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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Mary prudently betook herself to Norfolk


And

if the affair had been undertaken in this manner, who could say that it might not have succeeded? Northumberland did not neglect to form a strong family interest in favour of the new combination that he designed. He married his own daughter to Lord Hastings, who was descended from the house of York, and one of Jane's sisters with the son of the powerful Earl of Pembroke. He could reckon on the support of the King of France, to whom the succession of a niece of the Emperor was odious, and on the consent of the Privy Council, which was in great part dependent on him; how could the Protestant feeling have failed to gain him a large party in the country, especially since something might be said for the plan itself.

But Edward VI's malady developed quicker than was expected. At the last moment he was further induced to award the succession not to the male heirs of Lady Jane, but to herself and her male heirs.[158] He died with the prayer that God would guard England from the Papacy.

Lady Jane Grey had hitherto devoted her days to study. For father and mother were severe and found much in her to blame: on the other hand quiet hours of inward satisfaction were given her by the instructions of a teacher, always alike kindly disposed, who initiated her into learning and an acquaintance with literature: bending over her Plato, she did not miss the amusement of the chase which others were enjoying in the Park. After her

marriage too, which did not make her exactly happy, she still lived thus with her thoughts withdrawn from the world, when she was one day summoned to Sion-House where she found a great and brilliant assembly. She still knew nothing of the King's death. What were her feelings, when she was told that Edward VI was dead; that to secure the kingdom from the Popish faith and the government of his two sisters who were not legitimate, he had declared her, Lady Jane, his heiress, and when the great dignitaries of the realm bent their knees and reverenced her as their Queen! At times they had already talked to her of her claim to the throne, but she had never thought much of it. When it now thus became a reality, her whole soul was overcome by it: she fell to the ground and burst into a flood of tears. Whether she had a full right to the throne, she could not judge: what she felt was her incapacity to rule. But whilst she uttered this, a different feeling passed through her, as she has told us herself: she prayed in the depths of her soul that, if the highest office belonged to her legally, God might give her the grace to administer it to his honour. The next day she betook herself by water to the Tower, and received the homage offered her. The heralds proclaimed her accession in the capital.

But here this proclamation was received in silence and even with murmurs. The succession had been settled by Henry VIII on the basis of an act of Parliament: nothing else was expected but that this would be adhered to, and Mary succeed her brother: that Edward without any legal authorisation of a similar kind had now put a distant relative in his sister's place, seemed an open robbery of the lawful heir. It made no impression, that at the proclamation men were reminded of the Popery of the Princess Mary and her intention to restore the Papal power. Religious discord had not yet become so strong in England as to make men forget the fundamental principles of right on its account. The man who brought the princess the first news of Edward's death (which was still kept secret) remarks expressly in telling it, that he did not love her religion but abhorred the attempt to set aside lawful heirs. Mary prudently betook herself to Norfolk, where she had the most determined friends, to a castle on the sea; so as to be able, if her opponent should maintain the upper hand, to escape to the Emperor. But every one declared for her, the Catholics who saw in her the born champion of their religion and were strongest in those very districts, and the Protestants to whom the princess made some, though not binding, promises; she was proclaimed Queen in Norwich. If the Duke of Northumberland wished to carry out his projects, it was necessary for him to suppress this movement by force. He at once took the field for this purpose, with a fine body of artillery and two thousand infantry, and occupied a position in the neighbourhood of Cambridge.


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