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practices prevent the church, established by Christ, from continuing the constituted depositary of his gospel, and entitled to his promises to her ?
Believe me, Sir, the time is come, when it is for the interests of all protestants and all catholics, who sincerely wish well to their respective religions, to abstain from contention, and to unite in the defence of their common christianity. All my writings, such as they are, have at least the merit of inculcating this salutary truth.
SIR, I HAVE now to consider the chapter in " the “ Book of the Church,” which relates to the reign of Queen Mary. Permit me to offer you some observations, I. On her persecutions of the protestants : - 11. On archbishop Cranmer and bishop Latimer: -III. And on the queen’s general character.
Persecutions of the Protestants in the Reign of Queen
Mary. In your account of the burning of Joan Bocher, in the reign of Edward VI. you mention, that the active part which Cranmer took in it is the saddest page in his history; the only one, which admits of
Permit me to introduce the subject of this letter by asking, -- what excuse you can suggest for the provision for the persecution of the romancatholics, which Cranmer inserted in his “ Code 66 for the Reformation of the Ecclesiastical Laws of
England * ?" By this, a belief of transubstantiation, of the supremacy of the pope, or of justification by faith only, was made heresy ; and it was ordained, that individuals, accused of holding any such heretical opinions, should be arraigned before the spiritual courts; should, on conviction, be there excommunicated ; and, after a respite of sixteen days, should, if they continued obstinate, be delivered to the civil magistrate, to suffer the punishment provided by law. Is it possible to allege any thing in extenuation of these provisions ?-Please to recollect your own admission, that the majority of the nation was at this time attached to the antient faith. In extenuation of Mary's persecutions, it may
* Under the title “ de Hæresibus,” c. 1. 7. 19. 21; and “ de Judiciis contra Hær.” c. 1. 1, 2, 3, 4.
be said, that she did no more than execute, against Cranmer and his associates, the provisions to which he had wished her and her associates to be exposed; so that the flames, in which he was consumed, were those in which he himself had burned the anabaptists, and sought to burn the catholics. It may also be suggested, that Cranmer's sanguinary scheme had not been provoked by any misconduct or intemperance of the catholics; but that the provocations which the protestants had given to Mary, were numerous and irritating. They heaped,” says doctor Lingard, “ on the
her bishops, “ and her religion, every irritating epithet which
language could supply. Her clergy could not “ exercise their functions without danger to their “ lives : a dagger was thrown at one priest in the
pulpit ; a gun was discharged at another; and
several wounds were inflicted on a third, while he “ administered the communion in his church. The “ chief supporters of the treason of Northumber“ land, the most active among the adherents of
“ Wyat, professed the reformed creed: an im
postor was suborned to personate Edward vi.; “ a pretended spirit published denunciations against " the queen, from a hole in a wall ; some congre
gations prayed for her death; tracts, filled with “ libellous and treasonable matter, were transmitted “ from the exiles in Germany*; and successive insur“rections were planned by the fugitives in France.” -“When public prayers,” says Mr. Phillips in his Life of Cardinal Pole, “ were ordered, on the sup
position of the queen's pregnancy, a reformed preacher made use of the form, that it would please God, either to turn her heart from idolatry,
or shorten her days.' A dog's head was shaved “ in contempt of the clerical tonsure; and, by an
impiety, which,” says Mr. Phillips, “I have difficulty to repeat, a wafer was put into a dead “ cat’s paw, in derision of the holy sacrament, and · hung up at Cheapside." .
That these were great provocations, you must admit: You must also admit, that no such
provocations were given by the roman-catholics, either on the accession of Edward, or the accession of Elizabeth. Do the persecutions which I have mentioned justify Mary's persecutions? By no means : I think they would have justified measures of precaution ; but, between wise measures of precaution and persecution, the space is immense.
is immense. You say
* If scurrility and calumny form the merit of a libel, it will be difficult to find any thing to equal these publications. The reader will meet with some samples in Strype, iii. 251, 252. 328. 358. 410. 460.
much in praise of the sanctity of the martyrs in Mary's reign : “ I have,” says doctor Milner, in his twenty-second letter in his “End of Controversy,
" " discussed this matter at some length in .“ “the Letters to a Prebendary;' and have shown, “ in opposition to John Fox and his copyists, that .“ some of these pretended martyrs were alive when “ he wrote the history of their deaths * ; that others “ of them, and the five bishops in particular, so “ far from being saints, were notoriously deficient “ in the duties of subjects and honest men t; that
others again were notorious assassins, as Gardener, “ Flower, and Rough; or robbers, as Debenham,
King, Marsh, Cauchis, Gilbert, Massey, fc.I; “ while not a few of them retracted their errors, as
Bilney, Taylor, Wassalia, and died, to all appearance, catholics."
There appears to be reason to think, that Mary's bishops, in general, did not promote the persecution. Little blame seems imputable to cardinal Pole, or bishop Tunstal; more is chargeable on Gardiner, the bishop of Winchester and chancellor; the greatest part of the odium fell on. Bonner. Doctor Lingard suggests some observations, which render it very probable, that neither Gardiner nor Bonner were quite so guilty as they have been generally represented.
It should not be forgotten, that Alphonsus de Castro, a Spanish friar, and confessor to Phillip, in
See Let iv. on Persecution.