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“sions, though never so learned in divinity, canon, “ common or civil law, physic, &c.; of presenting, " in their own rights, to benefices, prebends, or “ ecclesiastical advancements; of being executors

or administrators; of being guardians, either of “ such as by tenure held of them, or to such as

by nature, nurture, or other civil right, was “ due to them: of relieving their wives: of suc“ couring or educating their children : of hár

bouring their friends: of marrying, christening, “ or burying of them, as occasion required : and finally, of any access to the royal majesty, upon

any grievance, either for righting their wrongs, “ or for defending their rights. Yea, by statute

laws, the statists had variable ways, either of their pleasures to entrap all sorts of catholics, with a præmunire, to the loss of their liberties and

estates, as well real as personal, or to endanger “ their lives, upon new and unheard-of felonies “ and treasons, even for the exercise of such matters, as were, in all ages, held for virtues.

“Hereupon, out of every pulpit, press, or sta“ tioner's shop, such invectives, slanders, infamies,

untruths, and lies were cast upon priests, as sedi“ tious; and upon catholics, as impious and wicked, “ as were without measure or remedy. For, no

tongue was so foresworn, but was of credit against " them; and none, but was reputed false, in their 66 “ defence. Their houses were daily searched and “ rifled: their altars, chalices, books, church stuff,

beads, &c. were taken from them, and turned to “ common uses. The name of catholic was denied

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"them; the common law making for them, was “ inverted and turned against them: and, for the

queen of Scots and their sakes, the name of Rome “ was maliced : the pope vilified and liared : the “ catholic emperors, kings, and princes, were trau duced : and the catholics themselves became the “trampling-stones of all pursuivants, informers,

promoters, and other hungry, needy, and merci“ less people, for the covetousness of their goods, “ for the confiscation of their lands, and for the

begging of their estates, in such sort as was both “ outrageous and insatiable. To conclude: the

. catholics,—some of them from 5,000l. yearly, “some from 2,000l. and others from 1,000l. 500/. “ 100l. 501. more or less yearly revenues, fell to “extreme misery, could no ways please the statists, “ but in being miserable. Whereupon they en“ dured such ravenings, pillagings, and pollings, “ such exiles, imprisonments, and tortures, such en

slaving of their persons, and such effusion of their “ innocent blood, as came not short of the Arian “ persecution itself: even such as neither eye has seen, nor ear heard of, in

any

christian common" wealth."

The gloom and mental agony, which embittered the last days of her,-by whose ministers these persecutions of the catholics were devised, have been recorded by almost all her historians, but accounted for satisfactorily by none. The story of the earl of Essex, the countess of Nottingham and the ring, have been elevated to history by the pen of Hume; the age of Elizabeth, for she was, at this time, in her seven

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tieth year, would appear an insuperable objection to its truth, if other circumstances of her life did not prove, that, even at this period, she was susceptible of romantic fondness. It is, however, evident, that these circumstances, without being the sole cause of the queen's distress, might lead her to retrospective meditations; and that the illusions of vanity, pleasure, passion, and ambition, then ceasing to operate, she might strongly feel, that she stood on the verge of eternity, and was soon to render to the God, who had commanded her to love her neighbour as herself, an account of all that had been done to secure to her the honours and the power, which she was soon to quit for ever. That her woe arose from this cause, the dismal circumstances related of it, render as probable as any, which has yet been assigned.; "Two letters," says major Rennel*, "written by "the emperor Aurengzebe, in his last moments, to "his two sons, furnish this striking lesson to frail "mortality, that, however men may forget them"selves during the tide of prosperity, a day of recol"lection will come sooner or later.-Here we are

presented with the dying confession of an aged "monarch:-how awful must his situation appear "to him, when he says, wherever I look, I see "nothing but the Divinity!"

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* Introduction to his Memoir on the Map of Hindustan, Ixiii. note.

CHAP. XLI.

JAMES THE FIRST :-HIS ACCESSION TO THE

THRONE.

1603 FEW sovereigns have ascended an ancient throne, by a title quite so clear, as that of James the first. On the death of Elizabeth without issue, the line of Henry the eighth, her father, was extinct; it became therefore necessary to resort to the other children of Henry the seventh, her grandfather.

Margaret, the eldest daughter of that monarch, having married James the fourth of Scotland, James their grandson,—the sixth Scottish and first English monarch of that name,---was their lineal heir. Thus he represented both the house of York ånd the house of Lancaster : the rights also of the Saxon monarchs had, in consequence of the marriage of Margaret, sister of Edgar Atheling, daughter of Edward the outlaw, and grand-daughter of Edmund Ironside, with Malcolm king of Scotland, been transmitted to him.

The first act of his first parliament was, “ to recognize and acknowledge, that, immediately

upon the dissolution and decease of Elizabeth, “ late queen of England, the imperial crown there

of did, by inherent birthright, and lawful and un“ doubted succession, descend and come to his most “excellent majesty, as being lineally, justly, and

lawfully, next and sole heir of the blood royal of “ the realm.”

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Every reader of these pages is apprised of the state of uncertainty, in regard to his succession to the British throne, in which the monarch was kept by queen Elizabeth, till the last moment of her life: it is less known that he had apprehensions from other quarters. The president de Thou* informs us, that Roger Creichton, the abbot of Pignerol, in his Life of Laurea, cardinal protector of Scotland, and for some time secretary to queen Mary †, relates, that Mary made her will on the day preceding her death; that, after declaring in it her constant attachment to the catholic faith, she ordered, "that "her son should never succeed to the crown of England, unless he abjured his heresy ; and that, "if he persisted in it, she transferred the right to " that crown to Philip of Spain; that the cardinal having examined the document and compared it "with several letters, which he had received from "the queen, was satisfied that it was her hand"writing; and that he signed it and caused it to "be signed by Lewis Owen, the bishop of Cassano, "and placed it in the hands of the condé Olivarez, "the Spanish ambassador at Rome, to be trans"mitted by him to his sovereign." A vague report of this supposed will appears to have been in circulation at the time of the Spanish armada; but,

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* Hist. lib. xxxvi.

+Through him, St. Pius the fifth had sent Mary, soon after her accession to the Scottish throne, a present of 20,000 crowns ;his holiness had also intended to confer on him the dignity of apostolic nuncio to her but on the representation of the queen, Laurea stopped at Paris, which he had reached in his way to Scotland.-Robertson's Hist. of Scotland, book iv.

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