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them to hear the Bible read, but he would not allow them to understand it differently from himself; he adhered in almost all points to the doctrines of Rome, and he made the most cruel laws to force his subjects to do so too.
There were three parties in the kingdom. First, there were the Papists, the men who still looked upon the pope as the rightful head of the Church. Next, there were the men whose religion was like that of the king; they rejected the authority of the pope, but held fast the main doctrines of Rome. And, lastly, there were the Reformers; the men who, by diligent study of the Scriptures, were learning to renounce all the false doctrines of the Romish Church. The king put to death with equal cruelty those who acknowledged the authority of the pope, and those who renounced the doctrines of Rome; the first were hanged and quartered as traitors, the last were burned as heretics.
Now and then, indeed, Henry interposed to save some one for whom he had a particular friendship; we have seen that he spared Katharine Parr, and on another occasion, he rescued Cranmer out of the hands of the men who sought his life. The king had an extraordinary regard for Cranmer, whom he had made Archbishop of Canterbury; but it was with the greatest difficulty that even Cranmer could obtain leave to make any reformation in the services of the Church. In the last year of his reign Henry did permit that one portion of the prayers, the Litany, should be said in English.
One great change in the Church Henry made willingly, but in such a way as to cause much evil as well as good: he suppressed all the houses of monks and nuns. When Christian missionaries first came to the Saxons, they built monasteries that they might dwell together for prayer and study, and for preaching to the people, and many other useful works. Since then nine hundred years had passed away, and the monasteries had increased exceedingly in number, and had been enriched with great estates and treasures of gold and silver. And, at this time, many men and women retired into convents and monasteries, not to pray and to labour, but to lead an idle luxurious life; sometimes, a very wicked one.
The superstitions and deceits of which the monks had been guilty, and the wickedness practised in some of these houses, were made pretexts for overthrowing them all. But the king had another reason; he wanted the lands and wealth of the monks. The abbeys, priories, and other large religious houses were the most beautiful buildings in England, and the land which belonged to them was the richest and best cultivated. The heads of these houses lived in princely state, but they were kind to their tenants and charitable to the poor. There was no poor-law in England then, and the poor had no sure resource in times of sickness and distress excepting the food, alms, and medicine which were given away at every convent and monastery. The king now seized all these houses with everything that belonged to them. Some of the abbots resisted, and were hanged as traitors; as for the monks and nuns, they were turned out of doors with a small present of money.
It was in vain that Cranmer, Latimer, and other good men entreated that some portion of the wealth belonging to the religious houses might be consecrated to pious and charitable uses: the king and his courtiers were too greedy of gain. A very little was reserved, partly for religious purposes and partly to build forts on the coast; but all the rest was spent by Henry or lavished on his favourite courtiers.
Each abbey had a noble church belonging to it, but the new owners tore down the abbeys and even profaned and ruined the churches, that they might sell the materials of which they were built. The poor suffered great misery now that their former benefactors had no longer the power to relieve them. Some formidable insurrections took place in consequence, and the evil was never thoroughly remedied until, about sixty years afterwards, a law was made that every parish should provide for its own poor.
SOME OF THE CHIEF MEN OF THE TIME OF HENRY VIII.-DEATH OF THE KING, 1547.-CREATION OF A NAVY BY HENRY VIII.-WALES.
(From 1509 to 1547.)
AMONGST the famous men who lived in the time of Henry the Eighth, no one held so high a place during the first twenty years of his reign as Thomas Wolsey. Wolsey was the son of a butcher at Ipswich, but was sent when very young to Oxford to be educated for the priesthood. His abilities and love of learning
soon won friends, who promoted him in the Church, and introduced him to Henry the Seventh, by whom he was employed in some affairs of state which he managed much to the king's satisfaction: but when Henry the Eighth succeeded his father on the throne, Wolsey rose rapidly in power and honour. The young king made him his favourite companion, and consulted him upon all occasions; and all the most important business of the realm, whether at home or abroad, was committed to his management. Besides this, the king gave him several bishoprics; but Wolsey gave very little heed to his duties as a bishop; his time was taken up with other employments.
All the foreign princes who wished to obtain anything from Henry began by lavishing honours and presents on his favourite minister. Wolsey became enormously rich, but he spent as largely as he received. He built a noble palace at Hampton Court, and presented it with all its contents to the king: he devised innumerable costly pageants for his master's entertainment: he also bestowed liberal gifts on learned men, and founded the great college of Christ Church in Oxford. Wolsey meant it to be called "Cardinal College;" the pope had lately made him a cardinal, and he was very proud of his new dignity. Soon afterwards the king promoted him to be Lord Chancellor.
He was now as high in station as it was possible for any English subject to be, but this did not content Wolsey. He wanted to climb higher still and be pope. In the meantime he surrounded himself with pomp and magnificence, and the sons of the noblest
families in England waited as pages in his palace. Even his daily progress to Westminster Hall was a ceremony for the multitude to gaze at. In front went his gentlemen-ushers, bare-headed, calling out, "Make way, my lords and masters, make way for my Lord Cardinal;" then came the tallest priests that could be found in the kingdom, riding on horses which were clothed in scarlet, and bearing in their hands great silver crosses; they were followed by gentlemen who carried silver pillars, to denote that their master was a pillar of the Church. Behind these rode a long train of gentlemen, splendidly apparelled, and in the midst was the great man himself, in his robes of scarlet or crimson satin, mounted on a mule with trappings of gold. A hundred servants attended him and prevented the crowd from pressing too closely round their master.
But with all his splendour Wolsey did not win much real honour or regard. His arrogance made him hateful both to rich and poor; and directly the king began to look coldly on him, every one was ready to hasten his downfal. Wolsey ventured at first to oppose the marriage of the king with Anne Boleyn, and Henry never liked him so well afterwards. An accusation of treason was got up against him, he was stripped of all his wealth and honours, and left utterly at the king's mercy. He now fell into such a state of terror and misery that Henry relented a little. He would not see his fallen favourite, but he sent him word that he might go and live in the diocese of York, of which he was archbishop. Poor Wolsey still clung fondly to the pomp of office, and prepared to be magnificently enthroned in York