History of England (Froude)/Chapter 31
THE SPANISH MARRIAGE.
THE fears of Renard and the hopes of Noailles were occasioned by the unanimity of Catholics and heretics in the opposition to the marriage; yet, so singular was the position of parties, that this very unanimity was the condition which made the marriage possible. The Catholic lords and gentlemen were jealous of English independence, and, had they stood alone, they would have coerced the Queen into an abandonment of her intentions: but, if they dreaded a Spanish sovereign, they hated unorthodoxy more, and if they permitted or assisted in the schemes of the Reformers, they feared that they might lose the control of the situation when the immediate object was obtained. Those who were under the influence of Gardiner desired to restore persecution; and persecution, which was difficult with Mary on the throne, would be impossible under a sovereign brought in by a revolution. They made a favourite of Courtenay, but they desired to marry him to the Queen, not to Elizabeth: Gardiner told the young Earl that he would sooner see him the husband of the vilest drab who could be picked out of the London kennels.
Thus, from their murmurs, they seemed to be on the edge of rebellion; yet, when the point of action came, they halted, uncertain what to do, unwilling to acquiesce, yet without resolution to resist. From a modern point of view the wisest policy was that recommended by Paget. The claim of the Queen of Scots on the throne unquestionably made it prudent for England to strengthen herself by some powerful foreign alliance; sufficient precautions could be devised for the security of the national independence; and, so far from England being in danger of being drawn into the war on the Continent, Lord Paget said that, if England would accept Philip heartily, the war would be at an end. Elizabeth of France might marry Don Carlos, taking with her the French pretensions to Naples and Milan as a dowry. Another French princess might be given to the expatriated Philibert, and Savoy and Piedmont restored with her. 'You,' Paget said to Noailles, 'by your Dauphin's marriage forced us to be friends with the Scots; we, by our Queen's marriage, will force you to be friends with the Emperor.'
Paget, however, was detested as an upstart, and detested still more as a latitudinarian; he could form no party, and the Queen made use of him only to support her in her choice of the Prince of Spain, as in turn she would use Gardiner to destroy the Protestants; and thus the two great factions in the State neutralized each other's action in a matter in which both were equally anxious; and Mary, although with no remarkable capacity, without friends and ruined, if at any moment she lost courage, was able to go her own way in spite of her subjects.
The uncertainty was, how long so anomalous a state of things would continue. The marriage being once decided on, Mary could think of nothing else, and even religion sank into the second place. Reginald Pole, chafing the Imperial bridle between his lips, vexed her, so Renard said, from day to day, with his untimely importunities; the restoration of the mass gave him no pleasure so long as the Papal legate was an exile; and in vain the Queen laboured to draw from him some kind of approval. He saw her only preferring carnal pleasures to her duty to heaven; and, indifferent himself to all interests save those of the See of Rome, he was irritated with the Emperor, irritated with the worldly schemes to which he believed that his mission had been sacrificed. He talked angrily of the marriage. The Queen heard, through Wotton the ambassador at Paris, that he had said openly, it should never take place; while Peto, the Greenwich friar, who was in his train, wrote to her, reflecting impolitely on her age, and adding Scripture commendations of celibacy as the more perfect state. It was even feared that the impatient legate had advised the Pope to withhold the dispensations.
Mary, beyond measure afflicted, wrote to Pole at last, asking what in his opinion she ought to do. He sent his answer through a priest, by whom it could be conveyed with the greatest emphasis. First, he said, she must pray to God for a spirit of counsel and fortitude; next, she must, at all hazards, relinquish the name of Head of the Church; and, since she could trust neither peer nor prelate, she must recall Parliament, go in person to the House of Commons, and demand permission with her own mouth for himself to return to England. The Holy See was represented in his person, and was freshly insulted in the refusal to receive him; the Pope's vast clemency had volunteered unasked to pardon the crimes of England; if the gracious offer was not accepted, the legation would be cancelled, the national guilt would be infinitely enhanced. The Emperor talked of prudence; in the service of God prudence was madness; and, so long as the schism continued, her attempts at reform were vanity, and her seat upon the throne was usurpation. Let her tell the truth to the House of Commons, and the House of Commons would hear.
'Your Majesty will see,' wrote Renard, enclosing to Charles a copy of these advices, 'the extent of the Cardinal's discretion, and how necessary it is that for the present he be kept at a distance.' The Pope was not likely to reject the submission of England at any moment, late or early, when England might be pleased to offer it, and could well afford to wait. Julius was wiser than his legate. Pole was not recalled, but exhorted to patience, and a letter or message from Rome cooled Mary's anxieties. Meanwhile the marriage was to be expedited with as much speed as possible; the longer the agitation continued, the greater the danger; while the winter was unfavourable to revolutionary movements, and armed resistance to the prince's landing would be unlikely so long as the season prevented large bodies of men from keeping the field.
The Emperor, therefore, in the beginning of December, sent over the draft of a marriage treaty; and if the security that the articles would be observed had equalled the form in which they were conceived, the English might have afforded to lay aside their alarms. Charles seemed to have anticipated almost every point on which the insular jealousy would be sensitive. The Prince of Spain should bear the title of King of England so long, but so long only, as the Queen should be alive; and the Queen should retain the disposal of all affairs in the realm, and the administration of the revenues. The Queen, in return, should share Philip's titles, present and prospective, with the large settlement of 60,000l. a year upon her for her life. Don Carlos, the Prince's child by his first wife, would, if he lived, inherit Spain, Sicily, the Italian provinces, and the Indies. But Burgundy and the Low Countries should be settled on the offspring of the English marriage, and be annexed to the English Crown; and this prospect, splendid in itself, was made more magnificent by the possibility that Don Carlos might die. Under all contingencies, the laws and liberties of the several countries should be held inviolate and inviolable.
In such a treaty the Emperor conferred everything, and in return received nothing; and yet, to gain the alliance, a negotiation already commenced for the hand of the Infanta of Portugal was relinquished. The liberality of the proposals was suspicious, but they were submitted to the council, who, unable to refuse to consider them, were obliged to admit that they were reasonable. Five additional clauses were added, however, to which it was insisted that Philip should swear before the contract should be completed—
1. That no foreigner, under any circumstances, should be admitted to any office in the royal household, in the army, the forts, or the fleet.
2. That the Queen should not be taken abroad without her own consent; and that the children—should children be born—should not be carried out of England without consent of Parliament, even though among them might be the heir of the Spanish Empire.
3. Should the Queen die childless, the Prince's connection with the realm should be at an end.
4. The jewel-house and treasury should be wholly under English control, and the ships of war should not be removed into a foreign port.
5. The Prince should maintain the existing treaties between England and France; and England should not be involved, directly or indirectly, in the war between France and the Empire.
These demands were transmitted to Brussels, where they were accepted without difficulty, and further objection could not be ventured unless constraint was laid upon the Queen. The sketch of the treaty, with the conditions attached to it, was submitted to such of the Lords and Commons as remained in London after the dissolution of Parliament, and the result was a sullen acquiescence.
An embassy was immediately announced as to be sent from Flanders. Count Egmont, M. de Courières, the Count de Lalaing, and M. de Nigry, Chancellor of the Golden Fleece, were coming over as plenipotentiaries of the Emperor. Secret messengers went off to Rome to hasten the dispensations—a dispensation for Mary to marry her cousin, and a dispensation which also was found necessary permitting the ceremony to be performed by a bishop in a state of schism. The marriage could be solemnized at once on their arrival, the ambassadors standing as Philip's representatives, while Sir Philip Hoby, Bonner, Bedford, and Lord Derby would go to Spain to receive the Prince's oaths, and escort him to England. Again and again the Queen pressed haste. Ash-Wednesday fell on the 6th of February, and in Lent she might not marry. Renard assured her that the Prince should be in her arms before Septuagesima, and all her trials would be over. The worst danger which he now anticipated was from some unpleasant collision which might arise after the Prince's landing; and he had advised the Emperor to have the Spaniards who would form the retinue selected for their meekness. They would meet with insolence from the English, which they would not endure, if they had the spirit to resent it; their dispositions, therefore, must be mild and forgiving.
And yet Renard could not hide from himself, and the Lords did not hide from Mary, that their consent was passive only; that their reluctance was vehement as ever. Bedford said, if he went to Spain, he must go without attendance, for no one would accompany him. Lord Derby refused to be one of the ambassadors, and with Sir Edward Waldegrave and Sir Edward Hastings told the Queen that he would leave her service if she persisted. The seditious pamphlets which were scattered everywhere created a vague terror in the Court, and the Court ladies wept and lamented in the Queen's presence. The council in a body again urged her to abandon her intention. The Peers met again to consider the marriage articles. Gardiner read them aloud, and Lord Windsor, a dull Brutus, who till then had never been known to utter a reasonable word, exclaimed, amidst general applause, 'You have told us fine things of the Queen, and the Prince, and the Emperor; what security have we that words are more than words?' Corsairs from Brest and Rochelle hovered in the mouth of the Channel to catch the couriers going to and fro between Spain and London and Brussels, and to terrify Philip with the danger of the passage. The Duke of Suffolk's brother and the Marquis of Winchester had been heard to swear that they would set upon him when he landed; and Renard began to doubt whether the alliance, after all, was worth the risk attending it. Mary, however, brave in the midst of her perplexities, vowed that she would relinquish her hopes of Philip only with her life. An army of spies watched Elizabeth day and night, and the Emperor, undeterred by Renard's hesitation, encouraged the Queen's resolution. There could be no conspiracy as yet, Charles said, which could not be checked with judicious firmness; and dangerous persons could be arrested and made secure. A strong hand could do much in England, as was proved by the success for a time of the late Duke of Northumberland.
The advice fell in with Mary's own temperament; she had already been acting in the spirit of it. A party of Protestants met in St Matthew's Church on the publication of the Acts of the late session, to determine how far they would obey them. Ten or twelve were seized on the spot, and two were hanged out of hand. The Queen told Hastings and Waldegrave that she would endure no opposition; they should obey her or they should leave the council. She would raise a few thousand men, she said, to keep her subjects in order, and she would have a thousand Flemish horse among them. There was a difficulty about ways and means; as fast as money came into the treasury she had paid debts with it, and, as far as her means extended, she had replaced chalices and roods in the parish churches. But, if she was poor, five millions of gold had just arrived in Spain from the New World; and, as the Emperor suggested, her credit was good at Antwerp from her honesty. Lazarus Tucker came again to the rescue. In November, Lazarus provided 50,000l. for her at fourteen per cent. In January she required 100,000l. more, and she ordered Gresham to find it for her at low interest or high. Fortunately for Mary the project of a standing army could not be carried out by herself alone, and the passive resistance of the council saved her from commencing the attempt. Neither Irish mercenaries, nor Flemish, nor Welsh, as two months after she was proposing to herself, were permitted to irritate England into madness.
While Mary was thus buffeting with the waves, on the 23rd, Count Egmont and his three companions arrived at Calais. The French had threatened to intercept the passage, and four English ships-of-war had been ordered to be in waiting as their escort: these ships, however, had not left the Thames, being detained either by weather, as the admiral pretended, or by the ill-humour of the crews, who swore they would give the French cruisers small trouble, should they present themselves. On Christmas-day ill-looking vessels were hanging in mid-channel, off Calais harbour, but the ambassadors were resolved to cross at all risks. They stole over in the darkness on the night of the 26th, and were at Dover by nine in the morning. Their retinue, a very large one, was sent on at once to London; snow was on the ground, and the boys in the streets saluted the first comers with showers of balls. The ambassadors followed the next day, and were received in silence, but without active insult. The Emperor's choice of persons for his purpose had been judicious. The English ministers intended to be offensive, but they were disarmed by the courtesy of Egmont, who charmed every one. In ten days the business connected with the treaty was concluded. The treaty itself was sent to Brussels to be ratified, and the dispensations from Rome, and the necessary powers from the Prince of Spain, were alone waited for that the marriage might be concluded in public or in private, whichever way would be most expeditious. The Queen cared only for the completion of the irrevocable ceremony, which would bring her husband to her side before Lent.
The interval of delay was consumed in hunting-parties and dinners at the palace, where the courtiers played off before the guests the passions of their eager mistress. The enemies of the marriage, French and English, had no time to lose, if they intended to prevent the completion of it.
Jan. 10.When the Queen's design was first publicly announced, the King of France directed Noailles to tell her frankly the alarm with which it was regarded at Paris. Henry and Montmorency said the same repeatedly, and at great length, to Dr Wotton. The Queen might have the best intentions of remaining at peace, but events might be too strong for her; and they suggested, at last, that she might give a proof of the good-will which she professed by making a fresh freaty with them. That a country should be at peace while its titular king was at war, was a situation without a precedent. Intricate questions were certain to arise; for instance, if a mixed fleet of English and Spanish ships should escort the Prince, or convoy his transports or treasure, or if English ships having Spaniards on board should enter French harbours. A thousand difficulties such as these might occur, and it would be wise to provide for them beforehand.
The uneasiness of the Court of Paris was not allayed when the Queen met this most reasonable proposal with a refusal. A clause, she replied, was added to the marriage articles for the maintenance of the existing treaties with France, and with that and with her own promises the French Government ought to be content. In vain Noailles pointed out that the existing treaties would not meet the new conditions; she was obstinate, and both Noailles and the King of France placed the worst interpretation upon her attitude. Philip, after his arrival, would unquestionably drag or lead her into his quarrels; and they determined, therefore, to employ all means, secret and open, to prevent his coming, and to co-operate with the English opposition.
The time to act had arrived. Rumours were industriously circulated that the Prince of Spain was already on the seas, bringing with him ten thousand Spaniards, who were to be landed at the Tower, and that eight thousand Germans were to follow from the Low Countries. Noailles and M. d'Oysel, then on his way through London to Scotland, had an interview with a number of lords and gentlemen, who undertook to place themselves at the head of an insurrection, and to depose the Queen. The whole country was crying out against her, and the French ministers believed that the opposition had but to declare itself in arms to meet with universal sympathy. They regarded the persons with whom they were dealing as the representatives of the national discontent; but on this last point they were fatally mistaken.
Noailles spoke generally of lords and gentlemen; but those with whom d'Oysel and himself had communicated were a party of ten or twelve of the pardoned friends of the Duke of Northumberland, or of men otherwise notorious among the ultra-Protestants; the Duke of Suffolk and his three brothers, Lord Thomas, Lord John, and Lord Leonard Grey; the Marquis of Northampton; Sir Thomas Wyatt, son of the poet; Sir Nicholas Throgmorton; Sir Peter Carew; Sir Edmund Warner, Lord Cobham's brother-in-law; and Sir James Crofts, the late Deputy of Ireland. Courtenay, who had affected orthodoxy as long as he had hopes of the Queen, was admitted into the confederacy. Cornwall and Devonshire were to be the first counties to rise, where Courtenay would be all-powerful by his name. Wyatt undertook to raise Kent, Sir James Crofts the Severn border, Suffolk and his brothers the midland counties. Forces from these four points were to converge on London, which would then stir for itself. The French Admiral Villegaignon promised to keep a fleet on the seas, and to move from place to place among the western English harbours, wherever his presence would be most useful. Plymouth had been tampered with, and the mayor and aldermen, either really or as a ruse to gain information, affected a desire to receive a French garrison. For the sake of their cause the Protestant party were prepared to give to France an influence in England as objectionable in itself, and as offensive to the majority of the people, as the influence of Spain; and the management of the opposition to the Queen was snatched from the hands of those who might have brought it to some tolerable issue, by a set of men to whom the Spanish marriage was but the stalking-horse for the reimposition of their late tyranny. If the Duke of Northumberland, instead of setting up a rival to Mary, had loyally admitted her to the throne which was her right, he might have tied her hands, and secured the progress of moderate reform. Had the great patriotic anti-papal party been now able to combine, with no disintegrating element, they could have prevented the marriage or made it harmless. But the ultra-party plunged again into treason, in which they would succeed only to restore the dominion of a narrow and blighting sectarianism.
The conspirators remained in London till the second week in January. Wyatt went into Kent, Peter Carew ran down the Channel to Exmouth in a vessel of his own, and sent relays of horses as far as Andover for Courtenay, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton undertaking to see the latter thus far upon his way. The disaffection was already simmering in Devonshire. There was a violent scene among the magistrates at the Christmas quarter-sessions at Exeter. A countryman came in, and reported that he had been waylaid and searched by a party of strange horsemen in steel saddles, 'under the gallows at the hill top,' at Fair-mile, near Sir Peter Carew's house. His person had been mistaken, it seemed, but questions were asked, inquiries made, and ugly language had been used about the Queen. On Carew's arrival the ferment increased. One of his lacqueys, mistaking intention for fact, whispered in Exeter that 'my Lord of Devonshire was at Mohun's Ottery.' Six horses heavily loaded passed in, at midnight, through the city gates. The panniers were filled with harness and hand-guns from Sir Peter's castle at Dartmouth. Sir John Chichester, Sir Arthur Champernowne, Peter and Gawen Carew, and Gybbes of Silverton had met in private, rumour said for no good purpose; and the Exeter Catholics were anxious and agitated. They had been all disarmed after the insurrection of 1549, the castle was in ruins, the city walls were falling down. Should Courtenay come, the worst consequences were anticipated.
But Courtenay did not come. After Carew had left London he became nervous; when the horses were reported to be ready, he lingered about the Court; he flattered himself that the Queen had changed her mind in his favour; and two nights before the completion of the treaty he sat up, affecting to expect to be sent for to marry her on the spot. Finding the message did not arrive, he gave an order to his tailor to prepare a splendid Court costume, adding perhaps some boasting words, which were carried to Gardiner. The chancellor's regard for him was sincere, and went beyond a desire to make him politically useful. He sent for him, cross-questioned him, and by the influence of a strong mind over a weak one, drew out as much as Courtenay knew of the secrets of the plot.
The intention was to delay, if possible, an open declaration of rebellion a few weeks longer—till the Prince of Spain's arrival should raise the ferment to boiling point. Gardiner, who was determined, at all events, to prevent the Protestants from making head, informed the Queen, without mentioning Courtenay's name, that he had cause to suspect Sir Peter Carew. A summons was despatched to Devonshire to require Sir Peter and his brother to return to London: and thus either to compel them to rise prematurely, without Courtenay's assistance, or, if they complied, to enable the Court to secure their persons. The desired effect was produced; Carew had waded too deep in treason to trust himself in Gardiner's hands. He wrote an excuse, yet protesting his loyalty; and he invited the inhabitants of Exeter to join in a petition to the Crown against the marriage, as a first step towards a rising.
But the Carews were notorious and unpopular; the justices of the peace at the sessions had been just occupied with a Protestant outrage committed by one of their nearest friends, and their true object was suspected. The barns of Crediton were not forgotten, nor the massacre of the prisoners at Clyst, and without Courtenay they were powerless. Their invitation met with no response; and Chichester and Champernowne, seeing how the tide was setting, washed their hands of the connection. Sir Thomas Dennys, a Catholic gentleman of the county, took command of Exeter, sent express for the sheriff, Sir Richard Edgecumbe, of Cotteyll, to come to his help, and as well as he could he put the city in a state of defence. Carew retired to Mohun's Ottery, when an order came to Dennys from the Court for his arrest.
Dennys, who desired Carew' s escape more than his capture, replied that for the moment he could not execute the order. Mohun's Ottery could not be taken without cannon, and wet weather had made the roads impassable. Meantime he gave Sir Peter notice of his danger; and Sir Peter, disposing in haste of his farm stock to raise a supply of money, crossed the country to Weymouth, embarked in a vessel which 'Mr Walter Raleigh' had brought round to meet him, and sailed for France.
One arm of the conspiracy was thus lopped off at the first blow. But, although Courtenay's treachery was known, some days elapsed before the ill success of Carew was heard of in London. Courtenay had been trusted only so far as his intended share in the action had made it necessary to trust him, and the confederates were chiefly anxious that, having broken down, he should be incapacitated from doing further mischief by being restored to the Tower. Courtenay, wrote Noailles, has thrown away his chance of greatness, and will now probably die miserably. Lord Thomas Grey was heard to say that, as Courtenay had proved treacherous he would take his place, and run his chance for the crown or the scaffold.
They would, perhaps, have still delayed till they had received authentic accounts from Devonshire; but the arrest of Sir Edmund Warner, and one or two others, assured them that too much of their projects had transpired; Jan. 22.and on the 22nd of January Sir Thomas Wyatt called a meeting of his friends at Allingham Castle, on the Medway. The commons of Kent were the same brave, violent, and inflammable people whom John Cade, a century before, had led to London; the country gentlemen were generally under Wyatt's influence. Sir R. Southwell, the sheriff for the year, had been among the loudest objectors in Parliament to the marriage; and if Southwell joined in the rising he would bring with him Lord Abergavenny. Lord Cobham, Wyatt's uncle, was known to wish him well. Sir Thomas Cheyne, the only other person of weight in the county, would be loyal to the Queen, but Wyatt had tampered with his tenants; Cheyne could bring a thousand men into the field, but they would desert when led out, and there was nothing to fear from them. Whether Southwell and Cobham would act openly on Wyatt's side was the chief uncertainty; it was feared that Southwell might desire to keep within the limits of loyal opposition; Cobham offered to send his sons, but 'the sending of sons,' some member of the meeting said, 'was the casting away of the Duke of Northumberland; their lives were as dear to them as my lord Cobham's was to him; let him come himself and set his foot by them.' The result of the conference was a determination to make the venture. Thursday the 25th was the day agreed on for the rising, and the gentlemen present went in their several directions to prepare the people.
Meantime Gardiner was following the track which Courtenay had opened. He knew generally the leaders of the conspiracy, yet uncertain, in the universal perplexity, how any one would act, he knew not whom to trust. Jan. 23.To send Courtenay out of the way, he allowed a project to be set on foot for despatching him on an embassy to Brussels; and anxious, perhaps, not to alarm Mary too much, he simply told her what she and Renard knew already, that treasonable designs were on foot to make Elizabeth Queen. In a conversation about Elizabeth the chancellor agreed with Renard that it would be well to arrest her without delay. 'Were but the Emperor in England,' Gardiner said, 'she would be disposed of with little difficulty.' Unfortunately, the spies had as yet detected no cause for suspicion on which the Government could act legitimately.
Mary, ignorant that she was in immediate danger, and only vaguely uneasy, looked to Philip's coming as the cure of her discomforts. 'Let the Prince come,' she said to Renard, 'and all will be well.' She said she would raise eight thousand men and keep them in London as his guard and hers; she would send a fleet into the Channel and sweep the French into their harbours; only let him come before Lent, which waa now but a fortnight distant: 'give him my affectionate love,' she added; 'tell him that I will be all to him that a wife ought to be; and tell him, too [delightful message to an already hesitating bridegroom], tell him to bring his own cook with him' for fear he should be poisoned. The ceremony, could it have been accomplished, would have been a support to her; but the forms from Rome were long in coming. Jan. 24.On the 24th the Emperor was at last able to send a brief, which, in the absence of the bulls, he trusted might be enough to satisfy the Queen's scruples. Cuthbert Tunstal, who had been consecrated before the schism, might officiate, and the Pope would remove all irregularities afterwards. But when the letter and the brief arrived Mary was at no leisure to be married.
Wyatt, having arranged the day for the rising, sent notice to the Duke of Suffolk, who was still in London. Jan. 25.On the morning of the 25th an officer of the Court appeared at the Duke's house, with an intimation that he was to repair to the Queen's presence. Suffolk was in a riding dress—'Marry!' he said, 'I was coming to her Grace; ye may see I am booted and spurred; I will but break my fast and go.' The officer retired. The Duke collected as much money as he could lay hands on—sent a servant to warn his brothers, and, though in bad health, mounted his horse and rode without stopping to Lutterworth, where on the Sunday following, Lord John and Lord Thomas Grey joined him.
The same morning of the 25th an alarm was rung on the church bells in the towns and villages in all parts of Kent; and copies of a proclamation were scattered abroad, signifying that the Spaniards were coming to conquer the realm, and calling on loyal Englishmen to rise and resist them. Wyatt's standard was raised at Rochester, the point at which the insurgent forces were to unite; his friends had done their work well, and in all directions the yeomen, and the peasants rose in arms. Cheyne threw himself into Dover Castle: Southwell and Abergavenny held to the Queen as had been feared. Abergavenny raised two thousand men, and attacked and dispersed a party of insurgents under Sir Henry Isly on Wrotham Heath; but Abergavenny's followers deserted him immediately afterwards, and marched to Rochester to Wyatt. Southwell could do nothing; he believed that the rebellion would spread to London, and that Mary would be lost.
Jan. 26.On the 26th, Wyatt, being master of Rochester and the Medway, seized the Queen's ships that were in the river, took possession of their guns and ammunition, proclaimed Abergavenny, Southwell, and another gentleman traitors to the commonwealth, and set himself to organize the force which continued to pour in upon him. Messengers, one after another, hurried to London with worse and worse news; Northampton was arrested and sent to the Tower, but Suffolk and his brothers were gone; and, after all which had been said of raising troops, when the need came for them there were none beyond the ordinary guard. The Queen had to rely only on the musters of the city and the personal retainers of the council and the other peers; both of which resources she had but too much reason to distrust. In fact, the council, dreading the use to which the Queen might apply a body of regular troops, had resisted all her endeavours to raise such a body; Paget had laboured loyally for a fortnight, and at the end he assured the Queen on his knees that he had not been allowed to enlist a man. Divided on all other points, the motley group of ministers agreed to keep Mary powerless; with the exception of Gardiner and Paget, they were all, perhaps, unwilling to check too soon a demonstration which, kept within bounds, might prove the justice of their own objections.
Jan. 27.The Queen, however, applied to the corJporation of the city, and obtained a promise of five hundred men; she gave the command to the Duke of Norfolk, on whose integrity she knew that she could rely; and, sending a herald to Rochester with a pardon, if the rebels would disperse, she despatched Norfolk, Sir Henry Jerningham, and the young Lord Ormond, to Gravesend without waiting for an answer. The city bands were to follow them immediately. Afraid that Elizabeth would fly before she could be secured, the Queen wrote a letter to her studiously gracious, in which she told her that, in the disturbed state of the country, she was uneasy for her safety, and recommended her to take shelter with herself in the palace. Had Elizabeth obeyed, she would have been instantly arrested; but she was ill, and wrote that she was unable to move. The next day evidence came into Gardiner's hands which he trusted would consign her at last to the scaffold.
The King of France had sent a message to the confederates that he had eighty vessels in readiness, with eighteen companies of infantry, and that he waited to learn on what part of the coast they should effect a landing. The dangerous communication had been made known to the Court. The French ambassador had been narrowly watched, and one of his couriers who left London on the 26th with despatches for Paris was followed to Rochester, where he saw, or attempted to see, Wyatt. The courier, after leaving the town, was waylaid by a party of Lord Cobham's servants in the disguise of insurgents; his despatches were taken from him and sent to the chancellor, who found in the packet a letter of Noailles to the King in cypher, and a copy of Elizabeth's answer to the Queen. Although in the latter there was no treason, yet it indicated a suspicious correspondence. The cypher, could it be read, might be expected to contain decisive evidence against her.
Jan. 27.Meantime the herald had not been admitted into Rochester. He had read the Queen's message on the bridge, and, being answered by Wyatt's followers that they required no pardon, for they had done no wrong, he retired. Sir George Harper, who was joint commander with Wyatt, stole away the same evening to Gravesend, and presented himself to Norfolk. The rebels, he said, were discontented and irresolute; for himself he desired to accept the Queen's pardon, which he was ready to earn by doing service against them; if the Duke would advance without delay, he would find no resistance, and Wyatt would fall into his hands.
Jan. 28.The London bands arrived the following afternoon, and Norfolk determined to take Harper's advice. The weather was 'very terrible.' On Monday morning it blew so hard that no Monday,
Jan. 29. boat could live; Wyatt, therefore, would be unable to escape by the river, and an immediate advance was resolved upon. Sir Thomas Cheyne was coming up from Dover; Lord William Howard was looked for hourly, and Abergavenny was again exerting himself: Lord Cobham had urged the Duke to wait a few days, and had told him that he had certain knowledge from Wyatt himself that 'the Londoners would not fight:' but Norfolk was confident; the men had assured him of their loyalty; and at four o'clock on Monday afternoon he was on the sloping ground facing towards Rochester, within cannon-shot of the bridge. The Duke was himself in front, with Ormond, Jerningham, and eight 'field-pieces,' which he had brought with him. A group of insurgents were in sight across the water, a gun was placed in position to bear upon them; and the gunner was blowing his match, when Sir Edward Bray galloped up, crying out that the 'white coats,' as the London men were called, were changing sides. The Duke had fallen into a trap which Harper had laid for him. Turning round he saw Brett, the London captain, with all his men, and with Harper at his side, advancing and shouting, 'A Wyatt! a Wyatt! we are all Englishmen!' The first impulse was to turn the gun upon them; the second, and more prudent, was to spring on his horse, and gallop with half a dozen others for his life. His whole force had deserted, and guns, money, baggage, and five hundred of the best troops in London fell into the insurgents' hands, and swelled their ranks.
No sooner was the Duke gone, than Wyatt in person came out over the bridge. 'As many as will tarry with us,' he cried, 'shall be welcome; as many as will depart, let them go.' Very few accepted the latter offer. Three parts, even of Norfolk's private attendants, took service with the rebel leader.
The prestige of success decided all who were wavering in the county. Abergavenny was wholly forsaken; Southwell escaped to the Court; Cheyne wrote to the council that he was no longer sure of any one; 'the abominable treason of those that came with the Duke of Norfolk had infected the whole population.' Cobham continued to hold off, but his sons came into Rochester the evening of the Duke's flight; and Wyatt sent a message to the father expressing his sorrow that he had been hitherto backward; promising to forgive him, however, and requiring him to be in the camp the next day, when the army would march on London. Cobham still hesitating, two thousand men were at the gates of his house by daybreak the next morning. Jan. 30.He refused to lower the drawbridge, but the chains were cut with a cannon-shot, the gates were blown open, and the rebels were storming in when his servants forced him to surrender. The house was pillaged; an oath was thrust on Cobham that he would join, which he took with the intention of breaking it; and the rebels, perhaps seeing cause to distrust him, carried him off to Wyatt as a prisoner. That night the insurgents rested at Gravesend. Jan. 31.The next day they reached Dartford. Their actual numbers were insignificant, but their strength was the disaffection of London, where the citizens were too likely to follow the example which had been set at Rochester.
Mary's situation was now really alarming: she was without money, notwithstanding the Jews: she had no troops; of all her ministers Paget alone was sincerely anxious to do her service; for Gardiner, on the subject of the marriage, was as unwilling as ever. It was rumoured that the King of Denmark intended to unite with the French in support of the revolutionists, and Renard began calmly to calculate that, should this report prove true, the Queen could not be saved. Pembroke and Clinton offered to raise another force in the city and fight Wyatt; but so far as Mary could tell, they would be as likely to turn against her as to fight in her defence; and she declined their services. Renard offered Gardiner assistance from the Low Countries—Gardiner replied with extreme coldness that he had no desire to see Flemish soldiers in England—and the council generally were 'so strange' in their manner, and so languid in their action, that the ambassador could not assure himself that they were not Wyatt's real instigators. Not a man had been raised to protect the Queen, and part of her own guard had been among the deserters at Rochester. She appealed to the honour of the Lords to take measures for her personal safety; but they did nothing, and, it seemed, would do nothing; if London rose, they said merely, she must retire to Windsor.
The aspect of affairs was so threatening that Renard believed that the marriage at least would have to be relinquished. It seemed as if it could be accomplished only with the help of an invading army; and although Mary would agree to any measure which would secure Philip, the presence of foreign troops, as the Emperor himself was aware, could only increase the exasperation. The Queen's resolution, however, grew with her difficulties. If she could not fight she would not yield; and, taking matters into her own hands, she sent Sir Thomas Cornwallis and Sir Edward Hastings to Dartford, with directions to speak with Wyatt, if possible, alone; to tell him that she 'marvelled at his demeanour,' 'rising as a subject to impeach her marriage;' she was ready to believe, however, that he thought himself acting in the interests of the commonwealth; she would appoint persons to talk over the subject with him, and if it should appear that the marriage would not, as she supposed, be beneficial to the realm, she would sacrifice her wishes.
The message was not strictly honest, for the Queen had no real intention of sacrificing anything. She desired merely to gain time; and, should Wyatt refuse, as she expected, she wished to place herself in a better position to appeal to her subjects for help. But the move under this aspect was skilful and successful; when Cornwallis and Hastings discharged their commission, Wyatt replied that he would rather be trusted than trust; he would argue the marriage with pleasure, but he required first the custody of the Tower, and of the Queen's person, and four of the council must place themselves in his hands as hostages.
Had Wyatt, said Noailles, been able to reach London simultaneously with this answer, he would have found the gates open and the whole population eager to give him welcome. To his misfortune he lingered on the way, and the Queen had time to use his words against him. The two gentlemen returned indignant at his insolence. Feb. 1.The next morning: Count Egmont waited on Mary to say that he and his companions were at her service, and would stand by her to their death. Perplexed as she was, Egmont said he found her 'marvellously firm.' The marriage, she felt, must, at all events, be postponed for the present; the Prince could not come till the insurrection was at an end; and, while she was grateful for the offer, she not only thought it best to decline the ambassador's kindness, but she recommended them, if possible, to leave London and the country without delay. Their party was large enough to irritate the people, and too small to be of use. She bade Egmont, therefore, tell the Emperor that from the first she had put her trust in God, and that she trusted in Him still; and for themselves, she told them to go at once, taking her best wishes with them. They obeyed. Six Antwerp merchant sloops were in the river below the bridge, waiting to sail. They stole on board, dropped down the tide, and were gone.
The afternoon of the same day the Queen herself, with a studied air of dejection, rode through the streets to the Guildhall, attended by Gardiner and the remnant of the guard. In St Paul's Churchyard she met Pembroke, and slightly bowed as she passed him. Gardiner was observed to stoop to his saddle. The hall was crowded with citizens: some brought there by hatred, some by respect, many by pity, but more by curiosity. When the Queen entered she stood forward on the steps, above the throng, and, in her deep man's voice, she spoke to them.
Her subjects had risen in rebellion against her, she said; she had been told that the cause was her intended marriage with the Prince of Spain; and, believing that it was the real cause, she had offered to hear and to respect their objections. Their leader had betrayed in his answer his true motives; he had demanded possession of the Tower of London and of her own person. She stood there, she said, as lawful Queen of England, and she appealed to the loyalty of her great city to save her from a presumptuous rebel, who, under specious pretences, intended to ' subdue the laws to his will, and to give scope to rascals and forlorn persons to make general havoc and spoil.' As to her marriage, she had supposed that so magnificent an alliance could not have failed to be agreeable to her people. To herself, and, she was not afraid to say, to her council, it seemed to promise high advantage to the commonwealth. Marriage, in itself, was indifferent to her; she had been invited to think of it by the desire of the country that she should have an heir; but she could continue happy in the virgin state in which she had hitherto passed her life. She would call a Parliament and the subject should be considered in all its bearings: if, on mature consideration, the Lords and Commons of England should refuse to approve of the Prince of Spain as a fitting husband for her, she promised, on the word of a Queen, that she would think of him no more.
The spectacle of her distress won the sympathy of her audience; the holdness of her bearing commanded their respect; the promise of a Parliament satisfied, or seemed to satisfy, all reasonable demands: and among the wealthy citizens there was no desire to see London in possession of an armed mob, in whom the Anabaptist leaven was deeply interfused. The speech, therefore, had remarkable success. The Queen returned to Westminster, leaving the corporation converted to the prudence of supporting her. Twenty-five thousand men were enrolled the next day for the protection of the Crown and the capital; Lord William Howard was associated with the mayor in the command; and Wyatt, who had reached Greenwich on Thursday, and had wasted two days there, uncertain whether he should not cross the river in boats to Blackwall, arrived Saturday,
Feb. 3.on Saturday morning at Southwark, to find the gates closed on London Bridge, and the drawbridge flung down into the water.
Noailles, for the first time, believed now that the insurrection would fail. Success or failure, in fact, would turn on the reception which the midland counties had given to the Duke of Suffolk; and of Suffolk authentic news had been brought to London that morning.
On the flight of the Duke being known at the Court, it was supposed immediately that he intended to proclaim his daughter and Guilford Dudley. Rumour, indeed, turned the supposition into fact, and declared that he had called on the country to rise in arms for Queen Jane. But Suffolk's plan was identical with Wyatt's; he had carried with him a duplicate of Wyatt's proclamation, and accompanied by his brother, he presented himself in the market-place at Leicester on the morning of Monday the 29th. Monday,
Jan. 29.Lord Huntingdon had followed close upon his track from London; but he assured the Mayor of Leicester that the Earl of Huntingdon was coming, not to oppose, but to join with him. No harm was intended to the Queen; he was ready to die in her defence; his object was only to save England from the dominion of foreigners.
In consequence of these protestations, he was allowed to read his proclamation; the people were indifferent; but he called about him a few scores of his tenants and retainers from his own estates in the country; and on Tuesday morning, while the insurgents in Kent were attacking Cowling Castle, Suffolk rode out of Leicester, in full armour, at the head of his troops, intending first to move on Coventry, then to take Kenilworth and Warwick, and so to advance on London. The garrison at Warwick had been tampered with, and was reported to be ready to rise. The gates of Coventry he expected to find open. He had sunt his proclamation thither the day before, by a servant, and he had friends within the walls who had undertaken to place the town at his disposal.
The state of Coventry was probably the state of most other towns in England. The inhabitants were divided. The mayor and aldermen, the fathers of families, and the men of property, were conservatives, loyal to the Queen, to the mass, and to 'the cause of order.' The young and enthusiastic, supported by others who had good reasons for being in opposition to established authorities, were those who had placed themselves in correspondence with the Duke of Suffolk.
Suffolk's servant (his name was Thomas Rampton), on reaching the town, on Monday evening, made a mistake in the first person to whom he addressed himself, and received a cold answer. Two others of the townsmen, however, immediately welcomed him, and told him that 'the whole place was at his lord's commandment, except certain of the town council, who feared that, if good fellows had the upper hand, their extremities heretofore should be remembered.' They took Rampton into a house, where, presently, another man entered of the same way of thinking, and, in his own eyes, a man of importance. 'My Lord's quarrel is right well known,' this person said, 'it is God's quarrel, let him come; let him come, and make no stay, for this town is his own. I say to you assuredly this town is his own. I am it.'
It was now night; no time was to be lost, the townsmen said. They urged Rampton to return at once to Suffolk, and hasten his movements. They would themselves read the proclamation at the market-cross forthwith, and raise the people. Rampton, who had ridden far, and was weary, wished to wait till the morning; if they were so confident of success, a few hours could make no difference: but it appeared shortly tha^ the 'good fellows' in Coventry were not exclusively under the influence of piety and patriotism. If a rising commenced in the darkness, it was admitted that 'undoubted spoil and peradventure destruction of many rich men would ensue,' and with transactions of this kind the Duke's servant was unwilling to connect himself.
Thus the hours wore away, and no resolution was arrived at; and, in the mean time, the town council had received a warning to be on their guard. Before daybreak the constables were on the alert, the decent citizens took possession of the gates, and the conspirators had lost their opportunity. In the afternoon Suffolk arrived with a hundred horse under the walls, but there was no admission for him. Whilst he was hesitating what course to pursue, a messenger came in to say that the Earl of Huntingdon was at Warwick. The plot for the revolt of the garrison had been detected, and the whole country was on the alert. The people had no desire to see the Spaniards in England; but sober quiet farmers and burgesses would not rise at the call of the friend of Northumberland, and assist in bringing back the evil days of anarchy.
The Greys had now only to provide for their personal safety.
Suffolk had an estate a few miles distant, called Astley Park, to which the party retreated from Coventry. There the Duke shared such money as he had with him among his men, and bade them shift for themselves. Lord Thomas Grey changed coats with a servant, and rode off to Wales to join Sir James Crofts. Suffolk himself, who was ill, took refuge with his brother, Lord John, in the cottage of one of his gamekeepers, where they hoped to remain hidden till the hue and cry should be over, and they could escape abroad.
The cottage was considered insecure. Two bowshots south of Astley Church there stood in the park an old decaying tree, in the hollow of which the father of Lady Jane Grey concealed himself; and there, for two winter days and a night, he was left without food. Jan. 30.A proclamation had been put out by Huntingdon for Suffolk's apprehension, and the keeper, either tempted by the reward, or frightened by the menace against all who should give him shelter, broke his trust—a rare example of disloyalty—and going to Warwick Castle, undertook to betray his master's hiding-place. A party of troopers were despatched, with the keeper for a guide; and, on arriving at Astley, they found that the Duke, unable to endure the cold and hunger longer, had crawled out of the tree, and was warming himself by the cottage fire. Lord John was discovered buried under some bundles of hay. They were carried off at once to the Tower, whither Lord Thomas Grey and Sir James Crofts, who had failed as signally in Wales, soon after followed them.
The account of his confederates' failure saluted Wyatt on his arrival in Southwark, on the Saturday,
Feb. 3.3rd of February. The intelligence was being published, at the moment, in the streets of London; Wyatt himself, at the same time, was proclaimed traitor, and a reward of a hundred pounds was offered for his capture, dead or alive. The peril, however, was far from over; Wyatt replied to the proclamation by wearing his name, in large letters, upon his cap; the success of the Queen's speech in the city irritated the council, who did not choose to sit still under the imputation of having approved of the Spanish marriage. They declared everywhere, loudly and angrily, that they had not approved of it, and did not approve; in the city itself public feeling again wavered, and fresh parties of the train-bands crossed the water and deserted. The behaviour of Wyatt's followers gave the lie to the Queen's charges against them: the prisons in Southwark were not opened; property was respected scrupulously; the only attempt at injury was at Winchester House, and there it was instantly repressed; the inhabitants of the Borough entertained them with warm hospitality; and the Queen, notwithstanding her efforts, found herself as it were besieged, in her principal city, by a handful of commoners, whom no one ventured, or no one could be trusted, to attack. So matters continued through Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The lawyers at Westminster Hall pleaded in harness, and the judges wore harness under their robes; Doctor Weston sang mass in harness before the Queen; tradesmen attended in harness behind their counters. The metropolis, on both sides of the water, was in an attitude of armed expectation, yet there was no movement, no demonstration on either side of popular feeling. The ominous strangeness of the situation appalled even Mary herself.
Feb. 5.By this time the intercepted letter of Noailles had been decyphered. It proved, if more proof was wanted, the correspondence between the ambassador and the conspirators; it explained the object of the rising—the Queen was to be dethroned in favour of her sister; and it was found, also, though names were not mentioned, that the plot had spread far upwards among the noblemen by whom Mary was surrounded. Evidence of Elizabeth's complicity it did not contain; while, to Gardiner's mortification, it showed that Courtenay, in his confessions to himself, had betrayed the guilt of others, but had concealed part of his own. In an anxiety to shield him the chancellor pronounced the cypher of Courtenay's name to be unintelligible. The Queen, placed the letter in the hands of Renard, by whom it was instantly read, and the chancellor's humour was not improved; Mary had the mortification of feeling that she was herself the last object of anxiety either to him or to any of her council; though Wyatt was at the gates of London, the council could only spend the time in passionate recriminations; Paget blamed Gardiner for his religious intolerance; Gardiner blamed Paget for having advised the marriage; some exclaimed against Courtenay, some against Elizabeth; but, of acting, all alike seemed incapable. If the Queen was in danger, the council said, she might fly to Windsor, or to Calais, or she might go to the Tower. 'Whatever happens,' she exclaimed to Renard, 'I am the wife of the Prince of Spain; crown, rank, life, all shall go before I will take any other husband.'
The position, however, could not be of long continuance. Could Wyatt once enter London, he assured himself of success; but the gates on the Bridge continued closed. Cheyne and Southwell had collected a body of men on whom they could rely, and were coming up behind from Rochester. Wyatt desired to return and fight them, and then cross the water at Greenwich, as had been before proposed; but his followers feared that he meant to escape; a backward movement would not be permitted, and his next effort was to ascertain whether the passage over the Bridge could be forced.
London Bridge was then a long, narrow street. The gate was at the Southwark extremity; the drawbridge was near the middle. On Sunday or Monday night Wy&tt scaled the leads of the gatehouse, climbed into a window, and descended the stairs into the lodge. The porter and his wife were nodding over the fire. The rebel leader bade them on their lives be still, and stole along in the darkness to the chasm from which the drawbridge had been cut away. There, looking across the black gulf where the river was rolling below, he saw the dusky mouths of four gaping cannon, and beyond them, in the torch-light, Lord Howard himself, keeping watch with the guard: neither force nor skill could make a way into the city by London Bridge.
The course which he should follow was determined for him. The Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Brydges, a soldier and a Catholic, had looked over the water with angry eyes at the insurgents collected within reach of his guns, and had asked the Queen for permission to fire upon them. The Queen, afraid of provoking the people, had hitherto refused; on the Monday, however, a Tower boat, passing the Southwark side of the water, was hailed by Wyatt's sentries; the watermen refused to stop, the sentries fired, and one of the men in the boat was killed. Feb. 6.The next morning (whether permission had been given at last, or not, was never known), the guns on the White Tower, the Devil's Tower, and all the bastions, were loaded and aimed, and notice was sent over that the fire was about to open. The inhabitants addressed themselves, in agitation, to Wyatt; and Wyatt, with a sudden resolution, half felt to be desperate, resolved to march for Kingston Bridge, cross the Thames, and come back on London. His friends in the city promised to receive him, could he reach Ludgate by daybreak on Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning, therefore, Shrove Tuesday, which the Queen had hoped to spend more happily than in facing an army of insurgents, Wyatt, accompanied by not more than fifteen hundred men, pushed out of Southwark. He had cannon with him, which delayed his march, but at four in the afternoon he reached Kingston. Thirty feet of the bridge were broken away, and a guard of three hundred men were on the other side; but the guard fled after a few rounds from the guns, and Wyatt, leaving his men to refresh themselves in the town, went to work to repair the passage. A row of barges lay on the opposite bank; Feb. 7.three sailors swam across, attached ropes to them, and towed them over; and, the barges being moored where the bridge was broken, beams and planks were laid across them, and a road was made of sufficient strength to bear the cannon and the waggons.
By eleven o'clock at night the river was crossed, and the march was resumed. The weather was still wild, the roads miry and heavy, and through the winter night the motley party plunged along. The Rochester men had, most of them, gone home, and those who remained were the London deserters, gentlemen who had com promised themselves too deeply to hope for pardon, or fanatics, who believed they were fighting the Lord's battle, and some of the Protestant clergy. Ponet, the late Bishop of Winchester, was with them; William Thomas, the late clerk of the council; Sir George Harper, Anthony Knyvet, Lord Cobham's sons, Pejham, who had been a spy of Northumberland's on the Continent, and others more or less conspicuous in the worst period of the late reign.
From the day that Wyatt came to Southwark the whole guard had been under arms at Whitehall, and a number of them, to the agitation of the Court ladies, were stationed in the Queen's ante-chamber. But the guard was composed of dangerous elements. Sir Humfrey Radcliff, the lieutenant, was a 'favourer of the gospel;' and the 'Hot Gospeller' himself, on his recovery from his fever, had returned to his duties. No additional precautions had been taken, nor does it seem that, on Wyatt's departure, his movements were watched. Kingston Bridge having been broken, his immediate approach was certainly unlooked for; nor was it till past midnight that information came to the palace that the passage had been forced, and that the insurgents were coming directly back upon London. Between two and three in the morning the Queen was called from her bed. Gardiner, who had been, with others of the council, arguing with her in favour of Courtenay the preceding day, was in waiting; he told her that her barge was at the stairs to carry her up the river, and she must take shelter instantly at Windsor.
Without disturbing herself, the Queen sent for Renard. Shall I go or stay? she asked.
Unless your Majesty desire to throw away your crown, Renard answered, you will remain here till the last extremity; your flight will be known, the city will rise, seize the Tower, and release the prisoners; the heretics will massacre the priests, and Elizabeth will be proclaimed Queen.
The Lords were divided. Gardiner insisted again that she must and should go. The others were uncertain, or inclined to the opinion of Renard. At last Mary said that she would be guided by Pembroke and Clinton. If those two would undertake to stand by her, she would remain and see out the struggle.
They were not present, and were sent for on the spot. Pembroke for weeks past had certainly wavered; Lord Thomas Grey believed at one time that he had gained him over, and to the last felt assured of his neutrality. Happily for Mary, happily, it must be said, for England—for the Reformation was not a cause to be won by such enterprises as that of Sir Thomas Wyatt—he decided on supporting the Queen, and promised to defend her with his life. At four o'clock in the morning drums went round the city, calling the train-bands to an instant muster at Charing Cross. Pembroke's conduct determined the young lords and gentlemen about the Court, who with their servants were swiftly mounted and under arms; and by eight, more than ten thousand men were stationed along the ground, then an open field, which slopes from Piccadilly to Pall Mall. The road or causeway on which Wyatt was expected to advance, ran nearly on the site of Piccadilly itself. An old cross stood near the head of St James's Street, where guns were placed; and that no awkward accident like that at Rochester might happen on the first collision, the gentlemen, who formed four squadrons of horse, were pushed forwards towards Hyde Park Corner.
Wyatt, who ought to have been at the gate of the city two hours before, had been delayed in the mean time by the breaking down of a gun in the heavy road at Brentford. Brett, the captain of the city deserters, Ponet, Harper, and others, urged Wyatt to leave the gun where it lay and keep his appointment. Wyatt, however, insisted on waiting till the carriage could be repaired, although in the eyes of every one but himself the delay was obvious ruin. Harper, seeing him obstinate, stole away a second time to gain favour for himself by carrying news to the Court. Ponet, unambitious of martyrdom, told him he would pray God for his success, and, advising Brett to shift for himself, made away with others towards the sea and Germany. It was nine o'clock before Wyatt brought the draggled remnant of his force, wet, hungry, and faint with their night march, up the hill from Knightsbridge. Near Hyde Park Corner a lane turned off; and here Pembroke had placed a troop of cavalry. The insurgents straggled on without order. When half of them had passed, the horse dashed out, and cut them in two, and all who were behind were dispersed or captured. Wyatt, caring now only to press forward, kept his immediate followers together, and went straight on. The Queen's guns opened, and killed three of his men; but, lowering his head, he dashed at them and over them; then, turning to the right, to avoid the train-bands, he struck down towards St James's, where his party again separated. Knyvet, and the young Cobhams, leaving St James's to their left, crossed the park to Westminster. Wyatt went right along the present Pall-Mall, past the line of the citizens. They had but to move a few steps to intercept his passage, close in, and take him; but not a man advanced, not a hand was lifted; where the way was narrow they drew aside to let him pass. At Charing Cross Sir John Gage was stationed, with part of the guard, some horse, and among them Courtenay, who in the morning had been heard to say he would not obey orders; he was as good a man as Pembroke. As Wyatt came up Courtenay turned his horse towards Whitehall, and began to move off, followed by Lord Worcester. 'Fie! my Lord,' Sir Thomas Cornwallis cried to him, 'is this the action of a gentleman?' But deaf, or heedless, or treacherous, he galloped off, calling Lost, lost! all is lost! and carried panic to the Court. The guard had broken at his flight, and came hurrying behind him. Some cried that Pembroke had played false. Shouts of treason rung through the palace. The Queen, who had been watching from the palace gallery, alone retained her presence of mind. If others durst not stand the trial against the traitors, she said, she herself would go out into the field and try the quarrel, and die with those that would serve her.
At this moment Knyvet and the Cobhams, who had gone round by the old palace, came by the gates as the fugitive guard were struggling in. Infinite confusion followed. Gage was rolled in the dirt, and three of the judges with him. The guard shrunk away into the offices and kitchens to hide themselves. But Knyvet's men made no attempt to enter. They contented themselves with shooting a few arrows, and then hurried on to Charing Cross to rejoin Wyatt. At Charing Cross, however, their way was now closed by a company of archers, who had been sent back by Pembroke to protect the Court. Sharp fighting followed, and the cries rose so loud as to be heard on the leads of the White Tower. At last the leaders forced their way up the Strand; the rest of the party were cut up, dispersed, or taken.
Wyatt himself, meanwhile, followed by three hundred men, had hurried on through lines of troops who still opened to give him passage. He passed Temple Bar, along Fleet Street, and reached Ludgate. The gate was open as he approached, when some one seeing a number of men coming up, exclaimed, 'These be Wyatt's antients.' Muttered curses were heard among the by-standers; but Lord Howard was on the spot; the gates, notwithstanding the murmurs, were instantly closed; and when Wyatt knocked, Howard's voice answered, 'Avaunt! traitor; thou shalt not come in here.' 'I have kept touch,' Wyatt exclaimed; but his enterprise was hopeless now. He sat down upon a bench outside the Belle Sauvage Yard. His followers scattered from him among the by-lanes and streets; and, of the three hundred, twenty-four alone remained, among whom were now Knyvet and one of the young Cobhams. With these few he turned at last, in the forlorn hope that the train-bands would again open to let him pass. Some of Pembroke's horse were coming up. He fought his way through them to Temple Bar, where a herald cried, 'Sir, ye were best to yield; the day is gone against you; perchance ye may find the Queen merciful.' Sir Maurice Berkeley was standing near him on horseback, to whom, feeling that further resistance was useless, he surrendered his sword; and Berkeley, to save him from being cut down in the tumult, took him up upon his horse. Others in the same way took up Knyvet and Cobham, Brett and two more. The six prisoners were carried through the Strand back to Westminster, the passage through the city being thought dangerous; and from Whitehall Stairs, Mary herself looking on from a window of the palace, they were borne off in a barge to the Tower.
The Queen had triumphed, triumphed through her own resolution, and would now enjoy the fruits of victory.
Had Wyatt succeeded, Mary would have lost her husband and her crown; and had the question been no more than a personal one, England could have well dispensed both with her and Philip. But Elizabeth would have ascended a throne under the shadow of treason. The Protestants would have come back to power in the thoughtless vindictiveness of exasperated and successful revolutionists; and the problem of the Reformation would have been farther than ever from a reasonable solution. The fanatics had made their effort, and they had failed; they had shaken the throne, but they had not overthrown it; the Queen's turn was come, and, as the danger had been great, so was the resentment. She had Renard at one ear protesting that, while these turbulent spirits were uncrushed, the precious person of the Prince could not be trusted to her. She had Gardiner, who, always pitiless towards heretics, was savage at the frustration of his own schemes. Renard in the closet, Gardiner in the pulpit, alike told her that she must show no more mercy. On Ash Wednesday evening, after Wyatt's surrender, a proclamation forbade all persons to shelter the fugitive insurgents under pain of death. The 'poor caitiffs' were brought out of the houses where they had hidden themselves, and were given up by hundreds. Huntingdon came in on Saturday with Suffolk and his brothers. Sir James Crofts, Sir Henry Isly, and Sir Gawen Carew followed. The common prisons overflowed into the churches, where crowds of wretches were huddled together till the gibbets were ready for their hanging; the Tower wards were so full that Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were packed into a single cell; and all the living representatives of the families of Grey and Dudley, except two young girls, were now within the Tower walls, sentenced, or soon to be sentenced, to death.
Feb. 8.The Queen's blood is up at last, Renard wrote exultingly to the Emperor on the 8th of February; 'the Duke of Suffolk, Lord Thomas Grey, and Sir James Crofts have written to ask for mercy, but they will find none; their heads will fall, and so will Courtenay's and Elizabeth's. I have told the Queen that she must be especially prompt with these two. We have nothing now to hope for except that France will break the peace, and then all will be well.' On the 12th of February the ambassador was still better satisfied. Elizabeth had been sent for, and was on her way to London. A rupture with France seemed inevitable, and as to clemency, there was no danger of it. 'The Queen,' he said, 'had told him that Anne of Cleves was implicated;' but for himself he was sure that the two centres of all past and all possible conspiracies were Elizabeth and Courtenay, and that when their heads, and the heads of the Greys, were once off their shoulders, she would have nothing more to fear. The prisoners were heretics to a man; she had a fair plea to despatch them, and she would then settle the country as she pleased; 'The house of Suffolk would soon be extinct.'
The house of Suffolk would be extinct: that too, or almost that, had been decided on. Jane Grey was guiltless of this last commotion; her name had not been so much as mentioned among the insurgents; but she was guilty of having been once called Queen, and Mary, who before had been generously deaf to the Emperor's advice, and to Renard's arguments, yielded in her present humour. Philip was beckoning in the distance; and while Jane Grey lived, Philip, she was again and again assured, must remain for ever separated from her arms.
Jane Grey, therefore, was to die—her execution was resolved upon the day after the victory; and the first intention was to put her to death on the Friday immediately approaching. In killing her body, however, Mary desired to have mercy on her soul; and she Feb. 9.sent the message of death by the excellent Feckenham, afterwards Abbot of Westminster, who was to bring her, if possible, to obedience to the Catholic faith.
Feckenham, a man full of gentle and tender humanity, felt to the bottom of his soul the errand on which he was despatched. He felt as a Catholic priest—but he felt also as a man.
On admission to Lady Jane's room he told her that she was to die the next morning, and he told her, also, for what reason the Queen had selected him to communicate the sentence.
She listened calmly. The time was short, she said; too short to be spent in theological discussion; which, if Feckenham would permit, she would decline.
Believing, or imagining that he ought to believe, that, if she died unreconciled, she was lost, Feckenham hurried back to the Queen to beg for delay; and the Queen, moved with his entreaties, respited the execution till Monday, giving him three more days to pursue his labour. But Lady Jane, when he returned to her, scarcely appreciated the favour; she had not expected her words to be repeated, she said; she had given up all thoughts of the world, and she would take her death patiently whenever her Majesty desired.
Feb. 12.Feckenham, however, still pressed his services, and courtesy to a kind and anxious old man, forbade her to refuse them. He remained with her to the end; and certain arguments followed on faith and justification, and the nature of sacraments; a record of which may be read by the curious in Foxe. Lady Jane was wearied without being convinced. The tedium of the discussion was relieved, perhaps, by the now more interesting account which she gave to her unsuccessful confessor of the misfortune which was bringing her to her death. The night before she suffered she wrote a few sentences of advice to her sister on the blank leaf of a New Testament. To her father, knowing his weakness, and knowing, too, how he would be worked upon to imitate the recantation of Northumberland, she sent a letter of exquisite beauty, in which the exhortations of a dying saint are tempered with the reverence of a daughter for her father.
The iron-hearted Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Brydges, had been softened by the charms of his prisoner, and begged for some memorial of her in writing. She wrote in a manual of English prayers the following words:—
'Forasmuch as you have desired so simple a woman to write in so worthy a book, good Master Lieutenant, therefore I shall, as a friend, desire you, and as a Christian, require you to call upon God to incline your heart to his laws, to quicken you in his way, and not to take the word of truth utterly out of your mouth. Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life, and remember how Methuselah, who, as we read in the Scriptures, was the longest liver that was of a man, died at the last; for, as the Preacher saith, there is a time to be born and a time to die; and the day of death is better than the day of our birth. Yours, as the Lord knoweth, as a friend, Jane Dudley.'
Her husband was also to die, and to die before her. The morning on which they were to suffer he begged for a last interview and a last embrace. It was left to herself to consent or refuse. If, she replied, the meeting would benefit either of their souls, she would see him with pleasure; but, in her own opinion, it would only increase their trial. They would meet soon enough in the other world.
He died, therefore, without seeing her again. She saw him once alive as he was led to the scaffold, and again as he returned a mutilated corpse in the death-cart. It was not wilful cruelty. The officer in command had forgotten that the ordinary road led past her window. But the delicate girl of seventeen was as masculine in her heart as in her intellect. When her own turn arrived, Sir John Brydges led her down to the green; her attendants were in an agony of tears, but her own eyes were dry. She prayed quietly till she reached the foot of the scaffold, when she turned to Feckenham, who still clung to her side. 'Go now,' she said; 'God grant you all your desires, and accept my own warm thanks for your attentions to me; although, indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.' She sprung up the steps, and said briefly that she had broken the law in accepting the crown; but as to any guilt of intention, she wrung her hands, and said she washed them clean of it in innocency before God and man. She entreated her hearers to bear her witness that she died a true Christian woman; that she looked to be saved only by the mercy of God and the merits of his Son: and she begged for their prayers as long as she was alive. Feckenham had still followed her, notwithstanding his dismissal. 'Shall I say the Miserere psalm?' she said to him. When it was done she letdown her hair with her attendants' help, and uncovered her neck. The rest may be told in the words of the chronicler:—
'The hangman kneeled down and asked her forgiveness, whom she forgave most willingly. Then he willed her to stand upon the straw, which doing, she saw the block. Then she said, I pray you despatch me quickly. Then she kneeled down, saying, Will you take it off before I lay me down? and the hangman answered, No, madam. She tied a kercher about her eyes; then, feeling for the block, she said, What shall I do; where is it? One of the bystanders guiding her thereunto, she laid her head down upon the block, and stretched forth her body, and said, Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit. And so ended.'
The same day Courtenay was sent to the Tower, and a general slaughter commenced of the common prisoners. To spread the impression, gibbets were erected all over London, and by Thursday evening eighty or a hundred bodies were dangling in St Paul's Churchyard, on London Bridge, in Fleet Street, and at Charing Cross, in Southwark and Westminster. At all crossways and in all thoroughfares, says Noailles, 'the eye was met with the hideous spectacle of hanging men;' while Brett and a fresh batch of unfortunates were sent to suffer at Rochester and Maidstone. Day after day, week after week, commissioners sat at Westminster or at the Guildhall trying prisoners, who passed with a short shrift to the gallows. The Duke of Suffolk was sentenced on the 17th; on the 23rd he followed his daughter, penitent for his rebellion, but constant, as she had implored him to be, in his faith. His two brothers and Lord Cobham's sons were condemned. William Thomas, to escape torture, stabbed himself, but recovered to die at Tyburn. Lord Cobham himself, who was arrested notwithstanding his defence of his house, Wyatt, Sir James Crofts, Sir William St Lowe, Sir Nicholas Arnold, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, and, as the council expressed it, 'a world more,' were in various prisons waiting their trials. Those who were suspected of being in Elizabeth's confidence were kept with their fate impending over them—to be tempted either with hopes of pardon, or fear of the rack, to betray their secrets.
But, sooner or later, the Queen was determined that every one who could be convicted should die, and beyond, and above them all, Elizabeth. Elizabeth's illness, which had been supposed to have been assumed, was real, and as the feeling of the people towards her compelled the observance of the forms of justice and decency, physicians were sent from the Court to attend upon her. Feb. 18.On the 18th of February they reported that she could be moved with safety; and, escorted by Lord William Howard, Sir Edward Hastings, and Sir Thomas Cornwallis, she was brought by slow stages, of six or seven miles a day, to London. Renard had described her to the Emperor as probably enceinte through some vile intrigue, and crushed with remorse and disappointment.
To give the lie to all such slanders, when she entered the city, the Princess had the covering of hei litter thrown back; she was dressed in white, her face was pale from her illness, but the expression was lofty, scornful, and magnificent. Crowds followed her along the streets to Westminster. The Queen, when she arrived at Whitehall, refused to see her; a suite of rooms was assigned for her confinement in a corner of the palace, from which there was no egress except by passing the guard, and there, with short attendance, she waited the result of Gardiner's investigations. Wyatt, by vague admissions, had already partially compromised her, and, on the strength of his words, and the discovery of the copy of her letter in the packet of Noailles, she would have gone direct to the Tower, had the Lords permitted. The Emperor urged instant and summary justice both on her and on Courtenay; the irritation, should irritation arise, could be allayed afterwards by an amnesty. The Lords, however, insisted obstinately on the forms of law, the necessity of witnesses and of a trial; and Renard watched their unreasonable humours with angry misgivings. It was enough, he said, that the conspiracy was undertaken in Elizabeth's interests; if she escaped now, the Queen would never be secure. In fact, while Elizabeth lived, the Prince could not venture among the wild English spirits, and Charles was determined that the marriage should not escape him.
As soon as the rebellion was crushed, March.Egmont, attended by Count Horn, returned to complete his work. He brought with him the dispensations in regular form. He brought also a fresh and pressing entreaty that Elizabeth should be sacrificed. An opportunity had been placed in the Queen's hand, which her duty to the Church required that she should not neglect; and Egrnont was directed to tell her that the Emperor, in trusting his son in a country where his own power could not protect him, relied upon her honour not to neglect any step essential to his security. Egmont gave his message. The unhappy Queen required no urging; she protested to Henard, that she could neither rest nor sleep, so ardent was her desire for the Prince's safe arrival. Courtenay, if necessary, she could kill; against him the proofs were complete; as to Elizabeth, she knew her guilt; the evidence was growing; and she would insist to the council that justice should be done.
About the marriage itself, the Lords had by this time agreed to yield. Courtenay's pretensions could no longer be decently advanced, and Gardiner, abandoning a hopeless cause, and turning his attention to the restoration of the Church, would consent to anything, if, on his side, he might emancipate the clergy from the control of the civil power, and re-establish persecution. Two factions, distinctly marked, were now growing in the council—the party of the statesmen, composed of Paget, Sussex, Arundel, Pembroke, Lord William Howard, the Marquis of Winchester, Sir Edward Hastings, and Cornwallis: the party of the Church, composed of Gardiner, Petre, Rochester, Gage, Jerningham, and Bourne. Divided on all other questions, the rival parties agreed only no longer to oppose the coming of Philip. The wavering few had been decided by the presents and promises which Egmont brought with him from Charles. Pensions of two thousand crowns had been offered to, and were probably accepted by, the Earls of Pembroke, Arundel, Derby, and Shrewsbury; pensions of a thousand crowns were given to Sussex, Darcy, Winchester, Rochester, Petre, and Cheyne; pensions of five hundred crowns to Southwell, Waldegrave, Inglefield, Wentworth, and Grey; ten thousand crowns were distributed among the officers and gentlemen who had distinguished themselves against Wyatt. The pensions were large, but, as Renard observed, when Charles seemed to hesitate, several of the recipients were old, and would soon die; and, as to the rest, things in England were changing from day to day, and means of some kind would easily be found to put an early end to the payments.
Unanimity having been thus secured, Renard, on the day of Egmont's arrival, demanded an audience of the Lords, and in the Queen's presence requested their opinion whether the condition of England allowed the completion of the contract. The life of the Prince of Spain was of great importance to Europe should they believe in their hearts that he would be in danger, there was still time to close the negotiation. The rebellion having broken out and having failed, the Lords replied that there was no longer any likelihood of open violence. Arundel hinted, again, that the Prince must bring his own cook and butler with him; but he had nothing else to fear, if he could escape the French cruisers.
These assurances, combined with the Queen's secret promises about Elizabeth, were held sufficient; March 6.and on the 6th of March, at three o'clock in the afternoon, the ambassadors were conducted by Pembroke into the presence chamber. The Queen, kneeling before the sacrament, called it to witness that, in consenting to the alliance with the Prince of Spain, she was moved by no carnal concupiscence, but only by her zeal for the welfare of her realm and subjects; and then, rising up, with the bystanders all in tears, she gave her hand to Egmont as Philip's representative. The blessing was pronounced by Gfardiner, and the proxy marriage was completed. The Prince was to be sent for without delay, and Southampton was chosen as the port at which he should disembark, 'being in the country of the Bishop of Winchester,' where the people were, for the most part, good Catholics.
Parliament was expected to give its sanction without further difficulty; the opposition of the country having been neutralized by the same causes which had influenced the council. The Queen, indeed, in going through the ceremony before consulting Parliament, though she had broken the promise which she made in the Guildhall, had placed it beyond their power to raise difficulties; but other questions were likely to rise which would not be settled so easily. She herself was longing to show her gratitude to Providence by restoring the authority of the Pope; and the Pope intended, if possible, to recover his first-fruits and Peter's pence, and to maintain the law of the Church which forbade the alienation of Church property. The English laity were resolute on their side to keep hold of what they had got; and to set the subject at rest, and to prevent unpleasant discussions on points of theology, Paget, with his friends, desired that the session should last but a few days, and that two measures only should be brought forward; the first for the confirmation of the treaty of marriage, the second to reassert the validity of the titles under which the Church estates were held by their present owners. If the Queen consented to the last, her title of Head of the Church might be dropped informally, and allowed to fall into abeyance.
Gardiner, however, saw in the failure of the insurrection an opportunity of emancipating the Church, and of extinguishing heresy with fire and sword. He was preparing a bill to restore the ancient rigorous tyranny of the ecclesiastical courts; and by his own authority he directed that, in the writs for the Parliament, the summons should be to meet at Oxford, where the conservatism of the country would be released from the dread of the London citizens. The spirit which, thirteen years before, had passed the Six Articles Bill by acclamation, continued to smoulder in the slow minds of the country gentlemen, and was blazing freely among the lately persecuted priests. The Bishop of Winchester had arranged in his imagination a splendid melodrama. The session was to begin on the 2nd of April; and the ecclesiastical bill was to be the first to be passed. On the 8th of March, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were sent down to the University to be tried before a Committee of Convocation which had already decided on its verdict; and the Fathers of the Reformation were either to recant or to suffer the flaming penalties of heresy in the presence of the Legislature, as the first-fruits of a renovated Church discipline.
Vainly Renard protested. In the fiery obstinacy of his determination, Gardiner was the incarnate expression of the fury of the ecclesiastical faction, smarting, as they were, under their long degradation, and under the irritating consciousness of those false oaths of submission which they had sworn to a power which they loathed. Once before, in the first reaction against Protestant excesses, the Bishop of Winchester had seen the Six Articles Bill carried—but his prey had then been snatched from his grasp. Now, embittered by fresh oppression, he saw his party once more in a position to revenge their wrongs when there was no Henry any longer to stand between them and their enemies. He would take the tide at the flood, forge a weapon keener than the last, and establish the Inquisition. Paget swore it should not be. Charles V. himself, dreading a fresh interruption to the marriage, insisted that this extravagant fervour should be checked; and the Bishop of Arras, the scourge of the Netherlands, interceded for moderation in England. But Gardiner and the clergy were not to be turned from the hope of their hearts by the private alarms of the Imperialists; and in the heart of the Queen religious orthodoxy was Philip's solitary rival. Renard urged her to be prudent in religion and cruel to the political prisoners. Gardiner, though eager as Renard to kill Elizabeth, would buy the privilege of working his will upon the Protestants by sparing Courtenay and Courtenay's friends. Mary listened to the worst counsels of each, and her distempered humour settled into a confused ferocity. So unwholesome appeared the aspect of things in the middle of March that, notwithstanding the formal contract, Renard almost advised the Emperor to relinquish the thought of committing his son among so wild a people.
As opposition to extreme measures was anticipated in the House of Lords, as well as among the Commons, it was important to strengthen the Bench of Bishops. The Pope had granted permission without difficulty to fill the vacant Sees; and on the 1st of April six new prelates were consecrated at St Mary Overies, while Sir John Brydges and Sir John Williams of Thame were raised to the peerage.
The Protestants, it must be admitted, had exerted themselves to make Gardiner's work easy to him. On the 14th of March the wall of a house in Aldgate became suddenly vocal, and seventeen thousand persons were collected to hear a message from Heaven pronounced by an angel. When the people said 'God save Queen Mary,' the wall was silent; when they said 'God save Queen Elizabeth,' the wall said 'Amen!' When they asked, 'What is the mass?' the wall said, 'It is idolatry.' As the nation was holding its peace, the stones, it seemed, were crying out against the reaction But the angel, on examination, turned out to be a girl concealed behind the plaster. Shortly after, the inhabitants of Cheapside, on opening their shop windows in the morning, beheld on a gallows, among the bodies of the hanged insurgents, a cat in priestly robes, with crown shaven, the fore-paws tied over her head, and a piece of paper clipped round between them, representing the wafer.
More serious were the doings of a part of the late conspirators who had escaped to France. Peter Carew, when he left Weymouth, promised soon to return, and he was received at Paris with a cordiality that answered his warmest hopes. Determined, if possible, to prevent Philip from reaching England, the French had equipped every vessel which they possessed available for sea, and Carew was sent again to the coast of the Channel to tempt across into the French service all those who, like himself, were compromised in the conspiracy, or whose blood was hotter than their fathers'. Every day the Queen was chafed with the news of desertions to the dangerous rendezvous. Young men of honourable families, Pickerings, Strangwayses, Killegrews, Staffords, Stauntons, Tremaynes, Courtenays, slipped over the water, carrying with them hardy sailors from the western harbours. The French supplied them with arms, ships, and money; and fast-sailing, heavily-armed privateers, officered by these young adventurers in the cause of freedom, were cruising on their own account, plundering Flemish and Spanish ships, and swearing that the Prince of Spain should set no foot on English shores.
The Queen indignantly demanded explanations of Noailles, and, through her ambassador at Paris, she required the French Government to seize 'her traitors,' and deliver them to her. Noailles, alarmed, perhaps, for his own security, suggested that it might be well to conceal Carew, and to affect to make an attempt to arrest him. But Henry, at once more sagacious and more bold, replied to the ambassador that 'he was not the Queen's hangman:' 'these men that you require,' he said, 'deny that they have conspired anything against the Queen; marry, they say they will not be oppressed by mine enemy, and that is no just cause why I should owe them ill-will.' He desired Noailles, with quiet irony, to tell her Majesty 'that there was nothing in the existing treaties to forbid his accepting the services of English volunteers in the war with the Emperor: her Majesty might remember that he had invited her to make a new treaty, and that she had refused:' 'he would act by the just letter of his obligations.'
Would her subjects have permitted, the Queen would have replied by a declaration of war. As it was, she could only relieve herself with indignant words. But Carew and his friends might depend on support so long as they would make themselves useful to France. Possessed of ships and arms, they were a constant menace to the Channel, and a constant temptation to the disaffected; and, growing bitter at last, and believing that Elizabeth's life was on the point of being sacrificed, they were prepared to support Henry in a second attempt to seize the Isle of Wight, and to accept the French competitor for the English crown in the person of the Queen of Scots. Thus fatally the friends of the Reformation played into the hands of its enemies. By the solid mass of Englishmen the armed interference of France was more dreaded than even a Spanish sovereign; and the heresy became doubly odious which was tampering with the hereditary enemies of the realm. In London only the revolutionary spirit continued vigorous, and broke out perpetually in unexpected forms. At the beginning of March three hundred schoolboys met in a meadow outside the city walls: half were for Wyatt and for France, half for the Prince of Spain; and, not all in play (for evidently they chose their sides by their sympathies), they joined battle, and fought with the fierceness of grown men. The combat ended in the capture of the representative of Philip, who was dragged to a gallows, and would have been hanged upon it, had not the spectators interfered. The boys were laid hands upon. The youngest were whipped, the elder imprisoned. It was said that the Queen thought of gibbeting one of these innocents in real fact, for an example; or, as Noailles put it, as an expiation for the sins of the people.
Over Elizabeth, in the mean time, the fatal net appeared to be closing ; Lord Russell had received a letter for her from Wyatt, which, though the Princess declared that it had never been in her hands, he said that he had forwarded; and Wyatt himself was flattered with hopes of life if he would extend his confession. Renard carried his ingenuity farther; he called in the assistance of Lady Wyatt, and promised her that her husband should be spared; he even urged the Queen to gain over, by judicious leniency, a man whose apostasy would be a fresh disgrace to his cause, and who might be as useful as a servant as he had been dangerous as a foe. Wyatt, being a man without solidity of heart, showed signs of yielding to what was required of him, but his revelations came out slowly, and to quicken his confession he was brought to his trial on the 15th of March. He pleaded guilty to the indictment, and he then said that Courtenay had been the instigator of the conspiracy; he had written to Elizabeth, he said, to advise her to remove as far as possible from London, and Elizabeth had returned him a verbal message of thanks. This being not enough, he was sentenced to death; but he was made to feel that he might still earn his pardon if he would implicate Elizabeth more deeply; and though he said nothing definite, he allowed himself to drop vague hints that he could tell more if he pleased.
At all events, however, sufficient evidence had been obtained in the opinion of the Court for the committal of the Princess to the Tower. On the day of Wyatt's trial, the council met, but separated without a resolution; on Friday, the 16th, Elizabeth was examined before them in person, and when she withdrew, Gardiner required that she should be sent to the Tower instantly. Paget, supported by Sussex, Hastings, and Cornwallis, said that there was no evidence to justify so violent a measure. Which of you, then, said Gardiner, with dexterous ingenuity, will be reponsible for the safe keeping of her person?
The guardian of Elizabeth would be exposed to a hundred dangers and a thousand suspicions; the Lords answered that Gardiner was conspiring their destruction. No one could be found courageous enough to undertake the charge, and they gave their reluctant consent to his demand. The same night Elizabeth's attendants were removed, a hundred soldiers were picketed in the garden below her window, March 17.and on Saturday morning the Marquis of Winchester and Lord Sussex waited on her to communicate her destination, and to attend her to a barge.
The terrible name of the Tower was like a death-knell; the Princess entreated a short delay till she could write a few words to the Queen; the Queen could not know the truth, she said, or else she was played upon by Gardiner. Alas! she did not know the Queen: Winchester hesitated; Lord Sussex, more generous, accepted the risk, and promised, on his knees, to place her letter in the Queen's hands.
The very lines traced by Elizabeth in that bitter moment may still be read in the State Paper Office, and her hand was more than usually firm.
'If ever any one,' she wrote, 'did try this old saying that a King's word was more than another man's oath, I most humbly beseech your Majesty to verify it in me, and to remember your last promise, and my last demand, that I be not condemned without answer and due proof, which it seems that I now am: for that without cause proved I am by your council from you commanded to go unto the Tower, a place more wonted for a false traitor than a true subject: which, though I know I deserve it not, yet in the face of all this realm appears that it is proved; which I pray God that I may die the shamefullest death that any died, afore I may mean any such thing: and to this present hour I protest, afore God who shall judge my truth, whatsoever malice shall devise, that I never practised, counselled, nor consented to anything that might be prejudicial to your person any way, or dangerous to the State by any means. And I therefore humbly beseech your Majesty to let me answer afore yourself, and not suffer me to trust to your councillors; yea, and that afore I go to the Tower, if it is possible; if not, afore I be further condemned. Howbeit, I trust assuredly your Highness will give me leave to do it afore I go, for that thus shamefully I may not be cried out on, as now I shall be, yea, and without cause. Let conscience move your Highness to take some better way with me, than to make me be condemned in all men's sight, afore my desert known. Also, I most humbly beseech your Highness to pardon this my boldness, which innocency procures me to do, together with hope of your natural kindness, which I trust will not see me cast away without desert: which what it is I would desire no more of God than that you truly knew; which thing, I think and believe, you shall never by report know, unless by yourself you hear. I have heard in my time of many cast away for want of coming to the presence of their prince; and in late days I heard my Lord of Somerset say that, if his brother had been suffered to speak with him, he had never suffered; but the persuasions were made to him so great, that he was brought in belief that he could not live safely if the admiral lived, and that made him give his consent to his death. Though these persons are not to be compared to your Majesty, yet I pray God as evil persuasions persuade not one sister against the other, and all for that they have heard false reports, and not hearken to the truth known; therefore, once again kneeling with all humbleness of my heart, because I am not suffered to bow the knees of my body, I humbly crave to speak with your Highness, which I would not be so bold to desire if I knew not myself most clear, as I know myself most true. And as for the traitor Wyatt, he might peradventure write me a letter, but on my faith I never received any from him; and for the copy of my letter sent to the French King, I pray God confound me eternally if ever I sent him word, message, token, or letter by any means: and to this my truth I will stand to my death your Highnesses most faithful subject that hath been from the beginning, and will be to the end.
'I humbly crave but one word of answer from yourself.'
Had Elizabeth known the history of those words of the Queen to her, to which she appealed, she would have spared herself the trouble of writing this letter. Sussex fulfilled his promise, and during the delay the tide turned, and the barge could not pass London Bridge till the following day. The Queen could not venture to send the Princess through the streets; and in dread lest, at the last moment, her prey should be snatched from, her, she answered the appeal only by storming at the bearer, and at his friends in the council. 'They were going no good way,' she said, 'for their lives they durst not have acted so in her father's time; she wished that he was alive and among them but for a single month.'
March 18.At nine o'clock the next morning—it was Sunday, Palm Sunday—the two Lords returned to Elizabeth to tell her that her letter had failed. As she crossed the garden to the water she threw up her eyes to the Queen's window, but there was no sign of recognition. What do the Lords mean, she said, that they suffer me thus to be led into captivity? The barge was too deep to approach sufficiently near to the landing-place at the Tower to enable her to step upon the causeway without wetting her feet; it was raining too, and the petty inconveniences, fretting against the dreadful associations of the Traitors' Gate, shook her self-command. She refused to land; then sharply rejecting an offer of assistance, she sprung out upon the mud. 'Are all those harnessed men there for me?' she said to Sir John Gage, who was waiting with the Tower guard. 'No, madam,' Gage answered. 'Yes,' she said, 'I know it is so; it needed not for me, being but a weak woman. I never thought to have come in here a prisoner,' she went on, turning to the soldiers; 'I pray you all good fellows and friends, bear me witness that I come in no traitor, but as true a woman to the Queen's Majesty as any is now living, and thereon will I take my death.' She threw herself down upon a wet stone; Lord Chandos begged her to come under shelter out of the rain: 'better sitting here than in a worse place,' she cried; 'I know not whither you will bring me.'
But it was not in Elizabeth's nature to protract a vain resistance; she rose, and passed on, and as she approached the room intended for her, the heavy doors along the corridor were locked and barred behind her. At the grating of the iron bolts the heart of Lord Sussex sank in him: Sussex knew the Queen's true feelings, and the efforts which were made to lash her into cruelty; 'What mean ye, my Lords,' he said to Chandos and Grage, 'what will you do?' 'she was a King's daughter, and is the Queen's sister; go no further than your commission, which I know what it is.'
The chief danger was of murder—of some swift desperate act which could not be undone: the Lords who had so reluctantly permitted Elizabeth to be imprisoned would not allow her to be openly sacrificed, or indeed permit the Queen to continue in the career of vengeance on which she had entered. The executions on account of the rebellion had not ceased even yet. In Kent, London, and in the midland counties, day after day, one, two, or more persons had been put to death; six gentlemen were, at that very moment, on their way to Maidstone and Rochester to suffer. The Lords, on the day of Elizabeth's committal, held a meeting while Gardiner was engaged elsewhere; they determined to remonstrate, and, if necessary, to insist on a change of course, and Paget undertook to be the bearer of the message. He found Mary in her oratory after vespers; he told her that the season might remind a sovereign of other duties besides revenge; already too much blood had been shed; the noble house of Suffolk was all but destroyed; and he said distinctly that if she attempted any more executions, he and his friends would interfere; the hideous scenes had lasted too long, and, as an earnest of a return to mercy, he demanded the pardon of the six gentlemen.
Mary, as she lamented afterwards to Renard, was unprepared; she was pressed in terms which showed that those who made the request did not intend to be refused—and she consented. The six gentlemen escaped; and, following up this beginning, the council, in the course of the week, extorted from her the release of Northampton, Cobham, and one of his sons, with five others. In a report to the Emperor, Renard admitted that, if the Queen attempted to continue her course of justice, there would be resistance; and the party of the chancellor, being the weakest, would in that case be overwhelmed. It was the more necessary, therefore, that, by one means or another, Elizabeth should be disposed of. The Queen had condescended to apologize to him for her second act of clemency, which she excused as being an Easter custom. He said that he had replied, It was not for him to find fault, if her Majesty was pleased to show mercy at the holy season; but it was his duty to remind her that he doubted whether the Prince could be trusted with her.
This argument never failed to drive Mary to madness; and, on the other side, Renard applied to Gardiner to urge despatch in bringing Elizabeth to trial: as long as she lived, there was no security for the Queen, for the Prince, or for religion. Gardiner echoed the same opinion. If others, he said, would go to work as roundly as himself, all would be well.
April 2.In this condition of the political atmosphere Parliament assembled on the 2nd of April. The Oxford scheme had been relinquished as impracticable. The Lord Mayor informed the Queen that he would not answer for the peace of the city in the absence of the Court; the Tower might be surprised and the prisoners released; and to lose the Tower would be to lose the crown. The Queen said that she would not leave London while her sister's fate was undetermined. The Houses met, therefore, as usual, at Westminster, and the speech from the throne was read in Mary's presence by the chancellor.
Since the last Parliament, Gardiner said, the people of England had given proofs of unruly humour. The Queen was their undoubted sovereign, and a measure would be submitted to the Lords and Commons to declare, in some emphatic manner, her claim to her subjects' obedience.
Her Majesty desiring, further, in compliance with her subjects' wishes, to take a husband, she had fixed her choice on the Prince of Spain, as a person agreeable to herself and likely to be a valuable friend to the realm: the people, however, had insolently and ignorantly presumed to mutiny against her intentions, and, in her affection for the commonwealth, her Majesty had consented to submit the articles of the marriage to the approval of Parliament.
Again, her Majesty would desire them to take into their consideration the possible failure of the blood royal, and adopt necessary precautions to secure an undisturbed succession to the crown. It would be for the Parliament to decide whether the privilege which had been granted to Henry VIII. of bequeathing the crown by will might not be, with propriety, extended to her present Majesty.
Finally, and at great length, the chancellor spoke of religion. The late rebellion, he said, was properly a religious rebellion: it was the work of men who despised the sacraments, and were the enemies of truth, order, and godliness. A measure would be laid before the legislature for the better restraint of irregular license of opinion.
The marriage was to pass quietly. Those of the Lords and Commons who persevered in their disapproval were a small minority, and did not intend to appear. The bill, therefore, passed both Houses by the 12th of April. The marriage articles were those originally offered by the Emperor, with the English clauses attached, and some explanatory paragraphs, that no room might be left for laxity of interpretation. Lord Bedford and Lord Fitzwalter had already gone to Plymouth, where a ship was in readiness to carry them to Spain. They waited only till the parliamentary forms were completed, and immediately sailed. Lord William Howard would go to sea with the fleet, at his earliest convenience, to protect the passage, and the Prince might be expected in England by the end of May. The bill for the Queen's authority was carried also without objection. The forms of English law running only in the name of a king, it had been pretended that a queen could not be a lawful sovereign. A declaratory statute explained that the kingly prerogative was the same, whether vested in male or female. Here, however, unanimity was at an end. The paragraph about the succession in the Queen's speech being obviously aimed at Elizabeth, produced such an irritation in the council, as well as in Parliament, that Renard expected it would end in actual armed conflict.
From the day of Elizabeth's imprisonment Gardiner had laboured to extort evidence against her by fair means or foul. She had been followed to the Tower by her servants. Sir John Gage desired that her food should be dressed by people of his own. The servants refused to allow themselves to be displaced, and, to the distress of Renard, angry words had been addressed to Gage by Lord Howard, so that they could not be removed by force.
The temptation of life having failed, after all, to induce Wyatt to enlarge his confession beyond his first acknowledgments, it was determined to execute him. April 11.On the 11th of April he was brought out of his cell, and on his way to the scaffold he was confronted with Courtenay, to whom he said something, but how much or what it is impossible to ascertain. Finding that his death was inevitable, he determined to make the only reparation which was any longer in his power to Elizabeth. When placed on the platform, after desiring the people to pray for him, lamenting his crime, and expressing a hope that he might be the last person to suffer for the rebellion, he concluded thus:—
'Whereas it is said abroad that I should accuse my Lady Elizabeth's Grace and my Lord Courtenay; it is not so, good people, for I assure you neither they nor any other now yonder in hold or durance was privy of my rising or commotion before I began.'
The words, or the substance of them, were heard by every one. Weston, who attended as confessor, shouted, 'Believe him not, good people! he confessed otherwise before the council.' 'That which I said then I said,' answered Wyatt, 'but that which I say now is true.' The executioner did his office, and Wyatt' s work, for good or evil, was ended.
All that the Court had gained by his previous confessions was now more than lost. London rang with the story that Wyatt, in dying, had cleared Courtenay and Elizabeth. Gardiner still thundered in the Star Chamber on the certainty of their guilt, and pilloried two decent citizens who had repeated Wyatt's words; but his efforts were vain, and the hope of a legal conviction was at an end. The judges declared that against Elizabeth there was now no evidence; and, even if there had been evidence, Renard wrote to his master, that the Court could not dare to proceed further against her, from fear of Lord William Howard, who had the whole naval force of England at his disposal, and, in indignation at Elizabeth's treatment, might join the French and the exiles. Perplexed to know how to dispose of her, the ambassador and the chancellor thought of sending her off to Pomfret Castle; doubtless, if once within Pomfret walls, to find the fate of the Second Richard there; but again the spectre of Lord Howard terrified them.
The threatened escape of her sister, too, was but the beginning of the Queen's sorrows. On the 17th of April Sir Nicholas Throgmorton was tried at the Guildhall for having been a party to the conspiracy. The confessions of many of the prisoners had more or less implicated Throgmorton. Cuthbert Vaughan, who was out with Wyatt, swore in the Court that Throgmorton had discussed the plan of the insurrection with him; and Throgmorton himself admitted that he had talked to Sir Peter Carew and Wyatt about the probability of a rebellion. He it was, too, who was to have conducted Courtenay to Andover on his flight into Devonshire; and the evidence leaves very little doubt that he was concerned as deeply as any one who did not actually take up arms. Sir Nicholas, however, defended himself with resolute pertinacity; he fought through all the charges against him, and dissected the depositions with the skill of a practised pleader; and in the end the jury returned the bold verdict of 'Not guilty.' Sir Thomas Bromley urged them to remember themselves. The foreman answered they had found the verdict according to their consciences.
Their consciences probably found less difficulty in the facts charged against Throgmorton than in the guilt to be attached to them. The verdict was intended as a rebuke to the cruelty with which the rebellion had been punished, and it was received as an insult to the Crown. The crowd, as Throgmorton left the Court, threw up their caps and shouted. The Queen was ill for three days with mortification, and insisted that the jurors should be punished. They were arrested, and kept as prisoners till the following winter, when they were released on payment of the ruinous fine of 2000l. Throgmorton himself was seized again on some other pretext, and sent again to the Tower. The council, or Paget's party there, remonstrated against the arrest; they yielded, however, perhaps that they might make the firmer stand on more important matters.
Since Elizabeth could not be executed, the Court were the more anxious to carry the Succession Bill. Gardiner's first desire was that Elizabeth should be excluded by name; but Paget said that this was impossible. As little could a measure be passed empowering the Queen to leave the crown by will, for that would be but the same thing under another form. Following up his purpose, notwithstanding, Gardiner brought out in the House of Lords a pedigree, tracing Philip's descent from John of Gaunt; and he introduced a bill to make offences against his person high treason. But at the second reading the important words were introduced, 'during the Queen's lifetime;' the bill was read a third time, and then disappeared; and Paget had been the loudest of its opponents.
Beaten on the succession, the chancellor, in spite of Renard's remonstrances, brought forward next his Religious Persecution Bills. The House of Commons went with him to some extent; and, to secure success in some form or other, he introduced three separate measures, either of which would answer his purpose—a Bill for the restoration of the Six Articles, a Bill to re-enact the Lollard Statute of Henry IV., De Heretico Comburendo, and a Bill to restore (in more than its original vigour) the Episcopal Jurisdiction. The Six Articles had so bad a name that the first bill was read once only, and was dropped; the two others passed the Commons, and, on the 26th of April, the Bishops' Authority Bill came before the Lords. Lord Paget was so far in advance of his time that he could not hope to appeal with a chance of success to his own principles of judicious latitudinarianism; but he determined, if possible, to prevent Gardiner's intended cruelties from taking effect, and he spread an alarm that, if the bishops were restored to their unrestricted powers, under one form or other the holders of the abbey lands would be at their mercy. To allay the suspicion, another bill was carried through the Commons, providing expressly for the safety of the holders of those lands; but the tyranny of the Episcopal Courts was so recent, and the ecclesiastics had shown themselves uniformly so little capable of distinguishing between right and wrong when the interests of religion were at stake, that the jealousy, once aroused, could not be checked. The irritation became so hot and so general as to threaten again the most dangerous consequences; and Paget, pretending to be alarmed at the excitement vliich he had raised, urged Renard to use his influence with the Queen to dissolve Parliament.
Renard, who was only anxious that the marriage should go off quietly, agreed in the desirableness of a dissolution. He told the Queen that the reform of religion must be left to a better opportunity; and the Prince could not, and should not, set his foot in a country where parties were for ever on the edge of cutting each other's throats. It was no time for her to be indulging Gardiner in humours which were driving men mad, and shutting her ears to the advice of those who could ruin her if they pleased; she must think first of her husband. The Queen protested that Gardiner was acting by no advice of hers; Gardiner, she said, was obstinate, and would listen to no one; she herself was helpless and miserable. But Renard was not to be moved by misery. At all events, he said, the Prince should not come till late in the summer, perhaps not till autumn, not, in fact, till it could be seen what form these wild humours would assume; summer was the dangerous time in England, when the people's blood was apt to boil.
Gardiner, however, was probably not acting without Mary's secret approbation. Both the Queen and the minister especially desired, at that moment, the passing of the Heresy Bill, and Renard was obliged to content himself with a promise that the dissolution should be as early as possible. Though Parliament could not meet at Oxford, a committee of Convocation had been sitting there, with Dr Weston, the adulterous Dean of Windsor, for a president. Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer had been called upon to defend their opinions, which had been pronounced false and damnable. They had been required to recant, and, having refused, they were sentenced, so far as the power of the April 20.court extended, to the punishment of heretics.
Cranmer appealed from the judgment to God Almighty, in whose presence he would soon stand.
Ridley said the sentence would but send them the sooner to the place where else they hoped to go.
Latimer said, 'I thank God that my life has been prolonged that I may glorify God by this kind of death.'
Hooper, Ferrars, Coverdale, Taylor, Philpot, and Sandars, who were in the London prisons, were to have been simultaneously tried and sentenced at Cambridge. These six, however, drew and signed a joint refusal to discuss their faith in a court before which they were to be brought as prisoners; and for some reason the proceedings against them were suspended. But whether they refused or consented was of little moment to the Bishop of Winchester; they were in his hands—he could try them when he pleased. A holocaust of heresiarchs was waiting to be offered up, and before a faggot could be lighted, the necessary powers had to be obtained from Parliament.
The Bishop, therefore, was determined, if possible, to obtain those powers. He had the entire bench of prelates on his side; and Lord Howard, the Earl of Bedford, and others of the lay lords who would have been on the side of humanity, were absent. The opposition had to be conducted under the greatest difficulties. Paget, however, fought the battle, and fought it on broad grounds: the Bishops' bill was read twice; May 1.on the third reading, on the 1st of May, he succeeded in throwing it out: May 2.the Lollards' bill came on the day after, and here his difficulty was far greater; for toleration was imperfectly understood by Catholic or Protestant, and many among the peers, who hated the bishops, equally hated heresy. Paget, however, spoke out his convictions, and protested against the iniquity of putting men to death for their opinions. The bill was read a first time on the day on which it was introduced; on the 4th of May it was read again, but it went no further. The next day Parliament was dissolved. The peers assured the Queen that they had no desire to throw a shield over heresy; the common law existed independent of statute, and the common law prescribed punishments which could still be inflicted. But, so long as heresy was undefined, Anabaptists, Socinians, or professors of the more advanced forms of opinion, could alone fall within the scope of punishments merely traditional.
Renard wrote that the tempers of men were never worse than at that moment. In the heat of the debate, on the 28th of April, Lord Thomas Grey was executed as a defiance to the liberal party. Gardiner persuaded the Queen, perhaps not without reason, that he was himself in danger of being arrested by Paget and Pembroke; and an order was sent to the Lieutenant of the Tower that if the chancellor was brought thither under warrant of the council only, he was not to be received.
On the other hand, twelve noblemen and gentlemen undertook to stand by Mary if she would arrest Paget and Pembroke. The chancellor, Sir Robert Rochester, and the Marquis of Winchester discussed the feasibility of seizing them; but Lord Howard and the Channel fleet were thought to present too formidable an obstacle. With the Queen's sanction, however, they armed in secret. It was agreed that, on one pretence or another, Derby, Shrewsbury, Sussex, and Huntingdon should be sent out of London to their counties. Elizabeth, if it could be managed, should be sent to Pomfret, as Gardiner had before proposed; Lord Howard should be kept at sea; and, if opportunity offered, Arundel and Paget might, at least, be secured.
But Pomfret was impossible, and vexation thickened on vexation. Lord Howard was becoming a bugbear at the Court. Report now said that two of the Staffords, whom he had named to command in the fleet, had joined the exiles in France; and for Lord Howard himself the Queen could feel no security, if he was provoked too far. She was haunted by a misgiving that, while the Prince was under his convoy, he might declare against her, and carry him prisoner to France; or if Howard could himself be trusted, his fleet could not. On the eve of sailing for the coast of Spain, a mutiny broke out at Plymouth. The sailors swore that if they were forced on a service which they detested, both the admiral and the Prince should rue it. Lord Howard, in reporting to the Queen the men's misconduct, said that his own life was at her Majesty's disposal, but he advised her to reconsider the prudence of placing the Prince in their power. Howard's own conduct, too, was far from reassuring. A few small vessels had been sent from Antwerp to join the English fleet, under the Flemish admiral Chappelle. Chappelle complained that Howard treated him with indifference, and insulted his ships by 'calling them cockle-shells.' If the crews of the two fleets were on land anywhere together, the English lost no opportunity of making a quarrel, 'hustling and pushing' the Flemish sailors; and, as if finally to complete the Queen's vexation, Lord Bedford wrote that the Prince declined the protection of her subjects on his voyage, and that his departure was postponed for a few weeks longer.
The fleet had to remain in the Channel; it could not be trusted elsewhere; and the necessity of releasing Elizabeth from the Tower was another annoyance to the Queen. A confinement at Woodstock was the furthest stretch of severity that the country would, for the present, permit. On the 19th of May, Elizabeth was taken up the river. The Princess believed herself that she was being carried off tanqnam ovis, as she said—as a sheep for the slaughter. But the world thought that she was set at liberty, and as her barge passed under the Bridge Mary heard, with indignation, from the palace windows, three salvoes of artillery fired from the Steelyard, as a sign of the joy of the people. A letter from Philip would have been a consolation to her in the midst of the troubles which she had encountered for his sake; but the languid lover had never written a line to her; or, if he had written, not a line had reached her hand; only a ship which contained despatches from him for Renard had been taken, in the beginning of May, by a French cruiser, and the thought that precious words of affection had, perhaps, been on their way to her and were lost, was hard to bear.
In vain she attempted to cheer her spirits with the revived ceremonials of Whitsuntide. She marched day after day, in procession, with canopies and banners, and bishops in gilt slippers, round St James's, round St Martin's, round Westminster. Sermons and masses alternated now with religious feasts, now with Diriges for her father's soul. But all was to no purpose; she could not cast off her anxieties, or escape from the shadow of her subjects' hatred, which clung to her steps. Insolent pamphlets were dropped in her path and in the offices of Whitehall; she trod upon them in the passages of the palace; they were placed by mysterious hands in the sanctuary of her bedroom. At length, chafed with a thousand irritations, and craving for a husband who showed so small anxiety to come to her, she fled from June.London, at the beginning of June, to Richmond.
The trials of the last six months had begun to tell upon Mary's understanding: she was ill with hysterical longings; ill with the passions which Gardiner had kindled and Paget disappointed. A lady who slept in her room told Noailles that she could speak to no one without impatience, and that she believed the whole world was in a league to keep her husband from her. She found fault with every one—even with the Prince himself. Why had he not written? she asked again and again. Why had she never received one courteous word from him? If she heard of merchants or sailors arriving from Spain, she would send for them and question them; and some would tell her that the Prince was said to have little heart for his business in England; others terrified her with tales of fearful fights upon the seas; and others brought her news of the French squadrons that were on the watch in the Channel. She would start out of her sleep at night, picturing a thousand terrors, and among them one to which all else were insignificant, that her Prince, who had taken such wild possession of her imagination, had no answering feeling for herself—that, with her growing years and wasted figure, she could never win him to love her.
'The unfortunate Queen,' wrote Henry of France, 'will learn the truth at last. She will wake too late, in misery and remorse, to know that she has filled the realm with blood for an object which, when she has gained it, will bring nothing but affliction to herself or to her people.'
But the darkest season has its days of sunshine, and Mary's trials were for the present over. If the statesmen were disloyal, the clergy and the Universities appreciated her services to the Church, and, in the midst of her trouble, Oxford congratulated her on having been raised up for the restoration of life and light to England. More pleasant than this pleasant flattery was the arrival, on the 19th of June, of the Marquis do las Navas from Spain, with the news that by that time the Prince was on his way.
It was even so. Philip had submitted to his unwelcome destiny, and six thousand troops being required pressingly by the Emperor in the Low Countries, they attended him for his escort. A paper of advices was drawn for the Prince's use by Renard, directing him how to accommodate himself to his barbarous fortune. Neither soldiers nor mariners would be allowed to land. The noblemen, therefore, who formed his retinue, were advised to bring Spanish musketeers, disguised in liveries, in the place of pages and lacqueys. Their arms could be concealed amidst the baggage. The war would be an excuse for the noblemen being armed themselves, and the Prince, on landing, should have a shirt of mail under his doublet. As to manner, he must endeavour to be affable: he would have to hunt with the young lords, and to make presents to them; and, with whatever difficulty, he must learn a few words of English, to exchange the ordinary salutations. As a friend, Renard recommended Paget to him; he would find Paget 'a man of sense.'
Philip, who was never remarkable for personal courage, may be pardoned for having come reluctantly to a country where he had to bring men-at-arms for servants, and his own cook for fear of being poisoned. The sea, too, was hateful to him, for he suffered miserably from sickness. Nevertheless, he was coming, and with him such a retinue of gallant gentlemen as the world has rarely seen together. The Marquis de los Valles, Gonzaga, d'Aguilar, Medina Celi, Antonio de Toledo, Diego de Mendoza, the Count de Feria, the Duke of Alva, Count Egmont, and Count Horn—men whose stories are written in the annals of two worlds: some in letters of glorious light, some in letters of blood which shall never be washed out while the history of mankind survives. Whether for evil or good, they were not the meek innocents for whom Renard had at one time asked so anxiously
In company with these noblemen was Sir Thomas Gresham, charged with half a million of money in bullion, out of the late arrivals from the New World; which the Emperor, after taking security from the London merchants, had lent the Queen, perhaps to enable her to make her marriage palatable by the restoration of the currency.
Thus preciously freighted, the Spanish fleet, a hundred and fifty ships, large and small, sailed from Corunna at the beginning of July. The voyage was weary and wretched. The sea-sickness prostrated both the Prince and the troops, and to the sea-sickness was added the terror of the French—a terror, as it happened, needless, for the English exiles, by whom the Prince was to have been intercepted, had, in the last few weeks, melted away from the French service, with the exception of a few who were at Scilly. Sir Peter Carew, for some unknown reason, had written to ask for his pardon, and had gone to Italy; but the change was recent and unknown, and the ships stole along in silence, the orders of the Prince being that not a salute should be fired to catch the ear of an enemy. At last, on the 19th of July, the white cliffs of Freshwater were sighted; Lord Howard lay at the Needles with the English fleet; July 20.and on Friday, the 20th, at three o'clock in the afternoon, the flotilla was safely anchored in Southampton Water.
The Queen was on her way to Winchester, where she arrived the next morning, and either in attendance upon her, or waiting at Southampton, was almost the entire peerage of England. Having made up their minds to endure the marriage, the Lords resolved to give Philip the welcome which was due to the husband of their sovereign, and in the uncertain temper of the people, their presence might be necessary to protect his person from insult or from injury.
It was an age of glitter, pomp, and pageantry; the anchors were no sooner down, than a barge was in readiness, with twenty rowers in the Queen's colours of green and white; and Arundel, Pembroke, Shrewsbury, Derby, and other lords went off to the vessel which carried the royal standard of Castile. Philip's natural manner was cold and stiff, but he had been schooled into graciousness. Exhausted by his voyage, he accepted delightedly the instant invitation to go on shore, and he entered the barge accompanied by the Duke of Alva. A crowd of gentlemen was waiting to receive him at the landing-place. As he stepped out—not perhaps without some natural nervousness and sharp glances round him—the whole assemblage knelt. A salute was fired from the batteries, and Lord Shrewsbury presented him with the order of the Garter. An enthusiastic eye-witness thus describes Philip's appearance:—
'Of visage he is well favoured, with a broad forehead and grey eyes, straight-nosed and of manly countenance. From the forehead to the point of his chin his face groweth small. His pace is princely, and gait so straight and upright as he loseth no inch of his height; with a yellow head and a yellow beard; and thus to conclude, he is so well proportioned of body, arm, leg, and every other limb to the same, as nature cannot work a more perfect pattern, and, as I have learned, of the age of 28 years. His Majesty I judge to be of a stout stomach, pregnant-witted, and of most gentle nature.'
Sir Anthony Brown approached, leading a horse with a saddle-cloth of crimson velvet, embroidered with gold and pearls. He presented the steed with a Latin speech, signifying that he was his Highness's Master of the Horse; and Philip mounting, went direct to Southampton church, the English and Spanish noblemen attending bareheaded, to offer thanks for his safe arrival. From the church he was conducted to a house which had been furnished from the royal stores for his reception. Every thing was, of course, magnificent. Only there had been one single oversight. Wrought upon the damask hangings, in conspicuous letters, were observed the ominous words, 'Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England, France, and Ireland, and Supreme Head of the Church of England.'
Here the Prince was to remain till Monday to recover from his voyage; perhaps to ascertain, before he left the neighbourhood of his own fleet, the humour of the barbarians among whom he had arrived. In Latin (he was unable to speak French) he addressed the Lords on the causes which had brought him to England, the chief among those causes being the manifest will of God, to which he felt himself bound to submit. It was noticed that he never lifted his cap in speaking to any one, but he evidently endeavoured to be courteous. With a stomach unrecovered from the sea, and disdaining precautions, he sat down on the night of his arrival to a public English supper; he even drained a tankard of ale, as an example, he said, to his Spanish companions. The first evening passed off well, and he retired to seek such rest as the strange land and strange people, the altered diet, and the firing of guns, which never ceased through the summer night, would allow him.
July 21.Another feature of his new country awaited Philip in the morning; he had come from the sunny plains of Castile; from his window at Southampton he looked out upon a steady downfall of July rain. Through the cruel torrent he made his way to the church again to mass, and afterwards Gardiner came to him from the Queen. In the afternoon the sky cleared, and the Duchess of Alva, who had accompanied her husband, was taken out in a barge upon Southampton Water. Both English and Spaniards exerted themselves to be mutually pleasing; but the situation was not of a kind which it was desirable to protract. Six thousand Spanish troops were cooped in the close uneasy transports, forbidden to land lest they should provoke the jealousy of the people; July 22.and when, on Sunday, his Highness had to undergo a public dinner, in which English servants only were allowed to attend upon him, the Castilian lords, many of whom believed that they had come to England on a bootless errand, broke out into murmurs.
July 23.Monday came at last; the rain fell again, and the wind howled. The baggage was sent forward in the morning in the midst of the tempest. Philip lingered in hopes of a change; but no change came, and after an early dinner the trumpet sounded to horse. Lords, knights, and gentlemen had thronged into the town, from curiosity or interest, out of all the counties round. Before the Prince mounted it was reckoned, with uneasiness, that as many as four thousand cavaliers, under no command, were collected to join the procession.
A grey gelding was led up for Philip; he wrapped himself in a scarlet cloak, and started to meet his bride—to complete a sacrifice the least congenial, perhaps, which ever policy of state extracted from a prince.
The train could move but slowly. Two miles beyond the gates a drenched rider, spattered with chalk mud, was seen galloping towards them; on reaching the Prince he presented him with a ring from the Queen, and begged his Highness, in her Majesty's name, to come no further. The messenger could not explain the cause, being unable to speak any language which Philip could understand, and visions of commotion instantly presented themselves, mixed, it may be, with a hope that the bitter duty might yet be escaped. Alva was immediately at his master's side; they reined up, and were asking each other anxiously what should next be done, when an English lord exclaimed in French, with courteous irony, 'Our Queen, sire, loves your Highness so tenderly that she would not have you come to her in such wretched weather.' The hope, if hope there had been, died in its birth; before sunset, with drenched garments and draggled plume, the object of so many anxieties arrived within the walls of Winchester.
To the cathedral he went first, wet as he was. Whatever Philip of Spain was entering upon, whether it was a marriage or a massacre, a state intrigue or a midnight murder, his opening step was ever to seek a blessing from the holy wafer. He entered, kissed the crucifix, and knelt and prayed before the altar; then taking his seat in the choir, he remained while the choristers sang a Te Deum laudamus, till the long aisles grew dim in the summer twilight, and he was conducted by torchlight to the Deanery.
The Queen was at the Bishop's palace, but a few hundred yards distant. Philip, doubtless, could have endured the postponement of an interview till morning; but Mary could not wait, and the same night he was conducted into the presence of his haggard bride, who now, after a life of misery, believed herself at the open gate of Paradise. Let the curtain fall over the meeting, let it close also over the wedding solemnities which followed with due splendour two days later. There are scenes in life which we regard with pity too deep for words. The unhappy Queen, unloved, unlovable, yet with her parched heart thirsting for affection, was flinging herself upon a breast to which an iceberg was warm; upon a man to whom love was an unmeaning word, except as the most brutal of passions. For a few months she created for herself an atmosphere of unreality. She saw in Philip the ideal of her imagination, and in Philip's feelings the reflex of her own; but the dream passed away—her love for her husband remained; but remained only to be a torture to her. With a broken spirit and bewildered understanding, she turned to Heaven for comfort, and, instead of heaven, she saw only the false roof of her creed painted to imitate and shut out the sky.
The scene will change for a few pages to the Low Countries. Charles V. more than any other person was responsible for this marriage. He had desired it not for Mary's sake, not for Philip's sake, not for religion's sake; but that he might be able to assert a decisive preponderance over France; and, to gain his end, he had already led the Queen into a course which had forfeited the regard of her subjects. She had murdered Lady Jane Grey at the instigation of his ambassador, and under the same influence she had done her best to destroy her sister. Yet Charles, notwithstanding, was one of nature's gentlemen. If he was unscrupulous in the sacrifice of others to his purposes, he never spared himself; and in the days of his successes he showed to less advantage than now, when, amidst failing fortunes and ruined health, his stormy career was closing.
In the spring he had been again supposed to be dying. His military reputation had come out tarnished from his failure at Metz, and while he was labouring with imperfect success to collect troops for a summer's campaign, Henry of France, unable to prevent the English marriage, was preparing to strike a blow so heavy, as should enable him to dictate peace on his own terms before England was drawn into the quarrel.
In June two French armies took the field. Pietro Strozzi advanced from Piedmont into Tuscany. Henry himself, with Guise, Montmorency, and half the peerage of France, entered the Low Countries, sweeping all opposition before him. First Marienbourg fell, then Dinant fell, stormed with especial gallantry. The young French nobles were taught that they must conquer or die: a party of them flinched in the breach at Dinant, and the next morning Henry sat in judgment upon them sceptre in hand; some were hanged, the rest degraded from their rank: 'and whereas one privilege of the gentlemen of France was to be exempt from taylles payable to the Crown, they were made tayllable as any other villains.'
From Dinant the French advanced to Namur. When Namur should have fallen, Brussels was the next aim; and there was nothing, as it seemed, which could stop them. The Imperial army under the Prince of Savoy could but hover, far outnumbered, on their skirts. The reinforcements from Spain had not arrived, and a battle lost was the loss of Belgium.
In the critical temper of England, a decisive superiority obtained by France would be doubly dangerous; and Charles, seeing Philibert perplexed into uncertain ipovements which threatened misfortune, disregarding the remonstrances of his physicians, his ministers, and his generals, started from his sick bed, flew to the head of his troops, and brought them to Namur, in the path of the advancing French. Men said that he was rushing upon destruction; that the headstrong humour which had already worked him so heavy injury was again dragging him into ruin. But fortune had been disarmed by the greatness with which Charles had borne up against calamity, or else his supposed rashness was the highest military wisdom. Before Henry came up he had seized a position at an angle of the Meuse, where he could defend Namur, and could not be himself attacked, except at a disadvantage. The French approached only to retire, and, feeling themselves unable to force the Imperial lines, commenced a retreat. Charles followed cautiously. An attack on Renty brought on an action in which the French claimed the victory; but the Emperor held his ground, and the town could not be taken; and Henry's army, from which such splendid results had been promised, fell back on the frontier and dispersed. The voices which had exclaimed against the Emperor's rashness were now as loud in his praise, and the disasters which he was accused of provoking, it was now found that he only had averted. Neither the French nor the Imperialists, in their long desperate struggle, can claim either approval or sympathy; the sufferings which they inflicted upon mankind were not the less real, the selfishness of their rivalry none the less reprehensible, because the disunion of the Catholic powers permitted the Reformation to establish itself. Yet, in this perplexed world, the deeds of men may be without excuse, while, nevertheless, in the men themselves there may be something to love, and something more to admire.
- Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- 'Le dict Paget me respondict qu'il n'estoit ja besoing d'entrer en si grande jalousie, et que tout ainsi que nous les avions faicts amys avecques les Escossoys, ce marriage seroit aussy cause que nous serions amys avecques l'Empereur.'—Noailles to the King of France, December 26. Compare also the letter of December 23, Ambassades, vol. ii. pp. 334–356.
- Renard to Charles V.: November 14, November 28, December 3, December 8, December 11: Rolls House MSS.
- Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS. The Queen wrote to Wotton to learn his authority. The Venetian ambassador, Wotton said, was the person who had told him; but the quarter from which the information originally came, he believed, might be relied on.—Wotton to the Queen and Council: MS. State Paper Office.
- 'Un des principaulx qu'il a avec luy que se nomme William Peto, theologien, luy a escript luy donnant conseil de non se marrier, et vivre en celibat; meslant en ses lettres plusieurs allegations du Vieux et Nouveau Testament, repetant x ou xii fois qu'elle tombera en la puissance et servitude du mari, qu'elle n'aura enfans, sinon soubz danger de sa vie pour l'age dont elle est.'—Renard to Charles V.: Tytler, vol. ii. p. 303.
- Instructions of Cardinal Pole to Thomas Goldwell: Cotton MSS. Titus, B. ii.
- Renard dwelt much on this point as a reason for haste.
- Marriage Treaty between Mary, Queen of England, and Philip of Spain: Rymer, vol. vi
- Renard to Charles V., December 11: Rolls House MSS.
- 'The English,' he said, 'sont si traictres, si inconstantes, si doubles, si malicieux, et si faciles à esmover qu'il ne se fault fier; et si l'alliance est grande, aussi est elle hazardeuse pour la personne de son Altesse.'—Renard to Charles V., December 12: Rolls House MSS.
- Charles V. to Renard, December 24: Rolls House MSS.
- Renard to Charles V., December 20: Ibid.
- The Queen to Sir Thomas Gresham: Flanders MSS. Mary, State Paper Office.
- Noailles to the King of France, December 6: Ambassades, vol. ii.
- The Bishop of Arras to the Ambassadors in England: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv. p. 181, &c.
- The 10th day of January the ambassadors rode unto Hampton Court, and there they had as great cheer as could be had, and hunted and killed, tag and rag, with hounds and swords.—Machyn's Diary.
- After dinner Lord William Howard entered, and, seeing the Queen pensive, whispered something to her in English; then turning to us, he asked if we knew what he had said? The Queen bade him not tell, but he paid no attention to her. He told us he had said he hoped soon to see somebody sitting there, pointing to the chair next her Majesty. The Queen blushed, and asked him how he could say so. He answered that he knew very well she liked it; whereat her Majesty laughed, and the Court laughed, &c.—Egmont and Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- Noailles and d'Oysel to the King of France, January 15: Ambassades, vol. iii.
- 'Sire, tout maintenant en achevant cette lettre, les maire et aldermans de Plymouth, m'ont envoyé prier de vous supplier les vouloir prendre en votre protection, voulans et deliberans mettre leur ville entre vos mains, et y recepvoir dedans telle garrison qu'il vous plaira y envoyer; s'estans resoubz de ne recevoir aulcunement le Prince d'Espaigne, ne s'asservir en façon que ce soit à ses commandemens, et s'asseurans que tous les gentilzhommes de l'entour d'icy en feroient de mesme.'—Noailles to the King of France: Ambassades, vol. ii. p. 342.
- One of the projects mooted was the Queen's murder; a scheme suggested hy a man from whom better things might have been expected, William Thomas, the late Clerk of the Council. Wyatt, however, would not stain the cause with dark crimes of that kind, and threatened Thomas with rough handling for his proposal.
- The house of Sir Peter Carew.
- Miscellaneous Depositions on the State of Devonshire: MS. Domestic, Mary, vol. ii. State Paper Office.
- Instructions to la Marque: Noailles, vol. iii. p. 25, &c.
- Noailles to the King of France: Ambassades, vol. iii. p. 31.
- 'On the morning of Christmas-day came twelve neighbours of Silverton, being the parish where Mr Gybbes dwelleth, and they complained to me of a cross of latten, and of an altar-cloth stolen out of the church before that time; and that the cross was set up upon a gate or upon a hedge by the way, where the picture of Christ was dressed with a paste or such like tyre, and the picture of our Lady and St John tied by threads to the arms of the cross, like thieves.' 'Mr Gybbes,' could not be actually convicted of having been the perpetrator, but he was 'vehemently suspected,' and, when examined, had used 'vile words.'—Depositions of John Prideaux: MS. Mary, Domestic, vol. ii. State Paper Office.
- Depositions of John Prideaux: MS. Mary, Domestic, vol. ii. State Paper Office.
- Confession of Anthony Norton: MS. Mary, Domestic, vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- Confession of Anthony Norton: MS. Mary, Domestic, vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- Charles V. to the Ambassadors in England, January 24: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv.
- Chronicle of Queen Mary. Baoardo says that Suffolk was sent for to take command of the force which was to he sent against Wyatt. But Wyatt's insurrection had not commenced, far less was any resolution taken to send a force against him. Noailles is, doubtless, right in saying that he was to have been arrested.—Ambassades. vol. iii. p. 48.
- Southwell to Sir William Petre: MS. Mary, Domestic, State Paper Office.
- 'You shall understand that Henry Lord of Abergavenny; Robert Southwell, knight, and George Clarke, gentleman, have most traitorously, to the disturbance of the commonwealth, stirred and raised up the Queen's most loving subjects of this realm, to [maintain the] most wicked and devilish enterprise of certain wicked and perverse councillors, to the utter confusion of this her Grace's realm, and the perpetual servitude of all her most loving subjects. In consideration whereof, we Sir Thos. Wyatt, knight, Sir George Harper, knight, Anthony Knyvet, esq., with all the faithful gentlemen of Kent, with the trusty commons of the same, do pronounce and declare the said Henry Lord of Abergavenny, Robert Southwell, and George Clarke to be traitors to God, the Crown, and the commonwealth.'—MS. Ibid.
- Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- Strype, vol. v. p. 127. Mr Tytler appeals to this letter as an evidence of the good feeling of the Queen towards her sister; but many and genuine as were Mary's good qualities, she may not be credited with a regard for Elizabeth. Renard's letters explain her real sentiments, and account for her outward graciousness. She had already consulted with Renard and Gardiner on the necessity of sending her to the Tower; and, on the 29th of January, as the princess did not avail herself of the Queen's proposal, Renard describes himself to the Emperor as pressing her immediate arrest.—Rolls House MSS.
- Renard to Charles V., January 29: Rolls House MSS.
- A letter from Gardiner to Sir William Petre is in the State Paper Office, part of which he wrote with the cypher open under his eyes in the first heat of the discovery. The breadth and depth of the pen-strokes express the very pulsation of his passion:—
'As I was in hand with other matters,' the paragraph runs, 'was delivered such letters as in times past I durst not have opened; but now, somewhat heated with these treasons, I waxed bolder, wherein I trust I shall be borne with; wherein hap helpeth me, for they be worth the breaking up an I could wholly decypher them, wherein I will spend somewhat of my leisure, if I can have any. But this appeareth, that the letter written from my Lady Elizabeth to the Queen's Highness, now late in her excuse, is taken a matter worthy to be sent into France; for I have the copy of it in the French Ambassador's packet. I will know what can be done in the decyphering, and to-morrow remit that I cannot do unto you.'—Gardiner to Petre: MS. Mary, Domestic, State Paper Office.
- Norfolk to the Council from Gravesend, Sunday, January 28, Monday, January 29: MS. Domestic, Mary, State Paper Office.
- 'It is a great deal more than strange,' he added, 'to see the beastliness of the people, to see how earnestly they be bent in this their most devilish enterprise, and will by no means be persuaded the contrary but that it is for the commonweal of all the realm.'—Cheyne to the Council: MS. Mary, Domestic, vol. iii.
- Cowling Castle, a place already famous in English Reforming history as the residence of Sir John Oldcastle.
- He contrived to send a letter to the Queen the evening of the day on which his house was taken. After describing the scene, he added: 'If your Grace will assemble forces in convenient numbers, they not being above 2000 men, and yet not 500 of them able and good armed men, but rascals and rakehells such as live by spoil, I doubt not but your Grace shall have the victory.'—Cobham to the Queen: MS. State Paper Office. But Cobham under-estimated the numbers, and undervalued the composition of Wyatt's forces, perhaps intentionally. Renard, who is generally accurate, says that the rebels at this time amounted to three thousand; Noailles says, twelve or fifteen thousand.
- Renard to the Emperor, January 29: Rolls House MSS. The Emperor to Renard, February 4: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv. p. 204.
- Instructions to Sir Thomas Cornwallis and Sir Edward Hastings: MS. State Paper Office.
- Renard to the Emperor: Rolls House MSS.
- Holinshed; Noailles.
- Vous, asseurant, sire, comme celluy qui l'a veu, que scaichant la dicte dame aller au dict lieu, je me deliberay en cape de veoir de quelle visaige elle et sa compaignie y alloient; que je congneus estre aussy triste et desplorée qu'il se peult penser.—Noailles to the King of France. Feb. 1.
- La voce grossa et quasi di huomo.—Giovanni Michele: Ellis, vol. ii. series ii.
- 'The Duke has raised evil-disposed persons, minding her Grace's destruction, and to advance the Lady Jane, his daughter, and Guilford Dudley, her husband'—Royal Proclamation: MS. State Paper Office. Printed in the additional Notes to Mr Nichols's Chronicle of Queen Mary. Baoardo says that the Duke actually proclaimed Lady Jane.
- Rampton's Confession: MS. Domestic, Mary, vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- Renard to the Emperor: Rolls House MSS.
- I follow Baoardo in the account of the Duke's capture. Renard says that he was found in the tree by a little dog: 'qu'a esté grand commencement du miracle pour le succès prospere des affaires de la dicte dame.'—Renard to the Emperor, February 8: MS.
- Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS. February 5.
- The Regent Mary to the Ambassadors in England: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv.
- Underhill's Narrative.
- Underhill, however, was too notorious a person to be allowed to remain on duty at such a time of danger.
'When Wyatt was come to Southwark,' he says, 'the pensioners were commanded to watch in armour that night at the Court.… After supper, I put on my armour, as the rest did, for we were appointed to watch all the night. So, being all armed, we came up into the chamber of presence with our poleaxes in our bands, wherewith the ladies were very fearful. Some lamenting, crying, and wringing their hands, said, Alas! there is some great mischief toward: we shall all be destroyed this night. What a sight is this, to see the Queen's chamber full of armed men: the like was never seen nor beard of! Mr Norris, chief usher of Queen Mary's privy chamber, was appointed to call the watch to see if any were lacking; unto whom, Moore, the clerk of our check, delivered the book of our names; and when he came to my name, What, said he, what doth be here? Sir, said the clerk, he is here ready to serve as the rest be. Nay, by God's body, said he, that heretic shall not watch here. Give me a pen. So he struck my name out of the book.'
- Renard to Charles V., February 8: Rolls House MSS.
- Letter of William Markham: Tanner MSS. Bodleian Library, Compare Stow.
- Renard to Charles V., February 8: Rolls House MSS.
- The dress of the Londoners who came with Wyatt being the city uniform, they were distinguished by the dirt upon their legs from their night march. The cry of Pembroke's men in the fight was 'Down with the daggle-tails!'
- 'On Sunday, the 11th of February, the Bishop of Winchester preached in the chapel before the Queen.' 'The preachers for the 7 years last past, he said, by dividing of words and other their own additions, had brought in many errours detestable unto the Church of Christ.' 'He axed a boon of the Queen's Highness, that, like as she faad beforetime extended her mercy particularly and privately, [and] so through her lenity and gentleness much conspiracy and open rebellion was grown … she would now be merciful to the body of the commonwealth and conservation thereof, which could not be unless the rotten and hurtful members thereof were cut off and consumed.'—Chronicle of Queen Mary, p. 54.
- Rolls House MSS.
- Renard to Charles V., February 12: Rolls House MSS.
- Baoardo. The writer of the Chronicle of Queen Mary, says, 'She was appointed to have been put to death on Friday, but was stayed—for what cause is not known.' Baoardo supplies the explanation.
- Vol. vi. pp. 415–417.
- The story told by Baoardo, to whom, it would seem, Feckenham related it.
- Foxe, vol. vi.
- Chronicle of Queen Mary, p. 57, note. In the same manual are a few words in Guilford Dudley's hand, addressed to Suffolk, and a few words also addressed to Suffolk by Lady Jane. Mr Nichols supposes that the book (it is still extant among the Harleian MSS.) was used as a means of communicating with the Duke when direct intercourse was unpermitted. If this conjecture is right, Lady Jane's letter, perhaps, never reached her father at all. There is some difficulty about the memorial which the Lieutenant of the Tower obtained from her. Baoardo says, that she gave him a book, in which she had written a few words in Greek, Latin, and English.
'La Greca era tale. La morte dara la pena al mio corpo del fallo ma la mia anima giustificara inanzi al conspetto di Dio la innocenza mia.
'La Latina diceva. Se la giustitia ha luogo nel corpo mio l'anima mia l'havera nella misericordia di Dio.
'La Inglese. Il fallo e degno di morte ma il modo della mia ignoranza doueva meritar pieta e excusatione appresso il mondo e alle leggi.'
- Andate: che nostro Signore Dio vi contenti d'ogni vostro desiderio, e siate sempre infinitamente ringratiato della compagnia che m'havete fatta avenga che da quella sia stata molto piu noiata che hora non mi spaventa la morte.—Baoardo.
- The 51st: 'Have mercy on me, oh Lord, after thy goodness.'
- Chronicle of Queen Mary, pp 58, 59.
- Renard says: 'A hundred were hanged in London and a hundred in Kent.' Stow says: 'Eighty in London and twenty-two in Kent.' The Chronicle of Queen Mary does not mention the number of executions in London, but agrees with Stow on the number sent to Kent. The smaller estimate, in these cases, is generally the right one.
- On Sunday the 11th of February, the day on which he exhorted the Queen to severity from the pulpit, Gardiner wrote to Sir William Petre, 'To-morrow, at your going to the Tower, it shall be good ye be earnest with one little Wyatt there prisoner, who by all likelihood can tell all. He is but a bastard, and hath no substance; and it might stand with the Queen's Highness's pleasure there were no great account to be made whether ye pressed him to say truth by sharp punishment or promise of life.'—MS. Domestic, Mary, vol. iii. State Paper Office. I do not know to whom Gardiner referred in the words 'little Wyatt.'
- Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- The Order of my Lady Elizabeth's Grace's Voyage to the Court: MS. Mary, Domestic, vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- Renard to Charles V.: February 17: Rolls House MSS.
- 'Pour desguyser le regret qu'elle a,' says Renard, unable to relinquish his first conviction.
- Renard was instructed to exhort the Queen: 'Que l'execution et chastoy de ceulx qui le meritent se face tost; usant á l'endroit de Madame Elizabeth et de Cortenay comme elle verra convenir á sa seureté, pour aprés user de clémence en l'endroit de ceulx qu'il luy semblera, afin de tost reassurer le surplus.'—Charles V. to Renard: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv. pp. 224, 225.
- Il est certain l'enterprinse estoit en sa faveur. Et certes, sire, si pendant que l'occasion s'adonne elle ne la punyt et Cortenay, elle ne sera jamais asseurée.—Renard to Charles V.: Tytler, vol. ii. p. 311.
- Renard to the Emperor, March 8: Rolls House MSS.
- La quelle me respondit et afferme qu'elle ne dort ny repose pour le soucy elle tient de la seure venue de son Altesse.—Renard to the Emperor: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Granvelle Papers, vol. iv. p. 267.
- Renard to Charles V., March 8: Rolls House MSS.
- Arundel nous dit qu'il convenoit que son alteze amena ses cuyseniers, sommeliers du cave, et autres officiers pour son bouche, que quant aux antres luy y pourvoyeroit selon les coustumes d'Angleterre.—Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- Puis par la main de l'Evesque de Winchester les promesses et paroles de præsenti, furent dictes et prononcées intelligiblement par la dict Egmont seul et la dicte Dame.—Ibid. Compare Tytler, vol. ii. p. 327. The great value of Mr Tytler's work is diminished by the many omissions which he has permitted himself to make in the letters which he has edited.
- Pole's first commission granted him powers only 'concordandi et transigendi cum possessoribus bonorum ecclesiasticorum, (restitutis prius si expedire videtur immobilibus per eos indebite detentis,) super fructibus male perceptis ac bonis mobilibus consumptis.'—Commission granted to Reginald Pole: Wilkins's Concilia, vol. iv. Cardinal Morone, writing to Pole as late as June, 1554, said that the Pope was still unable to resolve on giving his sanction to the alienation.—Burnet's Collectanea.
- Paget to Renard: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Par feug et sang.—Renard to Charles V., March 14: Rolls House MSS.; partially printed by Tytler.
- Establir forme d'Inquisition contre les hérétiques.—Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- La chaleur exhorbitante.—Charles V. to Renard: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv. p. 229.
- Pour estre la plus part des Angloys sans foy, sans loy, confuz en la religion, doubles, inconstans, et de nature jaloux et abhorrissans estrangiers.—Rolls Home MSS.
- The French and Calais correspondence in the State Paper Office contains a vast number of letters on this subject. The following extracts are specimens:
On the 24th of March Thomas Corry writes to Lord Grey that 'two hundred vessels be in readiness ' in the French harbours.' There is lately arrived at Caen in Normandy Sir Peter Carew, Sir William Pickering, Sir Edward Courtenay, John Courtenay, Brian Fitzwilliam, and divers other English gentlemen. It is thought Sir Peter Carew shall have charge of the fleet. There be three ships of Englishmen, which be already gone to sea with Killegrew, which do report that they serve the King to prevent the coming of the King of Spain.'—Calais MSS.
On the 28th of March, Edgar Hormolden writes from Guisnes to Sir John Bourne: 'The number of Sir Peter Carew's retinue increaseth in France by the confluence of such English qui potius alicujus præclari facinoris quam artis bonæ famam quærunt; and they be so entreated there as it cannot be otherwise conjectured but that they practise with France: insomuch I have heard credible intelligence that the said Carew used this persuasion, of late, to his companions: Are not we, said he, allianced with Normandy; yea! what ancient house is either there or in France, but we claim by them and they by us? why should we not rather embrace their love than submit ourselves to the servitude of Spain?'—Ibid.
April 17, Dr Wotton writes in cypher from Paris to the Queen: 'Yesterday, an Italian brought a letter to my lodging, and delivered it to a servant of mine, and went his way, so that I know not what he is. The effect of his letter is, that for because he taketh it to be the part of every good Christian man to further your godly purpose and Catholic doings, he hath thought good to advertise me that those fugitives of England say to their friends here that they have intelligence of great importance in England with some of the chiefest on the realm, which shall appear on the arrival of the Prince of Spain. Within few days they go to Normandy to embark themselves there, so strong, that, if they do not let the Prince of Spain to land, as they will attempt to do, yet they will not fail, by the help of them that have intelligence with them, to let him come to London.—French MSS. bundle xi.
- Wotton to the Queen: French MSS. bundle xi. State Paper Office.
- Noailles to the King of France: Ambassades, vol. iii.
- 'When the Ambassador replied that his master minded to do justly, her Grace remembering how those traitors be there aided, especially such of them as had conspired her death and were in arms in the field against her; and being not able to bear those words, so contrary to their doings, told the Ambassador that, for her own part, her Majesty minded simply and plainly to perform as she had promised, and might with safe conscience swear she ever meant so; but, for their part, her Grace would not swear so, and being those arrant traitors ao entertained there as they be, she could not have found in her heart to have used, in like matter, the semblable part towards his master for the gain of two realms, arid with those words she departed.'—Gardiner to Wotton: French MSS. bundle xi.
- On the 29th of April Wotton wrote in a cypher to Mary; 'Towards the end of the summer the French King, by Peter Carew's provocation, intendeth to land the rebels, with a number of Scots, in Essex, and in the Isle of Wight, where they mean to land easily, and either go on, if any number of Englishmen resort unto them, as they say many will, or else fortify themselves there. They council the French King to make war against your Highness in the right and title of the young Queen of Scots.'—MS. Ibid.
- The execution was commenced in earnest. The Prince, says Noailles, 'fust souldainement mesnè au gibet par ceulx de la part du Roy et de M. Wyatt; et sans quelques hommes qui tout a propoz y accoururent, ils l'eussent estranglé; ce que se peult clairement juger par les marques qu'il en a et aura encores d'icy à long temps au col.'—Noailles to Montmorency: Ambassades, vol. iii.
- Dict on qu'elle veult que l'ung d'eulx soit sacrifié pour tout le peuple.—Ibid.
- Ce qui faict juger à beaulcoup de gens que Wyatt ne mourra point, mais que la dicte dame le rendra tant son obligé par ceste grace de luy rendre la vie qu'elle en pourra tirer beaulcoup de bons et grandes services. Ce qui se faict par le moyen dudict ambassadeur de l'Empereur par l'advis duquel se conduisent aujourdhuy toutes les opinions d'icelle dame, et lequel traicte ceste composition avecques la femme dudict Wyatt à laquelle comme l'on dict il a asseuré la vie de son dict mari.—Noailles to the Constable of France, March 31. Renard's secrets were betrayed to Noailles by 'a corrupt secretary' of the Flemish embassy.—Wotton to the Queen: French MSS. bundle xi. State Paper Office.
- Noailles says: Wyatt a esté condamné à mourir; toutesfois il n'est encores executé et avant que luy prononçer sa sentence on luy avoit promis tant de belles choses que vaincu par leur doulces paroles oultre sa deliberation, il a accusé beaulcoup de personnages et parle au desadvantage de mylord de Courtenay et de Madame Elizabeth.—Noailles to d'Oysel, March 29. The different parties were so much interested in Wyatt's confession, that his very last words are sc wrapped round with contradictions, that one cannot tell what they were. It is certain, however, that he did implicate Elizabeth to some extent; it is certain, also, that he did not say enough for the purposes of the Court, and that the Court believed he could say more if he would, for, on Easter Sunday he communicated, and the Queen was distressed that he should have been allowed to partake, while his confession was incomplete. As to Courtenay, Renard said he had communicated enough, 'mais quant à Elizabeth l'on ne poult encores tomber en preuves suffisantes pour les loys d'Angleterre contre elle.'—Renard to Charles V.: Rolls House MSS.
- Holinshed says that a certain lord exclaimed that there would be no safety for the realm until Elizabeth's head was off her shoulders; and either Holinshed himself, or his editor, wrote in the margin opposite, the words: 'The wicked advice of Lord Paget.'—Renard describes so distinctly the attitude of Paget, that there can be no doubt whatever of the injustice of such a charge against him.
- MS. Mary, Domestic, vol iv. Printed by Ellis, 2nd series, vol. ii p. 255.
- As soon as Noailles learnt that his enclosure formed part of the case against Elizabeth, he came forward to acquit her of having furnished him with it; 'jurant et blasphémant tous les sermens du monde pour la justification de la dicte Dame Elizabeth.'—Renard to Charles V., April 3: Rolls House MSS.
- Contemporary Narrative: Harleian MSS. 419. Chronicle of Queen Mary, p. 71. Holinshed.
- Renard to Charles V., March 22; Rolls House MSS
- Il me repliqua que vivant Elizabeth il n'a espoir a la tranquillité du Royaulme, que quant a luy si chascun alloit si rondement en besoyn comme il fait, les choses se porteroient mieux.—Renard to the Emperor, April 3: Rolls House MSS. From these dark plotters, what might not be feared? Holinshed says that, while Elizabeth was in the Tower, a writ was sent down for her execution devised, as was believed, by Gardiner; and that Lord Chandos (Sir John Brydges, the Lieutenant of the Tower) refused to put it in force. The story has been treated as a fable, and in the form in which it is told by Holinshed, it was very likely untrue: yet, in the presence of these infernal conversations, I think it highly probable that, as the hope of a judicial conviction grew fainter, schemes were talked of, and were perhaps tried, for cutting the knot in a decisive manner. In revolutionary times men feel that if to-day is theirs, to-morrow may be their enemies'; and they are not particularly scrupulous. The anxious words of Sussex did not refer to the merely barring a prisoner's door.
- Noailles, vol. iii. p. 141.
- Renard to Charles V., April 7.
- 1 Mary, cap. ii.
- See the treaty of marriage between Philip and Mary in Rymer.
- 1 Mary, cap. i.
- Y a telle confusion que l'on n'attend sinon que la querelle se demesle par les armes et tumults.—Renard to Charles V., April 22.
- Holinshed says, Edmund Tremayne was racked, and I have already quoted Gardiner's letter to Petre, suggesting the racking of 'little Wyatt.'
- Her Grace's cook said to him, My Lord, I will never suffer any stranger to come about her diet but her own sworn men as long as I live.—Harleian MSS. 419, and see Holinshed.
- L'Admiral s'est coleré au grand chamberlain de la Royne que a la garde de la dicte Elizabeth et luy a dit qu'elle feroit encores trancher tant de testes que luy et autres s'en repentiroient.—Renard to Charles V., April 7: Rolls House MSS.
- Lord Chandos stated the same day in the House of Lords that he threw himself at Courtenay's feet and implored him to confess the truth. The sheriffs of London, on the other hand, said that he entreated Courtenay to forgive him for the false charges which he had brought against him and against Elizabeth.—Foxe, vol. vi. Compare Chronicle of Queen Mary, p. 72, note.
- So far the Chronicle of Queen Mary, Holinshed, Stow, and the narratives among the Harleian MSS. essentially agree. But the chronicle followed by Stow makes Wyatt add, 'As I have declared no less to the Queen's council;' whereas Foxe says that he admitted that he had spoken otherwise to the council, but had spoken untruly. Noailles tells all that was really important in a letter to d'Oysel: 'M. Wyatt eust la teste coupée, dischargeant advant que de mourir Madame Elizabeth et Courtenay qu'il avoit aulparavant chargé de s'estre entendus en son entreprinse sur promesses que l'on luy avoit faictes de luy saulver la vie.'—Noailles, vol. iii.
- Courtenay, however, certainly was guilty; and had Wyatt acquitted Elizabeth without naming Courtenay, his words would have been far more effective than they were. This, however, it was hard for Wyatt to do, as it would have been equivalent to a repetition of his accusations.
- Les gens de loy ne treuvent matière pour la condamner.—Renard to Charles V., April 22: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Ibid. And see a passage in the MS., which Mr Tytler has omitted.
- It is printed at length in Holinshed.
- Que tant altère la dicte dame qu'elle a esté trois jours malade, et n'est encore bien d'elle.—Renard to Charles V.: Tytler, vol. ii. p. 374.
- He whom you wrote of comes to me with a sudden and strange proposal, that, since matters against Madame Elizabeth do not take the turn which was wished, there should be an Act brought into Parliament to disinherit her. I replied that I would give no consent to such a scheme.—Paget to Renard: Tytler, vol. ii. p. 382.
- Lords' Journals.
- Renard complains of Paget's conduct bitterly.—Renard to Charles V., May i: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Commons' Journals.
- Paget to Renard; Tytler, vol. ii. p. 382. And compare Renard's correspondence with the Emperor during the month of April.—Rolls House MSS.
- Pour ce qui ordiriairement les humeurs des Angloys boulissent plus en l'esté que en autre temps.
- Quant l'on a parlé de la peyne des hérétiques, il a sollicité les sieurs pour non y consentir, y donner lieu à peynede mort.—Renard to Charles V., May 1.
- Lords' Journals.
- There can, I think, be no doubt that it was this which the peers said. The statute of Henry IV. was not passed; yet the Queen told Renard, 'que le peyne antienne contre les hérétiques fut agrée par toute la noblesse, et qu'ilz fairent dire expressement et publiquement qu'ilz entendoient l'hérésie estre extirpée et punie.' The chancellor informed Renard that, 'Although the Heresy Bill was lost, there were penalties of old standing against heretics which had still the form of law, and could be put in execution.' And, on the 3rd of May, the privy council directed the judges and the Queen's learned counsel to be called together, and their opinions demanded, 'what they think in law her Highness may do touching the cases of Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, being already, by both the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, judged to be obstinate heretics, which matter is the rather to be consulted upon, for that the said Cranmer is already attainted.'—MS. Privy Council Register. The answer of the judges I have not found, but it must have been unfavourable to the intentions of the Court. Joan Bocher was burnt under the common law, for her opinions were condemned by all parties in the Church, and were looked upon in the same light as witchcraft, or any other profession definitely devilish. But it was difficult to treat as heresy, under the common law, a form of belief which had so recently been sanctioned by Act of Parliament.
- Renard to Charles V., May 13: Rolls House MSS.
- Renard to Charles V., May 13: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Les ont provoqué à debatz, les cerrans et poulsans.—Renard to Charles V.: Tytler, vol. ii. p. 413.
- Samedy dernier Elizabeth fut tirée de la Tour et menée a Richmond; et dois ledict Richmond l'on l'a conduit à Woodstock pour y estre gardée surement jusques l'on la fasse aller à Pomfret. Et s'est resjouy le peuple de sa departye, pensant qu'ello fut en liberté, et passant par devant la Maison des Stillyards ilz tirerent trois coups d'artillerie en signe d'allegrie, que la reyne et son conseil ont prins a desplaisir et regret, et estimons que l'on en fera demonstration.—Renard to Charles V.: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv.
- Machyn's Diary; Strype's Memorials of the Reformation.
- Le doubte luy est souvent augmentée par plusieurs marchants mariniers et aultres malcontens de son marriage qui veuans de France et Espaign luy desguisent et luy controuvent un infinité de nouvelles estranges, les ungs du peu de volunté que le prince a de venir par deçà, les aultres d'avoir ouy et entendus combats sur la raer, et plusieurs d'avoir descouvert grand nombre de voisles Françoises avec grand appareil.—Noailles to the King of France Ambassades, vol. iii. p. 253.
- L'on m'a dict que quelques heures de la nuict elle entre en telle resverie de ses amours et passions que bien souvent elle se met hors de soy, et croy que la plus grande occasion de sa douleur vient du desplaisir qu'elle a de veoir sa personne si diminuée et ses ans multiplier en telle nombre qu'ilz luy courent tous les jours a grande interest.—Noailles to the King of France: Ambassades, vol. iii. p. 252.
- Ibid. p. 255.
- Nuper cum litterarum studia pene extincta jacerent cum salus omnium exigua, spe dubiâque penderet quis non fortunæ incertos eventus extimescebat? Quis non ingemuit et arsit dolore? Pars studia deserere cogebantur; pars buc illucque quovis momento rapiebantur; nec ulli certus ordo suumve propositum diu constabat.—The happy change of the last year was then contrasted with proper point and prolixity.—The University of Oxford to the Queen: MS. Domestic, Mary, vol. iv.
- 'Homme d'esprit.' Instructions données à Philippe, Prince d'Espagne: Granvelle Papers, vol. iv. p. 267.
- Gresham's Correspondence: Flanders MSS. State Paper Office. The bullion was afterwards drawn in procession in carts through the London streets.
- Wotton's Correspondence: French MSS. State Paper Office. The title of the Queen of Scots was, perhaps, the difficulty; or Carew may have felt that he could do nothing of real consequence, while he might increase the difficulty of protecting Elizabeth.
- Noailles to the King of France, July 23: Ambassades, vol. iii
- Antiquaries dispute whether Philip received the Garter on board his own vessel or after he came on shore. Lord Shrewsbury himself settles the important point. 'I, the Lord Steward,' Shrewsbury wrote to Wotton, 'at his coming to land, presented the Garter to him.'—French MSS. Mary, State Paper Office.
- John Elder to the Bishop of Caithness: Queen Jane and Queen Mary, appendix 10. Elder adds that his stature was about that of a certain 'John Hume, my Lord of Jedward's kinsman,' which does not help our information. Philip, however, was short.
- Non havendo mai levato la berretta a persona.—Baoardo.
- Crudele pioggia.—Baoardo.
- La Dominica Mattina se n'ando a messa et tornato a casa mangio in publico servito da gli officiali che gli haveva data la Reina con mala satisfattione degli Spagnuoli, i quali dubitando che la cosa non andasse a lungo, mormoravano assai tra di loro.—Baoardo.
- 'Sire, la Nostra Reina ama tanto l'Altezza vostra ch'ella non vorebbe che pigliasse disagio di caminar per tempi cosi tristi.'—Baoardo.
- Wotton to the Queen; cypher: French MSS. Mary, bundle xi.
- You shall understand that the Emperor hath suddenly caused his army to march towards Namur, and that himself is gone after in person; the deliberation whereof, both of the one and the other, is against the advice of his council, and all other men to the staying of him. Wherein Albert the Duke of Savoy, John Baptiste Castaldo, Don Hernando de Gonzaga, and Andrea Doria have done their best, as well by letter as by their coming from the camp to this town, vivâ voce alleging to him the puissance of his enemy, the unableness as yet of his army to encounter with them, the danger of the chopping of them between him and this town, the hazard of himself, his estate, and all these countries, in case, being driven to fight, their army should have an overthrow; in the preservation whereof standeth the safety of the whole, and twenty other arguments. Yet was there no remedy, but forth he would, and commanded them, that they should march sans plus répliquer. His headiness hath often put him to great hindrance, specially at Metz, and another time at Algiers. This enterprise is more dangerous than they both. God send him better fortune than multi ominantur.'—Mason to Petre, Brussels, July 10; German MSS. Mary, bundle 16, State Paper Office.
- 'The Emperor, in these nine or ten days following of his enemy, hath showed a great courage, and no less skilfulness in the war; but much more notably showed the same when, with so small an army as he then had, he entered into Namur, a town of no strength, but commodious for the letting of his enemy's purpose, against the advice and persuasion of all his captains; which, if he had not done, out of doubt first Liége, and after, these countries, had had such a foil as would long after have been remembered. By his own wisdom and unconquered courage the enemy's meaning that way was frustrated.'—Mason to the Council, Aug. 13: German MSS. Mary, bundle 16, State Paper Office.