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CHAPTER VIII

THE REIGN OF ELIZABETH.

1558-1603

AUTHORITIES CITED.

(1) JOHN KNOx, the great champion of the Reformation in Scotland. He was at the head of the "Preachers"; his History of the Reformation in Scotland contains judgments of men and events which are honest, but obviously biassed.

(2) JAMES MELVILE, in the service of Mary Queen of Scots, was sent as her envoy to Queen Elizabeth when Mary's marriage was in question. His records are contained in his Memoirs.

(3) WILLIAM CAMDEN, schoolmaster and antiquary. His Annals of the reign of Queen Elizabeth supply the best general Chronicle. (4) FRANCIS WALSINGHAM stands beside Lord Burleigh as the ablest of Elizabeth's ministers; the document cited is an authentic letter to the Queen.

(5) WALTER RALEIGH, soldier, sailor, courtier, statesman, and author. Besides recording various exploits of his own, he wrote the story of the Revenge out of which Tennyson made his poem.

1. JOHN KNOX AND THE QUEEN OF SCOTS

[KNOX: History of the Reformation]

Mary Queen of Scots returned from France to Scotland in 1561. She found the government of the country in the hands of the Protestant or Reforming party, at whose head were her halfbrother Lord James Stewart, afterwards famous as the Regent Murray, and John Knox the leader of the Scottish Reformation. Knox reports an interview between himself and the queen. Whether it was by counsel of others, or the queen's own desire, we know not; but the queen spake with

John Knox, and had long reasoning with him, none being present, except the lord James-two gentlemen stood in the other end of the house......

At these words, the queen stood as it were amazed, more than a quarter of an hour; her countenance altered, so that lord James began to entreat her, and to demand," what has offended you, madam?" At length she said, “Well, then, I perceive, that my subjects shall obey you, and not me; and shall do what they list, and not what I command: and so must I be subject to them, and not they to me." "God forbid," answered he [Knox], "that ever I take upon me to command any to obey me, or yet to set subjects at liberty to do what pleases them. But my travail is, that both princes and subjects obey God. And think not," said he, "madam, that wrong is done unto you, when you are willed to be subject unto God for, it is he that subjects the people under princes, and causes obedience to be given unto them; yea, God craves of kings, that they be, as it were, fosterfathers to his kirk, and commands queens to be nurses unto his people. And this subjection, madam, unto God, and unto his troubled kirk, is the greatest dignity that flesh can get upon the face of the earth, for it shall carry them to everlasting glory."

"Yea," said she, "but ye are not the kirk that I will nurse. I will defend the kirk of Rome, for it is, I think, the true kirk of God.".....

"My conscience," said she, "is not so." "Conscience, madam," said he, "requires knowledge; and I fear that right knowledge you have none." "But," said she, "I have both heard and read." "So, madam," said he, "did the Jews who crucified Christ Jesus, read both the law and the prophets and heard the same interpreted

after their manner. Have ye heard," said he, "any teach, but such as the pope and the cardinals have allowed? And ye may be assured, that such will speak nothing to offend their own estate." "Ye interpret the scriptures," said she, "in one manner, and they in another; whom shall I believe and who shall be judge?" "You shall believe God," said he, "that plainly speaketh in his word and further than the word teacheth you, you neither shall believe the one nor the other. The word of God is plain; and if there appear any obscurity in any place, the Holy Ghost, who is never contrarious to himself, explains the same more clearly in other places so that there can remain no doubt, but unto such as will remain obstinately ignorant."

"You are oversore for me," said the queen, "but and if they were here whom I have heard, they would answer you." "Madam," said the other, "would to God that the most learned papist in Europe, and he that you would best believe, were present with your grace to sustain the argument; and that ye would abide patiently to hear the matter reasoned to the end; for then, I doubt not, madam, but that ye should hear the vanity of the papistical religion, and how little ground it hath within the word of God." "Well," said she, "ye may perchance get that sooner than ye believe." Assuredly," said the other, "if ever I get that in my life, I get it sooner than I believe; for the ignorant papist cannot patiently reason, and the learned and crafty papist will never come into your audience, madam, to have the ground of their religion searched out; for they know that they are never able to sustain an argument, except fire and sword, and their own laws be judges." "So say you," said the queen; "but I believe

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that it hath been so to this day." Said he, "For how often have the papists, in this and other realms, been required to come to conference, and yet could it never be obtained, unless themselves were admitted for judges. And, therefore, madam, I must yet say again, that they dare never dispute, but where themselves are both judge and party. And whensoever ye shall let me see the contrary, I shall grant myself to have been deceived in that point."

And with that the queen was called upon to dinner, for it was afternoon. At departing, John Knox said unto her, "I pray God, madam, that ye may be as blessed within the commonwealth of Scotland-if it be the pleasure of God-as ever Deborah was in the commonwealth of Israel."

John Knox his own judgment, being by some of his familiars demanded what he thought of the queen, "If there be not in her," said he, "a proud mind, a crafty wit, and an indurate heart against God and his truth, my judgment faileth me.”

2. QUEEN ELIZABETH (1564)

[SIR JAMES MELVILE: Memoirs]

In 1564 the question who should marry the Queen of Scots was exciting both Scotland and England. Mary herself was inclined to her cousin Lord Darnley; and Elizabeth had suggested that she should marry Lord Robert Dudley, the Leicester of Sir Walter Scott's Kenilworth. James Melvile, sent to England as Mary's envoy, records his impressions of the Queen of England. She enquired several things of me relating to this kingdom, and other countries wherein I had travelled. The Queen my mistress had instructed me to leave

[graphic]

Trinity Church, St Andrews

(Where Knox preached in 1547, 1559, and 1571-2)

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