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poor lady, somewhat astonished at their discourse, but nos at all moved by their reasons, or in the least elevated by such unexpected honours, returned them an answer to this. effect: “ That the laws of the kingdom and natural right standing for the king's sisters, she would beware of burdening her weak conscience with a yoke which did belong to them; that she understood the infamy of those who had permitted the violation of right to gain a sceptre; that it were to mock God and deride justice, to scruple at the stealing of a shilling, and not at the usurpation of a crown. Besides,” said she, “ I am not so young, nor so little read in the guiles of fortune, to suffer myself to be taken by them. If she enrich any, it is but to make them the subject of her spoil; if she raise others, it is but to pleasure herself with their ruins; what she adored but yesterday is to-day her pastime; and, if I now permit her to adorn and crown me, I must to-morrow suffer her to crush and tear me to pieces. Nay, with what crown does she present me! a crown which hath been violently and shamefully wrested from Catharine of Arragon, made more unfortunate by the punishment of Anne Boleyn, and others that wore it after her: and why then would you have me add my blood to theirs, and be the third victim, from whom this fatal crown may be ravished with the head that wears it? But in case it should not prove fatal unto me, and that all its venom were consumed, if fortune should give me warranties of her constancy, should I be well advised to take upon me these thorns, which would dilacerate, though not kill me outright; to burden myself with a yoke, which would not fail to torment me, though I were assured not to be strangled with it? My liberty is better than the chain yoii proffer me, with what precious stones soever it be adorned, or of what gold soever framed. I will not exchange my peace for honourable and precious jealousies, for magnificent and glorious fetters. And, if you love me sincerely and in good earnest, you will rather wish me a secure and quiet fortune, though mean, than an exalted condition, exposed to the wind, and followed by some dismal fall.”
However, she was at length prevailed upon, by the exhortations of her father, the intercession of her mother, the artful persuasions of Northumberland, and above all, the earnest desires of her liusband, whom she tenderly loved, to yield ber assent to what had been and was to be done. And thus, with a heavy heart, she suffered herself to be conveyed by water to the Tower, where she entered with all the state of a queen, attended by the principal nobility, and, which is very extraordinary, her train supported by the duchess of Suffolk, her mother, in whom, if in any of this line, the right of succession remained. About six in the afternoon she was proclaimed with all due solemnities in the city; the same day she also assumed the regal, and proceeded afterwards to exercise many acts of sovereignty ; but, passing over the transactions of her short reign, which are the subject of general history, it is more immediately our business to conclude this article with her behaviour on her fall. Queen Mary was no sooner proclaimed, than the duke of Suffolk, who then resided with his daughter in the Tower, went to her apartment, and, in the softest terms he could, acquainted her with the situation of their affairs, and that, laying aside the state and dignity of a queen, she must again return to that of a private person : to which, with a settled and serene countenance, she made this answer: “ I better brook this message than my former advancement to royalty ; out of obedience to you and my mother, I have grievously sinned, and offered violence to myself. Now I do willingly, and as obeying the motions of my soul, relinquish the crown, and endeavour to salve those faults committed by others (if at least so great a fault can be salved) by a willing relinquishment and ingenuous acknowledgement of them.”
Thus ended her reign, but not her misfortunes. She saw the father of her husband, with all his family, and many of the nobility and gentry, brought prisoners to the tower for supporting her claim to the crown; and this grief must have met with some accession from his being soon after brought to the block. Before the end of the month, she had the mortification of seeing her own father, the duke of Suffolk, in the same circumstances with herself; but her mother, the duchess, not only remained exempt from all punishment, but had such an interest with the queen as to procure the duke his liberty on the last day of the month. Lady Jane and her husband, being still in confinement, were November 3, 1553, carried from the Tower to Guildhall with Cranmer and others, arraigned and convicted of high treason before judge Morgan, who pronounced on them sentence of death, the remembrance of which afterwards affected him so far, that he died raving.
However, the strictness of their confinement was mitigated in December, by a permission to take the air in the queen's garden, and other little indulgences. This might give some gleams of hope; and there are reasons to believe the queen would have spared her life, if Wyat's rebellion had not happened; but her father's being engaged in that rebellion gave the ministers an opportunity of persuading the queen, that she could not be safe herself, while lady Jane and her husband were alive: yet Mary was not brought without much difficulty to take them off. The news made no great impression upon lady Jane: the bitterness of death was passed; she had expected it long, and was so well prepared to meet her fate, that she was very little discomposed.
But the queen's charity hurt her more than her justice. The day first fixed for her death was Friday February the 9th ; and she bad, in some measure, taken leave of the world by writing a letter to her unhappy father, who she heard was more disturbed with the thoughts of being the author of her death than with the apprehension of his own *. In this serene frame of mind, Dr. Feckenham, abbot of Westminster, came to her from the queen, who was very desirous she should die professing herself a papist, as her father-in-law had done. The abbot was indeed a very fit instrument, if any had been fit for the purpose, having, with an acute wit and a plausible tongue, a great tenderness in his nature. Lady Jane received him with much civility, and behaved towards him with so much calmness and sweetness of temper, that he could not help being overcome with her distress : 60 that, either mistaking or pretending to mistake her meaning, he procured a respite of her execution till the 12th. When he acquainted her with it, she told him, “ that he had entirely misunderstood her sense of her situation; that, far from desiring her death might be delayed, she expected and wished for it as the period of her miseries, and her entrance into eternal happiness.” Neither did he gain any thing upon her in regard to popery; she heard him indeed patiently, but answered all his arguments with such strength, clearness, and steadiness of mind, as shewed plainly that religion had been her principal care *. On Sunday evening, which was the last she was to spend in this world, she wrote a letter in the Greek tongue, as some say, on the blank leaves at the end of a testament in the same language, which she bequeathed as a legacy to her sister the lady Catharine Grey ; a piece which, if we had no other left, it is said, were sufficient to render her name immortal. In the morning, the lord Guilford earnestly desired the officers, that he might take his last farewell of her; which though they wil. lingly permitted, yet upon notice she advised the contrary, “ assuring bim that such a meeting would rather ada to his afflictions then increase his quiet, wherewith they had prepared their souls for the stroke of death; that he demanded a lenitive which would put fire into the wound, and that it was to be feared her presence would rather weaken than strengthen him; that he ought to take courage from his reason, and derive constancy from his own heart; that if his soul were not firm and settled, she could not settle it by her eyes, nor conform it by her words; that he should do well to remit this interview to the other world ; that there, indeed, friendships were happy, and unions indissoluble, and that theirs would be eternal, if their souls carried nothing with them of terrestrial, which might hin., der them from rejoicing.” All she could do was, to give him a farewell out of a window, as he passed to the place of his dissolution, which he suffered on the scaffold on
* There is something so striking in ledge, that being constrained, and, as this letter, and so much above her you well know continually assayed in years, that we cannot debar the rea. taking the crown upon me, I seemed der from it. It is in these terms: to consent, and therein grievously of« Father, although it pleaseth God to fended the queen and her laws; yet do hasten my death by you, by whom my I assuredly trust, that this my offence life should rather have been length- towards God is so much the less, in ened ; yet can I so patiently take it, that, being in so royal an estate as I as I yield God more hearty thanks for was, mine enforced honour never mixshortening my woeful days than if all ed with my innocent heart. And thus, the world had been given into iny pos. good father, I have opened my state to session with life lengthened to my will. you, whose death at hand, although to And albeit I am well assured of your you perhaps it may seem right woful, impatient dolors, redoubled many to me there is nothing that can be more ways, both in bewailing your own wo, welcoine than from this vale of misery and also, as I hear, especially my un- to aspire to that heavenly throne of all fortunate estate; yet, my dear father, joys and pleasure with Christ our Sa. if I way without offence rejoice in my viour; in whose stedfast faith, if it be misbaps, methinks in this I may ac- lawful for the daughter to write so to count myself blessed; that, washing her father, the Lord, that bitherto haih my hands with the incocency of my strengthened you, so continue you, fact, my guiltless blood may cry be that at last we may meet in heaven, fore the Lord, mercy to the innocent ; with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." and yet, though I must needs acknow- Fox's Acts and Monuments
The particulars that passed betwix: ber and Feckenham are well worth the reader's perusal in Fox; and an account drawn up by herself of her
dispute with him about the real presence is printed in the “ Pbænix," Vol. II. p. 28,
Tower-hill with much Christian meekness. She likewise bebeld his dead body wrapped in a linen cloth, as it passed under her window to the chapel within the Tower *.
And, about an hour after, she was led to a scaffold: she was attended by Feckenham, but was observed not to give much heed to his discourses, keeping her eyes stedfastly fixed on a book of prayers which she had in her hand. After some short recollection, she saluted those who were present, with a countenance perfectly composed : then, taking leave of Dr. Fèckenham, she said, “God will abundantly requite you, good Sir, for your humanity to me, though your discourses gave me more uneasiness than all the terrors of my approaching death.” She next addressed herself to the spectators. in a plain and short speech ; after which, kneeling down, she repeated the Miserere in English." This done, she stood up and gave to her women her gloves and handkerchief, and to the lieutenant of the Tower her Prayer-book. In untying her gown, the executioner offered to assist her; but she desired he would let her alone; and turning to her women, they undressed, and gave her a handkerchief to bind about her eyes. The executioner, kneeling, desired her pardon, to which she answered, “ most willingly.” He desired her to stand upon the straw; which bringing her within sight of the block, she said, “ I pray dispatch me quickly;" adding presently after, “ Will you take it off before I lay me down ?”. The executioner answered, “No, madam." Upon this, the handkerchief being bound close over her eyes, she began to feel for the block, to which she was guided by one of the spectators. When she felt it, she stretched herself forward, and said, “ Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit;" and immediately her head was separated at one stroke.
Her fate was universally deplored even by the persons best-affected to queen Mary; and, to a woman of any
* After this sad sight, she wrote The English ran thus : “ If my fault three sbort sentences in a table-book, deserved punishment, my youth at in Greek, Latin, and English, to this least and my imprudence were worthy purport. In Greek: “ If his slain of excuse. God and posterity will body shall give testimony against me shew me favour."-This book she gave before men, bis most blessed soul shall to sir John Bridges, the lieutenant of Tender an eternal proof of my inno- the Tower, on the scaffold, at bis incence in the presence of God.” In treaty to bestow some memorial upon Latin to this effect: “ The justice of him, as an acknowledgement of his man took away his body, but the din civility, Heylin. vine mercy has preserved his soul."