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they found any fault or dissimulation in any person, that they should immediately signify it to the king and his council, as that which was of the greatest moment to the quiet of the kingdom; threatening such punishment of those who were negligent in this, as would make them examples to all others; and he charges them upon their allegiance to obey all this punctually.
But it seems this had not the effect that was expected; therefore, in April after this, a new letter or proclamation was writ to some of the nobility (Collect. No. xxxiii), setting forth that he had heard that some, both regulars and seculars, did secretly extel the authority of the bishop of Rome, praying for him in the pulpit, and making him a God, preferring his power and laws to God's most holy laws. The king therefore, out of desire to maintain unity and quiet among his people, and to bring them to the knowledge of the truth, and to be no more blinded with superstition and false doctrine, required them, that wheresoever they found any person spreading such pernicious doctrines, to the exaltation of the bishop of Rome, to cause them to be apprehended and put in prison without bail or mainprise.
Among the bishops all were not equally honest nor zealous. Lee, archbishop of York, and Gardiner, were those in whom the old leaven had the deepest root : so the king being informed that Lee, though he had given in leis profession, subscribed and sealed by him, yet did not his duty in his diocess and province, neither in teaching himself, nor causing others to teach the people, conform to what was settled both in convocation and parliament, sent him orders both to preach these things, and to order all other ecclesiastical persons in his province to do the same: upon this he wrote a long vindication of himself in June, 1535, which will be found in the Collection (No. xxxiv).
“He sets forth in it the complaints that the king signified had been made of him, with the orders that he had received from the king, and then sets out his own conduct. He acknowledges he had received, at the end of the last parliament, a book sent from the archbishop of Canterbury, as a book of orders for preaching (probably that which is the 28th paper in the Collection.) Upon his receiving it, he went on Sunday next to York, and there he set forth the cause of the king's marriage, and the rejecting the pope's auth very fully; and that this might be done the more publicly, he had caused it to be published at York the Sunday before that he would be there, and so took care to have a full auslience : so that there was a great multitude there. His Vol. III, PARTI.
text was, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come;' and he so declared the king's matters, that all seemed satisfied. It is true he did not touch the title of the king as the supreme head, for there was no order given as to that, for it was thus only ordered to have it named in the prayer. It is true he did not use to bid prayers, for the greater haste to utter his matter. But upon the receipt of that book, he commanded his officers to make out a great number of them, to be sent to every preacher in his diocess ; and by all that he ever heard, every one of his curates followed that book, and had done their duty in every particular enjoined in it: he took care that all who preached in their churches should follow the rules prescribed in it. He also sent a book to every house of friars. And for the re. ligious, when any such person came in him, naming pare ticularly the Carthusians and the Observants, for counsel, he told told them what he had done himself, and advised them to do the same. On Good-Friday last, he had ordered the collect for the pope to be left out; and also the mentioning him in other parts of the service : he desired the king would examine these things, and he would find he was not so much in fault as he imputed it to him. He had been hitherto open and plain, and had never deceived the king. He had also sent letters to the bishops of Duresme and Carlisle, pursuant to the letters that he had from the king; and had charged his archdeacons to see that all obedience might be given to the king's orders. He had since he received the king's last letters, on the Sunday following, declared to the people every thing comprised in them. He refers himself to Magnus and Lawson, two of the k heard him, to make report of what they thought of it. Whatever he promised to the king he would fulfil it: and he had done every thing as the king commanded, and would still do it, so God were not offended by it. He besought the king not to believe any complaints of him till he have heard his answer. Some thought it was a high sacrifice, when they could bring such a poor priest as he was under the king's displeasure; but he trusted God would continue in him a gracious mind to his priests and chaplains, and that he would give their enemies, who studied to provoke him against them, better minds for the future.”
I have no particulars to add to the relation I gave of the sufferings of Fisher and More. There are heavy things laid to their charge ; bui, except Fisher's being too much concerned in the business of the Nun of Kent, which was without doubt managed with a design to raise a rebellion in the nation, I do not find any other ihing laid to his charge :
and it does not at all appear that More gave any credit or countenance to that matter. Yet I have seen that often affirmed. In our own days, when things have happened both together, though the one did not by any sort of proof appear to be connected with the other, yet they have been represented as done in concert : so the conspiracy of the Nun, and those who managed that imposture, was given out. at home and abroad, as having its rise from Fisher, who indeed knew of it, and seemed to give credit to it; and from More, though he had no share at all in it.
The king of France was not satisfied with this way of proceeding: he thought it too violent, and that it did put things past all possibility of a reconciliation. He had answered for the king to the pope at Marseilles, and he was in such a concern for him, that the wrong steps he made reflected on himself. He told the king's ambassador, that he advised the banishing of all such offenders, rather than the putting them to death. That king confessed there had been extreme executions and cruelty lately exercised in his own kingdom: but he was now putting a stop to it, and resolved to call home all those that had Aed out of his kingdom. He had seen a relation of More's sufferings, by which it appeared that he exhorted his daughter to all duty and respect to the king, which made the proceedings against such a man to be the more censured.
The ambassadors wrote this to the king soon after More's death * The king wrote on the 23d of August, an answer from Thornbury to this purpose: “If the king of France answered for the king, and had justified his cause, he had done what was just and suitable to their friendship: the conspiracies of Fisher and more to sow sedition, and to raise wars, both within and without the kingdom, were manifestly proved to their face : so that they could not avoid nor deny it. The relation he had seen concerning More's talk with his daughter at his death was a forged story: the king took it in ill part that King Francis should so lightly give ear and credit to such vain tales. This ungrateful behaviour showed that the king of France had not that integrity of heart that the king desei ved, and might expect from him. Then follows a vindication of the laws lately made, which indeed were only laws revived. The banishing of traitors was no ways convenient: that was to send them in places where they might more safely and conveniently execute their conspiracies. Upon all which the ambassador was ordered to expostulate plainly, but dis
creetly, both with the king, and with the great master. There appears a strain of coldness in the whole intercouse between the two courts of France and England, even from the interview at Marseilles to this time.”
Pope Clement was now dead, with whom the king of France was more closely united: and he found the king's friendship was yet so necessary to him, that he resolved to remove all jealousies : so to give the king a full assurance of his firmness to him, he sent him a solemn engagement to adhere to him. It is true I have seen only a copy of this; but it is minuted on the back by Cromwell's hand, and is fairly writ out. There is no date set to it, but it was during Queen Anne's life, and after Pope Clement's death, so probably it was sent over about this time. It will be found in the Collection (No.xxxvi).
It begins thus, à That both friendship and piety did require, that he should employ his whole strength and autho.. rity to maintain the justice of his dearest friend. The king of England, defender of the faith, lord of Ireland, and, under God, supreme head of the church of England, had, by a dispensation granted by Pope Julius, contracted a marriage in fact with Katherine of Spain, relict of the king's elder brother Arthur, and had one daughter yet living of that marriage : that king, upon great and weighty reasons well known to King Francis, had withdrawn himself from that marriage ; and had lawfully and rightfully married Anne, now his queen, of whom he hath issue the Princess Elizabeth : and a debate had arisen concerning the dispensation, and the first marriage, and the legitimacy of the issue by it; in which King Francis, by many arguments, did perceive, that the pope himself had not a due regard to equity; and that what by the iniquity of the times, what by ill practice against all law and right, many things were done. The king therefore consulted the men of the greatest integrity in his kingdom, and the most learned both in divinity and in the laws of the church; whom he charged to make a report to him according to their consciences, as in the sight of God, having first conferred among themselves fully upon the whole matter : he does therefore, upon all their unanimous opinion, clearly perceive, that the dispensation granted by the pope was in itself null, both by reason of the surprise put on him by the grounds pretended in it for obtaining it, but chiefly because the pope could not dispense in that case; since such marriages are contrary to the laws of God and of nature : for the pope has no authority to dispense in that case ; so that the marriage between King, Henry and Queen Katherine was incestuous and null, as
contrary to the laws of God and man: and by consequence the Lady Mary, born of that marriage, was illegitimate. And further, that the marriage the king has contracted with Anne, now his queen, was holy, lawful, and good : and that Elizabeth, born of that marriage, and all the other issue that might come of it, was lawful, and ought so to be esteemed. He adds, that many of the cardinals, naming particularly the late Cardinal of Ancona, and even the late Pope Clement himself, did declare their own positive opinion to himself personally at Marseilles, and frequently to his ambassadors, that the dispensation granted by Pope Julius, upon which the first marriage was made, was null and void : and the pope would have declared this by a final and definitive sentence, if private affections and human regards had not stood in his way. All which that king did solemnly declare. He therefore, looking on that dispensation as null and void, and by consequence on the marriage contracted by that authority as unlawful and incestuous, and on the Lady
y as incapable to succeed, being born in it, did judge and affirm, that the marriage with Queen Anne, and the issue come, or to come from it, was lawful and valid ; and that the just right of succeeding to the crown was vested in the issue of that marriage and that all judgments and censures, either by the late Pope Clement or by any other judge, that were made and published, or that might hereafter be made or pubished, were and are null and void, un. just and unlawful: and he promised, on the word and faith of a king, and under the forfeiture of all his goods, and of all the goods of his subjects, in the form of a contract of guaranty, both for himself and his heirs successors, that he, at all times, and in all places, particularly in all synods or general councils, and before all persons, and against all men whatsoever that should oppose it, of what rank or condition soever they might be, he would both by himself, and by his subjects, maintain and defend it, and (if need were) justify it, by a strong hand, and with all his forces. Nor would he ever, for the future, publicly or privately, directly or indirectly, go against it, or so much as attempt it, nor suffer it to be attempted by any other, as much as in him lay.”
Here was as positive an assurance as could be putin words. And though princes have in former times, as well as in our own days, made bold with their promises and treaties; and have very easily thrown them off, or broke through them, without any appearance of great remorse or shame ; yet it must be confessed, that Francis did never, even in the war that he afterwards had with King Henry, depart from or falsify this engagement.