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princes of France were yet detained in Spain, so it was necessary to proceed with such caution, as not to irritate the emperor. He had delayed moving it for some days; but the English ambassadors were impatient. He complains, that there were few honest men in the faculty: but, apprehending the inconvenience of delaying the matter any longer, he presented the king's letters to them. The assembly was great; the bishop of Senlis, several abbots and deans, the guardians of the four mendicant orders, and many others were present; so that of a great while there has not been so numerous an assembly. The proposition was made on King Henry's part, with great advantage: an express law in the scripture was quoted; the four great doctors of the church, eight councils, and as many faculties er universities, were of his side; so, in respect to them, the king desired they would determine the matter in the doctrinal way. The emperor, on the other hand, who was likewise the king's ally, opposed the divorce, the queen of England being his aunt; for he thought himself bound to interpose on her account. So the king being pressed by two allies, who both were resolved to be governed by the laws of God and of right reason, laid the whole matter before them, who were now assembled in an extraordinary manner, and enjoined them to recommend themselves to God ; and, after a mass of the Holy Ghost, to consider that which was to be laid out to them, without fear or favour; and after full consideration, to determine it as God should inspire their consciences. This was the substance of Bellay's speech. Beda spoke next : he said, they all knew how much the king studied to please the king of England. Many strangers that were of the faculty seemed to applaud this. Bellay replied, there was certainly a great friendship between the two kings : the emperor was likewise the king's ally. But they ought to have God only before their eyes, and to search for the truth. And having said that he withdrew.
“ Those who spoke first, thought the king's desire was reasonable : and that, therefore, they ought to examine the matter: this could not be refused, if asked on the behalf of the meanest person. Others said, the faculty was subject to the pope, from whom they had their privileges; and since this question related to his power, they ought not to speak to it till they sent to know his mind; or at least, till they sent to know how the king approved of it, and if he would ask the pope's leave to suffer them to debate about it. Another party moved, that while their letters were dispatched to that purpose, they should proceed to examine the question, but suspend the coming to a final resolution, till an answer was brought them. They said, they thought
that they had their privileges from the king, as well as from the pope ; and that it was a reflection on the pope to imagine that he would be offended, if they should examine a case, in which the conscience of a Christian was disquieted; and that even an order from the pope to the contrary ought not to restrain them from examining the matter. Upon these different opinions, the beadle began to gather their votes: whether they ought to proceed to examine the question or not. But one of the doctors rose from his place, and plucked the scroll out of the beadle's hands, and tore it in pieces ; and so they all rose up in a tumult, crying out that nothing ought to be done without writing first to the king and to the pope. Thus the meeting broke up in confusion. The English ambassadors were near enough to see and hear all this. They said, they knew this was laid by Beda and his party ; Bellay did not then think so, and prevailed with them not to write to England till he tried what might be done. He went to Lizet, the first president of the court of parliament, to whom the king in especial manner had recommended the managing of that affair. Lizet sent for Beda, and other his complices, and prevailed with them to meet again the next day, and to proceed according to the third opinion; which was to discuss the question provisionally, and to seal up their conclusion, and send it to the king; so next morning they met, and appointed to begin the Monday following to examine the question.
“ This did not satisfy the English ambassadors ; they thought this was only an artifice to gain time; and indeed they had just ground of suspicion from what several of the doctors did openly talk. Bellay therefore desired the king would write to the dean, that he would cut off impertinent digressions, and bring the matter to as speedy a conclusion as was possible; for some said they would make it last a year. Beda did give it out, that he knew that what he did was for the king's service ; of this he made no secret. Bellay complaining of this to Lizet, he sent for Beda, and spake so earnestly to him, that he swore very positively, he would be so far from hindering the doctors from obeying the king's commands, that he would employ himself, as if it were for the saving of his life, to get the matter to pass without noise or scandal ; but Bellay saw that the president trusted him, so he did acquiesce, though he knew that, by the noise he had already made, he had broken a promise which he had made to Montmorency. The bishop of Senlis was very sensible of the disorder of that body: it appearing that the English ambassadors did suspect the court of France was dealing doubly in the matter; the bishop of Senlis was re. solved to go to the king, and to let him see how matters were
managed in that faculty, and to show him the necessity of reforming them.”
At this time the duke of Norfolk wrote to Montmorency*, that they wondered to find the faculty was so much altered, that before this time fifty-six doctors were in their opinion on the king's side, and there were only seven against him ; but that in the late congregation thirty-six were against it, and twenty-two only were for it. The king of England had reason upon this to suspect some underhand dealing ; therefore he hoped they would so manage the matter as to clear all suspicions.
Th next letters of De Bellay † did certainly give the progress of the deliberations of the Sorbonne ; but we find nothing of that in Le Grand's collection. It is somewhat strange, and may be liable to suspicion, that, after so close a series of letters concerning that affair, no letter is produced from the 12th of June to the 15th of August: thus we have no account given us of the deliberations of the Sorbonne ; and yet it is not to be doubted, but that a very particular relation was written to the court of every step that was made in it. The producing no letters for these two months must leave a very heavy suspicion of unfair dealing somewhere ; for the first letter of De Bellay's, that is published by him after that of the 12th of June, is of the 15th of August.
Rymer has published the original decision of the Sorbonne, on the 2d of July, 1530, but he adds avulso sigillo ; yet after that he publishes an attestation of the notaries of the court of Paris (Curia Parisiensis) of the authenticalness of this original decision. The attestation of the notaries, dated the 6th of July †, mentions both seal and subscription, free from all blemish, and liable to no suspicion. It is probable this precaution was thought necessary, in case the messenger that was to carry it to England had fallen into the hands of any of the emperor's parties in their way to Calais, who, no doubt, would have destroyed this instrument: but this notorial attestation would have been a full proof of it ; for the difficulties in obtaining it might make those who had conducted the matter think it would be no easy thing to procure a new instrument from the Sorbonne itself. How it came that the seal was pulled from the instrument itself, must be left to conjecture : perhaps it was pulled from it in Queen Mary's time.
“ Bellay, in his letter of the 15th of August, writes, that he had moved Lizet to send for Beda, and to let him know
+ P. 473.
* P. 471. VOL. III, PART I.
Rymer, vol. xiv.
the king's intentions : Beda talked as a fool, he would not say as an ill man ; but the president was possessed with a good opinion of him : the king of France had, at the earl of Wiltshire's desire, ordered an examination to be made of his behaviour ; he had also ordered the president to demand of the beadle an authentic copy of an act that Beda had once signed, but then wished he had not signed it; but Lizet would not command the beadle to do this till he had the consent of the faculty to give it, though he had an order from the king to require it. So Bellay, having got the king's letter, went to the president and delivered it to him : he promised he would execute it, and get the authentic copy into his hands : towards the evening he went to the president to see what he had done ; he said the beadle told him he could not give it without the consent of the faculty: upon which Bellay said, that might be a rule in case a private person asked it; but when the prince demanded it, he thought it was no just excuse. The act which was demanded was approved by the faculty, by the dean, and the students, and by all concerned in it: the beadle pretended that it might be said, that he had falsified the act; Bellay answered, that was the reason why they desired the act; he was present when it passed, ard had minuted it; but since Beda and his complices repented that they had signed it, and that the minute they had signed was in some places dashed and interlined, they might make new dashings and interlineations, therefore he prayed the president to command the beadle to bring him the minute that he said was conform to the original : for an hour together the president would do rio more but desire the beadle to do it; at last he commanded him, but so mildly, that the beadle did not think fit to obey him : upon which Bellay said to him, if he suffered himself to be so treated, he was unworthy of the character that he bore : this quickened Lizet so, that he commanded the beadle, all excuses set aside, to obey him. The act was brought and read, and he promised to bring him a copy of it by the next morning : the president thought that Bellay had spoken too boldly to him, and he would not let him have it, but sent it directly to the king : Lizet had that esteem for Beda, that he thought him a saint, and he would not believe him capable of the faulis that he saw him guilty of, which were such, that Bellay wrote, that if he had been to be charged with them, and had a dozen of heads, he had deserved to lose them all. He writes, that Beda was not the only bad man of the faculty ; he had many companions, who seemed to desire an occasion to provoke the king to do that to them which would make them pass for martyrs among the
people. He had often heard of their wicked designs, under the hypocritical disguise of sincerity, but could not have believed the tenth part of it if he had not seen it.”
Next to this we have in Le Grand's Collection *, the letter that Lizet wrote to Montmorency of the same date, tioning that, according to the king's letters to him, he had procured the copy of the act, which the king of England desired: for though the bishop of Bayonne asked it of him, that he might carry it to that king, yet that not being ordered in the king's letters to bim, he therefore thought it his duty to send it directly to the king himself: and as touching the examination that the king had ordered to be made of the conduct of that matter, he desired it may be delayed, till he was heard give an account of it ; for that information would perhaps be a prejudice, rather than a service, to the king of England. In it he desires to know the king's pleasure, that he might follow it as carefully as was possible.”
The bishop of Bayonne gives a further account of this matter : and writes, “ that after the assembly of the Sorbonne was dismissed by the dean, and that the bishop of Senlis, with many abbots, and nine or ten, either generals, provincials, guardians, or priors, of the chief convents of the kingdom, and others of great rank and credit were gone, Beda and his accomplices did by their own private authority meet, and study to overturn that which had been settled in so great an assembly. He writes, that this disease was of a long continuance, and was still increasing. This company, pretending they were a capitular congregation, sent an order to the bishop of Senlis, who was gone into his diocese, and had carried the original act of the determination with him, requiring him, under the pain of disobedience, to send it to them. He wrote in answer to them, that he had orders to deliver it to none but to the king; he was resolved to obey the king's orders, and advised them to do the same: upon which, they moved to deprive him as a rebel to the faculty : he was not frightened with this, but wrote to them, that he was bound to obey the faculty as his mother, but to obey the king as his father : yet they resolved to proceed further after the feasts. In this letter he tells what pains his brother had taken to prevent the scandal that such proceedings would give, which were better hindered than punished : but he complains, that those who had authority to restrain such insolences did secretly encourage them." By which it is clear he means Lizet. The date of this letter is printed the 14th of August ; but it is more probable it was the 14th of
* P. 480.