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The Reign of Queen Mary page 16

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On receiving Philip's recommendation of Elizabeth, Mary sent the Countess de Feria, formerly Jane Dormer, to her sister with her jewels, and to these were added, by Philip's own order, a very precious casket of his own jewels which ho had let at St. James's, and which Elizabeth had greatly admired. By the Countess de Feria, Mary again repeated her solemn injunction that Elizabeth should pay her debts and maintain the Church as established, both of which the countess reported that she swore to do.

On the 17th of November, between four and five o'clock in the morning, her end visibly approaching, at her desire mass was performed in her chamber. At the elevation of the host, she lifted her weary eyes towards heaven, and as the benediction was spoken her head dropped, and she expired in the forty-second year of her age. Cardinal Pole being informed of her decease, expressed his deep satisfaction at the prospect of so speedily following her, and within two and twenty hours also took his mortal departure.

Mary was interred on the north side of Henry VII.'s chapel. No tomb was ever erected to her memory. James I. placed two black tablets with Latin inscriptions to mark the graves of Mary and Elizabeth, and when the Royal vault was opened in 1670, for the funeral of Monk, Duke of Albemarle, the hearts of the two sisters were found in urns.

With all the bigotry of Mary, and the horrors which her concession to the persecuting spirit of her Spanish husband brought upon this country, she had many good and amiable qualities, and had she reached the throne in an age when no religious strife existed, would probably have left a name regarded with much favour by posterity. None of our sovereigns ever maintained a less expensive court. None of them were ever so anxious to avoid unnecessarily taxing the country. When obliged to go to war with France, she regarded the expenditure incurred in a great measure as her own, and in her will treated the remaining debt as if it were her private obligation.

She was careful to avoid burdening her subjects, even by the processions which it was the custom of our monarchs -.to make, and in which her successor, Elizabeth, was especially fond of indulging. She seldom went farther than to her palace at Croydon, where she lived in a most unostentatious manner, walked about amongst the poor with her maids without any distinction of dress, inquired into their wants, and had them relieved. She restored to the universities that portion of their revenues which had been seized by the Crown in the late reigns. She built the public schools in the University of Oxford, though in no magnificent style; and during her reign Sir Thomas Pope founded Trinity College, and Sir Thomas White St. John's, on the site of Bernard's College; and in Cambridge Dr. Caius made such additions to Gonvil Hall, and endowed it with so many advowsons, manors, and demesnes, that it is now chiefly known by his name. Mary also granted a mansion on Bennet's Hill, near St. Paul's, for the Herald's College, which remains so to this day. She refounded the hospital of the Savoy, which had been confiscated by Henry VIII.; and the ladies of her Court, at her instigation, assisted in furnishing it with beds. But what is a perpetual honour to her memory is, that she was the first to propose a hospital for old or invalid soldiers, and in her will to leave funds for the purpose, which, however, never were appropriated. "Forasmuch," she says, "as there is no house or hospital specially ordained and provided for the relief of poor and old soldiers - namely, of such as have been hurt or maimed in the wars and service of this realm - the which, we think, both honour, conscience, and charity willeth should be provided for; and, therefore, my mind and will is that my executors shall, as shortly as they may after my decease, provide some convenient house within or nigh the suburbs of the City of London, the which house I would have founded and created, being governed with one master and two brethren; and I will that this hospital be endowed with manors, lands, and possessions to the value of four hundred marks yearly."

In her Court Mary preserved strict morals; and in everything, except in the toleration of religion, she showed a most careful regard to the maintenance of the constitution and the law, in most striking contrast to the practice of her father, and even of her sister Elizabeth. One of the insurgents whom she had pardoned, presented her with a plan by which she might make herself independent of Parliament, and this plan was recommended to her by the Spanish ambassador. She sent, however, for Gardiner, her own chancellor, and putting it into his hand, bade him peruse it, and, as he should answer at the judgment-seat of God, declare his real opinion of it. "Madam," replied Gardiner, on reading it, "it is a pity that so virtuous a lady should be surrounded by such sycophants. The book is naught; it is filled with things too horrible to be thought of." She thanked him, and threw the paper into the fire.

Precisely similar was her conduct when she appointed Morgan Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. "I charge you," she said, "to minister the justice and law indifferently, without respect of persons; and, notwithstanding the old error among you, which will not admit any witness to speak or other matter to be heard in favour of the adversary, the Crown being a party, it is my pleasure that whatever can be brought in favour of the subject may be admitted and heard. You are to sit there, not as advocates for me, but as indifferent judges between me and my people."

Mary was also attentive to the interests of trade. She was the first to make a commercial treaty with Russia, by which the woollen cloths and linens of England were exchanged to great advantage for the skins and furs of northern Muscovy; and she revoked the privileges of the Hanse Town merchants in London, or "merchants of the Steelyard," as they were called, which had been very injurious to the interests of her own subjects.

All these facts, fully confirmed by the modern researches of the great historical antiquaries, Tytler and Sir Frederick Madden, give us a very different idea of Mary from that hitherto suggested in history. Taking a complete view of her with these modern lights, we are bound to believe that, as a woman, she was naturally mild, but that the persecution of her own faith, in her mother and herself personally, produced a fatal reaction, which yet, had it not been for the more fatal Spanish marriage, would have been to some extent restrained by her better qualities.

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Pictures for The Reign of Queen Mary page 16

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 >>>>
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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