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From The Quarterly Review. “ lion port,” the haughtiness, the force, the History of England. Reign of Elizabeth. determined will, the despotic strength, in him
Vols. 1 and 2. By James Anthony Froude. hardly controlled, in Elizabeth under the London, 1863.
strong control of her own wisdom, of the We hasten to introduce to our readers these rising freedom of her subjects at home, and remarkable volumes, which shed new light the turbulent and intricate state of public at times startling and surprising light-on the affairs abroad—80, too, in the vanity, the coannals of Elizabeth, that most important and quetry (we believe no worse either of Elizacritical epoch in the history of the world, beth or Anne Boleyn) of her mother. Mr. especially in the history of England. They Froude will meet with more sympathy in his promise, if the continuation shall answer to admiration of the qualities of the daughter the singular revelations of the first part, not than of the father. It was difficult to perless curious and instructive illustrations of suade us that it was only the kingly sense of the whole reign of our Virgin Queen. Often duty to his subjects, the desire to avert the as this region has•been traversed, beaten as it perils of a disputed succession, by providing might seem into a dull and barren way by the realm with a male heir, which induced novelist, by poet, and by historian, it seems bluff King Hal to change his wives as he almost a new and unexplored country. We changed his armor ; to cut off, without scrucannot say that the mists of intrigue and ple and without remorse, the heads of women counter-intrigue are entirely dispersed, that which had rested on his bosom in tender love; the striking characters, conflicting with each to decapitate one wife on Tuesday, and marry other, conflicting with themselves, stand out another on Wednesday. We are disposed to quite clearly and distinctly; that some new believe, as will appear, that Elizabeth after perplexities do not arise ; yet, on the whole, a struggle—a most desperate and nearly morthe times are developed before us more vividly tal struggle—did sacrifice, for the security of and intelligibly than in any former history. her throne and the welfare of her people, the We seem to know Philip, and Elizabeth, and only real passion she ever felt ; a passion, inMary of Scotland, and Cecil, and Leicester, deed, thrown away on a most worthless ob and Randolph, and Maitland, and Darnley, ject. On her flirtations (we must use the and Bothwell more intimately than ever be- term, for we know no better one), Mr. Froude fore, while some new actors, especially the is not sparing. They were at least more three successive Spanish ambassadors, come public, more undeniable, than the foolish forth with bolder and more unexpected prom- levities, the silly speeches, the French gayinence. Mr. Froude has not taken up the eties, which cost her poor mother her head, guantlet and challenged all comers in defence but for which the historian of Henry VIII. of the daughter of Henry VIII. In the two had little charity. On those of Elizabeth her first volumes of his History he sowed his wild historian dwells with very amusing if not very oats of paradox. To Elizabeth's nobler qual- | edifying copiousness; and of these of course ities—and with noble qualities she was en- we have by no means seen the last, though dowed beyond most women, most queens—he we see enough in these volumes. About this does, when his work is carefully and calmly subject more hereafter. On the whole, inexamined, full, not more than full, justice ; deed, we have some doubt, whether Mr. but there is no disguise, no reticence, no timid Froude has not unintentionally failed to hold and partial uplifting of the veil over her with rigorous impartiality the balance beweaknesses, and weaknesses there were both tween the greater and baser qualities, the in the queen and in the woman which might nobler and more ignoble actions, the loftier almost justify those whom political or relig- and more ordinary touches of character in the
us passions induce to take the darker view queen. While the intrigues, the dupliciof her character. Mr. Froude might seem ties, we fear mendacities, the injustices and determined to show that Elizabeth was the ingratitudes, the parsimonies, the irresolulegitimate daughter both of Henry VIII. and tions, the vacillations, the caprices, the vaniof poor Anne Boleyn; of Henry not in out- ties, are spread out with the most minute ward feature and form alone, but in the more particularity, on the other hand the unexamliving lincaments of character and of passions ; pled difficulties of the queen’s position, the not only in the com
ommanding presence, the sudden revulsions to the great and lofty,
the resumption of the “i lion port,” and of nal. They are derived with indefatigable the sagacious, all-penetrating judgment, the industry from various sources, some as yet proud and determinate resolve, the greatness altogether unexplored. Of these many are in peril and in reverse, are compressed into from our own archives, at the Rolls * espeparagraphs and sentences—pregnant para- cially, where there are still rooms full of ungraphs indeed, and emphatic sentences, but consulted papers. From the domestic French, still comparatively brief, and therefore com- Scotch, and Irish, etc., etc., MSS. in the Rolls, paratively unimpressive.
we have extracts without end. To the HatA few words before we enter upon the work, field Papers, not perhaps quite so important upon its style and manner of composition. as might be expected, Mr. Froude has had The style is excellent; sound, honest, forci- free access. There is less new among the ble, singularly perspicuous English ; at times French documents, excepting in the very rewith a sort of picturesque simplicity ; pic- markable publications of M. Teulet. But the tures dashed off with only a few touches, but great treasure-house is the repository at Siperfectly alive. The Carlylism which slightly mancus, important in proportion to the influinfected Mr. Froude's earlier volumes has dis-ence of Spain in the affairs of the whole appeared, except, perhaps, here and there in world, more especially in those of England. a sarcastic sentence. We have never to read With some breaks the correspondence between a passage twice. We cannot express quite the three ambassadors of Philip-De Feria, the same satisfaction with the mode of com- De Quadra, De Silva-has betrayed the secret position. We cannot think it the perfection of many transactions which Philip himself, of history, to give us the documentary evi- could he return to this world, would be asdence in the text, to offer the materials crude, tonished to find (deeply buried as he thought undigested, unharmonized, not having passed them in awful silence) published to the wonthrough the mind of the author, not moulded dering world. up in a continuous, flowing, unbroken narra There can be no doubt that in those times tive. Still, if a defect, when compared with the centre of European politics (and politics the highest ideal of history, this defect is not and religion were indissolubly moulded up towithout its charm and attractiveness. There gether) was the court of Spain, the palace, the is something almost dramatic in thus intro- chamber, the study, the mind of Philip II. He ducing the actors on the scene, speaking had everywhere his ambassadors, men mostly their own words, betraying their own secret of consummate ability, communicating with thoughts. We hear ambassadors actually loyal fidelity what they gathered with indeconversing with their sovereigns, and their fatigable industry, acute observation, incessovereigns dictating to their ambassadors. sant vigilance. He had everywhere, besides Above all we see the course of events day by these, a host of spies; if of more doubtful day; not only the more serious and impor- honesty, checking each other, and all fully tant communications, but the gossip of the aware that their wages, perhaps their life, hour; not the mature opinions only, but the depended on their trustworthiness, or at guesses, the suspicions, the intrigue in all least on their eluding detection. its growth and development, the counter-in- event in any one of the courts of Europe, trigue in its subtle under-workings. Mr. not a speech of a sovereign, not an intrigue, Froude may at least urge that his despatches hardly a scandal, not the commonest affray and letters are more true and real, and there in the streets, not a loose thought or exfore have better right to a place in history pression dropped from any man of rank, but than the speeches, made for the characters, found its way to the greedy ear of Philip. in the classic historians, and by some of their His study was a great Times oflice, which modern imitators. If truth and vivid reality had “ its own correspondents ” all over the be after all the perfection of history, much is * To the great obligations which the present to be said in favor of this mode of composi- Master of tho Rolls, Sir J. Romilly, has conferred tion. The excellence, too, of such a work Rolls publications” (volumes, of course, of varying
on the student of history, in whai are called “the will mainly depend on the value of the mate- value and ability in execution), is to be added, as rials, thus less artistically wrought up. In we understand, a complete series of the Simancas Mr. Froude's intarsiatura the materials are, ready published belonging to the reign of Henry
documents relating to England. The volumes almany of them, singularly curious and origi- VII., by M. Bergatroyd, promise a rich harvest.
habitable world. But this mass of informa- | this boiling up of new opinions, and the
we had almost written his venom-in un- the affairs of Scotland, and, for the time, broken and as imperceptible furce to every greatly increased the strength of the Reformremotest extremity. European politics had ing Lords. But the death of Henry II., by shisted their centre of unity; it was no the “ accidental thrust of a Scotch lance," longer me, as in the mediæval times; it changed at once the whole politics of France, was no longer the pope to whom, as to the and, through France, of Europe. The death heart of the world, circulated, and from of Francis Il. made another revolution as whom flowed back, the current of human sudden and as complete. From Queen of affairs. It was Spain ; it was the King of France, backed by the unresisted power of Spain whose words went abroad into all her uncles, the Guises, from the bold, avowed lands; whose policy might seem the pivot on competitor of Elizabeth, claiming, as was aswhich turned the destiny of humankind. serted, by a more legitimate title, the crown
It is a very curious fact, that during these of England, Mary became no more than eventful times, and in this crisis of the Queen of barbarous and inhospitable Scotpower and of the religion of mankind ; in land : instead of the pomp and voluptuousthis Maelstrom of the conflicting tides of hu- ness of the court of Paris, she had to conman interest, human opinion, when nothing front a poor, a fierce, and rude nobility, was fixed, nothing stable ; when the whirl- arrayed against cach other in implacable facing currents mingled the most opposite fac- tions, and the stern rebuke of Knox. The tions in the same eddy, and dashed against government of France was thrown into the each other those vessels which had been ac- hands of Catherine de' Medici. What had customed to ride in the calmest amity; in it been if the dire malady which reduced
Elizabeth to the brink of the grave (she was artfully prepared shiftings of scene and of utterly despaired of, she lay insensible for action ; the turns of fortune and of fate ; the four days) had been permitted to take its awful importance, it might seem, of the iscourse? As it was, her peril, by making the sue. What was that issue? The fate of succession a question of national life or death, England : whether she should crouch back, could not but have a powerful effect on the if not forever, for years, under the yoke of minds of her subjects, and so on the course Spanish power and Romish religion, or bound of events. We may add the plague at forward and at least make the first step toHavre, which reduced so awfully the rising wards her designated place as the van-leader military force of England, and could not but in the race of human progress ; as the one for a time lower the tone and pretensions of great model of a free monarchical constituElizabeth. At a later period, human wick- tion; as dimly foreshadowing what after edness might seem, with the suddenness and some centuries she was to become under the awfulness of divine visitation, to take upon rule of Queen Victoria. itself the working out of these pregnant and From a prison Elizabeth at her accession fateful catastrophes. The death of poor came forth to be acknowledged with one Amy Robsart, not unforeseen nor unfore- voice Queen of England. From that prison boded, whether or not caused by crime, (and there had been every chance—there was, inby whose crime ?)— by abandoning Elizabeth deed, an earnest desire, a fixed determinato the uncontrolled and fatal influence of tion on the part of her enemies—that she Leicester, well-nigh imperilled her throne, should go forth to the scaffold. We have and, more than that, her fair fame. Of heen told that the secret of her suspected the murder of the Duke of Guise, Mr. Froude treason (some correspondence with France) observes (i. p. 494), “ that one single shot ( lies hid in a letter, written in an unread and struck the key-stone from the arch of the as yet unreadable cipher. In her seclusion, Catholic confederacy, and changed the poli- Elizabeth could only show, of high qualities, tics of Europe” —the Guise family fell, with courage and prudence. For her acquirements their head, into comparative obscurity and in- and her accomplishments we may rest, persignificance. Still further on, the sudden haps, in full faith on old Roger Ascham. though premeditated murder of Rizzio, and No one doubts her familiarity with Greek -inevitably, it should seem, to follow—the and Latin : Latin she spoke fluently, Greek murder of Darnley, plunged Mary at once, afterwards to the wonder and admiration of and in a day, from the dangerous rival of both the universities (perhaps their Greek Elizabeth, from the hopeful champion but was not so strong as to be fastidious) ; of now of Spanish and popish intrigue against modern languages, especially of Italian, she the freedom and the religion of England, to was a consummate mistress. That, emerga dethroned outcast, a fugitive in the king- ing thus from obscurity, she took her seat dom of her antagonist, and at length her upon the throne with perfect dignity, selfvictim.
possession, even majesty ; that her words, The destiny of the world might seem to her unprompted words, were full of vigor hang on the conflict, on the opposing charac- and wisdom, all are agreed. She was now ters and fate of these two wonderful women, twenty-five years
old. Elizabeth of England and Mary of Scotland.
Yet, when she looked at home, and when In its interest—its more than historic interest she looked abroad, the position of Elizabeth —it was never surpassed by tragedy or novel, at her accession and during the first years of in what the old Greeks would have called the her reign was, perhaps, the most extraordiTEPI étela, in the breathless rapidity of the nary, the most difficult, in which sovereign movements, yet at the same time the subtle was ever placed. She was at war with France, unravelling of the double plot; the at times she was the ally of Spain. England had been violent and instantaneous yet skilfully and dragged into the war for the interests, the
ambition, by the authority of Philip. Eng* Even the death of De Quadra, just as he attained land had borne the greater part of the burthe triumph of his diplomacy, the marriage of den ; she had suffered the most ignominious Mary of Scotland with Carlos, King Philip's son
losses of the war. and heir, seems to have disorganized the whole
She had lost Calais, the scheme, and set all afloat again.
last relique worshipped with all the blind zeal
and fondness of relique-worship by the whole was Protestant as regards the authority, the kingdom. This loss had sunk deep into the tyrrany of Rome, we require no further testiold and pre-occupied heart of Mary: grief mony, as to all her earliest acts and profor Calais was her one proud, indelible Eng- ceedings, in her private chapel, in her public lish feeling. The country was in such an measures, than that of the Spanish ambassautter state of exhaustion that against a French dor, De Feria. “ Obstinate, perverse, wicked, descent there was absolutely no defence. In irreclaimable heretic"_" heretic to be put the language of a writer of the day down by craft, by force, by any means,” is “ The queen poor; the realm exhausted ;
the burden of all his letters; and it is to his the nobility poor and decayed; good captains utter dismay and astonishment that the Cathand soldiers wanting ; the people out of or-olic Philip condescends to temporize-that he der; justice not executed ; all things dear; does not, at all hazard, at any cost, at any excesses in meat, diet, and apparel ; division sacrifice, crush the baneful spawn which he among ourselves; war with France ; the foresees may wax and grow into an untamFrench king bestriding the realm, having one able dragon. foot in Calais and the other in Scotland ; steadfast enemies, but no steadfast friends."
We do not wish to disturb our readers' se-I. p, 8.
riousness, but, somehow or other, Sheridan's
Critic is constantly, either from its genuine Besides this total destitution of all mate- wit or from some perverse old associations, rials, even of defence, there was a debt then blended in our mind with the reign of Elizaesteemed and felt to be of enormous, of irre- beth. We do not allude to the warning trievable magnitude. And in this war with against “ Scandal about Queen Elizabeth,” France the Protestant, by education, by prin- which Scott so cleverly placed as his motto ciple, by disposition, was the ally--the faith-before “ Kenilworth ;? but to a scene, the ful ally, she must be, or seem to be (unless she triumph of Mr. Puff's tragic art, which sinwould expose herself to be the victim of a gularly typifies almost this whole reign, espeCatholic league of the pope, of Philip, and of cially its commencement: “ There's a situFrance, almost of the world) —of ultra-Papal ation for you !—there's an heroic group! Spain. And yet, in heart and in mind, she You see the ladies can't stah Whiskerandos ; was not Protestant enough to take the desper- he durst not stab them, for fear of their unate plunge (utterly desperate it might seem to cles; the uncles durst not kill him, for fear of the boldest fanatic), and set herself at the their nicces. I have them all at a dead lock, head of the Reformation. She, a queen, with for every one is afraid to let go first!” Even the strongest hereditary, inborn, indelible so Elizabeth dared not defy or quarrel with conviction of the sanctity of royal authority, Philip, for fear, not of him only, but of her must resolve to be the head of rebels, as the own Catholic subjects ; Philip could not stab Reformers were in every kingdom of Europe ; the heretic to the heart, for fear of France ; rebels sternly suppressed in Spain by fire and Philip, too, was in dread of the heretics in the stake; not yet goaded by insufferable cru- the Low Countries; the King of France elty to irresistible revolt in the Low Coun- (Henry II.), of the Huguenots ; Elizabeth tries ; rebels now cowed, and not strong could not resolutely take part with the Reenough to resist persecution in France ; formers in France or in Scotland ; hatred of rebels distracted by what appeared implacable England and nationality, would not allow feuds in Germany; rebels in Scotland under the Scotch Reformers to league heartily with the author of the “ Trumpet-blast against the Elizabeth. Elizabeth could not, or would not, monstrous Regiment of Women”! We know boldly take their part, from dread of a rival not whether her sagacity had already dis- for her own throne in Mary, believed by most cerned what Mr. Hallam somewhere calls the of her Catholic subjects, asserted by many, to “ Presbyterian Hildebrandism ” in the sys- be the legitimate Queen of England. No one tems of Calvin and of Knox; but to that in could " let go first”-no one could move on which the strength of Protestantism seemed account of the dagger at his or her throat; to lie, the Puritanism-we know no better no one could strike the other without provokword—which the English refugees had con- ing a more formidable enemy. Never was tracted at Frankfort and at Zurich, Elizabeth such a game of political cross-purposes, which was as averse as to Papalism. Still that she no dexterity could play out, no address bring