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ritual, and ordering a solemn requiem for the soul of the Emperor Charles V.; her determination to change the national religion was manifest by her appointment of Protestants to places of power and profit, by her order forbidding the elevation of the host in her private chapel, and by a proclamation allowing the observance of the established worship "until consultation might be had in parliament by the Queen and the three estates." The primacy not yet being filled up since the death of Cardinal Pole, who survived his cousin, Queen Mary, only a few hours, Heath, Archbishop of York, was the highest functionary in the Church, and he called a meeting of all the Prelates, to consider what was now fit to be done. A motion was made, and unanimously carried, that till satisfied of her adherence to the Church, none of them would put the crown on her head, or attend her coronation. This was considered a masterly move; for though a change had taken place in the opinions of the people from the times when a King's reign dated only from his coronation, and he was supposed to have no right to allegiance till he had been anointed,-coronation was still considered an essential rite, and there had been no instance of an uncrowned Sovereign meeting parliament and making laws. But the Queen was relieved from this embarrassment by the defection of one prelate, Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle, who agreed to crown her-on condition that she should take the accustomed oath to preserve the liberties of the Church, receive the sacrament under one kind, and conform, during the ceremony, to all the observances of the Catholic Pontifical.
The Queen was accordingly crowned; parliament was opened by her and a bill was introduced to declare her "Head of the Church." On the second read[JAN. 15, 1559.] ing of this bill, in the House of Lords, Heath, rising from the Archbishops' bench, delivered a very long oration, of which it may be worth while to give an abstract, as a specimen of the style of debating which then prevailed. He thus began: "My Lords all, with humble submission of my whole talk unto your honours, I purpose to speak to the body of this act, touching the supremacy." Then dividing and subdividing his discourse into heads, he first handled the objection, that this measure would be a relinquiseing of the see of Rome. He spoke rather freely of Paul IV., who had recently denied the Queen's title, and had shown himself " a very austere, stern father unto us ever since his first entrance into Peter's chair;" but it was not a personal question with him, but by forsaking Rome they should fly from four things: -1st, All General Councils:-2dly, All Canonical Laws of the Church of Christ;-3dly, The Judgment of all Christian Princes: -4thly, and lastly, we must forsake and fly from the unity of Christ's church; and by leaping out of Peter's ship, hazard ourselves to be overwhelmed and drowned in the waters of schism, sects, and divisions." Each of these heads he discusses, with many quotations and illustrations from the Old and New Testa8
ment, and the Fathers; and concludes with the observation, that as we had received our doctrine, faith, and sacraments, entirely from the Church of Rome,-in forsaking that church as a malignant church, the inhabitants of this realm shall be forced to seek for another gospel of Christ, other doctrine, faith and sacraments, than we hitherto have received. He next considers the meaning of the words "supreme Head of the Church of England; " if they meant temporal power, that her Highness had without statute; and if spiritual power, neither could parliament confer it, nor was her Highness capable of receiving it. How could they say to her, “ Tibi dabimus claves regni cœlorum?" or " Pasce, pasce, pasce, ?" He then touches a very delicate topic-that however it might be with a King, at all events a Queen, by reason of her sex, was incapable of being the Head of the Church. "That her Highness, being a woman by birth and nature, is not qualified, by God's word, to feed the flock of Christ, appeareth most plainly, by St. Paul's saying, Taceant mulieres in ecclesiis; non enim permittatur eis loqui sed subditas esse. Again, says the same great apostle, Turpe est mulieri in loqui ecclesiis. Docere autem mulieri non permitto neque dominari in virum sed in silentio esse.' To preach or minister the holy sacraments, a woman may not; neither may she be supreme Head of the Church of Christ. Christ, ascending into heaven, gave the whole spiritual government of his Church to men. Ipse dedit ecclesiæ suæ quosdam apostolos, alios evangelistas, alios pastores et doctores in opus ministerii in ædificationem corporis Christi.' But a woman in the degrees of Christ's church is not called to be an apostle nor evangelist, nor to be a shepherd, neither a doctor or preacher." He thus concludes: "So much I have here said, Right Honourable, and my very good Lords, against this act of supremacy, for the discharge of my conscience, and for the love, dread, and fear that I chiefly owe unto God and my Sovereign Lady the Queen's Highness, and unto your Lordships all; when otherwise, and without mature consideration of these premises, your Honours shall never be able to show your faces before your enemies in this matter; being so rash an example and spectacle in Christ's church as in this realm only to be found, and in none other. Thus humbly beseeching your good Honours to take in good part this rude and plain speech that I have used, of much good zeal and will, I shall now leave to trouble your Honours any longer."*
After the second reading of the Bill, the expedient was resorted to of a conference between five Roman Catholic Bishops and three Doctors to argue against it, and eight reformed divines on the other side,-Heath, as Ex-chancellor, and Sir Nicholas Bacon, the new Lord Keeper, being appointed moderators. This confer
*Parl. Hist. 660. Ibid. 643. This speech shows, among other curious particulars, that the expletives" My Lords" and "Your Lordships," now so copiously introduced almost into every sentence by most speakers in the House of Lords, were then nearly unknown.
ence ended in the commitment of two of the Bishops to the Tower, and binding over the other six Catholic disputants to appear before the Council. The Supremacy Bill, and another in favour of the new book of Common Prayer, passed the Lords by a small majority, but were supported almost unanimously in the House of Commons, to which, by Cecil's management, very few Catholics were returned.
Heath was now called upon to conform to the law, and himself to take the oath of supremacy. He pleaded con[JULY, 1558.] science and the divine commandment as superior to all human law. He was therefore deprived of his archbishopric, and the difficulty being surmounted of consecrating new Bishops, a successor was appointed to him. He retired to a small property of his own at Cobham, in Surrey, where he devoted the rest of his days to study and devotion. He was here compared to Abiathar, sent home by Solomon to his own field, and he was said to have found himself happier than he had ever been during his highest elevation. Queen Elizabeth herself, remembering how promptly he had recognised her title when he was Lord Chancellor, and believing that he afterwards acted from conscientious motives, was in the frequent habit of visiting him in his retreat, and, with a certain hankering after the old religion, she probably, in her heart, honoured him more than she did Archbishop Parker, whom she found living splendidly at Lambeth, with a lady whom she would neither call his "mistress" nor his "wife."
Heath survived till the year 1566, when he died deeply lamented by his friends, and with the character of a good, if not of a great man.*
Before proceeding with the Lord Keepers and Lord Chancellors of Elizabeth, we ought to take a glance at the juridical history of the preceding reign. It was begun with an act of parliament, which we should have thought unnecessary,-to declare that a Queen Regnant has all the lawful prerogatives of the Crown, and is bound by the laws of former Kings.† Change of religion afterwards completely occupied the attention of the people, this change being still effected by acts of the legislature.
The law of treason was now brought back to the constitutional basis on which it had been placed by the celebrated statute of Edward III., and where religion was not concerned the Queen
* A most beautiful panegyric is pronounced upon him by Hayward, an orig nal historian, whose "Annals of Queen Elizabeth" have been lately published by the Camden Society. Speaking of the changes upon the accession of Elizabeth, he says, “Among thes Doctor Heath, Archbishopp of Yorke, was removed from being Lord Chancellour of England, a man of most eminent and generous simplicity, who esteemed any thing privately unlawfull which was not publickelye beneficiall and good.
But as it is no new thing for merchants to breake, for saylers to be drowned, for soldiers to be slain, so it is not for men in authority to fall."-Hayward's Annals of Elizabeth, p. 13.
1 Mary, sess. 3. c. 1.
and her ministers showed considerable respect for the rights of the people.*
Much obloquy was brought upon the two Chancellors, Gardyner and Heath, for the furious religious persecution which they prompted or sanctioned; but the former gained popularity by his resistance to the Queen's matrimonial alliance with Philip of Spain, and the latter was respected for the general moderation of his character and his personal disinterestedness. They issued writs, under the Great Seal, for the election of representatives to the House of Commons to fourteen places, of very small population, which had not before sent members to parliament,-imitating the conduct of Edward's Chancellors, who, to strengthen the reformation, had enfranchised no fewer than twenty-two similar boroughs. None of their judicial decisions have been handed down to us.
LIFE OF LORD KEEPER SIR NICHOLAS BACON.
We now come to the life of a man who held the Great Seal above twenty years, but whose selected motto [DEC. 22, 1558] being "Mediocria firma," was of very moderate ambition, aiming only at the due discharge of his judicial duties, and desirous to avoid mixing himself up with any concerns which were not connected with his office. Till we reach the Earl of Charendon,we shall not again find the holder of the Great Seal Prime Minister, and in the interval it will not be necessary for us to enter minutely into historical events, as these were guided by political chiefs under whom the individuals whose lives we have to narrate acted only a subordinate part.
The business of the Court of Chancery had now so much increased, that to dispose of it satisfactorily, required a Judge regu
* During this reign the lawyers devoted much of their attention to the regulation of their own dress and personal appearance. To check the grievance of "long beards," an order was issued by the Inner Temple "that no fellow of that house should wear his beard above three weeks growth on pain of forfeiting 20s." The Middle Temple enacted "that none of that society should were great breeches in their hose made after the Dutch, Spanish, or Almain fashion, or lawn upon their caps, or cut doublets, under a penalty of 3s. 4d. and expulsion for the second offence." In 3 & 4 P. & M. it was ordained by all the four Inns of Court," that none except knights and benchers should wear in their doublets or hose any light colours, save scarlet and crimson, nor wear any upper velvet cap, or any scarf or wings in their gowns, white jerkins, buskins, or velvet shoes, double cuffs in their shirts, feathers or ribbons in their caps, and that none should wear their study gowns in the city any farther than Fleet Bridge or Holborn Bridge; nor while in Commons, wear Spanish cloaks, sword and buckler, or rapier, or gown and hats, or gowns girded with a dagger on the back."1
1 Dug. Or. Jur. 148.
larly trained to the profession of the law, and willing to devote to it all his energy and industry. The Statute of Wills, the Statute of Uses, the new modes of conveyancing introduced for avoiding transmutation of possession, the question which arose respecting the property of the dissolved monasteries, and the vast increase of commerce and wealth in the nation, brought such a number of important suits into the Court of Chancery, that the holder of the Great Seal could no longer satisfy the public by occasionally diverting a few hours from his political occupations to dispose of bills and petitions, and not only was his daily attendance demanded in Westminster Hall during term time, but it was necessary that he should sit, for a portion of each vacation, either at his own house, or in some convenient place appointed by him for clearing off his arrears.
Elizabeth having received the Clavis Regni from Lord Chancellor Heath on the day after her accession, she kept it in her own possession rather more than a month before she determined how she should dispose of it. At last on the 22d of December, 1558, "between the hours of ten and eleven in the forenoon, at the Queen's Royal Palace of Somerset House, in the Strand, the Queen, taking the Great Seal from its white leather bag and red velvet purse before the Lord Treasurer and many others, delivered it to Sir NICHOLAS BACON, with the title of Lord Keeper, and all the powers belonging to a Lord Chancellor; and he, gratefully receiving it from her Majesty, having sealed with it a summons to the Convocation, returned it into its leathern bag and velvet purse and carried it off with him, to be held during the good pleasure of her Majesty.”*
This new functionary had not passed through any dangers, or difficulties, or interesting vicissitudes before his advancement;without being once in prison or exile, or engaged in foreign embassies,―much less having, like some of his predecessors, led armies into the field, he had risen in the common-place track of the legal profession as dully as a prosperous lawyer of the eighteenth or nineteenth century, who going through Eton or Westminster, Oxford or Cambridge, and a special pleader's or an equity draughtsman's office, is called to the bar, pleases the attorneys, gets a silk gown, and is brought into parliament by a great nobleman to whom he is auditor, there to remain quietly till for some party convenience he is farther promoted.
Nicholas Bacon was of a respectable gentleman's family long seated in the county of Suffolk. He was the second son of Robert Bacon, of Drinkston, Esquire, and was born at Chislehurst, in Kent, in the year 1510. He received his education under his father's roof till he was sent to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Having taken his degree, he travelled for some time in France.
On his return he studied the law diligently at Gray's Inn, and
* See all this and much more of the teremony related, Rot. Cl. 1 Elie.