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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

And Mary Tudor allied herself with these


FOUNDATION

OF THE KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN. FIRST DISTURBANCES UNDER THE STUARTS.

Under no dynasty in the world have great national changes been so dependent on the personal aims of princes as in England under the Tudors. Just as all Henry VIII's subsequent proceedings were determined by the affair of the divorce, so also the policy of his three children was due to the relations into which they were thrown by their birth.

No one however could derive the course of English history at this epoch from this cause alone. How could Henry VIII have even thought of detaching his kingdom from the Roman See, but for the ancient and deep-seated national opposition to its encroachments? But the nation had also for ages had manifold and deep sympathies with Rome; and Mary Tudor allied herself with these. Together with subjective personal agencies, national influences of universal prevalence were at work. The different leanings of the sovereigns appear as exponents of opposite tendencies already existing in the nation. The struggle between these was decided when, as in the reign of Elizabeth, the most vigorous nature combined with the most powerful interests and the most influential motives to gain the mastery, although others of a different character were still by no means suppressed.

Now however the energetic race of the Tudors had disappeared from the throne. By the right of natural inheritance

another family ascended it, which had its roots and associations in Scotland, the crown of which country it united with that of England. If a long time elapsed before the English commonwealth was as closely attached to the new dynasty as it had been to the old, under which it had developed; so it is also clear that the point of view from which this dynasty started could not be exactly the same as that which had hitherto prevailed. This could not be expected under a prince who had already reigned for a quarter of a century and had long ago taken up, in his native country, a firm position with regard to the great conflicts of the age. This position we must first of all endeavour to represent.

CHAPTER I.

JAMES VI OF SCOTLAND: HIS ACCESSION TO THE THRONE OF ENGLAND.

_Origin of fresh dissension in the Church._

Our eyes again turn to the man to whom the last great religious and political change in Scotland is mainly due--John Knox.

We find him, propped on his staff and supported on the other side by a helping arm, stepping homewards from the church where he had once more performed a religious service: the multitude of the faithful lined the road, and greeted him with reverence. He could no longer walk alone, or raise his voice as before; it was only in a more confined space that he used still to gather a little congregation round him, to whom on appointed days and at fixed hours he proclaimed the teaching of the Gospel with unabated fire. He lived to hear of the wildest outbursts of the struggle on the continent, and to pronounce his curse on the King of France, who had taken part in the massacre of St. Bartholomew; but, in one respect, he was more fortunate than Luther, who in his last days was threatened with mischief from hostile elements about him which he could not control; for around John Knox all was peace. He thanked God for having granted him grace, that by his means the Gospel was preached throughout Scotland in its simplicity and truth: he now desired nothing more than to depart out of this miserable life; and thus, without pain, in November 1572, after bearing the burden and heat of the day, he fell asleep.


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