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answer. And so I assure you all that though after my death you may have many stepdames, yet shall you never have any a more mother than I mean to be unto you all.



From A Speech to a Joint Delegation of Lords and Commons,

November 5,

1566 1

* * * Was I not born in the realm? Were my parents born in any foreign

country? Is there any cause I should alienate myself from being careful over this country? Is not my kingdom here? Whom have I oppressed? Whom have

I enriched to others' harm? What turmoil have I made in this commonwealth,

that I should be suspected to have no regard to the same? How have I governed since my reign? I will be tried by envy itself. 2 I need not to use many words, for my deeds do try me.

Well, the matter whereof they 3 would have made their petition, as I am

informed, consisteth in two points: in my marriage and in the limitation of the succession of the crown, wherein my marriage was first placed as for manner 4 sake. I did send them answer by my Council I would marry, although of mine own disposition I was not inclined thereunto. But that was not accepted nor credited, although spoken by their prince. And yet I used so many words that

I could say no more. And were it not now I had spoken those words, I would

never speak them again. I will never break the word of a prince spoken in public place, for my honor 5 sake. And therefore I say again I will marry as soon as I can conveniently, if God take not him away with whom I mind to marry, or myself, or else some other great let 6 happen. I can say no more except 7 the party were present. And I hope to have children; otherwise I would never marry. A strange order of petitioners, that will make a request and cannot be otherwise ascertained 8 but by the prince's word, and yet will not believe it when it is spoken! But they, I think, that moveth the same will be as ready to mislike him with whom I shall marry as they are now to move it, and then it will appear they nothing meant it. I thought they would have been rather ready to have given me thanks than to h^ve made any new request for the same. There hath been some that have, ere this, said unto me they never required more than that they might once hear me say I would marry. Well, there was never so great a treason but might be covered under as fair a pretense.

The second point was the limitation of the succession of the crown, wherein was nothing said for my safety, but only for themselves. A strange thing that the foot should direct the head in so weighty a cause, which cause hath been so diligently weighed by us for that 9 it toucheth us more than them. I am sure

I. The birth on June 19,1566, of a son—James—

to Maty, Queen of Scots, imparted new urgency to

2. I.e., envy itself could not fault my governance.

which had planned to submit a

3. Parliament,

the concern about Elizabeth's unmarried state.

written petition to the queen.

Mary was Elizabeth's second cousin and, in the




absence of any child of Elizabeth's own, had a



strong claim to be her heir; Mary's male child


Hindrance. At the time, there were negotiations

would have an even stronger one. On November 5,




match with Archduke Charles of

a delegation of sixty members of the Lords and

Commons met with Elizabeth, to urge her to marry and also to establish formally the line of succes- sion. After the meeting, a member of the delega-

tion wrote down Elizabeth's impromptu response.


7. Unless.

8. Assured.

9. Because.


I :







69 3

there was not one of them that ever was a second person, 1 as I have been, and have tasted of the practices against my sister, who I would to God were alive again. I had great occasions to hearken to their motions, 2 of whom some of them are of the Common House. But when friends fall out truth doth appear, according to the old proverb, and were it not for my honor, their knavery should be known. There were occasions in me at that time: I stood in danger

of my life, my sister was so incensed against me. I did differ from her in religion

and I was sought for divers ways; and so shall never be my successor. I have conferred before this time with those that are well learned and have asked their opinions touching the limitation of succession, who have been silent—not that by their silence after lawlike manner 3 they have seemed to assent to it, but that indeed they could not tell what to say, considering the great peril to the realm and most danger to myself. But now the matter must needs go trimly and pleasantly, when the bowl runneth all on the one side. 4 And alas, not one amongst them all would answer for us, but all their speeches was for the surety 5 of their county. They would have twelve or fourteen limited in succession, and the mo the better. And those shall be of such uprightness and so divine as in them shall be divinity itself. Kings were wont to honor philosophers, but if I had such 6 I would honor them as angels, that should have such piety in them that they would not seek where they are the second to be the first, and where the third to be the second, and so forth.

It is said I am no divine. 7 Indeed, I studied nothing else but divinity till I came to the crown, and then I gave myself to the study of that which was meet 8 for government, and am not ignorant of stories wherein appeareth what hath fallen out for ambition of kingdoms, as in Spain, Naples, Portingal, 9 and at home. And what cocking 1 hath been between the father and the son for the same! You would have a limitation of succession. Truly if reason did not sub- due will in me, I would cause you to deal in it, so pleasant a thing it should be unto me. But I stay 2 it for your benefit; for if you should have liberty to treat of it, there be so many competitors—some kinsfolk, some servants, and some tenants; some would speak for their master, and some for their mistress, and every man for his friend—that it would be an occasion of a greater charge

than a subsidy. 3 And if my will did not yield to reason, it should be that thing

I would gladly desire, to see you deal in it. Well, there hath been error—I say not errors, for there were too many in the proceeding in this matter. But we will not judge that these attempts were done of any hatred to our person, but even for lack of good foresight. I do not marvel though Domini Doctores 4 with you, my lords, did so use themselves therein, since after my brother's 5 death they openly preached and set forth

1. Next in line to the throne, as Elizabeth had

been under her half-sister Mary I.

2. "To hearken to their motions": to pay heed to

their doings.

ascending the throne she studied nothing but the-

ology is an exaggeration, but it is true that she had devoted much effort to the subject, as evidenced by her translations of several religious works.


"After lawlike manner": in accordance with the


Portugal. "Fallen out for": happened as a result

legal maxim (that silence gives consent).



A metaphorical extension of the preceding


Cock-fighting: strife, contention.

clause: in the game of bowls, the ball has a flat



place: rolled unskillfully, it wobbles, bounces, and


I.e., it would cost more than a tax. (Subsidies

prematurely stops; rolled well ("all on the one side"), it runs smoothly.

were tax levies granted to the sovereign to meet special expenses.)

5. Security.

6. 1^., such virtuous potential successors. "Mo":



8. Relevant to. Elizabeth's claim that before


4. The Doctors of the Lord: her derisive Latin

term for the bishops who had supported the peti- tion in the House of Lords.

5. Edward VI's.

6 9 4





that my sister and I were bastards. 6 Well, I wish not the death of any man, but only this I desire: that they which have been the practitioners herein may before their deaths repent the same and show some open confession of their faults, whereby the scabbed 7 sheep may be known from the whole. As

for my own part, I care not for death, for all men are mortal; and though I be

a woman, yet I have as good a courage answerable to my place as ever my

father had. I am your anointed queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God I am indeed endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the realm in my petticoat, I were able to live in any place of Christendom.



From A Letter to Mary, Queen of Scots, February 24, 1567 1


My ears have been so deafened and my understanding so grieved and my heart so affrighted to hear the dreadful news of the abominable murder of your mad husband and my killed cousin 2 that I scarcely yet have the wits to write about it. And inasmuch as my nature compels me to take his death in

the extreme, he being so close in blood, so it is that I will boldly tell you what

I think of it. I cannot dissemble that I am more sorrowful for you than for

him. O madame, I would not do the office of faithful cousin or affectionate

friend if I studied rather to please your ears than employed myself in preserving your honor. However, I will not at all dissemble whgt most people are talking about: which is that you will look through your fingers at 3 the revenging of this deed, and that you do not take measures that touch those who have done as you wished, as if the thing had been entrusted in a way that the murderers felt assurance in doing it. 4 Among the thoughts in my heart I beseech you to want no such thought to stick at this point. Through all the dealings of the world I never was in such miserable haste to lodge and have in my heart such

a miserable opinion of any prince as this would cause me do. Much less will

I have such of her to whom I wish as much good as my heart is able to imagine

or as you were able a short while ago to wish. However, I exhort you, I counsel you, and I beseech you to take this thing so much to heart that you will not fear to touch even him whom you have nearest to you 5 if the thing touches him, and that no persuasion will prevent you from making an example out of this to the world: that you are both a noble princess and a loyal wife. I do not

6. Presumabl y in. suppor t of th e clai m of Lad y

Jane Grey to the throne. (See p. 668 above.)

7. Infected with scab (the skin disease also known

as scabies).

1. Written after news reached Elizabeth of the

murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the arro-

gant and erratic Scottish nobleman whom Mary had ill-advisedly married in 1565.

2. Darnley, like Mary, was Elizabeth's second

cousin and a potential claimant to the throne of


3. Wink at.

4. Since Mary and Darnley had been estranged,

there were immediately rumors that she had been complicit in his murder.

5. Evidently an allusion to James Hepburn, earl of

Bothwell, whom Mary married (under much- disputed circumstances) three months after Dam- ley's death, although Bothwell was known to have been one of the chief conspirators in the murder.