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Title: A Popular History Of England From the Earliest Times To The Reign Of Queen Victoria; Vol. II
Author: Guizot, François, Witt, Madame de (Henriette Elizabeth)
Language: English
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As in the first volume, the recurring theme is death and
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  battle, arms, money, power, enemies, soldiers, reign, prison,
  unhappy, insurrection, condemned, vain, treaty, refuge,
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  courage, struck, rival, retreat, knights, danger, attacked,
  seized, ruin, reinforcements, pardon, defend, conspiracy,
  captive, perished, defeated, beheaded, arrest, vengeance,
  trial, threatened, repulsed, captured.]



[Image]
Parting Of Sir Thomas More And His Daughter.

{1}

        A Popular History Of England

         From the Earliest Times

    _To The Reign Of Queen Victoria_

                     BY

                  M. Guizot

  Author of "The Popular History of France," etc.

          _Authorized Edition_

                Illustrated

                  Vol. II


[Image]
Publisher's Logo:  ALDI DISCIP ANGLVS


               New York
         John W. Lovell Company

  150 Worth Street, Corner Mission Place

{2}

{3}

                Volume Two.


Parting of Sir Thomas Moore and his Daughter. -- Frontispiece.

The French Chivalry the Night before the Battle of Agincourt. -- 18

Henry V's Review Before Agincourt -- 20

Entry of the Burgundians into Paris. -- 26

Joan of Arc recognizes the French King. -- 50

Assassination of the Earl of Rutland. -- 78

Interview between Edward IV and Louis XI. -- 98

The Tower of London in 1690. -- 108

Henry Tudor crowned on the Battle-Field of Bosworth. -- 114

Confession of Peter Warbeck. -- 144

Chapel and Tomb of Henry VII. -- 152

Landing Henry VIII at Calais -- 160

Cardinal Wolsey Served by Noblemen -- 180

Henry VIII -- 210

Anger of Henry VIII on his First View of Anne of Cleves. -- 246

Catherine Discussing Theology with the King. -- 262

Death of Anne Askew. -- 274

Edward VI Writing His Journal -- 280

The Corpse passed under her Windows -- 286

Mary Vows To Marry Philip II -- 302

Mary, Queen of Scots -- 346

George Douglass seized Darnley's Dagger and Struck Rizzio -- 348

Mary Stuart Swearing She Had Never Sought The Life
Of Elizabeth. -- 402

{4}

{5}

               Table Of Contents.


Chapter XIII.  Grandeur and Decline
               Henry V. (1418-1422)
               Henry VI. (1422-1461) -- 9

Chapter XIV.   Red Rose and White Rose
               Edward IV. (1461-1483)
               Edward V. (1483)
               Richard III.(1483-1485) -- 81

Chapter XV.    The Tudors
               Re-establishment of the Regular Government
               Henry VII. (1485-1509) -- 117

Chapter XVI.   Henry VIII. and Wolsey (1509-1529) -- 154

Chapter XVII.  The Royal Reform
               Personal Government
               Henry VIII. (1529-1547) -- 210

Chapter XVIII. The Reformation
               Edward VI. (1547-1553) -- 268

Chapter XIX.   Persecution
               Bloody Mary (1553-1558) -- 293

Chapter XX.    Policy and Government of Queen Elizabeth,
               Her Foreign Relations (1558-1603) -- 324

Chapter XXI.   Social and Literary Progress of England
               under Elizabeth -- 429

{6}

{7}

                    Guizot's

              History Of England,

                    Vol. II.

          From the accession of Henry V.,
          to the death of Queen Elizabeth,
                   1413-1603.


{8}

{9}

                 Chapter XIII.

             Grandeur And Decline.
             Henry V., Henry VI.
                (1413-1461).


Henry of Monmouth ascended the throne under happy auspices. His
father had expended the popularity which in the first place had
carried him into power, and had lived amidst the anxieties and
cares of usurpation; but the work was accomplished, and his son
felt his authority so well established, that the first acts of
his reign bear testimony to a generous disdain towards
conspiracies and rivals. The body of King Richard II. was carried
away from the convent of Langley, and solemnly brought back to
Westminster, to be interred there beside his wife, Anne of
Bohemia, as the unhappy monarch had wished during his lifetime.
The king himself was the chief mourner. The young Edmund, earl of
March, was restored to liberty, and the son of Hotspur Percy was
recalled from his long exile in Scotland. Everywhere the former
adversaries of Henry IV., exiled or punished through his fear and
prudence, experienced the clemency of the young king, who
contrived to gain the affection of the greater number of them, by
the firmness and energy of character which were united in him
with generosity.

Recovered from any follies and excesses which may have sullied
his youth, Henry V., when he ascended the throne, showed himself
from the first to be austere in his life and in his morals,
resolved to fear God, and to cause his laws to be respected. He
was not in favor of the religious movement which was being
propagated in his kingdom, particularly among the lower classes
of society.
{10}
The doctrines and the preaching of Wycliffe, and the knowledge of
the Holy Scriptures which he had begun to diffuse, had born much
good fruit; but the disciples had, upon several points, swerved
from the teaching of their master, and from free investigation
had sprung up many dangerous errors as well as the most sacred
truths. The people designated the reformers under the name of
"Lollards," a word, the origin of which is not exactly known, but
which very possibly came from the German heretic, Walter Lolhard,
burnt at Cologne in 1322. Already, under Henry IV., the secular
arm had descended heavily upon the partisans of the new
doctrines. A priest, formerly rector of Lynn in Norfolk, and who
had for awhile abjured his opinions, had asked to be heard by the
Parliament, before which he had frankly expounded the doctrines
which he had been compelled to abandon. Being declared for this
deed a heretic and a relapser, Sacoytre was burnt at Smithfield
in the month of March, 1401, presenting for the first time to the
English people the terrible spectacle of a man put to death for
his opinions. A tailor, named John Batby, suffered the same
punishment in 1410. But at the beginning of the reign of Henry
V., the anger and uneasiness of the Church were directed against
a personage better known, and of higher rank. The Lollards had
become sufficiently numerous to have attributed to them a
declaration, placarded by night in London, announcing that a
hundred thousand men were ready to defend their rights by arms.
All regarded as their chief Sir John Oldcastle, generally called
Lord Cobham, by the right of his wife. He was a good soldier, and
the friend of Henry V., in his youth.
{11}
When Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, came to accuse Lord
Cobham before the king, the latter could not decide to deliver
him up to the Church, and he promised to labor himself to reclaim
him; but the king's powers of controversy were not equal to the
convictions of Lord Cobham. The monarch became angry, and as his
old friend had taken refuge in his manor of Cowling, in Kent,
Henry abandoned him to the archbishop. For some time the clever
soldier contrived to avoid the delivery of the arrest warrant,
but a body of troops sent by the king having surrounded the
castle, he surrendered, and was conducted to the Tower. For two
days he defended himself unaided against all the clergy
assembled, he was then condemned to the stake; but the king, who
still retained some affection for him, obtained a respite, during
which Sir John contrived to escape from the Tower. He no longer
hoped to live in peace; perhaps he reckoned upon the devotion of
his brethren. It is related that he assembled a considerable
number of Lollards, and that he made an attempt to surprise the
king; having failed in his design, he had convoked his partisans
in the fields of St. Giles, near London, on the morrow of the
Epiphany. The king was forewarned of the conspiracy and repaired
thither. Sir John was not there; a hundred men at the utmost had
assembled in the meadow; they carried arms, and confessed that
they were waiting for Oldcastle. Two or three other little
assemblages were also captured, and, on the 13th of January,
thirty Lollards suffered at St. Giles's the punishment of
traitors. The Parliament was agitated, and the State was believed
to be in danger; the judges, and magistrates were authorized to
arrest every individual suspected of heresy, and made oath to
prosecute the guilty in all parts. Death and confiscation were
decreed against them.
{12}
Sir Roger Acton, a friend of Oldcastle, was arrested, quartered,
and hanged on the 10th of February. The Archbishop of Canterbury,
Arundel, died on the 28th of the same month; but his successor,
Chicheley, was no less ardent than he against heresy, and it was
at his request and at his suit that Sir John Oldcastle, Lord
Cobham, after having for a long while remained concealed, was
rearrested in 1417, and burnt at a slow fire in the meadow of St.
Giles, on the 25th of December following.

The terror which the Lollards had caused was beginning to
subside. The king had had leisure to reflect upon the sad
condition of France; the weakness in which it was plunged
reminded him of the counsels of his dying father. It is said that
Henry IV. had advised his son to engage his country in a great
war, to divert it from conspiracies. The ardour of the young king
had become inflamed at this idea, and he had come to look upon
himself as the messenger of God, sent to punish the crimes of the
French princes, and to deliver from their hands the kingdom which
they were oppressing. In the month of July, 1414, he suddenly
laid claim to the crown of France, as the decendant of Isabel,
the daughter of Philip the Fair. This pretension, groundless on
the part of Edward III., became absurd in the mouth of Henry V.,
because the right of succession if transmissible by females,
belonged to the Earl of March. The Duke of Berry, then in power,
peremptorily repelled the demand of King Henry, who thereupon
proclaimed other pretensions. He consented to leave the throne to
King Charles, but he claimed for England the absolute sovereignty
of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, and Aquitaine, besides the towns and
territories ceded in other parts of France by the treaty of
Brétigny.
{13}
He claimed at the same time one half of Provence, the inheritance
of Eleanor and Sanche, the wives of Henry III., and of his
brother, the Duke of Cornwall; and the fifteen hundred thousand
crowns remaining to be paid upon the ransom of King John;
finally, he formally demanded the hand of the Princess Catherine,
the daughter of King Charles VI., with a dowry of two million of
crowns. In reply to these exorbitant demands, the Duke of Berry
proposed to surrender Aquitaine to the King of England, and to
give him the Princess Catherine, with a dowry of six hundred
thousand crowns. Never had a daughter of France brought so large
a dowry to her husband, and the payment of it would probably have
been difficult in the state of poverty which the country was in.
King Henry thereupon recalled his ambassadors, convoked the
Parliament, and, having obtained large subsidies, sent a second
mission to the court of France. The Earl of Dorset entered Paris
with a magnificent retinue. He proposed a prolongation of the
truce for four months, and consented to receive the princess with
a dowry of one million crowns only. Henry had also renounced his
pretensions to Maine, Anjou, and Normandy. The answer was the
same, but two hundred thousand crowns were added to the dowry of
Catherine. The ambassadors started back for England in March,
1415; the preparations for war immediately commenced.

The situation of France was more than ever deplorable. The
Armagnacs and the Burgundians were contending with each other for
the power, and a third competitor had entered the lists; the
dauphin, Louis, the eldest son of the unhappy Charles VI.,
arrived at manhood, and supported by his uncle, the Duke of
Berry, endeavored to seize the reins of government.
{14}
Dissolute and unmannerly, as profligate and as cruel as his
adversaries, he sometimes made use of the king's name, at others
he declared him incapable of directing his affairs, and plotted
to drive out the Armagnacs or the Burgundians. Blood flowed in
all parts, and the unhappy populations of the towns and the
country, exhausted by taxes and exactions, sighed after each
abuse for a new master: "What worse could the English do than
that from which we suffer?"

While the French nation, overwhelmed by its misfortunes, lost
even the wish of defending itself against foreigners, King Henry
had summoned a council of the Lords at Westminster. In the last
Parliament, his uncle, Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester and
Chancellor of England, had delivered a great speech upon this
text: "While we have time, let us do every good work." The king
announced to his councillors that he had resolved to put his hand
to the task and to recover his inheritance. All the prelates and
barons approved of his intentions, and his brother John, duke of
Bedford, was nominated Regent of England during his absence. The
conditions of military service were determined. The king
undertook to make a regular payment, curiously graduated
according to the rank of those who followed him; a duke was to
receive every day thirteen shillings and fourpence; an earl, six
shillings and eightpence; a baron, four shillings; a knight, two
shillings, an esquire, one shilling, and an archer sixpence. All
were to bring a certain number of horses, which the king
undertook to equip. Henry had pawned his jewels, contracted
loans, and had collected a very considerable sum of money, when
he marched forth in the month of July, to embark at Southampton.

{15}

At Winchester, the king encountered the Archbishop of Bourges,
sent by the Duke of Berry, in the frivolous hope of appeasing the
storm which threatened France. "I have a right to the crown,"
said Henry, "and I will conquer it with my sword." In vain did
the archbishop invoke the help of God, of the Virgin Mary, and of
the saints, who would defend the just cause of King Charles; in
vain, exasperated by the disdain of the English, did he exclaim
that the king had only made such liberal offers for love of
peace, and that King Henry would soon find himself repulsed as
far as the sea, if he should not be killed or made a prisoner;
Henry contented himself with smiling. "We shall see shortly,"
said he; and loading the prelate and his retinue with presents,
he sent him back with no other reply.

The embarkation of the troops had already commenced, when the
king was suddenly warned of a plot against his life. One of his
friends, Lord Scroop of Masham, in whom the king reposed such
confidence, that he always made him sleep in his own chamber, and
Sir Thomas Grey Heton, had conspired with the Earl of Cambridge,
the brother of the Duke of York, and as treacherous as he. The
king dead, the young Earl of March was to replace him upon the
throne. The three conspirators suffered the penalty of their
crime. Henry at length set sail for France, on the 13th of
August, 1415. The fleet entered the Seine on the morning of the
14th, and thirty thousand men, which it carried, landed within a
league of Harfleur. The spot was ill-chosen for the landing, and
the defence would have been easy; but no obstacle presented
itself to impede the operations of the English, and, on the 17th,
King Henry laid siege to Harfleur. The town was strong and well
defended by the Sire d'Estouteville; sickness was beginning to
ravage the English army; several barons of consequence died, as
well as a large number of soldiers; but the besieged suffered
also, and the governor in vain asked for assistance.

{16}

The Sire d'Estouteville formed his resolution; he issued secretly
out of the town and repaired in person to Rouen, where the French
forces were beginning to assemble. But confusion and disorder
reigned there; no one thought of delivering Harfleur. The brave
governor returned, re-entered the town, and surrendered it on the
22nd of September, after a siege which had lasted thirty-six
days. King Henry installed a garrison there, then embarked his
sick and wounded soldiers, whom he sent back to England, and took
account of his army thus diminished, nine thousand men at the
utmost remained under his banners. His supporters hesitated to
advance into France. Henry had sent to the dauphin a challenge to
single combat; but Louis had not even replied.

The king silenced the timid counsels. "No," said he, "with the
help of God, we must first see a little more of this good soil of
France, which all belongs to us. We will go, with God's help,
without hurt or danger: but if we should be interfered with, we
will fight, and the victory will be ours." Reassuring his men
thus, the King of England set out on his way to Calais, on the
6th of October. The army at Rouen, under the orders of the king
and the dauphin, did not stir; but that of the Constable had
preceded the English in Picardy, and every day troops passed by
on their way to join him. Watched by some detachments larger than
his entire army, Henry traversed Normandy without any obstacle;
near Dieppe, however, he was attacked by the garrison of Eu, but
the enemy was thrown back in disorder.
{17}
Like Edward III., Henry found himself stopped by the river Somme,
and could not discover a ford; Blanche Tache was guarded; the
greater number of the passages were furnished with stakes. The
soldiers were beginning to murmur, when, on the 19th of October,
a passage was found between Bethencourt and Vogenme, and the
English army crossed the Somme without impediment. The Constable
had established himself at Abbeville, and the military council
assembled at Rouen decided that battle should be given. The
immense superiority of the French army had caused the wise usages
of King Charles V. to be forgotten.

On the 20th of October, three French heralds presented themselves
at the camp of the enemy, and the Duke of York conducted them to
the king. "Sire," they said, bending the knee before him, "my
masters, the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, and my lord the
Constable, inform you that they intend to give battle to you."
"God's will be done," replied the king without emotion. "And by
which road do you intend to proceed?" resumed the heralds, who
had noticed with amazement the small number of English tents, and
the weary appearance of the soldiers. "That of Calais, straight
along," replied Henry. "If my enemies wish to stop me, it will be
at their peril. I do not seek them, but I will proceed neither
faster nor more slowly to avoid them." And raising his camp on
the morrow, Henry indeed continued his march, as though death or
defeat could not lie hidden behind each hill, or await him in the
neighboring plains. On the 24th he had crossed the river of
Ternois, when he perceived the first columns of the enemy. He
immediately formed his troops into battle order; but the
Constable having fallen back upon Agincourt, the King of England
took up his quarters in the village of Maisoncelles. The royal
standard of France was planted on the road to Calais; death or
victory was imperative.

{18}

King Henry had sent his marshals to reconnoitre the position of
the French. They brought back alarming particulars as to their
strength, and the number of pennants and banners spread out in
the wind; the soldiers were laughing around their fires, and the
spies heard them calculating the ransom of the English barons.
The veteran knights alone appeared less joyful; the Duke of
Berry, who, when quite a child, had fought at Poictiers, had
opposed with all his might the project of giving battle. He had
succeeded in preventing the arrival of the king. "It is better,"
he said, remembering the captivity of his father, King John, "to
lose the battle than to lose both the king and the battle." The
English trumpets sounded throughout the night; but the soldiers
had confessed, and many of them had made their wills; they
appreciated all the danger that threatened them.

At daybreak, on the 25th of October, the king attended mass.
Three altars had been erected in the camp, in order that the
soldiers might all be present at divine worship. The English were
composed of three divisions; two detachments were stationed at
the wings. The archers, placed in the form of a quoin in front of
the men-at-arms, drove into the ground long stakes, intended to
protect them against the charge of the cavalry; for the first
time, the points of the stakes were furnished with iron. The
baggage, the priests, and the greater number of the horses had
remained in the rear-guard, near Maisoncelles. The king rode
slowly along the lines upon his little grey horse; the crown
which surmounted his helmet sparkled in the rays of the sun, but
the youthful and handsome countenance of the young sovereign
above all attracted the attention of his soldiers.

[Image]
The French Chivalry the Night before the Battle of Agincourt.

{19}

"My course is taken," he said, "to conquer or die here. Never
shall England pay a ransom for me. Remember, Soissons, [Footnote 1]
my archers; the French have sworn to cut off three fingers
from the right hand of every one of you, so that you may never be
able to shoot an arrow again in your lives. We have not come to
our kingdom of France like enemies; we have not sacked the towns
and insulted the women; they are full of sin and have not the
fear of God before their eyes." A gallant warrior, Walter
Hungerford, said aloud, as the king passed by, that he would like
to see at his side a few of the good knights who remained idle in
England. "No," cried Henry, "I would not have here one man more.
If God give us the victory, the fewer we are, the greater will be
the honor; if we fail, the country will be less unhappy." And he
smiled, like a man certain of victory.

    [Footnote 1: Two hundred English archers, prisoners of war,
    had been hanged at Soissons.]

The French did not make an attack. By the advice of the old Duke
of Berry, they had resolved to await the onslaught, and they had
seated themselves upon the ground, like the English at Crecy.
Henry had reckoned upon the confusion and disorder which every
movement would bring upon this compact and confused mass, where
each knight obeyed his liege lord, without concerning himself
about the general direction, and he hesitated to make an attack.
The Constable wished to wait for the Duke of Brittany, who was to
bring fresh reinforcements; but, seeing that the English remained
stationary, he despatched Messire Guichard Dauphin to King Henry,
to offer him a free passage, if he would surrender Harfleur and
renounce his pretensions to the crown of France.
{20}
Henry refused without hesitation; he was willing to negotiate, he
said, upon the conditions which he had offered from London. They
could delay no longer; the English army was destitute of
provisions. The king gave orders to his two detachments to creep,
one to the left and the other to the rear of the French army; he
then in a ringing voice cried, "Advance, banners!" It was
mid-day. Sir Thomas Erpingham, the venerable commander of the
archers, threw his white staff into the air, and gave the order
to "Shoot." The English, having advanced within bowshot, planted
their stakes, and, uttering their battle cries, began to shoot.
Their comrades, hidden upon the left flank of the French,
answered them with cries and with arrows. Messire Clignet de
Brabant charged the archers, crying, "Montjoie! Saint Denis!" The
ground was soft and moist with rain; the horses slipped and fell;
the horsemen were wounded by the arrows, and their lances could
not reach, behind the ramparts of stakes, the bare breasts of the
archers, who had nearly all thrown off a portion of their
clothing so as to fight more at ease. The Brabantines were
compelled to retire in disorder, breaking up at their rear the
advancing ranks. The mass became so confused and the ranks so
crowded that neither horses nor men had room to move. The English
archers had drawn their stakes, and, having discontinued
shooting, charged with mallet and battle-axe in hand. The French
cavalry had made a side movement, but the horses sank into the
freshly ploughed soil; the men, heavily armed, had difficulty in
dismounting, while their enemies ran lightly upon the yielding
ground.

[Image]
Henry V.'s Review Before Agincourt.

{21}

The Constable had been slain; the Duke Anthony of Brabant fell
beneath a battle-axe, at the moment when the second French
division attacked the English men-at-arms who were advancing in
their turn. The struggle then began between the cavalry. The Duke
of Clarence had been overthrown; Henry, standing before his body,
defended him single-handed. Eighteen knights, bearing the banner
of the Count of Croy, attacked him at the same moment; they had
sworn to capture the King of England dead or alive. A blow from a
battle-axe caused the knees of Henry to bend; he was about to
perish, when his knights rejoined him; the king rose, and the
eighteen assailants were killed. The Duke of Alençon, sword in
hand, had arrived at the foot of the standard of England, having
overthrown the Duke of York. King Henry defended his treacherous
relative, and the battle-axe of the French prince smashed a half
of the crown which surmounted his helmet. At the same moment the
duke was surrounded. "I surrender," he cried. "I am the Duke of
Alençon." But already the blows of the English had stretched him
upon the ground, and when King Henry went to receive his gage, he
was dead. The French troops faltered; their chiefs were either
captured or slain. The third division began to fly; the ground
gave under their feet; the horses sank into the mud. Then a great
tumult arose in the rear of the English. The third division
rallied, the Duke of Brittany was hourly expected with numerous
reinforcements: King Henry gave orders to kill the prisoners with
whom each Englishman was encumbered; the greatest names of France
were falling beneath the dagger. Again the alarm subsided; the
peasants who had made a raid upon the baggage had been repulsed,
the French cavalry had resumed their gallop; the King of England
arrested the slaughter, and gave orders to raise the wounded.
{22}
The day was ended; the king rode over the field of battle with
his barons; the heralds examined the arms of the dead knights.
Henry encountered Montjoie, the French king-at-arms, who had been
made a prisoner. "This butchery is not of our doing," he said,
"but of the Almighty, who wished to punish the sins of France. To
whom falls the honor of the victory?" "To the King of England,"
gravely replied Montjoie. "What is the name of this castle?"
resumed the king. "Agincourt." "The day's work shall then be
called the battle of Agincourt," said Henry, and he resumed his
march amidst the dead and the dying. Eight thousand gentleman had
fallen upon the field of battle, of whom one hundred and twenty
were great noblemen bearing banners. The Duke of Orleans, the
Count of Richemont. Marshal Boucicault, the Duke of Bourbon, the
Counts of Eu and Vendôme, were prisoners. Amongst the English the
Earl of Suffolk and the Duke of York had been killed.

The king retook the road to Calais, the young Count of Charolais,
the son of the Duke of Burgundy, whom his father had forbidden to
take part in the combat, had performed the last duties towards
his uncles, the Duke of Brabant and the Count of Nevers. At the
same time, he caused to be interred at his own expense, all those
whose friends had not come to take away their bodies. Nearly six
thousand men were deposited in the cemetery improvised upon the
field of battle, and the Bishop of Guînes said the last prayers
there.

{23}

The King of England had merely passed through Calais, then
returned home, laden with booty, amidst the shouts of joy of his
subjects, some of whom, on his arrival, threw themselves into the
sea and carried him to land upon their shoulders. In its
gratitude, the Parliament had granted to him, for his lifetime,
the subsidy upon woollens and leathers, which it had formerly so
bitterly regretted presenting to King Richard. Henry V., however,
was too much occupied by his foreign ventures, and was naturally
too just and too generous to abuse the favors of his people.
During the whole course of his reign he lived in peace and in
mutual understanding with his Parliament.

The King of England was occupied in receiving with magnificence
the Emperor Sigismund, who was travelling, like a knight errant,
from kingdom to kingdom, endeavoring to effect the cessation of
the schism which was desolating the Church, by causing the
anti-popes to abdicate and thereby restore to Christianity a
universally recognized chief, when, in the month of August, 1416,
came the news that Harfleur was closely pressed by a body of
French troops. The king was ready to embark; but Sigismund
dissuaded him, under the pretext that this enterprise was not
worthy of so great a prince, and the Duke of Bedford was
entrusted to deliver the garrison of Harfleur. He found a pretty
considerable fleet, reinforced by some Genoese and Spaniards,
which awaited him at the mouth of the Seine, and on the 15th of
August he was attacked by the French who were soon defeated; but
the Genoese caracks rose so high above the water, that the
English sailors were compelled to climb up like cats to board
them: they succeeded, however, for "at sea," says the old
chronicler, "neither those who attack, nor those who defend have
any place of refuge or means of escape, and the combat is
therefore more desperate." The French fleet was destroyed, and
the land forces were retreating in disorder; but the sea was
covered with dead bodies, which came floating around the vessels,
and the sight was still horrible when the Duke of Bedford
returned to England, leaving Harfleur revictualled and in a good
state of defence.

{24}

The Emperor Sigismund had accompanied his royal host to a
conference, at Calais, whither the Duke of Burgundy, who began to
incline towards the English, had repaired. The Count of Armagnac
was all-powerful in Paris, and King Henry was preparing a large
army to attempt a fresh invasion of France.

The Dauphin Louis was dead, poisoned, it was said, by the
Armagnacs, who dreaded the influence of his father-in-law, the
Duke of Burgundy. Prince John, who had become dauphin, had been
accompanied to Compiègne by his brother-in-law, the Count of
Hainault. He was quite a Burgundian, and did not long survive his
elevation. "At the beginning of 1417," wrote the Duke of
Burgundy, "our much dreaded lord and nephew was stricken one
evening with so severe an illness that he died immediately; his
lips, tongue, and face all swollen, which was a pitious sight,
for like this are persons who are poisoned." The new dauphin,
Charles, was but sixteen years of age; he belonged to the
Armagnacs, who had caused Queen Isabel to be seized in the castle
of Vincennes, and had imprisoned her at Tours. She had thereupon
entered into friendly relations with the Duke of Burgundy, whose
partisans had been driven in a mass from Paris. The English
disembarked at the same time at Touques, in Normandy.

From this period, and for twenty years, the history of England is
made in France. Absorbed at first in their conquests, then in the
attempt to preserve them, the English princes asked nothing of
their native country but men and money. The towns of Normandy
fell one after another into the power of King Henry: Caen was
taken by storm; Lisieux, Bayeux, Laigle, had been abandoned by
the population, who had taken refuge in Brittany.
{25}
Nothing arrested his triumphal march. In vain did the French
deputies endeavor to negotiate; Henry demanded the hand of the
Princess Catherine, and only consented to leave the royal title
to Charles VI. on condition of governing during his lifetime as
regent, and having possession of the crown after his death. The
winter had arrived and the Scots had attempted an incursion into
the Northern counties; but Bedford had repulsed them. In the
beginning of the spring (1418), King Henry resumed his military
operations. Large reinforcements had arrived from England;
Cherbourg, Domfront, Louviers, Pont-de-l'Arche, besieged by large
detachments, surrendered almost at the same time. The whole of
Lower Normandy was in the hands of the conqueror, who established
his government there. The salt tax was abolished, and the
chancellor of the duchy was entrusted to govern with strict
justice. On the 30th of July, the King of England laid siege to
Rouen.

Meanwhile Paris was more than ever a prey to flames and
bloodshed. The Duke of Burgundy had released Queen Isabel, who
had declared herself regent of the kingdom, without concerning
herself about the rights of her son. She was advancing against
Paris, which trembled under the Count of Armagnac. "In those
days, it was sufficient in Paris to say that a man was a
Burgundian for him to be dead," say the chronicles. The
population began to weary of this sanguinary yoke. In the night
of the 23rd of May, 1418, one of the gates of the city was
secretly opened to a small body of Burgundians, by Perrinet
Leclerc, the son of a civil guard.
{26}
The Sire of Isle-Adam, who commanded the detachment, hastened to
the Hôtel St. Pol; the dauphin had already been dragged as far as
the Bastille by Tanneguy-Duchâtel, a Breton knight and an ardent
Armagnac. The Constable had concealed himself; the poor king,
awakening with a start, recognized Isle-Adam. "How is my cousin
of Burgundy?" he said courteously. "It is a very long time since
I have seen him." The populace of Paris had risen and were
rushing upon the Armagnacs; the king was placed on horseback and
conducted through the streets of Paris. The Constable had been
discovered, and thrown into prison with his partisans; but on the
12th of June a cry was raised that the enemy were at the gates:
the people ran to the prisons, the captives were dragged into the
yards, and immediately slaughtered, notwithstanding some efforts
of the Burgundian knights. Nearly five thousand persons perished
in this massacre, which lasted several days. Tanneguy-Duchâtel
had conducted the dauphin to Bourges, when the Duke of Burgundy
and the queen entered Paris in triumph. The two parties
endeavored to negotiate with King Henry, who listened to them but
rejected their proposals one by one: he having persuaded himself
that he was the avenger sent by God. "He has conducted me hither
by the hand to punish the sins of the land and to reign as a true
king," he replied to the solicitations of the Papal Legate in
favor of peace. "There is neither law nor sovereign in France,
none think of resisting me; I will maintain my just rights and
will place the crown upon my head. It is the will of God."

Meanwhile the siege of Rouen still continued. From every captured
town and abandoned castle, the best combatants had taken refuge
in the capital of Normandy. The citizens thereof had always been
valiant and passionately attached to independence.

[Image]
Entry of the Burgundians into Paris.

{27}

Henry in vain repeated to them that he was of Norman race, a
descendant of Rollo and William the Conqueror; the Rouennais kept
their gates closed, fighting valiantly upon the ramparts, and
making frequent sorties. Hunger, however, began to make itself
felt; an old priest left the city secretly and repaired to Paris
to ask for assistance. He addressed himself to Maître Pavilly,
the greatest doctor and preacher of the Sorbonne, beseeching him
to preach a sermon in favor of the unfortunate besieged of Rouen.
The eloquence of Maître Pavilly moved all his auditors to tears.
"I have come to raise the hue and cry," said the old priest.
Assistance was promised him, but days elapsed and nobody came.
The dogs and cats were eaten; the besieged caused a capitulation
to be proposed to King Henry. "In your present state," replied
the conquerer, "I intend to see you at my mercy." When Messire Le
Bouteiller, the governor of the city, received the answer, he no
longer took any counsel but that of despair. "Let us set fire to
the houses," he said, "and arm ourselves as well as we are able,
with the women and children in our midst; we will thus make a
breach in the wall, which is ruined, and will throw ourselves
upon the camp of the English, to go where we can." The rumor of
this resolve reached the ears of King Henry. He was harsh, and
urged on his projects without concerning himself much about human
sufferings; but he was unwilling to see Rouen reduced to ashes;
he promised to the men-at-arms their life and liberty, on
condition of not fighting against him for one year. The citizens
retained their property and their liberties, by paying a fine of
three hundred thousand crowns. The king entered Rouen on the 16th
of January, 1419, amidst the dead bodies with which the streets
were strewn: fifty thousand persons, it was said, had perished in
the city during the siege.

{28}

The consternation was great in France, when it was learnt that
Rouen had succumbed. The Duke of Burgundy quitted Paris with the
king and queen, and negotiations were again entered into with the
King of England. The conditions offered by the Duke of Burgundy
were so advantageous that Henry consented to negotiate in person.
The plain beyond the environs of Meulan was chosen for the
interview; the court of France was at Pontoise, and the King of
England had established himself at Mantes. On the 30th of May,
two magnificent retinues appeared in the field, around whom a
crowd of people thronged; silken tents had been erected. For the
first time Henry saw that Princess Catherine with whom he had
been smitten through a portrait, and whom he had chosen for the
lady of his thoughts. Tall, slim, fair, with black eyes, the
beauty of the princess made a lively impression upon her knight,
but without disturbing for a moment the policy of the king.
Interviews succeeded each other, but Henry abated nothing of his
demands. "Good cousin of Burgundy," said he, "I will have the
daughter of your king for my wife, and with her all that I have
demanded." But when the King of England presented himself for the
eighth conference, the French tents were deserted. A treaty had
been concluded between the Duke of Burgundy and the dauphin, they
having embraced upon the road between Melun and Corbeil; the two
parties were for the moment reunited against the English. King
Henry, indignant at this treachery, and swearing to avenge
himself unaided, advanced as far as Pontoise, which was taken on
the 27th of July. Isle-Adam, who defended the town, was compelled
to fly, leaving behind him the treasure which he had amassed in
Paris by hanging the Armagnacs.

{29}

The Duke of Burgundy was at Saint-Denis; but he made no effort to
defend Pontoise. Paris remained undefended; nobody thought any
longer of taking possession of that unhappy city, the scene of so
many horrors and crimes. There was uneasiness around the King of
England; the negotiations which were on foot between the court of
France and the Regent of Scotland were known; the King of Castile
had armed a large fleet which ravaged the coasts of Guienne.
Henry V. alone had not lost confidence: he counted upon the
justice of God as well as upon the internal treachery of his
adversaries; the event proved that he had not been mistaken.
Since his reconciliation with the dauphin, the Duke of Burgundy
strongly urged the latter to repair to Troyes, where the king and
queen were; the young prince, or rather his councillors, insisted
upon a preliminary interview at Montereau. The duke hesitated; he
had received several warnings of the evil designs of
Tanneguy-Duchâtel. But the influence of a woman, the Dame de
Giac, gained over by the Armagnacs, decided him to risk all, and
he started for Montereau. Tanneguy-Duchâtel came forward to meet
him; the servants of the duke still insisted on his retreating.
"No," said he, "if I die, it will be as a martyr, and the
councillors of my lord the dauphin are good knights." Then, as
Duchâtel entered, "This is what I rely upon," he said, resting
his hand upon his shoulder; "Messire Tanneguy answers for my
safety." The Armagnacs reiterated protestations, while leading
the duke towards the pavilion which had been prepared upon the
bridge. Barriers closed it upon both sides; they were carefully
thrown down as soon as the duke had entered.
{30}
He uncovered his head and placed one knee upon the ground before
the dauphin, who leant against the balustrade in the centre of
the pavilion. The young prince scarcely answered, muttering some
reproaches. At the same moment, upon a movement of John Sans Peur
which caused his sword to clatter, Tanneguy cried, "A sword
before my Lord," and struck the duke a blow upon the head with
his battle-axe. The Sire de Navailles, raised his arm to defend
his master; but the Viscount of Narbonne sprang upon him. The
duke had been thrown down without having been able to draw his
sword; two noblemen raised his coat of mail and plunged their
daggers in his breast; the Burgundians of the retinue were made
prisoners and two of them were seriously wounded. The troops of
the dauphin had scattered the escort; the young prince had
retired; John Sans Peur remained upon the bridge, lifeless, and
divested of his jewels and his rich habiliments. This bold and
cunning heart, this egotistical ambition which nothing arrested,
this magnificent life of pleasures and politics, all had been
ended by a crime, and the public indignation enumerated the good
qualities of the duke without recalling his vices; the death of
John Sans Peur opened a wide entrance for the English in France.

Philip, count of Charolais, now Duke of Burgundy, was at Ghent,
when he learnt of the assassination of his father. "Michelle," he
said, turning towards his wife, the daughter of Charles VI.,
"your brother has killed my father." Amidst deputations which
arrived from all parts to deplore the crime, and to throw the
responsibility of it upon the dauphin, the first care of the new
duke was to enter into negotiations with the King of England.

{31}

Anger and vengeance were about to give to Henry all that his
victories had not yet been able to wrest from the weakness of
France. The proposals of the dauphin had been rejected; but when
the young Duke of Burgundy was entrusted to negotiate by Queen
Isabel, the king entered into parleys; the hand of the Princess
Catherine was promised him, with the regency of the kingdom, and
the crown at the death of Charles VI. He consented, in his turn,
to renounce the title of King of France during the lifetime of
King Charles, to govern his new kingdom upon the advice of a
French council, to respect the liberties of the Parliaments and
towns, and to reannex Normandy to the crown of France on his
accession to the throne. A private treaty assured certain favors
to the Duke of Burgundy. Neither of these documents contained the
clause which had led to their conclusion; but it was understood
that the dauphin should be pursued to the death.

The Duke of Burgundy had assured himself of his revenge; he
returned to Troyes; all the constituent bodies had already
reassembled at Paris,--the Parliament, the Chamber of Accounts,
the University,--and all had approved of the treaty with the
English. The great qualities of King Henry were enumerated;
prudent and wise, loving peace and justice, maintaining a strict
discipline among warriors, protecting the poor people, resigned
to the will of God, praising Him in good fortune and accepting
bad fortune without anger. It was added that he was of noble
bearing and of an agreeable countenance. None objected; people
were weary of the civil wars; misery had exhausted their hearts
and benumbed their courage; the Duke of Burgundy was
all-powerful. A few noblemen alone dared to complain: the Duke
Philip had great difficulty in making John of Luxemburg and the
Bishop of Thérouenne, his brother, to swear peace.
{32}
"You wish it," they said, "we will therefore take the oath, and
also will we, keep it until death." Others formally refused, and,
in the duchy of Burgundy, all the towns at first resisted the
oath of fidelity required by the King of England. "Those who
looked displeased," says Juvenal des Ursins, "were treated as
Armagnacs, but they were only good and loyal Frenchmen." The
treaty of Troyes was the disgrace of France.

King Henry arrived at the court on the 20th of May, followed by
the flower of his army, upon which he had imposed a severe
discipline; in traversing the country, he had everywhere required
the soldiers to put water in their wine. The Princess Catherine
was awaiting her chevalier, who was affianced to her with great
ceremony, and on the morrow the treaty was signed. The King of
England, regent of France, had received the oaths of his new
subjects, when his marriage was celebrated on the 2nd of June, by
the Archbishop of Sens, amidst the most brilliant ceremonies. The
young knights and gallants hoped for a joust and some passages of
arms on the occasion of this great union; but Henry was not so
full of love as to forget his affairs. "I beg my lord the king,"
he said, "for permission, and I command his servants as well as
my own be in readiness to-morrow morning to proceed to lay siege
to the city of Sens, where are the enemies of the king. There
each of us will be able to joust, tourney, and display his
prowess and courage, for there is no finer prowess than to mete
out justice to the wicked in order that the poor people may
live." The court of Queen Isabel was not accustomed to this
serious and firm language, but they set out for Sens without
complaining. The town was taken at the end of two days; the king
caused the archbishop to be called, and conducted him to the
church. "You have given me a bride, and I restore yours to you,"
he said to the prelate.

{33}

From Sens the army went to Montereau; the Burgundians were
fighting furiously, eager to have possession of the spot in which
the body of their duke reposed. The garrison had been compelled
to retire within the castle, where the Sire de Guitry defended
himself yet for some time. Scarcely had Philip of Burgundy
entered the town, when the women conducted him to the church
wherein his father had been hurriedly interred. He caused the
tomb to be opened; the body was riddled with wounds, disfigured
by the blows of the battle-axe of Tanneguy-Duchâtel; all wept
while looking at him: the body was transported to Dijon with the
greatest honors, and deposited in the tomb of Philip the Bold.
The bastard De Croy, killed during the siege, took, in the church
of Montereau, the place which the Duke John left empty.

The army had repaired to Melun; but the town was defended by the
Sire de Barbazan, one of the dauphin's most gallant knights. The
siege might have been protracted; the court came and established
itself at Corbeil. Every day the besieged made sorties; an
assault had been attempted without success; mines were defeated
by counter-mines; the English, Burgundian, and French knights
sometimes took pleasure in breaking lances in those dark
galleries; the Sire de Barbazan there had the honor of
encountering the King of England without knowing him; but the
combats of the men-at-arms were more serious, and the knights
sometimes took part in them.
{34}
"You do not know what it is to fight in a mine," said De Barbazan
to the young Louis des Ursins, who was preparing to descend
there; "have the handle of your battle-axe cut down; the passages
in the mines are often narrow and zigzagged; short sticks are
necessary for fighting hand to hand."

Meanwhile the people suffered cruelly within the town, and the
dauphin could not succor it: the English and Burgundian forces
would have crushed his little army. The besieged still held out.
King Henry had in vain caused Charles VI. to be brought to the
camp; De Barbazan replied that he would open the gates to him
willingly, but not to the mortal enemies of France. Already the
English and the Burgundians began to quarrel among themselves;
the French noblemen complained of the small court and the shabby
costume of their king, while the King of England had a gorgeous
establishment. Henry, besides, feeling himself surrounded by
scarcely subjected enemies, and little accustomed to all the
delicate shades of French courtesy, treated the barons with less
consideration then they were wont to encounter. The Marshal of
Isle-Adam, who was in command at Joigney, had come to Sens on
some matters of business. "Is that the dress of a marshal of
France?" asked King Henry, while surveying him from head to foot.
"Sire," replied the marshal, "I had this light grey robe made to
come here by water." "What!" cried the king, "do you look a
prince in the face in speaking to him?" "Sire," and the
Burgundian drew himself up, "in France it is the custom when one
man speaks to another, of whatever rank, or whatever power he may
be, that he pass for a bad man of little honor if he does not
dare to look him in the face." "It is not our fashion," muttered
Henry, and shortly afterwards Isle-Adam was deprived of his
command.

{35}

Melun had at length been compelled to capitulate, on the 18th of
November, and the King of England made his entry into Paris. That
city was a prey to the most frightful misery; little children
were abandoned and died of hunger and cold in the streets; wolves
entered the cemeteries and even into the streets, to devour the
dead bodies which none took the trouble to inter. Notwithstanding
the distress, all Paris was holiday-making for the arrival of the
two kings; the poor Charles VI. rode beside his son-in-law, who
vied with him in courtesy at the doors of the churches when the
relics were presented to them to be kissed. The Duke of Burgundy
as well as all his household, clad in mourning, followed the King
of France: the Dukes of Clarence and Bedford accompanied their
brother. The misery was redoubled within Paris after the
magnificences of the royal reception. Henry established himself
at the Louvre, where he held court sumptuously; the old king had
re-entered the Hotel St. Paul, but few people repaired thither to
wish him a happy Christmas.

The Duke of Burgundy had formally demanded justice for the death
of his father, and the murderers had been condemned by a decree
of Charles VI., without giving the names and without personally
accusing the dauphin. The King of England was in need of money,
and, entrusting the command of his army to the Duke of Clarence,
after having provided for the principal officers of the kingdom
men who were devoted to him, he set sail for England,
notwithstanding the severity of the weather. He landed at Dover,
in the middle of January, welcomed by the acclamations of his
people. The royal retinue resembled a triumph when it entered
London.
{36}
Catherine was crowned at Westminster, "with such great pomp and
feasting and jollity, that since the time of the very noble and
very warlike King Artus was not seen in the city of London a
similar rejoicing for any English king," says Monstrelet. The
sovereigns had commenced a journey in their states when, at York,
the king learnt the sad news of the death of his well-beloved
brother, the Duke of Clarence, slain in the combat of Baugé. He
was ravaging Anjou, which still recognized the authority of the
dauphin. The Seigneur de la Fayette had raised a few troops to
resist him, and a numerous body of Scottish auxiliaries had
joined him under the orders of the Earl of Buchan. Clarence did
not know with what enemies he had to deal; he had imprudently
advanced and had been killed by Lord Buchan together with a great
number of English who remained upon the field. The dauphin then
nominated the Earl of Buchan Constable of France.

Negotiations were then in progress for the release of King James
of Scotland, so long a prisoner at the court of England; King
Henry caused him to come, and, his face flashing with rage, he
said, "Forbid all your subjects ever to lend assistance against
me to the dauphin." "I should make a sorry figure by giving
orders, being a prisoner," firmly replied James; "but if you will
take me with you to France, I shall learn the art of war in a
good school, and, perhaps, when my Scots shall see me with you,
they will not fight on the other side." Henry V. had an affection
for the King of Scotland, and granted him his request; but
Archibald Douglas was already preparing to proceed to France, to
join Lord Buchan.

{37}

Meanwhile, the king was assembling a more considerable army than
any that he ever led beyond the seas, the Parliament having
liberally voted subsidies. On the 10th of June, 1421, Henry
landed at Calais, leaving Queen Catherine in England. The King of
Scotland was entrusted to besiege Dreux, and Henry himself laid
siege to Meaux, which detained him for several months; the town
was commanded by the bastard De Vaurus, who had made of it a
haunt of crimes and of pillage. When the castle was at length
surrendered, in the month of May, 1422, the governor was hanged
upon the great oak of which the branches had so often borne the
corpses of his victims. Catherine, accompanied by the Duke of
Bedford, had rejoined her husband, to whom she had recently
presented a son. The dauphin, driven back by degrees by the
English arms, had finally taken refuge in Bourges; but the Earl
of Buchan continued to keep the field; he had taken La Charité
and was besieging Cosne. The dauphin had repaired to the army,
and the King of England, already for a long time enfeebled by
fever, was preparing to attack him with the Duke of Burgundy,
when his strength completely failed and he was compelled to halt
at Corbeil. The Duke of Bedford having assumed the command of the
army, the king was carried back in a litter to the castle of
Vincennes: the queen having remained at Paris.

The hand of God was about to arrest this great career; at
thirty-four years of age, King Henry V. was dying; the Duke of
Bedford was arrested in a march during which he had encountered
no enemies, by the wish of his brother, who desired to say
farewell to him. Every worldly gift had been lavished upon the
young conqueror; the master of two kingdoms, surrounded by the
esteem and affection of his English subjects, recently married to
the woman of his choice, just become the father of an infant son,
he was about to leave them; but the faith and resignation of a
Christian surmounted in the soul ready to take flight, the frail
benefits of the earth.
{38}
Amidst his grandeurs and his conquests Henry had led a pure and
austere life, and had not neglected to serve God. He dreamt
continually, when peace should be re-established, of proceeding
to the East, to deliver the Holy Sepulchre; this vision still
floated around his death-bed. He had caused his faithful servants
to be summoned, "Since it is the will of God, my Creator, thus to
shorten my life," he said to them, "His will be done! Console my
sweet Catherine; she will be the most disconsolate creature there
is in the world." He confided the education of his son to the
Earl of Warwick. "You cannot yet love him for his own sake; but,
if you should think that you owe me anything return it to him."
He had entrusted John, duke of Bedford, to govern France, and
designated Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, as regent of England.
"Tell Humphrey to beware of quarrels for love of me, and never to
allow anything in the world to separate him from John; do not
separate yourselves from the Duke of Burgundy." He had summoned
his physicians, asking them how long he had yet to live. They
hesitated. "Speak," said he impatiently. "Sire," said one of
them, "think of your soul, for in our judgment you have not two
hours to remain on earth."

The king had finished his last instructions; he had said farewell
to the affairs of this world; his confessor and the priests of
his chapel surrounded his bed; the 51st Psalm was being recited:
"Build the walls of Jerusalem!" chanted the chaplain. "Upon the
faith of a dying king," murmured Henry, "if it had pleased the
Lord God to prolong my life, I intended to proceed against the
infidels, and deliver the Holy Sepulchre from their hands." The
voice was dying away; he closed his eyes, and, amidst the prayers
which were being repeated around him, the great soul of King
Henry V. entered into eternal repose.

{39}

No life in its brevity had been more active than his and no
monarch was more bitterly regretted; it was so even in France,
for the people saw themselves thrown back into the horrors of
internal dissensions; he was mourned for in England, with sincere
and profound grief. After the magnificent ceremonies celebrated
in France, the body was brought to England, and solemnly interred
at Westminster, beside the shrine of Edward the Confessor. King
James of Scotland was chief mourner, while the Duke of Bedford,
profoundly sad, seized in France the ill-secured power which his
dying brother had confided to him, and endeavored to secure the
two crowns upon the head of the child destined to lose them both.

The religious ceremonies had been prolonged in France; Queen
Catherine embarked in the month of October, accompanying the body
of her husband, when her father, King Charles VI., died of
quartan ague. Notwithstanding his thirty years of madness, and
the evils which they had suffered under his reign, the French had
remained attached to their unhappy monarch, and the mob thronged
the hall of the Hôtel St. Paul, where he was exposed. "Ah! dear
prince!" it was said, amidst tears, "never shall we have one as
good as you; you have gone to your rest; we remain in tribulation
and grief, and seem made to fall into the distress in which were
the children of Israel during the captivity of Babylon." The Duke
of Burgundy was bitterly reproached for not having come to see
the king during his sickness, and also for not having followed
his funeral; the Duke of Bedford was chief mourner, and on the
10th of November, 1422, in England and in France, at Westminster
and at Saint-Denis, the obsequies of King Henry V and those of
King Charles VI. were solemnized.
{40}
The royal remains being lowered into the grave, the heralds broke
their wands and cried, "God grant long life to Henry, by the
grace of God King of France and of England, our sovereign Lord."
And the people shouted, "Long live the king!" The hand which was
to bear this weighty inheritance was not yet one year old.

The Duke of Bedford had taken the reins of government in France
without opposition; in England, the lords of the Parliament had
contested the right of the deceased king to designate the regent
of the kingdom, and had given to the Duke of Gloucester the title
of Protector of the State and of the Church, which was to remind
him, it was said, of his duties. Henry Beaufort, Bishop of
Winchester, brother of King Henry IV. by the third wife of John
of Gaunt, was entrusted to second the Earl of Warwick in the
education of the little king. The Parliament voted the necessary
subsidies, and the war continued in France.

The death of Charles VI. had rallied a few adherents around the
Dauphin, proclaimed King of France at Mehun-sur-Yèvres, in Berry,
under the name of Charles VII. Shortly afterwards he caused
himself to be crowned at Poictiers, Rheims being in the power of
the English. Right was upon the side of Charles, dispossessed as
he was; the memory of the kings his ancestors, the natural
aversion to foreigners, increased by eighty years of war, fought
in his favour; the noblemen who did not rally around him were
less eager to serve the Duke of Bedford than they had been to
second Henry V., and, already it had been necessary to stifle; at
Poissy, a trifling insurrection in favor of the Dauphin.

{41}

Meanwhile, the Duke of Bedford had caused all the large towns and
constituent bodies in France to swear fidelity to his nephew, and
in order to strengthen that intimacy with the Duke of Burgundy
which had preoccupied King Henry even upon his deathbed, he had
married Anne of Burgundy, his sister Madame de Guienne, the widow
of the first Dauphin, shortly afterwards gave her hand to the
Count of Richemont, the brother of the Duke of Brittany, and a
solemn treaty of friendship united the three dukes to each other.
Brittany and Burgundy, at the same [time], concluded a private
alliance unknown to the Duke of Bedford.

The Regent was returning from Troyes, where his marriage had been
celebrated and was fighting upon the way when he learnt that the
Earl of Buchan was attacking his fortress of Crevant-sur-Yonne,
endeavoring to open up a communication between the northern
territories, which recognized the authority of Charles VII., and
the southern provinces, where his cause had made great progress.
The Earls of Salisbury and Suffolk were immediately despatched to
relieve Crevant; a troop of Burgundians joined them. The orders
of the Duke of Bedford were precise: the archers carried their
stakes.

The battle was to be fought on foot, as at Agincourt, without
giving any quarter to the enemy. The army of King Charles VII.
was, it was said, superior in numbers to that of the English.

{42}

On arriving before Crevant, the assailants found themselves
arrested by the river Yonne, and remained there two days; when
the English had at length forced a passage, they attacked the
Scots, leaving the French troops to the Burgundians. "There is no
other antidote for the English than the Scots," said Pope Martin
V. after the battle of Baugê, but at Crevant the Scots were
defeated. The French had promptly yielded, only the bravest
knight had supported their allies; Lord Buchan and the Count of
Ventadour had both lost an eye, and were taken prisoners, as well
as Saintrailles, a famous Armagnac knight; subsequently the
English re-entered Paris in triumph. Scotland, however, was not
exhausted of knights in search of adventure. Archibald Douglas
had disembarked at La Rochelle with five thousand men, and King
Charles VII., in his gratitude, conferred upon him the title of
Duke of Touraine; he loaded with honors the other Scottish
noblemen, of whom several finally became naturalized in France;
the barons began to complain of the favours which the king
lavished upon his foreign allies. The Duke of Milan sent him a
large reinforcement of Italians.

The Duke of Bedford was uneasy concerning the relief which
arrived from Scotland for his adversaries, and he hoped to dry up
the source of it by sending back King James into his dominions;
negotiations had been opened up; the marriage of the captive
prince with Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, and
niece of the Bishop of Winchester, had been celebrated; the
ransom was settled and James I. had returned to Scotland after
nineteen years of captivity, there to govern with an honest
firmness to which his people had not been accustomed; but the
tide of emigration towards France, although slightly slackened
had not ceased in the meanwhile; the justice of the king was
rigorously exercised upon the old enemies of his family, and a
large number of Scottish knights, flying from his anger, took
refuge in the army of Charles VII.; it was with their assistance
that the royalist noblemen marched, in the month of August,
against Ivry, in Normandy, which the Duke of Bedford was
attacking.
{43}
But the position of the English was strong, discord reigned in
the French army, deprived of a chief by the indolence of Charles
VII. Douglas and Buchan wished to make the attack; the Count of
Alençon and the Count of Aumale refused their consent, and drew
the army with them. In withdrawing they surprised Verneuil; the
town was important, and the duke of Bedford followed the French
thither. A tumultuous council resolved to repulse him in the open
plain; the royalists, all on foot, quitted Verneuil; the Milanese
alone remained on horseback. The English awaited the attack from
behind the stakes of their archers. "Let us allow them to come,"
said Douglas; but the French noblemen despised the adventurers,
as they called their valiant allies, and they made the attack.
The combat was terrible; at one moment La Hire and Saintrailles,
at the head of the Milanese, broke the reserve of the archers;
but the reinforcements of the principal body repulsed them, and
they were completely routed. Douglas had been slain, as well as
his son. Lord Buchan lay upon the field of battle with the Counts
of Narbonne, Tonnerre, and Ventadour; the Count of Alençon and
the Marshall de la Fayette were prisoners. On his side, the Duke
of Bedford had suffered; but the army of King Charles VII. was
destroyed; the town of Verneuil surrendered immediately, and the
Duke of Bedford caused to be beheaded those of the prisoners who,
having sworn allegiance to his nephew, had not kept their oaths.

{44}

Bedford conducted affairs in France with firmness and prudence,
but he was thwarted in his policy by the thoughtless and
passionate acts of his brother, the Duke of Gloucester. The
latter had become smitten with Jacqueline of Hainault, the
daughter and heiress of the Count of Hainault, and married, in
the first instance, to the second Dauphin, John, poisoned at
Compiègne. Still young at the death of that prince, she had
married the Duke of Brabant; but she soon conceived a horror of
her husband, who had, she said, the taste for favourites of low
degree, and abandoning him after three years of union, she had
taken refuge in England, where King Henry IV. had received her
with great honours. He had, however, opposed the project of
marriage of his brother, and upon his death-bed had recommended
him to renounce them. The Pope, Martin V., had refused to break
off the marriage of Jacqueline of Hainault with the Duke of
Brabant; but she pleaded the degree of relationship; and
addressed herself to the Anti-Pope, Benedict XIII., who had
refused to submit to the decision of the Council of Constance to
terminate the schism. Too happy to perform the act of a pontiff,
Benedict pronounced the nullity of the marriage, and the Duke of
Gloucester espoused Jacqueline of Hainault. The remonstrances of
the Duke of Burgundy became more ardent; he had, from the first
moment, defended the rights of his cousin, the Duke of Brabant,
proposing to refer the case to the arbitration of the Duke of
Bedford. "I am content," said he, "that we should take as judge
my very dear and beloved cousin, and also your brother the
regent, Duke of Bedford, for he is such a prince, that I know
that to you and to me, and to all others, he would be an upright
judge."
{45}
The Duke of Gloucester had listened to no remonstrance, and the
dangerous disaffection of the Duke Philip was secretly becoming
graver, when, shortly after the battle of Verneuil, Gloucester
and Jacqueline landed at Calais with a body of English soldiers,
notwithstanding the entreaties of their uncle Beaufort in
England, and those of the Duke of Bedford in France; they
traversed the dominions of the Duke of Burgundy, and attacked the
Duke of Brabant in Hainault; they had already taken possession of
Mons when the Duke of Burgundy, in a state of fury, wrote to
Gloucester, challenging him to single combat. At the same time he
sent considerable assistance to the Duke of Brabant, accepting
for that favour the service of his former enemies. Saintrailles
was among the number of the knights who proceeded to fight
against the English in the Low Countries.

The bonds which united the House of Burgundy to England were
beginning to relax, and the Pope was already working secretly in
concert with the Duke of Savoy, to negotiate an agreement with
Charles VII. The Duke of Gloucester had returned to England;
fearing the influence of his uncle Beaufort, he had left
Jacqueline entrusted to defend her inheritance. Scarcely had he
departed, when the majority of the towns opened their gates to
the Duke of Burgundy; and Jacqueline, at first tightly held
within Mons, then led a captive to Ghent, escaped with great
difficulty to take refuge in Holland.

{46}

So much imprudence on the part of his nephew had irritated the
Bishop of Winchester so far as to bring about an open quarrel.
The Duke of Bedford was compelled to repair to England towards
the end of the year 1425 to prevent bloodshed between the two
parties. He had some trouble in effecting a reconciliation,
sincere on the part of the Duke of Gloucester, whose character
was as frank as it was impetuous; doubtful in that of the priest,
more implacable than the warrior; the Bishop of Winchester
resigned the seals, and finding himself elevated by Martin V. to
the dignity of a Cardinalship, he quitted England with the Duke
of Bedford. The latter had been recalled to France by the
defection of the Duke of Brittany, who had recently declared
himself in favour of King Charles VII. at the instigation of his
brother, the Count of Richemont, already for some time rallied,
and whom the king had made Constable. Scarcely had Bedford set
foot upon French soil, when he sent an army into Brittany; the
country was devastated, the Duke of Brittany was shut up within
Rennes and so closely pressed, that he found himself compelled to
sever his alliance with the King of France; he swore for the
second time to the treaty of Troyes, and did homage to the little
king Henry VI.

The Pope, Martin V., had solemnly declared the nullity of the
marriage of Jacqueline de Hainault with the Duke of Gloucester,
and the latter had consoled himself by espousing Eleanor Cobham,
formerly a lady of the household of his wife. The Countess
Jacqueline still held out bravely in Holland; the Duke of Brabant
had recently died; his brother, who had succeeded him, had no
claim upon Jacqueline or upon her dominions; she would have been
free if the enemy whom she had raised up had not been too
powerful and too greedy to stop on such a fine road; from town to
town, from territory to territory, the Duke of Burgundy
prosecuted his conquest, and Jacqueline, abandoned by nearly all
her vassals, a victim on sea and on land, at length consented, in
the summer of 1428, to recognize the Duke Philip as her heir, and
to entrust to him immediately the government of her dominions.
{47}
The duke, satisfied with the English, who had not hindered him in
this last act of his ambition, promised troops for the great
expedition which was being prepared against the country beyond
the Loire, almost entirely rallied to King Charles VII.

The war had languished since the battle of Verneuil; the King of
France was poor, indolent, and delivered up to favourites. The
Sire de Giac and the Sire de Beaulieu had given place to the Sire
de la Trémoille, more adventurous and more dangerous than the two
others; he counteracted beside the king the influence of the
Constable de Richemont and of the true friends of France. The
Duke of Bedford for a long time paralyzed by the quarrels of the
Duke of Gloucester, had recently received reinforcements from
England, under the order of the Earl of Salisbury. The latter
resolved to undertake the siege of Orleans. On the 12th of
October, 1428, he appeared before the city, commencing his siege
preparations according to the most learned rules of the time, but
not considering that he had given time for the place to furnish
itself with men and victuals, to repair its fortifications, and
to place itself in a state of defence; the best knights of the
King of France had shut themselves up in Orleans.

{48}

The assaults failed, the citizens of Orleans valiantly supporting
the garrison. The Bastard of Orleans, Count of Dunois, had
brought reinforcements, Salisbury dreamt of metamorphosing the
siege into a blockade, when, contemplating the city from the
Tournelles fort, which he had taken at the outset, he was struck
in the face by a stone shot from a falconet, which rebounded
against the embrasure of the window and killed his esquire beside
him. The general was dying; it was found necessary to carry him
to Fertê-sur-Meung, where he died at the end of a few days, to
the great joy of the population of Orleans. The Earl Suffolk
arrived to take the command, and the siege continued. The English
army, badly installed beneath its huts of tree branches, suffered
from the cold, and often from hunger; the country which
surrounded them was hostile and devastated; the Duke of Bedford
resolved, in the month of February, to send provisions to him
from Paris. It was during Lent and the convoy which Sir John
Falstaff was entrusted to lead, consisted especially of herrings,
when, on the 12th of February he was attacked by the French near
the village of Rouvray, between Graville and Orleans. As usual,
the Scotch and the French quarrelled among themselves; the
former, wishing to fight on foot, the latter to remain on
horseback; they were within bowshot, and the English archers were
beginning to shoot; the rout was not long delayed, and Sir John
Falstaff arrived triumphantly at the camp with the herrings which
gave their name to his victory.

This defeat threw discouragement into Orleans; hunger began to
make itself felt; the citizens spoke of surrendering their city,
not to the English but the Duke of Burgundy; the latter came to
Paris to consult about it with the regent. "No," said Bedford,
"it is just that those who have had the trouble should have the
honour."
{49}
Philip did not remonstrate; disquieting rumours were beginning to
circulate among the Burgundians: it was said that the Duke of
Bedford had declared that the Duke of Burgundy would finally
proceed to England to drink more beer than would quench his
thirst. The duke quitted the court, dissatisfied and gloomy. The
King of France was at Chinon; his affairs appeared desperate;
many noblemen had abandoned him, and he would have willingly
retired to the South, abandoning to their fate Orleans and the
banks of the Loire, but for the efforts of his wife, Mary of
Anjou, and the anger of Dunois. La Trémoille had caused the
Constable to be sent away.

Deliverance was approaching by the weakest instrument which it
has ever pleased God to employ for the accomplishment of His
designs. A young girl was growing up in the village of Domrémy,
upon the borders of Lorraine and Burgundy; she was named Joan of
Arc, she was eighteen years of age, she was good and pious. For a
long while already--from the age of thirteen years--she had begun
to have visions, to hear voices, Saint Michael, Saint Catherine,
and Saint Margaret commanding her to go to France, to the
assistance of the king: as she grew up the voices became more
urgent. People began to speak in the village of the strange
exaltation of Joan. The Sire de Baudricourt, in command at
Vaucouleurs, wished to see her; but he sent her back ridiculing
her. Urged however, by others, he resolved to cause her to be
taken to the king. "I must go to the king before Mid-Lent," said
Joan, "even should I have to wear my legs to the knees to reach
him, for nobody in the world, neither king nor duke, nor daughter
of the King of Scotland can deliver the kingdom of France; I
should prefer to remain and spin beside my poor mother, for it is
not my work, but I must go, because Messire wills it." "Who is
Messire?" it was asked. "It is God," said Joan, and the noblemen
who were leading her forward were struck with admiration on
seeing her pass the night kneeling in the churches, and fasting
on bread and water.

{50}

When she arrived at Chinon, the king refused for several days to
see her, saying that she was a mad woman; but the rumour of her
journey had already spread. Dunois and the besieged in Orleans
had caused inquiry to be made as to who this young girl was who
was to deliver them; Joan was admitted into the great hall full
of noblemen richly dressed; none of them detached himself from
the groups; she went straight towards Charles VII. and knelt
before him. "I am not the king, Joan," he said, and he indicated
one of his courtiers to her. "By my God, gentle prince," she
said, "it is you, and no other. Most noble lord Dauphin, the King
of Heaven sends a message to you through me, to be consecrated
and crowned in the city of Rheims, and you shall be His
Lieutenant in the kingdom of France." Charles was won over; he
drew Joan into a corner, and asked a thousand questions of her.
Confidence began to spread in the army; the soldiers asked that
Joan should be placed at their head, to go and deliver Orleans.
The doctors and the bishops caused her to undergo interrogations;
after having said that she was mad, they feared that she might be
a sorceress, but neither examinations nor interrogations shook
her simplicity and resolution. "The sign which I am to give is to
cause the siege of Orleans to be raised," she said. "But if God
wishes to deliver France, He has no need of armed men," insisted
the doctors. "Ah!" she replied, "the soldiers will fight, and God
will give them the victory."

[Image]
Joan of Arc recognizes the French King.

{51}

At least it was resolved to attempt the venture, and Joan, with
the state of a chieftain departed from Blois at the head of a
considerable convoy, led by the best captains of the French army.
She wished to attack Orleans from the right bank, saying that her
voices had commanded her to do it; but the soldiers were of a
contrary opinion; they deceived Joan, and were arriving by the
left bank; Dunois came in a little boat to meet the convoy. "Are
you the Bastard of Orleans?" she said to him. "Yes, and very
pleased at your arrival." "You gave advice that we should come by
the Sologne," she said, "and not by the Beauce, across the
dominion of the English: the advice of Messire was not yours. I
bring you the best succour that ever knight or city received; it
is the succour of the King of Heaven." And everybody was
surprised on hearing her speak so well. The convoy entered
Orleans without striking a blow; the soldiers returned therefrom,
but Joan wished to remain in the city. The besieged crowded round
her, already reassured and encouraged by her presence. Anxiety
prevailed in the English camp; the leaders declared that Joan was
mad; the soldiers feared that she might be a sorceress. She had
written to the Earl of Suffolk and to Talbot, inviting them to
retire. As they would not listen to her, and loaded her with
insults, she was greatly enraged, and demanded that they should
be attacked immediately. A second convoy had entered the city;
Joan was sleeping; suddenly she awoke. "Ah! Lord," she said, "the
blood of our people is flowing; why was I not summoned sooner? My
arms! My horse!" and she ran towards the fortress of Saint Loup.
{52}
She had not been deceived; a few soldiers had attempted a sally
against the fortress occupied by the English; they were beginning
to waver when Joan arrived; many soldiers had followed her; the
English were repulsed, and the fortress recaptured. Joan had
fought like at knight, and every one had admired her; but she was
sad; many men had died without confessing. "I have compassion for
their souls," she said. Terror spread among the English. "She
performs miracles," it was said at Orleans. "She is a sorceress,"
said the archers of the enemy, but they began to fear her.

From fortress to fortress, from rampart to rampart all that the
English had gained was by degrees taken from them; the Tournelles
fortress had recently been taken; the citizens of Orleans were
rejoicing; the Earl of Suffolk and his lieutenants had resolved
to retire. However, they did not wish to escape ignominiously.
The camp had been fired, and, arrayed in battle order, the
English appeared to await the attack. It was on the 8th of May,
1429. "Do not assail them first," said Joan; "for the love and
honour of the holy Sabbath, let them be allowed to depart if they
wish to go: if they should attack you, defend yourselves boldly
and you shall be masters." The English did not make an attack,
but retreated without a struggle; Joan could not prevent the
soldiers from throwing themselves upon the rear of the English
army and gaining a large quantity of booty. Plunder, like
disorder of all kinds, agitated and saddened her: she asked
pardon of God in all the churches for all the evil which she had
not been able to prevent.

{53}

Great satisfaction prevailed at the court of King Charles, who
ordered rejoicings in honour of Joan; but she took no pleasure in
the amusements; she wished the king to go and cause himself to be
consecrated at Rheims. "I am strongly urged to conduct you
thither," she said; "I shall last but one year or scarcely more;
I must therefore employ it well." And as she was questioned about
the voices, "I offered up a prayer," she said; "I complained that
you would not believe what I say, thereupon the voice came and
said, 'Go! go! my child, I will help you; go!' and it made me
very joyful; I wish it might last forever." On the 11th of June
the French army was before Jargeau, where the Earl of Suffolk had
shut himself up. At the head of the attacking party was the Duke
of Alençon, recently withdrawn from captivity. "Forward, gentle
duke, to the assault!" cried Joan, and as he delayed, "Ah! gentle
duke, are you afraid?" said she; "you well know that I have
promised to your wife to return you safe." A large stone
overthrew Joan; for a moment she was thought dead, but
immediately afterward, she arose. "Come! come! at the English!"
she cried; "Messire has condemned them; they are ours." Jargeau
was carried by storm; the Earl of Suffolk and his brother, John
de la Pole, were made prisoners; several fortresses fell into the
power of the French; the English had retreated towards the
Beauce, under the orders of Talbot.

The Constable had recently rejoined the army; it was resolved to
follow the enemy. "Ah! my God!" said Joan, "we must fight them,
were they even suspended to the clouds, we should have them, for
God has sent us to punish them. The gentle Dauphin will to-day
gain the greatest victory which he has yet had; my Counsel has
told me that they are ours."

{54}

The English had halted in the open field in the environs of
Patay; Sir John Falstaff and many others were inclined not to
fight. The soldiers were discouraged by their recent checks, they
said, and the spells of Joan took away all their courage; but
Talbot was ashamed of having retreated so far; he began to make
his arrangements for the fight; and the archers were driving in
their stakes, when the advanced guard of the French army came and
attacked them with that inconsiderate ardour, so sadly rewarded
at Crecy and at Poictiers; but this time the English were in
disorder; the soldiers who had remained on horseback fled; the
rout was complete, and Sir John Falstaff gallopped to Paris,
where the Duke of Bedford, in a great rage, wished to send him
the Garter. Lord Talbot and a large number of knights were made
prisoners. "Well, Messire Talbot," said the Duke of Alençon, "you
did not expect this, this morning?" "It is the fortune of war,"
replied the Englishman, without emotion. Joan no longer spoke of
anything but the visit to Rheims.

The councillors of King Charles still hesitated; the Sire de la
Trémoille feared lest he might be supplanted beside his master;
he contrived once more to remove the Constable; at length the
persistence of Joan prevailed, and the king started with his
little army; Auxerre, summoned to surrender, promised to open its
gates if Troyes and Rheims would do likewise. The Burgundian
garrison of Troyes resisted, and the French had no provisions.
Murmurs began to be uttered against Joan; she urged the king to
make the assault. "You will enter into Troyes within two days, by
love or by force, and the trecherous Burgundians will be
completely dismayed." "Whoever should be certain of obtaining
possession of it in six days, could well wait Joan," said the
chancellor, Archbishop of Rheims.
{55}
"Yes," she persisted, "you shall have it to-morrow." On the
morrow the entry into Troyes was made; Friar Richard, a famous
preacher, came to meet Joan, and besprinkled her with holy water,
to assure himself that she was not a sorceress; Joan smiled. On
the 15th of July, 1429, Rheims opened its gates, and on the 17th
the king was at length crowned in the cathedral. Joan stood
beside him, holding her white standard, with these two words:
"Jesus, Maria." When the king had received the sacrament, she
threw herself at his feet, in tears. "Gentle king," she said,
"now is fulfilled the good pleasure of God, who willed it that
you should come to Rheims to receive your worthy consecration, to
show that you were king, and he to whom the kingdom should
belong." And, from that day, she spoke no longer but of returning
to her village. "I have accomplished that which Messire has
commanded me," she repeated, "which was to raise the siege of
Orleans and to cause the gentle king to be crowned; I wish he
could cause me to be taken back to my father and mother, who
would be so pleased to see me again. I would mind their sheep and
cattle, as I was wont to do."

Meanwhile, the Duke of Bedford was collecting reinforcements; the
dissensions which continued in the English council between the
Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal de Beaufort impeded the
consignments of men and money; the regent had even been compelled
to weaken his garrisons in Normandy, to assemble an army in the
neighbourhood of Paris, when his uncle, the Cardinal, sent him a
corps of two or three thousand men, whom he had raised with the
object of making war in Bohemia, against the partisans of John
Huss, that were excommunicated in a body by the Pope.
{56}
The cardinal had already furnished heavy sums for sustaining the
war in France, and this fresh succour enabled the Duke of Bedford
to make an expedition into Normandy, with the intention of
stifling the insurrections which had attracted the Constable. The
noblemen favourable to the French were restrained and the
Constable was repulsed; but meanwhile Charles VII., led by Joan
of Arc, whom he retained beside him, made an attempt upon Paris.
Soissons, Senlis, Beauvais, had opened their gates to him, but
the soldiers marched unwillingly towards the capital; the
captains did not agree; the assault was lightly made, and Joan
was wounded. The troops were furious. "You told us that we should
be in Paris this evening," they said to Joan. "And so should we
have been there, if you had fought well," she replied. The king,
discouraged, retired to Bourges, to spend the winter.

While the King of France was going away from his good city of
Paris, the Duke of Burgundy arrived there, still hesitating
between the two parties, notwithstanding the efforts of his
sister, the Duchess of Bedford, to renew his old intimacy with
the English regent. By degrees the influence of national feeling
began to reawaken in the soul of the Duke Philip, as his thirst
for vengeance was appeased; the French promised him every
conceivable reparation for the assassination of John Sans Peur,
and it was necessary, in order to retain him in the camp of the
English, for the Duke of Bedford to offer him the command of the
allied forces, thus abdicating in his favour. The regent retired
to Normandy, where he preserved the most complete authority.
{57}
Joan was waging war upon the banks of the Loire; she had taken
the castle of Pierre-le-Montoir, but she had been repulsed before
La Charité. When the king at length took the field in the spring
of 1430, Joan was entrusted to deliver Compiègne, besieged by the
Duke Philip in person, and she contrived to enter into the town.
The fatal moment however was approaching.

On the 25th of May the garrison of Compiègne made a sally. Joan
led the troops, and she had attacked an important position
occupied by the Burgundians, when a crushing force made her
retreat. She covered and directed the retreat: at the moment when
she was about to re-enter the town, the drawbridge was withdrawn,
and, whether by mistake or treason, Joan found herself almost
alone outside the walls. She had rallied a few soldiers around
her, and endeavoured to gain the country; but she had been
recognized and was surrounded and thrown from her horse. She was
still upon the ground when she surrendered to the Bastard of
Vendôme, who conducted her to the quarters of John of Luxembourg.

The rejoicing was great in the English and Burgundian camp, the
Duke of Bedford caused a Te Deum to be sung; but the French did
not concern themselves about the heroine who had delivered them:
her task was accomplished; she had restored courage to the
soldiers and hope to the captains; her enthusiasm had drawn along
the most distrustful. Now she was a prisoner. Her enemies were
negotiating among themselves to possess her; but those whom she
had saved by the help of God did not raise a sword to defend her,
nor a farthing to ransom her.

{58}

The Duke of Burgundy had returned to his dominion of Flanders,
agitated by several insurrections when the Bishop of Beauvais,
Peter Cauchon, at the instigation of the English, claimed Joan
from John of Luxembourg. "The sorceress had been captured in his
diocese," he said, "and should be tried by the Church." The count
resisted for a long time, but they finally gave him ten thousand
livres, and he sold Joan. She was led in the first place to
Arras, then to Crotoy; at length she was taken to Rouen, where
the little king, Henry VI., had recently arrived. The French arms
continued to make fresh progress; every day the English lost some
towns; the Duke Philip, lieutenant-general of the kingdom, who
had recently become master of Brabant by the death of the young
duke, maintained the English alliance by such slight bonds, that
one check more might suddenly break them; the anger and shame of
the English willingly attributed all their misfortunes to Joan;
when she appeared they were at the height of success; since then
every thing had failed them. Perhaps her death might bring a
return of good fortune. The most enlightened among the English
captains looked upon her as a sorceress. "She is an agent of
Satan," the Duke of Bedford had written to the Council of
England. Hatred always finds cowards to serve her; Peter Cauchon
had been driven from Beauvais by his flock, as English, when
[the] town had surrendered to Charles VII., he had been proposed
to the Pope by the Duke of Bedford for the archbishopric of
Rouen; his vengeance and ambition impelled him to ruin Joan. The
English, however, had not sufficient confidence in him to place
her in his hands. Joan was kept in the large tower of the castle,
in the custody of the Earl of Warwick.

{59}

The noblest hearts, the firmest minds of the middle ages appeared
to lose all generosity and all justice when they found themselves
confronted with an unhappy wretch, accused of sorcery. The brave
Warwick concealed himself to hear what the prisoner said to the
treacherous confessor who had been brought. She was conducted
before the Council of Inquisition, presided over by the Bishop of
Beauvais. Neither violence nor ill-will succeeded in agitating
her: nothing disconcerted this poor country girl, who knew
nothing but her prayers. "Are you in the grace of God?" she was
asked suddenly. "It is a great thing," she replied, "to answer
such a question." "Yes," said one of the inquisitors, "and the
accused is not obliged to answer." "You would do better to hold
your tongue," exclaimed the Bishop angrily. "If I am not,"
replied Joan, "may God receive me into it; and if I am, may God
preserve me in it." "What virtue do you attribute to your
banner?" asked the bishop. "None at all; I said, 'Enter boldly
among the English,' and I entered myself." "Why, then, did you
hold it beside the altar at Rheims?" "It had had all the
trouble," said Joan, smiling, "it was quite right that it should
witness the honour."

In vain was she interrogated upon her visions; she always replied
that St. Catherine and St. Margaret visited her and encouraged
her in her prison; it was by their advice that she refused to
discard man's attire, which had been made a crime against her.
She was urged to submit herself to the Church, but she did not
understand what was asked of her, and seeing before her priests
hostile to her cause and to her king, she implored that there
might be among the judges some men of her party.

{60}

The sentence was pronounced: the Church rejected Joan as an
impure member, and delivered her up to secular justice. The
justice was the vengeance of the English. The unhappy prisoner
was conducted to the public square, where two scaffolds were
erected; Joan was placed upon one of these, the preacher who was
to expound the sentence to the people was upon the other, the
multitude were crowded together below.

As long as the Doctor of the Sorbonne dwelt upon her misdeeds and
the deceptions by which she had deluded the poor people of
France, Joan listened in silence; but when he exclaimed,
"Charles, who proclaimest thyself her king and governor, thou
hast adhered like a heretic as thou art to the words and acts of
a woman defamed and without honour," the loyal heart of Joan was
unable to contain its emotion. "Speak of me," she exclaimed, "but
not of the king; he is a good Christian, and I dare say and swear
under pain of death that he is the noblest among the Christians
who love their faith and their Church." "Silence her," cried the
Bishop of Beauvais.

They wished to make her sign her abjuration. "What is
abjuration?" she said. "It is that your judges have judged well."
She refused. "What I have done, I have done well to do," she
repeated. At length she yielded. "I submit to the Universal
Church," she said, "and since the clergy say that my visions are
not credible I will no longer maintain them." "Sign or you will
perish by the fire," said the preacher. She made a cross at the
foot of the paper which was presented to her, and was taken back
into her prison. Her submission pledged her to resume woman's
clothing.

{61}

The English murmured, not understanding anything of the manœuvres
of the bishop. "All goes ill, because Joan escapes," said the
Earl of Warwick. The priests smiled. Two days after her
abjuration, Joan, on awaking, found only in her chamber a man's
dress: she resisted for a long time. "You know that I have
promised not to wear it," she said; she was obliged to rise
however. The jailors went and informed the Bishop. "She is
taken!" said the Earl of Warwick. "You have fallen back into your
illusions," said Cauchon to the prisoner; "you have heard your
voices." "Yes," said Joan resolutely, "and they have told me that
it was a great pity to have signed your abjuration in order to
save my life. I only signed through fear of the fire. Give me a
comfortable prison, and I will do what the Church may wish."

The stake awaited her. "Farewell," cried Cauchon to the Earl of
Warwick, on going out of the prison. The poor child tore out her
hair when she learnt the sentence passed upon her. "I had seven
times rather that they should behead me," she repeated. She was
being conducted to execution, when she perceived the Bishop of
Beauvais. "Bishop, I die through you," she said. Eight hundred
Englishmen accompanied the cart. She prayed aloud with so much
fervour that the French wept on hearing her; several of the
judges who had taken part in the prosecution, had not the
strength to follow her to execution. The public square had been
reached. "Ah! Rouen! Rouen!" she said, "is it here that I am to
die?" The preacher had reproached her with her relapse; she
listened to him with calmness, redoubling her prayers. The Bishop
of Noyon descended from the scaffold, being unable to bear this
spectacle; the Bishop of Winchester was weeping; she was
embracing the parish cross which had been brought to her.
{62}
The executioner seized her. Above the stake were written the
words: "Heretic, relapser, apostate, idolater." Joan's new
confessor, a good monk who did not betray her, had mounted upon
the stake with her; he was still there when the fire was lighted.
"Descend quickly," said Joan, "but stay near enough for me to see
the cross. Ah! Rouen! Rouen! I greatly fear that you may suffer
for my death." The flame enveloped her: she was still heard
praying; at length a last cry, "Jesus!" and all was ended, The
English themselves were touched. "It is a fine end," said the
soldiers; "we are very happy to have seen her, for she was a good
woman." "She has died a martyr, and for her true Lord," said the
French. The executioner went and confessed on the same evening,
fearing never to obtain the forgiveness of God. Cardinal Beaufort
caused the ashes of the stake to be cast into the Seine fearing
that they might be made into relics; and the King of England
addressed to all the princes of Christendom, a letter recounting
the proceedings, and how the victim herself had acknowledged that
evil and lying spirits had deluded her. The process of
rehabilitation, afterwards made at the court of Rome, at the
request of Charles VII., the only token of remembrance which he
gave of the unhappy Joan, established in its real light the
historical truth; but justice had already been done by public
opinion, "She was a marvellous girl, valiant in war," it was said
in Flanders as well as in Burgundy and in France; "the English
have wickedly caused her death, and through revenge." Peter
Cauchon was never Archbishop of Rouen; he became Bishop of
Lisieux, where he was interred in the wall of St. James's church,
as though he did not feel himself worthy to repose in the sacred
place.

{63}

In burning Joan the English had hoped to regain their former good
fortune; but it was not so. Every day a fresh town opened its
gates to the French. Indolent as Charles VII. still was, national
instinct now fought for him. The Duke of Bedford wished to
satisfy the taste of the Parisians for festivals while giving
religious sanction to the rights of his nephew upon France; and
on the 17th of December, 1431, the little King Henry VI., nine
years of age, was solemnly crowned at Notre Dame. The ceremony
was magnificent: wine and milk flowed in the streets; but the
French noblemen were few, the Duke of Burgundy had not arrived,
and Cardinal Beaufort himself placed the crown upon the head of
Henry VI.: it was the English coronation of an English Prince.
The sovereign started shortly afterwards for England, leaving
with all those who had approached him a sad impression of languor
and melancholy.

The war languished meanwhile: the English were in need of men and
money, and the quarrels of the favourites with the great French
noblemen continued around King Charles VII.; but the Duke of
Burgundy detached himself more and more from England. The Duchess
of Bedford died without children in the month of November, 1432,
and six months after her death the Duke married Jacquette of
Luxembourg, daughter of the Count of Saint Pol. The Duke of
Burgundy considered himself offended by the shortness of the
mourning, and by the union contracted without his authority with
one of his vassals. He was seeking a pretext for a quarrel; his
treaty with King Charles was almost concluded; the blood which
had inundated France for fourteen years, sufficed, it was
thought, to satisfy the shade of the Duke John.
{64}
The counsellors of the king urged the duke towards peace; but he
made much of his scruples anent the oaths which bound him to the
English. Appeal was made to Pope Eugenius IV., and through his
efforts a great congress assembled at Arras, in 1435. The Duke of
Burgundy had summoned all his nobility; King Charles had sent
twenty-nine noblemen, at the head of whom walked the Constable.
Cardinal Beaufort, with twenty-six barons, half English and half
French, represented the interests of England. The Duke Philip
displayed, for receiving such great company, all his wonted
magnificence; festivals succeeded festivals, and jousts followed
tournaments; but matters were meanwhile being negotiated and so
manifestly manœuvered to the advantage of the French, that
Cardinal Beaufort shortly retired in disgust, denying the
authority of the congress. Affairs proceeded more rapidly after
his departure; the Duke Philip caused his forgiveness and his
alliance to be dearly purchased; but at length the treaty was
concluded, and on the 26th of September 1435, the Duke of
Burgundy, relieved of his oaths to the English, promised to live
in peace and friendship with the King of France. All the noblemen
swore likewise; when it came to the turn of the Sire de Lannoy,
he cried, "I have already five times sworn with this hand to keep
the peace during the war which has just ended, and my five oaths
have been violated. With the grace of God, I will keep this one."

{65}

The Duke of Bedford had not lived long enough to see the
conclusion of a treaty which virtually took from England the
conquests of King Henry V.; he had died at Rouen, on the 14th of
September, exhausted by the struggle which he had sustained for
thirteen years, with a courage, firmness and prudence worthy of
the confidence which had been manifested towards him by his dying
brother. Three days after the signing of the peace, an unnatural
mother, abandoned by all her children--Queen Isabel of Bavaria,
was dying alone in Paris, in solitude and misery, the just
punishment of her crimes; the Duke of Burgundy had publicly
declared war against the English, and in the month of April,
1436, at his instigation, the feeble English garrison which was
stationed in Paris was overcome by the people, and found itself
compelled to open the gates to the Marshal of Isle-Adam: the
capital once more became French, the English were driven back
into Normandy, where their authority remained complete. The Duke
of York, for a moment regent of France, had been replaced by the
Earl of Warwick, who established the seat of his government at
Rouen where he died. Two towns yet remained to the English near
Paris, Meaux and Pontoise; these were taken by the troops of King
Charles VII. For a moment, in 1436, the Duke of Burgundy even
threatened Calais with a considerable army; but before the
arrival of the Duke of Gloucester, who had challenged him to
combat, and claimed to take possession of the dominions of his
wife, Jacqueline, who had recently died, the Duke Philip
retreated precipitately into his dominions, impelled by his
troops, who were disbanding. In 1444, through the efforts of
Isabel of Portugal, wife of the Duke of Burgundy, added to the
representations of the Duke of Orleans, recently snatched from
the captivity which he had suffered since the battle of
Agincourt, a truce of two years was concluded between the two
nations; the horrors of the Hundred Years' War were at length
reaching their end.

{66}

While the English were losing ground by degrees in France,
England impoverished by the necessities of the war, underwent the
commotion of a continual struggle between the two chiefs of the
government, the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort. Queen
Catherine, the mother of the king, had retained no influence, and
three years after the death of Henry V. she had married a plain
Welsh gentleman, Owen Tudor, by whom she had had three sons, whom
she confided to the young King Henry VI. when she died in 1437,
The Duchess of Bedford followed her example, by wedding Sir
Richard Woodville of Wydeville; but these misalliances had proved
grave dangers to the ambitious men, elevated to a rank for which
they had not been born; Owen Tudor and Woodville were thrown into
prison, and the wife of the Duke of Gloucester, Eleanor Cobham,
accused of sorcery, was condemned to do public penance and to be
imprisoned for the remainder of her days. The young King Henry
had assumed no authority over his kingdom. He was twenty-two
years of age; he was tall and handsome, but languid, apathetic,
timid, solely occupied by his books and his devotions. He might
have become a holy monk, but he was destitute of the qualities
necessary to a king in difficult and hard times. A wife was
sought for him who might supply the defects of his character, and
the choice of his advisers fell upon Margaret of Anjou, cousin of
the Queen of France, and daughter of René of Anjou, King of
Sicily and Jerusalem, Duke of Maine, Anjou, and Bar; but a king
without kingdom, a duke without duchy, a chevalier and a poet,
without other fortune than his harp and his sword.
{67}
His daughter was purchased of him by restoring to him his two
provinces of Anjou and Maine, which the French arms had not yet
been able to break through. The English now held but Normandy and
a few towns in Guienne. The marriage of the king concluded by the
Earl of Suffolk and Cardinal Beaufort, against the advice of the
Duke of Gloucester, had not been successful in England. There,
there were regrets for the loss of the two provinces which
formerly formed part of the dominions of the Angevin kings, and
over which England had always thought she had rights. Queen
Margaret, besides, with her beauty, her wit, and her energy,
brought into her new country ideas of government which were
little favourable to English independence. She had confidence in
the worthy Suffolk, who had become a Marquis and soon afterwards
a Duke; she shared his power, and treated with haughtiness those
who approached her. She manifested, in particular, little liking
for the Duke of Gloucester, whom she considered as her enemy. In
the month of February, 1447, the Parliament was convoked at Bury
St. Edmund's; the partisans of Suffolk were assembled in the
neighborhood, when the Duke of Gloucester arrived on the morrow
of the opening of the session. Being immediately arrested and
accused of the crime of high treason, he was found dead in his
bed on the 28th of February, as had been formerly at Calais
another Duke of Gloucester. A few of his servants were executed
after his death, under pretext of a plot to release the Duchess
Eleanor. Suffolk took possession of the property of the duke,
whom the public voice accused him of having murdered.
{68}
Cardinal Beaufort had recently died in his palace of Walvesey (on
the 11th of April), leaving immense riches consecrated to the
foundation of charitable institutions which still exist. Suffolk
remained the sole master of the government. King Henry VI. was
occupied in the creation of Eton College, and in the erection of
King's College, at Cambridge, where the marvelous beauty of the
chapel remains as a monument of the exquisite taste of the poor
king, so little suited to the affairs of this world. Meanwhile
the truce with France, several times renewed, had been violently
broken by King Charles VII., under pretext of an infraction which
well suited his wishes. France was rising again, and England was
profoundly weakened by her internal dissensions. The troops
assembled in Maine, then entered Normandy; the Duke of Somerset,
who commanded there had few soldiers and no money. Dunois marched
against Rouen, and notwithstanding the desperate resistance of
Talbot, who was consigned as a hostage into the hands of the
French, the citizens delivered up the city. Sir Thomas Kyriel,
despatched with a reinforcement to the Duke of Somerset was
defeated on the 13th of April, 1450, near Formigny, by the
Constable and the Count of Clermont. Bajxux, Avranches, Caen
succumbed in succession; Cherbourg was taken by storm, and by the
12th of August the English had lost the whole of Normandy. In the
following year the towns which yet remained to them in Guienne
surrendered without striking a blow. Calais alone was now all of
the soil of France that remained to Henry VI. Charles VII., drawn
from his elegant indolence, proposed negotiations. "My sword
shall never return to its scabbard, until I have retaken all that
I have lost!" cried poor king Henry VI., who had never drawn a
sword in his life: but France no longer feared him.

{69}

Internal difficulties sufficed to absorb the efforts of the
faithful servants of the King of England. The Parliament had at
length risen against the Duke of Suffolk; he had been conducted
to the tower, protesting his innocence. The accusations produced
against him were confused, ill-founded, and frivolous; the graver
subjects of distrust had scarcely been touched upon. The duke
threw himself upon his knees before the king, refused to shield
himself with his privilege by demanding the judgment of his
peers, and consigned himself to the justice of his master, who
wished to save him. He was simply banished from England for five
years: the Parliament accepted this compromise, not without a
protest on the part of the lords in favour of the rights of their
order.

The anger of the population of London was not so easy to disarm
as the vengeance of the Parliament. Suffolk had difficulty in
retiring safe and sound to his estate; he had gathered around him
friends and partisans, swearing before them that he was innocent,
when he embarked for the Continent on the 1st of May, 1430. He
was sailing about on the morrow between Dover and Calais, when a
large war-ship, the _Nicholas-de-la-Tour_, hailed his little
vessel. The duke was summoned on board the ship. "You are here,
traitor," said the captain, as he placed his foot upon the deck,
and Suffolk was immediately placed under arrest. Two days
elapsed; the duke had asked for a confessor; a little bark came
up with the _Nicholas_; she bore an executioner with an axe.
Suffolk was led upon deck and beheaded.
{70}
None inquired whence had come the warrant; but the importance of
the ships entrusted to arrest the banished man at sea, caused a
supposition that the greatest personages of the kingdom had not
remained strangers to the execution. The people were satisfied,
their vengeance was consummated. New events now absorbed all
minds.

Numerous insurrections had during a short time past broken out in
different parts of England. An adventurer, Jack Cade, an Irishman
by origin, who had for a long while served in the English armies
in France, placed himself at the head of the insurgents. He had
assumed the name of Mortimer, and represented himself a relative
of the Duke of York, who then commanded in Ireland. Thirty
thousand men soon found themselves assembled around Cade, nearly
all from the county of Kent. It was said that the queen wished to
avenge herself for the death of her favourite, whose decapitated
body had been brought by the waves to the coast of Dover. Cade
brought his forces to Blackheath, as Wat Tyler had formerly done,
and the "complaints of the commons of Kent," were dispatched to
the king at London. Amongst the number of the demands of the
insurgents, they begged Henry VI. to recall to his side his blood
relatives, the Dukes of York, Exeter, Buckingham, and Norfolk, in
order to punish the traitors who had caused the death of the Duke
of Gloucester, the holy father in God, Cardinal Beaufort, and
lost the dominions of Maine, Anjou, and Normandy. The reply of
the court was the dispatch of an army against the rebels; but the
first detachment was defeated: the soldiers murmured, saying that
they did not like to fight against their countrymen, who claimed
the liberties of the nation.
{71}
Concessions were attempted: but the forces of Cade swelled every
day, and on the 3rd of July he entered London. Lord Say, one of
the most unpopular ministers, was dragged from the tower, where
he had been sent by the court in the hope of satisfying the
insurgents; and, notwithstanding his protestations, he was
executed after a mock trial. Some houses were pillaged, and on
the morrow, when the rebels wished to re-enter into London, after
having been encamped at Blackheath, the citizens defended the
bridge. Cade was compelled to retreat. He was amused by vain
concessions and the promise of an amnesty but was soon afterwards
pursued and killed; and his head was planted upon London Bridge.
The insurrection was stifled; but the name of the Duke of York
had been put forward; it circulated from mouth to mouth, and many
people began to ask whether the rights to the throne which he
held through Anne Mortimer, his mother, did not supersede those
of King Henry VI. Prince Richard, son of the Earl of Cambridge,
had succeeded to the title of Duke of York, at the death of his
paternal uncle; the successes which he had obtained in his
government of Ireland had increased his popularity.

Suddenly, towards the end of August, 1451, the Duke of York
appeared at the court without giving a reason for having quitted
Ireland, and after a short visit to the king, retired to his
castle at Fotheringay. Henry VI. endeavoured to place in
opposition to him the Duke of Somerset, the head of the younger
branch of the House of Lancaster; but the duke was under
suspicion, as a favourite of the queen, and too much ill feeling
existed against him for the loss of Normandy for it to be
possible to counterbalance the influence of the Duke of York.
{72}
In the Parliament, which opened in November, the proposal was
made in the House of Commons to declare the Duke of York heir to
the throne, as the king had no children. The author of the
proposal was sent to the Tower, and projects menacing to the
liberty of the Duke of York began to circulate. He retired into
Shropshire, where he assembled together some troops, while
protesting his fidelity towards the king. Whilst an army was
marching against him, he advanced upon London; the gates of that
city were closed to him, and it was at Dartford, that he met the
king. After some peaceful negotiations, York repaired alone to
the royal tent, but was immediately arrested there. The Duke of
Somerset wished for a summary trial and execution; but the king
athwart the mists of his intellect had a horror of blood, so he
sent the Duke of York to the Tower. He was soon released upon the
rumour of the approach of his son, the Earl of March, at the head
of an army. He promised to be faithful to the king, and he was
left free to return to his castle at Wigmore. The Duke of
Somerset remained at the head of the government.

A movement in favour of the English had manifested itself in
Guienne. The brave Talbot was despatched thither, notwithstanding
his eighty years, at the head of a small army of picked men.
Bordeaux surrendered easily, and the red cross of England
reappeared in the greater number of the southern towns, when King
Charles VII. entered with his troops into the province. He had
assembled together considerable forces, and was laying siege to
Castillon, when Talbot resolved to relieve the town; he made the
attack on the 30th of July, 1453, and was about to carry the
position, when the Count of Ponthieu fell upon him with
reinforcements; the English retreated, and Talbot was slain.
{73}
The French army presented itself before Bordeaux; the garrison
held out bravely during two months; hunger compelled it to
capitulate, and on the 10th of October, the English soldiers,
accompanied by a great number of citizens of the place, embarked
for England. Guienne was henceforth French; and the last fragment
of the inheritance of Eleanor of Aquitaine had slipped from her
descendants.

The mental derangement of King Henry VI. continued to increase,
and the Parliament had recalled the Duke of York to the council.
A son had been born to Queen Margaret; she had from that
circumstance, assumed more pride and a more fixed determination
to govern at her pleasure. Meanwhile the Commons had obtained the
impeachment of the Duke of Somerset, who had been sent to the
Tower. The Parliament of 1454 was opened by the Duke of York as
the lieutenant of the king. For some time past, efforts had in
vain been made to ascertain the real state of King Henry; twelve
peers, who contrived to be admitted to him on the occasion of the
death of the chancellor, found him incapable of understanding a
word or of replying to their questions. Upon their report, the
Parliament nominated Richard of York Protector and defender of
the throne of England, upon condition of resigning his dignity in
favour of the Prince of Wales, as soon as the latter should
attain his majority. York protested his loyalty, and furnished
proof of it in the following year, when the king, having
recovered his reason, reclaimed the royal power.
{74}
The first use which he made of his recovered authority was to
release the Duke of Somerset. The poor monarch endeavoured to
reconcile the two rival Houses; but the Duke of York shortly
afterwards affected to believe himself in danger, and again
raised some troops. The king with Somerset marched against him; a
battle began in the very streets of St. Alban's. The archers of
the Duke of York were good marksmen: the Duke of Somerset, the
Earl of Northumberland, Lord Clifford, fell beneath their arrows;
and the king himself was wounded. York, seeking him after the
victory, found him in bed, in the house of a tanner, and both
repaired together to the church, the victor treating the
vanquished king with respect. The Duke did not immediately take
advantage of his success, but contented himself with appearing
before the Parliament as the lieutenant of the king. The Commons,
however, claimed for him the title of Protector, and imposed
their will upon the Lords. With the moderation which had always
characterized his political conduct, York contented himself with
consigning to trustworthy hands some important offices,
entrusting the custody of Calais to his brother-in-law and
faithful friend, the Earl of Warwick; but he did not wreak
revenge upon his enemies, and resigned the power to the king
without objection at the beginning of 1456, when the monarch,
again cured, wished to take back the authority. Soon, however,
Queen Margaret everywhere replaced the friends of York by her
favourites; the duke then retired to his estates, and the great
men of his party did likewise, for the relatives of the noblemen
slain at St. Alban's spoke aloud of vengeance.

{75}

Hopes were still entertained of arriving at some arrangement. In
his moments of reason, the king was gentle, charitable, and
humane; he endeavoured to re-establish peace around him. York and
Warwick had again protested their fidelity towards him. Henry
placed himself as arbitrator between the two parties, and decreed
certain fines and reparations towards the families of the
victims. The victors of St. Alban's accepted these conditions;
the king, the queen, the Duke of York, and all the Yorkist and
Lancastrian noblemen solemnly repaired to St. Paul's Cathedral;
the Duke of York offered his hand to the queen. The Earl of
Warwick however had remained at Calais.

Fresh quarrels soon brought about fresh insurrections. The two
parties reciprocally felt too great a distrust ever to live in
peace. In the month of September, 1459, the Earl of Salisbury,
brother of Warwick, united his forces to those of the Duke of
York, and, after a bloody combat in the environs of Drayton, in
Shropshire, where the Lancastrians were defeated, the Earl of
Warwick repaired to England with some troops which he had
carefully gathered at Calais; but scarcely did his soldiers find
themselves in front of the royal standard, when a loyal instinct
carried them off into the ranks of the army of Henry VI. The
strength of the Duke of York no longer allowed him to keep the
field, and on the 20th of November the Parliament convoked by the
queen at Coventry accused of high treason the whole families of
the Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury. Warwick retired to
Calais, taking with him his brother. When the governor sent by
Queen Margaret to supplant him appeared before the town, he was
repulsed, and the troops that he had brought went over to
Warwick.
{76}
At the end of June, 1460, the earl reappeared in England; the
eldest son of the Duke of York marched at his side. The battle of
Northampton placed the poor king in the hands of his enemies, and
the queen was compelled to fly with her son into Scotland. A mass
of great Lancastrian noblemen had remained upon the field of
battle. In opposition to the great warriors of the preceding
centuries, Warwick, the real chief of the Yorkist party, had a
maxim to spare the common people, but strike his enemies
ruthlessly, taking for his victims the men of distinction. Thanks
to this practice, imitated by his adversaries, all the great
families of England found themselves decimated during the Wars of
the Roses.

A new Parliament had been convoked at Westminster. The throne was
empty in the House of Lords, when the Duke of York entered
therein. He advanced at first resolutely, placed his hand upon
the cloth of gold which covered the royal seat, then fell back
without mounting it. He was resolved, however, to establish his
rights. The Archbishop of Canterbury inquired of him whether he
did not intend to pay a visit to the king, who was in the palace
adjoining. "I know no one in this kingdom who should not pay me a
visit first," replied the duke; and he established himself in the
royal apartment, while Henry occupied that of the queen.

The peers had not responded to this indirect appeal, and on the
16th of October York despatched a message to them, formally
laying claim to the crown. The Lords replied that they could not
give an opinion without the advice and consent of the king.
{77}
Now that he was separated from the queen, who had become more and
more unpopular, public feeling began to be agitated in favour of
Henry, who was regarded as a saint. But the Duke of York required
an answer. When the peers repaired to the captive king, he
reminded them that he had received, when quite a child, a crown
which had been borne with honour by his father and his
grandfather; that it had reposed for forty years upon his brow,
and that those even who now wished to snatch it from him, had on
several occasions sworn fidelity to him. To these substantial
reasons were added attacks against the hereditary rights of the
Duke of York, imprudent and puerile conduct which so greatly
embarrassed the peers that they called to their aid the judges,
then the sergeants of the House, who knew not how to give their
advice. On the 23rd the Lords presented their objections,
frivolous for the most part, with the exception of the oaths
taken by all the peers to the House of Lancaster. A compromise
was arrived at in the matter; Warwick and York used moderation,
and the crown was assured to King Henry during his lifetime.
After him it was to return to Richard, duke of York, and his
descendants, to the exclusion of the son of Margaret of Anjou.

The negotiators of this curious treaty had reckoned without the
queen. She had quitted Scotland, and was endeavouring to assemble
all her partisans and defend the rights of her son. Already the
hills and valleys bristled with lances. The Lancastrians were
under the sons of the noblemen killed at St. Albans: the Duke of
Somerset, the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were
there, thirsting for revenge, notwithstanding all the treaties of
pacification.
{78}
The Duke of York commanded his troops in person; he was as bold
upon the field of battle as he was hesitating and prudent in the
council. On the 30th of December, 1460, he attacked the enemy at
Wakefield, in Yorkshire, with inferior forces, and was completely
defeated. He remained himself among the dead, and his friend, the
Earl of Salisbury, who was made prisoner in the flight, was
beheaded the same day at Pontefract. The little Earl of Rutland,
second son of the duke, was flying with his tutor, when he was
arrested upon Wakefield Bridge by Lord Clifford. The child
speechless with terror, threw himself upon his knees. "It is the
son of the Duke of York," cried the priest who accompanied him.
"Thy father killed mine," said the fierce baron, "I will kill
thee therefore, thee and thine." And plunging his dagger into the
bosom of the young prince, he despatched the chaplain to carry to
his mother the fearful news. England was not yet accustomed to
these scenes of slaughter, and a long cry of horror arose in the
country when the news of the death of Rutland was known, and when
above the gates of York was seen the disfigured head of the duke,
surmounted by a crown of paper. Margaret and her partisans had
become intoxicated with the cup of revenge, without thinking of
the terrible reprisals which awaited them. Already the young Earl
of March, the eldest son of the Duke of York, had gained, on the
1st of February at Mortimer's Cross, near Wigmore, a bloody
victory, where perished a great number of royalists. All the
prisoners of mark, amongst whom was Owen Tudor, father-in-law of
King Henry VI., were beheaded after the battle, as though to
appease the shades of the Yorkists who had fallen at Wakefield.

[Image]
Assassination Of The Earl Of Rutland.

{79}

This success counterbalanced the effect of a victory gained on
the 17th of February, over Warwick, by Queen Margaret, between
St. Alban's and Barnet. The Earl was compelled to retreat so
fast, that King Henry, forgotten in the tumult, found himself
alone in his tent with his chamberlain, when his wife came to
take possession of him before causing her prisoners to be
executed. Five days later a proclamation of King Henry announced
to his people that he had subscribed under constraint to the
recent arrangements for the succession to the throne, and that he
retracted them without reserve, declaring Edward, formerly Earl
of March, a traitor, "it being the duty of every subject of the
king to hasten against him."

The Earl of March was about to hurl back on his enemies the title
of traitor and to put a price upon their heads. He had joined the
Earl of Warwick, and their united forces exceeded those of the
queen. London was favourable to the change of dynasty, and the
cruelties practised in the country by the troops that the queen
had brought from the frontiers of Scotland, rallied the peasants
around the Yorkists. Their forces went on increasing, and when,
on the 25th of February, they approached St. Alban's, where Queen
Margaret was with her army, she found herself compelled to
retreat before them. Edward, Earl of March, had none of the
scruples and hesitation of his father; he was resolved to seize
immediately upon the throne. Traversing St. Alban's as a
conqueror and king, he advanced immediately towards London, and
entered there triumphantly, to the great joy of the people, "who
came every day from all the country surrounding," says the
chronicler, "to see this handsome and magnificent prince, the
flower of chivalry, he in whom they hoped for their joy and
tranquility."
{80}
A grand review was held in St. John's Field, and a great
multitude of citizens thronged to witness the warlike spectacle.
Suddenly Lord Falconberg and the Bishop of Exeter addressed the
people: "You know of the incapacity of King Henry," they said,
"the injustice of the usurpation which has placed his family upon
the throne, and to what extent you have been misgoverned and
oppressed. Will you have this king to reign over you still?" "No,
no," cried the mob. The bishop continued, depicting the valour,
the talent, the activity of the Earl of March. "Will you have
King Edward to reign over you, and serve, love, and honour him?"
"Yes!" replied the people; "long live King Edward." On the
morrow, the 2nd of March, a great council of the Lords declared
that Henry of Lancaster had failed in his engagements, by uniting
himself to the forces of the queen, and by retracting his oath
regarding the succession to the throne. By this conduct, he had
lost his rights to the crown, which belonged henceforth to the
Duke of York, whose pretensions had been recognized as
legitimate. The consent of the Commons was dispensed with. On the
4th of March, Edward, followed by a royal retinue, repaired to
Westminster, and immediately taking possession of that throne
which his father had formerly touched with a hesitating hand, he
himself explained to the assembly the rights of his house. Having
been several times interrupted by plaudits, he repaired to
church, where he repeated his discourse. A few hours later the
heralds proclaimed King Edward IV. in all the public places of
London, and the people joyfully responded "Long live King
Edward."


{81}
                  Chapter XIV.

            Red Rose And White Rose.

            Edward IV.   (1461-1483).
            Edward V.    (1483).
            Richard III. (1483-1485).


If the throne of Henry IV. had always appeared to him unsteady,
from the morrow of usurpation which had not caused a single drop
of blood to be shed, that of Edward IV., based upon a transitory
success of his arms, was destined to cost much bloodshed and many
tears to England. The coronation rejoicings were immediately
followed by a renewal of the hostilities. Scarcely had he been
proclaimed when the new king left London. Queen Margaret and the
Duke of Somerset had assembled their troops in the environs of
York, and were preparing to march upon the capital. Edward, upon
the advice of Warwick, did not allow them time for that purpose.
The northern counties were in general favourably disposed towards
the Red Rose, and the two armies were more considerable than
ever, when they met on the 28th of March near Towton. The snow
fell in abundance and blinded the combatants, but their fury knew
no obstacle. The struggle lasted from nine o'clock in the morning
until three, when the Lancastrians, broken up and disbanded,
attempted to fly. The river Cock was a barrier wherein many of
their number were drowned. The Earl of Northumberland and six
barons had remained upon the field of battle; the Earls of
Devonshire and Wiltshire were captured and beheaded, their heads
replacing those of the Duke Richard and the Earl of Rutland upon
the gates of York.
{82}
Thirty-eight thousand combatants, it is said, perished on this
fatal day: the Hundred Years' War had not cost as much blood to
England as a single battle in the civil war. Queen Margaret, her
husband, and her son, accompanied by the Dukes of Somerset and
Exeter, took refuge in Scotland. Edward IV., triumphant, returned
to London, there to conclude the ceremony of his coronation.
Formally recognized by Parliament, no allusion was made to the
intellectual weakness of King Henry or to the misgovernment of
the queen and her favourites: all the arguments were confined to
the legitimate rights to the throne asserted by the House of York
in the person of King Edward. Henry and all his family were
declared usurpers, and their partisans were all included in the
same sentence: those of the Lancastrian barons who had not
perished upon the field of battle were condemned to death; all
their property was to be confiscated and their families degraded.
Edward IV. was anxious to crush his enemies by a single blow.

Betrayed by the fortune of war and abandoned by her terrified
partisans. Queen Margaret knew neither discouragement nor
fatigue. Closely linked to the Scotch by an old alliance which
she had sealed by ceding to them the town of Berwick, she
essayed, with their assistance, two or three incursions into the
northern counties of England; but her mediocre success decided
her to seek help in her native country, France, where she had
rendered many services and retained many friends. In the month of
April, 1462, she embarked at Kircudbright, and landed in
Brittany. The duke presented her with twelve thousand golden
crowns, and she took the road to Chinon, where the court of
France was situated.
{83}
Charles VII. was dead, and Louis XI. had succeeded him. A cold
politician, he was too shrewd to allow himself to be inveigled by
the tears and the beauty of the queen into a disastrous war; he
therefore at the outset refused all assistance; but when she
spoke of ceding Calais as the price of his services, the monarch
somewhat relaxed his sternness, gave some money to the queen, and
permitted her to recruit soldiers in his kingdom. A famous
knight, René de Brézé, seneschal of Normandy, ardently devoted to
Margaret, placed himself at the head of the two thousand men that
he had raised for her, partly at his own expense; a few vessels
were equipped, and the queen started on her return to Scotland.
The English exiles and a certain number of irregular border
troops in a short time joined her, and three fortresses of
Northumberland fell into her hands. But the Earl of Warwick was
advancing with an army of twenty thousand men; the Lancastrians
divided their forces in order to preserve their conquests; the
queen regained her vessels. The waves were as hostile to her as
the land; the ships were destroyed in a storm; the queen and
Brézé arrived at Berwick in a fishing-smack; five hundred French
troops, which she had left behind her to defend Holy Island, were
slaughtered to a man, and the three castles were compelled to
surrender after a vigorous resistance. They had however
capitulated upon honourable terms. The Duke of Somerset and Sir
Richard Percy made their submission to King Edward, who admitted
them to mercy, while Margaret was wandering with the seneschal
upon the frontiers of England, in vain endeavoring to rally her
scattered and terrified adherents.
{84}
It was in this winter campaign, one day in December, that the
queen, accompanied only by her son and a feeble following, fell
into the hands of a band of brigands. She had been stripped of
everything, her attendants were killed or captured, and she was
attempting to fly with her son, when one of the bandits pounced
upon her. Margaret turned round, and taking the little prince by
the hand, she advanced resolutely towards the outlaw, "Here is
the son of your king," she said; "I confide him to you." All
generous feeling had not been extinguished in the soul of the
brigand: he extended his protection to the mother and the child,
gave them the shelter of his hut for the night, and on the morrow
conducted them to the outskirts of the forest. King Henry was
conveyed to Wales and placed in a fortress, while queen Margaret
recrossed the sea to seek fresh assistance on the Continent. She
remained there for a long while. Louis XI. rarely supported the
unfortunate; the Duke Philip of Burgundy did not wish to set
himself at variance with England, whose commerce was of
importance to his dominions, and the poor princess, supported by
a few secret gifts, royal alms which scarcely sufficed for her
subsistence, took refuge in the Duchy of Bar, which still
belonged to her father. There she was unceasing in her efforts to
find enemies for King Edward and partisans for her husband and
her son.

{85}

Meanwhile the war recommenced in England without her, struck the
last blow to her hopes. The Duke of Somerset and Percy had again
revolted, and in the month of April, 1464, King Henry, dragged
from his peaceful retreat, was brought to the camp of his
partisans. Lord Montague, the younger brother of the Earl of
Warwick, assembled together the Yorkists, and on the 25th of
April at Hedgley moor, and on the 15th of May, at Hexham, the two
Lancastrian corps were defeated in succession. Percy died
fighting; the Duke of Somerset, Lord de Rods, and Lord Hungerford
were executed; Sir Ralph Grey, formerly a Yorkist, but since
become a Lancastrian in consequence of a disappointment in
ambition, was captured at Bamborough by the Earl of Warwick, and
suffered the doom of a traitor. Animosities and vengeance were
accumulating for the future, but the present seemed to smile upon
King Edward; King Henry had wandered during two months in
Lancashire and Westmoreland, from castle to castle, from cottage
to cottage, without any one dreaming of betraying him, without
meeting a heart hard enough to refuse him succor and protection.
At length, in the month of July, he was seized, delivered up to
his enemies and conducted to the Tower. The war had become very
cruel, and the troops had grown accustomed to many crimes, but
none dared to lay a hand upon "the sacred head of the peaceful
usurper," as Shakspeare calls him; the halo of his fervent piety
protected him against all violence. He led a peaceful life in his
prison, while Edward IV. was demolishing with his own hands the
throne which he had conquered at the cost of so many sufferings.
The Duchess of Bedford, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, had had several
children by her marriage with Sir Richard Woodville. The eldest
of her daughters, Elizabeth, married at an early age to Sir John
Grey, who was killed at the second battle of St. Alban's in the
ranks of the Lancastrians, begged of the king the restitution of
her property.
{86}
She was beautiful, skilful, ambitious: Edward IV. conceived an
affection for her, and secretly married her on the 1st of May,
1464. It was on the 29th of September only that he dared to
declare this union to his brothers, the Dukes of Clarence and
Gloucester, and to his redoubtable ally, the Earl of Warwick, or
the "Kingmaker," as he was called. Their dissatisfaction was
great, but they contrived to restrain it. Elizabeth Woodville was
solemnly recognized, in the month of December, at a great
national council; and on the 25th of May, following she was
crowned at Westminster with the usual ceremonies. Her Uncle,
James of Luxembourg, had come to England upon this occasion in
order to raise the family of the new queen a little. "Her father,
Sir Richard, was but an esquire in our remembrance," it was said
among the people. Future splendors were destined to efface the
meanness of the origin. With Elizabeth, his family ascended the
throne. Sir Richard was made Earl of Rivers, and soon afterwards
Constable, and the queen married her sisters to the heirs of the
noblest houses. Offices and honours poured down upon the Greys
and Woodvilles; and the Nevils, formerly all-powerful by right of
their services and their swords, saw their influence decrease day
by day; the king no longer asked their advice, and did not
trouble himself as to their inclination. An annoying incident
raised their anger to the highest pitch.

Warwick had for some time been engaged in negotiations for the
marriage of the Princess Margaret of York, sister of Edward, with
a prince of the royal house of France.
{87}
The alliance of the princess was equally sought by the Count of
Charolais, son of the Duke of Burgundy; but the "Great Earl" was
opposed to this marriage, and, authorized by Edward, he repaired
to France to conclude terms with King Louis XI. He resided at
Rouen in the month of June 1467, beside the royal palace, and the
King of France saw him at all hours of the day and night, in
great intimacy, negotiating with that air of mystery which he
loved to wear everywhere. Warwick was on his return to London, in
the month of July, accompanied by the ambassadors of France,
entrusted to conclude the royal alliance, when he learnt that the
Bastard of Burgundy had been at the court for several days past
under the pretext of a passage of arms, and that the marriage of
Margaret of York with the Count of Charolais was almost decided
upon. The last obstacle disappeared when the Duke Philip died
suddenly on the 15th of July, leaving to his son vast dominions,
a rich treasury, and a position in Europe superior to that of
most of the crowned heads. The indignation of Warwick was not the
less ardent: he complained of having been deceived, and retired
to his castle of Middleham. King Edward feigned to be uneasy at
the anger of the Earl: he doubled his guards as a rumor had been
spread that Warwick was won over to the House of Lancaster by
King Louis XI. Warwick returned for a moment at the entreaty of
his brother, the Archbishop of York; but the Woodvilles remained
all powerful, and the breach became wider every day: Edward with
difficulty endured the haughty independence of the man who had
made him king; he saw him now, supported by the Duke of Clarence,
the heir presumptive to the throne (Elizabeth had daughters
only), who had recently married, at Calais, Lady Isabel, the
eldest daughter of Warwick.
{88}
An insurrection broke out almost at the same moment in Yorkshire,
directed especially against the relatives of Queen Elizabeth, who
were accused of oppression. Lord Montague, who was present in the
North, did not oppose the movement, which however spread with
such rapidity that the king, having arrived at Newark, was
compelled to retreat precipitately to Nottingham. He wrote with
his own hand to Calais, begging the Duke of Clarence and the Earl
of Warwick to come to his aid. But before their arrival the
insurgents had defeated the Earl of Pembroke at Edgecote, on the
26th of July. Being captured in the pursuit, Earl Rivers and Sir
John Woodville, the father and brother of the queen, as well as
the Earl of Devon, had been beheaded. It was affirmed that the
rebels were acting in concert with Warwick. When he at length
landed in England, the king was almost alone at Olney, and the
insurgents were advancing against him, but the presence of the
Earl soon caused them to retreat. As they returned to their farms
and heaths, Warwick conducted Edward IV. to Middleham, the
prisoner of his deliveries. England now had two kings, both
captives.

Warwick did not yet think of changing the rose which he wore upon
his helmet; a fresh insurrection of the partisans of Henry VI.
compelled him to march against them. But the army murmuring at
the captivity of the king, it was necessary to show him to the
troops, and the Lancastrians being defeated, harmony appeared to
be re-established between the king and the earl. Edward
re-entered London; he had purchased his liberty by great gifts.
The reconciliation was, however, only apparent: two or three
fresh quarrels ended in a victory of the king over the insurgents
of Lincolnshire, who were secretly abetted by Clarence and
Warwick.
{89}
Edward accused them publicly of high treason. The earl did not
feel himself powerful enough to struggle arms in hand; he
embarked for Calais; but the news of his rebellion had preceded
him there; the cannon of the town were pointed against his
vessels, and the lieutenant whom he had himself chosen denied him
the entrance to the port. The Duchess of Clarence brought into
the world her first-born son in her ship, before the town, and it
was with great difficulty that a glass of wine was obtained to
restore strength to her; "which was," says Commynes, "great
severity for a servant to show towards his lord."

Warwick sought a refuge with King Louis, XI. The friendly
relations which he had contracted with him had never been broken
off: the astute monarch received the fugitives and installed
them, at first, at Valognes; he next received them at Tours and
at Amboise, notwithstanding the anger of the Duke of Burgundy,
several of whose vessels had been captured by Warwick. By way of
reprisal, the French merchants who had repaired to the fair at
Antwerp had been cast into prison by Charles the Bold. Louis XI.
ridiculed this act and continued to shuffle the cards, hoping to
secure the help of England against the duke, when the Kingmaker
should again become all-powerful in in his country.

It was at Amboise that Warwick and Queen Margaret met secretly,
through the agency of the King of France. For fifteen years past
the queen had attributed all her misfortunes to Warwick; the earl
had not forgotten that she had sent to the scaffold his father,
his brother, and his best friends; but a common and more fervent
hatred united them.
{90}
Margaret consented to the marriage of Prince Edward, her son,
with the second daughter of the earl, who thus assured the crown
to his children, should he either succeed in overthrowing Edward
IV. in favour of the Lancastrians, or should he be induced to
place Clarence upon the throne. Thanks to Louis XI., they
contrived for the time being to amuse or to quiet the Duke of
Clarence, notwithstanding all the efforts that the king, his
brother, made to sever him from his allies, and Warwick shortly
afterwards set sail, furnished with men and money. Charles of
Burgundy had in vain placed in the Channel a fleet destined to
arrest him; the earl landed on the 13th of September, 1470, upon
the coast of Devonshire, and the entire population hastened under
his banners. Sermons were preached in London in favour of King
Henry, and Warwick turned his steps in the direction of the
Trent. Edward IV. had been summoned to the North a short time
before by a fresh insurrection; but the soldiers convoked under
the banner of the White Rose did not respond to the appeal; those
who hitherto had marched with Edward abandoned him. Warwick
continued to advance; the position of King Edward became
desperate. He was brave and resolute, but he took the course of
flying. Two little Dutch vessels lay moored on the coast, at the
mouth of the Wash: he threw himself into them with a few friends,
without money and without resources, and crowded sail for the Low
Countries, with great difficulty escaping the pirates who
infested the seas. He landed near Alkmaar, and the governor
"immediately sent tidings to the Duke of Burgundy, who would as
well have liked to learn the death of the king," says Commynes,
"for he was in great apprehension of the Earl of Warwick, who was
his enemy and had become all-powerful in England."
{91}
In effect, everybody in London cried, "Long live King Henry!"
Warwick had released from the Tower the poor monarch whom he
himself had led there five years before. Queen Elizabeth
Woodville had shut herself up in Westminster Abbey with her
mother and her three daughters. It was there that she gave birth
to a son, a new pretender to the throne, whom the Duke of
Clarence looked upon with as much disfavour as upon the
restoration of Henry VI. Louis XI. caused thanksgivings to be
offered up to God in all the churches of France for the great
victory gained by Henry of Lancaster, the legitimate King of
England over the usurping traitor, the Earl of March. The joy of
the king was the more keen inasmuch as Warwick had already
returned to him a portion of the money which he had borrowed. In
reality, some pirates had seized the vessel and the gold which it
carried, but the good intention of the earl was evident, and
Louis XI. reckoned upon receiving back his advances, while
assuring the power to the enemies of his good cousin of Burgundy;
the politic monarch rubbed his hands.

Meanwhile, affairs had already changed their aspect in England.
As Louis XI. had assisted Warwick, the Duke of Burgundy assisted
Edward: he had given him vessels and a small army corps, besides
hiring for his service a certain number of pirates. It was with
these feeble resources that Edward IV. disembarked on the 16th of
March at Ravenspur, where Bolingbroke had landed seventy-two
years before to dethrone King Richard II.
{92}
The reception accorded by the people was not encouraging; none
planted the White Rose. Edward no longer spoke of his rights to
the throne; he wished only, he said, to reclaim his title of Duke
of York. But when he had crossed the Trent he found himself
surrounded by his partisans: every day his forces continued to
swell, the Marquis of Montague, brother of Warwick, had suffered
him to pass. Before arriving at Coventry he had resumed all the
royal insignia. The army of Warwick was coming to encounter him;
but scarcely had the two parties found themselves face to face,
when the Duke of Clarence went over, with all his troops, to the
side of his brother. Thus weakened, Warwick was compelled to
retreat without fighting. Edward marched upon London, where he
was received with acclamations by the populace. The sermons
preached from the cross at St. Paul's in favour of King Henry,
and the open hospitality of the Earl of Warwick, had already been
forgotten. A son had been born to King Edward who had not yet
seen him, and the "wealthy merchants who had lent money to him,"
says Commynes, "hoped to be paid when he should have regained
possession of the throne." The wives of the great citizens were
accustomed to his acts of gallantry. London was merrymaking, but
the Lancastrians were already in battle array on the plain of
Barnet, within five leagues of the capital. Edward marched
against them with the Duke of Clarence. The latter was troubled
and uneasy: his wife was a daughter of Warwick, and she had great
influence over him; he caused a proposal for his mediation to be
made to his father-in law. "Tell your master," cried the earl in
indignation, "that Warwick is faithful to his oath, and is better
than the treacherous and perfidious Clarence. He has referred
this to the sword, which will decide the quarrel." It was on
Easter day: the morrow was awaited for the fight.

{93}

The struggle began on the 14th of April, at daybreak. Warwick
always fought on horseback; but his brother, Lord Montague, who
had joined him, urged him to dismount. "Charge at the head of
your men-at-arms," he said. Edward IV. was present in person
among his partisans, sword in hand, doing good work. It was not
long before Warwick was killed as well as his brother: but the
rout of the Lancastrians did not stay the slaughter: on returning
from Flanders, King Edward had resolved no longer to spare as
formerly, the common people; he had conceived a great hatred of
the peasants, so often favourable to his enemies. The field of
battle was covered with corpses, when Edward IV. re-entered into
London, bringing with him the body of the Kingmaker, which was
exposed during three days at Westminster, in order that all might
assure themselves of his death. King Henry was reconducted to the
Tower.

Edward IV., however, had not yet triumphed over his most
implacable adversary. Queen Margaret, who had been detained upon
the coast of France by contrary winds, landed in England on the
very day of the battle of Barnet. She soon learnt that her
friends had been beaten, that Warwick was killed, that King Henry
was again a prisoner. She advanced, however, with her son and the
auxiliaries whom she had brought from the Continent. The
population was hostile to her; she found the fords and bridges of
the Severn defended by her enemies, and was unable to join Lord
Pembroke, who still held out in Wales. On the 4th of May,
Margaret met King Edward near Tewkesbury.
{94}
Her troops had skilfully intrenched themselves, but the Duke of
Somerset wished to make the attack in the open field; a small
number of soldiers followed him, and when he attempted to fall
back upon his ranks, the Duke of Gloucester had already broken
through them. The queen and the prince were made prisoners. The
young pretender was brought to Edward. "Who conducted you
hither?" cried the king angrily. "My right and the crown of my
father," said the son of Margaret proudly. Edward struck him upon
the mouth with his iron gauntlet; the prince staggered, the
servants of the king threw themselves upon him and slaughtered
him. The great noblemen who accompanied Margaret had taken refuge
in Tewkesbury church. The respect accorded to the sacred
precincts had protected the wife and the children of King Edward
while his enemies were all powerful in London; but no
consideration divine or human could stay him: he entered the
church, sword in hand. A priest, holding aloft the host, threw
himself between the king and his victims: he succeeded in
arresting him for a moment; an amnesty was even promised; but,
two days later, all the Lancastrians who had taken refuge in
Tewkesbury church were dragged forcibly therefrom, and were
beheaded.

Queen Margaret had followed her conquerer: her haughty courage
had resisted all defeats, all treacheries: she did not succumb
beneath the last misfortune. She lived for five years a prisoner,
alone and poor, first at the Tower, then at Windsor, and finally
at Wallingford. King Louis XI. at length obtained her liberty:
she returned to France there to live for several years more. She
died in 1482.
{95}
The king, her husband, had not survived the battle of Tewkesbury:
on the morrow of the triumphal entry of Edward IV. into London,
Henry VI. was found dead in the Tower; it was said that the Duke
of Gloucester had stabbed him with his own hands. Remorse for
this crime perhaps pursued him: when he was king, Richard III.
caused the body of Henry VI. to be removed from the abbey of
Chertsey, where it had been deposited; the bones of the holy
king, it was said, accomplished miracles. When Henry VII. wished
to bring them back to Westminster, they could not be found.

The White Rose triumphed everywhere. The great Lancastrian
noblemen were dead or prisoners; the Earl of Pembroke and some
others had succeeded in taking refuge upon the Continent; the
little Prince of Wales had been declared heir presumptive to the
throne by the great council of the peers; but the king and his
brothers could not live in peace. Clarence and Gloucester were
contending with each other for the inheritance of the Earl of
Warwick. Gloucester had married the Princess Anne, widow of the
young Edward, assassinated at Tewkesbury. In vain had Clarence
concealed her; Gloucester had pursued his prey even under the
disguise of a servant, and King Edward had been compelled to
divide between the two rivals the property of the "great earl,"
leaving his widow in veritable misery; "for," says Commynes,
"among all the sovereignties in the world of which I have
knowledge where public affairs are best managed, that in which
there is the least violence towards the people, where there are
no buildings cast down or demolished for war, is England; but
misfortune and fate fall upon those who have caused the war."
{96}
The House of the Nevilles was ruined; the enmity between the two
brothers of the king was not less on that ground: it was to bring
about fresh crimes.

The internal struggles appeared to be drawing to an end. King
Edward began to return to external wars; the Duke of Burgundy
urged him to lend him his co-operation against Louis XI. Edward
crossed the sea with a small army and went to Calais; but "before
he started from Dover," writes Commynes, "he sent to the king our
lord one single herald, named Jarretière, who was a native of
Normandy. He brought to the king a written challenge from the
King of England, in beautiful language and in a beautiful style;
and I think that never had Englishman put his hand to it." Edward
publicly claimed the kingdom of France as his possession, "in
order that he might restore the Church, the nobles, and the
people to their former liberty," he said. The king read the
letter in private, then retired to his closet, "tout fin seul;"
he caused the herald to be summoned thither. "Your king does not
come here of his own accord," he said to Jarretière, "he is
constrained by the Duke of Burgundy." And proceeding from this to
make overtures of friendship to the King of England, "he gave to
the said herald three hundred crowns, counting them with his own
hand, and promised him a thousand of them if the arrangement
should be made, and publicly caused a beautiful piece of crimson
velvet, consisting of thirty ells, to be given to him."

{97}

Jarretière, thus treated, advised King Louis XI. to enter into
relations with Lord Howard or Lord Stanley, favourite ministers
of Edward, who were not in favour of the war. The English forces
which had recently arrived in Calais were more considerable than
had at first been believed in France; the King of England had
concluded a truce with Scotland, and he had imposed on his
vassals and the great citizens a new species of tax, under the
form of free gifts, called "benevolences." Fifteen or eighteen
thousand men were assembled at Calais; but the Duke of Burgundy
had dissipated his resources elsewhere, and he presented himself
at the place of meeting with a handful of soldiers. The
discontent which this deception caused to King Edward inclined
him to lend an ear to the proposals of Louis XI. The English army
had been inactive at Péronne for two months, and the gold of the
King of France circulated freely among the courtiers of Edward.
Fifty thousand crowns had already been promised for the ransom of
Queen Margaret, when the two sovereigns met at Pecquigny, on each
side of a barrier, upon a bridge thrown across the Somme. "In the
middle was a trellis, such as is made in the cages of lions, and
there were no holes between the bars larger than to allow one's
arm to be put in with ease." King Louis arrived first, having
taken the precaution, on that day, to cause Commynes to be clad
in the same manner as himself, "for he had long been accustomed
to have somebody who dressed similarly to himself." The King of
England entered, accompanied by his chamberlain. Lord Hastings:
"He was a very handsome prince, and tall, but he began to grow
fat, and I had formerly seen him more handsome; for I have no
remembrance of ever having seen a more handsome man than he was
when Lord Warwick made him fly from England. They embraced
through the apertures; the King of England made a profound
reverence, and the King began to speak, saying, 'My cousin,
welcome; there is no man in the world whom I should so much
desire to see as you, and praised be God for that we are here
assembled with such good intent.' The King of England replied
upon this point in pretty good French."

{98}

King Louis had invited Edward IV. to come and see him in Paris,
but he was rather uneasy lest his politeness should be accepted.
"He is a very handsome king," he said to Commynes, "he greatly
loves the ladies; he might find one among them in Paris who might
say so many fine words to him that she would make him wish to
return. His predecessors have been to much in Paris and in
Normandy. His company is worth nothing on this side of the sea
beyond it, I am quite willing to have him for a good brother and
friend." All the efforts of Louis XI. tended to conclude the
treaty as soon as possible, in order to see the English return to
their country; and for this purpose, he lavished the treasures
amassed with so much care. A pension of fifty thousand livres was
assured to King Edward; the hand of the dauphin was promised to
Princess Elizabeth; the great noblemen of the English court had
pensions and presents like their master, and a truce of seven
years was signed. The people murmured in England; for the extent
of the preparations and the importance of the sums obtained by
Edward had created hopes for at least the conquest of Anjou,
Maine, Normandy, and Guienne. The French noblemen despised the
policy of their king, who purchased the retreat of his enemies
instead of repulsing them by arms; but Edward had recrossed the
sea, and Louis XI. paid the pensions regularly; he even went so
far as to demand a receipt, 'and despatched Maître Pierre Clairet
to Lord Hastings, the great chamberlain, to remit two thousand
crowns in gold "au soleil" to him; for in no other kind was money
ever given to great foreign noblemen.

[Image]
Interview Between Edward IV. and Louis XI.

{99}

And the said Clairet requested that he would deliver to him a
letter of three lines, informing the king how he had received
them, for the said nobleman was suspicious. But the chamberlain
replied, "My lord master, that which you say is very reasonable;
but this gift comes of the good pleasure of the king your lord.
If it please you that I take it you will place it here in my
sleeve and will have no letter or acknowledgment for it, for I
will not have it said, 'The great chamberlain of the King of
England has been a pensioner of the King of France,' or that 'my
receipts should be found in his exchequer chamber.' With which
the king was much incensed, but commended and esteemed the said
chamberlain for it and always paid him without a receipt."

The Duke Charles the Bold had recently perished at the battle of
Nancy, in his campaign against the Duke René of Lorraine (1477).
His only daughter, Mary of Burgundy, inherited his vast
dominions. The Duke of Clarence, a widower since the recent death
of the daughter of Warwick, at once claimed the hand of the young
duchess. He was already in bad odour at court, and this act of
ambition excited the jealousy of the king his brother. Clarence
was violent: he complained of the injustice used towards two of
his servants, who had been accused of sorcery, condemned and
executed. He protested so loudly, that the king caused him to be
arrested, and, accusing him of treason, ordered him to be
imprisoned in the Tower.
{100}
The prince appeared before the peers, being prosecuted by the
king in person: no baron opened his mouth for his defence; but
Clarence protested his innocence at each accusation of magic,
rebellion, and conspiracy. Nevertheless the peers declared him
guilty, and the House of Commons insisted shortly afterwards upon
the carrying out of the sentence. The trial had been public; the
execution was secret: on the 18th of February, the report of the
death of the duke spread through London. None knew how he had
died, but it was related among the people that the Duke of
Gloucester had caused him to be drowned in a butt of Malmsey
wine. The well-known tastes of the unhappy duke had no doubt
brought about this supposition, for the most absolute mystery
continues to reign over the fate of Clarence. Richard, duke of
Gloucester, maintained the best relations with the queen, and he
received of the king a large portion of the estates confiscated
from Clarence, while Edward continued to lead a life of feasting
and debauchery, everywhere surrounded by ladies whom he treated
magnificently, causing silken tents to be set up for them "when
he went to the hunting-field," says Commynes; "for no man
humoured so much his inclination."

Meanwhile war had recommenced with Scotland. King James I. had
fallen beneath the dagger of assassins in 1437. His son James
II., whose long minority and bad government had thrown Scotland
back into the disorder which his father had attempted to dispel,
was killed in 1460, by the explosion of a cannon which he was
testing. James III., who had succeeded him while yet a child, was
gentle and timid, little fitted to reign over his turbulent
barons.
{101}
Meanwhile the Duke of Gloucester, entrusted by his brother to
support the war, had achieved no success; but the treason of the
Duke of Albany, brother of James III., opened up new hopes to
England in 1482. Berwick had been delivered up to Gloucester, and
the King of Scotland, having advanced to repulse the English, saw
his favourite Cochrane carried off by the conspirators, who hung
him upon Lauder bridge and took James as their prisoner to
Edinburgh. He was still detained in the castle, when the Duke of
Gloucester entered the capital with the Duke of Albany. The
presence of an English army opened the eyes of the Scottish
barons: they came to an understanding with Albany, who returned
into favour with his brother. King James was restored to liberty
and the English retired, in consequence of the cession of the
town of Berwick and a promise of certain sums of money.
Gloucester re-entered London, where King Edward was meditating a
fresh war.

The Princess Elizabeth was sixteen years of age: for ten years
past she had been betrothed to the dauphin, but King Louis did
not claim his daughter-in-law. A rumour was even abroad that he
had entered into negotiations with the Duke Maximilian of
Austria, in order to obtain the hand of the Princess Margaret,
his only daughter by Mary of Burgundy, who was killed by a fall
from a horse in the month of February, 1482. While all the
princes of Europe were contending against each other for the
heiress of the Dukes of Burgundy, Louis XI. had stealthily taken
possession of a portion of her dominions, and these he claimed as
a dowry to "Margot, the gentle damsel," as Margaret of Austria
was called.
{102}
The little princess was only three years of age; but the towns of
Flanders which held her in custody, accepted the French alliance
rejected by Maximilian, and consigned her into the hands of Louis
XI. During all these negotiations the King of France had
contrived to amuse Edward IV. by purchasing the silence of Lord
Howard, the ambassador at Paris; but when the marriage contract
was solemnly celebrated at Paris, "with great festivals and
solemnities. King Edward was much irritated therewith. Whoever
had joy in this marriage, it displeased the king of England
bitterly," says Commynes, "for he held it as so great a shame and
mockery, and conceived so great a grief for it, as soon as he
learnt the news of it, that he fell ill and died therefrom,
although others say that it was a catarrh." King Edward IV. was
not yet forty-one, when he expired on the 9th of April, 1483,
repenting, it was said, of all the wrong that he had done, and
ordering his debts to be paid to all those of whom he had
extorted money; but the treasury was empty, and the injured
persons were obliged to content themselves with the repentance
and the good will of the dying sovereign. Cruel and suspicious,
avaricious, prodigal, and debauched, King Edward IV. had no other
quality than the bravery which had placed him upon the throne; he
left two sons, aged thirteen and eleven years, unhappy children,
confided to an imprudent and frivolous mother, and an uncle as
ambitious as corrupt.

At the moment when King Edward was dying in London, his brother
Richard, duke of Gloucester was upon the frontiers of Scotland,
at the head of the army, and the Prince of Wales was at Ludlow
Castle, the residence of his uncle, Lord Rivers.
{103}
While the young king was returning slowly to the capital,
accompanied by a small body of troops, the Duke of Gloucester, in
great mourning, repaired to York with a numerous escort, caused
the Church ceremonials to be solemnly celebrated in honour of the
deceased monarch, made [an] oath of fidelity to his nephew,
caused all the noblemen of the environs to make it, and wrote to
his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Woodville, to assure her of his
loyalty, and to place himself at her disposition. Already,
however, notwithstanding the reconciliation which had taken place
beside the deathbed of Edward IV., suspicions and discord reigned
between the party of the Queen and the old favourite of her
husband. Lord Hastings, High Chamberlain of England, wrote to the
Duke of Gloucester, and the the Duke of Buckingham, a prince of
the royal house, a descendant of Thomas de Woodstock, the
youngest son of Edward III., had received the emissaries of the
crafty Richard. The young king and his uncle met on the 25th of
April, at Stoney-Stratford; on the preceding evening, the Duke of
Gloucester had received at Northampton the visit of the Lords
Rivers and Grey, and had cordially entertained them, as well as
the Duke of Buckingham, who had subsequently arrived. But
scarcely did Richard find himself in the presence of the little
Edward V. and holding him in his power, when he accused Lord
Rivers of having endeavoured to alienate the affections of his
nephew from him; and he caused him to be arrested, as well as
Lord Grey and several personages of the royal house. Gloucester
and Buckingham bent their knees before the young king, saluting
him as their sovereign: but the sovereign was a prisoner and was
taken to London, while his uncle and his servants were being
conducted to Pontecraft Castle of lugubrious memory.

{104}

The rumour of these arrests had already reached the capital.
Queen Elizabeth, alarmed, had retired into Westminster Abbey with
her second son. Hastings, a traitor or a dupe, assured the
population of the city that the two dukes were acting only in the
interest of the public welfare. He set out to meet the young
king, while the agents of Gloucester were spreading in London
violent accusations against the queen, who had, it was said,
plotted with her relatives for the death of the princes of the
blood, in order to be able to govern the king at her pleasure.
They were even shown the casks filled with arms which she had, it
was said, amassed in order to destroy her enemies. The people
began to declare that all these traitors must be hanged. The
arrival of the little king was announced.

He made his entry into London on the 5th of June, magnificently
dressed and mounted upon a beautiful horse. His uncle preceded
him, bareheaded, with all the marks of the most affectionate
respect. Edward, V. at first took up his abode in the palace of
the bishop, then, upon the proposal which the Duke of Buckingham
made to the council, he was transported to the Tower for greater
security. The assembly of peers awarded to the Duke of Gloucester
the title of Protector and Defender of the kingdom, and he
installed himself in one of the royal palaces, where the crowd of
his courtiers thronged. A small number of noblemen, at the head
of whom was Lord Hastings, met together at the Tower. "I know
everything that goes forward at the duke's," said the high
chamberlain of Edward IV. to Lord Stanley, who was uneasy at the
machinations of Richard. He was not aware, however, of the
imminence of the danger that threatened him.

{105}

On the 12th of June Richard entered the council of the Tower with
a serene countenance; he chatted gaily with the peers who
surrounded him. "My lord," he said to the Bishop of Ely, "it is
said that the strawberries of your garden in Holborn are
excellent." "I will send and get some if it please your
highness," replied the prelate. While the strawberries were being
gathered, the Protector had gone out; when he returned, his face
had become overcast. "What do traitors who plot for my
destruction deserve?" he exclaimed on entering. "Death!" replied
Lord Hastings, without hesitating. "That sorceress, the wife of
my brother," replied Richard, "and that other sorceress who is
always with her, Mistress Shore, have no other aim but to rid
themselves of me; see how, with their enchantments, they have
already destroyed and consumed my body!" And he raised his left
sleeve exposing his arm, emaciated and withered to the elbow.
None uttered a word; all knew that the duke had been born with
his arm thus deformed. He was tall, like his brothers: his
countenance was handsome, but he was hunchbacked and his features
had never expressed a more bitter malignity than at the moment
when, turning towards Hastings, he repeated his question. "I
faith they deserve death, my lord, if they have thus plotted
against you." "_If!_" repeated the Protector, "why do you
use _ifs_ and _buts_ to me? I will prove upon thy body
the truth of that which I say, traitor that thou art!" And he
struck a heavy blow upon the table angrily; at the same instant
the door opened, and a band of armed men precipitated themselves
into the council-chamber. "Traitor, I arrest you!" said Richard,
taking Hastings by the collar.
{106}
A soldier had raised his battle axe to Lord Stanley, but he had
taken refuge under the table; he was seized, however, and taken
to prison, as well as the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of
Ely. "As to my lord chamberlain," said Gloucester, "let him
hasten to have himself absolved, for, by St. Paul, I will not sit
down to table while he has his head upon his shoulders." A few
moments later the unhappy Hastings, dragged by the soldiers into
the courtyard of the chapel, was beheaded upon the trunk of a
tree which was there. On the same day, by order of Sir Richard
Ratcliffe, who presented himself at Pontefract at the head of a
body of troops. Lord Rivers, Lord Grey, Sir Thomas Vaughan, and
Sir Thomas Hawse were executed before the castle, in public, but
without their being able to address a word to the crowd which
thronged around the scaffold, for "Ratcliffe had for a long time
been in the confidence of the Duke," says a chronicler, "and he
was a man having experience of the world, of a crafty mind and a
bold tongue, as far removed from all pity as he was from the fear
of God."

Meanwhile the Protector had repaired to Westminster with the
Archbishop of Canterbury and several peers and noblemen,
demanding that Queen Elizabeth should at once consign to him the
person of the Duke of York, whose company his brother wished for
and whose absence from the coronation would cause grievous and
calumniatory rumours to be circulated against the Protector. The
queen was defenceless; she had no party in the city, her
relatives and friends were dead or prisoners; she yielded,
tearfully embracing the son who yet remained to her and who was
doubtless being snatched away from [her.]

{107}

Mistress Jane Shore, the favourite of Edward IV., had been
condemned to do public penance for her bad conduct and sorcery;
she had traversed the streets of London barefooted and in a
sheet, with a taper in her hand, afterwards to take refuge,
deprived of all her riches, in a humble house into which she was
received in charity. It was on Sunday, the 22nd of June, when a
preacher, Doctor Shaw, attracted the mob to the cross at St.
Paul's, by loudly asserting that King Edward V. and his brother,
the Duke of York, were not the legitimate children of Edward IV.,
who had already been married when he espoused their mother, "Much
more," he added, "who knows even whether King Edward IV. was the
son of the Duke of York? All those who have known the illustrious
Duke Richard, assert that the Earl of March bore no resemblance
to him; on the contrary, see!" he cried, as the Duke of
Gloucester appeared at a balcony near the pulpit, "judge
yourselves whether the noble Protector is not feature for feature
the image of the hero whom we mourn." The mob listened aghast;
acclamations and a popular proclamation of King Richard had been
hoped for; but the people preserved silence, the Protector knit
his eyebrows, the preacher precipitately ended his sermon and
disappeared in the crowded ranks of auditors. It is asserted that
he died of grief in consequence of this check.

The ice was broken, however, and on the second day afterwards the
cause was entrusted to a more illustrious advocate: the Duke of
Buckingham presented himself at Guildhall, and, repeating to the
citizens the arguments which the preacher had expounded to the
populace, he asserted that the Duke Richard was the only
legitimate descendant of the Duke of York, and that the noblemen,
like the commons of the North, had never vowed to obey a bastard.
{108}
The citizens still hesitated, no voice was raised from the crowd;
the duke insisted upon having a reply; the poor people, who
thronged at the door, threw their caps in the air, crying, "Long
live King Richard!" On the morrow, the Duke of Buckingham
succeeded in gaining over a certain number of citizens, and he
was accompanied both by the peers and the Lords of the Council
when he presented himself at the Protector's. The latter at first
affected to refuse the audience; resistance was made, and the
Duke of Buckingham, in the name of the Lords spiritual and
temporal, as well as the Commons of England, implored Richard,
duke of Gloucester, Protector and defender of the kingdom, to
relieve England from the misfortune of being governed by a
bastard, by accepting the crown himself. The Protector hesitated,
speaking of his affection for his nephews. "If you refuse," cried
Buckingham, "the people of England will know well where to find a
king who will accept without causing himself to be entreated."
Richard no longer persisted: "It was his duty," he said, "to
submit to the will of the nation, and, since it was required, he
accepted the royal State of the two noble kingdoms of England and
France, the one to govern and direct it from this day, the other
to conquer and regain it as soon as it should be possible." King
Edward V. was dethroned before having reigned, and King Richard
III. ascended the throne.

[Image]
The Tower of London.

{109}

None protested, none objected in favour of the poor children
confined in the Tower. The preparations begun for the coronation
of the nephew served for the coronation of the uncle; Richard was
crowned at Westminster on the 6th of June, with his wife Anne,
daughter of Warwick; Lord Howard was made Duke of Norfolk, the
Archbishop of York was set at liberty, Lord Stanley was received
into favour. The new king travelled from county to county,
administering justice, listening to the complaints of his
subjects, and repeated at York the coronation ceremony.
Everywhere he was received with favour, and the disaffected did
not show themselves.

In London, however, an agitation began to be stirred up in favour
of the young princes; secret meetings had taken place, the health
of the two children had been drunk, their partisans became
reconciled with their mother; the Duke of Buckingham, who had
placed the crown upon the head of the usurper, and had been
richly rewarded for it, had doubtless conceived some misgivings
as to the ulterior intentions of Richard, for he suddenly altered
his course and placed himself at the head of the confederates,
who were working to create in the south of England a party for
the restoration of Edward V. Appearances were favourable; already
Queen Elizabeth raised her head, when suddenly the porches of the
Abbey were found closed; it was forbidden to allow any one to
enter or leave, and the unhappy mother learned at the same time
that her cruel brother-in-law was informed of the conspiracy, and
that he had baffled the object of it beforehand; the two princes
no longer existed.

{110}

Assassinations almost always remain enveloped in mystery: it is
related that scarcely had Richard left London when he endeavoured
to corrupt Sir Robert Brackenbury, the guardian of the Tower.
Finding him inflexible, he simply deposed him for twenty-four
hours, consigning the office into the hands of his master of the
horse, Sir John Tyrrell. The latter had it was said, entered the
Tower in the evening accompanied by two robbers, and during the
night they had stifled under their pillows the young princes,
lying in the same bed. Then they had been interred noiselessly at
the foot of the staircase, and the murderers had gone back to
King Richard to receive their reward.

Great were the consternation and horror among the conspirators,
but they had gone too far forward to recede; they could expect no
mercy. A pretender was sought for: the Bishop of Ely proposed
Henry, Earl of Richmond, grandson of Owen Tudor and Catherine of
France, representing the House of Lancaster by the right of his
mother, Margaret Beaufort, great grand-daughter of John of Gaunt.
He lived in Brittany, exiled like all his race. He could, it was
said, be made to wed Lady Elizabeth of York, eldest sister of the
unhappy Edward V., and thus unite the pretensions of the two
royal Houses, the struggle between which had cost England so much
blood. This project was immediately adopted; the Countess of
Richmond, the mother of the new pretender, had been married, for
the second time, to Lord Stanley, the secret enemy of Richard
III. He enter with ardour into the conspiracy, which extended
every day; but the secret was so well kept that the reply of the
Earl of Richmond had arrived in England, and he was preparing to
depart from Saint Malo before King Richard had learnt the new
danger which threatened him.
{111}
At the first disclosure, he convoked his army at Leicester; but
he had not yet joined his troops when an insurrection took place:
the Marquis of Dorset had proclaimed Henry VII. at Exeter, the
Bishop of Salisbury had declared himself in his favour in
Wiltshire, the gentlemen of Kent and Berkshire had taken up arms,
and the Duke of Buckingham displayed his banner at Brecknock.

The time was not yet ripe for the insurrection; the Earl of
Richmond had been for a long time tossed about by contrary winds,
and his forces were so insufficient when he approached the coast
of Devonshire that he did not dare to risk a disembarkation. The
Duke of Buckingham had found the rivers swollen in Wales: having
arrived at the Severn, he was compelled to retrace his steps; his
soldiers disbanded without striking a blow; the duke disguised
himself, endeavouring to fly; he then concealed himself in the
hut of a peasant, who betrayed him. King Richard arrived at
Salisbury as his former friend was being brought there; he
refused to see him, and immediately caused him to be beheaded.
The other insurgents had taken refuge upon the Continent; those
who were captured paid with their lives for their attempt; King
Richard was everywhere triumphant, without having drawn his sword
from its scabbard.

For the first time, Richard convoked a Parliament; he wished to
have his usurpation and vengeance ratified. Trembling before him,
the Peers and Commons of England declared that King Richard III.
was the sole legitimate possessor of the throne, which belonged
to his descendants forever, beginning with his son Edward, Prince
of Wales. At the same time, and to punish the enemies of the new
sovereign, Parliament voted a bill of attainder, which deprived
of their property and dignities all those who had been
compromised in the last conspiracy; the Countess of Richmond
alone obtained mercy through intercession of her husband, Lord
Stanley, skilful in remaining on good terms with the two parties,
and who had succeeded in deceiving the perfidious and suspicious
Richard.

{112}

Meanwhile the exiles had assembled in Brittany, where they
enjoyed the favour of the Duke Francis and the support of his
minister, Pierre Landais. At the rejoicings of Christmas, 1483,
Henry of Richmond assembled around him his partisans, solemnly
swore to wed Elizabeth of York as soon as he should have
triumphed over the usurper, and received the homage of all
present. But King Richard had not renounced his vengeance:
Landais was gained over, and the protection of the Duke Francis
failing the exiles, they were about to be delivered up to their
cruel enemy, when, warned in time, they proceeded into France and
found a refuge and assistance beside King Charles VIII.

At the same time that Richard was pursuing with his hatred Henry
of Richmond, he was labouring in England to deprive him of the
support which alone could raise him to the throne. The Yorkists
could not ally themselves with the Lancastrian prince, except in
consideration of his marriage with Elizabeth of York; Richard
resolved to sever from his alliance the queen and her daughter;
he entered into correspondence with Elizabeth Woodville: she was
weary of her voluntary prison, ambitious and frivolous; she
forgot all, the usurpation, the murder of her sons, of her
brother, of her most faithful friends, and, after having obtained
from the king a solemn oath to treat her as well as her
daughters, as good relatives, the queen quitted her retreat and
appeared at the court, where the Princess Elizabeth was loaded
with honours.
{113}
Her marriage with the Prince of Wales was already spoken of,
although the latter was scarcely eleven years of age and the
Princess Elizabeth was at least eighteen, when the child died
suddenly at Middleham Castle. For a moment, Richard appeared to
stagger under the blow, but he soon rose again; he had formed a
new project. Queen Anne was ill, and at all the festivals the
Princess Elizabeth appeared wearing in advance the royal robes.
"When will she come to an end, then?" said Elizabeth; "she is a
long time dying!" The Dowager Queen had written to her friends to
abandon the Earl of Richmond, saying that she had found a better
arrangement for the family. Anne died at length, but the
confidants of King Richard did not approve of his project: he was
accused, they said, of having poisoned his wife. The people of
the northern counties maintained their fidelity to the house of
Warwick; the people considered this marriage with the daughter of
his brother as incestuous; Richard fell back before these
objections; he felt his throne insecure. King Charles VIII. had
furnished the Earl of Richmond with men and money, and he had
recently embarked at Harfleur; the King of England was raising an
army to defend himself; at the same time he lavished
proclamations against "one Henry Tudor by name, of illegitimate
descent from the side of his father as well as his mother, having
no right to the crown of England, pledged to the King of France,
to abandon to him for ever Normandy Guienne, Anjou, Maine and
even Calais, and coming to England followed by an army of
strangers, to whom he had promised the earldoms and bishoprics,
the baronies and the fiefs of knights."
{114}
He therefore summoned all his good subjects to the defence of the
country like loyal Englishmen, by providing him with soldiers and
money, and he promised to spare neither his property nor his
person to protect them against the common enemy.

The last remains of the popularity of Richard, in London, had
disappeared before the forced loans which he had been obliged to
make, and which the citizens called "malevolences." The royal
banner had been raised at Nottingham and a considerable army had
rallied around the king; but the coasts were ill-defended, and
among the noblemen who had not replied to the appeal was Lord
Stanley, ill, it was said, and detained in his bed. The king took
possession of his son, Lord Strange, in the shape of a hostage
and continued his march towards his rival, whose forces were not
as yet very considerable. "There will not be one man in ten who
will fight for Richard," asserted the Earl of Richmond, and he
advanced resolutely as far as Atherston.

It is in the nature of tyrants and traitors to live in fear of
treason. The House of York, so often stained with innocent blood,
had never lacked courage. Richard III. had often exhibited the
most brilliant valour. He was destined to give further proof of
this on the morrow. It is, however, the incomparable genius of
Shakspeare which has assembled so many terrible visions around
the pillow of Richard III. during the night before the battle,
and which has caused all the victims of his perfidy to pass
before him, like so many sinister heralds, announcing his doom.
When daylight dawned the king already felt himself condemned and
conquered.

[Image]
Henry Tudor crowned on the Battle-Field of Bosworth.

{115}

On the 22nd of August, the two adversaries met in the plain of
Bosworth: the invading army was small; King Richard surveyed it
with disdain while proceeding along his lines on horseback; the
golden crown glittered upon his helmet. The combat began, "bitter
and harsh," says a chronicler, "and harsher would it have been if
the party of the king had remained staunch to him; but some
joined the enemies, and the others awaited to see to which side
victory would turn." By degrees, the banners which just before
waved in the camp of Richard, floated beside the Earl of
Richmond; gaps were being made in the royal ranks; Lord Stanley
had just arrived with three thousand men, and was fighting for
his son-in-law. King Richard transported himself from group to
group, now in the centre, then at the wings, encouraging,
directing, urging the soldiers; the Duke of Norfolk and his men
alone remained resolutely faithful to him; at length the king saw
himself ruined. "A horse," Shakspeare makes him exclaim, "my
kingdom for a horse!" He dug his spurs into the flanks of his
courser. "Treason!" he cried, and charging into the midst of his
enemies, he opened up a passage for himself to confront Richmond,
striking down right and left all who resisted him; already he had
overthrown the standard bearer and had struck his rival, when the
crowd of knights closed in around him; he fell, pierced with a
hundred wounds. Lord Stanley picked up the crown smashed by the
battle-axes and stained with the royal blood; and he placed it
upon the head of his son-in-law. "Long live King Henry VII.!"
cried he. "Long live King Henry VII.!" responded the army, and
the cry was repeated in the ranks of the enemy. The faithful
partisans of Richard had succumbed like himself.
{116}
The dead king was deprived of his arms, and was brought back to
Leicester, behind a herald; his body was exposed for three days
in the church, in order that the people might assure themselves
of the death of the last prince of the House of York. When he was
interred in the monastery of the Grey Friars, Henry Tudor, Earl
of Richmond, was king under the name of Henry VII. The wars of
the Two Roses had ended and the era of the great reigns was about
to begin for England.

{117}

                  Chapter XV.

                  The Tudors.

   Re-establishment Of The Regular Government.

            Henry VII. (1485 — 1509).


The new sovereign of England was destined to render important
services to her; he was not, however, a great man. Amidst the
general disorder, in view of the growing desire for peace and
order, he was enabled to display a prudence and moderation which
caused him to avoid the great faults, and preserved him from the
terrible reverses which had attended his predecessors; but his
character and his acts rarely excite our admiration or respect.
His first care, on the morrow of the victory which had placed him
upon the throne, was to transfer from the castle of
Sheriffe-Sutton to the Tower of London, Edward Plantagenet, earl
of Warwick, son of the unhappy Duke of Clarence, a child of
fifteen years, who had grown up in prison since the death of his
father, and who was destined there to pass the remainder of his
life. He had had since a short time previously, as a companion in
his captivity, Princess Elizabeth, confined at Sheriffe-Sutton,
by her uncle, King Richard III., when he had been compelled to
relinquish his scheme of marrying her. The Earl of Warwick was
sent to the Tower, an abode fatal to the princes of his race.
Lady Elizabeth was, on the contrary, loaded with honours and
brought back, with a numerous retinue, to her mother, Queen
Elizabeth Woodville, already willing to hail the new sovereign
for and against whom she had plotted, and who at length promised
her the satisfaction of her ambition.

{118}

These precautions being taken, Henry VII. made his entry into
London, on the 27th of August, 1485 with much pomp, and laid upon
the high altar of St. Paul's church, the three standards under
which he had marched to victory, the image of St. George, the Red
Dragon, and, it is not known why, a brown Cow.

The people made merry in the streets, but already among the poor
a distemper manifested itself, which soon spread into all classes
of society, and made great ravages. It was a species of sweating
disease, which does not appear to have been known hitherto, and
the attacks of which were, it is said, almost always fatal. It
was necessary to wait for the amelioration of the public health
before proceeding with the coronation of the new king. On the
occasion of the ceremony, which took place on the 30th of
October, by the Cardinal-Archbishop Bourchier, the same who, two
years before, had proclaimed Richard III., the new sovereign
raised his uncle, the Earl of Pembroke, to the rank of Duke of
Bedford; his father-in-law, Lord Stanley, was created Earl of
Derby, and Sir Edward Courtenay became Earl of Devonshire. The
king at the same time took care to surround his person with a
guard of robust archers; this innovation astonished and
discontented the people, but Henry VII., nevertheless, kept his
guard; he knew by experience the small value of moral guarantees
in a time of disorder and corruption.

{119}

Parliament assembled at Westminster, on the 7th of November. The
accession of King Henry VII. to the throne was due to the
discontent of the nation under the sanguinary yoke of Richard
III. and to the hopes which were founded upon the projected union
between the two rival Houses of York and Lancaster. Henry himself
attributed it to his valour upon the battle-field of Bosworth,
from which he always dated the commencement of his reign; but the
national weariness and the royal conquest were not sufficiently
secure bases upon which to solidly found a throne, and in the
speech of Henry VII. to the reassembled Commons, he urged his
hereditary rights at the same time as the favour of the Most
High, who had given the victory to his sword. This last clause
excited some uneasiness among the great noblemen who held all
their titles and property from the fallen monarch. Henry hastened
to reassure them, declaring that each should retain "his estates
and inheritances, with the exception of the persons whom the
present Parliament should think proper to punish for their
offences." Scrupulous persons for a moment experienced an
agitation when they perceived that the majority of the members of
the House of Commons had formerly been outlawed by the Kings
Edward IV. and Richard III.; the very sovereign who had convoked
this Parliament, found himself in the same position. Had the
Houses the right to sit? The judges were consulted, and declared
that the crown removes all disqualifications, and that the king,
in ascending the throne, was, by that fact alone, relieved of all
the sentences passed upon him; the members of the House of
Commons being outlawed, were obliged to defer taking their seats
until a law should revoke their condemnation; the act was
immediately voted, and the Lancastrians, excluded by the policy
of the sovereigns of the House of York, re-entered Parliament;
all were weary of the struggle and the great noblemen easily
obtained special ordinances which re-established them in all
their rights and honours.

{120}

Such was not, however, the will of the king in all respects, he
was not bloodthirsty, and did not seek to avenge himself by the
execution of his enemies, but he was greedy, he wanted money, and
confiscations were an easy means of enriching himself without
oppressing or exasperating the people. Henry VII. therefore
presented to Parliament, a law which antedated by a single day
his accession to the throne, namely, the 21st of August, the eve
of the battle of Bosworth; the new sovereign, who then in reality
was but the Earl of Richmond, thus found himself in a position to
accuse of high treason all those who had fought against him,
beginning with Richard III., whom he called the Duke of
Gloucester, and of whom he enumerated with good reason all the
tyrannies and crimes. Richard was dead, as well as the greater
number of the partisans who had remained faithful to him; others
had exiled themselves; but if the Duke of Norfolk had fallen at
Bosworth, if Lord Lovel had taken refuge in a church, their
visible property, the riches accumulated in their castles, had
not disappeared with them, and the act meekly voted by
Parliament, permitted the king to seize their lands and
treasures. He was not sparing of them; no sanguinary vengeance
sullied the beginning of the new reign; Henry VII. contented
himself with filling his coffers.

{121}

It was still to Parliament, discredited as it was by the
servility which it had for so many years manifested towards the
rival sovereigns who had succeeded each other upon the throne,
that belonged the right of constituting the new dynasty. The
provident wisdom of King Henry VII. did not seek in this solemn
act to lean upon long genealogies, nor upon the Divine favour
manifested by the victory; he contented himself with causing the
revocation of all the acts passed in the Yorkist Parliaments
against the House of Lancaster, avoiding with care any allusion
to the Princess Elizabeth and her family; he simply relieved her
of the stain of illegitimacy, which Richard III. had inflicted
upon her to justify his usurpation; the Parliament contented
itself with declaring that the inheritance and succession to the
crown "should be, remain, and rest forever the portion of the
royal person of the sovereign Lord, King Henry VII., and of his
legitimate descendants, for ever, by the grace of God." The
rights of the House of York to the throne were passed over in
silence, mention was not made of the projected union with the
Princess Elizabeth; Henry VII. was unwilling that it should be
said that he owed the crown to a woman.

The nation, however, had not forgotten its past misfortunes; it
hoped to enjoy a little peace only through the alliance of the
two rival houses, and the delay of the king in celebrating his
marriage, the affectation which he made of not speaking of it,
caused uneasiness, not only to his Yorkist enemies, but to the
whole people. When the commons came and solemnly offered the king
the duties upon ships and upon woolens, now conceded for life,
they accompanied their liberality by a peremptory request, asking
him to take for his wife and spouse the Princess Elizabeth "which
marriage," it was added, "the Lord would deign to bless with a
posterity of the race of kings."
{122}
The Lords spiritual and temporal supported the petition of the
Commons. Henry VII. understood that he had delayed enough, and on
the 18th of January 1486, the two Roses were at length united
upon the same stem; the hatreds and rivalries, which had cost so
much blood to England, were definitely appeased by the marriage
of King Henry VII., the descendant of the House of Lancaster
through his ancestor, John of Gaunt, and the Princess Elizabeth,
daughter of King Edward IV., the direct heiress of the rights and
pretensions of the House of York. All the gifts accorded by the
sovereigns who had succeeded each other upon the throne of
England since the thirty-fourth year of the reign of Henry VI.,
the period at which the war had begun to assume the character of
a revolt, were revoked by Parliament; an amnesty act was
proclaimed for all those who were willing to submit to the royal
mercy and take the oath of allegiance; the king reinstated in his
property and honours the son of the Duke of Buckingham, the last
victim of the cruelty of Richard III., he loaded with favours the
friends who had helped him to ascend the throne, Chandos, Sir
Giles Dunbury, Sir Robert Willoughby, the Marquis of Dorset, Sir
John Bourchier; he caused his authority to be confirmed by a bull
of Pope Innocent III., which proclaimed all the hereditary rights
of the new sovereign, wisely omitted from the English Act of
Parliament, granted to Henry VII. the necessary dispensation for
his marriage with the Princess Elizabeth, of whom he was a
relative, then confirmed the elevation of the king to the throne,
freely interpreting the Act of Parliament, and declaring that in
the event that the queen should happen to die without children,
or after having lost them, the crown should belong by right to
the posterity of Henry VII. by a second marriage.
{123}
All precautions being wisely taken, and his authority solidly
established, the king pronounced the dissolution of his
Parliament, and began a royal tour through the northern counties,
in order to secure the good will of that portion of the kingdom
still attached to the House of York.

The customary prudence of the king had failed him on one point.
Jealous of the supreme power, he had kept in the shade the
princess whom he had been compelled to wed, and had not taken her
with him upon his journey through his kingdom; discontent was
everywhere manifested upon this point in the north, but the
pregnancy of the queen served as an excuse for her absence; the
royal journey did not proceed, however, without disquieting
incidents. On the 17th of April the king was at Pontecraft, when
he learnt that Lord Lovel had quitted the sanctuary at Colchester
and cut off his passage with considerable forces. The nobility of
the counties which Henry VII. had recently passed through
assembled around him; he advanced against the rebels; Lord Lovel
fled, concealed himself, and soon repaired to Flanders; his
friends Humphrey and Thomas Stafford, who had prepared an
insurrection in Worcestershire, took refuge in Colesham Church,
near Abington; they were dragged therefrom, and the elder,
Humphrey, perished on the scaffold; the younger received his
pardon; and the king, on the 26th of April, entered York, one of
the rare spots in England where tho memory of King Richard III.
was affectionately preserved.

{124}

We have said that Henry VII. was greedy; but he could contrive,
when necessary, to relax his greed; he lavished gifts and
honours, reduced the fines of the City of York, caused festivals
to be celebrated, and thus conquered the favour of the people,
who cried in the streets, "God save King Henry! God preserve that
handsome and sweet countenance!" When he resumed his march
towards the south-east, Henry VII. continued, from town to town,
the practice which he had established at York. He attended
regularly at divine service; but after mass, every Sunday and
holiday, one of the bishops who accompanied him read and
expounded to the faithful the papal bull, threatening with
eternal punishment all the enemies of the monarch, whose rights
to the throne were therein so carefully developed. The king
arrived in London, in the month of June, and received an embassy
from James IV., King of Scotland, with whom he concluded a treaty
of alliance, promising to cement it later on by a union between
the two families; peace and mutual good feeling were equally
important to the two kings, surrounded by enemies, whom they
dreaded to see take refuge in the neighbouring kingdom. The
little prince, whose hand Henry VII. had already promised, was
born on the 20th of September, at Winchester, and was named
Arthur, in memory of the hero of the old romances of King Arthur
of the Round Table, whose death tradition still denied.

{125}

Usurpations engender conspiracies; no reign was to be more
constantly agitated by them than that of Henry VII.; he had
occupied the throne for fifteen months only, when, in the month
of November, 1486, a priest and a youth of most charming
countenance disembarked at Dublin. The priest announced that his
young companion was no other than Edward Plantagenent, Earl of
Warwick, escaped by a miracle from the Tower of London. By
degrees, partisans gathered around the young man; he was
handsome, intellectual, his manners were noble, he had been
carefully instructed in his part, and did not experience much
difficulty in deceiving minds prejudiced by hereditary attachment
to the father and grandfather of the Earl of Warwick, who had
both contrived to render themselves popular in their government
of Ireland. Edward Plantagenet had even been born in that
country, and thus possessed additional claims to the attachment
of that nation. The great noblemen who might have shown
themselves to be more clearsighted were, in general, little in
favour of the state of affairs recently established in England,
and the Earl of Kildare, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, received the
Sham Warwick with open arms, presenting him to all his friends as
the legitimate heir to the throne in the character of the only
male descendant of Richard of York; on all sides the pretender
was saluted with the title of king; messengers had already borne
the news to Flanders, where the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy,
sister of Edward IV., held her court, and received into her good
graces all the enemies of the new King of England, when the
latter learnt, in London, the danger that threatened him. He
immediately convoked his Council; the discontent was general, the
amnesty had been ill-observed, a mass of restrictions had
hindered the application of it, and the real Earl of Warwick was
not the only inhabitant of the prison of the Tower.
{126}
The first care of the prudent king wad to proclaim a fresh
amnesty, more complete and earnest than the first, and, at the
same time, to produce in public, in all parts of London, the real
Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, who had not for a single
instant left his prison. The third measure of the king appeared
at variance with the clemency manifested by the amnesty; the
Dowager Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, was arrested under the
frivolous pretext that she had formerly broken faith with the
Earl of Richmond, now King of England, because, after having
promised him her daughter in marriage she had consigned her into
the hands of the usurper Richard III., who wished to marry her.
The real motive of the disfavour which thus suddenly attacked the
intriguing widow of Edward IV. has never been known; it has been
supposed that she had been compromised in the conspiracy which
had caused a new pretender to the throne to spring up in Ireland;
it has been said that she alone could have instructed the young
man or his tutor in the private details which he related about
the royal family; but these assertions remain at least doubtful;
what is certain is the confiscation of the property of Elizabeth
Woodville and her imprisonment in a convent near Bermondsey.

Meanwhile, the young pretender had received an unexpected
support. The Earl of Lincoln, son of John de la Pole, duke of
Suffolk, and of Elizabeth, sister of the kings Edward IV. and
Richard III., formerly designated by his uncle Richard to succeed
him upon the throne, had quitted England and repaired to the
residence of his aunt, the Duchess of Burgundy. She had furnished
him with money and troops, and Lincoln had embarked for Ireland
with Lord Lovel.
{127}
He could not be deceived about the imposture; he knew the Earl of
Warwick, but it suited his views to adopt the cause of the
pretender, and he caused him to be crowned in Dublin Cathedral.
The golden crown from a statue of the Virgin was borrowed to
represent the royal diadem, and the young man, being proclaimed
under the name of Edward VI., was carried in triumph upon the
shoulders of his new subjects, while King Henry VII. was raising
troops and quietly riding about in his kingdom, selecting by
preference for his visits the counties where the influence of the
Earl of Lincoln was especially exercised.

The queen and the little prince were already established in the
fortress of Kenilworth, when the pretender and his partisans
landed at Fouldrey, at the southern extremity of Furness. A few
friends of Lincoln and Lovel joined him, but the population did
not rise in their favour, and the hopes of the rebels were
growing faint, when, on the 16th of June, 1487, they encountered
the advanced guard of the king at Stoke; the Earl of Oxford, who
commanded it, carried off a brilliant victory, notwithstanding
the desperate courage of the assailants. His Majesty Edward VI.,
or, simply, Lambert Simnel, the son of an humble baker, was made
a prisoner, with his tutor, the priest Simon; but the noblemen
who had embraced his cause, nearly all died upon the field of
battle, the Earl of Lincoln at their head. Lord Lovel alone
disappeared; but this time he concealed himself so well that, two
hundred years later, the skeleton of a man was discovered in a
vault in his castle of Minster-Lovel, in Oxfordshire; it is
supposed that the unhappy master of the house had taken refuge
therein and had there perished by some accident.

{128}

Very few executions followed the revolt and the victory, but the
harvest of confiscations was abundant; the priest Simon was
imprisoned, and none heard speak of him any more, "the king being
fond of concealing his own dangers," says a chronicler, "Lambert
Simnel was placed in the royal kitchens, ignominiously turning
the spit, after having worn a crown;" he became eventually one of
the falconers of the king. Henry VII. had recently made a
pilgrimage to deposit his victorious banner upon the altar of Our
Lady of Walsingham.

The king had too much sense and sagacity to refuse to understand
the symptoms of discontent which had manifested themselves by
this revolt; he knew that he had incensed the Yorkists by the
jealous obscurity in which he kept the queen, and he resolved to
grant her the honour of coronation, which had hitherto in vain
been claimed for her; on the 20th of November, Elizabeth of York
was solemnly crowned at Westminster, while her husband, hidden
behind a carved screen, contemplated the ceremony at which he was
not willing to be present.

For more than two years past. King Henry VII. had concentrated
all his efforts upon the internal pacification of his kingdom,
without making himself uneasy about the troubles of the
Continent; but scarcely had he gained the victory of Stoke, when
he saw an embassy arrive in England from the King of France,
Charles VIII. While Henry VII. had been repulsing the pretentions
to the throne of an impostor supported by rebels, his old
protector, the King of France, had attacked a still older friend
of his, the Duke Francis of Brittany, who had given shelter to
the Duke of Orleans, subsequently Louis XII., accused of having
conspired against his cousin.
{129}
The French army had entered Brittany, summoned by a certain
number of Breton noblemen dissatisfied with the influence which
the Duke of Orleans had assumed over their duke, and it had
reaped important advantages, when the ambassadors of Charles
VIII., fearing an English intervention in favour of the Duke of
Brittany, came to expound to the wise Henry VII. the legitimacy
of a war which they qualified as defensive. None made allusion to
the probable annexation of the duchy of Brittany to France,
either by conquest or by the marriage of the young king with the
heiress of the Duke Francis; Henry VII. asked no indiscreet
questions, and when the Bretons appeared, in their turn, at his
court, begging assistance in men and money, the King of England
piously offered his mediation "in order to acquit himself before
God and men of all his duties of gratitude towards the king and
the duke, for whom he was even disposed to go upon a pilgrimage."
The French asked for nothing more, their army pursued the course
of its victories, but the coming and going of the English
negotiators from London to Paris and from Paris to Rennes, did
not satisfy the Bretons, who saw themselves closely pressed. Sir
Edward Woodville, one of the uncles of the queen, attempted, at
his risk and peril, a little expedition in favour of the Duke
Francis; but King Henry forbade any demonstration of this kind.
His envoys who were then in Paris, were in great danger, it was
said, at the news of the succour sent to the Bretons by the
English.

{130}

The cause of Brittany was popular in England, and decided though
he was not to wage war, the king took advantage of this feeling
to cause Parliament to vote considerable subsidies; at the same
time he secretly warned the court of France that he should
perhaps be compelled to send reinforcements to the Bretons. The
warning was profited by to push measures with vigour; all the
factions of Bretons had now united against the common enemy; the
forces of the duke were supported by the troops sent by the King
of the Romans, Maximilian, and by the Count d'Albert, as well as
the Englishmen of Sir Edward Woodville. The Duke Francis and his
allies were defeated, however, on the 20th of July, 1488, by the
Sire de la Trémoille, commander of the French army, at Saint
Aubin-du-Cormier; the Duke of Orleans was made a prisoner, and
the English were cut to pieces; before the public voice had been
raised in England to demand vengeance, the French had taken Dinan
and Saint Malo, and were threatening the Duke of Brittany as far
as in Rennes; the unhappy prince had no resource other than to
sign a treaty by which he undertook to summon no assistance from
abroad, and never to marry his daughters without the consent of
France. One month after having suffered this humiliation, he died
broken hearted, and the little Duchess Anne, a child twelve years
of age, remained alone with her council of regency in the
presence of her enemies.

The King of France claimed the guardianship of the unhappy
princess, and her barons had not yet had time to reply to this
pretension, which was equivalent to the surrender of the duchy,
when the French army again entered Brittany and took possession
of several towns.
{131}
This time all the prudence of Henry VII. could not suffice to
repress the indignation of his people at the aspect of this
unequal war; perhaps the growth of the power of France also made
him uneasy, in his policy; the King of England formed an alliance
with the great sovereigns of Europe to arrest the conquests of
Charles VIII. Maximilian, King of the Romans, who claimed the
hand of the little Duchess Anne, and his son the Archduke Philip,
the King of Spain, and the King of Portugal undertook to enter
France to turn aside the forces furious for the ruin of Brittany.
Henry VII. demanded fresh subsidies from Parliament to continue
the war.

Well supplied with money, notwithstanding the reduction which the
Commons had imposed upon his requests, Henry VII., holding two
ports upon the coast of Brittany, at length sent to the
assistance of the duchess six thousand archers in the spring of
1489; at the same time, a Spanish army was crossing the defile of
Roncevaux, which allowed the English, under the orders of Lord
Willoughby de Broke, to hold in check the French troops remaining
in Brittany; another English corps seconded the attempts of the
King of the Romans upon the north, and distinguished itself at
the capture of Saint Omer; a treaty of peace was concluded at the
end of the year without much glory for either party. The rigour
with which the officers of the King of England exacted the
subsidies excited an insurrection in the northern counties, and
notwithstanding the prompt repression of the disturbances, the
new taxes produced only the sum of twenty-five thousand pounds
sterling, instead of seventy-five thousand pounds voted by
Parliament; Henry VII. took advantage of it to claim, of the
Duchess of Brittany, the reimbursement of all the expenditure
which he had incurred to help her.

{132}

While preparations were being made for renewing the hostilities,
and Parliament was voting a tax of the tenth and the fifteenth
denier to support the war, one of the allies of King Henry,
Maximilian, by negotiating secretly with the counsellors of the
Duchess of Brittany, obtained the promise of her hand, and
mysteriously married her at Rennes, through his ambassador, the
Prince of Orange, in the month of April, 1491; he would have
acted more wisely by going in person for the heiress of such
large dominions, sought by so many suitors. Scarcely had the Sire
d'Albret, a disappointed pretender, who had at one time attempted
the abduction of the young princess, been assured of the object
of the mission of the Prince of Orange, when he gave warning to
the court of France of it, at the same time surrendering to the
French, the town of Nantes. In vain did the duchess, who took the
title of Queen of the Romans, demand assistance of her new
spouse; he was absorbed in a revolt of his Flemish subjects:
Brittany again found itself alone, confronting the whole strength
of France.

But the views of the court of France towards Brittany had
changed. Charles VIII. was now of age, he had shaken off the yoke
of his sister, the Dame de Beaujeu; he had released from prison
his cousin the Duke of Orleans, and he secretly laid claim to the
hand of the Duchess Anne. Betrothed in infancy to the Princess
Elizabeth of York, now Queen of England, afterwards designed by
his father King Louis XI. to become the husband of Margaret of
Austria, "Margot, the gentle damsel," daughter of Margaret of
Burgundy, he had seen his little affianced bride, who was then
eleven years of age, brought up at his court, and he still
publicly announced his intention of wedding her as soon as she
should be of age.
{133}
He carried on negotiations, however, with the lords and ladies
who surrounded Anne of Brittany, and when he thought himself
assured of a sufficient party among them, he frankly declared his
purpose, notwithstanding the engagement with the Princess
Margaret, as well as the more sacred bonds which bound the
Duchess Anne to Maximilian, the father of the affianced bride of
Charles VIII. All these obstacles did not arrest the King of
France, and his victorious arms were a powerful argument in his
favour. Maximilian did not send assistance to his wife, although
the French threatened to besiege Rennes. The question lay, with
Anne, between captivity and marriage: she concluded a treaty with
Charles VIII., declared void the union which she had contracted
with the King of the Romans, and definitively assured Brittany to
the crown of France, by wedding, on the 6th of December, 1491,
King Charles, in the castle of Langeais, in Touraine. The long
struggles of England and France, upon Breton territory, were now
forever ended.

In England the anger was great; perhaps Henry VII. had in fact
been deceived: he proclaimed it very loudly, declaring that
Charles VIII., disturbed the Christian world, and that in future
he would no longer hesitate to march to the conquest of France,
his legitimate and natural inheritance; at the same time he
talked loudly of the alliances which he had concluded, and he
obtained fresh subsidies from Parliament, the usual result of the
warlike protestations of Henry VII.
{134}
The raising of troops proceeded rapidly; the names of Crecy,
Agincourt, Poictiers, Verneuil, were in all mouths; the noblemen
pawned their property, reserving only their horses and swords;
they thought themselves certain of acquiring beautiful estates in
France; an army of twenty-five thousand foot soldiers and sixteen
hundred horses embarked in the month of October, 1492. It was a
question of the conquest of the whole of France, an undertaking
which could not fail to be long, and winter quarters could be
taken up at Calais. Siege was immediately laid to Boulogne,
without any attempt at resistance from the French; all the plan
of the campaign was known beforehand between the two monarchs,
and peace had been concluded before the commencement of the war.
Eight days only had been passed before the town, without an
assault being made, when letters began to circulate in the camp
destroying all hope of the co-operation of the King of Spain or
the King of the Romans; Henry VII. thereupon assembled his
council, and submitted for its deliberation the grave question of
peace with France. All the favourites of the king had been bought
over in advance with French gold, and they solemnly decided for
the conclusion of peace. The treaties, long since prepared, were
signed at the beginning of November; by the public conditions the
two kings undertook always to live in peace; mutual understanding
was even to subsist for one year after the death of whichever of
the sovereigns should survive the other; by the secret treaty,
Charles VIII. bound himself to pay by degrees to the King of
England, the sum of a hundred and forty-nine thousand pounds
sterling, in discharge of all his claims upon the duchy of
Brittany, and in payment of the tribute due to King Edward IV. It
was thus that Henry VII. knew how to sell war to his subjects and
peace to his enemies. Charles VIII. found himself at liberty to
proceed with his undertakings against the kingdom of Naples, and
the King of England could concentrate all his attention upon his
internal affairs, which threatened to give him fresh and grave
cares.

{135}

A second pretender had in fact arisen for the crown. This time,
it was no longer a question, as with Lambert Simnel, of a living
prince, easy to be confronted with the imposter; the new rival
who had been raised up against King Henry VII. was none other, it
was said, than the Duke of York, brother of the unhappy Edward
V., escaped from the Tower by a miracle, wandering about the
world for seven years past, and now determined to reclaim his
crown. He at first presented himself in Ireland, and soon
contrived to form a party there, notwithstanding the recent
remembrance of Lambert Simnel. But the Earl of Kildare hesitated,
and the young pretender turned his steps to France. Soldier and
chivalrous as he was, Charles VIII. was not destitute of the
cunning natural to the son of Louis XI. It was before the war
with England, and he was well pleased to frighten Henry VII.: he
received the adventurer, recognized his rights, and admitted him
to his court. He was soon surrounded there by a guard of English
exiles. While the treaties had remained unsigned at Etaples,
Charles VIII. looked with favour upon the pretender; the peace
with Henry VII. being once proclaimed, the self-styled Duke of
York was compelled to quit the court of France and to take refuge
beside the Duchess of Burgundy, the usual resource of the enemies
of Henry VII.
{136}
The latter had demanded that the pretender should be delivered up
to him; but Charles VIII. refused this act of treachery as
unworthy of his honour. Meanwhile, the Duchess of Burgundy
hesitated, or pretended to hesitate, to recognize her nephew. She
interrogated him, and caused him to undergo a minute examination
upon the secrets of the family. Finally, she solemnly proclaimed
that he was really the Duke of York, son of her brother King
Edward IV., the White Rose of England; she gave him at her court
the state of a prince, furnished him with a guard, and wrote
everywhere to her friends in England and on the Continent to
announce the miracle which had restored her nephew. The English
malcontents, and they were numerous, joyfully embraced this new
hope. A delegate was secretly despatched to the court of the
Duchess, to verify the pretensions of the prince; he came back as
convinced as the Duchess herself. It was really, he said, the
Duke of York, the legitimate heir to the crown of England, the
amiable and intellectual child whose loss had been mourned. The
conspiracy began to spread and to organize.

King Henry meanwhile had not remained inactive; he also had sent
secret emissaries to Ireland, who asserted that the pretended
Duke of York was no other than Perkin Warbeck, the son of a
merchant of Tournay, a converted Jew; that he had much frequented
the society of English merchants in Flanders, then had travelled
in Europe in the suite of Lady Brompton, wife of an exile. Upon
the faith of these instructions Henry demanded of the Archduke
Philip, son of Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy, to deliver up or,
at least, to drive from his states this audacious impostor.
Philip lavished assurances of his devotion, promised to refuse
all support to the pretender; but the Duchess Margaret was
sovereign in her states, and none could compel her to send Perkin
Warbeck away.
{137}
Henry VII. interdicted to his subjects all commerce with
Flanders, and he had recourse to deceit to obtain that which
diplomacy refused him. Sir Robert Clifford, being bribed, gave up
the names of the conspirators; they were all arrested: Sir Simon
Montford, Sir Robert Ratcliffe and William Daubeney were
immediately executed. Among those who received their pardon "few
men survived long," says the chronicler; Lord Fitzwalter, amongst
others, having attempted to escape from his prison at Calais, was
beheaded without any more ado. One greater than he was shortly
going to pay with his life for the same suspicions.

Sir William Stanley, brother of the Lord Stanley, now Earl of
Derby, who had placed Henry VII. upon the throne, and who had
himself saved the life of the king at Bosworth, was accused by
Clifford of having been concerned in the conspiracy. The king
refused at first to believe it; but when he interrogated his
chamberlain, Sir William was embarrassed in his answers, and
ended by confessing to a certain degree of complicity. The judges
of Westminster held the crime to be sufficient and Stanley was
condemned to death. All reckoned upon his pardon; the king's
aversion to blood was remembered, as well as the services which
the family of the guilty man had rendered him; but the large
fortune of Sir William was forgotten and he was executed and all
his property was confiscated. Terror began to seize the
conspirators; they distrusted each other. The position of Warbeck
became difficult in Flanders; the merchants complained of the
cessation of the English commerce.
{138}
The adventurer resolved to land unexpectedly in England, hoping
that an insurrection in his favour would take place. He arrived
near Deal on the 3rd of July, 1495, while the king had gone to
pay a visit to his mother, in Lancashire. He was accompanied by
about five hundred men, all English exiles and of desperate
courage; but the population rose _against_ the impostor, and
not _for_ him: the peasants of Kent fought with their sticks
and pitchforks. The assailants were killed or made prisoners; a
small number succeeded in reaching the vessels: Warbeck was at
the head of these latter. The captives were all conducted to
London, their hands tied together, like a flock of sheep, and
they were executed in a mass in the same manner. Henry VII.
lavished praises and promises upon the brave countrymen who had
repulsed the enemy; he, at the same time, concluded a treaty with
the Flemings, promising to restore the freedom of commerce, if
the Duke Philip would undertake to prevent the Duchess Margaret
from receiving Warbeck and his partisans. The adventurer was
therefore compelled to quit Flanders; he presented himself in
Ireland, where he was coldly received; it was to Scotland that he
went to seek refuge. The king of Scotland was discontented with
Henry VII.; he willingly received the pretender.

Notwithstanding numerous treaties and projects of alliance so
many times concluded between the courts of England and Scotland,
Henry VII. had always been concerned in the conspiracies against
James III. The brother of the King of Scotland, Albany, was dead;
but the barons had not become subdued; the malcontents had
rallied around the young Duke of Rothsay, the eldest son of the
monarch, and this unnatural war, after alternations of successes
and reverses, had been terminated, on the 18th of June, 1488, by
a sanguinary combat at Little Canglar, a wild heath about one
league from Stirling.
{139}
The king had been carried off by his horse; he had fallen in a
swoon. Some peasants had lifted him up without knowing him; but
amidst the tumult a man approached the unhappy prince, and
leaning towards him as though to succor him, he struck him two
blows with a dagger. James III. was only thirty-five years of
age, and his death excited in the heart of the son, who had
fought and almost dethroned him, a remorse which ended only with
his life. The example of revolt which he had set bore, moreover,
its fruits; he lived in the midst of conspiracies and internal
struggles, finding at times in his embarrassments traces of the
influence of Henry VII., more often being ignorant of his
complicity, but convinced, notwithstanding, that the King of
England was a perfidious ally with whom it was necessary to
arrive at an open rupture. Perkin Warbeck furnished him with the
opportunity for it. James did not look very closely into the
truth of his story; he was duped, or feigned to be so, and,
shortly after the arrival of his "good cousin of York" in
Scotland, amidst tournaments and rejoicings which he lavished,
the King of Scotland married the adventurer, Perkin Warbeck, to
Lady Catharine Gordon, the charming daughter of the Earl of
Huntley, and through her mother, a near relative of the royal
house.

{140}

So many favours caused uneasiness to the King of England, who
kept spies amongst the great Scottish noblemen, and was thus
informed exactly of the movements of Warbeck. The barons of
Scotland were less favourable to him than the king, some because
they had been gained over by Henry, others because they foresaw
the disasters of a war undertaken in his favour. Meanwhile, the
Duchess of Burgundy had caused men and money to arrive; the court
of France, discontented at the obstacles which Henry VII. placed
to the attempts of King Charles upon Italy, urged Warbeck to
attempt an invasion of England. Henry had caused an offer to be
made to the King of Scotland of a hundred thousand crowns of gold
if he would deliver up the pretender to him. James IV. had
rejected the proposal with indignation. "I have melted up my
plate for him," he had said. "I will not betray him." Warbeck had
recently published a document, skilfully conceived, in which he
related his escape from the Tower and his wandering life, dwelt
upon the tyranny of Henry VII., upon the exactions with which he
burdened his people, and summoned the English to rise and rally
round him. The King of Scotland accompanied him, solely through
friendship, he said, and would retire as soon as an English army
should be on foot. It was with these declarations that Warbeck
crossed the frontier and entered England in 1497.

The northern counties did not trust to the disinterestedness of
the Scotch, and nobody came to meet the pretender; all the cattle
had been led away, the grain and fodder had been hidden, and when
the Scottish troops began to pillage to compensate themselves for
the cold reception which the population gave them, the
self-styled Duke of York in vain sought to restrain them, saying
that he would prefer to lose the throne rather than to owe it to
the sufferings of the English.
{141}
The soldiers were dying of hunger and did not fail to take
advantage of any excess. The peasants began to arm themselves.
The army of invasion found itself compelled to recross the
frontiers without having fought, without having even awaited the
English army, as had been announced by the clever spy of Henry
VII., Ramsey, Lord Bothwell, formerly a favourite of James.

The King of England meanwhile was suffering from the grave
consequences of the war and the avidity which always led him to
profit by it to oppress his subjects. He had obtained of
Parliament a gift of two-tenths and two-fifteenths, but the
people were determined not to pay taxes so oppressive. The
insurrection commenced in Cornwall; the people demanded the head
of Morton, archbishop of Canterbury, prime minister and friend of
Henry VII., accused of having advised the new taxes. Sixteen
thousand rebels entered Devonshire; they were soon joined by
numerous adherents, at the head of whom marched Lord Audley and
other noblemen. Each county which they traversed furnished
reinforcements; they presented a formidable aspect when they
arrived, on a fine day in June, at Blackheath, near London. The
army of the King awaited them; the agitation was great in the
city; but Lord Daubeney and the Earl of Oxford advanced against
the rebels. Henry VII., had prudently remained in the rear with
the reserve; he had commanded that Saturday should be awaited to
give battle; it was his lucky day, he said. The 22nd of June,
1499, made no exception to the rule. The insurgents fought
valiantly; but they had no cavalry nor artillery, nor experienced
chiefs; a great slaughter resulted, and many of their number were
made prisoners, among others Lord Audley, a lawyer named
Flammock, and Joseph, a blacksmith, who had greatly contributed
to excite the revolt by the violence of his speeches against the
king and the archbishop.
{142}
They all three perished, but they perished alone; the mass of
peasants were soon released. The king had caused the execution of
all the desperate men captured at Deal in the following of Perkin
Warbeck, because neither repentance nor gratitude could be
expected of them; he amnested the rebels of Cornwall, and thus
re-established tranquility in the insurrectionary provinces.
Henry VII. was as wise as he was provident; he was neither
vindictive nor sanguinary, and there was nothing to confiscate of
the poor peasants. He had, however, flattered himself too much in
reckoning upon the gratitude of the county of Cornwall. Perkin
Warbeck had quitted Scotland in consequence of the treaty of
peace concluded between James IV. and Henry VII. through the
efforts of Don Pedro Ayala, the Spanish ambassador; the delicate
cares and kindnesses of the Scottish monarch had followed him up
to his embarkation. The Duke and Duchess of York, as they were
still called, had put in, in the first instance, at Cork, in
Ireland; but Warbeck in vain sought to urge the Irish to
insurrection. He then conceived the project of disembarking in
Cornwall, of which he had received favourable accounts; and on
the 7th of September he landed at Whitsand Bay. His forces did
not amount to a hundred and fifty men; but soon the relatives and
friends of the men killed at Blackheath came and joined him.
Warbeck was at the head of an army, when he appeared, on the 17th
of September, before the city of Exeter, having solemnly taken
the title of King of England and France, under the name of
Richard IV.
{143}
The queen had taken refuge, for greater security, in the fortress
of St. Michael. Whether prince or imposter, the pretender had
contrived to gain the heart of his wife; she was devoted to his
fortunes, and she awaited with anxiety the result of the
campaign. Exeter was defended by the Earl of Devonshire,
supported by the gentlemen and citizens. The insurgents had
neither artillery nor besieging machines; they sought in vain to
burst open the portal, but the cannons of the ramparts swept them
down without mercy. The peasants of Devonshire were beginning to
retreat in small detachments, but the men of Cornwall remained
firm, and promised to die to the last man for the king whom they
had chosen. An advance was made as far as Taunton. There it was
necessary to confront the royal army. Warbeck reviewed his rustic
troops, urging them to fight well on the morrow; but during the
night he selected his fleetest horse and fled without warning any
one. When the insurgents found themselves without a chief they
did not try the fortune of arms, but placed themselves at the
mercy of the king, who caused the leaders to be hanged, and sent
back the others, half naked and dying of hunger. The best runners
of the army were in pursuit of Warbeck; but he had forestalled
them and took refuge in the church at Beaulieu, in the heart of
the New Forest, before he could be reached. The king had caused
men-at-arms to be despatched to arrest Lady Catherine Gordon,
whose beauty and whose tears touched him; he confided her to the
care of Queen Elizabeth, who treated her captive with much
kindness.

{144}

The royal troops surrounded Beaulieu church; but Henry hesitated
to violate the sanctuary; he employed about Warbeck skillful
agents, who persuaded the adventurer to accept the pardon which
they were commissioned to offer to him. The self-styled Duke of
York therefore quitted his refuge, without having seen the king,
who had privately contemplated him, being curious to examine the
features of the audacious impostor. When Henry VII. re-entered
London, Warbeck formed part of his retinue; he had not been
ill-treated, but he had been made to pass slowly through the
principal streets of the city, in order to satisfy the curiosity
of the people. He was conducted as far as the Tower, and the
spectators thought to have seen him for the last time; but at the
end of a few hours he reappeared, still accompanied by his
guards, and took the road to Westminster. There he came to the
court, apparently free, but closely watched. Far from being
degraded into service, like Simnel, he was surrounded with
considerations and certain honours. He was several times
interrogated before the secret council, but his avowals remained
a mystery, "so much so that men, disappointed at that which they
heard, came to imagine it was not known what, and found
themselves more perplexed than ever: but the king rather
preferred to mystify the curious than to light the braziers."

The conduct of King Henry VII. remained an enigma to his
contemporaries, and time has not divulged the secret of it.
Perkin Warbeck had lived for eight months at the court, when he
contrived to escape therefrom. Being immediately pursued, he took
refuge in the priory of Sheen, near Richmond. The prior obtained
his pardon of the king before consenting to deliver him up, but
the honours which had been assigned to him had vanished: he was
placed in the stocks before the gate of Westminster, a document
in hand, compelled to read his confession to the people and to
suffer their insults all day.


[Image]
Confession Of Peter Warbeck.

{145}

This time the prisoner avowed his humble origin, and related his
whole career, cursing the ambition which had caused his
imposture. After the second reading, Warbeck was shut up in the
Tower, where he became the companion of the unhappy Earl of
Warwick.

One year had elapsed since the attempt of Warbeck and his public
humiliation. A third pretender, Ralph Wilford, had renewed the
fraud of Simnel, and assumed the name of Warwick; he had been
executed, and the Augustine monk who preached his, cause, had
been condemned to imprisonment for life. It was in the month of
July, 1499, when a rumour was spread of a plot formed by Warbeck
and the real Earl of Warwick to escape together from the Tower
and foment a fresh insurrection. The charm of the manners and
mind of Warbeck must have been great, for he had not only seduced
his companion in captivity, but he had contrived to win over all
his jailors. The governor of the Tower was to be assassinated,
and the freed prisoners intended to take refuge in a safe place,
to proclaim King Richard IV., by summoning to their aid all the
partisans of the Duke of Clarence, brother of Warwick. Such, at
least, were the allegations in the indictment, for the execution
of the plot had not even been begun when it was discovered. It
was sufficient to explain the execution of Warbeck. He had long
and cleverly played his part; but he did not retract his
confessions at the supreme moment and died courageously at
Tyburn, on the 23rd of November, 1499.
{146}
His last attempt cost the life of the unhappy Earl of Warwick; he
was accused before the peers, not only with having sought to
escape, but with having plotted with Warbeck to overthrow the
king. The poor prince was twenty-nine years of age, but, having
been a prisoner since the age of seven years, he was as ignorant
of the world as a child; he confessed all the crimes with which
he was accused, and having been condemned, he was beheaded on
Tower Hill on the 23rd of November. With him ended the numerous
attempts against the crown of Henry VII.; all the possible heirs
to the throne, real or pretended, had disappeared, and political
passions began to be appeased under government regular and firm,
if it was at times greedy and despotic.

Relieved of any fears of internal wars, and more tranquil abroad,
Henry VII. turned his views towards the settlement of his
children; he had for a long time past resolved to marry his
eldest daughter, Margaret, to the King of Scotland, in order to
definitively attach that sovereign to him. At the beginning of
the year 1500, he sent to King James one of the most clever among
the ecclesiastical negotiators formed in his service, Fox, Bishop
of Durham; and this skilful negotiator contrived to lead the
young monarch into asking for the hand of the princess; the
marriage was celebrated in London, in the month of January, 1502,
but Margaret, who was then twelve years of age, was not sent to
Scotland until the end of 1505, during this interval, her elder
brother, Prince Arthur, heir presumptive to the throne, had
married the Princess Catherine of Aragon, daughter of the able
Ferdinand and the great Isabella, but he had died almost
immediately after his marriage, and King Henry mooted the
question with Ferdinand and with the Pope, to know whether the
princess of twenty-one years of age, and widow of the elder
brother, could marry the younger brother, Henry, who was but
thirteen years of age.
{147}
The dispensation arrived and the betrothal was resolved upon, for
King Ferdinand finding that matters dragged on at length, had
claimed not only the princess, but the large sums paid for her
dowry. Catherine lived at the court of her father-in-law,
honoured and beloved by all, waiting for five years the
celebration of a marriage which was to terminate so sadly.

Amidst the negotiations of alliances for his children, Henry VII.
had also been occupied in marrying himself; the queen, his wife,
had died shortly after having lost Prince Arthur, and the great
preoccupation of the widowed monarch was to find a spouse rich
enough to sensibly increase the treasures which he took so much
pleasure in hoarding. His negotiations and hopes, however, did
not prevent him from continuing to oppress his subjects.
Avaricious passions grow with age; Archbishop Morton, whom the
people had so often cursed, had died in 1500, but the nation
gained nothing thereby; he had been replaced in his exactions by
two leeches, "two shearers," as they were called, more bold and
rapacious than Morton, less skilful than he in proving to the
good English people that all was going on in a legal manner and
that the province of the subjects in the State was limited to
paying the taxes cheerfully. The two new agents, Empson and
Dudley, were equally detested. Dudley was of good birth and knew
how to set off the exactions in a suitable form; Empson, the son
of a workman, triumphed coarsely over the unfortunate people whom
he oppressed, and ridiculed their miseries.
{148}
Both were lawyers, well versed in their profession; each offence,
crime, or misdemeanor became in their hands a matter for a fine,
and to allow none to escape, they kept spies everywhere charged
to warn them, and juries composed of wretches who decided all
matters at their pleasure. "They hovered thus over all England,"
says the chronicler, "like tame falcons for their master and
savage falcons for themselves, and they amassed great riches,"
while filling the royal coffers.

Notwithstanding these abuses the national prosperity went on
increasing; the revival of order had sufficed to give scope to
the commerce which was to found in England the middle class; the
great aristocracy, decimated and ruined by the wars of the Roses,
driven from power by the skillful conduct of Henry VII., remained
shut up in the castles, and the younger members of the noblest
houses began to devote themselves to agriculture, sometimes even
to commercial enterprises, instead of recognizing no other career
than arms or the Church.

The English, however, had not yet attempted the great voyages
beyond the seas which were soon to render their navy so famous.
Christopher Columbus had applied to Henry VII., in his efforts to
find a sovereign who would entrust a few vessels to him and
conquer the New World; but Bartholomew Columbus, brother of the
great navigator had been shipwrecked before arriving in England;
when he had at length accomplished his mission to King Henry, and
had returned to Spain to announce to his brother that he was
summoned to London, Isabella the Catholic, had already granted
the demands of Columbus, assuring to Castile the riches of the
West Indies. The English therefore had no part in the discovery
of the New World, and the rumour of the treasures which were
found there must more than once have made King Henry VII. pale
with jealousy.

{149}

The navigators whom he had sent had brought him back neither gold
nor silver. John Cabot or Cabotte, of Venetian origin,
established at Bristol, and his three sons Lewis, Sebastian and
Sanches, had received from King Henry VII., on the 5th of March,
1496, letters patent, authorizing them to sail with five vessels
in all seas, in order there to make discoveries and take
possession of them in the name of England; the prudent monarch
had reserved for himself one-fifth of the profits of the
enterprise; it is to the first voyage of John Cabott and his son
Sebastian in 1497 that we owe the discovery of Canada; in the
same year, Vasco de Gama doubling the Cape of Good Hope for the
first time, in his journey towards India, opened up to commerce a
new route by which all the riches of the East were to flow into
Europe. Notwithstanding all the overthrows and agitations which
the world was yet to suffer, the time of material force,
exclusive and brutal, was beginning to pass away; peaceful
intelligence and activity saw a vast field of influence and
effort, open up before them.

Parliament had become the docile instrument of the king, and
unresistingly voted all that he was pleased to demand, but the
subsidies granted in 1504 excited great murmuring among the
people. The king had claimed the feudal gifts in honour of the
knighthood conferred upon Prince Henry, and the marriage of
Princess Margaret; the Commons offered forty thousand pounds
sterling, but the king had the moderation to accept only thirty
thousand.
{150}
The malcontents appeared to have found a chief. Edmund de la
Pole, second son of the Duke of Suffolk, and brother of the Earl
of Lincoln, the protector of Simnel, who had been killed at
Stoke, was an embittered and turbulent man. Henry VII. had
refused to grant him his paternal inheritance, by alleging that
he inherited of his brother and not of his father, and that Lord
Lincoln, being declared a traitor, had had his property
confiscated; Edmund had therefore been compelled to content
himself with a shred of the estates of his family and the title
of Earl of Suffolk. He had had the misfortune to kill a man in a
quarrel; the king, still jealous of all that bore the name of
Plantagenet, had taken advantage of this opportunity to accuse
him of murder; Suffolk took refuge at the court of the Duchess of
Burgundy; whence he hatched plots, it was said. The king caused
him to be watched, charged a treacherous emissary to insinuate
himself into his confidence, and according to the instructions
received by this means, he suddenly caused the arrest of the men
upon whom Suffolk relied most; his brother William de la Pole,
Lord Courtenay, who had married one of the daughters of Queen
Elizabeth Woodville, Sir James Tyrrel, accused of the murder of
Edward V. and the Duke of York in the Tower, and a few other
persons were secretly interrogated. Courtenay and De la Pole
remained in prison, but Sir James Tyrrel confessed the crime
formerly committed upon the young princes by order of Richard
III., and he was executed, as well as certain accomplices of the
Earl of Suffolk, although the conspiracy of the latter was in no
respect proved.
{151}
The murmurs which he had been accused of encouraging, were
stifled, and the king, until the end of his life, dispensed
henceforth with having recourse to Parliament; he contented
himself with collecting taxes under the name of "benevolences,"
his coffers overflowed with gold, and he passed for the richest
monarch of Christendom.

A favourable event happened and secured the vengeance of the king
upon the Earl of Suffolk; the bad weather drove upon the coasts
of England the Archduke Philip the Fair and his wife Joanna, who
had become Queen of Castile by the death of her mother, Isabella
the Catholic. The young sovereigns were repairing from Flanders
to their new dominions; their counsellors urged them to face the
tempest rather than to set foot upon English soil and thus to
place themselves in the hands of the skilful Henry VII. Perhaps
from curiosity, perhaps from fear, the Archduke insisted upon
landing. The King of England appeared to have foreseen all; the
illustrious travellers were immediately received with all the
honours which were due them, and it was announced that the king
was coming to meet them. Philip saw that he was caught in the
trap, and being in a hurry to put an end to his compulsory visit,
he hastened to anticipate Henry VII. The two monarchs met near
Windsor, reciprocally lavishing the most touching marks of
friendship and confidence. But the wise counsellors of the King
of Castile had not been deceived; before the Spanish monarchs
were able to take to the sea again, Philip had been compelled to
consent to deliver up the Earl of Suffolk, who was living
modestly in Flanders; to promise to the King of England the hand
of his sister, the Duchess of Savoy, who was a widow and very
rich, and finally to affiance his first-born son, who afterwards
became the Emperor Charles V., to the little Princess Mary of
England.
{152}
After having besides granted great commercial advantages to the
English in the Flemish markets, Philip the Fair was at length
enabled to resume the journey to Spain. Suffolk being enticed to
England, was thrown into prison, and one of the last orders which
Henry VII. signed was that for his execution.

Before the negotiations for the marriage with the Duchess of
Savoy were ended, Philip the Fair had died in Spain, and King
Henry cast his eyes upon his widow, whom he supposed to be richer
than her sister-in-law. Unfortunately Joanna was insane,
hopelessly insane with grief. The health of the King of England
grew more and more impaired, and it became evident to all those
who approached him that it was time for him to think of death and
not of marriage.

Amidst his exactions, of the harshness of which he had given
proof, and the perfidy of his intrigues, Henry VII. was a
religious prince, preoccupied with the future life and the
salvation of his soul; the weakening of his powers warned him to
think of his end, and he multiplied his alms; his complaint
increasing in 1508, he for the first time lent ear to the cries
of his subjects, ruined by the exactions and malversations of
Empson and Dudley. The king wished to render justice, he said,
and a sincere remorse for all the crimes which he had permitted
appeared to have taken possession of his soul; "but Empson and
Dudley, although they knew the scruples of the king, continued
their practices as furiously as in the past, as though the soul
of the king and his money had belonged to different places," says
the chronicler.


[Image]
Chapel And Tomb Of Henry VII.


{153}

The health of the king had momentarily improved, his conscience
had been somewhat quieted, and the treasures which he himself
held locked up in his manor of Richmond regained all their charm
in his eyes. When in the springtime of 1509, a return of his
cough brought him to the threshold of the tomb, he had time to
make his will, recommending his successor to repair the wrongs
which he had done and to restore that which he had unjustly
taken. He died at Richmond in the night of the 21st of April,
1509, at the age of fifty-two. He had reigned twenty-three years
over a kingdom upset by internal dissensions, impoverished by
wars, and a prey to the most frightful disorder: he had gradually
calmed men's passions, repressed or stifled insurrections and
conspiracies, favoured commerce and industry; but he had
oppressed his subjects to wrest from them the money of which he
was greedy, he had lowered the authority of the Parliaments, he
had struck severe blows at the great aristocracy, and he had
above all shrouded his policy in so many subterfuges, and pursued
his ends through so many intrigues and falsehoods, that even time
has not been able to throw light upon the truth; the real and
only excuse of King Henry VII. is that he belonged to the age of
Louis XI., and that he had to treat with Ferdinand of Aragon.

{154}

                   Chapter XVI.

         Henry VIII. and Wolsey (1509-1529.)


The reign of King Henry VIII. is characterized by three great
facts, which have left a profound impression upon the destinies
of England; religious reform, the absolute power of the crown in
principle and often in practice, and the social and even
political progress of the nation, notwithstanding the great
outburst of tyranny on the part of the government and of
servility on the part of the people. The history of this reign is
naturally divided into two periods: Henry VIII. under the
influence of Wolsey, his favourite, and in a short time his prime
minister; Henry VIII. alone, after the disgrace and death of
Wolsey. The first of these two periods extends from 1509 to 1529,
the second from 1529 to 1547.

The young king ascended the throne under happy auspices and
profoundly different from his father, whose shuffling policy and
avaricious prudence had often exasperated his people, the
extravagant tastes of Henry VIII., his playful humour, his open
manners, his skill in all bodily exercises as well as the
remarkable intelligence of which he gave promise, had raised very
high the national hopes. He was not yet eighteen years of age; he
was tall, robust, and handsome, and people loved to see him pass
through the streets when starting for the hunt, where he would
tire out several horses; his vices and even his minor faults did
not yet manifest themselves. His marriage with the Princess
Catharine of Aragon, which took place on the 3rd of June, 1509,
caused keen satisfaction; the princess was twenty-five years of
age, she had resided for six years past in England, of which she
spoke the language well; a bull of the Pope had dissipated all
doubts as to the legitimacy of the union; on the 24th of June,
the king and the queen were solemnly crowned at Westminster.

{155}

The young king had surrounded himself with many of the old
servants of his father, according to the advice of his
grandmother, the old Countess of Richmond, whom he often
consulted; but, from the first day, inspired both by a feeling of
justice and by the spirit of reaction, he repudiated Empson and
Dudley, making known his intention of punishing them; his
counsellors identified themselves with this policy, but they
would have been personally compromised if the "leeches" of the
late king had been publicly accused of having sucked the blood
and substance of the subjects; all the servants of Henry VII. had
more or less exactions upon their consciences, and it was
resolved to accuse the two lawyers of having hatched a plot to
"deprive the present king of his rights and inheritance."
Improbable as was the charge, the cause was judged beforehand and
for peremptory reasons; Empson and Dudley were declared guilty of
treason, and condemned to death. They languished one year in the
Tower before the execution of their sentence; all their property
was seized, and it was rumoured among the people that the queen
was interceding in their favour; numerous petitions were
addressed to the king demanding their death, and they were
executed on Tower Hill, on the 17th of August, 1510, to the great
satisfaction of the nation.

{156}

Henry VIII. was young and brilliant; he had not, like his father,
learnt prudence in the hard school of exile; he thirsted for
military glory; he willingly, therefore, allowed himself to be
persuaded by his father-in-law, the astute Ferdinand, and by the
warlike Pope, Julius II., to enter into the league which they had
formed against Louis XII., formerly Duke of Orleans, now King of
France, who had resumed the projects of his predecessor, Charles
VIII., against Italy, adding thereto his pretensions to the Duchy
of Milan, in the name of his grandmother, Valentine of Milan. A
first herald from the King of England came to pledge Louis XII.
to abstain from making war against the Pope, "the father of all
Christians;" a second herald claimed the cession of Anjou, Maine,
Normandy and Guienne, "a request which was equivalent to a
declaration of war." Henry VIII. convoked his Parliament and
demanded subsidies. The English had not lost their taste for
invasions of France, however little glorious the last might have
been: money still abounded in the coffers of the old king,
notwithstanding the expenditure of three years of pleasure and
merry-makings. A fine army was soon on foot, and prepared to
embark from Calais, when King Ferdinand suggested the idea of
first attacking Guienne: he at the same time sent his fleet,
which was intended to conduct the English troops to the foot of
the Pyrenees; his son-in-law accepted his proposal, and ten
thousand men embarked under the orders of the Marquis of Dorset,
accompanied by a multitude of volunteers belonging to the noblest
families of England.

{157}

The mouth of the river Bidassoa had been reached, and Dorset
desired to set foot in France, but he was awaiting the artillery
which King Ferdinand had promised him; the latter was occupied in
assembling considerable forces in Biscay, and as the English
thought of marching to the siege of Bayonne, they learnt that it
would be dangerous to leave behind them the little independent
kingdom of Navarre. Ferdinand, supported by the two armies,
commenced his negotiations. John d'Albret willingly consented to
preserve neutrality; but the King of Spain demanded the free
passage of his troops, the custody of the more important
fortresses, and, as a hostage, the Prince of Viana, heir to the
throne of Navarre. Upon, the refusal of the poor little
sovereign, the Spanish army advanced into his territory, seized
upon several towns, and the Duke of Albe, who was in command,
proposed to the Marquis of Dorset to effect a junction with him
in order to besiege Pampeluna. The English began to open their
eyes; they refused to make war elsewhere than in France, and
claimed the artillery and horses promised. "When we shall have
finished," was the answer, "you shall have all that you desire."
Pampeluna was taken, and Navarre joined to Spain; but the English
general renewed his demands; and an offer was made to march with
him against Béarn, where John d'Albret had taken refuge, instead
of attacking Bayonne or Bordeaux. This was too much; Dorset
refused to advance; the King of Spain despatched an ambassador to
his son-in-law; but when the credulous monarch had given the
order to follow the movements of the Spaniards, the English
troops had retired and had loudly announced their resolution of
returning to their country.
{158}
This was of little importance to the Spaniards; their object was
accomplished. The presence of the English army upon the Bidassoa
had prevented Louis XII. from sending assistance to the King of
Navarre; vessels were provided for the revolted English, who
returned to England towards Christmas, 1512, half naked,
emaciated by the poor living which King Ferdinand had allotted
them, but too numerous and too much exasperated for punishment to
be inflicted upon them. This first experience, however, was not
destined to suffice to open the eyes of Henry VIII. regarding the
policy of his father-in-law.

The check suffered by Dorset had not discouraged the young king,
and he resolved to lead his armies himself into France. Louis
XII. had been driven out of Italy, his frontiers were menaced by
the Holy League; he was very anxious to raise up difficulties for
the King of England within his own dominions; he addressed
himself to Scotland, still the faithful ally of France. King
James had causes for complaint against his brother-in-law; his
best commanders, Andrew and John Barton, having suffered losses
at sea, the king had given them, to enable them to indemnify
themselves, letters of marque, of which they made use to capture
English merchant ships; Sir Edward Howard, son of Lord Surrey,
fell upon them as upon pirates and defeated them; Andrew Barton
received a wound, of which he died. The King of Scotland claimed
reparations in this respect; he also demanded the jewels
bequeathed by Henry VII. to his daughter Margaret, which her
brother had kept.
{159}
Some attempts at negotiations on the part of Henry VIII. had
little result; the young king, before setting sail for France,
took the precaution of causing the fortifications of the frontier
towns of Scotland to be repaired, and entrusted Lord Surrey with
the duty of watching King James with a good army, while his
master should proceed to the Continent to attack King Louis.

The war had already begun under fatal auspices; Sir Edward Howard
with a large fleet, had appeared in the month of March, 1513, at
the entry to the road of Brest, of which he had made himself
master. Reckoning upon his success, he had begged the king to
come himself to reap the glory of it; upon the refusal of Henry,
Howard had attacked the squadron and the town of Brest; he had
been repulsed, and had lost his life in an attempt at boarding,
throwing into the sea his chain and gold whistle, in order that
those trophies might not fall into the hands of the enemies.
Another son of Lord Surrey, Lord Thomas Howard, had taken command
of the fleet, and repulsed the French, when King Henry landed at
Calais on the 30th of June, 1513, to the roar of the artillery of
the town, and of the salutes of the vessels, true emblems of the
noise and splendour so dear to the young monarch.

King Ferdinand, who had drawn his son-in-law into the league
against France, had recently concluded with that country a
private peace, recognizing the annexation of Navarre to Spain;
but the self-love of Henry VIII. did not allow him to retreat; he
had formed an alliance with the Emperor Maximilian, who promised
to join him at Calais. The red rose, the favourite emblem of King
Henry VIII., was about to efface by its splendour the lily of
France, and while Lord Herbert was laying siege to Thérouenne,
the warlike court was diverting itself at Calais with endless
jousts and festivals, the organization of which were often
entrusted to the almoner of the king, Wolsey, who grew every day
in his master's favour.

{160}

The son of a rich butcher of Ipswich, Thomas Wolsey had been
brought up with care; honoured when very young with all the
degrees of the University of Oxford, he had been recommended to
his master by Bishop Fox, the favourite diplomatist of Henry
VII., and the king had several times employed him in delicate
missions. Upon the death of the old monarch, Bishop Fox, who saw
his favour on the decline, had taken care to place Wolsey near
the king, and soon the chaplain had distanced all his rivals in
the good graces of his master. Better educated than the young
king, but too shrewd to allow this to be seen, skilful in the
bodily exercises and amusements of his time, Wolsey partook of
all the tastes and flattered all the passions of his master,
before the period when he was destined to relieve him of the
embarrassments and fatigues of the government.

Whilst the dancing and feasting were proceeding at Calais, a
French army, commanded by the Duke of Longueville and the famous
Chevalier Bayard, was advancing to the assistance of Thérouenne,
Henry immediately hastened thither; but the French had
instructions to avoid a pitched battle, and they retired, after
having placed provisions and reinforcements in the towns, a
service which the Count of Angoulême (subsequently Francis I.)
continued to render to the besieged, in spite of the badly
organized and badly commanded English forces.


[Image]
Landing Henry VIII. at Calais.

{161}

They had been for six weeks before a poor little town, when the
Emperor Maximilian joined his brother in arms, the great King of
England, with the flower of the knights of Christendom. In his
satisfaction at seeing under his orders, in the capacity of a
volunteer, the Emperor of the West, Henry VIII. forgot that he
had transmitted to him a hundred thousand golden crowns for
raising troops, and that Maximilian had brought only a feeble
escort. The reception of the emperor was magnificent; all the
great English noblemen were clad in cloth of gold and silver,
which suffered from the pelting rain that greeted the interview
of the two monarchs. On the same day the Scottish herald-at-arms
came to the camp of King Henry VIII., to transmit to him the
declaration of war of his sovereign. "I have entrusted the Earl
of Surrey to cope with your master," abruptly replied the King of
England. Before the return of his messenger, King James had
risked and lost his game.

The French had, meanwhile, decided to advance upon Thérouenne:
the English troops crossed the river to give battle to them; the
Emperor Maximilian, with the red rose of Lancaster upon his
helmet, directed the operations; the struggle began briskly, but
the French cavalry, after charging valiantly, took alarm, and
turned back. They caused disorder in the battle corps; the panic
became complete: the English pursued the fugitives to the cry of
"St. George;" the efforts of the chiefs could not rally the
soldiers, and nearly all were made prisoners. "It is a battle of
spurs," the captives themselves said, when the king gaily
congratulated them upon the ardour which the fugitives had
contrived to inspire in their horses, and that name has remained
to the engagement.
{162}
But King Henry delayed before Thérouenne, instead of profiting by
his advantages and by the arrival in France of a Swiss army to
which he had furnished money. The town capitulated at the end of
August, and was razed to the ground upon the advice, and to the
advantage, of Maximilian. Just as he had formerly done the work
of King Ferdinand, so Henry VIII. was now doing that of the
Emperor; instead of advancing into France, he laid siege to
Tournay, a French town though in Flanders, that was regarded as
prejudicial to the commerce of that country. Maximilian had taken
care to promise the bishopric thereof to Wolsey; it was taken
without any great resistance on the 22nd of September, but the
Swiss had concluded an advantageous treaty with the King of
France, and had withdrawn to their mountains. The King of England
gave a great tournament, and amused himself for several days at
Tournay. He returned to England on the 22nd of October, after
having spent large sums of money, without glory or profit; but
the star of Wolsey had risen, and Henry VIII. had had the
pleasure of dictating to the Emperor.

In the meantime, the Earl of Surrey had justified the confidence
of his master; King James crossed the frontier on the 22nd of
August with a more considerable army than was usual in Scotland.
He had captured several castles, when Surrey met him in the
environs of Flodden, an advanced defence of the Cheviot Hills, in
an advantageous situation, protected by the course of the Till,
one of the tributaries of the Tweed.
{163}
The English immediately saw the strength of the position, and
endeavoured by insulting messages to tempt King James to advance;
but the Scots took no heed, and it was found necessary to make
the attack. James had neglected to defend the bridge and the
ford, but he descended from the mountain and advanced towards the
enemy, in good order, "marching like the Germans, without
speaking and without making any noise." The old chiefs of the
army had advised against giving battle, but James did not listen
to them. "If you are afraid of the English, you can return to
your home," he said insolently to the old Earl of Angus. The old
man burst into tears. "My age renders my body useless in the
combat, and my counsels are despised," he cried; "but I leave my
two sons and the vassals of the Douglases upon the field of
battle; God grant that the prediction of the old Angus may prove
false!"

It was four o'clock on the 9th of September, 1513; the guns of
the two armies began to thunder; the English artillery was
superior and better served than that of the Scots; the latter
were the more eager to come to a hand-to-hand struggle. The Earl
of Huntley and Lord Home, who commanded the left wing, attacked
the English under the orders of Sir Edmund Howard; they fought
furiously, and the troops of Sir Edmund, coming in great part
from Cheshire, were exasperated, it is said, at finding
themselves commanded by a Howard instead of a Stanley, the
hereditary chief of their county. They wavered, and the Scottish
corps for a long time resisted the cavalry reserve which Lord
Dacre brought up. The inhabitants of the frontiers, under the
orders of Lord Home, had dispersed to plunder, and refused to
renew the attack.
{164}
"We have fought the advanced guard," they said, "and we have made
them retreat; let all do as much as we have." King James was
performing wonders in the centre; he had attacked the Earl of
Surrey with the flower of his chivalry, and the two generals were
about to meet amidst the slaughter, when confusion set in among
the highlanders, who had precipitated themselves in a disorderly
manner upon the left wing of the English. Half naked and maddened
with rage, the mountaineers struck before them without listening
to the voice of their chiefs, as though the whole victory
depended "upon the heavy blows which they gave." Being soon
repulsed in this irregular attack, they were slaughtered one
after the other, and the whole effort of the combat was directed
towards the centre, where King James continued to fight. In an
instant he was crushed; the circle contracted around him; English
and Scotch appeared that day to have adopted the ferocious maxim
of Sir Thomas Howard, "No quarter." The Scots thronged around
their sovereign, defending him with desperate valour; he fell,
however, almost at the feet of Surrey; but the struggle continued
around his body. He was buried under a heap of dead, who had
fallen in his defence. When night at length arrested the
slaughter, Surrey was not yet well assured of victory; on the
morrow he was compelled to engage in several little skirmishes
with detached corps; but the bulk of the Scots withdrew during
the night towards the frontier, and the English did not attempt
to pursue them.
{165}
The battle of Flodden had struck a fatal blow to Scotland; her
nobility was decimated, many families had lost all their sons;
but, on the other hand, the struggle had exhausted their
adversaries, and Surrey intrenched himself in Berwick, and
shortly afterwards disbanded the greater part of his army. He
sent to Queen Catherine the corpse of King James, found upon the
field of battle; she herself wrote to King Henry VIII. to
announce the victory. "My Henry," she said, "that which God does
is well done. Your Grace can see that I can keep my promises, for
I send you for your banner the close coat of a king. I could have
wished to send you the king himself, but the heart of our English
people would not have permitted it." Upon his return, the king
rewarded Surrey for his services, by restoring to him the title
of Duke of Norfolk, lost by his father, who had fallen on the
field of Bosworth. Queen Margaret of Scotland had written to her
brother, imploring him to be mindful of the ties of blood, and to
spare her orphan son; she was nominated regent, and peace was
concluded; the Council of the King of England had for a long time
been aware that it was difficult to completely subdue the Scots,
and that war with that country, as poor as it was resolute, was
rarely profitable to her neighbours, even after victory.

Louis XII. succeeded by his negotiations in breaking off the
league formed against him. The court of Rome had received him
into favour, and Maximilian became his ally by the promise of the
hand of Renee of France, second daughter of the king
(subsequently Duchess of Ferrara), for the prince Charles, son of
Philip the Fair and Joan the Mad, destined to become better known
as the Emperor Charles the Fifth.
{166}
The young prince had not yet attained marriageable age, but he
had been betrothed from tender infancy to the Princess Mary of
England, sister of Henry VIII.; the latter soon heard of the
treachery which was preparing, but at the same time, and in order
to appease his fury, Louis XII., who had recently lost his wife,
Anne of Brittany, formerly widow of Charles VIII., proposed to
marry the Princess Mary. She was sixteen years of age, and was
passionately in love with Charles Brandon, viscount De Lisle, one
of the handsomest noblemen, and one of the most skilful in all
military exercises at the English court, who was equally devoted
to her. King Louis had formerly been an accomplished chevalier;
but he was fifty-three years of age, and was afflicted with the
gout. When the marriage was celebrated, in spite of the
sentiments of the princess, he attended in his litter the
tournament at which Charles Brandon, now become Duke of Suffolk,
distinguished himself by the most brilliant valour. The nuptial
ceremony had taken place upon the 2nd of September, 1513; the
king was delighted with his young wife, who, however, reproached
him with having sent back to England all her ladies and her
English household. The Duke of Suffolk had also returned to
London, when, on the 1st of January, 1514, Louis XII. died in
Paris, exhausted by the fatigue of his long wars, and the cares
which his affairs had caused him; exhausted also, it was said, by
the efforts which he had recently made to appear at the
rejoicings, in order to please his young bride. His subjects
mourned him; they had given him the noble surname of the "Father
of his people," a fact due above all to the wise administration
of Cardinal d'Amboise.
{167}
Two months after his death, his widow secretly married the Duke
of Suffolk, who had come on behalf of the king, her brother, at
the head of the embassy which was to bring her back to England.
Marriages of this kind had been frequent formerly, but the royal
dignity became every year more haughty, and none was more
infatuated therewith than Henry VIII.; he flew into a passion
against his sister, whom he would not see on her return. Soon the
supplications of Mary and the good offices of Wolsey brought
about interviews. Suffolk had formerly been a favourite of the
king, who received him into favour. The duke and duchess
reappeared at the court; Mary was more beautiful than ever, for
she was now happy.

All the authority as well as all the influence in the kingdom now
belonged to Cardinal Wolsey; from a plain almoner of the king he
had become, in a few years, first Dean of York, then Bishop of
Lincoln, at length Archbishop of York; in the year 1515, he was
made Chancellor of England, cardinal, and legate of the Pope. All
business passed through his hands; all favours depended upon him.
An able and assiduous courtier, he contrived to flatter the
tastes as well as the passions of his master; he amused him with
endless pleasures; he flattered his self-love; he found money to
suffice for his expenses, and the king, in return, allowed him to
govern the kingdom. At home, the direction which Wolsey had
contrived to give to affairs, was not without advantages; he
strengthened the royal power upon the ruins of the aristocracy,
encouraged commerce, secured the safety of the highways, and
caused justice to be administered.
{168}
Abroad, his personal avidity and the ambition which impelled him
towards the throne of St. Peter, imprinted upon his policy a
perfidious and venal character, which impelled his country to
fatal courses. During more than ten years the history of Wolsey
was the history of England; his qualities and vices equally
influenced the whole of the nation, of whose destinies he was the
real arbiter, since the absolute monarch who then governed the
country saw only through the eyes, and heard only through the
ears of his minister.

In ascending the throne of France, Francis I. had hastened to
confirm the alliance with England which Louis XII. had concluded
by his marriage; he was desirous of assuring peace in that
quarter, in order to put into execution his projects against
Italy, a fatal undertaking, which seemed to afflict with madness
the French monarchs one after another, and to lead them to their
ruin. Francis I. had covered himself with glory at the battle of
Marignan, on the 14th of September, 1515; and Ludovic Sforza had
been compelled to give up to him the duchy of Milan. Jealously of
so much success began to seize upon King Henry; he complained of
the perfidy of the French, who had secretly sent to Scotland the
Duke of Albany, the son of him whom King James III. had formerly
banished. The French party immediately proposed to entrust to him
the regency, at the exclusion of the queen Margaret, who had
exasperated her people by marrying, less than nine months after
the death of her husband, the young Earl of Angus, bold and
handsome, but as ambitious as he was rash and unskilful; Albany
had been born in France; he had been brought up there; his
regency was necessarily unfavorable to English interests.
{169}
These reasons, coupled with the councils of Wolsey, who wished to
please the court of Rome, from which he had recently received a
cardinal's hat, persuaded Henry to conclude a fresh alliance with
Maximilian, in order to drive Francis I. from Italy. An insane
ambition contributed to urge the King of England into this path.
The emperor, feigning to be weary of the supreme power, spoke of
ceding the imperial purple to the prince who should show himself
deserving of it. The vanity of Henry VIII., was aroused; he
despatched two ambassadors to Germany to see how matters stood;
but his negotiators were too intelligent and honest to leave him
long in error. "The imperial crown is not at the disposal of the
emperor," wrote Doctor Tunstall, "but certainly of the electoral
princes, and the first condition is that the person elected
should be a native of Germany, or at least a subject of the
empire, which your Grace is not, because never, since the origin
of the Christian faith, have the Kings of England been subjects;
thus, I fear, that this proposal, so specious in appearance, has
been made only with a view to obtain money of your Grace."

Henry VIII. was convinced, and, according to his custom, he was
impelled to the other side by the reaction of his first feelings.
Not being able to obtain the empire of Maximilian, he renounced
his alliance. Francis I. contrived to gain over Wolsey by rich
presents; he recrossed the Alps, entrusting the Constable de
Bourbon to govern the duchy of Milan; a treaty of alliance,
offensive and defensive, between France and England was concluded
on the 4th of October, 1518, promising to the little dauphin the
hand of the Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII., then
eighteen months of age.
{170}
Francis I. was to repurchase Tournay for the sum of six hundred
thousand crowns. Wolsey had not forgotten himself in determining
these conditions; he had stipulated for a pension of twelve
thousand livres, destined to indemnify him for the loss of his
bishopric. "The king intends shortly to confer some further
gratification upon your Grace," wrote one of the English
negotiators to the all-powerful cardinal. "I was asked what would
please you most; I said that I knew nothing of that matter, but
that some handsome plate or rich jewels appeared to me to be the
most suitable."

The jealousy of King Henry towards Francis I. appeared to have
given place to a violent admiration; he proposed a personal
interview, between Calais and Boulogne, which was to take place
in the month of July, 1519. All the preliminaries prescribed by
etiquette were already determined on. Henry and Wolsey could set
themselves to work to invent the splendours of costumes and
arranging festivities, which were to dazzle the court of France,
when, in the month of January, 1519, the Emperor Maximilian died
suddenly, and the great affair of the succession to the empire
absorbed all minds.

For a moment Henry VIII. himself entered the lists, but without
much hope or perseverance; the two rivals for the empire were
still--as they had been all their lifetime--the King of France,
Francis L, and the Archduke Charles, grandson of Maximilian by
his son Philip the Fair.
{171}
Born at Ghent, descending from the House of Austria, hereditary
sovereign of the Low Countries, Charles had all the natural
claims to the suffrages of the electors, which were wanting in
his competitor. His military renown was already brilliant, and
prodigal as King Francis might be of the rich presents for which
the German princes were eager, the master of the Low Countries,
Spain, the Kingdom of Naples, and the West Indies was the richer
of the two. In this game, as in all others, Francis I. was to be
beaten by Charles V. The King of England had at first hesitated
between the two competitors, but he decided in favour of the
Archduke, when the latter was definitively elected on the 28th of
June. The King of France bore his check with the proud gaiety
natural to his race and his country. 'In ambition as in love
there should be no rancour,' he said to the Spanish ambassador;
but the expenses had been enormous, and the defeat was serious.
The two countries were to pay dearly for the rivalry which was
thus established between their sovereigns.

Henry VIII. hastened to congratulate the new emperor by the pen
of Wolsey, while the cardinal took care to explain the conduct of
his master at the court of France. It was important to him, for
the moment, to maintain good relations with Francis I. as well as
with Charles V. The King of France claimed the performance of the
promise of Henry VIII., and the latter was too well pleased to
display his magnificence to decline a proposal which had,
moreover, come from him in the first place. The interview was
fixed for the summer of 1520, and the ambassadors of the emperor
in vain made efforts to destroy the project.

{172}

The court of England was already at Canterbury, where the king
was completing his splendid preparations, when he suddenly learnt
that the emperor had arrived in the Channel, and desired to pay
him a visit. Wolsey was less surprised than his master; he had
secretly entered into negotiations with Charles, who had assured
to his "very good friend the cardinal," a pension of seven
thousand ducats secured by two Spanish bishoprics. Wolsey was
sent by the king to meet the illustrious visitor, who, simply
attired in black and scantily attended, landed amidst the
magnificent preparations for the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The
emperor stopped at Dover, where the King of England came shortly
to meet him with great demonstrations of friendship and
gratitude. They chatted together until a late hour of the night,
and repaired on the morrow in state to Canterbury, the king
leaving the right-hand side to the emperor throughout, and the
Earl of Derby carrying before him the sword of justice. The
cardinal, with all the clergy, came forward to meet the two
sovereigns, who prostrated themselves together before the shrine
of St. Thomas a Becket, which King Henry VIII. was shortly to
profane and despoil of all its treasures. The emperor then
presented his respects to his aunt, Queen Catharine, and appeared
struck with admiration for the beauty of the Duchess of Suffolk,
that Princess Mary to whom he had been betrothed in his
childhood, and who had subsequently been rejected for reasons of
state. The time for regrets had gone by, and the Emperor Charles
V. had not come to England to occupy himself with the beauty of a
woman.
{173}
He securely attached Wolsey to his interest by promising him his
important support in his great affair--the election to the
pontifical throne. Presents were not forgotten, and when Charles
set sail again after a short visit, he had counteracted the fatal
effects which the interview of the two sovereigns of France and
England might have had upon his policy. No one was more fully
aware than Charles V. of the value of splendour and magnificence,
under certain circumstances, but none knew better how to dispense
with these aids in order to go directly and simply to his end,
while reckoning upon his personal influence to preserve and
maintain the imperial dignity.

On the 4th of June, 1520, King Henry VIII., the queen, the
cardinal, and all the court, embarked for France; the spot fixed
upon for the interview was situated between Guines and Ardres; it
was there that was to be established the "Field of the Cloth of
Gold," which has remained famous in the history of extravagant
splendour. Wolsey had been entrusted by France as well as
England, with the superintendence of all the festivities; but it
was in vain that Francis I. selected the cardinal for his master
of the ceremonies; Charles V. had promised to make him Pope.

A palace built of timber and magnificently decorated by Flemish
workmen awaited the King of England; a fountain throwing forth
streams of white and red wine played constantly at the front,
with this invitation to all passers-by, "make good cheer, all who
please." Everywhere stood erect grim gigantic figures armed with
bows and arrows, and exhibiting the device which Henry had chosen
to recall the advances of the Emperor and Francis I.: "_Cui
adhœreo trœstat_." (He whom I support prevails).
{174}
Precious tapestries, magnificent hangings, gold and silver plate,
ornamented the interior of this temporary palace, more
substantial than the magnificent pavilion erected by Francis I.
The cloth of gold which formed the vault of this pavilion, the
blue velvet, studded with stars, on the walls, the silken cords,
mixed with Cyprian gold, were unable to resist the gusts of wind
which soon arose and beat down into the mud all these splendours;
and the King of France was compelled to take refuge in an old
castle very near the town of Aries. The two sovereigns had
scarcely been installed in their residences, when Cardinal
Wolsey, accompanied by a magnificent retinue, repaired to the
abode of the King of France, while a deputation of French
noblemen performed the same ceremony towards Henry VIII. The
visit of Wolsey was, however, not a mere court formality; the
marriage treaty was confirmed between him and Francis I.; in the
event of the projected union being accomplished, the King of
France undertook to pay a pension of a hundred thousand crowns to
Henry and his successors, so eager was he to secure the
neutrality of England in the war which he foresaw. The
arbitration of the affairs of Scotland was consigned to the
cardinal himself, in conjunction with Louisa of Savoy, the mother
of Francis I. Henry had wished to have the Scots delivered up to
him without reserve, but the chivalrous spirit of the King did
not permit him to abandon, even on paper, the faithful allies who
had paid so cruelly for the useful diversion made in the north of
England, when Louis XII. had been simultaneously attacked by the
English and the Swiss.

{175}

King Henry held aloof as long as it was a question of business;
when the rejoicings and ceremonies were begun, he filled the
scene, almost alone. The two kings met and embraced on horseback,
according to the ceremony decided upon in order to avoid delicate
questions of etiquette; the most affectionate protestations were
exchanged. The noblemen of the two courts mixed together
amicably, the jousts were about to commence; everywhere around
the lists the emblems of France and England were conjoined; for
six days the combatants fought with lances, for two with swords,
for two in the melee, at the barriers. Henry VIII. and Francis I.
fought side by side, like two brothers in arms, facing all
comers. The two kings finally essayed wrestling matches, much in
vogue in England; but King Henry, more trained, was less nimble
than his adversary; he was overthrown; he demanded his revenge,
but the assistants interposed there had been enough combats.
Banquets, balls, masquerades and theatrical representations now
claimed their turn.

So many mutual diversions did not suffice to efface the old
distrust born of the long wars and political rivalries; King
Francis desiring one morning to commence the day with eclat,
repaired alone to the quarters of the English before King Henry
had risen, and touching him gaily upon the shoulder: "So you are
my prisoner, my brother," he said. Henry VIII. sprang from his
couch, touched by this proof of confidence, and Francis,
continuing the jest, acted as valet to him, assisted him to
perform his toilet, and ended by exchanging presents with him. On
leaving the camp, the King, of France met one of his friends the
Sire de Fleuranges.
{176}
"I am glad to see you again in safety, sire," said the latter;
"but let me tell you, my master, that you have acted foolishly;
and may the evil consequences fall upon those who advised you."
"Nobody advised anything," said the king, "all came from my head
and could not come from elsewhere." Henry VIII. returned the
visit familarly on the marrow. But the moment for separation had
arrived; the affairs of the two kingdoms claimed the attention of
the two sovereigns, and the rejoicings were beginning to exhaust
their purses. For years the lands of more than one nobleman were
still recovering from the loans contracted to make a good
appearance at the Field of the Cloth of Gold; it was said that
the greater number of the French carried all their property upon
their backs.

The Emperor Charles V. had forbidden his subjects to respond to
the invitation addressed to all the knights in Christendom, and
it was to Gravelines that King Henry VIII. went to see him;
Charles reconducted him as far as Calais; but the French
ambassadors were unable to learn anything of the result of their
conference. Before separating Charles promised to accept his dear
uncle of England as arbitrator in all the differences which might
arise between the King of France and himself, a promise easy to
keep for one who held arms in his hand and took care to submit to
arbitration only questions of little importance. The king
returned to London, "in good health, but with a light purse."
says the chroniclers.

{177}

There had not been wanting among the citizens, and even among the
great noblemen who had not accompanied King Henry to the Field of
the Cloth of Gold, censures upon the insane expenditure of the
court; none had spoken more loudly than the Duke of Buckingham,
and he had gone beyond the bounds of prudence. The blood of the
Plantagenets flowed in his veins; he was a descendant of a
daughter of the Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III.; he was
rich, magnificent, bold, intelligent. So many qualities and
advantages rendered him dangerous; Wolsey profited by the first
opportunity to ruin him. It was related that an astrological
monk, consulted by the duke, had affirmed that his son, young
Stafford, "would go far and high," in other terms, it was
concluded therefrom, that the young man would succeed, to the
throne of Henry VIII. A similar ground of fear had cost the head
of the Earl of Suffolk. Wolsey, who had, on several occasions,
been offended by the haughtiness of the duke, caused him to be
summoned to the court shortly after the king returned from
France. The duke set out without any mistrust; but scarcely had
he arrived in London when he found himself watched and followed
with more persistency than respect. He was proceeding down the
Thames in his boat, when he was arrested and conducted to the
Tower, to the astonishment and indignation of the people. He was
accused of having urged the monk to disloyal predictions, of
having plotted with the servants of the king, uttering threats
against his majesty, and the cardinal. The duke maintained that
not one single _fact_ could be brought forward against him,
but he was condemned beforehand, and the Duke of Norfolk, who
presided over the tribunal, burst into tears while pronouncing
the sentence, which he had the cowardice to sign.
{178}
Buckingham replied with proud firmness, protesting to the end his
innocence, and refusing to ask pardon of the king. The people
wept at the sight of his execution, on the 17th of June, 1521;
executions had not yet been sufficiently frequent under the new
reign to harden and debase men's hearts.

The blood of Buckingham still reeked upon his scaffold, when
Henry VIII. undertook to add to his glory as monarch and knight a
splendour of a new kind. We have seen how the reformation was
born in England, under the inspiration of Wykliffe, or rather,
how it had then, for the first time, assumed a name and
proclaimed doctrines. Since that time it had never ceased to grow
and develope, slowly, silently, notwithstanding the martyrdom of
some persons, nearly all obscure, who perished at the stake from
year to year, maintaining the fire which smouldered beneath the
ashes. For four years past, everything had been changed; Luther
had applied the axe to the tree in Germany, and the renown of his
work had penetrated throughout all England. Meanwhile external
signs were not yet alarming for the Church of Rome, and less
still for its doctrines; the people rose above all against the
monks, then very numerous in England, whose irregularities had,
several times, attracted the attention of the popes. Henry VIII.
resolved to defend the Catholic faith against the attacks of
Luther. On the 15th of May, Wolsey had given to the bishops
orders to burn, in all the parishes of England, the dangerous
books, and to cause to be affixed to the doors of all the
churches a list of the heresies of Luther, in order to teach the
people to beware of them.
{179}
On the 20th of May, King Henry had written to Louis of Bavaria,
asking him to burn Luther with all his books, "for the
accomplishment," he said, "of which good work, sacred and
acceptable to God, we offer sincerely with all our hearts, our
royal favour, our aid and assistance, and even, if necessary, our
blood." But Luther had already appeared before the Diet of Worms,
where, boldly maintaining his ground, he had wrested from the
emperor, who was an adept in the matter, the exclamation, "Upon
my soul, the monk speaks well and with marvellous courage." The
monk was in safety at Wurtenburg, hidden for awhile from the fury
of his enemies. King Henry had no other resource against him than
"the pen of a ready writer." He applied himself to the task, and
published in the summer of 1521, a _Defence of the Seven
Sacraments against Martin Luther_, of which a copy,
magnificently copied and bound, was, through the care of Wolsey,
presented to Pope Leo X. in full consistory, in the month of
October, by the English ambassador at Rome. After reading it, the
Holy Father bestowed upon the royal author the name of
_Defender of the Faith_, a glorious addition to his other
titles, and one of which he was eventually to make a strange use.
Luther replied to Henry VIII., refusing to believe that the
treatise was the work of his pen, and then proceeded leisurely to
dispose of the document. When afterwards the reformer desired to
alter his judgment and effect a reconciliation with the monarch,
who, in his fashion, was placing himself at the head of the
religious movement in his dominions, Henry had not forgiven him
for having refused the title of author to him, and was not more
favourably disposed towards him for attributing to him at length
the composition of a work of which he had spoken so badly.
{180}
The king published everywhere in his kingdom the two letters of
Luther, with a reply, and a warning to the "pious author," which
testified to the small liking which had always experienced for
"this insane monk."

While Henry VIII. was examining the works of the Fathers of the
Church, or causing them to be examined, and was writing a
treatise on theology, the war had recommenced between France and
Spain. Francis I. had invaded Navarre, but he had been repulsed;
his attempts upon the Low Countries had not been fortunate, and
Pope Leo X. had recently formed a fresh alliance with the
emperor. In his embarrassments, Francis I. invoked the good
offices of the King of England, who promised his arbitration,
and, thereupon, despatched Wolsey to come to an understanding
with the emperor upon the dismemberment of the French monarchy.
The cardinal, to whom his master had consigned full powers,
landed on the 30th of June at Calais, with a magnificent retinue,
and held several conferences with the emissaries of the two
sovereigns; but the first act of the comedy was not long, and
Wolsey shortly repaired to Bruges, "in order," he said, "to
incline the emperor towards peaceful measures." The negotiator
was accompanied by so many noblemen, his servants were so
brilliantly attired and ornamented with so many jewels, that King
Christian of Denmark, who was then at Bruges, was confounded,
especially when he saw the cardinal served by men of the highest
rank, on their knees, a ceremony that was as yet unknown in
Germany.


[Image]
Cardinal Wolsey Served By Noblemen.


{181}

The daily expenses of Wolsey were enormous, but he still hoped
that Pope Leo X. (his junior by several years) would be carried
off by some accident; it was necessary, therefore, at any price,
to secure the support of the emperor. The whole secret of the
English policy at this period lay there.

On the 19th of August, Wolsey wrote from Bruges to his master.
The emperor urged Henry VIII. to declare war against France; but
the cardinal had said that it was necessary to await the visit of
Charles to England. "He swears in the presence of Our Lady,"
added Wolsey, "that he holds himself bound to you for ever above
all other princes;" in faith of which, the emperor promised to
marry the little Princess Mary, who had been solemnly betrothed
to the dauphin four years before. The preliminaries being agreed
upon, Wolsey returned to Calais, where the French ambassadors
contrived to preserve their gravity and to restrain from
indignation, while the cardinal formally resumed the negotiations
for peace. When Francis I. had rejected an unacceptable project,
Wolsey, deploring his obstinacy, impartially declared, in his
quality of arbitrator, that the King of France was the aggressor,
and that the King of England was bound to lend his concurrence to
his ally, the Emperor Charles. A treaty was therefore signed at
Calais, between the Pope, the Emperor, and King Henry VIII.,
according to which, "in order to check the guilty ambition of
France, and to hasten the moment for a general crusade against
the Turks," all the covenanters were to fall at once upon King
Francis I. from different sides.

{182}

Hostilities had not been relaxed during the negotiations, and the
affairs of the King of France continued to progress unfavourably;
he had lost nearly all his conquests in Italy, when Pope Leo X.
delighted at the capture of Parma and Piacenza, the siege of
which he had urged with vigour, died suddenly on the 1st of
December, at the age of forty-six years, not without some
suspicion of poisoning--thus justifying the hopes which the
cardinal had founded upon the accidents to which Italian princes
were then particularly subject. It was a great blow to the
league, but none was more interested than Wolsey, who was
informed of the event with prodigious rapidity, and he
immediately took steps to remind the emperor of his engagements,
at the same time despatching to Rome his secretary, Pace, to
manage his business at the sacred college, which was very
considerable then, in consequence of the numerous nominations
which Leo X. had made.

For twenty-three days thirty-nine cardinals were shut up in
conclave for the election of the new Pope, without being able to
agree together. Cardinal Julius de Medicis, who had distinguished
himself in the recent war, mustered one-third of the suffrages;
but he could not contrive to overstep this number; some hesitated
to give to the deceased Pope a successor from his family; the
cardinals of the French party and some imperialists dreaded the
Cardinal Julius. Nobody spoke of Wolsey. At length one day the
Medicis, seeing that they could not pass their candidate, whose
army, moreover, was awaiting him with impatience, themselves
proposed, suddenly, Adrian, cardinal of Tortosa, a Flemish
prelate, who had formerly been the tutor of the Emperor, and who
was employed by him in his affairs in Spain.
{183}
No one believed in his election; gradually several cardinals
deposed their votes in his favour; Cardinal Cajetan made a great
speech to celebrate the virtues and merits of the new candidate,
who was unknown to the greater number of his compeers. While he
spoke, the disposition of the conclave changed suddenly; when the
votes was counted, Adrian found himself elected by the direct and
sudden inspiration of the Holy Ghost, it was affirmed. Upon his
arrival in Rome, the new Pope received the compliments of
Cardinal Wolsey, through the medium of his secretary, Pace; the
ambition of the English minister was disappointed, but Pope
Adrian VI. was old and worn out: Wolsey waited.

Francis I. had made several attempts to regain the affection of
the King of England; but as they remained without result, he
suspended the payment of the pension which he allowed to Henry
VIII., placed an embargo on the English vessels which were in his
ports, and seized the goods of the merchants. The anger of King
Henry had not been satisfied with the most violent reprisals
against the French people who were in his dominions, when the
emperor landed at Dover. The moment was propitious for his
designs; Henry VIII. promised him an army of forty thousand men,
and undertook to invade the north of France. Charles V., had
undertaken to indemnify the King of England for the loss of the
French pension, but he began by borrowing a large sum of money,
notwithstanding the financial embarrassments of the English
monarch.
{184}
Every day, in fact, added to his distress in the matter of money,
for every day brought fresh festivities and prodigalities. The
emperor proceeded from magnificence to magnificence during his
sojourn in England.

When he set sail, Wolsey knew not what expedient to have recourse
to in order to procure the necessary funds for the equipment of
the army.

King Henry VIII. had imitated the example of the last years of
his father; he did not give himself the trouble to convoke
Parliament. A loan of twenty thousand pounds sterling was
forcibly exacted from the merchants of London, but scarcely had
they paid that sum, when the principal among them were summoned
before the cardinal. He declared to them that the king had chosen
them to make throughout the kingdom an inquiry concerning the
property of all, upon which property the king intended to raise a
tenth for the defense of the kingdom. The aldermen resisted,
affirming that money was not only wanting in the coffers of the
king, but everywhere else; Wolsey replied, that the clergy had
undertaken to give up a quarter of their wealth; finally a
compromise was arrived at, and the royal treasury was once more
enriched with the substance of the people. But the popularity of
Wolsey was sinking beneath this ever-increasing oppression, and
the results of the war were not of a nature to afford consolation
to the unhappy people ruined by the preparations for the
struggle. The Earl of Surrey, after bringing back the Emperor to
Spain, had pillaged, on his return, the coast of Brittany. He
then placed himself at the head of the army, which numbered
fifteen thousand men only, of whom three thousand were
volunteers, and one thousand German mercenaries; the season was
late, the English traversed Artois and followed the banks of the
Somme, ravaging the country, burning down villages, but avoiding
the castles and fortified towns.
{185}
The French army had instructions not to risk a pitched battle;
but it cruelly harassed the English. The rain assisting, grave
distempers broke out among the troops of Surrey; in the middle of
October, the English, abandoned by their foreign auxiliaries,
were compelled to retreat to Bethune without having accomplished
anything; the money collected with so much difficulty was
expended, and the exchequer was again empty.

The King of France once more sought to obtain support in the
neighbourhood of his enemies; he endeavoured to stir Ireland to
revolt, and addressed himself with this object to the Earl of
Desmond, who claimed a certain independence, promising him troops
and money if he would act for him in enrolling his fellow
countrymen; Desmond applied himself to his task, but neither
French money nor soldiers were forthcoming, and the earl stood
alone exposed to the vengeance of the English government. Affairs
were not much better directed in Scotland. The regent Albany,
still in contention with Queen Margaret, asked of his Parliament
authority to repair to France to seek assistance; upon his return
with a small body of troops, he found everything in confusion,
and Margaret caused the regency of her second husband, the Earl
of Angus, to be proclaimed. Having shortly afterwards quarrelled
with him, she demanded a divorce, which King Henry VIII., who had
not yet had an affair of the sort himself rigorously opposed it.
{186}
The disorders went on increasing in Scotland; the most violent
accusations were hurled from one party to the other. Albany was
recalled to power; Henry VIII. insisted that he should be
dismissed as the friend of France; and upon the refusal of the
Scottish Parliament, he declared war. Lord Shrewsbury, made the
first attempt at an invasion which was repulsed, and the regent
entered England with a numerous army. Lord Dacre, who was in
command at the frontier, had scarcely any troops, but he talked
so loudly of the forces that were approaching--of the anger of
King Henry VIII., of the dangers which were about to befall
Scotland, that Albany took alarm and obtained the promise of an
armistice of one month, in order that a peace might be
negotiated. The skillful guardian of the frontiers allowed the
retreat of the army against which he would not have been able to
contend, and the Duke of Albany set sail for France. It became
necessary at length to convoke a Parliament in England; loans,
taxes, benevolences were exhausted. Notwithstanding the taste of
Henry VIII. for absolute power, he had a sense of necessity and
knew how to submit to it. Sir Thomas More was chosen as speaker
of the House of Commons; he had been drawn into the service of
the court several years before; the king delighted in his
brilliant and varied conversation and gave every mark of
recognition to his learning and ability. Under his direction, the
Commons proved less obstinate than had been anticipated; they
claimed the right to inquire into affairs, and the nation
supported them from without by the interest which it took in all
that was said in the House, "Why do they concern themselves so
much with my affairs?" the king exclaimed angrily.
{187}
Wolsey hoped to intimidate the Commons by presenting himself
before them in person, accompanied by a numerous retinue which
filled the House; the cardinal-chancellor set forth in a pompous
speech that the war promised to England all that it had formerly
possessed in France, and that the Commons assuredly would not
hesitate to vote a tax of twenty per cent, upon property. Sir
Thomas More had given the word to his colleagues; it was agreed
not to discuss in the presence of the cardinal, and this
exorbitant demand was listened to in silence, with downcast eyes;
no reply was made. Wolsey called upon several members one after
the other; all rose at his haughty voice, then sat down again
without saying anything. The minister flew into a passion; More
then placed one knee upon the ground, alleging as the excuse of
the Commons that they were agitated by the presence of so great a
personage, and that, besides, they wished to discuss amongst
themselves the demand which had been made of them. Wolsey was
compelled to retire, and the Commons sent a deputation to the
king, asking for a reduction of the tax. Wolsey returned, more
and more exasperated, endeavouring to draw the members of the
House into discussion by interrogating them upon their objection.
The Commons remained firm, and granted only a tax of a
tenth--half of what the cardinal had demanded. He was
unsuccessful also before the convocation of the clergy, and,
notwithstanding his power as legate, he found himself compelled
to accept, instead of the fifty per cent, which he boldly
demanded at first, a gift of a tenth for five years.
{188}
Reduced as were the subsidies, they still exceeded all that had
ever been hitherto granted to the sovereigns of England. "I pray
to the Lord Almighty," wrote at this period Mr. Ellis, a member
of the House of Commons, "that the subsidy may be paid to his
Grace, without reserve, and without his losing the hearts and
good will of his subjects, treasures which I hold more precious
to a king than silver and gold; the gentle entrusted to collect
the money will not, I think, have a small task." Already during
the session of the Parliament, the members had been insulted in
the street by the inhabitants of London, who dragged them by the
sleeve, crying, "You are going to give four shillings in the
pound; May our malediction accompany you even to your dwellings!"
Insurrections took place in several counties; but the king threw
the whole obloquy of the measure upon the cardinal, and washed
his hands of it while pocketing what remained of the money after
the plunderings of the tax collectors, great and small.

A fresh expedition was being prepared against France. The Duke of
Suffolk had placed himself at the head of the troops in the month
of August, 1523. A powerful auxiliary was counted upon at the
very court of Francis I.; the Constable Bourbon offended by his
master, pursued by the jealous hatred of Louise of Savoy, who had
hoped to become his wife, had succumbed to his desire for
vengeance; he had betrayed his country and undertaken to serve
her enemies. As soon as the King of France should have crossed
the Alps, in his expedition to Italy, the Constable, with seven
thousand men, was to co-operate in the attacks of the English and
Imperialists.
{189}
The plot was suspected; King Francis delayed his departure, and
the Constable, who had feigned an illness, was compelled to fly
into Italy. The allies entered upon the campaign alone and too
late; they were moreover disconcerted in their operations by the
absence of the troops of the Constable. Francis I. everywhere
faced the enemy in France, while his faithful servant, Admiral
Bonnivet, commanded the army of Italy.

The Duke of Suffolk was not destined for more glory than the Earl
of Surrey; he delayed before St. Omer, instead of affecting a
junction with the Germans who had invaded Burgundy; at length,
when he desired to pass, it was too late, the French army cut off
his communications; he was without provisions, his troops were
suffering from grave distempers. It was necessary to fall back
upon Calais. This unfortunate campaign almost cost the Duke of
Suffolk his head, so great was the anger of King Henry.

Pope Adrian VI. had died (4th of September, 1523) after a
pontificate of twenty months; his austere conscience had so
greatly exasperated the Italians, that the physician who had
attended him during his illness was styled the "Saviour of his
country." The hopes of Wolsey blossomed again; he hastened to
write to King Henry to assure him of the repugnance which he
should experience at leaving his good master and burthening
himself with so heavy a duty as the government of Christendom.
Henry understood, and caused the emperor to be reminded of all
his promises, commanding his ambassador at Rome also to spare
nothing in order to insure the election of the minister.

{190}

This time Wolsey was among the number of the candidates; he had
even brought together sufficient votes, but the Italians, the
people of Rome, came almost beneath the windows of the conclave,
crying out that there had been too many _barbarians_ on the
seat of St. Peter, and that they would have no more. This
opposition, supported by the efforts of the French cardinals,
secured the tiara to cardinal Julius de Medicis. He had had the
intention of retaining his name, but he was reminded that no Pope
who had done so had reigned two years, and he assumed the title
of Clement VII.

Wolsey was too sagacious not to contrive to conceal his
disappointment; the instructions of Henry VIII. were, moreover,
to assist Cardinal de Medicis if the election of the chancellor
of England was impossible; the new Pope immediately confirmed
Wolsey in his office of legate, authorizing him even to suppress
in England the religious houses which he should find to be
corrupt. The cardinal made use of this authority with moderation,
employing the property of the closed monasteries in endowing the
colleges and universities, in order, he said, to instruct learned
doctors "capable of refuting the ever-growing and widespread
heresies of the monster, Martin Luther."

The French army, under the orders of Admiral Bonnivet, had
obtained some success in Italy; but when that commander had to
deal with the Constable Bourbon, placed by the emperor at the
head of his troops, he suffered check after check; the loss of
nearly all the towns was crowned by the death of the brave
Bayard, the flower of European chivalry.
{191}
The invasion of France was resolved upon, and Charles V. besought
Henry VIII. to make an attack in the north; but England was weary
of making war without glory, and the king, who had, while
advancing in years, conceived as little liking as he had little
aptitude for the command of armies, refused his co-operation,
promising money, however, which he did not pay. Bourbon and the
Marquis of Peschiera entered France, but, contrary to the advice
of the Constable, who wished to march upon Lyons, they delayed at
the fruitless siege of Marseilles, and the generals, urged by the
proximity of the army which Francis I. had gathered together at
Avignon, re-entered Italy. To his misfortune the king of France
followed them there; the struggle began before Pavia, which the
French were besieging; all the forces of the empire were united
there, and on the 24th of February, 1525, when the combat ceased,
the French army was decimated and the king a prisoner. "All is
lost, save honour!" wrote the captured monarch, who had valiantly
defended himself, to his mother. He was immediately conducted to
the fortress of Pizzighitone, and people rejoiced greatly in
England at the victory of the emperor, as though King Henry VIII.
had not been upon the point, a few months before, of separating
himself from the league, in order to become reconciled with the
King of France.

The victory caused the scale to incline to the side of Charles
V., and Henry hastened to despatch ambassadors to him, promising
to invade France in conjunction with the emperor, in order to
divide that kingdom amicably.
{192}
As preliminaries of the treaty, the King of England proposed to
ascend the throne of France, which belonged to him by right of
inheritance, while Charles should content himself with the
provinces formerly dependant upon the House of Burgundy. In order
to accomplish this dazzling project, fresh taxes were demanded
without any vote of Parliament, recent experience of the temper
of that body not having been favourable; but this was too much.
Insurrections broke out on all sides; placards insulting to the
king and the cardinal were affixed by night upon the walls; arms
were taken up against the commissioners. Wolsey perceived that it
was necessary to yield, and the king, more bold in words than in
deeds, speedily announced that he revoked and annulled his
demands; it was also repeated very loudly that the cardinal had
always been opposed to this fresh _benevolence_, that it was
at his entreaty that the king abandoned it; but the people said,
"God bless the king; as to the cardinal, we know him but too
well."

The rejoicing had been neither general nor spontaneous in England
after the battle of Pavia and the captivity of Francis I. "I have
heard it related," wrote Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury,
formerly a minister of Henry VII., to the cardinal, "that the
people said in several places that it would be a subject rather
for weeping than for rejoicing that the King of France was a
prisoner; if he could recover his liberty, and there should be a
good peace, the king would no longer dream of retaking France,
the conquest of which would be more burdensome to England than
profitable, and the maintenance more burdensome than the
conquest."

{193}

Charles V., deemed himself henceforth master of the situation,
and the style of his letters changed in tone after the battle of
Pavia. He was weary of the oscillations and perfidies of the
English policy; he no longer wrote to his _good uncle_ with
his own hand, and his letters were signed _Charles_, without
any reminder of the ties of kindred. He rejected the idea of
invading France. "The game was in the toils," it was said; "of
what use was it to chase it any longer?" Francis I. had been
transferred to the Alcazar of Madrid, at his request, and was
anxious to negotiate personally with the emperor, but no
interview was granted him. The negotiators demanded of the
captive king the renunciation of all his pretensions upon Italy,
the rehabilitation of the Constable Bourbon in his rank and
property, and the cession of Burgundy. Francis I. resisted this
last point; he struggled for a long while, and even abdicated in
favour of the dauphin. At one moment he threatened to starve
himself to death, and the emperor saw himself upon the point of
losing all the fruits of his victory. At length, on the 14th of
January, 1526, after eleven months' captivity, the King of France
signed the treaty of Madrid, taking care, however, to protest
before a priest, a notary, and some friends, against the
constraint placed upon him; then springing upon his
Barbary-horse, brought for him to the frontier, he galloped back
to his territory, crying, "I am king once more." All the
conditions of the treaty were already trodden under foot.

{194}

During the captivity of Francis I., Henry VIII. had concluded a
close and advantageous alliance with Louise of Savoy, regent of
the kingdom; a sum of two millions of crowns had been promised
him, as well as a pension of a hundred thousand crowns. The
cardinal received thirty thousand crowns for the cession of the
bishopric of Tournay, and a hundred thousand crowns as a reward
for his services to France. The Dowager Queen of France, Mary,
duchess of Suffolk, was to have her dowry liquidated. It was
moreover forbidden the Duke of Albany to re-enter Scotland during
the minority of James V.

As soon as he had arrived in Paris, Francis I. ratified the
engagements made by his mother, assuring the emissaries of Henry
VIII. that he cared for nothing when once he was in good and
faithful friendship with his Grace, the King of England. The
league formerly concluded against the King of France, was
reformed against the emperor; the Pope absolved Francis I. of his
oaths, and allied himself with the Kings of France and England,
with the republics of Florence and Venice, and with the Duke of
Milan, with a view to recommence hostilities.

A coldness had arisen since the preceding year (1525) between
King Henry and his all-powerful minister; the king had found, it
was said, that the cardinal abused the authority which had been
confided to him by the Pope, and that he had driven too many
monks from their monasteries. The rumour of this disagreement
reached Germany, and it was upon this point that Luther wrote to
Henry VIII., attributing to Wolsey all the evil which had been
wrought in England, and congratulating the king on his having
rejected "this monster and abomination to God and man, the ruin
of the kingdom, and the blight of all England." The compliments
of Luther were premature; the king and the cardinal had become
reconciled, and Henry answered the reformer with emphatic
encomiums upon Wolsey, and bitter reproaches directed against
Luther for his marriage with Catherine of Bora.

{195}

The two sovereigns of France and England did not keep their
promises to the Pope better than those made to the emperor. All
the weight of the war fell upon Clement VII., who was soon
compelled to throw himself upon the mercy of Charles V. A treaty
was signed between them, but less than a month afterwards the
Spaniards entered Rome by surprise, and the Pope was compelled to
take refuge in the castle of St. Angelo. Passing from convention
to convention, from perfidy to perfidy, with alternations of
successes and reverses, Clement VII. found himself at length in
the month of May, 1527, besieged in Rome by the Constable
Bourbon, who was killed in the assault of the 5th of May, at the
moment when his ferocious soldiers were taking possession of the
city, which they gave up to fire and sword. Not even from the
Gauls and the Goths had the Eternal City suffered so much.
Notwithstanding the corruption of the Roman Church and the secret
indignation which was felt against her, a cry of horror was
raised from one end to the other of Christendom. Wolsey wrote to
Henry VIII. to remind him of his title of _Defender of the
Faith_, and to ask him to act in favour of the papal
authority; but the king was absorbed in matters which were
destined to undermine all his old devotion to Rome. He followed
the example of King Francis I., and both monarchs abandoned to
his unhappy fate the ally whom they had involved in an unequal
struggle.

{196}

The King of England had recently, in fact, entered upon a course
which was in the end to lead him further and to change his policy
more than he had foreseen. An inconsistent and faithless husband,
he had caused his wife, Queen Catharine of Aragon, many sorrows,
which she had borne with grave dignity and a somewhat rigid
meekness. He had, nevertheless, retained a certain respect for
her; the queen was generally beloved and esteemed, but Henry
VIII. had made the acquaintance of a young maid of honour of her
court--beautiful, intellectual, graceful, brought up in France,
whither, when yet quite a child, she had accompanied the Princess
Mary, when she went there to espouse Louis XII., and Anne Boleyn
had awakened a violent passion in the heart of the king. Did she
from the first lay claim to the position of her royal mistress.
Did she resist the love of the king from virtue or from ambition?
None can say. She was of good birth; her father, Sir Thomas
Boleyn, had been several times employed in diplomatic missions by
the king and the cardinal; her mother was the daughter of the
Duke of Norfolk. She lived constantly at the court, and the queen
could not have been ignorant of an intrigue which, since 1527,
had formed a subject of conversation among all the courtiers.

In order to marry Anne Boleyn, it was necessary to annul the
marriage with Catharine of Aragon. King Henry VIII., after
seventeen years of union found himself smitten with scruples as
to the legitimacy of his marriage with the widow of his brother;
he found proof of the wrath of God in the numerous losses which
had been sustained by his family.
{197}
The queen had given him six children, but had lost all save her
eldest daughter, the Princess Mary. He very ostentatiously
displayed his affection for Catharine, but the delicacy of his
conscience did not permit him to live in peace with her. He began
to experience a desire to surround himself with learned doctors
able to throw light upon the laws divine and human which he might
have involuntarily violated. Various secret motives favoured the
passion of the king. Notwithstanding the declarations of Henry
VIII. with regard to the impossibility of the Lutheran heresies
taking root in the soil of England, the doctrines of the
Reformation had silently made great progress; the partisans of
the new doctrine knew Queen Catherine to be ardently and
sincerely a Catholic; there was no support to be expected from
her. On the other hand, Wolsey, the faithful servant of the
Church of Rome, was exasperated against the emperor, the nephew
of Catharine, who had failed him in the pontifical elections, and
he wished to strengthen the alliance which united his master to
France, by inducing him to marry Renee, the second daughter of
Louis XII. The cardinal did not foresee any serious obstacles to
his project from the affair of Anne Boleyn, but the divorce
served his policy. Negotiations were then in progress for the
marriage of the Princess Mary with the Duke of Orleans, son of
the King of France, and the ambassadors of Francis I. were
enabled to assure themselves personally of the truth of the
rumours which attributed to the King an insane love for Anne
Boleyn. He danced with her all night at the masquerade given in
their honor.
{198}
Wolsey soon afterwards proceeded to France, magnificently
escorted in his embassy, like Thomas a Becket in former times.
When he came back, the alliance between the two crowns was closer
than ever, and he had himself assured Louise of Savoy that she
would soon see a princess of her blood seated upon [the] throne
of England; but the king had spent the time during his absence in
seeking in Leviticus and in St. Thomas Aquinas arguments against
his marriage with Catharine, and the first news which saluted the
cardinal upon his return was the announcement, made by the king,
of his fixed determination to make Anne Boleyn Queen of England.
Wolsey fell upon his knees; his policy and principles, such as
they were, revolted at this marriage. In earlier times the Kings
of England had frequently married their female subjects; but that
period was gone by, and the regal dignity was too exalted to be
brought so low. At the first remonstrance, the minister perceived
that discussion was useless; he bowed his head, and resolved to
serve his master according to his will and pleasure. He did not,
however, infuse any ardour into the business: Anne Boleyn soon
perceived this, and conceived thenceforth an enmity against the
cardinal which was destined to bring about his ruin.

The task of examining the Treatise upon the divorce was assigned
to Sir Thomas More, but the learned jurist felt the danger of
such a trust, and consulted several bishops; the greater number
hesitated: all referred to the Pope the decision of so great an
affair. A scruple analogous to that which had so suddenly arisen
in the mind of the king had preoccupied many people at the time
of the marriage. The bull of the Pope had satisfied all minds,
and it was thought hard to find the question resuscitated after
so many years of agreement. It was absolutely necessary to take
the matter before Clement VII.

{199}

The emperor had foreseen the blow, and had prepared to avert it.
Considering the projected divorce as an insult to his family, he
had been careful, before negotiating with the Pope, besieged by
the imperialists in the castle of St. Angelo, to forewarn him
against the intentions of the King of England, and to make
mention of them in conversation. Clement VII., however, had
escaped, and from his refuge at Orvieto, he awaited the approach
of the French army under the orders of Lautrec. Instead of the
soldiers that he expected, he was attacked by the agents of King
Henry, who demanded authorization for the Cardinal Legate in
England to decide the question of the divorce, with the
assistance of a second legate, sent from Rome. The Pope was
greatly embarrassed; the army upon which he counted was partly
maintained by English gold. He signed the authorization, thus
letting the weight of the decision fall again upon Wolsey. The
matter of the bull of Julius II. was referred to a commission
which was competent to revoke it if the dispensation had been
obtained by means of false representations. Out of consideration
for the Princess Mary, she was to be legitimated in case of the
divorce of her mother. Such was the result of the negotiations
which were prolonged, with various alternations, from the end of
the year 1527 to the beginning of the year 1528.

{200}

This decision, which fully satisfied Henry VIII. greatly troubled
the cardinal; he demanded that Cardinal Campeggio should be sent
to him from Rome to share the dreaded responsibility which was
imposed upon him; he gently suggested to the king the doubts and
difficulties which several bishops had expressed to him. The king
flew into a passion, forgetting in his fury the long services of
his minister. Wolsey tremblingly yielded, and caused the Pope to
be implored to sign the decretal bull which was to approve his
decision by anticipation. The Pope signed, at the same time
charging Cardinal Campeggio to keep the bull secret and to
produce it only in case of absolute necessity.

An epidemic, known as the sweating sickness, which caused the
death of many persons, and even placed Anne Boleyn in danger,
arrested, for a while, the progress of affairs; terrified by this
visitation, the king became reconciled with Queen Catherine,
zealously resumed all the practices of religion, and appeared to
forget Anne Boleyn, who was in the country, suffering from
illness. But with the danger the good resolutions of Henry
disappeared, and the great noblemen of the court received an
order to present themselves at the levee of the favorite as at
that of the queen. Cardinal Campeggio had just arrived in
England, and it was expected that the legates would at once
convoke the commission. But affairs in Italy once more changed
aspect; the emperor was again assuming the ascendant in that
country, and the Italian legate was too crafty to set the Pope at
variance with a conqueror, who might perhaps shortly be imposing
laws. Lautrec, who for a while had appeared victorious, was
besieged by the imperialists within his camp, near Naples, where
he died on the 15th of August, from grief as much as from
sickness.
{201}
The unhappy remains of his army were compelled to capitulate, and
the Pope opened up secret negotiations with the emperor.
Campeggio continued to procrastinate; it was necessary to gain
time at any price. For a moment the Pope had been thought to be
dying, and Wolsey had appeared to be very near the height of his
ambition; but Clement recovered his health, and the King of
France himself was negotiating with the emperor. Henry VIII.
despatched, under the great seal, the formal order to the two
legates to assemble their commission, and to proceed to the
inquiry into the divorce. The court met in the great Hall of the
Black Friars, on the 13th of May, 1529.

The king and queen had been summoned; when his name was called,
Henry replied without hesitating, "Present," Catherine,
accompanied by four bishops, instructed to plead her cause, did
not respond to the summons; but she arose, and, crossing the
hall, threw herself at the feet of the king, imploring him in
most touching terms, with affecting dignity and sweetness, to
have pity on her, to remember the duties which she had rendered
him, and not to inflict upon her a dishonor which she did not
deserve. She rose amidst the involuntary emotion of all present,
and left the hall whilst the king was protesting his attachment
to her, and attributing all these persecutions to the scruples of
his conscience. "It was not," he said, "my lord cardinal who had
suggested the idea of the divorce, as the queen asserted; but the
Bishop of Lincoln, his confessor, and several other prelates, had
enjoined him to address himself to the Pope."

{202}

Catherine had refused to be present henceforth at the sittings;
the inquiry therefore proceeded without her. The advocates of the
king, who alone spoke, proved, or pretended to prove, all the
facts which they had advanced; they, concluded by pronouncing the
invalidity of the marriage. The king urged Wolsey, and Wolsey
pressed Campeggio to deliver the judgment; but the affairs of the
Pope had been arranged; he had concluded, on the 29th of June, an
advantageous treaty with the emperor, and no longer feared the
anger of the king. Again, on the 23rd of July, when the advocates
of the king demanded a definitive reply, "I have not come here,"
said Campeggio, "to satisfy a man from fear or from hope of a
reward, be he king or potentate. I am old, sick, and infirm, and
every day I expect death. Of what avail would it be therefore, to
me to place my soul in danger of perdition for the favour of a
prince? In the doubt and difficulties which shroud this affair,
wherein the defendant will not plead her cause, I defer the
decision until we shall have had the advice of the Pope and other
experienced persons of his council. I adjourn the tribunal until
the month of October."

As he finished speaking, the Duke of Suffolk, brother-in-law of
King Henry, struck his fist upon the table, exclaiming, "Never
has a cardinal done any good for England." Wolsey took this
reproach upon himself, and, turning towards Suffolk, he reminded
him angrily of the services he had rendered him. "Without me," he
said, "cardinal as I am, you would not at this hour possess a
head upon your shoulders, or a tongue to insult us with. We are
here only as deputies charged to examine an important matter, and
we cannot proceed without the decision of our supreme chief. Be
calm, my lord, remember what you owe me, and what I thought never
to reveal to living man for your dishonor and my glory."

{203}

The court assembled no more; but it was soon known that, a
fortnight previously, the Pope had revoked the mission of the
legates, and that he had received the appeal of Queen Catherine.
Campeggio was preparing to quit England, and Henry VIII. was able
to control his resentment so far as to take leave of him with
courtesy, even offering him presents; but at Dover, at the moment
when the aged legate was about to embark, a troop of men-at-arms
penetrated into his apartment, and searched all his coffers,
pretending to seek a treasure belonging to Wolsey, but doubtless,
in quest of the decretal bull signed by the Pope, of which the
cardinal was known to be the bearer. Nothing, however, was found,
and Campeggio set sail, leaving his compeer of the sacred college
to bear alone the whole weight of his master's anger.

As long as Anne Boleyn had not been assured of the favour of the
king, she had sought the good graces of Wolsey; but for a long
time since then she had sworn to destroy him. All the great
noblemen, weary of the yoke which weighed upon them, and ashamed
of having been so long governed by the son of a butcher, united
themselves to her who was about to become their queen, in order
to precipitate the ruin of the minister.
{204}
The king lent ear to all the statements against Wolsey; he was
above all seduced by the hope of confiscation; for the fortune of
Wolsey was enormous. The court made a short journey, and the
cardinal was not invited to take part in it. However, when he
contrived to meet the king at Grafton, in Northamptonshire, Henry
received him so affectionately, that the conspirators were
greatly discouraged. The influence of the beautiful mistress Anne
Boleyn, restored the position of affairs. On the morrow, Wolsey
received orders to return to London; He was never again to see
the face of his master.

It was the period of the opening of the courts of justice; Wolsey
took his seat in the court of chancery, but none of the servants
of the king hastened any longer to do honour to him; the hour of
disgrace had come; and on the same day, Hales, the
attorney-general, accused him of having illegally exercised in
England the office of papal legate. None knew better than Wolsey
the worth of the laws in the eyes of his master; they had
together made and violated many, but Wolsey also knew that his
ruin had been resolved upon, and all his courage disappeared
under this conviction. He confessed all; the crimes that he had
committed as well as those which he had not committed; he
admitted all the counts of the indictment, and placed himself
solely at the mercy of the king. On condition of retaining his
rank and ecclesiastical property, he voluntarily deprived himself
of all that he was possessed of in favour of his royal master,
saying that he held all through his favour. But so much haste
could not disarm his enemies; the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk
ordered him to retire to his mansion at Esher, as the king
counted upon installing himself in his palace of York Place
(since known as Whitehall).
{205}
The cardinal made no resistance; but when the emissaries demanded
the great seal, Wolsey drew himself up: "The great seal of
England was consigned to me by my sovereign," he said, "I hold it
for life in virtue of his letters patent, and I cannot deliver it
up upon a simple word from your mouth." He held out
notwithstanding their insults, and only resigned the great seal
on the morrow, upon the order signed by the king. "I am grieved
to think that your Grace is about to be taken to the Tower," said
his treasurer, Sir William Gascoyne, whom he was commissioning to
remit to the king an inventory of his wealth. "It is a cowardly
falsehood!" cried Wolsey angrily; "I have done nothing to deserve
to be arrested; it simply pleases the king's grace to take
possession at once of this residence," and he embarked for Esher.
The people gathered in crowds on both banks of the Thames,
expecting to see the fallen minister take that "traitor's"
highway, which was rarely traversed a second time; their
expectations were disappointed; the boat glided along softly as
far as Putney. As the cardinal was mounting his mule to proceed
to Esher, one of the chamberlains of the king, Sir John Norris,
presented himself before him, and consigned to him a ring which
the king had sent with some words of consolation. "Take courage,"
added Sir John, "and we shall see you higher than ever." Wolsey
dismounted, knelt in the dust at the side of the road, returned
thanks to God for the return of favour which the king manifested
towards him; and then rising, "I have no longer anything to
give," he said, "and your news would deserve half a kingdom."
{206}
He offered, however, to Sir John Norris, a small golden chain
accompanied by a crucifix. "Yet," he added, "if I could send to
my sovereign at least a token of my gratitude--" and as he was
seeking about him, his looks fell upon his jester: "Take him," he
said, "for the amusement of a noble master; he is well worth a
thousand pounds."

The gleam of favour from the king was destined to be transitory.
He felt difficulty in separating himself completely from a friend
of twenty years' standing, who had flattered, amused, served, and
governed him for such a long time past; but the cabal was more
powerful than past services, and Wolsey, lonely and cast down,
soon fell ill. "Nothing that he had told me excited so much
compassion in me as his appearance," wrote the French ambassador,
who had been to see him; "his countenance has fallen away by one
half. He is ready to give everything, even to the gown which he
wears, provided the displeasure of the king be withdrawn from
him." The fallen minister in vain besieged the monarch with the
most humble epistles. No token of the royal favour came back to
lighten his darkness until the moment when his life was actually
in danger. Henry VIII. then relented; he sent his physician to
the sick prelate, saying that he would not lose him for twenty
thousand pounds, and this mark of remembrance did more than all
the remedies for the cure of the cardinal. He had been condemned
in the Court of King's Bench, and an indictment had been
presented to the Parliament which Henry VIII. had recently
convoked; but the indictment was rejected, and the king extended
his protection to his old servant.
{207}
At the same time, he took possession of all his ecclesiastical
benefices, so that Wolsey found himself deprived of everything,
and in want of the necessaries of life. Henry VIII. granted his
pardon, and caused some articles of furniture and a little money
to be remitted to him; but orders were given to him to reside
henceforth in his diocese. Slowly and regretfully, Wolsey set out
for York, forsaking that court where he had passed his life, and
where his heart still lingered. Having arrived at the seat of the
duties which yet remained to him, he embraced them with
unexpected ardour. The fallen minister appeared to comprehend the
importance of his episcopal office, and to seek from God the
consolations which men refused him. His clergy, delighted, became
more and more attached to him, and wished to formally celebrate
his enthronization. Wolsey consented, on condition that no great
display should be made; but on the day fixed for the ceremony, as
the cardinal was at table, it was announced that the Earl of
Northumberland was coming. Wolsey rose to receive him; the earl
had been brought up in the cardinal's house, and no doubt he
brought good tidings from the king. Northumberland appeared
agitated; he hesitated; at length, placing his hand upon the
shoulder of the old man, "My lord cardinal," he said, "I arrest
you on a charge of high treason." Wolsey remained dumb and
motionless; when he recovered his speech it was to burst into
sobs and lamentations. His enemies had discovered a
correspondence which he still carried on with the Pope and the
King of France; they had persuaded Henry that it tended to
prevent his marriage with Anne Boleyn. The prelate was doomed
this time to be lodged in the Tower.

{208}

He was, however, not destined to travel so far. The fatal blow
had been struck. The population of his diocese was attached to
him, and would have willingly attempted to rescue him; but the
cardinal made no resistance; he followed Northumberland like a
condemned man marching to his execution. On the way, he was
attacked by a violent indisposition, and was compelled to stay
for a fortnight at the residence of the Earl of Shrewsbury. When
he resumed his journey, he was so weak that it was found
necessary to support him upon his mule. He arrived in the evening
at Leicester Abbey; on entering this refuge he said to the abbot,
"My father, I have come to lay my bones among you." The monks
carried him to his bed; he was never to rise from it again. Swoon
followed upon swoon; his servants, who were passionately devoted
to him, saw that he was dying; they summoned Kingston, the
Lieutenant of the Tower, who was entrusted with his keeping, and
whom Wolsey had asked for. "Remember me humbly to his Majesty,"
said the cardinal in a feeble voice; "beg him, in my name, to
retrace in his recollection what has passed between him and me
from the beginning, particularly with regard to Queen Catharine,
and let him say himself whether I have offended him or not. He is
a prince of royal heart and marvellous courage, for rather than
renounce the smallest part of his will, he would risk one half of
his kingdom. I have often begged him upon my knees, for three
hours, to forego his resolution; but I have not been able to
succeed therein.
{209}
And I will tell you, Master Kingston, that if I had served God as
diligently as I have served my king, He would not have abandoned
me in my old age; it is my just reward; I have not considered my
duties towards God, but only my duty towards my prince." Shortly
after these words, which were to be repeated a hundred and fifty
years later by Colbert, dying in the service of Louis XIV.,
Cardinal Wolsey expired, on the 29th of November, 1529, in his
sixtieth year, and was buried without pomp, at midnight, in the
Chapel of Our Lady, in the same monastery.

Cavendish, the chamberlain of the cardinal, who had been present
during his last moments, himself came to announce to the king the
death of his master. Henry was at Hampton Court, a magnificent
palace built by Wolsey, who had offered it to the king. He was
shooting with a bow when the messenger presented himself before
him: a momentary emotion appeared upon his countenance, then he
added quickly, "I know that the cardinal had hidden in a certain
place the sum of fifteen hundred pounds; do you know it?" The sum
had been consigned to a priest, whom Cavendish indicated. The
king caused the assertion to be repeated. "Hold your tongue about
that," he said, "it is a matter between you and me; three keep a
secret easily when two are cut off: if my cap knew what I think,
I would cast it into the fire. If I hear a word of this spoken I
shall know who has revealed it." The king sent the chamberlain
away with some praises for his fidelity towards his old master.
The conscience of the sovereign acquitted him, no doubt, of all
excess of kindness towards his old servant.

[Image]
Henry VIII.

{210}


                   Chapter XVII.

                  The Royal Reform.

      Personal Government Of Henry VIII. (1529 — 1547).


The fall of Wolsey was mainly due to the ascendancy of Anne
Boleyn, the first victim, and the precursor of many other ruined
fortunes, that were to spring from the guilty passions of Henry
VIII. The new ministers that surrounded him were the great
noblemen who had overthrown the cardinal; the Dukes of Norfolk
and Suffolk and Sir Thomas Boleyn, now become Viscount Rochford,
and subsequently Earl of Wiltshire. Sir Thomas More had with
regret accepted the onerous duties of chancellor, perhaps in the
hope of serving the public welfare, perhaps through a weakness
which he was to pay dearly for. All questions then resolved
themselves into that of the divorce of Catherine of Aragon; all
politics turned upon this pivot. The king had consulted all the
universities of Europe, the theologians and lawyers; Oxford and
Cambridge had taken sides, and opinions were there keenly
discussed from each point of view; but the king had gained ground
among the prelates; his agents were skilful and numerous.
Cranmer, formerly a tutor in a wealthy family, now a chaplain to
Henry VIII., had recently published a learned treatise in favour
of the divorce, insisting that the word of God alone should
decide the question without any appeal to the Pope, and
maintaining that the Bible, interpreted by the Fathers of the
Church, interdicted marriage with the widow of a brother.
{211}
The opinion of the two English universities in favour of the
divorce was obtained. The Italian universities, Bologna, Padua,
Ferrara, declared themselves for King Henry; it was a question of
money. The Germans had still more fear of the Emperor than taste
for English gold; they were all opposed to the divorce--the
Protestant theologians were as outspoken as the Catholics. "It
were better that the King of England should have two wives than
be divorced from Catherine to marry another," said Luther. The
Pope published, in the month of March, 1530, a brief, which
formally forbade the King of England to conclude a second
marriage, under pain of excommunication. A few days later, the
Earl of Wiltshire presented himself at Bologna, where the Pope
and the Emperor were at that time; people were shocked to see the
father of Anne Boleyn employed in this mission. "Let your
colleagues speak, my lord," said Charles V. to him, "for you are
a party to this matter." The assurance of the earl, and his
offers of money, completed the exasperation of the Emperor. "I
will not sell the honour of my good aunt Catherine!" he exclaimed
angrily. The embassy retired without having obtained anything,
and the Earl of Wiltshire was compelled to confine his intrigues
to the French universities, from which he contrived to secure
several favourable opinions. But of what use were all the
decisions of the faculties when the Pope refused his assent?

This assent was of supreme importance, for the time had come when
the bonds which held the crown of England to Rome were about to
be broken abruptly for bad and shameful reasons, but not without
a certain assent from the mass of the people.
{212}
None among the prelates who surrounded the king had dared to
advise him to brave the will of the Pope; Cranmer himself, who
had secretly married the daughter of a German pastor, was too
timid to break his lance in the face of the court of Rome; it was
a servant of Wolsey, who had become a servant of the king, Thomas
Cromwell, the son of a blacksmith at Putney, a man as bold as he
was corrupt and skilful, who struck the great blow and opened up
to Henry VIII. the path in which he was henceforth to walk. The
king was troubled by the obstinate resistance of the Pope; he had
hoped to obtain the divorce without great difficulty; he
hesitated, and a rumour of the disgrace of Anne Boleyn was
already circulated among the courtiers, when Cromwell approached
his royal master. "The embarrassments of your Grace arise from
the timidity of your ministers," he said; and he explained that
with the favourable opinions of all the universities, and the
assent of the English Parliament, which it was not difficult, to
procure, it was easy to proceed without troubling the Pope. "The
king could even," he added, "follow the example of the German
princes, who had shaken off the yoke of the court of Rome, and
declare himself purely and simply the head of the Church of
England. The clergy thus depending solely upon the king, he would
become the absolute master of his kingdom, instead of being only
half king."

{213}

This bold conception was designed to please King Henry VIII.; his
vanity, his taste for power, and his avidity alike found
satisfaction in it. Neither his conscience (such as it was), nor
his convictions ever belonged to the new faith. Internally and by
doctrine he remained a Catholic, but his policy and interest,
like his passion impelled him in another direction; he
accomplished in his country a religious reform--governmental as
well as liberal, aristocratic and popular--the effects of which
were immense and profoundly advantageous to England; but he
accomplished all this without religious faith and without general
principles, for the sake of his personal desires and with selfish
aim. It was to God, through the hands of Henry VIII., that
England owed this great step in her history; she has no
obligation to be grateful to the despotic and corrupt monarch who
severed his connexion with Rome in order to repudiate his wife
and to dispose of the ecclesiastical benefices at his pleasure.

The door, however, had been opened, and Parliament, being at once
convoked, received a communication detailing all the proceedings
of the king for the purpose of surrounding himself with learned
authorities upon the question of the legitimacy of his marriage.
At the same time the clergy were assembled. Very uneasy at a
royal act which involved them all in a common disgrace as guilty
of having seconded and supported Cardinal Wolsey, by admitting
his authority as legate--an authority which had been confirmed by
Henry himself--the prelates, accustomed to the demands of the
king, immediately offered a hundred thousand pounds sterling in
order to appease his anger. Henry VIII. accepted the offering,
but announced that he would grant the pardon only on condition of
a vote of the ecclesiastical convention which should recognize
him as "the protector and supreme head of the Church and the
clergy of England."
{214}
Three days were occupied in discussion; the opposition was
powerful and numerous, but timidity gained the ascendant; there
was a disposition to admit the supremacy of the king, with this
reservation: _Quantum per legem Christi liceat_ (as much as
it is permitted by the law of Christ).

"I will have neither tantum nor quantam," replied the king, when
Cromwell came to tell him how matters stood; "return to them, and
let the vote be given without quantums or tantums." The
reservation was, however, maintained, and the king consoled
himself with his hundred thousand pounds sterling, augmented by a
small gift of the clergy of the north.

After the prorogation of Parliament Henry VIII. endeavoured to
intimidate Catherine, and to compel her to accept the decision of
four prelates and four lay peers. She steadily refused; being
transferred from Greenwich to Windsor, and from Windsor to
Hertfordshire, she was at length sent to Ampthill, where she
fixed her residence. "To whatever place I may be made to go, I
remain the legitimate wife of the king," she said. In the main
the nation was of her opinion, and no one was more convinced of
it than the chancellor. Sir Thomas More; weary of serving as an
instrument of a policy of which he disapproved, but which he
could not modify, he asked permission to retire, and on the 16th
of May, 1532, he returned peaceably to his mansion at Chelsea,
delivered of a burden which had weighed him down, and free to
devote himself to the learned studies which constituted the charm
of his life.

{215}

The Pope had made some overtures of reconciliation; but as the
first condition was the dismissal of Lady Anne, and the recall of
queen Catherine, they necessarily remained without result. The
brief which excommunicated at the same time the king and Anne
Boleyn, was signed on the 15th of November, but without being
immediately promulgated, Henry VIII. had drawn closer his
alliance with Francis I. during an interview which they had at
Calais, and the King of France had undertaken to intercede with
the Pope for his ally; but Anne Boleyn had not waited so long to
seal her victory. On the 25th of January, 1533, one of the
chaplains of the king, Dr. Lee, was summoned to celebrate mass in
a small chamber in Whitehall Palace; there he found the king,
Anne Boleyn, two noblemen, and a lady. Henry commanded the
astonished prelate to celebrate his marriage. It is related that
the chaplain hesitated; but the king asserted that he had in his
closet the authorization of the Pope. The ceremony being
completed, the party dispersed in silence; the court of France
alone was informed of the marriage, which Henry promised to keep
secret until the month of May, in order to give time to Francis
I. to use his influence with the Pope.

Meanwhile the Parliament, under the influence of Cromwell, had
suppressed the "annats" or first-fruits, a considerable portion
of the revenues paid to the Pope in Catholic countries; the
authority of the clergy in convocation had been abolished and
conferred upon the crown; Cranmer, with strange inconsistency,
had recently accepted the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury, not
only of the king, but of the Pope, who had signed, on the 22nd of
February, 1533, the bull which confirmed his election, and had
sent him the pallium.
{216}
The prelate had therefore made an oath of obedience to the
pontiff which he counted upon violating, since he had been raised
to this dignity with another object. The question of the divorce
immediately took another flight; Parliament being assembled,
voted the "Statute of Appeals," forbidding all recourse and
appeal to Rome. At the same time, and by another act, the title
of Queen of England was withdrawn from Catherine, who henceforth
was to be called the Dowager Princess of Wales, in the character
of widow of Prince Arthur. A court of the bishops was convoked on
the 8th of May, at Dunstable, near Ampthill, where Catherine
resided; she was called upon to appear there; but it was
carefully concealed from her that the judgement was to be
definitive. The queen did not appear, and was declared
contumacious; during a fortnight the summons was repeated, then,
on the 23rd of May, Cranmer solemnly declared the nullity of the
marriage. On the 28th of May, he proclaimed the union already
contracted between King Henry VIII. and the Lady Anne Boleyn, who
was crowned at Westminster, with great pomp, on the 1st of June.
The task was accomplished and the king had secured his wishes; he
had worked unceasingly for this object during six years past.

{217}

The consequences were not long in manifesting themselves; on the
11th of June, the Pope annulled the sentence of Cranmer, and
published the excommunication of Henry and Anne, not without
contriving another possibility of reconciliation; the decree was
only to be definitive in the month of September; in the interval
an interview was being prepared between Clement VII. and Francis
I. at Marseilles. But the conduct of Henry VIII. was hesitating
and inconsistent; the English ambassadors admitted to the
conference at Marseilles, had no power to negotiate. Francis I.
demanded that the question of the divorce should be again laid
before a consistory, from which the Imperialist cardinals should
be excluded; but an emissary of the king of England, Bonner, who
arrived on the day upon which the term fixed by Clement expired,
solemnly appealed from the Pope to a general council. The
negotiations were interrupted, and the interview had no other
result than the fatal treaty of marriage between the Duke of
Orleans, the son of the King of France, and Catherine of Medicis,
the niece of the Pope. Being renewed for a moment at the instance
of Francis I., but by a new turn of the wishes of King Henry, the
relations were definitively broken off on the 23rd of May, 1534,
by the solemn declaration of the Sacred College assembled in
consistory, loudly affirming the validity of the marriage of
Henry VIII. with Catherine of Aragon. The king was requested to
recall to his court his legitimate wife. The daughter of Anne
Boleyn, she who was one day to be Queen Elizabeth, was already
six months old; she had been born on the 7th of September, to the
great disappointment of her father, who upon the prophecies of
all the astrologers had hoped for a son.

{218}

While the Pope was hurling from the Vatican his spiritual
thunders, and before the news could have arrived in London,
Parliament had completed the severing of the bonds which for so
long a time had connected England with the court of Rome. All
payments as well as all appeals to the Pope were interdicted; the
king was recognized as the Supreme Head of the Church, he alone
being entrusted to bestow the bishoprics or to decide
ecclesiastical questions. The royal assent was given on the 30th
of March to these acts, as well as to that which excluded from
the succession to the throne, the Princess Mary, the daughter of
Catharine of Aragon, as illegitimate, in favour of the children
of Queen Anne. All the subjects of the crown of the age of
discretion were to take the oath in favour of the new order of
things; every word, deed, or pamphlet against the second marriage
was placed among acts of high treason.

All these precautions and prohibitions did not prevent public
opinion from being favourable to the repudiated wife. Two monks
of the order of the Observants even dared to reprimand the king
publicly; the popular movement encouraged the revelations of a
young prophetess, Elizabeth Barton, who was called the "Holy maid
of Kent," and who had hitherto predicted future events without
danger to her person or her friends. She had numerous partisans,
dupes or intriguers, and her rhapsodies soon bore upon State
matters. She had been much opposed to the divorce, declaring that
if the king should repudiate Catharine, he would die within seven
months a shameful death, and would be replaced upon the throne by
the Princess Mary. The prophecies were printed and published;
Elizabeth Barton and a certain number of her partisans were
arrested and compelled to confess their imposture, on a Sunday in
November, 1533, at St. Paul's Cross.
{219}
Since then they had remained in prison: but on the 25th of April,
1534, by order of Parliament, the holy maid of Kent, her
confessor, and five other persons compromised in her cause, were
executed and quartered at Tyburn. "I was but a poor woman without
knowledge," said Elizabeth Barton while proceeding to execution,
"but people persuaded me that I spoke through the Holy Ghost,
which drew me into vanity and confusion of mind, for my ruin and
that of the persons who are going to suffer with me."

These obscure victims did not suffice for the absolute power and
despotic tyranny of Henry VIII. Everything had bent before his
will, and the isolated opposition which he encountered in two
illustrious persons astonished as much as it exasperated him. Sir
Thomas More, formerly chancellor of England, and Fisher, bishop
of Rochester, were called upon to take the oath of allegiance to
the children born and to be born of Queen Anne. Neither had any
objection to the political part of the oath; they willingly
recognized the Princess Elizabeth as heiress to the the throne,
to the exclusion of Mary; but neither one nor the other could
consent to declare unlawful the marriage of Catharine of Aragon,
nor to legitimatize that of Anne Boleyn. Both refused the oath,
explaining their reasons with more or less tact and humility, and
both were sent to the Tower. Fisher was seventy-five years of
age; he was ill; he was denied medical assistance and clothing.
Sir Thomas More was not alone in the world like the old prelate;
his daughter, mistress Margaret Roper, ministered to his wants,
while all classes of society, rich or poor, humble or great,
frightened at the fate which awaited the two prisoners,
unhesitatingly made the required oath, as modified by the king,
and rendered more than ever adverse to the previous instructions
of the clergy.
{220}
At the same time, and as though for compensation, Henry VIII.
caused the trial of "those people who are vulgarly called
heretics," sending to the stake with indifference the Lollards,
Lutherans, and Anabaptists, melancholy witnesses of the royal
orthodoxy. Some monks who had refused to take the oath of
supremacy were executed and quartered at Tyburn. Acts of
Parliament succeeded each other, tending to make the king a kind
of lay Pope, whose office it was to define and prosecute
heresies, and assigning to the crown all the revenues formally
collected by the court of Rome, while entrusting to the royal
wisdom the care of foundling and supporting the ecclesiastical
government which should seem suitable to him. Amidst the general
adulation, Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher were shortly to
suffer for their courageous resistance.

The old prelate was accused of having "maliciously and
treasonably affirmed that in spiritual matters the king could not
be the Head of the Church." The new Pope, Paul III., had recently
sent him a cardinal's hat. "Ah!" cried Henry, angrily, "I will
take care that he shall not have a head to wear it," and the
bishop, being condemned as a traitor, was beheaded on the 22nd of
June, 1535. His head was placed upon London Bridge, turned in the
direction of the diocese where he left so many to regret his
loss, and his body, being first exposed to the sight of the
people, was thrown without a coffin into an obscure grave.
{221}
The trial of Sir Thomas More, more prolonged, produced the same
result. Often timid, sometimes inconsistent in his conduct, More
had arrived at a point at which a man of honour, and a Christian
no longer listens to aught but to the voice of his conscience.
The long months of his captivity had ruined his health, whitened
his hair, and bent his form; but his soul remained firm, and his
eloquence before the servile tribunal appointed to try him still
caused the docile instrument of the king to shudder. More had
been deprived of all his books; the means of writing had been
taken from him; his farewell to his daughter was traced with a
piece of charcoal upon a paper which he had secretly procured;
but before losing his pen, he had written this touching proof of
gentle firmness: "I am the faithful subject of the king, and
every day his interceder. I pray for his Majesty, for his, and
for all the kingdom. I do no wrong, I say no wrong, I think no
wrong; if that is not sufficient to preserve the life of a man, I
have no wish to live. I have been dying since I came to this
place; I have several times been at the point of death; and
thanks be to our Lord, I did not regret it, but rather I grieved
to see my suffering abate. Thus my poor body is at the mercy of
the king. Might it please God that my death should do him some
good!" Before the council, More replied to offers of pardon by
the assurance that he had done nothing against the marriage with
Anne Boleyn. Although he disapproved of the step he had never
spoken of it but to the king himself; he had even contented
himself with preserving silence upon the new title of the king as
Supreme Head of the Church; now silence did not constitute
treason.
{222}
His accusers desired to produce witnesses to the contrary, but
they failed in their undertaking, and the judges were compelled
to declare silence to be treason. More, was condemned. He no
longer persevered in silence, and loudly declared that the new
oath of supremacy was unlawful. He was led from the hall with the
edge of the axe turned towards him; his son threw himself in his
path, to ask for his blessing. On approaching the Tower, he
perceived his well-beloved daughter, Margaret Roper; she opened
up a passage for herself between the guards, and threw herself
upon his neck, weeping. Twice she retraced her steps, and could
not possibly be driven from that loved father whose head she
afterwards carried away from the coffin. The bitterness of death
had passed for Sir Thomas More after this separation; upon the
scaffold he appeared to have regained something of that caustic
gaiety which had formerly placed him in favour with the king.
When he learnt that Henry VIII., had commuted the horrible
sentence of traitors into the penalty of decapitation, he smiled
sweetly. "May God preserve all my friends from royal favours," he
exclaimed. He tottered upon the steps of the scaffold. "Assist me
to ascend, Master Lieutenant," he said, "I shall easily descend
without aid." He was not permitted to speak to those present. "I
die a faithful subject and a true Catholic," he said simply; then
thrusting aside his beard, he said to the executioner, "My beard
has not committed any treason." His head fell on the 6th of July,
1535, to the indignation of all Europe.
{223}
"I learn that your master has put to death his faithful servant,
his good and wise councillor, Sir Thomas More," said the emperor
to Sir Thomas Elliot, the English ambassador. "I have not heard
it, sire," replied Elliot. "It is true, nevertheless," replied
Charles V., "and let me tell you that if we had been master of
such a servant, of whose merit we have had experience for so many
years past, we would rather have lost our best city than so
worthy a councillor."

The King of France was both grieved and shocked. The pens of the
greatest writers of the time celebrated the virtues of More;
Erasmus with whom he had been connected, has related the life and
death of his friend; but no one has more eloquently celebrated
the virtues of the former chancellor of England, no one has
better exposed to public contempt the cruelty of his persecutor
than a relative of Henry VIII. himself, Reginald Pole, grandson
of the Duke of Clarence, educated partly at the expense of the
crown, so much had the king been charmed by the intelligence and
talents of his cousin. But Pole had a conscience as intractable
as that of Sir Thomas More; he refused to support the cause of
the divorce, and thus voluntarily renounced the ecclesiastical
dignities which the king intended for him. He had retired into
the north of Italy, and it was from there that he made all Europe
familiar with the infamy of the murder of Sir Thomas More, while
at the same time he published his great work upon _The Union of
the Church_, in which he freely unveiled the base conduct and
ignoble motives of Henry VIII. No attack more profoundly
exasperated the tyrant, henceforth carried away by the dangerous
intoxication of absolute power.

{224}

Indignation was nowhere more violent than at Rome, and the
councillors of the Pope urged him to issue a bull summoning Henry
VIII. to appear at Rome within ninety days, in person or by
deputies. If he should fail to respond to this appeal, he was
declared to have forfeited his crown; his children by Anne
Boleyn, and the children of his children, were incapable of
succeeding; his subjects were relieved of their oaths of
allegiance, and were to take arms against him; all priests were
to quit his dominions: treaties of alliance with foreign princes
were dissolved, and all monarchs called upon to fight against
him, until he should have submitted to the Church. The bull being
drawn up, the Pope did not consider the time opportune for
sending it forth, and the thunderbolt still slept in the arsenal
of the Vatican; but its terms were known in England, which
increased the exasperation of the king. Henry VIII. opened up
negotiations with the Protestant princes of Germany, endeavouring
to draw the King of France and the young King of Scotland into
the same alliances. The functions of Supreme Head of the Church
involved Henry VIII., in so much business, that he created a
commission specially entrusted to provide for it; at the head of
this new council he placed the secretary of state, Cromwell, to
the secret indignation of the clergy, who were little accustomed
to see themselves governed by a layman; but the
_Vicar-General_, as he called himself, taking, in this
capacity, precedence of all the great noblemen of the kingdom,
including the Archbishop of Canterbury, did not falter in the
accomplishment of his duties, for the day had come for executing
his promises and for filling the coffers of the king.
{225}
No one knew better than Cromwell the needs of the royal treasury,
for he was Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as Vicar-General
in the Church. A great number of monks had refused the oath of
supremacy; this opportunity was seized upon in order to decide
upon the reform of all the monasteries. Complaints were made of
the morals of the monks, of their avidity; Cromwell organized a
series of domiciliary visits, intended, it was said, to discover
all abuses; servants, neighbours, and enemies of the religious
houses were interrogated; an absolute renunciation of the
authority of the Pope was demanded of the monks; finally, an
inventory of the riches of each house was made, and the
commissaries retired, carrying on their tablets the condemnation
of the monastery. Many abbots and priors, in alarm, offered
considerable sums in the hope of purchasing exemption from ruin;
the money was taken, but the names were not effaced from the
fatal list. The vicar-general had expected to see many monks
anxious to re-enter the world, but seven small monasteries alone
voluntarily opened their gates. The report prepared by Parliament
especially condemned the houses of little importance, and those
of which the abbots did not take rank among the peers of the
kingdom; it was there, it was said, that the disorder was
intolerable. The twenty-seven abbots of the great religious
houses, did not defend their brothers who were threatened. All
seemed smitten with stupor; some superiors prudently resigned
before the crash; the royal commissioners continued their work,
and when Parliament voted the bill proposed by Cromwell, three
hundred and eighty religious houses found themselves included in
the act which gave to the king and his descendants all the
monasteries of which the net revenue did not exceed two-hundred
pounds sterling, to dispose of them according to his good
pleasure, upon the one condition, that those he should endow,
should maintain an honest residence there, and cultivate every
year the extent of land tilled by the monks.
{226}
A revenue of thirty-two thousand pounds sterling was thus
assigned to the crown; the money and plate of the suppressed
monasteries were valued at more than a hundred thousand pounds
sterling. After this last proof of submission, Parliament, which
had modified the succession to the throne, voted the separation
of England from the Holy See, and doubled the prerogatives, found
itself dissolved at the end of six years of servile existence,
without having even secured the good graces of the king, for the
House of Commons had hesitated for some time to pronounce the
suppression of the monasteries. It is related that the king sent
for the principal leaders, warning them that he would have either
the law or their heads; the bill was then voted. Commissioners
were entrusted to proceed with the suppression of the
monasteries; a hundred obtained compromises, and, crippled and
impoverished, were founded afresh by letters patent of Henry
VIII.; the others were invaded by the royal commissioners; monks
under twenty-four years of age were sent into the world to earn
their livelihood: the others were divided into two classes; those
who elected for a monastic existence were dispersed in the great
monasteries; it was promised that occupation should be found for
the others.
{227}
The nuns were abandoned to their own resources; the royal charity
allowed only a secular gown when they were driven from their
retreats and cast into a world of which they were ignorant. The
first act of the drama had been played; the turn of the great
houses had yet to come.

While this violent and arbitrary work was being accomplished,
under a specious veil of reform, Queen Catherine was dying in her
retirement. She had obstinately refused to leave England,
notwithstanding the entreaties of the emperor; she would do
nothing which would be prejudicial to the interests of her
daughter, whose rehabilitation she still hoped for. She had also
refused, for the same reason, to accept the title of Princess of
Wales, which degraded her as a woman. She lived a sad and lonely
life, separated from her daughter, who might, it was said, become
imbued with her principles. Even the approach of death could not
obtain for her the favour of seeing her again. The last words of
the unhappy queen were, however, words of forgiveness to that
cruel husband who had afflicted her with so many evils. "I
forgive you all," she said, "and I ask God to do likewise; I
recommend our daughter Mary to you, begging you to be a good
father to her, as I have always desired. I vow to you that my
eyes long for you beyond all things." It is said that the king
shed a tear upon this touching message, and that he entrusted the
Spanish ambassador to assure the dying queen of his affection;
but Catherine had already breathed her last. She died on the 8th
of January, 1536, and was interred with honour, at Peterborough.
{228}
Her husband went into mourning, but Anne Boleyn appeared before
the court in a yellow silk gown. "Now I _am_ queen," she
said on learning the death of her whom she had outraged and
overcome.

The day of retribution, however, was approaching; the same
passions which had raised her to the throne in defiance of all
laws, human and divine, were about to hurl her from it. Henry had
already cast his eyes upon Jane Seymour, a maid of honour of Anne
Boleyn, as Anne had formerly been the maid of honour of
Catherine. She was the daughter of a Wiltshire gentleman; was
beautiful, amiable, and of great gentleness of character. It is
related that the queen perceived the great familiarity which
already existed between Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour and the
grief which she experienced therefrom was so violent that she
brought into the world, prematurely, a still-born child; it was a
son, and the vexation of the king was no less violent than his
disappointment. Anne now felt that she was ruined; the king left
her suddenly amidst a grand _fete_ which she gave in
Greenwich Park, and returned to London. On the morrow, the 2nd of
May, she was arrested at Greenwich as she was sailing down the
river; she was accused of adultery and immediately taken to the
Tower. At the first word of accusation against her Anne fell upon
her knees, exclaiming aloud, "Lord, my God, help me, as I am
innocent of this crime!" Her brother. Lord Rochford, three
noblemen of the king's household and a musician were imprisoned
at the same time.

{229}

Grief and anxiety appeared to have impaired the reason of the
unhappy Anne; at times she would appeal for Divine mercy, at
others, amidst outbursts of laughter, mingled with tears, she
would exclaim, "Why am I here? My mother will die of grief; I
shall perish without obtaining justice." The Lieutenant of the
Tower assured her that justice was administered to the poorest of
the subjects of the king; Anne laughed bitterly; she knew better
than any one else what royal justice was worth.

She had been conducted to the same apartment in which she had
formerly slept on the eve of her coronation, when the king and
his courtiers were equally eager to do her honour; women had been
placed around her, charged to listen to all her words; being
excited by the misfortune which had befallen her, Anne spoke a
great deal; all that she said was reported to the king, and that
contributed to her ruin. She was accused of the most degrading
corruption of morals and conduct; in vain did she defend herself;
the lightness of her manners, the familiar tone which she had
learnt, it was said, at the court of France, attested against her
more than all the depositions and interrogatories of the trial.
On the 6th of May, she wrote a touching letter to the king, the
authenticity of which has been contested, perhaps without reason,
reminding him of the affection which he had manifested towards
her, protesting her innocence, and demanding a lawful trial.

  "But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my
  death but an infamous slander must bring you the joying of your
  desired happiness, then I desire of God that He will pardon
  your great sin herein, and likewise my enemies the instruments
  thereof; and that He will not call you to a straight account
  for your unprincely and cruel usage of me at His general
  judgment-seat, where both you and myself must shortly appear,
  and in whose judgment, I doubt not (whatsoever the world may
  think of me), mine innocence shall be openly known and
  sufficiently cleared.
{230}
  My last and only request shall be that myself may only bear the
  burden of your grace's displeasure, and that it may not touch
  the innocent souls of those poor gentlemen who, as I
  understand, are likewise in straight imprisonment for my sake.
  If ever I have found favour in your sight--if ever the name of
  Anne Bullen have been pleasing in your ears--then let me obtain
  this request; and so I will leave to trouble your grace any
  further, with mine earnest prayer to the Trinity to have your
  Grace in His good keeping and to direct you in all your
  actions. From my doleful prison in the Tower, your loyal and
  faithful wife,

    "Ann Bulen."


In vain did Anne demand justice for herself and mercy for her
companions in misfortune; she had been condemned beforehand, and
her dishonour was the price of her condemnation. Within four
months Henry had received the forgiveness of his two wives; one
the irreproachable victim of his guilty passions; the other, who
had been his accomplice, and who was suffering for her crime the
most terrible reverses. The documents of the proceedings are no
longer in existence, and it is now impossible to determine the
question of the guilt of the unhappy Anne; she was condemned and
died because the king her husband desired to marry Jane Seymour;
that is what appears clearly from the facts transmitted to us by
history.
{231}
On the 15th of May, the sentence upon the queen was pronounced;
her brother, Lord Rochford, and the four other accused persons,
had been condemned since the 13th of May. A crowning affliction
awaited Anne Boleyn before her supreme agony: Cranmer was
compelled to declare the nullity of the marriage which he himself
had formerly supported, and the Princess Elizabeth was
stigmatized with illegitimacy like her sister Mary. The day on
which the archbishop in agony of soul thus yielded tremblingly to
the royal will, the accomplices or companions of the unhappy
queen suffered their punishment on Tower Hill. The musician
Smeaton was hanged; Lord Rochford and the three noblemen were
beheaded; all had constantly protested their innocence, with the
exception of the musician, who failed however to purchase his
life by his confessions or falsehoods.

On the 19th of May, in the morning, less than three weeks after
the day on which she had reigned triumphant over the festivities
at Greenwich, Anne Boleyn was led out upon the Tower Green. The
spectators were crowded together in the narrow space. Anne had,
on the previous evening, entrusted one of the women among her
attendants to go on her behalf and kneel before the Princess
Mary, to beg her forgiveness. She walked courageously to her
death. "I have a little neck," she said to the Lieutenant of the
Tower; "it is said that the executioner is skillful; he will not
have much trouble." She said a few words to those who came to see
her die, without bitterness towards her judges, and full of
affection and respect for the king who sent her to the scaffold.
{232}
"Christ have mercy on my soul! Jesus receive my soul!" she
repeated on placing her beautiful head up on the block. Three
years had elapsed since Henry had married Anne Boleyn, moving
heaven and earth to place her upon the throne, when a blow from
the axe of the executioner ended her life on Tower Green. The
king waited impatiently for the signal which was to announce to
him the execution of the sentence. "It is done," he exclaimed, on
hearing the cannon; "that is an end of the matter. Unleash the
dogs, and let us follow the stag!" He returned gaily in the
evening from Epping Forest, and on the morrow morning married
Jane Seymour. He had not rendered to the unhappy Anne the honour
which his conscience had compelled him to pay to the virtuous
Catherine: no mourning garments saddened the court of the new
queen. Henry VIII. was clad in white on the day of his marriage,
and on the 29th of May, Jane appeared at the court decked with
the royal ornaments, but she did not obtain the favour of
solemnly receiving the crown; after Anne Boleyn, none of the
wives of King Henry was deemed worthy of that ceremony. The
Princess Mary had been received into favour by her father, not
without having reluctantly signed a humiliating letter; she
obtained a suitable establishment, and even appears to have been
entrusted with the care of her sister, the little Princess
Elizabeth. Not content with assuring the succession to the
children of Jane Seymour, the king caused an act to be passed by
Parliament which authorized him to dispose of his crown according
to his own good will and pleasure. This exorbitant measure was
destined to favour the Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of
the king, eighteen years of age, whom he passionately loved.
{233}
The young duke died before the act had received the royal
sanction, and the king to his great grief, found himself deprived
of male children, and with two daughters whom he had himself
branded with the stigma of illegitimacy.

Meanwhile the dissolution of the monasteries had inundated the
country with the poor people whom they had formerly relieved; the
disaffection was great, especially in the northern counties,
which were particularly attached to the old faith, from which the
king was separating himself more and more. The irritation,
however, was not exclusively concentrated in the lower classes;
the great noblemen and gentlemen, former patrons of the
monasteries, considered that the property of which they had been
deprived should be returned to the families which had formerly
bestowed it upon them, rather, than to the royal treasury; but it
was the people of Lincolnshire who first set the example of
insurrection. The king sent some forces against the insurgents,
under the orders of the Duke of Suffolk. The latter found the
insurrection so serious, that he determined to try negotiations.
_The Men of Lincoln_ presented six requests, complaining
particularly of the sudden destruction of the monasteries, so
prejudicial, they said, to the poor of the entire country; of the
excessive taxes, of the vesting of the annats and tithes in the
crown, and of the agitation which certain bishops, designated by
their names, had brought about in the Church of Christ by
altering the faith. Upon which they prayed the king to dismiss
the treacherous counsellors who thought of nothing but enriching
themselves at the expense of the poor people.

{234}

Time had been gained by listening to the grievances of the
insurgents. Discord began to penetrate into their ranks; the king
was enabled, without danger, to reply to them with the
haughtiness which was natural to him when his supreme will was
opposed. He rejected all the requests of the insurgents,
demanding that a hundred of the more important among them should
be delivered to him, in order that he might make an example of
them. No fighting had taken place; a sufficiently large number of
the insurgents still remained united; a second letter from the
king commanded them to lay down their arms in the market-place at
Lincoln, if they did not wish to bring down a terrible vengeance
upon their wives and children. Before the rebels of Lincolnshire
had returned home, about the 30th of October, a violent
insurrection had broken out on the other side of the Trent, and
this movement was spreading over the whole of Yorkshire, as well
as in Durham, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire; while
the fifteen hostages of the insurgents of Lincolnshire were being
executed, as well as some inhabitants of the environs of London,
accused of having countenanced them, the rebels of the north
wanted but a chief in order to stir up a veritable civil war.
They marched in the name of God, they said, for the love of Jesus
Christ, of the faith and the Holy Church, to the destruction of
the heretics; they assumed the name of _Pilgrims of Grace_,
and carried a crucifix upon their standard; nearly all obeyed the
orders of a gentleman of Yorkshire, Robert Aske, who was wanting
neither in ability nor character.
{235}
The Duke of Norfolk was entrusted to march against him; the Duke
of Suffolk and the Earl of Shrewsbury watched over other
positions; the towns of Hull, York, and Pontefract had opened
their gates to the Pilgrims of Grace before the arrival of the
royal troops, and a certain number of gentlemen had joined them,
when the Duke of Norfolk checked their progress before Doncaster.
Negotiations were entered into at the outset as in Lincolnshire;
the demands of the insurgents were almost the same, though more
precise and detailed. They demanded the destruction of the
heresies of Wycliffe, Huss, Luther and Melancthon, the
restitution of the Pope to the religious supremacy, the
rehabilitation of the Princess Mary, and the re-establishment of
Parliament in all its ancient privileges. The king treated with
contempt such of these requests as he deigned to answer. "You are
very bold," he said, "to think that after having reigned so long
I do not know better than you what laws are agreeable to the
commoners. The affairs of the Church do not concern you, and it
is strange that you should prefer to see some few villains fatten
in the monasteries, rather than allow your prince to have them,
in discharge of all the expenses which he has undertaken in order
to defend you." Henry promised no other concession but the pardon
of the rebels, with the exception of the ten leaders, who were to
be delivered up to him immediately. The insurgents rejected
without hesitation the offers of the royal clemency, and the Duke
of Norfolk, who was not sufficiently powerful to fight, found
himself compelled to retreat to the southern bank of the Trent,
fortifying and defending all the passes in his rear. Time was
being lost; the winter was approaching, the temperature and the
suspension of agricultural labour were counted upon for
dispersing the insurgents.

{236}

At length the king authorized the Duke of Norfolk to make
overtures to the two principal chiefs of the rebels, Lord Darcy
and Robert Aske; he even expressed a desire to see them. They did
not respond to this gracious invitation, but the idea of
betraying their partisans began to enter their minds. The
soldiers perceived this; everywhere this proclamation was seen:
"Commons, be of good cheer and remain faithful to your cause; the
gentlemen betray you, but you will not want leaders, if there is
need of them." In the month of February the numbers assembled
were still very great, but the royal army had received
reinforcements, the insurgent forces collapsed before the castles
and towns which they were besieging; discouragement began to
creep into their ranks. Lord Darcy, Robert Aske, and the greater
number of the leaders were captured and sent to London, where
they were executed, notwithstanding the good disposition they had
manifested. The rebels now formed only scattered bodies, and
martial law was proclaimed in the northern counties. Upon the
express order of the king, a great number of the inhabitants of
each town, borough, and village that had taken part in the revolt
were hanged or quartered, in the public squares, and their bodies
affixed to trees, in order to terrify the remainder of the
population. The monks, who had ardently embraced the cause of the
insurrection, were treated with especial rigour; the insurgent
counties were everywhere strewn with bloody heads and disfigured
corpses.
{237}
When the amnesty was at length proclaimed and peace
re-established, visitations of the religious houses still
continued; nearly all the monasteries of the north were destined
to be closed, and to have their property confiscated, before the
royal vengeance and avidity could be satisfied. The anger of
Henry had increased when he had learnt that Reginald Pole,
installed a short time since in Rome upon the urgent
solicitations of Pope Paul III., and against the advice of his
relatives in England, had been nominated cardinal and legate
beyond the Alps. The aim of the Pope was, no doubt, to take
advantage of the insurrection of the Catholic counties in order
to influence the king and bring him back into the bosom of the
Church; but Francis I. and Charles V. deemed the moment
ill-chosen; the cardinal was unable to see the king of France
while crossing his kingdom, and the Emperor did not even allow
him to enter his dominions. Pole learnt at the same time that a
price had been placed upon his head by Henry; Cromwell asserted
that the cardinal would be brought thereby to break his heart
with grief. Pending this happy result, for the bringing about of
which the master and the minister were not to spare their
efforts, the legate was compelled to return to Rome, without
having been able to accomplish his mission of sending money and
encouragement to the rebels of England; the insurrection had been
stifled before Pole had set foot in Flanders.

{238}

Jane Seymour had, on the 12th of October, 1537, given birth to a
son, and had died shortly afterwards thus escaping the sad fate
of the wives of Henry VIII. Grief for his loss had scarcely
weighed in the scale against satisfaction at the birth of a male
heir to the throne; the little Edward immediately received the
title of Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester;
the national rejoicing was mingled with the lamentations of the
monks on all sides, driven from their refuges under the pretext
of complicity in the recent insurrection. When nothing remained
but the great abbeys, the king caused their destruction to be
voted by the Parliament, notwithstanding some feeble efforts of
the abbots who sat in the House of Lords. A few only escaped the
wreck, at the entreaty of the population, or were consigned to
the descendants of their founders. The work of spoliation was
accomplished; the rich chapels, the gothic monuments, the learned
libraries, the delicate sculptures, everything was delivered up
to the destructive hands of the royal agents; none dared to
intervene, and treasures of science, marvels of art, were for
ever lost to posterity. The lands were divided among the
courtiers; the valuables were nearly all reserved for the king,
who contrived to remain poor notwithstanding so great an
accession of riches. He was not content with plundering the
living, he even went so far as to plunder the dead. From a
singular animosity against the memory of Thomas Becket--of that
inflexible man who would have resisted him to the death, as he
had resisted Henry II.--Henry VIII. had conceived a violent
dislike to his shrine at Canterbury; but he did not rest here.
Becket was summoned to appear at Westminster to answer for his
rebellions, and the tomb of the martyr was broken for this
purpose, as though to open the prison which confined him.
{239}
In presence of the silent sepulchre, the king carried on his
ghastly comedy; the attorney-general spoke against the dead
saint, to whom an advocate had been granted. Becket, being judged
by default, was deprived of his riches and honours; two large
coffers, filled with jewels deposited upon his altar, were sent
to London; festivals and pilgrimages celebrated in his honour
were solemnly forbidden, the portraits of the saint were
destroyed, and a royal proclamation commanded the people to
believe henceforth that Thomas Becket had been killed in a
quarrel caused by his own obstinacy, that he had been canonized
by the Bishop of Rome as the champion of an usurped authority,
but that he was but a rebel and a traitor to his king, and that
the faithful servants of his Majesty were to guard themselves
against honouring him as a saint. Thomas Becket thus twice had
the notable honour of bringing down all the royal fury; even in
his tomb he was proclaimed defender of the liberties of the
Church for whose sake he had yielded up his life.

So vast an amount of wealth diverted from the pious objects to
which it had been originally consecrated troubled the conscience
of Cranmer, feeble and vacillating in his conduct, but honest and
sincere, notwithstanding his numerous backslidings. He
endeavoured to found in his diocese some pious establishments to
replace those which had been so abruptly destroyed; but the
diocese was poor, he had not profited by the spoils of St. Thomas
Becket, and the hospitals, the asylums for the poor and
travelers, the schools for children which were formerly afforded
by the convents, left a void from which the unfortunate suffered
painfully. The public cry reached the king.
{240}
The treasures of the monasteries had melted in his prodigal
hands; he addressed himself to Parliament, boldly demanding
subsidies to indemnify him for the expenses which he had incurred
for the Reformation. The two tenths and the two fifteenths which
were granted him did not suffice for his requirements, still less
for those of the new bishoprics, deaneries, and colleges which
Parliament had decreed. These establishments should have been
endowed with the ecclesiastical property, but there was no longer
any property. Six bishoprics were founded, so poorly provided for
that the prelates scarcely had sufficient to live upon. A certain
number of abbeys became cathedral churches; but the king was
careful before appointing the dean and chapter to confiscate a
portion of the lands, so that the new dignitaries of the Church
ran no risk of allowing themselves to be drawn into effeminacy by
the temptations of opulence. The plain parish priests, deprived
of their livings, led such a miserable existence that none would
any longer enter the Church. "We have ten thousand students less
in the universities than there were formerly," wrote Latimer,
when asking assistance for the university of Cambridge; and it
was found necessary to seek for a priest to preach from St.
Paul's Cross, an honour formerly sought after by the highest
dignitaries.

When the entire kingdom thus remained silent and was suffering,
Henry VIII. occupied his leisure in interrogating and judging a
poor schoolmaster, named John Lambert, who had adopted the views
of the German reformers upon the doctrine of the real presence.
All the arguments of the royal theologian, reinforced by those of
the bishops whom he had called to his aid, could not shake the
conviction of Lambert.
{241}
"Resign thy soul to God," said Henry angrily. "I resign my soul
to God," said the accused man, "and my body to the mercy of your
Grace." "Thou shalt die then," exclaimed the king, "for I am not
the patron of heretics," and Lambert was burned alive, on the
20th of November, 1538. Henry VIII. alone had found a means of
combining the twofold persecution of the Roman Catholics and the
reformers; he plundered and closed the convents while he burnt
the heretics. Cranmer shared in the main, the opinions of the
unhappy Lambert, but he dared not protest, and contented himself
with favouring the translation of the Bible into English, a task
which had just been accomplished by Miles Coverdale; the price of
the book was, unhappily, very high, and the circulation
consequently somewhat limited.

Henry meanwhile was uneasy; the Emperor and King Francis I. had
recently concluded at Nice, under the auspices of the Pope, a
truce for ten years; hence the alliance of England lost the value
which had often attracted the advances of the two great rivals;
Paul III. again threatened to promulgate the bull so long
prepared, and he sought to unite against King Henry the forces of
the empire and of France. Cardinal Pole had been employed in this
negotiation; it remained without result, but the distrust and
jealousy of the despot had been aroused, and the fate which the
family of the cardinal had so long dreaded at length overtook
them. In the month of December, 1538, Lord Montacute and Sir
Geoffrey Pole, brother of the cardinal, as well as the Marquis of
Exeter, grandson of King Edward IV., through his daughter
Catherine, were arrested and conducted to the Tower.
{242}
Some months later the Countess of Salisbury, mother of the
cardinal, the Marchioness of Exeter, and the son of Lord
Montacute were impeached in their turn. All were condemned, and
all perished, with the exception of Sir Geoffrey Pole, who
betrayed his kinsmen. The old countess remained for a long time
in Prison, as though to experience all the horrors of her
situation. When she was finally led to the scaffold, at the age
of seventy-two, she refused to place her head upon the block.
"No," she said; "my head has committed no treason; if you want
it, come and take it." It was found necessary to seize her by
force, and she resisted until the last moment.

While bathing his hands in blood. King Henry was much occupied in
instructing his people in sound doctrine; he had entered
seriously upon his duties as supreme head of the Church, and was
carefully preparing the articles of faith which were to form the
basis of the popular belief; woe to him who should not adhere to
the six articles which the king sent to the convocation of the
clergy. In the main, the doctrines expounded by the king were
those of the Roman Catholic Church, with the exception of the
supremacy of the Pope; the efforts which Cranmer made to bring
about, by discussion with the German theologians, some
modifications in the ideas of Henry, remained without result.
{243}
The emissaries of the reformed Churches in vain maintained the
doctrine of communion of the two kinds, the marriage of priests,
and other important points in doctrine and in practise; the king
thanked them for the trouble which they had taken in coming to
his kingdom; he assured them of the esteem in which he held their
erudition and virtues, but he sent to the Parliament of 1539 an
act recapitulating the obligatory articles of faith, entirely in
conformity with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and
threatening the most severe penalties against whosoever should
reject these doctrines, or should fail to conform his life
thereto. The influence of Cranmer was once more defeated, and
that of Bishop Gardiner, who had constantly remained faithful to
the old Church, was again triumphant. The star of Cromwell was on
the wane; the first instigator of the religious rivalry of Henry
VIII. with the Pope, was about in his turn to succumb beneath the
jealous despotism which he had contributed to raise.

The two great parties which had been formed in the Church of
England after the reformation continued to share power under the
king. The bishops favourable to Protestantism had for a time
prevailed, when Henry alarmed by the alliance of the Catholic
powers, sent a mission to Germany to the Protestant princes, and
authorized the journey of the German theologians to England. The
prelates attached to the Catholic Church triumphed when Gardiner
was recalled from his retirement, and the king accepted his
revision of the religious edict submitted to Parliament. Several
of the reforming bishops had already resigned or had been
deprived of their dignities, when Cromwell, still favourable to
the new party, desired to furnish it with an important support by
uniting the king with a Protestant queen.
{244}
For several months past, Henry had in vain looked for a consort
among the European princesses; the Dowager Duchess of Milan
replied that if she had two heads, she might have thought of that
alliance, but that, having but one, she declined the honour which
his Majesty wished to do her. He solicited the hand of Mary of
Guise, Duchess of Longueville, but she was betrothed to his
nephew, James V., king of Scotland, who had lost his first wife,
Madeleine of France, a few months after their marriage. King
Francis I. had refused to send to Calais the two sisters of Mary
of Guise, whom Henry wished to see. Cromwell proposed the
Princess Anne of Cleves, sister of the reigning duke, whose
beauty, gentleness, and virtue were much extolled. Henry VIII.
despatched to Germany his favourite painter, Holbein, to bring
him back a portrait of the princess; it was contained in a rose
of ivory admirably carved; the casket and the contents pleased
the king; he asked for the hand of Anne of Cleves, to the great
joy of Cromwell. The unfortunate man had never seen the princess.

She arrived in England on the 31st of December, 1539;
notwithstanding his gout, and his inconvenient stoutness, the
king repaired to Rochester, in order to see secretly the princess
who came courageously to share with him the fatal throne. He
started back in dread and anger. Anne was tall and muscular, as
he had been informed, and as he wished; her features were
regular, but coarse; her complexion, which was fresh, bore traces
of small-pox; her figure was massive, her walk awkward, and,
above all, the worthy German lady was clad in the fashion of her
country, without elegance or grace.
{245}
The voluptuous and debilitated monarch experienced an indignation
that did not permit him to show himself at first. When at length
he consented to see the princess, he said but a few words to her:
Anne of Cleves spoke German, the king did not know that language.
He sent her a present of some furs, and returned to London to
convoke his council. On perceiving Cromwell, he reproached him,
in violent terms, for having married him to a great Flemish nag,
uncouth and awkward, ill-fitted to inspire her love; he then
commanded him to find some pretext for breaking off this odious
union. Cromwell was politic, he trembled for his favour and,
perhaps his life; he was compelled to remind the king that, in
the situation of his affairs in Germany, it would be dangerous to
displease the German princes. "There is no remedy then? I must
place my head in the halter?" exclaimed Henry piteously. He
yielded, and the marriage was celebrated at Greenwich on the 5th
of January. But the burden of this union became every day more
insupportable to the king; he was not accustomed to find himself
thwarted; the objections of Cromwell to the divorce rankled in
his breast. A theological quarrel of a dependent of the minister
with Bishop Gardiner completed the exasperation of the king
against his vicar-general; the heterodoxy of Barnes called in
question the orthodoxy of Cromwell, who had employed him in the
fatal negotiations for the marriage of Anne of Cleves. The king
still continued his resentment.
{246}
Cromwell opened Parliament as usual, entrusted with the royal
message, which related solely to the religious questions yet in
litigation; he obtained from the Houses enormous subsidies,
dispensed court favours, threatened with the royal displeasure
the chiefs of the Catholic party, the Duke of Norfolk, and the
Bishops of Durham, Winchester, and Bath; then, on the 10th of
June, 1540, he was arrested in the very council-chamber, for high
treason. Four days afterwards, he was condemned by a bill of
attainder, a process which he himself contributed to establish,
and on the 28th of June, he suffered his sentence as a traitor to
the Head of the Church and a pestilent heretic. The king was
compelled, in order to replace Cromwell, whose activity was
indefatigable, to summon to his side two secretaries of State, of
whom one, Wriothesley, afterwards became his chancellor.

The ill-starred marriage with Anne of Cleves and the theological
errors of Barnes were not the sole causes of the ruin of
Cromwell; the beautiful face of Lady Catherine Howard, niece of
the Duke of Norfolk, had played a part in the overthrow of the
condemned minister. Before Cromwell perished upon the scaffold,
Henry VIII. had married Catherine Howard. Anne of Sleeves had at
first swooned on learning the intentions of the king towards her,
but recovering her senses, she had no doubt, returned thanks to
God for having preserved her from the melancholy fate of the
wives of Henry VIII., and had accepted without a murmur the title
of "adopted sister" of the king, which was bestowed upon her by
that gracious sovereign. A suitable establishment was granted to
her in England, and the Duke of Suffolk, entrusted with the
letters of the princess for her brother, started for Cleves, in
order to explain to the duke the scruples concerning a former
contract of the princess with the Duke of Lorraine, which had led
the king to break off the marriage, while assuring him of the
happy condition and full consent of the dethroned queen.


[Image]
Anger of Henry VIII on his First View of Anne of Cleves.

{247}

By way of celebrating his fifth nuptials Henry sent to the stake
Dr. Barnes, the maladroit dependent of Cromwell, in company with
two or three other heretics, while certain Catholics were
quartered for having refused to take the oath of supremacy. The
punishment alone was different: Catholics and Protestants were
dragged to Smithfield upon the same hurdle, bound together, to
the common indignation of both parties. "How do folks manage to
live here?" exclaimed a Frenchman, "the Papists are hanged and
the Anti-Papists are burned." In the following month, the Prior
of Doncaster and six of his monks were hanged for having defended
monastic institutions; all crimes became equally grave in the
eyes of the despot, from the moment they thwarted his supreme
will.

The triumph of Catherine Howard was destined to be of short
duration, and to cost her dearly. The king was much attached to
her, and had taken her with him on a royal tour of inspection,
during the summer of 1541, but when he returned to London, in the
month of August, Cranmer revealed to him a grievous discovery,
made in his absence, by his servants, with regard to the conduct
of the queen before her marriage, during her sojourn with her
great aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Jealous and
suspicious, Henry VIII. did not demand proofs before losing all
confidence in the virtue of his wife; but he wished nevertheless
to have the witnesses examined, and they were all arrested and
put to the torture.
{248}
The queen herself, it is said, confessed her transgressions, as
did the man accused of complicity with her--her cousin, Francis
Dereham. The guilt of Lady Catherine Howard did not suffice,
however, to ruin the queen; she positively affirmed her conjugal
fidelity, and the king, whose whole love appeared to have been
changed to aversion, set every means to work in order to assure
himself of her alleged offence towards him. The old Duchess of
Norfolk, her daughter, Lady Bridgewater, and her son, Lord
William Howard, were placed in the Tower charged with having
favoured the bad conduct of the queen; every species of
ill-treatment, every ruse, every falsehood was employed in order
to extract the truth, or at least to obtain avowals capable of
ruining Catherine Howard. All was in vain; "the mother and the
daughter are equally stubborn," say the records of the council,
and both rejected with indignation the idea of any complicity in
the crimes of which the queen was accused. The two gentlemen
accused, Dereham and Culpepper, were tried and condemned, and
were executed at Tyburn, on the 10th of December, while the Duke
of Cleves was hastening to send an ambassador to King Henry, in
order to induce him to take again the Princess Anne, his sister,
as his wife. The proposal was rejected by Cranmer, the emissary
not even being admitted into the presence of the king; Anne of
Cleves remained the _good sister_ of his Majesty, and the
trial of Catherine Howard continued, without any one protesting
in favour of the unhappy woman, deprived of all means of defence,
and delivered over, bound hand and foot, to her accusers.
{249}
Her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, had abandoned her, as he had
formerly done in the case of his other niece, Anne Boleyn,
protesting to his Majesty "the grief occasioned to him by the
abominable actions of two kinswomen towards his Grace, who might
in consequence hold even himself in abhorrence." Search was being
made meanwhile, in the coffers and hiding-places of all the
accused persons, and his Majesty had already collected in this
manner large sums, when the council condemned them all to
imprisonment for life, with the confiscation of all their
property, simply recommending that some consolations should be
accorded to them in their captivity, and that certain of their
friends should be admitted to them in the Tower. The king took
care to cut short this indulgence, and on the same evening he
caused a council to be assembled to forbid any modification in
the treatment inflicted upon the prisoners, "for great and
important reasons," added the conscientious monarch. The trial
had established nothing except that the old Duchess of Norfolk
and her children had been informed of the reciprocal love of
Francis Dereham and Catherine before the marriage of the latter.

The severity which was employed towards her relatives should have
enlightened the unhappy queen if she had been able for one moment
to believe the promise of her life which the king had transmitted
to her through Cranmer. Parliament on the 16th of January
addressed an humble petition to the sovereign, asking permission
to proceed against Lady Catherine Howard by a bill of attainder,
in order to spare his Majesty the grief of hearing the crimes of
his wife recapitulated.
{250}
Henry graciously consented to this delicate request, and on the
11th of February the queen was condemned by Parliament together
with Lady Rochford, sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn, who had
formerly given evidence against her husband and her sister. She
was accused of having been an accomplice in the crimes of
Catherine since her marriage. The queen and Lady Rochford were
executed on the 13th of February, within the precincts of the
Tower; Catherine protested even on the scaffold that she had
always been faithful to her spouse, "whatever might have been the
faults of her past life." The bill of attainder against Catherine
Howard made it incumbent on any woman whom the king might admit
to the honour of a union with his sacred person, to make a full
confession before marriage. "The king had better marry a widow,"
it was said among the people. Henry appeared for the moment
disgusted with marriage; he was absorbed in theology, that second
passion of his life, which he treated almost as despotically as
his spouses.

The death of Catherine Howard had not, as might have been
expected, thrown the king back upon the party of the Reformation;
in the month of April, 1542, he retracted the encouragements
which he had given to the reading of the Holy Scriptures; he
prohibited the use of the old version of Tyndal as heretical,
while ordering that the new and authorized translation, without
notes or commentary, should be used exclusively; above all, he
forbade the reading of the Bible in public even by the orthodox,
only permitting the use of the Holy Scriptures in families of the
nobility and gentry.
{251}
People of the inferior class were to be liable to a month's
imprisonment if they dared to open the sacred volume. At the same
time the revision of the _Institution of a Christian Man_,
formerly published by the bishops by order of the king, was
completed. The new work, which appeared in 1543, differed
essentially upon several points from the first one; it was
entitled _The necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any
Christian Man:_ the people named it the _King's Book_,
and the king imposed it in fact as a model of faith upon his
subjects, without troubling himself about the changes which his
own mind had undergone since he had caused the _Bishop's
Book_ to be drawn up. The _King's Book_ inclined more and
more towards the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Like the
first catechism, it insisted upon transubstantiation, oral
confession, and the celibacy of the clergy; it also maintained
the uselessness of communion in both kinds for the faithful, and
recommended masses for the dead. The new Symbol was adopted by
the two convocations of the clergy; all the books which were not
in conformity with it were forbidden, and the primate, Cranmer,
who saw the condemnation of his most cherished convictions, and
the affirmation of the dogmas which he rejected, was charged with
the duty of watching over the execution of the royal orders.
Henry VIII. was accustomed to be obeyed; Cranmer had sent his
wife and children away to Germany, since the celibacy of the
priests had become legally obligatory.

The servile obedience which the king exacted from his subjects in
England was not everywhere exacted with the same rigour; Henry
VIII. had furnished proof of skill and foresight by his
government of the almost independent principalities ranged under
his sceptre.
{252}
In 1536 he had definitively annexed Wales to England, subjecting
the whole territory to English laws, which hitherto had only
ruled in a portion of that country. The Welsh counties had been
admitted to the privilege of sending members to Parliament, as
well as the Palatinate of Chester, hitherto administered
according to local customs. But the most important reform which
King Henry VIII. effected in this respect was the elevation of
Ireland from the rank of a seigniory to that of a kingdom. From
generation to generation the hereditary struggle of the Butlers
under their chiefs, the Earls of Ormond and Ossory, with the
Fitzgeralds, at the head of whom was the Earl of Kildare, had
kept the country in a continual state of agitation; by dint of
political reverses, treasons, acts of perfidy, executions, and
murders, the great Irish Houses had wearied and destroyed each
other, and the government had never failed to interpose to
further the work. In 1541 the king, wishing to secure the
attachment of the more powerful of the Irish chiefs, elevated a
number of them to the honours of the peerage. The eagerness of
the chiefs was extreme: the great noblemen swore fidelity to the
king, undertook military service, and accepted houses at Dublin,
whither they were to repair to sit as members of the Parliament
of Ireland. The king had granted letters patent to them for their
property, which removed their former fears of seeing the English
sovereigns one day confiscate all their estates. The
appropriation of the ecclesiastical property to the crown was
accomplished with prudence; "Do not press them too vigorously,"
said the instructions of Henry VIII.; "but persuade them
discreetly that the Church lands are my legitimate inheritance."
{253}
The Catholic fervour of the Irish had some difficulty in
accepting this mode of succession, but the work proceeded, though
slowly, and did not prevent the progress of English authority in
Ireland from being real and important under the reign of Henry
VIII.

Scotland still remained in a body attached to the old faith. King
James distrusted the treacherous manœuvres of his uncle; he had
sought the hereditary alliances of his House, and his marriage
with Mary of Guise, and the influence which Cardinal David Beaton
exercised over him, had drawn closer the bonds which united him
to France, as well as to the Church of Rome. All the attempts of
the King of England to bring his nephew over to his opinions, and
to induce him to follow the English example by the destruction of
the monasteries, had completely failed. Cardinal Beaton set out
for Rome with secret instructions, a fact which troubled Henry.
Hostilities broke out in the month of August, 1542; an English
army crossed the frontier; they were vigorously repulsed; but the
Duke of Norfolk was advancing with considerable forces; he
received the reinforcements of the Earl of Angus, the
father-in-law of the young king, who had come with all the
members of his family, and who marched, like himself, under the
English banners. The duke had scarcely advanced a few steps into
Scotland when the king reassembled his forces in order to meet
him. But the great noblemen were nearly all disaffected; some
were secretly in favour of the Reformation; they wished to enrich
themselves at the expense of the monasteries; others were bound
by old friendship to the Douglases, and would not fight against
them; nearly all regretted the war with England, and wished to
remain upon the defensive.
{254}
Norfolk having been compelled to beat a retreat, in consequence
of the bad weather and the want of provisions, the king was
anxious to pursue him beyond the frontiers; but his troops
refused to follow him to a second battle of Flodden: one after
another the barons withdrew with their vassals; the king had now
no more than ten thousand men, whom he placed under the command
of Lord Maxwell. This faithful little army suddenly entered
England. As they were crossing the frontier, the favourite of the
king, Oliver Sinclair, produced a warrant which placed him at the
head of the troops. All the noblemen refused to obey his command;
disorder set in among the soldiers; the English fell upon the
Scottish army, made a great slaughter, captured many prisoners of
high rank, and put all the rest to flight. The troops, vanquished
without a struggle, rejoined the king at Carlaverock Castle,
where he awaited the result of the expedition. The blow struck
home; the monarch returned in sadness of heart to Edinburgh, and
took refuge in his castle of Falkland, where he spent long hours,
with his head in his hands, plunged in melancholy thoughts,
without uttering a word. He was thirty-one years of age, his
constitution had always been vigorous, but he was dying of a
broken heart. His wife, Mary of Guise, had borne him two sons,
who had both died in infancy; the birth of a daughter, the
celebrated and unfortunate Mary Stuart, was announced to James
V.; the sadness of the king only became greater.
{255}
"It came through a daughter," he said, remembering the daughter
of Bruce, who had brought the throne to his family, "and it will
return through a daughter." A week afterwards, on the 14th of
December, 1542, James V. expired, leaving his kingdom rent
asunder by political factions and religious dissensions, a prey
to all the evils of a long minority and the prospect of the reign
of a woman. If he had been able to foresee the future, the last
moments of the unhappy king would have been still more gloomy.

Scarcely had King Henry learned the death of his nephew, when he
conceived the project of uniting the little queen, who had just
opened her eyes to the light, with his son Edward, who was not
yet six years of age. The alliance might have been serviceable to
the two countries, but Henry claimed to take immediate possession
of Scotland in the name of the future sovereigns, and his greedy
selfishness caused all his designs to miscarry. He had enrolled
in his cause not only all the Douglases, but the Scottish
noblemen made prisoners at the rout of Solway Moss; they returned
to their country determined to betray its most cherished
interests. Cardinal Beaton had claimed the regency, according to
a presumed will of the king, but the Earl of Arran, the heir
presumptive to the throne and chief of the Protestant party, had
been powerful enough to dispossess the cardinal; he held him
imprisoned in Blackness Castle. The influence of the Catholic
clergy over the common people and a certain portion of the
nobility was considerable; the churches were closed, worship
suspended, and the clergy worked ardently against the regent, who
lent for support upon the Douglases and their friends, who had
come back into favour with him.
{256}
The public voice accused the noblemen of treason and perfidy; the
King of England urged them to perform their engagements. He
claimed the right to hold in his hands Cardinal Beaton, and
demanded the surrender of the fortresses. The truce was only to
last until the month of June, and the English troops were already
assembling in the northern counties; but public opinion in
Scotland was aroused, and Sir George Douglas, the most active of
the conspirators in the interest of England, assured King Henry
that it would be impossible to lay claim on his behalf to the
government of Scotland. "There would be no boys so little that
they would not throw stones," he said, "nor a woman who would not
raise her spindle. The commoners would willingly give their
lives; many noblemen and all the clergy would do likewise rather
than consent to it." The Catholic party, uniting the cause of
religious liberty with that of the State, opposed both the
reading of the New Testament by the common people and the
alliance with England. The restoration to liberty of the cardinal
was also claimed. All the noblemen repaired to Parliament, and
the question of the marriage was there proposed without any
opposition; but none dared to speak of the conditions attached by
the King of England to this union so much desired by all, and
Parliament, while approving of the project of marriage, strongly
recommended that care should be taken not to send the little
queen to England, at the same time taking the most jealous
precautions for the maintenance of the national independence.

{257}

The anger of King Henry equalled his aspirations; he heaped the
most violent reproaches upon his Scottish allies, at the same
time endeavouring to attach them once more to his service by new
promises. They protested their good will, but pleaded their
powerlessness. Cardinal Beaton had regained his liberty, and
opposed to the Earl of Arran the Earl of Lennox, an ally of the
royal family, who had served with Francis I. in the wars in
Italy. The treaties were renewed; the hand of the little queen
was promised to Prince Edward; she was to be left in Scotland,
until the age of ten years; an English nobleman and his family
were to form part of her household. But besides these open and
reasonable conditions there was "a secret understanding;" all the
conspirators engaged in the service of Henry promised in case of
need to take up arms in his interest and to fight for him until
he should have obtained "the things agreed upon," or at least
dominion over this side of the Firth, that is to say, over all
the southern portion of Scotland.

The treaty was scarcely concluded when Cardinal Beaton raised an
army in the north, and employed it from the first to carry off
the queen and her mother, in order to place them in safety in
Stirling Castle. After having signed the conditions with England,
he suddenly changed his party, became reconciled with Beaton,
abjured his errors, and returned to the bosom of the Catholic
Church. France had sent reinforcements, and notwithstanding the
assistance of Lennox, who had abandoned the patriots, the
conspirators found themselves once more baffled in their attempts
by the national movement brought about by Beaton.

{258}

The assistance rendered to the Scots by the King of France,
excited the anger of Henry VIII.; he nourished an old grievance
against that prince, for whom he had no liking, notwithstanding
their frequent alliances, and he resolved to throw himself once
more into the arms of the Emperor. Without effacing the stain of
illegitimacy which he himself had imprinted upon his daughters,
he caused both Mary and Elizabeth to be reinstated in their civil
rights by an act of Parliament, restoring to them also their
title to the throne. Charles V. contented himself with this
concession, and concluded an alliance with England. Emissaries
were sent to the King of France, with a mass of claims, to which
Francis I. would not even listen, and great preparations were
begun for the invasion of the French territory. Henry had
recently married for the sixth time: he had espoused Lady
Catharine Parr, the widow of Lord Latimer. She was beautiful,
intelligent and ardently devoted to the Protestant party; the
latter fact, however, did not prevent the execution, a fortnight
after the royal marriage, of three _sacramentarians_, burned
alive at Smithfield.

The first detachment sent to France under the command of Sir John
Wallop in 1540, had completely failed in their attempt, when the
king came in person at the head of an army of thirty thousand
men, to lay siege to Boulogne. The two allied monarchs had agreed
to march directly upon Paris, but sieges had an irresistible
attraction for Henry VIII., and he had not yet made his entry
into the town, which delayed him for two months, when the Emperor
entered into negotiations with Francis I. at Crespy-en-Valois.
{259}
Thus they left the King of England, who had scornfully rejected
the proposals of peace, free to return to his dominions after his
conquest of Boulogne, exhausted by the efforts which he had had
to make to raise his army and to maintain at the same time the
forces which were carrying on the war in Scotland.

Intrigue upon intrigue, treachery upon treachery succeeded each
other amongst the Scottish factions: sometimes the Catholics and
Protestants became reconciled through their hatred of England; at
others some deed of violence estranged them again. Beaton, more
bold and skilful than his rivals, nearly always preserved his
ascendancy, but his cruel persecution of the reformers incensed a
considerable part of the nation. The English had made several
irruptions into Scotland, under the orders of Lord Hertford and
his lieutenants; they committed great cruelties, and finally
found themselves shamefully repulsed in the environs of Ancrum.
The secret manœuvres of Henry VIII., the relations which he still
maintained with the nobility, and the perfidy of a certain number
of great barons prevented the Scots, however, from profiting by
their advantages and by the reinforcements sent by Francis I.;
the southern counties of Scotland were again ravaged by the Earl
of Hertford; a fatal manifestation of the fanaticism of Cardinal
Beaton occurred to add strength to the English arms and
intrigues. A reformed preacher, George Wishart, celebrated among
his party and passionately loved by the people, was pursued,
seized, and burned alive at St. Andrew's, amidst great public
indignation.
{260}
For a long time past the assassination of Cardinal Beaton, whom
Henry VIII. regarded as the principle obstacle to his projects
against Scotland, was meditated; the moment appeared favourable,
and, on the 28th of May, 1546, two gentlemen of the name of
Lesley, with whom the cardinal had had great personal quarrels,
accompanied by some friends, took Beaton by surprise in the
castle of St. Andrews, and stabbed him in his bed. Norman Lesley
hung the corpse on the wall, as the inhabitants of the town were
advancing to the help of the legate. "There is your God," he
said, "now you should be content; return to your homes." All the
assassins received pensions from abroad, and hastened to claim
the reward of their crime. King Henry had been mistaken in his
hopes; the Church of Rome in Scotland had received a fatal blow,
but the national independence remained erect. The embarrassments
of the finances were increasing in England; Boulogne was closely
pressed by the French. Henry VIII. was now suffering from
ill-health; he concluded a treaty at Campes with King Francis I.,
and the Scots were included therein, to the great vexation of
their implacable foe. Francis I. promised money; the sum once
paid, England was to surrender Boulogne, which town had been
fortified at great expense since its capture. It was the end of
the campaigns of King Henry VIII., which had almost uniformly
proved ruinous, and without any substantial results; and which
had rarely been otherwise when the monarch placed himself
personally at the head of his troops. The hostile armies did not
allow themselves to be conquered as easily as England allowed
itself to be oppressed.

{261}

So many checks abroad, together with the constant pecuniary
embarrassments entailed by his prodigalities at home, completed
the embitterment of the terrible character of the despot, who was
now slowly dying in his palace at Whitehall. Addicted from the
earliest time to the pleasures of the table, he had acquired an
enormous corpulence, which rendered the least movements difficult
to him. He had a difficulty in signing his name, and could not
take a step without the assistance of his attendants. He suffered
from an ulcer in the leg, and his morose disposition had
completely metamorphosed his court, formerly so brilliant. None
dared to raise his voice in favour of the most innocent victims.
A lady who had access to the court, Anne Askew, young, beautiful,
and learned, passionately attached to the doctrines of the
Reformation, had left her husband and children to come to London
to preach the Gospel; she was arrested and conducted before
Bishop Bonner, who caused her to sign a confession of faith in
conformity with the doctrines of the Catholic Church. But the
zeal of Anne did not abate; she continued to preach: being again
arrested, she was tried and condemned as a heretic. Her
prosecutors were anxious to make her avow the means which she had
made use of in order to spread the forbidden books amongst the
ladies of the queen, and they put her to the torture to compel
her to denounce her friends. "I have no friends at court," she
repeated; "I have never been supported by any member of the
council." The courage of Anne Askew remained firm at the stake as
under the torture of the "wooden horse;" she died praising God in
company with a gentleman of the King's household, named
Lascelles, and two others equally dangerous heretics, who would
not except [accept?] the doctrine of transubstantiation.
{262}
While he was ordering these executions, King Henry VIII. was
delivering his last discourse to Parliament, grieving at the lack
of brotherly love amongst his subjects: "Charity was never so
faint amongst you, and virtuous and godly living was never less
used, nor God Himself among Christians was never less reverenced,
honoured, or served. Therefore be in charity one with another,
like brother and brother; love, dread, and serve God; to the
which, as your supreme Head and Sovereign Lord, I exhort and
require you."

Perhaps Queen Catherine Parr suspected that the king needed upon
his own account those religious exhortations which he had always
so liberally bestowed upon his people, for she attempted, it is
said, to discuss with him certain points in theology which she
had studied in the heretical books, probably those very
publications which Anne Askew had caused to be introduced into
the royal household--a dangerous experiment which she had
occasion to repent. The king flew into a violent passion. "A good
hearing this," he exclaimed, "when women become such clerks, and
a thing much to my comfort, to come in my old age to be taught by
my wife!" The sword which had threatened Catherine so long was on
the point of falling. Gardiner and Wriothesley, the new
chancellor, ardent Roman Catholics, received the order to prepare
the impeachment of the queen. She was warned in time; she was
intelligent and skilful.


[Image]
Catherine Discussing Theology With The King.

{263}

When in the eventide the conversation turned again upon religious
questions, the king appeared to urge her to speak; she began to
laugh, "I am not so foolish as not to know what I can
understand," she said, "when I possess the favour of having for a
master and a spouse a prince so learned in holy matters." "By St.
Mary!" exclaimed the king, "it is not so, Kate; thou hast become
a doctor." The queen continued to laugh. "I thought I noticed,"
she said, "that that conversation diverted your Grace's attention
from your sufferings, and I ventured to discuss with you in the
hope of making you forget your present infirmity." "Is it so,
sweetheart?" replied the king, "then we are friends again, and it
doth me more good than if I had received a hundred thousand
pounds." The orders given to the chancellor had not been revoked;
he arrived on the morrow with forty men of his guard to arrest
Catherine, but the king sent him away angrily. Catherine Parr
henceforth left theology in peace.

A few more executions were wanting to light up the dismal valley
of death into which the king felt himself descending; the
jealousies of the political chiefs of the great factions which
divided the country were about to furnish matter for the last
deeds of violence of the dying monarch. The ancient and
illustrious house of the Howards and its chief, the Duke of
Norfolk, had observed with vexation the growing power and
influence of the Earl of Hertford and of the family of the
Seymours. The wealth, as well as the past renown of the Howards,
had nothing to fear from the new rival who had sprung up beside
them; but Lord Hertford was uncle to the heir to the throne,
which gave him much power in the future, he wished to secure
himself against any fatal mishap by striking his enemies
beforehand.
{264}
The distrust and jealousy of King Henry VIII. were easily
excited; the old Duke of Norfolk and his son, the Earl of Surrey,
were arrested on the 12th of December, 1546, and taken to the
Tower. At the same time, in the presence of several witnesses,
the king erased their names from the list of his testamentary
executors. The precautions had been well taken. Advantage had
been taken of the bad terms which had for a long time existed
between the Duke of Norfolk and his wife, between the Earl of
Surrey and his sister, the Duchess of Richmond, to search the
papers and coffers of the family, in order to discover some
tokens of treason. The ladies had even been arrested, and had
been severely interrogated; but all that could be alleged in the
impeachment was that Lord Surrey had quartered with his own arms
the royal arms of Edward the Confessor. The old Duke of Norfolk
had, it was said, been guilty of seditious utterances regarding
the death of the king while manifesting his dissatisfaction at
the reforms of the Church. His trial had not commenced when Lord
Surrey was brought to Guildhall to reply to his accusers. He was
young, handsome, valiant; he was learned and cultivated; his
poems are still famous. He defended himself with as much
intelligence as courage, proving that he was authorized by the
decisions of the heralds-at-arms to bear the arms of Edward the
Confessor, which he had constantly displayed in the presence of
the king without his Majesty having discovered anything to find
fault with. The court declared, however, that this simple matter
of royal arms betrayed pretensions to the throne; Surrey was
condemned, and on the 19th of January the flower of English
chivalry perished upon the scaffold, while King Henry VIII. was
already at the point of death.

{265}

Norfolk had in vain demanded to be confronted with his accusers;
he had written to the king, and his letters had remained without
a reply. Henry VIII. when dying, had not forgotten the convenient
arm which he had wielded so long; the old duke, alarmed and
wearied, had even gone so far as to make a gift of all his
property to the sovereign, begging him to secure them for Prince
Edward. The experienced politician knew that it would be easier
for his posterity to regain some day the riches concentrated in
the hands of the sovereign, than to snatch them from the hands of
the greedy courtiers, who were already in expectation sharing
them amongst themselves; but this manœuvre was not successful in
saving him; the confession which preceded his donation served as
a basis for the bill of attainder, which was voted by the House
of Commons on the 20th of January, 1547. The king was no longer
able to sign. On the 27th the Chancellor Wriothesley informed the
two Houses that his Majesty had chosen delegates to ratify the
condemnation, and the order was despatched to the Lieutenant of
the Tower to execute the Duke of Norfolk on the 28th, early in
the morning. On the same night Henry VIII. expired, after a reign
of thirty-seven years. On the last day only had the bolder of his
courtiers dared to suggest to him the possibility of a near end,
and proposed to bring a priest to him. "No other than Archbishop
Cranmer," he said, "but not yet; when I shall have rested." When
the archbishop was at length asked for, the king could no longer
speak; Cranmer reminded him of the mercy of God through Jesus
Christ, and Henry grasped the hand of the prelate with his
remaining strength; a moment afterwards he was no more.

{266}

For some years past, endeavours have been made to place the
memory of King Henry VIII. in a more favourable light. No one has
laboured in this direction with more zeal and ability than Mr.
Froude; but no party passions can annihilate the facts of
history; the personal character of the king must still be
regarded as corrupt and cruel; relations with him were fatal to
all who approached him, wives and ministers. A despotic and
arbitrary, violent and unjust monarch, he was at the same time a
capricious and perfidious ally, a vain and harsh pedant. The
reform which he undertook in England was the work of his private
interest and his tyrannical pride, not of a settled and sincere
conviction. In his heart he still remained a Catholic and only
wished to rid himself of the supremacy of the Pope, who thwarted
him and of the monasteries, the spoliation of which enriched him.
Illegalities and abuses of all kinds were increasing with the
servility of Parliament, the long duration of the reign and the
development of the vices of the king. At the period of his death
no one in England dared any longer to raise his head.

Notwithstanding so many crimes, oppressions and errors, England
had grown under the reign of Henry VIII.; the king had
overwhelmed his people with taxes, but he had maintained public
order, and favoured the development of commerce; he had
persecuted Catholics and Protestants, but by separating violently
from the court of Rome, he had implanted in English soil the germ
of that religious liberty which was destined never to perish: he
had laboured to construct a strange structure, mingled with
strange contradictions and he had called it the Church of England
in order to place himself at its head as the supreme chief, but
he had imprinted upon English reform its peculiar character, at
once governmental and liberal, aristocratic and popular.
{267}
He infamously plundered the monasteries, but he thereby involved
in the party of reform the great noblemen enriched by the spoils;
he shed upon the scaffold the noblest blood of England, but he
followed the policy of his father, in elevating to the summit
obscure men drawn from that growing middle class which was one
day to constitute the greatness and strength of his country.
Without brilliant military genius, without great political
talents, he had contrived to maintain himself abroad as the
respected arbiter of the greatest sovereigns of Europe, causing
the scale to incline to the side to which his capricious vanity
impelled him. The royal coffers were full at the death of Henry
VII.; they were empty at the death of his son, notwithstanding
the enormous exactions which had filled them so many times; but
sixty years of comparative peace had enriched the nation, so long
crushed under the weight of civil and foreign wars; it had
regained its breath. In vain had Henry VIII. oppressed it; in
vain had he reduced Parliament to servile dependence; the new
spirit inspired by the reformation had done its work; in spite of
the stake, religious sects were already multiplying; the day of
the Puritans was about to dawn; the obstinate resistance of
weakness under a powerful oppression was already preparing.
Protestant England had sprung into existence.

{268}

                   Chapter XVIII

                  The Reformation.
               Edward VI. (1547-1553).


The oppressive tyranny of Henry VIII. had ceased, and the child
who succeeded him was destined to reign without attaining
manhood. The ambitions and animosities of the great, as well as
the sincere passions and intrigues of the theologians were about
to occupy the scene, to divide and agitate all minds; but the
work which was to make England Protestant and free had begun, and
was continuing silently, and in obscurity; Henry VIII. had
thought to regulate the religious movement in England as he had
shaken off the supremacy of the Pope, but all his despotism could
not arrest the effects of the new convictions, powerful
especially among the lower clergy and the inhabitants of the
towns. It was there that the Reformation numbered every day more
numerous and more zealous adherents; it was there that the
changes soon brought about by Cranmer in the organization of the
Church met with the most ardent sympathy, and it was there that
the persecution set on foot by the fanatic zeal of Queen Mary was
to find the firmest resistance and the most heroic martyrs. Henry
VIII. had accomplished the royal reform in order to satisfy his
passions and his personal animosities; the English people, under
the reign of his son, accomplished noiselessly and without
proclamation a reform in a far different way, solid and profound.
{269}
The country districts were still Catholic and long remained so; a
portion of the bishops and the high clergy refused to admit the
new doctrines, but the religious reform progressed none the less;
it was no longer in the power of man to arrest the work begun in
the heart and conscience of a mass of people as obscure as they
were sincere. The young king, moreover, never had a desire to do
so. During the short reign of Edward VI., through the weaknesses
and vacillations natural to childhood, the prince was seen to
pass from one to the other of the great noblemen who were
contending together for power; never did he change in opinion or
in religious tendency, and his influence always weighed on the
side of the Reformation. Edward VI. was destined for a long while
yet, to remain the most Protestant of English sovereigns.

Henry VIII. had scarcely been dead four days, his obsequies had
not yet been celebrated, and already all that he had wished and
ordained for the government of England during the minority of his
son was destroyed. Formerly the House of Lords possessed the
privilege of designating the regent and the members of the
council of regency; Parliament had granted this power to the king
by the Act which had allowed him to dispose at his pleasure of
the succession to the throne. Henry had accordingly made use of
this right in designating in his will sixteen persons to
constitute the privy council, and to be entrusted with the
executive power. A second commission of twelve members was to be
consulted in grave cases; the two bodies united composed the
council of regency.
{270}
Among the more important members of the privy council were the
names of Cranmer, Chancellor Wriothesley, Lord Hertford, Lord
Lisle; but the Earl of Hertford did not limit his ambition to his
seat in a council. He had taken his steps and secured partisans
among the testamentary executors of the king; at the first
meeting, he contrived to accomplish his project. It was proposed
to select a president. Wriothesley violently opposed this, saying
that the will placed all the councillors in the same rank; he
counted, no doubt, upon taking possession of the principal part
of the power; he found himself alone upon his side, and finally
gave way. When the Lords reassembled, on the 1st of February, the
young king heard the list of the members of the two councils
read, Wriothesley added that the executors had resolved to place
at their head the Earl of Hertford as Protector of the kingdom
and governor of the royal person; on condition, however, that he
would take no steps in any matter without the assent of a
majority of the members of the council. All the peers spiritual
and temporal applauded this amendment and the last wishes of
Henry VIII. were violated with no more ado.

Some intentions were attributed to the late king, however, which
met with more respect; a clause of the will commanded the
executors to accomplish all the promises which he might have
made; it was even asserted that he had repeated this injunction
to those who surrounded his deathbed.
{271}
The royal promises might be of great extent and entail grave
consequences; inquiries were promptly made; according to the
statement of Sir William Paget secretary of state, Sir Anthony
Denny and Sir Fulke Herbert, gentlemen of the bedchamber, to whom
the king had spoken on the subject, it was a question of a
promotion to the peerage and a distribution of legacies in money
among the testamentary executors. Lord Hertford was to be made
Duke of Somerset; the Earl of Essex to become Marquis of
Northampton; Lord Lisle, Earl of Warwick; Wriothesley, Earl of
Southampton; Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of Lord Hertford, Baron
Seymour and Lord High Admiral; all were to receive from the
ecclesiastical property still at the disposition of the crown,
revenues proportioned to their new dignities. The servants of the
new king rewarded themselves in advance, and with their own
hands, for the services which they were to render him. Public
opinion was shocked at this; people went as far as to call in
question the alleged intentions of the late king as they had been
reported by Sir John Paget. The elevation of Somerset was
received with great joy among the Protestants, to whom he was
favourable; the Catholics counted upon Wriothesley, who had
become Lord Southampton, but he committed the imprudence of
charging four delegates, under the great seal, to attend in his
absence to the affairs of the chancellorship, without having
previously consulted his colleagues; this act was declared
illegal, and the omission being grave enough to deprive the
chancellor of his office and his seat in the privy council, he
gave in his resignation and was kept a prisoner in his house,
until the council had decided the amount of the fine which he was
to pay.
{272}
Henceforth Somerset found himself without a rival; none protested
when he caused all the executive powers to be conferred upon
himself, abolishing the two councils, and confounding all the
testamentary executors under the common title of councillors of
the king. Matters were arranged; an amnesty had been proclaimed
for all state offenders, with the exception of the Duke of
Norfolk and Cardinal Pole, and the Protector was preparing to
sign the treaty of alliance between France and England, renewed
in London on the occasion of the accession of Edward VI., when he
learnt the death of Francis I. That monarch had been painfully
affected by the decease of the King of England; he was convinced,
it was said, that he would survive him a short time. In effect,
he had died at Rambouillet, on the 31st of March; the Protestant
interests received a fatal blow in Germany and in Scotland; in
Germany, because the Emperor Charles V., delivered of his rival,
was becoming master of the country; in Scotland, because the
Guises, the brothers of the dowager queen, were all-powerful with
the new King of France, and because the latter immediately
concluded a close alliance with the Earl of Arran, now placed at
the head of the Catholic party. At the same time, Henry II.
refused to sign the treaty of London, and sent ships to Scotland
to assist the regent in the siege of the Castle of St. Andrew,
which the assassins of Cardinal Beaton had contrived to retain.
The latter had demanded help in England, promising to support the
marriage of the little Queen Mary with the young King of England;
but before the Protector had been able to assemble his forces,
the castle had been captured, razed to the ground, and all its
defenders conveyed to France.
{273}
Five weeks elapsed before the English troops were able to cross
the frontier. It was on the 10th of September that the two armies
met, not far from Musselburgh. Arran was there encamped behind
the river Esk, with considerable forces; nearly all the great
Scottish noblemen had joined him, notwithstanding party
rivalries. The first challenge which the English received was
that of Lord Huntley, who proposed to the Protector to fight him
man to man, or with the assistance of ten knights on each side,
after the fashion of Horatii and Curiatii. Somerset smiled. "Tell
your master," he replied to the herald, "that it is a want of
judgment on his part to make such a proposal to me, who, by the
grace of God, am entrusted with so precious a jewel as the person
of a king and the protection of his kingdom." Warwick wished to
accept the challenge of Huntley, but the duke did not permit it.
"Let them come to us upon the field of battle," he said, "and
they shall have blows enough."

The Scots, eager to come to close quarters, committed the
imprudence of quitting the advantageous position which they
occupied, to advance and meet the enemy. The combat began by a
charge of Scottish cavalry, taken in flank as they were crossing
the bridge of the Esk, by a broadside from the English vessels
drawn up along the coast. The English had found time to take
possession of the hill upon which was situated St. Michael's
church; the fray soon became general. The English wavered at
first before the long lances of the Scots; but the ardour of the
latter led them so far forward in the pursuit that, in reforming,
they found themselves involved in the hostile ranks; the arrows
of the English archers who were drawn up on an eminence, thinned
the ranks of the Scottish men-at-arms; the firing from the
vessels was incessant; the knights at length moved and took to
flight.
{274}
The pursuit was vigorous and the massacre horrible; quarter was
given only to the great noblemen capable of paying a heavy
ransom; the Esk rolled down a shoal of corpses; eight thousand
Scots, it is said, remained upon the battle-field of Pinkey, as
it was called, from the name of a neighbouring mansion belonging
to the Douglases. The Earl of Huntley, Lord Yester, Lord Wemyss,
and several other persons of distinction were made prisoners.

For four days the victors continued their work of pillage at
Leith and in the environs. People expected to see them march upon
Edinburgh, but Somerset suddenly ordered a retreat, without any
one being able to explain, in Scotland, this unexpected
deliverance. Grave interests recalled him to the court of the
young king.

Lord Seymour, brother of the Protector, and Lord High Admiral of
England, was as ambitious as his elder brother, and more
courageous and enterprising; he had been deeply offended by the
unequal partition of the power, and during the absence of
Somerset he had laboured to establish his influence with the
little king. He married, in the month of June, 1547, Catherine
Parr, the widow of the king, who had always loved him, it was
said, notwithstanding the two other unions which she had
contracted, and finding himself thus brought nearer to the person
of the king, who often saw his step-mother, and being enriched by
the fortune which Catherine had amassed as queen of England, he
took care to win the good graces of Edward VI. by supplying him
with the funds which he wanted for pocket-money and charities,
liberalities which the Protector did not encourage.


[Image]
Death Of Anne Askew.


{275}

Seymour had also gained the favour of the household of the king,
by distributing many gifts among them. In the month of November,
1547, the admiral persuaded the young king to address a letter to
Parliament, demanding that the office of guardian of the royal
person should be conferred upon his uncle, Lord Seymour. The
project became known and steps were taken; the admiral was
threatened with the Tower, and a reconciliation was effected
between the two brothers; Seymour shortly afterwards received a
fresh dotation.

The ambition of the admiral could not be satisfied with money;
Catherine Parr had recently died in childbed, and the rumour was
circulated that she had been poisoned. Her husband had already
turned his views higher; he was paying his addresses to the
Princess Elizabeth, whose guardian he had completely gained over;
he did not aspire to a secret marriage, which, according to the
will of Henry VIII., would have impaired the right of succession,
but he patronized all the members of the council, endeavouring to
arouse among them sufficient disaffection to secure the approval
of his union with the princess. The Protector resolved to rid
himself of so dangerous a rival. The opportunity was propitious;
Sharington, the director of the mint at Bristol, was accused of
having enriched himself by means of numerous malversations.
{276}
The admiral defended him vigorously, but Sharington, to save his
life, suddenly betrayed his advocate; he stated that he had
promised to coin money for Lord Seymour, and that the latter
could count upon an army of ten thousand men, with whom he hoped
to change the aspect of the State. Less than this was needed to
send the Lord High Admiral to the Tower. His courage was not cast
down, and he demanded to be confronted with his accusers.
Somerset had been brought up in the school of Henry VIII.; he
knew how to use bills of attainder: the little king, terrified,
had abandoned his uncle Seymour; when the House of Commons made
some opposition, demanding that the accused should be heard, a
royal message silenced the objectors, and the bill was voted
without further difficulty; Lord Seymour was executed on the 20th
of March, 1549, protesting his innocence to the last. Two letters
had been seized, it was said, written from the Tower to the
Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, to incite them to jealousy towards
their brother. The Protector had given to the young king a
terrible example of cold barbarity, by being the first to sign
the death-warrant of his brother.

The war continued in Scotland, with alternations of successes and
reverses, but its principal aim, the marriage of King Edward VI.
with the little queen, had been thwarted by Henry II., king of
France, who destined her for the Dauphin. Parliament even
consented to send the child to France, there to receive her
education in safety. Mary of Guise remained in Scotland; but the
little queen, Mary Stuart, arrived at Brest in French vessels,
and was conducted to St. Germain-en-Laye, to be solemnly
betrothed to the Dauphin.
{277}
The warfare continued upon the frontiers, but the thoughts of the
government were elsewhere; a great popular insurrection, which
had taken its rise in the south, had gained the eastern counties;
a portion of England was in flames. Various causes had
contributed towards the insurrection; the alteration of the
currency under the reign of Henry VIII. had brought about an
excessive rise in the nominal price of commodities, but labour
was not remunerated in proportion; workmen were, on the contrary,
less employed and less paid than in the past. A great quantity of
arable land had been transformed into pasture-ground, in
consequence of a considerable increase in the price of wools. The
monasteries no longer took in intelligent peasants to make monks
of them; the monastic charities no longer relieved the misery of
the poor; the vast spaces belonging to the parishes, where the
villagers were wont to let their cattle graze, had been, by
degrees, swallowed up by the neighbouring proprietors, who had
enclosed all the waste lands, thus depriving the poor, at a time
of great distress, of a resource to which they were accustomed.
Vagrancy had increased in such a manner, that in the first year
of the reign of Edward VI. a barbarous law had been voted by
Parliament, delivering up to the first comer, in the capacity of
a slave, any individual without a fixed residence, sojourning for
three days in any place. Being declared a vagabond, he was to be
branded upon the chest with a red-hot iron; his master had the
right to compel him to work by every possible punishment; he
could chain him up, let him out to hire, or sell him; a veritable
slave-market being thus suddenly instituted for a few years in
that free England, which, three centuries later, was to be the
first to put its hand to work to destroy slavery in the whole
world.
{278}
These rigours did not suffice; the vagabonds were not the only
unhappy or exasperated persons; the religious feelings of the
Catholic populations were galled by the rapid progress of the
Reformation; the insurrection was so grave that the Protector,
always greedy of popularity, vainly endeavoured to appease it by
a hurried measure, forbidding the enclosure of all waste lands
accessable to the peasants, and ordering that they should
everywhere be restored to their former uses. This concession only
served to put arms in the hands of the peasantry, some to beat
down the fences, others to defend them; the government was
everywhere obliged to send troops. But for the auxiliaries raised
in Italy, Spain, and Germany, for the war with Scotland, the
Protector might have found himself much embarrassed.

The demands of the insurgents and the aim of the insurrection
were of a very different nature, according to the various parts
of the country in which they were found. The south almost
everywhere claimed the re-establishment of the old religion; the
men of Devonshire, at the head of whom marched Humphrey Arundel,
were secretly urged by the priests; they laid siege to Exeter,
and Lord Russell, badly provided with men and supplies, could not
effectually succour the town. The proclamations of the young king
in vain succeeded each other in answer to the inquisitions of the
insurgents.
{279}
Exeter was closely pressed for five weeks, and famine was already
in the city, when Lord Russell, having received troops and money,
at length defeated the rebels and caused the siege to be raised;
the insurrection was drowned in blood, and the soldiers ravaged
the country. Arundel and some of the chiefs were taken to London,
where they were executed.

The insurrection in Norfolk had a more political character; it
had begun in like manner by the question of the enclosures; a
tanner of Norwich, named Ket, had placed himself at the head of
the insurgents, and had established his camp upon a little
elevation called Moushold Hill, at the gates of Norwich. There,
surrounded by malcontents from the environs, to the number of
twenty thousand, it is said, he declaimed against the oppression
of the commoners by the nobles, and against the new religious
service, asserting that he had only taken arms with the object of
placing around the king honest councillors, favourable to the
wishes of the people. A first attack upon the rebels, directed by
the Marquis of Northampton, completely failed; they had been
allowed time to assemble: they pillaged at their ease in the
environs; then they gathered together again under the
_Reformation Tree_, as they called an oak in the centre of
their camp, bringing with them the noblemen whom they had made
prisoners. It was only on the 25th of August, when the disorder
had already lasted for nearly two months, that the Earl of
Warwick, detained several days in Norwich for want of men and
supplies, was able, on the arrival of some reinforcements, to
attack the camp of Ket. The rebels were completely defeated, and
the massacre was terrible.
{280}
Ket and his brother, being sent to London, to be tried, were
hanged, one from the belfry of Wymondham, the other in the
citadel of Norwich, and nine of the principal leaders were
suspended from the nine branches of the _Reformation Tree_.
The revolt in Norfolk was at an end, and the insurrection which
manifested itself shortly afterwards in Yorkshire having been
stifled, tranquillity was restored in the country; it was not so
at the court.

The checks which the policy as well as the arms of England had
suffered in Scotland, the progress of King Henry II. in all the
territory surrounding Calais and Boulogne, the proposals of
Somerset to the Emperor to deliver the latter town to him, had
slowly undermined the influence of the Protector, although he
still remained popular with the lower classes, who called him the
_good duke_; but the nobility were discontented, incensed at
the arrogant tone of the Duke of "Somerset by the grace of God,"
as he styled himself. Indignation was aroused at the palace which
he had raised in the Strand, at the cost of a church and three
episcopal dwellings, and public opinion began to award him a
rival, who, owing to the animosity of the former chancellor,
Wriothesley, had for a long time been destined to accomplish the
ruin of his enemy. Lord Warwick, equally ambitious, equally vain,
but more bold and enterprising than Somerset, had already
acquired a great military reputation, which was increased by his
recent services in Norfolk. The two rivals had nearly come to
blows in the month of October, 1549. Twenty members of the
council joined Warwick in London, and the Protector, who remained
at Hampton Court with the young king, began to assemble forces.


[Image]
Edward VI. Writing His Journal.


{281}

Edward VI. has related in his journal the negotiations between
the Protector and the malcontents, the alternations of resolution
and weakness of Somerset, the decision of the noblemen
congregated around Warwick. The overtures of the Protector,
though more and more moderate, were all rejected; the trouble of
answering him was no longer taken, when he at length convoked the
counsel at Windsor. All the nobility repaired thither, and
decreed without hesitation the arrest of Somerset; on the 14th of
October he was conducted to the Tower, accused of high treason,
and the young king was taken back to Hampton Court. Warwick was
henceforth master. Southampton had in vain hoped to share the
power with him; he was not even re-established in the office of
chancellor, and the earl, who had hitherto appeared to be in
favour of the Roman Catholic party, abandoned it completely to
turn towards the Reformers. The wind blew from this quarter, and
the principles of Warwick never impeded in anything the pursuit
of his interests.

The Duke of Somerset was, at first, treated gently; he had shrunk
from no humiliation in order to secure the mercy of the king, and
had confessed all that had been desired, upon his knees, before
the council. Deprived of all his offices, and smitten with a
heavy fine, he appeared to accept his downfall meekly, remaining
at court and behaving so modestly that he was again admitted into
the privy council. The eldest son of Warwick, Lord Lisle, even
married, on the 3rd of June, 1550, Lady Anne Seymour, the
daughter of the Duke of Somerset.
{282}
But secret intrigues increased every day; notwithstanding solemn
reconciliations, the hostility of the two rivals remained
unaltered. Warwick had taken the precaution of causing himself to
be nominated Warden of the Scottish frontiers, in order to cut
off the retreat towards the north of the Duke of Somerset, and
the latter contemplated raising a civil war; he was at the same
time ambitious of equalling him in rank, and caused himself to be
styled the Duke of Northumberland; his friend, the Marquis of
Dorset, became the Duke of Suffolk, and a few days after this
promotion it suddenly became known that the Duke of Somerset had
been arrested and conducted to the Tower, as guilty of conspiracy
and high treason; the duchess was also arrested as well as a
certain number of the friends of the duke.

The charges against Somerset were grave and numerous; he had
plotted, it was said, the assassination of the principal noblemen
of the council, Northumberland, Northampton, Pembroke, and
others; a revolt was at the same time to be fomented in London,
and the duke was to take possession of the person of the king.
This time the prisoner was publicly conducted to Westminster
Hall, to be tried by his peers, that is to say, by the
councillors of the king, whom he was accused of having intended
to assassinate; but he was not confronted with the witnesses
against him. The prosecutors contented themselves with reading
their depositions. He confessed the scheme of assassination with
regard to his powerful enemies, but he had abandoned it, he said,
and he absolutely denied any intention of rebellion or
insurrection. He was accordingly acquitted upon the count of
treason, but the count of felony was proved, and this sufficed to
ruin him.
{283}
The people, who thronged in the hall and the streets, did not
understand the sentence; the axe, which had been borne before him
as long as he was accused of high treason, had disappeared from
the retinue; they cried out that the _good duke_ had been
acquitted, and the favour of the population of London did not
incline Northumberland to show mercy. On the 22nd of January,
1552, six weeks after his condemnation, less than five years
after the day on which he had taken possession of the supreme
power, the former Protector of England was conducted to that
scaffold so often bathed in the most illustrious blood. He died
with more resolution than he had shown during his life; his young
nephew, convinced, it is said, of his crime, having made no
effort to show mercy. Somerset, no doubt, called to mind on Tower
Hill the brother whom he formerly condemned to the same fate.
Four of his friends were executed in like manner, protesting
their innocence. "Every time the Duke of Northumberland places
his head upon his pillow, he will find it wet with our blood,"
exclaimed Sir Ralph Vane, addressing the people. They listened in
silence, without much emotion; the nation was growing accustomed
to see the high nobility fall beneath the axe of the executioner
instead of perishing, as formerly, bravely, sword in hand, upon
the field of battle.

Boulogne had been definitively restored to France by a treaty of
peace in which Scotland was included; the seal of the new
alliance was to be the marriage of Edward VI.; but the health of
the young monarch had been declining for some months past, and
the ambitious Northumberland had already entered upon the
manœuvres which were destined to bring about his ruin.
{284}
He had married his fourth son, Lord Guildford Dudley, to Lady
Jane Grey, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, and
grand-daughter, by her mother's side, of Mary, formerly Queen of
France, and sister of Henry VIII.; he thus united his family to
the royal blood, while he caused his other children to contract
powerful alliances. His aim was no other than to exclude from the
succession to the throne the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, who
had never been reinstated in their birthright, for the benefit of
the Duchess of Suffolk, the mother of Lady Jane Grey, who was
disposed to renounce her rights in favour of her eldest daughter.
The duke counted upon being supported in his undertaking by the
Protestant party, uneasy, with just cause, at the probable
accession to the throne of Princess Mary. He urged the same
argument upon the young King Edward: it was, in truth, the only
one which could operate upon him. The dying youth had, naturally,
never played a political part; he even appears not to have taken
much interest in public life, but he was sincerely pious and
attached to the Protestant faith. The work of the Reformation had
been the great preoccupation of a mind of a precocious gravity,
and he had it in heart to protect the new religion after his
death; he knew himself to be in most precarious health, and he
consented without difficulty to the proposals which
Northumberland made to him upon this subject. Perhaps he thought,
moreover, that he had the right of using the same privilege as
his father had claimed of designating his successor to the
throne.
{285}
The poor lad did not perceive into what new troubles and dangers
he was about to plunge his kingdom by exposing it once more to
the misfortunes of a contested succession and the rivalries of a
powerful nobility.

Three social forces, meanwhile, had made immense progress in
England--regard for public order, the idea of the royal
legitimacy, and the spirit of the Reformation. This last power
which Northumberland thought to enroll in his service, had taught
men to govern themselves, to judge their own affairs freely and
rationally, and all the terrors of an ardently Roman Catholic
reign were unable to turn them aside from the path of justice.
United, the three motives frustrated the ambitious designs,--the
plots of the great nobles. Subsequently, in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, the same influences were destined to place
Protestantism in England on a settled basis. The reformed faith
had made rapid strides since the death of Henry VIII. The silent
struggle between the progressive and the retrogressive parties
had continued; Cranmer and Gardiner had continued to confront
each other, but Cranmer now had the upper hand. Gardiner had at
first been placed by Henry VIII. in the list of the privy
council, then his name had been effaced from it from motives of
prudence; the Archbishop of Canterbury had all the members of the
council at his disposal, with the exception of the Chancellor
Wriothesley and the Bishop of Durham, Tunstall. It has been seen
how Wriothesley was driven from power. Tunstall was relegated to
his diocese. Cranmer, therefore, found the coast clear, but he
was determined to proceed with more moderation, for fear of
arousing a fresh _pilgrimage of grace;_ he did not
completely succeed in averting the discontent which his
innovations caused among the populations remaining Catholic.

{286}

The first care of the archbishop was to establish in each diocese
_royal visitors_, half lay, half ecclesiastical. Wherever
they presented themselves, their authority was supreme; they
established in all churches the use of a selection of homilies
intended to be read every week, and composed, in great part, by
Cranmer; none could preach without the authorization of the
Protector or the Metropolitan. This prudent prohibition, intended
to favour the extension of the new doctrines, did not escape
attention; Gardiner immediately protested against the homilies
and the paraphrase of the New Testament by Erasmus, introduced
into the Church service in each parish. The reactionary bishop
demanded that neither the doctrine nor the practice established
by the late king should be interfered with until the majority of
the young Edward VI. The intervention of Gardiner was not
successful; he was arrested and held in prison during the
continuance of the Parliamentary session.

The property which the religious communities, churches and
colleges, yet possessed, had been placed at the disposal of the
king by Parliament, as a trust-fund for the endowment of schools
and livings. Cranmer opposed this fresh spoliation without
success, foreseeing that it would turn to the profit of the
courtiers; but the measures voted by the two Houses were of a
consoling nature; the law against the Lollards, the prohibition
against reading the Scriptures and the statutes of the six
articles of faith were revoked; marriage was allowed to the
clergy; communion of two kinds was granted to the faithful, and
soon the order was given for celebrating the service in the
English language, without any modification of the mass being yet
made in the text itself.


[Image]
The Corpse Passed Under Her Windows.

{287}

Such were the changes already accomplished a year after the death
of Henry VIII. The royal power had at the same time extended
itself and gathered strength; the election of the bishops had
been withdrawn from the deans and chapters, and made to depend
solely upon the king, and it was by a simple royal decree that
the bishops were invited to suppress in their dioceses certain
Catholic observances, while taking care to destroy all images
that might be extant. In the month of January, 1549, appeared the
great work which the Archbishop of Canterbury had been preparing
for some time, the catechism and the prayer book of the Church of
England. This latter production, skilfully composed by a
commission of bishops and theologians, had for a basis the
Catholic missals and breviaries which had been both deprived of
all that might clash with the Protestant faith, and carefully
adapted to the convictions and sentiments of the Catholics. It
was a work of conciliation effected with skill and with the most
praiseworthy intentions; but the archbishop did not deceive
himself regarding the repugnance which it encountered among the
population, and he took care to surround it with an efficatious
protection; from Whitsuntide, the use of any other book was
prohibited, for Divine service, under severe penalties. The
insurrections which shortly afterwards supervened, proved that
Cranmer had not been mistaken; the new service was especially the
object of the complaints of the rebels of Devonshire.
{288}
Cranmer soon perceived that it was necessary to attack those
prelates who were hostile to the innovations; they were numerous,
but the majority were timid and contented themselves with
proceeding slowly to adopt the reforms ordained by government;
some few were bolder; it was towards these that the efforts of
Cranmer were directed.

For two years past already, Gardiner had been confined in the
Tower, in consequence of a sermon declared to be seditious, and
had not been brought to trial. The Bishop of London, Bonner,
reprimanded for his want of zeal, was commissioned by the council
to preach at St. Paul's Cross; his text had been chosen, and all
the divisions of his discourse settled beforehand, when he
appeared before the crowd; he was to overwhelm with
ecclesiastical thunders the rebels of Devonshire and Norfolk, to
refer to the king and his religious authority, and to point out
that, the rights and power of the sovereign not depending upon
his age, King Edward VI. was as competent to decide questions of
faith as he could be in later years. Bonner completely omitted
this last point of the sermon, and was immediately summoned
before the council. He excused himself upon the ground of the
weakness of his memory, affirmed that he had lost his notes,
declaring at the same time that he was prosecuted not for a
trifling act of forgetfulness, but because he had firmly
maintained the Roman Catholic doctrine of the real presence.
Bonner was condemned, deprived of his see and sent to prison.
{289}
Ridley, bishop of Rochester, was summoned to London in his place;
but the bishopric was despoiled of a portion of its possessions,
as well as those which soon became vacant by successive
deprivations. The court profited by the conscientious obstinacy
of the bishops.

Gardiner was more skilful than Bonner, and quite as resolute; he
embarrassed his enemies by his self-possession and his
intellectual resources, and he refused to sign the formula of
submission which was presented to him, so long as he should
continue to be unjustly detained. He accumulated so many
evidences and called so many witnesses to prove the plot that had
long been hatching against him, that Cranmer cut short the
proceedings. Gardiner was deprived of his episcopal see, and,
like Bonner, he was detained in prison, as well as two other
prelates Heath and Day, Bishops of Worcester and Chichester. It
was at this period that the great Scottish reformer, John Knox,
being in London, preached before the king with so much talent and
vigour, that the primate was instrumental in offering him the
bishopric of Rochester, which had become vacant by the
translation of Poynet to Winchester, where he replaced Gardiner.
Knox declined, but the proposal shows upon what path the Church
of England, formerly so violent against the friends and partisans
of Knox had entered. Some ardent and reforming prelates, Ridley,
Latimer, Hooper, replaced the revoked bishops; the latter was so
profoundly imbued with Calvinistic principles, that much
difficulty was experienced in inducing him to accept the
consecration of the primate, and to clothe him in the sacerdotal
ornaments.

{290}

It was not enough to establish effectually the new system, or to
secure convinced and faithful ministers; it was necessary also to
firmly establish its doctrines. Towards the end of the year 1551,
the prelates had finished drawing up the articles of the national
faith; forty-two propositions contained the same principles as
the thirty-nine articles subsequently voted under Queen
Elizabeth, which still remain the rule of faith of the Church of
England. In the main, and under different forms, they come very
near to the doctrines of the reformation on the Continent,
inclining, sometimes towards Calvinism, sometimes towards
Lutheranism, but always resting firmly upon the Bible.

The resource of removing the bishops, had always been open to the
government when it had been found impossible to triumph over
their resistance, but it was more difficult to compel the
Princess Mary to practice the new worship. She had been warned,
by an order of the council on the occasion of the institution of
the prayer book, that the celebration of the mass would no longer
be permitted even in her private chapel; and for two years the
intercession of the Emperor in her favour remained ineffectual;
the chaplains of the princess were arrested, she was at length
summoned before the council, and the young king himself vainly
endeavoured to convince her. The Emperor at length declared that
he would wage war with England, rather than suffer his relative
to be constrained in her conscience; Cranmer counselled the young
king to temporise; but Edward VI. wept, lamented the obstinacy of
his sister and the obligation which he was under of allowing mass
to exist in any place in his kingdom.
{291}
The attempts were renewed with Mary several times; she remained
inflexible in her resolution. "If the chaplains cannot repeat
mass, I shall not hear it," she said; "but the new service shall
not be established in my house; if it were introduced there by
force, I would leave the place." "Matters remained thus," says
Burnet, "and I think that Lady Mary continued to have her priests
and to have masses said, so secretly that it could not be
complained of."

In truth, and notwithstanding the removal of the bishops and some
deplorable executions of poor heretics who attacked the very
foundations of Christianity, persecution was at a standstill
under the reign of Edward VI. In the new stage of the
Reformation, no Catholic suffered seriously for his attachment to
his faith.

The obstinacy of the Princess Mary had left a profound impression
upon the mind of the young king, and thus contributed, no doubt,
to the effect of the insinuations of Northumberland in favour of
a Protestant succession. Edward did not wish, however, to
compromise any of his councillors, and he drew up with his own
hand the project for a law which was to regulate the succession
to the throne; he then caused the judges to be summoned, with the
attorney and solicitor-general, to commission them to prepare the
act. They hesitated; the king peremptorily commanded them to
obey, and only reluctantly granted them time to examine the
precedents, in order to satisfy the desires of his Majesty.

{292}

When these officers returned they were still undecided, or rather
they had convinced themselves that the law required of them by
the sovereign would involve an act of treason both on the side of
the framers of the act and on that of the council. The king
insisted; the Duke of Northumberland, who was present, flew into
a passion; the lords of the council, to whom the judges expounded
their scruples, had been won over by the intrigues of the duke.
Cranmer, who had at first been opposed to the proceedings,
yielded to the solicitations of the young monarch; the measure
was resolved upon, and the act, prepared by the lawyers, was
sanctioned by the great seal as well as by the signatures of all
the members of the council. Northumberland had made an attempt to
take possession of the person of Mary; but she had been warned in
time, and far from responding to the summons in the name of the
king, her brother, she retired precipitately to her castle of
Kenninghall, in Norfolk. It was there that she soon learnt the
news of the death of Edward VI., who expired at Greenwich on the
6th of July, 1553, at the age of fifteen years and a half. The
time had come for a trial of the new basis upon which Cranmer had
sought to found the religion of the kingdom. The question whether
England was to be Catholic or Protestant was about to be decided.

{293}

                   Chapter XIX.

                   Persecution.
              Bloody Mary (1553-1558)


The Duke of Northumberland was more ambitious than able, and more
bold than skillful. In seeking to disturb the natural order of
succession he had undertaken a task beyond his strength; nor had
he appreciated the relative power of the two religions now
existing side by side; he thought the Catholics more weakened
than they were, and the Protestants more disposed to sacrifice
all for the accession of a Protestant sovereign than they showed
themselves to be; the project of taking possession of the two
princesses, Mary and Elizabeth, was thwarted from the first. The
death of the young king was kept secret, and an express was
despatched to the sisters to bring them to him. It was the second
time that Mary had been summoned, and notwithstanding her
repugnance, she had set out, when a note from the Earl of Arundel
warned her of the state of affairs; she immediately retraced her
steps, and shut herself up in her castle of Norfolk. Elizabeth
had also been warned in time. Northumberland henceforth had to
struggle against a rival, at liberty and fully aware of his
sinister designs.

{294}

Edward VI. had been dead three days, and precautions had been
taken in London when Lady Jane Grey, who had retired to Chelsea
during the last weeks of the life of the king, was recalled to
Sion House, the palace of her family. She was there alone on the
10th of July, 1553, occupied, it is said, in reading Plato in
Greek--for Lady Jane was as learned as she was gentle and
modest--when the arrival of the Duke of Northumberland, her
father-in-law, accompanied by several lords of the council, was
announced. Indifferent subjects were talked about; but the young
woman was troubled by the watchful looks and respectful tone of
her visitors, when her mother-in-law entered with the Duchess of
Suffolk. "The king, your cousin and our sovereign lord, has given
up his soul to God," said Northumberland; "but before his death,
and in order to preserve the kingdom from the infection of
Popery, he resolved to set aside his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth,
declared illegitimate by an act of Parliament, and he commanded
us to proclaim your Grace as queen and sovereign to succeed him."
At the same moment, the lords of the council prostrated
themselves before Lady Jane, vowing fidelity to her; she started
back a pace, uttered a loud cry, and fell to the floor. She was
young, timid, in delicate health, fond of retirement, and
addicted to serious studies; she protested, asserting that she
did not feel herself capable of governing. "But if the right is
mine," she said at length, raising her head with humble reliance,
"I hope that God will give me strength to bear the sceptre for
the glory and happiness of the people of England." She was
immediately conducted to the Tower, the usual residence of
sovereigns before their coronation; at the same time, the death
of King Edward VI. and the accession of Lady Jane Grey were
proclaimed in the streets and market-places, while the reason of
the exclusion of the princesses was explained.
{295}
The crowd listened in silence, without any tokens of
satisfaction, and the name of Mary was whispered among them. This
infringement of the ordinary rules of succession was evidently
viewed with no favour by the people of London.

In the country the movement was more vigorous. Mary had written
to the council, haughtily claiming her rights in a tone befitting
the sovereign power, and the lords had not yet replied to this
appeal, when a certain number of noblemen and gentlemen hastened
to join, their legitimate queen. The Catholics were not alone,
for Mary promised to change nothing in the laws and the religion
established by King Edward; she had a small army under her
orders, when the Duke of Northumberland, who had hesitated to
leave London, and the conspirators whom he held in some degree
captive decided at length to march against Mary, leaving the Duke
of Suffolk with his daughter to govern in her name. He had
scarcely issued forth from the capital, when the members of the
council crept out of the Tower under different pretexts, and met
at Castle Baynard, the residence of the Earl of Pembroke. The
Earl of Arundel was the first to announce his resolution of
passing over to Queen Mary. "If reasons do not suffice,"
exclaimed Lord Pembroke, "this sword shall make Mary queen, or I
will die in her cause!" All the nobles responded with
acclamation, and the Duke of Suffolk, who had rejoined his
colleagues, united his voice to theirs, thus basely abandoning
his daughter.
{296}
Mary was proclaimed in the streets of London, in the open places
where a week before the name of Lady Jane had resounded; at
Paul's Cross, where Bishop Ridley had preached on the preceding
Sunday in favour of the Protestant succession. This time the
people applauded, and the Catholics triumphed; the Protestants
had not learnt to connect religious principles with political
freedom, or did not foresee the evils which they were about to
suffer. On leaving London with his troops, Northumberland himself
had augured ill from the coldness of the populace. "They come to
see us pass," he said, "but nobody cries God bless you!" He was
at Cambridge when he learned of Mary's proclamation in London,
the defection of the members of the council, and that of the
forces which he had raised in the north and who had rallied round
Mary. Tears flowed down his cheeks when he repaired to the public
square of the city, and throwing his cap in the air, was the
first to proclaim Queen Mary. On the morrow he was arrested and
taken to the Tower, which Lady Jane had quitted to return to Sion
House as soon as Mary had been recognized by the council, but the
little queen of ten days had been arrested, as well as her
husband; the gloomy fortress began to be peopled by all the
actors in the drama of which this poor girl was to be the victim.
Mary advanced by short stages towards London, where she entered
on the 3rd of August amidst the joyful acclamations of the
populace; her sister, Elizabeth, came to meet her with a thousand
noblemen and gentlemen. The conduct of Elizabeth had been as
skillful as it was prudent, and worthy of the wise policy which
she was to practise upon the throne, and she was already indebted
for this to the counsels of the Secretary of State, Cecil.

{297}

When Northumberland had caused the accession of Lady Jane to be
announced to her, proposing land and riches in exchange for her
rights to the throne, Elizabeth replied that she had no rights to
renounce, since her older sister, the Princess Mary, was alive.
Then declaring herself ill, she awaited the event, knowing how to
forecast it to the exact extent in order to arrive before her
sister in London, muster her friends, and salute the new
sovereign upon her entry into the capital. During the five years
of the reign of her sister all the prudence of Cecil was required
for the service of the mistress whom he had chosen.

The first care of the queen was to repair to the Tower; the
prisoners awaited her, not those whom she had caused to be
detained there, but the old Duke of Norfolk, a captive for so
many years, the Duchess of Somerset, and Bishop Gardiner, who
delivered in the name of all a brief speech of welcome to the
sovereign whose accession restored them to liberty. Mary was
moved to tears. "You are my prisoners," she said, embracing them.
The Bishops Bonner and Tunstall were also delivered from their
long captivity; the latter was admitted into the council as well
as Gardiner, who soon became chancellor and prime minister. The
corpse of King Edward had scarcely been interred, and the public
obsequies celebrated according to the English rites, when already
the sermons at Paul's Cross changed their character. Bourn, canon
of St. Paul's, soon afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells, rose
against the innovations introduced into the Church under King
Edward, declaring against those who had kept Bonner, the
legitimate bishop of that diocese, for four years in prison.
{298}
The people were not accustomed to such tirades; the canon was
upon the point of being beaten to death; two reformed preachers,
who were shortly to seal their testimony with their lives,
Bradford and Rogers, had great difficulty in conducting him back
to his residence in safety.

Queen Mary had been a fortnight in London, but six weeks only had
elapsed since the death of Edward VI., when the Duke of
Northumberland, his eldest son, the Earl of Warwick, and the
Marquis of Northampton appeared before the council as prisoners
charged with high treason. The crime was manifest, but the judges
assembled to condemn the guilty men were implicated in it like
themselves. Northumberland tried to shelter himself behind the
members of the council, who had all signed the edict emanating
from the personal will of the deceased king; the councillors
maintained that they had obeyed under the penalty of their own
lives; the Duke of Norfolk, who had but just escaped from the
Tower, presided over the court; Cranmer and the Duke of Suffolk
signed the sentence. All the base acts of Northumberland could
not save his head; in vain did he ask to confer with the doctors
sent by the Queen in order to enlighten his conscience; the only
favor granted him was that of being simply beheaded. The Earl of
Warwick behaved with more self-respect; four secondary
accomplices were condemned with the three great noblemen; but
Northumberland, Sir John Gates, and Sir Thomas Palmer alone
suffered their sentence. They died on Tower Hill on the 22nd of
August; the duke was interred in the chapel of the Tower, beside
the Duke of Somerset, his former victim; on his right and left
reposed the remains of Anne Boleyn and Catharine Howard.
{299}
The queen was urged to rid herself also of Lady Jane Grey and her
husband; but she called to mind the youth of the poor little
usurper, saying that she had been but a tool in the hands of her
father-in-law. Mary contented herself by detaining her at the
Tower.

The Catholic party was triumphant; the Emperor Charles V.
recommended prudence, advising that some few dangerous enemies be
struck down, but that the new religion should not be touched,
trusting to time the care of modifying errors, and taking care
not to plunge the people into despair by too much severity. This
wise policy agreed neither with the fervent convictions of Mary
nor with the firmness of her character, embittered by long
misfortunes, by reiterated acts of injustice and by shattered
health. "God has protected me in all my misfortunes," she said,
"it is in Him that I confide. I will not testify my gratitude
slowly, in secret, but at once and openly." The public
declaration promised to molest none of her subjects for religion;
but mass had already been re-established in the principal
churches in London, Cranmer and Latimer were sent to the Tower,
and the Princess Elizabeth, prudently bowing her head before the
storm, had renounced the practice of the Protestant worship to
return to the Catholic faith, of which she always preserved some
remains at the bottom of her heart; she accompanied her sister to
mass, had a chapel established in her residence, and devoted a
portion of her time to the embroidering of church ornaments.
{300}
Mary was crowned on the first of October at Westminister, by the
hands of Gardiner. Five days afterwards Parliament assembled; a
month had scarcely elapsed when the edifice raised with so much
care by Cranmer and the English Protestants was falling in its
entirety; matters had returned to the point at which Henry VIII.
had left them: the prayer-book was set aside, the service in the
vernacular tongue abolished, the marriage of priests and
communion of the two kinds prohibited; the Bishops who were
married, or were in favor of the reformed doctrines were deprived
of their sees, while the marriage of Henry VIII. and Catharine
was alone declared valid. The queen did not, however, renounce
the title of chief of the Church; she did not wish to alarm the
Protestants by placing them at the outset, under the yoke of
Rome, and above all she avoided touching upon the question of the
restitution of the property of the clergy, which would have
raised all the House of Lords against the new form of government.
The queen contented herself by setting the example by taking
measures to restore to the Church all the estates annexed to the
crown. Being reassured by this indulgence. Parliament voted all
that was demanded, and destroyed all that it had formerly
established; the convocation of the clergy returned in a mass to
the old practices; the priests who had sincerely embraced the
Protestant faith and who refused to repeat mass were replaced
without difficulty by the monks who were everywhere issuing forth
from their hiding-places. The prisons were soon filled by the
refractory; those who were not prisoners were able to go about
begging along the high roads with their wives and children; a
certain number fled abroad.
{301}
Violent persecution had not yet commenced; Cranmer was acquitted
upon the count of treason, but he was sent back to the Tower as a
heretic. The sentence of death pronounced against Lady Jane Gray
and her husband was not put into execution; the captives even
enjoyed a kind of liberty in their prison. Queen Mary was
occupied in a more important matter; although now thirty-seven
years of age, moved by the solicitations of her councillors, she
thought of marriage.

Many illustrious alliances for the Princess Mary had been
contracted and broken off in succession; when she was yet in her
cradle, the Emperor, the King of France, and the dauphin had each
in turn aspired to her hand; but it was whispered at the court
that the queen experienced some liking for Lord Edward Courtenay,
son of the Marquis of Exeter, executed in 1538; scarcely had she
released that handsome young man from the Tower, when she
conferred on him the title of Earl of Devonshire, with all the
confiscated estates of his father, and it was asserted that her
favours did not stop there. Edward Courtenay did not know how to
take advantage of fortune; he was thoughtless and a debauchee;
his convictions did not incline to the side of Roman Catholicism,
and he preferred, it was said, the society of the Princess
Elizabeth to that of her royal sister. The queen manifested much
coldness towards the princess, who retired to her residence at
Ashridge in Buckinghamshire, closely watched by two agents of the
court.
{302}
A union with Cardinal Pole, a cousin of the queen, and who was
not in orders, was also spoken of; but he was fifty-three years
of age, he was living in retirement by the Lake of Garda; and,
although there was a project at that time at Rome for sending him
as a legate to England, the Emperor increased the obstacles to
his departure, in order to have time to accomplish an undertaking
which he had greatly at heart and which the presence of Pole
might have hindered.

Queen Mary had learnt during her misfortunes to depend upon
Charles V., who had never failed her: since she had been upon the
throne she had taken his advice in all her affairs; the Emperor
took advantage of this circumstance to ask her for her hand in
favor of his son, the Arch-duke Philip, soon afterwards Philip
II., who had recently lost his wife, Isabella of Portugal. The
foreign powers, and especially France, seconded by the
ambassadors of Venice, dreaded this union, which was calculated
to cause the balance in Europe to incline against them; their
opposition was favored by a powerful party in the very bosom of
the council; Gardiner was at its head. He vigorously represented
to the queen the aversion which the English had always
experienced towards foreign sovereigns, the discontent which the
haughtiness of Philip had aroused among his own subjects, the
continual hostilities with France which must result from this
marriage, the anger and uneasiness of the reformed party. The
Commons even presented an address praying the queen to choose her
husband from among the distinguished men of her kingdom.


[Image]
Mary Vows To Marry Philip II.


{303}

Courtenay was the soul of all the intrigues, encouraged and
nourished by the French ambassador, M. de Noailles; but this
opposition only aroused the obstinacy of Mary; she was a worthy
daughter of Henry VIII., and on the very day on which the Houses
had manifested their aversion to a foreign prince, she caused the
Spanish ambassador to come to her private chapel; there throwing
herself on her knees before the altar, she took God to witness
that she plighted her troth to Philip, Prince of Spain, to belong
to him and no other as long as she should live. The marriage
treaty was communicated to Parliament on the 14th of January,
1554; the Emperor was very accommodating in the conditions,
counting, no doubt, upon the influence which Philip might acquire
over his wife. The queen was to remain sole mistress of the
government in England, without any foreigner being able to
participate in the offices or dignities; Burgundy and the Low
Countries were secured to her children, and in the advent of Don
Carlos, the son of the first marriage of Philip, happening to
die, all the possessions of the crown of Spain were to devolve on
the posterity of Mary. Gardiner himself unfolded before the two
Houses and the burgesses of the City all the advantages of this
alliance which he had so ardently opposed.

The arguments of the chancellor did not convince the country.
Conspirators were encouraged by the promises of France; projects
were various: some wished to place Elizabeth upon the throne
while giving her Courtenay for a husband; others counted upon
releasing Lady Jane Grey and proclaiming her again. They appeared
to have determined on this project, when, on the 20th of January,
the queen learnt that Sir Peter Carew had taken arms in
Devonshire, resolved to oppose the disembarcation of Phillip; he
had already taken possession of the city and citadel of Exeter.
{304}
Almost at the same time it was discovered that Sir Thomas Wyatt
was inciting the population of Kent to rebellion. He was a
Catholic, and had distinguished himself at the siege of Boulogne,
but he had conceived the most violent horror of Spain, and he
appears to have been disposed to support the claims of the
Princess Elizabeth, for he had refused, from the first, to enter
into the plot in favour of Lady Jane Grey. In London the terror
was extreme; the guards at the gates were doubled; the Duke of
Suffolk, whom Mary had pardoned, took refuge in Warwickshire, and
loudly protesting against the marriage of the queen, he called
the population to arms without much effect. The boldest as well
as the most popular of the conspirators was Wyatt, who held the
city of Rochester, against which place the old Duke of Norfolk
was advancing with Lord Arundel. As the Duke was ordering the
assault, five hundred men of the London train-bands, whom he had
brought with him, suddenly stopped at the entrance of the bridge,
and the captain addressing them said, "My masters, we are going
to fight against our fellow-citizens and friends in an unjust
quarrel: they have assembled here to resist the evils which would
fall upon us if we were subject to the proud Spaniard, and I know
not who is the Englishman who could say nay to them." The
train-bands immediately began to cry, "Wyatt! Wyatt!" at the same
time turning their field-pieces against the royalist troops. The
Duke of Norfolk was compelled to retire in haste, and his return
spread terror in London.
{305}
The queen alone remained firm, repairing with her ladies to the
City protesting to the Lord Mayor, the aldermen, and burgesses,
that she only wished to be married in a manner honourable and
advantageous for her kingdom; that nothing compelled her to marry
since she had delayed so long, and that she counted upon her good
subjects to help her subjugate the rebels. On this same day she
learnt that the Duke of Suffolk and Sir Peter Carew had been
defeated in the inland shires and in the West. A full amnesty was
promised to all the insurgents of Kent, the noblemen excepted; a
price was set upon the head of Sir Thomas Wyatt. He had delayed
in his march, but on the 3rd of February he entered the suburb of
Southwark with considerable forces without doing any damage,
except in the residence of Bishop Gardiner, which was pillaged.
Wyatt had counted upon the good will of the inhabitants of
London, but the gates of the City remained closed, and the
population of Southwark, who had received him well, soon begged
him to retire. When the cannon of the Tower began to roar, and
the cannon-balls to rain upon the bridge and the two churches
fortified by Wyatt, the insurgents directed their efforts to
another point, and contrived to cross the river at Kingston; but
Lord Pembroke awaited them at the head of the royal troops, and
when Wyatt, with a handful of brave men, had opened up a passage
for himself, the ranks closed behind him; he found himself seized
in the streets. The citizens did not rise in his favour, as he
had hoped; he defended himself bravely, but, overwhelmed by
numbers, was captured and sent to the Tower; a great many of his
followers were taken and hanged. The insurrection had miscarried.

{306}

The courage of Queen Mary had not belied itself for one moment;
while her terrified courtiers were hastening to bring the
grievous news she shamed them for their terrors, asserting that
she would herself enter into a campaign to support the justice of
her quarrel, and die with those who served her rather than yield
an inch to a traitor like Wyatt; but she had already caused her
anger to be felt by those whom she suspected of having taken part
in the plot. Three of her councillors had by her orders arrived
at Ashridge, where they found Elizabeth in bed. It was late, and
the emissaries insisted upon entering the residence of the
Princess. "Is the haste such that it might not have pleased you
to come to-morrow in the morning?" she asked haughtily. "We are
right sorry to see your grace in such a case," said the
councillors. "And I," replied Elizabeth, "am not glad to see you
here at this time of night." It was necessary, however, to give
way and get into the litter which the queen had sent; Mary wished
to see her sister, "dead or alive," she said. The house was
surrounded by soldiers, they set out; the journey was slow;
Elizabeth dreaded the arrival in London; some few noblemen who
came to meet her reassured her; she learnt, however, that
Courtenay had been sent to the Tower. She had not yet seen the
queen when she was informed of the sad fate of Lady Jane Grey.

{307}

The insurrection had scarcely been stamped out and Wyatt made a
prisoner, when Mary signed the order to execute Lady Jane and her
husband, both of whom had been condemned to death several months
before. The royal clemency had allowed a last interview between
husband and wife, but Lady Jane refused the favour. "I shall see
him again shortly," she said. She saw him, in effect, before the
eternal reunion, but dead and mutilated; the corpse passed under
her windows, on the return from Tower Hill. A few hours later, on
the 12th of February, 1554, Jane in her turn mounted the
scaffold, within the precincts of the Tower, after having firmly
repelled the Dean of St. Paul's who pursued her with his
arguments in favour of the Roman Catholic religion. She died in
the faith which she had embraced in her infancy, serene and
grave, without a complaint or a tear, simply avowing to the few
spectators of her ordeal, that she deserved death for having
consented, although with regret, to serve as an instrument to the
ambition of others. She implored the mercy of God and delivered
herself up into the hands of the executioner, moving all hearts
by her constancy and and meekness. Her father was beheaded on
Tower Hill, several days later, without arousing the compassion
of any one. Passing from one treacherous act to another, he had
at length found himself on the scaffold. Executions succeeded
each other without intermission. To the last moment Sir Thomas
Wyatt maintained that the Princess Elizabeth had been ignorant of
all his projects. The jury had the courage to acquit Sir Nicholas
Throgmorton, a devoted friend of the princess, compromised in the
conspiracy; the verdict saved his life, but this unusual
independence was to be dearly paid for by the jurymen: they were
all sent to prison, and only regained their liberty after a long
captivity, and upon the payment of a fine.
{308}
Meanwhile, appearances were unfavourable to Elizabeth; she had in
vain solicited an audience of her sister, and finally wrote to
her, absolutely disclaiming all complicity in the insurrection
and denying the correspondence which she was accused of having
carried on with the King of France. The order was nevertheless
given to conduct her to the Tower, and on Palm Sunday, while the
population of London thronged the churches, the princess
conducted by Lord Sidney, was brought by the Thames to the
Traitor's Gate. She refused at first to alight; then, as one of
the guards offered her his hand, she repelled him abruptly, and
placing her foot upon the gloomy stairs, she exclaimed, "Here
landeth as true a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed at
these stairs; and before Thee, O God, I speak it, having none
other friend but Thee above." She sat down for a moment upon the
stone; the lieutenant of the Tower begged her to take shelter
from the cold and rain: "Better sitting here than in a worse
place," she said, "for God knoweth whither you bring me." She
entered, however, and found herself within the walls of a prison,
fearing in the recesses of her soul the fate of her mother; and
soon afterwards she was still more terrified, when a new
governor, Sir Henry Beddingfield, was nominated to the Tower. He
had the reputation of being harsh and cruel, and, several times
Elizabeth asked the guards whether the scaffold of Lady Jane had
been removed, expecting to ascend it in her turn. On the 19th of
May, however, Elizabeth was taken to Richmond, and thence to
Woodstock, where she remained, closely watched by Sir Henry
Beddingfield, while Courtenay was removed to Fotheringay.
{309}
The arrival of Prince Philip was now expected, and the
preparation for the marriage occupied all minds whether satisfied
or discontented. The population of London daily manifested its
aversion to the Spanish alliance and its attachment to the
doctrines of the Reformation; the queen's preachers began to look
upon the pulpit erected at Paul's Cross as a dangerous spot. One
of them, Doctor Pendleton, received a shot there, from which he
narrowly escaped death. The use of arms was thereafter
prohibited.

The manœuvres of the Emperor had succeeded; his confidential
ambassador, Renard, had prevailed over the intrigues of Noailles;
Philip arrived in England with the title of King of Naples,
Charles V. was unwilling, he said, that so great a queen should
unite herself to a simple prince: the marriage was celebrated
with great pomp, on the 25th of July, 1554; but the royal
bridegroom had taken care to surround himself with troops at the
moment of his landing, one of his emissaries, Count Egmont,
having been assailed shortly before by the people, who mistook
him for his master. The first care of the Houses of Parliament
when they assembled on the 1st of November, was to increase the
precautions against the Spanish influence in the councils of the
queen: all the liberality of Philip, who had brought a quantity
of money from Spain, could not lull a distrust, which on the
other hand was nourished by the haughtiness of his manners and
the rigid etiquette with which he surrounded himself.

{310}

The first Parliament convoked by Mary had voted the
re-establishment of the Roman Catholic worship; the second had
adopted the treaty of marriage; the third was summoned to declare
the reunion with Rome; but the interests of the House of Lords
were opposed to this measure. Before repealing the act of
supremacy, the Lords, enriched by the spoliation of the
monasteries, required guarantees from the court of Rome; the Pope
gave them, through the mouth of Cardinal Pole, who had arrived in
England as legate; Parliament then became submissive, and
presented a petition to the king, queen and cardinal, begging
them to intercede with the Holy Father to obtain the pardon of
the English people and their reconciliation with the Holy See.
Pole was furnished with the necessary powers, and he pronounced
the absolution. The work of Henry VIII. as well as that of Edward
VI. was destroyed; and the conscience of Queen Mary was able to
rest in peace. Parliament thought to have done enough; but Mary
desired to feel her way towards securing the royal crown to her
husband, but she encountered so much ill-feeling that she was
obliged to renounce her project; the commons also refused the
subsidies which she had caused the Emperor and his son to expect,
as an assistance in prosecuting the war with France. Philip in
vain endeavoured to win a little popularity by interceding with
the queen in favour of the prisoners of state detained at the
Tower. Several were restored to liberty. Courtenay received
permission to travel upon the Continent, and the Princess
Elizabeth reappeared at court, but she did not long remain there;
her position was difficult; she was constantly watched by jealous
eyes; when she returned, however, to her residence at Ampthill,
the queen began to look upon her sister with less uneasiness, for
she was now expecting an heir to the throne.

{311}

The year 1555 opened under sinister auspices for the Reformed
Church; the laws against heretics had been put in force again,
and on the first day in January the Bishop of London, Bonner,
followed by a great procession, repaired to St. Paul's, to return
thanks to God for the light with which He had once more illumined
the sovereign of the nation. A court commissioned to try heretics
was soon formed. The prisons were filled with the accused; the
first who was summoned belonged to the clergy of St. Paul's;
Gardiner presided over the tribunal. "Did you not pray for twenty
years against the Pope?" cried the prisoner, driven to
extremities by the questions of his judge. "I was cruelly forced
to it," replied the bishop. "Why, then, do you wish to make use
of the same cruelty towards us?" asked Rogers; but this simple
notion of liberty of conscience had not yet penetrated into the
most enlightened minds, Catholic or Protestant; each party, in
turn, had recourse to force, to aid what it looked upon as the
truth, to triumph, and William of Orange, loudly proclaiming
toleration towards the Catholics in a country which he was
snatching from the horrors of the inquisition, drew down upon
himself the censure of his Protestant friends. Rogers was
condemned to be burned, and was refused the consolation of saying
farewell to his wife. She was at the foot of the stake with her
eleven children, the youngest at her breast, encouraging her
husband until the last moment. He died worthy of her, augmenting
by his firmness the long series of martyrs of the Reformed faith
with whom the fanaticism of Mary was about to enrich the Church.
Executions succeeded each other.
{312}
Hooper, the dispossessed bishop of Gloucester, an eloquent and
austere divine, and Robert Ferrar, bishop of St. David's, were
burned in their former dioceses. Condemnations and executions
increased every day. Gardiner, weary of so many horrors, had
ceased to preside over the court commissioned to try heretics,
and the zeal of Bonner himself did not suffice to satisfy Philip
and Mary. Cardinal Pole in vain endeavoured to moderate the
persecuting ardour of the queen; the gentleness of his character
and the experience which he had acquired in Germany, equally
rendered him averse to executions as a means of conversion; but
the conscience of Mary was pledged to the work; she desired to
make England Roman Catholic; and, notwithstanding the terror of
some, the hesitation of others, and the servility of a great
number, she, day by day, found her task greater and more
difficult; it was not the moment for relaxing her efforts.

Upon the accession of Mary, the relative strength of the two
religions was about equal in her kingdom, although irregularly
divided according to localities. The Protestants were numerous in
nearly all the towns; the Catholics remained powerful in the
north; but great influences were struggling against the royal
authority, passionately engaged, as it was, in the struggle; the
great noblemen were imperfectly assured of the security of their
possessions, notwithstanding all the protestations and promises
of the Pope.
{313}
The Protestant faith had taken firm hold upon a great number of
souls among the clergy and the people. The ranks of the nobility
did not furnish any religious martyrs, but the uneasiness which
their temporal interests caused them contributed to keep up the
agitation which produced so many political victims, and the
masses of the people sealed their convictions with their blood.
Two bishops and a great number of priests had already perished at
the stake, in company with a host of unknown and obscure martyrs.
The most illustrious witnesses of persecuted Protestantism were
still captives; two bishops and an archbishop, all three
celebrated for their eloquence and the part which they had played
in the past, Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer, had been conducted to
Oxford, in the month of March, 1554, there to argue in public
with the Catholic doctors; all three had boldly maintained their
opinions, and all three had been declared obstinate heretics.
They had been awaiting their sentence for eighteen months, when,
on the 12th of September, 1555, the royal commissioners arrived
at Oxford. In his capacity of former Primate of England, Cranmer,
a prisoner, was summoned to appear in Rome within eighty days,
according to the forms of the canon law. Ridley and Latimer were
condemned to die forthwith. A learned Spanish theologian was,
however, despatched to them to enlighten them upon their errors.
Latimer refused to see him, Ridley combated all his arguments; he
was learned, eloquent, admirably versed in the Holy Scriptures,
and it was he who had maintained the discussions with the
Catholic doctors, with the most brilliant results. The day for
argument had gone by, that of martyrdom was arriving.
{314}
On the 16th of October, 1555, the two prelates were conducted to
the stake prepared for them near Baliol College, where the
monument now stands which commemorates their execution. Latimer
was old and worn out; he walked with difficulty. Ridley, who had
preceded him, ran to meet him and embraced him "Be of good heart,
brother," he said, "for God will either assuage the fury of the
flame or strengthen us to bear it." The old man smiled, suffering
himself to be stripped by the guards; Ridley divested himself of
his clothing, which he distributed among the bystanders. When
both were clothed in their shrouds and fastened back to back at
the stake, the old bishop drew himself up, as though suddenly
endowed with that superhuman strength which his companion in
punishment had promised to him. "Be of good comfort, Master
Ridley!" he cried, "and play the man, and we shall see this day
light such a candle by God's grace in England as I trust shall
never be put out." The flames immediately suffocated him, but
Ridley suffered for a long time. One of the bystanders at length
had the charity to stir the embers, and the bag of gunpowder
which had been attached to the necks of the victims having
ignited, Ridley died by the explosion, while the prophetic words
of old Latimer still resounded in every ear. England has remained
illumined by the candle thus lighted by the martyrs of the
sixteenth century.

{315}

Gardiner died on the 12th of November, and the queen confided the
seals to the Archbishop of York, Heath, a prelate more zealous
than his predecessor in the persecution of heretics, but less
skilful and prudent in the conduct of public affairs. Upon the
assembling of Parliament, Mary touched a tender chord; she asked
for authority to restore to the Holy See the first-fruits and
tithes, annexed under the reign of her father to the crown. "I
set more value upon the salvation of my soul," she said, "than
upon the possession of ten kingdoms such as England." The Houses
did not oppose the salvation of the soul of the sovereign, but
they trembled to see her lay hands upon _their_ property,
and the subsidies rendered necessary by the decrease in the royal
revenues which the return of the annats to the court of Rome
involved, were voted with ill-humor, and not without objections.
The queen was obliged to have recourse to many vexatious courses
in order to procure the money which her husband constantly
demanded of her, thus increasing every day, the unpopularity of
the Spaniards in the kingdom. All the English detested Philip.
Mary alone loved him, with the sad tenderness of an unrequited
affection. The king was almost always away from his wife, and
only replied to her constant letters when he demanded of her the
sums which he needed to maintain the wars with France. It was in
vain that English prudence stipulated that peace should be
maintained between France and England. What could laws effect
against the devotion of the queen for her husband?

The weakness and timidity of Cranmer, deprived of the firm
example of his companions in captivity, had been counted upon
with good reason. The eighty days had elapsed, and the Primate,
not having appeared at Rome, was declared guilty, degraded from
his holy office, and delivered up to the secular power.
{316}
Then began the attempts at conversion. The prisoner was
transferred to the house of the Dean of Christchurch, where
indulgences were lavished upon him. It was represented to him
that he was still in the prime of life, healthy and vigorous; why
should he be obstinate in his errors and die like Latimer, who
had only renounced a few years of a miserable existence? The
unhappy archbishop suffered himself to be gained over, and signed
six abjurations in succession, adding each time something to his
shame. At the termination of these humiliations, at the moment
when he at length thought to have purchased his liberty, it was
announced to him that penitence did not absolve from punishment,
that his return to the bosom of the Church insured, indeed,
eternal life to him, but could not save him from the stake, and
he was condemned to die on the 21st of March. In view of this
perfidy, which deprived him of the fruits of all his acts of
cowardice, Cranmer at length saw the extent of his mistake, and
from the platform upon which he was placed, read to the people
his last confession, boldly rejecting the Papal authority and the
doctrines which he had recognized a few days previously,
protesting his attachment to the Reformed faith, and his
resolution to die faithful to it. At the same time he humbled
himself before God and men for the base fear of death which had
led him to belie the truth and his conscience. The agitation
among the people was great; something totally different had been
expected. "Recall your senses," said Lord Williams, "and show
yourself to be a Christian." "That is what I am doing: at this
moment," replied Cranmer; "it is too late to dissemble, I must
come to the truth."
{317}
When he was conducted to the stake, before the flames reached
him, he plunged his right hand into the raging fire to punish it
for having signed the abjuration. "That is the one which has
sinned," he exclaimed. Motionless in the midst of the flames, he
appealed neither to the mercy nor the justice of men. "Lord
Jesus, receive my spirit," he cried, and expired. The impression
produced by his execution was immense; he had redeemed, by his
firm courage at the stake, all the vacillations and
inconsistencies of his life, and his executioners had placed upon
him the seal of glory as the Reformer of the Church of England,
by employing against him a base act of perfidy somewhat rare in
the annals of the persecutions under Mary. Those who recanted
sometimes died of remorse, like the diplomatist Sir John Cheke;
they were rarely dragged to the stake. Cardinal Pole was
immediately nominated Archbishop of Canterbury; but his counsels
were unable to arrest the persecutions, stimulated by the violent
zeal of Pope Paul IV., recently elevated to the pontifical
throne. Eighty-four persons perished that year by the flames. Nor
did the living only suffer condemnation; the bones of Martin
Bucer, who had died in England, whither he had been summoned by
Cranmer during the reign of Edward VI., were disinterred and
publicly burned. The body of the wife of Pierce., the martyr,
suffered the same outrage; after her grave had been first
desecrated she was buried in a dunghill. The reign of Mary lasted
but five years; but in this short space of time two hundred and
eighty-eight persons were legally condemned to execution on
account of religion, and it would be impossible to enumerate the
obscurer martyrs who died of hunger or suffering in the prisons.
{318}
The greater part of the victims belonged to the middle classes
and the people; it was in those ranks that the most faithful
attachment to the doctrines of the Reformation was manifested.
The great enriched by by the spoliation and governmental reform
of King Henry VIII., took no care but for their property. The
poor defended their precious convictions by dying for them.
Secret discontent was great even among the Roman Catholic
population; the Spaniards were detested; crimes increased.
Notwithstanding the stern repression which they had suffered
under Henry VIII.,--seventy-two thousand murderers, thieves, or
vagabonds, had, it is said, perished upon the gallows during his
long reign,--the executioners of Queen Mary also had much to do;
several times men of good birth, who had degraded themselves to
the profession of highwaymen, were detected and seized. Certain
parts of the kingdom were secretly agitated, and it was amidst
this general uneasiness that Philip, who had become King of Spain
in 1556, through the abdication of the Emperor Charles V., at
length contrived to involve his wife and England in his quarrels
with France.

The personal influence of Philip over Queen Mary was alone able
to obtain this concession; the king was aware of this, and he
arrived in England in the month of March, determined to recruit
his armies with English forces. The whole of the council of Mary,
with Cardinal Pole at their head, at first opposed the measure;
in vain did Philip threaten to
leave her for ever.
{319}
The ministers of the queen appealed to the marriage contract,
affirming that England would find herself reduced to the state of
a vassal if she allowed herself to be dragged at the heels of
Spain into a war of no interest to her. An enterprise attempted
by an English refugee in France, Thomas Stafford, who crossed the
British Channel with some few troops, and took the castle of
Scarboro by surprise, happened to second the solicitations of
Philip II. Being made a prisoner, Stafford asserted that the King
of France, Henry II., had encouraged him in his attempt, and the
queen eagerly seized this pretext to satisfy the wishes of her
husband by declaring war with France. When Philip quitted
England, upon the 6th of July, 1557, never to return, he was
shortly afterwards followed to Saint-Quentin, by a thousand
English knights and six thousand foot-soldiers, commanded by the
Earl of Pembroke. Queen Mary had great difficulty in raising this
small corps; for the first time, perhaps, war with France was not
popular in England.

It was destined soon to become still less popular,
notwithstanding the successes of the King of Spain in France. The
capture of Saint-Quentin, and the fear of seeing the victorious
army advance against Paris, recalled the Duke of Guise from
Italy, where he had threatened the territories of Philip; the
latter took up his winter-quarters in Flanders, when the French
general laid siege to Calais. The Spaniards had foreseen the
danger and proposed to strengthen the garrison, but the council
of England had jealously rejected this offer; they were preparing
to send reinforcements.
{320}
Meanwhile, the French had appeared before Calais, on the 1st of
January, 1558; on the 8th, after a skilful and bold attack upon
the ramparts, the town capitulated and the garrison issued forth
with their arms and baggage, while the English troops were
waiting at Dover until the state of the sea should permit them to
proceed to the assistance of their fellow-countrymen. On the
20th, Guisnes succumbed in its turn, and the English lost the
last foot of ground which they possessed in France. Calais had
been in their hands two hundred and eleven years, and the loss of
it was bitterly painful to the queen and the people. Parliament
immediately voted subsidies for prosecuting the war more
vigorously. The Dauphin, subsequently Francis II., had recently
married the young Queen of Scotland (April 24th, 1558), and the
Scotch took up arms upon the frontiers, thus associating
themselves with the quarrel of their sovereigns, by one of those
aggressions towards which they were always disposed. They
refused, however, to formally declare war with England, as they
were urged to do by Mary of Guise, the regent of Scotland in the
name of her daughter. The English fleet, under the orders of Lord
Clinton, ravaged the coast of Brittany without much result; but a
small squadron of ten vessels contributed to the victory of
Gravelines by ascending the Aa, as Egmont was beginning the
combat, and opening fire upon the right wing of the French. The
Marshal de Termes, and a great number of French noblemen were
made prisoners in this battle, which cost France dearly, yet
brought nothing to England but a little glory in the wake of the
Flemish general.

{321}

Meanwhile, Mary had been taken ill; she had seen her deceitful
hopes of issue fade away, and the eyes of all turned towards the
prudent Elizabeth, in retirement at her house at Hatfield. She
professed a minute attachment to the practices of Roman
Catholicism, following, in that matter, without difficulty, the
counsels of her politic adviser, Cecil. She had refused the
proposals of marriage which had been made to her by several
princes, among others by the Duke of Savoy, and the Duke Eric of
Sweden. Philip II. would have been glad to rid himself of his
sister-in-law by causing her to marry, but Elizabeth contrived to
thwart his projects without offending her sister, who ordinarily
adopted all the wishes of her husband. She replied to the
emissaries of the King of Sweden, who had addressed themselves
directly to her, that she could not think of listening to any
overtures which had not been sanctioned by her Majesty. Mary was
touched by this confidence, and she manifested more friendliness
to the princess, who always walked with caution upon the brink of
abysses into which the imprudence or unskilful zeal of her
friends might have precipitated her. The great nobles attached to
the Reformation lived, as she did, in retirement. The Earls of
Oxford and Westmoreland, as well as Lord Willoughby, had been
reprimanded by the council, upon a question of religion. The Earl
of Bedford had even suffered a short imprisonment. Sir Ralph
Sadler, one of the usual negotiators of King Henry VIII.--a
gentleman who was afterwards often employed by his daughter--had
quitted the court, weary of the fanaticism which was displayed
there.
{322}
All awaited in silence the death of Mary, bowing their heads
under a yoke which could not last long. The queen, always
delicate, had for several months been deeply attacked by a slow
fever. She had vainly hoped to recover her strength at Hampton
Court. She was brought back to London, and expired in St. James's
palace, at the age of forty-three, on the 17th of November, 1558,
without having seen the king her husband again. She sighed so
bitterly in her death agony that her ladies asked her if she was
suffering, commiserating her for the absence of King Philip. "Not
that only," she said, "but when I am dead and opened you shall
find Calais lying in my heart." On the morrow morning, almost at
the same hour, Cardinal Pole died at Lambeth. The two pillars of
the Catholic Church in England fell at the same time. Pole would
have desired to insure the triumph of his cause by means of
gentleness and justice; Mary had supported it by iron and fire.
Both were equally sincere and convinced. Mary was of a narrow
mind; her character, naturally stern and harsh, had been
embittered by injustice and, suffering, but she was
straightforward and honest, avoiding the subterfuges and deceits
which Queen Elizabeth too often practised; she was animated by a
fervent faith, which she deemed it her right and duty to impose
by force upon all her subjects. In her breast the sufferings of
the heretics excited little compassion, she was hardened against
them, but in her private life, and towards her servants, she was
good, generous, and capable of affection and devotion. She
blindly loved her husband, who neglected and despised her on
account of her lack of youth, and the few charms which nature had
bestowed upon her.
{323}
Mary, however, was learned; she wrote pure Latin, she had studied
Greek, and spoke French, Spanish, and Italian with ease. She was
a good musician, and danced gracefully, her household was a model
of order and regularity, and she was a noble example of piety and
virtue. The memory of these good qualities and misfortunes pales
in the presence of a supreme fault; a terrible stain remains
imprinted upon the brow of the unfortunate queen by her
fanaticism and her conscientious cruelty. She persecuted piously,
she burned sincerely; her acts more than her character, merit the
odious name which history has given her. On examining her life
closely one is tempted to pity "Bloody Mary."

{324}

                   Chapter XX.

      Policy And Government Of Queen Elizabeth.

           Her Foreign Relations (1558-1603).


Elizabeth was at Hatfield when Mary died, a striking proof of the
distrust which reigned between the two sisters, and which
banished one from the death-bed of the other. The princess was
devoting herself, as usual, to the serious occupations which were
dear to her. Still more learned than her sister, brought up with
care by the learned Roger Ascham, Elizabeth had continued the
practice of reading some Greek every day; she even translated the
rhetorician Isocrates. These literary recreations were
interrupted by more urgent cares when the mortal illness of her
sister began to bring about her the worshippers of the rising
sun. Philip II. had been careful to send her a trustworthy
ambassador. The Count of Feria had seen the princess before the
death of the queen, and the king believed her to be gained over
to the great Catholic confederation, and compelled to rely upon
him and to regulate her conduct according to his counsels. She
did not consult him, however, upon the course to be followed,
when she was apprised of the death of her sister. Sir William
Cecil, formerly secretary of state under Edward VI., who being in
disgrace under Mary, had prudently submitted to the Roman
Catholic requirements, had received all his orders by
anticipation.
{325}
Parliament was sitting, Chancellor Heath repaired to the Houses,
and there announced the accession of Queen Elizabeth, "the
legitimate and rightful heir to the throne." Cries were raised of
"Long live Queen Elizabeth!" Couriers were despatched by Cecil to
all the sovereigns of Europe, announcing the accession, and the
Lords hastened to Hatfield, to pay homage to the new sovereign.
They asked her, upon arriving, what attitude she intended to
assume. The Protestants, delivered from an odious yoke, were
rejoicing, being convinced that, under the reign of her sister,
the princess had concealed her real opinions. The Catholics, who
were uneasy, counted upon the influence of Philip II. The first
speech of Elizabeth did not enlighten them; it was cautious and
measured, announcing no intention of abrupt changes. One
indication alone, though slight in itself, soon caused people to
feel from which quarter the wind blew; when the queen arrived at
Highgate, the bishops came to meet her, and all kissed her hand,
with the exception of Bonner, bishop of London, the principal
persecutor of the Reformers, upon whom she turned her back.
Notwithstanding the solemnity of the Catholic services celebrated
in honour of Queen Mary and the Emperor Charles V., who had died
a short time before, discreet observers saw that the queen
inclined towards the party of the Reformation. Her ministers were
yet more decided. Cecil, Pembroke, Northampton, and Lord John
Grey, her intimate councillors, were all convinced of the immense
progress which Protestantism had made during the persecution of
Mary. They perceived, moreover, that the throne of their mistress
rested exclusively upon Protestant principles.
{326}
Subject to the Pope, England must reject Elizabeth as
illegitimate, since the marriage of Henry VIII. with Anne Boleyn
had not been sanctioned by the Catholic Church, and the
succession would be between Lady Catherine Grey, a younger sister
of the unhappy Jane, grand-daughter of Mary Tudor, and Mary
Stuart, queen of Scotland, dauphiness of France, grand-daughter
of Margaret Tudor, wife of James IV., king of Scotland. The
legitimacy of Elizabeth and her right to the throne sprang
naturally from the act of supremacy. On the occasion of the
ceremony of the coronation, on the 15th of January, all the
bishops, with the exception of Doctor Oglethorpe, bishop of
Carlisle, refused to officiate, striking a fatal blow to Roman
Catholic influence in the kingdom by the hostile attitude which
they thus assumed from the outset, either by their own action, or
by orders emanating from Rome. Elizabeth was, however, crowned by
Oglethorpe with all the ancient ceremonies, to the passionate
delight of the populace of London, still in favour of the
Reformation, who followed her through the streets upon her
issuing forth from the Tower, where she had been formerly
detained in terror of death; nosegays rained into her carriage,
and shouts of gladness resounded in all quarters. Elizabeth
received them with that kindly condescension which bound the
hearts of her people to her, smiling when she heard the old men
in the crowd declare that she resembled King Henry. "Be ye well
assured," she said to the multitude that thronged around her at
the Guildhall, "I shall stand your good queen." Amidst many
faults and even crimes, Elizabeth was destined to keep her
promise.

{327}

The Protestants were eager to enjoy their triumph, the more eager
indeed since they were a little uneasy; the queen had preserved
in her chapel a crucifix and a holy-water basin; she had
forbidden controversial preaching and the sermons at Paul's
Cross. These measures were taken in the interest of peace and
concord, it was said, but they did not satisfy the ardour of the
Reformers. Lord Bacon relates that on the morrow of the
coronation, one of the courtiers presented to Elizabeth a
petition in favour of certain prisoners, entreating, since she
had in honour of her accession delivered several captives, that
she would please also to release the apostle Paul and the four
evangelists so long detained in prison, in a foreign tongue, so
that they could not converse with the common people. The queen
gravely replied that it would be necessary first to ascertain of
them whether it was agreeable to them to be released. She had,
however, already authorized the reading of the liturgy in
English; a commission of theologians were secretly entrusted to
revise the Prayer-Book of Edward VI., before restoring it to use.
Elizabeth did not approve of all the reforms practised by
Cranmer; the English who had taken refuge abroad on account of
their religion, and who had returned to England at her accession
with a zeal increased by persecution, would soon have drawn the
Church of England into a path which was not hers, if the secret
tendencies of Elizabeth towards Roman Catholicism and her
resolution to maintain the royal prerogative had not
energetically resisted their influence. When Parliament met, on
the 25th of January, 1559, the queen made no proclamation,
leaving to Cecil and the keeper of the seals, Nicholas Bacon
(father of the great Chancellor Bacon), the duty of making known
her wishes.
{328}
She allowed the bill of supremacy and the restoration of the
tithes and annates to the crown to be proposed and voted. She
allowed the laws of King Edward concerning religion to be put in
force again as well as the prayer-book as modified by her orders,
but the law for the reinstatement of the married clergy
interdicted under the reign of Mary, was set aside by her desire.
She was never able to approve of the marriage of priests. She
also discountenanced the project for a code of canon law, being
uneasy, no doubt, concerning the discussions which might spring
from it. This double check dissatisfied the party ardent for the
Reformation. Elizabeth subsequently asserted that the Protestants
had impelled her in her course at the moment of beginning her
reign. She took credit to herself; Parliament had not yet raised
its head. It was under the prolonged influence of the Reformation
that it was destined to foster noble instincts of liberty, and
even at times to triumph over the firm will of Elizabeth.

Everything depended upon the marriage of the queen, and of this
all parties were sensible. The great bulk of the nation were not
so anxious about the selection of a husband as about the husband
himself. They ardently desired to see the succession assured, and
in the first session of Parliament in 1559, a deputation
presented themselves before the queen at Whitehall, with the
message, that the Commons conjured her Grace to think of
marriage, in order that her posterity might reign over the
kingdom.
{329}
It was the first time that Elizabeth proclaimed that aversion to
marriage which was definitely to triumph over so many assaults
and momentary hesitations. "From my years of understanding,
knowing myself a servitor of Almighty God," she said, "I chose
this kind of life in which I do yet live as a life most
acceptable unto Him, wherein I thought I could best serve Him,
and with most quietness do my duty unto Him." Then, laying stress
in a few sentences upon the difficulties which she had overcome
under the reign of her sister, in remaining faithful to her
resolution, she added, without promising the Commons to marry,
that she would never choose any but a husband as devoted as
herself to the happiness of her people. "I take your petition in
good part, for it is simple and containeth no limitation of place
or person. If it had been otherwise, I must have misliked it very
much, and thought it in you a very great presumption, being unfit
and altogether unmeet to require them that may command. And for
me, it shall be sufficient that a marble stone declare that a
queen, having reigned such time, lived and died a virgin." The
Commons retired without having obtained anything definite. The
same demand was to be repeated many times, and to receive answers
of a very different kind; but until the end of her life Elizabeth
took pleasure in keeping the world in suspense by her grave
coquetries, in the expectation of a marriage which she never
seriously desired.

{330}

While Parliament was imploring the queen to take a husband, the
King of Spain. Philip II., solemnly determined, by a
conscientious sacrifice, to do her the supreme honour of offering
his hand. Being resolved to preserve the place which he had
acquired in England, and to retain that powerful kingdom in the
bosom of the Catholic Church, he had written to Feria on the 10th
of January, 1559, enumerating the objections which might be made
to his union with his sister-in-law, and the inconveniences and
sacrifices which must result from the step; but by an act of
magnanimity of which he was the first to be convinced, Philip had
resolved to set aside all obstacles. "You will understand in this
what service I render to our Lord; through me her allegiance will
be regained to the Church." Philip ended by settling beforehand
all the conditions to which Elizabeth was to conform--all the
submissions which she was to make to the Pope and to the Church,
before being in a position to aspire to the elevation which he
destined for her. Paul IV. had ill-prepared the way for the
contrition of Queen Elizabeth. In the first days of her
accession, when that event had been communicated to the Holy See,
as well as to all the sovereigns of Europe, the Pope abruptly
replied that, the Princess being illegitimate, she was to beware
of laying hands upon the crown, and to lay down the sceptre as
soon as possible until he should have declared concerning her
rights. This claim had not inclined the queen to appreciate the
generous sacrifice of Philip; she meekly rejected the advances of
the Count of Feria, asserting that the friendship of her brother
of Spain was as dear to her as his love could be, and that the
Pope himself could not unite her to the husband of her sister.
Feria spoke of the Queen of Scotland. Elizabeth did not suffer
herself to be frightened, and without positively refusing the
honour which the King of Spain did her, she said laughingly, that
she was afraid he might be a bad husband, since he would come to
England simply to marry her, but would not sojourn there with
her.
{331}
The confidential letters of Philip had transpired: Feria
understood that the definite reply would be unfavourable, but
Elizabeth loaded the ambassador with attentions. A peace with
France was negotiating at Cambray, and the queen who yet hoped to
recover Calais, wanted the support of Philip for this important
business. When peace was at length signed at Cateau-Cambresis and
the violence of English resentment was appeased, on the 2nd of
April, by the promise of the surrender of Calais at the end of
eight years, Philip II. transferred to another Elizabeth the
honour which he intended for his sister-in-law, by marrying the
young Elizabeth of France, daughter of Henry II. "My name brings
good-fortune." said the Queen of England on learning, not without
ill-humor, the conditions of the treaty, with that singular
coquetry which impelled her all her life to make use of every
means to retain around her the suitors to whom she would grant
nothing. The alliance between England and Spain still continued.
"You will assure the queen that I remain her good friend," wrote
Philip II. to Feria. He feared that she would turn towards the
court of France, which was making great advances towards her. He
might have reassured himself. France was then represented, in the
eyes of Elizabeth, by Mary Stuart, and that princess had
committed a mistake for ever ineffaceable in the eyes of
Elizabeth, by quartering upon her escutcheon the arms of England
with those of Scotland and France. The dauphin, in confirming the
treaty, had also taken the title of King of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, a fatal pretension which was to engender many
crimes.

{332}

Parliament was dissolved when Elizabeth called upon the bishops
to conform themselves to the laws which had recently been
re-established. All refused with the exception of Kitchen, bishop
of Llandaff, formerly a Benedictine, whose habit it was to adopt
at all times the religious belief of his sovereign. A certain
number of dignitaries of the Church followed the example of the
bishops, who found among the lower orders of the clergy very few
adherents. Several bishoprics were vacant at the accession of
Elizabeth. She gave pensions to a few of the clergy who retired
on account of their religion, and provided for all the livings by
placing in them the greater number of the exiles driven forth by
the fanaticism of Mary. The Church of England was for ever lost
to the Holy See, whatever hopes the Catholics might conceive in
the future. The two statutes generally known under the names of
the "Act of Supremacy," and the "Act of Uniformity," debarred
from all public offices the conscientious Catholics who refused
to recognise the religious authority of the queen, and at the
same time prohibited the practice of their worship. Then began
for the Catholics a silent, minute, continual persecution,
penetrating into families, maintained by espionage, always
vexatious, sometimes outrageous, mingling with politics and
drawing therefrom the pretext for tyranny. This oppression did
not break forth at first; it was in 1561 that Sir Edward
Waldegrave and his wife were sent to the Tower for having
entertained in their house a Catholic priest.
{333}
The bishops themselves were at first simply deposed; but their
intemperate zeal having led some, towards the end of 1559, into
presenting a petition which implored the queen to follow the
example of her sister, of blessed memory, Elizabeth, greatly
incensed, sent the petitioners to prison. Bonner was detained
there until his death. The other prelates were at length released
and even installed, sometimes with the Protestant bishops who had
succeeded them, at other times with the rich clergy, to the great
displeasure of both. The monasteries, recently reopened by Mary,
were once more closed, and the crown again took possession of the
property of the Church, which had been returned under the last
reign. In the main, and notwithstanding a few modifications, the
work of Cranmer and Edward VI. was restored. The opinion of the
majority of the nation, and prudent policy, had overcome, in the
mind of Elizabeth, her personal tastes and tendencies.

Political motives were about to unite her more and more with the
Protestants of Europe. When she learned of the impertinent
pretension of the dauphin to the title of King of England, she
exclaimed, "I will take a husband who shall cause the head of the
King of France to ache; he does not know what a rebuff I intend
to give him." The queen had attributed to her the intention of
uniting herself to the Earl of Arran, son of the former regent of
Scotland, now known under the French title of Duke of
Chatelleraut, heir presumptive to the throne of Scotland after
the Stuarts. The Earl of Arran had ardently embraced the
Protestant faith, and was in London in 1559, at the moment when
Mary Stuart mortally offended "her good sister of England."
{334}
He had a secret interview with the queen at Hampton Court, and
immediately set out, under an assumed name, for Scotland,
accompanied by Randolph, a confidential emissary of Elizabeth.
The condition of Scotland had become both complicated and
aggravated by the death of the King of France, Henry II. Francis
II., the husband of Mary Stuart, had determined, it was said, to
expend all the property of France, if necessary, to put an end to
the insurrection. It was to the support of the insurgents that
the Protestant policy, then represented by Cecil, wished to
pledge Queen Elizabeth, in order to bring about the marriage with
the Earl of Arran, who had become King of Scotland, and that
union of the two crowns which Henry VIII. had contemplated by the
marriage of Edward VI. with Mary Stuart.

Nowhere had the Catholic Church offered so many vulnerable points
to the Reformers as in Scotland, for nowhere were the clergy so
corrupt. The Protestant doctrines, in their most austere and
aggressive forms, had made such great progress there, that Knox
may be regarded as the real chief of the insurrection which
everywhere held the regent, Mary of Guise, in check. The violence
of religious passions had already occasioned the destruction of a
great number of churches and monasteries; the greater part of the
nobility had abandoned the regent, to form themselves into a
"Congregation of the Lord," under the direction of Lord James
Stuart, an illegitimate son of James V., and a brother of Mary
Stuart.
{335}
The troops from France alone allowed the regent to struggle
against the insurgents; but the reinforcements were numerous and
efficient. A French garrison had taken possession of Leith and
threatened Edinburgh, when the agents of Queen Elizabeth set
themselves to work, Randolph in Scotland, Sir Ralph Sadler at
Berwick, where he was officially entrusted to negotiate with the
delegates of the regent concerning the question of outrages upon
the borders. The negotiations with the Lords of the Congregation
were taking their course, still profoundly secret. Elizabeth was
naturally parsimonious, and she had found the finances of England
in great disorder. At the instigation of Cecil, however, she sent
to Sadler considerable sums for the support of the malcontents.
No blows had been struck since the recent arrangement between the
regent and the great noblemen, and it was not until the month of
October, 1559, that the insurgents laid siege to Leith. Hitherto
Elizabeth had resolutely denied all relations with the Lords of
the Congregation; but one of her agents were arrested, having in
his possession a sum of two thousand pounds sterling. The
hesitations and doubts of the queen often impeded the action of
Cecil. She had no liking for the ardent Presbyterians. Knox, in
particular, was odious to her; she had never forgiven him for a
pamphlet upon female government, entitled, _The First Blast of
the Trumpet against the monstrous Regiment of Women_, "I like
not the audacity of Knox, whom you have well brought down in your
answer," wrote Cecil to Sadler; "it does us no good here, and I
suppress it as much as I can; however, fail not to send me what
he writes." The subsidies did not suffice to maintain courage and
discipline in the Scottish army.
{336}
Being repulsed before Leith, the Lords of the Congregation
evacuated Edinburgh, and retired during the night to Stirling.
Elizabeth resolved to adopt more efficacious measures. On the
27th of February, 1560, through the agency of Maitland of
Lethington, formerly secretary of the queen regent, and who had
gone over to the insurgent party, she concluded a treaty of
alliance with the great Scottish noblemen, for the whole duration
of the marriage of the Queen of Scotland with the King of France,
undertaking not to lay down arms as long as the French should
remain in Scotland. An English army crossed the frontier, under
the orders of Lord Grey of Wilton; an English fleet, commanded by
Winter, entered the Firth of Forth; and the Lords of the
Congregation having assembled all their forces, siege was laid to
Leith, on the 6th of April. The siege was still in progress on
the 10th of June, when the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, expired
in Edinburgh Castle, where Lord Erskine had received her, as upon
neutral ground. This death precipitated the conclusion of a peace
desired by both parties. The French surrendered Leith, and went
aboard their vessel again, thus delivering Scotland from their
presence; and a council of twelve noblemen, chosen partly by the
queen, partly by Parliament, was entrusted to govern the country
in the absence of the sovereign. The court of France recognized
the right of Queen Elizabeth to the throne, and her good sister
Mary gave up bearing the arms of England. The treaty of Edinburgh
secured in Scotland the supremacy of Protestantism, which had
become the religion of the majority of the population.
{337}
The vote of the Scottish Parliament, in the month of August,
1560, officially severed all bonds with the court of Rome, by
adopting a confession of faith drawn up by Knox and his
disciples, according to the doctrines of Calvin, and striking the
ecclesiastical organization at its basis, no less than the
religious practices of Catholicism. Matters stood thus, when the
Parliament deigned to think of the assent of the queen. Sir James
Sandilands, formerly Prior of the Hospitallers, was dispatched to
France to demand a ratification, which was immediately refused.
It was said that the uncles of Mary, the Duke of Guise and the
Cardinal of Lorraine, were making preparations for an invasion in
Scotland, when the young King of France, Francis II., expired
suddenly, on the 5th of December, 1560, after the reign of
seventeen months. The power of Mary Stuart was suddenly eclipsed;
the bright morning of her life was about to disappear behind a
dark cloud heavy with misfortunes and with crimes.

While Mary, but lately queen of France, was preparing to return
to her cold and rugged country, Elizabeth was keeping in check
the suitors who were contending for her hand. The King of Sweden,
who had been ambitious of the honour of becoming her husband when
he was but heir apparent, and when she was watched at Hatfield by
the spies of her sister, despatched his brother, the Duke of
Finland, to renew his offer. The ambassador was courteously
received, and treated with distinction by the queen; but scarcely
had he been installed by order of Elizabeth in the bishop's
palace at Southwark, when the King of Denmark sent his nephew,
the Duke of Holstein, as a claimant to the same honour.
{338}
"It is said that the Archduke Philip is on the way here," wrote
Cecil, "without pomp, and, so to say, in secret. The King of
Spain supports him warmly; I would, in God's name, that her
Majesty might accept one, and that the rest should be honourably
sent back." The Archduke Charles, son of the Emperor Ferdinand,
did not come; like Elizabeth herself, he hesitated. The King of
Sweden was not easily put off with refusals, but the Duke of
Finland was obliged to quit without having obtained anything. The
Duke of Holstein at least carried away, for his uncle, the Order
of the Garter, and a pension for himself. The queen was making
sport of all these suitors, taking pleasure in keeping them upon
the alert by her coquetry, but more tenderly concerned for a
young nobleman of her court than with all the princes who were
seeking her alliance. For several months past the attention of
the courtiers had been excited by the signal favour which she
manifested towards Lord Robert Dudley, son of the Duke of
Northumberland and brother of Lord Guilford Dudley, husband of
Lady Jane Grey. The passing fancy which Elizabeth had displayed
for Sir William Pickering and Lord Arundel, had given place to a
more durable attachment. Lord Robert, subsequently known in
history under the title of the Earl of Leicester, had taken
possession of the heart of the queen. He nourished the hope of
marrying her, but he had a wife, whom he kept in a secluded spot
in the country. One day she fell down a staircase and broke her
neck, without any one being a witness of the accident. Court
rumours were unfavourable to Lord Robert. He was loudly accused
of having caused the death of his wife, and the queen felt how
much public opinion in England was opposed to her desire to marry
the man whom she loved.
{339}
Mary Stuart had returned to Scotland. Elizabeth, still uneasy at
the claims of her rival to the crown, had tartly refused an
authorization to pass through her dominions, which Mary had asked
for, and the bitter feeling which had always existed between the
princesses had only increased. The Lords of the Congregation had
invoked the support of the Queen of England, when Mary Stuart
refused to ratify the separation which they had determined upon
between Scotland and Rome. Upon leaving, with regret, that France
in which she had been reared, the young queen had scarcely set
foot in her kingdom when she encountered the violent opposition
of her subjects to the worship which she had sincerely at heart.
Her Roman Catholic friends, among others the Bishop of Ross, had
urged her to land in the Highlands, and surrounding herself with
the forces of the Earl of Huntley, a fervent Catholic, to repair
at once to Edinburgh. She rejected this clumsy proposal, which
placed her at the outset in contention with the majority of the
nation, and the plaudits of the population greeted her at Leith,
on the 19th of August; but, on the first Sunday after her arrival
when the fierce Protestants saw the altar prepared in Holyrood
Chapel, an outcry was raised against the mass, and Lord James
Stuart was obliged to remain before the door of the chapel, with
his sword drawn during the whole time of the service, in order to
prevent any scandal. He did not contrive to prevent a visit from
Knox.
{340}
The ardent and indomitable preacher repaired to the residence of
the queen, now urging her by formal solicitations, now loading
her with reproaches. Mary wept; but she refused to listen any
longer to Knox, and the Reformer acquired the habit of referring
to her from the pulpit under the name of Jezebel. The abyss was
already beginning to open between Mary Stuart and her people; the
crimes of both were about to render the evil irreparable.

Queen Elizabeth had opened negotiations for persuading her good
sister of Scotland to publicly renounce all claim to the crown of
England, but Mary demanded to be recognized as the second person
of the kingdom, heiress to the throne in case of the death of
Elizabeth without issue. The queen would not admit this claim;
she experienced an inexpressible repugnance towards settling the
succession after her decease. Mary Stuart was not destined to be
the only sufferer from this mean jealousy. Elizabeth was at times
more than a man, as her minister, Robert Cecil, son of the great
Burleigh, said subsequently, but she also became sometimes less
than a woman. She had conceived suspicions concerning Lady
Catharine Grey, sister of Lady Jane, and heiress to her rights,
such as they were. It was discovered that Lady Catharine had
secretly married Lord Hertford, son of the Duke of Somerset,
formerly Protector. She was imprisoned in the Tower, as though
she had conspired against the life and power of the queen. Her
husband was travelling in France; he was peremptorily recalled
and thrown into prison in his turn. The marriage was declared
null, and the child that had recently been born to this pair was
stamped as illegitimate.
{341}
Without any other pretext than state reasons the husband and wife
were detained in the Tower, where Lady Catharine Grey died in
1569. The same cause had already cost the lives of two daughters
of the Duchess of Suffolk; the third was shortly afterwards to
pay, like them, for the royal blood which ran in her veins.

Arthur and Anthony Pole, nephews of the Cardinal, had made a vain
attempt in favour of Queen Mary, whom there was a project it is
said, for marrying to one of the two brothers, when they should
have placed her upon the throne of England; but the queen felt no
uneasiness from this source, and she pardoned all the accused
persons. She could not, however, conceal from herself that the
Catholic princes in general looked upon her with distrust, and
would willingly seek a pretext in the illegitimacy of her birth
to conspire against her in favour of the Queen of Scotland. This
secret motive, far more than her religious convictions, lead her
to maintain abroad the cause of the oppressed Protestants, who
turned their eyes towards the Queen of England. In France, the
Reformers, under the orders of the Prince of Condé and the
Admiral de Coligny, had risen at the beginning of 1562, upon the
violation by the Duke of Guise of the recent treaties and the
massacre of the Protestants at Vassy. They immediately claimed
the assistance of Queen Elizabeth. Philip II., who had sent six
thousand men to support the Duke of Guise, advised him to keep
out of the quarrel and to remain neutral; but Elizabeth had
adopted the theory, that she was seconding the wishes of the King
of France, by fighting against the Guises, who endeavoured to
tyrannize over him.
{342}
Under this pretext, she sent three thousand men to France, with
instructions to take possession of Havre, as a pledge for the
good intentions of the Huguenots towards her. At the same time
she furnished money to the prince of Condé. An English detachment
sent to the assistance of the besieged people in Rouen, was cut
to pieces, after the capture of the town. But the garrison of
Havre had been reinforced; the Earl of Warwick, brother of Lord
Robert Dudley, was in command of the town; he remained firm for
nine months both against treachery and the armies of the French.
He only yielded to the plague, when infection had thinned his
forces. Wounded and ill himself, he was concerned only for the
fate of the soldiers whom he brought back when he returned to
England in the month of July, 1563, bringing with him the
pestilence which had triumphed over all his efforts. Thousands of
victims succumbed to the plague which ravaged London during the
months of September and October. Elizabeth was negotiating with
Queen Catharine of Medicis. The Protestants had been vanquished,
but the Duke of Guise was dead, assassinated by Poltrot. Peace
was signed on the 11th of April, 1564, at Troves, and the last
hope of regaining Calais vanished with the departure of the
hostages whom France had given shortly before; Elizabeth received
in exchange the sum of a hundred and twenty thousand crowns, a
sum very useful to her treasury, which was then empty.

{343}

The Parliament of England had, nevertheless, voted considerable
subsidies in the preceding year, not without repeating its
constant request in favour of the marriage of the queen. The
Commons had added on this occasion another petition, which
sounded ill in the royal ears. In the event of her Grace having
decided for ever against marriage, she was implored to permit
Parliament to designate and recognize her legitimate successor.
Once more Elizabeth led her people to hope that she was thinking
of marriage. She was then engaged in the Scottish intrigues
respecting the marriage of Mary Stuart, more probable, although
as much debated as her own. Religious and political parties
continued to rend Scotland asunder. The Catholics, under the
order of the Earl of Huntly, had been defeated at Corrichie by
the Earl of Murray, formerly Lord James Stuart, at the head of
the Protestants. It was constantly repeated that such or such a
one of the great opposing noblemen aspired to the hand of Queen
Mary, and they were not the only aspirants. Her beauty, her
charms, and the prospect of the crown of England added to the
crown of Scotland, drew upon her the eyes and the ambitious hopes
of a crowd of princes. The King of Spain proposed his son and
heir Don Carlos, and the treaty had been sufficiently advanced by
the care of the skilful ambassador of Philip in London, the
Bishop of Quadra. When that prelate died, the negotiations
relaxed [and] the Guises spoke of the Duke of Anjou, subsequently
Henry III., of the Duke of Ferrara, and of several others; but
all these claimants were Catholics, the Scottish nation was
hostile to them, and Queen Elizabeth did not conceal the fact
that any union with a foreign prince, opening up to her enemies
the road to her dominions, would bring about war.
{344}
A personal interview had been projected between the two queens.
Mary was, it was said, desirous of consulting her good sister and
of proceeding according to her advice, but Elizabeth, vain as she
may have been and whatever care she may have taken to cause her
beauty to be exalted by her courtiers, at the expense of the
charms of her rival, had no wish to face the comparison; the two
princesses never saw each other. The Queen of England, meanwhile,
proposed for the husband of Mary Stuart, the man whom she herself
loved, Lord Robert Dudley, whom she soon raised to the rank of
Earl of Leicester. Did she act sincerely? Did she seriously wish
to make the fortune of Leicester through the hands of Mary, when
politics and her personal scruples did not allow her to raise him
to her own level? None will ever know this; but the negotiations
were renewed several times, Elizabeth continuing to insist upon
marrying the Queen of Scotland to a great English nobleman, and
refusing to hear of any but Leicester. People spoke of Lord
Darnley, the eldest son of the Earl of Lennox, and grandson, by
his mother, of Lady Margaret Douglas, of the Earl of Angus and of
Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, and aunt of Elizabeth. He was,
therefore, cousin-german to Mary Stuart, and his father, for a
long while exiled from Scotland, whither he had recently
returned, had immediately undertaken to bring about his marriage
with the queen. His birthplace was in England, and he was an
English subject, but Elizabeth did not favour his pretensions.
Resting her hand upon the shoulder of Leicester, she said to
Melville, the skilful and faithful envoy of Mary Stuart, "What do
you think of this man? Is he not a good servant? And,
nevertheless, you prefer that stripling to him?" referring to
Darnley who bore the sword of justice before her.
{345}
Notwithstanding these objections, Darnley arrived in Scotland at
the beginning of the year 1565. and was received kindly by Queen
Mary. He was handsome and of good figure; his mother was skilful
and intriguing. The confidants of Mary were all gained over; the
queen was not opposed to this union. Lord Murray, who counted
upon retaining power, counselled the marriage; Parliament did
likewise. Queen Elizabeth was informed of what was happening and
her anger was violent. Cecil still hoped that Mary Stuart would
marry Leicester and so ward off from the head of his mistress the
danger of a union which constantly occupied his thoughts. The
grave objections of her "good sister" were made known to the
Queen of Scotland. Elizabeth went further; the property which the
Lennoxes possessed in England was confiscated, and the Countess
of Lennox and her second son were sent to the Tower. Sir Nicholas
Throgmorton, in whom Elizabeth had confidence was despatched to
Scotland, to intrigue with the Lords of the Congregation; they
were by slow degrees separating themselves from Mary, and Murray
was the first to blame what he had himself advised a short time
before. The preachers thundered against the possibility of a
union with a Roman Catholic king. Mary was solemnly invited by
the assembly of the Church to conform herself to the Protestant
faith, by abolishing everywhere in her dominions the Catholic
worship.
{346}
Plot succeeded plot, but Mary was, she said, too much involved to
draw back, and on the 12th of July, Darnley, whom the queen had
recently raised to the rank of Earl of Ross and Duke of Rothsay,
married Mary Stuart in Holyrood Chapel. He was proclaimed king at
the Cross in the market-place of Edinburgh. The Earl of Murray
and the greater part of the Lords of the Congregation immediately
rose in insurrection; but before they were able to assemble their
forces, the queen marched upon them at the head of the royal
army, and with pistols at her saddle-bow. The lords turned their
horses' heads and retired without fighting. Lord Murray and the
Duke of Chatellerault only stopped in their flight when they had
crossed the frontier. They were ill-received by Elizabeth, though
she had encouraged them in their revolt, for she liked neither
the insurgents nor those who were vanquished, and she did not
intervene in their favour with Mary, who had caused a bill of
attainder to be declared by her Parliament against the chiefs of
the insurrection. At the same time, Mary committed the error to
which she had for a long time been solicited by her uncles of
Guise. She united herself to the great Catholic alliance formed
several years before between France and Spain, and renewed, it
was said, at Bayonne, in 1564. The continual difficulties caused
by the rebellions of the great nobles, and by the intrigues of
England, naturally tended to throw Mary into the arms of the
Catholic sovereigns; it was a fatal blunder on the part of the
Queen of Scotland, but her guilt was of another kind.


[Image]
Mary, Queen Of Scots.


{347}

Darnley was both incompetent and unmannerly, violent and weak.
The affection which he had inspired in Mary Stuart soon
disappeared and gave place to contempt. She has been accused of
worse still; the niece of the Guises, brought up by Catherine of
Medicis, amidst all the disorder of morals which reigned at the
court of France, had a bad reputation among the austere
Presbyterians; they attributed the most unworthy motives to the
elegant tastes for frivolous pastimes which led the queen to
surround herself with young men, with foreigners and artists. No
one was more suspected among the favourites of Mary than an
Italian, David Rizzio, who had won her good graces by his musical
talents, and to whom she had gradually confided important trusts.
Rizzio had especially aroused the jealousy of Darnley; the
Italian had, it was said, taken the liberty of reproaching the
young king with his behaviour towards Mary; he also encouraged
the queen in her refusal to confer upon Darnley the crown as her
consort instead of the vain title which he bore. A plot was
hatched against the life of Rizzio. At the head of the
conspirators was Lord Ruthven, who had been a short time before
in a dying condition, and who arose from his sick-bed to take
part in a deed of blood with Lord Morton, chancellor of the
kingdom. Their aim was to recall the Earl of Murray and the
exiled lords, by revoking the acts passed against them by
Parliament.

{348}

On the 9th of March, 1566, Mary was supping in her apartment with
her ladies, and Rizzio was in the room, when the young king came
to the palace, followed by Ruthven. The queen rose in alarm, for
the other conspirators had just entered. Ruthven ordered Rizzio
to leave the chamber, but Mary placed herself before her
favourite, who clung to her dress. Darnley seized the hands of
his wife; the table was overthrown; the unhappy Italian cried,
"Mercy! justice! justice!" George Douglas drew the dagger of
Darnley, and struck the secretary. Andrew Ket, one of the
conspirators, presented his pistol close to the body of the
queen, who implored them to spare Rizzio. He was dragged out, and
was pierced by numerous dagger-thrusts in the antechamber, while
Morton guarded the doors of the palace with a troop of armed men.
When Mary heard that Rizzio was dead, she stood erect. "I will
now dry up my tears," she said, "and I will think of revenge."
Darnley endeavoured to console the queen; she suffered him to
believe that she accepted his excuses, and when his brother, Lord
Murray, presented himself on the morrow at Holyrood, with the
banished noblemen, she received him without anger, and contrived
to detach him from those who had exerted themselves on his
behalf, perhaps without his knowledge. Morton and Ruthven,
abandoned by Darnley and Murray, immediately took to flight,
while the Earl of Bothwell and Lord Huntley were bringing to the
queen an army of eighteen thousand men, that they had immediately
levied. Mary was once more mistress of the situation. Two obscure
accomplices in the murder of Rizzio alone bore the penalty of the
crime, and on the 9th of June, 1566, the queen gave birth to a
son, who was to become James VI. of Scotland, and James I. of
England. Elizabeth had promised to act as godmother to the child
of the Queen of Scotland. When the prince was born, Melville
departed in all haste, to bear the news to London.


[Image]
"George Douglass Seized Darnley's Dagger And Struck Rizzio."


{349}

Cecil was the first informed; he repaired to Greenwich; the queen
was dancing after supper. "But," wrote Melville, "when the
secretary of state whispered in her ear of the birth of a Prince,
the merriment disappeared for the evening. Everybody was
astonished at the change, but the queen sank into a chair, with
her hand upon her cheek, saying to her ladies that the Queen of
Scotland was the mother of a fine boy, while she was but a barren
stem." On the morrow, Elizabeth had regained her composure, and
she graciously congratulated the ambassador, despatching the Earl
of Bedford to Scotland with her gifts, to be present at the
baptism of the little prince. Darnley did not wish to take part
in the ceremony; he knew that the Queen of England had forbidden
her emissaries to bestow royal honours upon him.

He had, besides, other causes for dissatisfaction. A growing
coldness existed between his wife and himself. The apparent
reconcilliation which had followed the murder of Rizzio, had not
lasted long, and Darnley thought of going away from Scotland, and
travelling upon the Continent. Queen Mary had addressed a letter
to the privy council of Elizabeth, claiming the recognition of
her hereditary rights, a matter which had recently been mooted in
the English Parliament, to the great exasperation of her Majesty.
The Commons had even insisted more than usual, notwithstanding
the ordinary promise of the queen to think of marriage. Elizabeth
had recently been ill, and the terrors of a contested succession
had drawn forth the deputies from their ordinary state of
submission.
{350}
When the request of Mary arrived, the queen of England abruptly
imposed silence upon the Commons. "Under the pretexts of marriage
and succession, many amongst you conceal hostile intentions," she
said, "but I have learnt to distinguish my friends from my
enemies, and take care, whoever be the sovereign who holds the
reins of government, not to wear out his patience as you have
done mine." She gave instructions to the Earl of Bedford to
induce Mary to ratify the treaty of Edinburgh, which yet remained
pending, and which contained verbally, the renunciation of the
rights which Mary claimed, promising to regulate the question of
the succession by a fresh treaty. Mary refused, but, in order not
to exasperate her powerful rival, she consented at the request of
Bedford to pardon Morton, Ruthven, and Lindsay, who had taken
refuge in England after the murder of Rizzio. Darnley no doubt
conceived fears at the news of the return of Morton, for he
immediately left the court and sought retirement at the residence
of the Earl of Lennox near Glasgow.

Scarcely had the young king arrived at his father's house when he
caught the small-pox. He was in great danger, and the queen sent
her physician to him, without going to see him herself, as long
as he was seriously ill. She remembered, no doubt, that while in
a dying condition the preceding summer, at Jedburgh, her husband
had not troubled himself to go and see her. When Darnley was
convalescent, Mary consented to a fresh reconciliation. She
repaired to Glasgow and took the king with her to Edinburgh.
{351}
She took up her residence as usual at Holyrood, but the fear of
infection caused Darnley to be installed in an isolated house,
where the queen went to see him. Rumours of conspiracy were
already afloat; the insolent Darnley had few friends and many
enemies. He was, however, warned by the Earl of Orkney that if he
did not promptly quit this place, he would lose his life there,
but the king had been smitten again with a capricious passion for
his wife. He only saw through his eyes, and a word from the mouth
of Mary soon quieted his suspicions. On the 9th of February,
1567, the queen supped with him, then left him at eleven o'clock
for a ball which she was giving at Holyrood, in honour of the
marriage of one of her servants. Three hours after her departure,
at two o'clock in the morning, the house in which Darnley was
alone with five servants, was suddenly blown up, and the body of
the unhappy king was found in the garden, beside that of a page,
without trace of burning or of any violence, while the other
victims remained buried beneath the rubbish. No one had escaped.
The blow had been struck by a sure hand. Mary was again a widow.

The public voice immediately accused the Earl of Bothwell. His
violent passion for the queen was known; it was even whispered
that it was mutual, notwithstanding the signs of grief shown by
Mary, who remained shut up in an apartment hung with black. The
details of the crime indicated long premeditation and skilful
accomplices. Nearly all the ministers of the queen, Maitland
especially, were implicated in the suspicions of the public.
Nobody laid hands upon the principal person accused, even when
the Earl of Lennox demanded his arrest.
{352}
He was allowed to take possession of Edinburgh Castle before a
warrant of arrest was granted against him. He appeared at the bar
of the court of justice, but rather in triumph than as an accused
person. The Earl of Lennox, alarmed at the attitude of the
assassins of his son, had fled and taken refuge in England.
Bothwell was acquitted, and bore the sceptre before the queen at
the opening of Parliament. Darnley had been sleeping only one
month in his bloody tomb, and already the rumour was afloat that
the queen was about to marry the Earl of Bothwell, whom general
opinion regarded as the murderer of her husband. Bothwell had
been married six months before to the sister of the Earl of
Huntley.

In the midst of this court agitated by such violent passions and
tainted by such dark acts of treachery, the queen had a few
faithful friends, and these warned her of the sinister rumours
which circulated concerning her. Her honest envoy, Melville,
relates how he took her a letter from England upon this subject;
the queen showed it to the Secretary Maitland: "Bothwell will
kill you," said the politician; "retire before he comes within
this place." And, as Melville persisted, the queen sharply
replied that matters had not yet come to that, although she
refused to go into details.

Bothwell had, however, taken his precautions and secured powerful
partisans. He brought together at a banquet all the principal
members of Parliament, and there, protesting his innocence of the
murder of Darnley, he announced his intention of marrying the
queen. Whether from fear or from promises of advantage, the
guests signed a document which Bothwell produced, recommending
the earl for the husband of Mary, and they undertook to favour
the marriage by every means.
{353}
Four days later Bothwell gathered together a thousand horses. He
planted himself in the way of the queen, who was returning from
Stirling, between Linlithgow and Edinburgh, where she had been to
see the little prince. He fell upon the royal escort, and himself
laying hands upon the bridle of Mary's horse, he dragged her,
with her principal councillors, into Dunbar Castle, exclaiming at
the moment of the capture, "that he would marry the queen,
whether people wished it or not, whether she wished it herself or
not," he detained her for five days in the fortress, without her
subjects attempting the slightest effort to deliver her. On the
29th of April, when she was restored to liberty, the queen
appeared before the session court, announcing with shame that
notwithstanding the outrages which the Earl of Bothwell had made
her suffer, she was disposed to pardon him and to raise him to
fresh honours. On the 15th of May, the marriage was celebrated
publicly at Holyrood, according to the Protestant rites, and in
private according to the Catholic rites. Bothwell had legally
separated himself from his wife; the murderer had obtained the
object of his crime.

Hitherto silence had been preserved as to the guilt of Bothwell,
but the public conscience was shocked by the marriage. At the
same time burst forth the plots which had long been in
preparation to hurl Mary from the throne. Scarcely had she,
whether willingly or under compulsion, concluded this odious
union, when revolt suddenly threw off its mask.
{354}
The great nobles had signed the engagement of Bothwell; now they
loudly accused him of the murder of Darnley, manifested their
fears for the life of the little prince, and announced the
intention of delivering the queen from the yoke of her husband.
An attempt to take possession of Bothwell's person having failed,
the confederates marched upon Edinburgh, where they seized the
government; but Mary rarely shrank from violence; she was
resolute and quick; on the 15th of June, a month after her
marriage, she was at Carbery Hill at the head of the troops that
she had raised, in the face of the army of the insurgents. No
blows were struck. The ambassador of France, the aged Le Croc,
endeavoured to negotiate between the two parties. The forces of
the confederates increased every moment; the soldiers of the
queen appeared valiant. Bothwell proposed single combat to the
hostile chiefs. Several accepted, but without result. It was at
length agreed to allow Bothwell to proceed without obstacle,
provided the queen should consent to return to her capital, where
her faithful subjects surrounded her with honour and respect. Two
hours later Bothwell departed at a gallop, and placed himself in
safety; but Mary was a prisoner, and she was conducted to the
house of the Provost of Edinburgh, where she remained shut up for
twenty-four hours without being approached by any one. On the
morrow, after nightfall, a numerous guard took the captive to
Lochleven Castle, under the custody of William Douglas and his
mother, formerly the mistress of James V. and the mother of
Murray. Bothwell soon left the kingdom.

{355}

The anger of Elizabeth, at the news of the arrest of Mary, was
violent and unfeigned. Not that she took much interest in the
rival whose power she had incessantly endeavoured to ruin,
through fear of the enterprises which she might attempt against
England, but the outrage suffered by the Queen of Scotland cast a
reflection upon all sovereigns. It was a blow at the regal
dignity, the fruit of the pernicious principles which Knox and
his adherents propagated. Sir Nicholas Throgmorton was sent to
the confederate noblemen to command them to deliver their queen;
but Cecil was in no such haste as his mistress to see Mary out of
prison. His private instructions relaxed the ardour of the
negotiator. The lords of the council had lost no time. Lord
Lindsay appeared at Lochleven, the bearer of an act of abdication
in favour of the little prince. The queen was invited to sign it;
she refused. Lindsay took hold of her arm, and squeezing it in
his iron gauntlet, "Sign," he said, "if you do not wish to die as
the assassin of your husband." The queen signed without looking
at the paper, merely raising her sleeve to show to those present
the traces of the violence which she had just suffered. The
uncouth warrior was himself ashamed. "I did not know that the
flesh of women was like newly-fallen snow," he muttered; but he
carried away the document. King James VI. was proclaimed and
crowned on the 20th of June, and on the 22nd of August the Earl
of Murray, who had returned to Scotland, after a prudent absence,
was declared regent of the kingdom. He paid a visit to his sister
at Lochleven, and asserted that he only accepted that office out
of consideration for the prayers and tears of Mary.
{356}
In the month of December, an act of the council declared the
queen an accomplice in the murder of her husband, and in the
abduction of her person by Bothwell. The deed was proved, it was
said, by a correspondence between Mary and Bothwell, recently
discovered by the Earl of Morton. The responsibility of the
deposition of the queen fell entirely on her own head, and was
but the just punishment of her crimes.

Justice or the violence of men might take everything from Mary
Stuart, except the power of her charms. Even at Lochleven, she
contrived to make partisans and win friends. On the 2nd of May,
1568, the lords of the council suddenly learnt that the queen had
escaped from Lochleven, through the skill of a young man who had
contrived to steal the keys. She arrived by night at Hamilton
Castle, and had already revoked her abdication. A week had not
elapsed before she had gathered an army around her.

The situation was critical, but the regent and his friends
contrived to face the danger. As Mary advanced towards Dunbarton
Castle, she encountered a body of troops, small in number, but
disciplined and well armed; her partisans sprang to the combat
with more zeal than strategy; they were soon defeated and put to
flight. The deserted queen at first escaped the pursuit of her
enemies, but she felt that she was closely pressed. The thought
of the horrors of a prison chilled her with fear; she had
expected death when she had been in the hands of her revolted
subjects; she resolved to place herself under the protection of
her good sister, Queen Elizabeth, and to proceed to England. The
friends who yet surrounded her were opposed to this project.
{357}
The Archbishop of St. Andrew's implored her upon his knees to
abandon it; but Mary would listen to nothing; she stepped into a
little fishing-boat to cross the Solway, and landed, on the 16th
of May, at Workington, a fortnight after her escape from
Lochleven, hence to direct her course at once towards Carlisle.
Arrived there, she despatched a messenger to solicit an interview
with Elizabeth. The fugitive queen was already lodged in a
fortress, rather as a prisoner than as a sovereign, when she
received the reply of Elizabeth to her request. The Queen of
England could not see her, it was said, until she should have
cleared herself of all suspicion with regard to the death of her
husband.

Elizabeth had refused to grant the title of regent to Murray, and
she had appeared to espouse the cause of Mary; but the policy of
Cecil received too opportune an assistance from the imprudent
confidence of the Queen of Scotland, to allow the opportunity to
pass without profiting by it. The captive committed the mistake
of asking that, if the queen could not protect her, she would at
least allow her to traverse her kingdom, to go and beg the
support of the foreign princes, "the King of France and the King
of Spain being bound to come to her assistance on this occasion."
The Catholic confederation in Scotland, at the threshold of
England, was too real a danger for the wisdom of Elizabeth not to
be struck with it. She consented to the proposal of Cecil, and
offered to serve as arbitrator between the Queen of Scotland and
her subjects, through the agency of an English commission. Mary
indignantly refused. She could not and would not degrade the
crown of Scotland to the condition of vassalage; she was the
queen and independent.
{358}
The judges who were suggested to her, had at all times fomented
the agitations against her, and supported her enemies. She asked
for no other favour than liberty to return to Scotland, or to
repair to France. She had come to England upon the faith of the
assurances of friendship which Queen Elizabeth had transmitted to
her while she was at Lochleven. "Being innocent, as, thank God, I
know I am, do you not (she asked) do me a wrong by keeping me
here?"

In reply to this appeal, which it was difficult to reject with
common justice, Mary was transferred from Carlisle to Bolton
Castle. The agents of Elizabeth, in all the courts of Europe,
appeared to have given the signal to each other to alarm her
concerning the consequences of the liberation of the Queen of
Scotland. "Her Grace now holds the wolf who wished to devour
her," wrote, from Paris, Sir Henry Norris; "it is said that there
is a conspiracy between the King of France, the King of Spain,
and the Pope, to ruin her Majesty, and to put the Queen of
Scotland in her place."

Elizabeth sent a messenger to Scotland, to call upon the regent
and the confederate lords to cease hostilities; but her
representations had little effect, while the manœuvres of the
Scottish insurgents powerfully impressed her. She began to
believe in the crime of which Mary so vigorously protested her
innocence, and she demanded that the Queen of Scotland should
exculpate herself in her eyes, promising to place her again upon
the throne if her innocence should be proved; for, at the bottom
of her heart, and in her royal sympathy for sovereigns, she had
been and remained shocked at the audacity of the Scots, who had
dared to dethrone their queen, whatever might have been her
faults.
{359}
The regent had replied to the reproaches and threats of the Queen
of England, that "if Elizabeth wished to wage war against them,
they would not sacrifice their lives, and would not risk their
possessions, by passing as rebels in the world, when they had in
their hands the means of justifying themselves, whatever regret
that might occasion them."

The die was cast; the accusers of Queen Mary, her brother, Lord
Murray, and his constant enemy, Lord Morton, were to come from
Scotland, to be confronted with her before the commission of
English judges. All parties were equally uncertain, respecting
the result of the conference, for all distrusted Queen Elizabeth,
who had lavished upon both sides the most contradictory promises.
Mary counted upon her to replace her again upon her throne. "I
have abandoned despatching my letters to the courts of France and
Spain, relying upon the promises of your Grace, and wishing, if I
am to be restored to the throne, that it may be solely by the
means of the court of England." However, Cecil had assured Murray
"that it was not intended to re-establish the Queen of Scotland,
if her crime is proved, whatever her friends may say."

{360}

The conferences opened at York, upon the 4th of October. There
were repeated all the arguments, there were enumerated all the
facts well known in history. Mary threw the guilt of the crime
not only upon Bothwell, but upon his accomplices, causing it to
be clearly understood that her accusers had good reasons for
making the whole weight of it fall upon her. She resolutely
denied the genuineness of the letters found in her casket, of
which copies only had been produced at first, and she demanded to
be admitted to the queen, to defend herself in her presence. The
conferences were transferred from York to Westminster. The Queen
of England and her ministers felt the necessity for following
more closely the dark intrigues which intersected each other in
all directions around the captive queen. The secretary Maitland
had opened negotiations for the marriage of the Queen of Scotland
with the Duke of Norfolk, affirming that the Protestantism of the
great English nobleman would reassure the reforming party in
Scotland, and would definitively re-establish the throne of the
Queen. It is probable that the designs of the skilful intriguer
went further. He was aware of the secret discontent of the
English Catholics, of the powerful friends whom Norfolk could
rally around him, and he hoped no doubt to raise a revolt in
England. The wisdom of Cecil saw through the manœuvre. The
liberty of Mary was for ever lost, even could her innocence have
been proven, which it assuredly was not. Mary in Scotland
constantly threatened the throne of Elizabeth. The servants of
the Queen of England were even alarmed for her life. Mary in
prison was dangerous, no doubt, but the peril was less and the
question of the justice of the detention of a sovereign who had
voluntarily come to place herself under the protection of her
relative, did not enter into the matter.
{361}
On the 11th of January, 1569, after three months of conferences
and intrigues, Elizabeth publicly declared to the Regent Murray
that nothing had been proved against his honour or that of his
partisans, but that the crimes imputed to Queen Mary had not been
demonstrated with sufficient clearness to inspire her with a bad
opinion of her good sister. Nevertheless, Murray returned freely
to Scotland, supplied with the money which was necessary for the
support of his government, and Mary remained in prison, in spite
of her protestations and anger. Elizabeth several times found
means of counselling her to abandon the crown and to lead a
peaceful life in England, but Mary firmly replied that she was
determined to die rather than to comply with such suggestions;
that justice required that she should be reestablished upon her
throne, after which "she would show as much clemency to the
authors of her troubles, as should appear to her compatible with
her honour and the good of her kingdom." The captive also
protested that she would not consent to proceed further away from
the frontier; but, on the 26th of January, in cold and gloomy
weather, the beautiful queen was compelled to mount a wretched
horse, and accompanied by a few ladies, and a small number of
servants, to ride as far as Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire, a
fortress belonging to the Earl of Shrewsbury. This nobleman was
henceforth entrusted with her custody, a constant anxiety to the
sovereign who under the influence of female jealousy had belied
the nobler side of her character, and who now could find no place
sufficiently strong, no jailor sufficiently vigilant to keep the
prisoner whom she was unjustly detaining.

{362}

The affairs of Queen Elizabeth were as much complicated abroad as
at home, and her external policy was neither frank nor sincere.
The oppression of the United Provinces by the King of Spain had
aroused a general discontent which brought about insurrections in
the towns, and the beginning of that indomitable rebellion which
was to end in the dismemberment of the Low Countries. The Prince
of Orange had placed himself at the head of the oppressed people,
protecting the religious and political liberties of his country,
and his great struggle with the terrible Duke of Alba had begun.
Everywhere the Protestants felt themselves threatened, and
conspiracies recommenced in France. The Prince of Orange and the
Prince of Condé both applied to Queen Elizabeth for assistance
and money. The queen secretly supported them in a niggardly and
unwilling fashion, though urged by Cecil, whose policy was more
firm, whose intelligence was more clear-sighted, and whose views
were broader than those of his mistress; but she took care loudly
to protest her friendship for the King of Spain and Charles IX.,
while encouraging the open or secret enemies who were struggling
against their power. Upon all stages and in all countries of
Europe the policy of the sixteenth century continually presents
that character of duplicity and falsehood which necessarily
results from the absence of publicity and control, but which
renders history difficult to understand, and more difficult to
relate.

{363}

Amidst the embarrassments which the claimants of the succession
to the crown of England caused her, Elizabeth had resumed, it,
indeed, she had ever abandoned her matrimonial negotiations. The
Archduke Charles was yet unmarried, and, in 1567, the queen
solemnly sent the Earl of Sussex, as ambassador, to Vienna, to
deal with the great question of religion. The archduke had never
come to England, although he had several times been invited, and
the queen declared that she would never marry a man without
having seen him. Sussex lavished upon her descriptions of the
person of the Archduke, not without adding to them the attraction
of his domains, and of the great position which he occupied at
the court of the Emperor. He assured the prince that this time
the queen wished to proceed seriously in the matter, since she
was free to marry whomsoever she should think fit, and she had
never inclined towards any other union. The archduke felt much
honoured, but when the question of religion was opened, he
frankly declared that his ancestors had always professed the same
religion as himself, that he knew no other, and would never
change it. Elizabeth then urged the Protestant feeling of her
subjects, without, however, breaking off the negotiations, which
only ended on the day when the archduke married the daughter of
the Duke of Bavaria.

The embarrassments of Elizabeth in England were complicated
through the progress of the intrigue having for its object the
marriage of Mary with the Duke of Norfolk. Elizabeth had openly
spoken of it to the Duke, who had excused himself, affirming that
he could never think of uniting himself to a princess who had
raised claims to the throne of England, nor to a woman whose
husband could not sleep peacefully upon his pillow.
{364}
This allusion to the fate of Darnley had for a moment lulled the
distrust of the Queen of England, but Cecil was alive to all the
dangers which threatened his mistress. He had a short time before
discovered the marriage of Lady Mary Grey, sister of Lady Jane
and Lady Catherine. "What a mischance!" he wrote; "Sergeant
Portier, the tallest and fattest of the gentlemen of the court,
has conceived the idea of secretly marrying Lady Mary Grey, the
shortest of all the ladies. They have been placed in separate
prisons, the crime being very great." And the jealousy of
Elizabeth towards any who approached the throne closely, or at a
distance, was so excessive, that the unhappy Mary remained in
prison until her death, without ever seeing her husband again.
Deplorable end of a family doomed to the most tragic reverses!

Cecil had personal reasons for watching the intrigue for the
marriage of Mary with the Duke of Norfolk. The Earl of Leicester,
always jealous of the influence of the great Minister with his
mistress, endeavoured secretly to undermine a power which he
dared not attack face to face, and he exerted himself to attach
the powerful Norfolk by urging him on in his perilous
undertaking. The duke hesitated, but the Earl of Arundel and the
Earl of Pembroke united themselves with Leicester. They
despatched to Queen Mary articles of marriage, intended to insure
the security of Elizabeth, by the total renunciation by Mary of
her pretensions to the crown of England, and by an alliance,
offensive and defensive, with the queen, her good sister. Mary
Stuart was to allow the reformed religion to be established in
Scotland, and to give her hand to the Duke of Norfolk.

{365}

People who are anxious to get out of prison are ready to accept
harsh conditions, especially when they are not firmly resolved to
observe them. Mary promised all that was desired with the sole
reservation that the consent of Elizabeth should be obtained to
the marriage. "All my misfortunes," she said, "have arisen from
the anger of my sister, when I married Darnley." Leicester was
counted upon to obtain this favour, and the duke wrote the most
passionate letters to Mary, through the agency of the Bishop of
Ross, who was still faithful to his mistress. The consent of the
Kings of Spain and France had been asked for, and Murray was to
propose to the Parliament of Scotland the liberation of the
Queen.

He proposed it, in effect, though probably without any great
sincerity. Mary had brought many misfortunes and few benefits to
Scotland, and her brother had not that attachment for her which
causes all other considerations to be forgotten. The articles
coming from England were rejected; the question of the divorce
which Bothwell had caused to be declared in Denmark was not even
examined, and Queen Elizabeth was warned of what was preparing in
the dark. She was at Farnham; the rumour of the marriage
circulated at the court. Leicester had taken no step with regard
to it as yet. Norfolk was there, not daring to go away; he dined
at the table of the queen, who one day said to him, with a
significant look, which reminded him of his own words, "Good
evening, my lord duke; be careful upon what pillow you rest your
head." Norfolk took alarm. A few days afterwards, the court was
at Titchfield.
{366}
Leicester fell ill; the queen hastened to his bedside, and there
impelled by remorse and keeping up the farce of passion,
Leicester avowed to her with tears that he had acted disloyally
towards her, by endeavouring, unknown to her, to marry her rival
to the Duke of Norfolk. Leicester obtained his pardon, but the
royal displeasure rested upon the Duke of Norfolk. The disfavour
of Elizabeth was dangerous; the Duke retired to Kenninghall,
whence he was soon recalled. A French servant of Mary Stuart,
arrested in Scotland, had, it is said, made fresh revelations
upon the complicity of his mistress in the murder of Darnley; the
servant was executed, but the imprisoned queen remained exposed
to the anger and indignation of Elizabeth. An insurrection in the
North was feared, for the Earls of Arundel and Pembroke had both
quitted the court. Norfolk was conducted to the Tower; the Bishop
of Ross was arrested, although he pleaded the privilege of an
ambassador, and all the noblemen compromised in the intrigue
received an order to retire to their homes. The anxieties of
Elizabeth, real or feigned, were not without some foundation. The
Catholics of her kingdom, groaning under a secret but cruel
oppression, naturally turned towards the Queen of Scotland, in
their eyes the legitimate heiress to the throne, sanctified by
her misfortunes, surrounded by the double fascination of her
charms and of that faith towards which she had always manifested
the most sincere attachment. The Huguenots had recently suffered
great disasters at the battle of Jarnac, where the Prince of
Condé had been killed, and also at the battle of Moncontour.
{367}
The English noblemen whom the queen had gradually allowed to pass
into the service of the French Protestants were compelled to
return to England, whither they brought gloomy tales of the
cruelty of the victorious Catholics, and of their resolve to
cause Catholicism to triumph everywhere, no matter by what means.
To complete the hostility of the Continent, Queen Elizabeth,
always greedy for money, had taken possession in time of peace of
a fleet of Spanish galleons, bearing to the Duke of Alba the sums
sent him by the King of Spain, which fleet had taken refuge upon
the coast in order to escape the Huguenot vessels. It was
pretended, at the court of England, that the money did not belong
to Philip II., but to some Genoese and Lombard bankers, who could
have no objection to lend it to Queen Elizabeth. The vessels of
the English merchant navy had all become pirates, stopping and
pillaging Spanish and French ships, seconding the attempts and
projects of the Huguenots upon all coasts, and bringing arms and
supplies to them. Some convoys setting out for La Rochelle were
even accompanied by royal vessels, and the queen secretly
authorized a great number of noblemen to take service in the army
of the Huguenots, or in that of the Prince of Orange, while she
replied to the complaints of the Spanish and French ambassadors
by the assurance of her friendship for their sovereigns and of
her wish to preserve the peace. Treachery was met by treachery. A
conspiracy, half Spanish, half French, was preparing upon the
Continent, to encourage the insurrection of the Catholics.
Ridolfi, an agent sent from Italy, had communication with the
Duke of Alba on passing through the Low Countries.
{368}
Evil designs were secretly meditated against the life of
Elizabeth, and the representations of the governor-general, who
did not believe in the possibility of success, having had no
effect upon his master, the intrigue was developed in the north
of England; the tyranny of Elizabeth had itself paved the way for
it.

Captive princes always find means of communicating with their
partisans, however close may be their prison, and however strict
the supervision may appear. Mary Stuart had entered into
relations with all the great Catholic noblemen of Yorkshire,
Durham and Northumberland. An attempt at escape had even been
organized, which was to place her at the head of her little army,
but the project collapsed, and, on the 16th of November, 1569,
the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, with a great number
of noblemen and retainers, raised the standard of revolt, with
the intention of marching upon Tutbury, to deliver and proclaim
the captive queen. Upon the way the insurgents burnt in the
churches the prayer books, while announcing everywhere that the
Catholic religion was re-established, and summoning all good
Catholics to join them. But Mary had already been transferred
from Tutbury to Coventry. The populations did not respond to the
appeal of the rebels; the southern counties took up arms against
them. A goodly number of Catholics joined the royal army,
assembled at York. Uneasy and irresolute, the two earls fell back
upon Praby Castle. They besieged Sir George Bowes, in Barnard
Castle, compelled him to capitulate, and planted themselves in
the little port of Hartlepool, hoping to receive Spanish
assistance through the Low Countries.

{369}

Meanwhile the Earl of Sussex, who had delayed so long at York
that suspicions had been aroused as to his loyalty, was at length
advancing against the rebels with the reinforcements which the
Earl of Warwick had brought him. The insurgents fell back slowly
towards the frontier of Scotland, and soon took refuge, without
fighting, in that kingdom, the support of which they had hoped
for. Elizabeth at once demanded the surrender of all the chiefs.
Murray could not or would not satisfy this requirement. The Earl
of Northumberland alone was in his hands. The Earl of
Westmoreland, Egremont, Ratcliff, and the other great noblemen
were in safety at the residences of their Scottish friends, who
furnished them with means to reach the Low Countries. The regent
sent his prisoner to Lochleven, saying that he would exchange him
for Queen Mary; but before the negotiation had begun, even before
Lord Leonard Dacre, the last of the insurgents who still held out
in England, had been in his turn obliged to take refuge in
Scotland, Murray was assassinated on the 22nd of January, 1570,
in the streets of Linlithgow, and Queen Elizabeth wreaked her
vengeance upon the counties which had taken part in the
insurrection. "There are so many guilty persons to condemn,"
wrote the Bishop of Durham to Cecil, "that difficulty is
experienced in finding enough men innocent of all rebellion, to
make juries of them." A royal declaration was read in all the
churches in the peaceful districts, as well as in the regions
bristling with gibbets, reminding the people of the peaceful
years which England had enjoyed under the reign of Elizabeth, and
affirming that she claimed, as chief of the Church, no other
authority than that which her predecessors had exerted, her noble
father, King Henry VIII., and her dear brother, King Edward VI.
{370}
She did not intend to put a constraint upon the conscience of her
subjects, provided the Christian religion, as it was established
in the acts of faith, should in nowise be molested, and that
people should conform themselves to the laws of the kingdom, for
the practice of public worship. Liberty, as understood by Queen
Elizabeth, consisted in doing exactly as she commanded.

The death of Murray, the only man sufficiently skilful and
influential to maintain a little order in unhappy Scotland, had
again delivered up that kingdom to the dissensions of parties.
The Duke of Chatellerault and the Earl of Argyle immediately took
possession of the government in the name of Queen Mary; but
Morton, at the head of the _king's men_, as the partisans of
James VI. were called, had taken up arms, summoning England to
his aid. Elizabeth sent him an army and a regent. She had taken
back into favour the Earl of Lennox, father of Darnley, and
grandfather of the little king, and despatched him to Scotland,
to govern in the name of his grandson, while the English troops
entered several times into Scotland, devastating all the southern
counties, burning down the towns and villages, and supporting the
efforts of the new regent, who was implacable in ravaging the
domains of the Duke of Chatellerault and of all the family of the
Hamiltons. When Sir William Drury returned to Berwick, on the 3rd
of June, after the recent campaign, the ravages had been so
great, that the authority of Lennox appeared to be established
upon the ruin of all his adversaries.

{371}

The Catholic arms had failed as well as the Catholic
conspiracies. Pope Pius V. was anxious to try the spiritual
thunders of the Vatican. A bull declaring the excommunication of
Elizabeth, depriving her of her pretended rights to the crown of
England, and absolving her subjects from their allegiance, had
been prepared for some time; it was signed after the insurrection
had failed, and several copies of it were sent to the Duke of
Alba; but Philip II. prohibited the publication of them in the
Low Countries. On the 13th of May, 1570, however, the bull was
posted upon the door of the palace of the Bishop of London.
During the investigations which were immediately made in courts
of law, of evil notoriety both in political and religious
affairs, it was ascertained from a student under torture, that he
had received a copy of the bull from a rich Catholic gentleman
named Felton. The latter was arrested, and he avowed without
hesitation that he had posted up the bull, but no punishment
could make him reveal the names of his accomplices. Being
condemned to a traitor's death, he walked to the place of
execution as to a martyrdom, designating the queen by the name of
"Pretender," and remaining firm in his enthusiasm until the last
moment. Before his death, and while upon the scaffold, however,
he asked that the pardon of Elizabeth might be solicited for
aught in which he might have offended her, and sent her, as a
token a magnificent ring of great value, which he took from his
finger. Even among those who contended against her with the
greatest tenacity, Elizabeth contrived to win from her people so
sincere and loyal an affection, that condemned persons sent
presents to her, and criminals whom she had caused to have a hand
cut off for having written against her, seized their hats with
their left hands and waved them above their heads, exclaiming,
"God bless Queen Elizabeth!"

{372}

The faithful attachment of the English nation to its sovereign
did not, however, prevent the progress of a new principle of
liberty which grew with the independent and firm opinions of a
portion of the Protestant population. Elizabeth had preserved at
the bottom of her heart considerable affection for the Catholic
doctrines, still more for the external practices of their
worship. She loved sacerdotal garments and pompous ceremonies.
She retained in her chapel some candles and a crucifix, and she
had a horror of married priests. All the weight of her authority
did not prevent the most fervent Protestants of her kingdom,
especially among the middle classes, from being convinced that
the Reformation had been too quickly checked in England, and had
not been sufficiently thorough. They thus inclined more and more
towards the religious practices and doctrines of the Continent in
their austere simplicity. The "Puritans," as they were already
called, were in bad odour with Elizabeth, and she often
persecuted them, all the more because she attributed to them, and
not without reason, the republican and democratic tendencies
fostered in Scotland by Knox, of which she had seen the effect in
the revolts against Mary Stuart.
{373}
A certain number of Bishops and many great noblemen secretly
inclined towards the Puritan ideas. Even Cecil was not hostile to
them, although he had the royal favor more at heart than all the
sects and doctrines. In the Parliament of 1571, the Puritans
raised their heads for the first time. Thomas Cartwright, a
distinguished professor who occupied, at Cambridge, the Margaret
Professorship of Theology, maintained that the Episcopal system
was opposed to the Holy Scriptures. He was suspended, but not
without commotion among the public. The laws proposed to
Parliament were hostile to the Catholics; they prohibited, under
the penalties of treason, claiming the succession to the crown,
for whomsoever it might be, during the lifetime of the Queen;
they placed an absolute veto upon any communication with the
Pope, and all obedience rendered to his bulls; but at the same
time they required assiduity in the worship established by the
State, and, four times a year, participation in the communion of
the Anglican Church. This last article was abandoned by the
Queen, but the Anglican worship was as odious to the Puritans as
to the Catholics. They presented to Parliament seven bills for
the progress of reform and the repression of abuses. The Queen,
in a passion, ordered the member of the House who had proposed
them, Mr. Stickland, to abstain from appearing at the sittings;
but the Puritans had gained more ground than the Queen was aware
of; they introduced a motion to summon Strickland to the bar, and
to cause his exclusion to be explained to him, declaring that the
House which could decide the right to the throne, had the
privilege of occupying itself in ecclesiastical matters. The wise
prudence of Elizabeth prevailed over her anger.
{374}
Strickland reappeared on the morrow in Parliament, and was
received with acclamations by his colleagues; but the Queen had
been vanquished, and her aversion to the Puritans was thereby
increased. It was the first triumph gained by the fathers of the
liberties of England over the political and religious despotism
winch rose in the shadow of the throne of the Tudors. At the end
of the session, after the Commons had been reprimanded for their
indocility, by the Lord Keeper of the Seals, Nicholas Bacon,
Parker, archbishop of Canterbury, caused Mr. Wentworth, one of
the great orators of the House of Commons, to be summoned, to
demand of him how they had dared to suppress some of the articles
of faith which had been presented to their vote. "We were too
busy to have time to ascertain whether they were in conformity
with the word of God," boldly replied Wentworth. "What?" said the
Bishop; "you are mistaken, you must refer to us in this matter."
"No," said the Puritan, "by the faith which I have in God, we
will vote nothing without understanding what it relates to, for
that would be to make you Pope; it will not be by our hands."
Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the proud resistance of the
Houses, the Bishops continued to insist upon the preservation of
the new edition of the articles of faith, under thirty-nine
heads, which had replaced the forty articles of Edward VI. A
complete submission was required of the pastors, and they were
deprived of their livings at the first refusal declared before
the court of high commission, entrusted to judge all
ecclesiastical disputes.
{375}
"Matters will soon be ended with them," wrote Parker to Cecil,
speaking of the nonconformist ministers, "for I know that they
are cowards." The learned archbishop was never more completely
mistaken. The courage of the Puritans was to remain firm through
all persecutions. A hundred years were not destined to elapse
without bringing the day of their triumph. The friends of Queen
Mary had resolved upon her marriage. The Duke of Norfolk was in
the Tower. People began to talk of causing the Queen of Scotland
to marry her brother-in-law, the Duke of Anjou. Queen Elizabeth
was alarmed, and in order to cut short this new intrigue, she
made overtures on her own behalf to the Court of France. Her most
skilful diplomatist, Walsingham, was sent to Paris, entrusted
with this negotiation, complicated by the secret support which
the queen continued to give to the Huguenots. The parley lasted
for several months, but the Duke of Anjou positively refused to
change his religion; people turned their eyes towards the Duke of
Alençon, the youngest son of Catherine of Médicis; he had
scarcely reached his eighteenth year; the queen was drawing near
her fortieth. The negotiations nevertheless took their course,
amusing Elizabeth by outward tokens of gallantry, in which she
still took delight, and, at the same time, preventing all the
assistance which the court of France might have brought to avert
the unhappy fate of Mary Stuart. Charles IX. had claimed, for his
sister-in-law, permission to live in France; but, piqued at the
reports of the French ambassadors, upon the relations of the
captive with the King of Spain, and by her correspondence with
the Duke of Alba, he at length exclaimed, "Ah! the poor fool will
never cease till she shall have lost her head; she will be put to
death through her own fault, I see it clearly; but I am powerless
in the matter."
{376}
The prospect of the throne of England for the Duke of Alençon was
too brilliant to be sacrificed to the interests of Mary. Queen
Catherine was negotiating an alliance, offensive and defensive,
with Walsingham.

Abandoned by her relatives and her friends in France, Mary Stuart
had not ceased to conspire with Spain; but her agents were so
closely watched, the supervision of Cecil was so strict, that
several emissaries fell in succession into his hands. On one
occasion, the Bishop of Ross, recently restored to liberty,
contrived to substitute innocent letters for the compromising
papers, which his messenger brought; but enough was soon known to
make it certain that Mary was urging the Spaniards to attempt an
invasion of England, and that the Duke of Alba promised to make
arrangements with a person designated in cypher. Suspicion
immediately fell upon the Duke of Norfolk. The plague having
broken out in the Tower, he had been guarded in his house in
London for fifteen months. He was taken back to his prison, and
his trial began. The duke at first made a bold denial; then, when
the confessions were shown him, which had been extorted by
torture or fear from his servants and the agents of Queen Mary,
including the Bishop of Ross, he admitted certain things, still
maintaining that he had never conspired against the queen, that
he had only engaged in the negotiation for the marriage, because
he thought she was informed of it, and that, in marrying Queen
Mary, he did nothing prejudicial to her Majesty.
{377}
He formally resented all accusations of correspondence abroad or
with the rebels during the insurrection. No witness was
confronted with him; only the depositions, written after the
tortures, were communicated to him. He was accused of having
maintained relations with the Pope. Norfolk, the old pupil of
Fox, the author of the Protestant martyrology, declared that he
would rather be drawn by four horses than change his religion. He
recalled the solicitations which the Earl of Leicester had made
him, before he had become concerned in this affair. Leicester sat
at the council listening without pity to the complaints of his
confiding victim. He voted the death of the duke, who immediately
turned toward his judges. "This is the punishment of traitors, my
lords," he exclaimed: "but I am faithful to God and the queen, as
I have always been. I do not desire to live and do not ask you
for my life. You have this day cut me off from your company, but
I hope soon to find a better one. I only beg you, my lords, to
intercede with her Majesty, in order that she may have pity upon
my poor orphan children." Even in his letters to the queen, full
of repentance for having offended her, and for having acted in
several matters without her knowledge, the duke never asked for
mercy, and refused to make any confession which might drag other
victims to the unhappy fate which awaited him. Norfolk had been
condemned since the middle of January, and the queen had signed
his sentence on the 8th of February; but during the night, she
became agitated, and caused Cecil, whom she had raised to the
rank of Lord Burleigh, to be summoned.
{378}
She forbade him to have the sentence executed, saying that she
wished to reflect again; three times the sentence was signed, and
three times Elizabeth recalled it, hesitating to put to death her
relative and former friend. At length Parliament intervened. The
nation was profoundly agitated by rumours of plots. The documents
found upon the emissaries of Mary had circulated among the
public; already they saw the Duke of Alba, the ferocious butcher
of the Low Countries, invade England at the head of those Spanish
soldiers whose dark exploits had terrified Europe. On the 16th of
May, the Commons presented to the queen a petition accepted by
the Lords, demanding the execution of the duke, for the security
of the country. This time the sentence was not withdrawn, and, on
the 2nd of June, 1572, the Duke of Norfolk was beheaded on Tower
Hill, protesting to the last his devotion to his sovereign and
his attachment to the reformed faith. He refused the handkerchief
with which it was proposed to bind his eyes. "I do not fear
death," he said. When his head fell, the crowd wept as they had
wept twenty-five years before at the death of his father, the
Earl of Surrey, beheaded on the same spot, by order of King Henry
VIII. Two months later, on the 22nd of August, the Duke of
Northumberland, captured by treachery when he thought himself
delivered at the price of an enormous ransom paid by his wife,
died upon the scaffold at York. He was seized upon the vessel
which was to take him to the Low Countries, and the "attainder"
which overtook him, avoided the embarrassment of a trial. His
father had also died upon the scaffold, upon the same day,
nineteen years before.

{379}

All these prosecutions and deaths upon the scaffold tended
towards the same end. Mary Stuart had been condemned before her
accusation. Protestant opinion, and Protestant fears were
violently excited against her. Burleigh and Walsingham were both
convinced that the repose of England was only to be purchased at
the price of her blood. Parliament, always ardent in such a
matter, proposed to proceed against the prisoner by means of an
attainder, but the queen opposed this. The Houses contented
themselves with depriving Mary of her hereditary rights, and
declaring her unfit to succeed to the throne of England. The
captive queen was then at Sheffield, in the custody of Sir Ralph
Sadler, and the Countess of Shrewsbury. None of the details of
the death of the Duke of Norfolk had been spared her. She had
refused to leave her apartment during all the time of the trial.
Her faithful servants were everywhere losing ground in Scotland.
The archbishop of St. Andrew's, seized by Lennox in Dunbar
Castle, had been hanged without more ado, and the murder of
Lennox himself by the Hamiltons had not sufficed to compensate
for the blows to the Catholic cause. The new regent, the Earl of
Mar, was less powerful than Morton, his fiercest enemy. Meanwhile
Edinburgh Castle still held out for Mary, and the Highlanders
recognized no other sovereign.

A crime committed far off, and for which she was in nowise
responsible, was destined to condemn the unfortunate Mary to
death, however long the alternations between hope and fear might
be. In the night of the 23rd to the 24th of August, 1572,
following the day of St. Bartholomew, the Protestants, gathered
together in great numbers in Paris, upon the occasion of the
marriage of the King of Navarre to Marguerite of Valois, sister
of King Charles IX, were surprised and massacred, in their beds,
in the streets, or while flying upon the housetops; and the same
slaughter, spreading from town to town like a fire, soon extended
through the whole of France.
{380}
Thirty to forty thousand persons perished thus in a few days.
Almost all the chiefs of the Protestants had fallen. The most
illustrious, the Admiral de Coligny, was killed in his apartment,
and his body thrown out of the window. It was to free themselves
from the preponderating influence which he was beginning to
assume over the king, that Catherine of Medicis and her son, the
Duke of Anjou, formerly an aspirant to the hand of Elizabeth, now
king-elect of Poland, had concerted and accomplished the
massacre, for which they had only obtained the authorization of
Charles IX. by dint of harassments which had almost reduced the
monarch to imbecility. The public outcry was terrible in all
Protestant countries, nowhere, however, more than in England,
whither the fugitives, who escaped from their executioners,
flocked from all quarters. The queen went into mourning, and
refused for several days to receive the French ambassador, M. de
La Mothe-Fénelon; but she felt no real sympathy for the French
Huguenots, and the horrors which caused the blood of her subjects
to boil in their veins, did not interrupt the tranquil course of
her policy. Walsingham courteously thanked the king, inasmuch as
his house had been spared during "the riot." The excuses and
explanations of Charles IX., transmitted by his ambassador, were
accepted.
{381}
The project of marriage with the Duke of Alençon was not
abandoned: but Walsingham gave Queen Catherine to understand that
the time was not favourable for the visit of the Duke of Alençon
to England, considering the extreme exasperation of the people
against the Catholics.

The fruits of this exasperation were the counsels which queen
Elizabeth received from all quarters for the destruction of her
rival, so long a prisoner. The bishops, in a body, advised her to
rid herself of the Queen of Scotland, "the origin and source of
all the evils;" but Elizabeth shrank from the State crime which
has sullied her name in the eyes of posterity. She would have
wished that the natural enemies of Mary Stuart, the subjects whom
she had misgoverned and who had revolted against her, might have
steeped _their_ hands in the blood of their sovereign. She
dispatched Killigrew, one of her most skilful agents, to
negotiate for the liberation of Mary Stuart, who was to be
consigned to the justice of the people, in exchange for certain
hostages of the great families of Scotland. "It was becoming too
difficult to keep the Queen of Scotland (Killigrew was to say);
she drew too many dangers upon the Kingdom, and the queen
preferred to consign her into the hands of her subjects."

This attempt failed through the royal uprightness of the Earl of
Mar, then engaged in the difficult task of reconciling the
factions. After taking part in a banquet at the residence of Lord
Morton, in the course of his patriotic negotiations, he fell ill
and died, not without suspicion of foul play, and, on the 14th of
October, 1572, Morton, who for a long time previously, had been a
dependant of Elizabeth, was raised under her auspices to the
dignity of Regent.
{382}
Killigrew assisted him in negotiating for the surrender of
Edinburgh Castle, which was reduced to the last extremities by
the private treaty concluded by Lord Huntley and the Hamiltons.
The secretary, Maitland, shut up in the castle with the brave
Kircaldy of Grange, poisoned himself a few days after the
capitulation, ending, by his voluntary death, a life of ingenious
and subtile intrigues which were almost always doomed to final
collapse. Kircaldy was hanged as a traitor, and Queen Mary lost
her last friends in Scotland. Charles IX. had refused assistance
to the faithful defenders of the citadel of Edinburgh, for fear
that Elizabeth might support the Protestants, who depended upon
La Rochelle. Secretly, she had several times come to their
assistance, and she encouraged the naval expedition of the Earl
of Montgomery in their favour. When the unhappy Charles IX. died
in 1574, haunted upon his deathbed by the remembrance of his
victims, the efforts of the French reformers were suddenly
seconded by the support of the Duke of Alençon leagued against
his brother, Henry III., who had returned from Poland to ascend
that throne of France whereon the sons of Catherine of Medicis
sat successively, to the misfortune and shame of their country.
When the new king had discovered the plot, the Duke of Alençon
was already engaged in concert with the young King of Navarre in
raising an army: both asked assistance of Elizabeth, but she
preferred the position of mediator, and it was through her good
offices that the peace of St. Germain was concluded in 1576,
securing to the Protestants the free exercise of their religion,
and to the Duke of Alençon the appanage and title of Duke of
Anjou.
{383}
The peace was not of long duration, and the formation of the
League, the progress of the influence of the Guises in the
kingdom, and their authority over King Henry III. as well as the
fanatical party, soon put arms once more into the hands of the
reformers. A brilliant prospect was opened up at the same time in
the Low Countries to the new Duke of Anjou.

The affairs of the Prince of Orange and the cause of liberty in
the United Provinces had been under a cloud since the
commencement of the struggle; but through defeat after defeat,
from disaster after disaster oppression after oppression, the
indomitable courage of William the Taciturn and his
fellow-citizens had by degrees gained so much ground, that Spain
was upon the point of losing for ever half of the Low Countries.
The Duke of Alba had been recalled after that government, the
fearful memory of which yet causes us to tremble. His successor,
the great commander Requesens, died in 1576; shortly afterwards
the Prince of Orange, not knowing where to look for a support in
his growing embarrassments offered the Protectorate of Holland
and Zealand to Queen Elizabeth, as the descendant of the former
sovereigns of the country through Philippine of Hainault, wife of
Edward III. The Queen of England refused, not desiring, she said,
to encourage the subjects of her good brother the King of Spain
in revolt. William the Taciturn offered the sovereignty to the
Duke of Anjou.
{384}
Don Juan of Austria, then governor of the Low Countries, longed
to invade England, to deliver Queen Mary, marry her, and sit with
her upon the throne of Elizabeth. The project was chimerical, and
was not encouraged by Philip II.; but it was a plausible pretext
for Elizabeth with regard to the King of Spain. She affirmed that
the offensive and defensive alliance which she had concluded with
the Prince of Orange, was solely intended to defend the Low
Countries against the invasions of France, and to protect England
from the invasions of Don Juan. Queen Elizabeth had already given
a great deal of money to the revolted provinces; she gave yet
more upon the pledges which the State-general furnished her; but
the Duke of Anjou took no steps, and the patriotic armies were
twice defeated by Alexander Farnèse, nephew of the King of Spain.
The French prince excused himself for his tardiness by the fear
of offending the Queen of England. He had resumed his matrimonial
negotiations with her. The agent whom he sent to London, M. de
Simier was a man of talents and of pleasant manners; he obtained
great influence over the queen, and revealed to her a
circumstance of which she was ignorant, namely, the secret
marriage of the Earl of Leicester with the widow of the Earl of
Essex, then very recently deceased. Elizabeth flew into a
passion; the man who had occupied for thirty years the first
place at her court was closely confined in his mansion at
Greenwich. Simier did still more: he induced his master to
attempt a romantic venture with the queen; in the middle of the
summer of 1580 the Duke of Anjou appeared in England under a
disguise. He was short, lean, marked with small-pox; but his
amorous ardour, his youth, his journey, pleased the queen.
{385}
When the duke was about to return, it seemed that, for the first
time, Elizabeth really wished to contract a princely union. The
council was much divided: the queen was forty-eight years of age,
the prince was very young and a Catholic. The most skilful
politicians could not contrive to discover the secret feelings of
their sovereign; but the time of petitions for her marriage had
gone by; the queen bitterly felt it. The negotiations with Simier
continued with alternations of favour and discontent on the part
of Elizabeth. It was at length announced that the marriage would
take place in six weeks. The States-general of the Low Countries
proclaimed the Duke of Anjou, and when he entered the provinces
with an army of sixteen thousand men, his royal affianced wife
sent him a present of a hundred thousand crowns. After having
achieved several successes and delivered the city of Cambray,
besieged by the Spaniards, he repaired to England, where he was
favorably received. The queen gave him her ring, and commanded
that the contract should be prepared. There was rejoicing at the
marriage in Paris and in the Low Countries. Even in England it
was believed that the queen was at length about to take a
husband. This was the 22nd of November, 1581. When the duke
appeared before the queen on the morning of the 23rd, he found
her pale and in tears; it is said that she had changed her mind
during the night upon the representations of her ladies, and at
the idea of the danger which threatened her if she should have
children; she declared to the prince that she would never marry.
{386}
The duke in a passion, returned to his residence, throwing the
ring upon the ground, and accusing the women of England of being
as capricious as the waves of their seas. The change which had
been wrought in the designs of the queen was not yet made public;
the Protestant preachers thundered against the Catholic marriage,
and libels abounded against the Duke of Anjou, which were
severely punished by the queen, who accompanied the prince as far
as Canterbury, weeping bitterly at his departure. She was never
to see him again; the defeats suffered by his arms in the Low
Countries, his retreat into France, and his death in the month of
June, 1584, caused so much grief to the queen, that the
ambassador of her Majesty in Paris dared not write her the
details of his last moments, fearing "to cause her too much
sorrow."

The affairs of Scotland caused great anxieties to Elizabeth. As
long as Morton governed she was assured of the support of a
mortal enemy of Queen Mary; but the great Scottish noblemen, had
become wearied of the iron hand of a master sullied by so many
crimes; and in 1578 the assembly of the nobility declared the
young king, then thirteen years of age, competent to exercise his
authority himself. Morton retired to Lochleven Castle, then
reappeared at Court, powerful with the young king, and abusing
his power as usual; but the ground was undermined beneath his
feet; King James had a favorite, the first of a long list, Esme
Stuart, his cousin, son of a brother of the Earl of Lennox. The
young monarch had raised him to the title of Duke of Lennox; he
was seconded by another Stuart, son of Lord Ochiltree; both
accused Morton of the murder of Darnley.
{387}
The earl was arrested. Queen Elizabeth sent Randolph, her former
agent, to Scotland, to plead in his favour. It was even attempted
to intimidate the Scots by movements of troops; but all was
useless; Elizabeth did not wish to wage war to save the head of
Morton; he was condemned, and perished upon the scaffold. The
young Duke of Lennox and Stuart, who had become Earl of Arran,
governed the kingdom in the name of James VI.

This revolution in Scotland, this resistance to the pressure of
Elizabeth and even the Protestant princes of the continent,
revived the hopes of the Catholics. James had been brought up
with great care in the Protestant religion. His tutor, George
Buchanan, celebrated for his genius and learning, was a
distinguished theologian, and had inspired the taste for that
science in him, but it was hoped that the Catholic blood of the
Guises would strengthen his power, and that the desire of
delivering his mother would inspire in the young monarch opinions
favourable to the intrigues which were still in progress on her
behalf. The Earl of Arran, who wished to supplant Lennox in the
favour of James, lent himself to these manœuvres. Queen Mary
offered to legalize the irregular assession of her son, and to
abdicate in his favour. But at the moment when the agents of the
Catholic party abroad brought to James the approval of the the
Pope and of Spain, he was lured into the residence of the Earl of
Gowrie, son of old Ruthven, where he suddenly found himself a
prisoner. The power fell again entirely into the hands of the
Protestant lords. Arran was cast into prison. Lennox fled to
France, where he perished shortly afterwards, and Queen Mary,
trembling for her only son, wrote to Elizabeth, imploring her to
preserve the life of the young king.
{388}
James had already contrived to deliver himself from the snares of
his enemies; he had promised pardon, he was free, and lived in
the midst of a crowd of contradictory and confused intrigues
which occasionally embarrassed even the penetration of
Walsingham, who had been sent to Scotland by Queen Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, the presence of the son upon the throne of Scotland
had awakened the hopes of the mother in her prison, as well as
the ardour of her friends in England and on the Continent. A
number of isolated Catholic plots, of no serious importance, were
constantly renewed and inevitably followed by torture and the
gallows. The penal law against the Catholic priests were applied
with extreme rigour, being often favoured by public opinion,
which saw in them only so many conspirators. The most celebrated
victim of this persecution was the Jesuit Campion, a
distinguished and able man, whose execution excited a certain
amount of passion. Burleigh was compelled to exonerate himself
for having ordered him to be tortured. The wooden horse had been
applied so gently, he affirmed, that the Jesuit had been able to
walk at once to sign his confession. The prisons were filled with
Catholics; those whom the persecutors dared not send to gallows,
sometimes died there of grief and suffering. This was the fate of
the Earl of Arundel, son of the Duke of Norfolk, formerly in
great favour with Elizabeth. Having become a Catholic and fallen
into disgrace, he was arrested while endeavouring to escape;
being thrown into the Tower, he languished there for several
years, and finally died without being permitted to see his wife
and children again.
{389}
The formidable abuses of absolute power manifested themselves
vigorously, for the strong intellect of Burleigh had not, any
more than that of his mistress, conceived the least idea of the
rights of conscience. While Elizabeth forbade the Catholic
priests to say mass, she drove from their livings the
nonconformist ministers until 1589, and caused the anabaptists
and heretics to be burned. A circumstance which aggravated the
situation of the Catholics, was the suspicion, very often well
founded, that they had a secret understanding with foreign
countries, and mixed politics with the religious interests. In
1584, the ambassador of Spain, Mendoza, received his passports
and quitted the kingdom, much compromised by the revelations of
Francis Throgmorton, who was condemned to death for having
conspired against the queen, with the object of delivering Mary
Stuart. Parliament voted fresh measures against the Catholic
priests; these measures were attacked by a Welsh member named
Parry, who was sent to the Tower; his confessions were so
complete, he denounced so many accomplices, he revealed dangers
so imminent, that he was suspected of being simply the instrument
of the Protestant party, intended to prove the peril which
surrounded the queen. But if Parry had counted upon pardon, he
was mistaken; he was executed on the 25th of February, 1585,
retracting at the last moment all his revelations, and exclaiming
upon the scaffold, "God grant that in taking my life Queen
Elizabeth may not have killed the best keeper of her park."
{390}
It was supposed that Parry was mad, but his accusations agitated
the Catholics, who resolutely protested against any disloyal
project and in particular against the theory of _permissible
assassination_, which Parry had attributed to their Church.
The gentleman who presented this protest to the queen was cast
into prison where he died. A Protestant association was formed,
to protect the life of her Majesty, and to avenge her death in
case of crime. The Earl of Leicester placed himself at the head
of the movement, which received the sanction of Parliament. Mary
Stuart looked upon this league as her death-warrant; she
trembled, with good reason, in her prison, for her son made no
effort in her favour; he was negotiating with the Queen of
England for a treaty of alliance against the Catholic powers,
without the name of Mary being uttered between them. In reply to
the pathetic appeals of his mother, James VI. contented himself
with replying that she was Queen-Mother, and had nothing to do
with the affairs of Scotland. "I love my mother, as I ought, by
duty and by nature," he said to the French ambassador, "but I
cannot approve of her conduct, and I know that she wishes no more
good to me than to the Queen of England." The end of the long
drama was approaching.

The Protestant policy had completely gained the ascendant in the
councils of Elizabeth; she was still officially at peace with
Spain; but, for many years her great admirals, Drake, Hawkins,
and Sir Walter Raleigh, freely overran the seas, taking
possession of all the Spanish vessels which they encountered,
furnished with letters of marque, pillaging at times the Spanish
towns, and constantly the Spanish settlements in America.
{391}
For a long while, moreover, the cause of liberty in the Low
Countries had been secretly protected by the money and assistance
of Elizabeth, and she had recently lent her brilliant support by
sending an army of six thousand men, under the orders of the Earl
of Leicester, to support the war which had lost (a year before,
on the 10th of July, 1584,) its illustrious chief, William the
Taciturn, by the dagger of Balthazar Gérard, an assassin in the
pay of Philip II. The Queen of England again declined the
Protectorate of the United Provinces; but she accepted as a
pledge of her close alliance with that rising state the surrender
of the towns of Brill and Flushing. On his own motive, and
without consulting the queen, Leicester even went so far as to
cause himself to be nominated governor by the States-general of
the Low Countries. But he had presumed too much upon his past
influence over his queen; she had never forgiven him for his
marriage with the Countess of Essex; he gained no success in the
Low Countries; his military talents were not as great as his
political skill. Elizabeth flew into a passion against him, with
a violence which gave uneasiness to the members of the council;
great difficulty was experienced in preventing her from recalling
Leicester at once, and the States-general, who had thought to
satisfy the Court of England, soon perceived with grief that
Elizabeth was growing cold toward their cause.

{392}

A fresh effort was being prepared in favour of Queen Mary, the
last link of the long succession of plots which were to bring her
to the scaffold. Anthony Babington, a young man of good birth, a
fervent Catholic, rich, for a long while devoted to the unhappy
captive, engaged in a project of conspiracy, supported, it is
said, by the Duke of Parma, Alexander Farnèse, who was to make a
descent upon England as soon as he should succeed in
assassinating Queen Elizabeth. Babington was desirous of
delivering Mary Stuart and placing her upon the throne; he did
not take heed of the means proposed by Savage, the prime mover in
the plot, and he gathered around him a few friends as bold and
imprudent as himself. It appears certain that from this point
Walsingham was aware of the conspiracy, but he allowed matters to
proceed until Queen Mary had written twice to Babington. As soon
as the captive was compromised, the accomplices were all
arrested. Savage and Babington alone had desired and plotted the
murder of the queen; a few of the conspirators contemplated only
the deliverance of Mary Stuart, others limited themselves to
keeping silence concerning the conspiracy. "It is my cruel
destiny," exclaimed Jones, before the tribunal, "that I should
betray my friend whom I love as myself or fail in my allegiance,
and become a false friend or a miserable traitor. My tender
feeling for Thomas Salisbury has ruined me, but God knows that I
meditated no treason." The less guilty among the conspirators
were condemned to be hanged; the chiefs of the conspiracy
suffered the horrible punishment at traitors. They were so young
and of such good appearance that their punishment caused a
certain degree of emotion in London. These were the last victims
of the beauty and misfortunes of Mary Stuart.

{393}

The captive queen had been transferred from prison to prison,
each day more closely confined, each day treated with less
consideration and respect. She had at one time reproached Lord
Shrewsbury for too much severity, but she felt herself protected
by his honour; Lord Shrewsbury was no longer her guardian, she
was entrusted to Sir Amyas Pawlet and Sir Drew Drury, fierce
Protestants, almost Puritans, who felt no pity for the corrupt,
murderous, and idolatrous woman whom they held in their hands.
Mary had been removed from Chartley Castle, in Staffordshire, a
few days before the arrest of Babington; when she was taken back
there, she found all her coffers open, her papers abstracted: her
two secretaries, Nam and Curie, had been taken to London. She
looked for a moment at the havoc, then, turning towards Pawlet,
"There are two things, sir, which you cannot take from me," she
said, with dignity, "the royal blood which gives me the right to
the succession, and the attachment which unites me to the faith
of my ancestors." Alas! Mary would willingly have repurchased her
life and liberty at the price of the faith of her ancestors; she
had formerly made the offer to Elizabeth, but the approach of
death, which she felt to be inevitable, brought her back to the
real convictions of her soul. Throughout all the faults and
crimes of her life, she had been sincerely Catholic; purified by
long sufferings, she was to die a Catholic, leaving to a rival
whose life she had embittered, the odious stain of her execution.

{394}

Parliament now voted a law, which, without naming Mary, condemned
her by anticipation. The council of Elizabeth urged the queen to
place the captive upon her trial. The repeated plots of which she
had been the occasion, the inexhaustible interest which she had
excited in Europe, appeared to Burleigh, Walsingham, and Sadler,
sufficient reasons for her destruction. Elizabeth hesitated,
irresolute and perplexed; she foresaw, perhaps, better than her
councillors the harm which would be done her by the death of her
relative, who had taken refuge under her protection and was
without defence in her hands. Leicester, who had recently
returned to England proposed to have recourse to poison;
Walsingham opposed this suggestion resolutely; he was specially
entrusted with the matter. Burleigh was old, and perhaps had a
repugnance, like the queen, to striking the last blow; but
Walsingham insisted upon a trial in due form and a public
condemnation. "That conduct is alone worthy of your Grace," he
said. He carried with him the majority of the council, and the
queen nominated a commission entrusted to try "her good sister,
the Queen of Scotland," according to the new law of Parliament,
against "any person claiming the succession who might have
encouraged or supported plots, invasions, or attempts against the
safety of the of kingdom and the person of the queen." It was not
necessary to bring together the great names which formed the
commission for signing a sentence already written in the law
itself.

Mary was brought, a few days after the execution of Babington, to
Fotheringay Castle, in Northamptonshire. It was there that the
commissioners arrived, on the 11th of October, 1586, the bearers
of a letter of Queen Elizabeth, which informed the captive that
she was compromised in the recent conspiracy, and that she was
about to be tried upon that count, as well as several other
points, according to the laws of England, under the protection of
which she had lived.
{395}
Mary was old before her time, infirm and overwhelmed with
sorrows, but her royal pride was aroused by this arrogant
pretension of her rival. "I do not recognize the laws of
England," she replied; "and I know that what the Parliament has
just voted is directed against me; but I will not derogate from
the honour of my ancestors, Kings of Scotland, by submitting to
be tried as the subject of my sister of England, and as a
criminal." The legists were before her when she made this protest
"We will try you then as absent and contumacious," said Burleigh.
"Look to your conscience," replied Mary. "If you are innocent,
you have nothing to fear," insisted the old chamberlain, Hatton:
"but in rejecting the trial, you sully your reputation with
eternal infamy." Mary at length yielded, on condition that her
protest should be admitted. Protestation and resistance was
equally useless.

On the 14th of October, the commissioners assembled in the great
hall of Fotheringay Castle. A throne, with a canopy, occupied the
place of Queen Elizabeth; lower down, a chair without a canopy
awaited Queen Mary. The judges were surrounded by their
assessors, with tables for their documents. The accused queen had
neither assessors, advocates, nor documents; but her pride, her
skill, her presence of mind sufficed, for two days, to hold in
check the most able lawyers of England. It was no longer a
question of defending herself from past accusations, from the
murder of her husband, or her complicity with Bothwell; she was
accused of having participated in plots for the overthrow and
death of the Queen of England, and, notwithstanding her denials,
it is difficult for history to exonerate her from this crime.
{396}
She had probably implicated herself in the conspiracies against
Elizabeth at the time when she was yet a sovereign and free. What
a temptation to do so when she was detained, a prisoner, in
defiance of justice as well as royal hospitality! The light of
those eyes which had made so many victims was extinguished, the
elegant figure bent, but the subtle wit, the majestic grace, the
infinite seductiveness which had been the danger and the charm of
Mary Stuart still existed. She covered her face with her hands
when the Earl of Arundel, still in prison at the Tower was
mentioned. "Alas!" she exclaimed, "what has the noble House of
Howard endured for my sake?" She asked that her two secretaries,
whose depositions had been read, should be brought before her.
They were in London, and she challenged the authenticity of their
testimony, as well as that of a letter written, it was said, by
her, to provoke an invasion of England. "I think that that
document is the work of the secretary of State, Walsingham," she
said. Walsingham rose, protesting that he had never acted through
malice, and had done nothing which was unworthy of an honest man.
He, no doubt, congratulated himself inwardly on having rejected
the suggestion of poison put forth by the Earl of Leicester. The
weight of the accusation rested upon the recent conspiracy of
Babington, and upon the testimony of the two secretaries. Mary
demanded to be heard by Parliament and to see the queen in
person.
{397}
The instructions of the commissioners were formal. Elizabeth
_would_ not see the captive. When the judges quitted
Fotheringay and assembled at Westminster, the witnesses were
summoned before them, but the accused was not there. On the 25th
of October, 1586, in the Star Chamber, the commissioners declared
that Mary Stuart, daughter of James V., known as the Queen of
Scotland, had taken part in the conspiracy of Anthony Babington
and in several others to the prejudice of and against the life of
her Majesty the Queen of England, in the name and under the
pretext of her pretended rights to the crown; consequent upon
which, she was condemned to death, without this sentence being in
any wise prejudicial to James VI., King of Scotland, who retained
all his rights and privileges as though the said condemnation had
not existed.

The sentence was passed, but Elizabeth hesitated to put it in
execution, as she had hesitated to bring her royal cousin to
trial. Parliament made an effort to deliver her from the odious
responsibility which she dreaded, and, on the 12th of November,
the two Houses implored the queen to provide for her safety, by
causing, as soon as possible, the punishment which her crimes
deserved, to fall upon the guilty head. Elizabeth replied to her
faithful subjects, while dwelling upon the absence of any rancour
in her soul, "If we were two milk-maids, with pails upon our
arms, and it was merely a question which involved my own life,
without endangering the religion and welfare of my people, I
would willingly pardon all her offences." She prayed God to
enlighten her upon the course to follow, promising to make known
her resolution within a short time.
{398}
In the meanwhile, she caused the two Houses, through the
chancellor, to be asked whether there was not some means of
placing her life in safety without interfering with that of Mary.
Parliament replied in the negative. But the hesitations of
Elizabeth were not yet at an end; a fresh speech expounded her
scruples to her people. "Many opprobrious books and pamphlets
(she said) accuse me of being a tyrant, which is indeed news to
me; but what would they now say if a maiden queen should shed the
blood of her own kinswoman? Yet it were a foolish course to
cherish a sword to cut my own throat, and I am infinitely
beholden to you who seek to preserve my life. If I should say I
will not do what you require, it might peradventure be saying
more than I should mean, and if I should say I will do it, it
might, perhaps, breed greater perils than those from which you
would protect me; for an answer, I will dismiss you, then,
without an answer." The sentence of death was meanwhile posted up
in all parts of London, and greeted with shouts of joy by the
people.

Lord Buckhurst was chosen to announce her condemnation to Mary;
it was hoped that some confession would be obtained from her, in
the agitation and despair of an approaching death. But whatever
might have been the crimes of Mary in the past, and her wrongs
towards Queen Elizabeth, her courage had not relaxed in
misfortune, and did not abandon her at the supreme hour. A bishop
had accompanied the fatal messenger; the queen refused to see
him, asking for her chaplain, "I am weary of this world," she
said, "and glad that my troubles are about to end."
{399}
She repeated that she had never taken part in any plot against
the life of Elizabeth, and her last care was to write to the Pope
and the Archbishop of Glasgow, to enjoin that her reputation
should be cleared of all stain; it was a task above the power of
those to whom it was entrusted by the unfortunate woman, who
could not appeal to her son to defend her.

In her quality of a condemned person, the Queen of Scotland was
degraded from all the honours which had hitherto been rendered
her. Her jailor, Sir Amyas Pawlet, would sit down before her
without permission. "I am an anointed queen," said the fallen
sovereign; "in spite of the Queen of England, her council, and
her heretical judges, I will still die a queen." The last letter
of Mary to Elizabeth was truly a royal epistle, without
complaints or recriminations, thanking God inasmuch as He was
good enough to put an end to a sorrowful pilgrimage, and asking
no other favour than that of dying in the presence of her
servants, to whom she begged the queen to cause the small
legacies indicated in her will to be given. It was in the name of
Jesus Christ, of their kinship, of the memory of Henry VII.,
their ancestor, and of the royal dignity which was common to
them, that the captive, upon the point of dying, proudly demanded
these modest favours of her triumphant rival.

{400}

The King of France, Henry III., had not absolutely abandoned his
sister-in-law in her extremity; he sent to the court of England
an ambassador extraordinary to plead her cause. Elizabeth delayed
before giving him an audience; when she admitted him into her
presence, with great ceremony, it was not without keen tokens of
emotion that she affirmed that the Queen of Scotland had three
times attempted her life. All the arguments of Bellièvre were
useless; when he declared that his sovereign would consider as a
cause of rupture the execution of a Dowager Queen of France,
Elizabeth flew into a passion. The emissary received his
passports. The ordinary ambassador, M. de l'Aubespine, accused of
having been implicated in a fresh conspiracy against the life of
the queen, saw his secretary cast into prison. A third emissary
was no more successful.

While he was interceding for Mary with the Queen of England, King
Henry III. was endeavouring to awaken in the breast of James VI.
the natural feelings of a son for his mother. What more cruel
condemnation of the conduct of the King of Scotland could be
imagined than the fact that it shocked and scandalized Henry
III.! He succeeded in obtaining a preliminary mission to
Elizabeth, but by a personage of so little importance, and so
deep in the interests of England, that France was not satisfied
with this proceeding, which, nevertheless, aroused the anger of
Queen Elizabeth. James hastened to write, excusing himself
humbly, alleging that he in nowise imputed to her the blame of
what she had done against his mother. Sir Robert Melville
accompanied the second embassy. "Why does the Queen of Scotland
seem so dangerous to you?" asked the emissaries. "Because she is
a Papist and wishes to succeed to my throne," said Elizabeth,
flatly. "Does her grace still live?" said Melville, tremblingly.
"I think so," replied the queen, "but I would not answer for it
in an hour."
{401}
The old servant of Mary interceded ardently for her, but his
colleague, Gray, assured the ministers that it was not a
dangerous affair, adding coarsely, "A dead woman does not bite."
Walsingham was seriously astonished that a Protestant monarch
should not feel that the existence of his mother was incompatible
with the safety of the Reformed Churches in England and Scotland.
James VI. recalled his ambassadors and contented himself with
recommending his mother to the prayers of all his subjects; the
greater number of Presbyterian pastors refused to obey his
orders.

Elizabeth had repelled all foreign intervention; meanwhile, she
still hesitated; she was heard to mutter between her teeth, in
Latin "_Aut ferire, aut feriri; ne feriare, feri._" (Either
to strike or to be stricken; in order not to be stricken,
strike). The warrant had been ready for six weeks, when the queen
signed it, in private, on the 1st of February, consigning it to
the secretary of state, Davison, "without other orders," as she
subsequently asserted. She only suggested that Sir Amyas Pawlet
might spare her all that trouble, and she commanded that he
should be written to in that strain, Pawlet formally refused,
saying that his property and life were at the disposition of her
majesty, but that God did not permit him to sacrifice his
conscience, nor to leave an infamous stain upon his name. None
would incur the responsibility of the crime; the queen did not
even command the warrant to be sent. It went, however, without
her having inquired into it, a precaution which was useful to her
subsequently. On the 7th of February, while the scaffold was
being erected in the courtyard of Fotheringay, Elizabeth told
Davison that he should write again to Sir Amyas.
{402}
"It is useless, I think," began the secretary; she did not allow
him time to explain himself, and turned towards one of her ladies
who was entering. Davison was never to see his mistress again.

The Earl of Shrewsbury now arrived at Fotheringay. Queen Mary
immediately understood what the arrival of the Earl-Marshal
meant. When the sentence was read, Mary made the sign of the
cross, then, without agitation, she said that death was welcome,
but that she had not expected, after being detained twenty years
in prison, that her sister Elizabeth would thus dispose of her.
She at the same time placed her hand upon a book beside her,
swearing that she had never contemplated nor sought the death of
Elizabeth. "That is a Popish Bible," exclaimed the Earl of Kent,
brutally, "your oath is of no value." "It is a Catholic
testament," said the captive, "and therefore, my lord, as I
believe that to be the true version my oath is the more to be
relied on;" and she asked what would be the time of the
execution. "Tomorrow morning, at eight o'clock," said Lord
Salisbury, in great agitation. "Your death will be the life of
our religion," said Kent, "as your life would have been its
death." The queen smiled bitterly. She was left alone with her
servants: she bade farewell to them, drinking to their health at
her last repast, and asking pardon of them all. She passed a
portion of the night in writing to her confessor, to the King of
France, and to the Duke of Guise.


[Image]
Mary Stuart Swearing She Had Never Sought The Life Of Elizabeth.


{403}

At eight o'clock the sheriff of the county entered the oratory
where she was in prayer; she raised herself immediately, took the
crucifix from the altar, and advanced with a firm step; she was
clad in the rich and sober costume of a Dowager Queen. At the
door of the antechamber, she found her faithful servant,
Melville, who for three weeks had waited in vain to be permitted
to see her. He threw himself upon his knees before her, weeping
and sobbing. "Cease to lament, good Melville," said the queen,
"for thou shalt now see a final period to Mary Stuart's troubles;
the world, my servant, is naught but vanity, and subject to more
sorrow than an ocean of tears can wash away. But, I pray thee,
take this message when thou goest, that I die true to my
religion, to Scotland and to France. Commend me to my son, and
tell him that I have done nothing to prejudice the kingdom of
Scotland." She asked that her servants might be present at her
execution. The Earl of Kent refused; she insisted, with warmth:
"In regard of womanhood," she said, "your mistress would not deny
me to have some of my women about me at my death." The point was
conceded: two of the ladies of the queen accompanied her to the
scaffold, as well as Melville and a few servants. When the
sentence had been read, Mary reminded the spectators that she was
a sovereign princess, and had nothing to do with the laws of
England, that she died by injustice and violence, without ever
having conspired against the life of Elizabeth. The Dean of
Peterborough began to speak; the queen interrupted him several
times. "I am fixed in the ancient religion," she said, "and, by
God's grace, I will shed my blood for it." Seeing that she could
not impose silence upon him, she turned round looking on the
other side of the scaffold but he followed her movements, and
proceeded to place himself in front of her.
{404}
While he prayed aloud in English, the queen repeated in Latin the
Penitential Psalms, with profound contrition. When the dean had
finished, she prayed aloud in English for the Church, her son,
and Queen Elizabeth. She kissed the crucifix; the Earl of Kent
exclaimed, "Madam, you had better put such Popish trumpery out of
your hand and carry Christ in your heart." "I can hardly bear
this emblem in my hand without at the same time bearing Him in my
heart," said the queen. The executioners laid hands upon her to
undress her; as her women burst into sobs in their indignation,
she placed her finger to her lips and embraced them, saying to
the spectators, "I am not accustomed to be undressed by such
attendants, nor to put off my clothes before so much company."
Her eyes were bound with a handkerchief embroidered with gold,
and the executioners conducted her to the block. She laid her
head upon it without trembling. "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I
commend my spirit," she said aloud. The executioner was more
agitated than the victim; he was compelled to strike three times.
When he raised the bleeding head, exclaiming, "God save Queen
Elizabeth," the dean and the Earl of Kent alone replied, "Thus
perish all her enemies." No one said _Amen_. The queen's
little lap-dog had hidden himself in her clothing; he could not
be separated from the body while it remained upon the scaffold.

{405}

The news of the execution soon spread abroad in London, and many
people manifested their joy thereat, before anyone dared to
announce the fact to the queen. She feigned great anger, shedding
tears, and asserting that she had given no order. The secretary
of state, Davison, was sent to the Tower; Burleigh and the other
ministers were disgraced. Walsingham had been prudent enough to
absent himself; when he reappeared, his colleagues were not long
in returning into favour, but a victim was necessary. Davison
remained in prison during all the remainder of the reign of
Elizabeth, and his whole fortune was confiscated to pay the fine
which was imposed upon him.

The first care of Elizabeth was to communicate to King James the
grief which she experienced at the unhappy event which had
occurred without her knowledge in her kingdom. The king wept on
learning the death of his mother, asserting that he would move
heaven and earth in his vengeance. His anger was immediately
appeased; the pension which he received from Elizabeth was
increased; one of the obstacles which might impede his succession
to the throne of England had disappeared. The royal Pretender
consoled himself with this expectation. "Could an only son forget
his mother?" Mary Stuart had asked on learning her condemnation.
The conduct of King James proved that he could.

King Henry III. would have been much embarrassed to accomplish
his threats and to wage war in England to avenge his unhappy
sister-in-law. He groaned under the yoke of the League and of the
Guises, and no doubt easily forgave Elizabeth for the blow which
she had struck at the haughty House of Lorraine. L'Aubespine
reproached Elizabeth for the assistance which she had so long
been giving to Henry of Navarre. "I have done nothing against
your sovereign," said the queen, resorting to her former
argument; "I support the King of Navarre against the Duke of
Guise." L'Aubespine did not persist.

{406}

For a long time past, the expeditions of the English Buccaneers
in the West Indies had completed the exasperation occasioned to
Philip by the assistance accorded by Elizabeth to the rebels of
the Low Countries. The death of Queen Mary furnished him with a
natural pretext for the bursting forth of his resentment. The
Queen of England made some efforts to appease it as she had
appeased the anger of the Kings of France and Scotland. In the
Netherlands her arms had not been covered with glory. Leicester
was the weakest and most incompetent of the generals, and in his
absence, while he was in England to assist in the condemnation of
Mary Stuart, a body of his troops commanded by malcontent
officers, had restored Deventer to the King of Spain, passing at
the same time into his service. The return of the Earl into the
Low Countries did not repair matters. The Dutch were discontented
and uneasy; the queen recalled her forces, retaining merely the
hostage towns, and she accepted the provisional nomination of
Maurice of Nassau, son of William the Taciturn, as Stadtholder of
the United Provinces. She had even opened up a secret negotiation
with the Duke of Parma, who still held out in the Low Countries,
but although endeavouring to preserve the peace, she understood
that war was becoming imminent, and the great preparations to
which the King of Spain was devoting himself were not unknown to
her.
{407}
As a preliminary to hostilities, Sir Francis Drake was despatched
with a fleet of thirty vessels, with orders to destroy, even in
their ports, all the Spanish vessels which he might encounter.
Never was a mission executed with more satisfaction and success.
On the 19th of April, 1587, that bold seaman forced the entrance
of the port of Cadiz, where he destroyed thirty great vessels;
then, following the coast-line as far as Cape St. Vincent, he
captured, burnt, and sunk a hundred other ships, and destroyed on
his way, four fortresses. At length he entered the Tagus,
recently become tributary to Philip II., who had taken possession
of Portugal, to console himself for the loss of Holland, and
Drake took possession, under cover of the Spanish standard, of
the St. Philip, the largest vessel of the royal navy, laden with
a precious cargo, The exploits of Drake delayed by more than a
year the expedition which the King of Spain contemplated, and
gave time to Elizabeth to complete her preparations. "I have
singed the King of Spain's beard," said the victorious admiral on
returning to England. The anger of Philip redoubled under these
insults. The Pope, Sixtus the Fifth, had supplied him with money
and renewed the bull of excommunication against Elizabeth. All
the vessels of the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily were confiscated
for the service of the king. The republic of Venice and that of
Genoa lent their fleets to him. Every where in all the ports of
Spain vessels were in course of construction. A fleet of
flat-bottomed vessels prepared in Flanders were to transport to
England the Duke of Parma and his thirty thousand soldiers.
{408}
The humblest Spanish sailor thought himself assured of the
conquest of England. Philip II., promised himself the triumph of
the Catholic faith in this haunt of the heretics. It is allowable
to doubt that the Pope Sixtus the Fifth was as sure of success.
"_Un gran cervello di principessa_" (She has the mind of a
great princess), he often said in speaking of Elizabeth. But
Europe, Protestant or Catholic, had not yet lost the habit of
trembling before the power of Spain. All eyes were fixed upon
England, against which country so many preparations were being
made.

Meanwhile England did not remain idle. In the month of November,
1587, the queen convoked a council of war, to which she had
summoned all the distinguished soldiers and seamen of that time,
and which was destined to found the great navy of England. Sir
Walter Raleigh took a large share in the deliberations, and
vigorously maintained the opinion, that it was necessary both to
meet the enemies at sea, and to prepare for them on land. The
fleet of Elizabeth was not large. She had never waged war, and
the money of which she could dispose did not suffice for the
demands she received from all the Protestant countries, opposed
and struggling for their faith. Thirty-six vessels only composed
the royal navy, but merchant ships abounded. The progress of
wealth had been rapid during the reign of Elizabeth; the devotion
of her subjects provided for all wants; private persons armed the
commercial ships for war, to do homage to the queen with them,
and the great seamen who had acquired their renown and experience
in waging war as buccaneers against the Spanish in all the seas
of the world--Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher--took command of the
vessels, under the orders of the High Admiral, Lord Howard of
Effingham.
{409}
A hundred and ninety-one ships were at length gathered together,
and the Dutch sent to the assistance of their allies sixty others
manned by the fierce Zealanders, ever eager to fight the
Spaniards. The fleet was disposed in squadrons to cover the
coasts, while the land forces, under the orders of Leicester,
assembled from all parts to resist the invasion. All the ancient
fortifications were repaired, and new redoubts were raised as
though by enchantment. A camp was formed at Tilbury Fort,
opposite Gravesend. The queen repaired thither herself, to be
present at a review. Her subjects had vied with each other in
devotion. Catholics as well as Protestants had generously
responded to her appeal. Catholic gentlemen, when command was
refused them, enrolled themselves as private soldiers. A hundred
and thirty thousand men were raised in the kingdom. When the
queen assembled her forces at Tilbury, she had around her more
than sixty thousand men. The Earls of Essex and Leicester marched
at the bridle of her war-horse; she carried in her hand the staff
of command. All her courage glistened in her eyes. "My loving
people," she said, "we have been persuaded by some that are
careful for our safety to take heed how we commit ourselves to
armed multitudes for fear of treachery, but I assure you that I
do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people.
Let tyrants fear! I have always borne myself so that, under God,
I place my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts
and good will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you
at this time, not as for my recreation and sport, but being
resolved in the midst and heat of battle to live or die amongst
you all, to lay down for my God, for my kingdom, and for my
people, my honour and my blood even in the dust.
{410}
I know that I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I
have the heart of a king and of a King of England too, and think
foul scorn that Parma or Spain should dare to invade the borders
of my realms. To which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me
I myself will take up arms." The popular enthusiasm was great,
but general terror equalled the enthusiasm. The terrible
reputation of the Spanish troops had preceded them. The
inexperienced recruits who formed the greater portion of the land
forces would have been unable to resist the veterans of the Duke
of Parma; the English navy was to save England.

The invincible Armada, as the Spaniards arrogantly called it,
issued forth from the Tagus on the 29th of May, 1588. It numbered
about a hundred and thirty ships, of which some were enormous.
The sea appeared to fight in favour of England, in directing the
course of the invaders towards Corunna, where the fleet was to
take reinforcements. In the vicinity of Cape Finisterre a storm
arose which dispersed the squadron and destroyed a certain number
of vessels. The news of the disaster arrived in England; the
people thought themselves delivered of the enemy. Elizabeth,
always economical, immediately wrote to Lord Howard to disarm the
four largest vessels of the fleet, and to disband the crews.
{411}
The Admiral refused to do so, saying that he would prefer to
maintain them with his private fortune; this was fortunate for
him, for the _Armada_ had re-formed, and on the 19th of June
it was signalled in the vicinity of Plymouth. It advanced
majestically, in the form of a crescent, covering the sea,
measuring from one horn of the crescent to the other a space of
three leagues. An immediate landing was expected, but the orders
of Philip were to approach the coast of Flanders, there to rally
the Duke of Parma, his fleet and his soldiers. Lord Howard
followed the enemy, in readiness to attack the ships separated
from the squadron by accidents of the sea. Thus began a series of
combats, all disastrous to the Spaniards, though often impeded on
the side of the English by the failure of supplies. On the 22nd,
23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th of July, Howard, Drake, Hawkins,
Frobisher, engaged either in concert or separately, fought almost
without intermission. On the 28th at length, "this morrice-dance
upon the waters," as Sir Henry Wotton called it, was approaching
its end. The Duke of Medina-Sidonia, a Spanish Admiral, had asked
assistance of the Duke of Parma; he was in the vicinity of
Calais, but the English vessels blockaded the Strait between
Nieuport and Dunkirk. The Flemings could not pass; a great battle
began. The Spaniards presented a compact mass which impeded the
movements of the English vessels, smaller than theirs. During the
night, fire-ships were launched against them. The Spaniards had
had terrible experience of this method of warfare from the Dutch
in the Scheldt; confusion spread through the squadron. The
vessels quitted their positions and crowded all sail to escape
from the explosion of the fire-ships; in vain did their admiral
endeavour to reassemble them; the English attacked the isolated
vessels at their ease.
{412}
Everywhere minor encounters were signalled; almost everywhere the
English were the victors. The Duke of Medina-Sidonia had already
taken the course of abandoning any invasion and of returning to
Spain by doubling Scotland. The English pursued him. "We have the
Spaniards before us," wrote Drake to Walsingham, "and with the
grace of God, we intend to join them yet. God grant that the Duke
of Parma be watched, for, with the grace of God, if we are
living, we will not delay in seizing the Duke of Medina-Sidonia,
so that he may wish himself at St. Mary amidst his vines." The
failure of supplies put an end to the pursuit; it was necessary
to abandon the Spaniards to the mercy of the sea. A terrible
storm assailed them near the Orkney Islands. A great number of
vessels stranded upon the coast of Scotland, and the crews were
made prisoners. Those ships that were driven to Ireland did not
save one man. The English colonists cut them to pieces to prevent
them from seconding the Irish insurrection. When the Duke of
Medina-Sidonia returned in the month of September, to Santander,
in the Bay of Biscay, he had but sixty vessels, and those in bad
condition, while their crews, overwhelmed with fatigue, looked
like spectres. The English had lost but one ship of importance.
For some time people feared a descent of the Duke of Parma,
"who," wrote Drake, "I take to be as a bear robbed of her
whelps;" but the alarm soon subsided, and the queen caused the
camp at Tilbury to be raised.
{413}
The army was disbanded, and the Earl of Leicester set out for his
castle at Kenilworth. He died there on the 4th of September,
shortly after his arrival. The queen, whose favorite he had been
for thirty years, did not appear greatly afflicted at his loss;
she caused his effects to be sold at auction, to pay his debts to
the public treasury. She had chosen a new favourite, as yet
almost a child, the Earl of Essex, son-in-law of Leicester. The
charm of his person, the gaiety and frankness of his manners,
amused Elizabeth. She was fifty-five years of age; Essex was not
twenty, when, in 1587, she made him Knight of the Garter, and
captain-general of the cavalry. At the death of Leicester, he was
raised to the dangerous position of titled favourite at the court
of an imperious, exacting woman, accustomed to the most
extravagant flatteries, and moreover jealous yet of her beauty
and personal charms. The greatness of Essex was to cost him
dearly.

A fruitless expedition to Spain, in favour of Don Antonio,
Pretender to the crown of Portugal, did more honour to the
bravery of the Earl of Essex than to his military talents. When
he returned to England, he imprudently entered into a fierce
struggle against the influence of the Cecils. Walsingham had
died, in 1590, and Burleigh desired to have his office bestowed
upon his son, Robert Cecil. Essex supported the cause of the
unhappy Davison, unjustly disgraced for several years; the queen
gave the office to Burleigh, authorizing him to obtain the
assistance of his son. Hence there sprang a constant hostility
which was to terminate in the ruin of Essex.
{414}
Elizabeth had often differed in opinion from her great minister;
she had offended him, ill-used him, vexed him, but none had ever
succeeded in destroying his influence with her. Leicester had
attempted it in vain. Essex was endeavouring to attain the same
object in his turn, with as little chance of success. The queen
knew to whom she owed in a great measure the prosperity of her
reign, and the memory of the father was destined to constantly
increase in her eyes the services and merits of the son.

The Earl of Essex consoled himself for his defeat at court, by
departing for France at the head of the troops whom Elizabeth
sent to the assistance of Henry of Navarre, now become Henry IV.,
king of France. Henry III. was stabbed by Jacques Clément, on the
21st of July, 1589, and since then, his legitimate successor was
labouring to rescue his kingdom from the Leaguers obeying the
Duke of Guise, and supported by Spain. He was besieging Rouen
when the Earl of Essex joined him, at the head of the English
reinforcements. He distinguished himself in the skirmishes, in
one of which his brother, Walter Devereux, was killed: but the
impatient attachment of his mistress recalled him to England.
Duplessis-Mornay advised Henry IV. to send back Essex to Queen
Elizabeth, if he wished to obtain of the latter fresh aids in men
and money, which were becoming every day more necessary in order
to check the attacks of the Duke of Parma, who had recently
entered France. The war was popular in England, the English
gentlemen having always been eager to enroll themselves in the
ranks of the Huguenots. The queen had been, for a long while
past, the faithful ally of Henry of Navarre.
{415}
When he resolved, in 1593, to secure the peace of his kingdom and
the establishment of his throne by adjuring Protestantism,
indignation in England was violent. Elizabeth accused the king of
treachery, but the Edict of Nantes soon satisfied the English
Protestants, while securing to their brethren the free exercise
of their religion, and the hostilities which continued between
France and Spain, served the policy of Elizabeth too well for her
to withdraw from her ally the efficacious support which she had
always given him. The moment would not have been propitious for
abandoning him; for the Spanish armies had again penetrated into
France, and in the month of April, 1596, the Archduke Albert of
Austria took possession of Calais which Elizabeth claimed of
Henry IV., in exchange for her services. Amiens, Doullens,
Cambray, were taken in succession. "It is very well to make a
King of France," exclaimed Henry IV., on placing himself at the
head of his troops; "it is time to make a King of Navarre," and
he repulsed and defeated his enemies, while Queen Elizabeth,
carrying war to their coasts, sent the Earl of Essex to Spain
with Sir Walter Raleigh. The fleet commanded by Lord Howard
bombarded Cadiz. Essex stormed the town and took possession of
it; he wished to retain his prize, but, the council of England
not approving that measure, Cadiz was delivered up to the flames
before the English weighed anchor to return to their country. A
second expedition directed against the Azores, brought about few
results. The influence of the Cecils over the queen was still
hostile to Essex, notwithstanding an apparent reconciliation.
{416}
The earl retired to Wamstead House, inhabited by his wife, the
daughter of Walsingham, and widow of the celebrated Sir Philip
Sydney, the Christian hero of the chivalry of the sixteenth
century, slain at thirty years of age, before Zutphen. The
jealousy and affection of the queen soon recalled Essex to court;
he was nominated earl-marshal. Notwithstanding the opposition of
the court of England, the King of France had concluded, in 1598,
with Philip II., the treaty of Verdun, and Sir Robert Cecil, who
had been on a mission to Paris, brought back the Spanish
proposals for peace. Essex, who only lived for war, and who could
not exert his influence elsewhere, rose vigorously against these
overtures. The queen was not in favour of peace, but the Cecils
dwelt upon the embarrassments of the situation, upon the gravity
of affairs in Ireland, upon the distress of the treasury.
Burleigh, drawing from his pocket a book of Psalms, showed this
prophetic verse: "The bloodthirsty man shall not live half his
days." The quarrel became bitter. Essex flew into a passion, and
turned his back upon the queen, who had reprimanded him.
Elizabeth rose and gave a box on the ear to her insolent subject.
Essex had his hand upon his sword: "I would not have such an
affront from the hands of the king, her father," he said, "and I
will not accept it of a petticoat." Lord Howard arrested his arm,
and the earl impetuously quitted the council, to proceed to
Wamstead, where he remained in retirement for four months. When
he reappeared at the court, still powerful in appearance,
Burleigh had disappeared from the scene; he died on the 4th of
August, 1598, at the age of seventy-eight. His loss had cost his
mistress bitter tears.
{417}
Sir Robert Cecil, able and sagacious, but more corrupt than his
father, and less faithfully attached to the interests of the
queen, could not replace with Elizabeth the constant and sincere
union of the sovereign and the minister, during forty years. The
great consolation of the queen at this period was the death of
Philip II. The war soon languished, and peace being concluded at
the end of the year 1598, between the Spaniards and the United
Provinces, delivered Elizabeth from the enormous subsidies which
she had for a long time furnished her Dutch allies. The
States-general recognized their debt to her Majesty, and
undertook to discharge it by degrees. People in England were now
only occupied with the imaginary or real plots which were
discovered every day against the life of the queen, some hatched,
it was said, by the Catholics, who still groaned under the weight
of the most oppressive penal laws, others attributed to the
Spanish influence. The King of Scotland was even accused of a
project of assassination. He defended himself warmly against the
charge. The queen wrote him that she could not think him guilty;
but her confidence in his honour was so like a pardon for the
alleged crime, that King James was not content, and demanded the
trial of the accused, Valentine. The court of England contented
itself with detaining in prison the wretch who had dared to
tarnish the name of James VI.; when the latter succeeded to the
throne, he enjoyed the pleasure of sending Valentine to the
galleys.

{418}

The state of Ireland had for a long while preoccupied Queen
Elizabeth and her ministers. A serious insurrection at the
beginning of the reign had for a moment placed Shane O'Neil at
the head of all the Irish of pure race. He had been betrayed and
assassinated, but his country was not subjugated. The projects of
colonization of the Earl of Essex, father of the favourite of
Elizabeth, and encouraged by her, had not succeeded better than
the devastating campaigns of the Lords-Lieutenant, Sir Henry
Sidney and Fitzwilliam. The English had undertaken to civilize
Ireland by destroying its inhabitants, as they had undertaken to
establish Protestantism by prohibiting Catholic worship in a
country entirely devoted to that religion. Both efforts had
justly failed, and the jealous rivalries of the Irish noblemen,
the ever-recurring quarrels of the Butler's and the Fitzgeralds,
the revolts, the submissions, the arrests, the murders of the
chiefs of these two houses, the rival pretensions of the Earls of
Ormond and Desmond wearied the patience of the queen and council,
exhausted the public treasury, and maintained the hopes of the
enemies of England. Two adventurers, Stuckely and Fitzmaurice,
conceived the idea of taking advantage of the papal pretensions
to the possession of the islands, to attempt a bold stroke upon
Ireland. They obtained a bull relieving the Irish of their
allegiance to Elizabeth, besides assistance in money, a few
soldiers and some arms. Stuckely remained in Portugal, and
perished at the battle of Alcazar against the Moors, but
Fitzmaurice, brother of the Earl of Desmond, landed in Ireland,
in 1579, in the hope of bringing about an insurrection. He was
coldly received, and compelled to take refuge at the residence of
his brother.
{419}
A reinforcement of pontifical soldiers, besieged in the fortress
of Smerwick, were put to the sword by Sir Walter Raleigh. The
Earl of Desmond, suspected of having taken part in the
insurrection, was beheaded by the English troops, who seized him
in a hut; Lord Grey de Wilton, who had become Lord-Lieutenant,
restrained the revolt with a hand of iron, without obtaining any
amelioration in the moral or material situation of the country.
Sir John Perrot succeeded him in 1585; as severe as Lord Grey,
but more just, he had the misfortune to give himself up in a fit
of exasperation, to bitter words, not only against the queen, but
against her "dancing chancellor," Hatton. The vengeance of the
minister and the anger of the sovereign appeared to slumber, but
when Perrot, weary of asking in vain for assistance and money,
obtained his recall, he was accused of high treason, overwhelmed
by the testimony of men whose excesses he had restrained during
his government, and was soon condemned to death. His son had
married a sister of Essex, and the influence of the earl
counterbalanced that of his enemies. Grief or poison averted his
execution, he died on the 20th of June, 1591, at the moment when
the power of the Earl of Tyrone, Hugh, son of O'Neil, baron of
Duncannon, was becoming great in Ireland. He was regarded by his
fellow-citizens as the legitimate sovereign of Ulster. He claimed
for his country liberty of conscience and the maintenance of
ancient local customs, savage privileges having little
compatibility with civilization. At the same time he also claimed
all the property which had formerly belonged to his ancestors.
Skilful and of noble appearance, he had contrived to discipline
his fierce soldiers, and he conducted them in battle array
against the troops of the queen.
{420}
Sir John Norris had died of grief and anger. Sir Henry Bagnall
was defeated and killed at Blackwater, in County Tyrone, and the
insurrection spread throughout the whole of Ireland. It was
asserted that the Pope and the King of Spain had promised
assistance to the rebels. In this perilous situation the council
of the queen decided that no other but the Earl of Essex could
take command of the army. For a long time he refused. The
viceroys of Ireland had all suffered disgrace or death. He
finally yielded to the personal entreaties of Elizabeth, and left
London in the month of March, 1599, accompanied by the flower of
the English nobility. His absence was to inflict upon him a
mortal blow. The troops were despatched slowly, ill armed, ill
fed. In vain he demanded reinforcements. Sir Walter Raleigh and
Sir Robert Cecil assured the queen that her general had no other
desire than to prolong the war. When he entered the province of
Ulster, the centre of the rebellion, he had less than six
thousand men with him. He concluded an armistice with the Earl of
Tyrone, then without waiting for authority for this settlement he
embarked in haste for England. Scarcely arrived in London, he
repaired to the palace of the queen; she was at her toilet; he
entered and threw himself upon his knees before her, kissing her
hands. When he issued forth, he appeared radiant, congratulating
himself after suffering far from home stormy troubles and inward
griefs, and finding once more peace and quietude in his own
country.
{421}
On the morrow everything was changed. The Earl received orders to
remain a prisoner in his apartment. Sir John Harrington, who had
accompanied Essex to Ireland, was summoned to appear before the
queen: "she chafed much, walked to and fro, looked with
discomposure in her visage," says Sir John, "and when I kneeled
to her she clutched at my girdle, saying, 'By God's son I am no
queen, that man is above me! Who gave him command to come here so
soon? I did send him on other business.' She bid me go home, I
did not stay to be bidden twice. If all the Irish rebels had been
at my heels, I should not have made better speed." On the morrow,
Essex was summoned before the council. He replied with gravity
and moderation, but was consigned to the care of the keeper of
the seals. All the affection of the queen for the Earl appeared
to have turned to anger. She forbade the friends, the physicians,
and particularly the wife of the prisoner, to have any access to
his person. He was ill, and had been detained for eight months,
when, in the month of May, 1600, he wrote to the queen, reminding
her of her former favour, of which his enemies had been so
jealous that they continued to hate him habitually, "now that he
was forgotten and thrown into a corner, like a dishonoured
corpse." On the 26th of August, liberty was restored to him, but
orders were given to him not to appear at court. Terrible is the
intoxication of love of power and royal favour! Essex was
learned; he had a taste for arts and literature; he might have
retired into the country, and concealed the check he had
received, but he desired to tempt fortune once more. His
secretary, Cuffs, an enterprising man, without principle, urged
him to attempt the rule of his enemies by a bold stroke.
{422}
He was beloved by the population of London. An insurrection might
rid him of Cecil, Raleigh, Cobham, the party of the court, as
they were called, the earl opened the doors of his house to all
malcontents, and assembled together the officers who had served
under him. He involved in his cause King James VI., asserting
that Cecil and his friends were endeavoring to banish him from
the succession, in favour of the Infanta of Spain, Clara-Eugenia,
daughter of Philip II., married to the Archduke Albert. Secret
advices warned the Earl that his projects were known to the
council. He resolved to act. He was surrounded by his friends on
Sunday, the 8th of February, 1601, preparing to march to the City
to rouse to insurrection the populace assembled at the cross of
St. Paul's, at the moment of the sermon, and thus to open up a
way for himself to the queen with the assistance of the mob. The
keeper of the seals, and Lord Egerton and Sir William Knollys,
arrived at his house at the same moment, demanding an explanation
of this noisy assemblage. "There is a plot against my life:
letters have been forged in my name; men have been hired to
murder me in my bed," exclaimed Essex violently; then, as the
magistrates promised justice, he invited them to enter an inner
apartment; the door was closed upon them. Essex hastened to the
City with Lord Rutland, Lord Southampton and a few others. The
streets were deserted; no sermon had been delivered at the cross
of St. Paul's. The citizens remained shut up in their houses. The
aldermen had received the orders of the queen. Essex called every
one to arms; none responded. He had great difficulty in
re-entering his house, which he in vain endeavoured to defend.
{423}
At the sight of the cannon leveled against the walls, he, as well
as his friends, surrendered, and he was conducted to the Tower
with the Earl of Southampton. When the accused appeared before
the peers, on the 19th of February, Essex asserted that he had
only obeyed the law of nature in defending his reputation and his
life. The indictment of the crown was supported by Francis Bacon,
whose career was soon to present so strange a mixture of
greatness and infamy. He owed his elevation to the friendship and
the protection of the Earl of Essex. He was less violent than his
compeer, Coke, who accused the Earl of having desired to raise an
insurrection. "He would have called a Parliament, and a bloody
Parliament would that have been, where my Lord of Essex, that now
stands all in black, would have worn a bloody robe; but now, in
God's just judgment, he of his earldom shall be Robert the Last,
that of a kingdom thought to be Robert the First." All the
arguments of Essex were demolished by Bacon, although the latter
reminded him of the language which he had himself used regarding
the party which he now supported. No witness was confronted with
the accused, whose condemnation to death was unanimously
pronounced by the peers.

When the usual question was put to the two earls, whether they
knew of any reason why they should not be condemned, Essex did
not complain of the fate which awaited him. He was weary of life,
he said, but he interceded keenly for his friend. Lord
Southampton. He was urged to ask mercy of the queen.
{424}
"Do not accuse me of pride," said the Earl, "but I could not ask
for mercy in that way, though with all humility I pray her
Majesty's forgiveness; I would rather die than live in misery; I
have cleared my accounts, and have forgiven all the world." A
confession signed by Essex was circulated, but many people
believed it to be forged. It was also asserted that he had
expressly asked to be executed in secret, although that fact was
formally denied by King Henry IV. "Quite on the contrary," said
the monarch, "he would have desired nothing so much as to die in
public." The popularity of the Earl of Essex was dreaded, and the
prolonged emotion which his death caused proved that this dread
was not without foundation. He was beheaded on the 25th of
February, 1601, at eight o'clock in the morning, in an outer
court of the Tower. He was not thirty-three years of age. Sir
Walter Raleigh witnessed the execution from a window, as well as
that of several of the friends of the Earl. He did not know that
the day would come in like manner when other eyes would in their
turn come to contemplate his death. The Earl of Southampton
remained in prison until the accession of King James, with whom
he was soon in great favour.

If the King of Scotland had now found himself, as his mother had
been, under the rule of the English law, he would have incurred
serious dangers. His correspondence with Essex had compromised
him so much that he felt compelled to send ambassadors to London
to exonerate himself with Elizabeth. Sir Robert Cecil was in the
service of the King of Scotland, faithful to the instinct of the
courtier, who turns to the rising sun.
{425}
The queen was appeased and increased the pay of her successor. If
the chroniclers do not wrong her, she had shortly before been
concerned in a strange plot, in which the king had narrowly
escaped perishing by the hand of the sons of the Earl of Gowrie,
beheaded for rebellion in 1584. The queen and her destined
successor had little liking for each other, and bitter
recollections estranged them. In despatching his emissaries to
London, the King of Scotland had recommended them to proceed
prudently between the two precipices of the queen and the people.
The emissaries were sufficiently skilful to secure the best of
guides. It was then that Sir Robert Cecil began with King James a
correspondence which would have cost him his head if his mistress
had been aware of it. Less skilful, Sir Walter Raleigh and Cobham
did not contrive to gain in time the good graces of the future
monarch, a fatal imprudence, as one of them afterwards found.

The war continued in Ireland, supported by a considerable body of
Spaniards. Lord Mountjoy had besieged them in Kinsale and pressed
them vigorously, when the Earl of Tyrone advanced, at the head of
six thousand Irish, to second his allies. He was repulsed after a
desperate fight; the Spaniards were obliged to capitulate and
re-embark in their vessels. Mountjoy pursued Tyrone from retreat
to retreat, until he was compelled to surrender, towards the end
of 1602. The expenses of the war had been enormous; the Queen had
convoked Parliament for the last time in the month of October,
1601. She was sick and depressed in spirits; but she appeared
before the Houses more magnificently attired than ever, and
obtained considerable supplies.
{426}
The Commons, however, had determined to cause their favours to be
paid for. They protested violently against the monopolies granted
or sold by the Crown, which allowed the possessors to fix the
price of articles of first necessity as suited them. The sale of
wine, oil, salt, tin, steel and coal, were all objects of these
monopolies. It was asked why bread was not among the number. "If
no remedy is found for these," said a member, "bread will be
there before the next Parliament." The discussion, formal and
categorical in its nature, lasted four days. The ministers
endeavoured to defend the prerogative, but Parliament held firm;
the spirit of the Puritans had constantly gained ground during
recent years, and the queen was compelled to yield. A promise was
given to abolish the existing monopolies, and not to grant fresh
ones. This engagement was not strictly kept, but the worst
features of the evil diminished. Elizabeth no longer governed as
of old. The energy of her will yielded to the growing feebleness
of her body. She had always contrived to know the moment when it
was necessary to make concessions; and she felt, besides, with
bitter sorrow, that her popularity had diminished among the
nation. The day of complete decline was approaching. The
anxieties of absolute power, remorse for past cruelties, and
regret for the death of the Earl of Essex, weighed upon that
head, bent with age and sickness. Elizabeth did not seek
confidants. Secret in her griefs as in her resolves, she bore
alone the burden of her weariness; but the beginning of the year
1603 saw her strength diminishing day by day.
{427}
She no longer showed herself in public, alleging the sorrow which
she experienced at the recent death of the Countess Nottingham.
She no longer slept, and scarcely ate; "She remains seated upon
cushions," wrote the French Ambassador, at the beginning of
March, "refusing to take any medicine or to go to bed." She no
longer rose, yet she did not lie down; her eyes remained fixed
upon the ground, and days elapsed without her saying a word. On
the 21st of March her women put her to bed, and she listened
attentively to the prayers of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Whitgift. On the morrow, the 22nd of March, Cecil, the Lord
Admiral, and Lord Keeper of the Seals, approached her to ask her
to name her successor. She trembled. "I told you my seat has been
the seat of Kings; I will have no rascal to succeed me." The
lords looked at each other, uncertain as to the meaning of her
words. "I tell you that I will have no rascal. I must have a
king, and who could that be but my cousin of Scotland?" "Is your
Grace quite determined?" asked Cecil. She made a sign indicating
yes, asking that she should be left in peace. She had again seen
the archbishop, and was speechless when the lords of the council
returned. "May your Grace deign to make a sign to indicate if you
have chosen the the King of Scotland for your successor," they
asked again. She raised herself, and joined her hands above her
head as though to form a crown. Then she sank back upon her
pillows and died in the night of the 24th of March, 1603, without
having uttered a word. She was nearly seventy, and had wielded
the sceptre for forty-five years.

{428}

Queen Elizabeth had willed and accomplished great things. She had
governed England despotically, but was skilful, nevertheless, in
observing the national tendencies and in yielding to them when
resistance became dangerous. Under the influence and upon the
advice of her faithful minister, Lord Burleigh, she had often
been the arbitrator of Europe, constantly the patron and
protector of the persecuted Protestants. She had tarnished the
brilliancy of her reign, and for ever sullied her glory, by
weaknesses and bad passions, while obstinately refusing to devote
herself to the duties and to share in the legitimate happiness of
a woman's life. Courageous, proud, farsighted, and persevering,
she had displayed many great intellectual faculties and moral
qualities, but rarely or never the tender and modest virtues
which both inspire and retain private affections. She had long
contrived to inspire sentiments of another nature. When in the
midst of her glorious career, Elizabeth, asking a lady of her
court how she preserved the affection of her husband, the latter
replied, "By assuring him of mine, madam," the queen exclaimed,
"It is thus that I possess the love of my many husbands, the
people of England, by causing them to feel that which I bear to
them." She had indeed possessed the love of her people, and she
had made common cause with them during long years, and through
great trials. When she died, the evils and dangers inherent in
absolute power had done their worst. The English nation began to
grow weary of the domination of its great queen, and to
contemplate political and religious liberties which had no place
in the mind or heart of Elizabeth Tudor.


{429}

                   Chapter XXI.

  Social And Literary Progress Of England Under Elizabeth.


When Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, she found England
profoundly divided by religious questions, impoverished by the
excessive exactions of her father and sister, still agitated by
the bloody dissensions of the great nobles and the popular riots
under the reigns which had just elapsed. She governed for
forty-five years, amidst religious dissensions yet subsisting,
although stifled by her powerful hand. She oppressed the
Catholics, and their number, which at her accessions perhaps
balanced that of the Protestants, rapidly diminished under the
measures which she applied them. Men who cannot practise their
religion, or quit the kingdom, who cannot leave their homes
without authorization, who are incessantly exposed to vexation
and acts of injustice, not to mention the terrible risk of an
accusation of treason, abandon their worship if they are weak, or
take refuge in exile if they are energetic and zealous. Upon this
ruin of the liberty of her Catholic subjects, Elizabeth firmly
established the Anglican Church; but the protection with which
she surrounded it, while injuring the rights of the Catholics and
the nonconforming Protestants, did not prevent the Catholic
nucleus from subsisting in England, or the Puritan faith from
developing itself.
{430}
With all their exaggerations, their narrow minds, the severity of
their principles, the Puritans were to become for their country
the salt of the earth. They were to save it successively from
despotism and moral corruption, from the ruin both of liberty and
of manners. Few things contributed more towards this progress of
the Protestant faith in its austere simplicity, than the reading
of the Bible in the English tongue. The translation of Miles
Coverdale had replaced that of Wycliffe, and the venerable
translator, imprisoned in his youth under Henry VIII., a bishop
under Edward VI., and again persecuted under Mary, had dearly
paid for the privilege of placing within the reach of his
brethren the bread of life; but with the progress of literature
and science, his translation was found to be bad and full of
errors. Parker, the first Archbishop of Canterbury under the
reign of Elizabeth, caused the undertaking of a new version,
which was ardently carried out by a commission of learned men. It
was completed in 1572, and published under the name of the Bible
of Bishop Grindall, the latter having, in 1575, succeeded Parker
as Primate. Grindall was, in favour of the reading of the
Scriptures and even of the Puritans, who developed under his
episcopate, notwithstanding the harshness of the queen towards
them, and the severe measures everywhere employed to bring about
uniformity of worship. Notwithstanding the fines of twenty pounds
sterling per month, declared against those who did not attend the
services of their parish church, the "Brownists," a Puritan sect
of the strongest tinge, originated at this period and endured
without flinching a violent persecution.
{431}
Many of the Fathers of the American Republic frequented the
assemblages of the Brownists, before taking the course of
abandoning their country to worship God in liberty. After the
death of Grindall, in 1583, the Puritans found an implacable foe
in the new Archbishop, Whitgift. The struggle began between the
Primate and the nonconformist clergy; it lasted for a long time;
but during the last years of the life of Elizabeth it had
relaxed. The Puritans at that time grounded, upon the succession
to the throne of a Presbyterian prince, hopes which were to be
cruelly deceived.

If Queen Elizabeth oppressed at home those of her subjects who
did not purely and simply accept the religious doctrines which
she offered to them, she always supported upon the Continent the
political and religious efforts of the Reformers. We have seen
with what prudence she acted, and how her powerful instinct of
government, her taste for absolute power and her horror of
rebellion, often compelled Cecil to urge her into the way of that
great policy which tended to make England the protector and chief
of Protestantism in Europe. Throughout all the duplicities, timid
councils, and meannesses of Queen Elizabeth towards the French
Huguenots or the Dutch Protestants, it must yet be admitted that
it was the continental reformers alone who obtained her constant
favour, and it was solely through an economy hitherto unknown in
the royal expenditure, that she could cope with so many repeated
demands. Her father, Henry VIII., had confiscated the property of
the monasteries, and that of the subjects whom he caused to be
executed, and he had overwhelmed his people with unheard of
taxes.
{432}
Her brother and her sister, from different motives, had left
their finances in the saddest disorder. Under the wise direction
of Cecil, and thanks to the economy of Queen Elizabeth, the
treasury of England was enabled to satisfy the constant calls
from without, and to provide for the requirements within,
notwithstanding the decrease in the public burdens. The
developement of commerce and industry was encouraged. "The money
which is in the pockets of my subjects is as useful to me as that
in my treasury,"--a great economical maxim, which the kings, her
predecessors, had neither known nor practiced.

Elizabeth had taken steps to second the industrial efforts of her
people. In order to give an impetus to national manufactures, a
sumptuary law, from 1581 to 1582, prohibited to certain persons
silk clothing and precious laces manufactured abroad: at the same
time, as the exportation of wool formed the greater part of the
commerce of England, the rearing of sheep was everywhere
encouraged. Pasture-grounds had increased in all directions,
replacing in many parts the ploughed lands, and the cloth
manufactories every day employed more hands. Linen cloth also
began to be manufactured. The persecutions of Philip II. in the
Low Countries brought to England skilled workmen, who gave fresh
life to different branches of manufacture. It was at this period
the happiness and honour of England to receive those who fled
from the tyranny of the Spaniards, and she was subsequently to be
the refuge of the French Huguenots after the revocation of the
edict of Nantes.
{433}
Commerce and industry prospered, in fact, at home under the reign
of Elizabeth; but the predominent achievement of this period was
the formation of the English navy, which at her accession was yet
only in its infancy, but which had become queen of the seas
before her death. The protectionist system, practised in all its
rigour by King Henry VIII., soon gave way to the wise liberality
of Cecil. An act of the first Parliament of Elizabeth relaxed the
navigation laws, authorized trading by foreign vessels on certain
conditions, and favoured the development of great commercial
companies. In 1566 the Royal Exchange of London was built under
the auspices of Sir Thomas Gresham, and the relations with the
Low Countries, Germany, and the kingdoms of the North suddenly
took a fresh impulse, making up for the progressive decrease of
the fisheries. "No more fish is eaten," said Cecil regretfully.

A new trade for England, the monopoly of which had hitherto been
left to Spain and Portugal, was the odious slave-trade. An
English sailor, John Locke was the first to embark in this
traffic. Hawkins engaged in it with success, taking possession of
a shipload of negroes upon the coast of Guinea, and selling them
in St. Domingo; but this detestable commerce was not to attain
its full development until later: it was the Spaniards and their
colonies, not the unhappy blacks, whom the English sailors of the
time of Elizabeth regarded as their legitimate prey.

{434}

Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth began the great voyages of
discovery, which gave rise to the abuses of buccaneering, but at
the same time opened up a vast field to human enterprise and
research. Martin Frobisher first entered the field in 1567. He
desired to find a new passage to India; but he was stopped in the
vicinity of Hudson's Bay, where he took possession of certain
territories in the name of England, and discovered the strait
which still bears his name. From this the first idea was
conceived of a passage by the north-west, subsequently sought for
ardently by John Davis, who, as well as his forerunner, also gave
a name to a strait. Frobisher made three voyages to this region,
where he thought that he had found gold, but he was finally
employed in the service of the queen, commanded one of the
vessels which repulsed the Spanish Armada, and was killed, in
1594, while attacking a fortress near Brest, which held out for
the Leaguers against Henry IV.

While Frobisher was seeking the polar passage, Drake accomplished
the journey round the world, an undertaking which had as yet only
been attempted by the Portuguese Fernando Magellan, who gave his
name to a celebrated strait. His voyage was secretly authorized
by Elizabeth, in defiance of the claim of the Spaniards to the
islands and seas of America, which they said, were solemnly
conceded to them by the Pope. Drake took no heed of their claims,
pillaged the coasts, captured ships, and accumulated by his acts
of piracy enormous wealth, of which he brought her share to the
sovereign, who treated him honourably in return, though without
recognizing his missions. The little vessel in which Drake sailed
was preserved at Deptford until it crumbled through decay.

{435}

The projects of Sir Walter Raleigh were not exclusively directed,
like those of Hawkins and Drake, to the parts of the world
occupied by the Spaniards. He had conceived the hope of enriching
his country and himself otherwise than by buccaneering, and had
attempted several successive expeditions towards the southern
part of North America. He had already failed twice and lost his
brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in one of his voyages, when he set
sail, in 1584, with the authorization of the queen, to take
possession, with full ownership, of the lands he might discover,
upon the condition of reserving a fifth part of the produce of
the mines for the crown. It was in this expedition that he
accidentally discovered the territory which now composes, in the
United States, Virginia and North Carolina, possessions which
Queen Elizabeth deigned to distinguish by the name of Virginia.
The letters patent granted to Raleigh were confirmed by an act of
Parliament, and in the following year Sir Richard Greville, a
relative of Sir Walter's, conducted to the new colony eight
hundred emigrants, who established themselves on the island of
Roanoke. They were nearly dead from hunger and privations, when,
in the following year. Sir Francis Drake, returning from an
expedition against the Spanish territories, received them on
board his ship. Two other attempts at colonization had the same
result, and Virginia remained abandoned to the savages without
having yielded any other result to England than the discovery of
tobacco, which for a long time bore the name of Virginian grass.

{436}

We have seen that at the moment of the attack of the Spanish
Armada the royal navy was of little importance; but the
commercial navy was considerable. The proportion had increased by
a third in fifty years. Whale-fishing, which began to develop in
1575, soon occupied a large number of vessels. The protracted war
with Spain and Portugal having hindered the arrival of the
productions of India, a company of traders was formed in the city
of London to undertake voyages to the East Indies. In December,
1600, Queen Elizabeth granted them a charter; this was the
origin, the modest germ of the great East India Company. The
political and religious animosity which nourished the
buccaneering expeditions against Spain, and the cruel revenge
which the Spaniards took upon the English sailors who fell into
their hands, served to develop the taste for remote enterprises,
and to form that race of bold sailors who have so powerfully
contributed to the grandeur and independence of their country.

While material and social progress took so new a flight, the
splendour of literature under the reign of Elizabeth has not yet
faded. The intellectual movement preceded all others. It burst
forth towards the end of the civil war, and amidst the desolation
which intestine strife brings in its wake. Scotland even took
part in this glory, although civil war still reigned there. From
1494 to 1584 seven colleges were founded at Oxford and eight at
Cambridge. The university of Aberdeen in 1494, that of Edinburgh
in 1582, two colleges of the university of St. Andrew's between
1512 and 1537, the university of Trinity College at Dublin in
1591, assured in Great Britain the development of learning. The
suppression of the monasteries retarded this movement
momentarily, but the reformers did not lose sight of the danger.
{437}
Cranmer in particular made serious efforts to remedy the evil.
The schools called grammar-schools, then instituted in great
numbers, spread elementary education and a certain degree of
intellectual culture; but the higher instruction, and, in
particular, the study of the classical languages, received a blow
from which they were long in recovering. Great disorder reigned
in the universities; morals were lax and the standard of study
very deficient. The revival of letters began with the study of
foreign languages. We have seen that Queen Mary, like Queen
Elizabeth, had studied French, Italian and Spanish, as well as
Latin and Greek. From this usage, more and more diffused, sprang
a strange abuse of foreign words, which introduced something like
a new tongue into the English language. Under the reign of
Elizabeth the lords and fine ladies at court spoke a language
designated by the word "Euphuism," composed of the harmonious
syllables of all languages, which is now difficult to understand,
and especially to read. Traces of it may yet be found in the
poems of Spenser.

Amidst this momentary decline of learning, a natural result of
violent convulsions, it is impossible not to recognize the fact
that the sixteenth century furnished, in England, as elsewhere, a
great number of distinguished men as learned as they were gifted
by nature. Without going beyond the reign of Elizabeth, we may
mention Roger Ascham, her tutor, born in Yorkshire in 1515, whom
the queen retained beside her in the capacity of secretary until
his death in 1568. His most esteemed work is entitled _The
Schoolmaster_.
{438}
The tutor of King James VI. of Scotland has left a more
celebrated name. The historian and poet, George Buchanan, born at
Killearn, in 1506, was originally a soldier. He lived for a long
time in France, in Portugal, in Piedmont, leading a life
interspersed with adventures, until he returned to Scotland in
1560. Being nominated by Queen Mary to a post of public
instruction, he did not cease to attack her ardently and to write
violent pamphlets against her. Parliament nominated him tutor to
the young king, whom he instructed with considerable care. When
he was accused of having made a pedant of him, he replied, "That
is the best thing I could make of him." His _History of
Scotland_ possesses real interest, although it is
characterized by much partiality. He died at Edinburgh in 1582.
Doctor Hooker had no taste for taking part in the great
agitations of his time. Born in 1554, domestic dissensions,
caused by the temper of his wife, led him to seek a peaceful and
retired life. He had been master of the temple in London, but a
preacher, his colleague, an ardent Puritan, made existence so
hard for him that he retired to a country living, where he wrote
his great work _Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Policy_, a
book full of judgment, moderation, and learning, a model of the
most beautiful English style. He died in 1600, being only
forty-seven years of age, at the moment when he had just finished
his book. The courtiers did not abandon exclusively to the
learned the cultivation of letters. Lord Surrey, beheaded during
the last days of Henry VIII., has left some charming verses. The
Lion King-of-Arms of Scotland, Sir David Lyndsay, of the Mount,
was also a poet.
{439}
The type of knight and gentleman, Sir Philip Sydney, nephew of
the Earl of Leicester, and son-in-law of Walsingham, who has left
in a life-time of thirty-two years an accomplished model and an
ineffaceable remembrance to posterity, wrote in prose and in
verse. His romantic allegory of _Arcadia_, is the most
important of his works. He dedicated it to his sister Mary,
Countess of Pembroke, a worthy friend of such a brother. It was
said of her that to love her was to receive a liberal education.
She died young, like himself, having published the book which her
brother had left, and which had an immense success. We have
mentioned the learned and lettered courtiers. We now come to the
real poets. England numbers two under the reign of Elizabeth: the
one charming, elegant, prolific; the other, unique in the history
of the world: Spenser and Shakespeare. Edmund Spenser was born in
London in 1533. He wrote at first some poems of little
importance, but he devoted several years to the composition of
the _Faery Queene_, of which Sydney was the first patron,
and which was completed under the auspices of Raleigh. We might
have placed Spenser among the courtiers, if that had not been to
do too much honour to the latter, for his patrons often employed
him, and he finally obtained considerable estates in Ireland out
of the confiscated lands of the Earl of Desmond. The _Faery
Queene_ was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, who is constantly
celebrated in the poem. She granted a pension to Spenser, and the
success of the work was greater from the fact, that the court
took pleasure in searching for the persons concealed beneath the
allegorical names. An inexhaustible imagination, the most
elevated sentiments, and the most charming descriptions, cause
one to forget the peculiar taste of the time, the confusion and
complication of incidents, as well as the strange form of
versification.
{440}
Read without pausing, the _Faery Queene_ may appear
tiresome, but a great number of detached portions will always
remain masterpieces. Spenser died in 1598, after being obliged to
fly from Ireland, then a prey to insurrection.

Let us finally mention the great comedian, the great philosopher,
the great poet, who was in his life time butcher's apprentice,
poacher, actor, theatrical manager, and whose name is William
Shakespeare. He was born at Stratford-on-Avon, in 1564. In twenty
years, amidst the duties of his profession, the care of mounting
his pieces, of instructing his actors, he composed thirty-two
tragedies and comedies, in verse and prose, rich with an
incomparable knowledge of human nature, and an unequalled power
of imagination, terrible and comic by turns, profound and
delicate, homely and touching, responding to every emotion of the
soul, divining all that was beyond the range of his experience,
and for ever remaining the treasure of ages. All this being
accomplished, Shakespeare left the theatre and the busy world at
the age of forty-five, to return to Stratford-on-Avon, where he
lived peacefully in the most modest retirement, writing nothing,
and never returning to the stage, ignored and unknown, if his
works had not for ever marked out his place in the world. A
strange example of an imagination so powerful, suddenly ceasing
to produce, and closing once for all the door to the efforts of
genius. Shakespeare died in 1616. After mention of his name, no
one will ask whether the reign of Elizabeth is entitled to occupy
a great place in the literary history of England and the world.





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