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Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 11


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But little solid hope could be entertained of Mary's enfranchisement by any one who considered the real situation of affairs. The King of France was far from sincere in his wish for Mary's release. So long as she was in the hands of Elizabeth, he was secure from any further meddling of Elizabeth in the internal affairs of France. At any moment he could alarm her by rumours of designs to set the Scottish queen free, at the same time that James, as a young man, was open to influence from France against England. For these reasons a fresh conference in Paris on Mary's behalf came to nothing. The Duke of Guise, Castelli, the Archbishop of Glasgow, and Matthieu met again, this time with the addition of Morgan, a Welsh gentleman, one of the commissioners of her dower in France. They proposed that Guise should land in-the south of England with an army, while James should simultaneously enter it at the north. James at once assented to the project; but Mary, who knew very well that her life would be sacrificed at once if there were a formidable attempt at her rescue, resorted to the hopeless course of endeavouring to persuade Elizabeth to treat with France for her release on safe terms. Elizabeth appeared to listen; but the rumours of the invasion speedily caused her to abandon any such negotiation, on the plea that, once at liberty, Mary could not be trusted. Revenge might induce her to ally herself with France and Spain, to the great peril of England.

No situation in the world could be conceived more miserable than that of Elizabeth. The captive queen had become to her a source of perpetual alarms - alarms of invasions from France and from Scotland - alarm at insurrections amongst the Papists, whom persecutions kept in a state of the deepest disaffection. For two years the prisons had been crowded, the scaffolds drenched with the blood of Papists. They had been harassed, persecuted, and insulted till they must have been more than mortal to have felt no desire for revenge. Therefore the country swarmed with spies and informers; and Walsingham, as a man of a detective genius, was kept hard at work to trace, by his secret emissaries, every concealed movement of sedition. Both at home and abroad he had a host of agents under a multitude of disguises. The society of Jesuits never had a more expert and fearless general, nor a more varied army of informers. They presented themselves in the shape of travelling noblemen, of physicians, of students in Popish seminaries. They swarmed in seaports lying betwixt England and the different chief Continental routes. Scarcely a Roman Catholic gentleman or nobleman into whose house they had not found their way. To those whom they suspected of a leaning towards the Queen of Scots they professed to be confidential agents of her or of her adherents, and presented forged letters by which they might entrap the unsuspicious into answers. Merry England was truly at this period a deplorable country.

One of the most atrocious examples of the manner in which country gentlemen of distinction and large estate wore treated in that day is that of Arden, a gentleman of an ancient Warwickshire family. He had incurred the resentment of Leicester by refusing to sell a part of his estate that the haughty favourite had set his covetous eyes upon, The conduct of Leicester in the case drove this independent man to defend his right as an Englishman, not only to hold his own, but assert his privileges and position, He set Leicester at defiance, relied upon the law for protection, and refused to flatter the favourite's pride, like most of his neighbours, by wearing his livery.

The daughter of Arden was married to a neighbouring Roman Catholic gentleman of the name of Somerville. This Somerville became a maniac; and - his insane mind probably inflamed by remembrance of the injuries of the professors of his faith, and by the wrongs of his father-in-law - in one of his paroxysms he rushed out with a drawn sword, attacked two men that he met, and swore that he would murder every Protestant, and the queen at their head.

In ordinary times the unfortunate man would have been secured in an asylum, and there would have been an end of the affair; but the circumstance was seized upon by Leicester to wreak his vengeance on the Warwickshire Naboth who refused to this modern Ahab his vineyard. Not only Somerville and his wife and sister, but his father-in-law and mother-in-law Arden, were arrested and lodged in the Tower, with Hall, a priest.

They were charged with a conspiracy against the queen; but being put upon the rack, the only thing which could be extracted from them by torture was, that Hall said ha had once heard Arden say that he wished Elizabeth was in heaven. On that ridiculous evidence - for Arden would confess nothing but that he was perfectly innocent of any conspiracy - Hall, Somerville, Arden, and his wife were convicted and committed to Newgate. There the poor insane Somerville was found strangled in his cell within two hours, Arden was executed as a traitor the next day, and Hall, on account of his confession, escaped death.

This was a dreadful case of oppression and legal murder at the instigation of the favourite; and about the same time one Carter, a printer, was executed for having printed a book in which Judith was praised for cutting off the head of Holofernes. This was taken to mean that the queen was Holofernes, and ought to be killed; whereas the poor man asserted that no such idea had ever entered his head, but that it was, as it purported to be, a dissuasive against schism; and that, like Judith, all good Papists should refrain from it as she did from the food set before her by Holofernes.

A still more revolting trial and execution was that of Francis Throckmorton, the son of Sir John Throckmorton, Chief Justice of Chester, who had been dismissed from his office on some trifling plea, but most likely on account of his religion. Walsingham - who might be truly called the spicier, for he had his lines stretched in all directions to catch unfortunate political flies, whilst he sat in his retired corner watching all the extremities of his web - intercepted letters, and by his spies made his way into every abode and company. He received from his trusty emissaries the information that Charles Paget, one of the commissioners of the Queen of Scots' dower - Morgan, just mentioned, being the other - had landed on the coast of Sussex, miller the name of Mope. A letter of Morgan's was also intercepted, and from something in its contents the two sons of Sir John Throckmorton, Francis and George, were immediately arrested and committed to the Tower. The Earl of Northumberland, with his son, the Earl of Arundel, his countess, uncle, and brothers, were summoned before the Privy Council and repeatedly questioned. The Lord Paget, brother of Charles Paget, and Charles Arundel, escaped to the Continent, but sent a declaration that they had fled, not from any sense of guilt, but from the utter hopelessness of acquittal where Leicester had any influence. Northumberland and Lord Arundel, with their wives and relatives, stoutly denied all concern with plots or any species of disloyalty, and no proof could be brought against them. Meantime it was asserted that the Duke of Guise was proceeding with his scheme of invasion, and that many English noblemen and gentlemen were co-operating' in it; that a letter had been intercepted from the Scottish Court to Mary, informing her that James was quite ready to perform his part of the scheme by invading the kingdom from, the north, having had the promise of 20,000 crowns; but that he was desirous to know who were the influential parties in England that might be calculated upon for support. All this was soon wonderfully corroborated by the confession of Francis Throckmorton, in whoso trunks were said to have been found two catalogues, one of the chief ports, and the other of the principal Romanists in the kingdom: that these were for the use of Mendoza, the Spanish minister; and that lie had devised a plan with that ambassador to raise troops in the name of the queen through the Catholics, who were then to call on her to tolerate Catholicism, or to depose her. This was a strong case indeed against the prisoners and the fugitives; and Burleigh, with Throckmorton's confession in his hand, charged the Spanish ambassador with his breach of all the laws of nations and of his office. But Mendoza, so far from being confounded, replied to Burleigh, with boldness and evident astonishment, that the whole was false and groundless, and that the true fact was that Burleigh was the man who was continually guilty of the traitorous and unprincipled policy; that he had intercepted the messages of the King of Spain; had robbed them of the money in their charge; and had aided the Netherland rebels both by money on land and by pirates at sea. The charge was undeniable, and the two ministers parted in the highest anger at each other. Mendoza either was instantly ordered from the country, or departed of his own accord; and fixing himself at Paris, devoted himself to do all the damage possible to the interests of Elizabeth.

Throckmorton, on his trial, pleaded that his confession was of no power to convict him, because it required by the 13th of Elizabeth that the indictment should be preferred within six months of the commission of his offence; but the judges informed him that he was not indicted on that statute, but on that of treason, which was always in force, and required no witnesses. On this the whole scandalous truth came out. The telling story of the invasion had been obtained from Throckmorton by torture and the assurance that it could not convict him on account of the limitations of the statute. On hearing the judges' statement, lie cried out that he was deceived; that ho had been' racked three times, and their, to avoid further torture, at the same time that he was shown a way of escape, ho was induced to sign this confession. He was condemned, but his life was spared till he again confessed his guilt, when he was hurried to execution; but on the scaffold ho seized the opportunity to declare that his confession was totally false, having Leon in the first instance extorted by the rack, in the second by a promise of pardon.

Though it was proved on the clearest evidence, after the most careful inquiry, that there was no movement for the Duke of Guise's invasion, and that not a single soldier had been raised for the purpose, yet this mattered nothing; Francis Throckmorton was hanged at Tyburn, cut down and embowelled, with all the barbarities of the period.

At this time Elizabeth and her ministers were greatly disconcerted by the independent bearing of James of Scotland, and every art of Walsingham was exerted, backed by gold, to revive the power of the English faction there. Mar, Angus, and Gowrie, the chiefs of the "Raid of Ruthven," were again set on foot to raise soldiers; and the preachers were made to sound the alarm from the pulpits that the Reformation was in danger. James - or rather Arran, his minister - saw the danger, and took the field against the insurgents. Gowrie, after a sharp struggle, was secured and executed as a traitor. Mar and Angus fled at the approach of the Royal army, and many of their followers escaped to England. Elizabeth was preparing to support them by arms, but finding herself too late, negotiated through Walsingham for the return of the fugitives; but James refused to listen to her proposals, declared them rebels, and confiscated their estates.

But the appearance of James's independence was deceitful. He had been educated under very unfavourable circumstances. The celebrated classical scholar, Buchanan, had been his tutor, and had stuffed much musty knowledge into his head, with very little idea of principle. When, in after years, Buchanan was upbraided with turning out such a ridiculous Royal pedant, he replied that if they had known the brains he had had to operate upon, they would only have wondered that he turned out anything at all. From the moment that George Buchanan let him out of his hands, he found himself surrounded by two parties, inspired by no higher sentiment than the seizure of power, and the aggrandisement of self; all was hollow, hard, treacherous, and even murderous. The only idea that this scene elicited from the word-stuffed cranium of James, was that the cunningest fellow was the wisest, and that the true art of life was to cheat the most cleverly. This precious philosophy, which had falsehood for its means and self for its end, he dignified with the name of kingcraft. We shall hereafter find him boasting of it, and indoctrinating his son with it. He cost Charles his head, and by the transmission of the same dogma, he destroyed the monarchy for a time, and the rule of his family for ever.

James, whilst appearing so independent and incorruptible to Elizabeth, was turning a very different face to the kings of Prance and Spain, to the Duke of Guise and the Pope. To them he professed to sympathise deeply with the misfortunes of his mother, to resent her treatment, to desire her restoration and joint rule. He declared a predilection for Popery - and for what object? merely to draw what money he could from them. But it may be said that Elizabeth would have been only too happy to furnish him. with money. Undoubtedly, but that must have been on the understanding that Mary remained in her hands. The moment that he consented to such an arrangement, his game was played out with the Continental monarchs; he would show that he was indifferent to the fate of his mother, and none of her allies could any longer put faith in him. But whilst he courted the Roman Catholic monarchs and drew money from them, he was all the more desirable object of conquest to Elizabeth. The more she was alarmed at his favour with her rivals, the higher would be his power with her. When he had exhausted their funds or their patience, then ho could have recourse to Elizabeth; and this time was now approaching. James received payment after payment, but he did nothing whatever, except make almost any promise required. His continental friends grew disgusted, and so he betook himself to the English queen.

There was another negotiation on foot for the release of his mother, and he ordered his favourite Gray, the master of Mar, to meet Nau, the secretary of Mary, and to treat with the English ministers, with the assistance of the French ambassador. The surface of the transaction appeared so fair, and all parties so much in earnest, that once more the hopes of Mary and of her friends were highly raised, only, as in all these cases, to be speedily dashed. Mar, like Morgan, Mary's commissioner, was a traitor; Morgan was in the pay, or ready to take the pay, of Burleigh. He was received by the queen and her ministers with chilling coldness on his arrival; but he possessed ample means to warm them up. He had been in Paris with a recommendation from the friends of Mary; had been admitted to the confidence of her chief friends there, Persons the Jesuit, and the Archbishop of Glasgow. From them he was initiated into all the secrets of their movements for the liberation of Mary, and these secrets ho was ready to communicate to Elizabeth and her ministers for a proper return. Ho had his secret instructions, and, though professing to act with Nau, he soon found cause to dissent from him. On perceiving the value of the information which he held, the arms of the queen and her ministers were open to receive him, and they were soon on such terms that he actually proposed a marriage betwixt his boy king and the elderly lady Elizabeth. Probably he never expected that Elizabeth would depart from her uniform conduct in regard to matrimonial proposals, but he was well assured that nothing could flatter her so much; and he obtained a goodly sum of money, with a promise of more, the amount and the frequency of the favour to be regulated by the amount of service in return.

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Pictures for Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 11

Place of Imprisonment in the Tower
Place of Imprisonment in the Tower >>>>
A London Street
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The First Royal Exchange
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Trial of the Duke of Norfolk
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House of Sir Thomas Gresham
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John Fox
John Fox >>>>
Bear-baiting
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Reception of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle
Reception of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle >>>>
The French Ambassador at Court
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Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser >>>>
William Cecil
William Cecil >>>>
Execution of Two Brownists
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Court of Henry III. of France
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Queen Elizabeth Knighting Francis Drake
Queen Elizabeth Knighting Francis Drake >>>>
Sir Philip Sidney
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Death of Sir Philip Sidney
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