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 Elizabeth. (Continued) page 12

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

The people, assembling in April, 1567, in vast crowds, proceeded to demolish the images and altars in the churches, and even to pull the churches down. On the feast of the Assumption, as the priests were carrying an image of the Virgin through the streets, the crowd made terrible menaces against it, and the procession was glad to hasten back to the church whence they had set out. But a few days after the people rushed to the cathedral, which was filled with rich shrines, treasures, and works of art, and closing all the doors, set systematically to work to smash and destroy every imago that it contained. Amongst them was a famous crucifix, placed aloft, the work of a famous artist, which they dragged down with ropes, and knocked in pieces. The pictures, many of them very valuable, they cut to shreds, and the altars and shrines they tore down and utterly destroyed. From the desecrated cathedral they proceeded to the other churches, where they perpetrated the same ruin, and thence to the convents and monasteries, driving the monks and nuns destitute into the streets. The example of Antwerp was zealously followed in every other province in the Netherlands, except in the Walloons. The iconoclasts were at length interrupted in their work by the Duchess of Parma, who fell upon them near Antwerp, and defeated them with great slaughter. Philip dispatched the notorious Duke of Alva to take vengeance on the turbulent heretics, and overran the Netherlands with his butcheries. The Prince of Orange retired to his province of Nassau, but Home and Egmont were seized and cast into prison.

The Huguenots in France, alarmed at this success of Alva, and believing that he was appointed to carry into execution the secret league of Bayonne, for compelling the Protestants of France, Spain, and Flanders, to give up their religion or their lives, rose under Conde, and attempted to seize the king, Charles IX., at Monceaux. Charles, however, was rescued by his Swiss guards, who, surrounding him in a body, beat oil the Huguenots, and conducted him in safety to Paris. There, he was, nevertheless, a prisoner, till he was released by the defeat of the Huguenots at the battle of St. Denis, where his principal general, the constable Montmorency, was killed. Conde had fallen in the battle of Jarnac. Norris, the English ambassador, was accused of giving encouragement and aid to the insurgents, and the king was compelled to make a treaty with his armed subjects.

In the spring of 1568, 3,000 of these French Huguenots inarched into Flanders, to join the Prince of Orange, who had taken the field against Alva. After various successes, the prince, at the close of the campaign, was obliged to retreat across the Rhine. Throughout these struggles, both in France and Belgium, Elizabeth lent much aid and encouragement in the shape of money; but, with her usual caution, she would take no public part in the contest, and all the while professed herself the friend of Philip, and most hostile to all rebellions.

The summer of this year was distinguished by a remarkable scheme for the marriage of the Duke of Norfolk to the Queen of Scots, which ended fatally for that nobleman, and increased the rigour of Mary's incarceration. The scheme was said to have originated in the ever busy brain of Maitland. Murray fell into it, probably under the idea that Mary would then content herself with living in England, and leave the government of Scotland in his hands; or it might have entered into his calculations that it would, on discovery, so exasperate Elizabeth, as to lead to what it did, the closer imprisonment of the Queen of Scots, which would be equally acceptable to him. Elizabeth was not long in catching the rumours of this plot, and she burst out on the duke in her fiercest style; but Norfolk had the art to satisfy her of the folly of such an idea, by replying that such a thing had, indeed, been suggested to him, but that it was not a thing likely to captivate him, who loved to sleep on a safe pillow. The plan, however, went on, and from one motive or another, it eventually included amongst its promoters the Earls of Pembroke, Arundel, Bedford, Shrewsbury, Northumberland, and Westmoreland. Leicester and Throckmorton were induced to embrace it, and even Cecil was made aware of it, and favoured it. In Scotland, Murray, Maitland, the Bishop of Ross, Lord Boyd, were favourable to the measure; and Mary was sounded on the subject, and professed her readiness to be divorced from Bothwell; but as to marriage, from her past sorrowful experience, would rather retain her solitary life; yet, if the approbation of Elizabeth was obtained, would consent to take Norfolk - not, as all her miseries had flowed from her marriage with Darnley, contrary to the Queen of England's pleasure. The duke, on his part, when it was proposed to him, had recommended Leicester rather, and on his declining, his own brother, Lord Henry Howard. How far either party was sincere in these statements matters little; the promoters were urgent, and they acquiesced.

The Bishop of Ross, with the apparent approbation of Murray, undertook to negotiate with Elizabeth for the restoration of the Scottish queen, on condition that neither she nor her issue should lay claim to the English throne during the life of Elizabeth; that Mary should enter into a perpetual league, offensive and defensive, with England, and establish the reformed religion in Scotland. Elizabeth affected to listen to these proposals, and the matter went so far that, on the assembling of the Scottish Parliament in July, Murray professed to be quite agreeable to the liberation of Mary, but took care to reject the proposals approved of by Elizabeth, and opposed the appointment to examine the queen's marriage with Both well. Maitland at once fathomed the long-concealed deceit of the regent, and dreading his vengeance on those who had committed themselves in the matter, took a hasty flight into the fastnesses of Atholl.

And now befell what, no doubt, Murray had calculated upon. He dispatched an envoy to the English queen, bearing full details of the propositions laid before the Scottish Parliament, and the consent received from Bothwell in Denmark to the divorce. The marriage with Norfolk, which was the end and object of all these plot-tings, had never been communicated to Elizabeth; for, though Leicester had promised to impart it to her, he had not ventured to do it. Elizabeth immediately invited Norfolk to dine with her at Farnham, and, on rising from table, reminded him, in a very significant tone, of his speech when charged with such a design some time before, saying, "My lord duke, beware on what pillow you lay your head." Alarmed at this expression, Norfolk urged Leicester to redeem his promise, and speak to the queen on the subject; and this he did, under pretence of being seriously ill, whilst the queen was sitting by his bedside. The rage of Elizabeth was unbounded, but on Leicester expressing the deepest regret for his meddling in the matter, she forgave him, but sent for Norfolk and poured out on him her wrath and scorn. Norfolk expressed himself perfectly indifferent to the alliance, though so strongly recommended by his friends; but his words and manner did not deceive the deep-sighted queen. She continued to regard him with stern looks, and the courtiers immediately avoided him as a dangerous person. Leicester, who had promised him so much, lowered upon him as a public disturber. Norfolk felt it most agreeable to withdraw from Court, and his example was followed by his stanch friends Pembroke and Arundel. From Norfolk he wrote to Elizabeth, excusing his absence, and expressing fears of the acts and slanders of his enemies. Elizabeth immediately commanded him to return to London. Her first information from Murray had been increased by the treachery of that nobleman and of Leicester, who had hastened to reveal to her all the secret correspondence of Norfolk with them. His friends advised him to fly, but he did not venture on this, but wrote to Cecil to intercede with the queen. Cecil assured him there was no danger; the duke, therefore, proceeded to London, and was instantly arrested and committed to the Tower.

At the same time Elizabeth joined the Earl of Huntingdon, an avowed enemy of the Queen of Scots, in commission with her keeper, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and Viscount Hertford, to secure more completely the person of Mary, who was again removed to Tutbury, and to examine her papers for further proofs of the correspondence with Norfolk. Her confidential servants were dismissed; her person was surrounded by an armed force; and her cabinets and apartments were strictly searched for this correspondence, but without effect. It is also asserted that it was determined to put her to death, if, as it was expected, the Duke of Norfolk should attempt her rescue by force. The friends of Mary blamed the duke for not taking arms for her rescue, declaring that a short time would have brought whole hosts to his standard, but Norfolk must have too well known the hopelessness of such an enterprise.

The disclosure of the plot produced consternation and distrust on all sides. Murray, in revealing the correspondence with Norfolk, had not been able to escape suspicion himself, Elizabeth saw enough to believe that he had been an active promoter of the scheme; she saw still clearer that Maitland had been the originator of it; she was, moreover, incensed at the double-faced part which Murray's secretary, Wood, had been playing in the matter in London: and she ordered Lord Hunsdon, and her other agents in the north, to keep a sharp eye on Murray, and the movements of the leading Scots. To propitiate Elizabeth, Murray determined to sacrifice Maitland: he, therefore, lured him from his retreat by some plausible artifice, when, on the demand of Lennox, he was arrested in the council as one of the murderers of his son Darnley. Sir James Balfour, whom Lennox also accused, was seized with his brother George, spite of the pardon which had been granted him on this head. In the midst of Murray's exultation over his success, Kirkaldy of Grange, dreading fresh disclosures, attacked the house where Maitland was kept, and carried him off.

The truth of the assertion that had the Duke of Norfolk risen in arms he would have found extensive support, was now manifested by what took place in the north of England. The fascinations of the Queen of Scots were felt by all who approached her. Her beauty and her wrongs deeply stirred the enthusiasm of the generous, and the attempts to defame her character only resulted in raising her up hosts of friends, who regarded her as a martyr to the cause of her religion. Many were the offers of service, to the utmost extent of life and fortune, which she received from chivalrous gentlemen who beheld with indignation her unworthy treatment, or who doubly sympathised with her through the oppression of the common faith. So long as the Duke of Norfolk was her great champion, she referred all their offers to him; but when he fell, and she found two of her mortal enemies appointed the guardians, or rather keepers, of her person, she entertained the deepest fears for her life, and exerted all her eloquence to rouse her friends for her liberation. She dispatched secret messages - verbal ones they seem to have been, for they never could be traced - to the Earl of Westmoreland, whose wife was the sister of Norfolk, and to the Earl of Northumberland, who had his own causes of complaint against the Council. These were forwarded by them to Egremont Radcliffe, brother of the Earl of Sussex, to Leonard Dacres, the uncle of the late Lord Dacres, to the Nortons, Tempests, Markenfields, and others who had tendered their services. She did not scruple in conversation to assert that Cecil would never rest till he had her made away, and she wrote to demand that the two hostile keepers should be removed, one of whom was not only her own enemy, but had said at table that the Duke of Norfolk should "be cut shorter er it weare long."

As the autumn approached, there were repeated rumours of rebellion in the north, which alarmed the court of Elizabeth. On inquiry, however, no trace of such a thing could be discovered, and the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, when questioned, gave such apparently honest and satisfactory answers, that the Government was perplexed. Suddenly, however, in the commencement of October, the two earls received a summons to York on the queen's business, and the Earl of Sussex was instructed when he once had them, to forward them to London. The fate of Norfolk, and their consciousness of their actual secret proceedings, determined them to disobey the summons. But, unfortunately for them, their plans of action were yet so immature that they were not prepared to assume arms. Whilst consulting what course to take, the summons of Sussex arrived, and at the same time a rumour that an armed force was on the march to arrest Northumberland at Topcliffe. He and his countess hastened to Branspeth Castle, where the Earl of Westmoreland had already assembled around him his guests and retainers. Northumberland was still of opinion that they should avoid hostilities, for which they were unprepared; but others, and amongst them the Countess of Westmoreland, the sister of Norfolk, the Markenfields and Nortons, demanded war. Northumberland still dissented, and resolved to set out for Alnwick; but was detained by force, and the banner of revolt was unfurled.

The insurgents proposed, as their first object, to march to Tutbury, and liberate Mary; and now it was visible how necessary had been the caution of Elizabeth in removing her to the midland counties. Had she been in the north, her rescue would have been almost certain: as it was, the insurgents dared not even whisper their intention, or Mary would have been hurried away south, if not at once to the scaffold. The war-cry of the earls was religion. They represented her majesty to be surrounded "by divers newe set-upp nobles, who not onlie go aboute to overthrow and put downe the ancient nobilitie of the realme, but also have misused the quene's majestie's owne personne, and also have, by the space of twelve yeares nowe past, set upp and mayn-tayned a new-found religion and heresie, contrary to God's word." On this ground they called on all true subjects of the realm to come forward and help to restore the Crown, the Church, and the Government to their due condition.

The northern counties, according to the assertion of Ralph Sadler, who knew them well, were so entirely papist that "there are not," he says, "in all this country ten gentlemen that do favour and allow of her Majesty's proceedings in the cause of religion." Dr. Nicholas Morton, a prebendary of York, and recently arrived from Rome with the title of Apostolic Penitentiary, had been very active in rousing them at the call of the Pope to rebellion; and it was a strong argument, furnished by Elizabeth herself, that it was lawful to take up arms against your own sovereign where your religious liberty was infringed. Elizabeth had made herself a universal champion on this side of the question. In Scotland, France, and the Netherlands, she had long and notoriously supported by her money and agents the subjects in defiance to their Governments, on the ground of invasion of their religion. What was allowable to Elizabeth was, they contended, equally allowable against her.

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

Pictures for The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 12

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About