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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Never had any sovereign a higher idea of his dignity

men hastened out of her way.

Among other correspondence we learn to know her from that with King James of Scotland,--one side of her political relations, to which we shall return:--how does every sentence express a mental and moral superiority as well as a political one! not a superfluous word is there: all is pith and substance. From care for him and intelligent advice she passes to harsh blame and most earnest warning: she is kind and sharp, friendly and rough, but almost ever more repellent and unsparing than mild. Never had any sovereign a higher idea of his dignity, of the independence belonging to him by the laws of God and man, of the duty of obedience binding on all subjects. She prides herself on no external consideration influencing her resolutions, threats or fear least of all; when once she longs for peace, she insists on its not being from apprehension of the enemy, but only from abhorrence of bloodshed. The action of life does not develop merely the intellectual powers: between success and failure, in conflict and effort and victory, the character moulds itself and acquires its ruling tone. Her immense good fortune fills her with unceasing self-confidence, which is at the same time sustained by trust in the unfailing protection of Providence.[276] That she, excommunicated by the Pope, maintains herself against the attacks of half the world, gives her whole action and nature a redoubled impress of personal energy. She does not like to mention her father or her mother: of a successor she will
not hear a word. The feeling of absolute possession is predominant in her appearance. It is noticeable how on festivals she moves in procession through her palace: in front are nobles and knights in the costume of their order, with bared heads; next the bearers of the insignia of royalty, the sceptre, the sword, and the great seal: then the Queen herself in a dress covered with pearls and precious stones; behind her ladies, brilliant in their beauty and rich attire: to one or two, who are presented to her, she reaches out her hand to kiss as she goes by in token of favour, till she arrives at her chapel, where the assembled crowd hails her with a 'God save the Queen,' she returning them thanks with gracious words. Elizabeth received the whole reverence, once more unbounded, which men paid to the supreme power. The meats of which she was to eat were set on the table with bended knee, even when she was not present. It was on their knees that men were presented to her.[277]

Between a sovereign like this and her Parliament points of contention could not be wanting. The Commons claimed the privilege of absolute freedom of speech, and repeatedly attacked the abuses which still remained in the episcopal Church, and the injurious monopolies which profited certain favoured persons. The Queen had members of the Lower House imprisoned for speeches disagreeable to her: she warned them not to interfere in the affairs of the Church, and even not in those of the State, and declared it to be her prerogative to summon and dissolve Parliament at her pleasure, to accept or reject its measures. But with all this she still did not on the other hand conceal that, in reference

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