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1553-1555

Queen Mary's character.--Bigotry and firmness.--Suitors for Queen Mary's
hand.--Emperor Charles the Fifth.--Character of his son Philip.--The
emperor proposes his son.--Mary pleased with the proposal.--Plans of the
ministers.--The people alarmed.--Opposition to the match.--The emperor
furnishes money.--The emperor's embassy.--Stipulations of the treaty of
marriage.--Wyatt's rebellion.--Duke of Suffolk.--Wyatt advances toward
London.--The queen retreats into the city.--Wyatt surrenders.--The Duke
of Suffolk sent to the Tower.--Beheading of Lady Jane Grey.--Her heroic
fortitude.--Death of Suffolk.--Imprisonment of Elizabeth.--Execution of
Wyatt.--The wedding plan proceeds.--Hostility of the sailors.--Mary's
fears and complainings.--Philip lands at Southampton.--Philip's proud
and haughty demeanor.--The marriage ceremony.--Philip abandons
Mary.--Her repinings.--Her death.


When Queen Mary ascended the throne, she was a maiden lady not far from
thirty-five years of age. She was cold, austere, and forbidding in her
appearance and manners, though probably conscientious and honest in her
convictions of duty. She was a very firm and decided Catholic, or,
rather, she evinced a certain strict adherence to the principles of her
religious faith, which we generally call firmness when it is exhibited
by those whose opinions agree with our own, though we are very apt to
name it bigotry in those who differ from us.

For instance, when the body of young Edward, her brother, after his
death, was to be deposited in the last home of the English kings in
Westminster Abbey, which is a very magnificent cathedral a little way up
the river from London, the services were, of course, conducted according
to the ritual of the English Church, which was then Protestant. Mary,
however, could not conscientiously countenance such services even by
being present at them. She accordingly assembled her immediate
attendants and personal friends in her own private chapel, and
celebrated the interment there, with Catholic priests, by a service
conformed to the Catholic ritual. Was it a bigoted, or only a firm and
proper, attachment to her own faith, which forbade her joining in the
national commemoration? The reader must decide; but, in deciding, he is
bound to render the same verdict that he would have given if it had been
a case of a Protestant withdrawing thus from Catholic forms.

At all events, whether bigoted or not, Mary was doubtless sincere; but
she was so cold, and stern, and austere in her character, that she was
very little likely to be loved. There were a great many persons who
wished to become her husband, but their motives were to share her
grandeur and power. Among these persons, the most prominent one, and the
one apparently most likely to succeed, was a prince of Spain. His name
was Philip.



It was his father's plan, and not his own, that he should marry Queen
Mary. His father was at this time the most wealthy and powerful monarch
in Europe. His name was Charles. He is commonly called in history
Charles V. of Spain. He was not only King of Spain, but Emperor of
Germany. He resided sometimes at Madrid, and sometimes at Brussels in
Flanders. His son Philip had been married to a Portuguese princess, but
his wife had died, and thus Philip was a widower. Still, he was only
twenty-seven years of age, but he was as stern, severe, and repulsive in
his manners as Mary. His personal appearance, too, corresponded with his
character. He was a very decided Catholic also, and in his natural
spirit, haughty, ambitious, and domineering.

The Emperor Charles, as soon as he heard of young Edward's death and of
Mary's accession to the English throne, conceived the plan of proposing
to her his son Philip for a husband. He sent over a wise and sagacious
statesman from his court to make the proposition, and to urge it by such
reasons as would be most likely to influence Mary's mind, and the minds
of the great officers of her government. The embassador managed the
affair well. In fact, it was probably easy to manage it. Mary would
naturally be pleased with the idea of such a young husband, who, besides
being young and accomplished, was the son of the greatest potentate in
Europe, and likely one day to take his father's place in that lofty
elevation. Besides, Mary Queen of Scots, who had rival claims to Queen
Mary's throne, had married, or was about to marry, the son of the King
of France, and there was a little glory in outshining her, by having for
a husband a son of the King of Spain. It might, however, perhaps, be a
question which was the greatest match; for, though the court of Paris
was the most brilliant, Spain, being at that time possessed of the gold
and silver mines of its American colonies, was at least the richest
country in the world.

Mary's ministers, when they found that Mary herself liked the plan, fell
in with it too. Mary had been beginning, very quietly indeed, but very
efficiently, her measures for bringing back the English government and
nation to the Catholic faith. Her ministers told her now, however, that
if she wished to succeed in effecting this match, she must suspend all
these plans until the match was consummated. The people of England were
generally of the Protestant faith. They had been very uneasy and
restless under the progress which the queen had been making in silencing
Protestant preachers, and bringing back Catholic rites and ceremonies;
and now, if they found that their queen was going to marry so rigid and
uncompromising a Catholic as Philip of Spain, they would be doubly
alarmed. She must suspend, therefore, for a time, her measures for
restoring papacy, unless she was willing to give up her husband. The
queen saw that this was the alternative, and she decided on following
her ministers' advice. She did all in her power to quiet and calm the
public mind, in order to prepare the way for announcing the proposed
connection.

Rumors, however, began to be spread abroad that such a design was
entertained before Mary was fully prepared to promulgate it. These
rumors produced great excitement, and awakened strong opposition. The
people knew Philip's ambitious and overbearing character, and they
believed that if he were to come to England as the husband of the queen,
the whole government would pass into his hands, and, as he would
naturally be very much under the influence of his father, the connection
was likely to result in making England a mere appendage to the already
vast dominions of the emperor. The House of Commons appointed a
committee of twenty members, and sent them to the queen, with a humble
petition that she would not marry a foreigner. The queen was much
displeased at receiving such a petition, and she dissolved the
Parliament. The members dispersed, carrying with them every where
expressions of their dissatisfaction and fear. England, they said, was
about to become a province of Spain, and the prospect of such a
consummation, wherever the tidings went, filled the people of the
country with great alarm.

Queen Mary's principal minister of state at this time was a crafty
politician, whose name was Gardiner. Gardiner sent word to the emperor
that there was great opposition to his son's marriage in England, and
that he feared that he should not be able to accomplish it, unless the
terms of the contract of marriage were made very favorable to the queen
and to England, and unless the emperor could furnish him with a large
sum of money to use as a means of bringing influential persons of the
realm to favor it. Charles decided to send the money. He borrowed it of
some of the rich cities of Germany, making his son Philip give his bond
to repay it as soon as he should get possession of his bride, and of the
rich and powerful country over which she reigned. The amount thus
remitted to England is said by the historians of those days to have
been a sum equal to two millions of dollars. The bribery was certainly
on a very respectable scale.

The emperor also sent a very magnificent embassy to London, with a
distinguished nobleman at its head, to arrange the terms and contracts
of the marriage. This embassy came in great state, and, during their
residence in London, were the objects of great attention and parade. The
eclat of their reception, and the influence of the bribes, seemed to
silence opposition to the scheme. Open opposition ceased to be
expressed, though a strong and inveterate determination against the
measure was secretly extending itself throughout the realm. This,
however, did not prevent the negotiations from going on. The terms were
probably all fully understood and agreed upon before the embassy came,
so that nothing remained but the formalities of writing and signing the
articles.

Some of the principal stipulations of these articles were, that Philip
was to have the title of King of England jointly with Mary's title of
queen. Mary was also to share with him, in the same way, his titles in
Spain. It was agreed that Mary should have the exclusive power of the
appointment of officers of government in England, and that no Spaniards
should be eligible at all. Particular provisions were made in respect to
the children which might result from the marriage, as to how they should
inherit rights of government in the two countries. Philip had one son
already, by his former wife. This son was to succeed his father in the
kingdom of Spain, but the other dominions of Philip on the Continent
were to descend to the offspring of this new marriage, in modes minutely
specified to fit all possible cases which might occur. The making of all
these specifications, however, turned out to be labor lost, as Mary
never had children.

It was also specially agreed that Philip should not bring Spanish or
foreign domestics into the realm, to give uneasiness to the English
people; that he would never take the queen out of England, nor carry any
of the children away, without the consent of the English nobility; and
that, if the queen were to die before him, all his rights and claims of
every sort, in respect to England, should forever cease. He also agreed
that he would never carry away any of the jewels or other property of
the crown, nor suffer any other person to do so.

These stipulations, guarding so carefully the rights of Mary and of
England, were intended to satisfy the English people, and remove their
objections to the match. They produced some effect, but the hostility
was too deeply seated to be so easily allayed. It grew, on the contrary,
more and more threatening, until at length a conspiracy was formed by a
number of influential and powerful men, and a plan of open rebellion
organized.

The leader in this plan was Sir Thomas Wyatt, and the outbreak which
followed is known in history as Wyatt's rebellion. Another of the
leaders was the Duke of Suffolk, who, it will be recollected, was the
father of Lady Jane Grey. This led people to suppose that the plan of
the conspirators was not merely to prevent the consummation of the
Spanish match, but to depose Queen Mary entirely, and to raise the Lady
Jane to the throne. However this may be, an extensive and formidable
conspiracy was formed. There were to have been several risings in
different parts of the kingdom. They all failed except the one which
Wyatt himself was to head, which was in Kent, in the southeastern part
of the country. This succeeded so far, at least, that a considerable
force was collected, and began to advance toward London from the
southern side.

Queen Mary was very much alarmed. She had no armed force in readiness to
encounter this danger. She sent messengers across the Thames and down
the river to meet Wyatt, who was advancing at the head of four thousand
men, to ask what it was that he demanded. He replied that the queen must
be delivered up as his prisoner, and also the Tower of London be
surrendered to him. This showed that his plan was to depose the queen.
Mary rejected these proposals at once, and, having no forces to meet
this new enemy, she had to retreat from Westminster into the city of
London, and here she took refuge in the city hall, called the Guildhall,
and put herself under the protection of the city authorities. Some of
her friends urged her to take shelter in the Tower; but she had more
confidence, she said, in the faithfulness and loyalty of her subjects
than in castle walls.

Wyatt continued to advance. He was still upon the south side of the
river. There was but one bridge across the Thames, at London, in those
days, though there are half a dozen now, and this one was so strongly
barricaded and guarded that Wyatt did not dare to attempt to cross it.
He went up the river, therefore, to cross at a higher point; and this
circuit, and several accidental circumstances which occurred, detained
him so long that a considerable force had been got together to receive
him when he was ready to enter the city. He pushed boldly on into the
narrow streets, which received him like a trap or a snare. The city
troops hemmed up his way after he had entered. They barricaded the
streets, they shut the gates, and armed men poured in to take possession
of all the avenues. Wyatt depended upon finding the people of London on
his side. They turned, instead, against him. All hope of success in his
enterprise, and all possibility of escape from his own awful danger,
disappeared together. A herald came from the queen's officer calling
upon him to surrender himself quietly, and save the effusion of blood.
He surrendered in an agony of terror and despair.

The Duke of Suffolk learned these facts in another county, where he was
endeavoring to raise a force to aid Wyatt. He immediately fled, and hid
himself in the house of one of his domestics. He was betrayed, however,
seized, and sent to the Tower. Many other prominent actors in the
insurrection were arrested, and the others fled in all directions,
wherever they could find concealment or safety.

Lady Jane's life had been spared thus far, although she had been, in
fact, guilty of treason against Mary by the former attempt to take the
crown. She now, however, two days after the capture of Wyatt, received
word that she must prepare to die. She was, of course, surprised and
shocked at the suddenness of this announcement; but she soon regained
her composure, and passed through the awful scenes preceding her death
with a fortitude amounting to heroism, which was very astonishing in one
so young. Her husband was to die too. He was beheaded first, and she saw
the headless body, as it was brought back from the place of execution,
before her turn came. She acknowledged her guilt in having attempted to
seize her cousin's crown. As the attempt to seize this crown failed,
mankind consider her technically guilty. If it had succeeded, Mary,
instead of Jane, would have been the traitor who would have died for
attempting criminally to usurp a throne.

In the mean time Wyatt and Suffolk remained prisoners in the Tower.
Suffolk was overwhelmed with remorse and sorrow at having been the
means, by his selfish ambition, of the cruel death of so innocent and
lovely a child. He did not suffer this anguish long, however, for five
days after his son and Lady Jane were executed, his head fell too from
the block. Wyatt was reserved a little longer.

He was more formally tried, and in his examination he asserted that the
Princess Elizabeth was involved in the conspiracy. Officers were
immediately sent to arrest Elizabeth. She was taken to a royal palace at
Westminster, just above London, called Whitehall, and shut up there in
close confinement, and no one was allowed to visit her or speak to her.
The particulars of this imprisonment will be described more fully in the
next chapter. Fifty or sixty common conspirators, not worthy of being
beheaded with an ax, were hanged, and a company of six hundred more were
brought, their hands tied, and halters about their necks, a miserable
gang, into Mary's presence, before her palace, to be pardoned. Wyatt was
then executed. When he came to die, however, he retracted what he had
alleged of Elizabeth. He declared that she was entirely innocent of any
participation in the scheme of rebellion. Elizabeth's friends believe
that he accused her because he supposed that such a charge would be
agreeable to Mary, and that he should himself be more leniently treated
in consequence of it, but that when at last he found that sacrificing
her would not save him, his guilty conscience scourged him into doing
her justice in his last hours.

All obstacles to the wedding were now apparently removed; for, after the
failure of Wyatt's rebellion, nobody dared to make any open opposition
to the plans of the queen, though there was still abundance of secret
dissatisfaction. Mary was now very impatient to have the marriage
carried into effect. A new Parliament was called, and its concurrence in
the plan obtained. Mary ordered a squadron of ships to be fitted out and
sent to Spain, to convey the bridegroom to England. The admiral who had
command of this fleet wrote to her that the sailors were so hostile to
Philip that he did not think it was safe for her to intrust him to their
hands. Mary then commanded this force to be dismissed, in order to
arrange some other way to bring Philip over. She was then full of
anxiety and apprehension lest some accident might befall him. His ship
might be wrecked, or he might fall into the hands of the French, who
were not at all well disposed toward the match. Her thoughts and her
conversation were running upon this topic all the time. She was
restless by day and sleepless by night, until her health was at last
seriously impaired, and her friends began really to fear that she might
lose her reason. She was very anxious, too, lest Philip should find her
beauty so impaired by her years, and by the state of her health, that
she should fail, when he arrived, of becoming the object of his love.

In fact, she complained already that Philip neglected her. He did not
write to her, or express in any way the interest and affection which she
thought ought to be awakened in his mind by a bride who, as she
expressed it, was going to bring a kingdom for a dowry. This sort of
cold and haughty demeanor was, however, in keeping with the
self-importance and the pride which then often marked the Spanish
character, and which, in Philip particularly, always seemed to be
extreme.

At length the time arrived for his embarkation. He sailed across the Bay
of Biscay, and up the English Channel until he reached Southampton, a
famous port on the southern coast of England. There he landed with great
pomp and parade. He assumed a very proud and stately bearing, which made
a very unfavorable impression upon the English people who had been sent
by Queen Mary to receive him. He drew his sword when he landed, and
walked about with it, for a time, in a very pompous manner, holding the
sword unsheathed in his hand, the crowd of by-standers that had
collected to witness the spectacle of the landing looking on all the
time, and wondering what such an action could be intended to intimate.
It was probably intended simply to make them wonder. The authorities of
Southampton had arranged it to come in procession to meet Philip, and
present him with the keys of the gates, an emblem of an honorable
reception into the city. Philip received the keys, but did not deign a
word of reply. The distance and reserve which it had been customary to
maintain between the English sovereigns and their people was always
pretty strongly marked, but Philip's loftiness and grandeur seemed to
surpass all bounds.

Mary went two thirds of the way from London to the coast to meet the
bridegroom. Here the marriage ceremony was performed, and the whole
party came, with great parade and rejoicings, back to London, and Mary,
satisfied and happy, took up her abode with her new lord in Windsor
Castle.

The poor queen was, however, in the end, sadly disappointed in her
husband. He felt no love for her; he was probably, in fact, incapable of
love. He remained in England a year, and then, growing weary of his wife
and of his adopted country, he went back to Spain again, greatly to
Queen Mary's vexation and chagrin. They were both extremely disappointed
in not having children. Philip's motive for marrying Mary was ambition
wholly, and not love; and when he found that an heir to inherit the two
kingdoms was not to be expected, he treated his unhappy wife with great
neglect and cruelty and finally went away from her altogether. He came
back again, it is true, a year afterward, but it was only to compel Mary
to join with him in a war against France. He told her that if she would
not do this, he would go away from England and never see her again. Mary
yielded; but at length, harassed and worn down with useless regrets and
repinings, her mental sufferings are supposed to have shortened her
days. She died miserably a few years after her marriage, and thus the
Spanish match turned out to be a very unfortunate match indeed.





Next: Elizabeth In The Tower

Previous: Lady Jane Grey



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