Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

(No. xlvii), taken from the original, occasioned by Pope Paul the Third's summoning “a general council to meet at Mantua on the 23d of May, upon which the emperor had sent messengers to them, to give them notice of it, and to require them to come to it, either in person, or by their proctors : but though they had always desired a council for the reforming of those abuses that had continued so long, by the negligence or corruption of popes and prelates; yet, in this bull, the pope clearly insinuates that he will not suffer the restoring of true doctrine, or the correcting of abuses to be treated of, but that their doctrine, without any examination, was to be condemned with infamy: he also endeavoured to oblige all, by the receiving of his bull, without taking cognizance of the matter, to extirpate and destroy the doctrine they professed; so that if they had accepted the bull, they had seemed to be involved in that design. They therefore told the emperor's minister, that they looked on that bull as unjust and pernicious; and they desired he would let the emperor know that they could not accept of it. They did not doubt but the pope, or his party about the king, would upon this occasion pretend that the pope had done his duty, and would study to load them with ill characters : so they thought it necessary to justify themselves to the king and other princes on this occasion.

“They sent over with this a full vindication of their proceedings, which they desired the king would read, and that he would consider, not only the present danger of the Germans, but the common concern of the whole church, in which it was visible that all good discipline was lost, and that great and worthy men had wished and desired that some received abuses, that could not be denied, might be amended: therefore they recommend the cause of the church, and their own cause, to his care.” This is dated the 25th of March, 1537.

I have in my other work given an account of the ambassadors whom they sent into England, of the representations they made, and of a full paper that they offered to the king: to all which I have nothing now to add, but that I have found a letter of Cranmer's to Cromwell, which I have put in the Collection (No. xlviii), in which he complains of the backwardness of the bishops. The ambassadors had been desired to tarry one month, that their book might be considered ; but though he moved them to treat about it, as they had done upon other articles, they answered him they knew the kiug had taken it on himself to answer them ; and that a book to that end was already devised by him : therefore they would not meddle with the abuses complained of. The bishops desired that the archbishop would go on to treat of the sacraments of matrimony, orders, confirmation, and extreme unction, in which they knew certainly that the Germans would not agree with them, except only in matria mony. “ He saw the bishops were seeking an occasion to break the concord; and that nothing would be done, unless there came a special command from the king. They saw they could not defend the abuses, and yet they would not yield that point. He complains likewise, that the ambassadors were very ill lodged: multitudes of rats were running in their chambers day and night, and their kitchen was so near their parlour, that the smell was offensive to all that came to them. He wishes that a more convenient house might be offered them.”

It is true, the king used them with a particular civility, and spoke to them before all his court in a most obliging manner; and often wished that Melancthon might be sent over to him. Cranizer and Cromwell used them with all possible kindness. Cranmer wrote often by them to the elector, exhorting him to continue firm and zealous for the truth and purity of the Gospel : but, under all the shows of the king's favour, they understood that his heart was turned from them. He wrote, when he dismissed them, to the elector, in terms full of esteem for their ambassadors : “ Not doubting but good effects would follow on this beginning of conferences with them ; but the matter being of the greatest importance, it ought to be very maturely considered*. He again desired that Melancthon might be sent over to hi

him, that he might treat with him, promising that he would apply himself wholly to what be·came a Christian prince to pursue.” Dated the lst of October, 1538. During this embassy there was an anabaptist seized by the landgrave of Hesse ; in whose papers they found that he had some followers in England, that he had hopes of great success there; and was designing to go thither, but he said he was forbidden by the Spirit : upon this they wrote an account of all they found to the king, and gave him a description of the anabaptists of Germany, They were much spread through Frisia and Westphalia, and in the Netherlands; chiefly in those places where none of their preachers were tolerated. The not baptizing infants was the known character of the party ; but with this tl were for a community of goods: they condemned all magistracy, and all punishing of crimes, which they thought was a revenge, forbidden by Christ; they condemned all

[ocr errors]

oaths, and were against all order and government. They seemed to be Manicheans in religion : they despised the Scriptures, and pretended to particular illuminations; and allowed both polygamy and divorce at a man's pleasure ; and wheresoever their numbers increased, they broke out into sedition and rebellion. They wrote all this to the king in a letter, that by the style is believed to be penned by Melancthon, both to let him see how far they thsmselves were from favouring such corruptions, and to put the king on his guard against them.

Here ends this negociation, for I find no mark of any further commerce between them; and though this run cut far beyond the year 1535, in which it was begun, yet I thought it best to lay it all together, and so to dismiss it. The unlooked-for accidents that happened in England had wrought much on the king's temper; his own inclinations were still biassing him to adhere to the old opinions and practices; and the popish party watched and improved all advantages, of which a very signal one happened soon to their great joy.

Queen Katherine, or as she was called the princess dowager, died first. I have no:hing to add concerning her, but that I fell on a report of a conversation that Sir Edmund Bedingfield and Mr. Tyrrel had with her* ; in which she solemnly protested to them, that Prince Arthur never knew her carnally, and insisted much on it; and said many others were assured of it. But, on the contrary, Bedingfield urged very fully all the probabilities that were to the contrary : and said, that watever she said on that subject, it was little believed, and it seemed not credible. The tragedy of Queen Anne followed soon after this; it broke out on the 1st of May, 1536, but it seems it was concerted before, for a parliament was summoned, at least the writs were tested the 27th of April before.

There is a long account of her sufferings given by Meteren *, in that excellent history that he wrote of the wars in the Netherlands, which he took from a full relation of it, given by a French gentleman, Crispin, who was then in London, and, as Meteren relates the matter, wrote without partiality. He begins it thus. “There was a gentleman who blamed his sister for some lightness that appeared in her behaviour: she said the queen did more than she did ; for she admitted some of her court to come into her chamber at undue hours : and named the Lord Rochford, Norris, Weston, Brereton, and Smeton the musician: and she said to her brother that Smeton could tell much more :” all this was carried to the king.

* Cott. Libr. Otho. C. 10. Ť Meteren, Hist. des Pays bas, l. i, F, 2.

When the matter broke out on the 1st of May, the king, who loved Norris, sent for him, and said, if he would confess those things with which the queen was charged, he should neither suffer in his person, nor his estate, nor so much as be put in prison : but if he did not confess, and were found guilty, he should suffer the extremity of the law. Norris answered, he would much rather die than be guilty of such falsehood ; that it was all false, which he was ready to justify in a combat against any person whatsoever: so he was sent with the rest to the Tower. The confession of Smeton was all that was brought against the queen ; he, as was believed, was prevailed on to accuse her: yet e was condemned contrary to the promise that had been made him ; but it was pretended that his crime was, that he had told his suspicions to others, and not to the king: and when it was alleged, that one witness was not sufficient, it was answered that it was sufficient. He adds, that the queen was tried in the Tower; and that she defended her honour and modesty in such a way as to soften the king (for she knew his temper), by such humble deportment, to favour her daughter. She was brought to her trial without having any advocate allowed her; having none but her maids about her. A chair was set for her, and she looked to all her judges with a cheerful countenance, as she made her courtesy to them, without any fear : she behaved herself as if she had been still queen : she spoke not much in her own defence; but the modesty of her countenance pleaded her innocence, much more than her defence that she made ; so that all who saw or heard her believed her innocent. E the magistrates of London, and several others who were there, said, they saw no evidence against her; only it appeared that they were resolved to be rid of her.

She was made to lay aside all the characters of her dignity, which she did willingly; but still protested her inno

8. When she heard the sentence, that she was to be beheaded, or burnt, she was not terrified, but lifted up her hands to God, and said, “ ( Father! O Creator! Thou. who art the way, the truth, and the life; thou k nowest that I have not deserved this death.” And turning herself to her judges (her uncle, the duke of Norfolk, being the lordhigh-steward) she said, “My lords, I will not say that your sentence is unjust; nor presume that my opinion ought to be preferred to the judgment of you all. I believe you have reasons, and occasions of suspicion and jealousy, upon

which you have condemned me : but they must be other than those that have been produced here in court ; for I am entirely innocent of all these accusations; so that I cannot ask pardon of God for them. I have been always a faithful and loyal wife to the king. I have not perhaps, at all times, showed him that humility and reverence, that his goodness to me, and the honour to which he raised me, did deserve. I confess I have had fancies and suspicions of him, which I had not strength nor discretion enough to manage : but God knows, and is my witness, that I never failed otherwise towards him ; and I shall never confess any other, at the hour of my death. Do not think that I say this on design to prolong my life; God has taught me to know how to die : and he will fortify my faith. Do not ihink that I am so carried in my mind, as not to lay the honour of my chastity to heart, of which I should make small account now in my extremity, if I had not maintained it my whole life long, as much as ever queen did. I know these my last words will

fy nothing, but to justify my honour and my chastity, As for my brother, and those others who are unjustly condemned, I would willingly suffer many deaths to deliver them : but since I see it so pleases the king, I must willingly bear with their death ; and shall accompany them in death with this assurance, that I shal lead an endless life with them in peace.” She said all this, and a great deal more ; and then, with a modest air she rose up and took leave of them all. Der brother and the other gentlemen were executed first : “ He exhorted those who suffered with him to die without fear; and said to those that were about him, that he came to die, since it was the king's pleasure that it should be so. He exhorted all persons not to trust to courts, states, and kings, but in God only. He had deserved a heavier punishment for his other sins; but not from the king, whom he had never offended. Yet he prayed God to give him a long and a good life. With him all the rest suffered a death, which they had no way deserved. Mark Smeton only confessed, he had deserved well to die : which gave occasion to many reflections.”

"When the queen heard how her brother and the other gentlemen had suffered, and had sealed her innocence with their own blood, but that Mark had confessed he deserved to die; she broke out into some passion, and said, Has he not then cleared me of that public shame he has brought me to? Alas! I fear his soul suffers for it, and that he now punished for his false accusation. But for my brother, and those others, I doubt not but they are now in the

VOL. III, PARTI.

« ZurückWeiter »