« ZurückWeiter »
addled out of Pole's letter to him. In one place he says, he hears“ it was pretended that he forced no man in points of religion, but behaved himself mildly towards all persons." And in another place he writes, that it was said his life was unblameable.” But though Pole throws that off, as of no importance, yet, upon his mentioning these good characters, it may be depended on that they were true. Ridley, in that noble letter that he wrote to Grindall, when they were every day looking for their crown, says of him,
" that he then showed how well he deserved the great character of the chief pastor and archbishop of this church :” to which he adds of Latimer, “ that he was the ancient and true apostle of Christ to the English nation.” In a word, if it had not been for Cranmer's too feeble compliance in King Henry's time, and this last inexcusable slip, be might well be proposed as one of the greatest patterns in history. And if the excesses to which some opinions had formerly carried men, did in some particulars incline him to the opposite extremes, this must be reckoned a very pardonable instance of managing the counterpoise without due caution. He was a pattern of humility, meekness, and charity. He had a true and generous contempt of wealth ; and of those shows of greatness, that belong to a high station. His labours, in searching into all ecclesiastical authors, both ancient and enodern, are amazing to those, who have seen the vast collections that he wrote out, on all matters of divinity, with his own hand. But now, after a long course of vexation and contradiction, and, in conclusion, after a long and severe imprisonment, he was put to a cruel death, by sersons whom he had served faithfully and effectually. For he had both served the queen, and reconciled her to her father; and he had showed a most particular favour to Thirleby, and others, who concurred to finish this tragedy. I have put all this matter together; and now I must look back to public affairs.
There was a convocation sat with the parliament in October, and to the middle of November, 1555. Christopherson was chosen prolocutor: and after Bonner had conhirmed him, he desired that the lower house would name eight or ten persons, to hear some secret propositions, that were to be made to them by the king and queen, and by the cardinal, concerning the public good of the kingdom, and of the church. They, upon that, did choose the prolocutor, and ten more: and to these the bishop of Ely proposed to offer the queen a subsidy, in return for the great favour she had showed the clergy, in forgiving the firstfruits and tenths, and in restoring to the church all the imVos. III, Part I.
propriations of benefices, that were then, by the suppression of the monasteries, vested in the crown : for all which the bishop of Ely proposed a subsidy of eight shillings in the pound, to be paid in four years. The last session of the convocation was on the 15th of November: and a memorandum was inserted in these words ; “ after this convocation was begun, there was a national synod; the clergy of York being joined with them.” For which, the cardinal thought it safe and fit to take out a licence under the great seal. The first session was on the 4th of November, and in this the cardinal set himself so zealously to remove many abuses, that Mason wrote, that many of the clergy wished he were in Rome again.
The earl of Devonshire went out of England this summer. As he passed through Flanders, he waited on the emperor; and, as Mason wrote, he owned that he owed his liberty to him. The queen sent, and offered her mediation between the emperor and the French king : the emperor accepted it, but with very sharp reflections on the French king,
There was in April (1556) a treaty of peace between the emperor and the king of France set on foot: in which the queen was mediator, and sent over both Pole and Gardiner to Calais in order to it. The constable, and the cardinal of Lorrain, were ordered to come from the court; but the pope's death made it be thought more necessary to send that cardinal to Rome : what further progress wa made in this does not appear to me, for I take it from a letter of Mason's to Vannes, then the queen's ambassador at Venice. It will be found in the Collection (No. xxxvii), the original being in Dr. Tanner's hands, who sent me this copy. By this letter it appears, that Bolls of Cambridgeshire, and S. Peter Mewtas, were there in prison upon sus. picion, but nothing appeared against them. That letter tells us, that the princes of Germany were alarmed
upon the cardinal Morone's coming to Augsburg, apprehending probably that he came to disturb the settlement then made in the natters of religion in the empire : but the emperor had sent such powers to his brother Ferdinand, that his coming was like to have no effect. He also tells in that letter, that the dean and prebendaries of Westminster were using all endeavours to hinder the converting that foundation into an abbey: and that Dr. Cole was active in it, affirming that monks had not their institution from Christ, as priests had : but he saw the court was resolved to have no regard to the opposition they made. He adds, that the duke of Alva was still in England, though he had sent his baggage and servants to Calais.
Mason writes news from the diet, that matters of religion had not been quite settled, but all were to continue in the state in which they were then till the next meeting: and it was provided, that all parties should live according to the religion then accepted of them: the emperor seemed resolved not to consent to this. He writes, that the allowance of the marriage of the clergy, and in particular of bishops, had been earnestly demanded, but was utterly refused. On the 28th of October he writes, that two monks of the Charterhouse had desired the king's letter, that they might return to their house, and at least receive their pension. The king answered, that, as touching their house, since the parliament was then sitting, it was not a proper time to move it: but when he should come to England, he would help them the best he could: and as to their pensions, he ordered Mason to write concerning that to Secretary Petre. On the 7th of January, 1555-6, a letter was written to the mayor and aldermen of Coventry, to choose some catholic grave man for their mayor for that year: a list of three persons was sent to them, and they were required to give their voices for one of them. These were John Fitz-Herbert, Richard Wheeler, and one Coleman.
On the 14th of January, a letter, of a very singular nature, was written to the lord mayor and the sheriff's of London,
requiring tliem to give such substantial order, that when any obstinate man, condemned by the order of the laws, shall be delivered to be punished for heresy, that there be a great number of officers and other men appointed to be at the execution, who may be charged to see such as shall misuse themselves, either by comforting, aiding, or praising the offenders, or otherwise use themselves to the ill example of others, to be apprehended and committed to ward: and besides to give commandinent, that no householder suffer any of his apprentices, or other servants, to be abroad, other than such as their master will answer for. And that this order be always observed in like cases hereafter.” Philpot's martyrdom had been about a month before this, and he being a man highly esteemed, who went through all his sufferings with heroic courage and Christian constancy, it is probable there was more than ordinary concern expressed by the people at his sufferings; which drew this inhuman letter from the council: for they had no sacrifices at that time ready to be offered.
While these things passed in England, the scene abroad was considerably altered, by the resignation of Charles the Fifth, who delivered over his hereditary dominions to his son Philip. He began that with the dominions derived from
the house of Burgundy; after that, he resigned up to him the crown of Spain, and all that belonged to it: upon that, letters were written to the several states and cities of Spain, on the 17th of January. These were all in one form : so that which was addressed to the city of Toledo was sent over to the queen, translated out of Spanish into English, which, for the curiosity of the thing, I have put into the Collection (No.xxxix).
In it he tells them that which he always denied to the Germans, that for religion's sake he had enterprised the war of Germany, upon the desire he had to reduce those countries to the unity of the church; that so he might procure an universal peace to all Christendom, and to assemble and assist at a general council for the reformation of many things, that so with the less difficulty he might bring home those who had separated themselves, and departed from the faith. This he had brought to a very good point, when the French king allured the Germans to a league with him, against thet: oaths and fidelity to the emperor, and so they made war on him both by sea and land; and then the French king procured the coming of the Turk's army into Hungary, to the great damage of Christendom ; upon which he was forced to bring down an army, to the great prejudice of his own person, by his being obliged to keep the field so long, that it had brought on him painful infirmities : he was upon that become so destitute of health, that he was not able in his own person to endure the travel, and to use that diligence that was requisite : which proved a great hinderance to many things, of which he had a deep sense : he wished he had taken the resolution he was now taking sooner; yet he could not well do it, by reason of his son's absence : for it was necessary to communicate many things to him. So he took order for his marriage, and to bring him over to him, and soon after that he resigned to him all his states, kingdoms, and the seigneuries of the crown of Castile and Leon, with all their appurtenances, which are more amply contained in instruments which he had signed of the same date with this letter : trusting that he, with his great wisdom and experience, of wliich he had great proof in all that he had hitherto handled in his father's name, would now order and defend the same with peace and justice. He therefore, having had large experience of their loyalty, fidelity, and obedience, did not doubt but that they would continue to serve and obey him in the same manner and sort, as if God had taken him into his mercy.” Dated at Brussels, the 17th of January, 1556.
Soon after that, he retired to the place he had designed to
spend the rest of his days in; and, according to the account given by my worthy friend Dr. Geddes, there is great reason to believe, that he applied himself to serious reflections on religion. No prince knew better than he did both the corruptions and the practices of the court of Rome; and the artifices and methods by which two sessions of the council of Trent had been conducted. He must likewise have understood the grounds upon which both the Lutherans, and the reformed in Germany, built their persuasions: he had heard them often set out : but the hurry of business, the prepossession of education, and the views of interest, had prejudiced him so far against them, that he continued in a most violent enmity to them: but now that he was at full leisure to bring all his observations together, and that passion and interest had no more power over him, there are great presumptions to believe, that he died persuaded of the doctrines of the reformed religion. Augustin Casal, a canon of the church of Salamanca, was his preacher, and was esteemed the most eloquent preacher that Spain ever produced : he was taken up in the year 1558, and with thirteeen more was publicly burned at Valladolid, in the year 1559 ; the unfortunate Prince Charles, and his aunt, Donna Juana, then governess, looking on that barbarous execution. Constantine Pontius, a canon of Seville, who was his confessor, esteemed a man of great piety and learning, was likewise taken up by the inquisition for being a protestant: he died in prison, probably enough by the torture the inquisitors put him to ; but his bones, with his effigies, were burnt at Seville: so were the bones of the learned Egidius, whom the emperor had named to the bishopric of Tortosa, one of the richest in Spain : and at the same time eighteen were burnt alive for being protestants ; of which the history of the inquisition gives this account--that had not the holy tribunal put a stop to those reformers, the protestant religion had run through Spain like wild-fire ; people of all degrees, and of both sexes, being wonderfully disposed at that time to have embraced it: and the writer of the pontifical history, who was present at some of those executions, says, that had those learned men been let alone but three months longer, all Spain would have been put into a flame by them.
The most eminent of them all was Bartholomew de Caranza, a Dominican, who had been confessor to King Philip and to Queen Mary, and had been by her recommended to the archbishopric of Toledo. He had assisted Charles in the last minutes of his life. He was within a few months after his death, upon suspicion of his being a protestant, first confined by the inquisition to his own palace at Tordelaguna :