History of England (Froude)/Chapter 25
October. ON the retreat of the English army a convention of the Estates assembled at Stirling; the young Queen was sent, under the care of Lord Erskine, to the impregnable fortress of Dumbarton, and while the Protector was expecting to hear of the arrival of commissioners at Berwick to ask for peace, couriers were hastening to France with an offer of Mary and the Scottish crown to the Dauphin. The Protector, when he learnt what they had done, made a fresh appeal to Scottish good feeling. He insisted that the marriage of Edward and Mary was obviously intended by Providence. England did not wish for conquest—it desired only union. It won battles and offered friendship, love, peace, equality, and amity. The Scots and English were shut up in one small island apart from the world; they were alike in blood, manners, form, and language—it was monstrous that they should continue to regard one another with mortal hatred. It would be better for the Scots to be conquered by England than succoured by France: conquered or unconquered, England only desired to force upon them a share of her own prosperity; while France would rule over them by a viceroy, and make them slaves. November.If they would accept instead the hand which was held out to them, 'The Scots and English being made one by amity, having the sea for a wall, mutual love for a garrison, and God for a defence, should make so noble and well-agreeing a monarchy, that neither in peace need they be ashamed, nor in war afraid of any worldly power.'
All this was most true, most just, most reasonable, but it agreed ill with the massacre at Musselburgh. The Protector concluded with a threat that, if the Scots would not accept his terms when offered freely, he would chastise them again by fire and sword. The Scots answered not in words, but in actions, You require us to unite with you; we prefer to remain as we are, and to keep our freedom; if we call evil what you call good, where is your right to compel us to a good which we do not desire? Our Parliament, you tell us, gave their consent to you; well, then, we are a free people, and we have changed our minds; you say you will chastise us—come, then, and do your worst.'
The French Court, on the arrival of the message of the Estates, closed instantly with the offer. Either the Dauphin should have the Queen or some nobleman, either French or in the French service, should have her. The Scots might desire, on reflection, that the Queen's husband should be able to reside among them permanently, which a French sovereign could not do. But, at all events, France would make Scotland's quarrel her own quarrel. The terms of the alliance might be considered at leisure. For the moment another candidate was thought of for the disputed hand of Mary Stuart. Ireland began to stir: O'Donnell broke into rebellion in the north, and fifteen hundred Scots landed to support him. News reached the council that on the Thursday before Christmas-day, seven French vessels were at Dumbarton, and that on board one of them was 'young Gerald of Kildare;' and it was said 'that the said Kildare should marry with the Scottish Queen, and arrear all Ireland in their party against England, and further, that before Easter there should be such a battle fought that all England should rue it.'
1548. February.Under such an aspect of affairs prudence might have again suggested to the Protector that, in the words of Henry VIII., 'he had a Milan in his hand for the French King;' that the present humour of France, if not created by the English occupation of Boulogne, was infinitely enhanced by it; that by a sacrifice on one side he might purchase noninterference on the other. The Prince, whose honour had been touched by the failure of his attempt, when Dauphin, to surprise the English garrison, had been heard to say that he would recover Boulogne or lose his realm for it. March.The French were already laying batteries across the river opposite to the English mole, from which shots were fired at the workmen; and the ambassador at Paris warned the Protector that 'Catherine de Medici hated England above all other nations,' on account of the disgrace inflicted on French arms by the conquest and occupation of territory.
If war should break out, a garrison equal to an army would be required in the Boullonnaise. The fleet would have to be maintained on a war footing, and the finances were already deeply distressed. But the Protector was enthusiastic, and believed himself irresistible. In the spring ships were in preparation in the French harbours to transport an army into Scotland. April 18.He determined to anticipate their coming; and on the 18th of April, Lord Grey the Marshal of Berwick, and Sir Thomas Palmer, again crossed the Border, and advanced to Haddington, which they took and elaborately fortified. After spending six weeks there improving the defences, they left a garrison in charge, of two thousand five hundred men, and after wasting the THE PROTECTORATE.
country for six miles round Edinburgh, June.at their leisure, they fell back the first week in June upon Berwick.
In the same week Villegaignon, the French admiral, sailed from Brest with sixty transports, twenty-two galleys, and six thousand men. D'Essy, the successful defender of Landrecy in 1544, was in command of the army. He was accompanied by Pietro Strozzi, Catherine de Medici's cousin, by several companies of Italians, the Rhinegrave, de Biron, and other persons of note and name. War was not declared against England; Strozzi said, briefly, that for the time they were to be considered Scots, and they sailed out of harbour with the red lion at the admiral's masthead.
June 16.On the 16th of June they landed at Leith. The troops were allowed a few days rest at Edinburgh to recruit themselves after their sea-sickness, and the work of driving out the English was commenced in the siege of Haddington.
The Regent joined d'Essy with eight thousand Scots; trenches were drawn, and siege guns brought up from the ships; the conditions of the French support were then discussed in detail, and agreed upon. Inside the lines of the camp were the ruins of an abbey which the English had destroyed. On this appropriate spot was held the convention of Haddington. That the Dauphin, and no inferior person, should marry the heiress of Scotland, was the natural desire of her uncles, the powerful and ambitious Guises. Their influence had prevailed. The Crowns of France and Scotland were to be formally and ever united. Scotland was to retain her own laws and liberties. The French would defend her then and ever from her 'auld enemies.' The formal records of the convention declare that the resolution was unanimous; but there were some persons who were able to see that their liberty would be as much in danger from a union with France as from a union with England. The Protector at the last moment had sent an offer with which he had better have commenced. He undertook to abstain from interference till Edward should be of age, if the Scots, on their part, would make no engagements with the French. Their Queen might remain among themselves, and at the end of ten years should be free to make her own choice. Good sense had not been wholly washed away by the bloodshed at Musselburgh, and voices were heard to say that this offer was a reasonable one. But exasperation and the hope of revenge were overwhelmingly predominant. The queen-mother, Mary of Guise, bold, resolute, and skilful, appeared in person in the convention. The Duchy of Chatelherault was bestowed on the Regent Arran, with a pension of twelve thousand francs; and money was freely used in other quarters. The opposition was silenced, and the intended bride of the Dauphin, that there might be no room left for a second repentance, was to be placed at once beyond the reach of the English arms. Villegaignon weighed anchor on the instant, evaded the English cruisers who were watching for him at the mouth of the Forth, and running round the Orkneys, fell back upon the Clyde, took the young Queen on board at Dumbarton, with her brother Lord James Stuart (afterwards known to history as the Eegent Murray), and bore her safely to Brest. 'So,' says Knox, ' she was sold to go into France, to the end that in her youth she should drink of that liquor that should remain with her all her lifetime a plague to the realm, and for her own final destruction.'
July.The siege of Haddington was then pressed in form. The sallies of the garrison were incessant and destructive. The English commander, Sir James Wilford, won the admiration of the French themselves by his gallantry. But the trenches were pushed forward day after day. The batteries were armed with heavy cannon which would throw sixty shot each in twelve hours—in those times an enormous exploit. The walls were breached in many places, and the advanced works of the besiegers were at last so close to the town that the English could reach them with lead balls swung in the hand with cords. In this position the siege was turned into a blockade. The garrison were short of provisions and short of powder, and 'for matches' they were 'tearing their shirts into rags.'
When their extremity was known at Berwick, Lord Grey collected the Border force in haste, and was preparing to go to their assistance, when he was stopped by an order of Council. The Earl of Shrewsbury was to lead an army into Scotland as large as that which had won Pinkie Cleugh, and Grey was directed to confine himself to throwing in supplies. The instructions may have been more defensible than they appear. Sir Warham St Leger and Captain Wyndham set out from Berwick with two hundred foot, and powder and commissariat waggons. Sir Thomas Palmer and Sir Robert Bowes formed their escort with thirteen hundred light cavalry. The adventure was desperate, and was desperately accomplished. Covered by the charge of the horse, St Leger succeeded in bringing his convoy within the walls; but Palmer and Bowes were taken, and the entire detachment was annihilated.' Haddington, however, was saved. Shrewsbury advanced by forced marches with fifteen thousand men, supported as before by the fleet; and d'Essy, doubting whether the Scots could be trusted in a general action, raised the siege, and fell back on Edinburgh. The garrison was relieved and reinforced, and the superiority of the English in the field was again asserted.
After a display of power, however, Shrewsbury could only retire as the Protector had done. Twenty miles of Teviotdale were wasted, but this was not to conquer Scotland; and, unless the country could be occupied, as well as overrun, no progress was really made. Conducted on the present system, the war could produce no fruits except infinite misery, unavailing bloodshed, and feats of useless gallantry. The expulsion or withdrawal of the troops from Haddington and other forts which the English held, could be a question only of time. September.Accident, however, gave the Protector an unexpected opportunity, had he been able to avail himself of it.
The English cruisers had threatened the French supplies. D'Essy was obliged to forage as he could, and the army lying inactive about Edinburgh, became soon on indifferent terms with the people. October 8.One morning, at the beginning of October, a Scot was carrying a gun along a street, when a French soldier met him and claimed it. A scuffle began, parties formed, swords were drawn, and shots fired. The provost and the town-guard coming to the spot, took the side of their countrymen; they arrested the soldiers, and were carrying them to the Tolbooth, when a cry rose for a rescue. Their comrades hurried up; the provost and half a dozen gentlemen were presently killed, and the uproar spreading, an English prisoner in Edinburgh who witnessed the scene, said, 'that the French would no sooner espy a Scot, man, woman, or child, come out of doors, or put their heads out of window, but straightway was marked by an harquebus.' The Regent called on d'Essy for explanations, and d'Essy, unable to explain, answered with high words. At last he withdrew the troops beyond the gates, summoned the Rhinegrave to a council, and determined, in order to obliterate the effects of so awkward a business, to go the same evening with the whole army to Haddington, and carry it by a surprise.
The city was no sooner cleared of the soldiers than the gates were shut behind them, 'and the townsmen, seeking for such French as were left, were he sick or whole, he was no sooner found but forthwith slain and cut in pieces;' 'whenever one or two French were found apart, they were killed and thrust into holes.' All night the murderous revenge continued; when, shortly before daybreak, a messenger came breathless to the gates, saying that d'Essy had taken Haddington, that a few English only survived, shut up in an isolated bulwark, who had offered to surrender if they might have their lives; but d'Essy had answered they should have no courtesy but death. The news put an end to the massacre; which, if the account was true, might produce unpleasant fruits. The Regent mounted his horse, and rode to the scene of the supposed triumph. At Musselburgh the truth met him in a long file of carts, laden with dead or wounded men.
D'Essy, reaching Haddington at midnight, had surprised the garrison in their beds. The sentinels had but time to give the alarm before they were killed; the watch was driven in, and some of the French entered with them, in the confusion, into the court of the castle. These, seizing the gates and keeping them open, the assailants behind were thronging after them in force, when a cannon, loaded with grapeshot, was fired by an unknown hand into the thick of the crowd, and destroyed a hundred men upon the spot. The check gave the English time to collect. While the attacking party were still reeling under the effect of the discharge, they poured down upon them through a postern. The gun was again charged and fired; the gates were closed, and all who remained inside were cut down or killed in jumping from the battlements. Furious at his failure, d'Essy again led up his troops to the assault; a kinsman of the Rhinegrave had been left in the castle-court, and a party of Germans fought their way in and carried him off; but the whole garrison were by this time under arms. Three times the French came up to be driven back with desperate loss; and at last, with bitter reluctance, the leader gave the signal to fall back. His enterprise had led to nothing but discomfiture. With the morning he learnt, and was compelled to bear, the murders at Edinburgh, and to see the Scots as much pleased at his defeat as the English themselves. For some days it was expected that the French would be attacked and destroyed in their camp, and they 'were in such desperation that they would rather adventure to be killed by Englishmen than by Scots.'
At such a moment either skilful diplomacy or prompt action might possibly have restored the influence of England; although, the Queen being in France, it was not easy to say for what object the Protector was now contending. The occasion, however, was allowed to pass; and the breach between the Scots and their allies was soon healed by the recall of d'Essy, the arrival of reinforcements, and a series of small successes, in which both Scots and French bore their share, and which restored confidence and good-humour. The English attempted a landing in Fife, where Lord James Stuart beat them to their ships, with a loss of six hundred men; the French, with the help of their galleys, took the islands in the Forth which Somerset had fortified, and destroyed several hundred more. A series of small fortresses in Teviotdale and the Marches—Roxburgh, Hume Castle, Fast Castle, and Broughty Craig, fell one after the other in the winter; and by the spring of 1549 Haddington remained the sole visible result to the Protector of all his costly efforts, while the object for which the war had been undertaken was utterly lost.
Meanwhile, the quarrel with France had extended. An irregular cannonade was kept up between the French forts and the new English works at Boulogne. The Boullonnaise had been invaded; there had been skirmishes and loss of life. Villegaignon's galleys, after landing Mary Stuart at Brest, had roamed about the Channel, preying upon English merchant- ships; August.and while peace still continued in name, the French Court professed an insolent confidence that the Protector durst not resent their violation of it. He shrunk, it was true, from declaring war; but England as well as France could play at the game of marauding hostility. Convoys of provisions were passing continually between Brest and Leith, and a French fishing-fleet from Iceland and Newfoundland was looked for in the fall of the year. The 'Adventurers of the West,' the sea-going inhabitants of the ports of Devonshire and Cornwall, were informed that the Channel was much troubled with pirates, and that they would serve their country by clearing the seas of them. Private hints were added, that they might construe their instructions liberally; but that whatever French prizes were brought in should be kept for a time undisposed of, till it was ascertained whether the Court of Paris 'would redress the harms done on their side.'
The Admiralty order came out on the 11th of August. Sir Richard Greenfield, Sir William Denys, Sir Hugh Trevanion, and Sir William Godolphin were commissioned to superintend the Adventurers' proceedings; Sept. 7.and on the 7th September, John Greenfield, Sir Richard's son or brother, reported progress from Foy. He had himself been upon a cruise, and had waylaid, taken, sunk, or driven on shore an indefinite number of French trading-vessels; he had brought ten prizes into Foy and Plymouth; he had obtained information of three hundred sail going to Bordeaux for wine for the army in Scotland; and 'the western men,' he said, 'were so expert' in their business, 'that he did not doubt they would give a good account of the whole of them.' About the same time sixteen transports returning from Scotland were attacked by two English ships at the mouth of a French harbour, and four were taken and carried off.
England had thus drifted into the realities of war with France. It would not be through the skill of her ruler if war did not follow with the Empire also, if the Pope did not succeed at last in launching against her the united force of the Catholic powers. Happily, the disintegrating elements were strong enough at that time, as before and after, to prevent a combination which, if accomplished, would have changed the fortunes of the Reformation.
1547After the fatal battle of Muhlberg, the Landgrave of Hesse had relinquished a contest which for the time was hopeless; and, trusting to the promises of the Emperor and the guarantees of Duke Maurice, that his personal liberty should not be taken from him, presented himself in the Imperial camp. Charles condescending, if the story was true, to an ignoble evasion, commanded his arrest; the two princes who had so long defied him were in his power, and, triumphant at last, he summoned the Diet to meet at Augsburg. JulyCarrying his prisoners with him, he arrived there himself in July, and the long-exiled priests followed in flights in the rear of his armies. The cathedral was forthwith purified of heresy by a second consecration, and bishops preached there day after day on the long-insulted mysteries of the faith. Sept. 1.The Diet, densely attended, opened on the 1st of September. Charles briefly reminded the assembly of his long efforts to compose the quarrels of Germany peaceably; he had been driven at last, he said, to another remedy, and God had given him success. Religion had been the cause of the turmoil. A council, as they had themselves told him again and again, was the only instrument by which it could be composed. The bishops of the Catholic States, therefore, would petition the Pope to send back the fugitives to Trent; and on the Pope's compliance, the Lutheran princes—Duke Maurice, the Elector Palatine, the Duke of Wurtemberg, and the rest, should promise obedience to the decisions of that council, whatever they might be. Meanwhile, he would reorganize the Imperial chamber; he would hear and determine questions of confiscated Church property in person; and while the Diet proceeded, he would permit no parties or separate conferences.
He was master of the situation, and for the time could insist on compliance; Duke Maurice, after an ineffectual attempt to make conditions, agreed to submit; and the petition to the Holy See was drawn, probably by the Emperor himself, and despatched. The bishops were made to say that they had long desired to see a general council meet in Germany; after years of delay a place had at last been selected, which virtually was more Italian than German. While the war continued they conld not safely repair thither, and now, when peace was re-established, the council had been broken up. They entreated that it might assemble again. If his Holiness consented, he would give peace to Europe and to the Church; if he refused, they would not answer for the consequences.
The language was impatient and almost menacing. Never since his accession had Paul III. yielded to entreaty, and the council, the action of which at Trent might be uncertain, was in his own dominions safe, convenient, and manageable. It was a view of things which the French, during the summer, had studiously humoured, and a difficulty was evidently looked for. Moreover, Paul was not only the chief prelate of Catholic Christendom, but he had children in a more earthly sense for whom he had the affection of an earthly father. He had dismembered the States of the Church for a favourite child, whom he had invested with the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza. Louis Farnese had distinguished his administration by atrocities unusual even in an Italian despot, and had just been murdered by his subjects. Sept. 10.The conspirators had placed themselves under the protection of the Emperor; Octoberand Gonzaga, governor of Milan, who was believed to have been in the secret of the assassination, sent troops to Piacenza, and prevented the indignant Pope from revenging his son's death.
The wound was but a few weeks old when the petition of the German bishops arrived at Rome. Dec. 9.On the 9th of December it was presented in the Consistory; and Mendoza, Charles's ambassador, declared that he was instructed, if the demand was refused, to record his protest against the sessions at Bologna as illegal. The same day (it cannot be considered an accident) the Archbishop of Rheims arrived from Paris. Henry II., who had long seen in the Italian question the germs of a fresh war, resented the occupation of Piacenza as deeply as the Pope. He, too, dreaded the restoration of the Council of Trent. Charles, master of Germany, with the great council of Christendom sitting within his dominions, and under his virtual sovereignty, would become too strong for him to cope with. The French prelate arrived opportunely to present the homage of France at the Papal throne. His sovereign, the Archbishop said, would have come in person to rest his eyes on the august countenance of tho Holy Father, had not his presence been required at home; but he was sent to offer in his master's name the whole power of France against all who secretly or openly conspired against the independence of the Papacy.
Dec. 27.Thus supported, Paul determined to defy the Emperor. He told Mendoza that he would submit the petition to the fathers at Bologna, who would be in no haste to condemn their own actions. Cardinal del Monte, the legate and president, replied for them that the removal from Trent had been the act of a majority, and was therefore legal. If they were to return, their Spanish brethren, who had remained behind, must first submissively rejoin them; they must have a promise further that no secular power should interfere with their freedom of debate; that the Lutherans should submit without reserve; and, finally, that they should be at liberty to leave Trent again, should it seem at any time desirable to them.
January.The unpromising reply was transmitted to Charles, and once more he despatched a protest both to Bologna and to Rome. He had done his best for the Catholic religion, he said, and the prelates of the council had done their worst. The Germans had promised to acknowledge them if they sat anywhere but in Italy. In the Papal dominions their assembly was an illusion and a pretence. For the last time he insisted that they should return to Trent, or on them would rest the guilt of the misfortunes which they were dragging down upon Christendom. The fathers replied, like themselves, that they were met in the name of the Holy Ghost, that the Emperor was the son of the Church, not the master of it, and that secular magistrates must not dictate to the ministers of Christ. The Pope, equally determined, shielded himself behind equivocation, and affected to hold out hopes of arrangement; but his insincerity was transparent; and Charles, exasperated and desperate, determined to assume for a time the power which Henry VIII. had claimed for the sovereign authority in every State and country. A free council might ultimately meet. Meanwhile, and until that happy consummation, a scheme of doctrine, known as the Interim, was composed and submitted to representatives of the different parties, May 15.and was finally on the 15th of May, laid before the Diet.
The Catholic faith was asserted, but in 'ambiguous formularies,' which would leave the conscience free while they seemed to bind it. On points where evasion was impossible, such as the restitution of Church property, the marriage of the clergy, and communion in both kinds at the eucharist, the first of these critical questions was untouched; in the two other points the Protestant innovations were condemned in words and were tolerated in fact.
At Rome the intrusion of the secular power upon sacred ground appeared but as the confirmation of the dread which the extreme Catholics had long affected to feel—that Charles would at last imitate the usurpations of his uncle of England. A copy of the Interim was sent to the Pope for approval. The Pope replied by requiring the instant restitution of the abbey lands, the withholding of the cup from the laity, and the separation of the clergy from their concubines. In Germany the scheme was scarcely received more favourably. Bucer, whose opinion was privately asked, gave his unequivocal disapproval, and accepted an invitation to England, whither Peter Martyr had gone before him. Duke Maurice, with the majority of the Protestant princes, acquiesced for themselves, but with tacit or avowed reluctance. When they called upon their subjects to follow their example, it was with hesitating lips and a dislike or contempt which they hardly cared to conceal.
The imprisoned Duke of Saxony possessed the influence which would enable Charles to carry his point, and freedom, favour, and power were held out to him through Granvelle, as the reward of compliance. John Frederick answered, with a noble simplicity, that 'he was in the Emperor's power; his Majesty might do with him, and use his carcase as it liked him, he neither could nor would resist his pleasure therein; but he humbly besought his Majesty that he would not press him to grant this thing, which, he said, being against the word and law of God, he would not agree unto though he were to die for it.'
The Free Towns were less obedient than the princes. July.Magdeburg sent an open refusal; Constance refused almost as peremptorily; Strasburg sent a protest: and when Granvelle threatened, the Strasburg deputies said that a man's body might be burnt, but a burnt body was better than a damned soul.
In a worldly sense the Protestants would have been more prudent had they taken the Emperor at his word. The Interim was in theory as liberal as the scheme of belief as yet established in England. In practice it was even more liberal, for the marriage of the clergy, though censured, was not forbidden. In formulas of doctrine, as in all mechanical contrivances, looseness of construction becomes looser in the use; and a considerable liberty of opinion might have established itself under the shelter of the Interim. But the Germans, more spiritual than the English, were less tolerant of compromise. They had parted with the substance of Romanism, they would not be haunted with the shadow of it. In the midst of the agitation the Diet was dissolved. The army at least would be obedient; and if the people would not accept what was offered them in a lax spirit, they should be compelled to accept it in a harsh one.
Wherever Charles's hand could reach, diocesan synods were re-established. The ecclesiastical courts were revived, and the schools were placed exclusively under the priests. The Lutheran clergy were advised to send their wives from them, or they might suffer for it; and the supreme courts of the Empire were reorganized as the Catholics desired. August 5.John Frederick was punished for his refusal with petty persecution; and as a reply to the insolence of Constance, three thousand Spanish troops sprang suddenly upon the town. They were driven back after a desperate conflict. But Constance was placed under the ban of the Empire, and compelled at last to yield, and Charles prepared to force his pleasure on Strasburg and Magdeburg. He believed himself irresistible, and those who wished best to the opposition had faint hopes that it would succeed. But for the present, at all events, his hands were full. With Germany to bend or to break, with Italy unsettled, the Pope impracticable, and France again threatening a European war, he had no leisure to interfere with England. On this side at least, the Protector had nothing to fear; and the quarrel with France and the war with Scotland being not enough to occupy him, he could proceed with the Reformation of religion.
An Act of Parliament had forbidden irreverent speaking of the sacrament. The sacrament, however, was the real point on which the minds of men were working most passionately; and as the Government had resolved upon permitting or introducing an innovation upon the Catholic doctrine, it was desirable to familiarize the country with the prospect of change. A general order had prohibited all preaching except under a license from the Government; and a set of noisy declaimers, avant couriers, as they called themselves, of the Crown, first to cry for reform while reform was in the ascendant, first to fly or apostatize in time of danger, made the circuit of the towns and parishes, exempted from the operation of the statute. The sacrament of the altar was called the sacrament of the halter. Hocus pocus, the modern conjuror's catchword, was the jesting corruption of the 'hoc est corpus' in the canon of the mass. With pleasantry of this kind, acting as an additional stimulant on the visitation, the preachers provoked a rising in Cornwall in the summer of 1548, and a royal commissioner, named William Body, was murdered in a church. But a priest, who had been concerned in it, was hanged and quartered in Smithfield; July 7.twenty-eight other persons were put to death in different parts of the country; and the riot was appeased. The malcontents were chiefly among the people. Spoliation and reformation were going hand in hand; the nobles and gentlemen were well contented for the time to overthrow, bind, and strip the haughty Church which had trampled on them for centuries; and they let pass, not without remonstrance, but without determined opposition, the outrages upon the creed which in the recoil of feeling would provoke so fearful a retribution. Among the leading Protestant theologians Lutheranism was melting gradually away. Cranmer, of whose backwardness the letters of the ultra party, during the first year of Edward's reign, contain abundant complaints, was yielding to the arguments of Ridley. Latimer, who cared comparatively little for doctrinal questions, whose conception of the Reformation was not so much an improvement of speculative theory, as a practical return to obedience and the fear of God, was more difficult to move than Cranmer; but he, too, was giving way. An attempt was to be made in the next Parliament for an effective and authoritative change.
Somerset himself meanwhile found an adviser in Calvin. The great Genevan, knowing much of religion and little of the English disposition, laid his views before the Protector in a noticeable letter, written in 1548.
'As I understand, my Lord,' wrote Calvin, 'you have two kinds of mutineers against the King and the estates of the realm; the one are fantastical people, who under colour of the gospel would set all to confusion; the others are stubborn people in the superstition of the Antichrist of Rome. These all together do deserve to be well punished by the sword, seeing they do conspire against the King and against God, who had set him in the royal seat.'
For the general organization of the Church, Calvin recommended that a body of doctrines should be drawn up, which all prelates and curates should be sworn to follow—a catechism or common form of instruction to be taught to children; and to prevent eccentricities, 'a certain form written' to which the clergy should be 'restrained' in public prayer and in the administration of the sacraments.
But these things would be ineffective without measures for 'the reformation of the bastard Christendom of the Pope.' And here the especial rock to be avoided was moderation. Of all things, entreated Calvin, let there be no moderation—it is the bane of genuine improvement. 'We see,' he continued (and here spoke the teacher of John Knox), 'we see how the seed of lies is fertile, and there needeth but one grain to fill the world.' 'It will be said that we must tolerate our neighbour's weakness, that great changes are not easily to be borne. That were to be suffered in worldly affairs where it is lawful for the one to give place to the other, and to give over his right, thereby to redeem peace; but it is not like in the spiritual rule of Christ—there we have nothing to do but to obey God. We must hold by the maxim that the Reformation of his Church is a work of his hands; wherefore in this matter men must let themselves be governed by Him. In reforming his Church or in keeping it, He will proceed in a wonderful fashion unknown to men; wherefore to restrain to the measure of our understandings the Reformation which ought to be godly, and to subdue to the earth and the world that that is heavenly, is to no purpose.'
Lastly, the discipline of the law must be extended from crimes against society to sin against God. 'Thefts, fightings, extortions, are sharply punished,' he said, 'because that men thereby are offended, and the mean time whoredoms, adulteries, and drunkenness are suffered as things lawful or of very little importance. That the honour of God be mindful unto you, punish the crime whereof men are not wont to make any great matter.'
The concluding exhortation was not likely to receive much attention from an English statesman, least of all from one who had little austerity about him, as the Duke of Somerset; but the rest of the letter indicated the course into which he had been already persuaded. It was essential to his success that, either by argument or intimidation, he should bring over to his side a majority of the bishops, and Gardiner was the first to be taken in hand. By a general pardon extended to all crimes except treason and felony, with which the last session of Parliament had concluded, the Bishop of Winchester had been released from the Fleet, and had returned to his diocese. Here he had been chiefly occupied in opposing the itinerant preachers; 'he did occupy the pulpit himself, not fearing to warn the people to beware of those godly persons whom the King did send.' Their fanatical appeals were endangering the public peace, and in self- protection he had been obliged to arm his household. The Government themselves were compelled, in the course of the summer, to silence 'the godly persons' as a nuisance too intolerable to be borne. But the Bishop's interference made an opportunity for again calling him to question. May.He was sent for to London in May, where being too unwell to ride, he was carried in a horse-litter. The Protector told him that his attitude was unsatisfactory; and when he protested that he had done nothing but what as a loyal subject he was entitled to do, he was required to state his opinions publicly in a sermon before the Court, on the royal supremacy, on the suppression of the religious houses, the removal of chantries, candles, ashes, palms, holy bread, and beads, on auricular confession, processions, the use of common prayer in English, and the validity of changes made in the King's minority. He promised obedience in general terms. A few days after, William Cecil, the Protector's secretary, waited on him with more specific instructions, and with a schedule of detailed opinions, which he was required to maintain.
June.To this Gardiner answered promptly, that he would not 'maintain another man's device.' 'It was a marvellous unreasonable matter, touching his honour and conscience.' The Duke then sent for him, and produced a lawyer's opinion, showing 'what a king might lawfully command a bishop to do,' and he was himself, he said, in the place of a king. Gardiner answered that he knew the law of England: 'no law could enjoin him to say as his opinion what was not his opinion;' and, although the Duke told him 'he should do that or worse,' he refused distinctly to bind himself to the schedule, and retired, saying merely that he trusted his sermon would be satisfactory. It was to be delivered on the 29th of June, the feast of St Peter and St Paul. On the 27th Cecil came to him again, with the Duke's 'advice,' that he should not speak of the sacrament. He asked for something more definite. Cecil said he was not to speak of transubstantiation. 'You do not know what transubstantiation is,' he answered; 'the mass, as I understand it, is the foundation of religion. The ancient faith in this matter is still the law of the land, and I shall speak what I think, if I am to be hanged when I leave the pulpit. I wish the Protector would leave religion to the clergy, and cease to meddle with it.'
June 28.The reply to this was a letter the next day from Somerset, interdicting Gardiner positively from touching the subject. It was his duty, the Protector considered, 'to bring the people from ignorance to knowledge; and where there was a consent among the bishops and learned men in a truth,' he declared that 'he would not suffer the Bishop of Winchester, or a few others, to dissuade the rest.'
So the question stood between them when the sermon was delivered. It is extant; and unless by tone and gesture the preacher contrived to throw a meaning into it beyond the seeming intention of the words, it is hard to imagine a composition less calculated to give offence. It was such a sermon as a moderate High Church English divine might preach at the present day, with applause even from evangelicals. The suppression of the chanting, communion in both kinds, the abolition of images, the royal supremacy, were severally touched and approved. The sacrament was spoken of, but only as the late Act of Parliament spoke of it, as a mystery, not to be spoken of with open irreverence. As a matter of opinion, the preacher said, that he 'misliked that priests, who had vowed chastity should marry and openly avow it,' but in this he said nothing more than a subsequent Act of Parliament said, by which the marriages of priests were legalized.
It required some ingenuity to construe such a sermon into sedition; but Gardiner was inconveniently able; it was desirable to get rid of him; and having been himself a persecutor, he was held fair game. The day following, Sir Ralph Sadler and Sir Anthony Wingfield waited upon him by Somerset's order at his house in Southwark. 'My Lord,' said Sadler, 'ye preached yesterday obedience, but ye did not obey yourself;' Wingfield touched him on the shoulder, and told him that he must come to the Tower; and thither he was at once taken, to remain a prisoner till Edward was in his grave.
Thus delivered from Gardiner, the Reformers could proceed with the preparation of their measures for the meeting of Parliament. July.The Protector meanwhile, as the counterpart of his zeal for the truth, took occasion in another direction to insult what he considered superstition. His Scotch victory had been rewarded with fresh grants of lands. The extent of Church property, estates, prebends, promotions, which he had annexed, in one form or other, cannot safely be conjectured; but his fortune being princely, he began to build a palace for himself where the modern Somerset House now stands, and retains his name. He pulled down a parish church to make room for it; and to provide materials he blew up with gunpowder a new and exceedingly beautiful chapel, lately built by the last Prior of the Knights of St John. Part of St Paul's churchyard was desecrated at the same time. 'The charnelhouse and the chapel' were turned into dwelling-houses and shops, and the tombs and monuments were pulled down, and the bones buried in the fields.
The work, however, which Parliament would have to undertake, on its assembling, would not be exclusively religious. It has been mentioned that parallel to the religious Reformation, social changes of vast importance were silently keeping pace with it. In the breakup of feudal ideas, the relations of landowners to their property and their tenants were passing through a revolution; and between the gentlemen and the small farmers and yeomen and labourers were large differences of opinion as to their respective rights. The high price of wool, and the comparative cheapness of sheep farming, continued to tempt the landlords to throw their plough lands into grass, to amalgamate farms, and turn the people who were thrown out of employment adrift to shift for themselves. The commons at the same time were being largely enclosed, forests turned into parks, and public pastures hedged round and appropriated. Under the late reign these tendencies had with great difficulty been held partially in check; but on the death of Henry they acquired new force and activity. The enclosing, especially, was carried forward with a disregard of all rights and interests, except those of the proprietors.
Periods of revolution bring out and develope extraordinary characters; they produce saints and heroes, and they produce also fanatics, and fools, and villains; but they are unfavourable to the action of average conscientious men, and to the application of the plain principles of right and wrong to every-day life. Common men at such times see all things changing round them—institutions falling to ruin, religious truth no longer an awful and undisputed reality, but an opinion shifting from hour to hour; and they are apt to think that, after all, interest is the best object for which to live, and that in the general scramble those are the wisest who best take care of themselves. Thus, from arbitrary selfishness on one side, and discontent rapidly growing on the other, the condition of the country districts in England was becoming critical. The yeomen, driven from their holdings, were unable to find employment elsewhere. The loss of the common lands took from many of the poor their best means of subsistence; while corn was rising to famine prices from the diminished breadth of land under the plough, and with corn, all other articles of daily consumption. Unhappily, two causes were operating to produce the rise of prices, and the people and many educated persons believed that the landlords were responsible, not only for half the blame, but for the whole of it.
Instead of restoring the silver currency, the Protector, as has been seen, had yielded to the temptation to raise supplies from the same source for the Scottish wars; and from the mints at York, South wark, Canterbury, and the Tower, fresh and fresh streams of base money had been poured into circulation. The sums for which the Government were responsible formed but a fraction of the mischief. Sir William Sharington first of all, controller of the mint at Bristol, who had been directed, when the other mints were busy, to keep his own inactive, made an opportunity of the prohibition. The inhabitants of the Somersetshire villages made away surreptitiously with their church plate. Sharington became the general purchaser, and threw it upon the country in testons, or bad shillings, in which four ounces of pure metal were mixed with eight of alloy. The profit he kept to himself, and his accounts he falsified. How much bad money he had coined he could not tell, but he admitted to have gained at least four thousand pounds. The possession of a mint made Sharington the first in the field, but naturally in a little while the entire currency was infected. The pure coin was bought up, and coining establishments were set at work in France and Flanders and in remote corners of Europe. Bad and good money could not co-exist together, and the good disappeared. The Protector was conscious at last of the nature of what was going forward. In the spring of 1548, a proclamation was issued that the teston should be current only till the following December, and that up to that time it would be received at the mints and paid for at its nominal value. But this only increased the speed of the coiners, and the magnitude of the evil was already too much for a treasury exhausted by war. Meantime the money theorists, three centuries before their time, distracted him with their tempting speculations. 'Why should money cause the dearth?' men said. 'Why should it not be taken as it is proclaimed?' 'What if it were copper? what if it were lead? what if it were leather? Is it not all one, seeing it is for none other use but exchange?' 'If money was plenty, all things would be plenty; the greater abundance of money, the greater the abundance of everything. Three parts of the realm out of four were the better for the multiplication.'
Among the causes of the general distress, the facility with which Somerset allowed himself to be persuaded against his better judgment by arguments such as these, must hold a considerable place; yet, after all deductions, it remains certain that the absorption of the small farms, the enclosure system, and the increase of grazing farms had assumed proportions mischievous and dangerous. Leases as they fell in could not obtain renewal; the copyholder whose farm had been held by his forefathers so long that custom seemed to have made it his own, found his fines or his rent quadrupled, or himself without alternative expelled. The Act against the pulling down farm-houses had been evaded by the repair of a room which might be occupied by a shepherd; a single furrow would be driven across a meadow of a hundred acres, to prove that it was still under the plough. The great cattle owners, to escape the sheep statutes, held their stock in the names of their sons or servants; the highways and the villages were covered in consequence with forlorn and outcast families, now reduced to beggary, who had been the occupiers of comfortable holdings; and thousands of dispossessed tenants made their way to London, clamouring in the midst of their starving children at the doors of the courts of law for redress which they could not obtain.
Between the popular preachers and the upper classes, who were indulging in these oppressions, there may have been for the most part a tolerable understanding. The Catholic priests in the better days which were past, as the Protestant clergy in the better days which were coming, had said alike to rich and poor, By your actions you shall be judged. Keep the commandments, do justice and love mercy, or God will damn you. The unfortunate persons, who for the sins of England were its present teachers, said, You cannot keep the commandments—that has been done for you; believe a certain speculative theory, and avoid the errors of Popery. It was a view of things convenient to men who were indulging in avarice and tyranny. The world at all times has liked nothing better than a religion which provides it with a substitute for obedience. But, as there would have been 110 Eeformation at all, had Reformation meant no more than a change from a superstition of ceremonies to a superstition of words and opinions, so those who were sincere and upright among the Reformers—men like Cranmer, Latimer, Becon, Bradford, or Lever, to whom God and duty were of more importance than 'schemes of salvation,' whose opinions, indeed, followed with the stream, but who looked to life and practice for the fruit of opinions;—such men, I say, saw with sorrow and perplexity 'that increase of light had not brought with it increase of probity, that, as truth spread, charity and justice languished. 'In times past,' said Latimer, speaking from his own recollection, 'men were full of pity and compassion; but now there is no pity; for in London their brother shall die in the streets for cold, he shall lie sick at the door between stock and stock—I cannot tell what to call it and then perish for hunger. In times past, when any rich man died in London, they were wont to help the scholars at the Universities with exhibitions. When any man died, they would bequeath great sums of money towards the relief of the poor. When I was a scholar at Cambridge myself, I knew many that had relief of the rich men in London; but now I can hear no such good report, and yet I inquire of it and hearken for it. Charity is waxen cold; none helpeth the scholar nor yet the poor; now that the knowledge of God's Word is brought to light, and many earnestly study and labour to set it forth, now almost no man helpeth to maintain them.' While the country was in the darkness of superstition, landowners and merchants were generous, the people prosperous, the necessaries of life abundant and cheap. The light of the gospel had come in, and with it selfishness, oppression, and misery. That was the appearance which England presented to the eyes of Latimer, and it was not for him to sit still and -bear it.
For eight years silent, he was now again about to enter on the fiery course which earned him the name of the Apostle of Britain. He would meddle no more with bishoprics; his mission was to speak and to teach: March.and in the spring of 1548 he commenced a course of sermons, on the crying evils of the age, at Paul's Cross.
'God,' he said, 'in this world had two swords—the temporal sword was in the hands of kings, the spiritual sword in the hands of ministers and preachers, who spoke as sitting in Moses' chair;' therefore, if kings, statesmen, councillors, magistrates, or any others did amiss, it was the preacher's business to correct them. Sketching first the duty of a king, how, sitting in that high place, he was bound to be an example of piety, chastity, justice, and self-restraint, the preacher then went on to 'the monstrous and portentous dearth made by man.'
'You landlords,' he said, 'you rent-raisers, I may say you step-lords, you have for your possessions too much. That that heretofore went for 20 or 40 pounds by the year, which is an honest portion to be had gratis in one lordship of another man's sweat and labour, now is let for 50 or 100 pounds by the year; and thus is caused such dearth that poor men which live of their labour cannot with the sweat of their faces have a living. I tell you, my lords and masters, this is not for the King's honour. It is to the King's honour that his subjects be led in true religion. It is to the King's honour that the commonwealth be advanced, that the dearth be provided for, and the commodities of this realm so employed, as it may be to the setting of his subjects at work and keeping them from idleness. If the King's honour, as some men say, standeth in the multitude of people, then these graziers, enclosers, rent-raisers, are hinderers of the King's honour; for whereas have been a great many householders and inhabitants, there is now but a shepherd and his dog. My lords and masters, such proceedings do intend plainly to make of the yeomanry slavery. The enhancing and rearing goes all to your private commodity and wealth. Ye had a single too much, and now ye have double too much; but let the preacher preach till his tongue be worn to the stump, nothing is amended. This one thing I will tell you; from whom it cometh I know, even from the devil. I know his intent in it. If he bring it to pass that the yeomanry be not able to put their sons to school—as, indeed, the Universities do wondrously decay already—and that they be not able to marry their daughters, to the avoiding of whoredom, I say ye pluck salvation from the people, and utterly destroy the realm; for by the yeomen's sons the faith of Christ is and hath been maintained chiefly.'
'Look,' Gilpin said, 'how Lady Avarice has set on work altogether. Mighty men, gentlemen, and all rich men do rob and spoil the poor, to turn them from their livings and from their rights; and ever the weakest go to the wall; and being thus tormented and put from their rights at home, they come to London as to a place where justice should be had, and this they can have no more. They are suitors to great men, and cannot come to their speech. Their servants must have bribes, and they no small ones; all love bribes. But such as be dainty to hear the poor, let them take heed lest God make it strange to them when they shall pray. Whoso stoppeth his ear at the crying of the poor, he shall cry and not be heard. With what glad hearts and clear consciences might noblemen go to rest, when they had bestowed the day in hearing Christ complain in his members, and in redressing their wrongs. But, alas, what lack thereof! Poor people are driven to seek their rights among the lawyers, and, as the Prophet Joel saith, what the caterpillars left, the greedy locusts the lawyers devour; they laugh with the money which maketh others to weep. The poor are robbed on every side, and that of such as have authority; the robberies, extortions, and open oppressions of these covetous cormorants the gentlemen, have no end nor limits, no banks to keep in their vileness. For turning poor men out of their holds they take it for no offence, but say the land is their own, and they turn them out of their shrouds like mice. Thousands in England, through such, beg now from door to door, who have kept honest houses. Lord, what oppressors, worse than Ahab, are in England, which sell the poor for a pair of shoes! If God should serve but three or four as He did Ahab, to make the dogs lap the blood of them, their wives, and posterity, I think it would cause a great number to beware of extortion.'
Could Gilpin and Latimer have looked three centuries onward, they would have seen the slow action of the spirit which they execrated, replacing the ancient agricultural system of England by another which extracted fourfold produce from the soil; scattering colonies over the wide earth, which were expanding into new empires; covering the ocean with vessels thick as the sea-fowl; converting hamlets into huge towns, and into workshops of industry peopled with unimagined millions of men! Being but human, however, like others round them, they could see only what was passing under their eyes. They beheld the organization of centuries collapse, the tillers of the earth adrift without employment, villages and towns running to waste, landlords careless of all but themselves, turning their tenants out upon the world when there were no colonies for them to fly to, no expanding manufactures offering other openings to labour. A change in the relations between the peasantry and the owners of the soil, which three hundred years have but just effected, with the assistance of an unlimited field for emigration, was attempted harshly and unmercifully with no such assistance in a single generation. Luxury increased on one side, with squalor and wretchedness on the other, as its hideous shadow. The value of the produce of the land was greater than before, but it was no longer distributed. It fell into the hands of the few, and was spent in the purchase of luxuries from abroad; the Spartan severity of the old manners was exchanged for a fantastic and mischievous extravagance.
The strictest canons of political economy do not give unrestricted scope to the rights of property. The State claims an interest in the condition of the people which overrides personal privileges. In our own time, even with the whole world open for destitution to escape into comfort, a poor rate to the extent, if necessary, even of temporary confiscation, is levied upon the land, if those who are born upon it cannot otherwise be saved from starvation. At a time when there was no organized system of relief, it was absolutely necessary to do something, though what should be done was more difficult to say. Sir William Paget touched the very heart of the matter when he said that there was no religion in England. 'Society in a realm,' he wrote to the Protector, 'doth consist and is maintained by means of religion and law, and these two or one wanting, farewell all just society, government, justice. I fear at home is neither. The use of the old religion is forbidden, the use of the new is not yet printed in the stomachs of eleven of twelve parts of the realm.' When religion revived, the country righted of itself. The ancient healthy tone of English custom returned. The people and the Crown united to replace the old ways, so far as it was good that they should be replaced. The grazing farms were disintegrated. The cottages of the peasants had again their own grounds attached to them. In twenty years a greater breadth of land was under the plough than had been broken for a century; and though prices still rose, and the altered spirit of property survived, yet the new order of things progressed slowly and moderately, and all classes were again prosperous and contented. But meanwhile the problem was one which would have tried a clearer intellect than belonged to Somerset. The ancient loyalty which had attached the yeoman to his feudal superior had given place to a deep and vindictive hatred. The lords, if less guilty personally than others of the landowners, did not care to compromise themselves by dangerous interference. The interests of the higher classes were combined against the lower, and the courts of law were themselves infected. What was to be done?
Principle and prudence would perhaps have united to recommend the Protector to set himself an example of abstinence from the pursuit of personal aggrandizement before he meddled with others. As Church and chantry lands fell in, he would have done wisely if he had neither kept them for himself, nor distributed them among his adherents; if he had disposed of them as national property and applied the proceeds to the restoration of the currency. Perhaps he was not wholly responsible for having missed seeing what his own and others' interests combined to conceal from him. Unhappily for himself, for his fortune and reputation, he entered upon a course, generous in intention, yet rash and dangerous, and deliberately against the opinion of the rest of the council. He was constitutionally haughty, and he was conscious of a noble and honourable purpose. He determined to enforce the statutes; and as the courts of law were tedious and corrupt, to follow the perilous counsel of Latimer, who recommended him to follow Solomon's example, and hear the causes of the poor himself. Paget, to whom he owed the Protectorate, and to whose advice he had promised to listen, warned him to be cautious. Let him strengthen the hands of the magistrates, keep order, and prevent breaches of the peace. Let him ascertain privately who were the greatest offenders against the tillage statutes, send for them separately, reason with them, and, if necessary, punish them. But, if he valued either his own welfare, or the quiet of the kingdom, let him not attempt to interfere by force; above all, let him not meddle with the courts of law. Somerset, rash, confident, and enthusiastic, told Paget that he was a Cassandra. He established a Court of Requests in his own house, to receive the complaints of those who failed to find justice at Westminster; Juneand on the 1st of June he sent out a commission to inquire in all counties into the actual condition of all estates, towns, villages, and hamlets, with power to imprison any one who should attempt opposition, and to send up to himself the names of those who had broken the law.
The commissioners were Fulke Greville, Sir Francis Russell, Lord Bedford's eldest son, John Hales, clerk of the Hanaper, and three others. After dwelling in their instructions upon the causes of their appointment, and the unworthy shifts by which the Acts of Parliament were evaded, 'No good man,' the Protector said, 'will use such subtleties; he will rather abhor them; he will say, I know the laws were intended for the good of the State; men are not gods, and cannot make things perfect, therefore I will rather do that they meant, although without danger of the law I might do otherwise, and I will with all my heart .do good to my country.' 'Let the commissioners do their duty bravely, and the world would be honest again; the great fines for lands would abate, all things would wax cheap; twenty and thirty eggs would again be sold for a penny, as in times past; the poor craftsmen could live and sell their wares at reasonable prices; and the noblemen and gentlemen who had not enhanced their rents would be able once more to maintain hospitality.' 'Thus,' he concluded, 'ye will serve God, the King, and the commonwealth. Put away all fear of any person—landlord, master, or other. If you serve God, the King, and the commonwealth truly and faithfully—as they be able to defend you against the devil, the world, and private profit, so you may be sure they will suifer no person to do you injury.'
The enthusiasm of private individuals urges them to enterprises to which their natural strength is unequal; they prove at last the sincerity of their own convictions by the sacrifices which they make for their success; if they are mistaken, and their expectations deceive them, they injure only themselves. The enthusiasm of statesmen is less innocent in itself or in its consequences. The leaders of a suffering nation cannot with impunity excite hopes of relief which they have no means of realizing; least of all when the fulfilment of such hopes depends on the exercise of virtues which in themselves they are careless of practising.
The commissioners were received by the people as angel messengers. 'The Iron world,' the country villagers exclaimed, 'is now at an end, and the Golden world is returning.' 'If the thing go forward,' Hales wrote to the Protector, 'never king had so assured subjects as his Grace shall have, nor ever governor under a king that had so many men's hearts and good wills as your Grace shall have.' 'If there be any way or policy of man to make the people receive God's word, it is only this, when they see it bringeth forth so good fruit that men seek not their own wealth, nor their private commodity. I do certainly believe in your Grace's sayings, that maugre the devil, private profit, self-love, money and such like the devil's instruments, it shall go forward, and set such a stay in the body of the commonwealth, that all the members shall live in due temperament and harmony, without one having too much, and a great many nothing.'
The report of the com mission was sent in, and the result of it was a petition, to be presented in the coming Parliament. The population, the petition stated, was diminished, the farmer and labourer were impoverished, villages were destroyed, towns decayed, and the industrious classes throughout England in a condition of unexampled suffering. The occasion was the conduct of the upper classes. 'Divers of the King's subjects, called to the degree of nobles, knights, or gentlemen, not considering that God had given them their high rank and place that they might be as shepherds to the people, surveyors and overseers to the King's Grace's subjects, and had given them sufficient provision that without bodily labour they might live and attend thereto,' had forgotten their obligations in their pleasures, and supposed that they might live for nothing else but to enjoy themselves, or make money for themselves. The petition requested, therefore, that no person of any degree, in possession of land, with more than a hundred marks a year, should farm any part of it beyond what his household required; that the great farms should be broken up; and that the Act should be enforced which required persons to whom abbey lands had fallen by gift or purchase, to 'keep an honest continual house and household on the same.' Fines were demanded in cases of disobedience; but on the whole the tone of the petition was moderate. The Acts of Henry, which were afterwards put in force by Elizabeth, extended the penalty in such cases to forfeiture. JulyThe present petitioners desired a fine only of ten marks a month for such time as the law should be uncomplied with; half to go to the Crown, half to be divided between the informer and the poor of the parish which was injured.
Thus on three sides the Protector had provided himself with occupation. He had war with France and Scotland; he had undertaken a metamorphosis of religion; and he was going to extirpate avarice, selfishness, and cruelty out of the heart of mankind and bring back the Golden age. A domestic misfortune, of no inconsiderable magnitude, added to the burden of his position.
1547.Lord Seymour of Sudleye, High Admiral of England, resembled his brother in an ambition which was disproportioned to his ability, in an outward magnificence of carriage, in personal courage, address, and general accomplishments. There the resemblance ended. The Protector was ambitious, that he might do great things for the country; his brother's was the ambition of selfishness: the Protector was religious; 'the Admiral/ said Latimer, 'was a man furthest from the fear of God that ever he knew or heard of in England.' The Protector's moral life was blameless; the Admiral had seduced and deserted at least one innocent woman, who fell into crime and was executed. The Protector, when uninfluenced by theological antipathies, desired to be just; the Admiral was a hard landlord, a tyrannical neighbour, an oppressor of the poor, a man of whom Latiiner had heard so much wickedness that he ever wondered what would be the end of him.
Being the King's uncle, having committed no political offence, and having done good service at sea during the French war, Lord Seymour had nevertheless those claims to public employment which, with men of high birth and rank, have, at all periods in English history, been found sufficient to outweigh moral disqualifications. Henry VIII., though he had not named him among the executors, had given him a place on the privy council, and he was made High Admiral on the accession of his nephew. The precedents of English minorities were, however, in some degree departed from in his disfavour. When Henry VI. was a child, the Protectorate was separated from the office of guardian to the King. Somerset was at once Protector of the realm and governor of Edward's person.
Thus the Admiral, though raised to the peerage, presented with large estates, and with a lucrative and honourable office, was dissatisfied with his position; and, betraying at once the measure of his expectations, he required the consent of the council to his marriage with the Princess Elizabeth, who was then not quite fifteen. The council knew his disposition too well to listen to such a demand; but, although directly refused, he would not relinquish hope at once. He bribed to his interest a gentleman of the household named Fowler, and desired him to introduce the subject to the King. Fowler made an opportunity, and asked Edward whom the Admiral should marry. Edward graciously offered Anne of Cleves; and then, after thinking a little, said, 'Nay, nay; wot you what? I would he married my sister Mary, to change her opinions.' Anne of Cleves could in no sense be acceptable. A marriage with Mary would have satisfied Seymour's ambition, but her own consent would have been unobtainable, and the council would have been less willing to give him the elder sister than the younger.
He turned his thoughts elsewhere. Between himself and Catherine Parr, last queen of Henry, there had been some incipient love passages while she was the widow of Lord Latimer. Not choosing to risk a second refusal from the council, and undesirous probably that Queen Catherine should know that he had looked elsewhere, he made his own immediate advances in this quarter in private. The Queen promised to marry him in two years after her late husband's death; he successfully pressed her to abridge his probation to two months. Her sister, Lady Herbert, was the confidant; and within four months of her widowhood certainly, perhaps within three, she became privately his wife. Seymour was admitted occasionally at night into the palace at Chelsea, where the Queen resided, and the indecorous haste might, possibly, have added a fresh difficulty in the succession to the crown. The Queen's person being secured, the difficult question arose next how the affair should be made public. The Queen advised that her husband should tell the council that he was anxious to marry her, and should ask them to use their intercession with her. She would not have him apply particularly to his brother. It would be enough to ask the Duke once, and his refusal, if he refused, 'would but make his folly manifest to the world.' The King and council would, no doubt, write to her. If the Duke and Duchess did not like it, it would be of no consequence.
The Admiral approved the advice, his only anxiety being that if the Protector and the Duchess consented, 'they should not afterwards be able to cast in his teeth that by their suit he had obtained his wife.' The King's letter was managed through Fowler. Edward, for the interests of the realm, desired the Queen to look favourably on the suit of the uncle to whom she was already married. Seymour himself asked Mary to write; to whom, however, the suit appeared 'too strange to meddle with.' While the manœuvre was in progress the truth was discovered, and it is scarcely matter of wonder that 'my Lord Protector was much displeased.'
Being done, however, the thing was passed over, and on the breaking out of the Scotch war, to cover unpleasant feelings, the Admiral was desired to take command of the fleet. But he was sullen, or he had schemes of his own. He gave his place to Clinton, reserving to himself the management of the Admiralty, and he stayed at home, pursuing his ambition or his amusements. Elizabeth, who had resided with Queen Catherine, and was ignorant, like the Queen, of the intentions that he had entertained towards her, was permitted unaccountably to remain at Chelsea Palace after the marriage was discovered. The Admiral abused his opportunities to inflict upon the princess an impertinent familiarity, and her attendants were scandalized at seeing him morning after morning, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by his wife, lounge into her room in his dressing-gown before she had risen.
Nor was Elizabeth the only lady of rank whose custody he took upon himself. Next in succession to his own daughters, Henry VIII. had named the daughters of his niece, Frances, Marchioness of Dorset. Lady Jane Grrey, the eldest of three children, was made over by her father to Seymour, who promised him that she should marry the King; while over Edward himself he gained influence by bribing his attendants, by secretly providing him with money, and suggesting insinuations against the parsimony of the Protector in his allowance. He made a party at the same time among the Lords and Commons. The Marquis of Dorset was 'so seduced and aveugled by the lord admiral, that he promised him that, except the King's Majesty's person, he would spend his life and blood on the lord admiral's part against all men.'
So passed the time when Somerset was in Scotland. The invasion, Seymour told Edward, 'had been madly undertaken, and was money wasted in vain.' When the Protector returned in triumph, he whispered in Edward's ear, 'that he was too bashful in his own affairs; why did he not speak to bear rule as other kings did?' As the meeting of the first Parliament approached, he complained to various persons, 'that the late King had not intended that there should be a Protector; that there ought not to be a Protector, or, at least, that if one uncle was regent of the realm, the other should have the custody of the King's person.' A bill was secretly drawn to separate the offices; to give effect to which he wrote a letter, purporting to be from the King to the Houses of Parliament, desiring them to favour his uncle the Admiral in a suit which he was about to bring forward; and this letter he begged Sir John Cheke, who was the King's tutor, to persuade Edward to copy out and sign.
Cheke cautiously declined to meddle, and the Admiral then attempted Edward himself. But the boy was shrewd enough to see that it was no place of his to interfere in such a matter. 'If the thing was right,' he said, 'the Lords would allow it; if it was ill, he would not write in it.' Seymour therefore determined to depend upon himself. His unprincipled selfishness was aggravated into hatred by some foolish jealousy between his wife and the Duchess of Somerset. He had a claim, or supposed that he had a claim, on certain jewels, detained by Somerset as Crown property, which Queen Catherine asserted to have been a gift from Henry to herself. 'If I be thus used,' he said to Dorset and Clinton on their way to Westminster, at the opening of the session, 'by God's precious soul I will make this the blackest Parliament that ever was in England.' He swore that 'he could live better without the Protector than the Protector without him.' He would 'take his fist to the ear' of the proudest that should oppose him, with other wild unpromising words.
Such a man was not likely to effect much in Parliament; his bill came to nothing; it was not so much as debated: and failing thus, he believed that he might secure the person of the King as he had secured his wife, by taking possession of it. Lounging one morning into St James's Palace, and seeing the gates opened and unguarded, he observed to Fowler, 'A man might steal away the King now, for there came more with me than is in all the house besides.' For the moment the enterprise was practicable enough, but he was perhaps suspected, and the palace was better defended for the future.
His wild language, his conversation with the King, his general insolent bearing, coupled with his refusal to take service with the fleet when called upon, at last induced the council to require him to appear before the board and explain himself. He defied their summons, dared them to imprison him, and disobeyed. The Protector could be severe to injustice with Gardiner, with his brother he was unjustly gentle. He permitted him to insult with impunity the authority of the Government, he 'laboured,' through 'persuasion of friends,' 'to frame him to amendment of his evil.' 'Considering the age of the King,' 'his subjects not altogether in the best concord for religion,' and the possibility of 'tumult and danger,' he thought to bridle him with liberality; ' and therefore allowed him to retain the office which he abused, and gave him further ' lands to the yearly value of 800l.'
It was 'hire and salary' to persevere in misconduct. But the Admiral wanted discretion to be a successful conspirator. He could not wait for opportunities; his unquiet nature preferred unquiet means. His business at the Admiralty courts had made him acquainted with a class of men who, under various aspects, would play a great part in the coming half-century. The improvements in navigation which followed the Spanish and Portuguese discoveries, the extension of trade, and the increased value in the freightage of merchant vessels, had spread over the seas an abundance of easy booty. The privateers, Spanish, French, English, Scotch, and Flemish, who in time of war learnt the habits of plunder under a show of legality, glided by an easy transition into buccaneers whenever peace withdrew from them their licenses. The richness of the possible spoils, the dash and adventure in the mode of obtaining it, and the doubtful relations of the Courts of Europe to each other, which made the services of such men continually valuable, and secured them the partial connivance of their respective Governments, combined to disguise the infamy of a marauding profession. The pirate of to-day was the patriot of to-morrow, and fleets of adventurers recruited largely from the harbours of Devonshire and Cornwall, twenty and thirty sail together, haunted the mouth of the Channel, pillaging Spanish gold-ships from Panama, French wine-ships from Bordeaux, the rich traders from Antwerp or from their own Thames, with great impartiality, and retired, if pursued, among the dangerous shoals of Scilly, or the distant creeks and coves on the south coast of Ireland.
Complaints came frequently before the Admiralty Occasionally one of the vessels was taken, the crews were handed over to Seymour for justice, and the recovered cargoes were set apart to be restored to their owners. But the merchants, foreign and English, were exasperated to find that neither their goods were given back to them nor the offenders punished. Ornaments known to have been plundered were seen on the persons of the Admiral's followers. Notorious pirates brought in by the King's cruisers were set at liberty by his order; and suspicions went abroad that Lord Seymour was attaching them to himself for services on which he might eventually require their assistance. He was found to have made a purchase of the Scilly Isles, that they might be undisturbed in their favourite haunt; or that, if he failed in his larger schemes, he might open a new career to himself of revenge and pillage as a pirate chieftain.
Money, as usual, in such cases, was the great necessity. The Protector's liberality had been excessive; but the income from landed property, however large, was insufficient for the exigencies of a conspiracy; and Seymour found means of replenishing his exchequer in a more questionable quarter. He had come to an understanding with Sharington, the master of the Bristol mint. The Admiral agreed to support Sharington before the council if Sharington were called to answer for his frauds. Sharington would coin money for the Admiral to any extent which the latter might require.
Knowing something of these doings, and suspecting more, the Protector from time to time remonstrated, but in language in which the supreme magistrate was lost in the brother; while the Admiral considered the lightest admonition as a fresh provocation, and thought only of supplanting him.
August.In the midst of his schemes Queen Catherine was confined of a daughter, and a few days after August, died. The Admiral's conduct immediately caused a belief that 'he had holpen her to her end;' and had Queen Catherine been in any way an obstacle to his ambition, he would no doubt have rid himself of her with entire unscrupulousness. Men do not murder their wives gratuitously, however; her husband was losing a splendid connection, with no security that he would exchange it for a better; and his friends, and he himself, if his word could be trusted, held his position to be weakened by his loss. Catherine, probably, died from her confinement, but Seymour lost no time in attempting to improve his misfortune. Elizabeth had been removed from his house; she was now living at Hatfield with an establishment of her own, and Seymour reverted to his original intention of marrying her. First, however, it was necessary for him to keep his hold on Lady Jane Grey. Somerset wanted to marry this lady to his own son Lord Hertford (or so the Admiral affected to fear). On the Queen's death, Lady Dorset naturally considered his house no longer a proper residence for her daughter; and if she once left his roof, the Protector, he believed, would take possession of her. The father's authority was brought in, therefore, to overbear the mother's. The Admiral had lent Dorset money, and promised to lend him more. Lady Jane was allowed to remain.
This difficulty being disposed of, he turned to Elizabeth. September.By free use of money, Seymour gained to his interests her governess Mrs Ashley, and the steward of her household, Sir Thomas Parry. His name was kept incessantly in the ears of the young princess. His merits and his feelings towards herself were the perpetual theme of conversation; and as a first step she was pressed to declare that she would take the Admiral for a husband, if the council would consent. A girl of sixteen might be excused if she had erred when her protectors were betraying her. But she refused to say anything. She would not admit a question of her own feelings till the council had expressed theirs; least of all would she admit Seymour to an interview, though he pressed for it with ingenious excuses. Yet it is uncertain how his suit might have eventually ended His object was to anticipate objections by the same expedient of a secret marriage, which had answered before, and Elizabeth's resolution might have possibly yielded before the persuasion of her friends, had not the many-sided schemes of the Admiral revealed themselves in time.
While intriguing with the household at Hatfield, he was preparing for the movement for which the next session of Parliament was to give the occasion. The failures in Scotland, and the religious discontent which was commencing, had already shaken the Protector's authority. Lord Seymour intended to take his brother's place. He had arranged with Sharington for money sufficient to keep ten thousand men in the field for a month. Dorset was devoted to him, and Catherine Parr's brother, Lord Northampton, was well inclined. He had fortified and provisioned Holt Castle. He had a cannon foundry in the country, and another at Southwark, where he had thirty workmen in constant employ, and twenty-four cannon, with thirteen tons of shot, ready prepared for immediate service.
Such was the aspect of England when the first Parliament of Edward VI. Nov. 24.assembled for its second session on the 24th of November, to sanction the changes of creed and ritual which Cranmer was now ready to bring forward. The Latin services were to be completely and finally superseded by an English Prayer-book, a draft of which was at last in a condition to receive the consent of the Lords and Commons. The Archbishop, 'to build up,' as he said, 'a body of doctrine which should be agreeable to Scripture,' had collected opinions from all parts of Europe. He had brought over Peter Martyr and Bernard Ochin, and many other Continental Reformers, Zuinglians and Lutherans, to assist him; he had entreated the help, either in person or by letter, of Melancthon. Extreme views on either side had neutralized each other; and the result of his labours was the first imperfect draught of the Book of Common Prayer of the present Church of England. The magnitude of the innovation can now be with difficulty appreciated, when the novelty of the sixteenth century has in its turn been consecrated by time. Of the strange features of the change the strangest was, perhaps, that the official opinion of Convocation was scarcely asked even in form. Parliament now discussed the faith of England, and laymen decided on the doctrines which the clergy were compelled to teach.
The minor business of the session has first to be related. The petition presented by the Commissioners of Enclosures was made the foundation of an Enclosure Bill, which was rejected summarily by the House of Lords. Mr Hales persevered, and produced a second, which the Lords passed; but on going to the House of Commons, the lamb, he said, was in the wolf's custody. It was pulled in pieces in committee, and came to nothing. A third found a similar fate; and the Protector had succeeded only in raising hopes which he was obliged to disappoint. The Clergy Marriage Act of the last year was brought up again, and discussed in many forms. First, it was proposed that laymen having wives might be made priests; then, more vaguely, that married men might be priests. At last it was determined simply to repeal all positive laws enforcing celibacy, as having given occasion to vice. But, in abolishing the prohibition to marry, the Parliament continued to signify their moral disapproval. 'It were better for the estimation of priests,' they said, 'and therefore much to be wished, that they would willingly endeavour themselves to a perpetual chastity.'
'Fasting' was next dealt with in a similar spirit of compromise. In the light of the new doctrine the distinctions between days and meats no longer existed. There was, and could be, nothing definitely pleasing to God in eating meat or abstaining from it on one day more than another; yet, 'due and godly abstinence from flesh was a means to virtue, to subdue men's bodies to the soul and spirit.' 'By eating of fish much flesh was saved to the country,' and the fishing-trade was the nursery of English seamen. For these causes, true each in itself, however grotesque they appear in combination, Fridays, Saturdays, the eves of saints' days, Ember days, and Lent, were ordered to be observed in the usual manner, under penalties for each offence of a fine of ten shillings and ten days' imprisonment. It was undesirable to allow the fishermen to be thrown suddenly out of employment till a natural demand had taken the place of an artificial one; it would have been better if, in other respects as well as here, ancient customs had been allowed to wear themselves out, and to die of disuse.
But the question of the session was the Prayer-book and the Act of Uniformity; and in the Prayer-book the service for the communion. The change of substance in the elements at the eucharist, the material incorporation of the believers in the body of Christ by the reception of those elements, was and is the essential and central doctrine of the Catholic Church. That body when it left the grave was subject no longer to the ordinary conditions of matter. It ascended to heaven, that it might fill all things. In the sacrament it became flesh of man's flesh, and not in metaphor, but in literal truth, was the mechanical instrument of man's salvation. So the Catholic believed; so more vaguely, yet not less positively, the Lutheran believed. The mystic words spoken by the priest in the consecration formed the keystone of the arch which joined the visible and the invisible worlds; and round these words and their accessories the controversy between Catholic, Lutheran, and Zuinglian was now revolving. On the passing of the Act, in the session of 1547, for communion in both kinds, a service had been put out in which the Catholic doctrine was maintained substantially intact; but heresy and orthodoxy changed places rapidly, and among the reforming clergy Lutheranism was fast disappearing. On the opinions of Cranmer himself there was still uncertainty.
Jan. 7.Though the Act of Uniformity was not brought forward till the 7th of January, the book of which the Act was the sanction must have been laid before the Houses at the beginning of the session. Dec. 14.'On the 14th of December,' Bartholomew Traheron wrote to Bullinger, 'a disputation was held on the eucharist in the presence of almost the whole nobility; the battle was sharply fought by the bishops; Canterbury, contrary to expectation, maintained your opinion (the Swiss); truth never obtained a brighter victory; it is all over with the Lutherans.' On the 22nd of December John Isham, writing to Sir Edward Bellingham, in Ireland, said:—'Blessed be God, all things go well forward here in the Parliament House, for they go directly and clearly to extinguish all Popish traditions, and do set forth the true word of God; and goodly orders be already devised to establish the King's Majesty's realm, in divine service to be used in his churches. But there is great sticking touching the blessed body and blood of Jesus Christ. I trust they will conclude well in it, by the help of the Holy Ghost, without whom such matters cannot well be tried. Part of our bishops that have been most stiff in opinion of the reality of his body, that as He was here on earth, so He should be in the bread, now confess and say that they were not of that opinion. But yet there is hard hold with some to the contrary, who shall relent when it pleaseth God.'
Dec. 26.The victory, notwithstanding Traheron's auguries, was still doubtful on the 26th of December, and Peter Martyr was in alarm at the vigour and determination of the Catholics; if the body of Gardiner were in the Tower, his spirit was abroad and powerful. 'There is so much contention about the eucharist,' Martyr said, 'that every corner is full of it; every day the question is discussed among the Lords, with such disputing of bishops as was never heard; the Commons thronging the Lords' galleries to hear the arguments.'
January.The nature of the debates can be conjectured only from the result, which, as on the other questions, was a compromise. On the 7th of January the Act of Uniformity was brought into the House of Lords; on the 15th it was passed; eight Bishops—London, Durham, Norwich, Carlisle, Hereford, Worcester, Westminster, and Chichester—the Earl of Derby, Lord Windsor, and Lord Dacres, remaining to the last dissentient. These would have had no change; they would have retained the hreviary and the missal: but neither were the Genevans any more successful on the other side. The first communion service was retained, with scarcely an alteration; and the mystery of the eucharist was left untouched; the minister was still uniformly called 'a priest;' the communion-table uniformly an altar; and prayers for the dead were retained in the burial service, and in the prayer for the Church militant. The English people were tenacious of their old opinions. The ultra-Protestant changes in the Prayer-book of 1552 were followed by a recoil under Mary to the mass, and the ultimate compromise under Elizabeth indicated the stationary point at which the oscillations of the controversy tended at last to rest.
In the midst of these grave questions, the attention of the Government and of Parliament was called away to the wild doings of Lord Seymour. Misconceiving his position, his strength, and his popularity, the Admiral had scarcely cared any longer to throw a veil over his intentions. The fortunes and prospects of Elizabeth and Mary were left by Henry contingent on their marrying with the consent of the council. Seymour's views upon the former were widely suspected, and Lord Russell warned him that he for one would support in such a matter the will of the late King. But Seymour supposed that he could overbear minor difficulties; he had Dorset and Northampton with him; to the Earl of Rutland he talked openly of putting an end to the Protectorate; he had told him that he looked for his support in the House of Lords and elsewhere, and advised him to make a party in the country, among the yeomen and the franklins. Trusting that Wriothesley still resented the loss of the chancellorship, he tried to gain him too by a promise that it should be restored. In Wriothesley, however, he found himself at once mistaken. 'For God's sake, my Lord,' the ex-chancellor replied to his advances, 'take heed what you do; I hear abroad that you make a party.' 'Marry, I would have things better ordered,' the Admiral said. 'My Lord,' said Wriothesley, 'beware how you attempt any violence. It were better that you had never been born, yea, that you had been burned quick alive, than that you should attempt it.' So much as Wriothesley knew of his proceedings was carried at once to the Protector, who replied that the Tower, if nothing else, should keep his brother from Elizabeth. Lady Jane Grey, it was insisted, should return at once to her family. In. the middle of January further communications were made by Rutland, and Seymour once more was called on to appear before the council, and answer for himself. But he believed that he might continue to resist with impunity. He did not choose to admit the Protector's authority, and while he hated him, he presumed upon his forbearance. He wrote a letter of excuse, which he showed before he sent it to the Earl of Warwick.
The ambitious Warwick had but little love for the Duke of Somerset; but, if there was to be a change in the Government, he did not mean it to be for the advantage of another Seymour. The Protector, Warwick said, would arrest him; at least, if he were himself the Protector, he would arrest him. 'By God's precious soul,' Seymour answered, 'whosoever lays hands on me to fetch me to prison, I shall thrust my dagger in him.' Such a state of things could not continue. On the 17th of January an order of council was taken for his seizure, and he was committed to the Tower. The imprisonment of the Admiral was an intimation of his weakness to his accomplices, who made haste to save themselves at his expense. Sharington threw himself on the mercy of the Government, and made a full confession. The extent of his frauds at the mint appeared now to be something like 40,000l.—that is, he had put into circulation a hundred thousand pounds in base silver coin. The feeble Dorset told of the promise to marry Edward to Lady Jane Grey. Katherine Ashley was arrested and questioned. Sir Thomas Tyrwhit went down to Hatfield to examine Elizabeth. The cannon foundries were discovered; the secret dealings with the pirates; all the features of a conspiracy, in which personal ambition was unredeemed by the affectation of a public object, or by a reasonable prospect of success.
Evidence of various kinds flowed in through the close of January and the greater part of the month following; February.Parliament meanwhile passing a subsidy bill for the defence of the country. Whatever differences of opinion might exist on his policy, Somerset found Parliament so far ready to support him. The clergy granted an income-tax of ten per cent, for three years. The laity gave a shilling in the pound on their personal property, with a poll-tax of eightpence on male subjects above twelve years old, and a further duty on sheep and wool; 'considering,' as they said, 'the condition of the world,' the intrigues of France in Scotland and Ireland, the probability of a combination of the Catholic powers under the Pope to put down the Reformation; and 'content to leave father, mother, brethren, sisters, wives, children, lands, and goods, yea, and this mortal life also, rather than deny Christ and forsake his word.'
The conspiracy being finally unravelled, Sir William Sharington was then, after a full confession, attainted; Feb. 23.and on the 23rd of February the privy council in a body waited on the Admiral in the Tower. The charges against him, thirty-three in number, were read over in his presence, and he was asked whether he, on his part, had any defence to urge. He replied that he would say nothing, except in open trial. The chancellor ordered him to speak on his allegiance. 'His resolute answer was, that for a reply they should not look for it from him.' Possibly he trusted to his friends, possibly to the divisions in the council, possibly to his brother; at all events, he would not answer.Lord Seymour has not failed to receive from historians the sympathy which is bestowed so generally on political sufferers. He has had the advantage of an indignation which assumes, as a rule admitting of but few exceptions, that all who have inflicted punishment have been tyrants, all who have endured punishment have been martyrs. There are many writers whose 'virtue' it is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it.
The Admiral, refusing to answer or explain 'when peradventure there might have been hopes for him either to be found guiltless, or to receive pardon,' the question arose next, 'whether he should be proceeded against by order of justice and custom of the realm; or, specially, since Parliament was sitting, whether Parliament should have the ordering of the matter.' The chancellor and the rest of the counsel gave their opinions one by one for an Act of Attainder; 'lastly, the Protector, declaring how sorrowful a case this was to him, said that he did yet rather regard his bounden duty to the King's Majesty and the Crown of England, than his own son or brother, and did weigh more his allegiance than his blood, and therefore he would not resist the Lords' request.' Edward himself was present on the debate; 'we do perceive,' the King said, when the Protector had spoken, 'that there is great things which be objected and laid to my Lord Admiral mine uncle, and they tend to treason; we perceive that you require but justice to be done; we (Link it reasonable, and we will that you proceed according to your request.'
'Unjust,' exclaimed some among the English public. 'He should have been allowed to come to his answer.' 'Charity,' replied Latimer, assuredly no sycophant of Government, to such coinplainers, 'worketh to say the best of magistrates, and not to stand to the defending of a wicked matter. It is a good law for a man to answer for himself, reasonable, allowable, and good; and yet such urgent cause there may be, that a man may rightly be condemned in his absence. I am provoked of some to condemn this law, but I am not able, so that it be used rarely, for avoiding disturbances in a commonwealth. Surely I would have it done rarely, upon some great respect for avoiding tumults and peril. St Paul was allowed to answer for himself. If Lysias the tribune had not plucked him away from showing of his matter, it had cost him his life. When St Paul was saved by the magistrate, being but a private man, will ye not allow that something may be done for saving of the magistrate's life? I, for my part, think not but they of the Parliament did well. I advise thee, my fellow-subject, use thy tongue better, and expound well the doings of the magistrate.'
Thanks were given to the King for his permission. A bill was drawn, and a committee of both Houses had the Admiral brought before them, 'that neither excuse for him, nor information to the Parliament, should want, if he could or would make any defence.' Finding that he was not to be tried, he then agreed to plead. The accusations were again read over, and he began his replies. The first charge was, that he had endeavoured to gain possession of the King's person: he admitted it; he had looked at precedents, he said, and had intended to bring a motion before the House of Lords; but Sir William Paget 'had made him ashamed of his doings, and he had left his labour.' He admitted next, that he had given money to the King's attendants, and to Edward himself; and that he had endeavoured to persuade Edward to write a letter to the Parliament to change the Government. But as the more serious charges followed, he gave up his defence; he had confessed enough, he said, and he would answer no more.
Feb. 25.The next day, the 25th, the bill was brought before the Lords. The witnesses repeated their evidence in person, and 'the judges declared the case to be manifest treason.' It was read a first time on the spot, and a second and third time on the two days following, without a dissenting voice; 'the Lord Protector only, for natural pity's sake, desiring license at the passing of the bill to be away.' Among the Commons Seymour had a party, and there the matter 'was much debated and argued.' 'His friends,' Latimer said, 'though he were not there himself, had liberty to answer for him; and there were in the Parliament a great many learned men, conscionable men, wise men.' MarchOn the 5th of March the House of Commons desired to hear the evidence again, and Southampton, Rutland, Dorset, and Russell appeared to make their depositions. 'The minds of the lawyers being axed and declared,' they stated, 'that the offences of the Lord Admiral came within the compass of high treason; and when no man was able to say the contrary, being divers times provoked thereunto by the Speaker, the nether house being marvellous full, almost to the number of four hundred, not more than ten or twelve giving their nays thereunto,' the bill passed, and five days after was sent to the Crown, with a request that 'justice might have place.'
'And forasmuch as the council did perceive that the case was so heavy and lamentable to the Lord Protector, if the King's Highness was so pleased, they said that they would proceed without further troubling or molesting either his Highness or the Lord Protector.'
Somerset would still have interfered; and it was found necessary to prevent an interview between the brothers if the sentence was to be executed. From the first he had endeavoured to overcome the Admiral's jealousy by kindness. He maintained the same tenderness to the end, while the Admiral's last action showed that he too was equally unchanged. On the 17th of March, the Bishop of Ely brought notice to Seymour to prepare for death. He employed his last days in writing to Elizabeth and Mary, urging them to conspire against his brother; that the letters might not miss their destination, he concealed them in the sole of a shoe; and when before the block, and about to kneel for the stroke of the axe, his last words were a charge to his servant to remember to deliver them. For the rest, cowardice was not among his faults: he died without flinching; not, it would seem, at the first blow.
'As touching the kind of his death, whether he be saved or no,' said Latimer, 'I refer that to God. In the twinkling of an eye He may save a man, and turn his heart. What He did I cannot tell. And when a man hath two strokes with an axe, who can tell but between two strokes he doth repent? It is hard to judge. But this I will say, if they will ask me what I think of his death, that he died very dangerously, irksomely, and horribly. He was a wicked man, and the realm is well rid of him.'
Sharington was pardoned. If there was injustice, it was in the mercy to the accomplice, not in the punishment of the principal offender. Latimer is likely to have been a better judge of Seymour's character and Seymour's crimes than those who would now impugn the sentence upon him.
- Address of the Duke of Somerset to the Scottish Nation: Holinshed.
- Son of Lord Thomas Fitzgerald and heir of the earldom.
- MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. iii. State Paper Office. This marriage was doubtless talked of at Paris. To unite Scotland and Ireland against England was a constant object of French policy. But Kildare's presence at Dumbarton at Christmas, 1547, was probably a mistake. Among the Privy Council Records, under the date of Jan. 28, 1547, I find a note of a letter from a Mr Young, at Florence, who said that he had fallen in with Kildare at that place: that Kildare had told him that he was but a child when he was taken from Ireland; that he regretted his faults, and would make his submission if he could be allowed to return. A resolution of council was passed to admit him to favour, and a letter was written to that effect.
- Calais MSS. bundle 10, State Paper Office.
- Calderwood; Knox.
- Among the convict crews of the galleys employed on this expedition were the prisoners of St Andrews. They had been promised freedom on their surrender; but the gentlemen were confined in French fortresses; the insignificant, and among them (so singularly men judge of one another) John Knox, were sent to serve in the fleet. From Knox's account of their treatment, the discipline could not have been extremely cruel. 'When mass was said on board, or the Salve Regina was sung, the Scotsmen put on their bonnets.' An image of the Virgin, 'a glorious painted lady,' was brought on board to be kissed, and was offered 'to one of the Scotsmen there chained,' probably to Knox himself. He gently said, 'Trouble me not; such an idol is accursed; I will not touch it.' The officer violently thrust it in his face, and put it betwixt his hands, who, seeing the extremity, took the idol, and advisedly looking about, he cast it in the river, and said, 'Let our Lady now save herself; she is light enough; let her learn to swim.' After this the Scots were troubled no further in such matters.
Here, again, is another fine scene.
On a grey summer dawn, 'lying between Dundee and St Andrews, John Knox being so extremely sick that few hoped his life, Master James Balfour willed him to look to the land, and asked him if he knew it, who answered, 'I know it well, for I see the steeple of that place where God first opened my mouth in public to his glory, and I am fully persuaded, how weak that ever I now appear, I shall not depart this life till my tongue shall glorify his holy name in the same place.'' Knox's History of the Reformation
- Acts of the Scottish Parliament, 1548.
- Calderwood; Buchanan.
- Knox's History of the Reformation.
- So say the Scottish historians, and Holinshed, who took pains to inform himself accurately on such points, confirms them. The Protector, however, on the 6th of August, wrote to his brother, Lord Seymour, referring to this business: 'The last evil chance in Scotland was nothing so evil as was first thought; not above three score slain, and the number which is taken, excepting Mr Bowes and Mr Palmer, containeth no man of name or opinion.'—MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. iv. State Paper Office.
- Thomas Fisher to the Duke of Somerset: Original Letters, edited by Sir H. Ellis, 3rd series, vol. iii. p. 292. Compare the account in Buchanan.
- Fisher to the Protector: Original Letters, 3rd series, vol. iii. p. 292.
- The Scots rejoiceth as much at the overthrow as we do, and it is spoken in Edinburgh that the Hamiltons will, for their bloodshedding, seek no other amends at the hands of the French but to be revenged with the sword.—Fisher to the Protector: Ellis; Original Letters, 3rd series, vol. iii. p. 292.
- The Protector to the Admiral: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. iv. State Paper Office
- Privy Council to the Admiral: Ibid.
- Lord Russell to the Admiral: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. iv. State Paper Office.
- The play upon the words einig and ewig. The Emperor said he had promised that the Landgrave should not be imprisoned for life not that he should not be imprisoned at all.
- The wiser Catholics thought that Paul was playing a dangerous game. The Papacy had said one thing and meant another, at an earlier stage of the Reformation, not to their advantage. 'Hujusmodi lac,' says Pallavicino, 'a fallaci spe propinatum quandoque acrius acescit in stomacho magnorum vivorum ubi deludantur, perinde ac fortassis evenerat in divortio Regis Britannici.'—Historia Concilii Tridentini.
- Formulis ambiguis quæ liceret utrique partium pro re sua interpretari.—Pallavicino
- Dici vix potcst quantum animorum motum excitaverit libelli Interim promulgatio. Etenim priori aspectu creditum plerumque est arrogatam sibi fuisse a Cæsare auctoritatem in rebus fidei.—Pallavicino.
- The Bishop of Westminster and Sir Philip Hoby, who were at Augsburg during the Diet, reported the general feeling with much distinctness. In a letter dated the 22nd of May the Bishop wrote:—
'As the Emperor is earnestly bent to have the Interim kept, so I hear divers places and cities be not content therewith. Duke Maurice says that, for his own person, he is content to keep it; but because he has so often promised his subjects to suffer them to observe their religion that they now be in, he cannot compel them to the observance of the Interim, so he remaineth perplexed.' Albert of Brandenburg, he added, had refused.—MS. Germany, bundle 1, State Paper Office.
On the 9th of July Sir Philip Hoby wrote:—
'The Duke of Wurtemberg, having received the Interim, with commandment to see it take place and be observed throughout his country, it is reported that he did not make any countenance to disobey the Emperor's will herein, but received his commission very reverendly. Shortly, after suffering the Interim to go about, and the Emperor's Commissioners appointed for that purpose to set it forth as it liked them, suddenly, without any mention made of the Interim, or, as though he thought nothing thereof, as I hear say he is a man somewhat merry conceited when he list, he caused proclamation to be made in his country, that each person for every time they heard mass should pay unto him eight ducats of gold. He forbade not the mass to be said but would have the hearers pay him this tribute.'—Hoby to the Protector: Cotton. MSS. Titus, B. 2.
- 'The Emperor was much moved with his answer. Three hundred Spaniards more than the accustomed band were commanded towards the Duke's lodging. They went to the Duke, and showed him the Emperor's pleasure was, seeing he so obstinately refused to grant his requests, that the order which was first prescribed at his taking should now be straitly observed, and no more gentleness and courtesy shewed unto him, seeing it could so little prevail. And forthwith they caused all the daggs and other weapons that the Duke's servants had then in the house to be sought out and sent away; and whereas the Duke had then about him above seventy servants, they sent them all away saving twenty-seven. Granvelle also sent from him his preacher, whom he threatened with fire if he hasted not forth of the country. His cooks and other officers were also commanded, upon pain of burning, they should not prepare or dress for him any meat upon Fridays, Saturdays, or other fasting days commanded by the Roman Church. In this straitness remaineth the Duke now, wherewith he seemeth to be so little moved as there can be none alteration perceived in him, either by word or countenance; but is even now as merry and content to the outer show as he was at any time of his most prosperity.'—Hoby to the Protector: Cotton. MSS. Titus, B. 2.
- Stow says, 'other of the priests' society.' I conclude twenty-nine to have suffered in all, as I find a note among the Cotton. MSS. of a pardon sent by the council into Cornwall for all persons concerned in the death of Body excepting that number.—Cotton MSS. Titus, B. 2.
- Sir Philip Hoby put into the mouth of the German Protestants the opinions of himself and of his order. 'Of our proceedings in England,' he says, 'are sundry discourses made here. The Protestants have good hope, and pray earnestly that the King's Majesty, being warned by the late ruin of Germany, [which] happened by the bishops' continuance in their princely and lordly estates, will take order for the redress thereof in his dominions, and appoint unto the good bishops an honest and competent living sufficient for their maintenance, taking from them the rest of their worldly possessions and dignities, thereby to avoid the vain glory that letteth them sincerely to do their office.'—MS. Harleian, 523.
- Epistolæ Tigurinæ, Anno 1547.
- Calvin to the Protector: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. v. 1548. The translation is, I think, in the handwriting of Craumcr,
- Privy Council Records, Edward VI. MS.
- The Privy Council Record says: 'He had caused all his servants to be secretly armed and harnessed.' The Protector, in a circular to the foreign ambassadors, inflames the charge against him into treason. 'To withstand such as he thought to have been sent from us, he had caused his servants to be armed and harnessed.' But it is incredible that he contemplated an armed resistance to the Government. He denied it himself emphatically.
- 'His Highness is advertised that certain of the said preachers so licensed, not regarding such good admonitions as hath been given unto them, hath abused the said authority of preaching, and behaved themselves irreverendly and without good order in the said preachings, whereby much contention and disorder might arise and ensue in his Majesty's realm.' 'All manner of persons,' therefore, whoever they might be, were forbidden 'to preach in open audience in the pulpit or otherwise,' till further orders.—Proclamation for the Inhibition of Preachers, September 23, 1548. Fuller's Church History.
- This being the first occasion on which I have had to mention Cecil, some account may he useful as to who and what he was. David Cecil, his grandfather, alderman of Stamford, had a son Richard, who went to London, and found service at the Court, becoming yeoman of the wardrobe to Henry VIII. Being a good servant, he grew in favour; he was made at last constable of Warwick Castle, and on the dissolution of the monasteries received a grant from the King of Stamford Priory and other property in Northamptonshire. The wife of this Richard was daughter and heiress of William Heckington, of Bourne, by whom he had three daughters Margaret, married to Robert Carr, of Stamford; Elizabeth, married to Sir Thomas Wingfield, of Upton; Anne, married to Thomas White, of Nottingham; and one son, William, the statesman known to history, born on the 13th of September, 1520. William Cecil was at school first at Grantham, afterwards at Stamford; from whence, at the age of fifteen, he went to St John's at Cambridge, where his academic course—Greek lectures, sophistry lectures, &c.—was successfully accomplished, and where he made the acquaintance of Sir John Cheke, whose sister Mary he married. At Cambridge he was present at the terrible and never-to-be-forgotten battle between Cheke and Gardiner on the pronunciation of the Greek epsilon, which convulsed the academic world; and thence, in 1541, he removed to Gray's Inn, and became a law student. Mary Cheke dying, he married a second time, in 1545, Mildred, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, of Gyddes Hall, eldest of five sisters; Anne, the second of whom, became the wife of Nicholas Bacon, and mother of Francis; Katherine, the third, married Sir Henry Killegrew. Elizabeth married, first, Sir Thomas Hoby, and afterwards Lord Russell. The youngest, less distinguished in her posterity, married a Sir Ralph Rowlet.
William Cecil, introduced at Court by his father, was patronized by Henry, who gave him the reversion of a place in the Common Pleas; and at Henry's death, at the age of twenty-seven, he became secretary of the Duke of Somerset, whom he attended to Musselburgh, where the name of Cecil was nearly brought to an abrupt conclusion by a Scotch cannon-ball. In this capacity of private secretary to the Protector we see him now, being twenty-eight years old.
- The authorities for the treatment of Gardiner are a long series of letters and papers, printed in the latest edition of Foxe's Martyrs, vol. vi. The Protector's concluding letter of the 28th of June is printed also in Burnet's Collectanea, I must allow myself to add one more extract from Gardiner's general letters of protest. The real feeling among the laity, he saw plainly, was not against the doctrines of the Church, but against the prelates and against ecclesiastical domination. Changes in doctrine, though nominally by the King's authority, would assuredly, when the King came of age, be called in question again, and if the bishops were weak enough to encourage such changes, it would only be made fresh matter of accusation against them.
'When our Sovereign Lord, cometh to his perfect age,' said Gardiner, 'God will reveal what shall be necessary for the governing of his people in religion; and if anything be done in the mean time, having so just a cause, he might use a marvellous speech.
'The bishops, it may then be said, when they had our Sovereign Lord in minority, fashioned the matter as they listed; and then some young man that would have a piece of the bishops' lands shall say—The beastly bishops have always done so, and when they can no longer maintain their pleasures of rule and superiority, then they take another way and let that go, and for the time they be here, spend that they have, eat you and drink you what they list, with edamus et bibamus eras moriemur. If we allege for our defence 'the strength of God's truth' and 'the plainness of Scripture' with 'the word of the Lord,' and many gay terms, the King's Majesty will not be abused with such a vain answer, and this is a politic consideration. The doings in this realm hitherto have never done the Bishop of Rome so much displeasure as the alteration in religion during the King's Majesty's minority shall serve for his purpose.'—Gardiner to the Protector: Foxe, vol. vi.
- It was not exclusively Somerset's work. He had made himself Protector, and as first person in the State, he played the first part in the transaction; hut others were pressing him on, among whom it is not easy to distribute the responsibility.
On the 14th of June Lord Warwick (Dudley, afterwards Duke of Northumberland), in a letter to Cecil, says—
'Being desirous to hear whether my Lord hath proceeded with the arrogant Bishop according to his deservings or not, is the chief occasion of my writing to you at this time. I did hear that his day to be before my Lord's Grace and the Council was appointed at Easter-day; but if it had been so, I suppose it would have been more spoken of; but I rather fear that his accustomed wiliness, with the persuasions of some of his dear friends and assured brethren, shall be the cause that the fox shall yet again deceive the lion.'—MS. Domestic, Edward VI. State Paper Office, vol. iv.
- I have seen it stated in some loose schedule among the State Papers, to which I have no reference, at ten thousand pounds a year; but no official account, so far as I can make out, was ever completed. Part the Duke was obliged to surrender in the following year. But his remaining fortune enabled him to keep a retinue of two hundred servants.
- Stow's Annals; Stow's Survey of London; Chronicle of the Grey Friars.
- Sharington's Examinations and Confessions: printed in the first volume of the Burleigh Papers.
- Sir James Crofts to the Privy Council: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. iii. State Paper Office. Crofts felt the fallacy, and laboured with such light as he possessed to see through it. 'Experience,' he said, 'teacheth the contrary. Though it be alleged that moneys be but as we esteem them, it followeth not therefore that we should esteem anything otherwise than reason would we did esteem it; for if we would use lead to make armour or edge tools, our labour was in vain. If we should use iron to make our money, it would not serve for that purpose, but would rust, canker, break, and be filthy, where silver and gold metals, more precious and of more sovereign virtues, are clean in handling, fair in sight, not noisome in savour, most durable against fire, water, air, and earth, and therefore most meetest to make treasure thereof.'
- See a remarkable series of papers by William Thomas, clerk of the council to Edward VI. Cotton MSS. Vespasian, D. 18, some of which have been printed in the fourth volume of Strype's Memorials. Thomas, who had defended the first depreciation of Henry VIII. as long as the coin was not alloyed below the Continental level, was now urgent for a reformation. He disdained the 'frivole reasons' of the theorists, and declared that, in spite of the present apparent gain, the revenue and the rents of the Crown estate must be received in the recognized currency, and the Crown itself would be among the heaviest sufferers, 'unless his Majesty purchase land withal.'
- For authorities, see Becon's Jewel of Joy; Discourse of Bernard Gilpin, printed in Strype's Memorials; Instructions to the Commissioners of Enclosures, Ibid.; Address of Mr Hales, Ibid.; and a Draft of an Act of Parliament presented to the House of Commons in 1548, MS. Domestic, Edward VI. State Paper Office. The suffering of the innocent was a shield for the vagabond. Lever, the preacher, exclaims, 'Oh, merciful Lord, what a number of poor, feeble, blind, halt, lame, sickly,—yea, with idle vagabonds and dissembling caitiffs mixed with them—lie and creep begging in the miry streets of London and Westminster. It is the common custom with covetous landlords to let their housing so decay, that the farmers shall be fain for small regard or coin to give up their leases, that they, taking the ground into their own hands, may turn all into pasture. So now old fathers, poor widows, and young children lie begging in the streets.'—Sermon of Lever, printed in Strype's Memorials.
- For which they were despised or lamented over by the advanced Liberals. 'Cantuarensis,' writes Traheron to Bullinger, 'nescio quomodo ita se gerit ut vulgus nostrum non multum illi tribuat. Latimerus, tametsi non liquide perspiciat, æquior est Luthero vel etiam Bucero; altius enim quam cæteri introspicit, ut est ingenio plane divino: sed est cunctabundus et ægre renunciat opinioni semel imbibitæ.'—Epistolæ Tigurinæ, p. 211.
- Sermon of the Plough, pp. 64, 65: Latimer's Sermons.
- According to Scory, Bishop of Rochester, the extent of land thrown out of cultivation was two acres in three. 'To trust,' he says, 'to have as much upon one acre as was wont to grow upon three—for I think that the tillage is not now above that rate, if it be so much—is but a vain expectation. A great number of the people are so pined and famished by reason of the great scarcity and dearth that the great sheep masters have brought into this noble realm, that they are become more like the slavery and peasantry of France than the ancient and godly yeomanry of England.'—Scory to the King: Strype, vol. iv. p. 483.
The difficulty was not merely that the prices of food rose, and that wages remained stationary, for wages as little obeyed Acts of Parliament as food obeyed it. 'Merchants have enhanced their ware,' says King Edward, in a remarkable State Paper as written by so young a boy; 'farmers have enhanced their corn and cattle, labourers their wages, artificers the price of their workmanship, &c.' The genuine English nobleman and gentleman, he said, were the only persons in the commonwealth who 'had not exercised the gain of living,' but were contented with their old rents. The mischief had been done by 'the farming gentlemen and clerking knights,' the middle classes, the capitalists who had bought land and were making a trade of it.—King Edward's Remains: Discourse on the Reformation of Abuses.
- Sermon of the Plough: Latimer's Sermons.
- A nephew of Tunstall, Bishop of Durham.
- Fuller's Worthies, vol. iii. p 307.
- 'To behold the vain and foolish light fashions of apparel used among us,' says Becon, 'is too much wonderful; I think no realm in the world—no, not among the Turks and Saracens—doth so much in the vanity of their apparel as the Englishmen do at this present. Their coat must be made after the Italian fashion, their cloak after the use of Spaniards, their gown after the manner of the Turks, their cap must be French, their dagger must be Scottish, with a Venetian tassell of silk. I speak nothing of their doublets and hoses, which for the most part are so minced, cut, and jagged, that shortly after they become torn and ragged. I leave off also to speak of the vanity of certain light-brains, which because nothing should want to the setting forth of their fondness, will rather wear a marten chain the price of eightpence than they would be unchained. What a monster and a beast of many heads is the Englishman now become! To whom may he be compared worthily but to Æsop's crow, for as the crow decked herself with the feathers of all kinds of birds to make herself beautiful, even so doth the vain Englishman for the fond apparelling of himself borrow of every nation to set himself forth gallant in the eyes of the world. He is not much unlike a monster called chimæra, which hath three heads, one like a lion, the other like a goat, the third like a dragon.'—Becon's Jewel of Joy.
Under Mary, to make the English more like human beings, a 'device' was drawn for an Act of apparel, which, however, could not be carried. It set forth 'that the ladies and their maids at Court did so exceed in apparel, that many of them went so richly arrayed on working days as the Queen's Majesty's mother did on holydays; so that it would be wished that no lady, knight, nor knight's wife, nor gentlewoman, nor gentleman under the degree of a lord, should have but one velvet gown, one damask gown, one satin gown for winter, and the like single gown for summer. Providing always that they should have for every one silk gown a gown of felt, or russet, or camlet, or worsted, and if they list, garded or welted, so that there be not above a yard and a half of velvet, and that they shall use no embroidery upon any garde, and that they shall wear some of their gowns of cloth, russet, camlet, or worsted three days every week upon pain of ten shillings a day.'
A surveyor was to examine ladies' wardrobes from time to time, and report upon them, while for gentlemen there was another not less important direction.
'Provided also for these monstrous breeches commonly used, none under the degree of a lord or a baron shall wear any under pain of three pounds a day; none to have any stuffing of haire, wool flocks, towe, or other ways; and no man of little stature to bare a bowe more than a yard and a half in the outer side, and the bigger men and the guards two yards, upon pain of twenty shillings a day the wearer, and forty shillings the maker of the hose.'—MS. Domestic, Mary, State Paper Office.
In a variety of inventories of furniture in gentlemen's country houses in the reign of Mary, I find the hangings of beds—not of state beds, but beds for common use—to have been of blue or crimson velvet; the window-curtains of satin, and, in fact, everything except the washing apparatus, of which there is little or no mention, to have been similarly gorgeous.—MS. Ibid.
- In many parts of Ireland, during the great famine, the poor-rate was twenty shillings in the pound.
- Paget to Somerset: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- Sermons, p. 127.
- Instructions of the Protector to the Commissioners of Enclosures: Strype's Memorials, vol. iv.
- Hales to the Protector: Strype's Memorials, vol. iv.
- MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. v. State Paper Office.
- Latimer's Sermons before King Edward.
- 'I told my Lord Admiral in the Park at St James's, that I heard one say that he should have married my Lady Elizabeth. 'Nay,' says he, 'I love not to lose my life for a wife. It has been spoken of, but it cannot be.'—Deposition of Katherine Ashley: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. vi. State Paper Office.
The Act of Seymour's attainder says that he attempted to marry Elizabeth immediately after the death of Henry, but that 'he was stayed by the Lord Protector and other of the council.'—2 and 3 Edward VI. cap. 17.
- Deposition of John Fowler: MS. Ibid.
- Wife of Sir William Herbert, afterwards Lord Pembroke.
- 'When it shall be your pleasure to repair hither, ye must take some pains to come early in the morning, that ye may he gone again by seven o'clock, and so I suppose you may come without suspect. I pray you let me have knowledge over-night at what hour ye will come, that your porteress may wait at the gate to the fields for you. By her that is and shall be your humble, true, and loving wife.'—Catherine Parr to Lord Seymour: Ellis, 1st Series, vol. ii.
- 'You married the late Queen so soon after the late King's death, that if she had conceived straight after, it should have been accounted a great doubt whether the child born should have been accounted the late King's or yours, whereby a marvellous danger might have ensued to the quiet of the realm.'—Articles against Lord Seymour: Privy Council Records, MS. Edward VI.
- King Edward's Journal.
- Deposition of Dorset: Deposition of Sir William Sharington: printed by Haynes, Burleigh Papers, vol. i. Further Depositions of Sir William Sharington: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. vi. State Paper Office.
- Sharington's Confession.
- Deposition of Edward VI.
- Deposition of Sir John Cheke: Tytler, vol. i.
- Deposition of Edward VI.
- Act of Attainder of Lord Seymour of Sudleye.
- Accounts of these buccaneers are frequent in the Irish State Correspondence. At the beginning of the reign of Edward VI., proclamations were out for the arrest of two famous rovers, named Thomson and Stevenson. The Mayor of Cork wrote to Dublin that they were lying in the harbour there, the country people openly resorting to their ships, and he himself, the Mayor, for fear they should burn the town, allowing them to buy what they wanted in the market. Another letter from the same place described Captain Strangways, another pirate, with thirteen of his men, lounging about Cork, the mayor afraid to meddle with them, and some of the party busy casting cannon.—Irish MSS. Edward VI. State Paper Office.
The following letter from Kinsale is an exact transcript;
TO SIR EDWARD BELLINGHAM, LORD DEPUTY.
'Right Honourable,—After our humble dutyes premyssyd unto your good Lordship, pleasyd the same to be advertysyd that we resheweth your letter the 13th day of July, and as we persew the tenore, we wyll fulfyll your Lordship is comandiment both nyght and day to the uthermost of our puere, which is lyttel Gode knowis, for all our men dyed with pestelent, and we have a wyde empty thowne and few men, and naghty and unstruly negboris which we rest not nyght nor day buth waget our thowne for ferd of the Irysmen abuthe us be lande and be see allsoo. The centre abuthe us is in wast, and all the socure that we were wonth to have is be our hawen; buth naw ys stoppyth from us be Eglis pyraturs, which wolde not suffure no wyttell no socure comys to us, buth tak it within our hawen. And now of lathe cam on Richard Colle with a Spinache and 18 or 20 men, and maryde with Barry Oghe is aunt, and dwellyth in his castell within our hawen and our lyberty, and there he remanyd and wold not suffure non to cum to the thowne, buthe tak them and spoyl them, whiche is grett henderanche to us Gode knowys, and if it lyeth in our puere to mett with hem, we knowe not what ys your wyll therein; desyring your honourable Lordship to wrytt us what ys best to do. Wrytten at Kynshall the I5th day of July, 1548.
'Your Lordshyps most asuryd,
'THE SOFFREAYN AND CONSSEILL OF KYNSHALL.'
Sympathizing readers will be glad to know that these pirates came duly to a becoming end. On the 25th of the same month of July, a large French vessel with a hundred hands came into Kinsale harbour. Colle attempted to take her, but failed; his crew, if not himself, were taken instead, and were disposed of on the yard-arm.
- 'You had gotten into your hands the strong and dangerous Isles of Scilly, where being aided with ships and conspiring at all evil events with pirates, you might have a sure and safe refuge if anything for your demerits should be attempted against you.'—Articles against Lord Seymour: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- See especially a letter of the 1st of September, 1548, printed by Tytler, vol. i. p. 120.
- 'He told me that my Lord his brother was fallen out with him concerning the Admiralty, and how his Grace took their part before his. My Lord would have my head under his girdle, he said, but I trust we shall do well enough for all this.'—Fowler's Deposition: MS. Ibid.
- Act of Attainder of Lord Seymour.
- Those who are curious in such stories may study the details of Seymour's courtship of Elizabeth, in the examinations of witnesses, printed by Haynes in the first volume of the Burleigh Papers, and in the supplementary collection, in the sixth volume of the Domestic MSS. of the reign of Edward VI., in the State Paper Office.
- In the tone in which she spoke of him to Mrs Ashley, a kind of regard seemed to be struggling with contempt 'In love with him,' to use the language of some historians on the matter, she certainly never was, but it might have come to that with time and opportunity.
- See the depositions in Haynes.
- Strype's Memorials of the Reformation, pp. 210, 211.
- 2 and 3 Edward VI. cap. 21.
- 2 and 3 Edward VI. cap. 19.
- Traheron to Bullinger: Epistolæ Tigurinæ.
- He means Cranmer.
- Isham to Bellingham: Irish MSS. vol. v. Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- Peter Martyr to Bucer: Epistolæ Tigurinæ.
- Among the directions at the end of the communion service in the Prayer-hook of 1549, the bread was ordered 'to be such as had been heretofore accustomed, each of the consecrated breads to be broken into two pieces or more, at discretion;' 'and men,' it was said, 'must not think less to be received in part than in the whole, but in each of them the whole body of Our Saviour Jesus Christ.' It was ruled also that 'the people should receive the sacrament in their mouths at the priest's hands.'
- Deposition of the Earl of Northampton.
- Deposition of the Earl of Warwick: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. vi. State Paper Office.
- 2 and 3 Edward VI. capp. 35, 36.
- Privy Council Records, Edward VI. MS.
- Privy Council Records, MS.
- Privy Council Records, MS.
- Latimer's Sermons.
- Privy Council Records, Edward VI. MS.
- Privy Council Records, MS.
- 'I heard my Lord of Somerset say, that if his brother had been suffered to speak with him, he had never suffered, but great persuasion was made to him.'—Elizabeth to Queen Mary: Ellis, second series, vol. ii. p. 256.
- The words were overheard. The servant was examined, and the letters were found. They had been written with great ingenuity. 'He made his ink so craftily and with such workmanship as the like has not been seen. He made his pen of the aglet of a point that he plucked from his hose.'—Latimer's Sermons, p. 162.
- Latimer's Sermons, p. 162.