ABSTRACT

QUEEN Mary was borne to the throne on the flood-tide of reaction against a tyrannous government, and the first acts of her reign did not utterly belie the hopes which the nation had conceived. The first words of the first Act of her first Parliament declared that “the state of every king, ruler, and governor of any realm, dominion, or commonalty standeth and consisteth more assured by the love and favour of the subjects towards their sovereign ruler and governor than in the dread and fear of laws made with rigorous pains and extreme punishment.” It recalled the fact that many “honourable and noble persons … had of late (for words only, without other opinion, fact, or deed) suffered shameful death;” and echoing the words and sentiments of Somerset’s repeal of the treason laws, it proceeded to abolish those which Northumberland had re-enacted after the Protector’s fall. Another echo of the “good Duke’s” days was heard when Mary announced that she graciously meant “not to compel or constrain other men’s consciences otherwise than God shall put in their hearts.” 1