FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
sick bed, and her limited income scarcely snmced to supply their medical and other necessary wants; a source of great grief to Mary, who took peculiar pleasure in alleviating the misery of the unfortunate and distressed. The entries in her privy purse journal, which closes with tlie year 1544, not only hear witness to this fact, but they also render it apparent that her income was precarious and limited—her numerous benefactions attended with no small amount of self-sac ri lice, one of the surest proofs of a philanthropic disposition.
This summer Mary attended the King and Queen in their progress through the midland counties ; but being attacked with her old chronic sickness between Grafton and Woodstock, she was removed in the Queen's litter first to Ampthill, and afterwards to Ashbridge, where she spent the autumn with her halfbrother and sister, who were then residing there. In February, 1544, she assisted at the court held by her stepmother at Westminster, for the reception of the Spanish Duke do Xajera. The Spanish grandee kissed her lips in token that he was her relation, and danced with her at the court ball given on the occasion.
Several circumstances tend to shew
that at this period the religions preju
dices of Mary were not so great as has
been supposed. Her only expenditure
on the ceremonials of the popish church,
was an insignificant offering at Candle
mas. With this exception, the latter
entries in her privy purse journal afford
no indication of her adherence to the
Catholic church, whilst the translation
into English of the paraphrase of St.
John by Erasmus, which she so ably
accomplished in 1544, at the request of
the good Queen Katherine Parr, would
almost induce a belief that she had em
braced the Protestant faith.
In the spring of 1546, Mary was
again laid up with an attack of her
chronic illness; early in May she re
covered and went to court, where she
tarried several months. Whether she
witnessed the death of her father is
problematical, but Pollino assures us that
Henry the Eighth, when on his deathbed, called her to his side, and made her solemnly promise not to aspire to her brother's crown, but to be as a mother to him during his minority, and always to love him. A promise which she probably made, as, despite the tempting inducements, the entreaties of her friends, and the persecution she herself s tiered in defence of her domestic altar and worship, she, to the last, firmly discouraged rebellion against those who held the regal reins for her youthful brother, and abstained from connecting herself with any faction. Jiy the conditions of Henry the Eighth's will, Mary was made Prince Edward's imme diate successor, provided that Prince died without issue; she was also left a marriage portion of ten thousand pounds, if she married with the consent of tbe council, and three thousand pounds a year during tbe period that she was single. Part of this annuity was de rived from the rents of Kenning Hall, a manor illegally wrested from one of the
Howard family, and which on her accession she honourably restored to its rightful heir.
On the accession of Edward the Sixth, Mary retired to the privacy of a country life. In April, 1547, she wrote a friendlyletter to Lady Somerset, requesting her to prevail on the Protector to provide for Kichard Woodard and George Brickhouse, two of her mother's aged servants; and, as the request was speedily complied with, it is evident that the changes made in religion at this period had not as yet destroyed the good understanding subsisting between her and the Protector. In June, she received a letter from Lord Seymour, requesting her sanction to his marriage with Katherine Parr. Her very sensible answer, which we have already given in the memoirs of Henry the Eighth's last Queen,* is dated from 'Wanstead. Her health was delicate, and to improve it, she passed the sommer at her various country residences. In the autumn, she resided at Kcnninghall, in Xorfolk. where her old chronic affection again laid her on a bed of sickness. Jane, her chamber-woman, had
* See page 456.