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ders in the most ordinary occurrences of life; but The best apology for the arbitrariness of his the end was public order, and their own good. And government is the disposition of his master, who, if he levied heavy loans and benevolences, and im- relieved by his death from one that “kneeled beposed taxes without the consent of parliament, it fore him for three hours together, to persuade him was to prevent his great designs for the general from his will and appetite,” became daily more feweal from being abandoned before their bene- rocious, tyrannical, and blood-thirsty, affording a ficial results were made manifest.
striking contrast in favour of Wolsey's ascendenIn this spirit have his more zealous admirers en- cy and administration. Had the cardinal had the deavoured to vindicate his conduct, forgetful that inestimable advantage of a sound moral education, the same sort of reasoning would furnish an apo- and, as a consequence, had his ambition been dilogy for the foulest outrages upon the rights of a rected by a spirit more worthy of the true dignity free people that are recorded in history. The best of human nature, his labours might have conferapology that can be offered for the personal vices red incalculable benefits on his country; for he of Wolsey was his lowly origin and defective mo- lived in an age which his enlightened views far ral education, and consequent absence of true dig- outstepped, and which presented an ample and nity of character. To these may be ascribed his fruitful soil for the employment of his various and love of ostentatious pomp, and vindictiveness* in splendid abilities. To him, however, England is his prosperity, his meanness in the reverse of his indebted for the first notion of a vigorous policefortunes, and the absence of the
of a simple and regular administration of justice. High disdain from sense of injured merit,” The superiority of her navy also is much indebtand of the
ed to his sagacity in directing the attention of Hen“ Unconquerable will,
ry VIII. to the “empire of the sea;" and, notwithAnd courage never to submit or yield,” standing his questionable principles of economy, which have flung somewhat of the glory of the
his name should be held in respect as one of the Archangel ruined” over the fall of the haughty
earliest cultivators of our commercial pre-emiStrafford.
In him literature and learned men ever
found a generous and a munificent patron; and * His treatment of sir Amias Paulet, and his allow
the College of Physicians to this day bears testiing his resentment to aid in causing the death of Buck- mony to his well-intentioned zeal in the improveingham, are in themselves examples of the vindictive- ment of medical science, and through it of the ness of Wolsey's temper. But there are others of a
general well-being. still more ignoble cast, such as the unrelenting rigour with which he persecuted the poet-laureate Shelton,
To conclude, had the moral man been less defecfor inditing of some stupid satirical lines on the cardi- tive, Wolsey might have been regarded as a benenal's birth and pompous bearing and his imprisonment factor of his species; as it is, regard to truth of one John Roo, the author of a disguising” enacted by the young lawyers of Gray's Inn, which,
compels us to say, in the words of his biographer though written upwards of twenty years, gave offence
“Here is the end and fall of pride and arru10 Wolsey by its allusion to state affairs.
C R A N MER.
Thomas CRANMER, the first archbishop of Canterbury that “made a defection from the papal chair,” was the son of a gentleman of “ right ancient family*" in Nottinghamshire, and was born in Aslacton, in that county, on the 2d of July, 1489. He received his early education at what we may call the grammar-school of his native village, under a “rude and severe parish clerk, of whom he learned little, and endured much;” a circumstance that may help to explain to us much of the timid flexibility of his character in after-life. At the age of fourteen he was entered of Jesus College, Cambridge, of which he in time became a fellow, and
Strype's Memorials of T. Cranmer, which we have chiefly followed in the text.
where he continued for sixteen years, a laborious student in the learning usually taught in the un. versities, and in the classic and sacred literature, which, by means of the lately invented art of printing, and the zeal of Erasmus, were just then making their way into our schools and colleges. Though he had devoted three years of this course of reading the study of the Scriptures, it should seem that he was not originally intended for the church;
for he is said to have excelled in the more profane accomplishments of a gentleman of that age, such as hunting and hawking; and he forfeited his fellowship by marrying shortly after he had taken his degree of master of arts. The Reformation had not yet received such countenance
in England—where the celibacy of the clergy was, long after its adoption, more or less strictly insisted upon-as to admit of the marriage of an ecclesiastic; nor did Cranmer possess the boldness of temper necessary to him who, unsupported by wealth or family influence, would take the lead in setting established rules and usages at defiance. The death of his wife, however, within a year after his marriage, enabled him to resume his fellowship; he having, in the interim, filled the common lectureship of Magdalen, then Buckingham, college, an office not incompatible with the state of wedlock. From this period he appears to have directed his views towards the church as a profession, encouraged, no doubt, by his deservedly high university reputation. In 1523 he received the degree of doctor in divinity; and soon after was appointed to the theological lectureship of his own college, and examiner of candidates for holy orders. The gentle affability of his manners, his moderation and disinterestedness, and the extent of his erudition, made Cranmer to be universally esteemed by all whom his new offices brought him in contact with ; and he probably might have spent the remainder of his life in the privacy of his col. lege-more congenial with his own retiring and studious disposition than the bustle and excitement of those momentous events which have made him a subject of history—but for one of those accidents which occur in the career of every man who rises eminently above his fellows.
In 1529 the “sweating sickness” having broken out in Cambridge, Cranmer retired to Waltham Abbey in Essex, to the house of a Mr. Cressy, whose sons were his pupils at the university, It happened that the king, Henry VIII., -then returning from a progress which he had made accompanied by Anne Boleyn, soon after the adjournment of the legatine commission on the matter of the divorce to Rome,-at this time spent a night at Waltham. His suite, as usual, was billeted in the different houses in the neighbourhood by the customary authorities; his secretary, Gardiner, and his almoner, Fox, being allotted to Mr. Cressy's residence, where they met Cranmer at supper. The conversation turned upon the then absording topic of public conversation, the king's divorce, and Cranmer was pressed for his opinion. He replied, that it appeared to him the better and speedier mode, both to appease the king's conscience and to compel the pope into acquiescence would be to take the opinion of the learned of Europe on the main question—“Whether a man may marry his brother's wife or no ?" by the authority of the Scriptures and the canon law. If the divines of the several universities throughout Christendom approved of the king's marriage with Catharine, his remorses would of course cease : if, on the other hand, they viewed the matter in the same light with Henry, and declared the marriage null and void, the pope would find it difficult to refuse the solicitation of so great a monarch,
and must needs give judgment in his favour. Henry was delighted with the proposal on its being next day communicated to him, and sent eagerly for Cranmer to come to court, observing, in his usual coarse appositeness of expression, “The man has got the sow by the right ear.” This favourable impression was confirmed by the proofs of good sense and learning which Cranmer gave in his conference with the king on the feasibility of the plan which he had proposed to Waltham, He was commanded to put his arguments in favour of the divorce in writing; appointed one of the royal chaplains ; and placed in the family of Thomas earl of Wiltshire, father of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn. He was now considered a “rising churchman,” and as the probable successor to the influence and grandeur of Wolsey, then in the first stage of his fall.
Having finished his treatise on the divorce, which is mainly directed against the pope's power of granting a dispensation for the marriage of Henry with his brother's widow, Cranmer was employed by the king as the most fitting instrument to carry his own scheme into effect.The opinion of the learned on the main question of the divorce which he had recommended was ordered to be taken under his own inspection. He began his mission at his own university, but met with indifferent success, chiefly, according to Burnet, because his Lutheran bias was there best known: “besides that, Anne Boleyn had, in the duchess of Alençon's court (who inclined to the reformation), received such impressions as made them fear that her , satness and Cranmer's preferment would encourage heresy, to which the universities were furiously averse; and therefore
; they did resist all conclusions that might promote the divorce.” He, however, met with better success in his consultations with the divines of France, Italy, and Germany, a majority of whom, by the force of his arguments and of those of the other agents in the embassy, and not improbably by bribes and promises when fair means would not avail, was induced to give an opinion favourable to the king's wishes.
Armed thus with the authority of the most learned men of the age, Henry sought the papal sanction for his intended divorce. The earl of Wiltshire, attended by Cranmer and a council of divines, was deputed to lay before the “Holy Father” the opinion of the chief universities of Europe in his master's favour, and to present to him a letter from the principal English nobility, recommending their sovereign's cause to his friendly decision, and threatening him with the loss of the allegiance of England to the sec of Rome in the event of his refusal. At the same time Cranmer had his treatise against the validity of the marriage with Catharine presented to the pontiff, and offered to maintain its tenets, by fair argument, openly before the papal council against all comers; a proof of his zeal and boldness, to
which he was mainly indebted for his promotion proof of his conviction of the scriptural validity of soon afterwards to the see of Canterbury.
the religious tenets and practices of the reformers Nothing could be more inopportune, both as to been one less involving his personal gratification. time and place, to Clement than this embassy. As a catholic clergyman,-he was archdeacon of He had just been with the emperor at Bologna, Taunton,-he was bound by a vow of celibacy; successfully treating for the restoration of those and though the study of the gospel soon taught possessions, part of the patrimony of St. Peter, him that this obligation was unwarranted, as being which had been held by the imperial troops since unscriptural, he should not have violated it withthe memorable sack of Rome. Fear as well as
out an explicit renouncement of all allegiance to policy forbade his exciting the anger of Charles, the see of Rome. But the permission to marry whose pride made him indignantly hostile to the
seems to have been the great lure to many of the intended outrage upon the honour of his family.
clergy at this time to adopt the principles of the On the other hand, he was well disposed towards reformation, and to have been eagerly embraced Henry; and but for his terror of the emperor's by them as a compensation for the loss of their arms, would gladly have adopted any expedient
extravagant wealth and privileges. Cranmer that might relieve both from their anxiety and married a kinswoman of his friend Osiander ; an embarrassments. As it was, he received the am- act of rebellion to the papal jurisdiction, which, bassadors most graciously, and promised to act as being unavowed, exposed him in the sequel to favourably in their master's affair as his conscience
many unworthy shifts and equivocations. The first would permit
. Cranmer he complimented by of these was consequent upon his consecration as appointing him his penitentiary for England and
archbishop of Canterbury. Ireland. The ambassadors next proceeded to ex- While Cranmer was advocating the king's plain their business personally to the emperor, but divorce to the German divines, and fitting himselt were still more unsuccessful.
to be the guardian of the reformation in his native burst forth at the sight of the father of her whom
country, it was notified to him that the judgment he conceived to be the immediate cause of his or the partiality of his sovereign had appointed aunt's intended degradation. To Cranmer alone him to the metropolitan see of England, then vacant would he pay the least attention, haughtily impos- by the death of archbishop Warham. Many ing silence on the earl of Wiltshire. ' Stop, sir,”
circumstances united in recommending him thus said he ; " allow your colleagues to speak ;-you signally to the favour of Henry ; none, perhaps, are a party in the cause.” Through his threats
more influentially than his zeal and boldness in and influence, Clement soon after issued an inbi
maintaining the royal cause at Rome and in the bitory brief on the whole proceedings ; the proxi- continental universities, and the friendship of Anne mate occasion, as the reader is aware, of the over- Boleyn and her family. The first announcement, throw of the papal supremacy in England. however, of his new dignity alarmed more than it
Cranmer did not return to England with the gratified him. By his marriage he had, to all inearl of Wiltshire, but proceeded to Germany, tents and purposes, rebelled against the pope's auwhere he resided for nearly two years, endeavour- thority; and yet, as the king had not yet determined ing to convince the Lutheran divines of the nullity on severing for ever the English connection with of the king's marriage with his brother's widow;
Rome, as archbishop of Canterbury, he should and conducting embassies with the elector of
solicit the usual bulls of consecration, and take the Saxony and other protestant princes. But he seems usual oath of canonical obedience to the chair of to have made but a slight impression on those St. Peter; acts, moreover, implying an observance theologians ; chiefly, it is said, because they had of his vow of celibacy. He hesitated : he perhaps strong doubts of the purity of Henry's motives, resolved upon declining the proffered honour. and of the sincerity of his alleged scruples. They,
“ He would be great; however, were more successful in imbuing him
Was not without ambition ; but without with their principles of religion, and in preparing The illness should attend it. What he would highly, him for the sacred office of head of the protestant
That would be holily." church of England. Though a spark of the flame He knew that to announce his marriage to Henry which Luther and the other reformers had kindled would be fatal to his election ; for that monarch in Saxony and Switzerland had reached him in continued till his last breath to enforce the obhis cloister at Cambridge, prompting him to make servance of clerical celibacy with the stake and the Holy Volume the standard and the source, the halter. On the other hand, rebel as he was in beginning and the end, of his faith ; it was to his heart and deed to the usurped authority of the conferences at this time with the German divines, bishops of Rome, how could he reconcile it to his particularly Osiander and Bucer, that he was in- conscience to swear canonical obedience to that debted (not at once, but by degrees,) for a rule of authority, and thereby proclaim either the nullity belief, scriptural in its basis, ånd unalloyed by of his marriage or the violation of his vow? In papal superstition.
this dilemma he had recourse to an artifice, which, The reputation of Cranmer would have been as bishop Burnet justly remarks, “agreed better more pure and unquestioned, had the first decided with the maxims of canonists and casuists than VOL. III.--7
with Cranmer's sincerity and integrity ;" namely, former illegitimate, and that of the latter, as a a protest made in the Chapter House of St. Stephen, matter of course, to be lawfully begotton in wedbefore four “authentica persona, el testibus fide lock. A convocation was then sitting upon the dignis," before consecration,-in the absence and two main questions involved in the intended diwithout the knowledge of the party most interested, vorce. Cranmer took his seat as head of the ec--that he did not intend, by his oath to the pope, clesiastical body in England, and demanded the “ to restrain himself from any thing to which he votes. The result was favourable to the king by was bound by his duty to God or the king, or large majorities. The archbishop then craved from taking any part in any reformation of the the royal permission to examine and determine the English church which he might judge to be re- great cause of the divorce; stating that his conquired.” Having, in an inner apartment, made this science impelled him to the step, to avoid the evils protestation, he was publicly consecrated, took
of a scandalous marriage, and of a consequently the oath of canonical obedience, and received the doubtful succession. Herry, with farcical solempapal pallium. The title of archbishop of Canter- nity, made a virtue of acceding to the request; at bury was changed, after Henry had assumed to
the same time reminding the primate that he was himself the ecclesiastical supremacy, to that of nothing more than the principal minister belonging primate and metropolitan of all England.
to the spiritual jurisdiction of the crown, and that It is not necessary to dwell upon the moral the sovereign had no superior on earth, and was character of this transaction. If such a protest be not subject to the laws of any earthly creature. invested with any validity, oaths cease to bind, The subsequent proceedings, as narrated by our and truth and sincerity in the affairs of life are no historians, are well known. We shall, therefore, longer attainable. It cannot be alleged, in palli- merely quote Cranmer's own account of them, in ation of this first deviation from the strict path or a letter (published by Mr. Ellis in the first series rectitude, that it was the unavoidable result of of his historical collection), to the English ambascircumstances ; for Cranmer was not, and could sador at the court of Charles, which, besides benot, be forced into the archiepiscopal chair ; and
ing less known to the general reader, contains other therefore voluntarily entailed upon himself all the interesting particulars. moral consequences of his elevation. The truth
After some prefatory complimentary remarks, is, want of firmness was the “vicious mole” in
he goes on :-“And fyrste as towchyng the small Cranmer's character. He was from nature vir
determynacion and concludyng of the matter of tuously inclined and candid ; but he would be
devorse betwene my lady Kateren and the kyngs great, and could not resist the opportunity. Such
grace, whyche said matter after the convocacion conduct produced its inevitable results: it destroy- in that behalf hadde determyned, and agreed aced that consciousness of inflexible dignity of pur- cordyng to the former consent of the vniversities, pose which is at once the offspring and the safe
yt was thought convenient by the kyng and his guard of moral integrity. Cranmer felt that he
learnyd councell that I shoulde repayre unto Duncould not stand erect in the independence of an
stable, whyche ys within iïj myles vnto Amptell, uncompromising spirit before his sovereign, and
where the said lady Kateren kepeth her howse, was thereby reduced into an unworthy compliance and there to call her before me, to hear the fynall with all the caprices and vicious mandates of that
sentence in this said mateir. Notwithstanding she sovereign's will. Hence the equivocations and
would not att all obey thereunto, for whan she was shifts, and even persecutions, in which he was
by doctour Lee cited to appear by a daye, she utmade most unwillingly instrumental during the
terly refused the same, sayinge that inasmoche as remainder of Henry's reign. And thus
her cause was before the pope she would have none 66 The stamp of one defect
other judge ; and therefore would not take me for Being nature's livery, or fortune's star His virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
her judge. Nevertheless the vith day of Maye, As infinite as man may undergo).
according to the said appoyntment, I came vnto
I Shall, in the general censure, take corruption, Dunstable, my lorde of Lyncolne beying assistante From that particular fault.”
vnto me, and my lorde of Wyncehester, &c. with Henry had, at the instigation of Cromwell, on diuerse other lernyd in the lawe beying councilthe failure of his hopes of obtaining the papal lours in the lawe for the king's parte: and soe sanction for his divorce, renounced all allegiance these at our commyng kept a courte for the apto the see of Rome, and consticuted himself su
perance of the said lady Kateren, when were expreme head of the church of England. It was, amyned certeyn witnes whyche testified that she therefore, truly gratifying to him to possess a pri- was lawfully cited and called to appere, whome mate so much after his own heart-so far as re- for fawte of apperance was declared contumax; nouncing the pontifical authority was concerned procedyng in the said cause agaynste her in pænam --as Cranmer. He now resolved to make the
contumacium, as the processe of the lawe thereune new archbishop, in virtue of his ecclesiastical of- to belongeth ; whyche contynewed xv dages after fice, pronounce the marriage of Catharine null, our cummyng thither. And the morrow after Asand that which he had lately concluded in private sension daye I gave finall sentence therein, howe with Anne Boleyn valid; and the issue of the that it was indispensable for the pope to lycense
any such marieges.” The archbishop next proceeds to give an account of queen Anne's coronation, but at too great length for our pages. With respect to his having been present at her marriage, which Mr. Hume, on the authority of lord Herbert, erroneously asserts, he says, “But nowe, sir, you may nott ymagyn that this coronacion was before her mariege ; for she was maried muche about Sainte Paule's daye last, as the condicion thereof dothe well appere by reason she ys nowe sumwhat bygg with chylde. Notwithstanding yt hath byn reported thorowyte a greate parte of the realme that I maried her; whyche was playnly false, for I myself knewe not thereof a fortenyght after yt was donne.”
The remainder of this letter is curious, as showing the cool indifference with which a constitutionally humane man of the 16th century consigns to the stake his fellow-creatures for doctrines which, it is to be hoped for the honour of human nature, he then did not believe, but for the denial of which he in the next reign doomed others to the same horrible punishment. “Other newyes have we none notable,” he says, “but that one Fryth, whyche was in the Tower in pryson, was appointed by the kyng's grace to be examyned before me, my lordes of London, Wynchester, and Suffolk, my lord chancellour, and my lorde of Wylteshere, whose opynion was so notably erroniouse, that we culde not dyspache hym, but was fayne to leve hym to the determynacion of his ordinarye, whyche ys the bishop of London. His said opynyon ys of suche nature that he thoughte it nat necessary to be beleued as an article of our faythe, that there ys the very corporall presence of Christe within the oste and sacramente of the alter, and holdeth of this poynte muste (much) after the opynion of Oecolampodious. And suerly I myself sent for hym iij or iiij times, to persuade him to leve that his imaginacion, but for all that we coulde do therein he woulde not applye to any counsaile, notwithstandying nowe he ys at a fynale ende with all examinacions; for my lorde of London hathe gyven sentance, and delyuered hym to the secular power, where he looketh euery daye to goo unto the fyre. And there is also condempned with hym one Andrew, a taylour, for the self same opynion.” The reader, perhaps, need not be reminded that both these unfortunate men went “ unto the fyre.”
Henry had now been three years wedded to Anne Boleyn, with as much of domestic felicity as his brutal nature could permit his enjoying. During that time the “new learning'' (as the reformation doctrines were then designated) had been silently diffusing itself, chiefly by means of the influence indirectly exercised in its favour, at the instigation of Cranmer and Latimer, by the young queen. Cranmer had been an inmate of the family of the earl of Wiltshire, and had there an opportunity of acquainting himself with Ann Boleyn's virtues and disposition, and of strengthening the
predilection for the Lutheran doctrines which she had early acquired from the celebrated Margaret de Valois. In annulling the king's former marriage, and pronouncing the validity of his present, the archbishop felt he was advancing the cause of the reformation. But Henry had now conceived a new passion; his affections for Anne had been effaced by the charms of Jane Seymour: the former, therefore, must be got rid of, to make way on the throne for her rival. A trial took place, and, as a matter of course in this reign of base obsequiousness to the most cruelly selfish of tyrants, guilty or innocent, conviction and execution soon followed.
Cranmer had been staying at the archiepiscopal palace at Croydon when Anne was arrested. The next day he received the royal mandate to repair immediately to Lambeth, with an injunction not to approach the presence till he was expressly desired. The message produced the effect for which it was intended : it intimidated him, and thereby rendered him the more pliant instrument of the king's pleasure. A letter which he addressed to Henry the day after his being commanded to confine himself to his palace will best explain his conduct and feelings. We shall give it entire, as an elaborate painting of his mind, and because it has been the subject of much contrariety of opinion : those who admire his character appealing to it as a proof of his chivalrous fidelity and courage; those who do not, as a striking testimony of his timeserving timidity, Probably the reader will arrive at the conclusion that it neither deserves all the praises of the one, nor all the censures of the other; and that its chief merit is its cautious ingenuity. We quote from Burnet.
“Pleaseth it your most noble grace to be advertised, that at your grace's commandment by Mr. secretary's letters, written in your grace's name, I came to Lambeth yesterday, and do there remain to know your grace's farther pleasure. And forasmuch as, without your grace's commandment, I dare not, contrary to the contents of the said let. ters, presume to come unto your grace's presence, nevertheless, of my most bounden duty, I can do no less than most humbly to desire your grace, by your great wisdom, and by the assistance of God's help, somewhat to suppress the deep sorrow of your grace's heart, and to take all adversities of God's hand both patiently and thankfully. I cannot deny but your grace hath great causes, many ways, of lamentable heaviness; and also that, in the wrongful estimation of the world, your grace's honour of every part is highly touched (whether the things that commonly be spoken of be true or not), that I remember not that ever Almighty God sent unto your grace any like occasion to try your grace's constancy throughout, whether your highness can be content to take of God's hand as well things displeasant as pleasant. And if he find in your most noble heart such an obedience unto his will, that your grace, without murmuration and