Burghley pp 53-65 | Cite as

In the Wilderness

  • B. W. Beckingsale


After he had made his peace with Mary, Cecil retired from the government. His early biographer makes it clear that Cecil declined to serve a catholic Queen for the sake of his religion.1 No doubt religion was the substantial reason for Cecil’s withdrawal. Mary’s return to the imperial alliance and the predictable conduct of domestic affairs, still largely in the hands of his old colleagues and friends, gave him no grounds for political objection to the new régime. Cecil might well have continued in office as Petre and Paget did had he been the complete time-server. By not accepting high office Cecil was in his moderate way showing a measure of disapproval for the new Queen’s faith.


High Office Substantial Reason Domestic Affair Imperial Alliance Protestant Attitude 
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  1. 15.
    B.M. Lansdowne MSS. cxviii. 36, 54, 78, 50–51; H.M.C, Salis-bury MSS. i. 127, 142; C.S.P. Domestic, 1547–80, 86; Hatfield MSS. cxliii. 91; C.S.P. Domestic, 1547–80, 85; W. Murdin, State Papers (1759), 747.Google Scholar
  2. 24.
    E. H. Harbison, Rival Ambassadors at the Court of Queen Mary [Tudor] (Princeton U.P. and Oxford, 1940), 273–80.Google Scholar

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© B. W. Beckingsale 1967

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