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[1549. to disperse, under the Riot Act of the present day, is in nearly the same terms as those of the proclamation given in this statute of Edward VI. The gradual but certain operation of the system of inclosures, in promoting the employment of profitable labour in the place of the old modes of chance subsistence upon uncultivated wastes, produced a disposition to tranquillity far more certain than statutory enactments. The riots for the restoration of the old services and ceremonies of religion were equally appeased by the growing prevalence of the reformed doctrines. The government must have felt itself strong in the support of a majority of the people, when they procured an Act to be passed for all images to be removed from churches, and all missals to be delivered up.* The Statute of Vagabonds was repealed in this parliament, as wholly inoperative from its severity. A statute that made his fellow-man a slave was not likely to be enforced by the English gentleman or yeoman.† A Subsidy was granted; and a General Pardon declared for all offenders, especially those concerned in the late rebellions, with the usual exceptions. But there was one special exception, which is remarkable—an exception of those who had offended in certain heresies and erroneous opinions, namely," that infants ought not to be baptised, and if they be baptised they ought to be re-baptised when they come to lawful age that it is not lawful for a Christian man to bear office or rule in the commonwealth: that no man's law ought to be obeyed: that it is not lawful for a Christian man to take an oath before any judge: that Christ took no bodily substance of our blessed Lady: that sinners after baptism cannot be restored by repentance: that all things be, or ought to be, common and nothing several." These were the alleged doctrines of the Anabaptists, whose sect had been so relentlessly persecuted in 1535. At the time of this Act of General Pardon, there were several such persons in prison. The repeal of the statutes against heretical opinions was not held to exempt them. The most famous instance of the renewed severity against the holders of these opinions is that of Joan Bocher. Her fate is thus recorded in king Edward's Journal: "May 2. Joan Bocher, otherwise called Joan of Kent, was burnt, for holding that Christ was not incarnate of the Virgin Mary; being condemned the year before, but kept in hope of conversion. And the 30th of April, the bishop of London and the bishop of Ely were to persuade her; but she withstood them, and reviled the preacher that preached at her death." The statement of Fox, with reference to the conduct of the young king and Cranmer in determining the fate of this resolved woman, has found a place in almost every history. It is thus presented to us by one of the most unprejudiced of historians: "The execution was delayed for a year by the compassionate scruples of Edward, who refused to sign it [the warrant]. It must be owned with regret that his conscientious hesitation was borne down by the authority and importunity of Cranmer; though the reasons of that prelate rather silenced than satisfied the boy, who, as he set his hand to the warrant, said, with tears in his eyes, to the archbishop, ' If I do wrong, since it was in submission to your authority, you must answer for it to God.'"§ Many statements that the later historians have been accustomed to receive from
* 3 & 4 Ed. VI. c. 10. + See ante, vol. ii. p. 469. § Mackintosh, "History of England," vol. ii. p. 273.
3 & 4 Ed. VI. c. 24.
BURNING OF JOAN BOCHER.
the elder, without the means of disproof-and many which future writers will continue to receive and transmit-rest upon evidence as unsatisfactory as this "stain upon Cranmer's memory, which nothing but his own death could have lightened." * We owe to the sagacity as well as the diligence of antiquarian inquirers of our own time that many apocryphal statements have been exploded, and many historic doubts cleared up. If the allegation against Cranmer that he pressed the execution of the sentence against Joan Bocher be not wholly removed by the following statement, it is perfectly clear that the touching contrast between the king and the archbishop must no longer be related: "Amongst the minutes of the business transacted by the council on the 27th of April, 1550, is the following: 'A warrant to the lord chauncellor to make out a writt to the shireff of London for the execuçon of Johan of Kent, condempned to be burned for certein detestable opinions of heresie.' It appears from these words, that, in conformity with the ordinary legal practice of the period, Joan Bocher was executed upon a writ de hæretico comburendo, addressed to the sheriff of London, and issued out of chancery, upon the authority of a warrant signed, not by the king, but by the council. It would have been contrary to constitutional custom for the king to have signed any such document; it is quite clear, from the entry quoted, that, in point of fact, he did not sign it; and the narrative which the worthy martyrologist was misled into inserting, and Cranmer's difficulty to cause the king to'put to his hand,' and the tears, by which subsequent writers have declared that his submission to the stern pleading of his spiritual father were accompanied, all vanish. That no doubt may remain upon the subject I will add,—I. That it was not customary for the king to attend meetings of the council. II. That whenever the council desired that the king should be consulted or communicated with, an entry was made upon the council-book similar to the following, which occurs on the same day as the preceding: 'It is agreed by the whole counsaill, that the king's majestie should be moved for the restitution of the duke of Somersett unto all his goods, his debts, and his leases yet ungiven.'" The third point in the defence. of Cranmer as to this special charge, is that, on the 27th of April, when the warrant was issued, the archbishop was not present at the council, which was attended by the lord chancellor, and twelve other members. But to believe that either Cranmer, or Ridley, or Latimer were opposed to the execution of Joan Bocher, the anabaptist, or George van Paris, the Arian (who was burnt at the same period), is to imagine that they had reached that enlargement of opinion which belongs to a different state of society. Mr. Hallam has truly said, "Tolerance in religion, it is well known, so unanimously admitted (at least verbally) even by theologians in the present century, was seldom considered as practicable, much less as a matter of right, during the period of the Reformation." But we must bear in mind that intolerance was the very opposite of indifference; and that when we look back upon the errors and crimes, either of catholic or protestant, we must make some allowance for an earnestness that saw only one way to truth.
Hallam, "Constitutional Hist." vol. i. c. 2.
+ This interesting statement is given by Mr. Bruce, in his Preface to an edition of Roger Hutchinson's Works, 1842. "Constitutional Hist." vol i. p. 95.
ARTICLES OF BELIEF. CANON LAW.
There can be nothing more signally illustrative of the difficulties which the earlier Reformers had to contend with, when they departed from the canons and traditions of an infallible Church, than the questions attempted by them to be regulated and settled which yet remain matters of difference amongst zealous and learned Christians. It is no part of our duty to enter upon an examination of these controversial points. But in the sixteenth century, as now, they furnished occasion for heats and animosities which the pious and peaceable would desire to have separated from the religion of love. The forty-two Articles of Belief set forth in the reign of Edward VI., were conceived in a spirit of compromise, which was well calculated to establish a Protestant Church as opposed to a Roman Catholic, by bringing men of opposite opinions upon metaphysical points within its fold. But when the broad distinctions between the old and the new doctrines came to be of less practical importance than the diversity of opinions between Protestants themselves, the Articles, however revised and explained, became stumblingblocks to the conscientious; and went on, from age to age, interrupting that unity of the Anglican Church for which good men ought to pray. Again, the material forms and symbols of the Church were lasting points of fierce dispute. Hooper, one of the more strict Reformers, who had lived much abroad, and who testified to the strength of his general convictions by perishing at the stake in the reign of Mary, very early raised a schism by refusing to be consecrated in the usual episcopal robe; which strictness went forward in a subsequent period, into a fierce contest about the use of the surplice. Questions more affecting the civil interests of society were raised by the statute for appointing commissioners to compile a new body of ecclesiastical laws; the ancient canon law "having not of long time been put in ure [use], nor exercised by the reason of the usurped authority of the bishop of Rome." * A book was compiled by Cranmer, which never became law, but is of authority as pointing to the principles of the first Reformers. The Law of Divorce is one of the most important of the subjects of which this code treats. The proposed law did not regard marriage as indissoluble. Divorce for adultery might be pronounced by the ecclesiastical courts, with liberty to marry again by the party sinned against and not sinning. Divorce was also held lawful in cases of mortal enmities, the desertion of a husband, his lasting cruelty, or his prolonged absence. In our own day it is one of the laudable objects of legislation to carry out some of the principles which were thus promulgated, if the change can be accomplished without making the dissolution of marriage a cloak for licentiousness, or weakening the force of parental duties by making the relations of husband and wife too easy of relaxation. The system of a special act of parliament, in individual cases, to be preceded by an action at law, is the barbarous expedient of a century and a half after the Reformation, which remains a crying disgrace amongst us.
Bonner, the bishop of London, was deprived of his see at the time when Somerset and the council became at mortal variance. He was committed to the Marshalsea, where he was a prisoner during the remainder of Edward's reign. Ridley was subsequently appointed to the bishopric. Gardiner, the bishop of Winchester, who had been a prisoner for some time in the Fleet,
3 & 4 Ed. VI. c. 11.
DEPRIVED BISHOPS. THE PRINCESS MARY.
was released in 1549, and ordered to preach before the king at Paul's Cross. He preached so boldly and offensively that he was committed to the Tower. In 1550 he was examined by the council, and we find Somerset amongst those who were to probe his opinions. The history of these discussions, in which Gardiner conducted himself with his usual spirit and ability, will be found in the ecclesiastical historians. In the end, he was deprived of his bishopric, and was confined in the Tower till the accession of queen Mary. The order of the council for his final imprisonment, in 1551, is not of a magnanimous complexion. It is alleged that he had called his judges "heretics and sacramentarians ;" and it was therefore resolved that he should be removed to a meaner lodging in the Tower; that he should send to no man, and hear from no man; that his books and papers be taken from him; "and that from henceforth he have neither pen, ink, nor paper to write his detestable purposes." It would have been more honourable to the free spirit of Protestantism if Gardiner had been allowed to continue his paper war with Cranmer, without this cowardly suppression of his opinions. He was secluded for four years from all intercourse with the outward world, or the slightest knowledge of passing affairs. Heath, the bishop of Worcester, and Day, the bishop of Chichester, had objected to the removal of altars; and they were committed to prison and deprived. Tonstall, the bishop of Durham, was sent to the Tower upon a charge of misprision of treason. There is some slight justification for these courses. The severities of the government against religious opponents present this difference between the proceedings of the previous and of the subsequent reign-they stopped short of bloodshed. No Roman Catholic was put to death in the time of Edward VI. The offences of the deprived bishops were political offences; and under a more despotic system the penalties of treason would assuredly have fallen upon them. The position of domestic affairs was one of extreme danger and difficulty; and in no point was it more dangerous than in the firm determination of the king's elder sister not to conform to the changes of religion. The inflexible character of Mary presented an embarrassment that could not be grappled with by any ordinary means. An entry in Edward's Journal in 1551, shows how painful and delicate was the position of the youthful king: "March 18th. The lady Mary, my sister, came to me at Westminster, where, after salutations, she was called, with my council, into a chamber; where was declared how long I had suffered her mass, in hope of her reconciliation, and how, now being no hope, which I perceived by her letters, except I saw some short amendments I could not bear it. She answered, that her soul was God's, and her faith she would not change, nor dissemble her opinion with contrary doings. It was said, I constrained not her faith; but willed her not as a king to rule, but as a subject to obey; and that her example might breed too much inconvenience." The entry in the Journal of the next day, shows how Mary was fortified in the bold avowal of her opinions: "The emperor's ambassador came with a short message from his master, of war, if I would not suffer his cousin, the princess, to use her mass." An English ambassador was sent to the emperor to remonstrate against his interference; but Mary relaxed nothing of her determination. Her comptroller, and other officers of her
* See particularly Strype, "Memorials of Cranmer," vol. i. c. 19.
SOMERSET'S SECOND FALL.
household, in August, 1551, were sent to her residence, Copt Hall, in Essex, to forbid her servants hearing mass. They returned, bringing a most characteristic letter from the princess to the king, of which one paragraph will show the tone: "And now I beseech your highness to give me leave to write what I think touching your majesty's letters. In deed they be signed with your own hand; and nevertheless in my opinion not your majesty's in effect; because it is well known (as heretofore I have declared in the presence of your highness) that although, our Lord be praised, your majesty hath far more knowledge and greater gifts than others of your years, yet it is not possible that your highness can at these years be a judge in matters of religion. And, therefore, I take it that the matter in your letter proceedeth from such as do wish those things to take place which be most agreeable to themselves; by whose doings (your majesty not offended) I intend not to rule my conscience.' Four days after this letter had been received by the king, the lord chancellor and two others of the council were sent to Mary; and a full report of their mission is extant. The princess did not abate a jot of her resolution, or of her contempt for the ministers of her brother. She would obey all the king's commandments, her conscience saved; "but rather than she will agree to use any other service than was used at the death of the late king, her father, she would lay her head on a block and suffer death.” † There was a bitter sarcasm in her deportment, mixed with this solemn stedfastness. As the members of the council were leaving her house, she called out of a window, desiring that they would send back her comptroller. "For," said she, "since his departing, I take the accounts myself of my expenses, and learned how many loaves of bread be made of a bushel of wheat; and I wis my father and my mother never brought me up with baking and brewing."
On the 31st of March, 1550, there is this entry in king Edward's Journal, "My lord Somerset was delivered of his bonds, and came to court." On the 10th of April, Somerset was restored to a place in the council. On the 3rd of June, lord Lisle, the son of Warwick, was married at Shene to Ann, the daughter of Somerset; and the king was present at the bridal. And yet, within a few weeks of this alliance, we find that a jealousy of Somerset's influence in public affairs is beginning to manifest itself. In a letter from Richard Whalley to Cecil, dated 26th June, 1550, the writer details a conversation with "my lord of Warwick," in which Warwick "showed most plainly the inward grief of his heart, with not a few tears," at Somerset's proceedings in attempting to procure the release of the bishop of Winchester and lord Arundel; and expressed his suspicion that he desired the same authority as when he was Protector. "And further he said, alas! Mr. Whalley, what meaneth my lord in this wise to discredit himself, and why will he not see his own decay therein? Thinks he to rule and direct the whole council as he will, considering how his late governance is yet misliked? neither is he in that credit and best opinion with the king's majesty, as he believeth, and is by some fondly persuaded." During the early part of June,
* Ellis, First Series, vol. ii. p. 177.
Mr. Tytler gives this letter under the date of 1551. Papers" we find that it is bound up in vol. x. of Edward's amongst papers ranging from February 21 to October 26, 1550.
+ Ibid., p. 182. From the "Calendar of State reign, in its chronological order, The variation is material.