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should be produced as witnesses, and that she might be con

fronted with them.



the prose

Burghley who, though he had hitherto remained very quiet, Burghley and, that he might not appear too conspicuous, had put for- conducts ward the Chancellor and others as his puppets to move as he cution. guided them, was in truth not only the adviser but the conductor of the prosecution, - became alarmed lest she should make an impression on some of her Judges; and, superseding the Chancellor as well as Gawdy and the Attorney and Solicitor General, he himself undertook to answer her, and tried to show the regularity of the proceedings, and the sufficiency of the proof against her. Still, not entirely trusting His dread to his artful pleading, he did not venture to call for the verdict in her presence at Fotheringay, and at the end of the second day of the trial, the Court was adjourned to the 25th journed to of October, in the Star Chamber at Westminster.*

of an acquittal.

Court ad



Verdict of

against her

Then and there the Chancellor having taken his place as President, Nau and Curle were produced and examined, guilty while the accused was immured in a distant prison, and the in her abCommissioners all agreed in a general verdict of guilty sence. against her, with the exception of Lord Zouch, who was for acquitting her on the charge of assassination. †


for carry

ing sen

tence into

But Elizabeth, though she had resolved that the sentence Oct. 29. should be carried into execution, had to prepare the nation 1586. for this appalling step, and a few days after parliament assembled. Thinking it not decent to appear in person, she was represented on the first day of the session by the Arch- execution. bishop of Canterbury, Burghley, and the Earl of Derby. The Parliament letters patent appointing them being read, they left their assembled. places, and went to a seat prepared for them on the right side of the throne; and then the Lord Chancellor Bromley, after going first to them and conferring with them, addressed the two Houses from his accustomed place, to the following

• In the reign of George III. it was justly thought unconstitutional and improper that the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench should be a member of the Cabinet, lest he should sit as Judge on the trial of a prosecution which, as minister, he had concurred in instituting. Upon the success of this prosecution depended all that Burghley held most valuable in the world, and he was at once judge, jury, and prosecutor.

† 1 St. Tr. 1161.


Lord Chancellor's speech to hasten execution.

Nov. 5.

effect: "That the present parliament was summoned for no usual causes; not for making new laws, whereof her Majesty thought there were more made than executed; nor for subsidies with which, although there was some occasion for them, her Majesty would not burden her faithful subjects at this time, but the cause was rare and extraordinary; of great weight, great peril, and dangerous consequence. He next declared what plots had been contrived of late, and how miraculously the merciful providence of God, by the discovery thereof, beyond all human policy, had preserved her Majesty, the destruction of whose sacred person was most traitorously imagined, and designed to be compassed. He then showed what misery the loss of so noble a Queen would have brought to all estates; that, although some of these traitors had suffered according to their demerits, yet one remained, that, by due course of law, had received her sentence, which was the chief cause of this assembly, and wherein her Majesty required their faithful advice."*

After the election and confirmation of the Speaker, the Lord Chancellor made another speech to the Lords, "setting lor's second forth the foul and indiscreet dealings practised by the Queen speech

against Mary.

Unanimous address of both Houses,

praying for her execu


of Scots against her Majesty and the whole realm, notwithstanding the many great benefits and favours which had been bestowed upon her since her arrival in this kingdom." This performance, however, was not at all satisfactory; and the prime minister himself standing up, said: "The whole proceedings of the said Queen of Scots were better known to him from his having had the honour to serve her Majesty from the commencement of her reign;" and he showed, at great length, the justice of the prosecution, and the necessity for carrying the sentence into effect. No one ventured to say a word for the condemned criminal, or even to hint that she had not had a fair trial.

Both Houses agreed upon an address to the Queen, which was delivered by the Lord Chancellor, urging that the sentence against the Queen of Scots might be immediately carried into execution; "because, upon advised and grave consultation, we cannot find that there is any possible means

* 1 Parl. Hist. 834.

to provide for your Majesty's safety, but by the just and speedy death of the said Queen, the neglecting whereof may procure the heavy displeasure and punishment of Almighty God, as by sundry severe examples of his great justice in that behalf, left us in the sacred Scriptures, doth appear; and if the same be not put in present execution, we, your most loving and dutiful subjects, shall thereby (so far as man's reason can reach) be brought into utter despair of the continuance amongst us of the true religion of Almighty God, and of your Majesty's life, and of the safety of all your subjects, and the good estate of this most flourishing commonwealth."

Elizabeth, in her answer, in justifying the recent statute, and the trial under it, fell foul of the poor Lord Chancellor and the gentlemen of the long robe. "You lawyers are so curious in scanning the nice points of the law, and proceeding according to forms rather than expounding and interpreting the laws themselves, that if your way were observed, she must have been indicted in Staffordshire, and have holden up her hand at the bar, and have been tried by a jury of twelve men. A proper way, forsooth, of trying a Princess! To avoid, therefore, such absurdities, I thought it better to refer the examination of so weighty a cause to a select number of the noblest personages of the land, and the most learned of my Judges." However, she would not yet give a decisive answer as to the execution of the sentence; but concluded with a prayer to Almighty God, so to illuminate and direct her heart, that she might see clearly what might be best for the good of his Church, and the prosperity of the commonwealth.*



Elizabeth's sarcasms on the lawyers.


rant for

This irresolution was affected, in the hope that Mary Feb. 1. might be removed by a natural death, or some other means, Elizabeth so as to avoid the odium to be incurred by beheading signs warupon the scaffold a Queen, her guest, her nearest rela- Mary's tive, and the heir presumptive to the throne; but she at execution. last signed the warrant for Mary's execution, directed to the Earl of Shrewsbury, as Earl Marshal, and ordered it to be carried to the Great Seal by Davison, her secretary. The

* 1 Parl. Hist. 842.


affixed to


It is sent off by the Council,

Chancellor immediately appended the Great Seal to it; and having informed Burghley that the instrument was now Great Seal perfect, a Council was called, and they unanimously resolved that it should be sent off immediately, on the ostensible ground that the Queen had done all the law required on her part, and that to trouble her further was needless, and would be offensive to her feelings. Bromley, being at the head of the administration of justice, incurred the greatest responsibility in taking this step; but he considered himself safe in co-operating with Burghley, who had before settled with Elizabeth that Davison should be the scape-goat.

Mary's execution.

In two days the warrant was executed, and Mary Stuart, in the last scene of her life, displayed such fortitude, comduct in her posure, dignity, tenderness, kindness of heart, resignation,

Her con

last mo


Sudden illness of

the Lord

and piety, as to throw a shade over the errors she had committed, and to make us disposed to regard her as one less criminal than unfortunate, and more to be pitied than condemned.*

Bromley, who presided at her trial, was soon to present himself with her at the bar of that great Judge before whom Chancellor, all secrets are known. He had suffered much anxiety while the prosecution was going on; he was deeply affected when

I am far from being her indiscriminate defender, and I am sorry to acknowledge that the proofs of her being privy to the murder of Darnley are quite overwhelming. Yet her death was not creditable to the English nation. It was a national act. When the judgment of the Commissioners was proclaimed in London by sound of trumpet, the bells tolled merry peals for twenty-four hours, bonfires blazed in the streets, and the citizens appeared intoxicated with joy, as if a great victory had been obtained over a foreign enemy. These rejoicings were redoubled on the news of her execution. "La nouvelle de cette exécution vint à Londres; furent sonnés les cloches de toutes les églises vingt-quatre heures durant, et sur le soir furent faites feux de joie par les rues de la ville." 1 The sentiments of the upper classes may be learned from the unanimous petition of the two Houses of parliament that the judgment might be immediately carried into execution. The national character of Scotland was tarnished by the Scottish army delivering up her grandson, on condition that their arrears of pay were discharged; but this was the sordid act of a few leaders, of which all Scotsmen have since been ashamed, while the murder of Mary for political expediency has still defenders in England. If I am accused of national prejudice in my strictures on the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, I will cite the words of Clarendon, a true Englishman, who describes it as a great blemish on Elizabeth's reign, and as "an unparalleled act of blood upon the life of a crowned neighbour, queen, and ally."

Bellievre's Despatch. Bib. du Roi, Paris.


he heard of the catastrophe; and he felt dreadful alarm when CHAP. he found that the Queen affected indignation and resentment against all who were concerned in it. Suddenly he took to his bed, and parliament meeting by adjournment on the 15th of February, no business could be done on that or the following day on account of his sickness, for which no provision had been made. On the 17th, Sir Edmund Anderson, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, read publicly, in the House of Lords, a commission from the Queen, directed to himself, by which he was authorised, in the absence of the Chancellor, to act in his stead; and on the 23d of March, by reason of the continued sickness of the Chancellor, the deputy closed the session and dissolved the parliament.*

tions over


Bromley never rallied, and on the 12th of April following His death. he expired, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. The Close LamentaRoll is quite pathetic in giving an account of the transmission of the Great Seal to the Queen on his demise. After stating that he breathed his last at three o'clock in the morning, and that the Queen, being informed of this event, ordered John Fortescue, Master of her Wardrobe, to go and fetch her the Great Seal, observes, that he proceeded to the house of the late Chancellor, and entering it between seven and eight o'clock, found a large number of distinguished persons bewailing the loss of so great a man.†

From incidental notices of him by his immediate contem- His chaporaries, he appears to have enjoyed considerable reputation racter. in his own time, but afterwards he rather slipped from the recollection of mankind. He had not the good fortune to have his life written by a secretary or relative, and not being

1 Parl. Hist. 853.

† "Eodem die inter horas septimam et octavam ante meridiem ejusdem diei idem Iohannes Fortescue ad domum dicti nuper Cancellarii veniens ac in diversorum generosorum mortem dicti nobilis viri plangentium presencia," &c. It then goes on to narrate how the Great Seal in its leather and velvet bags under three private seals was found locked up in a chest, was delivered to Fortescue, the Queen's messenger, by Henry Bromley, the eldest son of the Chancellor, and how Fortescue arriving with it at the Court at Greenwich, waited with it in the Queen's outer chamber, where he remained for a little time, till her Majesty coming from her inner chamber where she had slept, received it from his hands, and retained it in her own custody. "Idem Iohannes Fortescue exteriorem privatam cameram dicte Dne Regine cum predicto sigillo solus intravit ac ibidem paulisper moram faciens dicta sacra Majestas Regina ab interiore privata camera ubi requiescebat veniens," &c. Rot. Cl. 29 Eliz.

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