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Lord, therefore, direct your majesty's heart to take that way of counsel that may be most for your safety and honour.
"F. WALSINGHAM." 991
There is no date of place or year to this very curious letter; but the allusions render it apparent that it was written in France, just after the attempt made by Elizabeth and her council at home, to curtail the allowance of fiftytwo pounds per week, which had been, in the first instance, granted to the earl of Shrewsbury, for the board and maintenance of the captive queen of Scots and her household, to thirty. Even this stinted sum was sorely grudged by Elizabeth. The earl complained of being a great loser, and pinched the table of his luckless charge in so niggardly a fashion, that a serious complaint was made to queen Elizabeth, by the French ambassador, of the badness and meanness of the diet provided for Mary. Elizabeth wrote a severe reprimand to Shrewsbury; and he, who was rendered by the jealousy of his wife the most miserable of men, petitioned to be released from the odious office that had been thrust upon him, of jailer to the fair, ill-fated Scottish queen. After a long delay, his resignation was accepted; but he had to give up his gloomy castle of Tutbury, for a prison for Mary, no other house in England, it was presumed, being so thoroughly distasteful to the royal captive, as an abiding place."
Walsingham's term of "bosom serpent" appears peculiarly infelicitous, as applied to Mary Stuart, who was never admitted to Elizabeth's presence, or vouchsafed the courtesies due to a royal lady and a guest, but, when crippled with chronic maladies, was denied the trifling indulgence of a coach, or an additional servant to carry her in a chair.
The arrest and execution of Morton, in Scotland, was peculiarly displeasing to Elizabeth and embarrassing to her council. Walsingham boldly reproaches his royal mistress, in the above letter, with having lost this valuable political tool, by not having offered a sufficient bribe for the preservation of his life. Mauvissière, in a letter to his own court, gives an amusing detail of an altercation which was carried on between Elizabeth and the archbishop of St. Andrew's, on account of the execution of Morton, in which
2 Complete Ambassador, p. 427.
she vituperated the queen of Scots and the young king James, and in the midst of her choler exclaimed :
"I am more afraid of making a fault in my Latin, than of the kings of Spain, France, and Scotland, the whole house of Guise, and their confederates."
Elizabeth stood on no ceremony with the envoys of Scotland, who scrupled to sell their fealty for English gold. In the previous year, when James had dispatched his favourite minister, the duke of Lenox, with a letter and message to her, explanatory of the late events in Scotland, she at first refused to see him, and when she was, at last, induced to grant him an interview, she, according to the phrase of Calderwood, the historian of the Kirk, "rattled him up" on the subject of his political conduct, but he replied with so much mildness and politeness, that her wrath was subdued, and she parted from him courteously.
The revolution by which Lenox and his colleagues had emancipated their youthful sovereign from the degrading tutelage in which he had been kept, by his father's murderers and his mother's foes, had also broken Elizabeth's ascendancy in the Scottish court. A counter influence, even that of the captive Mary Stuart, was just then predominant there. Davison, Elizabeth's ambassador to Scotland, assured Walsingham that the Scottish queen, from the guarded recesses of her prison, guided both king and nobles as she pleased.2
The young king was now marriageable, and his mother's intense desire for him to marry with a princess of Spain was well known. If such an alliance were once accomplished, it might be suspected that the English catholics, assured of aid both from Scotland and Spain, would no longer endure the severity of the penal laws, to which they were subjected by a queen, whose doubtful legitimacy might afford a convenient pretext to the malcontent party for her deposition. The Jesuits, undismayed by tortures and death, arrayed their talents, their courage, and their subtlety, against Elizabeth, with quiet determination, and plots, and rumours of plots, against her life and government, thickened round her. The details of these would require a folio volume. The most important in its effects
1 MS. Harl., folio 398.
* MS. letter in State Paper Office, quoted by Tytler.
was that in which the two Throckmortons, Francis and George, were implicated, with Charles Paget, in a correspondence with Morgan, an exiled catholic, employed in the queen of Scots' service abroad. Francis Throckmorton endured the rack thrice with unflinching constancy; but when, with bruised and distorted limbs, he was led for a fourth examination to that terrible machine, he was observed to tremble. The nervous system had been wholly disarranged, and, in the weakness of exhausted nature, he made admissions which appeared to implicate Mendoça, the Spanish ambassador, as the author of a plot for dethroning queen Elizabeth. Mendoça indignantly denied the charge, when called upon to answer it, before the privy council, and retorted upon Burleigh the injury that had been done to his sovereign, by the detention of the treasure in the Genoese vessels.' He was, however, ordered to quit England without delay. Lord Paget and Charles Arundel fled to France, where they set forth a statement that they had retired beyond seas, not from a consciousness of guilt, but to avoid the effects of Leicester's malice. Lord Paget was brother to one of the persons accused.
Throckmorton retracted on the scaffold all that had been wrung from his reluctant lips by the terrors of the rack.
The capture of Creighton, the Scotch Jesuit, and the seizure of his papers, which he had vainly endeavoured to destroy, by throwing them into the sea, when he found the vessel in which he had taken his passage pursued by the queen's ships, brought to light an important mass of evidence connected with the projected invasion of England, and Elizabeth perceived that a third of her subjects were ready to raise the standard of revolt in the name of Mary Stuart. At this momentous crisis, the treachery of the king of Scotland's mercenary envoy, Arthur Gray, by putting Elizabeth in possession of the secrets of his own court and the plans of the captive queen, enabled her to countermine the operations of her foes. She out-manoeuvred king James, and, as usual, bribed his cabinet; she first duped, and then crushed Mary, and laid the rod of her vengeance with such unsparing severity on her catholic subjects, that the more timorous fled, as the reformers had done in the reign of
her sister, to seek liberty of conscience, as impoverished exiles, in foreign lands.
It was not, however, every one who was so fortunate as to escape. Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, brother to the unfortunate earl Thomas, who had been beheaded, for his share in the northern rebellion, was sent to the Tower, on pretext of having implicated himself in the Throckmorton plot, Shelly, an acquaintance of his, having admitted something to this effect, in a confession extorted by the rack. After having been detained more than a year in close confinement, without being brought to trial, the earl was found one morning dead in his bed, with three slugs lodged in his heart. His keeper had been superseded, the night before, by a servant of sir Christopher Hatton; therefore suspicions were entertained that he had been murdered, but the jury brought in a verdict of felo-de-se, it having been deposed that he had been heard to swear, with an awful oath, "that the queen," whom he irreverently designated by a name only proper to a female of the canine race, "should not have his estates;" and therefore, to avert the consequences which would result from an act of attainder being passed upon him, he had obtained a pistol through the intervention of a friend, and shot himself in his bed.'
A more lingering tragedy was the doom of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, the eldest son of the beheaded duke of Norfolk. This young nobleman had been educated in the protestant faith, and was married, in his fifteenth year, to one of the co-heiresses of the ancient family of Dacre. Her, he at first neglected, intoxicated, as it appears, by the seductive pleasures of the court, and the flattering attentions which the queen lavished upon him. It had even been whispered among the courtiers, "that if he had not been a married man, he might have aspired to the hand of his sovereign." Meantime, his deserted wife, in the seclusion of the country, became a convert to the doctrines of the church of Rome, probably through the persuasions of her husband's grandfather, Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, as her change of creed took place during his life. On the death of that nobleman, Philip Howard claimed to succeed him in his
1 Horace Walpole. Bayleys' History of the Tower. MS. life of Philip, earl of Arundel, in possession of the Duke of Norfolk. Howard Memorials.
honours and estates.
His claims were admitted, and he took his place in the House of Lords, as earl of Arundel and premier peer of England; for there were then no dukes, his father having been the last man who bore that dignity in Elizabeth's reign.
The malignant influences that had destroyed Norfolk, pursued his son. They were, in fact, similar characters, possessing many amiable qualities, but devoid of moral courage and manly decision. The prophetic malediction, which was denounced against Reuben-"unstable as water, thou shalt not excel"-appears peculiarly applicable to both these unfortunate Howards. They were of a temperament too soft and timid for the times; and the very excess of caution which they exercised, to avoid committing themselves, either personally or politically, was the cause of exciting a greater degree of suspicion in the mind of their wary and observant sovereign, than would probably have been the result of a more manly line of conduct.
Norfolk had been the dupe and the victim of men, who had taken advantage of his vacillating disposition, to beguile him into overt acts of treason, and then hunted him to the scaffold. Arundel, with naturally virtuous and refined inclinations, had been led, by the contagious influence of evil companions, into a career of sinful folly, which impaired his fortune, deprived him of the respect of his friends, and excited the contempt of his enemies. The repeated slights that were put upon him, rendered him at length aware of the light in which he was regarded in that false flattering court; and in the mingled bitterness of self-reproach and resentment, he retired to Arundel castle. There he became, for the first time, sensible of the virtues and endearing qualities of his neglected wife, and endeavoured, by every mark of tender attention, to atone for his past faults.
The queen took umbrage at Arundel's withdrawing from court. Notwithstanding the caresses she had lavished upon him, she regarded him with distrust as the son of the beheaded Norfolk. The nature of her feelings towards the family of that unfortunate nobleman, had been betrayed as early as two years after his execution, on the occasion of his sister, the lady Berkeley, kneeling to solicit some favour at her hand. "No, no, my lady Berkeley," exclaimed her majesty, turning hastily away. "We know you