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father had occafioned the principles of government to be more canvaffed and much better understood, and all ranks of people were making daily acceffions of power and confequence, as well as knowledge, and actually went far greater lengths in oppofition to the established laws than Elizabeth, or even than Henry VIII. himself had ever done in the most elevated ftate of his authority!-Surely, then, we may cease to wonder at the tragical events which fucceeded. However, I am happy to do this monarch the juftice to acknowledge, that he had, previous to the commencement of the civil war, made every conceffion that could reafonably be defired; nay, it may be justly affirmed, that in giving his affent to the perpetuity act, he not only annihilated his own power, but fubverted the conftitution; and from that fatal æra, the houfe of Commons demonftrated, by almost every measure they adopted, that they had an intereft of their own, separate from, and very often contrary to, the general interefts of the people they were chofen to represent.

There is yet another point of view, in which Elizabeth may, with great advantage, be fet in competition with her immediate fucceffors; and that is, 3dly, Her perfonal character and difpofition. Her extreme affability, and gracious deportment, which fhe never fuffered to degenerate, like her fucceffor James, to a low and gross familiarity, were highly acceptable to the people; and, no doubt, formed one great source of her unbounded


unbounded popularity.It is remarkable, that Charles II. that "Monster of a King," as Pope ftiles him, is still regarded in a very favourable light by the generality of people, from the strong impreffion which his fafcinating manners, the charms of his addrefs and converfation, originally made on the minds of the public. The total want of dignity and decorum in James, and the frozen formality, and more than Spanish stateliness, of Charles, occafioned extreme difguft, and exposed them to real inconvenience; but if we contemplate the generofity and magnanimity of Elizabeth, the fuperiority of her character will, I think, be ftill more apparent. To mention a few inftances : In the reign of her fifter Mary fhe had been committed to the cuftody of Sir Henry Bedingfield, who treated her with extreme harfhness and feverity but the only revenge taken by the Queen, after her acceffion to the crown, was, to give him, in her usual discourse, the appellation of her gaoler: emulating in this inftance the noble pride of Lewis XII. who on a fimilar occafion, thought it beneath the dignity of a King of France, to revenge the quarrels of a Duke of Orleans. Notwithstanding the règret with which the English nation faw Calais fall into the hands of the French, the Queen pofitively refused to listen to the infidious overtures of the French court, who offered immediate reftitution, if fhe would recall her troops, and defift from all further interference in the affairs of Scotland. Without hesitation, fhe firmly replied, that fhe would not facrifice the


interests of her kingdom, for the fake of a paltry fishing town.

Though it must be acknowledged, that she was by no means exempt from the foibles of her fex, as the curious anecdotes preferved by Melville and other writers fully evince; and though amongst her courtiers there were fome whom the diftinguished with peculiar marks of her favour; yet the difgraceful recall of Leicefter from the Netherlands, and the fatal catastrophe of Effex, plainly prove, how much the Queen predominated over the woman: but the blind partiality of her fucceffors James and Charles for their minions Somerset and Buckingham, was as pernicious as it was ridiculous. When offered, nay folicited to accept, the fovereignty of the United Provinces, The had the greatnefs of mind to reject the propofal, fatisfied with the glory of being their protectress and friend. The treaty of marriage with the Duke of Anjou gave occafion to a most manly and spirited letter to the Queen, from Sir P. Sydney, ftating, in very ftrong terms, the infuperable objections to that alliance, which even in our times would be thought a very uncommon liberty; but this fhe took in good part; and the negociation was foon after entirely broken off.-But it is still more worthy of remark, that during the time this treaty was depending, the Queen being one day in her barge on the Thames, with Simier the French agent, and others of her court, a fhot was fired by a man standing upon the opposite shore,

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which paffed very near the Queen, and wounded one of the bargemen. After a ftrict examination, no proof of treasonable intention appearing, the Queen ordered him to be fet at liberty, declaring, that she never would give credit to an accufation against any one of her subjects, which a mother would not believe of her own children. If no other memorial than this was left us of Queen Elizabeth, methinks, this alone would be fufficient to immortalize and embalm her memory. What refolution and spirit did fhe exhibit, when the whole nation was in alarm at the profpe&t of a Spanish. invafion! With all the heroifm of a Boadicea, she put herself at the head of her army, profeffing her firm purpose to lead them herfelf into the field, and rather to perish in battle than furvive the ruin and slavery of her people. "Let tyrants દ fear, faid fhe; I have always fo behaved myfelf, "that, under GOD, I have placed my chiefest ftrength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my fubjects. I know I am but a "a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart "of a King, and of a King of England too; and "think foul fcorn, that Parma or Spain, or any

prince in Europe, fhould dare to invade the borders of my realms." By the way, it may be remarked, here is a pretty clear intimation of the fuperiority of England to the furrounding nations; a fuperiority arifing, no doubt, from the peculiar privileges and immunites which had been tranfmitted down from their ancestors, and of which their


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free form of government would not fuffer them to be deprived.

Upon the discovery of that confpiracy in which the Queen of Scots was fo deeply concerned, and for which fhe justly paid the forfeit of her life, many letters from different English noblemen were found in her cabinet, containing ftrong profeffions of their attachment to that princefs. Of thefe the Queen would take no notice, and by this generous policy converted many of her fecret enemies into real friends. Lord Chancellor Bacon relates, that certain inftructions being tranfmitted to the English Refident at Paris, the Secretary of State had inferted a clause, that the Ambaffador, in order to ingratiate himself with the Queen mother the famous Catharine of Medicis, fhould take occafion to fay, that these two princeffes, the Queens of England and France, for experience and skill in the arts of government, were equal to the greatest monarchs; but Elizabeth, indignant at this comparison, immediately ordered the direction to be erafed, faying that she had ufed quite different arts and methods of government.

I have always regarded the liberty which Shakespeare ventured to take with the character of Henry the VIII. in the lifetime of his daughter, as a ftriking proof of the mild and moderate, or rather the magnanimous, fpirit of her government: it is fuch a liberty as certainly would not now be allowed, whatever advances may have been made in the general system of liberty in this country. To add no more, F 3


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