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Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 9


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After the death of Essex, the system of planting Ireland, as it was called, still went on. The destruction of the O'Neils all the other clans regarded as only preliminary to their own. They therefore appealed to the Kings of Spain and France for assistance; and on their declaring themselves unable, from their own dangers and insurrections at home, to assist them, they implored the protection of the Pope, Gregory XIII. His holiness launched a bull at the heretic queen, declaring Ireland forfeited, as previous bulls had declared England and Wales forfeited. Under his encouragement two adventurers, Thomas Stukely and James Fitzmaurice, set out to proclaim the bull, and to carry the arms of his holiness all over Ireland. Stukely, however, having obtained a ship of war, 600 soldiers, and 3,000 stand of arms, carried them to the service of the King of Portugal, and died fighting in his wars against the Moors. Fitzmaurice, a brother of the Earl of Desmond, and a deadly enemy of the English invaders, was more faithful; and after suffering shipwreck on the coast of Galicia, landed at Smerwick, in Kerry, in June, 1579. He had with him, however, only eighty Spanish soldiers, and a few Irish and English, refugees; and his expedition proved an utter failure, for the inhabitants had no faith in so insignificant a knot of adventurers. Fitzmaurice being killed in a private quarrel, his followers fled into the territories of his brother, the Earl of Desmond.

The Earl of Desmond professed himself a loyal subject; but he was suspected of favouring the insurgents, and the English marched into his demesnes and plundered them. Another detachment from the Pope, however, landed at Smerwick, the port which Fitzmaurice had made. It consisted of several hundred men, having a large sum of money, and 5,000 stand of arms, under the command of San Guiseppe, an Italian. Lord Grey de Wilton, the new lord-deputy, had recently suffered a defeat in the vale of Glandaclough; but he managed to besiege this foreign force in their newly-erected fort, whilst Admiral Winter blockaded them on the sea side. After three days' resistance, the handful of Italians and Spaniards put out a flag of truce, and offered to surrender on condition that their lives were spared. Foreign writers all assert that this, was granted them; but Sir Richard Bingham, who was present, says that they surrendered one night at the pleasure of the lord-deputy, to have mercy or not, as he, willed. Sir Walter Raleigh and Spenser, the poet, were in Grey's army, and their conduct reflects no honour upon them. Sir Walter Raleigh entered the fort to receive their arms, and then ordered them all to be massacred and this proceeding Spenser endeavours to vindicate. He was Lord Grey's secretary; and whilst he styles him "a most gentle, affable, loving, and temperate lord," he gives this account of his act: - "The enemy begged that the?" might be allowed to depart with their lives and arms according to the law of nations. He asked to see their commission from the Pope or the King of Spain. They had none: they were the allies of the Irish. 'But the Irish,' replied Grey, 'are traitors, and you must suffer as traitors. I will make no terms with you; you may submit or not.' They yielded, craving only mercy, which it not being thought good to show them, for danger of them if being saved, they should afterwards join the Irish, who were much emboldened by those foreign successes, and also put in hope of more ere long. There was no other way but to make that short end of them as was made."

This was a fatal precedent to the French and Spaniards, against whom our own countrymen were fighting in the very same manner by the orders of Elizabeth, in France, in the Netherlands, and in South America; and whilst we denounce the savage slaughter of English adventurers in the transatlantic lands of Spain wherever they were found without mercy or quarter, we are bound to remember that we thus set them the example, and furnished them with warrant.

After this butchery, Grey and his myrmidons combined to chase Desmond from spot to spot through his mountain fastnesses. Three years afterwards a party of the English, attracted by a light, entered a hut, where they found a venerable old man lying on the hearth before the fire, quite alone. On their demanding who he was, he replied, "The Earl of Desmond," when Kelly of Moriarty instantly struck off his head, which he sent as a grateful present to Elizabeth, by whom it was fixed on London Bridge. With Desmond fell for some time the resistance of the hunted natives in Ireland. From the forfeited lands of these immolated Irish, Sir Walter Raleigh received 42,000 acres, other gentlemen from 5,000 to 18,000, and Spenser, the poet, 3,000 and a castle of the unfortunate Desmond's - Kilcolman - which the exasperated natives burnt over his head, and with it one of his children. Spenser's concern in this bloody affair proved, in fact, his ruin.

Returning to England, we find that Elizabeth during this period had been persecuting every form of Christianity which did not agree with her own. There were three parties against whom she felt herself aggrieved - the Puritans, the Papists, and the Anabaptists; and she set to work resolutely to squeeze them into the mould of her orthodoxy, or to crush them. Many of the Puritans who had imbibed the sternest spirit of Geneva had got into the pulpits of the State Church, and refused to wear the robes, to perform the rites, or to preach the exact doctrines as prescribed by law. If they did not accord with that Church, they certainly had no business there, and had no right to complain that Elizabeth turned them out. The time to complain was when she had expelled them, and they set up a Church of their own, which she would not allow. Their freedom was their birthright; but the queen would not suffer them to exercise it. She had but one word in her religious vocabulary - conform; and this rigid conformity was carried out ruthlessly by the very ministers and clergy who had so manfully complained of compulsion in the last reign. They purged one diocese after another by expelling Puritan clergy. These acts of arbitrary power were loudly denounced in the House of Commons, where there was a strong Puritan party, and numerous bills were brought in to advance the Reformation. Out of doors, Parker, the old Archbishop of Canterbury, faithfully executed the will of the sovereign; and opinion, suppressed in the Church and in Parliament, where the queen even sent personal and most dictatorial messages stopping all religious discussion, now burst forth through the press. Pamphlets of a most inflammatory nature and abusive style issued in shoals; and one Burchet, a student of the Middle Temple, became so inflamed by zeal, that he murdered Hawkins, an officer, mistaking him for Hatton, the queen's new favourite. In prison he also killed his keeper under the delusion that he was Hatton; and though palpably insane, he was hanged for murder.

Parker, who died in 1575, was succeeded by Grindall, whom, Elizabeth soon discovered was too much of a Puritan himself to persecute them severely, and she suspended him, and harassed him to such a degree that he died in 1583. To him succeeded Whitgift, a man after Elizabeth's own heart, who framed a test of orthodoxy which he put to all clergymen or others whom he suspected, which consisted of these three notable dogmas - the queen's supremacy, the perfection of the Ordinal and Book of Common Prayer, and the complete accordance of the Thirty-nine Articles with the Scriptures. All those clergymen who refused to subscribe to this he expelled; and in defiance of clamour and intrigue in council or Convocation, he held on his way immovably. Nor did the queen long satisfy herself with mere expulsion. Thacker and Copping, two Brownists, were indicted for objecting to the Book of Common Prayer, which was treated as an attack on the Royal supremacy, and were put to death. The persecution of the Romanists was still more severe than that of the Puritans. Elizabeth, although she retained the crucifix and the lights in her private chapel, was glad to avail herself of the plea that the Roman Catholics were idolaters, because she hated and dreaded them as naturally partisans of the persecuted Queen of Scotland.

So early as 1563 the Emperor Ferdinand had remonstrated against the treatment of Roman. Catholics in England. As the persecution under Elizabeth became more intolerable, many sought to find a more unmolested retreat on the Continent; but Elizabeth could not bear the idea of their thus escaping her oppression, and their property was immediately confiscated and sold, or bestowed on her favourites at Court. Those who ventured to remain at home were compelled to attend the established form of worship, according to the queen's notion that it was but a civil duty, and then worshipped in their own way in private; or they refused to attend, and came under the name of recusants, who were looked after with all assiduity and rancour, and were at the mercy of every informer, or ill-disposed or mercenary neighbour who chose to report them. They could be called up at any moment and put to their oath whether they had attended the reformed worship, and how often; when and where they had received the sacrament, and whether they had any private chapel for celebration of mass. Private houses were continually searched for such private oratories or for priests; and the foreign ambassadors complained that their privileges were violated by such inquisitions. Amongst those imprisoned and fined for such offences were Hastings, Lord Lough-borough, Sir Edward Waldegrave, Sir Thomas Fitzherbert, Sir Edward Stanley, Sir John Southworth, and the Ladies Waldegrave, Wharton, Carew, Brookes, Morley, Jarmin, Browne, Guildford, &c, The Bishops of London and Ely recommended the torture, to compel the priests taken at private chapels to discover their hearers I

As the Papists were neither allowed to educate nor ordain priests, William Allen, a clergyman of an ancient family in Lancashire, and formerly principal of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, proposed the establishment of the afterwards celebrated college at Douay, in France, and became its first master, so that within the first five years he sent into England a hundred qualified missionaries. This gave such offence to the English Court, that the missionaries were pursued with the utmost rigour of the law. Cuthbert Mayne, a priest of Cornwall, was accused of saying mass at the house of a Mr. Tregean, near Truro. Mayne was put to death as a traitor, and Tregean was shut up in prison, where no entreaties could induce Elizabeth to liberate him during her lifetime. After an incarceration of eight-and-twenty years, for the simple fact of worshipping God, as Daniel did, in spite of Royal command, he was released by James at the request of the King of Spain.

Persecution, of course, produced its invariable consequences: the Roman Catholics became more resolute, the men in power more rancorous. In 1578 every gaol in the kingdom had its Popish prisoners; and twenty of rank and fortune perished of an infectious disease in the Castle of York. Nelson, a priest, and Sherwood, a layman, were hanged, drawn, and quartered for denying the queen's supremacy.

In 1580 other prisoners died of the gaol fever in Newgate; and, in fact, not only then, but down almost to our time, the condition of the gaols was so horrible, from want of drainage and proper accommodation, that it amounted to capital punishment to put any one in them. Thousands of untried prisoners - perhaps we might say hundreds of thousands - have perished in our prisons from filth, crowding, and lack of ventilation. In 1577 two judges, the sheriff, under-sheriff, four magistrates, most of the jurors, and many of the spectators were seized in the court at Oxford with fatal sickness whilst trying a bookseller.

The fury of persecution in England stimulated the Roman Catholics abroad to a corresponding enthusiasm of martyrdom. Gregory XIII. followed the example of Allen, and established a second English seminary in the hospital of Santo Spirito, in Rome, and emissaries were also sent thence into the heretical kingdom. First and foremost the general of the Jesuits selected in 1580 two Englishmen of distinguished abilities, and sent them from this college. Robert Persons and Edward Campion arrived with a reputation, and with rumours of the dark conspiracy in which they were engaged, which roused all the alarm and the vigilance of the Government. Rewards were offered for their discovery, and menaces of punishment issued for remissness in tracing them out. The queen sent forth a proclamation, calling on every person who had children, wards, or relatives gone abroad for education to make a return of their names to the ordinary, and to recall them within three months; and all persons whatsoever who knew of any Jesuit or seminarist in the kingdom, and failed to give information, were to be punished as abettors of treason.

As soon as Parliament met in January of 1581, still more stringent laws were passed for the punishment of Roman Catholics. It was made high treason merely to possess the power of absolution. Saying mass incurred a fine of 200 marks, or a year's imprisonment; hearing it, only 100 marks, or the same imprisonment as for saying it; absence from church was made punishable at the rate of twenty pounds per month, and, if prolonged to a whole year, besides the penalty, the offender must produce two securities for his good behaviour of 200 each. The concealment of Roman Catholic tutors, schoolmasters, or priests incurred a year's imprisonment, a priest or tutor, also, being amenable to the same punishment, and the employer of them to a fine of ten pounds per month. There was but one step possible beyond this outrageous despotism, and that was to the stake, as in Mary's time; but the very fury of legal punishment defeated its own object.

Persons and Campion put into the hands of their, friends written statements of their objects in coming into the country, which they declared to be solely to exercise their spiritual functions as priests, not to interfere with any worldly concerns or affairs of state; but they declared that all the Jesuits in the world had entered into a league to maintain the Catholic religion at the risk of imprisonment, torture, or death. This announcement excited the greatest alarm, and the most fiery persecution burst forth on the whole body of the Romanists, whilst eveiy means was exerted to discover and secure these missionaries. The names of all the recusants in the kingdom, amounting to 50,000, were returned to Government, and no man included in that number had any longer the least security or privacy in his own house. The doors wore broken open without notice given, and the pursuivants, rushing in, spread themselves in different divisions all over the dwelling. Cabinets, cupboards, drawers, closets, wore forced and ransacked, beds torn open, tapestry or wainscot dragged down, and every imaginable place explored, to detect by vessels, vestments, books, or crosses, the evidence of heretical worship. The inmates were put under strict "watch, till they had been searched and interrogated; and many were driven nearly or wholly out of their senses by the rudeness and the insults they received from brutal officers. Lady Neville was frightened to death in Holborn, and Mrs. Vavasour was deprived of her reason at York.

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