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He adds, that the book is still preserved in the Vatican library, and shewn to strangers, particularly the English. There is a distich at the bottom of the last pige, by which the King addresses the work to his Holiness, and his Majesty's name in his own hand-writing.
The next memorable circumstance which occurs relates to Henry's divorce, which, tho'bad enough in ittelf, our uncandid hiftorian endeavours to aggravate by the most unfair misrepresentation. The witnesses, he says, (from what authority we know not) had been gaibled chiefly out of the kinsmen or creatures of the King and Mrs. Anne Bullen. The facts, to which they depofed, were ibe age of Prince Arthur and the Lady Catharine, at their marriage; the consummation of the marriage; and llenry's proteft, in his father's lifetime, against his affiance with the Queen.' Here our author forgets to tell us that this consummation was proved, as Rapin affures us, by as inconteftible evidence as any thing of that kind is capable of. Indeed Prince Arthur's health and vigour of conftitution, r.ot to mention the declarations which he made himself the next morning, afford the strongest teftimony that the marriage had been confummated. But in truth che account of this divorce, which our author treats .very much at large, without affording us any new lights, is al. together foreign from the history of the Cardinal's lite, as he, being then very young, was no way interested in the iransaction, any. farther than discovering a general dilapprobation of the king's intentions: notwithstanding which, Henry did not withdraw his favour from him, but conferred several rich benefices on him, and sent him to the university of Paris, with repeated marks of his bounty. The Cardinal, however, did not make any returns of gratitude: for though Henry, as Rapin arsures us, condescended to send him a manuscript, which contained his Apology, and the Reasons for the Measures he took against the Pope, yet Pole very disrespecifully answered him by a treatise called Ecclefiaflical Unity, couched in the most injurious terms, wherein he compares the King to Nebuchodonozor, and exhorted the Emperor and all other Sovereigns to turn their arms against himn. This charge however our author endeavours to palliate. But from what authority? Why, from the Cardinal's own apology to Edward the Sixth, wherein he cannot expressly deny the charge neither, but attempts to elude it, like an accomplished churchman, by a quibble : for he confesses that he advised the Emperor and the King of France to employ threats, and to break off all intercourse and communication with Henry, if offices of persuasion and friendship were to no effect. Now, as he must have known that Henry was not a Prince to be moved by vain threats, his advising then to use menaces was indirectly
exhorting exhorting them to turn their arms against him. We should not bave wondered, however, if so accomplished a churchman had told a fat fib on such an occasion.
We pass over our Author's absurd reflections on the Lay Supremacy, a headship with which he tells us all antiquity was unacquainted. Fie, Mr. Philips ! leave the Fathers, and turn over the pages of history; where you will find, on the contrary, that, during all antiquity, the head of the state was, in every well regulated kingdom, the head of the church. Were it otherwise, we must admit of an imperium in imperia, which is the most monstrous of all absurdities; and which, while it continued here, was attended with fatal consequences: witness the reigns of Henry II. King John, Richard Il. &c. and witness the many acts of parliament which, even in the days of Popith bigotry, were made to restrain the u/urpation and tyranny of his Holiness, and his ghostly band.
It would lead us grea:ly beyond our limits, were we to animadvert on all our Author's bigotted reflections. He is such an accomplished churchman, that he gives no quarter to any man who dares to show a disposition of thinking and judging for himfelf. Thus the facetious Erasmus falls under his lash, and his admirable ridicule of holy imposture is censured as impiety and . prophane sneer. Poor Mr. Pope likewise comes in for his share : he is lashed for his ambiguous principles, and for presuming to entertain advantageous sentiments of Erasmus. We must not omit however taking notice of the extravagant encomiums he palles on the delicacy of the Cardinal's conscience, who withdrew rather than submit to the Lay Supremacy. It will be well if the Author is able to shew that his hero displayed the same delicacy in Queen Mary's time. It will be a task worthy of his casuistry, to thew how an ecclesiastic of a delicate conscience could step into the fee of the unfortunate Cranmer, on the very day on which he was burned for his faith. An act so gross and precipitate, that many accused him of hastening the death of that prelate, out of avidity to seize his possessions; though others, in truth, maintain that he disapproved of the barbarity of such executions. But if he disapproved of them, why did he not withdraw from such bloody councils ? Why did he continue to act as prime minister,-a post in which he might be presumed to influence the proceedings of state ? Lastly, why did he greedily seize on the spoils of a vi&tim sacrificed against his own judgment? But we will not farther anticipate the subject of the ensuing volume.
It will be to no purpose for us to follow our Author through the account he gives of the several embassies and public employ
ments which were committed to the Cardinal's charge: we have already intimated that they were attended with no successful consequences; and it is happy that they were not, for the end proposed by them all was to establish or increase the Popish dominion, and to pour his vengeance on Henry for shaking off the Papal Supremacy.
It is curious to observe with what inveteracy our Author attacks the memory of Henry for the suppression of the religious houses. They not only, he obferves, promoted a general litetary improvement, as far as it was understood or attainable in their times, but were industrious, at different periods of our national calamities, to restore learning, and rescue their country from the ignorance into which those disasters had caused it to fall.' He then takes occasion to ridicule the quaint conceits, as he calls them, which prevailed under Elizabeth, and which are now, he tells us, the laughter of every Westminster school-boy. We do not wonder that Mr. Philips should disike any thing which prevailed under the reign of good Queen Bess : but let us ask him, whether a sensible Westminster school-boy would not equally laugh at the monkish rhymes, and chuckle at
Mingere cum bumbis
Res eft faluberrima lumbis? Yet Mr. Philips proceeds, damning the ignorance and bad taste of the times at every step. Indeed he does vouchsafe to except Bacon and Raleigh, and to acknowledge that all the madness of the civil wars could not suppress the genius of Milton.
But, he adds, the tranquillity of this Prince (meaning Charles the first) was of short date; and the fanaticism of the commonwealth despised human knowledge, and was as declared a foe to taste and science, as to order and law.' Surely Mr. Philips must imagine the English to be totally unacquainted with the literary history of their own country, or he would never have presumed to speak thus of a period, which produced some of the most excellent treatises that ever were penned on the science of government, the most important of all sciences: a period too which was distinguished in other branches of literature for taste and genius. Does he think we have forgotten the incomparable Harrington, who explained and illustrated the principles of liberty; and his excellent friend Nevil, and others, who laboured in the same vineyard ? or that we have lost all recollection of the great philofopher of Malmsbury, who opened the way to the penetrating Locke? Does he imagine that the facetious Butler is no longer remembered ? nor the immortal Dryden, who was bred, and first shone forth under the commonwealth ? But there is nothing like a round affertion in verbo 3
facerdotis, and accordingly Mr. Philips does not hesitate to con
clude, that it was not till Charles the Second's days that the general sense of the nation awakened to a discernment in the various productions of genius, and returned to the taste and elegance of Sir Thomas More and the cotemporaries of his era." Amazing! that Mr. Philips fhould fix this as the era of talte and elegance, which was mostly diftinguished by productions of low ribaldry, buffoonry, and obscenity! But who does not see that he meafures all excellence by the crooked line of papiftical prejudice ? To what other principle can any rational and candid Reader attribute the following reflections ?
Besides the advantages of literature, which the nation rcceived from the monastic profession, there were others still more diffused, and more universally felt. The reserved rents of these Jandlords were low, and their fines easy. A part of the produce of the farm, without money, often discharged the tenant. boundless hospitality was kept up to all sorts of persons; and public entertainment given to our nobility and gentry, when they travelled. An estimate may be made of their alms from the following instance. While the religious houses subsisted, there were no provisions made by parliament to relieve the poor, no assessinent on the parish for that purpose : but, at present, this charge on the kingdom, amounts, by a low computation, to above 800,000 1. a year. Now if we compare the annual income of 135,522 pounds, 18 shillings, and 10 pence, wbich was the appraisement of the monastic lands, with the Poors tax, we shall see what the nation has gained by the dissolution. Nor does the different valuation of money in those and the present times make any difference in the nature of the burden, as the poffeffors of the abbey-lands would find, if this rent-charge, which is drawn on the whole nation, was levied on them only. To these general benefits we must add those which particular parts of the community found in these institutions. The abbeys which held by knights service furnished a certain number of foldiers, proportioned to their estates, and equipped them for the field, at their own charge. They paid a sum of money to defray the expence of knighthood, when that distinction was conferred on their founder's heir; and contributed to a fortune for the marriage of their Lord's eldest daughter. The founders like.. wise had the privilege of corrody, or of quartering a certain number of poor fervants on the abbeys; and thus the aged and worn out with labour, who were no longer in a condition to support themselves, were not thrown up to starving, or parish collections ; but had a comfortable retreat, where they were maintained during life, without the harufhips or marks of indigence. On these considerations one of our historians has made no difficulty
to assert, that it would be but an act of common justice, to give the generality of protestants a more favourable opinion of monarteries : and the complicated and national guilt which was in. curred by dissolving them, has induced others to look on the calamities which trod on the heels of this iniquity, as so many indications of a provoked and avenging God. Of a hundred families of note and fortune, which were in the county of Norfolk before the diffolution, all that had enriched themselves by these spoils of facrilege, were either extinct, or much impaired, in Sir Henry Spelman's time, among which that great and excellent man acknowledges his own.
gave commencement to this crime was thought ominous; for on the meeting of the long Parliament, from which the church of Eng. Jand dates her misfortunes, several persons entreated archbishop Laud to move the King to have it adjourned for a short time, it being the same day on which the legislature, in Henry the Eighth's reign, began the dissolution of religious houses. The anger of Heaven exercised on the nobility a still feverur vengeance than in permitting their poffeffions to moulder away, and their families to fall; more of that class having been attainted and died by the hand of the executioner within twenty years after the diftolution, than during the preceding five hundred; which was the space between the Conquest and that period; and the Commons, doubtless, in their turn, have drank deep of this cup of deadly wine. “ England fate weeping, says Camden, to see her wealth exhausted, her coin embaled, and her abbeys demolished, which were the monuments of ancient piety.”
Here, it must be confessed, our Author has made a moft spe. cious display of all the arguments which have been over and over repeated on the same occasion. With regard to the hospitality which he extols, admitting it to have been as boundless as he contends, is it not better for the industrious husbandmen, &c. to be able to boil pots of their own, than to assemble, like so many cattle, in the spacious hall of a lordly ecclesiastic, and to be fed on his offals? As to his comparison between the annual income of the monastic lands and the present poor's tax, tho' he boldly affirms, without any proof, that the different valuation of money makes no difference, yet when that and the vast increase of poor, owing to the general increase of the kingdom, is taken into consideration, we shall find the public to be no losers by the diffolution. Besides, will any man who has the least idea of public policy maintain, that it is not more safe and eligible, for the burden of the poor to be borne by the nation at large, than to have any one lazy and luxurious order of men poffefled of such a disproportionate and dangerous revenue, as to take the whole charge upon themselves ? Again, let'us alls