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How soon after this these hospitals were put under the government of the lord mayor and aldermen of London, will be found in the history of the city. But I thought this letter was worth remeinbering, since probably it gave the rise to the putting those endowments in such hands, in which, to the wonder of all the world, we see such a noble order and management, and such an overflowing of charity, that not only all their revenues are with the exactest management possible applied wholly to the use for which they were designed; but that the particular bounties of those whom God has blessed in the city, that are annually given to them, do far exceed their stated revenues : of which there are yearly accounts published in Easter week; and which no doubt do bring down great blessings on the city, and on all its concerns.
The state of matters began to turn about this time. The king seemed to think that his subjects owed an entire resignation of their reasons and consciences to him; and as he was highly offended with those who still adhered to the papal authority, so he could not bear the haste that some were making to a further reformation, before or beyond his allowance. So in the end of the year 1538 he set out a proclamation, on the 16th of November.
In it he prohibits the importing of all foreign books, or the printing of any at home without licence, and the printing any parts of Scripture, till they were examined by the king and his council, or by the bishop of the diocess: he condemns all the books of the anabaptists and sacramentaries ; and appoints those to be punished who vented them: hé requires that none may argue against the presence of Christ in the sacrament, under the pain of death, and of the loss of their goods; and orders all to be punished who did issue any rites or ceremonies not then abolished: yet he orders them to be observed without superstition, only as remembrances, and not to repose in them a trust of salvation by observing them. He requires that all married priests should no more minister the sacrament, but be deprived, with further punishment or imprisonment at the king's pleasure. What follows after this will be found in the Collection (No. Ixi); for the whole did not seem so important as to be all set down, it being very long. The king, considering the several superstitions and abuses which had crept into the hearts of many of his unlearned subjects, and the strife and contention which did grow among then, had often commanded his bishops and clergy to preach plainly and sincerely, and to set forth the true meaning of the sacramentals and ceremonies, that they might be quietly used for such purposes as they were at first intended ; but he was in
formed that this had not been executed according to his expectation; therefore he requires all his archbishops and bishops, that in their own persons they will preach with more diligence, and set forth to the people the word of God sincerely and purely; declaring the difference between the things commanded by God, and those rites and ceremonies commanded only by a lower authority, that they may come to the true knowledge of a lively faith in God, and obedience tu the king, with love and charity to their neighbours. They were to require all their clergy to do the same, and to exhort the people to read and hear with simplicity; and without arrogance, avoiding all strife and contention, under the pain of being punished at the king's plea
To this he adds, “ that it appearing clearly that Thomas Becket, sometime archbishop of Canterbury, did stubbornly withstand the laws established against the enormities of the clergy, by King Henry the Second, and had fled out of the realm into France, and to the bishop of Rome, to procure the abrogating of these laws; from which there arose great troubles in the kingdom. His death, which they untruly called his martyrdom, happened upon a rescue made by him, upon which he gave opprobrious words to the gentlemen who counselled him to leave his stubbornness, and not to stir up the people who were risen for that rescue: he called one of them bawd, and pulled Tracy by the bosom almost down to the pavement of the church. Upon this fray one of the company struck him, and in the throng he was slain. He was canonized by the bishop of Rome, because he had been a champion to maintain his usurped authority, and a defender of the iniquity of the clergy. The king, with the advice of his council, did find there was nothing of sanctity in the life or exterior conversation of Becket, but that he rather ought to be esteemed a rebel and a traitor ; therefore he commands that he shall be no more esteemed, nor called a saint, that his images shall be everywhere put down, and that the days used for his festival shall be no more observed, nor any part of that service be read, but that it shall be razed out of all books. Adding, that the other festivals already abrogated should be no more solemnized, and that his subjects shall be no more blindly abused to commit idolatry, as they had been in time past." I will leave it to our historians to compare the account here given of Becket's death with the legends, and to examine which of them is the truest.
Soon after this, the king, understanding that very, malicious reports were spread about the country, poisoning people's minds with relation to every thing that the king
did ; saying they would be made pay for every thing they should eat, and that the register of births and weddings was ordered for this end, that the king might know the numbers of his people, and make levies ; and send, or rather sell them to foreign service : he sent, in December following, a circular letter to all the justices of England, which will be found in the Collection (No. Ixii); in which, after he had set forth his good intentions for the wealth and happiness of his people, he added, “ that he hoped that all the maintainers of the bishop of Rome's authority should have been searched for and brought to justice ; and that all the inventors and spreaders of false reports to put the people in fear, and so to stir them up to sedition, should have been apprehended and punished; and that vagabonds and beggars should have been corrected according to the letters he had formerly written to them. The king understood that sundry of them had done their duty so well, that there had been no disquiet till of late, that some malicious persons had by lies and false rumours studied to seduce the people; and that among these, some vicars and curates were the chief, who endeavoured to bring the people again into darkness; and they did so confusedly read the word of God and the king's injunctions, that none could understand the true meaning of them : they studied to wrest the king's intentions in them to a false sense. For whereas the king had ordered registers to be kept for showing lineal descents, and the rights of inheritance; and to distinguish legitimate issue from bastardy, or whether a person was born a subject or not; they went about saying that the king intended to make new examinations of christenings, weddings, and buryings, and to take away the liberties of the kingdom; for preserva ing which, they pretended, Thomas Becket died: whereas his opposition was only to the punishing of the offences of the clergy, that they should not be justified by the courts and laws of the land, but only at the bishop's pleasure ; and here the same account is given of Becket that was in the former proclamation. Becket contended with the archbishop of York, and pretended, that, when he was out of the realm, the king could not be crowned by any other bishop, but that it must be stayed till he returned. These detestable liberties were all that he stood for, and not of the commonwealth of the realm. To these lies they added many other seditious devices, by which the people were stirred up to sedition and insurrection, to their utter ruin and destruction, if God had not both enabled him by force to subdue them, and afterwards moved him mercifully to pardon them. The king therefore required them, in their several precincts, to find out such vicars and curates as did
not truly declare the injunctions, and did confusedly mum ble the word of God, pretending that they were compelled to read them ; but telling their people to do as they did, and live as their fathers had done, for the old fashion was the best. They were also required to search out all the spreaders of seditious tales, and to apprehend and keep them in prison till the justices came about to try them, or till the king's pleasure was known. The justices of the peace are very earnestly pressed to do their duty diligently, and to take care likewise that the injunctions and laws against the anabaptists and sacramentaries be duly executed.' Dated from Hampton-court in December, in the 30th year of his reign.
(1539.) Among the letters sent me from Zurick, I find one written to Bullinger on the 8th of March, in the year 1539, by Butler, Elliot, Partridge, and Traheron, who had studied for some time under him, and were then entertained either by the king, or by Cromwell. They write,“ that many of the popish ceremonies were still tolerated ; but that new significations were put on them : such as, that the holy water did put us in mind of the blood of Christ, that cleansed us from all defilement: the par was carried about to represent our reconciliation to God through Christ. Things that were visible were thought fit to be preserved to prevent commotions. This correction quieted some: but though these rites were ordered to be kept up till the king should think fit to alter them, yet some preached freely against them, even before the king.
They write of the executions of the marquis of Exeter, the Lord Montague, and Sir Edward Nevil, who (they add) was a very brave, but a very vicious man. Sir Nic. Cary, who had been before a zealous papist, when he came to suffer, exhorted all people to read the Scriptures carefully. He acknowledged that the judgments of God came justly upon him, for the hatred that he formerly bore to the gospel. The king was threatened with a war, in which the emperor, the French, and the Scots, would attack him on all hands; but he seemed to despise it, and said, He should not sleep the less quietly for all these alarms. The day after those tidings were brought him, he said to his counsellors, that he found himself moved in his conscience to promote the word of God more than ever. Other news came at the same time, which might perhaps raise his zeal, that three English merchants were burnt in Spain; and that an indulgence was proclaimed to every man that should kill an English heretic. Cranmer was then very busy, instructing the people, and preparing English prayers, to be used instead of the Litany." VOL. III Part 1.
I can go no further on these subjects; but must refer to my History for the prosecution of these matters.
The foundation of the new bishoprics was now settled. Rymer has given us the charters by which they were founded and endowed*. The new modelling of some cathedrals was next taken care of. I have found the project that Cromwell sent to Cranmer for the church of Canterbury. It was to consist of a provost, twelve prebendaries, six preachers, three readers, one of humanity and of Greek, another of divinity and of Hebrew, and another of humanity and divinity in Latin, a reader of civil law, another of physic; twenty students in divinity, ten to be kept at Oxford, and as many at Cambridge: sixty scholars were to be taught grammar and logic, with Hebrew, Greek, and Latin ; for these a schoolmaster and an usher were to have salaries. Besides these, there were eight petty canons, twelve singing men, ten choristers, a master of the children, a gospeller, an epistler, and two sacristans; two butlers, two cooks, a caterer, two porters, twelve poor men, a steward, and an auditor ; in all one hundred and sixty-two persons, with the salaries for every one of these; together with an allowance for an annual distribution of 1001. for the poor, and as much for reparations; and 401. for mending the highways: in all amounting to about 19001. a year. This I have put in the Collection (No. lxiii), together with the letter that Cranmer wrote io Cromwell after he had considered of it (No. lxiv); though perhaps this will sharpen some men's spirits that are of late much set to decry him, as much as any of his other opinions may have done ; but a true historian that intends to glean all that he could find relating to those transactions, must neither alter nor suppress things, but set them out as he finds them.
“He proposes the altering the prebendaries to somewhat more useful : for, by all the experience that he had, the prebendaries had spent their time in much idleness, and their substance in superfluous living ; so he thought it was not a state to be maintained. Commonly they were neither learned, nor given to teach others, but only good vianders: they look to be the chief, and to bear the whole rule; and, by their ill example, the younger sort grew idle and corrupt. The state of prebendaries hath been so excessively abused, that when learned men have been advanced to that post, they desisted from their studies, and from all godly exercises of preaching and teaching: therefore he wished the very name of a prebendary might be struck out of the king's foundations. The first beginning of them was good, so was that of religious
* Tom. 14, from p. 717 to p.736, and from p. 748 to p. 758.