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114. fiemy YII-. ... 10

115. Edward Plantafenet, . . 17

116. Edmund Dndlej, . 18

117. Henry VIII., . . 20

118. Cardinal Wolsej, . 31

119. AnneBoleyn, . 89 130. Sir Thomas Moore, . 44

121. Cromwell, Earl of Eswz, . 51

122. Stafford, Doke of Bockingbam, 55

123. Seymour, Dnke of Somerset 56

124. Thomas, Lord Sejisocir, 59

125. Edward VL, ... 62

126. Dudley, D. of Northumberland, 63

127. Lady Jane Grey, . .64

128. Mary L, .... 68

129. Sir Thomas Wyatt, the younger, 71

130. RusaeU, Earl of Bedford, . 72 131^ Sir Thomas Pope, . 74

132. Cardinal Pole, ... 75

133. Elifiibeth, .... 78

134. Sir Thomas Chaloner, 90

135. Lady Catherine Grey, . . 91

136. Heiliert, Earl of Pembroke, 93

137. Sir Ralph Sadler, . . 94

138. Sir Nicholas Bacon, . 96

139. Sir Thomas Gresham, . . 97

140. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, 100

141. Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, 102

142. Dudley, Earl of Leicester, 105

143. Itir Humphn^ Gilbert, . 109

144. Sir Frauds Walsingham, 112

145. Sir Christopher Hatton, 115

146. Sir John Perroi, . . 117

147. Sir John Hawkins, . . 118

148. Sir Firands Drake, . . 120

149. Cecil, Lord Burleigh, . . 123

160. Dererenz, Earl of Esmz, 12t»

151. Clifford, Earl of Cumberiand, 137

152. Vera, Earl of Oxford, . 140 163. Sir Edmund Anderson, . 141

154. Blount, Earl of Devonshire, J 41

155. Sr FVancis De Vere, . . 143


156. Cardinal Bourchier, .

157. Archbishop Morton, .

158. Bishop Alcock,

159. Fox, Bishop of Durham,

160. Archbishop Warfaam,

161. John Frith, .

162. Elisabeth Barton, . 168. Ttishop Iflsher,

164. William Tyndale,

165. John Bradford, .

166. Hugh Latimer,

167. Bishop Ridley,

168. Bishop Hooper,

169. Archbishop Cranmer, .

170. Bishop Gardiner,

171. Bishop Tunstall,

172. John l>«Je, . ,

173. MUes Coverdale, 174 Bishop Bonner,

175. Bishop Jewel,

176. Archbishop Pariter,

177. Richard Ca,

178. Bernard Gii *n,

179. Archbishop Grindal, .

180. John FcoL,

181. Cardinal Allen, .

182. Bishop Aylmer,

183. Archbishop Whitgift, .

184. Richard Hooker, .

185. Dean Nowell,

186. Thomas Cartwright,



































187. William Gnjcjn, . . 236

188. John Colet, ... 227

189. William LUy, ... 229

190. Thomas Linacre, . . 229

191. John Skelton, . . .232

192. Bourchier, Lord Bernen, 233

193. Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Elder, 234

194. Howard, Earl of Surrey, . 236

195. John Leland, . . .241

196. Sir John Cheke, . . 242

197. Sebastian Cabot, . . .244

198. Thomas, Lord Vaux, . 247

199. John Hey wood, ... 248

200. Roger Ascham, . . 251

201. Walter Haddon, 255

202. John Caius, 256

203. flapliael Holinsiiea 2oQ •^4. Sir PhUip Sidnc./ 260

205. lliomas Cave disa, . 265

206. Christopher Marlowe, . tti7

207. Spenser, .... 270 206. Reginald Scott, . . 277 209. Thomas, Lord Sackville, . 278 2i0. John Dee, . . . 281


HiBTOAiCAL Introduction, 287


211. James I., . . . 330

212. Robert Catesby, . . 339 V13. Sir Everard Digby, . 341

214. Cecil, Earl oi Salisbury, . 343

215. Henry, Prince of Wales, . 347

216. John, Lord Harrington, . 350


217. Sir Thomas Overbury, . 351

218. Egerton, Lord EUesmerc, . 853

219. Sir Ralph Winwood, . . 355

220. Sir Walter Raleigh, . 356

221. Brook, Lord Cobham, . . 363 222 Sir John Davies, . . 365

223. Foulk, Lord Brooke, . . 366

224. VUliers, Duke of Buckingham, 368

225. Charies L, ... 374

226. Sir Dudley Carleton, . . 383

227. Sir John Eliot, . . 385

228. Sir Edward Coke, . . 887

229. William Noy, . . . 391

230. Sff Henry Wotton, . . 893

231. Thomas, Earl of Strafford, 395

232. Robert, Lord Willoughby, 402

233. John Hampden, . . .402

234. John Pym, . . . 410

235. Cary, Viscount Falkland, . 41 i

236. Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, 417

237. George, Lord Goring, . . 418

238. Edward, Lord Herbert, . 419

239. James, Earl of Derby, . 421

240. Hent7 Ireton, ... 424

241. Digby, Earl of Bristol, . 42P

242. Admiral Blake, . . 427

243. John IJlburne, . . .432

244. Oliver Cromwell, . . 437

245. John Bradshaw, . . 448 24G. Su' Henry Vane, the Younger, 450

247. Sir Richard Fanshawe, . 455

248. Bertie, Eari of Lindsey, , 456

249. William Prynne . . .457

250. lliomas. Lord Fairfax, . 464

251. Monk, Duke of Albemarle . 468

252. Montagu, Earl of Sandwich^ 471




TenDination of the struggle betwixt the houses of York and Lancaster— -Poreign relations of England— Commercial spirit of the times— State of the ooontry-^The Reformation lu origin Progress under Henry Vlll— Under Edward VL-~Re- ligious struggles of Mary's reign General view of £liiab6th*s reign— Of English literature.

Thb year 1485 is remarkable in the history of England, as that in which the war betwixt the rival houses of York and Lancaster was ter- minated by the battle of Bosworth, and the earl of Richmond wafi seated as Henry VII. on the English throne. His accession, founded on a very disputable claim, was followed by attempts against his govern- ment from among the opposite party in the state, but his power and influence survived. By his marriage with a princess of the rival fiunily of York, his son and successor Henry VIII. could advance a stronger hereditary claim; and under the latter monarch, and his three children* Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth all of them, in course, his successors on the throne there occurred in England some of the most remarkable transactions which its history records. So prominently, however, did almost all the reigning monarchs of this period act in the public mat- ters that pertain to it, that these transactions are, to a great degree, involved in our sketches of the sovereigns themselves, and in this intro- ductory sketch we shall only glance at certain prominent features in this memorable period of English history.

England was wont to stand in a side or central relation, as it were, to the contending interests and discordant politics of the great conti- nental powers; and in the period under review we find its arms directed, now against France, and anon against Spain, that country's formidable enemy. War with France was declared early in the reign of Henry YIL, and in 1522, hostilities against that country were renewed by his son and successor Henry VIII. which, at intervals, were continued afterwards. But the wars with Spain during this eventful period present a more impos- ing and memorable scene. It is not until the reign of Elizabeth, however, that they assume such peculiar interest, as of vast religious and national importance. In that reign, Philip II. and the English queen separated



by character and religion carried on a course of mutual hostility, in the progress of which, English influence was established in the revolted provinces of the Low countries, and English glory was swelled by the defeat of the boasted ' Invincible Armada.' These circumstances may serve to explain the extent to which military and naval distinctions adorn the names of English nobles and English commoners in this period of British history. It may be added, that Scotland and Ireland were also the scenes of English warfare in the course of these busy times. In Elizabeth's reign, in particular, the wish to gratify a queen who set her heart on the success of naval and military enterprise- ^the sense of actual danger to the independence and religion of the country, fix)m the bigotry and energy of Spain, the hopes inspired by pros- perous efforts, and the honour of engaging in the bold aad enterprising adventures of the time, are motives which may all have tended to ren- der the court of Elizabeth so chivalrous a scene, and her reign so re- markable a period in the naval and military annals of the land.

But even in the 15th century, the foreign enterprise of England, corresponding to the parallel cases of Spain and Portugal, assumes the aspect rather of geographical discovery or commercial enterprise than of political hostility. The laws respecting trade, indeed, which were passed during this period, partook of that restrictive character to which, in later times, political economists have furnished formidable objections ; but the commercial spirit was abroad, and to this period belong some memorable facts in the history of our mercantile and maritime affairs. It was in 1487, that the cape of Good Hope was discovered by Bar- tholomew Diaz, and in 1492, that America was first explored by Chris- topher Columbus. Following in the train of these great events was a voyage of discovery which the English navigator Sebastian Cabot, undertook in 1495, by letters patent from Henry VII. who, by the erection of the celebrated ship, the Great Harry, may be said, accord- ing to Mr Hume, to have begun the English navy. This is not the place for a minute detail of the discoveries of Cabot, or the voyages of Drake, or other remarkable incidents in the naval or commercial his- tory of England : but as symptomatic of the times, and as presenting important points in that history, it may here be noticed, that in the brilliant reign of Queen Elizabeth ^the last in the period under review we find established a trade with Muscovy and Turkey, ^the Royal Ex- change was built, ^interest was legalized, a charter was granted to the East India company, and, in the year 1582, there were upwards of 12,000 English ships, of which, however, only 217 were of more than 80 tons burden.

The well known energy of the Tudor princes, acting on the acknow- ledged powers and prerogatives of the English sovereign, renders the period of their successive reigns a scene of monarchical authority an d parliamentary submission somewhat revolting perhaps to the modern freeman. But in the parliaments at least of the two female sovereigns of the line ^tnere are discerned the risings of the sentiments and energy which produced such mighty changes in succeeding reigns. This period, however, has been remarked for the comparative order and quiet established in the country. ** In the disorderly state of "England under the Plantagenets, who governed it from about the middle of the



12th till towards the end of the 15th oentaiy," says Dr. Adam Smith,^ ^ one district might be in plenty, while another, at no great distance, by having its crop destroyed, either by some accident of the seasons, or by the incarsion of some neighbouring baron, might be suffering all the horrors of a £ftmine; and yet if the lands of some hostile lord were in- teiposed between them, the one might not be able to give the least as* aistance to the other. Under the vigorous administration of the Tudors, who governed England daring the latter part of the 15th, and through the whole of the 16th century, no baron was powerful enough to dis- turb the public security/'

But among the various dianges in the condition of Enghmd belonging to this period, assuredly none is more memorable than the reformation of the church. It has been often observed, that the Reformation was not in England the result of wise deliberations, or the natural £rait of popu- lar improvement. In this remark there is truth on the sur&ce, but error in the centre and the application. Few important revolutions have been brought about by the direct influence of reason. In tbe in- stances in which such attempts have been made, they have usually failed, or led to very inadequate results, the speculations of the wisest men being a far too uncertain substratum for the movements of the multitude. When closely looked at, moreover, the above observation will lose much of its force as ui historical dogma. It will be recollected, that if Henry the Eighth w^as the prime mover of the Reformation in this coun- tty, and began his measures from motives rather personal than public, the same has been the case with reformers of much higher and purer characters, and that some of the grandest and most useful changes ever produced in the world have owed their beginning to circumstances as uulike the result as the dod is to the richly-scented plant which it nourishes. The careful observer, however, can hardly £iil to discover a much stronger connexion between the reformation of religion in Eng- land and the state of the community, than is sometimes supposed to have been the case. He will see that there had long been a tendency in the church itself to break the bonds in which the Roman pontiff de- sired to hold it; and he will perceive, moreover, that this tendency of the church to liberate itself was working with the slow motion of an hour-hand, while the opinion of the people was urging on to the same point with the celerity of a minute-hand. It was next to impossible, in fact, that a community should be incessantly bent on resisting the im- position of taxes, and saving their money by every feasible plan of eco- nomy, and not look with a suspicious eye on the enormous revenue of the clergy. Still more unlikely is it that they should have been advanc- ing in intelligence, ^have begun to form correct notions of law and right policy, and corrected many of their views on practical subjects, without discovering that they were burdened by the priesthood with practices which had no connexion with the pure religion of the gospel. These were the preventing causes of the Reformation in England, so far as mere human and temporary circumstances can be considered in that light, and to examine and watch their action, combined as they soon were with causes of a different and more spiritual nature, is an employ-

I Wealth of Nations, Book I. chap. xi.

inent worthy of the highest order of intellects. From the reign ol Henry the Eighth, men of erery species of talent, and of every class of character, found themselves invested wiUi new importance, -^-excited to action by new impulses both from within and without,— and called upon tu perform duties which, if not themselves new, had a novel and wider range of influence. The great conflict of the reforming division of the clergy with those who yet supported the Roman doctrines and discipline, called into play every particle of knowledge and ability which either party possessed. Many displays, therefore, of extraordinary talent may be looked for in this period without disappointment Scholarship not only rose in value among scholars, but became a commodity of intelligi- ble, palpable worth with the multitude : it was recognised as the powei by which the highest interests were to be settled, and those who possessed it were at once raised to the most conspicuous stations in the community. The love of gaiety, the courtly luxury and splendour, which at the same time distinguished the age, called forth many a sparkling wit, and nour- ished the in&nt arts into partial maturity. Nor was either war, or political business wanting for the employment of talents of another de- scription ; so that this era furnishes the biographer with a fruitful field of inquiry, and both in a literary, and purely historical sense, is deserving of the most careful study.

The reign of Edward the Sixth, was too short to realize the expecta- tions which had been formed respecting the effect of his auspices on science, the reformed religion, and whatever pertained to the public prosperity. But brief as it was, it sei*ved to strengthen the operation of the good principles which had begun to work in the days of his father. The reformed doctrines, as they became better understood, were more cleariy expounded and more zealously defended. The piety of the young king invited men of virtue and integrity to the court, and placed them in the highest offices of trust. His own attachment to learning, like that of his father, contributed greatly to its more general and ardent cultivation. In his boyhood even, he was accustomed to write to his sisters, the princesses Mary and Elizabeth, in Latin. He was, however, at all times ready to enter upon the discussion of questions, not only of the most difficult nature, but of such as only a prince, surrounded by the most honest instructors and councillors, would have ventured to ap- proach. The account given of his conversation with the celebrated astronomer Cardan, has been rightly quoted as a proof of the exceeding ingenuity and acuteness of his mind. " He asked me,** says the philoso- pher, « what was the subject of my book De Rerum varietcUe^ which I had dedicated to him." " I said, in the first chapter I show the cause of comets, which has been so long sought for in vain." ^^ « What is it ?" " It is the concourse of the light of the wandering stars." But the king said^ " as the stars move in such different motions, this concourse must be dissipated or moved by their movement." Cardan replied, " it moves aaer them, and with more celerity, as a rainbow from glass, or as the sun shines on a wall." « How can that be ?" rejoined the young king, " there is nothing like a wall in the sky to receive this light" Cardan, it is added, thought he answered this defeating remark by comparing his concourse with the milky way, or the lucid middle space between manv lighted candles. Convinced however of Edward s abilitv, who was then


only in his fifi;eenth year, he wannlj praises his aooompliahments, and remarks that he ^^ spoke Latin not less polite et proni§)te than himself."^ Under the patronage of snch a prince, it is not surprising to And the uniyersities becoming in the true sense of the expression, ^* seminaries of sound learning and religious education." The nation, however, was still in a sufficiently agitated state with regard to religion, to call for the most energetic exertion on the part of the reformers, both priests and statesmen. Such was the irritation which prevailed among the teachers of the gospel at this time, that it was deemed necessary to interdict their exercise of private judgment as to what they should say in the per- formance of their public duties. This singular ordinance is said to have been framed, because that certain of the licensed preachers had *< behaved themselves irreverently, and without good order in their preachings,** and that therefore, " all manner of persons, whosoever they be, are in- hibited to preach in open audience in the pulpit or otherwise, by any sought colour or fraud, to the disobeying of this commandment, to the intent that the whole clergy in this mean space, might apply themselves to prayer to Almighty God, for the better achieving of the same most Grodly intent and purpose, &c."' The means employed by the enemies of the reformation to overcome the obstacle thus placed in the way of their invectives, is in some degree characteristic of the times, and of the state both of literature and public feeling. In the emphatic lan- guage of the old historian, ** the pulpit being shut and silent l^ procla- mation, the stage was the more open and vocal for the same : the popish priests which, though unseen, stood behind the hanging, or lurked in the tyring-house, removed their invectives firom sermons to plays, and a more proper place indeed for the venting thereof."* No sooner was this licentiousness of the stage observed, than another ordinance was issued, prohibiting for a time dramatic performances. But neither this, nor the proclamation which silenced the pulpits remained long in fbrce, and con- sidering the admowledged authority of such ordinances, and the excited state of the pumic mind, there is much greater reason to applaud the prudence and humanity of the government, than there would have been, had it allowed either the clergy or the players to foment treason, and then punished them for the crime. The principles of toleration, how- ever, were as yet but very imperfectly understood, and some of the best men of the age fell, it is well known, into the wretched error of suppos- ing that they had a right to rule over the consciences of men with a rod of iron. While men of piety allowed themselves to be thus deluded by their zeal, others of a different character, gladly seized upon the com- mon motives to contention, to forward their own designs. Thus the reign of the pious and amiable Edward was disfigured by several events of the darkest hue, and which indicate through how many obstacles the light of truth and rational freedom had yet to penetrate before it reached the heart of the commonwealth.

The sanguinary struggles of Mary's reign afford a melancholy proof of the fervour and intense devotion, which pervaded the hearts of the Protestants. In tracing the history of their leaders,— of the men who exhorted them to persevere in their holy profession, and set them the

Tamer's History of Reigns of Edward VI. &c. p. 139. * Fuller^ ChurcR Hist p. 389. * idem. ^ S90.


example by first sufTering themselves, the mind may acquire a a|>ecie8 of wisdom which it will seek for in vain in the history of states and statesmen, of war and warriors. It was a period of excitement, such as has rarely been witnessed. Never was the right of conscience more fiercely battled for; never did zeal assume a more furious aspect. On the side of both the persecutors and the persecuted, religion was the one great object of thought, the one motive of action, the supreme, all- engrossing mistress of the mind and heart. Sad as is the spectacle which the results of this state of feeling produced in the reign of Mary, it would be an injustice not to acknowledge that there was a degree of grandeur in this devotion of a community to the highest subjects of human thought, and tliat, perverted as was the principle by the most terrible of errors, its concentration in the popular mind betokens how vast a stride had morally been made when the nation eonld thus resign itself to influences which derive so little of their force from mere worldly or material considerations. The Cranmers and the Gardiners, the Rid- leys and the Bonners, were the representatives of multitudes inspired by the same holy, or the same fiery zeal; and could history look with a minuter eye on the transactions of the period, there is little doubt but that the instances of a very near approach to their character in the persons of undistinguished individuals would be found extraordinarily numerous.

But the struggle was not simply between Protestantism and Catho- licism, or between those who desired to see the human mind emanci- pated from the worst slavery, and those who desired to rivet its fetters ^but between those tendencies to general improvement which now characterised the nation, and the opposing forces which would have resettled it in ignorance. From the reservoirs of learning among the Lebanons of knowledge, refreshing rills, though at first small and minute, descend to the plain. The state of the community is always more or less influenced by the prevailing studies of its scholars; and when it is considered how greatly the Reformation, and the impnK^cment of the people, which we have been contemplating, were owing to the annihila- tion of false systems of science and study, it will be well understood how much danger was incurred at this period when Mary and her coun- sellors resolved on the restoration of scholasticism. Happily for the nation and mankind, the seeds of genuine knowledge had been too widely scattered to sufier such an attempt to succeed; but had this queen's reign been prolonged, it is impossible to say what would have been the injuries sustained by that active and inquisitive spirit, 'which was as yet of too short a growth to sustain, without harm, the continued pressure of ignorance. The scholastic method of studying theology was essential to the support of Catholicism. Its tortuous argumenta- tions allowed the student quietly to part with truth on the way, and its syllogisms hedged them within a circle, round which they might run with the highest degree of speed, without ever advancing one step nearer the great sources of knowledge.

The accession of Elizabeth was an event to which we may still look ba«k with a feeling of gladness. With it was connected the re-estab- lishment of principles, of which we, as well as our forefathers, enjoy the beneficent effects. A revolution could not have produced a great- er clianire than that which followed this event. The gloom which the

bigotry of Mary had spread over the nation a g^oom not lees expe- rienced by those who agreed with her in severity, than by those who were the objects of her persecution ^immediately gave way to stirring, hopeful anticipations. The dangers which had threaten<Kl the consti- tution, or many of the principles which formed its finnest support, vanished at the appearance of a princess on the throne who bsid oo flark or secret interests to promote. There was every reason to ap* prehend, from the machinations of Mary in aid of her favourite objects that not only the public liberty, but the national independence, would fall a sacrifice to her counsels. Her attempts to change the order of succession, to restore the pope to his supremacy in the Englbh church, and to win, if possible, the attentions of the haughty and sul- len Philip, by conceding to him the authority which she had alone the right to assume, ^these were all in manifest opposition to that spirit of freedom and intelligence which had now obtained a wide influence in the community. Both religiously and politically, therefore, the country had the strongest motives for hailing with satisfiustion the accession of Elizabeth ; and we may ascribe much of that fresh, spring-like gaiety and vigour which characterize the literature of this age, to the sudden and felicitous impulse which the general mind thus received. There was, however, a numerous set of obstacles in the way of those improve- ments in the state of the country, which were so devoutly to be de- sired. Though the direst of evils had been incurred by the people at large, from the anxiety and distrust consequent on persecution, there was a large multitude who would have gladly endured a continuance of those evils rather than see the protestants freed from danger. The situation, moreover, in which the nation was placed, in reference to foreign potentates, demanded the most cautious counsels ; and while, on the one hand, a feeling of triumph inspired many, there were others who, equally joyful at the change, were sobered into the exercise of the most thoughtful prudence. An admirable class of men was thus brought into action by the necessities of the time, while the brightening prospects which it exhibited gave birth to the happiest spirit of poetry and the arts* Among Elizabeth's earliest counsellors were some of the wisest politi- cians whose names are to be found in English history. Sir Nicholas Bacon, Cecil, Walsingham, stand at the head of those public men to whom we are indebted for the introduction of that enlightened system of politics which set the Machiavellism of foreign courts at defiance Had it not been for their calm and temperate advice, the sudden change which the protestants found in their condition might have been the cause of new offences not the less dangerous because from another quarter against justice and religion. The address with which Bacon, as lord-keeper, opened the parliament, is a valuable illustrative docu- ment, and serves as a key to the characters and opinions of many of the most conspicuous men of the day. It was his object, he said, to (ay before them " the distracted state of the nation, both in matters of religion and the other miseries that the wars and late calamities had brought upon them." " For religion," he remarked, " the queen desired they would consider of it without heat or partial affection, or using any reproachful term of papist or heretic ; and that they would avoid the extremes of idolatry and superstition on the one hand, and contempt and irreligion on the other; and that they would examine matten

withoni sopfaiBtical niceties, or too subtle speculations, and endearonr to settle things so as might bring the people to an uniformity and cor- dial agreement in them." In regard to the state of the nation, he de- clared, that the queen was Tory unwilling to lay any new impositions ujpon them, and that, notwithstanding her necessities, ««she would de- sire no supply, but what they did freely and cheerfully offer." ^ The adyice which Cecil gave her majesty on the topics alluded to in this speech, was founded on a similar cautiousness of temper, and gives a striking picture of the real difficulties which environed the na- tion in its passage from the late period of darkness and trouble. ^^ The bishop of Rome," said he, ^* will be incensed : he will excom- municate the queen, interdict the realm, give it a prey to all princes that will enter upon it, and stir them up to it by all manner of means. The French king will be encouraged more to the war. He will be in great hope of aid from hence, of those discontented with this alteration, looking for tumults and discords. Scotland will have the same causes of boldness. Ireland also will be very difficultly stayed in obedience, by reason of the clergy; that is so addicted to Rome."^ But notwith- standing the threatening aspect of the continent, and the fearful bal- ancing of strength between the hottest partisans of the opposite sys- tems, the kingdom found itself, in a short time, again advancing to prosperity. The difficulties with which the partizans of the Reforma- tion were surrounded, served but to stimulate their leaders to more strenuous exertions: the dangers which threatened the nation from abroad were met by an increased and more lively patriotism; the par- liament and the sovereign were closely united in furthering the same purposes; and the church, now aided by l^e talents and the experi- ence of men who had learned much in suffering, emerged from the cloud with which the sanguinary fumes of persecution had enveloped it.

The most general view of the commencement of Elizabeth's reign enables us to discover many prognostics of its subsequent splendour. A superintending and almighty Providence appears to have so ordered it, that the establishment of the reformed religion should be attended, in this country, with the most manifest signs of its utility. Thus the purify- ing of the church, as to its rites and ceremonies, was followed .by a corresponding improvement in the intellectual condition of the people: the advancement of theological science, by the aid of sound learning, more practical than dogmatical, but sufficiently doctrinal to show ita constant bearing on divine truth, seemed to prepare the way for the greatest reformation in every other species of study that had as yet been experienced. And this may £a,irly lead us to observe, that Eliza- beth's reign was throughout distinguished by the cultivation of objects of utility; that it was the very opposite of those in which the ap^ pearance of prosperity resulted from the factitious display of unprofit- able conque8.ts; and that we have hence a very striking proof, how far preferable is the dominion of common sense, of sound practical intelli- gence^ even for poetical literature, to the rule of gaiety and luxury, where the ordinary interests of mankind are forgotten. Elizabeth's reign was the golden age of English literature, because religion and the homely duties, both of public and of private life, were cultivated with

Burnet's Hist Reform, vol ii. p. 690. Turner, note, p. 316.


assidaoofl care. The sovereign, in her sphere, was an example to each of her subjects in theirs. She was not averse to cheerful displajs of jvealth, but she was ever anxious to provide for its secority. ^ She made some progress," it Is said of her, ^' in paying those great debts which lay upon the crown ; she regulated the coin, which had been much debased by her predecessors; she furnished her arsenals with great quantity of arms from Germany and other places ; engaged her nobility and gentry to imitate her example in this particular ; intro- duced into the kingdom the art of making gunpowder and bnws can- non; fortified her frontiers on the side of Scotland; made frequent re- views of the militia; encouraged agriculture, by allowing a free exportation of com; promoted trade and navigation, and so much increased the shipping of her kingdom, both by building vessels of force herself, and suggesting like undertakings to the merchants, that she was justly styled the restorer of naval glory, and the queen of the northern seas."^ The confidence which this conduct generated in her subjects was of the utmost importance to the country. It went £ur to- wards repressing the murmurs of even religious maleeontents: the blessings of security, of plenty enjoyed in peace, are not vatieLt even by the most bigoted, though they come from their opponents; and they operate like a strong but unauspected sedative on the mind of many a popular polemic.

It ought not, however, to be forgotten, that there were many events in the reign of Elizabeth which tended to imbue the active spirit of the times with higher feelings than those resulting from the mere contem- plation of utility. The defeat of the Spaniards, of their invincible ar- mada, produced effects on the nation internally of much greater con- sequence than those, great as they were, which resulted to it politically. A chivalrous desire to meet the enemy filled the mind of almost every man in the kingdom. To the request which the ministers made to the city of London, that it would contribute five thousand men and fifteen ships, it sent in answer, ten thousand men and thirty ships. This sen- timent, while it surmounted all others which the politics of the day caU- ed forth, did really exalt the national character, by making the people conscious of the power they possessed, and leading them to understand how entirely the preservation of their freedom depended on their bra- very and sacrifices. Even the lowest of the soldiers partook of the en- thusiasm; and Stowe says that he saw them marching towards Til- bury ^'with cheerful countenances, courageous words and gestures, and dancing and leaping, wheresoever they came; while in the camp their most felicity was the hope of fighting with the enemy, where oftimes, divers reports ran of their foes' approach, and that present battle would be given them, then were they as joyful at such news as if lusty giants were to run a race."^ These feelings, in minds of a higher or- der, could not fail to re-awakcn those ennobling principles which some- times sparkled forth in the b^st days of chivalry, but had been gener- ally stifled in their birth by the burdensome pomp of the institution. Now they had free play, and and such men as Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, and others of the same class, the true ancestors of English nobility, were greatly indebted, for their virtues and aocom-

* Home, voi iv. c 88. * Stowo, p. 744.

U. B

plishments, to the bright age of patriotism, of mingled trial and pros- perity,— of business and of sentiment, in which they had the fortunate lot to be bom.

Acting in a very different way on the public mind, but not unbene- ficially, was the mingled sentiment of indignation and horror wilh which it beheld the conduct of France towards the unfortunate protes- tauts of that country. Sympathy for those who suffer in defending principles for which we ourselves contend is of a quite different nature to the ordinary emotion of compassion which goes by the same name. Nor can a nation receive a more powerful impulse in its moral advancement and capacities. Corruptions of truth are never so palpa- ble to the unpractised eye as when conjoined with violations of justice and humanity. They compel reason and passion to labour under the same yoke ; and, situated as England was at the time of the Bartholomew massacre, there can be little doubt but that the feelings which it in- spired contributed in a high degree to animate multitudes with i deeper and more ardent gratitude for the light they enjoyed. Nor were the nu- merous precautions which it was found necessary to take against the attempts of the Catholic princes and their emissaries without their in- fluence in another point of view. The tone of society was thereby pre- vented from degenerating into tameness,— 'pleasure was enjoyed with a richer zest, a full and warm colouring of natural sentiment diffused it- sdf over the common customs of life, and the pictures(|ueness of the age, delighting in masques and revelries, was easily made to furnish types of true poetical force and beauty.

We might greatly extend our observations on the circumstances which were combined in rendering the age of Elizabeth so glorious a period of English history. It might be added, that the intercourse which now took place with the most distant countries was in no slight measure favourable to improvement, and that the writers of the day had the advantage of that importation of Spanish literature and histori- cal traditions which had occurred in the preceding reign. Bui the brief view we have taken is sufficient to point out the main incentives to ex- ertion which the great men of the age received from without ; and, while the names of Shakspeare, Spenser, and the rest who formed the splendid galaxy of which they were the centre stars, afford us more than a remembrance of that memorable era, may