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I am glad to write that the queen took it, and the hour of her
death came. *' When I am dead, and my body is opened,"
she said to those around her, "ye shall find Calais written on
my heart." I should have thought, if anything were written on
it, they would have found the words "Jane Grey, Hooper,
Rogers, Ridley, Latimer, Cranmer, and three hundred people
burnt alive within four years of my wicked reign, including
sixty women and forty little children." But it is enough that
their deaths were written in heaven.

The queen died on the 17th of November, 1558, after reign-
ing not quite five years and a half, and in the forty-fourth year
of her age. Cardinal Pole died of the same fever next day.

As Bloody Queen Mary, this woman has become famous :
and as Bloody Queen Mary she will ever be justly remembered
with horror and detestation in Great Britain. Her memory
has been held in such abhorrence, that some writers have arisen
in later years to take her part, and to show that she was, upon
the whole quite an amiable and cheerful sovereign ! " By their
fruits ye shall know them," said our Saviour. The stake and
the fire were the fruits of this reign, and you will judge this
queen by nothing else.



There was great rejoicing all over the land when the lords
of the council went down to Hatfield to hail the Princess Eliza-
beth as the new queen of England. Weary of the barbarities
of Mary's reign, the people looked with hope ai.\d gladness to
the new sovereign. The nation seemed to wake from a horri



ble dreanr ; 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 court-
iers 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 possi-
ble to understand the greater part of her reign without first
understanding what kind of a 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 pre-
sented 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 prisoner on such occasions, she would have the
goodness to release the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John, and also the Apostle St. Paul, who had been for some
time shut up in a strange language, so that the people could
not get at them.

To this the queen replied that it would be better first to
inquiry 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
♦p- common sense, that for people- to benefit by what they repeat

read, it is rather necessary they should understand some-


thing about it. Accordingly a church service in plain English
was settled, and other laws and regulations were made, com-
pletely 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 oc-
curred in it, was Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. We will try to
understand, in as few words as possible, who Mary was, what
Bhe was, and how she came to be a thorn in the royal pillow of

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 to 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 in-
herited 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 con-
nected 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 Eng-
land 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 colors, in all directions. This ob-
durate and harsh spirit of the Scottish reformers (the Scotch
have always been rather a sullen and drowning people in relig-


ious 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 colors on their legs
again ; of conquering that country first, and England after-
wards, 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 harbor, a vessel was lost be-
fore her eyes ; and she said, " O good God ! what an omen this
is for such a voyage ! " She v/as 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 day-
break, if the French coast was still visible, that she might be-
hold 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 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 un-
couth strangers, and wild, uncomfortable customs, very different
from her experience 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 discorda.'jt


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 Relormed 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 his-
tory, 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 favored 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 favorite 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 declara-
t'on, I suppose ; but it has been puffed and trumpeted so much,
that I am rather tired ot it myself.

Divers princes proposed to marry Mary ; but the English
court had reasons for being jealous of them all, and even pro-


posed, as a matter of policy, that she should marry that very
Earl of Leicester who had aspired to be the husband of Eliz-
abeth. 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 snnpleton, and could dance and play the guitar,
but 1 know of nothmg else he could do, unless it were to get
\ery drunk, and eat gluttonously, and make a contemptible
?,pectacle ot himself in many mean and vain ways. However^
lie gained Mary's heart, not disdaining in the pursuit of his
object to ally himself with one ot her secretaries, David Rizzio,
wlio 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 Prot-
estant 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 armor with loaded pistols in her
saddle. Driven out of Scotland, they presented themselves
before Elizabeth, who called them traitors in public, and as-
sisted 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 favor, and whom
he now believed to be her lover. He hated Rizzio to that ex-
tent that he made a compact with Lord Ruthven and three other
lords to get rid of him by murder. The wicked agreement they
made in solemn secrecy upon the ist of March, 1556, and, on the
night of Saturday, the 9th, the conspirators v/ere brought by
J^arnley up a private staircase, dark and steep, into a range of
rooms where they knew that Mary was sitting at supper with her
MsLer, 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 pre-
vailed on the tall idiot to abandon the conspirators, and tiy
with her to Dunbar. There he issued a proclamation, auda-
ciously 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 get-
ting 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 in-
trusted 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 at the occasion. A
week aftervvards, 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 Edin^
burgh, and to occupy, instead of the palace, a lone house cut-
side 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 go to Holyrood to be present at
an entertainment given in celebration of the marriage of one ot
her favorite 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 un-
scorched 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 unquestion-
ably 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
Vvere posted by unknown hands in the public places, denoun-
cing Bothwell as the murderer, and the queen as his accomplice ;
an J 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 wo-
iTien particularly are described as having been quite frantic
against the queen, and to have hooted and cried after her in
the streets with terrifi:: vehemence.

Such guilty unions seldom prosper. This husband and
^vife had lived together but a month, when they were separated
forever by the success of a band of Scotch nobles who associ-
ated against them for the protection of the young prince, whom
Bothwell had vainly endeavored to lay hold of, and whom he
wouli certainly have murdered, if the Earl of Mar, in whose
hands the boy was, had not been firmly and honorably faithful
to his trust. Before this angry power, Bothwell fled abroad,
wliere he died, a prisoner and mad, nine miserable years after-
Avards. 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 ap-
proached 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 washerwoman ; 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


sh'^rt 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 horse-
back 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 re-
gent 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 r^ave her battle.
In one quarter of an hour he cut down all her hopes. She had
another weary ride on horseback of sixty long Scotch miles,
and took shelter at Dundrennan Abbey, whence she lied 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 1568. How she left it and the world, nineteen years after-
wards, we have now to see.

Second Part.

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 Englnnd 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. IMade 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 Scot-
land. But, as her doing either would have been likely to
tiouble England afresh, it was decided that she should be de-
tained 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 Eng-
land, agreed to answer the charges against her, if the Scottish
noblemen who made them would attend to maintain them be-


fore such English nobleman 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 Bothwcll, she withdrew from tl-e
mquiry. Consequently, it is to be supposed that she was then
considered guilty by those who had the best opportunities cf
judging of the truth, and thp.t the feeling which afterwards arose
in her behalf was a very generous, but not a very reasonable one.

However, the Duke of Norfolk, an honorable but rather
weak nobleman, p::rtly because Mary was captivating, partly
because he was ambitious, partly because he was over-per-
suaded 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 favorite Earl of Leicester
(because it was objected to by other favorites 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 net so quietly planned, though, but that it came
to Elizabeth's ears, who warned the duke " to be careful what
sort of a pillow he v;as going Co 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 Tower.

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 blood
shed. It was followed by a great conspiracy of the pope and

Online LibraryCharles DickensA child's history of England → online text (page 27 of 38)