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the symbol of the Cross, of the surplice, of the ring in marriage, or of kneeling at the altar during the Sacrament. But that was not all. They fully agreed that the ecclesiastical authority should not be vested in the Pope; but, then, they did not see why it should be invested in anybody, either in King, Queen, or Hierarchy.
This was reforming the Reformation in a way Queen Bess neither understood nor liked. It occurred to her, doubtless, that if this new batch of reformers-known by the odd name of Puritans-were allowed to topple over all ecclesiastical authority, they might, before long, aspire to pull down all political authority also, especially in the shape of Absolute Monarchy. It is clear she suspected their intentions towards Monarchy were not strictly honorable, for she ordered Parliament to enact forthwith that "Any persons above the age of sixteen years, refusing to come to the church established by law, and who should willingly join in, or be present at, any unlawful assemblies, conventicles, or meetings, under color or pretence of the exercise of religion, should be committed to prison; there to remain until they should conform and come to church." Again, "Any person who should not within three months after conviction, conform himself when required to do so, should abjure and depart from the realm, and if he returned without license, should be adjudged, and suffer as a felon."
These point-blank Laws compelled the proscribed Sect either to abandon its convictions, or to conceal its dislike of the Romish ceremonies still retained in the Church of England, or to seek a land where they could carry out the Scripture in all its "purity." Choosing
the last course, many of the so-called Puritans embarked for Holland; whence in 1620 they sailed across the sea, and landed on Plymouth Rock, North America. Thus, unwittingly, the Virgin Queen became the mother of the American Democracy, and Henry VIII. must be regarded as its grandfather, from having introduced the Reformation into England.
A goodly number of the Puritans, however, remained in England, and caused Elizabeth no small vexation. A certain Peter Wentworth, Member of the Commons, was a great stickler for the privileges of Parliament, and was frequently sent to the Tower. In 1571, he got up "a Petition to the Lords to be Suppliants with the Lower House to the Queen." This was the old combination of the Aristocracy and Middle Class which had given so much trouble to Elizabeth's predecessors. The project was nipped in the bud by locking up Wentworth in the Tower. Nothing daunted, we find the plucky Puritan, four years later, declaiming in Parliament for the right of "free speech." "Two things," he said, "do great hurt here. One, a rumor which runneth about the House-Take heed what you do; the Queen's Majesty liketh not such a matter.' The other is a message sometimes brought into the House, either commanding or inhibiting, very injurious to the freedom of speech and consultation. Would to God, Mr. Speaker, that these two things were buried in hell. The King hath no peer or equal in the kingdom, but he ought to be under God and the law, because the law maketh him a King." Of course Wentworth was again assigned to the Tower. Three years afterwards, still refractory, he put a series of Questions to the Speaker in Parliament, to wit: "Whether this House
be not a place for any Member freely to utter any of the griefs of the commonwealth? Whether honor may be done to God, and benefit and service to the Prince and State, without free speech? Whether there be any councils besides Parliament which can make, add to, or diminish from, the laws of this realm ?" Wentworth's curiosity cost him a third trip to the Tower. No wonder Elizabeth lost her temper with these inquisitive Puritans. The genius of the future Yankee might be discerned in their prying propensities.
There can be no doubt that England prospered under the intelligent despotism of Queen Bess. In agriculture, commerce, and navigation, the Nation made progress; letters flourished; the finances were economized; Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world; Bacon's philosophy and Shakspeare's poetry immortalized the epoch: yet Monarchy was never so despotic since the date of Magna Charta. "The administration of the law," says Rowland, "in civil as in religious matters, was directed by the Queen's personal wishes. In the Court of Star Chamber she was the sole judge, and might fine, imprison, and punish corporally by whipping, branding, slitting nostrils and ears.' The High Commission Court, instituted by Archbishop Whitgift by her orders, carried into effect the terrible penalties against the Catholics and Puritans. "No man," wrote Elizabeth to the Archbishop, "should be suffered to decline, either to the right or left hand, from the drawn line marked by authority." This was the quintessence of tyranny. Martial law constantly superseded the ordinary courts and juries, and was often used against religious offenders. The rack, though not acknowledged by the laws of England, was freely employed in her reign, and not
only by the authority of the Queen, but by that also of her Secretaries and Privy Councillors, each of whom might imprison anyone he suspected, and at his own discretion order him to the rack. Hallam declared that the Courts of Justice, in cases of Treason, were little better than " caverns of murderers." The laws were frequently superseded by Royal proclamations.
Elizabeth's sway over Parliament was absolute. It was not allowed to legislate on religious or state affairs. In the Session of 1571 she told them-"They should do well to meddle with no matters of State, but such as should be propounded unto them." In the Parliament of 1592, the Speaker, by command of the Queen, said, "Her Majesty's present charge and command is, that no bills touching matters of State, or reformation in causes ecclesiastical, be exhibited. And upon my allegiance I am commanded, if such bill be exhibited, not to read it." She wondered "that any would be of so high commandment to attempt a thing contrary to that she hath so expressly forbidden." Any obstinate Members who infringed the Royal commands were summoned to the Privy Council, where they were so startled by the punishments held over them, that "when they returned to their seats, their terror was visible in their faces, and communicated itself to all around." Elizabeth had an ingenious mode of increasing her pocket-money by granting monopolies for the exclusive sale of commodities, some of them the common necessaries of life. A list of those granted to her courtiers was read in the House of Commons in 1601, when an indignant Member asked, "Is not bread amongst them?"
The imprisonment for eighteen years of Mary, Queen
of Scots, who had thrown herself on the protection of the English Queen, and her final execution on a mere pretext, in 1587, is one of the foulest crimes of Elizabeth's reign.
Though stern and relentless, she seemed to have a sentimental vein, for her love of the Earl of Leicester, whom she covered with honors, never abated whilst he lived. Her passion, too, for the Earl of Essex was so profound that remorse is said to have shortened her life from having, in a moment of fury, signed his death-warrant. She died not long after Essex's death, in 1603.
The "Act for the Relief of the Poor," 1601, known as the Poor Law, is the only one that reflects any credit on the legislation of this reign.
The story of the sixteenth century in England is now told, though briefly. How little the two chief actors. comprehended their rôles!
Henry VIII., enraged at the Pope's opposition to his divorce, declared himself the Head of the Church in England; and then to obtain money seized on the property of the Catholic Priesthood. These acts of the King encouraged a small band of religious Reformers, fervent disciples of Luther, to propagate their new doctrines. They translated the Bible into English, calling on all to form their own opinions on religious matters, and to be governed no longer by the authority of the Pope and Priesthood, as in past centuries. The King little understood what this meant. It was sheer
rebellion against the control of the Church that had so long governed the minds of men. Many such rebellions against the Papacy had been attempted before. in various countries, but were crushed because the