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Councillors all readily signed except Cranmer, who at last had the weakness to yield (as he confessed) against his own conviction.* Goodrich then affixed the Great Seal to the patent, [JUNE 21.] and Northumberland, having got possession of it, confidently expected forthwith to reign under the name of his daughter-in-law.f
Edward's strength henceforth declined so rapidly as to create a strong suspicion that poison assisted in hastening his end,-probably without foundation, for his feeble constitution had been undermined by consumption, which it had been for some time foreseen must, ere long, disappoint the hopes which the nation had entertained of the coming felicity of his reign. He ex[A. D. 1553.] pired on the 6th of July, but his death was kept secret for three days, while preparations were made for the accession of Queen Jane, and steps were taken to get the ladies Mary and Elizabeth into the power of Northumberland the usurper.
Goodrich was allowed to retain the Great Seal as Chancellor, without any fresh appointment, and he heartily concurred with Northumberland in all the steps which were taken to carry into effect the new settlement of the Crown. The Lord Mayor, six Aldermen, and twelve principal citizens of London were privately summoned before the Council, and he read to them the patent for changing the succession, explained its provisions, and enforced its validity. He then required them to take an oath of allegiance to the new Sovereign, and dismissed them with an injunction not to betray the secret, and to watch over the tranquillity of the city.
On the fourth morning the Chancellor rode with the other Lords of the Council to Sion House, to do homage to Queen Jane, who was herself still entirely ignorant of her cousin's death, and of her approaching elevation. The Duke of Northumberland having announced to her the astounding intelligence, the Chancellor and other Councillors all fell on their knees,—declared that they took her for their Sovereign, and swore that they were ready to shed their blood in support of her right. When she had recovered from the swoon into which she fell, they intimated to her that she must, according to the custom of English Sovereigns on their accession, repair to the Tower of London, there to remain till her coronation; and they accompanied her down the Thames in a grand state barge which had been prepared for her, all the great
* The Archbishop's signature appears the first, and then the Chancellors; that of Cecil (afterwards the celebrated Burleigh) was the last, and it was so placed as to give him the pretext to which he resorted, that he signed only as a witness.Burnet, vol. vi. pp. 275, 276.
+ Upon his trial for high treason in Mary's reign, although he could not contend that Jane had been so far sovereign de facto as to entitle him to the benefit of the statute of Hen. VII., he tried to defend himself by this commission under the Great Seal, which he contended amounted to a pardon; but the Court held that it had no force, being contrary to an act of parliament, and that it could not pardon future treason to be committed after the King's death.-See Burn. xi. 243.
officers of the Court and the principal part of the nobility joining in the procession. In the evening a proclamation was published, superscribed by Jane as Queen, and countersigned by the Chancellor, setting forth her title; and she was proclaimed by the heralds without any opposition, but without any acclamations from the people.
A messenger arriving next day from Mary, as Queen, commanding the Council, on their allegiance, to give immediate orders for her proclamation, the Chancellor and twenty-one Councillors, Cranmer being of the number, sent an answer, directed to the "Lady Mary," requiring her to abandon her false claim, and to submit, as a dutiful subject, to her lawful and undoubted Sovereign. They likewise sent a mandate to the Lord Lieutenant of the county of Essex, where Mary was now mustering forces, which, after cautioning him against assisting the rebels, thus concluded: "Requiring your Lordship nevertheless, like a nobleman, to remain in that promise and steadiness to our Sovereign Lady Queen Jane's service as ye shall find us ready and firm with all our force to the same, which neither with honour, nor with safety, nor yet with duty, we may now forsake."*
But intelligence was in a few days received at the Tower that the Duke of Northumberland, who had marched with an army to suppress the insurrection, was deserted by his troops; and that the nobility, the gentry, and the commons, satisfied with a declaration of Mary, that she did not mean to change the national religion, were flocking from all quarters to her standard, and joyfully acknowledging her as Queen.
The Chancellor and other Councillors, in great alarm, now left the Tower under the pretence of receiving the French Ambassador at Baynard's Castle, but, in reality, with the intention of sending in, as speedily as possible, their adhesion to Queen Mary, in the hope of pardon. Having summoned the Lord Mayor and a deputation of Aldermen, the discussion was commenced by the Earl of Arundel, who declaimed against the ambition of Northumberland, and asserted the right, by birth and statute, of the two. daughters of Henry VIII. The Earl of Pembroke then drew his sword, exclaiming, "if the arguments of my Lord of Arundel do not persuade you, this sword shall make Mary queen, or I will die in her quarrel." He was answered with shouts of approba, tion.
Goodrich thereupon declining to act any longer as Chancellor, delivered up the Great Seal to the Lords Arundel and Paget, that
*The date is "Tower, July 19." The signatures are,
"Lord W. Paget.
"T. Ely, Chancellor,
"The Earls of Suffolk.
they might carry it to Queen Mary to be disposed of as her Grace should deem proper.* They immediately framed a recognition of Mary as their lawful Sovereign, which was signed by all present, including the Duke of Suffolk, who had joined them, and the whole body rode through the streets in procession, proclaiming Queen Mary at Paul's Cross, and all the principal stations of the city.
The Earl of Arundel and Lord Paget immediately afterwards set off for Framlingham, where Mary then was, and [ JULY 20. ] riding post all night, next morning delivered into her hands the Great Seal, the clavis regni, and she was so pleased with the gift and the accompanying news that she immediately granted them forgiveness. At the same hour Jane, leaving the Tower, returned to Sion House after a nine-days' dream of empire.
By some historians she is reckoned among the Sovereigns of England. Goodrich most undoubtedly acted as her Lord Chancellor, although there was not time to make a new Great Seal with her style and insignia upon it.
He was beset with great terrors from the part he had ostensibly taken in concocting the patent to change the succession; but, partly from his sacred character and partly from his real insignificance, he was not molested, and he was permitted to retire to his diocese. His zeal for the Reformation now so far cooled that he offered no opposition to the restoration of the old religion effected by Mary, and he retained his bishopric till his death, which occurred on the 10th of May, 1554. In the lottery of [ A. D. 1554.] life some high prizes are appropriated to mediocrity,
and he was the holder of a fortunate ticket.
We ought here to take a retrospect of changes in the law, and of the administration of justice during the short reign of Edward VI. In the history of our religious establishment, it is the most memorable in our annals, for now indeed the Reformation was introduced, and it may be important to remember that this was done by the legislature, without any concurrence of convocations, and against the almost unanimous wish of the heads of the church.
The criminal law was improved by repealing a number of Henry VIII's fantastical treasons, and by enacting that in every prosecution for treason the overt act should be proved by two credible witnesses.† At the commencement of the reign an act passed from which no very favourable inference can be drawn as to the morals, habits, or accomplishments of the English nobility in the middle of the 16th century. House-breaking by day or by night, highway robbery, horse stealing, and the felonious taking of goods from a church, having been msde capital offences, it was provided, "that any Lord or Lords of the parliament (to include
* Rot. Cl. 1 Mary, p. 7.
† 1 Ed. 6, c. 12, 5 & 6 Ed. 6. c. 11.
Archbishops and Bishops,) and any Peer or Peers of the realm having place and voice in parliament, being convicted of any of the said offences for the first time, upon his or their earnest prayer, though he cannot read, be allowed benefit of clergy, and be discharged without any burning in the hand, loss of inheritance, or corruption of blood." It seems strange to us that this privilege of peerage should have been desirable, or should have been conceded; but it continued in force till taken away by an act passed after the trial of Lord Cardigan in the reign of Queen Victoria.
Edward's chancellors, without any statute for that purpose, took upon themselves, in many instances, the exercise of legislative power. Thus in April, 1549, Lord Chancellor Rich issued a proclamation under the Great Seal, addressed to all justices of the peace, enjoining them "to arrest all comers and tellers abroad of vain and forged tales and lies, and to commit them to the galleys, there to row in chains during the King's pleasure;" and by similar proclamations rates were fixed for the price of provisions,penalties were imposed on such as should buy bad money under its nominal value, and the melting of the current coin was prohibited under pain of forfeiture.†
The attainder of the Seymours shows that the ruling faction sould still perpetrate any atrocity through parliamentary or judicial forms. Nevertheless, in this reign, able judges presided in Westminster Hall, and between party and party justice was equally administered. The prejudices against the equitable jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery subsided, and although hardly any of the decisions of the Chancellors are preserved,—till nearly the close of the reign (when there were heavy complaints of the inexperience of Goodrich)—they appear to have been satisfactory to the public. #
OF STEPHEN GARDYNER, LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND, FROM HIS BIRTH TO THE END OF THE REIGN OF HENRY VIII.
WE pass from a Chancellor appointed on account of his insignificance, that he might be a tool in the hands of others, to a man of original genius, of powerful intellect, of independent mind,-at the same time unfortunately of narrow prejudices and a relentless heart, who had a powerful influence upon the events of his age, and left a distinguished name to posterity. Thomas Goodrich was succeeded by the celebrated STEPHEN GARDYner.
* 1 Ed. 6. c. 12.s .10. 14.
† 2 Strype, 147. 149. 341. 491.
‡ Dyer's Rep. Moore's Rep.
The extraction of this extraordinary man has been matter of great controversy. The common statement is, [AUG. 23, 1553.] that he was the natural son of Lionel Woodville, Bishop of Salisbury, brother of Elizabeth, the Queen of Edward IV.; while others insist that "he came of poor but honest parents." So much we know, that he was born at Bury St. Edmunds in the year 1483, under the reign of Richard III.
No account has reached us of his schooling, and the first notice of his education represents him as a most diligent student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. There he made great proficiency in classical learning, devoting himself to the school of the "Ciceronians," then in high fashion. At the same time he laid the foundation of his future advancement by the profound skill he acquired in the civil and cannon law. In 1520 he was admitted a Doctor in both faculties, and soon after he was made Master of Trinity Hall. Having a son of the Duke of Norfolk under his care, he acquired the friendship of that great noble, and was introduced by him to Wolsey, then in the plenitude of power as Chancellor to Henry VIII. The Cadinal was much pleased with the manners and accomplishments of the academic, and, with his usual discernment, concluded that he might be made useful in the public service. Gardyner was very willing to change his career, for even with a view to advancement in the church there was then no such certain road for churchmen as secular employment.
He began with being the Cardinal's private secretary, and showed dexterity in managing the public correspondence and the private affairs of his patron. We may judge of the confidence reposedin him from the terms in which he is spoken of by Wolsey, who calls him "primarium secretissimorum consiliorum secretarium, mei dimidium, et quo neminem habeo cariorem."* The treaty of alliance with Francis I. in 1525 being projected, Gardyner was employed to draw up the projet, and the King coming to his house at Moor Park, in Hertfordshire, found him busy at this work. Henry looked at it, liked the performance well, the Secretary's conversation still better, and his fertility in the invention of expedients best of all. From this time Gardyner was consulted about the most secret affairs of State. Soon after he was [A. D. 1522.] made Chaplain to the King, and speedily Almoner, when he was admitted to Henry's closest familiarity and intimacy. The question of the divorce from Catherine of Aragon coming [A. D. 1525.] up, Gardyner's consequence was much enhanced from his high reputation as a jurist and canonist. Misled by his ambition, and eager to conform to the King's humours, he now, and for several years afterwards, took a part of which he deeply repented when he became the great supporter of Papal power in England, and the Chancellor and Prime Minister of the daughter of Catherine. He not only gave a strong opinion
* Burnet, Ref. No. VIII.