Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/63
WILLIAM, LORD BURGHLEY 47
enemy, acknowledged his wisdom, and " wished it might be her luck to get the friendship of so wise a man." l
Foiled in this attempt to get Cecil out of the way, the Catholic lords, encouraged by the Spanish Ambassador, and hoping for aid from France, continued their preparations for the Northern rebellion, which broke out in November of the same year. It was promptly crushed and was followed by the excommunication of Elizabeth by the Pope in 1570. By this Bull Englishmen were absolved from their oaths of allegiance and were forced to choose between the Queen and the Pope. They could no longer pretend to reconcile loyalty to Elizabeth with intrigues in favour of Mary. The Catholics did not, however, on this account cease from their designs.
The Bull of Excommunication was posted on the Bishop of London's door by John Felton, who was subjected to torture and executed for high treason. There is no doubt that Cecil authorised the use of torture in this instance, 2 and for this he has been justly censured. 3 Torture had never been recognised as legal by the common law of England, and had only been employed by Royal Warrant. Its use had not been infrequent under Henry VIII. , and several cases occurred in the two following reigns. But it reached its culmination in the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, when, says
1 Hatfield MSS., I. 400
2 Ibid., I. 473.
s See Jessopp, as before, p. 21.