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for Arundel and Pembroke, and told them that it was not for her to appoint kings: she would make her husband a duke, if he desired it; that was within her prerogative; but king she would not make him. “As she was speaking, the Duchess of Northumberland rushed in with her son, fresh from the agitation of Mary's letter.* The mother stormed, Guilford cried like a spoilt child that he would be no duke, he would be a king: and when Jane stood firm, the duchess bade him come away, and not share the bed of an ungrateful and disobedient wife.t
" The first experience of royalty had brought small pleasure with it. Dudley's kingship was set aside for the moment, and was soon forgotten in more alarming matters. To please his mother, or to pacify his vanity, he was called 'Your Grace.' He was allowed to preside in the council, so long as a council remained, and he dined alone-tinsel distinctions, for which the poor wretch had to pay dearly.” 1
Jane might well be cautious, considering the hands into which she had fallen, and the means by which her present elevation had been attained. Her own title was wrongfully, and by her had been protestingly, assumed. Lord Macaulay's diatribe on the character and career of Archbishop Cranmer, comprises some bitter strictures on the movement which made him, “ from whatever motive," the accomplice of the worthless Dudley. The virtuous scruples of another young and amiable mind were to be overcome. As Edward had been forced into persecution, Jane was to be seduced into treason.
“No transaction in our annals,” Macaulay emphatically affirms, “is more unjustifiable than this. If a hereditary' title were to be respected, Mary possessed it. If a parliamentary title were preferable, Mary possessed that also. If the interest of the parliamentary religion required a departure from the ordinary rule of succession, that interest would have been best served by raising Elizabeth to the throne. If the foreign relations of the kingdom were considered, still stronger reasons might be found for preferring Elizabeth to Jane. There was great doubt whether Jane or the Queen of Scotland had the better claim; and that doubt would, in all probability, have produced a war both with Scotland and with France, if the project of Northumberland had not been blasted in its infancy."S
Mr. Landor has concocted an Imaginary Conversation between the Princess Mary and the Princess Elizabeth (of which unsisterly pair he likes the latter lady considerably the least)--supposed to occur while Queen Jane's brief hour of sovereignty is taking its flight. In this colloquy, the vixenish younger sister, being incidentally checked in her objurgations by Mary's prudish reminder, “ Sister! sister! you forget that the Lady Jane Grey (as was) is now queen of the realm,” hotly replies: “Forget it indeed! The vile woman! I am minded to call her as such vile women are called out of doors.” Mary remonstrates once more, with a "pray abstain ;" but Bess is not to be kept from pursuing her game, at her own speed, and in her own helter-skelter style. She is hardly a saint, she owns; indeed, far from it; and she is much too young for a martyr. “But that odious monster, who pretends an affection for reformation, and a reverence for learning, is counting the jewels in her crown, while you fancy she is repeating her prayers, or conning her Greek."*
* The letter, namely, of July 9, 1553, to the Lords of the Council, in which Mary claimed the crown as her right, and required them to proclaim her accession in London.
| Froude, History of England, from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth, vol. vi. pp. 15-6.
Critical Essay on Hallam's Constitutional History.
It may seem to most readers that this Conversation is more Imaginary than usual, and that the characters of the interlocutors are not in keeping with individual vraisemblance and historical truth. But whether it be likely or not, possible or not, that so discreet, demure, and reticent a damosel as the youthful Elizabeth was, should have “spoken her mind” in this free-and-easy fashion, one can readily believe that, of the two sisters, she may have personally cherished the heartier grudge against Lady Jane.
Mr. Froude, indeed, virtually implies in his History of the Tudor reigns, that Mary would have suffered Jane to live, but for the outbreak of Wyatt's rebellion. In an essay of his, however, contributed some years since to the Westminster Review, we find a story mentioned with some degree of credit, the tendency of which is to trace Mary's unforgiveness of Jane to a personal feeling of long rankling religious resentment. The essayist, after commenting on Mary's mode of dealing with the rebels at large, proceeds to say, that she disgraced her previous clemency by the execution of her cousin-an execution which “was neither necessary nor just, and was no more than a useless piece of cruelty." Lady Jane Grey, he further observes, was not implicated in Wyatt's rebellion; nor was she to have profited by it if it had succeeded; and other motives are supposed to have influenced the queen beyond what appeared on the surface. “It is said that she never forgave a speech which Lady Jane had made a year or two before, when on a visit to her at New Hall, One of the ladies in waiting was showing her over the house, and took her, among other places, into the chapel. In passing the altar, the lady curtsied. Lady Jane asked what she meant by that. Her God was present there, the lady answered, and she curtsied to Him. Lady Jane, with a half smile, said she believed the baker had made him.
"Such a piece of profanity, doubtless, lost nothing on the way through the lady in question to Mary; and, on the mind of so thoroughly devout and real a believer, may well have made an impression which could never be effaced. It would of course be foolish to suppose that this, or any other single feeling, determined her upon acting as she did, but the sense that she was punishing an obstinate heretic, as well as her rival to the throne, may have softened the reluctance which we will hope that she experienced.
This warrant was signed the day after the battle in the streets, in the midst of that excitement of feeling which follows the escape from serious danger.”+
No such mention is made of this story by Mr. Froude in his History,
* Imaginary Conversations, by Walter Savage Landor: Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth.
† Westminster Review, New Series, No. V. Art. “Mary Tudor.”
He there says, merely, that Jane Grey was guiltless of this last commotion -her name not having been so much as cited among the insurgents; but she was guilty of having been once called queen, and Mary, who before had been generously deaf to the Emperor's advice, and to Renard's arguments, yielded in her present humour. Philip was beckoning in the distance; and while Jane Grey lived, Philip, she was again and again assured, must remain for ever separated from her arms.*
Samuel Taylor Coleridge incidentally illustrates one phase of a perverted intellect by the policy of those“ zealots for legitimate succession after the decease of our sixth Edward, who not content with having placed the rightful sovereign on the throne, would wreak their vengeance on
the meek usurper,' who had been seated on it by a will against which she had herself been the first to remonstrate.”+
The story is a sad one, for all concerned. Mr. Plumer Ward dilates, almost sentimentally, on the sympathy and anguish, “ I might almost say, the agony of mind,” with which one views the “unmerited suffering of the meek, humble, and pious Jane Grey. As far from intending crime as an angel of light; in herself pure as accomplished, beautiful as young, and unpretending as beautiful, her hard, hard fortune must interest a savage; and one passes in haste over the page of her merciless execution, lest the heart grow too sick with pity." I How different the informing spirit of that tribute, from Leigh Hunt's chilly conclusion that Jane's best--and by implication we might well-nigh infer her only-claim to the respect of posterity must remain with her taste for literature. “ She had the good sense to feel, and avow, that there was no comfort like her books in adversity. Her nature seems in other respects to have had a formal insipidity, excitable only by stimulants which did not agree with it."'S Scant measure for the height and depth of England's all but universally beloved and lamented Lady Jane.
Even her excellences as a literate person are but faintly recognised in the foregoing passage-always considering how kindly disposed, and how even eager in eulogium, the writer of it generally is. He could not, however, but pay his respects, in passing, - coldly as it is done,-to a merit of which three centuries, and two hemispheres, have been sounding the praises.
Hartley Coleridge reverently styles her "a creature whose memory should singly put to rout the vulgar prejudice against female erudition.''
The question may be mooted and discussed, of Lady Jane's comparative scholarship, in relation to the advanced standard of a later age. But question there is none of her absolute superiority in literary culture and classical lore. Mr. Froude's account is, that she had acquired a degree of learning rare in matured men, which she could use gracefully, and could permit to be seen by others without vanity or consciousness; and that her character had developed with her talents. “At fifteen she was learning Hebrew and could write Greek; at sixteen she corresponded with Bullinger in Latin at least equal to his own ; but the matter of her letters is more striking than the language, and speaks more for her than
* Froude's History of England under the Tudors, vol. vi. ch. xxxi. + The Friend, essay i.
I Tremaine, vol. iii. ch. xxxiii. Ś Men, Women, and Books, vol. i. p. 306 || Northern Worthies, vol. ii.
the most elaborate panegyrics of admiring courtiers. She has left a portrait of herself drawn by her own hand; a portrait of piety, purity, and free noble innocence, uncoloured, even to a fault, with the emotional weakness of humanity.* While the effects of the Reformation in England had been chiefly visible in the outward dominion of scoundrels and in the eclipse of the hereditary virtues of the national character, Lady Jane Grey had lived to show that the defect was not in the Reformed faith, but in the absence of all faith—that the graces of a St. Elizabeth could be rivalled by the pupil of Cranmer and Ridley. The Catholic saint had no excellence of which Jane Grey was without the promise ; the distinction was in the freedom of the Protestant from the hysterical ambition of an unearthly nature, and in the presence, through a more intelligent creed, of a vigorous and practical understanding.”+
Twenty to one-we might, without risk, increase the odds even ten or twentyfold-the reader is wholly unread in the now dim pages which delineate, in some seven or eight volumes, of some fifty Letters each, the history of Sir Charles Grandison and the Honourable Miss Byron. What Sir Charles had to say, therefore, on the erudition of Lady Jane, is old enough to be new, now-a-days, by way of quotation. Not that there is novelty in his point of view, or mode of expression; but for his now obsolete popularity's sake let us give the chevalier sans reproche a hearing. The age in which Shakspeare flourished Sir Charles pronounces the age of English learning, as well as of English bravery-the queen and her court, the very ladies of it, he says, being more learned than any court of our English sovereigns was before, or hath been since. “ What a prodigy of learning, in the short reign of Edward the Sixth, was the Lady Jane Grey !-Greek, as well as Latin, was familiar to her, as it was to Queen Elizabeth. And can it be supposed, that the natural geniuses of those ladies were more confined or limited, for their knowledge of Latin and Greek ?"| But we must not let even Sir Charles seduce us to hear him argue out that collateral issue.
On the subject of relative female scholarship, as of the sixteenth century versus the nineteenth, Macaulay thought there was so much misapprehension, that, nearly a quarter of a century ago, he devoted some energetic remarks to the refutation of what he reckoned a popular fallacy. He had often heard men speak with rapture of the English ladies of the sixteenth century, and lament that they could find no modern damsel resembling those fair pupils of Ascham and Aylmer who compared, over their embroidery, the styles of Isocrates and Lysias, and who, while the horps were sounding, and the dogs in full cry, sat in the lonely oriel, with eyes riveted to that immortal page which tells how meekly and bravely the first great martyr of intellectual liberty took the cup from his weeping gaoler. But surely, argued the Edinburgh Reviewer, these com. plaints have very little foundation. “We would by no means disparage the ladies of the sixteenth century or their pursuits. But we conceive that those who extol them at the expense of the women of our time forget
* Letters of Lady Jane Grey to Bullinger: Epistolæ Tigurinæ, pp. 3-7. (Froude,
† Froude's History of England, vol. vi. ch. XXX.
one very obvious and very important circumstance. In the time of Henry the Eighth and Edward the Sixth, a person who did not read Greek and Latin could read nothing, or next to nothing. The Italian was the only modern language which possessed anything that could be called a literature. All the valuable books then extant in all the vernacular dialects of Europe would hardly have filled a single shelf.” England, he goes on to say, by way of proof and example, did not yet possess Shakspeare's plays and the Fairy Queen, nor France Montaigne's Essays, nor Spain Don Quixote. Then, looking in his mind's eye round a well-furnished library, how many English or French books, he asks, can we find which were extant when Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth received their education ? Chaucer, Gower, Froissart, Comines, Rabelais, seem to him nearly to complete the list. “ It was therefore absolutely necessary that a woman should be uneducated or classically educated. Indeed, without a knowledge of one of the ancient languages no person could then have any clear notion of what was passing in the political, the literary, or the religious world. The Latin was in the sixteenth century all and more than all that the French was in the eighteenth. ....
“ This is no longer the case. All political and religious controversy is now conducted in the modern languages. The ancient tongues are used only in comments on the ancient writers. The great productions of Athenian and Roman genius are indeed still what they were. But though their positive value is unchanged, their relative value, when compared with the whole mass of mental wealth possessed by mankind, has been constantly falling. They were the intellectual all of our ancestors. They are but a part of our treasures. Over what tragedy could Lady Jane Grey have wept, over what comedy could she have smiled, if the ancient dramatists had not been in her library ?"*
Accordingly this keenly retrospective reviewer presumes that a modern reader can make shift without Edipus and Medea, while he possesses Othello and Hamlet; and reminds us that if he knows nothing of Pyrgopolynices and Thraso, he is familiar with Bobadil, and Bessus, and Pistol, and Parolles; that if he cannot enjoy the delicious irony of Plato, he may find some compensation in that of Pascal; and that if he is shut out from Nephelococcygia, he may take refuge in Lilliput. In fine, it is Macaulay's averment, that the stock of intellectual wealth bequeathed to us by the ancients has been so carefully improved, that the accumulated interest now exceeds the principal. He contends that the books which have been written in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, during the last two hundred and fifty years,-translations from the ancient languages, of course, included,-are of greater value than all the books which at the beginning of that period were extant in the world, And inasmuch as English women are at least as well acquainted as Englishmen with the modern languages of Europe, he professes to have no hesitation, when comparing the acquirements of Lady Jane Grey with those of an accomplished young woman of our own time, in awarding the superiority to the latter.
All this, however, leaves untouched the positive excellence of Lady Jane as an exemplary and eminent scholar, indeed of pre-eminent mark
* Macaulay's Critical Essays, vol. ii. Art. “Lord Bacon.”