Henry Martyn Dexter.

The England and Holland of the Pilgrims online

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^ Steele (Tli) interprets D.ivison's letter as declarincr that thev made the whole
pnssaj^e to London by water. It does not require that interpretation, and acquain-
tance with the localities, as well as Bradford's lanjjitan'e about the gold chain, indi-
cates that they landed at tlie Reculvers and posted to ijraTesend.


Preston, Ospringe, with its beacon and hospital ruins, and Bap-
child, with its quaint old resting-place for Canterbury pilgrims,
and Sittingbourne, Rainham, Chatham and Rochester, with its
venerable Norman ruins, and Strood to the Thames at Gravesend.

Davison learned at once from Walsingham ^ that Elizabeth
had been made very angry by Leicester, and he found her so.
She swore great oaths at Leicester for having disobeyed her
absolute command — of which Davison now learned for the first
tune — and at Davison himself and Sidney for not having pre-
vented it. Davison explained how necessary all had seemed to
them. He even declared that he " might have been accused of
madness," had he dissuaded Leicester. It passed his comprehen-
sion why she should be in such a paroxysm of passion, for he had
no suspicion of the unrevealed scheme which her old favorite
unconsciously had thwarted. Other interviews followed. Davison
maintained his courageous and candid defence, the queen grad-
ually adjusted herself to the situation, and in time the storm was

Testimony to the conspicuous wisdom and inestimable value
of Davison in the Low Countries is uniform and abundant.
Sidney endorsed them in the highest terms.^ Leicester declared
that he had done her ^lajesty notable service and wanted him
sent back to Holland, for " without him I confess myself quyte
maymed." And he pleaded again that : —

yf her majesty wyll shew me any favour, that thys may be one, to
have Mr. Davyson retorn agayn to me, who I assure you ys the most
sufficient man to serve hir majesty that I know of all our nation ; for
he knoweth all partes of these countrej^es, and all persones of any
accnmpt. with all their umores, and hatli great credytt among them all
herok. And the better servyce shall he be able to doe yf yt may please
hir majesty to gyve him such countenance as may encrease his credyt
here, for here hath hyn many brutes [rumors] and reportes of hir
good intentyon toward hfm, and he wyll deserve any goodness she
shaH bestow uppon him, whatsoever yt be.

Davison soon resumed attendance in the Privy Council. On
July 11, 158G, Walsingham, writing to Leicester, said:'^ —

1 Leyc. Cor. 117, 121. 2 Qot. m. Galba. c. viii : 213.

8 Leyc. Oor. 07, 77, 343.


She [the queen] is lothe to send a spetyall person to your lordship
and the Counsell of State there, in respect of charges ; * . . . She
seemeth to he dysposed to make Mr. Davyson my assystaunt in the
place I serve. The gentleman [Davison] is very muche greeved with
the dj'slyke he understandethe your lordship hatha of him.* For my
own parte, I doe not fynde but that he hatlie dealt well, bothe for the
cause and towards yom* lordship, whos good opiniou and favor he dothe
greatly desyre.

Perhaps this disposition of the queen may explain the " bnites
and reportes " to which Leicester had referred. Davison received
congi-atulations upon his elevation before the middle of Septem-
ber,3 and was included, on Oct. 6, as one of " our Principal Secre-
taris," in the warrant for the trial of Maiy, Queen of Scots.*
His formal commission as such, however, was not dated at AVest-
minster until Dec. 12.

On Oct. 7 John Carpinter wrote to Davison, begging the new
Secretary to leave some place unfilled which might be given to
his brother Cranmer's son George.^ George Cranmer, thus
recommended by Davison's brother-in-law, was a nephew by
marriage of Davison's sister, and therefore had a claim of affinity
in addition to superior qualifications for office. He had been at
Corpus Christi, Oxford, where he had Richard Hooker for his
tutor, and for an intimate friend, Edwin Sandys, son of the
Archbishop of York. Izaak Walton describes graphically a visit
which they made to Hooker in 1585. Cranmer soon after wrote
to his uncle Carpinter a letter of thanks^ '• for so honourable a

^ This illustrates the nigff^ardliness of Elizabeth in the conduct of public affairs.

* What is referred to is not apparent. Perhaps, when Leicester learned of the
queen's indig-natiou with him, he thought for a time that Davison had not defended
him stoutly enougli. If any misiiuJerstanding existed, it was cleared up soon, for
Leicester's allusions to Davison uniformly are warmly complimentary.

' S. F. Dum. Eliz. cxcui : o4.

* Life, 40. "And also to our trusty and well-beloved William Davison, Esq.,
anotlier of our Principal Secretaris, and of our Privy Council." A letter from
Davison to Walsingham (llarl. )fs. 290: 174) says that it was not intended origi-
nally that Davison should belong;- to the Commission. Ilis name was added because
the lanjruage of the statute required that all the Privy Council be members.

* S. P. Dom. Eliz. exciv: I'J. Carpinter had married Davison's sister, Anne,
and Thomas Oanmer, nephew to the Archbishop, had married Carpinter's =;ister,
Anne, so that George Cranmer, eldest son of Thomas and Anne, was nephew by
marriage to Davison's sister.

"* Ibid, cxciv : ?A.


place of service," so that his immediate entrance into the Secre-
tary's official household may be inferred. From the fact that,
less than six mouths afterwards, Davison ^ refers to Cranmer as
representing him in his absence from the Court and sending to
him thence her Majesty's suggestions, it is evident that, although
apparently Brewster then had been in his service half as many
years as Cranmer had been months, the latter occupied the higher
and more representative position.

Three or four months of prosperity and busy work followed,
yet they were not without premonitions of a storm approaching.
At this time Davison had a house in London, where he resided
when not in daily attendance upon the Court, which rotated
between "Whitehall, Richmond, Hampton Court, Nonsuch, Oat-
lands and Greenwich, where the queen liked best to be, espe-
cially in summer. No doubt Edwin Sandys, then a prebend of
York Cathedral, when visiting at his father's London house,
would drop in now and then at Davison's to see George Craiuner,
and thus, if Brewster had not made his acquaintance already at
Scrooby, the two young men doubtless formed the friendship
which clearly existed later between them.

' Campbell, Davison, 371-.372. "The next morning' I received a letter from
Cranmer my servant, whom I left at court, sig^fying unto me her Majesty's



Our story now turns to the Queen of Scots, Mary, daughter of
King James V. and JVIary of Lorraine. She was ahnost nine
years younger than Elizabeth.^ Her father having died imme-
diately after her birth, she was crowned before she had com-
pleted her first year. In 1548, when not yet six, she was be-
trothed to the Dauphin Erancis of France and taken thither.
There, in the most corrupt court of Europe, she passed her
youth. At fifteen years and five months her marriage to the
Dauphin took place. Pie became king on July 10, 1559, but
died on Dec. 5, 1560, lea^^ng Mary a widow when two days
less than eighteen. Her mother, queen-dowager of Scotland
during all these years, died nearly six months before jNIary's
husband, and aifairs in Scotland, where, on Aug. 25, 1560,
under the influence of John Knox, Catholicism had been sup-
pressed, summoned ]\Iary home. Elizabeth denied her a safe-
conduct through England, but Mary managed to reach Leith.

As a matter of policy she assented to the continuance of the
new creed and to some endowment of the Protestant ministry
from the confiscated lands of the Romanists. It is needless
here to follow minutely her checkered way. In less than seven
years she had been married again to her cousin Henry, Lord
Darnley ; had borne the son who succeeded Elizabeth on the
English throne, and once more widowed, by Darnley's mur-
der, had married his murderer ; had been miserably separated
from him ; had abdicated in favor of her son ; and had been im-

^ Henry VII. of Eu<;lan(l had three children, Artluir, Henry and Mar<iaret.
Arthur died young-. Henry became the famous Henry VIII. Marpfaret married
James IV. of Scotland. Their son, Elizabeth's cousin, James V., married M.iry of
Lorraine, so tliat their only child, Mary, 'Jiieen of Scots, was second cousin to
Elizabeth. If Elizabtth failed to marrv and have offsprinc;-, M.iry, if she survived
Elizabeth, being nearest in blood would be heir to the Eng-lish tlirone.


prisoned in the island castle of Loclileven. In May, 1568, she
escaped to Hamilton Palace, gathered GOOO men, revoked her
abdication, and summoned Murray, the regent, to submit. Eliz-
abeth offered her help if she would accept English mediation
and seek no foreign assistance, but the message arrived too
late. Murray routed Mary's forces, while she fled into Cumber-
laud, where there still were plenty of Roman Catholics. She
now was really a prisoner, and continued such for her eighteen
remaining years, at Bolton Castle, Tutbury, Coventry, Sheffield
Castle, AVingfield Manor, Tutbui-y again for a little while, and
then, under Sir Auiyas Paulet, a stern Puritan, at Chartley
Manor. And here she was when Davison became a Secretary of
State in the autumn of 158G.

It has been intimated already that Elizabeth's irresolution
towards the Low Countries was due partly to her desire for a
compromise. Philip was not such an implacable Romanist as
not to have an eye to the main chance. There was a mid(.lle
party in France, which had reacted from the horrors of St. Bar-
tholomew's Day without espousing the Huguenot cause. And
some close observers felt reasonably sure that the Pope, in his
dread of an overmastering Spanish influence, might be per-
suaded to moderation. It was not yet clear whether the Ro-
manist League were prepared to reduce all Protestant revolt at
the point of the sword. If yes, then neither Holland nor England
could afford to be either inactive or unallied. If no, then there
might be something better in the near future than a Protestant
alliance, whose approach towards vitality necessarily must bring
ou hostilities.

Spain really was too poor to invade England wisely. And
neither were the English Romanists nor the Pope specially
eager to see Philip's "• claim " — he had been Bloody ^Mary's
husband — materialized. This state of affairs confused English
politics. On the whole, the cpieen favored possible adjustments
so far as to be indisposed towards any policy of advance, in
Holland or at home, vigorous enougli to j^revent them. She
seems to have desired to help the Low Countries just enough
to keep their heads above the waters of absolute absorption by
Spain without going far enough to drive Spain or France to


extremities. Burgliley and Walsingbam differed from her, and
steadily urged a more spirited policy.

Meanwliile, an almost constant succession of plots for the re-
lease of Mary, the assassination of Elizabeth, or both, occurred,
by the connivance of the large Papist element remaining in Eng-
land with Jesuit emissaries from abroad. With all her faults
Elizabeth was no coward. She derided all suggestions of per-
sonal danger, and trusted her Catholic subjects much more than
her Privy Council did. She even maintained known Papists at
the Court, probably relying for her safety upon the fact that
through them she kept up her secret correspondence with Philip,
which made it for their interest to not only spare but also de-
fend her.

Walsingham knew ahnost everything that was going on. He
had reduced espionage to a system. He had agents in the Col-
lege of Cardinals, the Jesuit seminaries, the French em bass v,
the Spanish Court and the mansions of the chief Romanists in
England, so that he knew when treason was brewing among
them. It was a knowledge, however, which could be used but
sparingly. He could not prove legaUy a hundred things of
which he had no doubt. Nor could he set before her Majesty
more than mere hints of his opinion on some disturbing matters.
Furthermore, this sort of testimony often so conflicted with
Itself as to make a reasonable conclusion excessively difficult.
For example, was the captive queen, around whom these plots
were perpetually crystallizing, a party to them herself? Did
she, in reality, favor the assassination of the queen regnant?
If so, could that fact be brought home to Elizabeth so that her
unfailing irresolution, heightened by the natural pleadinos of
kinship, could be animated to that conclusion which the great
and loyal majority of the nation was ready to demand, that the
public safety be secured by :\Iary's execution ?

It became clear that, if this one matter could be settled, great
gain of internal quietness would result, and Walsingham devised
a subtle, widely-reaching scheme,i to which he gained Elizabeth's
consent. Mary was removed from Tutbury Castle to Chartley

» All the chief details are given by Froude, lii : 22S-300. Green, Hist. Enq.
People (ed. 1S70J. ii : 40S.


Manor, which was much more accessible. Moreover, it was not
far from Biirton-on-Trent, even then famous for its breweries.
Walsingham obtained the confidential services of a son of a
neighboring Romanist family, and through him entrapped Mary
into a secret correspondence with Romanists at home and abroad,
all of which was translated by Phillips, Walsingham's secretary,
and copied. A Biu-ton brewer sent a cask of beer weekly to
Chartley for the special use of the captive queen and her
attendants. A tight box containing the ingoing letters was
hidden in the cask, the answers being substituted in the box
when the empty cask went back to Burton. Phillips, residing at
Chartley nominally to aid Paulet in his trust, deciphered and
copied these letters in transit, and then forwarded the originals,
apparently undiscovered, and sent the copies to '\^'^alsingham.^

The plan worked perfectly. Mary and her corresi^ndents
felt certain of its safety. Yet assurance was made doubly sure
by the use of a new cipher, but, as the key had to accompany
the first conmuxnication, it fell into Phillips's hands. Writing
thus, with an imagined absolute freedom on each side, each side
betrayed itself. Most unfortimately, also, for Mary, just at this
time what was known as the Babington Conspiracy ^ was being
hatched. Nearly a dozen young Papists, most of whom either
were remotely connected with Elizabeth's household or had
access to her person, bound themselves together to kill her.
Lords Burghley, "Walsingham, Hunsdon, her first cousin, and
Vice-chamberlain Knollys. The Prince of Parma was to swoop
across the German Ocean ujion Newcastle or Scarborough and
free !Mary ; and a general revolution, aided by a contemporary
invasion by PhiHp himself, was to make England once more a
Catholic country with Mary upon the throne. This comprehen-
sive plot was communicated to ^lary by letters which, m Phil-
lips's translations, probably were in Walsingham's hands as soon
as, through the beer-barrel, they reached hers.

* Proofs are in the State Papers, mostly in letters (3/ary, Queen of Scots, Mss.)
from Sept., 1'>S'), to Aug.. l."8il, by Paulet to Walsingham and by T. Morgan to
M.ary, with their answers, etc.

- He.aded by Antliony Habington. The Pope — Gregory XIII. — sent them his
blessing. Diet. Nat. Bi'uj. ii : .'lO'^. ."^inipson, E. Campinn, l,j~. Papiers d' Etat
relatifs h Vhistoire de l' Erossr au XVI'' Stifle, etc. Bannatyne Pubs. v. iii. etc.


The keen interest with which the secretary and Queen Eliza-
beth awaited Mary's reply can be imagined. They soon had it.
She cordially approved the plan. She suggested methods. She
devised precautions. For herself, she said that fifty or sixty
mounted men easily might carry her off when she went out to
ride with her usual escort of but fifteen or twenty. They might
set the house on fire at night and kidnap her in the confusion,
in which case they must wear some badge easily recognizable.
Or, when a cart was coming in with stores, it could be upset in
the gateway and an ambushed force could rush in. As to the
assassination of Elizabeth, she said to Babington : " You will
keep four men with horses saddled, to bring word when the
deed is done that they may be here before my guardian learns
of it," and "to prevent accident, let the horsemen choose differ-
ent routes, that if one is intercepted another may get through."
She spoke elsewhere of " their design being accomplished," re-
ferring to the same proposed murder. Still further, in the post-
script ^ to her letter, she added : " I would be glad to know the
names and qualities of the six gentlemen wliich are to accom-
plish the designment, for that it may be I shall be able, upon
knowledge of the parties, to give you some further advice neces-
sary to be followed therein." - These young conspirators were
allowed to go on until all needed proof was in Walsinghara's
possession, when they were arrested and the brilliant bubble

On an August morning after Davison had resumed his seat

^ The genuineness of this postscript has been denied by Mary's defenders, but
apparently in vain.

^ llanke {flist- Eng. i : 30fi) says : " If we enquire -whether Mary Stuart knew
of these schinies, and had a full understanding with the conspirators, there can
be no doubt at all of it. She was in correspondence with Babington, whom she
designates as her greatest friend. TJie letter is still extant in wliich she strength-
ens him in his purpose of calling forth a rising of the Catholics in the diJFer-
ent counties, and that an armed one, with reasons for it true and false, and tells
hira how he may liberate herself. ... In the letter we even come upon one pas-
sage which betrays a knowledge of the plot against Elizabeth's life ; there is not
a word against it, rather an ajjprobation of it, though an indirect one." And, as
to the postscript, he answers Tytler's suggestion (Hist. Scot. viii. App.) of its in-
terpolation by saying (:i07, n.) : " \Mi.-it would have been the use of it [i. e. of
iiit-M ;)(.latiiig it] as tlie letter even without this addition would have sufficed to
CL;:uI.':ua hfr.''


in the Pri\'y Council, and just before he was promoted to a place
beside AValsingham, Mary Stuart accepted an invitation from
Sir Aniyas Paulet to ride over to Tixall and hunt a buck. Her
two secretaries, Nan and Curie, with other attendants, were in
the party. They had almost reached their destination when a
company of horsemen appeared. For a moment the ex-queen
must have thought that her hour of victory had come. But it
proved her hour of defeat and hmniliatiou. As the cavalcades
neared each other, Sir Thomas Gorges ^ rode forward from
among the strangers and handed to Sir Amyas a royal order
for the removal of Mary to Tixall and the arrest of the secre-
taries. Her quick wit divined instantly that all was lost, but
her spirit was imbroken. She stormed and denounced, and
challenged her attendants, if they were men and not cowards,
to fight for her. But they had more sense.

She was taken on to Tixall, where she was kept for a fort-
night. The secretaries were hurried off to London, and Sir
Aniyas, with Sir AVilliam Wade, who had ridden down with
Gorges, hastened back to Chartley, where her entire correspon-
dence and notebooks were secured and sent up to Court.
Among other things were found the keys to no fewer than
sixty ciphers which had been used in her correspondence. When
the Privy Council read this mass of manuscript, which they did
with minutest patience, they learned not only the true inwardness
of Mary's character, but also her exact relation to the Roman
Catholic powers, and how far many English noblemen had
favored her pretensions to the throne.

This work of the Privy Council, early in September, 1586,
must have been shared by Davison its clerk, altliough probably
Brewster got little knowledge of it. Letters survive - showing
that before the middle of this month Davison was being solicited
for office, as a Secretary of State. Camden ^ made the sugges-
tion that he was promoted to a secretaryship so that he might

^ Seventh cliild and youngest son of Sir Edward Gorges, and great-uncle "f Sir
Ferdinando, who is called " the founder of the State of Maine." Brown, Ptdi-
gree of Sir F. Gorges, 5.

2 S. P. Dam. Add. 2<.» - 208. S. P. Dom. Eliz. cxciii : :U ; cxciv : 8, 15.

' Complete Hint. Eng. By Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Sir John Hayward, Wil-
liam Camden, etc., ii : 538.


become Elizabeth's scapegoat in the matter of the Queen of
Scots. But there is ample proof that, for nearly three months
longer Elizabeth had no idea of needing any scapegoat, because
she fully intended to spare jVIary's life. Moreover, another sec-
retary was needed, and Da\ason had exhibited exceptional fitness
for the position, and had earned it by long and brilliant service.
The Earl of Essex afterwards wrote of him to King James : ^ —

I must say truly that his sufficiency in council and matters of state
is such as the Queen herself confesseth in her kingdom she has not
such another ; his virtue, religion and worth, in all degrees, is of the
world taken to be so great, as no man in his good fortune hath had a
more commendable love than this gentleman in his disgrace.

And Lord Burghley declared : ^ —

Sure I am, and I presume to have some judgment therein, I know
not a man in the land so furnished universally for the place he had,
neither know I any that can come near him.

Babington and his fellow-conspirators, crushed under an over-
whelming mass of testimony, were executed at Tyburn in the
last week of September.

Mary Stuart remained. Therefore the terrible and vexing
problem, what should be done with her, remained. Elizabeth
secretly wrote to her ^ that if she would confess in a private
letter and ask forgiveness, all should be pardoned. This ap-
peal was unanswered. Paulet insisted that he could not be
responsible for IMar\''s safe-keeping much longer at Chartley.
Day after day the Council proposed expedients which her vari-
able Majesty rejected. Her ministers insisted that Parliament
must be sunmioned, and, as long as she could, she resisted that.
At last she no longer could refuse to convene a court of inquiry,
but could not decide then where it slioidd meet or when, and the
disgusted premier ^^Tote : '^ " With weariness of talk her Majesty
hath left all off till a time I know not when."

Clearly, Elizabeth had embarrassed herself by past lenities,
and that, too, in the face of the best pid)lic sentiment.^ When

1 Ayscough Mss. 4108 : 23. 2 Strype, yln. III. i : 542.

8 Camden, ii : 526. * S. P. Bum. cxciii • 28.

^ Upon the news of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew at Pari.s, Edwin Sandys,
then Bishop of London and afterwards Archbishop of York, had written to Burgh-


Mary had been dethroned by her o^v^l Scotch subjects, Elizabeth
had offered her an asylum in England, and had befriended her
after her escape from Lochleven. In 15G8, when the famous
" casket '' letters had satisfied the Pri\y Council that Mary
had assented to the murder of her second husband and afterwards
had married his murderer, Elizabeth had hushed up the facts
and thus had led the world to suppose her cousin innocent. And
when, in return for this forbeai-ance, Mary had })lotted a Span-
ish invasion, with the incidental accompaniment of the queens
assassination, and Parliament had demanded that such continuiil
imrest and danger be stopped in the only effectual way, Eliza-
beth still had interposed to save Mary. And, now that the same
game had been played once more, the old morbid fear, lest she
be accused of sterner treatment towards Mary than she herself
had received from her own half-sister, seems to have tormented
her. This, with her chronic habit of never doing until to-mor-
row what can be avoided to-day, appears to have lain near the
source of those motives by which her extraordinary conduct now
was actuated.

At last Mary was sent to Fotheringay Castle, in Xorthamp-
tonshire ; and, on Sept. 28, the commission to try her met at

Online LibraryHenry Martyn DexterThe England and Holland of the Pilgrims → online text (page 30 of 65)