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Title: History of England from the fall of Wolsey to the death of Elizabeth. Vol. III
Author: Froude, James Anthony, 1818-1894
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of England from the fall of Wolsey to the death of Elizabeth. Vol. III" ***

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  HISTORY OF ENGLAND

  FROM

  THE FALL OF WOLSEY

  TO

  THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH.

  BY

  JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE, M. A.

  LATE FELLOW OF EXETER COLLEGE, OXFORD.


  VOLUME III.


  NEW YORK:

  CHARLES SCRIBNER AND COMPANY

  1872.

[Illustration:

  Charles Scribner & Co of No 654
  Broadway New York have authority
  from me to publish all works which I
  have already written or may hereafter
  write.                 J A Froude

  London, Jan 29. 1871]



CONTENTS OF VOLUME III.


CHAPTER XII.

FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC ASPECTS OF THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.

                                                                    PAGE
  Spain and England                                                   14
  Animosity of the Emperor                                            15
  Mission of Cardinal Granvelle                                       16
  The Milan Temptation                                                17
  Francis will join the Papal League                                  18
  The Triple Cord                                                     19
  Effect of the Death of Catherine                                    20
  Overtures to England                                                21
  Reply to the Spanish Ambassador                                     22
  The French invade Italy                                             24
  The Emperor's Protest                                               25
  Speech in the Consistory                                            26
  Invasion of Provence                                                27
  Attitude of England                                                 28
  Expectations formed at Rome                                         29
  Paul's Message to Henry                                             30
  Letter of Sir Gregory Cassalis                                      31
  History of Reginald Pole                                            32
  The King's Favour towards him                                       33
  Residence Abroad                                                    35
  The Book of the Church                                              37
  Opposes Conciliation                                                39
  England seen from within                                            60
  Convocation of 1536                                                 61
  Latimer's Sermon                                                    62
  Spirit of the Clergy                                                66
  Complaints against the Growth of Heresy                             68
  Protestant Heresies                                                 70
  Peculiar Disposition of the King                                    71
  First Articles of Religion                                          73
  Judgment on General Councils                                        78
  Injunctions of the Vicar-General                                    79
  The English Bible                                                   80

CHAPTER XIII.

THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE.

  Causes of Popular Disaffection                                      88
  Discontent in the House of Lords                                    89
  The Statute of Uses                                                 91
  Enclosures of Commons                                               93
  Encroachment upon Local Jurisdiction                                95
  The Three Commissions                                               97
  Fantastic Rumours                                                   99
  Rising in Lincolnshire                                             100
  The First of October at Louth                                      101
  The Rebellion in Motion                                            103
  The Articles of the Rebellion                                      105
  The Rebels occupy Lincoln                                          107
  Lord Hussey                                                        109
  The Duke of Suffolk                                                111
  The King's Answer to the Petition                                  113
  Scene in the Chapter-house at Lincoln                              115
  The Gentlemen separate from the Commons                            117
  The Great Insurrection                                             118
  Account of Robert Aske                                             119
  The Rising of the North                                            121
  Scene at Beverley                                                  123
  Lord Darcy                                                         125
  The Rendezvous at Weighton                                         127
  Aske enters York                                                   129
  Lord Darcy in Pomfret                                              131
  Surrender of Pomfret                                               133
  The Siege of Hull                                                  135
  Skipton Castle                                                     137
  Advance of the Duke of Norfolk                                     139
  Henry's Instructions to Norfolk                                    141
  Lancaster Herald at Pomfret                                        143
  Lord Northumberland                                                145
  Doncaster                                                          147
  The Doncaster Articles                                             151
  The Conference on Doncaster Bridge                                 153
  The Advice of the Council                                          155
  Despatch of Heralds                                                157
  State of the North                                                 159
  Proposal to betray Aske                                            161
  Rebel Council at York                                              163
  The Council of Pomfret                                             165
  The King's Second Commission                                       167
  Resolutions of the King                                            169
  The Council of York                                                171
  Aske goes to London                                                173
  Fresh Danger                                                       175

CHAPTER XIV.

THE COMMISSION OF CARDINAL POLE.

  James the Fifth                                                    176
  Reginald Pole made a Cardinal                                      177
  The Mission into Flanders                                          178
  The Credentials                                                    180
  State of the North of England                                      181
  Sir Francis Bigod                                                  182
  Second Insurrection                                                184
  Failures at Scarborough and Hull                                   185
  Arrival of the Duke of Norfolk                                     187
  The Rebels attack Carlisle                                         189
  Martial Law                                                        191
  Pole arrives in France                                             193
  He is dismissed into the Netherlands                               194
  He retires to Liège                                                195
  Arrests in England                                                 196
  Aske, Darcy, and Constable                                         197
  Trials of the Prisoners                                            199
  Executions                                                         206
  Aske and Constable                                                 207
  Death of Aske                                                      209
  The Children of Benjamin                                           211
  Pole at Liège                                                      212
  Michael Throgmorton                                                213
  Letter of Cromwell to Michael Throgmorton                          214
  Illustrative Sketches of the Time                                  219
  The Sacraments                                                     228
  The Bishop's Book                                                  229
  Address of the King                                                230
  State of the Navy                                                  231
  Piracy in the Channel                                              232
  Battle in Falmouth Harbour                                         233
  Outrages of Foreign Cruisers                                       234
  Equipment of a Fleet                                               235
  Action in the Downs                                                236
  English Successes                                                  237
  Survey of the Coasts                                               238
  The Revenue                                                        239
  Ill-health of the King                                             240
  Birth of the Prince of Wales                                       241
  Death of the Queen                                                 243
  Anxiety for the Prince                                             245
  Creation of Peers                                                  247
  Proposal of a New Marriage                                         248

CHAPTER XV.

THE EXETER CONSPIRACY.

  The European Powers                                                249
  England and the Empire                                             250
  Mission of Sir Thomas Wyatt                                        251
  The Princess Mary                                                  252
  The Duchess of Milan                                               254
  Interchange of Alliance                                            255
  Doubts and Warnings                                                257
  The Pacification of Nice                                           259
  Doctor Bonner                                                      261
  The Religious Houses                                               263
  Voluntary Surrenders                                               264
  Images and Relics                                                  265
  Friar Forest                                                       270
  Novel Law of Heresy                                                272
  Dderfel Gadern                                                     273
  The Shrines                                                        275
  St. Thomas of Canterbury                                           277
  The King's Marriage                                                280
  The Pope issues the Censures                                       282
  Pole's Second Mission                                              283
  England and Flanders                                               284
  Pole's Apology                                                     285
  Irish Overtures to the Papacy                                      287
  Contemplated Invasion of Ireland                                   289
  The English Lords                                                  291
  Renewed Agitations                                                 292
  The Marquis of Exeter                                              293
  The Banner of St. Kevern                                           295
  The Cornish Conspiracy                                             297
  Arrest of Holland                                                  299
  The Poles                                                          301
  Lady Salisbury                                                     302
  Circular to the Justices of the Peace                              303
  Westminster Hall                                                   305
  Lord Montague                                                      306
  Sir Edward Neville                                                 307
  Executions for Treason                                             308
  Testimony of Events                                                309
  England and the Lutherans                                          310
  The Landgrave of Hesse                                             311
  Prosecution of Lambert                                             312
  Lambert dies at the Stake                                          315
  Cromwell's Opinion of the Sentence                                 316
  Reginald Pole in Spain                                             317
  Rumour of the intended Invasion                                    318
  The Flemish Fleet                                                  319
  Reports from Spain                                                 320
  The King at Dover                                                  321
  The Uncertainty                                                    322
  The Fleet in Flanders disperses                                    323
  Despair of Pole                                                    324
  He is alarmed for the Emperor                                      325
  The Muster in London                                               326

CHAPTER XVI.

THE SIX ARTICLES.

  Religious Tolerance                                                331
  Spirit of Persecution                                              332
  State of Parties                                                   333
  The Privy Council                                                  335
  The Prospects of Cromwell                                          336
  Appeal of the King to his Subjects                                 337
  General Pardon                                                     339
  Difficulties of Protestantism                                      341
  Marriage of the Clergy                                             342
  An Execution at Ipswich                                            343
  General Election                                                   344
  Meeting of Parliament                                              349
  Religious Differences                                              350
  Proposals for Union                                                351
  Attainder of the Poles                                             352
  The Six Articles                                                   353
  Act of Proclamations                                               355
  Royal Address                                                      357
  Dissolution of the Monasteries                                     359
  Extension of the Episcopate                                        360
  Approbation of England                                             365
  Protest of Melancthon                                              366
  Moderation of the King                                             368
  Development of the Statute                                         369
  Second Pardon                                                      370
  The Vicar of Stepney                                               371
  Henry and Prince Edward                                            372
  The English Criminal Law                                           373
  The Welsh Marches                                                  381
  Address to the Justices of the Peace                               385
  Issue of Special Commissions                                       388
  The Three Abbots                                                   390
  The Abbot of Glastonbury.                                          391

CHAPTER XVII.

ANNE OF CLEVES, AND THE FALL OF CROMWELL.

  Anne of Cleves                                                     399
  Cromwell and the Peers                                             404
  Position of Cromwell                                               405
  Cromwell and Gardiner                                              408
  Cromwell and the Bishops                                           409
  The Protestants                                                    410
  Prosecution of Dr. Watts                                           411
  The Emperor comes to Paris                                         412
  Reginald Pole                                                      413
  The Emperor at Paris                                               414
  An English Traitor                                                 415
  Interview with Sir Thomas Wyatt                                    417
  Anne of Cleves lands in England                                    420
  The King's Sensations                                              422
  Arrival of Anne at Greenwich                                       423
  Reluctance of Henry.                                               425
  Completion of the Marriage                                         426
  Protestant Controversy                                             427
  Attitude of the Emperor                                            431
  Failure of Cromwell's Foreign Policy                               434
  Approach of the Crisis                                             436
  Meeting of Parliament                                              437
  Cromwell's Opening Speech                                          438
  The Calm before the Storm                                          439
  Progress of ordinary Legislation                                   440
  A Subsidy Bill                                                     441
  Attainders of Romanists                                            442
  The King's Marriage                                                443
  Hints of a Divorce                                                 445
  The Fall of Cromwell                                               446
  Intercession of Cranmer                                            454
  The Attainder                                                      456
  The Six Articles                                                   458
  The King's Statement                                               461
  Judgment of Convocation                                            463
  Communication with the Duke                                        467
  Opinion of Foreign Powers                                          469
  Committee of Religion                                              471
  The Calais Conspirators                                            472
  Attainder of three Protestants                                     473
  Parliament is Dissolved                                            474
  The Fall of Cromwell                                               476
  His Prayer on the Scaffold                                         477
  Character of Cromwell                                              478



CHAPTER XII.

FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC ASPECTS OF THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.


In the sensitive condition of Europe the effect of events was felt
beyond their natural consequence. The death of Catherine of Arragon led
to the renewal of the war between France and the Empire. Paul III., in
real or pretended reluctance to proceed to the last extremity, had for a
time suspended the Bull of Deposition which he had drawn against the
King of England.[1] It was idle to menace while he was unable to strike;
and the two great Catholic powers had declined, when his intention was
first made known to them, to furnish him with the necessary support.
Francis I., who trifled, as it suited his convenience, with the court of
London, the see of Rome, the Smalcaldic League, and the Divan at
Constantinople, had protested against a step which would have compelled
him to a definite course of action. The Emperor, so long as Solyman was
unchecked upon the Danube, and Moorish corsairs swept the Mediterranean
and ravaged the coasts of Italy, had shrunk from the cost and peril of a
new contest.

[Sidenote: Animosity of the Spaniards against the King of England]

[Sidenote: Fostered by English and Irish refugees,]

[Sidenote: And shared by the Emperor.]

A declaration of war, in revenge for the injuries of the divorced queen,
would indeed have been welcomed with enthusiasm by the gentlemen of
Spain. A London merchant, residing at Cadiz, furnished his government
with unwelcome evidence of the spirit which was abroad in the Peninsula:
"I have perceived," he wrote to Cromwell, "the views and manners of
these countries, and favour that these Spaniards do bear towards the
King's Grace and his subjects, which is very tedious in their hearts
both in word and deed, with their great Popish naughty slanderous words
in all parts. And truly the King's Grace hath little or no favour now.
We be all taken in derision and hated as Turks, and called heretics, and
Luterians, and other spiteful words; and they say here plainly they
trust shortly to have war with England, and to set in the Bishop of Rome
with all his disciples again in England."[2] The affront to a Castilian
princess had wounded the national honour; the bigotry of a people to
whom alone in Europe their creed remained a passion, was shocked by the
religious revolution with which that affront had been attended; and the
English and Irish refugees, who flocked to their harbours, found willing
listeners when they presented themselves as the missionaries of a
crusade.[3] Charles himself was withheld only by prudence from indulging
the inclination of his subjects. He shared to the full their haughty
sensitiveness; again and again in his private consultations with the
Pope he had spoken of the revenge which he would one day exact against
his uncle; and one of the best informed statesmen of the age, whose
memoirs have descended to us, declares that every person who understood
anything of the condition of Europe, believed assuredly that he would at
last execute his threat.[4]

[Sidenote: The Emperor returns from his successes in Africa,]

But as yet no favourable opportunity had offered itself. His arms were
occupied with other enemies; the Irish rebellion had collapsed; the
disaffection in England seemed unable to coalesce with sufficient
firmness to encourage an invasion in its support. It was not till the
close of the year 1535, when Charles returned to Naples covered with
glory from his first expedition into Africa, that means and leisure for
his larger object at length offered themselves. His power and his fame
were now at their zenith. He had destroyed the Moslem fleet; he had
wrested Tunis from the dreaded Barbarossa; he had earned the gratitude
of the Catholic world by the delivery of twenty thousand Christian
slaves. The last ornament might now be added to his wreath of glory, if
he would hush down the tumults of heresy as he had restored peace to the
waters of the Mediterranean.

[Sidenote: And meditates a crusade against heresy.]

With this intention Charles remained in Italy for the winter. The Pope
again meditated the publication of the Bull of Deposition;[5] a circular
was issued from the Vatican, copies of which were sent even to the
Lutheran princes, inviting a crusade against England,[6] and Cardinal
Granvelle was instructed to sound the disposition of Francis, and
persuade his coöperation. The Emperor would be moderate in his demands;
an active participation would not be required of him;[7] it would be
sufficient if he would forget his engagement with an excommunicated
sovereign to whom promises were no longer binding, and would remain
passive.

[Sidenote: Dubious disposition of Francis.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of Protestants in Paris.]

There was reason to believe that Granvelle's mission would be
successful. The year preceding, Charles had played off a hope of Milan
as a bribe to disunite the French from England; he was ready now to make
a definite promise. With the first slight inducement Francis had
wavered; while again, in point of religion, his conduct was more
satisfactory than had been expected. He adhered in appearance to the
English alliance, but he had deceived Henry's hopes that he would unite
in a rupture with Rome; he had resisted all entreaties to declare the
independence of the Gallican church; he had laboured to win back the
Germans out of schism, partly to consolidate the French influence in
Europe as opposed to the Imperial, but partly also, as he had taken
pains to prove, that no doubt might be entertained of the position of
France in the great question of the Reformation. He had allowed himself,
indeed, as a convenience, to open negotiations for a treaty with
Solyman; but the Turks, in the eyes of devout Catholics, were less
obnoxious than heretics;[8] and the scandal was obscured by an open
repentance for past shortcomings, and a declaration that for the future
he would eschew the crime of toleration, and show no mercy to any
Protestant who might fall within his grasp. An English stranger saw
Francis of France march through the streets of Paris with the princes of
the blood, the queen, the princesses, the bishops, cardinals, dukes,
lords, counts, the "blue blood" of the nobility. They had torches, and
banners, and relics of the saints, the whole machinery of the faith: and
in the presence of the august assemblage six heretics were burnt at a
single fire; the king gave thanks to God that he had learnt his
obligations as a Christian sovereign; and, imploring the Divine
forgiveness because in past years he had spared the lives of some few of
these wretches whom it was his duty to have destroyed, he swore that
thenceforward they should go all, as many as he could discover, to the
flames.[9]

[Sidenote: The Emperor offers Milan to the Duke of Orleans.]

[Sidenote: Francis consents to the formation of a league against
England.]

Thus, therefore, good hopes were entertained of Francis; but inasmuch it
was known with what a passion he had set his heart on Milan, Charles
resolved not to trust too entirely to his zeal for orthodoxy; and,
either through Granvelle or through his ambassadors, he signified his
consent to an arrangement which would have consigned Italy conclusively
to a Gallican supremacy. Sforza, the last reigning duke, whose claims
had hitherto been supported by the Imperialists, had died childless in
the previous October. The settlement which had been made in the treaty
of Cambray had thus been rendered nugatory; and Francis desired the
duchy for his second son, the Duke of Orleans, who, in right of his
wife, Catherine de' Medici, would inherit also the dukedoms of Florence
and Urbino. If the Emperor was acting in good faith, if he had no
intention of escaping from his agreement when the observance of it
should no longer be necessary, he was making no common sacrifice in
acquiescing in a disposition the consequence of which to the House of
Austria he so clearly foresaw.[10] He, however, seemed for the present
to have surrendered himself to the interests of the Church;[11] and, in
return for the concession, Francis, who had himself advised Henry VIII.
to marry Anne Boleyn,--Francis, who had declared that Henry's resistance
to the Papacy was in the common interest of all Christian
princes,--Francis, who had promised to make Henry's cause his own, and,
three years previously, had signed a treaty, offensive and defensive,
for the protection of France and England against Imperial and Papal
usurpations,--sank before the temptation. He professed his willingness
to join hand and heart with the Emperor in restoring unity to
Christendom and crushing the Reformation. Anticipating and exceeding the
requests which had been proposed to him, he volunteered his services to
urge in his own person on Henry the necessity of submitting to the
universal opinion of Christendom; and, to excuse or soften the
effrontery of the demand, he suggested, that, in addition to the
censures, a formal notice should be served upon all Christian princes
and potentates, summoning them to the assistance of the Papacy to compel
the King of England with the strong hand to obey the sentence of the See
of Rome.[12] A Catholic league was now on the point of completion. The
good understanding so much dreaded by English ministers, between France,
the Empire, and the Papacy, seemed to be achieved. A council, the
decision of which could not be doubtful, would be immediately convoked
by Paul, under the protectorate of the two powers; and the Reformation
would become a question no longer of argument, but of strength.

[Sidenote: January. The death of Queen Catherine is known in Italy.]

[Sidenote: New hopes are formed of a reconciliation.]

[Sidenote: March. The Emperor withdraws his offer of Milan.]

[Sidenote: Advances of the Pope and the Catholic powers to Henry]

Happily, the triple cord was not yet too secure to be broken by an
accident. The confederacy promised favourably till the new year. At the
end of January it became known in Italy that the original cause of the
English quarrel existed no longer--that Queen Catherine was no more. On
the first arrival of the news there was an outburst of indignation.
Stories of the circumstances of her death were spread abroad with
strange and frightful details. Even Charles himself hinted his
suspicions to the Pope that she had been unfairly dealt with, and fears
were openly expressed for the safety of the Princess Mary.[13] But, in a
short time, calmer counsels began to prevail. Authentic accounts of the
queen's last hours must have been received early in February from the
Spanish ambassador, who was with her to the end; and as her decease gave
no fresh cause for legitimate complaint, so it was possible that an
embarrassing difficulty was peacefully removed. On both sides there
might now, it was thought, be some relaxation without compromise of
principle; an attempt at a reconciliation might at least be made before
venturing on the extremity of war. Once more the Pope allowed the
censures to sleep.[14] The Emperor, no longer compelled by honour to
treat Henry as an enemy, no longer felt himself under the necessity of
making sacrifices to Francis. He allowed his offer of Milan to the Duke
of Orleans to melt into a proposal which would have left uninjured the
Imperial influence in Italy; and Francis, who had regarded the duchy at
last as his own, was furious at his disappointment, and prepared for
immediate war. So slight a cause produced effects so weighty. Henry, but
a few weeks before menaced with destruction, found himself at once an
object of courteous solicitation from each of the late confederates.
The Pope found a means of communicating to him the change in his
sentiments.[15] Francis, careless of all considerations beyond revenge,
laboured to piece together the fragments of a friendship which his own
treachery had dissolved: and Charles, through his resident at the court
of London, and even with his own hand in a letter to Cromwell,
condescended to request that his good brother would forget and forgive
what was past. The occasion of their disagreement being removed, he
desired to return to the old terms of amity. The Princess Mary might be
declared legitimate, having been at least born _in bonâ fide parentum_;
and as soon as this difficulty should have been overcome, he promised to
use his good offices with the Pope, that, at the impending council, his
good brother's present marriage should be declared valid, and the
succession arranged as he desired.[16] Finally, that he might lose no
time in reaping the benefit of his advances, he reminded Henry that the
old treaties remained in force by which they had bound themselves to
assist each other in the event of invasion; that he looked to his good
offices and his assistance in the now imminent irruption of the French
into Italy.

The English government lavished large sums as secret service money in
the European courts. Though occasionally misled in reports from other
quarters, they were always admirably informed by their agents at
Rome.[17] Henry knew precisely the history of the late coalition against
him, and the value which he might attach to these new professions. He
had no intention of retracing any step which he had taken. For his
separation from the rest of Christendom, Rome and the other powers were
alone responsible.

[Sidenote: The Spanish ambassador has an audience at Greenwich.]

Events would now work for him. He had only to stand still. To the Pope
he sent no answer; but he allowed Sir Gregory Cassalis to hold an
indirect commission as his representative at the Papal court. To Francis
he remained indifferent. The application on the part of the Emperor had
been the most elaborate, and to him his answer was the most explicit. He
received the Spanish ambassador in an audience at Greenwich, and, after
a formal declaration had been made of Charles's message, he replied with
the terms on which he would consent to forget the events of the
preceding years. The interruption of friendly relations between England
and Spain was the fault wholly and entirely, he said, of the Emperor.
When the crown of the Cæsars was last vacant, it had been at the
disposal of himself; and he it was who had permitted the choice to fall
on its present wearer. In Charles's difficulties he had lent him money:
to him Charles was indebted for his power, his influence, and his fame;
and, in return, he had met only with ingratitude. To remember injuries,
however, was not in his nature. "We can continue our displeasure to no
man," he said, "if he do once remove the cause thereof; so if he which
is a prince of honour, and a personage whom we once chose and thought
worthy for his virtue and qualities to be advanced, will, by his express
writings, either desire us to put his doings towards us in oblivion, or
by the same purge himself and declare that such things wherein we have
noted unkindness at his hands have been unjustly imputed to him, we
shall gladly embrace his offer touching the reconciliation." Being the
injured party, he could receive no advance and treat of no conditions
unless with this necessary preliminary. Let the Emperor deal with him
frankly, and he should receive a reasonable answer to all his reasonable
requests.

"For the Bishop of Rome, he had not," he continued, "proceeded on so
slight grounds as he would alter any one piece of his doings. In all his
causes he had laid his foundation upon the laws of God, nature, and
honesty, and established his works made upon the same with consent of
the states of the realm in open and high court of parliament." The
Bishop, however, had himself made known his desire for a return to a
better understanding with him, and he did not think it expedient that a
third party should interfere.[18]

[Sidenote: Anxiety of Henry to be on good terms with the Emperor.]

The haughty answer concealed a less indifferent feeling. Henry was
seriously conscious of the danger of the isolation of the country; and
though he chose in words to defend his self-respect, though he saw,
perhaps, in a high bearing the surest means to command the respect of
others, he was anxious from his heart to resume his old relations with
Spain and Flanders, so important for English commerce, and still more
important for the tacit sanction of his past conduct, which would be
implied in a renewed treaty with the nephew of Catherine. He directed
the English resident at the Imperial court to report the manner in which
his reply had been received: he desired him at the same time to lose no
opportunity of impressing, both on Charles and on his ministers, the
benefits which would accrue to all Christendom, as well as to
themselves, if they were again on good terms.[19]

[Sidenote: War between France and the Empire.]

So matters hung uncertain through the spring. The court of Rome
continued hopeful,[20] although at that very time the English
parliaments were debating the contents of the Black Book, and decreeing
the dissolution of the smaller monasteries. Rumour was still favourable
to a reconciliation, when, for the moment, all other considerations were
absorbed in the breaking out of the French war.

[Sidenote: D'Annebault overruns Piedmont.]

Francis had not waited for the declaration of a change of policy on the
part of Charles to collect an army. On the first hint of a difficulty he
saw what was intended. Milan, after all, was not to be surrendered. His
chief military successes had been gained by a suddenness of movement
which approached to treachery. Instantly that he knew Charles to be
hesitating, he took advantage of some trifling Border differences to
open a quarrel; and he declared war and struck his first blow at the
same moment. His troops entered Savoy, and the brilliant D'Annebault,
who commanded in chief, sweeping all before him, had overrun Piedmont
and had secured and fortified Turin, before a man had been raised to
oppose him.

[Sidenote: April 17. Charles denounces Francis in the consistory at
Rome.]

[Sidenote: And challenges him to single combat.]

This unwelcome news found the Emperor at Naples in the middle of March.
Report slightly, but only slightly, anticipating the reality, brought
information at the same time of a Franco-Turkish alliance, and of the
approach of a fresh Ottoman fleet; and in the first burst of anger and
mortification Charles swore that this time he would not lay down his
arms till either he or his rival had ceased to wear a crown.[21] Antonio
de Leyva was left to collect and equip an army; Charles himself went in
the first week in April to Rome, to make a public protest against the
French aggression. On the seventeenth of that month, Pope, prelates,
cardinals, and foreign ambassadors being all assembled in the
consistory, he rose, and with his bonnet in his hand poured out in
Spanish a long and passionate invective, denouncing the King of France
as the enemy of God and man--the wanton and wicked disturber of the
world. When peace was necessary before all things to compose schism, and
to repel the Turks, Francis was breaking that peace--was bringing in the
Turks--was confounding heaven and earth only for his own ambition. In
the interests of Europe, even now he would give Milan to the Duke of
Angoulesme; the union of the duchies was too formidable a danger to
allow him to bestow it on the Duke of Orleans. This was his last
concession: if it was refused, he challenged Francis to decide their
differences in single combat, laying Burgundy in gage against Lombardy,
the victor to have both in undisputed possession.

Explosions of passion were not unfrequent with Charles, and formed the
most genuine feature in his character. His audience, however, were
fluttered by his violence. His own prudence taught him the necessity of
some explanation. On the following day the consistory reassembled, when,
in calmer tones, he reaffirmed his accusations, and renewed his
proposals.

"I am not against peace," he said; "those who so accuse me slander me.
The Pope is the common friend of myself and the King of France. Without
his Holiness's permission I should not have spoken as I spoke yesterday.
I bear no personal malice. I received the sacrament before I entered
your assembly, and many as are my errors and infirmities, I am not so
bad a Christian as to communicate while in mortal sin. But a confederate
of the Empire is attacked--it is my duty to defend him. The Duke of
Savoy is my near relative; but were he a stranger, so long as he is one
of my lieges, I must expose my life for him, as he would expose his life
for me. I have challenged the King of France to mortal combat; but not
in malice, not in vain bravado or appetite for glory. Wise men do not
thrust themselves into desperate duels, least of all with an antagonist
so strong and skilful. I offered him the alternative of this combat only
if peace was impossible, that the terrible evils which menace
Christendom might be thus avoided. For here I say it, and while I say it
I do but claim my proper privilege as an honest sovereign, not only
would I expose my person to peril, but gladly would I sacrifice my life
for the welfare of the Christian world."[22]

The challenge might naturally have touched Francis, whose one sound
quality was personal courage; but on this occasion the competitors had
exchanged their characters. Francis had the start in the field: he had
twelve thousand picked troops in Turin; the remainder of the invading
force was distributed in impregnable positions over Piedmont and
Savoy.[23] For once he determined to win a reputation for prudence as
well as daring, and he left Charles to seek his remedy where he could
find it. The Pope entreated, but in vain; and the campaign followed
which was so disastrous to the Empire, which for a time reversed so
signally the relative position of the two princes, and defeated the
expectations of the keenest statesmen.

[Sidenote: June. Charles invades Provence.]

[Sidenote: He finds the country wasted.]

[Sidenote: He is unable to advance.]

[Sidenote: August. He loses 30,000 men and retreats.]

Finding himself too late, without delay and difficulty, to expel the
French out of their Italian conquests, Charles, in spite of the
remonstrance of his generals, and relying, as was thought, on a
repetition of the treason of the Duke of Bourbon, by one or more of the
Gallican nobility,[24] led his army into Provence. He trusted either
that he would find the country undefended, or that the French chivalry,
when attacked in their homes, would, with their usual recklessness, risk
a decisive battle; or, at least, that in a fertile district he would
find no difficulty in procuring provisions. In each of his calculations
he found himself fatally mistaken. The inhabitants of Provence had
themselves destroyed their crops, and driven away their cattle. In his
front, Montmorency lay intrenched at Avignon, and Francis between Lyons
and Valence, in fortified camps. Time and necessity had on this occasion
been enlisted as the allies of France; and with the garrison of
Marseilles in his rear intercepting his supplies, unable to advance, and
shut up in a country which had been left barren as an Arabian desert,
the Emperor sate still in the sultry summer heats, while his army melted
away from him with famine and disease. De Leyva, his ablest commander,
and thirty thousand veterans, miserably perished. He escaped only from
being driven into the sea by a retreat; and crept back into Italy with
the broken remnant of his forces, baffled and humiliated in the only
European war into which no fault of his own had plunged him.

[Sidenote: Indifferent attitude of England.]

Of the feelings with which these events were regarded by Henry, we have
little evidence. No positive results followed from the first interchange
of messages, but Charles so far endured the tone in which his advances
had been received, that fresh communications of moderate friendliness
were interchanged through Sir Gregory Cassalis at the beginning of the
summer.[25] In July Henry offered his services as a mediator with the
court of France both to the Emperor and to the Queen Regent of the
Netherlands.[26] At the same time English engineers were in the French
camp in Provence, perhaps as professional students of the art of war,
perhaps as volunteers indirectly countenanced by the government.[27] The
quarrel, in reality, admitted of no solution except by the sword; and if
the English felt no absolute satisfaction in seeing two powers crippling
each other's strength, who, a few months previously, were in league for
their own ruin, the government at least saw no reason to co-operate with
either side, in a cause which did not concern them, or assist in
bringing a dispute to a close which had broken out so opportunely for
themselves.

Meanwhile the probabilities of a reunion with Rome had for a moment
brightened. It was stated at the close of the last volume that, on the
discovery of the adulteries of the queen, a panic arose among the
Reformers, lest the king should regard her crime as a judgment upon the
divorce, and in the sudden revulsion retrace his steps. It was seen,
too, that after her punishment their fears were allayed by an act of
parliament against the Papal usurpations, the most emphatic which had
yet been passed, and that the country settled back into an equilibrium
of permanent hostility. There are circumstances remaining to be
explained, both with respect to the first alarm and to the statute by
which it was dispelled.

[Sidenote: May. Expectations formed at Rome on the disgrace of Queen
Anne.]

[Sidenote: May 27. The Pope entreats Sir Gregory Cassalis to intercede
with Henry for a reconciliation.]

The partial advances which had been made by the Pope had been neither
accepted nor rejected, when, on the 20th of May, a courier from England
brought the news of Anne's misdemeanours to Rome. The consistory would
have been more than mortal if they had not been delighted. From the
first they had ascribed the king's conduct to the infatuating beauty of
Catherine's rival. It was she who, tigress-like, had thirsted for the
blood of their martyrs, and at her shrine they had been sacrificed.[28]
Her character appeared at last in its true colours; the enchantment was
broken, and the abhorrence with which Henry's name had so lately been
regarded was changed throughout Italy to a general feeling of pity.[29]
The precious sheep who had been lost to the Church would now return to
the fold, and the Holy Father would welcome back his erring child with
paternal affection.[30] This seems to have been the general expectation;
unquestionably it was the expectation of the Pope himself. Paul sent
again for Sir Gregory Cassalis, and after expressing his delight that
God had delivered the king from his unhappy connexion, he told him that
he waited only for the most trifling intimation of a desire for reunion
to send a nuntio to England to compose all differences and to grant
everything which the king could reasonably demand.[31] Limiting, like a
man of business, the advantages which he had to offer to the present
world, the Pope suggested that Henry, in connexion with himself, might
now become the arbiter of Europe, and prescribe terms to the Empire as
well as to France. For himself and for his office he said he had no
ambition. The honour and the profit should alike be for England. An
accession of either to the pontificate might prove its ruin.[32] He
lauded the king's early character, his magnanimity, his generous
assistance in times past to the Holy See, his devotion to the Catholic
faith. Forgetting the Holy League, glossing over the Bull of Deposition
as an official form which there had been no thought of enforcing, he
ventured to say that for himself he had been Henry's friend from the
beginning. He had urged his predecessor to permit the divorce; at
Bologna he had laboured to persuade the Emperor to consent to it.[33] He
had sent a red hat to the Bishop of Rochester only that he might have
the benefit of his assistance at the approaching council; and when he
heard of his death, being surrounded by solicitations and clamours for
vengeance, he had but seemed for a time to consent to measures which
would never have been executed.

[Sidenote: The consistory are confident of success,]

[Sidenote: And possibly not without some reason.]

A warmer overture could scarcely have been conceived, and Cassalis
ventured to undertake that it was made in good faith.[34] It was true
that, as Cardinal of Ravenna, Paul III. had been an advocate for Henry;
and his abrupt change on his election to the see proves remarkably how
the genius of the Papacy could control the inclination of the
individual. Now, however, the Pope availed himself gladly of his earlier
conduct, and for a month at least nothing transpired at Rome to damp his
expectation. On the 5th of June Cardinal Campeggio wrote to the Duke of
Suffolk to feel his way towards the recovery of his lost bishopric of
Salisbury.[35] As late as St. John's day (June 24th) the Papal council
were rejoicing in the happy prospect which seemed to be reopened.
Strange it was, that so many times in this long struggle some accident
or some mistake occurred at a critical contingency to ruin hopes which
promised fairly, and which, if realized, would have changed the fortunes
of England. Neither the king nor the country would have surrendered
their conquered liberties; the Act of Appeals would have been
maintained, and, in substance if not in name, the Act of Supremacy. It
is possible, however, that, if at this juncture the Pope would have
relinquished the high pretensions which touched the allegiance of
subjects, Henry, for the sake of peace, would have acknowledged in the
Bishop of Rome a titular primacy.

Many times a good cause has been ruined by the over-zeal of its friends.
If there really existed such a danger, England may thank a young
nobleman for its escape, who was permitted to do his country a service
far different from his intentions. Once already we have seen Reginald
Pole in reluctant employment in Paris, receiving opinions on the
divorce. Henceforth for some years he will fill a prominent place in
this history, and he must be introduced with a brief account of his
life.

[Sidenote: History of Reginald Pole.]

Reginald, second son of Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury, was
born in the year 1500. His mother, so long as the first of the Tudor
princes was on the throne, remained in obscurity. The titles and estates
of the Nevilles being afterwards restored to her and to her eldest son,
Reginald shared the benefits of the revival of his family, and was
selected by Henry VIII. for particular favour.

[Sidenote: He is educated by Henry for the Church.]

[Sidenote: Studies at Paris and Padua.]

He was educated under the king's eye, and at the king's expense; he was
pensioned and endowed, according to the fashion of the time, while
still a boy, with an ecclesiastical benefice; and he was designed,
should his inclination permit him, for the highest office in the English
church. These general kindnesses he himself gratefully acknowledges; and
he professes to have repaid Henry's care with a child's affection. He
says that he loved the king for his generosity to himself and his
family; that he loved him for his own high and noble qualities, his
liberality, his gentleness, his piety, his princely illustrious
nature.[36] Nor did he fail to profit by the advantages which were
heaped upon him. He studied industriously at Paris and at Padua,
acquiring, as he believed, all knowledge which living teachers could
impart to him; and he was himself so well satisfied with the result,
that at the mature age of thirty-six he could describe himself to Henry
as one who, although a young man, "had long been conversant with old
men; had long judged the eldest man that lived too young for him to
learn wisdom from."[37] Many ambitious youths have experienced the same
opinion of themselves; few have ventured on so confident an expression
of it. But for his family's sake as much as for his own, the king
continued to regard him with favour; and could he have prevailed upon
himself to acquiesce in the divorce of Queen Catherine, it is possible
that he would have succeeded Warham in the English primacy.

[Sidenote: He opposes the divorce.]

[Sidenote: Exertions are made to gain him over.]

[Sidenote: He wavers, but recovers his firmness].

[Sidenote: And writes a remonstrance.]

[Sidenote: He goes abroad with leave of absence, and is exempted from
the obligation of the oath of allegiance.]

From conviction, however, or from the tendency to contradiction
characteristic of a peculiar kind of talent, Pole was unable to adopt an
opinion so desirable for his interests. First doubtfully, and afterwards
emphatically and positively, he declared his dissent from the
resolutions of parliament and convocation. He had witnessed with his own
eyes the means by which the sentences had been obtained of the
universities abroad. He was satisfied of the injustice of the cause. He
assured himself that to proceed in it would be perilous to the realm.

His birth and the king's regard for him gave an importance to his
judgment which it would not otherwise have obtained. Repeated efforts
were made to gain him. His brother, Lord Montague, the Duke of Norfolk,
even Henry himself, exerted all their powers of persuasion. On the death
of Wolsey the archbishopric of York was held out to him as the reward of
compliance.[38] Once only he wavered. He had discovered, as he imagined,
a means of making a compromise with his conscience, and he went down to
Whitehall to communicate his change. But, as he rather theatrically
relates, when he found himself in the presence-chamber he could not
utter the words which he had intended to use; either he was restrained
by a Higher Power, or the sight of that Henry whom he loved so tenderly
paralysed his tongue; he burst into tears, and the king left him in
displeasure.[39] On retiring from the palace he wrote a letter of
apology; accompanying it, perhaps, with the formal statement of the
grounds of his opposition, which about this time he submitted to the
government.[40] His defence was received kindly; but, though clever, it
was little to the purpose. The arguments were chiefly political; and
Henry, who listened patiently to any objection on the ground of
principle, paid no very high respect to the opinion of a university
student in matters of state. Pole, finding his position increasingly
uneasy, in 1532 applied for and obtained permission to reside for a time
at Avignon. In his absence the divorce was completed; and England
becoming more than ever distasteful to him, he removed to the monastery
of Carpentras, and thence to his old quarters at Padua. Meantime Henry's
personal kindness towards him remained undiminished. His leave of
absence was indefinitely extended. His pension was continued to him; the
revenues of the deanery of Exeter were regularly paid to his account;
and he was exempted specially from the general condition required of all
holders of ecclesiastical benefices, the swearing allegiance to the
children of Queen Anne. He could himself neither have desired nor
expected a larger measure of forbearance.[41]

[Sidenote: His opinion is required on the supremacy of the see of Rome,]

This was his position in the year 1535, when, in common with all other
English noblemen and gentlemen, he was requested to send in his opinion
on the authority in foreign countries claimed by the see of Rome, and at
the same time to state whether his sentiments on the previous question
remained unchanged. The application was not formally made through the
council. A civilian, a Mr. Starkey, a personal acquaintance, was
entrusted with the commission of sending it; and Starkey took the
opportunity of advising his friend to avoid the errors into which he had
previously fallen. Pole's opinion on political perils, foreign
invasions, internal commotions, was not wanted. "As touching the
_policy_ of the separation from Rome, and the divorce, and of the
bringing them to effect, whether it were done well or ill," Starkey
ironically wrote, "his Grace requireth no judgment of you, as of one
that of such things hath no great experience as yet. Whether it should
be _convenient_ that there should be one head in the Church, and that
the Bishop of Rome ... set this aside, ... and in the matrimony, whether
the policy he hath used therein be profitable to the realm or no ...
leave that aside ... only shew you whether the supremacy which the
Bishop of Rome has for many ages claimed be of Divine right or no ...
and if the first matrimony see of Rome, were to make, you would approve
it then or no ... and the cause why you would not."

[Sidenote: And he is warned to answer sincerely.]

Finally, as Pole once before had been tempted to give an opinion against
his conscience, Starkey warned him to reply sincerely and honestly; to
think first of God and the truth; and only when his conscience would
permit him, to consider how he could satisfy the king. "His Grace said
to me," the letter concluded, "that he would rather you were buried
there than you should, for any worldly promotion or profit to yourself,
dissemble with him in these great and weighty causes."[42]

[Sidenote: He composes the book "De Unitate Ecclesiæ," and submits it to
Cardinal Contarini.]

The tone of this concluding passage teaches us not to rely too
absolutely on Pole's own version of the attempts which had before been
made upon his constancy. Perhaps the admonition, perhaps the irony, of
his correspondent galled him. At any rate, the king desired the truth,
and the truth he should have. Other things had been in rapid development
since Pole left England. He, too, had chosen his course, and his mind
had not stood still. It was now the winter of 1535, when the scheme of
the crusade was first taking shape. At this juncture he sat down to
comply with the king's demands. Instead of brief answers to brief
questions, he composed a considerable volume; and as the several parts
were completed, they were submitted to the inspection of Cardinal
Contarini. Had the project of war gone forward, and had other matters
remained unchanged, it is possible that Contarini would have found no
fault with a composition which afterwards was regarded in the Catholic
world with so much complacency. Under the actual circumstances, his
language alarmed by its violence. The cardinal protested against an
invective which could only irritate, and entreated Pole to reconsider
what he had written.

[Sidenote: Contarini protests, and Pole tells him that the book is
chiefly intended for the English nation.]

If Pole had been honest--if he had desired only the interests of the
Catholic church--he would have listened to advice; but he replied that
he well knew the king's character, and that the evil had risen to its
present height because no one had ventured to speak the truth to him.
Henry was not a man who could be moved by gentleness. Long ago the
heaviest censures of the Church ought to have been launched upon him,
and by that time he would have returned to his obedience. He said also
(and this is especially to be noticed), that he was not so much
addressing the king as addressing the English nation, who were impassive
and hard to move. He was determined to open their eyes to the delusion
into which they were betrayed, and he must go beyond the matter and
beside it, and insinuate when he was unable to assert.[43]

In this mood, and while the book was still unsent, he learnt with utter
mortification of the relinquishment of the Emperor's intended
enterprise, and the possible peaceful close of the quarrel. He had
proposed to himself a far different solution. It may be that he was
convinced that no such peaceful close could lead to good. It may have
been, that the white rose was twining pure before his imagination, with
no red blossoms intermixed, round the pillars of a regenerated church.
Or, perhaps, many motives, distinct and indistinct, were working upon
him. Only the fact is certain, that he might have mediated, but that he
was determined rather to make mediation impossible; the broken limb
should not be set in its existing posture.

[Sidenote: He considers that Henry must not be reconciled to]

[Sidenote: the Church, except on his unconditional submission.]

In March he heard that the Pope was softening. He wrote, urgently
entreating that his Holiness would commit himself in nothing till in
possession of secrets which he could communicate.[44] Contarini having
desired that he might show the book to Paul, he refused, under the plea
that others might see it, and that he was bound to give Henry the first
perusal; an honourable answer, if his other insincerity allowed us to
accept his word. We may believe, with no want of charity, that his real
fear was, lest Paul should share the feelings of Contarini, and for the
present discourage its despatch.[45] His letters at this time display an
unveiled anxiety for immediate open hostility. His advice to the Pope
was to send out his bull without more delay. He passionately deplored
the change which the death of Catherine had worked upon Charles. "Alas!"
he said, "that the interests of the Church should be affected by the
life or death of a single woman! Oh that his Holiness could but convince
the Emperor of his blessed privileges as the champion of the Catholic
faith!"[46] "The Emperor preferred to fight against the Turks. What were
the Turks compared with the antichrist of England? What advantages would
be gained if the Crescent were driven out of Europe, and England were
lost? Let him strike at once while the wound was green: it would soon
gangrene and mortify, and then it would be too late."

This language, under some aspects, may appear pardonable--may, perhaps,
be admired as the expression of a fine enthusiasm. Those whose sympathy
with sentimental emotions is restrained within the prosaic limits of
ordinary law, would call it by a harder name. High treason, if it be not
a virtue, is the worst of crimes; and for a subject to invite a foreign
power to invade his country is the darkest form of treason. An unjust
exile might be pleaded as a faint palliation--a distinct religious
obligation might convert the traitor into a patriot. Neither of these
pretexts could be urged at the existing crisis in defence of Reginald
Pole.

The book was completed in the middle of the winter; the correspondence
connected with it extended through February, March, and April. In May
came the news of Anne Boleyn's crimes, and the fresh impulse which I
have described to the hopes of the Pope and his more moderate advisers.
The expectation of a reconciliation was approaching to a certainty, and
if he waited longer it might be too late. That particular time he
selected to despatch his composition, and rouse again (it is idle to
suppose that he was blind to the inevitable consequence) the full storm
of indignation and suspicion.[47]

[Sidenote: May. He sends his book to England.]

A production, the effect of which was so considerable, requires some
analysis. It shall be as brief as is consistent with the due
understanding of the feeling which the book created.[48]

[Sidenote: He writes as a faithful servant to his sick master.]

"Whether to write or not to write," commenced the youthful champion of
the faith, "I cannot tell; when to write has cost the lives of so many
and so noble men, and the service of God is counted for the worst of
crimes. Duty urges me to write; yet what shall I write? The most
faithful servant may hesitate in what language to address his sick
master, when those who so far have approached his bed have forfeited
their lives. Yet speak I will--I will cry in your ears as in the ears of
a dead man--dead in your sins. I love you--wicked as you are, I love
you. I hope for you, and may God hear my prayer. You desire the truth; I
should be a traitor, then, did I conceal from you the truth. I owe my
learning to your care. I will use against yourself the weapons with
which yourself have armed me.

[Sidenote: He will show Henry his crimes.]

"You have done no wrong, you say. Come, then, I will show you your
wrong. You have changed the constitution of your country, and that is
wrong. When the Church had but one head, you have made her a monster
with a separate head in every realm, and that is wrong. You, of all
princes (bad and impious as many of them have been), are the first who
has ventured so enormous an impiety. Your flatterers have filled your
heart with folly; you have made yourself abhorred among the rulers of
Christendom. Do you suppose that in all these centuries the Church has
failed to learn how best she should be governed? What insolence to the
bride of Christ! What insolence to Christ Himself! You pretend to follow
Scripture! So say all heretics, and with equal justice. No word in
Scripture makes for you, except it be the single sentence, 'Honour the
king.' How frail a foundation for so huge a superstructure!"

Having thus opened the indictment, he proceeded to dissect a book which
had been written on the Supremacy by Dr. Sampson. Here he for some time
expatiated, and having disposed of his theological antagonist, opened
his parallels upon the king by a discussion of the principles of a
commonwealth.

[Sidenote: His theory of the constitution of a state.]

"What is a king?" he asked. "A king exists for the sake of his people;
he is an outcome from Nature in labour;[49] an institution for the
defence of material and temporal interests. But inasmuch there are
interests beyond the temporal, so there is a jurisdiction beyond the
king's. The glory of a king is the welfare of his people; and if he
knew himself, and knew his office, he would lay his crown and kingdom at
the feet of the priesthood, as in a haven and quiet resting place. To
priests it was said, 'Ye are gods, and ye are the children of the Most
High.' Who, then, can doubt that priests are higher in dignity than
kings. In human society are three grades--the people--the priesthood,
the head and husband of the people--the king, who is the child, the
creature, and minister of the other two."[50]

From these premises it followed that Henry was a traitor, a rebel
against his true superior; and the first section closed with a fine
rhetorical peroration.

[Sidenote: The king is the man of sin and the prince of pride.]

"Oh, Henry!" he exclaimed, "more wicked than Ozias, who was smitten with
leprosy when he despised the warnings of Azariah--more wicked than Saul,
who slew the priests of the Lord--more wicked than Dathan and Abiram,
who rose in rebellion against Aaron--what hast thou done? What! but that
which is written in the Scripture of the prince of pride--'I will climb
up into heaven; I will set my throne above the stars; I will sit me down
on the mount of the covenant; I will make myself even with the Most
High.' . . . He shall send his vengeance upon thee--vengeance sudden,
swift, and terrible. It shall come; nor can I pray that it may longer
tarry. Rather may it come and come quickly, to the glory of his name. I
will say, like Elijah, 'Oh, Lord! they have slain thy prophets with the
edge of the sword; they have thrown down thine altars; and I only am
left, and they seek my life to take it away. Up, Lord, and avenge the
blood of thy holy ones.'"

[Sidenote: The English bishops are the robber Cacus; the Pope is the
sleeping Hercules.]

He now paused for a moment in his denunciation of Henry, and took up his
parable against the English bishops, who had betrayed the flock of
Christ, and driven them into the den of the villain king. "You thought,"
he said to these learned prelates, "that the Roman pontiff slept--that
you might spoil him with impunity, as the robber Cacus spoiled the
sleeping Hercules. Ah! but the Lord of the sheep sees you. He sees you
from his throne in heaven. Not we only who are left yet alive tell, with
our bleating voices, whither you have driven us; but, in louder tones
than ours, the blood of those whom ye have slain, because they would not
hear your hireling voices, cries out of the dust to Christ. Oh,
horrible!--most horrible! No penalty which human justice could devise
can reach your crimes. Men look to see when some unwonted vengeance
shall light upon you, like that which fell on Korah and his company, in
whose footsteps ye now are following. If the earth open her mouth and
swallow you up quick, every Christian man will applaud the righteous
judgment of the Almighty."

[Sidenote: Responsibility of sovereigns to their subjects.]

Again he passed back to the king, assailing him in pages of alternate
argument and reprobation. In most modern language he asserted the
responsibility of sovereigns, calling English history to witness for him
in the just rebellions provoked by tyranny; and Henry, he said, had
broken his coronation oath and forfeited his crown. This and similar
matter occupied the second part. It had been tolerably immoderate even
so far, but the main torrent had yet to flow.

The third and most important section divides itself into an address,
first to the king and then to England; finally to the foreign
powers--the Emperor particularly, and the Spanish army.

[Sidenote: He will be the king's physician, and unfold his wicked heart
to him.]

[Sidenote: The king a thief and a robber.]

"I have spoken," he commenced, "but, after all, I have spoken in vain.
Wine turns to vinegar in a foul vessel; and to little purpose have I
poured my truth into a mind defiled with falsehood and impurity. How
shall I purify you? How, indeed! when you imagine that yourself, and not
I, are in possession of the truth; when you undertake to be a teacher of
others; when, forsooth, you are head of a church. But, come, listen to
me. I will be your physician. I will thrust a probe into those envenomed
wounds. If I cause you pain, believe that it is for your good. You do
not know that you have a wound to probe. You pretend that you have only
sought to do the will of God. You will say so. I know it. But, I beseech
you, listen to me. Was it indeed your conscience which moved you? Not
so. You lusted after a woman who was not your wife. You would make the
Word of God bear false witness for you; and God's providence has
permitted you to overwhelm yourself in infamy. I say, you desired to
fulfil your lusts. And how, you ask, do I know this? How can I see your
heart? Who but God can read those secrets? Yes, oh prince; he also
knows--to whom God will reveal the heart. And I tell you that I am he to
whom God has revealed yours. You will cry out against my arrogance. How
should God open your heart to me? But contain yourself a little. I do
not say that God has shewn more to me than he has shewn to any man who
will use his understanding.[51] You think that the offspring of your
harlot will be allowed to sit on the throne, that the pure blood of
England will endure to be her subjects. No, truly. If you dream thus,
you have little of your father's wisdom. There is not a peer in all the
land who will not hold his title better than the title of a harlot's
bastard. Like Cadmus, you have flung a spear among your people, and
armed them for mutual slaughter. And you--you, the vilest of
plunderers--a thief--a robber--you call yourself supreme head of the
Church! I acquit the nation of the infamy of their consent. They have
not consented. The few suffrages which you can claim have been extorted
by terrour. Again, how do I know this? I, who was absent from my
country? Yes, I was absent. Nor have I heard one word of it from any
creature. And yet so it is. I have a more sure testimony than the
testimony of eyes and ears, which forbids me to be mistaken."

The witness was the death of Sir Thomas More, Bishop Fisher, and the
Charterhouse monks; and the story of their martyrdom was told with some
power and passion.

[Sidenote: He calls on England to rise in rebellion.]

The remedy for all its evils rested with England. England must rebel. He
called on it, with solemn earnestness, to consider its position: its
church infected with heresy, its saints slaughtered, its laws uprooted,
its succession shattered; sedition within, and foreign war imminent from
without; and the single cause of these accumulated miseries a licentious
tyrant. "And oh! my country," he exclaimed, "if any memory remains to
you of your antient liberties, remember--remember the time when kings
who ruled over you unjustly were called to account by the authority of
your laws. They tell you that all is the king's. I tell you that all is
the commonwealth's. You, oh! my country, are all. The king is but your
servant and minister. Wipe away your tears, and turn to the Lord your
God."

[Sidenote: He will invite the King of France to depose Henry.]

Of his own conduct he would give Henry fair warning. "I myself," he
said, once more addressing him, "I myself shall approach the throne of
your last ally, the King of France. I shall demand that he assist you no
longer; that, remembering the honour of his father, with his own past
fidelity to the Church of Christ, he will turn against you and strike
you down. And think you that he will refuse my petition? How long dream
you that God will bear with you? Your company shall be broken up. The
scourge shall come down upon you like a wave. The pirates who waste the
shores of the Mediterranean are less the servants of Satan than you. The
pirates murder but the bodies of men. You murder their souls. Satan
alone, of all created beings, may fitly be compared with you."

So far I have endeavoured to condense the voluminous language into a
paraphrase, which but languidly approaches the blaze and fury of the
original. Vituperation, notwithstanding, would have been of trifling
consequence; and the safe exhortations of refugees, inciting domestic
rebellions the dangers of which they have no intention of sharing, are a
form of treason which may usually be despised. But it is otherwise when
the refugee becomes a foreign agent of his faction, and not only
threatens to invite invasion, but converts his menace into act. When the
pages which follow were printed, they seemed of such grave moment that
they were extracted and circulated as a pamphlet in the German States.
The translation, therefore, will now adhere closely to the text.

[Sidenote: The invocation of the Emperor.]

[Sidenote: Who are the true enemies of Christendom?]

[Sidenote: Not Turks, but heretics.]

[Sidenote: Heresy in Germany.]

[Sidenote: Deeper heresy in England,]

[Sidenote: Which will grow inveterate if it be not nipped in the bud.]

"I call to witness," he went on, "that love of my country which is
engrafted in me by nature--that love of the Church which is given to me
by the Son of God--did I hear that the Emperor was on the seas, on his
way against Constantinople, I would know no rest till I was at his
feet--I would call to him were he in the very narrows of the
Bosphorus--I would force myself into his presence--I would address him
thus: 'Cæsar,' I would say, 'what is this which you are doing? Whither
are you leading this mighty army? Would you subdue the enemies of
Christendom? Oh! then, turn, turn your sails. Go where a worse peril is
threatening--where the wound is fresh, and where a foe presses more
fearful far than the Turk. You count it a noble thing to break the
chains of Christian captives: and noble, indeed, it is. But more
glorious is it to rescue from eternal damnation the many thousand souls
who are torn from the Church's bosom, and to bring them back to the
faith of Christ. What will you have gained when you have driven back the
Turks, if other Turks be sprung up meanwhile amidst ourselves? What are
Turks save a sect of Christians revolted from the Church? The beginning
of the Turks is the beginning of all heretics. They rejected the Head
which was set over them by Christ, and thus by degrees they fell away
from the doctrine of Christ. What then? See you not the seed of these
self-same Turks scattered at home before your doors? Would, indeed, it
were so scanty that there was any difficulty in discerning its presence!
Yes; you see it, sad to say, in your own Germany. The disease is there,
though not as yet in its worst form. It is not yet set forth by
authority. The German church may even now cast forth the seed of the
adulterers, and bear again the true fruit of Catholic truth. But for
England! Alas! in England that seed is sown thick and broad; and by the
sovereign's hand. It is sown, and it is quickening, and the growing
blade is defended by the sword. The sword is the answer to all
opponents. Nay, even silence is an equal crime. Thomas More, the wisest,
the most virtuous of living men, was slain for silence. Among the monks,
the more holy, the more devout they be, the greater is the peril. All
lips are closed by fear of death. If these fine beginnings do not prove
to you what it is to forsake the head of the Church, what other evidence
do you desire? The Turks might teach you: they, too, forsook him--they,
too, brought in the power of the sword; by the sword these many ages
they have maintained themselves, and now the memory of their mother has
perished, and too late the Church cries to her lost children to return
to her.[52] Or, again, Germany may teach you. How calm, how tranquil,
how full of piety was Germany! How did Germany flourish while it held
steadfast by the faith! How has it been torn with wars, distracted with
mutinies, since it has revolted from its allegiance! There is no hope
for Germany, unless, which God grant, it return to the Church--our
Supreme Head. This is the Church's surest bulwark; this is the first
mark for the assaults of heretics; this is the first rallying point of
true Catholics; this, Cæsar, those heroic children of the Church in
England have lately died to defend, choosing rather to give their naked
bodies to the swords of their enemies than desert a post which was the
key to the sanctuary.

[Sidenote: The venom of heresy has reached a king.]

[Sidenote: The servants of Christ cry to Charles to help them.]

[Sidenote: Legions of the faithful in England will rally to his
banners.]

"'That post was stormed--those valiant soldiers were slain. What wonder,
when the champion of the foemen's host was a king! Oh, misery! worse
than the worst which ever yet has befallen the spouse of Christ! The
poison of heresy has reached a king, and, like the Turk, he shakes his
drawn sword in the face of all who resist him. If he affect now some
show of moderation, it is but to gain time and strength, that he may
strike the deadlier blows; and strike he will, doubt it not, if he
obtain his desire. Will you then, Cæsar--you who profess that you love
the faith--will you grant him that time? When the servants of Christ cry
to you, in their agony, for help,--when you must aid them now, or your
aid will be for ever useless,--will you turn your arms on other foes?
will you be found wanting to the passionate hope of your friends, when
that hope alone, that simple hope, has held them back from using their
own strength and striking for themselves? Dream not, Cæsar, that all
generous hearts are quenched in England--that faith and piety are dead.
Judge rather those who are alive by the deaths of those who have gone to
the scaffold for religion's sake. If God reserved for Himself seven
thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, when Ahab and his
cursed Jezebel slew his prophets, think not that, in these days of
greater light, our Jezebel, with all her scent for blood, has destroyed
the whole defenders of the truth. There are legions in England yet
unbroken who have never yet bent their knees. Go thither, and God, who
has been their Saviour, will bid them rally to your banners. They are
the same English, Cæsar, who, unaided, and in slighter causes, have
brought their princes to their judgment bar--have bidden them give
account for moneys wasted to the prejudice of the commonwealth, and when
they could not pass their audit, have stripped them of crown and
sceptre. They are the same; and long ago, in like manner, would they
have punished this king also, but that they looked to you. In you is
their trust--in your noble nature, and in your zeal for God. Their cause
is yours, peculiarly yours; by you they think the evil can be remedied
with less hurt to England than by themselves. Wisely, therefore, they
hold their hand till you shall come.

[Sidenote: Catherine of Arragon appeals to her Spaniards.]

"'And you--you will leave them desolate; you turn your back upon this
glorious cause; you waste yourself in a distant enterprise. Is it that
your soldiers demand this unhappy preference? are your soldiers so eager
to face their old eastern enemies? But what soldiers, Cæsar! Your
Spaniards?--your own Spaniards? Ah! if they could hear the noble
daughter of Isabella, wasted with misery, appealing in her most
righteous cause to their faithful hearts! The memory of that illustrious
lady, well I know, is not yet so blotted from their recollection that a
daughter worthy of so great a mother could pray to them in vain. Were
they told that a princess of Spain, child of the proudest sovereign of
that proud empire, after twenty years of marriage, had been driven out
as if she had been the bastard of some clown or huckster that had crept
from her filth into the royal bed, and to make room for a vile
harlot--think you they would tamely bear an injury which the basest of
mankind would wash out in blood? Think you that, when there scarce
breathes a man so poor of soul who would not risk his life to requite so
deep an indignity, the gentlemen of Spain will hesitate to revenge the
daughter of their sovereign? Shall it go out among the nations to your
shame and everlasting ignominy, that Spain sits down under the insult
because she is faint-hearted--because she is feeble, and dares not move?
It cannot be. Gather them together, Cæsar. Call your musters; I will
speak to them--I will tell them that the child and grandchild of
Isabella of Castile are dishonoured and robbed of their inheritance, and
at the mention of that name you shall see them reverse their sails, and
turn back of themselves their vessels' prows.

[Sidenote: Not for herself, but for the Church, for the faith, for
England.]

"'But not for Catherine's sake do I now stand a suitor either to you or
them. For herself she desires nothing; she utters no complaint over her
most unrighteous fate. You are now in the meridian of your glory, and
some portion of its lustre should be hers; yet she is miserable, and she
endures her misery. Each fresh triumph of your arms entails on her some
fresh oppression; but hers is no selfish sorrow for herself or for her
cause. She implores you, Cæsar, for the sake of England, of that England
into which from her own noble stem she was once engrafted, which she
loves and must love as her second country. Her private interests are
nothing to her; but if it so happen that the cause of this illustrious
and most dear land is so bound up in hers--that if she be neglected,
England must forfeit her place among the nations--must be torn with
civil distractions, and be plunged in ruin and disaster
irretrievable--if the cause of religion be so joined to her cause that
her desertion is the desertion of the Holy Church, that the ancient
faith will be destroyed, new sects will spring up, not in that island
only, which at her coming she found so true to its creed, but spreading
like contagion, and bringing to confusion the entire communion of the
faithful (and this is no conjectural danger: it is even now come--it is
among us; already, in England, to be a friend to the old customs of the
Church is fraught with deadly peril)--finally, if in this matter there
be every motive which ought to affect a prince who loves the name of
Christ--then--then she does entreat you not to delay longer in hastening
to deliverance of the Christian commonwealth, because it happens that
the common cause is her cause--because Ferdinand of Spain was her
father--because Isabella was her mother--because she is your own
aunt--because her most ruthless enemies have never dared to hint that in
word or deed she has been unworthy of her ancestors, or of the noble
realm from which she sprang.

[Sidenote: By all which Charles holds dear she implores him to come to
her assistance.]

"'She implores you, if God has given you strength to defy so powerful an
enemy as the Turk, in that case, not to shrink from marching against a
foe more malignant than the Turk, where the peril is nothing, and
victory is sure. By the ties of blood, which are so close between you
and her--by the honour of Spain which is compromised--by the welfare of
Christendom, which ought to be so dear to us all--she beseeches you, on
her knees, that you will permit no mean object to divert you from so
holy, so grand, so brilliant an enterprise, when you can vindicate at
once the honour of your family and the glory of that realm which has
made you famous by so many victories, and simultaneously you can shield
the Christian commonwealth from the worst disasters which have menaced
it for centuries.'"

Here terminated this grand apostrophe, too exquisite a composition to be
lost--too useful when hereafter it was to be thrown out as a firebrand
into Europe, although Catherine, happily for herself, had passed away
before her chivalrous knight flung down his cartel for her. A few more
words were, however, in reserve for Henry.

[Sidenote: Concluding anathemas against Henry.]

"I have spoken of Cæsar," he turned and said to him; "I might have
spoken of all Christian princes. Do you seriously think that the King of
France will refuse obedience when the Pope bids him make peace with the
Emperor, and undertake your chastisement? He will obey, doubt it not;
and when you are trampled down under their feet there will be more joy
in Christendom than if the Turks were driven from Constantinople. What
will you do? What will become of your subjects when the ports of the
Continent are closed, as closed they will be, against them and their
commerce? How will they loathe you then? How will you be cast out among
the curses of mankind?[53] When you die you shall have no lawful burial,
and what will happen to your soul I forbear to say. Man is against you;
God is against you; the universe is against you. What can you look for
but destruction?"

The hurricane had reached its height; it spent its fury in its last
gusts. The note changed, the threats ceased, and the beauty of
humiliation and the promises of forgiveness to the penitent closed the
volume.

[Sidenote: Pole's central error.]

[Sidenote: The witness of fact.]

Thus wrote an English subject to his sovereign, and professed afterwards
to be overwhelmed with astonishment when he learnt that his behaviour
was considered unbecoming. As Samuel to Saul, as Nathan to David, as
Elijah to Ahab, so was Reginald Pole to Henry the Eighth, the immediate
messenger of Heaven, making, however, one central and serious error:
that, when between Henry the Eighth and the Papacy there lay to be
contended for, on the one side, liberty, light, and justice--on the
other, tyranny, darkness, and iniquity, in this great duel the Pope was
God's champion, and Henry was the devil's. No pit opened its mouth to
swallow the English bishops; no civil wars wrecked the prosperity of the
country; no foreign power overwhelmed it; no dishonour touched its arms,
except in the short interval when Catherine's daughter restored the
authority of the Papacy, and Pole was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the
last relic of the empire of the Plantagenets in France was lost for
ever. He was pleased with his composition, however. He determined, in
spite of Contarini, to send it. He expected the English council to
believe him when he declared that he had no sinister intention, that he
seriously imagined that a monarch who had taken the Pope by the beard
and hurled him out of the kingdom, would be frightened by the lectures
and threats of a petulant youth.

[Sidenote: Cuthbert Tunstall is desired to undertake the first perusal
of the book.]

On the 27th of May the book was despatched to England by a messenger
from Venice, and with it Pole sent two letters, one to the king, the
other to his friend Cuthbert Tunstall, the Bishop of Durham. The first
contained little more than the credentials of the bearer. The letter to
Tunstall, as well as a verbal message by which it was accompanied, was
to the effect, that the book was long, too long for the king himself to
read; he desired his friend to undertake, and the king to permit him to
undertake, the first perusal. The contents were to be looked upon as a
secret communication between himself and his Majesty; no eye had seen
more than a small portion of what he had written, and that against his
own will. The addresses and apostrophes inserted here and there, which
might seem at first sight questionable, were dramatically introduced
only to give effect to his argument.[54] These statements seem somewhat
adventurous when we think of the correspondence with Cardinal Contarini,
and of Pole's assertion that he was writing less for the king than to
undeceive the English people; nor do we readily acquiesce in the belief
that the invocation to Charles was not intended for Charles's eyes, when
the writer very soon after submitted it to those eyes, and devoted the
energies of years to bring the Spaniards into England.

[Sidenote: Effect of the book in England.]

[Sidenote: Pole is required to return to England and explain himself.]

The messenger arrived early in June. Parliament had just met to receive
the report of the queen's crimes and execution, and the king, occupied
with other business, gladly complied with Pole's request, and left to
others the examination of so bulky a volume. It was placed in the hands
of Tunstall and Starkey. Whether Henry ever read it is not certain. If
he saw it at all, it was at a later period.[55] At once, if any hope or
thought had existed of a return to communion with the Papacy, that hope
was at an end. Written from Italy, the book was accepted as representing
the feeling if not dictated by the instructions of the Ultra-Catholics;
and in such a mood they could only be treated as enemies. So much of its
character as was necessary was laid before Henry, and, on the 14th of
June, within a day or two therefore of its receipt, a courier was
despatched with replies both from Henry himself, from the Bishop of
Durham, Starkey, and Cromwell. If Pole expected to be regarded as a
formidable person, his vanity was seriously mortified. The substance of
what he had written was seen to be sufficiently venomous, but the writer
himself was treated rather as foolish than as wicked, and by the king
was regarded with some kind of pity. Henry wrote (it would seem briefly)
commanding him on his allegiance, all excuses set apart, to return to
England and explain himself.[56]

[Sidenote: Remonstrances of Pole's friends.]

[Sidenote: The king will forgive the book if his forgiveness is asked.]

The summons was more fully explained by Starkey and Tunstall. The former
declared that at the first reading of the book he was so much amazed
and astonished that he knew not what to think except that he was in a
dream.[57] The Bishop of Durham, on whose support Pole seems to have
calculated, condescended to his arguments, and replied in formal
Anglican language, that to separate from the Pope was not to separate
from the unity of the Church: the Head of the Church was Christ, and
unity was unity of doctrine, to which England adhered as truly as Rome:
Pole had made a preposterous mistake, and it had led him into conduct
which at present, if properly atoned for, might be passed over as folly,
and covered and forgotten: if persevered in it would become a crime; but
it was a secret so far, and if promptly repented of, should remain a
secret from all eyes for ever.[58] He was commanded by the government,
he was implored by his friends to return to England, to make his peace
in person, and entreat the king's forgiveness.

[Sidenote: July. Pole protests that his book is a private letter, and
that he meant no harm.]

[Sidenote: The king accepts his declaration, and will overlook his
conduct.]

But neither his friends nor the king understood Pole's character or
comprehended his purpose. He was less foolish, he was more malicious
than they supposed. When the letters reached him, he professed to be
utterly surprised at the reception which his book had met with. He
regretted that the Supremacy Act made it impossible for him to comply
with a command to present himself in England; but he protested so loudly
that he had meant neither injury nor disrespect, he declared so
emphatically that his book was a _bonâ fide_ letter addressed to the
king only, and written for his own eyes and no other's, that at last
Henry believed him, accepted his assurance, and consented to pass over
his impertinence. In July or August he was informed by Starkey "that the
king took the intolerable sharpness of his writings even as they that
most friendly could interpret them. He thought, as few would think, that
the exaggerations, the oft-returning to the same faults, the vehement
exclamations, the hot sentences, the uncomely bitings, the despiteful
comparisons, and likenings, all came of error and not of evil intent.
His Grace supposed his benefits not forgotten, and Pole's love towards
his Highness not utterly quenched. His Majesty was one that forgave and
forgot displeasure, both at once." For his own part, however, Starkey
implored his friend, as he valued his country, his honour, his good
name, to repent himself, as he had desired the king to repent; the king
would not press him or force his conscience; if he could be brought to
reconsider his conduct, he might be assured that it would not be
remembered against him.[59] Simultaneously with, or soon after this
letter, the Bishop of Durham wrote also by the king's order, saying
that, as he objected to return, it should not be insisted on; inasmuch,
however, as he had affirmed so positively that his book was a private
communication, there could be no further reason for preserving any other
copies of it, and if he had such copies in his possession he was called
upon to prove his sincerity by burning them. On his compliance, his
property, which would be forfeited under the Supremacy Act, should
remain in his hands, and he was free to reside in any country which he
might choose.[60]

Pole did not burn his book, nor was it long before he gave the
government reason to regret their forbearance towards him. For the time
he continued in receipt of his income, and the stir which he had created
died away.

There are many scenes in human life which, as a great poet teaches us,
are either sad or beautiful, cheerless or refreshing, according to the
direction from which we approach them.[61] If, on a morning in spring,
we behold the ridges of a fresh-turned ploughed field from their
northern side, our eyes, catching only the shadowed slopes of the
successive furrows, see an expanse of white, the unmelted remains of the
night's hailstorm, or the hoarfrost of the dawn. We make a circuit, or
we cross over and look behind us, and on the very same ground there is
nothing to be seen but the rich brown soil swelling in the sunshine,
warm with promise, and chequered perhaps here and there with a green
blade bursting through the surface. Both images are true to the facts of
nature. Both pictures are created by real objects really existing. The
pleasant certainty, however, remains with us, that the winter is passing
away and summer is coming; the promise of the future is not with the ice
and the sleet, but with the sunshine, with gladness, and hope.

[Sidenote: Other aspects of the condition of England.]

Reginald Pole has shown us the form in which England appeared to him,
and to the Catholic world beyond its shores, bound under an iron yoke,
and sinking down in despair and desolation. To us who have seen the
golden harvests waving over her fields, his loud raving has a sound of
delirium: we perceive only the happy symptoms of lengthening daylight,
bringing with it once more the season of life, and health, and
fertility. But there is a third aspect--and it is this which we must now
endeavour to present to ourselves--of England as it appeared to its own
toiling children in the hour of their trial, with its lights and
shadows, its frozen prejudices and sunny gleams of faith; when day
followed day, and brought no certain change, and men knew not whether
night would prevail or day, or which of the two was most divine--night,
with its starry firmament of saints and ceremonies, or day, with the
single lustre of the Gospel sun. It is idle to try to reproduce such a
time in any single shape or uniform colour. The reader must call his
imagination to his aid, and endeavour, if he can, to see the same object
in many shapes and many colours, to sympathize successively with those
to whom the Reformation was a terror, with those to whom it was the
dearest hope, and those others--the multitude--whose minds could give
them no certain answer, who shifted from day to day, as the impulse of
the moment swayed them.

[Sidenote: Sunday, June 9. Opening of convocation.]

[Sidenote: The gathering of the clergy in St. Paul's.]

When parliament met in June, 1536, convocation as usual assembled with
it. On Sunday, the ninth of the month, the two houses of the clergy were
gathered for the opening of their session in the aisles of St.
Paul's--high and low, hot and cold, brave and cowardly. The great
question of the day, the Reformation of the Church, was one in which
they, the spiritualty of England, might be expected to bear some useful
part. They had as yet borne no part but a part of obstruction. They had
been compelled to sit impatiently, with tied hands, while the lay
legislature prescribed their duties and shaped their laws for them.
Whether they would assume a more becoming posture, was the problem which
they were now met to solve. Gardiner was there, and Bonner, Tunstall,
and Hilsey, Lee, Latimer, and Cranmer; mitred abbots, meditating the
treason for which, before many months were passed, their quartered
trunks would be rotting by the highways; earnest sacramentaries, making
ready for the stake: the spirits of the two ages--the past and the
future--were meeting there in fierce collision; and above them all, in
his vicar-general's chair, sate Cromwell, proud and powerful, lording
over the scowling crowd. The present hour was his. His enemies' turn in
due time would come also.

The mass had been sung, the roll of the organ had died away. It was the
time for the sermon, and Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, rose into
the pulpit. Nine-tenths of all those eyes which were then fixed on him
would have glistened with delight, could they have looked instead upon
his burning. The whole multitude of passionate men were compelled, by a
changed world, to listen quietly while he shot his bitter arrows among
them.

[Sidenote: Latimer in the pulpit.]

We have heard Pole; we will now hear the heretic leader. His object on
the present occasion was to tell the clergy what especially he thought
of themselves; and Latimer was a plain speaker. They had no good opinion
of him. His opinion of them was very bad indeed. His text was from the
sixteenth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel: "The children of this world are
wiser in their generation than the children of light."

[Sidenote: The convocation had sat for seven years.]

[Sidenote: What had the convocation done?]

The race and parentage of all living things, he said, were known by
their fruits. He desired by this test to try the parentage of the
present convocation. They had sat--the men that he saw before him--for
seven years, more or less, session after session. What measures had come
from them? They were the spiritualty--the teachers of the people,
divinely commissioned; said to be and believed to be, children of light;
what had they done?... Mighty evils in those years had been swept away
in England ... but whose hands had been at the work?--was it theirs? For
his part, he knew that they had burned a dead man's bones; he knew that
they had done their best to burn the living man who was then speaking to
them.... What else they had done he knew not.

[Sidenote: England is reformed, but have the clergy reformed England or
has the King?]

The end of your convocation shall show what ye are, he said, turning
direct upon them; the fruit of your consultations shall show what
generation ye be of. What now have ye engendered? what have ye brought
forth? What fruit has come of your long and great assembly? What one
thing that the people have been the better of a hair? That the people be
better learned and taught now than they were in time past, should we
attribute it to your industry, or to the providence of God and the
foreseeing of the King's Grace? Ought we to thank you or the King's
Highness? Whether stirred the other first?--you the king, that ye might
preach, or he you, by his letters, that ye should preach more often? Is
it unknown, think you, how both ye and your curates were in manner by
violence enforced to let books be made, not by you, but by profane and
lay persons? I am bold with you; but I speak to the clergy, not to the
laity. I speak to your faces, not behind your backs.

[Sidenote: Certain things they had produced, but were they good or
evil?]

If, then, they had produced no good thing, what had they produced? There
was false money instead of true. There were dead images instead of a
living Saviour. There was redemption purchased by money, not redemption
purchased by Christ. Abundance of these things were to be found among
them ... and all those pleasant fictions which had been bred at Rome,
the canonizations and expectations, the tot-quots and dispensations, the
pardons of marvellous variety, stationaries and jubilaries, manuaries
and oscularies, pedaries, and such other vanities--these had gracious
reception; these were welcomed gladly in all their multiplicity. There
was the ancient purgatory pick-purse--that which was suaged and cooled
with a Franciscan's cowl laid upon a dead man's back, to the fourth part
of his sins; that which was utterly to be spoiled, but of none other but
the most prudent father the Pope, and of him as oft as he listed--a
pleasant invention, and one so profitable to the feigners, that no
emperor had taken more by taxes of his living subjects than those truly
begotten children of the world obtained by dead men's tributes.

[Sidenote: The parentage of the English spiritualty,]

[Sidenote: And the future which they are to expect.]

This was the modern Gospel--the present Catholic faith,--which the
English clergy loved and taught as faithfully as their brothers in
Italy. "Ye know the proverb," the preacher continued, "'An evil crow an
evil egg.' The children of this world that are known to have so evil a
father the world, so evil a grandfather the devil, cannot choose but be
evil--the devil being such an one as never can be unlike himself. So of
Envy, his well-beloved leman, he begot the World, and left it with
Discord at nurse; which World, after it came to man's estate, had of
many concubines many sons. These are our holy, holy men, that say they
are dead to the world; and none are more lively to the world. God is
taking account of his stewards, as though he should say, 'All good men
in all places accuse your avarice, your exactions, your tyranny. I
commanded you that ye should feed my sheep, and ye earnestly feed
yourselves from day to day, wallowing in delights and idleness. I
commanded you to teach my law; you teach your own traditions, and seek
your own glory. I taught openly, that he that should hear you should
hear Me; he that should despise you should despise Me. I gave you also
keys--not earthly keys, but heavenly. I left my goods, that I have
evermore esteemed, my Word and sacraments, to be dispensed by you. Ye
have not deceived Me, but yourselves: my gifts and my benefits shall be
to your greater damnation. Because ye have despised the clemency of the
Master of the house, ye have deserved the severity of the Judge. Come
forth; let us see an account of your stewardship.'

"And He will visit you; in his good time God will visit you. He will
come; He will not tarry long. In the day in which we look not for Him,
and in the hour which we do not know, He will come and will cut us in
pieces, and will give us our portion with the hypocrites. He will set
us, my brethren, where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth; and here,
if ye will, shall be the end of our tragedy."[62]

Our glimpses into these scenes fall but fitfully. The sermon has reached
us; but the audience--the five hundred fierce vindictive men who
suffered under the preacher's irony--what they thought of it; with what
feelings on that summer day the heated crowd scattered out of the
cathedral, dispersing to their dinners among the taverns in Fleet-street
and Cheapside--all this is gone, gone without a sound. Here no friendly
informer comes to help us; no penitent malcontent breaks confidence or
lifts the curtain. All is silent.

[Sidenote: Sullen temper of the clergy.]

[Sidenote: Their hopes and prospects.]

Yet, although the special acts of this body were of no mighty moment,
although rarely have so many men been gathered together whose actual
importance has borne so small a proportion to their estimate of
themselves, yet not often, perhaps, has an assembly collected where
there was such heat of passion, such malignity of hatred. For the last
three years the clergy had remained torpid and half stunned, doggedly
obeying the proclamations for the alterations of the service, and
keeping beyond the grasp of the law. But, although too demoralized by
their defeat to attempt resistance, the great body of them still
detested the changes which had been forced upon their acceptance, and
longed for a change which as yet they had not dared to attempt actively
to compass.[63] The keener among the leaders had, however, by this time,
in some degree collected themselves. They had been already watching
their enemies, to strike, if they could see a vulnerable point, and had
masked batteries prepared to unveil. Latimer taunted them with their
inefficiency: he should find, perhaps to his cost, that their arms had
not wholly lost their ancient sinew. To keep clear of suspicion of
favouring heresy, in their duel with the Pope and Papal idolatries, they
knew to be essential to the position of the government. When taunted
with breaking the unity of the Church, the Privy Council were proud of
being able to point to the purity of their doctrines; and although
fighting against a stream too strong for them--contending, in fact,
against Providence itself--the king, Cromwell, and Cranmer struggled
resolutely to maintain this phantom stronghold, which they imagined to
be the key of their defences. The moving party, on the other hand,
inevitably transgressed an unreal and arbitrary boundary; and through
the known sensitiveness of the king on the real presence, with the
defence of which he regarded himself as especially entrusted by the
supremacy, the clergy hoped to recover their advantage, and in striking
heresy to reach the hated vicar-general.

[Sidenote: June 23.]

The sermon was preached on the 9th of June; on the 23d the lower house
of convocation indirectly replied to it, by presenting a list of
complaints on the doctrines which were spreading among the people, the
open blasphemy of holy things, and the tacit or avowed sanction extended
by certain members of the council to the circulation of heretical books.
As an evidence of the progress in the change of opinion, this document
is one of the most remarkable which has come down to us.[64]

[Sidenote: The lower house present a list of heresies commonly taught
among the people.]

After a preface, in which the clergy professed their sincere allegiance
to the crown, the renunciation, utter and complete, of the Bishop of
Rome and all his usurpations and injustices, the abuses which they were
going to describe had, nevertheless, they said, created great disquiet
in the realm, and required immediate attention.

To the slander of this noble realm, the disquietness of the people, and
damage of Christian souls, it was commonly preached, thought, and spoke,
that the sacrament of the altar was lightly to be esteemed.

Lewd persons were not afraid to say, "Why should I see the sacring of
the high mass? Is it anything but a piece of bread or a little pretty
piece Round Robin?"

Of baptism it was said that "It was as lawful to baptize in a tub of
water at home or in a ditch by the wayside as in a font of stone in the
church. The water in the font was but a thing conjured."

[Sidenote: Heresy on the sacraments.]

[Sidenote: Heresy on purgatory.]

Priests, again, were thought to have no more authority to minister
sacraments than laymen. Extreme unction was not a sacrament at all, and
the hallowed oil "no better than the Bishop of Rome's grease and
butter." Confession, absolution, penance, were considered neither
necessary nor useful. Confession "had been invented" (here a stroke was
aimed at Latimer) "to have the secret knowledge of men's hearts and to
pull money out of their purses." "It were enough for men each to confess
his own sins to God in public." The sinner should allow himself to be a
sinner and sin no more. The priest had no concern with him. Purgatory
was a delusion. The soul went straight from the body to heaven or to
hell. Dirige, commendations, masses, suffrages, prayers, almsdeeds,
oblations done for the souls departed out of the world, were vain and
profitless. All sins were put away through Christ. If there were a place
of purgatory, Christ was not yet born.

[Sidenote: On the intersession of saints.]

[Sidenote: On the priesthood.]

The Church was the congregation of good men, and prayer was of the same
efficacy in the air as in a church or chapel. The building called the
church was made to keep the people from the rain and wind, a place where
they might assemble to hear the Word of God. Mass and matins were but a
fraud. The saints had no power to help departed souls. To pray to them,
or to burn candles before their images, was mere idolatry. The saints
could not be mediators. There was one Mediator, Christ. Our Lady was but
a woman, "like a bag of saffron or pepper when the spice was out."[65]
It was as much available to pray to saints "as to whirl a stone against
the wind." "Hallowed water, hallowed bread, hallowed candles, hallowed
ashes, were but vanities. Priests were like other men, and might marry
and have wives like other men."[66]

"The saying and singing of mass, matins, and evensong, was but roaring,
howling, whistling, mumming, conjuring, and juggling," and "the playing
of the organs a foolish vanity." It was enough for a man to believe what
was written in the Gospel--Christ's blood was shed for man's redemption,
let every man believe in Christ and repent of his sins. Finally, as a
special charge against Cromwell, the convocation declared that these
heresies were not only taught by word of mouth, but were set out in
books which were printed and published _cum privilegio_, under the
apparent sanction of the crown.

[Sidenote: Difficulty of toleration.]

[Sidenote: Toleration a principle unknown to rulers or subjects.]

[Sidenote: Obligation of the magistrates to maintain truth.]

[Sidenote: Peculiar disposition of the king.]

Thus were the two parties face to face, and the king had either to make
his choice between them, or with Cromwell's help to coerce them both
into moderation. The modern reader may imagine that he should have left
both alone, have allowed opinion to correct opinion, and truth to win
its own victory. But this "remedy for controversy," so easy now, was
then impossible,--it would have been rejected equally by the governors
and the governed. Deep in the hearts of all Englishmen in that century
lay the conviction, that it was the duty of the magistrate to maintain
truth, as well as to execute justice. Toleration was neither understood
nor desired. The protestants clamoured against persecution, not because
it was persecution, but because truth was persecuted by falsehood; and,
however furiously the hostile factions exclaimed each that the truth was
with them and the falsehood with their enemies, neither the one nor the
other disputed the obligation of the ruling powers to support the truth
in itself. So close the religious convictions of men lay to their hearts
and passions, that, if opinion had been left alone in their own hands,
they would themselves have fought the battle of their beliefs with
sharper weapons than argument. Religion to them was a thing to die for,
or it was nothing. It was therefore fortunate, most fortunate, for the
peace of England, that it possessed in the king a person whose mind, to
a certain extent, sympathized with both parties; to whom both, so long
as they were moderate, appeared to be right; to whom the extravagances
of both were wrong and to be repressed. Protestant and Anglican alike
might look to him with confidence--alike were obliged to fear him;
neither could take him for their enemy, neither for their partisan. He
possessed the peculiarity which has always distinguished practically
effective men, of being advanced, as it is called, only slightly beyond
his contemporaries. The giddy or imaginative genius soars on its own
wings, it may be to cleave its course into the sunlight, and be the
wonder of after times, but more often to fall like Icarus. The man of
working ability tempers his judgment by the opinion of others. He leads
his age--he bears the brunt of the battle--he wins the victory; but the
motive force which bears him forward is not in himself, but in the great
tidal wave of human progress. He is the guide of a great movement, not
the creator of it; and he represents in his own person the highest
average wisdom, combined necessarily in some measure with the mistakes
and prejudices of the period to which he belongs.[67]

[Sidenote: He draws the first articles of religion.]

On receiving the list of grievances, the king, then three weeks married
to Jane Seymour, in the first enjoyment, as some historians require us
to believe, of a guilty pleasure purchased by an infamous murder, drew
up with his own hand,[68] and submitted to the two houses of
convocation, a body of articles, interesting as throwing light upon his
state of mind, and of deeper moment as the first authoritative statement
of doctrine in the Anglican church.

By the duties of his princely office, he said, he held himself obliged,
not only to see God's Word and commandment sincerely believed and
reverently kept and observed, but to prevent also, as far as possible,
contentions and differences of opinion. To his regret he was informed
that there was no such concord in the realm as he desired, but violent
disagreement, not only in matters of usage and ceremony, but in the
essentials of the Christian faith. To avoid the dangerous unquietness,
therefore, which might, perhaps, ensue, and also the great peril to the
souls of his subjects, he had arrived at the following resolutions, to
which he required and commanded obedience.

[Sidenote: On the three creeds.]

I. As concerning the faith, all things were to be held and defended as
true which were comprehended in the whole body and canon of the Bible,
and in the three creeds or symbols. The creeds, as well as the
Scripture, were to be received as the most holy, most sure and
infallible words of God, and as such, "neither to be altered nor
convelled" by any contrary opinion. Whoever refused to accept their
authority "was no member of Christ, or of his spouse the Church," "but a
very infidel, or heretic, or member of the devil, with whom he should
be eternally damned."

[Sidenote: On the sacraments.]

II. Of sacraments generally necessary to all men there were
three--baptism, penance, and the sacrament of the altar.[69]

[Sidenote: Baptism.]

[_a_] Of baptism the people were to be taught that it was ordained in
the New Testament as a thing necessary for everlasting salvation,
according to the saying of Christ, "No man can enter into the kingdom of
heaven except he be born again of water and the Holy Ghost." The
promises of grace attached to the sacrament of baptism appertained not
only to such as had the use of reason, but also to infants, innocents,
and children, who, therefore, ought to be baptized, and by baptism
obtain remission of sin, and be made thereby sons and children of God.

[Sidenote: Penance.]

[_b_] Penance was instituted in the New Testament, and no man who, after
baptism, had fallen into deadly sin, could, without the same, be saved.
As a sacrament it consisted of three parts--contrition, confession, and
amendment. Contrition was the acknowledgment of the filthiness and
abomination of sin, a sorrow and inward shame for having offended God,
and a certain faith, trust, and confidence in the mercy and goodness of
God, whereby the penitent man must conceive certain hope that God would
forgive him his sins, and repute him justified, of the number of his
elect children, not for any worthiness of any merit or work done by the
penitent, but for the only merits of the blood and passion of Jesus
Christ. This faith was strengthened by the special application of
Christ's words and promises, and therefore, to attain such certain
faith, the second part of penance was necessary; that is to say,
confession to a priest (if it might be had), for the absolution given by
a priest was instituted of Christ, to apply the promises of God's grace
to the penitent. Although Christ's death was a full, sufficient
sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for which God forgave sinners
their sin, and the punishment of it; yet all men ought to bring forth
the fruits of penance, prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds, and make
restitution in will and deed to their neighbour if they had done him any
wrong, and to do all other good works of mercy and charity.

[Sidenote: The altar.]

[_c_] In the sacrament of the altar, under the form and figure of bread
and wine, was verily, substantially, and really contained and
comprehended the very self-same body and blood of our Saviour Christ,
which was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered upon the cross for man's
redemption; and under the same form and figure of bread and wine was
corporeally, really, and in very substance exhibited, distributed, and
received of all them which receive the said sacrament.

[Sidenote: Justification.]

III. By justification was signified remission of sin and acceptance into
the favour of God; that is to say, man's perfect renovation in Christ.
Sinners obtained justification by contrition and faith, joined with
charity; not as though contrition, or faith, or works proceeding
therefrom, could worthily merit the said justification, for the only
mercy and grace of the Father promised freely unto us for the Son's
sake, and the merits of his blood and passion, were the only sufficient
and worthy causes thereof; notwithstanding God required us to show good
works in fulfilling his commands, and those who lived after the flesh
would be undoubtedly damned.

[Sidenote: Custom and ritual.]

In these articles, which exhausted the essential doctrines of the faith,
the principles of the two religions are seen linked together in
connexion, yet without combination, a first effort at the compromise
between the old and the new which was only successfully completed in the
English Prayer-book. The king next went on to those matters of custom
and ritual, which, under the late system, had constituted the whole of
religion, and which the Reformers were now trampling upon and insulting.
Under mediæval Catholicism the cycle of life had been enveloped in
symbolism; each epoch from birth to death was attended with its
sacrament, each act of every hour with its special consecration: the
days were all anniversaries; the weeks, the months, the seasons, as they
revolved, brought with them their sacred associations and holy memories;
and out of imagery and legend, simply taught and simply believed,
innocent and beautiful practices had expanded as never-fading flowers by
the roadside of existence.

[Sidenote: Obligation of ceremonies long established.]

[Sidenote: Which be not lightly contemned,]

[Sidenote: Yet have no virtue or power in themselves.]

Concerning these, Henry wrote: "As to having vestments in doing God's
service, such as be and have been most part used--the sprinkling of holy
water to put us in remembrance of our baptism, and the blood of Christ
sprinkled for our redemption on the cross--the giving of holy bread, to
put us in remembrance of the sacrament of the altar, that all Christians
be one body mystical in Christ, as the bread is made of many grains, and
yet but one loaf--the bearing of candles on Candlemas-day, in memory of
Christ the spiritual light--the giving of ashes on Ash-Wednesday, to put
in remembrance every Christian man in the beginning of Lent and penance
that he is but ashes and earth, and thereto shall return--the bearing of
palms on Palm Sunday, in memory of the receiving of Christ into
Jerusalem a little before his death, that we may have the same desire to
receive Him into our hearts--creeping to the cross, and humbling
ourselves on Good Friday before the cross, and there offering unto
Christ before the same, and kissing of it in memory of our redemption by
Christ made upon the cross--setting up the sepulture of Christ, whose
body, after his death, was buried--the hallowing of the font, and other
like exorcisms and benedictions by the ministers of Christ's Church, and
all other like laudable customs, rites, and ceremonies,--they be not to
be contemned and cast away, but to be used and continued as good and
laudable, to put us in remembrance of those spiritual things that they
do signify, not suffering them to be forgot, or to be put in oblivion,
but renewing them in our memories. But none of these ceremonies have
power to remit sin, but only to stir and lift up our minds unto God, by
whom only our sins be forgiven."

So, too, of the saints. "The saints may be honoured because they are
with Christ in glory; and though Christ be the only Mediator, yet we may
pray to the saints to pray for us and with us unto Almighty God; we may
say to them, 'All holy angels and saints in heaven, pray for us and with
us unto the Father, that for his dear Son Jesus Christ's sake we may
have grace of Him and remission of our sins, with an earnest purpose to
keep his holy commandments, and never to decline from the same again
unto our lives' end.'"

[Sidenote: Purgatory to be received in a general sense,]

[Sidenote: But special interpretation as far as possible to be avoided.]

Finally, on the great vexed question of purgatory. "Forasmuch as the due
order of charity requireth, and the books of Maccabees and divers
antient doctors plainly shew, that it is a very good, charitable deed to
pray for souls departed; and forasmuch as such usage hath continued in
the Church for many years, no man ought to be grieved with the
continuance of the same. But forasmuch as the place where they be, the
name thereof, and kind of pains there, be to us uncertain by Scripture,
therefore this with all other things we remit unto Almighty God, unto
whose mercy it is meet and convenient for us to commend them, trusting
that God accepteth our prayers for them. Wherefore it is much necessary
that such abuses be clearly put away, which, under the name of
purgatory, hath been advanced; as to make men believe that through the
Bishop of Rome's pardons men might be delivered out of purgatory and all
the pains of it, or that masses said at any place or before any image
might deliver them from their pain and send them straight to
heaven."[70]

We have now before us the stormy eloquence of Pole, the iconoclasm of
Latimer, the superstitions of the complaining clergy--representing three
principles struggling one against the other, and the voice of the pilot
heard above the tempest. Each of these contained some element which the
other needed; they were to fret and chafe till the dust was beaten off,
and the grains of gold could meet and fuse.

[Sidenote: The articles pass convocation, but create dissatisfaction.]

The articles were debated in convocation, and passed because it was the
king's will. No party were pleased. The Protestants exclaimed against
the countenance to superstition; the Anglo-Catholics lamented the
visible taint of heresy, the reduced number of the sacraments, the
doubtful language upon purgatory, and the silence--dangerously
significant--on the nature of the priesthood. They were signed, however,
by all sides; and by Cromwell, now Lord Cromwell, lord privy seal, and
not vicar-general only, but appointed vicegerent of the king in all
matters ecclesiastical, they were sent round through the English
counties, to be obeyed by every man at his peril.[71]

[Sidenote: Convocation decree that the Pope has no power to call general
councils.]

The great matters being thus disposed of, the business of the session
concluded with a resolution passed on the 20th of July, respecting
general councils. The Pope, at the beginning of June, had issued notice
of a council to be assembled, if possible, at Mantua, in the following
year. The English government were contented to recognise a council
called _ad locum indifferentem_, with the consent of the great powers of
Europe. They would send no delegates to a petty Italian principality,
where the decrees would be dictated by the Pope and the Emperor. The
convocation pronounced that the Pope had gone beyond his authority: a
general council could not legally be called without the consent of all
Christian princes; to princes the right belonged of determining the time
and place of such an assembly, of appointing the judges, of fixing the
order of proceeding, and of deciding even upon the doctrines which might
lawfully be allowed and defended.[72]

This was the last act of the year; immediately after, the convocation
was prorogued. From the temper which had been displayed, it was easy to
see that trouble was impending. The form which it would assume was soon
to show itself.

Meanwhile, an event occurred of deeper importance than decrees of
councils, convocation quarrels, and moves and counter-moves on the
political chessboard; an event not to be passed by in silence, though I
can only glance at it.

The agitation caused by the queen's trial had suspended hitherto the
fate of the monasteries. On the dispersion of the clergy a commission
was appointed by Cromwell, to put in force the act of dissolution;[73]
and a series of injunctions were simultaneously issued, one of which
related to the articles of faith, another to the observance of the order
diminishing the number of holy-days; a third forbade the extolling the
special virtue of images and relics, as things which had caused much
folly and superstition; the people should learn that God would be better
pleased to see them providing for their families by honest labour, than
by idling upon pilgrimages; if they had money to spare, they might give
it in charity to the poor.

[Sidenote: Directions issued for the education of the people.]

The paternoster, the apostles' creed, and the ten commandments had been
lately published in English. Fathers of families, schoolmasters, and
heads of households were to take care that these fundamental elements of
the Christian faith should be learnt by the children and servants under
their care; and the law of the land was to be better observed, which
directed that every child should be brought up either to learning or to
some honest occupation, "lest they should fall to sloth and idleness,
and being brought after to calamity and misery, impute their ruin to
those who suffered them to be brought up idly in their youth."

[Sidenote: A Bible in English to be provided in every parish.]

An order follows, of more significance: "Every parson or proprietary of
every parish church within this realm shall, on this side of the feast
of St. Peter ad Vincula next coming,[74] provide a book of the whole
Bible, both in Latin and also in English, and lay the same in the quire,
for every man that will to read and look therein; and shall discourage
no man from reading any part of the Bible, but rather comfort, exhort,
and admonish every man to read the same, as the very word of God and the
spiritual food of man's soul; ever gently and charitably exhorting them,
that using a sober and modest behaviour in the reading and inquisition
of the true sense of the same, they do in nowise stiffly or eagerly
contend or strive one with another about the same, but refer the
declaration of those places that be in controversy to the judgment of
the learned."

[Sidenote: Translations existing before the Reformation.]

The publication of the English translation of the Bible, with the
permission for its free use among the people--the greatest, because the
purest victory so far gained by the Reformers--was at length
accomplished; a few words will explain how, and by whom. Before the
Reformation, two versions existed of the Bible in English--two
certainly, perhaps three. One was Wicliffe's; another, based on
Wicliffe's, but tinted more strongly with the peculiar opinions of the
Lollards, followed at the beginning of the fifteenth century; and there
is said to have been a third, but no copy of _this_ is known to
survive, and the history of it is vague.[75] The possession or the use
of these translations was prohibited by the Church, under pain of death.
They were extremely rare, and little read; and it was not till Luther's
great movement began in Germany, and his tracts and commentaries found
their way into England, that a practical determination was awakened
among the people, to have before them, in their own tongue, the book on
which their faith was built.

[Sidenote: Tyndal's New Testament.]

[Sidenote: Rapid sale in England.]

I have already described how William Tyndal felt his heart burn in him
to accomplish this great work for his country; how he applied for
assistance to a learned bishop; how he discovered rapidly that the
assistance which he would receive from the Church authorities would be a
speedy elevation to martyrdom; how he went across the Channel to Luther,
and thence to Antwerp; and how he there, in the year 1526, achieved and
printed the first edition of the New Testament. It was seen how copies
were carried over secretly to London, and circulated in thousands by the
Christian Brothers. The council threatened; the bishops anathematized.
They opened subscriptions to buy up the hated and dreaded volumes. They
burnt them publicly in St. Paul's. The whip, the gaol, the stake, did
their worst; and their worst was nothing. The high dignitaries of the
earth were fighting against Heaven, and met the success which ever
attends such contests. Three editions were sold before 1530; and in that
year a fresh instalment was completed. The Pentateuch was added to the
New Testament; and afterwards, by Tyndal himself, or under Tyndal's
eyes, the historical books, the Psalms and Prophets. At length the
whole canon was translated, and published in separate portions.

[Sidenote: The bishops' protest.]

[Sidenote: The king commands them to prepare a new translation.]

[Sidenote: Exertions of Cranmer.]

[Sidenote: The bishops are immoveable.]

All these were condemned with equal emphasis--all continued to spread.
The progress of the work of propagation had, in 1531, become so
considerable as to be the subject of an anxious protest to the crown
from the episcopal bench. They complained of the translations as
inaccurate--of unbecoming reflections on themselves in the prefaces and
side-notes. They required stronger powers of repression, more frequent
holocausts, a more efficient inquisitorial police. In Henry's reply they
found that the waters of their life were poisoned at the spring. The
king, too, was infected with the madness. The king would have the Bible
in English; he directed them, if the translation was unsound, to prepare
a better translation without delay. If they had been wise in their
generation they would have secured the ground when it was offered to
them, and gladly complied. But the work of Reformation in England was
not to be accomplished, in any one of its purer details, by the official
clergy; it was to be done by volunteers from the ranks, and forced upon
the Church by the secular arm. The bishops remained for two years
inactive. In 1533, the king becoming more peremptory, Cranmer carried a
resolution for a translation through convocation. The resolution,
however, would not advance into act. The next year he brought the
subject forward again; and finding his brother prelates fixed in their
neglect, he divided Tyndal's work into ten parts, sending one part to
each bishop to correct. The Bishop of London alone ventured an open
refusal; the remainder complied in words, and did nothing.[76]

[Sidenote: Miles Coverdale publishes the first complete version with the
king's sanction.]

Finally, the king's patience was exhausted. The legitimate methods
having been tried in vain, he acted on his own responsibility. Miles
Coverdale, a member of the same Cambridge circle which had given birth
to Cranmer, to Latimer, to Barnes, to the Scotch Wishart, silently went
abroad with a licence from Cromwell; with Tyndal's help he collected and
edited the scattered portions; and in 1536[77] there appeared in London,
published _cum privilegio_ and dedicated to Henry VIII., the first
complete copy of the English Bible. The separate translations, still
anomalously prohibited in detail, were exposed freely to sale in a
single volume, under the royal sanction. The canon and text-book of the
new opinions--so long dreaded, so long execrated--was thenceforth to lie
open in every church in England; and the clergy were ordered not to
permit only, but to exhort and encourage, all men to resort to it and
read.[78]

In this act was laid the foundation-stone on which the whole later
history of England, civil as well as ecclesiastical, has been reared;
the most minute incidents become interesting, connected with an event of
so mighty moment.

[Sidenote: Coverdale's preface and dedication.]

"Caiphas," said Coverdale in the dedicatory preface, "being bishop of
his year, prophesied that it was better to put Christ to death than that
all the people should perish: he meaning that Christ was a heretic and a
deceiver of the people, when in truth he was the Saviour of the world,
sent by his Father to suffer death for man's redemption.

"After the same manner the Bishop of Rome conferred on King Henry VIII.
the title of Defender of the Faith, because his Highness suffered the
bishops to burn God's Word, the root of faith, and to persecute the
lovers and ministers of the same; where in very deed the Bishop, though
he knew not what he did, prophesied that, by the righteous
administration of his Grace, the faith should be so defended that God's
Word, the mother of faith, should have free course through all
Christendom, but especially in his own realm.

"The Bishop of Rome has studied long to keep the Bible from the people,
and specially from princes, lest they should find out his tricks and his
falsehoods, lest they should turn from his false obedience to the true
obedience commanded by God; knowing well enough that, if the clear sun
of God's Word came over the heat of the day, it would drive away the
foul mist of his devilish doctrines. The Scripture was lost before the
time of that noble king Josiah, as it hath also been among us unto the
time of his Grace. Through the merciful goodness of God it is now found
again as it was in the days of that virtuous king; and praised be the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, world without end, which so
excellently hath endowed the princely heart of his Highness with such
ferventness to his honour and the wealth of his subjects, that he may be
compared worthily unto that noble king, that lantern among princes, who
commanded straitly, as his Grace doth, that the law of God should be
read and taught unto all the people.

"May it be found a general comfort to all Christian hearts--a continual
subject of thankfulness, both of old and young, unto God and to his
Grace, who, being our Moses, has brought us out of the old Ægypt, and
from the cruel hands of our spiritual Pharaoh. Not by the thousandth
part were the Jews so much bound unto King David for subduing of great
Goliah as we are to his Grace for delivering us out of our old
Babylonish captivity. For the which deliverance and victory I beseech
our only Mediator, Jesus Christ, to make such mean with us unto his
heavenly Father, that we may never be unthankful unto Him nor unto his
Grace, but increase in fear of God, in obedience to the King's Highness,
in love unfeigned to our neighbours, and in all virtue that cometh of
God, to whom, for the defending of his blessed Word, be honour and
thanks, glory and dominion, world without end."[79]

[Sidenote: The frontispiece.]

Equally remarkable, and even more emphatic in the recognition of the
share in the work borne by the king, was the frontispiece.

This was divided into four compartments.

In the first, the Almighty was seen in the clouds with outstretched
arms. Two scrolls proceeded out of his mouth, to the right, and the
left. On the former was the verse, "the word which goeth forth from me
shall not return to me empty, but shall accomplish whatsoever I will
have done." The other was addressed to Henry, who was kneeling at a
distance bareheaded, with his crown lying at his feet. The scroll said,
"I have found me a man after my own heart, who shall fulfil all my
will." Henry answered, "Thy word is a lantern unto my feet."

Immediately below, the king was seated on his throne, holding in each
hand a book, on which was written "the Word of God." One of these he was
giving to Cranmer and another bishop, who with a group of priests were
on the right of the picture, saying, "Take this and teach;" the other on
the opposite side he held to Cromwell and the lay peers, and the words
were, "I make a decree that, in all my kingdom, men shall tremble and
fear before the living God." A third scroll, falling downwards over his
feet, said alike to peer and prelate, "Judge righteous judgment. Turn
not away your ear from the prayer of the poor man." The king's face was
directed sternly towards the bishops, with a look which said, "Obey at
last, or worse will befal you."

In the third compartment, Cranmer and Cromwell were distributing the
Bible to kneeling priests and laymen; and, at the bottom, a preacher
with a benevolent beautiful face was addressing a crowd from a pulpit in
the open air. He was apparently commencing a sermon with the text, "I
exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men--for kings"--and
at the word "kings" the people were shouting "Vivat Rex!--Vivat Rex!"
children who knew no Latin lisping "God save the King!" and, at the
extreme left, at a gaol window, a prisoner was joining in the cry of
delight, as if he, too, were delivered from a worse bondage.

[Sidenote: The entire translation substantially the work of Tyndal.]

This was the introduction of the English Bible--this the seeming
acknowledgment of Henry's services. Of the translation itself, though
since that time it has been many times revised and altered, we may say
that it is substantially the Bible with which we are all familiar. The
peculiar genius--if such a word may be permitted--which breathes through
it--the mingled tenderness and majesty--the Saxon simplicity--the
preternatural grandeur--unequalled, unapproached, in the attempted
improvements of modern scholars--all are here, and bear the impress of
the mind of one man--William Tyndal. Lying, while engaged in that great
office, under the shadow of death, the sword above his head and ready at
any moment to fall, he worked, under circumstances alone perhaps truly
worthy of the task which was laid upon him--his spirit, as it were
divorced from the world, moved in a purer element than common air.

[Sidenote: Tyndal's martyrdom.]

His work was done. He lived to see the Bible no longer carried by
stealth into his country, where the possession of it was a crime, but
borne in by the solemn will of the king--solemnly recognised as the word
of the Most High God. And then his occupation in this earth was gone.
His eyes saw the salvation for which he had longed, and he might depart
to his place. He was denounced to the regent of Flanders; he was enticed
by the suborned treachery of a miserable English fanatic beyond the town
under whose liberties he had been secure; and with the reward which, at
other times as well as those, has been held fitting by human justice for
the earth's great ones, he passed away in smoke and flame to his rest.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE.


[Sidenote: Condition of society.]

The Nun of Kent's conspiracy, the recent humour of convocation, the
menaces of Reginald Pole, alike revealed a dangerous feeling in the
country. A religious revolution in the midst of an armed population
intensely interested in the event, could not be accomplished without an
appeal being made at some period of its course to arms; and religion was
at this time but one out of many elements of confusion. Society, within
and without, from the heart of its creed to its outward organization,
was passing through a transition, and the records of the Pilgrimage of
Grace cast their light far down into the structure and inmost
constitution of English life.

[Sidenote: Waning influence of the House of Lords.]

[Sidenote: Their jealousy of Cromwell.]

[Sidenote: Conservative confederacy to check the Reformation.]

[Sidenote: Displeasure of the country families at the suppression of the
abbeys.]

[Sidenote: Who missed the various conveniences which the abbeys had
furnished.]

The organic changes introduced by the parliament of 1529 had been the
work of the king and the second house in the legislature; and the peers
had not only seen measures pass into law which they would gladly have
rejected had they dared, but their supremacy was slipping away from
them; the Commons, who in times past had confined themselves to voting
supplies and passing without inquiry such measures as were sent down to
them, had started suddenly into new proportions, and had taken upon
themselves to discuss questions sacred hitherto to convocation. The
upper house had been treated in disputes which had arisen with
significant disrespect; ancient and honoured customs had been
discontinued among them against their desire;[80] and, constitutionally
averse to change, they were hurried powerless along by a force which was
bearing them they knew not where. Hating heretics with true English
conservatism, they found men who but a few years before would have been
in the dungeons of Lollards' Tower, now high in court favour, high in
office, and with seats in their own body. They had learnt to endure the
presence of self-raised men when as ecclesiastics such men represented
the respectable dignity of the Church; but the proud English nobles had
now for the first time to tolerate the society and submit to the
dictation of a lay peer who had been a tradesman's orphan and a homeless
vagabond. The Reformation in their minds was associated with the
exaltation of base blood, the levelling of ranks, the breaking down the
old rule and order of the land. Eager to check so dangerous a movement,
they had listened, some of them, to the revelations of the Nun. Fifteen
great men and lords, Lord Darcy stated, had confederated secretly to
force the government to change their policy;[81] and Darcy himself had
been in communication for the same purpose with the Spanish ambassador,
and was of course made aware of the intended invasion in the preceding
winter.[82] The discontent extended to the county families, who shared
or imitated the prejudices of their feudal leaders; and these families
had again their peculiar grievances. On the suppression of the abbeys
the peers obtained grants, or expected to obtain them, from the
forfeited estates. The country gentlemen saw only the desecration of the
familiar scenes of their daily life, the violation of the tombs of their
ancestors, and the buildings themselves, the beauty of which was the
admiration of foreigners who visited England, reduced to ruins.[83] The
abbots had been their personal friends, "the trustees for their children
and the executors of their wills;"[84] the monks had been the teachers
of their children; the free tables and free lodgings in these houses had
made them attractive and convenient places of resort in distant
journeys; and in remote districts the trade of the neighbourhood, from
the wholesale purchases of the corndealer to the huckstering of the
wandering pedlar, had been mainly carried on within their walls.[85]

[Sidenote: The Statute of Uses another grievance.]

[Sidenote: Difficulty of providing for younger children under the old
common law.]

[Sidenote: The objects and the evils of the system of Uses.]

"The Statute of Uses," again, an important but insufficient measure of
reform, passed in the last session of parliament but one,[86] had
created not unreasonable irritation. Previous to the modification of the
feudal law in the year 1540, land was not subject to testamentary
disposition and it had been usual to evade the prohibition of direct
bequest, in making provision for younger children, by leaving estates in
"use," charged with payments so considerable as to amount virtually to a
transfer of the property. The injustice of the common law was in this
way remedied, but remedied so awkwardly as to embarrass and complicate
the titles of estates beyond extrication. A "use" might be erected on a
"use"; it might be extended to the descendants of those in whose behalf
it first was made; it might be mortgaged, or transferred as a security
to raise money. The apparent owner of a property might effect a sale,
and the buyer find his purchase so encumbered as to be useless to him.
The intricacies of tenure thus often passed the skill of judges to
unravel;[87] while, again, the lords of the fiefs were unable to claim
their fines or fees or liveries, and the crown, in cases of treason,
could not enforce its forfeitures. The Statute of Uses terminated the
immediate difficulty by creating, like the recent Irish Encumbered
Estates Act, parliamentary titles. All persons entitled to the use of
lands were declared to be to all intents and purposes the lawful
possessors, as much as if such lands had been made over to them by
formal grant or conveyance. They became actual owners, with all the
rights and all the liabilities of their special tenures. The embarrassed
titles were in this way simplified; but now, the common law remaining as
yet unchanged, the original evil returned in full force. Since a trust
was equivalent to a conveyance, and land could not be bequeathed by
will, the system of trusts was virtually terminated. Charges could not
be created upon estates, and the landowners complained that they could
no longer raise money if they wanted it; their estates must go wholly to
the eldest sons; and, unless they were allowed to divide their
properties by will, their younger children would be left
portionless.[88]

Small grievances are readily magnified in seasons of general disruption.
A wicked spirit in the person of Cromwell was said to rule the king, and
everything which he did was evil, and every evil of the commonwealth was
due to his malignant influence.

[Sidenote: Grievances of the commons.]

[Sidenote: Local limitation of English country life.]

[Sidenote: Each district self-supporting.]

The discontent of the noblemen and gentlemen would in itself have been
formidable. Their armed retinues were considerable. The constitutional
power of the counties was in their hands. But the commons, again, had
their own grounds of complaint, for the most part just, though arising
from causes over which the government had no control, from social
changes deeper than the Reformation itself. In early times each petty
district in England had been self-supporting, raising its own corn,
feeding its own cattle, producing by women's hands in the cottages and
farmhouses its own manufactures. There were few or no large roads, no
canals, small means of transport of any kind, and from this condition of
things had arisen the laws which we call short-sighted, against
engrossers of grain. Wealthy speculators, watching their opportunity,
might buy up the produce not immediately needed, of an abundant harvest,
and when the stock which was left was exhausted, they could make their
own market, unchecked by a danger of competition. In time no doubt the
mischief would have righted itself, but only with the assistance of a
coercive police which had no existence, who would have held down the
people while they learnt their lesson by starvation. The habits of a
great nation could only change slowly. Each estate or each township for
the most part grew its own food, and (the average of seasons
compensating each other) food adequate for the mouths dependent upon it.

[Sidenote: Suffering occasioned by the introduction of large grazing
farms.]

The development of trade at the close of the fifteenth century gave the
first shock to the system. The demand for English wool in Flanders had
increased largely, and holders of property found they could make their
own advantage by turning their corn-land into pasture, breaking up the
farms, enclosing the commons, and becoming graziers on a gigantic
scale.

I have described in the first chapter of this work the manner in which
the Tudor sovereigns had attempted to check this tendency, but interest
had so far proved too strong for legislation. The statutes prohibiting
enclosures had remained, especially in the northern counties,
unenforced; and the small farmers and petty copyholders, hitherto
thriving and independent, found themselves at once turned out of their
farms and deprived of the resource of the commons. They had suffered
frightfully, and they saw no reason for their sufferings. From the Trent
northward a deep and angry spirit of discontent had arisen which could
be stirred easily into mutiny.[89]

[Sidenote: The rough character of the Yorkshire gentleman.]

[Sidenote: Encroachment upon local jurisdiction increases the expense of
justice.]

Nor were these the only grievances of the northern populace. The
Yorkshire knights, squires, sheriffs, and justices of the peace, intent,
as we see, on their own interests, had been overbearing and tyrannical
in their offices. The Abbot of York, interceding with Cromwell in behalf
of some poor man who had been needlessly arrested and troubled, declared
that "there was such a company of wilful gentlemen within Yorkshire as
he thought there were not in all England besides,"[90] and Cromwell in
consequence had "roughly handled the grand jury." Courts of arbitration
had sate from immemorial time in the northern baronies where disputes
between landlords and tenants had been equitably and cheaply adjusted.
The growing inequality of fortunes had broken through this useful
custom. Small farmers and petty leaseholders now found themselves sued
or compelled to sue in the courts at Westminster, and the expenses of a
journey to London, or of the employment of London advocates, placed them
virtually at the mercy of their landlords. Thus the law itself had been
made an instrument of oppression, and the better order of gentlemen,
who would have seen justice enforced had they been able, found
themselves assailed daily with "piteous complaints" which they had no
power to satisfy.[91] The occupation of the council with the larger
questions of the Church had left them too little leisure to attend to
these disorders. Cromwell's occasional and abrupt interference had
created irritation, but no improvement; and mischiefs of all kinds had
grown unheeded till the summer of 1536, when a fresh list of grievances,
some real, some imaginary, brought the crisis to a head.

[Sidenote: Papal leanings of the northern clergy.]

The convocation of York, composed of rougher materials than the
representatives of the southern counties, had acquiesced but tardily in
the measures of the late years. Abuses of all kinds instinctively
sympathize, and the clergy of the north, who were the most ignorant in
England, and the laity whose social irregularities were the greatest,
united resolutely in their attachment to the Pope, were most alarmed at
the progress of heresy, and most anxious for a reaction. The deciding
act against Rome and the king's articles of religion struck down the
hopes which had been excited there and elsewhere by the disgrace of
Queen Anne. Men saw the Papacy finally abandoned, they saw heresy
encouraged, and they were proportionately disappointed and enraged.

[Sidenote: Three commissions issued by the crown.]

At this moment three commissions were issued by the crown, each of which
would have tried the patience of the people, if conducted with greatest
prudence, and at the happiest opportunity.

[Sidenote: A subsidy commission.]

The second portion of the subsidy (an income-tax of two and a half per
cent. on all incomes above twenty pounds a year), which had been voted
in the autumn of 1534, had fallen due. The money had been required for
the Irish war, and the disaffected party in England had wished well to
the insurgents, so that the collectors found the greatest difficulty
either in enforcing the tax, or obtaining correct accounts of the
properties on which it was to be paid.

[Sidenote: A commission to carry out the Act of Suppression,]

[Sidenote: And a commission for the examination of the character and
qualifications of the clergy.]

Simultaneously Legh and Layton, the two most active and most unpopular
of the monastic visitors, were sent to Yorkshire to carry out the Act of
Suppression. Others went into Lincolnshire, others to Cheshire and
Lancashire, while a third set carried round the injunctions of Cromwell
to the clergy, with directions further to summon before them every
individual parish priest, to examine into his character, his habits and
qualifications, and eject summarily all inefficient persons from their
offices and emoluments.

[Sidenote: Complaints against the monastic commissioners.]

[Sidenote: The complaints were perhaps exaggerated,]

[Sidenote: But were not wholly without justice.]

The dissolution of the religious houses commenced in the midst of an
ominous and sullen silence. The act extended only to houses whose
incomes were under two hundred pounds a year, and among these the
commissioners were to use their discretion. They were to visit every
abbey and priory, to examine the books, examine the monks; when the
income fell short, or when the character of the house was vicious, to
eject the occupants, and place the lands and farm-buildings in the hands
of lay tenants for the crown. The discharge of an unpopular office,
however conducted, would have exposed those who undertook it to great
odium. It is likely that those who did undertake it were men who felt
bitterly on the monastic vices, and did their work with little scruple
or sympathy. Legh and Layton were accused subsequently of having borne
themselves with overbearing insolence; they were said also to have taken
bribes, and where bribes were not offered, to have extorted them from
the houses which they spared. That they went through their business
roughly is exceedingly probable; whether needlessly so, must not be
concluded from the report of persons to whom their entire occupation was
sacrilege. That they received money is evident from their own reports to
the government; but it is evident also that they did not attempt to
conceal that they received it. When the revenues of the crown were
irregular and small, the salaries even of ministers of state were
derived in great measure from fees and presents; the visitors of the
monasteries, travelling with large retinues, were expected to make their
duties self-supporting, to inflict themselves as guests on the houses to
which they went, and to pay their own and their servants "wages" from
the funds of the establishments. Sums of money would be frequently
offered them in lieu of a painful hospitality; and whether they took
unfair advantage of their opportunities for extortion, or whether they
exercised a proper moderation, cannot be concluded from the mere fact
that there was a clamour against them. But beyond doubt their other
proceedings were both rash and blameable. Their servants, with the hot
puritan blood already in their veins, trained in the exposure of the
impostures and profligacies of which they had seen so many, scorning and
hating the whole monastic race, had paraded their contempt before the
world; they had ridden along the highways, decked in the spoils of the
desecrated chapels, with copes for doublets, tunics for
saddle-cloths,[92] and the silver relic-cases hammered into sheaths for
their daggers.[93] They had been directed to enforce an abrogation of
the superfluous holy-days; they had shown such excessive zeal that in
some places common markets had been held under their direction on
Sundays.[94]

Scenes like these working upon tempers already inflamed, gave point to
discontent. Heresy, that word of dread and horror to English ears, rang
from lip to lip. Their hated enemy was at the people's doors, and their
other sufferings were the just vengeance of an angry God.[95]
Imagination, as usual, hastened to assist and expand the nucleus of
truth. Cromwell had formed the excellent design, which two years later
he carried into effect, of instituting parish registers. A report of his
intention had gone abroad, and mingling with the irritating inquiries of
the subsidy commissioners into the value of men's properties, gave rise
to a rumour that a fine was to be paid to the crown on every wedding,
funeral, or christening; that a tax would be levied on every head of
cattle, or the cattle should be forfeited; "that no man should eat in
his house white meat, pig, goose, nor capon, but that he should pay
certain dues to the King's Grace."

[Sidenote: Expectation that the parish churches were to be destroyed
with the abbeys.]

In the desecration of the abbey chapels and altar-plate a design was
imagined against all religion. The clergy were to be despoiled; the
parish churches pulled down, one only to be left for every seven or
eight miles; the church plate to be confiscated, and "chalices of tin"
supplied for the priest to sing with.[96]

[Sidenote: Divided interests of the rich and poor.]

Every element necessary for a great revolt was thus in motion,--wounded
superstition, real suffering, caused by real injustice, with their
attendant train of phantoms. The clergy in the north were disaffected to
a man;[97] the people were in the angry humour which looks eagerly for
an enemy, and flies at the first which seems to offer. If to a spirit of
revolt there had been added a unity of purpose, the results would have
been far other than they were. Happily, the discontents of the nobility,
the gentlemen, the clergy, the commons, were different, and in many
respects opposite; and although, in the first heat of the commotion, a
combination threatened to be possible, jealousy and suspicion rapidly
accomplished the work of disintegration. The noble lords were in the
interest of Pole, of European Catholicism, the Empire, and the Papacy;
the country gentlemen desired only the quiet enjoyment of a right to do
as they would with their own, and the quiet maintenance of a Church
which was too corrupt to interfere with them. The working people had a
just cause, though disguised by folly; but all true sufferers soon
learnt that in rising against the government, they had mistaken their
best friends for foes.

[Sidenote: September. Uneasy movement among the clergy.]

[Sidenote: The commissioner is coming to Louth.]

It was Michaelmas then, in the year 1536. Towards the fall of the
summer, clergy from the southern counties had been flitting northward,
and on their return had talked mysteriously to their parishioners of
impending insurrections, in which honest men would bear their part.[98]
In Yorkshire and Lincolnshire the stories of the intended destruction of
parish churches had been vociferously circulated; and Lord Hussey, at
his castle at Sleford, had been heard to say to one of the gentlemen of
the county, that "the world would never mend until they fought for
it."[99] September passed away; at the end of the month, the nunnery of
Legbourne, near Louth, was suppressed by the visitors, and two servants
of Cromwell were left in the house, to complete the dissolution. On
Monday, the 2d of October, Heneage, one of the examiners under the
clerical commission, was coming, with the chancellor of the Bishop of
Lincoln, into Louth itself, and the clergy of the neighbourhood were to
appear and submit themselves to inspection.

[Sidenote: Sunday, October 1.]

[Sidenote: Procession of the people of Louth on Sunday evening.]

The evening before being Sunday, a knot of people gathered on the green
in the town. They had the great silver cross belonging to the parish
with them; and as a crowd collected about them, a voice cried, "Masters,
let us follow the cross; God knows whether ever we shall follow it
hereafter or nay." They formed in procession, and went round the
streets; and after vespers, a party, headed "by one Nicholas Melton,
who, being a shoemaker, was called Captain Cobler," appeared at the
doors of the church, and required the churchwardens to give them the
key of the jewel chamber. The chancellor, they said, was coming the next
morning, and intended to seize the plate. The churchwardens hesitating,
the keys were taken by force. The chests were opened, the crosses,
chalices, and candlesticks "were shewed openly in the sight of every
man," and then, lest they should be stolen in the night, an armed watch
kept guard till daybreak in the church aisles.

[Sidenote: October 2. Burst of the insurrection.]

[Sidenote: The commissioner is received with the alarm-bell.]

[Sidenote: He is sworn to the commons.]

At nine o'clock on Monday morning Heneage entered the town, with a
single servant. The chancellor was ill, and could not attend. As he rode
in, the alarm-bell pealed out from Louth Tower. The inhabitants swarmed
into the streets with with bills and staves; "the stir and the noise
arising hideous." The commissioner, in panic at the disturbance, hurried
into the church for sanctuary; but the protection was not allowed to
avail him. He was brought out into the market-place, a sword was held to
his breast, and he was sworn at an extemporized tribunal to be true to
the commons, upon pain of death. "Let us swear! let us all swear!" was
then the cry. A general oath was drawn. The townsmen swore--all
strangers resident swore--they would be faithful to the king, the
commonwealth, and to Holy Church.

In the heat of the enthusiasm appeared the registrar of the diocese, who
had followed Heneage with his books, in which was enrolled Cromwell's
commission. Instantly clutched, he was dragged to the market-cross. A
priest was mounted on the stone steps, and commanded to read the
commission aloud. He began; but the "hideous clamour" drowned his voice.
The crowd, climbing on his shoulders, to overlook the pages, bore him
down. He flung the book among the mob, and it was torn leaf from leaf,
and burnt upon the spot. The registrar barely escaped with his life: he
was rescued by friends, and hurried beyond the gates.

Meanwhile, a party of the rioters had gone out to Legbourne, and
returned, bringing Cromwell's servants, who were first set in the
stocks, and thrust afterwards into the town gaol.

[Sidenote: The township of Louth in motion to Castre.]

[Sidenote: Furious demeanour of the clergy]

[Sidenote: The gentlemen take the oath.]

So passed Monday. The next morning, early, the common bell was again
ringing. Other commissioners were reported to be at Castre, a few miles
distant; and Melton the shoemaker, and "one great James," a tailor, with
a volunteer army of horse and foot, harnessed and unharnessed, set out
to seize them. The alarm had spread; the people from the neighbouring
villages joined them as they passed, or had already risen and were in
marching order. At Castre they found the commissioners fled; but a
thousand horse were waiting for them, and the number every moment
increasing. Whole parishes marched in, headed by their clergy. A
rendezvous was fixed at Rotherwell; and at Rotherwell, on that day, or
the next, besides the commons, "there were priests and monks" (the
latter fresh ejected from their monasteries--pensioned, but furious) "to
the number of seven or eight hundred."[100] Some were "bidding their
bedes," and praying for the Pope and cardinals; some were in full
harness, or armed with such weapons as they could find: all were urging
on the people. They had, as yet, no plans. What would the gentlemen do?
was the question. "Kill the gentlemen," the priests cried; "if they
will not join us, they shall all be hanged."[101] This difficulty was
soon settled. They were swept up from their halls, or wherever they
could be found. The oath was offered them, with the alternative of
instant death; and they swore against their will, as all afterwards
pretended, and as some perhaps sincerely felt; but when the oath was
once taken, they joined with a hearty unanimity, and brought in with
them their own armed retainers, and the stores from their houses.[102]
Sir Edward Madyson came in, Sir Thomas Tyrwhit and Sir William Ascue.
Lord Borough, who was in Ascue's company when the insurgents caught him,
rode for his life, and escaped. One of his servants was overtaken in the
pursuit, was wounded mortally, and shriven on the field.

[Sidenote: October 3. Meeting at Horncastle.]

So matters went at Louth and Castre. On Tuesday, October 3d, the country
rose at Horncastle, in the same manner, only on an even larger scale. On
a heath in that neighbourhood there was "a great muster"; the gentlemen
of the county came in, in large numbers, with "Mr. Dymmock," the
sheriff, at their head. Dr. Mackarel, the Abbot of Barlings, was
present, with his canons, in full armour; from the abbey came a
waggon-load of victuals; oxen and sheep were driven in from the
neighbourhood and a retainer of the house carried a banner, on which was
worked a plough, a chalice and a host, a horn, and the five wounds of
Christ.[103] The sheriff, with his brother, rode up and down the heath,
giving money among the crowd; and the insurrection now gaining point,
another gentleman "wrote on the field, upon his saddlebow," a series of
articles, which were to form the ground of the rising.

[Sidenote: Articles of the rebels' petition.]

Six demands should be made upon the crown: 1. The religious houses
should be restored. 2. The subsidy should be remitted. 3. The clergy
should pay no more tenths and first-fruits to the crown. 4. The Statute
of Uses should be repealed. 5. The villein blood should be removed from
the privy council. 6. The heretic bishops, Cranmer and Latimer, Hilsey
Bishop of Rochester, Brown Archbishop of Dublin, and their own Bishop
Longlands the persecuting Erastian, should be deprived and punished.

[Sidenote: Messengers are despatched to the king.]

The deviser and the sheriff sate on their horses side by side, and read
these articles, one by one, aloud, to the people. "Do they please you or
not?" they said, when they had done. "Yea, yea, yea!" the people
shouted, waving their staves above their heads; and messengers were
chosen instantly and despatched upon the spot, to carry to Windsor to
the king the demands of the people of Lincolnshire. Nothing was
required more but that the rebellion should be cemented by a common
crime; and this, too, was speedily accomplished.

[Sidenote: The Chancellor of the Bishop of Lincoln is murdered.]

The rebellion in Ireland had been inaugurated with the murder of
Archbishop Allen; the insurgents of Lincolnshire found a lower victim,
but they sacrificed him with the same savageness. The chancellor of
Lincoln had been the instrument through whom Cromwell had communicated
with the diocese, and was a special object of hatred. It does not appear
how he fell into the people's hands. We find only that "he was very
sick," and in this condition he was brought up on horseback into the
field at Horncastle. As he appeared he was received by "the parsons and
vicars" with a loud long yell--"Kill him! kill him!" "Whereupon two of
the rebels, by procurement of the said parsons and vicars, pulled him
violently off his horse, and, as he knelt upon his knees, with their
staves they slew him," the parsons crying continually, "Kill him! kill
him!'"

As the body lay on the ground it was stripped bare, and the garments
were parted among the murderers. The sheriff distributed the money that
was in the chancellor's purse. "And every parson and every vicar in the
field counselled their parishioners, with many comfortable words, to
proceed in their journey, saying unto them that they should lack neither
gold nor silver."[104] These, we presume, were Pole's seven thousand
children of light who had not bowed the knee to Baal--the noble army of
saints who were to flock to Charles's banners.[105]

The same Tuesday there was a rising at Lincoln. Bishop Longlands' palace
was attacked and plundered, and the town occupied by armed bodies of
insurgents. By the middle of the week the whole country was in
movement--beacons blazing, alarm-bells ringing; and, pending the reply
of the king, Lincoln became the focus to which the separate bodies from
Castre, Horncastle, Louth, and all other towns and villages, flocked in
for head quarters.

[Sidenote: The duty and the conduct of Lord Hussey of Sleford.]

The duty of repressing riots and disturbances in England lay with the
nobility in their several districts. In default of organized military or
police, the nobility _ex officio_ were the responsible guardians of the
peace. They held their estates subject to these obligations, and
neglect, unless it could be shown to be involuntary, was treason. The
nobleman who had to answer for the peace of Lincolnshire was Lord Hussey
of Sleford. Lord Hussey had spoken, as I have stated, in unambiguous
language, of the probability and desirableness of a struggle. When the
moment came, it seems as if he had desired the fruits of a Catholic
victory without the danger of fighting for it, or else had been
frightened and doubtful how to act. When the first news of the commotion
reached him, he wrote to the mayor of Lincoln, commanding him, in the
king's name, to take good care of the city; to buy up or secure the
arms; to levy men; and, if he found himself unable to hold his ground,
to let him know without delay.[106] His letter fell into the hands of
the insurgents; but Lord Hussey, though he must have known the fate of
it, or, at least, could not have been ignorant of the state of the
country, sate still at Sleford, waiting to see how events would turn.
Yeomen and gentlemen who had not joined in the rising hurried to him for
directions, promising to act in whatever way he would command; but he
would give no orders--he would remain passive--he would not be false to
his prince--he would not be against the defenders of the faith. The
volunteers who had offered their services for the crown he called "busy
knaves"--"he bade them go their own way as they would;" and still
uncertain, he sent messengers to the rebels to inquire their intentions.
But he would not join them; he would not resist them; at length, when
they threatened to end the difficulty by bringing him forcibly into
their camp, he escaped secretly out of the country; while Lady Hussey,
"who was supposed to know her husband's mind," sent provisions to a
detachment of the Lincoln army.[107] For such conduct the commander of a
division would be tried by a court-martial, with no uncertain sentence;
but the extent of Hussey's offence is best seen in contrast with the
behaviour of Lord Shrewsbury, whose courage and fidelity on this
occasion perhaps saved Henry's crown.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, Oct. 4. Lord Shrewsbury raises a force,]

[Sidenote: Friday, October 6. And entreats Lord Hussey to join him.]

[Sidenote: But without effect.]

[Sidenote: He takes a position at Nottingham.]

The messengers sent from Horncastle were Sir Marmaduke Constable and Sir
Edward Madyson. Heneage the commissioner was permitted to accompany
them, perhaps to save him from being murdered by the priests. They did
not spare the spur, and, riding through the night, they found the king
at Windsor the day following. Henry on the instant despatched a courier
to Lord Hussey, and another to Lord Shrewsbury, directing them to raise
all the men whom they could muster; sending at the same time private
letters to the gentlemen who were said to be with the insurgents, to
recall them, if possible, to their allegiance. Lord Shrewsbury had not
waited for instructions. Although his own county had not so far been
disturbed, he had called out his tenantry, and had gone forward to
Sherwood with every man that he could collect, on the instant that he
heard of the rising. Expecting the form that it might assume, he had
sent despatches on the very first day through Derbyshire, Stafford,
Shropshire, Worcester, Leicester, and Northampton, to have the powers of
the counties raised without a moment's delay.[108] Henry's letter found
him at Sherwood on the 6th of October. The king he knew had written also
to Lord Hussey; but, understanding the character of this nobleman better
than his master understood it, and with a foreboding of his possible
disloyalty, he sent on the messenger to Sleford with a further note from
himself, entreating him at such a moment not to be found wanting to his
duty. "My lord," he wrote, "for the old acquaintance between your
lordship and me, as unto him that I heartily love, I will write the
plainness of my mind. Ye have always been an honourable and true
gentleman, and, I doubt not, will now so prove yourself. I have no
commandment from the king but only to suppress the rebellion; and I
assure you, my lord, on my truth, that all the king's subjects of six
shires will be with me to-morrow at night, to the number of forty
thousand able persons; and I trust to have your lordship to keep us
company."[109] His exhortations were in vain; Lord Hussey made no
effort; he had not the manliness to join the rising--he had not the
loyalty to assist in repressing it. He stole away and left the country
to its fate. His conduct, unfortunately, was imitated largely in the
counties on which Lord Shrewsbury relied for reinforcements. Instead of
the thirty or forty thousand men whom he expected, the royalist leader
could scarcely collect three or four thousand. Ten times his number were
by this time at Lincoln, and increasing every day; and ominous news at
the same time reaching him of the state of Yorkshire, he found it
prudent to wait at Nottingham, overawing that immediate neighbourhood
till he could hear again from the king.

[Sidenote: Musters are raised in London.]

[Sidenote: Monday, October 9. Sir John Russell reaches Stamford.]

Meanwhile Madyson and Constable had been detained in London. The
immediate danger was lest the rebels should march on London before a
sufficient force could be brought into the field to check them. Sir
William Fitzwilliam, Sir John Russell, Cromwell's gallant nephew
Richard, Sir William Parr, Sir Francis Brian, every loyal friend of the
government who could be spared, scattered south and west of the
metropolis calling the people on their allegiance to the king's service.
The command-in-chief was given to the Duke of Suffolk. The stores in the
Tower, a battery of field artillery, bows, arrows, ammunition of all
kinds, were sent on in hot haste to Ampthill; and so little time had
been lost, that on Monday, the 9th of October, a week only from the
first outbreak at Louth, Sir John Russell with the advanced guard was at
Stamford, and a respectable force was following in his rear.

Alarming reports came in of the temper of the north-midland and eastern
counties. The disposition of the people between Lincoln and London was
said to be as bad as possible.[110] If there had been delay or trifling,
or if Shrewsbury had been less promptly loyal, in all likelihood the
whole of England north of the Ouse would have been in a flame.

[Sidenote: The Duke of Suffolk follows two days after.]

[Sidenote: Wednesday, October 11. The rebels begin to disperse from want
of provisions.]

From the south and the west, on the other hand, accounts were more
reassuring; Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire,
Buckinghamshire, all counties where the bishops had found heaviest work
in persecuting Protestants, had answered loyally to the royal summons.
Volunteers flocked in, man and horse, in larger numbers than were
required; on Tuesday, the 10th, Suffolk was able to close his muster
rolls, and needed only adequate equipment to be at the head of a body of
men as large as he could conveniently move. But he had no leisure to
wait for stores. Rumours were already flying that Russell had been
attacked, that he had fought and lost a battle and twenty thousand
men.[111] The security against a spread of the conflagration was to
trample it out upon the spot. Imperfectly furnished as he was, he
reached Stamford only two days after the first division of his troops.
He was obliged to pause for twenty-four hours to provide means for
crossing the rivers, and halt and refresh his men. The rebels on the
Monday had been reported to be from fifty to sixty thousand strong. A
lost battle would be the loss of the kingdom. It was necessary to take
all precautions. But Suffolk within a few hours of his arrival at
Stamford learnt that time was doing his work swiftly and surely. The
insurrection, so wide and so rapid, had been an explosion of loose
powder, not a judicious economy of it. The burst had been so
spontaneous, there was an absence of preparation so complete, that it
was embarrassed by its own magnitude. There was no forethought, no
efficient leader; sixty thousand men had drifted to Lincoln and had
halted there in noisy uncertainty till their way to London was
interrupted. They had no commissariat: each man had brought a few days'
provisions with him; and when these were gone, the multitude dissolved
with the same rapidity with which it had assembled. On the Wednesday at
noon, Richard Cromwell reported that the township of Boston, amounting
to twelve thousand men, were gone home. In the evening of the same day
five or six thousand others were said to have gone, and not more than
twenty thousand at the outside were thought to remain in the camp. The
young cavaliers in the royal army began to fear that there would be no
battle after all.[112]

[Sidenote: The king's answer to the rebels' petition.]

Suffolk could now act safely, and preparatory to his advance he sent
forward the king's answer to the articles of Horncastle.

"Concerning choosing of councillors," the king wrote, "I have never
read, heard, nor known that princes' councillors and prelates should be
appointed by rude and ignorant common people. How presumptuous, then,
are ye, the rude commons of one shire, and that one of the most brute
and beastly of the whole realm, and of least experience, to take upon
you, contrary to God's law and man's law, to rule your prince whom ye
are bound to obey and serve, and for no worldly cause to withstand.

[Sidenote: The suppression of the abbeys was by act of parliament, and
in consequence of their notorious vice.]

"As to the suppression of religious houses and monasteries, we will that
ye and all our subjects should well know that this is granted us by all
the nobles, spiritual and temporal, of this our realm, and by all the
commons of the same by act of parliament, and not set forth by any
councillor or councillors upon their mere will and fantasy as ye falsely
would persuade our realm to believe: and where ye allege that the
service of God is much thereby diminished, the truth thereof is
contrary, for there be none houses suppressed where God was well served,
but where most vice, mischief, and abomination of living was used; and
that doth well appear by their own confessions subscribed with their own
hands, in the time of our visitation. And yet were suffered a great many
of them, more than we by the act needed, to stand; wherein if they
amend not their living we fear we have more to answer for than for the
suppression of all the rest."

Dismissing the Act of Uses as beyond their understanding, and coming to
the subsidy,--

[Sidenote: The subsidy is granted by parliament, and shall be paid.]

"Think ye," the king said, "that we be so faint-hearted that perforce ye
would compel us with your insurrection and such rebellious demeanour to
remit the same? Make ye sure by occasion of this your ingratitude,
unnaturalness, and unkindness to us now administered, ye give us cause
which hath always been as much dedicate to your wealth as ever was king,
not so much to set our study for the setting forward of the same, seeing
how unkindly and untruly ye deal now with us:

[Sidenote: Let the rebels surrender their leaders and disperse to their
homes.]

"Wherefore, sirs, remember your follies and traitorous demeanour, and
shame not your native country of England. We charge you eftsoons that ye
withdraw yourselves to your own houses every man, cause the provokers of
you to this mischief to be delivered to our lieutenant's hands or ours,
and you yourselves submit yourselves to such condign punishment as we
and our nobles shall think you worthy to suffer. For doubt ye not else
that we will not suffer this injury at your hands unrevenged; and we
pray unto Almighty God to give you grace to do your duties; and rather
obediently to consent amongst you to deliver into the hands of our
lieutenant a hundred persons, to be ordered according to their demerits,
than by your obstinacy and wilfulness to put yourselves, lives, wives,
children, lands, goods, and chattels, besides the indignation of God, in
the utter adventure of total destruction."[113]

[Sidenote: Thursday, October 12. Disputes between the gentlemen and the
commons.]

When the letter was brought in, the insurgent council were sitting in
the chapter-house of the cathedral. The cooler-headed among the
gentlemen, even those among them who on the whole sympathized in the
rising, had seen by this time that success was doubtful, and that if
obtained it would be attended with many inconveniences to themselves.
The enclosures would go down, the cattle farms would be confiscated. The
yeomen's tenures would be everywhere revised. The probability, however,
was that, without concert, without discipline, without a leader, they
would be destroyed in detail; their best plan would be to secure their
own safety. Their prudence nearly cost them their lives.

"We, the gentlemen," says one of them, when the letters came, thought
"to read them secretly among ourselves; but as we were reading them the
commons present cried that they would hear them read or else pull them
from us. And therefore I read the letters openly; and because there was
a little clause there which we feared would stir the commons, I did
leave that clause unread, which was perceived by a canon there, and he
said openly the letter was falsely read, by reason whereof I was like to
be slain."[114]

[Sidenote: The gentlemen are nearly murdered.]

The assembly broke into confusion. The alarm spread that the gentlemen
would betray the cause, as in fact they intended to do. The clergy and
the leaders of the commons clamoured to go forward and attack Suffolk,
and two hundred of the most violent went out into the cloister to
consult by themselves. After a brief conference they resolved that the
clergy had been right from the first: that the gentlemen were no true
friends of the cause, and they had better kill them. They went back
into the chapter-house, and, guarding the doors, prepared to execute
their intention, when some one cried that it was wiser to leave them
till the next day. They should go with them into action, and if they
flinched they would kill them then. There was a debate. The two hundred
went out again--again changed their minds and returned; but by this time
the intended victims had escaped by a private entrance into the house of
the murdered chancellor, and barricaded the door. It was now evening.
The cloisters were growing dark, and the mob finally retired to the
camp, swearing that they would return at daybreak.

[Sidenote: The yeomen and villagers join the gentlemen.]

The gentlemen then debated what they should do. Lincoln cathedral is a
natural fortress. The main body of the insurgents lay round the bottom
of the hill on which the cathedral stands; the gentlemen, with their
retinues, seem to have been lodged in the houses round the close, and to
have been left in undisputed possession of their quarters for the night.
Suffolk was known to be advancing. They determined, if possible, to cut
their way to him in the morning, or else to hold out in their present
position till they were relieved. Meanwhile the division in the council
had extended to the camp. Alarmed by the desertions, surprised by the
rapidity with which the king's troops had been collected, and with the
fatal distrust of one another which forms the best security of
governments from the danger of insurrection, the farmers and villagers
were disposed in large numbers to follow the example of their natural
leaders. The party of the squires were for peace: the party of the
clergy for a battle. The former in the darkness moved off in a body and
joined the party in the cathedral. There was now no longer danger. The
gentry were surrounded by dependents on whom they could rely; and though
still inferior in number, were better armed and disciplined than the
brawling crowd of fanatics in the camp. When day broke they descended
the hill, and told the people that for the present their enterprise must
be relinquished. The king had said that they were misinformed on the
character of his measures. It was, perhaps, true, and for the present
they must wait and see. If they were deceived they might make a fresh
insurrection.[115]

[Sidenote: Friday, October 13. The Duke of Suffolk enters Lincoln.]

They were heard in sullen silence, but they were obeyed. There was no
resistance; they made their way to the king's army, and soon after the
Duke of Suffolk, Sir John Russell, and Cromwell rode into Lincoln. The
streets, we are told, were crowded, but no cheer saluted them, no bonnet
was moved. The royalist commanders came in as conquerors after a
bloodless victory, but they read in the menacing faces which frowned
upon them that their work was still, perhaps, to be done.

[Sidenote: The ringleaders are surrendered, and the commotion ceases.]

For the present, however, the conflagration was extinguished. The
cathedral was turned into an arsenal, fortified and garrisoned;[116] and
the suspicion and jealousy which had been raised between the spiritualty
and the gentlemen soon doing its work, the latter offered their services
to Suffolk, and laboured to earn their pardon by their exertions for the
restoration of order. The towns one by one sent in their submission.
Louth made its peace by surrendering unconditionally fifteen of the
original leaders of the commotion. A hundred or more were taken
prisoners elsewhere, Abbot Mackarel and his canons being of the
number;[117] and Suffolk was informed that these, who were the worst
offenders, being reserved for future punishment, he might declare a free
pardon to all the rest "without doing unto them any hurt or damage in
their goods or persons."[118]

In less than a fortnight a rebellion of sixty thousand persons had
subsided as suddenly as it had risen. Contrived by the monks and parish
priests, it had been commenced without concert, it had been conducted
without practical skill. The clergy had communicated to their
instruments alike their fury and their incapacity.

But the insurrection in Lincolnshire was but the first shower which is
the herald of the storm.

On the night of the 12th of October there was present at an inn in
Lincoln, watching the issue of events, a gentleman of Yorkshire, whose
name, a few weeks later, was ringing through every English household in
accents of terror or admiration.

[Sidenote: September. A party of foxhunters at Yorkyswold.]

[Sidenote: The family of the Askes.]

Our story must go back to the beginning of the month. The law vacation
was drawing to its close, and younger brothers in county families who
then, as now, were members of the inns of court, were returning from
their holidays to London. The season had been of unusual beauty. The
summer had lingered into the autumn, and during the latter half of
September young Sir Ralph Ellerkar, of Ellerkar Hall in "Yorkyswold,"
had been entertaining a party of friends for cub-hunting. Among his
guests were his three cousins, John, Robert, and Christopher Aske. John,
the eldest, the owner of the old family property of
Aughton-on-the-Derwent, a quiet, unobtrusive gentleman, with two sons,
students at the Temple: Robert, of whom, till he now emerges into light,
we discover only that he was a barrister in good practice at
Westminster; and Christopher, the possessor of an estate in Marshland in
the West Riding. The Askes were highly connected, being cousins of the
Earl of Cumberland,[119] whose eldest son, Lord Clifford, had recently
married a daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, and niece therefore of the
king.[120]

[Sidenote: October 3. Robert Aske's going to London is stopped by the
rebels in Lincolnshire.]

[Sidenote: October 4. He takes the command.]

[Sidenote: Crosses back into Yorkshire,]

The hunting-party broke up on the 3d of October, and Robert, if his own
account of himself was true, left Ellerkar with no other intention than
of going direct to London to his business. His route lay across the
Humber at Welton, and when in the ferry he heard from the boatmen that
the commons were up in Lincolnshire. He wished to return, but the state
of the tide would not allow him; he then endeavoured to make his way by
by-roads and bridle-paths to the house of a brother-in-law at Sawcliffe;
but he was met somewhere near Appleby by a party of the rebels. They
demanded who he was, and on his replying, they offered him the popular
oath. It is hard to believe that he was altogether taken by surprise; a
man of so remarkable powers as he afterwards exhibited could not have
been wholly ignorant of the condition of the country, and if his loyalty
had been previously sound he would not have thrown himself into the
rising with such deliberate energy. The people by whom he was "taken,"
as he designated what had befallen him,[121] became his body-guard to
Sawcliffe. He must have been well known in the district. His brother's
property lay but a few miles distant, across the Trent, and as soon as
the news spread that he was among the rebels, his name was made a
rallying cry. The command of the district was assigned to him from the
Humber to Kirton, and for the next few days he remained endeavouring to
organize the movement into some kind of form; but he was doubtful of the
prospects of the rebellion, and doubtful of his own conduct. The commons
of the West Riding beginning to stir, he crossed into Marshland; he
passed the Ouse into Howdenshire, going from village to village, and
giving orders that no bells should be rung, no beacon should be lighted,
except on the receipt of a special message from himself.

[Sidenote: And again returns into Lincolnshire.]

[Sidenote: October 12. And is at Lincoln when Suffolk enters.]

Leaving his own county, he again hastened back to his command in
Lincolnshire; and by this time he heard of Suffolk's advance with the
king's answer to the petition. He rode post to Lincoln, and reached the
town to find the commons and the gentlemen on the verge of fighting
among themselves. He endeavoured to make his way into the cathedral
close, but finding himself suspected by the commons, and being told that
he would be murdered if he persevered, he remained in concealment till
Suffolk had made known the intentions of the government; then, perhaps
satisfied that the opportunity was past, perhaps believing that if not
made use of on the instant it might never recur, perhaps resigning
himself to be guided by events, he went back at full speed to Yorkshire.

And events had decided: whatever his intentions may have been, the
choice was no longer open to him.

[Sidenote: October 13. The beacons lighted in Yorkshire.]

As he rode down at midnight to the bank of the Humber, the clash of the
alarm-bells came pealing far over the water. From hill to hill, from
church-tower to church-tower, the warning lights were shooting. The
fishermen on the German Ocean watched them flickering in the darkness
from Spurnhead to Scarborough, from Scarborough to Berwick-upon-Tweed.
They streamed westward, over the long marshes across Spalding Moor; up
the Ouse and the Wharf, to the watershed where the rivers flow into the
Irish Sea. The mountains of Westmoreland sent on the message to Kendal,
to Cockermouth, to Penrith, to Carlisle; and for days and nights there
was one loud storm of bells and blaze of beacons from the Trent to the
Cheviot Hills.

[Sidenote: October 9. An address bearing Aske's signature invites the
commons of Yorkshire to rise.]

All Yorkshire was in movement. Strangely, too, as Aske assures us, he
found himself the object of an unsought distinction. His own name was
the watchword which every tongue was crying. In his absence an address
had gone out around the towns, had been hung on church-doors, and posted
on market crosses, which bore his signature, though, as he protested, it
was neither written by himself nor with his consent.[122] Ill composed,
but with a rugged eloquence, it called upon all good Englishmen to make
a stand for the Church of Christ, which wicked men were destroying, for
the commonwealth of the realm, and for their own livings, which were
stolen from them by impositions. For those who would join it should be
well; those who refused to join, or dared to resist, should be under
Christ's curse, and be held guilty of all the Christian blood which
should be shed.

Whoever wrote the letter, it did its work. One scene out of many will
illustrate the effect.

[Sidenote: Scene at Beverley.]

[Sidenote: October 8. Priests, women, and families.]

[Sidenote: William Stapleton made captain of Beverley.]

William Stapleton, a friend of Aske, and a brother barrister, also bound
to London for the term, was spending a few days at the Grey Friars at
Beverley, with his brother Christopher. The latter had been out of
health, and had gone thither for change of air with his wife. The young
lawyer was to have set out over the Humber on the 4th of October. At
three in the morning his servant woke him, with the news that the
Lincolnshire beacons were on fire, and the country was impassable.
Beverley itself was in the greatest excitement; the sick brother was
afraid to be left alone, and William Stapleton agreed for the present to
remain and take care of him. On Sunday morning they were startled by the
sound of the alarm-bell. A servant who was sent out to learn what had
happened, brought in word that an address had arrived from Robert Aske,
and that a proclamation was out, under the town seal, calling on every
man to repair to Westwood Green, under the walls of the Grey Friars, and
be sworn in to the commons.[123] Christopher Stapleton, a sensible man,
made somewhat timid by illness, ordered all doors to be locked and
bolted, and gave directions that no one of his household should stir.
His wife, a hater of Protestants, an admirer of Queen Catherine, of the
Pope, and the old religion, was burning with sympathy for the
insurgents. The family confessor appeared on the scene, a certain Father
Bonaventure, taking the lady's part, and they two together "went forth
out of the door among the crowd."--"God's blessing on ye," William
Stapleton heard his sister-in-law cry.--"Speed ye well," the priest
cried; "speed ye well in your godly purposes." The people rushed about
them. "Where are your husband and his brother?" they shouted to her. "In
the Freers," she answered. "Bring them out!" the cry rose. "Pull them
out by the head; or we will burn the Freers and them within it." Back
flew the lady in haste, and perhaps in scorn, to urge forward her
hesitating lord--he wailing, wringing his hands, wishing himself out of
the world; she exclaiming it was God's quarrel--let him rise and show
himself a man. The dispute lingered; the crowd grew impatient; the doors
were dashed in; they rushed into the hall, and thrust the oath down the
throat of the reluctant gentleman, and as they surged back they swept
the brother out with them upon the green. Five hundred voices were
crying, "Captains! captains!" and presently a shout rose above the rest,
"Master William Stapleton shall be our captain!" And so it was to be:
the priest Bonaventure had willed it so; and Stapleton, seeing worse
would follow if he refused, consented.

It was like a contagion of madness--instantly he was wild like the rest.
"Forward!" was the cry--whither, who knew or cared? only "Forward!" and
as the multitude rocked to and fro, a splashed rider spurred through the
streets, "like a man distraught,"[124] eyes staring, hair streaming,
shouting, as he passed, that they should rise and follow, and flashing
away like a meteor.

So went Sunday at Beverley, the 8th of October, 1536; and within a few
days the substance of the same scene repeated itself in all the towns of
all the northern counties, the accidents only varying. The same spirit
was abroad as in Lincolnshire; but here were strong heads and strong
wills, which could turn the wild humour to a purpose,--men who had
foreseen the catastrophe, and were prepared to use it.

[Sidenote: Lord Darcy of Templehurst a known opponent of the
Reformation.]

Lord Darcy of Templehurst was among the most distinguished of the
conservative nobility. He was an old man. He had won his spurs under
Henry VII. He had fought against the Moors by the side of Ferdinand, and
he had earned laurels in the wars in France against Louis XII. Strong in
his military reputation, in his rank, and in his age, he had spoken in
parliament against the separation from the see of Rome; and though sworn
like the rest of the peers to obey the law, he had openly avowed the
reluctance of his assent--he had secretly maintained a correspondence
with the Imperial court.

[Sidenote: The king's letter to Lord Darcy.]

The king, who respected a frank opposition, and had no suspicion of
anything beyond what was open, continued his confidence in a man whom he
regarded as a tried friend; and Darcy, from his credit with the crown,
his rank and his position, was at this moment the feudal sovereign of
the East Riding. To him Henry wrote on the first news of the commotion
in Lincolnshire, when he wrote to Lord Hussey and Lord Shrewsbury, but,
entering into fuller detail, warning him of the falsehoods which had
been circulated to excite the people, and condescending to inform him
"that he had never thought to take one pennyworth of the parish
churches' goods from them." He desired Lord Darcy to let the truth be
known, meantime he assured him that there was no cause for alarm, "one
true man was worth twenty thieves and traitors," and all true men he
doubted not would do their duty in suppressing the insurrection.[125]

This letter was written on the same 8th of October on which the scenes
which I have described took place at Beverley. Five days later the king
had found reason to change his opinion of Lord Darcy.

[Sidenote: Lord Darcy will not be in too great haste to check the
rebellion.]

[Sidenote: He will raise no musters,]

[Sidenote: And shuts himself up in Pomfret Castle without provisions.]

To him, as to Lord Hussey, the outbreak at this especial crisis appeared
inopportune. The Emperor had just suffered a heavy reverse in France,
and there was no prospect at that moment of assistance either from
Flanders or Spain.... A fair occasion had been lost in the preceding
winter--another had not yet arisen.... The conservative English were,
however, strong in themselves, and might be equal to the work if they
were not crushed prematurely; he resolved to secure them time by his own
inaction.... On the first symptoms of uneasiness he sent his son, Sir
Arthur Darcy, to Lord Shrewsbury, who was then at Nottingham. Young
Darcy, after reporting as to the state of the country, was to go on to
Windsor with a letter to the king. Sharing, however, in none of his
father's opinions, he caught fire in the stir of Shrewsbury's camp;--he
preferred to remain where he was, and, sending the letter by another
hand, he wrote to Templehurst for arms and men. Lord Darcy had no
intention that his banner should be seen in the field against the
insurgents. Unable to dispose of Sir Arthur as he had intended, he
replied that he had changed his mind; he must return to him at his best
speed; for the present, he said, he had himself raised no men, nor did
he intend to raise any: he had put out a proclamation with which he
trusted the people might be quieted.[126] The manœuvre answered well.
Lord Shrewsbury was held in check by insurrections on either side of
him, and could move neither on Yorkshire nor Lincolnshire. The rebels
were buying up every bow, pike, and arrow in the country; and Lord Darcy
now shut himself up with no more than twelve of his followers in Pomfret
Castle, without arms, without fuel, without provisions. and taking no
effectual steps to secure either the one or the other. In defence of his
conduct he stated afterwards that his convoys had been intercepted. An
experienced military commander who could have called a thousand men
under arms by a word, could have introduced a few waggon-loads of corn
and beer, had such been his wish. He was taking precautions (it is more
likely) to enable him to yield gracefully to necessity should necessity
arise. The conflagration now spread swiftly. Every one who was disposed
to be loyal looked to Darcy for orders. The Earl of Cumberland wrote to
him from Skipton Castle, Sir Brian Hastings the sheriff, Sir Richard
Tempest, and many others. They would raise their men, they said, and
either join him at Pomfret, or at whatever place he chose to direct.
But Darcy would do nothing, and would allow nothing to be done. He
replied that he had no commission and could give no instructions. The
king had twice written to him, but had sent no special directions, and
he would not act without them.[127]

[Sidenote: The organization of the rebellion.]

Lord Darcy played skilfully into the rebels' hands. The rebels made
admirable use of their opportunity. With method in their madness, the
townships everywhere organized themselves. Instead of marching in
unwieldy tumultuous bodies, they picked their "tallest and strongest"
men; they armed and equipped them; and, raising money by a rate from
house to house, they sent them out with a month's wages in their
pockets, and a promise of a continuance should their services be
prolonged. The day after his return from Lincoln, Aske found himself at
the head of an army of horse and foot, furnished admirably at all
points. They were grouped in companies by their parishes, and for
colours, the crosses of the churches were borne by the priests.

[Sidenote: Aske is chosen commander-in-chief.]

[Sidenote: Stapleton summons Hull.]

The first great rendezvous in Yorkshire was on Weighton common. Here
Stapleton came in with nine thousand men from Beverley and Holderness.
The two divisions encamped upon the heath, and Aske became acknowledged
as the commander of the entire force. Couriers brought in news from all
parts of the country. Sir Ralph Evers and Sir George Conyers were
reputed to have taken refuge in Scarborough. Sir Ralph Ellerkar the
elder, and Sir John Constable were holding Hull for the king. These
places must at once be seized. Stapleton rode down from Weighton to Hull
gate, and summoned the town. The mayor was for yielding at once; he had
no men, he said, no meat, no money, no horse or harness,--resistance was
impossible. Ellerkar and Constable, however, would not hear of
surrender. Constable replied that he would rather die with honesty than
live with shame; and Stapleton carrying back this answer to Aske, it was
agreed that the former should lay siege to Hull upon the spot, while the
main body of the army moved forward upon York.[128]

Skirting parties meantime scoured the country far and near. They
surrounded the castles and houses, and called on every lord, knight, and
gentleman to mount his horse, with his servants, and join them, or they
would leave neither corn-stack in their yards nor cattle in their sheds,
and would burn their roofs over their heads.

[Sidenote: The Percies join the insurgents.]

Aske himself was present everywhere, or some counterfeit who bore his
name. It seemed "there were six Richmonds in the field." The Earl of
Northumberland lay sick at Wressill Castle. From the day of Anne
Boleyn's trial he had sunk, and now was dying. His failing spirit was
disturbed by the news that Aske was at his gates, and that an armed host
were shouting "thousands for a Percy!" If the earl could not come, the
rebels said, then his brothers must come--Sir Thomas and Sir Ingram. And
then, with side-glances, we catch sight of Sir Ingram Percy swearing in
the commons, and stirring the country at Alnwick: "using such malicious
words as were abominable to hear; wishing that he might thrust his
sword into the Lord Cromwell's belly; wishing the Lord Cromwell were
hanged on high, and he standing by to see it." And again we see the old
Countess of Northumberland at her house at Semar, "sore weeping and
lamenting" over her children's disloyalty; Sir Thomas Percy listening,
half moved, to her entreaties; for a moment pausing uncertain, then
borne away by the contagion, and a few hours later flaunting, with gay
plumes and gorgeous armour, in the rebel host.[129]

[Sidenote: Aske marches on York.]

[Sidenote: York surrenders.]

[Sidenote: The monks and nuns who had been dispossessed invited to
return to their houses.]

On Sunday, October the 15th, the main army crossed the Derwent, moving
direct for York. On Monday they were before the gates. The citizens were
all in the interest of the rebellion; and the mayor was allowed only to
take precautions for the security of property and life. The engagements
which he exacted from Aske, and which were punctually observed, speak
well for the discipline of the insurgents. No pillage was to be
permitted, or injury of any kind. The prices which were to be paid for
victuals and horse-meat were published in the camp by proclamation. The
infantry, as composed of the most dangerous materials, were to remain in
the field. On these terms the gates were opened, and Aske, with the
horse, rode in and took possession.[130] His first act, on entering the
city, was to fix a proclamation on the doors of the cathedral, inviting
all monks and nuns dispossessed from their houses to report their names
and conditions, with a view to their immediate restoration. Work is done
rapidly by willing hands, in the midst of a willing people. In the week
which followed, by a common impulse, the king's tenants were
universally expelled. The vacant dormitories were again peopled; the
refectories were again filled with exulting faces. "Though it were never
so late when they returned, the friars sang matins the same night."[131]

[Sidenote: Lord Darcy sends to Aske to inquire the meaning of the
insurrection.]

Orders were next issued in Aske's name, commanding all lords, knights,
and gentlemen in the northern counties to repair to his presence; and
now, at last, Lord Darcy believed that the time was come when he might
commit himself with safety; or rather, since the secrets of men's minds
must not be lightly conjectured, he must be heard first in his own
defence, and afterwards his actions must speak for him. On the night of
the surrender of York he sent his steward from Pomfret, with a request
for a copy of the oath and of the articles of the rising, promising, if
they pleased him, to join the confederacy. The Archbishop of York, Dr.
Magnus, an old diplomatic servant of the crown, Sir Robert Constable,
Lord Neville, and Sir Nicholas Babthorpe, were by this time with him in
the castle. His own compliance would involve the compliance of these,
and would partially involve their sanction.

[Sidenote: He apologizes to the king, and professes inability to help
himself.]

[Sidenote: Lord Shrewsbury promises to relieve him,]

[Sidenote: But Aske advances,]

[Sidenote: Thursday, October 19.]

On the morning of the 16th or 17th he received a third letter from the
king, written now in grave displeasure: the truth had not been told; the
king had heard, to his surprise, that Lord Darcy, instead of raising a
force and taking the field, had shut himself up, with no more than
twelve servants, in Pomfret; "If this be so," he said, "it is
negligently passed."[132] Lord Darcy excused himself by replying that he
was not to blame; that he had done his best; but there were sixty
thousand men in arms, forty thousand in harness. They took what they
pleased--horses, plate, and cattle; the whole population was with them;
he could not trust his own retainers; and, preparing the king for what
he was next to hear, he informed him that Pomfret itself was
defenceless. "The town," he said, "nor any other town, will not victual
us for our money; and of such provision as we ourselves have made, the
commons do stop the passage so straitly, that no victual can come to us;
the castle is in danger to be taken, or we to lose our lives."[133] The
defence may have been partially true. It may have been merely plausible.
At all events, it was necessary for him to come to some swift
resolution. The occupation of Lincoln by the Duke of Suffolk had set
Lord Shrewsbury at liberty; arms had been sent down, and money; and the
midland counties, in recovered confidence, had furnished recruits,
though in limited numbers. He was now at Newark, in a condition to
advance; and on the same 17th of October, on which this despairing
letter was written, he sent forward a post to Pomfret, telling Darcy to
hold his ground, and that he would join him at the earliest moment
possible.[134] Neither the rebels nor Shrewsbury could afford to lose so
important a position; and both made haste. Again, on the same Tuesday,
the 17th, couriers brought news to Aske, at York, that the commons of
Durham were hasting to join him, bringing with them Lord Latimer, Lord
Lumley, and the Earl of Westmoreland. Being thus secure in his rear,
the rebel leader carried his answer to Lord Darcy in person, at the head
of his forces. He reached Pomfret on the afternoon of Thursday, the
19th; finding the town on his side, and knowing or suspecting Darcy's
disposition, he sent in a message that the castle must be delivered, or
it should be immediately stormed. A conference was demanded and agreed
to. Hostages were sent in by Aske. Lord Darcy, the archbishop, and the
other noblemen and gentlemen, came out before the gate.

[Sidenote: Declares the intentions of the people,]

"And there and then the said Aske declared unto the said lords spiritual
and temporal the griefs of the commons; and how first the lords
spiritual had not done their duty, in that they had not been plain with
the King's Highness for the speedy remedy and punishing of heresy, and
the preachers thereof; and for the taking the ornaments of the churches
and abbeys suppressed, and the violating of relics by the suppressors;
the irreverent demeanour of the doers thereof; the abuse of the
vestments taken extraordinary; and other their negligences in doing
their duty, as well to their sovereign as to the commons.

"And to the lords temporal the said Aske declared that they had misused
themselves, in that they had not prudently declared to his Highness the
poverty of his realm, whereby all dangers might have been avoided; for
insomuch as in the north parts much of the relief of the commons was by
favour of abbeys; and that before this last statute made the King's
Highness had no money out of that shire in award yearly, for that his
Grace's revenues of them went to the finding of Berwick; now the
property of abbeys suppressed, tenths, and first-fruits, went out of
those parts; by occasion whereof, within short space of years, there
should no money nor treasure then be left, neither the tenant have to
pay his yearly rent to his lord, nor the lord have money to do the king
service. In those parts were neither the presence of his Grace,
execution of his laws, nor yet but little recourse of merchandize; and
of necessity the said country should either perish with skaith, or of
very poverty make commotion or rebellion: and the lords knew the same to
be true, and had not done their duty, for they had not declared the said
poverty of the said country to the King's Highness."[135]

[Sidenote: And threatens to storm the castle.]

[Sidenote: Friday, October 20. Lord Darcy surrenders.]

"There were divers reasonings on both parts." Darcy asked for time; if
not relieved, he said he would surrender on Saturday; but Aske, to whom
Shrewsbury's position and intentions were well known, and who was
informed privately that the few men who were in the castle would perhaps
offer no resistance to an attack, "would not condescend thereto." He
allowed Lord Darcy till eight o'clock the following morning, and no
longer. The night passed. At the hour appointed, fresh delay was
demanded, but with a certainty that it would not be allowed; and the
alternative being an immediate storm, the drawbridge was
lowered--Pomfret Castle was in possession of the rebels, and Lord Darcy,
the Archbishop of York, and every other man within the walls, high and
low, were sworn to the common oath.

The extent of deliberate treachery on the part of Darcy may remain
uncertain. The objects of the insurrection were cordially approved by
him. It is not impossible that, when the moment came, he could not
resign his loyalty without a struggle. But he had taken no precautions
to avert the catastrophe, if he had not consciously encouraged its
approach; he saw it coming, and he waited in the most unfavourable
position to be overwhelmed; and when the step was once taken, beyond any
question he welcomed the excuse to his conscience, and passed instantly
to the front rank as among the chiefs of the enterprise.[136]

The afternoon of the surrender the insurgent leaders were sitting at
dinner at the great table in the hall. A letter was brought in and given
to Lord Darcy. He read it, dropped it on the cloth, and "suddenly gave a
great sigh." Aske, who was sitting opposite to him, stretched his hand
for the paper across the board. It was brief, and carried no signature:
Lord Shrewsbury, the writer merely said, would be at Pomfret the same
night.[137]

[Sidenote: The rebels secure the passages of the Don.]

The sigh may be easily construed; but if it was a symptom of repentance,
Darcy showed no other. A council of war was held when the dinner was
over; and bringing his military knowledge into use, he pointed out the
dangerous spots, he marked the lines of defence, and told off the
commanders to their posts. Before night all the passages of the Don by
which Shrewsbury could advance were secured.[138]

[Sidenote: Siege of Hull.]

Leaving Pomfret, we turn for a moment to Hull, where Stapleton also had
accomplished his work expeditiously. On the same day on which he
separated from Aske he had taken a position on the north of the town.
There was a private feud between Beverley and Hull. His men were unruly,
and eager for spoil; and the harbour being full of shipping, it was with
difficulty that he prevented them from sending down blazing
pitch-barrels with the tide into the midst of it, and storming the walls
in the smoke and confusion. Stapleton, however, was a resolute man; he
was determined that the cause should not be disgraced by outrage, and he
enforced discipline by an act of salutary severity. Two of the most
unmanageable of his followers were tried by court-martial, and sentenced
to be executed. "A Friar," Stapleton says, "was assigned to them, that
they might make them clean to God," and they expected nothing but death.
But the object so far was only to terrify. One of them, "a sanctuary
man," was tied by the waist with a rope, and trailed behind a boat up
and down the river, and "the waterman did at several times put him down
with the oar under the head." The other seeing him, thought also to be
so handled; "howbeit, at the request of honest men, and being a
housekeeper, he was suffered to go unpunished, and both were banished
the host; after which there was never spoil more."[139]

[Sidenote: Hull surrenders.]

In the town there was mere despondency, and each day made defence more
difficult. Reinforcements were thronging into the rebels' camp; the
harbour was at their mercy. Constable was for holding out to the last,
and then cutting his way through. Ellerkar would agree to surrender if
he and his friend might be spared the oath and might leave the county.
These terms were accepted, and on Friday Stapleton occupied Hull.

[Sidenote: Skipton Castle holds out for the king.]

So it went over the whole north; scarcely one blow was struck any where.
The whole population were swept along in the general current, and
Skipton Castle alone in Yorkshire now held out for the crown.

With the defence of this place is connected an act of romantic heroism
which deserves to be remembered.

Robert Aske, as we have seen, had two brothers, Christopher and John. In
the hot struggle the ties of blood were of little moment, and when the
West Riding rose, and they had to choose the part which they would take,
"they determined rather to be hewn in gobbets than stain their
allegiance." Being gallant gentlemen, instead of flying the county, they
made their way with forty of their retainers to their cousin the Earl of
Cumberland, and with him threw themselves into Skipton. The aid came in
good time; for the day after their arrival the earl's whole retinue rode
off in a body to the rebels, leaving him but a mixed household of some
eighty people to garrison the castle. They were soon surrounded; but
being well provisioned, and behind strong stone walls, they held the
rebels at bay, and but for an unfortunate accident they could have faced
the danger with cheerfulness. But unhappily the earl's family were in
the heart of the danger.

[Sidenote: Christopher Aske saves Lady Eleanor Clifford from outrage.]

Lady Eleanor Clifford, Lord Clifford's young wife, with three little
children and several other ladies, were staying, when the insurrection
burst out, at Bolton Abbey. Perhaps they had taken sanctuary there; or
possibly they were on a visit, and were cut off by the suddenness of the
rising. There, however, ten miles off among the glens and hills, the
ladies were, and on the third day of the siege notice was sent to the
earl that they should be held as hostages for his submission. The
insurgents threatened that the day following Lady Eleanor and her infant
son and daughters should be brought up in front of a storming party, and
if the attack again failed, they would "violate all the ladies, and
enforce them with knaves" under the walls.[140] After the ferocious
murder of the Bishop of Lincoln's chancellor, no villany was impossible;
and it is likely that the Catholic rebellion would have been soiled by
as deep an infamy as can be found in the English annals but for the
adventurous courage of Christopher Aske. In the dead of the night, with
the vicar of Skipton, a groom, and a boy, he stole through the camp of
the besiegers. He crossed the moors, with led horses, by unfrequented
paths, and he "drew such a draught", he says, that he conveyed all the
said ladies through the commons in safety, "so close and clean, that the
same was never mistrusted nor perceived till they were within the
castle;"[141] a noble exploit, shining on the by-paths of history like a
rare rich flower. Proudly the little garrison looked down, when day
dawned, from the battlements, upon the fierce multitude who were howling
below in baffled rage. A few days later, as if in scorn of their
impotence, the same gallant gentleman flung open the gates, dropped the
drawbridge, and rode down in full armour, with his train, to the
market-cross at Skipton, and there, after three long "Oyez's," he read
aloud the king's proclamation in the midst of the crowd ... "with
leisure enough," he adds, in his disdainful way ... "and that done, he
returned to the castle."

[Sidenote: The Duke of Norfolk goes down to the north to support
Shrewsbury.]

[Sidenote: The government are in want of money.]

[Sidenote: October 24.]

While the north was thus in full commotion, the government were
straining every nerve to meet the emergency. The king had at first
intended to repair in person to Lincolnshire. He had changed his mind
when he heard of Suffolk's rapid success.[142] But Yorkshire seemed
again to require his presence. The levies which had been sent for from
the southern counties had been countermanded, but were recalled within a
few hours of the first order. "The matter hung like a fever, now hot,
now cold." Rumours took the place of intelligence. Each post
contradicted the last, and for several days there was no certain news,
either of the form or the extent of the danger. Lord Shrewsbury wrote
that he had thrown his outposts forwards to the Don; but he doubted his
ability to prevent the passage of the river, which he feared the rebels
would attempt. He was still underhanded, and entreated assistance. The
Earls of Rutland and Huntingdon were preparing to join him; but the
reinforcement which they would bring was altogether inadequate, and the
Duke of Norfolk and the Marquis of Exeter were sent down to add the
weight of their names; their men should follow as they could be raised.
Cromwell was collecting money in London. The subsidy had not been paid
in; large sums belonging to the crown had fallen into the hands of Aske
at York, and the treasury was empty. But "benevolences" were extorted
from the wealthy London clergy: "they could not help in their persons,"
the king said, and "they must show their good will, if they had any," in
another way.[143] Loans could be borrowed, besides, in the City; the
royal plate could go to the Mint; the crown jewels, if necessary, could
be sold. Henry, more than any of the council, now comprehended the
danger. "His Majesty," wrote his secretary on the 18th of October,
"appeareth to fear much this matter, specially if he should want money,
for in Lord Darcy, his Grace said, he had no great hope." Ten thousand
pounds were raised in two days. It was but a small instalment; but it
served to "stop the gap" for the moment. Three thousand men, with six
pieces of field artillery, were sent at once after Norfolk, and overtook
him on the 24th of October at Worksop.

[Sidenote: Norfolk and Shrewsbury advance to Doncaster,]

[Sidenote: Weak in numbers, and doubtful of their followers' fidelity,]

[Sidenote: Henry urges Norfolk to be cautious.]

[Sidenote: In case of real danger he shall fall back on the Trent, where
the king will join him;]

Norfolk, it was clear, had gone upon the service most reluctantly. He,
too, had deeper sympathy with the movement than he cared to avow; but,
even from those very sympathies, he was the fittest person to be chosen
to suppress it. The rebels professed to have risen in defence of the
nobility and the Catholic faith. They would have to fight their way
through an army led by the natural head of the party which they desired
to serve.[144] The force under Shrewsbury was now at Doncaster, where,
on the 25th, the Duke joined him. The town was in their hands, and the
southern end of the bridge had been fortified. The autumn rains had by
this time raised the river, securing their flank, and it would have been
difficult for an attacking army to force a passage, even with great
advantage of numbers. Their situation, at the same time, was most
precarious; of the forty thousand men, of whom Shrewsbury had written to
Lord Hussey, he had not been able to raise a tenth; and, if rumour was
to be believed, the loyalty of the few who were with him would not bear
too severe a strain. With Norfolk's reinforcements, the whole army did
not, perhaps, exceed eight thousand men, while even these were divided;
detachments were scattered up the river to watch and guard the few
points at which it might be passed. Under such circumstances the conduct
which might be necessary could only be determined on the spot; and the
king, in his instructions, left a wide margin of discretion to the
generals.[145] He had summoned the whole force of the south and west of
England to join him in London, and he intended to appear himself at
their head. He directed Norfolk, therefore, to observe the greatest
caution; by all means to avoid a battle, unless with a certainty of
victory; and "the chances of war being so uncertain," he said, "many
times devices meant for the best purpose turning to evil happs and
notable misfortunes," he advised that rather than there should be any
risk incurred, the duke should fall back on the line of the Trent,
fortify Newark and Nottingham, and wait on his own arrival; "until," to
use the king's own words, "with our army royal, which we do put in
readiness, we shall repair unto you, and so with God's help be able to
bear down the traitors before us; yourselves having more regard to the
defence of us and of your natural country than to any dishonour that
might be spoken of such retirement, which in the end shall prove more
honourable than with a little hasty forwardness to jeopard both our
honour and your lives." "For we assure you," he said "we would neither
adventure you our cousin of Norfolk, nor you our cousin of Shrewsbury,
or other our good and true subjects, in such sort as there should be a
likelihood of wilful casting of any of you away for all the lands and
dominion we have on that side Trent."

The Duke of Norfolk, on his way down, had written from Welbeck, "all
desperately." By any means fair or foul, he had said that he would crush
the rebels; "he would esteem no promise that he would make to them, nor
think his honour touched in the breach of the same."[146]

[Sidenote: And he must be careful to make no promises which cannot
afterwards be observed.]

To this Henry replied, "Albeit we certainly know that ye will pretermit
none occasion wherein by policy or otherwise ye may damage our enemies,
we doubt not, again, but in all your proceedings you will have such a
temperance as our honour specially shall remain untouched, and yours
rather increased, than by the certain grant of that you cannot certainly
promise, appear in the mouths of the worst men anything defaced."
Finally, he concluded, "Whereas you desire us, in case any mischance
should happen unto you, to be good lord unto your children, surely, good
cousin, albeit we trust certainly in God that no such thing shall
fortune, yet we would you should perfectly know that if God should take
you out of this transitory life before us, we should not fail so to
remember your children, being your lively images, and in such wise to
look on them with our princely favour as others by their example should
not be discouraged to follow your steps."[147]

[Sidenote: Saturday, October 21.]

[Sidenote: Lancaster Herald is sent to Pomfret.]

Lord Shrewsbury, as soon as he found himself too late to prevent the
capture of Pomfret, sent forward Lancaster Herald with a royal
proclamation, and with directions that it should be read at the market
cross.[148] The herald started on his perilous adventure "in his king's
coat of arms." As he approached Pomfret he overtook crowds of the
country people upon the road, who in answer to his questions told him
that they were in arms to defend Holy Church, which wicked men were
destroying. They and their cattle too, their burials and their weddings,
were to be taxed, and they would not endure it. He informed them that
they were all imposed upon. Neither the king nor the council had ever
thought of any such measures; and the people, he said, seemed ready to
listen, "being weary of their lives." Lies, happily, are canker-worms,
and spoil all causes, good or bad, which admit their company, as those
who had spread these stories discovered to their cost when the truth
became generally known.

Lancaster Herald, however, could do little; he found the town swarming
with armed men, eager and furious. He was arrested before he was able to
unroll his parchment, and presently a message from the castle summoned
him to appear before "the great captain."

[Sidenote: He is introduced into the castle,]

"As I entered into the first ward," he said, "there I found many in
harness, very cruel fellows, and a porter with a white staff in his
hand; and at the two other ward gates a porter with his staff,
accompanied with harnessed men. I was brought into the hall, which I
found full of people; and there I was commanded to tarry till the
traitorous captain's pleasure was known. In that space I stood up at the
high table in the hall, and there shewed to the people the cause of my
coming and the effect of the proclamation; and in doing the same the
said Aske sent for me into his chamber, there keeping his port and
countenance as though he had been a great prince."

[Sidenote: Where he has an interview with Aske.]

The Archbishop of York, Lord Darcy, Sir Robert Constable, Mr. Magnus,
Sir Christopher Danby, and several other gentlemen were in the room. As
the herald entered, Aske rose, and, "with a cruel and inestimable proud
countenance, stretched himself and took the hearing of the tale." When
it was declared to him, he requested to see the proclamation, took it,
and read it openly without reverence to any person; he then said he need
call no council, he would give an answer of his own wit himself.

"Standing in the highest place in the chamber, taking the high estate
upon him, 'Herald,' he replied, 'as a messenger you are welcome to me
and all my company, intending as I do. And as for the proclamation sent
from the lords from whom you come, it shall not be read at the market
cross,[149] nor in no place amongst my people which be under my
guiding.'"

[Sidenote: Aske will go to London and restore the faith of Christ.]

He spoke of his intentions; the herald enquired what they were. He said
"he would go to London, he and his company, of pilgrimage to the King's
Highness, and there to have all the vile blood of his council put from
him, and all the noble blood set up again; and also the faith of Christ
and his laws to be kept, and full restitution to Christ's Church of all
wrongs done unto it; and also the commonalty to be used as they should
be." "And he bade me trust to this," the herald said, "for he would die
for it."

Lancaster begged for that answer in writing. "With a good will," Aske
replied; "and he put his hand to his bill, and with a proud voice said,
'This is mine act, whosoever say to the contrary. I mean no harm to the
king's person, but to see reformation; I will die in the quarrel, and my
people with me.'"

Lancaster again entreated on his knees that he might read the
proclamation. On his life he should not, Aske answered; he might come
and go at his pleasure, and if Shrewsbury desired an interview with the
Pomfret council, a safe conduct was at his service; but he would allow
nothing to be put in the people's heads which might divert them from
their purpose. "Commend me to the lords," he said at parting, "and tell
them it were meet they were with me, for that I do is for all their
wealths."[150]

[Sidenote: The gathering of the nobility at Pomfret.]

[Sidenote: Loyalty of the Earl of Northumberland.]

By this time the powers of all the great families, except the Cliffords,
the Dacres, and the Musgraves, had come in to the confederacy. Six
peers, or eldest sons of peers, were willingly or unwillingly with Aske
at Pomfret. Lord Westmoreland was represented by Lord Neville. Lord
Latimer was present in person, and with him Lord Darcy, Lord Lumley,
Lord Scrope, Lord Conyers. Besides these, were the Constables of
Flamborough, the Tempests from Durham, the Boweses, the Everses, the
Fairfaxes, the Strangwayses, young Ellerkar of Ellerkar, the Danbys, St.
Johns, Bulmers, Mallorys, Lascelleses, Nortons, Moncktons, Gowers,
Ingoldsbys: we scarcely miss a single name famous in Border story. Such
a gathering had not been seen in England since the grandfathers of these
same men fought on Towton Moor, and the red rose of Lancaster faded
before "the summer sun of York." Were their descendants, in another
bloody battle, to seat a fresh Plantagenet on Edward's throne? No such
aim had as yet risen consciously into form; but civil wars have strange
issues--a scion of the old house was perhaps dreaming, beyond the sea,
of a new and better-omened union; a prince of the pure blood might marry
the Princess Mary, restored to her legitimate inheritance. Of all the
natural chiefs of the north who were in the power of the insurgents,
Lord Northumberland only was absent. On the first summons he was spared
for his illness; a second deputation ordered him to commit his powers,
as the leader of his clan, to his brothers. But the brave Percy chose to
die as he had lived. "At that time and at all other times, the earl was
very earnest against the commons in the king's behalf and the lord privy
seal's." He lay in his bed resolute in loyalty. The crowd yelled before
the castle, "Strike off his head, and make Sir Thomas Percy earl."--"I
can die but once," he said; "let them do it; it will rid me of my
pain."--"And therewith the earl fell weeping, ever wishing himself out
of the world."[151]

[Sidenote: The insurgents march to Doncaster.]

They left him to nature and to death, which was waiting at his doors.
The word went now through the army, "Every man to Doncaster." There lay
Shrewsbury and the Duke of Norfolk, with a small handful of disaffected
men between themselves and London, to which they were going.

They marched from Pomfret in three divisions. Sir Thomas Percy, at the
head of five thousand men, carried the banner of St. Cuthbert. In the
second division, over ten thousand strong, were the musters of
Holderness and the West Riding, with Aske himself and Lord Darcy. The
rear was a magnificent body of twelve thousand horse, all in armour: the
knights, esquires, and yeomen of Richmondshire and Durham.[152]

In this order they came down to the Don, where their advanced posts were
already stationed, and deployed along the banks from Ferrybridge[153]
to Doncaster.

[Sidenote: Disaffection in the royal army.]

A deep river, heavily swollen, divided them from the royal army; but
they were assured by spies that the water was the only obstacle which
prevented the loyalists from deserting to them.[154]

[Sidenote: Expectation that the Duke of Norfolk would give way;]

There were traitors in London who kept them informed of Henry's
movements, and even of the resolutions at the council board.[155] They
knew that if they could dispose of the one small body in their front, no
other force was as yet in the field which could oppose or even delay
their march. They had even persuaded themselves that, on the mere
display of their strength, the Duke of Norfolk must either retire or
would himself come over to their side.

[Sidenote: Which, however, is disappointed.]

Norfolk, however, who had but reached Doncaster the morning of the same
day, lay still, and as yet showed no sign of moving. If they intended to
pass, they must force the bridge. Apparently they must fight a battle;
and at this extremity they hesitated. Their professed intention was no
more than an armed demonstration. They were ready to fight;[156] but in
fighting they could no longer maintain the pretence that they were loyal
subjects. They desired to free the king from plebeian advisers, and
restore the influence of the nobles. It was embarrassing to commence
with defeating an army led by four peers of the purest blood in
England.[157]

[Sidenote: Oct. 25, 26. Eagerness of the clergy to advance.]

For two days the armies lay watching each other.[158] Parties of clergy
were busy up and down the rebel host, urging an advance, protesting that
if they hesitated the cause was lost; but their overwhelming strength
seems to have persuaded the leaders that their cause, so far from being
lost, was won already, and that there was no need of violence.

On the 25th, Lancaster Herald came across to desire, in Norfolk's name,
that four of them would hold an interview with him, under a safe
conduct, in Doncaster, and explain their objects. Aske replied by a
counter offer, that eight or twelve principal persons on both sides
should hold a conference on Doncaster bridge.

[Sidenote: Council of war.]

[Sidenote: Aske advises negotiations.]

Both proposals were rejected; the duke said that he should remain in his
lines, and receive their attack whenever they dared to make it.[159]
There was a pause. Aske called a council of war; and "the lords"--or
perhaps Lord Darcy--knowing that in rebellions half measures are
suicide, voted for an immediate onset. Aske himself was of a different
opinion. Norfolk did not wholly refuse negotiation; one other attempt
might at least be made to avoid bloodshed. "The duke," he said, in his
account of his conduct, "neither of those days had above six or eight
thousand men, while we were nigh thirty thousand at the least; but we
considered that if battle had been given, if the duke had obtained the
victory, all the knights, esquires, and all others of those parts had
been attainted, slain, and undone for the Scots and the enemies of the
king; and, on the other part, if the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of
Shrewsbury, the Earl of Rutland, the Earl of Huntingdon, the Lord
Talbot, and others, had been slain, what great captains, councillors,
noble blood, persons dread in foreign realms, and Catholic knights had
wanted and been lost. What displeasure should this have been to the
king's public wealth, and what comfort to the antient enemies of the
realm. It was considered also what honour the north parts had attained
by the said duke; how he was beloved for his activity and fortune."[160]

[Sidenote: Commissioners from the rebels are sent into Doncaster.]

[Sidenote: Conditions on which the rebels will treat.]

If a battle was to be avoided nevertheless, no time was to be lost, for
skirmishing parties were crossing the river backwards and forwards, and
accident might at any moment bring on a general engagement. Aske had
gained his point at the council; he signified his desire for a further
parley, and on Thursday afternoon, after an exchange of hostages, Sir
Thomas Hilton, Sir Ralph Ellerkar, Sir Robert Chaloner, and Sir Robert
Bowes[161] crossed to the royal camp to attempt, if possible, to induce
the duke to agree to the open conference on the bridge.[162] The
conditions on which they would consent to admit even this first slight
concession were already those of conquerors. A preliminary promise must
be made by the duke that all persons who, in heart, word, or deed, had
taken part in the insurrection, should have free pardon for life, lands,
and goods; that neither in the pardon nor in the public records of the
realm should they be described as traitors. The duke must explain
further the extent of his powers to treat. If "the captain" was to be
present on the bridge, he must state what hostages he was prepared to
offer for the security of so great a person; and as Richard Cromwell was
supposed to be with the king's army, neither he nor any of his kin
should be admitted among the delegates. If these terms were allowed, the
conference should take place, and the objects of the insurrection might
be explained in full for the duke to judge of them.[163]

[Sidenote: Conference on the bridge at Doncaster.]

Hilton and his companions remained for the night in Doncaster. In the
morning they returned with a favourable answer. After dinner the same
four gentlemen, accompanied by Lords Latimer, Lumley, Darcy, Sir Robert
Constable, and Sir John Bulmer, went down upon the bridge. They were met
by an equal number of knights and noblemen from Norfolk's army; Robert
Aske remaining on the bank of the Don, "the whole host standing with him
in perfect array."[164] The conference lasted till the October day had
closed in darkness. What destinies did not hang upon its issue? The
insurgents it is likely might have forced the passage of the river; and
although the river of time was running with too full a current for them
or any man to have stayed its course, yet they might have stained its
waters with streams of English blood; the sunrise of the Reformation
might have been veiled in storms; and victory, when it came at last,
have shone over gory battle-fields and mangled ruins.

Such was not the destiny appointed for England. The insurgents were
deceived by their strength. They believed themselves irresistible, and
like many others who have played at revolutions, dreamt that they could
afford to be moderate.

[Sidenote: Sir Robert Bowes and Sir Ralph Ellerkar carry the petition of
the rebels to the king.]

It was agreed that Sir Robert Bowes and Sir Ralph Ellerkar should carry
the articles to the king; that the Duke of Norfolk should escort them in
person, and intercede for their favourable hearing. Meanwhile, and till
the king's reply was known, there should be an armistice. The musters on
both sides should be disbanded,--neither party should "innovate" upon
the _status in quo_.

The loyalists and the rebels alike expected to gain by delay. Letters
from all parts of the kingdom were daily pouring in to Aske, full of
gratitude, admiration, and promises of help.[165] He had leisure to
organize the vast force of which the command had been thrust upon him,
to communicate with the Emperor or with the regent's court at Brussels,
and to establish a correspondence with the southern counties.

[Sidenote: Both parties expect to gain by delay.]

The Duke of Norfolk escaped an immediate danger agreeing in heart with
the general objects of the rising, he trusted that the petition,
supported by the formidable report which he would carry up with him,
might bring the king to consent to a partial reaction; if not to be
reconciled to the Pope, at least to sacrifice Cromwell and the heretical
bishops.

The weight of the crisis now rested on Henry himself. Cromwell was
powerless where his own person was the subject of contention. He had no
friends,--or none whose connexion with him did not increase his
danger,--while by his enemies he was hated as an incarnation of Satan.
He left his cause in the king's hands, to be supported or allowed to
fall.

[Sidenote: Advice of the Privy Council to the king.]

[Sidenote: Which he will not receive.]

But the Tudor princes were invariably most calm when those around them
were panic-stricken. From the moment that the real danger was known, the
king's own hand was on the helm--his own voice was heard dictating his
orders. Lincolnshire had again become menacing, and Suffolk had written
despairing letters; the king told him "not to be frightened at his
shadow."[166] The reactionary members of the council had suggested a
call of parliament, and a proclamation that if any of the king's
subjects could prove the late measures of the government to be against
the laws of God or the interests of the commonwealth, these measures
should be undone. They had begged, further, that his Highness would
invite all persons who had complaints against Cromwell and the bishops
to come forward with their proofs, and would give a promise that if the
charges could be substantiated, they should be proceeded against and
punished.[167] At such a crisis the king refused either to call a
parliament to embarrass his hands, or to invite his subjects to argue
against his policy. "He dared rather to testify that there never were in
any of his predecessors' days so many wholesome, commodious, and
beneficial acts made for the commonwealth: for those who were named
subverters of God's laws he did take and repute them to be just and true
executors of God's laws." If any one could duly prove to the contrary,
they should be duly punished. "But in case," he said, "it be but a false
and untrue report (as we verily think it is), then it were as meet, and
standeth as well with justice, that they should have the self-same
punishment which wrongfully hath objected this to them that they should
have had if they deserved it."[168]

[Sidenote: November 1.]

On the 29th of October he was on the point of setting off from London;
circulars had gone out to the mayors of the towns informing them of his
purpose, and directing them to keep watch and ward night and day,[169]
when Norfolk reached the court with the two messengers.

[Sidenote: The insurgent emissaries are detained at the court.]

[Sidenote: The king writes private letters to the lords and gentlemen.]

Henry received them graciously. Instead of sending them back with an
immediate answer, he detained them for a fortnight, and in that interval
gained them wholly over to himself. With their advice and assistance he
sent private letters among the insurgent leaders. To Lord Latimer and
the other nobles he represented the dishonour which they had brought
upon themselves by serving under Aske; he implored both them and the
many other honourable men who had been led away to return to their
allegiance, "so as we may not," he said, "be enforced to extend our
princely power against you, but with honour, and without further
inconvenience, may perform that clemency on which we have
determined."[170]

[Sidenote: Heralds are sent into the northern towns to combat the
delusions to which the people have been exposed.]

By infinite exertion he secured the services, from various parts of
England, of fifty thousand reliable men who would join him on immediate
notice; while into the insurgent counties he despatched heralds, with
instructions to go to the large towns, to observe the disposition of the
people, and, if it could be done with safety, to request the assistance
of the mayor and bailiffs, "gently and with good words in his Grace's
name." If the herald "used himself discreetly," they would probably make
little difficulty; in which case he should repair in his coat of arms,
attended by the officers of the corporation, to the market cross, and
explain to the people the untruth of the stories by which they had been
stirred to rebellion. The poorest subject, the king said, had at all
times access to his presence to declare his suits to him; if any among
them had felt themselves aggrieved, why had they not first come to him
as petitioners, and heard the truth from his own lips. "What folly was
it then to adventure their bodies and souls, their lands, lives and
goods, wives and children, upon a base false lie, set forth by false
seditious persons, intending and desiring only a general spoil and a
certain destruction of honest people, honest wives, and innocent
children. What ruth and pity was it that Christian men, which were not
only by God's law bound to obey their prince, but also to provide
nutriment and sustentation for their wives and children, should forget
altogether, and put them in danger of fire and sword for the
accomplishment of a certain mad and furious attempt." They could not
recall the past. Let them amend their faults by submission for the
future. The king only desired their good. He had a force in reserve with
which he could and would crush them if they drove him to it; he hoped
that he might be able only to show them mercy and pardon.[171] As to the
suppression of the abbeys, the people should learn to compare their
actual condition with the objects for which they were founded. Let them
consider the three vows of religion--poverty, chastity, and
obedience--and ask themselves how far these vows had been
observed.[172]

[Sidenote: Continued irritation in the disturbed counties.]

[Sidenote: Aske's measures of organization.]

[Sidenote: Posts are laid down.]

[Sidenote: Hull is fortified.]

[Sidenote: Rumour of the intended advance of Aske and Lord Darcy.]

The heralds attempted their mission, and partially succeeded; but so hot
a fever was not to be cooled on a sudden; and connected with the delay
of the messengers, and with information of the measures which the king
was procuring, their presence created, perhaps, more irritation and
suspicion than their words accomplished good. The siege of Skipton
continued; separate local insurrections were continually blazing; the
monks everywhere were replaced in the abbeys; and Aske, who, though
moderate, was a man of clear, keen decision, determined, since the king
was slow in sending up his concessions, to anticipate them by calling a
parliament and convocation of the northern notables, to sit at
York.[173] "The king's treasure," which had fallen into his hands, gave
him command of money; the religious houses contributed their plate;
circulars were addressed to every parish and township, directing them
to have their contingents ready at any moment to march; and, to insure a
rapid transmission of orders, regular posts were established from Hull
to Templehurst, from Templehurst to York, from York to Durham, from
Durham to Newcastle. The roads were patrolled night and day; all unknown
persons in town or village were examined and "ripped."[174] The harbour
at Hull was guarded with cannon, and the town held by a strong garrison
under Sir Robert Constable, lest armed ships from Portsmouth might
attempt to seize it. Constable himself, with whose name we have already
become familiar, was now, after Robert Aske and Lord Darcy, the third
great leader of the movement.[175] The weather had changed, an early
winter had set in, and the rivers either fell or froze; the low marsh
country again became passable, and rumours were abroad that Darcy
intended to surprise Doncaster, and advance towards Nottingham; and that
Aske and Constable would cross the Humber, and, passing through
Lincolnshire, would cut off Suffolk, and join him at the same
place.[176]

[Sidenote: Nov. 9. Reinforcements are sent to Lord Shrewsbury.]

The king, feeling that the only safety was in boldness, replied by
ordering Lord Shrewsbury to advance again to his old position. The
danger must have been really great, as even Shrewsbury hesitated, and
this time preferred to hold the line of the Trent.[177] But Henry would
now hear nothing of retreat. His own musters were at last coming up in
strength. The fortification of Hull, he said, was a breach of the
engagement at Doncaster; and Vernon, one of the lords of the Welsh
Marches, Sir Philip Draycote, and Sir Henry Sacheverell, going to
Shrewsbury's assistance, the line of the Don was again occupied. The
head-quarters were at Rotherham, and a depôt of artillery and stores was
established at Tickhill.[178]

[Sidenote: Projects to seize or murder Aske.]

In Suffolk's camp at Lincoln a suggestion was started whether Aske's
attack might not be anticipated,--whether, by a swift, silent
enterprise, it might not be possible to seize and carry off both him and
Sir R. Constable. Two volunteers were found who offered to make the
experiment. One of them, Anthony Curtis, a cousin of Aske, "for private
malice, said that if he might have licence, he would find sureties, and
would either kill his kinsman or be killed himself."[179] Another
attempt for Aske's destruction was made by the Duke of Norfolk, who had
no objection to a coalition of noblemen against Cromwell, but disdained
the dictation of an unknown upstart. He supposed that he might tempt
Lord Darcy to an act of treachery, and sent a questionable proposal to
him by the hands of a servant of Lord Hussey, a certain Percival
Cresswell. The attempt failed; but Cresswell's account of his mission is
not a little curious.

[Sidenote: November 10.]

[Sidenote: The Duke of Norfolk sends Percival Cresswell to Lord Darcy.]

[Sidenote: The anteroom at Templehurst.]

[Sidenote: The Duke of Norfolk desires Lord Darcy to betray Aske.]

[Sidenote: Darcy will not stain his coat for the best dukedom in
France.]

[Sidenote: November 11.]

He arrived at Templehurst on Friday, November the 10th, shortly before
dinner. Lord Darcy was walking with Aske himself, who was his guest at
the time, and a party of the commons in the castle garden. Cresswell
gave him a letter from Norfolk, which was cautiously worded, in case it
should fall into wrong hands, and said he was charged also with a
private message. The danger of exciting suspicion was so great that
Darcy had a difficulty in arranging a separate conversation. He took
Cresswell into the castle, where he left him in an anteroom full of
armed men. They gathered about him, and inquired whether Cromwell, "whom
they called most vilipendiously," was put out of the king's council. He
replied that the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Oxford, Lord Sussex, and Sir
William Fitzwilliam were with the king. "God save the king!" they said;
"as long as noblemen of the true blood rule about the king all will be
well. But how of Cromwell? Is he put from the council or no?" Cresswell
said that he was still on the council. "Then, whatsoever the Lord Darcy
say to you," they answered, "show the king and the lords that until our
petitions are granted we will take no pardon till we have our will."
Darcy had by this time secured a private room and a few private moments.
He called Cresswell in. "Now tell your message," he said. "The Duke of
Norfolk desires you," announced the messenger, "to deliver up Aske,
quick or dead, but if possible, alive; and you shall so show yourself a
true subject, and the king will so regard you."[180] Darcy replied like
a nobleman. He had given his faith, he said, and he would not stain his
coat.[181] He wrote a few lines to Norfolk. "Alas, my Lord!" his letter
said, "that you, being a man of so great honour, should advise or choose
me to betray any living man, Frenchman, Scot, yea, or even Turk. To win
for me or for mine heirs the best duke's lands that be in France, I
would not do it to no living person."[182] The next morning, after mass,
he again called Cresswell to him, and bade him tell the king that he had
never done better service either to him or to his father than he was
doing at that moment, and if there was to be peace, he recommended that
the answer to the petition should be returned instantly.

The king had written more than one answer; but in each draught which he
had made there was a reservation attached to the promise of a general
pardon, excluding in one instance ten persons, in another, six, from the
benefit of it;[183] and they were withdrawn all of them in deference to
the protests of the Duke of Norfolk. Ellerkar and Bowes were dismissed
on the 14th of November, "with general instructions of comfort."[184]
Norfolk himself, with other commissioners, would return to the north at
the end of the month with a final reply.

[Sidenote: Rebel council at York.]

[Sidenote: Advice of Sir Robert Constable to make sure the northern
counties.]

The ill-humour of the insurgents was meanwhile increasing; division had
begun to show itself; the people suspected the gentlemen, the gentlemen,
feared the people, and noisy demonstrations showed Aske that a state of
inaction was too dangerous to continue. On the return of Bowes and
Ellerkar a hasty council was called at York. The question was put
whether they should wait or not for the arrival of the commissioners.
Especial exasperation had been caused by a letter of Cromwell to Sir
Ralph Evers, in which it was said that, "unless the commons would be
soon pacified, there should be such vengeance taken that the whole world
should speak thereof."[185] It was proposed to cut short further parley,
and leave the cause to be decided by the sword. Darcy had already
selected an agent to the court of Brussels, to beg that arms and
ammunition might be sent at once to Hull.[186] Sir Robert Constable
declared openly, "that if his advice might be taken, seeing he had
broken one point in the tables with the king, he would yet break
another, and have no meeting. He would have all the country made sure
from Trent northward; he doubted not they would have joined with them
all Lancashire and Cheshire, which would make them strong enough to
defend themselves against all men; and then," he said, "he would be
content to condescend to the meeting."[187]

Had this advice been taken, the consequences might have been serious;
but the fatal moderation of the leader prevailed over the more audacious
but safer counsel. The terms offered by the government should be first
discussed, but they should be discussed in security. The musters should
reassemble in full force.[188] They had summoned a northern parliament
and convocation. The two assemblies should sit at Pomfret and not at
York, and should meet at the time of the conference.

[Sidenote: November 26.]

[Sidenote: Aske again collects his army.]

[Sidenote: The king is reluctant to grant a general pardon.]

Thus, on the 26th of November, as the king's commissioners approached
the borders of Yorkshire,[189] the news reached them that the beacons
were again burning, and the force of the commons was again collecting.
The conference, if conference there was to be, must be held with their
hands on their sword-hilts. The black squadrons, with St. Cuthbert's
banner, would be swarming on the banks of the Don as before.[190] They
had brought down extensive powers, but the king had refused absolutely
to grant a complete pardon. Five or six of the worst offenders, he
insisted, should be surrendered; and if the rebels were obstinate,
Norfolk had been directed to protract the discussion, to win time by
policy, that he might himself come to them; and in the meantime to
consent to nothing, to promise nothing, and yet do and say nothing
"which might give them warning and respite to fortify themselves."[191]

[Sidenote: The Duke of Norfolk returns to Doncaster,]

[Sidenote: And sends a messenger entreating the king to give way.]

But the waters had fallen low; the ground was hard; the sharpest winter
had set in which had been known for years. The force which Shrewsbury
had with him could not now hold its position in the face of the vast
numbers which were collecting. When the number of the rebels who had
reassembled was known, Sir John Russell was sent back from Nottingham to
tell the king that his conditions could not be insisted upon, and to
entreat him not only to grant the full pardon, but to promise also to
hold a parliament in person at York.

[Sidenote: Council and convocation at Pomfret.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 27. Gallant conduct of the Archbishop of York.]

[Sidenote: The northern convocation pronounce against the Reformation.]

Ignorant what the answer would be, Norfolk, with the other
commissioners, went on to Doncaster, having prepared his way by a letter
to Lord Darcy, to do away the effect of his late overtures.[192] He
arrived at the town on the 28th of November. On Monday the 27th, the
northern notables, laity and clergy, had assembled at Pomfret.
Thirty-four peers and knights, besides gentlemen and extemporized
leaders of the commons, sate in the castle hall;[193] the Archbishop of
York and his convocation, in Pomfret church. The discussions of the
latter body were opened by the archbishop in a sermon, in which he dared
to declare the meeting unlawful and the insurrection traitorous. He was
swiftly silenced: a number of soldiers dragged him out of the pulpit,
and threw him down upon the pavement. He was rescued and carried off by
a party of his friends, or in a few more moments he would have been
murdered.[194] The clergy, delivered from his control, drew up a list of
articles, pronouncing successively against each step which had been
taken in the Reformation;[195] and other articles simultaneously were
drawn by the council in the hall. One by one, as the form of each was
resolved upon, they were read aloud to the assembly, and were received
with shouts of "Fiat! Fiat!"

[Sidenote: Nov. 29. The deputation of 300 from Pomfret to Doncaster.]

[Sidenote: December 2.]

Ten knights were then told off, and ten followers for every knight, to
ride down to Doncaster and arrange the preliminaries of the meeting.
They saw the duke on the day of his arrival; and on Wednesday the 29th,
Lord Darcy, Robert Aske, and three hundred of the most eminent of their
party, passed the bridge of the Don with a safe conduct into the town.
Wearing their pilgrim's badges, the five wounds of Christ crossed on
their breasts, "they made obeisance on their knees before the duke and
earls, and did humbly require to have the king's most merciful and free
pardon for any of their offences committed." This done, they presented
their resolutions, on which they had just determined at Pomfret, and the
discussion opened. The duke's hands were tied; he could undertake
nothing. The debate continued till Saturday, "exceeding perplexed,"
messengers hurrying to and fro between Doncaster and Pomfret. At length,
on Saturday, Sir John Russell came with the king's revised commission.

[Sidenote: The king will grant the general pardon, but against his own
judgment.]

[Sidenote: He warns Norfolk to make no concession beyond the letter of
his commission.]

Against his judgment Henry had yielded to the entreaties of the Privy
Council. He foresaw that to allow a commotion of such a kind to pass
wholly unpunished, was to acknowledge a virtual defeat, and must
encourage conduct which would soon lead to a repetition of the same
scenes. He refused to admit that Norfolk was justified in his
despondency. Skipton still held out. Lord Clifford and Sir William
Musgrave had gained possession of Carlisle, and were raising men there.
Lord Derby was ready to move with the musters of Cheshire and
Lancashire. Besides Shrewsbury's forces, and the artillery at Tickhill,
Suffolk had eight thousand men in high order at Lincoln. He "marvelled
that Norfolk should write to him in such extreme and desperate sort, as
though the world were turned upside down." "We might think," he said,
"that either things be not so well looked on as they might be, when you
can look but only to the one side; or else that ye be so perplexed with
the brutes on the one part, that ye do omit to write the good of the
other. We could be as well content to bestow some time in the reading of
an honest remedy as of so many extreme and desperate mischiefs."
Nevertheless, he said, if the rebels would be contented with the two
concessions which Norfolk had desired,--a free pardon and a parliament
at York,--these, but only these, might be made. No further engagements
of any kind should or might be entered into. If more were insisted on,
the commissioners should protract the time as skilfully as they could,
and send secret expresses to Lord Derby and the Duke of Suffolk, who
would advance by forced marches to their support.[196] With this letter
he sent a despatch to Suffolk, bidding him hold himself in readiness,
and instructing him at the same time to use his influence in the West
Riding to induce the people to return to their allegiance, and
permitting him to make liberal offers and promises in the name of his
government.[197]

The limitation of the new commission was as clear as language could make
it. If the Duke of Norfolk committed himself more deeply, it was against
the king's express commands, and in the face of repeated warnings.

[Sidenote: Agreement of Doncaster.]

On the day of Russell's arrival an agreement was made and signed. The
pardon and the parliament were directly promised. It appears, certainly,
that further engagements were virtually entered upon, or that words were
used, perhaps intentionally vague, which were interpreted by the
insurgents through their hopes and wishes. They believed, perhaps they
were led to believe, that their entire petition had been granted;[198]
they had accomplished the object of their pilgrimage, and they were
satisfied.

[Sidenote: Aske throws off his badge.]

As the conference closed, Aske again fell upon his knees, "and most
humbly required the Duke of Norfolk and all the earls and lords of his
part, to desire the lords of the north part to relinquish and refuse
thenceforth to nominate him by the name of captain; and they promised:
which done, the said Aske, in the presence of all the lords, pulled off
his badge crossed with the five wounds, and in a semblable manner did
all the lords there, and all others there present, saying all these
words, 'We will wear no badge nor figure but the badge of our sovereign
Lord.'"[199] A fine scene ... yet, as we sometimes witness with a sudden
clearance after rain, leaving hanging vapours in the sky, indicating
surely that the elements were still unrelieved.

[Sidenote: The concessions on which the king had resolved,]

[Sidenote: And terms on which he had not resolved.]

The king had resolved on concession, but not on such concession as the
Pomfret council demanded and Norfolk had seemed to promise. He would
yield liberally to the substantial interests of the people, but he would
yield little to their imaginative sympathies; and to the clergy and the
reactionist lords he would not yield a step. The enclosures he intended
should be examined, the fines on renewals of leases should be fixed, and
the relations of landlord and tenant so moderated that "rich and poor
men might live together, every one in his degree according to his
calling."[200] The abbey lands would not be restored to the monks, but
he saw the inconvenience of attaching them to the domains of the crown.
They should be disposed of rapidly on terms favourable to the people and
unfavourable to himself. In this direction he was ready to do all that
he was desired to do; but undo the Reformation--never.

[Sidenote: Intended parliament at York, in the summer of 1537.]

A remarkable state paper, in Cromwell's handwriting, indicates the
policy which the king then intended. The northern parliament was to meet
the following summer. There is not the smallest doubt that Henry meant
to observe his own promises. He would be present in person. The queen
would accompany him, and the opportunity would be taken for her
coronation. Meanwhile, to clear up all misunderstandings, every nobleman
and gentleman who had taken part in the insurrection was to be sent for,
and should learn from the king himself the bearing of the measures
against which they had clamoured, the motives which had led to the
adoption of such measures, and the extent to which they would be further
carried. A similar invitation should be sent to the principal persons in
all other English counties, to come to London and give their advice on
questions of social and local reform; and, further, to receive
directions to try various experiments in such matters before the meeting
of parliament, "that his Grace might see what fruit should succeed of
them, and so alter and change as he should think meet." To do away with
the suspicion that the government were favouring heresy, copies of the
"Articles of Faith" were to be scattered liberally through England;
select preachers were to be sent in sufficient numbers into the north to
explain their meaning; and next there follows a passage which, as
written by Cromwell, was a foreshadowing of his own fate.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's advice to the king.]

"Forasmuch as the rebels made the maintenance of the faith one of the
chief grounds and cause of the rebellion, it shall be necessary that the
King's Highness, in the mean season, see his laws, heretofore taken for
the establishment of an unity in the points of religion, put in such
experience and execution in those parts as it may appear that his Grace
earnestly mindeth and desireth an agreement specially in those things;
which will not be done without his Highness do some notable act in those
quarters for that purpose."

Finally, a lieutenant-general and a council should be permanently
established at York as a court of appeal, empowered to hear and decide
all local causes and questions. That the government might not again be
taken by surprise, garrisons, Cromwell thought, might be established in
the great towns, "in such order as they might be continued without
hatred of the people." The ordnance stores should be kept in better
preparation, and should be more regularly examined; and, above all, the
treasury must be better furnished to meet unforeseen expenses,
"experience showing that princes be not so easily served save where
there is prompt payment for service rendered, and the honest labourer is
not kept waiting for his hire."[201]

[Sidenote: Lord Darcy and Sir Robert Constable refuse to go to London to
the King.]

[Sidenote: The king invites Aske,]

These well-considered suggestions were carried at once into effect. By
the end of December many of the gentlemen who had been out in the
insurrection had been in London; in their interviews with the king they
had been won back to an unreserved allegiance, and had returned to do
him loyal service. Lord Darcy and Sir Robert Constable had been invited
with the rest; they had declined to present themselves: the former
pretended to be ill; Constable, when the king's messenger came to him,
"using no reverend behaviour nor making any convenable answer such as
might have tended to his Grace's satisfaction," shut himself up in a
remote castle on the Yorkshire coast.[202] Of the three leaders who had
thrown themselves into the insurrection with a fixed and peremptory
purpose, Aske alone, the truest and the bravest, ventured to the king's
presence. Henry being especially desirous to see a man who had shaken
his throne, paid him the respect of sending his request by the hands of
a gentleman of the bedchamber. He took him now, he said, for his
faithful subject, he wished to talk with him, and to hear from his own
lips the history of the rising.[203]

[Sidenote: Who consents to go, and writes a narrative of the
insurrection at the king's request.]

Aske consulted Lord Darcy. Darcy advised him to go, but to place relays
of horses along the road, to carry six servants with him, leaving three
at Lincoln, Huntingdon, and Ware, and taking three to London, that in
case the king broke faith, and made him prisoner, a swift message might
be brought down to Templehurst, and Darcy, though too sick to pay his
court to Henry, would be well enough to rescue Aske from the Tower.[204]
They would have acted more wisely if they had shown greater confidence.
Aske went, however. He saw the king, and wrote out for him a
straightforward and manly statement of his conduct--extenuating
nothing--boasting of nothing--relating merely the simple and literal
truth. Henry repeated his assurance to him that the parliament should
meet at York; and Aske returned, hoping perhaps against hope; at all
events, exerting himself to make others hope that the promises which
they supposed to have been made to them at Doncaster would eventually be
realized. To one person only he ventured to use other language.
Immediately that he reached Yorkshire, he wrote to the king describing
the agitation which still continued, and his own efforts to appease it.
He dwelt upon the expectations which had been formed; in relating the
expressions which were used by others, he indicated not obscurely his
own dissatisfaction.

[Sidenote: On his return to the north Aske gives the king notice of the
suspicions still entertained by the people.]

"I do perceive," he said, "a marvellous conjecture in the hearts of the
people, which is, they do think they shall not have the parliament in
convenient time; secondly, that your Grace hath by your letters written
for the most part of the honourable and worshipful of these shires to
come to you, whereby they fear not only danger to them, but also to
their own selves; thirdly, they be in doubt of your Grace's pardon by
reason of a late book answering their first articles, now in print,[205]
which is a great rumour amongst them; fourthly, they fear the danger of
fortifying holds, and especially because it is said that the Duke of
Suffolk would be at Hull, and to remain there; fifthly, they think your
Grace intendeth not to accomplish their reasonable petitions by reason
now the tenths is in demand; sixthly, they say the report is my lord
privy seal[206] is in as great favour with your Grace as ever he was,
against whom they most specially do complain;

[Sidenote: Of the wild humour of the midland counties,]

[Sidenote: And of his fear that the end will yet be by battle.]

"Finally, I could not perceive in all the shires, as I came from your
Grace homewards, but your Grace's subjects be wildly minded in their
hearts towards commotions or assistance thereof, by whose abetment yet I
know not; wherefore, sir, I beseech your Grace to pardon me in this my
rude letter and plainness of the same, for I do utter my poor heart to
your Grace to the intent your Highness may perceive the danger that may
ensue; for on my faith I do greatly fear the end to be only by
battle."[207]

These were the words of a plain, honest man, who was convinced that his
conduct had been right, that his demands had been wise, and was ready to
return to rebellion when he found his expectations sliding away. Here,
as so often in this world, we have to regret that honesty of purpose is
no security for soundness of understanding; that high-hearted, sincere
men, in these great questions, will bear themselves so perversely in
their sincerity, that at last there is no resource but to dismiss them
out of a world in which they have lost their way, and will not, or
cannot, recover themselves.

But Aske, too, might have found a better fate, if the bad genius of his
party had not now, in an evil hour for him and for many more, come
forward upon the scene.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE COMMISSION OF CARDINAL POLE.


There were glad hearts at Rome when the news came that the English
commons had risen for the Church. The Pope would lose no time in
despatching his blessings and his help to his faithful children. His
advances had been scorned--his hopes had been blighted--his offers of
renewed cordiality had been flung back to him in an insulting act of
parliament; the high powers, it seemed, had interfered at last to avenge
his quarrel and theirs. Rumour painted the insurgents as in full
triumph; but their cause was the cause of the world, and should not be
left in their single hands. If France and the Empire were entangled in
private quarrels, Scotland was free to act, and to make victory sure.

[Sidenote: A cap and sword are consecrated at St Peter's, as a present
for James of Scotland.]

On Christmas eve, at St. Peter's, at the marvellous mass, when as the
clock marked midnight, the church, till then enveloped in darkness,
shone out with the brilliance of a thousand tapers, a sword and cap were
laid upon the altar: the sword to smite the enemies of the faith, the
cap, embroidered with the figure of a dove, to guard the wearer's life
in his sacred enterprise. The enchanted offerings were a present of the
Holy Father to James the Fifth; they were to be delivered in Scotland
with the same ceremonials with which they had been consecrated;[208]
and at Rome prayers were sent up that the prince would use them in
defence of Holy Church against those enemies for whom justice and
judgment were now prepared; that, in estimating the value of the gifts,
he would remember their mystic virtue and spiritual potency.[209]

The Scotch were, indeed, ill-selected as allies to the northern English,
their hereditary enemies;[210] but religion had reconciled more
inveterate antagonisms, and to the sanguine Paul, and his more sanguine
English adviser, minor difficulties seemed as nothing, and vanished in
the greatness of their cause.

[Sidenote: Reginald Pole is made a cardinal,]

Reginald Pole was now a cardinal. When hopes of peace with England had
finally clouded, he was invited to Rome. It was soon after announced
that he was to be raised to high dignity in the Roman Church; and
although he was warned that the acceptance of such a position would
sanction the worst interpretation of his past proceedings, he contented
himself with replying with his usual protestations of good meaning, and
on the 20th of December he received a cardinal's hat.[211]

[Sidenote: And receives a legate's commission.]

His promotion, like the consecration of the cap and sword, was a
consequence of the reports from England. He had been selected a
representative of the Holy See on the outbreak of the rebellion which he
had foretold, and he was armed with a rank adequate to his mission, and
with discretionary instructions either to proceed to England or to the
nearest point to it, in France or Flanders, to which he could venture.

[Sidenote: He is to go into Flanders.]

The condition in which he might find his own country was uncertain. If
the first rumours were correct, the king might be in the power of the
insurgents, or, at least, be inclined to capitulate. It was possible
that the struggle was still in progress--that the friends of the Church
might require assistance and direction. It was necessary, therefore, to
be provided for either contingency. To the Pope, with whom he had no
disguise, and under whose direction he, of course, was acting, he spoke
freely of his mission as intended to support the insurrection, that the
people of England might have a leader near at hand of the old royal
blood, with authority from the Pope to encourage them, yet beyond the
reach of the tyrant's hand.[212] With the English government he
manœuvred delicately and dexterously. At the end of December he wrote a
respectful letter to Henry, making no allusion to any intended
commission, but, in his capacity merely of an English subject, going
over the points at issue between his country and the Papacy, and giving
his reasons for believing the right to be with the See of Rome; but
stating at the same time his desire "to satisfy his Majesty, or else to
be himself satisfied," and offering "to repair into Flanders, there to
discuss and reason with such as his Highness would appoint to entreat
that matter with him."[213]

The proposal seemed so reasonable to Henry, that, if Pole, he said, was
coming to Flanders really with no concealed intention, he would consent
willingly; and persons were selected who should go over and dispute with
him.[214] The mask was carefully sustained. In his general
correspondence with his friends, although he did not disguise his
commission from the Holy See, or suggest as a possibility that he might
himself be convinced in the intended discussion, yet he spoke
beforehand of his expedition merely as a peaceful one; and since he
intended to commence with argument, he perhaps conceived himself to be
keeping within the letter of the truth.

[Sidenote: His legatine credentials to England,]

As his legatine credentials, five pastoral epistles were prepared by
Paul.

The first was an address to his well-beloved children in England, whose
apostacy he knew to have been forced upon them, and who now were giving
noble proof of their fidelity in taking arms for the truth. He lauded
them for their piety; he exhorted them to receive, obey, and assist his
excellent representative in the high work on which he was sent.

[Sidenote: To Scotland,]

The second was to James of Scotland--a companion to another and more
explicit letter which accompanied the cap and sword--commending Pole to
his care, and again dwelling on the exploits which lay before him to
execute in England.

[Sidenote: To France and Flanders,]

The third and fourth were to Francis and the Regent of the Netherlands.
The French and Imperial ambassadors had both been consulted on Pole's
intended expedition, and both had signified their approval of it. Paul
now implored the King of France to consider the interests which were
compromised by the unhappy war in Europe, and to remember his duty as a
Christian prince. He urged both Francis and the Regent Mary to receive
Pole as they would receive himself, as engaged upon the deepest
interests of Holy Church.

[Sidenote: To the Bishop of Liège.]

A last letter was to the Prince Bishop of Liège, claiming his general
assistance, and begging him, should it be necessary, to supply the
legate with money.

With these missives, and with purposes of a very plain character,
Reginald Pole left Rome in February. France was his first object. The
events in England of the few last weeks had prepared a different
reception for him from that which he expected.

[Sidenote: The king privately gains the confidence of the northern
gentlemen.]

[Sidenote: Conditions are attached to the pardon.]

The king had not lost a moment in correcting the misconceptions which
the Duke of Norfolk had permitted at Doncaster. The insurgents supposed
that they had done good service to the commonwealth; the king regarded
them as pardoned traitors who must reward his forgiveness by loyal
obedience for the future. A chasm lay between the two estimates of the
same subject, which would not readily be filled. The majority of the
gentlemen had returned from their visit to London, converts to Henry's
policy--or at any rate determined to support it. The clergy, and such of
the people as were under their influence, remained a sullen minority.
The intentions of the government were made purposely obvious. Large
garrisons, with ammunition and cannon, were thrown into Newcastle,
Scarborough, and Hull. Royal officers penetrated the country where the
power of the knights and nobles was adequate to protect them, compelling
suspected persons to sue out their pardons by taking the oath of
allegiance in a form constructed for the occasion.[215] The most
conspicuous insurgents were obliged to commit themselves to acquiescence
in all the measures against which they had risen. They had believed
themselves victorious: they were enduring the consequences of defeat.

[Sidenote: Exasperation of the clergy.]

[Sidenote: January. Fresh commotions begin.]

Loud outcries arose on all sides. The people exclaimed that they were
betrayed by the gentlemen. The pardon was a delusion; "the king," they
said, "had given them the fawcet and had kept the spigot."[216] The
clergy were described as writhing with fury;[217] they had achieved
their magnificent explosion; the smoke which had darkened the sky was
clearing off, and the rock was not splintered. The opportunity was not,
could not be gone; after all, it was only here and there that the
treachery of the gentlemen would be fatal; the king had still but a
comparatively inconsiderable force scattered in a few towns; the country
generally was in a state of anarchy; the subsidy could not be collected;
the monks remained in the abbeys in which they had been reinstated. The
agitation began again, at particular points, to gather head.

[Sidenote: Character of Sir Francis Bigod.]

Sir Francis Bigod, of Mogreve Castle, in Blakemore, was one of those
persons who, in great questions, stand aloof from parties, holding some
notion of their own, which they consider to be the true solution of the
difficulty, and which they will attempt when others have failed; he was
a spendthrift; his letters to Cromwell[218] describe him as crippled
with debt; he was a pedant; and had written a book on the supremacy, on
an original principle;[219] in the first rising, he said, he was "held
in great suspect and jealousy because of his learning."

Mortified, perhaps, that his talents had not been appreciated, he now
conceived that he had an occasion for the display of his powers. If the
king had selected a leader for the insurgents who would give a
death-blow to their cause, he could not have made a better choice.

[Sidenote: The Duke of Norfolk coming again into Yorkshire.]

The council of the north was about to undertake its functions. The Duke
of Norfolk was to be the first president, and was to enter upon his
duties at the end of January.

[Sidenote: Jan. 12. Bigod raises the people.]

Bigod, consulting only a few monks, a certain John Hallam a retainer of
Sir Robert Constable, and one or two other insignificant persons,
imagined that before his arrival the vantage-ground of Doncaster might
be recovered. Had Lord Darcy, or any capable person, been aware of his
intentions, he would have been promptly checked; but he kept his secret,
except among his own private confederates, till the 12th of January,
when he sent out a sudden circular, through Durham and Richmondshire,
inviting a muster at Settington. Discontent is an incautious passion.
The clergy gave their help, and a considerable number of people
collected, though knowing nothing of the object for which they had been
called together.[220] Presently Sir Francis Bigod rode up, and mounting
a hillock, addressed the crowd.

"He had invited them thither, he said, to warn them that, unless they
looked to themselves, they would be all destroyed. Cleveland had risen,
and other parts of the bishopric had risen, and all brave men must
follow the example. The Duke of Norfolk was coming down with twenty
thousand men. The gentlemen were traitors. The people were deceived by a
pretended pardon, which was not a pardon, but a proclamation. None were
to have the benefit of it, unless they took the king for supreme head of
the Church; and that was against the Gospel. If, therefore, he said, you
will take my part, I will take yours. You who will follow me, hold up
your hands."[221]

They did not know Bigod; but in their humour they would have followed
any one who had offered to lead them. Every hand went up. "Who will not
go," they cried, "strike off his head!"--"Now is the time to rise, or
else never. Forward! forward! forward! forward now! on pain of death.
Forward now, or else never; and we shall have captains just and true;
and no gentlemen shall stay us."... The spent force of the great rising
could still issue in noise, if in nothing else.

[Sidenote: George Lumley attempts Scarborough, and fails.]

[Sidenote: Hallam fails at Hull, and is taken prisoner.]

Among the crowd was the eldest son of Lord Lumley, taken there, if his
own word was true, by little else than curiosity. Bigod saw him; and he
was pitched upon to head a party to Scarborough, and seize the castle.
He went unwillingly, with followers little better than a rabble. The
townspeople were languid; the castle had been newly entrenched; the
black mouths of cannon gaped between the parapets. The insurgents stood
gazing for a few hours on their hopeless enterprise, and at the end
Lumley stole away out of the town, and left his men to shift as they
could. Hull and Beverley were to be attempted on the same day by Hallam
and Bigod. In both cases they hoped to succeed by a surprise. At Hull it
happened to be the market day. Hallam went thither in a farmer's dress,
with twenty men, the party going in two and two to avoid causing
suspicion. He calculated on the assistance of the crowd who would be
collected by the market; but he soon discovered that he was mistaken,
and that unless he could escape before his disguise was betrayed, he
would be taken prisoner. He had gained the open country with two or
three of his followers, when, on looking round, he saw the gates
closing. "Fie!" some one cried, "will you go and leave your men behind
you?" He turned his horse, intending a rescue. At that moment his bridle
was seized; and though he drew his sword, and with his servants made a
few minutes' defence, he was overpowered and carried to the town
gaol.[222]

[Sidenote: Bigod takes Beverley, but is denounced by Aske and Lord
Darcy, and is also taken prisoner.]

Bigod's fortune was scarcely better. He succeeded in getting possession
of Beverley; but the late leaders, whose names still possessed the most
authority, Aske, Darcy, and Sir Robert Constable, lost not an instant in
disclaiming and condemning his proceedings. His men fell away from him;
he was obliged to fly, and he, too, soon after found himself a prisoner.

[Sidenote: Difficult position of Aske, Sir R. Constable, and Lord
Darcy.]

Nothing could have been more fortunate for the government, nothing more
vexatious to all intelligent friends of the insurrection, than this
preposterous outbreak. If the king desired to escape from the conditions
of Doncaster, a fresh commotion furnished him with a fair excuse.
Constable sent out orders,[223] imperiously commanding every one to
remain quiet. The Duke of Norfolk, he said, was coming only with his
private retinue to listen to the complaints of the people. The king was
to follow at Whitsuntide, to hold a parliament in the midst of them.
Their present folly was compromising their cause, and would undo their
victory. To the king both he and Aske made the most of their exertions
to preserve order, and received for them his thanks and
acknowledgments.[224] Yet their position was full of danger; and to move
either against the rising or in favour of it might equally injure them;
they ruined Bigod; but the country people and the clergy, who were half
inclined to suspect them before, saw in their circulars only fresh
evidence of treachery;[225] their huge party, so lately with the
organization of an army, was gaping and splitting everywhere, and they
knew not on which side to turn. Bigod's scattered followers appealed to
Aske and Darcy for protection, and Aske at least ventured to engage his
word for their pardons. Hallam, who was as popular as he was rash and
headstrong, had been taken in arms, and was in the hands of the king's
soldiers at Hull. They must either rescue him and commit themselves to
fresh treason, or forfeit the influence which they retained. They
consulted anxiously. It was still open to them to draw their swords--to
fling themselves on the country, and fight out the cause which they saw
too clearly was fading away. But they had lost the tide--and they had
lost heart, except for half measures, the snare and ruin of
revolutionists.

[Sidenote: February. The Duke of Norfolk arrives with an army.]

Aske ventured in person to Hull, and interceded, with indirect menaces,
to prevent Hallam's execution; a step which compromised himself, and
could not benefit the prisoner.[226] The general consequences which he
had foreseen all followed as a matter of course. "Bigod," he said
bitterly, "had gone about to destroy the effect of the petition."[227]
The Duke of Norfolk came at the end of the month; but, under fair
pretext of the continued disorders, he brought with him an army, and an
army this time composed of men who would do his bidding and ask few
questions.[228]

[Sidenote: February 3.]

[Sidenote: Commotions in Westmoreland and Northumberland.]

On the 3d of February he was at Pomfret. He was instructed to respect
literally the terms of the pardon, but to punish promptly all offences
committed since the issue of it. By the gentlemen he was eagerly
welcomed, "being," he wrote, "in the greatest fear of the people that
ever I saw men."[229] The East Riding was tolerably quiet; but to the
north all was in confusion. The Earl of Westmoreland was in London. The
countess was labouring to keep order, "playing the part rather of a
knight than of a lady," but with imperfect success. The Countess of
Northumberland had also exerted herself nobly. But "there was never so
much need of help," wrote Sir Thomas Tempest to Norfolk, "as now;
Northumberland is wholly out of rule, and without order to be taken in
Tyndal and Redesdale, all mischief shall go at large. The barony of
Langley and Hexhamshire, taking example by them, be almost as evil as
they be."[230] Similar information came in from Richmond and the Dales,
and Westmoreland was in worse condition than either. In place of the
disciplined army which had been at Doncaster, an armed mob was spread
over the country, pillaging and burning. Happily the latter form of evil
was the more easy to deal with. "The gentlemen be in such terror,"
Norfolk said, "that they be afraid to move for their defence." "It shall
not be long," he added, "ere I will look on these commons;" nor were
they slow in giving him an opportunity.

[Sidenote: Feb. 12. The rebels attack Carlisle, but without success.]

[Sidenote: They again rally, and Norfolk goes to look for them.]

About the 12th of February a rabble from Kendal, Richmond, Hexham,
Appleby, and Penrith, collected under one of the Musgraves, about eight
thousand in number, and attacked Carlisle. They assaulted the walls, but
were beaten back in confusion, and chased for many miles by Sir Thomas
Clifford. Clifford's troops, hastily levied, contained a sprinkling of
the professional thieves of the Border. The tendencies of these men
getting the better of them, they began to pillage; and the rebels
rallying, and probably reinforced, attacked them, and gained some
advantage. Norfolk hurried to the scene, taking care to bring the
southern levies with him;[231] and he trusted that he had at last found
an opportunity of dealing a blow which would finally restore order, and
recover Henry's confidence in him, which had been somewhat shaken. "I
doubt not," he wrote to Cromwell, "so to use my company as it shall
appear I have seen some wars. This pageant well played, it is likely all
this realm shall be in better quiet during our lives. Doubt not, my
lord, that I will adventure anything. I know too well what danger it
should be to the whole realm if we were overthrown. Now shall appear
whether for favour of these countrymen I forbare to fight with them at
Doncaster, as ye know the King's Highness showed me it was thought by
some I did. Those that so said shall now be proved false liars."[232]

[Sidenote: A battle is imminent, but the rebels disperse.]

[Sidenote: Martial law proclaimed in Westmoreland and the North Riding
of Yorkshire.]

[Sidenote: The king requires the monks andcanons who have been faulty to
be tied up.]

The result of a battle in Norfolk's humour would have been serious to
the rebels.[233] They felt it, and their courage failed them; they broke
up in panic and dispersed. On inquiry, the last explosion, like the
rest, was traced to the monks; those of Sawley, Hexham, Lanercost,
Newminster, and St. Agatha, being the most guilty. The duke had the
power in his hands, and was determined, once for all, to close these
scenes. The impunity of the first insurrection had borne its natural
fruits, and wholesome severity could alone restore quiet. Martial law
was proclaimed in Durham, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and the northern
angle of Yorkshire; arrests were made on all sides, and a courier was
despatched to inform the king of the final flight of the insurgents, and
of the steps which had been taken. Henry answered promptly, sending down
his thanks to Sir Thomas Clifford and Sir Christopher Dacre, who had
defended Carlisle, with his full approbation of Norfolk's conduct. "The
further you wade," he said, "in the investigation of the behaviour of
those persons that call themselves religious, the more you shall detest
the great number of them. Our pleasure is, that before you shall close
up our banner again you shall cause such dreadful execution to be done
upon a good number of the inhabitants of every town, village, and hamlet
that have offended, as they may be a fearful spectacle to all others
hereafter that would practise any like matter, remembering that it
should be much better that these traitors should perish in their unkind
and traitorous follies, than that so slender punishment should be done
upon them as the dread thereof should not be a warning to others.
Finally, forasmuch as all these troubles have ensued by the solicitation
and traitorous conspiracies of the monks and canons of those parts, we
desire you at such places as they have conspired or kept their houses
with force since the appointment at Doncaster, you shall, without pity
or circumstance, cause all the monks and canons that be in any wise
faulty, to be tied up without further delay or ceremony."[234]

[Sidenote: March. Seventy-four persons are executed.]

The command was obeyed. Before the ordinary course of law was restored,
seventy-four persons, laity and clergy, were hanged in various towns in
Westmoreland and Cumberland.[235] The severity was not excessive, but it
was sufficient to produce the desired result. The rebellion was
finished. The flame was trampled out, and a touch of human pathos hangs
over the close. I find among the records a brief entry that "the bodies
were cut down and buried by certain women."[236] Hallam and several of
his followers were executed at Hull. Bigod, Lumley, and six others were
sent to London, to await their trial with the Lincolnshire prisoners who
were still in the Tower.

[Sidenote: Reginald Pole arrives in France.]

[Sidenote: Francis refuses to receive him.]

The turn of events promised ill for Reginald Pole, and the nature of his
mission was by this time known in England. The fame had spread of the
consecrated sword; and James had given fresh umbrage and caused
additional suspicion by having married in the midst of the late events
the Princess Magdalen of France, without consulting his uncle. The
disturbances had been checked opportunely; but great as the danger was
known to have been, a further peril had been on the rise to increase its
volume. Pole had professed a desire for a reconciliation. The
reconciliation, as Pole understood the word, was to be accomplished by
the success of the rebellion which he was hastening to assist by all
methods, natural and supernatural; and his affected surprise could
scarcely have been genuine when he found himself proclaimed a traitor.
Henry, by his success in England, had meantime recovered the judicious
respect of foreign sovereigns. The French ambassador had promised the
Pope a favourable reception for his legate at Paris. The legate, on his
arrival at Lyons, met his first disappointment in the reports which
reached him from his friends at home: approaching the French capital, he
received a second and a worse, in an intimation from Francis that he
would not be admitted to his presence; that unless he desired to find
himself in the custody of his own government he must leave the kingdom
immediately. In the treaties between France and England, a mutual
promise to give no protection to political offenders was a prominent
article. Henry had required Francis to observe his obligations, and they
could only be evaded by Pole's instant disappearance.

[Sidenote: He retreats to Cambray,]

[Sidenote: And is escorted by the regent to Liège.]

[Sidenote: Arrest of Aske, Lord Darcy, and Sir Robert Constable.]

[Sidenote: Treason of Sir John and Lady Bulmer.]

In the cruel blight of his hopes the legate had only to comply. He
hastened to Cambray, and sending a courier with the Pope's letter to the
Regent of the Netherlands, he avenged himself by childish complaints,
which he poured out to Cromwell.[237] The King of France had been
insulted--the sacred privileges of an ambassador had been violated by
the monstrous demand for his surrender. He pretended to be ignorant
that treaties are made to be observed--and that foreign courts can
confer no sacred privilege on the subjects of other countries, as
towards their own governments. He reached Cambray in the beginning of
April, but he found in the Netherlands a scarcely more cordial reception
than in France. He remained in that town under honourable but uneasy
restraint till the end of May, when he was obliged to inform the
Pope[238] that the regent was in so great awe and fear of "that
adversary," the King of England, that she no more dared to receive him
than Francis; that he lived in daily fear of being taken prisoner and
sent to London, and the utmost favour on which she could venture was to
send him under an escort to Liège. To Liège, therefore, he was obliged
to retire, and there for the present the bishop's hospitality allowed
him to remain. If his journey had been attended with no other
consequences but his own mortification it would scarcely have required
to be noticed. Unhappily it was followed by, and probably it occasioned,
the destruction of more than one brave man for whom we could have
desired a better fate. While at Liège, and even from his entry into
France, it is evident, from his letters to the Pope,[239] that he
maintained an active correspondence with England. Whether intercepted
despatches found their way into the hands of Cromwell, or whether his
presence in the neighbourhood invited suspicion, and suspicion led to
discovery, is uncertain; we find only that simultaneously with Pole's
arrival at Cambray, Robert Aske, Lord Darcy, and Sir Robert Constable
were arrested and taken to the Tower. On mid-Lent Sunday Aske had sent
out his letters to "the captains" of various districts, and meetings had
been held in consequence.[240] I am unable to ascertain either the
objects or the results of these meetings; but "to summon the king's
lieges" for any object after the restoration of quiet was an act of the
highest imprudence. In Easter week there was an obscure insurrection in
Cleveland. Sir John and Lady Bulmer (or Margaret Cheyne, as she is
termed in her indictment) had been invited to London. Lady Bulmer was
proved to have said that she would as soon be torn in pieces as go to
London unless the Duke of Norfolk's and Sir Ralph Ellerkar's heads were
off, and then she might go where she would at the head of the commons.
Her chaplain confessed to a plot between the lady, her husband, and
other persons, to seize and carry off Norfolk to Wilton Castle;[241] but
in the evidence which I have discovered there is nothing to implicate
either Aske or his two friends in this project.

[Sidenote: The rule of judgment in the government necessarily harsh.]

That after the part which the latter had played they should have been
jealously watched, that actions of doubtful bearing should be construed
to their disfavour, was no more than they had a right to expect. Narrow
interpretations of conduct, if severe, are inevitable with men who in
perilous times thrust themselves into revolutionary prominence. To
estimate their treatment fairly, we must ascertain, if possible, from
the fragments of surviving informations against them, whether they
really showed symptoms of fresh treasonable intent, or whether they were
the victims of the irritation created by Pole's mission, and were less
punished for their guilt than because they were dangerous and powerful.
The government insisted that they had clear proof of treason;[242] yet
the word "treason" as certainly bore a more general meaning in
Cromwell's estimate than in the estimate of those who continued to
regard the first pilgrimage as good service to the state. To the
government it was a crime to be expiated by active resistance of all
similar attempts, by absolute renunciation of its articles; and if, in
contrast to the great body of the northern gentlemen, a few possessed of
wide influence continued to maintain that they had done well, if they
continued to encourage the people to expect that their petitions would
be granted, if they discouraged a renewal of the commotions avowedly
because they would injure the cause, it is certain that by a government
surrounded by conspiracy, and emerging with difficulty out of an arduous
position, yet determined to persevere in the policy which had created
the danger, such men would be regarded with grave suspicion, even if
compromised by no further overt acts of disloyalty.

[Sidenote: To what extent were Aske, Darcy, and Constable compromised?]

[Sidenote: The offences which were proved against them.]

But it can scarcely be said that they were wholly uncompromised. Through
the months of February and March a series of evidence shows Aske, Darcy,
Sir Robert Constable, a gentleman named Levening, and several others,
holding aloof as an isolated group, in close and continued intercourse,
yet after Bigod's capture taking no part in the pacification of the
country. These men repeatedly, in public and private, assured the people
that the Doncaster articles must be conceded. They were in possession of
information respecting the risings in Westmoreland and Cleveland, and
yet gave no information to the government. In an intercepted letter to
Lord Darcy, Aske spoke of himself as having accomplished a great
enterprise,--"as having played his part, and all England should perceive
it."[243] It was proved that Darcy, when commanded in January to furnish
Pomfret with stores, had repeated his former neglect,--that he and Aske
were still in secret possession of cannon belonging to the government,
which they had appropriated in the rebellion, and had not
restored,--that Aske had interfered with the authorities at Hull to
prevent the punishment of traitors taken in arms,[244]--that Constable,
in a letter to Bigod, told him that he had chosen a wrong time of the
year, that he ought to have waited till the spring,[245]--that Lord
Darcy had been heard to say that it was better to rule than be
ruled,--"and that where before they had had but two sovereign crowns
they would now have four."[246]

The lightest of these charges were symptoms of an animus[247] which the
crown prosecutors would regard as treasonable. The secretion of the
artillery and Aske's conduct at Hull would ensure a condemnation where
the judges were so anxious to condemn.

[Sidenote: Trials of the Lincolnshire prisoners.]

[Sidenote: A hundred had been surrendered; nineteen were executed.]

The materials for the prosecution were complete. It remained to proceed
with the trials. But I must first mention the fate of the prisoners from
Lincolnshire, who had been already disposed of. In their case there was
not the complication of a pardon. They had been given up hot-handed by
their confederates, as the principal instigators of the rebellion. More
than a hundred seem to have been sent originally to the Tower. Upwards
of half of these were liberated after a short imprisonment. On the 6th
of March Sir William Parr, with a special commission, sat at Lincoln, to
try the Abbot of Kirkstead, with thirty of the remainder. The Lincoln
jury regarded the prisoners favourably; Thomas Moigne, one or the
latter, spoke in his defence for three hours so skilfully, according to
Sir William Parr's report, that "but for the diligence of the king's
serjeant," he and all the rest would have been acquitted. Ultimately the
crown secured their verdict: the abbot, Moigne, and another were hanged
on the following day at Lincoln, and four others a day or two later at
Louth and Horncastle.[248] The commission petitioned for the pardon of
the rest. After a delay of a few weeks the king consented, and they were
dismissed.[249]

[Sidenote: Trial of Lord Hussey.]

Twelve more, the Abbot of Barlings, one of his monks, and others who had
been concerned in the murder of the chancellor, were then brought to the
bar in the Guildhall. They had no claim to mercy; and they found none.
They were hung on gibbets, at various towns, in their own county, as
signs and warnings. Lord Hussey was tried by the peers. He was guilty
obviously of having fled from a post which he was bound to defend. He
had obstructed good subjects, who would have done their duty, had he
allowed them; and he had held communication with the rebels. His
indictment[250] charges him with acts of more direct complicity, the
evidence of which I have not discovered. But wherever a comparison has
been possible, I have found the articles of accusation in so strict
accordance with the depositions of witnesses, that the absent link may
be presumed to have existed. The construction may be violent; the fact
is always true. He, too, was found guilty, and executed.[251]

With Lord Hussey the Lincolnshire list was closed. Out of fifty or sixty
thousand persons who had been in armed rebellion, the government was
satisfied with the punishment of twenty. The mercy was perhaps in part
dictated by prudence.

[Sidenote: May. The second trials.]

[Sidenote: The government find a difficulty in obtaining the verdicts.
One of the prisoners is acquitted. A list of the grand jury is sent to
London.]

The turn of the northern men came next. There were three sections of
them:--Sir Francis Bigod, George Lumley, and those who had risen in
January in the East Riding; Sir Thomas Percy, the Abbot of Fountains,
the Abbot of Jervaulx, Sir John and Lady Bulmer, Sir Ralph Bulmer, and
Sir Stephen Hamarton, who had been concerned in the separate commotions
since suppressed by the Duke of Norfolk; and, finally, Aske, Constable,
and Lord Darcy, with their adherents. In this instance the proceedings
were less simple than in the former, and in some respects unusual. The
inferior offenders were first tried at York. The indictments were sent
in to the grand jury; and in the important case of Levening, the special
confederate of Aske and Darcy, whose guilt was identical with theirs, no
bill was found. The king, in high displeasure, required Norfolk to take
some severe notice of this obstruction of justice. Norfolk remonstrated;
and was requested, in sharper language, to send up a list of the
jurors,[252] and unravel, if possible, the cause of the acquittal. The
names were forwarded. The panel was composed of fifty gentlemen,
relatives, most of them, of one or other of the accused persons, and
many among whom had formed part of the insurgent council at
Pomfret.[253] Levening's escape was explained; and yet it could not be
remedied. The crown was forced to continue its prosecutions, apparently
with the same difficulty, and under the same uncertainty of the issue.
When the trials of the higher offenders were opened in London, true
bills had first to be found against them in their own counties; and the
foremen of the two grand juries (for the fifty were divided into two
bodies of twenty-five each) were Sir James Strangways and Sir
Christopher Danby, noted, both of them, on the list which was forwarded
to the crown, as relatives of Lord Darcy, Sir Francis Bigod, and Sir
John Bulmer.[254]

[Sidenote: May 9. True bills found against Darcy and fifteen others.]

On the 9th of May, however, either through intimidation or the force of
evidence, the sixteen prisoners who were in the Tower, Lord Darcy,
Robert Aske, Sir Robert Constable, and thirteen more, were delivered
over for their trials. In the six preceding weeks they had been
cross-examined again and again. Of the many strange scenes which must
have taken place on these occasions, one picture, but a striking one, is
all which I have found. It occurred at the house of the lord
chancellor, in the presence of the Privy Council and a crowded
audience. Darcy was the subject of examination. Careless of life, and
with the prophetic insight of dying men, he turned, when pressed with
questions, to the lord privy seal:--

[Sidenote: Lord Darcy prophesies the death of Cromwell.]

"Cromwell," he said, "it is thou that art the very special and chief
causer of all this rebellion and mischief, and art likewise causer of
the apprehension of us that be ----,[255] and dost daily earnestly
travel to bring us to our ends, and to strike off our heads. I trust
that ere thou die, though thou wouldest procure all the noblemen's heads
within the realm to be stricken off, yet shall there one head remain
that shall strike off thy head."[256]

[Sidenote: Aske's servant dies for sorrow.]

Of Aske, too, we catch glimpses which show that he was something more
than a remarkable insurgent leader: a short entry tells us that, six or
seven days after his arrest, "his servant, Robert Wall (let his name be
remembered), did cast himself upon his bed and cried, 'Oh, my master!
Oh, my master! they will draw him, and hang him and quarter him;' and
therewith he did die for sorrow."[257] Aske had lost a friend when
friends were needed. In a letter which he wrote to Cromwell, he said
that he had been sent up in haste without clothes or money, that no one
of his relations would help him, and that unless the king would be his
good and gracious lord, he knew not how he would live.[258] His
confessions during his imprisonment were free and ample. He asked for
his life, yet with a dignity which would stoop to no falsehood, and
pretend to no repentance beyond a general regret that he should have
offended the king. Then, as throughout, he showed himself a brave,
simple, noble-minded man.

[Sidenote: May 16. Trials and sentences in Westminster Hall.]

But it was in vain; and fate was hungry for its victims. The bills being
found, Darcy was arraigned before twenty-two peers, and was condemned,
Cromwell undertaking to intercede for his life.[259] The intercession,
if made, was not effectual. The fifteen commoners, on the same day, were
tried before a special commission in Westminster Hall. Percy, Hamarton,
Sir John and Lady Bulmer pleaded guilty. The prosecution against Sir
Ralph Bulmer was dropped: a verdict was given without difficulty against
Aske, Constable, Bigod, Lumley, and seven more. Sixteen knights, nobles,
and gentlemen, who a few months before were dictating terms to the Duke
of Norfolk, and threatening to turn the tide of the Reformation, were
condemned criminals waiting for death.

The executions were delayed from a doubt whether London or York should
be the scene of the closing tragedy. There remain some fragments written
by Darcy and Aske in the interval after their sentence. Darcy must have
been nearly eighty years old; but neither the matter nor the broad,
large, powerful handwriting of the following words show signs of
agitation:--

"After judgment given, the petition of Thomas Lord Darcy to the King's
Grace, by my Lord Privy Seal.

[Sidenote: Lord Darcy's last petition.]

"First to have confession; and at a mass to receive my Maker, that I may
depart like a Christian man out of this vale of misery.

"Second, that incontinent after my death my whole body may be buried
with my late wife, the Lady Neville, in the Freers at Greenwich.

"Third, that the straitness of my judgment may be mitigated after the
king's mercy and pleasure.

"Fourth, that my debts may be paid according to a schedule
enclosed."[260]

[Sidenote: Last petition of Aske.]

Aske, in a few lines addressed also to Cromwell, spoke of his debts, and
begged that some provision might be made for his family. "They," he
said, "never offended the King's Grace, nor were with me in council in
no act during all this time, but fled into woods and houses. Good my
Lord, extend your pity herein. And I most humbly ask the King's
Highness, and all his council and lords, lowly forgiveness for any mine
offences or words attempted or said against his Grace or any of them any
time of my life; and that his Grace would save my life, if it be his
pleasure, to be his bedesman--or else--to let me be full dead or that I
be dismembered, that I may piously give my spirit to God without more
pain; and that I desire for the honour of God and for charity."[261]

[Sidenote: Provision made for the families of the sufferers.]

[Sidenote: Properties not forfeited.]

The requests relating to the manner of the executions, it is
satisfactory to find, were granted; and not only in the case of the two
petitioners, but so far as I can learn in that of all the other
sufferers. Wherever the scaffold becomes visible, the rope and the axe
are the sole discernible implements of death. With respect to the other
petition, I find among loose memoranda of Cromwell an entry "for a book
to be made of the wives and poor children of such as have suffered, to
the intent his Grace may extend his mercy to them for their livings as
to his Highness shall be thought convenient, and for payment of their
debts."[262] The "mercy" seems to have been liberal. The forfeited
properties, on the whole, were allowed to descend without diminution, in
their natural order.[263]

[Sidenote: June 20. Eight gentlemen executed at Tyburn.]

[Sidenote: Lady Bulmer is burnt, and the world is little disturbed.]

[Sidenote: The king relinquishes his intention of holding a parliament
in Yorkshire.]

After some discussion it was settled that Darcy should suffer on Tower
Hill; and he was executed on the 20th of June. Sir Thomas Percy, Bigod,
the Abbots of Fountains and Jervaulx, Hamarton, Sir John Bulmer, young
Lumley, and Nicholas Tempest were hanged at Tyburn; four who had been
tried with them and condemned were pardoned. Lady Bulmer died the
dreadful death awarded by the English law to female treason.[264] "On
the Friday in Whitsun week," wrote a town correspondent of Sir Henry
Saville, "the wife of Sir John Bulmer was drawn without Newgate to
Smithfield and there burned:" and the world went its light way, thinking
no more of Lady Bulmer than if she had been a mere Protestant heretic:
the same letter urged Saville to hasten to London for the pleasures of
the season, suggesting that he might obtain some share in the
confiscated estates, of which the king would be soon disposing.[265]
Aske and Sir Robert Constable were to be sent down to Yorkshire. The
king had been compelled, by the succession of fresh disorders the
punishments which had followed, to relinquish his intention of holding a
summer parliament there. The renewed disturbances had released him from
his promise, and the discussion which would inevitably have been opened,
would have been alike irritating and useless. He had thought
subsequently of going to York on progress, and of making his presence
the occasion of an amnesty; the condition of the Continent, however, the
large armies, French and Imperial, which were in the field in the
neighbourhood of Calais, the possibility or the alarm that the Pope
might succeed in reconciling and directing them upon England, and still
more the pregnancy of the queen and the danger of some anxiety which
might cause the loss of the child, combined to make so distant a journey
undesirable. These at least were the reasons which he alleged to the
world. His chief ground, however, as he stated in private, was the
increasing infirmity of his own health and the inhibition of his
physician.[266] He resolved, therefore, that Norfolk, and not himself,
should "knit up the tragedy," by conducting the last executions on the
scene of the rebellion, and after they were over, by proclaiming a final
and general pardon.

[Sidenote: July. Aske and Constable are sent down to Yorkshire.]

[Sidenote: Constable is executed at Hull.]

At the beginning of July the two remaining prisoners were placed in the
custody of Sir Thomas Wentworth. They were paraded in formal state
through the eastern counties, and at each town a few words of warning
were addressed on the occasion to the people. Wentworth brought them
thus to Lincoln, where they were delivered over to the Duke of Norfolk.
Constable suffered first. He was taken to Hull,[267] and there hanged in
chains.[268] Before his death he said that, although he had declared on
his examination that he had revealed everything of importance which he
knew, yet he had concealed some matter connected with Lord Darcy for
fear of doing him an injury. "He was in doubt whether he had offended
God in receiving the sacrament in such manner, concealing the truth upon
a good purpose."[269] This secret, whatever it was, he carried with him
from the world. His own offences he admitted freely, protesting,
however, that he had added nothing to them since the pardon.

A fuller account remains of the end of Aske. He, too, like Constable,
had some mystery on his conscience which he would not reveal. In a
conversation with his confessor he alluded to Darcy's connexion with the
Spanish ambassador; he spoke of the intention of sending for help to
Flanders, and acknowledged his treason, while he shrunk from the name of
traitor. He complained that Cromwell had several times promised him his
life if he would make a full confession, and once he said he had a token
of pardon from the king; but his bearing was quiet and brave, and if he
believed himself hardly dealt with, he said so only in private to a
single person.

[Sidenote: Aske is drawn upon a hurdle through the streets of York,]

[Sidenote: And is hanged.]

York was chosen as his place of execution. He was drawn through the
streets upon a hurdle, to be hanged afterwards from the top of a tower.
On his way he told the people that he had grievously offended God, the
king, and the world. God he had offended in breaking his commandments
many ways; the King's Majesty he had greatly offended in breaking his
laws, to which every subject was bound; and the world he had offended,
"for so much as he was the occasion that many a one had lost their
lives, lands, and goods." At the scaffold he begged the people to pray
for him, "and divers times asking the King's Highness' forgiveness, the
lord chancellor, the Lord of Norfolk, the lord privy seal, the Lord of
Sussex, and all the world, after certain orisons he commended his soul
to God."[270]

So we take leave of Robert Aske, closing his brief greatness with a
felon's death--an unhappy ending! Yet, as we look back now, at a
distance of three centuries, when the noble and the base, the conquerors
and the conquered, have been all long dead together, when nothing
remains of any of them but the work, worthy or unworthy, which they
achieved, and the few years which weak false hearts could purchase by
denying their faith and truckling to the time,[271] appear in the
retrospect in their proper insignificance, a man who risked and lost his
life for a cause which he believed a just one, though he was mistaken in
so believing it, is not among those whose fate deserves the most
compassion, or whose career is least to be envied.

The insurrection had sunk down into rest; but it had not been wholly in
vain. So far as it was just it had prevailed; and happy were they whose
work was sifted for them, who were permitted to accomplish so much only
of their intentions as had been wisely formed. If the reins of England
had been seized by Aske and Darcy, their signal beacons of insurrection
would have become blazing martyr-piles, shining dreadfully through all
after-ages; and their names would have come down to posterity swathed in
such epithets as cling, and will cling, for ever to the Gardiners and
the Alvas.

[Sidenote: The noble Catholics, and the ignoble. Reginald Pole at
Liège.]

[Sidenote: He will weave the broken web for a third effort.]

[Sidenote: He believes that Henry desires to kill him.]

[Sidenote: And is recalled by the Pope.]

While the noble Catholics were braving danger in England, Reginald Pole
sate at safe distance on his Liège watch-tower, scenting the air for the
expected battle-field; and at length, hungry and disappointed, turning
sullenly away and preparing for flight. He had clung to hope till the
last moment with desperate tenacity. He had laboured to inspire his
friends in Italy with his own confidence. "The leaders of the faithful,"
he wrote to the Pope, "had been duped and murdered; but the hate of the
people for the government had deepened in intensity. They were subdued
for the instant by terror; but their strength was unimpaired. They were
furious at the king's treachery."[272] "Twice," he wrote to Contarini,
"the children of Israel went up against Benjamin, and twice they were
put to confusion, God having encouraged them to fight, and God
permitting their defeat. The third time they prevailed. In like manner
had the children of the Church been twice conquered, once God so willing
it in Ireland, and now again in England. A third time they would take up
their cause, and then they would triumph gloriously."[273] He knew what
he meant. Already he was digging fresh graves for other victims; secret
messengers were passing between Liège and his mother, and his mother's
family, and Lord Montague and Lord Exeter were already contemplating
that third effort of which he spoke.[274] "I do but desire to wait in
this place," he said, "so long as the farmer waits for his crops. I have
sown my seed. It will grow in its allotted time."[275] Contarini advised
his return to Italy; and the Pope believed also that the opportunity was
passed. Pole himself, alternately buoyed up with hope and plunged in
despondency, seemed at times almost delirious. He spread a wild rumour
that the king had sent emissaries to murder him.[276] The Pope believed
him, and became more anxious for the safety of so valuable a life.
Letters passed and repassed. He could not resign himself to relinquish
his enterprise. On the 21st of August he wrote that "the English
government had made itself so detested, and the King of Scotland was so
willing to assist, that with the most trifling impulse a revolution
would be certain." Events, however, so far, had not borne out his
expectations. He had promised liberally, but there had been no
fulfilment; and supposing at length that the chances of success were too
slight to justify the risk of his longer stay, Paul put an end to his
anxieties by sending him a formal recall.

[Sidenote: He has one only consolation.]

The disappointment was hard to bear. One only comfort remained to him.
Henry had been evidently anxious that his book should not be made known
to the world. He might revise, intensify, and then publish it, and taste
the pleasure of a safe revenge.

[Sidenote: Michael Throgmorton is employed by Cromwell to betray Pole,
and betrays his employers.]

But I have now to mention a minor drama of treachery winding into the
interstices of the larger. When Pole first awoke serious suspicion by
being raised to the Cardinalate, Michael, younger brother of Sir George
Throgmorton, volunteered to Cromwell to go to Rome, make his way into
Pole's service, and become a spy upon his actions. His offer was
accepted. He went, and became Pole's secretary; but, instead of
betraying his master, he betrayed his employers; and to him the "Liber
de Unitate Ecclesiæ" was in all probability indebted for the fresh
instalment of scandals which were poured into it before
publication,[277] and which have furnished material for the Catholic
biographers of Henry the Eighth. Throgmorton's ingenious duplicity
enabled him to blind the English government through the spring and
summer. He supplied them with reports in a high degree laudatory of the
cardinal, affirming entire confidence in the innocency of the legatine
mission; and if they were not misled as to Pole's purposes, they
believed in the fidelity of the spy. It was not till the day before
leaving Liège that he threw off disguise, and wrote to Cromwell in
language which was at last transparent.

[Sidenote: Pole will return to Rome, and will publish his book,]

[Sidenote: Unless the king will submit to the Pope.]

The excellent intentions of the legate, he said, having been frustrated
by events, and his pure and upright objects having been wickedly
misconstrued, he was about to return to Rome. The Pope, whose gracious
disposition towards England remained unabated, had issued indulgences
through all Christendom for a general supplication that the King's Grace
and the country might return to the Church. These would be naturally
followed by a rehearsal of the king's actions, and accompanied by
censures. It was likely, in addition, that, on Pole's return to Rome,
his Holiness would request his consent that his book should be set in
print, "as it will be hard for him to deny, for the great confidence
they have therein." "Hereof," Throgmorton concluded, "I have thought it
necessary to advertise you, considering the short departure of the
legate, upon whose return, as you see, hangs both the divulgating of the
censures, the putting forth of his book, and the sending also of new
ambassadors to all Christian princes. I suppose you have a great desire
for a true knowledge of his mind and acts in this legacy. It makes many
men marvel to see the King's Grace so bent to his ruin, rather than to
take some way to reconcile him. Your lordship may best think what is
best to be done."[278]

Cromwell's answer to this communication, though long, will not be
thought too long by those who desire to comprehend the passions of the
time, and with the time the mind of its ruling spirit.

[Sidenote: Cromwell replies. He had thought that the king's goodness
might have softened Pole,]

[Sidenote: Or at least have commanded the fidelity of Throgmorton.]

"I thought," was the abrupt commencement,[279] "that the singular
goodness of the King's Highness shewed unto you, and the great and
singular clemency shewed unto that detestable traitor your master, in
promising him not only forgiveness, but also forgetting of his most
shameful ingratitude, unnaturalness, conspiracy against his honour, of
whom he hath received no more, but even as much, and all that he
hath--I thought, I say, that either this princely goodness might have
brought that desperate rebel from his so sturdy malice, blindness, and
pervicacy, or else have encouraged you to be his Highness's true and
faithful subject. But I now remember myself too late. I might better
have judged that so dishonest a master could have but even such servants
as you are. No, no! loyalty and treason seldom dwell together. There can
no faithful servant so long abide the sight of so heinous a traitor to
his prince. You could not all this season have been a spy for the king,
but at some time your countenance should have declared your heart to be
loyal. No! You and your master have both well declared how little fear
of God resteth in you, which, led by vain promise of promotion, thus
against his laws work treason towards your natural prince and country,
to serve an enemy of God, an enemy of all honesty, an enemy of right
religion, a defender of iniquity, a merchant and occupier of all
deceits.

[Sidenote: But he will not be again deceived.]

[Sidenote: Pole need not trouble himself to explain why he is considered
a traitor.]

[Sidenote: Let him publish his book, and the world will be in no
uncertainty.]

"You have bleared mine eyes once. Your credit shall never more serve you
so far to deceive me the second time. Your part was to do as the king
your sovereign lord had commanded you. Your praise was to be sought in
obeying his Highness's pleasure, and not in serving your foolish
fantasy. But now, to stick unto a rebel, to follow a traitor, to serve a
friend of his which mortally hateth your sovereign lord, what folly is
it to excuse such mad lewdness? Your good master, who has lately entered
into the religion which has been the ruin of all religion, cannot, ye
say, but be the king's high friend. He will, as ye write, declare unto
the world why the king taketh him for a traitor. In this thing he
needeth to travel never a deal. All princes almost know how well he hath
deserved this name; yea the King's Highness is much beholden unto some
of them from whom his Grace hath learned the godly enterprizes that this
silly cardinal went about. Now, if those that have made him thus mad can
also persuade him to print his detestable book, where one lie leapeth in
every line on another's neck, he shall be then as much bound to them for
their good counsel as his family to him for his wise dealing. He will, I
trow, have as little joy thereof as his friends and kinsfolk are like to
take profit of it. Pity it is that the folly of one brainsick Pole, or,
to say better, of one witless fool, should be the ruin of so great a
family. Let him follow ambition as fast as he can, these that little
have offended (saving that he is of their kin), were it not for the
great mercy and benignity of the prince, should and might feel what it
is to have such a traitor to their kinsman. Let his goodly book, the
fruit of his whole study, come abroad, is there any man but he may well
accuse our prince of too much clemency, and must marvel that no way is
found to take away the author of such traitory? Surely when answers
shall be made to his malice, there shall be very few but they will think
as I do, that he hath as he deserveth, if he be brought to a most
shameful death. Let him not think but though he can lie largely, there
be some with us that can say truth of him. His praise shall be grief
when men shall see the King's Highness's benefits towards him, and shall
look upon his good heart, his grateful mind, his desire to serve the
king's honour.

[Sidenote: The king can, perhaps, reach him, though tied to the Pope's
girdle.]

"Let his lewd work go forth. After that let princes judge whether the
king can take the author of so famous a libel to be his true subject.
Let the king's high benefits, and, which is far more to be esteemed,
his singular benevolence shewed unto him of a child, come and make
their plea. Can he or you think any ground safe for him to stand in?
Hath he not just cause to fear lest every honest man should offer
himself to revenge this so enormous unkindness? Shall he not think every
honest man to be his foe? Shall not his detestable acts, written in his
conscience, evermore bring him to continual sorrow? And ye know that,
whensoever the king will, his Highness may bring it easily to pass that
he shall think himself scarce sure of his life, although he went tied at
his master's girdle. There may be found ways enough in Italy to rid a
traitorous subject. Surely let him not think but, when justice can take
no place by process of law at home, sometimes she may be enforced to
take new means abroad.

[Sidenote: The Pope will pray for the king, having found other means
less]

[Sidenote: successful than he hoped, which perhaps the world will smile
at.]

"Amongst all your pretty news these are very pleasant, that the Bishop
of Rome intendeth to make a lamentation to the world and to desire every
man to pray that his old gains may return home again. Men will think
that he has cause, or at least good time, to lament, not that the King
of England hath pulled his realm out of thraldom, but that a great part
of the world is like to do the same. Many a man weepeth for less. We
blame him not if he lament. Howbeit, doubt ye not he shall find some
with us that shall bid him be a better man, though they bid him not be
of better cheer. If your good master take upon him to make this
lamentation, as indeed I think there is no man that hath better cause to
wail than he hath, assure ye him he shall lack no consolation. The Pope
will desire the world to pray for the king! The hypocrisy cometh even as
it should do, and standeth in place meet for it. The world knoweth
right well what other wiles he has practised these three years. They
shall laugh to see his Holiness come to prayer because he cannot bring
to pass that he most desireth. He that the last day went about to set
all princes on his Grace's top, writing letters for the bringing of this
to pass, shall he not now be thought holy that thus suddenly casteth
away his weapon and falleth to his beads? If sinners be heard at any
time, it is when they pray for good things. He shall not pray so fast
that we may return to errors, to the defence of tyranny, ungodliness,
untruth, as we shall pray that his Grace long may continue our most
virtuous prince, and that hypocrites never after these days shall reign
over us.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's last wishes for Throgmorton and his master.]

"Michael, if you were either natural towards your country or your
family, you would not thus shame all your kin. I pray they bide but the
shame of it. This I am sure of, though they bye and bye suffer no loss
of goods, yet the least suspicion shall be enough to undo the greatest
of them. I can no more, but desire that your master and you may
acknowledge your detestable faults and be good witnesses of the king's
high mercy. Ye may turn. If ye do so I doubt not but the king will shew
the world that he desireth nothing more than the saving of his subjects.
If ye continue in your malice and perverse blindness, doubt not but your
end shall be as of all traitors. I have done what I may to save you. I
must, I think, do what I can to see you condignly punished. God send you
both to fare as ye deserve--either shortly to come to your allegiance,
or else to a shameful death."

The scene and the subject change. I must now take my reader below the
surface of outward events to the undercurrent of the war of opinions,
where the forces were generated which gave to the time its life and
meaning. Without some insight into this region, history is but a dumb
show of phantoms; yet, when we gaze into it with our best efforts, we
catch but uncertain images and fleeting pictures. In palace and cottage,
in village church and metropolitan cathedral, at the board of the Privy
Council or in the roadside alehouse, the same questions were discussed,
the same passions were agitated. A mysterious change was in process in
the minds of men. They knew not what it was--they could not control its
speed or guide its direction. The articles and the settlement of 1536
were already buried under the froth of the insurrection. New
standing-ground was to be sought for, only in its turn to slip away as
it seemed to be gained; and the teachers and the taught, the governors
and the governed, each separate human being, left to his own direction,
was whirled along the rapids which formed the passage into a new era. A
few scenes out of this strange time have been preserved for us in the
records. They may pass one by one before us like the pictures in a magic
slide.

[Sidenote: The friars mendicant, who will live as their fathers lived.]

The first figure that appears is a "friar mendicant, living by the alms
of the king's subjects, forming himself to the fashions of the people."
He is "going about from house to house, and when he comes to aged and
simple people he will say to them, 'Father or sister, what a world this
is! It was not so in your father's days. It is a perilous world. They
will have no pilgrimages. They will not we should pray to saints, or
fast, or do any good deeds. Oh Lord, have mercy on us! I will live as my
forefathers have done. And I am sure your fathers and friends were
good, and ye have followed them hitherto. Continue as ye have done, and
believe as they believed.'"[280]

[Sidenote: The Protestant's opinion of the faith of his fathers.]

The friar disappears. A neighbour of the new opinions, who has seen him
come and go, takes his place, and then begins an argument. One says "my
father's faith shall be my faith." And the other, hot and foolish,
answers, "Thy father was a liar and is in hell, and so is my father in
hell also. My father never knew Scripture, and now it is come
forth."[281]

[Sidenote: Church windows containing the history of Becket.]

[Sidenote: August 14. Scenes in the parish church at Woodstock.]

The slide again moves. We are in a village church, and there is a window
gorgeously painted, representing the various events in the life and
death of Thomas à Becket. The king sits on his throne, and speaks
fiercely to his four knights. The knights mount their horses and gallop
to Canterbury. The archbishop is at vespers in the quire. The knights
stride in and smite him dead. Then follows the retribution. In the great
central compartment of the window the haughty prince is kneeling naked
before the shrine of the martyr, and the monks stand round him and beat
him with their rods. All over England in such images of luminous beauty
the memory of the great victory[282] of the clergy had been
perpetuated.[283] And now the particular church is Woodstock, the court
is at the park, and day after day, notwithstanding the dangerous
neighbourhood, in the church aisles groups of people assemble to gaze
upon the window, and priests and pardoners expatiate with an obvious
application on the glories of the martyr, the Church's victory, and the
humiliation of the king. Eager ears listen; eager tongues draw
comparisons. A groom from the court is lounging among the crowd, and
interrupts the speakers somewhat disdainfully; he says that he sees no
more reason why Becket was a saint than Robin Hood. No word is mentioned
of the profanity to Henry; but a priest carries the story to Gardiner
and Sir William Paulet. The groom is told that he might as well reason
of the king's title as of St. Thomas's; forthwith he is hurried off
under charge of heresy to the Tower; and, appealing to Cromwell, there
follows a storm at the council table.[284]

[Sidenote: The Lady Chapel at Worcester.]

We are next at Worcester, at the Lady Chapel, on the eve of the
Assumption. There is a famous image of the Virgin there, and to check
the superstition of the people the gorgeous dress has been taken off by
Cromwell's order. A citizen of Worcester approaches the figure: "Ah,
Lady," he cries, "art thou stripped now? I have seen the day that as
clean men had been stripped at a pair of gallows as were they that
stripped them." Then he kisses the image, and turns to the people and
says, "Ye that be disposed to offer, the figure is no worse than it was
before," "having a remorse unto her."[285]

The common treads close upon the serious. On a summer evening a group of
villagers are sitting at the door of an alehouse on Windermere; a
certain master Alexander, a wandering ballad-singer, is "making merry
with them." A neighbour Isaac Dickson saunters up and joins the party.

[Sidenote: "The minstrel of Winandermere."]

"Then the said Isaac commanded the said minstrel to sing a song he had
sung at one Fairbank's house in Crossthwaite, in the county of
Westmoreland, in the time of the rebellion, which song was called
'Crummock,'[286] which was not convenient, which the said minstrel
utterly denied. The said Isaac commanded the said minstrel again in a
violent manner to sing the song called 'Cromwell,' and the said minstrel
said he would sing none such; and then the said Isaac pulled the
minstrel by the arm, and smote him about the head with the pummel of a
dagger, and the same song the minstrel would not sing to die for. The
third time the said Isaac commanded the minstrel to sing the same song,
and the minstrel said it would turn them both to anger, and would not.
And then did Isaac call for a cup of ale, and bade the minstrel sing
again, which he always denied; then Isaac took the minstrel by the beard
and dashed the cup of ale in his face; also, he drew his dagger and hurt
master Willan, being the host of the said house, sore and grievously in
the thigh, in rescuing of the said minstrel."[287]

Again, we find accounts of the reception which the English Bible met
with in country parishes.

[Sidenote: The unthrifty curate of Wincanton.]

A circle of Protestants at Wincanton, in Somersetshire, wrote to
Cromwell complaining of the curate, who would not teach them or preach
to them, but "gave his time and attention to dicing, carding, bowling,
and the cross waster." In their desire for spiritual food they applied
to the rector of the next parish, who had come occasionally and given
them a sermon, and had taught them to read the New Testament; when
suddenly, on Good Friday, "the unthrifty curate entered the pulpit,
where he had set no foot for years," and "admonished his parishioners to
give no credence to the newfangled fellows which read the new books."
"They be like knaves and Pharisees," he said; "they be like a dog that
gnaweth a marry-bone, and never cometh to the pith, therefore avoid
their company; and if any man will preach the New Testament, if I may
hear him, I am ready to fight with him incontinent;" and "indeed," the
petitioners said, "he applyeth in such wise his school of fence so sore
continually, that he feareth all his parishioners."[288]

[Sidenote: The parish clerk at Hastings lectures on the translation of
the Bible.]

So the parish clerk at Hastings made a speech to the congregation on the
faults of the translation. "It taught heresy," he said: "it taught that
a priest might have a wife by God's law. He trusted to see the day that
the book called the Bible, and all its maintainers and upholders, should
be brent."[289]

Here, again, is a complaint from the parishioners of Langham in Essex,
against their village potentate, a person named Vigourous, who with the
priest oppressed and ill-used them.

[Sidenote: School maidens reading the English primer at Langham.]

"Upon Ascension day last past did two maidens sit in their pew or school
in the church, as all honest and virtuous persons use to do in matins
time, saying their matins together upon an English primer. Vigourous
this seeing was sore angry, in so much that therefore, and for nothing
else, he did bid the maidens to avoid out of the church, (calling them)
errant whores, with such other odious and spiteful words. And further,
upon a time within this year, one of Vigourous's servants did quarrel
and brawl with other children many, whom he called heretics; and as
children be light and wanton, they called the said servant again
Pharisee. Upon this complained Robert Smyth of our town to Vigourous,
saying that it was against reason that the great fellow his servant
should quarrel and fight with children. Whereupon Vigourous said to his
servant, 'See that thou do cut off their ears, oh errant whoreson, if
they so call thee hereafter; and if thou lack a knife, I shall give thee
one to do it. And if thou wilt not thus do, thou shalt no longer serve
me.'"[290]

[Sidenote: The Protestants and the mystery plays.]

[Sidenote: The Protestants call a "spade a spade."]

On the other hand, the Protestants gave themselves no pains to make
their heterodoxy decent, or to spare the feelings of their antagonists.
To call "a spade a spade," and a rogue a rogue, were Protestant axioms.
Their favourite weapons were mystery plays, which they acted up and down
the country in barns, in taverns, in chambers, on occasion, before the
vicar-general himself;[291] and the language of these, as well as the
language of their own daily life, seemed constructed as if to pour scorn
on the old belief. Men engaged in a mortal strife usually speak plainly.
Blunt words strike home; and the euphuism which, in more ingenious ages,
discovers that men mean the same thing when they say opposite things was
as yet unknown or unappreciated. We have heard something of the popular
impieties, as they were called in the complaints of convocation. I add a
few more expressions taken at random from the depositions. One man said
"he would as soon see an oyster-shell above the priest's head at the
sacring time as the wafer. If a knave priest could make God, then would
he hire one such God-maker for a year, and give him twenty pounds to
make fishes and fowls."[292] Another said that "if he had the cross that
Christ died on, it should be the first block he would rive to the fire
for any virtue that was in it." Another, "that a shipload of friars'
girdles, nor a dungcart full of friars' cowls and boots, would not help
to justification."

On both sides the same obstinate English nature was stirred into
energetic hate.

[Sidenote: The Abbott of Stratford excommunicates his monks for
revealing convent scandals.]

[Sidenote: The Abbot of Woburn repents of his apostasy,]

[Sidenote: Takes up his cross and dies.]

Or, once more to turn to the surviving abbeys, here, too, each house was
"divided against itself, and could not stand." The monks of Stratford
complained to Sir Thomas Cholmondley that their abbot had excommunicated
them for breach of oath in revealing convent secrets to the royal
visitors. Their allegiance, the brave abbot had said, was to the
superior of their order abroad, not to the secular sovereign in England.
He cared nothing for acts of parliament or king's commissions. The king
could but kill him, and death was a small matter compared to
perjury.[293] Death, therefore, he resolutely risked, and in some
manner, we know not how, he escaped. Another abbot with the same courage
was less fortunate. In the spring and summer of 1537 Woburn Abbey was in
high confusion. The brethren were trimming to the times, anxious merely
for secular habits, wives, and freedom. In the midst of them, Robert
Hobbes the abbot, who in the past year had accepted the oath of
supremacy in a moment of weakness, was lying worn down with sorrow,
unable to govern his convent, or to endure the burden of his
conscience. On Passion Sunday in that spring, dying as it seemed of a
broken heart, he called the fraternity to his side, and exhorted them to
charity, and prayed them to be obedient to their vows. Hard eyes and
mocking lips were all the answer of the monks of Woburn. "Then, being in
a great agony, the abbot rose up in his bed, and cried out, and said, 'I
would to God it would please Him to take me out of this wretched world,
and I would I had died with the good men that have suffered death for
holding with the Pope. My conscience--my conscience doth grudge me for
it.'" Abbot Hobbes should have his wish. Strength was left him to take
up his cross once more where he had cast it down. Spiteful tongues
carried his words to the council, and the law, remorseless as destiny,
flung its meshes over him on the instant. He was swept up to London and
interrogated in the usual form--"Was he the king's subject or the
Pope's?" He stood to his faith like a man, and the scaffold swallowed
him.[294]

[Sidenote: The king believes in unity.]

So went the world in England, rushing forward, rocking and reeling in
its course. What hand could guide it! Alone, perhaps, of living men, the
king still believed that unity was possible--that these headstrong
spirits were as horses broken loose, which could be caught again and
harnessed for the road. For a thousand years there had been one faith in
Western Christendom. From the Isles of Arran to the Danube thirty
generations had followed each other to the grave who had held all to the
same convictions, who had prayed all in the same words. What was this
that had gone out among men that they were so changed? Why, when he had
but sought to cleanse the dirt from off the temple, and restore its
original beauty, should the temple itself crumble into ruins?

[Sidenote: Questions on the nature and number of the sacraments.]

[Sidenote: The real presence almost the only doctrine on which there is
general agreement.]

The sacraments, the Divine mysteries, had existed in the Church for
fifteen centuries. For all those ages they had been supposed to be the
rivulets which watered the earth with the graces of the Spirit. After so
long experience it should have been at least possible to tell what they
were, or how many they were; but the question was suddenly asked, and
none could answer it. The bishops were applied to. Interrogatories were
sent round among them for opinions, and some said there were three
sacraments, some seven, some a hundred. The Archbishop of York insisted
on the apostolical succession; the Archbishop of Canterbury believed
that priests and bishops might be nominated by the crown, and he that
was so appointed needed no consecration, for his appointment was
sufficient.[295] Transubstantiation remained almost the only doctrine
beyond the articles of the three creeds on which a powerful majority was
agreed.[296]

[Sidenote: Fresh rule of faith made necessary.]

[Sidenote: "The Institution of a Christian Man."]

[Sidenote: Doctrine of sacramental grace.]

Something, however, must be done. Another statement must be made of the
doctrine of the Church of England--if the Church of England were to
pretend to possess a doctrine--more complete than the last. The slander
must be put to silence which confounded independence with heresy; the
clergy must be provided with some guide to their teaching which it
should be penal to neglect. Under orders, therefore, from the crown, the
bishops agreed at last upon a body of practical divinity, which was
published under the title of "The Bishop's Book," or "the Institution of
a Christian Man." It consisted of four commentaries, on the creed, the
sacraments, the ten commandments, and the Lord's prayer, and in point of
language was beyond question the most beautiful composition which had as
yet appeared in English prose. The doctrine was moderate, yet more
Catholic, and, in the matter of the sacraments, less ambiguous than the
articles of 1536. The mystic number seven was restored, and the nature
of sacramental grace explained in the old manner. Yet there was a
manifest attempt, rather, perhaps, in tendency than in positive
statement, to unite the two ideas of symbolic and instrumental efficacy,
to indicate that the grace conveyed through the mechanical form was the
spiritual instruction indicated in the form of the ceremony. The union
among the bishops which appeared in the title of the book was in
appearance only, or rather it was assumed by the will of the king, and
in obedience to his orders. When the doctrines had been determined by
the bench, he even thought it necessary to admonish the composers to
observe their own lesson.

[Sidenote: The king's exhortation to the bishops.]

[Sidenote: He will have all preachers agree;]

"Experience," he wrote to them, "has taught us that it is much better
for no laws to be made, than when many be well made none to be kept; and
even so it is much better nothing should be written concerning religion,
than when many things be well written nothing of them be taught and
observed.... Our commandment is, therefore, that you agree in your
preaching, and that vain praise of crafty wits and worldly estimation be
laid aside, and true religion sought for. You serve God in your calling,
and not your own glory or vile profit. We will no correcting of things,
no glosses that take away the text; being much desirous,
notwithstanding, that if in any place you have not written so plainly as
you might have done, in your sermons to the people you utter all that is
in God's Word. We will have no more thwarting--no more contentions
whereby the people are much more set against one another than any taketh
profit by such undiscreet doctrines. We had much sooner to pray you than
command you, and if the first will serve we will leave out the second.
Howbeit, we will in any case that all preachers agree; for if any shall
dissent, let him that will defend the worser part assure himself that he
shall run into our displeasure."[297]

[Sidenote: And he will find that they cannot agree.]

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the sound thereof, but
we cannot tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth, so is every one
that is born of the Spirit." Henry would have the bishops agree; as
easily could he bind the winds, and bid them blow at his pleasure. Under
conditions, and within limits which he did not imagine, some measure of
the agreement which he desired would be at last accomplished when the
time and season would permit. Meanwhile, though his task was an
impossible one, it was better to try and fail than to sit by and let the
dissensions rage. Nor was Henry a man to submit patiently to failure. He
would try and try again; when milder methods were unsuccessful he would
try with bills of six articles, and pains and penalties. He was
wrestling against destiny; yet then, now, and ever, it was and remains
true, that in this great matter of religion, in which to be right is the
first condition of being right in anything--not variety of opinion, but
unity--not the equal licence of the wise and the foolish to choose their
belief, but an ordered harmony, where wisdom prescribes a law to
ignorance, is the rule which reasonable men should most desire for
themselves and for mankind.

But if Henry erred, his errors might find excuse in the multitude of
business which was crowded upon him. Insurrection and controversy,
foreign leagues, and Papal censures did not exhaust the number of his
difficulties. All evil things in nature seemed to have combined to
thwart him.

[Sidenote: Neglected state of the English navy.]

[Sidenote: The Iceland fleet.]

[Sidenote: Piracy in the Channel.]

[Sidenote: English fishing vessels plundered by the French and the
Flemings.]

[Sidenote: Unprotected state of the harbours.]

[Sidenote: Battle between the French and the Spaniards in Falmouth
harbour.]

In the first few years after he became king, he had paid particular
attention to the navy. He had himself some skill as a naval engineer,
and had conducted experiments in the construction of hulls and rigging,
and in ship artillery. Other matters had subsequently called off his
attention, and especially since the commencement of the Reformation
every moment had brought with it its own urgent claims, and the
dockyards had fallen into decay. The finances had been straitened by the
Irish wars, and from motives of economy the ships which the government
possessed had fallen many of them out of commission, and were rotting in
harbour. A few small vessels were kept on the coast of Ireland; but in
the year 1536 there was scarcely in all the Channel a single royal
cruiser carrying the English flag. Materials to man a fleet existed
amply in the fishermen who went year after year in vast numbers to
Iceland and to Ireland,[298]--hardy sailors, who, taught by necessity,
went always armed, and had learnt to fight as well as to work; but, from
a neglect not the less injurious because intelligible, the English
authority in their own waters had sunk to a shadow. Pirates swarmed
along the coasts--entering fearlessly into the harbours, and lying there
in careless security. The war breaking out between Charles and Francis,
the French and Flemish ships of war captured prizes or fought battles in
the mouths of English rivers, or under the windows of English towns; and
through preying upon each other as enemies in the ordinary sense, both
occasionally made prey of heretic English as enemies of the Church.
While the courts of Brussels and Paris were making professions of
goodwill, the cruisers of both governments openly seized English traders
and plundered English fishing vessels, and Henry had for many months
been compelled by the insurrection to submit to these aggressions, and
to trust his subjects along the coasts to such inadequate defences as
they could themselves provide. A French galliass and galleon came into
Dartmouth harbour and attempted to cut out two merchantmen which were
lying there: the mayor attacked them in boats and beat them off:[299]
but the harbours in general were poorly defended, and strange scenes
occasionally took place in their waters. John Arundel, of Trerice,
reports the following story to Cromwell: "There came into Falmouth haven
a fleet of Spaniards, and the day after came four ships of Dieppe,
men-of-war, and the Spaniards shot into the Frenchmen, and the Frenchmen
shot into the Spaniards, and during three hours great guns shot between
them, and the Frenchmen were glad to come higher up the haven; and the
morrow after St. Paul's day the Spaniards came up to assault the
Frenchmen, and the Frenchmen came up almost to the town of Truro, and
went aground there. I went to the admiral of the Spaniards and commanded
him to keep the king's peace, and not to follow further; but the
Spaniard would not, but said 'I will have them, or I will die for it.'
And then the Spaniards put their ordnance in their boats, and shot the
French admiral forty or sixty shots during a long hour, the gentlemen of
the city, Mr. Killigrew and Mr. Trefusis, and others, taking pleasure at
it. Then I went to the Spaniards and told them to leave their shooting,
or I would raise the country upon them. And so the Spaniards left. My
Lord, I and all the country will desire the King's Grace that we may
have blockhouses made upon our haven."[300]

Pirates were enemies to which the people were accustomed, and they could
in some measure cope with them; but commissioned vessels of war had now
condescended to pirates' practices. Sandwich boatmen were pillaged by a
Flemish cruiser in the Downs in the autumn of 1536.[301] A smack
belonging to Deal was twice boarded and robbed by a Flemish officer of
high rank, the admiral of the Sluys.[302]

[Sidenote: Barges pillaged at Dover.]

[Sidenote: Redress cannot be obtained.]

The king had for several years been engaged in making a harbour of
refuge at Dover. The workmen saw English traders off the coast, and even
the very vessels which brought the iron and timber for the
harbour-piers, plundered by French and Flemings under their eyes;[303]
and the London merchants declared, that, although the country was
nominally at peace, their ships could not venture out of port unless the
government would undertake their convoy.[304] The remonstrances which
were made, of course in loud terms, at Paris and Brussels, were received
with verbal apologies, and the queen regent gave orders that her
cruisers should cease their outrages; but either their commanders
believed that their conduct would be secretly winked at, or they could
not be convinced that heretics were not lawful game; or perhaps the
zealous subjects of the Catholic powers desired to precipitate the
sluggish action of their governments. At any rate, the same insolences
continued, and no redress could be obtained.

[Sidenote: A small fleet is fitted out at Portsmouth.]

[Sidenote: A French ship is sunk in Mounts Bay.]

[Sidenote: Action in the Downs.]

[Sidenote: The admiral of the Sluys is taken by Sir John Dudley.]

[Sidenote: The English are again lords of the narrow seas.]

Henry could not afford to declare war. The exchequer was ill-furnished.
The rebellion had consumed the subsidy, and the abbey lands had as yet
returned little profit either by their rentals or by sale. The country,
however, had not yet sunk so low as to be unable to defend its own
coasts and its own traders. Sufficient money was found for the immediate
purpose, and a small but admirably equipped fleet was fitted out
silently at Portsmouth. Sir Thomas Seymour, the queen's brother, Sir
George Carew, Sir John Dudley, and Christopher Coo, a rough English
sailor, were appointed to the command; and, when the ships were ready,
they swept out into the Channel. Secrecy had been observed as far as
possible, in hope of taking the offenders by surprise. The greater
number of them had, unhappily, been warned, and had escaped to their own
harbours; but Coo shortly brought two pirate prizes into Rye. The people
of Penzance, one August afternoon, heard the thunder of distant cannon.
Carew and Seymour, searching the western coast, had come on the traces
of four French ships of war, which had been plundering. They came up
with them in Mounts Bay, and, closing against heavy odds, they fought
them there till night. At daybreak, one of the four lay on the water, a
sinking wreck. The others had crawled away in the darkness, and came no
more into English waters.[305] Dudley had been even more fortunate. "As
he was lying between the Needles and the Cowe," there came a letter to
him from the Mayor of Rye, "that the Flemings had boarded a
merchant-ship belonging to that port, and had taken goods out of her
valued at three hundred pounds." "That hearing," he said, in his
despatch to Henry, "I, with another of your Grace's ships, made all the
diligence that was possible towards the said coast of Rye; and, as it
chanced, the wind served us so well that we were next morning before day
against the Combe, and there we heard news that the said Flemings were
departed the day before. Then we prepared towards the Downs, for the
wind served for that place, and there we found lying the admiral of the
Sluys, with one ship in his company besides himself, being both as well
trimmed for the war as I have lightly seen. And when I had perfect
knowledge that it was the admiral of the Sluys, of whom I had heard,
both at Rye and at Portsmouth, divers robberies and ill-demeanours by
him committed against your Highness's subjects, then I commanded my
master to bring my ship to an anchor, as nigh to the said admiral as he
could, to the intent to have had some communication with him; who
incontinent put himself and all his men to defence, and neither would
come to communication nor would send none of his men aboard of me. And
when I saw what a great brag they set upon it--for they made their
drumsalt to strike alarum, and every man settled them to fight--I caused
my master gunner to loose a piece of ordnance, and not touched him by a
good space; but he sent one to my ship, and mocked not with me, for he
brake down a part of the decks of my ship, and hurt one of my gunners
very sore. That done, I trifled no more with him, but caused my master
to lay her aboard; and so, within a little fight, she was yielded."
Dudley's second ship had been engaged with the other Fleming; but the
latter, as soon as the admiral was taken, slipped her cable and
attempted to escape. The Englishman stood after her. Both ships vanished
up Channel, scudding before a gale of wind; but whether the Dutchman was
brought back a prize, or whether the pursuer followed too far, and found
himself, as Dudley feared, caught on a lee shore off the Holland flats,
the Records are silent.[306] Pirates, however, and over-zealous
privateers, in these and other encounters, were taught their lesson; and
it did not, for some time, require to be repeated: "Your subjects,"
Dudley and Seymour told the king in a joint letter, "shall not only pass
and repass without danger of taking, but your Majesty shall be known to
be lord of these seas."[307] They kept their word. In this one summer
the Channel was cleared, and the nucleus was formed of the fleet which,
eight years after, held in check and baffled the most powerful armament
which had left the French shores against England since the Norman
William crossed to Hastings.

[Sidenote: Fortifications of the coast.]

[Sidenote: Commissions issued for a survey.]

[Sidenote: List of fortresses built in the years 1537, 1538, and 1539.]

But Henry did not rest upon his success. The impulse had been given, and
the work of national defence went forward. The animus of foreign powers
was evidently as bad as possible, Subjects shared the feelings of their
rulers. The Pope might succeed, and most likely would succeed at last,
in reconciling France and Spain; and experience proved that England lay
formidably open to attack. It was no longer safe to trust wholly to the
extemporized militia. The introduction of artillery was converting war
into a science; and the recent proofs of the unprotected condition of
the harbours should not be allowed to pass without leaving their lesson.
Commissions were issued for a survey of the whole eastern and southern
coasts. The most efficient gentlemen residing in the counties which
touched the sea were requested to send up reports of the points where
invading armies could be most easily landed, with such plans as occurred
to them for the best means of throwing up defences.[308] The plans were
submitted to engineers in London; and in two years every exposed spot
upon the coast was guarded by an earthwork, or a fort or blockhouse.
Batteries were erected to protect the harbours at St. Michael's Mount,
Falmouth, Fowey, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Torbay, Portland, Calshot, Cowes,
and Portsmouth.[309] Castles (some of them remain to the present day)
were built at Dover, Deal, Sandwich, and along both shores of the
Thames. The walls and embankments at Guisnes and Calais were repaired
and enlarged; and Hull, Scarborough, Newcastle, and Berwick-upon-Tweed
were made impregnable against ordinary attack. Each of these places was
defended by adequate and trained garrisons;[310] and the musters were
kept in training within twenty miles of the coast, and were held in
readiness to assemble on any point at any moment.

[Sidenote: Derangement of the revenue owing to the change in the
character of war.]

Money was the chief difficulty. The change in the character of war
created unforeseen expenses of many kinds. The cost of regular military
and naval establishments, a new feature in the national system, was
thrown suddenly on the crown; and the revenue was unequal to so large a
demand upon it. A fresh political arrangement was displacing the old;
and the finances were necessarily long disordered before the country
understood its condition, and had devised methods to meet its
necessities.

[Sidenote: The abbey lands are disposed of,]

[Sidenote: And employment is found for the poor on public works.]

At this conjuncture the abbey lands were a fortunate resource. They were
disposed of rapidly--of course on easy terms to the purchasers. The
insurrection as we saw had taught the necessity of filling the place of
the monks with resident owners, who would maintain hospitality
liberally, and on a scale to contrast favourably with the careless waste
of their predecessors. Obligations to this effect were made a condition
of the sales, and lowered naturally the market value of the properties.
Considerable sums, however, were realized, adequate for immediate
objects, though falling short of the ultimate cost of the defences of
the country. At the same time the government works found labour for the
able-bodied beggars, those sturdy vagrants whose living had been
gathered hitherto at the doors of the religious houses, varied only with
intervals of the stocks and the cart's-tail.

Thus the spoils of the Church furnished the arms by which the Pope and
the Pope's friends could be held at bay; and by degrees in the healthier
portion of the nation an English enthusiasm took the place of a
superstitious panic. Loyalty towards England went along with the
Reformation, when the Reformation was menaced by foreign enemies; and
the wide disaffection which in 1536 had threatened a revolution, became
concentrated in a vindictive minority, to whom the Papacy was dearer
than their country, and whose persevering conspiracies taught England at
no distant time to acquiesce with its whole heart in the wisdom which
chained them down by penal laws as traitors and enemies to the
commonwealth.[311]

[Sidenote: Increasing ill-health of the king.]

[Sidenote: September. Approach of the queen's confinement.]

[Sidenote: October 12. Edward Prince of Wales is born.]

[Sidenote: General expressions of delight.]

[Sidenote: Latimer's letter to Cromwell.]

Meanwhile, the event to which the king, the whole of England and the
Continent, friends and enemies, were looking so anxiously, was
approaching near. The king's health was growing visibly weaker; his
corpulency was increasing, through disease and weakness of system; an
inveterate ulcer had settled in his leg; and the chances of his death in
consequence of it were already calculated.[312] The whole fortune of
the future seemed to depend on the issue of the queen's pregnancy. Yet,
notwithstanding his infirmities, Henry was in high spirits. At the end
of the summer he was with a hunting party at Guildford, and was
described as being especially affable and good-humoured.[313] In
September he was at Hampton Court, where the confinement was expected at
the close of the month, or at the beginning of October. Strange
inquiries had been made by Pole, or by Pole's secretary,[314] on the
probable sex of the child. On the 12th of October the question was
decided by the birth of a prince, so long and passionately hoped for.
Only a most minute intimacy with the condition of the country can make
intelligible the feelings with which the news was received. The crown
had an undoubted heir. The succession was sure. The king, who was
supposed to be under a curse which refused him male posterity, was
relieved from the bane. Providence had borne witness for him, and had
rewarded his policy. No revolution need be looked for on his death. The
Catholics could not hope for their "jolly stirring." The anti-Papal
leaders need not dread the stake for their wages. The insurrection was
crushed. A prince was born. England was saved. These were the terms
which many a heart repeated to itself. The Marchioness of Dorset wrote
to Henry that she had received the most joyful news that came to England
these many years; for the which she and all his Grace's subjects gave
thanks to Almighty God, for that He had remembered his Grace and all his
subjects with a prince, to the comfort, universal weal, and quietness of
the realm.[315] Latimer, in a letter to Cromwell, was still more
emphatic. "There is no less rejoicing," he said, "for the birth of our
prince, whom we hungered for so long, than there was, I trow, _inter
vicinos_, at the birth of John the Baptist. God give us grace to yield
due thanks to our Lord God, the God of England. For verily He hath
shewed Himself the God of England; or rather an English God, if we will
consider and ponder his proceedings with us. He hath overcome our
illness with his exceeding goodness, so that we are now more compelled
to serve Him and promote his Word, if the Devil of all devils be not in
us. We have now the stop of various trusts and the stay of vain
expectations. Let us all pray for his preservation."[316]

In Latimer's words, the joy and the especial causes of it are alike
transparent; but a disaster followed so closely as to show that the
mysterious fatality which pursued the king in his domestic relations had
not ceased to overshadow him, and to furnish food for fresh
superstition and fresh intrigue. The birth took place on the 12th of
October. The queen continued to do well up to the 22d or 23d,[317] when
it seems that, through the carelessness of her attendants, she was
allowed to indulge in some improper food, for which she had expressed a
wish. She caught a cold at the same time;[318] and although on the
evening of the 23d she appeared still so well that the king intended to
leave Hampton Court on the following day, she became in the night
alarmingly worse, and was in evident danger. In the morning the symptoms
had somewhat improved, and there were hopes that the attack would pass
off; but the unfortunate appearances soon returned; in a few more hours
she was dead.[319]

[Sidenote: The queen dies on the 24th of October.]

A worse calamity could scarcely have befallen the king (unless the loss
of the child had been added to that of the mother) than the death of
Jane Seymour. Although she makes no figure in history, though she took
no part in state questions, and we know little either of her sympathies
or opinions, her name is mentioned by both Protestant and Catholic with
unreserved respect. She married the king under circumstances peculiarly
agitating, without preparation, without attachment, either on her part
or on his, but under the pressure of a sudden and tragical necessity.
Her uprightness of character and sweetness of disposition had earned her
husband's esteem, and with his esteem an affection deeper than he had
perhaps anticipated. At her side, at his own death, he desired that his
body might be laid.

[Sidenote: The king shuts himself up in the palace at Westminster.]

When he knew that she was gone, he held a single interview with the
council, and then retired to the palace at Westminster, where "he
mourned and kept himself close a great while."[320]

[Sidenote: Wild rumours afloat of the causes of the death.]

In the country the rejoicings were turned to sorrow.[321] Owing to the
preternatural excitement of the public imagination, groundless rumours
instantly gained currency. It was said that, when the queen was in
labour, a lady had told the king that either the child must die or the
mother; that the king had answered, Save the child, and therefore "the
child was cut out of his mother's womb."[322] Catherine's male children
had all died in infancy. This child, it was soon believed, was dead
also. Some said that the child, some that the king, some that both were
dead. The Cæsarian birth passed for an established fact; while a
prophecy was discovered, which said that "He should be killed that never
was born, and nature's hand or man's had brought it to pass, or soon
would bring it to pass."[323]

[Sidenote: November. Anxiety felt for the child's life.]

[Sidenote: Regulations of the royal nursery.]

These were the mere bubbles of credulity, blown by the general wind; but
the interests which now depended upon the infant prince's life caused to
grave persons grave anxiety. He was but one--a single life,--between the
king's death and chaos, and the king was again a widower. The greater
the importance of the child's preservation to one party, the greater the
temptation to the other to destroy it; and the precautions with which
the royal nursery was surrounded, betray most real alarm that an attempt
might be ventured to make away with him.

Instructions to the grand chamberlain were drawn, by some one in high
authority, with more than the solemnity of an act of parliament.

[Sidenote: Inasmuch as all good things have their opposing evil,]

[Sidenote: The Prince it is likely lacks not adversaries.]

"Like as there is nothing in this world so noble, just, and perfect, but
that there is something contrary, that evermore envieth it, and
procureth the destruction of the same, insomuch as God Himself hath the
Devil repugnant to Him, Christ hath his Antichrist and persecutor, and
from the highest to the lowest after such proportion, so the Prince's
Grace, for all his nobility and innocency (albeit he never offended any
one), yet by all likelihood he lacketh not envy nor adversaries against
his Grace, who, either for ambition of their own promotion, or otherwise
to fulfil their malicious perverse mind, would, perchance, if they saw
opportunity, which God forbid, procure to his Grace displeasure. And
although his Majesty doubteth not, but like as God for the comfort of
this whole realm hath given the said prince, so of his providence He
will preserve and defend him; yet, nevertheless, heed and caution ought
to be taken, to avoid the evil enterprises which might be devised
against his Grace, or danger of his person."

[Sidenote: No person therefore to approach the cradle except the regular
attendants. All food to be assayed.]

[Sidenote: All clothes to be perfumed.]

[Sidenote: No member of the household to approach London during the
unhealthy season.]

In pursuance of such caution, it was commanded that no person, of what
rank soever, except the regular attendants in the nursery, should
approach the cradle, without an order under the king's hand. The food
supplied for the child's use was to be largely "assayed." His clothes
were to be washed by his own servants, and no other hand might touch
them. The material was to be submitted to all tests of poison. The
chamberlain or vice-chamberlain must be present morning and evening,
when the prince was washed and dressed; and nothing, of any kind, bought
for the use of the nursery, might be introduced till it had been aired
and perfumed. No person--not even the domestics of the palace--might
have access to the prince's rooms, except those who were specially
appointed to them; nor might any member of the household approach London
during the unhealthy season, for fear of their catching and conveying
infection. Finally, during the infancy, the officers in the
establishment were obliged to dispense with the attendance of pages or
boys of any kind, for fear of inconvenience from their
thoughtlessness.[324]

Regulations so suspicious and minute, betray more than the exaggeration
of ordinary anxiety. Fears were evidently entertained of something worse
than natural infection; and we can hope only, for the credit of the
Catholics, who expected to profit by the prince's death, that they were
clear of the intentions which were certainly attributed to them.

[Sidenote: Sir Edward Seymour, Sir William Fitzwilliam, Sir John
Russell, and Sir William Paulet are raised to the peerage.]

Other steps were also taken, in which precaution was mixed with
compliment. Should the king die within a few years, the natural
protectors of the prince in his minority would be his mother's family.
Sir Edward Seymour, her brother, was now created Earl of Hertford, to
give him the necessary rank; and for additional security, peerages were
bestowed upon three others of the council whose loyalty could be
depended upon. Sir William Fitzwilliam, now lord high admiral, was
created Earl of Southampton; Sir William Paulet became Lord St. John;
and Sir John Russell as Lord Russell, commenced a line of nobles whose
services to England wind like a silver cord through later history.

[Sidenote: The Privy Council requests the King to undertake a fourth
marriage]

But inasmuch as, if the danger to the prince was real, the chief cause
of it lay in his being an only child, as the temptation to a crime would
cease when, by other sons or daughters, of unquestioned legitimacy, the
success of the attempt would produce no change, and as all other
interests depending now on a single life would be additionally secured,
so on the very day of the queen's death, as on the day which followed
it, the Privy Council represented to the king the necessity of his
undertaking a fresh marriage while the state of his health left a hope
that he might be again a father. Henry, suffering deeply from his loss,
desired at first to evade a duty in which he had little interest at any
time, and which his present sorrow rendered merely distressing. He had
consented, under an absolute necessity, on the discovery of the
complicated treasons of Anne. The obligation was now less considerable,
and he hoped to be spared.

[Sidenote: The king reluctantly consents.]

The council, however, continued to urge what his own judgment united to
recommend. He saw that it must be so; and he resigned himself. "Although
his Highness is not disposed to marry again," wrote Cromwell, in the
despatch which communicated to the ambassador in France the death of
Queen Jane, "yet his tender zeal to his subjects hath already overcome
his Grace's said disposition, and framed his mind both to be indifferent
to the thing, and to the election of any person, from any part, that
with deliberation shall be thought meet for him."[325]

Persons who are acquainted with the true history of Henry's later
marriages, while not surprised at their unfortunate consequences, yet
smile at the interpretation which popular tradition has assigned to his
conduct. Popular tradition is a less safe guide through difficult
passages in history than the word of statesmen who were actors upon the
stage, and were concerned personally in the conduct of the events which
they describe.



CHAPTER XV.

THE EXETER CONSPIRACY.


Those who believe that human actions obey the laws of natural causation,
might find their philosophy confirmed by the conduct of the great powers
of Europe during the early years of the Reformation. With a regularity
uniform as that on which we calculate in the application of mechanical
forces, the same combinations were attended with identical effects; and
given the relations between France and Spain, between Spain and Germany,
between England and either of the three, the political situation of all
Western Christendom could be estimated with as much certainty as the
figure and dimensions of a triangle from the length of one of its sides
and the inclinations of two of its angles. When England was making
advances towards the Lutherans, we are sure that France and Spain were
in conjunction under the Papacy, and were menacing the Reformation. When
such advances had been pushed forward into prominence, and there was a
likelihood of a Protestant league, the Emperor was compelled to
neutralize the danger by concessions to the German Diet, or by an
affectation of a desire for a reconciliation with Henry, to which Henry
was always ready to listen. Then Henry would look coldly on the
Protestants, and the Protestants on him. Then Charles could afford again
to lay the curb on Francis. Then Francis would again storm and
threaten, till passion broke into war. War brought its usual
consequences of mutual injury, disaster, and exhaustion; and then the
Pope would interfere, and peace would follow, and the same round would
repeat itself. Statesmen and kings made, as they imagined, their fine
strokes of policy. A wisdom other than theirs condemned them to tread
again and again the same ineffectual circle.

But while fact and necessity were thus inexorable, imagination remained
uncontrolled; and efforts were made of all kinds, and on all sides, to
find openings of escape. The Emperor had boasted, in 1528, that he would
rid himself of the English difficulty by a revolution which should
dethrone Henry. The experiment had been tried with no success hitherto,
and with indifferent prospects for the future. Revolution failing, he
believed that he might reconvert England to the Papacy; while both Henry
and the Germans on their side had not ceased to hope that they might
convert the Emperor to the Reformation. The perspective of Europe varied
with the point of view of the various parties. The picture was arranged
by prejudice, and coloured by inclination.

[Sidenote: The Spanish ambassador compromised in the insurrection is
withdrawn. June.]

The overtures to England which Charles had commenced on the death of
Catherine, had been checked by Henry's haughty answer; and Charles had
replied by an indirect countenance, through his ambassador, to
Pole,[326] and to Lord Darcy. But the motives which had led to these
overtures remained to invite their renewal; the insurrection was for the
present prostrate, and the emperor therefore withdrew his first step,
and disowned his compromised minister in London. In June, 1537, Diego
de Mendoza arrived at the English court, with a commission to express in
more emphatic terms the earnest wish of the court of Spain for the
renewal of the old alliance.

[Sidenote: Sir Thomas Wyatt goes on a extraordinary mission into Spain.]

[Sidenote: Henry desires to forget the past and renew his friendship
with the Emperor;]

[Sidenote: Subject to certain conditions.]

The king had done enough for the protection of his dignity; prudence now
recommended him to believe in Charles's sincerity. A solid understanding
with Flanders was the best passport to the hearts of large portions of
his subjects, whose interests were connected with the wool trade: he was
himself ardently anxious to resume his place in the fraternity of
European sovereigns. Mendoza was graciously received. Sir Thomas Wyatt
was despatched into Spain with a corresponding mission; and Wyatt's
instructions were couched in language which showed that, although the
English government were under no delusion as to Charles's late
proceedings, they were ready to close their eyes to objects which they
did not wish to see. The proposals for a reconciliation which had been
made by the late ambassadors had appeared so feeble, Wyatt was to say,
as to seem rather a device of policy to prevent the King of England from
allying himself with France, than as intended in sincerity; M. de
Mendoza, however, had removed all such unpleasant impressions; and
although, if the Emperor would consider the past differences between the
two courts impartially, he must feel that the fault rested with himself,
yet the English government, on their side, were ready to set aside all
painful recollections.[327] There were persons, indeed, who affirmed
that the Emperor was still trifling, that Mendoza was playing a game,
and that, in "heart, deed, and words," the Spanish court were "doing all
they could to his Majesty's dishonour."[328] Nay, even individuals
could be found who boasted themselves to have refused some honest offers
because they were "knit with vile and filthy conditions towards his
Majesty."[329] The king, however, set aside these rumours, as either
without foundation, or as belonging to the past rather than the present.
He required only, as a condition or renewed friendship, that if the Pope
found the means of attacking England, Charles should bind himself to be
no party to such an enterprise, but should oppose it "to the uttermost
of his power."[330] In return, the Emperor might perhaps require that
the Lady Mary should "be restored to her rank as princess." Some
difficulty no doubt continued, and must continue, on this point. But it
was a difficulty rather in form than in substance. The king desired that
his daughter might be trusted to his honour: she might expect much from
his generosity, if he was not pressed to definite promises. Meanwhile,
she herself had submitted without reserve; she had entreated pardon for
her past disobedience, and accepted her position as illegitimate.[331]
It was likely that she would retain her place in the line of succession.
Should the king die without legitimate children, she would, in all
probability, be his heir.

In confirmation of this language, Mary added a letter to the commission,
in which, with her own hand, she assured the Emperor that she was
satisfied, entreating him to "repent," as she had herself repented; and
"to take of her the tenour."[332]

[Sidenote: The religious differences will not be composed,]

Thus instructed, Wyatt proceeded to Spain; and his reception was, on the
whole, auspicious. On both sides, indeed, the hope of agreement on
points of religion disappeared with the first words upon the subject.
Mendoza offered in London the Emperor's mediation with the Pope. He
received for answer that he might spare his labour. "The disposition of
the King's Highness was immutably against the said Bishop."[333] The
Emperor in his opening interview spoke to Wyatt of the sickness of
England, from which he trusted it would soon be recovered. Wyatt replied
that England was conscious only of having cast off a chronic sickness
which had lasted too long.

[Sidenote: But the Emperor will leave them to those whom they concern.]

On the other hand, Charles, with equal resolution, declined a
theological discussion, to which Henry had challenged him. "If your
Majesty," wrote Wyatt, "would hearken to the reconciling with the Bishop
of Rome, he would be glad to travel in it. But if not, yet he will go
through with you, and will continue ever in that mind, the same not
withstanding. And like as he is not lettred, so will he not charge your
Majesty with the argument of the Bishop's state, but leave it alone to
them that it toucheth."[334]

On these terms, apparently satisfactory, the _entente cordiale_ was
restored between England and Spain. It was threatened by a cloud in
November, when a truce[335] was concluded between Charles and Francis;
but the light suspicion was dispelled by assurances that if the truce
was followed by a peace, "the King of England should be in the same as a
principal contrahent;" "that nothing should be therein concluded which
might redound to his dishonour or miscontentment."[336] The alliance
promised stability: by skilful management it might be even more strongly
cemented.

[Sidenote: December 23. Various ladies suggested as successors to Jane
Seymour.]

[Sidenote: Christina Duchess of Milan.]

[Sidenote: Objection and advantage in this connexion.]

[Sidenote: January 22.]

[Sidenote: The Emperor accepts the proposal, and adds to it.]

[Sidenote: February 22.]

The English council were now busily engaged in selecting a successor for
Jane Seymour. Mendoza, in the name of the Emperor, proposed the Infanta
of Portugal. "The offer was thankfully taken,"[337] but was for some
cause unwelcome, and died in its first mention. Cromwell had thrown out
feelers in the various European courts. Madame de Longueville was
thought of,[338] if she was not already destined for another
throne.[339] Hutton, the English agent in Flanders, recommended several
ladies as more or less desirable: a daughter of the Lord of Brederode,
the Countess of Egmont, Anne of Cleves (of the latter, however, adding,
that she was said to be plain), and finally, and with especial emphasis,
Christina of Denmark, the young relict of the Duke of Milan, and the
niece of the Emperor. The duchess was tall, handsome, and though a
widow, not more than sixteen.[340] The alliance would be honourable in
itself: it would be a link reconnecting England with the Empire; and,
more important still, Charles in his consent would condone before the
world the affront of the divorce of Catherine. One obstacle only
presented itself, which, with skilful management, might perhaps prove a
fresh recommendation. In the eyes of all persons of the Roman communion
the marriage with Catherine was of course considered valid, and the lady
stood towards her aunt's husband within the degrees of affinity in which
marriage was unlawful without a dispensation from the Pope. This
certainly was a difficulty; but it was possible that Charles's anxiety
for the connexion might induce him to break the knot, and break with the
Papacy. On the Duchess of Milan, therefore, the choice of the English
government rested; and in January Sir Thomas Wyatt was directed to
suggest to the Emperor, as of his own motion, that his niece would be a
fit wife for the king.[341] The hint was caught at with gracious
eagerness. Mendoza instantly received instructions to make the proposal
in form, and, as if this single union was insufficient, to desire at the
same time that Henry would bestow the Lady Mary on Don Louis of
Portugal. Henry acquiesced, and, seeing Charles so forward, added to his
acquiescence the yet further suggestion that the Prince of Wales should
be betrothed to the Emperor's daughter, and Elizabeth to one of the many
sons of the King of the Romans.[342] Both princes appeared to be
overflowing with cordiality. Charles repeated his promises, that when
peace was concluded with France, the King of England should be a
contracting party. The Queen Regent wrote to Cromwell, thanking him for
his zeal in forwarding the Emperor's interests with his master.[343] The
Duchess of Milan sate for her picture to Holbein for Henry's
cabinet,[344] and professed for herself that she was wholly at her
uncle's disposal.[345] Commissioners had only to be appointed to draw
the marriage treaty, and all might at once be arranged. The dispensation
so far had not been mentioned. Mendoza, indeed, had again pressed Henry
to accept the Emperor's good offices at the Vatican; but he had been met
with a refusal so absolute as to forbid the further mooting of the
question; and the negotiations for these several alliances being
continued as amicably as before, the king flattered himself that the
difficulty was waived, or else would be privately disposed of.

[Sidenote: March. Warnings are sent from France that the Emperor is
insincere.]

Either the Emperor's true intentions were better known in Paris than in
London, or Francis was alarmed at the rapid friendship, and desired to
chill down its temperature. While gracious messages and compliments were
passing between England and Spain and Flanders, the Bishop of Tarbes was
sent over with an offer on the part of the French to make Henry sole
mediator in the peace, and with a promise that, in the matter of the
general council, and in all other things, Francis would be "his good
brother and most entire friend." The Emperor, the bishop asserted on his
own knowledge, was playing a part of mere duplicity. Whatever he said,
or whatever others said for him, he had determined that England should
not be comprehended in the treaty. The king would be left out--dropped
out--in some way or other got rid of--when his friendship ceased to be
of moment; and so he would find to his cost.

[Sidenote: Henry, however, will confide in the Emperor's honor,]

[Sidenote: But desires Charles to commit himself in writing.]

The warning might have been well meant, the offer might have been
sincere, but the experience was too recent of the elastic character of
French promises. Henry refused to believe that Charles was deceiving
him; he replied with a declaration of his full confidence in the
Emperor's honour, and declined with cold courtesy the counter-advances
of his rival. Yet he was less satisfied than he desired to appear. He
sent to Sir T. Wyatt an account of the Bishop of Tarbes's expressions,
desiring him to acquaint the Emperor with their nature, and with the
answer which he had returned; but hinting at the same time, that
although the general language of the Flemish and Spanish courts was as
warm as he could desire, yet so far it amounted only to words. The
proposal to constitute him sole mediator in the peace was an advance
upon the furthest positive step towards him which had been taken by
Charles, and he requested a direct engagement in writing, both as to his
comprehension in the intended treaty, and on the equally important
subject alluded to by the bishop, of the approaching council.[346]

[Sidenote: April 5. The commissioners meet in April to arrange the
marriages, and separate ineffectually.]

Meanwhile the marriages, if once they were completed, would be a
security for good faith in other matters; and on this point no
difficulties were interposed till the middle of the spring. The amount
of dotes and dowries, with the securities for their payment, the
conditions under which Mary was to succeed to the crown, and other legal
details, were elaborately discussed. At length, when the substance
seemed all to be determined, and the form only to remain, the first
official conference was opened on the 5th of April, with the Spanish
commissioners, who, as was supposed, had come to London for that single
and special purpose. The card castle so carefully raised crumbled into
instant ruins--the solid ground was unsubstantial air. The commissioners
had no commission: they would agree to nothing, arrange nothing, promise
nothing. "I never heard so many gay words, and saw so little effect
ensue of the same," wrote Cromwell in the passion of his disappointment;
"I begin to perceive that there is scarce any good faith in this world."

[Sidenote: Preparations for the pacification of Nice.]

Henry's eyes were opening, but opening slowly and reluctantly. Though
irritated for the moment, he listened readily to the excuses with which
Charles was profusely ready; and if Charles had not been intentionally
treacherous, he reaped the full advantage of the most elaborate
deception. In the same month it was arranged between the courts of
France and Spain that the truce should, if possible, become a peace. The
place of mediator, which Henry had rejected at the hands of France, had
been offered to and accepted by the Pope, and the consequences foretold
by the Bishop of Tarbes were now obviously imminent. Paul had succeeded
at last, it seemed, in his great object--the two Catholic powers were
about to be united. The effect of this reconciliation, brought about by
such means, would be followed in all likelihood by a renewal of the
project for an attack on the Reformation, and on all its supporters.
Nice was chosen for the scene of the great event of pacification, which
was to take place in June. The two sovereigns were to be present in
person; the Pope would meet them, and sanctify the reconciliation with
his blessing.

The Emperor continued, notwithstanding the change of circumstances, to
use the same language of friendship towards Henry, and professed to be
as anxious as ever for the maintenance of his connexion with England.
Wyatt himself partially, but not entirely, distrusted him, until his
conduct no longer admitted any construction but the worst.

[Sidenote: June. Congress of Nice.]

[Sidenote: A ten years' truce is concluded between France and Spain.
Henry's name is not mentioned.]

The affair at Nice was the central incident of the summer. Wyatt went
thither in Charles's train. Paul came accompanied by Pole. Many English
were present belonging to both parties: royal emissaries as
spies--passionate Catholic exiles, flushed with hope and triumph. We see
them, indistinctly, winding into one another's confidence--"practising"
to worm out secrets--treachery undermined by greater treachery; and, at
last, expectations but half gratified, a victory left but half gained.
The two princes refused to see each other. They communicated only
through the Pope. In the end, terms of actual peace could not be agreed
upon. The conferences closed with the signature of a general truce, to
last for ten years. One marked consolation only the Pope obtained.
Notwithstanding the many promises, Henry's name was not so much as
mentioned by the Emperor. He was left out, as Wyatt expressed it, "at
the cart's tail." Against him the Pope remained free to intrigue and the
princes free to act, could Pole or his master prevail upon them. The
secret history of the proceedings cannot be traced in this place, if
indeed the materials exist which allow them to be traced
satisfactorily. With infinite comfort, however, in the midst of the
diplomatic trickeries, we discover one little island of genuine life on
which to rest for a few moments,--a group, distinctly visible, of
English flesh and blood existences.

Henry, unable, even after the Nice meeting had been agreed upon, to
relinquish his hopes of inducing other princes to imitate his policy
towards Rome, was determined, notwithstanding avowals of reluctance on
the part of Charles, that his arguments should have a hearing; and, as
the instrument of persuasion, he had selected the facile and voluble Dr.
Bonner. Charles was on his way to the congress when the appointment was
resolved upon.

[Sidenote: Mission of Dr. Bonner to convert the Emperor. The Emperor
will not argue with him,]

[Sidenote: And Dr. Bonner becomes Wyatt's guest.]

Bonner crossed France to meet him; but the Emperor, either distrustful
of his ability to cope with so skilful a polemic, or too busy to be
trifled with, declined resolutely to have anything to do with him.
Bonner was thus thrown upon Wyatt's hospitality, and was received by him
at Villa Franca, where, for convenience and economy, the English embassy
had secured apartments remote from the heat and crowd in Nice itself.
Sir John Mason, Mr. Blage, and other friends of the ambassadors, were of
the party. The future Bishop of London, it seems, though accepted as
their guest, was not admitted to their intimacy; and, being set aside in
his own special functions, he determined to console himself in a solid
and substantial manner for the slight which had been cast upon him. In
an evil hour for himself, three years after, he tried to revenge himself
on Wyatt's coldness by accusations of loose living, and other
calumnies. Wyatt, after briefly disposing of the charges against his
own actions, retorted with a sketch of Bonner's.

[Sidenote: How the future Bishop of London amused himself at Nice.]

"Come, now, my Lord of London," he said, "what is my abominable and
vicious living? Do ye know it, or have ye heard it? I grant I do not
profess chastity--but yet I use not abomination. If ye know it, tell
with whom and when. If ye heard it, who is your author? Have you seen me
have any harlot in my house while you were in my company? Did you ever
see a woman so much as dine or sup at my table? None but, for your
pleasure, the woman that was in the galley--which, I assure you, may be
well seen--for, before you came, neither she nor any other woman came
above the mast; but because the gentlemen took pleasure to see you
entertain her, therefore they made her dine and sup with you. And they
liked well your looks--your carving to Madonna--your drinking to
her--and your playing under the table. Ask Mason--ask Blage--ask Wolf
that was my steward. They can tell how the gentlemen marked it and
talked of it. It was play to them, the keeping your bottles, that no man
might drink of them but yourself, and that the little fat priest was a
jolly morsel for the signora. This was their talk. It was not my device.
Ask others whether I do lie."[347]

Such was Bonner. The fame, or infamy, which he earned for himself in
later years condemns his minor vices to perpetual memory; or perhaps it
is a relief to find that he was linked to mankind by participating in
their more venial frailties.

Leaving Nice, with its sunny waters, and intrigues, and dissipations, we
return to England.

[Sidenote: Demolition of the religious houses.]

[Sidenote: Mutinous condition of the houses unsuppressed.]

[Sidenote: Voluntary surrenders become frequent. The friars of St.
Francis, in Stamford, consider that Christian living does not consist in
ducking and becking.]

Here the tide, which had been checked for awhile by the rebellion, was
again in full flow. The abbeys within the compass of the act had fallen,
or were rapidly falling. Among these the demolition was going actively
forward. Among the larger houses fresh investigations were bringing
secrets into light which would soon compel a larger measure of
destruction. The restoration of discipline, which had been hoped for,
was found impossible. Monks who had been saturated with habits of
self-indulgence, mutinied and became unmanageable when confined within
the convent walls.[348] Abbots in the confidence of the government were
accused as heretics. Catholic abbots were denounced as traitors.
Countless letters lie among the State Papers, indicating in a thousand
ways that the last hour of monasticism was approaching; that by no care
of government, no efforts to put back the clock of time, could their
sickly vitality be longer sustained. Everywhere, as if conscious that
their days were numbered, the fraternities were preparing for evil days
by disposing of their relics,[349] secreting or selling their plate and
jewels, cutting down the timber on the estates, using in all directions
their last opportunity of racking out their properties. Many, either
from a hope of making terms for themselves, or from an honest sense
that they were unfit to continue, declared voluntarily that they would
burden the earth no longer, and voted their own dissolution. "We do
profoundly consider," said the warden and friars of St. Francis in
Stamford, "that the perfection of a Christian living doth not consist in
douce ceremonies, wearing of a grey coat, disguising ourselves after
strange fashions, ducking and becking, girding ourselves with a girdle
of knots, wherein we have been misled in times past; but the very true
way to please God, and to live like Christian men without hypocrisy or
feigned dissimulation, is sincerely declared unto us by our master
Christ, his Evangelists and Apostles. Being minded, therefore, to follow
the same, conforming ourselves unto the will and pleasure of our Supreme
Head under God in earth, and not to follow henceforth superstitious
traditions, we do, with mutual assent and consent, surrender and yield
up all our said house, with all its lands and tenements, beseeching the
king's good grace to dispose of us as shall best stand with his most
gracious pleasure."[350]

[Sidenote: The prior and convent of St. Andrews confess to carnal
living.]

"We," said the prior and convent of St. Andrews, "called religious
persons, taking on us the habit and outward vesture of our rule, only to
the intent to lead our lives in idle quietness, and not in virtuous
exercise, in a stately estimation, and not in obedient humility, have,
under the shadow of the said rule, vainly, detestably, and ungodly
devoured the yearly revenues of our possessions in continual
ingurgitations and farcings of our bodies, and other supporters of our
voluptuous and carnal appetites, to the manifest subversion of devotion
and cleanness of living, and to the most notable slander of Christ's
holy Evangile, withdrawing from the minds of his Grace's subjects the
truth and comfort which they ought to have by the faith of Christ, and
also the honour due to the glorious majesty of God Almighty, stirring
them with persuasions, engines, and policy to dead images and
counterfeit relics for our damnable lucre; which our horrible
abominations and long-covered hypocrisy, we revolving daily, and
pondering in our sorrowful hearts, constrained by the anguish of our
consciences, with hearts most contrite and repentant, do lamentably
crave his Highness' most gracious pardon,"--they also submitting and
surrendering their house.[351]

[Sidenote: General investigation into the pretensions of images and
relics.]

[Sidenote: The blood of Hales.]

[Sidenote: Our Lady's taper of Cardigan.]

Six years had passed since four brave Suffolk peasants had burnt the
rood at Dovercourt; and for their reward had received a gallows and a
rope. The high powers of state were stepping now along the road which
these men had pioneered, discovering, after all, that the road was the
right road, and that the reward had been altogether an unjust one. The
"materials" of monastic religion were the real or counterfeit relics of
real or counterfeit saints, and images of Christ or the Virgin, supposed
to work miraculous cures upon pilgrims, and not supposed, but
ascertained, to bring in a pleasant and abundant revenue to their happy
possessors. A special investigation into the nature of these objects of
popular devotion was now ordered, with results which more than any other
exposure disenchanted the people with superstition, and converted their
faith into an equally passionate iconoclasm. At Hales in Worcestershire
was a phial of blood, as famous for its powers and properties as the
blood of St. Januarius at Naples. The phial was opened by the visitors
in the presence of an awe-struck multitude. No miracle punished the
impiety. The mysterious substance was handled by profane fingers, and
was found to be a mere innocent gum, and not blood at all, adequate to
work no miracle either to assist its worshippers or avenge its
violation.[352] Another rare treasure was preserved at Cardigan. The
story of our Lady's taper there has a picturesque wildness, of which
later ages may admire the legendary beauty, being relieved by three
centuries of incredulity from the necessity of raising harsh
alternatives of truth or falsehood. An image of the Virgin had been
found, it was said, standing at the mouth of the Tivy river, with an
infant Christ in her lap, and the taper in her hand burning. She was
carried to Christ Church, in Cardigan, but "would not tarry there." She
returned again and again to the spot where she was first found; and a
chapel was at last built there to receive and shelter her. In this
chapel she remained for nine years, the taper burning, yet not
consuming, till some rash Welshman swore an oath by her, and broke it;
and the taper at once went out, and never could be kindled again. The
visitors had no leisure for sentiment. The image was torn from its
shrine. The taper was found to be a piece of painted wood, and on
experiment was proved submissive to a last conflagration.[353]

[Sidenote: The "great sibyll of Worcester."]

Kings are said to find the step a short one from deposition to the
scaffold. The undeified images passed by a swift transition to the
flames. The Lady of Worcester had been lately despoiled of her apparel.
"I trust," wrote Latimer to the vicegerent, that "your lordship will
bestow our great sibyll to some good purpose--_ut pereat memoria cum
sonitu_--she hath been the devil's instrument to bring many, I fear, to
eternal fire. She herself, with her old sister of Walsingham, her
younger sister of Ipswich, with their two other sisters of Doncaster and
Penrice, would make a jolly muster in Smithfield. They would not be all
day in burning."[354] The hard advice was taken. The objects of the
passionate devotion of centuries were rolled in carts to London as huge
dishonoured lumber; and the eyes of the citizens were gratified with a
more innocent immolation than those with which the church authorities
had been in the habit of indulging them.

[Sidenote: The rood of Boxley.]

[Sidenote: February. The rood is exhibited in Maidstone.]

The fate of the rood of Boxley, again, was a famous incident of the
time. At Boxley, in Kent, there stood an image, the eyes of which on
fit occasions "did stir like a lively thing." The body bowed, the
forehead frowned. It dropped its lower lip, as if to speak.[355] The
people in this particular rood, beyond all others, saw the living
presence of Christ, and offerings in superabundant measure had poured in
upon the monks. It happened that a rationalistic commissioner, looking
closely, discovered symptoms of motion at the back of the figure.
Suspicion caused inquiry, and inquiry exposure. The mystery had a
natural explanation in machinery. The abbot and the elder brethren took
refuge in surprise, and knew nothing. But the fact was patent; and the
unveiled fraud was of a kind which might be useful. "When I had seen
this strange object," said the discoverer, "and considering that the
inhabitants of the county of Kent had in times past a great devotion to
the same image, and did keep continual pilgrimage thither, by the advice
of others that were here with me, I did convey the said image unto
Maidstone on the market day; and in the chief of the market time did
shew it openly unto all the people then being present, to see the false,
crafty, and subtle handling thereof, to the dishonour of God and
illusion of the said people; who, I dare say, if the late monastery were
to be defaced again (the King's Grace not offended), they would either
pluck it down to the ground, or else burn it; for they have the said
matter in wondrous detestation and hatred."[356]

[Sidenote: It performs before the court,]

[Sidenote: April. And is destroyed at Paul's Cross]

But the rood was not allowed to be forgotten after a single exhibition;
the imposture was gross, and would furnish a wholesome comment on the
suppression, if it was shown off in London. From Maidstone, therefore,
it was taken to the palace at Whitehall, and performed before the
court.[357] From the palace it was carried on to its last judgment and
execution at Paul's Cross. It was placed upon a stage opposite the
pulpit, and passed through its postures, while the Bishop of Rochester
lectured upon it in a sermon. When the crowd was worked into adequate
indignation, the scaffold was made to give way, the image fell, and in a
few moments was torn in pieces.

[Sidenote: The spirit of retribution inevitably awakened,]

Thus in all parts of England superstition was attacked in its
strongholds, and destroyed there. But the indignation which was the
natural recoil from credulity would not be satisfied with the
destruction of images. The idol was nothing. The guilt was not with the
wood and stone, but in the fraud and folly which had practised with
these brute instruments against the souls of men. In Scotland and the
Netherlands the work of retribution was accomplished by a rising of the
people themselves in armed revolution. In England the readiness of the
government spared the need of a popular explosion; the monasteries were
not sacked by mobs, or the priests murdered; but the same fierceness,
the same hot spirit of anger was abroad, though confined within the
restraints of the law. The law itself gave effect, in harsh and
sanguinary penalties, to the rage which had been kindled.

[Sidenote: And pushed into barbarous extremes.]

The punishments under the Act of Supremacy were not wholly frightful.
No governments can permit their subjects to avow an allegiance to an
alien and hostile power; and the executions were occasioned, I have
observed already, by the same necessity, and must be regarded with the
same feelings, as the deaths of brave men in battle, who, in questions
of life and death, take their side to kill others or be killed. A blind
animosity now betrays itself in an act of needless cruelty, for the
details of which no excuse can be pleaded by custom or precedent, which
clouds the memory of the greatest of the Reformers, and can be endured
only, when regarded at a distance, as an instance of the wide justice of
Providence, which punishes wrong by wrong, and visits on single men the
offences of thousands.

[Sidenote: Offenses of Friar Forest.]

Forest, the late Prior of the Observants Convent at Greenwich, since the
dissolution of his order in consequence of the affair of the Nun of
Kent, had halted between a state of concealed disaffection and pretended
conformity. In his office of confessor he was found to have instructed
his penitents that, for himself, "he had denied the Bishop of Rome in
his outward, but not in his inward man;" and he had encouraged them,
notwithstanding their oath, to persevere in their old allegiance. He had
thus laid himself open to prosecution for treason; and whatever penalty
was due to an avowal of being the Pope's liege-man had been doubly
earned by treachery. If he had been tried and had suffered like Sir
Thomas More and the monks of the Charterhouse, his sentence would have
ranked with theirs. The same causes which explained the executions of
honourable men would have applied with greater force to that of one who
had deepened his offences by duplicity. But the crown prosecutors, for
some unknown reason, bestowed upon him a distinction in suffering.

When first arrested he was terrified: he acknowledged his offences,
submitted, and was pardoned. But his conscience recovered its strength:
he returned to his loyalty to the Papacy; he declared his belief that,
in matters spiritual, the Pope was his proper sovereign, that the Bishop
of Rochester was a martyr, as Thomas à Becket had been a martyr. Becket
he held up as the pattern of all churchmen's imitation, courting for
himself Becket's fortunes.[358] Like others, he attempted a distinction
in the nature of allegiance. "In matters secular his duty was to his
prince." But, on the threshold of the exception lay the difficulty which
no Catholic could evade,--what was the duty of a subject when a king was
excommunicated, and declared to have forfeited his crown?

Forest, therefore, fell justly under the treason law. But, inasmuch as
Catholic churchmen declared the denial of the Pope's supremacy to be
heresy, so, for a few unfortunate months, English churchmen determined
the denial of the king's supremacy to be heresy; Forest was to be
proceeded against for an offence against spiritual truth as well as a
crime against the law of the land; and Cranmer is found corresponding
with Cromwell on the articles on which he was to be examined.[359] I do
not know that the document which I am about to quote was composed for
this special occasion. For the first, and happily the last time, the
meaning of it was acted upon.

[Sidenote: Anglican definition of heresy, which is extended to a denial
of the royal supremacy.]

[Sidenote: Forest is sentenced to death.]

In an official paper of about this date, I find "heresy" defined to be
"that which is against Scripture." "To say, therefore, that Peter and
his successors be heads of the universal Church, and stand stubbornly in
it, is heresy, because it is against Scripture (Ecclesiastes v.); where
it is written, 'Insuper universæ terræ rex imperat servienti'--that is
to say, the king commandeth the whole country as his subjects; and
therefore it followeth that the Bishop of Rome, which is in Italy where
the Emperor is king, is subject to the Emperor, and that the Emperor may
command him; and if he should be head of the universal Church, then he
should be head over the Emperor, and command the Emperor, and that is
directly against the said text, Ecclesiastes v. Wherefore, to stand in
it opiniatively is heresy."[360] In the spirit, if not in the letter of
this monstrous reasoning, Forest was indicted for heresy in a court
where we would gladly believe that Cranmer did not sit as president. He
was found guilty, and was delivered over, in the usual form, to the
secular arm.

[Sidenote: The image of Dderfel Gadern.]

An accidental coincidence contributed to the dramatic effect of his
execution. In a chapel at Llan Dderfel, in North Wales, there had stood
a figure of an ancient Welsh, saint, called Dderfel Gadern. The figure
was a general favourite. The Welsh people "came daily in pilgrimage to
him, some with kyne, some with oxen and horses, and the rest with money,
insomuch" (I quote a letter of Ellis Price, the Merionethshire visitor)
"that there were five or six hundred, to a man's estimation, that
offered to the said image the fifth day of this month of April. The
innocent people hath been sore allured and enticed to worship, insomuch
that there is a common saying amongst them that, whosoever will offer
anything to the image of Dderfel Gadern, he hath power to fetch him or
them that so offer, out of hell."[361] The visitor desired to know what
he should do with Dderfel Gadern, and received orders to despatch the
thing at once to London. The parishioners offered to subscribe forty
pounds to preserve their profitable possession,[362] but in
vain--Cromwell was ruthless. The image was sent to the same destination
with the rest of his kind; and, arriving opportunely, it was hewn into
fuel to form the pile where the victim of the new heresy court was to
suffer.

[Sidenote: May. Latimer is appointed to preach at Forest's execution,]

[Sidenote: Who is slung in chains over the fire,]

[Sidenote: Refuses to recant,]

[Sidenote: And is burnt.]

A day at the end of May was fixed for Forest's death. Latimer was
selected to preach on the occasion; and a singular letter remains from
him from which I try to gather that he accepted reluctantly the
ungrateful service. "Sir," he addressed Cromwell, "if it be your
pleasure, as it is, that I shall play the fool after my customable
manner when Forest shall suffer, I would wish that my stage stood near
unto Forest, for I would endeavour myself so to content the people, that
therewith I might also convert Forest, God so helping, or, rather,
altogether working. Wherefore, I would that he shall hear what I shall
say--_si forte_. If he would yet, with his heart, return to his
abjuration, I would wish his pardon. Such is my foolishness."[363] The
gleam of pity, though so faint and feeble that it seemed a thing to be
ashamed of, is welcome from that hard time. The preparations were made
with a horrible completeness. It was the single supremacy case which
fell to the conduct of ecclesiastics; and ecclesiastics of all
professions, in all ages, have been fertile in ingenious cruelty. A
gallows was erected over the stake, from which the wretched victim was
to be suspended in a cradle of chains. When the machinery was complete,
and the chips of the idol lay ready, he was brought out and placed upon
a platform. The Lord Mayor, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, Lord
Southampton, and Cromwell were present with a pardon, if at the last
moment his courage should fail, and he would ask for it. The sermon
began. It was of the usual kind--the passionate language of passionate
conviction. When it was over, Latimer turned to Forest, and asked him
whether he would live or die. "I will die" was the gallant answer. "Do
your worst upon me. Seven years ago you durst not, for your life, have
preached such words as these; and now, if an angel from heaven should
come down and teach me any other doctrine than that which I learnt as a
child, I would not believe him. Take me; cut me to pieces, joint from
joint. Burn--hang--do what you will--I will be true henceforth to my
faith."[364] It was enough. He was laid upon his iron bed, and slung off
into the air, and the flame was kindled. In his mortal agony he clutched
at the steps of the ladder, to sway himself out of the blaze; and the
pitiless chronicler, who records the scene, could see only in this last
weakness an evidence of guilt. "So impatiently," says Hall, "he took his
death as never any man that put his trust in God."[365]

[Sidenote: The bodies of the saints.]

Still the torrent rolled onward. Monasteries and images were gone, and
fancied relics, in endless numbers. There remained the peculiar
treasures of the great abbeys and cathedrals--the mortal remains of the
holy men in whose memories they had been founded, who by martyrs'
deaths, or lives of superhuman loftiness, had earned the veneration of
later ages. The bodies of the saints had been gathered into costly
shrines, which a beautiful piety had decorated with choicest offerings.
In an age which believed, without doubt or pretence, that the body of a
holy man was incorporated into the body of Christ, that the seeming dust
was pure as Christ's body was pure, and would form again the living home
of the spirit which had gone away but for awhile, such dust was looked
upon with awe and pious fear. Sacred influences were imagined to exhale
from it. It was a divine thing, blessed and giving blessing. Alas! that
the noblest feelings can pass so swiftly into their opposites, that
reverend simplicity should become the parent of a miserable
superstition! The natural instinct of veneration had ossified into
idolatry, and saints' bones became charms and talismans. The saints
themselves became invisible under the swathings of lies. The serpent of
healing had become a Nehushtan--an accursed thing, and, with the system
to which it belonged, was to pass away and come no more.

[Sidenote: Circulars for the demolition of shrines.]

The sheriffs and magistrates of the various counties received circulars
from the vicegerent, directing that "whereas prayers were offered at the
shrines which were due to God only, that the honour which belonged to
the Creator was by a notable superstition given to the creature, and
ignorant people, enticed by the clergy, had fallen thereby into great
error and idolatry," they were to repair severally to the cathedrals,
churches, or chapels in which any such shrine might be. The relics,
reliquaries, gold, silver, or jewels, which they contained, were to be
taken out and sent to the king; and they were to see with their own eyes
the shrine itself levelled to the ground, and the pavement cleared of
it.[366] The order was fulfilled with or without reluctance. Throughout
England, by the opening of the year 1539, there was nothing left to tell
of the presence of the saints but the names which clung to the churches
which they had built, or the shadowy memories which hung about their
desecrated tombs.

Only in one instance was the demolition of a shrine marked by anything
peculiar.

[Sidenote: Historical aspect of the English Reformation.]

[Sidenote: Thomas à Becket.]

[Sidenote: August 18.]

[Sidenote: The historical champion of the Church. Sept. 30.]

[Sidenote: October. His shrine at Canterbury is destroyed, and his bones
are burnt;]

[Sidenote: And an official narrative is published of his conduct.]

The aim from the beginning of the movement, both of the king and the
parliament, had been to represent their measures not as new things, but
as a reassertion of English independence, a revival of the historical
policy of the English kings. From the defeat of Henry II., on the death
of Becket, to the accession of the house of Lancaster, the Plantagenet
princes had fought inch by inch for the recovery of the ground which had
been lost. After sleeping a century and a half, the battle had
recommenced; and the crown was determined to inaugurate its victories by
the disgrace and destruction of the famous champion whose spirit still
seemed to linger in the field. On the 18th of August Cranmer informed
the vicegerent that he suspected that the blood of St. Thomas of
Canterbury shown in the cathedral was an imposture, like the blood of
Hales, "a feigned thing, made of some red ochre, or such like
matter."[367] He desired that there might be an investigation, and
mentioned Dr. Legh and his own chaplain as persons fitted for the
conduct of it. The request appears to have been granted, and the
suspicion about the blood to have been confirmed.[368] The opportunity
was taken to settle accounts in full with the hero of the English
Church. On the 30th of September the shrine and the relics were shown,
perhaps for the last time, to Madame de Montreuil and a party of French
ladies.[369] In the following month the bones of the martyr who for
centuries had been venerated throughout Europe, which peers and princes
had crossed the seas to look upon, which tens of thousands of pilgrims
year after year for all those ages had crowded to reverence, were torn
from their hallowed resting-place, and burnt to powder, and scattered to
the winds. The golden plating of the shrine, the emeralds and rubies,
the votive offerings of the whole Christian world, were packed in
chests, and despatched to the treasury. The chiselled stone was
splintered with hammers. The impressions worn upon the pavement by the
millions of knees[370] which had bent in adoration there, alone remained
to tell of the glory which had been. Simultaneously with the destruction
of his remains, Becket's name was erased out of the service-books, the
innumerable church-windows in which his history was painted were broken,
the day which commemorated his martyrdom was forbidden to be observed;
and in explanation of so exceptional a vehemence an official narrative
was published by the government of the circumstances of his end, in
which he was described as a traitor to the state, who had perished in a
scuffle provoked by his own violence.[371]

[Sidenote: Agitation of Catholic Christendom.]

The executions of More and Fisher had convulsed Europe; but the second
shock was felt as much more deeply than the first as the glory of the
saint is above the fame of the highest of living men. The impious
tyrant, it now seemed, would transfer his warfare even into heaven, and
dethrone the gods. The tomb of Becket was the property of Christendom
rather than of England. There was scarcely a princely or a noble family
on the Continent some member of which had not at one time or other gone
thither on pilgrimage, whose wealth had not contributed something to the
treasure which was now seized for the royal coffers. A second act had
opened in the drama--a crisis fruitful in great events at home and
abroad.

[Sidenote: Anxiety in England for the king's marriage.]

[Sidenote: Charles keeps up appearances till the autumn.]

The first immediate effect was on the treaty for the king's marriage.
Notwithstanding the trifling of the commissioners in
April,--notwithstanding the pacification of Nice, and the omission of
the king's name among the contracting parties,--Charles succeeded in
persuading Wyatt that he was as anxious as ever for the completion of
the entire group of the proposed connexions; and Henry, on his part, was
complacently credulous. The country was impatient to see him provided
with a wife who might be the mother of a Duke of York. Day after day the
council remonstrated with him on the loss of precious time;[372] and
however desirable in itself the imperial alliance appeared, his subjects
were more anxious that he should be rapidly married somewhere, than that
even for such an object there should be longer delay. But Charles
continued to give fair words; and the king, although warned, as he
avowed, on all sides, to put no faith in them, refused to believe that
Charles would cloud his reputation with so sustained duplicity; and in
August he sent Sir Thomas Wriothesley to Flanders, to obtain, if
possible, some concluding answer.

[Sidenote: October.]

[Sidenote: He grows cold.]

[Sidenote: November 20.]

[Sidenote: Wriothesley reports a hostile feeling at Brussels.]

The Regent, in receiving Wriothesley, assured him that his master's
confidence was well placed--that "the Emperor was a prince of honour,"
and never meant "to proceed with any practice of dissimulation."
Whatever others might choose to say, both she and her brother remained
in one mind and purpose, and desired nothing better than to see the
Duchess Christina Queen of England.[373] Her language remained similarly
cordial till the beginning of October; and, as the least violent
hypothesis is generally the safest, it may be believed that till this
time the Emperor had really entertained, or had not as yet relinquished,
the intention of bestowing his niece as he professed to wish. But from
the end of the autumn the tide turned, and soon flowed visibly the other
way. There was no abrupt conclusion--the preliminaries were wearily
argued day after day. The English minister was still treated with
courtesy; but his receptions had lost their warmth, and with court and
people his favour chilled with the changing season. He was taunted with
the English apostasy from the Church. "It is said that religion is
extinct among us," he wrote in November,--"that we have no masses--that
the saints are burned--and all that was taken for holy clearly
subverted."[374] Each day the prospect became visibly darker: from
cordiality there was a change to politeness--from politeness to
distance--from distance to something like a menace of hostility. The
alteration can without difficulty be interpreted.

[Sidenote: The Pope launches his bull,]

[Sidenote: January. And Pole's book is printed.]

The intentions of the Papal court had been made known by Michael
Throgmorton, in his letter to Cromwell. The Pope's movements were,
perhaps, quickened when the insult to the martyr's bones became known to
him. The opportunity was in every way favourable. France and Spain were
at peace; the Catholic world was exasperated by the outrage at
Canterbury. The hour was come--he rose upon his throne, and launched
with all his might his long-forged thunderbolt. Clement's censure had
been mild sheet lightning, flickering harmlessly in the distance: Paul's
was the forked flash, intended to blight and kill. Reginald Pole, his
faithful adherent, had by this time rewritten his book: he had enriched
it with calumnies, either freshly learned, or made credible in his new
access of frenzy. It was now printed, and sown broadcast over
Christendom. The Pope appended a postscript to his Bull of Deposition,
explaining the delay in the issue: not, as he had explained that delay
to Henry himself, by pretending that he had executed no more than a form
which had never been intended for use; but professing to have withheld a
just and necessary punishment at the intercession of the European
sovereigns. But his mercy had been despised, his long-suffering had been
abused, and the monstrous king had added crime to crime, killing living
priests and profaning the sepulchres of the dead. In his contempt for
religion he had cited the sainted Thomas of Canterbury to be tried as a
traitor; he had passed an impious sentence upon him as contumacious. The
blessed bones, through which Almighty God had worked innumerable
miracles, he had torn from their shrine of gold, and burnt them
sacrilegiously to ashes. He had seized the treasures consecrated to
Heaven; he had wasted and robbed the houses of religion; and, as he had
transformed himself into a wild beast, so to the beasts of the field he
had given honour beyond human beings. He had expelled the monks from
their houses, and turned his cattle among the vacant ruins. These things
he had done, and his crimes could be endured no longer. As a putrid
member he was cut off from the Church.[375]

[Sidenote: Pole goes to Spain to rouse the Emperor.]

The book and the excommunication being thus completed and issued, Pole
was once more despatched to rouse the Emperor to invasion, having again
laid a train to explode, as he hoped successfully, when the Spanish
troops should land.

The Pope's intentions must have been made known to Charles before they
were put in force, and interpret the change of treatment experienced by
Wriothesley. Whether, as a sovereign prince, he would or would not
consent to give the active support which was to be demanded of him, the
Emperor, perhaps, had not determined even in his own mind; but at least
he would not choose the opportunity to draw closer his connexion with
the object of the Church's censures.

[Sidenote: The marriage treaty is finally relinquished.]

On the 21st of January Wriothesley wrote to Cromwell that he had no more
hopes of the Duchess of Milan, and that the king must look elsewhere.
"If this marriage may not be had," he said, "I pray his Grace may fix
his noble stomach in some such other place as may be to his quiet." "And
then," he added, chafed with the slight which had been passed upon his
sovereign, "I fear not to see the day, if God give me life but for a
small season, that as his Majesty is father to all Christian kings in
time of reign and excellency of wisdom, so his Highness shall have his
neighbours in that stay that they shall be glad to do him honour and to
yield unto him his own."[376]

[Sidenote: Henry may bring the Pope to reason at the gates of Rome.]

For the present, however, the feeling of the Netherlanders was of mere
hostility. The ruin of England was talked of as certain and instant.
James of Scotland and Francis were "to do great things," and "the
Emperor, it might be, would assist them." The ambassador tossed aside
their presages. "These men," said one of his despatches, "publicly tell
me how the Bishop of Rome hath now given a new sentence against the
King's Majesty. I discourse to them how much every of the princes of
Europe is bound to his Majesty; what every of them hath to do for
himself; how little need we have to care for them if they would all
break their faith and for kindness show ingratitude: and I show myself,
besides, of no less hope than to see his Majesty, as God's minister,
correct that tyrant--that usurper of Rome--even within Rome's gates, to
the glory of God, and the greatest benefit that ever came to
Christendom."[377]

[Sidenote: February 21. Arrest of English ships in Flanders, and recall
of the Spanish ambassador.]

But, though Wriothesley carried himself proudly, his position was
embarrassing. The regent grew daily more distant, her ministers more
threatening. The Spaniards resident in England suddenly were observed to
be hastening away, carrying their properties with them. At length, on
the 21st of February, a proclamation was sent out laying all English
ships in Flanders under arrest. Mendoza was recalled from London, and
the common conversation on the Bourse at Antwerp was that the united
force of France and the Empire would be thrown immediately on the
English coasts.[378]

For a closer insight into the Emperor's conduct, I must again go back
over the ground. The history at this point is woven of many fibres.

[Sidenote: Pole's Apology to Charles V.]

[Sidenote: Henry of England "the king of fierce countenance" described
by Daniel.]

Pole's book was published in November or December. His expedition into
Spain followed immediately after; and, feeling some little misgiving as
to the Emperor's approbation of his conduct, he thought it prudent to
prepare his appearance by a general defence of his position. A
rebellious subject engaged in levying war against his sovereign might
interest the Papacy; but the example might easily appear more
questionable in the eyes of secular princes. His book, he said in an
apology addressed to Charles, had been written originally in obedience
to orders from England. He had published it when the Pope instructed him
to vindicate the severity of the censures. His present duty was to
expose in the European courts the iniquity of the King of England,--to
show that, as an adversary of the Church, he was infinitely more
formidable than the Sultan,--and that the arms of the Emperor, if he
wished well to the interests of religion, should be specially directed
against the chief offender.[379] When the king's crimes were understood
in detail, the Christian sovereigns would see in their enormity that
such a monster must be allowed to vex the earth no longer. He
recapitulated the heads of his book, and Henry's history as he there had
treated it. In an invective against Cromwell he bathed his name in
curses;[380] while the king he compared to Nero, and found the Roman
tyrant innocent in the contrast. Finally, he closed his address with a
peroration, in which he quoted and applied the prophecy of Daniel on the
man of sin. Henry of England was the king of fierce countenance and
understanding dark sentences, who was to stand up in the latter time and
set himself above all that was called God; whose power should be mighty,
but not by his own power; who should destroy wonderfully, and prosper,
and practise, and destroy the mighty and the holy people; who should
rise up against the Prince of princes, but in the end be broken without
hand.[381]

[Sidenote: The Pope writes to the Emperor,]

[Sidenote: Entreating him to attack England.]

Pole's business was to supply the eloquent persuasions. A despatch from
Paul furnished the more worldly particulars which the Emperor would
desire to know before engaging in an enterprise which had been discussed
so often, and which did not appear more easy on closer inspection. James
the Fifth, the Pope said, would be ready to assist, with his excellent
minister, David Beton. If only the war with the Turks were suspended,
the other difficulties might be readily overcome. The Turks could be
defeated only at a great expense, and a victory over them would do
little for religion. The heart of all the mischief in the world lay in
England, in the person of the king. Charles must strike there, and minor
evils would afterwards heal of themselves.[382]

[Sidenote: English agents in Rome.]

[Sidenote: Intercepted letter to the Cardinal of Seville.]

[Sidenote: The Earl of Desmond makes offers to the Pope to raise
Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Desmond will govern as the Pope's viceroy.]

The English government had agents in Rome whose business was to overhear
conversations, though held in the most secret closet in the Vatican; to
bribe secretaries to make copies of private despatches; to practise
(such was the word) for intelligence by fair means, or else by foul: and
they did their work. Pole's movements and Pole's intentions were known
in London as soon as they were known at Toledo; and simultaneously
another fragment of information was forwarded from Italy, as important
in itself, as, doubtless, the manner in which it was procured was
questionable. Access was obtained, either by bribery or other form of
treachery, to a letter from some person high in Paul's confidence at
Rome, to the Cardinal of Seville; opportunity, perhaps, did not permit
the completion of a transcript, but an analysis, with considerable
extracts, found its way into the hands of Cromwell. The letter stated
that an Irish nobleman, evidently the Earl of Desmond, had sent a
confidential agent to the Pope to explain at length the weakness of the
English authority in Ireland, to describe the impunity with which the
earl had resisted and despised it, and to state further how the same
illustrious personage, for the discharge of his soul, was now ready to
transfer his allegiance to his Holiness. "England," so Desmond had
declared, was in confusion, utter and hopeless. "Fathers were against
sons, husbands against wives, the commonalty risen one against another;"
... and "perceiving their divisions, he had been with a great part of
Ireland to know their wills and minds, and also with the bishops and the
religious houses; and not only the great men of power, but also the
people, all with one voice would be ready to give aid against the King
of England." He had added a demand which bore some witness to the energy
with which Henry had strengthened the government at Dublin since the
Geraldine rebellion. "Thirty thousand Spaniards," the earl said, "with
all things necessary for them, with artillery, powder, ships, galleys,
and pinnaces, would be required to insure the conquest." If these could
be landed, Desmond would guarantee success. Ireland should be reannexed
to the Holy See; and he would himself undertake the government as
viceroy, paying a revenue to Paul of one hundred thousand ducats. The
expedition would be costly, but the expenses would fall neither on his
Holiness nor on the Emperor. Desmond, with armed privateers, would seize
and deliver into the hands of the Pope the persons of a sufficient
number of the heretical English, whose ransoms would defray the
necessary outlay; and an insurrection in behalf of the Holy See might be
anticipated with certainty in England itself.

[Sidenote: His Holiness approves of the proposition.]

This being the substance of the Irish message, "His Holiness,
perceiving the good mind of these gentlemen in God's behalf, had
determined to desire amongst all Christian kings to have aid in this
matter for charity, to aid the good Christian people of Ireland."

[Sidenote: Ways and means to provide money. The Pope will issue
pardons.]

[Sidenote: The antichrist of England and the dog Luther his brother.]

"His Holiness says," concluded the letter, "that if at the general
council amongst the kings he cannot have aid to obtain this holy work,
then he will desire them that they will agree and consent that certain
pardons may be received in their realms, and that they may give liberty
that the bishops may constrain the commonalty to receive the said
pardons, and it shall be declared that all such money shall be used for
the conquest of Barbary; and that his Holiness will take upon him the
said conquest of Barbary with the accord of the Emperor. If the above
will not suffice, then his Holiness will give order and desire for the
maintenance and defence of the holy faith, to all bishops, archbishops,
cardinals, legates, deans, canons, priests, and curates, and also to all
sorts of monasteries, to help with certain money which may be needful,
to subdue and proceed in this good deed. And he will desire the Most
Christian King of France, and also the King of Scots, to have amongst
them aid in his behalf, inasmuch as they and their kingdoms is nigh to
the said island of Ireland. And immediately that the fleet shall be
together to go for Barbary, then shall the most part go for Ireland unto
the gentleman that hath written to his Holiness to uphold the Holy See,
that his Holiness may sustain Holy Mother Church from that tyrant of
England, the which goes to confound the Holy See of St. Peter and the
governors and ministers of it. And God give unto all good Christians
strength to confound the antichrist of England and the dog Luther his
brother."[383]

Never, perhaps, since the beginning of time had such a provision of
"ways and means" been devised for a military enterprise as was found in
the financial suggestions of this Papal Hibernian war scheme.
Nevertheless, when so many Spanish ships annually haunted the harbours
of Münster, a few thousand men might be thrown on shore there without
particular difficulty. The exchequer was in no condition to endure a
repetition of the insurrection of Lord Fitzgerald, which had cost forty
thousand pounds; and, with the encouragement of an auxiliary force,
another similar rising, with its accompanying massacres, might be easily
anticipated. Though invasion might be confidently faced in England, it
was within the limits of possibility that Ireland might be permanently
lost.

[Sidenote: Dangerous material in the hands of the Pope.]

With such materials in their hands, more skilful antagonists than Paul
III. or Cardinal Pole might have accomplished something considerable;
but Paul's practical ability may be measured by his war budget; and the
vanity of the English traitor would have ruined the most skilful
combinations. Incapable of any higher intellectual effort than
declamatory exercises, he had matched himself against the keenest and
coolest statesman in Europe. He had run a mine, as he believed, under
Henry's throne, to blow it to the moon; and at the expected moment of
his triumph his shallow schemes were blasted to atoms, and if not
himself, yet his nearest kindred and dearest friends were buried in the
ruins.

[Sidenote: Political condition of England.]

Lord Darcy had said that fifteen lords and great men had been banded
together to put down the Reformation. Two peers had died on the
scaffold. Lord Abergavenny, the head of the Nevilles, was dead also; he
was, perhaps, a third. The knights and commoners who had suffered after
the Pilgrimage of Grace had not covered the whole remaining number. The
names revealed by the Nun of Kent, though unknown to the world, had not
been forgotten by the government. Cromwell knew where to watch, and how.

[Sidenote: The Marquis of Exeter a possible pretender to the crown.]

[Sidenote: The Poles and the Nevilles.]

The country was still heaving uneasily from the after-roll of the
insurrection, and Pole's expectations of a third commotion, it is
likely, were as well known to the Privy Council as they were known to
the Pope. Symptoms had appeared in the western counties strikingly
resembling those which had preceded the Yorkshire rising, when
Cromwell's innocent order was issued for the keeping of parish
registers.[384] Rumours were continually flying that the Emperor would
come and overthrow all things; and the busy haste with which the coast
was being fortified seemed to sanction the expectation. The Pope had
made James of Scotland _Defensor fidei_. Fleets were whispered to be on
the seas. Men would wake suddenly and find the Spaniards arrived; and
"harness would again be occupied."[385] Superstition on one side, and
iconoclasm on the other, had dethroned reason, and raised imagination
to its place; and no sagacity at such times could anticipate for an hour
the form of the future.[386]

Pole's treason had naturally drawn suspicion on his family. The fact of
his correspondence with them from Liège could hardly have been a secret
from Cromwell's spies, if the contents of his letters were undiscovered;
and the same jealousy extended also, and not without cause, to the
Marquis of Exeter. Lord Exeter, as the grandson of Edward IV., stood
next to the Tudor family in the line of succession. The Courtenays were
petty sovereigns in Devonshire and Cornwall; and the marquis, though
with no special intellectual powers, was regarded as a possible
competitor for the crown by a large and increasing party. Lady Exeter we
have already seen as a visitor at the shrine of the oracle of
Canterbury; and both she and her husband were on terms of the closest
intimacy with the Poles. The Poles and the Nevilles, again, were drawing
as closely together as mutual intermarriages would allow. Lady
Salisbury, I have said, was regarded as the representative at once of
the pure Plantagenet blood and of Warwick the King Maker.[387] Lord
Montague had married a daughter of Lord Abergavenny; and as any party in
the state in opposition to the government was a formidable danger, so a
union between Lord Exeter, Lady Salisbury, and the Nevilles was, on all
grounds, religious, political, and historical, the most dangerous which
could be formed. It was the knowledge of the influence of his family
which gave importance to Reginald Pole. It was this which sharpened the
eyes of the government to watch for the first buddings of treason among
his connexions.

[Sidenote: Unsatisfactory conduct of Exeter during the Pilgrimage of
Grace.]

[Sidenote: Irregular influence exerted by him in Devonshire.]

Exeter's conduct had been for some time unsatisfactory. He had withdrawn
for an unknown cause from his share in the command of the royal army on
the Pilgrimage of Grace. He had gone down into Devonshire, where his
duty would have been to raise the musters of the county; but, instead of
it, he had courted popularity by interrupting the levy of the
subsidy.[388] The judges on circuit at the same time complained of the
coercion and undue influence which he exercised in the administration of
justice, and of the dread with which his power was regarded by juries.
No indictment could take effect against the adherents of the Marquis of
Exeter; no dependent of the Courtenays was ever cast in a cause.[389]

[Sidenote: The Marquis of Exeter high steward on the arraignment of Lord
Darcy.]

[Sidenote: He quarrels with Cromwell.]

[Sidenote: He defends Lord Montague.]

From this and other causes altercations had arisen between Exeter and
Cromwell at the council-board. High words had passed on Lord Darcy's
arraignment. The marquis had been compelled to sit as high steward; and
Lord Delaware, in an account of the trial, stated that when the verdict
was given of guilty, a promise had been exacted from Cromwell to save
Darcy's life, and even to save his property from confiscation.[390]
Cromwell may have done his best, and Darcy's death have been the act of
the king. With Henry guilt was ever in proportion to rank; he was never
known to pardon a convicted traitor of noble blood. But the
responsibility was cast by the peers on the Privy Seal. Once it was even
reported that Exeter drew his dagger on the plebeian adventurer, who
owed his life to a steel corslet beneath his dress;[391] and that
Cromwell on that occasion ordered the marquis to the Tower. If the story
was true, more prudent counsels prevailed, or possibly there would have
been an attempt at rescue in the streets.[392] The relations between
them were evidently approaching a point when one or the other would be
crushed. Exeter was boldly confident. When Lord Montague's name was
first mentioned with suspicion at the council-board (although, as was
discovered afterwards, the marquis knew better than any other person the
nature of schemes in which he was himself implicated so deeply), he
stood forward in his friend's defence, and offered to be bound for him,
body for body.[393] This was a fresh symptom of his disposition. His
conduct, if watched closely, might betray some deeper secrets. About the
same time a story reached the government from Cornwall, to which their
recent experience in Lincolnshire and the north justified them in
attaching the gravest importance.

[Sidenote: The fishermen of St. Kevern, in Cornwall, will have a
banner.]

[Sidenote: They will rise in Christ's name.]

[Sidenote: Sir William Godolphin places Cromwell on his guard.]

The parish of St. Kevern had already earned a reputation for turbulence.
Here had been born and lived the famous blacksmith Michael Flammock, who
forty-five years before had led the Cornish men to Blackheath; and the
inhabitants were still true to their character--a wild, bold race, fit
instruments for any enterprise of recklessness. A painter from the
neighbourhood came one day to Sir William Godolphin, and told him that
he had been desired by one of these St. Kevern men to "make a banner
for the said parish, in the which banner they would have, first, the
picture of Christ, with his wounds, and a banner in his hand; our Lady
on the one side, holding her breasts in her hand, St. John the Baptist
on the other; the King's Grace and the queen[394] kneeling, and all the
commonalty kneeling, with scrowls above their heads, making petitions to
Christ that they might have their holy-days." The painter said he had
asked what they intended to do with such a banner. The man gave him an
incoherent account of certain people whom he had seen at Southampton,
when he had been up selling fish there, and who had asked him why the
Cornish men had not risen when the north rose; and now, he said, they
had promised to rise, and were sworn upon the book. They wanted the
banner to carry round among the neighbouring parishes, and to raise the
people in Christ's name.[395] Godolphin would not create an alarm by
making sudden arrests; but he despatched a private courier to London,
and meanwhile held himself in readiness to crush any mutinous meetings
on the instant of their assemblage: "If there be stirring among them,"
he said, "by the precious body of God I will rid as many as be about the
banner, or else I and a great many will die for it."[396]

[Sidenote: Intention of declaring Lord Exeter heir-apparent.]

Conspiracies against Henry VIII. met usually with ill luck. Lord Exeter
had traitors among his domestic servants, who had repeatedly warned the
council that all was not right, and that he was meditating some secret
movement.[397] At length particular information was given in, which
connected itself with the affair at St. Kevern. It was stated distinctly
that two Cornish gentlemen named Kendall and Quyntrell had for some time
past been secretly employed in engaging men who were to be ready to rise
at an hour's warning. When notice should be given they were to assemble
in arms, and declare the Marquis of Exeter heir-apparent to the throne.
Here was the key to the high promises of Reginald Pole. The government
were on the eve of a fresh Pilgrimage of Grace--a fanatical multitude
were about to rise again, with a Plantagenet pretender for a leader.

[Sidenote: Private inquiries are made in Cornwall.]

But Henry would not act without clearer proof against a nobleman of so
high blood and influence. Cromwell sent orders to Godolphin to secure
the man who had ordered the banner.[398] The king despatched two
gentlemen of the bedchamber into Cornwall, to make private inquiries,
directing them to represent themselves as being merely on a visit to
their friends, and to use their opportunities to discover the
truth.[399]

[Sidenote: Evident proof of Exeter's intended treason.]

[Sidenote: Possible explanation of the conduct of his adherents.]

The result of the investigation was an entire confirmation of the story.
For several years, even before the divorce of Queen Catherine, a project
was found to have been on foot for a movement in favour of Exeter. The
object had sometimes varied. Originally the enterprise of Blackheath was
to have been renewed under more favourable auspices; and the ambition of
Cornwall and Devonshire was to avenge their defeat by dethroning Henry,
and giving a new dynasty to England. They would be contented now to set
aside the Prince of Wales, and to declare Exeter the next in succession.
But the enlistment was as certain as it was dangerous. "Great numbers of
the king s subjects were found to have bound themselves to rise for
him."[400] We have here, perhaps, the explanation of these counties
remaining quiet during the great insurrection. Exeter himself might have
been willing (if the assistance of the Emperor was contemplated he must
have been willing) to acknowledge the higher claims of the Princess
Mary. But his adherents had possessed themselves of larger hopes, and a
separate purpose would have embarrassed their movements. This difficulty
existed no longer. Mary could have no claims in preference to Prince
Edward; and the fairest hopes of the revolutionists might now be to
close the line of the Tudor sovereigns with the life of the reigning
king.

[Sidenote: October. Arrest of an agent of the Poles.]

[Sidenote: The prisoner is seen by Sir Geoffrey Pole.]

The meshes were thus cast fairly over Exeter. He was caught, and in
Cromwell's power. But one disclosure led to another. At or near about
the same time, some information led to the arrest of a secret agent of
the Poles; and the attitude and objects of the whole party were drawn
fully into light. The St. Kevern fisherman had mentioned two men at
Southampton who had spoken to him on the subject of the new rebellion.
Efforts were made to trace these persons; and although the link is
missing, and perhaps never existed, between the inquiry and its apparent
consequences, a Southampton "yeoman" named Holland was arrested on
suspicion of carrying letters between Cardinal Pole and his mother and
family. There is no proof that papers of consequence were found in
Holland's custody; but the government had the right man in their hands.
He was to be taken to London; and, according to the usual mode of
conveyance, he was placed on horseback, with his feet tied under his
horse's belly. On the road it so happened that he was met and recognized
by Sir Geoffrey Pole, Reginald's younger brother. The worthlessness of
conspirators is generally proportioned to their violence. Sir Geoffrey,
the most deeply implicated of the whole family, except the cardinal,
made haste to secure his own safety by the betrayal of the rest. A few
words which he exchanged with Holland sufficed to show him that Cromwell
was on the true scent. He judged Holland's cowardice by his own; and "he
bade him keep on his way, for he would not be long after."[401]

[Sidenote: A pardon is promised to Exeter if he will make a free
confession.]

Lord Exeter's chances of escape were not yet wholly gone. His treasons
were known up to a certain point, but forgiveness might generally be
earned by confession and submission; and Cromwell sent his nephew
Richard to him, with an entreaty that "he would be frank and
plain."[402] But the accused nobleman would make no revelation which
would compromise others. His proud blood perhaps revolted against
submission to the detested minister. Perhaps he did not know the extent
to which his proceedings had been already discovered, and still less
anticipated the treachery by which he was about to be overwhelmed.

[Sidenote: Sir Geoffrey Pole betrays the conspiracy.]

[Sidenote: Intentions of the Poles.]

Sir Geoffrey Pole made haste to London; and, preventing the accusations
which, in a few days, would have overtaken him, he secured the
opportunity which had been offered to Exeter of saving himself by
confession. He presented himself to the Privy Council, and informed them
that he, with Lord Montague, the Marquis and Marchioness of Exeter, Sir
Edward Neville, and other persons whom he named, were in treasonable
correspondence with his brother Reginald. They had maintained a steady
communication with him from the time of his legacy into Flanders. They
were watching their opportunities. They had calculated the force which
they could raise, the Marquis of Exeter's power in the west forming
their especial reliance. The depositions survive only in portions. It
does not appear how far the Poles would have supported Exeter's ambition
for the crown; they intended, however, this time to avoid Lord Darcy's
errors, and not to limit themselves to attacks upon the ministers.[403]
The death of Lord Abergavenny had been inopportune;[404] but his
brother, Sir Edward Neville, with Lady Salisbury, would supply his place
in rallying the Neville powers. The Yorkshire rising had proved how
large was the material of an insurrection if adequately managed; and the
whole family, doubtless, shared with Reginald, or rather, to them
Reginald himself owed the conviction which he urged so repeatedly on the
Emperor and the Pope, that, on the first fair opportunity, a power could
be raised which the government would be unable to cope with.

[Sidenote: November. Combination of dangers driving the government to
severity.]

If it is remembered that these discoveries occurred when the Bull of
Deposition was on the point of publication--when the "Liber de Unitate"
was passing into print--when the pacification of Nice had restored the
Continent to the condition most dangerous to England--when the Pope was
known to be preparing again a mighty effort to gather against Henry the
whole force of Christendom, this was not a time, it will be understood
easily, when such plottings would be dealt with leniently by a weaker
hand than that which then ruled the destinies of England.

[Sidenote: The king is reluctant to prosecute.]

[Sidenote: Lady Salisbury is examined by Lord Southampton,]

[Sidenote: Whom he finds rather like a strong man than a woman.]

[Sidenote: She is placed under surveillance at Cowdray.]

Exeter, Montague, and Neville were sent to the Tower on the 3d and 4th
of November. Lady Exeter followed with her attendant, Constance
Beverley, who had been her companion on her secret pilgrimage to the
Nun. It is possible that Sir Geoffrey's revelations were made by
degrees; for the king was so unwilling to prosecute, that ten days
passed before their trial was determined on.[405] Lady Salisbury was not
arrested; but Lord Southampton went down to Warblington, her residence
in Hampshire, to examine her. She received his questions with a fierce
denial of all knowledge of the matters to which they referred, and, for
a time, he scarcely knew whether to think her innocent or guilty.
"Surely," he said, in giving an account of his interview, "there hath
not been seen or heard of a woman so earnest, so manlike in countenance,
so fierce as well in gesture as in words; either her sons have not made
her privy to the bottom and pit of their stomachs, or she is the most
arrant traitress that ever lived."[406] But her rooms were searched;
letters, Papal bulls, and other matters were discovered, which left no
doubt of her general tendencies, if they were insufficient to implicate
her in actual guilt; and one letter, or copy of a letter, unsigned, but,
as Southampton said, undoubtedly hers, and addressed to Lord Montague,
was found, the matter of which compromised her more deeply. She was
again interrogated, and this time important admissions were extracted
from her; but she carried herself with undaunted haughtiness. "We have
dealed with such an one," the earl said, "as men have not dealed with
tofore; we may rather call her a strong and constant man than a
woman."[407] No decisive conclusions could be formed against her; but it
was thought well that she should remain under surveillance; and, three
days later she was removed to Cowdray, a place belonging to Southampton
himself, where she was detained in honourable confinement.

The general case meanwhile continued to enlarge. The surviving materials
are too fragmentary to clear the whole circumstances; but allusions to
witnesses by name, whose depositions have not been preserved, show how
considerable those materials were. The world at least were satisfied of
the guilt of the chief prisoners. "They would have made as foul a work,"
says a letter written from London on the 21st of November, "as ever was
in England."[408] Henry made up his mind that they should be proceeded
against. Treason at home was too palpably connected with conspiracies
against England abroad; and the country could not risk a repetition of
the Pilgrimage of Grace.

[Sidenote: Circular issued to the justices of the peace,]

[Sidenote: Directing them to search out all the cankered clergy in their
districts.]

While preparations were made for the trials, the king took the
opportunity of issuing a calming circular to the justices of the peace.
The clergy, as before, had been the first to catch the infection of
disorder: they had been again eager propagators of sedition, and had
spread extravagant stories of the intentions of the government against
the Church. Emboldened by the gentleness with which the late insurgents
had been handled, "these miserable and Papistical superstitious
wretches," the king said, "not caring what danger and mischief our
people should incur, have raised the said old rumours, and forged new
seditious tales, intending as much as in them lyeth a new commotion.
Wherefore, for the universal danger to you and to all our good subjects,
and trouble that might ensue unless good and earnest provision to
repress them be taken thereupon, we desire and pray you that within the
precincts of your charges ye shall endeavour yourselves to enquire and
find out all such cankered parsons, vicars, and curates as bid the
parishioners do as they did in times past, to live as their fathers, and
that the old fashions is best. And also with your most effectual
vigilance try out such seditious tale tellers, spreaders of brutes,
tidings, and rumours, touching us in honour and surety, or [touching]
any mutation of the laws and customs of the realm, or any other thing
which might cause sedition."[409]

[Sidenote: December 3. New trials in Westminster Hall.]

[Sidenote: The Marquis of Exeter arraigned.]

And now once more the peers were assembled in Westminster Hall, to try
two fresh members of their order, two of the noblest born among them,
for high treason; and again the judges sate with them to despatch the
lower offenders. On the 2d and 3d of December Lord Montague and Lord
Exeter were arraigned successively. On the part of the crown it was set
forth generally that "the king was supreme head on earth of the Church
of England, and that his progenitors, from times whereof there was no
memory to the contrary, had also been supreme heads of the Church of
England; which authority and power of the said king, Paul the Third,
Pope of Rome, the public enemy of the king and kingdom, without any
right or title, arrogantly and obstinately challenged and claimed; and
that one Reginald Pole, late of London, Esq^{r.}, otherwise Reginald
Pole, late Dean of Exeter, with certain others of the king's subjects,
had personally repaired to the said Pope of Rome, knowing him to be the
king's enemy, and adhered to and became liege man of the said Pope, and
falsely and unnaturally renounced the king, his natural liege lord; that
Reginald Pole accepted the dignity of a cardinal of the court of Rome
without the king's license, in false and treasonable despite and
contempt of the king, and had continued to live in parts beyond the
seas, and was there vagrant, and denying the king to be upon earth
supreme head of the Church of England."

Caring only to bring the prisoners within the letter of the act, the
prosecution made no allusion to Exeter's proceedings in Cornwall. It was
enough to identify his guilt with the guilt of the great criminal.
Against him, therefore, it was objected--

"That, as a false traitor, machinating the death of the king, and to
excite his subjects to rebellion, and seeking to maintain the said
Cardinal Pole in his intentions, the Marquis of Exeter did say to
Geoffrey Pole the following words in English: 'I like well the
proceedings of the Cardinal Pole; but I like not the proceedings of this
realm; and I trust to see a change of this world.'

[Sidenote: Treasonable language is sworn against him.]

"Furthermore, that the Marquis of Exeter, machinating with Lord Montague
the death and destruction of the king, did openly declare to the Lord
Montague, 'I trust once to have a fair day upon those knaves which rule
about the king; and I trust to see a merry world one day.'

"And, furthermore persevering in his malicious intention, he did say,
'Knaves rule about the king;' and then stretching his arm, and shaking
his clenched fist, spoke the following words: 'I trust to give them a
buffet one day.'"

[Sidenote: December 3. He is condemned.]

Sir Geoffrey Pole was in all cases the witness. The words were proved.
It was enough. A verdict of guilty was returned; and the marquis was
sentenced to die.

[Sidenote: Lord Montague also sentenced to die.]

If the proof of language of no darker complexion was sufficient to
secure a condemnation, the charges against Lord Montague left him no
shadow of a hope. Montague had expressed freely to his miserable brother
his approbation of Reginald's proceedings. He had discussed the chances
of the impending struggle and the resources of which they could dispose.
He had spoken bitterly of the king; he had expressed a fear that when
the world "came to strypes," as come it would, "there would be a lack of
honest men," with other such language, plainly indicative of his
disposition. However justly, indeed, we may now accuse the equity which
placed men on their trial for treason for impatient expressions, there
can be no uncertainty that, in the event of an invasion, or of a
rebellion with any promise of success in it, both Montague and Exeter
would have thrown their weight into the rebel scale. Montague, too, was
condemned.

The date of the expressions which were sworn against them is curious.
They belong, without exception, to the time when Reginald Pole was in
Flanders. That there was nothing later was accounted for by the
distrust which Geoffrey said that soon after they had begun to entertain
towards him. Evidently they had seen his worthlessness; and as their
enterprise had become more critical, they had grown more circumspect.
But he remembered enough to destroy them, and to save by his baseness
his own miserable life.

[Sidenote: Convictions of Sir Edward Neville,]

He was himself tried, though to receive a pardon after conviction. With
Sir Edward Neville and four other persons he was placed at the bar on
charges of the same kind as those against Exeter and his brother.
Neville had said that he "would have a day upon the knaves that were
about the king;" "that the king was a beast, and worse than a beast;"
"machinating and conspiring to extinguish the love and affection of the
king's subjects." Sir Geoffrey Pole, beyond comparison the most guilty,
had been in command of a company under the Duke of Norfolk at Doncaster;
and was proved to have avowed an intention of deserting in the action,
if an action was fought,--real, bad, black treason. Of the others, two
had spoken against the supremacy; one had carried letters to the
cardinal; another had said to Lord Montague, that "the king would hang
in hell for the plucking down of abbeys."

[Sidenote: And of Sir Nicholas Carew.]

[Sidenote: The scaffold on Tower Hill.]

The last case was the hardest. Sir Nicholas Carew, Master of the Horse,
had been on the commission which had taken the indictments against
Exeter, and had said "that he marvelled it was so secretly handled; that
the like was never seen." The expression brought him under suspicion. He
was found to have been intimate with Exeter; to have received letters
from him of traitorous import, which he had concealed and burnt. With
the rest he was brought in guilty, and received sentence as a traitor.
On the 9th of December the Marquis of Exeter, Montague, and Sir Edward
Neville were beheaded on Tower Hill.[410] On the 16th the following
proclamation was issued:--

[Sidenote: Lord Exeter is degraded from the order of the Garter.]

"Be it known unto all men, that whereas Henry Courtenay, late Marquis of
Exeter, knight companion of the most noble order of the Garter, hath
lately committed and done high treason against the king our dread
sovereign lord, sovereign of the said most noble order of the Garter,
compassing and imagining the destruction of his most royal person in the
most traitorous and rebellious wise, contrary to his oath, duty, and
allegiance, intending thereby, if he might have obtained his purpose, to
have subverted the whole good order of the commonwealth of England, for
the which high and most detestable treason the said Henry hath deserved
to be degraded of the said most noble order, and expelled out of the
same company, and is not worthy that his arms, ensigns, and hatchments
should remain amongst the virtuous and approved knights of the said most
noble order, nor to have any benefit thereof,--the right wise king and
supreme head of the most noble order, with the whole consent and counsel
of the same, wills and commands that his arms, which he nothing
deserveth, be taken away and thrown down, and he be clean put from this
order, and never from henceforth to be taken of any of the number
thereof; so that all others by his example, from henceforth for
evermore, may beware how they commit or do the like crime or fault, unto
like shame or rebuke.

  "God save the King.[411]

  "December 16, 1538."

[Sidenote: Testimony of the event to the wisdom of the executions.]

[Sidenote: Treason has bled to death.]

Executions for high treason bear necessarily a character of cruelty,
when the peril which the conspiracies create has passed away. In the
sense of our own security we lose the power of understanding the
magnitude or even the meaning of the danger. But that there had been no
unnecessary alarm, that these noblemen were in no sense victims of
tyranny, but had been cut off by a compelled severity, may be seen in
the consequence of their deaths. Unjust sentences provoke indignation.
Indignation in stormy times finds the means, sooner or later, of shaping
itself into punishment. But the undercurrent of disaffection, which for
ten years had penetrated through English life, was now exhausted, and
gradually ceased to flow. The enemy had been held down; it acknowledged
its master; and, with the exception of one unimportant commotion in
Yorkshire, no symptom of this particular form of peril was again
visible, until the king had received notice of departure, in his last
illness, and the prospect of his death warmed the hopes of confusion
into life again. The prompt extinction of domestic treason, in all
likelihood, was the cause which really saved the country from a visit
from the Emperor. "Laud be to God," said an Englishman, "we are all now
united and knit with a firm love in our hearts towards our prince. Ye
never read nor heard that ever England was overcome by outward realms,
nor dare any outward prince enterprize to come hither, except they
should trust of help within the realm, which I trust in God none such
shall ever be found."[412] The speaker expressed the exact truth; and no
one was more keenly aware of it than Charles V.

[Sidenote: Henry, on the pacification of Nice, makes advances to the
Lutherans.]

[Sidenote: Lutheran divines are sent to England for a conference with
the bishops.]

[Sidenote: The Landgrave of Hesse warns Henry to repress the
Anabaptists.]

We must once more go back over our steps. The Emperor being on good
terms with France, England, obedient to the necessity of its position,
again held out its hand to Germany. No sooner had the pacification of
Nice been completed, and Henry had found that he was not, after all, to
be admitted as a party contrahent, than, without quarrelling with
Charles, he turned his position by immediate advances to the Smalcaldic
League. In the summer of 1538 Lutheran divines were invited to England
to discuss the terms of their confession with the bishops; and though
unsuccessful in the immediate object of finding terms of communion, they
did not return without having established, as it seemed, a generally
cordial relationship with the English Reformers. Purgatory, episcopal
ordination, the marriage of the clergy, were the comparatively
unimportant points of difference. On the vital doctrine of the real
presence the Lutherans were as jealously sensitive as the vast majority
of the English; and on the points on which they continued orthodox the
Reformers, German and English, united in a bigotry almost equal to that
of Rome. On the departure of the theological embassy, the Landgrave of
Hesse took the opportunity of addressing a letter of warning to Henry
on the progress of heresy in England, and expressing his anxiety that
the king should not forget his duty in repressing and extirpating so
dangerous a disorder.[413]

[Sidenote: England accused of a leaning towards heresy.]

[Sidenote: November. The Anglican Reformers think it necessary to make a
demonstration of orthodoxy.]

[Sidenote: John Lambert is accused of denying the real presence.]

[Sidenote: He is condemned by the bishops, and appeals to the king.]

His advice found Cranmer and Cromwell as anxious as himself. The
Catholics at home and abroad persisted more and more loudly in
identifying a separation from Rome with heresy. The presence of these
very Germans had given opportunity, however absurdly, for scandal; and,
taken in connexion with the destruction of the shrines, was made a
pretext for charging the king with a leaning towards doctrines with
which he was most anxious to disavow a connexion.[414] The political
clouds which were gathering abroad, added equally to the anxiety, both
of the king and his ministers, to stand clear in this matter; and as
Cromwell had recommended, after the Pilgrimage of Grace, that the
Articles of Unity should be enforced against some offender or offenders
in a signal manner--so, to give force to his principles, which had been
faintly acted upon, either he, or the party to which he belonged, now
chose out for prosecution a conspicuous member of the Christian
brotherhood, John Lambert, who was marked with the dreadful reputation
of a sacramentary. Dr. Barnes volunteered as the accuser. Barnes, it
will be remembered, had been himself imprisoned for heresy, and had done
penance in St. Paul's. He was a noisy, vain man, Lutheran in his views,
and notorious for his hatred of more advanced Protestants. Tyndal had
warned the brethren against him several years previously; but his German
sympathies had recommended him to the vicegerent; he had been employed
on foreign missions, and was for the time undergoing the temptation of a
brief prosperity. Lambert, the intended victim, had been a friend at
Cambridge of Bilney the martyr; a companion at Antwerp of Tyndal and
Frith; and had perhaps taken a share in the translation of the Bible.
Subsequently, he had been in trouble for suspicion of heresy; he had
been under examination before Warham, and afterwards Sir Thomas More;
and having been left in prison by the latter, he had been set at liberty
by Cranmer. He was now arrested on the charge preferred by Dr. Barnes,
of having denied the real presence, contrary to the Articles of Faith.
He was tried in the archbishop's court; and, being condemned, he
appealed to the king.

Henry decided that he would hear the cause in person. A few years
before, a sacramentary was despatched with the same swift indifference
as an ordinary felon: a few years later, a sacramentary had ceased to be
a criminal. In the interval, the proportions of the crime had so dilated
in apparent magnitude, that a trial for it was a national event--an
affair of vast public moment.

[Sidenote: November 16.]

On the 16th of November, while London was ringing with the arrest of the
Marquis of Exeter, the court was opened in Westminster Hall. In the grey
twilight of the late dawn, the whole peerage of England, lay and
spiritual, took their seats, to the right and left of the throne. The
twelve judges placed themselves on raised benches at the back. The
prisoner was brought in; and soon after the king entered, "clothed all
in white," with the yeomen of the guard.

[Sidenote: The appeal is heard by Henry in Westminster Hall.]

The Bishop of Carlisle rose first to open the case. The king, he said,
had put down the usurpations of the Bishop of Rome, but it was not to be
thought, therefore, that he intended to give license to heresy. They
were not met, at present, to discuss doctrines, but to try a person
accused of a crime, by the laws of the Church and of the country.

Lambert was then ordered to stand forward.

"What is your name?" the king asked. "My name is Nicholson," he said,
"though I be called Lambert." "What!" the king said, "have you two
names? I would not trust you, having two names, though you were my
brother."

The persecutions of the bishops, Lambert answered, had obliged him to
disguise himself; but now God had inspired the king's mind, enduing him
with wisdom and understanding to stay their cruelty.

"I come not here," said Henry, "to hear mine own praises painted out in
my presence. Go to the matter without more circumstance. Answer as
touching the sacrament of the altar, is it the body of Christ or no?"

"I answer with St. Augustine," the prisoner said; "it is the body of
Christ after a certain manner."

"Answer me not out of St. Augustine," said the king; "tell me plainly
whether it be He."

"Then I say it is not," was the answer.

"Mark well," the king replied, "you are condemned by Christ's own
words--'_Hoc est corpus meum._'" He turned to Cranmer, and told him to
convince the prisoner of his error.

[Sidenote: The bishops' arguments fail.]

The argument began in the morning. First Cranmer, and after him nine
other bishops laboured out their learned reasons--reasons which, for
fifteen hundred years, had satisfied the whole Christian world, yet had
suddenly ceased to be of cogency. The torches were lighted before the
last prelate had ceased to speak. Then once more the king asked Lambert
for his opinion. "After all these labours taken with you, are you yet
satisfied?" he said. "Choose, will you live or will you die!"

"I submit myself to the will of your Majesty," Lambert said.

"Commit your soul to God," replied Henry, "not to me."

"I commit my soul to God," he said, "and my body to your clemency."

[Sidenote: The appeal is rejected,]

"Then you must die," the king said. "I will be no patron of heretics."

It was over. The appeal was rejected. Cromwell read the sentence. Four
days' interval was allowed before the execution. In a country which was
governed by law, not by the special will of a despot, the supreme
magistrate was neither able, nor desired, so long as a law remained
unrepealed by parliament, to suspend the action of it.

[Sidenote: And Lambert dies at the stake.]

The morning on which Lambert suffered he was taken to Cromwell's house,
where he breakfasted simply in the hall; and afterwards he died at
Smithfield, crying with his last breath, "None but Christ--none but
Christ."[415] Foxe relates, as a rumour, that Cromwell, before Lambert
suffered, begged his forgiveness. A more accurate account of Cromwell's
feelings is furnished by himself in a letter written a few days later to
Sir Thomas Wyatt:--

[Sidenote: Nov. 28. Cromwell's opinion of the sentence.]

"The sixteenth of this present month, the King's Majesty, for the
reverence of the holy sacrament of the altar, did sit openly in his
hall, and there presided at the disputation, process, and judgment of a
miserable heretic sacramentary, who was burnt the twentieth of the same
month. It was a wonder to see how princely, with how excellent gravity,
and inestimable majesty, his Majesty exercised the very office of a
superior head of his Church of England; how benignly his Grace essayed
to convert the miserable man; how strong and manifest reason his
Highness alleged against him. I wished the princes of Christendom to
have seen it; undoubtedly they should have much marvelled at his
Majesty's most high wisdom and judgment, and reputed him none otherwise
after the same than in manner the mirrour and light of all other kings
and princes in Christendom. The same was done openly, with great
solemnity."[416]

[Sidenote: Intentions of the Emperor against England.]

The circumstances which accompanied Pole's mission into Spain, and those
which occasioned the catastrophe of the marriage treaties, can now be
understood. The whole secret of the Emperor's intentions it is not easy,
perhaps it is not necessary, to comprehend; but, as it was not till late
in the spring that the threatening symptoms finally cleared, so it is
impossible to doubt that an enterprise against England was seriously
meditated, and was relinquished only when the paralysis of the domestic
factions who were to have risen in its support could no longer be
mistaken.

[Sidenote: Sir Thomas Wyatt protests against the reception of Reginald
Pole in Spain; but the Emperor will not refuse to see him.]

[Sidenote: The French ambassador as well as the Spanish leaves England.]

The official language of the Spanish court through the winter "had waxed
from colder to coldest."[417] On Pole's arrival in the Peninsula, Sir
Thomas Wyatt, by the king's instructions, protested against his
reception. The Emperor, who in 1537 had forbidden his entrance into his
dominions when on a similar errand, replied now that, "if he was his own
traitor, he could not refuse him audience, coming as a legate from the
Holy Father." The next step was the arrest of the English ships in
Flanders, and the recall of the Spanish ambassador; and meanwhile a
mysterious fleet was collected at Antwerp and in other ports, every one
asking with what object, and no one being able to answer, unless it were
for a descent on Ireland or England.[418] Mendoza's departure from
London was followed immediately after by the withdrawal of M. de
Chatillon, the ambassador of France. "It is in every man's mouth,"
reported Wriothesley, "that we shall have war. It has been told me that
the commission that was sent hither for our matters[419] was dispatched
only to keep us in hopes, and to the intent that we might be taken tardy
and without provision."[420]

[Sidenote: Wriothesley demands an explanation of the arrest of the
ships.]

[Sidenote: He can obtain no redress, and threatens reprisals.]

Wriothesley's duty required him to learn the meaning of the arrests. The
ministers at Brussels affected to say that the Emperor required sailors
for his fleet, and, until it had sailed on its mysterious errand, no
other vessels could leave the harbours. The ambassador refused to accept
a reply so insolent and unsatisfactory; he insisted on an interview with
the regent herself, and pointing to the clause in the commercial treaty
between England and Flanders, which stipulated, on behalf of the ships
of both nations, for free egress and ingress, he required an explanation
of the infringement. "You give us fair words," he said to her, "but your
deeds being contrary, the King's Majesty my master shall join words and
deeds together, and see that all is but finesse. If you had declared
open war, by the law of nations merchant ships should have six weeks
allowed them to depart;" while peace remained, they might not be
detained a day. The queen regent, like her council, gave an evasive
answer. The Emperor must be served, she said; the fleet would soon sail,
and the ships would be free. She tried to leave him; his anxiety got the
better of his courtesy; he placed himself between her and the door, and
entreated some better explanation. But he could obtain nothing, She
insisted on passing, and he found himself referred back to the council.
Here he was informed that she could not act otherwise; she was obeying
absolute orders from the Emperor. Wriothesley warned them that the king
would not bear it, that he would make reprisals, and "then should begin
a broiling." It was no matter; they seemed indifferent.

[Sidenote: Rumours in Flanders of the intended invasion of England,]

[Sidenote: Which may be ill-founded, but it will be well to be
prepared.]

From their manner Wriothesley did not believe that they would begin a
war; yet he could feel no security. "I have heard," he wrote to
Cromwell, "that the French king, the Bishop of Rome, and the King of
Scots be in league to invade us this summer: and how the Emperor will
send to their aid certain Spaniards which shall arrive in Scotland;
which Spaniards shall, as it were in fury, upon the arrival in Spain of
the ships here prepared, enter the same, half against the Emperor's
will, with the oath never to return till they shall revenge the matter
of the dowager." "This," he added, "I take for no gospel, howbeit our
master is daily slandered and villanously spoken against. It is possible
that all shall be well; but in the mean season, I pray to God to put in
the King's Majesty's mind rather to spend twenty thousand pounds in
vain, to be in perfect readiness, than to wish it had so been done if
any malicious person would attempt any thing. Weapons biddeth peace; and
good preparation maketh men to look or they leap. The Emperor hath made
great provision. It may yet be that he will do somewhat against the
Turks; but as many think nay, as otherwise. But he maketh not his
preparation in vain. England is made but a morsel among these choppers.
They would have the Duke of Orleans a king;[421] and the Duke of Guise,
they say, will visit his daughter in Scotland. It is not unlike that
somewhat may be attempted; which, nevertheless, may be defeated. God
hath taken the King's Majesty into his own tuition."[422]

[Sidenote: Large fleet in preparation at Antwerp.]

[Sidenote: Warning advices from Spain.]

Each day the news from Flanders become more alarming. The wharves at
Antwerp were covered with ammunition and military stores. Contributions
had been levied on the clergy, who had been taught to believe that the
money was to be spent in the Pope's quarrel against the King of England.
On the 24th of March two hundred and seventy sail were reported as
ready for sea; and the general belief was that, if no attack were
ventured, the preparations to meet it, which Henry was known to have
made, would be the sole cause of the hesitation.[423] Information of a
precisely similar kind was furnished from Spain. The agent of a London
house wrote to his master: "You shall understand that, four days past,
we had news how the Bishop of Rome had sent a post to the Emperor, which
came in seven days from Rome, and brought letters requiring and desiring
his Majesty, jointly with the French king and the King of Scots, to give
war against the king our sovereign lord; and all his subjects to be
heretics and schismatics, and wherever they could win and take any of
our nation by land or sea, to take us for Jews or infidels, and to use
our persons as slaves. We have hope that in this the Emperor will not
grant the request of his Holiness, being so much against charity,
notwithstanding that divers our friends in this country give us secret
monition to put good order for the safeguard of our goods; and they
think, verily, the Emperor will have war with the king our master this
March next, and that the army of men and ships in Flanders shall go
against England."[424]

[Sidenote: March. Danger of a surprise.]

[Sidenote: The king goes down to the coast of Kent to survey the
fortifications.]

[Sidenote: Instructions to Cromwell to place the citizens of London
under arms.]

The thing to be feared, if there was cause for fear, was a sudden
treacherous surprise. The point of attack would probably be the open
coast of Kent. An army would be landed on the beach somewhere between
Sandwich and Dover, and would march on London. Leaving Cromwell to see
to the defence of the metropolis, Henry went down in person to examine
his new fortresses, and to speak a few words of encouragement to the
garrisons. The merchant-ships in the Thames were taken up by the
government and armed. Lord Southampton took command of the fleet at
Portsmouth; Lord Russell was sent into the west; Lord Surrey into
Norfolk. The beacons were fresh trimmed; the musters through the country
were ordered to be in readiness. Sir Ralph Sadler, the king's private
secretary, sent from Dover to desire Cromwell to lose no time in setting
London in order. "Use your diligence," he wrote, "for his Grace saith
that _diligence passe sense_; willing me to write that French proverb
unto your lordship, the rather to quicken you in that behalf. Surely his
Majesty mindeth nothing more than, like a courageous prince of valiant
heart, to prepare and be in readiness, in all events, to encounter the
malice of his enemies; in which part, no doubt, Almighty God will be his
helper, and all good subjects will employ themselves to the uttermost,
both lives and goods, to serve his Highness truly.... All that will the
contrary, God send them ill-hap and short life."[425]

[Sidenote: Sir Thomas Cheyne in command at Dover.]

[Sidenote: Light English vessels watch the Flanders harbours.]

The inspection proving satisfactory, Sir Thomas Cheyne was left at Dover
Castle, with command of the coast from the mouth of the Thames
westward. We catch sight through March and April of soldiers gathering
and moving. Look-out vessels hung about the Channel, watching the
Flanders ports. One morning when the darkness lifted, sixty strange sail
were found at anchor in the Downs;[426] and swiftly two thousand men
were in arms upon the sandflats towards Deal. Cheyne never took off his
clothes for a fortnight. Strong easterly gales were blowing, which would
bring the fleet across in a few hours. "Mr. Fletcher of Rye," in a boat
of his own construction, "which he said had no fellow in England," beat
up in the wind's eye to Dover, "of his own mind, to serve the King's
Majesty." At daybreak he would be off Gravelines, on the look-out; at
noon he would be in the new harbour, with reports to the English
commander. Day after day the huge armada lay motionless. At length sure
word was brought that an order had been sent out for every captain,
horseman, and footman to be on board on the last of March.[427] In a few
days the truth, whatever it was, would be known. The easterly winds were
the chief cause of anxiety. If England was their object, they would come
so quickly, Cheyne said, that although watch was kept night and day all
along the coast, yet, "if evil were, the best would be a short warning
for any number of men to repulse them at their landing." However, his
information led him to think the venture would not be made.

[Sidenote: April. The Flanders fleet is broken up.]

He was right. A few days later the look-out boats brought the welcome
news that the fleet had broken up. Part withdrew to the ports of
Zealand, where the stores and cannon were relanded, and the vessels
dismasted. Part were seen bearing down Channel before the wind, bound
for Spain and the Mediterranean; and Cromwell, who had had an ague fit
from anxiety, informed the king on the 19th of April that he had
received private letters from Antwerp, telling him that the enterprise
had been relinquished from the uncertainty which appeared of
success.[428]

[Sidenote: The Emperor has relinquished the enterprise from a due sense
of Henry's strength.]

[Sidenote: When Germany is composed he will engage to undertake it once
more.]

[Sidenote: Despondency of Reginald Pole.]

Such, in fact, was the truth. The Emperor, longing, and yet fearing to
invade, and prepared to make the attempt if he could be satisfied of a
promising insurrection in his support, saw in the swift and easy
extinction of the Marquis of Exeter's conspiracy an evidence of Henry's
strength which Pole's eloquence could not gainsay. He had waited,
uncertain perhaps, till time had proved the consequences of the
execution; and when he found that the country was in arms, but only to
oppose the invaders whom the English legate had promised it would
welcome as deliverers, he was too wise to risk an overthrow which would
have broken his power in Germany, and ensured the enduring enmity of
England. The time, he told the Pope, did not serve; and to a second more
anxious message he replied that he could not afford to quarrel with
Henry till Germany was in better order. The King of France might act as
he pleased. He would not interfere with him. For himself, when the
German difficulty was once settled, he would then take up arms and
avenge the Pope's injuries and his own.[429] Once more Pole had failed.
He has been accused of personal ambition; but the foolish expectations
of his admirers in Europe have been perhaps mistaken for his own.[430]
His worst crime was his vanity; his worst misfortune was his talent--a
talent for discovering specious reasons for choosing the wrong side. The
deliberate frenzy of his conduct shows the working of a mind not wholly
master of itself; or, if we leave him the responsibility of his crimes,
he may be allowed the imperfect pity which attaches to failure. The
results of his labours to destroy the Reformation had, so far, been to
bring his best friends and Lord Montague to the scaffold. His mother,
entangled in his guilt, lay open to the same fate. His younger brother
was a perjured traitor and a fratricide. In bitter misery he now shrank
into the monastery of Carpentras, where, if he might be allowed, he
wrote to Contarini, that he would hide his face for ever in mourning and
prayer. Often, he said, he had heard the King of England speak of his
mother as the most saintly woman in Christendom. First priests, then
nobles, and now, as it seemed, women were to follow. Had the faith of
Christ, from the beginning, ever known so deadly an enemy?

He went on to bewail the irresolution of Charles:--

[Sidenote: He had supposed the Emperor to have been the chosen
instrument to punish Henry.]

[Sidenote: He is now alarmed for the Emperor himself.]

"Surely," he exclaimed, "if the Emperor had pronounced against the
tyrant, this worse antagonist of God than the Turk, he would have found
God more favourable to him in the defence of his own empire. I the more
dread some judgment upon Cæsar, for that I thought him chosen as a
special instrument to do God's work in this matter. God, as we see in
the Scriptures, was wont to stir up adversaries against those whom he
desired to punish; and when I saw that enemy of all good in his decline
into impiety commencing with an attack on Cæsar's honour and Cæsar's
family, what could I think but that, as Cæsar's piety was known to all
men, so God was in this manner influencing him to avenge the Church's
wrongs with his own? Now we must fear for Cæsar himself. Other princes
are ready in God's cause. He in whom all our hopes were centered is not
ready. I have no consolation, save it be my faith in God and in
Providence. To Him who alone can save let us offer our prayers, and
await his will in patience."[431]

[Sidenote: May 8. The London train bands reviewed by the king.]

A gleam of pageantry shoots suddenly across the sky. Pole delighted to
picture his countrymen to himself cowering in terror before a cruel
tyrant, mourning their ruined faith and murdered nobility. The
impression was known to have contributed so largely to the hopes of the
Catholics abroad, that the opportunity was taken to display publicly the
real disposition of the nation. All England had been under arms in
expectation of invasion; before the martial humour died away, the
delight of the English in splendid shows was indulged with a military
spectacle. On the 8th of May a review was held of the musters of the
city of London.

"The King's Grace," says a contemporary record, "who never ceased to
take pains for the advancement of the commonwealth, was informed by his
trusty friends how that the cankered and venomous serpent Paul, Bishop
of Rome, and the archtraitor Reginald Pole, had moved and stirred the
potentates of Christendom to invade the realm of England with mortal
war, and extermine and destroy the whole nation with fire and sword."

The king, therefore, in his own person, "had taken painful and laborious
journeys towards the sea coast," to prevent the invasion of his enemies;
he had fortified all the coasts both of England and Wales; he had "set
his navy in readiness at Portsmouth," "in all things furnished for the
wars." The people had been called under arms, and the "harness viewed,"
in all counties in the realm; and the Lord Mayor of London was
instructed by the Lord Thomas Cromwell that the King's Majesty "of his
most gentle nature" would take the pains to see "his loving and
benevolent subjects muster in order before his Excellent Highness."

The mayor and his brethren "determined, after long consultation," "that
no alien, though he were a denizen, should muster," but only native-born
English; and "for especial considerations, they thought it not
convenient" that all their able-bodied men should be absent from the
City at once. They would have but a picked number; "such as were able
persons, and had white harness and white coats, bows, arrows, bills, or
poleaxes, and none other except such as bare morris pikes or handguns;"
the whole to be "in white hosen and cleanly shod."

"And when it was known," says the record, "that the king himself would
see the muster, to see how gladly every man prepared him, what desire
every man had to do his prince service, it was a joyful sight to behold
of every Englishman."

White was the City uniform. The lord mayor and the aldermen rode in
white armour, with light coats of black velvet, and the arms of London
embroidered on them. Massive gold chains hung on their breasts. Their
caps were of velvet with plumes; and steel battle-axes were slung at
their side. Every alderman was attended by a body-guard, in white silk,
with gilded halberds. The richer citizens were in white silk also, "with
broaches and owches," and "breast-plates studded with silver." The
remainder had white coats of cotton, worked into a uniform, with the
City arms, white shoes, and long woven, closely-fitting hose; "every man
with a sword and dagger," besides his special arms. The whole number to
be reviewed were fifteen thousand men, divided into battles or
battalions of five thousand each. The aldermen were at the head each of
his ward. The wards were in companies of archers, pikemen, musketeers,
and artillery. A preliminary review was held on the evening of the 7th
of May. The next morning, before six o'clock, "all the fields from
Whitechapel to Mile-end, from Bethnal-green to Radcliffe and Stepney,
were covered with men in bright harness, with glistening weapons." "The
battle of pikes, when they stood still, seemed a great wood."

At eight o'clock the advance began to move, each division being attended
by a hundred and twenty outriders, to keep stragglers into line. First
came thirteen fieldpieces, "with powder and stones in carts," followed
by the banners of the City, the musketeers, "five in a rank, every rank
five foot from another, and every shoulder even with his fellows; "and
next them the archers, five in a rank also, "and between every man his
bow's length."

After the archers came "the pikemen," and then "the billmen"; the five
companies with their officers on horseback, their colours, and their
separate bands.

The other divisions were preceded by an equal number of cannon. At the
rear of the second, the banner of St. George was carried, and the banner
of the Prince of Wales. Behind these, "at a convenient distance," the
sword-bearer of London, in white damask, "upon a goodly horse, freshly
trapped," with the sword of the City, "the scabbard whereof was set full
of orient pearl." Here, too, came the splendid cavalcade of Sir William
Foreman, the lord mayor, with himself in person,--a blaze of white silk,
white satin, gold, crimson, and waving plumes,--the choice company of
the City; the retinue being composed, for their especial worth and
approved valour, of the attorneys, the barristers, their clerks, and the
clerks of the courts of law, with white silk over their armour, and
chains, and clasps.

The first battalion entered the City at Aldgate, before nine o'clock,
and "so passed through the streets in good order, after a warlike
fashion, till they came to Westminster." Here, in front of the palace,
the king was standing on a platform, "with the nobility." As the troops
passed by, they fired volleys of musketry; the heavy guns were
manœuvred, and "shot off very terribly;" "and so all three battles, in
the order afore rehearsed, one after another, passed through the great
Sanctuary at Westminster, and so about the park at St. James's, into a
great field before the same place, where the king, standing in his
gate-house at Westminster, might both see them that came forward and
also them that were passed before. Thence from St. James's fields the
whole army passed through Holborn, and so into Cheap, and at Leaden Hall
severed and departed: and the last alderman came into Cheap about five
of the clock; so that from nine of the clock in the forenoon till five
at afternoon this muster was not ended."

"To see how full of lords, ladies, and gentlemen," continues the
authority, "the windows in every street were, and how the streets of the
City were replenished with people, many men would have thought that they
that had mustered had rather been strangers than citizens, considering
that the streets everywhere were full of people; which was to strangers
a great marvel.

"Whatsoever was done, and whatsoever pains was taken, all was to the
citizens a great gladness; as to them also which with heart and mind
would serve their sovereign lord King Henry the Eighth, whose High
Majesty, with his noble infant Prince Edward, they daily pray unto God
Almighty long to preserve in health, honour, and prosperity."[432]



CHAPTER XVI.

THE SIX ARTICLES.


The three centuries which have passed over the world since the
Reformation have soothed the theological animosities which they have
failed wholly to obliterate. An enlarged experience of one another has
taught believers of all sects that their differences need not be pressed
into mortal hatred; and we have been led forward unconsciously into a
recognition of a broader Christianity than as yet we are able to
profess, in the respectful acknowledgment of excellence wherever
excellence is found. Where we see piety, continence, courage,
self-forgetfulness, there, or not far off, we know is the spirit of the
Almighty; and, as we look around us among our living contemporaries, or
look back with open eyes into the history of the past, we see--we dare
not in voluntary blindness say that we do not see--that God is no
respecter of "denominations," any more than he is a respecter of
persons. His highest gifts are shed abroad with an even hand among the
sects of Christendom, and petty distinctions of opinion melt away and
become invisible in the fulness of a grander truth.

Thus, even among the straitest sects whose theories least allow room for
latitude, liberty of conscience has found recognition, and has become
the law of modern thought. It is as if the ancient Catholic unity,
which was divided in the sixteenth century into separate streams of
doctrine, as light is divided by the prism, was again imperceptibly
returning; as if the coloured rays were once more blending themselves
together in a purer and more rich transparency.

In this happy change of disposition, we have a difficulty in
comprehending the intensity with which the different religious parties
in England, as well as on the Continent, once detested each other. The
fact is manifest; but the understanding refuses to realize its causes.
We can perceive, indeed, that there may have been a fiery antagonism
between Catholics and Reformers; but the animosities between Protestant
and Protestant, the feeling which led Barnes to prosecute Lambert, or
the Landgrave of Hesse to urge Henry VIII. to burn the Anabaptists, is
obscure and unintelligible. Nevertheless, the more difficult it may be
to imagine the nature of such a feeling, the more essential is it to
bear in mind the reality of its existence; and a consequent and
corollary upon it of no small importance must also be carefully
remembered, that in the descending scale of the movement no sect or
party recognised any shadow of division among those who were more
advanced than themselves. To the Romanist, schism and heresy were an
equal crime. All who had separated from the Papal communion were alike
outcasts, cut off from grace, children of perdition. The Anglican could
extend the terms of salvation only to those who submitted to ordinances,
to the apostolical succession, and the system of the sacraments; the
Lutherans anathematized those who denied the real presence; the
followers of Zuinglius and Calvin, judging others as they were
themselves judged, disclaimed such as had difficulties on the nature of
the Trinity; the Unitarians gave the same measure to those who rejected
the inspiration of Scripture; and with the word "heretic" went along the
full passion of abhorrence which had descended the historical stream of
Christianity in connexion with the name.

[Sidenote: State of religious parties in England.]

Desiring the reader, then, to keep these points prominently before him,
I must now describe briefly the position of the religious parties in
England at the existing crisis.

[Sidenote: The Romanists.]

First, there was the party of insurrection, the avowed or secret
Romanists, those who denied the royal supremacy, who regarded the Pope
as their spiritual sovereign, and retained or abjured their allegiance
to their temporal prince as the Pope permitted or ordered. These were
traitors in England, the hope of the Catholic powers abroad. When
detected and obstinate, they were liable to execution; but they were
cowed by defeat and by the death of their leaders, and for the present
were subsiding towards insignificance.

[Sidenote: The Anglicans.]

Secondly, there were the Anglicans, strictly orthodox in the speculative
system of the faith, content to separate from Rome, but only that they
might bear Italian fruit more profusely and luxuriantly when rooted in
their own soil. Of these the avowed leaders were the majority of the
bishops and the peers of the old creation, agreeing for the present to
make the experiment of independence, but with a secret dislike to
change, and a readiness, should occasion require, to return to the
central communion. Weak in their reasoning, and selfish in their
objects, the Anglicans were of importance only from the support of the
conservative English instinct, which then as ever preferred the
authority of precedent to any other guide, and defended established
opinions and established institutions because they had received them
from their fathers, and because their understandings were slow in
entertaining new convictions.

[Sidenote: The Lutherans.]

To the third or Lutheran party, belonged Cranmer, Latimer, Barnes,
Shaxton, Crome, Hilsey, Jerome, Barlow, all the government Reformers of
position and authority, adhering to the real presence, and, in a general
sense, to the sacraments, but melting them away in the interpretation.
The true creed of these men was spiritual, not mechanical. They abhorred
idolatry, images, pilgrimages, ceremonies, with a Puritan fervour. They
followed Luther in the belief in justification by faith, they rejected
masses, they did not receive the sacerdotal system, they doubted
purgatory, they desired that the clergy should be allowed to marry, they
differed from the Protestants in the single but vital doctrine of
transubstantiation. This party after a few years ceased to exist,
developing gradually from the type of Wittenberg to that of Geneva.

[Sidenote: The Protestants proper.]

Lastly, and still confounded in a common mass of abomination, lay
Zuinglians, Anabaptists, sacramentarians, outcasts disowned and cursed
by all the rest as a stigma and reproach; those whose hearts were in the
matter, who supplied the heat which had melted the crust of habit, and
had made the Reformation possible.

[Sidenote: The creed of Cromwell.]

[Sidenote: The creed of the king.]

[Sidenote: Parties in the Privy Council.]

For the present the struggle in the state lay between the Anglicans and
the Lutherans--the king and Cromwell lying again between them. Cromwell,
on the whole orthodox in matters of speculation, cared, nevertheless,
little for such matters; his true creed was a hatred of charlatans, and
of the system which nursed and gave them power; and his sympathy was
gradually bursting the bounds of a tradition which continued to hamper
him. The king was constant to his place of mediator; he insisted on the
sacraments, yet he abhorred the magical aspect of them. He differed from
the Anglican in his zeal for the dissemination of the Bible, in his
detestation of the frauds, impostures, profligacies, idlenesses,
ignorances, which had disgraced equally the secular and regular clergy,
and in his fixed English resolution never more to tolerate the authority
of the Pope. He differed from the Lutherans, and thus more and more from
Cromwell, in his dislike of theoretic novelties, in an inability to
clear himself from attaching a special character to the priesthood, in
an adherence generally to the historical faith, and an anxiety to save
himself and the country from the reproach of apostacy. A sharp line
divided the Privy Council. Cranmer headed the Reformers, supported by
the late-created peers, Cromwell, Lord Russell, and for a time Lord
Southampton and the lord chancellor; opposed to these were the Dukes of
Norfolk and Suffolk, Sir Anthony Brown, Gardiner, Bonner who was now
Bishop of London, the Bishops of Durham, Chichester, and Lincoln; and
the two parties regarded each other across the board with ever deepening
hatred, with eyes watching for any slip which might betray their
antagonists to the powers of the law, and were only prevented by the
king's will from flying into open opposition.

[Sidenote: The confidence of the middle classes in the king.]

In the country, the sympathy of the middle classes was, for the most
part, with Henry in preference to either Cranmer or Gardiner, Norfolk or
Cromwell. Even in the Pilgrimage of Grace the king had been
distinguished from his advisers. A general approbation of the revolt
from a foreign usurpation led the body of the nation to support him
cordially against the Pope; and therefore, as long as there was danger
from Paul or Paul's friends, in England or out of it, Cromwell remained
in power as the chief instrument by which the Papal domination had been
overthrown. But there was an understanding felt, if not avowed, both by
sovereign and subjects, that even loyalty had its limits. If it were
true--as the king had ever assured them that it was not true--that
Cromwell was not only maintaining English independence and reforming
practical abuses, but encouraging the dreaded and hated "heresy," then
indeed their duties and their conduct might assume another aspect.

[Sidenote: The prospects of Cromwell slowly clouding.]

And seeing that this "heresy," that faith in God and the Bible, as
distinguished from faith in Catholicism, was the root and the life of
the whole change, that the political and practical revolution was but an
_alteration of season_, necessary for the nurture of the divine seed
which an invisible hand had sown--seeing that Cromwell himself was
opening his eyes to know this important fact, and would follow
fearlessly wherever his convictions might lead him, appearances boded
ill for the terms on which he might soon be standing with the king, ill
for the "unity and concord" which the king imagined to be possible.

[Sidenote: Division continues to spread.]

Twice already we have seen Henry pouring oil over the water. The
"Articles of Religion" and the "Institution of a Christian Man" had
contained, perhaps, the highest wisdom on the debated subjects which as
yet admitted of being expressed in words. But they had fallen powerless.
The decree had gone out, but the war of words had not ceased. The Gospel
had brought with it its old credentials. It had divided nation against
nation, house against house, child against father. It had brought, "not
peace, but a sword:" the event long ago foretold and long ago
experienced. But Henry could not understand the signs of the times; and
once again he appealed to his subjects in language of pathetic reproach.

[Sidenote: The king desiring to act as moderator between two extremes,]

[Sidenote: Deplores the quarrels which arise from trifles.]

[Sidenote: The dull and the quick should learn to draw in one yoke.]

"The King's Highness to all and singular his loving subjects sends his
greeting. His Majesty, desiring othing more than to plant Christ and his
doctrine in all his people's hearts, hath thought good to declare how
much he is offended with all them that wring and wrest his words,
driving them to the maintenance of their fantasies, abuses, and naughty
opinions; not regarding how his Highness, as a judge indifferent between
two parties, whereof the one is too rash and the other too dull,
laboureth for agreement. Seeing the breach of small matters to be cause
of great dissension, his Highness had charged his subjects to observe
such ceremonies and rites as have been heretofore used in his Church,
giving therewith commandment to the bishops and curates to instruct the
people what ceremonies are, what good they do when not misused, what
hurt when taken to be of more efficacy and strength than they are. His
Highness, being careful over all his people, is as loath that the dull
party should fancy their ceremonies to be the chief points of Christian
religion, as he is miscontent with the rash party which hunt down what
they list without the consent of his Grace's authority. His Highness
wills that the disobedience of them that seek their lusts and liberties
shall be repressed, and they to bear the infirmity and weakness of
their neighbours until such time as they, enstrengthened, may be able to
go in like pace with them, able to draw in one yoke: for St. Paul would
a decent order in the Church; and, because God is a God of peace and not
of dissension, it were meet that all they that would be his should agree
on all points, and especially in matters of religion.

[Sidenote: The object of sacraments and ceremonies,]

[Sidenote: Which are signs of holy things, not instruments of
salvation;]

[Sidenote: But the priests are more careful over the form than the
matter.]

[Sidenote: Ceremonies must be used for the present, but used without
superstition.]

"God's will, love, and goodness ought, with all reverence, to be kept in
memory; and therefore the old forefathers thought it well done that
certain occasions might be devised to keep them in remembrance, and so
invented signs and tokens which, being seen of the eye, might put the
heart in mind of his will and promises. For, as the word is a token that
warneth us by the ear, so the sacraments ordained by Christ, and
ceremonies invented by men, are sensible tokens to warn us by the eye of
that self-same will and pleasure that the word doth; and, as the word is
but an idle voice without it be understood, so are all ceremonies but
beggarly things, dumb and dead, if the meaning of them be not known.
They are but means and paths to religion, made to shew where Christian
people must seek their comfort and where they must establish their
belief, and not to be taken as savers or workers of any part of
salvation. But his Grace seeth priests much readier to deal holy bread,
to sprinkle holy water, than to teach the people what dealing or
sprinkling sheweth. If the priests would exhort their parishioners, and
put them in remembrance of the things that indeed work all our
salvation, neither the ceremonies should be dumb nor the people would
take that that is the way of their journey to be the end of their
journey. Neither bread nor water nor any indifferent thing can be holy,
but it be because it bringeth men to holy thoughts, to godly
contemplations, and telleth them where they may and must seek holiness.
Ceremonies cannot yet be put down, because the people are evil taught,
and would be much offended with the sudden overthrow of them; but, if
they be used, their meaning and signification not declared, they are
nought else but shadows without a body--shells where there is no
kernel--seals of decision without any writing--witnesses without any
covenant, text, or promise. And for this cause the King's Highness
commanded that ceremonies should be used, and used without superstition;
and now, of late, some have blurted in the people's ears that their
ceremonies be come home again, taking them as things in themselves
necessary--slandering all such as, in their preaching, have reproved the
misuse of them.

[Sidenote: For all past offences the king grants a general pardon.]

[Sidenote: And he trusts that they will remember and deserve his
clemency.]

"The King's Highness, being grounded upon a surer foundation than to
waver or revoke any his former injunctions, might worthily punish such
wresters of his words and changers of his will and pleasure; but for as
much as his Grace is persuaded that clemency often times worketh more
than pain can, and seeing many of his loving subjects punished since his
last proclamation, not only for evil opinions, but also for words spoken
of long time past, his Grace, tendering nothing more than the wealth and
comfort of his subjects, doth think it meet rather to heal all diseased,
fearful, and hollow hearts, than by dread and fear to keep them still
faint friends--faint to God, faint to the truth, faint to his Highness.
And, in this consideration, his Highness granteth a general pardon and
discharge to all and singular his loving subjects for all and singular
causes, matters, suits, preachings, writings, and other things by them
or any or them done, had, made, defended, or spoken, touching matters of
Christian religion, whereby they might have been brought in danger of
the law for suspicion of heresy. And his Highness trusteth that this his
gracious pity shall more effectually work the abolishing of detestable
heresies and fond opinions than shall the extreme punishment of the law.
For, where fear of hurt should be a cause that they should less love his
Highness than their duty bound them to do, now shall this be an
occasion, his Grace thinketh, not only to make them tender his
Highness's will and pleasure, but also to cause them, of honest love,
quite to cast away all foolish, fond, evil, and condemned opinions, and
joyfully to return to the elect number of Christ's Church.

"All that is past, as touching this matter, his Highness pardoneth and
frankly forgetteth it wholly. But, as his Grace desireth the confusion
of error, this way so failing of his purpose and expectation, his
Highness will use, albeit much against his will, another way--that, when
gentleness cannot work, then to provide what the laws and execution of
them can do."[433]

[Sidenote: The truth to be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.]

[Sidenote: Inversion of the natural order of things.]

[Sidenote: Misuse of the Bible.]

[Sidenote: Insults to the bishops.]

[Sidenote: Scandals occasioned by the marriages of clergy.]

What persuasion could effect this address would have effected; but
kindness and menace were alike unavailing. A seed was growing and to
grow, which the king knew not of; and it was to grow, as it were, in the
disguise of error, with that abrupt violence which so often, among human
beings, makes truth a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. The
young were generally on one side, the old on the other--an inversion of
the order of nature when the old are wrong and the young are right.[434]
The learned, again, were on the wrong side, the ignorant were on the
right--a false relation, also fertile in evil. Peasant theologians in
the public-houses disputed over their ale on the mysteries of
justification, and from words passed soon to blows. The Bibles, which
lay open in every parish church, became the text-books of
self-instructed fanatics. The voluble orator of the village was chosen
by his companions, or, by imagined superior intelligence, appointed
himself, to read and expound; and, ever in such cases, the most forward
was the most passionate and the least wise. Often, for the special
annoyance of old-fashioned church-goers, the time of divine service was
chosen for a lecture; and opinions were shouted out in "loud high
voices," which, in the ears of half the congregation, were damnable
heresy.[435] The king's proclamations were but as the words of a man
speaking in a tempest--blown to atoms as they are uttered. The bishops
were bearded in their own palaces with insolent defiance; Protestant
mobs would collect to overawe them on their tribunals;[436] and Cromwell
was constituted a referee, to whom victims of episcopal persecution
rarely appealed without finding protection.[437] Devout communities were
scandalized by priests marrying their concubines, or bringing wives whom
they had openly chosen to their parsonages. The celibacy of the clergy
was generally accepted as a theory; and, though indulgence had been
liberally extended to human weakness and frailty, the opinion of the
world was less complacent when secret profligacy stepped forward into
the open day under the apparent sanction of authority.[438]

[Sidenote: Outrages in churches during the celebration of the mass.]

[Sidenote: Scene at an execution at Ipswich.]

The mysteries of the faith were insulted in the celebration of the
divine service. At one place, when the priest lifted up the host, a
member of the congregation, "a lawyer" and a gentleman, lifted up a
little dog in derision. Another, who desired that the laity should be
allowed communion in both kinds, taunted the minister with having drunk
all the wine, and with having blessed the people with an empty chalice.
The intensity of the indignation which these and similar outrages
created in the body of the nation, may be gathered from a scene which
took place when an audacious offender was seized by the law, and
suffered at Ipswich. When the fire was lighted, a commissary touched the
victim with his wand, and urged him to recant. The man spat at him for
an answer, and the commissary exclaimed that forty days' indulgence
would be granted by the Bishop of Norwich to every one who would cast a
stick into the pile. "Then Baron Curzon, Sir John Audeley, with many
others of estimation, being there present, did rise from their seats,
and with their swords cut down boughs and threw them into the fire, and
so did all the multitude of the people."[439] It seems most certain that
the country only refrained from taking the law into their own hands, and
from trying the question with the Protestants, as Aske and Lord Darcy
desired, by open battle, from a confidence that the government would do
their duties, that in some way the law would interfere, and these
excesses would be put down with a high hand.

[Sidenote: April. Preparation for the meeting of parliament.]

The meeting of parliament could be delayed no longer; and it must be a
parliament composed of other members than those who had sate so long and
so effectively.[440] Two years before it had been demanded by the
northern counties. The promise had been given, and the expectation of a
fresh election had been formed so generally, that the country had widely
prepared for it. The counties and towns had been privately canvassed;
the intended representation had been arranged. The importance of the
crisis, and the resolution of the country gentlemen to make their weight
appreciated, was nowhere felt more keenly than in the court.

[Sidenote: The general election.]

[Sidenote: Exertions of Cromwell to secure a strong majority.]

Letters survive throwing curious light on the history of this election.
We see the Cromwell faction straining their own and the crown's
influence as far as it would bear to secure a majority,--failing in one
place, succeeding in another,--sending their agents throughout the
country, demanding support, or entreating it, as circumstances allowed;
or, when they were able, coercing the voters with a high hand. Care was
taken to secure the return of efficient speakers to defend the
government measures;[441] and Cromwell, by his exertions and by his
anxiety, enables us to measure the power of the crown, both within
parliament and without; to conclude with certainty that danger was
feared from opposition, and that the control of the cabinet over the
representation of England was very limited.

[Sidenote: Influence of the crown upon the elections.]

[Sidenote: Election at Shrewsbury in 1536.]

[Sidenote: Lord Southampton canvasses the southern counties.]

[Sidenote: Arbitrary interference at Canterbury.]

[Sidenote: Cromwell cancels an election, and requires the return of his
own nominees.]

The returns for the boroughs were determined by the chief owners of
property within the limits of the franchise: those for the counties
depended on the great landholders. In the late parliament Cromwell wrote
to some gentleman, desiring him to come forward as the government
candidate for Huntingdonshire. He replied that the votes of the county
were already promised, and unless his competitors could be induced to
resign he could not offer himself.[442] In Shropshire, on the call of
parliament to examine the treasons of Anne Boleyn,[443] there was a
division of interest. "The worshipful of the shire" desired to return a
supporter of Cromwell: the sheriff, the undersheriff, and the town's
people, were on the other side. The election was held at Shrewsbury, and
the inhabitants assembled riotously, overawed the voters, and carried
the opposition member by intimidation. On the present occasion Lord
Southampton went in person round Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire, where
his own property was situated. The election for Surrey he reported
himself able to carry with certainty. At Guildford he manœuvred to
secure both seats, but was only able to obtain one. He was anticipated
for the other by a Guildford townsman, whom the mayor and burgesses told
him that they all desired. Sir William Goring and Sir John Gage were
standing on the court interest for Sussex. Sir John Dawtry, of Petworth,
and Lord Maltravers, had promised their support, and Southampton hoped
that they might be considered safe. Farnham was "the Bishop of
Winchester's town," where he "spared to meddle" without Cromwell's
express orders. If the bishop's good intentions could be relied upon,
interference might provoke gratuitous ill feeling. He had friends in the
town, however, and he could make a party if Cromwell thought it
necessary. In Portsmouth and Southampton the government influence was
naturally paramount, through the dockyards, and the establishments
maintained in them.[444] So far nothing can be detected more irregular
than might have been found in the efforts of any prime minister before
the Reform Bill to secure a manageable House of Commons. More extensive
interference was, however, indisputably practised, wherever interference
was possible; at Oxford, we find Cromwell positively dictating the
choice of a member, while at Canterbury, at the previous election, a
case had occurred too remarkable for its arbitrary character to be
passed over without particular mention. Directions had been sent down
from London for the election of two government nominees. An answer was
returned, stating humbly that the order had come too late--that two
members of the corporation of Canterbury were already returned. I have
failed to discover Cromwell's rejoinder; but a week later the following
letter was addressed to him by the mayor and burgesses:--

[Sidenote: The town submits.]

"In humble wise we certify you that the 20th day of this present month,
at six o'clock in the morning, I, John Alcock, mayor of Canterbury,
received your letter directed to me, the said mayor, sheriff, and
commonalty of the said city, signifying to us thereby the king's
pleasure and commandment, that Robert Sacknell and John Bridges[445]
should be burgesses of the parliament for the same city of Canterbury;
by virtue whereof, according to our bounden duty, immediately upon the
sight of your said letter and contents thereof perceived, we caused the
commonalty of the said city to assemble in the court hall, where
appeared the number of four score and seventeen persons, citizens and
inhabitants of the said city; and according to the king's pleasure and
commandment, freely with one voice, and without any contradiction, have
elected and chosen the said Robert Sacknell and John Bridges to be
burgesses of the parliament for the same city, which shall be duly
certified by indenture under the seal of the said citizens and
inhabitants, by the grace of the blessed Trinity."

The first election, therefore, had been set aside by the absolute will
of the crown, and the hope that so violent a proceeding might be
explained tolerably through some kind of decent resignation is set aside
by a further letter, stating that one of the persons originally chosen,
having presumed to affirm that he was "a true and proper burgess of the
city," he had been threatened into submission by a prospect of the loss
of a lucrative office which he held under the corporation.[446]

For the parliament now elected, it is plain that the Privy Seal put out
his utmost strength; and that he believed beforehand that his measures
had been so well laid as to ensure the results which he desired. "I and
your dedicate councillors," he wrote to the king, "be about to bring all
things so to pass that your Grace had never more tractable
parliament."[447] The event was to prove that he had deceived himself; a
reaction set in too strong for his control, and the spirit which had
dictated the Doncaster petition, though subdued and modified, could
still outweigh the despotism of the minister or the intrigues of his
agents.

[Sidenote: Union of the provinces of Canterbury and York in the
convocation.]

The returns were completed; the members assembled in London, and with
them as usual the convocation of the clergy. As an evidence of the
greatness of the occasion, the two provinces were united into one; the
convocation of York held its session with the convocation of Canterbury;
a synod of the whole English Church met together, in virtue of its
recovered or freshly constituted powers, to determine the articles of
its belief.[448]

[Sidenote: April 28. Parliament opens.]

[Sidenote: Speech from the throne.]

[Sidenote: The houses assembled to compose the religious differences in
the realm.]

[Sidenote: Committee of opinion.]

[Sidenote: Suggestions offered by the moderate Reformers.]

[Sidenote: A heresy court to be appointed, mixed of priests and laymen.]

[Sidenote: The clergy to be allowed to marry.]

The opening was conducted by the king in person, on Monday, the 28th of
April. The clerk of the House of Lords has recorded (either as if it was
exceptional or as if the circumstances of the time gave to a usual
proceeding an unusual meaning) the religious service with which the
ceremony was accompanied, and the special prayers which were offered for
the divine guidance.[449] The first week passed in unexplained
inactivity. On the Monday following the lord chancellor read the speech
from the throne, declaring the object for which parliament had been
called. The king desired, if possible, to close the religious quarrels
by which the kingdom was distracted. With opinions in so furious
conflict, the mode of settlement would demand anxious consideration; his
Majesty therefore proposed, if the lords saw no objection, that,
preparatory to the general debate, a committee of the upper house should
compose a report upon the causes and character of the disagreement. The
committee should represent both parties. The peers selected were
Cromwell, the two archbishops, the Bishops of Bath, Ely, Bangor,
Worcester, Durham, and Carlisle.[450] It was foreseen that a body, of
which Cranmer and Latimer, Lee and Tunstall were severally members, was
unlikely to work in harmony. The committee proceeded, however, to their
labours; and up to this time even the Privy Council seem to have been
ignorant of the course which events would follow. On some points the
king had either formed no intention till he had ascertained the
disposition of the House of Commons, or else he had kept his intentions
carefully to himself. A paper of suggestions, representing the views of
the moderate Reformers, was submitted to him by some one in high
authority; and the tone in which they were couched implied a belief in
the writer that his advice would be favourably received. It was to the
effect that a table of heresies should be drawn out; that the judgment
of the bench of bishops and the ecclesiastical lawyers should be taken
upon it; that it should then be printed, and copies sent to every
justice of the peace, to be read aloud at every assizes, court leet, or
sessions, and in the charges delivered to the grand juries. A court
might be constituted composed of six masters of chancery, mixed of
priests and laymen, to whom all accusations would be referred; and the
composite character of the tribunal would be a security against
exaggeration or fanaticism. Meanwhile a bill should be prepared to be
laid before parliament, relieving the clergy finally from the
obligations of celibacy, legalizing the marriages which any among them
had hitherto contracted, and for the future permitting them all "to have
wives and work for their living." "A little book," in addition, should
be compiled and printed, proving "that the prayers of men that be here
living for the souls of them that be dead could in no wise be profitable
to them that were dead, and could not help them."[451]

[Sidenote: The circumstances of the late rebellion and conspiracies laid
before parliament.]

[Sidenote: Lady Exeter and Lady Salisbury attainted without trial.]

It is hard to believe that the king's resolution was fixed, or even that
his personal feelings were known to be decided against the marriage of
the clergy, when a person evidently high in office could thus openly
recommend to him the permission of it, and the reforming preachers at
the court had spoken freely to the same effect before him in their
sermons.[452] For the present, however, this matter with the rest waited
the determination of the committee of religion, who remained ten days on
their labours, and so far had arrived at no conclusions. In the interval
the history of the northern rebellion was laid before the houses, with
an account of the late conspiracy of the Marquis of Exeter and Lord
Montague. Bills of attainder were presented against many of those who
had suffered, and in the preambles their offences were stated, though
with little detail. The omission in all but two instances is not
important, for the act of parliament could have contained only what was
proved upon the trials, and the substance of the accusations is
tolerably well known. A more explicit statement might have been desired
and expected when a parliamentary attainder was the beginning and end of
the process. The Marchioness of Exeter and the Countess of Salisbury
were not tried, but they were attainted in common with the rest; and it
can be gathered only from the language of the act that circumstances
were known to the parliament of which the traces are lost.[453]

[Sidenote: Display of a tunic found in the house of Lady Salisbury.]

Lady Salisbury, after her sentence, was removed from Cowdray to the
Tower. A remarkable scene took place in the House of Lords on the last
reading of the act. As soon as it was passed, Cromwell rose in his
place, and displayed, in profound silence, a tunic of white silk, which
had been discovered by Lord Southampton concealed amidst the countess's
linen. On the front were embroidered the royal arms of England. Behind
was the badge of the five wounds, which had been worn by the northern
insurgents.[454] Cromwell knew what he was doing in the exhibition. It
was shown, and it was doubtless understood, as conclusive evidence of
the disposition of the daughter of the Duke of Clarence and the mother
of Reginald Pole. The bill was disposed of rapidly. It was introduced on
the 10th of May; it was concluded on the 12th. There was neither dispute
nor difficulty; the interest of both houses was fastened on the great
question before the committee.

[Sidenote: May 16. The Duke of Norfolk, finding no progress to be made
by the committee of religion, proposes an open discussion.]

[Sidenote: The six articles.]

The time passed on. No report was presented, and the peers grew
impatient. On the 16th the Duke of Norfolk stated that, so far as he
could perceive, no progress was being made in the proper business of the
session, and, judging from a conversation which had passed when the
committee of opinion was nominated, little progress was likely to be
made in a body so composed. He therefore moved that the whole parliament
be invited to discuss freely the six ensuing articles. 1. In the
eucharist after consecration does there, or does there not, remain any
substance of bread and wine? 2. Is communion in both kinds necessary or
permitted to the laity? 3. Are vows of chastity deliberately made of
perpetual obligation? 4. Is there or is there not any efficacy in
private masses to benefit the souls of the dead? 5. Are priests
permitted to have wives? 6. Shall auricular confession be retained or be
not retained in the Church? The duke's own opinion on each and every of
these points was well known; but the question was not only of the
particular opinion of this or that person, but whether difference of
opinion was any longer to be permitted; whether after discussion such
positive conclusions could be obtained as might be enforced by a penal
statute on all English subjects.

[Sidenote: The debate opens.]

[Sidenote: Cranmer speaks in opposition.]

[Sidenote: Act for the extension of the prerogative.]

On the first no disagreement was anticipated. No member of either house,
it is likely, and no member of convocation--not even Latimer--had as yet
consciously denied the real presence; but the five remaining articles on
which an issue was challenged were the special points on which the
Lutheran party were most anxiously interested--the points on which, in
the preceding summer, negotiations with the Germans were broken off, and
on which Cranmer was now most desirous to claim a liberty for the
Church, as the basis of an evangelical league in Christendom. Norfolk,
therefore, had opened the battle, and it was waged immediately in full
fury in both houses of parliament--in both houses of convocation. There
were conferences and counter-conferences. Cromwell, perhaps knowing that
direct opposition was useless, was inclined to accept in words
resolutions which he had determined to neutralize; Cranmer, more frank,
if less sagacious, spoke fearlessly for three days in opposition; and
the king himself took part in the debate, and argued with the rest. The
settlement was long protracted. There were prorogations for further
consideration, and intervals of other business, when acts were passed
which at any other moment would have seemed of immeasurable importance.
The Romans, in periods of emergency, suspended their liberties and
created a dictator. The English parliament, frightened at the confusion
of the country, and the peril of interests which they valued even more
than liberty, extended the powers of the crown. The preamble of the
eighth of the thirty-first of Henry VIII.[455] states that--

[Sidenote: In order that the king may not be driven to illegal
encroachments,]

[Sidenote: Fresh powers are conferred on him by parliament.]

"Forasmuch as the King's most Royal Majesty, for divers considerations,
by the advice of his council, hath heretofore set forth divers and
sundry proclamations, as well concerning sundry articles of Christ's
religion, as for an unity and concord among the loving and obedient
subjects of his realm, which, nevertheless, divers and many froward and
obstinate persons have contemned and broken, not considering what a king
by his royal power may do, for lack of a direct statute, to cause
offenders to obey the said proclamations, which, being suffered, should
not only encourage offenders to disobedience, but also seem too much to
the dishonour of the King's Majesty, who may full ill bear it, and also
give too great heart to malefactors and offenders; considering also that
sudden causes and occasions fortune many times, which do require speedy
remedies, and that by abiding for a parliament in the mean time might
happen great prejudice to the realm; and weighing also _that his
Majesty, which, by the kingly power given him by God, may do many things
in such cases, should not be driven to extend the liberty and supremacy
of his regal power and dignity by the wilfulness of froward subjects, it
is thought in manner more than necessary_ that the King's Highness of
this realm for the time being, with the advice of his honourable
council, should make and set forth proclamations for the good and
politic order of this his realm, as cases of necessity shall require,
and that an ordinary law should be provided, by the assent of his
Majesty and parliament, for the due punishment, correction, and
reformation of such offences and disobediences."[456]

[Sidenote: And royal proclamations are invested with the authority of
statutes.]

For these reasons the extraordinary privilege was conferred upon the
crown of being able, with the consent of the Privy Council, to issue
proclamations which should have the authority of acts of parliament; and
pains and penalties might be inflicted to enforce submission, provided
the specific punishment to follow disobedience was described and defined
in each proclamation. A slight limitation was imposed upon this
dangerous prerogative. The crown was not permitted to repeal or suspend
existing statutes, or set aside the common law or other laudable custom.
It might not punish with death, or with unlimited fines or
imprisonments. Secondary penalties might be inflicted, on legitimate
conviction in the Star Chamber; but they must have been previously
defined, both in extent and character. These restrictions interfered
with the more arbitrary forms of tyranny; yet the ordinary constitution
had received a serious infringement, in order that it might not be
infringed further by a compelled usurpation. A measure something larger
than the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act--the most extreme violation
of the liberty of the subject to which, in the happier condition of
England, we can now be driven, a measure infinitely lighter than the
"declaration of a state of siege," so familiar to the most modern
experience of the rest of Europe, was not considered too heavy a
sacrifice of freedom, in comparison with the evils which it might
prevent.[457]

[Sidenote: The king avails himself of the confidence reposed in him,]

While the Six Articles Bill was still under debate, the king at once
availed himself of the powers conferred upon him, again to address the
people. He spoke of the secret and subtle attempts which certain people
were making to restore the hypocrite's religion--the evil and naughty
superstitions and dreams which had been abolished and done away; while
others, again, he said, were flying in the face of all order and
authority, perverting the Scriptures, denying the sacraments, denying
the authority of princes and magistrates, and making law and government
impossible.[458] He dwelt especially on his disappointment at the bad
use which had been made of the Bible: "His Majesty's intent and hope had
been, that the Scriptures would be read with meekness, with a will to
accomplish the effect of them; not for the purpose of finding arguments
to maintain extravagant opinions--not that they should be spouted out
and declaimed upon at undue times and places, and after such fashions as
were not convenient to be suffered."[459] So far, it seemed as if the
fruit which had been produced by this great and precious gift had been
only quarrelling and railing, "to the confusion of those that use the
same, and to the disturbance, and in likelihood to the destruction, of
all the rest of the king's subjects."

[Sidenote: And warns the people for the last time to live peaceably.]

Such shameful practices he was determined should be brought to an end.
His "daily study" was to teach his people to live together, not in
rioting and disputing, but in unity, in charity, and love. He had
therefore called his parliament, prelates, and clergy to his help, with
a full resolution to "extinct diversities of opinion by good and just
laws;" and he now gave them his last solemn warning:, if they would
escape painful consequences, "to study to live peaceably together, as
good and Christian men ought to do."

The great measure was now in motion; but its advance was still slow,
and under the shadow of the absorbing interest which it created, two
other statutes passed, without trace of debate or resistance; one of
which was itself the closing scene of a mighty destruction; the other
(had circumstances permitted the accomplishment of the design) would
have constructed a fabric out of the ruins, the incompleteness of which,
in these later days, the English Church is now languidly labouring to
repair.

[Sidenote: The king is empowered to complete the dissolution of the
monasteries.]

[Sidenote: Causes and effects of the final catastrophe.]

[Sidenote: The creation of a new proprietary.]

The thirteenth of the thirty-first of Henry VIII. confirmed the
surrender of all the religious houses which had dissolved themselves
since the passing of the previous act, and empowered the king to extend
the provisions of that act, at his pleasure, to all such as remained
standing. Monastic life in England was at an end, and for ever. A phase
of human existence which had flourished in this island for ten centuries
had passed out and could not be revived. The effort for the reform of
the orders had totally failed; the sentiment of the nation had ceased to
be interested in their maintenance, and the determined spirit of treason
which the best and the worst conducted of the regular clergy had alike
exhibited in the late rebellion, had given the finishing impulse to the
resolution of the government. The more sincerely "religion" was
professed, the more incurable was the attachment to the Papacy. The
monks were its champions while a hope remained of its restoration. In
the final severance from Rome the root of their life was divided; and
the body of the nation, orthodox and unorthodox alike, desired to see
their vast revenues applied to purposes of national utility. They were
given over by parliament, therefore, to the king's hands. The sacrifice
to the old families, the representatives of the ancient founders, was
not only in feeling and associations, but in many instances was
substantial and tangible. They had reserved to themselves annual rents,
services, and reliefs; they had influence in the choice of superiors;
the retainers of the abbeys followed their standard, and swelled their
importance and their power.[460] All this was at an end; and although in
some instances they repurchased, on easy terms, the estates which their
forefathers had granted away, yet in general the confiscated lands fell
in smaller proportions to the old-established nobility than we should
have been prepared to expect. The new owners of these broad domains
were, for the most part, either the rising statesmen--the _novi homines_
who had been nursed under Wolsey, and grown to manhood in the storms of
the Reformation, Cromwell, Russell, Audeley, Wriothesley, Dudley,
Seymour, Fitzwilliam, and the satellites who revolved about them; or
else city merchants, successful wool-dealers or manufacturers: in all
cases the men of progress--the men of the future--the rivals, if not the
active enemies, of the hereditary feudal magnates.

[Sidenote: Intended extension of the episcopate,]

[Sidenote: And erection of chapters.]

[Sidenote: Compulsory curtailment of the scheme.]

To such persons ultimately fell by far the largest portion of the abbey
lands. It was not, however, so intended. Another act, which Henry drew
with his own hand,[461] stated that, inasmuch as the slothful and
ungodly life of all sorts of persons, bearing the name of religious, was
notorious to all the world, ... in order that both they and their
estates might be turned to some better account, that the people might be
better educated, charity be better exercised, and the spiritual
discipline of the country be in all respects better maintained, it was
expedient that the king should have powers granted to him to create by
letters patent, and endow, fresh bishoprics as he should think fit, and
convert religious houses into chapters of deans and prebendaries, to be
attached to each of the new sees, and to improve and strengthen those
already in existence. The scheme, as at first conceived, was on a
magnificent scale. Twenty-one new bishoprics were intended, with as many
cathedrals and as many chapters; and in each of the latter (unless there
had been gross cause to make an exception) the monks of the abbey or
priory suppressed would continue on the new foundation, changing little
but the name.[462] Henry's intentions, could they have been executed,
would have materially softened the dissolution. The twenty-one
bishoprics, however, sunk into six;[463] and eight religious houses only
were submitted to the process of conversion.[464] The cost of the
national defences, followed by three years of ruinous war, crippled at
its outset a generous project, and saved the Church from the possession
of wealth and power too dangerously great.

[Sidenote: May 30.]

[Sidenote: The Six Articles are determined,]

[Sidenote: And the resolutions are to be enforced by a penal statute.]

[Sidenote: The severity of the penalties an act not of the king, but of
the bishops.]

On the 23d of May parliament was prorogued for a week; on the 30th the
lord chancellor informed the peers that his Majesty, with the assistance
of the bench of bishops, had come to a conclusion on the Six Articles;
which, it was assumed,--from the course possibly which the many debates
had taken,--would be acceptable to the two houses. A penal statute
would be required to enforce the resolutions; and it was for their
lordships to determine the character and the a extent of the punishment
which would be necessary. To give room for differences of opinion, two
committees were this time appointed,--the first consisting of Cranmer,
the Bishops of Ely and St. David's, and Sir William Petre; the other of
the Archbishop of York, the Bishops of Durham and Winchester, and Dr.
Tregonwell.[465] The separate reports were drawn and presented; the
peers accepted the second. The cruel character of the resolutions was
attributed, by sound authority, to the especial influence of
Gardiner.[466] It was not, in its extreme form, the work of the king,
nor did it express his own desires. His opinions on the disputed
articles were wholly those contained in the body of the act. He had
argued laboriously in their maintenance, and he had himself drawn a
sketch for a statute not unlike that which passed into law; but he had
added two clauses, from which the bishops contrived to deliver
themselves, which, if insisted upon, would have crippled the
prosecutions and tied the hands of the Church officials. According to
Henry's scheme, the judges would have been bound to deliver in writing
to the party accused a copy of the accusation, with the names and
depositions of the witnesses; and, if there was but one witness, let his
reputation have stood as high as that of any man in the state, it would
have been held insufficient for a conviction.[467]

[Sidenote: The whip with the six strings.]

The slight effort of leniency was not approved by the House of Lords. In
spite of Cranmer's unwearied and brave opposition, the harshest
penalties which were recommended received the greatest favour; and "the
bloody act of the Six Articles," or "the whip with six strings," as it
was termed by the Protestants, was the adopted remedy to heal the
diseases of England.

After a careful preamble, in which the danger of divisions and false
opinions, the peril both to the peace of the commonwealth and the souls
of those who were ensnared by heresy, were elaborately dwelt upon, the
king, the two houses of parliament, and the convocations of the two
provinces declared themselves, after a great and long, deliberate and
advised disputation, to have adopted the following conclusions:[468]--

[Sidenote: The real presence.]

1. That, in the most blessed sacrament of the altar, by the strength
and efficacy of Christ's mighty word, it being spoken by the priest, was
present really, under the form of bread and wine, the natural body and
blood of Jesus Christ; and that, after consecration, there remained no
substance of bread and wine, nor any other but the substance of Christ.

[Sidenote: Communion in both kinds.]

2. That communion in both kinds was not essential to salvation; that,
under the form of bread, the blood was present as well as the body; and,
under the form of wine, the flesh was present as well as the blood.

[Sidenote: Priests' marriages.]

3. That it was not permitted to priests, after their ordination, to
marry and have wives.

[Sidenote: Vows of chastity.]

4. That vows of chastity made to God advisedly, by man or woman, ought
to be observed, and were of perpetual obligation.

[Sidenote: Private masses.]

5. That private masses ought to be continued, as meet and necessary for
godly consolation and benefit.

[Sidenote: Auricular confession.]

6. That auricular confession to a priest must be retained, and continue
to be used in the Church.

[Sidenote: Thanks of parliament to the king.]

The lords and commons, in accepting the articles, gave especial thanks
to his Majesty for the godly pain, study, and travail with which he had
laboured to establish them; and they "prayed God that he might long
reign to bring his godly enterprise to a full end and perfection;" and
that by these means "quiet, unity, and concord might be had in the whole
body of the realm for ever."

On their side they enacted against such persons as should refuse to
submit to the resolutions:--

[Sidenote: Pains and penalties.]

That whoever, by word or writing, denied the first article, should be
declared a heretic, and suffer death by burning, without opportunity of
abjuration, without protection from sanctuary or benefit of clergy.
Whoever spoke or otherwise broke the other five articles, or any one of
them, should, for the first offence, forfeit his property; if he
offended a second time, or refused to abjure when called to answer, he
should suffer death as a felon. All marriages hitherto contracted by
priests were declared void. A day was fixed before which their wives
were to be sent to their friends, and to retain them after that day was
felony. To refuse to go to confession was felony. To refuse to receive
the sacrament was felony. On every road on which the free mind of man
was moving, the dark sentinel of orthodoxy was stationed with its
flaming sword; and in a little time all cowards, all who had adopted the
new opinions with motives less pure than that deep zeal and love which
alone entitle human beings to constitute themselves champions of God,
flinched into their proper nothingness, and left the battle to the brave
and the good.

[Sidenote: General satisfaction with the measure felt by the higher
classes.]

The feelings with which the bill was received by the world may be
gathered most readily from two letters,--one written by an English
nobleman, who may be taken to have represented the sentiments of the
upper classes in this country; the other written by Philip Melancthon,
speaking in the name of Germany and of English Protestantism struggling
to be born.

The signature and the address of the first are lost; but the contents
indicate the writer's rank.[469]

[Sidenote: Unanimity of the temporal peers.]

"For news here, I assure you, never prince showed himself so wise a man,
so well learned, and so catholic, as the king hath done in this
parliament. With my pen I cannot express his marvellous goodness, which
is come to such effect that we shall have an act of parliament so
spiritual that I think none shall dare to say that in the blessed
sacrament of the altar doth remain either bread or wine after the
consecration; nor that a priest may have a wife; nor that it is
necessary to receive our Maker _sub utrâque specie_; nor that private
masses should not be used as they have been; nor that it is not
necessary to have auricular confession. And notwithstanding my Lord
Canterbury, my Lord of Ely, my Lord of Salisbury, my Lords of Worcester,
Rochester, and St. David's defended the contrary long time, yet,
finally, his Highness confounded them all with God's learning. York,
Durham, Winchester, London, Chichester, Norwich, and Carlisle have
shewed themselves honest and well learned men. _We of the temporalty
have been all of one opinion_; and my Lord Chancellor and my Lord Privy
Seal as good as we can desire. My Lord of Canterbury and all the bishops
have given over their opinions and come in to us, save Salisbury, who
yet continueth a lewd fool. Finally, all England hath cause to thank
God, and most heartily to rejoice, of the king's most godly
proceedings."

[Sidenote: Spirit of English conservatism.]

[Sidenote: Protest of Melancthon.]

There spoke the conservative Englishman, tenacious of old opinions,
believing much in established order, and little in the minds and hearts
of living human beings,--believing that all variation from established
creeds could only arise from vanity and licentiousness, from the
discontent of an ill-regulated understanding.

We turn to Melancthon, and we hear the protest of humanity, the pleading
of intellect against institutions, the voice of freedom as opposed to
the voice of order--the two spirits "between whose endless jar justice
resides."

[Sidenote: The shame of the king and the glory of the martyrs.]

[Sidenote: The malice of the bishops against the truth.]

He reminded the king of the scene described by Thucydides, where the
Athenians awoke to their injustice and revoked the decree against
Mytilene, and he implored him to reconsider his fatal determination. He
was grieved, he said, for those who professed the same doctrines as
himself; but he was more grieved for the king, who allowed himself to be
the minister of tyranny. For them nothing could happen more glorious
than to lose their lives in bearing witness to the truth; but it was
dreadful that a prince, who could not plead the excuse of ignorance,
should stain his hands with innocent blood. The bishops pretended that
they were defending truth; but it was the truth of sophistry, not of
God. In England, and through Europe, the defenders of truth were piecing
old garments with new cloth, straining to reconcile truth with error,
and light with darkness. He was not surprised. It was easy to understand
with the reason how such things were; but his feelings recoiled, and
pleaded passionately against their hard and cruel hearts. "If that
barbarous decree be not repealed," he said, "the bishops will never
cease to rage against the Church of Christ without mercy and without
pity; for them the devil useth as instruments and ministers of his fury
and malice against Christ--he stirreth them up to kill and destroy the
members of Christ. And you, O king! all the godly beseech most humbly
that you will not prefer such wicked and cruel oppressions and subtle
sophistries before their own just and honest prayers. God recompense you
to your great reward if you shall grant those prayers. Christ is going
about hungry and thirsty, naked and imprisoned, complaining of the rage
and malice of the bishops, and the cruelty of kings and princes. He
prays, He supplicates, that the members of his body be not rent in
pieces, but that truth may be defended, and the Gospel preached among
men; a godly king will hear his words, and obey the voice of his
entreaty."[470]

[Sidenote: The king reads to the Anglicans a lesson of moderation.]

[Sidenote: The dinner at Lambeth.]

The extremes of opinion were thus visible on either side. Between them
the government steered their arduous way, under such guidance as
conscience and necessity could furnish. To pass a statute was one thing:
to enforce the provisions of it was another. The peers and bishops
expected to be indulged forthwith in the pleasures of a hot persecution.
The king's first act was to teach them to moderate their ardour. In
order to soothe the acrimonies which the debate had kindled, the lords
spiritual and temporal were requested to repair to Lambeth to "animate
and comfort the archbishop," and to bury the recollection of all
differences by partaking of his hospitality. The history of their visit
was, perhaps, diluted through Protestant tradition before it reached the
pages of Foxe, and the substance only of the story can be relied upon as
true. It is said, however, that on this occasion a conversation arose
which displayed broadly the undercurrent of hatred between Cromwell and
the peers. One of the party spoke of Wolsey, whom he called "a stubborn
and churlish prelate, and one that never could abide any nobleman;" "and
that," he added, "you know well enough, my Lord Cromwell, for he was
your master." Cromwell answered that it was true that he had been
Wolsey's servant, nor did he regret his fortune. "Yet was I never so far
in love with him," he said, "as to have waited upon him to Rome, which
you, my lord, were, I believe, prepared to have done." It was not true,
the first speaker said. Cromwell again insisted that it was true, and
even mentioned the number of florins which were to have paid him for his
services. The other said "he lied in his teeth, and great and high words
rose between them."[471]

[Sidenote: The persecution commences.]

[Sidenote: The statute is developed into branches.]

[Sidenote: Five hundred suspected persons imprisoned in a fortnight.]

The king's peace-making prospered little. The impetus of a great victory
was not to be arrested by mild persuasions. A commission was appointed
by the Catholic leaders to reap the desired fruits. Such of the London
citizens as had most distinguished themselves as opponents of
reformation in all its forms--those especially who had resisted the
introduction of the Bible--formed a court, which held its sittings in
the Mercers' Chapel. They "developed the statute" in what were termed
"branches of inference"; they interpreted "speaking against masses" to
comprehend "coming seldom to mass." Those who were slow in holding up
their hands "at sacring time," or who did not strike their breasts with
adequate fervour, were held to have denied the sacrament. In the worst
temper of the Inquisition they revived the crippled functions of the
spiritual courts: they began to inquire again into private conduct,--who
went seldom to church--who refused to receive holy bread or holy
water--who were frequent readers of the Bible, "with a great many other
such branches."[472] "They so sped with their branches" that in a
fortnight they had indicted five hundred persons in London alone. In
their imprudent fanaticism they forgot all necessary discretion. There
was not a man of note or reputation in the City who had so much as
spoken a word against Rome, but was under suspicion, or under actual
arrest. Latimer and Shaxton were imprisoned, and driven to resign their
bishoprics.[473] Where witnesses were not to be found, Hall tells us
significantly, "that certain of the clergy would procure some, or else
they were slandered." The fury which had been pent up for years, revenge
for lost powers and privileges, for humiliations and sufferings, remorse
of conscience reproaching them for their perjury in abjuring the Pope,
whom they still reverenced, and to whose feet they longed to return,
poured out from the reactionary churchmen in a concentrated lava stream
of malignity.

[Sidenote: The bishops' zeal is greater than their discretion.]

[Sidenote: A general pardon is granted once more.]

The blindness of their rage defeated their object. The king had not
desired articles of peace that worthless bigots might blacken the skies
of England with the smoke of martyr-fires. The powers given to the crown
by the Act of Proclamations recoiled on those who bestowed them, and by
a summary declaration of pardon the bishops' dungeon doors were thrown
open; the prisoners were dismissed;[474] and though Cromwell had seemed
to yield to them in the House of Lords, their victims, they discovered,
would not be permitted to be sacrificed so long as Cromwell was in
power.

[Sidenote: The Vicar of Stepney, who has denounced authority in violent
language, is called on to recant.]

[Sidenote: He yields an ambiguous obedience.]

Not contented with granting an indemnity, Henry set the persecutors an
example of the spirit in which to enforce the Six Articles. Next to
Barnes and Latimer, the most obnoxious of all the reforming clergy, in
high orthodox quarters, was Jerome, Vicar of Stepney. While the
parliament was in session this person preached in violent denunciation
of their proceedings. He denied their authority to make laws to bind the
conscience.[475] He had used "opprobrious words" against the members of
the House of Commons, calling them "butterflies, fools, and knaves;" and
when the Act of Opinions was passed, he was seized by the committee at
the Mercers'. We need not ask how he would have been dealt with there;
but Henry took the cause out of their hands. He sent for the preacher,
and, as Jerome reported afterwards, "so indifferently heard him, so
gently used him, so mercifully forgave him, that there was never poor
man received like gentleness at any prince's hand." The preacher
consented to revoke his words in the place where he had used them; and
appearing again in the same pulpit, he confessed that he had spoken
wrongly. The king had shown him that to restrain the power of the
government within the limits which he desired, would create confusion in
the commonwealth, and that his declamation against the burgesses had
been ill and slanderously spoken. He recanted also other parts of his
sermon on questions of doctrine; but he added an explanation of his
submission characteristic of the man and of the time. "He was
perplexed," he said, "but not confounded;" "he was compelled to deny
himself; but to deny himself was no more but when adversity should come,
as loss of goods, infamies, and like trouble, than to deny his own will,
and call upon the Lord, saying, _Fiat voluntas tua_."[476] Catholics and
Protestants combined to render the king's task of ruling them as arduous
as it could be made.

The bill, nevertheless, though it might be softened in the execution,
was a hard blow on the Reformation, and was bitterly taken. Good came at
last out of the evil. The excesses of the moving party required
absolutely to be checked; nor could this necessary result be obtained
till the bishops for a time had their way uncontrolled; but the
dismissal of Latimer from the bench, the loss of the one man in England
whose conduct was, perhaps, absolutely straightforward, upright, and
untainted with alloy of baser matter, was altogether irreparable.

[Sidenote: The king and Prince Edward.]

We approach another subject of scarcely less importance than this famous
statute, and scarcely less stern. Before we enter upon it we may pause
for a moment over one of the few scenes of a softer kind which remain
among the records of this iron age. It is but a single picture. Richard
Cromwell, writing from the court of some unimportant business which the
king had transacted, closes his letter with adding: "This done, his
Grace went to the prince, and there hath solaced all the day with much
mirth and with dallying with him in his arms a long space, and so
holding him in a window to the sight and great comfort of all the
people."[477] A saying is recorded of Henry: "Happy those who never saw
a king and whom a king never saw." It is something, though it be but for
once, to be admitted behind the shows of royalty, and to know that he,
too, the queller of the Pope, the terror of conspirators, the dread lord
who was the pilot of England in the sharpest convulsion which as yet had
tried her substance, was nevertheless a man like the rest of us, with a
human heart and human tenderness.

But to go on with our story.

[Sidenote: State of the English criminal law.]

[Sidenote: Effect of benefit of clergy and privilege of sanctuary.]

The English criminal law was in its letter one of the most severe in
Europe; in execution it was the most uncertain and irregular. There were
no colonies to draw off the criminals, no galley system, as in France
and Spain, to absorb them in penal servitude; the country would have
laughed to scorn the proposal that it should tax itself to maintain
able-bodied men in unemployed imprisonment; and, in the absence of
graduated punishments, there was but one step to the gallows from the
lash and the branding-iron. But, as ever happens, the extreme character
of the penalties for crime prevented the enforcement of them; and
benefit of clergy on the one hand, and privilege of sanctuary on the
other, reduced to a fraction the already small number of offenders whom
juries could be found to convict. In earlier ages the terrors of the
Church supplied the place of secular retribution, and excommunication
was scarcely looked upon as preferable even to death. But in the corrupt
period which preceded the Reformation the consequences were the worst
that can be conceived. Spasmodic intervals of extraordinary severity,
when twenty thieves, as Sir Thomas More says, might be seen hanging on a
single gibbet,[478] were followed by periods when justice was, perhaps,
scarcely executed at all.[479]

[Sidenote: Reluctance of juries to convict, and of magistrates to
sentence.]

[Sidenote: Rarity of capital convictions apparent in the judges'
reports.]

[Sidenote: A sanctuary under the walls of Newgate.]

[Sidenote: Armed interference at assizes.]

[Sidenote: Difficulty experienced in abridging long recognised
privileges.]

The state endeavoured to maintain its authority against the immunities
of the Church by increasing the harshness of the code. So long as these
immunities subsisted, it had no other resource; but judges and,
magistrates shrank from inflicting penalties so enormously
disproportioned to the offence. They could not easily send a poacher or
a vagrant to the gallows while a notorious murderer was lounging in
comfort in a neighbouring sanctuary, or having just read a sentence from
a book at the bar in arrest of judgment, had been handed over to an
apparitor of the nearest archdeacon's court, and been set at liberty for
a few shillings. I have met with many instances of convictions for deer
stealing in the correspondence of the reign of Henry VIII.; I have met
but one instance where the letter of the law was enforced against the
offender, unless the minor crime had been accompanied with manslaughter
or armed resistance: the leaders of a gang who had for many years
infested Windsor Forest were at last taken and hanged. The vagrancy laws
sound terribly severe; but in the reports of the judges on their assize,
of which many remain in the State Paper Office, I have not found any one
single account of an execution under them. Felons of the worst kind
never, perhaps, had easier opportunities. The parish constables were
necessarily inefficient as a police; many of them were doubtless shaped
after the model of Dogberry; if they bid a man stand and he would not
stand, they would let him go, and thank God they were rid of a knave.
There was a sanctuary within reach all over England, even under the very
walls of Newgate, where escaped prisoners could secure themselves. The
scarcely tolerable licence of ordinary times had broken its last bonds
during the agitations of the Reformation, and the audacity of the
criminal classes had become so great that organized gangs of them
assembled at the gaol deliveries and quarter sessions to overawe the
authorities. Ambitious or violent knights and noblemen interfered to
rescue or protect their own dependents.[480] They alone were the
guardians of the law, and they at their pleasure could suspend the law;
while the habit of admitting plea of clergy, and of respecting the
precincts of sanctuary, had sunk so deeply into the practice of the
country, that, although parliament might declare such privileges
curtailed, yet in many districts custom long continued stronger than
law. The constables still respected the boundaries traced by
superstition; felons were still "saved by their book;" the English, like
the Romans, were a people with whom legislation became strong only when
it had stiffened into habit, and had entered slowly and formally into
possession of their hearts and understandings.

So many anomalies have at all times existed among English institutions,
that the nation has been practised in correcting them; and, even at
their worst, the old arrangements may have worked better in reality than
under the naked theory might appear to be possible. In a free country
each definite instinct or tendency represents itself in the general
structure of society. When tendencies, as frequently happens, contradict
each other, common sense comes in to the rescue, and, on the whole,
justice is done, though at the price of consistency.

But at the period at which this history has now arrived, the evils of
the system had obtained a conclusive preponderance. Superstition had
become powerless to deter from violence, retaining only the means of
preventing the punishment of it.[481] I shall proceed to illustrate the
actual condition of the criminal administration between the years 1535
and 1540, by specimens, not indeed selected at random, but such as
exhibit, in a marked form, a condition of things which may be traced,
in greater or less degree, throughout the judicial and magisterial
correspondence of the time.

[Sidenote: Violent dissolution of the sessions at Taunton and
Bridgewater by an armed combination.]

In the spring of 1535, the sessions at Taunton and Bridgewater were
forcibly dissolved by an insurrection of "wilful persons." Lord
Fitzwarren and a number of other gentlemen narrowly escaped being
murdered; and the gang, emboldened by success, sent detachments round
the country, thirty of whom, the magistrates of Frome reported as having
come thither for a similar purpose. The combination was of so serious a
kind, that the _posse comitatus_ of Somersetshire was called out to put
it down. Circulars went round among the principal families, warning them
all of what had taken place, and arranging plans for mutual action. Sir
John Fitzjames came down from London; and at last, by great exertion,
the ringleaders were arrested and brought to trial. The least guilty
were allowed to earn their pardon by confession. Twelve who attempted to
face out their offence were convicted and executed, four of them at
Taunton, four at Bridgewater, and four at the village to which they
belonged.[482]

[Sidenote: A jury at Chichester refuses to convict a gang of burglars.]

In 1536, 7, 8, or 9,[483] a series of burglaries had been committed in
the town and the neighbourhood of Chichester; and there had been a riot
also, connected with the robberies, of sufficient importance to be
communicated to the government. The parties chiefly implicated were
discovered and taken; the evidence against them was conclusive, and no
attempt was made to shake it; but three "froward persons" on the jury,
one of whom was the foreman, refused to agree to a verdict. They were
themselves, the magistrates were aware, either a part of the gang, or
privately in league with them; and the help of the crown was invited for
"the reformation of justice."[484] I do not find how this matter ended.

[Sidenote: Felons allowed to plead benefit of clergy after the right had
been abolished by statute.]

Benefit of clergy was taken from felons in 1531-2.[485] At least five
years later, when Cromwell was privy seal, three men were arraigned at
the gaol delivery at Ipswich, "upon three several indictments of several
felonies." They were convicted regularly, and their guilt does not seem
to have been doubted; but "every of them prayed their book." The see of
Norwich being vacant at the time, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction was
suspended; no "ordinary" was present in court to "hear them read;" the
magistrates thereupon "reprieved the said felons, without any judgment
upon the said verdict." The prisoners were remanded to the gaol till the
spiritual courts were ready to take charge of them: they were kept
carelessly, and escaped.[486]

[Sidenote: Description of a sanctuary at Bewley in Hampshire.]

The following extract from a letter written in 1539 will show, better
than any general description, the nature of a sanctuary, and the spirit
in which the protection was enjoyed. The number of sanctuaries had been
limited by act of parliament previous to their final abolition; certain
favoured spots were permitted for a time to absorb the villany of the
country; and felons who had taken refuge elsewhere, were to be removed
into some one of these. Bewley in Hampshire had been condemned to lose
its privilege. Richard Layton, the monastic visitor, describes and
pleads for it to the privy seal.

[Sidenote: Interest expressed by the visitor in thirty-two debtors,
felons, and murderers.]

"There be sanctuary men here," he says, "for debt, felony, and murder,
thirty-two; many of them aged, some very sick. They have all, within
four, wives and children, and dwelling-houses, and ground, whereby they
live with their families; which, being all assembled before us, and the
king's pleasure opened to them, they have very lamentably declared that,
if they be now sent to other sanctuaries, not only they, but their wives
and children also, shall be utterly undone; and therefore have desired
us to be mean unto your good lordship that they may remain here for term
of their lives, so that none others be received. And because we have
certain knowledge that the great number of them, with their wives and
children, shall be utterly cast away, their age, impotency, and other
things considered, if they be sent to any other place, we have sent this
bearer unto you, beseeching your lordship to know the king's pleasure
herein."[487]

The nineteenth century believes, and believes with justice, that in its
treatment of criminals it has made advances in humanity on the practice
of earlier times; but the warmest of living philanthropists would
scarcely consider so tenderly, in a correspondence with the home
secretary, the domestic comforts of thirty-two debtors, felons, and
murderers.

[Sidenote: Rowland Lee, Lord Warden of the Welsh Marches.]

[Sidenote: Transitional condition of the Welsh people.]

[Sidenote: False attempts at independence on the Border.]

But the most detailed accounts of the lawlessness which had spread in
the wilder districts of the country are to be found in the reports of
the remarkable Rowland Lee, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Lord
Warden of the Welsh Marches, the last survivor of the old martial
prelates, fitter for harness than for bishops' robes, for a court of
justice than a court of theology; more at home at the head of his
troopers, chasing cattle-stealers in the gorges of Llangollen, than
hunting heretics to the stake, or chasing formulas in the arduous
defiles of controversy. Three volumes are extant of Rowland Lee's
letters.[488] They relate almost wholly to the details of his
administration on either side of the frontier line from Chester to the
mouth of the Wye. The Welsh counties were but freshly organized under
the English system. The Welsh customs had but just been superseded by
the English common law. The race whose ancient hardihood the castles of
Conway, Carnarvon, and Beaumaris remain to commemorate, whom only those
stern towers, with their sterner garrisons, could awe into subjection,
maintained a shadow of their independence in a wild lawlessness of
character. But the sense of subjection had been soothed by the proud
consciousness that they had bestowed a dynasty upon England; that a
blood descendant of Cadwallader was seated on the throne of the Edwards.
They had ceased to maintain, like the Irish, a feeling of national
hostility. They were suffering now from the intermediate disorders which
intervene when a smaller race is merging in a stronger and a larger;
when traditional customs are falling into desuetude, and the laws
designed to take their place have not yet grown actively into
operation. Many of the Welsh gentlemen lived peacefully by honest
industry; others, especially along the Border, preferred the character
of Highland chieftains, and from their mountain fastnesses levied black
rent on the English counties. Surrounded with the sentiment of
pseudo-heroism, they revelled in the conceit of imaginary freedom; and
with their bards and pedigrees, and traditions of Glendower and Prince
Llewellyn, they disguised from themselves and others the plain prose
truth, that they were but thieves and rogues.

These were the men whom Rowland Lee was sent to tame into
civility,--these, and their English neighbours, who, from close
proximity and from acquired habits of retaliation for their own
injuries, had caught the infection of a similar spirit.

[Sidenote: Council of the Welsh Marches.]

[Sidenote: Cheshire juries return verdicts.]

[Sidenote: Necessity for a discipline and for a suspension of the common
law.]

From his many letters I must content myself with taking such extracts as
bear most immediately on the working of the criminal law, and illustrate
the extreme difficulty of punishing even the worst villanies. To
strengthen the bishop's hands, a Council of the Marches had been
established in 1534, with powers similar to those which were given
subsequently to the Council of York.

In August, 1537, Lee wrote to Cromwell, "These shall be to advertise you
that where of late I sent unto your lordship a bill of such murders and
manslaughters as were done in Cheshire which would not be found until
this council set the same forward for condign punishment of the
offenders, and although at the late assizes a great number of bills both
for murders and riots were put into the great inquest, and good evidence
given upon the same--yet, contrary to their duties to our sovereign lord
and their oath, neglecting the course and ministration of justice, they
have found murders to be manslaughters, and riots to be misbehaviours.
The council could do no less but see the same redressed. We have called
the said inquest before us, and committed them to ward for their
lightness in the premises. And for as much as I think that suit will be
made unto your lordship of my straitness and hard dealing herein, if
your lordship will have that country in as good order and stay as we
have set other parts, there must be punishment done, or else they will
continue in their boldness as they have used heretofore. If your
lordship will that I shall deal remissively herein, upon the
advertisement of your lordship's mind by your letters, I shall gladly
follow the same. Or else, if your lordship do mind reformation of the
premises, write unto me a sharp letter to see justice ministered, and to
punish such as shall be thought offenders according to this council's
discretion for their misbehaviours by fines, strait imprisonment, and
otherwise. For if we should do nothing but as the common law will, these
things so far out of order will never be redressed."

[Sidenote: Four gentlemen of the best blood in Shropshire are hanged.]

The bishop's advice was approved. One caution only was impressed upon
him by Cromwell--that "indifferent justice must be ministered to poor
and rich according to their demerits;" and gentlemen who were concerned
in riots and robberies were not to be spared on account of their
position. The bishop obeyed the admonition, which was probably little
needed; soon after, at a quarter sessions, in the presence of the Earl
of Worcester, Lord Ferrars, and many gentlemen of the shire, "four of
the best blood in the county of Shropshire" were reported to have been
hanged.

Carrying his discipline south, the bishop by-and-bye wrote from
Hereford:--

[Sidenote: A nest of thieves is rooted out in Gloucestershire.]

"By diligent search and pains we have tried out the greatest nest of
thieves that was heard of this many years. They have confessed to the
robbing of eighteen churches, besides other felonies, already. This nest
was rooted in Gloucestershire at a place called Merkyll, and had
recourse to a blind inn, to an old man, who, with his two sons, being
arrant thieves, were the receitors. Of this affinity were a great
number, of whom we have ten or twelve principals and accessories, and do
make out daily for more where we can hear they be. Daily the outlaws
submit themselves, or be taken. If he be taken he playeth his pageant.
If he come and submit himself, I take him to God's mercy and the king's
grace upon his fine."

[Sidenote: Effect of the sharp hand.]

[Sidenote: One thief taketh another, and one cow keepeth another.]

Once more, after mentioning the capture of two outlaws, whom he intended
to despatch, and of a third, who had been killed, in attempting to
escape, brought in dead across a horse, and hanged on a market-day at
Ludlow, the warden summed up, as a general result of his administration,
"What shall we say further? All the thieves in Wales quake for fear; and
at this day we assure you there is but one thief of name, of the sort of
outlaws, and we trust to have him shortly; so that now ye may boldly
affirm that Wales is redact to that state that one thief taketh another,
and one cow keepeth another."[489]

The bishop's work was rough; but it was good of its kind, and was
carried out in the manner which, in the long run, was most
merciful--merciful to honest subjects, who were no longer the prey of
marauders--merciful to those whom the impunity of these heroes of the
Border might have tempted to imitate their example--merciful to the
offenders themselves, who were saved by the gallows from adding to the
list of their crimes.

[Sidenote: Laxity of the magistrates in the south-west of England.]

But although order could be enforced where an active resolute man had
been chosen to supersede the inefficiency of the local authorities, in
other parts of England, in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somersetshire,
Devonshire, and Cornwall especially, there was no slight necessity still
remaining for discipline of a similar kind; the magistrates had been
exhorted again and again in royal proclamations to discharge their
duties more efficiently; but the ordinary routine of life was deranged
by the religious convulsions; the mainspring of the social system was
out of place, and the parts could no longer work in harmony. The
expedient would have to be attempted which had succeeded elsewhere; but,
before resorting to it, Henry would try once more the effect of an
address, and a circular was issued in the ensuing terms:--

[Sidenote: The king issues an address to them.]

[Sidenote: Once again he charges them on their allegiance to do their
duty.]

"The king to the justices of the peace. Trusty and well-beloved, we
greet you well,[490] and cannot a little marvel to hear that,
notwithstanding our sundry advertisements lately made unto you for the
doing of your duties in such offices as in our commonwealth are
committed unto you, many things be nevertheless directed at will and
pleasure, than either upon any just contemplation of justice, or with
any regard to the good monitions which heretofore we have set forth for
the advancement of the same. Minding, therefore, yet once again, before
we shall correct the lewdness of the offenders with any extremity of
law, to give a more general admonition, to the intent no man shall have
colour by excuse of ignorance, we have thought meet to write these our
letters unto you, and by the same to desire and pray you, and yet,
nevertheless, to charge and command you, upon your duties or allegiance,
that for the repairing of all things negligently passed, and for the
avoiding of all such damages as may for lack thereof happen unto you,
you shall have special care and study to the due and just observation of
the points following:--

[Sidenote: The privy maintainers of the Papistical faction shall be
tried out and punished.]

"First, where we have with our great study, travail, and labour expelled
the usurped power of Rome, with all the branches and dependings upon the
same, our pleasure is that you shall have a principal regard that the
privy maintainers of that Papistical faction may be tried out and
brought to justice. For by sundry arguments it is manifest unto us that
there wanteth not a number that in that matter retain their old fond
fantasies and superstitions, muttering in corners, as they dare, to the
maintenance and upholding of them, what countenance soever they do shew
outwards for avoiding of danger of the law. These kind of men we would
have tried out, as the most cankered and venomous worms that be in our
commonwealth, both for that they be apparent enemies to God, and
manifest traitors to us and to our whole realm, workers of all mischief
and sedition within the same.

[Sidenote: The sturdy vagabonds shall be punished,]

"Secondly, you shall have special regard that all sturdy vagabonds and
valiant beggars may be punished according to the statute made for that
purpose. Your default in the execution whereof, proceeding upon an
inconsiderate pity to one evil person, without respect to the great
multitude that live in honest and lawful sort, hath bred no small
inconvenience in our commonwealth. And you shall also have special
regard that no man be suffered to use any unlawful games; but that every
man may be encouraged to use the longbow, as the law requireth.

[Sidenote: And even justice shall be administered between poor and
rich.]

[Sidenote: He requires them to obey, or his next advice will be of
another sort.]

"Furthermore, our pleasure and most dread commandment is that, all
respects set apart, you shall bend yourselves to the advancement of even
justice between party and party, both that our good subjects may have
the benefit of our laws sincerely administered unto them, and that evil
doers may be punished, as the same doth prescribe and limit. To which
points, if you shall upon this monition and advertisement give such
diligent regard as you may satisfy your duty in the same, leaving and
eschewing from henceforth all disguised corruption, we shall be content
the more easily to put in oblivion all your former remissness and
negligence. But if, on the other part, we shall perceive that this kind
of gentle proceeding can work no kind of good effect in you, or any of
you, whom we put in trust under us, assure yourselves that the next
advice shall be of so sharp a sort as shall bring with it a just
punishment of those that shall be found offenders in this behalf:
requiring you, therefore, not only for your own part to wax each a new
man, if you shall in your own conscience perceive that you have not done
your duty as appertained, but also to exhort others of your sort and
condition, whom you shall perceive to digress from the true execution of
their offices, rather to reconcile and compose themselves than upon any
affection, respect, or displeasure to do any such thing as will
hereafter minister unto them further repentance, and will not percase,
when it should light on their necks, lightly be redubbed. Wherein you
shall shew yourselves men of good instruction, and deserve our right
hearty thanks accordingly."

[Sidenote: Issue of special commissions.]

[Sidenote: Ten felons hanged at Kidderminster.]

[Sidenote: Divers and many suffer in the south.]

Menace, as usual, was but partially effectual. At length, in the midst
of the general stir and excitement of the spring and summer of 1539,
while the loyal portion of the country was still under arms, and the
government felt strong enough for the work, we trace the progress of
special commissions through the counties where the irregularities had
been the greatest, partly to sift to the bottom the history of the
Marquis of Exeter's conspiracy, partly to administer discipline to gangs
of rogues and vagabonds. Sir Thomas Blunt and Sir Robert Neville went to
Worcester and Kidderminster. At the latter place ten felons were
hanged.[491] Sir Thomas Willoughby, with Lord Russell and others, was
sent into the south and west, where, "for wilful murders, heinous
robberies, and other offences," Willoughby wrote to Cromwell, that
"divers and many felons suffered." In Somersetshire four men were hanged
for rape and burglary. In Cornwall, Kendall and Quintrell were hanged,
with confederates who had acted under them as recruiting agents for Lord
Exeter. Other details are wanting; but a general tone of vigour runs
through the reports, and the gentlemen had so far taken warning from
the last proclamation, that the commissioners were able to conclude: "I
assure you, my lord, in every of these same shires there hath been a
great appearance of gentlemen and men of worship who have endeavoured
themselves, with much diligence in executing the king's precepts and
commandments."[492] Sir Thomas Wriothesley, who either accompanied the
commission, or was in Hampshire independently of it, took advantage of a
quarter sessions in that county to stimulate these symptoms of
improvement a little further.

[Sidenote: Sir Thomas Wriothesley gives advice at a quarter sessions in
Hampshire.]

[Sidenote: Three abbots fall under suspicion.]

[Sidenote: The Abbots of Colchester and Reading.]

[Sidenote: The Abbot of Glastonbury.]

[Sidenote: Layton and Pollard are commissioned to examine the charges
against the Abbot of Glastonbury.]

[Sidenote: The abbot's rooms are searched.]

[Sidenote: He is sent to the Tower.]

[Sidenote: The abbey plate and jewels had disappeared.]

[Sidenote: General tendency in the monks to plunder.]

The king, he told the magistrates, desired most of all things that
indifferent justice should be ministered to the poor and the rich,
which, he regretted to say, was imperfectly done. Those in authority too
much used their powers, "that men should follow the bent of their bows,"
a thing which "did not need to be followed." The chief cause of all the
evils of the time was "the dark setting forth of God's Word," "the
humming and harking of the priests who ought to read it, and the
slanders given to those that did plainly and truly set it forth." At any
rate, the fact was as he described it to be; and they would find, he
added, significantly, that, if they gave further occasion for complaint,
"God had given them a prince that had force and strength to rule the
highest of them."[493] For the present no further notice was taken of
their conduct. There is no evidence that any magistrates were deprived
or punished. The work which they had neglected was done for them by
others, and they were left again to themselves with a clearer
field.[494] One noticeable victim, however, fell in this year. There
were three, indeed, with equal claims to interest; but one, through
caprice of fame, has been especially remembered. The great abbots, with
but few exceptions, had given cause for suspicion during the late
disturbances; that is to say, they had grown to advanced age as faithful
subjects of the Papacy; they were too old to begin life again with a new
allegiance. Information had transpired--I do not know the precise nature
of it--to persuade Cromwell that the Abbots of Reading, Colchester, and
Glastonbury were entangled in some treasonable enterprise or
correspondence.[495] The charges against the Abbot of Reading I have
been unable to find. The Abbot of Colchester had refused to surrender
his house, and concealed or made away with the abbey plate, and had used
expressions of most unambiguous anxiety for the success of the
rebellions, and of disappointment at their failure.[496] They were both
executed. On the first visitation of the monasteries, Whiting, Abbot of
Glastonbury, received a favourable character from the visitors. He had
taken the oaths to the king without objection, or none is mentioned. He
had acquiesced generally, in his place in the House of Lords, in
Cromwell's legislation, he had been present at one reading at least of
the concluding statute against the Pope's authority;[497] and there is
no evidence that he distinguished himself in any way as a champion of
the falling faith. In the last parliament he had been absent on plea of
ill health; but he appointed no proxy, nor sought apparently to use on
either side his legitimate influence. Cromwell's distrust was awakened
by some unknown reason; but both to him and to those who had spoken
previously in his favour, it seemed, according to their standard of
appreciation, sufficiently grounded. Perhaps some discontented monk had
sent up secret informations.[498] An order went out for an inquiry into
his conduct, which was to be executed by three of the visitors, Layton,
Pollard, and Moyle. On the 16th of September they were at Reading: on
the 22d they had arrived at Glastonbury. The abbot was absent at a
country house a mile and a half distant. They followed him, informed him
of the cause of their coming, and asked him a few questions. His answers
were "nothing to the purpose;" that is to say, he confessed nothing to
the visitors' purpose. He was taken back to the abbey; his private
apartments were searched, and a book of arguments was found there
against the king's divorce, pardons, copies of bulls, and a Life of
Thomas à Becket,--nothing particularly criminal, though all indicating
the abbot's tendencies. The visitors considered their discoveries "a
great matter." The abbot was again questioned; and this time his answers
appeared to them "cankered and traitorous." He was placed in charge of a
guard, and sent to London to the Tower, to be examine by Cromwell
himself. The occasion of his absence was taken for the dissolution of
the house; and, as the first preliminary, an inventory was made of the
plate, the furniture, and the money in the treasury. Glastonbury was one
of the wealthiest of the religious houses. A less experienced person
than Layton would have felt some surprise when he found that neither
plate, jewels, nor ornaments were forthcoming sufficient for an ordinary
parish church. But deceptions of this kind were too familiar to a man
who had examined half the religious houses in England. He knew
immediately that the abbey treasure was either in concealment or had
been secretly made away with. Foreseeing the impending destruction of
this establishment, the monks had been everywhere making use of their
opportunities of plunder. The altar plate, in some few instances, may
have been secreted from a sentiment of piety--from a desire to preserve
from sacrilege vessels consecrated to holy uses. But plunder was the
rule; piety was the exception. A confession of the Abbot of Barlings
contains a frank avowal of the principles on which the fraternities
generally acted. This good abbot called his convent into the
chapter-house, and by his own acknowledgment, addressed them thus:--

[Sidenote: Address of the Abbot of Barlings.]

"Brethren, ye hear how other religious men be intreated, and how they
have but forty shillings a piece given them and are let go. But they
that have played the wise men amongst them have provided aforehand for
themselves, and sold away divers things wherewith they may help
themselves hereafter. And ye hear also this rumour that goeth abroad
that the greater abbeys shall down also. Wherefore, by your advice, this
shall be my counsel, that we do take such plate as we have, and certain
of the best vestments and copes and set them aside, and sell them if
need be, and so divide the money coming thereof when the house is
suppressed. And I promise you of my faith and conscience ye shall have
your part, and of every penny that I have during my life; and
thereupon," he concluded, "the brethren agreed thereunto."[499]

[Sidenote: Appropriation or concealment of plate regarded as felony.]

[Sidenote: Discovery of the Glastonbury plate which had been concealed
by the abbot.]

[Sidenote: The motive, if good, could not excuse the fact.]

[Sidenote: Evidence of treason found against the abbot,]

[Sidenote: Which need not be called in question.]

[Sidenote: The quarrel with the Papacy exasperated by the persecution of
English residents in Spain.]

A less severe government than that of Henry VIII. would have refused to
tolerate conduct of this kind. Those who decline to recognise the
authority of an act of parliament over the property of corporate bodies,
cannot pretend that a right of ownership was vested in persons whose
tenure, at its best and surest, was limited by their lives.[500] For
members of religious houses to make away their plate was justly
construed to be felony; and the law, which was necessarily general,
could not recognise exceptions on the ground of piety of motive, when
such an exception would but have furnished a screen behind which
indiscriminate pillage might have been carried on with impunity. The
visitors had been warned to be careful, and practice had made them
skilful in means of detection. On the first day of the investigation at
Glastonbury, "a fair chalice of gold" came to light, "with divers other
parcels of plate;" all of which the abbot had concealed, committing
perjury in doing so, on their previous visitation.[501] The next day
brought out more; and the day after, more again. Gold and silver in
vessels, ornaments, and money were discovered "mured up in walls,
vaults, and other secret places," some hidden by the abbot, some by the
convent. Two monks who were treasurers, with the lay clerks of the
vestry, were found to have been "arrant thieves." At length as much
treasure of various sorts was recovered as would have begun a new
abbey.[502] The visitors did not trouble themselves to speculate on the
abbot's intentions. There is nothing to show that in collusion with the
brethren he was not repeating the behaviour of the Abbot of Barlings;
or, like so many of the northern abbots, he might have been hoarding a
fund to subsidize insurrection, preserving the treasures of the temple
to maintain the temple's defenders; or he might have acted in a simple
spirit of piety. His motives were of no moment. The fact of the
concealment was patent. The letter communicating these discoveries to
the government was written on the 28th of September. Another followed on
the 2d of October, stating that, since the despatch of the last, the
visitors "had come to the knowledge of divers sundry treasons committed
and done by the Abbot of Glastonbury, the certainty whereof would appear
in a Book of Depositions," which they forwarded with the accusers' names
attached to their statements, "very haut and rank treason."[503] I have
not discovered this "Book of Depositions;" but those who desire to
elevate the Abbot of Glastonbury to the rank of the martyr, confess, in
doing so, their belief that he was more faithful to the Church than to
the State, that he was guilty of regarding the old ways as better than
the new, and they need not care to question that he may have acted on
his convictions, or at least have uttered them in words. After the
recent experience of the Pilgrimage of Grace, an ascertained
disposition of disloyalty was enough to ensure a conviction; and the
Pope by his latest conduct had embittered the quarrel to the utmost. He
had failed to excite a holy war against England, but three English
merchants had been burnt by the Inquisition in Spain.[504] Five more had
been imprisoned and one had been tortured only for declaring that they
considered Henry VIII. to be a Christian. Their properties had been
confiscated, they had borne faggots and candles in a procession as
sanbenitos,[505] and Paul had issued a promise of indulgence to all
pious Catholics who would kill an English heretic.[506]

[Sidenote: November. The abbot is sent back to Somersetshire.]

[Sidenote: Nov. 14. He is arraigned at Wells for stealing the plate, and
condemned.]

[Sidenote: He was unpopular in the county and among his tenants.]

[Sidenote: He is hanged on Glastonbury Torre.]

Six weeks elapsed before the abbot's fate was decided, part or the whole
of which time he was in London. At the beginning of November he was sent
back into Somersetshire, already condemned at a tribunal where Cromwell
sat as prosecutor, jury, and judge. His escape in a more regular court
was not contemplated as a possibility; among loose papers of Cromwell
still remaining there is a memorandum in his own hand for "the trial and
execution" of the Abbot of Glastonbury.[507] But the appearance of
unfair dealing was greater than the reality. Lord Russell, whose
stainless character was worthy of his name, was one of the commissioners
before whom the trial was conducted; and Russell has left on record his
approval of, and acquiescence in the conduct of the case, in plain and
unmistakeable language. Whiting was arraigned at Wells on Thursday, the
14th of November, with his treasurers, "before as worshipful a jury as
was charged there for many years."[508] The crime of which he was
formally accused was robbing the abbey church; and there was no doubt
that he was guilty of having committed that crime, to whatever the guilt
may have amounted. But if the government had prosecuted in every
instance of abbey-church robbery, a monk would have hung in chains at
all the cross-roads in England. The Abbot of Glastonbury was tried and
convicted of felony; his real offence was treason, as the word was
interpreted by Cromwell. He was unpopular in the county, and among his
dependents. "There were many bills," Lord Russell said, "put up against
the abbot, by his tenants and others, for wrongs and injuries that he
had done them."[509] He was sentenced to death, and the day following
was fixed for the execution. He was taken with the two monks from Wells
to Glastonbury; he was drawn through the town in the usual manner, and
thence to the top of the conical hill which rises out of the level plain
of Somersetshire, called Glastonbury Torre. To the last he was tormented
with questions, "but he would accuse no man but himself;" he only
requested the visitors' servants who were present on the Torre to
entreat their masters and Lord Russell "to desire the King's Highness of
his merciful goodness and in the way of charity to forgive him his great
offences by him committed and done against his Grace."[510] The modern
student, to whom the passions and the difficulties of the time are as a
long forgotten dream, who sees only the bleak hill-top on the dreary
November day, the gallows, and an infirm old man guilty of nothing which
he can understand to be a crime, shudders at the needless cruelty.
Cromwell, for his share in this policy of death, was soon to receive as
he had given; a few more months, and he too on Tower Hill would pass to
his account.



CHAPTER XVII.

ANNE OF CLEVES, AND THE FALL OF CROMWELL.


[Sidenote: Increasing impatience of the country for the king's
marriage.]

The king's marriage could not be longer delayed. Almost three years had
been wasted in fruitless negotiations, and the state of his health
threatened, more and more clearly, that his life would not be prolonged
to any advanced period. The death of the Duke of Richmond[511] was a
fresh evidence of the absence of vital stamina in Henry's male children;
and the anxious and impatient people saw as yet but a single fragile
life between the country and a disputed succession. The disloyal
Romanists alone desired to throw obstacles between the king and a fresh
connexion--alone calumniated his motives, and looked forward hopefully
to the possible and probable confusion.

[Sidenote: The recommendation of Anne of Cleaves.]

Among the ladies who had been considered suitable to take the place of
Queen Jane, the name had been mentioned, with no especial commendation,
of Anne, daughter of the Duke of Cleves, and sister-in-law of the
Elector of Saxony. She had been set aside in favour of the Duchess of
Milan; but, all hopes in this quarter having been abruptly and
ungraciously terminated, Cromwell once more turned his eyes towards a
connexion which, more than any other, would make the Emperor repent of
his discourtesy--and would further at the same time the great object
which the condition of Europe now, more than ever, showed him to be
necessary--a league of all nations of the Teutonic race in defence of
the Reformation. A marriage between the king and a German Protestant
princess would put a final end to Anglo-Imperial trifling; and,
committing England to a definite policy abroad, it would neutralize at
home the efforts of the framers of the Six Articles, and compel the
king, whether he desired it or not, to return to a toleration of
Lutheran opinions and Lutheran practices.

[Sidenote: The opportunity favourable to a Protestant connexion.]

[Sidenote: Prorogation of parliament.]

[Sidenote: Supposed pre-contract between Anne of Cleves and a Count of
Lorraine.]

[Sidenote: Her appearance and accomplishments.]

[Sidenote: Cromwell neglects a warning.]

[Sidenote: Her portrait taken by Holbein.]

[Sidenote: Barnes goes as commissioner into Germany.]

[Sidenote: The persecution in England ceases.]

The opportunity of urging such an alliance on Henry was more than
favourable. He had been deceived, insulted, and menaced by the Emperor;
his articles of union had been converted by the bishops into articles of
a vindictive persecution; and the Anglicans, in their indiscreet
animosity, had betrayed their true tendencies, and had shown how little,
in a life-and-death struggle with the Papacy, he could depend upon their
lukewarm zeal for independence. Affecting only to persecute heterodoxy,
they had extended their vengeance to every advocate for freedom, to
every enemy of ecclesiastical exemptions and profitable superstitions;
and the king, disappointed and exasperated, was in a humour, while
snatching their victims from their grasp, to consent to a step which
would undo their victory in parliament. The occasion was not allowed to
cool. Parliament was prorogued on the 11th of May, with an intimation
from the crown that the religious question was not to be regarded as
finally settled.[512] The treaty with Cleves was so far advanced on the
17th of July that Lord Hertford[513] was able to congratulate Cromwell
on the consent of Anne's brother and mother.[514] The lady had been
previously intended for a son of a Duke of Lorraine; and Henry, whom
experience had made anxious, was alarmed at the name of a
"pre-contract." But Dr. Wotton, who was sent over to arrange the
preliminaries, and was instructed to see the difficulty cleared, was
informed and believed that the engagement had never advanced to a form
which brought with it legal obligations, and that Anne was at liberty to
marry wherever she pleased.[515] Of her personal attractions Wotton
reported vaguely. He said that she had been well brought up; but ladies
of rank in Germany were not usually taught accomplishments. She could
speak no language except her own, nor could she play on any instrument.
He supposed, however, that she would be able to learn English in no long
time; and he comforted the king by assuring him that at least she had
no taste for "the heavy-headed revels" of her countrymen.[516] Wotton
could not be accused of having lent himself to a deception as to the
lady's recommendations. It would have been well for Cromwell if he too
had been equally scrupulous. He had been warned beforehand of an
unattractiveness, so great as to have overcome the spontaneous belief in
the beauty of royal ladies;[517] but, intent upon the success of his
policy, he disregarded information which his conduct proves him to have
partially believed. Holbein was despatched to take the princess's
picture; and Holbein's inimitable skill would not have failed so wholly
in conveying a true impression of the original if he had not received an
intimation that an agreeable portrait was expected of him; while, as
soon as it was brought into England, Cromwell's agents praised to the
king "her features, beauty, and princely proportions," and assured him
that the resemblance was perfect.[518] The German commission was as
expeditious as the Spanish had been dilatory. To allay any uneasiness
which might remain with respect to the Six Articles, and to furnish a
convincing evidence of the toleration which was practised, Dr. Barnes
was sent over as one of the English representatives; and he carried with
him the comforting assurance that the persecution had been terminated,
and that the Gospel had free way. His assertions were afterwards
confirmed by unsuspicious and independent evidence. "There is no
persecution," wrote a Protestant in London, a few months later, to
Bullinger. "The Word is powerfully preached. Books of every kind may
safely be exposed to sale."[519] "Good pastors," wrote another, "are
freely preaching the truth, nor has any notice been taken of them on
account of the articles."[520] Even the Elector of Saxony, jealous and
distrustful as he had ever been of Henry, was so far satisfied as to
write to him that he understood "the sharpness of the decree of the Six
Articles to be modified by the wisdom and moderation of his Highness,
and the execution of it not put in use."[521]

[Sidenote: Cromwell's dangerous game.]

[Sidenote: His attitude towards the peers,]

All promised well; but it is not to be supposed that Cromwell was
allowed without resistance to paralyse a measure which had been carried
by an almost unanimous parliament. More than half the Privy Council, the
Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Bishops of Winchester, Durham, and
Chichester, were openly and violently opposed to him. The House of Lords
and the country gentlemen, baffled, as it seemed to them, by his
treachery (for he had professed to go along with their statute while it
was under discussion), maintained an attitude of sullen menace or open
resistance. If the laws against the heretics might not be put in force,
they would lend no help to execute the laws against the Romanists.[522]
They despised Cromwell's injunctions, though supported by orders from
the crown. They would not acknowledge so much as the receipt of his
letters. He was playing a critical and most dangerous game, in which he
must triumph or be annihilated. The king warned him repeatedly to be
cautious;[523] but the terms on which he had placed himself with the
nobility had perhaps passed the point where caution could have been of
use. He answered haughtiness by haughtiness: and he left his fate to the
chances of fortune, careless what it might be, if only he could
accomplish his work while life and power remained to him. One
illustration of his relation with the temporal peers shall be given in
this place, conveying, as it does, other allusions also, the drift of
which is painfully intelligible. The following letter is written in
Cromwell's own hand. The address is lost, but the rank of the person or
persons to whom it was sent is apparent from the contents:--

[Sidenote: Who, to his Majesty's marvel, persist in maintaining the
Papistical sect.]

"After my right hearty commendations, the King's Highness, being
informed that there be two priests in your town, called Sir William
Winstanley, which is now in ward, the other called Sir William
Richardson, otherwise Good Sir William, hath commanded me to signify to
you that, upon the receipt hereof, you shall send both the said priests
hither as prisoners in assured custody. His Grace cannot a little marvel
to hear of the Papistical faction that is maintained in that town, and
by you chiefly that are of his Grace's council. Surely his Majesty
thinketh that you have little respect either to him, or to his laws, or
to the good order of that town, which so little regard him in a matter
of so great weight, which, also, his Highness hath so much to heart; and
willed me plainly to say to you all and every of you, that in case he
shall perceive from henceforth any such abuses suffered or winked at as
have been hitherto, in manner in contempt of his most royal estate, his
Highness will put others in the best of your rooms that so offend him,
by whom he will be better served. It is thought against all reason that
the prayers of women, and their fond flickerings, should move any of you
to do that thing that should in anywise displease your prince and
sovereign lord, or offend his just laws. And, if you shall think any
extremity in this writing, you must thank yourselves that have procured
it; for neither of yourselves have you regarded these matters, nor
answered to many of my letters, written for like purposes and upon like
occasions: wherein, though I have not made any accusation, yet, being in
the place for these things that I am, I have thought you did me therein
too much injury, and such as I am assured his Highness, knowing it,
would not have taken it in good part. But this matter needeth no
aggravation, ne I have done anything in it more than hath been by his
Majesty thought meet, percase not so much; and thus heartily fare you
well.

  "Your Lordship's assured
  "THOMAS CROMWELL."[524]

[Sidenote: A breach begins to open between the king and the minister.]

[Sidenote: Increasing expenses of the government.]

[Sidenote: Cromwell prepares for his fall.]

[Sidenote: His personal expenditure large, and the sources of his income
exceptionable.]

Between the minister and the king the points of difference were large
and increasing. The conduct which had earned for Cromwell the hatred or
the immense majority of the people, could not but at times have been
regarded disapprovingly by a person who shared so deeply as Henry in the
English conservative spirit; while Cromwell, again, was lavish in his
expenditure; and the outlay upon the fleet and the Irish army, the cost
of suppression of the insurrection, and of the defences of the coast,
at once vast and unusual, were not the less irritating because they
could not be denied to be necessary. A spirit of economy in the reaction
from his youthful extravagance, was growing over Henry with his
advancing years; he could not reconcile himself to a profusion to which,
even with the addition of the Church lands, his resources were
altogether unequal, without trespassing on his subjects' purses; and the
conservative faction in the council took advantage of his ill humour to
whisper that the fault was in the carelessness, the waste, and the
corruption of the privy seal. Cromwell knew it well.[525] Two years
previously he had received full warning that they were on the watch to
take advantage of any momentary displeasure against him in the king.
They were not likely to have been conciliated subsequently by the deaths
of the Marquis of Exeter and Lord Montague, for which he personally was
held responsible; and he prepared for the fate which he foresaw, in
making settlements on his servants, that they might not suffer by his
attainder.[526] The noble lords possessed, undoubtedly, one serious
advantage against him. His own expenses were as profuse as the expenses
of the state under his management. His agents were spread over Europe.
He bought his information anywhere, and at any cost; and secret-service
money for such purposes he must have provided, like his successor in the
same policy, Sir Francis Walsingham, from his own resources. As a
self-raised statesman, he had inherited nothing. His position as a
nobleman was to be maintained; and it was maintained so liberally, that
two hundred poor were every day supplied with food at his gate. The
salaries of his offices and the rents of such estates as the king had
given to him were inadequate for such irregular necessities. In
Cromwell, the questionable practice of most great men of his time--the
practice of receiving pensions and presents for general support and
patronage--was carried to an extent which even then, perhaps, appeared
excessive. It is evident, from his whole correspondence, that he
received as profusely as he spent. We trace in him no such ambitious
splendour as he had seen in Wolsey. He was contented with the moderate
maintenance of a nobleman's establishment. But power was essential to
him; and a power like that which Cromwell wielded required resources
which he obtained only by exposing his reputation while alive, and his
good name in history, to not unmerited blame.

[Sidenote: An attempt to destroy Gardiner.]

[Sidenote: Gardiner escapes;]

[Sidenote: But, with the Bishop of Chichester, is dismissed from the
Privy Council.]

[Sidenote: Cromwell's position is not benefited, however.]

Weighted as he was with faults, which his high purposes but partially
excuse, he fought his battle bravely--alone--against the world. The
German marriage did not pass without a struggle at the council board.
Cromwell had long recognised his strongest and most dangerous enemy in
the person of Stephen Gardiner. So much he dreaded the subtle bishop,
that he had made an effort once to entangle him under the Supremacy
Act;[527] but Gardiner had glided under the shadow of the act, and had
escaped its grasp. Smooth, treacherous, and plausible, he had held his
way along the outer edge of the permitted course, never committing
himself, commanding the sympathy of English conservatism, the patron of
those suspected of Romanism on one side, as Cromwell was the patron of
heretics; but self-possessed and clear-headed, watching the times,
knowing that the reaction must have its day at last, and only careful to
avoid the precipitancy, in future, into which he had blundered after the
Six Articles Bill. His rival's counter-move had checked him, but he
waited his opportunity; and when Barnes was sent as commissioner into
Germany, Gardiner challenged openly before the council the appointment,
for such a purpose, of a man who was "defamed of heresy." He was
supported, apparently, by the Bishop of Chichester, or the latter
ventured to thwart the privy seal in some other manner. Cromwell for the
moment was strong enough to bear his opponents down. They were both
dismissed from the Privy Council.[528] But this arbitrary act was
treated as a breach of the tacit compact by which the opposing parties
endured each other's presence. If the Bishop of Durham's chaplain spoke
the truth, an attempt was made, in which even Lord Southampton bore a
share, to bring Tunstall forward in Gardiner's place.[529] And though
this scheme failed, through the caution of the principal persons
interested, the grievances remained, embittered by a forced submission:
a fresh debt had been contracted, bearing interest till it was paid.

[Sidenote: Protestant imprudence.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of a Catholic preacher in London,]

As great, or a greater, danger embarrassed Cromwell from the folly of
his friends. So long as the tide was in their favour, the Protestants
indulged in insolent excesses, which provoked, and almost justified the
anger with which they were regarded. Hitherto they had held a monopoly
of popular preaching. Tradition and authority had been with the
Catholics: the rhetoric had been mainly with their adversaries. In the
summer the interest of London was suddenly excited on the other side by
a Catholic orator of extraordinary powers, a Dr. Watts, unknown before
or after this particular crisis, but for the moment a principal figure
on the stage. Watts attracted vast audiences; and the Protestants could
not endure a rival, and were as little able as their opponents to
content themselves with refuting him by argument. He was summoned, on a
charge of false doctrine, before the Archbishop of Canterbury; and even
moderate persons were scandalized when they saw Barnes sitting by the
side of Cranmer as assessor in a cause of heresy.[530] It appeared, and
perhaps it was designed, as an insult--as a deliberately calculated
outrage. Ten thousand London citizens proposed to walk in procession to
Lambeth, to require the restoration of their teacher; and, although the
open demonstration was prevented by the City officers, an alderman took
charge of their petition, and offered, unless the preacher's offence was
high treason, to put in bail for him in the name of the
corporation.[531]

[Sidenote: Sept 17. In whose behalf the corporation interfere in vain.]

There were, perhaps, circumstances in the case beyond those which
appear; but, instead of listening to the request of the City, the
archbishop spirited away the preacher into Kent, and his friends
learned, from the boasts of their adversaries, that he was imprisoned
and ill used. He was attached, it seems, to the Victuallers' Company.
"There is no persecution," wrote a Protestant fanatic, "except of the
Victuallers; of which sect a certain impostor of the name of Watts,
formerly of the order of wry-necked cattle, is now holding forth, oh,
shame! in the stocks at Canterbury Bridewell, having been accustomed to
mouth elsewhere against the Gospel."[532]

[Sidenote: Charles V. endeavours to prevent the German marriage.]

While England was thus fermenting towards a second crisis, the German
marriage was creating no less anxiety on the Continent. As it was
Cromwell's chief object to unite England with the Lutherans, so was
Charles V. anxious above all things to keep them separate; and no sooner
was he aware that the Duke of Cleves had consented to give his sister to
Henry than he renewed his offer of the Duchess of Milan. The reply was a
cold and peremptory refusal;[533] and the Emperor seeing that the
English government would not be again trifled with, determined to repair
into Flanders, in order to be at hand, should important movements take
place in Germany.[534] To give menace and significance to his journey,
he resolved, if possible, to pass through France on his way, and in a
manner so unformal and confidential as, perhaps, might contribute
towards substantiating his relations with Francis, or, at least, might
give the world the impression of their entire cordiality.

[Sidenote: He proposes a visit to Paris.]

[Sidenote: Reginald Pole submits a paper to the Pope on the condition of
England.]

[Sidenote: France and Spain are at last united. Let them proclaim the
king a public enemy.]

[Sidenote: Alarm felt in England.]

The proposal of a visit from the Emperor, when made known at Paris, was
met with a warm and instant assent; and many were the speculations to
which an affair so unexpected gave occasion in Europe. But the minds of
men were not long at a loss, and Henry's intended marriage was soon
accepted as an adequate explanation. The danger of a Protestant league
compelled the Catholic powers to bury their rivalries; and a legate was
despatched from Rome to be present at the meeting at Paris.[535]
Reginald Pole, ever on the watch for an opportunity to strike a blow at
his country, caught once more at the opening, and submitted a paper on
the condition of England to the Pope, showing how the occasion might be
improved. The Emperor was aware, Pole said, that England had been lost
to the Holy See in a Spanish quarrel, and for the sake of a Spanish
princess; and he knew himself to be bound in honour, however hitherto he
had made pretexts for delay, to assist in its recovery. His Imperial
oaths, the insults to his family, the ancient alliance between England
and the house of Burgundy, with his own promises so often repeated,
alike urged the same duty upon him; and now, at last, he was able to act
without difficulty. The rivalry between France and Spain had alone
encouraged Henry to defy the opinion of Europe. That rivalry was at an
end. The two sovereigns had only to unite in a joint remonstrance
against his conduct, with a threat that he should be declared a public
enemy if he persisted in his course, and his submission would be
instant. He would not dare to refuse. He could not trust his subjects:
they had risen once of themselves, and he knew too well the broken
promises, the treachery and cruelty with which he had restored order,
to risk their fury, should they receive effective support from abroad.
Without striking a single blow, the Catholic powers might achieve a
glorious triumph, and heal the gaping wound in the body of Christ.[536]
So wrote, and so thought the English traitor, with all human
probabilities in his favour, and only the Eternal Powers on the other
side. The same causes which filled Pole with hope struck terror into
weak and agitated hearts in the country which he was seeking to betray;
the wayfarers on the high-roads talked to each other in despair of the
impending ruin of the kingdom, left naked without an ally to the attacks
of the world.[537]

[Sidenote: Charles enters France.]

Spreading round him such panics and such expectations, the Emperor
entered France almost simultaneously with the departure of Anne of
Cleves from her mother's side to the shores of England. Pity that, in
the game of diplomacy, statesmen are not compelled to use their own
persons for their counters! are not forbidden to cast on others the
burden of their own failures!

[Sidenote: He is received with splendid courtesy,]

[Sidenote: And brings in his train an English traitor named Brancetor.]

Francis, in order to show Charles the highest courtesy, despatched the
constable Montmorency, with the Dauphin and the Duke of Orleans, to
Bayonne, and offered, if the Emperor distrusted him, that his sons
should be detained as pledges for his good faith. Charles would not be
outdone in generosity; when he gave his confidence he gave it without
reserve; and, without accepting the security, he crossed the frontier,
attended only by his personal train, and made his way to the capital,
with the two princes at his side, through a succession of magnificent
entertainments. On the 1st of January he entered Paris, where he was to
remain for a week; and Henry, at once taking the initiative, made an
opportunity to force him, if possible, to a declaration of his
intentions. Attached to the Imperial household was a Welshman named
Brancetor, uncle of "young Rice," who had been executed for a conspiracy
against Henry's life in 1531. This man, having been originally obliged
to leave England for debt, had contrived, while on the Continent, by
assiduity of treason, to assume the more interesting character of a
political refugee. He had attached himself to Pole and to Pole's
fortunes; he had exerted himself industriously in Spain in persuading
English subjects to violate their allegiance; and in the parliament of
the previous spring he had been rewarded by the distinction of a place
in the list of attainted traitors.

[Sidenote: Brancetor is taken by the French police, in compliance with a
demand of Sir Thomas Wyatt.]

Analogous occupations had brought him to Paris; and, in conformity with
treaties, Henry instructed Sir Thomas Wyatt, who was then in England, to
repair to the French court, and require his extradition. Wyatt
imprudently affected to consider that the affair belonged rather to the
police than to the government, and applied to the constable for
Brancetor's arrest. Montmorency was unaware of the man's connexion with
the Emperor. Wyatt informed him merely that an English subject who had
robbed his master, and had afterwards conspired against the king, was in
Paris, and requested his apprehension. He had been watched to his
lodgings by a spy; and the provost-marshal was placed without difficulty
at Wyatt's disposal, and was directed to attend him.

[Sidenote: Brancetor appeals to the Emperor.]

The police surrounded the house where Brancetor was to be found. It was
night. The English minister entered, and found his man writing at a
table. "I told him," Wyatt reported in his account of the story, "that,
since he would not come to visit me, I was come to seek him. His colour
changed as soon as he heard my voice; and with that came in the provost,
and set hand on him. I reached to the letters that he was writing, but
he caught them afore me, and flung them backwards into the fire. I
overthrew him, and cracked them out; but the provost got them."
Brancetor upon this declared himself the Emperor's servant. He made no
attempt to escape, but charged the officer, "that his writings and
himself should be delivered into the Emperor's hands." He took a number
of papers from his pocket, which he placed in the provost's charge; and
the latter not daring to act further in such a matter without further
instructions, left a guard in the room with Wyatt and the prisoner, and
went to make a report to the chancellor. "In the mean time," says Wyatt,
"I used all the soberness I could with Brancetor, advising him to submit
himself to your Majesty; but he made the Emperor his master, and seemed
to regard nothing else. Once he told me he had heard me oft times say
that kings have long hands; but God, quoth he, hath longer. I asked him
what length he thought that would make when God's and kings' hands were
joined together; but he assured himself of the Emperor." Presently the
provost returned, and said that Brancetor was to remain in his charge
till the morning, when Wyatt would hear further. Nothing more could be
done with the provost; and after breakfast Wyatt had an interview with
Cardinal Granvelle and the chancellor. The treaties were plain; a clause
stated in the clearest language that neither France, nor Spain, nor
England should give shelter to each other's traitors; but such a case as
Brancetor's had as clearly not been anticipated when they were drawn;
and the matter was referred to the Emperor.

[Sidenote: Charles grants an audience to Wyatt.]

[Sidenote: He will defend his followers, English or Spanish, treaty or
no treaty.]

Charles made no difficulty in granting an audience, which he seemed
rather to court. He was extremely angry. The man had been in his
service, he said, for years; and it was ill done to arrest a member of
his household without paying him even the courtesy of a first
application on the subject. The English government could scarcely be
serious in expecting that he would sacrifice an old attendant in any
such manner. Wyatt answered sturdily that Brancetor was his master's
subject. There was clear proof, he could vouch for it on his own
knowledge, that the man committed treason in Spain; and he again
insisted on the treaties. The Emperor cared nothing for treaties. Treaty
or no treaty, a servant of his own should pass free; "and if he was in
the Tower of London," he said, "he would never consent so to charge his
honour and conscience." Brancetor had come to Paris under his
protection; and the French government would never do him the dishonour
of permitting the seizure of one of his personal train.

[Sidenote: Wyatt complains of the treatment of English subjects by the
Inquisition.]

He was so displeased, and there was so much truth in what he said, that
Wyatt durst not press him further; but opened ground again with a
complaint which he had been instructed also to make, of the ill usage of
Englishmen in Spain by the Inquisition. Charles again flashed up with
imperious vehemence. "In a loud voice," he replied, "that the authority
of the Inquisition depended not upon him. It had been established in his
realm and countries for good consideration, and such as he would not
break--no, not for his grandame."

It was unreasonable, Wyatt replied, to punish men merely for their want
of allegiance to Rome. They were no heretics, sacramentaries,
Anabaptists. They held the Catholic faith as truly as any man.

[Sidenote: Charles refuses t o interfere.]

"The king is of one opinion," Charles replied, "and I am of another. If
your merchants come with novelties, I can not let the Inquisition. This
is a thing that toucheth our faith."

"What," Wyatt said, "the primacy of the Bishop of Rome!"

"Yea, marry," the Emperor answered, "shall we now come to dispute of
_tibi dabo claves_. I would not alter my Inquisition. No; if I thought
they would be negligent in their office, I would put them out, and put
others in their rooms."

All this was uttered with extraordinary passion and violence. Charles
had wholly lost his self-command. Wyatt went on to say that the Spanish
preached slanders against England, and against the king especially, in
their pulpits.

"As to that," said the Emperor, "preachers will speak against myself
whenever there is cause. That cannot be let. Kings be not kings of
tongues; and if men give cause to be spoken of, they will be spoken of."

[Sidenote: The French court betrays confidence.]

He promised at last, with rather more calmness, to inquire into the
treatment of the merchants, if proper particulars were supplied to
him.[538] If alarm was really felt in the English court at the Emperor's
presence in Paris, Wyatt's report of this interview was not reassuring.
Still less satisfactory was an intimation, which was not long in
reaching England, that Francis, or one of his ministers, had betrayed to
Charles a private article in the treaty of Calais, in 1532. Anticipating
at this time a war with Spain, Henry had suggested, and Francis had
acquiesced in a proposal, should Charles attack them, for a partition of
the Flemish provinces. The opportunity of this visit was chosen by the
French to give an evidence of unmistakeable goodwill in revealing an
exasperating secret.

Keeping these transactions so ominous of evil before our minds, let us
now return to the events which were simultaneously taking place in
England.

[Sidenote: December 11. Anne of Cleves arrives at Calais,]

[Sidenote: Where she remains weather-bound for a fortnight,]

[Sidenote: And learns to play at cards.]

On the 11th of December the Lady Anne of Cleves was conducted, under a
German escort, to Calais, where Lord Southampton and four hundred
English noblemen and gentlemen were waiting to receive her, and conduct
her to her future country. The "Lion" and the "Sweepstake" were in the
harbour--the ships which two years before had fought the Flemings in the
Downs. As she rode into the town the vessels' yards were manned, the
rigging was decorated with flags, and a salute of a hundred and fifty
guns was fired in her honour. By her expectant subjects she was
splendidly welcomed; but the weather was wild; fifteen days elapsed
before she could cross with ease and expedition; and meanwhile she was
left to the entertainment of the lords. Southampton, in despair at her
absence of accomplishments, taught her, as a last resource, to play at
cards. Meantime, he wrote to advertise the king of her arrival, and
thinking, as he afterwards said, that he must make the best of a matter
which it had become too late to remedy, he repeated the praises which
had been uttered so loudly by others of the lady's appearance. He
trusted that, "after all the debating, the success would be to the
consolation of his Majesty, and the weal of his subjects and
realm."[539]

[Sidenote: Dec. 27. She lands in England.]

[Sidenote: Dec 29. Monday. She is received by Cranmer at Canterbury.]

[Sidenote: Wednesday Dec. 31. The king comes to meet her at Rochester.]

At length, on Saturday, December the 27th, as the winter twilight was
closing into night, the intended Queen of England set her foot upon the
shore, under the walls of Deal Castle. The cannon freshly mounted,
flashed their welcome through the darkness; the Duke and Duchess of
Suffolk had waited in the fortress for her landing, and the same night
conducted her to Dover. Here she rested during Sunday. The next morning
she went on, in a storm, to Canterbury; and on Barham Down stood
Cranmer, with five other bishops, in the wind and the rain, to welcome,
as they fondly hoped, the enchantress who would break the spell of the
Six Articles. She was entertained for the evening at Saint Augustine's.
Tuesday she was at Sittingbourne. On New-Year's Eve she reached
Rochester, to which the king was already hastening for the first sight
of the lady, the fame of whose charms had been sounded in his ears so
loudly. He came down in private, attended only by Sir Anthony Brown, the
master of the horse. The interview, agitating under all circumstances,
would be made additionally awkward from the fact that neither the king
nor his bride could understand each other's language. He had brought
with him, therefore, "a little present," a graceful gift of some value,
to soften the embarrassment and conciliate at first sight the lovely
being into whose presence he was to be introduced. The visit was meant
for a surprise; the king's appearance at her lodgings was the first
intimation of his intention; and the master of the horse was sent in to
announce his arrival and request permission for his Highness to present
himself.

[Sidenote: Sensations of the master of the horse on his first
interview.]

[Sidenote: The king is "quite discouraged and amazed."]

[Sidenote: He retreats hastily to Greenwich,]

[Sidenote: And laments the fate of princes.]

Sir Anthony, aware of the nature of Henry's expectations, entered the
room where Anne was sitting. He described his sensations on the
unlooked-for spectacle which awaited him in moderate language, when he
said, "that he was never more dismayed in his life, lamenting in his
heart to see the lady so unlike that she was reported."[540] The graces
of Anne of Cleves were moral only, not intellectual, and not personal.
She was simple, quiet, modest, sensible, and conscientious; but her
beauty existed only in the imagination of the painter. Her presence was
ladylike; but her complexion was thick and dark: her features were
coarse; her figure large, loose, and corpulent. The required permission
was given. The king entered. His heart sank; his presence of mind
forsook him; he was "suddenly quite discouraged and amazed" at the
prospect which was opened before him. He forgot his present; he almost
forgot his courtesy. He did not stay in the room "to speak twenty
words." He would not even stay in Rochester. "Very sad and pensive,"
says Brown, he entered his barge and hurried back to Greenwich, anxious
only to escape, while escape was possible, from the unwelcome
neighbourhood. Unwilling to marry at all, he had yielded only to the
pressure of a general desire. He had been deceived by untrue
representations, and had permitted a foreign princess to be brought into
the realm; and now, as fastidious in his tastes as he was often little
scrupulous in his expression of them, he found himself on the edge of a
connexion the very thought of which was revolting.[541] It was a cruel
fortune which imposed on Henry VIII., in addition to his other burdens,
the labour of finding heirs to strengthen the succession. He "lamented
the fate of princes to be in matters of marriage of far worse sort than
the condition of poor men.'

"Princes take," he said, "as is brought them by others, and poor men be
commonly at their own choice."[542]

[Sidenote: He complains of his disappointment to Cromwell.]

Cromwell, who knew better than others knew the true nature of the king's
adventure, was waiting nervously at Greenwich for the result of the
experiment. He presented himself on the king's appearance, and asked him
"how he liked the Lady Anne." The abrupt answer confirmed his fears.
"Nothing so well as she was spoken of," the king said. "If I had known
as much before as I know now, she should never have come into the
realm." "But what remedy?" he added, in despondency.[543] The German
alliance was already shaking at its base: the court was agitated and
alarmed; the king was miserable. Cromwell, to whom the blame was mainly
due, endeavoured for a moment to shrink from his responsibility, and
accused Southampton of having encouraged false hopes in his letters from
Calais. Southampton answered fairly that the fault did not rest with
him. He had been sent to bring the queen into England, and it was not
his place to "dispraise her appearance." "The matter being so far gone,"
he had supposed his duty was to make the best of it.[544]

[Sidenote: January 2. Friday.]

[Sidenote: Saturday, January 3. Arrival of the Lady Anne at the palace.]

[Sidenote: Henry endeavours to extricate himself,]

[Sidenote: Sunday. January 4.]

[Sidenote: And requires an explanation of the pre-contract]

Among these recriminations passed the night of Friday, while Charles V.
was just commencing his triumphal progress through France. The day
following, the innocent occasion of the confusion came on to Greenwich.
The marriage had been arranged for the Sunday after. The prospects were
altogether dark, and closer inspection confirmed the worst
apprehensions. The ladies of the court were no less shocked than their
husbands. The unfortunate princess was not only unsightly, but she had
"displeasant airs" about her; and Lady Brown imparted to Sir Anthony
"how she saw in the queen such fashions, and manner of bringing up so
gross, that she thought the king would never love her." Henry met her on
the stairs when her barge arrived. He conducted her to her apartments,
and on the way Cromwell saw her with his own eyes. The sovereign and the
minister then retired together, and the just displeasure became visible.
"How say you, my lord?" the king said. "Is it not as I told you? Say
what they will, she is nothing fair. The personage is well and seemly,
but nothing else." Cromwell attempted faintly to soothe him by
suggesting that she had "a queenly manner." The king agreed to
that;[545] but the recommendation was insufficient to overcome the
repugnance which he had conceived; and he could resolve on nothing. A
frail fibre of hope offered itself in the story of the pre-contract with
the Count of Lorraine. Henry caught at it to postpone the marriage for
two days; and, on the Sunday morning he sent for the German suite who
had attended the princess, and requested to see the papers connected
with the Lorraine treaty. Astonished and unprepared, they requested time
to consider. The following morning they had an interview with the
council, when they stated that, never anticipating any such demand, they
could not possibly comply with it on the instant; but the engagement
had been nothing. The instrument which they had brought with them
declared the princess free from all ties whatever. If the king really
required the whole body of the documents, they would send to Cleves for
them; but, in the meantime, they trusted he would not refuse to accept
their solemn assurances.

[Sidenote: Monday, January 5.]

[Sidenote: He exhibits his reluctance to the lady, but in vain.]

[Sidenote: He must put his neck into the yoke,]

[Sidenote: And marries Tuesday, January 6]

Cromwell carried the answer to Henry; and it was miserably unwelcome. "I
have been ill-handled," he said. "If it were not that she is come so far
into England, and for fear of making a ruffle in the world, and _driving
her brother into the Emperor and French king's hands, now being
together_, I would never have her. But now it is too far gone; wherefore
I am sorry."[546] As a last pretext for hesitation, he sent to Anne
herself to desire a protest from her that she was free from contracts; a
proof of backwardness on the side of the king might, perhaps, provoke a
corresponding unwillingness. But the impassive constitution of the lady
would have been proof against a stronger hint. The protest was drawn and
signed with instant readiness. "Is there no remedy," Henry exclaimed,
"but that I must needs, against my will, put my neck into this yoke?"
There was none. It was inevitable. The conference at Paris lay before
him like a thunder-cloud. The divorce of Catherine and the crimes of
Anne Boleyn had already created sufficient scandal in Europe. At such a
moment he durst not pass an affront upon the Germans, which might drive
them also into a compromise with his other enemies. He gathered up his
resolution. As the thing was to be done, it might be done at once; delay
would not make the bitter dose less unpalatable; and the day remained
fixed for the date of its first postponement--Tuesday, the 6th of
January. As he was preparing for the sacrifice, he called Cromwell to
him in the chamber of presence: "My lord," he said openly, "if it were
not to satisfy the world and my realm, I would not do that I must do
this day for none earthly thing."

[Sidenote: His dislike increases to aversion, and his hope of children
is frustrated.]

The marriage was solemnized. A last chance remained to the Privy Seal
and to the eager prelates who had trembled in the storm on Barham Down,
that the affection which could not precede the ceremony might perhaps
follow it. But the tide had turned against the Reformers; and their
contrivances to stem the current were not of the sort which could be
allowed to prosper. Dislike was confirmed into rooted aversion. The
instinct with which the king recoiled from Anne settled into a defined
resolution. He was personally kind to her. His provocations did not
tempt him into discourtesy; but, although she shared his bed, necessity
and inclination alike limited the companionship to a form; and Henry
lamented to Cromwell, who had been the cause of the calamity, that
"surely he would never have any more children for the comfort of the
realm."[547]

[Sidenote: The results of the disappointment not immediately visible.]

[Sidenote: Theological controversy in London between Gardiner and the
Protestants,]

[Sidenote: Who are protected by Cromwell.]

The union of France and the Empire, which had obliged the accomplishment
of this unlucky connexion, meanwhile prevented, so long as it continued,
either an open _fracas_ or an alteration in the policy of the kingdom.
The relations of the king and queen were known only to a few of the
council. Cromwell continued in power, and the Protestants remained in
security. The excitement which had been created in London by the
persecution of Dr. Watts was kept alive by a controversy[548] between
the Bishop of Winchester and three of the Lutheran preachers: Dr.
Barnes, for ever unwisely prominent; the Vicar of Stepney, who had
shuffled over his recantation; and Garrett, the same who had been in
danger of the stake at Oxford for selling Testaments, and had since been
a chaplain of Latimer. It is difficult to exaggerate the audacity with
which the orators of the moving party trespassed on the patience of the
laity. The disputes, which had been slightly turned out of their channel
by the Six Articles, were running now on justification,--a sufficient
subject, however, to give scope for differences, and for the full
enunciation of the Lutheran gospel. The magistrates in the country
attempted to keep order and enforce the law; but, when they imprisoned a
heretic, they found themselves rebuked and menaced by the Privy Seal.
Their prison doors were opened, they were exposed to vexatious suits for
loss or injury to the property of the discharged offenders, and their
authority and persons were treated with disrespect and contumely.[549]
The Reformers had outshot their healthy growth. They required to be
toned down by renewed persecution into that good sense and severity of
mind without which religion is but as idle and unprofitable a folly as
worldly excitement.

[Gardiner preaches a Popish sermon at Paul's Cross.]

[Sidenote: Foolish insolence of Dr. Barnes.]

[Sidenote: Gardiner complains to the king.]

In London, on the first Sunday in Lent, the Bishop of Winchester
preached on the now prominent topic at Paul's Cross: "A very Popish
sermon," says Traheron, one of the English correspondents of Bullinger,
"and much to the discontent of the people."[550] To the discontent it
may have been of many, but not to the discontent of the ten thousand
citizens who had designed the procession to Lambeth. The Sunday
following, the same pulpit was occupied by Barnes, who, calling Gardiner
a fighting-cock, and himself another, challenged the bishop to trim his
spurs for a battle.[551] He taunted his adversary with concealed
Romanism. Like the judges at Fouquier Tinville's tribunal, whose test of
loyalty to the republic was the question what the accused had done to be
hanged on the restoration of the monarchy, Barnes said that, if he and
the Bishop of Winchester were at Rome together, much money would not
save his life, but for the bishop there was no fear--a little
entreatance would purchase favour enough for him.[552] From these
specimens we may conjecture the character of the sermon; and, from
Traheron's delight with it, we may gather equally the imprudent
exultation of the Protestants.[553] Gardiner complained to the king. He
had a fair cause, and was favourably listened to. Henry sent for Barnes,
and examined him in a private audience. The questions of the day were
opened. Merit, works, faith, free-will, grace of congruity, were each
discussed,--once mystic words of power, able, like the writing on the
seal of Solomon, to convulse the world, now mere innocent sounds, which
the languid but still eager lips of a dying controversy breathe in vain.

Barnes, too vain of his supposed abilities to understand the disposition
with which he was dealing, told the king, in an excess of unwisdom, that
he would submit himself to him.

[Sidenote: Interview between Barnes and Henry.]

[Sidenote: Barnes affects to recant.]

Henry was more than angry: "Yield not to me," he said; "I am a mortal
man." He rose as he spoke, and turning to the sacrament, which stood on
a private altar in the room, and taking off his bonnet,--"Yonder is the
Master of us all," he said; "yield in truth to Him; otherwise submit
yourself not to me." Barnes was commanded, with Garrett and Jerome, to
make a public acknowledgment of his errors; and to apologize especially
for his insolent language to Gardiner. It has been already seen how
Jerome could act in such a position. An admirer of these men, in
relating their conduct on the present occasion, declared, as if it was
something to their credit, "how gaily they handled the matter, both to
satisfy the recantation and also, in the same sermon, to utter out the
truth, that it might spread without let of the world."

Like giddy night-moths, they were flitting round the fire which would
soon devour them.

[Sidenote: Confident in the German alliance, the king provokes a quarrel
with the Emperor.]

[Sidenote: He instructs Wyatt to reproach Charles with ingratitude.]

In April, parliament was to meet--the same parliament which had passed
the Six Articles Bill with acclamation. It was to be seen in what temper
they would bear the suspension of their favourite measure. The bearing
of the parliament, was, however, for the moment, of comparative
indifference. The king and his ministers were occupied with other
matters too seriously to be able to attend it. A dispute had arisen
between the Emperor and the Duke of Cleves, on the duchy of Gueldres, to
which Charles threatened to assert his right by force; and, galling as
Henry found his marriage, the alliance in which it had involved him, its
only present recommendation, was too useful to be neglected. The
treatment of English residents in Spain, the open patronage of
Brancetor, and the haughty and even insolent language which had been
used to Wyatt, could not be passed over in silence, whatever might be
the consequences; and, with the support of Germany, he believed that he
might now, perhaps, repay the Emperor for the alarms and anxieties of
years. After staying a few days in Paris, Charles had gone on to
Brussels. On the receipt of Wyatt's despatch with the account of his
first interview, the king instructed him to require in reply the
immediate surrender of the English traitor; to insist that the
proceedings of the Inquisition should be redressed and punished; and to
signify, at the same time, that the English government desired to
mediate between himself and the king's brother-in-law. Nor was the
imperiousness of the message to be softened in the manner of delivery.
More than once Henry had implied that Charles was under obligations to
England for the Empire. Wyatt was instructed to allude pointedly to
these and other wounding memories, and particularly, and with marked
emphasis, to make use of the word "ingratitude." The object was,
perhaps, to show that Henry was not afraid of him; perhaps to express a
real indignation which there was no longer reason to conceal.

[Sidenote: Indignation of the Emperor.]

The directions were obeyed; and Wyatt's English haughtiness was likely
to have fulfilled them to the letter. The effect was magical. The
Emperor started, changed colour, hesitated, and then burst in anger. "It
is too much," he said, "to use the term ingrate to me. The inferior may
be ingrate to the greater. The term is scant sufferable between like."
Perhaps, he added, as Wyatt was speaking in a foreign language, he might
have used a word which he imperfectly comprehended. Wyatt assured him
placidly that there was no error: the word was in his instructions, and
its meaning perfectly understood. "The king took it so." "Kings'
opinions are not always the best," Charles replied. "I cannot tell,
sir," the ambassador answered, "what ye mean by that; but if ye think to
note the king my master of anything that should touch him, I assure you
he is a prince to give reason to God and the world sufficient in his
opinions." Leaving the word as it stood, he required an answer to the
material point.

[Sidenote: He will not surrender Brancetor.]

[Sidenote: If English merchants dislike the Inquisition, they had better
avoid Spain.]

[Sidenote: Henry makes overtures to Francis.]

[Sidenote: He accuses Charles of aiming at universal empire,]

[Sidenote: And suggests a coalition which may end in his capture and
imprisonment.]

If Henry was indifferent to a quarrel, the Emperor seemed to be equally
willing; Wyatt gathered from his manner, either that he was careless of
consequences, or that he desired to provoke the English to strike the
first blow. He answered as before, that Brancetor had committed no crime
that he knew of. If the King of England would be more explicit in his
accusations, he would consider them. His dispute with the Duke of Cleves
he intended to settle by himself, and would allow of no interference;
and as to the merchants, he had rather they should never visit his
countries at all, than visit them to carry thither their heresy.[554]
Irritation is a passion which it is seldom politic to excite; and a
message like that of Wyatt had been better undelivered, unless no doubt
existed of being able to support it by force. A fixed idea in Cromwell's
mind, which we trace in all his correspondence, was the impossibility of
a genuine coalition between Charles and Francis. Either misled by these
impressions, or deceived by rumours, Henry seems to have been acting,
not only in a reliance on the Germans, but in a belief that the
Emperor's visit to Paris had closed less agreeably than it had opened,
that the Milan quarrel had revived, and that the hasty partnership
already threatened a dissolution. Some expectations of the kind he had
unquestionably formed, for, on the arrival of Wyatt's letter with the
Emperor's answer, he despatched the Duke of Norfolk on a mission into
France, which, if successful, would have produced a singular revulsion
in Europe. Francis was to be asked frankly how the Italian question
stood. If the Emperor was dealing in good faith with him, or if he was
himself satisfied, nothing more need be desired; if, on the contrary, he
felt himself "hobbled with a vain hope," there was now an opportunity
for him to take fortune prisoner, to place his highest wishes within his
grasp, and revenge Pavia, and his own and his children's captivity. The
ingratitude story was to be repeated, with Charles's overbearing
indignation; redress for the open and iniquitous oppression of English
subjects had been absolutely refused; and the Emperor's manner could be
interpreted only as bearing out what had long been suspected of him,
that he "aspired to bring Christendom to a monarchy;" that "he thought
himself superior to all kings," and, "by little and little," would work
his way to universal empire. His insolence might be punished, and all
dangers of such a kind for ever terminated, at the present juncture. A
league was in process of formation, for mutual defence, between the King
of England, the Duke of Cleves, the Elector of Saxony, the Landgrave,
and other princes of the Empire. Let Francis join them, and "they would
have the Emperor in such a pitfall, that percase it might be their
chance to have him prisoner at their pleasure, his being so environed
with them, and having no way to start."[555]

[Sidenote: Henry's proposal is communicated to the Emperor.]

The temptation was so well adjusted to the temperament of Francis that
it seemed as if he felt an excuse necessary to explain his declining the
combination. The French chancellor told Norfolk that his master was
growing old, and that war had lost its charm for him. But, in fact, the
proposal was, based upon a blunder for which Cromwell's despair was
probably responsible. Francis, at the moment, was under the influence of
the Cardinal of Ferrara, who had come from Rome on a crusading
expedition; and, so far from then desiring to quarrel with Charles, he
simply communicated to him Henry's suggestions; while the Queen of
Navarre gave a warning to Norfolk that, if the Anglo-German league
assumed an organized form, it would be followed by an alliance as close
and as menacing between France and the Empire.[556]

[Sidenote: The Germans back out also,]

Cromwell had again failed; and another and a worse misadventure
followed. The German princes, for whose sake the Privy Seal had incurred
his present danger, had their own sense of prudence, and were reluctant
to quarrel with the Emperor, so long as it was possible to escape.
Experience had taught Charles the art of trifling with their credulity,
and he flattered them with a hope that from them he would accept a
mediation in behalf of the Duke of Cleves, which he had rejected so
scornfully when offered by England.

[Sidenote: And the foreign policy of Cromwell, as well as the domestic,
fails equally.]

[Sidenote: The Bishop of Chichester is sent to the Tower,]

[Sidenote: And is almost followed by Tunstall.]

Thus was Henry left alone, having been betrayed into an attitude which
he was unable to support, and deserted by the allies for whom he had
entangled himself in a marriage which he detested. Well might his
confidence have been shaken in the minister whose fortune and whose
sagacity had failed together. Driven forward by the necessity of success
or destruction, Cromwell was, at the same time, precipitating the crisis
in England. Gardiner, Tunstall, and Sampson the Bishop of Chichester,
were his three chief antagonists. In April Sampson was sent to the
Tower, on a charge of having relieved "certain traitorous persons" who
had denied the king's supremacy.[557] The two others, it is likely,
would soon have followed: the Bishop of Chichester accused them of
having been the cause of his own misconduct, to such extent as he
admitted himself to have erred;[558] and although Tunstall equivocated,
he at least would not have escaped imprisonment, had the Privy Seal
remained in power, if imprisonment had been the limit of his
sufferings.[559] To the eyes of the world, the destroyer of the
monasteries, the "hammer of the monks," remained absolute as ever. No
cloud, as yet, was visible in the clear sky of his prosperity, when the
moment came, he fell suddenly, as if struck by lightning, on the very
height and pinnacle of his power. If events had been long working
towards the catastrophe, it was none the less abrupt, surprising,
unlooked for.

[Sidenote: April 12. Parliament meets.]

[Sidenote: Cromwell opens the session with a speech on unity of
opinion.]

On the 12th of April, amidst failure abroad and increased discontent at
home, parliament assembled. After the ordinary address from the
chancellor, Cromwell rose to speak a few words on the state of the
kingdom.

"The King's Majesty," he said, "knowing that concord is the only sure
and true bond of security in the commonwealth, knowing that if the head
and all the members of the body corporate agree in one, there will be
wanting nothing to the perfect health of the state, has therefore
sought, prized, and desired concord beyond all other things. With no
little distress, therefore, he learns that there are certain persons who
make it their business to create strife and controversy; that in the
midst of the good seed tares also are growing up to choke the harvest.
The rashness and carnal license of some, the inveterate corruption and
obstinate superstition of others, have caused disputes which have done
hurt to the souls of pious Christians. The names of Papist and heretic
are bandied to and fro. The Holy Word of God, which his Highness, of his
great clemency, has permitted to be read in the vulgar tongue, for the
comfort and edification of his people this treasure of all sacred
things--is abused, and made a servant of errour or idolatry; and such is
the tumult of opinion, that his Highness ill knows how to bear it. His
purpose is to shew no favour to extremes on either side. He professes
the sincere faith of the Gospel, as becomes a Christian prince,
declining neither to the right hand nor to the left, but setting before
his eyes the pure Word of God as his only mark and guide. On this Word
his princely mind is fixed; on this Word he depends for his sole
support; and with all his might his Majesty will labour that errour
shall be taken away, and true doctrines be taught to his people,
modelled by the rule of the Gospel. Of forms, ceremonies, and traditions
he will have the reasonable use distinguished from the foolish and
idolatrous use. He will have all impiety, all superstition, abolished
and put away. And, finally, he will have his subjects cease from their
irreverent handling of God's book. Those who have offended against the
faith and the laws shall suffer the punishment by the laws appointed;
and his first and last prayer is for the prevailing of Christ--the
prevailing of the Word of Christ--the prevailing of the truth."[560]

[Sidenote: Cromwell is created Earl of Essex.]

[Sidenote: Permission granted to bequeath land by will.]

[Sidenote: Monks are released from the vow of poverty.]

[Sidenote: Reduction of the number of sanctuaries, and limitation of
their privileges.]

[Sidenote: Act for the maintenance of the navy.]

[Sidenote: May 3. Bill for a subsidy of four fifteenths and four
tenths.]

A general intimation of intentions, which being so stated every one
would approve, passed quietly, and the subject dropped. It is the
peculiarity of discourses on theological subjects, that they are
delivered and they are heard under an impression, both on the part of
the speaker and of his audience, that each is in possession of the only
reasonable and moderate truth; and so long as particulars are avoided,
moderation is praised, and all men consent to praise it--excess is
condemned, and all agree in the condemnation. Five days after, a public
mark of the king's approbation was bestowed on Cromwell, who was
created Earl of Essex; and the ordinary legislation commenced quietly.
The complaints against the statute of Uses were met by a measure which
silently divided the leading root of the feudal system. Persons holding
lands by military tenure were allowed to dispose of two-thirds in their
wills, as they pleased. Lands held under any other conditions might be
bequeathed absolutely, without condition or restriction.[561] To prevent
disputes on titles, and to clear such confusion of claims as had been
left remaining by the Uses Act, sixty years' possession of property was
declared sufficient to constitute a valid right; and no claim might be
pressed which rested on pretensions of an older date.[562] The Privy
Seal's hand is legible in several acts abridging ecclesiastical
privileges, and restoring monks, who had been dead in law, to some part
of their rights as human beings. The suppression of the religious houses
had covered England with vagrant priests, who, though pensioned, were
tempted, by idleness and immunity from punishment, into crimes. If
convicted of felony, and admitted "to their clergy," such persons were
in future to be burnt in the hand.[563] A bill in the preceding year had
relieved them from their vows of poverty; they were permitted to buy,
inherit, or otherwise occupy property. They were freed by dissolution
from obedience to their superiors, and the reflection naturally
followed, that the justice which had dispensed with two vows would
dispense with the third, and that a permission to marry, in spite of the
Six Articles, would soon necessarily follow. Further inroads were made
also upon the sanctuaries. Institutions which had worn so deep a groove
in the habits of men could not be at once put away; nor, while the
letter of the law continued so sanguinary, was it tolerable to remove
wholly the correctives which had checked its action, and provide no
substitute. The last objection was not perhaps considered a serious one;
but prejudice and instinct survived, as a safeguard of humanity. The
protection of sanctuary was withdrawn for the more flagrant felonies,
for murder, rape, robbery, arson, and sacrilege. Churches and
church-yards continued to protect inferior offenders; and seven
towns--Wells, Westminster, Manchester, Northampton, York, Derby, and
Launceston--retained the same privileges, until, finding that their
exemption only converted them into nests of crime, they petitioned of
themselves for desecration. Some other regulations were also introduced
into the system. Persons taking refuge in a church were allowed to
remain not longer than forty days; at the end of which they were to
abjure before the coroner and leave the country, or were to be consigned
for life to one of the specified towns, where they were to be daily
inspected by the governor, and if absent three days consecutively--no
very barbarous condition--were to forfeit their security.[564] An act
was passed for the better maintenance of the navy; and next, bringing
inevitable ill-will with it to the unpopular minister, appeared the
standard English grievance, a Money Bill. In the preceding session the
Duke of Norfolk had laid before the Lords a statement of the
extraordinary expenses which had been cast upon the Crown, and of the
inadequacy of the revenue.[565] Twelve months' notice had been given,
that the Houses might consider at their leisure the demand which was
likely to be made upon them. It appeared in a bill introduced on the 3d
of May, requiring a subsidy of four fifteenths and four tenths, the
payments to be spread over a period of four years.[566]

[Sidenote: Expenses incurred in the defence of the realm.]

The occasion of a demand of money was always carefully stated: the
preamble set forth that the country had prospered, had lived in wealth,
comfort, and peace under the king, for thirty-one years. His Highness,
in the wisdom which God had given him, had brought his subjects out of
blindness and ignorance to the knowledge of God and his holy Word. He
had shaken off the usurpations of the Bishop of Rome, by whose subtle
devices large sums had been annually drained out of the realm. But in
doing this he had been forced to contend against insurrections at home
and the peril of invasion from the powers of the Continent. He had built
a navy and furnished it. He had raised fortresses, laid out harbours,
established permanent garrisons in dangerous places, with arsenals for
arms and all kinds of military stores. Ireland after an arduous struggle
was at length reduced to obedience; but the conquest was maintained at a
great and continuing cost. To meet this necessary outlay, no regular
provision existed; and the king threw himself confidently upon his
subjects, with an assurance that they would not refuse to bear their
share in the burden.

[Sidenote: Four priests and a woman are attainted for high treason.]

The journals throw no light upon the debate, if debate there was. The
required sum was voted; we know no more.[567] The sand in Cromwell's
hour-glass was almost run. Once more, and conspicuously, his spirit can
be seen in a bill of attainder against four priests, three of whom,
Abel, Fetherston, and Powell, had been attached to the household of
Queen Catherine, and had lingered in the Tower, in resolute denial of
the supremacy; the fourth, Robert Cook, of Doncaster, "had adhered to
the late arrogant traitor Robert Aske." In companionship with them was a
woman, Margaret Tyrrell, who had refused to acknowledge Prince Edward to
be heir to the crown. These five were declared by act of parliament
guilty of high treason; their trial was dispensed with; they were
sentenced to death, and the bill was passed without a dissentient
voice.[568] This was on the 1st of June.[569] It was the same week in
which the Tower seemed likely to be the destiny of Tunstall and
Gardiner; the struggling parties had reached the crisis when one or the
other must fall. Nine days more were allowed to pass; on the tenth the
blow descended.

But I must again go back for a few steps, to make all movements clear.

[Sidenote: June. Progress of the misfortune of the marriage.]

[Sidenote: May. Relations between the king and queen.]

[Sidenote: Conversation between Wriothesley and Cromwell.]

From the day of the king's marriage "he was in a manner weary of his
life."[570] The public policy of the connexion threatened to be a
failure. It was useless abroad, it was eminently unpopular at home;
while the purpose for which the country had burdened him with a wife was
entirely hopeless.[571] To the queen herself he was kindly distant; but,
like most men who have not been taught in early life to endure
inconvenience, he brooded in secret over his misfortune, and chafed the
wound by being unable to forget it. The documents relating to the
pre-contract were not sent; his vexation converted a shadow into a
reality. He grew superstitious about his repugnance, which he regarded
as an instinct forbidding him to do an unlawful thing. "I have done as
much to move the consent of my heart and mind as ever man did," he said
to Cromwell, "but without success."[572] "I think before God," he
declared another time, "she has never been my lawful wife."[573] The
wretched relations continued without improvement till the 9th of May. On
that day a royal circular was addressed to every member of the Privy
Council, requiring them to attend the king's presence, "for the treaty
of such great and weighty matters as whereupon doth consist the surety
of his Highness's person, the preservation of his honour, and the
tranquillity and quietness of themselves and all other his loving and
faithful subjects."[574] It may be conjectured that the king had at this
time resolved to open his situation for discussion. No other matter can
be ascertained to have existed at the time worthy of language so
serious. Yet he must have changed his purpose. For three weeks longer
the secret was preserved, and his course was still undecided. On the
evening of the 6th or 7th of June Sir Thomas Wriothesley repaired to
Cromwell's house with the ordinary reports of public business. He found
the minister alone in a gallery, leaning against a window. "Were there
any news abroad?" Cromwell asked. Wriothesley said he knew of none.
"There is something," the minister said, "which troubles me. The king
loves not the queen, nor ever has from the beginning; insomuch as I
think assuredly she is yet as good a maid for him as she was when she
came to England." "Marry, sir," Wriothesley answered, "I am right sorry
that his Majesty should be so troubled. For God's sake, devise how his
Grace may be relieved by one way or the other." "Yes," Cromwell said,
"but what and how?" Wriothesley said he could not tell on the moment;
but standing the case as it did, he thought some way might be found.
"Well, well," answered the minister, "it is a great matter." The
conversation ended; and Wriothesley left him for the night.

"The next day following," Wriothesley deposed, "having occasion eftsoons
for business to repair unto him, I chanced to say, 'Sir, I have thought
somewhat of the matter you told me, and I find it a great matter. But,
sir, it can be made better than it is. For God's sake, devise for the
relief of the king; for if he remain in this grief and trouble, we shall
all one day smart for it. If his Grace be quiet we shall all have our
parts with him.' 'It is true,' quoth he; 'but I tell you it is a great
matter.' 'Marry,' quoth I, 'I grant; but let the remedy be searched
for.' 'Well,' quoth he; and thus brake off from me."[575]

[Sidenote: Wriothesley hints a divorce,]

[Sidenote: From which Cromwell shrinks,]

Wriothesley's remedy was of course a divorce. It could be nothing else.
Yet, was it not a remedy worse than any possible disorder? Cromwell,
indeed, knew himself responsible. He it was who, with open eyes, had led
the king into his embarrassment. Yet, was a second divorce to give
mortal affront to the Lutherans, as the first had done to the Catholics?
Was another marriage scandal to taint a movement which had already
furnished too much of such material to insolence? What a triumph to the
Pope! What a triumph to the Emperor! How would his own elaborate policy
crumble to ruins! It was a great matter indeed to Cromwell.

[Sidenote: But which the English conservatives would be likely to
favor.]

But how would the whisper of the word sound in the ears of the English
reactionaries? What would the clergy think of it in whose, only not
unanimous, convictions the German alliance had been from the first a
pollution? What would the parliament think of it, who had seen the fruit
of their theological labours so cunningly snatched from them? What would
the Anglican bishops think of it, who had found themselves insulted from
the pulpit, from behind the shield of the hateful connexion--with one of
their body already in the Tower, and the same danger hanging before them
all? Or the laity generally--the wool-growers of the counties, the
merchants of the cities, the taxpayers charged with the new subsidy,
who, in the connexion with the house of Cleves, saw a fresh cause of
quarrel with the Emperor and the ruin of the trade with Flanders; what,
to all these, in the heat and rage of party, must have seemed the
natural remedy for the king's difficulty? Let Queen Catherine and her
friends be avenged by a retribution in kind. Their opinions on the
matter were shortly expressed.

[Sidenote: Cromwell begins to totter.]

[Sidenote: Hasty expressions drop from him.]

[Sidenote: The king's promise.]

Meanwhile, the minister who, in the conduct of the mighty cause which he
was guiding, had stooped to dabble in these muddy waters of intrigue,
was reaping, within and without, the harvest of his errors. The
consciousness of wrong brought with it the consciousness of weakness and
moody alternations of temper. The triumph of his enemies stared him in
the face, and rash words dropped from him, which were not allowed to
fall upon the ground, declaring what he would do if the king were turned
from the course of the Reformation. Carefully his antagonists at the
council-board had watched him for years. They had noted down his public
errors; spies had reported his most confidential language. Slowly, but
surely, the pile of accusations had gathered in height and weight, till
the time should come to make them public. Three years before, when the
northern insurgents had demanded Cromwell's punishment, the king had
answered that the laws were open, and were equal to high and low. Let an
accuser come forward openly, and prove that the Privy Seal had broken
the laws, and he should be punished as surely and as truly as the
meanest criminal. The case against him was clear at last; if brought
forward in the midst of the king's displeasure, the charges could not
fail of attentive hearing, and the release from the detested matrimony
might be identified with the punishment of the author of it.

[Sidenote: Mixed causes for the hatred against Cromwell.]

For struck down Cromwell should be, as his master Wolsey had been, to
rise no more. Not only was he hated on public grounds, as the leader of
a revolution, but, in his multiplied offices, he had usurped the
functions of the ecclesiastical courts; he had mixed himself in the
private concerns of families; he had interfered between wives and
husbands, fathers and sons, brothers and sisters. In his enormous
correspondence[576] he appears as the universal referee--the resource of
all weak or injured persons. The mad Duchess of Norfolk chose him for
her patron against the duke. Lady Burgh, Lady Parr, Lady
Hungerford,[577] alike made him the champion of their domestic wrongs.
Justly and unjustly, he had dragged down upon himself the animosity of
peers, bishops, clergy, and gentlemen, and their day of revenge was
come.

[Sidenote: June 10.]

[Sidenote: He is arrested.]

[Sidenote: Treasonable words are sworn against him.]

[Sidenote: Exultation of the reactionaries in London.]

On the 10th of June he attended as usual at the morning sitting of the
House of Lords. The Privy Council sat in the afternoon, and, at three
o'clock, the Duke of Norfolk rose suddenly at the table: "My Lord of
Essex," he said, "I arrest you of high treason." There were witnesses in
readiness, who came forward and swore to have heard him say "that, if
the king and all his realm would turn and vary from his opinions, he
would fight in the field in his own person, with his sword in his hand,
against the king and all others; adding that, if he lived a year or two,
he trusted to bring things to that frame that it should not lie in the
king's power to resist or let it."[578] The words "were justified to his
face." It was enough. Letters were instantly written to the ambassadors
at foreign courts, desiring them to make known the blow which had been
struck and the causes which had led to it.[579] The twilight of the
summer evening found Thomas Cromwell within the walls of that grim
prison which had few outlets except the scaffold; and far off, perhaps,
he heard the pealing of the church-bells and the songs of revelry in the
streets, with which the citizens, short of sight, and bestowing on him
the usual guerdon of transcendent merit, exulted in his fall. "The Lord
Cromwell," says Hall, "being in the council chamber, was suddenly
apprehended and committed to the Tower of London; the which many
lamented, but more rejoiced, and specially such as either had been
religious men or favoured religious persons; for they banqueted and
triumphed together that night, many wishing that that day had been seven
years before, and some, fearing lest he should escape, although he were
imprisoned, could not be merry; others, who knew nothing but truth by
him, both lamented him and heartily prayed for him. But this is true,
that, of certain of the clergy, he was detestably hated; and specially
of such as had borne swing, and by his means were put from it; for
indeed he was a man that, in all his doings, seemed not to favour any
kind of Popery, nor could not abide the snuffing pride of some
prelates."[580]

[Sidenote: A trial intended, but exchanged for an act of attainder.]

The first intention was to bring him to trial,[581] but a parliamentary
attainder was a swifter process, better suited to the temper of the
victorious reactionists. Five Romanists but a few days previously had
been thus sentenced under Cromwell's direction. The retribution was only
the more complete which rendered back to him the same measure which he
had dealt to others. The bill was brought in a week after his arrest.
His offences, when reduced into ordinary prose out of the passionate
rhetoric with which they were there described, were generally these:--

[Sidenote: He had set at liberty persons convicted or suspected of
treason.]

1. He was accused of having taken upon himself, without the king's
permission, to set at liberty divers persons convicted and attainted of
misprision of high treason, and divers others being apprehended and in
prison for suspicion of high treason. No circumstances and no names
were mentioned; but the fact seemed to be ascertained.

[Sidenote: He had issued commissions on his own authority.]

2. He was said to have granted licences for money; to have issued
commissions in his own name and by his own authority; and, to have
interfered impertinently and unjustly with the rights and liberties of
the king's subjects.

[Sidenote: He had encouraged heresy.]

3. Being a detestable heretic and disposed to set and sow common
sedition and variance amongst people, he had dispersed into all shires
in the realm great numbers of false, erroneous books, disturbing the
faith of the king's subjects on the nature of the Eucharist and other
articles of the Christian faith. He had openly maintained that the
priesthood was a form--that every Christian might equally administer the
Sacraments. Being vicegerent of the king in matters ecclesiastical, and
appointed to correct heresy, he had granted licences to persons detected
or openly defamed of heresy to teach and preach.

[Sidenote: He had released heretics from prison.]

4. He had addressed letters to the sheriffs in various shires, causing
many false heretics to be set at liberty, some of whom had been actually
indicted, and others who had been for good reason apprehended and were
in prison.

[Sidenote: He had rebuked their accusers and prosecutors.]

5. On complaint being made to him of particular heretics and heresies,
he had protected the same heretics from punishment; "he had terribly
rebuked their accusers," and some of them he had persecuted and
imprisoned, "so that the king's good subjects had been in fear to detect
the said heretics and heresies."

[Sidenote: He had threatened to maintain them by force.]

6. In fuller explanation of the expressions sworn against him on his
arrest, he had made a confederation of heretics, it was said, through
the country; and supposing himself to be fully able, by force and
strength, to maintain and defend his said abominable treasons and
heresies, on declaration made to him of certain preachers, Dr. Barnes
and others, preaching against the king's proclamation, "the same Thomas
Cromwell affirming the same preaching to be good, did not let to declare
and say, 'If the king would turn from it, yet I would not turn; and if
the king did turn, and all his people, I would fight in the field, with
my sword in my hand, against him and all others; and if that I live a
year or two, it shall not lie in the king's power to let it if he
would.'"

[Sidenote: He had amassed a fortune by bribery,]

7. By bribery and extortion he had obtained vast sums of money; and
being thus enriched, he had held the nobles in disdain.

[Sidenote: And had menaced the nobility.]

8. Finally, being reminded of his position with respect to the lords,
and of the consequences which he might bring upon himself, he had said,
"If the Lords would handle him so, he would give them such a breakfast
as never was made in England, and that the proudest of them should
know."[582]

[Sidenote: Were the accusations true?]

[Sidenote: And if true, was his escape or acquittal possible?]

The amount and character of the evidence on which these charges were
brought we have no means of judging; but the majority of them carry
probability on their front; and we need not doubt that the required
testimony was both abundant and sound. The case, of course, had been
submitted in all its details to the king before the first step had been
taken; and he was called upon to fulfil the promise which he had made of
permitting justice to have its way. How was the king to refuse? Many a
Catholic had gone to the scaffold for words lighter than those which had
been sworn against Cromwell, by Cromwell's own order. Did he or did he
not utter those words? If it be these to which he alluded in a letter
which he wrote from the Tower to the king,[583] Sir George Throgmorton
and Sir Richard Rich were the witnesses against him; and though he tried
to shake their testimony, his denial was faint, indirect--not like the
broad, absolute repudiation of a man who was consciously clear of
offence.[584] Could he have cleared himself on this one point, it would
have availed him little if he had suspended the action of the law by his
own authority, if he had permitted books to circulate secretly which
were forbidden by act of parliament, if he had allowed prisoners for
high treason or heresy to escape from confinement. Although to later
generations acts such as these appear as virtues, not as crimes, the
king could not anticipate the larger wisdom of posterity. An English
sovereign could know no guidance but the existing law, which had been
manifestly and repeatedly broken. Even if he had himself desired to
shield his minister, it is not easy to see that he could have prevented
his being brought to trial, or, if tried, could have prevented his
conviction, in the face of an exasperated parliament, a furious clergy,
and a clamorous people. That he permitted the council to proceed by
attainder, in preference to the ordinary forms, must be attributed to
the share which he, too, experienced in the general anger.

[Sidenote: Cranmer declares his confidence in Cromwell's integrity.]

Only one person had the courage or the wish to speak for Cromwell.
Cranmer, the first to come forward on behalf of Anne Boleyn, ventured,
first and alone, to throw a doubt on the treason of the Privy Seal. "I
heard yesterday, in your Grace's council," he wrote to the king, "that
the Earl of Essex is a traitor; yet who cannot be sorrowful and amazed
that he should be a traitor against your Majesty--he whose surety was
only by your Majesty--he who loved your Majesty, as I ever thought, no
less than God--he who studied always to set forwards whatsoever was your
Majesty's will and pleasure--he that cared for no man's displeasure to
serve your Majesty--he that was such a servant, in my judgment, in
wisdom, diligence, faithfulness, and experience as no prince in this
realm ever had--he that was so vigilant to preserve your Majesty from
all treasons, that few could be so secretly conceived but he detected
the same in the beginning!--I loved him as my friend, for so I took him
to be; but I chiefly loved him for the love which I thought I saw him
bear ever towards your Grace, singularly above all others. But now, if
he be a traitor, I am sorry that ever I loved or trusted him; and I am
very glad that his treason is discovered in time; but yet, again, I am
very sorrowful; for who shall your Grace trust hereafter, if you may not
trust him? Alas! I lament your Grace's chance herein. I wot not whom
your Grace may trust."[585]

[Sidenote: But inasmuch as he had broken the law openly and repeatedly,]

[Sidenote: And inasmuch as the law in a free country is the only guide
to the magistrate, his condemnation was inevitable.]

The intercession was bravely ventured; but it was fruitless. The illegal
acts of a minister who had been trusted with extraordinary powers were
too patent for denial; and Cranmer himself was forced into a passive
acquiescence, while the enemies of the Reformation worked their revenge.
Heresy and truth, treason and patriotism! these are words which in a war
of parties change their meaning with the alternations of success, till
time and fate have pronounced the last interpretation, and human
opinions and sympathies bend to the deciding judgment. But while the
struggle is still in progress--while the partisans on either side
exclaim that truth is with them, and error with their antagonists, and
the minds of this man and of that man are so far the only
arbiters--those, at such a time, are not the least to be commended who
obey for their guide the law as it in fact exists. Men there are who
need no such direction, who follow their own course--it may be to a
glorious success, it may be to as glorious a death. To such proud
natures the issue to themselves is of trifling moment. They live for
their work or die for it, as their Almighty Father wills. But the law in
a free country cannot keep pace with genius. It reflects the plain
sentiments of the better order of average men; and if it so happen, as
in a perplexed world of change it will happen and must, that a
statesman, or a prophet, is beyond his age, and in collision with a law
which his conscience forbids him to obey, he bravely breaks it, bravely
defies it, and either wins the victory in his living person, or, more
often, wins it in his death. In fairness, Cromwell should have been
tried; but it would have added nothing to his chances of escape. He
could not disprove the accusations. He could but have said that he had
done right, not wrong,--a plea which would have been but a fresh crime.
But, in the deafening storm of denunciation which burst out, the
hastiest vengeance was held the greatest justice. Any charge, however
wild, gained hearing: Chatillon, the French ambassador, informed his
court that the Privy Seal had intended privately to marry the Lady Mary,
as the Duke of Suffolk had married the king's sister, and on Henry's
death proposed to seize the crown.[586] When a story so extravagant
could gain credence, the circular of the council to the ambassadors
rather furnishes matter of suspicion by its moderation.

[Sidenote: The attainder passes.]

[Sidenote: The quarrel with the Emperor is at an end.]

The attainder passed instantly, with acclamations. Francis wrote a
letter of congratulation to the king on the discovery of the
"treason."[587] Charles V., whose keener eyes saw deeper into the nature
of the catastrophe, when the news were communicated to him, "nothing
moved outwardly in countenance or word," said merely, "What, is he in
the Tower of London, and by the king's commandment?"[588] He sent no
message, no expression of regret or of pleasure, no word of any kind;
but from that moment no menacing demonstrations or violent words or
actions ruffled his relations with England, till a new change had
passed upon the stage. His own friends were now in power. He knew it,
and acknowledged them.[589]

[Sidenote: Triumph of the reactionaries.]

The barrier which had stemmed the reactionary tide had now fallen.
Omnipotent in parliament and convocation, the king inclining in their
favour, carrying with them the sympathy of the wealth, the worldliness,
and the harder intellect of the country, freed from the dreaded
minister, freed from the necessity of conciliating the German
Protestants, the Anglican leaders made haste to redeem their lost time,
and develope their policy more wisely than before.

[Sidenote: The Bishop of Bath is despatched to the Duke of Cleves.]

[Sidenote: July 1. Improvement of the machinery for the enforcement of
the Six Articles.]

[Sidenote: July 6. Parliament discusses the marriage.]

Their handiwork is to be traced in the various measures which occupied
the remainder of the session. The first step was to despatch the Bishop
of Bath to the Duke of Cleves, to gain his consent, if possible, to his
sister's separation from the king; Anne, herself, meanwhile, being
recommended, for the benefit of her health, to retire for a few days to
Richmond. The bill of attainder was disposed of on the 19th of June; on
the 22d the bishops brought in a bill for the better payment of tithes,
which in the few years last past certain persons had contemptuously
presumed to withhold.[590] On the 1st of July a bill was read enacting
that, whereas in the parliament of the year preceding "a godly act was
made for the abolishment of diversity of opinion concerning the
Christian religion," the provisions of which, for various reasons, had
not been enforced, for the better execution of the said act the number
of commissioners appointed for that purpose should be further increased;
and the bishops and the bishops' chancellors should be assisted by the
archdeacons and the officials of their courts.[591] This measure, like
the attainder, was passed unanimously.[592] On the 5th a general pardon
was introduced, from which heretics were exempted by a special
proviso.[593] The new spirit was rapid in its manifestation. The day
after (for it was not thought necessary to wait for a letter from
Germany) the Cleves' marriage was brought forward for discussion; and
the care with which the pleadings were parodied which had justified the
divorce of Catherine, resembled rather a deliberate intention to
discredit the first scandal than a serious effort to defend the second;
but we must not judge the conduct of a party blinded with passion by
the appearance which such conduct seems to wear in a calmer retrospect.

[Sidenote: Speech of the Lord Chancellor not to the purpose.]

The chancellor, once more reminding the lords of the wars of the Roses,
and the danger of a disputed succession, informed them that certain
doubts had arisen affecting the legality of the king's present marriage.
The absence of a prospect of issue was the single palliative of the
present proceedings. The chancellor injured the case, so far as it
admitted of injury, by dwelling on the possibility of an issue of
doubtful legitimacy. The questions raised, however, belonged, he said,
to the canon law, and he proposed that they should be submitted to the
clergy then sitting in convocation.

[Sidenote: A delegacy of the two Houses waits upon the king.]

[Sidenote: The queen consents to accept the judgment of convocation.]

When the chancellor had ceased, the peers desired to communicate with
the other House. Six delegates were sent down to repeat the substance of
what they had heard, and returned presently, followed by twenty members
of the House of Commons, who signified a wish to speak with the king in
person. The lords assented, and repaired in a body with the twenty
members to Whitehall. The formality of state interviews may not be too
closely scrutinized. They requested to be allowed to open to his Majesty
a great and important matter, which his Majesty, they were well aware,
had alone permitted them to discuss. His Majesty being confident that
they would make no improper demands, they laid before him the
proposition which they had heard from the woolsack, and added their own
entreaties that he would be pleased to consent.[594] The king was
gracious, but the canon law required also the consent of the queen; for
which, therefore, the Duke of Suffolk, the Bishop of Winchester, and
other noblemen were despatched to Richmond, and with which they soon
returned.[595] Six years were spent over the affair with Queen
Catherine: almost as many days sufficed to dispose of Anne of Cleves.

[Sidenote: July 7. The convocation undertake the investigation.]

[Sidenote: Evidence is given in.]

On the Wednesday morning the clergy assembled, and Gardiner, in "a
luminous oration,"[596] invited them to the task which they were to
undertake. Evidence was sent in by different members of the Privy
Council whom the king had admitted to his confidence; by the ladies of
the court who could speak for the condition of the queen; and, finally,
by Henry himself, in a paper which he wrote with his own hand,
accompanying it with a request that, after reviewing all the
circumstances under which the marriage had been contracted, they would
inform him if it was still binding; and adding at the same time an
earnest adjuration, which it is not easy to believe to have been wholly
a form, that, having God only before their eyes, they would point out to
him the course which justly, honourably, and religiously he was at
liberty to pursue.[597]

His personal declaration was as follows:[598]--

[Sidenote: The king makes a declaration of his own conduct.]

"I depose and declare that this hereafter written is merely the verity,
intended upon no sinister affection, nor yet upon none hatred or
displeasure, and herein I take God to witness. To the matter I say and
affirm that, when the first communication was had with me for the
marriage of the Lady Anne of Cleves, I was glad to hearken to it,
trusting to have some assured friend by it, I much doubting at that time
both the Emperor, and France, and the Bishop of Rome, and also because I
heard so much both of her excellent beauty and virtuous behaviour. But
when I saw her at Rochester, which was the first time that ever I saw
her, it rejoiced my heart that I had kept me free from making any pact
or bond before with her till I saw her myself; for I assure you that I
liked her so ill and [found her to be] so far contrary to that she was
praised, that I was woe that ever she came into England, and deliberated
with myself that if it were possible to find means to break off, I would
never enter yoke with her; of which misliking both the Great Master
(Lord Russell), the Admiral that now is, and the Master of the Horse
(Sir Anthony Brown) can and will bear record. Then after my repair to
Greenwich, the next day after, I think, I doubt not but the Lord of
Essex will and can declare what I then said to him in that case, not
doubting but, since he is a person which knoweth himself condemned to
die by act of parliament, he will not damn his soul, but truly declare
the truth not only at that time spoken by me, but also continually
until the day of the marriage, and also many times after; wherein my
lack of consent I doubt not doth or shall well appear, and also lack
enough of the will and power to consummate the same, wherein both he and
my physicians can testify according to the truth."

[Sidenote: The clergy deliberate for three days, and on the fourth
deliver their sentence.]

Nearly two hundred clergy were assembled, and the ecclesiastical lawyers
were called in to their assistance. The deliberation lasted Wednesday,
Thursday, and Friday.[599] On Saturday they had agreed upon their
judgment, which was produced and read in the House of Lords.

[Sidenote: Owing to the imperfectly cleared pre-contract,]

The contract between the Lady Anne of Cleves and the Marquis of Lorraine
was sufficient, they would not say to invalidate, but to perplex and
complicate any second marriage into which she might have entered.

[Sidenote: Conditions unfulfilled,]

Before the ceremony the king had required the production of the papers
relating to that engagement with so much earnestness, that the demand
might be taken as a condition on which the marriage was completed. But
the papers had not been produced, the uncertainties had not been cleared
... and thus there had not only been a breach of condition, but, if no
condition had been made, the previous objection was further increased.

[Sidenote: The enforced consent of the king,]

Consent had been wanting on the part of the king. False representations
had been held out to bring the lady into the realm and force her upon
his Majesty's acceptance.

The solemnization of the marriage was extorted from his Majesty against
his will under urgent pressure and compulsion by external causes.

[Sidenote: The absence of consummation,]

[Sidenote: And from other causes affecting the interests of the
kingdom,]

Consummation had not followed, nor ought to follow, and the convocation
had been informed--as indeed it was matter of common notoriety--that if
his Majesty could, without the breach of any divine law, be married to
another person, great benefits might thereby accrue to the realm, the
present welfare and safety whereof depended on the preservation of his
royal person, to the honour of God, the accomplishment of His will, and
the avoiding of sinister opinions and scandals.

Considering all these circumstances, therefore, and weighing what the
Church might and could lawfully do in such cases, and had often before
done,[600] the convocation, by the tenor of those their present letters,
declared his Majesty not to be any longer bound by the matrimony in
question, which matrimony was null and invalid; and both his Majesty and
the Lady Anne were free to contract and consummate other marriages
without objection or delay.

[Sidenote: They declare the marriage dissolved.]

[Sidenote: The continuance of the marriage could not have been desired.]

[Sidenote: But the scandal was great and inevitable.]

To this judgment two archbishops, seventeen bishops, and a hundred and
thirty-nine clergy set their hands.[601] Their sentence was undoubtedly
legal, according to a stricter interpretation of the canon law than had
been usual in the ecclesiastical courts. The case was of a kind in which
the queen, on her separate suit, could, with clear right, have obtained
a divorce _a vinculo_ had she desired; and the country had been
accustomed to see separations infinitely more questionable obtained in
the court of the Rota or at home, with easy and scandalous levity.[602]
Nor could the most scrupulous person, looking at the marriage between
Henry and Anne of Cleves on its own merits, pretend that any law, human
or divine, would have been better fulfilled, or that any feeling
entitled to respect would have been less outraged, by the longer
maintenance of so unhappy a connexion. Yet it is much to be regretted
that the clergy should have been compelled to meddle with it; under
however plausible an aspect the divorce might be presented, it gave a
colour to the interpretation which represented the separation from
Catherine as arising out of caprice, and enabled the enemies of the
Church of England to represent her synods as the instruments of the
king's licentiousness.[603]

[Sidenote: The queen signifies her acquiescence.]

[Sidenote: She will remain in England with the rank of a princess;
palaces, pensions, and establishments.]

For good or for evil, however, the judgment was given. The Bishop of
Winchester spoke a few words in explanation to the two houses of
parliament when it was presented;[604] and the next day the Duke of
Suffolk and Wriothesley waited on the queen, and communicated the
fortune which was impending over her. Anne herself--who, after the
slight agitation which the first mooting of the matter naturally
produced, had acquiesced in everything which was proposed to
her--received the intimation with placidity. She wrote at their request
to the king, giving her consent in writing. She wrote also to her
brother, declaring herself satisfied, and expressing her hope that he
would be satisfied as well. So much facility increased the consideration
which her treatment entitled her to claim. The Bishop of Bath had taken
with him to the Duke of Cleves an offer, which ought to have been an
insult, of a pecuniary compensation for his sister's injury. It was
withdrawn or qualified, before it was known to have been refused, to
increase the settlement on the ex-queen. For many reasons the king
desired that she should remain in England; but she had rank and
precedence assigned to her as if she had been a princess of the blood.
Estates were granted for her maintenance producing nearly three thousand
a year. Palaces, dresses, jewels, costly establishments were added in
lavish profusion, to be her dowry, as she was significantly told, should
she desire to make a fresh experiment in matrimony. And she not only (it
is likely) preferred a splendid independence to the poverty of a petty
court in Germany, but perhaps, also, to the doubtful magnificence which
she had enjoyed as Henry's bride.[605]

[Sidenote: Monday, July 12. The bill for the divorce is passed in
parliament.]

[Sidenote: Displeasure of the Duke of Cleves,]

[Sidenote: And want of generosity on the part of the king,]

Parliament made haste with the concluding stroke. On Monday the 12th the
bill for the divorce was introduced: it was disposed of with the
greatest haste which the forms of the Houses would allow; and the
conclusion of the matter was announced to the queen's own family and the
foreign powers almost as soon as it was known to be contemplated. The
Duke of Cleves, on the first audience of the Bishop of Bath, had shown
himself "heavy and hard to pacify and please." When all was over, the
Bishops of Winchester and Durham, with other noble lords, wrote to him
themselves, persuading him to acquiesce in a misfortune which could no
longer be remedied; his sister had already declared her own
satisfaction; and Henry, through his commissioners, informed him in
detail of the proceedings in parliament and convocation, and trusted
that the friendship between the courts would not be interrupted in
consequence. It would have been well had he added nothing to a bare
narrative of facts; but questionable actions are rarely improved in the
manner of their execution. The king was irritated at the humiliation to
which the conduct of the German powers had exposed him in the spring;
and the Duke of Cleves had afterwards increased his displeasure by a
secret intrigue with the court of Paris. Satisfied with his settlements
upon Anne, he avowed an anxiety to be extricated from his offer of money
to the duke, "who might percase, to his miscontentment, employ it by
the advice of others, or at least without commodity to the giver."[606]
In fact, he said, as he had done nothing but what was right, "if the
lady's contentation would not content her friends, it should not be
honourable for him, with detriment and waste of his treasure, to labour
to satisfy those who without cause misliked his doings, which were just,
and without injury to be passed over."[607] Finally, he concluded: "In
case the duke sheweth himself untractable and high-couraged, in such
sort as devising interests and respects, he shall further set forth the
matter, and increase it with words more largely than reason would he
should, alledging, percase, that though the lady is contented, yet he is
not contented, her mother is not contented, requiring why and wherefore,
and such other behaviour as men in high stomach, forgetting reason, shew
and utter, in that case you, the Bishop of Bath, declaring unto the duke
how we sent you not thither to render an account of our just
proceedings, but friendly to communicate them, you shall desire the duke
to license you to depart."[608]

[Sidenote: Which does not contrast favourably with the conduct of the
duke.]

[Sidenote: The duke will not admit that his sister has been honourably
treated; but will not pres his quarrel to a rupture.]

The high style of Henry contrasts unfavourably with the more dignified
moderation of the answer. The duke wrote himself briefly to the king: he
replied through his minister to the ambassador, that "he was sorry for
the the chance, and would well have wished it had been otherwise; yet,
seeing it was thus, he would not depart from his amity for his Majesty
for any such matter. He could have wished that his sister should return
to Germany; but, if she was satisfied to remain, he had confidence that
the king would act uprightly towards her, and he would not press it." Of
the offer of money he took little notice or none.[609] The bishop
laboured to persuade him to pay respect to the judgment of the Church;
this, however, the duke resolutely refused, altogether ignoring it as of
no manner of moment; neither would he allow that the Lady Anne had been
treated honourably, although the bishop much pressed for the admission.
A cold acquiescence in an affront which he was too weak to resent, and a
promise that his private injuries should not cause the dissolution of an
alliance which had been useful to the interests of religion, was the
most which could be extorted from the Duke of Cleves; and, in calmer
moments, Henry could neither have desired nor looked for more. But no
one at that crisis was calm in England. The passions roused in the
strife of convictions which divided rank from rank, which divided
families, which divided every earnest man against himself, extended over
all subjects which touched the central question. The impulse of the
moment assumed the character of right, and everything was wrong which
refused to go along with it.

[Sidenote: The divorce is communicated to Francis,]

Sir Edward Karne made the communication to Francis, prefacing his story
with the usual prelude of the succession, and the anxiety of the country
that the king should have more children. "Even at that point" Francis
started, expecting that something serious was to follow. When Sir Edward
went on to say that "the examination of the king's marriage was
submitted to the clergy," "What," he said, "the matrimony made with the
queen that now is?" Karne assented. "Then he fetched a great sigh, and
spake no more" till the conclusion, when he answered, "he could nor
would take any other opinion of his Highness but as his loving brother
and friend should do;" for the particular matter, "his Highness's
conscience must be judge therein."[610]

[Sidenote: And to the Emperor.]

[Sidenote: The king had lost Germany and gained the Empire.]

"The Emperor," wrote the resident Pate, "when I declared my commission,
gave me good air, with one gesture and countenance throughout, saving
that suddenly, as I touched the pith of the matter, thereupon he
steadfastly cast his eye upon me a pretty while, and then interrupting
me, demanded what the causes were of the doubts concerning the marriage
with the daughter of Cleves." Pate was not commissioned to enter into
details; and Charles, at the end, contented himself with sending his
hearty recommendations, and expressing his confidence that, as the king
was wise, so he was sure he would do nothing "which should not be to the
discharge of his conscience and the tranquillity of his realm."[611] In
confidence, a few days later, he avowed a hope that all would now go
well in England; the enormities of the past had been due to the
pernicious influence of Cromwell; or were "beside the king's pleasure or
knowledge, being a prince," the Emperor said, "no less godly brought up
than endued and imbued with so many virtuous qualities as whom all
blasts and storms could never alter nor move, but as vice might alter
true virtue."[612] On the whole, the impression left by the affair on
the Continent was that Henry "had lost the hearts of the German princes,
but had gained the Emperor instead."[613] Both the loss and the gain
were alike welcome to the English conservatives. The latter, happy in
their victory, and now freed from all impediments, had only to follow up
their advantage.

[Sidenote: Bill for the moderation of the Six Articles in favour of
incontinence.]

[Sidenote: Appointment of a standing committee of religion, with
extraordinary powers.]

On the 12th of July the persecuting bill was passed, and the Tithe Bill
also, after having been recast by the Commons.[614] On the 16th the Six
Articles Bill was moderated, in favour not of heresy, but of the more
venial offence of incontinency. Married clergy and incontinent priests
by the Six Articles Bill were, on the first offence, to forfeit their
benefices; if they persisted they were to be treated as felons. The
King's Highness, graciously considering "that the punishment of death
was very sore, and too much extreme," was contented to relax the penalty
into three gradations. For the first offence the punishment was to be
forfeiture of all benefices but one; for the second, forfeiture of the
one remaining; for the third, imprisonment for life.[615] A few days
later the extension given to the prerogative, by the Act of
Proclamations, was again shortened by communicating to the clergy a
share of the powers which had been granted absolutely to the crown; and
the parliament at the same time restored into the hands of the
spiritualty the control of religious opinion. The Protestants had
shifted their ground from purgatory and masses to free-will and
justification; and had thus defied the bishops, and left the law behind
them. The king's proclamations had failed through general neglect. A
committee of religion was now constituted, composed of the archbishops,
bishops, and other learned doctors of divinity; and an act, which passed
three readings in the House of Lords in a single day, conferred on this
body a power to declare absolutely, under the king's sanction, the
judgment of the English Church on all questions of theology which might
be raised, either at home or on the Continent, and to compel submission
to their decrees, under such pains and penalties as they might think
proper to impose, limited only by the common law and by the restrictions
attached to the Act of Proclamations.[616]

[Sidenote: Bill of attainder against various persons who had conspired
to betray Calais,]

[Sidenote: To which are added the names of Barnes, Garret, and Jerome.]

[Sidenote: Declared guilty of heresy.]

One important matter remained. This statute conferred no powers of life
and death; and there were certain chosen champions of Protestantism who
had resisted authority, had scoffed at recantation, and had insulted the
Bishop of Winchester. Although a penal measure could not be extended to
comprehend their doctrine by special definition, an omnipotent
parliament might, by a stretch of authority, vindicate the bishop's
dignity, and make a conspicuous example of the offenders. A case of high
treason was before the Houses. At the time when the invasion was
impending, a party of conspirators, Sir Gregory Botolph, Clement
Philpot, and three others, had contrived a project to betray Calais
either to the French or the Spaniards. The plot had been betrayed by a
confederate;[617] and the Anglo-Catholics did not intend to repeat the
blunder of showing a leaning towards the Romanists, which had wrecked
their fortunes in the preceding summer: they sentenced the offenders to
death by an attainder; and after so satisfactory a display of loyalty,
the friends of the bishops added three more names to the list in the
following words:[618] "And whereas Robert Barnes, late of London,
clerk, Thomas Garret, late of London, clerk, and William Jerome, late of
Stepney, in the county of Middlesex, clerk, being detestable and
abominable heretics, and amongst themselves agreed and confederated to
set and sow common sedition and variance amongst the king's true and
loving subjects within this his realm, not fearing their most bounden
duty to God nor yet their allegiance towards his Majesty, have openly
preached, taught, set forth, and delivered in divers and sundry places
of this realm, a great number of heresies, false, erroneous opinions,
doctrines, and sayings; and thinking themselves to be men of learning,
have taken upon them most seditiously and heretically to open and
declare divers and many texts of Scripture, expounding and applying the
same to many perverse and heretical senses, understandings, and
purposes, to the intent to induce and lead his Majesty's said subjects
to diffidence and refusal of the true, sincere faith and belief which
Christian men ought to have in Christian religion, the number whereof
were too long here to be rehearsed.... Be it, therefore, enacted that
the said persons Robert Barnes, Thomas Garret, and William Jerome, shall
be convicted and attainted of heresy, and that they and every of them
shall be deemed and adjudged abominable and detestable heretics, and
shall have and suffer pains of death by burning or otherwise, as shall
please the King's Majesty."

[Sidenote: Dissolution of parliament.]

This was the last measure of consequence in the session. Three days
after it closed. On the 24th the king came down to Westminster in
person, to thank the parliament for the subsidy. The Speaker of the
House of Commons congratulated the country on their sovereign. The
chancellor replied, in his Majesty's name, that his only study was for
the welfare of his subjects; his only ambition was to govern them by the
rule of the Divine law, and the Divine love, to the salvation of their
souls and bodies. The bills which had been passed were then presented
for the royal assent; and the chancellor, after briefly exhorting the
members of both houses to show the same diligence in securing the due
execution of these measures as they had displayed in enacting them,
declared the parliament dissolved.[619]

[Sidenote: The close of the Cromwell drama.]

[Sidenote: His letters to the king from the Tower.]

[Sidenote: July 28. He goes to execution.]

The curtain now rises on the closing act of the Cromwell tragedy. In the
condemned cells in the Tower, the three Catholics for whose sentence he
was himself answerable--the three Protestants whom his fall had left
exposed to their enemies--were the companions of the broken minister;
and there for six weeks he himself, the central figure, whose will had
made many women childless, had sat waiting his own unpitied doom. Twice
the king had sent to him "honourable persons, to receive such
explanations as he could offer. He had been patiently and elaborately
heard."[620] Twice he had himself written,--once, by Henry's desire, an
account of the Anne of Cleves marriage,--once a letter, which his
faithful friend Sir Ralph Sadler carried to Henry for him; and this last
the king caused the bearer three times to read over, and "seemed to be
moved therewith."[621] Yet what had Cromwell to say? That he had done
his best in the interest of the commonwealth? But his best was better
than the laws of the commonwealth. He had endeavoured faithfully to
serve the king; but he had endeavoured also to serve One higher than the
king. He had thrown himself in the breach against king and people where
they were wrong. He had used the authority with which he had been so
largely trusted to thwart the parliament and suspend statutes of the
realm. He might plead his services; but what would his services avail
him! An offence in the king's eyes was ever proportioned to the rank,
the intellect, the character of the offender. The _via media Anglicana_,
on which Henry had planted his foot, prescribed an even justice; and as
Cromwell, in this name of the _via media_, had struck down without mercy
the adherents of the Church of Rome, there was no alternative but to
surrender him to the same equitable rule, or to declare to the world and
to himself that he no longer held that middle place which he so
vehemently claimed. To sustain the Six Articles and to pardon the
vicegerent was impossible. If the consent to the attainder cost the king
any pang, we do not know; only this we know, that a passionate appeal
for mercy, such as was rarely heard in those days of haughty endurance,
found no response; and on the 28th of July the most despotic minister
who had ever governed England passed from the Tower to the scaffold.

[Sidenote: A false account of his last words printed by authority.]

A speech was printed by authority, and circulated through Europe, which
it was thought desirable that he should have been supposed to have
uttered before his death. It was accepted as authentic by Hall, and from
Hall's pages has been transferred into English history; and "the Lord
Cromwell" is represented to have confessed that he had been seduced into
heresy, that he repented, and died in the faith of the holy Catholic
Church. Reginald Pole, who, like others, at first accepted the official
report as genuine, warned a correspondent, on the authority of persons
whose account might be relied upon, that the words which were really
spoken were very different, and to Catholic minds were far less
satisfactory.[622] The last effort of Cromwell's enemies was to send him
out of the world with a lie upon his lips, to call in his dying witness
in favour of falsehoods which he gave up his life to overthrow. Clear he
was not, as what living man was clear? of all taint of superstition; but
a fairer version of his parting faith will be found in words which those
who loved him, and who preserved no record of his address to the people,
handed down as his last prayer to the Saviour:--

[Sidenote: His prayer on the scaffold.]

[Sidenote: The end.]

"O Lord Jesu, which art the only health of all men living, and the
everlasting life of them which die in Thee, I, wretched sinner, do
submit myself wholly to thy most blessed will; and, being sure that the
thing cannot perish which is submitted to thy mercy, willingly now I
leave this frail and wicked flesh, in sure hope that Thou wilt in better
wise restore it to me again at the last day in the resurrection of the
just. I beseech Thee, most merciful Lord Jesu Christ, that Thou wilt by
thy grace make strong my soul against all temptation, and defend me with
the buckler of thy mercy against all the assaults of the devil. I see
and acknowledge that there is in myself no hope of salvation; but all my
confidence, hope, and trust is in thy most merciful goodness. I have no
merits nor good works which I may allege before Thee: of sin and evil
works, alas! I see a great heap. But yet, through thy mercy, I trust to
be in the number of them to whom Thou wilt not impute their sins, but
wilt take and accept me for righteous and just, and to be the inheritor
of everlasting life. Thou, merciful Lord, wast born for my sake; Thou
didst suffer both hunger and thirst for my sake; all thy holy actions
and works Thou wroughtest for my sake; Thou sufferedst both grievous
pains and torments for my sake; finally, Thou gavest thy most precious
body and blood to be shed on the cross for my sake. Now, most merciful
Saviour, let all these things profit me that Thou hast freely done for
me, which hast given Thyself also for me. Let thy blood cleanse and wash
away the spots and foulness of my sins. Let thy righteousness hide and
cover my unrighteousness. Let the merits of thy passion and
bloodshedding be satisfaction for my sins. Give me, Lord, thy grace,
that the faith in my salvation in thy blood waver not, but may ever be
firm and constant; that the hope of thy mercy and life everlasting never
decay in me; that love wax not cold in me; finally, that the weakness of
my flesh be not overcome with fear of death. Grant me, merciful Saviour,
that when death hath shut up the eyes of my body, yet the eyes of my
soul may still behold and look upon Thee; and when death hath taken away
the use of my tongue, yet my heart may cry and say unto Thee, Lord, into
thy hands I commend my soul. Lord Jesu, receive my spirit. Amen."[623]

[Sidenote: His character.]

With these words upon his lips perished a statesman whose character will
for ever remain a problem.[624] For eight years his influence had been
supreme with the king--supreme in parliament--supreme in convocation;
the nation, in the ferment of revolution, was absolutely controlled by
him; and he has left the print of his individual genius stamped
indelibly, while the metal was at white heat, into the constitution of
the country. Wave after wave has rolled over his work. Romanism flowed
back over it under Mary. Puritanism, under another even grander
Cromwell, overwhelmed it. But Romanism ebbed again, and Puritanism is
dead, and the polity of the Church of England remains as it was left by
its creator.

And not in the Church only, but in all departments of the public
service, Cromwell was the sovereign guide. In the Foreign Office and the
Home Office, in Star Chamber and at council table, in dockyard and law
court, Cromwell's intellect presided--Cromwell's hand executed. His
gigantic correspondence remains to witness for his varied energy.
Whether it was an ambassador or a commissioner of sewers, a warden of a
company or a tradesman who was injured by the guild, a bishop or a
heretic, a justice of the peace, or a serf crying for emancipation,
Cromwell was the universal authority to whom all officials looked for
instruction, and all sufferers looked for redress. Hated by all those
who had grown old in an earlier system--by the wealthy, whose interests
were touched by his reforms--by the superstitious, whose prejudices he
wounded--he was the defender of the weak, the defender of the poor,
defender of the "fatherless and forsaken"; and for his work, the long
maintenance of it has borne witness that it was good--that he did the
thing which England's true interests required to be done.

Of the manner in which that work was done it is less easy to speak.
Fierce laws fiercely executed--an unflinching resolution which neither
danger could daunt nor saintly virtue move to mercy--a long list of
solemn tragedies--weigh upon his memory. He had taken upon himself a
task beyond the ordinary strength of man. His difficulties could be
overcome only by inflexible persistence in the course which he had
marked out for himself and for the state; and he supported his weakness
by a determination which imitated the unbending fixity of a law of
nature. He pursued an object the excellence of which, as his mind saw
it, transcended all other considerations--the freedom of England and the
destruction of idolatry: and those who from any motive, noble or base,
pious or impious, crossed his path, he crushed, and passed on over their
bodies.

Whether the same end could have been attained by gentler methods is a
question which many persons suppose they can easily answer in the
affirmative. Some diffidence of judgment, however, ought to be taught by
the recollection that the same end was purchased in every other country
which had the happiness to attain to it at all, only by years of
bloodshed, a single day or week of which caused larger human misery than
the whole period of the administration of Cromwell. Be this as it will,
his aim was noble. For his actions he paid with his life; and he
followed his victims by the same road which they had trodden before him,
to the high tribunal, where it may be that great natures who on earth
have lived in mortal enmity may learn at last to understand each other.

[Sidenote: July 30. Double execution of Protestants and Romanists.]

Two days after, Barnes, Garret, and Jerome died bravely at the stake,
their weakness and want of wisdom all atoned for, and serving their
Great Master in their deaths better than they had served Him in their
lives. With them perished, not as heretics, but as traitors, the three
Romanizing priests. The united executions were designed as an evidence
of the even hand of the council. The execution of traitors was not to
imply an indulgence of heresy; the punishment of heretics should give no
hope to those who were disloyal to their king and country. But scenes of
such a kind were not repeated. The effect was to shock, not to
edify.[625] The narrow theory could be carried out to both its cruel
extremes only where a special purpose was working upon passions
specially excited.

END OF VOL. III.



FOOTNOTES:


[1] He told Sir Gregory Cassalis that he had been compelled by external
pressure to issue threats, "quæ tamen nunquam in animo habuit ad exitum
perducere."--Sir Gregory Cassalis to Henry VIII.: _MS. Cotton.
Vitellius_, B 14, fol. 215.

[2] Richard Ebbes to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Vespasian_, B 7, fol. 87.

[3] "There be here both Englishmen and Irishmen many that doth daily
invent slander to the realm of England, with as many naughty Popish
practices as they can and may do, and specially Irishmen."--Ibid.

[4] "L'Empéreur a deux fois qu'il avoit parlè audit Evesque luy avoit
faict un discours long et plein de grande passion de la cruelle guerre
qu'il entendoit faire contre le dit Roy d'Angleterre, au cas qu'il ne
reprinst et restituast en ses honneurs la Reyne Catherine sa tante, et
luy avoit declarè les moyens qu'il avoit executer vivement icelle
guerre, et principalement au moyen de la bonne intelligence ce qu'il
disoit avoir avec le Roy d'Ecosse." Martin du Bellay: _Memoirs_, p. 110.

[5] Reginald Pole states that the issue was only prevented by the news
of Queen Catherine's death.--Pole to Prioli: _Epistles_, Vol. I. p. 442.

[6] Sleidan.

[7] Du Bellay's _Memoirs_, p. 135.

[8] "The Turks do not compel others to adopt their belief. He who does
not attack their religion may profess among them what religion he will;
he is safe. But where this pestilent seed is sown, those who do not
accept, and those who openly oppose, are in equal peril."--Reginald
Pole: _De Unitate Ecclesiæ_. For the arch-enemy of England even the name
of heretic was too good. "They err," says the same writer elsewhere,
"who call the King of England heretic or schismatic. He has no claims to
name so honourable. The heretic and schismatic acknowledge the power and
providence of God. He takes God utterly away."--_Apology to Charles the
Fifth._

[9] "Sire, je pense que vous avez entendu du supplication que le Roy
fit, estant la present luy même allant en ordre apres les reliques me
teste portant ung torche en son mayn avecques ses filz, ses evesques, et
cardinaulz devant luy, et les ducs, contes, seigneurs, seneschals,
esquieres, et aultres nobles gens apres luy; et la Reyne portée par deux
hommes avecques la fille du Roy et ses propres. Apres touts les grosses
dames et demoiselles suivants a pié. Quant tout ceci fit fayt on brûlait
vi. a ung feu. Et le Roy pour sa part remercioit Dieu qu'il avoit donne
cognoissance de si grand mal le priant de pardon qu'il avoit pardonne a
ung ou deux le en passé; et qu'il na pas este plus diligente en faysant
execution; et fit apres serment que dicy en avant il les brulerait tous
tous tant qu'il en trouveroit."--Andrew Baynton to Henry VIII.: _MS.
State Paper Office_, temp. Henry VIII., second series, Vol. IV.

[10] "The Duke of Orleans is married to the niece of Clement the Seventh
If I give him Milan, and he be dependent only on his father, he will be
altogether French ... he will be detached wholly from the confederacy of
the Empire."--Speech of Charles the Fifth in the Consistory at Rome.
_State Papers_, Vol. VII. p. 641.

[11] Charles certainly did give a promise, and the date of it is fixed
for the middle of the winter of 1535-36 by the protest of the French
court, when it was subsequently withdrawn. "Your Majesty," Count de
Vigny said, on the 18th of April, 1536, "promised a few months ago that
you would give Milan to the Duke of Orleans, and not to his brother the
Duke of Angoulesme"--Ibid.: _State Papers_, Vol. VII.

[12] "Bien estoit d'advis quant au faict d'Angleterre, afin qu'il eust
plus de couleur de presser le Roy dudit pays a se condescendre a
l'opinion universelle des Chrêtiens, que l'Empereur fist que notre
Sainct Pere sommast de ce faire tous les princes et potentats Chrêtiens;
et a luy assister, et donner main forte pour faire obeir le dit Roy à la
sentence et determination de l'Eglise."--Du Bellay: _Memoirs_, p. 136.

[13] Du Bellay: _Memoirs._ "Hic palam obloquuntur de morte illius ac
verentur de Puellâ regiâ ne brevi sequatur."--"I assure you men speak
here tragice of these matters which is not to be touched by
letters."--Harval to Starkey, from Venice, Feb. 5, 1535-36: Ellis,
second series, Vol. II.

[14] Pole to Prioli: _Epist._, Vol. I. p. 442.

[15] "There hath been means made unto us by the Bishop of Rome himself
for a reconciliation."--Henry VIII. to Pace: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p.
476.

[16] Henry VIII. to Pace: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 476. Lord Herbert,
p. 196. Du Bellay's _Memoirs_.

[17] Du Bellay.

[18] Henry VIII. to Pace: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 476.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Pole to Prioli, March, 1536; _Epist. Reg. Poli_, Vol. I.

[21] Sir Gregory Cassalis to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VII. p. 641.

[22] An interesting account of these speeches and of the proceedings in
the consistory is printed in the _State Papers_, Vol. VII. p. 646. It
was probably furnished by Sir Gregory Cassalis.

[23] Sir Gregory Cassalis to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VII.

[24] "Omnes qui sollerti judicio ista pensitare solent, ita statuunt
aliquid proditionis in Galliâ esse paratum non dissimile Ducis Borboniæ
proditioni. Non enim aliud vident quod Caæsarem illuc trahere
posset."--Sir Gregory Cassalis to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VII.

[25] See Cassalis's Correspondence with Cromwell in May, 1536: _State
Papers_, Vol VII.

[26] The clearest account which I have seen of the point in dispute
between Charles V. and Francis I. is contained in a paper drawn by some
English statesman apparently for Henry's use.--_Rolls House MSS._ first
series, No. 757.

[27] When the English army was in the Netherlands, in 1543, the Emperor
especially admired the disposition of their entrenchments. Sir John
Wallop, the commander-in-chief, told him he had learnt that art some
years before in a campaign, of which the Emperor himself must remember
something, in the south of France.

[28] Pole, in writing to Charles V., says that Henry's cruelties to the
Romanists had been attributed wholly to the "Leæna" at his side; and
"when he had shed the blood of her whom he had fed with the blood of
others," every one expected that he would have recovered his
senses.--Poli _Apologia ad Carolum Quintum_.

[29] "The news, which some days past were divulged of the queen's case,
made a great tragedy, which was celebrated by all men's voices with
admiration and great infamy to that woman to have betrayed that noble
prince after such a manner, who had exalted her so high, and put himself
to peril not without perturbation of all the world for her cause. But
God showed Himself a rightful judge to discover such treason and
iniquity. All is for the best. And I reckon this to the king's great
fortune, that God would give him grace to see and touch with his hand
what great enemies and traitors he lived withal."--Harvel to Starkey,
from Venice, May 26: Ellis, second series, Vol. II. p. 77.

[30] Pole to Contarini: _Epist._, Vol. I. p. 457.

[31] "Dicerem in ipso me adeo bonum animum reperisse ut procul dubio
vestra Majestas omnia de ipso sibi polliceri possit."--Sir Gregory
Cassalis to Henry VIII.: _MS. Cotton. Vitellius_, B 14, fol. 215.

[32] Neque ea cupiditate laborare ut suas fortunas in immensum augeat
aut Pontificales fines propaget unde accidere posset ut ab hâc . . . .
institutâ ratione recederet.--Ibid. The MS. has been injured by
fire--words and paragraphs are in places wanting. In the present passage
it is not clear whether Paul was speaking of the Papal authority
generally, or of the Pontifical states in France and Italy.

[33] Causâ vero matrimonii et in consistoriis et publice et privatim
apud Clementem VII. se omnia quæ [potuerit pro] vestrâ Majestate egisse;
et Bononiæ Imperatori per [horas] quatuor accurate persuadere conatum
fuisse.--Sir Gregory Cassalis to Henry VIII.: _MS. Cotton. Vitellius_, B
14, fol. 215.

[34] Ibid.

[35] _State Papers_, Vol. VII., June 5, 1536.

[36] Since Pole, when it suited his convenience, could represent the
king's early career in very different colours, it is well to quote some
specimens of his more favourable testimony. Addressing Henry himself, he
says: "Quid non promittebant præclaræ illæ virtutes quæ primis annis
principatûs tui in te maxime elucebant. In quibus primum pietas quæ una
omnium aliarum, et totius humanæ felicitatis quasi fundamentum est se
proferebat. Cui adjunctæ erant quæ maxime in oculis hominum elucere
solent justitia clementia liberalitas, prudentia denique tanta quanta in
illâ tenerâ ætate esse potuit. Ut dixit Ezechiel de Rege Assyriorum, in
paradiso Dei cedrus te pulcrior non inveniebatur."--_De Unitate
Ecclesiæ_, lib. 3.

Again, writing to Charles V., after speaking of the golden splendour of
Henry's early reign, his wealth, his moderation, the happiness of the
people, and the circle of illustrious men who surrounded his throne, he
goes on--

"Hi vero illam indolem sequebantur quam Regi Deus ipsi prius dederat
cujus exemplar in Rege suo viderunt. Fuit enim indoles ejus aliquando
prorsus regia. Summum in eo pietatis studium apparebat et religionis
cultus; magnus amor justitiæ; non abhorrens tamen natura ut tum quidem
videbatur a clementiâ."

And the time at which the supposed change took place is also marked
distinctly:--

"Satanas in carne adhuc manentem naturâ hominis jam videtur spoliasse .
. . . suâ induisse . . . in quâ nihil præter formam videtur reliquisse
quod sit hominis; . . . . ne vitia quidem . . . sed cum omni virtute et
donis illis Dei cœlestibus quibus cum optimis Regum comparari poterat
antequam in vicariatum Filii ejus se ingereret [præditus est] postquam
illum honorem impie ambivit et arripuit, non solum virtutibus omnibus
privatus est sed etiam," etc.--Poli _Apologia ad Carolum Quintum_.

It was "necessary to the position" of Romanist writers to find the
promise of evil in Henry's early life, after his separation from the
Papacy, and stories like those which we read in Sanders grew like
mushrooms in the compost of hatred. But it is certain that so long as he
was orthodox he was regarded as a model of a Catholic prince. Cardinal
Contarini laments his fall, as a fall like Lucifer's: "Quî fieri potuit
per Deum immortalem," he wrote to Pole, "ut animus ille tam mitis tam
mansuetus ut ad bene merendum de hominum genere a naturâ factus esse
videatur sit adeo immutatus."--_Epist. Reg. Poli_, Vol. II. p. 31.

[37] Pole to Henry VIII.: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 305.

[38] Pole to the English Council: _Epist._, Vol. I.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Said by Cranmer to have been an able paper: "He suadeth with such
goodly eloquence; both of words and sentences, that he is like to
persuade many."--Cranmer's _Works_, edit. Jenkyns Vol. I. p. 2.

[41] Phillips' _Life of Cardinal Pole_.

[42] Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 281.

[43] "Quibus si rem persuadere velis multa preæter rem sunt dicenda
multa insinuanda."--_Epist. Reg. Pol._, Vol. I. p. 434. And again:
"Illum librum scribo non tam Regis causâ quam gregis Christi qui est
universus Regni populus, quem sic deludi vix ferendum est."--Ibid. p.
437. I draw attention to these words, because in a subsequent defence of
himself to the English Privy Council, Pole assured them that his book
was a private letter privately sent to the king; that he had written as
a confessor to a penitent, under the same obligations of secrecy: "Hoc
genere dicendi Regem omnibus dedecorosum et probrosum reddo? Quibus
tandem illustrissimi Domini? Hisne qui libellum nunquam viderunt? an his
ad quos legendum dedi? Quod si hic solus sit Rex ipse, utinam ipse sibi
probrosus videretur Ad eum certe solum misi; quocum ita egi ut nemo
unquam a confessionibus illi secretior esse potuisset hoc tantum
spectans quod confessores ut illi tantum sua peccata
ostenderem."--Apologia ad Ang. Parl.: _Epist._, Vol. I. p. 181. So
considerable an inconsistency might tempt a hasty person to use hard
words of Pole.

[44] Pole to Prioli: _Epist._, Vol. I. p. 441.

[45] Ibid. p. 442.

[46] Pole to Prioli: _Epist._, Vol. I. p. 445.

[47] Tunc statim misi cum ille e medio jam sustulisset illam quæ illi et
regno totius hujus calamitatis causa existimabatur.--_Apologia ad
Carolum Quintum._

[48] A MS. copy of this book, apparently the original which was sent by
Pole, is preserved among the _Records_ in the Rolls House, scored and
underlined in various places, perhaps by members of the Privy Council. A
comparison of the MS. with the printed version, shows that the whole
work was carefully rewritten for publication, and that various calumnies
in detail, which have derived their weight from being addressed directly
to the king, in what appeared to be a private communication by a
credible accuser--which have, therefore, been related without hesitation
by late writers as ascertained facts--are not in the first copy. So long
as Pole was speaking only to the king, he prudently avoided statements
which might be immediately contradicted, and confined himself to general
invective. When he gave his book to the world he poured into it the
indiscriminate slanders which were floating in popular rumour. See
_Appendix_ to the Fourth Volume.

[49] Partus Naturæ laborantis.

[50] Populus enim regem procreat.

[51] In the printed copy the king is here accused of having intrigued
with Mary Boleyn before his marriage with Anne. See _Appendix_.

[52] Elsewhere in his letters Pole touches on this string. If England is
to be recovered, he is never weary of saying, it must be recovered at
once, while the generation survives which has been educated in the
Catholic faith. The poison of heresy is instilled with so deadly skill
into schools and churches, into every lesson which the English youth are
taught, that in a few years the evil will be past cure. He was
altogether right. The few years in fact were made to pass before Pole
and his friends were able to interfere; and then it _was_ too late; the
prophecy was entirely verified. But, indeed, the most successful
preachers of the Reformation were neither Cranmer nor Parker, Cromwell
nor Burleigh, Henry nor Elizabeth, but Pole himself and the race of
traitors who followed him.

[53] These paragraphs are a condensation of five pages of invective.

[54] Reginald Pole to the King, Venice, May 27. MS. _penes me_.
Instructions to one whom he sent to King Henry by Reginald
Pole.--Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 478.

[55] Starkey to Pole: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 282.

[56] In his _Apology to Charles the Fifth_, Pole says that Henry in his
answer to the book said that he was not displeased with him for what he
had written, but that the subject was a grave one, and that he wished to
see and speak with him. He, however, remembered the fable of the fox and
the sick lion, and would not show himself less sagacious than a brute.
Upon this, Lingard and other writers have built a charge of treachery
against Henry, and urged it, as might be expected, with much eloquent
force. It did not occur to them that if Henry had really said anything
so incredible, and had intended treachery, the letters of Tunstall and
Starkey would have been in keeping with the king's; they would not have
been allowed to betray the secret and show Pole their true opinions.
Henry's letter was sent on the 14th of June; the other letters bore the
same date, and went by the same post. But, indeed, the king made no
mystery of his displeasure. He may have written generally, as knowing
only so much of the book as others had communicated to him. That he
affected not to be displeased is as absurd in itself as it is
contradicted by the terms of the refusal to return, which Pole himself
sent in reply.--Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 295.

[57] Starkey to Pole: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 282.

[58] Tunstall to Pole: _Rolls House MS._, Burnet's _Collectanea_, p.
479.

[59] Starkey to Pole: _Rolls House MS._

[60] Phillips' _Life of Cardinal Pole_, Vol. I. p. 148. Reginald Pole to
Edward VI.: _Epist._ Reg. Pol.

[61] Wordsworth's _Excursion_, Book V.

[62] _Sermons of Bishop Latimer_, Parker Society's edition, p. 33.

[63] In the State Paper Office and the Rolls House there are numerous
"depositions" as to language used by the clergy, showing their general
temper.

[64] Printed in Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 260. The complaints
are not exaggerated. There is not one which could not be illustrated or
strengthened from depositions among the _Records_.

[65] This, again, was intended for Latimer. The illustration was said to
be his; but he denied it.

[66] Many of the clergy and even of the monks had already taken the
permission of their own authority. Cranmer himself was said to be
secretly married; and in some cases women, whom we find reported in this
letter of Cromwell's visitors as concubines of priests, were really and
literally their wives, and had been formally married to them. I have
discovered one singular instance of this kind.

Ap Rice, writing to Cromwell in the year 1535 or 6, says:

"As we were of late at Walden, the abbot, then being a man of good
learning and right sincere judgment, as I examined him alone, shewed me
secretly, upon stipulation of silence, but only unto you, as our judge,
that he had contracted matrimony with a certain woman secretly, having
present thereat but one trusty witness; because he, not being able, as
he said, to contain, though he could not be suffered by the laws of man,
saw he might do it lawfully by the laws of God; and for the avoiding of
more inconvenience, which before he was provoked unto, he did thus,
having confidence in you that this act should not be anything
prejudicial unto him."--_MS. State Paper Office_, temp. Henry VIII.,
second series, Vol. XXXV.

Cromwell acquiesced in the reasonableness of the abbot's proceeding; he
wrote to tell him "to use his remedy," but to avoid, as far as possible,
creating a scandal.--_MS._ ibid. Vol. XLVI.

The government, however, found generally a difficulty in knowing what to
resolve in such cases. The king's first declaration was a reasonable
one, that all clergy who had taken wives should forfeit their orders,
"and be had and reputed as lay persons to all purposes and
intents."--Royal Proclamation: Wilkins's _Concilia_, Vol. III. p. 776.

[67] Luther, by far the greatest man of the sixteenth century, was as
rigid a believer in the real presence as Aquinas or St. Bernard.

[68] We were constrained to put our own pen to the book, and to conceive
certain articles which were by you, the bishops, and the whole of the
clergy of this our realm agreed on as Catholic.--Henry VIII. to the
Bishops and Clergy: Wilkins's _Concilia_, Vol. III. p. 825.

[69] Whether marriage and ordination were sacraments was thus left an
open question. The sacramental character of confirmation and extreme
unction is _implicitly_ denied.

[70] _Formularies of Faith_, temp. Henry VIII., Oxford edition, 1825.
Articles devised by the King's Majesty to stablish Christian quietness
and unity, and to avoid contentious opinions.

[71] Cromwell's patent as lord privy seal is dated the 2d of July, 1536.
On the 9th he was created Baron Cromwell, and in the same month
vicegerent _in rebus ecclesiasticis_.

[72] The judgment of the convocation concerning general councils, July
20, 28 Henry VIII: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 88.

[73] Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 89.

[74] The Feast of St. Peter ad Vincula was on the 1st of August. These
injunctions could hardly have been issued before August, 1536; nor could
they have been later than September. The clergy were, therefore, allowed
nearly a year to provide themselves.

[75] Lewis's _History of the English Bible_.

[76] Lewis's _History of the English Bible_.

[77] The printing was completed in October, 1535.

[78] There is an excellent copy of this edition in the Bodleian Library
at Oxford.

[79] Preface to Coverdale's _Bible_.

[80] "The Lord Darcy declared unto me that the custom among the Lords
before that time had been that matters touching spiritual authority
should always be referred unto the convocation house, and not for the
parliament house: and that before this last parliament it was accustomed
among the Lords, the first matter they always communed of, after the
mass of the Holy Ghost, was to affirm and allow the first chapter of
Magna Charta touching the rights and liberties of the church; and it was
not so now. Also the Lord Darcy did say that in any matter which
toucheth the prerogative of the king's crown, or any matter that touched
the prejudice of the same, the custom of the Lords' house was that they
should have, upon their requests, a copy of the bill of the same, to the
intent that they might have their council learned to scan the same; or
if it were betwixt party and party, if the bill were not prejudicial to
the commonwealth. And now they could have no such copy upon their suit,
or at the least so readily as they were wont to have in parliament
before."--Examination of Robert Aske in the Tower: _Rolls House MS._, A
2, 29, p. 197.

[81] "The said Aske saith he well remembereth that the Lord Darcy told
him that there were divers great men and lords which before the time of
the insurrection had promised to do their best to suppress heresies and
the authors and maintainers of them, and he saith they were in number
fifteen persons."--_Rolls House Miscellaneous MSS._, first series, 414.

[82] Richard Coren to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 558.

[83] "The abbeys were one of the beauties of the realm to all strangers
passing through."--Examination of Aske: _Rolls House MS._, A 2, 29.

[84] Examination of Aske; MS. ibid. I am glad to have discovered this
most considerable evidence in favour of some at least of the superiors
of the religious houses.

[85] "Strangers and buyers of corn were also greatly refreshed, horse
and man, at the abbeys; and merchandize was well carried on through
their help."--Examination of Aske: _Rolls House MS._, A 2, 29.

[86] 27 Henry VIII. cap. 10.

[87] Among the unarranged MSS. in the State Paper Office is a long and
most elaborate explanation of the evils which had been created by the
system of uses. It is a paper which ought to find its place in the
history of English landed tenure; and when the arrangement of these MSS.
now in progress is completed, it will be accessible to any inquirer.

[88] "Masters, there is a statute made whereby all persons be restrained
to make their will upon their lands; for now the eldest son must have
all his father's lands; and no person, to the payment of his debts,
neither to the advancement of his daughters' marriages, can do nothing
with their lands, nor cannot give to his youngest son any
lands."--Speech of Mr. Sheriff Dymock, at Horncastle: _Rolls House MS._
A 2. 29.

"They want the Statute of Uses qualified, that a man be allowed to
bequeath part of his lands by will. It will invade the old accustomed
law in many things."--Examination of Aske: MS. ibid. "Divers things
should be reformed, and especially the Act of Uses. Younger brothers
would none of that in no wise."--Earl of Oxford to Cromwell:
_Miscellaneous MSS._ State Paper Office, second series, Vol. I.

[89] The depositions of prisoners taken after the rebellion are full of
evidence on this point. George Gisborne says: "We were in mind and will
to meet for certain causes, the which concerned the living of the poor
people and commons, the which they say be sore oppressed by gentlemen,
because their livings is taken away."--_Rolls House MS._ miscellaneous,
first series, 132.

Wm. Stapleton says: "Among the causes of the insurrection were pulling
down of villages and farms, raising of rents, enclosures, intakes of the
commons, worshipful men taking yeomen's offices, that is, becoming
dealers in farm produce."--_Rolls House MS._

I am tempted to add a petition sent from one of the discontented
districts to the crown, which betrays great ignorance of political
economy, although it exhibits also a clear understanding both of the
petitioners' sufferings and of the immediate causes of those sufferings.

"Please it your noble Grace to consider the great indigence and scarcity
of all manner of victual necessary to your subjects within this realm of
England, which doth grow daily more and more, by reason of the great and
covetous misusages of the farms within this your realm; which misusages
and the inconveniences thereof hath not only been begun and risen by
divers gentlemen of the same your realm, but also by divers and many
merchant adventurers, clothmakers, goldsmiths, butchers, tanners, and
other artificers and unreasonable covetous persons, which doth encroach
daily many farms more than they can occupy in tilth of corn; ten,
twelve, fourteen, or sixteen farms in one man's hands at once; when in
time past there hath been in every farm of them a good house kept, and
in some of them three, four, five, or six ploughs kept and daily
occupied, to the great comfort and relief of your subjects of your
realm, poor and rich. For when every man was contented with one farm,
and occupied that well, there was plenty and reasonable price of
everything that belonged to man's sustenance by reason of tillage;
forasmuch as every acre of land tilled and ploughed bore the straw and
the chaff besides the corn, able and sufficient with the help of the
shakke in the stubbe to succour and feed as many great beasts (as
horses, oxen, and kine) as the land would keep; and further, by reason
of the hinderflight of the crops and seeds tried out in cleansing,
winnowing, and sifting the corn, there was brought up at every barn-door
hens, capons, geese, ducks, swine, and other poultry, to the great
comfort of your people. And now, by reason of so many farms engrossed in
one man's hands, which cannot till them, the ploughs be decayed, and the
farmhouses and other dwelling-houses; so that when there was in a town
twenty or thirty dwelling-houses they be now decayed, ploughs and all
the people clean gone, and the churches down, and no more parishioners
in many parishes, but a neatherd and a shepherd instead of three score
or four score persons."--_Rolls House MS._ miscellaneous, second series,
854.

[90] Abbot of York to Cromwell--_Miscellaneous MS._ State Paper Office,
second series, Vol. LII.

[91] See a very remarkable letter of Sir William Parr to Cromwell, dated
April 8, 1536, a few months only before the outbreak of the rebellion:
_Miscellaneous MS._ State Paper Office, second series, Vol. XXXI.

[92] It was said that the visitors' servants had made apparel, doublets,
yea, even saddle-cloths, of the churches' vestments.--Examination of
John Dakyn: _Rolls House MS._ miscellaneous, first series, 402.

[93] _Rolls House MS._

[94] Ibid., Miscellaneous, first series, 402.

[95] Aske's Deposition: _Rolls House MS._

[96] Depositions on the Rebellion, _passim_, among the MSS. in the State
Paper Office and the Rolls House.

[97] George Lumley, the eldest son of Lord Lumley, said in his evidence
that there was not a spiritual man in the whole north of England who had
not assisted the rebellion with arms or money.--_Rolls House MS._

[98] The parish priest of Wyley, in Essex, had been absent for three
weeks in the north, in the month of August, and on returning, about the
2d of September, said to one of his villagers, Thomas Rogers, "There
shall be business shortly in the north, and I trust to help and
strengthen my countrymen with ten thousand such as I am myself; and I
shall be one of the worst of them all. The king shall not reign
long."--Confession of Thomas Rogers: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XXX. p. 112.

[99] Deposition of Thomas Brian: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 29.

[100] We find curious and humorous instances of monastic rage at this
time. One monk was seen following a plough, and cursing his day that he
should have to work for his bread. Another, a Welshman, "wished he had
the king on Snowdon, that he might souse his head against the
stones."--Depositions on the Rebellion: _Rolls House MS._

[101] Sir Robert Dighton and Sir Edward Dymmock said they heard many of
the priests cry, "Kill the gentlemen." The parson of Cowbridge said that
the lords of the council were false harlots; and the worst was Cromwell.
"The vicar of Haynton, having a great club in his hand, said that if he
had Cromwell there he would beat out his guts." "Robert Brownwhite, one
of the parsons of Nether Teynton, was with bow and arrows, sword and
buckler by his side, and sallet on his head; and when he was demanded
how he did, he said, 'None so well;' and said it was the best world that
ever he did see." My story, so far, is taken from the Miscellaneous
Depositions, _Rolls MS._ A 2, 28; from the Examination of William
Moreland, _MS._ A 2, 29; and from the Confession of John Brown, _Rolls
House MS._, first series, 892.

[102] Very opposite stories were told of the behaviour of the gentlemen.
On one side it was said that they were the great movers of the
insurrection; on the other, that they were forced into it in fear of
their lives. There were many, doubtless, of both kinds; but it seems to
me as if they had all been taken by surprise. Their conduct was that of
men who wished well to the rising, but believed it had exploded
inopportunely.

[103] The plough was to encourage the husbandmen; the chalice and host
in remembrance of the spoiling of the Church; the five wounds to the
couraging of the people to fight in Christ's cause; the horn to signify
the taking of Horncastle--Philip Trotter's Examination; _Rolls House
MS._ A 2, 29.

[104] Examination of Brian Staines: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 29. In the
margin of this document, pointing to the last paragraph, is an ominous
finger ☞, drawn either by the king or Cromwell.

[105] Compare the Report of Lancaster Herald to Cromwell, _MS. State
Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XIX.: "My especial good lord, so far
as I have gone, I have found the most corrupted and malicious
spiritualty, inward and partly outward, that any prince of the world
hath in his realm; and if the truth be perfectly known, it will be found
that they were the greatest corrupters of the temporality, and have
given the secret occasion of all this mischief."

[106] Lord Hussey to the Mayor of Lincoln: _Cotton. MS. Vespasian_, F
13.

[107] _Rolls House MS._ first series, 416. Cutler's Confessions MS.
ibid. 407. Deposition of Robert Sotheby: Ibid. A 2, 29.

[108] Lord Shrewsbury to the King: _MS. State Paper Office_. Letter to
the king and council, Vol. V. Hollinshed tells a foolish story, that
Lord Shrewsbury sued out his pardon to the king for moving without
orders. As he had done nothing for which to ask pardon, so it is
certain, from his correspondence with the king, that he did not ask for
any. Let me take this opportunity of saying that neither Hollinshed, nor
Stow, nor even Hall, nor any one of the chroniclers, can be trusted in
their account of this rebellion.

[109] _MS. State Paper Office_, first series.

[110] "My lord: Hugh Ascue, this bearer, hath shewed me that this day a
servant of Sir William Hussey's reported how that in manner, in every
place by the way as his master and he came, he hath heard as well old
people as young pray God to speed the rebellious persons in
Lincolnshire, and wish themselves with them; saying, that if they came
that way, that they shall lack nothing that they can help them unto. And
the said Hugh asked what persons they were which so reported, and he
said _all_; which is a thing as meseemeth greatly to be noted."--Sir
William Fitzwilliam to Lord Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. VI.

[111] Richard Cromwell to Lord Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. VII.

[112] "Nothing we lament so much as that they thus fly; for our trust
was that we should have used them like as they have deserved; and I for
my part am as sorry as if I had lost five hundred pounds. For my lord
admiral (Sir John Russell), he is so earnest in the matter, that I dare
say he would eat them with salt."--Richard Cromwell to Lord Cromwell:
_MS. State Paper Office_.

[113] Henry VIII. to the Rebels in Lincolnshire: _State Papers_, Vol. I.
p. 463, &c.

[114] Confession of Thos. Mayne: _Rolls House MS._ first series, 432.

[115] Confession of Thos. Mayne: _Rolls House MS._ first series, 432.

[116] Henry VIII. to the Duke of Suffolk: Ibid. 480.

[117] Wriothesley to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 471.
Examination of the Prisoners: _Rolls House MS._

[118] Henry VIII. to the Duke of Suffolk: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 480.

[119] "The captain and the Earl of Cumberland came of two
sisters."--Lord Darcy to Somerset Herald: _Rolls House MS._

[120] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 523.

[121] Manner of the taking of Robert Aske: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[122] "There was a letter forged in my name to certain towns, which I
utterly deny to be my deed or consent."--Narrative of Robert Aske:
_Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28. This is apparently the letter which is
printed in the _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 467. It was issued on the 7th
or 8th of October (see Stapleton's Confession: _Rolls House MS._ A 2,
28), the days on which, according to Aske's own confession, he seems to
have been in the West Riding.

[123] The oath varied a little in form. In Yorkshire the usual form was,
"Ye shall swear to be true to God, the king, and the
commonwealth."--Aske's Narrative: _Rolls House MS._ The tendency of the
English to bind themselves with oaths, explains and partly justifies the
various oaths required by the government.

[124] Deposition of William Stapleton: _Rolls House MS._

[125] Henry VIII. to Lord Darcy, October 8th: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 282.

[126] Letters to and from Lord Darcy: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
282.

[127] Henry had written him a second letter on the 9th of October, in
which, knowing nothing as yet of the rising in Yorkshire, he had
expressed merely a continued confidence in Darcy's discretion.

[128] Stapleton's Confession: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[129] Examination of Sir Thomas Percy: _Rolls House MS._ Demeanour of
Sir Thomas and Sir Ingram Percy: _MS._ ibid. first series, 896.

[130] "The said Aske suffered no foot man to enter the city, for fear of
spoils."--Manner of the taking of Robert Aske: _Rolls House MS._ A 2,
28.

[131] Earl of Oxford to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. III.

[132] Henry VIII. to Lord Darcy, October 13: _Rolls House MS._

[133] Lord Darcy to the King, October 17: _Rolls House MS._

[134] Lord Shrewsbury to Lord Darcy: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
282. Darcy certainly received this letter, since a copy of it is in the
collection made by himself.

[135] Manner of the taking of Robert Aske: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[136] I believe that I am unnecessarily tender to Lord Darcy's
reputation. Aske, though he afterwards contradicted himself, stated in
his examination that Lord Darcy could have defended the castle had he
wished.--_Rolls House MS._, A 2, 29. It was sworn that when he was
advised "to victual and store Pomfret," he said, "there was no need; it
would do as it was." Ibid. And Sir Henry Saville stated that "when Darcy
heard of the first rising, he said, 'Ah! they are up in Lincolnshire.
God speed them well. I would they had done this three years ago, for the
world should have been the better for it.'"--Ibid.

[137] Aske's Deposition: _Rolls House MS._ first series, 414.

[138] Examination of Sir Thomas Percy: _Rolls House MS._

[139] Stapleton's Confession: Ibid. A 2, 28.

[140] Examination of Christopher Aske: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
840

[141] Ibid.

[142] Henry VIII. to the Duke of Suffolk: _Rolls House MS._

[143] Wriothesley to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 472.

[144] The Marquis of Exeter, who was joined in commission with the Duke
of Norfolk, never passed Newark. He seems to have been recalled, and
sent down into Devonshire, to raise the musters in his own county.

[145] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 493.

[146] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 519.

[147] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 495.

[148] This particular proclamation--the same, apparently, which was read
by Christopher Aske at Skipton--I have been unable to find. That which
is printed in the State Papers from the Rolls House Records, belongs to
the following month. The contents of the first, however, may be gathered
from a description of it by Robert Aske, and a comparison of the
companion proclamation issued in Lincolnshire. It stated briefly that
the insurrection was caused by forged stories; that the king had no
thought of suppressing parish churches, or taxing food or cattle. The
abbeys had been dissolved by act of parliament, in consequence of their
notorious vice and profligacy. The people, therefore, were commanded to
return to their homes, at their peril. The commotion in Lincolnshire was
put down. The king was advancing in person to put them down also, if
they continued disobedient.

[149] In explanation of his refusal, Aske said afterwards that it was
for two causes: first, that if the herald should have declared to the
people by proclamation that the commons in Lincolnshire were gone to
their homes, they would have killed him; secondly, that there was no
mention in the same proclamation neither of pardon nor of the demands
which were the causes of their assembly.--Aske's Narrative: _Rolls House
MS._ A 2, 28.

[150] Lancaster Herald's Report: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 485.

[151] Stapleton's Confession: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28. Does this
solitary and touching faithfulness, I am obliged to ask, appear as if
Northumberland believed that four months before the king and Cromwell
had slandered and murdered the woman whom he had once loved?

[152] "We were 30,000 men, as tall men, well horsed, and well appointed
as any men could be."--Statement of Sir Marmaduke Constable: _MS. State
Paper Office._ All the best evidence gives this number.

[153] Not the place now known under this name--but a bridge over the Don
three or four miles above Doncaster.

[154] So Aske states.--Examination: _Rolls House MS._, first series,
838. Lord Darcy went further. "If he had chosen," he said, "he could
have fought Lord Shrewsbury with his own men, and brought never a man of
the northmen with him." Somerset Herald, on the other hand, said, that
the rumour of disaffection was a feint. "One thing I am sure of," he
told Lord Darcy, "there never were men more desirous to fight with men
than ours to fight with you."--_Rolls House MS._

[155] "Sir Marmaduke Constable did say, if there had been a battle, the
southern men would not have fought. He knew that every third man was
theirs. Further, he said the king and his council determined nothing but
they had knowledge before my lord of Norfolk gave them knowledge." Earl
of Oxford to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_.

[156] "I saw neither gentlemen nor commons willing to depart, but to
proceed in the quarrel; yea, and that to the death. If I should say
otherwise, I lie."--Aske's Examination: _Rolls House MS._

[157] Rutland and Huntingdon were in Shrewsbury's camp by this time.

[158] "They wished," said Sir Marmaduke Constable, "the king had sent
some younger lords to fight with them than my lord of Norfolk and my
lord of Shrewsbury. No lord in England would have stayed them but my
lord of Norfolk."--Earl of Oxford to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office._

[159] The chroniclers tell a story of a miraculous fall of rain, which
raised the river the day before the battle was to have been fought, and
which was believed by both sides to have been an interference of
Providence. Cardinal Pole also mentions the same fact of the rain, and
is bitter at the superstitions of his friends; and yet, in the multitude
of depositions which exist, made by persons present, and containing the
most minute particulars of what took place, there is no hint of anything
of the kind. The waters had been high for several days, and the cause of
the unbloody termination of the crisis was more creditable to the rebel
leaders.

[160] Second Examination of Robert Aske: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
838. It is true that this is the story of Aske himself, and was told
when, after fresh treason, he was on trial for his life. But his bearing
at no time was that of a man who would stoop to a lie. Life
comparatively was of small moment to him.

[161] Uncle of Marjory, afterwards wife of John Knox. Marjory's mother,
Elizabeth, to whom so many of Knox's letters were addressed, was an
Aske, but she was not apparently one of the Aughton family.

[162] Aske's Narrative: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[163] Instructions to Sir Thomas Hilton and his Companions: _Rolls House
MS._ There are many groups of "articles" among the Records. Each focus
of the insurrection had its separate form; and coming to light one by
one, they have created much confusion. I have thought it well,
therefore, to print in full, from Sir Thomas Hilton's instructions, a
list, the most explicit, as well as most authentic, which is extant.

"I. Touching our faith, to have the heresies of Luther, Wickliffe, Huss,
Melancthon, Œcolampadius, Bucer's _Confessio Germanica_, _Apologia
Melancthonis_, the works of Tyndal, of Barnes, of Marshal, Raskall, St.
Germain, and such other heresies of Anabaptists, clearly within this
realm to be annulled and destroyed.

"II. To have the supreme head, touching _cura animarum_, to be reserved
unto the see of Rome, as before it was accustomed to be, and to have the
consecration of the bishops from him, without any first-fruits or
pensions to him to be paid out of this realm; or else a pension
reasonable for the outward defence of our faith.

"III. We humbly beseech our most dread sovereign lord that the Lady Mary
may be made legitimate, and the former statute therein annulled, for the
danger if the title might incur to the crown of Scotland. This to be in
parliament.

"IV. To have the abbeys suppressed to be restored--houses, lands, and
goods.

"V. To have the tenths and first-fruits clearly discharged, unless the
clergy will of themselves grant a rent-charge in penalty to the
augmentation of the crown.

"VI. To have the friars observants restored unto their houses again.

"VII. To have the heretics, bishops and temporals, and their sect, to
have condign punishment by fire, or such other; or else to try the
quarrel with us and our partakers in battle.

"VIII. To have the Lord Cromwell, the lord chancellor, and Sir Richard
Rich to have condign punishment as subverters of the good laws of this
realm, and maintainers of the false sect of these heretics, and first
inventors and bringers in of them.

"IX. That the lands in Westmoreland, Cumberland, Kendal, Furness, the
abbey lands in Massamshire, Kirkbyshire, and Netherdale, may be by
tenant right, and the lord to have at every change two years' rent for
gressam [the fine paid on renewal of a lease; the term is, I believe,
still in use in Scotland], and no more, according to the grant now made
by the lords to the commons there under their seal; and this to be done
by act of parliament.

"X. The statute of handguns and cross-bows to be repealed, and the
penalties thereof, unless it be on the king's forest or park, for the
killing of his Grace's deer, red or fallow.

"XI. That Doctor Legh and Doctor Layton may have condign punishment for
their extortions in the time of visitation, as bribes of nuns, religious
houses, forty pounds, twenty pounds, and so to ---- leases under one
common seal, bribes by them taken, and other their abominable acts by
them committed and done. "XII. Restoration for the election of knights
of shires and burgesses, and for the uses among the lords in the
parliament house, after their antient custom.

"XIII. Statutes for enclosures and intakes to be put in execution, and
that all intakes and enclosures since the fourth year of King Henry the
Seventh be pulled down, except on mountains, forests, or parks.

"XIV. To be discharged of the fifteenth, and taxes now granted by act of
parliament.

"XV. To have the parliament in a convenient place at Nottingham or York,
and the same shortly summoned.

"XVI. The statute of the declaration of the crown by will, that the same
be annulled and repealed.

"XVII. That it be enacted by act of parliament that all recognizances,
statutes, penalties under forfeit, during the time of this commotion,
may be pardoned and discharged, as well against the king as strangers.

"XVIII. That the privileges and rights of the Church be confirmed by act
of parliament; and priests not to suffer by the sword unless they be
degraded. A man to be saved by his book; sanctuary to save a man for all
cases in extreme need; and the Church for forty days, and further,
according to the laws as they were used in the beginning of this king's
days.

"XIX. The liberties of the Church to have their old customs, in the
county palatine of Durham, Beverley, Ripon, St. Peter's at York, and
such other, by act of parliament.

"XX. To have the Statute of Uses repealed.

"XXI. That the statutes of treasons for words and such like, made since
anno 21 of our sovereign lord that now is, be in like wise repealed.

"XXII. That the common laws may have place, as was used in the beginning
of your Grace's reign; and that all injunctions may be clearly decreed,
and not to be granted unless the matter be heard and determined in
Chancery.

"XXIII. That no man, upon subpœnas from Trent north, appear but at York,
or by attorney, unless it be upon pain of allegiance, or for like
matters concerning the king.

"XXIV. A remedy against escheators for finding of false offices, and
extortionate feestaking, which be not holden of the king, and against
the promoters thereof."

A careful perusal of these articles will show that they are the work of
many hands, and of many spirits. Representatives of each of the
heterogeneous elements of the insurrection contributed their grievances;
wise and foolish, just and unjust demands were strung together in the
haste of the moment.

For the original of this remarkable document, see Instructions to Sir
Thomas Hilton, Miscellaneous Depositions on the Rebellion: _Rolls House
MS._

[164] Aske's Narrative: _Rolls House MS._

[165] Lord Darcy to Somerset Herald: _Rolls House MS._

[166] Richard Cromwell to Lord Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. VII.

[167] Devices for the Quieting of the North: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 606.

[168] _State Papers_, Vol. I. pp. 507, 508.

[169] Bundle of unassorted MSS. in the State Paper Office.

[170] _Rolls House MS._ second series, 278.

[171] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 476; and compare p. 500. The
instructions varied according to circumstances. There were many forms of
them, of which very few are printed in the _State Papers_. I extract
from several, in order to give the general effect.

[172] The king's words are too curious to be epitomized. The paper from
which I here quote is written by his secretary, evidently from
dictation, and in great haste. After speaking of the way in which the
vow of chastity had been treated by the monks, he goes on:--

"For the point of wilful poverty they have gathered together such
possessions, and have so exempted themselves from all laws and good
order with the same, that no prince could live in that quiet, in that
surety, in that ease, yea, in that liberty, that they lived. The prince
must carke and care for the defence of his subjects against foreign
enemies, against force and oppression; he must expend his treasures for
their safeguard; he must adventure his own blood, abiding all storms in
the field, and the lives of his nobles, to deliver his poor subjects
from the bondage and thrall of their mortal enemies. The monks and
canons meantime lie warm in their demesnes and cloysters. Whosoever
wants, they shall be sure of meat and drink, warm clothing, money, and
all other things of pleasure. They may not fight for their prince and
country; but they have declared at this rebellion that they might fight
against their prince and country. Is not this a great and wilful
poverty, to be richer than a prince?--to have the same in such certainty
as no prince hath that tendereth the weal of his subjects? Is not this a
great obedience that may not obey their prince, and against God's
commandment, against their duties of allegiance, whereto they be sworn
upon the Holy Evangelists, will labour to destroy their prince and
country, and devise all ways to shed Christian blood? The poor
husbandman and artificer must labour all weathers for his living and the
sustentation of his family. The monk and canon is sure of a good house
to cover him, good meat and drink to feed him, and all other things
meeter for a prince than for him that would be wilfully poor. If the
good subject will ponder and weigh these things, he will neither be
grieved that the King's Majesty have that for his defence and the
maintenance of his estate, so that he shall not need to molest his
subjects with taxes and impositions, which loiterers and idle fellows,
under the cloke of holyness, have scraped together, nor that such
dissimulers be punished after their demerits, if they will needs live
like enemies to the commonwealth."--_Rolls House MS._ first series, 297.

[173] Sir Brian Hastings to Lord Shrewsbury: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 268.

[174] Sir Brian Hastings to Lord Shrewsbury: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 268.

[175] He was a bad, violent man. In earlier years he had carried off a
ward in Chancery, one Anne Grysanis, while still a child, and attempted
to marry her by force to one of his retainers.--Ibid. second series,
434.

[176] Sir Brian Hastings to Lord Shrewsbury: Ibid. first series, 626.

[177] Shrewsbury to the King: _MS. State Paper Office_; Letters to the
King and Council, Vol. V.

[178] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXVI.

[179] Suffolk to the King: _MS. State Paper Office_; Letters to the King
and Council, Vol. V.

[180] It is to be remembered that Darcy still _professed_ that he had
been forced into the insurrection by Aske. This is an excuse for
Norfolk's request, though it would have been no excuse for Darcy had he
consented.

[181] Deposition of Percival Cresswell: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 29.

[182] _MS. State Paper Office_, first series. Autograph letter of Lord
Darcy to the Duke of Norfolk. It is unfortunately much injured.

[183] One of these is printed in the _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 506. The
editor of these Papers does not seem to have known that neither this nor
any _written_ answer was actually sent. Amidst the confusion of the MSS.
of this reign, scattered between the State Paper Office, the Rolls
House, and the British Museum, some smothered in dirt and mildew, others
in so frail a state that they can be scarcely handled or deciphered, far
greater errors would be pardonable. The thanks of all students of
English history are due to Sir John Romilly for the exertions which he
has made and is still making to preserve the remnants of these most
curious documents.

[184] Henry VIII. to the Earl of Rutland: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 454

[185] Aske's Narrative: _Rolls House MS._

[186] _Rolls House MS._ first series, 1805; and see _State Papers_, Vol.
I. p. 558.

[187] Deposition of John Selbury: _Rolls House MS._ A 2. 29.

[188] Sir Anthony Wingfield to the Duke of Norfolk: _Rolls House MS._
first series, 692.

[189] The Duke of Norfolk, Sir William Fitzwilliam, Sir John Russell,
and Sir Anthony Brown.

[190] The Duke of Suffolk feared an even larger gathering: where
heretofore they took one man, he warned Norfolk, they now take six or
seven. _State Paper Office MS._ first series, Vol. III. Lord Darcy
assured Somerset Herald that they had a reserve of eighty thousand men
in Northumberland and Durham--which, however, the herald did not
believe. _Rolls House MS._

[191] The King to the Duke of Norfolk: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
278.

[192] _MS. State Paper Office._

[193] The names of the thirty-four were,--Lords Darcy, Neville, Scrope,
Conyers, Latimer, and Lumley; Sir Robert Constable, Sir John Danvers,
Sir Robert Chaloner, Sir James Strangways, Sir Christopher Danby, Sir
Thomas Hilton, Sir William Constable, Sir John Constable, Sir William
Vaughan, Sir Ralph Ellerkar, Sir Christopher Heliyarde, Sir Robert
Neville, Sir Oswald Wolstrop, Sir Edward Gower, Sir George Darcy, Sir
William Fairfax, Sir Nicholas Fairfax, Sir William Mallore, Sir Ralph
Bulmer, Sir Stephen Hamarton, Sir John Dauncy, Sir George Lawson, Sir
Richard Tempest, Sir Thomas Evers, Sir Henry Garrowe, and Sir William
Babthorpe.

[194] Examination of John Dakyn: _Rolls House MS._ first series, p. 402.

[195] They have been printed by Strype (_Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 266).
Strype however, knew nothing of the circumstances which gave them birth.

[196] Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p.
511. The council, who had wrung these concessions from the king, wrote
by the same courier, advising him to yield as little as possible--"not
to strain too far, but for his Grace's honour and for the better
security of the commonwealth, to except from pardon, if by any means he
might, a few evil persons, and especially Sir Robert
Constable."--_Hardwicke State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 27.

[197] "You may of your honour promise them not only to obtain their
pardons, but also that they shall find us as good and gracious lord unto
them as ever we were before this matter was attempted; which promise we
shall perform and accomplish without exception."--Henry VIII. to the
Duke of Suffolk: _Rolls House MS._ first series, 476.

[198] Aske, in his Narrative, which is in the form of a letter to the
king, speaks of "the articles now concluded at Doncaster, which were
drawn, read, argued, and agreed among the lords and esquires" at
Pomfret.--_Rolls House MS._

[199] Aske's Narrative: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[200] Instructions to the Earl of Sussex: Ibid. first series, 299.

[201] Scheme for the Government of the North: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 900. In connexion with the scheme for the establishment of
garrisons, a highly curious draft of an act was prepared, to be
submitted to the intended parliament.

Presuming that, on the whole, the suppression of the monasteries would
be sanctioned, the preamble stated (and the words which follow are
underlined in the MS.) that--

"Nevertheless, the experience which we have had by those houses that are
already suppressed sheweth plainly unto us that a great hurt and decay
is thereby come, and hereafter shall come, to this realm, and great
impoverishing of many the poor subjects thereof, for lack of hospitality
and good householding that were wont in them to be kept, to the great
relief of the poor people of all the counties adjoining the said
monasteries, besides the maintaining of many smiths, husbandmen, and
labourers that were kept in the said houses.

"It should therefore be enacted:

"1. That all persons taking the lands of suppressed houses must duly
reside upon the said lands, and must keep hospitality; and that it be so
ordered in the leases.

"2. That all houses, of whatsoever order, habit, or name, lying beyond
the river of Trent northward, and not suppressed, should stand still and
abide in their old strength and foundation.

"3. That discipline so sadly decayed should be restored among them; that
all monks, being accounted dead persons by the law, should not mix
themselves in worldly matters, but should be shut up within limited
compass, having orchards and gardens to walk in and labour in--each monk
having forty shillings for his stipend, each abbot and prior five
marks--and in each house a governor, to be nominated by the king, to
administer the revenue and keep hospitality.

"4. A thousand marks being the sum estimated as sufficient to maintain
an abbey under such management, the surplus revenue was then to be made
over to a court, to be called the _Curia Centenariorum_, for the defence
of the realm, and the maintenance in peace as well as war of a standing
army; the said men of war, being in wages in the time of peace, to
remain in and about the towns, castles, and fortresses, within the realm
at the appointment of the lord admiral, as he should think most for the
surety of the realm."

A number of provisions follow for the organization of the court, which
was to sit at Coventry as a central position, for the auditing the
accounts, the employment of the troops, &c. The paper is of great
historic value, although, with a people so jealous of their liberties,
it was easy to foresee the fate of the project. It is among the _Cotton.
MSS. Cleopatra_, E 4, fol. 215.

[202] _Hardwicke State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 38.

[203] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 523.

[204] Confession of George Lascelles: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
774.

[205] And for another reason. They were forced to sue out their pardons
individually, and received them only, as Aske and Lord Darcy had been
obliged to do, by taking the oath of allegiance, and binding themselves
to obey the obnoxious statutes so long as they were unrepealed.--_Rolls
House MS._ first series, 471.

[206] Cromwell.

[207] Robert Aske to the King: _MS. State Paper Office_, Royal Letters.

[208] "Deum deprecantes ut dextram ense firmet caputque tuum hoc pileo
vi Spiritûs Sancti per columbam figurati protegat."--Paulus III. Regi
Scotiæ: _Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 269.

[209] "Nec tam muneris qualitatem quam mysterium et vim spiritualem
perpendes."--Ibid.

[210] Although the Doncaster petitioners had spoken of "their antient
enemies of Scotland," an alliance, nevertheless, in the cause of
religion, was not, after all, impossible. When James V. was returning
from France to Edinburgh, in the spring of 1537, his ship lay off
Scarborough for a night to take in provisions--

"Where certain of the commons of the country thereabout, to the number
of twelve persons--Englishmen, your Highness's servants" [I am quoting a
letter of Sir Thomas Clifford to Henry VIII.]--"did come on board in the
king's ship, and, being on their knees before him, thanked God of his
healthful and sound repair; showing how that they had long looked for
him, and how they were oppressed, slain, and murdered; desiring him for
God's sake to come in, and all should be his."--_State Papers_, Vol. V.
p. 80.

[211] Among the records in connexion with the entreaties and warnings of
the Privy Council are copies of letters to the same effect from his
mother and his brother. They are written in a tone of stiff
remonstrance; and being found among the government papers, must either
have been drafts which the writers were required to transcribe, or
copies furnished by themselves as evidence of their own loyalty. Lady
Salisbury's implication in the affair of the Nun of Kent may have
naturally led the government to require from her some proof of
allegiance.

[212] Reg. Polus, Paulo Tertio: _Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 46. The
letter to which I refer was written in the succeeding summer, but the
language is retrospective, and refers to the object with which the
mission had been undertaken.

[213] "Perceiving by your last letters that there remaineth a little
spark of that love and obedience towards his Majesty which your bounden
duty doth require, and that by the same as well it appeareth your great
suspicion is conveyed to one special point--that is, to the pretended
supremacy of the Bishop of Rome--as that you shew yourself desirous
either to satisfy his Majesty or to be satisfied in the same, offering
yourself for that purpose to repair into Flanders, there to discourse
and reason it with such as his Highness shall appoint to entreat that
matter with you--for the hearty love and favour we bear to my lady your
mother, my lord your brother, and others your friends here, which be
right heartily sorry for your unkind proceedings in this behalf, and for
that also we all desire your reconciliation to his Highness's grace and
favour, we have been all most humble suitors to his Majesty to grant
your petition touching your said repair into Flanders, and have obtained
our suit in the same, so as you will come thither of yourself, without
commission of any other person."--The Privy Council to Pole, Jan. 18,
1537: _Rolls House MS._

[214] Ibid.

[215] "They shall swear and make sure faith and promise utterly to
renounce and refuse all their forced oaths, and that from henceforth
they shall use themselves as true and faithful subjects in all things;
and that specially they shall allow, approve, support, and maintain to
the uttermost of their power all and singular the acts, statutes, and
laws which have been made and established in parliament since the
beginning of the reign of our most dread Sovereign Lord."--_Rolls House
MS._ first series, 471.

[216] Confession of George Lumley: _Rolls House MS._ first series.

[217] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XIX.

[218] Many of them are in the _State Paper Office_ in the Cromwell
Collection.

[219] John Hallam deposes: "Sir Francis Bigod did say, at Walton Abbey,
that 'the king's office was to have no care of men's souls, and did read
to this examinate a book made by himself, as he said, wherein was shewed
what authority did belong to the Pope, what to a bishop, what to the
king; and said that the head of the Church of England must be a
spiritual man, as the Archbishop of Canterbury or such; but in no wise
the king, for he should with the sword defend all spiritual men in their
right.'"--_Rolls House MS._, A 2, 29.

[220] Sir Francis Bigod's Confession: _Rolls House MS._ first series,
416. Confession of George Lumley: _Rolls House MS._ The MSS. relating to
the later commotions are very imperfect, and much injured.

[221] Lumley's Confession.

[222] Examination of John Hallam: _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 29.

[223] "The King's Highness hath declared by his own mouth unto Robert
Aske, that he intendeth we shall have our parliament at York frankly and
freely for the ordering and reformation of all causes for the
commonwealth of this realm, and also his frank and free convocation for
the good stay and ordering of the faith and other spiritual causes,
which he supposes shall come down under his great seal by my Lord of
Norfolk, who comes down shortly with a mean company after a quiet manner
to the great quietness and comfort of all good men. Wherefore, good and
loving neighbours, let us stay ourselves and by no means follow the
wilfulness of such as are disposed to spoil and to undo themselves and
you both, but to resist them in all that ye may, to the best of your
power; and so will I do for my part, and so know I well that all good
men will do; and if it had not been for my disease which hath taken me
so sore that I may neither go nor ride, I would have come and have
shewed you this myself for the good stay and quietness of you all, and
for the commonwealth of all the country. The parliament and the
convocation is appointed to be at York at Whitsuntide, and the
coronation of the Queen's Highness about the same time.

"Written in Spaldingmore this 16th day of January.

  "ROBERT CONSTABLE, of Flamborough."

--Letter of Sir R. Constable to the Commons of the North on Bigod's
Insurrection: _Rolls House MS._ first series, 276.

[224] For this matter see _Rolls House MS._ first series, 276, 416,
1144, and _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 529.

[225] "Captain Aske was at London, and had great rewards to betray the
commons; and since that he came home they have fortified Hull against
the commons, ready to receive ships by the sea to destroy all the north
parts."--Demands of the Rebels who rose with Sir F. Bigod: _Rolls House
MS._ first series, 895.

[226] "Robert Aske, in a letter which he sent to Bigod, shewed that he
would do the best he could for the delivery of Hallam. And that he spoke
not that feignedly, it should appear that the said Aske, after that
Bigod was fled, came to the king's commissioners then sitting at Hull
about Hallam's examination, and shewed them how that he had heard of a
great commotion that should be in the bishoprick and other places, and
therefore advised them not to be hasty in proceeding to the execution of
the said Hallam.

"Also divers that had been with Bigod in his commotion came to the said
Aske, whom he did not apprehend, but bade them not fear, for he would
get their pardon."--Deposition on the Conduct of Robert Aske, MS. much
injured, _Rolls House_, first series, 416.

[227] _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[228] In the first surprise in October, the Privy Council had been
obliged to levy men without looking nicely to their antecedents, and
they had recruited largely from the usual depôts in times of
difficulties, the sanctuaries. Manslayers, cutpurses, and other doubtful
persons might have liberty for a time, and by good conduct might earn
their pardon by taking service under the crown. On the present, as on
many other occasions, they had proved excellent soldiers; and those who
had been with Lord Shrewsbury had been rewarded for their steadiness.
Under the circumstances he had perhaps been better able to depend upon
them than on the more creditable portion of his force. After the
pacification at Doncaster, Norfolk was ashamed of his followers; he
proposed to disband them, and supply their place with penitent
volunteers from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The king, who was already
displeased with Norfolk for his other proceedings, approved no better of
his present suggestion. "His Majesty," wrote the Privy Council, "marvels
that you should be more earnest in the dissuasion of the retainder of
them that have been but murderers and thieves (if they so have been),
than you were that his Grace should not retain those that have been
rebels and traitors. These men have done good rather than hurt in this
troublous time, though they did it not with a good mind and intent, but
for their own lucre.... What the others did no man can tell better than
you. If these men may be made good men with their advancement, his
Highness may think his money well employed. If they will continue evil,
all the world shall think them the more worthy punishment for that they
have so little regarded the clemency of his Highness calling them from
their evil doings to honest preferment."--_Hardwicke State Papers_, p.
33.

[229] Duke of Norfolk to the Earls of Sussex: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p.
534.

[230] _MS. State Paper Office_, first series, Vol. IV.

[231] "I did not dare assemble the people of the country, for I knew not
how they be established in their hearts, notwithstanding that their
words can be no better."--Norfolk to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office._

[232] Norfolk to Cromwell: _MS._ ibid.

[233] "This night I will send two or three hundred horse to them, and
have commanded them to set fire in many places of the rebels' dwellings,
thinking thereby to make them to steal away, and every man to draw near
to his own for the safeguard of his house and goods. I have also
commanded them that if the traitors so sparkle they shall not spare
shedding of blood; for execution whereof I will send such as I am sure
will not spare to fulfil my commandment."--Norfolk to Cromwell: _MS._
ibid.

[234] Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p.
537.

[235] Hall says, at Carlisle, but the official reports, as well as the
king's directions, imply that the executions were not limited to one
place.

[236] _MS. State Paper Office_, first series, Vol. II.

[237] "Of the mind of the king towards me I had first knowledge at mine
arriving in France; of the which, to shew you the full motive of my mind
herein, I was more ashamed to hear, for the compassion I had to the
king's honour, than moved by any indignation that I, coming not only as
ambassador, but as legate in the highest sort of embassage that is used
among Christian princes, a prince of honour should desire another prince
of like honour--'Betray the ambassador, betray the legate, and give him
into mine ambassador's hands, to be brought unto me.' This was the
dishonourable request, as I understand, of the king, which to me I
promise you was no great displeasure, but rather, if I should say truth,
I took pleasure therein, and said forthwith to my company that I never
felt myself to be in full possession to be a cardinal as when I heard
those tidings, whereby it pleased God to send like fortune to me as it
did to those heads of the Church whose persons the cardinals do
represent. In this case lived the apostles."--Pole to Cromwell: Strype's
_Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 326, &c.

[238] The value of Pole's accusations against Henry depends so much upon
his character that I must be pardoned for scrutinizing his conduct
rather closely. In his letter to Cromwell, dated the 2d of May, he
insists that his actions had been cruelly misunderstood. Besides making
the usual protestations of love and devotion to the king with which all
his letters to the English court are filled, he declares, in the most
solemn way, that, so far from desiring to encourage the insurgents, he
had prevented the Pope from taking the opportunity of putting out the
censures which might have caused more troubles. "That he had sent at
that time his servant purposely to offer his service to procure by all
means the king's honour, wealth, and greatness, animating, besides,
those that were chief of his nearest kin to be constant in the king's
service."--Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 321.

I shall lay by the side of these words a passage from his letter to the
Pope, written from Cambray on the 18th of the same month.

Both the French and Flemish councils, he says, are urging him to return
to Italy:--

"Eo magis quod causa ipsa quæ sola me retinere posset, et quæ huc sola
traxit, ne spem quidem ullam ostendere videtur vel minimo periculo
dignam, cur in his locis diutius maneam, populi tumultu qui causam ipsam
fovebat ita sedato ut multi supplicio sint affecti, duces autem omnes in
regis potestatem venerint."

He goes on to say that the people had been in rebellion in defence of
their religion. They had men of noble birth for their leaders; and
nothing, it was thought, would more inspirit the whole party than to
hear that one of their own nation was coming with authority to assist
their cause; nothing which would strike deeper terror into their
adversaries, or compel them to more equitable conditions.

For the present the tumult was composed, but only by fair words, and
promises which had not been observed. A fresh opportunity would soon
again offer. Men's minds were always rather exasperated than conquered
by such treatment. The people would never believe the king's word again;
and though for the moment held down by fear, would break out again with
renewed fury. He thought, therefore, he had better remain in the
neighbourhood, since the chief necessity of the party would be an
efficient leader; and to know that they had a leader ready to come to
them at any moment, yet beyond the king's reach, would be the greatest
encouragement which they could receive.--Reginald Pole to the Pope:
_Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 46.

[239] Ibid.

[240] Bishop Hilsey to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XXXV.

[241] _Rolls House MS._ first series, 416; much injured.

[242] The Privy Council, writing to the Duke of Norfolk, said: "You may
divulge the cause of their activity to the people of those parts, that
they may the rather perceive their miserable fortune, that, being once
so graciously pardoned, would eftsoons combine themselves for the
attempting of new treasons ... not conceiving that anything is done for
their former offences done before the pardon, which his Grace will in
nowise remember or speak of; but for those treasons which they have
committed again since in such detestable sort as no good subject would
not wish their punishment for the same."--_Hardwicke State Papers_, Vol.
I. p. 43.

[243] _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28.

[244] Besides his personal interference, Aske, and Constable also, had
directed a notorious insurgent named Rudstone, "in any wise to deliver
Hallam from Hull."--Ibid.

[245] Sir Ralph Ellerkar called on Constable to join him in suppressing
Bigod's movement. Constable neither came nor sent men, contenting
himself with writing letters.--Ibid.

[246] Part of Pole's mission was to make peace between France and the
Empire. The four sovereigns would, therefore, be the Pope, the King of
Scotland, Francis, and Charles. I have gathered these accusations out of
several groups among the Rolls House MSS., apparently heads of
information, Privy Council minutes, and drafts of indictments. The
particulars which I have mentioned being repeated frequently in these
papers, and with much emphasis, I am inclined to think that they formed
the whole of the case.

[247] The proofs of "an animus" were severely construed.

A few clauses from a rough draft of the indictments will show how small
a prospect of escape there was for any one who had not resolutely gone
over to the government.

Aske wrote to the commons of the north a letter, in which was written,
"Bigod intendeth to destroy the effect of our petition and commonwealth;
whereby," Cromwell concluded, "it appeareth he continued in his false
opinion and traitorous heart." In another letter he had said to them,
"Your reasonable petitions shall be ordered by parliament," "showing
that he thought that their petitions were reasonable, and in writing the
same he committed treason."

Again, both Constable and he had exhorted the commons to wait for the
Duke of Norfolk and the parliament, telling them that the duke would
come only with his household servants; "signifying plainly that, if
their unreasonable requests were not complied with, they would take the
matter in their own hands again."

There are fifty "articles" against them, conceived in the same spirit,
of more or less importance.

[248] Sir William Parr to Henry VIII.: _MS. State Paper Office_, Letters
to the King and Council, Vol. V. _Rolls House MS._ first series, 76.

[249] Sir William Parr to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series Vol. XXXI.

[250] _Baga de Secretis._

[251] Lord Hussey may have the benefit of his own denial. Cromwell
promised to intercede for him if he would make a true confession. He
replied thus:--

"I never knew of the beginning of the commotion in neither of the places,
otherwise than is contained in the bill that I did deliver to Sir Thomas
Wentworth, at Windsor. Nor I was never privy to their acts, nor never
aided them in will, word, nor deed. But if I might have had 500 men I
would have fought with them, or else I forsake my part of heaven; for I
was never traitor, nor of none counsel of treason against his Grace; and
that I will take my death upon, when it shall please God and his
Highness."

In a postscript he added:

"Now at Midsummer shall be three years, my Lord Darcy, I, and Sir Robert
Constable, as we sate at the board, it happened that we spake of Sir
Francis Bigod, (how) his priest, in his sermons, likened Our Lady to a
pudding when the meat was out, with many words more; and then my Lord
Darcy said that he was a naughty priest; let him go; for in good sooth I
will be none heretic; and so said I, and likewise Sir Robert Constable;
for we will die Christian men."--_MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XVIII.

[252] "And whereas your lordship doth write that, in case the
consciences of such persons as did acquit Levening should be examined,
the fear thereof might trouble others in like case, the King's Majesty
considering his treason to be most manifest, apparent, and confessed,
and that all offenders in that case be principals, and none accessories,
doth think it very necessary that the means used in that matter may be
searched out, as a thing which may reveal many other matters worthy his
Highness's knowledge; and doth therefore desire you not only to signify
their names, but also to travel all that you can to beat out the
mystery."--Privy Council to the Duke of Norfolk: _Hardwicke State
Papers_, Vol. I. p. 46.

[253] The list is in the _Rolls MS._ first series, 284. Opposite the
name of each juror there is a note in the margin, signifying his
connexions among the prisoners.

[254] Compare _Baga de Secretis_, pouch X. bundle 2, and _Rolls House
MS._, first series, 284.

[255] Word illegible in the MS.

[256] _MS._ in Cromwell's own hand: _Rolls House_, A 2, 29, fol. 160 and
161.

[257] _Rolls House MS._ first series. 207.

[258] _MS._ ibid. 1401.

[259] Depositions relating to Lord Delaware: _Rolls House MS._

[260] _MS. State Paper Office, Domestic_, Vol. XII.

[261] Ibid.

[262] _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1, 457.

[263] For instance, Sir Thomas Percy's eldest son inherited the earldom
of Northumberland; unfortunately, also his father's politics and his
father's fate. He was that Earl of Northumberland who rose for Mary of
Scotland against Elizabeth.

[264] Lady Bulmer seems from the depositions to have deserved as serious
punishment as any woman for the crime of high treason can be said to
have deserved. One desires to know whether in any class of people there
was a sense of compunction for the actual measure inflicted by the law.
The following is a meagre, but still welcome, fragment upon this
subject:--

"Upon Whitsunday, at breakfast, certain company was in the chauntry at
Thame, when was had speech and communication of the state of the north
country, being that proditors against the King's Highness should suffer
to the number of ten; amongst which proditors the Lady Bulmer should
suffer. There being Robert Jones, said it is a pity that she should
suffer. Then to that answered John Strebilhill, saying it is no pity, if
she be a traitor to her prince, but that she should have after her
deserving. Then said Robert Jones, let us speak no more of this matter;
for men may be blamed for speaking of the truth."--_Rolls House MS._
first series, 1862.

[265] _MS. State Paper Office_: ---- to Henry Saville.

[266] A second cause "is our most dear and most entirely beloved wife
the queen, being now quick with child, for the which we give most humble
thanks to Almighty God, albeit she is in every condition of that loving
inclination and reverend conformity, that she can in all things well
content, satisfy, and quiet herself with that thing which we shall think
expedient and determine; yet, considering that, being a woman, upon some
sudden and displeasant rumours and brutes that might be blown abroad in
our absence, she might take impressions which might engender danger to
that wherewith she is now pregnant, which God forbid, it hath been
thought necessary that we should not extend our progress this year so
far from her."--Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk: _State Papers_, Vol.
I. p. 552.

[267] _MS. Rolls House_, A 2, 28.

[268] A curious drawing of Hull, which was made about this time, with
the plans of the new fortifications erected by Henry, is in the Cotton
Library. A gallows stands outside the gate, with a body hanging on it,
which was probably meant for Constable's.

[269] "Immediately tofore Sir Robert Constable should receive his
rights, it was asked of him if that his confession put in writing was
all that he did know. To which he made answer that it was all.
Notwithstanding he knew, besides that, sundry naughty words and high
cracks that my Lord Darcy had blown out, which he thought not best to
shew so long as the said lord was on life, partly because they should
rather do hurt than good, and partly because he had no proof of them.

"But what these words were he would not declare, but in generality.
Howbeit, his open confession was right good."--_MS. State Paper Office_,
first series, Vol. I.

[270] A general amnesty was proclaimed immediately after. "The notable
unkindness of the people," Norfolk said, "had been able to have moved
his Grace to have taken such punishment on the offenders as might have
been terrible for all men to have thought on that should hereafter have
only heard the names of sedition and rebellion.

"Yet the king's most royal Majesty, of his most tender pity and great
desire that he hath rather to preserve you from the stroke of justice
imminent upon your deserts, than to put you to the extremity of the
same, trusting and supposing that the punishment of a few offenders in
respect of the multitude, which have suffered only for an example to
others to avoid the like attemptations, will be sufficient for ever to
make all you and your posterities to eschew semblable offences, of his
inestimable goodness and pity is content by this general proclamation to
give and grant to you all, every of you, his general and free
pardon."--_Rolls House MS._ A 2, 28; _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 558.

[271] Like Cuthbert Tunstall, for instance, who, when upbraided for
denying his belief in the Pope, said "he had never seen the time when he
thought to lose one drop of blood therefore, for sure he was that none
of those that heretofore had advantage by that authority would have lost
one penny to save his life."--Tunstall to Pole: Burnet's _Collectanea_,
p. 481.

[272] _Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 46.

[273] Ibid. p. 64.

[274] Trials of Lord Montague and the Marquis of Exeter: _Baga de
Secretis_.

[275] _Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 73.

[276] Pole to Contarini, _Epist._ Vol. II. p. 64. I call the rumour wild
because there is no kind of evidence for it, and because the English
resident at Antwerp, John Hutton, who was one of the persons accused by
Pole, was himself the person to inform the king of the story.--_State
Papers_, Vol. VII. p. 703.

[277] See Appendix to Volume IV

[278] Michael Throgmorton to Cromwell: MS. _penes me_.

[279] Cromwell to Throgmorton: _Rolls House MS._

[280] Robert Ward to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series,
Vol. XLVI.

[281] Depositions relating to the Protestants in Yorkshire: _MS. State
Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XVIII.

[282] The monkish poetry was pressed into the service. The following is
from a MS. in Balliol College, Oxford. It is of the date, perhaps, of
Henry VII.

    "Listen, lordlings, both great and small,
     I will tell you a wonder tale,
     How Holy Church was brought in bale,
           Cum magnâ injuriâ.

    "The greatest clerke in this land,
     Thomas of Canterbury I understand,
     Slain he was with wicked hand,
           Malorum potentiâ.

    "The knights were sent from Henry the king:
     That day they did a wicked thing;
     Wicked men without lesing,
           Per regis imperia.

    "They sought the bishop all about,
     Within his palace and without:
     Of Jesu Christ they had no doubt,
           Pro suâ maliciâ.

    "They opened their mouths woundily wide,
     They spake to him with much pride:
     'Traitor! here shalt thou abide,
           Ferens mortis tædia.'

    "Before the altar he kneelèd down,
     And there they pared his crown,
     And stirred his braines up and down,
           Optans cœli gaudia."

[283] Ward to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol.
XLVI.; Miles Coverdale to Cromwell: Ibid. Vol. VII.

[284] William Umpton to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series Vol. XLV.

[285] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XLVI.

[286] Crummock Water is a lake in Cumberland. The point of the song must
have some play on the name of Cromwell, pronounced as of old,
"_Crummell_."

[287] _Rolls House MS._ first series, 683.

[288] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XLVIII.

[289] _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 30.

[290] Ibid.

[291] Very few of these are now known to be in existence. Roy's _Satire_
is one of the best. It would be excellent if reduced to reasonable
length. The fury which the mystery plays excited in the Catholic party
is a sufficient proof of the effect which they produced. An interesting
letter to Cromwell, from the author of some of them, is among the _State
Papers_. I find no further mention of him:--

"The Lord make you the instrument of my help, Lord Cromwell, that I may
have liberty to preach the truth. I dedicate and offer to your lordship
a 'Reverend receiving of the sacrament,' as a lenten matter declared by
six children, representing Christ, the word of God, Paul, Austin, a
child, a man called Ignorancy, as a secret thing that shall have an
end--once rehearsed afore your eyes. The priests in Suffolk will not
receive me into their churches to preach; but have disdained me ever
since I made a play against the Pope's councillors, Error, collyclogger
of conscience, and Incredulity. I have made a play called _A Rude
Commonalty_. I am making of another, called _The Woman on the Rock_, in
the fire of faith refining, and a purging in the true purgatory, never
to be seen but of your lordship's eye. Aid me, for Christ's sake, that I
may preach Christ."--Thomas Wylley, fatherless and forsaken: _MS. State
Paper Office_, second series, Vol. L.

[292] _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 30.

[293] _MS. State Paper Office._

[294] _Rolls House MS._ first series; _MS. Cotton. Cleopatra_, E 4.

[295] Answers to Questions on the Sacraments by the Bishops: Burnet's
_Collectanea_, p. 114.

[296] In one of the ablest and most liberal papers which was drawn up at
this time, a paper so liberal indeed as to argue from the etymology of
the word presbyter that "lay seniors, or antient men, might to some
intents be called priests," I find this passage upon the eucharist: "As
concerning the grace of consecration of the body of our Lord in form of
bread and wine, we beseech your Grace that it may be prohibited to all
men to persuade any manner of person to think that these words of our
Master Christ, when He 'took bread and blest it and brake it, and gave
it to his disciples, and said, Take, and eat ye, this is my body that
shall be betrayed for you,' ought to be understood figuratively. For
since He that spake those words is of power to perform them literally,
though no man's reason may know how that may be, yet they must believe
it. And surely they that believe that God was of power to make all the
world of nought, may lightly believe he was of power to make of bread
his very body."--_Theological MSS. Rolls House._

[297] Henry VIII. to the Bishops: _Rolls House MS._ A 15.

[298] The Iceland fleet is constantly mentioned in the _Records_. Before
the discovery of Newfoundland, Iceland was the great resort of English
fishermen. Those who would not venture so long a voyage, fished the
coasts of Cork and Kerry. When Skeffington was besieging Dungarvon, in
1535, Devonshire fishing smacks, which were accidentally in the
neighbourhood, blockaded the harbour for him. The south of Ireland at
the same time was the regular resort of Spaniards with the same object.
Sir Anthony St. Leger said that as many as two or three hundred sail
might sometimes be seen at once in Valentia harbour.--_State Papers_,
Vol. V. p. 443, &c.

[299] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXIV.

[300] Ibid. Vol. I. On the other hand the French cut out a Flemish ship
from Portsmouth, and another from Southampton.

[301] _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 30.

[302] The inventory of his losses which was sent in by the captain is
noticeable, as showing the equipment of a Channel fishing vessel.--One
last of herring, worth 4_l._ 13_s._ Three hagbushes, 15_s._ In money,
1_l._ 16_s._ 8_d._ Two long bows, 4_s._ Two bills and a sheaf of arrows,
3_s._ 8_d._ A pair of new boots of leather, 3_s._ 4_d._ Two barrels of
double beer, 3_s._ 4_d._ Four mantles of frieze, 12_s._ A bonnet, 1_s._
2_d._ In bread, candles, and other necessaries, 2_s._ The second time,
one hogshead of double beer, 6_s._--_MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XXVIII.

[303] Sir Thomas Cheyne writes to Cromwell: "I have received letters
from Dover that the Frenchmen on the sea hath taken worth 2000_l._ of
goods since the king being there, and a man-of-war of Dieppe and a
pinnace took the king's barge that carries the timber for his Highness's
work there, and robbed and spoiled the ship and men of money, victuals,
clothes, ropes, and left them not so much as their compass. And another
Frenchman took away a pink in Dover roads and carried her away. And on
Tuesday last a great fleet of Flemings men-of-war met with my Lord
Lisle's ship, laden with wool to Flanders, and one of them took all the
victuals and ordnance. Thus the king's subjects be robbed and spoiled
every day."--_MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. VI.

[304] Sir William Fitzwilliam to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_.

[305] Sir William Godolphin to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. XIII.

[306] _MS. State Paper Office_, Letters to the King and Council, Vol I.

[307] _MS._ ibid.

[308] Cromwell's Memoranda: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1. Many of the plans
are in the Cotton Library, executed, some of them, with great rudeness;
some finished with the delicacy of monastic illuminations; some, but
very few, are good working drawings. It is a mortifying proof of the
backwardness of the English in engineering skill, that the king for his
works at Dover sent for engineers to Spain.

[309] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 50.

[310] Details of the equipments of many of these fortresses lie
scattered among the State Papers. The expenses were enormous, but were
minutely recorded.

[311] On whatever side we turn in this reign, we find the old and the
new in collision. While the harbours, piers, and the fortresses were
rising at Dover, an ancient hermit tottered night after night from his
cell to a chapel on the cliff, and the tapers on the altar, before which
he knelt in his lonely orisons, made a familiar beacon far over the
rolling waters. The men of the rising world cared little for the
sentiment of the past. The anchorite was told sternly by the workmen
that his light was a signal to the king's enemies, and must burn no
more; and when it was next seen, three of them waylaid the old man on
his road home, threw him down, and beat him cruelly.--_MS. State Paper
Office_, second series, Vol. XXXIII.

[312] Lord Montague, on the 24th of March, 1537, said, "I dreamed that
the king was dead. He is not dead, but he will die one day suddenly, his
leg will kill him, and then we shall have jolly stirring."--Trial of
Lord Montague: _Baga de Secretis_. The king himself, in explaining to
the Duke of Norfolk his reason for postponing his journey to Yorkshire
in the past summer, said: "To be frank with you, which we desire you in
any wise to keep to yourself, being an humour fallen into our legs, and
our physicians therefore advising us in no wise to take so far a journey
in the heat of the year, whereby the same might put us to further
trouble and displeasure, it hath been thought more expedient that we
should, upon that respect only, though the grounds before specified had
not concurred with it, now change our determination."--_State Papers_,
Vol. I. p. 555.

[313] "I assure your lordship his Grace is very sorry that ye might not
be here to make good cheer as we do. He useth himself more like a good
fellow among us that be here, than like a king, and, thanked be God, I
never saw him merrier in his life than he is now."--Sir John Russell to
Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXVI.

[314] "Michael Throgmorton gave great charge to William Vaughan to
enquire if there had been any communication upon the opinions of the
physicians, whether the Queen's Grace were with child with a man child
or not."--Hutton to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VII. p. 703.

[315] _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 570.

[316] Latimer to Cromwell: _State Paper Office_, Vol. I. p. 571.

[317] Hall is made to say she died on the 14th. The mistake was due
probably to the printer. He is unlikely himself to have made so large an
error.

[318] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 1.

[319] Sir John Russell to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XXXVI.; _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 573.

[320] Hall, p. 825.

[321] Leland wrote an ode on the occasion, which is not without some
beauty:--

    Spes erat ampla quidem numerosâ prole Joanna
    Henricum ut faceret regem facunda parentem.
    Sed Superis aliter visum est, cruciatus acerbus
    Distorsit vacuum lethali tormine ventrem.
    Frigora crediderim temere contracta fuisse
    In causâ, superat vis morbi: jamque salute
    Desperatâ omni, nymphis hæc rettulit almis.
    Non mihi mors curæ est, perituram agnosco creavit
    Omnipotens--Moriar--terram tibi debeo terra:
    At pius Elysiis animus spatiabitur hortis.
    Deprecor hoc unum. Maturos filius annos
    Exigat, et tandem regno det jura paterno.
    Dixit et æternâ claudebat lumina nube.
    Nulla dies pressit graviori clade Britannum.

  _Genethliacon Edwardi Principis._

[322] _Rolls House MS._, A 2, 30. I trace the report to within a month
of Jane Seymour's death. Sanders therefore must be held acquitted of the
charge of having invented it. The circumstances of the death itself are
so clear as to leave no trace of uncertainty. How many of the
interesting personal anecdotes of remarkable people, which have gained
and which retain the public confidence, are better founded than this?
Prudence, instructed by experience, enters a general caution against all
anecdotes particularly striking.

[323] _Rolls House MS._ A 2, 30.

[324] Instructions for the Household of Edward Prince of Wales: _Rolls
House MS._

[325] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 2.

[326] Pole to the Bishop of Liège: _Epist._ Vol. II. p. 41.

[327] Nott's _Wyatt_, p. 312.

[328] Nott's _Wyatt_, p. 319.

[329] Ibid.

[330] Ibid. p. 322.

[331] Mary's submission dates from the fall of Anne Boleyn. It was
offered by her on the instant, in three successive letters; two of which
are printed in the State Papers, a third is in MS. in the State Paper
Office.

[332] "And here Sir Thomas Wyatt shall deliver unto the Emperor the
letter written unto him from the said Lady Mary, whereby it shall appear
how she doth repent herself, and how she would that he should repent,
and take of her the tenour. Whereof it shall like him to consider, it is
not to be thought but it will acquit him therein, his Grace,
nevertheless, being so good a lord and father to her as he is, and
undoubtedly will be."--Instructions to Sir Thomas Wyatt: Nott's _Wyatt_,
p. 314.

[333] Cromwell to Wyatt: Nott, p. 321.

[334] State Papers, Vol. VIII., p. 34.

[335] "My lord: this shall be to advertise you that the Imperials and
Frenchmen have taken a truce for ten months, which, as we think, be
great news, and of great weight and moment. Howbeit, my trust is, the
King's Highness knows what is the occasion of this sudden turn, or else
it will trouble my brain to think of it."--Sir William Fitzwilliam to
Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XI.

[336] Henry VIII. to Wyatt: Nott's _Wyatt_.

[337] Cromwell to Wyatt, November 29, 1537: Nott's _Wyatt_.

[338] Better known as Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots.

[339] Commission of Peter Mewtas to Madame de Longueville: _State
Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 10.

[340] Hutton to Sir Thomas Wriothesley: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 9.

[341] Henry VIII. to Sir Thomas Wyatt: Nott's _Wyatt_.

[342] Same to the same: Ibid.

[343] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 17.

[344] Hutton to Cromwell: Ibid.

[345] A story passes current with popular historians, that the Duchess
of Milan, when Henry proposed for her, replied that she had but one
head; if she had two, one should be at his Majesty's service. The less
active imagination of contemporaries was contented with reporting that
she had said that the English ministers need not trouble themselves to
make the marriage; "they would lose their labours, for she minded not to
fix her heart that way." Sir Thomas Wriothesley, who was then resident
at Brussels, thought it worth his while to ask her whether these words
had really been used by her.

"M. Ambassador," she replied, "I thank God He hath given me a better
stay of myself than to be of so light sort. I assure you, that neither
those words that you have spoken, nor any like to them, have passed at
any time from my mouth: and so I pray you report for me."

Wriothesley took courage upon this answer, and asked what was her real
inclination in the matter.

"At this she blushed exceedingly. 'As for mine inclination,' quoth she,
'what should I say? You know I am at the Emperor's commandment.'--'Yea,
madam,' quoth Wriothesley; 'but this matter is of such nature, that
there must be a concurrence between his commandment and your consent, or
else you may percase repent it when it shall be too late. Your answer is
such as may serve both for your modesty and for my satisfaction; and
yet, if it were a little plainer, I could be the better contented.' With
that she smiled, and again said, 'You know I am the Emperor's poor
servant, and must follow his pleasure.'--'Marry,' quoth Wriothesley,
'then I may hope to be among the Englishmen that shall be first
acquainted with my new mistress, for the Emperor hath instantly desired
it. Oh, madam!' quoth he, 'how happy shall you be if it be your chance
to be matched with my master. If God send you that hap, you shall be
matched with the most gentle gentleman that liveth; his nature so benign
and pleasant, that I think till this day no man hath heard many angry
words pass his lips. As God shall help me, if he were no king, I think,
and you saw him, you would say, that for his virtue, gentleness, wisdom,
experience, goodliness of person, and all other qualities meet to be in
a prince, he were worthy before all others to be made a king.'... She
smiled, and Wriothesley thought would have laughed out, had not her
gravity forbidden it.... She said she knew his Majesty was a good and
noble prince. Her honest countenance, he added, and the few words that
she wisely spake, together with that which he knew by her chamberers and
servants, made him to think there could be no doubt of her."--_State
Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 146.

[346] "Mr. Wyatt, now handle this matter in such earnest sort with the
Emperor, as the king, who by your fair words hath conceived as certain
to find assured friendship therein, be not deceived. The Frenchmen
affirm so constantly and boldly that nothing spoken by the Emperor,
either touching the principal contrahents or further alliance, hath any
manner of good faith, but such fraud and deceit, that I assure you, on
my faith, it would make any man to suspect his proceeding. Labour, Mr.
Wyatt, to cause the Emperor, if it be possible, to write."--Cromwell to
Wyatt: Nott's _Wyatt_, p. 333.

[347] Wyatt's Oration to the Judges: Nott's _Wyatt_.

[348] "I have received three houses since I wrote last to your lordship,
the which I think would not a little have moved your lordship, if ye had
known the order of them: some sticking fast in windows, naked, going to
drabs, so that the pillar was fain to be sawed, to have him out; some
being plucked from under drabs' beds; some fighting, so that the knife
hath stuck in the bones; with such other pretty business, of the which I
have too much."--Richard suffragan Bishop of Dover to Cromwell:
_Suppression of the Monasteries_, p. 198.

[349] A finger of St. Andrew was pawned at Northampton for 40_l._;
"which we intend not," wrote a dry visitor, "to redeem of the price,
except we be commanded so to do."--Ibid. p. 172.

[350] Printed in Fuller's _Church History_, Vol. III. p. 394.

[351] Fuller's _Church History_, Vol. III. p. 398.

[352] "According to your commission, we have viewed a certain supposed
relic, called the blood of Hales, which was enclosed within a round
beryll, garnished and bound on every side with silver, which we caused
to be opened in the presence of a great multitude of people. And the
said supposed relic we caused to be taken out of the said beryll, and
have viewed the same, being within a little glass, and also tried the
same according to our powers, by all means; and by force of the view and
other trials, we judge the substance and matters of the said supposed
relic to be an unctuous gum, coloured, which, being in the glass,
appeared to be a glistening red, resembling partly the colour of blood.
And after, we did take out part of the said substance out of the glass,
and then it was apparent yellow colour, like amber or base gold, and
doth cleave as gum or bird-lime. The matter and feigned relic, with the
glass containing the same, we have enclosed in red wax, and consigned
it, with our seals."--Hugh Bishop of Worcester, with the other
Commissioners, to Cromwell: Latimer's _Remains_, p. 407.

The Abbot of Hales subsequently applied for permission to destroy the
case in which the blood had been.

"It doth stand yet in the place where it was, so that I am afraid lest
it should minister occasion to any weak person looking thereupon to
abuse his conscience therewith; and therefore I beseech for license that
I may put it down every stick and stone, so that no manner of token or
remembrance of that forged relict shall remain."--Abbot of Hales to
Cromwell: _MS. Tanner_ 105.

[353] Barlow to Cromwell: _Suppression of the Monasteries_, p. 183.

[354] Latimer to Cromwell: _Remains_, p. 395.

[355] Geoffrey Chambers to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series.

[356] Ibid.

[357] "Invisit aulam regis, regem ipsum novus hospes. Conglomerant ipsum
risu aulico barones duces marchiones comites. Agit ille, minatur oculis,
aversatur ore, distorquet nares; mittit deorsum caput, incurvat dorsum,
annuit aut renuit. Rex ipse incertum gavisusne magis ob patefactam
imposturam an magis doluerit ex animo tot seculis miseræ plebi fuisse
impositum."--Hooker to Bullinger: _Original Letters on the Reformation._

[358] "He said that blessed man St. Thomas of Canterbury suffered death
for the rights of the Church; for there was a great man--meaning thereby
King Harry the Second--which, because St. Thomas of Canterbury would not
grant him such things as he asked, contrary to the liberties of the
Church, first banished him out of this realm; and at his return he was
slain at his own church, for the right of Holy Church, as many holy
fathers have suffered now of late: as that holy father the Bishop of
Rochester: and he doubteth not but their souls be now in heaven.

"He saith and believeth that he ought to have a double obedience: first,
to the King's Highness, by the law of God; and the second to the Bishop
of Rome, by his rule and profession.

"He confesseth that he used and practised to induce men in confession to
hold and stick to the old fashion of belief, that was used in the realm
of long time past."--_Rolls House MS._

[359] "The Bishop of Worcester and I will be to-morrow with your
lordship, to know your pleasure concerning Friar Forest. For if we
should proceed against him according to the order of the law, there must
be articles devised beforehand which must be ministered unto him; and
therefore it will be very well done that one draw them against our
meeting."--Cranmer to Cromwell: Cranmer's _Works_, Vol. I. p. 239.

[360] _Rolls House MS._ A 1, 7, fol. 213.

[361] Ellis Price to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Cleopatra_, E 4.

[362] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXIV.

[363] Latimer to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol.
XLIX. Latimer's _Letters_, p. 391.

[364] Stow's _Chronicle_, p. 575.

[365] Hall, p. 875, followed by Foxe.

[366] _MS. State Paper Office_, unarranged bundle. The command was
obeyed so completely, that only a single shrine now remains in England;
and the preservation of this was not owing to the forbearance of the
government. The shrine of Edward the Confessor, which stands in
Westminster Abbey, was destroyed with the rest. But the stones were not
taken away. The supposed remains of St. Edward were in some way
preserved; and the shrine was reconstructed, and the dust replaced, by
Abbot Feckenham, in the first year of Queen Mary.--Oration of Abbot
Feckenham in the Parliament House: _MS. Rawlinson, Bodleian Library._

[367] Cranmer to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I.

[368] "The abuses of Canterbury" are placed by the side of those of
Boxley in one of the official statements of the times.--Sir T.
Wriothesley to Henry VIII., Nov. 20. 1538: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII.

[369] Madame de Montreuil, though a Frenchwoman and a good Catholic, had
caught the infection of the prevailing unbelief in saints and saintly
relics. "I showed her St. Thomas's shrine," writes an attendant, "and
all such other things worthy of sight, of the which she was not little
marvelled of the great riches thereof, saying it to be innumerable, and
that if she had not seen it all the men in the world could never have
made her to believe it. Thus overlooking and viewing more than an hour
as well the shrine as St. Thomas's head, being at both set cushions to
kneel, the prior, opening St. Thomas's head, said to her three times,
this is St. Thomas's head, and offered her to kiss it, but she neither
kneeled nor would kiss it, but (stood), still viewing the riches
thereof."--Penison to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 583.

[370] These marks are still distinctly visible.

[371] Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 494. A story was current on the
Continent, and so far believed as to be alluded to in the great bull of
Paul the Third, that an apparitor was sent to Canterbury to serve a
citation at Becket's tomb, summoning "the late archbishop" to appear and
answer to a charge of high treason. Thirty days were allowed him. When
these were expired a proctor was charged with his defence. He was tried
and condemned--his property, consisting of the offerings at the shrine,
was declared forfeited--and he himself was sentenced to be exhumed and
burnt. In the fact itself there is nothing absolutely improbable, for
the form said to have been observed was one which was usual in the
Church, when dead men, as sometimes happened, were prosecuted for
heresy; and if I express my belief that the story is without foundation,
I do so with diffidence, because negative evidence is generally of no
value in the face of respectable positive assertion. All contemporary
English authorities, however, are totally silent on a subject which it
is hard to believe that they would not at least have mentioned. We hear
generally of the destruction of the shrine, but no word of the citation
and trial. A long and close correspondence between Cromwell and the
Prior of Canterbury covers the period at which the process took place,
if it took place at all, and not a letter contains anything which could
be construed into an allusion to it.--Letters of the Prior of Canterbury
to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series.

So suspicious a silence justifies a close scrutiny of the authorities on
the other side. There exist two documents printed in Wilkins's
_Concilia_, Vol. III. p. 835, and taken from Pollini's _History of the
English Reformation_, which profess to be the actual citation and actual
sentence issued on the occasion. If these are genuine, they decide the
question; but, unfortunately for their authenticity, the dates of the
documents are, respectively, April and May, 1538, and in both of them
Henry is styled, among his official titles, Rex Hiberniæ. Now Henry did
not assume the title of Rex Hiberniæ till two years later. Dominus
Hiberniæ, or Lord of Ireland, is his invariable designation in every
authentic document of the year to which these are said to belong. This
itself is conclusively discrediting. If further evidence is required, it
may be found in the word "Londini," or London, as the date of both
citation and sentence. Official papers were never dated from London, but
from Westminster, St. James's, Whitehall; or if in London, then from the
particular place in London, as the Tower. Both mistakes would have been
avoided by an Englishman, but are exceedingly natural in a foreign
inventor.

[372] "We be daily instructed by our nobles and council to use short
expelition in the determination of our marriage, for to get more
increase of issue, to the assurance of our succession; and upon their
oft admonition of age coming fast on, and (seeing) that the time flyeth
and slippeth marvellously away, we be minded no longer to lose time as
we have done, which is of all losses the most irrecuperable."--Henry
VIII. to Sir T. Wriothesley: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 116.

"Unless his Highness bore a notable affection to the Emperor, and had a
special remembrance of their antient amity, his Majesty could never have
endured to have been kept thus long in balance, his years, and the daily
suits of his nobles and council well pondered."--Wriothesley to
Cromwell: ibid, p. 160.

[373] See the Wriothesley Correspondence: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII.

[374] Wriothesley to Henry VIII., November 20, 1538: Ibid.

[375] Bull of Paul III. against Henry VIII: printed in Burnet's
_Collectanea_.

[376] Wriothesley Correspondence: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII.

[377] Wriothesley to Cromwell: Ibid.

[378] Stephen Vaughan to Cromwell, Feb. 21, 1539: _State Papers_, Vol.
VIII.

[379] "Of the evils which now menace Christendom those are held most
grievous which are threatened by the Sultan. He is thought most powerful
to hurt: he must first be met in arms. My words will bear little weight
in this matter. I shall be thought to speak in my own quarrel against my
personal enemy. But, as God shall judge my heart, I say that, if we look
for victory in the East, we must assist first our fellow Christians,
whom the adversary afflicts at home. This victory only will ensure the
other."--_Apol. ad Car. Quint._

[380] He speaks of Cromwell as "a certain man," a "devil's ambassador,"
"the devil in the human form". He doubts whether he will defile his
pages with his name. As great highwaymen, however, murderers,
parricides, and others, are named in history for everlasting ignominy,
as even the devils are named in Holy Scripture, so he will name
Cromwell.--_Apol. ad Car. Quint._

[381] Ibid.

[382] Instructions to Reginald Pole: _Epist._ Vol. II. p. 279, &c.
Pole's admiring biographer ventures to say that "he was declared a
traitor for causes which do not seem to come within the article of
treason."--Philips's _Life of Reginald Pole_, p. 277.

[383] News which was sent from Rome unto the Cardinal Bishop of Seville:
_Rolls House MS._

[384] "There is much secret communication among the king's subjects, and
many of them in the shires of Cornwall and Devonshire be in great fear
and mistrust what the King's Highness and his council should mean, to
give in commandment to the parsons and vicars of every parish, that they
should make a book wherein is to be specified the names of as many as be
wedded and buried and christened. Their mistrust is, that some charges
more than hath been in times past shall grow to them by this occasion of
registering."--Sir Piers Edgecombe to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I.
p. 612.

[385] "George Lascelles shewed me that a priest, which late was one of
the friars at Bristol, informed him that harness would yet be occupied,
for he did know more than the king's council. For at the last council
whereat the Emperor, the French king, and the Bishop of Rome met, they
made the King of Scots, by their counsel, _Defensor fidei_, and that the
Emperor raised a great army, saying it was to invade the Great Turk,
which the said Emperor meaned by our sovereign lord."--John Babington to
Cromwell: MS. _State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. III.

[386]

[Sidenote: Renewed agitation among the people.]

I attach specimens from time to time of the "informations" of which the
Record Office contains so many. They serve to keep the temper of the
country before the mind. The king had lately fallen from his horse and
broken one of his ribs. A farmer of Walden was accused of having wished
that he had broken his neck, and "had said further that he had a bow and
two sheaves of arrows, and he would shoot them all before the king's
laws should go forward." An old woman at Aylesham, leaning over a
shop-window, was heard muttering a chant, that "there would be no good
world till it fell together by the ears, for with clubs and clouted
shoon should the deed be done." Sir Thomas Arundel wrote from Cornwall,
that "a very aged man" had been brought before him with the reputation
of a prophet, who had said that "the priests should rise against the
king, and make a field; and the priests should rule the realm three days
and three nights, and then the white falcon should come out of the
north-west, and kill almost all the priests, and they that should escape
should be fain to hide their crowns with the filth of beasts, because
they would not be taken for priests."--"A groom of Sir William Paget's
was dressing his master's horse one night in the stable in the White
Horse in Cambridge," when the ostler came in and began "to enter into
communication with him." "The ostler said there is no Pope, but a Bishop
of Rome. And the groom said he knew well there was a Pope, and the
ostler, moreover, and whosoever held of his part, were strong heretics.
Then the ostler answered that the King's Grace held of his part; and the
groom said that he was one heretic, and the king was another; and said,
moreover, that this business had never been if the king had not married
Anne Boleyn. And therewith they multiplied words, and waxed so hot, that
the one called the other knave, and so fell together by the ears, and
the groom broke the ostler's head with a faggot stick."--Miscellaneous
Depositions: _MSS. State Paper Office_, and _Rolls House_.

[387] Her blood was thought even purer than Lord Exeter's. A cloud of
doubtful illegitimacy darkened all the children of Edward IV.

[388] "At my lord marquis being in Exeter at the time of the rebellion
he took direction that all commissions for the second subsidy should
stay the levy thereof for a time."--Sir Piers Edgecombe to Cromwell:
_MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. X.

[389] "'The marquis was the man that should help and do them good' (men
said). See the experience, how all those do prevail that were towards
the marquis. Neither assizes, nisi prius, nor bill of indictment put up
against them could take effect; and, of the contrary part, how it
prevailed for them."--Sir Thomas Willoughby to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton.
Titus_, B 1, 386.

[390] Depositions relating to Lord Delaware: _Rolls House MS._ first
series, 426.

[391] Depositions taken before Sir Henry Capel: Ibid. 1286.

[392] "A man named Howett, one of Exeter's dependents, was heard to say,
if the lord marquis had been put to the Tower, at the commandment of the
lord privy seal, he should have been fetched out again, though the lord
privy seal had said nay to it, and the best in the realm besides; and he
the said Howett and his company were fully agreed to have had him out
before they had come away."--_Rolls House MS._ first series, 1286.

[393] Deposition of Geoffrey Pole: _Rolls House MS._

[394] Jane Seymour was dead, and the king was not remarried: I am unable
to explain the introduction of the words, unless (as was perhaps the
case) the application to the painter was in the summer of 1537, and he
delayed his information till the following year.

[395] Sir William Godolphin to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. XIII.

[396] Ibid.

[397] Wriothesley to Sir Thos. Wyatt: Ellis, second series, Vol. II.

[398] Godolphin's Correspondence: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XIII.

[399] Instructions by the King's Highness to John Becket, Gentleman of
his Grace's Chamber, and John Wroth, of the same: printed in the
_Archæologia_.

[400] "Kendall and Quyntrell were as arrant traitors as any within the
realm, leaning to and favouring the advancement of that traitor Henry,
Marquis of Exeter, nor letting nor sparing to speak to a great number of
the king's subjects in those parts that the said Henry was
heir-apparent, and should be king, and would be king, if the King's
Highness proceeded to marry the Lady Anne Boleyn, or else it should cost
a thousand men's lives. And for their mischievous intent to take effect,
they retained divers and a great number of the king's subjects in those
parts, to be to the lord marquis in readiness within an hour's
warning."--Sir Thomas Willoughby to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1.

[401] Deposition of Alice Paytchet: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XXXIX.

[402] Examination of Lord Montague and the Marquis of Exeter: _Rolls
House MS._ first series, 1262.

[403] "The Lord Darcy played the fool," Montague said; "he went about to
pluck the council. He should first have begun with the head. But I
beshrew him for leaving off so soon."--_Baga de Secretis_, pouch xi.
bundle 2.

[404] "I am sorry the Lord Abergavenny is dead; for if he were alive, he
were able to make ten thousand men."--Sayings of Lord Montague: Ibid.

[405] "On Monday, the fourth of this month, the Marquis of Exeter and
Lord Montague were committed to the Tower of London, being the King's
Majesty so grievously touched by them, that albeit that his Grace hath
upon his special favour borne towards them passed over many accusations
made against the same of late by their own domestics, thinking with his
clemency to conquer their cankeredness, yet his Grace was constrained,
for avoiding of such malice as was prepensed, both against his person
royal and the surety of my Lord Prince, to use the remedy of committing
them to ward. The accusations made against them be of great importance,
and duly proved by substantial witnesses. And yet the King's Majesty
loveth them so well, and of his great goodness is so loath to proceed
against them, that it is doubted what his Highness will do towards
them."--Wriothesley to Sir T. Wyatt: Ellis, second series, Vol. II.

[406] Southampton to Cromwell: Ellis, second series, Vol. II. p. 110.

[407] Southampton to Cromwell: Ellis, second series, Vol. II. p. 114.

[408] Robert Warren to Lord Fitzwaters: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1, 143.

[409] Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 494, &c.

[410] Hall, followed by the chroniclers, says that the executions were
on the 9th of January; but he was mistaken. In a MS. in the State Paper
Office, dated the 16th of December, 1538, Exeter is described as having
suffered on the 9th of the same month. My account of these trials is
taken from the records in the _Baga de Secretis_: from the Act of
Attainder, 31 Henry VIII. cap. 15, not printed in the Statute Book, but
extant on the Roll; and from a number of scattered depositions,
questions, and examinations in the Rolls House and in the State Paper
Office.

[411] The degrading of Henry Courtenay, late Marquis of Exeter, the 3d
day of December, and the same day convicted; and the 9th day of the said
month beheaded at Tower Hill; and the 16th day of the same month
degraded at Windsor: _MS. State Paper Office_. Unarranged bundle.

[412] Examination of Christopher Chator: _Rolls House MS._ first series.

[413] Gibbon professes himself especially scandalized at the persecution
of Servetus by men who themselves had stood in so deep need of
toleration. The scandal is scarcely reasonable, for neither Calvin nor
any other Reformer of the sixteenth century desired a "liberty of
conscience" in its modern sense. The Council of Geneva, the General
Assembly at Edinburgh, the Smalcaldic League, the English Parliament,
and the Spanish Inquisition held the same opinions on the wickedness of
heresy; they differed only in the definition of the crime. The English
and Scotch Protestants have been taunted with persecution. When nations
can grow to maturity in a single generation, when the child can rise
from his first grammar lesson a matured philosopher, individual men may
clear themselves by a single effort from mistakes which are embedded in
the heart of their age. Let us listen to the Landgrave of Hesse. He will
teach us that Henry VIII. was no exceptional persecutor.

The Landgrave has heard that the errors of the Anabaptists are
increasing in England. He depicts in warning colours the insurrection at
Münster: "If they grow to any multitude," he says, "their acts will
surely declare their seditious minds and opinions. Surely this is true,
the devil, which is an homicide, carrieth men that are entangled in
false opinions to unlawful slaughters and the breach of society....
There are no rulers in Germany," he continues, "whether they be Popish
or professors of the doctrines of the Gospel, that do suffer these men,
if they come into their hands. All men punish them grievously. We use a
just moderation, which God requireth of all good rulers. Whereas any of
the sect is apprehended, we call together divers learned men and good
preachers, and command them, the errors being confuted by the Word of
God, to teach them rightlier, to heal them that be sick, to deliver them
that were bound; and by this way many that are astray are come home
again. These are not punished with any corporal pains, but are driven
openly to forsake their errours. If any do stubbornly defend the ungodly
and wicked errours of that sect, yielding nothing to such as can and do
teach them truly, these are kept a good space in prison, and sometimes
sore punished there; yet in such sort are they handled, that death is
long deferred for hope of amendment; and, as long as any hope is, favour
is shewed to life. If there be no hope left, then the obstinate are put
to death." Warning Henry of the snares of the devil, who labours
continually to discredit the truth by grafting upon it heresy, he
concludes:--

"Wherefore, if that sect hath done any hurt there in your Grace's realm,
we doubt not but your princely wisdom will so temper the matter, that
both dangers be avoided, errours be kept down, and yet a difference had
between those that are good men, and mislike the abuses of the Bishop of
Rome's baggages, and those that be Anabaptists. In many parts of Germany
where the Gospel is not preached, cruelty is exercised upon both sorts
without discretion. The magistrates which obey the Bishop of Rome
(whereas severity is to be used against the Anabaptists) slay good men
utterly alien from their opinions. But your Majesty will put a
difference great enough between these two sorts, and serve Christ's
glory on the one side, and save the innocent blood on the
other."--Landgrave of Hesse to Henry VIII., September 25, 1538: _State
Papers_, Vol. VIII.

[414] "They have made a wondrous matter and report here of the shrines
and of burning of the idol at Canterbury; and, besides that, the King's
Highness and council be become sacramentarians by reason of this embassy
which the King of Saxony sent late into England."--Theobald to Cromwell,
from Padua. October 22, 1538: Ellis, third series, Vol. III.

[415] The history of Lambert's trial is taken from Foxe, Vol. V.

[416] Cromwell to Wyatt: Nott's _Wyatt_, p. 326.

[417] Cromwell to Wriothesley: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 155.

[418] Christopher Mount writes: "This day (March 5) the Earl William a
Furstenburg was at dinner with the Duke of Saxe, which asked of him what
news. He answered that there is labour made for truce between the
Emperor and the Turk. Then said the duke, to what purpose should be all
these preparations the Emperor maketh? The earl answered, that other men
should care for. Then said the duke, the bruit is here--it should be
against the King of England. Then said the earl, the King of England
shall need to take heed to himself."--_State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 606.

[419] The negotiations for the marriages.

[420] Wriothesley to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 165.

[421] _i.e._, he was to marry the Princess Mary.

[422] Wriothesley to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 167.

[423] "Within these fourteen days, it shall surely break out what they
do purpose to do; as of three ways, one--Gueldres, Denmark, or England;
notwithstanding, as I think, England is without danger, because they
know well that the King's Grace hath prepared to receive them if they
come. There be in Holland 270 good ships prepared; but whither they
shall go no man can tell. Preparations of all manner of artillery doth
daily go through Antwerp.

"All the spiritualty here be set for to pay an innumerable sum of money.
Notwithstanding, they will be very well content with giving the
aforesaid money, if all things may be so brought to pass as they hope it
shall, and as it is promised them--and that is, that the Pope's quarrel
may be avenged upon the King's Grace of England."--March 14, ---- to
Cromwell; _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XVI.

[424] William Ostrich to the worshipful Richard Ebbes, Merchant in
London: _MS. State Paper Office_, first series, Vol. II.

[425] Sir Ralph Sadler to Cromwell, from Dover, March 16: _MS. State
Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXVII.

[426] Hollinshed, Stow.

[427] Letters of Sir Thomas Cheyne to Cromwell, March and April, 1539:
_MS. State Paper Office_, second series.

[428] Cromwell to the King: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1, 271.

[429] Philips's _Life of Pole_. Four letters of Cardinal Alexander
Farnese to Paul III.: _Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 281, &c.

[430] One of these, for instance, writes to him: "Vale amplissime Pole
quem si in meis auguriis aliquid veri est adhuc Regem Angliæ videbimus."
His answer may acquit him of vulgar selfishness: "I know not where you
found your augury. If you can divine the future, divine only what I am
to suffer for my country, or for the Church of God, which is in my
country.

    eis oἰῶnos ὔristos ὐmύnesthai perὶ patrὴs.

For me, the heavier the load of my affliction for God and the Church,
the higher do I mount upon the ladder of felicity."--_Epist. Reg. Pol._
Vol. III. pp. 37-39.

[431] _Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p. 191, &c. The disappointment of the
Roman ecclesiastics led them so far as to anticipate a complete apostacy
on the part of Charles. The fears of Cardinal Contarini make the hopes
so often expressed by Henry appear less unreasonable, that Charles might
eventually imitate the English example. On the 8th of July, 1539,
Contarini writes to Pole:--

"De rebus Germaniæ audio quod molestissime tuli, indictum videlicet esse
conventum Norimburgensem ad Kal. Octobris pro rebus Ecclesiæ
componendis, ubi sunt conventuri oratores Cæsaris et Regis
Christianissimi; sex autem pro parte Lutheranorum et totidem pro
partibus Catholicorum, de rebus Fidei disputaturi; et hoc fieri ex
decreto superiorum mensium Conventûs Francford; in quo nulla mentio fit,
nec de Pontifice, nec de aliquo qui pro sede Apostolicâ interveniret.
Vides credo quo ista tendunt. Utinam ego decipiar; sed hoc prorsus
judico; etsi præsentibus omnibus conatibus regis Angliæ maxime sit
obstandum, tamen non hunc esse qui maxime sedi Apostolicæ possit nocere;
ego illum timeo quem Cato ille in Republicâ Romanâ maxime timebat, qui
sobrius accedit ad illam evertendam; vel potius illos timeo (nec enim
unus est hoc tempore) et nisi istis privatis conventibus cito obviam
eatur, ut non brevi major scissura in ecclesiâ cum majori detrimento
autoritatis sedis Apostolicæ oriatur, quam multis sæculis fuerit visa,
non possum non maxime timere. Scripsit ad me his de rebus primus nuncius
ex Hispaniâ; et postea certiora de iisdem ex Reverendissimo et
Illustrissimo Farnesio cum huc transiret cognovi cui sententiam meam de
toto periculo exposui. Ego certe talem nunc video Ecclesiæ statum, ut si
unquam dixi ullâ in causâ cum Isaiâ, mitte me, nunc potius si rogarer
dicerem cum Mose, Dominus mitte quem missurus es."--_Epist. Reg. Pol._
Vol. II. p. 158.

[432] Account of the Muster of the Citizens of London in the
thirty-first Year of the Reign of King Henry VIII., communicated (for
the _Archæologia_), from the Records of the Corporation of London, by
Thomas Lott, Esq.

[433] Royal Proclamation: _Rolls House MS._ A 1, 10.

[434] In "Lusty Juventus" the Devil is introduced, saying,--

    "Oh, oh! full well I know the cause
     That my estimation doth thus decay:
     The old people would believe still in my laws,
     But the younger sort lead them a contrary way.
     They will not believe, they plainly say,
     In old traditions made by men;
     But they will live as the Scripture teacheth them."

  Hawkins's _Old Plays_, Vol. I. p. 152.


[435] "The king intended his loving subjects to use the commodity of the
reading of the Bible humbly, meekly, reverently, and obediently; and not
that any of them should read the said Bible with high and loud voices in
time of the celebration of the mass, and other divine services used in
the Church; or that any of his lay subjects should take upon them any
common disputation, argument, or exposition of the mysteries therein
contained."--Proclamation of the Use of the Bible: Burnet's
_Collectanea_, p. 138.

In a speech to the parliament Henry spoke also of the abuse of the
Bible: "I am very sorry to know and hear how unreverendly that most
precious jewel, the Word of God, is disputed, rhymed, sung, and jangled
in every alehouse and tavern. I am even as much sorry that the readers
of the same follow it in doing so faintly and coldly."--Hall, p. 866.

[436] The Bishop of Norwich wrote to Cromwell, informing him that he had
preached a sermon upon grace and free-will in his cathedral; "the next
day," he said, "one Robert Watson very arrogantly and in great fume came
to my lodgings for to reason with me in that matter, affirming himself
not a little to be offended with mine assertion of free will, saying he
would set his foot by mine, affirming to the death that there was no
such free will in man. Notwithstanding I had plainly declared it to be
of no strength, but only when holpen by the grace of God; by which his
ungodly enterprise, perceived and known of many, my estimation and
credence concerning the sincere preaching of the truth was like to
decay." The bishop went on to say that he had set Watson a day to answer
for "his temerarious opinions," and was obliged to call in a number of
the neighbouring county magistrates to enable him to hold his court, "on
account of the great number which then assembled as Watson's
fautors."--The Bishop of Norwich to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
first series, Vol. X.

[437] For instance, in Watson's case he seems to have rebuked the
bishop. Ibid.

[438] Very many complaints of parishioners on this matter remain among
the _State Papers_. The difficulty is to determine the proportion of
offenders (if they may be called such) to the body of the spiritualty.
The following petition to Cromwell, as coming from the collective
incumbents of a diocese, represents most curiously the perplexity of the
clergy in the interval between the alteration of the law and the
inhibition of their previous indulgences. The date is probably 1536. The
petition was in connexion with the commission of inquiry into the
general morality of the religious orders:--

"May it please your mastership, that when of late we, your poor orators
the clergy of the diocese of Bangor, were visited by the king's visitors
and yours, in the which visitation many of us (to knowledge the truth to
your mastership) be detected of incontinency, as it appeareth by the
visitors' books, and not unworthy, wherefore we humbly submit ourselves
unto your mastership's mercy, heartily desiring of you remission, or at
least wise of merciful punishment and correction, and also to invent
after your discreet wisdom some lawful and godly way for us your
aforesaid orators, that we may maintain and uphold such poor
hospitalities as we have done hitherto, most by provision of such women
as we have customably kept in our houses. For in case we be compelled to
put away such women, according to the injunctions lately given us by the
foresaid visitors, then shall we be fain to give up hospitality, to the
utter undoing of such servants and families as we daily keep, and to the
great loss and harms of the king's subjects, the poor people which were
by us relieved to the uttermost of our powers, and we ourselves shall be
driven to seek our living at alehouses and taverns, for mansions upon
the benefices and vicarages we have none. And as for gentlemen and
substantial honest men, for fear of inconvenience, knowing our frailty
and accustomed liberty, they will in no wise board us in their
houses."--Petition of the Clergy of Bangor to the Right Hon. Thomas
Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXVI.

[439] This story rests on the evidence of eye-witnesses.--Foxe, Vol. V.
p. 251, &c.

[440] The late parliament had become a byword among the Catholics and
reactionaries. Pole speaks of the "Conventus malignantium qui omnia illa
decreta contra Ecclesiæ unitatem fecit."--_Epist. Reg. Pol._ Vol. II. p.
46.

[441] "For your Grace's parliament I have appointed (for a crown
borough) your Grace's servant Mr. Morison, to be one of them. No doubt
he shall be able to answer or take up such as should crack on far with
literature of learning."--Cromwell to Henry VIII.: _State Papers_, Vol.
I. p. 603.

[442] Letter to Secretary Cromwell on the Election of the Knights of the
Shire for the County of Huntingdon: _Rolls House MS._

[443] Lady Blount to the King's Secretary: Ibid.

[444] The Earl of Southampton to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Cleopatra_, E 4.

[445] The two persons whom Cromwell had previously named.

[446] Letters of the Mayor of Canterbury to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper
Office_, second series, Vol. V.

In the first edition this affair is referred to the election of 1539. We
are left almost invariably to internal evidence to fix the dates of
letters, and finding the second of those written by the Mayor of
Canterbury, on this subject, addressed to Cromwell as Lord Privy Seal, I
supposed that it must refer to the only election conducted by him after
he was raised to that dignity. I have since ascertained that the first
letter, the cover of which I did not see, is addressed to Sir Thomas
Cromwell, chief secretary, &c. It bears the date of the 20th of May, and
though the year is not given, the difference of the two styles fixes it
to 1536. The election was conducted while Cromwell was a commoner. He
was made a peer and Privy Seal immediately on the meeting of parliament
on the 2d of July.

[447] Cromwell to Henry VIII.: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 693.

[448] "The King's Highness desiring that such a unity might be
established in all things touching the doctrine of Christ's religion, as
the same so being established might be to the honour of Almighty God,
and consequently redound to the commonwealth of this his Highness's most
noble realm, hath therefore caused his most High Court of Parliament to
be at this time summoned, and also a synod and convocation of all the
archbishops, bishops, and other learned men of the clergy of this his
realm to be in like manner assembled."--31 Henry VIII. cap. 14.

[449] "Post missarum solemnia, decenter ac devote celebrata, divinoque
auxilio humillimi implorato et invocato."--_Lords Journals_, 31 Henry
VIII.

[450] _Lords Journals_, 31 Henry VIII.

[451] A Device for extirpating Heresies among the People: _Rolls House
MS._

[452] "Nothing has yet been settled respecting the marriage of the
clergy, although some persons have very freely preached before the king
upon the subject."--John Butler to Conrad Pellican, March 8, 1539:
_Original Letters on the Reformation_, second series, p. 624.

[453] Lady Exeter was afterwards pardoned. Lady Salisbury's offences,
whatever they were, seem to have been known to the world, even before
Lord Southampton's visit of inspection to Warblington. The magistrates
of Stockton in Sussex sent up an account of examinations taken on the
13th of September, 1538, in which a woman is charged with having said,
"If so be that my Lady of Salisbury had been a young woman as she was an
old woman, the King's Grace and his council had burnt her."--_MS. State
Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXIX. The act of attainder has not
been printed (31 Henry VIII. cap. 15: _Rolls House MS._); so much of it,
therefore, as relates to these ladies is here inserted:--

"And where also Gertrude Courtenay, wife of the Lord Marquis of Exeter,
hath traitorously, falsely, and maliciously confederated herself to and
with the abominable traitor Nicholas Carew, knowing him to be a traitor
and a common enemy to his Highness and the realm of England; and hath
not only aided and abetted the said Nicholas Carew in his abominable
treasons, but also hath herself committed and perpetrated divers and
sundry detestable and abominable treasons to the fearful peril of his
Highness's royal person, and the loss and desolation of this realm of
England, if God of his goodness had not in due time brought the same
treason to knowledge:

"And where also Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, and Hugh Vaughan,
late of Bekener, in the county of Monmouth, yeoman, by instigation of
the devil, putting apart the dread of Almighty God, their duty of
allegiance, and the excellent benefits received of his Highness, have
not only traitorously confederated themselves with the false and
abominable traitors Henry Pole, Lord Montague, and Reginald Pole, sons
to the said countess, knowing them to be false traitors, but also have
maliciously aided, abetted, maintained, and comforted them in their said
false and abominable treason, to the most fearful peril of his Highness,
the commonwealth of this realm, &c., the said marchioness and the said
countess be declared attainted, and shall suffer the pains and penalties
of high treason." I find no account of Vaughan, or of the countess's
connexion with him. He was probably one of the persons employed to carry
letters to and from the cardinal.

[454] "Immediate post Billæ lectionem Dominus Cromwell palam ostendit
quandam tunicam ex albo serico confectam inventam inter linteamina
Comitissæ Sarum, in cujus parte anteriore existebant sola arma Angliæ;
in parte vero posteriore insignia illa quibus nuper rebelles in
aquilonari parte Angliæ in commotione suâ utebantur."--_Lords Journals_,
31 Henry VIII.

[455] In quoting the preambles of acts of parliament I do not attach to
them any peculiar or exceptional authority. But they are contemporary
statements of facts and intentions carefully drawn, containing an
explanation of the conduct of parliament and of the principal events of
the time. The explanation may be false, but it is at least possible that
it may be true; and my own conclusion is, that, on the whole, the
account to be gathered from this source is truer than any other at which
we are likely to arrive; that the story of the Reformation as read by
the light of the statute book is more intelligible and consistent than
any other version of it, doing less violence to known principles of
human nature, and bringing the conduct of the principal actors within
the compass of reason and probability. I have to say, further, that the
more carefully the enormous mass of contemporary evidence of another
kind is studied, documents, private and public letters, proclamations,
council records, state trials, and other authorities, the more they will
be found to yield to these preambles a steady support.

[456] 31 Henry VIII. cap. 8.

[457] The limitation which ought to have been made was in the time for
which these unusual powers should be continued; the bill, however, was
repealed duly in connexion with the treason acts and the other irregular
measures in this reign, as soon as the crisis had passed away, or when
those who were at the head of the state could no longer be trusted with
dangerous weapons.--See 1 Edward VI. cap. 7. The temporary character of
most of Henry's acts was felt, if it was not avowed. Sir Thomas Wyatt in
an address to the Privy Council, admitted to having said of the Act of
Supremacy, "that it was a goodly act, the King's Majesty being so
virtuous, so wise, so learned, and so good a prince; but if it should
fall unto an evil prince it were a sore rod:" and he added, "I suppose I
have not mis-said in that; for all powers, namely absolute, are sore
rods when they fall into evil men's hands."--Oration to the Council:
Nott's _Wyatt_, p. 304.

[458] The same expressions had been used of the Lollards a hundred and
fifty years before. The description applied absolutely to the
Anabaptists; and Oliver Cromwell had the same disposition to contend
against among the Independents. The least irregular of the Protestant
sects were tainted more or less with anarchical opinions.

[459] A considerable part of this address is in Henry's own handwriting
See Strype's _Memorials,_ Vol. II. p. 434.

[460] See Fuller, Vol. III. p. 411.

[461] 31 Henry VIII. cap. 9

[462] In some instances, if not in all, this was actually the case.--See
the Correspondence between Cromwell and the Prior of Christ Church at
Canterbury: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series.

[463] Oxford, Peterborough, Bristol, Gloucester, Chester, and
Westminster.

[464] Canterbury, Winchester, Ely, Norwich, Worcester, Rochester,
Durham, and Carlisle.

[465] "Per Dominum cancellarium declaratum est quod cum non solum
proceres spirituales verum etiam regia majestas ad unionem in
precedentibus articulis conficiendam multipliciter studuerunt et
laboraverunt ita ut nunc unio in eisdem confecta sit regia igitur
voluntatis esse ut penale aliquod statutum efficeretur ad coercendum
suos subditos, ne contra determinationem in eisdem articulis confectam
contradicerent, aut dissentirent, verum ejus majestatem proceribus
formam hujusmodi malefactorum hujusmodi committere. Itaque ex eorum
communi consensu concordatum est quod Archiepiscopus Cant., Episcopus
Elien., Episcopus Menevensis et Doctor Peter, unam formam cujusdam
actus, concernentem Punitionem hujusmodi malefactorum dictarent et
componerent similiterque quod Archiepisc. Ebor., Episc. Dunelm., Episc.
Winton et Doctor Tregonwell alteram ejusmodi effectus dictitarent et
componerent formam."--_Lords Journals_, 31 Henry VIII.

[466] Foxe's rhetoric might be suspected, but a letter of Melancthon to
Henry VIII. is a more trustworthy evidence: "Oh, cursed bishops!" he
exclaims; "oh, wicked Winchester!"--Melancthon to Henry VIII.: printed
in Foxe, Vol. V.

[467] "The judge shall be bounden, if it be demanded of him, to deliver
in writing to the party called before him, the copy of the matter
objected, and the names and depositions of the witnesses ... and in such
case, as the party called answereth and denyeth that that is objected,
and that no proof can be brought against him but the deposition of one
witness only, then and in that case, be that witness never of so great
honesty and credit, the same party so called shall be without longer
delay absolved and discharged by the judge's sentence freely without
further cost or molestation."--The Six Articles Bill as drawn by the
King: Wilkins's _Consilia_, Vol. III. p. 848.

[468] Act for Abolishing Diversity of Opinions: 31 Henry VIII. cap. 14.

[469] Printed in Strype's _Cranmer_, Vol. II. p. 743.

[470] Philip Melancthon to Henry VIII., Foxe, Vol. V.

[471] Foxe, Vol. V. p. 265.

[472] Hall's _Chronicle_, p. 828. Hall is a good evidence on this point.
He was then a middle-aged man, resident in London, with clear eyes and a
shrewd, clear head, and was relating not what others told him, but what
he actually saw.

[473] In Latimer's case, against Henry's will, or without his knowledge.
Cromwell, either himself deceived or desiring to smooth the storm, told
Latimer that the king advised his resignation; "which his Majesty
afterwards denied, and pitied his condition."--_State Papers_, Vol. I.
p. 849.

[474] Hall.

[475] Notes of Erroneous Doctrines preached at Paul's Cross by the Vicar
of Stepney: _MS. Rolls House_.

[476] Henry Dowes to Cromwell: Ellis, third series, Vol. III. p. 258.

[477] Richard Cromwell to Lord Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. VII. p. 188.

[478] More's _Utopia_, Burnet's translation, p. 13.

[479] Respectable authorities, as most of my readers are doubtless
aware, inform us that seventy-two thousand criminals were executed in
England in the reign of Henry VIII. Historians who are accustomed to
examine their materials critically, have usually learnt that no
statements must be received with so much caution as those which relate
to numbers. Grotius gives, in a parallel instance, the number of
heretics executed under Charles V. in the Netherlands as a hundred
thousand. The Prince of Orange gives them as fifty thousand. The
authorities are admirable, though sufficiently inconsistent, while the
judicious Mr. Prescott declares both estimates alike immeasurably beyond
the truth. The entire number of victims destroyed by Alva in the same
provinces by the stake, by the gallows, and by wholesale massacre,
amount, when counted carefully in detail, to twenty thousand only. The
persecutions under Charles, in a serious form, were confined to the
closing years of his reign. Can we believe that wholesale butcheries
were passed by comparatively unnoticed by any one at the time of their
perpetration, more than doubling the atrocities which startled
subsequently the whole world? Laxity of assertion in matters of number
is so habitual as to have lost the character of falsehood. Men not
remarkably inaccurate will speak of thousands, and, when
cross-questioned, will rapidly reduce them to hundreds, while a single
cipher inserted by a printer's mistake becomes at once a tenfold
exaggeration. Popular impressions on the character of the reign of Henry
VIII. have, however, prevented inquiry into any statement which reflects
discredit upon this; the enormity of an accusation has passed for an
evidence of its truth. Notwithstanding that until the few last years of
the king's life no felon who could read was within the grasp of the law,
notwithstanding that sanctuaries ceased finally to protect murderers six
years only before his death, and that felons of a lighter cast might use
their shelter to the last,--even those considerable facts have created
no misgiving, and learned and ignorant historians alike have repeated
the story of the 72,000 with equal confidence.

I must be permitted to mention the evidence, the single evidence, on
which it rests.

The first English witness is Harrison, the author of the _Description of
Britain_ prefixed to Hollinshed's _Chronicle_. Harrison, speaking of the
manner in which thieves had multiplied in England from laxity of
discipline, looks back with a sigh to the golden days of King Hal, and
adds, "It appeareth by Cardan, who writeth it upon report of the Bishop
of Lexovia, in the geniture of King Edward the Sixth, that his father,
executing his laws very severely against great thieves, petty thieves,
and rogues, did hang up three score and twelve thousand of them."

I am unable to discover "the Bishop of Lexovia;" but, referring to the
_Commentaries_ of Jerome Cardan, p. 412, I find a calculation of the
horoscope of Edward VI., containing, of course, the marvellous legend of
his birth, and after it this passage:--

"Having spoken of the son, we will add also the scheme of his father,
wherein we chiefly observe three points. He married six wives; he
divorced two; he put two to death. Venus being in conjunction with
Cauda, Lampas partook of the nature of Mars; Luna in occiduo cardine was
among the dependencies of Mars; and Mars himself was in the ill-starred
constellation Virgo and in the quadrant of Jupiter Infelix. Moreover, he
quarrelled with the Pope, owing to the position of Venus and to
influences emanating from her. He was affected also by a constellation
with schismatic properties, and by certain eclipses, and hence and from
other causes, arose a fact related to me by the Bishop of Lexovia,
namely, that two years before his death as many as seventy thousand
persons were found to have perished by the hand of the executioner in
that one island during his reign."

The words of some unknown foreign ecclesiastic discovered imbedded in
the midst of this abominable nonsense, and transmitted through a brain
capable of conceiving and throwing it into form, have been considered
authority sufficient to cast a stigma over one of the most remarkable
periods in English history, while the contemporary English Records, the
actual reports of the judges on assize, which would have disposed
effectually of Cardan and his bishop, have been left unstudied in their
dust.

[480] As we saw recently in the complaints of the Marquis of Exeter. But
in this general sketch I am giving the result of a body of
correspondence too considerable to quote.

[481] In healthier times the Pope had interfered. A bull of Innocent
VIII. permitted felons repeating their crimes, or fraudulent creditors,
to be taken forcibly out of sanctuary.--Wilkins's _Concilia_, Vol. III.
p. 621.

[482] The Magistrates of Frome to Sir Henry Long: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B
1, 102. Mr. Justice Fitzjames to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. XI. p. 43.

[483] The letter which I quote is addressed to Cromwell as "My Lord
Privy Seal," and dated July 17. Cromwell was created privy seal on the
2d of July, 1536, and Earl of Essex on the 17th of April, 1540. There is
no other guide to the date.

[484] The Magistrates of Chichester to my Lord Privy Seal: _MS. State
Paper Office_, second series, Vol. X.

[485] 23 Henry VIII. cap. 1.

[486] Humfrey Wingfield to my Lord Privy Seal: _MS. State Paper Office_,
second series, Vol. LI.

[487] Richard Layton to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. XX.

[488] _MS. State Paper Office_, second series.

[489] Correspondence of the Warden and Council of the Welsh Marches with
the Lord Privy Seal: _MS. State Paper Office_, second series.

[490] _MS. Rolls House_, first series, 494.

[491] At the execution, Latimer's chaplain, Doctor Tailor, preached a
sermon. Among the notes of the proceedings I find a certain Miles
Denison called up for disrespectful language.

"The said Miles did say: The bishop sent one yesterday for to preach at
the gallows, and there stood upon the vicar's colt and made a foolish
sermon of the new learning, looking over the gallows. I would the colt
had winced and cast him down."--"Also during the sermon he did say, I
would he were gone, and I were at my dinner."--_MS. State Paper Office._

[492] Sir Thomas Willoughby to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1, 386.

[493] The Sheriff of Hampshire to Cromwell: _MS. State Paper Office_,
first series, Vol. IX.

[494] The traditions of severity connected with this reign are explained
by these exceptional efforts of rigour. The years of licence were
forgotten; the seasons recurring at long intervals, when the executions
might be counted by hundreds, lived in recollection, and when three or
four generations had passed, became the measure of the whole period.

[495] "These three abbots had joined in a conspiracy to restore the
Pope."--Traherne to Bullinger: _Original Letters on the Reformation_,
second series, p. 316.

[496] "Yesterday I was with the Abbot of Colchester, who asked me how
the Abbot of St. Osith did as touching his house; for the bruit was the
king would have it. To the which I answered, that he did like an honest
man, for he saith, I am the king's subject, and I and my house and all
is the king's; wherefore, if it be the king's pleasure, I, as a true
subject, shall obey without grudge. To the which the abbot answered, the
king shall never have my house but against my will and against my heart;
for I know, by my learning, he cannot take it by right and law.
Wherefore, in my conscience, I cannot be content; nor he shall never
have it with my heart and will. To the which I said beware of such
learning; for if ye hold such learning as ye learned in Oxenford when ye
were young ye will be hanged; and ye are worthy. But I will advise you
to confirm yourself as a good subject, or else you shall hinder your
brethren and also yourself."--Sir John St. Clair to the Lord Privy Seal:
_MS. State Paper Office_, second series, Vol. XXXVIII. The abbot did not
take the advice, but ventured more dangerous language.

"The Abbot of Colchester did say that the northern men were good men and
_mokell_ in the mouth, and 'great crackers' and nothing worth in their
deeds." "Further, the said abbot said, at the time of the insurrection,
'I would to Christ that the rebels in the north had the Bishop of
Canterbury, the lord chancellor, and the lord privy seal amongst them,
and then I trust we should have a merry world again.'"--Deposition of
Edmund ----: _Rolls House MS._ second series, No. 27.

But the abbot must have committed himself more deeply, or have refused
to retract and make a submission; for I find words of similar purport
sworn against other abbots, who suffered no punishment.

[497] _Lords Journals_, 28 Henry VIII.

[498] "The Abbot of Glastonbury appeareth neither then nor now to have
known God nor his prince, nor any part of a good Christian man's
religion. They be all false, feigned, flattering hypocrite knaves, as
undoubtedly there is none other of that sort."--Layton to Cromwell:
Ellis, third series, Vol. III. p. 247.

[499] Confession of the Abbot of Barlings: _MS. Cotton. Cleopatra_, E 4.

[500] "And for as much as experience teacheth that many of the heads of
such houses, notwithstanding their oaths, taken upon the holy
evangelists, to present to such the King's Majesty's commissioners as
have been addressed unto them, true and perfect inventories of all
things belonging to their monasteries, many things have been left out,
embezzled, stolen, and purloined--many rich jewels, much rich plate,
great store of precious ornaments, and sundry other things of great
value and estimation, to the damage of the King's Majesty, and the great
peril and danger of their own souls, by reason of their wilful and
detestable perjury; the said commissioners shall not only at every such
house examine the head and convent substantially, of all such things so
concealed or unlawfully alienated, but also shall give charge to all the
ministers and servants of the same houses, and such of the neighbours
dwelling near about them as they shall think meet, to detect and open
all such things as they have known or heard to have been that way
misused, to the intent the truth of all things may the better appear
accordingly."--Instructions to the Monastic Commissioners: _MS. Tanner_,
105, _Bodleian Library_.

[501] Pollard, Moyle, and Layton to Cromwell: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p.
499.

[502] Pollard, Moyle, and Layton to Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. I. p.
619.

[503] Ibid. 621.

[504] Butler, Elliot, and Traherne to Conrad Pellican: _Original
Letters_, second series, p. 624.

[505] Thomas Perry to Ralph Vane: Ellis, second series, Vol. II. p. 140.

[506] I should have distrusted the evidence, on such a point, of excited
Protestants (see _Original Letters on the Reformation_, p. 626), who
could invent and exaggerate as well as their opponents; but the promise
of these indulgences was certainly made, and Charles V. prohibited the
publication of the brief containing it in Spain or Flanders. "The
Emperor," wrote Cromwell to Henry, "hath not consented that the Pope's
mandament should be published neither in Spain, neither in any other his
dominions, that Englishmen should be destroyed in body, in goods,
wheresoever they could be found, as the Pope would they should
be."--_State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 608.

[507] _MS. Cotton._

[508] Lord Russell to Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Cleopatra_, E 4.

[509] Ibid.

[510] Pollard to Cromwell: _Suppression of the Monasteries_, p. 261.

[511] Henry Fitz Roy, Duke of Richmond, died July 22, 1536.

[512] "Animadvertens sua clementia quod maxime hoc convenerat
parliamentum pro bono totius Regni publico et concordiâ Christianæ
religionis stabiliendà non tam cito quam propter rei magnitudinem quæ
non solum regnum ipsum Angliæ concernit verum etiam alia regna et
universi Christianismi Ecclesias quantumvis diversarum sententiarum quæ
in eam rem oculos et animum habebant intentos, sua Majestas putavit tam
propriâ suâ regiâ diligentiâ et studio quam etiam episcoporum et cleri
sui sedulitate rem maturius consultandam, tractandam et
deliberandam."--Speech of the Lord Chancellor at the Prorogation: _Lords
Journals_, Vol. I. p. 137.

[513] Brother of Jane Seymour; afterwards Protector.

[514] "I am as glad of the good resolutions of the Duke of Cleves, his
mother, and council, as ever I was of anything since the birth of the
prince: for I think the King's Highness should not in Christendom marry
in no place meet for his Grace's honour that should be less prejudicial
to his Majesty's succession."--Hertford to Cromwell: Ellis, first
series, Vol. II. p. 119.

[515] "I find the council willing enough to publish and manifest to the
world that by any covenants made by the old Duke of Cleves and the Duke
of Lorraine, my Lady Anne is not bounden; but ever hath been and yet is
at her free liberty to marry wherever she will."--Wotton to the King:
Ellis, first series, Vol. II. p. 121.

[516] Ellis, first series, Vol. II. p. 121.

[517] "The Duke of Cleves hath a daughter, but I hear no great praise,
either of her personage nor beauty."--Hutton to Cromwell: _State
Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 5.

[518] Stow.

[519] Butler to Bullinger: _Original Letters on the Reformation_, p.
627.

[520] Partridge to Bullinger: Ibid. 614.

[521] The Elector of Saxony to Henry VIII.: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol.
II. p. 437.

[522] See a correspondence between Cranmer and a Justice of the Peace,
Jenkins's _Cranmer_, Vol. I.

[523] "I would to Christ I had obeyed your often most gracious grave
councils and advertisements. Then it had not been with me as now it
is."--Cromwell to the King: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 510.

[524] _MS. Cotton. Cleopatra_, E 4.

[525] He required, probably, no information that his enemies would spare
no means, fair or foul, for his destruction. But their plots and
proceedings had been related to him two years before by his friend
Allen, the Irish Master of the Rolls, in a report of expressions which
had been used by George Paulet, brother of the lord treasurer, and one
of the English commissioners at Dublin. Cromwell, it seems, had
considered that estates in Ireland forfeited for treason, or
non-residence, would be disposed of better if granted freely to such
families as had remained loyal, than if sold for the benefit of the
crown. Speaking of this matter, "The king," Paulet said, "beknaveth
Cromwell twice a week, and would sometimes knock him about the pate. He
draws every day towards his death, and escaped very hardly at the last
insurrection. He is the greatest briber in England, and that is espied
well enough. The king has six times as much revenues as ever any of his
noble progenitors had, and all is consumed and gone to nought by means
of my Lord Privy Seal, who ravens all that he can get. After all the
king's charges to recover this land, he is again the only means to cause
him to give away his revenues; and it shall be beaten into the king's
head how his treasure has been needlessly wasted and consumed, and his
profits and revenues given away by sinister means." "Cromwell," Paulet
added, "has been so handled and taunted by the council in these matters,
as he is weary of them; but I will so work my matter, as the king shall
be informed of every penny that he hath spent here; and when that great
expence is once in his head, it shall never be forgotten there is one
good point. And then I will inform him how he hath given away to one man
seven hundred marks by the year. And then will the king swear by God's
body, have I spent so much money and now have given away my land? There
was never a king so deceived by man. I will hit him by means of my
friends."--_State Papers_, Vol. II. p. 551. It is not clear how much is
to be believed of Paulet's story so far as relates to the king's
treatment of Cromwell. The words were made a subject of an inquiry
before Sir Anthony St. Leger; and Paulet meant, it seemed, that the
"beknaving and knocking about the pate" took place in private before no
witnesses; so that, if true, it could only have been known by the
acknowledgments of the king or of Cromwell himself. But the character of
the intrigues for Cromwell's destruction is made very plain.

[526] Foxe's _History of Cromwell_.

[527] A paper of ten interrogatories is in the Rolls House, written in
Cromwell's hand, addressed to a Mr. John More. More's opinion was
required on the supremacy, and among the questions asked him were
these:--

What communication hath been between you and the Bishop of Winchester
touching the primacy of the Bishop of Rome?

What answers the said Bishop made unto you upon such questions as ye did
put to him?

Whether ye have heard the said Bishop at any time in any evil opinion
contrary to the statutes of the realm, concerning the primacy of the
Bishop of Rome or any other foreign potentate?--_Rolls House MS._ A 2,
30, fol. 67.

In another collection I found a paper of Mr. More's answers; but it
would seem (unless the MS. is imperfect) that he replied only to the
questions which affected himself. The following passage, however, is
curious: "The cause why I demanded the questions (on the primacy) of my
Lord of Winchester was for that I heard it, as I am now well remembered,
much spoken of in the parliament house, and taken among many there to be
a doubt as ye, Mr. Secretary, well know. And for so much as I esteemed
my lord's wisdom and learning to be such, that I thought I would not be
better answered, because I heard you, Mr. Secretary, say he was much
affectionate to the Papacy."--_Rolls House MS._ first series, 863.

[528] "The Bishop of Winchester was put out of the Privy Council,
because my Lord Privy Seal took displeasure with him because he should
say it was not meet that Dr. Barnes, being a man defamed of heresy,
should be sent ambassador. Touching the Bishop of Chichester there was
not heard any cause why he was put forth from the Privy
Council."--Depositions of Christopher Chator: _Rolls House MS._ first
series.

[529] "Then said Craye to me, there was murmuring and saying by the
progress of time that my Lord Privy Seal should be out of favour with
his prince. Marry, said I, I heard of such a thing. I heard at Woodstock
of one Sir Launcelot Thornton, a chaplain of the Bishop of Durham, who
shewed me that the Earl of Hampton, Sir William Kingston, and Sir
Anthony Brown were all joined together, and would have had my Lord of
Durham to have had rule and chief saying under the King's Highness. Then
said Craye to me, It was evil doing of my lord your master that would
not take it upon hand, for he might have amended many things that were
amiss; for, if the Bishop of Winchester might have had the saying, he
would have taken it upon hand. Well, said I, my lord my master is too
good a lawyer, knowing by his book the inconstancy of princes, where
there is a text that saith: Lubricus est primus locus apud
Reges."--_MS._ ibid.

[530] "There was an honest man in London called Dr. Watts, which
preacheth much against heresy; and this Dr. Watts was called before my
Lord of Canterbury, and Dr. Barnes should be either his judge or his
accuser."--_Rolls House MS._, first series.

[531] "There was an alderman in Gracechurch-street that came to my Lord
of Canterbury, and one with him, and said to my Lord of Canterbury:
Please your Grace that we are informed that your Grace hath our master
Watts by hold. And if it be for treason we will not speak for him, but
if it be for heresy or debt we will be bound for him in a thousand
pound; for there was ten thousand of London coming to your lordship to
be bound for him, but that we stayed them."--_MS._ ibid.

[532] Butler to Bullinger: _Original Letters on the Reformation_, p.
627.

[533] "As to the matter concerning the Duchess of Milan, when his
Highness had heard it, he paused a good while, and at the last said,
smiling, 'Have they remembered themselves now?' To the which I said,
'Sir, we that be your servants are much bound to God, they to woo you
whom ye have wooed so long.' He answered coldly: 'They that would not
when they might, percase shall not when they would.'"--Southampton to
Cromwell, Sept. 17, 1539: _State Papers_, Vol. I.

[534] "There should be three causes why the Emperor should come into
these parts--the one for the mutiny of certain cities which were dread
in time to allure and stir all or the more part of the other cities to
the like; the second, for the alliance which the King's Majesty hath
made with the house of Cleves, which he greatly stomacheth; the third,
for the confederacy, as they here call it, between his Majesty and the
Almayns. The fear which the Emperor hath of these three things hath
driven him to covet much the French king's amity."--Stephen Vaughan to
Cromwell: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 203.

[535] "There is great suspicion and jealousy to be taken to see these
two great princes so familiar together, and to go conjointly in secret
practices, in which the Bishop of Rome seemeth to be intelligent, who
hath lately sent his nephew, Cardinal Farnese, to be present at the
parlement of the said princes in France. The contrary part cannot brook
the King's Majesty and the Almains to be united together, which is no
small fear and terror as well to Imperials as the Papisticals, and no
marvel if they fury, fearing thereby some great ruin."--Harvel to
Cromwell from Venice, December 9.

[536] _Epist. Reginaldi Poli_, Vol. V. p. 150. In this paper Pole says
that the Duke of Norfolk stated to the king, in a despatch from
Doncaster, when a battle seemed imminent, "that his troops could not be
trusted, their bodies were with the king, but their minds with the
rebels." His information was, perhaps, derived from his brother
Geoffrey, who avowed an intention of deserting.

[537] "The said Helyard said to me that the Emperor was come into
France, and should marry the king's daughter; and the Duke of Orleans
should marry the Duchess of Milan, and all this was by the Bishop of
Rome's means; and they were all confedered together, and as for the
Scottish king, he was always the French king's man, and we shall all be
undone, for we have no help now but the Duke of Cleves, and they are so
poor they cannot help us."--Depositions of Christopher Chator: _Rolls
House MS._ first series.

[538] Sir Thos. Wyatt to Henry VIII.: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 219
&c.

[539] Southampton's expressions were unfortunately warm. Mentioning a
conversation with the German ambassadors, in which he had spoken of his
anxiety for the king's marriage, "so as if God failed us in my Lord
Prince, we might have another sprung of like descent and line to reign
over us in peace," he went on to speak to them of the other ladies whom
the king might have had if he had desired; "but hearing," he said,
"great report of the notable virtues of my lady now with her excellent
beauty, _such as I well perceive to be no less than was reported, in
very deed my mind gave me to lean that way_." These words, which might
have passed as unmeaning compliment, had they been spoken merely to the
lady's countrymen, he repeated in his letters to the king, who of course
construed them by his hopes.

[540] Deposition of Sir Anthony Brown: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p.
252, &c.

[541] Those who insist that Henry was a licentious person, must explain
how it was that, neither in the three years which had elapsed since the
death of Jane Seymour, nor during the more trying period which followed,
do we hear a word of mistresses, intrigues, or questionable or criminal
connexions of any kind. The mistresses of princes are usually visible
when they exist, the mistresses, for instance, of Francis I., of Charles
V., of James of Scotland. There is a difficulty in this which should be
admitted, if it cannot be explained.

[542] Deposition of Sir Anthony Denny: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II.

[543] Cromwell to the King: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 109.

[544] Deposition of the Earl of Southampton: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol.
II.

[545] Questions to be asked of the Lord Cromwell: _MS. Cotton. Titus_, B
1, 418.

[546] Compare Cromwell's Letter to the King from the Tower, Burnet's
_Collectanea_, p. 109, with Questions to be asked of the Lord Cromwell:
_MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1, 418. Wyatt's report of his interview and the
Emperor's language could not have arrived till the week after. But the
fact of Charles's arrival with Brancetor in his train, was already known
and was sufficiently alarming.

[547] Cromwell to the King: Burnet's _Collectanea_. The morning after
his marriage, and on subsequent occasions, the king made certain
depositions to his physicians and to members of the council, which I
invite no one to study except under distinct historical obligations. The
facts are of great importance. But discomfort made Henry unjust; and
when violently irritated he was not careful of his expressions.--See
Documents relating to the Marriage with Anne of Cleves: Strype's
_Memorials_, Vol. II.

[548] Hall.

[549] The discharge of heretics from prison by an undue interference
formed one of the most violent accusations against Cromwell. He was,
perhaps, held responsible for the general pardon in the summer of 1539.
The following letter, however, shows something of his own immediate
conduct, and of the confidence with which the Protestants looked to him.

"God save the king.

"Thanks immortal from the Father of Heaven unto your most prudent and
honourable lordship, for your mercy, and pity, and great charity that
your honourable lordship has had on your poor and true orator Henry
King, that almost was in prison a whole year, rather of pure malice and
false suspicion than of any just offence committed by your said orator,
to be so long in prison without any mercy, pity, or succour of meat and
drink, and all your said orator's goods taken from him. Moreover,
whereas your said orator did of late receive a letter from your most
honourable lordship by the hands of the Bishop of Worcester, that your
said orator should receive again such goods as was wrongfully taken from
your said orator of Mr. George Blunt (the committing magistrate
apparently); thereon your said orator went unto the said George Blunt
with your most gentle letter, to ask such poor goods as the said George
Blunt did detain from your poor orator; and so with great pain and much
entreating your said orator, within the space of three weeks, got some
part of his goods, but the other part he cannot get. Therefore, except
now your most honourable lordship, for Jesus sake, do tender and
consider with the eye of pity and mercy the long imprisonment, the
extreme poverty of your said orator, your said orator is clean undone in
this world. For where your said orator had money, and was full
determined to send for his capacity, all is spent in prison, and more.
Therefore, in fond humility your said orator meekly, with all obedience,
puts himself wholly into the hands of your honourable lordship, desiring
you to help your orator to some succour and living now in his extreme
necessity and need; the which is not only put out of his house, but also
all his goods almost spent in prison, so that now the weary life of your
said orator stands only in your discretion. Therefore, _exaudi preces
servi tui_, and Almighty God increase your most honourable lordship in
virtue and favour as he did merciful Joseph to his high honour Amen.
Your unfeigned and true orator _ut supra_. Beatus qui intelligit super
egenum et pauperem. In die malâ liberabit eum Dominus."--_MS. State
Paper Office_, Vol. IX. first series.

[550] Traheron to Bullinger: _Original Letters_, p. 316; Hall, p. 837.

[551] Foxe, Vol. V. p. 431.

[552] Hall, p. 837.

[553] "The bishop was ably answered by Dr. Barnes on the following
Lord's-day, with the most gratifying and all but universal
applause."--Traheron to Bullinger: _Original Letters_, p. 317.

[554] Wyatt to Henry VIII.: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 240, &c.

[555] Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk: _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p.
245, &c. Henry held out a further inducement. "If the duke shall see the
French king persevere in his good mind and affection towards the King's
Highness, he shall yet further of himself say that his opinion is, and
in his mind he thinketh undoubtedly that in such a case as that a new
strait amity might now be made between the French king and the king his
master, his Majesty would be content to remit unto him the one half of
his debt to his Highness, the sum whereof is very great; and also the
one half of the pensions for term of the said French king's life, so as
it may please him to declare what honourable reciproque he could be
content to offer again to his Majesty."--_State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p.
251.

[556] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 318. The Queen of Navarre, who was
constant to the English interests, communicated to the secretary of Sir
John Wallop (the resident minister at Paris), an account of a
conversation between herself and the Papal nuntio.

Ferrara had prayed her "to help and put her good hand and word that the
French king might join the Emperor and his master for the wars against
the Almayns and the King of England, which king was but a man lost and
cast away."

"Why, M. l'Ambassadeur," the queen answered, "what mean you by that? how
and after what sort do you take the King of England?"--"Marry," quoth
he, "for a heretic and a Lutheryan. Moreover, he doth make himself head
of the Church."--"Do you say so?" quoth she. "Now I would to God that
your master, the Emperor, and we here, did live after so good and godly
a sort as he and his doth." The nuntio answered, "the king had pulled
down the abbeys," "trusting by the help of God it should be reformed or
it were long." She told him that were easier to say than to do. England
had had time to prepare, and to transport an army across the Channel was
a difficult affair. Ferrara said, "It could be landed in
Scotland."--"The King of Scotland," she replied, "would not stir without
permission from France;" and then (if her account was true) she poured
out a panegyric upon the Reformation in England, and spoke out plainly
on the necessity of the same thing in the Church of Rome. _State
Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 289, &c.

[557] Hall, p. 839. The case broke down, and Sampson was afterwards
restored to favour; but his escape was narrow. Sir Ralph Sadler, writing
to Cromwell, said, "I declared to the King's Majesty how the Bishop of
Chichester was committed to ward to the Tower, and what answer he made
to such things as were laid to his charge, which in effect was a plain
denial of the chief points that touched him. His Majesty said little
thereto, but that he liked him and the matter much the worse because he
denied it, seeing his Majesty perceived by the examinations there were
witnesses enough to condemn him in that point."--_State Papers_, Vol. I.
p. 627.

[558] The Bishop of Chichester to Cromwell: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol.
II. p. 381.

[559] Another instance of Tunstall's underhand dealing had come to
light. When he accepted the oath of supremacy, and agreed to the divorce
of Queen Catherine, he entered a private protest in the Register Book of
Durham, which was afterwards cut out by his chancellor. Christopher
Chator, whose curious depositions I have more than once quoted, mentions
this piece of evasion, and adds a further feature of some interest.
Relating a conversation which he had held with a man called Craye,
Chator says, "We had in communication the Bishop of Rochester and Sir
Thomas More attainted of treason. Craye said to me he marvelled that
they were put to death for such small trespasses; to whom I answered
that their foolish conscience was so to die. Then I shewed him of one
Burton, my Lord of Durham's servant, that told me he came to London when
the Bishop of Rochester and Thomas More were endangered, and the said
More asked Burton, 'Will not thy master come to us and be as we are?'
and he said he could not tell. Then said More, 'If he do, no force, for
if he live he may do more good than to die with us.'"--_Rolls House MS._
first series.

[560] _Lords Journals_, 32 Henry VIII.

[561] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 1.

[562] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 2.

[563] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 3. "Many goes oft begging," "and it causeth
much robbing."--Deposition of Christopher Chator. Here is a special
picture of one of these vagabonds. Gregory Cromwell, writing to his
father from Lewes, says, "The day of making hereof came before us a
fellow called John Dancy, being apparelled in a frieze coat, a pair of
black hose, with fustian slops, having also a sword, a buckler, and a
dagger; being a man of such port, fashion, and behaviour that we at
first took him only for a vagabond, until such time as he, being
examined, confessed himself to have been heretofore a priest, and
sometime a monk of this monastery."--_MS. State Paper Office_, second
series, Vol. VII.

[564] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 12.

[565] _Lords Journals_, 31 Henry VIII.

[566] It was so difficult to calculate at the time the amount likely to
be raised by this method of taxation, or the degree in which it would
press, that it is impossible at present even to guess reasonably on
either of these points. In 1545, two fifteenths and tenths which were
granted by parliament are described as extending to "a right small sum
of money," and a five per cent. income tax was in consequence added.--37
Henry VIII. cap. 25. Aliens and clergy generally paid double, and on the
present occasion the latter granted four shillings in the pound on their
incomes, to be paid in two years, or a direct annual tax of ten per
cent.--32 Henry VIII. cap. 13. But all estimates based on conjecture
ought to be avoided.

[567] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 50.

[568] Ibid. cap. 57. Unprinted _Rolls House MS._

[569] "Hodie lecta est Billa attincturæ Ricardi Fetherstone, etc.; et
communi omnium Procerum assensu nemine discrepante expedita."--_Lords
Journals_, 32 Henry VIII.

[570] Stow.

[571] The Ladies Rutland, Rochford, and Edgecombe, all being together
with the queen, "they wished her Grace with child, and she answered and
said she knew well she was not with child. My Lady Edgecombe said, 'How
is it possible for your Grace to know that?' 'I know it well I am not,'
said she. Then said my Lady Edgecombe, 'I think your Grace is a maid
still.' With that she laughed; 'How can I be a maid,' said she, 'and
sleep every night with the king? When he comes to bed he kisses me, and
takes me by the hand, and bids me "Good night, sweetheart;" and in the
morning kisses me, and bids me "Farewell, darling." Is not this enough?'
Then said my Lady Rutland, 'Madame, there must be more than this, or it
will be long or we have a Duke of York, which all this realm most
desireth.' 'Nay,' said the queen, 'I am contented I know no
more.'"--Deposition on the Marriage of the Lady Anne of Cleves: Strype's
_Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 462.

[572] Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. I. p. 556.

[573] Cromwell to the King: Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 109.

[574] The Letter sent to Cromwell is printed in _State Papers_, Vol. I.
p. 628.

[575] Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. II. p. 459.

[576] _MSS. State Paper Office_, second series, 52 volumes.

[577] Lady Elizabeth Burgh's letter to him will show the character of
interference which he was called upon to exercise: "My very good lord,
most humbly I beseech your goodness to me your poor bounden bedewoman,
considering the great trouble I am put unto by my Lord Burgh, who always
hath lien in wait to put me to shame and trouble, which he shall never
do, God willing, you being my good and gracious lord, as I have found
you merciful to me ever hitherto; and so I most humbly beseech you of
your good continuance, desiring now your good lordship to remember me,
for I am comfortless, and as yet not out of the danger of death through
the great travail that I had. For I am as yet as a prisoner comfortless,
only trusting to your lordship's goodness and to the King's Grace's most
honourable council. For I hear say my Lord Burgh hath complained on me
to your lordship and to all the noble council; and has enformed your
lordship and them all that the child that I have borne and so dearly
bought is none of his son's my husband. As for me, my very good lord, I
do protest afore God, and also shall receive him to my eternal
damnation, if ever I designed for him with any creature living, but only
with my husband; therefore now I most lamentably and humbly desire your
lordship of your goodness to stay my Lord Burgh that he do not fulfil
his diabolical mind to disinherit my husband's child.

"And thus am I ordered by my Lord Burgh and my husband (who dare do
nothing but as his father will have him do), so that I have nothing left
to help me now in my great sickness, but am fain to lay all that I have
to gage, so that I have nothing left to help myself withal, and might
have perished ere this time for lack of succour, but through the
goodness of the gentleman and his wife which I am in house withal.
Therefore I most humbly desire your lordship to have pity on me, and
that through your only goodness ye will cause my husband to use me like
his wife, and no otherwise than I have deserved; and to send me money,
and to pay such debts as I do owe by reason of my long being sick, and I
shall pray for your lordship daily to increase in honour to your noble
heart's desire. Scribbled with the hand of your bounden bedewoman,
Elizabeth Burgh." _MS. State Paper Office_, first series, Vol. XIII.

I should have been glad to have added a more remarkable letter from Lady
Hungerford, who was locked up by her husband in a country house for four
years, and "would have died for lack of sustenance," "had not," she
wrote, "the poor women of the country brought me, to my great window in
the night, such poor meat and drink as they had, and gave me for the
love of God." But the letter contains other details not desirable to
publish.--_MS. Cotton. Titus_, B 1, 397.

[578] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 349.

[579] "His Majesty remembering how men wanting the knowledge of the
truth would else speak diversely of it, considering the credit he hath
had about his Highness, which might also cause the wisest sort to judge
amiss thereof if that his ingratitude and treason should not be fully
opened unto them."--Ibid. The opening sentences of the letter (it was
evidently a circular) also deserve notice: "These shall be to advertize
you that when the King's Majesty hath of long season travelled, and yet
most godly travaileth to establish such an order in matters of religion
as neither declining on the right hand or on the left hand, God's glory
might be advanced, the temerity of such as would either obscure or
refuse the truth of his Word refrained, stayed, and in cases of
obstinacy duly corrected and punished; so it is that the Lord Privy
Seal, to whom the King's Majesty hath been so special good and gracious
a lord, hath, only out of his sensual appetite, wrought clean contrary
to his Grace's intent, secretly and indirectly advancing the one of the
extremes, and leaving the mean, indifferent, true, and virtuous way
which his Majesty so entirely desired, but also hath shewed himself so
fervently bent to the maintenance of that his outrage, that he hath not
spared most privily, most traitorously to devise how to continue the
same, and in plain terms to say," &c. Then follow the words in the
text.--Ibid.

[580] Hall, p. 838.

[581] "He is committed to the Tower of London, there to remain till it
shall please his Majesty to have him tried according to the order of his
laws." _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 350.

[582] Act of Attainder of Thomas Lord Cromwell, 32 Henry VIII. The act
is not printed in the Statute Book, but it is in very good condition on
the parliament roll. Burnet has placed it among his _Collectanea_.

[583] Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 500.

[584] "Most Gracious Lord, I never spoke with the chancellor of the
augmentation and Throgmorton together at one time. But if I did, I am
sure I never spake of any such matter, and your Grace knows what manner
of man Throgmorton has ever been towards your Grace's
proceedings."--Burnet's _Collectanea_, p. 500.

[585] Cranmer to the King: a fragment printed by Lord Herbert.

[586] "The said Privy Seal's intent was to have married my Lady Mary,
and the French king and the Cardinal du Bellay had much debated the same
matter, reckoning at length by the great favour your Majesty did bear to
him he should be made some earl or duke, and therefore presumed your
Majesty would give to him in marriage the said Lady Mary your daughter,
as beforetime you had done the French queen unto my Lord of Suffolk.
These things they gathered of such hints as they had heard of the Privy
Seal, before knowing him to be fine witted, in so much as at all times
when any marriage was treated of for my said Lady Mary, he did always
his best to break the same."--_State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 379, and see
p. 362.

[587] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 362.

[588] Pate to the Duke of Norfolk: Ibid. p. 355.

[589] Richard Pate, a priest of high Anglican views, and now minister at
the Imperial court, supplied the Emperor's silence by his own
enthusiasm. He wrote to Henry an ecstatic letter on the "fall of that
wicked man who, by his false doctrines and like disciples, so disturbed
his Grace's subjects, that the age was in manner brought to desperation,
perceiving a new tradition taught." "What blindness," he exclaimed,
"what ingratitude is this of this traitor's, far passing Lucifer's,
that, endeavouring to pluck the sword out of his sovereign's hand, hath
deserved to feel the power of the same. But lauded be our Lord God that
hath delivered your Grace out of the bear's claws, as not long before of
a semblable danger of the lioness!"--Pate to Henry VIII.: _State
Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 364.

[590] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 7; _Lords Journals_, 32 Henry VIII. Session
June 22.

[591] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 15; _Lords Journals_, 32 Henry VIII. July 1.

[592] Communi omnium procerum consensu nemine discrepante.

[593] "Excepted alway all and all manner of heresies and erroneous
opinions touching or concerning, plainly, directly, and only the most
holy and blessed sacrament of the altar; and these heresies and
erroneous opinions hereafter ensuing: that infants ought not to be
baptized, and if they be baptized, they ought to be rebaptized when they
come to lawful age; that it is not lawful for a Christian man to bear
office or rule in the commonwealth; that no man's laws ought to be
obeyed; that it is not lawful for a Christian man to take an oath before
any judge; that Christ took no bodily substance of our blessed Lady;
that sinners, after baptism, cannot be restored by repentance; that
every manner of death, with the time and hour thereof, is so certainly
prescribed, appointed, and determined to every man of God, that neither
any prince by his sword can alter it, nor any man by his own wilfulness
prevent or change it; that all things be common and nothing
several."--32 Henry VIII. cap. 49.

[594] _Lords Journals_, 32 Henry VIII. July 6.

[595] "Upon Tuesday, the sixth of this month, our nobles and commons
made suit and request unto us to commit the examination of the justness
of our matrimony to the clergy; upon which request made we sent
incontinently our councillors the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Suffolk,
the Bishop of Winchester, &c., advertising the queen what request was
made, and in what sort, and thereupon to know what answer she would make
unto the same. Whereunto, after divers conferences at good length, and
the matter by her thoroughly perceived and considered, she answered
plainly and frankly that she was contented that the discussion of the
matter should be committed to the clergy as unto judges competent in
that behalf."--_State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 404; and see Anne of Cleves
to the King; Ibid. Vol. I. p. 637.

[596] Luculentâ Oratione: Strype's _Memorials_, Vol. I. p. 553.

[597] "Inspectâ hujus negotii veritate ac solum Deum præ oculis
habentes, quod verum, quod honestum, quod sanctum est, id nobis, de
communi consilio scripto authentico renuncietis et de communi consensu
licere diffiniatis. Nempe hoc unum a vobis nostro jure postulamus ut
tanquam fida et proba ecclesiæ membra causæ huic ecclesiasticæ quæ
maxima est in justitiâ et veritate adesse velitis."--_State Papers_,
Vol. I. p. 630.

[598] _MS. Cotton. Otho_, X. 240.

[599] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 404.

[600] "Tum vero quid ecclesia in ejusmodi casibus et possit facere et
sæpenumero ante hac fecerit perpendentes."--Judgment of the Convocation:
_State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 632.

[601] Ibid. p. 633.

[602] "Heretofore divers and many persons, after long continuance
together in matrimony, and fruit of children having ensued of the same,
have nevertheless, by an unjust law of the Bishop of Rome (which is upon
pretence of a former contract made and not consummate by carnal
copulation, for proof whereof two witnesses by that law were only
required), been divorced and separate contrary to God's law, and so the
true matrimonies solemnized in the face of the Church and confirmed by
fruit of children, have been clearly frustrate and dissolved. Further,
also, by reason of other prohibitions than God's law admitteth, for
their lucre by that court invented, the dispensation whereof they always
reserved to themselves, as in kindred or affinity between cousin
germains, and so to the fourth and fifth degree, and all because they
would get money by it, and keep a reputation to their usurped
jurisdiction, not only much discord between lawful married persons hath,
contrary to God's ordinances, arisen, much debate and suit at the law,
with the wrongful vexation and great danger of the innocent party hath
been procured, and many just marriages brought in doubt and danger of
undoing, and also many times undone: marriages have been brought into
such uncertainty, that no marriage could be so surely knit and bounden
but it should lie in either of the parties' power and arbitre, casting
away the fear of God, by means and compasses to prove a pre-contract, a
kindred, an alliance, or a carnal knowledge, to defeat the same, and so,
under the pretence of these allegations afore rehearsed, to live all the
days of their lives in detestable adultery, to the utter destruction of
their own souls and the provocation of the terrible wrath of God upon
the places where such abominations were suffered and used."--32 Henry
VIII. cap. 38.

[603] The Protestant refugees became at once as passionate, as
clamorous, and as careless in their statements as the Catholics.--See
especially a letter of Richard Hilles to Bullinger (_Original Letters_,
196): to which Burnet has given a kind of sanction by a quotation. This
letter contains about as trustworthy an account of the state of London
as a letter of a French or Austrian exile in England or America would
contain at present of the Courts of Paris or Vienna.

[604] _Lords Journals_, 32 Henry VIII.

[605] See _State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 637 and Vol. VIII. p. 403, &c.

[606] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 407.

[607] Ibid., 408.

[608] Ibid., 410.

[609] The bishop, nevertheless, was not satisfied that it would be
refused, if it could be had. He thought, evidently, that Henry would act
prudently by being liberal in the matter. Speaking of the miscontentment
which had been shown, he added: "For any overture that yet hath been
opened you may do your pleasure. How be it, in case of their suit unto
your Majesty, if the duke shall be content by his express consent to
approve your proceeding, specially the said decree of your clergy,
whereby all things may be here ended and brought to silence, and the
lady there remaining still, this duke, without kindling any further
fire, made your Majesty's assured friend with a demonstration thereof to
the world, and that with so small a sum of money to be given unto him
(sub colore restitutionis pecuniæ pro oneribus et dote licet vere nulla
interesset), or under some other good colour. . . . God forbid your
Majesty should much stick thereat."--Bishop of Bath to Henry VIII.:
_State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 425.

[610] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 392.

[611] Ibid. p. 386.

[612] _State Papers_, Vol. VIII. p. 397.

[613] Pate to the Duke of Suffolk: Ibid. p. 412.

[614] No draft of the bill exists in its original form. As it passed it
conferred on lay impropriators the same power of recovering tithes as
was given to the clergy. The members of the lower house had been, many
of them purchasers of abbey lands, and impropriated tithes formed a
valuable item of the property. It is likely that the bishops overlooked,
and that the commons remembered this important condition.--_Lords
Journals_, 32 Henry VIII. Session of July 12.

[615] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 10.

[616] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 26.

[617] Philpot's confession is preserved. He describes how Sir Gregory
Botolph, returning to Calais from a journey to Rome, took him one night
upon the walls, and after swearing him to secrecy, showed himself a
worthy pupil of Reginald Pole.

"If England have not a scourge in time," Botolph said, "they will be all
infidels, and no doubt God to friend, there shall be a redress; and know
ye for a truth what my enterprise is, with the aid of God and such ways
as I shall devise. I shall get the town of Calais into the hands of the
Pope and Cardinal Pole, who is as good a Catholic man as ever I reasoned
with; and when I had declared everything of my mind unto them, no more
but we three together in the Pope's chamber, I had not a little cheer of
the Pope and Cardinal Pole; and after this at all times I might enter
the Pope's chamber at my pleasure."

Philpot asked him how he intended to proceed, Calais being so strong a
place. "It shall be easy to be done," Botolph said. "In the herring time
they do use to watch in the lantern gate, whereat there be in the watch
about a dozen persons, and against the time which shall be appointed in
the night, you, with a dozen persons well appointed for the purpose,
shall enter the watch and destroy them. That done, ye shall recoil back
with your company and keep the stairs, and at the same time I with my
company shall be ready to scale the walls over the gate. I will have
five or six hundred men that shall enter with me on the first burst. We
shall have aid both by sea and land, within short space."--Confession of
Clement Philpot: _Rolls House MS._ Viscount Lisle, the old commandant of
Calais, an illegitimate son of Edward IV., was suspected of having been
privy to the conspiracy, and was sent for to England. His innocence was
satisfactorily proved, but he died in the Tower on the day when he would
have been liberated.

[618] 32 Henry VIII. cap. 58: unprinted, _Rolls House MS._

[619] _Lords Journals_, 32 Henry VIII. The clerk of the parliament has
attached a note to the summary of the session declaring that throughout
its progress the peers had voted unanimously. From which it has been
concluded, among other things, that Cranmer voted for Cromwell's
execution. The archbishop was present in the house on the day on which
the bill for the attainder was read the last time. There is no evidence,
however, that he remained till the question was put; and as he dared to
speak for him on his arrest, he is entitled to the benefit of any
uncertainty which may exist. It is easy to understand how he, and the
few other peers who were Cromwell's friends, may have abstained from a
useless opposition in the face of an overwhelming majority. We need not
exaggerate their timidity or reproach them with an active consent, of
which no hint is to be found in any contemporary letter, narrative, or
document.

[620] Ellis, second series, Vol. II. p. 160.

[621] Ellis, second series, Vol. II. p. 160; this is apparently the
letter printed by Burnet, _Collectanea_, p. 500.

[622] "Vereor ne frustra cum Reverendissimâ Dominatione vestrâ per
litteras de Cromwelli resipiscentiâ sum gratulatus, nec enim quæ typis
sunt excusa quæ ad me missa sunt, in quibus novissima ejus verba
recitantur, talem animum mihi exprimunt qualem eorum narratio qui de
ejus exitu et de extremis verbis mecum sunt locuti."--Pole to
Beccatelli: _Epist._ Vol. III.

[623] Prayer of the Lord Cromwell on the Scaffold: Foxe, Vol. V.

[624] His death seems to have been needlessly painful through the
awkwardness of the executioner, "a ragged and butcherly miser, who very
ungoodly performed the office."--Hall.

[625] "Men know not what part to follow or to take."--Foxe, Vol. V.





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