Abbildungen der Seite

July, some days after the determination was made : for this matter has no relation to the business of the former letter, that was written by his brother a day after this, if it is the true date.

It is plain from this, that there were two instruments : the one was the act of the determination, which, at the time of the writing this letter, was in the bishop of Senlis's hands; the other was a minute signed by them all : to which the former letter relates, and that might have had rasures and glosses in it, which are not to be imagined could be in the authentic act; it seems the English ambassadors desired both.

There is another letter on the 15th of August of the bishop of Bayonne's to Montmorency*; in which “he complains, that the faction was going to make a determination contrary to the former; and had made an order that none of the faculty might sign against the marriage, but left it free for any to sign for it. But that the king had ordered that the determination already made should remain entire. The bishop had pressed the president to obey the king's orders : he had promised him to do it; but Beda promised the contrary to his party. Bellay feared the king of England would suspect that the king did not act sincerely. He confessed, that, from the appearances of things, he should do so himself, if he had not seen the concern that the king was in upon this occasion. When he pressed Lizet to obey the king's orders, he spoke two or three hours to him in bad Latin (he calls it the Latin of Auvergne), but he could not understand what he meant. He says the beadle pretended there was one little fault in the act, upon which he might be accused of forgery. Upon this the bishop suspected Beda's practice more than he had done, and he had required the president to obey the king's orders, otherwise he would protest if he did not : and he secretly told him, he did say that, to justify them at their hands, whom he saw he was resolved not to offend. The president then promised him the act that night; but then delayed it till next morning at five : when he sent for it, sometimes the gate was not opened, and the key was lost; sometimes the president was asleep ; and then it was said that he had taken physic, and that the bishop must have patience : but he understood that he had gone out by a back door to the abbey of St. Germain's; thither he followed him, and asked for the act ; but he said he had sent it to the king. He reckons many other impertinencies that gave a mean character of Lizet."

[ocr errors]

But while this matter was transacted thus at Paris *, though the university of Angiers had determined against the marriage, yet the faculty of divinity there did, on the 7th of May, 1530, determine, “that it was lawful for a Christian to marry his brother's widow, he dying without children,

t having consummated the marriage; that such marriage was not contrary to the laws of God and of nature, and therefore the pope might, upon reasonable grounds, dispense in that case.” This was the judgment of the faculty ; but that university did, in a body, on that same day, decree the quite contrary t, without any mention of this opinion of the divines ; so, it seems, that was kept secret.

Thus I have fully opened all that M. Le Grand has thought fit to publish concerning the divines of France. By the relation given of the proceedings in the Sorbonne, it appears, that in the opinion of the bishop of Bayonne, and his brother, that body was then much corrupted; that a few incendiaries influenced many there, so that it was far from deserving the high character that it had in the world. It is highly probable, they apprehended, that the carrying on the divorce might open a door to let in that which they called heresy into England ; which, considering the heat of that time, was enough to bias them in all their deliberations.

rn next homeward, to give a more particular account of the proceedings both in Cambridge and Oxford. I begin with the former, because it was first ended there; and I have a sure ground to go on. A worthy person found among the manuscripts of Bennet College, a manuscript of Dr. Buckmaster (Collect. No. xvi), then the vice-chancellor ; in which ihere is a very particular relation of that affair. It was procured to that house in Queen Elizabeth's reign, by Dr. Jegon, then head of that house, and was by him given to that college: for there is nothing remaining in the registers of the university relating to it, as that learned person has informed me.

The vice-chancellor was tben a fellow of Peterhouse, of which Dr. Edmonds was head, who was then a vicar and prebendary in the diocese and cathedral church of Salisbury. The whole will be found in the Collection (No. xvi). “ It begins with a short introductory speech of the vice-chancellor's, upon which he read the king's letter to them. It set forth, that many of the great clerks in Christendom, both within and without the realms, had affirmed in writing, that the marrying the brother's wife, he dying without children, was forbidden both by the law of God, and by the natural

* P. 507.

+ P. 508.

law : the king therefore, being desirous to have their minds, to whom he had showed a benevolent affection, did not doubt but they would declare the truth, in a case of such importance, both to himself and to the whole kingdom. For this end he sent Gardiner and Fox to inform them particularly of the circumstances of the matter; and he expected their answer, under the seal of the university. The king's letter is dated the 16th of February.

“ After this was read, the vice-chancellor told them, they saw what the king desired of them. They were men of free and ingenuous tempers ; every one of their consciences would dictate to them what was most expedient. After this follows the form of the grace that was proposed and granted, that the vice-chancellor and ten doctors, and the two proctors, with seventeen masters of arts, should have full authority to deterniine the question proposed, and to answer it in the name of the whole university. And whatsoever iwo parts in three of these persons should agree in, that, without any new order, should be returned to the king, as the answer of the university: only the question was to be disputed publicly; and the determination that they should make was to be read in the hearing of the university.

On the 9th of March, at a meeting of the university, the vice-chancellor told them, that the persons deputed by them had with great care and diligence examined the question, and had considered both the passages in the Scriptures, and the opinions of the interpreters; upon which they had a public disputation, which was well known to them all ; so now, after great labours and all possible industry, they came to the determination then to be read to them. Then follows the determination ; in which they add to the question proposed to them these words, after brother's wife, she being carnally known by her former husband : se, a

, after a fortnight's study or practice, this was obtained of them. The vice-chancellor came to Windsor, and on the second Sunday of Lent, after vespers, he delivered it to the king. Of this he gives an account to Dr. Edmonds, in a letter ; in which he tells him, he came to court while Latiner was preaching : the king gave him great thanks for the determination ; and was much pleased with the method in which they had managed it with such quietness. The king praised Latimer's sermon; and he was ordered to wait on the king the next day. Dr. Butts brought twenty nobles from the king to him, and five marks to the junior proctor that came with him ; scarce enough to bear their charges, and far from the price of corruption : and gave him leave to go where he pleased. But aster dinner the king came to a gallery, when Gardiner


[ocr errors]

and Fox, with the vice-chancellor, Latimer, and the proctor, were, and no more, and talked some hours with them. He was not pleased with Gardiner and Fox, because the other question, Whether the pope had power to dispense with such a marriage ? was not likewise determined. But the vicechancellor said, he believed that could not have been obtained. But the king said, he would have that determined after Easter. It appears by his letter, that there was a great outcry raised against Cambridge for that which they had done. The vice-chancellor was particularly censured for it; and he had lost a benefice that the patron had promis

omised him, but had upon this changed his mind. Those who did not like Latimer were not pleased with his preaching.

He heard those of Oxford had appointed a select number to determine the king's question: and that Fox, when he was there, was in great danger. But a more particular account of the proceedings in that university I take from three of King Henry's letters to them, communicated to me by my learned friend Dr. Kennet ; which, since they have not yet been printed, will be found in the Collection (No. xvii).

In the first letter that the king wrote to the university, he sets forth, “that, upon certain considerations moving bis conscience, he had already consulted many le

men, both within the kingdom and without it; but he desired to feel the minds of those among them, who were learned in divinity, to see how they agreed with others : therefore he hoped they would sincerely and truly declare their consciences in that matter, and not give credit to misreports, He requires them, as their sovereign lord, to declare their true and just learning in that cause: therefore, in a great variety of expressions, mixing threatenings with promises, if they should not uprightly, according to divine learning, handle themselves, he leaves the declaring the particulars to the bishop of Lincoln, his confessor, to whom they were to give entire credit.

“By the second letter, the king tells them, he understood that a great part of the youth of the university did in a fac. tious manner combine together, in opposition to the wise and learned men of that body, to have a great number of regents and non-regents to be joined in a committee of the doctors, proctors, and bachelors of divinity, for the determination of the king's question : this he believed had not been often seen, that such a number of men of small learning should be joined with so famous a sort, to stay their seniors in so weighty a cause. The king took that in very ill part, since they showed themselves more unkind and wilful than all other universities had done : he hoped they would bring

those young men into better order, otherwise they should feel what it was to provoke him so heinously.

“By his third letter, he complains that they delayed to send him their determination. He tells them, the university of Cambridge had in a much shorter time agreed upon the manner of sending their answer under their common seal. He would have more easily borne with a delay in making the answer, if they had so far obeyed him as to put the matter in a method. He therefore, being unwilling to proceed to extremities, had sent his counsellor, Fox, to them ; loping that the heads and rulers would consider their duty in granting his request; which was only, that they would search the truth, in a cause that so nearly concerned both himself and his people. And therefore he desired that the numbers of private suffrages might not prevail against their heads, their rulers, and sage fathers; but that they would so try the opinions of the multitude, as the importance of the matter did require. Hoping that their constitution was such, that there were ways left to eschew such inconveniences, when they should happen: as he trusted they would not fail to do, and so to redeem the errors and delays that were past.” In conclusion, the matter was brought into the method set forth in my history.

Here is no threatening them, by reason of any determination they might give; but, on the contrary, all the vehemence in those letters is only with relation to the method of proceeding: and it was certainly a very irregular one, to join a great number of persons, who had not studied divinity, with men of the profession, who could only by a majority carry the point against reason and argument.

Here I shall insert some marginal notes that Dr. Creech wrote in his own book of my history, which is now in my hands. He says, that in the determination of Oxford, they added the words of the brother's wife (ub eadem carnaliter cognitam), that the first marriage was consummated ; though this was not in the question sent to the university, by their chancellor, Archbishop Warham. He says further, that they mention the king's letter, in which it is written, that an answer was already made by the universities of Paris and Cambridge. This of Paris, though not in the king's letter, might have been written to them by their chancellor; for it has appeared, from the letters published by Le Grand, that though the decision of the Sorbonne was not made till July, yet several months before the doctors of Paris had given their opinions for the divorce. He also writes, that a letter came from their chancellor, Warham, to remove all the masters of arts out of the convocation, as unfit to de

« ZurückWeiter »