FOR two and a half years after the public burning of Archbishop Cranmer, the fiery persecution of the so-called "heretics," continued to rage throughout Great Britain. About the end of this period five innocent persons suffered together at Canterbury, for adhering to the principles taught by the Reformers. Two of these were women, one of whom was very aged and helpless, whose condition it would seem would have excited the pity of any but the most brutal savage. These five martyrs lifted up their prayers from the midst of the flames, asking God that their blood might be the last that should be shed in England for his truth. These prayers were answered. One week later, on November 17, 1558, Queen Mary died. 

During her reign of less than five years, nearly three hundred people suffered death by burning, including sixty women, and forty small children. 

All of this number were burned as heretics because they did not conform to the doctrines and practices of the Catholic church. Among them were some of the noblest and most learned men that England ever saw. Besides this number, scores of others suffered death on the scaffold, either because they were suspected of opposing Mary's rule, or because they refused to aid in carrying out her wicked designs. No doubt great numbers who suffered death either by burning or the executioner's ax, were sacrificed to appease the envy and malice of some of Mary's ministers and advisers, and that, without her direct consent. But certain it is that she had hand enough in the matter to fully merit the title which is now universally accorded to her—BLOODY QUEEN MARY. 

As soon as her death was made known, there was general rejoicing throughout all England. 

For though she had by her authority upheld the Catholic church, yet by her inhuman course she had really made more enemies to the church than friends. So when she died, the greater part of people were anxious to have the laws of Edward VI. restored, the Bible again allowed to be read in the churches, and the worship of God carried on in a manner that was not contrary to his word. 

All this came about in very short order. For before the close of the very day that Mary breathed her last, the lords of the Council went down to Hatfield, to hail the Princess Elizabeth as the new Queen of England. This woman was twenty-five years old, and was a stanch Protestant. 

Indeed, her life had been sought by many a Catholic during the reign of Mary, and for several months she was imprisoned in the Tower. So when she was made queen, the people just gave themselves up to feasting, building bonfires, and marching in processions around their cities. The great writer, Charles Dickens, in speaking of those times, 


"The coronation was a great success; and on the next day, one of the courtiers presented a petition to the new Queen, praying that as it was the custom to release some prisoners on such occasions, she would have the goodness to release the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and also the Apostle St. Paul, who had been for some time shut up in a strange language so that the people could not get at them. 

"To this, the Queen replied that it would be better first to inquire of them whether they desired to be released or not; and as a means of finding out, a great public discussion—a sort of religious tournament—was appointed to take place between certain champions of the two religions, in Westminster Abbey. You may suppose that it was soon made pretty clear to common sense, that for people to benefit by what they repeat or read, it is rather necessary that they should understand something about it. Accordingly a Church Service in plain English was settled, and others laws and regulations were made, completely establishing the great work of the Reformation." 

In this way, the work begun in the days of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. was pushed rapidly forward. The writings of John Wycliffe, Mr. Tyndale, John Rogers, Hugh Latimer, Dr. Ridley, and Bishop Cranmer, which had been preserved from the flames during Mary's reign, now began to appear once more, and to be read by the people, and it looked as though peace and harmony were to reign once more on the shores of England. 

C. H. G.