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She had none the more any larger or deeper conviction of her own. She was without the intellectual emotions which give human character its consistency and power. One moral quality she possessed in an eminent degree; she was supremely brave. For thirty years she was perpetually a mark for assassination ; her spirits were never affected, and she was never frightened into cruelty. She had a proper contempt also for idle luxury and indul
gence. She lived simply, worked hard, and ruled her 10 household with rigid economy. But her vanity was as
insatiable as it was commonplace. No flattery was too tawdry to find a welcome with her, and, as she had no repugnance to false words in others, she was equally liberal of them herself. Her entire nature was saturated with artifice. Except when speaking some round untruth, Elizabeth never could be simple. Her letters and her speeches were as fantastic as her dress, and her meaning as involved as her policy. She was unnatural even in
her prayers, and she carried her affectations into the pres11 ence of the Almighty. She might doubt legitimately
whether she ought to assist an Earl of Murray or a Prince of Orange when in arms against their sovereign; but her, scruples extended only to the fulfillment of her promises of support, when she had herself tempted them into insurrection. Obligations of honor were not only occasionally forgotten by her, but she did not seem to understand
what honor meant. 12
Vain as she was of her own sagacity, she never modi. fied a course recommended to her by Burghley without injury both to the realm and to herself. She never chose an opposite course without plunging into embarrassments, from which his skill and Walsingham's were barely able to extricate her. The great results of her reign were the fruits of a policy which was not her own, and which she
starved and mutilated when energy and completeness were needed.
That she pushed no question to extremities, that, for 13 instance, she refused to allow the succession to the crown to be determined, and permitted the Catholics to expect the accession of the Queen of Scots, has been interpreted by the result into wisdom. She gained time by it, and her hardest problems were those which time alone could resolve satisfactorily. But the fortune which stood her friend so often never served her better than in lengthening her life into old age. Had the Queen of Scots survived her, her legacy to England would have been a desperate and dreadful civil war, and her reluctance was no result of any far-sighted or generous calculation. She wished only to reign in quiet till her death, and was contented to leave the next generation to settle its own difficulties. Her tenderness toward conspirators 14 was as remarkable as it was hitherto unexampled; but her unwillingness to shed blood extended only to highborn traitors. Unlike her father, who ever struck the leaders and spared the followers, Elizabeth could rarely bring herself to sign the death-warrant of a nobleman; yet without compunction she could order Yorkshire peasants to be hung in scores by martial law. Mercy was the quality with which she was most eager to be credited. She delighted in popularity with the multitude, and studied the conditions of it; but she uttered no word of blame; she rather thanked the perpetrators for good service done to the commonwealth when Essex sent in his report of the women and children who were stabbed in the caves of Rathlin.
She was remorseless when she 15 ought to have been most forbearing, and lenient when she ought to have been stern; and she owed her safety and her success to the incapacity and the divisions of her
enemies rather than to wisdom and resolution of her own. Time was her friend, time and the weakness of Philip; and the fairest feature in her history, the one relation in which from first to last she showed sustained and generous feeling, is that which the perversity of history has selected as the blot on her escutcheon. Beyond and beside the political causes which influenced Elizabeth's attitude toward the Queen of Scots, true human
pity, true kindness, a true desire to save her from herself, 16 had a real place. From the day of Mary Stuart's mar
riage with Francis II, the English throne was the dream of her imagination, and the means to arrive at it her unceasing practical study. Any contemporary European sovereign, any English sovereign in an earlier age, would have deemed no means unjustifiable to remove so perilous a rival. How it would have fared with her after she came to England, the fate of Edward II, of Richard, of Henry VI, of the Princes in the Tower, and, later yet, of the unhappy son of the unhappy Clarence, might tell. Whatever might have been the indirect advantage of
Mary Stuart's prospective title, the danger from her pres17 ence in the realm must have infinitely exceeded it. She
was "the bosom serpent,” “the thorn in the flesh," which could not be plucked out; and after the Rebellion of the North, and the discovery of the Ridolfi Conspiracy, neither Philip nor Alva expected that she would be permitted to survive. It seems as if Elizabeth, remembering her own danger in her sister's lifetime, had studied to show an elaborate tenderness to a person who was in the same relation to herself. From the beginning to the end no trace can be found of personal animosity on the part of Elizabeth ; on the
part of Mary, no trace of anything save the fiercest hatred. 18 But this, like all other questions connected with the
Virgin Queen, should be rather studied in her actions
than in the opinion of the historian who relates them. Actions and words are carved upon eternity. Opinions are but forms of cloud created by the prevailing currents of the moral air. Princes, who are credited on the wrong side with the evils which happen in their reigns, have a right in equity to the honor of the good. Many problems growing out of Elizabeth's reign were left unsettled. Some were disposed of on the scaffold at Whitehall, some in the revolution of 1688; some yet survive to test the courage and the ingenuity of modern politicians.
But the worst legacy which princes or statesmen could 19 bequeath to their country would be the resolution of all its perplexities, the establishment once and for ever of a finished system, which would neither require nor tolerate improvement.
THE AGE OF ELIZABETH.-SOCIAL LIFE AND DOMES
TIC COMFORT IN HER REIGN.
HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE."
Mr. Green here gives us a graphic picture of English home life in Elizabethan times. As we have endeavored to impress upon the student, all such descriptions are of the very essence of history. In the growth of domestic comfort the growth of the great mass of the people can be clearly traced.
What Elizabeth really contributed to commercial de- 1 velopment was the peace and social order from which it sprang, and the thrift which spared the purses of her subjects by enabling her to content herself with the ordinary resources of the Crown. She lent, too, a ready patronage to the new commerce, she shared in its speculations, she considered its extension and protection as a part of public policy, and she sanctioned the formation of
the great merchant companies which could then alone secure the trader against wrong or injustice in distant countries. The Merchant-Adventurers of London, a body which had existed long before, and had received a charter of incorporation under Henry VII, furnished a model for the Russian Company and the company which ab2 sorbed the new commerce to the Indies. But it was not wholly with satisfaction that either Elizabeth or her ministers watched the social change which wealth was producing around them. They feared the increased expenditure and comfort which necessarily followed it as likely to impoverish the land and to eat out the hardihood of the people. “England spendeth more on wines in one year," complained Cecil, “than it did in ancient times in four years. The disuse of salt fish and the greater consumption of meat marked the improvement which was taking place among the agricultural classes. Their rough and wattled farm-houses were being superseded by dwellings of brick and stone. Pewter was replacing the wooden trenchers of the earlier yeomanry; there were yeomen who could boast of a fair show of sil3 ver plate. It is from this period, indeed, that we can first date the rise of a conception which seems to us now a peculiarly English one—the conception of domestic comfort. The chimney.corner, so closely associated with family life, came into existence with the general introduction of chimneys, a feature rare in ordinary houses at the beginning of this reign. Pillows, which had before been despised by the farmer and the trader as fit only " for women in delicate health,” were now in general use. Carpets superseded the filthy flooring of rushes. The lofty houses of the wealthier merchants, their parapeted fronts, their costly wainscoting, the cumbrous but elaborate beds, the carved staircases, the quaintly-figured ga