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1559.]

PRUDENCE OF ELIZABETH.

9

with the dignity of the Holy See. These arrogant assumptions were of no effect; Elizabeth little heeded the authority of the pontiff, and she had commenced the changes she intended in religion long before his answer could arrive.

The prudence of Elizabeth, and of her chief advi. ser, Cecil, led them to proceed very cautiously. The first step was to put an end to the persecution; those, therefore, who were in prison for their religion were released on their own recognisances.

The late queen's obsequies were performed according to the rites of the Romish church, on the 15th of December. White, bishop of Winchester, preached the funeral sermon; but, as he took occasion to deliver an inflammatory discourse, he received an order to keep his house. When intelligence arrived, on the 23d of December, of the death of the Emperor Charles V., a solemn dirge and requiem were ordered to be performed for the repose of his soul; but Elizabeth forbade the host to be elevated in her own chapel, and also directed a part of the service to be performed in English. Many of the Reformers had already returned from exile and were favourably received at court; but preaching was prohibited without the royal license. Archbishop Heath, seeing the course matters were taking, resigned the seals, which were committed to Sir Nicholas Bacon, with the title of lord-keeper.

The 15th of January, 1559, was the day appointed for the coronation. On the 14th the queen left the Tower and proceeded through the city in a splendid carriage, preceded by trumpeters and heralds, and followed by a train of nobles, ladies, and gentlemen on horseback, all richly attired in crimson velvet. The shouts of the joyous multitudes filled the air as she passed along; and the companies of the city displayed their feelings and taste, in the manner of the age, by erecting gorgeous pageants, as they were named, across the streets. On one appeared the eight Beatitudes, suitably habited; each of the virtues so personified being appropriately ascribed to the queen. At the conduit in Cheapside, another exhibited the

opposite images of a decayed and a flourishing commonwealth ; from a cave beneath issued Time, leading forth his daughter Truth, who presented an English Bible to the queen. Elizabeth took the book, pressed it to her heart and lips, and said she thanked the city more for it than for all the cost that had been bestowed on her, and that she should often read it over. At the end of Cheapside the recorder met her, and presented her with a purse containing 1000 marks in gold, which weighty gift she received in both her hands. The giants Gog and Magog reared their huge forms over Temple Bar, holding out to her Latin verses; and a child, “richly arrayed as a poet, pronounced a welcome in the name of the corporation of London.

The coronation took place the next day. Heath and some of the other bishops did not appear: but the greater part were in attendance, arrayed in scarlet like the temporal nobles ; and the ceremony was performed in the usual manner by Oglethorpe, bishop of Carlisle. It being usual on such occasions to release prisoners, on the following morning, as the queen was on her way to her chapel, one of the courtiers presented to her a petition, beseeching that now, in this good time, five illustrious prisoners might be set free: viz., the four Evangelists and St. Paul, who had been long shut up in an unknown tongue, so that they could not converse with the common people. She replied, with great gravity, that it were better first to inquire of themselves whether they would have their liberty

or not.

The queen was at this time twenty-five years of age. In person she was above the middle size, wellformed and majestic. Her skin was fair, her hair yellow inclining to red, her eyes bright and lively, and her nose somewhat aquiline. Her manners were affable, dignified, and graceful, and her mind was highly cultivated; she could express herself with elegance and ease in Latin, French, and Italian ;* and in the

* Her studies had been directed by the learned Roger Ascham, who was naturally vain of the accomplishments of his royal pupil,

1559.] MADE GOVERNESS OF THE CHURCH. 11 school of adversity she had learned wisdom. Such was the woman whose destiny it now was to sway the British sceptre.

On the 25th the parliament met. The same causes, namely, influence on the part of the government, the zeal of its friends and the depression of its enemies, which had given a popish parliament in the beginning of the late reign, now returned one equally zealous for the Reformation. Its first act was a recognition of Elizabeth as the “lawful, undoubted, and true heir to the crown, lawfully descended of the blood-royal," according to the order of succession settled by the 35th statute of Henry VIII. The queen, in all things superior to her predecessor, did not, like her, ostentatiously seek a declaration of the validity of her mother's marriage, and thus throw obloquy on her father, and revive the memory of events that were better forgotten. All that was requisite was implied in the words “lawfully descended of the blood-royal.” Bills for restoring the tenths and first-fruits to the crown, and for re-establishing the supremacy, were introduced and carried, in spite of the strenuous opposition of the bishops. By the last, the queen, who was styled Governess (not Head) of the Church, was invested with the whole spiritual power to make or repeal canons, alter discipline and ceremonies, suppress heresies, etc., without consulting parliament or convocation. Whoever refused to acknowledge the supremacy was declared incapable of holding office; while any one who denied it, or sought to deprive the queen of it, was to forfeit his goods and chattels for the first offence, to incur a præmunire for the second, and for the third, the pains and penalties of treason. The queen was to nominate directly to vacant bishoprics, and the bishops were forbidden to alienate the revenues of their sees, or to make leases for more than twenty-one years. But, as an exception was and declared of her that she was the most lettered lady in England, not excepting even Jane Grey and Margaret Roper. In addition to the languages here mentioned, it is said that she was also familiar with the Greek.-Am. Ed.

made in favour of the crown, the church derived but little advantage from this well-intended measure.

A bill for restoring the English liturgy was next brought in: but the matter was considered of so much importance, that it was deemed advisable it should be previously discussed between the two religious parties. Eight champions were accordingly chosen on each side : the most distinguished of the Romanists were bishops White and Watson, Dean Cole, and Archdeacon Harpsfield; and of the Protestants, Scory, Jewel, Aylmer, Cox, Grindal, and Horne. The Archbishop of York and the Lord-keeper Bacon presided; and the place of the controversy was Westminster Abbey. The questions proposed were, Whether it is not against the Word of God, and the custom of the ancient church, to use an unknown language in the public service of the church; whether every church has not a right to appoint rites and ceremonies, so it be done to edification; and, lastly, whether it can be proved from Scripture that there is a propitiatory sacrifice in the mass ?

On Friday, the 31st of March, the disputation began, in the presence of the privy council and both houses of parliament. Though it was to be conducted in writing, and ten days' notice had been given, the Romish party said that they had nothing written prepared, alleging want of time : but offered to advance some extemporary arguments in favour of the retention of a foreign language. Their motives for so acting were sufficiently obvious; nevertheless, their offer was accepted. Dean Cole then rose, well provided with previously prepared notes; and, prompted by his colleagues, delivered some of the weak arguments by which this absurd practice is defended, well seasoned with abuse of the Reformers. He concluded by observing that nothing was more inexpedient than to bring religious rites down to the level of the vulgar: for ignorance, said he, is the mother of devotion. An able reply was read by Dr. Horne, which drew forth great applause. The Romanists alleging that they had farther arguments to urge, the controversy was

1559.)

ACT OF UNIFORMITY.

13

adjourned to the following Monday, on which day they raised various objections. They refused to begin the debate; alleging that the Protestants would have the advantage by speaking last; the assembly therefore broke up; White and Watson were committed to the Tower for contempt, and three other bishops and three of their divines were heavily fined, in conformity with the arbitrary mode of proceeding which extended to all matters in that age.

The Act of Uniformity, as it is styled, was now introduced and passed: the bishops and eight temporal peers alone dissenting. This act directs that King Edward's second service-book, as altered by the committee of divines appointed for the purpose, should alone be read. The penalties imposed on ministers who should use any other service

were, forfeiture of goods and chattels for the first offence, a year's imprisonment for the second, and imprisonment for life for the third. A fine of one shilling was imposed on all who should absent themselves from church on Sundays and holydays.

The Reformation was thus finally and effectually established. The parliament concluded its labours by the grant of a subsidy, followed by a respectful but urgent address to the queen, praying her to make choice of a husband. She thanked them for their zeal, but assured them that she regarded herself as solemnly espoused to her kingdom at her coronation, that she viewed her subjects as her children, and that she desired no fairer remembrance of her to go down to posterity than this inscription on her tomb : “Here lies Elizabeth, who lived and died a maiden queen.”

The new liturgy came into use on St. John the Baptist's day.* The oath of supremacy was tendered , to the bishops and clergy. Of the prelates, Kitchen of Llandaff alone would take it :f the others were consequently deprived of their sees, as were also about one hundred dignitaries and eighty parish priests : but

* The 24th of June.

+ The whole number of bishops then alive was fifteen; fourteen consequently were displaced for declining the oath.-Am. Ed.

VOL. III.-B

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