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and councils, and the layman was still sur- | recognized in the records of her life. Our rounded at his baptism, bis marriage, and his only business is to consider how the two could burial, by the same rites which were endeared be so strangely intermingled in the same cbato him and his fathers by the practice of count- racter, and how the most ludicrous and conless generations. Henry appeared in his own temptible foibles never interfered with her time as a gallant and magnificent monarch, veneration at the hands of that public opinion under whom the country enjoyed a peace to which is generally more disposed to forgive which it had been unaccustomed for nearly a the crimes than the follies of its princes. century; he gave his subjects as much reli- The knight approaching the shield from gious reformation as they desired, and no one side alone might well pronounce it to be more than they desired; his worst proceed all golden. The first aspect of Elizabeth's ings too were always done under a legal guise, character is that of the wisest and mightiest for he found parliaments, judges, and convo- of a line of rulers, surpassed in might and cations ready to sanction every caprice of his wisdom by none that history has recorded. despotism. Such a one was easily forgiven It has seldom been the lot of England to fall those deeds of wanton bloodshed which have under the sway of rois fainéans, such as have rendered his name a byword among posterity. made their dignity contemptible in the eyes The like too was the case with his daughter: of many foreign nations; a succession of them the act which the warmest panegyrists of she has never seen. Most of our kings have Elizabeth are driven to palliate is a dark stain been men of more than average ability; upon her memory; the act from which she several of them have been men of prëeminent herself shrunk, and of which she meanly genius. But, since the mighty Norman first tried to throw the responsibility upon others, set foot upon our shores, one prince alone has was not even an error in the eyes of her loving worn his crown who can dispute the first rank subjects. Mary Stuart, the deposed and cap. with the daughter of Henry VIII, and of Anne tive queen, excited no feeling of romance or Boleyo. The first Edward, great alike in war chivalry in the breast of the ordinary Eng- and peace, the founder of our commerce, the lishman of her own time; he saw in her only refounder of our law, may indeed claim a the foe of his religion and the rival of his place by the side of one who in so many re. sovereign; crowds of petitions prayed that spects trod in the same line of policy. He was justice might be done upon the offender, and the first, and, till Elizabeth arose, well-nigh her execution was hailed with the same signs the last, who felt that the sceptre of the old of public rejoicing as a coronation or a royal Bretwaldas was a nobler prize than shadowy marriage.
dreams of continental aggrandizement; before Elizabeth, then, and all that pertains to her, the true greatness of either of them, the is recommended to our attention not only by glories of Crecy and Agincourt sink into inthe acknowledged greatness of her character significance. During the forty-five years and the important events which marked her which beheld England under the sway of reign, but as a sovereign more thoroughly Elizabeth, she rose from a secondary position national and more thoroughly popular than among the powers of Europe to a level with any of her predecessors or successors during the mightiest of empires. · And this not by several centuries. She was not merely the dazzling and unsubstantial conquests, but by sovereign, she was the head, the kinswoman, the steady growth of a great people led on the representative of her people. Every fea- by the guiding hand of a great ruler.
The ture of ber character is thus invested with a best comment on this fact is the history of special interest, one that is redoubled when preceding and succeeding centuries. We can we consider the foibles, the vices, and the trace no germ of the gradual and comparacrimes of which she stands convicted or tively peaceful progress of the nation in the charged. Elizabeth as drawn by der ad. wild aggressions which were the favorite mirers, and Elizabeth as drawn by her ene- policy even down to the time of Elizabeth's mies, appear like the portraits of two wholly own father. Still less can we recognize the distinct women. And yet neither portrait is to glorious England of Elizabeth in the despised be set aside as an entirely fictitious one. We England of the reign of Charles II., when she need not dispute whether the shield is gold or became a pensioner of France. Under Elizasilver, whether the chameleon is green or beth arose that naval greatness which has blue. The glorious qualities which are held since formed our chief glory: under her up to admiration by the one side, the degrad. auspices Drake and Frobisher and Raleigh ing weaknesses which the other points out to extended alike the dominions of their soveour contempt, are both of them plainly to be 1 reign and the limits of the habitable world. She first raised her own England to the rank , she won the love in which she delighted; of mistress of the ocean, and laid the first she ascended the throne amid their acclamafoundation of another England on its farther tions; and if, from the satiety which comes shore. She carried the name and the glory of with long familiarity, she did not descend to her country into regions hardly trodden by her grave amid their tears, her memory soon an English foot since the days of Alfred. She became dearer to them than ever from the could not only boast of hurling defiance at contrast sbe presented to her inglorious sucParma and at Spain, but her diplomatic and cessor, and remained thenceforward embalmcommercial intercourse embraced the Czar ed among the most precious recollections of of Muscovy and the Sophi of Persia. She their past bistory. was looked to by all Europe as the bulwark Let us now change our course, and apof Protestantism and of liberty, and was re- proach the object of controversy from an opcompensed by the offer of foreign crowns posite quarter. An aspect may indeed be which she had the wisdom to refuse. At found in which the shield can hardly be conhome she established and maintained a go- sidered even as silver, but its material might vernment which for those times was both well be deemed to be a baser metal. The firm and gentle, a despotism which drew its mighty queen is transformed into a weak, if power from the national affection. Nearly not a vicious, woman; ber personal characher whole reign was one triumphal proces- ter is well-nigh surrendered, and even her sion; everywhere her people gathered around political capacity does not come out unher as round a parent; gracious and acces- scathed. Caprice, affectation, and coquetry sible to all, no petitioner was repulsed from appear as the leading features of the one; her presence. Stern and unbending when vacillation, parsimony, and persecution are necessity required it, she knew how to give stamped as the indelible characteristics of way with grace, or, by anticipating remon the other. From youth to old age she was strance, to avoid the necessity of yielding. the slave of the most egregious personal She reared up the fabric of a church, free vanity: Queen and heroine, sacred Majesty alike from the superstitions of the Papist and and Defender of the Faith, were titles less the licentiousness of the Puritan. In abolish- acceptable to the royal ear than the flattery ing a foreign jurisdiction and a corrupt cere- which extolled the royal person as surpassing monial," she preserved a regular order of the beauty of all women past, present, or to church government, and a ritual at once The sovereign of seventy was never simple and decorous. And all this was essen- more delighted than when her courtiers extially her own doing. She was surrounded changed the respectful demeanor of subjects by able counsellors; but no stronger proof for a strain of amorous adulation which than this can be given of her own ability. In might have disgusted a sensible girl of seven: days when kings governed as well as reigned, teen. Her earliest determination was to live the predominance of a great minister is no and die a virgin queen; but throughout her doubtful sign of the existence of a great reign the strength of that determination was sovereigo. And assuredly no counsellor, exhibited by continually running to the brink however able, could have forced Elizabeth of temptation. Her whole life was a chroniinto any course contrary to her own will and cle of love-passages, or what affected to pass judgment. Whatever was done in the name as such. Every foreign prince who thought of one who so dearly loved the authority she the throne of England a convenient restingwas born to exercise, must, if not the fruit of place, every subject who professed that loyher own mere motion, at least have had the alty and chivalry bad been fanned into a deliberate sanction of her searching intellect. warmer devotion, was sure 'of encourageVersed in all the learning and accomplish- ment in the wooing, even though the winments of her age, delighting in the gayety and ning might be denied him. The court of the splendor of a court, she never forgot the virgin monarch was ruled by a succession of duties of a real ruler in the idleness and dis- favorites, admitted to a perilous, if not a sipation of the vulgar mob of princes. She guilty familiarity; the carpet knight and the maintained the credit of her kingdom abroad dancing lawyer swayed the deliberations of without plunging into unnecessary or expen- her council no less than the grave statesman sive wars; she encouraged the arts of peace and the experienced warrior. But in prowithout suffering the decay of a martial portion to the license she allowed herself was spirit; she maintained a magnificent court, the severity of the discipline she inflicted on without its being purchased by the misery of others. The refounder of the Protestant the nation. The true parent of her people, Church regarded the most lawful matrimony
as something altogether unbecoming in the succession, rather than give any one a direct priesthood, and as a bardly allowable liberty and undoubted interest in her death. In a even in the laity. The marriage of a bishop word, if she had attained to some of the was expiated by the confiscation of a manor; virtues of the other sex, she had acquired that of a female of royal blood was the surest with them some of its less amiable characpassport to the interior of the Tower. Her teristics, while of her own she retained nopersonal habits were those of one who had thing but, to say the least, some of its most thrown off alike the dignity of the monarch degrading weaknesses. and the gentleness of the woman; her diver- We are conscious of a certain amount of sions seem to have surpassed the ordinary exaggeration in both these sketches, in wbich brutality of the times, the “most godly we have by turns spoken the language of her queen" interlarded her discourse with oaths ardent admirers and of her bitter opponents. worthy only of a Rufus or a John; she boxed There are lineaments in both portraits which the ear of one courtier, and spat upon the rest more on popular conceptions than on fringed mantle of another. The hand of the historical evidence, but both are true in the sovereign was open to receive, and shut when main, and each expresses one side of a she should repay; her military schemes were strangely mingled and contradictory characruined by an unworthy parsimony; at home ter, which cannot be better summed up than she quartered herself in the houses of her in the words of one of the most eminent of subjects, and neither justice nor mercy ever her councillors, that one day she was greater stood in the way of her exacting to the utter than man, and the next less than woman." most farthing the pecuniary obligations even It is with the private and personal characof her most honored servants. Her govern- ter of this famous queen that we propose ment was constantly that of a despot; the chiefly to deal at present. We have no in
rights of Parliament were openly jeered at; tention of entering at large on the great ex. . patents and monopolies enriched her favorites ternal events of her reign. We shall not
with wealth wrung from the scanty fare of repeat the tale of the destruction of Spain's the peasant and the artisan. Although the invincible Armada, nor engage in any minute sincerity of her personal religion was doubt- consideration of her civil government or her ful, she enforced'a conformity with her ex- ecclesiastical reforms. All these important ternal standard by a rigorous persecution in matters we shall only regard so far as they all directions. While the fires of Smithfield throw light upon the individual character of still received an occasional Protestant, the her who was the chief agent in them. We lay votary of Rome had to struggle through shall rather endeavor to draw a portrait of life with confiscation or imprisonment, and Elizabeth as she was received by Leicester at his spiritual adviser lived in a perpetual ap- Kenilworth, or by Burleigh at Theobalds, as prehension that the last sight afforded him she hearkened to the courtship of Anjou, and in this world would be that of bis own bowels mourned over the grave of Essex. It so hapcommitted to the dames before his eyes. pens that this more personal aspect of ElizaVacillation and obstinacy contended for the beth's character has of late years had the mastery in her councils; the sovereign's will public attention called to it by several writers was indeed law, but that will seldom re- of
various orders. The greatest of the mained the same for two consecutive days. Queens of England has naturally commanded In great and small matters alike, the “varium her full share of attention at the hands of et mutabile” betokened the true womanhood their biographer, and the career of Elizabeth of one who had yet cast off the gentler feel accordingly occupies a thick volume in the ings of her sex. No man could calculate cn last edition of Miss Strickland's series. The her course on a progress; no man could cal writings of this lady, notwithstanding a per. culate on the ultimate punishment or ultimate vading poverty of style and an equally perpardon of a convicted offender. A marriage vading feebleness of thought, and notwithtreaty was entered upon, broken off, recom- standing the graver faults of frequent inacmenced, and finally repudiated; a death curacy and almost constant partiality, are by warrant was alternately despatched and re- no means without their use. They have called, and the responsibility thrown at last doubtless been far more in vogue
with the upon her confused or deluded agents. With general reader than the historical student, out lineal heirs, with a heritage ready to be but we cannot but think they are more really claimed by a contending hereditary and par valuable to the latter, both for the copious liamentary right, an absurd personal caprice extracts they contain, and as pointing out led her to expose her kingdom to a disputed sources of various and often neglected information. If not always a safe guide herself, the Captain's readers, and one which puts she is at least useful as directing the reader Elizabeth in a new and very extraordinary to better and more trustworthy authorities. I light. Captain Devereux's book is just what
Of our other writers, Mr. Craik has given a biographical and family memoir should be us a valuable work under an ill-chosen title. -a help to history, but not trenching on its The “Romance of the Peerage” is not, as peculiar domain, and still less invading the might be supposed, a collection of high- tempting fields of romance. wrought scenes and anecdotes, in whichi dukes With this general acknowledgment, we and countesses form the actors ; but is a work sball press into our service all the writers we of much research and good sense, which have enumerated, along with those of earlier should rather have been called by its second and more established reputation, in our atary title only, “Curiosities of Family His-tempt to give a general sketch of the courtly tory.” As iracing out in detail the private and domestic life of our greatest and weakest career, the family connections, marriages, and female sovereign. genealogies, of many of the eminent charac- Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace ters of Elizabeth's reign, it is of great service on the 7th of September, 1533. Every one towards drawing a picture of her court, its remembers the rapuurous exclamation of our manners, and its morals.
great moralist: The “Memoirs of the Life and Times of Sir Christopher Hatton" are still more mis
“ Pleased with the place which gave Eliza birth,
I kneel and kiss the consecrated earth,named than the work of Mr. Craik. The book consists of little else than a collection lines which seem to convert the Protestant of letters—the majority of them state docu- queen into a sort of Our Lady of Walsingments—to which Sir Harris Nicolas has at- ham, and to represent a visit to her birthtached a few very slight connecting links and place as equivalent to a Pilgrimage of Grace. occasional brief explanatory notes. His prin- England was at that moment on the eve of cipal efforts have been directed to correcting the great religious revolution, of which Elizathe errors in the lively but inaccurate notice beth's own birth was in some sort the earnest. of Hation, to be found in Lord Campbell's The monasteries were still standing; the “ Lives of the Lord Chancellors." The bishoprics were still unplundered; the papal genuine portrait of the supposed dancer in jurisdiction was not yet formally cast off; the
high places proves to have no resemblance papal ritual still flourished in all its splendor.' • in many important particulars to the fanciful But the die had been cast which had made
sketch which the Lord Chief Justice has an irreconcilable breach between England and drawn; and besides the illustration which Rome. The daughter of Ferdinand and the letters afford of the true character of Isabella, the aunt of Charles V., had been Hatton, they throw much light on both the put aside from her royal dignity; and, in depersonal and political history of the princess fiance of imperial and papal protests, the in whose reign he played so important a part. daughter of an obscure country knigbt had
Finally, Captain Devereux has well and occupied the place which Queen Katharine wisely employed the prosessional leisure of had vacated. The marriage, the coronation, which he complains in his preface, in putting the birth, had followed each other in quick, together two volumes on the lives of three in too quick succession. In the judgment of eminent members of his own family. We those who are precise in matrimonial chrowish family pride always took a turn as pro- nology, the three events came too close tofitable to the interests of knowledge and gether for the spotless reputation of Anne literature, though certainly there are many Boleyn, even if we regard the marriage of persons with as long a pedigree as Captain Katharine as so palpably null that no sort of Devereux, who could not find so much that process whatever was needed to set it aside. is worih telling about the individual mem- But as this last view was that in which the bers of it. Essex, the favorite of Elizabeth, royal conscience ultimately settled down, is a name as familiar as any in history ; Es- Elizabeth came into the world, presumptive sex, the husband of Lady Frances Howard, heiress to the crown of England, to the great though a less conspicuous character, is known disappointment of a father who passionately to every one as the leader of the Parliament. longed for male issue. Born to a throne, ary army; but the first earl, notwithstand- |* baptized with all the pomp with which the ing that he was indubitably the best and ancient ritual could surround a royal infant, greatest of the three, will, we imagine, be in her third year she was converted into a almost a new discovery to the majority of merely illegitimate scion of royalty, being herself supplanted as she had supplanted ber Career commences at a tolerably early period. elder sister. Her mother had been got rid Her father's death left her, at the age of of by the twofold and somewhat contradict- fourteen, a girl of precocious intellect and ory process of a divorce which pronounced attainments, of pleasing manners, endowed her marriage null, and a beheading for adul- with a considerable revenue, a contingent tery, which necessarily implied that it was right to the throne, and some claims to pervalid. Notwithstanding, however, the lack sonal beauty. Whether her charms were of raiment which seems at one time to have either so extraordinary or so permanent as it befallen the infant princess, and on which was loyal to maintain during the first three Miss Strickland becomes minute and pathetic years of the seventeenth century, it is certo a degree in which male critics can hardly tain that in the middle of its predecessor, * if be expected to sympathize, it does not ap- not strictly beautiful, she was a well-grown pear that she was ever treated otherwise than girl, with a good figure of which she made with kindness, either by her father or by her the most, and with well-formed hands which successive stepmothers. She was always she always took pains to display. The first recognized as a member of the royal family, wooer of one so well provided in mind, body, and appeared as such on all public occasions. and estate, was no other than the brother of In fact, after Henry's hatred to Anne Boleyo the woman for whose sake her mother had had been forgotten in four succeeding mar- been sent to the block, and herself branded riages, another divorce, and another decapi- with a sort of modified and temporary bastation, there seems no reason why he might tardy. Thomas Seymour, the younger bronot have acknowledged Elizabeth as his legi- ther of the Protector Somerset, a handsome, timate child. For as the axe had fallen on ambitious, and unprincipled man, was a forthe neck of Anne a single day before her midable rival to his brother, who had been place was filled by her successor, the recog- placed in so much higher a position by the nition of her daughter would in no wise have favor of Henry. A barony and the office affected the legitimacy of Edward VI. This of Lord High Admiral might have seemed a act of justice was, however, deferred till considerable elevation for the younger son of Henry's last will and testament recognized a plain Wiltshire knight, but it certainly was all his children in the natural order of suc- a small matter compared with the monopoly cession, though, in a strictly legal point of of honor and power enjoyed by his brother. view, it is impossible that both Mary and Seymour is said to have been an old lover of Elizabeth could have been his legitimate off- Katharine Parr before the promotion of that spring*
lady to the highest and most dangerous of Our main subject in considering the per- her many matrimonial positions. If his royal sonal history of Élizabeth is of course afforded brother-in-law had cheated him out of the by those negotiations for her hand which third turn, he at least remained ready to take occupy well - nigh the whole of her life. advantage of the next vacancy; and thus, From the age of ten to that of seventy, her before Henry was well in his grave, he bemarriage was perpetually on the tapis. At came the fourth husband of the liberated the outset, indeed, her father had to offer queen - dowager. Whether the very brief ber, and that in vain, first to a Scottish sub- period of her widowhood did not witness ject, and secondly to the heir of Spain and two courtships on her lover's part; whether, the Indies. Her connection with Philip is before he applied for the queen, he had not certainly strange; he first refused her, then made an unsuccessful attempt upon the married her sister, then was refused by her, princess, is open to some doubt. But it is and finally became her great religious and very certain that Katharine's fourth and not political rival.
very prolonged experience of married life But passing by these political was embittered by the open attentions of schemes, the private romance of Elizabeth's ber husband to the young step-daughter to
whom she discharged the office of a parent.
It might almost be doubted whether an in* It may, however, be said that, as each was the cident in the career of Elizabeth's own mooffspring of a mother recognized at the time as the ther had not been transferred to a wrong ground from ordinary illegitimate children, with place, when we read of the queen-dowager's whom nothing but the merest legal subtlety could confound them. This practical common-sense view * “ Well-favored" and " neat” are the strongest seems to have been ultimately taken both by Henry expressions contained in the well-knowo descripand by the nation at large.
tion of Naunton, p. 79.