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CHAPTER III 1553-1558
During the trial and execution of Northumberland and his accomplices, Cecil remained prudently in the background. Gardiner, Norfolk, Courtney, Bonner, and the other prisoners in the Tower were released. Home and foreign policy changed, the Catholics were buoyed with hope, and the Emperor’s Ambassador was in full favour, whilst the Protestants were timorous and apprehensive, and the French Ambassador ill at ease, for his King was at war with the Emperor, and had from the first endeavoured to minimise the claims of Mary.[66]

On the 3rd August the new Queen entered London with her sister near her, and preparations were at once set afoot for her coronation (1st October). Cecil was no longer in office, and was commanded by the Queen to send her the seals and register of the Garter on the 21st September;[67] but he appears to have gone to the expense of new liveries for his servants in honour of the occasion. Twelve of his servants were given garments of the best cloth with badges, eleven received one and a quarter yards of the best cloth each, with second-class cognisances, and nine more had cloth of second quality, one coat being left with Lady Cecil to bestow as she pleased.[68] On the same document Sir William himself has made numerous notes as to the price of these materials, which, if we did not already know it by many other testimonies, would[51] prove that, though his expenditure was great, he was careful of the items of it. His father, the Yeoman of the Robes, had died in the previous year (1552), and apparently the office had remained in abeyance, being temporarily administered by Sir William. His neighbour Sir Edward Dymoke, of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, had, in accordance with his tenure, to act as champion at the Queen’s coronation, and was entitled to his equipment out of the office of robes. A few days before the coronation ceremony Dymoke applied for his outfit. Some of the articles were not on hand and had to be bought of one Lenthal; and the champion begged Cecil to vouch for the purchase, consisting of “a shrowd, a girdle, a scabbard of velvett, two gilt partizans, a pole axe, a chasing staff and a pair of gilt spurs, the value in all being £6, 2s. 8d.” Apparently Cecil took no notice of the application, and in an amusing letter at Hatfield, the champion complains bitterly, nearly two months after the coronation, that he could never get his outfit. Cecil insisted upon a warrant from the Queen; but, said Dymoke, he had received all his equipment without warrant at the previous coronation, and he prays Cecil not to be “more straytor” than his father was. He had his cup of gold, his horse, and trappings, and crimson satin, without warrant then, and why, he asks, should one be required now. “I do not pass so much of the value of the allowance as I do for the precedent to hinder those who do come after me, if I do lose it this time.”

Cecil does not seem to have absented himself from court, though he passed more of his time than hitherto at Wimbledon. Wyatt rose and fell; Elizabeth and Courtney suffered under the Queen’s displeasure; Cheke and Cooke went to exile; Cecil’s old friend the Duchess of Suffolk and her husband Mr. Bertie fled to Germany; Carews, Staffords, Tremaynes, Killigrews, Fitzwilliams, the[52] ex-Ambassador Pickering, and hundreds like them, took refuge abroad from the country over which a Spanish King, with his half-Spanish Queen, were soon to be supreme. Cranmer, Cecil’s friend from boyhood, and other Protestant Churchmen, filled the rooms in the Tower vacated by those whom Cecil had been active in prosecuting, but Cecil himself lived rich and influential, if no longer politically powerful, and no hand was raised against him. That he was a conforming Catholic is certain, quite apart from Father Persons’ spiteful description of his exaggerated devotion; “frequenting masses, said litanies with the priest, laboured a pair of great beads which he continually carried, preached to his parishioners in Stamford, and asked pardon for his errors in King Edward’s time.” This statement of itself would not suffice were it not supported by better evidence; but although there is a dearth of such evidence at the beginning of Mary’s reign, there is abundance of it later. At the Record Office, among other papers of the same sort, there exists the Easter book for 1556, headed, “The names of them that dwelleth in the pariche of Vembletoun that was confessed and received the Sacrament of the altar;” the first entry being, “My master Sir Wilyem Cecell, and my lady Myldread his wyff;”[69] and Cecil’s accounts for this period contain many entries of the cost of his oblations and gifts to the altar. He retained, moreover, the benefices of Putney and Mortlake, of which he kept strict account; and in August 1557 the Dean and Chapter of Worcester addressed a letter of thanks to him for his annual contribution to his two churches, and assured him of their willingness to accede to his wishes and increase the stipends of the curates there.[70] There is therefore no doubt that, like Princess Elizabeth and most of those who afterwards became her ministers, Cecil was quite[53] ready, in outward seeming at least, to adopt the ritual decreed by the Court and Parliament.

Renard, the Emperor’s Ambassador, had broached the idea of a marriage between Mary and Philip, the Prince of Spain, less than a week after the Queen’s entry into London; and thenceforward the arrangements for the match went forward apace. The people generally were in an agony of fear; Gardiner himself, the Queen’s Chancellor, and most of her wisest Councillors, looked coldly upon the idea; they would rather she had married Courtney, and formed a close political alliance with the House of Spain. But the Queen was a daughter of Catharine of Aragon, and the exalted religious ideas of her race had caused her to look upon herself as the divinely-appointed being who was to bring to pass the salvation of her people, and this she knew could only be done by the power and money that Spain could bring to her. The connection would enable her, too, to be revenged upon France, which had befriended her mother’s supplanter, and was still subsidising revolution against her. Those who were Catholics first and Englishmen afterwards, applauded her determination to wed her Spanish cousin; and the priests in Rome watched, from the moment of her advent, for the possibility of the restoration of England to the faith, and the disgorging of the plunder of the Church by those who had swallowed it. Most of these saw in the Spanish match the probable realisation of their hopes.

Immediately after Mary’s accession the Pope had appointed Cardinal Pole to negotiate with these ends. He was an Englishman of the blood royal, who had no special Spanish ends to serve: his one wish was to bring back England into the fold of the Church. But before he started on his journey to England, Charles V. took fright. His views were quite different. He and his son[54] wanted to get political control over England for their own dynastic interests. So long as the religious element helped them in this, they were glad to use it; but if the priests went too fast and too far, and caused disgust and reaction in England, their plans would fail. So, as usual when it was a choice between religion and politics by statesmen of that age, they chose politics. The difficulty was that the Churchmen had expected that the return of England to the fold would necessarily mean the restitution of all ecclesiastical property. Pole himself was full of this idea, and his first powers from the Pope gave him little or no discretion to abate the claim for entire and unconditional surrender of the Church plunder. But at the instance of the Emperor, the Pope was induced to grant to Pole full discretionary powers. Then he was persuaded to send the Legate to France and Brussels on his way to England, with the ostensible purpose of mediating a peace between France and the Emperor, but really in order that he might be influenced in the Spanish interest, and his departure for England was thus delayed until it was considered prudent to let him go. It was not until he had promised that he would only act in accordance with the advice of the new King-consort, Philip, that he was permitted to proceed on his mission, with the certainty now, that the restitution of the Church property would go no further than was dictated by the political interests which the Emperor had nearest his heart. This happened in November 1554, four months after the Queen’s marriage, and the somewhat curious choice of Paget (Lord Privy Seal), Sir Edward Hastings, and Sir William Cecil, was made to go and meet the Legate at Brussels, and bring him to England. Their instructions,[71] evidently inspired by Philip, who was still in England, entirely confirm the above view of the subject.[55] The envoys are to seek the Cardinal, and “to declare that the greatest, and almost the only, means to procure the agreement of the noblemen and others of our Council (to the re-entry of England into the Church) was our promise that the Pope would, at our suit, dispense with all possessors of any lands or goods of monasteries, colleges, or other ecclesiastical houses, to hold and enjoy quietly the same, without trouble or scruple.” Herein the influence of the politicians is clearly visible; and the Churchmen for fifty years afterwards attributed the failure of Catholic attempts in England to God’s anger at this paltering with the plunder of His property.[72] Cecil’s voyage was a short one. The entry in his journal runs thus: “1554. vi? Novembris (ii. Mari?) capi iter cum Domino Paget et Magistro Hastings versus Casarem pro reducendo Cardinale;” but in the little Perpetual Calendar at Hatfield the voyage is noted in English. The journal continues: “Venimus Bruxelles 11 Novēbris;” and then, “Redivimus 24? Westmonsterij cū Card. Polo.”

No more is said of the events of the journey, or of Cecil’s negotiations with the Cardinal; but it may be surmised that Pole at first would not look very favourably upon Sir William, as during the correspondence with Somerset, in which Pole exhorted the Protector to desist from troubling Catholics, a somewhat rude communication was sent to him, which in his reply he attributed, not to the Protector himself, but to Cecil. It is probable that Cecil was chosen, because, though outwardly a Catholic, his views were known to be extremely moderate, and at the moment it was these views which were most in accordance with the interests of England and Spain from the point of view of the Emperor and his son. It may be assumed that a similar reason accounts for Cecil’s appointment in the following May,[56] 1555, to accompany the Cardinal to Calais, for the purpose of negotiating for a peace between France and the Emperor. Pole had offered the mediation of England to Noailles some months before, but the lukewarmness of the Emperor, the delay in the appointment of his envoys, and the French military successes in Piedmont, had dragged the matter out whilst an infinity of questions of procedure and personality were being slowly settled. The French Ambassador protested against the appointment of the Earl of Pembroke or the Earl of Arundel, especially the latter, a vain, giddy man, and a friend of Spain, to accompany the embassy. Gardiner, he said, would be sufficient to represent English interests, with Pole as Papal Legate; and the addition of either of the Earls or of Paget was looked upon as an indication of a desire rather to pick a fresh quarrel with France than to negotiate a peace.

Cecil would appear to have occupied quite a secondary position in the embassy, as he is never mentioned in the correspondence between the French envoys Constable Montmorenci and Cardinal Lorraine and Noailles describing the meetings. In any case, the negotiations, which took place at Marcq, equidistant from Calais, Ardres, and Gravelines, speedily fell through, and by the 26th June the attempt was abandoned; in consequence mainly of the insistence of the Emperor in the restoration of the Duke of Savoy to his dominions then occupied by the French. The apprehensions of the French Ambassador had not been entirely unfounded. It had been Philip’s intention to ask the Parliament of 1554 for England’s armed aid in favour of the Emperor, but the indiscreet zeal of the Churchmen had already brought about reaction, and the Parliament was hastily dissolved. In the new Parliament of 1555, Cecil was elected, as he insinuates not by his own desire, Knight[57] of the Shire for Lincoln. In the previous year (February 1554) he had requested the aldermen of the borough of Grantham to elect a nominee of his their member. What would, no doubt, have been a command when he was Secretary of State in the previous reign, could be disregarded under Mary, and the aldermen politely informed him that they had already made other arrangements.[73] It is quite understandable that to so prudent a man as Cecil it would have been much more agreeable to have been represented by a nominee than to have sat personally in the Parliament of 1555.

The Queen’s pregnancy had turned out a delusion. It was seen by the Spaniards now that the Queen herself was but a puppet in the hands of the Council, and that Philip would never be allowed to rule England, as had been intended, solely for the benefit of Spanish interests. The imperial plot had failed; and on the 26th August 1555, the King-consort took leave of his heartbroken wife, and went to his duties elsewhere. As soon as he had gone, as Renard had wisely foretold, all barriers of prudence which had hitherto, to some extent, restrained the persecution of Protestants, were broken down. Philip left with the Queen strict instructions for the administration of affairs, and notes of all Council meetings were sent to him, in order that he might still keep some control. But Cranmer was arraigned, Ridley and Latimer were martyred, the restitution of alienated tithes, first-fruits, and tenths was proposed, the Protestant exiles abroad were recalled, under pain of confiscation of their property, the bishops were deprived, and throughout England the flames of persecution soon spread unchecked.

What King Philip wanted were English arms and money, to aid his father in the war, not the fires of[58] Smithfield, or the blind zeal of the priests to set men’s hearts against the cause of Rome, which was his main instrument. But the Parliament of 1555 and the Queen’s Council were determined to withhold aid to the Emperor’s war as long as they could. Money there was none, the English ships were rotting and unmanned in port, men-at-arms were sulky at the idea of fighting for the Spaniard; but burning Protestants and confiscating recusants’ property cost nothing, and so the game went on in despite of absent Philip. Amongst the threatened exiles in Germany were many of Cecil’s friends, especially the Duchess of Suffolk and Sir Anthony Cooke, who kept up a close correspondence with his son-in-law, but refused to conform and return to England. Whether it was the enactment against these friends,[74] or some other of the confiscatory or extreme measures of the Government, that Cecil opposed in the Parliament of 1555, is not quite certain; but an entry in his diary shows that he was in extreme peril as a result of his action.[75] The entry is, as usual, in Latin.[59] “On the 21st October, Parliament was celebrated at Westminster, in which, although with danger to myself, I performed my duty; for although I did not wish it, yet being elected a Knight of the Shire for Lincoln, I spoke my opinion freely, and brought upon me some odium thereby; but it is better to obey God than man.” The household biographer gives a fuller account of what probably is the same matter: “In this Parliament (1555) Sir William Cecil was Knight for the County of Lincoln. In the House of Commons little was done to the liking of the court. The Lords passed a bill for confiscating the estates of such as had fled for religion. In the Lower House it was rejected with great indignation. Warm speeches were made on this, and other occasions, particularly in relation to a money bill, in all of which Sir William Cecil delivered himself frankly.”[76] One day, especially, a measure was before the House which the Queen wished to pass, and Sir William Courtney, Sir John Pollard, Sir Anthony Kingston, with other men from the west, opposed. Sir William Cecil sided with them and spoke effectively, and after the House rose they came to him and invited themselves to dine with them. He told them they would be welcome “so long as they did not speak of any matter of Parliament.” Some, however, did so, and their host reminded them of the condition. The matter was conveyed to the Council, and the whole of the company was sent for and committed to custody. Sir William himself was brought before his late colleagues and friends, Lord Paget and Sir William Petre. He said he desired they would not do with him as with the rest, which was somewhat hard, namely, to commit him first, and then hear him afterwards, but prayed them first to hear him, and then commit him if he were guilty; whereupon Paget replied,[60] “You spake like a man of experience;” and Cecil, as usual, cleared himself from blame.[77]

During this period Cecil divided his time between Cannon Row, Wimbledon, and Burghley, occupying himself much whilst in the country with farming and horticulture. His accounts are very voluminous, and are frequently annotated in his own hand. Every payment is stated under its proper head—kitchen, cellar, buttery, garden, and so forth; and the whole of the household supplies, whether, as was usual, taken from his own farm, or purchased, are duly accounted for at current prices. The dinner-hour of the family was 11 A.M., before which prayer was read in the chapel, and the supper was served at 6 P.M.; these rules being observed at all his houses, whether he was in residence or not. His charities were always large, and in his later years reached an average of £500 a year; and wherever he had property there was a regular system of distribution of relief to the needy in the neighbourhood. His most intimate friends were still some of the first people in England. As a moderate man he had now commended himself to Pole; Lord Admiral Clinton, a great Lincolnshire magnate, was evidently by his letters on terms of familiarity with him; the Earl of Sussex, the Viceroy of Ireland, expressed himself anxious to do him service;[78] Sir Philip Hoby and Lord Cobham vied with each other in inducing him and Lady Cecil to visit them at their respective Kentish seats; and Lord John Grey, on the occasion of his wife being delivered of a “gholly boye,” begs Cecil to stand godfather to the infant.[79] Cecil’s wife had already given birth to a daughter, and in the Calendar Diary at Hatfield an entry[61] against 5th December 1556 records, “Natus est Anna Cecil,” which event somewhat disappointed both Cecil and his father-in-law, Cooke, in his exile, as they had earnestly looked for a son. Cecil must have been a devoted husband, though probably an undemonstrative one, as the letters of Sir Anthony Cooke always praise him for his goodness, both to his daughter and to himself in his poverty and banishment. Sir Philip Hoby, in one of his hearty letters during Lady Cecil’s confinement, expresses sorrow that Sir William cannot visit him. “You should have been welcome if my Lady might have spared you, to whom you have been as good a nurse as you would have her be to you;”[80] and seven weeks later he writes again (21st February), advising Cecil “to come abroad, and not tarry so long with my Lady, and in such a stinking city, the filthiest of the world.” Sir Nicholas Bacon and his wife, Lady Cecil’s sister, were also frequent and kindly correspondents; and the Countess of Bedford, who with her children were left by her husband to Cecil’s care on the Earl’s departure in command of the English contingent to aid the Emperor, referred all her business to him.[81] Cecil’s life, indeed, at this period was that of a noble of great wealth and influence, surrounded by friends, occupied with the details of large estates and with studious pursuits, in great request as trustee and intermediary for other people’s affairs, openly conforming in religion, but of acknowledged moderate views, and[62] keeping on fairly good terms with the party in power, as did Sir Nicholas Bacon, Sir Thomas Smith, Roger Ascham, and others in similar case.

But there was one element of Cecil’s activity to which no undue prominence was given, although it was great and continuous—namely, his communications with the Princess Elizabeth and his prudent efforts in her favour. From his first official employment at court, he had been appealed to by the Princess in questions requiring discretion. When he was Secretary to the Protector (25th September 1549), Parry, the cofferer and factotum of Elizabeth, wrote to him the letter which has often been quoted,[82] in which he gives an account of the visit of the Venetian Ambassador to Ashridge: “Hereof her Grace hath, with all haste, commanded me to send unto you, and to advertise you, to the intent forthwith it may please you, at her earnest request, either to move my Lord’s Grace, and to declare unto him yourself, or else forthwith to send word in writing, that her Grace may know thereby, whether she shall herself write thereof … and in case ye shall advise her Grace to write, then so forthwith to advertise her Grace.… Herein she desires you to use her trust as in the rest.” It will be seen by this that Cecil was then considered by Elizabeth as her friend. Another letter from Parry (September 1551)[83] is still more cordial: “I have enclosed herein her Grace’s letters, for so is her Grace’s commandment, which she desires you, according to her trust, to deliver from her unto my Lord’s Grace, taking such opportunity therein by your wisdom as thereby she may … hear from his Grace.… Her Grace commanded me to write this. ‘Write my commendations in your letters to Mr. Cecil that I am well assured, though I send not daily to him, that he doth not, for all that, daily forget me; say,[63] indeed, I assure myself thereof.’… I had forgotten to say to you that her Grace commanded me to say to you for the excuse of her hand, that it is not now as good as she trusts it shall be; her Grace’s unhealth hath made it weaker and so unsteady, and that this is the cause.”

Elizabeth, in common with most other people, was also very anxious to put her business affairs into Cecil’s hands, and in such matters as leases, sales of timber of her manors, and the like, Sir William’s services and advice were often requisitioned by her. In April 1553 she had serious complaints to make of extortion and malversation on the part of the steward (Keys) of certain of her manors which had been dedicated to the support of the hospital of Ewelme; and she appointed Cecil as the principal member of a committee to examine closely into the whole matter, “as her Grace is determined to remove the violence and oppression, and to have the poor thoroughly considered.”[84] At the time that Northumberland was casting about for a foreign husband for Elizabeth, some prince who, though of Protestant leanings, should not be powerful enough to force her claims to the crown, Cecil seems to have suggested the Duke of Ferrara’s son Francesco, but the proposal came to nothing. It may, however, be accepted as certain that the intrigues of Noailles on the one hand to pledge Elizabeth to marry Courtney, as proposed by Paget, and the persistent attempts of the Spanish party to pledge her to Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, found no support from Cecil, since one marriage would have played into the hands of France, and the other[64] would have rendered the Catholics permanently supreme in England; and, as has already been seen, Cecil’s great principle was to keep his country as far as possible free, both from Rome and from France. The consummate dexterity exhibited by Elizabeth during the troubled reign of Mary was exactly of a piece with Cecil’s own management of his affairs at the same period; and although there is no proof that he in any way guided her action, it is in evidence that she kept up communication with him on many subjects, and it is in the highest degree probable that she asked his advice on the vital points, upon which on several occasions her very life depended. Camden expressly says that she did so, and he is confirmed by Cecil’s household biographer; but if it be true, it must have been done with great caution and care, for Cecil to have escaped, as he did, all suspicion when Elizabeth herself was deeply suspected after Wyatt’s rising. Cecil’s advice to the Princess, if given at all, was probably to do as he himself endeavoured to do; namely, to conform as much as might be necessary for her safety, and to avoid entanglements or engagements of every description. This at all events was the course they both successfully followed.

Philip had at last dragged England into war against the wish of the whole of the Council except Paget, though the King had reluctantly to come and exert his personal influence on his wife before it could be done. At the beginning of July 1557 he left her for the last time, and in a month the victory of St. Quentin gave him the great chance of his life. He hesitated, dallied, and missed it; the English contingent sulky, unpaid, and discontented—the Spaniards said cowardly—clamoured to go home, and Philip, not daring to add to his unpopularity in England, let them go. Calais and Gu?nes fell before the vigour of Francis of Guise (January 1558),[65] for the fortresses had been neglected both by Northumberland and Mary. When it was already too late, the King had urged the English Council to send reinforcements; but his envoy, Feria, crossed the Channel at the same time as the news that the last foothold of England on the Continent had gone.

Thenceforward it was evident that Mary’s days were numbered, and eyes were already looking towards her successor. The war, never popular in England, became perfectly hateful. The people growled that waggon-loads of English money were being sent to Philip, and the Council, almost to a man, resisted as much and as long as they dared, Philip’s constant requests for English aid. When Parliament and the Council had been cajoled and squeezed to the utmost, Feria left in July 1558 to join his master; but before doing so, he thought it prudent to pay a visit to Madame Elizabeth at Hatfield, with many significant hints of favour from his King in the time to come; none of which the Princess affected to understand. A few weeks before the Queen died, peace negotiations were opened between England, France, and Spain; the foolish Earl of Arundel, Dr. Thirlby (Bishop of Ely), and Cecil’s friend Dr. Wotton being sent to represent England. On the 7th November the Queen was known to be dying, and the Council prevailed upon her to send a message to her sister confirming her right to succeed. Feria arrived a few days before unhappy Mary breathed her last, and already he found that “the people were beginning to act disrespectfully towards the images and religious persons.”[85] From the 7th November until the Queen died, on the 17th, matters were in the utmost confusion. All the bonds were breaking, and no man knew what would come next. The Council had for months been drifting away from Philip, and during the[66] Queen’s last days were openly turning to her Protestant successor.

But their duty kept them mostly at court; whereas Cecil, being free from office, went backwards and forwards between Cannon Row and Hatfield, making arrangements for the formation of a new Government when the sovereign should die. Feria writes that on the day the new Queen was proclaimed (17th November 1558), the Council decided that Archbishop Heath, Lord Admiral Clinton, the Earls of Shrewsbury, Pembroke, and Derby, and Lord William Howard should proceed to Hatfield, whilst the rest stayed behind; “but every one wanted to be the first to get out.” When they arrived at the residence of the young Queen, Cecil was already there and the appointments decided upon. Cecil was the first Councillor sworn, and was appointed Secretary of State;[86] the others mentioned above, with Paget and Bedford, being subsequently admitted; and the faithful Parry, her cofferer, elevated to the post of Controller of the Household; whilst Lord Robert Dudley, the son of Northumberland, Cecil’s former patron, was made Master of the Horse.

The Catholics, and especially the Spanish party, were in dismay. Changes met them at every turn. The Councillors who had fattened on Philip’s bribes, turned against him openly, although some few, like Lord William Howard (the Lord Chamberlain), Clinton, and Paget, secretly offered their services for a renewed consideration. But it soon became evident that the two men who would have the predominant influence were Cecil and Parry, and they had never yet been bought by[67] Spanish money. Only a week after the Queen’s accession, Feria wrote to Philip:[87] “The kingdom is entirely in the hands of young folks, heretics and traitors, and the Queen does not favour a single man … who served her sister.… The old people and the Catholics are dissatisfied, but dare not open their lips. She seems to me incomparably more feared than her sister, and gives her orders, and has her way, as absolutely as her father did. Her present Controller, Parry, and Secretary Cecil, govern the kingdom, and they tell me the Earl of Bedford has a good deal to say.”

Before entering London from Hatfield, the Queen stayed for a day or two at the Charterhouse, then in the occupation of Lord North. All London turned out to do her honour, and she immediately made it clear to onlookers that she meant to bid for popularity and to depend upon the good-will of her subjects. On the 26th or 27th November the Spanish Ambassador went to the Charterhouse to salute her. He had been under Mary practically the master of the Council; but the new Queen promptly made him understand that everything was changed. Instead of, as before, having right of access to the sovereign when he pleased, he found that in future he and his affairs would be relegated to two members of the Council, and when he asked which two, the Queen replied, Parry and Cecil. Feria did his best to conciliate her—gave her some jewels he had belonging to the late Queen, and so forth; but when he mentioned that a suspension of hostilities had been arranged between the French and Spanish, she thought it was a trap to isolate her, and she dismissed the Ambassador coldly. When she had retired, Feria called Cecil and asked him to go in at once and explain matters to her, “as he is the man who does everything.” The effects of Cecil’s diplomacy[68] were soon evident. The Queen smiled and chatted with Feria, took with avidity all the jewels he could give her, coyly looked down when marriage was mentioned, but would pledge herself to nothing. “She was full of fine words, however, and told me that when people said she was ‘French,’ I was not to believe it;”[88] but when the Ambassador treated such a notion as absurd, and endeavoured to lead her on to say that her sympathies were with Spain and against France, she cleverly changed the subject. Her sister, she said, had been at war with France, but she was not.

As has already been said, when the deputation of the Council arrived at Hatfield, Cecil was there before them, and had conveyed the news of her accession to the Queen. Naunton[89] says that when she heard it she fell on her knees and uttered the words, “A Domino factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris.” But whether this be true or not, it is certain that the intelligence did not come upon her as a surprise; for Cecil had already drawn up for her guidance a document which still exists,[90] providing for the minutest details of her accession. Some of these provisions were rendered unnecessary by the universal and peaceful acceptance of the new sovereign; but they exhibit the care and foresight which we always associate with the writer. The note runs as follows: 1. To consider the proclamation and to proclaim it, and to send the same to all manner of places and sheriffs with speed, and to print it. 2. To prepare the Tower and to appoint the custody thereof to trusty persons, and to write to all the keepers of forts and castles in the Queen’s name. 3. To consider for the removing to the Tower, and the Queen there to settle her officers and Council. 4. To make a stay of passages to all the ports until a certain[69] day, and to consider the situation of all places dangerous towards France and Scotland, especially in this change. 5. To send special messengers to the Pope, Emperor, Kings of Spain and Denmark, and the State of Venice. 6. To send new commissioners (commissions?) to the Earl of Arundel and Bishop of Ely (the peace envoys), and to send one into Ireland with a new commission; the letters under the Queen’s hand to all ambassadors with foreign princes to authorise them therein. 7. To appoint commissioners for the interment of the late Queen. 8. To appoint commissioners for the coronation and the day. 9. To make continuance of the term with patents to the Chief-Justice, Justices of each Bench, Barons, and Masters of the Rolls, with inhibition. Quod non conferant aliquod officium. 10. To appoint new sheriffs under the Great Seal. 11. To inhibit by proclamation the making over of any money by exchange without knowledge of the Queen’s Majesty, and to charge all manner of persons that have made, or been privy to any exchange made, by the space of one month before the 17th of this month. 12. To consider the preacher of St. Paul’s Cross, that no occasion be given by him to stir any dispute touching the governance of the realm.

It will be seen that every necessary measure for carrying on peaceably the government and business of the country is here provided for. Within a week of the Queen’s accession the religious persecutions all over the country had ceased, and a few days later all persons who were in prison in London as offenders against religion had been released on their own recognisances. The Queen had already foreshadowed her dislike to the harrying of Protestants by refusing her countenance to Bonner, the Bishop of London, when, with the other bishops, he met her on her approach to London. The[70] English refugees were flocking back home from Germany and Switzerland; and though, for the most part, the religious services were continued without marked change,[91] the Catholics saw that the day of their tribulation was coming, and were filled with indignation and fear. The measures suggested by Cecil as to the appointment of the preacher at Paul’s Cross were doubtless adopted,[92] for there was no violent ecclesiastical pronouncement against the tendency of the new Government until the funeral of the late Queen, on the 13th December. White, Bishop of Winchester, preached the sermon, in which he attacked the Protestants in the most inflammatory language, quoting the words of Trajan: “If my commands are just, use this sword for me; if unjust, use it against me.” It was not Elizabeth’s or prudent Cecil’s line, however, to adopt extreme measures at first, and the prelate was only kept secluded for a month in his own house. This is a fair specimen of the cautious policy adopted by Elizabeth. All of Mary’s Council had been Catholics, many of them bigoted Catholics, and yet eleven of them were admitted to the Council of the new Queen; the principal change being the addition to them of seven known Protestants,[71] who had, like Cecil, conformed in the previous reign—namely, Parr (Marquis of Northampton), Cecil’s friend the Earl of Bedford, Sir Thomas Parry, Edward Rogers, Sir Ambrose Cave, Francis Knollys (the Queen’s cousin), and Sir William Cecil; Sir Nicholas Bacon, Cecil’s brother-in-law, another Protestant conformer, being shortly afterwards also appointed a Councillor and Lord Keeper, but not yet Chancellor, in the place of Heath, Archbishop of York.

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