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HIS TRIAL AND EXECUTION.
1550, the bishop of Winchester had been repeatedly examined by the council, Somerset being always present; and on the 14th we have this entry in Edward's Journal: "The duke of Somerset, with five others of the council, went to the bishop of Winchester; to whom he made this answer: 'I having deliberately seen the Book of Common Prayer, although I would not have made it so myself, yet I find such things in it as satisfieth my conscience, and therefore I will both execute it myself, and also see other, my parishioners, to do it.'" Upon this submission of Gardiner we may well believe that Somerset, inclined as he was to moderate proceedings, might attempt to procure his release. During 1550 Somerset appears to have been re-establishing his power. In December he has a hundred guards assigned him, although Warwick and other nobles have only fifty. But in February, 1551, a storm is gathering, as we learn from this brief entry in Edward's Journal: "Mr. Whalley was examined, for persuading divers nobles of the realm to make the duke of Somerset Protector at the next parliament, and stood to the denial, the earl of Rutland affirming it manifestly." The jealousies of the retainers of Somerset and Warwick began to manifest themselves in open conflicts; and some of Somerset's servants were sent to the Tower. These symptoms of disquiet appear to have subsided for six months; and Somerset was to be found in council and about the person of the king. On the 11th of October, the marquis of Dorset was created duke of Suffolk, and the earl of Warwick was created duke of Northumberland. On the 16th of October, Somerset, having that day taken his seat at the council, was arrested and sent to the Tower, with his duchess, and many of his friends. The charges against him were that, on the 20th of April, he conspired to depose the king, to seize the government, and to imprison the earl of Warwick; and the indictment also alleges a second plot of a similar nature, to be executed on the 20th of May. The long interval between the concoction of this plot and its discovery would alone induce a suspicion that the evidence, as it was called, was manufactured by him who had a decided interest in removing Somerset, to carry forward the bold conceptions of his own ambition. On the 1st of December Somerset was brought to trial before the lord-steward and twenty-seven peers, on a charge of high treason, by conspiring to seize the king; and of felony, under the Act of the preceding session against unlawful assemblies, in purposing, with others, to imprison the earl of Warwick, a privy councillor. He was acquitted of the treason, and found guilty of the felony. In the king's Journal many details of the progress of the discovery of this alleged plot are given, but they furnish little help to the elucidation of a mysterious struggle between two political rivals, which, in happier times, would have ended in a change of ministry. This Journal, however, furnishes a proof of the popular love for Somerset. Being acquitted of treason he went out of Westminster Hall, "without the axe of the Tower. The people, not knowing the matter, shouted half-a-dozen of times so loud, that from the hall-door it was heard at Charing Cross plainly, and rumours went that he was quit of all." That Christmas Somerset spent drearily in the Tower; whilst his nephew was diverted from the thoughts of the prisoner by every courtly amusement in his palace of Greenwich-tilts, tournaments, fights at barriers, masques, banquets. On the 22nd of January there is this business-like entry in the royal day-book: "The duke of
FOREIGN CHURCHES IN ENGLAND.
Somerset had his head cut off upon Tower-hill, between eight and nine o'clock in the morning." The details of this execution have been preserved by an eye-witness. The duke addressed the assembly in a short speech; and was preparing for death, when "the people espy sir Anthony Brown upon a little nag, riding towards the scaffold, and therewith they burst out crying in a voice, Pardon, pardon, pardon,' hurling up their caps and cloaks with these words, saying, 'God save the king, God save the king.' The good duke all this while stayed, and with his cap in his hand waited the people to come together, saying these words to their words of pardon, 'There is no such thing, good people, there is no such thing, it is the ordinance of God thus for to die, wherewith we must be content; and I pray you now let us pray together for the king's majesty, to whose grace I have been always a faithful, true, and most loving subject, desirous always of his most prosperous success in all his affairs; and ever glad of the furtherance and helping forwards of the commonwealth of this realm.' At which words the people answered 'Yea, yea, yea,' and some said with a loud voice, 'that is found now too true.' 'To whose grace I beseech God to send and grant to reign most prosperously to the pleasure of God.'"* Sir Ralph Vane, sir Thomas Arundel, sir Miles Partridge, and sir Michael Stanhope, were subsequently tried and executed, on a charge of having instigated the duke of Somerset to treason and felony.
The biographer of Cranmer says, "the violent death of Somerset exceedingly grieved the good archbishop." In the great work of the Reformation it is not easy to determine the particular merit of the labourers; but we incline to believe that Somerset was sincere and consistent in his attempts to establish the new doctrines upon a broad foundation of charitable principle. Nor was he altogether so worldly-minded as his adversaries have represented. Hearne, in the narrow spirit of a past generation of antiquaries, says that the abbey of Glastonbury was granted to Somerset on the 4th of June, 1550, by king Edward; but he enjoyed it only for a year, seven months, and twentyone days" so little did this and his other sacrileges thrive with him." The use which the fallen Protector made of Glastonbury, at a time when he was deprived of his office and heavily fined, might have called for a more charitable mention. England was then, as it has been in many later periods, the home of foreigners fleeing from oppression, religious or political. It was the merit of the Protector's government to receive these strangers. He gave encouragement, before his first removal from power, to the famous Polish nobleman, John a Lasco, who had become a preacher of the reformed religion, at Embden; and whose congregation, living in great insecurity on account of their opinions, desired to have a church of some dissolved monastery granted to them in England, where they might transplant themselves, exercising their faith and pursuing their skilful industry. The church of Austin Friars, in London, was eventually granted to them; and the circumstance is recorded in Edward's Journal, of 1550: "June 29. It was appointed that the Germans should have the Austin Friars for their church, to have their service in, for avoiding of all sects of Anabaptists, and such like." Somerset carried his encouragement of such settlers still further. A congregation of French. Ellis, Second Series, vol. ii. p. 216.
+ Strype, "Memorials of Cranmer." i. 340.
FOREIGN CHURCHES IN ENGLAND.
and Walloons, under the ministry of a learned reformer, Valerandus Pollanus, in 1550, petitioned the council of England, "that they might be permitted. to form themselves into a church for the free exercise of religion, and to follow peaceably their calling of weaving." Somerset immediately established this colony in Glastonbury Abbey. He entered into formal conditions to. provide them houses for their occupation, and an allotment of pasture land for each family; and that until the allotments were made they should enjoy the park in common. The settlers came. The duke lent them money to buy wool; and for some time they went on prosperously.
Somerset fell, their affairs became disordered. In December, while the duke was under sentence of death, the receiver of his revenues was ordered by the council to pay 3401. to these refugees, for provision of wool.* But they had lost their great patron, and struggled with difficulties for a year or two to establish their manufacture. When Mary came to the crown all
"Calendar of State Papers," p. 37.
PEACE. POWER OF NORTHUMBERLAND.
strangers of their opinions were driven from the realm. The poor congregation of Glastonbury removed to Frankfurt; and they, in their turn, gave succour to Englishmen who fled for conscience-sake.
The ill-success of the English policy in Scotland, and the defenceless state of Boulogne, in 1549, were amongst the evils that were attributed to the rule of Somerset. His successors in power wisely concluded a peace with France, though under humiliating conditions. By the treaty of March, 1550, it was agreed that Boulogne should be restored to France, upon the payment of one-fifth of the sum which Francis I. had agreed to pay on the expiration of eight years. The demand arising out of the treaty of marriage between Edward and Mary of Scotland was abandoned. The pension which Henry VIII. had accepted for the surrender of his claim to the crown of France was virtually set aside. This ridiculous pretension entered no longer into the diplomacy or the wars of the English government, though an empty title continued, for two centuries and a half longer, to be a practical satire upon a claim which the nation had long repudiated with other absurdities of the days of feudality. By this treaty the pretensions of England as regarded Scotland and France, and of France and Scotland as regarded England, were suspended. The reservation was a practical abandonment of causes of hostility, which the growth of a higher power than the personal ambition of kings would speedily over-ride.
The duke of Northumberland, though invested with no special power as that of protector or governor of the king, was now the directing authority of the realm. He had removed his great rival. He had summoned a parliament from which he expected the accustomed subserviency. The Lords passed a more stringent law of treason than that of Edward III. The Commons modified many of its clauses; and, from a feeling that trials for treason had been conducted with the most flagrant injustice, it was enacted that no person should be arraigned or convicted of treasonable offences, except by the testimony of two witnesses, to be produced at the time of his arraignment. This law, like many others which interfered with the powers of the crown, was often disregarded in evil times, when, as in more barbarous periods, to be accused of treason, and to be condemned to its fearful penalties, were almost convertible terms. But the law of Edward VI. shows that a spirit of justice was growing up in the minds of the representatives of the people. The parliament of 1552 was, in other respects, not a mere register of the decrees of the executive; and it was speedily dissolved. Meanwhile, Northumberland had obtained the most lavish grants of estates from the crown, and was proceeding in a career of high-handed despotism. Commissions were issued for the seizure of all the remaining plate and ornaments of the churches, with the exception of such chalices as were necessary for the administration of the Sacrament. Tonstall, bishop of Durham, had been deprived of his see, which was a great object with Northumberland, for he proposed and carried a plan to divide the bishopric into two sees, with a moderate income for each bishop, and its great revenues to be vested in the king-in other words, in himself. A new parliament was called in 1553 and especial care was taken that the sheriffs should attend, in their returns to the nominations of the crown, and the recommendations of the privy counsellors. In the beginning of the year the king became seriously ill; and
EDWARD ALTERS THE SUCCESSION.
when the parliament met on the 1st of March, the two houses were assembled at Whitehall, his weakness preventing him opening the session except in his own palace. The policy of Northumberland now assumed a bolder shape. The king partially recovered in May; and that period was chosen to accomplish three marriages, by which the power of the ambitious duke was not only consolidated, but one of which was to be associated with a project so daring as to look like insanity. Northumberland's fourth son, lord Guilford Dudley, was married to the lady Jane Grey; the lady Catherine Grey was betrothed to lord Herbert, the son of the earl of Pembroke, who was his devoted adherent; and his daughter, Catherine Dudley, was united to lord Hastings, eldest son of the earl of Huntingdon. The marriage of lord Guilford Dudley to the lady Jane was very soon followed by the most startling consequences. By the Will of Henry VIII. the crown was to devolve-1, on his son Edward; 2, on his own heir (if any) by Catherine Parr, or other queen ; 3, on his daughter Mary; 4, on his daughter Elizabeth; 5, on the heirs of the lady Frances, his niece; 6, on those of her sister, the lady Eleanor. By this Will the descendants of his sister, Margaret, the queen of Scotland, were passed over. On the 11th of June, the lord chief justice Montague, with other law officers, was commanded to attend upon the king at Greenwich. Edward, in presence of some members of the council, then declared to them that his sickness had led him to think seriously of the state of the realm; that he had prepared notes of an intended new settlement of the crown; and that he desired they should be reduced into letters-patent. The notes are extant in Edward's handwriting. They were in effect to set aside the devise of Henry to his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and to give the crown to the heirs of the lady Frances, who was the living duchess of Suffolk, but who was herself passed over. The lady Jane Grey was the eldest of her three daughters. She had no male heir. The judge hesitated; remonstrated with the sick boy; and pointed out that the succession according to Henry's Will was confirmed by an act of parliament. His representations were made in vain. The next day Montague went to the council, and declared that he and his colleagues could not assist in a measure which would be treasonable. Northumberland then came in, and terrified the chief justice by the most violent denunciations. On the 14th Montague and the other lawyers were again summoned to Greenwich; and there Edward received them "with sharp words and angry countenance." Montague subsequently related that being "a weak old man and without comfort," he consented, Edward promising that a parliament should be called to ratify the letters-patent. Fifteen lords of the council, nine judges, and other officers, then signed a paper agreeing to maintain the succession as contained in the king's notes, delivered to the judges. King Edward died on the 6th of July, twenty-two days after he had thus solemnly excluded his sisters from the throne. The letters-patent, dated the 21st of June, set forth the following reasons for this exclusion:-That they were illegitimate, in consequence of the divorces of their mothers; that they were only of half-blood to king Edward, and therefore were by ancient laws not inheritable, although they had been legitimate; and that they might marry strangers out of the realm, and thus endanger the commonwealth.
In looking at the imperfectly developed character of Edward VI., as