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

By Douglas Campbell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
ENGLISH PURITANISM

QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THE PURITANS -- 1558-1585

THERE are few historical personages who have received so much attention from writers, friendly and unfriendly, as Queen Elizabeth, and fewer still whose actions and character, until a recent day, have been so little understood. About this there is nothing remarkable, in view of her position as an unmarried queen, her place in the royal succession, the inaccessibility of many documents relating to the transactions of her reign, and the romantic conceptions generally prevailing as to the condition of English societ when she was on the throne. These causes have led to numerous fictions regarding her conduct in civil matters, but such fictions can hardly be compared with those which have been woven about her conduct in religious matters. Some writers have gone so far as to style her "The Defender of European Protestantism." Whether she deserves this or any other title of honor connected with the Reformation will appear from her actions towards her own Church, and that of the struggling Protestants upon the Continent.

Elizabeth was what may be called a political Protestant, of the type common among the Lutheran princes of Germany. She was resolute not to admit the papal supremacy -- so long, at least, as it meant peril to her throne -- but not so averse to the doctrines abjured by

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