The Spanish Match


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 S
ffolk.--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


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


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


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


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


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.