« ÖncekiDevam »
By his will he set aside his sister Mary from the succession which was claimed by Lady Jane Grey, daughter to the duchess of Suffolk, younger sister to Henry the VII. This lady, though she had scarcely reached her 17th year, was a prodigy of learning and virtue; but the bulk of the English nation recognised the claim of the princess Mary, by whom Lady Jane and her husband were beheaded.
4. Mary being thus settled on the throne, suppressed an insurrection under Wyat, and proceeded like a female fury to re-establish popery, all over England. She lighted up those flames of persecntion, in wbich archbishop Crannier, the bishops Ridley, Hooper, and Latimer, and many other illustrious coufessors of the EngJish reformed church, were consumed; not to niention a vast number of other sacrifices of both sexes, and all ranks, that suffered through every quarter of the kingdom. Bonner, bishop of London, and Gardiner, bishop of Win chester, were the chief executioners of her bloody mandates. Mary now married Philip the lid, of Spain, who, like herself, was an unfeeling bigot to popery. The loss of Calais, the only place then remaming to England in Frauce, is said to have broken Mary's heart, who died in 1558, in the 42d year of her life, and 6th of her reign. In this short period WERE BURNT, 1 archbishop, 4 bishops, 21 divines, & gentlemen, 84 artificers, 100 husbandmen, servants, and labourers, 26 wives, 20 widows, 9 virgins, 2 boys, and 2 infants. Several also died in prison, and many were cruelly treated.
5. Elizabeth, daughter to Henry VII. by Anna Boleyn was no more than 25 years of age at the time of her inauguration ; but her sufferings under her bigoted sister, joined to the superiority of her genius, had taught her caution and policy, and she soon conquered all difficulties.
In her first parliament, in 1550, the laws establishing popery were repeated, her supremacy was restored, and an act of uniformity was passed soon after.
The unfortunate Mary queen of Scots taking refuge in England, after a confinement of eighteen years, was basely tried and executed, on a false charge of treason. Various offers of marriage were made to Elizabeth. Having rejected one from Philip of Spaio, he equipped a most formidable ar
mament for the purpose of invading England. The largeness of the Spanish ships proved disadvantageous to them on the seas where they engaged ; the Lord Admiral Howard, and the brave sea officers under bim, engaged, beat, and chased, the Spanish fleet for several days; and the seas and tempests finished the destruction which the English arms had begun, and few of the Spanish ships recovered their ports.
Elizabeth, in her old age, grew distrustful, peevish, and jealous. Though she undoubtedly loved the earl of Essex, she teased him by her capriciousness into the madness of taking arms, and then cut off his head. She complained that she had been betrayed into this sanguinary measure, and this occasioned a sinking of her spirits, which brought her to the grave in 1603, in the 70th year of her age, and the 45th of her reign, having previously named her kinsman, James VI. king of Scotland, and son to Mary, for her
Elizabeth was very vain ; she thought herself the most beautiful and accomplished of women, and was violent and haughty in her temper. She understood the learned languages, and some of her letters, poetry, and prayers are still extant. With her ended the house of Tudor.
VIII. The House of Stuart.
1.11. James I. king of the Scots, succeeded to the throne of England in 1603. It was an advantage to him at the beguming of his reign, that the courts of Rome and Spain were thought to be his enemies ; and this opinion was increased by the discovery and defeat of the gunpowder treason.
This was a scheme of the Ronian Catholics to cut off at oue blow the king, lords, and commons, at the meeting of Parliament; where it was also expected that the queen and the prince of Wales would be present. About ten days before the meeting, a Roman Catholic peer received a Jetter, wbich had been delivered to his servant by an unknown band, earnestly advising him to put off his attendance on Parliament at that time: but which contaiued nó kind of explanation. This letter excited a suspicion of some dangerous contrivance by gunpowder;, and it was judged advisable to inspect all the vaults below the houses
of Parliament; but the search was purposely delayed till the night immediately preceding the meeting a justice of peace was sent with proper attendants, and before the door of the vault, under the apper house, finding Fawkes, who had just finished all his preparations, he im. mediately seized him, and at the same time discovered in the vault thirty-six barrels of powder, which had been carefully concealed under faggots and piles of wood. The match, with every thing proper for setting fire to the train, were found in Fawkes' pocket, whose countenance be. spoke his savage disposition, and who, after regretting that he had lost the opportunity of destroying so many heretics, made a full discovery. The conspirators, who never exceeded eighty in number, being seized by the country people, confessed their guilt, and were executed in different parts of England.
The reign of James was peaceable. He attempted to lessen the power of the Parliament, and was not thought favourable to the cause of the Protestants. He died in 1625, after a reign of 23 years, aged 59.
2. Charles I. pursued his father's measures, and proveda strenuous promoter of regal authority. For twelve years Charles reigned without calling a Parliament, in which time he did what he pleased, promulgating laws, and imposing taxes on his subjects. At length, his resources being exhausted, and the Scots rebelling, he was forced to summons the Parliament; which, when assembled, could not, either by threats or intreaties, be prevailed upon to grant any aid to the king, till the past administration should be accounted for, and wicked ministers be punished. In the end this dispute between the king and the Parliameut broke out into an open war, which lasted long and with various success, but at last proved fatal to him. His forces were routed at Naseby, and he is again defeated at Buxton-heath, going to raise the siege of Chester, after which he threw himself into Oxford, which place being invested by Fairfax, and the royal party every where in ruins, he ordered all his garrisons to submit, and fled for refuge to the Scots' army, who, as it were by bargain, delivered him up to the Parliament for 400,0001. In the mean time, there started up a new sect of independents, which had lain long hidden, under the denomination of pres
byterians or puritans. These men having got the power into their own hands, shut up all the avenues to accommodation and peace. The chief of this party was Cromwell, a most subtle man, who, by art and contrivances, filled up the vacancies in the parliament, and the army, with men of his own stamp; and being thus made master of civil, as well as military affairs, he erected a tribual, before which the unhappy king being called to defend himself, was condemned, and beheaded, in the year 1649.
Cromwell. After the king's death, the supreme power was lodged in Cromwell, commander of the army, who, when he had subdued Scotland and Ireland, and forced prince Charles, who claimed bis father's kingdom, to fly from Britain, received the title of protector of England, Scotland and Ireland. The three kingdoms paid obedience to him, whilst he lived, and so formidable was he abroad, that the greatest kings sent ambassadors to him, and solicited his friendship. His fleets repeatedly triumphed over the hardy Dutch; and he took the island of Jamaica from the Spaniards. The 3rd of September was a day both fortunate and fatal to him; ou that day, in 1650, he gained the two great victories over the Scots at Dunbar, and the royalists at Worcester; and on that day, in the year 1658, he expired, in the 60th year of his age, after having usurped the government nine years.
4. The fate of Richard Cromwell, who succeeded his father Oliver as protector, sufficiently proves the great difference there was between them, as to spirit and parts, in the affairs of government. Richard was placed in his dignity by those who wanted to make him the tool of their own government: and he was soon after driven, without the least struggle or opposition, into obscurity. General *Monk, a man of military abilities, but of no principles, excepting such as served his ambition or interest, after temporising in various shapes, being at the head of the army, made the principal figure in restoring Charles II. For this he was created duke of Albemarle, confirmed in the command of the army, and loaded with honours and riches.
5. Charles 11. having wandered in exile, in France, Germany, and Holland, was at last called home and restored in 1660. In the former part of his reign he was flattered by the Parliament by their most abject devotiou to his
will; and towards the conclusion of it he was assailed by their determined oppositio. ' The Commons boldly exerted their privileges. To the oitention which they paid to the oppression of an obscure individual, England is iudebted for the final improvement of the act of Habeas Corpus ; so called because it begins with these words. It allows the prisoner to have a copy of the warrant of his commitment to prison, rescues him from unnecessary delay in trial, imposes a penalty upon any judge who shall refuse a writ of Habeas Corpus, and exempts the prisoner from being confined in any distant country.
The death of the witty and dissipated Charles while annuiling the charters of great towns, and meditating schemes in order to make future parliaments obsequious to bis inclination, saved him from the resentment of his disappointed and indignant subjects, on the 6th of February, 1685, in the 55th year of his age, and the 25th of his reign. The love for the royal family had so much abated, that if the sabjects of Charles were in tears at his death, it was more to lament thé succession, than the funeral.
6. Jam's II. strained every nerve to render popery the established religion of his dominions. He pretended to a power of dispensing with the known laws; instituted an illegal ecclesiastical court; and openly received and admitted into his privy council the pope's emissaries. He seat an embassy to Rome, and received at his court the pope's nuncio. His sending to prison, and prosecuting for a libel, seven bishops, for presenting a petition against bis declaration for liberiy of conscience, and their acquittal upon a legal trial, alarmed his best Protestaut friends. In this extremnity, when popery and slavery seenied again to be returning with hasty steps, the spirit of determined opposition was roused to check their advances. William, Prince of Orange, son of William of Nassau, and of Henrietta Maria, daughter of Charles I. was invited to share the throne with Mary, the daughter of James. The king, struck with consternation at the desertion of his army, fleet, and even his own children, threw up the reins of government, and was indebted to the clemency, or perhaps the policy of his enemies, for a secure escape into France, in the year 1688, after reigning 3 years, 9 months, and 11