This was only one of the problems that confronted Elizabeth at her accession. There were others even more pressing if the kingdom were to be safe and prosperous. Internally it; was divided by deep dissensions amongst its people, externally it was weak by comparison with its nearest continental neighbors. Within less than twenty years it had been forcibly subjected to three different kinds of religion, a sort of Anglo-Catholicism under Henry 11, an extreme Protestantism under Edward and the old orthodox Replica Cartier Catholicism under Mary. Such a thing as toleration each person worshipping according to his own conscience, was inconceivable all had to worship the same way, and each change had been accompanied by persecution and left a legacy of hatred amongst those who preferred another way.
Whatever course the new Queen adopted she would make enemies, while to adopt none would be the worst course of all, since that would leave it to the various creeds to fight it out amongst themselves until one had crushed the rest. Apart from these religious quarrels there were sectional differences. The West, including Wales and the North, had different ways of life and thought from those parts nearer the capital and did not want to be interfered with; which in Ireland, English domination over a hostile race could only be maintained by a constant expenditure of lives, money and watchfulness.
Alongside and closely related to these perils threatening the country from within were the perils threatening it from without? France and Spain, the two great Powers long locked in a struggle for the mastery of the Continent, could tolerate no neutrals: at least none like England, which, because of her position, could close the vital passage through the Channel and the North Sea to either by becoming the ally of the other. Either, on the other hand, might endanger and perhaps entirely stop England's trade with the Continent through those waters; France had already done it grave damage and might jeopardize it further by her recent seizure of Calais .
Moreover, France virtually controlled Scotland, where the mother of the young Queen ruled as Regent for her daughter, lately married to the Dauphin in Paris, and where French troops lay encamped along England's single land frontier. Little as Englishmen liked being attached to either of the two great powers, they could not very well avoid being bound to an extent to one or the other of them, since alone they would have succumbed Omega Replica to either; as they had discovered not long since that without Spain they could neither defend nor retake Calais. A visiting diplomat to the little island kingdom, summing up his impressions, compared it to "a bone thrown between two dogs."
The comparison was apt as far as it went, but it left two factors out of account. One was the bursting energy of the English people, who took by no means so gloomy a view of their future as the facts seemed to justify. The other was their new Queen, on whom they had increasingly fixed their faith as things went from bad to worse under her predecessor. So great had her popularity grown before the end that not only had Mary not dared to prevent, but had been compelled against her will to consent to her accession, which her subjects welcomed with an enthusiasm that was almost hysterical.