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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.
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The assassination of Murray greatly disconcerted the policy of Elizabeth. The wily diplomatist who had such strong reasons for securing her co-operation in detaining the Queen of Scots from the throne, being gone, there was a serious danger of the two parties combining, and, by the. aid of France, placing Mary, if not on the throne, at least at their head during the minority of her son. The Hamiltons, Maitland, Herries, Huntley, and Argyll were all on the side of the Queen of Scots, and Morton and his associates were in no condition of themselves to resist them. They were on the march to secure the castles of Dumbarton and Edinburgh; the French were already on the Clyde; the Kers and Scots, friends of Mary, had burst across the border, accompanied by the refugee Earl of Westmoreland; and an emissary from the Duke of Alva had arrived, bringing money, and promise of substantial help from Philip. It was necessary to sow instant dissension in Scotland, and for this purpose Elizabeth dispatched that subtle intriguer, Sir Thomas Randolph, to that country only three days after Murray's death, and resolved to recommend Lennox, whom the Hamiltons hated, as regent. The young king, indeed, was his grandson, and, therefore, he had a natural claim to that position, if his abilities had been adequate to its responsibilities.

Fortune seemed to favour Elizabeth. At the very moment that Cecil was recommending these measures, Lord Hunsdon, the Governor of Berwick, wrote to inform her that Morton was anxious to secure her support, and that nobleman lost no time in waiting on Sir Henry Gates and Sir William Drury, who had arrived on a mission to Murray, just before he was killed. He represented that his party trusted to the Queen of England not to liberate the Queen of Scotland, or the foreigners would soon possess the chief power in Scotland, but to send them Lennox as regent, and assist them as she had assisted Murray, and they would pledge themselves to pursue the same policy. Randolph, on his arrival, promised them the queen's aid, and encouraged them to refuse any connection with the Hamiltons, who had warned them to acknowledge no authority but that of the queen. Morton and his friends replied by a proclamation, maintaining the rights of the king, and forbidding any one, on pain of treason, holding communication with the Hamiltons. As they wanted a clever head, they liberated Maitland from the castle; and on his declaration of innocence of the murder of Darnley - a notorious untruth - they reinstated him in his old post of secretary, and made Morton chancellor. Randolph assured them of Elizabeth's determination to increase the rigour of the imprisonment of the Queen of Scots, and promised them both money and soldiers on condition that they should take care that the young king should not be carried off: to France, that they should maintain the Protestant religion, and deliver up Westmoreland and Northumberland. These conditions were readily accepted, and letters were dispatched to hasten the arrival of Lennox. On the queen's side were now ranged the whole power of the Hamiltons, the Earls of Argyll, Huntley, Atholl, Errol, Crawford, and Marshall; Caithness, Cassillis, Sutherland, and Eglinton; the Lords Home, Seaton, Ogilvy, Ross, Borthwick, Oliphant, Tester, and Fleming; Herries, Boyd, Somerville, Innermeith, Forbes, and Gray; but more than all their strength lay in the military abilities of Kirkaldy of Grange, and the diplomatic abilities of Maitland, who was no sooner at liberty than he went over to them. On the side of the king were Lennox, Mar, the governor of his youthful majesty, Glencairn, Buchanan, and the Lords Glammis, Ruthven, Lindsay, Cathcart, Methven, Ochiltree, and Saltoun.

The friends of Mary, encouraged by promise of support from Spain and France, liberated Chatelherault from the castle of Edinburgh, and compelled Randolph to fly to Berwick. They then addressed a memorial to Elizabeth, calling upon her to put an end to the miseries of Scotland by liberating the queen. But Elizabeth was in no humour to listen to such requests. She had excited all Mary's friends at home and abroad, and a perpetual succession of intrigues, plots, and menaces of invasion kept her in no enviable condition. The intrigues of Norfolk for obtaining Mary, the successive rebellions in the northern shires, the invasions of the borderers under Buccleuch and Ferneyhurst - who had announced the death of Murray before it took place - and the constant rumours of expeditions from France or Spain, wrought her to such a pitch, that, on pretence of seizing her rebels Northumberland and Westmoreland, she sent the Earl of Sussex into Scotland at the head of 7,000 men, the real object being to take vengeance on the allies of Mary, and to devastate the country with fire and sword.

It was in vain that the Bishop of Ross and the French ambassador remonstrated vehemently against this unjustifiable invasion; that Maitland assured Cecil that the English ravages would compel all parties to unite for protection. Sussex advanced, and first repaid the "rout" lately made by Buccleuch and Ferneyhurst, by destroying 50 castles and 300 villages in the fine districts of Teviotdale and the Merse.

So far it was but fair retaliation, but that did not content the irate queen. She ordered Lord Scroope to invade the western border and then lay waste the lands of the Lords Herries and Maxwell, the partisans of Mary, which he desolated with fire; whilst Lennox and Sir William Drury were to advance to Edinburgh with 1,200 foot and 400 horse. There they formed a junction with Morton and his party, dispersed the queen's friends, who were besieging the castle of Glasgow; and then made a terrible march into the country of the Hamiltons. They burnt and destroyed Clydesdale and Linlithgowshire; razed the castles, destroyed the villages, and left the whole country a black and terrible desert. The palace of Hamilton, and the castles of Linlithgow and Kinneil, belonging to Chatelherault, and the estates and houses of all his friends and kinsmen, were so completely destroyed 'that the house of Hamilton was reduced to the verge of ruin.

This excessive fury so roused the indignation of all parties in Scotland, and such loud remonstrances were made by Maitland, the Bishop of Ross, and the French ambassador, that Elizabeth began to fear that she had gone too far, and, instead of ruining Mary's party, had created her one out of her old enemies. She wrote to Sussex commanding him to stop the siege of Dumbarton, and to Randolph, ordering him to proceed again from Berwick to Edinburgh, and to inform the two parties that, having reasonably chastised her rebels, she had listened to the request of Mary's ambassador, the Bishop of Ross, and was about to arrange at Chatsworth for the liberation and restoration of the Queen of Scots. On this Sussex retired with his forces, and the commissioners for the adjustment of the terms with Mary proceeded to the Peak. Cecil and Mildmay were then the agents of Elizabeth; the Bishop of Ross, that of Mary. The Scottish queen, who had been removed about four months to this palace of the Peak, then one of the houses of the Earl of Shrewsbury, her keeper, during these negotiations showed herself a complete match for the deep and practical diplomatists of Elizabeth; but, of course, she was under the necessity of complying with many things which she would never have listened to at liberty. Elizabeth expressed herself quite satisfied; still, the assent of the two parties in Scotland had to be obtained, and that was not at all likely, so that Elizabeth's offer could appear fair, and even liberal, with perfect safety. Morton, the head of the opponents to Mary, advocated the right of subjects to depose their sovereigns where they infringed the rights of the community - a doctrine which was abominable to the ears of Elizabeth, and called forth her unqualified censure. On the other hand, the guarantees to be given by and on account of the Queen of Scots were such as never could be settled, from Elizabeth's fears of the resentment of Mary if once she became free. Thus the discussion was prolonged till Cecil found a way out of it without the liberation of the Scottish Queen. He represented that if Elizabeth were to marry a French prince, she would almost entirely annihilate any hopes of the English crown in Mary: for, if she had issue, her claims would be superseded; if she had not, then the French would be directly interested in keeping Elizabeth firm on her throne. The Duke of Anjou was the prince this time proposed, and Elizabeth appeared, as she generally did at first, to listen with pleasure to the proposal.- No sooner was, this scheme entertained than she caused the commissioners on the part of the King of Scotland to be dismissed for the present, on pretence that they were not furnished with sufficient credentials, by which she left herself at liberty to renew the treaty if necessary, or to take no further notice of it, if she came to an arrangement with the French prince.

No sooner had the Scottish commissioners withdrawn than Elizabeth summoned a Parliament, in which she proceeded to the enactment of seventies against both Romanists and Protestants. Pope Pius V. had had the folly to cause a bull of excommunication against Elizabeth to be published. This now effete instrument of Papal vengeance could only serve to enrage the heretic queen ^ and to cause her wrath to fall heavily on some zealous unfortunate. The lawyers being amongst those who clung, the longest to the old faith, a search was made in the inns of court for copies of the offensive paper. One was found in the chambers of a poor student, who, being stretched on the rack to force a confession from him of the party from whom he had received it, to save himself from torture, confessed that it was given to him by John Felton, a gentleman living near Southwark. Felton was seized,, and confessed to the fact of delivering the bull to the student; and to force a revelation of his accomplices from him he was tortured, but to no purpose - he would confess nothing more. He was committed to the Tower on the 25th of May, and kept till the 4th of August, when he was tried at Guildhall on a charge of high treason, condemned, and executed with the disgusting cruelties of being cut down alive, and then embowelled and quartered, in St. Paul's Churchyard, before the gates of the palace of the Bishop of London. Felton displayed a spirit and a magnanimity in his death which might have shamed his haughty persecutor. His wife had been maid of honour to Mary, and a friend of Elizabeth's; and, though thus cruelly treated, Felton drew from his finger, at the place of execution, a diamond ring worth 400, and sent it to the queen as a token that he bore no resentment. A number of gentlemen of Norfolk, friends of the imprisoned duke, resenting his treatment, had formed a plan to seize on Leicester, Cecil, and Bacon, by inviting them to a dinner. They intended to demand not only the release of the duke, but the expulsion of the numerous French, Flemish, and Dutch Protestants who had recently sought refuge in this country, and who were considered to injure the trade of English Romanists here. This design being discovered, they were hanged, drawn, and quartered. The victims were John Throckmorton of Norwich, Thomas Brook of Rolesby, and George Redman of Cringleford. In their proclamation they had denounced the profligacy of the Court and the domineering spirit of the newly-risen courtiers.

On the 2nd of April, 1571, Parliament met at Westminster. A subsidy of two shillings and eightpence in the pound was granted by the Commons, and of five shillings in the pound by the clergy, towards] defraying the charges of suppressing the rebellion in the North, and of pursuing the rebels and their abettors into Scotland.. This obtained, a bill was introduced to make it high treason for any one to claim a right to the succession of the crown during the lifetime of the queen, or to say that it belonged to any other person than the queen. It went on to say that it was high treason to call the queen a heretic, a schismatic, a tyrant, or a usurper, or to deny that Parliament had a right to determine the succession. What is extraordinary was that it enacted that any one, by writing or printing, mentioning any heir to the queen, except the natural issue of her lady, should suffer a year's imprisonment, and for the second offence incur the penalty of premunire. This phrase, the "natural issue," excited much ridicule and comment, as it implied that the queen either had, or was likely to have, natural issue, which she contemplated making her heir; and this was the more noticed because, in the negotiation for the restoration of the Queen of Scots, the like phrase had been introduced, and Mary's commissioners had insisted that the word lawful should be used before "issue," to which Elizabeth's commissioners had strenuously objected, and only at last conceded that it should stand "any issue by any lawful husband," which seemed to imply that, if she had living issue by Leicester, she would then marry him. What still more confirmed the public in this belief was that Leicester himself, in writing to Walsingham, mentioned the queen being in indifferent health, having had several fainting fits, having been "troubled with a spice or show of the mother," which had, however, turned out to be not so.

A second bill was passed this session enacting that any one was guilty of high treason who not merely obtained any bull from, or entered any suit in, the Court of Rome, but who was merely absolved by the Pope, or by means of any Papal instrument; and that all persons should suffer the pains of premunire who received any Agnus Dei, cross, bead, picture, which had been blessed by the Pope, or any one deriving authority from him; and their aiders and abettors the same. All persons whatsoever, of a certain age, were bound to attend the Protestant worship, and receive the sacrament as by law established; and all such as had fled abroad in order to escape this most despotic state of things, were ordered to return within six months and submit themselves under penalty of suffering the forfeiture of all property or rents from land. Spite of the fanatic zeal of the Commons, however, the compulsory enforcement of the sacrament on the Papists was given up as at once impracticable and dangerous. The rest of these intolerable measures were passed.

But if Parliament was disposed to annihilate all religious freedom in one direction, they were as prompt to extend it in another - that is, towards themselves. A great party had sprung up in the House of Commons and the nation, already known by the name of Puritans, and destined to become far more known hereafter.

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