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Elizabeth And Her Parliament
by [?]

“Another country gentleman rises and replies, that the said Basche had certainly his reasons to speak for the queen in the present case, since a great deal of her majesty’s monies for the providing of ships passed through his hands; and the more he consumed, the greater was his profit. According to his notion, there were but too many purveyors in this kingdom, whose noses had grown so long, that they stretched from London to the west.[7] It was certainly proper to know if all they levied by their commission for the present campaign was entirely employed to the queen’s profit. Nothing further was debated on that day.

“The Friday following when the subject of the subsidy was renewed, one of the gentlemen-deputies showed, that the queen having prayed[8] for the last subsidy, had promised, and pledged her faith to her subjects, that after that one she never more would raise a single penny on them; and promised even to free them from the wine-duty, of which promise they ought to press for the performance; adding, that it was far more necessary for this kingdom to speak concerning an heir or successor to their crown, and of her marriage, than of a subsidy.

“The next day, which was Saturday the 19th, they all began, with the exception of a single voice, a loud outcry for the succession. Amidst these confused voices and cries, one of the council prayed them to have a little patience, and with time they should be satisfied; but that, at this moment, other matters pressed,–it was necessary to satisfy the queen about a subsidy. ‘No! no!’ cried the deputies, ‘we are expressly charged not to grant anything until the queen resolvedly answers that which we now ask: and we require you to inform her majesty of our intention, which is such as we are commanded to by all the towns and subjects of this kingdom, whose deputies we are. We further require an act, or acknowledgment, of our having delivered this remonstrance, that we may satisfy our respective towns and counties that we have performed our charge.’ They alleged for an excuse, that if they had omitted any part of this, their heads would answer for it. We shall see what will come of this.[9]

“Tuesday the 22nd, the principal lords, and the bishops of London, York, Winchester, and Durham, went together, after dinner, from the parliament to the queen, whom they found in her private apartment. There, after those who were present had retired, and they remained alone with her, the great treasurer having the precedence in age, spoke first in the name of all. He opened, by saying, that the commons had required them to unite in one sentiment and agreement, to solicit her majesty to give her answer as she had promised, to appoint a successor to the crown; declaring it was necessity that compelled them to urge this point, that they might provide against the dangers which might happen to the kingdom, if they continued without the security they asked. This had been the custom of her royal predecessors, to provide long beforehand for the succession, to preserve the peace of the kingdom; that the commons were all of one opinion, and so resolved to settle the succession before they would speak about a subsidy, or any other matter whatever; that, hitherto, nothing but the most trivial discussions had passed in parliament, and so great an assembly was only wasting their time, and saw themselves entirety useless. They, however, supplicated her majesty, that she would be pleased to declare her will on this point, or at once to put an end to the parliament, so that every one might retire to his home.

“The Duke of Norfolk then spoke, and, after him, every one of the other lords, according to his rank, holding the same language in strict conformity with that of the great treasurer.

“The queen returned no softer answer than she had on the preceding Saturday, to another party of the same company; saying that ‘The commons were very rebellious, and that they had not dared to have attempted such things during the life of her father: that it was not for them to impede her affairs, and that it did not become a subject to compel the sovereign. What they asked was nothing less than wishing her to dig her grave before she was dead.’ Addressing herself to the lords, she said, ‘My lords, do what you will; as for myself, I shall do nothing but according to my pleasure. All the resolutions which you may make can have no force without my consent and authority; besides, what you desire is an affair of much too great importance to be declared to a knot of hare-brains.[10] I will take counsel with men who understand justice and the laws, as I am deliberating to do: I will choose half-a-dozen of the most able I can find in my kingdom for consultation, and after having their advice, I will then discover to you my will.’ On this she dismissed them in great anger.