The waning health of Edward warned Warwick, who had now become Duke of Northumberland, of an unlooked-for danger. Mary, the daughter of Catharine of Aragon, who had been placed next to Edward by the Act of Succession, remained firm amidst all the changes of the time to the older faith; and her accession threatened to be the signal for its return. But the bigotry of the young King was easily brought to consent to a daring scheme by which her rights might be set aside. Edward's "plan," as Northumberland dictated it, annulled both the Statute of Succession and the will of his father, to whom the right of disposing of the Crown after the death of his own children had been entrusted by Parliament. It set aside both Mary and Elizabeth, who stood next in the Act. With this exclusion of the direct line of Henry the Eighth the succession would vest, if the rules of hereditary descent were observed, in the descendants of his elder sister Margaret, who had become by her first husband, James the Fourth of Scotland, the grandmother of the young Scottish Queen, Mary Stuart; and, by a second marriage with the Earl of Angus, was the grandmother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Henry's will, however, had passed by the children of Margaret, and had placed next to Elizabeth in the succession the children of his younger sister Mary, the wife of Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk. Frances, Mary's child by this marriage, was still living, and was the mother of three daughters by her marriage with Grey, Lord Dorset, a hot partizan of the religious changes, who had been raised under the Protectorate to the Dukedom of Suffolk. Frances however was passed over, and Edward's " plan " named her eldest child Jane as his successor.
The marriage of Jane Grey with Guildford Dudley, the fourth son of Northumberland, was all that was needed to complete the unscrupulous plot. The consent of the judges and council to her succession was extorted by the authority of the dying King, and the new sovereign was proclaimed on Edward's death. But the temper of the whole people rebelled against so lawless a usurpation. The eastern counties rose as one man to support Mary; and when Northumberland marched from London with ten thousand at his back to crush the rising, the Londoners, Protestant as they were, showed their ill-will by a stubborn silence. " The people crowd to look upon us," the Duke noted gloomily, " but not one calls 'God speed ye.'" The Council no sooner saw the popular reaction than they proclaimed Mary Queen: the fleet and the levies of the shires declared in her favour. Northumberland's courage suddenly gave way, and his retreat to Cambridge was the signal for a general defection. The Duke himself threw his cap into the air and shouted with his men for Queen Mary. But his submission failed to avert his doom; and the death of Northumberland drew with it the imprisonment in the Tower of the hapless girl whom he had made the tool of his ambition.
[Authorities - As before].
The whole system which had been pursued during Edward's reign fell with a sudden crash. London indeed retained much of its Protestant sympathy, but over the rest of the country the tide of reaction swept without a check. The married priests were driven from their churches, the images were replaced. In many parishes the new Prayer-book was set aside and the Mass restored. The Parliament which met in October annulled the laws made respecting religion during the past reign. Gardiner was drawn from the Tower. Bonner and the deposed bishops were restored to their sees. Ridley with the others who had displaced them were again expelled, and Latimer and Cranmer were sent to the Tower. But with the restoration of the system of Henry the Eighth the popular impulse was satisfied. The people had no more sympathy with Mary's leanings towards Rome than with the violence of the Protestants. The Parliament was with difficulty brought to set aside the new Prayer-book, and clung obstinately to the Church-lands and to the Royal Supremacy.
Nor was England more favourable to the marriage on which, from motives both of policy and religious zeal, Mary had set her heart. The Emperor had ceased to be the object of hope or confidence as a mediator who would at once purify the Church from abuses and restore the unity of Christendom: he had ranged himself definitely on the side of the Papacy and of the Council of Trent; and the cruelties of the Inquisition which he introduced into Flanders gave a terrible in-dication of the bigotry which he was to bequeath to his House. The marriage with his son Philip, whose hand he offered to his cousin Mary, meant an absolute submission to the Papacy, and the undoing not only of the Protestant reformation, but of the more moderate reforms of the New Learning. On the other hand, it would have the political advantage of securing Mary's throne against the pretensions of the young Queen of Scots, Mary Stuart, who had become formidable by her marriage with the heir of the French Crown; and whose adherents already alleged the illegitimate birth of both Mary and Elizabeth, through the annulling of their mothers' marriages, as a ground for denying their right of succession.
To the issue of the marriage he proposed, Charles promised the heritage of the Low Countries, while he accepted the demand made by Mary's minister, Bishop Gardiner of Winchester, and by the Council, of complete independence both of policy and action on the part of England, in case of such a union. The temptation was great, and Mary's resolution overleapt all obstacles. But in spite of the toleration which she had promised, and had as yet observed, the announcement of her design drove the Protestants into a panic of despair. Risings which broke out in the west and centre of the country were quickly put down, and the Duke of Suffolk, who appeared in arms at Leicester, was sent to the Tower. The danger was far more formidable when the dread that Spaniards were coming "to conquer the realm" roused Kent into revolt under Sir Thomas Wyatt. The ships in the Thames submitted to be seized by the insurgents. A party of the trainbands of London, who marched under the Duke of Norfolk against them, deserted to the rebels in a mass with shouts of "A Wyatt! a Wyatt! we are all Englishmen!" Had the insurgents moved quickly on the capital, its gates would at once have been flung open and success would have been assured. But in the critical moment Mary was saved by her queenly courage.