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QUEEN MARY AND HER PEOPLE.
HOW MARY RESTORED THE CATHOLIC
THE reign of Queen Mary has become a proverb and a by-word in England. The very children are taught to call her“ bloody" Queen Mary. They are told that she was a morose and merciless tyrant, feared and hated by her people; a bigoted Papist, who put her Protestant subjects to death on account of their religion--peaceable and pious souls, who desired only to serve God according to their conscience.
I remember most distinctly the sort of picture that was presented to my boyish imagination of this melancholy time. A dull, heavy gloom overspreading the nation, enlivened only by the red fires of Smithfield, and the shrieks of the tortured victims; the priests
looking on with fiendish satisfaction, or feed. ing the flames with copies of the Bible. Dark scowling faces going about the streets; neighbors talking moodily in whispers ; sports and pastimes banished from the land; good men trembling with fear, the bad exulting in the gratification of their revengful passions; the people ever ready to rise in rebellion, but kept down by the iron hand of despotic power; true lovers of the Gospel forced to be present at an idolatrous worship, and to act the part of Catholics while Protestants at heart. Such is the picture which my mind recalls, and over all appears the sorrowful face of Queen Mary, as it looked in the woodcut which adorned the “history" of her reign.
Now this picture I have discovered to be false. I am not saying that the reign of Queen Mary was not, for many reasons, an unhappy one: of this I will tell you more by and by. But I think I can make it very clear to you that it was neither the queen nor her religion that made it so.
A few words will explain how matters stood with respect to religion when Mary came to the throne. Henry VIII. had separated him. self from the Pope, who, as the successor of the
Apostle Peter, was the supreme governor of the Church of Christ throughout the world, and had made himself head of the Church in England in the Pope's place. Thus he set up what is called the royal supremacy in England. Henry had done this because the Pope had refused to divorce him from his lawful wife Queen Catherine, the mother of Mary, and to allow him to marry Anne Boleyn, one of the ladies of her court. This Anne Boleyn was the mother of Elizabeth, (who after Mary was queen of England;) and as Elizabeth was born while Catherine lived, she was consequently illegitimate. Henry VIII. was succeeded by his son Edward, who was a child when his fa: ther died. Edward, or rather those who had the control over him, went further than Henry, and changed the doctrines of the Church, introducing Protestant opinions in their stead. Mary came next, and both restored the old Catholic religion and reunited the Church of England with the see of Rome. How she did this I am about to show you.
Understand, however, that I am not concerned to prove, for the honor of the Catholic religion, that Mary was a good queen. Many Catholic sovereigns have led wicked lives and done