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the persons of the protestants. Bribery of various kinds was freely employed by all parties to secure favorable opinions. Money was given, and emoluments and offices were promised and granted. Thus Dr. Crook, one of Henry's agents in Venice, writes, under date of July 1st, 1530:-“ Albeit, gracious lord, if that I had in time been sufficiently furnished with money --- albeit I have besides this seal [the sealed opinion of the university of Padua) procured unto your highness an hundred and ten subscriptions: - yet it had been nothing in comparison of that, that I might easily and would have done." It is true, that this same agent, in another letter, says : " Upon pain of my head, if the contrary be proved, I never gave any man one halfpenny before I had his conclusion to your highness, without former prayer, or promise of reward for the same." Still, he gave, though generally small sums, a crown or two to an individual, and to convents, etc., more. The emperor of Spain, on the other side, "did reward and fee divines at another rate,” says Burnet. To one who wrote in favor of the validity of the marriage, he gave a benefice worth five hundred ducats a year; to another, a benefice worth six hundred crowns; and to the provincial of the Gray Friars, at Venice, one thousand ducats were offered if he would inhibit all within his province from writing or subscribing for the king.*
* Hist. Ref., vol. 1. pt. 11. bk. 11. No. 33 ; pt. I. p. 180.
That Henry's agents were as ready to bid for influence as were those of Charles and Catharine appears from the bargain made by Dr. Bennet, Henry's agent at Rome, with the cardinal of Ra
This influential old cardinal made a written bargain to help the king, if he would give him a benefice in France, worth six thousand ducats a year, and the very first vacant bishopric in England.* The letter of “ Secretary Knight” to Cardinal Wolsey, dated January 1st, 1527-28, giving an account of the first opening of the king's matter to the pope, shows the same disposition. Knight tells Wolsey, that, perceiving that much depended on the advice of the Cardinal Sanctorum Quatuor, he had desired the cardinal “to be good and favorable with our requests in the king's behalf; and for the better obtaining of our desires, we promised to see unto him with a competent reward.” † And in the first despatch of Wolsey to Sir Gregory Cassali, Henry's ordinary ambassador at Rome, in relation to the divorce, we read: “And because money was like to be the most powerful argument, especially to men impoverished by a captivity (the pope had recently been made a captive by the armies of Charles V.], one thousand ducats were remitted to Venice, to be distributed as the king's affairs required; and he [Cassali) was to make farther promises as he saw cause for it,
* Burnet, vol. 1. pt. 1. bk. 11. p. 243.
which the king would faithfully make good; and in particular, they were to be wanting in nothing that might absolutely engage the Cardinal Dotary to favor the king's business.”
Thus, by means fair or foul, by threats or promises, by money, or by other inducements, the opinions of a very large number of learned canonists and divines, and of most of the principal universities of Christendom, were obtained in support of the view taken by Henry and his councillors of the unlawfulness of his marriage with Catharine, and the invalidity of the papal bull in dispensing with what they called “ the law of God.” And these opinions greatly strengthened the king in the position he had taken, exerted a powerful influence on the nation and on Europe generally, and without doubt encouraged the subsequent bold steps of Henry against the pope. These opinions were laid before the pope, and were enforced by an earnest letter from a large number of English lords, spirit ual and temporal; in which they told his holiness, that " the king's cause was now, in the opinions of the learned men and universities, both in England, France, and Italy, found just; which ought to prevail so far with the pope, that though none moved in it, and notwithstanding any contradiction, he ought to confirm their judgment; especially it touching a king and kingdom to whom he was so much obliged; *** and if the pope would still refuse to do this, they must conclude that they were abandoned by him, and so seek for other remedies. This they most earnestly prayed him to prevent, since they did not desire to go to extremities, till there was no more to be hoped for at his hands." *
* Burnet, vol. I. pt. 1. bk. II. pp. 90, 104; and pt. II. Records, bk. Il. No. 3, also No. 9.
On the 16th of January, 1530-31, there was another session of parliament. At this session all the testimonies of the universities, and the books and opinions of learned men, which had been so carefully collected against the lawfulness of Henry's marriage with Catharine, and the power of the pope to allow the marriage, were presented. The same testimonies were laid before the convocation of the clergy, then in session; and the clergy, Burnet says, “ seemed satisfied that the marriage was unlawful, and that the bull authorizing it was of no force.” † In being thus compliant, the clergy
* Burnet says this letter was signed by the cardinal, Wolsey, the archbishop of Canterbury, Warham, four bishops, two dukes, two marquises, thirteen earls, two viscounts, twenty-three barons, twenty-two abbots, and eleven commoners, most of them being the king's servants. - Vol. 1. pt. 1. bk. 11. p. 192. The letter, with the names of the signers attached, is given, and Clement's reply in full, in Parl. Hist. Eng., III. 68–79.
† “But now the session of parliament came on the 16th of January,
and there the king first brought into the house of lords the determination of the universities, and the books that were written for his cause, by foreigners. After they were read and considered there, the lord chancellor did, on the 20th of March, with twelve lords, both of the spirituality and temporality, go down to the house of commons, and showed them what the universities and learned men beyond sea had written for the divorce, and produced twelve original papers, with the seals of the universities to them, which Sir Briam Tuke took out of his hand, and read openly in the house, translating the Latin into English. Then about an hundred books, written by foreign divines for the divorce, were also showed them ; none of which were read, but put off to another time, it being late. * * * The matter was also brought before the convocation; and they having weighed on both sides, seemed satisfied that the marriage was unlawful, and that the bull was of no force; more not being required at that time." -- Burnet, vol. 1. pt. I. bk. II. pp. 213, 214. .
may have had an eye forward to the evil day which threatened to break upon them, when they would find themselves entirely in the king's hands, and at
A few words will explain this: there had for centuries been going on a fitful, irregular contest between the kings of England and the bishops of Rome respecting their mutual rights. The popes claimed, and gradually succeeded in exercising, a power over the clergy of England, which was considered by energetic monarchs incompatible with the rights of the sovereign and the interests of the people. Against these claims certain laws had been made, from time to time, limiting the power of the pope, and making all recognition of his right to this sovereign power in England punishable by fines, forfeitures, imprisonment, and being put out of the king's protection. These laws were called, in general terms, the “ Statute of Præmunire" and the “ Statute of Provisors." The first of these statutes was passed as early as the days of Edward I., A. D. 1272–1307. It was con