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them, is liable to capital punishment.(*) Twentyfour or more persons, selected from the Royal Privy Council, or the Lords, shall, by the authority of the Queen, direct the proceedings against all who form plans to attack the kingdom, to excite insurrections, and to injure or kill the Queen; and this through or for any person who puts forth claims to the succession to the throne. When these first laws gave occasion to many abuses, and the number of the persons to be punished appeared to be much too great, the strict execution of them was abandoned, and Burghley drew up an apology, to the effect that no person was punished in England on account of his creed, but only when disobedience to the laws of the country was connected with it. If principles of such dangerous tendency proceeding from the Pope, and encouraged by him, were not opposed, the state and church would soon be overthrown. This accusation was in some measure certainly well founded; but, on the other hand, it was very easy to designate and to punish differences of religious opinion, as disobedience to civil laws. (") The suspicions of statesmen and the arrogance of theologians, at that time, led to persecutions in almost all countries, and these again afforded reasons for suspicion. In the case of England, Mary Stuart, against whom the above-mentioned law was evidently directed, remained both the pretext and the main support of all attempts both at home and abroad. Hence the question was again discussed what was to be done with her. Weary of her long and severe captivity, (") she now made proposals, which Elizabeth, at an earlier period, would probably have accepted; but the more Mary conceded at this moment, when all the powers appeared to be united in her favour, the more was a suspicion excited that she intended, after she had obtained her liberty, to keep little or nothing of what she had promised, and the conviction constantly recurred that in Spain or France she would be doubly dangerous to England; and if she prevailed in Scotland, would alienate from Elizabeth the only kingdom that was in amity with her. Thus Mary's hopes were again disappointed. King James, yielding to the general voice of Scotland, and for the sake of the succession to the English throne, but to the great vexation of his mother, who from that time was, for the most part, hostile to him, concluded, in 1586, a strict alliance with Elizabeth; and the latter now decidedly supported the Hugonots, and above all the Netherlands, that neither France might become mistress of the country, nor Philip triumph, and from thence invade England. We shall relate more particularly in the history of the Netherlands with what caution and prudence Elizabeth conducted herself towards them on many occasions.” In this place we must not omit to state, that those provinces being extremely hard pressed, commissioned their ambassador, on the 25th of June, 1585, to offer to the Queen the sovereignty of their country, under certain conditions, for the security of civil and religious liberty. Some of Elizabeth's counsellors said, “the Queen has wished only to protect the applicants against oppression, but not to encourage rebellion against their lawful sovereign: besides, a complete union of the Netherlands with England would plunge that kingdom into the greatest danger.” Others replied, “as soon as the Netherlands are subdued by Spain, that power will naturally turn against England: we ought therefore to avert so great a danger; and even though Philip were not in the wrong, a ne– cessary war can never be called unjust.” Elizabeth, taking the middle course between these opposite proposals, refused the sovereignty of the Netherlands, which would have rendered her odious, and have engaged her too far; but declared in October, 1585, that she must protect the oppressed, as the ancient allies of England, in their rights and privileges; promote the revival of trade, which was ruined, and oppose the secret as well as the public enterprises of Philip against her own safety. Flushing, the Briel, and Rammekens, were given up by the Netherlands as security, and they promised to pay at a future time the expenses of the war, and not to make peace without the co-operation of England. On the 6th of December, 1585, the Earl of Leicester (*) embarked for the Netherlands, as commander of a large force, for as prudently as Elizabeth had hitherto delayed, so boldly and energetically did she now meet the increasing danger. At home, too, her danger became more imminent than before. Babington, a young gentleman, Ballard, Savage, Marvel, and several others, encouraged or sent by the Jesuits at Rheims,(*) conspired to murder Elizabeth, to overthrow the Protestant religion, and to place the Queen of Scots upon the throne. The plot was discovered by the penetration of Walsingham, and the imprudence of the conspirators; and capital punishment, in some instances not without torture, (*) was inflicted upon them. After this simple investigation and punishment, came the embarrassing question, what was to be done with the Queen of Scotland, whose knowledge of their plans was testified by the conspirators, in whose possession letters from Mary had been found, which, if they did not directly approve of the murder, yet indicated her knowledge and participation, in the same manner as the letters to Bothwell had indicated her knowledge and participation in the murder of Darnley. Thus, for instance, a letter from Babington to her said: “six noble men were chosen to execute the murder, and a hundred others were united to deliver her.” Mary, in her answer, commended Babington's zeal 3

* See Note A.

for her and the Catholic religion, but exhorted them to be cautious, and not to attempt anything till they had gained more friends in the country, were assured of foreign assistance, and a rebellion had broken out in Ireland. Meantime Babington might give the six noble men, the necessary assurances respecting their recompence. On these grounds, Elizabeth caused Nau and Curl, Mary's secretaries, to be thrown into prison, and their papers seized. (*) Among the latter were found proofs of extensive connections, and that not a few persons had manifested great attachment and zeal for her. The secretaries confessed, without being put to the torture, that they had corresponded with Babington, and that the letters in question were dictated by her to Nau, and translated into English by Curl. Even after these disclosures, opinions were divided respecting the measures that must be adopted towards Mary; some said, she is only cognisant, but not participator in the crime, and has, therefore, by no means merited the penalty of death. Keep her in prison, and wait for the end of her life, which, as she is in bad health, may not be distant. Leicester, on the contrary, it is said, proposed that the Queen, who deserved death, should be secretly put out of the way, which proposal was, however, rejected by Walsingham, for a legal investigation and legal sentence must precede, and the only question was, whether the

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