Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

VIII.

to

Henry * You of this worshipful house, I am sure, be not so ignorant, but you know

well that the king, our sovereign lord, hath married his brother's wife: for she A. D.

was both wedded and bedded with his brother prince Arthur ; and therefore 1530 you may surely say that he hath married his brother's wife, if this marriage be

good, as so many clerks do doubt. Wherefore the king, like a virtuous prince, 1533.

willing to be satisfied in his conscience, and also for the surety of his realm, hath with

great deliberation consulted with great clerks, and hath sent my lord of London, here present, to the chief universities of all christendom, to know their opinion and judgment in that behalf; and although the universities of Cambridge and Oxford had been sufficient to discuss the cause, yet because they be in his realm, and to avoid all suspicion of partiality, he hath sent into the realm of France, Italy, the pope's dominions, and Venetians, to know their judgment in that behalf, which have concluded, written and sealed their determinations, according as you shall hear read.'

Then sir Bryan Tuke took out of a box twelve writings, sealed with the determinations of these universities; that is, The determination of the university of Orleans; of the faculties of decrees of Paris ; of the civilians and canonists of Anjou ; of the faculty of divines of Paris ; of the university of Bourges; of the university of Bologna ; of the faculty of divines of Padua; of the university of Toulouse : besides other universities as well of Germany, as of Oxford and Cambridge. What the tenor and effect of these determinations was, because they are already sufficiently expressed in the chronicles, and we have many things else in this book to be comprehended, it shall be sufficient in this behalf to send the reader to the chronicle of Hall, where they are fully to be seen, whoso list to read them.*

When the legates heard the opinions of the divines, and saw whereunto the end of this question would tend, forasmuch as men began so to dispute of the authority of the court of Rome,' and especially because the cardinal of York perceived the king to cast favour to the lady Anne, whom he knew to be a Lutheran, they

thought best to wind themselves out of that brake betimes ; and so Cardprale cardinal Campeius, dissembling the matter, conveyed himself home slippeth to Rome again, as is partly above touched. The king, seeing him

self thus to be deferred and deluded by the cardinals, took it to no little grief; whereupon the fall of the cardinal of York followed not

long after. The king

This was A. D. 1530. Shortly after it happened, the same year,

that the king by his embassadors was advertised, that the emperor emperor and

the pope were both together at Bologna. Wherefore he directed sir Thomas Bullen, lately created earl of Wiltshire, and Dr. Stokesley, afterwards bishop of London, and Dr. Lee, afterwards bishop of York, with his message to the pope's court, where also the emperor was. Pope Clement, understanding the king's case and request, and fearing what might follow after, if learning and Scripture here should take place against the authority of their dispensations; and moreover doubting the emperor's displeasure, bare himself strange off from the matter, answering the embassadors with this delay, that he presently would not define in the case, but would hear the full matter disputed when he came to Rome, and according to right he would do justice.

from the king.

sendeth to the

pope.

Thic pore's answer.

(1) The searching of the king's marriage brought more ibings to light.

VIII.

to 1533.

Although the king owed no such service to the pope, to stand to Henry his arbitrement either in this case, or in any other, having both the Scripture to lead him, and his law in his own hands to warrant him, A. D. yet, for quietness' sake, and for that he would not rashly break order 1530 (which rather was a disorder indeed), he bare so long as conveniently he might. At length, after long delays and much dissembling, when he saw no hope of redress, he began somewhat to quicken and to look about him, what was best both for his own conscience, and the establishment of his realm to do.

No man here doubteth, but that all this was wrought not by man's God's device, but by the secret purpose of the Lord himself

, to bring to dence pass further things, as afterwards followed, which his divine provi- markens dence was disposed to work. For else, as touching the king's intent lously in and purpose, he never meant nor minded any such thing as to seek ter. the ruin of the pope, but rather sought all means contrary, how both to establish the see of Rome, and also to obtain the good will of the same see and court of Roine, if it might have been gotten. And therefore, intending to sue his divorce froin Rome, at the first beginning, his device was, by Stephen Gardiner his embassador at Rome, to exalt the cardinal of York, as is before showed, to be made pope and universal bishop, to the end that he, ruling that apostolic see, the matter of his unlawful marriage, which so troubled his conscience, might come to a quiet conclusion, without any further rumour of the world: which purpose of his, if it had taken effect as he had devised it, and the English cardinal had once been made pope, no doubt but the authority of that see had never been exterminated out of England. But God, being more merciful unto us, Man purtook a better way

for both without and contrary to the but God king's expectation, he so brought to pass, that neither the cardinal dispus of York was pope (which should have been an infinite cost to the king), and yet nevertheless the king sped of his purpose too, and that much better than he looked for. For he was rid, by lawful divorcement, not only from that unlawful marriage which clogged his conscience, but also from the miserable yoke of the pope's usurped dominion, which clogged the whole realm ; and all at one time.

Thus God's holy providence ruling the matter, as I said, when the king could get no favourable grant of the pope touching his cause, being so good and honest, he was forced to take the redress of his right into his own hands, and seeing this Gordian knot? would not be loosed at Rome, he was driven against his will, as God would, to play the noble Alexander himself, and with the sword of his princely authority knapped the knot at one stroke clean asunder, loosing, as it were, with one solution infinite questions. For where the doctors and canonists had long disputed, and yet could never thoroughly discuss the largeness and fulness of the pope's two swords, both temporal and spiritual, the king, with one sword, did so cut off both his swords that he dispatched them both clean out of England, as ye shall see more anon. But first the king, like a prudent prince, before he

than so;

(1) Gordium was a city in Asia, where there was a knot so fast tied, and folded so many ways, that (as the saying was) whosoever could loose it, should have all Asia. So Alexander coming to it, when he could not loose it with his hands, he cut it asunder with his sword.

VII.

to

Henry would come to the head of the sore, thought best to pare away such

rank flesh and putrefied places as were about it; and therefore, followA.D. ing his own proverb," like as one going about to cast down an old 1532

rotten wall will not begin with the foundation first, but with the stones 1533. that lie at the top, so he, to prepare his way better unto the pope,

first began with the cardinal, casting him by the law of ‘Præmunire, out of his goods and possessions: and so at length, by poisoning himself, he procured his own death ; which was a.d. 1530.

This done, shortly after, about the year 1532, the king, to provide betimes against mischiefs that might come from Rome, gave forth eftsoons this proclamation, touching the abolishing of the pope, and the establishing of the king's supremacy: the tenor whereof here followeth.

A Proclamation of the King, that nothing should be purchased from

Rome.

The king's highness straitly chargeth and commandeth, that no manner of person, what estate, degree, or condition soever he or they be of, do purchase, or attempt to purchase, from the court of Rome, or elsewhere, or use and put in execution, divulge or publish any thing heretofore, within this year past purchased, or to be purchased hereafter, containing matter prejudicial to the

high authority, jurisdiction, and prerogative royal of this his said realm, or to Pope's au- the let, hinderance, or impeachment of his grace's noble and virtuous intended excluded purposes in the premises, upon pain of incurring his highness's indignation,

and imprisonment and further punishment of their bodies for their so doing, at England. his grace's pleasure, to the dreadful example of all others.

The

from

The whole clergy of

nire.

*Ito chanced about the same time, or a little before, that the king, taking more heart unto him, partly encouraged by the treatise afore mentioned, called “The Supplication of Beggars,” which he had diligently read and perused, and partly provoked by the pride and stoutness of the clergy, brake off with the cardinal, causing him to be attainted in the Præmunire, and afterwards also, to be apprehended. *

After this was done, the king then, proceeding further, caused the

rest of the spiritual lords to be called by process into the king's bench En bland to make their appearance, forasmuch as the whole clergy of England, præmu- in supporting and maintaining the power legantine of the cardinal,

by the reason thereof were all entangled likewise in the Præmunire, and therefore were called into the king's bench to answer. But before the day of their appearance, the prelates together in their convocation concluded among themselves an humble submission in writing,

and offered the king for a subsidy or contribution, that he would be vive mo- their good lord, and release them of the præmunire by act of par

liament, first to be gathered in the province of Canterbury a hundred og releas- thousand pounds ; and in the province of York, eighteen thousand

eight hundred and forty pounds and ten pence :: which offer with much labour was accepted, and their pardon promised. In this submission the clergy called the king supreme head of the church of England, which thing they never confessed before ; whereupon many things followed, as after (God willing) ye shall hear.

The clergy

ney to the king to

(1) The king's proverb. Look before, Vol. iv. p. 658.
12) See edition 1563, p. 47:9,-ED.

(3) Ex Ed. llall,

VIII.

1533.

But first, forasmuch as we are in hand now with the matter, we will Henry borrow by the way a few words of the reader, to speak of this clergy

A.D. money, of one hundred and eighteen thousand eight hundred and forty pounds and ten pence, to be levied to the king, as is above touched. For the levying of this sum an order was taken among the prelates, that every bishop in his diocese should call before him all the priests, parsons, and vicars, among whom Dr. Stokesley, bishop of London, a man then counted to be of some wit and learning, but of little discretion and humanity (which caused him to be out of the favour of the common people), called before him all the priests within the city of London, whether they were curates or stipendaries, the first day of September, being Friday, in the chapter-house of St. Paul; at which day the priests appeared, and the bishop's policy was the bito have only six or eight priests together, and by persuasions to have shop's pocaused them to grant some portion towards the payment of the afore- paying said hundred thousand pound. But the number of the priests was money. so great (for they were six hundred at least, and with them came many temporal men to hear the matter), that the bishop was disappointed of his purpose; for when the bishop's officers called in certain priests by name into the chapter-house, with that a great number entered, for they put aside the bishop's officers that kept the door.

After this the officers got the door shut again. Then the priests without said, “We will not be kept without, and our fellows be within : we know not what the bishop will do with them.” The temporal men, being present, comforted and encouraged the priests to enter, so that by force they opened the door, and one struck the bishop's officer over the face, and entered the chapter-house, and many temporal men with them; and long it was ere any silence could be made. At last, when they were appeased, the bishop stood up and said,

• Brethren! I marvel not a little why you be so heady, and know not what The bishall be said to you; therefore I pray you to keep silence, and to hear me shop's patiently. My friends all, you know well that we be men frail of condition, sion to and no angels; and by frailty and lack of wisdom we have misdemeaned our- the selves towards the king our sovereign lord and his laws, so that all we of the priests clergy were in the Præmunire; by reason whereof, all our promotions, lands, forfeit. goods, and chattels, were to him forfeit

, and our bodies ready to be imprisoned: yet his grace, moved with pity and compassion, demanded of us what we could say, why he should not extend his laws upon us. Then the fathers of the clergy humbly besought his grace of mercy: to whom he answered, that he was ever inclined to mercy. Then, for all our great offences we had little penance; for where he might, by the rigour of his law, have taken all our livelihood, goods, and chattels, he was contented with one hundred thousand pounds, to be paid in five years. And although this sum be more than we may easily bear, yet by the rigour of his laws we should have borne the whole burden. Wherefore, my brethren! I charitably exhort you to bear your parts of your livelihood and salary, toward the payment of this sum granted.

Then it was shortly said to the bishop, • My Lord! twenty nobles a year is but bare living for a priest; for now The victuals and every thing are so dear, that poverty in a manner enforceth us to priests say nay. Besides that, my lord, we never offended in the Præmunire : for we the best never meddled with the cardinal's faculties : let the bishops and abbots who shop. have offended pay.'

Henry
VIII.

1532 to

priests and others committed to prison.

Then the bishop's officers gave to the priests high words, which

caused them to be the more obstinate. Also divers temporal men A. D.

who were present comforted the priests, and bade them agree to no

payment. In this rumour divers of the bishop's servants were buf1533. feted and stricken, so that the bishop began to be afraid, and with

fair words appeased the noise ; and for all things which were done or said there he pardoned them, and gave to them his blessing, and prayed them to depart in charity. Then they departed, thinking to hear no more of the matter, but they were deceived; for the bishop went to sir Thomas More, then being lord chancellor (who greatly

favoured the bishop and the clergy) and to him made a grievous Certain complaint, and declared the fact very grievously. Whereupon com

mandment was sent to sir Thomas Pargitor, mayor of the city, to attach certain priests and temporal men: and so fifteen priests, and five temporal men were arrested ; of whom some were sent to the tower, some to the Fleet and other prisons, where they remained long after.

This being done A.D. 1532, it followeth moreover the same year,

that divers preachings were in the realm, one contrary to another, the king's concerning the king's marriage; and in especial one Thomas Abel,

clerk, who was the queen's chaplain, to please her withal, both preached, and also wrote a book, in defence of the said marriage ; whereby divers simple men were persuaded. Wherefore the king caused to be compiled and reduced into a book the determination of the universities, with the judgments of great clerks; which book, being printed and set abroad, did again satisfy all indifferent and reasonable persons, who were not too much wedded to their wills.

Mention was made a little before, of a parliament begun the 15th day of January, A.D. 1533, in which parliament the cominons had put up a supplication, complaining of the strait dealing of the clergy in their proceeding “ex officio.” This complaint, although at first it seemed not to be greatly tendered of the king, yet in prorogation of the parliament the time so wrought withal, that the king, having more clear understanding of the abuses and enormities of the clergy, and, in especial, of the corrupt authority of the see of Rome, provided certain acts against the same.

Preaching against

first marriage.

Certain Acts provided concerning the Pope's Laws. First, as concerning the laws, decrees, ordinances and constitutions made and established by the pretensed authority of the bishops of Rome, to the advancement of their worldly glory, that whoso did or spake any thing either against their usurped power, or against the said laws, decrees, or constitutions of theirs, not approved nor grounded upon holy Scripture, or else being repugnant to the king's prerogative royal, should therefore stand in no danger, nor be impeachable of heresy. And likewise touching such constitutions, ordinances, and canons provincial or synodal, which were made in this realm in the convocation of bishops, being either prejudicial to the king's prerogative, or not ratified before by the king's assent, or being otherwise onerous to the king and his subjects, or in any wise repugnant to the laws and statutes of this realm, they were committed to the examination and judgment of thirty-two persons chosen by the king out of the higher and lower house, to be determined either to stand in strength, or to be abrogated at their discretions: and further, that all the clergy of this realm, submitting themselves to the king, should and did promise 'in

(1) Thus was the wicked act Ex Omicio broken by the king. Stat. Ann. 25 reg. Hen. VIII.

« VorigeDoorgaan »