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vailed upon to write circular letters to all the sheriffs, in which he enjoined them to choose such men as he and the privy-council should recommend. With this despotic mandate the sheriffs readily complied; and the members returned fully answered Northumberland's expectations. He had long aimed at the first authority; and the infirm state of the king's health opened the A. D. prospects of his ambition. He represented to 1553. that young prince that his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, who were appointed by Henry's will to succeed on the failure of direct heirs to the crown, had been both declared illegitimate by parliament; that the queen of Scotland was excluded by the king's will, and, being an alien also, lost all right of succeeding; that as the three princesses were thus legally excluded, the succession naturally devolved to the marchioness of Dorset (niece of Henry), whose heir was the lady Jane Grey, a lady every way accomplished for government, as well by the charms of her person as the virtues and acquirements of her mind. The king, who had long submitted to all the politic views of this designing minister, agreed to have the succession submitted to the council, where Northumberland hoped to procure an easy concurrence. In the mean time, as the king's health declined, the minister laboured to strengthen his own interests and connexions. His first aim was to secure the interest of the marquis of Dorset, father to lady Jane Grey, by procuring for him the title of duke of Suffolk, which was lately become extinct. Having thus obliged this nobleman, he then proposed a match between his fourth son, Lord Guilford Dudley, and the lady Jane Grey, whose interests he had been at so much pains to advance. Still bent on spreading his interests as widely as possible, he married his own daughter to lord Hastings, and had these marriages solemnized with all possible pomp and festivity. Mean while, Edward continued to languish ; and several fatal symptoms of a consumption began to appear. It was hoped, however, that his youth and temperance might get the better of his disorder; and from their love the people were unwilling to think him in danger. It had been remarked indeed by some, that his health was visibly seen to decline from the time that the Dudleys were brought about his person. The character of Northumberland might have justly given some colour to suspicion; and his removing all, except his own emissaries, from about the king, still farther increased the disgusts of the people. Northumberland was no way uneasy at their murmurs; he was assiduous in his attendance upon the king, and professed the most anxious concern for his safety, but still drove forward his darling scheme of transferring the succession to his own daughter-in-law. The judges who were appointed to draw up the king's letters-patent for that purpose, warmly objected to the measure, and gave their reasons before the council. They begged that a parliament might be summoned, both to give it force, and to free its partisans from danger; they said that the form was invalid, and would not only subject the judges who drew it, but every counsellor who signed it, to the pains of treason. Northumberland could not brook their demurs; he threatened them with the dread of his authority; he called one of them a traitor, and said that he would fight in his shirt with any man in so just a cause as that of the lady Jane's succession. A method was therefore found out of screening the judges from danger, by granting them the king's pardon for what they should draw up; and at length, after much deliberation, and some refusals, the patent for changing the succession was completed. By this patent, Mary and JElizabeth were set aside, and the crown was settled on the heirs of the duchess of Suffolk; for the duchess herself was contented to forego her claim. Northumberland, having thus far succeeded, thought physicians were no longer serviceable in the king’s complaint; they were dismissed by his advice; and Edward was put into the hands of an ignorant woman, who very confidently undertook his cure. After the use of her medicines, all the bad symptoms increased to a most violent degree; he felt a difficulty of speech and breathing; his pulse failed, his legs swelled, his colour became livid, and many other symptoms ap- July 6, peared of his approaching end. He expired at 1553. Greenwich, in the sixteenth year of his age, and the seventh of his reign, greatly regretted by all, as his early virtues gave a prospect of the continuance of a happy reign. What were the real qualities of this young prince's heart, there was not time to discover; but the cultivation of his understanding, if we may credit historians, was amazing. He was said to understand the Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish languages. He was versed in logic, music, natural philosophy, and theology. Cardan, the extraordinary scholar and physician, happening to pay a visit to the English court, was so astonished at: his early progress, that he extols him as a prodigy of nature. It is probable, however, that so much flattery as he received would have contri


buted to corrupt him, as it had formerly corrupted his father. *

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THE death of Edward only served to prepare fresh troubles for a people who had hitherto greatly suffered from the depravity of their kings, or the turbulence of their nobility. The succession to the throne had hitherto been obtained partly by lineal descent, and partly by the aptitude for government in the person chosen. Neither quite hereditary, nor quite elective, it had made ancestry the pretext of right, while the consent of the people was necessary to support all hereditary pretensions. In fact, when wisely conducted, this is the best species of succession that can be conceived, as it prevents that aristocracy which is ever the result of a government entirely elective, and that tyranny which is too often established, where there is never an infringement of hereditary claims. - Whenever a monarch of England happened to be arbitrary, and to enlarge the prerogative, he generally considered the kingdom as his property, and not himself as a servant of the people. In such a case, it was natural for him at his decease to bequeath his dominions as he thought proper, making his own will the standard of his subjects' happiness. Henry the Eighth, in conformity to this practice, made his will, in which he settled the succession merely according to his caprice. In that, Edward his son was the first nominated to succeed him ; then Mary, his eldest daughter by Catharine of Spain; but with a special mark of condescension, by which he would intimate her illegitimacy. The next

that followed was Elizabeth, his daughter by Anne Boleyn, with the same marks, intimating her illegitimacy also. After his own children, his sisters’ children were mentioned: the issue of his younger sister the duchess. of Suffolk were preferred to those of his elder sister the queen of Scotland; which preference was thought by all to be neither founded injustice, nor supported by reason. This will was now, however, set aside by the intrigues of Northumberland, by whose advice a will was made, as we have seen, in favour of lady Jane Grey, in prejudice of all other claimants. Thus, after the death of this young monarch, there were no fewer than four princesses who could assert their pretensions to the crown: Mary, who was the first upon Henry's will, but who had been declared illegitimate by an act of parliament, which had not been repealed: Elizabeth was next to succeed; and though she had been declared illegitimate, yet she had been restored to her rights during her father's life: the young queen of Scotland, grand-daughter of Henry’s eldest sister, was first in right, supposing the two daughters illegitimate: while lady Jane Grey might allege the will of the late king in her own faWour. Of these, however, only two put in their pretensions

to the crown; Mary, relying on the justice of her causey, and lady Jane upon the support of the duke of Northumberland, her father-in-law. Mary was strongly bigoted to the popish superstitions, having been bred up among churchmen, and having been even taught to prefer martyrdom to a denial of belief. As she had lived in continual restraint, she was reserved and gloomy; she had, even during the life of Henry, the resolution to maintain her sentiments, and refused to comply with his new institutions. Her zeal had rendered her furious; and she was not only blindly attached to her religious

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