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The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 12


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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.

The first step of the insurgents was to occupy the city of Durham. So insignificant was their number at this moment, that only sixty horsemen followed the banner of the two earls. But their appeals to rise and defend their ancient faith found a strong response. Mass was celebrated in the cathedral before some thousands of people, who tore up the English Bible, and destroyed the communion table. They then, continually increasing in numbers, marched through Staindrop, Darlington, Richmond, and Ripon, everywhere turning out the apparatus of the Reformed worship from the churches, and Reinstating the ancient ritual.

They proceeded as far as Branham Moor, where they mustered their forces, or, as some say, on Clifford Moor, near Wetherby, where their forces were found to amount to 1,700 horse, and something less than 4,000 foot, but many of them badly armed. The earls, who were famous for their hospitality, had but little ready money; Northumberland bringing only 8,000 crowns, and Westmoreland nothing at all. The Roman Catholics did not rise in their favour, as they had calculated. The insurgents had sent to the Spanish ambassador, soliciting his aid, but he referred them to the Duke of Alva, and the duke waited for orders from Philip. Their aid not arriving cast a damp on the Romanists, who now, doubting of the expedition, lay still, or went over to the Royal army under the Earl of Sussex. To add to their confusion, 800 horse, whom they had dispatched to secure the Queen of Scots at Tutbury, returned with the news that she was removed thence to Coventry. They were confounded by this intelligence, and still more by the rumours of the numerous forces raising under Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and the Lord-Admiral, whilst Lord Hunsdon from Berwick was hastening down upon them with his garrison and Royalists from the borders.

Dissension now began to appear in their ranks and amongst the leaders. The Earl of Westmoreland, who at first was the most daring, now began to hesitate; and Northumberland, who was, in a manner, dragged into the rising, on the contrary, counselled bold measures, as they had committed themselves. The result, however, was that they retreated to the Earl of Westmoreland's castle of Branspeth. They there issued a new manifesto; and as the Papists had not come forward as they expected, they now dropped the argument of religion, and took up the plea that there was a determination at Court to exercise arbitrary power over the lives and liberties of the subject, and that it was necessary to drive from her Majesty's counsels the persons who gave her pernicious advice.

But this retreat had shaken the confidence of the public; and the different noblemen to whom they sent messengers followed the example of the Earl of Derby, and arrested them and sent them to the queen. The measures on the part of Elizabeth's Government were active and effectual Orders were issued to muster a large army in the south, The Earl of Bedford was dispatched to maintain quiet in Wales, A regiment of well-disciplined troops were marched from the Isle of Wight to defend the person of the sovereign, and suspected persons were arrested. To prevent any communication with the foreign princes, the mail-bags of the Spanish and French ambassadors were stopped and examined. Leicester entreated to be sent against the rebels, but Elizabeth would not risk his precious life, and kept him near her as her chief adviser, Cecil being indisposed.

The patience of Elizabeth was greatly tried by the cautious delay of the Earl of Sussex, who was "her commander in the north, and especially as his procrastination allowed the two earls to besiege Sir George Bowes in Barnard Castle for eleven days, which then opened its gates. There were even insinuations that Sussex was in secret league with the rebel earls. On the approach of the army of the Earl of Warwick, 12,000 in number, the insurgents held a council at Durham, on the 16th of December; but dissension again broke out betwixt Westmoreland and Northumberland to such a degree that the forces scattered, and the enterprise was at an end. The foot got away to their homes, and the earls fled across the border with 500 horse.

Elizabeth, who is characteristically represented, in the fine old ballad of "The Rising of the North," as swearing stoutly on the first news of this rising -

"Her grace she turned her round about,
And like a royal queen she swore –
'I will ordaine them such a breakfast,
As never was in the north before,'" -

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

Murder of Rizzio
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Holyrood House
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Mary Stuart
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Queen Elizabeths Kitchen
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