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knew to be wicked and unscrupulous in a desperate degree. She must have known, as we all know, that Mary was not to be believed or trusted. M. Mignet is absurdly indignant against Elizabeth for refusing to see Mary till her character was cleared.

• When the envoys,' he says, “ had informed her *(Mary) of the hypocritical regret and offensive refusal of their ' mistress, Mary Stuart, with tears in her eyes, sorrowfully

complained,' &c.; but in this our queen was certainly justified, and it cannot he denied that it was of importance to Elizabeth to have the guilt she fully believed in proved against her rival. This point, which it was more her interest to attain than even Murray's, she brought about as far as suited her purpose, though her respect for royalty prevented her publicly pronouncing the judgment arrived at. And having put some of the leading Roman Catholic lords on her commission, she secured that they should be aware of Mary's true character. Had Mary not been what she was, we do not believe Elizabeth would have detained her a prisoner. We are not justifying her for thus constituting herself her judge, but all must see that it is a different degree of error to oppress an innocent person and a guilty one. Elizabeth kept Mary prisoner because it suited her interest-because she dare not let her

go.

But while she probably knew in her heart that she had no right to do this, she could take comfort at least in the conviction that Mary deserved it.

Amongst those convinced of the authenticity of the letters was the Duke of Norfolk, though ambition afterwards so far overcame all decency of feeling that he would have married Mary, as he did rebel for her, and was one of the many victims in her cause. Elizabeth had very early charged him with the projected marriage, when he did with great oaths deny it, and added, Why

should I seek to marry so wicked a woman, such a notorious * adultress and murderess? I love to sleep upon a safe pillow.... • Besides, knowing as I do, that she pretendeth a title to the * present possession of your majesty's crown, if I were about to • marry her, your majesty might justly charge me with seeking * to take your own crown from off your head.' In spite of these professions, in less than three years we find him reviving the plan of marriage, organizing with the Roman Catholic party a general insurrection, and plotting on the continent with the 'pope and the King of Spain to change the religion and over• throw the government. He was found guilty, and previously to his execution spoke with great bitterness of the syren who had led him to his present misery.

• He sayeth very earnestly with vow to God, that if he were offered to have that woman in marriage, to chose that or death, he had rather take this death that he is going to, a hundred parts: and he takes his Saviour to witness of this. He sayeth that nothing that anybody goeth about for her prospereth, nor that else she doth herself; and also that she is openly defamed.' Letter from Henry Skipwith to Dr. Burghley, 16th Feb. 1572.

. Mignet, vol. ii. p. 159.

In spite of the tears Mary wept for Norfolk, we believe he was more sincerely lamented by the queen he conspired against. She most unwillingly suffered his execution. She could not sleep while the question was pending, and wrote bitterly to Mary for having seduced him from his allegiance. His treason being manifest, the House of Commons and her ministers urged his death, and even ventured to demand that of Mary, her life being, they said, incompatible with the safety of the kingdom; they said that the axe must be laid at the root of the tree, but Elizabeth replied, "She could not put to death the bird which to escape

the pursuit of the hawk had fled to her feet for pro'tection.' So Norfolk died; and Mary lived to betray more men.'

Foreign archives reveal how great had been Elizabeth's danger in the recent conspiracy. The rebels were in communication with Alva, the King of Spain, and the pope; the object being to restore the Roman Catholic religion in England. Norfolk and Mary had asked for arms, ammunition, money, and an army of ten thousand men. Recent discoveries have brought to light a long letter of twenty pages from Alva to Philip on this subject, in which he enters warmly into the plan, but is afraid of Elizabeth's vigilance, and suggests her assassination under the following significant form; 'If the Queen of England • should die either a natural death or any other death, or if her

person should be seized without your Majesty's concurrence, • then I should perceive no further difficulty.' Ridolfi, the messenger of the conspirators, is also charged with letters to the pope,

and is the bearer of letters from him to Philip, earnestly entreating Spanish intervention in the plot.

' On the 7th of July, Ridolfi was questioned at the Escurial regarding the enterprise which he had come to propose by the Duke of Feria, whom Philip had deputed to hear his statements. His answers were written down in the handwriting of Zayas, the secretary of state. It was proposed to murder Queen Elizabeth. Ridolfi said that the blow could not be struck in London, because that city was the stronghold of heresy; but while she was travelling; and that a person named James Graffs had undertaken the office. On the same day, the council of state commenced its deliberations upon the proposed assassination of Elizabeth, and conquest of England, The subject of the discussion was, whether it behoved the King of Spain to agree with the conspirators “ to kill or capture the Queen of England,” in order to prevent her from marrying the Duke of Anjou, and putting to death the Queen of Scotland; whether the blow should be struck while she was travelling, or, which would be easier still, when she was at the countryhouse of one of the conspirators, who had surrounded her with persons on

whom they could depend; and whether they ought not to be assisted in case they carried out their intentions, which they would not do without the orders of the Catholic King. The councillors of state severally gave their opinions, which were committed to writing, and have been preserved to this day. The Duke of Feria spoke first. “Under present circumstances,” he said, “tbe affair is embarrassing, but the Catholic King must not postpone it. The Queen of Scotland is the true heir to the realm of England, and she will rightly discharge the duties of religion and friendship towards us. If we allow her to be crushed, we entail destruction on all those that are devoted to her. The proximity of the Duke of Alva greatly facilitates the matter, and not an instant must be lost if we intend to engage in the enterprise.” — Mignet, vol. ii. p. 144, from the Archives of Simancas Inghilterra, fol. 823.

The Duke of Feria, who gives this unscrupulous counsel, had been engaged in very different relations towards Elizabeth, as he was the ambassador chosen by Philip to offer his hand to her on her accession to the English throne. All the council gave their different suggestions. The Inquisitor-General voted that the sum of 200,000 crowns should be placed in Alva's hands, and that he should proceed in conformity with the declaration made by the pope's bull; he added that Ciapino Vitelli had offered to go in person with a dozen or fifteen resolute men to seize the Queen of England in one of her pleasure-houses, and that he would present himself before her under the pretext of demanding justice; but the Duke of Feria, profiting by his English experience, did not think it would be easy for a dozen men to capture the Queen of England. How extraordinary these deliberations sound in our ears! how strange that they should exist to this day to convict the authors of them ! how wonderfully was Elizabeth's life hedged about and defended from the mischief that walketh in darkness! Mary and Elizabeth were both bold women, but if we must admire the natural virtue of courage, we admire it much the most in Elizabeth. It is impossible to contemplate her situation,—the dangers open and concealed by which she was surrounded throughout her reign, and which her wise and vigilant nature kept her constantly conscious of,--and not be affected and stirred by her lion-like bearing and invincible resolution. What a train of secret treasons and open aggressions does not her history lay before us, from the vacillating treachery of Norfolk, the interminable plots of Mary, the atrocious deliberations of Spain, down to the last mighty effort of her enemies against her. It is in contrasting her with these enemies that we see her greatness; and in comparing her with Philip, or the pope, or Charles, or Mary, we are tempted to forget her many not easily forgotten faults; and for a moment she stands as nobly distinct and magnanimous as when her poet's fancy drew her the

• Fair vestal throned in the West.'

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All these detestable deliberations preceded but a little while the massacre of S. Bartholomew, which might well infuse a universal suspicion on the great acknowledged heads of the Roman Catholic cause. It decided Elizabeth to detain Mary in perpetual captivity. The two Houses of Parliament went further in their hatred and fanaticism,' and wished to proceed against her by a bill of attainder, which Elizabeth suppressed by proroguing parliament. But a commission was sent down to Mary to interrogate her on the Norfolk conspiracy. • The answers,' says Mignet, were more prudent than sincere;' the nearest approach to a censure of her habits of unscrupulous falsehood that we can remember to have met with in his work. However, he is at one time ashamed for his heroine: when, finding all other means fail, and her spirit really subdued by loss of adherents, stricter confinement, and the failure of plots, she begins to flatter Elizabeth, and makes pretty knick-knacks for her; employing her uncle, the cardinal, to send little articles of certú from France which might please the English queen, and busying herself in ordering gold lace and silver spangles to make a head-dress for Elizabeth, which she is overjoyed at her accepting. Mary must be doing something for her cause, and she knew that when anything new occurred, these delicate attentions need not stand in the way of more congenial designs; accordingly, on turning over a page or two, we find her deep in new negotiations with Philip, who must have been a very provoking ally,—so slow and ponderous in his movements, promising much, ready to listen to all propositions, but spoiling all by delay.

This new negotiation is remarkable for the use she made of her son, to which we call the reader's attention, not because they resulted in anything, but as bearing upon one of the most impressive scenes previous to her execution.

• He (Philip) would not suffer himself to be tempted by the offer which Mary Stuart made to place her son in his hands, and which was somewhat difficult of realization, although she continually recurred to it. Nor was this the only offer she made : after having proposed to place her son, as a hostage for Catholicism, in the hands of Philip II., Mary Stuart went so far as to contemplate his disinheritance by the transfer of all ber rights to the powerful defender of her religion in Europe. Her frequent attacks of illness, the dangers which beset her captivity, and the consequences which might result from her plots, led her to project a will containing the following clause, which, though doubtless very Catholic, is certainly very unmaternal, and quite as unmonarchical. “ In order," she says, “ not to contravene the glory, honour, and preservation of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, in which I wish to live and die, if the Prince of Scotland, my son, shall be brought back to its creed in spite of the bad education hé has received, to my great regret, in the heresy of Calvin, among my rebellious subjects, I leave him the sole and only heir of my kingdom of Scotland, and of the right which I justly claim to the crown of England and its dependent countries; but if, on the other hand, my said sou continues to live in the said heresy, I yield, and present, and transfer all my rights in England and elsewhere . . . to the Catholic King or to any of his relations whom he may please, with the advice and consent of his Holiness, and this I do not only because I perceive him to be now the only true supporter of the Catholic religion, but also out of gratitude for the many favours which I and my friends, recommended by me, have received from him.” Mignet, vol. ii. p. 198. Labanoff, vol. iv. p. 354.

This will was written in February, 1577. Now we find her in the pathetic scene which preceded her death, on the very way to the scaffold,—that occasion on which so much of the interest in her character is founded, expressing herself to Melvil in the following words :

• Bear these tidings that I die firm in my religion, a true Catholic, a true Scotchwoman, a true Frenchwoman. May God forgive those who have sought my death! The Judge of the secret thoughts and actions of men knows that I have always desired the union of Scotland and England. Commend me to my son, and tell him that I have never done anything that could prejudice the welfare of the kingdom, or his quality as king, nor derogated in any respect from our sovereign prerogative.' — Mignet, vol ii. p. 360.

She was false to the last. Our space fails us, nor yet is it needful to enter into the endless train of plots which the peculiar circumstances of the time engendered. The Roman Catholic party in England, oppressed and kept down, were ready to enter into any scheme. The Jesuits in the foreign seminaries were as unscrupulous in the means they sanctioned as their worst enemies could assert them to be. Philip had money for all Elizabeth's enemies, and had a host of pensioners. Bigotry and treason supplied men willing to take the active part in assassination. Mary, under the strict surveillance of Sir Amias Paulet, could no longer plot with them as freely as before, but her willingness to fall in with the most desperate measures was perfectly understood. But while the science of plotting and conspiracy was thus developed, Elizabeth's ministers on their side were growing still more skilful in the arts of detection, and very mean arts indeed they often were, and what in the present system of division of labour would be held very derogatory to the character of a gentleman. Though in these purer days we venture to guess that men in office are not curious to inquire hou intelligence is gained, and criminals brought to justice.

In Elizabeth's time her ministers were their own police, and seem to have felt a genuine relish for unearthing a conspiracy, outwitting plotters, and counter-plotting, to make them convict themselves. They were weary of Mary, the whole of Protestant England desired her death-they verily believed her deserving of it, and felt that neither Elizabeth's nor their own lives were safe while she lived. Under these circum

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