The Immigrants Canada Wants

Queen Elizabeth Was Moral

Recent Investigations Show That She Was Entitled to Name of “Virgin Queen"

ROBERT HILLYER April 1 1922
The Immigrants Canada Wants

Queen Elizabeth Was Moral

Recent Investigations Show That She Was Entitled to Name of “Virgin Queen"

ROBERT HILLYER April 1 1922

Queen Elizabeth Was Moral

Recent Investigations Show That She Was Entitled to Name of “Virgin Queen"

ROBERT HILLYER

THE morals of Queen Elizabeth have long been a subject for discussion and disputation by historians and historical students, as well as the casual reader of British history. According to some historians, she was supposed to have no more morals than her interesting cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. Probably most readere, despite Elizabeth’s title of “The Virgin Queen,” would not dispute the fact if someone spoke of Queen Elizabeth as having been the mistress of Leicester, of Essex, of Raleigh and of Hatton.

New light on Queen Elizabeth’s private life and private character is thrown by Frederick Chamberlin, a very erudite American student of history, in a book entitled, “The Private Character of Queen Elizabeth,” which is reviewed in the New York Times Book Review and Magazine by Robert Hillyer. Mr. Hillyer has apparently read Chamberlin’s book with not only keen interest but keen sympathy, and he writes:

“Mr. Chamberlin opens his narrative with an account of those terrible two years when the little girl, Elizabeth, steered her precarious course with the sagacity of a trained diplomat through the plots laid for her political destruction by the unscrupulous Protector, Somerset, and for her moral destruction by the Protector’s infamous brother, Admiral Seymour. “One story quoted by Mr. Chamberlin is characteristic of the Queen whom Voltaire called ‘the glory of her sex.’ At the time of the incident Elizabeth was 66 years old-

“ ‘At her majesty’s returning from Hampton Court, the day being passing foul, she would (as her custom is) go on horseback, although she is scarce able to sit upright, and my lord Hunsdon said. “It was not meet for one of her majesty’s years to ride in such a storm.” She answered, in great anger. “My years! Maids, to your horses quickly,” and so rode all the way.’

“Elizabeth was what the English would call ‘sporting’ and that trait, if none other, should have preserved the creator and saver of their country from the unchivalrous treatment they have accorded her memory. Her last ‘gesture of challenge’ was to Death itself. The craven James VI, of Scotland, ‘whose aim and ambition for many years had been her death,’ heard rumors, when the Queen was 69, that she was near her end. Her response to this hope of her impatient successor was one of those heroic jests in which she was so fond of indulging. ‘Her method was to have the Scottish Ambassador, when he called to see her on appointment, led into a room adjoining her own, and seated there, by peering around a drapery carefully turned back for the purpose, he • could see Elizabeth dancing to a lively tune from a small fiddle; and, of course, she was much surprised, abashed, and ashamed when she caught him enjoying her indiscretion!’ * * * * *

Indomitable old lady! It was the last dance of her long life.

“Mr. Chamberlin’s second important contribution to history is a complete vindication of the Queen from charges of immorality. With the judicial care derived from his experience as a lawyer, he sets forth every scrap of contemporary evidence on the subject.

“Historian after historian has either invented spurious sources to prove Elizabeth’s misconduct or twisted those that exist in order to satisfy some strange and malicious prejudice against her memory or to serve the purposes of his religion. Lingard, the great Catholic historian and the intractable enemy of Elizabeth’s memory, confesses in a letter to the Rev. J. Kirk, December, 1819: ‘In my account of the Reformation I must say much to shock Protestant prejudices. Whatever I have said or purposely omitted has been through a motive of serving religion.’ A sorry tale! Much brighter is the direct evidence that Mr. Chamberlin has gathered in Elizabeth’s favor; evidence, as he points out, which has been ignored almost completely by the historians. Here again the sources are all-inclusive. Perhaps the most interesting is a private letter from the Swedish Ambassador, Nicholas Guilderetem, to his Master, King Erick, who at the time (1561) was seeking Elizabeth’s hand in marriage and wished to know the truth concerning ugly rumors against her. The important passage of the letter (which is in Latin) is thus translated by Mr. Chamberlin:

“ T saw no signs of an immodest life, but I did see many signs of chastity, of virginity and of true modesty; so that I would stake my life itself that she is most chaste. She is beautiful and eloquent, and wholly worthy your Majesty, in my judgment at least, if there is any in all Europe who is.’

“This letter, we are told, ‘has never been in print, or known, or mentioned, by any historian. It has lain for more than three centuries in the Royal Library of Stockholm, where it may now be seen.’ And finally, as a fitting conclusion to his book, Mr. Chamberlin quotes Elizabeth herself:

“ ‘The Great Queen has something now to say to you, across the centuries. Let her close this book: “I am young, and he (Dudley—F.C.) is young, and, therefore, we have been slandered. G od knows they d o us grievous wrong, and the time will come when the world will know it also. My life is in the open and I have so many witnesses that I cannot understand how so bad a judgment can have been formed of me. But what can we do? We cannei cover every one’s mouth, but must content ourselves with doing our duty and trust in God, for the truth will at last be made manifest. He knows my heart, which, is very different front what people think, as you will see some day.’

“Thanks to Mr Chamberlin, her prophecy has been fulfilled. He has not whitewashed this Queen: he has removed three centuries’ blackwash.”