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Those who were most observant saw unmistakable tokens of Cromwell's fall. The king's manner toward him had changed altogether. His majesty now showed marked signs of contempt, which were noticed by many of the courtiers. The people, who had lost so much by his policy, were loud in their murmurings; nor were the aristocracy otherwise than heartily indignant with him. It was noticed that he was frequently alone. Old allies avoided him. He was often left silent and solitary -suitable prelude of his fall and death.
The king, ever capricious, was eminently so in this case. Cromwell, self-willed, resolute, and unscrupulous as he was, had been only too ready a tool in all his grace's dark and questionable designs, and certainly deserved better and fairer treatment from his royal master. But the arm of God Almighty was not shortened ; and punishment from on high, so well deserved, was soon to fall upon him.
On the 10th of June, 1540, he was arrested by the Duke of Norfolk at the Council Chamber, when least expecting any such proceeding; and he was at once committed to the Tower.
Cromwell exerted all his interest to prolong a life spent in crime. In prison his conduct was the very reverse of that of those noble victims of his
shameful policy, who with uplifted hands prayed fervently to God for their persecutors. From his own lips came little else but curses and imprecations for his enemies.
The day of vengeance was slowly drawing near. The desolated sanctuaries cried to heaven for Cromwell's due punishment. The woes and sorrows of outcast monks and nuns, wandering and weary, were not forgotten by an all-just and righteous God. “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Within forty-eight days of the Earl's arrest, he received his due reward.
He laid his head on the block. At the executioner's second stroke it was severed from his body, and rolled on to the straw around, leaving a bloody track. So died this man; the crowd witnessed his end without sorrow or sympathy. No man who has thus suffered, suffered more properly. England was well rid of one who thoroughly deserved his fate.
REV. FREDERICK GEORGE LEE,
THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF MARY
QUEEN OF SCOTS.
On the 25th of September, 1586, Mary had been taken from Chartley to the castle of Fotheringay, in Northamptonshire, where she was more strictly watched than ever by Sir Amias Paulet, who was a harsh and inflexible jailor. On the 11th of October, Elizabeth's commissioners arrived, the great hall of the castle having been previously fitted up as a court-room for their reception. They would have proceeded with the trial immediately; but a difficulty occurred, which, though they scarcely can have falled to anticipate, they were not prepared to obviate. Mary refused to acknowledge their jurisdiction, denying that they possessed any right to either arraign or try her. “I am no subject to Elizabeth,” she said, “but an independent queen as well as she; and I will consent to nothing unbecoming the majesty of a crowned head. Worn out as my body is, my mind is not yet so enfeebled as to make me forget what is due to myself, my ancestors, and my country. Whatever
the laws of England may be, I am not subject to them; for I came into the realm only to ask assistance from a sister queen, and I have been detained an unwilling prisoner.” For two days the commissioners labored in vain to induce Mary to appear before them; and as she assigned reasons for refusing which it was impossible for fair argument to invalidate, recourse was at length had to threats. They told her that they would proceed with the trial whether she consented to be present or not; and that, though they were anxious to hear her justification, they would nevertheless conclude that she was guilty, and pronounce accordingly, if she refused to defend herself. It would have been well had Mary allowed them to take their own way; but conscious that she was accused unjustly, she could not bear to think that she excited suspicion by refusing the opportunity of establishing her innocence. Actuated by this honorable motive, she at length yielded, after solemnly protesting that she did not, and never would, acknowledge the authority which Elizabeth arrogated over her.
On the 14th of October the trial commenced. The upper half of the great hall of Fotheringay Castle was railed off, and at the higher end was placed a chair of state under a canopy, for the Queen of England. Upon both sides of the room
benches were arranged in order, where the Lord Chancellor Bromley, the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, fourteen earls, thirteen barons and knights, and members of the privy council sat. In the centre was a table, at which the lord chief-justice, several doctors of the civil law, Popham, the queen’s attorney, her solicitors, sergeants, and notaries, took their places. At the foot of this table, and immediately opposite Elizabeth's chair of state, a chair without any canopy was placed for the Queen of Scots. Behind was the rail which ran across the hall, the lower part of which was fitted up for the accommodation of persons who were not in the commission.
There was never, perhaps, an occasion throughout the whole of Mary's life on which she appeared to greater advantage than this. In the presence of all the pomp, learning, and talents of England, she stood alone and undaunted; evincing, in the modest dignity of her bearing, a mind conscious of its own integrity, and superior to the malice of fortune. Elizabeth's craftiest lawyers and ablest politicians were assembled to probe her to the quick,—to press home every argument against her which ingenuity could devise and eloquence embellish,-to dazzle her with a blaze of erudition, or involve her in a maze of technical perplexities.