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ANNO DOMINI 1558
The death of Queene Mary made knowne. | The Lady Elizabeth proclaimed Queene. | She chooseth her Councellours. | Her first care is for Religion. | She disposeth of matters at home. | She takes care of matters abroad. | She is wooed by King Philip. | She putteth him off. | And why. | She considereth about bringing in the Protestants Religion. | She weigheth the dangers. | Outward. | Inward. | She represseth the impatience of Ministers. | She alloweth the Service of God in part in the English tongue. | She celebrates the funerals of Queen Mary, and of Charles the 5th.
HE Death of Queene Mary having beene certaine houres concealed, the first newes thereof was brought to the Bishops and Nobility in the Parliament Chamber (for the Estates of the Realme were assembled a little before in Parliament). They out of singular griefe for a time stand mute; yet comforting one another, they soone gather heart againe, and mingling mirth with mourning, lest they should seeme either to sorrow for her which was to succeede, or to joy for her which was dead; they turne themselves to the publicke cares of the State, and with generall consent decree the Lady Elizabeth to bee proclaimed true and lawfull Heire to the Crowne, according to the Act of succession of the 35th yeere of Henry the eighth. Soone after, those of the Lower house being assembled, Heath, Archbishop of Yorke, Lord Chancellor of the Realme, with sighs and sobs, signifieth unto them that their most excellent Queene is by untimely death taken away both from Religion and Common-wealth, that every of them had taken such inward grief thereat as it exceeded all consolation, were it not that almighty God had of his mercy towards the English Nation preserved the Lady Elizabeth, the other daughter of King Henry, alive. Of whose most undoubted Title to the succession, seeing there is none that can, none that ought to doubt, the Prelates and Peeres had with one voyce and mind decreeded (in case they would assent) presently to proclaime her Queene. Scarce had he spoken the word, when from all sides cryed and recryed God save Queene Elizabeth! Reigne shee most long, Reigne she most happily! And forthwith, the Parliament breaking up, they proclaimed her in the greater Palace of Westminster, and immediately after in Cheapside, the chiefe streete of the City of London, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, Defendresse of the Faith, and that with happy acclamations and most joyfull applause of the people, and certainely with a most prosperous and auspicious beginning; neither did the people ever embrace any other Prince with more willing and constant mind and affection, with greater observance, more joyfull applause, and prayers reiterated, whensoever she went abroade during the whole course of her life, then they did her.
2. Shee being now 25 yeeres of age, and taught by experience and adversity (two most essentiall and forcefull masters), had gathered wisedome above her age, the first proofe whereof shee gave in choosing her Councellors. For in her Privy Councill she tooke
Nicholas Heath Archbishop of Yorke, before mentioned, a man of
great wisedome, and modest disposition.
William Powlet Marquesse of Winchester, Lord high Treasurer
Henry Fitz-Allen Earle of Arundell.
Francis Talbot Earle of Shrewsbury.
Edward Stanley Earle of Derby.
William Herbert Earle of Pembroke.
Edmund Lord Clinton, Lord Admirall of the Sea, and
William Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord Chamberlaine.
Sir William Peter
Sir John Mason
Sir Richard Sackvill, Knights
and Nicholas Wotton Deane of Canterbury
All which were of Queene Marys Councell, and of the same Religion with her. To these, with a certaine moderation and temperance according to the respect of the times, she joyned of her owne,
William Parr Marquesse of Northampton
Francis Russell Earle of Bedford
Francis Knowles, and
William Cecyl, who had been Secretary to King Edward the sixth,
an exceeding wise man, and as good as many, and within a
Nicholas Bacon, to whom she committed the keeping of the great Seale.
All these embracing the Protestants Religion, and in no place under Queene Mary; whom as others substituted ever after in their roomes, she tempered and restrained in such sort, that they were to her most devoted, and she was alwayes her own free woman, and obnoxious to none.
3. In the first beginning of her Raigne, she applyed her first care (howbeit with but a few of her inwardest Counsailors) to the restoring of the Protestants Religion, which both by her instruction from her tender yeeres, and by her own judgement, shee verily perswaded her selfe to be most true and consonant to the sacred Scriptures, and the sincerity of the primitive Church, and to restore the same she had with a settled and constant resolution determined in her mind. Then with the rest of her Councell she adviseth that the Ports should be shut up, that the Tower of London should be committed to some man of approved fidelity; that a new Commission should bee sent over to Thomas Earle of Sussex, Lord Deputy of Ireland (who kept Ireland in awfull duty, and never more quiet and peacable, with three hundred and twenty horse, and eight hundred and sixty foote lying there in Garrison); that the Commission also to the Juridicall Magistrates should be renewed (lest the Terme of Juridicall Assembly which was then holden should be broken up), with a clause added, That they should not bestow any Office; that money should not bee transported in exchange into Countries beyond the Seas; and that Preachers should abstaine from questions controverted in Religion. And for forraine matters, that Embassadours should be sent to the Princes of Christendome, to signifie unto them the death of Queene Mary. To the Emperour Ferdinand therefore is forthwith sent Sir Thomas Chaloner with letters, wherein the Queene with her owne hand gave him to understand, That her sister was dead, that she by Gods goodnesse did by right of inheritance and consent of her subjects, succeede her in the Kingdomes; and desired nothing more then that the ancient amity betwixt the houses of England and Austria might not only be kept, but also increased. To the Spaniard in the Netherlands is sent the Lord Cobham with instructions to the same purpose; and also with a Commission, whereby the Earle of Arundell, Thurlbey Bishop of Ely, and Doctor Wotton, Commissioners lately sent by Queene Mary to treat a peace at Cambrey, are made Commissioners anew in the Queenes name. And with them is joyned in Commission William Lord Howard of Effingham. Sir Henry Killegrew is privily sent to winne the minds of the German Princes, out of their affection to the purest Religion; D. B. to the King of Denmarke, and Marmigill Waad to the Duke of Holstein.
4. King Philip understanding of the death of Queene Mary his wife, fearing lest he should lose the strength and Title of the Kingdome of England, which were to him of speciall use, and that the Kingdomes of England, Ireland, and Scotland would by Mary Queene of Scots bee annexed unto France, dealt seriously by means of the Count of Feria (whom he sent to visit both sicke wife, and the Lady Elizabeth) with Queene Elizabeth about a marriage to bee contracted with her, promising to procure a speciall dispensation from the Bishop of Rome. This much troubled her, that the most potent Prince of Europe, and one that had very well deserved of her, should be rejected by her, when of his owne voluntary motion hee shoulght her for marriage, which to her seemed the part both of an unwise and an unthankfull woman. This also troubled the French King, who could not but misdoubt France if by this new marriage England should fall againe to the Spaniard his Enemy. He laboured therefore all he could at Rome by the Bishop of Angolesme, that no such dispensation might bee obtained, forasmuch as Queene Elizabeth was thought to favour the Protestants Doctrine, yea, was pronounced as illegitimate. But these things he did very closely, lest hee might seeme to incense the English, matters being not yet fully compounded betwixt them. The Count of Feria, to effect this marriage, beateth into the Papists heads every where in England, that they have no other meanes to uphold the Catholike Religion and maintaine their ancient honour; and this marriage being neglected, he cannot but pitty England, as being exhausted of her wealth, needy of military men, ill strengthened with Forthresses and holds, as ill provided of warlike munition, and as if the Counsellours of the Land were voyd of counsell. And certainely the State of England lay now most afflicted, imbroyled on the one side with the Scottish, and on the other side with the French warre, overcharged with debt incurred by Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, the treasure exhausted, Calice [Calais] and the Country of Oye, with great provision for the warres lost, to the great dishonour of the English Nation, the people distracted with different opinions in Religion, the Queene bate of [lacking in] potent friends, and strengthned with no alliance of forraine Princes.
5. The Queene, when shee had in her minde most advisedly considered of this marriage of a woman with her deceased sisters husband, is ex ratione paritate, that is, by the like reason prohibited by sacred authority, as the marriage of a man with his brothers widow, and therefore unlawfull, notwithstanding the Popes dispensation. And shee perceived that by contracting such a marriage by dispensation, shee could not but acknowledge her selfe to bee borne in unlawfull wedlocke, whom her father King Henry had begotten after he had put away Queene Katherine of Spaine, for that shee was his brothers widow. Which wedlocke notwithstanding, the Universities of Christendome, and a Synode at London, had approved to be most just by the Law of God, as that with Queene Katherine to be unjust and altogether undispensable. Her suitor therefore King Philip she putteth off by little and little with a most modest answer, and honest and maidenly shamefastnesse, but in very deed out of scruple of conscience. But when he instantly pressed her by many letters, and shee admired and rejoyced to imitate the manners and behaviour of so great a King joyned with most gravity and grace most beseeming his Royall Majestie, ever and anon extolling the same, forth stepped certain Courtiours, which declaimed against the Spaniards as a people puffed up with pride, and some of her inwardest Counsellours, fearing lest her mind, being in doubt, might easily be perswaded, whispered daily into her eares, being a Virgin of a most milde disposition, that shee and her friends were undone, and England overthrowne, if she once acknowledged the Popes authority in dispensing, or in any other matter whatseover; that two Popes had pronounced her mother to have been unlawfully married to Henry the eighth, and thereupon, by their sentence already pronounced, the Queene of Scots did lay claime to the Kingdome of England; that the Pope would never revoke his sentence, neither was any indifferent [impartial] dealing to be expected from those of Rome, who had been most unjust, both towards her mother and her. Moreover, that the French King did now labour tooth and nayle at Rome, that Mary Queene of Scots might bee pronounced lawfull Queene of England.
6. Queene Elizabeth being most averse to this marriage, and most desirous to promote the Protestants Religion, thought nothing more pleasing to god, nothing more effectuall to putt off her importunate suitor, then that Religion should forthwith be altered. For, Religion being once changed, she doubted not but his mind in suing for marriage would change also. She commanded therefore the consultation to be hastned amongst her most inward Counsailors, how the Protestants Religion might be reestablished, and the Popish abolished, all perills being weighed which might grow thereby, and by what meanes they might be put by. These perils they foresaw would be either inward or outward: Outward, either from the Bishop of Rome, who would send forth his fulminations of excommunication, and expose the Kingdome as a prey to such as would invade the same; or from the French King, who taking occasion thereby, would delay the businesse of pease begunne at Cambray, or rather move warre against the English in the Queene of Scots behalfe, as against not onely enemies, but hereticks also, and would excite Scotland to doe the like, which was now at his devotion; or from the Irish people most addicted to the Romish Religion, and most forward to rebellion; or else from the Spaniard, a Prince most potent in the Netherlands hard by. They resolved that for the Popes excommunication it was not to be feared, but slighted as a senceles lightning; that peace, if it were offered by the French, was to be embraced; if not, then to be sued for, forasmuch as the same peace would comprehend Scotland also; neverthelesse, that the Protestants of France and Scotland were in no wise too be forsaken; that Berwicke, the Marches towards Scotland, and also Ireland, should be manned with stronger Garrisons; and amity was to be holden with the Spaniard by any meanes whatsoever, and the ancient League with the house of Burgundy to be confirmed. The dangers inward they foresaw would be from the Noblemen removed from the Queenes Councell, from the Bishops and Church-men that were to bee displaced, and fron the Judges which sate in in the Courts of Justice, from the Justicers of Peace in every Country, and from such of the Common sort of people, as in the Raigne of Queene Mary were both in deed and estimation great men, because devoted to the Roman Religion. These they held were to be thrust out of their places and restrained by rigor of Law (as Queene Mary had done against the Protestants), and that none were to be employed in any place of Government, nor chosen into any College of both the Universities, but Protestants; and withall, that the Popish Presidents, Heads, and Masters were to be removed out of the Universities, that the Popish Schoole-masters out of Winchester, Eaton, and other Schooles; that those Protestants which then begun a new Ecclesiastically Policy, being transported with a humour of innovation, should be repressed betimes; and that but one onely Religion was to be tolerated, lest diversity of Religions among the English (a stout and warlike Nation) might minister continuall fire to seditions. The care of correcting the Liturgie, which under King Edward the sixth was set forth in the vulgar tongue, was committed to Parker, Bill, May, Coxe, Grindall, Whitehead, and Pilkington, learned and moderate Divines, and to Sir Thomas Smith Knight, a most learned Gentleman, the matter being imparted to no man but the Marquesse of Northampton, the Earle of Bedford, John Grey of Pyrgo, and Cecyl.
7. But some Ministers of the Word, impatient of delay, whilest they chose rather to fore-run then expect Lawes, began to sowe abroad the Doctrine of the Gospell more freely, first in private houses, and then in Churches; and the people, greedy of novelties, began to flocke unto them in great number, and to wrangle amongst themselves, and with the Papists, about questions controverted in Religion, in such sort, that to cut off occasions of contention, the Queene set forth a straight Proclamation that they should not handle any such questions. But the Epistles, Gospels, and ten Commandements she permitted to be read unto the people in the English tongue, howbeit without any exposition; also the Lords Prayer, the Apostles Creed, and the Letany she suffered to be used in the vulgar tongue. But in all other things they were to use the Romish rites and Ceremonies, till a perfect forme of Religion should be concluded on by the authority of Parliament. In the meane time, she performed the Obsequies of her sister Queene Mary with solemne and sumptious preparations in the Church of Westminster, and shortly after of Charles the fifth also, who had two yeeres before (a rare example among Emperours, but more glorious then all their victories) overcome himselfe, renounced the Empire, and given over the world, that he might wholly live to God, and attend upon his Service onely.
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