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Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 4


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The Bishop of Boss, when questioned, stood upon his privilege of ambassador as being no subject of the Queen of England; and he strengthened his case by a very unpleasant reminder that when Randolph and Tamworth, the emissaries of Elizabeth, were convicted of actually supporting rebellion in Mary's dominions by both money and counsel, Mary had contented herself with ordering them to quit the kingdom. But Boss had to do with very different people to Mary. Cecil and Elizabeth were not inclined to let him off so easily; but he was told that he must either make a full answer to their questions, or they would force it from him by the rack. Boss was not only terrified by the threat of torture, but was told that his confessions were not intended to criminate any one, but merely to satisfy the mind of Elizabeth. He gave way, and made such revelations, that when the Duke of Norfolk, who had hitherto stoutly denied everything laid to his charge, saw the depositions of the bishop, of Hickford, and Barker, he exclaimed that he had been betrayed and ruined by those in whom he put confidence. On comparing the various answers of these men and of the duke, it would appear that several plans had been in agitation for the liberation of the Queen of Scots: that Norfolk, though he would confess to nothing of the kind, had taken active part in them; that the money lately taken from Hickford had been sent from France for the Scotch friends of Mary. But by far most fatal to the duke was the revelation of the mission of Rudolfi, who had, it appeared, been sent by him to Alva, to the King of Spain, and to the Pope - or, rather, by Mary, with the cognisance and approbation of the duke. On his return, Rudolfi had found the duke at Howard House, smarting under his restraint, and the refusal of his request to resume his place at the Council board.

Both Mary and Norfolk, who had waited the issue of the negotiation betwixt her commissioners and those of Elizabeth for her restoration to no purpose, now deemed it the only chance for her liberation to seek the aid of foreign powers. Boss seems to have been the suggested to Mary of the mission of Rudolfi. He contended that both Philip and the Pope must be ready to adopt the same means against Elizabeth which she had always been employing against them - the incitement to rebellion amongst their subjects; that it only wanted the authority of Mary and of Norfolk to succeed. Certain instructions were afterwards exhibited as those furnished by Mary to Rudolfi; but their genuineness is doubtful, and Norfolk never would set his hand to any written document of the kind. According to these instructions Mary declared that all her hopes of accommodation with her subjects through Elizabeth were at an end, and she appealed to France and Spain for help. She declared that she could have been happy with Don John of Austria; and that the offer of the Duke of Norfolk to restore the Roman Catholic faith, and to send her son to Spain for security and education, made her marriage with him appear the more advisable.

With these instructions, Boss, Rudolfi, and Barker waited on Espes, the Spanish ambassador, who is described as a sanguine, credulous man, very unfit for his office; and he, satisfied of their authenticity, gave them letters of introduction to, Philip and the Duke of Alva. Alva received Rudolfi at Brussels, but declared that he could do nothing, being only a servant, and that he must see the king himself. The English exiles there, however, gave Rudolfi an enthusiastic reception, and promised wonders. These promises were contained in the letters in cipher betrayed by Hickford to the Council and from that moment the spies of Cecil were upon Rudolfi's track. From Flanders he proceeded to Rome avoiding the French Court, which at the moment was engaged in the negotiation for the marriage betwixt the Duke of Anjou and Elizabeth.

The Pope placed a sum of money at the disposal of Mary, and accompanied it by a letter to Norfolk, regretting that he could send him no further aid this year. Thence Rudolfi hastened to Spain, and reaching Madrid on the 3rd of July, 1571, he delivered his letters to Philip. Meantime Philip had received letters from both the Pope and Alva. The Pope urged him to accept the enterprise, and rescue England from heresy. The more astute Alva advised him to have nothing to do with it, for he had no faith in the men engaged in it, nor in the soundness of their plans. Philip, however, listened to the scheme, and was so much impressed by it as to determine to undertake the expedition, and to appoint Vitelli its commander. Rudolfi assured the king that he would find plenty ready to co-operate with his forces in England; that he might calculate on an army of 20,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry meeting his troops on landing, led on by the Duke of Norfolk, the Earls of Worcester and Southampton, the Lords Montague, Windsor, and Lumley, with many others; that it was intended to dispatch Elizabeth whilst on a visit to some country house, and also to destroy with her Cecil, Bacon, Leicester, and Northampton. All this Rudolfi wrote to communicate; but the scheme was suddenly scattered to the winds by the discovery of his money and letters.

The alarm in the country on the rumours which now broke out was intense. The Duke of Alva, it was said, was coming with an army to burn down London and kill the queen. The Pope was sending over money to carry on the enterprise; and nothing was heard of but the Pope, Alva, the King of Spain, and legions of foreign Papists on the way to murder and destroy all good Protestants. More bloody and frightful than all the rest was the disclosure of a plot by one Herle, for the assassination of Cecil, and others of the Privy Council. The first intimation of this plot was in a voluntary confession by letter from Herle to Cecil, dated January 4th, 1572, as follows: - "Of late I have, upon discontent, entered into conspiracy with some others to slay your lordship; and the time appointed, a man with a perfect hand attended you three several times in your garden to have slain your lordship; the which not falling out, and continuing in the former mischief, the height of your study window is taken towards the garden, minding, if they miss these means, to slay you with a shot upon the terrace, or else in coming late from the Court, with a pistol."

Having made this singular confession, Herle hopes to be duly rewarded for not having done it! The two miscreants who, he said, were his accomplices, were one Kenelm Barney and Edmund Mather. These men mutually accused each other, and appear to have been low vagabonds led on by Herle, and who had talked in public-houses of "dancers and carpet knights," meaning Leicester and Hatton, who "were admitted to the queen's privy chamber;" of liberating the Duke of Norfolk, and of the promotion to be expected under a new sovereign. Mather swore that he was on the point of informing of Herle and Barney, but that Herle had been too nimble for him. The whole affair bore the impression of a sham conspiracy got up by Cecil through Herle, and this became still more clear when Barney and Mather were drawn from the Tower to Tyburn, and there hanged, embowelled, and quartered, whilst Herle was taken into Cecil's service.

At length the queen determined to bring Norfolk to the bar. She named the Earl of Shrewsbury high steward, and he summoned six-and-twenty peers, who were in the first place chosen by the ministers, to attend on the 16th of January, 1572, in Westminster Hall. Thither Norfolk was brought by the Lieutenant of the Tower and Sir Peter Carew, and was charged with having compassed and imagined the death of the queen, and levying war upon her within the realm - 1st. By endeavouring to marry the Queen of Scots, and supplying her with money, well knowing that she claimed the crown of England. 2nd. By sending sums of money to the Earls of Westmoreland and Northumberland, and other persons concerned in the rebellion in the North, enemies to the queen, and attainted of high treason. 3rd. By dispatching Rudolfi to the Pope, Alva, and the King of Spain, recommending them to send forces to depose the queen, and set up the Queen of Scots in her place; he himself marrying the said Queen of Scots.

Norfolk replied by asking for counsel, which was not allowed him, and he then complained that they dealt hardly with him; that he had been called on all at once to prepare his defence, not fourteen hours being granted him in the whole, including the night, and that totally without books, or so much as a breviate of the statutes. He declared that he was brought to fight without his, weapons. He represented himself as an unlearned man, whose memory, never good, had been sorely decayed by heavy troubles and cares. He displayed, however, a memory, a readiness of resources, and a knowledge of the law which astonished his judges. He pleaded that the Queen of Scots was no enemy or competitor of his own queen; that she had abandoned the title of Queen of England on the death of her husband, Francis II., and, so far from Elizabeth treating her as an enemy, she had for ten years been on very friendly terms with her, standing godmother to her child. Therefore, in wishing to marry the Queen of Scots, he could have committed no treason. That he had never spoken with Rudolfi but once, when the interview was on account of some banking business; but that Rudolfi did at the same time inform him that he was seeking aid to obtain the release and restoration of the Scottish queen, but with no intention of hostility to England, as far as he could learn. He denied having sent any aid to Westmoreland and Northumberland during their rebellion in the North, but admitted remitting money since to the Countess of Westmoreland, his own sister, to assist her in her distress; and that he had in like manner given his advice as to the distribution of some money sent by the Pope to the English refugees in Flanders, on the same principle. Moreover, that he had received a letter from the Pope, which he had resented, having nothing to do with the Pope or his religion.

From all that could be brought against him, it did not appear that the duke was guilty of any participation in an attempt to dethrone or even distress Elizabeth, but that his sole object was to marry the Queen of Scots. That other parties, of whom Rudolfi was the agent, had designs against the Government of Elizabeth, there exists no doubt; but from the duke's character as an honest and loyal nobleman, it is probable that they kept these ulterior views out of his sight. But his enemies had determined to destroy him, and brought against him a number of his servants and others with prepared charges; and when he denounced them as false and wicked, the counsel for the Crown rudely told him that the evidence of the witnesses on oath was far more deserving of credence than his denial of them. He demanded to have the witnesses brought face to face with him; but this, with one exception, was refused. The exception was one Richard Candish, or Cavendish, a tool of Leicester's.

When he was brought up, the duke treated him with much ironic severity, saying, "You are an honest man!" reminding him that he had been the bearer of letters betwixt himself, Leicester, and Throckmorton; and that he had intruded himself without invitation to his house in Norfolk, and then gone mysteriously away. The' man seemed to shrink under the scornful eye of the duke, and was glad to get away; yet the queen's serjeant pronounced his evidence as good and sufficient. There was next an attempt to get the Bishop of Ross to appear in court, and confirm the evidence drawn from him under terror of the rack: but he steadfastly refused, declaring that he never heard the duke utter a word contrary to his duty and allegiance to his sovereign, and that he would declare this before the whole realm if they brought him up.

A letter said to have been written by the duke to Murray, and one from Murray to the duke, were put in and read, which, if true, certainly criminated Norfolk; but no evidence of the authenticity of these letters was produced, and there is little doubt that they were only a portion of the many forgeries committed for the purpose of destroying the prisoner. As if all this was not enough, the queen interfered in a direct and most unconstitutional manner to secure his condemnation. She sent a message by the solicitor-general that the ambassador of a foreign prince had communicated to her that the whole of the plot had been disclosed by Rudolfi in Flanders, with the duke's participation in it; and that the Lords of the Privy Council had heard it all, and would in secret communicate the particulars to the Peers who sat in judgment, as there were names concerned which must not there be mentioned. These strange judges retired, and heard this new evidence against the prisoner without communicating a word of it to him; and then, after an hour's consultation, gave a verdict of guilty. Amongst the Peers sat Leicester, who had encouraged Norfolk in the project of this marriage, and now voted for his death. The lord steward pronounced sentence that he should be drawn from the Tower to Tyburn, there be hanged till half dead, then taken down, his bowels taken out, and burnt before his face; his head then to be struck off and his body quartered, the head and quarters to be set wherever Her Majesty pleased.

On hearing this barbarous sentence - more barbarous than most of those of Henry VIII., for he was generally satisfied with beheading his victims - the duke exclaimed, "This, my lord, is the judgment of a traitor; but (striking himself hard upon the breast) I am a true man to God and the queen as any that liveth, and always have been so, do not now desire to live. I will not desire any of your lordships to make petition for 'my life. I am at a point; and, my lords, as you have banished me from your company, I trust shortly to be in better company. This only I beseech you, my lords: to be humble suitors to the queen's majesty that it will please her to be good to my poor orphan children, and to take order for the payment of my debts, and to have some consideration for my poor servants. God knows how true heart I bear to Her Majesty and to my country, whatsoever this day hath been falsely objected against me. Farewell, my lords."

He spoke with some passion, as a man incensed at being wrongfully accused and suspected, yet with a certain dignity - in nothing forgetting his station, and his whole bearing that of a man who was a genuine Englishman at heart, who had been fascinated by the charms of the Scottish queen, but had never conceived a treasonable thought against the English one. On his return to the Tower, Elizabeth pressed him by her ministers to confess and disclose the guilt of his colleagues. Norfolk replied in a long letter, which breathes the spirit of a true-hearted and really noble man. Whilst entreating earnestly for his orphan children, he refused to implicate any one else. "The Lord knoweth," he said, "that I myself know no more than I have been charged withal, nor much of that; although, I humbly beseech God and your majesty to forgive me, I know a great deal too much. But if it had pleased your highness, whilst I was a man in law, to have commanded my accusers to have been brought to my face, although of my own knowledge I knew no more than I have particularly confessed, yet there might, perchance, have bolted out somewhat to mine own purgation, and your highness have known that which is now concealed." He then adds, in regard to the queen's desire to draw from him accusations of others, "Now, an if it please your majesty, it is too late for me to come face to face to do you any service; the one being a shameless Scot, and the other an Italianised Englishman (the Bishop of Ross and Barker), their faces will be too brazen to yield to any truth that I shall charge them with. Though the one was my man, yet he will now count himself my master; and so, indeed, he may, for he hath, God forgive him, mastered me with his untruth." And again - "Alas! an if it please your majesty now to weigh how little I can say for your better service, and how little credit a dead man in law hath, I hope your highness, of your most gracious goodness, will not command me that which cannot, I think, do you any service, and yet may heap more infamy upon me, unhappy wretch! which needs not be, for they will report that, for abjectness of mine, or else thereby to seek pardon of my life, I was contented to accuse by suspicion when I had no other ground thereto."

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Pictures for Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 4

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