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Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 9


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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.

In July, Campion was taken at Lyfford, in Berkshire, and was committed to the Tower; and Persons, seeing no prospect of long escaping pursuit, contrived to get over again to the Continent. Campion was repeatedly racked, and under the force of torture and the promises that no injury should be done to his entertainers, he related the whole course of his peregrinations in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Denbigh, Northampton, Warwick, Bedford, Buckingham, &o., and the names of those who had given him hospitality. No sooner, however, had the Council the names than they summoned all those who had harboured him up, and fined some and imprisoned others.

In November Campion, with twelve other priests and a layman, were put upon their trial, and were charged with a horrible conspiracy to murder the queen and to overturn Church and State. Rome and Rheims were declared to be the places where this direful plot had been organised. The astonishment of the prisoners, several of whom had never been out of England, was extreme. Not an atom of evidence was produced to authenticate these charges, yet the whole were pronounced guilty. One of them was saved by an alibi established by Lancaster, a Protestant barrister; the rest were executed as traitors, except those who were still kept prisoners. On the scaffold Campion lamented that the weakness of the flesh on the rack had forced him to disclose the names of some of his entertainers, by which they had been brought into trouble.

The Anabaptists, who had created great scandals and disturbance in Germany, made repeated visits to London under pretence of belonging to the Dutch Church. They denied the propriety of infant baptism; that Christ assumed the flesh of the Virgin; believed it wrong to take an oath, or to accept the office of a magistrate. In some of these tenets they resembled the Society of Friends which afterwards rose, and their creed did not necessarily interfere with the quiet of the State; yet numbers of them were imprisoned, ten of them were sent out of the kingdom, and two, Peeters and Turwert, were burnt in Smithfield in July, 1575. Again, in 1579, Matthew Hammond, a ploughman, was burnt at Norwich.

Prom these persecutions we come back to the captive Queen of Scotland. Elizabeth had long felt punishment for her faithless and unjust conduct to Mary. By detaining her she had, so far from securing her own tranquillity, surrounded herself with perpetual disquiets and alarms. Mary, who, restored to her throne and supported there by the powerful co-operation of her English cousin, might have contributed to her strength and glory, now existed inevitably as the centre of plots and conspiracies. Elizabeth was never free from alarms and suspicions of all around her. She was compelled to maintain an incessant and expensive system of espionage," and grew so sensitive that she was fearful of even those who directed the movements of her spies. Though the Earl of Shrewsbury had proved himself so safe a gaoler, Elizabeth was continually in terror lest the much-vaunted fascinations of the Scottish queen should seduce him from his duty. She was always urging fresh vigilance, always devising fresh measures of safety, and placing spies on all his actions, not only in the neighbourhood, but in his very establishment. The unfortunate nobleman, with all his houses, could not be said to possess a home, or a moment's privacy. His fine mansions and castles were converted into so many gaols, and he saw men constantly about him, at his board, whom he knew that he maintained to keep strict watch over his every action and look, and report them to the queen. So much was this the case, that when his daughter-in-law was confined, he christened the child himself, lest he should be accused of admitting a stranger in the person of the clergyman.

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Pictures for Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 9

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
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Bear-baiting
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Reception of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle
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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
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Sir Philip Sidney
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Death of Sir Philip Sidney
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