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    Ch. 30 - Queen Elizabeth

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    Chapter 30
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    THERE was great rejoicing all over the land when the Lords of the
    Council went down to Hatfield, to hail the Princess Elizabeth as
    the new Queen of England. Weary of the barbarities of Mary's
    reign, the people looked with hope and gladness to the new
    Sovereign. The nation seemed to wake from a horrible dream; and
    Heaven, so long hidden by the smoke of the fires that roasted men
    and women to death, appeared to brighten once more.

    Queen Elizabeth was five-and-twenty years of age when she rode
    through the streets of London, from the Tower to Westminster Abbey,
    to be crowned. Her countenance was strongly marked, but on the
    whole, commanding and dignified; her hair was red, and her nose
    something too long and sharp for a woman's. She was not the
    beautiful creature her courtiers made out; but she was well enough,
    and no doubt looked all the better for coming after the dark and
    gloomy Mary. She was well educated, but a roundabout writer, and
    rather a hard swearer and coarse talker. She was clever, but
    cunning and deceitful, and inherited much of her father's violent
    temper. I mention this now, because she has been so over-praised
    by one party, and so over-abused by another, that it is hardly
    possible to understand the greater part of her reign without first
    understanding what kind of woman she really was.

    She began her reign with the great advantage of having a very wise
    and careful Minister, SIR WILLIAM CECIL, whom she afterwards made
    LORD BURLEIGH. Altogether, the people had greater reason for
    rejoicing than they usually had, when there were processions in the
    streets; and they were happy with some reason. All kinds of shows
    and images were set up; GOG and MAGOG were hoisted to the top of
    Temple Bar, and (which was more to the purpose) the Corporation
    dutifully presented the young Queen with the sum of a thousand
    marks in gold - so heavy a present, that she was obliged to take it
    into her carriage with both hands. The coronation was a great
    success; and, on the next day, one of the courtiers presented a
    petition to the new Queen, praying that as it was the custom to
    release some prisoners on such occasions, she would have the
    goodness to release the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
    John, and also the Apostle Saint Paul, who had been for some time
    shut up in a strange language so that the people could not get at

    To this, the Queen replied that it would be better first to inquire
    of themselves whether they desired to be released or not; and, as a
    means of finding out, a great public discussion - a sort of
    religious tournament - was appointed to take place between certain
    champions of the two religions, in Westminster Abbey. You may
    suppose that it was soon made pretty clear to common sense, that
    for people to benefit by what they repeat or read, it is rather
    necessary they should understand something about it. Accordingly,
    a Church Service in plain English was settled, and other laws and
    regulations were made, completely establishing the great work of
    the Reformation. The Romish bishops and champions were not harshly
    dealt with, all things considered; and the Queen's Ministers were
    both prudent and merciful.

    The one great trouble of this reign, and the unfortunate cause of
    the greater part of such turmoil and bloodshed as occurred in it,
    was MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTS. We will try to understand, in as
    few words as possible, who Mary was, what she was, and how she came
    to be a thorn in the royal pillow of Elizabeth.

    She was the daughter of the Queen Regent of Scotland, MARY OF
    GUISE. She had been married, when a mere child, to the Dauphin,
    the son and heir of the King of France. The Pope, who pretended
    that no one could rightfully wear the crown of England without his
    gracious permission, was strongly opposed to Elizabeth, who had not
    asked for the said gracious permission. And as Mary Queen of Scots
    would have inherited the English crown in right of her birth,
    supposing the English Parliament not to have altered the
    succession, the Pope himself, and most of the discontented who were
    followers of his, maintained that Mary was the rightful Queen of
    England, and Elizabeth the wrongful Queen. Mary being so closely
    connected with France, and France being jealous of England, there
    was far greater danger in this than there would have been if she
    had had no alliance with that great power. And when her young
    husband, on the death of his father, became FRANCIS THE SECOND,
    King of France, the matter grew very serious. For, the young
    couple styled themselves King and Queen of England, and the Pope
    was disposed to help them by doing all the mischief he could.

    Now, the reformed religion, under the guidance of a stern and
    powerful preacher, named JOHN KNOX, and other such men, had been
    making fierce progress in Scotland. It was still a half savage
    country, where there was a great deal of murdering and rioting
    continually going on; and the Reformers, instead of reforming those
    evils as they should have done, went to work in the ferocious old
    Scottish spirit, laying churches and chapels waste, pulling down
    pictures and altars, and knocking about the Grey Friars, and the
    Black Friars, and the White Friars, and the friars of all sorts of
    colours, in all directions. This obdurate and harsh spirit of the
    Scottish Reformers (the Scotch have always been rather a sullen and
    frowning people in religious matters) put up the blood of the
    Romish French court, and caused France to send troops over to
    Scotland, with the hope of setting the friars of all sorts of
    colours on their legs again; of conquering that country first, and
    England afterwards; and so crushing the Reformation all to pieces.
    The Scottish Reformers, who had formed a great league which they
    called The Congregation of the Lord, secretly represented to
    Elizabeth that, if the reformed religion got the worst of it with
    them, it would be likely to get the worst of it in England too; and
    thus, Elizabeth, though she had a high notion of the rights of
    Kings and Queens to do anything they liked, sent an army to
    Scotland to support the Reformers, who were in arms against their
    sovereign. All these proceedings led to a treaty of peace at
    Edinburgh, under which the French consented to depart from the
    kingdom. By a separate treaty, Mary and her young husband engaged
    to renounce their assumed title of King and Queen of England. But
    this treaty they never fulfilled.

    It happened, soon after matters had got to this state, that the
    young French King died, leaving Mary a young widow. She was then
    invited by her Scottish subjects to return home and reign over
    them; and as she was not now happy where she was, she, after a
    little time, complied.

    Elizabeth had been Queen three years, when Mary Queen of Scots
    embarked at Calais for her own rough, quarrelling country. As she
    came out of the harbour, a vessel was lost before her eyes, and she
    said, 'O! good God! what an omen this is for such a voyage!' She
    was very fond of France, and sat on the deck, looking back at it
    and weeping, until it was quite dark. When she went to bed, she
    directed to be called at daybreak, if the French coast were still
    visible, that she might behold it for the last time. As it proved
    to be a clear morning, this was done, and she again wept for the
    country she was leaving, and said many times, ' Farewell, France!
    Farewell, France! I shall never see thee again!' All this was
    long remembered afterwards, as sorrowful and interesting in a fair
    young princess of nineteen. Indeed, I am afraid it gradually came,
    together with her other distresses, to surround her with greater
    sympathy than she deserved.

    When she came to Scotland, and took up her abode at the palace of
    Holyrood in Edinburgh, she found herself among uncouth strangers
    and wild uncomfortable customs very different from her experiences
    in the court of France. The very people who were disposed to love
    her, made her head ache when she was tired out by her voyage, with
    a serenade of discordant music - a fearful concert of bagpipes, I
    suppose - and brought her and her train home to her palace on
    miserable little Scotch horses that appeared to be half starved.
    Among the people who were not disposed to love her, she found the
    powerful leaders of the Reformed Church, who were bitter upon her
    amusements, however innocent, and denounced music and dancing as
    works of the devil. John Knox himself often lectured her,
    violently and angrily, and did much to make her life unhappy. All
    these reasons confirmed her old attachment to the Romish religion,
    and caused her, there is no doubt, most imprudently and dangerously
    both for herself and for England too, to give a solemn pledge to
    the heads of the Romish Church that if she ever succeeded to the
    English crown, she would set up that religion again. In reading
    her unhappy history, you must always remember this; and also that
    during her whole life she was constantly put forward against the
    Queen, in some form or other, by the Romish party.

    That Elizabeth, on the other hand, was not inclined to like her, is
    pretty certain. Elizabeth was very vain and jealous, and had an
    extraordinary dislike to people being married. She treated Lady
    Catherine Grey, sister of the beheaded Lady Jane, with such
    shameful severity, for no other reason than her being secretly
    married, that she died and her husband was ruined; so, when a
    second marriage for Mary began to be talked about, probably
    Elizabeth disliked her more. Not that Elizabeth wanted suitors of
    her own, for they started up from Spain, Austria, Sweden, and
    England. Her English lover at this time, and one whom she much
    favoured too, was LORD ROBERT DUDLEY, Earl of Leicester - himself
    secretly married to AMY ROBSART, the daughter of an English
    gentleman, whom he was strongly suspected of causing to be
    murdered, down at his country seat, Cumnor Hall in Berkshire, that
    he might be free to marry the Queen. Upon this story, the great
    writer, SIR WALTER SCOTT, has founded one of his best romances.
    But if Elizabeth knew how to lead her handsome favourite on, for
    her own vanity and pleasure, she knew how to stop him for her own
    pride; and his love, and all the other proposals, came to nothing.
    The Queen always declared in good set speeches, that she would
    never be married at all, but would live and die a Maiden Queen. It
    was a very pleasant and meritorious declaration, I suppose; but it
    has been puffed and trumpeted so much, that I am rather tired of it

    Divers princes proposed to marry Mary, but the English court had
    reasons for being jealous of them all, and even proposed as a
    matter of policy that she should marry that very Earl of Leicester
    who had aspired to be the husband of Elizabeth. At last, LORD
    DARNLEY, son of the Earl of Lennox, and himself descended from the
    Royal Family of Scotland, went over with Elizabeth's consent to try
    his fortune at Holyrood. He was a tall simpleton; and could dance
    and play the guitar; but I know of nothing else he could do, unless
    it were to get very drunk, and eat gluttonously, and make a
    contemptible spectacle of himself in many mean and vain ways.
    However, he gained Mary's heart, not disdaining in the pursuit of
    his object to ally himself with one of her secretaries, DAVID
    RIZZIO, who had great influence with her. He soon married the
    Queen. This marriage does not say much for her, but what followed
    will presently say less.

    Mary's brother, the EARL OF MURRAY, and head of the Protestant
    party in Scotland, had opposed this marriage, partly on religious
    grounds, and partly perhaps from personal dislike of the very
    contemptible bridegroom. When it had taken place, through Mary's
    gaining over to it the more powerful of the lords about her, she
    banished Murray for his pains; and, when he and some other nobles
    rose in arms to support the reformed religion, she herself, within
    a month of her wedding day, rode against them in armour with loaded
    pistols in her saddle. Driven out of Scotland, they presented
    themselves before Elizabeth - who called them traitors in public,
    and assisted them in private, according to her crafty nature.

    Mary had been married but a little while, when she began to hate
    her husband, who, in his turn, began to hate that David Rizzio,
    with whom he had leagued to gain her favour, and whom he now
    believed to be her lover. He hated Rizzio to that extent, that he
    made a compact with LORD RUTHVEN and three other lords to get rid
    of him by murder. This wicked agreement they made in solemn
    secrecy upon the first of March, fifteen hundred and sixty-six, and
    on the night of Saturday the ninth, the conspirators were brought
    by Darnley up a private staircase, dark and steep, into a range of
    rooms where they knew that Mary was sitting at supper with her
    sister, Lady Argyle, and this doomed man. When they went into the
    room, Darnley took the Queen round the waist, and Lord Ruthven, who
    had risen from a bed of sickness to do this murder, came in, gaunt
    and ghastly, leaning on two men. Rizzio ran behind the Queen for
    shelter and protection. 'Let him come out of the room,' said
    Ruthven. 'He shall not leave the room,' replied the Queen; 'I read
    his danger in your face, and it is my will that he remain here.'
    They then set upon him, struggled with him, overturned the table,
    dragged him out, and killed him with fifty-six stabs. When the
    Queen heard that he was dead, she said, 'No more tears. I will
    think now of revenge!'

    Within a day or two, she gained her husband over, and prevailed on
    the tall idiot to abandon the conspirators and fly with her to
    Dunbar. There, he issued a proclamation, audaciously and falsely
    denying that he had any knowledge of the late bloody business; and
    there they were joined by the EARL BOTHWELL and some other nobles.
    With their help, they raised eight thousand men; returned to
    Edinburgh, and drove the assassins into England. Mary soon
    afterwards gave birth to a son - still thinking of revenge.

    That she should have had a greater scorn for her husband after his
    late cowardice and treachery than she had had before, was natural
    enough. There is little doubt that she now began to love Bothwell
    instead, and to plan with him means of getting rid of Darnley.
    Bothwell had such power over her that he induced her even to pardon
    the assassins of Rizzio. The arrangements for the Christening of
    the young Prince were entrusted to him, and he was one of the most
    important people at the ceremony, where the child was named JAMES:
    Elizabeth being his godmother, though not present on the occasion.
    A week afterwards, Darnley, who had left Mary and gone to his
    father's house at Glasgow, being taken ill with the small-pox, she
    sent her own physician to attend him. But there is reason to
    apprehend that this was merely a show and a pretence, and that she
    knew what was doing, when Bothwell within another month proposed to
    one of the late conspirators against Rizzio, to murder Darnley,
    'for that it was the Queen's mind that he should be taken away.'
    It is certain that on that very day she wrote to her ambassador in
    France, complaining of him, and yet went immediately to Glasgow,
    feigning to be very anxious about him, and to love him very much.
    If she wanted to get him in her power, she succeeded to her heart's
    content; for she induced him to go back with her to Edinburgh, and
    to occupy, instead of the palace, a lone house outside the city
    called the Kirk of Field. Here, he lived for about a week. One
    Sunday night, she remained with him until ten o'clock, and then
    left him, to go to Holyrood to be present at an entertainment given
    in celebration of the marriage of one of her favourite servants.
    At two o'clock in the morning the city was shaken by a great
    explosion, and the Kirk of Field was blown to atoms.

    Darnley's body was found next day lying under a tree at some
    distance. How it came there, undisfigured and unscorched by
    gunpowder, and how this crime came to be so clumsily and strangely
    committed, it is impossible to discover. The deceitful character
    of Mary, and the deceitful character of Elizabeth, have rendered
    almost every part of their joint history uncertain and obscure.
    But, I fear that Mary was unquestionably a party to her husband's
    murder, and that this was the revenge she had threatened. The
    Scotch people universally believed it. Voices cried out in the
    streets of Edinburgh in the dead of the night, for justice on the
    murderess. Placards were posted by unknown hands in the public
    places denouncing Bothwell as the murderer, and the Queen as his
    accomplice; and, when he afterwards married her (though himself
    already married), previously making a show of taking her prisoner
    by force, the indignation of the people knew no bounds. The women
    particularly are described as having been quite frantic against the
    Queen, and to have hooted and cried after her in the streets with
    terrific vehemence.

    Such guilty unions seldom prosper. This husband and wife had lived
    together but a month, when they were separated for ever by the
    successes of a band of Scotch nobles who associated against them
    for the protection of the young Prince: whom Bothwell had vainly
    endeavoured to lay hold of, and whom he would certainly have
    murdered, if the EARL OF MAR, in whose hands the boy was, had not
    been firmly and honourably faithful to his trust. Before this
    angry power, Bothwell fled abroad, where he died, a prisoner and
    mad, nine miserable years afterwards. Mary being found by the
    associated lords to deceive them at every turn, was sent a prisoner
    to Lochleven Castle; which, as it stood in the midst of a lake,
    could only be approached by boat. Here, one LORD LINDSAY, who was
    so much of a brute that the nobles would have done better if they
    had chosen a mere gentleman for their messenger, made her sign her
    abdication, and appoint Murray, Regent of Scotland. Here, too,
    Murray saw her in a sorrowing and humbled state.

    She had better have remained in the castle of Lochleven, dull
    prison as it was, with the rippling of the lake against it, and the
    moving shadows of the water on the room walls; but she could not
    rest there, and more than once tried to escape. The first time she
    had nearly succeeded, dressed in the clothes of her own washer-
    woman, but, putting up her hand to prevent one of the boatmen from
    lifting her veil, the men suspected her, seeing how white it was,
    and rowed her back again. A short time afterwards, her fascinating
    manners enlisted in her cause a boy in the Castle, called the
    little DOUGLAS, who, while the family were at supper, stole the
    keys of the great gate, went softly out with the Queen, locked the
    gate on the outside, and rowed her away across the lake, sinking
    the keys as they went along. On the opposite shore she was met by
    another Douglas, and some few lords; and, so accompanied, rode away
    on horseback to Hamilton, where they raised three thousand men.
    Here, she issued a proclamation declaring that the abdication she
    had signed in her prison was illegal, and requiring the Regent to
    yield to his lawful Queen. Being a steady soldier, and in no way
    discomposed although he was without an army, Murray pretended to
    treat with her, until he had collected a force about half equal to
    her own, and then he gave her battle. In one quarter of an hour he
    cut down all her hopes. She had another weary ride on horse-back
    of sixty long Scotch miles, and took shelter at Dundrennan Abbey,
    whence she fled for safety to Elizabeth's dominions.

    Mary Queen of Scots came to England - to her own ruin, the trouble
    of the kingdom, and the misery and death of many - in the year one
    thousand five hundred and sixty-eight. How she left it and the
    world, nineteen years afterwards, we have now to see.


    WHEN Mary Queen of Scots arrived in England, without money and even
    without any other clothes than those she wore, she wrote to
    Elizabeth, representing herself as an innocent and injured piece of
    Royalty, and entreating her assistance to oblige her Scottish
    subjects to take her back again and obey her. But, as her
    character was already known in England to be a very different one
    from what she made it out to be, she was told in answer that she
    must first clear herself. Made uneasy by this condition, Mary,
    rather than stay in England, would have gone to Spain, or to
    France, or would even have gone back to Scotland. But, as her
    doing either would have been likely to trouble England afresh, it
    was decided that she should be detained here. She first came to
    Carlisle, and, after that, was moved about from castle to castle,
    as was considered necessary; but England she never left again.

    After trying very hard to get rid of the necessity of clearing
    herself, Mary, advised by LORD HERRIES, her best friend in England,
    agreed to answer the charges against her, if the Scottish noblemen
    who made them would attend to maintain them before such English
    noblemen as Elizabeth might appoint for that purpose. Accordingly,
    such an assembly, under the name of a conference, met, first at
    York, and afterwards at Hampton Court. In its presence Lord
    Lennox, Darnley's father, openly charged Mary with the murder of
    his son; and whatever Mary's friends may now say or write in her
    behalf, there is no doubt that, when her brother Murray produced
    against her a casket containing certain guilty letters and verses
    which he stated to have passed between her and Bothwell, she
    withdrew from the inquiry. Consequently, it is to be supposed that
    she was then considered guilty by those who had the best
    opportunities of judging of the truth, and that the feeling which
    afterwards arose in her behalf was a very generous but not a very
    reasonable one.

    However, the DUKE OF NORFOLK, an honourable but rather weak
    nobleman, partly because Mary was captivating, partly because he
    was ambitious, partly because he was over-persuaded by artful
    plotters against Elizabeth, conceived a strong idea that he would
    like to marry the Queen of Scots - though he was a little
    frightened, too, by the letters in the casket. This idea being
    secretly encouraged by some of the noblemen of Elizabeth's court,
    and even by the favourite Earl of Leicester (because it was
    objected to by other favourites who were his rivals), Mary
    expressed her approval of it, and the King of France and the King
    of Spain are supposed to have done the same. It was not so quietly
    planned, though, but that it came to Elizabeth's ears, who warned
    the Duke 'to be careful what sort of pillow he was going to lay his
    head upon.' He made a humble reply at the time; but turned sulky
    soon afterwards, and, being considered dangerous, was sent to the

    Thus, from the moment of Mary's coming to England she began to be
    the centre of plots and miseries.

    A rise of the Catholics in the north was the next of these, and it
    was only checked by many executions and much bloodshed. It was
    followed by a great conspiracy of the Pope and some of the Catholic
    sovereigns of Europe to depose Elizabeth, place Mary on the throne,
    and restore the unreformed religion. It is almost impossible to
    doubt that Mary knew and approved of this; and the Pope himself was
    so hot in the matter that he issued a bull, in which he openly
    called Elizabeth the 'pretended Queen' of England, excommunicated
    her, and excommunicated all her subjects who should continue to
    obey her. A copy of this miserable paper got into London, and was
    found one morning publicly posted on the Bishop of London's gate.
    A great hue and cry being raised, another copy was found in the
    chamber of a student of Lincoln's Inn, who confessed, being put
    upon the rack, that he had received it from one JOHN FELTON, a rich
    gentleman who lived across the Thames, near Southwark. This John
    Felton, being put upon the rack too, confessed that he had posted
    the placard on the Bishop's gate. For this offence he was, within
    four days, taken to St. Paul's Churchyard, and there hanged and
    quartered. As to the Pope's bull, the people by the reformation
    having thrown off the Pope, did not care much, you may suppose, for
    the Pope's throwing off them. It was a mere dirty piece of paper,
    and not half so powerful as a street ballad.

    On the very day when Felton was brought to his trial, the poor Duke
    of Norfolk was released. It would have been well for him if he had
    kept away from the Tower evermore, and from the snares that had
    taken him there. But, even while he was in that dismal place he
    corresponded with Mary, and as soon as he was out of it, he began
    to plot again. Being discovered in correspondence with the Pope,
    with a view to a rising in England which should force Elizabeth to
    consent to his marriage with Mary and to repeal the laws against
    the Catholics, he was re-committed to the Tower and brought to
    trial. He was found guilty by the unanimous verdict of the Lords
    who tried him, and was sentenced to the block.

    It is very difficult to make out, at this distance of time, and
    between opposite accounts, whether Elizabeth really was a humane
    woman, or desired to appear so, or was fearful of shedding the
    blood of people of great name who were popular in the country.
    Twice she commanded and countermanded the execution of this Duke,
    and it did not take place until five months after his trial. The
    scaffold was erected on Tower Hill, and there he died like a brave
    man. He refused to have his eyes bandaged, saying that he was not
    at all afraid of death; and he admitted the justice of his
    sentence, and was much regretted by the people.

    Although Mary had shrunk at the most important time from disproving
    her guilt, she was very careful never to do anything that would
    admit it. All such proposals as were made to her by Elizabeth for
    her release, required that admission in some form or other, and
    therefore came to nothing. Moreover, both women being artful and
    treacherous, and neither ever trusting the other, it was not likely
    that they could ever make an agreement. So, the Parliament,
    aggravated by what the Pope had done, made new and strong laws
    against the spreading of the Catholic religion in England, and
    declared it treason in any one to say that the Queen and her
    successors were not the lawful sovereigns of England. It would
    have done more than this, but for Elizabeth's moderation.

    Since the Reformation, there had come to be three great sects of
    religious people - or people who called themselves so - in England;
    that is to say, those who belonged to the Reformed Church, those
    who belonged to the Unreformed Church, and those who were called
    the Puritans, because they said that they wanted to have everything
    very pure and plain in all the Church service. These last were for
    the most part an uncomfortable people, who thought it highly
    meritorious to dress in a hideous manner, talk through their noses,
    and oppose all harmless enjoyments. But they were powerful too,
    and very much in earnest, and they were one and all the determined
    enemies of the Queen of Scots. The Protestant feeling in England
    was further strengthened by the tremendous cruelties to which
    Protestants were exposed in France and in the Netherlands. Scores
    of thousands of them were put to death in those countries with
    every cruelty that can be imagined, and at last, in the autumn of
    the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-two, one of the
    greatest barbarities ever committed in the world took place at

    It is called in history, THE MASSACRE OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW, because
    it took place on Saint Bartholomew's Eve. The day fell on Saturday
    the twenty-third of August. On that day all the great leaders of
    the Protestants (who were there called HUGUENOTS) were assembled
    together, for the purpose, as was represented to them, of doing
    honour to the marriage of their chief, the young King of Navarre,
    with the sister of CHARLES THE NINTH: a miserable young King who
    then occupied the French throne. This dull creature was made to
    believe by his mother and other fierce Catholics about him that the
    Huguenots meant to take his life; and he was persuaded to give
    secret orders that, on the tolling of a great bell, they should be
    fallen upon by an overpowering force of armed men, and slaughtered
    wherever they could be found. When the appointed hour was close at
    hand, the stupid wretch, trembling from head to foot, was taken
    into a balcony by his mother to see the atrocious work begun. The
    moment the bell tolled, the murderers broke forth. During all that
    night and the two next days, they broke into the houses, fired the
    houses, shot and stabbed the Protestants, men, women, and children,
    and flung their bodies into the streets. They were shot at in the
    streets as they passed along, and their blood ran down the gutters.
    Upwards of ten thousand Protestants were killed in Paris alone; in
    all France four or five times that number. To return thanks to
    Heaven for these diabolical murders, the Pope and his train
    actually went in public procession at Rome, and as if this were not
    shame enough for them, they had a medal struck to commemorate the
    event. But, however comfortable the wholesale murders were to
    these high authorities, they had not that soothing effect upon the
    doll-King. I am happy to state that he never knew a moment's peace
    afterwards; that he was continually crying out that he saw the
    Huguenots covered with blood and wounds falling dead before him;
    and that he died within a year, shrieking and yelling and raving to
    that degree, that if all the Popes who had ever lived had been
    rolled into one, they would not have afforded His guilty Majesty
    the slightest consolation.

    When the terrible news of the massacre arrived in England, it made
    a powerful impression indeed upon the people. If they began to run
    a little wild against the Catholics at about this time, this
    fearful reason for it, coming so soon after the days of bloody
    Queen Mary, must be remembered in their excuse. The Court was not
    quite so honest as the people - but perhaps it sometimes is not.
    It received the French ambassador, with all the lords and ladies
    dressed in deep mourning, and keeping a profound silence.
    Nevertheless, a proposal of marriage which he had made to Elizabeth
    only two days before the eve of Saint Bartholomew, on behalf of the
    Duke of Alen�on, the French King's brother, a boy of seventeen,
    still went on; while on the other hand, in her usual crafty way,
    the Queen secretly supplied the Huguenots with money and weapons.

    I must say that for a Queen who made all those fine speeches, of
    which I have confessed myself to be rather tired, about living and
    dying a Maiden Queen, Elizabeth was 'going' to be married pretty
    often. Besides always having some English favourite or other whom
    she by turns encouraged and swore at and knocked about - for the
    maiden Queen was very free with her fists - she held this French
    Duke off and on through several years. When he at last came over
    to England, the marriage articles were actually drawn up, and it
    was settled that the wedding should take place in six weeks. The
    Queen was then so bent upon it, that she prosecuted a poor Puritan
    named STUBBS, and a poor bookseller named PAGE, for writing and
    publishing a pamphlet against it. Their right hands were chopped
    off for this crime; and poor Stubbs - more loyal than I should have
    been myself under the circumstances - immediately pulled off his
    hat with his left hand, and cried, 'God save the Queen!' Stubbs
    was cruelly treated; for the marriage never took place after all,
    though the Queen pledged herself to the Duke with a ring from her
    own finger. He went away, no better than he came, when the
    courtship had lasted some ten years altogether; and he died a
    couple of years afterwards, mourned by Elizabeth, who appears to
    have been really fond of him. It is not much to her credit, for he
    was a bad enough member of a bad family.

    To return to the Catholics. There arose two orders of priests, who
    were very busy in England, and who were much dreaded. These were
    the JESUITS (who were everywhere in all sorts of disguises), and
    the SEMINARY PRIESTS. The people had a great horror of the first,
    because they were known to have taught that murder was lawful if it
    were done with an object of which they approved; and they had a
    great horror of the second, because they came to teach the old
    religion, and to be the successors of 'Queen Mary's priests,' as
    those yet lingering in England were called, when they should die
    out. The severest laws were made against them, and were most
    unmercifully executed. Those who sheltered them in their houses
    often suffered heavily for what was an act of humanity; and the
    rack, that cruel torture which tore men's limbs asunder, was
    constantly kept going. What these unhappy men confessed, or what
    was ever confessed by any one under that agony, must always be
    received with great doubt, as it is certain that people have
    frequently owned to the most absurd and impossible crimes to escape
    such dreadful suffering. But I cannot doubt it to have been proved
    by papers, that there were many plots, both among the Jesuits, and
    with France, and with Scotland, and with Spain, for the destruction
    of Queen Elizabeth, for the placing of Mary on the throne, and for
    the revival of the old religion.

    If the English people were too ready to believe in plots, there
    were, as I have said, good reasons for it. When the massacre of
    Saint Bartholomew was yet fresh in their recollection, a great
    Protestant Dutch hero, the PRINCE OF ORANGE, was shot by an
    assassin, who confessed that he had been kept and trained for the
    purpose in a college of Jesuits. The Dutch, in this surprise and
    distress, offered to make Elizabeth their sovereign, but she
    declined the honour, and sent them a small army instead, under the
    command of the Earl of Leicester, who, although a capital Court
    favourite, was not much of a general. He did so little in Holland,
    that his campaign there would probably have been forgotten, but for
    its occasioning the death of one of the best writers, the best
    knights, and the best gentlemen, of that or any age. This was SIR
    PHILIP SIDNEY, who was wounded by a musket ball in the thigh as he
    mounted a fresh horse, after having had his own killed under him.
    He had to ride back wounded, a long distance, and was very faint
    with fatigue and loss of blood, when some water, for which he had
    eagerly asked, was handed to him. But he was so good and gentle
    even then, that seeing a poor badly wounded common soldier lying on
    the ground, looking at the water with longing eyes, he said, 'Thy
    necessity is greater than mine,' and gave it up to him. This
    touching action of a noble heart is perhaps as well known as any
    incident in history - is as famous far and wide as the blood-
    stained Tower of London, with its axe, and block, and murders out
    of number. So delightful is an act of true humanity, and so glad
    are mankind to remember it.

    At home, intelligence of plots began to thicken every day. I
    suppose the people never did live under such continual terrors as
    those by which they were possessed now, of Catholic risings, and
    burnings, and poisonings, and I don't know what. Still, we must
    always remember that they lived near and close to awful realities
    of that kind, and that with their experience it was not difficult
    to believe in any enormity. The government had the same fear, and
    did not take the best means of discovering the truth - for, besides
    torturing the suspected, it employed paid spies, who will always
    lie for their own profit. It even made some of the conspiracies it
    brought to light, by sending false letters to disaffected people,
    inviting them to join in pretended plots, which they too readily

    But, one great real plot was at length discovered, and it ended the
    career of Mary, Queen of Scots. A seminary priest named BALLARD,
    and a Spanish soldier named SAVAGE, set on and encouraged by
    certain French priests, imparted a design to one ANTONY BABINGTON -
    a gentleman of fortune in Derbyshire, who had been for some time a
    secret agent of Mary's - for murdering the Queen. Babington then
    confided the scheme to some other Catholic gentlemen who were his
    friends, and they joined in it heartily. They were vain, weak-
    headed young men, ridiculously confident, and preposterously proud
    of their plan; for they got a gimcrack painting made, of the six
    choice spirits who were to murder Elizabeth, with Babington in an
    attitude for the centre figure. Two of their number, however, one
    of whom was a priest, kept Elizabeth's wisest minister, SIR FRANCIS
    WALSINGHAM, acquainted with the whole project from the first. The
    conspirators were completely deceived to the final point, when
    Babington gave Savage, because he was shabby, a ring from his
    finger, and some money from his purse, wherewith to buy himself new
    clothes in which to kill the Queen. Walsingham, having then full
    evidence against the whole band, and two letters of Mary's besides,
    resolved to seize them. Suspecting something wrong, they stole out
    of the city, one by one, and hid themselves in St. John's Wood, and
    other places which really were hiding places then; but they were
    all taken, and all executed. When they were seized, a gentleman
    was sent from Court to inform Mary of the fact, and of her being
    involved in the discovery. Her friends have complained that she
    was kept in very hard and severe custody. It does not appear very
    likely, for she was going out a hunting that very morning.

    Queen Elizabeth had been warned long ago, by one in France who had
    good information of what was secretly doing, that in holding Mary
    alive, she held 'the wolf who would devour her.' The Bishop of
    London had, more lately, given the Queen's favourite minister the
    advice in writing, 'forthwith to cut off the Scottish Queen's
    head.' The question now was, what to do with her? The Earl of
    Leicester wrote a little note home from Holland, recommending that
    she should be quietly poisoned; that noble favourite having
    accustomed his mind, it is possible, to remedies of that nature.
    His black advice, however, was disregarded, and she was brought to
    trial at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, before a tribunal
    of forty, composed of both religions. There, and in the Star
    Chamber at Westminster, the trial lasted a fortnight. She defended
    herself with great ability, but could only deny the confessions
    that had been made by Babington and others; could only call her own
    letters, produced against her by her own secretaries, forgeries;
    and, in short, could only deny everything. She was found guilty,
    and declared to have incurred the penalty of death. The Parliament
    met, approved the sentence, and prayed the Queen to have it
    executed. The Queen replied that she requested them to consider
    whether no means could be found of saving Mary's life without
    endangering her own. The Parliament rejoined, No; and the citizens
    illuminated their houses and lighted bonfires, in token of their
    joy that all these plots and troubles were to be ended by the death
    of the Queen of Scots.

    She, feeling sure that her time was now come, wrote a letter to the
    Queen of England, making three entreaties; first, that she might be
    buried in France; secondly, that she might not be executed in
    secret, but before her servants and some others; thirdly, that
    after her death, her servants should not be molested, but should be
    suffered to go home with the legacies she left them. It was an
    affecting letter, and Elizabeth shed tears over it, but sent no
    answer. Then came a special ambassador from France, and another
    from Scotland, to intercede for Mary's life; and then the nation
    began to clamour, more and more, for her death.

    What the real feelings or intentions of Elizabeth were, can never
    be known now; but I strongly suspect her of only wishing one thing
    more than Mary's death, and that was to keep free of the blame of
    it. On the first of February, one thousand five hundred and
    eighty-seven, Lord Burleigh having drawn out the warrant for the
    execution, the Queen sent to the secretary DAVISON to bring it to
    her, that she might sign it: which she did. Next day, when
    Davison told her it was sealed, she angrily asked him why such
    haste was necessary? Next day but one, she joked about it, and
    swore a little. Again, next day but one, she seemed to complain
    that it was not yet done, but still she would not be plain with
    those about her. So, on the seventh, the Earls of Kent and
    Shrewsbury, with the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, came with the
    warrant to Fotheringay, to tell the Queen of Scots to prepare for

    When those messengers of ill omen were gone, Mary made a frugal
    supper, drank to her servants, read over her will, went to bed,
    slept for some hours, and then arose and passed the remainder of
    the night saying prayers. In the morning she dressed herself in
    her best clothes; and, at eight o'clock when the sheriff came for
    her to her chapel, took leave of her servants who were there
    assembled praying with her, and went down-stairs, carrying a Bible
    in one hand and a crucifix in the other. Two of her women and four
    of her men were allowed to be present in the hall; where a low
    scaffold, only two feet from the ground, was erected and covered
    with black; and where the executioner from the Tower, and his
    assistant, stood, dressed in black velvet. The hall was full of
    people. While the sentence was being read she sat upon a stool;
    and, when it was finished, she again denied her guilt, as she had
    done before. The Earl of Kent and the Dean of Peterborough, in
    their Protestant zeal, made some very unnecessary speeches to her;
    to which she replied that she died in the Catholic religion, and
    they need not trouble themselves about that matter. When her head
    and neck were uncovered by the executioners, she said that she had
    not been used to be undressed by such hands, or before so much
    company. Finally, one of her women fastened a cloth over her face,
    and she laid her neck upon the block, and repeated more than once
    in Latin, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!' Some say
    her head was struck off in two blows, some say in three. However
    that be, when it was held up, streaming with blood, the real hair
    beneath the false hair she had long worn was seen to be as grey as
    that of a woman of seventy, though she was at that time only in her
    forty-sixth year. All her beauty was gone.

    But she was beautiful enough to her little dog, who cowered under
    her dress, frightened, when she went upon the scaffold, and who lay
    down beside her headless body when all her earthly sorrows were


    ON its being formally made known to Elizabeth that the sentence had
    been executed on the Queen of Scots, she showed the utmost grief
    and rage, drove her favourites from her with violent indignation,
    and sent Davison to the Tower; from which place he was only
    released in the end by paying an immense fine which completely
    ruined him. Elizabeth not only over-acted her part in making these
    pretences, but most basely reduced to poverty one of her faithful
    servants for no other fault than obeying her commands.

    James, King of Scotland, Mary's son, made a show likewise of being
    very angry on the occasion; but he was a pensioner of England to
    the amount of five thousand pounds a year, and he had known very
    little of his mother, and he possibly regarded her as the murderer
    of his father, and he soon took it quietly.

    Philip, King of Spain, however, threatened to do greater things
    than ever had been done yet, to set up the Catholic religion and
    punish Protestant England. Elizabeth, hearing that he and the
    Prince of Parma were making great preparations for this purpose, in
    order to be beforehand with them sent out ADMIRAL DRAKE (a famous
    navigator, who had sailed about the world, and had already brought
    great plunder from Spain) to the port of Cadiz, where he burnt a
    hundred vessels full of stores. This great loss obliged the
    Spaniards to put off the invasion for a year; but it was none the
    less formidable for that, amounting to one hundred and thirty
    ships, nineteen thousand soldiers, eight thousand sailors, two
    thousand slaves, and between two and three thousand great guns.
    England was not idle in making ready to resist this great force.
    All the men between sixteen years old and sixty, were trained and
    drilled; the national fleet of ships (in number only thirty-four at
    first) was enlarged by public contributions and by private ships,
    fitted out by noblemen; the city of London, of its own accord,
    furnished double the number of ships and men that it was required
    to provide; and, if ever the national spirit was up in England, it
    was up all through the country to resist the Spaniards. Some of
    the Queen's advisers were for seizing the principal English
    Catholics, and putting them to death; but the Queen - who, to her
    honour, used to say, that she would never believe any ill of her
    subjects, which a parent would not believe of her own children -
    rejected the advice, and only confined a few of those who were the
    most suspected, in the fens in Lincolnshire. The great body of
    Catholics deserved this confidence; for they behaved most loyally,
    nobly, and bravely.

    So, with all England firing up like one strong, angry man, and with
    both sides of the Thames fortified, and with the soldiers under
    arms, and with the sailors in their ships, the country waited for
    the coming of the proud Spanish fleet, which was called THE
    INVINCIBLE ARMADA. The Queen herself, riding in armour on a white
    horse, and the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Leicester holding her
    bridal rein, made a brave speech to the troops at Tilbury Fort
    opposite Gravesend, which was received with such enthusiasm as is
    seldom known. Then came the Spanish Armada into the English
    Channel, sailing along in the form of a half moon, of such great
    size that it was seven miles broad. But the English were quickly
    upon it, and woe then to all the Spanish ships that dropped a
    little out of the half moon, for the English took them instantly!
    And it soon appeared that the great Armada was anything but
    invincible, for on a summer night, bold Drake sent eight blazing
    fire-ships right into the midst of it. In terrible consternation
    the Spaniards tried to get out to sea, and so became dispersed; the
    English pursued them at a great advantage; a storm came on, and
    drove the Spaniards among rocks and shoals; and the swift end of
    the Invincible fleet was, that it lost thirty great ships and ten
    thousand men, and, defeated and disgraced, sailed home again.
    Being afraid to go by the English Channel, it sailed all round
    Scotland and Ireland; some of the ships getting cast away on the
    latter coast in bad weather, the Irish, who were a kind of savages,
    plundered those vessels and killed their crews. So ended this
    great attempt to invade and conquer England. And I think it will
    be a long time before any other invincible fleet coming to England
    with the same object, will fare much better than the Spanish

    Though the Spanish king had had this bitter taste of English
    bravery, he was so little the wiser for it, as still to entertain
    his old designs, and even to conceive the absurd idea of placing
    his daughter on the English throne. But the Earl of Essex, SIR
    WALTER RALEIGH, SIR THOMAS HOWARD, and some other distinguished
    leaders, put to sea from Plymouth, entered the port of Cadiz once
    more, obtained a complete victory over the shipping assembled
    there, and got possession of the town. In obedience to the Queen's
    express instructions, they behaved with great humanity; and the
    principal loss of the Spaniards was a vast sum of money which they
    had to pay for ransom. This was one of many gallant achievements
    on the sea, effected in this reign. Sir Walter Raleigh himself,
    after marrying a maid of honour and giving offence to the Maiden
    Queen thereby, had already sailed to South America in search of

    The Earl of Leicester was now dead, and so was Sir Thomas
    Walsingham, whom Lord Burleigh was soon to follow. The principal
    favourite was the EARL OF ESSEX, a spirited and handsome man, a
    favourite with the people too as well as with the Queen, and
    possessed of many admirable qualities. It was much debated at
    Court whether there should be peace with Spain or no, and he was
    very urgent for war. He also tried hard to have his own way in the
    appointment of a deputy to govern in Ireland. One day, while this
    question was in dispute, he hastily took offence, and turned his
    back upon the Queen; as a gentle reminder of which impropriety, the
    Queen gave him a tremendous box on the ear, and told him to go to
    the devil. He went home instead, and did not reappear at Court for
    half a year or so, when he and the Queen were reconciled, though
    never (as some suppose) thoroughly.

    From this time the fate of the Earl of Essex and that of the Queen
    seemed to be blended together. The Irish were still perpetually
    quarrelling and fighting among themselves, and he went over to
    Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, to the great joy of his enemies (Sir
    Walter Raleigh among the rest), who were glad to have so dangerous
    a rival far off. Not being by any means successful there, and
    knowing that his enemies would take advantage of that circumstance
    to injure him with the Queen, he came home again, though against
    her orders. The Queen being taken by surprise when he appeared
    before her, gave him her hand to kiss, and he was overjoyed -
    though it was not a very lovely hand by this time - but in the
    course of the same day she ordered him to confine himself to his
    room, and two or three days afterwards had him taken into custody.
    With the same sort of caprice - and as capricious an old woman she
    now was, as ever wore a crown or a head either - she sent him broth
    from her own table on his falling ill from anxiety, and cried about

    He was a man who could find comfort and occupation in his books,
    and he did so for a time; not the least happy time, I dare say, of
    his life. But it happened unfortunately for him, that he held a
    monopoly in sweet wines: which means that nobody could sell them
    without purchasing his permission. This right, which was only for
    a term, expiring, he applied to have it renewed. The Queen
    refused, with the rather strong observation - but she DID make
    strong observations - that an unruly beast must be stinted in his
    food. Upon this, the angry Earl, who had been already deprived of
    many offices, thought himself in danger of complete ruin, and
    turned against the Queen, whom he called a vain old woman who had
    grown as crooked in her mind as she had in her figure. These
    uncomplimentary expressions the ladies of the Court immediately
    snapped up and carried to the Queen, whom they did not put in a
    better tempter, you may believe. The same Court ladies, when they
    had beautiful dark hair of their own, used to wear false red hair,
    to be like the Queen. So they were not very high-spirited ladies,
    however high in rank.

    The worst object of the Earl of Essex, and some friends of his who
    used to meet at LORD SOUTHAMPTON'S house, was to obtain possession
    of the Queen, and oblige her by force to dismiss her ministers and
    change her favourites. On Saturday the seventh of February, one
    thousand six hundred and one, the council suspecting this, summoned
    the Earl to come before them. He, pretending to be ill, declined;
    it was then settled among his friends, that as the next day would
    be Sunday, when many of the citizens usually assembled at the Cross
    by St. Paul's Cathedral, he should make one bold effort to induce
    them to rise and follow him to the Palace.

    So, on the Sunday morning, he and a small body of adherents started
    out of his house - Essex House by the Strand, with steps to the
    river - having first shut up in it, as prisoners, some members of
    the council who came to examine him - and hurried into the City
    with the Earl at their head crying out 'For the Queen! For the
    Queen! A plot is laid for my life!' No one heeded them, however,
    and when they came to St. Paul's there were no citizens there. In
    the meantime the prisoners at Essex House had been released by one
    of the Earl's own friends; he had been promptly proclaimed a
    traitor in the City itself; and the streets were barricaded with
    carts and guarded by soldiers. The Earl got back to his house by
    water, with difficulty, and after an attempt to defend his house
    against the troops and cannon by which it was soon surrounded, gave
    himself up that night. He was brought to trial on the nineteenth,
    and found guilty; on the twenty-fifth, he was executed on Tower
    Hill, where he died, at thirty-four years old, both courageously
    and penitently. His step-father suffered with him. His enemy, Sir
    Walter Raleigh, stood near the scaffold all the time - but not so
    near it as we shall see him stand, before we finish his history.

    In this case, as in the cases of the Duke of Norfolk and Mary Queen
    of Scots, the Queen had commanded, and countermanded, and again
    commanded, the execution. It is probable that the death of her
    young and gallant favourite in the prime of his good qualities, was
    never off her mind afterwards, but she held out, the same vain,
    obstinate and capricious woman, for another year. Then she danced
    before her Court on a state occasion - and cut, I should think, a
    mighty ridiculous figure, doing so in an immense ruff, stomacher
    and wig, at seventy years old. For another year still, she held
    out, but, without any more dancing, and as a moody, sorrowful,
    broken creature. At last, on the tenth of March, one thousand six
    hundred and three, having been ill of a very bad cold, and made
    worse by the death of the Countess of Nottingham who was her
    intimate friend, she fell into a stupor and was supposed to be
    dead. She recovered her consciousness, however, and then nothing
    would induce her to go to bed; for she said that she knew that if
    she did, she should never get up again. There she lay for ten
    days, on cushions on the floor, without any food, until the Lord
    Admiral got her into bed at last, partly by persuasions and partly
    by main force. When they asked her who should succeed her, she
    replied that her seat had been the seat of Kings, and that she
    would have for her successor, 'No rascal's son, but a King's.'
    Upon this, the lords present stared at one another, and took the
    liberty of asking whom she meant; to which she replied, 'Whom
    should I mean, but our cousin of Scotland!' This was on the
    twenty-third of March. They asked her once again that day, after
    she was speechless, whether she was still in the same mind? She
    struggled up in bed, and joined her hands over her head in the form
    of a crown, as the only reply she could make. At three o'clock
    next morning, she very quietly died, in the forty-fifth year of her

    That reign had been a glorious one, and is made for ever memorable
    by the distinguished men who flourished in it. Apart from the
    great voyagers, statesmen, and scholars, whom it produced, the
    names of BACON, SPENSER, and SHAKESPEARE, will always be remembered
    with pride and veneration by the civilised world, and will always
    impart (though with no great reason, perhaps) some portion of their
    lustre to the name of Elizabeth herself. It was a great reign for
    discovery, for commerce, and for English enterprise and spirit in
    general. It was a great reign for the Protestant religion and for
    the Reformation which made England free. The Queen was very
    popular, and in her progresses, or journeys about her dominions,
    was everywhere received with the liveliest joy. I think the truth
    is, that she was not half so good as she has been made out, and not
    half so bad as she has been made out. She had her fine qualities,
    but she was coarse, capricious, and treacherous, and had all the
    faults of an excessively vain young woman long after she was an old
    one. On the whole, she had a great deal too much of her father in
    her, to please me.

    Many improvements and luxuries were introduced in the course of
    these five-and-forty years in the general manner of living; but
    cock-fighting, bull-baiting, and bear-baiting, were still the
    national amusements; and a coach was so rarely seen, and was such
    an ugly and cumbersome affair when it was seen, that even the Queen
    herself, on many high occasions, rode on horseback on a pillion
    behind the Lord Chancellor.
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