Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/175

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have the plain language of Elizabeth. Up to these conceptions she completely acted. A little while ago I was struck by a great authority on ecclesiastical law writing a letter to The Times newspaper to denounce the bishops. He ended his denunciation with the words, "O for an hour of Queen Elizabeth to deal with bishops like these". I read his words with a gasp of surprise, for Queen Elizabeth would have had his head off in less than an hour, for the notion that he should write thus to the public press would have been in her eyes the most monstrous thing imaginable. She would not allow ecclesiastical matters to be discussed in Parliament, but reserved them for episcopal cognisance, and nothing could be done till the bishops were agreed on the course to be pursued. Elizabeth was continually telling Archbishop Parker to rule by his own authority, and she disliked giving State sanction to ecclesiastical matters. So far from Elizabeth interfering in ecclesiastical matters and treating the bishops with contumely, there was no class in the community whom she treated with so much respect as the bishops. That she could be outspoken was true enough, but the records show that she was much more outspoken to other ministers and to courtiers than she ever was to her bishops. There is no story of her treatment of her bishops that has been so often repeated as a letter to the Bishop of Ely beginning, "Proud Prelate," and ending, "I will unfrock you". But this supposed letter of Queen Elizabeth is an eighteenth-century forgery, which first appeared in The Gentleman's Magazine. There was no such letter; it is a simple hoax which