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The Reign of Queen Mary page 9


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"And yet you do seem merciful
In midst of tyranny,
And holy, whereas you maintain
Most vile idolatry."

But very different were the atrocious attacks upon her character which were scattered about, both written and printed, and many of them of a very gross character industriously thrown in her way. Of all the strange conspiracies, however, against her, the strangest was that related by Lord Bacon: - "I have heard that there was a conspiracy to kill Queen Mary as she walked in St. James's Park, by means of a burning-glass, fixed on the leads of, a neighbouring house."

Spite, however, of all warnings and the most universal expression of dislike to the match, Mary persisted in her engagement of marriage with Philip of Spain, though he himself showed no unequivocal reluctance to the completion of it; never writing to her, but submitting to his fate, as it were, in obedience to the parental command. At the end of May the unwilling bridegroom resigned his government of Castile - which he held for his insane grandmother, Juana - into the hands of his sister, the Princess-Dowager, of Portugal, and bade adieu to his family. He embarked at Corunna on the 13th of July for England, and landed at Southampton on the 20th, after a week's voyage. Mary had discussed ere his arrival the position and title which Philip was to bear in England. She appeared disposed to give him all the power and dignity that she could, but in much of this she was very properly opposed by her Council, and especially by Gardiner, her chancellor, who, though he was a positive bigot and a fierce persecutor on account of religion, had many of the qualities of a sterling patriot. On the other hand, Renard was on the watch to claim for his master all the concessions possible. The first point mooted was whether the name of the king or the queen should stand first. Gardiner contended that as Mary was queen-regnant of her own kingdom, and Philip mere king-consort, the queen's name must take precedence. This Renard stoutly opposed, and as the queen was too ready to concede, it was decided that Philip's name should stand first. Mary next proposed that Philip should receive the honour of a coronation, but on this head Gardiner would not yield, and therefore the coronation was set aside. The queen next proposed, with as little success, that Philip should be crowned with the diadem of the queens-consort of England, and she was obliged to content herself with the arrangement that he should be invested with the collar and mantle of the Garter the moment he set foot on English ground.

These matters being settled, she retired with her Court to the palace of Guildford, to be near Southampton, where the prince was expected to land. When the fleet was expected in July she sent Lord Russell, privy-seal, to await his arrival, with the injunction to obey his commands in all things. This was the one weakness which ruined Mary's happiness, involved her in the horrors of persecution, and blackened her character to all futurity - the fond idea that she must in all things be subject to her husband.

Her courtiers were far from participating in this feeling. The Lord-Admiral Howard had been dispatched by Mary to meet and escort the prince to England. Howard was furnished with a fine fleet, and the emperor's ambassador, Renard, offered him a pension in token of the prince's sense of this service, but Howard declined accepting it, only referring him to the queen. Mary gave her consent for the grant: it in no degree subdued the blunt John Bullism of the admiral. The same ambassador was very soon excessively indignant at the admiral, on the joining of the fleets, irreverently calling the Spanish and Flemish vessels mussel-shells. Howard conceived a great contempt for the Spanish admiral, and quarrelled with him. The sailors were just as rough and uncomplimentary as their commander. They pushed and elbowed the Spanish sailors whenever they met, and the Spanish admiral forbade his men going on shore, during the month they lay off Corunna waiting for Philip, to prevent downright bloodshed. When they came into the narrow seas the English admiral insisted on the Spanish commander lowering topsails out of respect for the British fleet, and when he refused, Howard fired a gun over the admiral's ship, notwithstanding the prince being aboard, to compel him.

When the news arrived of Philip having landed at Southampton, the queen, who happened then to be at Windsor, set off the next day with a gay retinue to meet him at Winchester, where the marriage was fixed to take place. She arrived there on the 23rd of July, that is, three days after her bridegroom. He came attended by many Spanish officers of high rank, and amongst them the Duke of Alva, whose name afterwards became so infamous for his atrocities committed in the Netherlands on the Protestants. Philip, on ascending the stairs from the beach at Southampton, was received by a great concourse of nobles and ladies deputed for that purpose by the queen. He was immediately invested with the insignia of the order of the Garter, and, mounted on a beautiful genet, which the queen had sent him by the Master of the Horse, he rode to the church of the Holy Rood, and returned thanks for his safe voyage.

Philip was dressed simply in black velvet, having a barret-cap of the same, with small chains of gold. He was described as a man of singular beauty, but the judgment of others is not in accordance with these representations: "his complexion being cane-coloured, his hair sandy and scanty, his eyes small, blue, and weak, with a glowing expression of face, which is peculiarly odious in a person of very light complexion. A mighty volume of brain, although it sloped too much towards the top of the head, denoted that this unpleasant-looking prince was a man of considerable abilities."

The weather was terribly rainy and tempestuous, although July. "It was a cruel rain," says Baoardo, an Italian who was present, through which Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, came to welcome Don Philip, accompanied by fifty gentlemen with rich gold chains about their necks, dressed in black velvet, passamented with gold, and a hundred other gentlemen dressed in black cloth bound with gold. The Duchess of Alva landed in the evening, and was carried on shore in a chair of black velvet, borne by four of her gentlemen. Don Philip dispatched the next morning his grand chamberlain, Don Ruy Gomez de Silva, with a magnificent offering of jewels of the value of 50,000 ducats, as a present to his Royal bride. That day being Sunday, after mass he dined in public, and was waited upon by his newly-appointed English officers of the household, to the great chagrin of his Spanish attendants, most of whom were, according to the marriage treaty, obliged to return with the Spanish fleet. Don Philip courted popularity. He told his new attendants in Latin that he was come to live among them like an Englishman; and in proof thereof, drank some ale for the first time, which he gravely commended as "the wine of the country." The next day he and his retinue set forward for Winchester in still pouring rain; which they, however, only suffered in common with the Earl of Pembroke and a splendid cavalcade of 150 gentlemen and nobles in black velvet and gold chains, and a body-guard of 100 archers mounted, and wearing the prince's livery of yellow cloth, striped with red velvet, and with cordons of white and crimson silk. Besides these there were 4,000 spectators variously mounted, who closed the procession.

A ludicrous incident soon occurred. A gentleman came riding fast from the queen, praying him to proceed no further in such weather. Philip, seeing him present a small ring, and but imperfectly understanding his language, immediately imagined that the queen had sent to warn him of some menaced danger from his discontented subjects, for he was well aware how ill-disposed they were to the marriage. He therefore called Alva and Egmont to him, in great consternation; and consulted what was to be done; but a nobleman, who overheard their discourse, dissipated their alarm by telling them in French that the queen had sent her loving greeting, and prayed him not to commence his journey to Winchester in such weather. The message was intended to reach him before setting out.

All fears being dissipated, the prince resolved gallantly to go forward, and the procession proceeded with true Spanish gravity; so that, although Winchester is only ten miles from Southampton, it was betwixt six and seven o'clock when they arrived.

The queen was not favoured with any better weather when three days afterwards she arrived and took up her abode in the episcopal palace. The wedding ceremony took place in the cathedral with great state and much magnificence. The chair on which Mary sat, which was said to have been sent from Rome and blessed by the Pope, is still preserved in the cathedral. After the marriage came great banqueting; but however the king and queen might harmonise, there was many a feud and frown amongst their followers. One of the most singular men of the age, Edward Underhill, called the "hot gospeller," who, though a most independent and undaunted Protestant, was always one of the most chivalrous Attendants of the queen as gentleman-at-arms, had been strongly objected to by the Earl of Arundel as being included in the cortege. He was not the less coolly Looked on by his old enemy, Norreys, now queen's usher. Norreys, coming into the presence-chamber, and seeing Underhill, fixed his eyes on him, and demanded what he did there. "Marry, sir," replied the bold Protestant, "what do you do here?" Norreys, confounded at this address, vowed to report him to the queen, when another of the gentlemen-at-arms condemned the language of Norreys, declaring that Underhill was one of the most devoted and respected servants of Her Majesty, and was only discharging his proper office.

By slow degrees the new-married monarchs approached their capital. They went first to Basing House on a visit to Paulet, Marquis of Winchester, and thence to Windsor Castle, where, on the 5th of August, was held a grand festival of the Garter, at which Philip was admitted, and immediately took his place as the sovereign of the order. On the 9th they removed to Richmond Palace, where they remained till the 27th, embarking then on the Thames, and being rowed in great state to the City, where they were received with the usual pageantry and quaint devices, amidst which the citizens did not omit a hint of their regret at the change in religion. Amongst the figures stood one of Henry VIII. holding a book, as if he would present it to the queen, inscribed, verbum dei. The queen was indignant at the reminder, and had the words so hastily painted out, that they obliterated her father's fingers with them.

The most grateful sight to the citizens, and the best calculated to make the presence of the Spaniards tolerable, was that of ninety-five chests of bullion, each dust a yard and a quarter long. This goodly load was piled in twenty carts, and conducted to the Tower with all befitting ostentation.

Having held their Court at Whitehall and received the visits of their nobility and gentry, Philip and Mary took the occasion of the death of the old Duke of Norfolk to put a stop to the festivities, to dismiss the courtiers, and to retire to Hampton Court, where they remained for some time in great seclusion, so much so that the public found cause of great complaint in the new Spanish custom. "Formerly,'' the people said, "the gates of our palaces were open all day long, and the faithful subject could have access, at least, to a view of his sovereign;" but now, since the Spanish marriage, the gates were closed, and no one could be admitted without stating his identity and his business.

If Mary, however, shut out her people, she did not close her heart to her guilty sister. She sent for Elizabeth, who was brought under a strong guard from Woodstock. On arriving at Hampton Court she had her admitted to her bed-chamber, where Elizabeth fell on her knees, and protested as firmly as ever her innocence. If the statements of the intercepted letters are to be relied on, Mary had too convincing proofs in her own hands to allow her to give credit to Elizabeth's asseverations, and to cut the matter short she replied, putting a valuable ring on Elizabeth's finger, "Whether you be guilty or innocent, I forgive you." Mary, however, without making Elizabeth a prisoner, thought it necessary to place a trusty person in her house under the character of comptroller of her household, and Sir Thomas Pope was chosen for this office. Subsequent events showed the prudence of this arrangement, for though. Elizabeth was repeatedly tempted to listen to artful plotters, such a guard was maintained over her that she never again fell under disgrace with the queen.

On the 11th of November the third Parliament of Mary's reign was summoned, and she and her Royal husband rode from Hampton Court to Whitehall to open the session. The king and queen rode side by side, a sword of state being borne before each to betoken their independent sovereignties. The queen was extremely anxious to restore the lands reft from the Church by her father and brother to their ancient uses, but she must have known little of the men into whose hands those lands had fallen, if she could seriously hope for such a sacrifice. The Earl of Bedford, than whom no one had more deeply gorged himself with Church plunder, on hearing the proposition, tore his rosary from his girdle, and flung it into the fire, saying, he valued the abbey of Wobern more than any fatherly council that could come from Rome. All the rest of the council were of the same way of thinking as Bedford, and Mary saw that it was a hopeless case to move them on that point, though she set them a very honourable example by surrendering the lands which still remained in the hands of the Crown, to the value of 60,000 a year.

Though Mary could not recover the property to the Church, she resolved to restore that Church to unity with Rome. She expressed her earnest desire to have the presence of her kinsman, Cardinal Pole, in her kingdom, and he now set out for England, from which he had been banished so many years; and he rendered this return the more easy, by bringing with him from the Pope a bull, which confirmed the nobles in their possession of the Church property, on condition that the Papal supremacy was restored. The queen dispatched Sir Edward Hastings to accompany the cardinal; and Sir William Cecil, who had been Edward's unhesitating minister in stripping the Church, set out of his own accord to pay homage to the Papal representative. Cecil's only real religion was ambition, and Mary knew that so well that, spite of all his time-serving, she never would place any confidence in him, whence his bitter hostility to her memory.

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Pictures for The Reign of Queen Mary page 9

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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