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Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 5

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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."

Failing to draw anything from the staunch-hearted nobleman, on Saturday, the 8th of February, Elizabeth signed the warrant for his execution on the Monday; but late on Sunday night she sent for Cecil - now more commonly called Burleigh - and commanded the execution to be stayed, revoking the warrant, to the great disappointment of the good citizens of London, who had seen all the preparations made for the spectacle. Elizabeth soon after signed a fresh warrant, which, as the time of execution approached, she also revoked. Some historians attributed Elizabeth's hesitation to her feelings and to qualms of conscience - the duke, as she said, being so near a kinsman, and of such high honour; but others interpreted her proceedings as deep policy. She was determined to shift as much of the odium of Norfolk's death from her as possible, and allow other parties to saddle themselves with the responsibility. It was precisely the course which she afterwards pursued in the ease of the Queen of Scots.

As she herself hung back, the preachers and the Commons took it up, and demanded the duke's death, for the security of both the sovereign and the State. When the public excitement had reached its height, then the subtle queen slowly and reluctantly yielded, and issued a third warrant, which she did not revoke, for now it was become the act of the nation rather than her own.

On the 2nd of June, at eight o'clock in the morning, the duke was brought out of the Tower to a scaffold on Tower Hill, the drawing to Tyburn and all its revolting accompaniments being remitted on account of his high rank. He was attended by Dean Nowel, of St. Paul's, and Fox, the martyrologist, who had formerly been his tutor. He addressed the people, confessing the justice of his sentence, though he still denied all treason. On being offered a handkerchief to bind his eyes, he refused, saying he was not afraid of death; and after a prayer, he stretched his head across the block, and it was severed at a stroke. The people witnessed his death with great emotion, for he was very popular amongst them, being extremely affable and liberal. They looked on him with great respect as the descendant of the hero of Flodden, and the son of the gallant Earl of Surrey, whose head fell in the same place five-and-twenty years before.

The death of Norfolk had been pursued with eager avidity; but it was for the sake of removing him out of the way of the Scottish queen. She was the great object which they desired to come at, and to put an end to. The minds of the Protestant party were perpetually haunted by fears of the rising of the Roman Catholics, of the Scots, of the foreign powers, for the rescue of Mary; and both ministers and Parliament represented to Elizabeth that there was no stability for her throne whilst she lived. Elizabeth, however, replied, with an air of great magnanimity, that she could not find it in her heart to put to death the bird which had flown into her bosom for protection; both honour and conscience, she said, forbade it. But her wily minister, Burleigh, knew that she only wanted a sufficient pressure from the public; and he induced the two Houses to present strong; memorials, urging the necessity of putting both the Queen of Scots and the Earl of Northumberland beyond chance of injuring her. Elizabeth resisted the demand for the Queen of Scots; but she yielded part of their request, and surrendered Northumberland to his fate.

We have seen that this nobleman had sought refuge in Scotland; and commands had been sent to Murray to deliver him up. Murray, however, avoided this disgraceful breach of hospitality; but, after lying more than two years a prisoner in Lochleven Castle, Morton, one of the most abandoned of men, one who had been deep in the murders of Rizzio and Darnley, now drove a double bargain, for the life and for the death of the earl. The Countess of Northumberland agreed, through Douglas of Lochleven, to pay 2,000 for his release, and this money she deposited at Antwerp to be paid on his enlargement. Meantime Morton made another bargain with Elizabeth for the same sum. In the early days of June, the earl was put on board a vessel to convey him, according to the assurance of his gaolers, to Flanders; but he soon found himself approaching the English coast, and on the 7th of June he was detained at Coldingham, on the Scottish side of the border, till the money was paid over at Berwick. Lord Hunsdon, the governor of Berwick, received him at Aymouth, and then sent him on to York, under the charge of John Foster, who had obtained the earl's estates in Northumberland - a nice refinement of cruelty. At York, after being subjected to a searching interrogation, to draw from him matter against others, he was beheaded without any pretence of a trial. He died, as he had lived, a staunch Romanist; and, as he felt no respect for the queen or her Government, he honestly refused to make any such sycophantic speeches on the scaffold as were expected from the most innocent victims of those times. He would neither utter any prayer for Her Majesty, nor declare that he felt his sentence just.

The Papists were delighted, as well they might be, at the independent bearing of their northern chief; and the Protestants, alarmed at the boldness of the victim, and the applauses of his admirers, called loudly for the blood of other traitors and idolaters.

To the Queen of Scots these were sorrowful days. In England and in Scotland her stoutest supporters were perishing, and her cause everywhere unsuccessful. She was now, after various removes, confined at Sheffield Park, a seat of the Earl of Shrewsbury's. The Countess of Shrewsbury, a masculine and domineering woman, who was familiarly known as Bess of Hardwick, treated Mary with uncommon harshness and rigour. She was grown extremely jealous of the earl's attentions to his captive, Shrewsbury seeming to have been a gentle and humane man. Sir Ralph Sadler was now added to her gaolers, a man who had spent his life as a commissioner of murder under three monarchs 011 the Scottish border, and who had a negotiating hand in the bloody deaths of Cardinal Beaton and Darnley. In Sadler's letters to Burleigh he himself informs us of the manner in which he tormented the captive queen, whom he was anxious, as a tool of Burleigh's, to see put to death as soon as possible. He says that he took care to let Mary know all that transpired on the trial of Norfolk, and of his condemnation, and when he could not get access to her, he tormented her through the Countess of Shrewsbury. He seemed to gloat with pleasure over Mary's grief for the trouble and death of Norfolk. He says she wept and mourned bitterly. "All the last week this queen did not once look out of her chamber, hearing that the duke stood upon arraignment and trial;" and he adds, "My presence is such a trouble to her, that, unless she comes out of her chamber, I come little at her, but my lady is seldom from her." To the death of Norfolk was added that of Northumberland, and of the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, in Scotland. There all seemed going against her. The civil war still raged fiercely, but her party was gradually declining before her enemies.

Lennox, the regent, attainted Maitland in Parliament for the murder of his son, and directed his plans of vengeance against the Hamiltons for their resistance to the Government of the king. Alarmed at this demonstration, the Duke of Chatelherault, Lord Claude Hamilton, the Earl of Huntley, and Scott of Buccleuch, made a night assault upon Stirling, where the regent lay, and were masters of it without opposition. They rushed to the castle, forced their way into the rooms of the lords of the Lennox faction, and seized them, with Lennox himself, They were on the point of carrying one their prisoners to Edinburgh Castle, when a rumour of an attack from the Earl of Mar put them to flight. Before going, however, one of them, crying vengeance for the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, shot the regent through the head. This done, they fled loaded with plunder. Morton, in the confusion, made his escape, and once more raised the banner of opposition under the auspices of the Queen of England. Mar was appointed regent on the part of the faction of the young king, and thus the country continued rent asunder. The power of Elizabeth might be said to be the paramount one in Scotland, though the castle of Edinburgh and the Highlands were still in the hands of Mary's adherents.

Meantime, Elizabeth had been making a gay procession amongst her subjects, and had been royally feasted at the castle of her favourite, Leicester, at Kenilworth, and was at Woodstock, on her return towards town, when she was met by one of the most horrible pieces of news which ever new across affrighted Europe. This was the massacre of St. Bartholomew.

The pacification which had been patched up betwixt the Romanists and the Huguenots in France had no sincerity in it. All the old hatred and resentment were fomenting beneath the surface. The Huguenots had no faith in the Papists, and the Papists longed to annihilate the Huguenots as heretics. None thirsted so much for their blood as the queen-mother, Catherine de Medicis. She entered into the most subtle and daring schemes for their destruction, and the imbecile Charles IX. was mere wax In her hands. Without letting him know the real aim of their plots, his authority was used to effect them.

At the head of the Huguenots was the young King of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV.; and his right hand was the able and experienced Admiral Coligny. It was the most earnest object of the party of Catherine to obtain possession of Coligny, as the soul and mainspring of the Protestant party. To this end, after the pacification, he was invited to Court, but declined to go, from his suspicion of the real design of Catherine. He remained at Rochelle, where the King of Navarre, Conde, and the elite of the Huguenot nobles, resided. But the plans of the Medici party were conducted with the most profound and perfidious skill. The hand of the sister of Charles IX. was offered to Henry of Navarre, as the pledge of a thorough union of parties, and Coligny was invited to take the command of an army intended to invade Flanders, and join the Prince of Orange against Philip of Spain. Still Coligny hesitated, but during the summer, Charles IX. contrived to press him to come to Court, where he promised him the highest favour-Charles wrote to him with his own hand, and sent Coligny's son-in-law, Teligny, who also carried the strongest entreaties from the admiral's own relatives that he would avail himself of the Royal regard. The king talked in such a manner as to induce many to believe that he was really more inclined to Protestantism than to the ancient faith.

At length, overcome by all these circumstances, the-admiral went to Blois, where the king was keeping his Court, and was received with the highest honours. Charles testified the most remarkable regard for him,, called him his father, restored all his forfeited employments, and even showed his sincerity by warning him of the latent malice of his mother and her Italian followers, At the same time the Huguenots saw with the deepest alarm this coalition of Coligny and the king. They could not believe that there was any real good-will towards the admiral - no, not even in the king himself. They warned Coligny to be on his guard.

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