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PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
gathered together in the spacious cathedral or the narrow village church, they no longer heard the Litany sung by the priests in procession; but they joined their own voices to the sacred words which they received into their hearts, with "Spare us good Lord," and "We beseech thee to hear us." This constant feeling that they themselves were to take part in the service, and not be mere listeners to unintelligible though euphonious sentences, was to give a new interest to the reformed worship, far beyond the formal " Amen " of the Latin ritual, and the other routine words which they had been taught to speak, "like pies or parrots."* For a short time it was objected to the new service that "it was like a Christmas game;" but when the people, after a few years, had come to understand this service, in which they took a real part, they could not be readily led back to the "fond play" of their forefathers, "to hear the priest speak aloud to the people in Latin, and the people listen with their ears to hear; and some walking up and down in the church; some saying other prayers in Latin; and none understandeth other." The English Liturgy, and the constant reading of the Lessons in English, were the corner-stones which held together that Church of England which the reformers had built up. Those who rejected the Liturgy consistently demanded that the English Bible should be called in again. The records of the Printing-press show how vain was such a demand. The art of Gutenburg and Caxton had made a return to the old darkness an impossibility. Not without reason did John Day, one of the printers of the many editions of the Bible that appeared in the reign of Edward VI., take, in allusion to his own name, a device of the sun rising and the sleeper awakened.
Strype, "Memorials of Cranmer," vol. ii. p. 518. Oxford, 1848.
+ Ibid., p. 544.
Difficulties of the government of the Protector-Proceedings of his brother, Lord Seymour-His arrest- His attainder and execution-Participation of Somerset in Seymour's condemnation-Daugers of the country-Somerset's attempts to resist the oppression of the Commons-Proclamations against inclosures-Insurrections of 1549-The Cornish and Devonshire rebellion against religious innovations-Siege of Exeter-The Norfolk rebellion against inclosures-Encampments on Mousehold-heath-Dispersion of the rebels-The Scottish war continued.
ALTHOUGH the great ecclesiastical policy of the government of Edward VI. had, during the first two years of the reign, gone steadily onward, the evils incidental to a royal minority were rapidly developing themselves. The power of the Protector was to some extent an usurpation. The authority which had been conferred upon him by letters patent was naturally offensive to many of the council. The resistance of Gardiner and others of the higher clergy kept alive the hostility of the great Romish party. The princess Mary, too, as might have been expected from the determination of her character, refused to conform to the change of religion, and maintained that as her father's executors were sworn to his laws, she should defer her obedience to other laws until the king were of sufficient years to enforce them.* This doctrine was openly or covertly upheld by persons of less importance; and the bonds of submission to the ruling powers of the state were thus relaxed, wherever conscience, so called, could be set up against the duty of the subject. The Protector himself, of whose character it is difficult to judge dispassionately amidst a mass of contradictory opinions, was, like all persons whose authority is in any degree questionable, disposed to enforce it beyond the limits of prudence. He gave offence to a proud nobility, by taking precedence in
*Strype, "Eccl. Memorials," II. part I. p. 238.
PROCEEDINGS OF LORD SEYMOUR.
parliament, and sitting upon an elevated seat on the right hand of the throne. He gave offence by putting his own opinion above the opinions of the council; so that a Spaniard who had visited England, said that Somerset rode upon so strong and big a horse, that the fair goodly animal carried the Protector and the king's council at once upon his back. His confidential friend, sir William Paget, ventured to remonstrate against his "great choleric fashions;" and mentioning a case in which sir Richard a Lee had complained, with weeping, of the Protector's "handling of him," most wisely says, “ a king who shall give men discouragement to say their opinions frankly receiveth thereby great hurt and peril to his realm. But a subject in great authority, as your grace is, using such fashion, is like to fall into great danger and peril of his own person, beside that to the commonwealth."+ The first great danger and peril which Somerset encountered came from his own brother.
Admiral sir Thomas Seymour, created by Edward VI. lord Seymour of Sudley, had, within a very short time of the death of Henry VIII., become a suitor to his widow, queen Catherine Parr. In king Edward's Journal, immediately after a notice of the recantation of Dr. Smith, at Paul's Cross, on the 15th of May, there is this significant entry :-"The lord Seymour of Sudley married the queen whose name was Catherine, with which marriage the Lord Protector was much offended." The Protector, after the marriage was avowed, withheld the royal widow's jewels, which she alleged the late king had given her; and he opposed her wish as to the lease of a crown manor. Amiable as she appears to have been, she manifested her indignation in no measured terms, in a letter to her husband :-"This shall be to advertise you that my lord your brother hath this afternoon made me a little warm. It was fortunate we were so much distant; for I suppose else I should have bitten him." The wife of lord Seymour was not long fated to kindle her husband's wrath against his brother. She gave birth to a daughter on the 1st of September, 1548, and died on the 7th. Seymour had hoped for a son, "trusting," as he writes to his wife in June, that, "if God should give him life to live as long as his father, he will revenge such wrongs as neither you nor I can at this present." § It appears not improbable that what Seymour deemed his wrongs were the results of his brother's sense of his public duty. There is a remarkable letter of the Protector to the lord admiral, dated on the 1st of September, 1548, in which he remonstrates against his brother's conduct in his private relations with his neighbours :-"If you do so behave yourself amongst your poor neighbours, and others the king's subjects, that they may have easily just cause to complain upon you, and so you do make them a way and cause to lament unto us and pray redress, we are most sorry therefore, and would wish very heartily it were otherwise; which were both more honour for you, and quiet and joy and comfort for us. But if you mean it, that for our part we are ready to receive poor men's complaints, that findeth or thinketh themselves injured or grieved, it is our duty and office so to do. And though you be our brother, yet we may not refuse it upon you." || The death of the queen, his wife, opened to the rash and turbulent Seymour, a new prospect for his ambition. If the scandalous stories of that
* Strype, "Eccl. Memorials," II. part I. p. 238.
Ibid. part II. p. 427.
SEYMOUR'S ATTAINDER AND EXECUTION.
time are to be believed-and they appear in the evidence of the princess Elizabeth's governess-there had been many strange familiarities between the admiral and the princess, then a girl of fifteen, who was residing under the care of queen Catherine.* He now paid secret addresses to the princess; who appears, in that spirit of coquetry which she retained through life, to have given some encouragement to a man who is described as "fierce in courage, courtly in fashion, in personage stately, in voice magnificent, but somewhat empty in matter." It was one of the charges against him, as set forth in Articles of Treason in the Council Book, that before he married the queen he attempted to marry "the lady Elizabeth, second inheritor in remainder to the crown," but was then prevented by the Lord Protector, and others of the council. The charge then goes on to say, "that you sithence that time, both in the life of the queen continued your old labour and love, and after her death, by secret and crafty means, practised to achieve the said purpose of marrying the said lady Elizabeth, to the danger of the king's majesty's person, and peril of the state, of the same." In January, 1549, Seymour was arrested and sent to the Tower. The opposition to his designs upon the princess Elizabeth had probably driven him to engage in the rash enterprises which led to his destruction.
The proceedings against Seymour were conducted under that approved instrument of oppression, a bill of attainder. After his committal he had been several times examined; but on the 23rd of February the council proceeded to the Tower, and presented to him thirty-three articles, to which they required his answers. He demanded a trial, and to be confronted with his accusers. This demand was refused; and the articles formed the foundation of the bill of attainder, which was brought into the house of lords. "Then the evidence was brought. Many lords gave it so fully that all the rest with one voice consented to the bill; only the Protector, for natural pity's sake, as is in the Council Book, desired leave to withdraw." § The bill was sent to the Commons; but some of the old constitutional feeling had revived; and it was urged that the admiral should be heard upon a trial. But the Lords who had given evidence went to the House of Commons, and there repeating what they had said, the bill passed. The royal assent was given on the 5th of March; and the unhappy man was executed on the 20th. The warrant for his execution was signed, amongst others of the council, by Somerset and by Cranmer. The historian of Edward VI. says, with regard to the Protector, "Hereupon many of the nobility cried out upon him that he was a blood-sucker, a murderer, a parricide, || a villain, and that it was not fit the king should be under the protection of such a ravenous wolf." ¶ The extent to which a determination to sacrifice private feelings to public duty may carry a statesman, can scarcely be estimated by those who treat of such matters with the natural sympathies for the unfortunate, and the cominon reverence for the ties of blood. But it is clear that Somerset was not of a cruel nature; and we may readily believe in the record of the
Burnet, Records, part II. No. 31.
Hayward, "Life of Edward VI."
The term "parricide" was not always restricted to the murderer of a father or mother. Blackstone explains the parricide of the Roman Law as "the murder of one's parent or children," b. iv. c. 14.
SEYMOUR AND THE KING.
council, which says that the necessity for his brother's attainder was felt by him to be "heavy, lamentable, and sorrowful." It would appear, also, from a trustworthy evidence, that the sad alternative of a brother's death, or the danger of the State, was in some degree forced upon him. The princess Elizabeth, when she was suspected of being privy to a conspiracy against her sister, queen Mary, earnestly entreated to be admitted to see her; saying, “I have heard in my time of many cast away for want of coming to the presence of their prince; and, in late days, I have heard my lord Somerset say that, if his brother had been suffered to speak with him, he had never suffered; but the persuasions were made to him so great, that he was brought in belief that he could not live safely if the admiral lived, and that made him give his consent to his death."* "He could not live safely if the admiral lived" would seem to make the quarrel between the two brothers a mere personal question. But in this quarrel the tranquillity of the governIment was involved. The realm was surrounded with dangers. The war with Scotland and France required that the people should be united for defence; but they were greatly divided in religious opinions, and a large proportion of the labouring population were disposed to insurrection. There can be little doubt that, if Seymour had no designs upon the young king's life, he sought to make himself master of his person. He had propitiated the boy by little kindnesses, which contrasted with Somerset's somewhat strict governorship; and he had endeavoured to persuade the king that it was his interest to take the royal authority into his own hands. Edward himself was examined before the Council, and his testimony furnishes a very sufficient example of the public dangers of a minority, under which the executive power does not rest upon well defined constitutional principles. Edward from the first was a puppet in the hands of Somerset; and his name was often affixed to important papers by a stamp which the Protector used. That a quick and intelligent youth should desire to be freed from a somewhat stern control, was an inevitable consequence of his position; and Seymour made an artful use of this discontent, to supplant his brother, and in so doing to convulse the government. It is tolerably clear that Edward regarded his uncle, the Protector, with slight affection. The marquis of Dorset in his examination before the Council said, “The king's majesty hath divers times made his moan unto me; saying that my uncle of Somerset dealeth very hardly with me, and keepeth me so strait that I cannot have money at my will; but my lord admiral both sends me money and gives me money." One sentence of the young king's statement is conclusive as to the effect which had been produced upon his mind by the intrigues of Seymour: "Within this two year at least, he [the admiral] said, ye must take upon yourself to rule, for ye shall be able enough, as well as other kings, and then ye may give your men somewhat; for your uncle is old, and I trust will not live long. I answered, it were better that he should die."+ Seymour had fortified Holt Castle; had tampered with sir John Sharrington, the master of the mint at Bristol, to furnish him with a large supply of money, as Sharrington confessed; and had taken measures to embody a large armed force. Unless
Ellis, Second Series, vol. ii. p. 256.
+ These curious revelations are in the Burghley Papers, published by Haynes.