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silent upon that occasion, being so solemnly required to do otherwise by Tonstall, and how he himself came to change, and to take the oath, is that of which I can give no account. It is certain King Henry had a very particular regard for him ; but yet by this letter it appears, that he had some fears of a severity aimed at himself: but he was afterwards in all things very compliant, even to the end of King Edward's reign*.
There came up, from all parts of the kingdom, many complaints of the ill behaviour and bad practices of the monks and friars : of the last chiefly, for the mendicant order being always abroad begging, they had many more occasions to show themselves : and though the monks had not those occasions to be in all public places, yet it was very visible that they were secretly disposing the people to a revolt. So it was resolved to proceed against them all by degrees : and after the visitations and injunctions, which had no great effect, they began with the smaller houses, that were not above 2001. a year: this swept away at once all the mendicants, who were the most industrious, and by consequence the most dangerous.
The archbishop of York was much suspected ; and if many apologies look like intimations of some guilt, he had a great deal; for he took many occasions to justify himself. Upon the act for taking all the lesser monasteries into the king's hands, he expressed great zeal in serving the king, which appears in a letter of his to Cromwell in April 1536 (Collect. No. xli). He gave a strict commandment to his archdeacons to warn all in the monasteries within the act, not to embezzle or convey away any thing belonging to the house: and if they had done any such thing, to restore it. He ordered them to give warning to all others not to meddle with any such goods. He had also warned the mayor of York and his brethren, and the master of the mint there, to receive none of the goods or plate of these monasteries : having thus expressed his care in that matter, he made an earnest suit for two places that were of the patronage of his see. The one was St. Oswald's, which was a free chapel ; the prior was removeable at the archbishop's pleasure, and he might put secular priests in it if he pleased. The other was Hexham, upon the borders of Scotland, which was once an episcopal see; and there not being a house between Scotland and that lordship, if that house. should go down, there would be a great waste that would run far into the country: whether he obtained these suits or not does not appear to
* Cott. Libr. Cleop. E. 4.
me : after that he adds, that he had given order, that no preachers should be suffered that preached novelties, and did sow seeds of dissension: some, after that they were forbid to preach, did go on, and preach still: he had ordered process against them; some of them said they would get the king's licence : if that were done, he must be silent; but he hoped Cromwell would hinder that, and give him notice if they had obtained the king's licence. some said they had the archbishop of Canterbury's licence; but none of these should be obeyed there, none but the king's licences and his.
Upon the many complaints of preachers of all sorts, King Henry wrote a circular letter * to all the bishops on the 12th of July, letting them know, that, considering the diversity of opinion in matters of religion, he had appointed the convocation to set forth certain articles of religion, most catholic; but to prevent all distraction in the minds of his people, he ordered, that, till that was published, no sermons should be preached till Michaelmas; unless by the bishop, or in his presence, or in his cathedral, where he is to take care to furnish such as he can answer for: every bishop is therefore required to call in all his licences for preaching, and to publish this in the king's name. He is also required to imprison all those who acted against this order: and not to suffer any private conventicles or disputations about these matters : to this is added a direction for the bidding of prayers; that they should pray for departed souls, that God would grant them the fruition of his presence: and a strict charge is laid on curates, that when the articles of religion shall be sent them, they should read them to their people, without adding or diminishing ; excepting only such to whom he shall under his seal give power to explain them.
The blind bishop of Norwich, Nix, was condemned in a premunire, and put out of the king's protection, for breaking through a custom that the town of Thetford had enjoyed past all memory, that no inhabitant of that town could be brought into any ecclesiastical court, but before the dean of that iown; yet that old and vicious bishop cited the mayor before him, and charged him, under the pain of excommunication, not to admit of that custom. Upon this judgment was given in the temporal courts against the bishop; but he was now received into the king's protection. In the pardon mention is made of his being convicted upon the statute of provisors. Stokesley, bishop of London, was charged with the breach of the same statute, for which he took out a pardon.
Rey. Heref. Fox, fol. 6.
During these years Cromwell carried no higher character than that of secretary of state*; but all applications were made to him in ecclesiastical matters : so, whether this was only by reason of his credit with the king, or if he was then made vicar-general, does not appear to me. the king took care to keep all things quiet at home, so he set himself to cultivate a particular friendship with the princes of the empire of the Augsburg confession ; hoping by their means to be able to give the emperor a powerful diversion, if he should go about to execute the pope's censures. The king of France had been for some time endeavouring to beget a confidence of himself in the minds of those princes; pretending that he was neither for the Divine nor the unbounded authority that the popes had assumed ; but only he thought it was reasonable to allow them a primacy in the church, and to set limits to that. Langey was the person most employed in the managing of this matter. But when the king came to understand, that the king of France had sent for Melancthon, being then at Langley, he ordered the duke of Norfolk and the Lord Rochford to write to Cromwell, commanding him to dispatch Barnes immediately to Germany, and to use such diligence, that, if it were possible, he might meet Melancthon before he was gone into France, and to dissuade his going thither, since the French king was then persecuting those who did not submit to the pope's usurped authority: he was to use all possible arguments to divert him from going, and to persuade him all he could to come over to England; showing him the conformity of the king's opinions with his own, and setting forth the king's noble and generous temper: but if he was gone into France, Barnes was to go on to the princes of Germany, and Cromwell was to send a messenger with him, to be sent back with an account of the state of matters among them. He was to engage the princes to continue firm in the denial of the pope's authority, in which their honour was deeply concerned ; and they might depend upon the king in that matter, who had proceeded in it with the advice of the most part of the great and famous clerks in Christendom, from which he would never vary, nor alter his proceedings. Barnes was to carry over a bock written on that subject, and some sermons of the bishop's, and to put the princes on their guard as to the French king; for he assured them that both he and his council were altogether papists.
Barnes was likewise directed to send Hains (afterwards dean of Exeter) and Christopher Mount (an honest German,
Vol. JII, Part 1.
who was long employed by the crown of England) to Sir John Wallop, the king's ambassador in France, on pretence that they went as his friends to visit him. If Melancthon was in France, they were to go secretly to him, to dissuade his stay long there; or his altering his opinion in any particular. Some copies of the book, and the sermons, were to be carried by them to France. If it were true that the king of France was so set to maintain the pope's supremacy, Wallop was to represent to him how contrary that was to his honour, to subject himself to the pope, and to persuade others to do the same; and to charge him that he would remember his promise to maintain the king's cause and proceedings; and since the king did not move the subjects of any other prince, why should the French king study to draw the Germans from their opinion in that matter, which the king thought himself much concerned in, since it was so much against the king's interest and his own promise. Wallop was to use all means to incline him rather to be of the king's opinion. They also ordered Cromwell to write to the bishop of Aberdeen, that the king took it very unkindly, that his nephew the king of Scotland was suing to marry the duke of Vendome's daughter without his advice ; he had proposed it to him before, and then he would not hearken to it. This negligence the king imputed to that bishop, and to the rest of the Scottish council. the letter concludes, “that Barnes should not be stayed for further instructions from the bishop of Canterbury. These should be sent afterwards by the almoner, Fox." This letter will be found in the Collection (No. xlii).
This came soon enough to stop Melancthon's journey to France. The great master and the admiral of France did not think of any thing with relation to Germany, but of a civil league to embroil the emperor's affairs. They were against meddling in points of religion ; and so were against Melancthon's coming to France. They were afraid that the French divines and he would not agree ; and that might alienate the German princes yet more from the court of France *. Hains and Mount wrote this over from Rheims, on the 8th of August, 1535. It is true, Langey was sent to bring him, hoping to meet him at Wirtemberg, but he was not come thither; only the heads of their doctrine were sent to him. With these he came back to France. The king's divines made some emendations, which Langey said to Mount he believed the Germans would submit to; and so he was sent back with a gold chain, and letters to
* Paper office.
bring Melancthon and six other eminent German divines with him. Of this, Mount gave the advice the 7th of September in that year.
This whole matter came to nothing: for Francis's sister, the queen of Navarre, was the person who pressed him chiefly to it; hoping by this once to engage him in some point of doctrine, which, as she hoped, might draw on a rupture with Rome; but his minister diverted him from all thoughts of engaging doctrinal matters; and they put him on entering into a league with the princes of the empire, only with relation to their temporal concerns. lor were the German princes willing to depart in a tittle from the Augsburg confession, or enter upon new treaties about points that were settled already among them ; which might give occasion to new divisions among themselves.
And no doubt the king's interposing in the matter with such earnestness had great weight with them; so he was delivered from the alarm that this gave him. But to go on with the king's affairs in Germany.
Fox with Heath (on whom Melancthon set a high value) was sent soon after Barnes to negotiate with the Germans He had many conferences with some of their divines, and entered into a large treaty about several articles of religion with those of Wirtemberg, which lasted three months, to the elector's great charge, and the uneasiness of the Germans.
Melancthon had dedicated his Commentary on the Epistles to the king; who sent him (upon it) a present of two hundred crowns, and wrote a letter to him full of particular expressions of esteem, and assurances that he would always assist him in those bis pious labours; dater from Winchester, the first of October, 1535. Fox seemed to assure them, that the king would agree with them in all things; and told them, that the king had already abolished the popish superstitions, which he called the Babylonista tyranny; calling the pope Antichrist. They of Wirtemberg insisted on the abuses of the mass, and on the marriage of the clergy; and took notice that the king had only taken away some smaller abuses, while the greatest were still kept up.
So that Melancthon wrote on the margin of their paper, at this part of it, in Greek, Noihing sound. All this was sent over to the king; but did not at all please him. For, in an answer written by Cromwell, these words are part of it,
The king knowing himself to be the learnedest prince in Europe, he thought it became not him to submit to them ;
* Seck. l. iii, $ 13, par. 39.