Riding boldly to the Guildhall she appealed with "a man's voice" to the loyalty of the citizens, and when Wyatt appeared on the Southwark bank the bridge was secured. The issue hung on the question which side London would take; and the insurgent leader pushed desperately up the Thames, seized a bridge at Kingston, threw his force across the river, and marched rapidly-back on the capital. The night march along miry roads wearied and disorganized his men, the bulk of whom were cut off from their leader by a royal force which had gathered in the fields at what is now Hyde Park Corner, but Wyatt himself, with a handful of followers, pushed desperately on to Temple Bar. " I have kept touch," he cried as he sank exhausted at the gate; but it was closed, his adherents within were powerless to effect their promised diversion in his favour, and the daring leader was seized and sent to the Tower.
The courage of the Queen, who had refused to fly even while the rebels were marching beneath her palace walls, was only equalled by her terrible revenge. The hour was come when the Protestants were at her feet, and she struck without mercy. Lady Jane, her father, her husband, and her uncle atoned for the ambition of the House of Suffolk by the death of traitors. Wyatt and his chief adherents followed them to execution, while the bodies of the poorer insurgents were dangling on gibbets round London. Elizabeth, who had with some reason been suspected of complicity in the insurrection, was sent to the Tower; and only saved from death by the interposition of the Council. But the failure of the revolt not only crushed the Protestant party, it secured the marriage on which Mary was resolved. She used it to wring a reluctant consent from the Parliament, and meeting Philip at Winchester in the ensuing summer became his wife. The temporizing measures to which the Queen had been forced by the earlier difficulties of her reign could now be laid safely aside.
Mary was resolved to bring about a submission to Rome; and her minister Gardiner fell back on the old ecclesiastical order, as the moderate party which had supported the policy of Henry the Eighth saw its hopes disappear, and ranged himself definitely on the side of a unity which could now only be brought about by a reconciliation with the Papacy. The Spanish match was hardly concluded, when the negotiations with Rome were brought to a final issue. The attainder of Reginald Pole, who had been appointed by the Pope to receive the submission of the realm, was reversed; and the Legate, who entered London by the river with his cross gleaming from the prow of his barge, was solemnly welcomed by a compliant Parliament. The two Houses decided by a formal vote to return to the obedience of the Papal See, and received on their knees the absolution which freed the realm from the guilt incurred by its schism and heresy. But, even in the hour of her triumph, the temper both of Parliament and the nation warned the Queen of the failure of her hope to bind England to a purely Catholic policy.
The growing independence of the two Houses was seen in their rejection of measure after measure proposed by the Crown. A proposal to oust Elizabeth from the line of succession could not even be submitted to the Houses, nor could their assent be won to the postponing of her succession to that of Philip. Though the statutes abolishing Papal jurisdiction in England were repealed, they rejected all proposals for the restoration of Church-lands to the clergy. A proposal to renew the laws against heresy was thrown out by the Lords, even after the failure of Wyatt's insurrection, and only Philip's influence secured the re-enactment of the statute of Henry the Fifth in a later Parliament. Nor was the temper of the nation at large less decided. The sullen discontent of London compelled its Bishop, Bonner, to withdraw the inquisitorial articles by which he hoped to purge his diocese of heresy. Even the Council was divided on the question of persecution, and in the very interests of Catholicism the Emperor himself counselled prudence and delay. Philip gave the same counsel.
But whether from without or from within, warning was wasted on the fierce bigotry of the Queen.
It was a moment when the prospects of the party of reform seemed utterly hopeless. Spain had taken openly the lead in the great Catholic movement, and England was being dragged, however reluctantly, by the Spanish marriage into the current of reaction. Its opponents were broken by the failure of their revolt, and unpopular through the memory of their violence and greed. Now that the laws against heresy were enacted, Mary pressed for their execution; and in 1555 the opposition of her councillors was at last mastered, and the work of death began. But the cause which prosperity had ruined revived in the dark hour of persecution. If the Protestants had not known how to govern, they knew how to die. The story of Rowland Taylor, the Vicar of Hadleigh, tells us more of the work which was now begun, and of the effect it was likely to produce, than pages of historic dissertation. Taylor, who as a man of mark had been one of the first victims chosen for execution, was arrested in London, and condemned to suffer in his own parish.
His wife," suspecting that her husband should that night be carried away." had waited through the darkness with her children in the porch of St. Botolph's beside Aldgate. "Now when the sheriff his company came against St. Botolph's Church, Elizabeth cried, saying,' O my dear father! M other! mother! here is my father led away!' Then cried his wife,' Rowland, Rowland, where art thou?' - for it was a very dark morning, that the one could not see the other. Dr. Taylor answered, 'I am here, dear wife/ and stayed. The sheriff's men would have led him forth, but the sheriff said,' Stay a little, masters, I pray you, and let him speak to his wife.' Then came she to him, and he took his daughter Mary in his arms, and he and his wife and Elizabeth knelt down and said the Lord's prayer. At which sight the sheriff wept apace, and so did divers others of the company. After they had prayed he rose up and kissed his wife and shook her by the hand, and said, ' Farewell, my dear wife, be of good comfort, for I am quiet in my conscience! God shall still be a father to my children.'... Then said his wife, ' God be with thee, dear Rowland! I will, with God's grace, meet thee at Hadleigh.'... All the way Dr. Taylor was merry and cheerful as one that accounted himself going to a most pleasant banquet or bridal.... Coming within two miles of Hadleigh he desired to light off his horse, which done he leaped and set a frisk or twain as men commonly do for dancing. 'Why, master Doctor/ quoth the Sheriff, 'how do you now?' He answered, ' Well, God be praised, Master Sheriff, never better; for now I know I am almost at home.