[1558 Accession of Elizabeth]

On November 17th 1558, the sun had not yet risen when Mary passed away; within a few hours, Elizabeth had been proclaimed Queen. No dissentient voice was raised in England. Heath, Mary's Chancellor and Archbishop of York, announced her accession to the Houses of Parliament; the proclamation was drawn up by Sir William Cecil, the Council's Secretary under Edward VI. From one quarter, and only one, could a colourable challenge come. In the legitimate course of succession by blood, the claim lay with Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots and now Dauphiness of France. But the Will of Henry VIII., authorised by Parliament, was paramount. That Will had given priority to the two children of his body who had both been declared illegitimate - not born in wedlock - by the national courts. The Papal pronouncement in an opposite sense in Mary's case would have made nugatory any attempt on the part of a Catholic to question her rights; but that difficulty did not apply in the case of Elizabeth. As a matter of practical politics, the Scots Queen might waive her claim; as a matter of high theory, no personal disclaimers could cancel the validity of her title; as a matter of English Constitutional theory, Elizabeth's legal title rested on the superior validity of a Parliamentary enactment as compared with the divine right of inheritance. And in the minds of the entire English nation, there was unanimity as to the acceptable doctrine. But the rejected doctrine remained to fall back on if discontent should arise.

[The claim of Mary Stewart]

The English people might settle the antagonistic claims of Mary and Elizabeth to their own satisfaction: but the rivalry also of the very strongest interest to the European Powers. was actually queen of Scotland; prospectively she was also queen of France. If to these two crowns she united that of England, the hegemony of the empire thus formed would inevitably fall to France, and France would become the premier European Power. That position was now occupied by Spain, [Footnote: See Appendix A, ii.] which, in the face of such a combination, would lose its naval ascendancy, and be cut off from the Netherlands both by sea and land. For Philip therefore it was absolutely imperative to support Elizabeth at ail costs.

[Strength of Elizabeth's position]

Here then lay the strength of Elizabeth's position, which she and her chosen counsellors were quick to grasp. The only alternative to Elizabeth was the Queen of Scots; her accession would mean virtually the conversion of England into an appanage of France. Of Elizabeth's subjects none - whatever their creed might be, or whatever creed she might adopt - would be prepared to rebel at the price of subjection to France; the few hot-heads who had ventured on that line when Mary Tudor was at the height of her unpopularity had found themselves utterly without support. For the same reason, do what she would, Philip could not afford to act against her - more than that, he had no choice but to interfere on her behalf if Henry of France acted against her. He might advise - dictate - threaten - but he must, as against France, remain her champion, whether she submitted or no. As long as she kept her head, this young woman of five and twenty, with an empty treasury, with no army, a wasted navy, and with counsellors whose reputation for statesmanship was still to make, was nevertheless mistress of the situation. Mary Stewart's claim presented no immediate danger, though it might become dangerous enough in the future.

There were two things then on which Elizabeth knew she could count; her own ability to keep her head, and the capacity for loyalty of the great bulk of her subjects. If either of those failed her, she would have no one but herself to blame. The former had been shrewdly tested during her sister's reign, when a single false step would have ruined her. The latter had borne the strain even of the Marian persecution - nay, of the alarm engendered by the Spanish marriage, which showed incidentally that fear of domination by a foreign power was the most deeply rooted of all popular sentiments; a sentiment now altogether in Elizabeth's favour, unless she should threaten a dangerous marriage.

But the cool head and the clear brain, and unlimited self-reliance, were necessary to realise how much might be dared in safety; to distinguish also the course least likely to arouse the one incalculable factor in domestic politics - religious fanaticism; which, if it once broke loose, might count for more than patriotic or insular sentiment. And these were precisely the qualities in which the queen herself excelled, and which marked also the man whom from the first she distinguished with her father's perspicacity as her chief counsellor.


Throughout the last reign, Cecil had carefully effaced himself. In matters of religion, though he had been previously associated with the Protestant leaders, he had never personally committed himself to any extreme line, and under the reaction he conformed; as did Elizabeth herself, and practically the whole of the nobility. He had walked warily, keeping always on the safe side of the law, never seeking that pre-eminence which in revolutionary times is apt to become so dangerous. He was not the man to risk his neck for a policy which he could hope to achieve by waiting, and he was quite willing to subordinate religious convictions to political expediency. On the other hand, he never betrayed confidences; he was not to be bought; and he was not to be frightened. Further, he was endowed with a penetrating perception of character, immense powers of organisation, and industry which was absolutely indefatigable. It was an immediate mark of the young queen's singular sagacity that even before her accession she had selected Cecil to lean upon, in preference to any of the great nobles, and even to Paget who had for many years been recognised as the most astute statesman in England.


Secure of her throne, Elizabeth was confronted by the great domestic problem of effecting a religious settlement; the diplomatic problem of terminating the French war; and what may be called the personal problem of choosing - or evading - a husband, since no one, except it may be the Queen herself, dreamed for a moment that she could long remain unwedded. To these problems must be added a fourth, less conspicuous but vital to the continuance of good government - the rehabilitation of the finances, of the national credit. A strict and lynx-eyed economy, a resolute honesty of administration, and a prompt punctuality in meeting engagements, took the place of the laxity, recklessness, and peculation which had prevailed of recent years. The presence of a new tone in the Government was immediately felt in mercantile circles, and the negotiation of necessary loans became a reasonable business transaction instead of an affair of usurious bargaining, both in England and on the continent. Finally, before Elizabeth had been two years on the throne, measures were promulgated for calling in the whole of the debased coinage which had been issued during the last fifteen years, and putting in circulation a new and honest currency. It seems to have been owing to a miscalculation, not to sharp practice, that the Government did in fact make a small profit out of this transaction.

[Marriage proposals: Philip II.]

Philip of Spain and his representatives in England had not realised the true strength of Elizabeth's position, and certainly had no suspicion that she and her advisers were entirely alive to it. On this point they had absolutely no misgivings. They took it for granted that the English queen must place herself in their hands and meekly obey their behests, if only in order to secure Spanish support against France. Philip began operations by proposing him self as her husband, expecting thereby to obtain for himself a far greater degree of power than he had derived from his union with her sister, while inviting her to share the throne of the first Power in Europe. But Elizabeth and Cecil were alive to the completeness of the hold on Philip they already possessed; and Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, would have utterly stultified her own position by marrying her dead sister's husband, since it would be necessary to obtain a papal dispensation, acknowledge the Pope's authority, and recognise by implication the validity of her father's marriage with Katharine of Aragon. To the ambassador's amazed indignation, the Queen with the support of the Council, decisively rejected the honour. Paget, who had in the last reign stood almost alone in commending the Spanish match, would have repeated his counsel now; but he had been displaced, while Cecil and his mistress were entirely at one.

The Queen's argument that the marriage, however attractive to herself or desirable politically, was, from her point of view out of the question, was unanswerable. The Spaniards had to cast about for some other candidate for her hand, whose success would still be likely to attach England to the chariot-wheels of Spain; besides seeking another bride for their own King.

When Philip's hand was definitely declined, three months after Elizabeth's accession, the most pressing danger arising out of the Marriage question was at an end. Thenceforward, dalliance with would-be suitors became simply one of the tactical tricks of Elizabeth's diplomacy, employed by her perhaps not less to the torment of her own advisers than to the perturbation of foreign chancelleries; seeing that whether she knew her own mind or not, up to the last she invariably took very good care that no one else should know it.

[The Religious Question]

One of Philip's main objects was as a matter of course to secure England, through its queen, for Catholicism; and there is very little doubt that at this time the majority of Englishmen - at any rate outside the dioceses of London, Norwich and Canterbury - would have acquiesced much more readily in the maintenance of the old forms of worship than in institutions modelled after Geneva. Elizabeth however, with her trusted advisers, leaned neither to the one nor to the other. They were guided by considerations not of creed but of politics. They had realised that the repudiation of the authority of the Holy See, and the assertion of the supremacy of the sovereign in matters ecclesiastical, were essential. If they were determined not to submit to Papal claims, they were equally disinclined to submit to the claims of a Calvinistic Ministry, posing as the mouth-pieces of the Almighty, demanding secular obedience on the analogy of Samuel or Elijah. As to creed, what the statesmen saw was that the utmost latitude of dogmatic belief must be recognised; provided that it was consistent with the supremacy of the secular sovereign, and with a moderately elastic uniformity of ritual. The personal predilections of Elizabeth might be in favour of what we call the Higher doctrines, or those of Cecil might lean to the Lower; but neither was willing to impose penalties or disabilities for opinions or practices which did not tend either to the anarchism of the Anabaptists, or to the Sacerdotalism of Rome on the one hand or Geneva on the other hand; both were even disposed to remain in official unconsciousness of such individual transgressors as could conveniently be ignored.

[A Protestant policy]

While the Spanish ambassador, De Feria, like his master, had almost taken it for granted that if Philip offered to marry Elizabeth he would be accepted, he was from the first greatly perturbed as to the attitude of the new Government towards the religious question. That Cecil was going to be chief minister, and that he was, in the political sense, a Protestant, were both manifest facts. All the extreme Catholics, and some of the moderate ones, were displaced from the Council; those who were left might prefer the Mass to the Communion, but only as King Henry had done. The new members were definitely Protestants. Heath, Archbishop of York, Mary's Chancellor, though personally esteemed, gave place to Nicholas Bacon (as "Lord Keeper"), whose wife and Cecil's were sisters, and measures were being taken to secure a Protestant House of Commons when Parliament should meet. The number of lay peers was increased by four Protestants; among the twenty-seven bishoprics, Archbishop Pole had omitted to fill up several vacancies, while a sudden mortality was afflicting the episcopal bench. Around the queen, Protestant influences were immensely predominant. It is quite unnecessary to turn to an injudicious letter from Pope Paul to find a motive for the anti-Roman attitude which from the very outset was so obvious to De Feria. [Footnote: MSS. Simancas, apud Froude, vii., p. 27. De Feria to Philip.] Whatever prevarications or ambiguities Elizabeth might indulge in to him, it is quite clear that, whether she liked it or not, she felt that her position required an anti-Roman policy, if her independence was to be secured and the prestige of England among the nations was to be restored.

[1559 Parliament: The Act of Supremacy]

The methods of the new Government however were to be strictly legal; changes must have parliamentary sanction. At the coronation, the authorised forms obtained. But at the end of January, the Houses met; and during the following four months the whole of the Marian legislation was wiped out, as Mary had wiped out the legislation of the preceding reign. The first measures brought forward were financial - as the first step Cecil had taken was to dispatch an agent to the Netherland cities to negotiate a loan - a Tonnage and Poundage bill, a Subsidy, and a First-fruits bill which marked the revival of the claims of the Crown against ecclesiastical revenues. These bills were skilfully introduced, and well-received; for it was expected that the money would be expended where it was needed, on national defence. Next, the new Act of Supremacy was introduced, against which the small phalanx of bishops fought with determination, supported by the protest of Convocation. It was not in fact carried till April; and then the actual title of "Supreme Head," which Mary and Philip had surrendered, was not revived, but a different formula was used, the Crown being declared "Supreme in all causes as well ecclesiastical as civil". The Act once more repealed the lately revived heresy Acts, and forbade proceedings on the ground of false opinions, except where these were opposed to the decisions of the first four General Councils or the plain words of Scripture. Moreover, the refusal of the Oath was not to be treason, as under Henry VIII.; it merely precluded the recusant from office. All save one of the Marian bishops did refuse it and were deprived; most of them doubtless would have done so even in the face of the old penalties. Incidentally it authorised the appointment of a Commission to deal with ecclesiastical offences, which took shape five and twenty years later as the Court of High Commission. But taken altogether, the measure was a long step in the direction of a much wider toleration than had ever been practised before.

[The Prayer-book, etc.]

In the meantime, the Prayer-book had been undergoing a final revision; and here Elizabeth's own wish would undoubtedly have been to revert to that of 1549. The disciples however of the Swiss school were too strong, and the last Prayer-book of Edward was the basis of the new one, though some sentences were so modified as to cause them dissatisfaction, and higher practices in the matter of ornaments and ceremonial were enjoined. The Act of Uniformity, imposing the use of the Prayer-book on the clergy, resulted in resignations which according to the records did not exceed two hundred. To account for so small a number, we must suppose that the regulations were to a considerable extent evaded; if not, the clergy must have been singularly obsequious.

The only remaining Act of importance was that for the Recognition of the Queen, which declared her to be the lawful sovereign by blood, and repealed in general terms all Acts or judgments [Footnote: Cf.Moore, p. 241.] passed in a contrary sense, legitimating her without examining the grounds on which her mother's marriage had been declared invalid - a method of settling the question entirely sufficient on the theory of parliamentary sovereignty, but wholly inadequate on the theory of Divine Right.

It was not till some months later that the depletion of the bench of Bishops by deaths or deprivations was remedied. Matthew Parker, a man of moderation and ability, was selected as Archbishop of Canterbury, the consecration being performed by Barlow - who had resigned Bath and Wells under Mary - with Coverdale, Scory, and Hodgekins. The question whether the Apostolic Succession was duly conveyed at the hands of these prelates belongs rather to ecclesiastical history - even to theological controversy - than to general history. It is sufficient here to observe that it turns mainly on the doubt which has been thrown without real justification on Barlow's own ordination as a Bishop. [Footnote: See the Lives of Parker by Strype and Hook; and a brief summary in Moore, pp. 245-247.] After the Archbishop's consecration, the vacant sees were filled up, generally with moderate men, with a leaning towards Zurich or even Lutheranism rather than the old Catholicism or Calvinism, but always in accord with the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity.

In point of time, however, the story of these last events has carried us a year forward, and we have to return to the first six months of the new reign and the relations of Elizabeth to France.

[France and Peace]

Before Mary's death, an armistice was in operation. England did not mean to conclude peace with France, unless Calais was restored, and Philip could not desert England lest an effort should be made to place Mary Stewart on the throne - on which Henry could not venture while Spain supported Elizabeth. Unsuccessful diplomatic attempts were made to negotiate separately with the allied Powers, and to induce Elizabeth formally to recognise the Queen of Scots as heir presumptive - which however she stoutly declined to do, being aware that the obvious effect of such a course would be to invite her own immediate assassination, to secure Mary's immediate accession. Moreover, Philip was not without a direct interest in England's recovery of Calais, because of its position on the border of the Netherlands. In the event, however, the English felt that, since the Spanish marriage was rejected, the claims on Philip must not be pressed too hard; and in the final terms of the Peace of Cateau Cambresis, France was allowed to retain Calais under promise to restore it after eight years, while she was formally to recognise Elizabeth as lawful queen of England, with the adhesion of Mary and her husband.

Now however, parties and persons in Scotland become so inextricably interwoven with the English queen's policy and her relations with parties and persons in France, that Scottish affairs demand close attention.

[State of Scotland]

In December, 1542, James V. of Scotland had died leaving a daughter just a week old. When Elizabeth ascended the English throne, the Northern country had for sixteen years been governed or misgoverned by regents and Councils of regency. From early childhood, the little queen had been brought up at the French court, under the more particular tutelage of her uncles, the Duke of Guise and his brothers. In 1558, at the age of fifteen, she was married to the Dauphin. Now (and for some time past) her mother, Mary of Guise - not the least able member of a very able family - was Regent of Scotland, supported in that position against the Protestant factions by a French garrison. In the natural course of events, the Scottish Protestant party looked to England for support, and favoured in the abstract the idea of uniting the English and Scottish crowns, though in the concrete they would not admit an English King. All Scottish sentiment, without distinction of party, rebelled against any prospect of Scotland becoming an appanage of any foreign Power, and the idea of subordination to France was only less unpopular than that of subordination to England. Moreover, with their young queen married to the Heir Apparent of France, and with a Guise supported by French troops as Regent in Scotland, this latter danger seemed the less pressing.

Now the extremes of religious partisanship were more general and more deeply rooted in Scotland than in England; partly because the corruption of the clergy had been more flagrant; partly because in a country where deeds of violence were comparatively ordinary, they had been freely committed under the cloak of religion. The French influence had been cast against the Reformation. The Reformers had murdered Cardinal Beton; John Knox had been taken from St. Andrews to the French galleys; and the Preachers were at war with the Regency. The two men who were about to prove themselves along with Knox the ablest statesmen in Scotland - James Stewart, afterwards famous as the Regent Murray, and young Maitland of Lethington - were on the side of the Preachers, and of what was the same thing, now that a Protestant government was restored in England, the English alliance. Moreover it has to be borne in mind that whereas in England the Reformation was imposed, whether willingly or unwillingly, on the Nation by the Government; in Scotland it was a popular movement which a Government, itself half French, endeavoured to repress. Whatever the sincerity of the aristocratic leaders might be, the Scottish Reformers felt themselves to be fighting for their liberties against an alien domination.

[1559 Religious parties in Scotland]

In the spring of 1559 the quarrel between the party of the Preachers and the Regency assumed a very threatening aspect. After the peace of Cateau Cambrésis, in March, the French King decided in favour of an anti-Protestant policy. In spite of the promise to recognise the title of the English queen, the Dauphin and his wife were allowed to assume the Arms of England, and it seemed that Mary of Guise in Scotland was about to wage a more active war than of late against the heretics; also that more French troops would be sent to help her. On the other hand, Knox, who on his retirement from England had withdrawn to Geneva, to await an opportunity when his presence might be effective, now returned to Scotland in a very unconciliatory spirit. For the party who desired union with England, it was unfortunate that the great preacher while in exile had issued a tract entitled The Monstrous Regiment of Women, aimed against the two Maries, but inferentially (though not of set purpose) condemning Elizabeth; who entirely refused to forgive him, while he on the other hand refused to eat his words. The fact undoubtedly increased the difficulty of harmonious accord between the English Government and the Scottish "Lords of the Congregation," as the Protestant leaders entitled themselves collectively.

[Arran as a suitor to Elizabeth]

The situation however produced a new candidate for the hand of Elizabeth in the person of the Earl of Arran, son of the quondam Earl of Arran now Duke of Chatelherault. The Duke was head of the house of Hamilton, and was in fact at this time heir presumptive [Footnote: As descending from the daughter of James II., sister of James III, Albany was now dead.] to the throne of Scotland. If then a legitimate ground could be devised for dethroning Mary - as for instance, if she employed foreign (i.e. French) troops against her subjects lawfully maintaining their constitutional rights - the succession would fall to the Hamiltons; and if Arran and Elizabeth were married, the crowns of the two kingdoms would be united. Thus this marriage became a primary object with the Lords of the Congregation; and the Earl was included in the list of those with whose aspirations Elizabeth coquetted.

In July, the French King was killed in a tournament. Francis and Mary became king and queen of France and Scotland, and Mary's uncles the Guises immediately became decisively predominant with the French Government.

[The Archduke Charles]

The Spanish ambassador was in the greatest anxiety. The one thing his master could not afford was to see the queen of France and Scotland established as queen of England also. But it was only less necessary to avoid war with France on that issue. If the Arran marriage were in serious contemplation, Mary would have very strong justification for asserting her claim to England as a counter-move. What Philip wanted was that Elizabeth should marry his cousin the Archduke Charles, a younger son of his uncle the Emperor Ferdinand who had succeeded Charles V. Then Philip would practically have control of England; France would not venture to grasp at the crown; and Elizabeth would of course have to leave the Scots to themselves. Elizabeth saw her advantage. She prevaricated with the Scots about the Arran marriage, and with Philip about the Austrian marriage. She did her best to make the Lords of the Congregation fight their own battles, a task which they were equally bent on transferring to England. And meantime, Cecil never wavered in his determination of at least maintaining the Scottish Protestants against active French intervention: while the whole body of Elizabeth's more Conservative Counsellors favoured the Austrian marriage and non-intervention in Scotland.

[Wynter sails for the Forth; 1560]

Elizabeth's own procedure was entirely characteristic. She had, it would seem, no sort of intention of marrying either Charles or Arran; but she worked her hardest to persuade their respective partisans of the contrary. Her officers were in secret communication with the Scots, and were supplying them with money, while she was openly vowing that she was rendering them no assistance whatever. Neither Scots nor Spaniards trusted her, but neither altogether disbelieved. Finally - having devoted the parliamentary grants and all available funds to the equipment of her fleet - when it was evident that a French expedition was on the point of sailing for the Forth, she allowed Admiral Wynter to put to sea; with orders to act if opportunity offered, but to declare when he did so that he had transgressed his instructions on his own responsibility. In January, 1560, Wynter appeared in the Forth, seduced the French into firing on him from the fort of Inch Keith, and blew the fort to pieces - in self-defence. Meantime, D'Elboeuf, brother of Guise, had sailed with a powerful flotilla, which was however almost annihilated by a storm. For a time then at least there was no danger of another French expedition to Scotland. Wynter's fleet commanded the Firth of Forth, and the French soon found that, except for an occasional raid, they would have to confine their efforts to making their position at Leith impregnable.

[Difficulties of France]

Wynter's protestations that he was not acting under orders can hardly have deceived any one, though the Queen, Cecil, and Norfolk [Footnote: Grandson of the old duke, and son of the Earl of Surrey executed by Henry VIII.] - who had accepted the command on the Border, after refusing it - confirmed his story. The Spaniards were intensely annoyed. Philip proposed that he should himself send an army to Scotland, to put affairs straight; but this was equally little to the taste of the French and the English. Moreover, Philip had not yet grasped the fact that the one way to make Elizabeth definitely defiant was, to threaten her. Hitherto she had repudiated Wynter's action, and refused to allow Norfolk to march in support of the Congregation, though she had secretly given them encouragement and hard cash; now she came to a definite agreement with them, and by the end of March Norfolk was over the Border. The Queen had doubtless drawn encouragement from the latest turn of affairs in France. D'Elboeufs disaster had greatly diminished the present danger of attack from that quarter; while now the conspiracy of Amboise revealed such a dangerous development of party antagonisms in France as to make it unlikely that she would be able to spare her energies for broils beyond her own borders. The aim of the plot was to overthrow the Guises, and place the young king and queen under the control of the Protestant Bourbon princes, Condé and Anthony King of Navarre. [Footnote: See Appendix A, vi.] The conspiracy itself collapsed, but it served as a very effective danger-signal.

[Elizabeth's vacillations]

Elizabeth had no sooner allowed the advance into Scotland than she was again seized with her usual desire to avoid becoming involved in active hostilities; and she continued the exasperating practice - for her servants - of sending them contradictory and hampering instructions. The very men who, like Norfolk, had been flatly opposed to the policy of interference were now convinced that, being once committed to it, there must be no turning back. Vacillation would presently drive the Congregation to such a pitch of distrust that they would break with England in despair; whereas the primary object of interference had been to make sure of a powerful party which would be inevitably committed to forwarding Elizabeth's interests. However, Philip again stiffened her by dictatorial messages, which failed to frighten because the essential fact remained true that he dared not facilitate the substitution of Mary for Elizabeth on the English throne. The Queen refused to recall her troops, and explained elaborately that she was not taking part with rebels against their sovereign, but with loyal subjects who were resisting the abuse by the Guises of authority filched from Mary, who in her turn would approve as soon as she came to Scotland and saw the true state of affairs.

[Side note: The English at Leith]

And so the English army sat down before Leith and set about starving it and bombarding it; till the process appeared to be too slow, and Lord Grey de Wilton, who was in command of the operations, was forced by urgent messages against his own judgment to attempt an assault which was repulsed with very severe loss. Elizabeth was shaken, but her Council remained resolute. Then, if she had really been afraid that Philip might actually mean what he threatened, her fears were dispelled by a disaster to his fleet in a battle with the Turks. She became aggressively inclined once more. The position of Leith, despite the valour of its garrison, was becoming hopeless; and in June the central figure of the French and Catholic party was removed by the death of the Regent Mary of Guise - an able woman, who had played her part with unfailing courage, no little skill, and quite as much moderation as could reasonably be expected, under extraordinarily difficult conditions.

[the Treaty of Edinburgh July 6th]

Cecil had already been sent north to negotiate. The terms required were the entire withdrawal of French troops from Scotland, the recognition of Elizabeth's right to the throne of England, the recognition of her compact with the Congregation as legitimate, and the confirmation of their demands for toleration. It was not till after the Regent's death that the arrangement known as the Treaty of Edinburgh was signed; by this instrument the French gave the promise that the demands of the Congregation should be conceded, but without formally admitting that Elizabeth was ever entitled to make a compact with Mary's subjects. The other two points were allowed, and the French departed for ever. Fortunately a dispatch from Elizabeth requiring more stringent terms (which would have been refused) arrived a day too late, after the treaty was signed. It was comparatively of little consequence that Mary declined to ratify the treaty. When the French had gone, the Congregation were masters of the situation; and before the year was out, the French and Scottish crowns were separated by the death of Francis. The Guise domination in France was checked, and while Mary's accession to the English throne remained desirable to the Catholic party in that country, the hope of combining the three crowns under the hegemony of France came to an end.

[Elizabeth's methods]

The whole episode deserves to be dwelt on at length, because it very forcibly illustrates the strength and the weakness of Elizabeth's methods and the character of her entourage. She saw the sound policy; she maintained her confidence in the men who also saw it. Yet she perpetually wavered and hesitated till the eleventh hour to authorise the steps necessary to carrying it out. At the eleventh hour, she did authorise them; and that, repeatedly, because at the last moment an injudicious threat stirred her to defiance. For herself, she could have secured inglorious ease by simply accepting Philip's patronage, but she elected to play the daring game, and won. Her methods were tortuous. She lied unblushingly, but she was an adept at avoiding acts which palpably would prove beyond a doubt that she was lying. The Spanish ambassador lived under a perpetual conviction that she was rushing on her own ruin - that she would drive his master to choose between the deplorable alternatives of fighting on her behalf or allowing the Queen of France and Scotland to become Queen of England also - that the Catholics would rise to dethrone her. But her calculations were sound, and Norfolk himself commanded her armies and served her loyally in a policy which, in his opinion, ought never to have been initiated. She never allowed herself to be bullied or cajoled; but she perpetually kept alive the impression that a little more bullying or a little more cajolery might turn the scale. And she drove the French out of Scotland.

[The Dudley Imbroglio]

All the intriguing at this time about suitors for the hand of Elizabeth is mixed up with the scandals associated with the name of Lord Robert Dudley (afterwards made Earl of Leicester), a son of the traitor Duke of Northumberland. Lord Robert, although a married man, was allowed an intimacy with the Queen which not only points conclusively to an utter absence of delicacy in the daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, but filled the entire Court circle with the gravest apprehensions. It was the current belief that if Dudley could get free of his wife, Elizabeth would marry him, and that this desire was at the back of her vacillation. The affair was brought to an acute stage by the sudden death of Amy Robsart, Dudley's wife, in September; when already for some time past, his innumerable enemies had been hinting that he meant to make away with her. The facts are obscure; but the impression given by the evidence is that she was murdered, though not with the direct connivance of her husband. Still, the suspicion of his guilt was so strong that if the Queen had married him she would have strained the loyalty of her most loyal subjects probably to breaking point. Yet so keen was her delight in playing with fire that it was many months before English statesmen began to feel that the danger was past; while overtures were certainly made on Dudley's behalf to the Spanish Ambassador, De Quadra, to obtain Philip's sanction and support, in return for a promise that the Old Religion should be restored. Sussex alone expressed a conviction that Elizabeth would find her own salvation in marrying for Love. Every one else was convinced that, whatever might be her infatuation for Dudley, marriage with him would spell total ruin for her: and there was a general belief that Norfolk and others would interfere in arms if necessary; while the secret marriage of Lady Katharine Grey (who stood next in succession under Henry's will) to Lord Hertford, son of the Protector Somerset, was suspected of being a move to which even Cecil was privy, for placing her on the throne should the worst befall. At last, when the limit of endurance was almost reached, Elizabeth finally declared that she was not going to marry the favourite. Judging her conduct by her whole career, it would seem that she never really contemplated the commission of so fatal a blunder, but could not resist the temptation of tormenting her best friends, and torturing politicians of every kind with uncertainty - perhaps even of half believing herself that she actually would set all adverse opinion at defiance if she chose.

[The Huguenots]

From one suitor at any rate Elizabeth felt herself freed by the death of the young French King in December. The main interest of France in the Scottish Crown was thereby ended; more than that, the Huguenot Bourbons, who stood in France next in succession to the sons of Katharine de Medici, recovered for the time much of their power. The political arguments in favour of the Arran marriage lost enough of their force to enable the English Queen to brave the wrath of the Congregation and finally decline the Hamilton alliance. It is of interest to find Paget, once again called in to her Counsels, declaring in favour of a Huguenot alliance, in despite of Spain.

[The Pope]

The position of the Huguenots in France, and the proposed resuscitation of the Council of Trent under the auspices of Pope Pius IV., who had succeeded Paul in 1559, had revived ideas of Protestant representation therein; and Elizabeth, after her fashion, played with the hopes of the Catholic party, at home and abroad, that she might be drawn into participation. It was only when it had become perfectly clear that the admission of the Papal Supremacy was a condition precedent, that these hopes were dashed, and the proposal that a papal Nuncio should be received in England, with which the Queen had been coquetting, was definitely declined; while Philip was obliged to intimate to the Pope that he must not launch against the recalcitrant England ecclesiastical thunderbolts which would involve him in war, whether against or on behalf of Elizabeth.

[1561 Mary sails for Scotland]

In the meantime however, both the Catholic party in Scotland and the Congregation were hoping to bring Mary back from France, and to control her policy when she should arrive. For the Protestants felt now that without foreign interference they could hold their own. Elizabeth had rejected their scheme for bringing the union of the crowns in reach by the Arran marriage: they were now bent on the alternative course of inducing Elizabeth to acknowledge their own Queen as her heir presumptive. Mary herself was more than ready for the adventure. Elizabeth refused her a passage through England which might easily have been utilised, especially in the North, for the organisation of a Stewart party within the realm; while on the other hand it would obviously be an easy thing for an "accident" to happen while the Scots Queen was running the gauntlet of her ships on the seas. But Mary was nothing if not daring. In August, accompanied by her Guise uncle, D'Elboeuf, she set sail from the "pleasant land of France," and four days later, without disaster, the Queen of Scots landed at Leith.