« ZurückWeiter »
finite number of Bibles, and other books. The like severity was practised at Cambridge ; of which Mr. Strype promises an account in the Life of Whitgift, now ready for the press.
The nation began to grow everywhere weary of the cruel executions of so many heretics. The great promoter of these barbarous proceedings was the earl of Sussex : he died in March this year. For his son Thomas, who succeeded to him in his honour, was then deputy of Ireland ; and on the Ist of April, order was given for a new patent to him, by the title of the earl of Sussex.
At one time complaints were brought of the sheriffs of Kent, Essex, Suffolk, and Staffordshire, and of the mayor of Rochester, and the bailiff of Colchester, that when some persons, being condemned for heresy, were delivered to them by their ordinaries, they, instead of proceeding to a present execution, had delayed it: so letters were ordered to them, requiring them to signify what it was that had moved them to stop the usual proceedings. Information was also given of some lewd and seditious words, spoken by some of the queen's household; upon which they were sent to prison: and orders were given to prosecute them. On the 3d of August, thanks were ordered to be given to serjeant Brown for his proceedings with Trudge-over; and orders were given for the disposing of his head and quarters. On the 7th of August, Sir John Butler, sheriff of Essex, was fined 101. because his deputy had respited the execution of a woman, condemned for heresy, that should have been executed at Colchester; and he was to answer for his deputies' fault. This perhaps is the same with that which was mentioned on the 28th of July. Many were ordered to be proceeded against for writing and spreading lewd and seditious books. It seems the Lord Rich continued to give the council notice, before they proceeded to any executions in Essex, and so laid the odium of the severity on the council, for showing no pity : so, on the 6th of August, they wrote to him to proceed according to law, and not to give them any more trouble on those occasions. Complaint was made on the 10th of August, of a bad choice that the town of Calais had made of a mayor for the ensuing year; especially in so critical a time. They were told, that, by such an election, they might have their charter to be brought in question. On the 12th of August, orders were sent to Canterbury, to proceed without delay against those who acted there a lewd play that was sent up.
On the 15th of August, the news came of the great defeat given the French at St. Quintin's : so an order was sent to the bishop of London, to publish that at St. Paul's Cross.
On the 24th of August, letters were ordered to be written to the mayor and aldermen of Bristol, requiring them to conform themselves, in frequenting sermons, processions, and other ceremonies, at the cathedral: and not to absent themselves, as they had done of late, nor to expect that the dean and chapter should come with their cross, and in procession, to fetch them out of the city ; which was a thing unseenly, and out of order. On the 2d of September, news came of the taking of St. Quintin's: upon which an order was sent to the lord mayor of London, to have bonfires at night, and to come the next day to high muss. On the 6th of September, an order was sent to the lord mayor of London, to apprehend those who had acted a play, called, A Sack-full of News; but there was an order sent soon after to set them at liberty. On the 6th of October, news came that peace was made between the pope and the king ; upon which the council ordered high-mass to be at St. Paul's; and the lord mayor was required to be there, and to have bonfires over the city. The council was for some time wholly taken up with the matter of the loan and the privy-seals: and though the government had certain notice of the design of the French upon Calais, yet no parliament was calleủ, by which money, and every thing else that was necessary to the preserving it, could have been furnished. But the spirit of the nation was now much turned ; and compassion began to rise towards these poor people, that were thus sacrificed to the cruelty of the priests, and the bigotry of a weak peevish woman, so that they would not venture on calling one; but tried other ineflectual methods of raising money ; which increaseå the jealousy of the nation more than it added to the queen's treasure.
Bonner was again quickened, by another letter, to proceed against heretics : upon which he sent down Dr. Chedsey to Colchester ; who, in a letter that he wrote to Bonner, on the 21st of April 1558, tells him, that while he was sitting at Colchester, examining heretics, he received a summons to appear before the council ; but he desires, that Bonner would make his excuse, since he was on the great work of finding out heretics, anabaptists, and other unruly persons, such as the like was never heard.
There is also in the minute-book an entry of the letter of the 1st of August, 1558, written on Benbridge's account; who, when he was ready to be burnt, offered to recant; upon which the sheriff of Hampshire stayed the execution ; for that he was chid; but a letter was written to the bishop of Winchester, to examine whether his conversion was entire and sincere,
And now I have no more light from the council-book : for that authentic volume goes only to the end of the year 1557; the last passage I find in it relating to religion being on the 15th of December : then they wrote a letter to the bishop of London, and sent with it the examination of John Rough, a Scottish minister, whom they had sent to Newgate, and required him to proceed against him according to the laws. It may be perhaps thought that I have taken out of it nothing but what related to proceedings against heretics : but that is, because there is scarce any thing else in it; for I have taken out of it every thing that related to the government, or that was in ny sort historical. But the council knew what it was that the queen's heart was set on, and what would please her most; and so they applied their care and diligence chiefly to that.
There was a strange spirit of cruelty that run through the body of the clergy: it was animated by the government, and showed itself in so many dismal instances, in all the parts of the nation, that it struck people with horror. This, joined with the intolerable haughtiness of the king, and the shameful loss of Calais, brought' the government under a universal hatred and contempt. In a book corrected, if not written, by the Lord Burleigh, in Queen Elizabeth's time, entitled, The Executions for I'reason, the sum of those who suffered in this wretched reign, is thus reckoned. “ Four hundred persons suffered publicly in Queen Mary's days, besides those who were secretly murdered in prison: of these, twenty were bishops and dignified clergymen; sixty were women ; children, more than forty : some women big with child ; one bore a child in the fire, and the child was burned.”
It does not appear that the bishops or clergy showed any great inclination to entertain Pole's project for the reformation of abuses; or that they were at much pains, in the way of instruction, to reduce the people. All that I find in this way is, that Bonner set out an instruction for his diocess in the year 1555. The people had heard so much of the second commandment, that he did not think fit to leave it quite out, as is done in most catechisms of the church of Rome: but yet he durst not venture on giving it honestly; therefore, instead of the words, Nor worship them ; he gave it thus, Nor adore them with God's honour. Watson, bishop of Lincoln, did in June 1558 put another out for his diocess. It seems he was in a high degree of favour with the cardinal; since, notwithstanding the zeal he expressed against plurality of benefices in one person, he was allowed to hold the deanery of Duresme in commendam, when he was pro
moied to Lincoln *. The licence is in January 1557; in which it is said, that the cardinal consented to it.
The first public occasion, that the ill-natured pope found to express his displeasure at Pole, was, upon the death of Day, bishop of Chichester. The pope would not suffer Christopherson, the new bishop, to be preconized in Pole's name, but did it himself, as Karn wrote over on the 10th of April. Karn, after that, on the 15th of June, wrote to the queen, that the pope had ordered Cardinal Morone to be imprisoned on the account of religion. Four cardinals were sent to examine him. Karn adds, that he was in high reputation at Rome for his sancity: and he believed him a good catholic, and a holy man.
The style in which all the bishop's bulls, during this reign, did run, was, that the pope, by his apostolical authority, did provide the person to the see, and set him over it f. Upon which the bishop so named did renounce every clause in his bull that was in any sort prejudical to the crown: and the renunciation being so made, the custody of the temporalties was given to the bishop, elect. In the bulls, no mention is made either of the queen's recommending, nor of the chapter's electing. Rymer has gathered the bulls for Exeter, Bangor, St. Asaph, Carlisle, Chester, Peterborough, and Lincoln, besides those for Canterbury and York; and they all run in the style of papal provisions. Nor does he mention congé d'élire, except for Chester, Winchester, Carlisle, Lincoln, Chichester, and Peterborough. There is something particular in the restitution of the temporalties of Carlisle to Oglethorpe: it is added, that he was to pay 400 marks. I do not comprehend what could be the reason of this singularity.
There was another convocation in January 1557-8 : Harpsfield was chosen prolocutor. On the 28th of January, Bonner, as the cardinal's commissary, proposed some heads of reformation ; and the lower house desired leave to offer their propositions. On the 4th of February, a subsidy was agreed to, of eight shillings in the pound, to be paid in four years; and on the 9th, he told the bishops that the lower house had agreed to it. Complaint was made of a want of priests to serve the cures : in order to remedy this, and to provide a supply for the smaller benefices, it was proposed, that no priest should be taken up to serve in the wars. 2. That the bishops might have authority to unite small benefices, which the priests should serve by turns. 3. That the parishioners of chapels of ease might be obliged to come
to the parish-church, till curates could be provided. 4. That bishops might be authorized by the pope to ordain extra temporu. There was also come consideration had about the furnishing of arms; and a decree passed for the provision of them after the same rate that the laity had agreed to. But then the convocation was prorogued, first to the Ilth of November, and then to the 17th ; on which day the queen died.
But now to open the state of the nation: Calais, and the places about, were lost; and the nation was so exhausted, that the supporting the government was no easy thing. The persons most in favour with the two kings of France and Spain were two clergymen, the cardinal of Lorrain, and the bishop of Arras, soon after promoted to be a cardinal. They saw, that the continuance of the war made it reasonable on both sides, not to put a stop to the progress of heresy ; though it had not that effect in England: they therefore, at an interview, projected a peace; that so both kings might be at full leisure to extirpate heresy out of their dominions.
In order to this, France was willing to make great restitutions: only, from the first opening of the treaty, they declared very positively, that they resolved never to part with Calais. A treaty was opened; and the earl of Arundel, the bishop of Ely, and dean Wotton, were sent to treat in the queen's name. I shall here only give the abstract of two papers, which I found relating to this matter.
The first is, the council's letter to the ambassadors, written on the 8th of November; which is in the Collection (No. xlii). The ambassadors saw no hope of the restoring of Calais; so they had moved the council to lay the matter before the parliament. “ It was not thought convenient to break it to the whole house : it was thought best to begin with the nobility, and some of the best and gravest sort, But before they made that step, they thought it necessary to ask the queen's mind : she thought it was best to lay it first before the king. Upon which, they sent the ambassadors with a letter to the king; and resolved to stay till his answer came. They write, that the queen was still sick and weak : they hoped for her amendment; but they were driven to fear and mistrust the worst. In a postscript they tell them, they had received the ambassadors' letters of the 4th, by which they saw the French were resolved not to restore Calais; and that the king told them, that his commissioners had almost agreed with the French in all other matters; but he would agree to nothing, unless the queen was satisfied. The council ordered the ambassadors to lay before the