The Puritan in Holland, England, and America: An Introduction to American History - Vol. 1

By Douglas Campbell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND

PUBLIC LIFE -- ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE -- TRARE -- TREATMENT OF IRELAND -- PIRACY

THE last chapter dealt with Elizabethan England mainly from its domestic and social side. Let us now see how the men of this time look from another point of view. And first we will consider those in public life.

A few figures stand out in the Elizabethan era which would do honor to any age; chief among these are Burghley and Walsingham. It is fortunate for England and for the world that these men lived; it is largely to them that England owes her greatness. They were patriots, pure of life, incorruptible, working for their country, and not for self. Burghley was wealthy, but in his own right; from the queen he did not receive enough, he said, to cover his expenses.* Walsingham spent his fortune in the public service and died in poverty. These are the men who, with a very few others, such as Sir Francis Knollys, Sir Nicholas Bacon, and Sir Philip Sidney, are often held up to illustrate the public morality of the age; but they neither represent the officials nor the courtiers. Most of the men about them were mere parasites fattening on the nation -- gamblers, spendthrifts, pardon-brokers, monopolists, and pirates.

____________________
*
Strype "Annals", iii. Appendix, p. 128.

-363-

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