« ZurückWeiter »
Peter Martyr expressed their dislike of the habits, but thought the thing was of itself indifferent; so they blamed him for insisting so much on it. Alasco, on the other hand, encouraged him to continue in his refusal to submit to the laws in that matter: in conclusion, he was prevailed on to submit, and was consecrated. This was written to Bullinger by one of the ministers of the German church. His standing out so long, and yielding in the end, lost him much of the popularity, that, to speak freely, he seemed to be too fond of; yet his great labours in his diocess, and his patience and constancy during his imprisonment, and in his last most extreme sufferings, made all good people willing to forget what was amiss, and to return to a just esteem of what was so truly valuable in him.
In conclusion, he submitted, and was consecrated according to the established form, and went into his diocess, which he found overrun with ignorance and superstition : he applied himself to his duty with great and indefa industry; preaching often twice, sometimes thrice in a day, to instruct the people and to reform the clergy. He did earnestly wish that the articles of religion, which he knew were under consideration, might be quickly published. He found the greatest opposition in his diocess rose from the prebendaries of his church. Of this he made great complaints, as indeed all the bishops that were well affected to the Reformation found the greatest opposition in their cathedrals ; though none of them expressed it so severely as Ferrar, bishop of St. David's, who wrote to a lord desiring that he mighž have leave to defend himself against those “ high-minded, arrogant, stubborn, ambitious, covetous canons,” who for private revenge were set against him : yet, on the other hand, there were great complaints made of his behaviour in his diocess, as both indiscreet and contentious. A petition was sent up to the council, in the name of the inhabitants of his diocess, against him, complaining of his insatiable covetousness, and his daily vexing his poor tenants and clergy without cause; and, indeed, his firmness and sufferings afterwards raised his character more than his conduct in his diocess had done.
The last and the most eminent of all the popish clergy that fell in trouble during this reign, was Tonstali, bishop of Duresme. He was a generous and well tempered man, learned far above the common rate. He retained his old opinion concerning the presence in the sacrament; but he had hitherto submitted, and gone along in all that was done. He had no heat, nor a spirit of opposition in his temper, yet his opinion was known. The true account of his matter has
been taken out of the council-book, which has come to light since I wrote my history. One Ninian Mainvil charged him as consenting to a conspiracy in the North, for raising a rebellion there; to this the bishop answered, and Mainvil made replication. The council-book only refers to these, and gives no account of the bishop's answer. Mainvil had sareiter of the bishop's, which was his main evidence, upon which the issue of the trial depended : but that was then wanted ; and, as appeared afterwards, the letter was put in the duke of Somerset's hands, and he still kept it, but whether he did it out of kindness to him, or to have this as a check to overawe Tonstall, does not appear.
This leiter was found among the duke of Somerset's papers, after his lasi apprehension : upon which Tonstall was sent for, and his letter was produced against him. He could not deny it to be of his own hand ; and not being able to make any further answer, he was on the 20th of December sent to the Tower. Whitehead, dean of Duresme, and Handmarsh, Tonstall's chancellor, were accused of the same crime by Mainvil. The dean's death put an end to his trouble, but Tonstall lay in the Tower till Queen Mary set him at liberty: and there, in the 77th year of his age, he wrote his book asserting the corporal presence of Christ in the sacrament. It seems the evidence against Tonstall did not at all amount to a consent to a conspiracy; for he was only charged with misprision of treason; whereas the consenting to it would have been carried further, to high treason itself; but even that must have been by iz stretch of his words; since, if his letter had imported that, Cranmer could not have opposed, much less have protested against, the bill attainting him for misprision, if the evidence had been clear. This is confirmed by the opposition made in the house of commons, where the bill fell. So, since the parliament would not attaint him, a commission was issued out some months after : and on the 22d of September, 1552, a letter was written to the lord chief justice, signifying to him, that there was a commission addressed to him, and to some others, for determining the bishop of Duresme's case, with eight letters, and other writings touching the same, which he is required to consider and to hear, and to give order in the matter as soon as the rest of his colleagues were brought together. He was brought before these commissioners. He desired counsel, and time convenient to make his answer. Both were denied him, as is set forth in the sentence that reversed this. He was charged as a conspirator against the king and the realm. The commission empowered them to proceed against him.
for all offences, both according to the ecclesiastical and the temporal laws. He made divers protestations against the several steps of their proceedings: and at last he appealed from them to the king. The commissioners on the ilth of October deprived him of his bishopric; but did not attaint him of misprision of treason; for the judgment in that case must have been the forfeiture of his goods, ad imprisonment for life; but he was, by order of council on the 31st of October, to receive money for his necessities, remaining prisoner in the Tower till further order should be given touching the money and goods lately appertaining to him.
This was one of the violent effects of the duke of Northumberland's ambition, who was all this while a concealed
ist, as himself declared at his execution. I have laid ail these things relating to the deprivation of the bishops that opposed the Reformation together, to give a full view of that matter. But now I must look back to some matters that happened while these proceedings went on. There was
n information brought to the council of some at Bocking, who were irregular in the worship of God, who thought that to stand or to kneel at prayer, or to be covered or bareheaded, was not material, and that the heart only was necessary: when they were brought before the council, they confessed that they met together sometimes to confer about the Scriptures, and that they had refused to receive the communion above two years, as was judged upon very superstitious and erroneous principles (so it is entered in the council-book) ; with divers other evil opinions, worthy of great punishment. Five of them were sent to prison, and seven gave bonds to appear when called for. They were required to resort to their ordinaries, if they had any doubt in religion, for resolution from them. These were probably some of the anabaptists, though that is not objected to them.
The great point, that was then most canvassed in the uni. versities, was the presence in the sacrament. Concerning this, I have, among the papers sent me from Zurick, a letter of Peter Martyr's to his friend Bullinger, dated from Oxford. the 1st of June 1550, which will be found in the Collection (No. vi). “He excuses himself for his slowness in answering his letters, by reason of the constant labours he was engaged in. For, besides his daily exposition of St. Paul, which might claiin his whole time, there was a new load brought on him. He was commanded, by an order from the king, to be present at the public disputations upon theological matters; which were held once a fortnight. And in the college in which he was placed, there was a disputation, where he was appointed to be present, and to moderate. He was in a perpetual struggle with most obstinate adversaries. The business of religion did not go on with the zeal and success to be wished for: yet it made a better progress than he had expected four months before. The number of their adversaries was great: they had few preachers on their side ; and many of those who professed the gospel were guilty of gross vices. Some, by a human policy, were for purging religion, but for altering outward things as little as might be. They, being secular men, apprehended, that upon a more visible change, such disorders would follow as might prove fatal: whereas it was evident, that the innumerable corruptions, abuses, and superstitions, that had overrun the church, were such, that it was impossible to reform it without bringing matters back to those pure fountains, and to the first sound principles of religion. The devil studied to undermine those good designs, by keeping up still many relics of popery, that by these the memory of the old abuses might be preserved, and the return to them rendered easier. On the other hand, they had this great comfort, that they had a holy king, full of fervent zeal for true religion. He writes, that he speaks in all this tender age with that learning, that prudence, a that gravity, that it amazes all people who hear it: therefore they were all bound to pray God earnestly, to preserve him long for the good of the church. There were several of the nobility well inclined, and some bishops not of the worst sort, among whom the archbishop of Canterbury was the standard-bearer. Hooper was lately made a bishop, to the joy of all good men ; who was to pass through Oxford, in his way to his diocess. He believed that he himself had given Bullinger an account of his being made a bishop, otherwise he would have wrote it. He also commends Coverdale's labours in Devonshire: and adds, that if they could find many such men, it were a great happiness. Alasco being forced to leave Friezeland, by reason of the Interim, was then about the settling his congregation in London. He was at that time in the archbishop's house. The peace with France gave them some hopes. All were under great apprehensions, from the pope's designs of bringing his council again together : but they must still trust in God. And after somewhat of their private concerns, he desires his prayers for the progress of God's word in this kingdom.
" He also, in a letter written on the 6th of August 1551, laments the death of the young duke of Suffolk, looking on him as the most promising of all the youth in the nation, next to the king himself.” After some more on that subject, he adds this sad word, “ There is no end put to our sins, nor any measure in sinning*. He commends Hooper's labcurs in his diocess mightily, and wishes that there were many more such bishops as he was."
Upon the death of the two young dukes of Suffolk, Grey, marquis of Dorchester, was made duke of Suffolk. He had married their sister, but had no sons by her. He had three daughters, of whom the eldest, Lady Jane, was esteemed the wonder of the age. She had a sweetness in her temper, as well as a strength of mind, that charmed all who saw her. She had a great aptness to learn languages, and an earnest desire to acquire knowledge. Her rather found out a very extraordinary person to give her the first impressions ; Ailmer, who was afterwards, in Queen Elizabeth's time, advanced to be bishop of London. Under his care she made an amazing progress. He found, it seems, some difficulty in bringing her to throw off the vanities of dress and to use a greater simplicity in it. So on the 230 of December, 1552, he wrote to Bullinger, “ that the Lady Elizabeth was a pattern to all in the modesty of her dress; and yet nobody was prevailed on by such an illustrious example to follow it; and, in all this light of the gospel, to abstain from wearing gold, or gems, or platting of hair. He was particularly charged with the education of Lady Jane Grey, whom he calls his scholar : but, it seems, he could not prevail in this particular; so he desires Bullinger to write his thoughts to her on that head.”
There was nothing done for almost two whole years, pursuant to the act passed in November, 1549, for making a new body of ecclesiastical laws ; concerning which it is not easy to guess what was the clause in it that gave the bishops so much offence, that the greatest part of the bench protested against it. For both the archbishops and the bishops of Ely, Duresme, Worcester, Westminster, Chichester, Lincoln, Rochester, and St. David's, joined in the protestation. There were only two clauses that I can imagine could give them this disgust. One is, that only four bishops and four common lawyers were made necessary to be of the number of the thity-two persons. The other might be, the limitation of the time to three years: though that seems designed to make the act have its effect in a little time. Two years were almost ended, before any steps were made towards the execution of it. On the 6th of October, 1551, the council wrote to the lord chancellor to make out a commission
* Peccatis neque finis neq; modus imponitur.