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Murray and Secretary Liddington on the other, met near Berwick to treat of the marriage, but with slenderer and less earnest offers on the English side than was expected. The Earl of Leicester's behaviour had made a favourable impression upon the Queen of Scots, and she seemed so far to approve of the match, that Elizabeth began to fear it might take effect. Under these apprehensions, and at the solicitation of Secretary Cecil, she permitted Lord Darnley to take a journey into Scotland, with the hope that his presence might work some change in Mary's inclinations; and her project had the anticipated success. Mary soon afterward married that nobleman, who was, in consequence, publicly proclaimed King, and associated with her in the government of her realm.
In 1565, application was again made to Elizabeth to think seriously of marriage, as a mean to discourage the Scottish party in England, and to strengthen the general interest of the Protestant faith. The Emperor Maximilian proposed his brother the Archduke Charles, with very honourable conditions. The Earl of Sussex warmly favoured the match; but Leicester, presuming upon his interest with her Majesty, exerted himself to prevent it. This opposition was ill digested by Sussex, who was of a high spirit, and an honourable lineage. The professed enmity, to which their struggle gave birth, divided the court; and, whenever the two Earls went abroad, they were attended with a retinue of armed followers: so that Elizabeth herself was, at last, obliged to interpose her authority to make up the breach, Sussex, however, continued his aversion till his death, and in his last sickness is said to have addressed his
friends to the following purport: "I am now passing into another world, and must leave you to your fortunes, and to the Queen's grace and goodness; but beware of the gypsy (meaning Leicester) for he will be too hard for you all; you know not the beast, so well as I do." *
At this æra, the University of Oxford was in a most deplorable condition: it's discipline had been long neglected, and it's learning was in a state of almost total decay.† Leicester, it's new Chancellor,
The ground of this quarrel, however, is more fully explained in Burghley's Papers, from which it appears, that the Queen permitted it to be debated in council, Whether she should marry the Archduke, or Leicester?' Sussex and his friends drew up the reasons, why she should not marry Leicester. And from this measure we may judge of her object, in wishing to gain the consent of the Scottish court to the proposed match between Mary and Leicester; which was, that it might not appear derogatory to herself to marry him, after another Queen had agreed to accept his hand: but her council prudently overruled her inclinations.
+ The whole University, indeed, could furnish only three preachers; and the audience was, of course, frequently put off with very lame performances. To give the reader an instance: the congregation being one Sunday destitute of a preacher, Taverner of Woodeaton, the Sheriff of the county, entered St. Mary's with his sword by his side and his gold chain about his neck, mounted the pulpit, and harangued the scholars in the following strain: "Arriving at the mount of St. Mary's in the stony stage, where I now stand, I have brought you some fine biscuits baked in the oven of charity, carefully conserved for the chickens of the church, the sparrows of the spirit, and the sweet swallows of salvation.” This Taverner, it seems, had been brought up in the Cardinal's College, was an Inceptor in Arts, and in deacon's orders, and a person at that time in high esteem for his learning in the University; so that from this specimen it may be inferred, to how low a character their studies were reduced.
laboured by all possible means to introduce into it improvements in literature, recommended in his letters the interests of religion and science, and pressed upon it's members a more close observance of their duty. This application was not without it's effect: provision was immediately made for reforming abuses in graces and dispensations, lectures and public exercises were enforced by statute, and academical habits were brought under regulation; the Earl continuing to patronise and regulate their proceedings upon every occasion.
In the beginning of the year 1566, Monsieur Rambouillet was sent to England by Charles IX. King of France with the order of St. Michael, to be conferred upon two English noblemen, whom her Majesty should select for that honour. She made choice of the Duke of Norfolk, and the Earl of Leicester; the one distinguished by his high birth, and the other by her royal favour. The investiture took place, in the royal chapel at Whitehall, with extraordinary solemnity; no Englishman having ever before been admitted into this order, except Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk.
This summer, the Queen made her first progress into the country (a laudable measure, which she subsequently often repeated during the remainder of her reign) and, on her return, she visited Oxford. Upon this occasion she was attended by the Earl of Leicester, who in a previous communication to the University, had desired them to make an honourable provision for her Majesty's reception.*
* On the thirty-first of August, as her Majesty approached, she was met at Wolvercote (where the jurisdiction of the University begins) by the Chancellor, four Doctors, and the Vice
Upon her return to London, the parliament seemed resolved to insist upon her immediate marriage, or
Chancellor in their scarlet robes and hoods, and by eight Masters of Arts, who were Heads of Colleges or Halls. The Chancellor then delivered to her the staffs of the three superior beadles, and having received them back, and replaced them in the hands of their respective officers, the Canon of Christ Church made an elegant speech to her Majesty upon the occa sion. She then held out her hand to the Orator and the Doctors, and as Dr. Humphreys drew near to kiss it, "Mr. Doctor," she said, smiling, "that loose gown becomes you mighty well; I wonder your notions should be so narrow." This Humphreys, though Regius Professor of Divinity, was, it seems, at the head of the Puritan party, and had opposed the ecclesiastical habits with great vehemence.
On entering the town, she found the streets lined with scholars from Bocardo to Quatervois, who as she passed along fell down upon their knees, and with one voice cried out, "Long live the Queen!" At Quatervois the Greek Professor addressed her Majesty in a Greek oration, and the Queen in an answer delivered in the same language commended his performance. Thence she was conveyed with the like pomp to Christ Church, where she was received by Mr. Kingsmill, the Public Orator; who in the name of the University congratulated her upon her arrival among them.
For seven days together she was magnificently entertained and expressed an extreme delight in the lectures, disputations, public exercises, and shows; at all of which she constantly attended. On the sixth day, she declared her satis faction in a Latin speech, and assured them of her favour and protection. The day following she took her leave, and was conducted by the Heads as far as Shotover Hill, when the Earl of Leicester gave her notice, that they had accompanied her to the limits of their jurisdiction. Mr. Roger Marbeck then made an oration to her Majesty, and having stated the difficulties under which learning had formerly laboured, gratefully acknowledged it's recent encouragements, and the prospect of it's arising, under her Majesty's most gracious administration, to a superior degree of splendor. The Queen returned him a very favourable answer, and casting her eyes back upon Oxford with
the declaration of a successor. The Earl of Leicester had earnestly supported the title of the Queen of Scots; but, not meeting with the success which he desired, he contended that a husband ought to be imposed upon Elizabeth, or that a successor should even against her inclination be appointed by parliament. In this, he was joined openly by the Earl of Pembroke, and privately by the Duke of Norfolk. The Queen, highly incensed at their behaviour, for some time prohibited them all access to her person: it was not long, however, before they submitted, and obtained her Majesty's pardon.
During his disgrace, Leicester is suspected of having entered into a traitorous correspondence with the Irish, who had about this period broken out into open rebellion. Letters from him, indeed, are said to have been found upon a distinguished insurgent, who was killed in battle; but, before the charge could be regularly framed into articles, he was by his reconciliation with the Queen placed completely above it's reach.
The next year, Count Stolberg was despatched into England by the Emperor, to revive the treaty of marriage between the Archduke Charles and Elizabeth. Dudley, however, continued to throw every obstacle in it's way, by laying before her the inconveniences which would necessarily arise from a
all possible marks of tenderness and affection, bade him farewell. Her Majesty's countenance (it may here be observed) and the Earl of Leicester's influence, had such an effect upon this learned body, that within a few years Oxford produced more eminent men in every branch of science, than it had done în any preceding age.