Изображения страниц

to defend the faith—to prevent the introduction of false doctrine and uphold the true. You will say, perhaps, that Mary did more; that she put to death those who refused to con. form. No; up to this time she did nothing of the sort; and how it came to pass that her reign was marked with blood, I shall tell you in my

next. Before, however, I conclude this paper, I will go forward a year, and tell you something of Mary's liberality to the Church; and by the Church I mean, not only the clergy, but the people, and the very poorest of the people. In this respect Mary's conduct presents a noble contrast with that of her grasping Parliament. When the restoration of the Catholic religion was first discussed, many struck their hands upon their swords, and swore " they would never part with their abbey lands while they could wield a weapon.” When the Queen was informed of this, she calmly remarked that she must content herself with setting them a good example, by devoting the lands she found in possession of the Crown to the support of learning and the relief of the most destitute poor. Her council represented to her that if she gave away these revenues, she could not

properly support the splendor of the Crown; but she answered, that she preferred the peace of her conscience to ten such crowns as that of England. Her acts of munificence were truly royal. Henry VIII. had seized upon the tenths and first-fruits, that is to say, the tenth part of the yearly value of each church living, and the first whole year's income of each. Edward VI. had kept this plunder ; but Mary restored it all, together with the tithes which had also been appropriated by the Crown. Nor did she stop here, but proceeded to restore all church and abbey lands, and to apply their revenues, as far as possible, to their ancient purposes, To this end she restored several of the old reli gious houses, among which I may mention Westminster abbey, which had been plundered and suppressed by Henry. All that remained of its once large revenues the Queen gave back, and it became again an abbey in deed as well as in name. Its wealth, as of old, was expended in maintaining a goodly band of Benedictine monks, living together in religious community, serving God night and day in prayers and good works, and feeding the poor that daily thronged their gates. Among other noble benefactions, she re-endowed the

hospital of the Savoy for the benefit of the poor, to which she allotted a certain yearly sum out of her private purse. Thus did Mary, as a Protestant writer remarks, "of her own free will, and even against the wish of very powerful men, give up a yearly revenue of probably not less than a million and a half of our present money. And for what? Because, as she said, she hoped to be able to make a beginning in the restoring of that hospitality and charity which her predecessors had banished from the land," and which, I may add, have never been brought back.

And this is the Queen whose memory En. glishmen have been taught to execrate!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »