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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 528



groundless, for the idea, dressed up in the form of an attractive pamphlet, and entitled " A new Platform of Government contrived for the Queen," was, through the hands of one of the Emperor's ambassadors—most probably Penaud—presented to Mary by a busy, factious person, who had been Cromwell's servant, was employed in the suppression of the monasteries, had been imprisoned as a zealous partisan of Lady Jane Grey, and now, to procure his own elevation, advised the Queen that, as the statute laws only named kings, she, as Queen Regnant, was not bound by them, her authority was unlimited, and she, of her sole will, and without the co-operation of Parliament, could restore the monasteries, re-establish the authority of the Pope, and, in fact, reign an uncontrolled despot. When the Queen read the pamphlet, she disliked it ; and judging it to he contrary to her coronation oath, sent for Gardiner, and charged him, as he would answer it before God at the day of doom, to carefully examine the book, and bring her bis opinion of it without delay. The next day, being Maunday Thursday, when the Queen came from her maunday, he waited upon her in her closet, and delivered his opinion upon the pamphlet in these words:—"My good and most gracious lady, I will not ask you to name the devisers of this new-invented platform, hut I must say it is a pity that so noble and virtuous a lady should be endangered with the pernicious advices of such subtle sycophants, for the book is naught, andmost horrible to be thought on." Upon this, tbe Queen thanked him, threw the hook into the fire, and immediately afterwards charged the ambassador who had brought it to her, neither directly or indirectly to encourage such base projects. This interview is aproof of Gardiner's influence with the Queen, and also of his sincere attachment to the ancient laws of England, which he more than once boldly defended, when Cromwell urged Henry the Eighth to rule without law or justice. In fact, Gardiner was an erudite scholar and divine, a clever diplomatist, a skilful financier, and a generous patron of learn ing ; but these and many other praise worthy traits in his character were de formed and blackened by a deep-seated, superstitious bigotry, and the relentless cruelty with which he persecuted his religious opponents. On the fifth of May, the Queen dissolved Parliament in person, with an address that was frequently interrupted by the acclamations of the audience, whilst others turned away and wept Those who were moved to tears did not weep, it is supposed, at the moving eloquence of the royal declaimer, but at the shameful hypocrisy and selfishness of the House of Peers. With tbe exception of some half-dozen persons, the laymen of this House were the same individuals who, in the preceding reign, had voted the establishment of the Protestant Church, yet they now unanimously joined in the enactment of cruel laws against heretics, classing as heretics the members of the same Protestant Church they had so recently founded. In fact, the English nobility and gentry were at this period neither over-sincere nor honest. The peers were bribed by Renaud, the Emperor's ambassador, and when they had a purpose.to serve, they cared not a jot whether they professed the Protestant or the Catholic creed. The nation generally, it would appear, was no more sincere in their religious profession than the peers. The Venetian ambassador, in one of his dispatches, says, "They are without any other religion than interest, and ready, if desirable, to embrace Judaism, Mohammedan ism, or any other ism those in power choose to set up." As Philip had neglected to write to Mary, she addressed to him a formal letter (billet-doux it cannot be named) in French, of which the following is a translation :— "M ONSIEUR, my good and constant •aiiyj "Understanding that the ambassador of the Emperor, Monseigneur and good father residing with me, is about to dispatch the bearer of these to your Highness, I would not deny


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