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but that prince dying, and Henry becoming heir of the throne, his union with Catherine had taken place. They had lived long together, and Catherine had borne a daughter, Mary, who was the natural heir apparent of the English crown. But at length Henry VIII. fell deeply in love with a beautiful young woman, named. Anne Boleyn, a maid of honour in the queen's retinue, and he became extremely desirous to get rid of Queen Catherine, and marry this young lady. For this purpose he applied to the pope, in order to obtain a divorce from the good queen, under pretence of her having been contracted to his elder brother before he was married to her. This, he alleged, seemed to him like marrying his brother's wife, and therefore he desired that the pope would dissolve a marriage, which, as he alleged, gave much pain to his conscience. The truth was, that his conscience would have given him very little disturbance, had he not wanted to marry another, a younger and more beautiful woman.
The pope would have, probably, been willing enough to gratify Henry's desire, at least his predecessors had granted greater favours to men of less consequence; but then Catherine was the sister of Charles V., who was at once emperor of Germany, and king of Spain, and one of the wisest, as well as the most powerful, princes in Christendom. The pope, who depended much on Charles's assistance for checking the Reformation, dared not give him the great offence, which would have been occasioned by encouraging his sister's divorce. His Holiness, therefore, evaded giving a precise answer to the king of England from day to day, week to week, and year to year. But this led to a danger which the pope had not foreseen.
Henry VIII., a hot, fiery, and impatient prince as ever lived, finding that the pope was trifling with him, resolved to shake off his authority entirely. For this purpose he denied the authority of the pope in England, and declared, that he himself was the only head of the English church, and that the bishop of Rome had nothing to do with him, or his dominions. Many of the bishops and clergymen of the English Church adopted the Reformed doctrines, and all disowned the supreme rule, hitherto ascribed to the pope.
But the greatest blow to the papal authority was the dissolution of the monasteries, or religious houses, as they were called. The king seized on the convents, and the lands granted for their endowment, and, distributing the wealth of the convents among the great men of his court, broke up for ever those great establishments, and placed an insurmountable obstacle in the way of the Catholic religion being restored, after the interest of so many persons had been concerned in its being excluded.
The motive of Henry VIII.'s conduct was by no means praiseworthy, but it produced the most important and salutary consequences; as England was for ever afterwards, except during the short reign of his eldest daughter, freed from all dependance upon the pope, and from the superstitious doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion.
Now here, returning to Scottish history, you must understand that one of Henry's principal wishes was to prevail upon his nephew, the young king of Scotland, to make the same alteration of religion in his country, which had been introduced into England. Henry, if we can believe the Scottish historians, made James the most splendid offers, to induce him to follow this course. He proposed to give him the hand of his daughter Mary in marriage, and to create him duke of York; and, with a view to the establishment of a lasting peace between the countries, he earnestly desired a personal meeting with his nephew in the north of England.
There is reason to believe that James was, at one period, somewhat inclined to the Reformed doctrines ; at least, he encouraged a Scottish poet, called Sir David
Lindsay of the Mount, and also the celebrated scholar, George Buchanan, in composing some severe satires against the corruptions of the Roman Catholic religion ; but the king was, notwithstanding, by no means disposed altogether to fall off from the Church of Rome. He dreaded the power of England, and the rough, violent, and boisterous manners of Henry, why disgusted his nephew by the imprudent violence with which he pressed him to imitate his steps. But, in particular, James found the necessity of adhering to the Roman Catholic faith, from the skill, intelligence, and learning of the clergy, which rendered them far more fit to hold offices of state, and to assist him in administering the public business, than the Scottish nobility, who were at once profoundly ignorant, and fierce, arrogant, and ambitious in the highest degree.
The archbishop Beaton, and his nephew David Beaton, who was afterwards made a cardinal, rose high in James's favour; and, no doubt, the influence which they possessed over the king's mind was exerted to prevent his following the example of his uncle Henry in religious affairs.
The same influence might also induce him to seek an alliance with France, rather than with England; for it was natural that the catholic clergy, with whom James advised, should discountenance, by every means in their power, any approaches to an intimate alliance with Henry, the mortal enemy of the Papal Sec. James V. accordingly visited France, and obtained the hand of Magdalen, the daughter of Francis I., with a large portion. Much joy was expressed at the landing of this princess at Leith, and she was received with as great splendour and demonstration of welcome, as the poverty of the country would permit. But the young queen was in a bad state of health, and died within forty days of her marriage.
After the death of this princess, the king, still inclining to the French alliance, married Mary of Guise, daughter of the Duke of Guise, thus connecting himself with a family, proud, ambitious, and attached, in the most bigoted degree, to the catholie cause. This connexion served, no doubt, to increase James's disinclination to any changes in the established church.
But whatever were the sentiments of the sovereign, those of the subjects were gradually tending more and more towards a reformation of religion. Scotland at this time possessed several men of learning who had studied abroad, and had there learned and embraced the doctrines of the great reformer Calvin. They brought with them, on their return, copies of the Holy Scripture, and could give a full account of the controversy between the protestants, as they are now called, and the Roman Catholic church. Many among the Scots, both of higher and lower rank, became converts to the new faith.
The Popish ministers and counsellors of the king ventured to have recourse to violence, in order to counteract these results. Several persons were seized upon, tried before the spiritual courts of the bishop of St. Andrews, and condemned to the flames. The modesty and decency with which these men behaved on their trials, and the patience with which they underwent the tortures of a cruel death, protesting at the same time their belief in the doctrines for which they had been condemned to the stake, made the strongest impression on the beholders, and increased the cofidence of those who had embraced the tenets of the reformers. Stricter and more cruel laws were made against heresy. Even the disputing the power of the pope was punished with death ; yet the reformation seemed to gain ground in proportion to every effort to check it.
The favours which the king extended to the Catholic clergy, led the Scottish nobility to look upon them with jealousy, and increased their inclination towards the Protestant doctrines. The wealth of the abbeys and convents, also, tempted
many of the nobles and gentry, who hoped to have a share of the church lands, in case of these institutions being dissolved, as in England. And although there were, doubtless, good men as well as bad amoug the monks, yet the indolent, and even debauched lives of many of the order, rendered them, generally, odious and contemptible to the common people.
166.-EDWARD VI., AND THE ANNALS OF HIS REIGN.
From the Penny Cyclopredia.' Edward VI., the only son of Henry VIII. who survived him, was born at Hampton Court 12th October, 1537. His mother, queen Jane Seymous'
, died on the twelfth day after giving him birth. The child had three stepmothers in succession after this; but he was probably not much an object of attention with any of them. Sir John Hayward, who has written the history of his life and reign with great fulness, says that he was brought up among nurses until he arrived to the age of six years. He was then committed to the care of Dr. (afterwards Sir Anthony) Cooke, and Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Cheke, the former of whom appears to have undertaken his instruction in philosophy and divinity, the latter in Greek and Latin. The prince made great proficiency under these able masters. Henry VIII. died at his palace at Westminster early in the morning of Friday the 28th of January, 1547; but it is remarkable that no announcemeut of his decease appears to have been made till Monday the 31st, although the parliament met and transacted business on the intervening Saturday. Edward, who was at Hatfield when the event happened, was brought thence in the first instance to the residence of his sister Elizabeth at Enfield, and from that place, on the 31st, to the Tower at London, where he was proclaimed the same day. The council now opened the will of the late king (executed on the 30th of December preceding), by which it was found that he had (according to the powers granted him by the acts 28 Hen. VIII. ch. 7, and 35 Hen. VIII. ch. 1) appointed sixteen persons under the name of executors, to exercise the powers of the government during the minority of his son. One of these, the king's maternal uncle, Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford, was immediately elected by the rest their president, and either received from them in this character, or assumed of his own authority, the titles of governor of his majesty, lord protector of all his realms, and lieutenant-general of all his armies. He was also created duke of Somerset, and soon after took to himself the office of lord high treasurer, and was further honoured by being made earl marshal for life. About the same time his brother, Sir Thomas Seymour, was created Baron Seymour of Sudley, and appointed lord high admiral. The elevation of Somerset had been opposed by the lord chancellor Wriothsley (now earl of Southampton); but the protector in a few weeks got rid of his further interference by taking advantage of an informality into which the earl had fallen in the execution of his office of chancellor, and frightening him into a resignation both of the seals and of his seat in the executive council.
The period of the administration of the protector Somerset forms the first of the two parts into which the reign of Edward VI. divides itself. The character of the protector has been the subject of much controversy ; but opinions have differed rather as to the general estimate that is to be formed of him, or the balance of his merits and defects, than as to the particular qualities, good and bad, by which he was distinguished. It may be said to be admitted on all hauds that he was a brave and able soldier, but certainly with no pretensions in that capacity to a humanity beyond his age; that as a statesman he was averse to measures of severity, and
fond of popular applause, but unstable, easily influenced by appeals either to his vanity or his fears, and without any fertility of resources, or political genius of a high order. It must be admitted also that he was both ambitious and rapacious in no ordinary degree. Add to all this, that with one of the two great parties that divided the country he had the merit, with the other the demerit, of being a patron of the new opinions in religion--and it becomes easy to understand the opposite feelings with which he was regarded in his own time, and the contradictory representations that have been given of him by party writers since.
One of the first acts of his administration was an expedition into Scotland, undertaken with the object of compelling the government of that country to fulfil the treaty entered into with Henry VIII. in 1543 for the marriage of the young queen Mary to Edward. The Scottish forces were signally defeated by the English protector at the battle of Pinkey, fought 10th September, 1547; but the state of politics, as bearing upon his personal interests in England, compelled Somerset to hasten back to the south without securing any of the advantages of his victory. He returned to Scotland in the summer of the following year ; but he wholly failed in attaining any of the objects of the war. The young queen was conveyed to France; and the ascendancy of the French or Catholic party in the Scottish government was confirmed, and continued unbroken during all the rest of the reign of Edward.
Meanwhile great changes were effected in the domestic state of England. The renunciation of the supremacy of the pope, the dissolution of the religious houses, and the qualified allowance of the reading of the Scriptures in English, were the principal alterations in religion that had been made up to the death of the late king. Only a few months before the close of the reign of Henry, protestants as well as catholics had been burned in Smithfield. Under Somerset and the new king measures were immediately taken to establish protestantism as the religion of the state. Even before the meeting of parliament, the practice of reading the service in English was adopted in the royal chapel, and a visitation, appointed by the council, removed the images from the churches throughout the kingdom. Bishops Gardiner of Winchester and Bonner of London, who resisted these measures, were committed to the Fleet. The parliament met in November, whep bills were passed allowing the cup to the laity, giving the nomination of bishops to the king, and enacting that all processes in the ecclesiastical courts should run in the king's name. The statute of the Six Articles, commonly called the Bloody Statute, passed ip 1539, was repealed, along with various other acts of the preceding reign for the regulation of religion. By the parliament of 1548 the use of the Book of Common Pray was established, and all laws prohibiting spiritual persons to marry were declared void. At the same time an act was passed (2 and 3 Ed. VI. c. 19) abolishing the old laws against eating flesh on certain days, but still enforcing the observance of the former practice by new penalties, the king's majesty,' says the preamble, considering that due and godly abstinence is a mean to virtue, and to subdue men's bodies to their soul and spirit, and considering also specially that fishers, and men using the trade of living by fishing in the sea, may thereby the rather be set on work, and that by eating of fish much flesh shall be saved and increased.'
But Somerset's path was now crossed by a new opponent, in the person of his own brother, Lord Seymour. That nobleman, equally ambitious with the protector, but of a much more violent and unscrupulous temper, is supposed to have, very soon after the king's accession, formed the design of disputing the supreme power with his brother. It is said to have been a notice of his intrigues that suddenly recalled Somerset from Scotland after the battle of Pinkey. The crime of Seymour
does not appear to have gone farther than caballing against his brother ; but Somerset contrived to represent it as amounting to high treason. On this charge he was consigned to the Tower: a bill attainting him was brought into the Housu of Lords, and read a first time on the 25th of February, 1549; it was passed unanimously on the 27th. The accused was not heard in his own defence, nor were any witnesses examined against him; the House proceeded simply on the assurance of his brother, and of other members of the council
, that he was guilty. The bill was afterwards passed, with little hesitation, by the House of Commons ; it received the royal assent on the 14th of March ; and on the 20th Lord Seymour was beheaded on Tower-hill, with his last breath solemnly protesting his innocence.
During the summer of this year the kingdom was disturbed by formidable insurrections of the populace in Somerset, Lincoln, Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Devon, Cornwall, and especially in Norfolk, where a tanner of the name of Kett opposed the government at the head of a body of 20,000 followers. The dearness of provisions, the lowness of wages, the enclosure of common fields, and in some place, the abolition of the old religion, with its monasteries where the poor used to be fed, and its numerous ceremonies and holidays that used to gladden labour with so much relaxation and amusement, were the principal topics of the popular clamour. It is worth noticing that the agency of the press was on this occasion employed, probably for the first time, as an instrument of government. Holinshed records that while these wicked commotions and tumults, through the rage of the undiscreet commons, were thus raised in sundry parts of the realm, sundry wholesome and gndly exhortations were published, to advertise them of their duty and to lay before them their heinous offences.' Among them was a tract by Sir John Cheke, entitled “The Hurt of Sedition, how grievous it is to a Commonwealth,' which is a very able and vigorous piece of writing. It was found necessary however to call another force into operation : the insurgents were not put down without much fighting and bloodshed; and many of the rebels were executed after the suppression of the commotions. The institution of lords lieutenants of counties arose out of these disturbances.
A few months after these events brought Somerset's domination to a close. His new enemy, John Dudley, formerly Viscount Lisle, and now Earl of Warwick, the son of that Dudley whose name is infamous in history, for his oppressions in the reign of the seventh Henry, had probably been watching his opportunity, and carefully maturing his designs against the protector, for a long time. It is supposed to have been through his dark and interested counsel that Somerset was chiefly impelled to take the course which he did against his brother ; Warwick's object was to destroy both, and he probably counted that by the admiral's death, and the part which the protector was made to take in it, he both removed one formidable rival, and struck a fatal blow at the character and reputation of another. He himself meanwhile had been industriously accumulating popularity and power. He had greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Pivkey, and in other passages of the Scotch war; and it had been chiefly by him that the late insurrection in Norfolk had been so effectually quelled. The energy which he showed on this occasion was contrasted by the enemies of the protector with what they represented as the feebleness of the latter, who had, they contended, encouraged the insurrection by the hesitation and reluctance which he manifested, on the first threatenings of it, to take the necessary measures for putting it down. The protector had at this time incurred considerable odium by his lavish expenditure (out of the spoils, as it was said, of the church) on his new palace of Somerset House, and certain violations both of public and of private rights of which he was accused of having been guilty