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which he was mainly indebted for his promotion soon afterwards to the see of Canterbury.
Nothing could be more inopportune, both as to time and place, to Clement than this embassy. He had just been with the emperor at Bologna, successfully treating for the restoration of those possessions, part of the patrimony of St. Peter, which had been held by the imperial troops since the memorable sack of Rome. Fear as well as policy forbade his exciting the anger of Charles, whose pride made him indignantly hostile to the intended outrage upon the honour of his family. On the other hand, he was well disposed towards Henry; and but for his terror of the emperor's arms, would gladly have adopted any expedient that might relieve both from their anxiety and embarrassments. As it was, he received the ambassadors most graciously, and promised to act as favourably in their master's affair as his conscience would permit. Cranmer he complimented by appointing him his penitentiary for England and Ireland. The ambassadors next proceeded to explain their business personally to the emperor, but were still more unsuccessful.
Charles's anger burst forth at the sight of the father of her whom he conceived to be the immediate cause of his aunt's intended degradation. To Cranmer alone would he pay the least attention, haughtily imposing silence on the earl of Wiltshire. Stop, sir,” said he ; " allow your colleagues to speak ;-you are a party in the cause.” Through his threats and influence, Clement soon after issued an inhibitory brief on the whole proceedings ; the proximate occasion, as the reader is aware, of the overthrow of the papal supremacy in England.
Cranmer did not return to England with the earl of Wiltshire, but proceeded to Germany, where he resided for nearly two years, endeavouring to convince the Lutheran divines of the nullity of the king's marriage with his brother's widow; and conducting embassies with the elector of Saxony and other protestant princos. But he seems to have made but a slight impression on those theologians; chiefly, it is said, because they had strong doubts of the purity of Henry's motives, and of the sincerity of his alleged scruples. They, however, were more successful in imbuing him with their principles of religion, and in preparing him for the sacred office of head of the protestant church of England. Though a spark of the flame which Luther and the other reformers had kindled in Saxony and Switzerland had reached him in his cloister at Cambridge, prompting him to make the Holy Volume the standard and the source, the beginning and the end, of his faith ; it was to his conferences at this time with the German divines, particularly Osiander and Bucer, that he was indebted (not at once, but by degrees,) for a rule of belief, scriptural in its basis, and unalloyed by papal superstition.
The reputation of Cranmer would have been more pure and unquestioned, had the first decided
proof of his conviction of the scriptural validity at the religious tenets and practices of the reformers been one less involving his personal gratification. As a catholic clergyman,--he was archdeacon of Taunton, „he was bound by a vow of celibacy; and though the study of the gospel soon taught him that this obligation was unwarranted, as being unscriptural, he should not have violated it without an explicit renouncement of all allegiance to the see of Rome. But the permission to marry seems to have been the great lure to many of the clergy at this time to adopt the principles of the reformation, and to have been eagerly embraced by them as a compensation for the loss of their extravagant wealth and privileges. Cranmer married a kinswoman of his friend Osiander ; an act of rebellion to the papal jurisdiction, which, being unavowed, exposed him in the sequel to many unworthy shifts and equivocations. The first of these was consequent upon his consecration as archbishop of Canterbury.
While Cranmer was advocating the king's divorce to the German divines, and fitting himselt to be the guardian of the reformation in his nativo country, it was notified to him that the judgment or the partiality of his sovereign had appointed him to the metropolitan see of England, then vacant by the death of archbishop Warham. Many circumstances united in recommending him thus signally to the favour of Henry ; none, perhaps, more influentially than his zeal and boldness in maintaining the royal cause at Rome and in the continental universities, and the friendship of Anne Boleyn and her family. The first announcement, however, of his new dignity alarmed more than it gratified him. By his marriage he had, to all intents and purposes, rebelled against the pope's authority; and yet, as the king had not yet determined on severing for ever the English connection with Rome, as archbishop of Canterbury, he should solicit the usual bulls of consecration, and take the usual oath of canonical obedience to the chair of St. Peter; acts, moreover, implying an observance of his vow of celibacy. He hesitated : he perhaps resolved upon declining the proffered honour.
-" He would be great; Was not without ambition ; but without The illness should attend it. What he would highly,
T'hat would be holily.” He knew that to announce his marriage to Henry would be fatal to his election ; for that monarch continued till his last breath to enforce the observance of clerical celibacy with the stake and halter. On the other hand, rebel as he was in heart and deed to the usurped authority of the bishops of Rome, how could he reconcile it to his conscience to swear canonical obedience to that authority, and thereby proclaim either the nullity of his marriage or the violation of his vow? In this dilemma he had recourse to an artifice, which, as bishop Burnet justly remarks, "agreed better with the maxims of canonists and casuists than
with Cranmer's sincerity and integrity ;" namely, a protest made in the Chapter House of St. Stephen, before four “authentica persona, et testibus fide diynis,” before consecration,-in the absence and without the knowledge of the party most interested, --that he did not intend, by his oath to the pope,
to restrain himself from any thing to which he was bound by his duty to God or the king, or from taking any part in any reformation of the English church which he might judge to be required.” Having, in an inner apartment, made this protestation, he was publicly consecrated, took the oath of canonical obedience, and received the papal pallium. The title of archbishop of Canterbury was changed, after Henry had assumed to himself the ecclesiastical supremacy, to that of primate and metropolitan of all England.
It is not necessary to dwell upon the moral character of this transaction. If such a protest be invested with any validity, oaths cease to bind, and truth and sincerity in the affairs of life are no longer attainable. It cannot be alleged, in palliation of this first deviation from the strict path or rectitude, that it was the unavoidable result of circumstances; for Cranmer was not, and could not, be forced into the archiepiscopal chair ; and therefore voluntarily entailed upon himself all the moral consequences of his elevation. The truth is, want of firmness was the “vicious mole” in Cranmer's character. He was from nature virluously inclined and candid ; but he would be great, and could not resist the opportunity. Such conduct produced its inevitable results: it destroyed that consciousness of inflexible dignity of purpose which is at once the offspring and the safeguard of moral integrity. Cranmer felt that he could not stand erect in the independence of an uncompromising spirit before his sovereign, and was thereby reduced into an unworthy compliance with all the caprices and vicious mandates of that sovereign's will. Hence the equivocations and shifts, and even persecutions, in which he was made most unwillingly instrumental during the remainder of Henry's reign. And thus
... The stamp of one defect -
From that particular fault.” Henry had, at the instigation of Cromwell, on the failure of his hopes of obtaining the papal sanction for his divorce, renounced all allegiance to the see of Rome, and consticuted himself supreme head of the church of England. It was, therefore, truly gratifying to him to possess a primate so much after his own heart—so far as renouncing the pontifical authority was concerned mas Cranmer. He now resolved to make the new archbishop, in virtue of his ecclesiastical of fice, pronounce the marriage of Catharine null, and that which he had lately concluded in private with Anne Boleyn valid; and the issue of the
former illegitimate, and that of the latter, as & matter of course, to be lawfully begotton in wedlock. A convocation was then sitting upon the two main questions involved in the intended divorce. Cranmer took his seat as head of the ecclesiastical body in England, and demanded the votes. The result was favourable to the king by large majorities. The archbishop then craved the royal permission to examine and determine the great cause of the divorce; stating that his conscience impelled him to the step, to avoid the evils of a scandalous marriage, and of a consequently doubtful succession. Henry, with farcical solemnity, made a virtue of acceding to the request ; at the same time reminding the primate that he was nothing more than the principal minister belonging to the spiritual jurisdiction of the crown, and that the sovereign had no superior on earth, and was not subject to the laws of any earthly creature. The subsequent proceedings, as narrated by our historians, are well known. We shall, therefore, merely quote Cranmer's own account of them, in a letter (published by Mr. Ellis in the first series of his historical collection), to the English ambagsador at the court of Charles, which, besides being less known to the general reader, contains other interesting particulars.
After some prefatory complimentary remarks, he goes on :-“And fyrste as towchyng the small determynacion and concludyng of the matter of devorse betwene my lady Kateren and the kyngs grace, whyche said matter after the convocacion in that behalf hadde determyned, and agreed accordyng to the former consent of the vniversities, yt was thought convenient by the kyng and his learnyd councell that I shoulde repayre unto Dunstable, whyche ys within iiij myles vnto Amptell, where the said lady Kateren kepeth her howse, and there to call her before me, to hear the fynall sentence in this said mateir. Notwithstanding she would not att all obey thereunto, for whan she was by doctour Lee cited to appear by a daye, she utterly refused the same, sayinge that inasmoche as her cause was before the pope she would have done other judge ; and therefore would not take me for her judge. Nevertheless the vinth day of Maye, according to the said appoyntment, I came vnto Dunstable, my lorde of Lyncolne beying assistante vnto me, and my lorde of Wyncehester, &c. with diuerse other lernyd in the lawe beying council. lours in the lawe for the king's parte: and soe these at our commyng kept a courte for the apperance of the said lady Kateren, when were examyned certeyn witnes whyche testified that she was lawfully cited and called to appere, whome for fawte of apperance was declared contumax ; procedyng in the said cause agaynste her in pænam contumacium, as the processe of the lawe thereunto belongeth; whyche contynewed xv dayes after our cummyng thither. And the morrow after As. sension daye I gave finall sentence therein, howe that it was indispensable for the pope to lycense
any such marieges.” The archbishop next pro predilection for the Lutheran doctrines which she ceeds to give an account of queen Anne's corona had early acquired from the celebrated Margaret tion, but at too great length for our pages. With de Valois. In annulling the king's former marrespect to his having been present at her marriage, riage, and pronouncing the validity of his present, which Mr. Hume, on the authority of lord Her the archbishop felt he was advancing the cause of bert, erroneously asserts, he says, “But nowe, sir, the reformation. But Henry had now conceived you may nott ymagyn that this coronacion was bo a new passion; his affections for Anne had been fore her mariege ; for she was maried muche effaced by the charms of Jane Seymour: the forabout Sainte Paule's daye last, as the condicion mer, therefore, must be got rid of, to make way on thereof dothe well appere by reason she ys nowe the throne for her rival. A trial took place, and, sumwhat bygg with chylde. Notwithstanding yt as a matter of course in this reign of base obsequihath byn reported thorowyte a greate parte of the ousness to the most cruelly selfish of tyrants, realme that I maried her; whyche was playnly guilty or innocent, conviction and execution soon false, for I myself knewe not thereof a fortenyght followed. after yt was donne.”
Cranmer had been staying at the archiepiscopal The remainder of this letter is curious, as show palace at Croydon when Anne was arrested. The ing the cool indifference with which a constitution next day he received the royal mandate to repair ally humane man of the 16th century consigns to immediately to Lambeth, with an injunction not the stake his fellow-creatures for doctrines which, to approach the presence till he was expressly deit is to be hoped for the honour of human nature, sired. The message produced the effect for which he then did not believe, but for the denial of which it was intended : it intimidated him, and thereby he in the next rcign doomed others to the same rendered him the more pliant instrument of the horrible punishment. “Other newyes have we king's pleasure. A letter which he addressed to none notable,” he says, “ but that one Fryth, Henry the day after his being commanded to conwhyche was in the Tower in pryson, was ap fine himself to his palace will best explain his conpointed by the kyng's grace to be examyned before duct and feelings. We shall give it entire, as an me, my lordes of London, Wynchester, and Suf elaborate painting of his mind, and because it has folk, my lord chancellour, and my lorde of Wylte been the subject of much contrariety of opinion : shere, whose opynion was so notably erroniouse, those who admire his character appealing to it as that we culde not dyspache hym, but was fayne to a proof of his chivalrous fidelity and courage; those leve hym to the determynacion of his ordinarye, who do not, as a striking testimony of his timewhyche ys the bishop of London. His said opyn serving timidity, Probably the reader will arrive yon ys of suche nature that he thoughte it nat ne at the conclusion that it neither deserves all the cessary to be belcued as an article of our faythe, praises of the one, nor all the censures of the that there ys the very corporall presence of Christe other; and that its chief merit is its cautious ingewithin the oste and sacramente of the alter, and nuity. We quote from Burnet. holdeth of this poynte muste (much) after the “Pleaseth it your most noble grace to be adveropynion of Oecolampodious. And suerly I my tised, that at your grace's commandment by Mr. self sent for hym iij or iiij times, to persuade him secretary's letters, written in your grace's name, I to leve that his imaginacion, but for all that we came to Lambeth yesterday, and do there remain coulde do therein he woulde not applye to any to know your grace's farther pleasure. And forcounsaile, notwithstandying nowe he ys at a fynale asmuch as, without your grace's commandment, I ende with all examinacions ; for my lorde of Lon dare not, contrary to the
contents of the said let. don hathe gyven sentance, and delyuered hym to ters, presume to come unto your grace's presence, the secular power, where he looketh euery daye to nevertheless, of my most bounden duty, I can do goo unto the Syre. And there is also condempned no less than most humbly to desire your grace, by with hym one Andrew, a taylour, for the self same
your great wisdom, and by the assistance of God's opynion.” The reader, perhaps, need not be re help, somewhat to suppress the deep sorrow of minded that both these unfortunate men went your grace's heart, and to take all adversities of “ unto the fyre.”
God's hand both patiently and thankfully. I canHenry had now been three years wedded to not deny but your grace hath great causes, many Anne Boleyn, with as much of domestic felicity as ways, of lamentable heaviness; and also that, in bis brutal nature could permit his enjoying. Du the wrongful estimation of the world, your grace's ring that time the “new learning" (as the reforma honour of every part is highly touched (whether tion doctrines were then designated) had been si the things that commonly be spoken of be true or lently diffusing itself, chiefly by means of the influ not), that I remember not that ever Almighty God ence indirectly exercised in its favour, at the insti sent unto your grace any like occasion to try your gation of Cranmer and Latimer, by the young grace's constancy throughout, whether your highqueen. Cranmer had been an inmate of the family ness can be content to take of God's hand as well of the earl of Wiltshire, and had there an oppor things displeasant as pleasant. And if he find in tunity of acquainting himself with Ann Boleyn's your most noble heart such an obedience unto his virtues and disposition, and of strengthening the will, that your grace, without murmuration and
overmuch heaviness, do accept all adversities, not evil, and to give you at the end the promise of his less thanking him than when all things succeed gospel. From Lambeth, the 3d day of May." after your grace's will and pleasure, nor less pro (Cranmer had written, but not despatched this curing his glory and honour; then, I suppose your letter, when he was summoned to a conference by grace did never thing more acceptable unto him the lord chancellor and other peers, who stated to since your first governance of this your realm. him the facts which, they said, could be proved And, moreover
, your grace shall give unto him against the queen. He therefore, in a postscript, occasion to multiply and increase his graces and added as follows] :benefits unto your highness, as he did unto his “ After I had written this letter unto your grace, most faithful servant Job; unto whom, after his my lord chancellor, &c., sent for me to come unto great calamities and heaviness, for his obedient the star-chamber; and there declared unto me such heart
, and willing acceptation of God's scourge things as your grace's pleasure was they should and rod, addidit ei Dominus cuncta duplicia. make me privy unto. For the which I am most
“And if it be true that is openly reported of the bounden unto your grace. And what communiqueen’s grace, if men had a right estimation of
cation we had therein, I doubt not but they will things, they should not esteem any part of your make the true report thereof to your grace. I am grace's honour to be touched thereby, but her ho exceedingly sorry that such faults can be proved nour only to be clearly disparaged. And I am in by the queen as I heard of their relation. But I such a perplexity, that my mind is clean amazed : am, and ever shall be, your faithful subject. for I never had better opinion in woman than I had
“ Your grace's in her; which maketh me to think that she should
“Humble subject and chaplain, not be culpable. And again, I think your highness
“ Tuomas CANTUARIENSIS." would not have goue so far, except she had surely The writer of this letter, it is plain, only awaits been culpable. Now I think that your grace best the king's commands as to the side on which he knoweth, that, next unto your grace, I was most should array himself ; though it is equally evident bound unto her of all creatures living. Wherefore, that his inclination went to assert the innocence I most humbly beseech your grace, to suffer me in of her to whom, next to his sovereign, he “ was that, which both God's law, nature, and also her most tonnd of all creatures living." He had prokindness bindeth me unto; that is, that I may, nounced the divorce between Henry and Cathawith your grace's favour, wish and pray for her, rine, and thereby was a great instrument in de that she may declare herself inculpable and inno- stroying the papal supremacy in England. He cent. And if she be found capable, considering had confirmed, by his archiepiscopal authority, the your grace's goodness towards her, and from what marriage of Anne; and by so doing, he was percondition your grace of your only mere goodness suaded, favoured the spread of the gospel truth took her, and set the crown upon her head, I re and pure religion. He was now commanded to de pute him not your grace's faithful servant and sub clare that that marriage was, and always had been, ject, nor true unto the realm, that would not desire null and void ;' and that, as a necessary conse the offence without mercy to be punished, to the quence, his god-child, the princess Elizabeth, should example of all other. And as I loved her not a be nolonger reputed legitimate. He dared not hesilittle, for the love which I judged her to bear to tate. After one of those solemn mockeries of the wards God and his gospel; so, if she be proved forms of justice, designated trials, which abound culpable, there is not one that loveth God and his in this monstrous reign, Cranmer," having God gospel that ever will favour her, but must hate her alone before his eyes,” dissolved the marriage of above all other; and the more they favour the gos Henry and Anne Boleyn. A similar, but fortupel, the more they will hate her: for there never nately less bloody, farce was performed a very few was creature in our time that so much slandered years after, when the king wished to get rid of the gospel. And God hath sent her this punish Anne of Cleves. In obedience to the faintly exment, for that she feignedly hath professed this pressed wishes of her disgusted husband, the gospel in her mouth, and not in heart and deed. archbishop and chancellor, at the head of a depuAnd though she have offended so, that she hath tation, humbly solicited their gracious master's deserved never to be reconciled unto your grace's permission to submit to his consideration a subfavour, yet Almighty God hath manifestly declar ject of great delicacy and importance. Henry, ed his goodness towards your grace, and never having, he said, “no other object in view than the offended you. But your grace, I am sure, acknow glory of God, the welfare of the realm, and the ledgeth that you have offended him. Wherefore triumph of truth,” consented, on the condition that I trust that your grace will bear no less entire fa they would not propose any thing to him unreayour unto the truth of the gospel than you did be sonable and unjust. The subject was then caufore: forasmuch as your grace's favour to the tiously broached, as arising solely from their own gospel was not led by affection unto her, but by conscientious scruples ; and, in perfect keeping zeal unto the truth. And thus I beseech Almighty with the farcical hypocrisy of the whole proceedGod, whose gospel hath ordained your grace to be ing, the marriage was declared null and void, bedefended of, ever to preserve your grace from all cause “the king had been deceived by the exag
gerated accounts of Anne's beauty, and had not language, could thus “snouch the stiff mumpsigiven his inward assent to the contract.” And yet mus of the one (the Romanists), or the busy rumpthis man was popular with the mass of his sub simus of the other (the reformers)," at pleasure. jects, and is not without his eulogists even in the And it did please him betimes; though, owing, we present day!
have no doubt, to the moderate councils of Cran. But it was not alone in the matter of wife-mur
mer, not to such an extent as might be expected der, or other civil exercises of the royal preroga from his despotic and sanguinary temper. Two tive, that, during this reign, the will or caprice of days after the execution of Cromwell, who first the monarch was the sole law and measure. His suggested to his master the policy of renouncing
“Sic volo, sic jubeo ;-stet pro ratione voluntas," the papal supremacy, and who was but the too extended even to the consciences of his subjects. faithful minister of his will, three catholics, coupled By an arrogant exertion of power, not to be paral with three protestants, were dragged on the same leled in the annals of oriental despotism, Henry hurdle from the Tower to Smithfield, and there made his own theological tenets — such as they executed; the former being hanged and quartered were then, or “ hereafter might be"—the exclusive as traitors, for denying the king's ecclesiastical test and standard of religious orthodoxy. From pre-eminence; the latter being consumed by fire, hus dictum there was no appeal nor subterfuge: as heretics, for questioning the royal doctrine of to question his infallibility was a crime beyond the the eucharist. pale of mercy; to dissent from his doctrines was But of all the persecutions for heresy of this to incur the extremity of punishment in this world, reign, none excited greater interest than that of and, according to his infallible canonists, an eter Lambert, a schoolmaster in priest's orders, for nity of torment bereafter. And his was not the heresy,—that is, for denying the catholic doctrine age of martyrs. He had two favourite principles, of the real presence. Lambert had been imprisonor dogmata of belief, which he maintained with ed for the same oflence by Cranmer's predecessor all the unrelenting intolerance of a theologian o. in the see of Canterbury, but had escaped punishthe sixteenth century, and with all the jealousy of ment by that prelate's timely death. Nothing ina tyrant in every age; and, we should add, with timidated, he persisted, after his release, in the all the despotic inconsistency of his character: open avowal of his opinions, till having heard a these were, his ecclesiastical supremacy, and the sermon on the subject from Dr. Taylor, afterwards catholic doctrine of the “real presence,” as ex bishop of London, he presented that dignitary with plained by himself in his controversy with Luther. an elaborately written protest, under eight heads By the former he attached to his person the great or reasons, against the Romanist doctrine of promoters of the “new learning,” of which Cran transubstantiation. Taylor handed the paper to mer and Latimer were the heads; by the latter he Dr. Barnes, who maintained the Lutheran conconciliated the adherents of the ancient worship, substantiation theory of the eucharist; but as this of which Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, one of differed again from the Wycliffism of Lambert, the craftiest and ablest men of his time, was the the latter was cited by Barnes to answer for his acknowledged chief. The court and nation were heresy before the archbishop. Cranmer, on the pretty equally divided between these two great an accused being brought before him, endeavoured to tagonist parties; not that their wayward and im reason or to intimidate him into a recantation ; perious master allowed any open manifestation of but Lambert, instead of yielding, appealed from their differences, which might imply a freedom of the metropolitan to the king, as head of the church. opinion, and thence an undue infringement on the Henry eagerly embraced so favourable an opporroyal authority. He himself vibrated between tunity for displaying his theological learning, and them; and by alternately exciting their hopes and for asserting his ecclesiastical supremacy. A day fears, insured to himself the most servile submis was publicly fixed for the unusual contest; and at sion of both; for, as we before observed, this was the appointed hour, the king appeared on his not an age of martyrs or high-minded patriots. throne, with all his judges, ministers, bishops, and
'The services, however, and the moderation and officers of state, to enter the lists with the schoolamiable temper of Cranmer obtained for him the master. The proceedings are told with dramatic largest share of the king's friendship; unhappily effect by Mr. Hume. For five hours the unfortufor himself, as it compelled him to be a chief in nate Lambert had to contend with the harangues strument in the persecutions of that reign. These of Henry, Cranmer, Gardiner, and five other lead. persecutions were conducted with a stern, and, if ers of both the old and the new learning. At the we might say of so serious a subject, with a ludi. end of this time he was asked by the exulting crous impartiality. To assert the papal suprema monarch whether he was "satisfied ? Wilt thou cy was treason; to deny the papal doctrine of the live or die ?" The exhausted and intimidated culeucharist was heresy: the one was punished by prit had no reply, but that he threw himself on the hanging; the other with the faggot. Thus papists royal mercy. “Thou must die then !—thou must and protestants were equally obnoxious to the law, die! for I will not be the patron of herctics,” was shoold their zeal lead them to an open assertion of the huinane answer. Lambert met his fate with all their respective tenets. Henry, to use his own firmness; and not the least remarkable circum