelling brutes, ferocious as a beast of prey, no care of courtly masters, no lessons of learned preceptors could bestow on him that scanty polish of manner, and that smattering of the general language of intercourse, which are expected from princes. His grandfather, Charles V., who saw the heir of the Spanish dominions at sixteen, bewailed the fate of his late empire. A Venetian minister, long resident at Madrid, when he saw the prince eagerly tearing to pieces the rabbits brought in for his sport, and contemplating with delight the convulsions of their muscles and the palpitations of their hearts, foretold to his senate the miserable condition of those many millions in every region from sunrise to sunset, who were to be subject to his will. At eighteen he fell from a high scaffold, and received wounds in the head, which during the remainder of his life added convulsions, confusion of thought, and occasional attacks of insanity, to his natural defects and habitual vices. His father,
Philip to Granville, 6th August, 1564. Apud Strad. de Bello Belgico, lib. iii. p. 71. edit. Mogunt. 1651.