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Van Paris, a Dutchman, being accused of Arianism, was condemned to the same punishment. He suffered with so much satisfaction, that he hugged and caressed the faggots that were consuming him, and died exulting in his situation.
Although these measures were intended for the benefit of the nation, and in the end turned out entirely to the advantage of society, yet they were at that time attended with many inconveniences, to which all changes whatsoever are liable. When the monasteries were suppressed, a prodigious number of monks were obliged to earn their subsistence by their labour; so that all kinds of business were overstocked. The lands of the monasteries also had been formerly farmed out to the common people, so as to employ a great number of hands: and the rents being moderate, they were able to maintain their families on the profits of agriculture. But now these lands being possessed by the nobility, the rents were raised; and the farmers, perceiving that wool was a better commodity than corn, turned all their fields into pasture. In consequence of this practice, the price of meal rose, to the unspeakable hardship of the lower class of people. Beside, as few hands were required to manage a pasture farm, a great number of poor people were utterly deprived of subsistence, while the nation was filled with murmurs and complaints, against the nobility, who were considered as the sources of the general calamity. To add to these complaints the rich proprietors of lands proceeded to enclose their estates; while the tenants, regarded as an useless burthen, were expelled from their habitations. Cottagers, deprived of the commons on which they formerly fed their cattle, were reduced to misery; and a great decay of people and diminution of provisions were observed in every part of the kingdom. To add to this picture of general calamity, all the good coin of the kingdom was hoarded up or exported; while base metal was coined, or imported from the continent, in great abundance; and this the poor were obliged to receive in payment, but could not disburse at an equal advantage. Thus an universal diffidence and stagnation of commerce took place; and loud complaints were heard in every quarter. The protector, who knew that his own power was to be founded on the depression of the nobility, espoused the cause of the sufferers. He appointed commissioners "to examine whether the possessors of the church-lands had fulfilled the conditions on which those lands had been sold by the crown; and ordered all late enclosures to be laid open on an appointed day. As the object of this commission was very disagreeable to the gentry and nobility, they called it arbitrary and illegal; while the common people, fearing it would be eluded, and being impatient for redress, rose in great numbers, and sought a remedy by force of arms. The rising began at once in several parts of England, as if an universal conspiracy had been formed among the people. The rebels in Wiltshire were dispersed by sir William Herbert; those of Oxford and Gloucester, by lord Grey of Wilton; the commotions in Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, and other counties, were quieted by gentle methods; but the disorders in Devonshire and Norfolk were the most obstinate, and threatened the greatest danger. In the former of these counties, the insurgents, amounting to ten thousand men, were headed by one Humphrey Arundel, an experienced soldier; and they were still more encouraged by sermons, which gave their revolt the air of a religious confederacy. They accordingly sent a set of articles to court, which, in general, demanded an abolition of the statutes lately made in favour of the Reformation; but the ministry rejected their
demands with contempt, at the same time offering al pardon to all who would lay down their arms and return to their habitations. But the insurgents were now too far advanced to recede; and, still encouraged by the monks who were with them, they laid siege to Exeter, carrying before them crosses, banners, holy water, candlesticks, and other implements of their ancient superstition; but the town was gallantly defended by the inhabitants. In the mean time, lord Russel had been sent against them with a small body of forces; and, being reinforced by lord Grey and others, he attacked and drove them from all their entrenchments. Great slaughter was committed upon these deluded creatures, both in the action and the pursuit. Arundel, their leader, and several others, were sent to London, where they were condemned and executed. Many of the inferior sort were put to death by martial law. The vicar of St. Thomas, one of the principal incendiaries, was hanged on the top of his own steeple, arrayed in his popish habit, with his beads at his girdle. The sedition in Norfolk appeared still more alarming. The insurgents there amounted to twenty thousand men; and, as their forces were numerous, their demands were exorbitant. They required the suppression of the gentry, the placing new counsellors about the king, and the re-establishment of their ancient religious ceremo
nies. One Ket, a tanner, had assumed a priority among
them ; he erected his tribunal near Norwich, under an old oak, which was termed the Oak of Reformation. He afterwards undertook the siege of Norwich; which, having reduced, he imprisoned the mayor, and some of the principal citizens. The marquis of Northampton was first sent down against them, but met with a repulse; the earl of Warwick followed soon after, at the head of six thousand men, and, coming to a general engagement, put them entirely to the rout. Two thousand of them fell in the fight and pursuit; Ket was hanged at Norwich castle, nine of his followers on the boughs of the Oak of Reformation; and the insurrection, which was the last in favour of popery, was thus entirely suppressed. But though the suppression of these insurrections seemed to be very favourable to the interests of the protector, the authority which the earl of Warwick gained in quelling that of Norfolk terminated in Somerset's ruin. Of all the ministers at that time in the oouncil, Dudley, earl of Warwick, was the most artful, ambitious, and unprincipled. Resolved at any rate to possess the principal place under the king, he cared not what means were to be used in acquiring it. However, unwilling to throw off the mask, he covered the most exorbitant views under the fairest appearances. Having associated himself with the earl of Southampton, he formed a strong party in the council, who were determined to free themselves from the control the protector assumed over them. That nobleman was, in fact, now grown obnoxious to a very prevailing party in the kingdom. He was hated by the nobles for his superior magnificence and power; he was hated by the catholic party for his regard to the Reformation; he was disliked by many for his severity to his brother: besides, the great estate he had raised at the expense of the church and the crown rendered him obnoxious to all. The palace which he was then building in the Strand, served also, by its magnificence, and still more by the unjust methods that were taken to raise it, to expose him to the censures of the public. The parish-church of St. Mary, and three bishops’ houses, were pulled down to furnish ground and materials for the structure. Several other churches were demolished, to have their
stones employed for the same:purpose; and it was not without an insurrection that the inhabitants of the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, prevented their church from being pulled down to make room for the new fabric. These imprudences were soon exaggerated and enlarged upon by Somerset's enemies. They represented him as a particide, a sacrilegious tyrant, and an unjust usurper of the privileges of the council and the rights of the king. In consequence of this, the lord St. John, president of the council, the earls of Warwick, Southampton, and Arundel, with five counsellors more, met at Ely house; and, assuming to themselves the whole power of the council, began to act independently of the protector, whom they pretended to consider as the sauthor of every public grievance. They wrote letters to the chief nobility and gentry of England, informing them of the present measures, and requiring their assistance. They sent for the mayor, and aldermen of London, and enjoined them to concur in their measures, which they represented as the only means of saving the nation. The next day several others of the council joined the seceding members; and the protector now began to tremble, not merely for his authority, but for his life. He had no sooner been informed of these transactions than he sent the king to Windsor, and armed the inhabitants of Hampton and Windsor also for his security. But finding that no man of rank, except Cranmer and Paget, adhered to him, and that the people did not rise at his summons; perceiving that he was in a manner deserted by all, and that all resistance was fruitless; he resolved to apply to his enemies for pardon. This gave fresh strength and confidence to the party of Warwick; they assured the king, with the humblest profesWOL. II. G.