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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

She had never seen Courtenay but once in her life


But,

after all, the result of these elections was not such as to make a complete return to the Papal authority probable. The Emperor Charles, who mainly guided the Queen's steps, warned her from attempting it. She had prayed him to communicate to her the Pope's declarations issued in favour of her hereditary right: he sent them to her, but with the advice to make no use of them, since they might involve her in difficulties without end. It seemed to him sufficient if the Parliament simply repealed the enactments which had formerly been passed respecting the invalidity of her mother's marriage with her father. In the bill which was drawn up on this point in the Upper House it was merely stated that the marriage, in itself valid and approved by the wisest persons of the realm, had been made displeasing to the King through evil influences and annulled by a sentence of Archbishop Cranmer, on whom the greatest blame fell. To many men this seemed already going too far, since together with the dispensation the old church authority was again recognised: but as there was not a word about the Pope in it, this was less apparent: the bill was passed unanimously. The act might be regarded as a political one. On the other hand religion was very directly affected by the proposal to repeal the alterations in the church service which had been introduced under Edward VI, and to abolish the Common Prayer-book. On this ensued the hottest conflict. Once the proposal had to be laid aside: when it was resumed,
the debate on it lasted six days: a third of the members were steadily against it. But in the majority the opinion again prevailed that Henry VIII's church constitution--retention of the Catholic doctrines and emancipation from the Papacy--was the most suitable for England: a resolution was carried to the effect that only such books as were in use under Henry VIII should be henceforth used in the church. The new forms of divine service, which contained a clearly marked body of doctrine, were abolished and the old ones restored.

The position which the Parliament took up in relation to another scarcely less important question coincided with this sense of national independence.

It was a very widespread wish in England that the Queen should give her hand to young Courtenay, son of that Marquis of Exeter who had himself once thought of marrying Mary against her father's wishes. He was a young man of suitable age, handsome figure, and mental activity; Mary had not merely freed him from the prison in which her brother had kept him, but also endowed him with the Earldom of Devon, one of his father's possessions; in this act many saw a token of personal inclination. Bishop Gardiner was decidedly in his favour, and we can conceive how a great ecclesiastic, who had the power of the state in his hands, wished to altogether exclude every foreign influence; he of course knew that Courtenay would also conform in church matters.

Gardiner spoke once with the Queen about it and was very pressing: she was absolutely against it. The old chronicle is entirely in error when it repeats the then widespread rumour of Mary's inclination for Courtenay. Mary told the Imperial ambassador that she was altogether ignorant of what love was; she had never seen Courtenay but once in her life, at the moment when she released him. She intended to marry, since she was assured that the welfare of the realm required it, but not an Englishman, not one who was a subject. As in other things, so in this, she requested the Emperor to give her his advice.


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