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which no advocate could palliate--countries laid desolate, cities sacked and burned, lists of hundreds of thousands of women and children brought to misery by the political ambition of a single man. The evil spirit demanded the offender's soul, and it seemed as if mercy itself could not refuse him the award. But at the last moment the Supreme Judge interfered.
The Emperor, he said, had been sent into the world at a peculiar time, for a peculiar purpose, and was not to be tried by the ordinary rules. Titian has painted the scene : Charles kneeling before the throne, with the consciousness, as became him, of human infirmities, written upon his countenance, yet neither afraid nor abject, relying in absolute faith that the Judge
of all mankind would do right. 29
Of Cæsar, too, it may be said that he came into the world at a special time and for a special object. The old religions were dead, from the pillars of Hercules to the Euphrates and the Nile, and the principles on which human society had been constructed were dead also. There remained of spiritual conviction only the common and human sense of justice and morality; and out of this sense some ordered system of government had to be constructed under which quiet men could live and labor and eat the fruit of their industry. Under a rule of this material kind there can be no enthusiasm, no chivalry, no saintly aspirations, no patriotism of the heroic type. It was not to last for ever. A new life was about to dawn for mankind. Poetry, and faith, and devotion were to
spring again out of the seeds which were sleeping in the 30 heart of humanity. But the life which is to endure grows
slowly; and as the soil must be prepared before the wheat can be sown, so before the kingdom of heaven could throw up its shoots there was needed a kingdom of this world where the nations were neither torn in pieces by
violence nor were rushing after false ideals and spurious ambitions. Such a kingdom was the empire of the Cæsars—a kingdom where peaceful men could work, think, and speak as they pleased, and travel freely among provinces ruled for the most part by Gallios who protected life and property, and forbade fanatics to tear each other in pieces for their religious opinions. “It is not 31 lawful for us to put any man to death,” was the complaint of the Jewish priests to the Roman governor. Had Europe and Asia been covered with independent nations, each with a local religion represented in its ruling powers, Christianity must have been stifled in its cradle. If St. Paul had escaped the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, he would have been torn to pieces by the silversmiths at Ephesus. The appeal to Cæsar's judgment-seat was the shield of his mission, and alone made possible his success.
And this spirit, which confined government to its 32 simplest duties, while it left opinion unfettered, was especially present in Julius Cæsar himself. From cant of all kinds he was totally free. He was a friend of the people, but he indulged in no enthusiasm for liberty. He never dilated on the beauties of virtue, or complimented, as Cicero did, a Providence in which he did not believe. He was too sincere to stoop to unreality. He 33 held to the facts of this life and to his own convictions ; and, as he found no reason for supposing that there was a life beyond the grave, he did not pretend to expect it. He respected the religion of the Roman State as an institution established by the laws. He encouraged or left unmolested the creeds and practices of the uncounted sects or tribes who were gathered under the eagles. But his own writings contain nothing to indicate that he himself had any religious belief at all. He saw no evidence that the gods practically interfered in human affairs. He
never pretended that Jupiter was on his side. He thanked his soldiers after a victory, but he did not order “ Te Deums” to be sung for it; and, in the absence of these conventionalisms, he perhaps showed more real reverence than he could have displayed by the freest use of the formulas of pietism.
EXECUTION OF MARY STUART.
FROUDE'S “HISTORY OF ENGLAND."
This is one of Froude's most studied attempts at brilliant wordpainting. The story of Mary Stuart is a theme of which the world never grows weary. She was executed upon the charge of conspiring against Queen Elizabeth, but the sentiment of the world will always remain divided as to her guilt or innocence. Her memory seems to have been vindicated by subsequent events, as her son, James VI, of Scotland, succeeded to the English crown upon the death of Elizabeth, as James I, of England, and the present house of Hanover base their succession to the English throne upon their descent from her granddaughter, Elizabeth of Bohemia. The student should read Miss Strickland's “Lives of the Queens of Scotland,” also the works of Housack and Melin.
1 The end had come. She had long professed to expect it, but the clearest expectation is not certainty. The scene for which she had affected to prepare she was to encounter in its dread reality, and all her busy schemes, her dreams of vengeance, her visions of a revolution, with herself ascending out of the convulsion and seating herself on her rivals throne—all were gone. She had played
deep, and the dice had gone against her. 2 Yet in death, if she encountered it bravely, victory was still possible. Could she but sustain to the last the
character of a calumniated suppliant, accepting heroically for God's sake and her creed's the concluding stroke of a long series of wrongs, she might stir a tempest of indignation which, if it could not save herself, might at least overwhelm her enemy. Persisting, as she persisted to the last, in denying all knowledge of Babington, it would be affectation to credit her with a genuine feeling of religion ; but the imperfection of her motive exalts the greatness of her fortitude. To an impassioned believer death is comparatively easy.
Her chaplain was lodged in a separate part of the 3 castle. The Commissioners, who were as anxious that her execution should wear its real character as she was herself, determined to convert it into a martyrdom, refused, perhaps unwisely, to allow him access to her, and offered her again the assistance of an Anglican dean. They gave her an advantage over them which she did not fail to use. She would not let the dean come near her. She sent a note to the chaplain telling him that she had meant to receive the sacrament, but, as it might not be, she must content herself with a general confession. She bade him watch through the night and pray for her. In the morning, when she was brought out, she might perhaps see him, and receive his blessing on her knees. She supped cheerfully, giving her last meal with 4 her attendants a character of sacred parting. Afterward she drew aside her apothecary, M. Gorion, and asked him if she might depend upon his fidelity; when he satisfied her that she might trust him, she said she had a letter and two diamonds which she wished to send to Mendoza. He undertook to melt some drug and conceal them in it, where they would never be looked for, and promised to deliver them faithfully. One of the jewels was for Mendoza himself; the other, and the larg
5 est, was for Philip. It was to be a sign that she was dying for the truth, and was meant also to bespeak his care for her friends and servants. Every one of them, so far as she was able, without forgetting a name, she commended to his liberality. Arundel, Paget, Morgan, the Archbishop of Glasgow, Westmoreland, Throgmorton, the Bishop of Ross, her two secretaries, the ladies who had shared the trials of her imprisonment—she remembered them all, and specified the sums which she desired 6 Philip to bestow on them. And as Mary Stuart then and throughout her life never lacked gratitude to those who had been true to her, so then, as always, she remembered her enemies. There was no cant about her, no unreal talk of forgiveness of injuries. She bade Gorion tell Philip it was her last prayer that he should persevere, notwithstanding her death, in the invasion of England. It was God's quarrel, she said, and worthy of his greatness; and as soon as he had conquered it, she desired him not to forget how she had been treated by Cecil and Leicester and Walsingham; by Lord Huntingdon, who had ill-used her fifteen years before at Tutbury; by Sir
Amyas Paulet and Secretary Wade. 7 Her last night was a busy one. As she said herself,
there was much to be done, and the time was short. A few lines to the King of France were dated two hours after midnight. They were to insist for the last time that she was innocent of the conspiracy, that she was dying for religion, and for having asserted her right to the crown; and to beg that, out of the sum which he owed her, her servants’ wages might be paid, and masses provided for her soul. After this she slept for three or four hours, then rose, and with the most elaborate care prepared to encounter the end. 8 At eight in the morning the provost-marshal knocked