« ZurückWeiter »
so from the beginning. The councils would show him how that dignity was given to the bishops of Rome. The emperors called those councils; and the dignity that was given him was, because he was bishop of the chief city of the empire, and not for the sake of Peter and Paul. The second place was given to the patriarchs of Constantinople; because it was called New Rome, and so was preferred to Antioch, where St. Peter was bishop, and where the name Christian first began; and it was set before Alexandria, and likewise before Jerusalem, where Christ himself preached, and the whole college of the apostles after him, and where James (the brother of our Lord) was the first bishop. That church was called the mother of all the churches. It was also set before Ephesus, where St. John wrote his Gospel and died. To all these, Constantinople was preferred : and yet this was fully settled in the council of Chalcedon, where six hundred and thirty bishops inet. If he read the Greek fathers, Basil, Nazianzen, Chrysostom, and Damascen, he would find no mention of the monarchy of the bis
ishop of Rome. He desired him to search further into this matter, and he would find, that the old fathers knew nothing of the pope's late pretensions and usurpations. He wished, therefore, that he would examine these matters more carefully, which had been searched to the bottom in England. The learned men bere thought they were happily delivered from that captivity, to which he endeavours to bring them back. He tells him, how much all his family and kindred would be troubled, to see him so much engaged against his king and his country ; whom he might comfort, if he would foliow the establishment of the whole church of God from the beginning, and leave the supporting of those usurpations. He refers him to Gregory the Great, who wrote against the bishop of Constantinople, pretending to the like monarchy. St. Cyprian writes, that all the apostles were of equal dignity and authority; which is also affirmed by the third council of Ephesus. He begged him not to trust too much to himself, but to search further, and not to fancy he had found out the matter already. He praved him to burn all his papers; and then he hoped he should prevail with the king to keep that which he had sent him secret. He concludes all with some very kind expressions.”
This I have abstracted the more fully, for the honour of Tonstall's memory; who was a generous and good-natured, as well as a very learned man. Pole, who was then a cardinal, wrote no answer to this, that I could find; but he wrote a long letter, either to Tonstall, or to Cromwell, in May 1537, which will be found in the Collection (No. liii).
“He begins it with protestations of his affection to the king, though the king had taken such methods to destroy him, as the like had not been known in Christendoin, against any who bore the person that he did at that time; yet he still maintained a deep affection to him. He knew well all that the king had designed against him ; which, if he bore the king a small degree of love, would be enough to extinguish it. He saw what he did for the best was taken in the worst part. He did not think it possible that the king should conceive such indignation against him, as to break through all laws to have him in his hands, and to disturb the whole commerce of nations, rather than not have his person in his power. But he still adhered to his former principles, and maintained his former temper towards the king.
“ Upon his arrival in France, he was ashamed to hear, that he coming thither in the quality of an ambassador and legate, one prince should desire of another to betray him, and deliver him into the king's ambassador's hands. He himself was so little disturbed at it, when he first heard of it, that he said upon it (to those who were about him), that he never felt himself in full possession of being a cardinal till then ; since he was now persecuted by him, whose good he most earnestly desired. Whatever religion men are of, if they would observe the law of nations, the law of nature alone would show how abominable it was to grant such a request; and it was no less to desire it. So that if he had the least spark of an alienation fiom the king in him, such proceedings would blow it up into a fire. He might, upon this, be justly tempted to give over all commerce with the king, and to procure (by all honest ways) the means to repay this malignity, by doing him the utmost damage he could devise : but he did not, for that, abstain from trying to do all he could for the king's honour and wealth. lle ac knowledges, that the bishop of Verona was sent by him to the court of France, to intimate, that the pope (for the common good of Christendom) had committed some affairs to him, to treat with the king. That bishop passed through Abbeville, when the bishop of Winchester and Mr. Brian were there : so he could not but wonder at the king's acting towards him : the whole design of his legation being for the king's honour. Upon which, that bishop desired to confer with the king's ambassadors, that he might declare to them the whole truth of the matter, which was made known to them. They, it is true, had no communication with him ; but they sent their secretary, after the bishop had declared the effect of his legation, as far as it related to the king, to him,
Vol. III, Part l.
“ It seemed visible to all, that the king (in what he had done against him) was abused by false reports, and by the false conjectures of some ; so it was hoped, that the matter being once cleared, the king would have changed his mind. All this he understood from the bishop of Verona, at his return; and he readily believed it. That bishop had been the king's true servant, and had showed (when he was in a capacity to serve him) the sincere love that he bore him. He had been also Pole's particular acquaintance, ever since he came out of England. He would have been ready, if the king had consented to it, to have gone and given the king full satisfaction in all things. For the chief reason of his being sent into France was, the pope's intending to gain the king, knowing the friendship that was between him and the French king : so the bishop of Verona was thought the fittest person to be first employed, who had great merits on both kings, for the services he did them when he was in office: and being esteemed the best bishop in Italy, i
was designed that he should acccompany Pole, as well as he was sent before to prepare matters for his coming; which he, out of his zeal to do God and the king service, undertook very willingly; and resolved to try how he could get access to the king's person : so now, having fully explained himself, he hoped it would not be t
uld not be thought possi those designs, of which the king's proceeding against him showed he suspected him (which was, that he came on purpose to animate the people to rebel).
“Upon his first coming to Rome, he acquainted the king with the design for which he was called thither : and he had acquainted him with the cause of his legation. These were not the methods of those who intended to rebel. He had then procured a suspension, in sending forth the censures, which at that time might have caused the king more trouble : and he sent his servant purposely, with the offer of his assistance, animating the chief of his kindred to be constant in the king's service. If any had been at Rome in the king's pay, to do him service, they could not have done more than he did ; so that some began to reflect on him, because he would not consent to divers things that would have been uneasy to him : and particularly, because he had the censures in his hand, which were instantly called for by those who had authority to command : yet they never came into their sight, nor hands : and to that hour he had suppressed them. He would go no further in justifying himself, if what he had already done, and what the bishop of Verona had said, did not do it; he would take no more pains to clear himself: he rather thought he had been
faulty in his negligence in these matters. But there was nothing now left to him, but to pray for the king.”
This letter is dated from Cambray; for upon the king's inessage to the French king, to demand him to be delivered into his hands, Francis could in no sort hearken to that, but he sent to himn not to come to his court, but to go with all convenient baste out of his dominions : so he retired to Cambray, as being then a peculiar sovereignty. The king had a spy, one Throckmorton, secretly about Pole, who gave him an account of ail his motions : but, by what appears in his leiters, he was faithfuller to Pole than to the king. He wrote over, that his book was not then printed, though he had been much pressed to print it by those at Rome; but be thought that would hinder the design he went on : he believed, indeed, that upon his returning thither he would print it. He tells him, that he had procured the suspensions of the pope's censures, to try if it was possible to bring about a reconciliation between the pope and the king: and he adds, that many wondered to see the king so set against him, and that he did not rather endeavour to gain him. He intended to have stayed some time in Flanders, but the reyent sent him word that it could not be suffered. He went from thence and stayed a he was on the 20th of August; for the last of Throckmorton's letters is dated from thence. The writes, that the pope had called him back, having named him to be his legate to the council that he had summoned to meet the 1st of November; though it did not meet for some years after
The king's indignation upon his advancement, and for his book, carried him to a great many excesses, and to many acts of injustice and cruelty; which are not the least among the great blemishes of that reign. Wyat was then the king's ambassador at the emperor's court; and by his letters to the king, it seems an entire confidence was then settled with the emperor. The king pressed him much not to suffer the pope to call a council, but to call one by his own authority, as the Roman emperors had called the first general councils; and he proposed Cambray as a proper place for one : but he saw he was not like to succeed in that, so he only insisted on a promise that the emperor had made, that nothing should be done in the council, whensoever it should meet, against him or his kingdom.
The king was at this time under much uneasiness, for he sent both Bonner and Hains over to the emperor's couit in conjunction : the one seems to have been chosen to talk with those who were still papistical; and the other had greatcredit with the protestants. Our merchants in the emperor's dominions were threatened by the inquisition, for owning the king as supreme head of this church. Upon this Wyat complained to the emperor. But though that prince vindicated the inquisitors, he promised to give such order, that they should not be disquieted on that account: and when Pole applied himself to the emperor, for leave to affix the pope's bull against the king in his dominions, he would not consent to it.
I cannot add much to what I wrote formerly, with relation to the suppression of the monasteries. There are many letters setting forth their vices and lewdness, and their robberies, and other ill practices; and now that the design against them was apparent, many run beyond sea with their plate and jewels : but I must not conceal, that the visitors give a great character of the abbess and nuns of Pollesworth in Warwickshire. Dr. London, that was afterwards not only a persecutor of protestants, but a suborner of false witnesses against them, was now zealous even to officiousness in suppressing the monasteries. In the first commission that the visitors had, there was no order for the removing shrines; yet he, in his zeal, exceeding his commission, had done it ; upon which, Leighton, Legh, and others, desired that a commission for that end might be sent after them, of the same date with their other commissions. He
so studied to frighten the abbess of Godstow into a resignation. She was particularly in Cromwell's favour; so she wrote a plain honest letter to him, complaining of “ London's violence, of his artifices to bring them to surrender their house, and of the great charge he put them to : she writes, that she did not hear that any of the king's subjects had been so handled : she insists on her care to maint: honour of God, and all truth and obedience to the king; therefore she was positively resolved not to surrender her house, but would be ready to do it whensoever the king's command or his should come to her, and not till then.” The great character I gave of that abbess and of her house in my former work, made me resolve to put this letter in the Collection (No.liv).
The discovery of the cheats in images, and counterfeits in relics, contributed not a little to their disgrace. Among these, that of Boxley in Kent was one of the most enormous. Among the papers that were sent me from Zurick, there is a letter written by the minister
er of Maidstone to Bullinger, that describes such an image, if it is not the same, so particularly, that I have put it in the Collection (No. lv). · He calls it the dagon of Ashdod, or the Babylonisb Bel.