History of England (Froude)/Chapter 12

CHAPTER XII.


FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC ASPECTS OF THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.


IN the sensitive condition of Europe the effect of events was not limited to their natural consequences. The death of Catherine of Arragon led to the renewal of the war between France and the Empire. Paul III., in real or pretended reluctance to proceed to the last extremity, had for a time suspended the Bull of Deposition which he had drawn against the King of England.[1] It was idle to menace while he was unable to strike; and the two great Catholic powers had declined, when his intention was first made known to them, to furnish him with the necessary support. Francis I., who trifled, as it suited his convenience, with the Court of London, the See of Rome, the Smalcaldic League, and the Divan at Constantinople, had protested against a step which would have compelled him to a definite course of action. The Emperor, so long as Solyman was unchecked upon the Danube, and Moorish corsairs swept the Mediterranean and ravaged the coasts of Italy, had shrunk from the cost and peril of a new contest.

A declaration of war, in revenge for the injuries of the divorced Queen, would indeed have been welcomed with enthusiasm by the gentlemen of Spain. A London merchant residing at Cadiz, furnished his Government with unwelcome evidence of the spirit which was abroad in the Peninsula.

'I have perceived,' wrote Mr Ebbes to Cromwell, 'the views and manners of these countries, and the favour that these Spaniards do bear towards the King's Grace and his subjects, which is very tedious in their hearts both in word and deed, with their great Popish naughty slanderous words in all parts. And truly the King's Grace hath little or no favour now. We be all taken in derision and hated as Turks, and called heretics, and Luterians, and other spiteful words; and they say here plainly they trust shortly to have war with England, and to set in the Bishop of Rome with all his disciples again in England.'[2]

The affront to a Castilian princess had wounded the national honour; the bigotry of a people to whom alone in Europe their creed remained a passion, was shocked by the religious revolution with which that affront had been attended; and the English and Irish refugees, who flocked to their harbours, found willing listeners when they presented themselves as the missionaries of a crusade.[3] Charles himself was withheld only by prudence from indulging the inclination of his subjects. He shared to the full their haughty sensitiveness; again and again in his private consultations with the Pope he had spoken of the revenge which he would one day exact against his uncle; and one of the best informed statesmen of the age, whose memoirs have descended to us, declares that every person who understood anything of the condition of Europe, believed assuredly that he would at last execute his threat.[4]

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

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

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

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

Happily, the triple cord was not yet too secure to be broken by an accident. The confederacy promised favourably till the new year. 1536. January.At the end of January it became known in Italy that the original cause of the English quarrel existed no longer—that Queen Catherine was no more. On the first arrival of the news there was an outburst of indignation. Stories of the circumstances of her death were spread abroad with strange and frightful details. Even Charles himself hinted his suspicions to the Pope that she had been unfairly dealt with, and fears were openly expressed for the safety of the Princess Mary.[13] But, in a short time, calmer counsels began to prevail. Authentic accounts of the Queen's last hours must have been received early in February from the Spanish ambassador, who was with her to the end; and as her decease gave no fresh cause for legitimate complaint, so it was possible that an embarrassing difficulty was peacefully removed. On both sides there might now, it was thought, be some relaxation without compromise of principle; an attempt at a reconciliation might at least be made before venturing on the extremity of war. March.Once more the Pope allowed the censures to sleep.[14] The Emperor, no longer compelled by honour to treat Henry as an enemy, felt himself released from the necessity of making sacrifices to Francis. He allowed his offer of Milan to the Duke of Orleans to melt into a proposal which would have left uninjured the Imperial influence in Italy; and Francis, who had regarded the duchy at last as his own, was furious at his disappointment, and prepared for immediate war. So slight a cause produced effects so weighty. Henry, but a few weeks before menaced with destruction, found himself at once an object of courteous solicitation from each of the late confederates. The Pope found a means of communicating to him the change in his sentiments.[15] Francis, careless of all considerations beyond revenge, laboured to piece together the fragments of a friendship which his own treachery had dissolved: and Charles, through his resident at the Court of London, and even with his own hand in a letter to Cromwell, condescended to request that his good brother would forget and forgive what was past. The occasion of their disagreement being removed, he desired to return to the old terms of amity. The Princess Mary might be declared legitimate, having been at least born in bonâ fide parentum; and as soon as this difficulty should have been overcome, he promised to use his good offices with the Pope, that, at the impending council, his good brother's present marriage should be declared valid, and the succession arranged as he desired.[16] Finally, that he might lose no time in reaping the benefit of his advances, he reminded Henry that the old treaties remained in force by which they had bound themselves to assist each other in the event of invasion; that he looked to his good offices and his assistance in the now imminent irruption of the French into Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This unwelcome news found the Emperor at Naples in the middle of March. Report slightly, but only slightly, anticipating the reality, brought information at the same time of a Franco-Turkish alliance, and of the approach of a fresh Ottoman fleet; and in the first burst of anger and mortification Charles swore that this time he would not lay down his arms till either he or his rival had ceased to wear a crown.[21] Antonio da Leyva was left to collect and equip an army; Charles himself went in the first week in April to Rome, to make a public protest against the French aggression. April 17.On the seventeenth of that month, Pope, prelates, cardinals, and foreign ambassadors being all assembled in the consistory, he rose, and with his bonnet in his hand poured out in Spanish a long and passionate invective, denouncing the King of France as the enemy of God and man—the wanton and wicked disturber of the world. When peace was necessary before all things to compose schism, and to repel the Turks, Francis was breaking that peace—was bringing in the Turks—was confounding heaven and earth only for his own ambition. In the interests of Europe, even now he would give Milan to the Duke of Angoulesme; the union of the duchies was too formidable a danger to allow him to bestow it on the Duke of Orleans. This was his last concession: if it was refused, he challenged Francis to decide their differences in single combat, laying Burgundy in gage against Lombardy, the victor to have both in undisputed possession.

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

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

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

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

Of the feelings with which these events were regarded by Henry, we have little evidence. No positive results followed from the first interchange of messages; but Charles so far endured the tone in which his advances had been received, that fresh communications of moderate friendliness were interchanged through Sir Gregory Cassalis at the beginning of the summer.[25] In July, Henry offered his services as a mediator with the Court of France both to the Emperor and to the Queen Regent of the Netherlands.[26] At the same time English engineers were in the French camp in Provence, perhaps as professional students of the art of war, perhaps as volunteers indirectly countenanced by the Government.[27] The quarrel, in reality, admitted of no solution except by the sword; and if the English felt 110 absolute satisfaction in seeing two powers crippling each other's strength, who, a few months previously, were in league for their own ruin, the Government at least saw no reason to co-operate with either side, in a cause which did not concern them, or assist in bringing a dispute to a close which had broken out so opportunely for themselves.

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

The partial advances which had been made by the Pope had been neither accepted nor rejected, when, Mayon the 20th of May, a courier from England brought the news of Anne's misdemeanours to Rome. The consistory would have been more than mortal if they had not been delighted. From the first they had ascribed the King's conduct to the infatuating beauty of Catherine's rival. It was she who, had thirsted for the blood of their martyrs, and at her shrine they had been sacrificed.[28] Her character appeared at last in its true colours; the enchantment was broken, and the abhorrence with which Henry's name had so lately been regarded was changed throughout Italy to a general feeling of pity.[29] The precious sheep who had been lost to the Church would now return to the fold, and the Holy Father would welcome back his erring child with paternal affection.[30] This seems to have been the general expectation; unquestionably it was the expectation of the Pope himself. May 27.Paul sent again for Sir Gregory Cassalis, and after expressing his delight that God had delivered the King from his unhappy connection, he told him that he waited only for the most trifling intimation of a desire for reunion to send a nuntio to England to compose all differences and to grant everything which the King could reasonably demand.[31] Limiting, like a man of business, the advantages which he had to offer to the present world, the Pope suggested that Henry, in connection with himself, might now become the arbiter of Europe and prescribe terms to the Empire as well as to France. For himself and for his office he said he had no ambition. The honour and the profit should alike be for England. An accession of either to the pontificate might prove its ruin.[32] He lauded the King's early character, his magnanimity, his generous assistance in times past to the Holy See, his devotion to the Catholic faith. Forgetting the Holy League, glossing over the Bull of Deposition as an official form which there had been no thought of enforcing, he ventured to say that for himself he had been Henry's friend from the beginning. He had urged his predecessor to permit the divorce; at Bologna he had laboured to persuade the Emperor to consent to it.[33] He had sent a red hat to the Bishop of Rochester only that he might have the benefit of his assistance at the approaching council; and when he heard of his death, being surrounded by solicitations and clamours for vengeance, he had but seemed for a time to consent to measures which would never have been executed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus wrote an English subject to his sovereign, and professed afterwards to be overwhelmed with astonishment when he learnt that his behaviour was considered unbecoming. As Samuel to Saul, as Nathan to David, as Elijah to Ahab, so was Reginald Pole to Henry the Eighth, the immediate messenger of Heaven, making, however, one central and serious assumption; that whereas between Henry the Eighth and the Papacy there lay to be contended for, on the one side, liberty, light, and justice—on the other, tyranny, darkness, and iniquity, the Pope was God's champion, and Henry was the devil's. Facts answered otherwise. No pit opened its mouth to swallow the English bishops; no civil wars wrecked the prosperity of the country; no foreign power overwhelmed it; no dishonour touched its arms, except in the short interval when Catherine's daughter restored the authority of the Papacy, and Pole was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the last relic of the empire of the Plantagenets in France was lost for ever. He was pleased with his composition, however. He determined, in spite of Contarini, to send it. He expected the English council to believe him when he declared that he had 110 sinister intention, that he seriously imagined that a monarch who had taken the Pope by the beard and hurled him out of the kingdom, would be frightened by the lectures and threats of a petulant youth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Parliament met in June, 1536, Convocation as usual assembled with it. Sunday, June 9.On Sunday, the ninth of the month, the two houses of the clergy were gathered for the opening of their session in the aisles of St Paul's—high and low, hot and cold, brave and cowardly. The great question of the day, the Reformation of the Church, was one in which they, the spiritualty of England, might be expected to bear some useful part. They had as yet borne no part but a part of obstruction. They had been compelled to sit impatiently, with tied hands, while the lay legislature prescribed their duties and shaped their laws for them. Whether they would assume a more becoming posture, was the problem which they were now met to solve. Gardiner was there, and Bonner, Tunstall, and Hilsey, Lee, Latimer, and Cranmer; mitred abbots, meditating the treason for which, before many months were passed, their quartered trunks would be rotting by the highways; earnest sacramentaries, making ready for the stake: the spirits of the two ages—the past and the future—were meeting there in fierce collision; and above them all, in his vicar-general's chair, sat Cromwell, proud and powerful, lording over the scowling crowd. The present hour was his. His enemies' turn in due time would come, also.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, the King's patience was exhausted. The legitimate methods having been tried in vain, he acted on his own responsibility. Miles Coverdale, a member of the same Cambridge circle which had given birth to Cranrner, to Latimer, to Barnes, to the Scotch Wishart, silently went abroad with a license from Cromwell; with Tyndal's help[77] he collected and edited the scattered portions; and in 1536[78] there appeared in London, published cum privilegio and dedicated to Henry VIII., the first complete copy of the English Bible. The separate translations, still anomalously prohibited in detail, were exposed freely to sale in a single volume, under the royal sanction. The canon and text book of the new opinions—so long dreaded, so long execrated—was thenceforth to lie open in every church in England; and the clergy were ordered not to permit only, but to exhort and encourage, all men to resort to it and read.[79]

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

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

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

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

'May it be found a general comfort to all Christian hearts—a continual subject of thankfulness, both of old and young, unto God and to his Grace, who, being our Moses, has brought us out of the old Ægypt, and from the cruel hands of our spiritual Pharaoh. Not by the thousandth part were the Jews so much bound unto King David for subduing of great Goliah as we are to his Grace for delivering us out of our old Babylonish captivity. For the which deliverance and victory I beseech our only Mediator, Jesus Christ, to make such mean with us unto his heavenly Father, that we may never be unthankful unto Him nor unto his Grace, but increase in fear of God, in obedience to the King's Highness, in love unfeigned to our neighbours, and in all virtue that cometh of God, to whom, for the defending of his blessed Word, be honour and thanks, glory and dominion, world without end.'[80]

Equally remarkable, and even more emphatic in the recognition of the share in the work borne by the King, was the frontispiece of a subsequent edition, published five years later.

This was divided into four compartments.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. He told Sir Gregory Gassalis that he had been compelled by external pressure to issue threats, 'quæ tumen nunquam in animo habuit ad exitum perducere.'—Sir Gregory Cassalis to Henry VIII.: MS. Cotton. Vitellius, B 14, fol. 215.
  2. Richard Ebbes to Cromwell: MS Cotton. Vespasian, B. 7, fol. 87.
  3. 'There be here both Englishmen and Irishmen many that doth daily invent slander to the realm of England, with as many naughty Popish practices as they can and may do, and especially Irishmen.'—Richard Ebbes to Cromwell: MS. Cotton. Vespasian, B. 7. fol. 87.
  4. 'L'Empéreur a deux fois qu'il avoit parlè audit Evesque luy avoit faict un discours long et plein de grande passion de la cruelle guerre qu'il entendoit faire contre le dit Roy d'Angleterre, au cas qu'il ne repriant et restituast en ses honneurs la Reyne Catherine sa tante, et luy avoit declarè les moyens qu'il avoit executer vivement icelle guerre, et principalement au moyen de la bonne intelligence ce qu'il disoit avoir avec le Roy d'Ecosse.'—Martin du Bellay: Memoirs, p. 110.
  5. Reginald Pole states that the issue was only prevented by the news of Queen Catherine's death.—Pole to Prioli, Epistles, vol. i. p. 442.
  6. Sleidan.
  7. Du Bellay's Memoirs, p. 135.
  8. 'The Turks do not compel others to adopt their belief. He who does not attack their religion may profess among them what religion he will; he is safe. But where this pestilent seed is sown, those who do not accept, and those who openly oppose, are in equal peril.'—Reginald Pole: De Unitate Ecclesiæ. For the arch-enemy of England even the name of heretic was too good. 'They err,' says the same writer, elsewhere, 'who call the King of England heretic or schismatic. He has no claims to name so honourable. The heretics and schismatics acknowledge the power and providence of God. He takes God utterly away.'—Apology to Charles the Fifth.
  9. 'Sire, je pense que vous avez entendu du supplication que le Roy fit, estant la present luy même allant en ordre apres les reliques neu teste portant ung torche en son mayn avecques ses filz, ses evesques, et cardinaulz devant luy, et les ducs, contes, seigneurs, seneschals, esquieres, et aultres nobles gens apres luy; et la Reyne portée par deux hommes avecques la fille du Roy et ses propres. Apres touts les grosses dames et demoiselles suivants a pié. Quant tout ceci fit fayt on brûlait vi. a ung feu. Et le Roy pour sa part remercioit Dieu qu'il avoit donne cognoissance de si grand mal le priant de pardon qu'il avoit pardonne a ung ou deux le en passé; et qu'il na pas esteplus diligente en faysant execution; et fit apres serment que dicy en avant il les brulerait tous tous tant qu'il en trouveroit.'—Andrew Baynton to Henry VIII.: MS. State Paper Office, temp. Henry VIII. second series, vol. iv.
  10. 'The Duke of Orleans is married to the niece of Clement the Seventh. If I give him Milan, and he he dependent only on his father, he will be altogether French … he will be detached wholly from the confederacy of the Empire.'—Speech of Charles the Fifth in the Consistory at Rome: State Papers, vol. vii. p. 641.
  11. Charles certainly did give a promise, and the date of it is fixed for the middle of the winter of 1535–6 by the protest of the French Court, when it was subsequently withdrawn. 'Your Majesty,' Count de Vigny said, on the 18th of April, 1536, 'promised a few months ago that you would give Milan to the Duke of Orleans, and not to his brother the Duke of Angoulesme.'—Ibid.: State Papers, vol. vii.
  12. 'Bien estoit d'advis quant au faict d'Angleterre, afin qu'il eust plus de couleur de presser le Roy dudit pays a se condescendre a l'opinion universelle des Chretiens, quc l'Empereur fist que notre Sainct Pere sommast de ce faire tous les princes et potentats Chrêtiens; et a luy assister, et donner main forte pour faire obeir le dit Roy à la sentence et determination de l'Eglise.'—Du Bellay: Memoirs, p. 136.
  13. Du Bellay: Memoirs. 'Hic palam obloquuntur de morte illius ac verentur de Puellâ regiâ ne brevi sequatur.' 'I assure you men speak here tragice of these matters which is not to be touched by letters.'—Harvel to Starkey, from Venice, Feb. 5, 1535–6: Ellis, second series, vol. ii.
  14. Pole to Prioli: Epist. vol. i. p. 442.
  15. 'There hath been means made unto us by the Bishop of Rome himself for a reconciliation.'—Henry VIII. to Pace: Burnet's Collectanea, p. 476.
  16. Henry VIII. to Pace: Burnet's Collectanea, p. 476. Lord Herbert, p. 196. Du Bellay's Memoirs.
  17. Du Bellay.
  18. Henry VIII. to Pace: Burnet's Collectanea, p. 476.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Pole to Prioli, March, 1536; Epis. Reg. Poli, vol. i.
  21. Sir Gregory Cassalis to Cromwell: State Papers, vol. vii. p. 641.
  22. An interesting account of these speeches and of the proceedings in the consistory is printed in the State Papers, vol. vii. p. 646. It was probably furnished by Sir Gregory Cassalis.
  23. Sir Gregory Cassalis to Cromwell: State Papers, vol. vii.
  24. 'Omnes qui sollerti judicio ista pensitare solent, ita statuunt aliquid proditionis in Galliâ esse paratum non dissimile Ducis Borboniæ proditioni. Non enim aliud vident quod Cæsarem illuc trahere posset.'—Sir Gregory Cassalis to Cromwell: State Papers, vol. vii.
  25. See Cassalis's Correspondence with Cromwell in May, 1536: State Papers, vol. vii.
  26. The clearest account which I have seen of the point in dispute between Charles V. and Francis I. is contained in a paper drawn by some English statesman apparently for Henry's use. Rolls House MSS. first series, No. 757.
  27. When the English army was in the Netherlands, in 1543, the Emperor especially admired the disposition of their intrenchments. Sir John Wallop, the commander-in-chief, told him he had learnt that art some years before in a campaign, of which the Emperor himself must remember something, in the south of France.
  28. Pole, in writing to Charles V., says that Henry's cruelties to the Romanists had been attributed wholly to the 'Leæna' at his side; and 'when he had shed the blood of her whom he had fed with the blood of others,' every one expected that he would have recovered his senses.—Poli Apologia, ad Carolum Quintum.
  29. 'The news, which some days passed were divulged of the Queen's case, made a great tragedy, which was celebrated by all men's voices with admiration and great infamy to that woman to have betrayed that noble prince after such a manner, who had exalted her so high, and put himself to peril not without perturbation of all the world for her cause. But God showed Himself a rightful judge to discover such treason and iniquity. All is for the best. And I reckon this to the King's great fortune, that God would give him grace to see and touch with his hand what great enemies and traitors he lived withal.'—Harvel to Starkey, from Venice, May 26: Ellis, second series, vol. ii. p. 77.
  30. Pole to Contarini: Epist. vol. i. p. 457.
  31. 'Dicerem in ipso me adeo bonum animum reperisse ut procul dubio vestra Majestas omnia de ipso sibi polliceri possit.'—Sir Gregory Cassalis to Henry VIII.: MS. Cotton. Vitellius, B 14, fol. 215.
  32. Neque ea cupiditate laborare ut suas fortunas in immensum augeat aut Pontificates fines propaget unde accidere posset ut ab hâc … institutâ ratione recederet.—Ibid. The MS. has been injured by fire—words and paragraphs are in places wanting. In the present passage it is not clear whether Paul was speaking of the Papal authority generally, or of the Pontifical States in France and Italy.
  33. Causâ vero matrimonii et in consistoriis et publice et privatim apud Clementem VII. se omnia quæ [potuerit pro] vestrâ Majestate egisse; et Bononiæ Imperatori per [horas] quatuor accurate persuadere conatum fuisse.—Ibid.
  34. Sir Gregory Cassalis to Henry VIII.: MS. Cotton. Vitellius, B 14. fol. 215.
  35. State Papers, vol. vii. June 5, 1536.
  36. Since Pole, when it suited his convenience, could represent the King's early career in very different colours, it is well to quote some specimens of his more favourable testimony. Addressing Henry himself, he says: 'Quid non promittebant præclaræ illæ virtutes quæ primis annis principatûs tui in te maximc elucebant. In quibus primum pietas quæ una omnium aliarum, et totius humanæ felicitatis quasi fundamentum est, se proferebat. Cui adjunctæ erant quæ maxime in oculis hominum elucere solent, justitia, clementia, liberalitas, prudentia, denique tanta quanta in illâ tenerâ ætate esse potuit. Ut dixit Ezechiel de Rege Assyriorum, in paradiso Dei cedrus te pulcrior non inveniebatur.'—De Unitate Ecclesiæ, lib. 3.

    Again, writing to Charles V., after speaking of the golden splendour of Henry's early reign, his wealth, his moderation, the happiness of the people, and the circle of illustrious men who surrounded his throne, he goes on—

    'Hi vero illam indolem sequebantur quam Regi Deus ipsi prius dederat, cujus exemplar in Rege suo viderunt. Fuit enim indoles ejus aliquando prorsus regia. Summum in eo pietatis studium apparebat et religionis cultus; magnus amor justitiæ, non abhorrens tamen natura ut tum quidem videbatur a clementia.'

    And the time at which the supposed change took place is also marked distinctly:—

    'Satanas in carne adhuc manentem naturâ hominis jam videtur spoliasse … suâ induisse … in quâ nihil præter formam videtur reliquisse quod sit hominis; … ne vitia quidem … sed cum omni virtute et donis illis Dei cœlestibus quibus cum optimis Regum comparari poterat, antequam in vicariatum Filii ejus se ingereret [præditus est]; postquam ilium honorem impie ambivit et arripuit, non solum virtutibus omnibus privatus est sed etiam,' etc.—{{sc|Poli Apologia ad Carolum Quintum.

    It was 'necessary to the position' of Romanist writers to find the promise of evil in Henry's early life, after his separation from the Papacy; and stories like those which we read in Sanders grew like mushrooms in the compost of hatred. But it is certain that so long as he was orthodox he was regarded as a model of a Catholic prince. Cardinal Contarini laments his fall, as a fall like Lucifer's: 'Quî fieri potuit per Deum immortalem,' he wrote to Pole, 'ut animus ille, tam mitis, tam mansuetus ut ad bene merendum de hominum genere a naturâ factus esse videatur, sit adeo immutatus.'—Epist. Reg. Poli, vol. ii. p. 31.

  37. Pole to Henry VIII.: Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 305.
  38. Pole to the English Council: Epist. vol. i.
  39. Ibid.
  40. Said by Cranmer to have been an able paper: 'He suadeth with such goodly eloquence, both of words and sentences, that he is like to persuade many.' Cranmer's Works edit. Jenkyns, vol. i. p. 2.
  41. Phillips' Life of Cardinal Pole.
  42. Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 281.
  43. 'Quibus si rem persuadere velis multa præter rem sunt dicenda, multa insinuanda.'—Epist. Reg. Pol., vol. i. p. 434. And again: 'Illum librum scribo non tam Regis causâ quam gregis Christi qui est universus Regni populus, quem sic deludi vix ferendum est.'—Ibid. p. 437. I draw attention to these words, because in a subsequent defence of himself to the English Privy Council, Pole assured them that his book was a private letter privately sent to the King; that he had written as a confessor to a penitent, under the same obligations of secrecy: 'Hoc genere dicendi Regem omnibus dedecorosum et probrosum reddo? Quibus tandem, illustrissimi Domini? Hisne qui libellum nunquam viderunt, an his ad quos legendum dedi? Quod si hic solus sit Rex ipse, utinam ipse sibi probrosus videretur Ad eum certe solum misi; quocum ita egi ut nemo unquam a confessionibus illi secretior esse potuisset, hoc tantum spectans quod confessores ut illi tantum sua peccata ostenderem.'—Apologia ad Ang. Parl.: Epist. vol. i. p. . So considerable an inconsistency might tempt a hasty person to use hard words of Pole.
  44. Pole to Prioli: Epist., vol. i. p. 441.
  45. Ibid. p. 442
  46. Ibid. p. 445.
  47. Tunc statim misi cum ille e medio jam sustulisset illam quæ illi et regno totius hujus calamitatis causa existimabatur.—Apolog. ad Carol. Quint.
  48. A MS. copy of this book, apparently the original which was sent by Pole, is preserved among the Records in the Rolls House, scored and underlined in various places, perhaps by members of the Privy Council. A comparison of the MS. with the printed version, shows that the whole work was carefully rewritten for puhlication, and that various calumnies in detail, which have derived their weight from being addressed directly to the King, in what appeared to be a private communication by a credible accuser—which have, therefore, been related without hesitation by late writers as ascertained facts—are not in the first copy. So long as Pole was speaking only to the King, he prudently avoided statements which might be immediately contradicted, and confined himself to general invective. When he gave his book to the world he poured into it the indiscriminate slanders which were floating in popular rumour.
  49. Partus Naturæ laborantis.
  50. Populus enim regem procreat.
  51. In the copy subsequently printed the King is here accused of having intrigued with Mary Boleyn before his marriage with Anne.
  52. Elsewhere in his letters Pole touches on this string. If England was to be recovered, he was never weary of saying, it must be recovered at once, while the generation survived which had been educated in the Catholic faith. The poison of heresy was instilled with so deadly skill into schools and churches, into every lesson which the English youth were taught, that in a few years the evil would be past cure. He was altogether right. The few years in fact were made to pass before Pole and his friends were able to interfere; and then it was too late; the prophecy was entirely verified. But, indeed, the most successful preachers of the Reformation were neither Cranmer nor Parker, Cromwell nor Burghley, Henry nor Elizabeth, but Pole himself and the race of traitors who followed him.
  53. These paragraphs are a condensation of five pages of invective.
  54. Reginald Pole to the King, Venice, May 27th. MS. penes me. Instructions to one whom he sent to King Henry by Reginald Pole. Burnet's Collectanea, p. 478.
  55. Starkey to Pole: Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 282.
  56. In his Apology to Charles the Fifth Pole says that Henry in his answer to the book said that he was not displeased with him for what he had written, but that the subject was a grave one, and that he wished to see and speak with him. He, however, remembered the fable of the fox and the sick lion, and would not show himself less sagacious than a brute. Upon this Lingard and other writers have built a charge of treachery against Henry, and urged it, as might be expected, with much eloquent force. It did not occur to them that if Henry had really said anything so incredible, and had intended treachery, the letters of Tunstall and Starkey would have heen in keeping with the King's; they would not have heen allowed to hetray the secret and show Pole their true opinions. Henry's letter was sent on the 14th of June; the other letters hore the same date, and went hy the same post. But, indeed, the King made no mystery of his displeasure. He may have written generally, as knowing only so much of the hook as others had communicated to him. That he affected not to be displeased is as absurd in itself as it is contradicted by the terms of the refusal to return, which Pole himself sent in reply. Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 295.
  57. Starkey to Pole: Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 282.
  58. Tunstall to Pole: Rolls Home MS. Burnet's Collectanea, p. 479.
  59. Starkey to Pole: Rolls House MS.
  60. Phillips' Life of Cardinal Pole, vol. i. p. 148. Reginald Pole to Edward VI.: Epist. Reg. Pol.
  61. Wordsworth's Excursion, book v.
  62. Sermons of Bishop Latimer, Parker Society's edition, p. 33.
  63. In the State Paper Office and the Rolls House there are numerous 'depositions' as to language used by the clergy, showing their general temper.
  64. Printed in Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 260. The complaints are not exaggerated. There is not one which could not be illustrated or strengthened from depositions among the Records.
  65. This, again, was intended for Latimer. The illustration was said to be his; but he denied it.
  66. Many of the clergy and even of the monks had already taken the permission of their own authority. Cranmer himself was said to be secretly married; and in some cases women, whom we find reported in this letter of Cromwell's visitors as concubines of priests, were really and literally their wives, and had been formally married to them. I have discovered one singular instance of this kind.

    Ap Rice, writing to Cromwell in the year 1535 or 6, says:

    'As we were of late at Walden, the abbot, then being a man of good learning and right sincere judgment, as I examined him alone, shewed me secretly, upon stipulation of silence, but only unto you, as our judge, that he had contracted matrimony with a certain woman secretly, having present thereat but one trusty witness; because he, not being able, as he said, to contain, though he could not be suffered by the laws of man, saw he might do it lawfully by the laws of God; and for the avoiding of more inconvenience, which before he was provoked unto, he did thus, having confidence in you that this act should not be anything prejudicial unto him.'—MS. State Paper Office, temp. Henry VIII., second series, vol. xxxv.

    Cromwell acquiesced in the reasonableness of the abbot's proceeding; he wrote to tell him 'to use his remedy,' but to avoid, as far as possible, creating a scandal.—MS. ibid. vol. xlvi.

    The Government, however, found generally a difficulty in knowing what to resolve in such cases. The King's first declaration was a reasonable one, that all clergy who had taken wives should forfeit their orders, 'and be had and reputed as lay persons to all purposes and intents.'—Royal Proclamation: Wilkins's Concilia, vol. iii. p. 776.

  67. Luther, by far the greatest man of the sixteenth century, was as rigid a believer in the real presence as Aquinas or St Bernard.
  68. We were constrained to put our own pen to the book, and to conceive certain articles which were by you, the bishops, and the whole of the clergy of this our realm, agreed on as Catholic.—Henry VIII. to the Bishops and Clergy: Wilkins's Concilia, vol. iii. p 825.
  69. Whether marriage and ordination were sacraments was thus left an open question. The sacramental character of confirmation and extreme unction is implicitly denied.
  70. Formularies of Faith, temp. Henry VIII., Oxford edition, 1825. Articles devised by the King's Majesty to stablish Christian quietness and unity, and to avoid contentious opinions.
  71. Cromwell's patent as lord privy seal is dated the 2nd of July, 1536. On the 9th he was created Baron Cromwell, and in the same month vicegerent in rebus ecclesiasticis.
  72. The judgment of the Convocation concerning general councils, July 20, 28 Henry VIII. Burnet's Collectanea, p. 88.
  73. Burnet's Collectanea, p. 89.
  74. The feast of St Peter ad Vincula was on the 1st of August. These injunctions conld hardly have been issued before August, 1536; nor could they have been later than September. The clergy were, therefore, allowed nearly a year to provide themselves.
  75. Lewis's History of the English Bible.
  76. Lewis's History of the English Bible.
  77. This is denied by Mr Westcott. Strype, writing from documents which no longer survive, says that Tyndal translated every part of the Bible except the Apocrypha, and that he had Coverdale's assistance in preparing the Bible which was printed in 1535. Life of Cranmer, p. 83.
  78. The printing was completed in October, 1535.
  79. There is an excellent copy of this edition in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
  80. Preface to Coverdale's Bible.