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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Ut cum venerit tempus expeditionis


the 8th of February 1587 it was executed on Mary in the very hall where the sittings of the court had been held. As compared with Elizabeth's painful disquiet, who shrank from doing what she held to be necessary, and when she at last did it wished it again undone and thought she could still recall it, the composure and quiet of soul, with which Mary submitted to the fate now finally decided, impresses us very deeply The misfortune of her life was her claim to the English crown. This led her into a political labyrinth, and into those entanglements which were connected with her disastrous marriage, and then, through its combination with the religious idea, into all the guilt which is imputed to her more or less justly. It cost Mary her country and her life. Even on the scaffold she reminded men of her high rank which was not subject to the laws: she thought the sentence of heretics on her, a free queen, would be of service to the kingdom of God. She died in the royal and religious ideas in which she had lived.

It is undeniable that Elizabeth was taken by surprise at this news: she was heard sobbing as though a heavy misfortune had befallen herself. It may be that her grief was lightened by a secret satisfaction: who would absolutely deny it? But Davison had to atone for taking the power into his own hands by a long imprisonment: the indispensable Burleigh hardly obtained pardon. In the city on the other hand bells were rung and bonfires kindled.

For the universal popular conviction agreed with the judgment of the court, that Mary had tried to deliver the kingdom into the hands of Spaniards.


[250] Consultation at Greenwich 1579, In Murdin 340. 'Pluck down presently the strengthe and government of all your papists and deliver all the strengthe and government of your realm into the hands of wise assured and trusty protestants.'

[251] Bishop Leslie's negociations, in Anderson iii. 235.

[252] 'De praesenti rerum statu in Anglia brevis annotatio,' in Theiner, Annales ecclesiastici iii. 480 (at the year 1583). As mention is made in this writing of the restoration of order in the States of the Church, 'per felicissima novi pontificis auspicia,' we must certainly attribute it to the first years of Sixtus V.

[253] 'Tam ad hos (haereticos) quam ad catholicos omnes ad nostras partes trahendos supra modum valebit, licet in carcere, reginae Scotiae opera. Nam illa novit omnes secretos fautores suos et hactenus habuit viam praemonendi illos atque semper ut speramus habitura est, ut cum venerit tempus expeditionis, praesto sint. Sperat etiam--per amicos--et per corruptionem custodum personam suam ex custodia liberare.' In Theiner, Annales ecclesiastici iii. 482.

[254] The means to assure Her Majesty of peace. Egerton Papers 79.

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