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ENRY VIII, the sole surviving fon of the
late king, afcended the throne in the eighHenry VIII. ascends the teenth year of his age, with all the advantages that English such a young prince could enjoy. His kingdom throne.
was free from all domestic troubles; his neighbours courted his friendship; his coffers were full of money; and he fucceeded a prince, whose avarice served as a foil to his liberality : so thac his accelfion to the throne could not but be agreeable to the English nation. His father, with a view to detach him from the consideration of state-affairs, had engaged him in the study of school-learning, and he made considerable progress in the languages theology, and the philosophy of Aristotle. The consciousness of this learning, added to the impetuoficy of a passionate temper, and the contemplation of his own personal accomplishments, which were really extraordinary, inspired him with such a share of self-conceit as laid him open to the penetration and artifice of other potentates. He was frank, open, and oftentatious. His father was not more penurious than he was prodigal ; and what was still more remarkable, the earl of Surrey, who had enjoyed the post of lord high treasurer in the former reign, on account of his resembling the king in parsimony and backwardness to part with money, still maintained his place, by his conformity to the expensive disposition of young Henry; so that he seemed to change his nature with his lovereign.
While preparations were making for the funeral of the deceased king, who was interred with incredible magnificence, the new monarch retired to
the Tower, in order to consult his father's ministers, A. C.250g. about the measures necessary to be taken in the beginning of his reign. The lord Stafford, brother to the duke of Buckingham, was arrested upon fome false information, but soon released, and created earl of Wiltshire. The bishopric of Durham being vacant, by the translation of Christopher Bambridge to the fee of York, the king bestowed it on Thomas Ruthal doctor of law, and member of the privy council. He likewise confirmed an amnesty in favour of his subjects, which his father had granted on his deathbed : tho’ this did not extend to all delinquents ; for, he soon published a proclamation, inviting his people to prefer complaints against those who had oppressed them, on pretence of maintaining the prerogative; and inmediately an infinite number of petitions was presented against Empson and Dudley, who, being examined before the council, were committed to the Tower, as victims devoted to destruction. As Emplon
and Dudley they had sheltered themselves in such a manner, concerned under the shadow of the law, that they could not to death, be condemned for their exactions, they were tried on a frivolous accusation, of a design to rebel against the reigning prince; and received sentence of death for a crime of which they were intirely innocent. Dudley was tried in July at London, and Empson convicted at Northampton in October ; but the sentences were not executed, until the parliament confirmed them by an act of attainder.
The next affair that employed the king's attention, was his marriage with his brother's widow, which he had not yet consummated. Notwithstanding the pope's dispensation, young Henry, at the desire of his father, who had in all probability I aid some scheme for deceiving Ferdinand, no sooner attained to the fourteenth year of his age, NUMB. XLVIII.
A. C. 1509. than he protested in a formal manner against the
consent he had given to this match; though this
mation and execution of that relating to his daughPolyde
ter's second marriage. When the ambassador deVirgil.
livered his memorial on this subject, the council
had power to dispense with the former marriage, and therefore he looked upon this as unnatural incest. His opinion was strongly opposed by Fox bishop of Winchester, who insisted upon the unlimited power vested in the vicar of Jesus Christ, and expatiated upon the conveniencies of the match, as well as upon. the danger of incensing Ferdinand, and the virtues of the princess, who declared she was still a virgin: and referred to the examination of matrons for the truth of her allegations. The king himself espoused the sentiments of Fox; and the archbishop desisting from his opposition, through fear of exasperating
pope Julius II. one of the most enterprising pontiffs Henry con- that had ever filled the papal chair, the council dehis muptials creed, that the marriage should be consummated, with Cathe- though not before the princess should have renounrine of Ap- ced for herself and her heirs, her dower of two
hundred thousand crowns, as a sum belonging to