Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

1

person, may as well be prejudicial as serviceable to true religion: for if king Henry VIII. and his son king Edward VI. reformed some abuses by their supremacy, against the inclinations of the majority of the people, we shall find queen Mary making use of the same power to turn things back into their old channel, till she had restored the grossest and most idolatrous part of Popery. This was begun by proclamations and orders of council, till her majesty could procure a parliament that would repeal king Edward's laws for religion, which she quickly found means to accomplish. It is strange indeed, that when there were but seven or eight peers that opposed the laws made in favour of the Reformation under king Edward, the same house of lords should almost all turn Papists in the reign of queen Mary; but as to the commons, it is less wonderful, because they are changeable, and the court took care to new model the magistrates in the cities and corporations before the elections came on, so that not one almost was left that was not a Roman Catholic. Bribery and menaces were made use of in all places; and where they could not carry elec. tions by reason of the superiority of the reformed, the sheriffs made double returns.* It is sad when the religion of a nation is under such a direction! But so it will be when the management of religion falls into the hands of a bigoted prince and ministry.

Queen Mary was a sad example of the truth of this observation, whose reign was no better than one continued scene of calamity. It is the genuine picture of Popery, and should be remembered by all true Protestants with abhorrence; the principles of that religion being such as no man can receive, till he has abjured his senses, renounced his understanding and reason, and put off all the tender compassions of human nature,

King Edward VI. being far gone in a consumption, from a concern for preserving the Reformation, was persuaded to, set aside the succession of his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, and of the queen of Scots, the first and last being Papists, and Elizabeth's blood being tainted by act of parliament; and to settle the crown by will upon lady Jane Grey, eldest daughter of the duke of Suffolk, a lady of extraordinary qualities, zealous for the Reformation, and next in blood

* Burnet's Hist. Res. vol. 2. p. 252.

after the princesses above mentioned. One may guess the sad apprehensions the council were under for the Protestant religion, when they put the king, who was a minor, and not capable of making a will, upon this expedient, and set their hands to the validity of it. The king being dead, queen Jane was proclaimed with the usual solemnities, and an army raised to support her title; but the princess Mary, then at Norfolk, being informed of her brother's death, sent a letter to the council, in which she claims the crown, and charges them, upon their allegiance, to proclaim her in the city of London and elsewhere. The council in return insisted upon her laying aside her claim, and submitting as a good subject to her new sovereign. But Mary, by the encouragement of her friends in the north, resolved to maintain her right; and to make her way more easy, she promised the Suffolk men to make no alteration in religion. This gained her an army, with which she marched towards London; but before she came thither, both the council and citizens of London declared for her: and on the 3d of August she made her public entry without the loss of a drop of blood, four weeks after the death of her brother.

Upon queen Mary's entrance into the Tower she released Bonner,Gardiner, and others, whom she called her prisoners. August 12, her majesty declared in council, “ that though her conscience was settled in matters of religion, yet she was resolved not to compel others, but by the preaching of the word. This was different from her promise to the Suffolk men: she assured them that religion should be left upon the same foot she found it at the death of king Edward, but now she insinuates, that the old religion is to be restored, but without compulsion. Next day there was

tumult at St. Paul's, occasioned by Dr. Bourne, one of the canons of that church, preaching against the late reformation: he spoke in commendation of Bonner, and was going on with severe reflections upon the late king Edward, when the whole audience was in an uproar; some called to pull down the preacher, others throwing stones, and one a dagger, which stuck in the timber of the pulpit. Mr. Rogers and Bradford, two popular preachers for the Reformation, hazarded their lives to save the doctor, and conveyed him in safety to a neighbouring house; for which act of charity they were soon after imprisoned, and then burnt for heresy.

To prevent the like tumults for the future the queen published an inhibition, August 18th, forbidding all preaching without special licence; declaring farther, that she would not compel her subjects to be of her religion, till public order should be taken in it by common assent. Here was another intimation of an approaching storm: “ the subjects were not to be compelled till public order should be taken for it.” And to prevent farther tumults a proclamation was published, for masters of families to oblige their apprentices and servants to frequent their own parish churches on Sundays and holidays, and to keep them at home at other times.

The shutting up all the Protestant pulpits at once awakened the Suffolk men, who, presuming upon their merits and the queen's promise, sent a deputation to court to represent their grievances; but the queen checked them for their insolence: and one of their number, happening to mention her promise, was put in the pillory three days together, and had his ears cut off for defamation. On the 22d of August, Bonner of London, Gardiner of Winchester, Tonstal of Durham, Heath of Worcester, and Day of Chichester, were restored to their bishopricks. Some of the reformers, continuing to preach after the inhibition, were sent for into custody, among whom were Hooper bishop of Gloucester, Coverdale of Exeter, Dr. Taylor of Hadley, Rogers the protomartyr, and several others. Hooper was committed to the Fleet, September 1, no regard being had to his active zeal in asserting the queen's right in his sermon against the title of lady Jane; but so sincerely did this good man follow the light of his conscience, when he could not but see what sad consequences it was like to have. Coverdale of Exeter, being a foreigner, was ordered to keep his house till farther order. Burnet* says he was a Dane, and had afterward leave to retire, But according to Fullert he was born in Yorkshire. Archbishop Cranmer was so silent at Lambeth, that it was thought he would have returned to the old religion; but he was preparing a pro testation against it, which taking air, he was examined, and confessing the fact, he was sent to the Tower, with bishop Latimer, about the 13th of September. The beginning of next month Holgate archbishop of York was

* Burnet's Hist. Ref. vol. 3. p. 221. 239. + Fuller's Worthies, b. 3, p. 198.

committed to the Tower, and Horn dean of Durham, was summoned before the council, but he fled beyond sea.

The storm gathering so thick upon the reformers, above eight hundred of them retired into foreign parts; among whom were five bishops, viz. Poynet of Winchester, who died in exile; Barlow of Bath and Wells, who was superintendant of the congregation at Embden; Scory of Chichester; Coverdale of Exon; and Bale of Ossory; five deans, viz. Dr. Cox, Haddon, Horn, Turner, and Sampson; four archdeacons, and abore fifty doctors of divinity and eminent preachers, among whom were Grindal, Jewel, Sandys, Reynolds, Pilkington, Whitehead, Lever, Nowel, Knox, Rough, Wittingham, Fox, Parkhurst, and others, famous in the reign of queen Elizabeth: besides of noblemen, merchants, tradesmen, artificers, and plebeians, many hundreds. Some fled in disguise, or went over as the servants of foreign Protestants, who having come hither for shelter in king Edward's time, were now required to leave the kingdom ;* among these were Peter Martyr and John a Lasco, with his congregation of Germans. But to prevent too many of the English embarking with them, an order of council was sent to all the ports, that none should be suffered to leave the kingdom without proper passports. The Roman Catholic party, out of their abundant zeal for their religion, outrun the laws, and celebrated mass in divers churches before it was restored by authority;t while the people that favoured the Reformation continued their public devotion with great seriousness and fervency, as foreseeing what was coming upon them ; but the rude multitude came into the churches, insulted their ministers, and ridiculed their worship. The court not only winked at these things, but fined judge Hales (who alone refused to sign the act which transferred the crown to Jane Grey) a thousand pounds sterling, because in bis circuit he ordered the justices of Kent to conform themselves to the laws of king Edward, not yet repealed; upon which that gentleman grew melancholy and drowned himself.

The queen was crowned October 1, 1553, by Gardiner, attended by ten other bishops, all in their mitres, copes, and ' crosiers; and a parliament was summoned to meet the 10th. What methods were used in the elections have been related. On the 31st of October a bill was sent down to the commons for repealing king Edward's laws about religion, which was argued six days, and at length carried. It repeals in general all the late statutes relating to religion, and enacts, " that after the 20th of December next, there should be no other form of divine service but what had been used in the last year of king Henry VIII.” Severe punishments were decreed against such as should interrupt the public service; as should abuse the holy sacrament, or break down altars, crucifixes, or crosses. It was made felony for any number of persons above twelve, to assemble together with an intention to alter the religion established by law. Noyember 3d, archbishop Cranmer, the lord Guilford, lady Jane, and two other sons of the duke of Northumberland, were brought to their trials for high treason, in levying waragainst the queen, and conspiring to set up another in her roon.—They all confessed their indictments, but Cranmer appealed to his judges, how. unwillingly he had set his hand to the exclusion of the queen: these judgments were confirmed by parliament; after which the queen’s intended marriage with Philip of Spain being discovered, the commons sent their speaker, and twenty of their members, humbly to entreat her majesty not to marry a stranger; with which she was so displeased, that upon the 6th of December she dissolved the parliament.

* Strype's Life of Cran. p. 314. + Burnel's Hist. Res. rol. S. p. 225.

The convocation that sat with the parliament was equally devoted to the court. Care had been taken about their elections. In the collection of public acts there are found about a hundred and fifty presentations to livings before the choice of representatives; so that the lower house of convocation was of a piece with the upper, from whence almost all the Protestant bishops were excluded by imprisonment, deprivation or otherwise. Bonner presided as the first bishop of the province of Canterbury. Harpsfield his chaplain preached the sermon on Acts xx. 28, Feed the flock; and Weston dean of Westminster was chosen prolocutor. On the 20th of October it was proposed to the members to subscribe to the doctrine of transubstantiation ; which all complied with but the following six divines, who by their places had a right to sit in convocation; Philpot archdeacon of Winchester; Philips dean of Rochester ; Haddon dean of Exeter; Cheyney archdeacon of Hereford; Aylmer archdeacon of Stow; and Young chanter of St. David's: these disputed upon

« ForrigeFortsett »