OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Reign of Queen Mary page 3

Pages: 1 2 <3> 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Mary dismissed her army, which had never exceeded 15,000, and which had had no occasion to draw a sword, before quitting Wanstead, except 3,000 horsemen in uniforms of green and white, red and white, and blue and white. These, too, she sent back before entering the city gate, thus showing her perfect confidence in the attachment of her capital. From that point her only guard was that of the city, which brought up the rear with bows and javelins. As the royal sisters rode through the crowded streets, they were accompanied by a continuous roar of acclamation; and on entering the court of the Tower they beheld, kneeling on the green before St. Peter's Church, the state prisoners who had been detained there during the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. These were Courtenay, the son of the Marquis of Exeter, who was executed in 1538; the old Duke of Norfolk, still under sentence of death; and the Bishops of Durham and Winchester, Tunstall and Gardiner. Gardiner pronounced a congratulation on behalf of the others; and Mary, bursting into tears at the sight, called them to her, exclaiming, "Ye are all my prisoners!" raised them one by one, kissed them, and set them at liberty. To extend the joy of her safe establishment upon the throne of her ancestors, she ordered eighteen pence to be distributed to every poor householder in the city.

Arundel had already arrived with Northumberland and the other prisoners from Cambridge, and he now was commanded to secure the Duke of Suffolk and Lady Jane Grey, and lodge them in the Tower likewise. This being done, Mary rather seemed to take pleasure in liberating and pardoning. The moment that Suffolk was conveyed to the Tower, his duchess threw herself at the feet of the queen, and implored her forgiveness of him with many lamentations, telling her that he was very ill, and would die if shut up in the Tower. Mary kindly conceded the favour, and within three days Suffolk was again at large - "a wonderful instance of mercy," may Bishop Godwin well remark. The Duke of Norfolk, and Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, were restored to their rank and estates. Norfolk soon after sat as High Steward at the trial of Northumberland; Gertrude, the mother of Courtenay, the Marchioness of Exeter, was made lady of the bed-chamber, and admitted to such intimacy that she slept with the queen herself. The Duchess of Somerset was set free, and her family restored to its rights and position. Her son, though not made again Duke of Somerset, which was a Royal title, was acknowledged as Earl of Hertford, and her daughters, who had been subsisting on miserable annuities amongst their relations, were, three of them, appointed maids of honour. The heirs of Partridge, Vane, and Stanhope, who had been executed, with the Protector, were reinstated in their property. All these acts of liberality shown to zealous Protestants were sufficient proofs that Mary had a naturally good heart; and had she not unfortunately become connected with the bigoted Spanish Court, might have left a very different name to posterity from that which this union procured her.

Six days after her arrival at the Tower, Mary caused the funeral of the late king to take place. The body was removed to Westminster Abbey, and then deposited in the tomb, the service being performed by Dr. Day, Bishop of Chichester, in the Protestant manner; but at the same time she had his obsequies performed in the Tower, the dirge being sung in Latin, and a requiem sung in the presence of herself and ladies. This exercise of the two forms of religion could not, however, long go on quietly side by side. Bourne, a canon of St. Paul's, was sent to preach at St. Paul's Cross, where he declaimed vehemently against the innovations of the late king in religion, and particularly instanced the persecuting spirit of those who had, four years before, condemned Bishop Bonner to perpetual imprisonment for preaching the true doctrine from that very pulpit. There was a violent commotion amongst the people, and some one flung a dagger at the preacher, which stuck in one of the pillars of the pulpit. There was then a rush towards him, and he was only saved by being conveyed by two popular Protestant ministers, Bradford and Rogers, through a private way into St. Paul's School. Bourne, for his zeal on this occasion, was soon after made Bishop of Bath and Wells. The queen, on arriving in London, had published a manifesto, declaring that she would maintain the religion by law established: but the practice in the private chapel in the Tower was strictly Popish; and her Council and clergy, anxious to testify their loyalty, began to show an intolerant spirit which soon became contagious. One of her chaplains, of the name of Walker, approaching, in the Tower chapel, with the censer to the queen, Dr. Weston thrust him away, saying, "Shamest thou not to do this office, being a priest having a wife? I tell thee the queen will not be censed by such as thou."

A second proclamation was soon issued, giving note of a projected change, announcing that religion was to be settled by "common consent" - that was, by Act of Parliament. The people of Ipswich, finding the Papist party beginning to obstruct and harass them in their practice of the reformed faith, presented a petition to the queen by a Mr. Dobbs, claiming her protection on the faith of her proclamation. But the Council set the messenger in the stocks for his trouble. Before the queen arrived in London, the officious Council had committed to the Fleet Judge Hales, one of the most upright and undaunted men of the age. He had from the first positively refused to have any hand in disinheriting Mary. He had courageously told Northumberland that what he was attempting was contrary to the law, and had from the bench charged the people of Kent to keep the law as it was in King Edward's time. The unhappy judge was so affected in his mind by this treatment, that he attempted his life in the prison. Mary, on coming to London, had him liberated, sent for him, and spoke consolingly to him, but his brain never recovered the shock, and he soon effected his own destruction.

Mr. Edward Underhill, a Worcestershire gentleman, a most ardent Protestant, and thence called the "hot gospeller," but at the same time a most devoted and fearless partisan of the queen's, had also been expelled from the band of gentlemen pensioners, and thrown into Newgate, for writing a satirical ballad against Papists. Very soon after the queen's arrival, she liberated him too, and restored him to his place as a gentleman pensioner, ordering him to receive his salary for the whole time that he had been in prison. Whenever any one at this time was able to get to her presence, or to have their case mentioned by a friend, he was pretty sure of redress. But those who were too distant, or had no influential acquaintance, suffered sharply from the zeal of the Council.

With such men as Gardiner, Bonner, Heath, Day, and Vesey in the Council, we cannot wonder that even after the queen's arrival the Protestants were promptly coerced. These men sat as a junta in that secret court of the Star Chamber in Westminster. Palace, which through the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. had done the godless and unconstitutional work of these sovereigns; and this English Inquisition was yet destined to do many a bloody deed, and cause many a groan from the hearts of the innocent and the good to rise to heaven in unforgotten appeal.

In another respect the new queen displayed her sound sense, and her desire for the good of her people. The depreciation of the currency by Henry VIII. had introduced much disorder and distress. She now commanded the coinage to be restored to its true value, and introduced it in a fresh issue of sovereigns, half-sovereigns, angels, and half-angels in gold, and of groats, half-groats, and pennies in silver, all of the standard purity, charging the Government and not the people with the loss. She also remitted the subsidy of four shillings in the pound on land, and two and eightpence on goods which was granted before the king's death. She made Gardiner chancellor, gave Tunstall and Lord Paget principal appointments in the ministry, and introduced a more cheerful spirit and a more gay style of dress amongst the ladies of her Court.

But it was Mary's misfortune that she had been educated to place so much reliance on the wisdom and friendship of her great relative, the Emperor Charles V. He had been her champion as he had been that of her mother. When pressed on the subject of her religion during the last reign, he had menaced the country with war if the freedom of her conscience was violated. It was natural, therefore, that she should now look to him for counsel, seeing that almost all those whom she was obliged to employ or to have around her had been her enemies during her brother's reign. Charles communicated his opinions through Simon de Renard, his ambassador, who was to be the medium of their correspondence, and to advise her in matters not of sufficient importance to require the emperor's judgment, or not allowing of sufficient time to obtain it. Renard was ordered to act warily, and to show himself little at Court, so as to avoid suspicion.

Charles advised her to make examples of the chief conspirators, and to punish the subordinates more mildly, so as to obtain a character of moderation. He insisted upon it as necessary, however, that Lady Jane Grey should be included in the list for capital punishment, and to this Mary would by no means consent. She replied that "she could not find in her heart or conscience to put her unfortunate kinswoman to death, who had not been an accomplice of Northumberland, but merely an unresisting instrument in his hands. If there were any crime in being his daughter-in-law, even of that her cousin Jane was not guilty, for she had been legally contracted to another, and, therefore, her marriage with Lord Guildford Dudley was not valid. As to the danger existing from her pretensions, it was but imaginary, and every requisite precaution should be taken before she was set at liberty."

Mary's selection of prisoners was remarkably small considering the number in her hands, and the character of their offence against her. She contented herself with putting only seven of them on their trial - namely, Northumberland, his son the Earl of Warwick, the Marquis of Northampton, Sir John Gates, Sir Henry Gates, Sir Andrew Dudley, and Sir Thomas Palmer - his chief councillors and his associates. Northumberland submitted to the Court whether a man could be guilty of treason who acted on the authority of Council, and under warrant of the great seal; or could they, who had been his chief advisers and accomplices during the whole time, sit as his judges? The Duke of Norfolk, who presided at the trial as High Steward, replied that the Council and great seal which he spoke of were those of a usurper, and, therefore, so far from availing him, only aggravated the offence, and that the lords in question could sit as his judges, because they were under no attainder, Finding that his appeal had done him no service, Northumberland and his fellow prisoners pleaded guilty. The duke prayed that his sentence might be commuted into decapitation, as became a peer of the realm, and he prayed the queen that she would be merciful to his children on account of their youth. He desired also that an able divine might be sent to him for the settling of his conscience, thereby intimating that he was at heart a Romanist, in hopes, no doubt, of winning upon the mind of the queen, for he was very anxious to save his life. He professed, too, that he was in possession of certain State secrets of vital importance to Her Majesty, and entreated that two members of the Council might be sent to him to receive these matters from him. What his object was became manifest from the result, for Gardiner and another member of the Council being sent to him in consequence, he implored Gardiner passionately to intercede for his life. Gardiner gave him little hope, but promised to do what he could, and on returning to the queen so much moved her, that she was inclined to grant the request; but others of the Council wrote through Renard to the emperor, who strenuously warned her, if she valued her safety, or the peace of her reign, not to listen to such an arch traitor. Yet a letter of Northumberland's to Lord Arundel, the night before his execution, preserved in Tierney's "History of the Castle and Town of Arundel," shows that to the last he clung convulsively to the hope of life. He there asks for life, "yea, the life of a dogge, that he may but lyve and kiss the queen's feet."

We shall see that this weak, bad man actually did profess himself a Romanist on the scaffold. The fact was that his only religion was his ambition, and this was pretty well known during Edward's life; for on one occasion, according to Strype, he spoke so contemptuously of the new religion, that Cranmer, in a moment of excitement, actually challenged him to fight a duel.

Northumberland's eldest son, the Earl of Warwick, who was tried with him, behaved with much more dignity. He wasted no endeavours on vain and transparent excuses, he craved no forgiveness, but merely begged that his debts might be discharged out of his confiscated property. The Marquis of Northampton pleaded that he was not in office during this conspiracy, and had had no concern in it, being engaged in hunting and other field sports; whereas it was notorious that he was mixed up with the whole of it, and had been one of the noblemen who went to present the crown to Lady Jane at Sion House. His plea did not prevent his receiving sentence. The commoners were tried the next day in the same court, and were also sentenced as traitors. The next day being Sunday, another priest was ordered to preach at St. Paul's Cross, and in order to protect him, several lords of the Council, as the Lord Privy Seal, the Earl of Bedford, the Earl of Pembroke, the Lords Rich and Wentworth, accompanied by 200 of the guard, with their captain, Sir Henry Jerningham, went thither, and the preacher was surrounded by halberdiers. The mayor and aldermen in their liveries also attended. This was an indication of what was coming, and in accordance with a past proclamation of the queen, in which she had declared that she did not mean to compel and constrain other men's consciences, but that the lord mayor must not suffer the reading of the Scriptures in the churches of the city, or the preaching of curates who were not licensed by her. The Sunday on which the riot took place at the Cross was, therefore, the last in which the form of religion established by Edward VI. was tolerated.

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 <3> 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Pictures for The Reign of Queen Mary page 3

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About