From the Reign of Edward the Fourth to the Death of Queen Elizabeth
In the present Volume we have stepped out of feudalism into the first clay-spring of modern history. We have left the race of barons, grown too powerful for both Crown and country, and a divided Royal house which consumed the energies and the intellect of the nation in bloody conflicts for the possession of the throne. The predominating space which the Tudor dynasty occupies in the present pages is worthy of all attention. With Henry VII. a new blood and spirit entered the palace, and stirred within the golden circle of the Crown. The grandson of a Welsh yeoman of the guard became the monarch, and a vigour which had dwindled in the ancient race, from the days of Henry V., re-appeared, but linked inseparably with an absolute self-will, which, whilst appearing to resist the onward progress of the nation, really gave to it accelerated momentum and spirit. The old impediments of religion and of aristocracy were swept away, to give unopposed scope to Royal license; but this only cleared the ground for popular action. The nation had so far advanced that its impulses became the unmistakable law of tendency. From the remains of the ancient hierarchy arose the undaunted soul of religious freedom. With religious freedom, civil freedom was a necessity; and on the ruins of the ancient aristocracy arose a new race of landed proprietors, whose interests were more allied to the interest of the people. Before the close of the Tudor dynasty in Elizabeth, we behold unequivocal manifestations of a new order of things, of the limitation of the power of the Crown, and the establishment of the power of Parliament. We shall find in the opening of our next Volume the efforts of an unwise dynasty - that of the Stuarts - to resist this popular development, but only to its own destruction.
In our tracing of these events we have taken an impartial view of the character and conduct of Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps with no other monarch is it so necessary to discriminate between fond traditions and the cold facts of history. Elizabeth was a woman of a masculine and penetrating mind; no ruler ever knew more ably how to select capable ministers, and surround herself with the splendour of statesmanlike talent, bravery, and genius. With a stout heart, and assisted by the counsels and the gallant deeds of those men, she carried the country through an arduous crisis proudly, and bore down and broke to atoms every foreign influence and the Armada which was directed against the Protestant ascendancy of England. All honour to her and to them on that account. But when we penetrate through the splendour of such glories, and through the extravagant adulations of the Elizabethan courtiers, we come to some deeds and characteristics which demand just reprehension.
We must remind our readers that we are not writing romance, in which we can at will colour., turn, and dispose of things as we please; but our object and bounden duty is historic truth. We are tied up to that standard inexorably by harsh and unbendable official documents, which, like the rocks about our coast, may not be shaken in their place or changed in their hard outline. The modern researches in the archives of the Tower and the State Paper Office, and the publication of many of the documents there remaining, the journals of the Lords and Commons, the rolls of Parliament and the patent rolls, and the mass of original letters collected by Howell, Ellis, Nicolas, &c., enable us and compel us to draw a somewhat different picture from that which was presented to the last generation. In our portraiture of "good Queen Bess" we have used the facts left under the very hands of herself and her ministers, and from these there can be no appeal. On the other hand, it should be remembered by those who are startled into too severe a judgment of this queen, that the Elizabethan age, though the bright dawn of happier times, lies far behind our own in moral strength and purity; that the darkness of the Middle Ages was not yet quite banished, and threw still its shadow even upon high places; and that consequently our verdict upon this great and imperious monarch must have its just relation to those precedents and traditions which no longer attach to the throne.
Again, some readers may be ready to accuse us of placing the Roman Catholics of those times in too favourable a light. We can only reply that the same undoubted authorities have guided our pen. We will yield to no man in our attachment to Protestant principles, nor in our estimation of their paramount truth and value. We regard the liberation of mind effected by the Reformation as the source of all our present blessings, and our national pre-eminence. We believe that our firm stand by the truths of the Bible, and the spirit of liberty and law which is their direct result, is the reason why the Almighty has seen fit to place us at the head of nations, and to give to the language, the institutions, the dominion, and the glory of England a pre-eminence and an expanse such as no nation ever before enjoyed; that this is the secret of our invincible arms in all quarters of the globe, of our being chosen as the founders of the new and vast people of North America, of India, South Africa, and Australia, who form the links of a chain of British life, enlightenment, manliness, and religious reverence which encircles the globe as with an imperial zone. But as we hold and must hold the right of every man to maintain the independence of his creed and conscience, we are bound as citizens and subjects to deal out justice and impartiality to Roman Catholics as to Protestants; and were we to sketch and colour the religious partisans of the periods over which we have passed in this Volume, not by the undoubted documents which those times furnish, but by the colours in which the opponents on each side arrayed them to themselves, we should commit a gross and unpardonable violation of the truth of history, and be unworthy to hold the high and responsible position of the narrators of the veritable past in its many-sided completeness.
In our next Volume we shall be called on to detail the progress of still greater events and changes, the conflict of the monarchical and the national will, the overthrow of thrones and intolerance, and to hail the rising of the British Constitution as it now exists out of the waters of this agitated sea of antagonistic principles.
Table of content
Chapter: I. Reign of Edward IV. Part 2
Edward returns to England - Assisted by Burgundy - Edward's Pretended Renunciation of the Crown - His March to London - Again proclaims himself King - Joined by Clarence - Battle of Barnet - Margaret and the Prince of Wales land in England - Battle of Tewkesbury - Death of Henry VI. - Political Calm - Rivalry of Clarence and Gloucester - Edward contemplates an Invasion of France - Deserted by his Allies - Interview with Louis of France - He and his Courtiers become Pensioners of France - Discontent of his Subjects - The King's Dissipated Life - Deaths of the Dukes of Burgundy and St. Pol - Murder of Clarence - War with Scotland - Death of Edward IV.
Chapter: II. Reign of Edward V
Edward V. Proclaimed - The Two Parties of the Queen and of Gloucester - Struggle in the Council - Gloucester's Plans - The Earl Rivers and his Friends imprisoned - Gloucester secures the King and conducts him to London - Gloucester made Protector - Sudden Seizure and Execution of Lord Hastings - Execution of the Queen's Brother and Son, Earl Rivers and Lord Grey, and of Sir Thomas Vaughan - The Duke of York taken from the Queen and conveyed to the Tower - Penance of Jane Shore - Gloucester pronounces the two young Princes illegitimate - Murder of the King and the Duke of York - Gloucester seizes the Crown.
Chapter: III. Reign of of Richard III
Coronation of Richard - Murder of the Two Princes - Richard crowned at York - Buckingham revolts against him - Henry of Richmond attempts to land - Failure of Buckingham's Rising - The Insurgents dispersed, and Buckingham beheaded - Richard's Title confirmed by Parliament - Queen Dowager and her Daughters quit the Sanctuary - Death of Richard's Son and Heir - Proposes to marry his Niece, Elizabeth of York - Richmond lands at Milford Haven - His Progress - The Troubles of Richard - The Battle of Bosworth - End of the Wars of the Roses.
Chapter: IV. Years 1399-1485
Chapter: V. Reign of Henry VII
Defects of Henry VII.'s Title - Proceeds to London, and shuts up the Earl of Warwick in the Tower - Promises to marry Elizabeth of York, but delays - Crown settled on him and his Heirs by Parliament - His Marriage - Insurrection in Yorkshire - Birth of Prince Arthur - Lambert Simnel claims the Crown as the Earl of Warwick - Proclaimed King in Ireland - Henry confines the Queen Dowager, and exhibits the real Earl of Warwick in London - The Battle of Stoke - The Queen Crowned - Fresh Insurrection in the North, and the Earl of Northumberland killed by the Populace - Henry's Ingratitude to the Duke of Brittany - Battle of St. Aubin - Peace betwixt France and Brittany - Marriage of the Duchess of Brittany and Maximilian of Germany - Appeals to Henry from Brittany for Aid against France - Henry thinks only of his Money - The King of France seizes Brittany and marries the Duchess, spite of her being already married to Maximilian - Henry threatens War to France.
Chapter: VI. Reign of Henry VII. - (continued)
Henry invades France, and makes a great Bargain for Peace - Rage of the English People - The Appearance of Perkin Warbeck as the younger Son of Edward IV., Duke of York - Received by the Duchess of Burgundy, Sister of Edward IV., as her genuine Nephew - Henry proclaims Warbeck an Impostor - Sends a Spy to him, and, discovering his Adherents in England, puts them to Death - Sir William Stanley, the Lord Chamberlain, beheaded - Warbeek's Descent upon England - Warbeck in Ireland - Warbeck in Scotland - James IV. receives him as the genuine Prince - Marries him to the Lady Catherine Gordon - Joins Warbeck in invading England - Insurrection in Cornwall - Second Invasion of the Scots - Peace with Scotland, and Warbeck retires - Warbeck lands in Cornwall - Besieges Exeter - Flies to Sanctuary - Surrenders - His Confession and Execution - Earl of Warwick executed - Henry at Calais - Marriages of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Arragon and of the Princess Margaret with James of Scotland - Henry's Schemes for extorting and hoarding Money - Death of Prince Arthur - Death of the Queen - Henry's cautious Speculation of Marriage for himself - Contract of Marriage between Catherine of Arragon and her Brother-in-law Prince Henry - King and Queen of Castile in England, and what Profit Henry made of them - Betrayal and Execution of the Earl of Suffolk - Death and Character of Henry.
Chapter: VII. Reign of Henry the Eighth
Auspicious Opening- of Henry's Reign - His Marriage with the Princess Catherine - Punishment of Dudley and Empson - Wolsey appears at Court - State of the Continent - Henry drawn in to meddle in the Affairs of the Continental Princes - Instigated by the Pope and Ferdinand of Spain against France - League of Cambray - -War with France - The English made the Tools of Ferdinand in the Spanish Campaign - Henry's Campaign in-France - Battle of the Spurs-War with Scotland - Flodden Field.
Chapter: VIII. Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued)
Plans of Louis to break up the League betwixt England and its Continental Allies - Perfidy of those Allies - Henry opens his Eyes and makes Peace with France - Marriage of Mary, the Princess of England, to Louis XII. - Death of Louis - Mary marries secretly Brandon, Duke of Suffolk - Story of the Rise and Greatness of Wolsey, now made Cardinal - Treaty with Francis I. of France - Birth of a Princess, Mary, and Death of Ferdinand of Spain - Treaty with Charles, Emperor of Germany, King of the Netherlands and of Spain - Wolsey 's grooving Power and Greatness - Visit of the Emperor Charles V. to England - Henry's Visit to Francis I. of France at Guisnes - The Field of the Cloth of Gold - Meetings of Charles V. and Henry at Gravelines and Calais - Buckingham beheaded - War betwixt the Emperor and France - Henry's Mediation - The pompous Embassy of Wolsey - Death of Leo X. - Second Visit from the Emperor - War with France.
Chapter: IX. Reign of Henry the Eighth - (Continued)
The War with France - The Earl of Surrey Invades that Country - State of France - The gallant Conduct of Francis I. - Revolt of the Duke of Bourbon - Pope Adrian VI. dies - Clement VII. elected - Appearance of Luther - Henry writes against him - Is styled by the Pope "Defender of the Faith " - Progress of the War - Francis I. taken . Prisoner at the Battle of Pavia - Change of Feeling at the English. Court - Treaty with France - Wolsey grows unpopular - Francis I. regains his Liberty - Italian League, inch .ding France and England, against the Emperor - Fall of the Duke of Bourbon at the Siege of Rome - Sacking of Rome, and Capture of the Pope - The Pope escapes - Henry applies to his Holiness for a Divorce from the Queen - Anno Boleyn - War declared against Spain - Cardinal Campeggio arrives in England to decide the Legality of Henry's Marriage with Catherine - The Queen refuses all Negotiation on the Subject - Henry's growing Intimacy with Anne Boleyn, and Discontent with Wolsey - Cranmer's Advice regarding the Divorce - Fall of Wolsey - His Banishment from Court, and Death - The Queen's Divorce agitated in Parliament - Opposed by the Clergy - The Queen Inflexible - Sir Thomas More resigns - Treaty with France - The King's Marriage with Anne Boleyn - Cranmer made Archbishop - The Pope Reverses the Divorce - Separation of England from Rome.
Chapter: X. Reign of Henry the Eighth - (Concluded).
Separation of England from Rome - Popular Disturbances - The Maid of Kent - Henry assumes the Title of the Head of the English Church- - Fisher and More beheaded - Cromwell made Vicar-General of Ecclesiastical Affairs - Death of Queen Catherine - Henry rejects the Emperor's Invitation to return to Unity with Rome - Dissolution of Monasteries - Invitation from Germany to join the Smalcaldic League - Anne Boleyn sent to the Tower, tried, divorced, and beheaded - Henry marries Jane Seymour-Henry's Children declared Illegitimate - Insurrections - Pilgrimage of Grace - Fresh Insurrections and Executions - Prince Edward born - The Queen dies - Insurrections raised by Cardinal Pole, and Execution of the Insurgents - The Statute of the Six Articles-Grant of all the Proceeds of the dissolved Monasteries - Fresh Executions on account on the Pole Insurrections - Henry marries Anne of Cleves - Knights of St. John dissolved - Fall and Execution of Cromwell - Anne of Cleves divorced. Henry marries Catherine Howard - Countess of Sarum executed - Queen Catherine Howard attainted of High Treason, and beheaded - War with Scotland - Treaty for Marriage betwixt Prince Edward and Mary of Scotland - Henry marries Catherine Parr - Breach with and Invasion of Scotland - War with France - Dissolution of Hospitals, Charities, Colleges, &c. - Peace with France - The Queen in Danger - The Earl of Surrey beheaded - Death of Henry - His Character.
Chapter: XI. Reign of Edward VI
Hertford is made Duke of Somerset and Protector - His War with Scotland - The Battle of Pinkie - Innovations in the Church-Gardiner imprisoned - The Ministers help themselves to Titles and Charity Lands - Sir Thomas Seymour, the Lord-Admiral, marries Queen Catherine Parr - Endeavours to secure the Person of the Young King - Catherine Parr dies - Seymour aspires to the Hand of the Princess Elizabeth - Is arrested and beheaded by order of his brother the Protector - "War in Scotland - Queen Mary carried to France, and married to the Dauphin - Insurrections at Home - Ket, the Farmer, of Norfolk - Insurgents put down - France declares War - Party of Sir John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, against the Protector - Ambition of Somerset - Sent to the Tower, but released - Deprivation of Bonner and Gardiner - The Princess Mary harassed on account of her Religion - Joan Bouchier and Van Paris put to death as Heretics - Duke of Somerset again arrested, condemned and executed, with four of his alleged Accomplices - Warwick in the Ascendant - Made Duke of Northumberland - Marries his Son to Lady Jane Grey, and induces the King to nominate her his Heir to the Crown - Death of the King.
Chapter: XII. The Reign of Queen Mary
Lady Jane Grey proclaimed - Mary raises her Standard at Framlingham - Her triumphant Progress to London - Arrival at the Tower - Execution o-f Northumberland - Religious Contests - Lady Jane Grey's Letter to Mary - Mary's behaviour to Elizabeth - Her Engagement to Philip of Spain - Wishes to resign Church Supremacy - Restores the Duke of Norfolk - Procession through the City - Coronation - Repeals the Religious Laws of Edward VI., and those regarding Life and Property of Henry VIII. - Marriage Treaty with Philip - Insurrections - Wyatt's Battle in London - Death of Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guildford Dudley - The Conspiracy of Elizabeth and Courtenay - Parliament securing England against the claims of Philip as King Consort - Wyatt Executed - Arrival of Philip in England.
Chapter: XIII. Elizabeth
Accession of Elizabeth - She abolishes the Papal Worship - Makes Peace with France and Scotland - War of the Scottish Reformation - Elizabeth takes part with the Reformers - Supports them through Cecil - The Siege of Leith - Peace - Mary Queen of Scots leaves France for Scotland - Suitors of Elizabeth - She aids the French Huguenots - Parliament enacts Penal Statutes against the Romanists - The Thirty-nine Articles - Peace with France - Proposals for the Marriage of the Queen of Scots - Elizabeth proposes the Earl of Leicester - Mary marries the Lord Darnley.
Chapter: XIV. The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued)
The Murder of Rizzio - Birth of James, afterwards the First of England - Another Petition to Elizabeth to marry - Her Mysterious Answer - The Murder of Darnley - Trial of Bothwell - Marriage of Mary to Bothwell - Indignation of the People - Attempt to seize Mary and Bothwell at Borthwick Castle - Affair of Carberry Hill - Mary taken Captive, and imprisoned at Lochleven - Compelled to resign the Crown - Her Son proclaimed King - Murray made Regent - Bothwell escapes to Norway - Mary's Escape from Lochleven - Defeated at Langside - Flees into England - Her Reception there.
Chapter: XV. Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued)
Proposals for the Release of the Queen of Scots - Proceedings against Catholics and Puritans - Trial and Execution of Norfolk - Civil War in France and the Netherlands - Duke of Anjou proposes for Elizabeth - Visits England - Promise of Marriage - His Death - The Affairs of Ireland - Persecution of the Puritans, Catholics, and Anabaptists - Affairs of Scotland - Morton, as a Murderer of Darnley, executed - Attempts to release the Queen of Scots - Execution of Throckmorton and Arden - Penal Statutes - Execution of Parry-Arrest and Judgment of Arundel - Supposed Murder of the Earl of Northumberland in the Tower - Elizabeth aids the Belgian Insurgents - Treaty with James of Scotland - Elizabeth's Quarrel with Leicester - Intrigues of Morgan and Paget - Babington's Conspiracy - Removal of Mary to Fotheringay.
Chapter: XVI. The Reign of Elizabeth. (Continued)
Mary's Trial at Fotheringay - Refuses to Plead - Consents - Proofs against her - Her Defence - Condemned - Sentence confirmed by Parliament - Mary's Last Request to Elizabeth - Intercession of the Kings of France and Scotland - Elizabeth proposes,, through her Ministers, to Paulet, to privately dispatch Mary - Paulet refuses - The Death Warrant delivered to Davison, the Queen's Secretary-Mary's Death - Elizabeth's Pretended Anger at Davison - Throws him into Prison and confiscates his Property - Declares to the King of Scotland that his Mother's Death is not owing to her - Expeditions of Drake, Hawkins, Cavendish, &c. - Loss of Sluys in Holland - Leicester returns - The Spanish Armada - Elizabeth at Tilbury - Dispersion of the Armada - Death of Leicester - Trial and Death of the Earl of Arundel - Sufferings of Catholics and Puritans - The new Favourite, Essex - Expedition against Spain - Affairs in France - Accession of Henry IV. - Second Expedition against Spain-Spanish Fleet in the Channel - Peace betwixt France and Spain - Position with James of Scotland - Affairs in Ireland - Trial and Death of Sir John Perret - Rebellion of Tyrone - The Disobedience of Essex - His Trial and Death - Victory in Ireland and Submission of Tyrone - Declining Health of the Queen - Burleigh makes his secret Bargain with James in anticipation - Death and Character of Elizabeth.
Chapter: XVII. The Progress of the Nation