History of England, Part II From the Accession of Henry VIII to the Revolution of 1689

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER VI. The Counter-Reformation and the Rivalry of Elizabeth and Mary Stewart. 1559-1587.


1. The general war was already languishing when came to the throne, and in April peace was made at Le Cateau Cambresis, near Cambrai, by [1]  which obtained the absolute mastery in Italy and vouchsafed some compensation to the beaten French by leaving Calais in their hands, so that England had to pay the price of the Spanish victories.




The conclusion of the treaty of Le Cateau is one of the great turning points in European history. It marks the end of the long struggle for Italy, which had begun in . Henceforth Italy remained a submissive dependency of and ceased to have a history of its own. It also ended the long rivalry between . and by securing the triumph of Charles's son, without much regard for its bearing on the European balance of power. The epochmaking character of the period was increased by the strange series of fatalities that beset the leading actors in the European drama, and left their places to be filled by a newer and younger generation. Soon after the death of Mary of England, . died in retirement in . Henry II. of was accidentally slain at a tournament given to celebrate the peace, and the fiery Paul IV. also perished before the end of the year. Philip II., freed from his father's control, became absolute master of , the Indies, the Netherlands, and Italy, while the South German possessions of the house of Austria, along with the newly won thrones of Hungary and Bohemia, constituted the hereditary possessions of his uncle, who now became the Emperor Ferdinand I. Despite the division of Charles's inheritance into two, Philip still remained by far the strongest monarch of Europe, and the senior and junior branches of the Hapsburg house remained on friendly terms, through fear of the French., however, was in a state of rapid decline. After Henry II.'s death his three sons, Francis II. (), . (), and Henry III. (), successively became its kings, but they were feeble and worthless, and quite unable to continue the strong policy of their father and grandfather, either at home or abroad.

2. The Treaty of Le Cateau is even more important in the history of religion than in the history of politics. During the course of the war, the relations between Lutherans and Catholics in had been settled by the Religious Peace of , and Lutheranism had ceased to be active. But through all these years, Protestantism, in its Calvinistic form, had been spreading so rapidly in Middle Europe, that the frightened Spanish and French Courts made the necessity of the Catholic powers [3]  uniting to put down heresy a main motive for concluding peace. Philip II. was proud of his position as the great champion of the Catholic cause, but he saw with dismay that the Netherlands


were honeycombed with Calvinism, and set to work with brutal thoroughness to root out the plague. In France, the nobles of the south, whose feudal ambitions had been severely checked by Francis I., were now again aiming at a revival of their disorderly freedom, and made common cause with the Calvinists, even when they did not become Protestants themselves. An organised Calvinistic party, half-religious, half-political, strove to make itself supreme in, much as the Congregation and Knox had successfully striven to break down Rome and the Monarchy in . It was no time for the Catholic powers to fight out their ancient quarrels, when the unity of their dominions, no less than the supremacy of their faith, was threatened by determined and fanatical rebels.

Side by side with the growth of Calvinism, the forces of Catholicism revived. The first preaching of Luther and Zwingle had found the Catholic world corrupt, [4]  lax, indifferent, and divided. A few years later, a great religious revival broke out in and Italy, which enabled the Catholics of the south to answer the zeal of the Protestants of the north with a zeal as great as their own. The enthusiasm for medieval religion, that had remained a living force in , was stirred up to greater heights, and spread to Italy, where it stifled the spirit of the Renascence, already worn out and corrupt. Within a generation a wondrous change came over the Papacy, and the Roman Catholic Church; and by the time of the treaty of Le Cateau, the Counter-Reformation, or the Catholic Reaction, was in full career. The Papacy had reformed itself. Instead of the political or artistic or merely self-seeking Popes of the days of the Renascence, the Popes of the Counter-Reformation were as austere, as religious, and as enthusiastic as Calvin himself. With no further chance of playing a great part in politics, they resumed their ancient ambition of directing the faith of the West, and strove with all their might to win back the world from Protestantism. New religious orders were set up to preach Catholicism to the heathen, the heretic or the indifferent. The most important of these was the Order of Jcsus, established in by Ignatius Loyola, an enthusiastic Spanish gentleman, [5]  who, being cut off from the career of arms by a wound that he received when fighting the French, threw his chivalrous ardour into the service of the faith, and


founded a new type of religious order, in which the most intense religious zeal was to be turned, by an iron system of military discipline, to winning souls to the Church. The Jesuits took the threefold monastic vow, along with a special vow of obedience to the Pope. They rejected the seclusion from the world, and the rigid routine of external observances that had absorbed the older orders, and set themselves to converting the world by living in it, and influencing it as profoundly as they could. Their influence soon spread like wildfire from their first homes in and Italy. They became the most successful of missionaries in America, in China, and the Indies. They started a new system of education, by which they sought to win back the younger generation from Protestantism to the Church. They became preachers to the people and confessors to the kings. Wherever they went, their devotion, their disciplined zeal, their self-sacrifice, their pliancy, and their hard work gained them ardent followers. They were the most effective instruments of the Counter-Reformation. But for those whom no argument would reach, there still [7]  remained the revived and reorganised Inquisition, which sought out and tried heretics, and delivered them over to the state to be burnt. The worst practical abuses of the Church were put an end to by the [8]  Council of Trent, which held its final sessions in ; and which defined and explained the doctrine, and improved the discipline of the Church, while drawing a deep dividing line that separated it definitively from all forms of Protestantism. Its work completed the reorganisation of the Roman Church, which the preaching of Loyola had begun. Its effect was to divide Europe into two hostile religious camps, well prepared for combat. When the treaty of ended political warfare, religious warfare took its place.

From the treaty of Le Cateau to nearly the end of the sixteenth century, the ancient struggles for the balance of [9]  power seemed almost suspended in favour of the fierce conflict of Jesuitism and Calvinism in every country in Middle Europe. Philip of was soon waging religious war against the revolted Netherlanders: and in the Calvinists rose in constant rebellion. National feeling seemed for the time extinct, and all over Europe Catholics looked to Philip as their natural leader in the war against heresy, and never found his help denied. Protestants had no similar leader,


and it was a constant source of embarrassment to that they called upon her to act as their champion. So strong was the force of circumstances, that, however unwillingly, and however much she might protest, she drifted into the position of the leader of European Protestantism. But there was a still further difficulty that beset her path. The old national animosities were too strong to die down altogether, and, despite their desire to make common cause against heresy, Frenchman and Spaniard still watched each other with suspicion. This was so far the salvation of England, that it made improbable the combination of the Catholic powers against her, but it necessitated a careful attention to the political as well as to the religious balance of Europe. Before all these embarrassments, found refuge in a policy of hesitation and mediation, that was seldom heroic, and never straightforward. But it kept England as free as possible from the intrigues of the Continent: it preserved her from invasion, and, after many dangers, ended by securing the liberty and independence of the nation.

3. Despite the Treaty of Le Cateau, and remained very jealous of each other. This led Philip of to ignore the religious changes, and to [10]  continue friendly with , and even to offer to marry her. Though the daughter of Anne Boleyn could not wed her sister's widower, was too much afraid of, not to wish to keep Philip on her side. For the first ten years of her reign she was in constant danger from, and the French [11]  queen of Scots. On Henry II.'s death Francis II., the husband of Mary Stewart, became French king, and led by his wife's uncle, Francis, Duke of Guise, was eager to combine a vigorous Catholic policy with an attack on England. Despite the treaty of peace, the French queen assumed the style of Queen of England, and strict Catholics declared that Anne Boleyn's bastard could never be lawful queen. But France could do England little immediate harm, and the establishment of Protestantism in more than compensated for the vain claims of the French queen over England. Moreover, on Francis II.'s death, the Guises fell from power, and, under ., the queen mother, Catharine de' Medici controlled French policy. She was an astute, cold, unscrupulous Italian, who sought to uphold the royal authority by vainly balancing


Catholics against Protestants. The immediate result of her policy was the outbreak of religious war in. [13]  The Calvinists or the Huguenots, as they were generally called, were soon worsted by the Catholics, and appealed to for help. after long hesitation, succumbed to the temptation of making a party in. The Huguenots put Le Havre into her hands, in return for assistance so insignificant that it hardly affected the course of the struggle. In , the French factions made peace, and united to drive the English from Havre. After a sharp struggle they succeeded, and the hope of holding a compensation for Calais was destroyed. Fresh civil war soon broke out in, which gradually became less and less able to do harm to England, though the wish to do so long remained.

4. Another result of the triumph of Catharine de' Medici was the return of Mary Stewart to . Mary had no [14]  longer any prospects, either of happiness or power, in her adop'ed land, and she courageously went back to her mother country, to contend almost single-handed against the Calvinistic aristocracy and clergy. She received but a cold welcome, and the dense fog in which she landed foreshadowed, Knox thought, the "sorrow, dolour, darkness and impiety" that attended the coming of a popish queen. She did all that she could to make herself popular. She accepted the religious revolution that had been carried out without her consent, and only asked for liberty of worship for herself in her palace chapel. Knox thundered against the "toleration of idolatry" which this involved. "One Mass," he declared "is more fearful to me than ten thousand armed enemies." He denounced with equal zeal her "French fillocks and fiddlers," and the "skipping and dancing" at her court, "not very comely for honest women." It was in vain that she sought to win him over by her blandishments. He left her piesence unmoved. " If there be not in her," he said to his friends, "a proud mind, a crafty wit, and indurate heart against God and His Word, my judgment faileth me." Despite this brutal attitude, Mary held her own, and for the four years after her arrival there was unwonted peace in . Many of the nobles were won over to her side. She left the administration in the hands of the able and crafty Maitland of Lethington, and of her half-brother, Lord James Stewart, whom she created Earl of Moray, though he was an ardent Protestant.


5. Four years of inaction taught Mary that there was not much to be hoped for from . She impatiently turned her eyes to the larger and more fruitful [15] . realm over the Border, and sought to establish connections with England, where the Roman Catholics, in obedience to orders from Rome, were withdrawing themselves from the parish churches, and looking with increased discontent on and her policy. They were eager to win Mary to their side; and Mary, whose great ambition was to secure the English crown, either as 's successor, or, if she could, as her supplanter, greedily accepted their advances. She had been for some time contemplating matrimony. Rejecting 's suggestion that she should wed Lord Robert Dudley, or the Guises' plan of matching her with some great foreign potentate, she resolved to marry her cousin, Henry Stewart, Earl of Darnley, the nominee of the English Catholics. Darnley was a tall, good-looking, worthless creature, with neither brains nor honesty, but he was, after Mary, the next in succession to both the Scottish and English thrones, being the son of the Earl of Lennox, who represented a younger branch of the house of Stewart, and of Margaret Douglas, the daughter of Margaret Tudor, by her second husband, the Earl of Angus. He had been brought up in England, and, though still conforming to the English Church, was looked upon by the English Catholics as their natural leader. was so alarmed at the marriage that she incited the Scottish nobles, headed by Moray, to revolt against it. In July Mary married Darnley. In October she chased her brother over the Border.

6. Flushed by her double triumph, Mary prepared for the restoration of Catholicism in ; but she soon found that the husband, whom she had married for ambition, was too foolish and treacherous to be any help to her in carrying out her plans. Accordingly she promoted a low-born Italian, David Riccio, to be her secretary and chief helper. Riccio had been one of the singing men in her chapel, and his head was rather turned by his sudden elevation. He made himself hated by his fine clothes, his haughty bearing, and his increasing intimacy with the queen, and excited the frenzied jealousy of Darnley, and the sullen hatred of the grim [16]  nobles, whose power he had usurped. After the wild Scottish fashion Darnley joined with his kinsfolk and some Protestant lords in a plot to murder the favourite


On 9th March , when Mary was entertaining Riccio at supper in Holyrood, the conspirators burst into her presence. The shrieking secretary, who clung for protection to the skirt of her gown, was dragged into an anteroom and brutally murdered with their daggers. Mary was intensely indignant, but preserving her coolness with rare courage, she cleverly won over Darnley by her blandishments, so that the weak youth abandoned his associates as easily as he had abandoned his wife. His defection broke up the conspiracy, and the murderers fled, like Moray, to England, where they were readily received by .

7. Three months after Riccio's death, Mary gave birth to her only child, the future James VI. of and . [18]  of England. His birth greatly strengthened her position as a claimant to the English succession, while in she was already triumphant. But in this crisis of her fortunes she sacrificed her ambitions to her eagerness to be revenged upon her treacherous husband, and succumbed before the malign influence of the one man that ever strongly appealed to her passions. Her first husband had been a sickly and degraded child; her second was a vicious fool, who was too unstable either to help or hinder her fortunes, but who personally excited her strongest repugnance. James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, was the type of the ruffianly Border noble, fierce, brave, reckless, unscrupulous, strong, and with unusual intellectual force to give direction to his daring courage and resistless energy. He soon became her chief adviser and companion, and scandal was busy with their names. Conscious that he possessed the queen's affection, Bothwell set to work to clear away the obstacles to their union. He held conference with some of the discontented nobles at Craigmillar, where they signed a bond that Darnley "should be put off by one way or another, and, whosoever should take the deed in hand, they should defend it as themselves." Bothwell himself undertook to carry out the [19]  deed, and his opportunity came when Darnley, who was recovering from a serious illness, took up his residence at Kirk o' Field, a lonely house outside the southern wall of Edinburgh. There, on , he was visited by Mary and Bothwell, who left him late in the evening. A few hours later Edinburgh was startled by an explosion that blew the Kirk o' Field to pieces. Darnley's dead body was found, "without a mark or hurt on it," not far from the ruined house. On reaching


the city Bothwell had privately returned to the Kirk o' Field, and personally directed the murder of his rival. How far Mary was actually guilty, the evidence is hardly sufficient to determine. Still there is little doubt but that she knew and welcomed the steps which Bothwell was taking to deliver her from Darnley.

8. Mary professed indignation at her husband's murder, and offered a reward for the apprehension of the assassins; but a placard secretly posted on the Tolbooth [20]  door, declaring that he had been done to death by Bothwell with her own consent, expressed the public view of the matter. Lennox, Darnley's father, accused Bothwell of the murder, and a day was fixed for the trial; but the queen took care that this should be but a sorry farce. Lennox was afraid to appear, and no evidence was tendered against Bothwell. The frightened court acquitted him, and Mary took this as an excuse for putting herself openly on his side. Bothwell at once set about getting a divorce from his wife, that he might be free to wed the queen. But even the sluggish public opinion of was deeply roused, and Mary did not dare to marry him openly. It was accordingly arranged that he should pretend to run off with her and force her to consent to the union. On 24th April, as Mary was returning from Stirling to Edinburgh, Bothwell bore down on her and carried her off, with a show of violence, to Dunbar. In a few days they returned to Edinburgh, Bothwell still leading her by the bridle as a captive. He now obtained his divorce from his wife, and a few days later was married to Mary, after the Protestant rite.

9. All was horrified at the union of the adulterous queen with her husband's murderer. The very nobles, who had urged Bothwell on, took advantage [21]  of the scandal to combine against him and annihilate the royal power. It was to no purpose that Mary attended Protestant sermons and prohibited the celebration of Mass. Her people rose in revolt, and the troops that she had gathered together to defend her cause at Carberry Hill, outside Edinburgh, refused to strike a blow in her favour. Bothwell fled to Denmark, where he died in prison ten years later, a raving madman. Mary was taken prisoner, and treated with scanty courtesy. She was shut up in the island castle of Lochleven in Kinross, and forced to yield up her throne to her infant son. Moray acted as regent for the little James VI., and carried out


a strongly Protestant policy. But the endless factions of the Scottish noble houses soon gave the discredited queen [23]  another chance of striking a blow for power. . After eleven months of captivity, she escaped from her island prison, whereupon the great house of Hamilton rallied to her cause and raised all Clydesdale on her behalf. Moray showed prompt activity in putting down the rebellion. On 13th May he defeated his sister and the Hamiltons at Langside not far from Glasgow. Mary galloped away southwards from the fatal field, and on reaching the Solway, crossed in a fishing-boat to Workington, hoping to find in England the protection and support denied her in her native land.

10. Mary's arrival threw into the greatest embarrassment. Though she had protested against her [24]  rival's deposition, was afraid to help her to win back the Scottish throne, and was equally afraid to let her cross over to, lest she should be able to renew the dying connection between her old home and . Yet keeping Mary under restraint in England had dangers of its own. The English Catholics were getting more unruly, and the passing of severe laws against them, and the rigid enforcement of the Oath of Supremacy, had done little to frighten them. Mary's infatuation for Bothwell was now over, and she was again the champion of Catholicism and the claimant of the English succession. It might well be more dangerous were she to continue to abide in England, the focus of every Catholic conspiracy, the undoubted next heir by blood to the childless and the rightful Queen of England in the judgment of most good Catholics. Under these circumstances found her best refuge in her usual policy of hesitation and delay. Her strongest card was the personal discredit into which Mary had fallen by reason of Darnley's death and the Bothwell marriage. She now announced that before she could take any decided action she must investigate the grave charges brought [25]  against the deposed queen, and for that purpose appointed a body of commissioners, of whom the Duke of Norfolk was president, who held conferences, first at York and afterwards at London. Moray and other Scottish nobles laid before the [26]  commission a series of letters and love poems, alleged to have been exchanged between Mary and Bothwell, and called the Casket Letters from a


captured casket, in which it is said they had been found on the day when Mary's cause was lost at Carberry Hill. Mary's friends have always strenuously denied the authenticity of these letters, pretending that they had been forged. There is nothing in the character of the Protestant nobles which makes this unlikely, but there is little in the letters that Mary might not well have written. If genuine, the correspondence was such conclusive proof of the queen's guilt, that Norfolk begged Moray to keep them back, and Mary's advocates, alarmed at the probable result of a trial, protested that, as a sovereign, she could not submit herself to the jurisdiction of . Mary sought a personal interview with the English queen, who, however, declared that she could not " without manifest blemish of her own honour receive into her presence" a suspected murderess. Finally, resolved not to allow the charges to be thoroughly investigated, and the commission ended lamely by declaring that nothing had been urged against Moray and his friends "that might impair their honour or allegiance," and nothing had been proved against the Queen of Scots "whereby the Queen of England should conceive any ill opinion of her good sister." It suited 's policy that Mary should remain under a cloud in England, so that she might ultimately be used or condemned, according to the course of circumstances, and meanwhile her suspected character should make her a less attractive centre for Roman Catholic intrigues. Moray went back to , secure of 's support, and Mary remained in honourable restraint in England. For the next eighteen years the land was beset with perpetual plots, rebellions, and threats of invasion, all of which had for their object the elevation of Mary into the throne of .

11. The Revolt of the Northern Earls in was the first fruit of 's policy with regard to the Queen of Scots. The north of England was still as [27]  disaffected to the Protestant religion, and as fully under the influence of the great families . as in the old days when the gentle and simple alike of followed the banner of the Five Wounds of Christ in the Pilgrimage of Grace. Thomas Percy, son of the Sir Thomas who had been beheaded for his share in the Pilgrimage, was now Earl of Northumberland, having been restored by Queen Mary to the title forfeited by his father's treason. He was proud of his family influence, obstinate


in his adherence to the old religion, and profoundly dissatisfied with 's policy. He now joined the young Earl of Westmorland, Charles Neville, who shared his views, in intriguing with the Spaniards in favour of Mary. Summoned to London to account for their conduct, the two earls refused to leave their estates, and called upon their neighbours and tenants to join them in revolt. It was as if the days of the Wars of the Roses had come back, when local lords led their followers to the field against the Crown, and threatened to break up the unity of the national life. Northumberland joined Westmorland at Raby, whence they marched to Durham, seized the town, and caused the Latin Mass to be celebrated in the cathedral, before a great gathering of northern Catholics. The Pope sent his blessing to their enterprise. On 22nd November the rebels, who had marched south from Durham to Ripon, mustered their forces on Clifford Moor, hoping to make a dash upon Tutbury in Staffordshire, where the Queen of Scots was imprisoned. But Northumberland and Westmorland were dull and timid, and Thomas Radcliffe Earl of Sussex, the President of the Council of the North, showed prudence and policy in his preparations to resist the revolt. The Queen of Scots was moved from Tutbury to Coventry, far beyond the rebels' reach. The two earls retired to the north, and wasted the time in besieging and conquering Barnard Castle. On Sussex's approach they dared not risk a battle, but disbanded their troops, and on 16th December fled over the border. Stern punishment was meted out to their unhappy followers, and the collapse of the rebellion made stronger than ever.

12. Never was Protestantism more triumphant in Britain than at the beginning of . But the enthusiasm of the Catholics would not let the heretics remain victorious, [29]  and new attacks followed hard on each victory. In January as the Regent Moray was riding through the narrow street of Linlithgow, he was shot dead by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh to gratify a private quarrel. An attempt was made by Mary's partisans to take advantage of his death ; and three years of confusion and civil war ensued in , until the strong unscrupulous rule of James Douglas, Earl of Morton, made regent in , again restored order and Protestant ascendency, and Mary's cause, which had profited nothing by the days of conflict, seemed more hopeless than ever. Of more value to Mary than her brother's death was


the action of Pius V, the stern Inquisitor, with whom the austerest spirit of the Counter-Reformation attained the papal throne. In February Pius [30]  issued a bull excommunicating and releasing her subjects from allegiance to the heretic queen. In May the bull was published in England by the daring of a Catholic gentleman named Felton, who posted up a copy of it on the door of the Bishop of London's house. Felton was discovered, tortured, and, glorying in his act, was cruelly butchered at the place of his bold deed. Henceforward there could be no compromise between and the Roman Catholics. Pius's action had made it very hard for any English Catholic to remain at once obedient to the Pope and loyal to the queen. A very few might maintain that the Pope was going beyond his powers in interfering with the civil government of England, but in an age of the fiercest religious passions such a view seemed treason against the head of the Church. Henceforth the Romanist was almost bound to be a traitor to . A bitter struggle ensued, and a long series of Catholic plots showed how earnestly the active Romanists strove to carry out the Pope's wishes. But it was a measure of doubtful wisdom for Pius thus to emphasise the incompatibility of the position of a good Catholic and a good Englishman. English national feeling was indignant at the presumption of the foreign potentate, who aspired to usurp the functions of the English Parliament. Pius's action united all shades of English Protestantism in enthusiastically upholding the queen as the champion, not only of the Protestant religion, but also of the independence of the English people. The very Puritans that was persecuting heartily supported her in her struggle against Rome, recognising that her life alone stood in the way of a reaction more complete than that which had marked the reign of her sister.

13. The Parliament of answered Pius's sentence by passing acts that made it treason to introduce papal bulls into the country, to be reconciled with the [31]  Roman See, or to be the cause of the conversion of others to the Roman faith. Luckily for there was no immediate need to use these stern weapons against the Pope. England kept true to the queen, and the continued jealousy of and made it impossible for the two foremost Catholic powers to unite to execute the bull of deposition., hitherto 's chief enemy,


was distracted by war and faction, and even Mary Stewart ceased to expect effective help from the weak government of [33]  her wretched brothers-in-law. Philip of had become the undoubted leader of European Catholicism, and henceforth the discontented Romanists of England and sought help from him, rather than from. The result was a gradual change in the relations between and Philip. The Spanish king, hitherto ever anxious to uphold despite her [34]  heresy, was henceforth the centre of every attempt to dethrone her and put the half-French Mary Stewart in her place. But Philip was as slow and cautious as , and even his religious zeal did not suffer him to pursue this policy with his whole heart. He was still afraid of joining the French against him, and rekindling an European war. was equally afraid of the union of and. The result was that though England and gradually drifted into deadly hostility to each other, both and Philip feared to declare open war. This underhand hostility, this deadly hatred, cloaked under pacific forms, produced a state far worse than war. But for more than fifteen years longer England and were still nominally at peace.

14. The failure of the rebellion of did not discourage the foes of . A Florentine banker named Ridolfi, who had long resided in England, now strove to unite [35]  all who wished for the release of Mary and the restoration of Catholicism, and persuaded the Duke of Norfolk to put himself at the head of the movement. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was the son of the poet Earl of Surrey, and early in Mary's reign had succeeded his grandfather, .'s threatened victim, to the only duchy that still was left in England. He was popular, well-meaning, manly in bearing, and the richest nobleman of his time. He had conformed to 's religion and had been trusted by her with some high appointments, but he was only a lukewarm friend of the reforming cause. He was indignant that his wealth, blood, and ability should be so little esteemed at court, and that his power remained but insignificant in comparison with that of low-born men, like Cecil and Walsingham. He was now a widower, and in the days of the Conference of York, Maitland of Lethington had craftily suggested to him that the best way to end


all troubles would be that he should marry Mary, who might then be restored and recognised as 's successor. To clear his way, Mary's marriage with Bothwell was pronounced invalid. The dazzling prospect thus opened out turned Norfolk's confused brain, and made him henceforth the puppet of every conspiracy. In , the Northern Earls had advocated his marriage with Mary, and his relations with the rebels had been so suspicious, that he was for a time imprisoned. However he protested that he desired to wed the Queen of Scots with 's good will, and as her true subject, and before long, on renouncing his marriage purpose, he was released. Ridolfi now plied him with specious arguments, and persuaded him to embark in open treason. Norfolk signed a declaration that he was a Catholic, and ready to lead an armed rebellion, if assured of the support of the King of . Ridolfi was a sorry plotter, and before any overt action had been taken, the threads of the conspiracy had been unravelled by Cecil, In January , Norfolk was tried and convicted of treason. A violently Protestant Parliament urged to carry out the sentence, and mete out a similar doom to the Queen of Scots. The queen compromised matters by ordering Norfolk's execution, five months after his sentence. He died proclaiming his innocence, and declaring that he "never was a Papist since he knew what religion meant." In her anger against Philip of , sent the Spanish ambassador out of the country, and at Cecil's instance entered upon protracted but insincere negotiations for checkmating Spanish hostility, by marrying herself to the brother of the French king.

15. With the failure of the Ridolfi conspiracy, the extreme tension which had begun with Mary Stewart's arrival in England ceased. For the next five [36]  years, was undisturbed by conspiracies and rebellions, and was able to wage war against the Puritans, and strengthen her authority at home, undisturbed by any fear of foreign interference. Mary remained quietly in her English prison, and the regents of her little son bore undisturbed sway in . Despite the papal excommunication, was stronger than ever. sank into worse and worse disorder, and the attention of Philip was fully absorbed by the outbreak of the Revolt of the Netherlands.




16. Each of the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands, which were now ruled by the King of , had its separate institutions, and was proud of its local liberties. Ever since the Burgundian inheritance [38]  had fallen to the House of Austria, attempts had been made to weld the seventeen provinces together, into one centralised despotic state. . had sought to combine this policy with the extirpation of heresy, and after the treaty of Le Cateau, Philip set to work systematically to root out heresy, and set up his own absolute authority. The great nobles, though mostly Catholics, strenuously resisted him, and Philip sent the [39]  Duke of Alva, his best Spanish general, to overawe them. From , Alva ruled the hapless Netherlands with an iron hand, strove to stamp out Protestantism by wholesale executions, and with the help of a large Spanish army effectively crushed the political opposition. But in the north, and especially in the wealthy seafaring provinces of Holland [40]  and Zealand, nearly the whole population was fiercely Protestant, and even Alva found persecution of little avail to change the faith of a whole nation. The hardiest of the Hollanders fled to their ships, and soon found that the rich and defenceless merchantmen of became their easy prey. Encouraged by their success, the whole of the provinces of Holland and Zealand rose in a desperate revolt in , and chose as their leader William, Prince of Orange, called the Silent, a man of strong character and moderate Protestant views, and possessed of vast estates at Nassau on the Middle Rhine, and in the Netherlands, as well as of the Principality of Orange on the Lower Rhone. Alva did his best to put down the revolt, but the rebels cut the dykes, and flooded the low-lying country, so that his progress was exceedingly slow. Conscious of his failure, Alva obtained, in , permission to return to . His successor, Requesens, continued the severe struggle, but neither the military resources of , nor the wealth of the Indies, availed to stamp out the rebellion. [41]  In , Requesens died suddenly, whereupon the Spanish army, angry at not getting its pay, burst into mutiny, and plundered Antwerp with such fiendish cruelty, that resentment of this Spanish Fury, as it was called, spread the revolt all over the Netherlands. In , the Seventeen Provinces all united in the Pacifcation of Ghent, by which Protestants and Catholics [42]  alike pledged themselves to uphold their traditional liberties, and procure the expulsion of the Spanish troops. Before long, however, national and religious diferences split up the confederacy. The Catholic provinces of the south were induced by the new governor, Philip's gallant bastard brother, Don John of Austria, to return to the obedience of Philip, on his promising not to garrison the land with Spanish troops, and to abandon his [43]  attack on their franchises. In , the seven northern provinces, which were mainly Protestant, including Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Gelderland, Groningen, Friesland, and Overyssel, concluded the Union of Utrecht, which flatly renounced all obedience to , and became a federal republic under the hereditary stadtholdership, or lieutenancy, of the Prince of Orange. This was the beginning of the Dutch Republic, or the Commonwealth of the Seven United Provinces. After Don John's death, Philip's


governor was Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, who continued in office from to his death in . Parma was an excellent general, and a shrewd statesman, whose diplomacy won over the southern provinces, while his arms won notable triumphs over the rebellious north. Philip aided him with all his resources, knowing that, if the heretical Netherlanders succeeded in maintaining their liberty, a deadly blow had been dealt to the supremacy of , and to the integrity of his dominions as well as to the progress of the Counter-Reformation, that was still in its full career of success.

17. In the same year as the revolt of Holland, came a fresh crisis in the history of French Protestantism. Under ., the queen mother, Catharine de' Medici, had aspired to [44]  hold the balance between Protestants and Catholics, , but in , fearing that the Huguenots were becoming too powerful, she turned her son against them. The result was the fearful Massacre of St. Bartholomew, which took place on St. Bartholomew's Day, 24th August. The Huguenots lost many of their leaders, though like their Dutch brethren, they were not cowed by brutality, but took to arms with the courage of despair. In , Henry III. succeeded ., and went back to the old policy of his mother of balancing between the two confessions. As the Catholics were the stronger, the king, though a Catholic, took care to prevent the Huguenots being [45]  too badly beaten. The Protestants were now headed by Henry, Duke of Bourbon and King of Navarre, who was the next heir to the throne, while the Catholic leader was now Henry, Duke of Guise, the son of Duke Francis, the conqueror of Calais. Disgusted that the Catholics were prevented by the king from reaping the fruits of victory, Henry of Guise formed the Catholic League, which strove to uphold the interests of religion without regard to the interests of the crown. The result was a perpetual struggle, and the weak king, unable to carry out effectively the part of a mediator, rapidly lost influence.

18. The religious contest in the Netherlands and soon gave ample opportunities for revenging herself on the Spanish and French Courts, [46]  which had in her days of adversity intrigued with her domestic enemies and threatened invasion on behalf of Mary Stewart. Religious politics. passions were so excited that national feeling had become much weaker, and it seemed in every country the most natural thing in the world for men to call in foreigners of their own religious belief, to put down fellow countrymen of the opposite way of thinking. The revolted Netherlanders and the sorely pressed Huguenots both turned for help to Protestant England, just as the English Catholics and the Catholic League in looked up to Philip of for support. England was extremely sympathetic with the struggling Calvinists in the Netherlands and, and


from the beginning of the religious wars English volunteers had gladly fought on their behalf, and English money had flowed freely to their assistance. But the earnest Protestan ts hoped that the queen would openly interfere, and uphold with all her resources their persecuted brethren on the continent. took a very different view of the matter, having no sympathy with the Dutch or Huguenots, and fearing lest Philip should retaliate by intrigues with the English Catholics. Circumstances, however, were too strong for her. Her best statesmen, like Cecil and Walsingham, thought that ought to frankly take up the position of leader of Protestantism all over Western Europe. In some measure her ministers forced 's hand, but her hand was still more forced by the action of her ardent Protestant subjects. Besides giving help in men and money to the revolted Protestants, the more adventurous English lost no opportunity of insulting or robbing a Popish prince. They joined with the Dutch in plundering Spanish merchant ships [48]  and Spanish colonies. We shall see in the next chapter the rise of English naval power and the action of the bold adventurers, who waged open war against beyond the ocean, when the two countries remained nominally at peace. The result was that to the intense religious hostility of England and was now added an equally sharp commercial antagonism. It required all the coolness and policy of and Philip to avoid open war, and though shrinking from this, both sovereigns sought to retaliate by all means in their power. Though continued to protest that she would have no dealings with rebels, yet she was gradually induced to give material though grudging support to the revolted Netherlanders. She characteristically cloaked her change of front with lying protestations that deceived no one. About troubled times again began. Don John of Austria, now governor of the Netherlands, proposed to invade England, restore Catholicism, and marry Mary Stewart. In the same year Francis Drake started on his famous voyage round the world, during which he played such havoc with Spanish colonies and trade. Philip retaliated by inciting a Catholic reaction in , and by sending troops to , which was at the moment in revolt against [see chap. viii.]. In the Netherlands the successes of the Duke of Parma, Don John's successor, excited 's


fears, especially as the Protestants were slowly but surely losing ground in. But of all the causes of alarm, none were so formidable as the systematic efforts which were now being made by the Roman Catholics to win over England.

19. Despite all the efforts of Rome, England seemed to be becoming more and more Protestant. There was a thin but continued stream of exiles who [49]  fled to the continent for conscience' sake ; but in England Mass was rarely said, the Roman clergy were few, scattered, and wanting in energy, and as time went on, the great body of Englishmen was slowly becoming reconciled to the Via Media of . A determined effort was now made to re-kindle the zeal of the English Romanists, and win back those lovers of ancient ways who were slowly drifting into the open fold of the English Church. In , a man of energy and ability, William Allen, a Lancashire gentleman's son, who had abandoned England rather than take the Oath of Supremacy, set up at Douai in a college for English Catholics, which before long became specially devoted to training up young Englishmen for the Roman priesthood, that they might return to their native country as missionaries of the faith. The disturbances that followed on the Pacification of Ghent made Douai an unsafe place for Allen's college, and in , it was transferred to French territory at Reims, where it flourished under the protection of the Duke of Guise. [50]  Before long the pupils of Douai and Reims came over to England as apostles of the Counter-Reformation. Great results followed the work of these seminary priests. The Catholics ceased to attend their parish churches, and met together to hear Mass, said secretly by one of the wandering missionaries. They sent their children abroad to school and strove in every way to keep aloof from the Protestants. The success of the seminarists soon began to excite the alarm of the government, especially as these priests, bound by the bull of Pope Pius, taught that had no right to the throne, and that good Catholics ought not to obey her. The severe penal laws passed in , when the fear of the Bull of Excommunication was [51]  new, had hitherto slumbered unused, but in Cuthbert Mayne, a pupil of the college at Douai, was arrested in a Cornish house and executed


at Launceston as a traitor for denying the queen's supremacy, and having in his possession the printed copy of an insignificant papal bull, which brought him under the law.

20. Three years later a new and more formidable type of missionary appeared than the "secular" seminary priests. [53]  In June , Robert Parsons, the first Jesuit who came to England, landed at Dover, disguised as a soldier, with a "buff suit, laid with gold lace, and hat and feathers suited to the same." He was a dexterous political intriguer, who at once made his presence felt. He was soon joined by the high-souled, sweet-tempered enthusiast, Edmund Camipion, another Jesuit priest. Henceforwards the Jesuits, though always few in numbers, exercised enormous influence on the course of the Roman mission, animating the secular priests with something of their spirit, though incurring before long their bitter hostility.

Parsons and Campion at once set actively to work, travelling all over the country at great risk, saying Mass, hearing confessions, strengthening the zeal of the active and winning over the lax or indifferent to the faith. The [54]  extent of their success was magnified by the terror which the name of Jesuit inspired, and Parliament, when it met in , passed a new series of rigid laws against the Romanists. It was made an offence, punishable by a fine of £20 a month, not to go regularly to church, and the Pofpish Recusants, who persisted in staying away, had to be men of good substance if they were not to be ruined by their refusal. A keen Martyrdom of search was made for the Jesuits, and, though Edmund Cam- Parsons escaped to the Continent, Campion pion, . was betrayed and apprehended. Amidst the execrations of the mob, he was taken to the Tower in July I58, closely pinioned, with a paper stuck in his hat, bearing the inscription, "Campion the seditious Jesuit." It was found very hard to bring him under the law of treason, for he was a religious enthusiast, who cared little for politics, and, far from teaching sedition, he had explained away the bull of excommunication and could not be convicted of disloyalty to the queen. He was cruelly tortured, and when "worn with the rack, his memory destroyed, and his force of mind almost exhausted," he was compelled to hold a public disputation against well-prepared Protestant divines, wherein he showed such patience,


readiness, and simplicity that he extorted the admiration even of his persecutors. When his trial came, he was not so much as able to hold up his hand to plead without assistance. He was convicted, on the scanty evidence that satisfied the judges in the treason trials of the time. "If our religion do make us traitors," he declared, "then are we worthy to be condemned, but otherwise we are as true subjects as ever the queen had. In condemning us you condemn all your own ancestors, for what have we taught that they did not uniformly teach?" On ist December the high-souled Jesuit suffered the last penalty of the law at Tyburn. From his safe refuge on the Continent, his associate Parsons devised new plots against the queen.

21. Thoroughly frightened by the Jesuit invasion, fell back on the ancient scheme of a French marriage, hoping that if the representatives of moderate [55]  Protestantism and moderate Catholicism were thus united, the extreme tension of religious excitement might be relaxed, and a general political opposition to might be organised. A treaty of alliance was signed in between England and, and in the same year, Francis, Duzke of Anjou [before , Duke of Alenton,] younger brother of Henry III., and the only other surviving son of Henry II., appeared in England, to woo the queen in person. It was a strange courtship, and yet it was the most serious of all the many marriage projects in which had ever engaged. The queen was now forty-eight years old, and Anjou was only twenty-seven, contemptible in intellect and character, and so repulsive in appearance, with his ugly pock-marked face, great head, and harsh croaking voice, that jestingly called him "her frog." He now manifested a fantastic devotion to , and one day in the great gallery of the palace at Greenwich, gave him a kiss, put a ring upon his finger, and presented him to her household as her future husband. Anjou was despatched to the Netherlands, where it was hoped that a Catholic prince might revive the Pacification of Ghent, by binding together Protestants and Catholics alike against Philip of . With unwonted generosity, the queen lavished vast sums to support his enterprise. It was the first time that had actively interfered on behalf of the revolted Netherlanders. But Anjou's incompetence soon spoilt all


his fair prospects. In , his disorderly soldiers wreaked a French fu/:y at Antwerp, which equalled in hideousness the Spanish fury that had followed Requesens' death. Thereupon the Flemish towns, disgusted at his folly and treachery, drove Anjou from the country, and he went back to, where he soon died. Despite the Greenwich kiss, soon repented of her foolish promise, though she supported him to the end in his scheme of establishing himself in the Netherlands.

22. The French alliance did little to save from and the Jesuits. Protestant ascendency was threatened in (see chap. viii.) and as well as in England. Since , the Earl of Morton had [57]  acted as recent in . He was a fierce, rough, vicious man, "ower mickle given to the world," but he kept sound order, and maintained the English alliance, seeking, in his dislike of the Presbyterian clergy, to make the constitution of the Church more nearly correspond with the English fashion. In , EslW Sezrarl, Cozi of of Al/itbi,, the nephew of the late Earl of Lennox, went over from to , on the pretext of claiming his uncle's inheritance. He was a secret agent of the Pope and the Duke of Guise, and his real object was to bring about a Catholic reaction in . He dexterously wormed his way into the favour of James VI., who was now a precocious, suspicious, over-educated boy of thirteen. James made him Duke of Lennox, and he soon became so strong, that he accused Morton of the murder of Darnley, and in I58 procured his conviction and execution. Lennox now hoped to bring the young king over to Catholicism, but he still had to contend against the fierce opposition of the Presbyterian clergy, who were not won to him, either by his attack on their enemy Morton, or even by his profession of Protestantism. [58]  In the Raid of Rlcthven was carried out by the Earl of Cowrie, in the interests of the nobles and clergy. James was practically taken prisoner, and forced to dissociate himself from Lennox, whereupon the baffled intriguer returned to. James, as he grew up to manhood, cleverly endeavoured to shake himself free from the fetters into which the clergy and nobles had cast him. So far as he could, he now continued Morton's policy, both as regards the Church and England. The Jesuit attack on had utterly failed, and the


young king remained more firmly attached than ever to .

23. The danger in England was not so easily surmounted, Priest after priest underwent the hideous penalties of treason, but other enthusiasts [59]  readily came to supply their place. As the conflict thickened, both sides threw scruples to the winds. In , Parsons and Allen Association, arranged in conjunction with Philip II. and 14. Guise a great plot for the murder of , Guise promising to send an army to make his cousin Mary queen and to restore Catholicism, as soon as the assassination had been effected. In , Francis Throgmorton, a subordinate agent of the conspiracy, was arrested, and forced by torture to disclose the whole story. The queen ran a very real risk, for the religious zealots of the age used assassination as one of their favourite weapons. Twenty years before, Guise's father, Duke Francis, had been murdered by a Calvinist enthusiast. The founder of the 1) utch Republic, William of Orange, after escaping from several previous attempts, was pistolled, Ioth July , by a Catholic fanatic named Balthazar Gerard.

It was the crisis of the long struggle. Early in , finally expelled the Spanish ambassador. The murder of Orange renewed the fears for the queen's safety, and the loyalty of her subjects now expressed itself in a novel form. In November , on the proposal of the Council, a Bond of Association was drawn up by Burghley and Walsingham, which all classes of Englishmen eagerly entered into. The Association pledged its members to defend the queen, and in the event of her murder, bound them to put to death any person on whose behalf th6 deed was committed, so as to prevent the assassins from reaping the fruit of their crime. This was a clear intimation that the murder of would be followed by the death of the Queen of Scots. In , Parliament met and confirmed the Association. It also passed an Act banishing all Jesuits and seminary priests, and inflicting the penalties of treason on any that returned. Henceforth the mere presence of a Roman missionary involved his conviction for treason. But and her Parliaments can hardly be blamed for fighting assassination with all weapons in their power.

24. During these years the Catholic cause made great progress, both in the Netherlands and. In ,


Parma captured Antwerp, and the Netherlanders in their despair offered the sovereignty of their states to . [61]  The queen was too prudent to accept this offer, but she sent an army to help them, under the command of her dearest friend Leicester, whose pride and quarrelsomeness made him unfit for so delicate a task, and who was now in broken health, and as unable as Anjou himself to make headway against . Among the gallant youths who followed Leicester to the Low Countries, eager to fight the Spaniards, was his accomplished nephew, Sir Philip Sidney, poet, romance-writer, and soldier, who got his death wound in an heroic charge near Zut/ticn. In , Leicester disobeyed the queen's instructions, by accepting from the States-General the absolute government of the Seven Provinces. He then quarrelled with the Dutch, calling them "churls and tinkers," and rightly complained that refused to send him supplies. In September , he went home in disgust, leaving the Dutch to secure their liberty for themselves.

25. Despite the Bond of Association, a new plot was formed in for murdering , and simultaneously releasing the Queen of Scots. The instigator [62]  of this was the seminary priest John Ballard, and his instruments were Anthony Babington, and other well-born Catholic youths. The plot was hatched in London, where Babington and his friends talked over the details at supper-parties in taverns, and sought divine assistance by hearing Mass regularly. Babington was a vain fool, who, anxious above all things to acquaint Mary with his design, rashly wrote her long letters describing every detail of the plot. These Mary answered, giving her approval to the murder of her rival. Walsingham's spies soon got wind of the conspiracy, and obtained possession of some of the correspondence between Mary and Babington. In September , Babington, Ballard, and five of their associates were executed. Babington boasted on the scaffold that he had engaged in a deed lawful and meritorious. He was taken down from the gallows before he was dead, and the last grim operations of the law were performed on his still living body.

26. The Babington Conspiracy settled the doom of Mary Stewart. For many years she had been the focus of every plot, but remained unharmed in her prison, though stern Protestants had long clamoured for her death. The


unscrupulous dexterity of Walsingham had now procured evidence against her of direct complicity in the design to murder the queen. In September , she [63]  was takle under close custody to Fotheringay Castle, near l'eterborough, where, in October, she was tried on this charge, and condemned, though she vainly protested that could exercise no jurisdiction over a crowned queen. This conviction cut her off from the succession, under the Act of Association, but Parliament, which met in the end of October, urged( the immediate execution of her death sentence. '"We have seen," said the Lords and Commons, "by how manifold, most dangerous and execiable practices Mary, commonly called the Queen of Scots, hath compassed the destruction of your Majesty's sacred person, bringing us and this noble crown back again into the thraldom of the Romish tyranny, and utterly ruinating and overthrowing the happy state and commonwealth of this realm. W ,e therefore humbly beseech your Highness to take speedy order to execute the sentence, because we cannot find any means to provide for your safety, but by the speedy execution of the said queen." Even these strong words could not induce the queen to order Mary's execution. After long and pitiable hesitation, she signed the death-warrant, but soon after she was cowardly enough to urge Sir Amyas Paulet, the gaoler of the Queen of Scots, to murder her privately, so that the odium of a public execution might be avoided. Paulet refused to do this, and the Council, losing patience, directed Davison, the Secretary of State, to despatch the warrant to Fotheringay.

On February 7th, , Mary was ordered to prepare herself for execution on the following day. She made ready to meet her fate with that admirable courage which had not been impaired, even by the weary years of imprisonment that had aged her before her time. Next morning she was taken to the great hall of the castle, where the scaffold had been erected. She played her part with consummate power, and turned a deaf ear to the clumsy exhortations of the Dean of Peterborough. " I die," she said, "a true woman to my religion, to , and to. I have always wished the union of England and . Tell my son I have done nothing prejudicial to the dignity of his crown." Her remains were buried at leterborough, hard by the tomb of Catharine of Aragon. There they rested until her son, after his accession to the English throne, transferred them


to a nobler tomb at . loudly protested that the execution was carried out despite her wish, and made the unlucky Davison the scape-goat of her excuses to James. But it was she who profited most by the deed. There was no longer any object in forming plots to murder , when the next successor to the throne was the Protestant King of Scots. The worst dangers to and Protestantism passed away with the tragedy at Fotheringay.


[1] Treaty of LeCateau Cambresis,1559.

[2] [1540-.1559.]

[3] State of Protestantism in 1559.

[4] The Beginnings ofthe Counter-Reformation.

[5] Establishment ofthe Jesuits, 1540.

[6] [1559--1563.]

[7] Revival of the Inquisition.

[8] The Council of Trent, 1545-1563.

[9] The struggle of Jesuit and Calvinist.

[10] European Politicsafter 1559.

[11] England's danger fromFrance and Scotland, 1559-1569

[12] [1561--1566.]

[13] War withFrance,1563

[14] Return of Mary Stewart to Scotland, August,1561.

[15] The Darnley marriage, 1565

[16] The murderof Riccio, 1566.

[17] [1566--1567]

[18] Mary and Bothwell.

[19] Murder of Darnley, 1567.

[20] The Bothwellmarriage.

[21] Deposition of Mary, 1567.

[22] [1568-1569.]

[23] Lochleven and Langside, 1568

[24] Mary Stuart in England, 1568.

[25] The Conferences at, York and London.

[26] The Casket Letters.

[27] The Revolt ofthe NorthernEarls,1569

[28] [1569--1571.]

[29] Murder of the Regent Moray,1570.

[30] Pius V.'s Bull ofExcommunication, 1570.

[31] Anti-Romanlegislation, 1571.

[32] [1571--1572.]

[33] Foreign Relations of England.

[34] The danger from Spain.

[35] The Ridolfi Plot,and the execution of Norfolk 1571-1572.

[36] Peaceful times in England,1572-1577.

[37] [1572--1592.]

[38] The Revolt of the Netherlands

[39] The rule of Alva 1567-1573.

[40] Revolt of Holland and Zealand 1572.

[41] Government ofRequesens,1573-1576.

[42] Pacifcation of Ghent 1576.

[43] Union of Utrecht 1579.

[44] The Massacre of St. Bartholomew1572.

[45] The three Henry's and rise of the Catholic League.

[46] Effects of the Counter-Reformatinon

[47] [1572--1577.]

[48] The growing antagonism between England and Spain.

[49] The college at Douai and Reims.

[50] The Seminary Priests.

[51] Execution of Cuthbert Mayne,1577.

[52] [1580-1581

[53] The Jesuit Invasion, 1580.

[54] The Recusancy Laws, 1581.

[55] The Anjou marriage scheme and Elizabeth's active intervention in the Netherlands,1581.

[56] [1583--1585.]

[57] Emme Stewart attempts a Catholic reaction 1579-1582.

[58] The Raid of Ruthven, 1582.

[59] The Throgmortonconspiracyy, 1583,and the Bond of1584-85

[60] [1585-.-1587

[61] Leicester in the Netherlands,1585-6.

[62] The BabingtonConspiracy, 1586.

[63] Trial and execution of Mary,Queen of Scots. 1586-87.

[64] [1496--1556.]