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Title: The Spanish Marriage (1933) Author: Helen Simpson * A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook * eBook No.: 0800681h.html Language: English Date first posted: July 2008 Date most recently updated: July 2008 Production Notes: The illustrated version of this ebook can be found at http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks08/0800681h.html The INDEX to the book has not been reproduced. Search the ebook for names and places. Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html
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This book pretends to be a narrative only, and not a work of reference. Those who like to go direct to the authorities will find a list of these in another place. The headings to the chapters are taken from the Colloquies of Erasmus.
I have thought it as well when quoting from documents to simplify the old capricious spelling, which has its charms, but arrests the unaccustomed eye, and will not let the sense flow freely; 'qweyn,' for example, is not readily to be identified with our 'coin.'
I am happy to pay tribute here to the knowledge and discrimination of Miss Scott-Rogers, who found all my illustrations for me.
ILLUSTRATIONS 1. QUEEN MARY (From the portrait by Sir Antonio Moro in the Prado Museum, Madrid) 2. CHARLES V AS A BOY (From the portrait by an unknown artist of the Flemish School in the National Gallery of Scotland) 3. TREATY BETWEEN FRANCIS I AND CARDINAL WOLSEY FOR AN ALLIANCE DEPENDING ON A MARRIAGE BETWEEN HENRY, DUKE OF ORLEANS AND PRINCESS MARY 4. KATHERINE OF ARAGON (From the portrait by an unknown artist in the National Portrait Gallery) 5. THE PALACE OF GREENWICH FROM THE OBSERVATORY HILL (From a contemporary drawing by A. van den Wyngaerde in the Bodleian Library) 6. QUEEN ELIZABETH AS PRINCESS (From the portrait by an unknown artist of the school of Holbein, in the Royal Collection at Windsor. Reproduced by gracious permission of His Majesty the King) 7. THE TOWER OF LONDON (From a contemporary drawing by A. van den Wyngaerde in the Bodleian Library) 8. WESTMINSTER (From a contemporary drawing by A. van den Wyngaerde in the Bodleian Library) 9. PHILIP II OF SPAIN (From the portrait attributed to Sofonisba Angiusciola, in the National Portrait Gallery) 10. LADY JANE GREY (From the portrait by an unknown artist in the National Portrait Gallery) 11. SIR THOMAS WYAT (From a contemporary portrait of the school of Holbein) 12. LONDON BRIDGE (From a contemporary drawing by A. van den Wyngaerde in the Bodleian Library) 13. THE QUEEN'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LORD PRIVY SEAL TO RECEIVE KING PHILIP AT SOUTHAMPTON 14. REVERSE OF MEDAL COMMEMORATING SPANISH MARRIAGE 14a. OBVERSE OF MEDAL COMMEMORATING SPANISH MARRIAGE 15. PASSPORT FOR RICHARD SHELLEY, ESQUIRE, selected to announce to the King of Portugal and the Princess of Portugal, Regent in Spain, the Queen's happy delivery of a prince. Signed Philippus and Marye the Quene. (Queen Mary, when under the delusion that she was pregnant, caused such letters to be addressed to several foreign princes, announcing her confinement, and with the approval of her husband, selected the messengers who were to convey them) (Public Record Office)
England in the early years of Henry VIII may be seen as a newly risen power, with continental commitments; a rich country, thanks to the economies of the King's father, and for this reason sought as an ally by the more considerable States. Her traditional friendships were with Spain and Portugal, her enmities with Scotland and France; of these latter, Scotland, crushed by the victory of Flodden in 1513, gave little trouble during Henry's reign.
The Empire was a sprawling net of territories that included Spain, the Netherlands, Burgundy, Sicily, and Naples, with a host of small principalities, electorates, and bishoprics in Central Europe, now drawing together against the advancing menace of the Turk. These territories encircled France, and perpetually threatened, according to the temper of their masters, that compact kingdom. In 1521, Charles, grandson of Ferdinand of Aragon, was elected to the imperial throne, and thereby found himself heir to an alliance with England, together with a considerable debt; Henry VIII had lent money to his wife's relatives for wars in Barbary and for the quieting of the Low Countries. Charles was prepared to accept and further this alliance, without any wish to add to his responsibilities by conquest, and to pay the debt by any means which did not involve the passing of money. The New World had not yet begun to yield its treasures. The Emperor, for all his power, was poor.
France was ruled by a young man of great personal courage but indifferent judgment, Francis I. He succeeded Louis XII, who had no children by his marriage with Mary, a sister of Henry VIII. This marriage left no trace in French history, and English history is concerned with it only because Louis' death left his widow free to marry the Duke of Suffolk; from her Jane Grey's claim to the English Crown derived. Francis, quarrelsome, still had the wit to perceive that no country could deal successfully with enemies attacking from all sides; and when Burgundy, Spain, Navarre and the Netherlands came together under Charles, he attempted to shield himself against invasion from the west by friendship with England. This plan wrecked itself on the personality of Henry, jealous of the French King's success in war--he had won Milan and Genoa at the age of twenty--and inclined by tradition and family ties to side with the Empire.
The Pope from 1513 to 1521 was Leo X, a Medici, whose predecessors in Florence France had, not long before, dispossessed. As a temporal sovereign he was England's ally, and when his spiritual authority began to be disputed he found English theology at his service. Luther's theses on Predestination and the Sacraments were combated, the first by Erasmus, the second by Henry, who gained thereby the title of Defender of the Faith which has remained with the English Crown. Germany took the disease of heresy first and badly; ten years of it threatened to split the Empire. Persecutions had not been unknown hitherto in Europe, but as printing and translation spread knowledge of the Bible, they multiplied. The Reformation was a political force from its inception.
At the time Mary, Princess of England, was born her father was twenty-five, Francis three years younger, and Charles a boy of sixteen, not yet Emperor. The two former were near in temperament as in years, warlike, absolute, and jealous. Charles physically was no match for either; he was poor, prudent, and peaceful to hold his own, though he had a heavy hand with rebellion. The approaches and withdrawals of these three men, with the spiritual war in which according to temperament they took sides, made twenty years of the history of Europe.
PAMPHILUS. The maid, as I said, came of very honest parents, had a good fortune, was very handsome; in a word, was a match for a prince.
By the time she was ten years old Henry VIII's elder daughter had been three times betrothed. At the age of two she stood in a great room at Greenwich Palace with her mother's hands on her shoulders, her father and her aunt, the Queen of France, beside her; and heard, without heeding greatly, an oration from the Bishop of London praising and recommending the holy estate of matrimony. At the end of this--it was a speech of some length--the Venetian ambassador says that the Princess Mary was taken up in arms; her parents and the French ambassadors were asked if they consented on behalf of the contracting parties to a betrothal between the Dauphin of France and the King of England's daughter. Cardinal Wolsey presented a ring; the Lord Admiral put it on her finger, a gold band with a great diamond in it. There was a blessing; a further exordium, this time from the Cardinal; and the proceedings ended with High Mass, which if it were sung with full ceremony, as the Venetian declares that it was, must have taken at least an hour and a half longer. The choir was dressed in cloth of gold, and the display altogether was of a magnificence that astounded even the rich Republic's man.
Promises were lavish, too. The contract which was drawn up some ten days later provided for a dowry with Mary of a hundred thousand marks on the day that she should marry the Dauphin, at this time only a few months old. And there was what Portia calls 'old swearing,' to the effect that Henry regarded this vow as binding; if he failed to fulfil his part of the contract, he consented that his kingdom should be bound by interdict; the King of France, more discreetly, promised only to match the hundred thousand marks with 'as large a dowry as any Queen of France had ever had,' under similar pain if he broke his oath.
So much for the first betrothal, and the first contract with France. It was signed in October 1518; the terms were read out at Mass by a priest from the altar. A year later, the whole aspect had changed. The Dauphin was, in 1518, one of the best partis in Europe, but by 1520 there was a better, Charles, Katherine's nephew, King of Spain, now elected Emperor. Francis too had been a candidate for the imperial Crown, and a good deal of money had been spent in convincing the German electors that it would be for their good to have as ruler a prince whose character is given by the Venetian ambassador as follows:
'His looks are most royal; his mind and body robust. He is a great eater, a good drinker, and a better sleeper than either. He is all for enjoyment, his dress always very fine, rich in stones and pearls, to say nothing of broidery. As for the things of the mind and spirit, these are not so much to his taste.'
The German electors very prudently took money from both sides; and having by these means disposed of any charge of partiality that might lie against them, declared for Charles, whereby he became absolute lord of a third part of Europe at twenty years of age.
He had almost split Spain in two in the attempt to push his claim. He was a Fleming, brought up in the Low Countries, who spoke Spanish badly, and knew nothing at all of the prides and jealousies to which he was heir. He needed money, and summoned the Cortes, as was constitutional, to get it; but he regarded his own convenience by appointing as the place of meeting Galicia, whence, the money secured, he could depart at once by sea. Galicia was an inaccessible rustic province, offensive to Castilians. There was rebellion in Valladolid; Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba protested. Charles yielded so far as to change the place of convocation to Coruña, and got his subsidies on May 19th, 1520; next day he set sail, leaving Spain in a turmoil, and his Flemish chancellor to deal with it, which he did by fines so heavy that for some time afterwards a Castilian would take off his hat at sight of a piece of gold.
It was evident that the rejected candidate--'We both court the same mistress,' was Francis' phrase, 'and each should urge his suit with all the address of which he is master'--would not long leave his successful rival in peace. The old military arguments presented themselves with their usual impressiveness; as that when an attack is certain it is good tactics to forestall it; that a man who has much will certainly want more; and that passivity under insult is dishonouring to a king and the nation he rules. Francis, besides, had something of a taste for war, and had been brilliantly successful at Marignano, when he beat Sforza and won Milan for France. His challenge was not so rash as it sounded. Charles was nominally lord of Austria, Spain, the Low Countries, the Sicilics, and the Americas, with all the wealth at his back that such lordship implied. But Francis had Switzerland to draw on for troops, a privilege for which he had paid 700,000 crowns annually, awaiting just such a moment as this. Charles' possessions were scattered and troublesome; France was compact and loyal: 'the French,' said Carvalli, 'seem to have abandoned their wills wholly to the King.' But he needed a free hand, or rather the certainty that England would not pounce when his back was turned. There had been uncomfortable rumours; a contract of marriage, relationship in petto, was not much to set against the Emperor's blood tie with the English throne. Urgent letters of regard and esteem suggested the immediate marriage of the two babies, and appointed a place where the two Kings might confer in amity on French soil.
Charles' ministers too held conclaves, not liking the alliance, but could find no way to prevent it except by marrying off their own master. True, Charles was betrothed to the Princess Charlotte of France, aged three, and the King of Portugal had a grown daughter for disposal with 80,000 crowns who seemed very willing to have him. But there was not much money with the Princess Charlotte, and as for Portugal, it was a quarter from which at the moment no danger threatened. The statesmen, with their quaint belief, surviving betrayals untold, that family ties protect a country in war, waved away these various contracts, and combined the available pieces to make another pattern; England and the Empire against France.
For England, Spain was not yet the enemy. It was a country, to English minds, too far away to be dangerous, even with the Low Countries tacked on to it by the accident of a crown. France, on the other hand, was resented as an upstart; Paris had had an English governor only a century before. The English view was that Frenchmen were rebels, insufficiently persuaded of the benefits that flowed inevitably from English rule, and that their King, instead of treating on something more than equal terms with a Tudor, ought to be cap in hand to him. In England too, therefore, there were conclaves, and plans centring upon the figure of the small yellow-haired Princess, 'right merry, daily exercising herself in virtuous pastimes and occupations,' and still the Dauphin's bride, wearing his ring.
The Venetian ambassador, Giustiniani, met Mary one day being carried in her nurse's arms, her father walking by her. He knelt, then reached up to kiss her hand. 'By Almighty God, my lord,' said Henry, in the colloquial Latin which was his usual speech with foreigners, 'there's never a tear from this girl of mine.' 'Her destiny does not move her to tears,' the Venetian answered, 'how should it, since she is to be Queen of France?'
Thus there was no outward admitting of the fact that the whole European case was altered. Spies presented their reports, letters went to and fro carrying rumours; when these became too detailed and convincing Henry sent civil disclaimers to Francis, protesting that their bargain still held; to which Francis responded, saying that for his own part he would rather have the Princess Mary for his son, 'though the King's grace had ten children, than the King of Portingale's daughter, with all the spices her father hath.'
At this time there was hardly a princess in Europe of whatever age with any dowry that was not provisionally betrothed in this manner. Some were puppets and remained so. Some that were older knew their own minds, and made negotiation difficult by a frank statement of their intentions. The Portuguese Princess Isabella, for example, Isabella the small and fair, so short lived and dearly loved, was determined to be Empress. She took for her motto Aut Caesar, aut nihil, and announced it to Europe, while her father increased his offer to a million crowns in gold. This was tempting, and Charles hesitated, necessary though it was for him to break the Francis-Henry alliance. Marriage alone would settle matters with Henry, from whom already he had borrowed 30,000 crowns, a fact which Wolsey, when the dealing between them came down to figures, did not allow him to forget. Charles, bargaining, asked a million crowns with the English princess. Wolsey coolly offered 80,000, from which the original debt was to be deducted. Charles, a good deal taken aback at this view of his value through English eyes, played for time, while Francis, not merely suspicious, but perfectly well aware of all that was going on and determined to put a stop to it, pressed for a ratification of the marriage treaty with his son. A date was fixed, reluctantly, by the English plotters; the end of the month of May was appointed, and orders went out to all the tailors, armourers, and upholsterers of two countries.
It was too much for Charles' resolution. Five days before the meeting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold he appeared in England; 'specially to see the Queen of England, his aunt,' says Hall's Chronicle, 'was the intent of the Emperor.' He went no further than Canterbury, where Henry met him, and Wolsey, at whose invitation he was in England. 'Come, and you shall be welcome; ask, and you shall have; speak openly and freely, and we shall say Amen to whatever you say.' The people were pleased with the simplicity of the Emperor, his foreign manner and meekness.' What passed at the interview nobody at this present date knows.
Mary did not go with her parents to France, but stayed quietly with her governess, Lady Bryan, at Richmond, where some French gentlemen came to see her and compliment her from the Dauphin. The council wrote to Henry, busy with festivities but not to the neglect of all domesticity, that the Princess 'welcomed the French gentlemen with most goodly countenance, proper communication, and pleasant pastime in playing on the virginals; and they greatly marvelled and rejoiced at the same, her young and tender age considered.' She was only four, very small, a pretty child, 'who promises,' the Spaniard de Sabinas wrote, 'to be a handsome lady.'
The French gentlemen thus solemnly commending the two infants to each other were made very welcome. Their entertainment cost thirty-five shillings and threepence, and consisted of cherries, old apples (this was in June), wafers and strawberries, with four gallons of hippocras. They, or similar French gentlemen, were continually during this year keeping an eye on the Princess, while equivalent English gentlemen crossed the Channel to condole with the little Dauphin on an accident, or to take him precious stones and toys. The outward show of friendship and alliance was never allowed to lapse.
The Emperor was making up his mind. His dash to England in June had been an unusually impulsive action, and the probability is that he had at that time committed himself. Certainly about the middle of next year a commission was appointed to consider all arrangements for his marriage with Mary, which included, since he and she were first cousins, a dispensation to be procured from the Pope. The commission took no great time over their business. The Pope was complaisant, the money was ready; in addition to the marriage matter, and in the same treaty, Henry and Charles bound themselves to attack Francis by a certain date, he being meanwhile a prospective father-in-law of the one and standing in the same relation to the other's daughter. Two years after his first visit Charles landed at Dover.
There was no doubt about his popularity with the English. They had some notion of him as the King of the world, and his choice of an English princess for consort confirmed them in their new and excellent national conceit of themselves. There was enthusiasm which may be compared, not happily, with the kind of welcome his son found in 1554, when 'demonstrations of joy were obliged upon the people,' says the French ambassador, 'on pain of death'; and Philip's envoy, Count Egmont, was brought down Cheapside, 'where the people nothing rejoicing held down their heads sorrowfully.' All the way from Dover to Greenwich Charles was applauded, and when at last he arrived at the gates of the palace the Queen herself stood there, holding her daughter's hand, to welcome him. He asked her blessing on his knees, which must have made the watching crowds proud of their King's wife, and 'had great joy to see his young cousin german the Lady Mary.'
There were the inevitable festivities in London, followed by a removal to Windsor to consider more soberly the treaty of marriage, in which certain clauses appear to cancel each other out. One provided that the existing differences between the Emperor and the King of France should be settled as soon as might be; another, for the invasion of France by a joint expedition to recover English ground there lost; those cities quite honestly and legally purchased by Francis in the year 1516 with money won in the Italian campaign. Another clause insisted that the Princess at twelve years old should be sent to Spain to finish her education there.
This treaty, though officially no word was breathed of its existence, was no secret so far as Francis was concerned. He was aware of it; he was alarmed by it. He was spoiling to attack the Emperor over the border in the vulnerable Low Countries, but held back for fear lest Henry should strike, very well aware how the loss of those once English towns Tournai, St. Amand, Mortagne--rankled in English memories. He perceived that it was not the moment for any kind of action. He held his hand and his tongue, and let time, and the Emperor's difficulties, unravel the tangle for him.
It seems fairly evident that Henry, though he coveted this splendid marriage for his daughter, had no real hope of it. While the treaty still held, and Charles wrote from Spain of 'my beloved bride, future imperatrix, the Princess,' a rumour was favoured among the ambassadors that some intrigue was going on with the King of Scots, who was to have a pension and a claim upon the English Crown if he would marry Mary. But while the chance of the more brilliant match still held, Henry was neglecting no means to bring it about. Ambassadors extraordinary went to Spain, one of them that same Bishop of London, Tunstall, who had so exhorted the Princess and her parents concerning the sanctity of marriage contracts years ago when she was pledged to the Dauphin. And Mary herself, now nine years old, sent Charles a message with a gift, an emerald, by which the symbolists of the period represented chastity; traditionally, such stones burst asunder in the presence of illicit love.
'Her Grace hath devised this token, for a better knowledge to be had, when God shall send them grace to be together, whether his majesty do keep himself as continent and chaste as with God's grace she will, whereby ye may say, his majesty may see that her assured love towards the same hath already such operation in her, that it is also confirmed by jealousy, being one of the greatest signs and tokens of hearty love and cordial affection.'
Jealousy, of a man she had seen only for a day or two three years before, is a preposterous word in the mouth of this child. Her mother dictated the letter, perhaps; quite certainly her mother was for ever talking to her daughter of Spain. Katherine had never forgotten her country. Gentlemen who wished to please her spoke to her in Spanish, the arms of Spain were embroidered with those of England on her cloth of estate, and she kept her pride as Ferdinand and Isabella's daughter. It must have seemed to her the fate of all others to be prayed for, that her child should sit on the throne her own mother had made glorious. She must have prayed for her nephew's victory in the war which was declared as a result of the provisions of the Treaty of Windsor becoming known. Such petitions are dangerous; they may be granted. Francis lost at Pavia; he went to Madrid a prisoner, stripped of power, and the one reason for the Emperor's condescension to a princess none too well portioned ceased to exist.
With Francis out of the way, Henry became unimportant, and the Emperor set about getting out of his bargain. He was peremptory. Mary was to be sent to Spain at once. Her dowry was to be increased to 400,000 ducats, with a further 200,000 crowns towards the expense of the war with France, in which he had engaged on Henry's behalf. As to the 30,000 already owing, nothing was said about that. Wolsey was firm. The Princess would only be exchanged for a hostage of equal rank; she was too young and too precious to be taken otherwise out of the kingdom. The ambassadors bowed, and after saluting the King and Queen, made a brief address in Latin to the Princess, who replied with fluency in the same tongue. But they too, in spite of politeness, were firm. They were instructed to take possession of the Princess and the money at once, or else the King must release the Emperor from his promise. Henry gave an angry answer, refused to consider an increase of dowry; as for the Spanish upbringing, if the Emperor 'should seek a mistress for her, to frame her after the manner of Spain, and of whom she might take example of virtue, he should not find in all Christendom a more meet than she now hath, that is the Queen's grace, her mother, who is comen of the house of Spain, and who for the affection she beareth the Emperor will nourish and bring her up as may be hereafter to his most contentation.'
Charles protested. It was time he should marry; his subjects expected it, and favoured the Portuguese princess, not only for her dowry, but because she was more of an age to have children; Isabella was at this time twenty-three years old. Henry, seeing his mind made up, was unwilling to quarrel. He agreed to call the bargain off; on condition that Charles should make peace with France and pay his debts to England. The Emperor agreed, and in a few days his marriage contract with Isabella was signed. As for the 30,000 crowns, they were conveniently forgotten; certainly they never returned to the English treasury, though perhaps Wolsey's pockets knew something of their whereabouts. The Emperor at his second visit had increased the Cardinal's pension--already, from this source, 3000--to something more like 7000 crowns a year.
Mary Tudor, at this breakdown of both her marriage chances, was nine years old. It was not to be supposed that her discreet governess, her silent mother, did not now and then tell her stories of what her life as Empress would be. She had seen Charles; the little Dauphin, never, though they had exchanged toys. The normal small girl falls in love very easily, wreathing her imagination round such objects as chance may present. A young man of twenty, with a great name, ruler of half a dozen sounding countries; a simple and dignified young man, who went on his knee for her mother's blessing; such a husband, together with the thought of seeing Spain, must have made a curious and attractive picture in her mind, of orange trees, and deep rivers, with herself sitting on a throne surrounded by gentlemen wearing their hats. Mary was half a Spaniard, and the country of a mother's exile takes on colours not altogether earthly.
But she was now proclaimed Princess of Wales, heiress, that is, to the Crown; and sent off to make the acquaintance of her principality 'accompanied with an honourable, sad, discreet, and expert counsel.' With travelling, music, and the practice of four languages it is not to be supposed that the child had leisure or inclination to speculate on her destiny. It is notable, however, that she became 'very perfect in Spanish.'
The political game, played then as always with small regard for the decencies, took, in 1527, another turn. By this time, despite an ugly display of double-dealing on both sides, Francis and Henry were friends again, and the next move came from the King of France, once more suggesting marriage; not this time on his son's behalf, but on his own. He was told that Mary, 'the pearl of the world,' would be handed over as the price of alliance and in return for the town of Boulogne. Alliances were cheap, they could be made and unmade with the help of a scrap of paper and a seal; towns, once ceded, were not so easily regained. The King hesitated, and his mother, Louise of Savoy, took it upon herself to move the hard hearts of the English envoys. Her son, she said, had for many years been eager to marry Princess Mary, both for her manifold virtues and other gay qualities.' Francis at this time was thirty-three, had been married and widowed twice, and had seven legitimate children.
Ambassadors after this drove like shuttles across and across the Channel, with requests for pictures, civil letters, the pictures themselves, and the usual reports of spies; most of which latter insisted that the King of England had no intention of marrying his child to any foreigner; that the people would not bear it; and that if he did there would be general war. The Princess Mary, however, was put through her paces for the envoys as before, showing her writing, her skill at music and Latin; which being satisfactory there was another magnificent betrothal, with a sermon from yet another bishop, a Frenchman this time, on the beauties and duties of matrimony; and afterwards dancing in the Queen's apartment at Greenwich.
One of the French envoys, de Turenne, who danced with Mary, running an expert eye over her frailness--she was a slender, shortish girl--gave his master his opinion, that she would not be fit for marriage for another three years. She looked, however, very well, particularly in the masque or play that followed. The scene opened with the view of a cave, guarded by gentlemen of the court in cloth of gold doublets and tall plumes, carrying torches. Eight girls were grouped within the cave, their dress as splendid as that of the torchbearers; cloth of gold, hair gathered in nets, with richly jewelled garlands over velvet caps, and the sleeves of their surcoats so long that they almost touched the ground. The Princess was distinguished by the astonishing display of jewels that she wore; carrying, said the Venetian ambassador, all the gems of the eighth sphere. The dancing noblemen were masked and wore black velvet slippers, the King, having recently been hurt at tennis, being obliged to ease his foot in this way. The Princess at last took off her cap, and over her shoulders fell her hair, which was a silver colour, very thick and curly. The festivities went on till morning. It was one of the most splendid days of Mary's life.
Wolsey in person was the next to meet the French King, now alarmed by the Emperor's success in Rome, and something more than anxious for an ally of good standing. Wolsey wrote after his interview that Francis was in a good disposition concerning the Princess, 'and I, being her godfather, loving her entirely, next unto your Highness, and above all other creatures, assured him I was desirous she should be bestowed upon his person, as in the best and most worthy place in Christendom.' Back came the ambassadors from England, full of praise of the Princess, urging their King to conclude matters, until he, well aware of the value of the match, and doing his best to argue on equal terms with the cleverest diplomat in Europe, lost his temper.
'I know well enough her education, form, fashion, beauty and virtue, and what father and mother she comes of. It is expedient and necessary for me and this Kingdom that I should marry her; and I assure you that for this reason I have as great a mind to her as ever I had to any woman.' But Wolsey continued to play for time; he had other matters in his head besides the marriage, a divorce for his master among them. He wanted, too, to see just what would happen to the couple of armies Francis had sent into Italy. Both were beaten, and the terms on which the Emperor insisted in the ensuing treaty of peace left no room for negotiations with England; left, in fact, nothing for Francis to do but keep some of his old promises. He had made proposals to the Emperor's sister, he was now to marry her. The Dauphin, still betrothed to Mary, was to take a Portuguese princess instead, and leave Mary to the Duke of Orleans, his brother. A contract was accordingly drawn up and signed by Francis in August 1527.
Mary's list of suitors was not yet complete; but there can have been very few women, few princesses even, who have been in their time betrothed to a father and two of his sons; or who, pledged to one man at the age of nine, come to marry his son thirty years later. It is ironic to find Henry VIII on the verge of his great quarrel, clamouring to all Christendom that it was not lawful for a man to marry his brother's wife, here preparing for his daughter the fate of her own mother, the rejected Queen; and to see how this very quarrel brought the contract to nothing. The divorce transformed the Princess of Wales to a bastard without any claim upon the throne of England, and so annulled her value as a factor in bargains. This aspect of the matter claims attention.
A citizen of London kept a careful list of the Lord Mayors of his period with the chief doings during each year of their office. His records begin with Sir William Remington, under whose name for sole entry stand the words:
'Then came my Lady Katherine, the King's daughter of Castille, in to England.'
Sir John Shaw's mayoralty followed. Under this is the entry:
'Then was Prince Arthur, the son of K. H. the VIIth, married unto my lady Katherine above said at Paul's, and against her coming into London was many goodly pageants made in the City at All-Hallowtide when they were married.'
Next, under Sir Bartholomew Rede:
'Then died Prince Arthur above said.'
Five years pass, under which are noted the burning of London bridge, the arrival of Duke Philip of Burgundy at Plymouth, driven out of his course by bad weather, the blowing down, in this same storm, of the weathercock on Paul's; then comes the entry:
'Then did the duke of York, which was brother unto Prince Arthur aforesaid, marry with my lady Katherine, his brother's wife, and was crowned both King and Queen on midsummer day Sunday next after following.'
There was no doubt in this citizen's mind that Katherine had been Arthur's wife. She was loved, 'as though she had been of the blood royal of England,' says one ambassador. But the King in putting her away, had law, though not public opinion, on his side. Erasmus, his friend, wrote in perplexity:
'No mortal ever heard me speak against the divorce or for it. I should have been mad to volunteer an opinion when learned doctors and prelates could not agree. I love the King, who has always been good to me. I love the Queen too, as all good men do, and the King, I think, still does. How could I thrust myself unasked into a dispute so invidious?'
This represents, probably, the feeling of most Englishmen in the matter. When the Queen had five still-born children in eight years there were many who attributed this series of disasters to heavenly impatience with incest. It was then, as it is now, a crime in civil law to marry a dead husband's brother. It was then, as now it is not, a thing quite out of the contemplation of statesmen that a woman should reign alone. Married, she would be ruled by her husband; unmarried, she would be, as Elizabeth later became, a prey for all the princes of Europe to come hawking at. Katherine could now have no son; a son was needed to save the kingdom from civil war at Henry's death. His passion for another woman was only a lesser aspect of the main question, and he had at first, as Erasmus perceived, who knew them both, no unkindness for the Queen. It was hinted that retreat to a nunnery by Katherine would meet the required conditions; she was assured by Henry in person that he could not marry while she lived. But Katherine was a daughter of Spain, a great princess on whose bed-hangings the arms of Spain, with those of England, were embroidered. A bill of dispensation had been granted by the Pope, and she demanded that the matter should be referred to his successor. She had to he content with appearing before his legate. When she had pleaded, and withdrawn, Henry spoke to the court:
'She is, my lords, as true, as obedient, as conformable a wife as I could in my phantasy wish or desire. A woman of most gentleness, most humility and buxomness, and of all qualities pertaining to nobility.'
But she had, and could have, no son. The trial dragged on, with rulings, overrulings, canvassing of foreign and English universities for opinions, a memorial to the Pope. Katherine remained silent, except for a repeated refusal to be tried in England. She was ordered to leave the court, to give up communication with her daughter, and obeyed both sentences. Months passed. At the New Year Katherine ventured to send her husband a gold cup; she was ordered to write no more to the King's grace, and the cup was returned.
Six months before, though the business of the divorce was in full bustle, Henry still treated Katherine as his queen; 'although,' an observer says, 'he sore lamented his chance, and made no mirth as he was wont to do,' 'he dined and resorted to the Queen as he was accustomed, and minished nothing her estate, and much loved and cherished their daughter, the Lady Mary.'
Mary's marriage was very much a question of the moment, if only because Anne Boleyn detested and was jealous of her. The contract with Orleans still held, but now, with the divorce in debate, it was Francis who objected, being uncertain of her status and afraid, as he said, lest the world should say he had married his son to a bastard. At this other suitors, some of them improbable, and who would not have pretended to a legitimate daughter and heiress of England, timidly put in their claim: King John of Poland, the Duke of Cleves, the paralysed Duke of Milan. With all these Henry dealt in his bluffest manner. He might ill-treat Mary at home, but foreigners should respect any daughter of his; who dared to call her illegitimate did so at the risk of his head. There had been a rumour at the court of the Emperor, grown probably out of Anne's known spite, that she was to be married off to some base-born person. The King wrote in a fury to contradict it: 'we hear such natural and entire affection to our daughter, as when we shall happen to bestow her, it shall well appear that we have no less regard to our honour and the advancement of our blood.' The aspirants retired.
Despite this natural and entire affection Mary's allowances and her household were cut down, while Anne, at the top of her power, squandered gloriously, and was unsatisfied. An attempt to browbeat Katherine out of her own personal jewels brought a reproof from the King's granddaughter to the tradesman's, though no less an envoy than the Duke of Norfolk was sent for the ornaments, which Anne proposed to wear at a meeting with the French King at Calais.
'The Queen answered, that she would not send jewels or aught else to the King, who had long since forbidden such communication; it was, besides, against her conscience to give her jewels to adorn a person, the scandal of Christendom, and the King's disgrace.' However, since he commanded he should be obeyed, in this as in all things.
Anne wore the stones, and made at the conference the sort of figure that might have been expected. No royal lady was there. Francis was courteous, gave her a trinket and approved her dancing, but did not treat her as a Queen. She returned to England, angry, and more determined than ever to be done with her ambiguous position.
She had not long to wait. Cranmer--with, it must be said, many opinions on his side, though the Pope's against him--pronounced the necessary sentence of divorce, and a time of terror began for Queen Katherine. Anne's boasts had set the ugliest talk on people's tongues, which certainly the Emperor's ambassador took seriously, reporting that she would do the Princess all the harm she possibly could, 'which is the thing your aunt dreads most.' And he goes on to say that his insistence must be forgiven: 'the great pity I have for the Queen and the Princess oblige me to take this course. The King is by nature kindly and inclined to generosity, but this Anne hath so perverted him, that he does not seem the same man.'
For all that, Henry did maintain his daughter in something like appropriate state even after his second marriage; made her an occasional present--ten pounds to distribute in alms, ten pounds 'for her use to make pastime withal,' twenty pounds 'for to disport her with this Christmas.' With the birth of Elizabeth these poor tokens of kindness came to an end. Mary's own chamberlain was sent to her with the order that she must no more call herself Princess, which title might only rightly be borne by the Lady Elizabeth, and Giustiniani wrote to the Signory that the King did not choose the Princess to be called so, but only 'Madam Mary,' and that now there would be no rich marriage abroad for her, but a nunnery more likely, as for her mother.
Mary was living alone near Chelmsford, not, except by letter, able to be advised by her mother at Buckden. But in the matter of the King's message to his daughter there is no doubt that the mother would have counselled the proud answer Mary gave. She was accused of usurping arrogantly the title of Princess, pretending to be heir apparent; 'she cannot in conscience think,' said this communication, delivered by two earls and a dean, 'that she is the King's lawful daughter, born in true matrimony'; she had deserved the King's high displeasure for calling herself so, and punishment by the law. She answered--it is a girl of seventeen writing:
'I desired to see the letter in which was written the lady Mary, the King's daughter, leaving out the name of Princess. I marvelled at this, thinking your Grace was not privy to it, not doubting but you take me for your lawful daughter, born in true matrimony. If I agreed to the contrary, I should offend God; in all things else you shall find me an obedient daughter.'
'From your manor of Beaulieu.'
Henry's answer was to take that manor away from her use and give it to Anne's brother, while talk went on dropping from the courtiers to the common people, that this new Queen meant the old one, now styled Princess Dowager, some kind of mischief; there were hints of poison. Katherine did not, as the Emperor's man saw, and she said, care a rush for herself, but she was frightened for Mary, and wrote urgently and mysteriously, a letter terrifying from its changes of mood; warning, making light, warning again. The beginning hints at danger close at hand:
'Daughter, I heard such tidings to-day that I do perceive, if it is true, the time is come that Almighty God will prove you.'
And she goes on to speak of a visit from a lady, who might bring a letter from the King; the Queen insists on absolute obedience to his orders; 'obeying the King your father in everything'; 'wheresoever and in whatsoever company you shall come, obey the King's commandments.' But such obedience might very well have implied the sin of acquiescing in injustice, and seeming to approve the King's actions: and so the poor lady begs the child to speak few words, to go no further with learning and disputation in the matter, and to meddle not at all. She sends with the letter two books in Latin, the life of Christ and the Epistles of Jerome, and suggests that Mary for distraction should play the virginals, if she had any. There is a recommendation that she should keep herself chaste, not desiring any husband, which may be an echo of the rumour that she was to be married to some commoner; an outburst of affection comes after, with an endeavour to seem cheerful, and a pretence of unconcern that cannot have deceived Mary: 'I dare make sure that you shall see a very good end, and better than you can desire.' Then a sentence bidding her, if she should suddenly find herself in any place without friends, to keep her keys herself. In the last few phrases of the letter warning sounds again, this time without hope. 'And now you shall begin, and by likelihood I shall follow. I set not a rush by it; for when they have done the uttermost they can, then I am sure of the amendment. I pray you, recommend me unto my good Lady Salisbury, and pray her to have a good heart, for we never come to the Kingdom of Heaven but by trouble. Daughter, wheresoever you become, take no pain to send to me, for if I may I will send to you.
'By your loving Mother,
'KATHERINE THE QUEEN.'
The two were knit together in their pride. From this time Mary set her whole will to one end, the keeping of her rightful rank and title, with an obstinacy which brought her, in certain tempers of the King, near enough to the block. If it should seem ridiculous thus to quarrel, pray, weep, in a matter involving change of livery, or the precedence of a baby's litter, it is to be remembered that here the lesser thing stood for the greater. If Mary had precedence and her title, then she was legitimate; if she were legitimate, then Katherine was Henry's rightful wife and Queen. The solitary girl, resisting for two years all promises and threats, shaken by her mother's death but maintaining the fight for her mother's honour, is by no means a trivial or ridiculous figure, though there were ridiculous incidents in this battle, as in most others. The King's two daughters were to move from one palace to another; there were days of dispute as to the method of transport, since if they went by road one litter must necessarily walk ahead of the other, and Mary would not take second place. She travelled by barge in the end, leaving the road to Elizabeth, after alarms and excursions by courtiers to find a way out without resort to an order from the King. It was absurd and sad.
Henry set himself to break this will. On the day of the Princess Elizabeth's christening, which was undertaken with all imaginable ceremony, the herald who proclaimed the baby Princess of England gave out Mary's degradation from that estate. It was not announced in so many words that she was disinherited, but the proclamation forbade her to wear the royal badge that she had used hitherto on her liveries. Next, it was the King's wish that she should go to Hatfield, there to be in waiting on her half-sister. This move the Emperor's envoy, Chapuys, countered with something very like a threat to make trouble if any such humiliation were put upon his master's cousin. The King gave up the plan, but insisted that his daughter should at any rate go to Hatfield. The Duke of Norfolk brought the order, which Mary did not dispute, only begging the Duke to speak to her father, so that her servants' wages should be paid for the full year. The Duke told her that she would need few servants where she was going, and refused the offer of Lady Salisbury to come and serve the Princess at her own expense. Mary went by litter to Hatfield.
There she was required to pay a visit of respect to the Princess Elizabeth; she did not refuse to call the daughter of Lady Pembroke (Anne had been created a Marchioness before her marriage) her sister, as she called brother the Duke of Richmond that was her father's son; but her respects she would not pay. The Duke of Suffolk, leaving the palace to report to Henry, asked if there were anything she wished him to carry to the King. 'Nothing, but that the Princess, his daughter, asks his blessing.' The Duke said bluntly that he would carry no such message, and Mary as bluntly told him he might leave it.
A strange little scene comes next. Henry, riding down to see his younger daughter, aware that Mary was in the house, had given orders that she was not to attempt to speak with him, and sent Cromwell and his captain of the guard to her room with instructions to keep her safe. She managed to send him a message, however, asking if she might kiss his hand. He refused, and went out to his horse again; but with his foot in the stirrup, looked up by some chance. Mary was on the terrace, kneeling, with her hands clasped and held out to him. He hesitated, bowed to her, put his hand to his hat, and departed. An explanation was given to the French envoy a few days later; his daughter was obstinate by reason of her Spanish blood, and until she yielded he would not speak to her. The ambassador gently said that she had been very well brought up; 'on which the tears came into his eyes, and he could not refrain from praising her.'
The contest of the prides went on. Anne came to Hatfield, and sent for Mary, as Queen. The girl answered that she knew no Queen in England but her own mother. Anne in rage swore that she would--almost the King's phrase--'break the haughtiness of this Spanish blood,' and took such measures as she might. Mary was not allowed henceforth to take her breakfast in her own room, as she had always done; she must eat at the public table or not at all. She was without money or proper clothing; she was forbidden to hear Mass; she was forbidden private speech with her old tutor, Featherstone, but contrived it by talking to him in Latin, which none of her other hearers understood; she was forbidden to communicate by speech or letter with her mother or with Chapuys. When she was ordered to Greenwich, just to have sight of him she made the steersman of her barge keep the wrong side of the river, so as to pass by a little house in the fields that Chapuys kept, he said, for a resort in time of plague. He stood on the bank, and she on deck, and they looked at each other until the barge drew out of his sight.
In 1535 Mary was ill. Her mother heard of it, and begged permission for them to be together; she wrote in Spanish to her nephew's envoy, keeping clear of all pitfalls of nomenclature, a letter that he might show to the King:
'I beg you will speak to his Highness, and desire him from me to do me the charity to send his daughter and mine where I am; treating her with my own hands, and by the advice of other physicians and of my own, if God pleases to take her from this world my heart will rest satisfied; but otherwise, much troubled. You shall also say to his Highness that there is no need of any other person but myself to nurse her; that I will put her into my own bed where I sleep, and watch her as may be needed.'
The King refused. The whole trouble between himself and his daughter came from her mother's teaching, he told Chapuys; and perhaps remembered his own letter to Chapuys' master concerning Katherine; how there was none in Christendom more meet to frame the girl after the manner of Spain. The mischief was done already. But he would not let the Lady Mary go to the Princess Dowager.
All this Chapuys told his master in letters that grew increasingly insistent on danger. Sir Thomas More's death seemed to him ominous for the Queen's safety and her daughter's. The Queen was kept in an unhealthy place with few servants, her meals cooked in her bedchamber, and--an ominous detail--the essai, or testing of her food, no longer was made. She too was ill in the autumn; the sickness had brought her to emaciation when Chapuys saw her; she could swallow no food, and keep none down. It was, however, not regarded as a grave matter, and when news of her sudden death came, two days after she had been supposed out of danger, there was a general guess at poison--unjustly; for the doctors who opened Katherine's body found 'some black round thing clung closely to the outside of the heart'; a rupture. Mary, learning the event four days afterwards, was left with the memory of much tenderness thwarted, and many indignities suffered. By the Queen's will she received two legacies only; one the fur, royal miniver and ermine, that had trimmed her dresses; the other, all that was left to the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of old splendours in her own country, 'my collar of gold, that I brought out of Spain.'
To the King this tussle with his daughter had become a matter of amour propre; he set out to break her as he had broken horses in his youth. The death of Anne made a little difference in the position. Katherine dead, Anne dead, the new young Queen was lawfully her father's wife, and Mary made a timid move, writing to Cromwell to speak for her to her father. 'I perceive that no body durst speak for me so long as that woman lived which now is gone, whom I pray our Lord of his great mercy to forgive.' (Anne too had sent a message in her extremity, asking forgiveness from Mary.) She was permitted to write, and did so. Her letter was not answered. She wrote again:
'For the which I humbly desire your Grace to pardon me, though I trouble you with my continual suit and rude writing, for nature will suffer me to do none otherwise; and that obtained, I shall have my chief worldly joy and desire, as I take Almighty God to my record, whom I do and shall daily pray to preserve your Grace and Queen with long life, and much honour, and shortly to send a Prince between you both.'
The King did not answer; it appeared, Cromwell told her, that she had given offence by putting her father second in her obedience to Almighty God. The secretary drafted for her a humble appeal, in a style very different from her own forthright manner; this she copied and sent. It was abject enough. Henry supposed her beaten, and sent commissioners to Hunsdon to obtain her signature to a statement admitting illegitimacy. She refused, temporised, and wrote to Cromwell asking his help. In return came an alarming letter. She was wilful and obstinate, diverse and contrary, lost in folly, presumptuous, unnatural and ungrateful, unfit to live in a Christian congregation; this abuse, with a curt refusal, since she would not be taught, to advise her, was all Mary's answer. She had appealed to Cromwell as to a friend; except Chapuys she had no other, and his indignation frightened her. She was cut off from Chapuys, who nevertheless got a message through to her begging her to yield, insisting that it was a question of her life. Some of the arguments used by the Councillors, a duke, an earl, and the Bishop of Chester, have been preserved.
'They told her, since she was so unnatural as to oppose the King's will so obstinately, they could scarce believe she was his bastard, and if she were their daughter they would beat her and knock her head so hard against the wall that they would make it as soft as baked apples; that she was a traitress and should be punished and several other words.'
The King, knowing that she was isolated from all outside advice--her governess and another had been ordered never to lose sight of her, day or night--supposed her refusal to be due to the stubbornness of her servants, and the Council was given leave to examine these. Certain known sympathisers were arrested and questioned. Thus one of them, Sir Anthony Browne:
'Since Master Fitzwilliam's coming to court, he hath demanded of him whether the Lady Mary be heir apparent or no, to whom he had answered, that in case she would submit herself and be obedient as she ought to be, he trusted she should; and if she will not be obedient to his Grace, I would, quoth he, that her head was from her shoulders, that I might toss it here with my foot, and so put his foot forward, spurning the rushes.'
'I wrote to her very fully, telling her among other things...that to save her life, on which depended the peace of the realm, and the redress of the great evils that prevail here, she must do everything, and dissemble for some time; seeing that nothing was required expressly against God, or the articles of the Faith.'
'I beseech God never to help me, if I know it not so certainly to be your bounden duty, by God's laws and man's laws...to the witness whereof I take Christ, whose mercy I refuse if I write anything unto you that I have not professed in my heart and know to be true.'
Mary was beaten at last. She signed three articles; in the first she submitted herself to her father; in the second she recognised him as the head of the Church in England; the third, very brief, may be quoted in full:
'Item, I do frankly, and for the discharge of my duty towards God, the King's highness, and his laws without other respect, recognise and acknowledge that the marriage heretofore had between his majesty and my mother, the late princess dowager, was by God's laws and man's law, incestuous and unlawful.
'Thenceforth a cock crew in my breast,' wrote one of the saints who had been unfaithful; so must Mary have felt. She never forgot the signing of those two last articles. She fought down two rebellions so that she might have power from the throne to atone for her betrayal of the Church and her mother. The one object was achieved eighteen years later, when by law of the Parliament of 1554 she resigned the title of supreme head of the Church of England; the other when she made King a prince of her mother's house, and saw the sons of her father's councillors on their knees to him.
ALASTOR. What cannot a well-dissembled religion do, when to this is added youth, inexperiencedness, ambition, a natural animosity, and a mind propense to anything that offers itself?...The cities murmur at the load of calamities they must bear, and some there arc, I cannot tell who, that in whispers say it is an unreasonable thing that the world should be turned upside down for the private angers and ambitions of two or three persons.
Mary had to fight for her throne. English social conditions had thrown up in her father's last years a whole new class of people, those who, having enriched themselves by despoiling the old religion, were henceforth all for simplicity in worship; willing to take their own chance at the needle's eye provided their pastors and churches got through. By these means they made the best of both worlds, and it is not surprising to find, grouped round the young King, a number of lords of the new persuasion, very much concerned to keep the Pope out of England, and their own possessions out of his clutches. The Princess, the Crown's next heir, was the conduit, as one of them put it, by which the rats of Rome might creep into their stronghold. She heard Mass daily, 'said both with elevation over the head, the pax-giving, blessing, and crossing on the crown, breathing, turning about, and all the other rites and accidents of the old time appertaining.' She kept four chaplains of the old order despite her signed protestation in the matter of the supremacy. They called her brother's attention to the matter of the Lady Mary.
She was Edward's godmother, and he was fond of her, but he was zealous for the new Church and his own dignity as head of it. He sent for Mary to Westminster, and talked with her, in the presence of his advisers, for two hours. The scene is noted in his journal:
'March 18th. The L. Mary, my sister, came to me to Westminster, where, after salutations, she was called with my council into a chamber, where was declared how long I had suffered her Mass against my will [these words in the original are crossed out] in hope of her reconciliation, and how now being no hope, which I perceived by her letters, unless I saw some short amendment, I could not bear it. She answered, that her soul was God's, and her faith she would not change, nor dissemble her opinion with contrary doings.'
It may be supposed from the wording--'it was declared'--that the King in person had nothing to do with this decision, but sat mum while the Councillors spoke in his name. The fact seems rather that the Council and bishops were put to much trouble and humiliation by his insistence, for the Emperor at once despatched an envoy threatening war if his cousin were compelled to act against her conscience. Alarmed, they advised the King for a while 'to wink' at Mary's proceedings, and sent off Dr. Wotton to the Emperor, who was brief with him.
'Ought it not to suffice you that ye spill your own souls, but that ye have a mind to force others to lose theirs? My cousin the princess is evil-handled among you, her servants plucked from her, and she still cried upon to leave Mass, to forsake her religion, in which her mother, her grandmother, and all of our house have lived and died. I will not suffer it.'
Dr. Wotton reasoned with him.
'The Lady Mary, though she had a King to be father, hath a King to her brother, and is kin to the Emperor, yet in England there is but one King, and the King hath but one law to rule all his subjects by. The Lady Mary being no King must content herself to be a subject.'
'A gentle law!' said the Emperor; and ended the interview with a repetition of his threat.
The Council, having received Wotton's report, decided to take the chance of the Emperor's anger, and proceeded with the enforcement of the Act of Uniformity. Commissioners were sent to Mary to forbid the saying of Mass in her house. She was gentle, but obstinate as ever.
'When the King's Majesty shall come to such years that he may be able to judge these things himself, his Majesty shall find me ready to obey his orders in religion; but now in these years, although he, good sweet King, have more knowledge than any other of his years, yet it is not possible that he can be a judge in these things. For if ships were to be sent to the seas, or any other thing to be done touching the policy of the government of the realm, I am sure you would not think his Highness yet able to consider what was to be done.' She would not constrain her chaplains in any way, she said; but if they read the new service in her house she would walk out of it.
The commissioners found the four chaplains more amenable than their mistress. They promised to be obedient, and the commissioners were departing, when the Princess spoke to them from her window. Her comptroller was kept in London for refusing to carry to her this same message that the commissioners had now delivered, and she asked for him to be sent back. She had been doing his work, she said, learning how many loaves went to a bushel of wheat, and 'ye wis my father and mother never brought me up to baking and brewing, and to be plain with you, I am weary of mine office.'
The Council's answer was to intensify the lesser grievance, and leave the greater one alone; her comptroller was put in the Tower, but her worship left free. There were reasons for this behaviour. Her chief enemy among Edward's advisers, Somerset the Protector, friend and correspondent of Calvin, was accused of high treason; and the King's health was failing. Mary was next heir, as the increasing number and dignity of her visitors witnessed when she came a second time to Westminster to see her brother. He was pitifully ill, and obstinate as his father before him. Henry could dissimulate, while remaining of his own opinion still. Edward knew nothing of concealment, wept when the Bishop advised him to wink at his sister's idolatry, and was, however the conviction may have been arrived at, very fully convinced that the reformed religion was necessary to the throne.
He ensured by Letters Patent that it should not lack; Jane Grey, his cousin, daughter to the Duke of Suffolk and wife to the Duke of Northumberland's son, was to succeed. The clauses of the will were roughly set out in his own hand before he submitted it to the law officers of the Crown, with the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. These considered the document with despondency and alarm, seeing perhaps a little further ahead than did the King and Council; they raised objections at once. Such a bequest was contrary to the will of Henry VIII; they, the judges, by meddling in such matters would incur the penalties of high treason. The Duke of Northumberland insisted, and threatened; they turned to the King, who ordered them to do as the Duke bade, and Parliament should ratify what they did. The Council were afraid of the one, said the Chief Justice, justifying himself to Mary later; and he himself 'was in as great fear as ever he was in all his life before, seeing the King so earnest and sharp.'
Edward died in July 1553, and the strange document, disinheriting Henry VIII's two daughters in favour of his great-niece, was held to be legal and so proclaimed, four days after the King's death. Mary had been sent for, to see her brother; she was at Hunsdon in Hertfordshire, and could have reached Greenwich in a day's ride. But she had some suspicion; the progress of the King's illness had been kept secret, and this sudden summons had a threatening look; she neither answered nor came. The Council waited two days while a garrison with cannon was installed in the Tower, then sent for the Lord Mayor, who came to Greenwich with six of his aldermen, and twelve other City dignitaries, merchant adventurers and merchants of the staple. They were told of the King's death and of his will, which they saw, and set their names to; then were dismissed, with the order to keep the matter to themselves. Officially, neither of the King's sisters knew of his death; but Sir Nicholas Throckmorton got the news to Mary through her goldsmith, then going to Hunsdon in the way of business. The story is set out by him in rhyme:
Mourning, from Greenwich did I straight depart,
To London, to an house that bore our name.
My brethren guessed by my heavy heart
The King was dead, and I confessed the same.
The hushing of his death I did unfold,--
Their meaning to proclaim Queen Jane I told.
And though I liked not the religion
Which all her life Queen Mary had professed,
Yet in my mind that wicked notion
Right heirs for to displace I did detest.
Mary distrusted the news, coming in so roundabout a fashion, but the goldsmith assured her that Sir Nicholas knew it verily.' She had no doubts as to the succession, that the throne was rightfully hers, but not knowing what London was doing, or what support she might count on, she considered expediency, and rode for the coast. At Kenninghall she halted to send out proclamations as Queen, astonishing the Emperor's men, who would have advised her to wait for her cousin's help, or else to quit England and return with a borrowed army. (Lord Guildford Dudley was already soliciting 6000 men from France.) But Mary was sure of herself. The throne was hers, righteously to be fought for. She had waited long, and endured much to be Queen, and now she drove at the Crown with astonishing vigour. In a week she had gathered together 30,000 men and could write to the usurper's Council a letter showing entire confidence:
'We are not ignorant of your consultations to undo the provision made for our preferment, nor of the great bands and provisions forcible wherewith ye be assembled and prepared, by whom, and to what end, God and you know; and nature can but fear some evil.'
They might still avoid bloodshed by yielding, which she summoned them to do, and to cause her 'right and title to the crown and governance of the realm to be proclaimed in our city of London, and other places, as to your wisdom shall seem good, and as to this case appertaineth; not failing hereof, as our very trust is in you.'
The Council answered insolently that Mary had been pronounced a bastard by the everlasting laws of God, and most of the noble and learned universities of Christendom, and therefore she should cease to vex and molest the true Queen and her subjects, and be glad with her quietness to preserve the common state of the realm. They signed themselves--Cranmer is among the signatories, and William Cecil--'Your ladyship's friends, showing yourself an obedient subject.' This despatched, Northumberland set out of London with what troops he could gather, some six hundred men, to arrest the pretender; but before he set out spoke to the lords, reminding them that so far as treason was concerned they were all of a guiltiness. 'My lord,' said one, if ye mistrust any of us in this matter, your grace is far deceived; for which of us can wipe his hands clean thereof? Therefore herein your doubt is too far cast.' 'I pray God it be so,' said the Duke, 'let us go in to dinner.'
Next day inquisitive and silent London crowds watched him ride through Shoreditch. 'They press to see us,' said the Duke to his captain, 'but not one saith, God speed us.' Within the Tower itself, counsel was divided; each message that came from the counties split loyalties and dismayed opportunists; not one of the prisoner-dictators trusted his associates; and when the ship that had been sent to Yarmouth to prevent Mary's escape yielded cannon and men to her, and this submission was known in the Tower, it caused, says the writer of the Chronicle of Queen Jane, each man there to pluck in his horns. Three days passed. Northumberland wrote sharply for men and supplies; his soldiers were deserting, the country would not feed those that remained. But Queen Jane was in no better case, and 'a slender answer he had again.'
The first waverers, Pembroke and Cheney, left the Tower, on some pretext of consulting with the French ambassador, on the 13th of July. Lord Winchester had meant to follow, but Queen Jane 'feared some packing in the Lord Treasurer,' and had him brought to her at midnight from his house, together with the keys of the Tower. She could send no help to her lieutenant Northumberland, now, at the news of his betrayal by the shipmasters, retreating on Cambridge. She had no power even in London, though her soldiers took up a young man who had protested when her first proclamation was read and cut off his ears. She had no contact with the foreign ambassadors. Her advisers were afraid of them, and blustered.
'The Lord Cobham and Sir John Mason repaireth to the same ambassadors to give them notice of the Lady Mary's proceeding against the state of this realm, which is not to meddle in their causes of policy neither directly nor indirectly, and so to charge them to use themselves as they give no occasion of unkindness to be ministered unto them, whereas we would be most sorry for the amity which on our part we mean to conserve and maintain.'
The ambassadors, despite the threat, understood by this time how the business would go, and reported against intervention. Charles V, that cautious cousin and ruler, sent a gentleman to talk with the English commissioners unofficially at Brussels. This personage made excuses for not proffering his condolences and congratulations before, but seemed well informed; in fact (the foreign envoys had been quick with their news) he was able to give the Englishmen details of the King's will, and tell them for certain that Queen Jane was proclaimed. 'We said we had hitherto received the sorrowful news, but the glad tidings were not as yet come to us by no letter.' Don Diego, walking with them in the garden, had more to say, in confidence. 'Whether the two daughters be bastard or no, or why it is done, we that be strangers have nothing to do with the matter. You are bound to obey and serve his majesty (Lord Guildford presumably) and therefore we take him for your King, and saith he, for my part of all others I am glad that his majesty is set in this office.'
This was better than any of the Council in England had expected. Two days later the commissioners were sent for to speak with Charles in person, who was properly regretful for the departed King, 'considering he was of such a great towardness, and of such a hope to do good, and be a stay to Christendom.' But as for recognising the new Queen, nothing was said of that, and the Emperor was so vague in his manner and speech that the puzzled gentlemen could only record that he seemed not unfriendly. 'Yet,' they wrote, 'to decypher him better herein, it were not amiss in our opinions, when your lordships shall advertise him either with some new league, or to tempt him what he will say to the old, or by some means which your wisdom can better devise.'
The Council, understanding from this that until they could show a Queen de facto they would get nothing categorical out of Charles, took such measures as in the absence or the ill-success of their soldiers were all that remained, and set the preachers to work at Paul's Cross. Many listened; but there was no overwhelming demonstration of sympathy for the new order. The people, in spite of King Edward's Letters Patent and the good fame of Queen Jane herself, were not clear as to her claim, which was as confusing to them as any theological mystery. That Mary should come after her brother they could understand, if he left no direct heir; but how Jane, the old King's great-niece, came into the succession at all they could not make out. She was granddaughter of Henry VIII's younger sister; what of the elder sister, married into Scotland, and her children? What of Queen Jane's own mother, nearer one step to the throne than herself? If that mother should have a son, as she very well might, being only in her thirties, what of Queen Jane then? The two Princesses in the direct line were disinherited, both for reasons of divorce; but what of Queen Jane's own grandfather, who had divorced his lawful wife to marry the widowed Queen of France? And of her father, who had divorced Lord Arundel's sister, without cause, to marry the Lady Frances, Queen Jane's mother? The daughters of Henry VIII, each with one divorce in her history, dispossessed in favour of the daughter of two generations of divorced parents, and this with her mother, the actual heir, still alive--it was too much for the preachers; they let the whole question alone in their sermons, hammering away at the dangers of Popery.
In this they showed more wisdom than did the Council which sent them out to preach. The feeling of the people for years had been bewildered in the matter of legitimacy; they were, wrote Chapuys some years earlier, 'so much accustomed to see and tolerate such disorderly things that they tacitly commit the redress of the same to God.' But there was, in London at any rate, no bewilderment concerning the Pope. He was a foreigner, and the English nation, that brew and blend of a dozen raiding nationalities, was beginning to dislike foreigners on general grounds. Hitherto there had been some specific grievances; for example, they detested the French as subjects who had beaten their English masters in fair fight, and the Dutch as skilful poachers of fishing. But for twenty years, since Wolsey pulled England into the Continent's politics, the feeling against strangers as such had been growing, until in the troubles to come Wyat could set out his chief ground for discontent in the words: 'Lo, a great number of Strangers be now arrived in Dover.' The Pope, therefore, with his Masses (idolatrous), confessions (State secrets coming to Rome's ear), inquisitions (the rack to restore Church property), and Peter's pence (spent to arm England's enemies), was a very sure card for the preachers to play. The Emperor might have been held up as the second bogey that Mary with her Spanish blood and her determined Popishness would bring into the affairs of the realm; a friendly power and cousin who might not keep his distance, whose Flemish soldiers might be whistled into England to support present claims or deal with future risings.
Either of these personages would have served the purpose of Queen Jane's councillors very well had expediency been their sole consideration; but they were concerned, being Englishmen, first to justify themselves, to prove that their course of action had been undertaken in the best interests of the country and with approval from on high. They insisted upon Queen Jane's right to the Crown, leaving the possibility of invasion by foreign potentates to take second place. Letters went out from the Tower requiring levies to be made, not for the purpose of keeping religion safe, but 'for the repression and subduing of certain tumults and rebellions moved there against us and our crown by certain seditious men.' The preamble runs:
'Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well, because we doubt not but this our most lawful possession of the crown, with the free consent of the nobility of our realm and other estates of the same is both plainly known and accepted of you, as our most loving subjects, therefore we do not reiterate the same.'
Every document of the brief reign does reiterate it; and while the distracted gentlemen in the Tower thus argued and pleaded, Mary, by the mere fact of being daughter to the old King, was gathering the eastern counties round her. Queen Jane since she came to the Tower on the 10th of July had not quitted it nor showed herself. She had signed what papers she was told, played with some few of the Crown jewels kept in the Tower--pendants enamelled with such subjects as John the Baptist's head, gold and damascene buttons, and a 'fish of gold, being a tooth pick'; and she had twice given orders that were not disregarded, one which kept her father with her, and one which refused to style her dearly-loved husband King.
At this time were with her in the Tower Archbishop Cranmer and the Bishop of Ely; her father, Suffolk; the Earls of Arundel, Shrewsbury, and Pembroke, two barons, and six knights; with that Marquis of Winchester, the Lord Treasurer on whose account she had been obliged one night to send for the keys. Bad news had already dwindled this poor number of supporters; Cecil had gone; those that remained could not trust each other, and could not rest. With every runner into London came the troubling certainty of Mary's triumph, and the letters sent out by the Council reflected their despair. To Lord Rich in Essex, writing of failure and desertions, and imploring help, they could only answer:
'Though the matter be grievous to us for divers respects, yet we must needs give your lordship our hearty thanks for your ready advertisement thereof. Requiring your lordship nevertheless like a nobleman to remain in that promise and steadfastness to our sovereign lady Queen Jane's service...which neither with honour, with safety, nor with duty, may we now forsake.'
This was on the 18th of July. Next day--Cecil, the far-seeing, had been first to slip away--Pembroke and Arundel went out of the Tower to Baynard's Castle, and sent for the Lord Mayor. He came, with the Recorder of the City and many of the aldermen. Arundel spoke to them cautiously; their troubles were due to the ambition of the Duke of Northumberland, who had thought to set up his family and enrich himself; who had prevailed on King Edward, a minor and sick, to lend himself to the lawless project. It was a long speech. Pembroke cut into it with a gesture, pulling his sword from the sheath:
'And if the arguments of my lord Arundel do not persuade you, this sword shall make Mary queen!'
They shouted; there was no need to canvass opinion. The Recorder sat down to draw up a proclamation in form, and the Duke of Suffolk was sent for from the Tower. The game was not even played out to its last counter. He came with a train of unarmed men, and before he had speech with the rest of the Council, himself proclaimed Queen Mary on Tower Hill.
Queen Jane's late lords, with her father and the Mayor at their backs, rode through London to Paul's Cross, where ten days before Bishop Ridley had declared Mary a bastard, and there proclaimed her Queen. A news-letter man then in London sent out to his clients a description of the scene, which he had the luck to see first-hand; how there were caps unnumbered going up, Lord Pembroke filling his with money and tossing it to the crowd, money thrown out of windows, bonfires: 'what with shouting and crying of the people, and ringing of bells, there could no one hear almost what another said.'
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton's wife had been that day attending a christening as proxy for Queen Jane. She came back late to the Tower with news of the baby, Edward Underhill's son, called after Lord Guildford. In the chamber where the Queen had been used to sit, she saw, astounded, that the cloth of estate, with the great embroidered arms of England, was down; the Queen's possessions all were gone. The Duke of Suffolk had ordered it, she was told. As for the Queen, she was separated from her husband and lodged in another part of the Tower, in the house of one of the warders, Master Partridge, two women servants only being left in attendance.
The Council had forgotten her. They were from this moment only concerned to prove their loyalty to the triumphant cause, and to convince Mary of their entire faith, hope, and trust in her.
'Our bounden duties most humbly remembered to your most excellent majesty; it may like the same to understand, that we, your most humble, faithful and obedient subjects, having always (God we take to witness) remained your highness true and humble subjects in our hearts, ever sithens the death of our late sovereign lord and master, your highness brother, whom God pardon--' a long letter, asking Mary graciously to accept their meaning, to pardon and remit their former infirmities, was despatched at once by Lord Arundel, dated 'as from your majesties city of London.' Mary received it at its face value; she had seen, in her life, much shifting of loyalty, and knew very well how to assess that quicksilver quality. But she had soldiers with her, and an overwhelming courage and purpose. She came straight to London on the strength of this letter, making the move safely that would have meant death three weeks before. On the 3rd of August, with her sister Elizabeth riding among her ladies, Mary came into the City by Aldgate. 'The number of velvet coats that did ride before her, as well strangers as others, was 740; and the number of ladies and gentlemen that followed was 180. The queen's grace stayed in Aldgate Street before the stage where the poor children stood, to hear an oration that one of them made.'
She had always a liking for magnificence. On this day the short, fair, pale woman wore a splendid dress of violet velvet, her white horse's trappings were fringed with gold, six footmen walked by her, dressed wholly in cloth of gold; her guard wore scarlet bound with black velvet, the Beefeaters' dress, with a rose and a true-lover's knot embroidered on the breast in gold. She wept very easily always, for joy as well as sorrow, and it is not matter for surprise that the onlookers found her white-faced, her eyes heavy. At the Tower, in which every English king began his reign, a great peal of ordnance was shot off; Jane had been greeted with just such a peal when she came down the river from Syon House; and there on the Green the State prisoners--but not Jane or her husband--were brought out to kneel as the Queen entered: two bishops, Courtenay, the old Duke of Norfolk, and the wife of her enemy, Somerset the Protector. The Queen kissed and raised them, and with an exclamation tenderly ironical--'These are my prisoners'--at last released her tears.
The usurpation was ended. Mary was secure, and her next actions were easy enough to forecast. The papal nuncio in France wrote at this date to Rome:
'As soon as the Queen arrives in London it is supposed that she will have the marriage between her mother and father declared valid, she is said much to desire it, and wills it to be declared by all Parliaments and statutes, 'so that her mother's and her own honour may be satisfied.' This determination of Mary's was a commonplace of the chanceries. 'Another of her intentions is to re-establish religion under the obedience of his Holiness.' She had made that clear enough by her answers to her brother's insistence. She had done what she could by patience and steadfastness, during the years that had passed since she signed Cromwell's infamous articles, to atone for that yielding. She would have died to atone; in her father's lifetime she had risked death more than once, and during the Protectorship there had been moments when her fate seemed to tilt towards the block. But always at the last moment pressure lessened, so that the easy and swift way was closed again and she had to endure, withdrawn in her country manor, a double impotence, as daughter of the Church and of Katherine of Aragon. Her one opportunity, martyrdom, never came. Violent death for a cause would have made a heroine of her, as of Jane Grey, but she was not allowed it; and though her courage never sank, her judgment did, until it became fixed, a sword thrust into a rock; while the judgment of her sister Elizabeth, a shifting flame, preserved both her and her kingdom when the time came. If Mary could have died for her two fixed ideas they might have triumphed, but she had to live for them, and this she did clumsily, dangerously, and to the defeat of her purpose.
In the chapel of the Tower she had a requiem Mass sung for her brother, the boy who had wept when his Council obliged him to wink at idolatry. She sent out preachers to Paul's Cross, who were heard at first riotously, even to the throwing of knives, and afterwards left alone, so that the Lord Mayor was ordered to make 'ancients of the companies resort to the sermons, lest the preachers be discouraged.'
The Queen was conscious perhaps of having gone towards her goal too abruptly, and the proclamation which followed these riots bade, with good sense, the people leave 'these new found devilish terms of papist or heretic and such like, and apply their whole care, study and travail to live in the fear of God.' She was minded, she said, herself to observe the forms of the old religion, which, as God and the world knew, she had from infancy practised, and would be glad if her subjects would come, quietly and charitably, to the same mind. But she would not compel them, 'unto such time as further order, by common consent, should be taken.' The Londoners were not appeased, and the younger sort went into the streets smelling out those churches where the Latin Mass was being said, and making the kind of mocking trouble for which they were notorious, until an order appeared bidding householders keep their children and apprentices in order and awe. Children and apprentices could easily be dealt with; so could open traitors to the Crown and Faith. The recusants in her own household, however, gave Mary some trouble.
Elizabeth, her sister, and Anne of Cleves, only by contract her father's wife, held out against her. Anne, too ugly and too obscure to have caught the English imagination, was not a dangerous example; she had, besides, been brought up in the Lutheran faith. But Elizabeth was always near her, a focus for discontent now that Jane Grey was safe, and the next heir. The Queen sent for her to tell her that she must conform, or else they might not remain together.
Mary was most earnestly a Catholic, and determined for their souls' sake to bring her sister and her people to the only faith that could save them; but she was also a woman, and it may be supposed that she found this interview not altogether without savour. She had been servant to Elizabeth once; the Duke of Norfolk's men had put her by force into the litter that carried her to Hatfield to that Humiliation; she had seen the badges torn from her liveries on the day that Elizabeth was carried with trumpeters to Westminster. She gave her orders, therefore, not without a kind of triumph, demanding obedience, but doubting it. Her own submission had been made under threat of death, after many years of persecution, with an accompanying consciousness of sin; she had damned herself knowingly to save the people of England alive. The authority of her father, his Council, and the Emperor had been required to make her yield, and she expected, knowing something of her family's temper, the same conduct from Elizabeth.
She was deceived. Resistance was not prolonged more than a week. Elizabeth was never, save occasionally for political or patriotic purposes, fiercely Protestant, and even at twenty had a mind balanced too finely to be fanatical. She asked that instruction in the Faith might be given, and eight days later Mass was said in her household by a chaplain of the old order. This easy conformity was suspect. The Queen sent again for Elizabeth, and asked very seriously if her submission proceeded from conviction or from fear. From conviction, Elizabeth answered, and would so declare in public; 'but as she spoke she trembled.' Mary believed, and approved her sister's resolution with gifts; a brooch of the history of the Old Testament, a brooch of the history of Pyramus and Thisbe, a square tablet of gold, and--a strange present from Katherine's daughter to Anne's--'a book of gold with the King's face, and her grace's mother's.' There is an item in the list of Mary's jewels made a few months before, another gift to a girl of the Reformed Faith, and of her own blood: 'a lace for the neck of goldsmith's work, with small pearls 32,' noted in her own hand as 'given to my cousin Jane Graye.'
That young Protestant was stubborn. A prisoner whose name is unknown, but who was presumably a Protestant too, dined on Tuesday the 29th of August, in Partridge the warder's house with the Lady Jane, 'she sitting at the board's end,' as became one who was grand-daughter to a queen, and using her privilege to bid the men put on their caps. She spoke of Mary gently, saying that she knew her for a merciful princess, and had prayed God she might continue so. After this, she asked who had preached at Paul's the Sunday before. She was told; the name must have had a smack of the old Faith, for her next question was: 'I pray you, have they mass in London?' 'Yes, forsooth,' her fellow prisoner answered, 'in some places.' Lady Jane found it strange, but not so strange as the sudden conversion of her father-in-law. (He had received the sacrament publicly in the chapel of the Tower eight days before.) 'Who would have thought,' said his son's wife, 'that he would have so done?' In hope of pardon, the others thought. She was indignant.
'Though other men be of that opinion, I utterly am not; for what man is there living, I pray you, although he had been innocent, that would hope of life in that case; being in the field against the queen in person as general, and after his taking so hated and evil spoke of, even by the commons? Who was to judge that he should hope for pardon, whose life was odious to all men? But what will ye more? like as his life was wicked and full of dissimulation, so was his end thereafter. I pray God, I and no friend of mine die so.'
In this sort of talk the dinner passed away. When it ended, the prisoner thanked her ladyship for accepting his company.
'She thanked me likewise, and said, I was welcome.' She thanked the warder Partridge too, for bringing the unknown gentleman; his answer was humble to his prisoner-guest. 'Madam, we were somewhat bold, not knowing that your ladyship dined below until we found your ladyship there.'
A few weeks in the Tower had not quenched Lady Jane's pride; a few days had been enough for her father-in-law. He wrote to Arundel, lately his companion in Queen Jane's Council, now in Queen Mary's favour, whom he should have despised as a time-server, begging his intercession:
'O, that it would please her good grace to give me life, yea, the life of a dog, if I might but live and kiss her feet...O, that her mercy were such as she would consider how little profit my dead and dismembered body can bring her...Spare not, I pray, your bended knees for me in this distress. O, good my lord, remember how sweet life is, and how bitter the contrary. Spare not your speech and pains, for God, I hope, hath not shut out all hopes of comfort from me in that gracious, princely, and womanlike heart.' The letter ends with a prayer for patience to endure, and a heart to forgive the whole world, and is signed:
'Once your fellow and loving companion, but now worthy of no name but wretchedness and misery. J. D.'
He knew, and the letter itself in its abandonment shows, that he had no hope of mercy; a man 'so hated and evil spoken of, even by the commons,' so long a scorner of religion, and at last a traitor, he could put forward no grounds for mercy except Queen Jane's warranty, stamped with the Great Seal of England. The Council answered that the seal had been usurped, and bore no authority with it. Northumberland then, some spark of nobility lighting in him, pleaded for his children, and especially his son's wife, Jane, saying that she had not sought the Crown, but 'by enticement and force' had been made to accept it. The Council heard that in silence.
As he came back from his examination through the streets to the Tower, guarded, a woman shook a bloody handkerchief at him. The blood was that of Somerset, dead two years, whom he had brought to the block, as the people supposed; the woman, like many others, had dipped her scrap of linen in the Protector's blood, and treasured it as the relic of a good man unjustly condemned. Now she shook it in the Duke's face for an omen, and cried out that at last murder was to be revenged.
Next day he was brought to the scaffold, and 'putting off his gown of swan coloured damask, leaned upon the east rail, making his own funeral oration to the people.' The speech concerned itself solely with religion. At last he perceived that the faith England had held thirty years before was the only true one. The reformers were serpents, and their preachers, trumpets of sedition, must be expelled if the country were to have peace. For himself he now confessed himself a believer, a sinner, and recommended himself to their prayers and the mercy of God.
Now would have seemed the time, if it were to be done at all, for the execution of Jane Grey, soon after the collapse of her rebellion, while feeling still ran high in the City. The Emperor's people urged this on Mary as the only course. She would not consider it.
She had known the girl at court, had been her hostess at New Hall; and though on that occasion Jane had made a pert and blasphemous comment on the Eucharist, there had been something more than acquaintance between them, as the gift of a necklace shows, and they were kin, not only in blood, but in learning. Success with Elizabeth had given Mary some expectation of prevailing even here, despite a certain religious doggedness in Ascham's pupil. She sent divines to argue with the prisoner, whose unwilling treason saw itself half condoned when the Queen set her father honourably free. (It appeared to the Council that Suffolk was anything but a dangerous person, whose crime and whose punishment lay in having, long ago, married a queen's daughter; a silly harmless man.) Mary treated him friendly, gave Lady Jane a little more liberty, though she still was kept from her husband; then became busy with plans for the coronation.
Money was needed, and she went to the City in procession to ask for it, halting at the various displays made by the companies and others in her honour. There was one show topped with an angel clothed in green, who by a device, 'to the marvelling of many ignorant persons,' seemed to lift his trumpet and blow. There were children in women's dress, 'a very pretty pageant made very gorgeously,' who gave the Queen, after certain orations and salutations, a purse of a thousand pounds in gold. At Paul's the scholars sang; and a man with a little flag in his hand mounted the steeple and stood on one leg on the very weathercock, 'which was thought a matter impossible.' At the east end of the church was a kind of altar, 'and there she stood long, for it was made of rosemary, with all her arms and a crown in the midst.' Strange moment in a pageant: the Queen halting to look long on the herb of remembrance surrounding all her arms; France, England, Spain.
The Queen had her money with goodwill from the Londoners, who dearly loved a show, and had for many years seen nothing but sober coats and gowns about the streets. Next day she went on foot to Westminster to be crowned, in a dress of blue velvet lined with ermine, with a circlet on her head, and endured five hours of ceremony before she came out of church again, dressed now in red, with a naked sword borne before her, holding her sceptre and in the other hand a ball of gold, 'which she twirled and turned in her hand as she came homeward.' She was Queen, so far as all the old ceremonies could make her so; supreme in England over her subjects' lives and consciences. She was equipped with more entire power than any woman had ever held in that country before. She was loved, acknowledged, and owed responsibility only to God. She wasted no time.
The first measure put before her first Parliament, after a Mass of the Holy Ghost had been sung, was a Bill which in one condemnation repealed every one of the Acts concerning religion that had been passed during the reign of her father and brother; one clause dealt with the old matter of divorce, and it was this that stuck in the throat of the Commons. Katherine's wrongs had been forgotten by all except her daughter; the Pope, whose judgment had declared the divorce unlawful, was by this time the bugbear of all true Englishmen. While the Commons understood very well that Queen Mary's legitimacy was her sole claim upon their loyalty, they would have preferred to take it for granted, and respect the fait accompli of her succession without going into the question of whether or no she had a right to succeed. The Pope's decree, lawful in one matter, must logically be accepted in others; and there were many members of both Houses who would have been the poorer for a re-confiscation of Church property. There was trouble, especially in the Commons, and much argument, with no prospect of the Bill passing. Mary's fixed idea had led her almost at once into conflict.
The power was hers, and on her mother's side she had no understanding of compromise, by which most English virtue Elizabeth was later to rule. But she had advisers who knew its value. Parliament was prorogued for three days, and when the Commons met again two new drafts were submitted to them. In the first no mention whatever was made of the Pope; it required only the admission that Henry VIII and his first wife had lived in lawful matrimony. Compromise scored its usual success. There were no dissentients.
The second Bill begged the whole question of Church property, and dealt chiefly with the Book of Common Prayer, called 'a new thing, imagined by a few of singular opinions.' These few were strongly represented in the Commons, and again there was argument. But since the Queen had been content to pass over the matter of restoring stolen property, they agreed to meet her half-way, and after two days' debate religion was re-established in the form it had known at Henry's death; that is, the use of Latin was restored in the churches, with all the sacraments, and all the splendours. On St. Katherine's Day, feast of the Queen's mother's patron, 'the light in Paul's steeple went about the steeple that night, and the singing men of Paul's choir with the children singing anthems, as of old had been accustomed.'
Mary had done much in little time. She had without bloodshed quieted rebellion, freed religion, and defended her name; but she was, from her long retirement and a certain turn of mind not wholly English, unaware of how greatly the temper of the people had changed since her father first began to turn their faith upside down. In these first two months she succeeded in putting back the clock; and for the rest of her reign was in that position expressed by the French proverb, of one seeking midday at two in the afternoon.
ALASTOR. Are dreams so heavy, then?
CHARON. They load my boat--load it, did I say?
They have sunk it before now.
As soon as Mary was perceived to be fairly settled in power the intrigues began, conducted by the ambassadors of the Empire and of France. There were minor aspirants, the Infant of Portugal, the King of Denmark, and one or two less sounding European princes; but though they put in tentative claims which the Council duly considered, the Emperor's word carried weight with his cousin, and his nominee was his son. France had, at the moment, no marriageable royalty to set up against the Prince of Spain, but the chance of gaining control of English policy was not to be abandoned for that. The French ambassador, de Noailles was a man of astuteness, and he had, in the English temper, an ally more powerful than relationship by blood.
The insularity of this rich, mysterious, and troubled kingdom, its self-sufficiency and hatred of foreigners, by whatever treaties bound, had been noted. He could, following its more recent history, see very clearly that this people cared little enough for the descent of their kings, and had no objection to an admixture of commoner's blood, so long as it was English, with the royal. The Tudors themselves had no very obvious right to sit where they did; their claim was an affair on the distaff side, all seemingly tenuous to the representative of a country where the Salic law prevailed. English speech and an old name were enough for most Englishmen's loyalty. The ambassador, when he understood this, began to look about him for some commoner who might be made to serve as chestnut-snatcher, and fixed his attention on the Earl of Devon, Edward Courtenay.
He was ten years younger than the Queen. His father had been beheaded in Henry VIII's later years for persistence in the old Faith, and the boy, arrested at the same time, had spent nearly half his life in the Tower. Gardiner, the new Chancellor, himself a prisoner, had known him there, and first brought his person and his misfortunes to Mary's notice. She was kind to the handsome young man, pitying him. She restored the estates forfeited by attainder; she made him an earl; there were rumours that she had given him her father's great diamond, valued at sixteen thousand crowns. He was the only Englishman who by his own birth--he had a little of the blood royal--the Queen's evident liking, and his immense popularity with the common people, was fitted for the office of consort. Reginald Pole was considered seriously by the Council, who thought him, by reason of his age and nearer connection with the throne, a more suitable match. But besides being in minor orders, he was something of a Pope's man, that is to say, only once removed from the Emperor's sphere of influence, and he had lived out of England too long; the people had never heard of him. A foreign-bred priest had very little chance against the Englishness of Courtenay, and de Noailles knew it, if the Council did not.
Mary was aware of the pressure which urged Courtenay upon her as a candidate for the throne. She loved his mother; she had been generous to him. Had the young man himself displayed ordinary prudence, dignity, and common sense she might, to the great content of all England, have married him. But the Tower proved to have been a bad school. He was riotous, extravagant, loose in all ways. His mother and de Noailles worked vainly to give him some show of self-discipline. The Queen watched, then declared in public that it was not to her honour to marry a subject; in private, that she would not tie herself to a man so unprincipled. The French parti seemed lost, and the Emperor's ambassador, Renard, took the field.
He had spoken to her before her accession on this matter; now, with her way and the Emperor's wishes clear, she listened to him, and seemed easily persuaded. Renard had expected difficulties. He was aware, as she was not, of the feeling in England against foreigners; and he could foresee something of the trouble to come, which, though it might set England by the ears, would not be to his master's disadvantage. He wrote, half contemptuously, half affectionately, of her to the Cardinal de Granvelle:
'I know this queen; so good, so easy, without experience of life or of statecraft; a novice in everything. I will tell you honestly my opinion, that unless God guards her she will always be cheated and misled either by the French or her own subjects; and at last taken off by poison or some other means.'
Renard had the advantage of the Frenchman, not only in being the Emperor's man, but in having a choice of husbands to offer. The Emperor's brother Ferdinand and his nephew Maximilian were both available if Philip of Spain failed. He pressed for Philip, of the three; and Mary, grateful to Charles V for twenty years of sympathy and protection, was glad in this way to pay him her debt. Still, she had grave doubts. Philip was young, he had a kingdom of his own to look after; there would inevitably be trouble with the French if the Low Countries, part of his appanage, were thus joined to England; and for her own part, she told the ambassador, she had no wish to marry at all. She had never known what it was to desire any man.
To the making of her final decision must have gone other considerations than those of policy. Her Chancellor was wholly opposed to any such marriage; she must by this time, being half a Tudor, have known that the commoners were grumbling; the Councillors made it clear that they wanted an English consort, Courtenay or another. Against these she set her old respect for the Emperor, and the weight of her two fixed ideas: Spain, and the Church to which Spain was faithful. A Catholic succession was necessary, and no other alliance would certainly ensure it. Her people's souls were laid upon her; the Spanish marriage meant the Catholic Mass. There is no need to suppose that she was anything but honest when she told Renard that before the throne was hers she had no thought of a husband. The decision was a hard one, made not without tears, as the ambassador knew. She received him at night in a room wherein was an altar, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed on it, and told him that since this matter had been raised she had had no sleep, and come to no decision. But she had asked help of God all that day, and would ask it again; 'kneeling on both knees she recited the Veni Creator Spiritus, there being in the room only myself and Mistress Clarence, who did the same.' The prayer ended, she rose, and said to Renard quietly and briefly that she had considered his proposal; she begged the Emperor would be a father to her; then, being assured that it was the will of God, she gave her word before the altar to marry the Prince of Spain, 'and to love him perfectly.'
Renard's message to the Emperor was triumphant. His victory had for the moment to be kept secret, but there were spies about the court, even about the Queen's person, and it was not long before de Noailles knew of the Queen's decision. The Frenchman in haste informed his master, then set to work by the wise use of rumour to terrify the English and rouse them. Stories of the rapaciousness of the Spaniards went about the City of London. Where they came from nobody asked; how much truth was in them nobody knew. The Tower and the Cinque Ports were to be handed over to Philip's infantry, he was to suppress Parliament, and instal the Inquisition in its place. De Noailles' activities find laconic comment in the chronicles of the time: 'In the beginning of November was the first notice among the people touching the marriage of the Queen to the King of Spain.'
All this propaganda had its effect. 'Your Majesty knows,' Renard had written to the Emperor, 'that the English are of a turbulent temper, and like their own way in everything. They love change and novelty, either because of their insular position, or because of their habitual contact with the sea, or because their morals are corrupt.' They did like novelty, but not such novelties as those that the French ambassador's rumours promised them soon; and they were turbulent only when their dear insularity was threatened, as it seemed to be by this too-powerful alliance with too close a neighbour. The Commons were all of one mind, and told it plainly to Mary. She was as plain with their deputation.
'For that you desire to see us married, we thank you. To dictate what consort we shall choose, goes beyond your province. Sovereigns in these matters suit their own tastes, considering also the good of their peoples.'
She dismissed them. Fear and uncertainty among the people took an ugly turn; there were riots in the churches. Mary, her mind made up as to the marriage, and perhaps with some notion of showing them the folly of combating a power now established, chose this moment to hold the trial of Lady Jane.
There is a brief description of Lady Jane's dress, as she walked between men-at-arms from the Tower to Guild Hall, her two gentlewomen following: 'A black gown of cloth turned down; the cap lined with fese (face) velvet, and edged about with the same, in a French hood, all black, with a black habillement'--here this term has the sense of border--'a black velvet book hanging before her, and another book in her hand open.' She pleaded guilty; so did the Dudleys and Cranmer, arraigned with her. Sentence of death was passed, as was inevitable, and the procession made its way back to the Tower. In spite of the guard of four hundred halberdiers, it might have been thought that the noisy London Protestants would acclaim, if they did not try to rescue her. She was a shadowy figure to them, however, and no contemporary report has much to say of the day's doings:
'Item, this year the 14th day of November the bishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer and Lady Jane that would a been queen and three of the Dudleys condemned at the Guildhall for high treason.'
'The 13 of November Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilford Dudley esquire, and Lady Jane his wife, Ambrose Dudley and Henry Dudley, esquires, were arraigned at the Guild Hall of London of high treason against the Queen, and were there condemned and had judgment to die.'
The account of Lady Jane's condemnation takes up no more space than this, after which the Grey Friars Chronicle and Charles Wriothesley pass on then to other things, such as the penitential riding of a priest, 'Sir Tho. Southwood, alias parson Chekin' about the City in a cart 'for selling his wife, which he said he had married.' Not that the chronicles were afraid to comment on the marriage with Spain and the breaking up of Latin ceremonies; but when in August Jane had been proclaimed, 'few or none said God save her,' the Londoners knew nothing of her character or her person. 'Shall I tell you,' asks Erasmus in his Colloquies, 'a sure way to be renowned without envy? Do some noble deed and die young.' Lady Jane had not yet set down in full her claim to renown.
She wrote to Mary from the Tower about this time a letter which shows something of her quality. It has directness, simplicity, and pride, Mary's own attributes in writing, and does, besides, show most clearly where responsibility for the late rebellion lay, which was not on the Lady Jane's shoulders. She begins with an appeal for mercy. 'I can still on many grounds conceive hope of your infinite clemency, it being known that the error imputed to me has not been altogether caused by myself. Because although my fault may be great, and I confess it to be so, nevertheless I am charged and esteemed guilty more than I have deserved.' She had been staying with her own mother, she said, when news came that the King could not live. The Duke of Northumberland told her of it, and said that she must hold herself ready to go to the Tower, on which account there was a dispute. 'The Duchess of Northumberland was angry with me, and with the duchess my mother, saying that if she had resolved to keep me in the house she should have kept her son, my husband, near her, to whom she thought I would certainly have gone, and she been free from the charge of me.' Lady Jane had two days' respite at Chelsea before an order came from the Council; Lady Sidney brought it, 'who told me with extraordinary seriousness that it was necessary for me to go with her, which I did.' At Syon House she found five lords, 'who with unwonted caresses and pleasantness, did me such reverence as was not at all suitable to my state, kneeling down before me on the ground, and in many other ways making semblance of honouring me,' which behaviour made me blush with infinite confusion.' The King's will was told her; she heard it 'with infinite grief of mind.' 'How I was beside myself, stupefied and troubled, I will leave it to those lords who were present to testify, who saw me, overcome by sudden and unexpected grief, fall on the ground, weeping very bitterly.' But they had their way with her, and she went to the Tower, where without being asked the Lord Treasurer brought her the crown, to try whether it became her well or no, and said that another should be made for her husband; but this she would not have. 'I sent for the earls of Arundel and Pembroke, and said to them, that if the crown belonged to me I should be content to make my husband a duke, but would never consent to make him King. Which resolution of mine gave his mother...great anger and disdain, so that she being very angry with me, and greatly displeased, persuaded her son not to sleep with me any longer as he was wont to do.' She knew nothing, she said, of the Council's deliberations; but she was sure that poison had been given her, both in Northumberland's house and the Tower, 'as I have the best and most certain testimony, besides that since that time all my hair has fallen off.' The letter ends without any further appeal for mercy.
Mary must have been touched by it. She had known herself what it was to dread poison; she too had been puzzled and troubled by weathercock loyalties; and she had endured the browbeating of a Council, with the spite of a woman set by marriage in authority over her. The facts of the case she certainly knew, and though it was necessary to let the girl come to trial, no preparations for enforcing the penalty were made on Tower Hill. Lady Jane went back to an imprisonment by no means rigorous, with liberty to walk where she chose in the Queen's garden. She was, in fact, held as hostage for the good behaviour of her family and friends. A little quiet, a year's docility on the part of these would have been enough to set her free. Mary's marriage with Philip was, by the end of December, settled; by the December following she might have a child. There was no need to fear a second usurpation, at any rate not from that quarter, and despite pressure from the Emperor's people, 'she could not be induced to consent that Jane of Suffolk should die.' The focus of suspicion shifted to Elizabeth.
She was at Hatfield, enjoying no more real liberty than the Lady Jane. Various activities centred about her. She was the reformer's hope, the bulwark against Spain, the next in succession, and moreover had astonishing personal charm--'ung esprit plain d'incantation.' There was talk even among the Queen's advisers of appeasing the people by marrying her to Courtenay, for whom she had no small liking, despite his character, 'proud, poor, obstinate, inexperienced and vindictive in the extreme.' Of this plan de Noailles wrote despairingly to his master:
'It rests with the lord Courtenay to marry her, and go with her into his west country, where they might raise powers, and make a bid together for the crown. But by bad luck the fellow is a poltroon; he will attempt nothing. It might be done, if he had the heart for it.'
Instead, he left Elizabeth alone at Hatfield while he remained at court, dancing to whatever tune his apprehensions called. A nice irony sent him, the English people's chosen consort, 'last sprig of the White Rose,' to greet on behalf of the Queen Charles V's envoys, coming to make formal proposal for her hand. There were no rejoicings in the streets as these came through London from Tower wharf; their harbingers had been pelted with snowballs the day before by those apprentices whom a previous decree appointed to be kept by their masters in order and awe, 'so hateful was the sight of their coming in to them.' It was bitter cold weather, and coals were scarce in London even at tenpence a sack. Trade had been hampered by the troubles, food was scanty; yet the ambassadors 'had great presents given them of victuals by the Mayor,' and reported themselves very well satisfied with their treatment, which was better than they expected, 'at any rate from the nobility.' The citizens, however, saw these lords as coming to bid for their Queen, intriguers who would take money out of the country, and bring soldiers in. They were sullen. The Queen's ordinance concerning the use of Latin in churches was neglected in most parishes from fear of the people.
But when the terms of the marriage were announced in the presence chamber at Westminster, they seemed not so very formidable to English liberties. The Queen was to have 30,000 ducats a year for her jointure; her son, if she had one, should inherit, as well as England, Burgundy and the Low Countries; furthermore, a matter very surprising to the assembled lords, Gardiner told them that 'we were much bounded to thank God that so noble, worthy and famous a prince would vouchsafe so to humble himself, as in this marriage to take upon him rather as a subject than otherwise; and that the queen should rule all things as she doth now; and that there should be of the council no Spaniard, neither should have the custody of any ports or castles; neither bear rule or office in the queen's house, or elsewhere in all England.'
It was a generous arrangement. Gardiner had laboured hard for every clause of it, putting his own prejudices aside; he had no liking for the match. England was safeguarded, could lose neither dignity nor money by the treaty, and stood to gain, if the Queen were fruitful, two other kingdoms. It was more than the most obstinate Englishman had any right to expect, but still it was distasteful. 'These news, although before they were not unknown to many, and very much unliked, yet being now in this wise pronounced, were not only credited, but also heavily taken of sundry men, yea, and thereat almost each man was abashed, looking daily for worse matters to grow shortly after.'
'The Lord Mayor was sent for to court, with his sheriffs and forty of the best commoners of the City, to hear in person, as was due to his authority, the Queen's decision. He had done what he could to atone, by gifts and personal deference to the envoys, for the snowballing and scowling faces in his streets, but the Queen was not placated, and resentment showed through Gardiner's speech, made in her name. 'The Lord Chancellor declared to them the Queen's pleasure, which was that she intended to marry with the King of Spain, which should be for the great preferment of the realm. And that they like obedient subjects to accept her Grace's pleasure, and to be content and quiet themselves. And further that God's religion, which she used and had set forth new of late might be so observed and kept within the City that they might be a spectacle to all the realm, which they had yet very slackly set forth, or else if they will not be diligent to do and observe her laws and commandments they should run in her high indignation and displeasure.'
The proclamation that followed was no more tactful:
'Her highness, considering the lightness and evil disposition of divers low and seditious persons, who, seeking always novelties, and being seldom contented with their present state, might peradventure at this time by their naughty and disordered behaviour, attempt to stir discord,' ordered that all strangers who might come with the Prince were to have 'courtesy, friendly and gentle entertainment, without either by outward deeds, taunting words, or unseemly countenance' jeopardising the goodwill that should exist between peoples so newly and happily brought together.
But as a nation cannot be made virtuous by Act of Parliament, neither can it be made tractable. The Spaniards were coming, the Spaniards were strangers; Mary wrote to Renard a note in haste: 'Sir: I forgot to tell you one thing to-night. The Chancellor, speaking of a match overseas, said that they might make many promises, but would keep them or not as they chose, once the marriage was signed and sealed.' 'Six days later, news came that Sir Peter Carew and others were up in Devonshire, resisting of the King of Spain's coming.' This was on January 20th; a week later London heard a more disquieting story, that Sir Thomas Wyat had set up his standard in Maidstone.
Rebellion exploding in the south and west; this was known for certain, besides rumours of Sir James Crofts having, gone to Wales, Mary's own principality once, and faithful to her in trouble, to raise men there against her. All these rebels had the marriage of the Queen in their mouths, and French help in their hopes. The Princess Elizabeth was turning to de Noailles as, long ago, her sister had turned to Chapuys for sympathy; French emissaries were seen at her house; she had, provided site kept out of danger, and played her favourite role of Mistress Facing-both-ways, a good chance of the throne. Had success depended only on Elizabeth's self-control, it would have been sure; unhappily there was Courtenay to be considered, privy to all the plans, afraid for his life and his new dignities. He should have gone into the west to lead his own people; instead he stood about the court like a ship's figurehead planted in a garden, valiantly gesturing, but functionless. An interview with the Chancellor alarmed him; there were hints of his forgotten duty to the Queen, warnings to beware of the French. Courtenay had no fancy to risk another fourteen years in the Tower, still less his head. He stumbled out some sort of confession, which if it gave no names offered facts enough, and the outlines of the plotters' campaign.
Wyat, Carew, and Crofts had linked themselves to wait the actual coming of the Prince of Spain in the spring, when, with better weather--'it being now cold and wet, and not the usual English season for commotion'--and the impetus of an actual Spanish landing upon the imaginations of the people, together the attempt would be made. Courtenay's folly broke this decision. The leaders, finding their names and intentions known, struck at once, too soon, and separately. Carew escaped to France, Crofts was taken in his bed before ever he got to Wales. There remained Wyat, with his fifteen thousand Kentish men gathered near Maidstone to offer quarrel to the Strangers.
His proclamation kept clear of religion and legitimacy, two subjects on which English people had recently done enough thinking; it was a monument of loyalty. He was bluff, he convinced. Men came up to him in the market-place of Maidstone, 'which before had hated him, and he them,' to ask if it were true that his quarrel was not against the Queen?
'"No," quod Wyat, "we mind nothing less than any wise to touch her Grace, but to serve her and honour her, according to our duties."'
The enquirers were not only silenced, but moved to enthusiasm. One that was rich, or reported so, came to him with an offer and an indiscretion:
'"Sir, they say I love my potage well. I will sell all my spoons, and all the plate in my house, rather than your purpose shall quail, and sup my potage with my mouth. I trust," quod he, "you will restore the right religion again."'
'"Whist," quod Wyat, "you may not so much as name religion, for that will withdraw from us the hearts of many. You must only make your quarrel for over running by Strangers. And yet to thee be it said in counsel as to my friend, we mind only the restitution of God's word. But no words!"'
He set the example. There was no mention in any of his speeches of the Mass. His letter to the sheriff of Kent spoke vaguely of perils threatening the body of the commonwealth; his proclamation to the commons of the shire insisted that the Spaniards were already landed, and the foremost company arrived at Rochester, marching to London 'in companies of ten, four, and six, with harness, harquebusses and morions, and with matches I lighted.' His army increased daily, weapons were found for them, some said by favour of the Venetian envoy; and on the morning of January 26th London's gates began to be guarded by volunteers in armour.
At Rochester, where Wyat arrived next day, there were no Spaniards countermarching, and no trace of their occupation, but the Duke of Norfolk with a herald was there, and six or some say five hundred white-coated Londoners behind him. The herald, who after some dispute and rudeness got silence and a hearing, read out that all rebels who would desist from their purpose should be pardoned. Amid shouting, the pardon was refused; 'they had done nothing whereof they should need any pardon.' Only one of the rebel leaders, Sir George Harper, went over to the Duke, who received him kindly, as an old acquaintance. Norfolk, 'an ancient and worthy captain, and yet by long imprisonment diswonted from the knowledge of our malicious world and the iniquity of our time,' was too trusting. The submission was feigned, and it is more than likely that Sir George had brought with him money to spend in the Queen's camp; for next day, while the Duke was directing his guns upon the town of Rochester, held strongly by Wyat, the leader of the Whitecoats, one Brett, addressed his Londoners:
'Masters, we go about to fight against our native countrymen of England, and our friends, in a quarrel unrightful and partly wicked, for they, considering the great and manifold miseries which are like to fall upon us if we shall be under the rule of the proud Spaniards or Strangers, are here assembled to make resistance of the coming in of him or his favourers; and for that they know right well that if we should be under their subjection they would, as slaves and villains, spoil us of our goods and lands, ravish our wives before our faces, and deflower our daughters in our presence, have taken upon them now...this their enterprise, against which I think no English heart ought to say, much less by fighting to withstand them.'
This, the quintessence and attar of all war speeches, produced its invariable effect. The Whitecoats turned their firearms upon their own camp--'a Jew would not have done the like, having received his hire to serve'; the Duke, that guileless gentleman, retreated with such of his followers as remained, and came back, well whipped and sans seven brass guns, to London. 'Ye should have seen some of the guard come home, their coats turned, all ruined, without arrows, or string in their bow, or sword, in very strange wise; which discomforture, like as it was a heart-sore, and very displeasing to the queen and council, even so was it almost as less joyous to the Londoners.' Sir George Harper rejoined his leader to receive thanks and praises, and the unknown supporter who had given his spoons was told that now he should eat his pottage with silver. 'Who had seen the embracing, clipping, and congratulation used at this meeting from traitor to traitor might justly wonder thereat. Shortly after they had well clawed one another, they went together like themselves into Rochester.'
London, at sight of its beaten and sorry company returned, took fright. Lawyers pleaded at Westminster with armour under their robes, the Queen's Mass was sung by an armoured priest, the Lord Mayor set about raising five hundred foot-soldiers to be equipped at the cost of the City. Wyat was rumoured to be near, coming up along Thames bank towards Blackheath and Greenwich. Guns were laid at each one of the City gates, where a watch was kept day and night. This was a threat very different from the blustering of Northumberland.
Mary saw her whole policy threatened. Victory for Wyat meant the end of Catholicism in England, that she knew, and the end of the treasured alliance with Spain. The little red-haired woman left her prayers, and ordered her horse. At the Guildhall, to aldermen awkwardly carrying their unaccustomed weapons, she made a speech under the great cloth of estate which rings like tempered steel; she had a voice like a man, that could be heard at a great distance:
'I am come to you in mine own person to tell you that which already you see and know; that is, how traitorously and rebelliously a number of Kentishmen have assembled themselves against us and you. Their pretence (as they said at the first) was for a marriage determined for us, to the which, and to all the articles thereof, ye have been made privy. But since, we have caused certain of our privy council to go again unto them and to demand the cause of this their rebellion; and it appeared then unto our said council, that the matter of the marriage seemed to be but a Spanish cloak to cover their pretended purpose against our religion; for that they arrogantly and traitorously demanded to have the governance of our person, the keeping of the Tower, and the placing of our councillors. Now, loving subjects, what I am ye right well know. I am your queen, to whom at my coronation, when I was wedded to the realm and laws of the same (the spousal ring whereof I have on my finger, which never hitherto was, nor hereafter shall be left off) you promised your allegiance and obedience unto me. And that I am the right and true inheritor of the crown of this realm of England, I take all Christendom to witness...I say to you on the word of a prince, I cannot tell how naturally the mother loveth the child, for I was never the mother of any, but certainly if a prince and governor may as naturally and earnestly love her subjects as the mother doth love the child, then assure yourselves that I, being your lady and mistress, do as earnestly and tenderly love and favour you...As concerning the marriage...I am not so bent to my will, neither so precise nor affectionate that either for mine own pleasure I could choose where I lust...For God I thank him, to whom be the praise therefore, I have hitherto lived a virgin, and doubt nothing but with God's grace I am able so to live still...And now, good subjects, pluck up your hearts, and like true men stand fast against these rebels, both our enemies and yours, and fear them not, for I assure you I fear them nothing at all.'
Mary spoke bluntly, as she wrote; her words had no Popish tang to them, in spite of the reference to religion. It was the kind of talk to which the subjects of the Tudors responded and were accustomed. (Elizabeth, who spoke in parables with foreign ambassadors, but forthright and frank to her people, had the trick of it too.) Perhaps the greatest tribute to the Queen's speech were those cries heard among the shouts of loyalty to her person, of 'God save the Prince of Spain.' It turned many hearts to her. For the moment she was all her father's daughter.
The City took heart and stood to, not wasting time and lives on sorties, but waiting for Wyat to come. London was his magnet; the Queen was there, and those councillors he had promised to change. (The ambassadors, except Renard, were already gone.) He had lost more than half of his fifteen thousand men by desertion, but his purpose still held, and the smaller army was well led, and lacked neither weapons nor food. His soldiers were provisioned at their own charges for nine days; which, said he, should be long enough, 'finding half the friends there as we think to have. Our hap shall be very hard if we be not at London shortly after we stir; and being once in London, and having the Tower in our hands, I trust you think we shall not lack money long after.'
Wyat reached Southwark on the 3rd of February, and set up two cannon against London Bridge. All boats, by order of the Earl of Pembroke, had been withdrawn to the Westminster side of the stream; the bridges were defended strongly; shot from the White Tower and the Water-Gate harassed the Kentish men, and the population of Southwark. 'Sir Nicholas Poynings, as it is said, being an assistant at the Tower, was with the queen to know whether they should shoot off at the Kentishmen, and so bet down the houses upon their heads. "Nay," said the queen, "that were pity, for many poor men and householders are like to be undone there and killed."' It was not guns but the swift river that saved London from immediate attack, which held off for two days, the threat causing utter confusion on the Queen's side of the stream. Then should ye have seen taking in wares off the stalls in a most hasty manner; there was running up and down in every place to weapons and harness; aged men were astonished, many women wept for fear; children and maids ran into their houses, shutting the doors for fear...so terrible and fearful at the first was Wyat and his armies' coming to the most part of the citizens.'
Still the rebels could not get across. Wyat himself broke through the wall of a house adjoining the gate at London Bridge foot, and got by way of the leads into the lodge of the gate, 'where he found the porter in a slumber, and his wife with others waking, watching a coal. "Whisht!" quod Wyat, "as you love your lives, sit you still! You shall have no hurt!" Glad were they of that warranty, pardy! What should they do? people better accustomed with the tankard of beer to pass forth the night than acquainted with target and spear.' Wyat got, with a few followers, on to the Bridge itself, but the drawbridge was up in the middle, and guarded by the Lord Mayor in person, with cannon; no use to attempt to contrive any passage there. He returned, 'saying to his mates, "This place is too hot for us."'
But Wyat was a man of resource. The people of Southwark, whom he had treated well--'the inhabitants said there was never men behaved themselves so honestly as his company did there'--were afraid of cannon balls from the Tower; these had not done much harm hitherto, but there was apprehension lest with practice the gunners might aim better, 'to the utter desolation of this borough.' Wyat, a wise captain, would not risk the enmity of friends for the sake of shaking a threat over London which could never, owing to the strength of the defence in that quarter, come to performance. He told them to be patient a little, that he would soon ease them; and making out of this check a plan altogether different and more formidable, turned his men, and marched up the river to Kingston. The bridge there had been broken, but a barge was lying across the water, and some of his men could swim. They fetched it across; and working from the barge, his engineers 'trimmed the bridge with ladders, planks and beams, the same tied together with ropes,' so quickly and with such skill that by ten at night the army and guns were able to cross with safety. By nine next morning, Ash Wednesday, he was mustering his force in Hyde Park.
The Londoners had been 'much joyous' the day of his departure. Now the terror was on them again, and with reason. Their river and cannon no longer defended them. Drums went through London at four in the morning, warning all volunteers to arm and meet at Charing Cross. The Tower expected the Queen, but she would not leave Whitehall; 'she sent word that she would tarry there to see the uttermost. Many thought she would have been in the field in person.'
But she remained in her palace, praying, while ladies wailed round her, wringing their hands: 'Alack, alack, some great mischief is toward. We shall all be destroyed this night. What a sight is this, to see the queen's bedchamber full of armed men! The like was never seen or heard before!' There was throughout the palace such a running and crying of ladies and gentlewomen, shutting of doors, and such a shrieking and noise as it was wonderful to hear.'
Wyat's object was to capture her. As soon as his force was set in motion he split it, Knyvett going down towards Westminster, while he kept more northerly, along the wall of the Manor of St. James'. The Queen's main army was drawn up at Charing Cross waiting for him. He abandoned the plan of coming at Whitehall from two sides and turned a little out of his way to ride through the City, hoping there perhaps to gather sympathisers or to create such a commotion that companies of the Queen's army would be sent after him, thus breaking up that force into defeatable units. The tail of his detachment was cut off by Lord Pembroke's raiding horsemen; the rest, some five hundred men with their leader, thrust on into the silent City.
There men in armour stood ranked on either side of Fleet Street as for a procession; they neither attacked nor joined him, they were unwilling to commit themselves; and Wyat's progress, as it was reported to the Lord Mayor by a scout, had much the look of a triumph. 'They stood as men half out of their lives, and many hollow hearts rejoiced in London.' Meanwhile the Queen's people were closing the streets behind him, and there was fighting near Westminster.
Wyat's generalship was of the kind that can deal with an enemy that fights, but not with one that runs. He had promised his Kentish-men that they should ride through London, and they rode, but with none of their objects gained; an unbroken army at their backs, the citizens silent, and the Queen safe. He had been, by the inaction of his enemies, drawn into a trap, and he knew it, though the City did not. 'Whereupon grew great admiration amongst them that knew not their doings in the field; how for policy, and to avoid much manslaughter, Wyat was suffered purposely to pass along. Insomuch divers timorous and cold-hearted soldiers came to the Queen, crying "All is lost! Away! Away! A barge! A barge!"'
Mary was better informed; she asked only what Lord Pembroke was doing. He was in the field, they told her; which meant, she knew, that he was cutting in two by a charge of horse the little army that had gone into the City. '"Well, then," quod her Grace, "fall to prayer! and I warrant you we shall hear better news anon!"' Skirmishers outside sent a shower of arrows through the windows into the room where she stood. There were cries of treason. Lord Pembroke's attack had been wholly successful, but in the mêlée he had cut down some men of the Queen's party, and their survivors came running hack towards Whitehall, shouting that the Earl was gone over to Wyat. The Queen, being told of it, answered that she would trust her Captain, Christ, and went to her prayers again.
Wyat, riding towards Ludgate, knew nothing of all this. He was cut off from Knyvett. The apathy of the citizens, the fighting at his back, and the silent unfamiliar streets opening before him, were all so many omens of failure. His own best qualities as a leader, courage and impetuousness, had lost him his chance, and he knew as he came to Ludgate, shut and barred with cannon, that now the only hope for life was to get out of London and across the Channel. Since the first day of the rising he had worn a coat quilted with angels under his armour, and had discussed with his friends how best to get away 'when England should be no place to rest in.'
There was still a chance if he could get out of the cage, but Ludgate with its ordnance was too formidable for a troop without artillery to break through. Too late, he tried a ruse; 'some cried, Queen Mary hath granted our request, and given us pardon. Others said, the Queen hath pardoned us.' Lord William Howard, in command, called down to Wyat, knocking on the door with his sword, 'Avaunt, traitor! thou shalt not come in here.' 'I have kept touch,' answered Wyat strangely, meaning perhaps that he had done all he could, and rode back, with his sword drawn but reversed, holding it hilt upwards, towards the main part of his force. At Whitehall some of Lord Pembroke's horsemen tackled him, and there was brief sharp fighting, into whose midst came Norroy King of Arms in his coat of office, sent by the Queen.
'Sir, it were best by my counsel to yield. You see this clay is gone against you, and in resisting ye can get no good, but be the death of all these your soldiers, to your great peril of soul. Perchance ye may find the queen merciful, and the rather if ye stint so great a bloodshed as is like here to be.'
Wyat had no great reverence for heralds; he had refused to let one speak at Rochester, though he had 'the Arms of England on his back.' He answered now, throwing clown his broken sword: 'Well, if I shall needs yield, I will yield me to a gentleman.' Sir Maurice Berkeley told Wyat to mount behind him, and by five in the afternoon, at dusk, he was brought by water to the Tower. There the Lieutenant caught him by the collar and shook him, threatening him with his dagger as one that had betrayed the Queen by making 'a most traitorous stir, yielding her battle to her marvellous trouble and fright.' Wyat, though before when the same accusation was made he had turned upon his accuser with an angry denial--'I am no traitor, and it is not the part of an honest man to call me so'--endured the insult without a word; 'but holding his arms under his side, and looking grievously, with a grim look, upon the said Lieutenant, said, "It is no mystery now."' He was richly dressed in a coat of mail with sleeves, having a velvet cassock over it, laced with yellow, booted and spurred, and with 'a fair hat of velvet' in which was pinned a paper with his name written large. Whoever should take him had been offered by proclamation £100 in money, and he, hearing of it, had gone in this way out to fight.
Forty persons altogether were killed in London, so far as could be learned according to the Spanish ambassadors, only two of the Queen's men were killed, and three wounded, 'which has the look of a miracle.' 'But there was many sore hurt; and some think there was many slain in houses.'
Prisoners were taken, so many that the gaols were filled, and the overflow had to be housed in churches.
Judgment was not long delayed. On the 10th of February, two days later, the Lord Mayor tried and condemned forty-two rebellious persons; at Westminster, thirty-two were tried. Wyat was not among them. There were many counts against him, and it was found impossible to deal with so wide a matter in so short a time. The Emperor wrote to Renard: 'In God's name, let her not deceive herself with the delusion of clemency.' A terrible sermon was preached before the Queen in her chapel by Gardiner on a text from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, where the Apostle speaks of forsaking unbelievers: 'And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?'
'Fifthly and lastly, he asked a boon of the queen's highness...for the purpose she would now be merciful to the body of the commonwealth and conservation thereof, which could not be unless the rotten members were cut off and consumed. And thus he ended soon after; whereby all the audience did gather there should shortly follow sharp and cruel execution.'
Mary, with this sermon and the Emperor's exhortation in her ears, and the example of what previous clemency had brought on her people in the way of fear and tumult, went to deliberate with the Council, and confirm her. self in resolution. When she freed Northumberland's supporters, Renard had written to Ins master: 'Sire, the queen at any rate is excusable; she found matters in such a condition when she came to the throne that she cannot possibly set everything straight, or punish all who have been guilty one way or another; otherwise she would be left without any vassals at all.' The Council, at that time newly come together, and new to her character, had not proved itself tractable: Mary had had to fight for her prerogative of mercy. She anticipated, and found, no such difficulty in obtaining sanction to punish. It was good policy as the times went; apart from that 'she foresaw great inconvenience, and that it would be difficult to re-establish religion; but her conscience pricked and goaded her so that she greatly wished she could find means to do it.' Now the means suggested themselves, and she took them open-eyed, with what distress of mind it is not easy to conjecture. She had fought and prayed and kept herself on the throne so that England might, be brought back to God, mortgaged to God, with herself and her issue for hostages. She was beginning at lengths to understand that her brother's reign had lasted long enough to wound Catholicism almost to death; she perceived that Wyat and his fifteen thousand were not isolated zealots, but the more courageous representatives of a great party of English opinion; and she prepared to be ruthless, as the Inquisition in her mother's country was ruthless, employing every cruel argument upon the body to save the priceless soul so as by fire.
Wyat's death was easily determined; he was a traitor to the Queen's two dearest wishes, the marriage and the Mass. His lieutenants, sharers of his opinion, rightly should suffer with him, and the treacherous captain of the Whitecoats, Brett. The problem that she could not resolve was one nearer home.
Lady Jane and her husband had been held in prison since August. They were innocent and loyal, but all kinds of disloyalties clung about them. The Queen believed that her young cousin Jane, a good child, though stubborn in religious matters owing to her upbringing by reformers, would never make any further attempt at the Crown. She had showed her trust by releasing Suffolk, Jane's father, after three days' imprisonment, supposing him to be a good easy man corrupted by the ambitions of one stronger than himself. He had accepted her favours gratefully, and lived quietly withdrawn all the autumn in his house at Sheen. There had been protestations of loyalty, which she, in whom the sense of gratitude was so strong, accepted without question. When news came that trouble was brewing in Kent, Mary sent a messenger to Suffolk requiring him to attend her at court, who found him with his two brothers preparing to set out. '"Marry," quoth he, "I was coming to her Grace: Ye may see, I am booted and spurred, ready to ride, and I will but break my fast and go."' He gave the messenger money and drink, then set off, but not for London. He rode into Leicestershire with Lords Thomas and John, sounding Wyat's cry through the Midlands: 'Lo, the strangers!' Lord Huntingdon went after them, and defeated what soldiers they had got together; the Duke and his brothers fled, 'in serving men's coats,' and were taken at Coventry. By the loth of February he, with Lord John Grey, was in the Tower.
His daughter and her husband had been condemned in November; recording the verdict at the Guildhall the Spanish ambassador wrote: 'But Jane will not die.' The Queen still would not sign the death-warrant. She hesitated, signed, withdrew, and sent her own confessor to reason with the prisoner. Dr. Feckenham put Lady Jane through a catechism, with no success. She was stubborn on points of doctrine; there were only two sacraments the bread of communion was not Christ's flesh: the Bible was a Christian's only guide. To this last Feckenham agreed, but would not allow that every man should interpret it to his own wish and meaning; who but the Church had such authority? She answered shrewdly: 'The faith of the Church must be tried by God's word, and not God's word by the Church.' She spoke openly and frankly, with gentleness and courage. 'After this Master Feckenham took his leave, saying, that he was sorry for her. "Troth it is," quoth she, "that we shall never meet, unless God turn your heart; for I am sure, unless you repent and turn to God, you are in evil case; and I pray to God, in the bowels of his mercy, to send you his holy spirit. For he hath given you his great gift of utterance, if it please him to open the eyes of your heart to his truth."'
Feckenham's eloquence had spent itself; he went back to the Queen, to whom the news of Suffolk's capture had that day been brought. Lady Jane knew nothing of her father's treachery and failure; she wrote to him, thinking him free, and herself on the eve of death, a letter in which reproach sounds without bitterness:
FATHER, although it bath pleased God to hasten my death by you, by whom my life should rather have been lengthened, vet I can so patiently take it, that I yield God more hearty thanks for shortening my woeful clays, than if all the world had been given into my possession, with life lengthened at my own will...And yet, though I must needs acknowledge that being constrained, and as you know well enough, continually essayed; yet in taking upon me, I seemed to consent, and therein grievously offended the queen and her laws, yet do I assuredly trust that this my offence to God is so much the less, in that being in so royal estate as I was, my enforced honour never mingled with mine innocent heart.'
Her father had the letter as they brought him into the Tower, two days before she died.
Her scaffold was built up against the White Tower, and she walked to it, on the 12th of February, in the black gown and hood she had worn at her arraignment, with, as then, a book in her hands. She prayed as she walked, her two women weeping behind her, 'her countenance nothing abashed, neither her eyes anything moisted with tears.' On the scaffold she spoke to the people, washing her hands of all guilt in the matter of rebellion, but confessing that she had not served God as she ought, and asking their prayers while she still lived. 'Then, kneeling down, she turned to Feckenham, saying, "Shall I say this psalm?" And he said "Yea." Then she said the psalm of Miserere mei Deus in English, in most devout manner to the end. Then she stood up, and gave her maiden, mistress Tilney, her gloves and handkercher, and her book to Master Bridges, the lieutenant's brother; forthwith she untied her gown. The hangman went to help her therewith; then she desired him to let her alone, turning towards her two gentlewomen, who helped her off therewith...giving her a fair handkercher to knit about her eyes.
'Then the hangman kneeled down, and asked her forgiveness, whom she forgave willingly. Then he willed her to stand upon the straw; which doing, she saw the block. Then she said, "I pray you, dispatch me quickly." Then she kneeled down, saying, "Will you take it off before I lay me down?" and the hangman answered her, "No, madam." She tied the kercher about her eyes; then feeling for the block, said, "What shall I do? Where is it?" One of the standers by guiding her thereto, 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 she ended.'
Mary had reigned for six months: by now she understood something of her people. She had refused at first to believe, her advisers when they insisted that treachery unpunished spelt, to the English mind, not mercy but fear. The Council insisted upon force, to which the ambassadors would have added, after the Spanish fashion, bribery. 'Your Highness must know,' wrote Egmont to the Prince of Spain, 'that the Emperor has not given me a sou for distribution here; yet with the English, more than with any other people in the world, money has power.' The Queen had no money, except that which had been raised in the City as a personal gift to her; she was reduced to begging from her cousin, two hundred thousand crowns, which she would return very shortly, and with what interest might seem good to him. The Spanish envoys, to whom she wished to give a gold ring apiece, refused on the grounds that the terms of their service forbade it; but in their report they confessed that it was because they knew she could not afford to make gifts. Disturbances up and down the whole country had shaken confidence, and killed trade. There was want everywhere. The Queen could not buy peace; she was compelled to impose it.
On Tuesday, the day after Lady Jane and her husband died, at every gate in London a gallows was set up, besides two pair in Southwark, two pair in Cheapside and Fleet Street, and three or four at Charing Cross; on Wednesday, these served their purpose. On Saturday a proclamation banished all foreigners, merchants, freemen, and ambassadors' servants only excepted. A week later the Duke of Suffolk, 'a man...more easy indeed to be led than was thought expedient, of stomach nevertheless stout and hardy,' died on Tower Hill. The chiefs of Wyat's party were sent by barge to Kent for execution and example. On Tower Green the scaffold was left standing, and Courtenay, back in the lodging he had known as a boy, spent an uneasy fortnight without news. Three weeks later, on Palm Sunday, Elizabeth herself was brought to the Tower by barge from Westminster through the rain, and standing, 'the water over her shoe,' swore ignorance of all plots past and to come. She had reason to cry out at the sight of the soldiers: 'What, are all these harnessed men here for me?' The chamberlain answered: 'No, madam,' but locked the doors on her very straitly.' She was in danger, and knew it.
It was Wyat who defended her with the last words he spoke in his life. 'Whereas it is said and whistled abroad that I shall accuse my lady Elizabeth's grace and the lord Courtenay; it is not so, good people, for I assure you neither they nor any other now yonder in hold and durance was privy of my rising or commotion before I began. And this is most true.'
The Emperor's men still were not appeased. Nothing was too small to take their attention. Mary, remembering her duty to the Emperor--she signed herself to him, 'your loving sister, cousin, daughter, and ally for ever'--tried to content them. Boys playing Queen against Wyat in a meadow were whipped, and the fellow that acted the Prince of Spain punished more strictly. A cat dressed in vestments with a paper wafer in its paws, that was found hung up in Cheapside, was taken down, and a reward of £6, 8s. 4d. immediately offered for the apprehension of the blasphemer. A tailor, 'for shaving a dog in despite of priesthood,' did public penance. In these small matters she was complaisant, but no pressure would make Mary sign the warrant for her sister's death. Renard wrote angrily to his master:
'Madam Elizabeth goes to-day to the Tower, pregnant they say, for she is a light woman as her mother was. With her dead, and Courtenay, there would be none left in this Kingdom to dispute the crown or trouble the Queen.' But since the Queen would not give way in this matter, lie urged that the Prince should come in person as soon as might be, and try what effect his personal influence might have. He had noted the ready English acceptance of a fait accompli, and insisted to the Queen that talk of the marriage was harmful, without the fact; she, always blunt in policy as in speech, could not see why. 'I told her that in my opinion, subject to her correction, she had better for the moment make no further mention of it. She would not conceal her intentions, she said, but was determined, with God's help, to bring it to pass.' And she added that if she might not have the Prince, then she would take no other husband; rather would she give up her crown, and her state, and her life.'
She had divined in Philip, from Renard's talk of him, something of the strong deliberate faith that filled her; the same determination, which no agony of mind or physical risk would shake, to drag souls against their will out of hell. She was near to the supreme power; she was established and feared, but she had no money, and no single countryman of her own who would go with her all the way back to Rome. She received the Prince's picture gladly, and waited for him with a lifting spirit, but a quailing body. She had a physical disability which made her not apt for marriage. Her mother's betrayal, her father's ranging among women, the cynical bargaining which had made restless her own youth, allowed no happy expectations. 'Truth is,' wrote Gomez de Silva to the Emperor's secretary, 'this is no marriage of the flesh; she has undertaken it fur the health of her Kingdom.'
Her kingdom, subdued, but stubbornly mistrustful, protested no more, and in the beginning of June all the gallows in London were taken down.
GABRIEL. Whither now?
PETRONIUS. To my closet.
GABRIEL. What to do there?
PETRONIUS. Why, I am asked for a marriage song, but
I think I will rather make an epitaph.
Philip delayed. He had hoped at first that his father would marry again, and take the irksome duty off his shoulders. Charles was short with him, and he at once submitted: 'As your majesty feels so strongly on this question, you know I am so obedient a son that I can have no other will than yours.' But still he delayed, and found various pretexts for putting off the English venture: the money for the Queen's jointure was not yet minted, he had a mind to go into the Low Countries first, he must travel strongly escorted--the French were reported to be lying in wait for him in the Channel--and the ships were not ready. Charles, well aware of the danger of delay, wrote to him sharply:
'SON: I send by this courier your marriage contract, which I have signed, and which is now for you to approve...Since the Queen is so constant in good-will to us, and so bent on the marriage, speaking of it in public and private very obligingly, I have decided to send word to Count Egmont not to quit that Kingdom until the treaty is concluded.'
To Mary he wrote at once, so as to leave the Prince no loophole, a letter of congratulation.
'I could have wished that the gout would grant me a truce, so that I might write to you with my own hand to thank you most affectionately for your acceptance of the proposal made to you by my ambassadors on behalf of my son.'
Instructions to the Prince urged tact in his new dominion; he was to be sparing of words and lavish of money; he was to be civil to the unaccountable English, and try to disarm them by paying them all proper attention. As for the escort on which he insisted, no doubt, said the Emperor, that would be necessary; but as soon as he was safe in England, the fleet must set sail. There must be no cause given for jealousy or fear of Spain. 'Let no single one of your infantry men set foot on shore, much less any captain or officer; all trouble must be avoided.'
The Prince learned his lesson, and set sail with a minimum of display; three thousand persons of his own household, six thousand sailors to man the ships, and a thousand horses and mules. In the hold of his flagship was stowed bullion to the amount of three million ducats, twenty cartloads of gold and silver, a good prize for French marauders. But the Spanish fleet was too imposing, there was no attack in the Channel, and on the 20th of July Philip came into Southampton Water. Englishmen in his own liveries greeted him; a white hackney, with a saddlecloth of crimson velvet embroidered with gold and jewels, was waiting. He received the Garter from Lord Arundel, and wore 'the everyday badge of this, with many stones, and a St. George in the middle, instead of his Golden Fleece.'
Saturday he spent in Southampton, receiving courtesies, conferring honours, and, with the Marquis de las Navas at his elbow for interpreter, speaking with the English gentlemen who had come to do him honour. On Sunday he went to Mass on foot. On. Monday, with a company of a thousand courtiers, guarded by three hundred mounted archers of the Queen's own guard, he set out for Winchester where she was waiting, looking, as one of his ministers noted, very well on horseback, so that the English were astonished. There was one contretemps; he did not take off his cap to a bishop; but having been told of this, he put it right, and never afterwards offended. At Winchester the Bishop and clergy met him, and after a Te Deum in the Cathedral accompanied him to his lodging, the Dean's house. In the evening he with certain of his household went by torchlight 'through gardens and an orchard,' to kiss the Queen's hand.
'She looked very well,' wrote a courtier, 'but somewhat older than we had been told.' She always dressed very splendidly, and on this day, for all her frailness, she was superb. 'Black velvet her dress was, with much gold embroidery, silver, and pearls. On her head she wore a hood embroidered in gold, and many fine rings on her hands. Her stomacher was of diamonds, and her girdle too.' She went to the door to greet the Prince, and they kissed, as was the English custom, before they went together to the dais. There they sat talking for more than an hour, she in French, he in Spanish, the English courtiers and her ladies watching; afterwards Mary beckoned them up, introducing each by name; 'many gentlemen, and the ladies many, but these latter ancient and ill-favoured mostly.' At last the Prince stood up to go, and asked the Queen how he should bid her people goodnight. She told him, smiling, the English words: 'Good-night, my lords all,' which he spoke very clearly as he went through the chamber to his own lodging.
The English, lords and commoners alike, were disarmed by the looks and affability of the stranger. He was fair-headed and bearded, like a Fleming; well made, his face princely and gait straight and upright as he loseth no inch of his height '; a good horseman, and by repute a famous jouster. With all this, he drank beer for breakfast, and walked about freely, without ceremony, so that the people might look at him. If he were seen too often at his prayers, the time was not so far distant when an English king heard his three Masses a day, and they bore him no grudge for it. His envoy's men had had a poor welcome in London; the Prince himself found, even by English accounts, something like enthusiasm at Winchester.
On Wednesday, July 25th, the day of Spain's patron, St. James, the Prince with his nobles went at ten in the morning to the Cathedral. He was in white, wearing besides a short gold cloak in the French fashion, the Queen's gift; a gold sword, very rich; and a cap of black velvet with white plumes. The Queen came half an hour later, following her heralds, and 'walking, as the custom here is, between two bachelors, that when the marriage is over give place to two married men.' Her dress was of white damask, embroidered with gold and pearls, in the same pattern as the Prince's cloak; her headdress was black, her stockings red, her shoes of black velvet. On her breast she wore a great ruby.
The Prince was proclaimed by the regent Figueroa King of Naples, his father's wedding gift. Their confessions were heard. The Lord Chamberlain showed the contract of marriage, which had 'a great seal, and contained by estimation twelve leaves.' The banns were called, no person objecting, and the ceremony proceeded in English and Latin. The Queen was given away in the name of her realm by Lords Derby, Bedford, and Pembroke, and for ring had a round hoop of gold without any stone, which was her desire, for she said she would be married as maidens were in the old time, and so she was.'
Mass followed the marriage. This over, the heralds proclaimed their Majesties' titles: King and Queen of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith; Princes of Spain and Sicily; Archdukes of Austria; Dukes of Milan, Burgundy and Brabant; Counts of Hapsburg, Flanders, and the Tyrol. 'Which proclamation ended, the trumpets blew, and other noises played.'
They dined together in the Bishop's palace, the Queen always keeping to the right hand of the King. The feast was after the English rather than the Spanish fashion, wasteful and gorgeous, with gold and silver plate, loud music, and all the service performed by gentlemen. One of these, Edward Underhill, a hot-gospeller whom Mary had taken back into her service, recorded in a diary his own experience as a server on this very great clay:
'The second course at the marrying of a King is given to the hearers, I mean the meat, but not the dishes, for they were of gold. It was my chance to carry a great pasty of a red deer in a great charger, very delicately baked, which for the weight thereof divers refused; the which pasty I sent unto London to my wife and her brother, who cheered therewith many of their friends.'
By six the tremendous meal was over, and the company moved into a larger room, where there was to be dancing. Here came a slight hitch in the ceremonial, for the King and Queen should have led off together; but the King knew no English and the Queen no Spanish dances, and so a compromise was reached whereby they both danced an Allemand. Of this performance the malicious Underhill records:
'I will not take upon myself to write of the dancings of the Spaniards, that day; who were greatly out of countenance, specially King Philip's dancing, when they did see my lord Bray, Mr. Carew and others so far exceed them, but will leave it to the learned, as it behoved' him to be that shall write a story of so great a triumph.'
Both English and Spaniards that were there agree that for splendour the scene had never been matched; it was 'a wonder to see'; to describe it would be 'but a phantasie, and loss of paper and ink'; for magnificence and colour 'it should seem to him that never see such, to be another world.'
At nine the King and Queen withdrew to their own apartments, bishops going before them to bless the marriage bed with all ceremony; and by ten the palace was quiet.
Next day came a clash of English and Spanish courtesies; the King's nobles, accustomed to offer congratulations to their sovereigns in bed, were put off by the Queen's scandalised ladies with the reproach that such a thing was 'not honest.' No Englishwoman, they said, permitted herself to be seen by strangers in such a case, the very morning after her marriage. This gave offence; the Queen, learning of the refusal, sent two countesses of her own household to fetch the Duchess of Alba to visit her. Now it was the turn of the Spaniards to be scandalised. Mary, in her unceremonious fashion, rose as the Duchess entered the room and walked to meet her; meeting, there was almost a struggle, the Queen refusing her hands, which the Duchess had to kiss by force, and offering her cheek instead, an unseemly honour. The matter of seating was long disputed, the Duchess protesting that she would sit on the floor rather than share the Queen's velvet bench. Two chairs of different height were sent for at last, of which the Duchess, protesting still, took the lower; and such time as remained after the claims of civility had been satisfied was employed in conversation.
The stay at Winchester was short, ten days only. The Queen was impatient to show her troublesome Londoners their handsome and friendly King. Whether the Londoners were of her mind or not, they were glad of the chance to make a display, and set about building street scenes of a grandeur excelling even those that had been shown at her state entry the year before. On August 17th, 'being advertised that all triumphs and such pageants as were devised in London against their coming thither were finished and ended,' they came from Richmond by water and landed on the Southwark side of Thames. Of the rebel invasion no trace remained; they passed through the Chancellor's house, where in February Wyat's soldiers had waded knee deep in papers, burning his books, to London Bridge, now hung with garlands. The guns at the Tower, which Mary had last heard firing in earnest, let off a peal, and the Lord Mayor, who then had held the bridge in armour, now came forward robed, carrying a silver mace for the Queen to touch: the City's homage. Across the bridge itself leaned two giants, holding up a shield with Latin verses, declaring that the citizens'
Mind, voice, study, power, and will,
Is only set to love thee, Philip, still.
The procession went forward from one pageant to another. The Nine Worthies at Gracechurch Street were succeeded by a device made by foreign merchants, where a king on horseback was shown 'all armed very gorgeously,' again displaying verses in Latin. The Four Noble Philips at Cornhill 'liked the King's highness and the queen wondrous well'; but best of all was the show at the west end of Cheapside, displaying their genealogy and descent from Edward III of England, which was contrived on the plan of a Jesse Tree; an old man lying on his side, with an oak growing out of him, in whose branches did sit fair young children,' representing all his descendants, with Philip and Mary glorified in effigy on the topmost hough. At Paul's a scholar dressed in gold gave the King a book; 'where also a fellow came slipping upon a cord, as an arrow out of a bow, from Paul's steeple to the ground, and lighted with his head forward on a great sort of feather beds.' There was an oration, more poems, and again the running and rejoicing of a great number of people as were there calling and crying "God save your graces," was an evident token of testimony and witness of their faithful and unfeigned hearts to the queen's highness and the King.'
They slept at Whitehall, where presents were waiting; a pair of regals from the Queen of Poland, and from the Princess of Portugal gowns and headdresses after the Spanish fashion. Concerning these, Gomez wrote to the Emperor's secretary:
'The Queen is delighted, and diverts herself endlessly with them. She should never put them off, to my mind; our dresses hide her thinness and age better than the fashions of this country.' And of the King's behaviour in London: 'He is well, the rheumatism which has troubled him a little of late seems to be passing. He is good to the Queen, making allowance for her coldness; she lacks wholly all sensibility of the flesh. He makes her happy, however, and being together the other day it was observed that he spoke love-talk with her, which she answered in the same manner.'
Perez, a secretary, wrote:
'The people of this Kingdom have shown themselves kinder to us than you or I could have imagined; the King's treatment of them, his care and liberality, would soften a stone. The majority is of our way of thinking, and it is my opinion that between this new Parliament and the coming of the Legate, which is most eagerly looked for, we may at last see the triumph of God's justice and his holy faith.'
The Queen's plan was near to fruition. Her marriage was achieved, Englishmen had a prince to obey at last, the rebels all were dead; and in the 'Tower, a surer weapon than guns, was the great treasure Philip had brought out of Spain, three hundred thousand ducats. The ambassadors, shrewd men, but apt to judge after their own lights, had told her that her people were to be bought, and she believed it; she had seen, in her father's time, men sell themselves for a hundred acres. 'With this money under her hand she had no apprehensions concerning her next move, the summoning of Pole, her cousin, the Pope's Legate. London still grumbled, and mocked the priests occasionally, but London was not the whole realm, it was not even irrevocably the capital of the realm. She held over the merchants' heads the threat of shifting the Court and Parliament to other cities while negotiations with the Pope went on.
He, aided by political experience of some hundreds of predecessors in office, most of whom had come into conflict with the troublesome island in their time, now understood that the English resistance was a matter not only of pride, but of cupidity. If it were made a condition of his renewed supremacy that the Church lands should be restored, his Holiness knew very well that Mary stood to lose her throne. The Queen gone, there was nobody of opinion strong enough to bring back the Catholic faith, and England would become, like Germany, a battleground, with texts for banners. He made the necessary concession. The Legate was empowered to make legal transfer of all lands and goods forcibly taken twenty years before, the owners de facto becoming the owners de jure. With this brief in his pocket there was no longer any reason for delay. Pole sailed from Antwerp.
On the 18th of November he landed at Gravesend, and went direct to Whitehall. The King went to the landing stage to meet him; the Queen waited in the palace, under her cloth of estate, and received his blessing joyfully, as from her cousin, and the Pope's envoy, and a man notable for his learning and good life. On St. Andrew's Day the Legate, sitting at the right hand of the Queen in the great chamber at Westminster, addressed the Lords and Commons:
'I have somewhat to say touching myself; and to give most humble and hearty thanks to the King and Queen's majesties, and after them to you all, which of a man exiled and banished from this commonwealth, have restored me to a member f the same; and of a man having no place, neither here nor elsewhere within this realm, have admitted me in place where to speak and be heard.'
He spoke of the ancient learning of Britain, the fervour of dead princes, and of that unity which was the chief need of all Christian nations. 'Look upon our nigh neighbours of Germany, who by swerving from this unity are miserably afflicted with diversity of sects.' He spoke of intolerance, making no personal application, but the hearers knew that his mother, Edward IV's granddaughter, had died for her faith, and that he had been driven into exile. 'For those that live under the Turk may live freely after their conscience, and so was it not lawful here.' Then he came to the chief head of his mission; reconcilement, through the labours and prayers of the State's two princes, with Rome, a consummation which he gladly saw to be near at hand, 'and most glad of all that the occasion thereof should come by me, being an Englishman born, which is, as it were, to call home ourselves.' But neither he, nor the King, nor the Queen, could compel it, and he urged the Parliament, like true Christians and provident men, for the health of their souls and bodies to ponder what should be clone in so weighty a cause.
Parliament pondered the Pope's fair offer no longer than a few hours. The new House of Commons was a house of Catholics, and the Lords, secure in their tenure of filched lands, saw nothing much to object to in taking off a cap to the crucifix now and then. They considered these things, together with the Queen's power, her money, and the backing of Spain, and returned to the presence chamber where the King, Queen, and Legate waited. There and then, 'sitting all on their knees,' they presented a petition, declaring their sorrow for past errors, and requiring the King and Queen, 'as persons undefiled in the offence of this body,' to intercede for their pardon, 'that we may, as children repentant, be received into the bosom and unity of Christ's Church. So as this thy noble realm, with all the members thereof, may in unity and perfect obedience to the See Apostolic, and Popes for the time being, serve God and your majesties to the furtherance and advancement of his honour and glory.'
On the 28th of November High Mass was sung in Paul's before the Lord Mayor and aldermen, wearing their scarlet gowns and cloaks, ten bishops, and a very great crowd of people. At sermon time one of the prebendaries read out from the pulpit a letter from the Council, ordering that Te Deum should be sting in every London parish for the Queen. The choir followed up his words with a burst of singing, the anthem Ne timeas, Maria--the angel's salutation. Mary was with child, and had felt it stir in her womb at the moment of the Cardinal's blessing. She was thirty-eight years old, Philip ten years younger.
The Catholic succession was sure; son or daughter, her child was heir to great territories by which English pride, still sore from the loss of France, might find compensation. The headship of the Church, which had so heavily weighed her conscience down, was put off at last, and with her people's consent. She had feared herself to be incapable of bearing children, not only by reason of her age, but of a disability which had gone with her all her life; now her doctors and women assured her that she was quick. She had been afraid of Philip's youth, and had heard talcs of his behaviour in the Low Countries; he had been temperate and careful of English feeling, even to the point of offending his own household by keeping English gentlemen always about him. He was gentle with her, 'respectful as though he were not her spouse but her son.' Charles' secretary wrote that the Emperor was glad of the King's popularity, but most of all that he is seen and known to be attentive to the queen; also that he goes about freely among the people, for which lie deserves much praise.'
In April the Queen went to Hampton Court to wait for her child, and there for the first time there was no free access to her, 'which seemed strange to Englishmen,' accustomed to go in and out of the royal houses arid watch their rulers at dinner or prayers. Mary felt a failing of her energy and determined to conserve it. She gave audience no more, attended meetings of the Council and received ambassadors rarely. Her whole strength was set to the slow making of the child, as before she had concentrated it for the keeping of her throne, and the clearing of her soul. She knew that God's mercy would not fail her; her doctors were hopeful; Hampton Court was full of women come from all over the country to welcome the child. Reason and faith assured her that the future was safe. But as if some instinct deeper than reason were insisting on the truth, she sent for her next heir, Elizabeth.
The Princess had been freed from the Tower at Philip's request. No evidence had been brought against her; the only accusations came from malicious talk of the Emperor's people. But the Queen was no longer sure of her loyalty, and she went from the Tower into confinement at Woodstock as strict, though not as ominous; she did not attend the marriage at Winchester; her servants were not of her own choosing; letters were scrutinised. It was two years since she had seen Mary, and when hue summons came to attend her at Hampton Court, 'bringing rich dresses,' the Princess had some hope of future kindnesses and favour.
But her reception was unpromising. The Queen did not at once send for her, and her apartments, next to the King's, were guarded as before. It was a fortnight before the Chancellor with three others of the Council came to visit her; by proxy of these gentlemen the sisters argued.
In this dispute the trend of the two minds shows clearly. Elizabeth, looking forward constantly, refused to compromise herself; the Queen, a woman of plain statements, vainly demanded yes or no. There was much going and coming of lords, but nothing categorical could he had from Elizabeth, and at last once more the keys were turned. A week passed.
One night at ten o'clock came a summons to the Queen's presence; guards bearing torches, and the Mistress of the Robes in person, escorted the Princess through the garden to Mary's lodging, and up the stairs to her bedroom.
Here Elizabeth knelt, while Mary spoke harshly in her loud masculine voice:
'You will not confess your offence, but stand stoutly in your truth. I pray God it may so fall out.'
'If it doth not,' Elizabeth answered, kneeling, but not humbly, 'I request neither favour nor pardon at your Majesty's hands.'
'Well, you still persevere in your truth. Belike you will not confess but that you have been wrongfully punished.'
'I must not say so, if it please your Majesty, to you.'
'Why, then, belike you will to others.'
'No, if it please your Majesty. I have borne the burden, and must bear it. I humbly beseech your Majesty to have a good opinion of me, and to think me to be your true subject, not only from the beginning hitherto, but for ever, as long as life lasteth.'
The Queen made brief answer, 'very few comfortable words in English: but what she said in Spanish, God knoweth'; perhaps she rebuked herself for her lack of trust in God.
The ambassadors were writing home full reports of her daily increasing bulk, the swelling of her breasts, all the signs of pregnancy advancing; a cradle had been ordered, clothes were making, and toys were already arriving as gifts to her child. Prayers were daily offered in the churches for her safe delivery. Parliament begged Philip to take upon himself the government of the kingdom during the minority of her Majesty's issue, 'if it should happen to the queen otherwise than well.' All England was expectant. Happy in these expectations, Mary, 'foreseeing the great dangers which by God's ordinance remain to all women in their travail of children,' began to give consideration to her will.
The existing document dates from the time of the second cruel deception practised upon her by her sick body; it was made with 'the consent, agreement, and good contentment of my most dear lord and husband,' and provided first for almsgiving at her death; next: 'I will that the body of the virtuous lady and my most clear and well-beloved mother of happy memory, Queen Katherine, which lyeth now buried at Peterborough, shall within as short time as conveniently it may after my burial be removed, brought, and laid nigh the place of my sepulture.' There were to be prayers for her own soul, her mother's, and the King's, 'when God should call him to his mercy out of this transitory life.' Her father's and brother's debts were still unsettled. She wished that these, and the money she had borrowed in her lifetime, should be paid. Such Church lands as had come to her through her father were to be restored at the discretion of the Legate, 'requiring my said cousin and most reverend father in God, as he hath begun a good work in this realm, so he will do as much as he may, by God's grace, to finish the same.' Legacies were left to 'my poor servants that be ordinary, and have most need,' and to found hospitals for poor soldiers. Lastly, the imperial Crown of England and Ireland, and her title to France, 'to the heirs, issue, and fruit of my body, according to the laws of this realm '; with these all jewels, ships, munitions of war, and artillery. To Philip she left the love and duty of her subjects, 'as a legacy the which I trust he shall enjoy,' and besides these the jewels that had been his marriage gifts to her. Elizabeth was nowhere mentioned. The will ended with an exhortation to her executors--Philip, Pole, and half a dozen lords of the Council:
'And I charge my said Executors, as they will answer before God at the dreadful day of Judgment, and as they will avoid such comminations, threatenings, and the severe justice of God pronounced and executed against such as are breakers and violators of wills, and testaments, that they to the uttermost of their powers and wits, shall see this my present Testament and last will performed and executed, for the which I trust God shall reward them, and the world commend them.'
Her disorder, some manifestation of her old guest, amenorrhea, swelled her and subsided. 'Queen Mary, by the running of water behind her skin, or as others will, by a distemper which the physicians call mola, was declared to be with child.' Her doctors declared it; she believed it for long, until proofs to the contrary could not be denied. When the true state of her body was at last understood, she added a codicil to her will. Since God had not thought it good to send her issue, she left the Crown to her successor according to the law--she would not name Elizabeth; and 'my most Dear Lord and Husband shall have no government, order, and rule within this Realm.'
When this codicil came to be read, the flame of Catholicism, which she had given her body and breath to keep alive, was sinking fast. Independence had been an English characteristic long enough, and the Reformation, splitting God's Word as a prism splits light, into a hundred colours of belief, because it freed the spirit from authority was welcomed. The ceremonial of the Mass, rich with fifteen centuries of tradition, could not find faith enough among Englishmen to make of it anything more than mummery. Mary, seeing the altars restored, holding the Golden Rose, the Pope's gift to sovereigns who defend the aith, was deceived in her people's submission. She had brought them to a religion they mistrusted, by a marriage which they detested; made a stranger their king, and a foreign bishop their arbiter of conscience. They knelt, but to the Crown and not the wafer.
'But now '--it is Cranmer speaking--'the omnipotent governor of all things so turned the wheel of her own spinning against her, that her high buildings of such joys and felicities came all to a Castle comedown, her hopes being confounded, her purposes disappointed, and she now brought to desolation.' His anger against her, which is representative of the people's feeling in the last year of her life, came from two main causes. She saw her kingdom, except at rare moments, with the eyes of Spain; and her policy, linking England with Europe by marriage and faith, seemed to cheat the islanders of their insularity.
Elizabeth, 'our peaceable Salome,' knowledgeable in the thoughts of the common people, all English, without any tincture of foreign loyalty, made no such mistake.
The will was disregarded. Queen Katherine still lay at Peterborough, the alms were not given, the hospitals not founded, and the Masses not sung. Only the unseen legacies, written between the lines of the document for those who had eyes to see, were paid in full. Queen Mary died in October 1558 on her great bed hung with the embroidered arms of England and Spain. Six weeks later, an order went out for the reading of the daily service in English in all London parishes. Six months more, and the supremacy of the Church was vested again in the English Crown. Commissioners were sent out through the realm for the establishing of true religion. Down came the altars.
Thirty years later the Invincible Armada set sail for the English coast.
BOOKS CONSULTED Arber. An English Garner, volumes 4 and 8. Armstrong. The Emperor Charles V. Burleigh Papers. Chronicles: Queen Jane and Queen Mary. Wriothesley. Holinshead. Grey Friars of London. Coleccion de documentos ineditos, volumes 1 and 3. Crammer. Reign of Queen Mary. Fox. Acts and Monuments. Howard. Lady Jane Grey. Inventory of Goods of the Princess Dowager. Machyn. Diary. Madden. Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary. State Papers. Spanish, French, and Venetian despatches. Stone. Mary I.
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