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815
MARY I.


authority, and confessing that the marriage between her father and mother “ was by God's law and man's law incestuous and unlawful.”

No act, perhaps, in the whole of Henry's reign gives us a more painful idea of his revolting despotism. Mary was a high-spirited girl, and undoubtedly popular. All Europe looked upon her at that time as the only legitimate child of her father, but her father himself compelled her to disown the title and pass an unjust stigma on her own birth and her mother's good name. Nevertheless Henry was now reconciled to her, and gave her household in some degree suitable to her rank. During the rest of the reign we hear little about her except in connexion with a number of new marriage projects taken up and abandoned successively, one of which, to the count palatine Philip, duke of Bavaria, was specially repugnant to her in the matter of religion. Her privy purse expenses for nearly the whole of this period have been published, and show that Hatfield, Beaulieu or Newhall in Essex, Richmond and Hunsdon were among her principal places of residence. Although she was still treated as of illegitimate birth, it was believed that the king, having obtained from parliament the extraordinary power to dispose of the crown by will, would restore her to her place in the succession, and three years before his death she was so restored by statute, but still under conditions to be regulated by her father's will.

Under the reign of her brother, Edward VI. she was again subjected to severe trials, which at one time made her seriously meditate taking fiight and escaping abroad. Edward himself indeed seems to have been personally not unkind to her, but the religious revolution in his reign assumed proportions such as it had not done before, and Mary, who had done sufficient violence to her own convictions in submitting to a despotic father, was not disposed to yield an equally tame obedience to authority exercised by a factious council in the name of a younger brother not yet come to years of discretion. Besides, the cause of the pope was naturally her own. In spite of the forced declaration formerly wrung from herself, no one really regarded her as a bastard, and the full recognition of her rights depended on the recognition of the pope as head of the Church. Hence, when Edward's parliament passed an Act of Uniformity enjoining services in English and communion in both kinds, the law appeared to her totally void of authority, and she insisted on having Mass in her own private chapel under the old form. When ordered to desist, she appealed for protection to the emperor Charles V., who, being her cousin, intervened for some time not ineffectually, threatening war with England if her religious liberty was interfered with. But Edward's court was composed of factions of which the most violent eventually carried the day. Lord Seymour, the admiral, was attainted of treason and beheaded in 1549. His brother, the Protector Somerset, met with the same fate in 1552. Dudley, duke of Northumberland, then became paramount in the privy council, and easily obtained the sanction of the young king to those schemes for altering the succession which led immediately after his death to the usurpation of Lady Jane Grey. Dudley had, in fact, overawed all the rest of the privy council, and when the event occurred he took such energetic measures to give effect to the scheme that Lady lane was actually recognized as queen for some days, and Mary had even to fly from Hunsdon into Norfolk. But the country was really devoted to her cause, as indeed her right in law was unquestionable, and before many days she was royally received in London, and took up her abode within the Tower.

Her first acts at the beginning of her reign displayed a character very different from that which she still holds in popular estimation. Her clemency towards those who had taken up arms against her was altogether remarkable. She released from prison Lady Jane's father, Suffolk, and had difficulty even in signing the warrant for the execution of Northumberland. Lady Jane herself she fully meant to spare, and did spare till after Wyatt's formidable insurrection. Her conduct, indeed, was in every respect conciliatory and pacific, and so far as they depended on her personal character the prospects of the new reign might have appeared altogether favourable. But unfortunately her position was one of peculiar difficulty, and the policy on which she determined was far from judicious. Inexperienced in the art of governing, she had no trusty councillor but Gardiner; every other member of the council had been more or less implicated in the conspiracy against her. And though she valued Gardiner's advice she was naturally led to rely even more on that of her cousin, the emperor, who had been her mother's friend in adversity, and had done such material service to herself in the preceding reign. Following the emperor's guidance she determined almost from the first to make his son Philip her husband, though she was eleven years his senior. She was also strongly desirous of restoring the old religion and wiping out the stigma of illegitimacy upon her birth, so that she might not seem to reign by virtue of a mere parliamentary settlement.

Each of these different objects was attended by difficulties or objections peculiar to itself; but the marriage was the most unpopular of all. A restoration of the old religion threatened to deprive the new owners of abbey lands of their easy and comfortable acquisitions; and it was only with an express reservation of their interests that the thing was actually accomplished. A declaration of her own legitimacy necessarily cast a slur on that of her sister Elizabeth, and cut her off from the succession. But the marriage promised to throw England into the arms of Spain and place the resources of the kingdom at the command of the emperor's son. The Commons sent her a deputation to entreat that she would not marry a foreigner, and when her resolution was known insurrections broke out in different parts of the country. Suffolk, whose first rebellion had been pardoned, proclaimed Lady Jane Grey again in Leicestershire, while young Wyatt raised the county of Kent and, though denied access by London Bridge, led his men round by Kingston to the very gates of London before he was repulsed. In the midst of the danger Mary showed great intrepidity, and the rebellion was presently quelled; after which, unhappily, she got leave to pursue, her own course unchecked. She married Philip, restored the old religion, and got Cardinal Pole to come over and absolve the kingdom from its past disobedience to the Holy See.

It was a more than questionable policy thus to ally England with Spain—a power then actually at war with France. By the treaty, indeed, England was to remain neutral; but the force of events, in the end, compelled her, as might have been expected, to take part in the quarrel. Meanwhile the country was full of faction, and seditious pamphlets of Protestant origin infiamed the people with hatred against the Spaniards. Philip's Spanish followers met with positive ill-usage everywhere, and violent outbreaks occurred. A year after his marriage Philip went over to Brussels to receive from his father the government of the Low Countries and afterwards the kingdom of Spain. Much to Mary's distress, his absence was prolonged for a year and a half, and when he returned in March 1557 it was only to commit England completely to the war; after which he went back to Brussels in July, to return no more to England.

Hostilities with France were inevitable, because France had encouraged disaffection among Mary's subjects, even during the brief truce of Vaucelles. Conspiracies had been hatched by English refugees in Paris, and an attempt to seize Scarborough had been made with the aid of vessels from the Seine. But perhaps the strangest thing about the situation was that the pope took part with France against Spain; and so the very marriage which Mary had contracted to bring England back to the Holy See made her the wife of the pope's enemy. It was, moreover, this war with France that occasioned the final calamity of the loss of Calais, which sank so deeply into Mary's heart some time before she died.

The cruel persecution of the Protestants, which has cast so much infamy upon her reign, was not due, as commonly supposed, to inhumanity on her part. When the kingdom was reconciled to Rome and absolved by Cardinal Pole, it