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the match, however, was suddenly interrupted; Norris, Rochford, and Weston were immediately sent to the Tower; and Anne was left in custody at Greenwich, and committed to the Tower on the next day.
The Queen's chief accusers and enemies were, Lady Wingfield, who had made a dying declaration against her; Lady Rochford, her brother's wife, "a detestable woman, whose name never should be forgotten;"* and her aunt, Mrs. Boleyn, who was placed among her attendants in the Tower as a spy. The distress and affliction she had been in ever since her confinement, had impaired her intellect, and now that she was in the Tower, she would sit absorbed in melancholy and despair, and then Tower. suddenly burst forth in immoderate laughter. All the incoherent ravings of her hysterical agitation were reported with atrocious accuracy.†
Anne's behaviour in the
Of all her adherents, Cranmer alone still retained his friendship for her, and although he was banished from court in the early part of the proceedings, he wrote to the King, and endeavoured to moderate the violent prejudices he entertained against her. Anne herself wrote a letter to Henry, full of the tenderest remonstrances, and the warmest protestations of innocence; but he was resolved upon her death. The four commoners were tried, condemned, and executed; and the Queen and her brother were brought before the Duke of Norfolk as lord high steward, convicted by a jury of peers, and condemned to death.
"Few, very few, have, in any age, hesitated to admit" Anne's "innocence." Burnet has proved it in the clearest manner; but Turner, Lingard, and Froude countenance the supposition of her guilt. She had the failings of a vain, weak woman raised suddenly to greatness; she ascended with more eager ambition than feminine delicacy could approve; and her discretion was not sufficient to preserve her steps on that dizzy height. The levities and gaieties of her discourse and behaviour were construed into the slandering of the King's issue. By this detestable and unjust construction, she was declared subject to the penalties enacted by the late statute for the preservation of the succession; and being indicted also under the statute of treasons of Edward III., which made an adulterous Queen guilty of treason, as well as her paramour, was condemned to be burnt.§ She escaped this terrible fate, however, by acknowledging a pre-contract of marriage with Lord Percy, on which Cranmer declared her marriage with
* Mackintosh, II., 198, note. + Ibid, 194.
Hallam's Const. Hist., I., 31.
the King null and void from the first, -a most extraor- Her dinary judgment; for if it were true, then Anne was not with Henry guilty of adultery towards Henry, and her condemnation never to was illegal; the act of succession was null and void, and lawful. all the treasons it created were done away; and if the act was not null, then the judgment itself was treasonable, because it “slandered" the King's marriage with Anne.*
These inconsistencies were of no benefit to the fallen Queen, and she was beheaded on the 19th of May, 1536, on the green within the Tower. While we bestow our greatest admiration on Sir Thomas More, we reserve all our pity for Anne Boleyn. In the execution of these two victims Henry bade defiance to compassion, affection, and veneration, and he "approached as nearly to the ideal standard of perfect wickedness as the infirmities of human nature will allow."+
On the day after this execution Henry married Jane Henry Seymour; a parliament was called, which passed a new act declaring Mary and Elizabeth illegitimate, limited the Seymour. succession to the issue of the new marriage, and in failure thereof, conferred npon the King the extraordinary power of leaving the crown to whom he thought proper. (28 Henry VIII.)
58. The Northern Rebellions. The Pilgrimage of Grace. In consequence of the late suppression of the monasteries, a revolt now broke out in the northern counties, where the ancient Causes religion most retained its ascendant, and the clergy further rebellions. removed from court influence were less disposed to follow the religious caprices of the King. The people lamented the loss of the alms which the monks had doled out to them, and they keenly regretted the ruins of those magnificent edifices, and the spoliation of their richest decorations, which they had regarded as the ornaments of their little neighbourhood, and boasted of as the pride of their village. Every church contained relics, and every parish had its miraculous legends; the offspring, certainly, of superstition, and too often the means of fraud; but yet endearing the parish church, the adjacent convent, and every traditionary spot, to a peasantry who had revered these places from childhood.‡ But that which affected the people most was the sight of the monks themselves driven from their home and land, many of them too old and infirm to support themselves except by begging their bread: all of them bearing the outward marks of goodness, and many of them known to the farmers and labourers of the neighbourhood only by their prayers and their alms. In the
* Lingard, VI., 246, note. + Mackintosh, II., 205.
Mackintosh, II., 213.
general calamity their vices, and the uselessness of their lives, were forgotten by the people, and only the merits of the few remembered.*
Such being the popular feelings, there wanted only an occasion for a general rising. Cromwell soon supplied this.
In the autumn of 1536 he issued an injunction to the clergy, which reduced the number of sacraments from seven to three, viz., baptism, the Lord's Supper, and penance; forbade the extolling of images, relics, or pilgrimages; abrogated a number of saints' days or holydays, especially those which occurred in harvest time; ordered every parish priest to teach and expound to his parishioners, in English, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and directed that every parish church should be provided with both a Latin and English Bible, and the people exhorted to read the same.† These injunctions were too The novel to find immediate favour with the people; but the curtailing of the holidays was the chief cause of discontent. The insurrection first broke out in Lincolnshire, the county where the first visitation of religious houses had taken place. In October, 1536, 20,000 men appeared in arms, headed by one who had assumed the name of Captain Cobbler; their demands were extremely moderate, and were chiefly directed against the upstarts preferred in church and state. This body of insurgents melted away before the end of the month, the more obstinate among them departing to the north, where all the people from the borders of Scotland to the Lune and the Humber had taken up arms, and bound themselves by oath to stand by each other for the love of God and The holy church. Their enterprise was quaintly termed the of Grace. Pilgrimage of Grace, and their banners, carried by priests, were painted with sacred emblems. Wherever they appeared they replaced the ejected monks in the monasteries, and compelled the people to take the oath and join them. The castles of Hull, York, and Pontefract fell into their hands; the Archbishop of York and several northern lords joined them, and, under the command of one Robert Aske, they hastened to obtain possession of Doncaster, where the royal army was posted under Shrewsbury and Norfolk. The latter was unwilling to fight against Catholic opponents, and he therefore proposed an armistice, which the insurgents agreed to, for the purpose of considering terms of a compromise. The revolters demanded that the Princess Mary should be restored to her legitimacy, the Pope to his former jurisdiction, and the monks to their houses; that heretical books Burnet, I., B. III., Records III., No. 7.
Mackintosh. II., 213
should be suppressed, and heretical bishops punished; that Cromwell, Audley, and Rich should be punished as heretics and subverters of the law; that Drs. Lee and Layton, the visitors of the northern monasteries, should be prosecuted for extortion; and that a parliament should be held shortly at Nottingham or York.
Norfolk rejected these demands; but the insurgents increasing in numbers, they were offered an unlimited pardon, and promised that a parliament should be held as they desired, to consider their grievances. This offer was accepted, and the rebels dispersed ; but the King not redeeming his promise, they re-assembled in less than two months in greater numbers than before. But they failed in their attempts against Hull and Carlisle, Robert Aske and most of their leaders were taken and executed, others were hanged by scores at York, Hull, and Carlisle, and when resistance had ceased, tranquillity was restored by a general pardon.*
59. Cardinal Pole. Reginald Pole was employed by Rome to instigate these disturbances. He was the son of Sir Richard Pole by Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, Edward IV.'s brother. He was thus second cousin to the King, and had been patronised and protected by Henry, who allowed him a pension which enabled him to study for many years in the universities of Paris and Padua. The King had offered him the archbishopric of York, but he expected in return that Pole would defend his divorce from Catherine, and his separation from Rome. Pole refused to do this, and he retired to the north of Italy, whence he attacked his kinsman with the greatest bitterness. He spread the infamy of More's execution throughout Europe, and in his work on Ecclesiastical Union, one of the best defences of the Romish church then written, he exposed the baseness and selfishness of Henry's motives.
In 1536 he was made a cardinal by Paul III., appointed legate beyond the Alps, and commissioned to encourage the disturbances in England by all the means in his power. For this purpose he proceeded to Liege, but Henry's influence was too strong for him to remain there in safety; he was proclaimed a traitor, and a price set upon his head; the King of France and the neighbouring princes were hostile to his mission, and he was compelled to return precipitately to Rome (August, 1537).
60. Suppression of the greater monasteries. The northern insurrection, instead of securing the stability, accelerated the ruin of the remaining monasteries. On the charge that the monks of
* Lingard, VI., 254-257; Mackintosh, II., 214-216,
The second visitation of the
the northern counties had encouraged their tenants to join in "the pilgrimage of grace," a second general visitamonasteries. tion of monasteries was made in 1537, and a commission appointed under the Earl of Sussex for the superintendence of the confiscated revenue, under the title of "The Court of Augmentation of the King's Revenue." To prepare the way for these commissioners, the richest shrines and most revered relics were pillaged or destroyed, on the ground that they were scenes of gross imposture, where pretended miracles had long undermined all reverence for religion.* This statement was too often very true; thus, in the abbey of Hales, Gloucestershire, the relic reputed to be the blood which flowed from Christ in his agony in the garden was "honey clarified and coloured with saffron," so Latimer said in a sermon at Paul's Cross; the blood which was said to flow from the relics of St. Thomas à Becket was "made of some red ochre or some such like matter," so wrote Cranmer to Cromwell in 1538; and at Boxley, in Kent, was a famous rood, the figure on which, by the pulling of wires, was made to move its eyes, twitch its nostrils, and make other gestures, as nodding and shaking the head, which might be interpreted into an approbation or rejection of the prayers of its worshippers. The system of imposture connected with these images and relics was thoroughly exposed, by their exhibition at St. Paul's Cross and other places; and at Chelsea large bonfires were made of them amidst the hootings of the people. But the exposure of these deceits of a false religion did not end here—the abominable living of the inmates of the religious houses was equally laid bare.
It must, however, be remembered, that while the disgusting and odious offences with which the monks were charged were not the most unlikely to creep into monastic retreats, and were actually Spirit which imputed to them by the most respectable writers of prethe visitors. ceding ages,t revenue not reformation, plunder not punishment," were the objects which the visitors sought: neither proofs of innocence nor poverty availed to save the smallest house from destruction, and to justify their suppression and disgrace, and desecrate the religious houses in the eyes of the people, the superior and his monks, the tenants, servants, and neighbours, were subjected to a minute and rigorous examination; each was exhorted and commanded to accuse the other, and every groundless tale, every malicious insinuation, was collected and recorded. Some sought favour by blackening themselves, their fellows, and their order; by saying that "the pit of hell was Mackintosh, II., 216. † Mackintosh, II., 217; Lingard, VI., 266. ‡ Lingard, VI., 263