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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Mendoza at that time and indeed by Mary's recommendation


resolutions and unions were of a compass extending far beyond the present occasion, however weighty. How important the ecclesiastical contest had become in all questions concerning the supreme temporal power! That the deposition of Queen Elizabeth, pronounced by the Pope, had no effect was due to the Protestant tendencies of the country, and to the fact that her hereditary claim had been hitherto unassailed. But now it was a similar hereditary claim, made by Queen Mary, not, it is true, formally recognised, but also not rejected, on which the partisans of this princess based their chief hope. Mary herself, who always combined the most vivid dynastic feelings with her religious inclinations, in her letters and statements does not lay such stress on anything as on the unconditional validity of her claim to inherit the throne. When for instance her son rejected the joint government which she proposed to him, she remarked with striking acuteness that this involved an infringement of the maxims of hereditary right; since he rejected her authorisation to share in the government, and recognised as legitimate the refusal of obedience she had experienced from her rebellious subjects. Once she read in a pamphlet that people denied Queen Elizabeth the power to name a successor who was not of the Protestant faith: she wrote to her that the supreme power was of divine right, and raised high above all these considerations, and warned her against opinions of that kind which were avowed by some
near her, and which might lead to the elective principle and become dangerous to herself. This could not fail to have an exactly opposite effect on Elizabeth. She was again threatened through the strict dynastic right that she also enjoyed: she needed some other additional support. Despite all inclination to the contrary, she decided to look for it in the Parliament. She likewise aimed at making Mary submit the validity of her claim to its previous decision. She could not but be thankful that her subjects pledged themselves not to recognise any right to the succession which was to be asserted by an attack on her life; she ratified the act by which Parliament gave these feelings a legal form. It is obvious how powerfully the rights of Parliament were thus advanced as against the absolute claim of the hereditary monarchy. In the course of the development of events this was to be the case in a still higher degree.

Mary rejected with horror the suspicion that she could take part in an attempt on Elizabeth's life: she wished to enrol herself in the Association for her security.[257] And who could have failed to believe at least that the threats against her own right and life, in case of a second attempt at assassination, would deter her partisans as well as herself from any thought of it! For they well understood the energy with which the Parliament knew how to vindicate its laws.

But it is vain to try to bridle men's passions by showing them their results. If the attempt on the Queen's life succeeded, this Parliament of course would be annihilated as well as the Queen herself, and another order of things begin.

In the seminary at Rheims the priests persuaded an English emigrant, called Savage, who had served in the army of the Prince of Parma, that he could not better secure himself eternal happiness than by ridding the world of the enemy of religion who was excommunicated by the holy father. Another English emigrant, Thomas Babington, a young man of education and ambition, in whom throbbed the pulse of chivalrous devotion to Mary, was informed of this design by a priest of the seminary, and was fired with a kind of emulation which has something highly fantastic about it. Thinking that so great an enterprise ought not to be confided to one man, he sought and found new confederates for it; when the murder was effected, and the Spanish troops landed, he was to be the man who with a hundred sturdy comrades would free his Catholic Queen from prison and lead her to her throne. Mendoza at that time (and indeed by Mary's recommendation, as she tells us) was Spanish ambassador in France: he was in communication with Babington and strengthened him in his purpose. Of all the distinguished men of the age Mendoza is perhaps the one who took up most heartily the idea of uniting the French and Spanish interests, and advocated it most fervently. King Philip II was also informed of the design. He now, as he had done fifteen years before, declared his intention, if it succeeded, of making the invasion simultaneously from Spain and Flanders. The Queen's murder, the rising of the Catholics, and at the same moment a twofold invasion with trained troops would have certainly been enough to produce a complete revolution. The League was still victorious in France: Henry III would have been forced to join it: the tendencies of the strictest Catholicism would have gained a complete triumph.

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