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´╗┐Title: Studies from Court and Cloister: being essays, historical and literary dealing mainly with subjects relating to the XVIth and XVIIth centuries
Author: Stone, J. M. (Jean Mary)
Language: English
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These studies on various crucial points connected with the history of
religion in Europe at the close of the Middle Ages, its decline,
revival, and the causes which led to both, have already appeared in
print as regards their general outline, although they have for the most
part been rewritten, added to, and in each case subjected to a careful

Three of them were originally published in the Dublin Review, four in
the Scottish Review, two in Blackwood's Magazine, and three in the
Month. One was a contribution to the American Catholic Quarterly
Review. By the courtesy of the respective editors of these publications
I am enabled to gather them together in this volume.

It will be seen at a glance that a certain cohesion, historical and
chronological, exists in their present arrangement, especially with
reference to Part I.

The two first studies concern Henry VIII. and his sister the Queen of
Scots, the significance of their matrimonial affairs, and the relations
which their policy created between England, Scotland, France, and the
Empire. The third study has for its subject the distinguished and
much-maligned Lieutenant of the Tower of London, who contributed so
largely to the accession of the rightful sovereign, and who was
appointed to be governor of the Princess Elizabeth during her captivity
at Woodstock. His subsequent persecution for the sake of religion was
the consequence of Henry VIIIth's rupture with Rome, and Elizabeth's
repudiation of England's Catholic past. And as we can only gain an
intelligible view of any historical movement by studying its context,
its broad outlines, and its connection with foreign nations, the fourth
essay describes the condition to which the religious revolution had
reduced Germany in the sixteenth century, and the reconversion of a
great part of that country, as well as of Austria and Switzerland, to
the Catholic faith. This was the work of the Jesuit, Peter Canisius,
and we are thus led to a consideration of the newly-founded Society of
Jesus and its methods. Its members soon became noted for sanctity and
learning, and emperors, kings, and royal princes clamoured for Jesuits
as confessors. The manner in which these acquitted themselves of the
difficult and unwelcome task imposed on them, is unconsciously revealed
by themselves, in the private correspondence of members of the old
Society, which has now been given to the world by one of their Order.
Selections from this correspondence are contained in the fifth study.
As a further result of the revolution that had been effected in the
casting off of old beliefs and traditions, we note the revival of
Pantheism, an ancient, atheistic philosophy, whose modern apostle was
the celebrated Giordano Bruno. His otherwise fruitless visit to England
left a deep impression on certain minds, learned and ignorant, and we
begin for the first time to hear of examinations and prosecutions for
atheism in this country. And this forms the subject of the sixth essay.
The recoil that invariably takes place after any great political,
social, or religious upheaval was not wanting to the Reformation in
England, and in the reign of Charles I. High-Churchism, under
Archbishop Laud, was thought to indicate a desire on the part of the
royalists for a return to Catholic unity. A Papal agent was dispatched
to England to negotiate between the Catholic Queen, Henrietta Maria and
Cardinal Barberini, with a view to the conversion of her husband, which
would, it was hoped, ultimately issue in the corporate reunion of the
country with Rome.

Thus, Part I. deals with some of the persons who had "their exits and
their entrances", who made history during this interesting period. Part
II. treats more especially the books and manuscripts connected with it.
The theme is therefore the same.

Even before England was England, she was the Isle of Saints, and
throughout the Middle Ages religion was her chief care, in a manner
almost incredible in this secular and materialistic age. She not only
covered the land with magnificent churches and cathedrals, to the
architecture of which we cannot in these days approach, even by
imitation, distantly, but she also built huge monasteries, and these
monasteries were the cradles, the homes of vast stores of
ever-accumulating knowledge. A system of philosophy, to which the world
is even now returning, recognising that there is no better training for
the human intellect, is so distinctly mediaeval, that all that savoured
even remotely of St. Thomas Aquinas or Duns Scotus in the University
was utterly destroyed in a great bonfire made at Oxford in 1549. At the
dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., the labour, the
learning, the genius of centuries were as nought. Exquisitely written
and illuminated Bibles, missals and other choice manuscripts,
displaying a wealth of palaeographic art to which we have lost the key,
were torn from their jewelled bindings, and were either thrown aside to
spoil and rot, or to become the prey of any who needed wrappers for
small merchandise. It is a marvel that so many should have escaped
destruction, to be collected when men had returned to their sane
senses, and formed again into libraries for the delight and instruction
of posterity to the end of time. And almost as strange as this
circumstance, is the fact that so few among us know of the existence of
these treasures which have become our national inheritance. Otherwise,
how could the reviewer of one of our foremost literary publications, in
his notice of the exhibition of medieval needlework at the Burlington
Fine Arts Club, in the spring of 1905, have discovered in it a
surprising revelation of the "refinement" of the Middle Ages?

The three last studies in the present volume are, therefore, devoted to
a description of some of the precious spoils of mediaeval refinement.
Where all is so splendidly beautiful, so deeply erudite, or so tenderly
naif, choice is difficult; but at all events, here are a few of the
priceless gems with which the Dark Ages have endowed a scornful

And lest it should be supposed that all this mediaeval piety and
devotion sprang up suddenly, with no apparent raison d'etre, I have
gone further back, and have shown that with the first dawn of
Christianity over these Islands, religion was no other than in the
twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. The Arthurian legends,
which Sir Thomas Malory wove into one consecutive whole, had been
handed down from generation to generation for many hundreds of years.
Sometimes they had been written in the French language, but they lived
in the minds of the people, and Sir Lancelot, who died "a holy man,"
was as vivid and real to them as was Richard, the troubadour king. With
the story of his sharp penance, his fasting and prayers for the soul of
Guinevere, was also handed down incidentally the tradition of Britain's
obedience to the "Apostle Pope".

Some time after the Anglo-Saxon conquest, in the eighth century, was
set up a wonderful churchyard Cross at Ruthwell in Scotland, a
"folk-book in stone," alluded to in the Act passed by the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1642, "anent the Idolatrous
Monuments in Ruthwell," and already two years previously condemned by
that enlightened body to be "taken down, demolished, and destroyed."
The story of this ancient Cross, and that of the runes carved upon it,
form the subject of the opening study of Part II.

Little need be said here of Foxe, the great calumniator of Queen Mary's
bishops. His book, which so long deceived the world, is no more the
power it once was, but in it lay the venom which poisoned the wells, as
far as the ill-fated reign of Mary was concerned; and the essay which
deals with it could scarcely have been omitted.

In the hope that I have been enabled to throw a faint ray of additional
light on some vexed but interesting questions, this volume is put

J. M. S.

September 1905.



















Notwithstanding the spy-system which was brought to so great a
perfection under the Tudors, the study of human nature was in their
days yet in its infancy. The world had long ceased to be ingenuous, but
nations had not yet learned civilised methods of guarding themselves
against their enemies. At a time when distrust was general, it was
easier, like Machiavelli, to erect deceit and fraud into a science, and
to teach the vile utility of lying, than to scrutinise character and
weigh motives. It was then generally understood that opponents might
legitimately be hoodwinked to the limits of their gullibility; but it
was reserved for Lord Chesterfield, two centuries later, to show how a
man's passions must be studied with microscopic intensity in order to
discover his prevailing passion, and how, that passion once discovered,
he should never be trusted where it was concerned. The study of men's
characters and motives as we understand it, formed no part of the
policy of sixteenth-century statecraft, or Wolsey would not have been
disgraced, or Thomas Cromwell's head have fallen on the block. Wolsey
and Cromwell were the subtlest statesmen of their age; indeed, in them
statecraft may be said to have had its dawn; yet Henry VIII., by the
sheer force of his tyranny and despotic will, baffled them both. While
Cromwell, the greatest genius in Europe, thought he held all the
threads of intrigue in his own hands, his royal master by the dogged
pursuit of one end overthrew the minister's entire scheme. Saturated
though he was with Machiavellian theories, a man of one book, and that
book The Prince, Cromwell lost all by his inability to read the bent of
Henry's mind and purpose.

Henry VIII. and his elder sister, Margaret, were strikingly alike in
character. Both proved themselves to be cruel, vindictive,
unscrupulous, sensual, and vain. Both were extraordinarily clever, but
Henry being far better educated than his sister, contrived to cut a
much more imposing, if not a more dignified, figure. In the matter of
intrigue, there was nothing to choose between them. That Henry
succeeded where Margaret failed, was owing to the fact that
circumstances were in his favour and not in hers. Given two such
characters, the only parts that were possible to them were dominating
ones. Henry was master of the situation all through the piece; Margaret
was not, but she could play no other part. Had she been differently
constituted, had she been barely honest, true, constant, and pure,
there is no limit to the love and loyalty she would certainly have

But, for want of insight into Margaret Tudor's disposition, the
Scottish people were repeatedly betrayed by one whose interests they
fondly hoped had become, by marriage with their king, identical with
their own. She had come among them at an age when new impressions are
quickly taken and experiences of every kind have necessarily been very
limited, but to the end of her days she remained an alien in their

From the moment that she set foot in Scotland, as a bride of thirteen,
she began to sow discord; but although it was soon apparent that she
would seize every occasion to turn public events to her own profit,
James IV. had so mistaken a belief in her one day becoming a good
Scotswoman, that when he went to his death on Flodden Field, he left
the whole welfare of his country in her hands. Not only did he confide
the treasure of the realm to her custody, but by his will he appointed
her to the Regency, with the sole guardianship of his infant son.

Such a thing was unprecedented in Scotland, and it needed all the
fidelity of the Scottish lords to their chivalrous sovereign, as well
as their enthusiasm for his young and beautiful widow, to induce them
to tolerate an arrangement so distasteful to them all. Had Margaret
cared to fit herself for the duties that lay before her, her lot might
have been a brilliant one. Instead of the wretched wars which made a
perpetual wilderness of the Borders, keeping the nation in a constant
state of ferment, an advantageous treaty would have secured prosperity
to both England and Scotland, while the various disturbing factions,
which rendered Scotland so difficult to govern by main force, would
gradually have subsided under the gentle influence of a queen who
united all parties through the loyalty she inspired. Fierce and
rebellious as were so many of the elements which went to make up the
Scottish people at that time, Margaret had a far easier task than her
grand-daughter, Mary Stuart, for at least fanatical religious
differences did not enter into the difficulties she had to encounter.
But such a queen of Scotland as would have claimed the respect and won
the lasting love of her subjects was by no means the Margaret Tudor of
history, as she stands revealed in her correspondence.

While James IV. lived she had comparatively few opportunities of
betraying State secrets, but from the disaster of Flodden to her death,
her history is one long series of intrigues, the outcome of her ruling
passions--vanity and greed. Her first short-sighted act of treachery
after the death of James was to appropriate to her own use the treasure
which he had entrusted to her for his successors, the queen thereby
incurring life-long retribution in her ineffectual attempts to wring
her jointure from an exchequer which she had herself wantonly
impoverished. Hence the tiresome and ridiculous wrangling in connection
with her "conjunct feoffment," neither Margaret nor Henry being
conscious, in the complete absence of all sense of humour on their
part, that the situation was occasionally grotesque. Stolidly unmindful
of the effect they produced on the minds of others in the pursuit of
their own selfish ends, they pursued the tenor of their way with
bucolic doggedness. The doggedness ended in the defeat of all Henry's
enemies; in Margaret's case it ended in her own.

The eleven months which elapsed between the 9th September 1513 to the
4th August 1514, were the most eventful of her whole life. The
catastrophe of Flodden left her, perhaps not without cause, the least
mournful woman in Scotland, for James IV., with all the heroism that
attaches to his name, had little claim to be called a faithful husband.
Unhindered, therefore, by any excess of grief, she was the better able
to attend to the affairs of State, and to hasten the coronation of her
little son, a baby of one year and five months. In December she
convened the Parliament of Scotland to meet at Stirling Castle, and
formally took up the dignity of regent with the consent of the
assembled nobility of the realm. At this sitting the greatest unanimity
prevailed. In the Acts of the Privy Council of Scotland, under date
12th January 1514, occurs the following entry: "To advise of the
setting up of the Queen's household, and what persons and officers are
necessary thereto, and to advise of the expenses for the supportation
of the same, and by what ways it shall be gotten." All was peace for a
short time, and the most friendly relations existed between the queen
and her Council, till the first high-handed attempt of Henry VIII. to
interfere through his sister in the government of Scotland, resulted in
her temporary banishment, and the removal of the infant king from his
mother's care.*

* P. Martyr, Ep. 535. For a detailed account of the state of Scotland
for the first nine years after the disastrous defeat at Flodden, see
vol. xiv. Of the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, edited by George Burnett,
LL.D., Lyon King-of-Arms, and A. Y. G. Mackay, M.A. (Oxon.), LL.D.
(Edin.), etc., His Majesty's General Register House, Edinburgh.

On the 30th April Margaret gave birth to a posthumous son, who received
the title of Duke of Rothesay; and scarcely had she reappeared in
public after the birth of this child, when an envoy from the Emperor
Maximilian brought overtures of marriage. About the same time, she
received a like proposal from Louis XII. of France, who afterwards
married her younger sister Mary. Dismissing both aspirants to her hand,
before the first year of her widowhood had run its course, she married
Archibald, Earl of Angus, Margaret being in her twenty-fifth, he in his
nineteenth year. The union was equally unfortunate for the queen
herself and for her wretched husband, who, when the first charm of
novelty had passed, was disdainfully flung aside, and never restored to

There was an ancient custom of the realm, which placed the executive
power and the person of the king, should he be a minor at the death of
the preceding sovereign, in the hands of the next male heir, and the
appointment of James's widow to the regency and the guardianship of his
son was made in distinct disregard of all recognised precedent. The
consent of the Scottish lords to the innovation had been given entirely
from a sense of loyalty to their beloved and unfortunate monarch James
IV. But a proviso had been made in his will, that in the event of the
queen's remarriage, the regency, as well as the guardianship of the
king, should pass to John, Duke of Albany, the next heir to the throne.

But Margaret, who had not scrupled to make away with the royal
treasure, was scarcely likely to be very conscientious in regard to the
duty of laying down a sceptre, the pleasantness of which she had only
just begun to taste. She was already at variance with her Council, who,
in despair of any order being established, had invited Albany, then in
France, to come over and take up the reins of government. As early as
April 1514, a Bill for his recall had been read in Parliament, and it
was formally enacted that all the fortresses in Scotland should be
given up, a blow aimed primarily at Stirling, the queen's chief
stronghold.* Here she and Angus had shut themselves up, on hearing that
Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, was marching on Edinburgh. They were
captured, but escaped and returned to Stirling, where they were
besieged by John Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews.

* Brewer--Preface to Cal. 2, part i. (note).

Margaret, assuming a tone of injured innocence, wrote to Henry VIII.,
telling him that she and her party are in great trouble till they know
what help he will give them; that her enemies continue to usurp the
king's authority in Parliament, holding her and her friends to be
rebels; and she entreats him to hasten his army against Scotland by sea
and by land.* This was clearly as much an act of treason as if she had
deliberately invited any other foreign enemy to come and take
possession of the realm; for although her object was merely to regain
the powers she had lost by her own acts, she could estimate the ruin
which would have resulted to Scotland, if Henry had really been in a
position to invade the country. His answer to her appeal was to send
the most urgent instructions to his sister to prevent Albany's landing
by every means at her disposal. In the meanwhile she waited
impatiently, but in vain, for both troops and money from Henry, who did
not think it necessary to inform her that the French king had agreed to
detain Albany in France, on condition that his dear cousin should send
his sister no help, but leave the various parties in Scotland to fight
out their quarrels alone.

* Queen Margaret to Henry VI II., 23rd November 1514; MS. Cott., Calig.
B 1, 164; Brit. Mus.

As a result of this policy, Margaret at last began to find her position
intolerable, and she, no less than her enemies looked forward to the
duke's arrival as a means of extricating herself from a labyrinth of
difficulties. This was perhaps what Francis I. had foreseen;
notwithstanding his promise to Henry, he had no intention of
permanently preventing Albany, who was more than half a Frenchman, from
assuming a dignity that would result in a strong bond of union between
Scotland and France. Albany was therefore quietly allowed to escape at
a given moment; and when, after running the gauntlet of Henry's ships,
which were watching for him, he landed in Scotland, Margaret resolved,
for once wisely, to be friends with him.*

* Seb. Giustinian to the Doge, London, 5th August 1515; Venetian

But Henry instructed Lord Dacre, the formidable chief of the Marches,
to stir up all the strife possible between his sister, the new regent,
and the Scottish lords, and accordingly, whenever there was a sign of a
better understanding between the three parties, Dacre was always
careful to insinuate to the queen that her brother was her best friend.
Finding that Albany had escaped the vigilance of his fleet, Henry wrote
a high-handed letter to the Scottish Council requesting that he might
be sent back to France forthwith. Their reply was as dignified as
Albany's own conduct throughout, and in strong contrast to Margaret's
attitude. They have, they say, received Henry's letter, dated 1st July
1516, desiring them to remove John, Duke of Albany, the regent from the
person of their king, in order to promote the amity of the two realms.
The duke was chosen Protector by the unanimous voice of the Three
Estates, and was sent for by them from France; he left his master, his
lady, his living; he has taken great pains in the king's service; he
has given, and proposes to give, no cause for dissatisfaction, and if
he would leave, they would not let him. Moreover, it is in exact
conformity with their laws that the nearest in succession should have
the governance; security has been taken by the queen and others to
remove all cause of suspicion, and they will spend their lives if any
attempt be made against his Highness.* This document was signed and
sealed by twenty-eight spiritual and temporal lords, whose names are
still legible. Ten other names are mutilated beyond recognition,
although their seals remain.

* Scottish lords to Henry VIII., 4th July 1516; Record Office.

Albany had meanwhile written to Lord Dacre, denying that he had usurped
the king's authority, and declaring that he had done nothing but by
order of the Estates of the realm. But Henry was bent on picking a
quarrel with him, and Dacre's letter to the King of England's Council
shows the part which Dacre was instructed to play in the troubles of
Scotland, fomenting feuds between Albany and every member of his
government, in the hope of driving him out of the country.* Difficult,
however, as Henry's policy made it, the regent was bent on maintaining
peace, and would probably have succeeded but for Margaret.**

* Cotton MS., Calig. B 2, 341; Brit. Mus.

** Albany to Dacre,10th August 1515; R.O.

The good understanding between the regent and the queen was first
broken by his summons to her to deliver up the royal children into his
custody, a cruel but necessary proceeding, since the regency was
inseparable from the governorship of the king and the next heir.

A true and tender chord is struck at last, when Margaret, appealing to
Henry, exclaims, "God send I were such a woman as might go with my
bairns in mine arms. I trow I should not be long fra you!" Nor is it
possible to feel aught but sympathy for her, when she allows herself to
be stormed in Stirling Castle before she suffers her children to be
torn from her. Dacre professed to believe, and perhaps caused Margaret
to fear, that they would be destroyed if they fell into the Duke of
Albany's power. But the very day on which Dacre wrote to Henry's
Council, advising that money should be sent to enable her to hold out,
the regent prepared to bombard her, and it was not till her friends had
forsaken her, flying for their lives and in terror of Albany's
proclamation, that placing the keys of the fortress in her little son's
hands, she desired him to give them to the regent, and to beg him to
show favour to himself, to his brother, and to her husband. The regent
answered that he would be good to the king, to his brother, and to
their mother; but that as for Angus, he "would not dalye with no
traitor." *

* Cotton MS. Calig. B 2, 369; B.M.

No sooner had Margaret given up her children, than she began to
manoeuvre how to steal them back and spirit them over the Border. While
pretending to be too ill to leave her palace at Linlithgow, where she
gave out she had "taken to her chamber" in anticipation of her
approaching confinement, she effected her escape into England, but her
plan for capturing the king and his brother failed. Nothing could now
exceed her desolate condition, as, wandering from place to place,
alone, ill, and worse than friendless, she sought in vain a refuge in
all that wild Border region where she might await her hour of peril.
Angus, seeing the turn affairs had taken, had thought it prudent to
abandon her to her fate, and, after helping her to escape, returned to
Scotland in the hope of coming to terms with Albany. His wife was at
last thankful to accept Lord Dacre's rough hospitality in his gloomy
castle of Harbottle. Here in the midst of a brutal soldiery, with no
woman to render her the most needful service, she gave birth to a
daughter, the Lady Margaret Douglas, on the 5th October 1515. On the
10th she wrote to Albany to announce her delivery "of a cristen sowle
beying a young lady," and miserably ill though she was, did not omit to
demand "as tutrix of the young king and prince, her tender children, to
have the whole rule and governance of Scotland."

To this letter Margaret received an answer written by the Council,
stating that the governance of the realm had expired with the death of
her husband, and had devolved to the Estates; that with her consent
they had appointed the Duke of Albany; that she had forfeited the
tutelage of her children by her second marriage, and that in all
temporal matters the realm of Scotland had been immediately subject to
Almighty God, not recognising the Pope or any superior upon earth.

Herewith the queen was forced to content herself; further words would
have proved as unavailing as reeds against the tempest, and even words
were soon beyond her power to write, for the birth of her daughter was
succeeded by a long and painful illness which nearly proved fatal to
the unhappy woman. To add to the bitterness of her trials, at the
moment when she was beginning slowly to recover, came the news of the
illness and death of the little Duke of Rothesay. Grief, anger, and
anxiety for the safety of the king served naturally to increase the
gravity of her condition, and for months she lay hovering between life
and death, loudly accusing Albany of having murdered her child.

This accusation was reiterated to Albany himself as soon as her
unsteady hand could grasp a pen; but the regent took no heed of her
stinging words, continued to invite her to return to Scotland, in spite
of her persistent refusal, and apparently succeeded at last in
convincing her of his innocence.

On her recovery she wrote to him from Morpeth, to announce her
departure for the south, Henry having invited her to his court,
accompanying his invitation with presents of costly stuffs, and money,
and clothing for the baby.

A letter from Margaret to the regent at this moment is significant of a
sudden change in her demeanour towards him, and to judge by her
subsequent behaviour, the change meant treachery. Instead of the fierce
denunciations she had lately indulged in, she acknowledged that she had
often received goodly and pleasant words as well as letters from him,
and "though his conduct has not always corresponded to them, yet as
matters are being accommodated" she hopes he will reform it. The
meaning of this change of tactics became clear to all but the regent
himself---who seems to have been of a singularly unsuspicious
nature--as soon as Margaret reached London.

Albany was still hoping for a permanent peace with Henry, and more than
once expressed a wish to pay him a friendly visit. This both Henry and
Margaret encouraged him to do, and writing to Wolsey about this time,
the Scottish queen expressed the most fervent hope that the regent
would come, counterbalanced by the fears that he would not.* Had the
matter rested entirely with himself, the visit would certainly have
taken place, but his Council having some reason to doubt Henry's fair
and plausible words, were urgent in dissuading him. All things
considered, it is probable that the duke would have repented of his
temerity if he had placed his head within the lion's jaws.

* Cotton MS., Vesp. F 3, 36; B.M.

Having failed to inveigle the regent into their power, the brother and
sister instructed Dacre to "sow debate" between him and his Council,
but this scheme failed also. Dacre wrote, however, to show that he was
not wanting in zeal in this behalf, saying that, being unable to
interfere with Scottish affairs in any other way, he had given rewards
to four hundred outlaws for burnings in various parts of the kingdom.*
No means proved too vile, no instrument unworthy, to be employed in the
work of destroying the regent and advancing Tudor interests. The queen
even condescended to use her truant husband, and the part played by
Angus is scarcely less reprehensible than Margaret's own, for while he
pretended to be loyal to Albany and to Scotland, he possessed himself
of every important State secret and transmitted it to his wife, in the
hope of appeasing her for his desertion. She, of course, passed on all
that she thus learned to Henry and Wolsey.

* Dacre to Wolsey; Calig. B 1, 150; B.M.

Margaret was entertained for a whole year in pomp and splendour at the
English court, feasts and revels succeeding each other in bewildering
magnificence-- luxury in vivid contrast to the misery which she had
undergone during the first months after her flight from Scotland.
Pageants, tournaments, and banquets now took the place of privation and
suffering; all that met the eye was changed, but the dark and
treacherous under-currents known to but few of her contemporaries
remained the same, and were the realities that shaped her course. In
spite, however, of plots and intrigues, Margaret's position was not
improving. Her visit to England could not be prolonged indefinitely,
and as the queen was evidently not to return to Scotland in triumph, it
was desirable to make as good terms for herself as she possibly could.

The regent promised that her jointure should be paid, and that Angus
should be allowed to join her if he were willing to do so--a somewhat
doubtful alternative, as he had not availed himself of the leave that
had already been given him. As for Albany himself, he declared that it
had always been his desire to gratify the queen, and to advise the best
for her and for her son.* Reluctantly, therefore, she at last prepared
to turn her face northwards, having obtained permission to take with
her a suite befitting her station, safe-conduct being granted, except
in the case of any person among them plotting harm to the kingdom; and
to these conditions Henry set his great seal.

* Calig. B 2, 262; B.M.

A letter from the Venetian envoy to the Doge, dated 13th April 1517,
says: "The truce between England and Scotland has been arranged. The
queen is to return, but is not to be admitted to the administration of
the kingdom. She may take with her twenty-four Englishmen, and as many
Scotch as she pleases, provided they be not rebels"; and he adds that
he has been assured of these facts by Albany's secretary.

All was done to make her journey as easy as possible; but when Margaret
arrived at Berwick, it needed all Dacre's powers of persuasion to
induce her to enter Scotland. At Lamberton Kirk, contrary to the
regent's expectation, she was met by Angus, accompanied by Morton and
others of the Scottish nobility, with three hundred men, chiefly
Borderers. Albany had left for France, taking with him as hostages the
heirs or younger brothers of the principal men in the country, whom he
had bound over to keep the peace during his absence, which he then did
not intend to prolong beyond five months.

There was now an excellent opportunity for beginning a new and better
life, had the queen been so minded; but events proved her to be in a
more querulous, treacherous, and discontented mood than ever. "Her
Grace considereth now, the honour of England, and the poverty and
wretchedness of Scotland," wrote Magnus to Wolsey, "which she did not
afore, but in her opinion esteemed Scotland equal with England,"* and
her complaints to Henry were frequent and loud.

* June 19, 1517; Calig. B 2, 253; B.M.

She complained of her husband, of her poverty, of the bad faith of the
Scottish nation who still left her jointure unpaid, of not being
allowed free access to her son. She had, she said, been obliged to lay
in wed (pawn) the plate given to her by Henry, and was likely to be
driven to extreme want, as Wolsey would learn by her messenger. She
would have been still worse off, she caused her friends to write, had
not Magnus and Dacre drawn up a book at Berwick, the day before her
entry into Scotland, by which Angus, signing it, renounced all claim to
her "conjunct feoffment."*

* Dacre to Wolsey, Harbottle, 5th March, 1518; R.O.

But Margaret did not stop at complaints; Henry must begin the war
again. He may, she declares, reasonably cause Scottish ships to be
taken; for she has suffered long and forborne to do evil, although she
knew she would never get good from Scotland by fair means.

When by dint of constant urging to renewed contests the Borders had
become one vast battlefield in her quarrel, she wrote to the Marquis of
Dorset to beg him to spare the convent of Coldstream, whose abbess had
done her good service in times past.* The motive for this intercession
was no mere charitable one, the abbess being "one of the best spies for

* Thomas, Marquis of Dorset, to Henry VIII.; Calig. B 3, 255.

And now, for the first time, Margaret ventures to express the wish that
has for long been forming itself in her mind. She has been much
troubled by Angus since her coming to Scotland, and is so more and more
daily. They have not met this half year, and--after some hovering of
the word on her lips, she pronounces it boldly--she will part with him,
if she may by God's law, and with honour to herself, for he loves her
not. Unlike Henry, when seeking a pretext to divorce his first wife,
Margaret was at no pains to disguise the motive which inspired her, and
a possibility of a flaw in the marriage is openly but a pretext for
getting rid of a husband of whom she was weary. We are at least spared
the nausea caused by Henry's conscientious scruples. She first puts
forward frankly her wish to be free from Angus, and then her
determination to divorce him if she may lawfully. But it was the only
piece of honesty in the whole business, for the suit itself was one
long, dreary series of misrepresentation and falsehood, without which
her cause could by no possibility have been gained.

The usual plea of pre-contracts was brought forward, but as these were
of too flimsy a nature to bear investigation, Margaret declared that
the late King of Scots, her husband, was still living three years after
the battle of Flodden, and that consequently he was alive when she was
married to the Earl of Angus.* As the king's body had never been found,
this assertion could not be disproved, though there was no reasonable
doubt as to James having fallen on that calamitous day.

* Magnus to Wolsey; State Papers, vol. iv., p. 385; R.O.

However, in spite of her bold swearing, Margaret was not so certain of
success, but that she was anxious for Henry's support, and she not only
entreated her brother to befriend her, but promised him that she would
consult only his wishes in taking another husband, and that this time
she would not part from him.* If she thought that a fellow-feeling
would make him wondrous kind in this matter, she was disappointed. It
was no part of Henry's policy that his sister should put Angus away,
for although she had not consulted him in the choice of her second
husband, Henry was very well satisfied with him. He could to a certain
extent control him, and at all events, while married to him the queen
could not contribute by any foreign alliance to the power and greatness
of Scotland.

* Calig. B 1, 232; B.M.

But Angus was making himself obnoxious to his wife beyond her very
limited capacity for endurance. Not only had he proved a faithless
husband, but what was infinitely worse to her mind, he refused to give
up the income of her Ettrick Forest estate, which she had made over to
him in the days when his handsome face and figure had first struck her
fancy, and when she thought nothing too costly to lavish upon him. She
had made him great, to her own and the country's misfortune, and it was
a difficult matter to make him small again; but all Scotland felt the
evil effects of his power, of his ascendancy over the young king, and
of the feuds which resulted therefrom. So great was the scourge felt to
be, that the Council appealed to Margaret to recall the Regent Albany,
that he might restore order.

Margaret was aware that Albany's return was the thing of all others
that Henry wished to avoid, but it suited her for the nonce to act the
part of a good Scotswoman, and she wrote an imploring letter to the
duke, begging him to come back and take pity on his unhappy country.*
Notwithstanding this, her complaints to Henry through Lord Dacre of her
bad treatment, and her supplications to be allowed to return to
England, did not cease. She had "liever be dead than live among the
Scots," and she entreats that no peace may be renewed, unless "some
good may be taken," that she may live at ease.**

* Calig. B 1, 232.

** Ibid. B 2, 195.

Wolsey was not sparing in his remarks on the queen's double-dealing,
the facts of which had all been disclosed to him by spies. He has, he
says, represented to the king her brother "the folly of Queen Margaret
in leaning to her enemies, and departing from her husband,"
notwithstanding what Dacre has already written to her. Dacre, by the
king's desire, is to tell her that if she persists in her dishonourable
course she can expect no favour.*

* Ibid. B 3, 106

Meanwhile the Earl of Surrey had been dispatched with an army to the
Borders, and threatened to invade Scotland, unless the Duke of Albany
were abandoned, and Margaret reinstated as regent. On the 16th
September 1523, he wrote two letters to the queen, one intended for her
eyes alone, the other to be shown to her son's Council. In the first he
says that the King of England would approve of her son's "coming
forth," and shaking off all tutelage but his mother's, for Surrey is
about to waste Scotland, and the young king's plea for emancipating
himself should be that he cannot suffer his realm to be laid waste.
Margaret is to summon the lords to take up arms in her son's defence,
and she will then be in a position to command Surrey to retire. She
will thus form a party for her son, and be enabled to send Albany and
his Frenchmen back to France. Then Surrey will turn his arms against
her enemies.

If Margaret keeps her promise, money will be forthcoming. In the event
of her causing James V, to "come forth" to Edinburgh, he has no doubt
that if the king will command his subjects on their allegiance to take
his part, the most of them will do so, especially the Commons, who must
be roused to drive the French to Dunbar. The Earl of Surrey will be
ready to give assistance.*

* Calig. B 4, 196.

The second letter was to the same effect, though more cautiously
worded. The King of England would be glad to hear of his nephew's
prosperous estate, but would certainly be dissatisfied that his nobles
suffered their monarch and themselves to be kept in subjection by
Albany. Surrey was ready to help with men and money all who would come
forward to protect their natural sovereign; but peace could never be
between the two realms, if the Scots did not give up the duke. As for
Margaret's hope that Henry would be a better friend to Scotland on her
account, Surrey had been ordered to desist from doing any more hurt at
her request. He had now waited along time, he wrote, hoping that the
Scottish lords would have shown themselves more natural loving subjects
than they now appeared, seeing that the day appointed for the Duke of
Albany's arrival had passed, and that their king was in no greater
safety than he was before. All the world would see that the fault was
not Henry's, but that of the Scots, who refused to put HIM out of the
realm who meant to destroy the king and usurp the crown. Henry would
never refrain from making war upon Scotland until they forsook. Albany,
and sued to him for peace. On their doing this, Surrey had full
authority to treat with them, and to assist them with money and troops.*

* State Papers, iv. 21--"Copy of my letter to be showed to the lords of
Scotland; in Surrey's hand"; R.O.

This advice produced no effect whatever on the Scottish lords, whose
loyalty to the regent remained unshaken. But Margaret did not consider
herself hampered by any pledges given to Albany, and two days after the
receipt of the letters, she urged Surrey to come to Edinburgh, or
somewhere near it, at once, declaring that the lords would certainly do
as she desired. As for the threatened laying waste, however, "they
laughed at injuries done only to the poor people." A thousand men with
artillery would have Edinburgh at their mercy if they came suddenly.
Surrey must go at it at once, or let it be. Failing this, she desired
leave to come to England with her true servants, adding, "for I will
come away and I should steal out of it."*

* Ibid. 26.

The truth was, that, far from being certain that the lords would agree
to any part of the scheme, Margaret knew well that she had but a
handful of friends in Scotland, and that her sole hope of regaining the
regency lay in Henry's power of coercion. Trusting that Surrey would
really march on Edinburgh, she did all she could to persuade the
Council to allow the young king to be brought to that place, and to
appoint new guardians, friendly to her interests. In both these
endeavours she failed, and James remained at Stirling.

"The lords are all fallen away from the queen, and adhere to the
governor," wrote the Abbess of Coldstream to Sir John Bulmer, and
Surrey passed on the information to Wolsey, telling him that Margaret
had no credit with the Scotch, and that they looked hourly for Albany's

As for Lord Surrey, even if he had been willing to besiege Edinburgh,
he would have been frustrated by the want of sufficient means of
transport for his victuals. Had he not caused his soldiers to carry
their food in wallets, and their drink in bottles, it would not have
been possible for him to have reached the North, and a raid into the
enemy's country necessitated a far ampler stock of provisions than
could be carried in this way. The queen's desire that he should take
Edinburgh, arose, he thought, from her anxiety to provide herself with
a way of escape from her difficulties.*

* Surrey to Wolsey, Berwick, 21st Sept. 1523; R.O.

In England it was commonly believed that the Scottish lords were in so
great a fear of Albany, who was hourly expected to arrive, that they
would break their covenant with him even though they had each given him
four of the best of their sons as hostages. But Surrey declared
vehemently that although they might deceive Margaret, they should not
deceive him.

The suspense was ended at last, and Margaret wrote to inform him of the
regent's arrival. Surrey replied at once, desiring to know further what
number of horse and foot soldiers had come with him, and what
countrymen they were. He could give her no advice about coming away,
but would meet her in any given part of the Marches, and at whatever
time she pleased. Margaret in return was to let him know when the Duke
of Albany intended to invade England. In conclusion, hoping to prevent
any rapprochement between her and the regent, he warned her that Albany
would most certainly be king if the king were not well guarded, "for
the Frenchmen can empoison one, and yet he shall not die for a year

* Surrey's Letterbook; Tanner MS. 90, f. 47; Bodleian Library.

The slippery nature of Margaret's friendship was well known to Surrey,
and he kept up the fiction of Albany's nefarious intentions, in the
hope of making her faithful to English interests. Unluckily for his
schemes, he did not sufficiently study the springs of her actions,
which would have taught him to be more lavish with his bribes. The end
of her next letter ought to have opened his eyes to the necessity of
striking a bargain with her if he would hope to draw her into the
English net. After telling him that the duke has held a council at
Glasgow, and that he means to march into England in a fortnight, she
goes on to warn him that Scotland was never before made so strong, and
says that it is still a secret whether Albany intends to attack the
east or west Border, but she thinks both. She gives him a detailed
account of the numbers and condition of his soldiers, and estimates his
French contingent at 6000 men, adding that German reinforcements are
expected by the first fair wind. They trust to win Berwick, and if they
succeed, she and her son are undone. Then she begs to know how she is
to get away, and have some money. If Henry will not help her, she must
perforce ask help of Albany; and she declares significantly, "and he
will cause me to do as he will, or else he will give me nothing." He
has not yet come to her, but he writes "very good writings of his own
hand, and as many fair words as can be devised," to which however she
professes to give no credence.*

*Calig. B 6, 379; State Papers, iv. 40.

Surrey was of the opinion that Margaret should remain in Scotland, as
her coming to England would cause embarrassment and expense. Two
thousand marks would hardly satisfy her in England, whereas she would
be content with three or four hundred pounds a year in Scotland, to say
nothing of the loss Henry would incur if she came away, in being
deprived of the information she sent.

But it was just this haggling over bribes that prevented Margaret from
being altogether on Henry's side, and threw her into the arms of the
more generous Albany whenever there was the least hope of gain. Thus, a
month later, after the somewhat hasty retreat from Wark, she told
Surrey that she had been obliged to take what money the duke would give
her; that she would do her best to keep her son, but that she could not
displease Albany without Henry's support. She implored Surrey to plead
with the king for her, and in return for his help she would inform him
of all she knew; but he must keep it secret.*

* Calig. B 1, 281.

At the same time, she gave the duke to understand that she had incurred
her brother's displeasure for his sake,* and the same legend was
repeated to the lords of the Council. Complaining to them of the bad
treatment she had received in Scotland, she begged them to bear in mind
the loyalty she had always shown to her son, to the lord governor, and
to the realm, incurring for the last three or four years her brother's
displeasure, for Albany's sake, at whose desire she was always ready to
write the best she could.** Immediately upon this remarkable statement
came Henry's answer to her last appeal, in the guise of one hundred
marks for information received, together with the refusal of the truce
which Albany had repeatedly solicited.*** The smallness of the sum
prompted Margaret to write a diplomatic letter to the Earl of Surrey,
in which she declared that she had promised before the lords to be a
good Scotswoman, and to agree to whatever was for the good of her son,
with whom she was resolved to bide as long as she might, although the
lords were bent on separating them. They cannot, they say, help her to
her "conjunct feoffment" while her brother makes war on them, and she
knows not where any other help may be got. If she is to live with her
son, Henry must contribute to her support, as he has done to a certain
extent already. She will do as he commands her, and have as few
servants as possible. She had asked the governor and lords in Council
why she was "holden suspect," and not allowed to be with her son; and
the answer she received was that she was Henry's sister, and would
perhaps take the king into England, and they knew well her brother
would do more for her than any other. She had answered that her deeds
had shown otherwise, and that she could prove the malice of such an

* Ibid. 159.

** Ibid. B 2, 268.

*** State Papers, iv. 60, 26th Nov. 1523; R.O.

**** Queen Margaret to the Earl of Surrey, Dec. 1523; R.O.

The next scene in the comedy is Margaret's anger on hearing that Albany
is treating with Henry for peace, without her intervention. "It is
hard," she complains, "to be out with the governor here, and not to
know what the king will do for me!" If she had flattered Albany, she
asserts, she might have had "great profits," but she will not take them
till she knows Henry's mind. She has not spoken with Albany since
Surrey left, and would not do so as long as he remained in Scotland, so
discontented were they with each other.* Upon this follows an
astounding revelation. Surrey had received a dispatch from the queen
containing another document, the seals of which had been broken and
closed again. It was a copy of an agreement between Margaret and the
Duke of Albany, but the manner in which it came to be enclosed in her
letter never transpired, though it was thought that the packet had been
opened by a spy, and the paper inserted, in order to ruin her prospects
with her brother.

* Calig. B 1, 209, 21st April 1524.

The enclosed document ran thus:--

The queen promises that during the minority of her son, she will never
suffer anything contrary to the duke's authority, and will inform him
of it, and hinder as much as she can any wrong intended against him;
she will not consent to a truce or peace with England without the
comprehension of her son's allies; she will assist to keep him
securely, according to the decree of the last Parliament; she will do
all she can to hinder any practice against him of which she may hear,
and will inform the governor of it if he be in the country, and if not,
those who have charge of the king; she will not consent to anything
contrary to the alliance with France, or to the treaty of Rouen, and
will further a marriage between her son and one of the daughters of the
King of France. The governor promises to do the like, and to obtain for
her an honourable reception by the King of France, if she incurs the
enmity of her brother, and is forced to quit the country in consequence
of the assistance he may give to Angus, or other evil-disposed persons
who may interfere with her goods and conjunct feoffment; he will if she
requests, send some of his servants with her, and will maintain her
against everyone except the king her son. Both parties swear to keep
these promises upon the Holy Gospels.*

* Add. MS. 24, 965, ff. 231 and 234; B.M.

Wolsey, upon receipt of this information, at once addressed
instructions to Dacre, charging him to find out whether such an
agreement had really been made, and if so, how the copy of it had found
its way into the queen's letter.

Dacre therefore wrote to tell her of the discovery, and recapitulating
the contents of the enclosed document, added that the king desired to
know whether she had consented to it of her own free will, why it was
done, whether she herself sent the copy, or if not who did send it, and
with what intent.

Margaret replied by an indignant but weak denial. The instrument in
question was one, she averred, which the duke had DESIRED her to
execute, but which she had declined at all costs to meddle with.

This explanation was too improbable for Wolsey to accept, the whole
course of Margaret's actions tending to show that had Albany tried and
failed to draw her into such a compact, she would unhesitatingly have
disclosed the negotiation in order to make capital out of her refusal.
The opportunity for demanding large sums as a reward for her fidelity
to Henry's interests would have proved irresistible; while as a matter
of fact the transaction had never been so much as hinted at in any of
her letters. Vague allusions, to the effect that Albany was continually
outbidding Henry, had been her refrain for years; but whereas she sent
minute and circumstantial details of every other secret likely to
prejudice the country and the regent, she had been silent as to any
definite overtures such as those contained in the document referred to.

The alternative was to believe that, while pretending to be false, for
once she was true to Scotland; and yet she stands so deeply "rooted in
dishonour," that her acquittal puts but little to her credit. Her only
resource, when Dacre persisted in his accusation, was a feeble
complaint of the bad treatment she was receiving at her brother's
hands, pleading that he neither regarded herself nor her writing; that
she had not failed, and did not mean to fail, but that if others had
been in her place they would have acted very differently.*

* Add. MS. 24, 965, f. 223, 19th May 1524; B.M.

To this Dacre replied ruthlessly, that it was well known both in
Scotland and in England, not only that she had assented to the bond
found in her letter, but that it had passed her sign manual and seal,
in return for which, the Duke of Albany had given her the wardship and
marriage of the young Earl of Huntly and of others, together with other
gifts and rewards---a proceeding which, declared Dacre, was a great
dishonour to her brother, and would perhaps after all avail her but
little. He marvelled also greatly at her pretended ignorance of the
negotiations pending between Albany and himself, because in his last
letter he had informed her of all the proceedings.*

* Ibid. 965, f. 244, 27th May 1524.

For some time, Margaret continued to deny feebly having formally allied
herself with the regent, murmuring at Dacre's "sharpness" towards her,
notwithstanding which Dacre continued to bring fresh proofs of her
duplicity before her, till Henry at last ordered him to let the matter
drop, whereupon she was willing to do the same.*

* Add. MS. 24, 965, f. 253; B.M.

Having failed in the past to secure Margaret's undivided favour, Henry
now took a more persuasive line, and sought to convince his sister how
much good might in future accrue to her if she would but "go the
fruitful way." The unfortunate Angus, who had taken refuge in England,
was now sent back, in the hope that a possible reconciliation with her
husband might detach her from Albany. But this was far from succeeding.
Margaret could with difficulty be induced to receive him, and all the
money that Henry sent to her went to strengthen the hands of her
husband's enemies, so that Angus was obliged to entreat that no further
supplies might be provided. Margaret then veered round, and said that
Albany had sent to her with great offers if she would join his party,
adding that perhaps the duke would marry her after getting her
divorced. How this could be possible, considering that Albany had a
wife already, might puzzle a mind more fettered by the logic of facts
than was the queen's.

That she was seriously anxious to be agreeable to the duke is seen by
the instructions which she delivered to John Cantely, who was to tell
the regent of her goodwill towards him and the kingdom of France. And
lest he should interpret unfavourably the circumstance of her having
sent ambassadors to England, she assured him that she would do nothing
without including France. Finally, she wished to know his intentions
towards her and what he would give her. In the event of her taking his
part against England, which she will certainly do if Henry continues to
help Angus, Albany must secure for her the protection of the French
king. If this king desires to have her and her son on his side, he must
support them.

But Albany must keep the matter secret, and not allow her letters to be
sent into England, as has been done formerly, and she will take his
part against everyone except her son.*

* Double de la credence de la Royne et memoire de Mr. John Cantely; R.O.

This was written on the 22nd February 1525, but on the 31st March
following, Margaret, in a stormy interview with Angus, angrily denied
having negotiated with Albany at all. She swore that she had always
sought to please Henry, and complained of his letters being "sore and
sharp." She had taken a great matter on hand at his request, and had
had much trouble with the duke for his sake, yet now that she had
plainly told the regent that she followed Henry's pleasure, Henry would
have no more to do with her. If he will not be kind to her, she hopes
at least that he will not cause Angus to trouble her in her living. She
has a plea against Angus before the Pope, and he cannot interfere with
her by law.*

* Calig. B 7, 3.

It was clearly to Henry's interest to persuade Margaret to take her
husband back, for Angus belonged with the whole Douglas family to
Albany's bitterest enemies. The reconciliation between him and the
regent had been but a short interlude brought about solely from
self-interest on the part of Angus, and followed by a deep and lasting
feud. Added to this claim on Henry's friendship was the fact that he
possessed a powerful influence over the young King James. But with the
page of Henry's own domestic history open before us, it is not possible
to repress a smile at the arguments against her divorce which Henry put
before Margaret, at the very moment when he was trying to force the
Pope's hand, in order to obtain from him a sentence against his own
marriage. The following substance of a letter, written it is true by
Wolsey, but dictated by his master, applies in every detail as well to
Henry's own case as to Margaret's. If we change the pronoun, substitute
London for Rome, king for queen, Katharine for Angus, all that he
causes Wolsey to say becomes as applicable to himself as to his sister.

After desiring her to accept favourably Henry's message, which, he
says, much concerns the wealth of her son and her own repute, the
cardinal urges her brother's hope that the "undeceivable spirit of God,
which moved him to send to her, will effectually work." Amid the cares
of his government he has never forgotten her, and he hopes she will
turn to God's word, "the vyvely doctrine of Jesus Christ, the only
ground of salvation" (1 Cor. 3). He reminds her of the divine ordinance
of inseparable matrimony, first instituted in Paradise, and hopes her
Grace will perceive how she was seduced by flatterers to an unlawful
divorce from "the right noble Earl of Angus," etc., upon untrue and
insufficient grounds. Furthermore, "the shameless sentence sent from
Rome" plainly showed how unlawfully it was handled, judgment being
given against a party neither present in person nor by proxy. He urges
her further, for the weal of her soul, and to avoid the inevitable
damnation threatened against "advoutrers," to reconcile herself with
Angus as her true husband, or out of mere natural affection for her
daughter, whose excellent beauty and pleasant behaviour, nothing less
godly than goodly, furnished with virtuous and womanly demeanour,
should soften her heart. That she should be reputed baseborn cannot be
avoided, except the queen will relinquish the "advoutrous" company with
him that is not, nor may not be, of right her husband.*

* Calig. B 6, 194.

The individual here mentioned was Harry Stuart, with whom Margaret had
contracted a secret marriage, having by dint of perjury and a tissue of
lies, obtained a declaration of invalidity against her union with
Angus. She does not appear to have been in the least affected by
Henry's hypocritical reasoning, but the manner in which her son
received the news of her third marriage caused her some inconvenience.
In his displeasure, James sent Lord Erskine to besiege his mother and
her new husband in Stirling Castle; but what promised to be a tragedy
had a somewhat ridiculous end, for Margaret, in terror of what might
follow, at once gave up her husband, who after a short imprisonment was
allowed to escape. He promptly rejoined the queen, and James
subsequently forgave him, and created him Lord Methven.

But not even when her son had come to his own did Margaret cease to
plot and intrigue. Henry's suspicious character imperatively demanded
that all that was going on in Scotland should be known without delay at
the English court, and his sister was the only possible agent for the
purpose. It does not appear that her treachery, now doubly odious, ever
cost her the least qualm. The climax was, however, reached, when after
persuading James to confide to her his private instructions to the
Scottish ambassador residing in London, she contrived that the
information thus obtained should be in Henry's hands at the same moment
that it reached its legitimate destination.

Fortunately for the affairs of Scotland, the treasonable correspondence
was discovered; and Margaret narrowly escaped imprisonment. The
immediate result was to put an end to the more friendly intercourse
that had sprung up between the two countries, and to prevent a meeting
between the two sovereigns, in process of negotiation.

At this interview, which was to have taken place at York, Henry hoped
to convert his nephew to his own views regarding the Pope; and in order
to pave the way to, a good understanding between them, he sent Barlow
and Holcroft to Scotland with a lengthy document containing, with much
fulsome flattery of James, all Henry's choice vocabulary of epithets
hurled against the "Bishop of Rome."*

* Hamilton Papers--Instructions to Barlow and Holcroft, 3rd Oct. 1535,
fol. 27.

Margaret, ignorant that her son had discovered her treachery, continued
to urge him to proceed to York; but her eagerness only roused his
suspicions that worse treason lay behind.

"The Queen, your Grace's sister," wrote Lord William Howard to Henry,
"because she hath so earnestly solicited in the cause of meeting, is in
high displeasure with the King, her son, he bearing her in hand that
she received gifts of your Highness to betray him, with many other
unkind and suspicious words."*

*State Papers, iv. 46; R.O.

Enough has been already seen of Margaret's methods to make it quite
clear what her next step would be. Out of favour with James, she of
course threw the whole brunt of her misfortune on Henry, for whose sake
she had incurred so much danger and expense, having lived for the last
six months at court for the sole purpose of advancing his affairs.* But
Henry was beginning to weary of his sister's complaints and appeals for
money. Besides, James would in future guard his secrets better, and
Margaret almost cease to be useful as a spy. So she must not expect him
to disburse notable sums, merely because she is his sister, and must
henceforth learn to be content with the entirely sufficient provision
made for her on her marriage with the King of Scots.**

* Add. MS. 32, 616, f. 87; B.M.

** State Papers, v. 56; R.O.

This was all the consolation he could afford her for some time to come,
for besides his other reasons for disregarding the letters which she,
nothing daunted by his silence, continued to send him, Henry was too
much occupied with his own concerns to bestow much thought on a sister
whose power of helping him was now small. It was the moment of Anne
Boleyn's fall, and he was engrossed with the list of crimes of which he
was about to accuse the unhappy woman.

On the subject of Margaret's various marriages, her brother had ever
failed to manifest that sympathy which a similarity of tastes would
seem to justify. He had assumed the tone of a moralist on her
separation from Angus, and had treated Lord Methven in his letters with
scant respect, and when in the course of time she began to be weary of
her new spouse, and to complain of him with increasing bitterness, it
was long before Henry could be roused to express any interest in the
subject. At last, however, he found a convenient season for attending
to her. She had written to inform him that whereas she did Lord Meffen
(sic) the honour to take him as her husband, he had spent her lands and
profits upon his own kin, and had brought her into debt, to the sum of
8000 marks Scots, and would give her no account of it. She trusted the
king her son would treat her to his and her own honour; but if not, she
had no refuge but in Henry, and she begged him not to suffer her to be

To this, Henry deigned to reply that he should be sorry if his good
brother and nephew treated her otherwise than a son should treat his
mother. As it appeared from certain evidence, she was well-handled, and
had grown to much wealth and quiet; but according to other reports,
quite the contrary, so that he was in doubt which to believe. "Also,"
he continues, "having heard at other times from you of your
evil-treatment by your son and Lord Muffyn (sic), and as we are sending
the bearer into those parts, on our business, we desire you to show him
the points wherein you note yourself evil-handled, and whether you
desire us to treat of them with your son, or only generally to
recommend your condition." *

* State Papers, v. 63, 65.

Margaret had remained faithful to Lord Methven for about ten years, and
it was not till 1537 that she thought of formally applying for a
divorce, her chief plea being that be wasted her money, although she
said she had "forty famous proofs" against him.*

* Hamilton Papers, 13th Oct. 1537, f. 105.

James was furious, and ordered that the divorce, whether obtained at
the cost of more false oaths, or whether Margaret's so-called third
husband really had a wife living when the union was contracted, should
not be proclaimed in Scotland.

This constituted Margaret's famous grievance against James, his
objection to her divorce being, his mother declared, the fear lest she
should pass into England and remarry the Earl of Angus. "And this Harry
Stuart, Lord of Methven, causes him to believe this of ME!" she
exclaimed contemptuously.* One plea for getting rid of the now despised
Harry Stuart is too amusing to be omitted. James was in France, whither
he had gone to bring home his bride, the young and beautiful Magdalene,
daughter of the French king, and Margaret thought to induce Henry to
interest himself in her divorce through his jealousy of the French.

* State Papers, v. 119.

After begging him to send a special messenger to the king her son, to
know his "utter mind," she says: "For now, dearest brother, your Grace
I trust will consider that now the queen his wife is to come into this
realm soon after Easter, as he hath sent word here, to make ready for
the same, and that being, it will be great dishonour to him that I, his
mother, having a just cause to part, can nought get a final end; and I
trust your Grace will consider I may do your Grace and my son more
honour to be without him (Lord Methven) than to have him, considering
that he is but a sober man, and if the Queen that is to come, see me
not entreated as I should be, she will think it an evil example." *

* Hamilton Papers, f. 109.

But all her efforts were fruitless; Henry could not be persuaded to
take up her quarrel, and James was obdurate. His mother, however, then
in her forty-ninth year, dispensed with legal formality altogether, and
allied herself to a certain John Stuart, who, according to some, is
identical with the adventurous Earl of Arran, so notorious in the reign
of James VI.

A few more miserable years of petty intrigues, it being no longer in
her power to carry on important ones, and Margaret came to the close of
her faithless, undignified life. But before the end, a ray of sorrow
for her mis-spent days brightened the hitherto unrelieved gloom of her
career. Henry's messenger, sent after her death to gather up the
details of her last moments, and above all, to find out whether she had
made a will, wrote to the king as follows:--

"When she did perceive that death did approach, she did desire the
friars that was her confessors, that they should sit on their knees
before the King, and to beseech him that he would be good and gracious
unto the Earl of Angwische, and did extremely lament and ask God mercy
that she had offended unto the said Earl as she had."

The friars were also to plead with her son for the Lady Margaret
Douglas, the daughter whom she had so remorselessly abandoned, and to
beg him that she might have some of her mother's goods. And thus,
making what reparation she could, with penitent words on her lips,
Margaret Tudor passed away.


The history of the first two marriages of Henry VIII. is of such vital
importance, affecting as they did the whole course of religion in
England, from the first whisperings of the divorce down to the present
day, that it is not to be wondered at if the royal Bluebeard's
subsequent matrimonial alliances have been considered negligible
quantities. And yet, at least one of them was of extreme political, and
even religious, importance, and was fraught with so much mystery that
until the most recent investigations, the true inwardness of the matter
has been totally misapprehended. The story of Anne of Cleves' portrait,
and Henry's supposed disappointment when he saw the lady herself for
the first time, is authentic in so far as it was exactly what the king
chose to have circulated about his fourth marriage. But if it contained
half the truth, it was the other half that really mattered.

After the fall of Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell had by his astute policy
succeeded in bringing about a religious state of things in England that
approached very nearly to Lutheranism. Taking advantage of Henry's
pique and anger at the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce from
Katharine of Arragon, Cromwell set about widening the breach between
England and Rome. After weakening the power of the bishops and lower
clergy, he was able to force the oath of supremacy upon the nation, and
having thus satisfied his master's pride and vanity, his next step was
by the dissolution of the monasteries to pander to Henry's greed, while
at the same time he filled his own pockets.

In pursuit of these ends he had covered the land with gibbets, and
caused the noblest heads in England to fall upon the block. He had
branded the king's own daughter with the stigma of infamy, and to
obtain her consent thereto had kept the axe suspended over her. He had
been able to accomplish all this because thus far he had taken Henry's
measure correctly, working upon his worst passions, and suggesting ever
fresh means of satisfying them. Then came a point at which his
interests and those of the king diverged.

Cromwell was deeply pledged to the Lutheran cause, and his plan was to
throw Henry into the arms of the Lutheran princes of Germany. He had
already flooded the country with foreign heretics, using them as his
tools to protestantise the Church in England.

Jane Seymour died in 1537, and Cromwell at once negotiated a marriage
between Henry and Anne, daughter of the Duke of Cleves, Henry
consenting for the reason that it behoved him to fortify himself by an
alliance that would enable him to make a stand against a possible
combination of forces between the Pope, the Emperor, and the French
King. But at the very moment when Cromwell, believing himself to be at
the point of realising all his desires, was pledging his master to
marry Anne of Cleves, a reaction had set in which he so completely
disregarded as to seem in utter ignorance of it.

Nothing annoyed Henry more than to be twitted with being a heretic, and
whenever Henry was annoyed a blow might be expected. The loathed
epithet was now very frequently used in reference to him by the emperor
and others, and he was bent on showing Europe that he could be a very
good Catholic without the Pope. It irritated him to think that Cromwell
had laid him open to retort in this contention by a formal alliance
with the Lutherans, who were undeniably heretics. It served his purpose
very well to play them off against the emperor and even Francis I., but
it was not his will to be bound irrevocably by any contract. When
Cromwell thought to put the finishing touch to his triumphant scheme,
he only effected his own doom. He boasted to the Lutherans that he
would soon bring England over to their forms of faith, and on this
promise the match between Henry and Anne was concluded; but he failed
to rouse the German princes to a contest with the emperor, which was
all that Henry, apart from his minister's policy, had aimed at from the
beginning. With Henry the whole scheme was tentative, and the proposed
marriage but a detail of that scheme. When it fell through, he desired
to turn his back upon Cleves and the rest of the German princes;
moreover, he had no further need of Cromwell himself, who was rather in
the way of his new plans, unless the minister could find a means to
disentangle the imbroglio he had created with regard to Anne.

Like a child with a new toy, Henry was now engrossed in the fun of
being Pope in his own dominions; and as Head of the Church of England
whom it behoved to reprobate heresy in every shape and form, he
conducted a trial against one John Nicholson, who, refusing to recant
his heretical opinions, was burned at Smithfield. After this he felt
confident of being as Catholic as the real Pope, and safe from
opprobrium. He proceeded to bring forward deliberations in Parliament
on the subject of religion, with the result that the famous Act of the
Six Articles was passed. This Act, nicknamed by the Lutherans "the whip
with six cords," brought in a reaction in favour of the old religion,
which lasted till Henry's death, but matters between England and Rome
remained as they were.

Meanwhile, the lady Anne of Cleves had made her unwelcome appearance.
One of the most curious and indeed incomprehensible facts concerning
Henry VIII., is the admiring awe and grovelling gratitude with which he
was adored by most of the women whom he had the privilege of
ill-treating. After the year 1527, when he first conceived the desire
of raising Anne Boleyn to the throne, and of divorcing Katharine,
except for the short period during which he was married to Jane
Seymour, there were always two rival claimants for his hand. Not only
was Katharine ever generously ready to forget past insults if he would
graciously extend his clemency towards her, and send Anne away, but
every other woman with whom he came in contact, addressed him in words
more suited to a divinity than to an earthly king. His daughter Mary,
after having been spurned as the most degraded and abject creature of
the realm, longed for nothing more ardently than "to attain the
fruition of his most desired presence."

Although the personal appearance of Anne of Cleves did not bear out the
exaggerated reports of the German agent Mont, who had told Henry that
her beauty exceeded that of the Duchess of Milan "as the sun outshines
the silver moon," she was found on her arrival in England to be "tall,
bright, and graceful," her liveliness making amends for any defect as
to regularity of feature. Comparing her claim to beauty with that of
the other wives of Henry VIII., it does not appear that she contrasted
unfavourably with any, not even with Katharine Howard, who was very
generally admired. The king himself observed to Cromwell that Anne was
"well and seemly, and had a queenly manner," but that he found it
difficult to converse with her as she knew no word of any language but

He had first met her privately at Rochester, and had dined with her,
their public meeting taking place about half a mile from the foot of
Shooter's Hill, where she rested in a gorgeous pavilion prepared for
the occasion. Henry came marching through Greenwich Park with a
brilliant escort, and the bride and bridegroom met full merrily. The
king embraced the lady ceremoniously, and the chronicler Hall, some
time afterwards, in describing their entry into Greenwich, breaks out
into one of his eulogistic periods:

"O what a sight was this, to see so goodly a Prince and so noble a King
to ride with so fair a lady, of so goodly a stature, and so womanly a
countenance, and in especial of so good qualities. I think no creature
could see them but his heart rejoiced!"

Nevertheless, Henry's moody question, "What remedy?" which obviously
had its origin in no mere disappointment in the matter of Anne's beauty
or power to charm, was calculated to strike terror into Cromwell's
soul, the chancellor knowing full well that all this bravery was but an
appearance, and that his great scheme of Lutheranising England to the
greater glory of himself was irrevocably wrecked, and his own fate
sealed. The king went on to say that if it were not that the lady had
come so far, and for fear of making a ruffle in the world, and of
driving her brother into the emperor's arms and those of the French
king, he would not go through with the marriage ceremony.

As a forlorn hope of escape, the bride was asked to make a declaration
that she was free from all precontracts, which she did without the
least hesitation, and there was nothing to be done but for Henry "to
put his head into the yoke," and to make an insignificant political
alliance, which would thenceforth serve no political end. As a Catholic
king, Head of the Church and Defender of the Faith, there was no room
in his plans for a Lutheran queen. However, he no longer regarded the
marriage tie as a knot that could not be undone at a pinch. Cranmer
could be counted on to be pliable in that matter, and if Cromwell made
difficulties, a sword was hanging over him that could be made to fall
at any moment, and Henry knew that the death of the man who had been
the terror of England for ten years would be hailed with enthusiasm by
the whole nation. Henry's foreign policy had always been a
non-committal one, and Cromwell's daring intrigues had carried his
master further than he intended to go. As the chancellor could find no
means of getting him out of the mess, he lost his life, and Anne of
Cleves her barely assumed dignity.

The disgusting letters which Cromwell wrote from the Tower, in the hope
that his tardy playing into the king's hands would obtain him a pardon,
were of immense use to Henry in confusing the public mind as to the
real reason for his repudiation of Anne, for he was anxious in breaking
off from Protestant Germany not to turn the Duke of Cleves into an
enemy. The want of decency and the unchivalrous sacrifice of Anne's
honour and dignity are perhaps not surprising between such men as Henry
and Cromwell, but it is startling to find the lady's brother swallowing
the insult calmly. Nevertheless, Henry's diplomatic insight had
correctly gauged the coarsening effect of Luther's moral code on a mind
that could see less offence in a stain of this kind than in a frank
rupture of the marriage-treaty before Anne had been allowed to set foot
in England. There is this, however, to be said, that the possession of
the lady gave Henry a decided advantage over her brother.

A few weeks after the marriage, or what passed for such, Anne was sent
to Richmond on the pretext of being out of reach of the plague, but
there was no talk at that time of any plague, and if there had been,
Henry would certainly have gone away also, for no one feared the
epidemic more than he. On her departure, a commission was appointed
under the Great Seal to inquire into the validity of her marriage, and
in an incredibly short space of time it was declared null, by reason of
a pre-contract with the son of the Duke of Lorraine. Henry then endowed
his ex-queen with lands to the value of 4000 pounds annually, with a
house at Richmond, and another at Bletchingly.

Whatever she may have felt, Anne expressed herself willing to be
divorced--perhaps she was thankful to escape with her head--and desired
the Duke of Cleves' messenger "to commend her to her brother, and say
she was merry and well entreated." He reported of her that she said
this "with such alacrity and pleasant gesture, that he might well
testify that he found her not miscontented. After she had dined she
sent the King the ring delivered unto her at their pretended marriage,
desiring that it might be broken in pieces as a thing which she knew of
no force or value." Henry sent her many gifts and tokens "as his sister
and none otherwise," and told her that she was to be the first lady in
the realm next after the queen and the king's children. He exhorted her
to be "quiet and merry," and subscribed himself "your loving brother
and friend." After his fifth marriage she was designated as "the old
Queen, the King's sister."

The French ambassador, in a letter of the 6th August 1540, wrote:--

"The King being lately with a small party at Hampton Court, ten miles
hence, supped at Richmond with the Queen that was so merrily that some
thought he meant to reinstate her, but others think it was done to get
her consent to the dissolution of the marriage, and make her subscribe
what she had said thereupon, which is not only what they wanted, but
also what she thinks they expected. The latter opinion is the more
likely, as the King drew her apart, in company with the three first
councillors he had, who are not commonly called in to such confidence."

Marillac goes on to say that he thinks it would be great inconsistency
to take her back now, and that moreover she did not sup with him as she
did when she was queen, but at another table adjoining his, as other
ladies who are not of the blood do, when he eats in company.

On the 15th he wrote to the Duke de Montmorency:--

"As for her who is called Madame de Cleves, far from pretending to be
distressed, she is as joyous as ever, and wears new dresses every day,
which argues either prudent dissimulation or stupid forgetfulness of
what should so closely touch her heart. Be it as it may, it has thrown
the poor ambassador of Cleves into a fever, who sends every day to ask
if I have no news of his master."

Even if Anne's first feeling had been one of relief that a worse fate
had not befallen her, her gaiety was obviously forced, and no doubt the
lady did "protest too much," but she had been ordered to be "quiet and
merry," and if after such a mandate she had ventured to put on a
sorrowful countenance, or to express a vain regret, her quondam husband
would probably have been--such was his disposition--less flattered by
the compliment than irritated by the command disobeyed. And so she
prudently accepted her fate and "sate like patience on a monument
smiling at grief," as it afterwards transpired, and in her efforts to
please, imposed upon herself what must have been the most trying

Her marriage had taken place on the feast of the Epiphany, 1540, and in
July of the same year Henry was united to Katharine Howard,
grand-daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. This young woman's reputation
was already so notoriously bad, that it is impossible to believe that
the king could be in ignorance of the fact. Nevertheless, for the time
being, he was deeply in love, and his scruples and righteous anger were
wont to come--afterwards. Marillac describes the new queen "as rather
graceful than beautiful, and of short stature." He says:--

"The King is so amorous of her that he cannot treat her well enough,
and caresses her more than he did the others. She and all the Court
ladies dress in the French style, and her device is Non autre volonte
que la sienne. Madame de Cleves is as cheerful as ever, as her
brother's ambassador says."

But others besides Anne of Cleves had reason to mourn, and Melancthon
complained that atrocious crimes were reported from England, that the
divorce with the lady of Juliers was already made, and another married,
and that "good men of our opinion in religion are murdered."

On the 27th September, the papal nuncio wrote grimly to Cardinal
Farnese, that "SO FAR" the King of England was pleased with his new
wife, and the other, "sister of Cleeves has retired and 'LIVES.'"
Rumours, however, were persistently current that Henry intended to take
back Anne, until in November, Marillac informed his master that the new
queen had "completely acquired the King's grace," and that the other
was "no more thought of than if she were dead."

But Marillac had soon reason to see that in making this statement he
had somewhat exaggerated. The Princess Mary seems to have been well
informed of the loose character and behaviour of Katharine Howard, and
contrived to find pretexts for a long time for absenting herself from
court, so that the queen complained to Henry that his daughter did not
treat her with the respect she had shown to the two former queens.

But Anne of Cleves had no scruples about associating with Katharine,
and was perhaps keen to note every detail concerning her brilliant
rival, who had been more successful than herself in capturing the
king's roving fancy. She was probably as much in the dark as most
people, as to the politico-religious embarrassment she constituted.

The French ambassador gives an amusing description of her New Year's
visit to the court:--

"Sire, to omit nothing that may be written about this country, Madame
Anne, sister of the Duke of Cleves, formerly Queen of England, passed
the recent festivities at Richmond, four miles from Hampton Court, to
which place the King and also the Queen sent her, on the first day of
the year, rich presents of clothes, plate and jewels, valued at six or
seven thousand crowns. And on the second day she was summoned to appear
at Hampton Court, where she was very honourably conducted by several of
the nobility, and being arrived, the King received her very graciously,
as did also the Queen, with whom she remained nearly the whole
afternoon. They danced together, and seemed so happy that neither did
the new Queen appear to be jealous or afraid that the other had come to
raise the siege, as it was rumoured, nor did the said lady of Cleves
show any sign of discontent at seeing her rival in her place. Moreover,
Sire, if it please you to hear the end of this farce, that evening, and
the next, the two ladies supped at the King's table together, although
the lady of Cleves sat a little backward, in a corner, where the
Princess of England, Madame Mary, is wont to be; and the following day,
the said lady of Cleves returned with the same escort to Richmond,
where she is visited by all the personages of the court, which makes
people think she is about to be reinstated in her former position." *

* De Marillac, Correspondance Politique, p. 258.

Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, also wrote an account of this
strange visit. He says:--

"On the 3rd [January 1541], the lady Anne of Cleves sent the King a New
Year's present of two large horses, with violet velvet trappings, and
presented herself at Hampton Court, with her suite, accompanied only by
Lord William, the Duke of Norfolk's brother, who happened to meet her
on the road to this city. She was received by the Duchess of Suffolk,
the Countess of Hertford, and other ladies, who conducted her to her
lodgings and then to the Queen's apartments. She insisted on addressing
the Queen on her knees, for all the Queen could say, who showed her the
utmost kindness. The King then entered, and after a low bow to Lady
Anne, embraced and kissed her. She occupied a seat near the bottom of
the table at supper, but after the King had retired, the Queen and Lady
Anne danced together, and next day all three dined together. At this
time the King sent his Queen a present of a ring and two small dogs,
which she passed over to Lady Anne. That day Lady Anne returned to

* Chapuys to the Emperor; Gairdner, Cal. 16, No. 436.

The public rumour of the likelihood of Anne's restoration arose
probably as much from the common talk of the queen's immoral conduct as
from the circumstance of Anne's appearance at court. The reports at
length reached Katharine's ears, and it was possibly her accusing
conscience that betrayed itself in her visible depression of spirits.

"Some days ago [wrote Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary on 6th May 1541],
this Queen being rather sad, the King wished to know the cause, and she
said it was owing to a rumour that he was going to take back Anne of
Cleves. The King told her that she was wrong to think such things, and
[that] even if he were in a position to marry, he had no mind to take
back Anne; which is very probable, as his love never returns for a
woman he has once abandoned. Yet many thought he would be reconciled to
her for fear of the King of France making war on him at the
solicitation of the Duke of Cleves and the King of Scotland."

This was the first intimation of the storm that was soon to burst When
it suited Henry to give ear to the scandals afloat about the queen, his
grief and indignation, or what it pleased him should pass for such,
knew no bounds.

The palace at Hampton Court where Katharine was imprisoned, was so
strictly guarded that none but certain officers could enter or leave
it. The Princess Mary, who had spent the last few months with her
stepmother, presenting a strange contrast to her surroundings, was now
sent to join Prince Edward, and her father announced that he was
heartbroken at the queen's immorality and perfidy. Anne was thought by
Chapuys to rejoice greatly at Katharine's fall, but her execution
caused little comment throughout the country. Either the nation was
indifferent or it had become accustomed to the disgrace of queen

Marillac, writing to Francis I. on the 11th November, says:--

"The way taken is the same as with Queen Anne who was beheaded. She has
taken no kind of pastime, but kept in her chamber, whereas, before, she
did nothing but dance and rejoice; and now when the musicians come,
they are told that this is no more the time to dance . . . . As to whom
the King will take, everyone thinks it will be the lady he has left,
who has conducted herself wisely in her affliction, and is more
beautiful than she was, and more regretted and commiserated than Queen
Katharine (of Arragon) was in like case. Besides, the King shows no
inclination to any other lady, and will have some remorse of
conscience, and no man in England dare suggest one of such quality as
the lady in question, for fear, if she were repudiated of falling en
quelque gros inconvenient."

The imperial ambassador had, it is seen, estimated Henry's character
more correctly than Marillac did, for as to "remorse of conscience," we
do not find throughout the whole length of his life that the royal
miscreant ever made an attempt to expiate any one of his crimes, or to
make amends to a single individual for wrong done.

According to Marillac, the king was so shocked and grieved at
Katharine's behaviour, that he proposed never to take another wife; but
when it was suggested that in spite of her outrageous conduct the queen
might possibly escape the punishment of death, on account of her beauty
and her sweetness of disposition, the Duke of Norfolk said that she
must of necessity die, because the king could not marry again while she

Francis I. does not seem to have taken his envoy's account of Henry's
grief very seriously (he had known the King of England longer than
Marillac had), and replied with some apparent cheerfulness, that he was
sorry for his cousin's misfortune, and would soon send a gentleman to
condole with the king.

Chapuys, as usual, had with greater discernment, hit the more probable

"This King has wonderfully felt the case of the Queen, his wife, and
has certainly shown greater sorrow at her loss than at the fault, loss,
or divorce of his preceding wives. It is like the case of the woman who
cried more bitterly at the loss of her tenth husband than at the deaths
of all the others together, though they had all been good men; but it
was because she had never buried one of them before without being sure
of the next, and as yet it does not seem that he has formed any new

Katharine was beheaded on the 13th October 1542, on the same spot on
the Tower Green where Anne Boleyn had been executed. Her end, and that
of Lady Rochester who had encouraged her in her evil life, was
penitent, and even edifying. After the execution it was remarked that
the king was in better spirits, and during the last few days before
Lent there was much feasting at Court.

Chapuys describes the state of affairs thus:--

"Sunday was given up to the Lords of his Council, and Court; Monday to
the men of law; and Tuesday to the ladies, who all slept at the Court.
He himself in the morning did nothing but go from room to room to order
lodgings to be prepared for these ladies, and he made them great and
hearty cheer, without showing particular affection to any one. Indeed,
unless Parliament prays him to take another wife, he will not I think
be in a hurry to marry; besides, few if any ladies now at Court would
aspire to such an honour, for a law has just been passed, that should
any King henceforth wish to marry a subject, the lady will be bound on,
pain of death to declare if any charges of misconduct can be brought
against her, and all who know or suspect anything of the kind against
her, are bound to reveal it within twenty days, on pain of confiscation
of goods and imprisonment for life."

Perhaps it was this general indictment of the women of Henry's court,
most certainly the echo of public opinion, that had caused the people
to persist in the belief that Anne of Cleves would regain Katharine's
strangely coveted place. Where the reputation of a whole class was so
bad as to make the above kind of declaration impossible, virtue, such
as that attributed to the Lady Anne, was at a premium, and as it was
useless to think of a suitable foreign alliance in the state of Henry's
religious opinions, justice and necessity had alike seemed to point to
the reinstatement of the discarded queen. But Henry was exceedingly
annoyed at these repeated suggestions which, forsooth, had almost
appeared TO DICTATE TO HIM, and he determined to put a stop to the free
wagging of tongues on the subject of his matrimonial affairs.

After the fall of Katharine Howard, and before her execution, a State
Paper records that Jane Rattsay was "examined of her words to Elizabeth
Bassett, viz., 'What if God worketh this work to make the Lady Anne of
Cleves queen again?' She answered that it was an idle saying suggested
by Bassett's 'Praising the Lady Anne, and dispraising the Queen that
now is.' She declared that she never spoke at any other time of the
Lady Anne, and she thought the King's divorce from her good." Examined
as to her exclamation "What a man is the King! How many wives will he
have?" she answered that she said it "upon the sudden tidings declared
to her by Bassett, when she was sorry for the change and knew not so
much as she knows now."

But for all Anne's prudence, and the bold front the brave woman
presented to her misfortunes, she had been secretly hoping that when
the inevitable crash came, she would be restored to the rights which
she had only renounced, because she had no alternative. Henry, however,
made no sign, and in 1543 Katharine Parr appeared on the scene. The
first mention of the king's sixth wife in the public records is a
tailor's bill for numerous items of cotton, linen, buckram, etc., and
the making of Italian gowns, pleats, and sleeves, kirtles, French,
Dutch, and Venetian gowns, Venetian sleeves, French hoods, etc., of
various materials, the total amount of the bill being 8 pounds, 9s. 5d.
This bill was delivered "to my Lady Latymer," and was copied into the
book of Skutt the tailor.

Katharine Parr had been first married as a mere child to the old Lord
Borough of Gainsborough, and had been left a widow before she was
seventeen. She then married Lord Latimer, who died in 1543, and was
immediately sought in marriage by Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the
king's third wife, who became Lord High Admiral in Edward's reign.
Katharine undoubtedly intended to become his wife, but as she
afterwards wrote, her "will was over-ruled by a higher power."

On the 20th June of the same year, Lady Latimer and her sister Mrs.
Herbert were at court "with my Lady Mary's Grace and my Lady
Elizabeth," and the next mention of her is in a licence of Thomas,
Archbishop of Canterbury, "authorised thereto by parliament to Henry
VIII. (who has deigned to marry the Lady Katharine, late wife of Lord
Latimer deceased) to have the marriage solemnised in any church,
chapel, or oratory, without the issue of banns." It took place on the
12th July following, in an upper oratory called the Queen's Privy
Closet, within the honour of Hampton Court, Gardiner, Bishop of
Winchester, officiating.

"Anne of Cleves [wrote Chapuys to Charles V.], would like to be in her
sherte [shroud] so to speak, with her mother, having especially taken
great grief and despair at the king's espousal of this last wife, who
is not nearly so beautiful as she, besides that there is no hope of
issue, seeing that she had none with her two former husbands."

Others, besides the poor, discarded Lady Anne were also in tribulation,
and a letter from one of the Lutherans in England to Henry Bullinger,
the reformer, reports that "the king has within these two months burnt
three godly men in one day. For in July he married the widow of a
nobleman named Latimer, and he is always wont to celebrate his nuptials
by some wickedness of this kind."

But Katharine herself was glad exceedingly, and told Lord Parr that "it
having pleased God to incline the king to take her as his wife, which
is the greatest joy and comfort that could happen to her, she informs
her brother of it as the person who has most cause to rejoice thereat,
and requires him to let her sometimes hear of his health, as friendly
as if she had not been called to this honour."

Wriothesley, in forwarding this letter from the queen, Lord Parr's
"gracious lady and kind sister," doubts not but that he will thank God,
and frame himself to be more and more an ornament to Her Majesty.

The marriage was in every way satisfactory. Katharine was twenty-six,
about one year younger than the Lady Mary, and was by universal fame
reported "a prudent, beautiful, and virtuous lady." The royal family
had reason to be grateful for her influence over the king, whom she
persuaded to restore both Mary and Elizabeth to their rank. To Edward
she was a second mother, and Henry seems to have looked upon her with
something akin to respect, appointing her regent when he crossed the
Channel to invade France in 1544.

She offended him, however, on one occasion, by venturing to express a
difference of opinion on a religious question, and it was said that
articles of heresy were drawn up against her. "A good hearing it is,"
exclaimed Henry, "when women become such clerks; and a thing much to my
comfort to come in mine old days to be taught by my wife! Her prudence
and tact saved her life, if it was ever seriously in danger."

Henry's sordid tragedy was played out on the 28th January 1547, when
the tyrant breathed his last, and left his two wives and two daughters
to unravel the skein which he had so persistently entangled for them.
Katharine Parr took her fate immediately into her own hands, and
thirty-five days after Henry's death, secretly married her former
admirer, Sir Thomas, now Lord Seymour, who was described by Hayward as
"fierce in courage, courtly in fashion, in personage stately, in voice
magnificent, but somewhat empty in matter." The union was not a happy
one, owing mainly to Seymour's intrigues with the Princess Elizabeth, a
circumstance that was thought to have shortened Katharine's life. The
ci-devant queen died at Sudeley Castle, after having given birth to a
daughter, in August 1548, aged thirty-six.

After the one tragic episode in her life, the course of Anne of Cleves
ran smoothly enough. Mary befriended her always, and made her quondam
stepmother a prominent figure at her coronation. She frequently paid
her visits, and treated her with all the respect imaginable. Anne never
left England after her ill-starred arrival, ending her days peacefully
in 1557.


While Edward's Council thought that they had effectually closed every
issue through which news of the king's death might transpire, before
their seditious plans were completed, the Princess Mary was already on
her way into Norfolk, calling all loyal men and true to rally round her
standard. Two Norfolk gentlemen were mainly instrumental in placing her
on the throne. These were Sir Henry Jerningham and the subject of this
memoir, Sir Henry Bedingfeld of Oxburgh, who came in to her assistance
at Framlingham, with 140 well-armed men.

Bedingfeld proclaimed the queen at Norwich, and was afterwards rewarded
for his loyalty with an annual pension of 100 pounds out of the
forfeited estates of Sir Thomas Wyatt. Mary made him a Privy Councillor
and Knight Marshal of her army, and subsequently Lieutenant of the
Tower of London; and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, vice Sir Henry
Jerningham. She appointed him custodian of Elizabeth, when that
princess was confined in the Tower and at Woodstock, on suspicion of
being concerned in Wyatt's rebellion; and so little did Elizabeth
resent his severity during the time of her imprisonment, that after her
accession, she addressed him as her "trusty and well-beloved," employed
him in her service, and granted to him the manor of Caldecot in
Norfolk, which still forms part of the Oxburgh estate at the present

He was undoubtedly one of the foremost Englishmen of his day, respected
by two sovereigns, and occupying prominent and honourable positions,
his loyalty being unimpeachable; yet Foxe, the martyrologist, with his
wonted dishonesty, has without the slightest foundation, and so
effectually, blackened his fame, that almost every subsequent writer on
this period has reproduced the calumnies set forth with malice prepense
in the Acts and Monuments.

Strype was the first unquestioning copyist of Foxe; Burnet was the
second; and Sir Reginald Hennell is the most recent.*

* In his volume "The History of the King's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of
the Guard."

Tennyson, in his dramatic poem Queen Mary, also went to Foxe for his
historical data, with the result that, while discarding the more
malicious interpretation of Bedingfeld's character, he has,
nevertheless, passed on to posterity a coarse and grotesque caricature
as though it were a portrait.

A fire broke out at Woodstock in May 1554, and Tennyson choosing to
suppose that Elizabeth suspected foul play, invented the following
absurd dialogue:--

I woke Sir Henry--and he's true to you-
I read his honest horror in his eyes.

Or true to you?

Sir Henry Bedingfeld!
I will have no man true to me, your Grace,
But one that pares his nails; to me? the clown!
For like his cloak, his manners want the nap
And gloss of court; but of this fire he says,
Nay swears, it was no wicked wilfulness,
Only a natural chance.

A chance-perchance
One of those wicked wilfuls that men make,
Nor shame to call it nature.

At the end of a long speech Elizabeth cries

God save the Queen. My jailor--

One, whose bolts,
That jail you from free life, bar you from death.
There haunt some Papist ruffians hereabout
Would murder you.

I thank you heartily, sir,
But I am royal, tho' your prisoner,
And God hath blest or cursed me with a nose--
Your boots are from the horses.

This libel did not, however, pass unchallenged, and the father of the
present baronet wrote to the Poet Laureate the following protest:--

"Sir,--As a great admirer of your genius, I eagerly read your drama
Queen Mary, but was so surprised and pained at the ignoble part which
is allotted to Sir Henry Bedingfeld, that I cannot refrain from
addressing you on the subject. I feel justified in doing so, as I am
the direct descendant of Sir Henry, and date from the house which was
his home.

"The millions who will read Mary Tudor, or witness the play on the
stage, will carry away the impression that my ancestor was a vulgar
yeoman, in some way connected with the stables, whereas he was a man of
ancient lineage, a trusted friend and servant of the queen, who
confided to him in time of danger the Lieutenancy of the Tower, and the
custody of the Princess Elizabeth. This princess so respected Sir
Henry, that although she complained of his severity during her
captivity, she visited him at Oxburgh after her accession to the
throne, and treated him with the greatest consideration. Numerous
documents in my possession, including letters from the Sovereign, from
the Privy Council, arid from the most eminent men of the time, would
prove, were such proof required, the high position held by Sir Henry.

"I trust, therefore, to your feeling of justice that you will, if
possible, either strike out Sir Henry's name from future editions, or
allot to him a more dignified part on the stage, and one which will
convey a more correct view of his character and position.--I am, Sir,
your obedient servant,

"Henry Bedingfeld."

Tennyson's answer to the above, dated from the Isle of Wight, six
months later, though courteous, left the matter almost where it was, so
far as historical accuracy was secured:--

"Sir,--Your letter arrived when I was abroad, else would have been
answered at once; and therefore I waited till the play should be
announced for acting. I had made your ancestor an honest gentleman
though a rough one, as I found him reported to be, whether true or no;
and I regret that you should have been pained by my representation of
him. Now, in deference to your wishes, his name is not once mentioned
on the stage, and he is called in the play-bill merely 'Governor of
Woodstock.' Moreover, I have inserted a line in Elizabeth's part: 'But,
girl, you wrong a noble gentleman.'--I have the honour to be, Sir, your
obedient servant,

"A. Tennyson."

In spite, however, of the best intention on the part of the author, the
American edition of the play, priding itself on being "the only
unmutilated version," preserves the exact wording of the poem.* Thus
has history ever been medicated to suit the prejudices of the
uncritical and the ignorant.

* De Witt's acting plays, No. 181, Queen Mary; a drama. Edited by John
M. Kingdom.

Sir Henry Bedingfeld, who was born in the year 1509, was the grandson
of Sir Edmund Bedingfeld, the favourite of three successive kings,
Edward IV., Richard III., and Henry VII. This same Sir Edmund had
served in the Wars of the Roses, and Edward IV., by letters patent of
the twenty-second year of his reign, granted to him, "for his faithful
service, licence to build towers, walls, and such other fortifications
as he pleased in his manors of Oxburgh, together with a market there
weekly, and a court of pye-powder." He also bestowed on him his own
royal badge the Falcon and Fetterlock. Richard III. made him a Knight
of the Bath, and Henry VII. visited him at Oxburgh. In the third year
of his reign this king granted three manors in Yorkshire, Wold, Newton,
and Gaynton to him and his heirs male for ever, in return for his help
in crushing the rebellion in the north, which patent was renewed and
confirmed by Henry VIII. Sir Edmund died in 1496, and was succeeded by
his only son, another Edmund, who attended Henry VIII. in his foreign
wars, and was knighted for valour by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk,
on the battle-field, after the taking of Montdidier in 1523. The king
appointed him steward to Katharine of Arragon at Kimbolton. He married
Grace, daughter of Henry, Lord Marny, and by her had four sons, Henry,
Edmund, Anthony, and Humphrey. Henry, who succeeded him in 1533, was
the famous Lieutenant of the Tower, and the "jailor" of the Princess
Elizabeth. Henry's wife was Katharine, daughter of Sir Roger Townshend,
one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, and ancestor of the
present Marquis Townshend. Sir Henry Bedingfeld kept up some state at
Oxburgh, having twenty servants in livery, besides those employed in
husbandry. When he was away on the queen's business, the management of
his estate devolved on Dame Katharine, and a letter from this lady
addressed "To the right worshipful, my very good husband," and dated
Oxburgh, October 1554, is a compte rendu of all she had done for his
property during his absence. This document which has had a chequered
career, has lately, with some others, found its way back to the Oxburgh
archives. Another, the draft of which has lately been discovered among
the muniments of this venerable old house, strikes a more pathetic
note, and testifies, to the affectionate dependence with which Lady
Bedingfeld leaned on her lord.

"Lady Bedingfeld to the lords of the Council, praying to have her
husband with her during her confinement:--

My Lords,--Being very near the time of my being brought to bed, and Sir
Henry Bedingfeld in the country, who is very tender in giving any
offence to the Queen's Majesty, this is humbly to beg your Lordships
will be pleased to confirm the order as he may have leave to be with me
till the time of my approaching danger be over, and I shall acknowledge
it as a very great favour done to your Lordships' most humble servant."

On the reverse side of this draft is a recipe for "Lime drinks against
the King's Evil, or any sharp humours."

Although a man does not necessarily write himself down angel or devil,
it is true of most people that their correspondence is a fair
indication of their character, tastes, and habits. The letters written
by and addressed to Sir Henry Bedingfeld reveal him as of the usual
type of country gentlemen of the period, interested in sport and
agriculture, but having also some experience of soldiering. He could be
counted on to raise a troop of horse or foot in an emergency, provided
it were in the service of the lawful sovereign. He made it his business
to become acquainted with the condition of Marshland, in order to
account to the queen for the fealty of those around him; and Elizabeth,
no less than Mary, knew that she could rely on him to uphold her
authority in the eastern Counties, His letters to Mary show that
notwithstanding his frankness, and his freedom from diplomatic
subtlety, his manners did not lack the polish of the courtier. In the
fulfilment of his charge he was ever prudent, cautious, and almost
timid in the matter of accepting responsibility; in no sense covetous
of office, he was yet so scrupulous in the discharge of duty, that he
scarcely ever acted on his own judgment if he could possibly wring
instructions from the Privy Council. His loyalty, uprightness,
courtesy, and modesty, stood him in lieu of more brilliant parts, and
his severity was at all times tempered by that quality of mercy which
"is not strained." To all this must be added his fidelity to his
religion in difficult and dangerous times.

His life after Mary's accession, to which he had materially
contributed, falls naturally into three parts: 1. The period during
which he had the care of the Princess Elizabeth. 2. His term of office
as Lieutenant of the Tower. 3. The twenty-five years after Mary's
death, which he spent for the most part in retirement in Norfolk.

On the 18th March 1554, this portentous missive was delivered to him:--

"My duty remembered, these shall be to advise you that on Friday my
lady Elizabeth was sent to the Tower at 10 of the clock. The Parliament
shall be holden at Westminster on the day aforesaid; and the Queen is
in good health, thanks be to God, who preserve you in much worship.
This Good Friday riding by the way.--Your servant to command,

"Thomas Waters.

"To the right worshipful Sir Henry Bedyngfeld give these, written in

The causes of Elizabeth's arrest were far-reaching. Circumstantial
evidence of her connection with Wyatt's rebellion was not wanting, and
if Mary had been willing to have her sister convicted on that evidence
alone, her head would undoubtedly have fallen on the block. Elizabeth
herself in numerous instances caused blood to flow on far less certain
grounds. But her guilt could not otherwise be brought home, and in her
first Parliament Mary had restored the ancient, constitutional law of
England, by which overt or spoken acts of treason must be proved,
before any English person could be convicted as a traitor.

The case against Elizabeth was this. The French Ambassador, de
Noailles, whose instructions were that he should play upon the popular
discontent in regard to the queen's proposed marriage to Philip of
Spain, in the interest of France, encouraged Elizabeth to associate
herself with the factious, and to become, as it were, the
stalking-horse of the disaffected. She was far too clever to commit
herself to any direct act of rebellion, but de Noailles was prodigal of
her name in all the intrigues that he fostered, and the plot organised
by means of Sir Peter Carew, in Devonshire and Cornwall, had for its
declared object the marriage of Elizabeth to Courtenay, Earl of Devon,
and the placing of these two on the throne. Sir Thomas Wyatt had
meanwhile raised the standard of revolt in the home counties, but
before leaving London for that purpose, he had written a letter to
Elizabeth, urging her for greater safety to retire to her castle of
Donnington. This letter fell into the hands of the Council, as did also
three letters from de Noailles to the French king, directly implicating
Elizabeth in the insurrection, and a copy of the letter which she had
written to Mary, refusing on the plea of illness to obey the queen's
summons to the Court. Lord Russell confessed to having carried
communications between the princess and Wyatt, and that traitor, being
brought to trial, owned that the object of his rising was to secure the
crown for Elizabeth and Courtenay. He subsequently repeated the
statement, adding that the French king had promised them men and money,
and was to attack Calais and Guisnes the moment the rebels were in
possession of London. Whether he really withdrew this accusation of
Elizabeth on the scaffold must always remain doubtful, the testimony of
the sheriffs being in direct contradiction to that of Lord Chandos, who
was also present. It was not until Wyatt had formerly declared
Elizabeth to be conspiring with Henry II. of France, that Mary was at
length convinced of the necessity of securing her person. She repeated
her summons, but not, as Foxe would have us believe, with inconsiderate
cruelty and rough haste. Elizabeth's uncle, Admiral Lord William
Howard, Sir Edward Hastings, and Sir Thomas Cornwallis, were sent to
escort her from Ashridge to Westminster, with two physicians who were
to decide whether she were well enough to travel. She was treated with
uniform courtesy and consideration, and the journey of thirty-three
miles, originally intended to occupy five days, was actually made to
cover a whole week. The imperial ambassador thus describes her

* State Papers (Domestic), 1554, vol. xxi.; R.O.

"The lady Elizabeth arrived here yesterday, clad completely in white,
surrounded by a great assemblage of servants of the Queen, besides her
own people. Her countenance was pale, her look proud, lofty, and
superbly disdainful, an expression which she assumed to disguise the
mortification she felt. The Queen declined seeing her, and caused her
to be accommodated in a quarter of her palace from which neither she
nor her servants could go out without passing through the guards. Of
her suite, only two gentlemen, six ladies, and four servants are
permitted to wait on her, the rest of her train being lodged in the
city of London. The queen is advised to send her to the Tower, since
she is accused by Wyatt, named in the letters of the French ambassador,
suspected by her own councillors, and it is certain that the enterprise
was undertaken in her favour."*

* Record Office Transcripts (Belgian Archives), printed by Tytler in
his England under the reins of Edward VI. and Mary.

When charged with complicity in the plot, Elizabeth replied that she
knew nothing of it. The members of the Council were divided concerning
her, some maintaining that the legal proof against her was insufficient
to justify her being sent to the Tower, while others were for giving
her short shrift. Mary availed herself of this loophole, and caused
each lord of the Council in succession to be asked to undertake the
custody of the princess in his own house. Not one was willing to accept
the perilous office, and a warrant was therefore made out for her
committal. There was a very general impression at the time, that her
life would have been in danger, but for Mary's determination that the
law should not be infringed at her trial. Nothing could be adduced that
was not already known, and in spite of the emperor's reiterated demands
for her execution, Mary would not have her convicted on the only
evidence obtainable.

It was for Elizabeth's greater safety that the queen appointed Sir
Henry Bedingfeld to be her custodian, and Foxe's absurd description of
Bedingfeld's arrival with his hundred soldiers in blue-coats, and
Elizabeth's terror at the sight, is manifestly a fabrication of the
martyrologist's brain. We have already had a glimpse of Sir Henry's
antecedent history. He had materially contributed to Mary's triumph
over her enemies, and may be said to have been one of the train
instruments in placing the Queen on the throne; he was a distinguished
member of her Privy Council, therefore a public personage, and it is
inconceivable that Elizabeth should have asked who he was, as being "a
man unknown to her Grace," or that her attendants and friends should
have answered that "they were ignorant what manner of man he was." Foxe
himself had betaken himself to foreign parts on Mary's accession, and
may perhaps be pardoned for not knowing, although we find it hard to
forgive him for the baseless fabrication by which he sought to
discredit the queen and all those who served her faithfully.

"About that time," romances Foxe, "it was spread abroad that her Grace
should be carried from thence by this new jolly Captain and his
soldiers; but whither it could not be learned, which was unto her a
great grief, especially for that such a company was appointed to her
guard, requesting rather to continue there still, than to be led thence
with such a sort of rascals. At last plain answer was made by the Lord
Chandos, that there was no remedy but from thence she must needs depart
to the manor of Woodstock."

He goes on to say that on 19th May she was removed from the Tower,
"where Sir Henry Benifield [being appointed her jailor] did receive her
with a company of rake-hells to guard her, besides the Lord Derby's
band, wafting in the country about for moonshine in the water. Unto
whom at length came my Lord of Thame, joined in commission with the
said Sir Henry for the safeguarding of her to prison, and they together
conveyed her Grace to Woodstock, as hereafter followeth. The first day
they conducted her to Richmond, where she continued all night, being
restrained of her own men which were laid in out-chambers, and Sir
Henry Benifield's soldiers appointed in their rooms to give attendance
on her person. Whereat she being marvellously dismayed, thinking verily
some secret mischief to be a-working towards her, called her
gentleman-usher, and desired him with the rest of his company to pray
for her. 'For this night,' quoth she, 'I think to die.' Wherewith, he
being stricken to the heart, said, 'God forbid that any such wickedness
should be pretended against your Grace.' So comforting her as well as
he could, at last he burst out into tears, and went from her down into
the court, where were talking the Lord Thame and Sir Henry Benifield."

We may now dismiss Foxe and his egregious insinuations of foul play,
together with his monstrous inventions of boorishness on the part of
Elizabeth's custodian. In spite of his calumnies, it remains perfectly
clear that Elizabeth had every reason to be thankful that her "jailor"
was faithful to his trust, and that firmness and caution, rather than
weak indulgence, characterised all his conduct towards her. As for his
alleged want of courtesy towards her, there is not a shadow of evidence
to support it; he frequently knelt to address her, and even in speaking
or writing of her, maintained the same deferential mode of expression
as that which he used in her presence.

Each incident of the journey from the Tower to Woodstock is detailed in
Sir Henry's report to the Privy Council. Elizabeth apparently seized
every opportunity of making his difficult task yet more difficult; but
wayward and imperious as her temper often was, nothing in his demeanour
towards her ever approached to disrespect or even impatience. Even she
herself brought no other complaint against her custodian than that of
"scrupulousness" in the discharge of his duty, a charge which is in
itself a magnificent vindication, for the Elizabeth of history was not
one to forgive a man who had failed in the smallest degree to pay her
the homage due to her rank. Moreover, in regard to Sir Henry's
soldiers, no single instance is recorded on either side of misbehaviour
or want of decorum on their part.

In his first letter to the queen after their arrival at Woodstock, Sir
Henry says:--

"My lady Elizabeth's Grace did use [? peruse] the letter which your
Highness sent her, wherein she was right weary, to my judgment, the
occasion rising of the stark style of the same letter, being warpen and
cast. This present day she hath not been very well at ease, as your
Highness's women did declare unto me, and yet at the afternoon she
required to walk, and see another lodging in the house. In the which,
and other her like requests, I am marvellously perplexed to grant her
desire, or to say nay, seeing it hath been your Highness's pleasure to
remove her person from and out of the Tower of London where I was led
to do upon more certainty by the precedent of my good Lord Chamberlain
[Sir John Gage] and also by certain articles, by me exhibited unto my
lords of the Council and by them ordered, which were to me a perfect
rule at that time, and now is very hard to be observed in this place.
Wherefore I most lowly and heartily do desire your Highness to give me
authority and order in writing from your Majesty or your Council, how
to demean myself in this your Highness's service, whereby I shall be
the more able to do the same, and also receive comfort and heart's ease
to be your Highness's daily beadsman to God for persuasion of your most
princely and sovereign estate long to endure to God's honour.

"The 21 of May, 1554."*

* This and the next following letters are taken from the fourth volume
of the publications of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society,
"State Papers relating to the custody of the Princess Elizabeth at
Woodstock in 1554," being letters between Queen Mary and her Privy
Council and Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Knight, of Oxburgh, Norfolk,
communicated by the Rev. C.R. Manning, M.A., Hon. Sec. The originals
were formerly in Mr. Manning's possession, but have now disappeared.
The present writer has modernised the spelling.

In answer to this letter the Council wrote approving his doings, and
thanking Sir Henry on the part of the queen. A number of instructions
for his further conduct were also sent, the purport of which will be
gathered from his reply:--

"My letter answering to the former, the Council's letters.

"So it is, most honourable lords, that upon the return of my brother
Humphrey, I received instructions signed with the Queen's Majesty's
hand, and enclosed in a letter signed by your Lordships as a warrant to
direct my service how to be used during the Queen's Majesty's pleasure,
trusting only in God to make me able to do and accomplish the same. I
travail and shall do to the best of my power till God and her Highness
shall otherwise dispose for me, wishing that shortly it should come to
pass, if it may so stand with her Highness's good contention and your
honour. As touching the fifth article, which purported this in effect
that I should not suffer the lady Elizabeth's Grace to have conference
with any suspect person out of my hearing, that she do not by any means
either receive or send any message, letter or token, to or from any
manner of person, which, under your honourable corrections, must thus
answer to that, as touching conference with suspected persons, if your
Lordships mean strangers, and such as be not daily attending upon her
person by your assents and privities, with the help above said, I dare
take upon me that to do. But if you mean general conference with all
persons, as well within her house as without, I shall beseech you of
pardon, for that I dare not take upon me, nor yet for message, letter
or token, which may be conveyed by any of the three women of her privy
chamber, her two grooms of the same or the yeomen of the robes, all
which persons and none others be with her Grace at her going to her
lodging, and part of them all night, and until such time as her grace
cometh to her dining-chamber, the grooms always after going abroad
within the house, having full opportunity to do such matter as is
prohibited. And hereunto I beseech your honours ask my Lord Chamberlain
whether it will be within possibility for me to do it or no, whose
order in all things I have and do, according to my poor wit and
endeavour put in use; and upon his declaration to direct order
possible. At the present writing hereof one Marbery, my lady Grace's
servant, brought his wife, Elizabeth Marbery, to have been received to
have wait upon her Grace, in the stead of Elizabeth Sands, and because
I received no manner of warrant from you my Lords, to do it, I have
required the said Marbery to stay himself and his wife hereabouts, till
I might receive the same, which I pray you to do with all speed, for
they been very poor folks, and unable to bear their own charge as I

"Her Grace, thanks be to God, continueth in reasonable health and
quietness, as far as I can perceive; but she claimeth promise of the
mouth of my Lords Treasurer and Chamberlain to have the liberty of walk
within the whole park of Woodstock. This she hath caused to come to
mine ear by my Lady Gray, but never spoke of it to me by express words
. . . . Her Grace hath not hitherto made any request to walk in any
other place than in the over and nether gardens with the orchard,
which, if she happens to do, I must needs answer I neither dare nor
will assent unto it, till by the Queen's Highness and your honours I be
authorised that to do . . . . Cornwallis, the gentleman-usher, did move
me to assent that the cloth of estate should be hanged up for her
Grace, whereunto I directly said nay, till your Lordships' pleasures
were known therein.

"Postscript.--There was some peril of fire within the house, which we
have without any loss to be regarded, escaped. Thanks be to God."

In answer to the above the Council thanked and commended Sir Henry for
all that he had hitherto done, adding:--

"Where ye desire to be resolved of certain doubts which you gather upon
your instructions, ye shall understand that although we well know ye
cannot meet such inconvenience as may happen by those that attend upon
the lady Elizabeth, in bringing unto her letters, messages or tokens,
yet if ye shall use your diligence and wisdom there as ye shall see
cause, it shall be your sufficient discharge. As for strangers, ye must
foresee that no persons suspect have any conference with her at all,
and yet to permit such strangers whom ye shall think honest and not
suspicious, upon any reasonable cause to speak with her in your hearing
only. As for placing Elizabeth Marbery in lieu of Sands, letters be
already sent from the Queen's Highness unto you therefore, which we
pray you to see executed accordingly. Where she claimeth promise of the
Lord Treasurer and me the Lord Chamberlain to walk in the park, as we
have heard nothing before this time thereof, so do not I the Lord
Chamberlain remember any such promise."

The queen's letter was as follows:--

"Marye The Quene. By the Quene

"Trusty and right well-beloved, we greet you well. And where we be
informed that Sands, one of the women presently attending about our
sister the Lady Elizabeth, is a person of an evil opinion, and not fit
to remain about our said sister's person, we let you wit, our will and
pleasure is, you shall travail with our said sister, and by the best
means ye can persuade her to be contented to have the said Sands
removed from her, and to accept in her place, Elizabeth Marbery,
another of her women, who shall be sent thither for that purpose: whom
at her coming we require you to be placed there, and to give order that
the said Sands may be removed from thence accordingly.

"Given under our signet, at our manor of St. James, the 26th day of
May, the first year of our reign."

It was soon found necessary to cancel the permission for strangers to
have access to the captive princess, and the Council accordingly wrote
to Sir Henry:--

"And forasmuch as it appeareth hereby that such private persons as be
disposed to disquiet will not let to take occasion if they may, to
convey messages or letters in and out by some secret practice, her
Majesty's further pleasure is for the avoiding hereof, that ye shall
henceforth suffer no manner person other than such as are already
appointed to, be about the Lady Elizabeth, to come unto her or have any
manner, talk, or conference with her, any former instructions or
letters heretofore sent you to the contrary notwithstanding."

Elizabeth made difficulties with regard to every detail of her custody,
and the substitution of Marbery, although she was one of her own women,
for Sands, was not effected without a struggle; but on the 5th June Sir
Henry was able to report that: "The same was done this present day,
about 2 of the clock in the afternoon, not without great mourning both
of my Lady's Grace and Sands. And she was conveyed into the town by my
brother Edmund, and by him delivered to Mr. Parry, who at my desire
yesternight did prepare horse and men to be ready to convey her either
to Clerkenwell beside London to her uncle there, or else into Kent, to
her father, towards the which he promised she should go. This I do
signify unto your lordships, because I think her a woman meet to be
looked unto for her obstinate disposition."

In another very long letter he certifies that the princess has asked
for an English Bible "of the smallest possible volume," desiring that
he would send to her cofferer for one. But the cofferer replied that he
had none at all, but sent a servant with three books, one of which
contained the Psalms of David and the Canticles. Leave was given for
her to have an English Bible, and for her to write to the Queen as she

On the 12th June Sir Henry wrote to the Council a letter highly
informative as to the difficulties of his position:--

"Pleaseth it your honourable lordships to be advertised, that the same
day I last wrote unto you, my lady Elizabeth's Grace demanded of me
whether I had provided her the book of the Bible in English of the
smallest volume, or no. I answered, because there were divers Latin
books in my hands ready to be delivered if it pleased her to have them,
wherein as I thought she should have more delight, seeing she
understandeth the same so well; therefore I had not provided the same,
which answer I perceived she took not in good part, and within
half-an-hour after that, in her walking in the nether garden, in the
most unpleasant sort that ever I saw her since her coming from the
Tower, she called me to her again, and said in these words: 'I have at
divers times spoken to you to write to my lords of certain my requests,
and you never make me answer to any of them. I think (quoth she) you
make none of my lords privy to my suit, but only my Lord Chamberlain,
who, although I know him to be a good gentleman, yet by age, and other
his earnest business, I know he hath occasion to forget many things.'
To this I answered that I did never write in her Grace's matter to any
of you my lords privately, and said unto her Grace further, that I
thought this was a time that your lordships had great business in,* and
therefore her Grace could not look for direct answer upon the first
suit. 'Well,' said she, 'once again I require you to do thus much for
me, to write unto my said lords, on my behalf to be means unto the
Queen's Majesty, to grant me leave to write unto her Highness with mine
own hand, and in this I pray you let me have answer as soon as you
can.' To this I answered: 'I shall do for your Grace that I am able to
do, which is to write to my said Lords, and then it must needs rest in
their honourable considerations whether I shall have answer or no,'
since which time her Grace never spoke to me. Surely, I take it that
the remembrance of Elizabeth Sands' departing, and the only placing
Marbery in her room, clearly against her late desire, is some cause of
her grief [grievance]."

* On account of the Queen's approaching marriage.

The effect produced by the princess's letter to Mary may be gathered
from the following reply, written by the Queen to Sir Henry:--

"Marye The Quene. By the Quene.

"Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. And where our pleasure was
of late signified unto you for the Lady Elizabeth to have licence to
write unto us, we have now received her letters, containing only
certain arguments devised for her declaration in such matters as she
hath been charged withal by the voluntary confessions of divers others.
In which arguments she would seem to persuade us, that the testimony of
those who have opened matters against her, either were not such as they
be, or being such should have no credit. But as we were most sorry at
the beginning, to have any occasion of suspicion, so when it appeared
unto us, that the copies of her secret letters unto us were found in
the packet of the French ambassador, that divers of the most notable
traitors made their chief account upon her, we can hardly be brought to
think that they would have presumed to do so, except they had had more
certain knowledge of her favour towards their unnatural conspiracy than
is yet by her confessed. And therefore, though we have for our part,
considering the matter brought to our knowledge against her, used more
clemency and favour towards her than in the like matter hath been
accustomed; yet cannot these fair words so much abuse [deceive] us, but
we do well understand how these things have been wrought. Conspiracies
be secretly practised, and things of that nature be many times judged
by probable conjectures, and other suspicions and arguments, where the
plain, direct proof may chance to fail; even as wise Solomon judged who
was the true mother of the child by the woman's behaviour and words,
when other proof failed and could not be had. By the argument and
circumstances of her said letter with other articles declared on your
behalf by your brother to our Privy Council, it may well appear her
meaning and purpose to be far otherwise than her letters purported.
Wherefore our pleasure is not to be hereafter any more molested with
such her disguise and colourable letters, but wish for her that it may
please our Lord to grant her His grace to be towards Him as she ought
to be; then shall she the sooner be towards us as becometh her. This
much have we thought good to write unto you, to the intent ye might
understand the effect of those letters, and so continue your accustomed
diligence in the charge by us committed to you.

"Given under our signet at the Castle of Farnham, the 25th day of June,
the first year of our reign."

The gist of this letter was communicated to Elizabeth by Sir Henry in
the manner he himself describes:--

"Yesterday I went to hear Mass in her Grace's chamber; that being
ended, in the time of doing my duty, thinking to have departed from her
Grace, she called me, and asked whether I had heard of any answer that
was or should be made by the Queen's Majesty to her late letters. Upon
which occasion, fitly as I took it, I made her Grace answer that I had
to declare unto her an answer on the Queen's Majesty's behalf,
whensoever she should command me. 'Let it be even now,' said her Grace.
'If you will,' I answered, 'because I was fearful to misreport;
therefore I have scribbled it as well as I can with mine own hand, and
if you will give me leave to fetch it,' and, being ready to go in to
her Grace with it, I received word from her Grace by one of the Queen's
Majesty's women to stay till her Grace had dined, and then she would
hear it. Within a mean pause after dinner she sent for me, and having
Mr. Tomiou in my company, who going with me into the outer chamber,
there staying, I went in to her Grace, and required her if it so stood
with her pleasure that he might hear the doing of the message. She
granted it, and I called him in, and kneeling by with me, I read unto
her Grace my message according to the effect of the Queen's Majesty's
letter. After once hearing of it she uttered certain words, bewailing
her own chance in that her Grace's letter, contrary to her
expectations, took no better effect, and desired to hear it once again,
which I did. And then her Grace said: 'I note especially to my great
discomfort [which I shall, nevertheless, willingly obey] that the
Queen's Majesty is not pleased that I should molest her Highness with
any more of my colourable letters, which, although they be termed
colourable, yet not offending the Queen's Majesty, I must say for
myself that it was the plain truth, even as I desire to be saved afore
God Almighty, and so let it pass. Yet, Mr. Bedyngfeld, if you think you
may do so much for me, I would have you to receive an answer which I
would make unto you touching your message, which I would at the least
way, my Lords of the Council might understand, and that ye would
conceive it upon my words, and put it in writing, and let me hear it
again. And if it be according to my meaning, so to pass it to my
lordships for my better comfort in mine adversity.' To this I answered
her Grace: 'I pray you, hold me excused that I do not grant your
request in the same.' Then she said: 'It is like that I shall be
offered more than ever any prisoner was in the Tower, for the prisoners
be suffered to open their mind to the Lieutenant, and he to declare the
same unto the Council, and you refuse to do the like.' To this I
answered her Grace that there was a diversity where the Lieutenant did
hear a prisoner declare matters touching his case, and should thereof
give notice unto the Council, and where the prisoner should, as it
were, command the Lieutenant to do his message to the Council.
Therefore, I desired that her Grace would give me leave with patience
not to agree to her desire herein, and so departed from her Grace.

"Yesterday morning again, about x of the clock, in the time of her
walk, she called me to her in the little garden, and said: 'I remember
yesterday ye refused utterly to write on my behalf unto my Lords of the
Council, and therefore, if you continue in that mind still, I shall be
in worse case than the worst prisoner In Newgate, for they be never
gainsaid in the time of their imprisonment by one friend or other to
have their cause opened or sued for, and this is and shall be such a
conclusion unto me, that I must needs continue this life without all
hope worldly, wholly resting to the truth of my cause, and that before
God to be opened, arming myself against whatsoever shall happen, to
remain the Queen's true subject as I have done during my life. It
waxeth wet, and therefore I will depart to my lodging again;' and so
she did. Thus much concerning her Grace, I thought it my duty to give
your lordships advertisement of, to be considered as it shall please
your honours, clearly omitting any part of the message, and such which
my lady's Grace would have had me to have taken upon me, and shall do
so, unless I have the Queen's Majesty's warrant for the same."

This report had the desired effect, and the Council gave Sir Henry
leave "to write those things that she shall desire you, and to signify
the same to us of her Majesty's Council, sending your letters touching
that matter enclosed in some paper directed to her Highness, so as she
may herself have the first sight thereof."

Mary's next letter was personal to Sir Henry himself:--

"Trusty and right well-beloved, we greet you well. And where we
understand that by occasion of certain our instructions lately given
unto you, ye do continually make your personal abode within that our
house at Woodstock, without removing from thence at any time, which
thing might, peradventure in continuance, be both some danger to your
health, and be occasion also that ye shall not be so well able to
understand the state of the country thereabouts, as otherwise ye might;
we let you wit that in consideration thereof; we are pleased ye may at
any time, when yourself shall think convenient, make your repair from
out of our said house, leaving one of your brethren to look to your
charge, and see to the good governance of that house in your absence,
so as, nevertheless, ye return back again yourself at night, for the
better looking to your said charge. And for your better ease and
recreation, we are, in like manner pleased that ye and your brethren
may, at your liberties, hawk for your pastime at the partridge, or hunt
the hare within that our manor of Woodstock, or any of our grounds
adjoining to the same, from time to time, when ye shall think most
convenient; and that also ye may, if ye shall so think good, cause your
wife to be sent for, and to remain there with you as long as yourself
shall think meet.

"Given under our signet at our Castle of Farnham, ye 7th of July, ye
second year of our reign."

Elizabeth was not slow to profit by the permission obtained for her to
write to the Council through the intermediary allowed, and Sir Henry's
letter-book contains the following transcript of his report written in
his own hand.

"My lady Elizabeth's Grace's suit:--

"My lady Elizabeth, this present 30th of July, required me to make
report of her Grace's mind as her suit to your honours to be means to
the Queen's Majesty on her behalf to this effect. To beseech your
lordships all to consider her woeful case, that being but once licensed
to write as an humble suitress unto the Queen's Highness, and received
thereby no such comfort as she hoped to have done, but to her further
discomfort in a message by me opened, that it was the Queen's
Highness's pleasure not to be any more molested with her Grace's
letters, that it may please the same, and that upon very pity,
considering her long imprisonment and restraint of liberty, either to
charge her with special matter to be answered unto and tried, or to
grant her liberty to come unto Her Highness's presence, which she saith
she would not desire, were it not that she knoweth herself to be clear,
even before God, of her allegiance. And if also by your good mediations
she might not enjoy the Queen's Highness's most gracious favour without
any scruples or suspicions of her truth, she had rather willingly
suffer this that she doth, and much more, than her Majesty should in
any case be troubled or disquieted, touching her whose honour surely
and preservation she saith she doth desire above all things in this
world. Requiring me further to move chiefly as many of you my lords as
were a Council, parties, and privy to and for the execution of the will
of the King's Majesty her father, to further this her Grace's suit
above said. And if neither of these two her suits may be obtained by
your lordships for her, that then it might please the Queen's Highness
to grant that some of you my lords may have leave to repair hither unto
her, and to receive her suit of her own mouth to be opened. Whereby she
may take a release not to think herself utterly desolate of all refuge
in this world."

To this the Council made reply on the 7th August that "the Queen's
Highness" would "take a time to consider, and at convenient leisure
make such answer thereunto as shall be` necessary"; but Elizabeth's
imperious temper brooked no delay, and Sir Henry was soon prevailed on
to jog their lordship's memories:--

"Upon Friday last," he wrote, "my lady Elizabeth's Grace, in the time
of her walk in the over garden here, in the forenoon of the same day,
said unto me, 'I have very slow speed in the answer of any of my suits,
and I know it is ever so, when that there is not one appointed to give
daily attendance in suit-making for answer. And therefore,' saith she,
'I pray you let me send a servant of mine own to whom I will do the
message in your hearing that he shall do by my commandment; and this I
think,' said she, 'is not against the order and service appointed unto
you.' To which I answered requiring her Grace to be contented, for I
neither could nor would assent to any such her request. 'Then,' said
she, 'I am at a marvellous afterdeal [disadvantage], for I have known
that the wife hath been received to sue for her husband, the kinsman,
friend or servant for them that hath been in the case I now am, and
never denied.' To that I answered: 'I myself am of small experience in
such case; that notwithstanding, I trust ye shall not be long, or my
lords of the Council will remember your suit, and answer the same.'"
And so her Grace ended.

Harsh as this refusal may appear at first sight, it must be admitted
that Sir Henry, in reporting his conversations with Elizabeth to the
Council often obtained for her if not exactly what she had asked for,
at least some concession, which, had she been entirely in good faith,
would have served her purpose as well. But in spite of her jailor's
"scrupulousness " she contrived to communicate pretty freely by means
of Parry, her cofferer, and others, with the outside world. Bolts and
bars were ineffectual so long as those who surrounded her were willing
intermediaries between her and the enemies of the queen, and Sir Henry
knew it well. He desired nothing more than to be rid of his onerous
charge, as is seen by the following letter to Thirlby, Bishop of Ely:--

"After my hearty commendations to your good lordship, so it is that as
you do know, I have continued this service by the space of fifteen
weeks, in care of mind and some travail of body, which I would be glad
to make suit to be relieved of, if I might know it should be taken in
good part. And having no friend whom I believe myself to be so assured
of as your lordship, even thereupon I am bold by these heartily to
desire your travail in my behalf [if it so stand with your good
opinion] to the Queen's Majesty, to grant me my discharge from the
same. Wherein I trust my Lord Chancellor* will join with you, if it
content you to move him thereunto, who, by words of marvellous effect
comprising both the Queen's commandment that I should enter into it,
and his earnest request at that time also, did cause me to take in hand
the same. And lest my, said Lord should forget, I pray you put him in
remembrance that he had this talk with me upon the causeway betwixt the
house of Saint James and Charing Cross. And what it shall content you
to do for me herein, I shall desire you to be ascertained by your
letters, upon the return of the messenger. I made late a suit to you
for your house at Blackfriars, and received answer that you had
otherwise disposed the same; yet remembering that you had an house of
my Lord of Bath in Holborn, which, as the case now standeth, I think
your Lordship will have little pleasure to use, and if, by your good
mean, I might obtain the same at my Lord of Bath's hands, you should do
unto me a great good turn, which have no house of refuge in London, but
the common inn, and would be glad to give large money to be avoided of
that inconvenience. And thus remaining at the Queen's Majesty's house
of Woodstock [out of which I was never, by the space of six hours, sith
my coming into the same], I leave to trouble your Lordship with this my
rude writing.

"At the house aforesaid, the 16th day of August 1554."

* Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.

But nothing came of his efforts to get himself released, and the
unequal contest between his "scrupulousness," and Elizabeth's astute,
unfathomable diplomacy was still to be waged for many months. Her
request to be allowed to send a verbal message to the Council by one of
her servants was indeed declined, but she received permission to commit
her petition to paper. On the 20th September, Sir Henry wrote to the

Upon the return of my brother Edmund with your honourable letters dated
at Hampton Court the 15th of this present month, I did take knowledge
that your lordships had obtained of the Queen's Majesty that my lady
Elizabeth's Grace might write unto your lordships, delivering the same
unto me to be addressed unto your honours, inclosed in my letter, by
one of her grace's extraordinary servants; whereupon the Monday, being
the 17th day in the forenoon of the same, I declared that your
lordships had granted her Grace's late desire in form above said, which
was glad tidings as I took it. Yet her Grace at that time did neither
command me to prepare things for her Grace to write with nor named who
should be her messenger, and so I departed. Her Grace never spake words
of that matter more till the Sunday following, in the time of her
Grace's walk at the afternoon, at which time her Grace commanded to
prepare her pen and ink and paper against the next day, which I did.
Upon Monday in the morning her Grace sent Mistress Morton, the Queen's
Highness's woman for the same, to whom I delivered a standsel [an
inkstand] with five pens, two sheets of fine paper and one coarse
sheet, enclosing the same with this request unto the said Mistress
Morton, that she should make suit to my lady's Grace on my behalf, that
it would please her Grace not to use the same but in the sight of
Mistress Tomio or her. And the same Mistress Morton did this, and
brought me word that her Grace had consented to my said suit, and that
I should also send word unto Francis Verney, her Grace's ordinary
servant lying in the town of Woodstock, with her cofferer to be
messenger. Where I perceive they use as much privy conference to her
Grace and from her as they list, even as I advertised your lordships
long ago. The house also being a common inn wherein they do lie, and
they so politic as they be, I can get no knowledge of their doings by
any espyal; this only I am sure of they meet not together in person. At
the afternoon, in her Grace's going to walk, I heard her say she had
such pain in her head that she could write no more that day. Tuesday in
the morning, as I learned of Mistress Morton, she washed her head."

On the 4th October he wrote to the queen:--

"May it please your Highness to be advertised that this great lady,
upon whose person ye have commanded mine attendance, is and hath been
in quiet state for the health of her body this month or six weeks, and
of her mind declareth nothing outwardly by word or deed that I can come
to the knowledge of, but all tending to the hope she saith she hath of
your clemency and mercy towards her. Marry, against my lords of your
most honourable Council I have heard her speak, words that declare that
she hath conceived great unkindness in them, if her meaning go with her
words, whereof God only is judge."

His task grew daily more complicated, and the next letter is a key to
the situation:--

"My humble duty remembered unto your honourable Lordships, these shall
be to advertise the same, that this present 21st day of October, my
lady Elizabeth's Grace commanded me to prepare things necessary for her
to write unto your lordships, whereupon I took occasion to declare onto
her Grace that the express words of your honourable Letters, dated at
Hampton Court, the 15th of September, did trot bear that the Queen's
Majesty was pleased that her Grace, upon any occasion from time to time
moving, and as often as it pleased her, might write unto you. And
therefore I prayed her Grace to stay her determination therein until I
might signify this my doubt unto your lordships, and receive your full
and plain determination therein for my discharge; which my suit she
took in so ill part that her Grace of displeasure therein did utter,
with more words of reproach of this my service, about her by the
Queen's commandment than ever I heard her speak afore: too long to
write. At afternoon her Grace sent for me by Mrs. Pomeyow, and then in
a more quieter sort, required me to write unto your honours, and
thereby to desire the same to be means for her unto the Queen's
Highness to grant that Drs. Wendy, Owen, and Huick, or two of them, may
be licensed with convenient speed to repair hither, for to minister
unto her physic, bringing of their own choice one expert surgeon to let
her Grace's blood, if the said doctors or two of them shall think it so
good, upon the view of her suit upon their coming . . . . Most heartily
desiring your honours to return with the same your absolute opinions to
the first matter which shall be done accordingly, with our Lord's leave
and help, to understand your pleasures and commandments aright, which
this great lady saith may have good meaning in me, but it lacketh
knowledge, experience, and all other accidents in such a service
requisite, which I must needs confess. The help only hereof resteth in
God and the Queen's Majesty, with your honourable advice; from whence
to receive the discharge of this my service, without offence to the
Queen's Majesty or you my good lords, were the joyfullest tidings that
ever came to me, as our Lord Almighty knoweth, to whom no secrets be

The physicians were sent to Woodstock, and Elizabeth was "let blood,"
Sir Henry testifying that "by her own commandment" he saw it done "by
the bleeding of her army); and some hours later he saw her foot
"stricken and bled, since which time, thanks be to God, as far as I see
or hear she doeth reasonably well as that case requireth."

Some months later "the joyfullest tidings that ever came" were conveyed
in a letter from the queen. It was the herald of his longed-for

"Marye The Quene. By the Quene.

"Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. And for as much as we have
resolved to have the lady Elizabeth to repair nearer unto us, we do
therefore pray and require you to declare unto her that our pleasure is
she shall come to us to Hampton Court in your company with as much
speed as you can have things in order for that purpose; wherein you
shall not need to make any delay for calling of any other numbers than
these, which be yourself and those now there attendant upon her. And of
the time of your setting forwards from thence, and by what day you
shall think you may be there, we require you to advertise us by your
letters with speed.

"Given under our signet at our honour of Hampton Court, the 17th of
April the 1st and 2nd of our reign."

On their arrival at court Sir Henry Bedingfeld was relieved, Sir Thomas
Pope being appointed to replace him. Elizabeth was soon afterwards
allowed to retire to Hatfield, where she remained under supervision
till her accession. In the meanwhile, Bedingfeld was appointed
Lieutenant of the Tower, and the following selection of letters from
the family archives at Oxburgh not only affords us a further insight
into his character, but shows at the same time in what manner the State
prisoners were treated by the Queen, the Council, and the Lieutenant.

The two first letters relate to Sir John Cheke who, together with Sir
Peter Carew, had been arrested in Flanders, and brought to the Tower
for implication in Wyatt's rebellion. Carew was released in October

"Sir Robert Rochester to Sir Henry Bedingfeld.

"Mr. Lieutenant,--My Lord Cardinal his Grace* being gone to Lambeth of
express purpose, there to have before him Mr. Cheke, hath required me
to write unto you, and to require you that the said Mr. Cheke may be
sent unto him unto Lambeth, in the company and with the Dean of Paul's.
Wherefore I pray you take order with the said Dean so as he may convey
him thither accordingly. The meaning is that no officer of the Tower
should be troubled with his conveyance thither, but only the Dean to be
charged by you with his person to bring to my Lord Cardinal's presence,
and he to bring him again when it shall please my said Lord to command
him, who hath the whole order and disposition of this case. This must
be done when Mr. Dean he cometh to you for the man. And so bids you
most heartily well to fare, from the Court this present morning, your
assured friend, R. Rochester."

*Cardinal Pole.

"Sir John Feckenham, Priest,* to Sir John Cheke.

* Abbot of Westminster, who was appointed to examine Cheke in matters
of religion.

"Gentle Mr. Cheke,--It was this day somewhat past l0 of the clock
before I could have any determinate answer of your coming unto the
Court, which is now appointed to be at 2 of the clock in the afternoon.
I shall send two of my servants to wait upon you from the Tower unto my
house, at 1 of the clock, and from thence I will go with you unto the
Court myself. I do think that Mr. Lieutenant is already put to
knowledge thereof, but if it be forgotten give unto him this my letter,
and he will not stay you. Your submission is very well liked, and the
Queen's Highness hath seen the same, with which her Majesty has found
no fault, but only that you had forgotten to make mention in the latter
end thereof of the King's Majesty. And therefore you must write it all
whole again, and in the latter end add these words which I have added
touching the King's Majesty, or else everything is as it was in your
own copy save that I added in one place the real presence of Christ's
Body and Blood. I pray you leave not out these words, and at your
coming I shall hear your cause, where notwithstanding your few lines
which is wrote unto me thereof, be you of good comfort; all things are
well, and imagined best for your furtherance. You have more friends
than you be ware of. Thus fare you well, this present 5 of Sep. 1556,
by your assured friend, John Fecknam, Priest.

"I pray you fail not to write it all again, and that as large and plain
as you can, for I am commanded to request you that you duly so do."

Dr. Cheke, having proved his innocence of conspiracy to the
satisfaction of the Council, and having recanted his heresy, was
released, and "through the efficacy of his language," about thirty
others followed his example, and saved their lives. He died the next
year, the heretics said, of remorse for what he had done against the
reformed religion.

Edward Lewkner, who according to Machyn's Diary had been groom-porter
to Edward VI. and Mary, "was cast to suffer death" in the third year of
Mary's reign for participation in the Dudley conspiracy. While in the
Tower he fell so grievously ill as to excite the Lieutenant's
compassion, and Sir Henry appears to have interceded with the Queen on
his behalf.

"To the Right Worshipful Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Knight, Lieutenant of
the Queen's Highness's Tower of London. Francis Malet, Priest.

"Right Worshipful,--After my hearty commendations these shall be to
certify your Mastership that where your charity was declared in that it
pleased you to take pains to declare by your wise and discreet letters
the piteous state of Lewkner, your prisoner, I was thereby the more
ready and yet not wanting the counsel of a counseller to move the
Queen's goodness in the matter. And her Grace being content to take
into her hands your letter, and going with it into her privy chamber,
said she would consider the matter, and that I should learn what her
Grace's resolute mind will be therein. And therefore to tarry this
messenger any longer at this time I thought but folly, for that I shall
be ready sooner at night if it please her Highness to understand what
answer she will make to my suit; or if it will not be known this night,
as I doubt, for her Grace is as it were ever defatigate with her late
business in dispatching the King of Bohemia's ambassadors, I shall know
as soon as I may what her Grace's determination shall be; and that
known, I shall with all expedition intimate the same unto you, that so
the poor man may be certified of her Grace's pleasure. And in the
meantime I shall most heartily beseech your Mastership to continue your
favour towards the man; and divers of those that be most nigh unto her
Grace's person desire the same at your hands, and saith plainly that
the Queen's Grace will not be discontent that he may have all the
commodity that may be showed him for the recovery of his health within
the Tower. I pray God show His will mercifully upon him, and I trust
the Queen's goodness shall be extended withal unto him to his great
comfort, as knoweth Almighty Jesus, who send you with much worship long
to live and well to live in both soul and body. Scribbled in haste with
the running hand of yours to command, Francis Malet, Priest."

The above letter is undated, but the sequel to the story is related by
the Lieutenant himself in the minutes of a letter to the Council.

"Please it your Grace and my Lords to be advertised that this present
Sunday, the 6th September, Edward Lewkner, prisoner, attainted by long
sickness, departed this transitory life to God, about the hour of eight
of the clock of the night. Who was a willing man in the forenoon of
this day to have received the blessed Sacrament, but the priest that
did serve in the absence of the . . . * did think him so well that it
was meet to be ministered to him but after he had heard his confession.
He did minister unto him the Sacrament of Oiling, or Extreme Unction,
at the which I was present. Tomorrow I intend by God's grace to see him
buried in form appertaining to his condition in life, as I have learned
of those that have seen the like order. Instead of a will he charged me
with his service to the Queen's Majesty, that it might please her
Highness, after forgiveness of his offences towards the same, to
vouchsafe to have pity of his wife and ten poor children, which I
promised to do upon my next waiting upon her Majesty, humbly beseeching
your Lordships all in time most meet to be good lords to the same his
petition. And so as your poor beadsman I take my leave of you.

"From the Queen's Majesty's Tower of London 1556, the night aforesaid,
about 11 of the clock.

"Henry Bedyngfeld."

* Illegible in the manuscript.

Many other letters among this collection give evidence of the kindness
and pity bestowed by the Lieutenant on the prisoners in the Tower, and
the consideration with which their friends were treated, these being
admitted to see them whenever it was practicable. His relations with
nearly all the members of the Privy Council were intimate and cordial,
but perhaps his closest friend was Sir Henry Jerningham, who was not
only a colleague, but the chosen companion of the rare occasions that
were devoted to recreation and pleasure. Their two families had always
been on terms of affectionate intimacy, although it was not until two
generations later that they became allied by marriage, when Thomas
Bedingfeld of Oxburgh, Sir Henry's grandson, married Frances, daughter
and co-heir of John Jerningham of Somerleyton.

On the 16th February 1557, Sir Henry Jerningham, having occasion to
write to the Lieutenant of the Tower on business, ended his letter thus:

"I do and will labour all that I can to have your company into Norfolk
this Lent, to course the hare and hawk the heron. And thus I commit you
to God, praying Him to send us our prosperity. Your assured friend,
Henry Jerningham."

During the years 1553, 1554, and 1557, Sir Henry Bedingfeld sat in
Parliament as one of the knights of the shire for Norfolk. In 1557 he
succeeded Sir Henry Jerningham as Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard,
at which time he was also made vice Chamberlain. But Mary's death in
1558 closed his public career, and he retired to Oxburgh, which, hemmed
in on the south side by miles of fen country, was in those days for all
practical purposes entirely cut off from the world. It was probably
during a temporary absence, and when he was purposing to entertain
guests in his beautiful Norfolk home, that the following letter was
written to him presumably by his steward:--

To the right worshipful and my especial good friend Sir Henry
Bedingfeld, Knight, be this delivered.

"Pleaseth it your Mastership that according to your Mastership's
commandment, I did write to Mr. R and he was not at home. I shall go to
him again, and you shall know by the next messenger; you shall
understand what plate and bedding may be had at his hand. What number
of capons and hens your Mastership would have me to provide I would
desire to know by the next messenger. I doubt fat capons are hard to be
gotten in these parts, therefore if you had any that were ready fed, or
could get any that were fed in Suffolk they might be stayed till the
time you should require them, and have them killed, and carried dead,
and have again instead of them fine lean capons. Lean capons are at 8d.
the piece, and 9d. and 10d. and 12d. Geese are at 6d. and 7d. a piece.
Lean hens 4d. and 5d. Wild fowl was never so hard to be gotten. There
is little taken; the fowlers do say the cause is the weather is so
rainy, and there is as much wait laid for the getting of it as ever
there was for my Lady's Grace and for divers others. I have done as
much as I could to have gotten some for your Mastership, and for my
masters your sons, and could get but six teals. Since Christmas there
is sent you of your own hawk's killing, eleven teals, two mallards, and
eleven bitterns. And I humbly take my leave of your Mastership. From
Oxburgh, 20 of December 1563, by your poor servant,

"Wm. Deye."

It would not have been surprising if Sir Henry Bedingfeld had fallen
more or less into disgrace at this time, for Elizabeth might now, if
she had wished, made him feel the effects of his "scrupulousness"
during the period of her captivity. The following letter from the queen
shows, however, that such was not the case:

"To our trusty and well-beloved Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Knight.

"Elizabeth R By the Quene.

"Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. Like as we doubt not, but
by the common report of the world, it appeareth what great
demonstrations of hostility the French make towards this realm, by
transporting great powers into Scotland, upon the pretence only of
their going about the conquest of the same, so have we thought meet
upon more certainty to us of their purpose, to have good regard thereto
in time. And being very jealous of our town of Berwick, the principal
key of all our realm, we have determined to send with speed, succours
both thitherward and to our frontier, as well horsemen as footmen, and
do also send our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, the Duke of
Norfolk, to be our Lieutenant-General of all the North, from Trent
forward. For which purpose we have addressed our letters to sundry our
nobility and gentlemen in like manner as we do this unto you, willing
and requiring you as you tender and respect the honour of us and surety
of your country, to put in readiness, with all speed possible, one able
man, furnished with a good strong horse or gelding, and armed with a
corselet, and to send the same to Newcastle by such day, and with such
further order for the furniture as shall be appointed to you by our
trusty and well-beloved Sir Edward Wyndham, Knight, and Sir Christopher
Heydon, Knight, whom we have advertised of our further pleasure in that
behalf. And at the arriving of the said horseman at Newcastle, he shall
not only receive money for his route and conduct, but also beside his
wage shall be, by the discretion of our said cousin of Norfolk, so used
and entreated as ye shall not need to doubt of the safe return of the
same, if the casualty of death be not impeached. And herein we make
such sure account of your forwardness as we thereupon have signified
among others to our said cousin this our appointment and commandment.
So shall we make account of you in that behalf, whereof we pray you
fail not.

"Given under our signet at our Palace of Westminster, the 25th day of
September, in the second year of our reign."*

* The original letter is at Oxburgh.

It was in consideration of this or of some other service rendered about
this time that Elizabeth granted to Sir Henry Bedingfeld and to his
heirs for ever, the manor of Caldecot, in Norfolk "with the
impropriation thereof."

An undated manuscript, preserved at Oxburgh, containing a plan of an
itinerary for the queen's progress into Norfolk, would seem to support
the tradition that Elizabeth visited that place. Perhaps she intended
to visit it, for immediately after Walsingham, which then belonged to
the Sidneys, occurs the sentence: "Thence to Oxburgh, Sir Henry
Bedingfelds."* This document is printed in Blomefield's History of
Norfolk, and the date assigned to it is 1578, presumably because this
was the only time at which Elizabeth visited Norfolk. There are,
however, no details of any visit to Oxburgh, and Dr. Jessopp,
considering that the place was quite out of the line of progress, is of
the opinion that she never went there at all.**

* The so-called Queen's room, a large apartment above that in which
Henry VII. undoubtedly slept may, it appears to the present writer,
have been occupied by Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII., who, it is
well known, accompanied him on, at least, one pilgrimage to Walsingham.
As she also was Queen Elizabeth, this may account for the tradition,

** One Generation of a Norfolk House, p. 61.

But there are other and more weighty reasons than those of distance for
arriving at this conclusion. From the year 1569, when the foremost
English Catholics attempted to liberate Mary Queen of Scots, the penal
laws against Papists were redoubled in severity, and those who still
clung to the old religion fell into disfavour. Elizabeth did indeed
visit Euston Hall, near Thetford, in 1578, and Mr. Rookwood presumed to
kiss her hand. But the Lord Chamberlain severely reprimanded him for so
doing, sternly bade him stand aside, and charged him with being a
recusant, unfit to be in the presence, much less to touch the sacred
person, of his sovereign. He was required to attend the Council, under
surveillance, and when he reached Norwich, in the queen's train, was
committed to jail.

Many other recusants were treated in 1578 as Rookwood was. Two of the
Lovells, Humphrey Bedingfeld of Quidenham, Sir Henry's brother, one
Parry, and two others, "not worth memory for badness of belyffe," were
confined in Norwich Castle" for obstinate papystrie."*

* Mason, History of Norfolk, p. 150.

"At Norwich, the Queen lodged at the bishop's palace, and spent her
time, as far as the bad weather would allow, in listening to absurd
speeches and witnessing grotesque pageants, but on the 19th August, she
suddenly resolved to go a-hunting in the park of Cossey, five miles
from Norwich, which belonged to Mr. Henry Jerningham, ancestor of the
present Lord Stafford. Once more her host was a recusant, but this time
it would have been too shameless to proceed against him. Mr. Jerningham
had made himself very conspicuous in opposing the abominable attempts
to set aside Mary and Elizabeth as heirs to the Crown at the death of
Edward VI., and in return for his loyalty, had received this very
domain of Cossey at Queen Mary's hands; but for him and his gallantry
twenty years before, Elizabeth herself might never have been on the
throne. So Mr. Jerningham was left unmolested at present, though his
time was to come by-and-bye, and when three days after, the Council met
and made order for the committal to jail of such of the Norfolk gentry
as had not kept their church, and upon whom the hand of power had been
so astutely laid, Mr. Jerningham's name was omitted, though his
kinsman's, Mr. Bedingfeld's, name figures on the list, only to appear
again and again hereafter."*

*One Generation of a Norfolk House, p. 62. Dr. Jessopp is mistaken in
identifying this Mr. Jerningham with the friend and ally of Sir Henry
Bedingfeld, who was associated with him in placing Mary on the throne.
Sir Henry Jerningham died in 1572, aged 63, and Elizabeth's host at
Cossey was his son.

Among the Acts of the Privy Council for 1578, it is stated that:--"This
day [August 24th], there appeared before their lordships, as warned by
the Sheriff of Norfolk, amongst persons refusing to come to the church
within that county, Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Knight, and Edmund Wyndham,
Doctor of the Civil Law, who, standing in their obstinacy in refusing
to come to the church in time of prayer, sermons, and other divine
service, were ordered, as others of the same sort before, at Norwich:
Sir Henry Bedingfeld to be bound in 500 pounds, and Mr. Wyndham in 200
pounds, with the like conditions as they that were bound to remain in
their lodgings at Norwich, as by their obligations remaining in the
Council Chest it may appear. And for that their lordships were informed
that divers of the household servants of Sir Henry Bedingfeld did and
do refuse likewise to come to the church, it was ordered that the Lord
Bishop of Norwich, or some person appointed by him, should visit his
household, and so many of his said servants as should refuse to conform
themselves to come to the church should be discharged by the said
Bishop or his visitors, in that case, from his service."

The Council then wrote to two justices of the peace in Norfolk,
ordering them to discharge Sir Henry's servants "that will not come to
church as is above said, and that they be not maintained by the said
Sir Henry Bedingfeld nor any other of their friends with any exhibition
or otherwise, wheresoever they shall bestow themselves, nor that there
be not any other servants admitted to serve Sir Henry Bedingfeld in any
place or office about him that shall be suspected to be of that
disposition in religion." On receiving an order to present himself
before the Privy Council, Sir Henry, although suffering from illness,
set out for London. This letter, signed by five of the members, met him
on the road:--

"To our loving friend, Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Knight.

"After our hearty commendations. Whereas we are given to understand
that upon some letters heretofore written, you are on the way repairing
hither, forasmuch as we are informed by your son-in-law, Henry
Seckford, that your sickness and infirmity is such as without danger
you may not travel, we are very well contented if you shall not like to
repair up, that you return again to the place where you were committed,
there to remain until such time as further order shall be taken with
you. And so fare you well.

"From Richmond, the 1st Dec. 1578."

Further relief was extended to him, as appears by another letter from
the Council, allowing him to remain in his house till Lady Day, when he
was to appear and answer to the charge of papistry, "unless in the
meantime God shall turn his heart otherwise."

Slight as were the penalties inflicted on Sir Henry when compared with
those which his brothers were called upon to endure, troubles were not
wanting to him in his old age He was not only a prisoner within five
miles of his own house, subject to heavy fines for the privilege of
absenting himself from the new service, but he was liable at any time
to have his house searched* for priests and church-stuff, to have his
household dismissed, and to be called on to endure religious
conferences. He was, moreover, in feeble health, and to complete his
misfortunes, his devoted wife was taken from him. On this occasion a
letter from eight members of the Privy Council was delivered to him:--

* For "the search at Mr. Bedingfeld's house," and the anonymous letter
which led to it, see Calendar of State Payers, Dom. Eliz. 1581-1590, p.
648, No. 76. A copy of a letter found directed to Cromwell accused Sir
Henry of treasonable designs in conjunction with papists and recusants.
"Diligent searches have been made at the house of Mr. Henry
Bedingfelde, but nothing suspicious found."

"To our loving friend, Sir Henry Bedingfeld.

"We commend us unto you. Whereas about three years past, when you were
sent for to have appeared before us, touching your disobedience in
Religion, we were then moved in consideration of your sickness and
infirmity, and the humble suit of Henry Seckford, your son, you being
then in the way hitherward, to licence you to return back unto your own
house, whither you were before committed, there to remain until further
order should be taken with you. And whereas at this time your son has
made like humble suit unto us that you may be suffered to remove from
your said house unto St. Mary's, Wignollen, in Marshland, a house of
your daughter Seckford, there to remain for a season until you may pass
over the grief and remembrance of the lady, your wife, lately deceased,
these are in that respect to give you licence so to do. And therefore
you may, at your liking remove to that place, continuing yourself in
like degree of restraints as you did in your own house, and these shall
be your warrant in that behalf. So fare you well.

"From the Court at Whitehall, 28 of Dec. 1581. Your loving friends."*

* Exactly the same treatment was endured by his descendant Sir Henry
Arundell Bedingfeld in 1713. The following instance affords a proof of
the extraordinary persistence with which the penal laws against
Catholics were enforced 110 years after Elizabeth's death.

"Licence from the justices, August 10, 1713, for Sir Henry Bedingfeld
to go from home for a month.

"Whereas Sir Henry Bedingfeld of Oxburgh, Bart., being a recusant, and
confined to the usual place of his abode, or within the compass of five
miles from the same, and whereas it has been represented to us on the
part of the said Sir Henry Bedingfeld that he has very necessary and
urgent business, which does require his attention at this time, and
whereas the said Sir Henry Bedingfeld has made an oath before us of the
truth of the same, and that he will not make any causeless stay from
his said place of habitation, we therefore, four of his Majesty's
Justices of the Peace for the said county upon examination taken by us
as of the premisses, do give this our licence to the said Sir Henry
Bedingfeld to travel out of the precincts or compass of five miles from
the place of his abode limited by the statute at all times, from the 13
of this instant August, until the thirteenth of September following, by
which time he is to return again to his place of abode at the parish of
Oxburgh, aforesaid. Given under our hand and seal this Loth of August
1713." Signed in the margin, "E. Bacon, T. De Grey, Tho. Wright, Nath.
Life, H. Partridge, Dep. Lieut. I do assent to this licence."

Sir Henry Bedingfeld succumbed to his infirmities in 1583, and was
buried in the Bedingfeld chapel in Oxburgh church, where an elaborate
monument to his memory may still be seen. It is to be regretted that
the loss of the Privy Council Registers for the year 1583 entails also
the loss of any mention of the last days of this celebrated Englishman.


In spite of the valiant efforts of isolated Catholic reformers in
Germany, to stem the tide of corruption which threatened to sweep the
Church into a vortex of ruin, for a long time little impression was
made on the vast sea of abuses, and but little permanent good was
effected. It almost seemed as though the Poor Clares of Nuremburg, the
brave Dominicanesses of Strassburg, Johannes Busch, Johannes Geiler,
Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, St. John Capistran, the Brethren of the
Common Life, and the celebrated author of the Imitation of Christ had
lived and fought, suffered and preached, in vain. They, and some few
others were like brilliant meteors, only making the darkness of the
night more apparent.

The nations were as little responsive to preachers of reform as were
the princes of Europe to the appeals of the Pope for a crusade against
the infidel Turk, who menaced, after his conquest of Constantinople,
the very centre of Christendom. While the citadel was in danger, those
who should have assembled vast cohorts in its defence were either
suffering from the inertia that follows on some kinds of disease, or
were actively employed in spreading the new heresies. Then at last
struck the hour for the dawning of a new day. And here perhaps lies the
solution to the problem why so much energy, self-denial, penance on the
part of the preachers of reform, produced so little result; why such
brave efforts failed to restore, renew and edify the Church. Was she
then incapable of rising to a new life? The answer lies in the words of
her Divine Founder: "My hour is not yet come." Until then, all
reformers preached more or less in the wilderness; for few had ears to
hear. God's hour was assuredly winging its flight, but it would not
come till the Church was almost in extremis; till decay of faith
following on decay of morals threatened her very existence. The
catastrophe was hastened by the fatal pouring of the new wine of the
later Renaissance into the old, now worn-out bottles of Mediaevalism,
thereby paganising Rome and corrupting the College of Cardinals to so
large an extent, that the election to the papacy of a Rodrigo Borgia
was made possible.

Neither the fiery denunciations of Fra Girolamo Savonarola, nor the
cold sarcasms of Erasmus of Rotterdam had a more lasting effect on the
world than had Busch's missionary zeal or Geiler's ascetic discourses.
Then arose Martin Luther, and centered in himself all those scandals
and floating heresies, which for a hundred years had poisoned the
spiritual and intellectual atmosphere. Insidious disease lurking in
dark places was now become a stalking pestilence that braved the
daylight unabashed. Faith was all but moribund. But the Church's
extremity was God's opportunity; His hour had struck at last, and the
spirit of the Lord brooded on the face of the waters.

Then the whole situation was changed. The enemy was not yet crushed,
but formidable hosts were everywhere set in opposition to him. Instead
of isolated efforts there was an almost universal movement towards
reform. Begun in Italy, it spread into every country of Europe.
Seminaries sprang up for the education of priests; St. Philip Neri
became the Apostle of Rome, St. Charles Borromeo that of Milan. The
Order of Theatines was founded, and the Barnabite Order, devoted to the
education of youth was ready to send its members wherever the need was
greatest. Above all, the long-deferred General Council, assembled at
Trent in 1545, gave cohesion to all the various movements that were set
on foot by defining disputed doctrines, and by drawing up a formula
which declared the belief of the Catholic Church on all points attacked
by the new sectaries. The Church was threatened with a dozen heresies,
but so completely did she vindicate her doctrines at the Council of
Trent, that for more than three hundred years no further General
Council was needed. If Italy may boast of the victories achieved by her
great Catholic reformers, France, though somewhat later in the field
had her Bossuet, Bourdaloue, St. Francis of Sales, St. Vincent of Paul,
and many other Catholic champions. To Spain were given St. Ignatius of
Loyola, St. Francis Borgia, St. Francis Xavier, St. Peter of Alcantara,
St. John of the Cross, St. John of God, St. Joseph Calasanctius, St.
Teresa, and others whose names have first added a splendour to their
native land, and have then gone forth to illumine the uttermost ends of
the earth.

St Ignatius died in 1556, but the effect of the Society of Jesus on the
Church was only just beginning. One of the earliest and most important
tasks of his immediate disciples was the formation of the Carmelite nun
Teresa, and her spiritual guidance in the unusual paths she was called
to tread. Even in Catholic Spain hearts had grown cold and minds lax.
The religious houses had long fallen from their first fervour. During
the space of sixteen years St. Teresa founded seventeen convents, all
following the original strict Carmelite rule. As early as 1474 Pope
Eugenius IV. had formed the project of re-establishing the strict
observance of the rule in all religious communities, but the times were
not then favourable for carrying it out. He had therefore approved
provisionally of a mitigated rule for all Carmelite houses, by means of
which discipline was to be restored. The Carmelite general, John
Soreth, made great efforts to enforce it, but his success was partial
and short-lived.

In 1524, when Teresa de Ahumeda was still a child, Clement VII.
addressed a brief to the General Chapter of the Carmelites, assembled
at Venice, commanding them to reform their order. The brief was
cordially received, and the Chapter passed many resolutions all aiming
at the removal of abuses, such as the careless and hasty admission of
members, so that thenceforth no person might be received into the order
without the consent of the provincial, or before the age of fifteen.
Another resolution passed in this Chapter referred to the private
property of the friars; but lest more harm than good should be done by
sudden and violent measures, it was decreed that in every province
certain houses should be set apart for those members who had received
the mitigated rule of Pope Eugenius, and who were therefore considered
as reformed. But together with these houses others should be tolerated
for a season, while the religious were gradually accustomed to a state
of discipline. Those who had not accepted the mitigated rule were to be
allowed temporarily to enjoy their patrimony, as also the emoluments
accruing to them from teaching, preaching, and other services rendered.
There was to be no difference in their treatment, and the religious
habit was to be the same for the reformed and the unreformed brethren.
Subsequent Chapters-General continued to pass similar wise regulations,
but they were by no means promptly carried out; and at Vicenza, in
1539, it was decreed that provincials and friars must undertake the
reform of their convents in the course of one year, in default of which
their subjects were to be released from the obedience they owed them.
Only reformed friars might be elected superiors.*

* Monsignanus, Bullarium, ii. 59 c, 47 b.

At this assembly, the representatives of the Lower Rhine Province were
Theodoric of Gouda, Martin Cuperus, and Eberhard Billick. They
presented a petition praying that the Universities of Mainz and Trier
might be included in the course open to Carmelite students, the reason
being that in order to successfully combat the Lutheran heresies, great
need was felt of men of wide knowledge, possessing degrees high enough
to inspire respect in their opponents. Many students, by reason of the
evil times, were not in a position to meet the expenses attendant upon
a sojourn at Cologne and Louvain, and the living at Mainz and Trier was
cheaper. To this petition the Carmelite general answered by ranking
Cologne first, Louvain second, Mainz third, and Trier fourth, in the
curriculum of studies.

But the progress made in Germany was the reverse of rapid; opposition
was encountered at every step; nevertheless, the resolutions passed at
the Chapter-General at Venice in 1524, had introduced the thin end of
the wedge, and it is apparent from the decrees of the Provincial
Chapter held at Mechlin in 1531, and presided over by the general
himself, that nearly all the houses of the Lower Rhine Province had by
that time accepted the mitigated rule. It was enforced in this Chapter
that if a convent fell away from the reform, the provincial was to
appoint a reformed prior, and to send thither reformed brethren. Friars
who refused the reform were to be banished for ten years. Another
accentuated point was the rule which forbade the possession of private
property. One common purse only was allowed, and thenceforth, no
Carmelite might, under pain of excommunication, keep money in his
possession for more than twenty-four hours. Absolution for an
infringement of this rule could only be obtained from the provincial or
general. Those religious, who at their death were found to possess
property were to be buried in unconsecrated ground. When, a year later,
Theodoric of Gouda presented himself at the Chapter-General held at
Padua, he was able to state that the Lower Rhine Province had joined
the observance, and was entitled to the privileges belonging thereto.

But another and more insidious danger had arisen. In many of the
Carmelite houses of Germany the new doctrines had been more than
favourably received; and at Strassburg, the rector, Tilmann Lyn had
been deprived of his office for having openly preached the Lutheran
heresy. Three other friars of the same house who with him had gone
astray were imprisoned. In vain the friars were forbidden, under pain
of excommunication, to possess or to read books that had been condemned
by the Holy See. Heretical writings continued to find entrance into
many of the religious houses, and were even read aloud in refectories,
and used as text-books by the professors. It must, however, be admitted
that some of these books, including several works of Erasmus which were
also prohibited, would now scarcely come into the category of heretical
writings. Still, many of the diatribes which Erasmus permitted himself
against the religious orders were not in any sense edifying, though
there was much truth in his pungent satire; so that the papal legate
Aleander did not hesitate to declare that the Dutch scholar had done
more to undermine faith than even Luther, and he accused him of being
the fomenter of all the troubles, of subverting the Netherlands, and
all the Rhine district. This may indeed have been the truth indirectly
in spite of the certainty that Erasmus had no intention of playing into
the hands of the Lutherans, whom he hated. But he was a cynic, and a
cynic's eyes are not the best through which to see things. The monks
offended him, and he poured out upon them, not the vials of his wrath
but the sharp vinegar of sarcasm. His favourite, oft-recurring themes,
the ignorance, immorality, and greed to be found in monasteries, the
quarrelsomeness and worldliness of the friars would lead the unwary to
suppose that there was not a religious community left where the rule
was kept and the religious led commonly respectable lives. But even a
slight acquaintance with Erasmus shows us that he is incapable of
justice towards monks and friars. They loved scholasticism, the enemy
which he considered himself born to slay, and there was war to the
knife between him and all upholders of Scotus and Aquinas. The monks of
the Charterhouse, who died the death of martyrs rather than perjure
themselves, win no meed of praise from Erasmus--they were, forsooth,
schoolmen; and the noble Friars-Observants who, when threatened with a
living tomb in the river Thames, for the same cause, calmly replied
that the road to heaven was as near by water as by land, are nothing to
him, for did they not learn their theology of Duns Scotus. Even Henry
VIII. himself at one time begged the Pope's favour for the Observants,
saying that he could not sufficiently express his admiration for their
strict adherence to poverty, for their sincerity, their charity, their
devotion;* but they were Scotists, and Erasmus could not therefore
admire them.

* Henry VIII. to Leo X., Add. MS. 15,387, f. 17; B.M. Printed by Ellis,
3, 1st series, 165.

From his own showing it appears that the Canons Regular of St.
Augustine at Emmaus in Holland led a good life, but he makes no
honourable exception of them when he denounces other houses. He
complains of all monks that they are gluttons and wine-bibbers, utterly
careless of their rule; yet his own plea for returning to the world
after taking his vows is that his health would not stand the fasts and
vigils, the long prayers and the fish diet, things which accord ill
with a reputation for laxity. In a letter to his former prior, he says:
"I left my profession, not because I had any fault to find with it, but
because I would not be a scandal to the order." And again, "My
constitution was too weak to bear your rule."* These are either empty
phrases, or they mean that the life was a strict one.

* Life and Letters of Erasmus, lectures delivered at Oxford by J. A.
Froude, pp. 24, 162.

Nevertheless it would be idle to say that there was not or had not been
a great falling-off in the fervour of monks and friars generally at
this period. As the new doctrines spread, so did also the distaste for
the religious life, and the number of those who renounced their vows
increased yearly. But many, from various causes, soon repented, and
desired to return to the cloister, and it became necessary to legislate
for such contingencies also. Moreover, it was made obligatory on every
prior to arrest notorious apostates, and all those who, without letters
of obedience, or who, abusing them, were found wandering about the
country. They were to be punished conformably to the rule, and if
necessary were to be imprisoned.

One good effect at least resulted from Erasmus's attacks on the
ignorance of monks, and this was the revival of learning in most of the
religious orders. Every inducement was offered by the Carmelite
superiors in the Lower Rhine Province to cultivate a taste for study.
Those who had gone through a three or four years' course of theology
creditably had a distinct right to a post of some dignity, and took
rank immediately after those priests of the order who had celebrated
their jubilee, and before all conventuals who had an inferior record as
to studies. The faithful discharge of offices for a prolonged period
was also rewarded by honourable recognition. The sentiments thus
appealed to may not have been of the loftiest, but it must be
remembered that the reform was to be gradual, and higher motives could
be suggested when the subject was ready for them. The superiors of this
province were supported in all their efforts by the general, who was
bent on a thorough renewal of the religious spirit throughout the
Order; but in the midst of all these righteous aspirations it is a
little startling to find that a decree of the Chapter-General was
needed to put down drinking-bouts in sundry houses of the Rhine

* Dr. Alois Postina, Der Karmelit Eberhard Billick. Ein Lebensbild aus
dem 16, Jahrhundert, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1901, p. 25.

In 1541, Eberhard Billick was appointed provincial, and almost
immediately began to visit the houses in his jurisdiction. At Cologne
he found a condition of things sufficient to make the boldest reformer
quail. The Lutherans had entirely gained the upper hand, and a certain
Count William of Neuenar and Mors, who had been for some tine a
follower of the new doctrines, was bent on introducing them by force
into Mors. He first forbade the practise of the Catholic religion among
his tenants, and then tried to seduce the religious. They were
forbidden to say Mass except on Sundays, and then even none outside the
convent were to be admitted to it. Their church was given over to the
Lutherans, and the friars were forced into being present at the
Protestant sermons. Not content with this, Count William inflicted
seven Lutheran beneficiaries upon them, obliging them to lodge and feed
them gratis. Lutheran preachers and school teachers were salaried out
of the convent revenues, which the Count managed by fraud and cunning
to confiscate. That portion of the convent buildings which bordered on
his property he turned into stables for his own horses, so that
entrance to the friar's quarters was open to his servants, while the
Carmelites were themselves forbidden to go in and out on that side.

The new Provincial succeeded in time by dint of courage and firmness,
in getting back all that the Count had seized by force; but other
houses were in as deplorable a condition, and little could be done to
improve matters. Billick appealed to the Emperor, who had taken all the
Carmelite convents in Lower Germany under his protection; but the
Emperor's goodwill surpassed his power to help, the whole of his money
and energy being needed to oppose the Turks, the French, and the Duke
of Cleves.

The greatest danger and difficulty lay in the behaviour of Count
Hermann of Wied, Archbishop and Elector of Cologne. From the outset his
rule had been detrimental to the Church. The best that could be said of
him in his youth was that he was "kind and peace-loving, fond of
hunting, but not particularly learned." Charles V., in a letter to the
landgrave Philip of Hessen, who had joined the Lutherans, says: "How
should the good man be able to reform his diocese? He has no Latin, and
has never said more than three Masses in his life. He does not even
know the Confiteor." Philip replied: "I can assure your Majesty that he
reads German industriously, and interests himself in religious

Unfortunately, these "religious questions" threw the archbishop into
the arms of the Lutherans, and already in 1536, Aleander considered him
as much lost to the Church as Philip of Hessen himself, who made no
secret of his apostasy. Melancthon was his dear friend already when he
made the acquaintance of Martin Bucer at the Diet of Hagenau in 1540.

Two years later, Archbishop Hermann invited this violent and notorious
heretic to preach in the minster at Bonn. Immediately, Cologne rose up
in protest, and the Cathedral Chapter, the clergy and the Magistrate
presented the archbishop with a remonstrance. Hermann replied by
sending Melancthon to support Bucer at Bonn, and thus, by entrusting
the work of reform to men whose sole aim was to subvert Catholic
doctrine and to disorganise Christian society, proved himself faithless
to the solemn promise he had made neither to introduce religious
novelties into his diocese, nor to abolish customs founded on Catholic

The Chapter, fully alive to the critical nature of the situation, drew
up a memorandum, dated 5th February 1543, in which they showed good
reasons why Bucer could not be tolerated as a minister of religion in
the diocese. His broken vows, his marriage, his open profession of
Luther's doctrines, proved sufficiently that he was no longer a member
of the Catholic Church. Further, his preaching at Strassburg had
resulted directly in the wholesale destruction of images and altars,
and ultimately in the abolition of the Mass in that place. The
memorandum went on to affirm that, in patronising such a man the
Archbishop was acting in direct disobedience to the Pope and to the

Bucer's answer to these objections was devised in such a manner as to
cause his opponents some embarrassment. It was written in the Swiss
dialect, an unknown tongue to the clergy of Cologne, as well as to the
university. Nevertheless, before long, an epitome of its purport was
furnished to the Chapter, and the refutation of the doctrines therein
set forth was entrusted to the Carmelite provincial, Billick.

The two champions were personally not unknown to each other, as they
had met at the Diets of Worms and Regensburg, where Billick had made a
point of studying the Strassburg heresiarch carefully. The Carmelite
now skilfully exposed the weakness of Bucer's arguments, together with
his frequent misinterpretation of Scripture and the Fathers, Billick
showing himself to be an experienced polemical writer; but the taste
and tone of his book are repugnant to modern ideas, and betray the same
acrimony which characterises the writings of Luther against Erasmus,
and vice versa. Accusations of hatred, cunning, lying, slandering, and
double-dealing, are cast like a hail of bullets, with no especial aim
at any of Bucer's arguments in particular. Interspersed with much able
criticism are choice epithets of abuse and reflections on Bucer's
personal character, which, although perfectly in accordance with
sixteenth century methods of controversy, are quite beside the mark,
and certainly not such as to promote peace in any age.

What the Church in Germany needed at this juncture, was not so much a
fiery defender of the faith, or a scholar to taunt the heretics in
finely-pointed sarcasm with their want of learning, as a saint,
demonstrating in his own life the beauty of holiness, while laying
aside polemics, he expounded the philosophy of Catholic doctrine. The
need for reform was patent to all; many, like the zealous Carmelite
provincial, were already putting their hands to the plough. The
movement had been set on foot, but it lacked an apostle to lead and
govern it. Such a man was at that moment being formed at the University
of Cologne-the second apostle of Germany, as St. Boniface had been the
first-Blessed Peter Canisius.

Canisius was a native of Nymwegen in the Low Countries, and was born on
8th May 1521. Having studied at Paris and Orleans, he became tutor to
the sons of Rene Duke of Lorraine, whose wife was Philippine of
Guelderland. From an early age Peter had desired to consecrate himself
to God in the priesthood, and his father having given his consent, the
young man proceeded to Cologne for his course of theology and civil and
canon law. No sooner did he appear in the lecture rooms than he
attracted universal attention. It was not merely the clearness and
conciseness of his reasoning, nor altogether the humility of his
bearing, but perhaps the mingled charm of each that roused the interest
of professors and students alike. That interest led them to watch him
closely, and they not only noticed that he seemed altogether
unconscious of the plaudits which he excited, but they discovered that
he was in the habit of imposing privations on himself, in order to have
money to give to poor students, that these might be better fed and
clothed, and more amply furnished with books. It was soon related of
him that he frequently went out of his way to instruct, counsel, and
rescue those (and there were many of them at Cologne) who had fallen
upon evil ways. Broad-minded, large-hearted, enlightened beyond his
companions, and possessing a strong and well balanced character, it
needed no great gift of prophecy to foresee that Peter Canisius would
do great things in the future.

In the meanwhile, Father Peter Faber, the first associate of St.
Ignatius, was at Mainz, whither he had been sent by Pope Paul III. to
counteract the spread of the new doctrines by all the means in his
power. His reputation for holiness Was so great in the Society of
Jesus, that St. Francis Xavier invoked him when in danger from a storm
at sea, and inserted his name in the Litany of the Saints while he was
yet living. At Mainz Father Faber gave the Spiritual Exercises of St.
Ignatius, and obtained many wonderful conversions.

His fame soon reached Cologne, where Canisius, yet uncertain as to his
future, was praying, studying, and exercising himself in all good
works. Suddenly, it became clear to him that his vocation would be made
known to him through Father Peter Faber. He hastened to Mainz, and at
their first interview Canisius was convinced that he was called to join
the new Society. He made the Spiritual Exercises, and on the fourth day
bound himself by a vow to do so. He returned to Cologne as a novice,
and continued to live much as before, pursuing his theological studies
and making a deep impression on all those with whom he came in contact.
Associated with two other novices, also university students-the
Spaniards Alfonsus Alvarez and John of Arragon--he received a common
rule of life from Faber, and in their zeal they soon exceeded it. They
preached, instructed children in Christian doctrine, begged alms for
the poor from door to door, nursed the sick in the hospitals, and, in
short, seized every opportunity of self-denial and humiliation.

When Faber heard of all this he wrote to Canisius, commending the
charity of the trio, but reminding them at the same time that study was
their paramount duty, and would lead to more valuable work in the
future than anything they could then do for souls.

"As obedience requires you to finish your course of theology," he
wrote, "you must not neglect it, thinking to do more by succouring your
neighbour in his temporal necessities."

Soon Faber came himself to Cologne, and lodged with the Carthusians,
those valiant sons of St. Bruno, whose boast it is never to have quite
departed from the spirit of their founder.

On the 8th May 1545, his twenty-fourth birthday, Peter Canisius made
the three simple vows of the Society and the same year was ordained
priest. By this time his reputation as a Catholic reformer was as great
as his reputation for learning. His capacity for work was prodigious.
He lectured twice daily; every Sunday he preached in one of the
churches, great crowds flocking to hear him. At home, every hour was
occupied either in teaching or in receiving those who came to him for
advice and help in their doubts. He answered them all with so much
insight, wisdom, gentleness, and humility, that even Lutherans dropped
the usual epithets, and spoke of him with respect. Every free moment
was devoted to literary work, which also obtained a certain celebrity.

But to all these strenuous efforts the Archbishop Elector Hermann von
Wied persistently remained a stranger. Relations between himself and
his Chapter were strained to the utmost. A deputation of his clergy had
waited upon him and solemnly entreated him to retrace his steps, and to
cancel the novelties he had introduced. On his refusal, they declared
that they would with a clear conscience, and for fear of incurring the
divine wrath if they further delayed, proceed by all legitimate means
to remove so grievous a scandal. Then the Chapter, including
representatives of the lower ranks of the clergy and the university,
made a public protest, and drew up appeals to the Pope and the Emperor.
They at once informed the archbishop of these measures, and again
attempted before taking irrevocable steps to bring about a peaceful
solution. But all was useless; and, forced to extremities, they
solicited for their appeal the support of other dioceses and learned
academies, in order to obtain more speedy relief. The best and most
distinguished of the bishops and clergy, as well as the universities of
the whole province, joined in the appeal, and the University of
Ingolstadt also signified its intention of seconding them.

The archbishop on his part was also careful to procure himself allies.
As Elector of Cologne he summoned the Landtag, and its members declared
themselves in his favour. The landgrave, Philip of Hessen, to whom
Luther had given licence to commit bigamy, and other Protestant princes
naturally promised him their support, and the Schmalkaldian League did

The Catholics of Cologne agitated that the case might be brought before
the Reichstag at Worms, to which they had sent their representative,
the Dominican, Johann Pessel.

But the archbishop appealed to a General Council, or rather to a
National Synod, to be held in Germany and to be entirely independent of
the Pope.

At this juncture Eberhard Billick wrote one of his most violent letters
to Pessel, attacking the counter appeal of the archbishop which would
shortly be presented to the Reichstag, and which was calculated by its
affectation of piety to deceive even the elect. But let them be on
their guard. It would be seen that Hermann despised the Pope, the
Emperor, and the Oecumenical Council already assembled at Trent. He set
his own authority above all councils, although they had been instituted
by the common consent of Christendom, and he appealed to a lawless,
headless council which might only meet at Bonn or at Schmalkald, in
order that it might be unrestrained by any authority whatever. There
was, continued the Carmelite, no end to the archbishop's innovations.
In defiance of all justice and precedent he had transferred the Chapter
to Bonn, where people and preachers were split up into parties, and
persecuted each other with persistent malice. This he had done, not
because there was any greater safety at Bonn than at Cologne, where
senate, clergy, and people lived in peace and unity as before, and
where his friends in the Chapter might act with all freedom,* but
because at Bonn he was sure of a majority in his favour, for loyal
Catholics, in spite of his safe-conduct, would not go there. By this
stratagem it would appear as if all ranks in the diocese had consented
to his measures.

* Others maintained, however, that some of the canons known to be
inclined towards Lutheranism had been threatened with death.

Billick went on to complain bitterly that the sentence against the
archbishop announced by the papal nuncio, Verallo, as imminent, had not
yet been passed. "Every postponement of the imperial mandate," he
wrote, "means a weakening of our cause and a strengthening of that of
our opponents. At Worms they speak fair, and assume a supplicating
attitude; but at Cologne they go about their business boldly. Paintings
are scratched off the walls of the churches, statues are hurled from
their pedestals, heretical preachers are multiplied and forced upon the
Catholics against their will. Four days ago, the archbishop attacked
the parish priest of Bruhl, because he still said Mass, and forbade him
to do so in future. And much more is done in this enormous diocese
which entirely escapes our notice." In conclusion, Billick implored the
Dominican to do his utmost with the Emperor, the Cardinal of Augsburg,
the Apostolic Nuncio, and the other Catholic authorities in order that
the mandate might be issued without further delay, adding, "Gropper,
the indefatigable champion of our cause, is ill, otherwise he would
have sent a learned and luminous disquisition on this subject."

At last, the Emperor was moved to abandon the passive and
procrastinating attitude he had hitherto assumed; and towards the close
of the Reichstag he answered the Cologne appellants by citing the
archbishop to appear within thirty days, and answer the charges of
innovation brought against him. In the meanwhile he was to cancel all
the novelties he had introduced into the diocese.

Charles V. on his way to the Netherlands stopped at Cologne, and in a
personal interview with Hermann, represented to him the terrible
consequences that would ensue if he persisted in his disobedience.

The archbishop demanded a short time to consider and to consult with
his advisers. His answer, written on 19th August, after the Emperor's
departure, was to the effect that he could not change his opinions. He
was then cited to appear at Brussels within the space of thirty days.
At the same time Paul III. sent him a brief, commanding him and his
adherents to justify their conduct at Rome within sixty days.

Hermann paid no attention to either of these citations, but with
renewed zeal continued to advance the Protestant reformation. On the
8th January 1546, Verallo suspended him, and confiscated the revenues
of the diocese. The archbishop made a solemn protest, but showed no
sign of yielding, and on the 16th April, the Pope proceeded to his
ex-communication, at the same time depriving him of all his
ecclesiastical dignities, offices and benefices.

By a special brief of 3rd July, Hermann's coadjutor, Adolf von
Schauenburg, was made administrator of the archdiocese, and Gropper and
Billick were appointed to examine the deposed archbishop with regard to
his attitude towards the Catholic religion. The result was
unsatisfactory, but the Emperor could not be induced to take any
immediate steps against Hermann, his whole attention being directed
towards crushing the Schmalkaldian League. It was not till November
that the archbishop was officially informed of his excommunication,
when he made a further protest, declared the Pope incompetent to judge
him, and again appealed to a German Council. The time now seemed ripe
for putting pressure on Charles V. to carry out the Pope's sentence.
The imperial arms had been victorious over the league, and the
Catholics of Cologne commissioned Billick to proceed to the camp, and
to petition the emperor to formally depose the archbishop.

The biographers of Blessed Peter Canisius for the most part claim him
as the hero of this expedition, which was in fact entrusted to several
delegates, of whom the principals were the veteran Carmelite
provincial, and Johann von Isenburg. Canisius was deputed to go first
to Liege, and to beg that its bishop, George of Austria, son of
Maximilian I., and uncle to the Emperor, would facilitate their
journey, the country through which they would have to pass being
invested with the enemy's troops. During the time which he spent at
Liege, Canisius completely won the heart of the prince-bishop, who
ordered him to preach in his cathedral and in his private chapel,
expressing himself greatly edified with what he had heard. His visit
being unavoidably prolonged, Canisius gave the Spiritual Exercises,
took part in theological conferences with the Lutherans, visited the
sick in the hospitals, and catechised the children. Crowds followed him
wherever he went, and there was but one opinion of his learning,
eloquence, and charity.

It is probable that on his return to Cologne, having given an account
of his mission, he started with the other delegates for Worms.

Writing to the coadjutor Adolf, on 6th December, Billick says that at
Mainz they heard that all the roads were occupied by the enemy. In
order to avoid all appearance of an embassy they left their baggage
behind them at Mainz, and being advised by the vicar-general, Scholl,
the Carmelite separated from his companions, and hastened on alone to
Worms to present his letters to the Dean of St. Andrew's. Here he lay
hidden for four days, in the greatest anxiety and doubt as to his
further progress. Neither he nor his advisers could hit on a safe mode
of continuing the journey, as it was known that separate parties of
defeated Schmalkaldians were making their retreat good by various roads
back to the Rhine. To add to his alarm and embarrassment Billick
discovered that his horse had been rendered useless by a mysterious
wound, so that he had reason to think he had been betrayed. Just then,
however, he received information that the imperialists were in hot
pursuit of the Schmalkaldians, and having bought another horse from a
Jew, he set out for Speyer. At Speyer he fell in with a nobleman
belonging to the imperial army on his way back to the camp, and Billick
joined him, without however revealing his name or his mission, so
necessary was it to regard every stranger as a possible enemy.

At last the road to the Emperor was open, and the delegates, who all
arrived simultaneously at Krailsheim on the 5th December, were received
by Cardinal Granvelle. The object of their embassy was then speedily
attained. Charles V. issued a mandate, ordering the Landtag to assemble
at Cologne on the 24th January following; and at the date fixed two
imperial commissioners appeared to conduct the proceedings.

On the same day the coadjutor Adolf was inducted as archbishop, in
spite of the opposition of a large number of the representatives of the
Landtag, who, however, gave in their adhesion by the end of the month.
Hermann still offered a futile resistance, but on 28th February 1547
was at last forced from a position that had become untenable. He died
on the 15th August 1552.

During these proceedings Peter Canisius had attracted the attention of
Cardinal Otto Truchsess, who desired to have him as his second
theologian at the Council of Trent, Father Le Jay having already been
sent there as first theologian to that prelate. The cardinal, in a
letter to St. Ignatius, laid stress on the circumstance of Peter's
intimate acquaintance with the state of religion in Germany, and on his
being able therefore to suggest to the Council the best means of
meeting the prevalent evils. These reasons had great weight with St.
Ignatius, and scarcely had the young Jesuit returned to Cologne, when
he received orders to set out for Trent. Great was the lamentation
among the burghers of Cologne. All whom he met in the streets greeted
him with tears and supplications not to depart out of their midst. His
leaving, they declared, would mean triumph to the enemies of the
Church. The university conferred on him unanimously the title of doctor
of divinity as a proof of their gratitude, esteem, and regret at his
loss. The clergy and senate presented him with two precious relics--the
heads of two of the martyred companions of St. Ursula.

At Trent Canisius found four of his religious brethren, and joined them
at their lodgings in the hospital. Here the five Jesuits followed the
special rule of life which St. Ignatius had sent to them. "Three things
I wish you to bear in mind," he wrote:--

"(1) at the sessions of the Council the greatest glory of God, and the
general good of the Church; (2) outside the Council your fundamental
principle to labour for the salvation of souls, a matter that lies
especially near my heart in this your journey; (3) when at home not to
neglect yourselves." He recommended them to behave as prudently as
possible at the Council, not to speak hastily, and to be ever on the
side of peace. Every evening they were to confer with each other on the
day's proceedings, and to make resolutions for the morrow. "Moreover,"
he continued, "you will allow no opportunity to escape you of acquiring
merit in the service of your neighbour. You must always be on the watch
to hear confessions, to preach to the people, to instruct the little
ones, to visit the sick." In their sermons they were to avoid
controverted dogmas, and to lay stress on all that appertained to the
reform of morals, and obedience to the Church.

The meetings of the Council being adjourned till 1550, Canisius was
called to Rome, where he remained for five months, under the personal
guidance of St. Ignatius himself, who submitted him to the most
humiliating trials in order to prove his virtue. He sent him to beg and
to preach in the most frequented parts of the city, and to nurse the
sick in the hospitals, where he was day and night at the beck and call
of exacting officials, who set him to perform the most loathsome tasks,
and often curtailed his sleep and food. St. Ignatius would then cause
inquiries to be made at the hospitals concerning the behaviour of his
novice under this kind of treatment.

In the spring of 1548, Canisius was sent with eleven companions to
Messina, where the Viceroy, Don Juan de Vega, had founded a college. On
the eve of their departure St. Ignatius put to them four questions in
writing. Canisius answered the questions thus:--

1. "I am ready, with the help of God's grace, to remain here or to go
to Sicily, to India, or wherever it may be that obedience requires me.

2. "If I am sent to Sicily I affirm that I will accept with joy
whatever office is conferred on me, even should it be that of porter,
cook, or gardener.

3. "I am ready to learn or to teach in any department of science,
although hitherto I may have been quite unskilled in it.

4. "I will regard as best for me whatever my superiors may decide to do
with me, whether they entrust me with any office or with none. I
promise this day, the 5th February, for my whole life never to demand
anything for myself concerning my lodging, office or any other similar
thing, but once for all I leave the guidance of my soul, and every care
for my body in the complete submission of my judgment and will, to my
father in God, the Rev. Father General, 1548. Peter Canisius of

Hereupon St. Ignatius appointed him professor of rhetoric at Messina,
and Canisius wrote to his friends at Cologne: "As I am useless for any
spiritual office I am entrusted with the insipid department of belles
lettres. I teach rhetoric for which I have little aptitude, but I take
pains to form these good youths, and am always ready, with God's help,
to do all that obedience requires of me."

After a fruitful year, during which he had learned Italian, and having
preached in that language, had obtained some wonderful conversions from
sin, he was recalled to Rome, where he laid his four solemn vows* in
the hands of St. Ignatius. Immediately afterwards he was told to
prepare for his apostolate in Germany.

* The first three of the solemn vows taken by the Jesuits are those of
poverty, chastity, and obedience. The fourth vow is the promise to go
wherever the Pope may send them.

William IV., Duke of Bavaria, surnamed the valiant, on account of his
faithful adherence to the Catholic Church, at a time when so many of
the reigning princes of Germany fell away, saw, with distress and
alarm, the daily increasing dangers to which his beloved fatherland was
a prey. Even in the college which he had himself founded at Ingolstadt,
heresies were steadily gaining the upper hand, and he besought St.
Ignatius to send him learned men, imbued with the apostolic spirit, to
stay the progress of error.

The Church was not wanting at this time in men of learning and piety.
Theologians, such as Cardinal Cajetan, Gropper of Cologne, Eck of
Ingolstadt, Cochlaeus, and others, had a European reputation. The first
members of the Society of Jesus were all saints and scholars. Lainez,
Salmeron, Lefevre, Faber, Le Jay, Bobadilla, were formed for the
exigencies of the time; but for the special work required of him,
Canisius effaces them all, or rather, gathers up in his own character
each of the great qualities which they possessed. His strength,
moreover, was equal to his enormous task. Westphalia, Bavaria, Saxony,
Bohemia, Austria, Franconia, Suabia, Moravia, Tirol, Switzerland, from
the falls of the Rhine to its source in the Alps, both banks of the
Danube, from Freiburgim-Breisgau to Pressburg, the banks of the Main
and of the Vistula--all this was the scene of his labours during a
period of fifty-four years; and within these limits, it is an
incontrovertible fact that there is no city or district still remaining
Catholic but owes its faith to him.

St Ignatius answered the demand of the Duke of Bavaria by sending
Fathers Le Jay, Salmeron, and Peter Canisius, the three most
distinguished men of his Society. On the way to Germany they stopped at
Bologna, in order that the two first might receive the degree of
doctor, Canisius, as we know, being already a graduate of Cologne. The
German heretics prided themselves so much on the few individuals in
their ranks who had attained to it, that it was important to provide
them with opponents whom they might meet in controversy on equal
grounds. At Munich Duke William welcomed them, assuring them that
nothing lay nearer to his heart than the maintenance of the Catholic
religion in his states, but that heresy had already taken possession of
many of his towns and villages, and had even ventured to lift its head
in the University of Ingolstadt. The three missionaries proceeded at
once to that place, where they were received by the principal
dignitaries of the University.

A few days later they began their lectures: Salmeron, with a commentary
on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans; Canisius, with a dissertation
on the Sentences of Peter Lombard; Le Jay, with an exposition of the
Psalms. From the beginning their success was assured, but in a few
months the whole work devolved on Canisius, Le Jay being sent to the
Diet of Augsburg, Salmeron going to support Lainez, at the re-opened
Council of Trent, as the Pope's theologian.

So great was the confidence which Canisius inspired, that already, in
1550, the University, by unanimous consent, elected him its rector.
Humility prompted him to refuse the office, but St. Ignatius bade him
accept it. The need for drastic changes in various departments was only
too apparent; Canisius not only secured the good he aimed at, but by
his tact escaped the odium which so frequently attaches to the crusader
against time-honoured abuses. As he accepted none of the emoluments
belonging to his offices, he was the more free to insist on the perfect
probity with which the administration of the funds of all offices
should be conducted.

He next tools away from the students all heretical books, and obtained
from Duke William a mandate, forbidding the booksellers to sell such.
He abolished gambling, to which the students had been much addicted. He
settled disputes between them and their professors, and the ancient
rules and regulations concerning studies ceased to be a dead letter.
His words animated his hearers with a love of work, creating a stimulus
and a desire to excel. He re-established the unjustly discredited
syllogistic form of argument, and reverted to the learning of the
Schools in its primitive purity, deprived of the excrescences with
which would-be scholars had disfigured it. Lastly, he succeeded in
freeing the University from every reproach of immorality and license,
and this was, perhaps, his most signal victory at Ingolstadt. The
annals of the University abundantly testify to the greatness of the
work accomplished.

At the end of his six months' rectorship, Canisius gave an account of
his administration, and declined the chancellorship then offered to
him. Ingolstadt, in that short space of time, had been transformed, and
in order to perpetuate the benefits conferred on it, the Duke resolved
to found a college to be handed over to the sons of St. Ignatius.

Next to Bavaria, Austria was to share in the blessings which the very
presence of Canisius seemed to draw down from Heaven, but the whole
German-speaking world clamoured for his possession. The Bishop of
Saxony entreated him to come and change the deplorable state of his
diocese. Duke Albert, son and successor of William IV., stoutly
maintained that he was needed at Ingolstadt, and that he could not
suffer him to leave it; while St. Ignatius was besieged with demands
for the services of his most learned disciple. The Prince-Bishop of
Freising and the Bishop of Eichstadt each claimed him as his theologian
at the Council of Trent. Ferdinand, King of the Romans, urged that "the
Light of Germany" should be instantly sent to the capital of the
Austrian dominions, then plunged in the darkness of heresy. Pope Julius
III. solved the difficulty by desiring that he should proceed at once
to Vienna, and St. Ignatius softened the blow to Duke Albert in these
words: "The formal demand of his Holiness obliges me to send Father
Canisius to Vienna, but without taking him absolutely from your
Highness; I am merely lending him to the King of the Romans for a time,
after which he shall return to Ingolstadt."

The capital of Austria had fallen a complete prey to heresy. For twenty
years not a single priest had been ordained there; religious vocations
were no longer heard of. Scarcely the twentieth part of the population
had remained Catholic. Three hundred country parishes near the city
were entirely without priests. The University, instead of providing a
remedy, aggravated the existing evils by a teaching that was more or
less heterodox. Society, moreover, was rotten to the core, and needed
to be entirely reconstructed. Such was the condition of things when, at
the call of the feeble but devout Ferdinand I., Blessed Peter Canisius
arrived at Vienna in March 1552. Thirteen of his religious brethren had
preceded him by nearly a year, and had opened a college which already
promised well.

Canisius began by preaching sermons at court, and to the people, by
catechising children, and by seizing every possible opportunity of
doing good. Then the plague broke out, and he devoted himself to the
stricken. The Pope proclaimed a jubilee, and Canisius profited by the
occasion to vindicate the honour of indulgences. His method everywhere
seems to have been to do the next, the obvious thing, whatever it might
be, and to throw himself heart and soul into it. Not content with his
work in the city, he evangelised the country places. The poorest
hamlets attracted him most, and as he went on his way, he instructed,
consoled, heard the confessions of a life-time, gave the sacraments to
the living and the dying, and brought back many hundreds of lost sheep
to the fold. He continued to work thus without a break during the
winter months, among people who were Christian but in name,
intemperance, ignorance, and long neglect, having brutalised them
almost beyond human reach. But where he passed, every village changed
its aspect; conversions little short of miraculous marked his progress
everywhere. Words that from the mouth of another might have returned
unto him void, uttered by Canisius carried compunction into the hardest
hearts. It was his sanctity, his entire abnegation of self and
whole-hearted dependence on the Divine Will, far more than his
learning, vigour, or energy that gave his words wings, and worked
wonders among this forsaken and degraded country folk; and his charity
was such that he would have been well content to have laboured among
them for the rest of his life.

But meanwhile Vienna was suffering from his absence, and all sorts and
conditions of men clamoured for his return. The episcopal see having
become vacant, the king besought the Pope and St. Ignatius that it
might be conferred on Father Canisius. But the utmost he could obtain
after long importunity was that Canisius should administer the affairs
of the diocese for one year, pending the election of a bishop, with the
proviso that he should not touch a single farthing of the rich revenues
belonging to the see, which he was to govern as a simple religious.

The arrangement was one admirably adapted to the restoration of order
in the existing state of chaos, while no sacrifice of its discipline
was forced on the Society by the promotion of one of its members to
rank and dignity.

Canisius was afterwards made Dean of the University, in the hope that
he would do for it what he had already done for Ingolstadt, and he set
about the work in the same masterly fashion that distinguished all his
schemes of reform. His first act was to obtain a royal decree, limiting
the admission of professors to those who had submitted themselves to a
rigorous examination in religious doctrine, and had given irrefragable
proofs of orthodoxy. The same conditions were in future to be exacted
of all who presented themselves for degrees. The university teemed with
Lutheran literature; it was swept away by the same inexorable
root-and-branch measures that had been so successfully employed at

The next care of the reformer was to petition the king for a seminary
wherein the ranks of the clergy, thinned almost to extinction, might be
reinforced by men carefully trained to a due appreciation of their high
calling. The result was the foundation of the seminary of priests of
noble family, recruited mainly from the college which the Jesuits had
opened at Vienna, and to which had flocked students from all the great
families of Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, etc. In conjunction with this
seminary, St. Ignatius, about the same tune, founded the celebrated
German College in Rome, for the regeneration of Germany by means of a
clergy that should be as learned as it was morally irreproachable.

In the midst of his multifarious occupations, Canisius continued his
sermons at court, in the Cathedral, and in the principal churches of
Vienna. Lutherans frequented them largely, and some, touched by the
power of his doctrine and eloquence, asked him for conferences, which
he gladly accorded them. Among these were two preachers of some
celebrity, pillars of Protestantism, who defied him to answer their
arguments in a public disputation. He accepted the challenge, and the
day, place, and hour were fixed. A great concourse of people, composed
largely of the new sectaries, were assembled, prepared to swell the
expected triumph of their champions. The two heretical doctors held
their dissertations, one after the other, and sat down amid the
applause of their sympathisers. Then Canisius stood up with religious
modesty and humility, his bearing expressive of the calmness and
benevolence of one who has the whole Catholic Church, past and present,
on his side. His prodigious memory and profound knowledge enabled him
to refute easily every charge brought by his adversaries, whom he
completely crushed with the overwhelming consistency of his logic. They
both acknowledged themselves defeated; one returned to the Catholic
Church, and a few months later entered the Society of Jesus, of which
he remained an edifying member till his death; the other became a more
determined advocate of heresy than before, and swore to avenge his
defeat by a persistent persecution of the Jesuits.

Nor were enemies wanting on any side; the more converts the Jesuits
made, the greater was the hatred they inspired. Calumnies were sown
broadcast, and the life of Father Canisius was in constant danger.
Ferdinand, warned of a plot to murder the holy man, obliged him,
greatly to his discomfiture, to accept a bodyguard whenever he went
out. But the work of reform and conversion went on steadily, and from
all parts of Germany, bishops, princes, and governors sought to obtain
the presence of the illustrious apostle. "I am ready," he wrote in this
regard to St. Ignatius, "to go wherever obedience calls me, and to work
for the salvation of souls however abandoned they may be, whether in
Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Tartary, or China, wherever I am sent."

He was sent to Prague, perhaps the most God-forsaken spot in the whole
empire. Every imaginable sect had accumulated in Bohemia during the
preceding twenty years. Scarcely a vestige of Catholicism remained, and
Hussites, Wicklifites, Vaudois, Lutherans, Zwinglians, and various
other offshoots of the principal sects, were busy relegating each other
in eloquent terms to eternal damnation, when the arrival of Catholic
missionaries gave the signal for a coalition against the common enemy
of them all. At Prague itself, where Canisius was charged to found a
college with the injunction not to leave Bohemia until it should be
solidly established and in a flourishing condition, the Hussites
outnumbered the others. Scarcely had he arrived and set to work, when
the Duke of Bavaria, reminding St. Ignatius that Canisius had only been
lent to Austria, claimed him, at least temporarily, for the foundation
of the college which the Society was to establish at Ingolstadt. The
claim was admitted to be just, and accordingly the affairs of Prague
could only be proceeded with four months later, when Canisius returned
from Germany, having been made provincial.

It was the beginning of Lent 1555, and on the 21st April twelve priests
sent to him from Rome by St. Ignatius, arrived to second him in his
perilous undertaking. The first time the Jesuits appeared in the
streets they were saluted with handfuls of mud cast at them by the city
urchins, who had been bribed to insult them. The cry "Dogs of Jesuits"
(a play upon the word Canisius) followed them wherever they went.
Father Peter was himself assailed with a large stone hurled through the
window of the church as he stood at the altar saying Mass. A plot was
formed to throw the whole community one by one into the Moldau, as they
passed over the bridge that connected the old and the new town; and
ruffians, who had received a part of their reward in advance, were
stationed in the middle of the bridge to waylay them. But a timely
edict issued by the Archduke of Bohemia threatened with the most severe
penalties whoever should raise a hand against any member of the
Society, or even treat any one of them disrespectfully. He went still
further, and sent a detachment of guards to the college daily, with
orders to accompany each of the priests wherever he went, and in
sufficient numbers to prevent any attack.

Added to the open enmity and fierce hatred which they inspired, the
Jesuits had to encounter the jealousy of the University professors, who
would have been willing enough that they should preach, but who, on the
opening of their college, did all they could to hamper them and
prejudice people against them.

The reputation of the Society for teaching was great all over Germany.
Wherever a college was established by them, it immediately attracted
students from all parts, and it was perhaps natural that other
educational institutions should fear for their own existence. But the
pettiness and meanness with which this fear was expressed at Prague
resulted for the Jesuits in a penury so abject, that for many months
they had nothing to eat but bread and cheese, and nothing to drink but
water from their own well. For several days they were even prevented
from going out for want of suitable garments. Nevertheless, however
much they might have to suffer in any one place, struggling through a
painful existence to the end in view, the work of reform went steadily

About this time, the cathedral at Regensburg was in need of a preacher;
the Diet was about to assemble in that city, all the princes and
electors of the empire were to take part in it, and the new sectaries
were expected in great numbers, in order to wrench, if it might be,
such concessions from the authorities as they had not yet been able to
obtain. The chapter therefore appealed to Father Canisius, and besought
him to throw himself into this important breach. Realising all that was
at stake, he started at once for Regensburg.

His first appearance in the cathedral pulpit was a splendid testimony
to the opinion in which he was held. The vast building was filled with
a brilliant throng, on the fringe of which the people hung in dense
crowds overflowing into the streets. In a letter to Father Lainez (who
had succeeded St. Ignatius as General of the Society) in September
1556, Canisius describes his efforts as successful in supporting and
strengthening the persecuted Catholics, but he goes on to say that the
Lutheran representatives at the Diet let loose a string of calumnies
against him, and did all they could to poison the minds of the weak and
simple. But for the States of the Empire they would have cast him out
of the city as one so dangerous to the Protestant cause that they
declared it would be wrecked altogether if Canisius continued to preach

However, continue he did during the whole of the sessions, save for a
short interval of absence. In this interval he visited Innsbruck, in
which town a college of the Society was nearing completion; and
Augsburg, whose bishop, his old friend the celebrated Otto Truchsess,
desired to consult him on the affairs of his diocese. There,
overwhelmed with his almost superhuman labours, Canisius fell ill. He
desired to be taken to the college at Ingolstadt, and Cardinal
Truchsess accompanied him thither, while the Duke of Bavaria sent him
his physicians. Thanks to their skill and to the enforced rest of his
mental and physical powers, he soon recovered, and was able on the 1st
December to return to his post at Regensburg. On all the Sundays of
Advent he preached at the cathedral, but as it could not contain the
vast concourse of people who crowded to hear him, he was obliged to
preach three times in the week also. From the pulpit he went to the
confessional, and when he returned to his lodging he was besieged by
those who came to seek his advice-princes, concerning the interests of
religion in their dominions, prelates, in regard to the reform of their
dioceses, or to their own spiritual needs. The King of the Romans, and
the Duke of Bavaria often sent for him to confer with him, and all
admired the humility, simplicity, and patience with which he listened,
no less than the frankness and freedom from human respect with which he
proffered his advice. But time was wanting for all the demands made
upon him; and that all might be satisfied he drew up for the use of
bishops a short treatise on the means of reforming the clergy, and of
introducing good morals among their flocks.

The Diet of Regensburg ended in nothing but resolutions to continue the
controversy at Worms, and fearing the objections of Canisius, who was
known to feel great repugnance towards these public conferences with
heretics which never came to any practical conclusion, Ferdinand sought
to anticipate his refusal by obtaining a promise from Father Lainez
that so able a defender of Catholic doctrine should also be present.

Canisius had already written to the general thus:--

"Knowing as I do my poverty of intellect, my great want of aptitude,
and my incapacity, I confess that I should like to run away from this
place, and would rather go and beg in India than involve myself in
those dangerous disputes, out of which nothing can come but perpetual
disgrace to religion, and great harm to the rights of the Church. But
the Lord God will make known to me His will by His servant my Superior,
and when I know it I shall have no further fear, but shall appear with
boldness in the enemy's camp; for all my confidence and all my strength
are in obedience. I can be nothing else but a beast of burden in the
house of the Lord all the days of my life."

Father Lainez shared to the full the opinion of Canisius as to the
uselessness of these conferences, which were exacted by the Lutherans
in the hope of wresting something to their own temporal advantage, and
the Pope differed from neither in his estimation of the small amount of
good to be hoped from them. But as the Emperor was not to be restrained
from granting concessions which all Catholics agreed were futile, it
was extremely important that the interests of religion and the rights
of the Holy See should be ably defended; and Father Lainez therefore
insisted that Canisius should not only remain at the Diet of Regensburg
to the bitter end, but that he should hold himself in readiness to
reopen the campaign at Worms.

In the interval Canisius went to Rome to pay his respects to the new
General, and on his return to Germany visited Munich. The capital of
Bavaria was also a hot-bed of heresy, and after a brief sojourn there
he wrote to Father Lainez, entreating that he would send some Fathers
capable of attracting people by their sermons and of edifying them by
the holiness of their lives. He then went to Ingolstadt, and was
greatly consoled by the results that had been obtained by the newly
founded college. Heresy no longer ventured to raise its head where
formerly it had flaunted its colours unabashed, and in every respect
the university was worthy of the care that had been bestowed upon it.
The place was naturally dear to his heart, as the magnificent
first-fruits of his labours for Germany, but tearing himself
reluctantly from the piety and peace which he had so successfully
planted there, he proceeded to confront the enemy at Worms.

The greater number of the Lutheran disputants had already arrived, but
of the six Catholic theologians deputed to enter the lists against
them, the most celebrated, Johann Gropper, Archdeacon of Cologne, was
conspicuous by his absence. Canisius wrote to entreat him to come, but
Gropper was so thoroughly convinced of the uselessness of the
disputations, that he persistently refused to take part in them. The
organisation of the whole matter therefore devolved on Canisius, who
prepared the plan of defence, and appointed to each Catholic theologian
the subject of which he was to treat. Besides this, he continued to
preach, to hear confessions and to take counsel with his colleagues
daily. At night he allowed himself but a brief interval of sleep, the
rest of the time being spent in prayer and study.

He had stipulated before the opening of the conferences that none but
those Protestants who belonged to the Confession of Augsburg, and who
were the only regular, and to some extent, disciplined body among them
should take part in the disputations. This condition had been accepted,
but from the very beginning, Anabaptists, Sacramentarians, and heretics
of every imaginable sect appeared, and claimed the right of speech.
Those of the Augsburg Confession were furious, and refused to make
common cause with the new arrivals. Recriminations, invectives, and
threats were hurled about the Protestant camp till a formidable tumult
ensued. The Augsburg Lutherans at last succeeded in turning out the
other sects, but ashamed of the spectacle they had presented to the
eyes of the Catholics who were all united, they left Worms secretly,
and contented themselves with attacking each other in the usual
vituperative terms.

"It was," wrote Canisius, "as if the giants of old were seeking to
rebuild the Tower of Babel. God visited them with the same spirit of
confusion which prevented their understanding one another, so that
Melancthon was punished by the work of his own hands, like those who
are devoured by the wild beasts which they have themselves bred up with
great pains and difficulty."

Cologne, Strassburg, and his own native Nymwegen next came in for a
share in the apostles' labours. The Bishop of Trent begged him to come
and found a college in his diocese; the Duke of Bavaria called upon him
to organise the one he had already set on foot at Munich, and to
establish another at Landshut. But Straubing, by reason of its extreme
need, detained him longer than any of these places.

Charles V. had himself been mainly responsible for the worst of the
difficulties and complications that existed at Straubing, on account of
his famous interim, which granted to all, on his own personal
authority, permission to communicate under both kinds, pending the
decision of the Council of Trent on this point. Straubing had availed
itself without exception of the permission, and even after the decision
of the Council persisted in retaining the custom. A few priests had
attempted resistance, but numberless apostasies and half an
insurrection had followed on their action, and now the position had
come to be regarded as impregnable.

Canisius made no attempt to storm the fortress; he arrived, and was
gentleness itself. He had scarcely passed a week in the town when he
was regarded as the friend and adviser of all its principal citizens.
His sermons drew crowds as usual, and his instructions on the subject
of Holy Communion, of which his hearers proved to be strangely
ignorant, were continued in the confessional, and on every possible
occasion. At Easter nearly the whole population approached the
sacraments, and communicated without making the least difficulty, under
one kind. The apostle, broken with fatigue, for he had preached
throughout Lent, three times a week, besides catechising, visiting the
sick, hearing confessions, and answering the objections of all who came
to him, was yet beaming with joy, so markedly had his labours been

It would be superfluous to follow Canisius in his journey to Poland, in
his fruitful sojourn at Augsburg, in his campaign against the ignorance
of the clergy at Wurzburg, against the Calvinism of the Swiss
Protestants. Everywhere the story is the same: ignorance, vice, and
heresy fled before the bright light of his presence, and his wisdom
provided, that where he had planted the good seed, others should follow
him, to keep it watered, so that there should be no return to the
former errors. Long after his death, the colleges of the Society which
he had founded continued his work, and formed an efficient barrier
against the modern spirit of revolt from authority and order.

If in a sense the old ages of faith were dead, the new age witnessed a
wonderful resurrection, the effect of which is still going on in our
own day. And the scourge of heresy wherewith the Church in Germany was
scourged to its ultimate salvation in the sixteenth century, lies now a
thing of nought, effete and all but lifeless, while the Bride of Christ
has renewed her youth like the eagle.


Lacordaire once wrote in a letter to Madame Swetchine these remarkable
words concerning the disciples of St. Ignatius:

"Tout ce qui m'a tombe sous la main m'a toujours revolte par l'emphase
ridicule de l'eloge, ou par l'impudeur du blame. II semble que cette
nature d'hommes ait toujours ote la raison a ses amis et a ses ennemis.
Je voudrais leur consacrer dix annees d'etudes, ne fut ce que pour mon
plaisir propre; mais Dieu nous donne et nous prepare une bien autre
besogne, et il faut dire avec l'auteur de l'Imitation, 'relinque
curiosa.' Les Jesuites continueront a faire du bien, et a le faire mal
quelquefois; ils auront des amis frenetiques et des ennemis furieux, en
attendant le jour du jugement dernier, qui sera pour bien des raisons
un tres-interessant et tres-curieux jour."

At no time has the world been more occupied with the Jesuits than at
the present moment, and the prophecy of the celebrated Dominican above
quoted seems more than ever likely to be fulfilled. If their friends
are indeed still as extravagant in their praise as Lacordaire found
them, perhaps on the other hand criticism is even louder, hatred more
profound, accusation more wild and general. Most of the governments of
Europe have banished them, on the ground that they are the enemies to
progress, to liberal ideas, that they have meddled in politics, and
constitute a danger to the State, by seeking to grasp the helm of
public affairs, secretly stirring up the nations against their rulers.

The subject appears to be of perennial and universal application, since
even in this twentieth century, and in so tolerant a country as
England, people have been moved to some apprehension lest we should be
incurring a danger in suffering the Jesuit to live unmolested in our
midst. But it is not our present ambition to settle so burning a
question as the right of members of the Society of Jesus to exist
anywhere; rather would we make an excursion into the domain of history,
and inquire what have been the rules and regulations, and what has been
the practice of the Society concerning politics in the past, what has
been the attitude of its members, prescribed and actual towards kings,
potentates, and dynasties.

Certain facts have recently come to light, bearing on the history of
the Jesuits at the various German courts in the sixteenth century, and
the scattered remains of the private correspondence belonging to the
archives of the old Society before its suppression have been gathered
together. What was done more or less in secret is now proclaimed on the
housetops, and the result, as might be expected, is in many ways
interesting and instructive.*

* Die Jesuiten an den deutschen Furstenhofen des 16ten Jahrhunderts.
Auf Grund ungedruckter Quellen. Von Bernhard Duhr, S. J., Freiburg im
Breisgau, 1901.

This correspondence consists of communications between the rank and
file, and the superiors at Rome, and vice versa, and includes the
letters which passed between the General and the kings, archdukes and
other reigning princes, who were ostensibly friends of the Society, but
who did their best to put frequent spokes in the wheels of the

The great dearth of learned preachers and confessors that prevailed
about the middle of the sixteenth century appealed strongly to the
Jesuits to throw themselves into the breach, and thus against the
original intention of their founder, they became the spiritual guides
of those who made the history of Europe for the next hundred years and
more. It was a delicate and an onerous task, fraught with temptations
from without and from within.

Ignatius of Loyola, being a man of the world as well as a saint, was
well aware of the perils to which he exposed his sons, in sending them
forth into the midst of vanities, while at the same time, having had
some experience of courts, he knew that princes love not contradiction.
But he decided after mature deliberation that after all his "least
Society" was created to do a certain work in the Church and in the
world, the need of which work was only too apparent in the decayed
state of faith and morals. It was not by turning his back on courts
that he could hope to regenerate them; but it would be interesting
could we discover whether by a contrary decision he would have averted
some of the odium which the name Jesuit has accumulated in the course
of ages.

John III. of Portugal was the first king to demand a Jesuit confessor,
and to him Ignatius sent Father Luis Gonzalez de Comara, much against
the desire of the said individual. To his entreaties and objections the
first General of the Society made answer, on the 9th August 1552, that
he was indeed edified by the humility which caused Father de Comara to
shrink from a position which many envied; nevertheless, he was of the
opinion that he should obey his Highness in this, as in other things,
"for the honour of God our Lord." St. Ignatius went on to say that he
need not occupy himself with any but good and pious objects, neither
had he reason to fear that the king would, against the will of the
Society, confer upon him those honours and dignities with which it was
the custom to distinguish other confessors. If moreover, his remaining
at court was a cross to him, he must bear it with patience as he would
all else that obedience required of him.

At the second General Congregation held in 1565, the question arose
whether Cardinal Otto of Augsburg might have a member of the Society
attached to his court, as theologian. The Congregation decided not to
allow any member to reside permanently at the court of any prince,
spiritual or secular, or to consent to his following the said court on
its travels, either in the capacity of preacher, theologian or
confessor, and that no appointment of such a kind should be permissible
for longer than one month or double that period at the most.

Ten years later, the Provincial Congregation of North Germany was
reminded of this decree in drawing up propositions to be placed before
the third General Congregation, and it was expressly stated that none
but the General of the Society himself should have the power to make
such appointments, that they should be made as rarely as possible,
experience having proved that more harm was done to the confessor by
his residing at court than good to the penitent by his ministrations.
The reply to this proposition was to the effect that with the General
alone should rest the appointment.

By degrees, further legislation became imperative, and the fifth
General Congregation, held in 1593, forbade in the most solemn form
every member of the Society to interfere in politics or any public
affairs whatever. The decree was so absolute that not only did it
ensure the imprudent from taking part in the questions of the day, but
timid confessors were thereby prevented by their scruples from giving
counsel, when appealed to on matters that could scarcely be supposed to
border on politics.

In order therefore, to correct all misapprehension, the General, Father
Aquaviva, issued an Instruction for the confessors of princes, which
was formally approved by the General Congregation of 16o8. This was
considered so important a document that it was incorporated into the
Institute, a sort of code, containing the Constitutions which St.
Ignatius drew up, as well as the decrees of General Congregations. The
Instruction was in fact a summary of all previous experience on the
subject. It provided, first of all, that in cases where the Society
could not avoid compliance with the demand for a confessor at court,
great care should be taken in the choice of the individual member to
fill the office, so that he might conduce to the welfare of the prince,
the edification of the people, and the avoidance of all injury to the
Order. The last clause bore reference to the fact that not infrequently
the Society was called upon to suffer in one place for wounds inflicted
on it in another. Rules for the said confessor were then laid down, to
fit every possible emergency, and in minute detail.

For instance, the king's confessor, although attached to the royal
chapel, must not only lodge exclusively in a college of his Order, but
he must remain subject to the rule, like any other member of the
Society. Even when travelling with the court he was obliged to sleep in
a house of his Order, or if passing through a town where no such house
existed, he must beg hospitality of any other religious community,
preferably to passing the night at court.

It was again solemnly impressed upon him not to allow himself to be
drawn into any secular concerns, which rule the king was humbly
petitioned to enforce.

Neither must the confessor undertake to be an emissary between the
prince, his penitent, and any of his ministers, or other officials.

As regarded the prince himself, he was bound to listen to his
confessor, not merely when he exhorted him on the subject-matter of his
confessions, but also in matters relating to the prevention of
injustice, oppression, or other scandals such as often came about
through the fault of officials, and which were unknown to the sovereign.

None might undertake the office of permanent confessor at court without
the consent of his provincial. It was, moreover, the duty of the
provincial before according such permission, to hand this Instruction
to the prince in order that he might thoroughly understand what the
Society was willing to bestow upon him. The prince was further to be
reminded in modest but decided terms, that superiors retained the right
to the obedience of the individual who became his confessor, as
absolutely as to that of any other member of the Society.

At first there seemed no great need for these precautions. The emperor,
Charles V., chose Dominicans for his confessors, and his successor,
Ferdinand, followed his example. But Ferdinand held the Society in
great esteem, and at his death Father Lainez, who was then General,
ordered that each priest in the college at Dillingen should offer
twelve Masses for the repose of his soul, and the lay-brothers were to
say certain prayers with the same intention. The Society was not only
indebted to him for his unvarying friendship, but owed to his
munificence the foundation of four colleges, viz., those of Vienna,
Prague, Innsbruck, and Tyrnau.

Ferdinand's son and successor, Maximilian, having Protestant leanings,
dispensed with a confessor altogether, but his wife, Doha Maria, sister
of Philip II. of Spain, was provided with a Spanish Franciscan, who was
chosen for her by her brother. Maximilian's sons all chose Jesuit
confessors, as did also his daughter, the Queen of Bohemia.

At that time the Lutherans thought that Catholicism was at its last
gasp, and they eagerly anticipated the banishment of the Jesuits. But
Maximilian, in spite of his Protestant tendencies, was well disposed
towards them, and their college at Vienna received many marks of his
favour, to the great disgust of his Lutheran subjects. The Protestant
nobles assembled at the Landtag held in Vienna, attached three
conditions to their votes of supplies for his war against the
Turks:--The abolition of the procession of Corpus Christi, the
confirmation of the Confession of Augsburg, and the banishment of the
Jesuits. They declared that if the emperor refused to grant these
requests, they would not furnish him with the required subsidy for the
war. Maximilian replied that it was his business to repulse the Turks;
the other things did not concern him, but the Pope.*

* Orig. G. Epist., 6, 48 seq.

Disappointed in their hopes, the Lutherans, allying themselves with the
enemies of the Jesuits within the Church, began to circulate false
reports against the Society. At one moment they accused Father Peter
Canisius of prejudicing the Pope against the emperor, at another, the
whole community at Vienna were declared guilty of openly insulting the
Protestants. Reiterated complaints poured into the emperor's ears ended
by alienating Maximilian from his former friends, and it was difficult,
almost impossible for them to obtain a hearing. But the empress
remained loyal to them, and would perhaps have been termed by
Lacordaire frenetique.

Father Maggio, who was then court preacher, seems to have been a man of
great prudence and mildness, thoroughly imbued with the spirit of
religion. By degrees he not only convinced Maximilian of the injustice
of the attacks made upon the Society, but the two became fast friends,
so that when he was made Provincial of Austria in 1566, the appointment
gave much satisfaction at court. He was frequently summoned to private
audiences, and the emperor treated him with so much confidence that
Father Maggio would sometimes venture to address to him written words
of exhortation, words which Maximilian invariably took in good part.
The empress, observing the affection of her husband for the Jesuit
would consult Father Maggio as to the best means of confirming him in
the Catholic religion.

When Father Maggio was made provincial, Father Antonio, a Portuguese
Jesuit, became court preacher, but so little to his own satisfaction
that he repeatedly appealed to the empress and to the General for his
release. He bewailed his unfitness for a post requiring so much
exceptional virtue, and expressed his desire to be sent to foreign
missions. If such were not the will of his superiors, he entreated that
he might have some humble office in a house of novices, where he might
live unnoticed by the world, and labour for his soul's health.

The General, Father Mercurian, replied, on the 18th March 1576, that he
had no one to replace him at court, and that he must perforce remain
where he was. Previously to this, Father Antonio had besought the
empress to dismiss him, but she had answered that she counted on his
ministrations at the hour of death. A month after Father Mercurian's
refusal to remove him, he again wrote to the General, begging that he
might apply to the empress for, at least, a year's leave of absence,
during which time a locum tenens might be dispensed with. Two days
later, he followed up this letter with another, giving the General his
opinion why it was inexpedient for any member of the Society to remain
at court for more than a short term, such as a month or two. There was,
he said, no bishop, ambassador, or person of consequence who did not
desire to have several of the Fathers about him; the door which, at
their profession, they had shut on the world, seemed in a certain sense
to be reopened by a residence at court; unfortunately, men were not
wanting who aspired to such offices, and great inconveniences ensued
thereby. Some grew accustomed to a certain independence, little in
accordance with the rules of the Society, some were altogether spoiled,
and brought disgrace on the Order. It was, perhaps, not astonishing
that after this letter the General showed even less inclination than
before to remove Father Antonio. One who thus appreciated the dangers
of the world would be less likely than another to fall a prey to them,
and was as safe at court as in fulfilling the humblest duties of the

But when all was said and done, the influence of the Jesuits at the
Court of Vienna was not very great. Their El Dorado was the Archducal
Court at Gratz, where reigned Ferdinand's son, Charles II. Here their
power was at least supposed to be so great that their enemies declared
that they possessed the master-key of all the doors in the palace, and
could pass through all the rooms composing the apartments of the
Archduchess at will. This, however, with other things, she declared
solemnly to be nothing but lies--nur lautere Lugen--and an attack on
her honour.*

* Hurter, Ferdinand II, 3, 578.

Apart from these unpleasant calumnies, the Society flourished at Gratz
as hardly anywhere else, and was able to train its novices, give the
Spiritual Exercises, and administer the sacraments undisturbed. The
only difficulties that arose were in connection with the right of the
provincial to move his men about as he chose, the archduke, like the
emperor, being inclined to regard his confessors as his own property.
This was notably the case with the celebrated Father Blyssem, who
received marching orders in 1578. The Archduke at once wrote to the
General, declaring that Father Blyssem's removal would be extremely
inconvenient, and was not to be contemplated. If the General were on
the spot he would be of the archduke's opinion. First, Father Blyssem
was his and the archduchess's confessor, and they both wished above all
things to keep him. Secondly, he was not only a vigilant rector of the
college under him, and an experienced confessor, but he was also an
excellent preacher. And finally, he was beloved by all, was well
acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of the country, enjoyed a good
reputation and inspired respect even in the opponents of the Catholic
religion. His sudden departure could not therefore but be injurious to
the temporal and spiritual welfare of the college, and detrimental to
the general good.

Not alone the archduke, the papal legate, Bishop Ringuarda, also
appealed to the General of the Jesuits in the same interest, saying
that he had already sought the intervention of the Pope and the
Cardinal of Como, to prevent the removal of Father Blyssem. As he now
heard that, in spite of his efforts, Father Blyssem was to go to Rome,
at least for three months, Bishop Ringuarda begged most urgently that
this order might be cancelled, the Father's absence for even a week, to
say nothing of a month, being likely to entail serious harm to the
Church in Austria. His daily presence was so necessary, that if he were
not already at Gratz, he must be sent there without delay. The legate
then went on to enumerate all the wonderful qualities possessed by the
rector, and ended his letter with the solemn entreaty that the General
would on no account remove him.*

* Orig. G. Epist., 3, 298.

Pressure such as this being frequently brought to bear on superiors,
they could scarcely be said to exercise undivided control over their
own subjects.

Driven into a corner, Aquaviva was obliged to leave the archduke's
confessor where he was, accommodating matters by making him Provincial
of Austria, in place of Father Maggio, Father Emerich Torsler replacing
Father Blyssem as rector of the college at Gratz. The archduke
expressed himself content with the arrangement, provided that Father
Blyssem did not absent himself on the business of the province when he
required him at his side.

The new provincial had occasion, in January 1582, to write to the
General about the sermons of a certain Father John Reinel, which were,
he complained, too lengthy and too violent. In regard to the first
fault he had improved somewhat, but no admonition had succeeded in
causing him to desist from his biting attacks on the heretics. His
Paternity was, therefore, requested to command him to observe more
moderation and gentleness, and instead of handling the heretics angrily
and roughly, to teach and exhort them with Christian charity. In this
manner he would convert a far greater number, as every one maintained.
But if he continued as heretofore, Father Blyssem would be obliged to
send him to another college, where he would have to adopt a different
style or give over preaching altogether, and take up another occupation.

But the removal of Father Reinel was not so simple a matter as it at
first appeared. Towards the end of the year, Father Blyssem again wrote
to Aquaviva on the same subject. It had been decided during the
preceding summer to send the unmanageable preacher to another sphere of
activity, he having been already so long a time at Gratz, where he was
too much engrossed in the court, which he had recently, against the
wishes of his superiors, accompanied in its journey of several months
through Bavaria and Suabia, to the neglect of the pulpit at Gratz.
Moreover, his harsh and aggressive manner of preaching was as repulsive
to the Catholics as to the Lutherans, but when, according to his
instructions, he was on the point of starting for Vienna, the
archduchess, whose confessions he sometimes heard in Father Blyssem's
temporary absence, was so much aggrieved at the change, that she
entreated her husband with many arguments and tears to prevent his
departure. Accordingly, the archduke begged the provincial to defer
Father Reinel's removal on account of his consort's distress, and this
he apparently did, but he wrote to the General asking him to insist on
the order being carried out, and to persuade the archduke to agree to

Sometimes varying reports were sent to the General concerning the
behaviour of certain Fathers at court. Thus, the rector of the college
at Gratz wrote somewhat severely of Father Saxo, who also was a
favourite in the most exalted circle.

But Father Blyssem in a letter to Aquaviva, dated gist December 1585,
defended him, saying:--

"Your Paternity appears to be incorrectly informed as to Father Saxo.
In my judgment, and in that of other Fathers of consideration, he has
very greatly improved in his manner and conduct towards others. When I
was at Gratz last year he was in possession of a costly little alarum,
which he had received as a present from a nobleman. He was well pleased
that the clock should be taken from him, and sold for the benefit of
the noviceship. The seal which he used at missions, and which he would
willingly have kept afterwards, he gave up at once at the instance of
his superior. He had received a great many books as presents in the
course of his missions, to assist him in preaching, and these he
delivered up for the common use, after very little delay. The Fathers
whom I questioned answered that they had noticed nothing in Father Saxo
that might give scandal, nor had they ever heard anything of the kind
about him."

The complaints against Father Viller were less easily answered. He had
filled the office of Austrian Provincial between the years 1589 and
1595, and in the latter year was appointed rector of the college at
Gratz. During this time the Archduke Ferdinand chose him as his
confessor. Not long afterwards he was accused to the General of being a
courtier, an imputation so vague as to need a discursive reply. But his
long letter of self justification addressed to Father Aquaviva is
interesting on account of the vivid scenes it lays before us. Its main
contents are these:--

"Already fifteen or sixteen years ago, when Father Maggio had left the
province, certain Fathers in Vienna complained bitterly to the new
provincial, Father Blyssem, that I had a courtier-like mind, because
people about the court came to me, and I associated with them. I was,
it is true, in favour with the imperial council, with the bishops and
the Hungarian nobles, also with the apostolic nuntios Delphin and
Portia, and I laboured to the extent of my power in the interests of
religion. Father Provincial removed me from my office, and I became his
secretary and admonitor. Two years later, when a visitor, Father Oliver
came, he reinstated me as Master of the alumni, discipline among them
having become relaxed. When I had been another two years in this
office, I was again accused to the provincial. I was deposed, but in
the meantime, the baselessness of the charges brought against me having
been proved, I was appointed rector at Olmutz, and Father Provincial
assured me with tears that I had been unjustly treated. Five years
afterwards I was elected provincial, and the Father Visitor was able to
testify that I suffered much, even to the danger of losing my life, in
discharging the duties of this office in Bohemia and Hungary. The next
provincial (Father Ferdinand Alber) evinced dislike of me immediately
on his taking up office, the reason of which was, I believe, merely
that we do not share the same opinions. He, like Fathers Bader, Reinel,
and Scherer, is for public penitential exercises in the refectory
daily; I, on the contrary, am for a milder proceeding, such as I have
learned of Fathers Maggio, Everard (Mercurian) Goudan, Canisius, and
Lanoy. Therefore, I am called a courtier, even when I am not at court.
The whole college will bear witness that I go there less often than
Father Reinel, who at least went once a day, whereas I go on an average
but once a week.

"If it be objected that I suffer the princes to come frequently to the
college, I reply, as I replied to the Father Provincial, that I will
undertake they shall come no more, but the responsibility for this must
rest with others.

"I am further reproached with having invited the princes to dinner at
the vineyard, and also at the college, and that I even played with them
at the vineyard. As for the invitation, the princes themselves asked to
be invited, and the Apostolic Nuntio, and the Bishop of Laibach, were
present at the games, which were, in my judgment, honourable and modest.

"I have begged to be removed from both my offices, in order to remove
suspicion, and to obtain peace, for I see that I am not agreeable to my
provincial, he having forbidden me to hear the confessions of the
archduke and those of the dowager archduchess, who with her daughters
insists on confessing to me.

"If any one has told the provincial that the college is in a bad state,
ocular demonstration will prove the contrary; everything goes on in an
orderly way. The archduke receives Holy Communion every Sunday. He is
burning with desire to reinstate the Catholic religion, and he labours
for the conversion of the nobility. Only yesterday a man in a very high
position was received into the Church. As for your Paternity's
exhortation to guard against the spirit of the world, I thank you, but
I do not see how I am to do it, unless I flee from the court and from
those about it. I will take pains to satisfy my conscience and
obedience, but I fear that I shall not content those who look on the
dark side. If your Paternity thinks that I seek the favour of princes
more for my own sake than that of the Society, it is a bitter reproach,
for I would rather die than be guilty of such a fault. The archdukes
will bear me out how often I have spoken to them on this subject, and
how I have begged them to write nothing on my behalf to the General or
to the provincial; but they insist that if I lay down the rectorate I
must retain the confessorship."*

* Orig. G. Epist., 35, 479.

In the end, this suggested compromise was effected. Father Viller was
no longer rector of Gratz, but remained confessor to the archducal
family. Nevertheless, complaints of him did not cease, and he had to
defend himself against the charge of clinging inordinately to the
worldy advantages of his position. In a confidential letter to the
German Resident in Rome he wrote:--

"I call God to witness that I do not value the court and my present
office more than any other service which my superiors may call upon me
to render to the Society. I am cheerfully ready to leave the court at
any moment, and at the risk of losing the prince's favour, whenever my
superior expresses a wish that I should do so, to say nothing of
receiving a decided order. I have not so high an opinion of my person
that I seek consideration on account of the favour and affection of the

Still the attacks on Father Viller did not cease. Those who were for
unmitigated austerity looked on his broad views with horror. Father
Scherer, one of the most rigid, called him "the synagogue of
Libertines." The provincial, and the Spaniard, Father Ximenes, were
among those who judged him most severely. He was, moreover,
involved--and this is perhaps less to his credit than any supposed
laxness with which he was charged--in the squabbles between the
Hapsburg and Wittelsbach royal families, concerning the bishopric of
Passau. This had for long been an apple of contention between Austria
and Bavaria, and the new rector of the college at Gratz, Father Haller,
in describing the situation to the General, wrote: "Outsiders on either
side naturally throw oil on the flames, and as regards Ours, I doubt
whether they do their best to extinguish them, exercising the necessary
charity and prudence. Father Viller does the reverse, blaming and
condemning everything Bavarian, while he praises and defends the
Austrians indiscriminately. Both parties have their adherents, who
publish everything from their own point of view. As this one-sided
material is all that is laid before Ours, the danger is that the advice
given is not in favour of investigation. It is taken for granted that
all that comes before their eyes is true, and the other side is
condemned unheard. But as it is clear that the Christian cause in
Germany would be greatly benefited by a union of the two parties, it
would be well worth the trouble, seeing the immense influence which the
Society has over the princes and their advisers, for the members of the
Order to labour with more zeal than heretofore, to bring about this
reconciliation, particularly at Prague, Vienna, Munich, and Gratz." He
concludes with the wish that not alone the Society, but the rulers of
the Church also, might advance the cause of union.

In a postscript Father Haller returns to his charge against Father
Viller, who, he declares, has disregarded the rules of the fifth
General Congregation. At Ferrara, for instance, he engaged in a violent
controversy with the Bavarian agent, Sper, about the Passau question,
as well as that of the bishopric of Salzburg, which the Bavarians were
supposed to covet. Besides this, Father Viller, blinded by prejudice,
disapproved of the contemplated marriage between the Austrian Archduke
and the Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria, "which he would prevent if he
could. In short," wrote the provincial, "the good Father has
extravagant and dangerous notions, and gives no good example to the

In his own defence Father Viller wrote that he was by no means averse
from the alliance, that he had himself secretly applied for, and
obtained, the necessary dispensation at Rome, and had frequently
expressed his earnest desire that the marriage might take place,
considering that a union between the two princely houses would conduce
to the honour of both, and to the protection and defence of the
Catholic religion in Germany.

Only, the health of the bride must be considered no less than her great
and remarkable piety, as it was important to provide for the
continuation of the line of the august house, into which it was
proposed she should enter. He had thought that as marriage was so
delicate an affair, foresight was needful, in order that no want of
physical health and beauty might in course of time change affection
into aversion, such as was to be daily observed in the marriages of so
many illustrious persons. This, Father Viller declared, was his whole
mind on the subject, and such as he had in all humility expressed it to
the prince. With his whole heart he wished both exalted personages the
tenderest love, firm union, and continuous happiness. He believed that
the Archduke Ferdinand could not form a more suitable alliance with any
other family in Europe, but at the same time, no one should quarrel
with him, Father Viller, for wishing that the bride might possess
sufficient corporal health and beauty to ensure the well-being of their
issue, and the continuance of conjugal affection. For this reason he
trusted in the great piety and noble character of the duke and duchess
that they would not endanger the future of their daughter, and that of
her children, as well as the happiness of their prospective son-in-law,
by concealing a want of health on the part of their most devout and
admirable daughter.*

* The reports as to the condition of the Princess Maria Anna's health
appear not to have been without foundation. Hurter mentions her
delicacy, and Koch says that she was unhealthy. She died on the 8th
March 1616.

But Duke William of Bavaria was deeply offended with the Archduke
Ferdinand's confessor, and even after the marriage which took place on
the 23rd April 1600, at Gratz, Father Viller having indiscreetly
reopened the subject of the bride's want of health, complaints of him
reached the General. But, in spite of all this, he did not lose the
archduke's favour, retaining his entire confidence to the end.

An incident connected with the jealousy with which the Society guarded
its rule of non-interference in politics, is furnished by the same
Father Viller, who, in 1599, was appointed to go to Rome on a mission
from the Austrian archduke. On this occasion the General, Father
Aquaviva, wrote to Father Viller as follows:--

"As at the present time general suspicion is aroused, especially in
Venice, by any semblance even of politics, it will be difficult to
avoid remarks, when it is seen that your reverence is charged with an
embassy from the archduke to the Pope. And as the good prince has
deserved so well of the Church and of the Society, and especially as
your reverence has resisted so long, excusing yourself in prudent and
religious fashion, it appears to me that a via media is possible, and
an exception may be made. That is to say, that if the mission has
nothing whatever to do with politics, but has merely regard to matters
of faith, concerning heretics or the Turks, your reverence is at
liberty to undertake it, and may set out as soon as is desired. But if
the business is a political one, you must entreat the archduke,
appealing to his love for the Society, to send some one more suitable
in your place. This will be better for the archduke himself, and will
confer a benefit on the Society."*

*Ad. Austr., 1573-1600.

It cannot be denied that during the reigns of the Archdukes Ferdinand,
Charles, and Rudolph, the Court of Gratz was a model of purity,
uprightness, and activity. As the Jesuits were all-powerful there
during the whole of this period, it is obvious that this satisfactory
condition must, in a large measure, be attributed to their influence.

The introduction of the Society into Innsbruck was the work of the
Emperor Ferdinand, and the first Jesuit to labour in the new field was
the Tyrolese, Father Charles Grim. At Innsbruck, in 1561, lived the
five so-called queens, daughters of the emperor, who lived a
semi-religious life, and who desired to be confessed, directed, and
preached to by members of the Society. In 1563 the emperor paid a visit
to his daughters, and inspected the new college at Innsbruck. He
expressed his satisfaction with it, and presented the community with a

The five "queens," Magdalen, Margaret, Barbara, Helena, Joanna, had a
great reputation for piety and charity. A young girl, who had received
severe injuries from a fire, was received into their palace and nursed
with the most loving care. Certain persons were charged by them to
inform them of cases of need as they arose. Father Edmund Hay told the
General that three of the "queens" had dedicated themselves to God by a
vow, and had resolved to remove as soon as possible from the turmoil
and luxury of the court into greater solitude. One of them was
especially pious, frequented the sacraments once a month and oftener,
and would practise very great austerities if her confessor would allow
her. In 1565 people already declared that the court of these
archduchesses was like a convent; every sign of pomp and splendour had
disappeared, and humility and modesty reigned in their stead.

On the 11th January 1566, Father Dirsius wrote to the General, St.
Francis Borgia, in behalf of the "queens" Margaret, Magdalen, and
Helena, telling him that their brothers, the emperor, and the Archdukes
Ferdinand and Charles, fully concurred in their making the
above-mentioned vow. They had wished, he said, to remove to Munich,
with their attendants, and to live there in a convent of Poor Clares,
apart from the world. But this plan their brothers opposed, and desired
them to remain in Austria. The emperor had even offered them deserted
convents in Corinthia, but in those parts there were too many heretics
to please the princesses. Everyone advised them to remain at Innsbruck,
where they already edified the faithful by their virtuous example, and
prevented apostasy. They themselves were willing to remain; at least
they wished to be in a place where there was a college of the Society,
and were thinking of taking the newly-built Franciscan convent, the
Italian Franciscans for whom it had been constructed being unlikely to
remain on account of the climate and the difficulties they experienced
in mastering the German language. In case the archduchesses did not get
possession of this convent they had also in view a house in the
neighbourhood of Innsbruck. In this event they humbly begged for
fathers to direct them spiritually, and to undertake the care of other
souls in the place.

In answering this letter St. Francis Borgia said that the Society was
ready to help the archduchesses spiritually, if only out of gratitude
to their father and brother, but that it was contrary to the Institute
for the members of the Society to live for any length of time apart
from their colleges or houses, and it would in any case be displeasing
to the Fathers themselves to forego the company and edifying example of
their religious brethren. It seemed, therefore, advisable that the
three princesses should take up their abode where there was a college
or house of the Society, and preferably at Innsbruck, where they might
inhabit the house built by their father, or some other of the same
description, where they might observe the rule of life they had
adopted, and keep the vow they had taken before God. The Fathers might
hear the confessions of the princesses and preach to them. A proviso
was afterwards made that, in the event of the "queens" founding a
convent, the Jesuits should no longer be their confessors, as this
would be directly contrary to the intention of St. Ignatius, as
expressed in the Institute.

The General then sent Father Canisius to Innsbruck to arrange matters,
and the holy apostle of Germany formulated the opinion that "Ours
should not easily receive permission to direct women, even the most
exalted in position, for we have experienced to our detriment and the
detriment of this college in particular, that Ours are liable in such
matters to suffer in their vocation, and as a consequence to become

* Kroess, p. 177.

The next year (16th August 1567), Father Peter Canisius reiterated his
apprehension: "I consider it extremely difficult to keep Fathers to
their obedience and religious discipline when they are in any way bound
to the court," he said.

Meanwhile, the "queens" had chosen Hall, a little town near Innsbruck,
as their residence, and Father Dirsius announced the circumstance to
the General in these terms:--

"The Queens have purposed for years to withdraw from the world. Now,
with the consent of their brothers, they have decided to reside at
Hall, and there with some of their ladies and attendants who wish to
imitate them, to lead a religious life in common, but without adopting
a habit or the rule of any religious order. They need priests, however,
and wish for Fathers of the Society. They beg, therefore, that the
church to be built at Hall with all its treasures may be taken over by
the Society, for which they also wish to found a novitiate there."

But Father Borgia again objected, foreseeing nearly all the
difficulties which arose later on. The Society might not undertake the
direction of a community of women, even though these were not leading a
thoroughly conventual life. It was not advisable for the Fathers to
accept the church offered to them at Hall, because the college they
were to establish in that place would have its own church connected
with it, which would suffice. Further, it was not convenient that a
church, communicating with the house where the archduchesses lived with
their suite, should be handed over to them, and lastly, it was not the
custom of the Fathers to go daily from their own to another church at a
distance, to conduct divine service there. The General concluded his
letter with the remark that, as the project of the "queens" was
directly opposed to the Institute, nothing further need be said about
such a foundation.

In a second letter he instructed Blessed Peter Canisius to impress upon
the archduchesses that they should be content with the confessor chosen
by the Society as the one best suited to them. Canisius was then to
name Father Lanoy, whom the General was sending to Innsbruck from
Vienna, the empress having been very well contented with him. If they
demurred, it was to be represented to them that it was not becoming for
"Ours" to frequent palaces much. The less frequently they were seen
there the better, and the less people testified their affection for
them by sending them food and clothes, the better would they be enabled
to live a community life, and observe the Institute. The better also
would they be able to render spiritual service.

Father Borgia communicated this instruction to the rector of Innsbruck
College also, and added that he feared the Fathers were too much
spoiled by presents from the "queens," who were in the habit of sending
meals daily from their palace to them. In answer to the rector's
question as to what was to be done with the food thus sent, the General
replied that it was to be given to the sick, or to those in need. It
was to be desired that the "queens" might be persuaded to send no more
things of the sort. If they wished to bestow an alms on the college,
they should do so in a more useful way. On no consideration should
their confessor be allowed to take his meals in his own room; sickness
being the only exception to this rule.

It was some time before the princesses could be induced to give up
sending delicacies to their confessors, two lackeys being daily told
off to carry the various dishes from the palace to the college. At
last, however, the unwelcome favours were stopped by the rector
declaring that the dinners thus sent did not reach the destination
intended, but were distributed to the sick members of the community and
others, the "queens" confessors partaking of the ordinary fare.

Nevertheless, the archduchesses gained their point as regarded the
other matter, for in the end, the General gave an unwilling consent to
their choosing their own confessors, but he told Canisius that this
arrangement only held good during the lifetime of the "queens," and was
to form no precedent. After their death the Society would not continue
to direct the community of ladies which they had founded, such work not
being in accordance with the rules of the Institute, which, in this
particular as in others, had been approved by the Holy See.

In order to secure the Jesuits permanently as their directors, the
pious archduchesses determined to found a novitiate at Hall, and to
offer it to the General of the Society. St. Francis Borgia accepted the
offer, but on condition that no responsibility was to accrue to the
Society respecting the future of the community, and he wished it to be
impressed on the princesses how much he had condescended in allowing
their confessors to associate with their court, such frequent
intercourse with seculars, especially with ladies, being undesirable
for religious, and giving occasion to idle and frivolous remarks.

In the meanwhile, the Archduchess Magdalen had given notice that the
whole machinery of her court would be broken up in six months. Those of
her ladies, ladies' maids, and attendants who desired to do so might
follow her and her two sisters into their spiritual solitude at Hall,
no longer as servants, but as companions in the service of God.
Accordingly, by the end of October 1569, all was in readiness, and the
three princesses, accompanied by six of their suite who had resolved to
share their penance, removed to Hall, where they themselves performed
nearly the whole of the housework, two servants only being engaged for
the roughest portion of the labour. Hereupon, a storm of abuse broke
over the heads of the Innsbruck Jesuits, who had, of course, originated
the whole affair, seeking their own advantage. It was they who had
persuaded Magdalen to found a novitiate, and it was their fault that
the "queens" washed the clothes, plates, and dishes of the new
community with their own imperial hands, cooking also the meals of
which they partook. Rumours were afloat to the effect that the emperor
and the archdukes were furious.* All this was, however, but the
malicious invention of enemies, and the facts communicated to the
General by the Fathers at Innsbruck reveal nothing but satisfaction on
all sides. The archduke concurred in all that was done, and the
princesses were brought to acquiesce in the arrangement by which the
Fathers were to live at some distance from their house, and the Jesuits
rejoiced, inasmuch as they were left free to use the building handed
over to them as a school or a novitiate, or to put it to any use they
thought fit. Father Hoffaus wrote that the archduke had accorded him a
long and very gracious audience, and had assured him of his affection
and esteem for the Society. On the 5th December, High Mass had been
sung in their church at Innsbruck, and on the preceding day he had
announced a plenary Indulgence to all who should assist at it, on
account of the departure of the "queens." The archduke, the "queens,"
and the whole of the nobility had been present. The archduke had shown
himself extremely gracious and kind, and had paid a visit to Father
George Scharich, who was sick, and had sent him costly waters. By his
kindness he had consoled the whole community. The same day he had
conducted the "queens," his sisters, solemnly to their retreat at Hall,
and on the next had left for Prague, upon which Father Hoffaus had
taken possession of the new college.

* Orig. G. Epist., 9, 133.

On the 31st January 1570, the same Father wrote from Innsbruck:--

"The college at Hall is going on quietly. The queen scarcely worries us
at all; she has not yet entered our house since we went there, and she
seldom sends for us. In short, she leaves us in peace, and if this
continues, no one can complain of her, except that she generally
detains her confessor for nearly two hours after Mass. But this can be
borne, as there is no danger, and as I have often called her attention
to it and have blamed her for it, she is now rather more considerate."

The following extracts from "Queen" Magdalen's statutebook for her
community show somewhat amusingly that the continual exhortations of
the superiors of the Society had made some impression:--

"Jesuits are to be chosen as confessors. Out of confession none must
speak with her confessor without the permission of her superioress, who
shall not give leave unless there be sufficient reason for it. For
although one may have a scruple or a temptation, this can be deferred
to the next confession. An exception must be made for the superioress
herself, for it is needful that she speak often with him, but not
always necessary for her to take him up to the house; sometimes she can
confer with him in the lodge or in the lower corridor. They must not
make acquaintance with any other of the Fathers, or invite them to the
house, neither must they send food to any sick Father, except in cases
of great need, and only for a short time, say for a week, but not
longer. Neither must they give them money daily to buy milk, butter,
and such like things, but now and again, if necessary, they may give
them the wherewithal to procure cheese and lard."

Notwithstanding these regulations, none must suppose that the
archduchess is devoid of confidence or regard for the Fathers or for
priests in general. All her life she has "loved them in God, and will
continue to do so to the end; but there are many things good in
themselves, and agreeable to God, which must nevertheless be avoided
for the sake of a better thing still." If her spiritual daughters are
careful to avoid exaggeration, and observe her precepts faithfully,
they will find the Society better disposed towards them, will help them
to save their souls, and will be less likely to change their confessors.

But in spite of her naivete, and of the excellent advice she gave to
others, there were, for several years, innumerable difficulties with
regard to the Archduchess Magdalen's confessor, Father Hezcovaus. He
was infirm in health, and needed much waiting upon, day and night.
Moreover, he observed the rule as little as possible, and his august
penitent unwisely took his part against his superior far more than was
desirable. It was at last decided that he should be dispensed
altogether from keeping the rule, that he need only obey the General,
and his confessor, and that he might receive from the Archduchess
Magdalen all that he needed for his support. But even this was not
enough, and sometimes it was debated whether Father Hezcovaus should
still be included in the list of those belonging to the college.

On the 12th October 1584, the provincial, Father Bader, ordered that
the servants of this Father should not come and go, and run in and out,
as he and they pleased. If he required anything in the night, the other
Fathers should be ready to assist him charitably and patiently.

But there were still other difficulties at Hall, in connection with the
quasi-religious community, such as St. Francis Borgia had predicted,
and these rose to such a pitch, that in 1596, Father Hoffaus expressed
his opinion to the General, that it would be better to give up their
college there, and so once for all get rid of the burden imposed on the
Society by "Queen Magdalen."

The whole trend of this correspondence shows the tremendous obstacles
which the Jesuits encountered, not merely at Innsbruck but throughout
Austria and Bavaria, in their efforts to abstain from all that was
alien to their vocation. It is curious in these days to note how much
the old Society suffered from a superabundance of favour on the part of
princes. And far from being stereotyped reproductions of one unvarying
pattern or spiritual automata turned out of one mould, the Jesuits, as
represented in their own private correspondence, which was never
intended for the public eye, reveal a considerable amount of
individuality. The interpretation of the rule was elastic enough to
give scope to much diversity of opinion, and if superiors were jealous
guardians of the Institute, they encountered sufficient idiosyncrasy
among their subjects to prevent any rigidity in applying it.

It seems more than likely that if Lacordaire had had his wish, and had
been able to dedicate ten years of his life to the study of the Jesuit
character, he would have found on the whole that he had, after all, set
himself the very ordinary task of watching a perpetual conflict between
a high ideal and that frailty which is inseparable from human nature.


The revolt from Scholasticism in the sixteenth century, led by Erasmus
of Rotterdam, John Colet, and other apostles of the new learning,
reached farther, and was productive of other results than these had
intended or anticipated.

Erasmus was called an infidel by the friars, but he always stoutly
protested his adherence to the Church of which the Pope was the head;
and Colet has been considered by many as a herald of the Reformation,
although he died a Catholic. Erasmus, by his own showing, was no
infidel, and there are sufficient indications that Colet, even had his
life been prolonged, would never have gone over to the enemy; but both
had given cause for apprehension by opening doors to a profound
dissatisfaction, to novel theories and extravagant systems, which many
friends of Erasmus carried on to a denial of all revealed religion.

In throwing discredit on the schoolmen, Erasmus had prepared the way
for a contempt of Aristotle himself, and when the ex-friar Giordano
Bruno of Nola appeared as a leader of revolt, distinct from Luther and
Calvin, he found in Italy and France a small band of intellectual
revolutionists clamouring for a philosophy that should emancipate them
from the thraldrom of Christianity, and yet save them from the
dishonourable name of atheists.

They wished to be called deists; not because they favoured any
particular form or system of religion, but as a sign that they
acknowledged, in some vague and undefined sense, a Supreme Being, and
were content to follow the light and law of nature, rejecting
revelation, and placing themselves in opposition to Christianity.

Bruno gave them a philosophical system that was neither platonic nor
peripatetic, nor was it mystic, but a confused jumble of all three
systems, and, according to Bayle, "the most monstrous that could be
devised, and directly opposed to all the most evident ideas of our
intelligence." He goes on to say that Bruno, in his war against
Aristotle, invented doctrines a thousand times more obscure than the
most incomprehensible things written by the disciples of Aquinas or

* Bayle, Dictionnaire, Historique et Critique, article "Bruno," vol. i.
Doc. XII.

The new philosopher was accused among other heresies of teaching that
there is no such thing as punishment for sin; that the soul of man is a
product of nature differing in no sense from the soul of a brute, and
that God is not its author. In his deposition at his trial, Bruno
begged the question of the immortality of the soul in these words: "I
have held and do hold that souls are immortal, and that they are
subsisting substances (that is the intellectual souls), and that
speaking in a Catholic manner, they do not pass from one body to
another, but they go either to Paradise, to Purgatory, or to Hell.
Nevertheless, in philosophy I have reasoned that the soul subsisting
without the body, and non-existent in the body, may in the same way
that it is in one body be in another; the which, if it be not true, at
least appears to be the opinion of Pythagoras."*

* Bayle, Dictionnaire, Historique et Critique, article "Bruno," vol. i.
Doc. XII.

His disciples aver that, although Bruno did not enforce the doctrine of
metempsychosis, he held it to be very well worthy of consideration.
There is perhaps a distinction without a difference between the terms
"immortality of the soul," and the "indestructibility of the monad," an
expression dear to Bruno's followers, and frequently to be met with in
his writings; but we are accustomed to associate the latter term with
the worship of nature according to the pantheistic gospel which
recognises a soul in every leaf that stirs; and (this brings us to the
very essence of Bruno's philosophy, in so far as it is possible to
arrive at any definite conclusion, amid the obscure maze of words with
which he surrounded his ideas.

None of his disciples repudiate for him the title of pantheist, but
Mrs. Besant,* an ardent defender of the Nolan philosopher, went a step
further, and declared pantheism itself to be "veiled atheism."
Moreover, she says, "So thoroughly does pantheism strike at the root of
all idea of God, as taught by theists, that we can scarce think that
Bruno was unfairly judged when called atheist by his contemporaries;
the conception of the pantheist cannot be called a God in the commonly
accepted sense of that term."

* In her Giordano Bruno, p. 5. London, 1877.

Having arrived thus far, the panegyrist breaks out into eulogy of "the
grandest hero of free-thought," and claims for Bruno the proud
distinction of materialist.

Others of his admirers, and notably his English biographer, Frith,
declare that the aim of the Nolan philosophy is to overcome the fear of
death, and to fill the soul with noble aspirations, while they maintain
that its author forestalled Darwin and Herbert Spencer in their theory
of evolution. "Nobody is to-day the same as yesterday. All things, even
the smallest, have their share in the universal intelligence, or
universal thinking power. For without a certain degree of sense or
cognition, the drop of water could not assume the spherical shape which
is essential to the preservation of its forces. All things participate
in the universal intelligence, and hence come attraction and repulsion,
love and hate. Nature shows forth each species before it enters into
life. Thus each species is the starting-point for the next." These are
some of the ideas, the conception of which is supposed to shadow forth
Bruno's anticipation of modern thought.

Landseck, his principal German biographer, makes him the link between
antiquity and the celebrated thinkers of the nineteenth century. He
considers the doctrine of the indestructibility of the monad to be that
belief in the immortality of the soul which was professed by the
Druids, the Egyptians, the Brahmins, and the Buddhists, the belief of
Pythagoras and Plato, of Plotinus, of Lessing, and of Goethe, in unison
with the evolution of Darwin and Haeckel.*

* Landseck, Bruno der Martyrer der neuen Weltanschauung, p. 37.

It is not our purpose to consider here all Bruno's articles of faith or
unfaith, but rather to show the general tendency of his teaching, in
order to trace its effect upon his contemporaries in England. His
philosophy, itself a travesty of various systems, was in its turn
caricatured and vulgarised in a manner which would, perhaps, had he
lived to see it, have gone far to persuade him of the risk to popular
order and morality which he incurred, in taking from people their
belief in a personal God, and fear of the consequences of sin.

Some years ago a statue was raised to his honour on the Campo dei Fiori
in Rome, on the alleged spot of his execution, as a vindication of
those principles for which he chose to die. In his own day they were
held to be dangerous to the State, and subversive of public morality,
and he was forced to fly before the opposition they aroused from almost
every place in which he attempted to propagate them. The enmity of the
Calvinists drove him from Geneva; at Toulouse the Huguenots made his
life unbearable; the Oxford of Elizabeth, as intolerant as Rome, proved
no agreeable sojourn, but he left traces of his passage through
England, which Elizabeth, however much she favoured him at the time of
his visit, was afterwards at great pains to efface.

The period of his stay in this country extended over two years, from
1583 to 1585, and although in general he met with little encouragement
from the learned, he succeeded in making some proselytes. In London, he
lodged at the house of the French ambassador, and went frequently to
court, where he maintained his footing by pretending to be smitten by
the mature charms of the queen. Among his English friends were Sir
Philip Sidney, Sir Fulke Greville, Dyer, Spenser, and Temple, and it
has even been asserted that his system to a certain degree influenced
Bacon, and may be traced in the Novum Organon.* This is, however, an
erroneous view, for Bacon's term "form" means no more than law, for the
form of a substance is its very essence, whereas with Bruno, form and
matter are expressions which stand for forces.** According to St.
Thomas Aquinas, who followed Aristotle, form is the DETERMINING
PRINCIPLE in the constitution of bodies.

* Book ii., Aphors. 1, 4, 13, 15, 17.

** Frith, Life of Giordano Bruno, p. 107. London, 1887.

Sidney's biographer,* while jealous lest any taint of error should be
supposed to infect his hero, nevertheless admits unwillingly that
Giordano Bruno, Sir Fulke Greville, and Sir Philip Sidney, were wont to
discuss philosophical and metaphysical subjects "of a nice and delicate
nature with closed doors."

* Zouch, Memoirs of Sir Philip Sidney, p, 337, note.

Dr. Joseph Warton, editor of Pope's works, says that, among many things
related of the life of Sir Philip Sidney, it does not seem to be much
known that he was the intimate friend and patron of the famous atheist,
Giordano Bruno, who was in a secret club with him and Sir Fulke
Greville in 1587. The date is incorrect, but the intimacy is confirmed
by Bruno's dedication to the English poet of two of his works, the one
being entitled Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfaute, a book which is
admittedly blasphemous and obscene, where it is not so obscure as to be
unintelligible, the other the no less notorious Heroici Furori.

Soon after Bruno's departure from England, the result of his teaching
began to appear in many places throughout the country. Elizabeth's
Council became alarmed. State indifferentism to religion was as yet
unknown, and the new sectarianism appealing strongly to the ignorant
and the profane, politicians were not slow to take cognisance that
questions of the highest moment were being introduced into tavern
brawls and gutter oratory. Others besides Catholics began to absent
themselves from the new English Church service and sermons; and
fragments of conversation that savoured of "atheism" were frequently
reported to the local magistrates. An investigation into the causes and
authors of the disturbances was set on foot, and it was felt that a
scapegoat was needed to create a wholesome fear of the long arm of the
law in the minds of would-be atheists among the people.*

* Bruno's latest biographer, Mr. L. McIntyre (Giordano Bruno, London,
1903), entirely ignores the effect of his hero's teaching in England.

Sir Philip Sidney was too much the world's darling, too elegant a
figure in the Elizabethan pageant, too ethereal a poet, to be burdened
with the brunt of so serious an accusation, and he was passed by for
one who, with all his brilliant gifts and attainments, had ever been
the child of misfortune.

Perhaps no one ever excited more jealousy and ill-will among his
contemporaries than Sir Walter Raleigh. His life at court alternated
between magnificent success and the most crushing defeat. He was
successively the friend, the rival, the enemy of Essex, and when that
favourite's star was in the ascendant, his waned, until a change in the
queen's fickle fancy made him again, for a short period, an object of
admiration and envy. A soldier of fortune, a planter of colonies, an
admiral, a courtier, a statesman, a wit, a scholar, a chemist, an
agriculturist, he was eminent as each of these, and his exploits in
Guiana read like some fantastic tale of fictitious adventure. His
History of the World, although but a fragment of what he intended it to
be, is nevertheless a monument of prodigious learning, sobriety, and

Edwards, in his Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, says that in his graver
hours he had strong theological convictions which agreed in many points
with those of the leading Puritans. Such was probably in all sincerity
his frame of mind towards the end of his strange career; but up to the
time of his trial in 1603, he seems to have been active in
disseminating the doctrines which had become popular since the baneful
sojourn of Bruno in this country. Raleigh's biographer admits that his
attempt on his own life in the Tower, subsequent to his trial, is in
favour of the unhappy prisoner's atheism at that time.*

* "Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have declared that his design to kill
himself arose from no feeling of fear, but was formed in order that his
fate might not serve as a triumph to his enemies whose power to put him
to death, despite his innocency, he well knows" (The Count of Beaumont
to Henry IV., 13th August 1603, Copy in Hardwick MS., p. 18).

The first apparently to accuse Raleigh of atheism in a formal manner
was the Jesuit provincial, Robert Parsons, who, in a book published in
1592 and now very rare, mentions "Sir Walter Raleigh's school of
atheism . . . and of the diligence used to get young gentlemen to this
school, wherein both Moses and our Saviour, the Old and New Testament,
are jested at, and the scholars taught among other things to spell God
backwards.* Cayley treats this accusation as a calumny,** and Birch
describes its author as the "virulent but learned and ingenious Father
Parsons";*** but Osborn, in the preface to his Miscellany of Sundry
Essays, Paradoxes, etc., in speaking of Raleigh, says that Queen
Elizabeth "chid him who was ever after branded with the title of an
atheist, though a known asserter of God and Providence."

* An advertisement concerning the Responsio ad Elizabethae edictum,

** Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, i. 140.

*** Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, i. 140.

The year after the appearance of Father Parsons' little book, steps
were taken for proving the truth of the reports which had now become
common, and it is remarkable that none of Sir Walter Raleigh's
biographers seem to have been aware of an elaborate interrogatory that
was drawn up and administered for the purpose of eliciting from sworn
witnesses evidence concerning his religious opinions, and those of his
family, dependents, and friends. The original seems to have
disappeared, but a contemporary copy of this document is to be found
among the Harleian papers in the British Museum, together with the
evidence obtained by means of the interrogatory. As it is extremely
pertinent to the subject in question, and has hitherto escaped notice,
the nine questions administered with a selection of the most
interesting depositions of the witnesses are here given in detail. For
a complete account of the examinations the reader is referred to the

* Harl. 6849, f. 183.


Interrogatory to be ministered unto such as are to be examined in her
Majesty's name, by virtue of her Highness's commission for causes

1. Imprimis. Whom do you know or have heard to be suspected of atheism
or apostasy? And in what manner do you know or have heard the same? And
what other notice can you give thereof?

2. Whom do you know or have heard that have argued or spoken against,
or as doubting the Being of any God, or what or where God is, or to
swear by God, adding if there be a God or such like; and when and where
was the same? And what other notice can you give of any such offender?

3. Whom do you know or have heard that hath spoken against God, His
Providence over the world? or of the world's beginning or ending? or of
predestination, or of Heaven or of Hell, or of the Resurrection, in
doubtful or contentious manner? When and where was the same? and what
other notice can you give of any such offender?

4. Whom do you know or have heard that hath spoken against the truth of
God His holy Word, revealed to us in the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament, or of some places thereof? or have said those Scriptures are
not to be believed and defended by her Majesty for doctrine, and faith,
and salvation, but only of policy or civil government, and when and
where was the same? And what other notice can you give of any such

5. Whom do you know or have heard hath blasphemously cursed God; as in
saying one time (as it rained when he was ahawking), "if there be a
God, a pox on that God which sendeth such weather to mar our sport," or
such like? or do you know or have heard of any that hath broken forth
into any other words of blasphemy, and where was the same?

6. Whom do you know or have heard to have said that when he was dead,
his soul should be hanged on the top of a pole and "run God, run Devil,
and fetch it that would have it," or to like effect, or that hath
otherwise spoken against the being or immortality of the soul of men,
or that a man's soul should die and become like the soul of a beast, or
such like, and when and where was the same?

7. Whom do you know or have heard hath counselled, procured, aided,
comforted, or conferred with any such offender? When, where, and in
what manner was the same?

8. Do you know or have heard of any of those offenders to affirm all
such that were not of their opinions touching the premises, to be
schismatics and in error. And whom do you know hath so affirmed? And
when and where was it spoken?

9. What can you say more of any of the premises, or whom have you known
or heard can give any notice of the same? And speak all your knowledge

Hereupon follows the report of the Royal Commissioners on the
depositions of witnesses examined by them with the above formulary:--

"Examinations taken at Cearne, co. Dorset, 21 March, 36 Eliz., before
us, Tho. Lord Howard, Viscount Howard of Bindon, Sir Ralph Horsey,
knt., Francis James, Chancellor, John Williams, and Francis Hawley,
esquires, by virtue of a commission to us and others, directed from
some of her Majesty's High Commissioners in causes ecclesiastical."*

* On the last page is written: "These examinations are the trew copies
taken at Cearne, 21 March 1593."

From the two first witnesses examined, John Hancock, parson of South
Parrot, and Richard Bagage, churchwarden of Lo, no information was
obtained. The third witness, John Jesopp, minister, of Gillingham,
"said nothing of his own knowledge, but had heard that one Herryott, of
Sir Walter Rawleigh his house, had brought the Godhead in question, and
the whole course of the Scriptures, but of whom he so heard it he did
not remember. (Thomas Harriot was an acknowledged deist, and Raleigh
had taken him into his house to study mathematics with him.] He heard
his brother, Dr. Jesopp, say that Mr. Carew Rawleigh, reasoning with
Mr. Parry and Mr. Archdeacon about the Godhead [as he conjectureth],
his said brother, thinking that Mr. Archdeacon and Mr. Parry would take
offence at that argument, desired the Lord Bishop of Worcester [then
being there] that he might argue with the said Mr. Rawleigh, for, said
he, your Lordship shall hear him argue as like a pagan as ever you
heard any. But the matter was so shut up, as this examinate heard his
brother say, and proceeded not to argument, and further he saith that
he hath heard one Allen, now of Portland Castle, suspected of atheism,
but of whom he heard it he remembereth not."

William Hussey, churchwarden of Gillingham, corroborated the report of
Sir Walter Raleigh's suspected atheism.

John Davis, curate of Motcomb, "to the first interrogatory saith that
he knoweth of no such person directly, but he hath heard Sir Walter
Raleigh, by general report, hath had some reasoning against the deity
of God and His omnipotence; and hath heard the like of Mr. Carew
Raleigh, but not so directly. Also he saith he heard the like report of
one, Mr. Thinn, of Wiltshire, which he heard from a barber in
Warminster, dwelling in a by-lane there, who told this deponent he did
marvel that a gentleman of his condition should deliver words to so
mean a man as himself, tending to this sense, as though God's
Providence did not reach over all creatures, or to like effect.

"To the second, third, fourth, and fifth interrogatory he saith he hath
heard that Sir Walter Raleigh hath argued with one Mr. Ironside, at Sir
George Trenchard's, touching the being or immortality of the soul, or
such like; but the certainty thereof he cannot say further, saving
asking the same of Mr. Ironside upon the report aforesaid; he hath
answered that the matter was not as the voice of the country reported
thereof, or to the like effect."

The next witness, Nicholas Jefferies, declared that he did not know
personally any atheist in the county of Dorset, but testified to the
report of many "that Sir Walter Raleigh and his retinue are generally
suspected of atheism," and he quoted the above-mentioned Allen,
Lieutenant of Portland Castle, as "a great blasphemer and light
esteemer of religion, and thereabout cometh not to divine service or
sermons." He also mentioned the circumstance that "Herryott, attendant
on Sir Walter Raleigh, hath been convened before the Lords of the
Council for denying the resurrection of the body."

This witness also gave a circumstantial account of the conversation
between Sir Walter, his brother Carew, and Mr. Ironside at Sir George
Trenchard's table, but as Mr. Ironside was himself subsequently sworn
and examined, it is better to quote his own words. It is significant of
the credibility of these witnesses, that the evidence of Jefferies,
although he merely reported what Mr. Ironside had told him of the
conversation, and could not remember all that had been said, tallies
completely with the evidence of the other witnesses.

Ironside's examination comes last in the manuscript, but it is more
convenient to insert it here:--

"Ralph Ironside, minister of Winterbor, sworn and examined. To the
first interrogatory, he saith that for his own knowledge he will
answer, but for that he hath heard and knoweth no author to justify the
same, he is persuaded by counsel that he is in danger to be punished,
and therefore refuseth to say anything upon uncertain report, unless he
could bring in his author in particular.

"The relation of the disputation had at Sir George Trenchard's table,
between Sir Walter Raleigh, Mr. Carew Raleigh, and Mr. Ironside,
hereafter followeth, written by himself and delivered to the
commissioners upon his oath.

"Wednesday, sevennight before the Assizes, summer last, I came to Sir
George Trenchard's in the afternoon, accompanied with a fellow-minister
and friend of mine, Mr. Whittle, vicar of Forthington. There were then
with the knight Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Ralph Horsey, Mr. Carew
Raleigh, Mr. John Fitzjames, etc. Towards the end of supper, some loose
speeches of Mr. Carew Raleigh's being gently reproved by Sir Ralph
Horsey with the words Colloquia prava corrumpunt bonos mores, Mr.
Raleigh demanded of me what danger he might incur by such speeches,
whereunto I answered--'The wages of sin is death'--and he, making light
of death as being common to all, sinner and righteous, I inferred
further that as that life which is the gift of God through Jesus Christ
is life eternal, so that death which is properly the wages of sin is
death eternal both of the body and of the soul also.

"'Soul,' quoth Mr. Carew Raleigh, 'what is that?' Better it were, said
I, that we would be careful how the soul might be saved, than to be
curious in finding out the essence.

"And so, keeping silence, Sir Walter requested me that for their
instruction, I would answer to the question that before by his brother
was proposed unto me. 'I have been,' saith he, 'a scholar sometime in
Oxford; I gave answer under a bachelor of arts, and had talk with
divers; yet hitherunto in this point (to wit, what the reasonable soul
of man is) have I not by any been resolved. They tell me it is primus
motor, the first mover in a man, etc.' Unto this, after I had replied
that howsoever the soul were fons et principium, the fountain,
beginning and cause of motion in us, yet the first mover was the brain
or heart, I was again urged to show my opinion, and hearing Sir Walter
Raleigh tell of his dispute and scholarship some time in Oxford, I
cited the general definition of Anima out of Aristotle (De Anima, cap.
2), and thence a subjecto proprio, deduced the special definition of
the soul reasonable, that it was Actus Primus corporis organici agentis
humanam vitam.

"It was misliked of Sir Walter as obscure and intricate. And I withal,
that though it could not unto him, as being learned, yet it might seem
obscure to the most present, and therefore had rather say with divines
plainly, that the reasonable soul is a spiritual and immortal
substance, breathed into man by God, whereby he lives and moves and
understandeth, and so is distinguished from other creatures. 'Yea, but
what is that spiritual and immortal substance breathed into man?' saith
Sir Walter. The soul, quoth I. 'Nay then,' said he, 'you answer not
like a scholar.' Hereupon I endeavoured to prove that it was
scholarlike, nay, in such disputes as this, usual and necessary to run
in circulum, partly because definitio rei was primum et immediatum
principium, and seeing primo non est Prius, a man must of necessity
come backward, and partly because definitio and definitum be naturae
reciprocae, the one convertible, answering unto the question made upon
the other. As for example, if one asked: 'What is a man?' you will say:
'He is a creature reasonable and mortal'; but if you ask again: 'What
is a creature reasonable and mortal?' you must of force come backward
and answer: 'It is a man,' et sic de caeteris. 'But we have principles
in our mathematics,' saith Sir Walter, 'as totum est majus qua libet
sua parte; and ask me of it, and I can show it in the table, in the
window, in a man, the whole being bigger than the parts of it.'

"I replied first that he showed quod est, not quid est, that it was,
but not what it was; secondly, that such demonstration was against the
nature of a man's soul, being a spirit; for as a thing, being sensible,
was subject to the sense, so man's soul, being insensible, was to be
discerned by the spirit. Nothing more certain in the world than that
there is a God, yet being a spirit, to subject him to the sense
otherwise than perfectum. It is impossible.

"'Marry!' quoth Sir Walter, 'these two be like, for neither could I
learn hitherto what God is.'

"Mr. Fitzjames answering that Aristotle should say he was Ens Entium, I
answered, that whether Aristotle, dying in a fever, should cry: Ens
Entium, miserere mei; or drowning himself in Euripum, should say: Quia
ego to non capio, to me capies, it was uncertain, but that God was Ens
Entium, a thing of things, having being of Himself, and giving being to
all creatures, it was most certain, and confirmed by God Himself unto

"'Yea, but what is this Ens Entium?' saith Sir Walter.

"I answered it is God, and being disliked as before, Sir Walter wished
that grace might be said, 'for that,' quoth he, is better than his
disputation.' Thus supper ended and grace said, I departed to
Dorchester with my fellowminister, and this is to my remembrance the
substance of that speech with Sir Walter Raleigh I had at Wolverton."

"Ralph Ironside."

Turning to the remaining depositions, we find that Francis Scarlett,
minister of Sherborne, sworn and examined, relates how that "a little
before Christmas, one Robert Hyde, of Sherborne, shoemaker, seeing this
deponent passing by his door, called him, and desired to have some
conversation with him, and after some speeches, he entered into these
speeches. "Mr. Scarlett, you have preached unto us that there is a God,
a Heaven, a Hell, and a resurrection after this life, and that we shall
give an account of our works, and that the soul is immortal; but now,
saith he, here is a company about this town that say that Hell is no
other but poverty and penury in this world, and Heaven is no other but
to be rich and enjoy pleasures; and that we die like beasts, and when
we are gone there is no more remembrance of us, and such like.

But this examinate did neither then demand who they were, neither did
he deliver any particulars unto him, and further saith that it is
generally reported in Sherborne, that the said Allen and his men are
atheists. And also he saith there is one Lodge, a shoemaker in
Sherborne, accounted an atheist."

John Deuch, churchwarden of Weeke Regis: "To the sixth interrogatory
this deponent saith that he hath heard one Allen, Lieutenant of
Portland Castle, when he was like to die, being persuaded to make
himself ready to God for his soul, to answer that he would carry his
soul to the top of an hill, and run God, run devil, fetch it that will
have it, or to that effect. But, who told this deponent of it, he
remembereth not. To the rest of the interrogatory he can say nothing."

What punishment followed on these examinations does not appear. A fine
was probably imposed on all those convicted of speaking and propagating
atheism; but in spite of the investigations and the discredit thrown on
the sect, it did not by any means die out.

Essex was accounted at that time the only nobleman who cared for
religion. His manner was to censure all men as "cold professors,
neuters, or atheists." In the declaration of W. Masham before the Lord
Treasurer Buckhurst, he said that Essex told the people when he incited
them to rise, that he acted "for the good of the Queen, city, and crown
which certain atheists, meaning Raleigh, had betrayed to the Infante of
Spain." At his execution he thanked God that he was never atheist nor

* Dom. Eliz., February 1601, Vol. 278; R.O.

On the accession of James I. the Catholics presented a petition to
parliament, begging to be allowed to practise their religion, at least
in secret, and they went on to say that there were "four classes of
religionists in England Protestant who domineered all the late reign:
Puritans who have crept up amongst them, atheists, who live on brawls;
and Catholics."*

* Dom. James I., vol. i., 1603; R.O.

The stigma of atheist clung to Raleigh long after he had ceased to
deserve it. In his trial for high treason in 1603, it considerably
damaged his cause, and gave another handle to his many enemies. The
king's attorney, in addressing him, exclaimed: "O damnable atheist!"
and the Lord Chief Justice Coke, in his address to the prisoner after
his condemnation, harangued him in these words:--

"Your case being thus, let it not grieve you if I speak a little out of
zeal and love to your good. You have been taxed by the world with the
defence of the most heathenish and blasphemous opinions, which I list
not to repeat, because Christian ears cannot endure to hear them, nor
the authors and maintainers of them be suffered to live in any
Christian commonwealth. You know what men said of Harpool.* You shall
do well before you go out of the world to give satisfaction therein,
and not to die with these imputations upon you. Let not any devil
persuade you (the Harleian version adds, 'Hariot or any such doctor')
to think there is no eternity in Heaven; for if you think thus, you
shall find eternity in hell-fire."**

* A mistake probably for Harriot. The name is variously spelt. Edwards,
in his Life of Raleigh, corrects it and says, "Either he applied to the
illustrious mathematician Thomas Harriot, the epithet 'devil,' or he
said that Harriot's opinions were devilish" (p. 436). The judge's words
are variously reported, but their purport is always the same. Stebbing,
in his monograph Sir Walter Raleigh, says that Harriot was accused by
zealots of atheism, because his cosmogony was not orthodox, and that
his ill-repute for free-thinking was reflected on Raleigh, who hired
him to teach mathematics (probably in what Father Parsons termed his
school of atheism) and engaged him in his colonising projects. Harriot
was the friend whose society he chiefly craved when he was in the
Tower, and is doubtless the "Herryott" of the examinations.

** Dom. James I., vol. 4, f. 83.

Between Raleigh's sentence and its execution fifteen years were allowed
to elapse, during which time the prisoner in the Tower occupied himself
with the compilation of his famous History of the World, and with
chemical experiments. And as if all should be exceptional in the life
of this remarkable man, he was allowed an interval during this period
in which to flash once more upon the world in another expedition to
Guiana, in search of the gold mine which he had declared to be there.
After the ill-fated voyage he returned into durance vile, and when at
last the time came for the axe which had so long hung over him, to
fall, his words showed that at least in adversity he had learned, like
the great Arian chieftain Clovis, to burn what he had adored, and to
adore what he had burned. His device, Ubi dolor ibi amor is significant
of the change that suffering had wrought in him. His last words on the
scaffold were these: "I have many sins for which to beseech God's
pardon. Of a long time my course was a course of vanity. I have been a
seafearing man, a soldier, and a courtier, and in the temptations of
the least of these there is enough to overthrow a good mind and a good
man." Presently he added, "I die in the faith professed by the Church
of England. I hope to be saved and to have my sins washed away by the
Precious Blood and merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Then, says his biographer,* he asked to be shown the axe, and kissing
the blade, he said: "This gives me no fear. It is a sharp and fair
medicine to cure me of all my disease."

* Edwards, Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, i. 704.

After Raleigh's death, the Archbishop of Canterbury, writing to Sir
Thomas Roe, ambassador of Great Britain with the Great Mogul, 10th
February 1618, said: "Sir Walter Raleigh amongst us did question God's
being and omnipotence, which that just judge made good upon himself in
overtumbling his estate, but last of all in bringing him to an
execution by law, where he died a religious and Christian
death, God testifying his power in this, that he raised up of a stone a
child unto Abraham."

His doom had been from the first a foregone conclusion. James having
been fatally prejudiced against him before that royal pedant ever set
foot in England, to which fact the secret correspondence of Sir Robert
Cecil with James VI. of Scotland amply testifies.

But curiously enough Sir Walter's brother Carew, although more deeply
dyed in atheism, never ceased to be a Persona grata with the
government. He was knighted in 1601, on the occasion of the visit to
England of the French Marshal de Biron.* He held several honourable and
lucrative public offices under James I., and was Lieutenant of the Isle
of Portland in 1608. During his brother's long imprisonment in the
Tower, Sir Carew Raleigh was living in prosperity at Dounton.**

* Stebbing, Sir Walter Raleigh, p. 157.

* Ibid, p. 248.

Atheists did not as a sect entirely disappear from England after the
execution of their scapegoat, but they do not seem to have been further
molested for their opinions. The persecution of the Catholics was at
its height, and at no time did professed atheism provoke the fierce
hatred that Catholicism inspired. For obvious reasons many Catholics at
this period were but indifferently instructed in their religion. Some
to escape attendance at the English Church service unlawfully feigned
infidelity. One man having written a seditious book, called Balaam's
Ass, against the king, for which he was condemned to death, was accused
at his execution of having professed atheism. He denied being an
infidel, expressed contrition for his "saucy meddling in the king's
matter," and declared himself a Catholic.*

* Dom. James I., vol. 109, May 1619; R.0.

The Bishop of Exeter reported that "John Lugge, organist, retains none
of his popish tendencies, though his religion is as the market goes,"
and he added that there were very few papists in his diocese, but an
infinity of sectaries and atheists.

Many of these latter may have been secret Catholics, either extremely
ignorant, or too timid to suffer for their faith. A book published in
1602, entitled The Unmasking of the Politique Atheist is a violent
attack upon Catholicism. Another, called A Perfect Cure for Atheists,
Papists, Arminians, etc., published in 1649, is of a like nature. It is
a far cry from Aristotle to atheism, but no sooner did the votaries of
the new learning discard a system of philosophy which, however
exaggerated by pedants, was still a guarantee of exact reasoning, than
their disciples and followers fell a prey to the vagaries of their own
bewildered intellects.

It was the reductio ad absurdum of the reformed religion, when
weak-kneed Catholics sheltered themselves from its pains and penalties
under the fairly secure roof-tree of atheism.


"A fine rare show arrives from Rome, and it is all a present for the
Queen, and the news of it reaches London, and the King is impatient to
see it; and the Queen is lying in, and Mr. Panzani brings all the fine
things to the Queen's bedchamber; and all the ladies of quality crowd
in to see them; and the King with all his nobles hastens to the Queen's
palace; and the boxes are opened, and the pieces are viewed one by one;
and Mr. Conn comes in (though still without a red hat) to satisfy the
Queen's curiosity, and Mr. Conn brings more fine pictures . . . and
sees the King, and the Queen of France; and Mr. Panzani takes leave of
the Queen of England (for how could he omit it?) and the Queen begs a
red hat for Mr. Conn, and Mr. Conn must first do some signal service to
the Church; and the King talks about Mr. Conn's red hat; and the Queen
gives Mr. Panzani a fine diamond ring; and Mr. Panzani takes leave of
all the ministers; and he pays his respects to all the ladies of the
court; and the ladies send their compliments to the Pope, and they all
beg Mr. Panzani's blessing. It was the end of the year 1636."

This Sevigne-like description was written in 179-, by the Rev. Charles
Plowden, in his "Remarks on a Book entitled Memoirs of Gregorio
Panzani." Panzani, a priest of the Roman Oratory, had been about two
years in England, with a secret mission to report to Cardinal
Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII., on the condition of the
Catholics, the condition of the court, and on the prospects regarding
an ultimate reunion of the Anglican Church with Rome. He was to pave
the way for an openly accredited envoy to the queen, was to conciliate
the ministers, disarm the Puritans, and to do what he could for the
Catholics, who were still smarting severely under the penal laws.
Executions, it is true, had become less frequent, but the royal coffers
were still replenished with the fines imposed on Catholics for their
pertinacity in assembling to hear Mass by stealth. If a priest were
caught, he was thrown into prison, tried, and punished with death. In
dealing with the Catholic laity, Charles I. was never in favour of
enforcing the extreme rigour of the law, but he was so often in want of
money that he found it useful to be very severe in the matter of fines.

Panzani's mission to England falls about midway between the domestic
storms which had troubled the early days of the royal marriage, and the
Revolution which finally cost the most shifty of monarchs his throne
and his life. Henrietta Maria had ceased to resent the expulsion of her
French favourites, had consented at last to learn English and to
tolerate the English people. She had thrown herself heart and soul into
her husband's interests, and since the death of Buckingham was in
possession of his entire confidence. If, later on, any cloud arose over
their mutual relationship, it was the king's half expressed suspicion
that she thought little of his powers of governing, and that however
much she loved her husband, she did not admire his policy or trust his
royal word as implicitly as he could wish. This is evident from one or
two affectionate but querulous letters which he wrote to her when he
was in the hands of the Parliamentarians.

Of the court, as well as of the private life of the king and queen,
Panzani could report but favourably. The Catholics were to-be helped by
the queen's influence, and as to reunion with Rome, he thought he had
some reason to be sanguine. A letter from Panzani to Cardinal
Barberini, of which the following is a translation, is to be found
among the Stevenson and Bliss transcripts of Vatican documents in the
Record Office. It is dated June 10/25, 1635:

"According to your Eminence's instructions, I have had a long talk with
Father Philip (an English Capuchin and the Queen's confessor),
regarding the reconciliation of this kingdom with Rome, and the means
of bringing it about. He told me that there were unmistakeable signs of
a desire for such a reconciliation, not only in the King, but among the
clergy and laity as well, and the question is mooted almost daily. It
is well, however, to be slow in drawing inferences, because those who
are most in favour of a reunion do not venture to manifest their
desire, but rather dissemble it under the appearance of a contrary way
of thinking, on account of the severity of the law against Catholics.
This same fear possesses the King also, he being of a timid nature;
hence the great misfortune of not being able to count on his prudence
and judgment, seeing how changeable and uncertain he and his advisers
are. Moreover, if by ill-luck the present rumours of war oblige the
King to arm himself, we may expect some persecution of the Catholics,
for money being required, before he can go to war, it will be necessary
to assemble Parliament, and the Lower House, composed mainly of
Puritans, will grant no supplies unless the King makes some show of
cruelty towards Catholics. For the same reason all the bishops and
ministers of moderate views, and favourable to a reunion, begin to be
harsh and intolerant when the time approaches for the meeting of
Parliament, and do nothing but inveigh against the Pope in their
sermons, solely from fear of losing their lives or their places. Father
Philip says that there is no need to be alarmed at the difficulties we
may encounter; but that we should be determined to overcome them, and
that after God, the envoys may greatly facilitate the business, if they
study with all their might how to make themselves agreeable to the King
and the State.

"He who comes here should be all things to all men, in order to win
all, and should take everything he can in good part, and find excuses
for the King and his officers, if sometimes they do not grant the
Catholics all the favours they ask. He should throw the blame on the
poursuivants and the informers, and should adroitly petition for
redress. He should keep Windebank (Secretary of State), considered by
the Puritans to be 'Popishly affected,' and others, well informed of
all that passes in Rome, and should manage to keep up communication
with the papal legates, in order to have news, and at the same time to
make himself agreeable to them, for they like above all things to
receive marks of confidence. He must be careful, however, in
publishing, the facts he thus learns, to give no offence to any of the
crowned heads, nor bring our religion into bad odour.

"The envoy should distribute some gifts, and in fine, use every means
to make himself beloved. He ought to be about thirty-five years old,
and to have attained a certain solidity rarely met with before that
age. He should also be noble and rich, and of a good presence,
furnished with all qualities proper to a gentleman; and, above all, his
life should be exemplary, without affectation or hypocrisy . . . . On
the arrival of such an agent in London, speaking French well, which
language is understood by the whole court, he should first of all
contrive to please the Queen, who, being young, delights in perfumes
and fine clothes, and likes people to be lively and merry. His next
object should be to ingratiate himself with the court ladies and
others, as much is done here by the influence of women; but he should
on no account allow familiarity with the Queen and other ladies to
degenerate into lightness or worse, for that would involve the ruin of
the whole undertaking. It is customary to say here, 'if a man's life is
good, his religion must be a good one'; but the English are shocked at
every little thing. The King is extremely modest, and the Queen such,
that Father Philip told me her conscience has never lost its baptismal

"Having gained the good opinion of the Queen and her ladies, the agent
may aspire to greater things. The court is very accessible to bribes;
it is therefore quite possible to purchase its goodwill; and to this
end it will be well to send the Queen jewels of some value, ostensibly
as presents to her, but in reality that she may distribute them among
those ministers from whom the greatest help may be expected. The envoy
should not make very valuable presents himself, but only through the
Queen, lest he be suspected of ulterior views, or cause danger to the
recipients of them.

"When the ministers have been won over, the Queen, instructed by the
envoy how great a reputation she may acquire by the conversion of this
kingdom, must try to persuade the King to abolish poursuivants and
informers. This he may not be able to effect immediately, being
powerless to repeal parliamentary laws, but he may be able to procure
that the poursuivants and informers shall do nothing without an express
and written order from the Privy Council, and only then in a manner
conformable to the instructions of the same. In this way, Catholics
would have nothing more to fear, because as soon as the Council
resolved to proceed against any individual, the Queen would bring her
influence to bear on any one of its members already on her side, and
the threatened Catholic would be helped, either to fly or to elude the

"This point gained, an almost tacit liberty of conscience would follow;
the Catholics would take courage, and the moderate Protestants would no
longer fear to declare themselves openly their protectors. Then would
be the time to treat with the King, through the Archbishop of
Canterbury, for the concession of religious liberty, as far as
possible. This once conceded, Father Philip believes that in less than
three years the whole country would become Catholic. Parliament might
then safely be assembled to repeal the laws against Catholics, and
reunion with the Holy See would soon follow.

"But how to obtain liberty of conscience it is not easy to say at
present; neither does it yet concern us, not having arrived so far.

"This is all that Father Philip said, and whatever else he may tell me
I will write to your Eminence, having nothing further to add now,
except that the envoy should be guided in all things by Father Philip,
who has a great reputation for prudence, and is respected by the whole

Nevertheless, Father Philip's ingenious structure soon proved to be
only a house of cards. He understood the Queen, and was not far wrong
in his estimation of Charles, but he was mistaken in thinking the
king's party to be in earnest about Catholicism, and was as wide of the
mark in grasping the archbishop's bent as any Puritan in the realm.

Laud was in some respects wiser than Buckingham had been; he was
content to govern through the King, throwing what power he could into
the hands of the prelates. All the great offices of State were filled
by churchmen. Far from contemplating any submission to the Pope, he
aimed at being a species of independent Pope on his own account. Both
he and Juxon, the Lord Treasurer, refused to see Panzani.

Laud's greatest passion was ambition, if anything in a nature so
contracted could be said to assume the proportions of a fullblown
passion. He had a marvellous capacity for dealing with small things,
and all that came under his ken he studied to the minutest detail. He
was a believer in dreams, and owned to being greatly troubled by them.
"Thursday, I came to London," he once wrote in his diary; "the night
following, I dreamed that I was reconciled to the Church of Rome. This
troubled me much, and I wondered exceedingly how it should happen. Now
was I aggrieved with myself (not only by reason of the errors of that
Church, but also) upon account of the scandal which from that my fall
would be cast upon many eminent and learned men in the Church of
England. Going with this resolution, a certain priest met me, and would
have stopped me. But moved with indignation I went on my way. And while
I wearied myself with these troublesome thoughts I awoke. Herein I felt
such strong impressions that I could scarce believe it to be a dream."

To a becoming gravity the archbishop failed to unite a saving sense of
humour. His temper was hasty, but also vindictive, and he never forgot
an injury, to which fact the notorious Puritan, William Prynne, was
well able to testify. Laud first incurred the enmity of this man and
his friends by his attempts to introduce some measure of ceremonial
into the churches under him. When he began his reform, the places of
public worship were nothing but buildings where discourses and
diatribes against Popery were to be heard in luxuriously upholstered
seats. "There wants nothing but beds to hear the Word of God on," said
Bishop Corbet. The notion of a priesthood had died out of people's
minds. They looked upon their clergy as preachers merely--the cure of
souls was an obsolete term.

Archbishop Grindal had caused the altars to be destroyed, and the
places where they had stood whitewashed, so that no trace of them might
remain.* Laud had the communion tables removed from the middle of the
churches into the place formerly occupied by the altar, railed in, and
distinguished by altar-like adornments. Finally, it became customary to
designate them by the ancient name of altar, while the officiating
minister resumed the name of priest. The people, now become thoroughly
Protestantised, murmured, and thought they saw indications of a return
to Rome.** Some protested that all this superabundant care for
externals was eating the life out of Protestantism; the bugbear of
others was the appeal, now becoming customary, to the Fathers of the
Church, rather than to the Protestant divines of the continent.*** St.
Augustine was suspect, Calvin they knew to be orthodox.

* Articles to be inquired of in the Archdiocese of York--"Whether in
your churches and chapels, all altars be utterly taken down and clean
removed even unto the foundation; and the place where they stood paved,
and the wall whereunto they joined whited over, and made uniform with
the rest, so as no breach or rupture appear." In case any altars
remained, the churchwardens were "to remove them and certify."

** Calendar of State Papers, 1635-36; Dom. Charles I.

*** Gardiner, Fall of the Monarchy of Charles.

The sequel proved that a very real source of danger lay among Laud's
own familiar friends. The archbishop could not restrain the lengths to
which they would go, in following up the track which he himself had
laid open. Burning questions were discussed in the pulpits. Thus,
Panzani, in a letter to Cardinal Barberini, dated March 13/23, 1636,

"Last Sunday, one of the bishops preached before the King, on the
necessity of Sacramental Confession, saying that the Church has never
been in a good state wherever it was not practised."

Panzani, continuing, went on to say that reconciliation with Rome was
an event anticipated by all, and that many people thought the clergy
refrained from marrying, in order that they might still hold their
parishes in case of reunion. "This," he adds, "is what I hear, but
whether it is true or not, God only knows, who sees the hearts of men."

In the same letter he mentioned another sermon, which had lately been
preached before the king and the court "touching confession, and the
preacher said that its origin could be traced to the Gospel better than
that of any other doctrine; wherefore he exhorted his hearers to
practise it. All the court are now talking of this sermon," he
continued, "and the King himself at supper afterwards spoke highly of
the practise of confession, saying that one ought to mention all the
circumstances of a sin. Someone who was present said he could not think
it right to take away another person's reputation by naming him, if he
were concerned in a sin. The King at once replied that it was not
permitted to name accomplices, and turning to Father Philip, who is
always present at supper, he asked him if he were not right. Father
Philip answered that he was. The Earl of Carlisle, a Puritan, who was
also there, assured Father Philip that he agreed with us in everything,
except that the Pope had power to depose kings. 'We do not believe that
either,' replied Father Philip, 'we only say that the Pope may do it in
extraordinary cases, such as heresy for instance.' The Earl of Carlisle

'You are not all of the same opinion, because I know that some among
you maintain that he has.'

"Here the subject dropped. A lady conversing with Father Philip on the
same occasion said that if confession were to be practised, Protestant
ministers ought to be like ours. 'Why?' asked Father Philip. 'Because,'
answered the lady, 'if they have wives, no one will confess to them for
fear of their repeating to their wives, straight off, the sins confided
to them.'"

In a former letter, Panzani had written: "A preacher said lately that
the Pope was the true Vicar of Christ, successor of St. Peter, and
Chief Patriarch, and he proceeded to enlarge on Papal jurisdiction,
when a tumult arose among the congregation, and afterwards the preacher
was censured."

And again, "On the first day, and also the first Sunday in Lent, the
Bishop of London, preaching before the King, took for his subject the
preparation for our Lord's Passion, and said that it was not only
needful to mortify the spirit, but also the flesh, teaching which is
opposed to the doctrine of the greater number of Protestants."

Thus, the Puritans had some ground for murmuring, and it was not
altogether unnatural, that they and the Catholics also should imagine
that the Church of England had set its face Romewards. The above were
not doctrines such as Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, and Hooper would have
owned, nor would they recognise the churches in which such language was

Greater still would have been the wrath of such men as Prynne,
Bastwick, and Burton, had they known that the Bishop of Gloucester had
applied to Panzani for permission to have a Catholic priest in his
house secretly, to say Mass daily for him; and that he was strongly in
favour of re-union.

William Prynne, barrister-at-law by profession, by reputation a
vituperative pamphleteer, was always ready to denounce, cavil, and
rail. The list of his philippics fills nearly a whole folio volume of
the British Museum Library Catalogue. He had what Wharton, more
graphically than politely, describes as "the eternal itch of
scribbling." The subject of Sabbath-breaking to which he attributed the
fresh outbreak of the plague in 1636, was to him as a red rag to a
bull. Encouraged by his example a whole mass of literature appeared on
the observance of the Sabbath--not the modern Sunday which was decried
as an invention of Rome, but of the old Jewish Sabbath, considered by
the Puritans to have a far better claim to be observed.

Prynne had no perception of the relative value of things.
Sabbath-breaking, predestination, and the supreme wickedness of curls,
or love-locks as they were then called, were of equal importance in his
mind. Laud's innovations put him into a state of frenzy, and he
declared that the Church of England was now "as full of ceremonies" as
a dog was "full of fleas."

Giles Widdowes, entering the lists for the archbishop, argued that "men
should take off their hats on entering a church, because it was the
place of God's presence, the chiefest place of his honour amongst us,
where His ambassadors deliver His embassage, where His priests
sacrifice their own and the militant Church's prayers, and the Lord's
Supper, to reconcile us to God, offended with our daily sins." "Ergo,"
answered Prynne, "the priests of the Church of England are sacrificing
priests, and the Lord's Supper a propitiatory sacrifice, sacrificed by
those priests for men's daily sins!"

Widdowes also wrote in defence of the practice of bowing at the name of
Jesus; and considering doubtless that men should be fought with their
own weapons, took a leaf out of Prynne's book and belaboured soundly
"the lawless, kneeless, schismatical Puritan."

Prynne retorted promptly, entitling his reply, "Lame Giles his
Haltings." Soon afterwards, being cited to appear and defend himself
for having used intemperate language in a book against plays and
players, he was sentenced to have his ears shorn off. As many copies of
his book as were forthcoming were burned by his side as he sat in the
pillory. He was degraded and prevented from pleading as a lawyer. He
only wrote the more. The titles of his book are ingenious, and would
ensure their sale at any time. As for their contents, odious as was the
language he used, Prynne always hit the nail he intended, and was very
good at a blow. In Rome's Masterpiece, he declared that the archbishop
was a "middle-man, between an absolute Papist and a real Protestant,
who will far sooner hug a Popish priest in his bosom than take a
Puritan by the little finger."

Prynne's fellow pamphleteers, Bastwick and Burton, were not far behind
him in the violence of their invectives, but the lawyer must be
admitted to bear the palm for sharp sayings.

In John Bastwick's Litany, instead of "from plague, pestilence, and
famine," we have "from bishops, priests, and deacons, good Lord,
deliver us."

In 1637, Laud summoned the three men before the Star Chamber, to answer
to a charge of libel. Bastwick's crime was for writing against the
"Pope of Canterbury." They were all three found guilty, fined 5000
pounds each, condemned to lose their ears, and to be imprisoned for
life, an astoundingly heavy sentence. But in addition Prynne was to be
branded on both cheeks with the letters S L for slanderous libeller.
Chief Justice Finch ordered the scars left by his former punishment to
be laid bare. "I had thought," said he, "that Mr. Prynne had no ears
but methinks he hath ears." Three years before, the executioner had
only clipped off the outer rims; but now Prynne was to suffer the full
rigour of the sentence. A contemporary thus describes the process:--

"Having burnt one cheek with a letter the wrong way, the hangman burnt
that again, and presently a surgeon clapped on a plaster to take out
the fire. The hangman hewed off Prynne's ears very scurvily, which put
him to much pain, and after, he stood long in the pillory before his
head could be got out, but that was a chance." *

* Documents relating to Prynne, Camden Papers.

He seems to have borne this martyrdom with great coolness, for on his
way back to prison, he composed a Latin distich on the letters S L,
which he interpreted "Stigmata Laudis"--the scars of Laud.

Although the sentence had been imprisonment for life, Prynne and Burton
entered London in triumph three years later; and if revenge is sweet,
Prynne was yet to swim in a sea of sweetness. When by a strange irony
of fate he was hired to search the imprisoned archbishop for papers, he
carried off Laud's diary.

If Panzani could have seen this strange record of the archbishop's
dreams, desires, and impressions, he would doubtless have ceased to
look upon Laud as an important factor in his scheme of the corporate
re-union of the nation with Rome.

Under date 14th August 1634, Prynne read and gloated over those
remarkable entries:

"That very morning at Greenwich there came one to me seriously, and
that avowed ability to perform it, and offered me to be a cardinal,"
and two days later--

"I had a serious offer made me to be a cardinal. I was then from court,
but so soon as I came hither (21st August) I acquainted His Majesty
with it. But my answer again was that somewhat dwelt within me, which
would not suffer that, till Rome were other than it is."

No doubt, in declining the cardinalate, if indeed the offer were not a
figment of his own brain, Laud would have been diplomatic enough not to
allow his reasons to transpire, and probably the Pope never knew them.
The importance of the statement lies for posterity entirely in the
anti-Roman tendency which he expressed in his diary. For the archbishop
himself, to have committed the matter to writing, whether it were true
or imaginary, proved fatal, the entries serving his enemies as the text
of one of the chief indictments against him, when he was brought to
trial. Nothing he could plead made any impression on the minds of his
accusers. His refusal of the purple ought to have vindicated him; but
they maintained that for the offer to have been made to him at all, he
must have been friends with the Pope. Moreover, had he not objected to
the term "Idol of Rome"? and had he not expressed doubt if not denial
of the Pope's being anti-Christ? These things were more than enough for
fanatics whose piety consisted chiefly in denunciations and impolite
epithets. It was as clear as daylight to their minds that the
archbishop had "a damnable plot to reconcile the Church of England with
the Church of Rome."

Presumably, Mr. Prynne's ears were for something in the overwhelming
potency of the argument. But another and scarcely less important
article of the indictment related to some pictures of the Life and
Passion of our Lord, which Laud had once had bound up in Bibles. He had
been so greatly pleased with the result that he ordered them to be
called the Archbishop of Canterbury's Bibles. The Puritans thought they
saw in this strong proof of his "popish and idolatrous affection,"
their ignorance of human nature actually leading them to imagine that
on seeing an image or picture of a divine person men would be forthwith
moved to prostrate themselves in adoration of the material of which it
was composed, no other explanation of the word "idolatrous" being
possible in this connection.

But we must now return to the year 1636, when popular passion ran so
high that the opinion of an onlooker is our only means of arriving at a
fairly accurate appreciation of events. Panzani, who although wrong in
his inferences was correct as to facts, describes the archbishop and
his works with great moderation. In his letters to Cardinal Barberini,
he tells him that Laud is "short in stature, aged about sixty, is
unmarried, and is first in the privy council. His views are moderate,
and he is not unfriendly to the Catholic religion. He has the King's
interests thoroughly at heart; he studies to increase the revenue, and
perhaps for this reason is preferred by the King to all his other
advisers. He is ready for any amount of work, and all ecclesiastical
affairs receive his personal attention. He is reputed an Arminian, and
in nearly all dogmas approaches nearly to the Roman Church. With the
King's permission he has made innovations in the Scotch as well as in
the English churches, has erected altars, and put sacred pictures in
many places. He has the honour and glory of the clergy extremely at
heart. Many think his aim is to reconcile this Church with Rome, others
hold quite opposite views, and both extremes have some show and reason,
for on the one hand, one sees in him great ambition to imitate Catholic
rites, and on the other, what looks almost like a positive hatred of
Catholics and their religion. Sometimes he persecutes them, but this is
interpreted by many to mean only prudence, and a way of escape from the
murmurs and quarrels of the Puritans."

The Queen and Panzani were on excellent terms. Cardinal Barberini had
sent Henrietta Maria some very costly presents, and she was anxious to
show him a similar attention. Father Philip considered that English
horses would form a most suitable gift, but the Queen asked him to
consult Panzani. "If her Majesty wants to send a really acceptable
present to Rome, let her send the heart of the King," said the envoy,
smiling. Father Philip replied that this treasure she wished to keep
entirely for her own.

"I make no doubt," answered Panzani, "that in sending the King's heart
to Rome, the Queen would only possess it the more entirely, and without
danger of rivalry from conflicting religious sects."

Father Philip then told her that if it pleased the Father of Mercy, she
should send this truly precious gift, and that his Eminence cared for
no horses.

Soon after this, Panzani returned home, and was made Bishop of Miletus.
Meanwhile George Conn, a Scotchman, had been chosen to replace him, the
papal court considering that he possessed the rare qualities described
by Panzani as necessary for the delicate position of papal envoy to the
Catholic queen of a non-Catholic country.

Panzani being an Italian, and possessing no language but his own, could
only communicate with the Queen and the secretaries of State through an
interpreter. As he was a priest, he was liable to cause irritation to
such of the court and nation who were not "popishly inclined."

Conn had passed twenty-four years in Italy, had courtierlike manners
and bearing. He was a layman, although a canon of one of the great
Roman basilicas, and as we have already seen, was a candidate for a red
hat. With his brilliant parts, great capacity, urbanity, and zeal, it
is not surprising to learn that he was declared to be a Jesuit, a
generic term not only in his own days, but down to our own, for all who
have laboured diligently to restore the old religion.

We find it quite gravely asserted in the records of the reign of
Charles I., that Jesuits were of three degrees, and were to be found
among politicians, merchants, and the professed Fathers living in
religious houses. It would be obviously superfluous to refute this
ridiculous statement which seems destined to crop up at intervals to
the end of time, quite regardless of the fact that it has been
repeatedly shown to affirm an impossibility.

Conn had no sooner arrived in England than the report was spread that
he was a disguised Jesuit, come to receive the King into the Catholic
Church. Charles, in terror of the Puritans, declared that it was a
purely malicious invention, but none the less he continued to
temporise, and the court to regulate its conscience according to his
vacillating example. Some of the nobility were received into the
Church, and among them Lord Boteler and Lady Newport. Mass was again
said in the houses of the Catholic gentry.

In a letter to the Cardinal, written soon after his arrival, Conn gave
an account of along conversation he had had with Charles, in the course
of which he "remarked to his Majesty that the other powers of
Christendom were extremely jealous of the relations which had begun to
exist between the Apostolic See and Great Britain. They know," he
continued, "that a perfect union between the two must necessarily tend
to check their extravagances, and restore to Christ His lost patrimony
in the west."

To this the King replied with some emotion, saying:

"May God pardon the first authors of the rupture."

"Sire," I answered, "the greater will be your Majesty's glory, when by
your means so great an evil is remedied." To which the King made no
further response. Not long afterwards, Charles asked Conn whether he
considered it an easy thing for a man to change his religion.

"I told him," said Conn, "that when a man applied himself without
passion or prejudice to find out the truth, God never failed to
enlighten him." To which the King took in good part.

"I am obliged to proceed very cautiously," he added, "that they may not
think the rumour of my coming here to receive the King into the Church
had its origin in my presumption. It was a truly diabolical invention,
and calculated to spoil everything."

If the Puritans were angry before, Conn's sojourn in England lashed
them into fury. Rome's Masterpiece was written when his service had
come to an end, and in the first flush of Puritan triumph. On its
title-page it styles the mission "The Grand Conspiracy of the Pope and
his Jesuited instruments to extirpate the Protestant religion,
re-establish Popery, subvert laws, liberties, peace, parliaments--by
kindling a civil war in Scotland and all his Majesty's realms; and to
poison the King himself, in case he comply not with them in these their
execrable designs."

This is how the "conspiracy" is said to have been discovered:--

"Revealed out of conscience to Andreas ab Habernfeld by an agent sent
from Rome into England by Cardinal Barberini, as an assistant to Conn,
the Pope's late Nuncio, to prosecute this most execrable plot (in which
he persisted a principal actor several years), who discovered it to Sir
William Boswell, his Majesty's agent at the Hague, 6th September 1640.
He, under an oath of secrecy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, among
whose papers it was casually found by Mr. Prynne, May 31, 1643, who
communicated it to the king, as the greatest business that ever was put
to him."

Events had succeeded each other with alarming significance. Nothing was
too wild for the Puritans to invent or to believe, and it had been
found impossible to uphold Conn in the position of papal envoy to the
Queen. After nearly three years' service, he had consequently been
withdrawn, and in August 1639, Count Carlo Rosetti was sent to lead the
forlorn hope of the English Catholics. His first impression of the
state of the country and of the future of Catholicism in England was
hopeful. "I have found," he wrote to Cardinal Barberini, "in all
persons a better disposition and a readiness towards the affairs of
religion in general, and an obedience full of reverence towards the
particular person of his Holiness our Sovereign, and of your Eminence."
Windebank was fairly amenable, but Laud had pinned his faith to the
Church of England, and was no more favourable to the Catholics than to
the Puritans. He opposed Rosetti in every possible way, burned Catholic
books publicly, and threw all his weight and influence in Parliament on
the side that favoured the enforcing of the penal statutes. Meanwhile,
the Queen was not idle, and had pleaded successfully with the King for
her persecuted coreligionists, so that Rosetti was able to report,
"Through the grace of God, all the priests and Catholics are at last
released from prison, to their extreme consolation."

Nevertheless, there was scarcely any further talk of the nation's
return to the bosom of the Church; all that was now hoped for was, that
if the King could be got to act with some degree of firmness and
consistency, the cause of the unhappy Catholics might not yet be
altogether lost. Rosetti drew, as far as it went, a life-like portrait
of Charles in one of his letters:

"The King," he says, "is very high-minded; but having no sincere,
experienced, and capable persons to assist him, he is often either
agitated or changeable, and undecided in the administration of affairs.
He has great parts, and much benevolence, is by nature gentle and
moderate, and with regard to morals, is singular among princes. It is
not possible to exaggerate his love of justice; in the exercise of this
virtue he is little accessible to compassion, but at the same time, he
is no friend of capital punishment. Honesty is one of the strongest
points in his character, but not being surrounded with trustworthy
ministers, it often happens that he neglects the interests of the
State, and gives himself up to hunting, which is his favourite
occupation and amusement."

But the Puritans were fast gaining the upper hand; Parliament haggled
with the King over the supplies, and frightful scenes were enacted in
the churches.

"Last Sunday morning," wrote Rosetti, "many Protestants and Puritans
being assembled at church to celebrate their sacrament, it came to a
great contest between them; some were determined to communicate
sitting, others kneeling. From words they passed to blows, causing much

The other day, a large number of Puritans went into a Protestant
Church, and upset the altars which stood against the wall with rails in
front of them, where people were going to Communion in the Catholic
manner. They took possession of twelve statues representing the twelve
apostles, and carried them with cries and tumult into the Parliament."

On another occasion he wrote:--

"The Archbishop of Canterbury persecutes the Catholics more than ever.
On the vigil of Pentecost, I am told by a trustworthy person, he threw
himself at the King's feet, beseeching him to proceed against the
Catholic religion, at least from political interests, if not from
conscientious motives."

Laud was terrified. All that he had done to imitate Catholicism he now
undid, as far as he was able, in order, if possible, to pacify the
Puritans. The order to bow at the holy Name was revoked, the
communion-tables were replaced in the middle of the churches, and from
being called altars were renamed tables. The altar rails were
abolished, and the people communicated after the Calvinist manner. A
quantity of Catholic books were ostentatiously burned in a public
square, and the state of affairs looked less like reunion with Rome
than ever.

But all that Laud did availed him nothing; the disturbances continued
in the churches, and scarcely a service was held without a quarrel
arising as to the manner of conducting it, some fighting for one
posture, some for another.

Neither did the Archbishop become more popular with the multitude. A
courageous stand against the Puritans might have inspired them with
some respect for their enemy; yielding to them from fear only made them
more formidable. Sometimes the High Church party would still score a
victory here and there. A Puritan holding forth one day in Westminster
Abbey, with the usual flow of epithets, on the difference between the
Catholic religion and that of the Puritans, the Bishop of Lincoln rose,
and declared that his language was unbecoming in a pulpit, put an end
to the sermon, and forced the preacher to come down.

But these triumphs were rare; few of the king's men were as bold as the
Bishop of Lincoln. All seemed to be painfully busy in saving their
skins, while the Parliamentarians complained loudly and efficaciously
that Charles had allowed the primate to foist a new religion upon them.
Through the primate they proceeded to attack the King. Placards began
to appear all over London, with declarations to the effect that the
people were determined to enjoy the liberty with which they were born,
and to maintain the integrity of their religious worship. One of these
placards was discovered one morning nailed to the gate of the royal
palace at Whitehall. On it were these words: "Charles and Maria, doubt
not but that the archbishop must die!"

Charles's authority had disappeared with his dignity, and the parsimony
of successive Parliaments had impoverished the royal family to so great
an extent that the want of money was not the least of their troubles.
At one time they were reduced to such straits that hunger would have
stared them in the face but for the alternative of pawning their
jewels. In these circumstances it is scarcely surprising that Charles
should have turned to the Pope for help.

The following letter from Rosetti to the Cardinal, if somewhat
discursive, is interesting as the record of a kind of sommation
respectueuse which he now made to the King:--

"Oatlands, August 10/25, 1640.

"Your Eminence's letters of the 30th June and the 7th July having
reached me, I did not omit to speak to Mr. Windebank on the subject of
his Majesty's conversion, and of the succour in the shape of men and
money that will be sent to him from Rome in the event of its taking
place. After some talk about the present state of the King's affairs,
Mr. Windebank asked me whether I had received letters from Rome
relating to the proposal he had already made me. I replied that I had,
and that your Eminence was extremely well-disposed towards this
country, sympathising deeply with his Majesty in his troubles, caused
by the disobedience and faithlessness of the Puritans. This led to my
saying that a State could not possibly be either happy or secure unless
united, and that unity was impossible without one uniform religion. I
then put forward the indisputable fact, that a prince whose subjects
profess one faith alone is beyond compare more powerful than a
sovereign whose people are split up into various religions, and that
the many sects in this realm, opposed to every form of political
government, ought to make his Majesty pause, and reflect on the remedy.

"I added that in reality there was no other remedy than for the King,
with all his Protestants, to embrace our holy religion, when forming
one body with the Catholic party, they would be strong enough to keep
the Puritans in check.

"On the other hand, it was, I said, only too evident, that if measures
were not taken to repress them, they would grow so powerful as to
imperil one day the very existence of monarchy in England. Every hour
it became, I held, more apparent how little they were in touch with the
King, and how determined they were never to rest till they had
introduced popular government in some form or other.

"Here I digressed, in order to point out how often King James, his
Majesty's father, had found himself in danger of losing his life by the
machinations of the Puritans, having been menaced by them even before
he saw the light of day. I then went on to point out that King Charles
was placed in the very same danger, and his kingdom reduced to such a
state of discord and weakness, that he must fear daily to find himself
and his crown the prey of his worst enemies.

"The Puritans have always been, and ever will be, intent on upsetting
all kingly authority. Such is the rebellious spirit of their Calvinism,
that it aims at nothing less than the total destruction of the King and
of the Catholic religion.

"I then spoke of the greatness which would accrue to England if the
King's conversion were brought about, dwelling not only on the
advantageous relationships he might form, in disposing of the Prince
and Princess in marriage, but also on the disputes perpetually taking
place between France and Spain, in which his Majesty would be the
recognised arbitrator and peacemaker. Neither country would have the
temerity to offend him, on account of the power he would possess to
harm them, having the supreme Pontiff on his side."

Rosetti here proceeds to define, somewhat lengthily, the exact position
of a Catholic King of England in European politics, and the kind of
prestige he would acquire if he embraced a religion to which he was
already partially inclined. Then, speaking of the King more personally,
he went on:--

"If, having considered all these things, his Majesty comes to a decided
resolution, he should not delay putting it into effect from fear of the
consequences. Henry VIII. risked more in his unholy determination to
destroy the Catholic religion, which had flourished in this country
with such pious results for so many centuries. I insisted that it was
time his Majesty made an end of his ambiguousness and hesitation, and
that he should once for all fix his mind, there being nothing more
injurious than leisurely deliberation when a man has need of prompt
decision and action. I told Mr. Windebank further, that the King's
procrastination was simply putting the sceptre into the hands of the
Puritans, was ruining the State, his children, and himself, and that a
really wise prince not only provides for the safety of his kingdom
during his own life-time, but orders things in such a manner that at
his death he secures his inheritance to his posterity.

"His Majesty, I declared, could take no step more just and more
pleasing to God than by restoring to this country its ancient religion,
professed by his ancestors, and I believed that this King, so good, so
just, and so virtuous in many ways, was appointed by divine Providence
for the great work.

"The King was, I said, already armed; help might confidently be
expected to flow in from Ireland, through the devotion and loyalty of
that people, and his Holiness would moreover assist him with men and

"Finally, I showed the necessity of this union, for the salvation of
souls, a point which I ought to have begun with, it being certain that
none can be saved out of the bosom of the Catholic Church. Of this the
Nicaean Council speaks in the great creed, in unam sanctam Catholicam
Ecclesiam et Apostolicam, in which Protestants believe as we do, and
yet it is not said that there are two or more churches.

"Confessing as they do that ours is the Catholic Church, they
contradict their own belief in the said creed; and not only this, but
the ancient Fathers, and the Holy Scriptures agree that the Church of
God is one.

"Having added many other things to this proposition, I said that if one
examined the reasons which induced Henry VIII. to give up the Church,
one would find that they had no other origin than in sensuality and
spleen--false and unworthy pretexts.

"I ended by declaring that whoever considers a matter so important as
is the salvation of souls, ought to have his eyes well open, and not
consent to the errors of that king, whose actions are condemned and
abhorred by all.

"Mr. Windebank replied that he had listened to me with pleasure, and
had weighed all my reasons, finding them very true; but that for the
accomplishment of an undertaking so momentous, a large heart and a
strong will were indispensable, and these he could not at present
promise me. He told me in confidence that never until now had
negotiations of such importance passed through his hands, to be
followed by so few results. One day the King would have recourse to an
expedient, and the next would stultify it, with the greatest
inconstancy imaginable. Nevertheless, he assured me that he would not
fail to repeat all I had said, to his Majesty at the first opportunity.

". . . The matter is indeed so grave, that one rather hopes in the
sovereign power of God than in any human help. Still, we must be ready,
for His Divine Majesty often makes use of us creatures to bring forth
works which shall redound to His service.

"I observed both with Father Philip and Mr. Windebank all the caution
that such an important undertaking demands. May God who gives and who
takes away realms, who changes and governs them as He pleases,
enlighten the King's mind, that he may know what he should do for the
salvation of his own soul and the souls of all his people."

In 1641 many letters were written and received by Count Rosetti,
relating to the freedom of conscience to be granted to Catholics, in
return for a sum of 600 scudi. But freedom of conscience was still one
of the unfulfilled conditions of the king's marriage settlement, and
the Pope, it was objected, could not treat with an heretical sovereign.

"Only in the event of the King's conversion," wrote Cardinal Barberini,
21st February 1641, "would it be possible for me to entreat His
Holiness to send a considerable sum of money."

On the 19th July of the same year, Rosetti wrote:--

"I told him (Father Philip) that the only way to obtain help from the
Holy See was by His Majesty's return to the Catholic Church. He
answered that such a step would be extremely difficult at present, not
because the King had any dislike to Catholicism, neither did he wish to
prevent Catholics from saving their souls; but that it was evident if
he changed his religion just now, he would run great risk of losing his
crown and his life. But if he were enabled to recover his power and
authority, the Catholic cause would be strengthened by supporting him,
and his conversion might then be confidently looked forward to.

"The Queen Mother told me that in speaking of certain miracles
performed by the saint in whose honour the processions are being made
just now at Antwerp, she observed the King listening attentively,
seeming to have a decided taste for the Catholic religion. She however
admitted, that although he appears to have great natural capacity, and
to understand the critical state of his affairs, he is, as they say,
timid, slow, and irresolute."

Charles I. never went any further than the cultivation of "a decided
taste for the Catholic religion," and what would have happened had he
really thrown himself into the arms of the Pope must remain one of
those curious and unsolvable historical problems with which the world
is full.

Would the Papacy, still a great force in Europe, have been able to save
him from the terrible fate that awaited him?

Obliged to act from definite, logical principles in the place of his
mischievous theory of the royal prerogative, would he have gained in
moral weight as well as in the material advantages held out to him?

It may be answered that the Puritans were as little inclined to
tolerate an infallible Pope whom they hated and feared, as an
infallible king whom they could drive into a corner; and possibly the
King would only have died in another cause.

Under a portrait of Charles I., painted in the fortieth year of his
age, in which he is represented as grave, troubled, and with a scared
and hunted look in his eyes, Prynne wrote these lines:--

"All flesh is grass, the best men vanity,
This, but a shadow, here before thine eye,
Of him whose wondrous changes clearly show
That God, not man, sways all things here below."



There is at the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington a
remarkable plaster cast, the facsimile of one of the two beautiful
obelisks of Anglo-Saxon workmanship, which like far-reaching voices
speak to us across the gulf of at least nine centuries.

The interest which surrounds these ancient crosses is of a twofold
nature. There is the marvellous art expressed in the sculptured stones
themselves, and there is the mysterious charm of the runes with which
the stones are inscribed. The art is of a very high order, and in the
opinion of archaeologists such as Haigh, Kemble, Professor Stephens,
and others, better than anything of the kind produced in mediaeval
times, before the beginning of the thirteenth century.

The kingdom of Northumbria extended at its most flourishing period as
far north as Edinburgh, so named after the great Northumbrian King,
Edwin, its southern limit being, as its name implied, the river Humber.
Thus, the Ruthwell Cross in Dumfriesshire, and the Bewcastle Cross in
Cumberland, belonged alike to Anglia; for although Dumfries formed part
of the kingdom of Strathclyde, the territory to the east of Nithsdale
was generally reckoned a part of Northumbria, and if we were less
hampered by our modern geographical limits and boundaries, we should
better realise that the land north and south of the Tweed was one and
the same country, without distinction of race or language. And as if in
solemn protest of the political barriers, which were set up in the
course of ages, these two obelisks, the one now in Scotland, the other
in England, continue to point heavenwards, each bearing upon their
faces the same grand old Northumbrian language, which is the
mother-tongue of all English speaking people.

Both crosses have been, down to the present day, the subject of much
diversity of opinion among antiquaries, first with regard to their
respective ages, and secondly as to the authorship of the inscriptions
on the Ruthwell Cross. The celebrated Danish antiquary, Dr. Muller,
considered that the Ruthwell Cross could not be older than the year
1000, and he arrived at this conclusion by a study of the
ornamentation, which he placed as late as the Carlovingian period, the
style having been imported from France into England. Muller, however,
though a good archaeologist, was not a runic scholar, and Professor
George Stephens maintained* that not ornamentation merely, but a
variety of other things must also be taken into consideration, and that
these are often absolute and final, so that sometimes the object itself
must date the ornamentation. Then Dr. Haigh, who had passed his life in
the study of the oldest sculptured and inscribed stones of Great
Britain and Ireland, stepped in and pronounced "this monument (the
Ruthwell Cross) and that of Bewcastle to be of the same age and the
work of the same hand; and the latter must have been erected A.D.

* Old Northern Runic Monuments, Afterwrit, p. 431,

He was led to this conclusion not by the ornamentation, but rather in
spite of it; and in consideration of the runic inscriptions, which he
declared had not only passed out of date on funeral monuments as late
as the year 1000, but as he read the name of Alcfrid on the Bewcastle
Cross, he inferred both that and the Ruthwell Cross to be productions
of the latter half of the seventh century. The inscription, of which we
will treat more particularly later on, is to the effect that the
obelisk was raised to the memory of Alcfrid, son of that King of
Northumbria, who decided to celebrate Easter according to the Roman
precept. Alcfrid died about the year 664, and thus when we consider the
similarity of the ornamentation, and the character of the runes on both
obelisks, there seemed good reason for the above inference.

Dr. Haigh further remarked that the scroll-work on the east side of the
Bewcastle monument, and on the two sides of that at Ruthwell was
identical in design, and differed very much from that which he found on
other Saxon crosses. In fact, he knew of nothing like it, except small
portions on a fragment of a cross in the York museum, on another
fragment preserved in Yarrow Church, and on a cross at Hexham. There
are, however, several other such stones which were unknown to Dr.
Haigh, and engravings of them may be seen in Dr. John Stuart's
magnificent work on The Sculptured Stones of Scotland.

At Carew, in Pembrokeshire, runic crosses of the Saxon period without
figures may be seen, and there is a runic cross at Lancaster with
incised lines and a pattern in relief, supposed to be of the fifth or
sixth century. The sculptured stones of Meigle in Scotland have no
runes. Runes were, as it is well known, the characters used by the
Teutonic tribes of northwest Europe before they received the Latin
alphabet. They are divided into three principal classes, the
Anglo-Saxon, the Germanic, and the Scandinavian, bearing the same
relation to each other as do the different Greek alphabets. Their
likeness to each other is so great that a common origin may be ascribed
to all. They date from the dim twilight of paganism, but were for a
time employed in the service of Christianity, when after being imported
into this country where they were first used in pagan inscriptions cut
into the surface of rocks, or on sticks for casting lots, or for
divination, they were at last made to express Christian ideas on grave
crosses or sacred vessels.

"In times," says Kemble,* "when there was neither pen, ink, nor
parchment the bark of trees and smooth surfaces of wood or soft stone
were the usual depositaries of these symbols or runes--hence the name
run-stafas, mysterious staves answering to the Buchstaben of the

* Archaeologia, vol. xxviii. On Anglo-Saxon Runes.

We may observe in passing, that the word Buchstaben, beech-staves, is a
direct descendant of these wooden runes.

As early as 1695 antiquaries were busy with the Ruthwell Cross, but at
the beginning of the nineteenth century profound ignorance still
reigned in regard even to the language which the runes were intended to
convey. Bishop Gibson, in his additions to Camden's Britannia,
described the cross vaguely as "a pillar curiously engraven with some
inscription upon it." In a second edition this reads, "with a Danish
inscription." Later it was thought to be Icelandic, and it was Haigh
who first thought that Caedmon and no other was the author of the runic
verses which he deciphered, considering that there was no one living at
the period to which he assigned the monument, who could have composed
such a poem but the first of all the English nation to express in verse
the beginning of created things.

In 1840, Kemble published his Runes of the Anglo-Saxons, showing that
the Ruthwell Cross was a Christian monument, and that the inscription
was nothing less than twenty lines of a poem in Old Northumbrian or
North English.

Meanwhile, in 1822, a German scholar, Dr. Friedrich Blume, had
discovered in the cathedral library at Vercelli in the Milanese six
Anglo-Saxon poems of the early part of the eleventh century, which
discovery aroused great interest both in Germany and in England. Blume
copied the manuscript, and Mr. Benjamin Thorpe printed and published
it. The learned philologist Grimm again printed the longest of the
poems in 1840, but it was Kemble who identified the fourth poem of the
series The Dream of the Rood with the runic inscription on the Ruthwell
Cross, and it was he who first suggested that all the poems in the
Vercelli Codex, consisting of 135 leaves, were by Cynewulf, who like
Caedmon was a Northumbrian, and lived in the second half of the eighth
century. It was Kemble also who first gave The Dream of the Rood a
modern English rendering.*

* A translation of the fragment in Old Northumbrian had indeed been
attempted at the beginning of the nineteenth century by Mr. Repp and
also by a disciple of the great Fin Magnusen, Mr. J. M. M'Caul, but the
least said about these versions the better, both being wide of the
mark. Being imperfectly acquainted with Old English they made the most
absurd statements regarding the purpose the monument was supposed to
have served.

So far steady progress had been made, except one step which is now
stated by modern Anglo-Saxon scholars to have been a false one.
Professor Stephens following Haigh thought he could decipher on the top
stone of the cross the words Cadmon Mae Fawed, and inferred therefrom
that the Cross Lay of which fragments were inscribed on the Ruthwell
monument was the work of Caedmon, "the Milton of North England in the
seventh century." But according to the evidence of the latest expert
who has examined the cross, Caedmon's name has never been on it, and
both linguistic and archaeological considerations assign the
inscription to the tenth century, and probably to the latter half of
it. This critic declares that there is "no shadow of proof or
probability that the inscription represents a poem written by Caedmon."

Sweet, on the other hand* describes The Dream of the Rood, in the
Vercelli Book, as an introduction to the Elene or Finding of the Cross
which is unmistakably claimed as Cynewulf's own by an acrostic
introduced into the runic letters which form his name, and goes on to
assert that the Ruthwell Cross gives a fragment of the poem in the Old
Northern dialect of the seventh or eighth century, "of which the MS.
text is evidently a late West Saxon transcription differing in many
respects from the older one." He considers that The Dream belongs to
the age of Caedmon, and that the poetry of Cynewulf was an adaptation
of older compositions.

* Anglo-Saxon Reader, p. 154, 7th edition.

There can be now no possible doubt but that the poems in the Vercelli
Codex are by Cynewulf, the controversy henceforth being as to whether
The Dream of the Rood or the inscription on the cross is the older.
Cynewulf, being a Northumbrian, presumably wrote in the old
Northumbrian language such as is inscribed on the cross, but all his
poems as they have come down to us have passed into the West Saxon
tongue, and if the fragment on the Ruthwell Cross is, as modern
archxologists aver, later than the Dream in the Vercelli Codex it must
be a re-translation into the dialect in which it was first written. A
further difficulty lies in the fact stated by Haigh that runes had
passed out of date on funeral monuments as late as the year 1000, and
we can indeed scarcely conceive of their use at the very eve of the
Norman Conquest when the written language had long become general.

Nevertheless, as far back as 1890, Mr. A. S. Cook, professor of the
English language and literature in Yale University, suggested that the
inscription on the Ruthwell Cross must be as late as the tenth century
and subsequent to the Lindisfarne Gospels. "A comparison of the
inscription with the Dream of the Rood shows that the former is not an
extract from an earlier poem written in the long Caedmonian line which
is postulated by Vigfusson and Powell, and by Mr. Stopford Brooke,
since the earliest dated verse is in short lines only, and since four
of the lines in the cross inscription represent short lines in the
Dream of the Rood, it shows that the latter is more self-consistent,
more artistic, and therefore more likely to be or to represent the
original; and it shows that certain of the forms of the latter seem to
have been inadvertently retained by the adapter, who selected and
re-arranged the lines for engraving on the cross."*

* The Dream of the Rood, by A. S. Cook, p. xv., Oxford, 1905.

The theme both of the Dream and of the Elene, another of the poems in
the Vercelli Book, is the Cross, and Cynewulf, says Mr. Cook, is the
first old English author, of whom we have any knowledge, to lay
emphasis upon the Invention of the Cross, and Constantine's premonitory
dream. "If," he continues, "we consider Bede's account of Caedmon, we
are struck by one analogy at least: in each case a command is imparted
to the poet to celebrate a particular theme--in the first, the creation
of the world; in the second, the redemption of mankind by the death of
the cross. As the one stands at the beginning of the Old Testament, the
other epitomises the New. The later poet may have had the earlier in
mind, and may not have been unwilling to enter into generous rivalry
with him; but there is this notable difference, Caedmon does not relate
his own dream, while Cynewulf, if it be Cynewulf, does."*

* Ibid., p. lvii.

Elsewhere he says The Dream of the Rood, apart from its present
conclusion, represents Cynewulf (as we believe) in the fullest vigour
of his invention and taste, probably after all his other extant poems
had been composed. Admirable in itself and a precious document of our
early literary history, it gains still further lustre from being
indissolubly associated with that monument which Kemble has called the
most beautiful as well as the most interesting relic of Teutonic

And again, "So far from the Cross-inscription representing an earlier
form of the Dream of the Rood, it seems rather to have been derived
from the latter, and to have been corrupted in the process." *

* Ibid., p. xvi.

Thus the controversy remains in 1905. and until some further light is
shed upon the difficult question--for it is impossible to regard Mr.
Cook's solution as in all points satisfying--we must be content with
the results obtained.

Let us now consider the poem itself by the help of Professor Stephens'
admirable translation. Essentially a Christian composition, it
preserves all the Gothic strength and virile beauty of the old pagan
forms. The modern words, Saviour, Passion, Apostles, etc., do not once
appear. Christ is the "Youthful Hero," He is the "Peace-God," the
"Atheling," the "Frea of mankind." He is even identified with the white
god, Balder the Beautiful. His friends are "Hilde-rinks" or "barons."
In His crucifixion He is less crucified than shot to death with
"streals," i.e., all manner of missiles which the "foemen" hurl at Him.
The Rood speaks and laments; it tells the story of the last dread scene
of Christ's suffering, His entombment in the "mould-house," the triumph
of the Cross in His resurrection, and the entry of the "Lord of
Benison" into his "old home-halls."

The doctrine is as sober as an orthodox, theological treatise, though
the poem is essentially a work of the most fertile imagination, a drama
with all the rich accessories that tradition offered in the matter of
colouring and effect. And it is withal exquisitely simple, devout, and
noble, breathing a spirituality strangely at variance with the
semi-barbaric people with whom the poetry had originated.

Stephens' translation is full of poetry, the translator having retained
the lilt of the original, together with many of the old English words
which, if they need a glossary, is only because we have gradually lost
the meaning in the substitution of weaker terms.

It is interesting to compare the fragments still legible on the
Ruthwell Cross with the South Saxon rendering in the Vercelli Codex.
Where the lines are worn away or mutilated the MS. may supplement

Northumbrian version--------------------South Saxon version according
to the
    on the Cross.----------------------------Vercelli Codex.

Girded Him then--------------- For the grapple then girded him youthful
God Almighty-----------------lo! the man was God Almighty.
When He would-------------------Strong of heart and steady-minded
Step on the gallows-------------stept he on the lofty gallows;
Fore all Mankind--------------fearless spite that crowd of faces;
Mindfast, fearless---------------free and save man's tribes he would
Bow me durst I not-------------Bever'd I and shook when that baron
claspt me
. . . . . . . . . -----------    but dar'd I not to bow me earthward
. . . . . . . . . -----------Rood was I reared now.
Rich King heaving-------------------Rich king heaving
The Lord of Light-realms------------The Lord of Light-realms
Lean me I durst not---------------Lean me I durst not.
Us both they basely mockt and handled-----Us both they basely mockt and
Was I there with blood bedabbled---------all with blood was I bedabbled
Gushing grievous from . . . --------gushing grievous from his dear side,
. . . . . . . . . -----------when his ghost he had uprendered.
. . . . . . . . . -----------How on that hill
. . . . . . . . . -----------have I throwed
. . . . . . . . . -----------dole the direst.
. . . . . . . . . -----------All day viewed I hanging
. . . . . . . . . -----------the God of hosts
. . . . . . . . . -----------Gloomy and swarthy
. . . . . . . . . -----------clouds had cover'd
. . . . . . . . . -----------the corse of the Waldend.*
. . . . . . . . . -----------O'er the sheer shine-path
. . . . . . . . . -----------shadows fell heavy
. . . . . . . . . -----------wan 'neath the nelkin
. . . . . . . . . -----------wept all creation
. . . . . . . . . -----------wail'd the fall of their king.
Christ was on Rood-tree----------Christ was on Rood-tree
But fast from afar----------------But fast from afar
His friends hurried-------------his friends hurried
Athel to the Sufferer.------------To aid their Atheling
Everything I saw.------------Everything I saw.
Sorely was I----------------Sorely was I
With sorrows harrow'd------------with sorrows harrow'd
. . . . . I inclin'd-------------yet humbly I inclin'd
. . . . . . . . . -----------to the hands of his servants,
. . . . . . . . . -----------striving with might to aid them.
. . . . . . . . . -----------Straight the all-ruling God they've taken
. . . . . . . . . -----------heaving from that haried torment
. . . . . . . . . -----------Those Hilde-rinks** now left me
. . . . . . . . . -----------to stand there streaming with blood drops;
With streals all wounded-------with streals*** was I all wounded.
Down laid they Him limb-weary---------Down laid they him limb-weary,
O'er His lifeless Head then stood they--O'er his lifeless head then
stood they,
Heavily gazing at Heaven's . . .--------heavily gazing at heaven's

* Wielder, Lord, Ruler, Monarch,

** Hero, from Hilde the war god. Battle brave, captain

*** Anything strown or cast-a missile of any kind.

Kemble's rendering of the poem, wonderfully correct and conscientious
as a translation, is inferior in poetical merit to that of Stephens,
who, as we see, instead of choosing modern words, is careful to retain
many of the picturesque old rune equivalents. This we perceive at once
if we compare Stephens' four lines, beginning "Christ was on Rood tree"
with Kemble's:

"Christ was on the Cross
but thither hastening
men came from afar
to the noble one." *

* Poetry of the Vercelli Codex.

The runes are sharply and beautifully cut into the margin of two sides
of the Cross, the inside spaces being filled with sculptured ornaments,
representing a conventional, clambering vine, with leaves and fruit.
Entwined among the leaves are curious birds and animals devouring the
grapes. On the southeast and south-west sides are figures taken chiefly
from the Bible, with Latin inscriptions instead of runes. In the middle
compartment of each of these sides is the figure of our Lord with a
cruciform halo. On the south-west side of the Cross He is represented
as treading on the heads of two swine, His right arm upraised in
blessing, a scroll being in His left hand. Around the margin is a
legend in old Latin uncial letters, "Jesus Christ the judge of equity.
Beasts and dragons knew in the desert the Saviour of the world."

In the corresponding panel on the south side, St. Mary Magdalen washes
the feet of our Lord, who is standing nearly in the same position. The
remaining subjects are--a figure which has been sometimes described as
that of the Eternal Father, and again as St. John the Baptist, with the
Agnus Dei; St. Paul and St. Anthony breaking a loaf in the desert; the
Flight into Egypt; two figures unexplained; a man seated on the ground
with a bow, taking aim; the Visitation; our Lord healing the man born
blind; the Annunciation; and traces almost obliterated, of the
Crucifixion, on the bottom panel of the south-west side.

On the top stone is a bird, probably meant for a dove, resting on a
branch with the rune which Stephens took to be Cadmon Mae Fawed. On the
reverse side of this stone are St. John and his eagle, with a partly
destroyed Latin inscription, In principio erat verbum. All the subjects
are explained by a legend running round the margin, but which is in
parts scarcely legible.

Sir John Sinclair, in his account of the parish of Ruthwell, mentions a
tradition, according to which, this column having been set up in remote
times at a place called Priestwoodside (now Priestside), near the sea,
it was drawn from thence by a team of oxen belonging to a widow. During
the transit inland the chain broke, which accident was supposed to
denote that heaven willed it to be set up in that place. This was done,
and a church was built over the Cross.

But opposed to this story is the fact that the obelisk is composed of
the same red and grey sandstone which abounds in that part of
Dumfriesshire, and it seems far more likely that the Cross was here
hewn and sculptured than that it should have been brought from a
distance after having been adorned in so costly a manner and with a
definite purpose. It was held in great veneration till the middle of
the sixteenth century, and being specially protected by the powerful
family of Murray of Cockpool, the patrons and chief proprietors of the
parish, it escaped the blind fury of the iconoclasts till 1644. Then,
however, it was broken into three pieces as "an object of superstition
among the vulgar."

For more than a century the column apparently lay where it fell, on the
site of what had once been the altar of the church, and was made to
serve as a bench for members of the congregation to sit upon.

In 1722, Pennant saw it still lying inside the church, but soon after
this, better accommodation being required for the congregation, it was
turned out into the churchyard to make room for modern improvements!
Here it suffered greatly from repeated mutilations, the churchyard
being then nearly unenclosed.

In 1802, the weather-cock of opinion having again veered round, the
then incumbent, Dr. Duncan, desiring to preserve this "object of
superstition," now become a precious relic, had the main shaft removed
to his newly-enclosed manse garden where it remained till 1887, when an
apse being added to the church, the Cross was again enclosed within the
building. Meanwhile two other fragments had entirely disappeared. The
cross-beam has never been recovered,* but the top-stone suddenly
reappeared in the following curious manner:

* Transverse arms were supplied in 1823. A. S. Cook, The Dream of the

A poor man and his wife having died within a few days of each other, it
was decided to bury them both in one grave. For this it was necessary
to dig deeper than usual, and in doing so, the grave-digger came upon
an obstacle which proved to be a block of red sandstone with sculptured
figures upon it. This block was found to be the missing top-stone of
the Cross.

One point still needs explanation. When Pennant saw the Cross in the
early part of the eighteenth century, before the buried fragment had
been excavated, it measured 2o feet in height. At the present day,
although the top has been replaced, the height of the column does not
exceed 17 feet 6 inches, a circumstance that can only be accounted for
by the supposition that the obelisk may have sunk several feet into the
ground in the interval.

The spirit that breathes in The Dream of the Rood is strongly imbued
with national elements. The doctrine and sentiments are strictly
Catholic, but the poem is at the same time an epitome of what St.
Cuthbert and the monks of Lindisfarne, the royal Abbess Hilda, Caedmon,
and now it appears Cynewulf also had been long doing for Northumbria,
in taking what was grand and heroic in the old heathen traditions, and
leading up through them to Christianity. But if this influence can be
distinctly traced in the runes on the Ruthwell Cross, yet another
element is seen in its ornamentation, which carries us back to the
Christian tombs in the Roman catacombs where its prototypes are to be

On the Bewcastle Cross there is less of the national element and more
of the Roman, fewer runes and more of this kind of sculpture. A few
feet from the parish church, and within the precincts of a large Roman
station, guarded by a double vallum, stands the shaft of what was
formerly an Anglo-Saxon funeral cross of most graceful shape and
design. This column, 14 feet in height, is quadrangular, and formed of
one entire block of grey freestone, inserted in a broader base of blue
stone. The side facing westward has suffered most from storm and rain.
It bears on its surface two sculptured figures, and the principal runic
inscription. The lower figure, that representing our Lord, has been
much mutilated by accident or design. He stands as He is seen on the
Ruthwell Cross, with His feet on the heads of swine, as trampling down
all unclean things. His right hand is uplifted in blessing, in His left
hand is a scroll,

Above is St. John the Baptist holding the Agnus Dei, and near the top
are the remains of the Latin word Christus.

The runic inscription has been translated thus:

"This slender sign-beacon
set was by Hwoetred,
Wothgar, Olufwolth,
after Alcfrith
Once King
eke son of Oswin
Bid (pray) for the high sin of his soul."

Beneath these runes is the figure of a man in a long robe with a hood
over his head, and a bird, probably a falcon, on his left wrist. This
figure is supposed to represent Alcfrid himself. Immediately below the
falcon is an upright piece of wood with a transverse bar at the top,
possibly meant for the bird's perch. On the east side there are no
runes, but a vine is sculptured in low relief within a border. Dr.
Haigh observed that the design on this side was the same as on the two
sides of the Ruthwell Cross.* The north and the south sides are in a
state of good preservation, and are covered with a beautiful design in
knotwork, and alternate lines of foliage, flowers, and fruit. On the
north side there is a long panel fitted with chequers, which have given
rise to a good deal of controversy among antiquaries. Camden thought
them to be the arms of the De Vaux family, and when this theory was
exploded, Mr. Howard of Corby Castle reversed it, and suggested that
the chequers on the De Vaux arms were taken from this monument. But the
Rev. John Maughan, B.A., rector of Bewcastle, in a note to his tract on
this place, cites instances of chequers or diaper-work in Scythian,
Egyptian, Gallic, and Roman art, and proves from the Book of Kings that
there were "nets of chequered work" in the Temple of Solomon. After
remarking that this is a natural form of ornamentation he calls
attention to the frequent use made of it in mediaeval illuminations.**

* Archaologia Aeliana, p. 169.

** Archaeological Journal, vol. xi.

Above this panel are the words "Myrcna Kung," and over the next piece
of knot-work is seen the name "Wulfhere" (King of the Mercians). Then
follows another vine, and above all are three crosses and the holy name
"Jesus." On the south side runs a runic inscription thus:

In the first year
of the King
of ric (realm) this

The last line of the inscription is so broken that it can only be
guessed at.*

* Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.
Bewcastle and its Cross, by W. Nanson, p. 215.

Fine as this obelisk is, we should be at a loss to make out that it was
ever a cross, but for a slip of paper which was found in Camden's own
copy of his Britannia (ed. 1607 now in the Bodleian Library. On the
slip of paper was written this memorandum: "I received this morning a
ston from my lord of Arundel, sent him from my lord William. It was the
head of a cross at Bucastle: and the letters legable are these on one
line, and I have sett to them such as I can gather out of my
alphabetts: that like an A I can find in non. But wither this may be
only letters or words I somewhat doubt."

Neither Camden nor any one else got much further than this for many
years; and the general ignorance of runes is the more to be deplored
since it led to a carelessness and want of interest in the preservation
of priceless relics, even among antiquaries. The stone which thus came
into Camden's possession has utterly disappeared, and the inscription
which he tried in vain to decipher, and which might have thrown light
on a mysterious subject, is thus lost to us.

In conclusion, we may, for the sake of clearness, recapitulate, first:
that although there can no longer be any reasonable doubt that the
runes on the Ruthwell obelisk are by the Northumbrian poet, Cynewulf,
it has by no means been satisfactorily proved that these runes are of a
subsequent date to the West-Saxon version of the poem in the Vercelli
Codex, but that probability seems rather to point to an earlier date
than the second half of the tenth century; and secondly, that so close
a resemblance between the two Crosses does not necessarily imply that
they date from absolutely the same period. The royal obelisk at
Bewcastle must have been a famous monument in its day, known and
celebrated far and wide, and it would not be unlikely that even a
hundred years later it might be called upon to serve, to some extent,
as a model for that Cross which was to immortalise the Dream of which
Northumbrians were naturally proud. If, however, the runes on the
Bewcastle Cross fix its date as the latter part of the seventh century,
those on the Ruthwell Cross cannot be earlier than the eighth century.

Had the zeal, directed nearly four hundred years ago against our
national treasures, been bestowed on their preservation, we should have
reason indeed to congratulate ourselves on the beauty of many of our
public monuments. Instead of mutilated remains, we should have works of
art which, but for the gentle hand of time, would be as perfect as when
they left the master's hand.

But there has never been a period when the intelligent study of the
past, whether in palaeography, philology, or history, has been so
highly cultivated as in the present day. If we have lost the
inspiration that creates, we have, at least, learned to venerate and
cherish the noble works of our progenitors.


Although the Norte d'Arthur was one of the first books printed in the
English language, the great semihistorical figure of Arthur, together
with his Knights of the Round Table, and all their romantic exploits,
had wellnigh died out of the memory of the English people when Tennyson
published his Idylls of the King

The Morte d'Arthur was translated, according to Caxton, by Sir Thomas
Malory, who took it "out of certain books of French and reduced it into
English." But it is no mere translation of the older romances, which
Malory rather adopted as the basis of his work, moulding them to suit
his more refined taste and fancy, much as Chaucer used Boccaccio's
tales, and Shakespeare a century after Malory adopted the plots and
outlines of inferior playwrights.

Placed midway between the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare, the book,
which has been aptly described as a prose-poem, is one of the happiest
illustrations possible of the language, manners, modes of thought and
expression prevalent in England in the fifteenth century. Chivalry was
not yet dead, ideals were still cherished, the feudal system still
obtained, Gothic architecture had not yet said its last word,
Englishmen were papal to the backbone, and religion was a potent factor
in their live, in spite of much that was harsh, crude, and violent.
"Herein," said Caxton, "may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity,
friendliness, hardiness, love, friendship, cowardice, murder, hate,
virtue, sin. Do after the good, and leave the evil, and it shall bring
you to good fame and renommee."

The Norte d'Arthur was finished in the ninth year of Edward IV., that
is in 1470, and Caxton printed the first edition of the book in black
letter, in 1485. Of this edition, now almost priceless, only two copies
are known to exist, both of which are in private collections. One of
these is in the United States, the other, slightly defective, is in the
possession of Lord Spencer, who has also in his library at Althorp the
only known copy of the second edition, printed in 1498 by Wynkyn de
Worde, who took over Caxton's presses at his death. Of the third
edition (1529), also printed by Wynkyn de Worde, a copy is in the
British Museum. It is incomplete inasmuch as the title, preface, and
part of the table of contents are wanting.

The British Museum possesses two other copies, one printed by William
Copland in 1557, the other a folio without date, published by East. All
these editions are in black letter.

Whether we agree with Caxton that "it might full well be aretted great
folly and blindness to say or think that there was never such a king
called Arthur," or whether we are of those "divers men who hold opinion
that all such books as be made of him be but fayne matters and fables,
because that some chronicles make of him no mention, nor remember him
nothing, nor of his knights," we must admit that at least incidentally,
the Morte d'Arthur is a picture of British faith and pious practices.
Its composition is mediaeval, and represents the tone of thought common
in the world as distinct from the cloister, in the Middle Ages; but it
is also a true exponent of an earlier period still, when Lucius, the
British chief, sent messengers to home to beg Pope Eleutherius to admit
him into the Fold of Christ, and to send missionaries to instruct his
people in the Faith. Comparing the Idylls of the King with Malory's
book, we are irresistibly reminded of certain Catholic books of
devotion "expurgated" or "adapted" for members of the Church of
England. All that savours too much of popery is left out. There is, no
doubt, a strong Protestant prejudice in Tennyson, struggling with his
sense of artistic beauty, and repeatedly Protestantism wins the day. We
cannot always quarrel with him for his selection, because, although the
modern mind is not a whit cleaner than the mediaeval mind, there is an
unwritten convention, that at all events a spade shall not now be
called a spade, at least in polite society, and Tennyson wrote
exclusively for the polite. In the Middle Ages evil was spoken of
plainly as in Scripture; there was no blinking of facts, no dressing-up
of vice to make it look like virtue, and consequently much
"bowdlerising" was necessary before Malory's outspoken language should
be sufficiently veiled to suit the susceptibilities, to which we have a
perfect and legitimate right in so far as they are genuine, and no
cloak for an hypocrisy that delights in the loathsome indecencies and
disgusting suggestiveness of the modern problem novel.

But what we do regret is that apart from the coarseness, and even from
a mere dramatic point of view, much that Tennyson rejected is finer
than anything he took. His Lancelot is a grand conception, as
mournfully, but with noble self-abasement, he says:

". . . . in me there dwells
No greatness, save it be some far-off touch
Of greatness to know well I am not great."

He is the very knight of courtesy, in chivalry above all other knights
save Arthur--so strong that "whom he smote he overthrew"; he is brave,
noble, scornful, and "falsely true," but he is not the Lancelot of the
Morte d'Arthur.

The story of Lancelot is incomplete in the Idylls, and by
incompleteness we do not mean only that it is deprived of its
denouement, of the climax up to which it has been working from the
beginning, but that there is also to be noted the conspicuous absence
of a refrain that should be there throughout. It is true that at the
end of "Lancelot and Elaine," one single line hints vaguely at the
penance that was to atone for his sad and sin-stained life, where he is
described as

"Not knowing he should die a holy man."

And in another place the long account of his confession, absolution,
contrition, and the exhortation of the priest is slurred over in these
words relating to the poisonous weeds that twined and clung round the
wholesome flowers of his life:

"Then I spake
To one most holy saint, who wept and said
That save they could be plucked asunder all
My quest were but in vain; to whom I vowed
That I would work according as he willed."

If we compare this with what Malory said, we shall see the total
inadequacy of Tennyson's treatment of the episode which left out the
whole root of the matter:--

How Sir Lancelot was shriven, and what sorrow he made, and of the good
examples that were showed him.

Then Sir Lancelot wept with heavy cheer and said, "Now I know well ye
say me sooth." "Sir," said the good man, "hide none old sin from me."
"Truly," said Sir Lancelot, "that were me full loth to discover. For
this fourteen years I never discovered one thing that I have used and
to that may I now blame my shame and my misadventure." And then he told
there, that good man, all his life, and how he had loved a queen
unmeasurably, and out of measure long;--"and all my great deeds of arms
that I have done I did the most part for the queen's sake, and for her
sake would I do battle, were it right or wrong, and never did I battle
all only for God's sake, but for to win worship and to cause me to be
the better beloved, and little or nought I thanked God of it." Then Sir
Lancelot said, "I pray you counsel me." "I will counsel you," said the
hermit, "if ye will ensure me that ye will never come in that queen's
fellowship, as much as ye may forbare." And then Sir Lancelot promised
him he would not, by the faith of his body. "Look that your heart and
your mouth accord," said the good man, "and I shall ensure you ye shall
have more worship than ever ye had." . . . Then the good man enjoined
Sir Lancelot such penance as he might do, and to sue knighthood, and so
he assoiled him, and prayed Sir Lancelot to abide with him all that
day. "I will well," said Sir Lancelot, "for I have neither helm, nor
horse, nor sword." "As for that," said the good man, "I shall help you
to-morn at even of an horse and all that longeth unto you." And then
Sir Lancelot repented him greatly.

After this he meets with another hermit who gives him a hair shirt to
wear as a penance, and riding on in pursuit of his quest, the Holy
Grail, Lancelot next comes to a Cross, "and took that for his host as
for that night. And so he put his horse to pasture, and did off his
helm and his shield, and made his prayers unto the Cross that he never
fall in deadly sin again. And so he laid him down to sleep." Further
on, we are told, as a sign of his sincerity and perseverance that "the
hair pricked so Sir Lancelot's skin that it grieved him full sore, but
he took it meekly and suffered the pain."

Tennyson records no fights with conscience, no turning towards the
light, no sorrowful confessions at all. He has given us a great deal,
but it is not too much to say that what he rejected, a Catholic poet
would have seized with delight as the purplest patches of his epic, and
the climax to which the whole story led.

The same remarks do not altogether apply to Tennyson's conception of
Arthur's character. Although there is much that is fine and beautiful
in him, as he is portrayed in the older legends, although, when pierced
with many wounds, he fought on valiantly, because he was "so full of
knighthood that knightly he endured the pain," it is Tennyson who has
exalted him into "the blameless king," "the highest creature here," and
if it had only been for what he has given us in King Arthur, the Idylls
would have been worth writing. Still even here he leaves out all those
Catholic touches which went to make up the life and soul of British
Christianity, the custom of beginning each day with the hearing of
Mass, the frequent allusions to the Pope as the Head of Christendom,
the mention of prayers for the dead, of penance, and so on.

When Arthur had defied the Roman Emperor, who had sent to claim
tribute, and had carried his victorious arms to the gates of the
Eternal City, the legend says that senators and cardinals came out and
sued for peace. They invited him in, and there he was crowned emperor
"with all the solemnity that could be made, and by the Pope's own
hands." King Mark of Cornwall, for reasons of his own, wanted to rid
himself of Tristram, and set about it in this wily manner:

He let do counterfeit letters from the Pope, and made a strange clerk
for to bear them unto King Mark, the which letters specified that King
Mark should make him ready upon pain of cursing, with his host for to
come to the Pope, to help to go to Jerusalem for to make war upon the

Mark, pretending that he could not leave home, proposed that Sir
Tristram should go in his place, since the command of the Pope must be
obeyed. "But," said Sir Tristram, "sythen the apostle Pope hath sent
for him, bid him go thither himself." "Well," said King Mark, "yet
shall he be beguiled," and counterfeited other letters, and the letters
specified that the Pope desired Sir Tristram to come himself to make
war upon the Saracens. But Tristram began to suspect the King of
Cornwall of treachery, and at last Mark was obliged to walk into the
trap which he had set for his enemy, and to take an oath "that he would
go himself unto the Pope of Rome for to war upon the Saracens."

Malory's book abounds in such illustrations and side lights as these,
but enough has been said to show how entirely the modern poet has
suppressed the part played by the Pope in the lives of Englishmen, at
least, up to the time of Edward IV.

One other instance of this pre-reformation doctrine belongs to the
story of Lancelot, and will be given in its proper place. We may remark
here that whatever the shortcomings of some of Arthur's knights, they
one and all evinced a lively faith, profound veneration for holy
things, and a truly Catholic desire for reconciliation with God,
through the reception of the Sacraments, whenever they fell into sin.
Thus, the knights who were convened to assist at Arthur's coronation
"made them clean of their lives, that their prayers might be the more
acceptable unto God." And when Balan fought with his brother, Balyn, by
mistake, and both were mortally wounded, Balan entreated the lady of
the Tower to send for a priest: "Yea," said the lady, "it shall be
done," and so she sent for a priest to give them their rights. "Now,"
said Balyn, "when we are buried in one tomb, and the mention made over
us how two brethren slew each other, there will never good knight nor
good man see our tomb but they will pray for our souls."

Wherever the knights-errant slept, they never set out on their journey
on the morrow without first hearing Mass; and if they had been riding
all night and came to a chapel in the morning they "avoided their
horses and heard Mass." There are many allusions to devotion to the
Blessed Virgin, and on one occasion a tournament was proclaimed in
honour of her Assumption.

In the poem "Lancelot and Elaine," Tennyson has followed closely on the
lines of the original story, both as to general design and detail. The
idyll "Geraint and Enid" does not, of course, belong to this history at
all, but is taken from the "Mabinogian," a collection of Welsh legends
translated into English by Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Guest.

The "Coming of Arthur," as related in the idyll, is throughout an
invention of Tennyson's, or culled from other sources, and differs
entirely from the story of Arthur's origin as told by Malory.

But the legend that has suffered the most from poetical license is that
of the "Holy Grail."

When the young Galahad, Lancelot's son, had been brought to Arthur's
court, had been dubbed knight, and had sat in the mystical "siege
perilous," fashioned by the wizard Merlin, he drew the sword from the
magic stone that hovered over the water, and which no other knight
could take. Then the queen, hearing of these marvels, and of his great
exploits and chivalry, desired greatly to see Sir Galahad, and as he
was riding by, "the king, at the queen's request, made him to alight
and to unlace his helm, that Queen Guinevere might see him in the
visage. And when she beheld him she said: Sothely, I dare well say that
Sir Lancelot begat him, for never two men resembled more in likeness.
Therefore it is no marvel though he be of great prowess. So a lady that
stood by the queen said, Madam, for God's sake, ought he of right to be
so good a knight? Yea, forsooth, said the queen, for he is of all
parties come of the best knights of the world, and of the highest
lineage. For Sir Lancelot is comen of the eighth degree from our Lord
Jesu Christ, and Sir Galahad is of the ninth degree, therefore I dare
well say that they ben the greatest gentlemen of all the world."

After the meeting between Sir Galahad and the queen, the book goes on
to say that the king and all the estates went home to Camelot, and that
as they sat at Supper, the Holy Grail appeared.

Tennyson relates the vision almost in Malory's own words.

Sir Perceval, having retired from the world, tells the monk, Ambrosius,
the history of the quest:

"And all at once, as there we sat, we heard
A cracking and a riving of the roofs,
And rending, and a blast, and overhead
Thunder, and in the thunder was a cry.
And in the blast there smote along the hall
A beam of light seven times more clear than day
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail,
All over covered with a luminous cloud,
And none might see who bare it, and it past.
But every knight beheld his fellow's face.
As in a glory, and all the knights arose,
And staring each at other like dumb men
Stood, till I found a voice and sware a vow.
I sware a vow before them all that I,
Because I had not seen the Grail would ride
A twelvemonth and a day in quest of it,
Until I found and saw it, as the nun
My sister saw it; and Galahad sware the vow,
And good Sir Bors, our Lancelot's cousin sware,
And Lancelot sware, and many among the knights,
And Gawayn sware, and louder than the rest."

It was, in fact, Sir Gawayn who spoke first:

"Certainly [said he] "we ought greatly to thank our Lord Jesu Christ,
for that he hath shewed us this day of what meats and drinks we thought
on, but one thing beguiled us, we might not see the Holy Grail, it was
so preciously covered. Wherefore I will make here a vow, that
to-morrow, without any longer abiding, I shall labour in the quest of
the Sancgreall, that I shall hold me out a twelvemonths and a day, and
more if need be, and never shall I return again unto the court, till I
have seen it more openly than it hath been seen here." When they of the
Round Table heard Sir Gawayn say so, they arose, the most part of them,
and avowed the same.

As the knights rode out of Camelot to begin their quest there was
weeping of the rich and of the poor at their departure. "The queen made
great moan and wailing, and the king might not speak for weeping."
After some adventures Sir Perceval comes to a chapel to hear Mass, and
there he sees a sick king lying on a couch behind the altar; and he was
covered with wounds:

"Then he left his looking and heard his service, and when it came to
the sacring, he that lay within the perclose dressed him up and
uncovered his head. And then him beseemed a passing old man, and he had
a crown of gold on his head, and ever he held up his hands and said on
high: Fair, sweet father, Jesu Christ, forget not me. And so he laid
him down. But always he was in his prayers and orisons. And when the
Mass was done, the priest took our Lord's body and bare it unto the
sick king. And when he had received it he did off his crown, and he
commanded the crown to be set on the altar."

This king's name was Evelake. He had been converted by Saint Joseph of
Arimathwa, who was sent by our Lord "to preach and teach the Christian
faith." "Evelake," says the legend, "followed Joseph of Arimathaea into
England, to which country he brought the Holy Grail, the cup in which
our Lord celebrated the institution of the Blessed Sacrament." This cup
or chalice is said to have contained some drops of the Precious Blood.

And ever Evelake was busy to be there as the Sancgreall was. And upon a
time he nighed it so nigh that our Lord was displeased with him. But
ever he followed it more and more, till that God struck him almost
blind. Then this king cried mercy, and said: "Fair Lord, let me never
die till that the good knight of my blood of the ninth degree be comen,
that I may see him openly, when he shall achieve the Sancgreall, that I
may once kiss him."

This "good knight" was, of course, Sir Galahad. Meanwhile, "Sir
Lancelot rode overthwart and endlong in a wild forest, and held no path
but as wild adventure led him. And at the last he came to a stony Cross
which departed two ways in waste land, and by the Cross was a stone
that was of marble, but it was so dark that Sir Lancelot might not wit
what it was. Then Sir Lancelot looked by him, and saw an old chapel,
and there he wend to have found people. And Sir Lancelot tied his horse
till a tree, and there he did off his shield and hung it upon a tree.
And then he went to the chapel door, and found it waste and broken. And
within he found a fair altar full richly arrayed with cloth of clean
silk, and there stood a fair clean candlestick which bare six great
candles, and the candlestick was of silver. And when Sir Lancelot saw
this light he had great will for to enter into the chapel, but he could
find no place where he might enter; then was he passing heavy and
dismayed. Then he returned and came to his horse, and did off his
saddle and bridle, and let him pasture; and unlaced his helm, and
ungirded his sword, and laid him down to sleep upon his shield tofore
the Cross. And so he fell on sleep, and half waking and half sleeping
he saw, come by him, two palfreys all fair and white, the which bare a
litter, therein lying a sick knight. And when he was nigh the Cross he
there abode still. All this Sir Lancelot saw and beheld, for he slept
not verily, and he heard him say: Oh sweet Lord, when shall this sorrow
leave me, and when shall the holy vessel come by me, wherethrough I
shall be blessed, for I have endured thus long for little trespass. And
thus a great while complained the knight, and always Sir Lancelot heard
it. With that Sir Lancelot saw the candlestick with the six tapers come
before the Cross, but he could see nobody that brought it. And then
came a table of silver, and the holy vessel of the Sancgreall, the
which Sir Lancelot had seen tofore. And there withal the sick knight
set him upright and held up both his hands and said: Fair, sweet Lord,
which is here within this holy vessel, take heed to me that I may be
whole of this great malady. And therewith, upon his hands and upon his
knees, he went so nigh that he touched the holy vessel and kissed it.
And anon he was whole, and then he said:--Lord God, I thank thee for I
am healed of this malady. So when the holy vessel had been there a
great while, it went unto the chapel again with the candlestick and the
light, so that Sir Lancelot wist not where it became, for he was
overtaken with sin that he had no power to arise against the holy
vessel. Wherefore afterwards many men said of him shame. But he took
repentance afterwards.

"Then the sick knight dressed him upright and kissed the Cross. Then
anon his squire brought his arms, and asked his lord how he did.
Certes, said he, I thank God right well through the holy vessel I am
healed. But I have great marvel of this sleeping knight which hath
neither had grace nor power to awake during the time that this holy
vessel hath been here present. I dare it right well say, said the
squire, that this knight is defouled with some manner of deadly sin,
whereof he was never confessed. By my faith, said the knight,
whatsoever he be, he is unhappy, for, as I deem, he is of the noble
fellowship of the Round Table, the which is entered into the quest of
the Sancgreall. Sir, said the squire, here I have brought you all your
arms save your helm and your sword, and therefore, by mine assent now
may ye take this knight's helm and his sword, and so he did. And when
he was clean armed he took Sir Lancelot's horse, for he was better than
his own, and so they departed from the Cross.

"Then anon Sir Lancelot awaked and sat himself upright, and bethought
him what he had there seen, and whether it were dreams or not. Right so
heard he a voice that said, Sir Lancelot, more harder than is the
stone, and more bitter than is the wood, and more naked and barer than
is the leaf of the fig-tree, therefore go thou from hence, and withdraw
thee from this holy place. And when Sir Lancelot heard this he was
passing heavy and wist not what to do, and so departed sore weeping,
and cursed the time that he was born. For then he deemed never to have
had worship more. For those words went to his heart till that he knew
wherefore he was called so.

"Then Sir Lancelot went to the Cross, and found his helm, his sword,
and his horse taken away. And then he called himself a very wretch, and
most unhappy of all knights. And there he said, My sin and my
wickedness have brought me unto great dishonour. For when I sought
worldly adventures for worldly desires I ever achieved them, and had
the better in every place, and never was I discomfited in no quarrel,
were it right or wrong. And now I take upon me the adventure of holy
things, and now I see and understand that mine old sin hindreth me and
shameth me, so that I had no power to stir nor to speak when the holy
blood appeared afore me. So thus he sorrowed till it was day, and heard
the fowls of the air sing. Then was he somewhat comforted, and departed
from the Cross on foot in a wild forest, and there he found a
hermitage, and a hermit therein that was going to Mass. And then Sir
Lancelot kneeled down on both his knees, and cried our Lord mercy for
his wicked works that he had done. When Mass was done, Sir Lancelot
called the hermit to him and prayed him for charity to hear his life.
With a good will, said the good man. Sir, said he, be ye of King
Arthur's court, and of the fellowship of the Round Table? Yea,
forsooth, and my name is Sir Lancelot du Lake that hath been right well
said of, and now my good fortune is changed, for I am the most wretched
and caitiff of the world.

"Then the hermit beheld him, and had great marvel how he was so sore
abashed. Sir, said the good man, ye ought to thank God more than any
knight living, for He hath caused you to have more worldly worship than
any, and for your presumption to take upon you in deadly sin for to be
in His presence where His flesh and His blood was, that caused you ye
might not see it with your worldly eyes. For He will not appear where
such sinners be, but it be unto their great hurt and shame. And there
is no knight living now that ought to give unto God so great thank as
ye. For He hath given to you beauty, seemliness, and great strength
above all other knights, and, therefore, ye are the more beholden to
God than any man, to love Him and to dread Him; for your strength and
manhood will little avail you, and God be against you."

Then Lancelot makes his confession to the hermit as we have already
related, is assoiled, and repents him greatly. He remained three days
with the hermit, and being then newly provided with a horse, helmet,
and sword, he took his leave and rode away. After this occurs the
episode at the Cross, and his receiving the hair shirt. On the morrow
he jousted with many knights, and for the first time was thrown and
overcome, all which he endured patiently as penance for his sins. That
night he laid himself down to sleep under an apple-tree and dreamed a
strange dream. At dawn he arose, armed himself and went on his way. He
next came to a chapel "where was a recluse which had a window that she
might look up to the altar, and all aloud she called Sir Lancelot, and
asked him whence he came, what he was, and what he went to seek." He
told her all his dreams and visions, which she expounded, and gave him
pious counsel, but told him that he was " of evil faith and poor

About this time he met Sir Galahad, and knew that he was his son. Then,
after various adventures, he came as near the Holy Grail as it was
given to him to come. As he was kneeling before a closed door in a
castle "he heard a voice which sang sweetly, that it seemed none
earthly thing. And him thought that the voice said, joy and Honour be
to the Father of Heaven. Then Sir Lancelot wist well that there was the
Sancgreall in that chamber." Then he prayed.

"And with that the chamber door opened, and there came out a great
clearness, that the house was so bright as though all the torches of
the world had been there. And anon he would have entered, but a voice
said, Flee, Sir Lancelot, and enter not, for and if thou enter thou
shalt forethink it. Then he withdrew him aback, and was right heavy in
his mind. Then looked he up in the midst of the room and saw a table of
silver, and the holy vessel covered with red samite, and so many angels
about it, whereof one of them held a candle of wax burning, and the
other held a Cross and the ornaments of the altar. And before the holy
vessel he saw a good man, clothed like a priest, and it seemed that he
was at the sacring of the Mass.

"And it seemed unto Sir Lancelot that, above the priest's hands, there
were three men, whereof the two put the youngest by likeliness between
the priest's hands, and so he lift it upright high, and it seemed to
show unto the people. And then Sir Lancelot marvelled not a little, for
him thought the priest was so greatly charged of the figure that him
seemed he should have fallen to the ground; and when he saw none about
him, he came to the door a great pace, and said:--

"Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, me take it for no sin, though I help
the good man, which hath great need of help. Right so he entered into
the chamber, and came toward the table of silver. And when he came nigh
he felt a breath that him thought it was intermeddled with fire, which
smote him so sore in the visage that him thought it all to brent his

This is the culminating point of Lancelot's quest; he swooned away, and
lay as one dead for twenty-four days. Nearer he might not come to the
Holy Grail, and the sequel shows why, for after a time he returned to
the court and fell into sin again, and forgot his good resolutions:--

"For, as the French book saith, had not Sir Lancelot been in his privy
thoughts and in his mind set inwardly to the queen, as he was in
seeming outward unto God, there had no knight passed him in the quest
of the Sancgreall; but ever his thoughts were privily upon the queen."

But soon there arose a bitter quarrel between Lancelot and Guinevere,
and she banished him from her sight. During his absence from the court
she made a dinner, at which one of the guests, Sir Modor, was poisoned,
and the queen accused of the crime. Guinevere was therefore impeached,
and so truly did all the Round Table believe in her guilt, that at
first no knight would come forward to defend her.

Ultimately, however, the "good Sir Bors," Lancelot's kinsman, was
prevailed on to be her champion, provided that at the moment of the
contest a better knight did not appear, to answer for her. Of course,
when Sir Bors is about to enter the lists in the meadow before
Winchester, where there is a great fire and an iron stake, at which
Guinevere is to be burned if her champion is overcome, a strange knight
appears in unknown armour, and turns out to be Lancelot, fights for the
queen, and overthrows her accuser.

Here comes in the exquisite story of Elaine, to which Tennyson has done
ample justice.

Soon after the death of the "lily maid of Astolat," Sir Agravaine,
moved by jealousy of Arthur's greatest knight, discloses the story of
Lancelot's treacherous love for the queen, and extracts from the king a
reluctant permission to take the miscreant. But Sir Modred is the real
instigator of the plot, working upon Agravaine's weakness, and Tennyson
has altered little in the dramatic situation which immediately follows.
His description of the parting scene between Lancelot and Guinevere is

"And then they were agreed upon a night
(When the good King should not be there) to meet
And part for ever. Passion pale they met
And greeted: hands in hands, and eye to eye,
Low on the border of her couch they sat
Stammering and staring; it was their last hour,
A madness of farewells. And Modred brought
His creatures to the basement of the tower
For testimony; and crying with full voice,
'Traitor, come out, ye are trapt at last,' aroused
Lancelot, who rushing outward lion-like
Leapt on him, and hurled him headlong, and he fell
Stunned, and his creatures took and bare him off,
And all was still; then she, 'The end is come,
And I am shamed forever;' and he said,
`Mine be the shame; mine was the sin; but rise,
And fly to my strong castle over seas
There will I hide thee till my life shall end,
There hold thee with my life against the world.'
She answered, 'Lancelot, wilt thou hold me so?
Nay, friend, for we have taken our farewells.
Would God that thou coulds't hide me from myself!"

Lancelot will not yield himself up lightly to his enemies; Sir
Agravaine and another knight fall in the struggle with him; but it is
not now that Guinevere betakes herself to Almesbury, and the whole
beautiful scene between her and Arthur, and his most touching farewell
to her are weavings of the modern poet's imagination. Beautiful the
scene surely is, although wanting in one supreme touch, which a more
Catholic-minded poet would have given to it. Guinevere's sin, according
to Tennyson, is merely her sin against her husband; according to Malory
it is her sin against God, and this is the very essence of the true
Guinevere's repentance.

What really happens is this: Lancelot takes counsel with Sir Bors and
his other friends, as to how he may save the queen, and it is decided
that if on the morrow she is brought to the fire to be burned, Lancelot
and all his kinsmen shall rescue her.

Accordingly, Arthur's nephews, Gawayn, Gahers, and Gareth, lead
Guinevere forth "without Caerleyell, and there she was despoiled unto
her smock, and so then her ghostly father was brought to her to be
shriven of her misdeeds." But Lancelot's messenger gives the alarm
duly, and Lancelot appears with all his friends. There is much fighting
and bloodshed, and Sir Gahers and Sir Gareth are slain.

"Then Sir Lancelot rode straight unto the queen, and made a kirtle and
a gown to be cast upon her, and then he made her to be set behind him,
and rode with her unto his castle of joyous Garde, and there he kept
her as a noble knight should, and many lords and kings send Sir
Lancelot many good knights. When it was known openly that King Arthur
and Sir Lancelot were at debate, many knights were glad of their
debate, and many knights were sorry. But King Arthur sorrowed for pure
sorrow, and said, Alas, that ever I bare any crown upon my head."

Gawayn, mourning the death of his brothers, incites the king to besiege
Lancelot in Joyous Garde, and at length, reluctantly, Arthur consents
to make war.

"Of this war was noise throughout all Christendom. And at last it was
noised before the Pope, and he, considering the great goodness of King
Arthur and Sir Lancelot, which was called the most noble knight of the
world, wherefore the Pope called unto him a noble clerk that at that
time there was present the French book saith it was the Bishop of
Rochester. And the Pope gave him Bulls under lead, unto King Arthur of
England, charging him upon pain of interdiction of all England, that he
take his queen, Dame Guinevere, to him again, and accord with Sir

Arthur would have made peace at once, but at first Gawayn prevented
him. Then the bishop went to Lancelot and charged him to bring back the

"And the bishop had of the king his great seal and assurance, as he was
a true anointed king, that Sir Lancelot should go safe and come safe,
and that the queen should not be reproved of the king nor of none
other, for nothing done before time past."

To Lancelot the bishop ended his exhortation in these words:--

"Wit ye well, the Pope must be obeyed."

And Lancelot answered that it was never in his thoughts to withhold the
queen from his lord, King Arthur, "but in so much as she should have
been dead for my sake, me seemeth it was my part to save her life, and
put her from that danger till better recover might come. And now I
thank God that the Pope hath made her peace, for God knoweth I would be
a thousandfold more gladder to bring her again than I was of her taking

So he brought Guinevere to the king, and when they had both knelt
before him, he said:--

"My most redoubted lord ye shall understand that, by the Pope's
commandment and by yours, I have brought unto you my lady the queen, as
right requireth." Then King Arthur and all the other kings kneeled down
and gave thankings and louings (praises) to God and to his Blessed

But Gawayn would not be reconciled to Lancelot, who in vain offered to
do penance for the death of Gahers and Gareth. In vain he said:--

"This much shall I offer you if it may please the king's good grace,
and you my lord Sir Gawayn. And first I shall begin at Sandwich, and
there I shall go in my shirt and barefoot, and at every ten miles' end
I will found and cause to make a house of religion, of what order ye
will assign me, with a whole convent, to sing and to read day and
night, in especial for Sir Gareth's sake and Sir Gahers; and this shall
I perform from Sandwich unto Caerleyell. And this, Sir Gawayn, me
thinketh, were more fairer and better unto their souls than that my
most noble lord Arthur and you should war on me, for thereby ye shall
get none avail."

But Gawayn answered him with hard words ending thus:--

"And if it were not for the Pope's commandment I should do battle with
my body against thy body, and prove it unto thee that thou hast been
false unto mine uncle, King Arthur, and to me both, and that shall I
prove upon thy body, when thou art departed from hence, wheresoever I
find thee. Then all the knights and ladies that were there wept as they
had been mad, and the tears fell upon King Arthur's cheeks. Then Sir
Lancelot kissed the queen before them all, took his leave, and departed
with all the knights of his kin."

He went to his estates over the sea; but Gawayn gave Arthur no rest
till he had made ready an army and crossed the sea to make war on him.
Modred, in Arthur's absence, seized the kingdom, and would have wedded
the queen by force, had not the Archbishop of Canterbury threatened to
curse him with bell, book, and candle. When Modred defied him, the
archbishop departed, and "did the curse in the most orgulous wise that
might be done."

But Arthur, receiving tidings of Modred's conduct, returned to Dover,
where the usurper met him, and "there was much slaughter of gentle
knights." Here Sir Gawayn was mortally wounded, and Arthur " made great
sorrow and moan." Two hours before his death, Gawayn wrote a letter to
Lancelot, telling him of Modred's crime and beseeching him, "the most
noblest knight," to come back to the realm:--

"And so at the hour of None, Sir Gawayn betook himself into the hands
of our Lord God, after that he had received his Saviour. And then the
king let bury him within a chapel within the castle of Dover, and
there, yet to this day, all men may see the skull of Sir Gawayn, and
the same wound is seen that Sir Lancelot gave him in battle."

In the "Passing of Arthur" Tennyson has kept mainly to the original,
though he omits Arthur's command to Sir Bedevere to pray for his soul.

The king, overcome by his enemies, receives his deadly wound, and sails
away in the barge, with the three queens, to the island valley of
Avilion. But, according to Malory, Sir Bedevere finds him on the
morrow, lying dead in a little chapel on a rock:--

"And when Queen Guinevere understood that her lord King Arthur was
slain, and all the noble knights, Sir Modred and all the remnant, she
stole away, and five ladies with her, and so she went to Almesbury, and
there she let make herself a nun, and wore white clothes and black, and
great penance she took as ever did sinful lady in this land, and never
creature could make her merry, but lived in fastings, prayers, and
alms-deeds, that all manner of people marvelled how virtuously she was
changed. Now leave we Queen Guinevere in Almesbury, a nun in white
clothes and black, and there she was abbess and ruler as reason would,
and turn me from her and speak me of Sir Lancelot du Lake."

Meanwhile, Sir Lancelot had returned to England to avenge King Arthur's

"Then the people told him how that he was slain, and Sir Modred and a
hundred thousand died on a day, and how Sir Modred gave King Arthur
there the first battle at his landing, and there was good Sir Gawayn
slain, and on the morn Sir Modred fought with the king upon Barham
Down, and there the king put Sir Modred to the worse. Alas, said Sir
Lancelot, this is the heaviest tidings that ever came to me. Now fair
Sirs, said Sir Lancelot, shew me the tomb of Sir Gawayn. And then
certain people of the town brought him into the castle of Dover and
showed him the tomb. Then Sir Lancelot kneeled down and wept and prayed
heartily for his soul. And that night he made a dole, and all they that
would come had as much flesh, fish, wine, and ale as they would, and
every man and woman had twelve pence come who would. Thus with his own
hand dealt he his money in a mourning gown; and ever he wept, and
prayed them to pray for the soul of Sir Gawayn. And on the morn all the
priests and clerks that might be gotten in the country were there and
sung Mass of Requiem. And there offered first Sir Lancelot, and he
offered an hundred pound, and then the seven kings offered forty pound
apiece, and also there was a thousand knights, and each of them offered
a pound, and the offering dured from morn till night. And Sir Lancelot
lay two nights on his tomb in prayers and in weeping. Then on the third
day Sir Lancelot called the kings, dukes, earls, barons, and knights,
and said thus:--

My fair lords, I thank you all of your coming into this country with
me: but we come too late, and that shall repent me while I live, but
against death may no man rebel. But sithen it is so, said Sir Lancelot,
I will myself ride and seek my lady Queen Guinevere, for as I hear say
she hath great pain and much disease, and I heard say that she is fled
into the west country, therefore ye all abide me here, and but if I
come not again within fifteen days, then take your ships and your
fellowship, and depart into your country.

"Then came Sir Bors de Ganis, and said, My lord Sir Lancelot, what
think ye for to do, now to ride in this realm? wit thou well ye shall
find few friends. Be as it may, said Sir Lancelot, keep you still here,
for I will forth on my journey, and no man nor child shall go with me.
So it was no boot to strive, but he departed and rode westerly and
sought seven or eight days, and at the last he came to a nunnery. And
then was Queen Guinevere ware of Sir Lancelot as he walked in the
cloister. And when she saw him there she swooned thrice, that all the
ladies and gentlewomen had work enough to hold the Queen up. So when
she might speak she called the ladies and gentlewomen to her and said,
Ye marvel, fair ladies, why I make this cheer. Truly, she said, it is
for the sight of yonder knight which yonder standeth, wherefore I pray
you all call him to me. And when Sir Lancelot was brought unto her she
said, through this knight and me all these wars been wrought, and the
death of the most noblest knights of the world. For through our love
that we have loved together is my most noble lord slain. Therefore, wit
ye well, Sir Lancelot, I am set in such a plight to get my soul health;
and yet I trust through God's grace after my death to have a sight of
the blessed face of Christ, and at the dreadful day of doom to sit on
His right side, for as sinful creatures as ever was I are saints in
heaven. Therefore, Sir Lancelot, I require and beseech thee heartily,
for all the love that ever was betwixt us, that thou never see me more
in the visage. And furthermore I command thee on God's behalf right
straightly that thou forsake my company, and to thy kingdom thou turn
again, and keep well thy realm from war and wrack. For as well as I
have loved thee, mine heart will not serve me to see thee; for both
through me and thee is the flower of kings and knights destroyed.
Therefore, Sir Lancelot, go to thy realm, and there take thee a wife,
and live with her in joy and bliss, and I pray thee heartily pray for
me to our Lord, that I may amend my mis-living.

"Now, sweet madam, said Sir Lancelot, would ye that I should return
again unto my country, and there to wed a lady? Nay, madam, wit you
well, that shall I never do: for I shall never be so false to you of
that I have promised, but the same destiny that ye have taken you unto,
I will take me unto, for to please God and specially to pray for you.

"If thou wilt do so, said the Queen, hold thy promise. But I may not
believe but that thou wilt turn to the world again.

"Ye say well, said he, yet wish ye me never false of my promise, and
God defend but that I should forsake the world like as ye have done.
For in the quest of the Sancgreall I had forsaken the vanities of the
world had not your lord been. And if I had done so at that time, with
my heart, will, and thought, I had passed all the knights that were in
the Sancgreall, except Sir Galahad, my son. And therefore, lady, sithen
ye have taken you to perfection, I must needs take me unto perfection
of right. For I take record of God, in you have I had mine earthly joy,
and if I had found you so disposed, I had cast me for to have had you
into mine own realm. But sithen I find you thus disposed, I ensure you
faithfully that I will take me to penance, and pray while my life
lasteth, if that I may find any hermit, either grey or white, that will
receive me. Wherefore, madam, I pray you kiss me once and never more.

"Nay, said the Queen, that shall I never do, but abstain you from such
works. And they departed. But there was never so hard a hearted man but
he would have wept to see the dolour that they made. For there was
lamentation as though they had been stung with spears, and many times
they swooned. And the ladies bare the Queen to her chamber. And Sir
Lancelot awoke, and went, and took his horse, and rode all that day and
all that night in a forest, weeping. And at the last he was ware of an
hermitage, and a chapel stood betwixt two cliffs; and then he heard a
little bell ring to Mass, and thither he rode and alighted, and tied
his horse to the gate, and heard Mass. So he that sang the Mass was the
Bishop of Canterbury. There was also Sir Bedevere, and both the bishop
and Sir Bedevere knew Sir Lancelot, and they spoke together after Mass.
But when Sir Bedevere had told his tale all whole, Sir Lancelot's heart
almost braste for sorrow, and Sir Lancelot threw his arms abroad and
said, Alas, who may trust this world! And then he kneeled down on his
knees, and prayed the bishop to shrive him and assoil him. And then he
besought the bishop that he might be his brother. Then the bishop said,
I will gladly, and there he put an habit upon Sir Lancelot, and there
he served God day and night with prayers and fastings."

Bedevere followed Lancelot's example, and within half a year seven
other knights joined themselves to these two and endured in great
penance six year, and then Sir Lancelot took the habit of priesthood,
and in twelve months he sang Mass. And there was none of these other
knights but they read in books and holp to sing Mass, and rang bells,
and did lowly all manner of service. And so their horses went where
they would for they took no regard of no worldly riches. For when they
saw Sir Lancelot endure such penance, in prayers and fasting, they took
no force what pain they endured, for to see the noblest knight of the
world take such abstinence that he waxed full lean. And thus upon a
night there came a vision to Sir Lancelot, and charged him in remission
of his sins, to haste him unto Almesbury--and by then thou come there,
thou shalt find Queen Guinevere dead, and therefore take thy fellows
with thee, and purvey thee of an horse-bier, and fetch thou the corpse
of her, and bury her by her husband, the noble King Arthur. So this
vision came to Lancelot thrice in one night.

"Then Sir Lancelot rose upon day and told the hermit. It were well
done, said the hermit, that ye make you ready, and that ye disobey not
the vision. Then Sir Lancelot took his seven fellows with him, and on
foot they went from Glastonbury to Almesbury, the which is little more
than thirty miles. And thither they came within two days, for they were
weak and feeble to go.

"And when Sir Lancelot was come to Almesbury, within the nunnery, Queen
Guinevere died but half an hour before. And the ladies told Sir
Lancelot that Queen Guinevere told them all ere she passed, that Sir
Lancelot had been priest near a twelvemonth. And hither he cometh as
fast as he may to fetch my corpse, and beside my lord King Arthur he
shall bury me. Wherefore the Queen said, in hearing of them all, I
beseech Almighty God that I may never have power to see Sir Lancelot
with my worldly eyes. And this, said all the ladies was ever her prayer
these two days till she was dead. Then Sir Lancelot saw her visage, but
he wept not greatly, but sighed. And so he did all the observance of
the service himself, both the Dirige, and on the morn he sang Mass. And
there was ordained an horse-bier, and so with an hundred torches ever
burning about the corpse of the Queen, and ever Sir Lancelot with his
eight fellows went about the horse-bier singing and reading many an
holy orison, and frankincense upon the corpse incensed. Thus Sir
Lancelot and his eight fellows went on foot from Almesbury unto
Glastonbury, and when they were come to the chapel and the hermitage,
there she had a Dirige with great devotion. And on the morn the hermit
that was sometime Bishop of Canterbury, sang the Mass of Requiem with
great devotion; and Sir Lancelot was the first that offered, and then
all his eight fellows. And then she was wrapped in cered cloth of
Raines, from the top to the toe in thirty-fold, and after she was put
in a web of lead, and then in a coffin of marble. And when she was put
in the earth, Sir Lancelot swooned, and lay long still, while the
hermit came out, and awaked him and said, Ye be to blame, for ye
displease God with such manner of sorrow-making. Truly, said Sir
Lancelot, I trust I do not displease God, for He knoweth mine intent,
for my sorrow was not, nor is not, for any rejoicing of sin, but my
sorrow may never end. For when I remember of her beauty and of her
noblesse that was both with her king and with her, so when I saw his
corpse and her corpse so lie together, truly mine heart would not serve
to sustain my careful body. Also when I remember me, how by my default,
mine orgule, my pride, that they were both laid full low that were
peerless that ever was living of Christian people, wit you well, said
Sir Lancelot, this remembered of their kindness and mine unkindness,
sank so to my heart that I might not sustain myself."

Not long after the death of Guinevere, Lancelot "began to wax sick, and
for evermore, day and night he prayed; but needfully, as nature
required, sometimes he slumbered a broken sleep. And within six weeks
he lay in his bed and called the bishop and said, Sir Bishop, I pray
you that ye will give me all my rights that belongeth unto a Christian
man." Then Malory goes on to say that "when he was houseled and eneled,
and had all that a Christian man ought to have, he prayed the bishop
that his fellows might bear his body unto joyous Garde."

That night the bishop dreamed he saw Sir Lancelot with two angels, "and
he saw the angels heave up Sir Lancelot towards heaven, and the gates
of heaven opened against him. And then they went to Sir Lancelot's bed,
and there they found him dead, and he lay as he had smiled; and the
sweetest savour about him that ever they felt."


To take the Acts and Monuments, and as far as it might be possible
after upwards of three hundred years, test the accuracy of each
circumstance which Foxe proposes for the edification of his readers,
would necessitate a work as voluminous as his own immense undertaking.
To sift the chaff from the wheat, and to bind up the latter into one
acceptable whole would perhaps result in a book not larger than one of
his own eight thick octavo and closely printed volumes. All that can be
done here is to indicate some of the most flagrant instances of the
unfair and uncritical spirit in which he has written, of the
carelessness, wilful misrepresentation, and neglect to rectify errors
pointed out to him, by which the martyrologist has exposed his book to
everlasting reproach. On the death of Foxe's last descendant the
greater part of his MSS. were either given to the annalist, Strype, or
were allowed to remain in his hands till his death in 1737, when many
of them were purchased by Lord Oxford for the Harleian collection now
in the British Museum. A few of them found a refuge in the Lansdowne
Library, and these also are now in the possession of the nation. They
include a mass of heterogeneous documents of the most unequal value and
interest--such as the stories, often palpably coloured, of persons who
profess to have been eye-witnesses of the scenes depicted, minutes of
the examinations of prisoners, apparently taken down on the spot, wild
statements written with the obvious purpose of pandering to Puritan
intolerance and prejudice, and fantastic tales of the martyrologist's
supposed judgments of God upon those who persecuted the followers of
the reformed doctrines. They include also several counter-statements
sent to Foxe for the express purpose of giving him an opportunity to
correct portions of his work, but of which, although he preserved them,
he never made any use. Some of these latter have been utilised by Gough
in his Narratives of the Days of the Reformation.

In his preface to this book, Gough admits,* as indeed he was obliged to
admit that, "as a general history of the Church in its earlier ages,
Foxes work has been shown to be partial and prejudiced in spirit,
imperfect and inaccurate in execution," and Leach** asserts that, while
its compiler had recourse to some early documents, even here he
depended largely on printed works, such as Crespin's Actiones et
Monuments Martyrum, which was published at Geneva in 1560. He notes,
moreover, that Foxes chapter on the Waldenses is nothing but a
translation of the untrustworthy Catalogus Testium Veritatis, published
at Basle by Illyricus in 1556, although Foxe himself does not
acknowledge Illyricus as his authority, but claims to have consulted
"parchment documents," which he only knew from the transcriptions in
that book. "It has been conclusively shown," says Mr. Sidney Lee in the
Dictionary of National Biography, "that his chapter on the Waldenses is
directly translated from the Catalogus of Illyricus, although Illyricus
is not mentioned by Foxe among the authorities whom he acknowledges to
have consulted . . . . This indicates a loose notion of literary
morality which justifies some of the harshest judgments passed on Foxe."

* P. 23, edited by the Camden Society.

** Sir George Croke's Reports, edited by Thomas Leach, ii. 91. London,

Matthias Flach-Franconitz, better known as Flacius Illyricus, from the
place of his birth (in Istria, a part of Illyria) was a voluminous
writer on most of the controverted doctrines in the sixteenth century.
Having become a disciple of Luther he was for ever raising fresh
disputes on religious subjects, and was noted for the violence and
exaggeration he brought into their discussion, so that, according to a
German historian, "he seemed to have been created for an ecclesiastical
Procurator General." On his death in 1575, Jacques Andreas, one of his
friends, admitted that, taken altogether, his Illyricus was the devil's
Illyricus, and that, in the opinion of Andreas, he was then "supping
with devils."*

* Hoefer, Nouvelle Biogaphie Generale, Art, Flach-Franconitz Matthias.

Such then being Foxe's authority, although unacknowledged, for his
Waldensian chapter, we can scarcely expect him to be more conscientious
in his evidence concerning matters closely connected with the passions,
prejudices, and burning questions of his own day.

Nearly, if not quite all the material for that part of the Acts and
Monuments which deals with the reign of Mary was collected by others
for Foxe and Grindal during their absence from England. Grindal handed
over to Foxe the accounts of the various prosecutions for heresy sent
to him by his correspondents at home, taking care, however, at the same
time to warn the martyrologist against placing too much confidence in
them, he himself suspending his judgment "till more satisfactory
evidence came from good hands." He advised him for the present, only to
print separately the acts of particular persons of whom they had
authentic accounts and to wait for a larger and more complete history
until they had trustworthy information concerning the "martyrs."* The
letters, which Grindal wrote to Foxe on this subject in 1557, were
published by the Parker Society, in Grindal's Remains, and show that
the future archbishop believed not too implicitly in the truth of all
the stories which he passed on to his friend. He constantly urged him
to delay writing in order to gain "more certain intelligence." But the
careful investigation which he recommended did not fall in with the
particular genius and uncritical methods of Foxe, who, perhaps on
account of his necessitous condition, worked away with a will on the
unsifted tales and reports as they came to hand, so that the book in
its Latin form was completed, almost to the end of the reign of Mary,
and was published at Basle, before his return to England in 1559. He
afterwards made an English translation of the work, but without seeing
fit to revise his material. It bore the title Acts and Monuments, but
it was at once popularly styled the Book of Martyrs. When he was
attacked by Alan Cope (Nicholas Harpsfield) for his inaccuracy, Foxe
replied: "I hear what you will say: I should have taken more leisure
and done it better. I grant and confess my fault, such is my vice, I
cannot sit all the day (Moister Cope) fining and mincing my letters,
and combing my head, and smoothing myself all the day at the glass of
Cicero. Yet, notwithstanding, doing what I can, and doing my good will,
methinks I should not be reprehended, at least not so much be railed of
at M. Copes hand."**

* Strype, Life of Archbishop Grindal, p. 25.

** Acts and Monuments, i. 69 1. Edited 1570.

But it is not for his want of scholarly writing that Foxe has been
blamed. Father Robert Persons, in his Three Conversions of England,*
begins one of his chapters with "a note of more than a hundred and
twenty lies uttered by John Foxe, in less than three leaves of his Acts
and Monuments," and he proceeds to point them out, beginning with the
misstatement concerning John Merbeck and some others, whom Foxe counts
among the martyrs, although they were never burned at all. As, in
consequence of Father Persons' remarks concerning John Merbeck, Foxe
acknowledged the error in his second edition, we may hold him excused
thus far, but his delinquencies in this respect were by no means
unfrequent, and gave rise to the saying that "many who were burnt in
the reign of Queen Mary, drank sack in the reign of Queen Elizabeth."**

* Quoted in Fuller's Worthies, under "Berkshire," p. 92.

*Part iii., p. 412."

Two similar misstatements, which he was in a position to correct and
did not, relate to the supposed death by the vengeance of God, of Henry
Morgan, Bishop of St. David's, and of one Grimwood, another "notorious

Anthony a Wood, the famous antiquary and historian, who wrote his
History of the Antiquities of Oxford about a hundred years after Foxe
had become celebrated as a martyrologist, and who in his youth spoke
with people who remembered the days of persecution under Mary, tells us

"Henry Morgan was esteemed a most admirable civilian and canonist; he
was for several years the constant Moderator of all those that
performed exercise for their degrees in the civil law in the scholar
schools, hall and church pertaining to that faculty, situated also in
the same parish . . . . He was elected Bishop of St. David's, upon the
deprivation of Robert Ferrar . . . . In that see he sate till after
Queen Elizabeth came to the Crown, and then being deprived . . .
retired among his friends, and died a devoted son to the Church of
Rome, on the 23rd of December following (1559) of whose death, hear I
pray what John Foxe saith in this manner: Morgan, bishop of St.
David's, who sate upon the condemnation of the blessed Martyr and
Bishop Ferrar, and unjustly usurped his room, was not long after
stricken by God's hand, but after such a strange sort, that his meat
would not go down, but rise and pick up again, sometimes at his mouth,
sometimes blown out of his nose, most horrible to behold, and so he
continued till his death. Thus Foxe, followed by Thomas Beard in his
Theatre of God's Judgments. But where or when his death happened, they
tell us not, nor any author hitherto, only when, which Bishop Godwin
mentions. Now, therefore, be pleased to know that the said Bishop
Morgan, retiring after his deprivation to and near Oxen, where he had
several relations and acquaintance living, particularly the Owens of
Godstow, in the parish of Wolvercote, near to the said city, did spend
the little remainder of his life in great devotion at Godstow, but that
he died in the condition which Foxe mentions there is no tradition
among the inhabitants of Wolvercote. True it is that I have heard some
discourse, many years ago, from some of the ancients of that place,
that a certain bishop did live for some time, and exercised his charity
and religious counsel among them, and there died; but I could never
learn anything of them of the manner of his death, which being very
miserable, as John Foxe saith, methinks that they should have a
tradition of it, as well as of the man himself; but I say there is now
none, nor was there any thirty years ago, among the most aged persons
then living at that place, and therefore, whether there be anything of
truth in it may justly be doubted."

The evidence of this negative tradition is certainly more convincing,
than Foxes unsupported allegation of a circumstance, as unlikely to
have occurred, as it was likely to be concocted by a man of his
propensity and unscrupulousness. If, however, there should be any doubt
of Foxes ability to concoct such a story, it will perhaps be removed by
the history of the drastic refutation, which befell the similar story
of the end of Grimwood. This, Anthony a Wood proceeds to record in a
passage immediately after the one above quoted.

"In the very same chapter and leaf concerning the severe punishment
upon persecutors of God's People, he hath committed a most egregious
falsity in reporting that one Grimwood, of Higham, in Suffolk, died in
a miserable manner, for swearing and bearing false witness against one
John Cooper, a carpenter of Watsam in the same county, for which he
lost his life. The miserable death of the said Grimwood was, as John
out that in the reign of Elizabeth, one Prit* became parson of the
parish where the said Grimwood dwelt, and preaching against perjury,
being not acquainted with his parishioners, cited the said story of
Foxe, and it happened that Grimwood being alive, and in the said
church, he brought an action upon the case, against the parson, but
Judge Anderson, who sate at the Assizes in the county of Suffolk, did
adjudge it not maintainable, because it was not spoken maliciously."**

* Or Prick.

** Anthony d Wood, Athenae Oxoniensis, vol. i., p. 691.

That the action was not maintainable on the ground of malice, as
against the parson, may have been true, but Foxe cannot reasonably be
acquitted, for although he went into Suffolk professedly to investigate
the matter, he never made any alteration in his story in subsequent
editions, and the very latest impression of the Acts and Monuments
perpetuates the lie and slander.

Thirty years after the death of Sir Thomas More, Foxe undertook to
collect all the traditional gossip afloat concerning the Chancellor's
alleged treatment of John Tewkesbury and James Bainham, for heresy.
Tewkesbury was a leather-seller of London, and Foxe says that he was
sent to Sir Thomas Mores house at Chelsea to be examined, and that
"there he lay in the porter's lodge, hand, foot, and head in the
stocks, six days without release. Then was he carried to Jesus' Tree in
his privy garden, where he was whipped, and also twisted in his brows
with a small rope, that the blood started out of his eyes, and yet
would not accuse no man. Then was he let loose for a day, and his
friends thought to have him at liberty the next day. After this he was
sent to be racked in the Tower, till he was almost lame, and there
promised to recant.*

* Acts and Monuments, vol. iv., p. 689; Pratt's ed.

The truth of the matter was, however, that as Tewkesbury was examined
for the first time on the 8th May 1529, and immediately afterwards
recanted, the event occurred several months before Sir Thomas More
became Lord Chancellor; and therewith falls to the ground the story of
Tewkesbury's being tortured in Mores garden, the punishment of heretics
being part of the Lord Chancellor's office.

James Bainham was a lawyer, and Foxe declares that he was whipped at
the Tree of Truth in Mores garden, and was then sent to the Tower to be
racked, "and so he was, Sir Thomas More being present himself, till in
a manner he had lamed him." Bainham, like Tewkesbury, recanted, and
both of them bewailed and retracted their recantations, first before
their friends in a Protestant gathering in Bow Lane, and afterwards in
a Catholic Church, in consequence of which, according to Foxe, both
were burned. But a part of what Foxe wrote about Tewkesbury in one
edition of the Acts and Monuments he omitted in another, patching it on
to Bainham's story, thus stultifying himself as regards both stories,*
and affording us another signal illustration of the irresponsible and
unscrupulous way in which he could deal with evidence.

* Vol. iv., p. 702; and Appendix, p. 769; Pratt's ed.

He further attributed to More the death of John Frith, who suffered
death in 1533, a year after Sir Thomas had laid down his office,
although in his Apology, the exchancellor referred to Frith as being
then in the Tower, not committed by him but by "the King's Grace and
his Council."*

* Apology, p. 887.

Foxe might easily, had he been so inclined, have verified these things
by reference to the thirty-sixth chapter of the above-mentioned
Apology, in which More answered the lies "neither few nor small that
many of the blessed brethren have made and daily yet make by me." He
goes on to say:--

"Divers of them have said that of such as were in my house while I was
chancellor, I used to examine them with torments, causing them to be
bound to a tree in my garden, and there piteously beaten. And this tale
had some of those brethren so caused to be blown about, that a right
worshipful friend of mine did of late, within less than this fortnight,
tell unto another near friend of mine that he had of late heard much
speaking thereof. What cannot these brethren say that can be so
shameless to say thus? For of very truth, albeit that for a great
robbery, or a heinous murder, or sacrilege in a church, with carrying
away the pix with the Blessed Sacrament, or villainously casting it
out, I caused sometimes such things to be done by some officers of the
Marshalsea, or of some other prisons, with which ordering of them, and
without any great hurt that afterwards should stick by them, I found
out and repressed many such desperate wretches, as else had not failed
to have gone farther; yet saving the sure keeping of heretics, I never
did cause any such thing to be done to any of them in all my life
except only twain."

Of these two instances he first records one relating to a child who was
a servant in his house. The boy's father had taught him "his ungracious
heresy against the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar," which heresy the
boy began to teach another child in Mores house. Thereupon, More caused
a servant of his "to stripe him like a child" before the whole
household, "for amendment of himself and example of such others." The
other case was that of a man who, "after that he had fallen into that
frantic heresy, fell soon after into plain open frenzy besides." The
man was confined in Bedlam, and when discharged went about disturbing
public service in churches, and committing acts of great indecency.
Devout, religious folk besought the Chancellor to restrain him, and
accordingly, one day when he came wandering by Mores door, he caused
him to be taken by the constables, bound to a tree in the street before
the whole town, "and there they striped him with rods till he waxed
weary, and somewhat longer." More ends by saying, "And verily, God be
thanked, I hear none harm of him now. And of all that ever came in my
hands for heresy, as help me God, saving [as I said] the sure keeping
of them, had never any of them stripe or stroke given them, so much as
a fillip on the forehead."

He then goes on to disprove the truth of a story spread about by
Tindal, concerning the beating in his garden of a man named Segar. This
story Foxe evidently confused with the fable of Tewkesbury, which thus
completely crumbles to pieces; for as Sir James Mackintosh in his Life
of More says:

"This statement [More's Apology] so minute, so easily contradicted if
in any part false, was made public after his fall from power, when he
was surrounded by enemies, and could have no friends but the generous.
He relates circumstances of public notoriety, or at least so known to
all his household, which it would have been rather a proof of insanity
than of imprudence to have alleged in his defence if they had not been
indisputably and confessedly true . . . Defenceless and obnoxious as
More then was, no man was hardy enough to dispute his truth. Foxe was
the first, who, thirty years afterwards, ventured to oppose it in a
vague statement, which we know to be in some respects inaccurate." *

* Pp. 101, 105.

The story of the death of Robert Packington, mercer, of London, has
also provided Foxe with fertile soil for raising his usual crop of
calumny. The man was shot dead one very misty morning, in Cheapside,
according to most chroniclers in 1556, Foxe says in 1558, as he was
crossing the road from his house to a church on the opposite side,
where he intended to hear Mass. Many persons were suspected of the
murder, but none were found guilty. Hall, Grafton, and Bale all tell
the story, but the martyrologist added thereto an accusation against an
innocent person, which, although satisfactorily refuted by Holinshed,
remains in the pages of the Acts and Monuments to this day. Foxe says:--

"The murtherer so covertly was concealed, till at length by the
confession of Doctor Incent, Dean of St. Paul's, in his deathbed it was
known, and by him confessed that he was the author thereof, by hiring
an Italian for sixty crowns or thereabouts to do the feat. For the
testimony whereof, and also of the repentant words of the said Incent,
the names, both of them which heard him confess it, and of them which
heard the witnesses report it, remains yet in memory to be produced if
need required."*

* P. 525, edited 1563.

But Holinshed, a far more credible witness tells us that:--

"At length the murtherer indeed was condemned at Banbury, in
Oxfordshire, to die for a felony which he afterwards committed; and
when he came to the gallows in which he suffered, he confessed that he
did this murther [that of Robert Packington], and till that time he was
never had in any suspicion thereof."*

* Chronicle, fol. ed., 1586, p. 944. Answer to Foxes assertion. Also
Appendix to Gough's Narratives, pp. 296, 297.

There is another class of anecdote in the Acts and Monuments, the
errors of which do not lie so much in the facts of the story as in the
oblique vision of Foxe himself, in regarding the dramatis personae, as
heroes. Thus, a madman named Collins, who, entering a church during
Mass, seized his dog at the Elevation, and held it over his head,
showing it to the people in derision, is accounted "as one belonging to
the holy company of saints."*

* Acts and Monuments, vol. v., p. 25; Pratt's ed.

Cowbridge, who was burned at Oxford, was one who would in these days be
called a criminal lunatic, but Foxe regarded him as a holy martyr. The
horrible story of the " martyrdom " of three women of Guernsey rests
entirely on Foxes authority. It was immediately contradicted. Foxe
replied, and Father Persons refuted his reply. It transpired on
investigation that all three women were hanged as thieves, their bodies
being afterwards burned; one of them had led an openly immoral life.

Machyn and Wriothesley chronicle an outbreak of fanaticism on Easter
Sunday 1555. An ex-monk named Flower rushed into St. Margaret's Church,
Westminster, while the priest, Sir John Sleuther, was administering
Communion to his parishioners. Foxe tells the tale succinctly:--

"The said Flower, upon Easter Day last past, drew his wood knife, and
strake the priest upon the head, hand, and arm, who being wounded
therewith, and having a chalice with consecrated hosts therein in his
hand, they were sprinkled with the said priest's blood."*

* Ibid. vol. vii., p. 75.

The only mistake which Foxe here makes is in saying that the priest was
Sir John Cheltham. The would-be assassin harangued his victim before
dealing the blow, and then struck home so forcibly that the priest fell
as if dead. A tumult arose, the multitude thinking that the Spaniards
were attacking them. Flower was apprehended, tried, and burned for
heresy and sedition, on the spot now called the Broad Sanctuary. His
claim to swell Foxe's calendar of "martyrs" rests solely on the motive
of his murderous assault, namely, outrage of the Blessed Sacrament.

Another martyr of Flower's kidney was William Gardiner, who was living
at Lisbon in 1552 as agent of an English mercantile house.

Foxe describes his exploits and the consequences thereof as "The
history, no less lamentable than notable, of William Gardiner, an
Englishman suffering most constantly in Portugal for the testimony of
Gods truth." Gardiner's admiring biographer relates that his hero twice
entered a church (probably Lisbon Cathedral) with intent to do some
notable thing in the king's sight and presence. The first time was on
the occasion of a royal marriage, but the throng was so great that he
could not get near the altar. However, on the following Sunday, "the
said William was present early in the morning, very cleanly apparelled,
even of purpose, that he might stand near the altar without repulse.
Within a while cometh the king with all his nobles. Then Gardiner
setteth himself as near the altar as he might, having a Testament in
his hand, which he diligently read upon and prayed, until the time was
come that he had appointed to work his feat." This time was just before
the Communion of the priest, who was the Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon.
Gardiner sprang forward, snatched the consecrated Host from his hand,
trod it underfoot, and overturned the chalice. The first effect of this
outrage was to strike the clergy and congregation dumb with amazement,
horror, and consternation. In Foxe's words, "this matter at first made
them all abashed." But on recovering their senses, the people gave vent
to their indignation in shouts and cries of vengeance. A dagger was
drawn, and Gardiner was wounded in the shoulder. The man who struck him
was about to deal another blow, when he was prevented by the king
himself. Gardiner thereupon, being in the hands of the guards,
impudently harangued the people, and told them that "if he had done
anything which were displeasant unto them, they ought to impute it unto
no man but unto themselves, who so irreverently used the Holy Supper of
the Lord unto so great idolatry, not without great ignominy unto the
church, violation of the sacrament, and the peril of their own souls,
except they repented."

The Portuguese, entirely inexperienced in this kind of fanaticism,
thought that Gardiner must be a political agent, with designs on the
safety of the realm. As he would confess nothing of this sort, they put
him on the rack, in order to extract from him secrets of a seditious
nature. At length, as it was clear that heresy and sacrilege were the
crimes in which he exulted, they burned him as a heretic, he
maintaining, according to Foxe, his "godly mind" to the end, declaring
even in the flames that "he had done nothing whereof he did repent

*Acts and Monuments, vi. 277; Cattley's ed.

Foxe incidently bears witness to the edifying manner in which the
Portuguese assisted at Mass, the people standing "with great devotion
and silence, praying, looking, kneeling, and knocking [beating their
breasts in token of compunction], their minds being fully bent and set,
as it is the manner, upon the external sacrament."*

* Ibid.

The story of Bertrand Le Blas, the silk-weaver of Dornick who
signalised himself in the same riotous manner in 1555, is said to have
ended in the same way, Le Blas declaring "that if it were a thousand
times to be done he would do it; and if he had a thousand lives he
would give them all in that quarrel."*

* Acts and Monuments, vi. 393.

But these are all ex pane statements of Foxe. He is thinking of nothing
but of pointing his own particular moral and of adorning his own tale.
Historically, his evidence is valueless unless supported by more
careful witnesses. He professes to chronicle the martyrdom at Newent,
on the 25th September 1556, of "John Horne and a woman"; but Deighton,
a friendly critic, pointed out that this story was nothing more or less
than an amplification of the burning of Edward Horne, which Foxe had
already recorded as having taken place on the 25th September 1558, and
that no woman suffered at either of these times. Such instances might
be pointed out ad infinitum.

The detestation in which most Englishmen hold the names of Stephen
Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and of Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London,
is entirely owing to Foxe's calumnies.

Although Gardiner had been deprived of his see for his belief in
Transubstantiation in Edward's reign, and had been sent to the Tower by
a court presided over by Cranmer, it is certain that he bore the
archbishop no ill-will, but even did his best to save Cranmer's life
and that of the other reformers who refused to conform to the old
religion which Mary had brought back. It was his duty as chancellor to
enforce the law of the land, in the matter of exterminating heresy, as
in all else, but he only once sat on a commission, gave Cranmer ample
opportunity to escape if he had so minded, furnished Peter Martyr with
funds to take him abroad, shielded Thomas Smith, King Edward's
secretary, from persecution on account of his heretical opinions, and
even allowed him a yearly pension of 100 pounds for his support.* Of
Gardiner's kindness to Roger Ascham, the latter said, "Stephen, Bishop
of Winchester, High Chancellor of England, treated me with the utmost
humanity and favour, so that I cannot easily decide whether Paget was
more ready to commend me or Winchester to protect and benefit me; there
were not wanting some, who, on the ground of religion, attempted to
stop the flow of his benevolence towards me, but to no purpose. I owe
very much to the humanity of Winchester, and not only I, but many
others also have experienced his kindness."**

* Dictionary of National Biography, article, "Stephen Gardiner."

** Epis. p. 51; Oxford ed., 1703.

One of the "many others" was John Frith, whom Gardiner did his best to
save from a painful death;* and even Northumberland would have escaped
had Gardiner's voice prevailed in the council. Again, Gardiner's
patriotism prompted him to oppose boldly the project of the queen's
marriage with Philip of Spain, seeing that it was distasteful to the
bulk of the nation; yet, when he recognised that it was inevitable, he
did his best to make it more popular.

* Grenville, MS. 11,990; Letters and papers, 6,600.

For some reason known doubtless to himself, but quite unknown to
history, the martyrologist represents Gardiner as keenly desirous to
hear that the sentence passed on Latimer and Ridley had been carried
out. He says:--

"The same day, when Bishop Ridley and Master Latimer suffered at Oxford
[being about the 19 day of October], there came into the house of
Stephen Gardiner the old Duke of Norfolk, with the foresaid Master
Munday, his secretary, above named reporter hereof. The old aged duke,
there waiting and tarrying for his dinner, the bishop being not yet
disposed to dine, deferred the time to three or four o'clock at
afternoon. At length about four of the clock cometh his servant,
posting in all possible speed from Oxford, bringing intelligence to the
bishop what he had heard and seen; of whom the said bishop, inquiring
the truth of the matter, and learning by his man that fire most
certainly was set unto them, cometh out rejoicing to the duke. "Now,"
saith he, "let us go to dinner." Whereupon they being set down, meat
immediately was brought, and the bishop began merrily to eat. But what
followed? The bloody tyrant had not eaten a few bits, but the sudden
stroke of God's terrible hand fell upon him in such sort, as
immediately he was taken from the table, and so brought to his bed in
such intolerable anguish and torments, that . . . whereby his body
being miserably inflamed within (who had inflamed so many good martyrs
before) was brought to a miserable end."

Foxe relates this story at third hand, as was his wont, but it fitted
in so admirably with his favourite theory in regard to the temporal
judgments of God on miscreants--and Gardiner to his way of thinking was
certainly a miscreant of the first rank--that he could not afford to be
fastidious as to its veracity. For he must surely have known that "the
old Duke of Norfolk could not have dined with Gardiner on or about the
19th October 1555, having been in his grave since August 1553; and as
for "the sudden stroke of God's terrible hand," by which the Bishop of
Winchester was "brought to a miserable end," the following extract from
a letter of the Venetian ambassador, resident in England, to the Doge
and Senate, written on the 16th September 1555, gives a totally
different account of the illness from which Gardiner died on the 12th

"After the chancellor's return from the conference at Calais," writes
the Venetian chronicler of current events, "he fell into such a state
of appilation [sic] that besides having become [as the physicians say]
jaundiced, he by degrees got confirmed dropsy, and had it not been for
his robust constitution, a variety of remedies prescribed for him by
the English physicians having been of no use, he would by this time be
in a bad way, his physiognomy being so changed as to astound all who
see him. The Emperor had sent him the remedy he used when first
troubled with dropsical symptoms, on his return from the war of Metz,
which remedy cured him, and should God grant that it take the same
effect on the Bishop of Winchester, it will be very advantageous for
England, he being considered one of the most consummate chancellors who
have filled the post for many years, and should he die, he would leave
few or none so well suited to the charge as himself."*

* Giovanni Michiel to the Doge and Senate, Calendar of State Papers,
Venetian, vol. vi., part. i., 215; edited by Rawdon Brown.

On the 21st October, the queen opened Parliament in person, and
Gardiner mortally ill, rose from the bed to which he had been for weeks
confined, in order to introduce a Bill for the granting of much needed
supplies to the Crown. Michiel, the Venetian envoy, continuing his
letter says:--

"After the Mass of the Holy Ghost, sung by the Bishop of Ely, and the
sermon preached by the Bishop of Lincoln, her Majesty proceeded into
the great hall, where, in the presence of all those officially
summoned, the Lord Chancellor, having rallied a little, choosing at
anyrate to be there, in order not to fail performing his office on this
occasion, made the usual proposal, stating the cause for assembling
Parliament, which was in short solely for the purpose of obtaining
pecuniary supply."

Mary had succeeded to a treasury rich only in debt, and her need of
money to carry on the government was urgent. Gardiner made a long and
effective speech, the result of which was, that Parliament at once
voted a million of gold to be levied in two years from the laity, in
four from the clergy. But exhausted by his effort, and so weak that he
was unable to return to his own house, the dying chancellor was
accommodated at Whitehall where he met his end peacefully three weeks
later. He desired during his last days that the Passion of our Lord
Jesus Christ might be read to him, and when the reader came to the
contrition of St. Peter, Gardiner exclaimed, "Negavi cum Petro, exivi
cum Petro, sed nondum flevi amare cum Petro!" alluding to his weakness
and fall in Henry VIII's reign.*

* Wardword, 43; Lingard, History of Fn,-land, vol. v., p. 243, note,
6th ed.

The view which Foxe presents of Bonner, Bishop of London, in the
administration of his office, is as distorted and malicious as his
libellous picture of Gardiner. The pages of the Acts and Monuments,
which describe Bonner's examination of those brought before him on
charges of heresy, teem with such picturesque epithets as "this bloody
wolf," the "Bishop was in a marvellous rage" or "in a great fury," but
when we read what Bonner really said, we find nothing to justify these
exaggerated expressions.

On one occasion, when Bonner was supposed by the martyrologist to be in
such "a raging heat" that he appeared "as one clean void of humanity,"
we read on, expecting to find some brutal and heartless words whereby
he crushed the meek spirit of the martyr before him. The scene was
Cranmer's degradation at Oxford, with which solemn and painful act
Bonner was charged; but the strongest words used by the bishop in
answer to Cranmer's continued protests and recriminations were,
according to Foxe himself, merely that " for his inordinate contumacy,
he denied him to speak any more, saying that he had used himself very

* Acts and Monuments vol v., p 765; Cattley's ed.

By Foxe's own showing, when brought before the bishops, the "marytrs"
frequently twitted their judges, gave them homethrusts and "privy
nips," and behaved themselves generally in a very provocative and
irritating manner. It is surprising, nevertheless, to find how very
seldom the examiners lost their tempers, bearing with a considerable
amount of insolence in a singularly good-humoured spirit, doing their
best to give the accused a chance of escape. Of the six who came under
Bonner's examination on the 8th February 1555, Foxe affirms that the
Bishop of London sentenced them the day after they were charged, and
killed them out of hand without mercy, "such quick speed these men
could make in dispatching their business at once"--a terrible
indictment if there were a shadow of truth in it. But Bonner not only
knew all about the six heretics long before the 8th February, three of
them having been in prison for months, where he had again and again
reasoned with them; but after sentence had been passed, an interval of
five weeks was the shortest respite granted to them for reflection
before any one of them was executed. The others suffered consecutively
on the 26th, 28th, and 29th March, the last of the six on the 10th June.

With as little regard for truth did Foxe pen the remarkable distich,
which well served his purpose of villifying Bonner in the minds of his
confiding and credulous readers:--

This cannibal in three years' space three hundred martyrs slew,
They were his food, he loved so blood, he spared none he knew."

Lingard estimates that about two hundred persons suffered for their
religious opinions during the reign of Mary. The fact is no doubt an
appalling one, and horrifies us with a sense of the barbarism that
prevailed so recently as three and a half centuries ago in England. But
when we consider the outrages of which numbers of them were guilty, the
danger which they constituted to the realm, we cannot help agreeing
with Cobbett when he says that "the real truth about these martyrs is
that they were generally a set of most wicked wretches who sought to
destroy the queen and her government, and under the pretence of
conscience and superior piety, to obtain the means of again preying
upon the people."*

* History of the Reformation, edited by Abbot Gasquet, p. 207.

Moreover, portentous as the numbers appear to us, they are small
compared with those which represented Henry's ruthless severity after
the Northern Rising, when the whole country was covered with gibbets,
and with those of Elizabeth's victims who were hanged, cut down alive,
drawn and quartered, for practising the religion that had been taught
in England since it was a Christian country. Nor did the persecution of
Catholics cease at the death of Elizabeth, and the reigns of the Stuart
kings, the Commonwealth, and even the Hanoverian regime testify to the
cruel insistance with which Catholic priests were hunted to death, and
the Catholic laity imprisoned and impoverished for their loyalty to the
oldest faith of Christendom.

Bonner had had nothing whatever to do with the revival of the statute
De Heresia, but good or bad, it was the law of the land, and he could
no more help sitting on the bench in his own diocese to examine
offences against it, than could any other judge refuse to sit in any
court over which he had jurisdiction. Of the two hundred who were
condemned on this statute during Mary's reign, about one hundred and
twenty were sent to Bonner's court for judgment, the city of London
being the centre and hot-bed of the new, revolutionary doctrines. Thus,
Foxe's assertion that "this cannibal three hundred martyrs slew," must
be reduced to nearly onethird of that number. His supposed thirst for
blood was also as much a lie as that other figment of the
martyrologist's brain which represented both Gardiner and Bonner as
having a violent personal grudge against those who were brought before
them for examination. Bonner, as well as Gardiner, laboured, and not
unsuccessfully in many instances, in causing heretics to recant, upon
which they were restored to liberty.

A striking yet dispassionate portrait of Edmund Bonner, from the pen of
the late Dr. S. R. Maitland, one of the most scholarly and painstaking
historians of the last century, forms a vivid contrast to Foxe's
caricature of the Bishop of London.

"Setting aside DECLAMATION, and looking at the DETAILS OF FACTS left by
those who may be called, if people please, Bonner's victims and their
friends, we find very consistently maintained the character of a man,
straightforward and hearty, familiar and humorous, sometimes rough,
perhaps coarse, naturally hot-tempered, but obviously [by the testimony
of his enemies] placable and easily entreated, capable of bearing most
patiently intemperate and violent language, much reviling and low abuse
directed against himself personally, against his order, and against
those peculiar doctrines and practices of his church, for maintaining
which he had himself suffered the loss of all things, and borne long
imprisonment. At the same time, not incapable of being provoked into
saying harsh and passionate things, but much more frequently meaning
nothing by the threatenings and slaughter which he breathed out, than
to intimidate those on whose ignorance and simplicity, argument seemed
to be thrown away; in short, we can scarcely read with attention any
one of the cases detailed by those who were no friends of Bonner,
without seeing in him a judge who [even if we grant that he was
dispensing bad laws badly] was obviously desirous to save the
prisoner's life."*

* Essays on Subjects connected with the Reformation, by S. R. Maitland,
D.D., F.R.S., F.S.A., sometime librarian and keeper of the MSS. at
Lambeth, p. 423.

We have disposed at some length elsewhere of Foxe's shameless calumny
of Sir Henry Bedingfeld, Lieutenant of the Tower of London, and
custodian of the Princess Elizabeth at Woodstock when she was suspected
of connivance in Wyatt's rebellion. In espousing Elizabeth's cause, and
in casting aspersions on one who was responsible for her safe custody,
Foxe was but following his general plan of campaign, the not very
subtle plan of representing all those of his own party to be saints and
martyrs, the enemy deserving every abusive term that came to his facile
pen. This simple method attained its object probably beyond the wildest
dreams of its author. All along the ages the Protestant world has
believed implicitly in the fables invented by Foxe, and even in these
days of critical analysis, although innumerable experts have given him
the lie, the effect of his calumnies remain in the deeply rooted
prejudice of the nation.* Moreover, like every other succes de
scandale, the book brought a rich harvest to its author. He was almost
penniless when he returned to England in 1559, but the English version
of his work, first published in 1563, made his fortune. The Catholics
called it derisively Foxe's Golden Legend. In 1570 a second edition was
printed in two volumes folio, and Convocation decreed that the book,
designated by the canon as Monumenta Martyrum, should be placed in
cathedral churches, and in the houses of the great ecclesiastical
dignitaries. This decree, although never confirmed by parliament, was
so much in accordance with the Puritan tone of the whole Church of
England at that time, that even parish churches far and wide were
furnished with copies of the work, chained side by side with the Bible.
In the vestry minutes of St. Michael's Church, Cornhill, of 11th
January 1571-72, it is ordered "that the booke of Martyrs of Mr. Foxe,
and the paraphrases [of the gospel] of Erasmus [pace Erasmus] shalbe
bowght for the church and tyed with a chain to the Egle bras." A few
years ago, mutilated copies of the Acts and Monuments might still be
seen chained in the parish churches of Apethorpe (Northamptonshire),
Arreton (Isle of Wight), Chelsea, Eustone (Oxfordshire), Kniver
(Staffordshire), Lussingham (Norfolk), Stratford-on-Avon,
(Warwickshire) Waltham, St. Cuthbert (Wells);** also in that of
Lutterworth and many other places. At Cheddar not very long ago was a
great black-letter copy of the Acts and Monuments chained to the
reading desk, and it is stated in the Life of Lord Macaulay that as a
child, the sight of it used to fascinate him as he sat on Sunday
afternoons in the family pew, longing to get at the bewitching pages.

* The late Dr. Littledale lecturing at Liverpool on Innovations in 1868
said: "Two mendacious partizans, the infamous Foxe and the not much
more respectable Burnet have so overlaid all the history of the
Reformation with falsehood, that it has been well-nigh impossible for
readers to get at the facts," p. 16. And later on he refers to the Book
of Martyrs as "that magazine of lying bigotry," p. 21.

** Dictionary of National Biography, article "John Foxe,"

No more potent means could have been devised for saturating the
national mind with the principles of the Reformation than the diffusion
of the Book of Martyrs on this gigantic scale. In a few years there was
scarcely a parish church in England that did not possess a chained copy
of the work. The illiterate might frequently be seen standing in a
group round the lectern, while one among them better instructed than
the rest read to them aloud its graphic and lying legends. Added to
this, in many churches a chapter was read to the assembled
congregations every Sunday evening along with the Bible, and the clergy
constantly made its dubious martyrdoms the subject of their sermons. No
wonder that it assumed an importance equal to that of the Scriptures
themselves. One of the indictments against Archbishop Laud at his trial
was the fact that he had ordered it to be removed from some churches in
his diocese.*

* Dictionary of National Biography, article "John Foxe."

The secret of its charm for Puritan England did not altogether lie in
its Anti-Marian character, or in the partisanship of its garbled facts
and fictitious heroisms. The simplicity of its vigorous English, the
picturesque though minute circumstances which it detailed, the very
boldness with which it lied, in league with the primary passions to
which it appealed, made it one of the most powerful engines in the
revolution that gradually changed the face of the whole country. Its
deadly work of destruction has been effectually accomplished, and it is
almost useless to attempt to convince a people into whose frame and
tissue its stories have been woven, that the Protestant Reformation in
which they so implicitly believe is but a fairytale for the invention
of which John Foxe is mainly responsible. Gairdner, in his History of
the English Church in the Sixteenth Century, a book of the very first
importance for any serious study of the period, has again and again
expressed his opinion of the worthlessness of the Acts and Monuments as
history; and the Rev. John Gerard* has been at the pains of collecting
the learned historian's remarks on Foxes compilation. He says:

* In his pamphlet, John Fare and his Book of Martyrs, Catholic Truth

"But more damaging than any other is the criticism which Foxe receives
at the hands of Mr. James Gairdner, the fullness of whose knowledge is
matched only by the calm judicial manner in which he deals with the
martyrologist's stories as he encounters them in his own history.
Discussing each case on its merits, and giving full weight to the
evidence on either side, Mr. Gairdner finds charges of untruthfulness
and dishonesty established at every turn. Foxe, he declares, ignores or
misrepresents evidence that tells against him [p. 38]; he manipulates
it to suit his purpose [56]; he counts as martyrs offenders of all
kinds [129n]; he 'was above all things credulous' [131]; he tells
stories, the falsehood of which may be gathered from his own relation
[ibid]; he suppresses facts furnished by the authorities upon whom he
draws [133]; he insinuates what is utterly false [135]; he evidently
wishes his readers to understand what he does not venture openly to say
[220-21]; he prejudices readers by irrelevant gibes [271]; he has made
people believe what is untrue [333]; he was quite as prejudiced and
unfair as the notorious Bishop Bale [342]; his narrative has been
exposed as untrustworthy by reason of its bias, but has not even yet
been subjected to complete and thorough criticism [352]. In consequence
of all this, says Mr. Gairdner, Foxe has given a false colour to the
history of the times, and especially to the sentiments and motives of
the persecutors. ' It is quite untrue, as Foxe and his school have made
the world believe, that the authorities were savage or ferocious . . .
The burning of heretics was a barbarous old-fashioned remedy, but it
is not true that either the bishops or the government adopted it
without reluctance' [349, 355]. And again, a royal commission, issued
on 8th February 1557, is printed by Foxe with the title, `A bloody
commission given forth by K. Philip and Q. Mary to persecute the poor
members of Christ.' If we read the preamble, however, we find that it
was provoked by the assiduous propagation of a number of slanderous and
seditious rumours, along with which the sowing of heresies and
heretical opinions was merely a concurrent' [387]."

Nevertheless, that the influence of Foxe is not by any means extinct in
our own day, is proved by the successive republications of his book
during the nineteenth century. In 1836 the plea for a new edition was
put forward in a letter to the editor of the Record in these astounding

"When we consider the high character of the work for accuracy of
detail; its full exhibition of the Gospel in all its holy and
triumphant efficacy; the bulwark it has proved to our Protestant faith;
its peculiar seasonableness to meet all the fresh dangers from Popery
in the present times; and its intrinsic value, as forming a sound
standard of Reformation divinity, we find it an exercise of Christian
charity to call the public attention to it. We might further adduce the
imprimatur of our own Church, by her act of Convocation appending it to
all the ecclesiastical establishments in the land, as giving to Foxe's
work, an additional claim of regard."

Between the years 1836-41, therefore, a new edition was published by
the Rev. S. R. Cattley, with a Life and Vindication of John Foxe, by
Prebendary Townsend of Durham.

The Rev. Josiah Pratt reprinted it in 1846-49; another edition,
purporting to be corrected by the Rev. Josiah Pratt, the younger,
appearing in 1853. But the Life and Vindication had been so greatly
discredited in the attack made upon it by Dr. S. R. Maitland, that when
the Religious Tract Society published an edition of the Acts and
Monuments in 1877, mainly from the stereotype plates of that of 1853,
they thought it prudent to omit that part altogether, Dr. Stoughton,
one of the honorary secretaries of the Society, substituting an
Introduction, a work which is, however, as much open to criticism as

A cheap edition had already appeared in 1868 with a preface by the
Bishop of Carlisle in which his lordship said that:--

"The Convocation of the English clergy did wisely, when in the days of
Elizabeth, they enacted that every parish Church [sic] in this land
should be furnished with a copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs."

There is also an illustrated edition published by Messrs Cassell; and
the Religious Tract Society still continues to make the Acts and
Monuments the subject of a quiet but active propaganda in evangelical
interests, offering the book at a reduced price to students, teachers,
and public libraries, sometimes even presenting it as a free gift.


The great, perhaps the sole repositories of the early historical and
topographical records of England, Scotland, and Ireland, from the
introduction of Christianity until the introduction of printing, were
the monasteries. Throughout the middle ages these libraries were the
homes, in many instances the birthplaces of treasures which would have
been hopelessly lost or destroyed in those rough times but for the
shelter thus afforded them. The monks were constantly employed in
writing, copying, and ornamenting manuscripts, while State papers and
parliamentary rolls were deposited in their archives for safety.
Moreover, as they were known to be rich, and to care for such things,
books were brought to them from time to time for sale by those in need
of money. There was scarcely any religious house but had a library, and
many of them were very good ones. Some data have come down to us by
which we can form an estimate of their bulk and value.

The books which St. Augustine brought with him from Rome, together with
those of Theodore, formed the nucleus of the well-known monastic
library at Canterbury. In the library at Peterborough there were no
fewer than 1700 MSS. That of the Grey Friars in London was 129 feet
long by 31 feet broad, and was well filled with books. That the Abbey
of Leicester and the Priory of Dover had no mean libraries appears from
the catalogues of their books yet remaining in the Bodleian. Ingulf
tells us that when the library at Croyland was burned in 1091, the
monks lost 700 books. The great library at Wells had twenty-five
windows on each side, a fact which gives us some notion of the space
required to contain all the volumes possessed by this monastery.*

* Tanner, Nolitia Monastica, preface, p. xl., edited 1744.

In the English preface to Dugdale's Monasticon mention is made of the
"incredible number of books written by the monks," and it would be easy
to multiply illustrations of this kind, and to collect notes of the
indiscriminate destruction that took place at the dissolution of the
monasteries under Henry VIII., when the contents of these libraries
were sold as waste paper.

"I know a merchant man," wrote Bale, Bishop of Ossory as quoted by
Leland, "which at this time shall be nameless, that bought the contents
of two noble libraries for forty shillings apiece. A shame it is to be
spoken. This stuff hath he occupied, instead of grey paper, by the
space of more than these ten years, and yet he hath store enough for as
many years to come. A prodigious example is this, and to be abhorred of
all men which love their nation as they should do. Yea, what may bring
our realm to more shame and rebuke than to have it noised abroad that
we are despisers of learning? I judge this to be true, and utter it
with heaviness, that neither the Britons under the Romans, nor yet the
English people under the Danes and Normans had ever such damage of
their learned monuments as we have seen in our time. Our posterity may
well curse this wicked fact of our age, this unreasonable spoil of
England's most noble antiquities."

Centuries had been spent in collecting that which a few short months
had sufficed to scatter abroad, and Bishop Tanner also mentions with
sorrow the loss of a great number of excellent books, to the
unspeakable detriment of the learned world.

For a time, this havoc of the monastic libraries went on unchecked, but
during the reign of Elizabeth a reaction set in, and there arose a
little knot of men who had the good sense to recognise the value of
these memorials of the past, and to treasure up what still remained;
and the next generation produced such men as Thomas Bodley, and Robert
Cotton. These were followed by others of kindred tastes, to whom more
golden opportunities of acquiring valuable treasure-trove were afforded.

We shall confine ourselves here to the most illustrious of these
collectors, Sir Robert Cotton, whose library now forms the basis of the
national collection in the British Museum.

The era of English libraries began with Matthew Parker's gift to Corpus
Christi College, Cambridge, a collection of books which has preserved
from destruction more materials relating to the civil and
ecclesiastical history of this country than had ever before been
gathered into one library. Fuller styled this munificent bequest "the
Sun of English antiquity, before it was eclipsed by that of Sir Robert

Sir Thomas Bodley was one of the first men in Europe to conceive the
notion of a great public library, and the rich collection of books
which he made at Oxford on the ruins of Duke Humphrey's library, and
which he bequeathed to the University, is not merely of European, but
of world-wide celebrity. Living as he did at Oxford in a learned
atmosphere, he naturally turned his chief attention to Latin
manuscripts, while Cotton made English history his special study, and
was ever on the alert for material to throw fresh light upon its
annals. Hence the numerous Anglo-Saxon MSS. in his library, and the
splendid collection of State papers, relating to England, Scotland, and
France, contained in the dress marked Caligula, and in many other

Cotton and Bodley were good friends, and not only shared the same
tastes, but sympathised actively with each other's work. In 1595 Bodley
wrote to Cotton, asking him whether he held to his "old intention for
helping to furnish the Universitie librarie," and in 1601 he
acknowledges having received from Cotton a contribution of manuscripts
for that purpose. These manuscripts were eleven in number, the titles
of which may be seen in Smith's manuscript notes to his catalogue in
the Bodleian library.

Bodley on his part was no less generous. A folio volume on vellum,
containing the four Gospels, the four Dialogues of St. Gregory, and
some other articles, the whole in Saxon, and consisting of 290 leaves,
was a part of his contribution to the Cottonian collection.* The
contents of this volume, as described by Wanley, show it to have been
of exceeding great value, but since his time twenty-five folios have
been lost. When Planta compiled his catalogue he affixed a note to the
effect that the manuscript was so burnt and contracted as to render the
binding of it impracticable, and that it was preserved in a case. Later
on it passed through the restoring hands of Sir Frederick Madden.

* Otho, C. i. The notes furnished by Smith also prove the identity of
the Cotton MS. Otho, C. ix. with Bodley's gift.

Cotton was neither a great scholar, nor did he produce any original
work of special value, but he seems to have possessed the tact and the
taste to divine, and also encourage talents superior to his own,
thereby deserving no less well of his country than those who served her
with higher gifts. His friend Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, once
called him an "engrosser of antiquities." If we add that he did not
merely "engross," but that he liberally shared his acquisitions with
others, we shall perhaps best describe his special place and work in
the world of letters. To judge by his correspondence it would seem that
all the learned men in the kingdom applied to him for the loan of some
rare manuscript or other, and that hardly a scientific, political,
historical, or heraldic work was produced in the early part of the
seventeenth century, but owed something to his labours as an antiquary.

Selden asks for a sight of his Peterborough books, his Book of Monies
his Historic Jorwallensis. Camden writes for a treatise on Heraldry,
and for a ledger of the Abbey of Meaux. George Carew, afterwards Earl
of Totness, needs his Chronicle of Peter the Cruel. Crashaw, the poet,
sends for volumes treating of the Council of Florence, and of the
excommunication of the emperor at the Council of Lyons. Sir John
Dodderidge, judge and antiquary, asks leave to keep Cotton's maps
(perhaps for his work "Of the Dimensions of the Land of England").
Speed requires a note of all the monasteries in the realm, as well as
the Book of Henry IV., and craves help in his Life of Henry V., signing
himself "Your loving friend, troublesome and troubled."

All these demands on Cotton's library and Cotton's liberality, together
with many more, may be seen in the collection of letters contained in
the volume, the press-mark of which is Julius C 3.

The fame of the Cottonian library was great among the learned at the
beginning of the seventeenth century; in 1612 it was spoken of with
enthusiasm. The following letter from Edmund Bolton, poet and
antiquary, is, despite its somewhat florid and inflated style, a proof
of the high estimation in which the collection was held.

"Sir,--The world sees that worthy monument of witt and learning* come
forth, but with honourable acknowledgements of special' helps from you.
But we that are somewhat privie to the truth of things, do also knowe
that without your assistance, it is in vain to pretende to weightie
works in the antiquities of
this kingdom. For your studie, if we respect the glories of saints
there carefully preserved in authentic registers, it is a Pantheon and
all Hallowes. If the memorials of the honourable deceased, it is a
mausolae. If the tables and written instruments of Empire, it is a
Capitol. If the whole furniture of Cyclopxdia, it is a mart. If matters
marine, it is an arsenal--if martial, a camp and magazine. Briefly it
is the Arck, where all noble things which the deluges of impious
vastitic and sacriligious furie have not devoured, are kept to bee the
seminaries of better plantations."

* Probably a reference to Bacon's History of Great Britain under the
Conquests of the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, published in 1611.

He goes on to compare Cotton's library with that of Paulus Jovius, the
pride and glory of Italy, which, he declares, "will seem perhaps little
better than a beauteous charnel-house, filled with skeletons, and the
rotten timbers of clay-built tenements dissolved into dust, by the side
of this exquisitely instructed studie."

Exaggerated as this praise may seem, the fact remains that the
Cottonian collection was unique, and that scholars owed more to it than
to any other sources of information. There is no account of any visit
of Cotton's to the Continent, although in one of his early pamphlets
mention is made of his having visited Italy; but people were busy in
different parts of Europe seeking for what was valuable in the shape of
parchments and old coins, to add to his treasures.

England was, however, at that time the best hunting-ground for
manuscripts, so short a time having elapsed since our great monastic
libraries had been scattered to the winds. Chronicles, chartularies,
State Papers, treaties, family pedigrees, documents of every kind were
floating about the country, often in the possession of strange owners,
almost always to be had for gold. To acquire these was Cotton's chief
delight from the age of eighteen; and as a natural consequence, this
taste surrounded him with learned friends. At his house at Westminster
the literati of the day were wont to meet. Josceline, Camden, Noel,
Speed, Sir John Davis, and others formed, together with himself, the
then Society of Antiquaries, which Matthew Parker had founded.

But James I., although so great an amateur of antiquities, did not
regard the society with a favourable eye. He was eminently cautious,
and fancied that these meetings might lead to a political association,
and he accordingly suppressed them.

In recognition, however, of Cotton's merit the king knighted him at his
coronation honours; he called him "cousin," and acknowledged his claim
to be descended from the Scottish family of Bruce. From that time
Cotton quartered the royal arms of Scotland with his own, and adopted
the name of Bruce, "not," says Collins in his Baronetage, "in arrogance
and ostentation, but in distinction to those of the name of Cotton of
other families . . . and in a grateful sense of the divine favour for
that extraction, and to excite an emulation in his issue to follow the
virtues of such glorious ancestors." His descent is clearly traced in
the history of Connington Castle in Huntingdonshire, which had been the
home of his family for centuries. The house had been rebuilt at various
times. When it came into Sir Robert Cotton's hands he completely
restored it, embellishing the north front with richly moulded arches
which he had purchased and brought from Fotheringhay Castle, together
with the room in which Queen Mary had been executed.*

* Neale. Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen, vol. ii, for
Cotton's pedigree, see Julius F 8, f. 58b.

Cotton's friendship with Camden began at Westminster School, where
Cotton was educated--Camden being at that time second master. In the
last year of the century, the two friends made an antiquarian journey
into the North, where they explored the old Roman wall, built to keep
out the marauding Picts, and returned to Connington laden with
trophies. These were afterwards presented to Trinity College,
Cambridge, where they are still preserved. Camden's Britannia contains
more than one allusion to this journey. His History of Queen Elizabeth
was long supposed to be their joint work; and it is probable that,
although he only acknowledged the loan of autograph letters, the part
relating to Mary Queen of Scots was at least inspired by Cotton. It is
certain that Camden obtained nearly all his materials from his friend's
library. In one of his letters he speaks of Cotton as "the dearest of
all my friends"; and in this profession he was constant till his death,
directing in his will that Sir Robert should have the first view of his
books and manuscripts; "that he may take such as I borrowed of him;"
and then he goes on to bequeath to him his entire collection, except
his heraldic and ancient seals, which he left to the Herald's College.

About the year 1614 it began to be whispered that Sir Robert Cotton had
unlawfully come by some of the State Papers in his library, and the low
murmurs soon grew into a loud argument to the effect that the Public
Record Office was injured " by his having such things as he hath
cunningly scraped together."* The general feeling of jealousy and
suspicion is expressed in the following extract from a contemporary
letter which was prompted by the fact that Arthur Agard, keeper of the
Public Records, had left his private collection to Cotton:

* J. Wilson to Ambrose; Randolph State Papers, Dom. James I., 1615; R.O.

"The late Mr. Agard has left some manuscripts, the labour of most of
his life, including a book on the exemption of the Kings of England
from the power of the Pope, abstracts of treaties, and other State
matters, which Sir Robert Cotton claims, on pretext that they were left
to him by will; but he eras at the making of the will. It is important
that such things be kept in possession of the King's officers, as
otherwise they may be suppressed when most wanted."*

* Dom. James I., vol. lxxxiii., 69; R.O,

After this, charge after charge was brought against Cotton, till the
life, that had so usefully been spent in the service of learning,
closed in sadness and gloom. James, however, whether he gave credence
to the accusations of enemies or not, never quite abandoned him. He
made him a member of the " new order of hereditary knights called
baronets," which Cotton had himself advised the king to create, as a
means of replenishing the State coffers, without burdening his subjects
with taxes. (The fee was fixed at 1000 pounds.)

Disraeli, in his Curiosities of Literature, quoting from a Lansdowne
MS., says that it appeared, "by the manuscript book of Sir Nicholas
Hyde, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, from the second to the third
year of Charles I., that Sir Robert Cotton had, in his library,
records, evidences, ledger-books, original letters, and other State
papers belonging to the King; for the Attorney-General of that time, to
prove this, showed a copy of the pardon which Sir Robert had obtained
from King James for embezzling records, etc."

James had the greatest regard for Cotton's historical acumen, and in
the last year of his reign he ordered that no more copies of the life
of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, should be published till Sir Robert
Cotton had enlarged it, and made it more authentic by the aid of two
ample histories which had lately come out.* The similarity of their
tastes always ensured a certain sympathy between the antiquary who was
also in some sense a Scotchman, being descended from the Bruces, and
the first Stuart King of England. But James's successor never took him
into favour, and henceforth there was little in his worldly prosperity
to divert him from his beloved library--a perennial source of joy to
him-till his enemies turned it into a weapon for his destruction. He
never ceased to add to it while he lived, and casual contributions
continued to flow in from various sources.

* Secretary Conway to the Wardens, etc., of the Stationer's Company,
25th June 1624, Dom. James 1.; R.O.

Thus, in 1627, Sir James Ware sent a manuscript register of St. Mary's
Abbey, Dublin; and the year after Archbishop Ussher presented a
Samaritan Pentateuch (Claudius, B 8). Already in 1625 he had mentioned
this book in a letter to Cotton:

"Touching the Samaritan Pentateuch, the copye which I have is (as I
guess) about three hundred years old, but the work itself commeth very
short of the tyme of Esdras and Malachy. I have compared the
testymonyes cited out of it by the ancient Fathers, Eusebius, Jerome,
Cyrill, and others, and find them precisely to agree with my booke,
which makes me highly to esteeme of it."

In 1628 he writes apologetically for his long silence and his delay in
returning books lent to him by Cotton:

"A farre longer time than good manners would well permitt, for which
fault yett I hope to make some kinde of expiation by sending you
shortlye, together with your own my ancient copye of the Samaritan
Pentateuch, which I have long since destinated unto that librarye of
yours, to which I have been beholden for so many good things no where
else to be found. I shall [God willing] ere long finish my collation of
it with the Hebrew text, and then hang it up ut votivam Tabulam at that
Sacrarium of yours."

A correspondent, signing his letter Jo Scudamore, gave him a whole
edition of Chaucer "in a fair ancient written hand." This manuscript
has unfortunately disappeared from the collection.

Nicholas Saunder sent a history by Helinandus, a Cistercian monk,
written in the time of William the Conqueror,* and many other donations
are recorded.

* Claudius, B 9. The donor of this MS. was not the Nicholas Saunders so
well-known in Elizabeth's reign.

Of the constant activity going on in the formation of this wonderful
library, and of the great generosity with which the books were lent the
following letters are eloquent. Archbishop Ussher writes thus:

"Worthy Sir,--I have received from you the history of the Bishops of
Durham, together with your ancient copies of the Psalmes, whereof that
which hath the Saxon interlineary translation inserted is the old
Romanum Psalterium, the other three are the same with that which is
called Gallicum Psalterium. But I have not yet received that which I
stand most in need of, to wit the Psalter in 8vo which is distinguished
with obeliskes and asteriskes. I pray you, therefore, send it unto me
by my servant, this bearer, as also the life of Wilfrid, written in
prose by a nameless author that lived about the time of Bede; the other
written in verse by Fredegodus I received from Mr. Burnett; together,
with William Malmsburiensis de vitis Pontificum Anglia et S. Aldhelmus.
Before you leave London I pray you do your best to get master Crashaw's
MS. Psalter conveyed unto me. I doubt not but before this time you have
dealt with Sir Peter Vanlore for obtaining Erpenius his Hebrew,
Syriach, Arabick, and Persian books, and the matrices of the letters of
the Oriental languages. If he interpose himself seriously herein, it is
not to be doubted, but he will prevayle before any other. But what he
doth he must do very speedilye, because the Jesuites of Antwerp are
already dealing for the Oriental presse, and others for the Arabick,
Syriac, Hebrew, and Persian bookes. It were good you took some order
before you went, how Sir Peter may signify unto you, when you are in
the countrye, what is done in this businesse. If he send to Mr. Burnett
at any time [who dwellith at the signe of the three swannes in Lombard
Streets he will finde some means or other to communicate what he
pleaseth unto me. I thank you very hartilye for the care which you have
taken in causing my Samaritan Bible to be so faire bound. I have given
order to Mr. Burnett to content the workman for his paynes, and so with
remembrance of my best affections unto yourself and the kinde ladye
your wife,* I committ both of you to God's blessed protection, and rest
your own most assured,

"Ja Armachanus."

* Sir Robert Cotton had married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of
William Brocas of Thedingworth, Leicestershire, by whom he had several
sons, the eldest Thomas, alone surviving him.

Sir Edward Dering writes in 1630:

"Sir; I received your very welcome letter, whereby I find you abundant
in courtesies of all natures. I am a great debtor to you, and those
obligations likely still to be multiplied. As I confess so much to you,
so I hope to witnesse it to posterity. I have sent up two of your
bookes which have much pleasured me. I have here the charter of King
John, dated at Running Meade.* By the first safe and sure messenger it
is yours, so are the Saxon charters, as fast as I can copy them, but in
the meantime I will enclose King John in a boxe and send him. I shall
much long to see you at this place, where you shall command the heart
of your affectionate friend and servant,

"E. Dering."
Dover Castle, May 10, 1630.

* There are two original drafts of Magna Charta in the Cottonian

It would be extremely interesting were Cotton's own letters extant, to
have some account from his pen of the manner in which he came by many
manuscripts, the history of which is a blank to us from the time of the
dissolution of the monasteries till they found a safe haven in his
library. But his letters are very rare; two only have been preserved in
the Record Office. They are addressed to his brother, Thomas, in the
years 1623 and 1624, and they begin "Loving David," and end "Thy
Jonathon." One is much stained, and difficult to read; both treat of
political matters.

In 1629 the origin of a seditious pamphlet, entitled, "How to bridle
the impertinency of Parliaments," which was handed about in London,
causing some commotion, was traced to the Cottonian library. In spite
of all that Cotton could put forward to exculpate himself, an order was
issued by the Privy Council for the sequestration of his books, on the
ground that they were not of a nature to be exposed for public
inspection. And this was not all. Once before he had been deprived of
access to them for a time, and now again he was himself debarred from
entering his own library, a privation which affected him so seriously,
that from the moment of sequestration his health visibly declined, and
he declared to his friends that they had broken his heart, who had
locked up his books from him.

Disraeli, in his Amenities of Literature, says that, "Tormented by the
fate of a collection which had consumed forty years, at every personal
sacrifice to form it for 'the use and services of posterity,' he sank
at the sudden stroke. In the course of a few weeks he was so worn by
injured feelings that, from a ruddy-complexioned man, his face was
wholly changed into a grim blackish paleness, near to the resemblance
and hue of a dead visage."

Cotton made two separate petitions to have his rights over his own
property restored. In the first he signified to the Privy Council that
their detaining his books without rendering any reason for the same had
been the cause of the mortal malady from which he suffered. In the
second, in which his son joined, he merely complained that the
documents were perishing for lack of airing, and that no one was
allowed to consult them. The Lord Privy Seal was at last sent to him
with a tardy message from the king, but too late to avail him anything.
Within half an hour of his death the Earl of Dorset came to condole
with his son, now Sir Thomas Cotton, bearing the somewhat ambiguous
assurance that, "as his Majesty loved his father, so he would continue
his love to him." Sir Robert Cotton died on the 6th May 1631, and was
buried at Connington. Long afterwards it was discovered that the author
of the fatal pamphlet, that had done so much to kill him, was Sir
Robert Dudley, who had written it when in exile at Florence.

Before tracing the subsequent history of the Cottonian library we will
pause and consider some of the most important manuscripts which it
contained at the death of its famous originator.

It has been said that he turned his attention largely towards
collecting materials for every period of English history. Those
materials are particularly rich as regards the Anglo-Saxon period.

Beginning chronologically we find here (in Vitellius, A 15) the story
of Beowulf, the oldest monument of AngloSaxon literature, reaching back
into the ages of heathendom. It is a pagan war-song which, in being
handed down from minstrel to minstrel, has lost nothing of its wild,
exultant beauty, while it has received many Christian inflexions from
the bards of a better religion than that in which it was originally
conceived, through whose minds it passed before being committed to
parchment. When the Saxons had embraced Christianity they carefully
weeded out from their national poetry all allusion to personages of
pagan mythology, so that, in an antiquarian sense, their literature
suffered. But the forcible and picturesque imagery of half-barbaric
tribes still remained. The coarseness of the beer-hall is, however,
subdued by the gold and silken embroideries with which it is adorned.
In a vivid description of a battle, in the midst of lurid flames, of
blood and carnage, the enemy is "put to sleep with the sword." When a
hero dies in peace, "he goes on his way."

The poem of Beowulf has been variously edited. It was first noticed by
Wanley, in his catalogue of Saxon MSS. in 1705. It was printed with a
Latin translation by Thorkelin, at Copenhagen, in 1815. Conybeare, in
his Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry, points out several errors into
which the Dane, Thorkelin, and the Englishman, Turner fell; and Thorpe,
in his Anglo-Saxon Poems of Beowulf, differs from all preceding
editors, who considered the heroes as mythical beings of a divine
order, he suggesting that they were kings and chieftains of the North,
within the pale of authentic history.* This opinion had been shared by
Kemble, but under the influence of Grimmperhaps the greatest authority
on these matters--he ended by regarding the poem as mythic. Later
critics have, however, considered that it deals with historical persons.

* Preface, p. xvii.

Only secondary to the romance of Beowulf must once have been the
fragment of a poem on the death of Beorhtnoth.* It was printed by
Hearne in the appendix to his edition of Johannis Glastoniensis
Chronicon, but without a translation.

* Formerly Otho A 12, in the Cottonian Library; the original perished
in the fire of 1731.

"It constitutes," says Conybeare, "a battle-piece of spirited
execution, mixed with short speeches from the principal warriors,
conceived with much force, variety, and character; the death of the
hero is also very graphically described. The whole approximates much
more nearly than could have been expected to the war-scenes of Homer."

Of the poem of Judith, one of the finest specimens of Anglo-Saxon
songs, a fragment is preserved in the same volume which contains the
story of Beowulf.

The type of the Anglo-Saxon poets in Christian times is Caedmon, whom
Professor George Stephens called "the Milton of North England in the
seventh century," and who, according to the legend told by Bede, being
singularly unblessed with the power of song, received the gift
miraculously in sleep. He is represented in the Cottonian library only
by a few prayers in Anglo-Saxon (Julius, A 2) which Junius printed from
this MS. at the end of his edition of Caedmon's paraphrase. The
interesting collection, which goes by Caedmon's name in the Bodleian
library, is a series of pieces on Scriptural subjects, with beautifully
painted illustrations.

A manuscript of the tenth century (Cleopatra, B 13) contains a short
hymn on the conversion of the AngloSaxons; and in the same volume is a
life of St. Dunstan.

Two important volumes (Tiberius, B 5, and Titus, D 27), one of which
appears to have been written for the use of nuns, formed part of the
material for a history of mathematics in England, during the Middle

* Rara Mathematica from inedited MSS., by J. O. Halliwell.

Alcuin and Aldhelm were the chief Anglo-Latin poets. Some of Alcuin's
letters are to be found in this collection. St. Aldhelm, Abbot,
afterwards Bishop of Malmesbury, was regarded by King Alfred as the
prince of Anglo-Latin poets. His chief work, The Praises of Virginity,
is at Cambridge, but his metrical treatise on the monastic life and one
of his letters are here preserved.

Alfred is well represented in his Laws, and in his Saxon versions of
Augustine's soliloquies.

Of the works of the venerable Bede we have the Ecclesiastical History,
the Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, and nine other manuscripts.

It was probably between 1615 and 1621 that Sir Robert Cotton became
possessed of the celebrated manuscript known as the Utrecht Psalter.
Its early history is obscure, and experts have differed widely as to
its probable date and origin. Sir Thomas Hardy, who summarised its
contents, and drew up a report upon the intrinsic arguments in favour
of its remote antiquity, called attention to the fact that it could not
have been written in England, because it contains certain liturgical
pieces which were not in use in this country, at the time assigned for
its age by other internal evidence. He suggested that it was brought
into England by the Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert
the Frankish king, who became the queen of Ethelbert. He based this
supposition on the costliness of the manuscript which would point to
its having belonged to a royal personage. He next considered the
probability that this Psalter was presented by Queen Bertha to the
monastery of Reculver, in Kent, where the king had built a new palace,
and where Bertha attended the services of her religion, Hardy drew this
inference from the coincidence that at the time when the volume came
into Cotton's hands there was bound up with it a charter, recording the
gift of certain lands by Lothair, King of Kent, to Bercwald, Abbot of
Reculver, and to his monastery. The charter is dated Reculver, May 7,
679, and it seems to have been the custom in smaller monasteries to
place royal and other charters inside valuable books for preservation,
in default of any more suitable depository. This charter, which Cotton
took to be an original document, he separated from the Utrecht Psalter,
preserving it in another part of his library. It is still to be found
where he placed it (in Augustus, B 2).

Mr. Birch, however, disposed summarily of Sir Thomas Hardy's ingenious
theory, and pronounced Cotton's opinion that the charter was an
original document, as not worth much. After giving all the evidence for
and against the probability of Queen Bertha, having presented the
Psalter to Reculver Abbey, he showed reasons for the charter being a
copy of the original, and for its having been made at Christ Church,
Canterbury, a religious house very closely allied to Reculver, which
was secularised centuries before the dissolution of the monasteries by
Henry VIII.

But the most recent authority on illuminated manuscripts, Sir Edward
Maunde Thompson, considers that the actual date of the Utrecht Psalter
may be placed about the year 800, and he maintains with Sir Thomas
Hardy, judging by internal palaeographical evidence, that without
doubt, the manuscript is of Frankish workmanship, and he assigns its
origin to the north, or north-east of France.* This carries us back to
Queen Bertha and Cotton's suggestion that she brought the book over
with her.

* See a Paper on English Illuminated Manuscripts, A.D. 700-1066, by
Mr., now Sir Edward Maunde Thompson, Bibliographica, part ii., London
Kegan & Co.

Shortly after the suppression of Christ Church, which, in all
probability, inherited the treasures of Reculver, the Utrecht Psalter,
together with its incorporated charter, fell into the hands of the
Talbot family; and in Mr. Bond's report on the manuscript he said that
the name Mary Talbot could, with some difficulty, be deciphered on the
lower margin of folio 60b, in a sixteenth century hand. Various
suggestions have been made in regard to this name, but in Mr. Birch's
opinion--and here there is good reason for following him--it belonged
to the wife or daughter of "Master Talbot of Norwich, a most ingenious
and industrious antiquary." He made a collection of rare manuscripts,
most of which are now in Corpus Christi College at Cambridge, and it
was from this collection that the Utrecht Psalter passed into Sir
Robert Cotton's possession, but whether by gift or purchase is not

The manuscript is entered in the catalogue of the library written by
Cotton himself in 1621, under the press-mark Claudius C 7, but it is
not to be found in any subsequent catalogue. An entry occurs among the
Notes of such books as haze been lent out by Sir Robert Cotton to
divers persons, and are abroad in their hands att this daye, the 15th
of January 1630, which entry is to the effect that the Psalter was lent
"to my lord the Earle of Arundel." Birch gave it up as lost to the
Cotton library from the time that it passed into Lord Arundel's hands;
but he must have been unaware of the existence of Smith's own copy of
his printed catalogue, which contains his manuscript notes of books
borrowed from the Cotton collection, and in which these words are
written "Borrowed by Mr. Ashmole, on the 17th February 1673, Claudius,
C. 7." Smith's folio catalogue, published in 1696, has the word Deest,
marking its absence from the library. Nothing further can be discovered
till 1718, when the book appears to have become the property of
Monsieur de Ridder, a Dutchman, who presented it to the University of
Utrecht where it still remains.* Sir Robert Cotton's signature is on
the first page.

*The History, Art, and Paleography of the Utrecht Psalter, by W. de
Gray Birch, F.R.S.L., Keeper of the Manuscripts in the British Museum.

The great charm of this manuscript, a facsimile of which is to be seen
in the Cottonian library, lies in its pen-and-ink illustrations, as
forcible and appealing as are the scenes of the Last judgment on the
walls of the Campo Santo at Pisa. Among the Harleian MSS., moreover
(No. 603), there is an illuminated Psalter so like it, that it seems
impossible that the artist should not have had the Utrecht Psalter
before him as he drew; unless, as Sir Edward Thompson supposes, the
older manuscript is itself a copy of a still more ancient one, which
leads him to infer that other versions of this Psalter were in
existence in England at an early date. This would account also for the
Eadwine Psalter at Cambridge, a twelfth-century imitation of the
Harleian manuscript. Neither of these Psalters can be described as an
absolute copy of the Utrecht Psalter.

We are here led to deplore the loss of another valuable manuscript of a
totally different kind, which, although not in the collection at the
time of Sir Robert's death, once belonged to this library, and was lost
in the same way. We refer to to the "Enconium Emmae" an eleventh
century MS. which Cotton sent to Duchesne, and which the latter used in
writing his Historiae Normanorum, but never returned. It has entirely

We now come to what is perhaps the noblest monument of Anglo-Saxon
times in the Cottonian library--namely, the famous Lindisfarne Gospels
also known as the Durham Book, a marvel of palaeographic art. It is
indisputably the finest production of the school of Lindisfarne. The
Latin text, written in double columns, was transcribed by Eadfrith,
Bishop of Lindisfarne, while still a simple monk, in honour, some say
for the use, of St. Cuthbert. It was finished after the saint's death,
at the end of the seventh, or beginning of the eighth century. This we
learn from intrinsic evidence, in the form of a brief note in
Anglo-Saxon at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew, and a longer one
at the end of the volume. These notes have thus been translated by Mr.

* Prolegomena, Lindisfarne, and Rushworth Gospels, part iv.

"Thou, O living God, bear in mind Eadfrith and Aethelwald, and
Billfrith and Aldred, the sinner. These four with God's help were
employed upon (or busied about) this book."


"Eadfrith, Bishop over the Church of Lindisfarne, first wrote this book
in (honour of) God and St. Cuthbert, and all the company of saints in
the Island; and Aethelwald, Bishop of Lindisfarne, made an outer cover,
and adorned it as he was well able; and Billfrith, the anchorite, he
wrought the metal-work of the ornaments on the outside thereof, and
decked it with gold, and with gems, overlaid also with silver and
unalloyed metal; and Aldred, an unworthy and most miserable priest, by
the help of God and St. Cuthbert, over-glossed the same in English, and
domiciled himself with the three parts. Matthew, this part for God and
St. Cuthbert; Mark, this part for the bishop; and Luke, this part for
the brotherhood; with eight ora of silver (as an offering) on entrance;
and St. John's part for himself--i.e., for his soul; and (depositing)
four silver ora with God and St. Cuthbert, that he may find acceptance
in heaven through the mercy of God; good fortune and peace on earth,
promotion and dignity, wisdom and prudence through the merits of St.

"Eadfrith, Ethelwald, Billfrith, and Aldred have wrought and adorned
this Book of the Gospels for (love of) God and St. Cuthbert."

Old as it is, neither vellum nor illumination shows the least sign of
decay. The writing is exquisitely beautiful, and points to a degree of
refinement and cultivation which we do not usually associate with a
rough life, such as was led by the monks of sea-girt Lindisfarne. There
are to be seen wonderful initial letters, geometrical and tesselated
designs, like the most delicate and intricate mosaics, and above all,
beautifully devout representations of the four evangelists, all
evidently drawn by the same loving and reverent hand, and the whole
colouring as fresh now as if it had been painted yesterday.

The evangelists, each accompanied by the symbolic animal, usually
assigned to him, occupy nearly the whole of their respective pages.
They are taken from Byzantine models, of which, as Westwood points out,
nothing remains but the attitudes, the fashion of the dress and the
form of the seats. There can be little doubt that these illuminations
were copied from a MS. brought into England by the missionaries sent
from Rome by St. Gregory in the seventh century.

* Facsimiles of the Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish
Manuscripts. P. 35.

Sir Edward Thompson, following Dom Germain Morin,* shows that the
Capitula, or tables of sections which accompany each gospel are
according to the Neapolitan use, and that Adrian, the companion of the
Greek, Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury in his mission to Britain in
668, was abbot of a monastery in the Island of Nisita, near Naples.

* See his articles in the Revue Benedictine line, Nov. and Dec. 1891,
pp. 481 and 529.

Bede tells us that these missionaries were both at Lindisfarne, and Sir
Edward Thompson gives it as his opinion that the Neapolitan MS. from
which the Durham Book or Lindisfarne Gospel derived its text, had been
brought a few years previously from Naples by the Abbot Adrian.*

* English Illuminated Manuscripts," Bibliographica," part ii.

The interlineary Saxon gloss was a later addition by the monk, Aldred,
and Billfrith, as we have seen, made the sumptuous metal cover. This
binding, needless to say, has long since disappeared, and for many
years a shabby morocco covering replaced the gorgeous shrine in which
the monks of Holy Island had deposited their treasure. About sixty
years ago, Bishop Maltby of Durham, at the suggestion of Mr. John
Holmes, provided a worthy substitute, the design for which was copied
from one of the ornamented pages in the book itself.

This magnificent manuscript has been published by the Surtees Society,
together with the very inferior Rushworth Gospels, but only one
illumination has been reproduced.*

* The Lindisfarne Gospels or Durham Book is described in Planta's
Catalogue (Nero, D 4), as "Liber praeclarissimus, elegantissimis
characteribus et curiosissimus pro istius seculi arte picturis et
delineationibus ornatus." See also Wanley's Catalogue, Codd. MS.
(Anglo-Sax.) p. 250.

Of absolutely authentic history there is little to relate concerning
this celebrated manuscript, but Simeon of Durham, or rather Turgot,
whose account he copied (and both men lived in the neighbourhood), is
responsible for a story which says that it remained at Holy Island till
the ravages of the Danes forced the monks to fly, carrying with them
their two greatest treasures, the body of St. Cuthbert, and this
volume. But in their flight across the narrow strip of sea which
divides the Island from the coast of Northumbria, their boat was thrown
so much on one side that the book fell overboard. They arrived safely
on the opposite shore, but could not make up their minds to continue
their journey till they had done what they could to recover the
precious relic. So they waited at the peril of their lives till the
tide went out, leaving, as it does to this day, a stretch of bare sand
between the Island and the mainland. To the inexpressible joy of the
monks, they then found the book lying unharmed on the sand.

Archbishop Eyre, in his Life of St. Cuthbert, following the story as it
is contained in the Rites of Durham,* places this incident in the sixth
or seventh year of their wanderings.

* Surtees Society.

"And so, the bishop, the abbot, and the rest, being weary of
travelling, thought to have stolen away, and carried St. Cuthbert's
body into Ireland, for his better safety. And being upon the sea in a
ship, by a marvellous miracle three waves of water were turned into
blood. The ship that they were in was driven back by the tempest and by
the mighty power of God as it would seem, upon the shore or land. And
also the said ship that they were in, by the great storm and strong
raging walls of the sea as is aforesaid, was turned on the one side,
and the Book of the Holy Evangelists fell out of the ship into the
bottom of the sea."

This account says that the monks found the volume about three miles
from the shore, and that their landing-place was Whithorn in Galloway,
opposite Belfast.

When Lindisfarne became a priory cell to Durham, this famous manuscript
still remained in the city of St. Cuthbert, and in the History of North
Durham by Raine, it is mentioned in the year 1637, as "the Book of St.
Cuthbert which had fallen into the sea." We, indeed, notice a brown
stain on several of its leaves, which might be accounted for by their
having been saturated with salt water, did we but know what would be
the effect of a sea-water mark after so long a period. At the time of
the dissolution it was still at Durham, and no record of what then
befel it has been preserved.*

* Brayley's Graphic and Historical Illustrator, 1834; article "The
Durham Book," by the Rev. Joseph Stevenson.

Sir Robert Cotton discovered it in the possession of Robert Bowyer,
clerk of Parliament under James I.

The resemblance between the artistic and palaeographic peculiarities of
the Book of Kells and the Durham Book is accounted for by the fact that
Lindisfarne was founded from Iona, which had been given to St. Columba
and his Irish companions in the sixth century. The monks, who settled
at Holy Island, continued the Scoto-Irish traditions which they had
brought with them, and perpetuated them in their manuscripts.

A brief notice of one other remarkable MS. may be made. It is to be
found in the press Claudius, B 4, and a careful description of it is
given by Westwood in his Palaeographia Sacra Pictoria, and in his
Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish MSS. An early
tradition declares it to be one of the volumes sent to St. Augustine by
Pope Gregory. However that may be, it is known as the Augustine
Psalter, and the style of its ornamentation is of Roman origin. This
ornamentation consists of initial letters in the Celtic manner; but
gold, which was hardly ever used in the Lindisfarne school, and never
in Irish MSS., is here seen in profusion, and this detail betrays a
foreign influence. It belonged to the Abbey of St. Augustine at
Canterbury, and may be a copy executed in that house of one of the
books sent from Rome.

The Paraphrase of the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua, by Elfric, the
grammarian, in this collection, is the finest known copy of the work.
It is ornamented with 397 drawings, illustrating the text of the early
books of the Bible. The largest miniature represents the building of
the Tower of Babel.

The Psychomachia of Prudentius is very beautifully written in red and
black ink. There are 83 drawings. A replica of this manuscript, which
belonged to the monks of Malmesbury, is now at Cambridge.

Scarcely less interesting historically, than the Lindisfarne Gospels is
the Book of the Benefactors of Durham Cathedral. Their names are
written in alternate lines of bold and silver, the binding being also
originally of gold and silver, to which fact a Latin couplet in verse
testifies. As time went on it was carelessly kept by the monks of
Durham, but entries were made up to the eve of the dissolution of the
monastery. The book has been published by the Surtees Society under its
name of Liber Vitae, and edited by the Rev. Joseph Stevenson who also
wrote a preface. The meaning of Liber Vitae was that the fact of the
benefactor's name being inscribed in this book was coupled with the
hope and the prayer that the same name might at last find a place in
the Book of Life, in which those are enrolled, who shall be faithful
unto death.* Later on it became a sort of memorandum-book, in which
together with the names of benefactors, was entered a brief account of
the nature of their donations. Copies of charters were also inserted,
and other matters of an historical character.

* Preface to the published volume, p. 8.

As far as folio 42, it is written in a beautiful ninth century hand,
but from this point onwards, the gold and silver lines are omitted, and
it is continued in varied and less elegant writing. This manuscript
remained at Durham till the dissolution, and it is not known what then
became of it, nor in what manner it passed finally into the Cottonian
library. It is thus quaintly described:

"There did lie on the High Altar an excellent fine book, very richly
covered with gold and silver, containing the names of all the
benefactors towards St. Cuthbert's Church, from the very original
foundation thereof, the very letters of the book being for the most
part all gilt, as is apparent in the said book till this day. The
laying that book on the High Altar did show how highly they esteemed
their founders and benefactors; and the quotidian remembrance they had
of them in the time of Mass and divine service. And this did argue not
only their gratitude, but also a most divine and charitable affection
to the souls of their benefactors as well dead as living, which book is
yet extant, declaring the said use in the inscription thereof." *

* The Ancient Rites and Monuments of the Monastical and Cathedral
Church of Durham, collected out of ancient manuscripts about the time
of the Suppression.

These examples may suffice as a glimpse into the nature of this
treasure-house, but where so much is rare and costly, it is not easy to
make a selection that shall be fairly representative.

With regard to the peculiar designation of the places occupied by the
books, Sir Robert Cotton arranged them in fourteen presses, each press
being surmounted by a bust of one of the twelve Roman emperors, the two
last supporting those of Cleopatra and Faustina. The contents of each
press were placed in boxes or portfolios, or were bound up in volumes,
each box, portfolio, or volume being designated by a letter of the
alphabet, each document having a special number.

After the death of its founder the library remained for some time in
sequestration, to the great annoyance of the new baronet, Sir Thomas
Cotton, who complained bitterly that he was shut out from his study,
the best room in his house. A schedule was at length drawn up,
consisting of a large vellum roll still extant in the collection,
showing that it contained nothing that did not belong to him, and
ultimately he gained admission.

Sir Symond D'Ewes made no secret of his opinion that Sir Thomas was
"wholly addicted to the tenacious increasing of his worldly wealth, and
altogether unworthy to be master of so inestimable a library." We
cannot altogether agree with this verdict, since Sir Thomas avenged
himself by lending D'Ewes his father's collection of coins; and it is
but fair to add that he appears in general to have been no less
liberal, one might almost say careless, in lending than his father.
Rancour may, however, have set in later on, for Dugdale, writing to
D'Ewes in 1639 says, "I am in despair to obtain the books of Sir Thomas
Cotton which you desire." Richard James, librarian, fell under the same
condemnation as his master, for D'Ewes describes him as "a wretched
mercenary fellow."

Sir Thomas Cotton died in 1662, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
John, who was somewhat of a scholar. Some respectable Latin verses
written by him occur among Smith's MSS. at Oxford. He married Dorothy,
daughter and coheiress of Edmund Anderson, of Stratton in Bedfordshire,
and it appears that during the civil war the library was removed to
that place for greater safety. This was the beginning of its wanderings
and vicissitudes, which lasted nearly a hundred years.

The first regular catalogue of the Cottonian library was made and
printed at Oxford by Dr. Thomas Smith in 1696. This catalogue is
defective in many ways, especially as regards State Papers and detached
tracts, of which there are no fewer than 170 volumes, which are here
severally entered under one head only, although they each contain on an
average as many as a hundred separate documents on different subjects.
Dugdale, who was allowed to make what use he liked of the library,
discovered 80 of these volumes in loose bundles, and had them bound.
But they were still practically useless for want of proper descriptions
and indices, till Planta, keeper of the MSS. in the British Museum,
published his descriptive catalogue in 1802. Although not without
faults, it has never been superseded.

It is to the third baronet that we are mainly indebted for the
magnificent project of bequeathing the Cottonian library to the nation.
He died in 1702, before the final steps had been taken in this
direction; but his grandson and immediate successor carried out his
wishes which had also been those of his father and grandfather.

The statute, drawn up in the year 1700 (12 and 13 William III.) is
entitled, "An Act for the better settling and preserving the library
kept in the house at Westminster, called Cotton House, in the name and
family of the Cottons for the benefit of the public."

The next step was to have the books carefully inspected, and compared
with Smith's catalogue, now found to be inadequate. Many of the
manuscripts were reported to be in a state of decay, the place where
they were kept not being suitable. In 1706, Sir Christopher Wren was
commissioned to fit up the study for public use, but he declared that
Cotton House was in a ruinous condition; and in consequence of his
report, in the following year, another Act of Parliament decreed that
to increase the public utility of the library, Cotton House should be
purchased of Sir John Cotton for 4500 pounds, and a new building
erected for the collection of books. Still, nothing was done, till the
house, actually threatening to tumble down, the books were removed to
Essex House, in the Strand, where they remained for twenty-eight years.
In 1730, Ashburnham House, Westminster, was purchased by the nation for
the reception of the Cottonian, together with the Royal library. It was
here, in 1731, that the terrible fire broke out in which so many
valuable manuscripts were destroyed.

At about 2 o'clock in the morning of the 23rd October, Dr. Bentley, the
librarian, and his family, who lived at Ashburnham House, were roused
from sleep by a suffocating smoke which soon afterwards burst into
flames. The outbreak was caused by a wooden mantelpiece taking fire, in
the room immediately under the two libraries. It was at first hoped
that the flames might be extinguished by throwing water upon the
woodwork of the room actually on fire, so that they did not begin to
remove the books as soon as they should have done. But seeing that this
was useless, Mr. Casley, deputy librarian, hastened to rescue the
famous Alexandrian MS. in the Royal library, and the books in the
Cottonian press named Augustus, as being considered the most valuable.
These are principally charts, maps, grants, and papal bulls, all
relating to early English history. Several of the presses were then
removed bodily, but as the fire spread with alarming rapidity, and
there was a delay in the arrival of the engines, it was discovered none
too soon, that the backs of some of the presses were on fire. Then the
books were seized and thrown out of windows, after which they were
carried into Westminster School and the Little Cloisters. By permission
of the Dean and Chapter they subsequently found a temporary home in a
new building that had been erected as a dormitory for the school.

A committee was at once appointed by the House of Commons to inquire
into the amount of injury sustained. It was found that a great number
of manuscripts had suffered from the engine-water, as well as from
fire, and the report of the commissioners stated, that out of 958
volumes of MSS. 746 were unharmed, and 98 partially injured.

The press named Otho had suffered the most. In the table drawn up by
Casley in his appendix to the Royal library, not one volume in Otho is
seen to be intact; 16 are marked defective, 55 as lost, burnt, or
defaced so as not to be distinguishable. Vitellius was the next
greatest sufferer, 46 volumes being preserved, 28 defective, and 34
seriously damaged. Vespasian, with its fine collection of historical
materials for the history of England and Scotland, its dramas in Old
English verse, and the famous Coventry Mystery Plays and others happily
escaped altogether.* Casley's figures differ slightly from those of the
commissioners: out of a total of 958 volumes, he notes 748 as
uninjured, 99 as defective, and 111 as lost, burnt, or defaced.

* Narrative of the Fire which happened at Ashburnham House, 23rd
October 1731. Report of the committee appointed by the House of Commons.

On the 1st November the work of restoration began, and was carried out
by Bentley, Casley, three clerks from the Record Office, a bookbinder,
and others. The Speaker of the House of Commons was frequently present.
Some of the MSS. inclined to mildew were dried before a fire. Some
would have rotted if they had not been taken out of their bindings, so
thoroughly had the water permeated. The paper books which had received
stains were taken to pieces and plunged into the softest cold water
that could be procured, and when the stains disappeared they were put
into alum and water, and then hung upon lines to dry.

The best means of stretching vellum to its original dimensions, after
it has been shrivelled and contracted, had not at that time been
discovered, but the restorers did what they could. It was first
softened in cold water, then those leaves, which had become glued
together by the heat melting all kinds of extraneous matter, were
separated by means of an ivory cutter, and the glutinous substances
carefully removed with the fingers, the parchments smoothed with the
palm of the hand, and their backs pressed with a clean flannel.
Fragments were also carefully cleaned and preserved, and upon many of
these with which the original restorers could do nothing, Sir Frederick
Madden afterwards worked wonders. By his method, 100 volumes were
repaired on vellum, and 97 on paper.

Among these mutilated fragments was the priceless fourth century
manuscript of Genesis, Otho, B 6, which was thought to have been taken
abroad as it could not be found after the fire. For a while it was
given up as irrevocably lost, but Sir Frederick Madden discovered the
much burnt remains and pieced them together. This Book of Genesis was
at one time thought to be the oldest Greek MS. in England. It is now
known that the four leaves of the gospel in Greek, Titus, C 15, are as
old or even older. The Oxford librarian, Thomas James, wrote in the
beginning of the volume that it was brought into this country by two
Greek bishops as a present to Henry VIII. They told him that according
to an old tradition it had belonged to Origen, and there was nothing in
the text to make the supposition incredible. This, if true, would carry
the manuscript back 1500 years at least, with a possibility of its
being much more ancient. It had been the subject of a dispute in the
time of the first Sir John Cotton, when it was supposed to have been
lost. All at once it was discovered in the possession of Lady Stafford,
who stoutly maintained that it had belonged to the late earl, her
husband, who had lent it to Sir Thomas Cotton; and that while it was in
his hands he caused it to be newly bound, and his coat of arms fixed
upon it. She said, however, that Sir John might have it for 40 pounds,
but that she would not take a farthing less, adding that he had already
offered her 30 pounds in her own house, but that she had refused the
sum. Mr. Gilbert Crouch, who was negotiating for Sir John, in
explaining the matter to Dugdale, said that if Sir John Cotton had "so
great a mind to the book, he were better give this other 10 pounds than
run the charge and hazard of a suit."*

* Life, Diary, and Correspondence of Sir William Dugdale.

All that now remains of this uniquely beautiful MS., painted on every
page, are eighteen melancholy scraps of no use but as a monument of the
ingenuity with which they have been pieced together, mended, and

The Chronicle of Wendover, which was also believed to have perished,
was found and repaired in the time of Sir Frederick Madden.

A fragment of another MS., marked as missing in Planta's catalogue, has
found its way to the Bodleian library. It consists of ten folios of the
Life of St. Basil, and a note by Hearne says that it came from a
Cottonian MS.

Grand and imposing as the Cottonian library still is, it is painful to
consider how incomparably finer it must have been during the life of
its founder, before it suffered from the ravages of the fire, and from
the carelessness or dishonesty of so many borrowers. Sir John Cotton
avowed that many books lent to Selden were never returned; the Duke of
Buckingham was also guilty in the same respect. A manuscript now in the
Bodleian library (Barlow 49) was borrowed from the Cottonian by Dr.
Prideaux, and never returned. It was afterwards exposed for sale at
Worcester, and bought by Dr. Barlow, who presented it to the Bodleian.
Parliamentary rolls often suffered a like fate, and instances of
similar losses could be largely multiplied. The loss of the Utrecht
Psalter is, however, perhaps the most grievous that the library has
sustained from borrowers.

Some of the manuscripts, injured by the fire at Ashburnham House, were
further mutilated by another fire which occurred on the premises of a
bookbinder on the 10th July 1865.

In 1753 the government purchased the large Natural History and Art
Collection of Sir Hans Sloane, together with a library of 50,000
volumes, which were deposited in Montague House, Bloomsbury, on the
site of the present British Museum Buildings. Hither the Cottonian and
Royal libraries were brought, forming, together with the Sloane
manuscripts, the nucleus of the great national collections of which we
are justly proud, and which, under their present efficient and
courteous management, are rendered so useful to students.

The British Museum was formally opened to the public at Montague House
in 1759. But it grew so rapidly that soon more space was needed, and in
1823 the eastern wing of the present building was erected to receive
the library of George III. presented to the museum by George IV. The
whole building was completed in 1847.


The Royal library is in many ways the most splendid of our national
manuscript collections. Had it been fortunate enough, like the Harleian
library, to number a Wanley among its custodians and biographers, the
history of its formation would read like a fairy-tale. But, unhappily,
we have to depend for our chief data on what Casley, the "dry as dust"
pay excellence of librarians could tell us, and though his knowledge of
the age of MSS. was admirable, he was remarkably uncommunicative
regarding their pedigree, meagre in his descriptions, and apparently
insensible to paleographic beauty. There is scarcely, in the whole
British Museum, a less satisfactory book than his catalogue of the
Royal library. Thus, the student is hampered by the want of a guide,
and must hew paths for himself through the luxuriant growth and
accumulations of many centuries. In point of mere size, the Royal
library ranks third among the four great collections acquired by the
British Museum at the time of its foundation--the Harleian numbering
7639 MSS.; the Sloane, 4001; the Royal, 1950; the Cottonian, 900.

Of the three others we have ample details; their hoards have been
thoroughly ransacked, and there are scarcely any surprises for the
student. We can, without much trouble lay our hands on any fact,
beauty, or excellence to be found in them, for there are hardly any
hidden gems. But with the Royal library it is different. Each student
is his own pioneer, and must make voyages of discovery if he would know
something of the riches which it contains.

Its history is scarcely more complete than its catalogue; although the
nucleus of the collection must be almost coeval with the monarchy.
Before the reign of James I., however, there were no records except the
strangely anomalous ones contained in the Privy Purse Expenses, and in
the Wardrobe and Household Accounts of the various English kings who
have added to the library. It is curious to light, among the sums
disbursed for such items as feather-beds and four-post bedsteads, on
the price paid for a rare manuscript, or for the binding of a choice
codex. Queen Elizabeth's "Keeper of the Books" was also "Court
Distiller of Odoriferous Herbs," and received a better salary as
perfumer than as librarian. But in times when books were more costly,
the office of custodian was considered an honourable one, and a Close
Roll of the year 1252 makes mention of the Custos librorum Regis.

Impossible though it be to fix the exact date or even reign when the
English kings began to collect books, we shall not be wrong if we infer
that the Royal library had already a very real existence in the reign
of Henry II., when a great literary revival took place. Although the
movement originated in the cloister, the court followed in its wake,
and William of Malmesbury had his secular counterpart in Alfred of
Beverley. A favourite of the king's, Walter de Map, who had been a
student in Paris, and Gerald de Barri (Giraldus Cambrensis) divided the
honours between courtly and popular themes, while a number of poets and
romanticists sprang up and wove fantastic myths and legends out of such
material as the Crusades, the Arthurian traditions, and the feats of
Charlemagne. King John, with scarcely a quality which men cared to
praise, was, strangely enough, fond of books and of scholars. A taste
for learning was gradually leavening the barbarous Normanic lump,
spreading downwards from monarch to people. Two years before John's
death Roger Bacon was born, whose opus Majus embraced every branch of
science, and whose life is the whole intellectual life of the
thirteenth century. Matthew Paris, the last of the great monastic
historians, was the intimate friend of Henry III., who delighted in his
scholarship, and loved to visit him in the scriptorium at St. Alban's
where he himself contributed to the famous chronicle, which would alone
have sufficed to make the reputation of the learned Benedictine. Thus,
indirectly, we are led to the Royal library.

In 1250, a French book is mentioned in a State Paper as belonging to
the king, but being actually in the keeping of the Knights Templars,
who are commanded to hand it over to an officer of the Wardrobe, with
the apparent object that the king's painters might copy from it when
painting a room called the Antioch Chamber.

In the reign of Edward I. a part of the Royal library was kept in the
Treasury of the Exchequer, and a few of the books are mentioned in the
Wardrobe Accounts of the year 1302. These included Latin service books,
treatises on devotional subjects, and romances. One book is described
as "Textus, in a case of leather on which magnates are wont to be

All through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there are
occasional allusions to the king's books in the Wardrobe Accounts, and
the Exchequer Inventory of Edward II. enumerates "a book bound in red
leather, De regimine Regum; a small book on the rule of the Knights
Templars, De regula Templariorum; a stitched book, De Vita sancti
Patricii; and a stitched book in a tongue unknown to the English which
begins thus: Edmygaw dorit doyrmyd dinas," and other books and rolls
"very foreign to the English tongue," the scribe, not knowing Welsh
even by sight, whereas, although he might not be able to read them, he
would probably know the look of Greek or Hebrew manuscripts. The list
closes with the Chronicle of Roderick de Ximenez, Archbishop of Toledo,
"bound in green leather."*

* Stapleton's exchequer Inventory, Edward II.

A document, belonging to the year 1419, and printed by Sir Francis
Palgrave, relates to the delivery into the King's Treasury of five
volumes, consisting of a Bible, a copy of the Book of Chronicles, a
treatise, De conceptione Beatae Mariae, a compendium of theology, and a
volume entitled Libellus de emendatione vitae. But in the following
year these manuscripts were given to the monastery at Sheen. In 1426 a
book described as Egesippus, another as Liber de observantia Papa, were
borrowed from the library in the Treasury by Cardinal Beaufort, and
there are subsequent notices of the return and re-loan of the same
volumes to the same borrower. It is interesting to note that a
manuscript called Hegesippus De Bello Judaico, etc., still in the Royal
library, is ascribed by Casley to the eleventh century, and may be
identified with the former of these two books.

In the following years entries occur of works on Civil Law, and of some
others being lent to the Master of King's College, Cambridge, and of
their subsequent presentation to that house, with the assent of the
Lords of the Council.

In the Wardrobe accounts of Edward IV. (Royal MS. 14, C 8), there are
entries relating to "the coveryng and garnyshing of the bookes of oure
saide Souverain Lorde the Kinge," which mark his possession in 1480 of
certain choice MSS., and the same document shows that these were bound
by Piers Bauduyn for the king. Among them were a Froissart, the
binding, gilding, and dressing of which cost 20S., and a Biblia
Historians (now marked 19 D 2 in the Royal library), bound and
ornamented for the same sum. On a fly-leaf is an inscription recording
its purchase for 100 marks by William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury,
after the battle of Poitiers. It had been taken as loot among the
baggage of the French king. On his death in 1397, the Earl of Salisbury
bequeathed it to his wife, who, in her will, ordered that it should be
sold for forty livres.

When the king went from London to Eltham his books went with him, and
some were put into "divers cofyns of fyrre," and others into his
carriage. They were bound in "figured cramoisie velvet, with rich laces
and tassels, with buttons of silk and gold, and with clasps bearing the
king's arms." The only reference to books in the will of Edward IV. is
in regard to such as appertained "to oure chapell," which he bequeathed
to his queen, such only being excepted "as we shall hereafter dispose
to goo to oure saide Collage of Wyndesore."*

* Add. MS., Transcript by Rymer, No. 4615.

Henry VII. stands between the Middle Ages and modern times, but his
additions to the Royal library consisted chiefly of Renaissance
literature. Notwithstanding his parsimony in most matters, his Privy
Purse Expenses contain a remarkable series of entries of payments for
books, for copying manuscripts, and for binding them. On one occasion
the sum of 23 pounds was spent on a single book, and there is an item
of 2 pounds paid to a clerk for copying The Amity of Flanders. He
bought a great number of romances in French as well as the grand series
of volumes printed on vellum by the famous Antoine Verard. Bacon
describes Henry VII. as "a prince, sad, serious, and full of thoughts
and secret observations, and full of notes and memorials of his own
hand . . . rather studious than learned, reading most books that were
of any worth, in the French tongue. Yet he understood the Latin."*

* Life and Rein of Henry VII, i., 637.

He had also a taste for finely illuminated books of devotion, and
presented a beautiful Missal to his daughter Margaret, Queen of Scots,
in which he inscribed his own name in enormous letters several times.
This book is now in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire. In the
Royal collection is another Missal which belonged to the same king,
written in a late Gothic hand.

Henry VII. was careful to have his children well instructed, and his
second son, being intended for the Church, received an education
fitting him for an ecclesiastical career. In his youth Henry VIII.
displayed considerable literary talent, posed as a patron of scholars,
and smiled benignly on such geniuses as Erasmus, More, Linacre, and
Grocyn; but in after years he was more keen to destroy other peoples'
libraries than to build up his own. The accounts of his Privy Purse
Expenses contain few entries of disbursements for books, and to take
one short period as a specimen, we find that the whole sum spent on his
library between 1530 and 1532, including not merely all moneys paid for
binding, but also an indefinite amount "to the taylour and skynner for
certeyn stuff, and workmanship for my lady Anne," was only 124 pounds,
16s. 3d. These figures become still more insignificant if we compare
them with those representing the money spent during the same period for
jewels alone, exclusive of plate, which amounted to the prodigious sum
of 10,800 pounds.

But although Henry VIII. did not buy books extensively, he sometimes
borrowed them, and several entries chronicle the lending of books to
him by monastic and other libraries, when he was pestering Christendom
for arguments in favour of his divorce from Katharine of Arragon.

Nevertheless, in spite of adverse circumstances, the Royal library had
been steadily growing in the course of ages, and had by this time
assumed notable proportions. Henry VIII. found himself the possessor of
a collection of books at Windsor, comprising 109 volumes in bindings of
velvet and leather, with silver and jewelled clasps; of another at
Westminster, consisting of Latin primers, some richly ornamented, of a
few Greek authors, Latin classics, and English chronicles, "bokes
written in tholde Saxon tongue." He had another library at Beaulieu
(now New Hall) in Essex, with about 60 volumes of Latin authors,
besides works of the Fathers, dictionaries, and histories. At
Beddington in Surrey he had many chronicles and romances, and "a greate
boke of parchment written and lymned with gold of graver's work--De
Confessione Amantis, which may be identified as the MS., now marked 18
C 22, in the Royal library. At Richmond was a small collection made by
his father, consisting chiefly of missals and romances. At St. James's
Palace were, among others, works described vaguely as "a boke of
parchment containing divers patterns; a white boke written on
parchment; one boke covered with green velvet contained in a wooden
case; a little boke covered with crimson velvet," and so on, a curious
method of cataloguing and utterly useless for the purpose of
identification after so long an interval. Here and there a distinctive
title occurs, such as the Foundation Book of Henry VIIth's Chapel.

All these different small collections together represented the Royal
library in the early part of the sixteenth century. Henry VIII. had the
greater number of the books removed to Greenwich, where there were
already some printed volumes and a few manuscripts. That part which
remained at Westminster was enriched with some of the spoils of the
monasteries, placed there perhaps by Leland to save them from
destruction.* Among these was a Latin Evangelia of the eleventh century
(1 D 3), which belonged to the monks of Rochester, and which had been
given to them by a certain Countess Goda, according to an inscription
in the book itself. From Christ Church, Canterbury, came a fine copy of
the gospels (1 A 1 8), presented to that monastery by King Athelstan,
and from St. Alban's several choice historical and theological works
from the pen of Matthew Paris.

* Edward's Memoirs of Libraries, i., 364 et seq.

It is a question whether the attention bestowed on the Royal library
during the reign of Edward VI. was an advantage to it or the reverse.
It is true that the energy of Sir John Cheke, and Roger Ascham, King's
librarian, secured for it the manuscripts that had belonged to Martin
Bucer; but on the other hand, the rabid intolerance of Edward's Council
deprived it of many of its valuable contents. On the 25th January 1550,
a so-called king's letter, sent from the Council Board, authorised
certain commissioners to make a descent upon all public and private
libraries, and to "cull out all superstitious books, as missals,
legends, and such like, and to deliver the garniture of the books,
being either gold or silver, to Sir Anthony Aucher.* The havoc thus
wrought was irremediable, and not even the king's own library was
spared the terrible perquisitions. But at the same time we cannot but
marvel that still so many of the condemned books should have escaped
the notice of the commissioners. In the same year the libraries at
Oxford were also "purged of a great part of Fathers and Schoolmen," and
great heaps of books set on fire in the market-place were watched with
delight by the younger members of the university, who named the
conflagration "Scotus's funeral."

* Council Book of Edward VI.

The short and troubled reign of Mary afforded no scope for literary
activity, and Elizabeth was far too busy outwitting her enemies abroad,
and controlling the factious tendencies of her friends at home, to be
able to cultivate her taste for books. Nevertheless, although in the
course of a hundred years the Royal library had suffered as much as it
had gained, it was even then a goodly sight. Paul Hentzner, the German
literary tourist, who visited it in 1598, says that it was "well stored
with Greek, Latin, and French books, bound in velvet of different
colours, although chiefly red, with clasps of gold and silver, the
corners of some being otherwise adorned with gold and precious
stones."* Perhaps the custodians vouchsafed him but a glance at these
outer splendours, for he tells us nothing of the treasures within, of
which all this magnificence was only the antechamber.

* P. Hentzner, Itnerarium Germaniae, Angliae, etc., p. 188.

But the golden age of the Royal library was in the reign of James I.,
and its greatest benefactor a youth who died at the age of eighteen. It
were idle to speculate on what might have been the future of Henry,
Prince of Wales, had he lived to fulfil the bright promise of his
boyhood. To a singularly well-balanced mind, he appears to have joined
an amiability of character that endeared him to all save the crotchety
doctrinaire who sat upon the throne. He loved hunting and hawking and
all healthy open-air pursuits no less than he loved books, and the
society of men, who were the history-makers of his day. He would visit
Sir Walter Raleigh in his prison in the Tower, and listen to his
brilliant projects for the future greatness of England in the
development of her colonies, and the annexation of still barbarous
lands, the fabulous wealth of which was the life-long dream of the
veteran explorer.

But Raleigh was not a mere dreamer, as his History of the World
shows--a work which, written during his long years of captivity, became
the text-book and standard authority for the next two hundred years.
Whatever his faults, and he had perhaps grave ones, it was his
misfortune to be in some ways in advance of the age in which he lived,
in consequence of which his finer qualities were misunderstood by most
of his contemporaries. Prince Henry was not, however, among their
number; he lent a fascinated ear to Raleigh's grand, patriotic schemes,
and had they both lived, the one to reign, the other to counsel and
guide, England might not only have been spared the most disgraceful
blot on her escutcheon, but have anticipated by more than two hundred
years her subsequent achievements. It was without doubt Sir Walter
Raleigh who inspired the young prince to take the Royal library under
his protection, and his pupil threw himself heart and soul into the
work, so that rightly or wrongly he has been considered its real

On the death of John, Lord Lumley, Prince Henry secured his fine
collection of MSS., by which means he more than made up for the loss
which the Royal library had sustained by his father's incomprehensible
warrant to Sir Thomas Bodley to choose any of the books in any of his
houses or libraries.*

* Reliquiae Bodleiana, p. 205.

Lord Lumley had not only been a diligent collector himself, but had
inherited a valuable library from his wife's father, Henry Fitzalan,
Earl of Arundel, who had begun to collect at the most propitious moment
for acquiring rare MSS., and had obtained a portion of Archbishop
Cranmer's library. The prince's Privy Purse Expenses have unfortunately
been destroyed, but one single entry of the year 16og, bearing
reference to his books, has survived: "To Mr. Holcock, for writing a
catalogue of the library which his Highness hade of my Lord Lumley, 68
pounds, 13s. 0d." This catalogue has unfortunately disappeared.

Edward Wright, the mathematician, and the learned Patrick Young were
both candidates for the post of librarian, and Wright was appointed
with a salary of 30 pounds a year.

Besides purchasing Lord Lumley's books, the young prince acquired the
entire collection of the erudite Welshman, William Morice, and an
unprecedented stir and activity began to animate the affairs of the
Royal library. Scholars saw in the Prince of Wales their future stay
and protector, and looked forward to his reign as to that of the first
English king in modern times, who would not merely patronise, but also
extend learning by his inherent love of, and zeal for, letters. But
this fair prospect was doomed to fade, even as they were contemplating
it, and the hope of England died in the very midst of all his literary
labours. The books which he had collected were mainly incorporated into
the Royal library, but many were dispersed after his death. Scattered
up and down the country may still be seen volumes in private
collections bearing the tell-tale conjoined names, "Tho.

James I., aptly styled by Henry IV. of France "the wisest fool in
Christendom," dabbled in books as in most other things, but does not
appear to have succeeded in doing much harm to his library beyond the
suicidal carte blanche to Sir Thomas Bodley. He appointed Patrick Young
to be custodian of the different sections of it distributed throughout
the various royal palaces, and this really great scholar retained the
post till the Revolution.

That part of the collection which was lodged at Richmond went by the
name of Henry VIIth's library, and was shown to Johann Zingerling, a
German scholar who came to England while Patrick Young was librarian.
The only MS. which he singled out for mention was the Genealogia Regum
Anglia, ab Adamo, a roll of the fifteenth century (t4 B 8). The
Richmond collection was removed to Whitehall by Charles I., and the
Genealogia appears in a catalogue made after the Restoration.

The reign of Charles I. is almost barren of events in the Royal
library, save at the very, beginning, for the acquisition of one MS.,
which may, however, be regarded as the piece de resistance of the whole
collection. This was the famous Codex Alexandrinus, one of the three
oldest MSS. of the whole Bible in Greek. Before describing this
venerable codex, it will be well to relate what little is known of its
history. In 1624, Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople, formally
presented it to James I., through his ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe.
Writing to Lord Arundel, in December of that year, Roe says: "One book
he (the Patriarch) hath given me to present his Majestie, but not yet
delivered, being the Bible intire, written by the hand of Tecla, the
protomartyr of the Greeks, that lived with St. Paul, which he doth aver
it to be authentical, and the greatest relique of the Greek Church." In
1626, he wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury: "The Patriarch also,
this New Year's tide, sent me the old Bible formerly presented to his
late Majesty, which he now dedicates to the king, and will send it with
an epistle. What estimation it may be of is above my skill, but he
values it as the greatest antiquity of the Greek Church. The letter is
very fair, a character I have never seen. It is entire, except the
beginning of St. Matthew. He doth testify under his hand that it was
written by the virgin Tecla, daughter of a famous Greek, called Stella
Hatutina, who founded the monastery in Egypt, upon Pharaoh's Tower, a
devout and learned maid, who was persecuted in Asia, and to whom
Gregory Nazianzen hath written many epistles. At the end whereof, under
the same hand, are the epistles of Clement. She died not long after the
Council of Nice. The book is very great, and hath antiquity enough at
sight; I doubt not his Majesty will esteem it for the hand by whom it
is presented."*

* Negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, London, 1740.

Sir Thomas Roe certainly did not overestimate the value of the
manuscript, and it would be extremely interesting could we trace the
evidence by which it came to be believed that it was written by the
hand of St. Tecla. A note in Arabic at the foot of the first page of
Genesis says that it was "made an inalienable gift to the patriarchal
cell of Alexandria. Whoever shall remove it thence shall be accursed
and cut off. Written by Athanasius the humble."

* "Probably," says Sir Edward Maunde Thomson, "Athanasius, the Melchite
Patriarch, who was still living in 1308." Description of Ancient
Manuscripts in the British Museum.

Before his translation to Constantinople, Cyril Lucar had been
Patriarch of Alexandria, and possibly he himself risked the threatened
curse and excommunication in taking the Bible away with him, though his
deacon asserted that he had obtained it from Mount Athos.

But besides the above-mentioned note there is another also in Arabic,
with a Latin translation at the back of the table of books. This note
says: "Remember that this book was written by the hand of Tecla the
martyr." The tradition is recalled by Cyril Lucar at the beginning of
the manuscript. He states that the name of Tecla was originally to be
found inscribed at the end of the volume, but that when Christianity
practically became extinct in Egypt, the few remaining Christians and
their books were doomed, and for this reason the name was erased,
Tecla's memory and the legend being perpetuated notwithstanding.

Tregelles accounts for the tradition that St. Tecla was the writer of
the MS. by the supposition that the Arabic note was ignorantly added by
some scribe who had observed the name of Tecla written in the now
mutilated margin of the first leaf of the New Testament, which contains
the lesson appointed by the Greek Church for the feast of St. Tecla.
Sir Edward Thompson points out, however, that this would infer that in
the fourteenth century the Gospel of St. Matthew was in its present
mutilated state, and that then as now, the New Testament formed a
separate volume apart from the Old; and he shows that the Arabic
numeration of the leaves, which is of about the same age as the
inscription, is carried continuously through both Testaments, and by a
calculation of the numbers which have not been cut away in trimming the
edges, it appears that the twenty-five leaves which contained the
greater portion of St. Matthew were lost at a later period, the last
leaf of the Old Testament bearing the number 641, and the present first
leaf of the New Testament 667.

Cobet and other experts fixed the date of the two codices, the Codex
Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus, as not earlier than the fifth or
sixth century, the principal reason for assigning to them so late a
date being the generally accepted theory that uncials were not in use
until vellum had entirely superseded papyrus as the medium for precious
manuscripts. But the latest authority in this department, Mr. F. G.
Kenyon, has thrown light on the whole question of early Christian Greek
MSS., by the discovery of a large uncial round hand on a papyrus dated
Anno Domini 88.* Thus it is quite possible, palaeographically, that the
Codex Vaticanus, which has been hitherto supposed to date from the
fourth century, may be much older, and there is now no conclusive
evidence to prove that the Alexandrinus was not written by St. Tecla,
whatever the probabilities may be to the contrary.

* The Paleography of Greek Papyri, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1899.

The three above-named codices, the Vaticanus, the Sinaiticus, and the
Alexandrinus have certain points in common, but the MS. in the Royal
library is written in double columns, that of the Vatican in triple
columns, and the Codex Sinaiticus, some leaves of which are in the
public library at Leipzig, the main body of the work being in the
imperial library at St. Petersburg, in quadruple columns.

Besides being numerically imperfect, the leaves of the Codex
Alexandrinus have suffered from the clipping of the outer edges by the
binder, and several of its priceless pages have been otherwise spoiled
and mutilated.

The MS. is austere in its simplicity, being totally unadorned, save for
the red ink used in the opening lines of each book, and occasionally in
superscriptions and colophons. The letters are uncials (or capitals)
without break, their form proving that the book was written in Egypt.

Patrick Young was librarian when this celebrated codex was added to the
Royal library, and duly conscious of its value, he did his utmost to
get a facsimile of it printed. But the king could not be induced to
take up the matter. In 1644 Young prevailed on the assembly of divines
to present a petition to the House of Commons, praying "that the said
Bible may be printed, for the benefit of the Church, the advancement of
God's glory, and the honour of the kingdom." A committee was found to
confer with him on the subject, but nothing was done, owing to the
troubled state of the country.

During the Revolution and under the commonwealth the Royal library was
in extreme peril. Hugh Peters, successor to Young, although he belonged
to the iconoclastic faction, practically saved the books, but was
unable to protect the unique collection of medals and coins. After a
few months the custodianship was transferred to Ireton, and ultimately
a permanent librarian was appointed in the person of Bulstrode
Whitelocke, first commissioner of the Great Seal. He accepted the
office from patriotism and reverence for the antiquities which were in
such imminent danger, but he wrote deprecatingly:

"I knew the greatness of the charge, . . . yet being informed of a
design to have some of them (the books) sold, and transferred beyond
sea (which 1 thought would be a disgrace and damage to our nation, and
to all scholars therein), and fearing that in other hands they might be
more subject to embezzling . . . I did accept the trouble of being
library-keeper at St. James's, and therein was much persuaded by Mr.
Selden, who swore that if I did not undertake the charge of them, all
those rare monuments of antiquity, those choice books and MSS. would be
lost, and there were not the like of them except only in the Vatican,
in any other library in Christendom."

At the Restoration, Thomas Rosse was made royal librarian, but his
offices were already so numerous that he was unable to bestow much
attention on the books. Nevertheless, he revived the project of
printing the Alexandrian MS., and urged the king to interest himself in
bringing it about, saying that, although it would cost 200 pounds, it
would "appear glorious in history after your Majesty's death." "Pish,"
replied Charles II., characteristically, "I care not what they say of
me in history when I am dead," and there was an end of the matter till
our own day.

The year 1678 is noteworthy in the annals of the Royal library as the
period at which it acquired the series of valuable MSS. known as the
Theyer collection. They had been bought from Theyer's executors by
Robert Scott, a famous bookseller, who offered them to the king for
6841. He subsequently got them for 560 pounds. Next to the Alexandrian
Codex this is the most important addition to the library in
comparatively modern times. It consisted of 336 volumes, including l00
rare treatises, a whole series of Roger Bacon's works, and the
celebrated autograph collection formerly belonging to Cranmer, and long
mourned as lost. Many of these manuscripts could be traced back to the
library of Llanthony Abbey, having passed into Theyer's possession by
the marriage of one- of his ancestors with a sister of the last prior
of Llanthony. Nearly the whole of the Theyer collection is described in
the Catalogi Librorum Manuscriptorum of 1697, but without the least
hint that it then formed part of the Royal library. The great Richard
Bentley was at that time librarian, and was responsible for the amazing
omission, having prohibited any mention of the Royal library in that
work, his reason perhaps being the disgraceful condition into which the
books had fallen. Bentley was by far the most distinguished of the
royal librarians during any part of its history, and he would, no
doubt, have accomplished wonders if he had not been so outrageous a
pluralist, so busy a scholar, and so pugnacious a litigant. Not only
was he Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, Regius Professor of
Divinity, Rector of Haddington, Rector of Wilburn, and Archdeacon of
Ely, but he was immersed in numberless lawsuits, and in classical
studies which would alone have sufficed to fill the whole life of an
ordinary man. What he, in spite of these multifarous occupations,
attempted to do for the Royal library at least testifies to the
grandeur of his conceptions and the boldness of his schemes. His
failure to place the library within the reach of students was as much
due to the stultifying effects of red-tapeism as to the disorganised
condition of the library itself.

Bentley's first care on taking office was to enforce the Copyright Act,
which, although passed in 1663, had been carelessly ignored. By this
means about 1000 printed books were added to the collection, but no
bindings were provided, or shelves on which to put them. In a famous
controversy with Charles Boyle, who complained that difficulties were
placed in the way of his access to one of the royal manuscripts,
Bentley answered: "I will own that I have often said and lamented that
the library was not fit to be seen," and proceeding to exulpate
himself, he added: "If the room be too mean, and too little for the
books; if it be much out of repair; if the situation be inconvenient;
if the access to it be dishonourable, is the library- keeper to answer
for it?"

A proposal was made, during Bentley's tenure of office, to erect a
suitable building for the books, establishing it by Act of Parliament.
But nothing was done, and in the course of nineteen years the
collection was four times removed. In 1712 it migrated from the much
abused quarters at St. James's to Cotton House, and from thence to
Essex House in 1722. It was next lodged, together with the Cottonian
library at Ashburnham House, and after the disastrous fire in 1731,
from which the Cotton MSS. suffered so severely, it gained with them a
temporary refuge in the old Westminster dormitory.

Bentley resigned his office of librarian in 1724, in favour of his son,
another Richard Bentley; but Casley, who, as deputy custodian, had been
for many years the only working librarian, continued to fill that post.

In 1757, George II. presented the Royal library to the nation, handing
it over by Letters Patent to the custody of the trustees of the British
Museum, and thus its hitherto chequered career was turned into
prosperous channels. All that is henceforth left to desire is a
descriptive catalogue worthy of its unique contents.*

* The Royal Library must not be confused with the King's Library
belonging to George III., and presented to the British Museum by George
IV. The King's Library included, however, a few important MSS. which
had been retained by George II. when he made over the Royal collection
to the nation.

The Greek MSS. in the British Museum are not very numerous, but are
widely renowned. Of those in the Royal library the Codex Alexandrinus
is by far the most interesting, not only as being the one Greek MS. of
the whole Bible in the library, but also as surpassing all the other
existing Greek fragments of the Scriptures in point of antiquity. The
next earliest MS., containing the Books of Ruth, Kings, Esdras, Esther,
and the Maccabees (1 D 2), is of the thirteenth century. The Books of
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon (1 A 15), are of the
fifteenth century. Nearest in antiquity to the Alexandrian Bible in the
British Museum is the Cotton MS. (Titus, C 15), the Codex Clarmontanus,
a purple-dyed fragment of the sixth century, written on vellum of so
subtle and delicate a texture that even experts have sometimes mistaken
it for Egyptian papyrus.

A few words will not be out of place here respecting the writing
materials of the ancients, and their custom of staining leaves of
vellum. Skins of animals were probably one of the most ancient mediums,
as being the most durable. There exists in the British Museum a ritual,
written on white leather, which dates from about the year 2000 B.C. But
the custom of writing on leather is known to have been much older
still. The commonest mode of keeping records in Assyria and Babylonia
was on prepared bricks, tiles, or cylinders of clay, baked after the
inscription had been impressed on them. But a wood-cut of an ancient
sculpture from Konyungik* illustrates scribes in the act of writing
down the number of heads and the amount of spoil taken in battle, on
rolls of leather, which the Egyptians used as early as the eighteenth
dynasty. At the close of the commercial intercourse between Assyria and
Egypt, rolls of leather may have been the only material employed for
writing on. Parchment, so prepared that both sides could be used, was
doubtless the development of this custom, but was a much later
invention. Together with the use of the rough skins, and of the more or
less carefully prepared surfaces of the leather, papyrus became one of
the most frequent vehicles for written words, and was used for some
time after the beginning of the Christian era. Leaves of palm or mallow
led up to the first forms of papyrus used--hence, perhaps, the word
leaf of a book. Bark was next pressed into the service of literature
and, it has often been suggested, possibly gave rise to the word book,
although it seems more likely that book was of runic origin and derived
from the beech-staves--Buch-staben, on which the runes were expressed.

* Nineveh and its Remains, by Sir Henry Layard, ii., 185.

Eventually vellum entirely took the place of papyrus, but papyrus was
used not only in Egypt, but in imperial Rome before vellum became
common, and even biblical manuscripts were written on rolls of this
material. It was, however, too fragile and perishable to remain the
receptacle of writing and illumination intended to last for all time,
and therefore, by the middle of the tenth century A.D. it was
altogether discarded. Only a few tattered fragments of the New
Testament written on papyrus are still extant.

The oldest manuscripts belonging to the Christian era were written on
the thinnest and whitest vellum. The parchment of later times is more
coarsely grained, and less well finished, manuscripts a thousand and
more years old showing no signs of decay or discoloration, unlike many
which date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Scrivener,
basing his authority on Tischendorf, observes that the Codex Sinaiticus
is made of the finest skins of antelopes, the leaves being so large
that a single animal could furnish but two of them. The Codex Vaticanus
is greatly admired for the beauty of the vellum; and the whiteness of
the Codex Alexandrinus can be seen by all who visit the British Museum,
although the exquisite thinness, softness, and delicacy of the texture
can only be appreciated by touching it. The beautiful fabric of the
Codex Clarmontanus has already been mentioned.

But not only was the vellum finer and more durable in the earliest days
of our era than at a comparatively recent date, but the ink was better,
and the colours used in illuminating were far more beautiful. The
ancients laid on the gold very thickly, and the ink which they prepared
is still black, so that the text can be easily read, while the ink used
in the Middle Ages is now generally of a greyish brown. Red ink is very
ancient, and often seen in early Egyptian papyri. The instrument for
writing on papyrus was the reed growing in the marshes formed by the
Tigris and the Euphrates, and on the banks of the Nile. It was also
used for writing on vellum, but quills, admirably adapted for this kind
of material, came gradually into use with parchment. By degrees the
roll form was abandoned for the codex or book form, as being more
convenient, the leaves being stitched into gatherings or quires; but
for a long time both forms were used together.

It is uncertain when the custom of staining the most precious MSS.
purple came into vogue, but it did not obtain after the tenth century.
St. Jerome and his contemporaries practised it, using letters stamped
rather than written, in silver and gold. Writing in gold ceased to be
common in the thirteenth century, and in silver when the fashion of
staining the vellum died out. The value of a manuscript does not depend
on its purple colour, but this is chiefly interesting as serving to
show one phase of the reverence paid to the Scriptures. It may also
help to fix the date of a MS.*

* Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New
Testament, p. 23.

One of the most beautiful specimens of early paleographic art in the
Royal library is the Latin MS. of the gospels, known as the Evangelia
of King Canute (1 D 9). Westwood indeed considers that it will not bear
comparison with the Gospels of Trinity College, Cambridge, though he
admits that it exceeds them in interest owing to the Anglo-Saxon
entries relating to Canute at the beginning of St. Mark's Gospel.*
Wanley has described these entries as a certificate or testimonial of
Canute's reception into the family or society of the Church of Christ
at Canterbury. One leaf bears this inscription: "In the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ. Here is written Canute the King's name. He is our
beloved Lord worldwards, and our spiritual brother Godwards; and
Harold, this King's brother; Thorth, our brother; Kartoca, our brother;
Thuri, our brother." On the next leaf is a charter by the same king,
confirming the privileges of Christ Church, Canterbury. The book was
probably the gift of Canute to the monks of that house. There are no
miniatures, but an illuminated page with a grand border, heavily gilt,
contains small figures of the evangelists in medallions. Written in ink
at the bottom of the illuminated page is the name Lumley, showing that
the MS. formed part of that collection acquired by Prince Henry.

* Facsimiles of the Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish

The Gospels of St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury (1 E 6), written in
England in the eighth century, are probably the remains of the
so-called Biblia Gregoriana. But if this codex was really among the
books sent by Pope Gregory to St.
Augustine, it must first have been sent to Rome from England, but
internal evidence points to a much later date. It contains four very
dark-purple or rather rose-coloured stained leaves, with inscriptions
in letters of gold and silver an inch long, the silver being oxidised
by age. It is one of the most precious examples of Anglo-Saxon
caligraphy and illumination now existing. The half-uncial letters of
English type are by different hands, and the miniatures are of
different dates, that of the Lion of St. Mark being probably of the
tenth century. It is also supposed that the missing verses at the
beginning of the gospels were all written on purple-stained vellum, and
that there may have been a miniature of the evangelist before each
gospel. An inscription on the fly-leaf states that it belonged to the
monastery of St. Augustine at Canterbury, and that it formed part of
that library in the fourteenth century.

The fine manuscript, designated 2A 20, is a book of prayers and lessons
on vellum, of the eighth century. It belonged to the Theyer collection,
and several notes are inserted in the handwriting of John Theyer. It is
very much stained and spoiled, the binder, as was so often the piteous
case, having barbarously cut off some of the edges, and with them a
portion of the marginal writing, to the great detriment of the book.

2 A 22 is a magnificent Latin Psalter of the twelfth century, the best
period of penmanship. Sir Edward Thompson draws attention to the fact
that this volume originated at Westminster, as may be inferred by the
prominence given in the calendars and prayers to St. Peter and St.
Edward, even without its identification with an entry in the Abbey
Inventory.* A further proof of this is furnished by the miniatures of
the two saints, one of which begins the series; the other leads up to
the beautiful Salvator Mundi. Between are St. George and St.
Christopher. Instead of being dispersed throughout the book, the
illustrations are all at the beginning and end, indicating by the
colourless faces, and by what for want of a better word may be styled
their Gothic outlines, that they are of English origin. Some of the
capital letters are very interesting. One of these quaintly represents
the Saviour of the world enthroned in glory, on a gold background. His
hand is raised in blessing, while a Benedictine monk, floating on the
wings of prayer, clasps a scroll, one end of which disappears under the
rainbow-hued throne. On the scroll are the words Domine, exandi
orationem mean. At the end of the Psalter are Litanies and other

* English Illuminated MSS., pp. 34, 35.

The broad manner in which these illuminations are treated, with foliage
boldly designed, and animals of various kinds disporting themselves
among the branches, is indicative of the period. There is a striking
contrast between this large, bold treatment and the minute style of the
next century, although the period of transition occupied but a few
years. The change began with the development of the initial letter,
which was the starting-point of the border and of the miniature.

The Royal MS. 1 D 1, a Latin Bible of the middle of the thirteenth
century, forms an excellent example of this development. It is written
on fine vellum, and in a perfect style of calligraphy. The paintings
are few if we except those connected with the initial letter, which
serves admirably to illustrate the growth of the border from its
pendants, cusps, and graceful finials, showing how the initial and
miniature came to be combined. Writing about this same MS. Sir Edward
Thompson says: "In the large initial we see the combination of the
miniature with the initial and partial border, a combination which is
typical of book decoration of the thirteenth century. In MSS. of
earlier periods the miniature was a painting which usually occupied a
page, independently of the text . . . or if inserted in the text it was
not connected with the decoration of the page. It was, in fact, an
illustration and nothing more. But now, while the miniature is still
employed in this manner, independently of the text, the miniature
initial also comes into common use, the miniature therein., however,
continuing to hold for some time a subordinate place, as a decoration
rather than as an illustrative feature. In course of time, with the
growth of the border, the two-fold function of the miniature, as a
means of illustration and also of decoration, is satisfied by allowing
it to occupy part or even the whole of a page as an independent
picture, but at the same time, set in the border, which has developed
from the pendent of the initial. This development of the border it is
extremely interesting to follow, and so regular is its growth, and so
remarkable are the national characteristics which it assumes, that the
period and place of origin of an illuminated MS. may often be
accurately determined from the details of its border alone." *

* English Illuminated MSS., p. 37.

The distinguished writer goes on to show that in tracing this
development one sees how the initials first terminate in simple buds or
cusps, and how, in the next stage, characteristic of the thirteenth
century, they put out little branches, the buds growing into leaves and
flowers, and how thus gradually the border comes to surround the whole

The Royal MS. 2 B 3, commonly known as Queen Mary's Psalter, is a good
specimen of fourteenth century art. This is a large octavo volume of
320 leaves of vellum, almost everyone being magnificently illuminated
on both sides, with daintily executed drawings, lightly sketched, and
slightly tinted in green, brown, and violet. One richly-decorated page
represents the Last Judgement. At the top, a miniature within the
border shows forth the judge of all mankind. Angels with green-tipped
wings hover on either side. Before the Saviour as judge kneel the
Blessed Virgin and St. John, and on the other side is a group of monks.
The background is of pure gold. Underneath, enclosed in a blue and
white border, the dead rise to judgment. Angels blow long trumpets and
the graves open. Below this again is a lovely initial, with more
figures on a gold background. The letter begins the words of the Litany
Kyrie eleison. A drawing at the bottom of the page represents Saul
receiving the letter to Damascus for the persecution of the Christians.
This page, as elaborate and glowing with colour as it is rich in design
and fine in execution, is, however, not more striking than many others
in the same manuscript, which may, without too much praise, be
described as a gem of palaeographic art. A note on the last leaf
explains that the MS. was on the point of being carried beyond seas,
when a customs officer, one Baldwin Smith, in the port of London seized
and presented it to the Queen, in October 1553, the first year of her

The writer does not record whether the hapless owner was indemnified
for his loss. It was probably Queen Mary herself who caused the book to
be bound as we now see it, in the worn crimson velvet binding, with the
remains of large pomegranates embroidered at each corner, pomegranates
being her own badge.

The MS. 2 B 7 is an extremely beautiful piece of workmanship of the
fourteenth century. Its delicate outline drawings, mostly in mauve and
green, are reminiscent of the Guthlac roll. They represent mainly an
illustrated Martyrology of Saints, popular in England. 1 A 18 is the
copy of the Latin Gospels presented to Christ Church, Canterbury, by
King Athelstan, with the name Lumley on the first page of the Eusebian
canons, and Umfridus me fecit on a fly-leaf.

The beautiful French version of the Apocalypse, written in England
about 1330 (19 B R5), contains drawings of great refinement, though
scarcely to be compared with those which adorn Queen Mary's Psalter.

The very large Bible of the end of the fourteenth century measuring
twenty-four by Leventeen inches, is splendidly illuminated and
profusely adorned with miniatures.

But choice and variety are infinite, and to the devout lover of these
things, the Royal library resembles a goldmine with nuggets of immense
value lying in profusion wherever his adventurous footsteps lead him.
If his object be delight he will find that every step leads him there.


When Robert Harley laid the foundation of his magnificent library in t
7o5, so many collectors were already in the field that the prospect of
getting together any large number of choice manuscripts did not seem
promising. But contrary to expectation, this very fact proved
fortunate, for whereas Cotton had built up his library, book by book,
laboriously, Harley had the advantage of forming his, to a great
extent, by the purchase of other well-known collections, either at the
death of their original owners, or after the manuscripts had passed
through successive hands. Of these larger acquisitions may be mentioned
the library which had belonged to the famous antiquary, Sir Symonds
D'Ewes, Cotton's friend; the greater number of the Graevius MSS.; the
23 bulky volumes of the Baker collection; many of the papers originally
belonging to Nicholas Charles, Lancaster Herald, which, at his death,
Camden had purchased for 690 pounds, and the collection of Stow, the
historian of London.

Charles's library consisted chiefly of epitaphs, drawings of monuments
and arms, and an historical catalogue of the officers of the College of
Arms. Some of these are now at the Herald's College, one of the
manuscripts is in the Lansdowne collection, and the others were bought
by Harley.

On Strype's death in 1737, the majority of the papers, collected by
Foxe the martyrologist, which had been in the annalist's possession,
also passed with others into Harley's hands; they form vols. 416 to
428, and vol. 590 of this collection. Some of Foxe's papers are in the
Lansdowne library.

By means of great exertion and a lavish expenditure, Harley became
within ten years the possessor of about 2500 old MSS., and in 1721 had
collected 6000 volumes, 1400 charters, and 500 rolls, besides about
350,000 pamphlets. His entire library afterwards numbered over 20,000

Robert Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, was descended from an ancient
family, existing, it is pretended, in Shropshire at the time of the
Norman Conquest, and closely allied to the French family of de Harlai.
He was the eldest son of Sir Edward Harley, member for the county of
Hereford, in the Parliament which restored Charles I I.; was born in
1661, rose to a high position in public affairs, and was created, by
Queen Anne, a peer of the realm by the style and title of Baron
Wigmore, in the county of Hereford, Earl of Oxford, and Mortimer.* Soon
afterwards he was made Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain, and Prime
Minister. He was twice married--first to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas
Foley of Whitley Court, Worcestershire, by whom he had three
children--a son, Edward, who succeeded him, and two daughters. His
second wife was Sarah, daughter of Simon Middleton, of Hurst Hill,
Edmonton, who survived him some years.

* The Earldom of Mortimer was added, because, although Aubrey de Vere,
twentieth Earl of Oxford had died without leaving male issue in 1702,
it was necessary to guard against possible claimants among remote
descendants of the de Veres.

Swift drew attention to the circumstance that Robert Harley was
educated at Shilton, a private school in Oxfordshire, remarkable for
having produced at the same time a Lord High Treasurer (the Earl of
Oxford), a Lord High Chancellor (Lord Harcourt), a Lord Chief Justice
of the Common Pleas (Lord Trevor), and ten members of the House of
Commons, who were all contemporaries as well at school as in
Parliament. From both his father and grandfather he had inherited a
taste for books, and as Speaker of the House of Commons, had taken
considerable part in organising the Cottonian library when it was
bequeathed to the nation. It was on this occasion that his notice was
first drawn to Humphrey Wanley, who offered some valuable hints in
regard to the arrangement of the Cotton manuscripts, and subsequently
proved himself to be the model of librarians.

Humphrey Wanley was the son of a country parson; he had received a
university education, and had already achieved success and some fame as
a scholar by his catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon MSS., preserved in the
principal libraries of Great Britain. He would gladly have undertaken
the custody of the Cotton library vice Dr. Smith, and wrote to Robert
Nelson, a learned writer and philanthrophist, who apparently possessed
some influence with the government, to solicit his good offices in
procuring him that post. Nelson's answer, interpolated by a remark in
Wanley's beautiful, scholarly hand, is interesting as an illustration
of the rivalry that existed between the two foremost librarians of the

"Were I as able to advise Mr. Wanley as I am desirous to offer what
might be most advantageous for his interest," wrote Nelson, "I should
immediately have answered your last letter which requires some queries
to be resolved before I can well determine how you ought to proceed.
For if there is any friendship between you and the Dr. [Smith] it will
give a different aspect to your endeavours to supplant him."

Here there is a mark in the original letter referring to a note written
across the margin by Wanley as follows:

"This is about the Cottonian Library, the custody whereof I did then,
and many years after, most ardently desire. As to friendship between
Dr. Thomas Smith [here meant] and me there was but little, his
conversation being not suitable to mine, by reason of his jealousies
and peevishness extreme. I always allowed the Doctor's pretensions to
be much better grounded than mine; but if he, being a non-juror, could
not swear to the Queen's government, or being much in years should
happen to decease, as he did after some time, I desired that employment
when the trustees should please to regulate that noble collection.

"Otherwise," continues Nelson, "I can see no reason why a man that is
qualified for an employment may not fairly offer himself as a candidate
for it, without injury to others that may pretend to it, and if you
should want success, it no way diminishes those qualifications you were
endowed with, for the discharge of the employment. If the Sir Robert
Cotton you mention be of the Post Office, I believe I can find a way of
applying to him,--I am your faithful friend and servant, Wanley's
ardent desire was not destined to be satisfied, but a still more
honourable position was in store for the distinguished scholar and man
of letters, for he not only became ultimately custodian of the Harleian
manuscripts, but as we shall presently see, he deserved by his zeal,
learning, and discrimination to be considered together with Lord
Oxford, the joint-founder of the Harleian library.


"2nd October 1702."

Thus, it was entirely owing to Wanley that the D'Ewes collection,
purchased for 6000 pounds, was secured by Sir Robert Harley, and it
formed the basis of what is now one of our greatest national
collections of manuscripts. The acquisition of this celebrated library
was the determining point in Wanley's career and in that of the
Harleian library itself.

Sir Symonds D'Ewes, the antiquary, had by his will left all his books
and manuscripts to his grandson, another Sir Symonds, but without
antiquarian or literary tastes. Wanley, having discovered that
although, according to the antiquary's will, his collection might not
be dispersed, it might still possibly be bought, wrote to Harley and
suggested that he should be the purchaser:

"Sir Symonds D'Ewes, being pleased to honour me with a peculiar
kindness of esteem, I have taken the liberty of inquiring of him
whether he will part with his library; and I find that he is not
unwilling to do so, and that at a much easier rate than I could think
for. I dare say that it would be a noble addition to the Cotton
Library; perhaps the best that could be had anywhere at present . . . .
If your Honour should judge it impracticable to persuade Her Majesty to
buy them for the Cotton Library--in whose coffers such a sum as will
buy them is scarcely conceivable--then Sir, if you have a mind of them
yourself, I will take care that you shall have them cheaper than any
other person whatsoever. I know that many have their eyes on this
collection. I am desirous to have this collection in town for the
public good, and rather in a public place than in private hands, but of
all private gentlemen's studies first in yours. I have not spoken to
anybody as yet, nor will not till I have your answer, that you may not
be forestalled."

The D'Ewes collection was a curiously miscellaneous one, containing
much trivial matter side by side with learned treatises, transcripts of
important cartularies, monastic registers, public and private muniments
of the most varied description. A list of them is to be found in the
Harleian MS. 775. No subject seems to have been void of interest for
the great antiquary: he treasured up his school exercises as carefully
as he did any ancient Greek or Roman charter, or mediaeval paleographic

With the purchase of this rich medley of books begins Wanley's term of
office as librarian to Lord Oxford, which continued till his death in
1726. By his knowledge and literary acumen the librarian supplied what
was lacking in his patron, for like Sir Robert Cotton, Harley, despite
his love of books, was by no means a scholar or man of letters. Even
the insignificant pamphlets, once ascribed to his pen, have since been
proved to be the work of others. His verses, some of which were printed
in the sixteenth volume of Swift's works, were condemned by Macaulay as
being "more execrable than the bellman's." But with Wanley at his side
he surpassed even Cotton as a collector, for the librarian possessed an
intimate acquaintanceship with the contents of every foreign library of
note, and Harley was always ready to spend in princely fashion whenever
Wanley considered that a manuscript was worth buying. On the sumptuous
bindings with which he adorned these acquisitions he expended as much
as 18,000 pounds. His principal binders were Thomas Elliott and
Christopher Chapman, of Duck Lane, who called forth some severe remarks
in Wanley's Diary, on the subject of their negligence and extravagant
prices. On inspecting Mr. Elliott's bill he finds him "exceeding dear
in all the works of Morocco, Turkey, and Russia leather, besides those
of velvet," and he is constantly reprimanding both book-binders for
their "negligence in executing my Lord's work."

Perhaps the best-merited praise that has ever been bestowed on the
founder of this celebrated library is Macaulay's tribute to his
"sincere kindness for men of genius." And, however much the first Earl
of Oxford may have transgressed politically (he is accused of having
been unscrupulous, weak, and incapable as a minister), his services to
literature in the protection which he accorded to the learned, have won
for him a high place in the estimation of his countrymen. Even as a
politician he acquired some literary fame, as being the first minister
who employed the Press for ministerial purposes; and it redounds to his
honour that, amid the cares and passions of public life, and aims more
or less worthy of a statesman, he occupied his scanty leisure with the
altogether laudable endeavour to gather together under his own roof for
the benefit of students and scholars as much as possible of the lore
and erudition of past ages.

The correspondence between Harley and Defoe, preserved at Welbeck
Abbey, and now published by the Historical MSS. Commission, reveals the
intimate relations which existed for public purposes between these two
remarkable men.

Of Edward, second Earl of Oxford, much praise and very little blame
have been recorded. He has been quaintly described as " indeed rich but
thankful, charitable without ostentation, and that in so good-natured a
way as never to give pain to the person whom he obliged in that
respect." He was, in truth, indolent and extravagant, faults which did
not, however, detract from his popularity. He was the prey of
adventurers, and the providence of impecunious poets such as Pope and
Swift. All the literati of the day were allowed access to his library.
Oldys drew therefrom the materials for his Life of Sir Walter Raleigh;
Joseph Ames and Samuel Palmer had recourse to it in their black-letter
studies. Pope was his adored friend and kept up a lively correspondence
with him; Swift was always welcome at his table. He had many tastes, of
which book-collecting was not the least expensive, and of the fortune
of 500,000 pounds which his wife brought him, the greater part is said
to have been sacrificed to "indolence, good-nature, and want of worldly

In 1740 he was obliged to sell his estate of Wimpole, in order to clear
off a debt of 100,000 pounds, a sacrifice which failed to appease his
creditors, and a prey to carking care, he found the downward path from
conviviality to inebriety a rapid one.

It was during the lifetime of the second Lord Oxford that the Rev.
Thomas Baker bequeathed his works in manuscript to the Harleian
library. A memorandum prefixed to these papers states that, in
consideration of one guinea (to satisfy
an original copy of Baston's verses on the battle of Bannockburn; a
fine one of the Chronicle of Mailros; the Life of King David, written
by the Abbot of Rievaulx; copies of charters between Scottish and
French kings; and transcripts overlooked by Rymer and John Harding
touching the lordship of England over Scotland. A contemporaneous
document relates to the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to the Dauphin,
and there are various letters from the same queen. We also notice Papal
Bulls, enjoining the Scottish bishops to render obedience to the
Archbishop of York as their metropolitan, and the king's recognition of
that archbishop's rights; besides many other important papers too
numerous to mention. Wales and Ireland are also well represented.

But like the Cottonian, the Harleian library spread its borders far
beyond the limits of British history. As early as 1697 it had been
Wanley's opinion that it would conduce very much to the welfare of
learning in this country if some fit person or persons were sent abroad
to make it their business to visit the libraries of France, Italy, and
Germany, and to give a good account of the most valued manuscripts in
them. "The Papists," he adds in his memorandum to this effect, "are
communicative enough, for love or money, of any book that does not
immediately concern their controversies with Protestants,"* a somewhat
cryptic utterance which Wanley does not concern himself to explain,
controversy not being one of the sciences to which his attention was
turned. But his letter of instructions to Mr. Andrew Hay, who was
commissioned by Lord Oxford 1720 to proceed to France and Italy in
order to purchase MSS. for him, shows such an intimate knowledge of the
contents of the great continental libraries, that long as it is we
cannot forbear transcribing the whole:--

"Mr. Andrew Hay, you being upon your departure towards France and Italy
by my noble Lord's order, I give you this commission, not now expecting
that you can execute every part of it in this journey, but yet hoping
that you will dispatch those articles which are of the greatest
importance, and put the others into a proper posture against the time
of your next return thither.

*Marl. MS., Harl. M.S., vol. 5911, f. 2.

"In Paris Fr. Bernard Montfaucon has some Coptic, Syriac, and other
MSS. worth the buying. Among them is an old leaf of the Greek
Septuagint, written in uncial or capital letters. Buy these and the
leaden book he gave to Cardinal Bouillon if he can procure it for you
or direct you to it. In the archives of the Cistercian monastery of
Clervaulx, I am told there are some original letters or epistles
written by the hand of St. Hierome upon phylira or bark. One or more of
these will be acceptable if not too outrageously valued. The Duke of
Savoy has many Greek MSS., as also the Egyptian board or table of Isis,
adorned with hieroglyphics, being those which have been explained by
Pignorius, Richerus, etc. Let me have some account of these.

"At Venice buy a set of the Greek liturgical books printed there--I
mean a set of the first edition if they may be had; if not let us have
the other. Buy also Thomassini Bibliothecae Venetae in 40. Get a
catalogue of Mr. Smith's MSS. there, and inquire how matters go about
Giustiniani's Greek MSS. In the bookseller's shops, etc., you may
frequently pick up Greek MSS., which the Greeks bring from the Morea
and other parts of the Levant. Remember to get the fragments of Greek
MSS. you left with the bookseller who bought Maffeo's library. The
family of Moscardi at Verona have many valuable antiquities, and among
the rest four instruments of the Emperor Theodosius, junior [now
imperfect] written upon phylira. These must be bought, and especial
care taken of them, etc. The first begins 'dem relectis'; the second
'ius vir in ast'; the third 'ius vir in'; the fourth 'ni Siciliensis.'
At Florence, the Dominicans or Franciscans have a large collection of
Greek MSS. You may see them and get a catalogue of them if you can. Buy
Ernstius or some other catalogue of the Grand Duke's MSS.

"At Milan in the Ambrosian Library is a very ancient Catullus, part of
Josephus in Latin, written upon bark; a Samaritan Pentateuch in octavo,
part of the Syriac Bible in the ancient or Estrangele characters;
divers Greek MSS. in capital letters, being parts of the Bible, with
other books of great antiquity, both Greek and Latin. You may look upon
them and send me some account.

"At Monza [about ten miles from Milan] is an imperfect Antiphonarium
Gregorii Papae. It is all written upon purplecoloured parchment, with
capital letters of gold. Buy this if you can.

"The family of Septata at Milan have a Latin writing upon bark. Buy
this if it will be parted with.

"In the archives of the Church of Ravenna are divers instruments
written upon bark. You may see them.

"At Rome the Greek monks of St. Basil have very many old Greek MSS.
written in capitals, particularly a book of the four Gospels, and some
pieces of St. Gregory Nazianzen upon St. Paul's Epistles. Buy as many
as you can, for I hear they are poor, and therefore, they may sell the
cheaper. They have likewise a Greek charter of Roger, King of Sicily,
in five pieces, with some other instruments in Greek, written upon bark
or vellum. Buy these also if you can.

"The Fathers of the Oratory at Rome have many very ancient MSS., both
Greek and Latin. See them at least, even supposing that they will not
sell. In the Cathedral library at Pisa are many ancient MSS. Let me
have some account of these also.

"The monks of Bovio, near, if not in Pavia, have many very ancient
MSS., and among the rest a book of the Gospels in Latin, wherein St.
Luke is written Lucanus. They have many old deeds in their archives.
Buy what you can.

"At Cava [about a day's journey from Naples], is a Benedictine
monastery. In the archives or treasury is a Greek deed of Roger, King
of Sicily, with his golden seal appendant. Buy this if you can. In the
library are some old MSS.; see these at least, if you cannot buy.

"At Naples, in the library of the Augustin Friars of St. John de
Carbonara is a Greek MS. of the Gospels [or of homilies upon the
Gospels] all written in capitals, with letters of gold upon purple
parchment. This must be bought. There is also a Dioscorides in Greek
capitals, being a large work with figures of the planets, etc. This
must also be bought. There is also a good number of other ancient MSS.,
both Greek and Latin. Among the latter is an Hieronimus de Scriptoribus
Ecclesiasticis, in Saxon letters, and the Gospels in Latin, where St.
Luke is called Lucanus. Buy of these what you can.

"If the Greek MSS. of the monastery of St. Saviour, near Messina in
Sicily, or any of them do remain there yet, or in that neighbourhood,
as it is probable they may, they will doubtless come exceeding cheap.
You will inquire, however, how this matter stands.

"Pray Sir, all along in your journey endeavour to secure what Greek
MSS. and Latin classical MSS. you can, provided they come at reasonable
prices, and let me be favoured with an account of your proceedings as
often as may be convenient."

And he adds:

"Mr. Hay, in executing this commission, my noble Lord cannot give you
positive directions how to bid upon every occasion, by reason of this
his great distance from those parts, and must therefore rely upon your
fidelity, your prudence, your usual dexterity in business, and your
personal affection to him. You will be sure always to buy as cheap as
you can, for I foresee that some of the things his Lordship chiefly
wants or is desirous of, will not come for a small matter. In most of
the monasteries you will be able to buy for ready money; but it may be
at a cheaper rate with the Greek monks at St. Basil's monastery at
Rome, whose MSS. are good, and themselves in want.

"I beseech God to bless and prosper you all along in this so long a
journey, and to bring you back again with safety and good success; and
you may be sure that you will be more welcome to but very few than to,
good Sir, your very hearty well-wisher and most humble servant,

"Humphrey Wanly.

"26th April 1720."*

* Printed in the Preface to the Catalogue of the Harleian MSS.

Mr. Hay's expedition was not entirely successful. Some of the
manuscripts mentioned in the above letter, which Wanley insisted "must
be bought," are clearly not in the Harleian collection, and notably the
Greek and Latin MSS. written in letters of gold upon purple parchment.
For this library contains among its choicest treasures no manuscript
entirely written upon purple vellum, the Codex Aureus being only
partially thus stained. As we have already seen, during the early ages
of Christianity, the Greeks and Romans were in the habit of writing
their most precious books in letters of gold and silver on
purple-stained vellum, that colour being the distinguishing sign of
royalty and greatness. Purple was only worn by princes, and in this
manner of distinguishing the Scriptures was shown the high degree of
reverence in which they were held. The practice was continued during
the fifth and three following centuries, although it was so little
known in England that when, towards the end of the seventh century, St.
Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, gave a copy of the Gospels ornamented in
this manner to York Minster, his biographer described the book as a
thing almost miraculous. Manuscripts entirely composed of leaves of
purple vellum are of the greatest rarity, and many are described by
palaeographers as purple-stained when they are only partially so. The
age of a manuscript may sometimes be determined among other
characteristics by the fineness and whiteness of the vellum, and
sometimes by its purple colour. The MSS. numbered 2788, 2820, and 2821
in the Harleian library are described by Astle as purple-stained,
whereas they are only thus painted in places intended to receive the
golden letters. Frequently, only the most important parts, such as the
title-pages, prefaces, or a few pages at the beginning of each gospel
or the Canon of the Mass, were written on vellum which had been
prepared in this manner.

Wanley, as may be seen from the foregoing letter, added to his
knowledge of manuscripts a certain fondness for driving a bargain. He
was extremely desirous of obtaining the treasures which he describes so
accurately, but he was almost as much bent on getting them cheap as on
getting them at all. This may have been the result of solicitude for
his patron's pocket, for Lord Oxford was ruining himself to enrich his
library; but at all events in this matter nature and grace seem to have
gone amicably hand in hand. Wanley's only comment on the death of the
Earl of Sunderland in 1722 is to the effect that it will make rare old
books more accessible from the fact of their being less in demand, " so
that any gentleman may be permitted to buy an uncommon old book for
less than forty or fifty pounds."

Number 2788 is the wonderful Codex Aureus or Golden Gospels. Its
acquisition by Lord Oxford is chronicled in Wanley's Diary in the year
1720. On the 14th May he wrote:

"Yesterday Mr. Vaillant (a bookseller) brought me a specimen of the
characters of that Latin MS. of the Gospels, which is to be sold at the
approaching auction of Menare's books at the Hague. These characters
are all uncials, gilded over with gold, and appear to be formed in very
elegant manner. Among them I observe A, G, V, M and E so shaped, which
is not commonly seen in the body or text of old MSS., although frequent
in the title or Rubrics. In my opinion this most ancient and valuable
book should be purchased at any rate."

Lord Oxford gave orders for the Golden Manuscript to be secured, and
commissioned Mr. Vaillant to buy it with all secrecy and prudence.
There are several entries in Wanley's Diary concerning the negotiations
for this purchase, and on the 27th June all was brought to a happy

"This day the Codex Aureus Latinus was cleared out of the king's
warehouse, and delivered into my custody." On the 29th its solemn entry
into the Harleian library is recorded, and on the 13th July of the
following year, we find that "Mr. Elliot, having clothed the Codex
Aureus in my Lord's morocco leather, took the same home this day, in
order to work upon it with his best tools, which he can do with much
more conveniency at his own house than here." Wanley makes a note of
this circumstance because of his "speedy journey to Oxford in case any
ill accident should happen."

This celebrated MS. is written throughout in gold letters upon vellum,
with the exception of the first lines of chapters in the Gospels and
the first lines of the subsidiary articles, which are in red ink. The
paintings of the four evangelists are extremely interesting, and the
title-pages are stained purple. This codex is described by Sir Edward
Maunde Thompson as French, of the time of Charlemagne, and we may add
that its position in the Harleian may be compared to that of the Durham
or Lindisfarne Gospels in the Cottonian library.

The manuscripts numbered 2820 and 2821 are further examples of
partially purple-stained vellum, in imitation of earlier work. They are
of German workmanship of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The
execution of the miniatures is condemned by Sir Edward Thompson as
"very rude" and "hard," but with all deference to so great an authority
we must put in a plea for them, on the score of their extreme naivete
and candour.

A mediaeval roll of immense interest, one of the greatest treasures of
this collection, consists of a series of beautiful outline drawings,
known as the Guthlac Roll, representing scenes from the life of St.
Guthlac. These drawings, which are of the twelfth century, are
contained in eighteen rondeaux, intended, perhaps, as a design for a
stained-glass window in honour of the saint at Croyland. They quaintly
describe, in exquisite delicacy of form and colour, how the young
Guthlac, after taking leave of his parents, renounces the profession of
arms, and receives the tonsure at the hands of Bishop Hedda. Then,
sailing away in a boat to Croyland, he builds an oratory with the help
of two companions, Becelin and Tatwin, and an angel converses with him.
No sooner is he launched on his new career of prayer, good works, and
bodily mortification, than demons assail him, carry him to the roof of
his oratory, and scourge him with knotted cords. But he scares them
away with the white scourge given to him by St. Bartholomew. He is then
ordained priest, instructs Ethelbald in the Christian religion, and
prophecies that he will be king. The last six rondeaux show forth the
death of Guthlac, the burial of his body by his sister Pega, his
appearing to Ethelbald and his attendants who are weeping round his
tomb, and his blissful state in heaven among the benefactors of
Croyland Abbey.

Reference has already been made to Wanley's Diary,* a chronicle of the
purchases made by Lord Oxford during the greater part of Wanley's
custodianship, and of the principal events which happened in the
library. It begins on the 2nd March 1714, when Wanley had been
librarian for about six years. Many of the entries are exceedingly
curious, as demonstrating the energy with which old manuscripts were
traced, discovered, and purchased, and the tact and discretion
employed, in order to induce their owners to part with them. A fine
manuscript of part of Bede's Ecclesiastical History in Saxon, and two
other valuable Saxon MSS. -- King Alfred's translation of Ossian and a
copy of Aelfrick's Grammar--were discovered in private hands, besides
the Psalterium Gallicanum of St. Jerome  "with the * and ./., written
about the time of the last King Ethelred, with the Litany and some
prayers, being one of the most beautiful books that can be seen."

* Lansdowne MSS., 771, 772.

There was, moreover, a constant movement in the library itself. All
those who had any kind of manuscript for sale came to Wanley, and he
notifies in his diary the arrival of books in Chinese, Armenian,
Samaritan, Hebrew, Chaldee, Aethiopic and Arabic (both in Asiatic and
African letters), in Persian, Turkish, Russian, Greek (ancient and
modern), Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, Provencal, High German, Low
German, Flemish, Anglo-Saxon, English, Welsh, and Irish, in all about
940 manuscripts,

"Which is," he remarks, "a great parcel, besides which my Lord hath got
many other MSS. remaining at Wimpole . . . . My Lord hath not only
other MSS. in this room, written in almost all those [languages] above
enumerated, but also in those that follow, which I call to mind on the
sudden-viz., Chinese, Japanese, Sanscrit or Hanscrit, Malabaric,
Syriac, in the Nestorian, as well as in the common characters (some few
specimens of Coptic letters), Slavonian, Wallachian, Hungarian,
Courlandish, Francic or old Teutonic, Biscayan, Portuguese." On another
occasion, a person who had some books for sale, which he was anxious
that Lord Oxford should buy, offered Wanley a douceur, in the hope that
the librarian would press their purchase, "not knowing," he says
simply, "the kind of man I am." Wanley refused the bribe, but advised
his patron to buy the books, which he did.

At another time--

"A French sort of droll came to my lodging, saying he was sent to me by
Mr. Bu-Pis, of Long Acre. He pulled out a 40 paper MS., dedicated to
Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, treating of Geomancy, and other like
nonsense, being written mostly in German. Monsieur stumped up the value
of it, and often swore it was the finest thing in the world. I asked
him the price of it, and looked grum and gravely, which he saw with
satisfaction; but as soon as his answer of fifty guineas was out, I
replied that was the book mine he should have it for the hundredth part
of a quart d'ecu. The droll would, however, have made remonstrances,
but I would hear none; il ne vaut rien being my word. So I waited on
him downstairs, which he took as a piece of ceremony; but indeed it was
to see him out of the house without stealing something."

One of the most important negotiations chronicled by Wanley relates to
the purchase of the Graevius MSS. in 1724-25. Johann Graevius was a
German classical scholar, born in 1632, and chiefly known by his
Thesaurus Antiquitatum Romanorum, and his Antiquitatum et Historianum
Italia, in 45 volumes. His library, one of the most remarkable in
Europe, was sold at his death in 1703 to the elector, Johann Wilhelm,
for 6000 Reichsthaler. The elector presented all the printed books in
this collection to the University of Heidelberg, but kept the
manuscripts, 110 in number, in his own library at Dusseldorf They were
accounted such treasures, that travellers, interested in antiquities,
were taken to see them. The German scholar Uffenbach, who visited the
elector's library in VI I, says of them:

"Among the few MSS. that were shown to me, the most remarkable was a
beautiful old quarto codex of Horace, which Graevius once lent to Mr.
Bentley, who could not be prevailed on to restore it till forced into
it by the threat that the elector would appeal to the Queen. There were
several volumes of autograph letters from learned men, collected by
Graevius, and several very beautiful breviaries, among which was one in
duodecimo, bound in silver, and containing as many beautiful figures as
I have ever seen in such books. Mr. Le Roy also showed me the 'Officia
Ciceronis,' printed by Scheffer in 1466--namely the books De Amicitia
et Senectute."

The above books, together with others not mentioned by Uffenbach,
subsequently found their way into the Harleian library, and have been
identified by Mr. A. C. Clark, who has made a careful study of them
aided by the dates written in Wanley's hand on the first page.*

* See his interesting paper in the "Classical Review," October 1891,
The Library of J. G. Gravius.

The manner of their disappearance from the elector's library
illustrates the more than questionable dealings to which
book-collectors were often subjected at the hands of their librarians.
There is a curious correspondence preserved in the Bodleian library,
consisting of autograph letters which passed between Buchels, the
elector's librarian at Dusseldorf, and Zamboni, the resident at the
court of Great Britain for the Landgraf of Hessen Darmstadt. In
appearance the correspondence is innocent enough: Zamboni has
manuscripts for sale on behalf of persons abroad. But there is far more
than meets the eye, and the letters contain almost beyond doubt the
disguised and detailed account of how the elector was robbed of his
manuscripts, and how Zamboni defrauded the fraudulent librarian
Buchels. Indeed the whole history of the Graevius manuscripts seems to
be one of peculation, until they came into Lord Oxford's possession.
Graevius himself was by no means irreproachable in the matter of
restoring borrowed books; Buchels, a Latin scholar and bibliograph of
some merit, had a suspicious tendency to appropriate his master's
goods; and Zamboni, had he lived in these days, would certainly have
been prosecuted for criminal bankruptcy, if, indeed, the greater part
of the transaction were not considered too dishonest to risk exposure.

Buchels, in writing to Zamboni, 13th August 1717, maintains an air of
mystery about the books which he offers to him for sale, professing to
get them from various monasteries, and describing the difficulties
which he has in obtaining them. There are English dealers about, too,
who raise the price of everything. By degrees he sends lists of what he
has to dispose of, and shelters himself behind a mysterious friend, who
is obliged to sell such and such a manuscript. Sometimes this friend is
travelling about, sometimes he is in the country, but he is always the
source of difficulties. But Zamboni is not deceived to the extent to
which Buchels wishes to deceive him, and he knows full well that the
manuscripts offered to him all formed part of the Codices Graeviani,
and he tells Wanley so, but does not of course mention Buchels.
Meanwhile there is much bargaining between Buchels and Zamboni; but it
is certain, from the correspondence in the Bodleian library, that
Zamboni never paid for the MSS. which he sold to Lord Oxford in
anything but promises. The bills which he gave were never met, and if
the elector was the loser, his librarian cannot be said to have
profited by the fraud which he undoubtedly committed.

Wanley's part in the transaction, a strictly honourable one, is fully
recorded in the Diary. On the 26th December 1724, he wrote:--

"The last night Mr. Mattaire came to me and said that he had seen
Signor Zamboni, and nine MSS. which are lately come to him from
Italy--that they will soon be sent to his house without being shown to
any other, and that then I shall see them forthwith. And further, that
this Signor expects a little parcel of Greek MSS., not yet arrived."
Three weeks later he again wrote:--

"This morning I went to Mr. Mattaire, with whom I saw fifteen old Latin
MSS., or fragments of MSS., belonging now to Signor Zamboni, but
formerly to the Dutch Professor Graevius.

He opened a negotiation, and after some months wrote thus:--

"Signor Zamboni, sending a very kind letter to me, desiring to visit
me, either here or at my lodgings, I desired he would please to call
here, my lodgings being out of order, by reason of my maid's being
married yesterday. Signor Zamboni came hither about 2, and I showed him
many more of my Lord's MSS. to his great satisfaction. At length he
desired that I would go along with him to an ordinary, where he was to
dine with some foreign persons of distinction. I complied with his
request, as thinking I might do my Lord some service; and after dinner
was over, and the rest of the company gone, he assured me that as to
the price of the MSS. which he hath sent hither, he will leave it
entirely to my regulation, and accept of whatever I shall think an
equitable price for them; only, he desires a dispatch as speedy as may
be, lest the owner should send for them back. He further said that the
owner chiefly values the two volumes of learned men's Letters, the
Saxon Spieghel, and the Prayerbook of Solyman the Magnificent."

Three days later, 27 September 1725, the Diary further records:--

"Yesterday Signor Zamboni came to me, and was entertained to his own
content and satisfaction. He conferred with me about the MSS. here in
my custody, and will stand to my award, between my Lord and him. He
says that as to the things my Lord formerly had of him, that he was no
gainer, but that in one of the parcels, he of himself lowered the price
twenty pounds less than his commission ran for. I hope I shall be able
to separate the two volumes of Letters, the Saxon Spieghel and
Solyman's Prayer-book, although they are very curious and valuable
things, and so my Lord may have the others very cheap. This done, I
believe that the same Letters and two MSS. may in time fall into my
Lord's hands at a price far lower than they are now held up at. Signor
Zamboni, who proves to be a good-natured and is [I believe] an honest
gentleman, mentioned 4000 more original Letters in the possession of
his correspondent, which may soon be brought over into England."

On the 2nd October he added:--

"I waited on Signor Zamboni yesterday, who is daily teased by his Dutch
correspondent about the chest of MSS. lying here."

There was a further delay of nearly a fortnight, and then Wanley wrote
to the rogue Zamboni to the effect that Lord Oxford had at last seen
many of his manuscripts, which he was not unwilling to buy at a
reasonable price, and that he would willingly forego the two volumes of
letters, the Saxon Spieghel and Sultan Solyman's Prayerbook, "if held
up too dear." He asked for the Greek MS. of Hesiod which he formerly
saw among them, but which had since been withdrawn. Ultimately he sent
back some of the books for which "this most greedy Signor" asked "the
most horrible price." Wanley's hope that they might subsequently come
to the library for less money was fulfilled as far as the letters were
concerned; these are now to be found in volumes 4933 4934 4935 and
4936. Among them are a few other letters which were already in the
Harleian library when the Dusseldorf manuscripts were purchased. Wanley
had them all bound up together.

The manuscripts bought by Wanley from Zamboni number eighty-four, and
comprise nearly all the important books mentioned in the Graevius
catalogue. The Hesiod is the only valuable Greek MS. missing, and the
principal Latin MS. of this collection, which did not pass into the
Harleian library, is a Terence. It is also to be regretted that Wanley
did not secure the prayers of Solyman and the celebrated Saxon
Spieghel. Of the eighty-four other MSS., two have a special historical
interest: the Cicero (2682) and the Quintilian (2664), both of which
can be traced to the Cathedral library at Cologne.

Graevius borrowed the Cicero in 1663 from the authorities, but never
returned it. The elector, Johann Wilhelm, bought it among other books
which were sold at his death. It consists of a folio of 192 leaves of
coarse vellum written in a German hand of the latter part of the
eleventh century, and has been the subject of much learned criticism.
It was collated by Mr. A. C. Clark, but until he identified it as one
of the books that had formed part of the Graevius collection, very
little attention had been paid to it. There is no trace of it before
the sixteenth century, beyond the fact that its first collator was
Modius of Cologne, who was allowed to use the Cathedral library, to
which the Cicero then belonged. The acquisition of these manuscripts
was the last important purchase made by Wanley; he died a few months
later, aged fifty-three.

Besides the above-mentioned treasures from the Dusseldorf library the
Harleian possesses, among other Greek classical manuscripts, some that
are unique in character. Sir Edward Thompson, in his "Catalogue of
Ancient Greek MSS. in the British Museum," calls attention to three in
the Harleian collection which appear to him to be of superior merit.
These are: (1) The Greek-Latin glossary of the seventh century. This
manuscript is of singular interest both for language and palaeography,
and consists of 277 leaves of vellum varying in thickness, some of it
being very coarse. At the end, on a fly-leaf is some scribbling in what
is described as "a Merovingian hand." (2) The Greek MS. of the ninth or
tenth century, imperfect in the beginning, and in several other places,
described by Wanley as the Codex Prusensis. The initial letters, some
of which are ornamented, are generally red. (3) A volume numbered 5694
in the catalogue, and containing a part of Lucian's works, on 134
leaves of fine vellum of the tenth century. On the second fly-leaf are
these words in an Italian fifteenth-century hand: "Libro de Jo.
Chalceopylus, Constantinopolitanus," and at the bottom of the page,
"Antonii Seripandi ex Henrici Casolle amici optimi munere." Wanley says
that this MS. was supposed to have been carried from the old imperial
library at Constantinople to the monastery of Bobi near Naples. He
considered it "the finest old Greek classical MS. now in England." The
library of Seripandus was preserved in the Augustinian monastery of St.
John of Carbonara at Naples, but a part of it was sold to Jan de Witt,
who took it to Holland, and this manuscript was among the number, and
was included in the sale catalogue of De Witt's library in 1701. It was
bought by Jan van der Mark of Utrecht, and on this account it is
described in the Amsterdam edition of the work as the Codex Marcianus.
Later on it came into the possession of John Bridges of
Northamptonshire, who sold it to the second Lord Oxford.

The earliest Latin MS. in the Harleian library is a copy of the four
Gospels of the sixth or seventh century--No. 1775. It was bought by the
founder of the library from Jean Aymon, who stole it, together with
eight other manuscripts, from the Bibliothique Royale in Paris, in
1707. It still bears on folio 2 its original press-mark. Another MS. in
Lord Oxford's possession having been identified as one of these, was
restored to its rightful owners in 1729. This relic of early Christian
times consists of 35 leaves of the Epistles of St. Paul, the canonical
Epistle, and the Apocalypse, written in gold letters on vellum. The
adventure through which it found itself in the Harleian library
together with the precious No. 1775, may be thus briefly related:

Jean Aymon was a renegade French priest who had retired to the Hague,
married, and become a Lutheran pastor. He enjoyed a considerable
reputation for learning and piety among the Dutch; but wearying of his
monotonous, uneventful life, he resolved on returning to France under
pretext of offering to Monsieur Clement, the king's sub-librarian, a
certain book which he had discovered. He accordingly wrote to Clement
asking him to procure him a passport, in order that he might present
the book in question, and reveal some important matters to the king.
Clement obtained the passport, and Aymon returned to France, where, in
order to ingratiate himself with the librarian, he declared that he
wished to be restored in religion. He was advised to retire for a time
to the seminary of Foreign Missions, in order to study his position and
to prepare for his rehabilitation as a priest. But he complained
bitterly of the treatment which he received at the seminary, and paid
frequent visits to Clement, who, with astounding simplicity, allowed
him to remain for hours, often quite alone, in the Royal library. Here
he employed himself in making selections from priceless manuscripts,
sometimes cutting out pages from the middle of a volume where the theft
would be less easily detected. When he had gathered in a considerable
harvest, he cleverly obtained another passport, and escaped back to the
Hague with his ill-gotten gains. He accounted for his absence by saying
that he had been to seek documents, important for the defence of
religion, and made no secret of having brought back rich trophies. It
was thus through public rumour that Clement first became aware that the
king's library had been robbed. But Aymon's method of pilfering had so
far succeeded that it was some time before it could be ascertained what
number of manuscripts he had carried off. By degrees, however, the list
was completed and sent to Holland. The Abbe Bignon was the king's
librarian at the time when it was discovered that one at least of the
stolen treasures was in the Harleian library. As soon as Edward, Lord
Oxford became aware of the fact, he hastened to restore it, and
received in exchange a very polite acknowledgement of his courtesy from
Cardinal Fleury on behalf of the king.*

* L. V. Delisle, Le Cabinet des Manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Imperiale.

In 1725 Wanley enumerated the Greek MSS. in the Harleian collection as
173. Among the illuminated ones, that which bears the number 1810
demands special attention. It is an Evangelia executed in Greece in the
twelfth century, and written in black and red characters on the finest
vellum. Some of the miniatures have suffered woefully, the paint having
cracked in parts, but the faces are still full of beauty and life. One
of the least damaged represents the death of the Blessed Virgin. The
apostles surround the bed on which she lies extended; the aged St.
Peter lifts up his hands in an attitude of grief; St. John is leaning
over her left side; another bends forward and embraces her feet. In a
lozenge-shaped medallion on a gold background our Lord holds her soul
in His arms, in the form of a little child. A crowd of people form the
background, and a figure at the head of the bed swings a censer. Three
women contemplate the scene from a small window.

Another remarkable miniature, the last in the volume, is a good deal
cracked, but still extremely interesting for the force and delicacy of
touch which it displays. Our Lord appears to the apostles after His
Resurrection. St. Thomas is in the act of placing his finger in the
wounded side. The print of the nails is seen in the hands and feet. Sir
Edward Thompson distinguishes this manuscript with his by no means
frequent encomium, "very good."

The Greek Evangelium of the ninth or tenth century (5787), with its
ornamental initials and borders, and St. Jerome's Latin version of the
Psalter (2793), with a preface addressed to Sophronius, and written in
a tenth-century hand, should not be passed over.

Another Psalter (2904), executed in England at the end of the tenth or
beginning of the eleventh century, has a fine drawing of the
Crucifixion, and grand initial letters. Westwood, in his Facsimiles and
Miniatures, considers this drawing to be the finest of the kind, and
the initial B (Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum), the
noblest with which he is acquainted. This manuscript has most of the
characteristics of the later Anglo-Saxon school-the hunched-up
shoulders to express grief, the attenuated lower limbs, and the manner
in which prominence is given to the central figure by drawing the
others much smaller. On a scroll which St. John holds are the words,
"Hic est discipulis qui testimonii perhibet." The arrangement of
Pilate's superscription--"Hic est Nazaren IHC rex judaeor"--is unusual
but not without precedent.

The Harleian library contains no fewer than 300 MSS. of the Bible or
parts of the Bible, written and illuminated between the seventh and the
fourteenth centuries. Of the later copies we may note one of the whole
Bible, written in the thirteenth century, and described in the
"Catalogue of Ancient MSS. in the British Museum," as remarkable; and a
Psalter, written before 1339, splendidly illuminated, and further
interesting as having belonged to Philippa of Hainault, and as bearing
the arms of England without those of France.

There is also a fine series of Talmudical and Rabbinical books; nearly
200 volumes of Fathers of the Church, as well as liturgical books of
the different Latin and Greek rites.

The polite literature of the Middle Ages is admirably represented,
among other examples by the famous Roman de la Rose, with its brilliant
fourteenth-century miniatures, its wonderful figures gorgeously
dressed, its broad borders richly decorated with fruit, birds, insects,
and flowers, of which the rose is the most salient feature. One
fascinating miniature shows--

Comment Narcissus se mira
A la fontaine et souspira";

and after a long but delightful pilgrimage by flowery meads and limpid
streams, amid curious mediaeval gardens

"La conclusion du rommant
Est que vous voiez ez lemant
Qui prent la rose a son plaisir
En qui estait tout son desir."

This glimpse of the treasures of the Harleian library will at least
account for the great celebrity it attained within a comparatively
short time of its foundation. Wanley was careful to enter into his
Diary the names of visitors, and any interesting details connected with
them, and their motives for an inspection. On the 15th January 1719/20
he observed:--

"Dr.Fiddes came, and communicated to me his intention of writing the
life of Cardinal Wolsey at large; and desired me to transcribe for him
all such materials in this library as I should find for his purpose. I
showed him divers things here, and gave him notice of many others in
the Cottonian library, etc., but as to transcribing for him, begged his
excuse, etc."

On the 22nd December 1721,

"Mr. Bowles, the Bodleian library-keeper, came, and I spent most of the
time showing him some of the rarities here, to his great wonder and

And on the 28th

"Mr. Bowles came and saw more of the rarities here."

Two more visits from Mr. Bowles are chronicled, when he saw "yet more
of the curious books, papers, and parchments here"; and shortly after
Wanley wrote, "many come and tarry long." A visit from David Casley,
keeper of the Cottonian and Royal libraries, on the 4th November 1725,
is suggestive of a certain amount of friction between the two rival
librarians. It is nearly the last entry in Wanley's record:--

"Mr. Casley came to collate my Lord's MSS. of Titus Livius for Mr.
D'Orville, by my Lord's order. I am civil to him, but when just now he
offered me a South Sea bond as security to let him carry one of the
said MSS. home to collate it there, I would by no means hearken to such
a proposal."

Perhaps Wanley would have regarded him with still greater suspicion if
he had known that Casley was to be his successor in cataloguing the
MSS. which he kept with so jealous a care. The talents of the two men
were very different, as the catalogue itself shows. That part of it for
which Wanley was responsible contains a description and an abstract of
each manuscript. Casley, whose knowledge of the age of manuscripts has
never been surpassed, contented himself with fixing their dates without
any reference to their contents.

The work of building up the library does not seem to have flagged or
deteriorated after Wanley's death. The search for precious MSS. was
still actively carried on, and copies of a large collection of
original, royal, and other letters and State Papers in the Lansdowne
library furnish us with an example of Lord Oxford's unabated zeal in
the pursuit of books. Appended to these papers is a note written on the
first leaf by Mr. J. West, and dated 2nd May 1742:--

"Mem. I went with Edward, Earl of Oxford, to view these MSS. at a
barber's shop next door to the Bull Head Tavern, in Lincoln's Inn
Fields, when we were carried up two pair of stairs, and an old woman
asked 300 pounds for the MSS., which was thought exorbitant, but which
would have been given, if she would have declared any lawful title to
us as owner of them."

After Casley, Hocker, deputy-keeper of the records in the Tower,
undertook to continue the catalogue, but only completed it as far as
the number 7355. When the collection was brought to the British Museum,
after the death of the second Lord Oxford, Dr. Brown, Professor of
Arabic at Oxford, and Dr. Kennicott, Fellow of Exeter College, added
titles to such of the Arabic and Hebrew MSS. as needed them. Gomez, a
learned Jew, was employed to do the same for the rabbinical books that
were without titles. In 1800 the Rev. Robert Nares was appointed to
continue and revise the catalogue. In a letter to Bishop Percy, dated
British Museum, 19th January 1801, Nares wrote:--

"I am just now deep in old MSS., correcting all that part of the
Harleian catalogue which was left unfinished by Humphrey Wanley, and
very imperfectly executed by Mr. Casley."

The work done by Nares was supplemented by Stebbing Shaw, and Douce.
The Rev. T. Hartwell Horne added a series of indexes, and published the
catalogue in 1812.*

* Nichol's Literary Illustrations, vol. vii., p. 591.

On the death of Edward, Earl of Oxford, in 1741, his widow,* who is
described as a "dull, worthy woman," cared to retain few of her
husband's treasures. His various curiosities were sold by auction; his
printed books, pamphlets, and engravings were disposed of to Thomas
Osborne, a bookseller of Gray's Inn, for 13,000 pounds--several
thousand pounds less than the cost of their bindings. A selection of
scarce pamphlets found in the library was made by Oldys, and printed in
8 volumes, in 1746, under the title of the "Harleian Miscellany." Dr.
Samuel Johnson wrote a preface to this work. The best edition of the
"Harleian Miscellany" is that of Thomas Park, in 10 volumes, published
between 1808-13.

* She was Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles, only daughter of John,
fourth Earl of Clare, created Duke of Newcastle.

There still remained the precious manuscripts, and it had been the wish
of Lord Oxford that books so carefully collected might not be
dispersed. In accordance with this wish, Lady Oxford sold them to the
nation in 1753 for the inconsiderable sum of 10,000 pounds. They then
consisted of 7639 volumes, besides 14,236 original rolls, charters,
deeds, and other documents, and these were removed to the British
Museum, where they found a safe and suitable resting-place.

But although fortunately the Harleian MSS. have been preserved from the
fate of so many choice volumes in the Cottonian library, they have
suffered to some extent from the carelessness or dishonesty of
borrowers. The second Lord Oxford was generous to a fault in lending,
with the inevitable result. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the only one of
his literary friends whom Lady Oxford tolerated,* wrote the following
letter to her husband from Avignon in 1745, at the time when probably,
the MSS. having been removed to the British Museum, attention was
directed to the fact that some were missing:--

"I perfectly remember carrying back the manuscript you mention, and
delivering it to Lord Oxford. I never failed returning to himself all
the books he lent me. It is true I showed it to the Duchess of
Montague, but we read it together, and I did not even leave it with
her. I am not surprised in that vast quantity of manuscripts, some
should be lost or mislaid, particularly knowing Lord Oxford to be
careless of them, easily lending and as easily forgetting he had done
it. I remember I carried him once one very finely illuminated that when
I delivered he did not recollect he had lent it to me, though it was
but a few days before. Wherever this is, I think you had need be in no
pain about it."**

* "It is a common remark that people of brilliant parts often have no
objection to relax or REST their understandings in the society of those
whose intellects are a little more obtuse. Here was an instance: the
gods never made anybody less poetical than Lady Oxford; and yet Lady
Mary Wortley, though in general not over tolerant to her inferior's
incapacity, appears upon the whole to have loved nobody so well. And
there was an exception equally striking in her favour; for Lady Oxford,
heartily detesting most of the wits who surrounded her husband, yet
admired Lady Mary with all her might-pretty much as the parish clerk
reverences the rector for his Greek and Hebrew. Lady Bute confessed
that she sometimes got into sad disgrace by exclaiming, 'Dear mama! how
can you be so fond of that stupid woman?' which never failed to bring
upon her a sharp reprimand and a lecture against rash judgments, ending
with 'Lady Oxford is not shining, but she has much more in her than
such giddy things as you and your companions can discern."*-- The
Letters and Works of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, edited by her
great-grandson, Lord Whamcliffe, 2nd ed., vol. i., p. 66. Introduction.

** Letters, vol. ii., p. 147.

Two years after the removal of the Harleian library to the British
Museum, Lady Oxford died, leaving an only daughter, Margaret Cavendish,
married to William Bentinck, second Duke of Portland. She was the
"noble, lovely little Peggy" sung by Prior. As she had inherited none
of her father's and grandfather's tastes, it was fitting that the grand
collection of MSS., for the sake of which they had impoverished
themselves, should enrich an innumerable multitude of scholars and
students of all nations and for all time.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Studies from Court and Cloister: being essays, historical and literary dealing mainly with subjects relating to the XVIth and XVIIth centuries" ***

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