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assembly, he appeared in the character of a zealous advocate for reformation in the manners of the clergy. About the year 1527, the king applied to him for his opinion on the subject of his marriage with Catharine, his brother's widow. This was the rock on which he foundered. So long as his sentiments were congenial with those of the monarch, he was in the highest esteem ; but now he gave a determination which did not correspond with his passions ; he declared honestly, and without any reserve, “ that there was no reason to question the validity of the marriage, since it was good and lawful from the beginning.” The bishop had made up his mind on the business, and nothing could divert him from an avowal of it on all proper occasions, though he probably foresaw that his own ruin would be the consequence of his unyielding integrity. When the divorce came to be argued before the two legates, Campeggio and Wolsey, bishop Fisher, who was one of the queen's council, exerted himself with much zeal in her behalf, presenting the legates with a book which he had written in defence of the marriage. The bishop did not stop here, he opposed the king in some other of his projects, and resisted a motion for the suppressing of the smaller monasteries, and granting their revenues to the crown. The speech which he delivered on this occasion, was received with great applause by those who adhered to the papal church, and with equal disapprobation by the advocates of the reformation. Some expressions which he used so much offended the House of Commons, who complained to the king of the reflections which the bishop had cast on the representatives of the people, that the king sent for the prelate, and having heard his defence, dismissed him with an admonition, “ to be more temperate in future." In the year 1530, he was twice in imminent danger of his life. His first escape was from poison, which a man of the name of Rouse threw into some gruel preparing for the bishop's dinner; his second was from a bullet, fired into his library, where he usually sat. After this, the bishop retired to Rochester, where he spent most of his time. In 1531, the question was agitated as to giving Henry VIII. the title of supreme head of the church of England; the bishop took the negative side of the question, and opposed the project with all his zeal. He next offended the sovereign by giving credit, or at least listening to the enthusiastic visions of Elizabeth Barton, the pretended holy maid of Kent. This woman, who was only an instrument in the hands of designing persons, carried on her impostures with a view of alienating the affections of the people from the king, and exciting insurrections against his government. The bishop, it was very evident, had no ill design in the part he took ; but finding the prophetess, as she was then denominated, was devoted to the interests of the queen, and having heard
, and co to be in the act was the king it with
much of the sanctity of her manners, of the visions which she saw, and of the predictions which she uttered, and which were said to be realized, he conceived she was designed by Providence to display and make triumphant the doctrines and authority of the church of Rome, over the principles of Lutheranism, which were so rapidly spreading in England. Fisher accordingly listened to her prophecies, and concealed one of them which seemed to affect the king, or, at least, to strike a blow at his authority. She announced to her adherents, that if Henry should proceed in his divorce, and marry another wife, he would not be king seven months afterwards. The woman was apprehended, and, in the hope of pardon, confessed the particulars of her impostures, and named all those who had encouraged her delusions. The bishop was urged to make submission to the king, as the only way of assuaging his anger; he refused, and in 1534, a bill of attainder was passed against Elizabeth Barton and her accomplices. Bishop Fisher still refused to submit, and was adjudged guilty of misprision of treason, and condemned to forfeit all his goods and chattels to the king, and to be imprisoned during his majesty's pleasure. It is not certain that the act was enforced against him ; but when the act was passed to annul the king's mar. riage with Catharine of Arragon, and to confirm that with Anne Boleyn, and enjoining all to take the oaths accordingly, Bishop Fisher, instead of uniting with his brethren, left the capital. Opportunity was, however, given him again and again to consider the oath, till at length he absolutely refused, and was attainted in the parliament which met in 1534, and his bishopric was declared void. The bishop was thrown into the Tower, where he was treated with much severity, and, as it should seem from some of his letters, scarcely allowed the common necessaries of life. He continued above a year in the Tower, and might have remained there till released by a natural death, if an unseasonable honour paid him by pope Paul III., had not hastened his ruin ; which was, the creating of him, in May, 1535, cardinal. When the king heard of it, he gave strict orders that none should bring the hat into his dominions. He sent also lord Cromwell to examine the bishop jabout that affair, who, after some conference, said, “My lord of Rochester, what would you say, if the pope should send you a cardinal's hat; would you accept of it?" The bishop replied, “Sir, I know myself to be so far unworthy any such dignity, that I think of nothing less; but if any such thing should happen, assure yourself that I should improve that favour to the best advantage that I could, in assisting the holy catholic church of Christ; and in that respect I would receive it upon my knees.” When this answer was reported to the king, he said, in a great passion, “Yea, is he yet so lusty?
sept of rope shouky lord
Well, let the pope send him a hat when he will; Mother of God, he shall wear it on his shoulders then ; for I will leave him never a head to set it on.”
From this time his destruction was resolved upon, and the tyrant sent the solicitor-general, Rich, whose name is rendered infamous by undertaking the business, to pump out of him his secret opinions with regard to the supremacy, declaring that he had the king's authority to say, that no ill use whatever should be made of the communication, which he sought merely on account of the high opinion he entertained of his judgment and integrity. The bishop gave an unreserved decision on the subject, which the solicitor carried to his master; and on the instant a special commission was issued for trying him for high treason. Rich was the chief, and indeed, the only evidence that could affect the life of the venerable prisoner, and yet a jury, as infamous as the evidence, found him guilty. The bishop pathetically appealed to the court on the occasion, “I pray you, my lords, consider that by all equity, justice, worldly honesty, and courteous dealing, I cannot be directly charged with treason, though I had spoken the words indeed, the same not being spoken maliciously, but in the way of advice and counsel, when it was requested of me by the king himself; and that favour the very words of the statute do give me, being made only against such as shall maliciously gainsay the king's supremacy, and none other; wherefore, although by the rigour of the law you may take occasion to condemn me, yet I hope you cannot find law, except you add rigour to that law, to cast me down, which hereby I hope I have not deserved." To Rich he addressed himself, “Mr. Rich, I cannot but marvel to hear you come in to bear witness against me of these words, knowing in what secret manner you came to me.” He then assured the court, that he, Rich, had told him, the king wished him to declare, that on the honour of a king, that whatever he should say by this his secret messenger, he should risk no peril or danger therefrom, nor should any advantage be taken against him for the same. Still the court gave sentence, and, notwithstanding the honour of a king was opposed to it, Henry confirmed the bloody decree, and the worthy prelate was beheaded on Tower Hill, on the 22d of June, 1535, at the age of seventysix. Erasmus represents him as a man of the greatest integrity, of deep learning, of incredible sweetness of temper, and grandeur of soul. By friends and by enemies he was regarded as a pious and charitable man, not only learned himself, but a great encourager of learning. He wrote several books, and among the rest a sermon, preached at the funeral of Henry VII.; and one at that of Margaret, countess of Richmond. This last was printed in 1708.
FRANCIS ALBERTINI, an ecclesiastic of Florence, who
- Savone in elita AM BO Being broadban, a chade bilarity, boxe
published, 1. De Mirabilibus Novæ et Veteris Urbis Romæ, lib. III. 4to. 1505. 2. Tractatus brevis de laudibus Florentiæ et Savonæ, 1509. 3. Memoriale di molta Statue e Pictore sono mell' inelita cipta di Florentiæ, &c., 1510.
GEORGE D'AMBOISE, a cardinal, was born of a noble French family, in 1460. Being brought up to the church, he became successively bishop of Montauban, archbishop of Narbonne, and lastly of Rouen. Lewis XII. made him prime minister, and he soon acquired great and just popularity, by taking off the taxes which had usually been levied on the people at the accession of every new monarch. The king, by his advice, undertook the conquest of the Milanese, and succeeded. Soon after this, he was appointed the pope's legate in France, with the dignity of cardinal, and in that capacity effected a considerable reform among the religious orders. He died in 1510, and on his death-bed often sạid to the friar who attended him, “ Brother John, why have not I been my whole life brother John?" D'Amboise was one of the best statesmen. France ever had, he greatly reformed the church, purged the courts of justice, eased the burdens of the people, and endeavoured through his whole life to promote the public happiness. His nephew, G. D'Amboise succeeded him in the bishopric, and in 1546 was created a cardinal. He died in 1550.
PAUL CORTEZI, an Italian prelate, a native of San Geminiano, in Tuscany. He was born in 1465, and very early formed a good style, by studying the most esteemed of the ancient authors, particularly Cicero. At the age of twentythree, he published a dialogue on the learned men of Italy, “ De hominibus doctis.” This elegant production remained in obscurity till 1734, when it was published in 4to. with notes. He also wrote, 1. A Commentary on the four books of the Sentences, 1540, folio ; and 2. A Tract on the dignity of Cardinals. He died bishop of Urbino, in 1510, in his forty-fifth year. His house, furnished with a copious library, was the asylum of the muses, and of all that cultivated their favour.
MAURICE OFIHELY, archbishop of Tuam, in Ireland, made so by pope Julius II. He died at Galway, May 25th, 1513, where he landed, before he could take possession of his archbishopric. He was, at this time, not quite fifty years of age. He was buried in a church at Galway, where his humble monument is yet shown. He was a learned, pious, and amiable prelate, and held in such veneration by some authors, that they have given him the name of “Flos Mundi,” the Flower of the World.
ST. JEROME ÆMILIANI, a Venetian nobleman, who, in his youth, led a military life, and being taken prisoner, made a vow that, on his release, he would devote his life to the care of orphans. In pursuance of this pledge, he laid the founda, VOL. IV.
Italy read lecturime, he posse ork, an
tion of a hospital and religious order, the object of which was to instruct young persons, particularly orphans, in religion. To this and other works, he sacrificed his whole income, and at his death, in 1537, was enrolled by a papal decree among the saints.
JOHN COLET, D.D., dean of St. Paul's, the son of Henry Colet, knight, was born in London, in 1466. His education began in St. Anthony's school in that city, from whence, in 1483, he was sent to Oxford. About 1493, he went to Paris, and thence to Italy. On his return to England, in 1497, he took orders, and read lectures, gratis, at Oxford, on the epistles of St. Paul. At this time, he possessed the rectory of Dennington, and was also prebendary of York, and canon of St. Martin's le Grand. In 1502, he became prebendary of Sarum; prebendary of St. Paul's in 1505; and immediately after dean of that cathedral, having taken the degree of D.D.; he was also chaplain to Henry VIII. He introduced the practice of preaching and expounding the Scriptures; and soon after established a perpetual divinity lecture in St. Paul's church, three days in the week; an institution which paved the way for the Reformation. About 1508, dean Colet formed a plan for the foundation of St. Paul's school, which he completed in 1512, and endowed with estates to the amount of one hundred and twenty-two pounds and upwards. The dean's notions of religion were so much more rational than those of his contemporary priests, that they deemed him little better than a heretic; and on that account he was so frequently molested, that he at last determined to spend the rest of his days in a peaceful retirement. Being seized with the sweating sickness, he died in 1519, aged fifty-three. Though a Papist he was an enemy to the gross superstitions of the church of Rome. He disapproved of auricular confession, the celibacy of the priests, and such other ridiculous tenets and ceremonies as have ever been condemned by men of sound understanding in every age and country. He wrote some grammatical pieces for the use of his school, and a few religious tracts of a practical nature.
JEROME EMSER, one of the opponents of Luther, was born in Suabia, and was secretary and counsellor to George, duke of Saxony. When Luther's translation of the Bible appeared, Emser published, in opposition, what he called “a correct translation” of the New Testament into German, which was merely a transcript of Luther's work, altered in some parts, so as to favour the peculiar tenets of the Roman Catholic Church; yet the duke George was so highly elated at the appearance of Emser's book, and of the mischief that it would do to the reformers, that as soon as it was ready to appear in 1527, he issued a proclamation, in which he used, against Luther and