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The Reign of Queen Mary page 10


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Pole, on his arrival, ascended the Thames from Greenwich in a splendid state barge, at the prow of which he fixed a large silver cross, thus marking the entrance of the legatine and Papal authority into the country, as it were, in a triumphal manner.

Gardiner, the chancellor, received him at the Watergate; King Philip at the grand entrance, and the queen at the head of the stairs, where she exclaimed on seeing him, "The day that I ascended the throne I did not feel such joy." His arrival was celebrated by grand banquetings and a tournament, at which the English and Spanish nobles contended, with King Philip at their head. In this tournament the Spaniards introduced a novelty - the Moorish game of throwing the jeered, or cane.

The cardinal had assigned him for his residence the archiepiscopal palace at Lambeth, vacant by the imprisonment of the primate; and thus was the old faith placed in the ascendancy, its highest representative in this country occupying the official residence of the reforming metropolitan.

On the 24th of November the king and queen met the united Parliament in the presence-chamber of the palace of Whitehall: this was owing to the indisposition of the queen. Gardiner introduced the business, which, he told them, was the weightiest that ever happened in this realm, and begged their utmost attention to Cardinal Pole, who would open the same. Pole then made a long speech, reverting to his own history as well as that of the nation. All listened in solemn seriousness and yet apprehension when he announced to them the fact that the Pope was ready to absolve the English from their crimes of heresy and contumacy. But when he added that this was to be done without any reclamation of the Church lands, there was a unanimous vote of both Houses for reconciliation with Rome.

The next morning, the king, queen, and Parliament met again in the presence-chamber, when, Pole presenting himself, Philip and Mary rose, and bowing profoundly to him, presented him with the vote of Parliament. The cardinal, on receiving it, offered up thanks to God for this auspicious event, and then ordered his commission to be read. The Peers and Commons then fell on their knees and received absolution and benediction from the hands of the cardinal, and thus for a time again was the great breach betwixt England and the Papacy healed, or rather skinned over. The whole assembly, including their majesties, proceeded to St. Stephen's Chapel, where "Te Deum" was sung, and the next Sunday the legate made his public entry into London, and he and Philip attended at St. Paul's Cross, where Gardiner preached, making great lamentation over his own backslidings and those of the nation in the reign of Henry VIII., and exhorting all now to do as he had done, and make reparation for their apostacy by seeking the unity of the Church.

Parliament proceeded to pass acts confirming all that was now done, repealing all the statutes which had passed against the Roman Church since the 20th of Henry VIII., and the clergy in Convocation making formal resignation of the possessions which had passed into the hands of laymen. The legate also issued decrees authorising all cathedral churches, hospitals, and schools, founded since the schism, to be preserved, and that all persons who had contracted marriages within prescribed degrees should remain married notwithstanding.

The Christmas of 1554 was celebrated with unusual splendour and gaiety. The wedding festivities of the queen had been cut short by the death of Norfolk, and it was intended to make these a sort of reparation to the pleasure-loving courtiers. The queen and the Princess Elizabeth being reconciled, that lady was present and treated with all distinction by both the king and queen. It was a popular idea that Philip was anxious to send Elizabeth to Spain and have her consigned to some convent there, but Philip was too politic for that. He had no children by his English queen, though there were confident expectations of that kind, and till he was secure of an English heir, it was his policy to maintain Elizabeth in the position of the heir-apparent, as a set off to the Queen of Scots, who was about to be married to the heir of the French throne.

Besides Elizabeth, there were now assembled at the English Court a number of persons destined to fill the most prominent places in the history of Europe, for good as for evil. There was the Duke of Alva, veiling under the graces of a fine person one of the most cruel and dangerous spirits which ever exercised its malignant force on human destinies. There were two, also, of the celebrated victims of Philip and Alva - the Counts Egmont and Home, the patriots of Flanders, who shed their blood on the scaffold for defending their country against the tyranny of this king and this his minister. There was Ruy Gomez, the future famous prime minister of Spain; Philibert Emanuel of Savoy, the lover of Elizabeth and conqueror of St. Quintin; and the Prince of Orange, calmly mixing with the festive throng, unconscious that it was his high destiny to pluck oppressed Holland from the iron grasp of this same Philip. So closed, in a blaze of brief splendour, the year 1554.

To Mary the honour is due of concluding, early in the following year, the first commercial treaty with Russia. She sent Chancellor, the northern explorer, on an embassy to the Czar Iwan Wasiljevitch, who brought back with him Osep Napea Gregorivitch as the first Russian ambassador who ever appeared in England. She incorporated by charter the company of merchant adventurers trading to Muscovy. Napea was received with great distinction by Mary at Court, in May, 1555, and astonished the courtiers by the enormous size of the pearls and gems on his cap, and the ouches which he wore on his robes.

The year 1555 opened with dark and threatening features. The queen's health was failing; and, under the idea that she was merely suffering maternal inconvenience, she was rapidly advancing in a dropsy which, in less than two years, was destined to sink her to the tomb. The king, gloomy, despotic, and, consequently, unpopular, though he often endeavoured to act against his nature, and assume a popular character, still hoping for an heir to the English crown, had obtained from Parliament an act constituting him regent, in case Mary should die after the birth of a child, during the minority of that child. Thus, whether the queen lived or died, he appeared to possess a reasonable prospect of obtaining the supreme power in this country; and how he would have used it, we may judge from his government of Spain and the Netherlands. If the child was a female, he was made governor till her fifteenth year; if a male, till his eighteenth year. Philip protested on his honour that he would give up the government faithfully when the child came of age; but Lord Paget asked "who was to sue the bond if he did not?" - a suggestion never forgiven. With this flattering but illusive prospect before him, the tempest of persecution soon burst forth; and, had Providence permitted, England would soon have exhibited the same scene of tyranny, bloodshed, and insult which Flanders did under his rule. As it was, for a short period, terrible war for conscience sake burst forth, the prisons were thronged, and the fires of death blazed out in every quarter of the island. Mary, with failing health, and doting absurdly on her husband, was easily drawn to acquiesce in deeds and measures which have made her name a terror and a byword to all future times.

One little gleam of mercy and magnanimity preceded this reign of horror, like the streak of red in the morning sky which often heralds a tempestuous day. Gardiner, accompanied by several members of the Council, went to the Tower, and by royal authority, and, as he said, at the intercession of the emperor, liberated the state prisoners confined there on account of their participation in the attempts of Northumberland and Wyatt. These were Holgate, Archbishop of York, Ambrose, Henry, and Andrew Dudley, sons to the late Duke of Northumberland, Sir James Crofts, and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. Courtenay, who had been liberated from Fotheringay, received a permission to travel, a permission believed to be tantamount to a command. Indeed, the presence of this handsome but contemptible man could not be pleasant to himself or any one else at the English Court. He had shown himself cowardly, dissipated, and ungrateful. He had rebelled in his heart, if not by any daring act, against Mary, who liberated him from a life-long prison. He had entered into those designs with Elizabeth which must make his presence a continual reproach to her, and he had not strength of character to grow wiser or better by experience. He appears to have continued his life of low debauch on the Continent, and died at Padua in 1556, leaving the title of Earl of Devon extinct in the Courtenay family, for nearly three centuries.

In February, the Viscount Montague, the Bishop of Ely, and Sir Edward Came, were dispatched to Borne to ratify the union which had taken place betwixt England and the Papal Court. Two Popes died whilst they were on their journey, Julius III. and Marcellus II.; and Paul IV. was elected just before their arrival, Cardinal Pole having on both occasions been an unsuccessful candidate for the tiara. Paul received the ambassadors, naturally, with much pleasure. At the petition of Philip and Mary, he raised the lordship of Ireland to the dignity of a kingdom. The ambassadors, on their part, recognised the Pontiff as the head of the universal Church, presented him a copy of the Act by which his authority was restored in England, and obtained his ratification of the acts of his legate, granting absolution to all for the offence of the schism, and confirming the bishoprics created during that period.

Whilst the ambassadors were thus cementing again the ancient alliance at Rome, the Spanish rule in England was growing every day more unpopular. Few of the Spaniards as had been allowed to remain, the English saw them with unconquerable aversion. They could not pass them in the streets without insulting them. These fracas became so frequent and violent, and the English had such a positive notion that Philip meant to bring this country under Spanish rule, that he was obliged to try and hang a Spaniard who had killed an Englishman at Charing Cross. The people were ready to listen to any story which confirmed this idea, or which promised to unsettle the Government, and amongst other projects there was one of the Simnel and Warbeck class, though a very threadbare one.

A youth appeared in Kent, who gave himself out as Edward VI., who, he declared, had only been in a trance, and not actually dead, and had been recovered from the tomb. The story, improbable as it was, soon flew far and wide amongst the people, and reaching the ears of the Council, excited so much apprehension, that the lad was seized at Eltham, and conducted to Hampton Court. He there confessed that he had been put upon this scheme, and he was sent in a cart through London with a paper over his head, stating that he was the impostor who had pretended to be King Edward. He was then conveyed to Westminster, exhibited in the hall, and afterwards whipped at a cart's tail back through the streets of London, and then sent off into the north, whence, it seems, he came. Being afterwards found rambling about and repeating the same tale, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, in the following year.

Before launching into the horrors that are now before us, we will quote the observations of Miss Strickland in her life of Queen Mary, because they take a view of the character of Mary, and of the real origin of the persecutions of her reign, different from the general estimate, and, at all events, deserving of being heard.

"Noailles expressly assured his sovereign, the King of [France, that it was of little use appealing to Queen Mary as an independent sovereign; for from the day of her marriage, Philip of Spain ruled virtually in every pleasure, domestic or foreign, in the kingdom of England.

"The bishops received notice to make processions and prayers for the life and safety of the heir to the throne, of which the queen expected to become mother.

"It is true that her hope of bringing offspring was utterly delusive^ the increase of her figure was but symptomatic of dropsy, attended by a complication of the most dreadful disorders which can afflict the female frame, under which every faculty of her mind and body sank for months. At this time commenced that horrible persecution of the Protestants which has stained her name to all futurity; but if eternal obloquy was incurred by the half-dead queen, what is the duo of the Parliaments which legalised the acts of cruelty committed in her name? Shall we call the House of Lords bigoted, when its majority, which sanctioned this wickedness, were composed of the same individuals who had planted, very recently, the Protestant Church of England? Surely not; for the name implies honest though wrong-headed attachment to one religion. Shall we suppose that the land groaned under the iron sway of a standing army? or that the Spanish bridegroom had introduced foreign forces? But reference to facts will prove that even Philip's household servants were sent back with his fleet, and a few valets, fools, and fiddlers belonging to the grandees, his bridesmen, were all the forces permitted to land - no very formidable band to Englishmen. The queen had kept her word rigorously when she asserted 'that no alteration should be made in religion without universal consent.'

"Three times in two years had she sent the House of Commons back to their constituents, although they were most compliant in any measure relative to her religion. If she had bribed one Parliament, why did she not keep it sitting during her short reign? If the Parliament had been honest as herself, her reign would have been the pride of her country, instead of its reproach; because if they had clone their duty in guarding their fellow-creatures from bloody penal laws respecting religion, the queen, by her first regal act in restoring the free constitution of the great Plantagenets, had put it out of the power of her Government to take furtive vengeance on. any individual who opposed it. She had exerted all the energies of her great eloquence to impress on the minds of her judges that they were to sit 'as indifferent umpires between herself and her people.' She had 110 standing army to awe Parliament - no rich civil list to bribe them. By restoring the great estates of the Howards, the Percys, and many other victims of Henry VIII., and of the regency of Edward VI., by giving back the revenues of the plundered bishoprics and the Church lands possessed by the Crown, she had reduced herself to poverty as complete as the most enthusiastic lover of freedom could desire. But her personal expenditure was extremely economical, and she successfully struggled with poverty till her husband involved England in a French war. The French ambassador affirmed in his despatches that the queen was so very poor that her want of money was apparent in everything pertaining to herself, even to the dishes put upon her own table. Such self-denial contributed to render her unpopular among her courtiers, and penuriousness has been added to the list of her ill qualities; but those who reckon up the vast sums she had restored to their rightful owners, or refused to appropriate in confiscation, will allow that hers was an honourable poverty.

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Pictures for The Reign of Queen Mary page 10

Queen Mary I
Queen Mary I >>>>
The Crown of England offered to Lady Jane Grey.
The Crown of England offered to Lady Jane Grey. >>>>
Lady Jane Grey and Roger Ascham
Lady Jane Grey and Roger Ascham >>>>
Execution of the Duke of Northumberland on Tower Hill.
Execution of the Duke of Northumberland on Tower Hill. >>>>
Philip of Spain
Philip of Spain >>>>
Allington Castle
Allington Castle >>>>
Great Seal of Queen Mary
Great Seal of Queen Mary >>>>
Autograph of Queen Mary
Autograph of Queen Mary >>>>
Queen Mary in her Private Oratory
Queen Mary in her Private Oratory >>>>
Wyatt
Wyatt >>>>
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey >>>>
Carving ascribed to John Dudley
Carving ascribed to John Dudley >>>>
Inscription cut by the Husband of Lady Jane Grey on the wall of his prison
Inscription cut by the Husband of Lady Jane Grey on the wall of his prison >>>>
The Princess Elizabeth
The Princess Elizabeth >>>>
Reception of the First Russian Embassy in England
Reception of the First Russian Embassy in England >>>>
Lord Guildford Dudleys room
Lord Guildford Dudleys room >>>>
The Burning of Archbishop Cranmer
The Burning of Archbishop Cranmer >>>>
The Recantation of Archbishop Cranmer
The Recantation of Archbishop Cranmer >>>>
Place of Execution, Smithfield
Place of Execution, Smithfield >>>>
Martyrs Stone at Hadleigh
Martyrs Stone at Hadleigh >>>>
Siege of Calais
Siege of Calais >>>>
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth >>>>
Queen Elizabeth acknowledged by the Bishops
Queen Elizabeth acknowledged by the Bishops >>>>

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