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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

As the imperial ambassador says


The

conduct of the Queen and her government, without whose help ecclesiastical authority would have been null and void, had a result that extended far beyond her time: men began to inquire into the claims of the temporal power. John Knox, who had now to fly from England before a Queen, as he had previously from Scotland before a Queen-regent, and whose word was of weight, poured forth his feelings in a piercing call, which he himself named 'a blast of the trumpet,' against the right of women to the government of a country, which ought to be exercised only by men. And while Knox went no further than the immediate case, others examined into the powers of all State authority: above all, to prevent its taking part in religious persecution, they brought forward the principles according to which sovereignty issues originally from the people. Mary's government had awakened in Protestantism, and that not merely in England, the hostility of political theory.

But besides no man could hide from himself, that discontent, even without theory, had grown in England in an alarming manner. The French and Imperial ambassadors both gave their courts information of it, the former with a kind of satisfaction, the latter with apprehension and pain. He laments the bad effect which the religious persecution produces, makes pressing objections to it and demands that the bloody zeal of the bishops shall be moderated; but the matter was regularly proceeding in a kind of legal

way; we do not find that he effected anything.

The Queen had hitherto flattered herself and her partisans with the hope that she would give the country an heir to the throne. When this expectation proved fallacious in the summer of 1555 it produced an impression which, as the imperial ambassador says, no pen could describe. The appearance had been caused by an unhealthy condition of body, which was now looked on rather as a prognostic of her fast approaching death. It is already clear, remarks the ambassador, that least confidence can be placed in those who have been hitherto most trusted: many a man still wears a mask: others even show their ill-will quite openly. For so badly is the succession at present arranged that my lady Elizabeth will without doubt ascend the throne on Mary's death and will restore heresy.

While things were in this state, Philip II was led to resolve on going to the Netherlands by the vicissitudes of the French war and his father's state of health; he wished either to bring about peace, or to push the war with energy.

He had hitherto exercised a moderating influence on the government. Not to let all fall back into the previous party-strife, he thought it best to give the eight leading members of the Privy Council a pre-eminent place in the management of business. He could not avoid admitting men of both parties even among these; but he had already found a man whom he


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