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his designs upon her hand ; and it was part of the charge on which he was attainted that he had plotted to seize the king's person and to force the princess to marry him; but his execution in the course of a few months stopped this and all his other ambitious schemes.
In 1550, in the reign of Edward VI., it was proposed that Elizabeth should be married to the eldest son of Christian III. of Denmark; but the negotiation seems to have been stopped by her refusal to consent to the match. She was a favourite with her brother, who used to call her his “sweet sister Temperance;" but he was nevertheless prevailed upon by the artful and interested representations of Dudley to pass over her, as well as Mary, in the settlement of the crown which he made by will a short time before his death. This transaction has been related in the life of Lady Jane Grey.
Camden gives the following account of the situation and employments of Elizabeth at this period of her life, in the introduction to his history of her reign. both, he says, “ in great grace and favour with King Ed. ward, her brother, as likewise in singular esteem with the nobility and people ; for she was of admirable beauty, and well deserving a crown, of a modest gravity, excellent wit, royal soul, happy memory, and indefatigably given to the study of learning; insomuch, as before she was seventeen years of age she understood well the Latin, French, and Italian tongues, and had an indifferent knowledge of the Greek. Neither did she neglect music, so far as it became a princess, being able to sing sweetly, and play handsomely on the lute. With Roger Ascham, who was her tutor, she read over Melanchthon's CommonPlaces, all Tully, a great part of the histories of Titus Livius, certain select orations of Isocrates (whereof two she turned into Latin), Sophocles's Tragedies, and the New Testament in Greek, by which means she both framed her tongue to a pure and elegant way of speaking, and informed her mind with apt documents and instructions ; duly applying herself to the study of good letters, not for pomp and ostentation, but in order to use in her life and the practice of virtue; insomuch as she was a kind of miracle and admiration for her learning among the princes of her time.*
It appears from what Ascham himself tells us in his “Schoolmaster," that Elizabeth continued her Greek studies after she ascended the throne: “after dinner" (at Windsor Castle, 10th December, 1563) he says, “ I went up to read with the Queen's Majesty: we read there together in the Greek tongue, as I well remember, that noble oration of Demosthenes against Æschines for his false deal. ing in his embassage to King Philip of Macedonia.”
On the death of Edward, Camden says that an attempt was made by Dudley to induce Elizabeth to resign her title to the crown for a sum of money, and certain lands to be settled on her: her reply was, “ that her elder sister, the Lady Mary, was first to be agreed withal; for as long as the said Lady Mary lived she, for her part, could challenge no right at all.” Burnet says that both she and Mary, having been allured by messages from Dudley, who no doubt wished to get them into his hands, were on their
way to town, when the news of Edward's approaching end induced them to turn back. When ary came to London after being proclaimed queen, the Lady Elizabeth went to meet her with 500 horse, according to Camden, others say with 2000. Fox, the martyrologist, relates that “ Queen Mary, when she was first queen, before she was crowned, would go no whither but would have her by the hand, and send for her to dinner and supper. At Mary's coronation, in October, 1553, according to Holinshed, as the queen rode through the city towards Westminster, the chariot in which she sat was followed by another “ having a covering of cloth of silver, all white, and six horses trapped with the like, wherein sate the Lady Elizabeth and the Lady Anne of Cleve.” Another account says that Elizabeth carried the crown on this occasion.
From this time Elizabeth, who had been brought up in their religion, became the hope of the Protestant party. Her position however was one of great difficulty. At first she refused to attend her sister to mass, endeavouring
* English Translation in Kennet's Collection.
to soothe Mary by appealing to her compassion : after some time however she yielded an outward compliance. The act passed by the parliament, which, although it did not mention her by name, bastardized her by implication by annulling her father's divorce from his first wife, could not fail to give her deep offence. Availing herself of an order of Mary, assigning her a rank below what her birth entitled her to, as an excuse for wishing to retire from court, she obtained leave to go to her house at Ashridge, in Buckinghamshire, in the beginning of December. 'About the same time Mary is supposed to have been irritated against her sister by the preference shown for Elizabeth by her kinsman Edward Courtenay, whom, after releasing from the Tower, the queen had restored to his father's title of Earl of Devon, and is said to have had some thoughts of marrying, It appears to have been part of the design of the rash and unfortunate attempt of Wyatt, in the beginning of the following year, to bring about a marriage between Elizabeth and Courtenay, who was one of those engaged in the revolt. This affair involved Elizabeth in the greatest danger. On the 8th of February, the day after the suppression of the insurrection, certain members of the council were sent with a party of 250 (other accounts say 600) horse to Ashridge, with orders to bring her to London “quick or dead." They arrived during the night, and although they found her sick in bed, they immediately forced their way into her chamber, and informed her that she must “ prepare against the morning, at nine of the clock, to go with them, declaring that they had brought with them the
queen's litter for her.” She was so ill however, that it was not till the fourth night that she reached Highgate. Here, says Fox, “she being very sick, tarried that night and the next day; during which time of her abode there came many pursuivants and messengers from the court, but for what purpose I cannot tell.” When she entered London great multitudes of people came flocking about her litter, which she ordered to be opened to show herself. The city was at this time covered with gibbets; fifteen had been erected in different places, on which
fifty-two persons were hanged ; and it appears to have been the general belief that Elizabeth would suffer, as Lady Jane Grey had done a few days before. From the time of her arrival in town she was kept in close confinement in Whitehall. It appears that her case was twice debated in council ; and, although no evidence had been obtained by all the exertions of the crown lawyers which went farther than to make it probable that Wyatt and Courtenay had solicited her to give her assent to their projects of revolt, her immediate destruction was strongly advised by some of the members. Elizabeth long afterwards used to declare that she fully expected death, and that she knew her sister thirsted for her blood. It was at last determined however that for the present she should only be committed to the Tower, although she seems herself still to have been left in doubt as to her fate. She was conveyed to her prison by water on the morning of the 11th of March, being Palm Sunday, orders being issued that, in the mean time, every one should keep the church and carry their palms.” In attempting to shoot the bridge the boat was nearly swamped. She at first refused to land at the stairs leading to the Traitors' Gate; but one of the lords with her told her she should have no choice ; " and because it did then rain, continues Fox, “he offered to her his cloak, which she (putting it back with her hand with a good dash) refused. So she coming out, having one foot upon the stair, said, • Here landeth as true a subject as ever landed at these stairs; and before thee, O God, I speak it, having none other friends but thee alone.?" She remained in close custody for about a month, after which she was allowed to walk in a small garden within the walls of the fortress. On the 19th of May she was removed, in charge of Sir Ilenry Bedingfield, to Woodstock. Here she was guarded with great strictness and severity by her new jailor. Camden says that at this time she received private letters both from Henry II. of France, inviting her to that country, and from Christian III. of Denmark (who had lately embraced the Protestant religion), soliciting her hand for his son Frederick. When these things came to the ears of her enemies, her life was again threatened. “The Lady Elizabeth,” adds the historian, “now guiding herself as a ship in blustering weather, both heard divine service after the Romish manner, and was frequently confessed ; and at the pressing instances and menaces of Cardinal Pole, professed herself, for fear of death, a Roman Catholic. Yet did not Queen Mary believe her.” She remained at Woodstock till April, 1555, when she was, on the interposition, as it was made to appear, of King Philip, allowed to take up her residence at the royal palace of Hatfield, under the superintendence of a Catholic gentleman, Sir Thomas Pope, by whom she was treated with respect and kindness. Philip was anxious to have the credit of advising mild measures in regard to the princess, and perhaps he was really more disposed to treat her with indulgence than his wife. According to Camden, some of the Roman Catholic party wished to remove her to a distance from England, and to marry her to Emanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy ; but Philip opposed this scheme, designing her for his eldest son Charles (the unfortunate Don Carlos). Elizabeth also was herself averse to a marriage with the Savoyard.
She continued to reside at Hatfield till the death of Mary, which took place on the 17th of November, 1558.
The news was communicated the same day, but not till after the lapse of some hours, to the House of Lords, which was sitting at the time. “ They were seized at first,” says Camden (or rather his translator), “ with a mighty grief and surprise, but soon wore off those impressions, and, with an handsome mixture of joy and sorrow, upon the loss of a deceased and the prospect of a succeeding princess, they betook themselves to public business, and, with one consent, agreed that the Lady Elizabeth should be declared the true and lawful heir of the kingdom according to the act of succession made 35 Henry VIII.” It is probable that Elizabeth's outward compliance in the matter of religion had considerable effect in producing this unanimity, for the majority of the lords were Catholics, and certainly both the bishops and many of the lay peers would have been strongly inclined