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coals the pear
were now brought forward and exposed before the populace with the most poignant contempt. An angel with one wing, that brought over the head of the spear that pierced the side of Chrift; coals that had roafted St. Laurence, the parings of St. Edmond's toes, certain relics to pre. vent rain, others to stop the generation of weeds among corn. There was a crucifix at Boxley in Kent, distinguished by the appellation of the Rood of Grace, which had been long in reputation for bending, raising, rolling the eyes, and shaking the head. It was brought to London, and broke to pieces at St. Paul's Cross; and the wheels and fprings by which it was actuated shewn to the people.' At Hales in Gloucesterfhire, the monks had carried on a profitable traffic with the pretended blood of Christ in a cryftal phial. This relic was no other than the blood of a duck killed weekly, and exhibited to the pilgrim; if his prayers were accepted, the blood was shewn him; if supposed to be rejected, the phial was turned ; and being on one fide opake, the blood was no longer to be seen. . But the spoils of St. Thomas a Becket's Irine at Canterbury exceed what even imagination might conceive. : The thrine was broken down ; and the gold that adorned it filled two large chefts, that eight strong men could hardly carry out of the church. The king even cited the faint himself to appear, and to be tried and condemned as a traitor. He ordered this name to be ftruck out of the Calendar, his bones to be burned, and the office for his festival to be struck out of the Breviary. Such were the violent measures with which the king proceeded against these feats of indolence and imposture ; but as great murmurs were excited by some upon this occasion, be took care that all those who
could be useful to him, or even dangerous in cases of opposition, should be sharers in the spoil. He either made a gift of the revenues of the convents to his principal courtiers, or sold them at low prices, or exchanged them for other lands on very disadvantageous terms. He also erected six new bishopricks, Westminster, Oxford, Peterborow, Bristol, Chester, and Gloucester, of which the last five still continue. He also settled salaries on the abbots and priors, proportioned to their former revenues or their merits; and each monk was allowed a yearly pension of eight marks for his subsistence.
But though the king had entirely separated himself from Rome, yet he was unwilling to follow any guide in conducting a new system. He would not therefore wholly abolish those practices, by which priestcraft had been carried to such a pitch of absurdity. The invocation of the saints was not yet abolished by him, but only restrained. He procured an act, or, more properly speaking, gave orders, to have the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue; but it was not permitted to be put into the hands of the laity. It was, a capital crime to believe in the pope's supremacy; and yet equally heinous to be of the reformed religion as established in Germany. His opinions were at length delivered in a law, which, from its horrid consequences, was afterwards termed the Bloody Statute, by which it was ordained, that whoever, by word or writing, denied transubftantiation, whoever maintained that the communion in both kinds was necesary, whoever afferted that it was lawful for priests to marry, whoever alleged that vows of chaftity might be broken, whoever maintained that private masles were unprofitable, or that auricular confession was unneceflary, Mould be found guilty of heresy,and burned or hanged . VOL. II. .
as the court should determine. As the people were at that time chiefly composed of those who followed the opinions of Luther, and such as still adhered to the pope, this ftatute, with Henry's former decrees, in fime measure excluded both, and opened a field for persecution, which foon after produced it dreadful barvest's.
1 hese severities, however, were preceded by one of a different nature, arising neither from religious nor political causes, but merely from tyrannical caprice. Anne Boleyn, his queen, had been always a favourer of the reformation, and consequently had many enemies on that account, who only waited Icmefit occasion to destroy her credit with the king; and that occafion presented itself but too soon. The king's passion was by this time quite palled by satiety; as the only defire he ever had for her arose from that brutal appetite, which enjoyment soon destroys, he was now fallen in love, if we may fo prostitute the expression, with another, and languished for the pofleflion of Jane Seymour, who had for some time been maid of honour to the queen.
As soon as the queen's enemies perceived the king's disgust, they soon resolved on taking the first opportunity of gratifying his inclination to get sid of her, by producing crimes against her, i n which his passions would quickly make
• real. The countess of Rochford in par153o. ticular, who was married to the queen's brother, herself a woman of infamous character, began with the most cruel infinuations against the reputation of her sister-in-law. She pretended that her own husband was engaged in an incestuous correspondence with his fitter; and not contented with this infinuation, represented all the harm. less levities of the queen, as favours of a criminal nature. The king's jealousy first appeared open
ly in a tilţing at Greenwich, where the queen happened to drop her handkerchief, as was sup. posed, to one of her minions to wipe his face, after having over-heated himself in the exercise. Though this might have been very harmless, the king a. bruptly retired from the place, and sent orders to have her confined to her apartment. Anne smiled at first, thinking the king was in jeft; but when she found it was a very ferious affair, the received the facrament in her closet, sensible of what little mercy she had to expect from so furious a tyrant.
In the mean time, her enemies were not remiss in inflaming the accusation against her. The duke of Norfolk, from his attachment to the old religion, took care to produce several witnesses accufing her of incontinency with some of the meaner servants of the court. Four persons were particularly pointed out as her paramours; Henry Norris, groom of the stole, Weston, and Brereton, gentlemen of the king's bedchamber, together with Mark Smeton, a musician. “As these had served her' with much affiduity, their respect night have been construed by sufpicion into more tender attachments. The next day the queen was sent to the Tower, earnestly protesting her innocence, and sending up prayers to heaven for allistance in this extremity. She in vain begged to be admitted into the prefence of the king; the lady Boleyn, her uncle's wife, who had always hated her, was ordered to continue in the same chamber; and the made a report of all the incoherent ravings of the afflicted prisoner. She owned that she had once rallied Norris on his delaying his marriage, and had told him that he probably expected her, when she should be a widow. She had reproved Weston, the faid, for his affection to a kinswoman of M2
hers, hers, and his indifference towards his wife; but he told her that the had mistaken the object of his affection, for it was herself. She affirmed, that Smeton had never been in her chamber but twice, when he played on the harpsichord; but she acknowledged that he once had the boldness to tell her, that a look fufficed him.
Every person at court now abandoned the unhappy queen in her distress, except Cranmer, who, . cho' forbid to come into the king's presence, wrote a letter to him in behalf of the queen; but his interceffion had no effect. On the 12th day of May, Norris, Weston, Brereton, and Smeton, were tried in Westminster-Hall, when Smeton was prevailed upon, by the promise of a pardon, to confess a criminal correspondence with the queen; but he was never confronted by her he accused; and his execution with the rest, shortly after, served to acquic her of the charge. Norris, who had been much in the king's favour, had an offer of his life, if he would confess his crime, and accuse his mistress; but he rejected the proposal with contempt, and died profeffing her innocence, and his own.
In the mean time, the queen, who saw the terrible appearance of her fortunes, endeavoured to foften the king by every endeavour to save the lives of the unfortunate men, whose deaths were decreed. But his was a stern jealousy fostered by pride; and nothing but her removal could appeare him. Her letter to him upon this occasion, written from the Tower, is full of the tendereft expoftulations, and too remarkable to be omitted here; as its manner serves at once to mark the fituation of her mind, and shews to what a pitch of refinement she had carried the language even thin. It is as follows :