THE ENGLISH PEOPLE
JOHN RICHARD GREEN, M.A. HONORARY FELLOW OF JESUS COLLEGE, OXFORD
THE REFORMATION, 1540-1593
London MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD. NEW YORK: MACMILLAN & CO. 1896
First Edition, Demy 8vo, November 1877, Reprinted December 1877, 1881, 1885, 1890 Eversley Edition 1896
THE REFORMATION. 1540-1603
CHAPTER I PAGE THE PROTESTANT REVOLUTION. 1540-1553 7
THE CATHOLIC REACTION. 1553-1558 72
THE ENGLAND OF ELIZABETH. 1558-1561 146
ENGLAND AND MARY STUART. 1561-1567 195
ENGLAND AND THE PAPACY. 1567-1582. 247
ENGLAND AND SPAIN. 1582-1593 323
AUTHORITIES FOR BOOK VI
For the close of Henry the Eighth's reign as for the reigns of Edward and Mary we possess copious materials. Strype covers this period in his "Memorials" and in his lives of Cranmer, Cheke, and Smith; Hayward's "Life of Edward the Sixth" may be supplemented by the young king's own Journal; "Machyn's Diary" gives us the aspect of affairs as they presented themselves to a common Englishman; while Holinshed is near enough to serve as a contemporary authority. The troubled period of the Protectorate is illustrated by Mr. Tytler in the correspondence which he has published in his "England under Edward the Sixth and Mary," while much light is thrown on its close by Mr. Nicholls in the "Chronicle of Queen Jane," published by the Camden Society. In spite of countless errors, of Puritan prejudices, and some deliberate suppressions of the truth, its mass of facts and wonderful charm of style will always give importance to the "Acts and Monuments" or "Book of Martyrs" of John Foxe, as a record of the Marian persecution. Among outer observers, the Venetian Soranzo throws some light on the Protectorate; and the despatches of Giovanni Michiel, published by Mr. Friedmann, give us a new insight into the events of Mary's reign.
For the succeeding reign we have a valuable contemporary account in Camden's "Life of Elizabeth." The "Annals" of Sir John Hayward refer to the first four years of the Queen's rule. Its political and diplomatic side is only now being fully unveiled in the Calendar of State Papers for this period, which are being issued by the Master of the Rolls, and fresh light has yet to be looked for from the Cecil Papers and the documents at Simancas, some of which are embodied in the history of this reign by Mr. Froude. Among the published materials for this time we have the Burleigh Papers, the Sidney Papers, the Sadler State Papers, much correspondence in the Hardwicke State Papers, the letters published by Mr. Wright in his "Elizabeth and her Times," the collections of Murdin, the Egerton Papers, the "Letters of Elizabeth and James the Sixth" published by Mr. Bruce. Harrington's "Nugae Antiquae" contain some details of value. Among foreign materials as yet published the "Papiers d'Etat" of Cardinal Granvelle and the series of French despatches published by M. Teulet are among the more important. Mr. Motley in his "Rise of the Dutch Republic" and "History of the United Netherlands" has used the State Papers of the countries concerned in this struggle to pour a flood of new light on the diplomacy and outer policy of Burleigh and his mistress. His wide and independent research among the same class of documents gives almost an original value to Ranke's treatment of this period in his English History. The earlier religious changes in Scotland have been painted with wonderful energy, and on the whole with truthfulness, by Knox himself in his "History of the Reformation." Among the contemporary materials for the history of Mary Stuart we have the well-known works of Buchanan and Leslie, Labanoff's "Lettres et Memoires de Marie Stuart," the correspondence appended to Mignet's biography, Stevenson's "Illustrations of the Life of Queen Mary," Melville's Memoirs, and the collections of Keith and Anderson.
For the religious history of Elizabeth's reign Strype, as usual, gives us copious details in his "Annals," his lives of Parker, Grindal, and Whitgift. Some light is thrown on the Queen's earlier steps by the Zuerich Letters published by the Parker Society. The strife with the later Puritans can only be fairly judged after reading the Martin Marprelate Tracts, which have been reprinted by Mr. Maskell, who has given a short abstract of the more important in his "History of the Martin Marprelate Controversy." Her policy towards the Catholics is set out in Burleigh's tract "The Execution of Justice in England, not for Religion, but for Treason," which was answered by Allen in his "Defense of the English Catholics." On the actual working of the penal laws much new information has been given us in the series of contemporary narratives published by Father Morris under the title of "The Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers"; the general history of the Catholics may be found in the work of Dodd; and the sufferings of the Jesuits in More's "Historia Provinciae Anglicanae Societatis Jesu." To these may be added Mr. Simpson's biography of Campion. For our constitutional history during Elizabeth's reign we have D'Ewes's Journals and Townshend's "Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings from 1580 to 1601," the first detailed account we possess of the proceedings of the House of Commons. Macpherson in his Annals of Commerce gives details of the wonderful expansion of English trade during this period, and Hakluyt's collection of Voyages tells of its wonderful activity. Amidst a crowd of biographers, whose number marks the new importance of individual life and action at the time, we may note as embodying information elsewhere inaccessible the lives of Hatton and Davison by Sir Harris Nicolas, the three accounts of Raleigh by Oldys, Tytler, and Mr. Edwards, the Lives of the two Devereux, Earls of Essex, Mr. Spedding's "Life of Bacon," and Barrow's "Life of Sir Francis Drake."
THE PROTESTANT REVOLUTION
[Sidenote: Cromwell and the Monarchy.]
At the death of Cromwell the success of his policy was complete. The Monarchy had reached the height of its power. The old liberties of England lay prostrate at the feet of the king. The Lords were cowed and spiritless; the House of Commons was filled with the creatures of the Court and degraded into an engine of tyranny. Royal proclamations were taking the place of parliamentary legislation; royal benevolences were encroaching more and more on the right of parliamentary taxation. Justice was prostituted in the ordinary courts to the royal will, while the boundless and arbitrary powers of the royal Council were gradually superseding the slower processes of the Common Law. The religious changes had thrown an almost sacred character over the "majesty" of the king. Henry was the Head of the Church. From the primate to the meanest deacon every minister of it derived from him his sole right to exercise spiritual powers. The voice of its preachers was the echo of his will. He alone could define orthodoxy or declare heresy. The forms of its worship and belief were changed and rechanged at the royal caprice. Half of its wealth went to swell the royal treasury, and the other half lay at the king's mercy. It was this unprecedented concentration of all power in the hands of a single man that overawed the imagination of Henry's subjects. He was regarded as something high above the laws which govern common men. The voices of statesmen and priests extolled his wisdom and authority as more than human. The Parliament itself rose and bowed to the vacant throne when his name was mentioned. An absolute devotion to his person replaced the old loyalty to the law. When the Primate of the English Church described the chief merit of Cromwell, it was by asserting that he loved the king "no less than he loved God."
[Sidenote: Cromwell and the Parliament.]
It was indeed Cromwell who more than any man had reared this fabric of king-worship. But he had hardly reared it when it began to give way. The very success of his measures indeed brought about the ruin of his policy. One of the most striking features of Cromwell's system had been his developement of parliamentary action. The great assembly which the Monarchy had dreaded and silenced from the days of Edward the Fourth to the days of Wolsey had been called to the front again at the Cardinal's fall. Proud of his popularity, and conscious of his people's sympathy with him in his protest against a foreign jurisdiction, Henry set aside the policy of the Crown to deal a heavier blow at the Papacy. Both the parties represented in the ministry that followed Wolsey welcomed the change, for the nobles represented by Norfolk and the men of the New Learning represented by More regarded Parliament with the same favour. More indeed in significant though almost exaggerated phrases set its omnipotence face to face with the growing despotism of the Crown. The policy of Cromwell fell in with this revival of the two Houses. The daring of his temper led him not to dread and suppress national institutions, but to seize them and master them, and to turn them into means of enhancing the royal power. As he saw in the Church a means of raising the king into the spiritual ruler of the faith and consciences of his people, so he saw in the Parliament a means of shrouding the boldest aggressions of the monarchy under the veil of popular assent, and of giving to the most ruthless acts of despotism the stamp and semblance of law. He saw nothing to fear in a House of Lords whose nobles cowered helpless before the might of the Crown, and whose spiritual members his policy was degrading into mere tools of the royal will. Nor could he find anything to dread in a House of Commons which was crowded with members directly or indirectly nominated by the royal Council. With a Parliament such as this Cromwell might well trust to make the nation itself through its very representatives an accomplice in the work of absolutism.
[Sidenote: Growth of Parliamentary power.]
His trust seemed more than justified by the conduct of the Houses. It was by parliamentary statutes that the Church was prostrated at the feet of the Monarchy. It was by bills of attainder that great nobles were brought to the block. It was under constitutional forms that freedom was gagged with new treasons and oaths and questionings. One of the first bills of Cromwell's Parliaments freed Henry from the need of paying his debts, one of the last gave his proclamations the force of laws. In the action of the two Houses the Crown seemed to have discovered a means of carrying its power into regions from which a bare despotism has often had to shrink. Henry might have dared single-handed to break with Rome or to send Sir Thomas More to the block. But without Parliament to back him he could hardly have ventured on such an enormous confiscation of property as was involved in the suppression of the monasteries or on such changes in the national religion as were brought about by the Ten Articles and the Six. It was this discovery of the use to which the Houses could be turned that accounts for the immense developement of their powers, the immense widening of their range of action, which they owe to Cromwell. Now that the great engine was at his own command, he used it as it had never been used before. Instead of rare and short assemblies of Parliament, England saw it gathered year after year. All the jealousy with which the Crown had watched its older encroachments on the prerogative was set aside. Matters which had even in the days of their greatest influence been scrupulously withheld from the cognizance of the Houses were now absolutely forced on their attention. It was by Parliament that England was torn from the great body of Western Christendom. It was by parliamentary enactment that the English Church was reft of its older liberties and made absolutely subservient to the Crown. It was a parliamentary statute that defined the very faith and religion of the land. The vastest confiscation of landed property which England had ever witnessed was wrought by Parliament. It regulated the succession to the throne. It decided on the validity of the king's marriages and the legitimacy of the king's children. Former sovereigns had struggled against the claim of the Houses to meddle with the royal ministers or with members of the royal household. Now Parliament was called on by the king himself to attaint his ministers and his Queens.
[Sidenote: The New Nobles.]
The fearlessness and completeness of such a policy as this brings home to us more than any other of his plans the genius of Cromwell. But its success depended wholly on the absolute servility of Parliament to the will of the Crown, and Cromwell's own action made the continuance of such a servility impossible. The part which the Houses were to play in after years shows the importance of clinging to the forms of constitutional freedom, even when their life is all but lost. In the inevitable reaction against tyranny they furnish centres for the reviving energies of the people, while the returning tide of liberty is enabled through their preservation to flow quietly and naturally along its traditional channels. And even before Cromwell passed to his doom the tide of liberty was returning. On one occasion during his rule a "great debate" on the suppression of the lesser monasteries showed that elements of resistance still survived; and these elements developed rapidly as the power of the Crown declined under the minority of Edward and the unpopularity of Mary. To this revival of a spirit of independence the spoliation of the Church largely contributed. Partly from necessity, partly from a desire to build up a faction interested in the maintenance of their ecclesiastical policy, Cromwell and the king squandered the vast mass of wealth which flowed into the Treasury from the dissolution of the monasteries with reckless prodigality. Three hundred and seventy-six smaller houses had been suppressed in 1536; six hundred and forty-five greater houses were surrendered or seized in 1539. Some of the spoil was devoted to the erection of six new bishopricks; a larger part went to the fortification of the coast. But the bulk of these possessions was granted lavishly away to the nobles and courtiers about the king, and to a host of adventurers who "had become gospellers for the abbey lands." Something like a fifth of the actual land in the kingdom was in this way transferred from the holding of the Church to that of nobles and gentry. Not only were the older houses enriched, but a new aristocracy was erected from among the dependants of the Court. The Russells and the Cavendishes are familiar instances of families which rose from obscurity through the enormous grants of Church-land made to Henry's courtiers. The old baronage was thus hardly crushed before a new aristocracy took its place. "Those families within or without the bounds of the peerage," observes Mr. Hallam, "who are now deemed the most considerable, will be found, with no great number of exceptions, to have first become conspicuous under the Tudor line of kings and, if we could trace the title of their estates, to have acquired no small portion of them mediately or immediately from monastic or other ecclesiastical foundations." The leading part which these freshly-created peers took in the events which followed Henry's death gave strength and vigour to the whole order. But the smaller gentry shared in the general enrichment of the landed proprietors, and the new energy of the Lords was soon followed by a display of political independence among the Commons themselves.
[Sidenote: Results of the Religious Changes.]
While the prodigality of Cromwell's system thus brought into being a new check upon the Crown by enriching the nobles and the lesser gentry, the religious changes it brought about gave fire and vigour to the elements of opposition which were slowly gathering. What did most to ruin the king-worship that Cromwell set up was Cromwell's ecclesiastical policy. In reducing the Church to mere slavery beneath the royal power he believed himself to be trampling down the last constitutional force which could hold the Monarchy in check. What he really did was to give life and energy to new forces which were bound from their very nature to battle with the Monarchy for even more than the old English freedom. When Cromwell seized on the Church he held himself to be seizing for the Crown the mastery which the Church had wielded till now over the consciences and reverence of men. But the very humiliation of the great religious body broke the spell beneath which Englishmen had bowed. In form nothing had been changed. The outer constitution of the Church remained utterly unaltered. The English bishop, freed from the papal control, freed from the check of monastic independence, seemed greater and more imposing than ever. The priest still clung to rectory and church. If images were taken out of churches, if here and there a rood-loft was pulled down or a saint's shrine demolished, no change was made in form of ritual or mode of worship. The mass was untouched. Every hymn, every prayer, was still in Latin; confession, penance, fastings and feastings, extreme unction, went on as before. There was little to show that any change had taken place; and yet every ploughman felt that all was changed. The bishop, gorgeous as he might be in mitre and cope, was a mere tool of the king. The priest was trembling before heretics he used to burn. Farmer or shopkeeper might enter their church any Sunday morning to find mass or service utterly transformed. The spell of tradition, of unbroken continuance, was over; and with it the power which the Church had wielded over the souls of men was in great part done away.
It was not that the new Protestantism was as yet formidable, for, violent and daring as they were, the adherents of Luther were few in number, and drawn mostly from the poorer classes among whom Wyclifite heresy had lingered or from the class of scholars whose theological studies drew their sympathy to the movement over sea. It was that the lump was now ready to be leavened by this petty leaven, that men's hold on the firm ground of custom was broken and their minds set drifting and questioning, that little as was the actual religious change, the thought of religious change had become familiar to the people as a whole. And with religious change was certain to come religious revolt. The human conscience was hardly likely to move everywhere in strict time to the slow advance of Henry's reforms. Men who had been roused from implicit obedience to the Papacy as a revelation of the Divine will by hearing the Pope denounced in royal proclamations as a usurper and an impostor were hardly inclined to take up submissively the new official doctrine which substituted implicit belief in the King for implicit belief in the "Bishop of Rome." But bound as Church and King now were together, it was impossible to deny a tenet of the one without entering on a course of opposition to the other. Cromwell had raised against the Monarchy the most fatal of all enemies, the force of the individual conscience, the enthusiasm of religious belief, the fire of religious fanaticism. Slowly as the area of the new Protestantism extended, every man that it gained was a possible opponent of the Crown. And should the time come, as the time was soon to come, when the Crown moved to the side of Protestantism, then in turn every soul that the older faith retained was pledged to a lifelong combat with the Monarchy.
[Sidenote: The Imperial Alliance.]
How irresistible was the national drift was seen on Cromwell's fall. Its first result indeed promised to be a reversal of all that Cromwell had done. Norfolk returned to power, and his influence over Henry seemed secured by the king's repudiation of Anne of Cleves and his marriage in the summer of 1540 to a niece of the Duke, Catharine Howard. But Norfolk's temper had now become wholly hostile to the movement about him. "I never read the Scripture nor never will!" the Duke replied hotly to a Protestant arguer. "It was merry in England afore the new learning came up; yea, I would all things were as hath been in times past." In his preference of an Imperial alliance to an alliance with Francis and the Lutherans Henry went warmly with his minister. Parted as he had been from Charles by the question of the divorce, the King's sympathies had remained true to the Emperor; and at this moment he was embittered against France by the difficulties it threw in the way of his projects for gaining a hold upon Scotland. Above all the king still clung to the hope of a purification of the Church by a Council, as well as of a reconciliation of England with the general body of this purified Christendom, and it was only by the Emperor that such a Council could be convened or such a reconciliation brought about. An alliance with him was far from indicating any retreat from Henry's position of independence or any submission to the Papacy. To the men of his own day Charles seemed no Catholic bigot. On the contrary the stricter representatives of Catholicism such as Paul the Fourth denounced him as a patron of heretics, and attributed the upgrowth of Lutheranism to his steady protection and encouragement. Nor was the charge without seeming justification. The old jealousy between Pope and Emperor, the more recent hostility between them as rival Italian powers, had from the beginning proved Luther's security. At the first appearance of the reformer Maximilian had recommended the Elector of Saxony to suffer no harm to be done to him; "there might come a time," said the old Emperor, "when he would be needed." Charles had looked on the matter mainly in the same political way. In his earliest years he bought Leo's aid in his recovery of Milan from the French king by issuing the ban of the Empire against Luther in the Diet of Worms; but every Italian held that in suffering the reformer to withdraw unharmed Charles had shown not so much regard to his own safe-conduct as a purpose still "to keep the Pope in check with that rein." And as Charles dealt with Luther so he dealt with Lutheranism. The new faith profited by the Emperor's struggle with Clement the Seventh for the lordship over Italy. It was in the midst of this struggle that his brother and representative, Ferdinand, signed in the Diet of Spires an Imperial decree by which the German States were left free to arrange their religious affairs "as each should best answer to God and the Emperor." The decree gave a legal existence to the Protestant body in the Empire which it never afterwards lost.
[Sidenote: Charles and the Council.]
Such a step might well encourage the belief that Charles was himself inclining to Lutheranism; and the belief gathered strength as he sent Lutheran armies over the Alps to sack Rome and to hold the Pope a prisoner. The belief was a false one, for Charles remained utterly untouched by the religious movement about him; but even when his strife with the Papacy was to a great extent lulled by Clement's submission, he still turned a deaf ear to the Papal appeals for dealing with Lutheranism by fire and sword. His political interests and the conception which he held of his duty as Emperor alike swayed him to milder counsels. He purposed indeed to restore religious unity. His political aim was to bring Germany to his feet as he had brought Italy; and he saw that the religious schism was the great obstacle in the way of his realizing this design. As the temporal head of the Catholic world he was still more strongly bent to heal the breaches of Catholicism. But he had no wish to insist on an unconditional submission to the Papacy. He believed that there were evils to be cured on the one side as on the other; and Charles saw the high position which awaited him if as Emperor he could bring about a reformation of the Church and a reunion of Christendom. Violent as Luther's words had been, the Lutheran princes and the bulk of Lutheran theologians had not yet come to look on Catholicism as an irreconcileable foe. Even on the papal side there was a learned and active party, a party headed by Contarini and Pole, whose theological sympathies went in many points with the Lutherans, and who looked to the winning back of the Lutherans as the needful prelude to any reform in the doctrine and practice of the Church; while Melancthon was as hopeful as Contarini that such a reform might be wrought and the Church again become universal. In his proposal of a Council to carry on the double work of purification and reunion therefore Charles stood out as the representative of the larger part both of the Catholic and the Protestant world. Against such a proposal however Rome struggled hard. All her tradition was against Councils, where the assembled bishops had in earlier days asserted their superiority to the Pope, and where the Emperor who convened the assembly and carried out its decrees rose into dangerous rivalry with the Papacy. Crushed as he was, Clement the Seventh throughout his lifetime held the proposal of a Council stubbornly at bay. But under his successor, Paul the Third, the influence of Contarini and the moderate Catholics secured a more favourable reception of plans of reconciliation. In April, 1541, conferences for this purpose were in fact opened at Augsburg in which Contarini, as Papal legate, accepted a definition of the moot question of justifications by faith which satisfied Bucer and Melancthon. On the other side, the Landgrave of Hesse and the Elector of Brandenburg publicly declared that they believed it possible to come to terms on the yet more vexed questions of the Mass and the Papal supremacy.
[Sidenote: Charles and Henry.]
Never had the reunion of the world seemed so near; and the hopes that were stirring found an echo in England as well as in Germany. We can hardly doubt indeed that it was the revival of these hopes which had brought about the fall of Cromwell and the recall of Norfolk to power. Norfolk, like his master, looked to a purification of the Church by a Council as the prelude to a reconciliation of England with the general body of Catholicism; and both saw that it was by the influence of the Emperor alone that such a Council could be brought about. Charles on the other hand was ready to welcome Henry's advances. The quarrel over Catharine had ended with her death; and the wrong done her had been in part atoned for by the fall of Anne Boleyn. The aid of Henry too was needed to hold in check the opposition of France. The chief means which France still possessed of holding the Emperor at bay lay in the disunion of the Empire, and it was resolute to preserve this weapon against him at whatever cost to Christendom. While Francis remonstrated at Rome against the concessions made to the Lutherans by the Legates, he urged the Lutheran princes to make no terms with the Papacy. To the Protestants he held out hopes of his own conversion, while he promised Pope Paul that he would defend him with his life against Emperor and heretics. His intrigues were aided by the suspicions of both the religious parties. Luther refused to believe in the sincerity of the concessions made by the Legates; Paul the Third held aloof from them in sullen silence. Meanwhile Francis was preparing to raise more material obstacles to the Emperor's designs. Charles had bought his last reconciliation with the king by a promise of restoring the Milanese, but he had no serious purpose of ever fulfilling his pledge, and his retention of the Duchy gave the French king a fair pretext for threatening a renewal of the war.
[Sidenote: James the Fifth.]
England, as Francis hoped, he could hold in check through his alliance with the Scots. After the final expulsion of Albany in 1524 Scottish history became little more than a strife between Margaret Tudor and her husband, the Earl of Angus, for power; but the growth of James the Fifth to manhood at last secured rest for the land. James had all the varied ability of his race, and he carried out with vigour its traditional policy. The Highland chieftains, the great lords of the Lowlands, were brought more under the royal sway; the Church was strengthened to serve as a check on the feudal baronage; the alliance with France was strictly preserved, as the one security against English aggression. Nephew as he was indeed of the English king, James from the outset of his reign took up an attitude hostile to England. He was jealous of the influence which the two Henries had established in his realm by the marriage of Margaret and by the building up of an English party under the Douglases; the great Churchmen who formed his most trusted advisers dreaded the influence of the religious changes across the border; while the people clung to their old hatred of England and their old dependence on France. It was only by two inroads of the border lords that Henry checked the hostile intrigues of James in 1532; his efforts to influence his nephew by an interview and alliance were met by the king's marriage with two French wives in succession, Magdalen of Valois, a daughter of Francis, and Mary, a daughter of the Duke of Guise. In 1539 when the projected coalition between France and the Empire threatened England, it had been needful to send Norfolk with an army to the Scotch frontier, and now that France was again hostile Norfolk had to move anew to the border in the autumn of 1541.
[Sidenote: Defeat at the Solway.]
While the Duke was fruitlessly endeavouring to bring James to fresh friendship a sudden blow at home weakened his power. At the close of the year Catharine Howard was arrested on a charge of adultery; a Parliament which assembled in January 1542 passed a Bill of Attainder; and in February the Queen was sent to the block. She was replaced by the widow of Lord Latimer, Catharine Parr; and the influence of Norfolk in the king's counsels gradually gave way to that of Bishop Gardiner of Winchester. But Henry clung to the policy which the Duke favoured. At the end of 1541 two great calamities, the loss of Hungary after a victory of the Turks and a crushing defeat at Algiers, so weakened Charles that in the summer of the following year Francis ventured to attack him. The attack served only to draw closer the negotiations between England and the Emperor; and Francis was forced, as he had threatened, to give Henry work to occupy him at home. The busiest counsellor of the Scotch king, Cardinal Beaton, crossed the seas to negotiate a joint attack, and the attitude of Scotland became so menacing that in the autumn of 1542 Norfolk was again sent to the border with twenty thousand men. But terrible as were his ravages, he could not bring the Scotch army to an engagement, and want of supplies soon forced him to fall back over the border. It was in vain that James urged his nobles to follow him in a counter-invasion. They were ready to defend their country; but the memory of Flodden was still fresh, and success in England would only give dangerous strength to a king in whom they saw an enemy. But James was as stubborn in his purpose as the lords. Anxious only to free himself from their presence, he waited till the two armies had alike withdrawn, and then suddenly summoned his subjects to meet him in arms on the western border. A disorderly host gathered at Lochmaben and passed into Cumberland; but the English borderers followed on them fast, and were preparing to attack when at nightfall on the twenty-fifth of November a panic seized the whole Scotch force. Lost in the darkness and cut off from retreat by the Solway Firth, thousands of men with all the baggage and guns fell into the hands of the pursuers. The news of this rout fell on the young king like a sentence of death. For a while he wandered desperately from palace to palace till at the opening of December the tidings met him at Falkland that his queen, Mary of Guise, had given birth to a child. His two boys had both died in youth, and he was longing passionately for an heir to the crown which was slipping from his grasp. But the child was a daughter, the Mary Stuart of later history. "The deil go with it," muttered the dying king, as his mind fell back to the close of the line of Bruce and the marriage with Robert's daughter which brought the Stuarts to the Scottish throne, "The deil go with it! It will end as it began. It came with a lass, and it will go with a lass." A few days later he died.
[Sidenote: The Marriage Treaty.]
The death of James did more than remove a formidable foe. It opened up for the first time a prospect of that union of the two kingdoms which was at last to close their long hostility. Scotland, torn by factions and with a babe for queen, seemed to lie at Henry's feet: and the king seized the opportunity of completing his father's work by a union of the realms. At the opening of 1543 he proposed to the Scotch regent, the Earl of Arran, the marriage of the infant Mary Stuart with his son Edward. To ensure this bridal he demanded that Mary should at once be sent to England, the four great fortresses of Scotland be placed in English hands, and a voice given to Henry himself in the administration of the Scotch Council of Regency. Arran and the Queen-mother, rivals as they were, vied with each other in apparent goodwill to the marriage; but there was a steady refusal to break the league with France, and the "English lords," as the Douglas faction were called, owned themselves helpless in the face of the national jealousy of English ambition. The temper of the nation itself was seen in the answer made by the Scotch Parliament which gathered in the spring. If they consented to the young Queen's betrothal, they not only rejected the demands which accompanied the proposal, but insisted that in case of such a union Scotland should have a perpetual regent of its own, and that this office should be hereditary in the House of Arran. Warned by his very partizans that the delivery of Mary was impossible, that if such a demand were pressed "there was not so little a boy but he would hurl stones against it, the wives would handle their distaffs, and the commons would universally die in it," Henry's proposals dropped in July to a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, he suffered France to be included among the allies of Scotland named in it, he consented that the young Queen should remain with her mother till the age of ten, and offered guarantees for the maintenance of Scotch independence.
[Sidenote: Scotland and France.]
But modify it as he might, Henry knew that such a project of union could only be carried out by a war with Francis. His negotiations for a treaty with Charles had long been delayed through Henry's wish to drag the Emperor into an open breach with the Papacy, but at the moment of the King's first proposals for the marriage of Mary Stuart with his son the need of finding a check upon France forced on a formal alliance with the Emperor in February 1543. The two allies agreed that the war should be continued till the Duchy of Burgundy had been restored to the Emperor and till England had recovered Normandy and Guienne; while the joint fleets of Henry and Charles held the Channel and sheltered England from any danger of French attack. The main end of this treaty was doubtless to give Francis work at home which might prevent the despatch of a French force into Scotland and the overthrow of Henry's hopes of a Scotch marriage. These hopes were strengthened as the summer went on by the acceptance of his later proposals in a Parliament which was packed by the Regent, and by the actual conclusion of a marriage-treaty. But if Francis could spare neither horse nor man for action in Scotland his influence in the northern kingdom was strong enough to foil Henry's plans. The Churchmen were as bitterly opposed to such a marriage as the partizans of France; and their head, Cardinal Beaton, who had held aloof from the Regent's Parliament, suddenly seized the Queen-mother and her babe, crowned the infant Mary, called a Parliament in December which annulled the marriage-treaty, and set Henry at defiance.
[Sidenote: War with France.]
The king's wrath at this overthrow of his hopes showed itself in a brutal and impolitic act of vengeance. He was a skilful shipbuilder; and among the many enterprises which the restless genius of Cromwell undertook there was probably none in which Henry took so keen an interest as in his creation of an English fleet. Hitherto merchant ships had been impressed when a fleet was needed; but the progress of naval warfare had made the maintenance of an armed force at sea a condition of maritime power, and the resources furnished by the dissolution of the abbeys had been devoted in part to the building of ships of war, the largest of which, the Mary Rose, carried a crew of seven hundred men. The new strength which England was to wield in its navy was first seen in 1544. An army was gathered under Lord Hertford; and while Scotland was looking for the usual advance over the border the Earl's forces were quietly put on board and the English fleet appeared on the third of May in the Firth of Forth. The surprise made resistance impossible. Leith was seized and sacked, Edinburgh, then a town of wooden houses, was given to the flames, and burned for three days and three nights. The country for seven miles round was harried into a desert. The blow was a hard one, but it was little likely to bring Scotchmen round to Henry's projects of union. A brutal raid of the English borderers on Melrose and the destruction of his ancestors' tombs estranged the Earl of Angus, and was quickly avenged by his overthrow of the marauders at Ancrum Moor. Henry had yet to learn the uselessness of mere force to compass his ends. "I shall be glad to serve the king of England, with my honour," said the Lord of Buccleugh to an English envoy, "but I will not be constrained thereto if all Teviotdale be burned to the bottom of hell."
Hertford's force returned in good time to join the army which Henry in person was gathering at Calais to co-operate with the forces assembled by Charles on the north-eastern frontier of France. Each sovereign found himself at the head of forty thousand men, and the Emperor's military ability was seen in his proposal for an advance of both armies upon Paris. But though Henry found no French force in his front, his cautious temper shrank from the risk of leaving fortresses in his rear; and while their allies pushed boldly past Chalons on the capital, the English troops were detained till September in the capture of Boulogne, and only left Boulogne to form the siege of Montreuil. The French were thus enabled to throw their whole force on the Emperor, and Charles found himself in a position from which negotiation alone could extricate him.
[Sidenote: Growth of Lutheranism.]
His ends were in fact gained by the humiliation of France, and he had as little desire to give England a strong foothold in the neighbourhood of his own Netherlands as in Wolsey's days. The widening of English territory there could hardly fail to encourage that upgrowth of heresy which the Emperor justly looked upon as the greatest danger to the hold of Spain upon the Low Countries, while it would bring Henry a step nearer to the chain of Protestant states which began on the Lower Rhine. The plans which Charles had formed for uniting the Catholics and Lutherans in the conferences of Augsburg had broken down before the opposition both of Luther and the Pope. On both sides indeed the religious contest was gathering new violence. A revival had begun in the Church itself, but it was the revival of a militant and uncompromising orthodoxy. In 1542 the fanaticism of Cardinal Caraffa forced on the establishment of a supreme Tribunal of the Inquisition at Rome. The next year saw the establishment of the Jesuits. Meanwhile Lutheranism took a new energy. The whole north of Germany became Protestant. In 1539 the younger branches of the house of Saxony joined the elder in a common adherence to Lutheranism; and their conversion had been followed by that of the Elector of Brandenburg. Southern Germany seemed bent on following the example of the north. The hereditary possessions of Charles himself fell away from Catholicism. The Austrian duchies were overrun with heresy. Bohemia promised soon to become Hussite again. Persecution failed to check the triumph of the new opinions in the Low Countries. The Empire itself threatened to become Protestant. In 1540 the accession of the Elector Palatine robbed Catholicism of Central Germany and the Upper Rhine; and three years later, at the opening of the war with France, that of the Archbishop of Koln gave the Protestants not only the Central Rhineland but a majority in the College of Electors. It seemed impossible for Charles to prevent the Empire from repudiating Catholicism in his lifetime, or to hinder the Imperial Crown from falling to a Protestant at his death.
[Sidenote: England and France.]
The great fabric of power which had been built up by the policy of Ferdinand of Aragon was thus threatened with utter ruin, and Charles saw himself forced into the struggle he had so long avoided, if not for the interests of religion, at any rate for the interests of the House of Austria. He still hoped for a reunion from the Council which was assembling at Trent, and from which a purified Catholicism was to come. But he no longer hoped that the Lutherans would yield to the mere voice of the Council. They would yield only to force, and the first step in such a process of compulsion must be the breaking up of their League of Schmalkald. Only France could save them; and it was to isolate them from France that Charles availed himself of the terror his march on Paris had caused, and concluded a treaty with that power in September 1544. The progress of Protestantism had startled even France itself; and her old policy seemed to be abandoned in her promises of co-operation in the task of repressing heresy in the Empire. But a stronger security against French intervention lay in the unscrupulous dexterity with which, while withdrawing from the struggle, Charles left Henry and Francis still at strife. Henry would not cede Boulogne, and Francis saw no means of forcing him to a peace save by a threat of invasion. While an army closed round Boulogne, and a squadron carried troops to Scotland, a hundred and fifty French ships were gathered in the Channel and crossed in the summer of 1545 to the Isle of Wight. But their attacks were feebly conducted and the fleet at last returned to its harbours without striking any serious blow, while the siege of Boulogne dragged idly on through the year. Both kings however drew to peace. In spite of the treaty of Crepy it was impossible for France to abandon the Lutherans, and Francis was eager to free his hands for action across the Rhine. Henry on the other hand, deserted by his ally and with a treasury ruined by the cost of the war, was ready at last to surrender his gains in it. In June 1546 a peace was concluded by which England engaged to surrender Boulogne on payment of a heavy ransom, and France to restore the annual subsidy which had been promised in 1525.
[Sidenote: The Peace.]
What aided in the close of the war was a new aspect of affairs in Scotland. Since the death of James the Fifth the great foe of England in the north had been the Archbishop of St. Andrews, Cardinal Beaton. In despair of shaking his power his rivals had proposed schemes for his assassination to Henry, and these schemes had been expressly approved. But plot after plot broke down; and it was not till May 1546 that a group of Scotch nobles who favoured the Reformation surprised his castle at St. Andrews. Shrieking miserably, "I am a priest! I am a priest! Fie! Fie! All is gone!" the Cardinal was brutally murdered, and his body hung over the castle-walls. His death made it easy to include Scotland in the peace with France which was concluded in the summer. But in England itself peace was a necessity. The Crown was penniless. In spite of the confiscation of the abbey lands in 1539 the treasury was found empty at the very opening of the war: the large subsidies granted by the Parliament were expended; and conscious that a fresh grant could hardly be expected even from the servile Houses the government in 1545 fell back on its old resource of benevolences. Of two London merchants who resisted this demand as illegal one was sent to the Fleet, the second ordered to join the army on the Scotch border; but it was significant that resistance had been offered, and the failure of the war-taxes which were voted at the close of the year to supply the royal needs drove the Council to fresh acts of confiscation. A vast mass of Church property still remained for the spoiler, and by a bill of 1545 more than two thousand chauntries and chapels, with a hundred and ten hospitals, were suppressed to the profit of the Crown. Enormous as this booty was, it could only be slowly realized; and the immediate pressure forced the Council to take refuge in the last and worst measure any government can adopt, a debasement of the currency. The evils of such a course were felt till the reign of Elizabeth. But it was a course that could not be repeated; and financial exhaustion played its part in bringing the war to an end.
[Sidenote: Charles and the League of Schmalkald.]
A still greater part was played by the aspect of affairs in the Empire. Once freed from the check of the war Charles had moved fast to his aim. In 1545 he had adjusted all minor differences with Paul the Third, and Pope and Emperor had resolved on the immediate convocation of the Council, and on the enforcement of its decisions by weight of arms. Should the Emperor be driven to war with the Lutheran princes, the Pope engaged to support him with all his power. "Were it needful" Paul promised "he would sell his very crown in his service." In December the Council was actually opened at Trent, and its proceedings soon showed that no concessions to the Lutherans could be looked for. The Emperor's demand that the reform of the Church should first be taken in hand was evaded; and on the two great questions of the authority of the Bible as a ground of faith, and of justification, the sentence of the Council directly condemned the Protestant opinions. The Lutherans showed their resolve to make no submission by refusing to send representatives to Trent; and Charles carried out his pledges to the Papacy by taking the field in the spring of 1546 to break up the League of Schmalkald. But the army gathered under the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse so far outnumbered the Imperial forces that the Emperor could not venture on a battle. Henry watched the course of Charles with a growing anxiety. The hopes of a purified and united Christendom which had drawn him a few years back to the Emperor's side faded before the stern realities of the Council. The highest pretensions of the Papacy had been sanctioned by the bishops gathered at Trent; and to the pretensions of the Papacy Henry was resolved not to bow. He was driven, whether he would or no, on the policy of Cromwell; and in the last months of his life he offered aid to the League of Schmalkald. His offers were rejected; for the Lutheran princes had no faith in his sincerity, and believed themselves strong enough to deal with the Emperor without foreign help.
[Sidenote: Effect on English Religion.]
But his attitude without told on his policy at home. To the hotter Catholics as to the hotter Protestants the years since Cromwell's fall had seemed years of a gradual return to Catholicism. There had been a slight sharpening of persecution for the Protestants, and restrictions had been put on the reading of the English Bible. The alliance with Charles and the hope of reconciling England anew with a pacified Christendom gave fresh cause for suppressing heresy. Neither Norfolk nor his master indeed desired any rigorous measure of reaction, for Henry remained proud of the work he had done. His bitterness against the Papacy only grew as the years went by; and at the very moment that heretics were suffering for a denial of the mass, others were suffering by their side for a denial of the supremacy. But strange and anomalous as its system seemed, the drift of Henry's religious government had as yet been in one direction, that of a return to and reconciliation with the body of the Catholic Church. With the decision of the Council and the new attitude of the Emperor this drift was suddenly arrested. It was not that Henry realized the revolution that was opening before him or the vast importance of the steps which his policy now led him to take. His tendency, like that of his people, was religious rather than theological, practical rather than speculative. Of the immense problems which were opening in the world neither he nor England saw anything. The religious strife which was to break Europe asunder was to the king as to the bulk of Englishmen a quarrel of words and hot temper; the truth which Christendom was to rend itself to pieces in striving to discover was a thing that could easily be found with the aid of God. There is something humorous as there is something pathetic in the warnings which Henry addressed to the Parliament at the close of 1545. The shadow of death as it fell over him gave the king's words a new gentleness and tenderness. "The special foundation of our religion being charity between man and man, it is so refrigerate as there never was more dissension and lack of love between man and man, the occasions whereof are opinions only and names devised for the continuance of the same. Some are called Papists, some Lutherans, and some Anabaptists; names devised of the devil, and yet not fully without ground, for the severing of one man's heart by conceit of opinion from the other." But the remedy was a simple one. Every man was "to travail first for his own amendment." Then the bishops and clergy were to agree in their teaching, "which, seeing there is but one truth and verity, they may easily do, calling therein for the grace of God." Then the nobles and laity were to be pious and humble, to read their new Bibles "reverently and humbly ... and in any doubt to resort to the learned or at best the higher powers." "I am very sorry to know and hear how unreverendly that precious jewel, the Word of God, is disputed, rimed, sung, and jangled in every alehouse and tavern. This kind of man is depraved and that kind of man, this ceremony and that ceremony." All this controversy might be done away by simple charity. "Therefore be in charity one with another like brother and brother. Have respect to the pleasing of God; and then I doubt not that love I spoke of shall never be dissolved between us."
[Sidenote: The Religious Truce.]
There is something wonderful in the English coolness and narrowness, in the speculative blindness and practical good sense which could look out over such a world at such a moment, and could see nothing in it save a quarrel of "opinions, and of names devised for the continuance of the same." But Henry only expressed the general feeling of his people. England indeed was being slowly leavened with a new spirit. The humiliation of the clergy, the Lutheran tendencies of half the bishops, the crash of the abbeys, the destruction of chauntries and mass-chapels, a measure which told closely on the actual worship of the day, the new articles of faith, the diffusion of Bibles, the "jangling" and discussion which followed on every step in the king's course, were all telling on the thoughts of men. But the temper of the nation as a whole remained religiously conservative. It drifted rather to the moderate reforms of the New Learning than to any radical reconstruction of the Church. There was a general disinclination indeed to push matters to either extreme, a general shrinking from the persecution which the Catholic called for as from the destruction which the Protestant was desiring. It was significant that a new heresy bill which passed through the Lords in 1545 quietly disappeared when it reached the Commons. But this shrinking rested rather on national than on theological grounds, on a craving for national union which Henry expressed in his cry for "brotherly love," and on an imperfect appreciation of the real nature or consequence of the points at issue which made men shrink from burning their neighbours for "opinions and names devised for the continuance of the same." What Henry and what the bulk of Englishmen wanted was, not indeed wholly to rest in what had been done, but to do little more save the remedying of obvious abuses or the carrying on of obvious improvements. One such improvement was the supplying men with the means of private devotion in their own tongue, a measure from which none but the fanatics of either side dissented. This process went slowly on in the issuing of two primers in 1535 and 1539, the rendering into English of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, the publication of an English Litany for outdoor processions in 1544, and the adding to this of a collection of English prayers in 1545.
[Sidenote: The Court Factions.]
But the very tone of Henry shows his consciousness that this religious truce rested on his will alone. Around him as he lay dying stood men who were girding themselves to a fierce struggle for power, a struggle that could not fail to wake the elements of religious discord which he had striven to lull asleep. Adherents of the Papacy, advocates of a new submission to a foreign spiritual jurisdiction there were few or none; for the most conservative of English Churchmen or nobles had as yet no wish to restore the older Roman supremacy. But Norfolk and Gardiner were content with this assertion of national and ecclesiastical independence; in all matters of faith they were earnest to conserve, to keep things as they were, and in front of them stood a group of nobles who were bent on radical change. The marriages, the reforms, the profusion of Henry had aided him in his policy of weakening the nobles by building up a new nobility which sprang from the Court and was wholly dependent on the Crown. Such were the Russells, the Cavendishes, the Wriothesleys, the Fitzwilliams. Such was John Dudley, a son of the Dudley who had been put to death for his financial oppression in Henry the Seventh's days, but who had been restored in blood, attached to the court, raised to the peerage as Lord Lisle, and who, whether as adviser or general, had been actively employed in high stations at the close of this reign. Such above all were the two brothers of Jane Seymour. The elder of the two, Edward Seymour, had been raised to the earldom of Hertford, and entrusted with the command of the English army in its operations against Scotland. As uncle of Henry's boy Edward, he could not fail to play a leading part in the coming reign; and the nobles of the "new blood," as their opponents called them in disdain, drew round him as their head. Without any historical hold on the country, raised by the royal caprice, and enriched by the spoil of the monasteries, these nobles were pledged to the changes from which they had sprung and to the party of change. Over the mass of the nation their influence was small; and in the strife for power with the older nobles which they were anticipating they were forced to look to the small but resolute body of men who, whether from religious enthusiasm or from greed of wealth or power, were bent on bringing the English Church nearer to conformity with the reformed Churches of the Continent. As Henry drew to his grave the two factions faced each other with gathering dread and gathering hate. Hot words betrayed their hopes. "If God should call the king to his mercy," said Norfolk's son, Lord Surrey, "who were so meet to govern the Prince as my lord my father?" "Rather than it should come to pass," retorted a partizan of Hertford's, "that the Prince should be under the governance of your father or you, I would abide the adventure to thrust a dagger in you!"
[Sidenote: Lord Surrey.]
In the history of English poetry the name of Lord Surrey takes an illustrious place. An Elizabethan writer tells us how at this time "sprang up a new company of courtly makers, of whom Sir Thomas Wyatt the elder and Henry, Earl of Surrey, were the two chieftains; who having travelled to Italy, and there tasted the sweet and stately measures and style of the Italian poesy, as novices newly crept out of the schools of Dante, Ariosto, and Petrarch, they greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar poesy from what it had been before, and for that cause may justly be said to be the first reformers of our English metre and style." The dull moralizings of the rimers who followed Chaucer, the rough but vivacious doggrel of Skelton, made way in the hands of Wyatt and Surrey for delicate imitations of the songs, sonnets, and rondels of Italy and France. With the Italian conceits came an Italian refinement whether of words or of thought; and the force and versatility of Surrey's youth showed itself in whimsical satires, in classical translations, in love-sonnets, and in paraphrases of the Psalms. In his version of two books of the AEneid he was the first to introduce into England the Italian blank verse which was to play so great a part in our literature. But with the poetic taste of the Renascence Surrey inherited its wild and reckless energy. Once he was sent to the Fleet for challenging a gentleman to fight. Release enabled him to join his father in an expedition against Scotland, but he was no sooner back than the Londoners complained how at Candlemas the young lord and his comrades "went out with stone bows at midnight," and how next day "there was great clamour of the breaking of many glass windows both of houses and churches, and shooting at men that might be in the streets." In spite of his humorous excuse that the jest only purposed to bring home to men that "from justice' rod no fault is free, but that all such as work unright in most quiet are next unrest," Surrey paid for this outbreak with a fresh arrest which drove him to find solace in paraphrases of Ecclesiastes and the Psalms. Soon he was over sea with the English troops in Flanders, and in 1544 serving as marshal of the camp to conduct the retreat after the siege of Montreuil. Sent to relieve Boulogne, he remained in charge of the town till the spring of 1546, when he returned to England to rime sonnets to a fair Geraldine, the daughter of the Earl of Kildare, and to plunge into the strife of factions around the dying king.
[Sidenote: Fall of the Howards.]
All moral bounds had been loosened by the spirit of the Renascence, and, if we accept the charge of his rivals, Surrey now aimed at gaining a hold on Henry by offering him his sister as a mistress. It is as possible that the young Earl was aiming simply at the displacement of Catharine Parr, and at the renewal by his sister's elevation to the throne of that matrimonial hold upon Henry which the Howards had already succeeded in gaining through the unions with Anne Boleyn and Catharine Howard. But a temper such as Surrey's was ill matched against the subtle and unscrupulous schemers who saw their enemy in a pride that scorned the "new men" about him and vowed that when once the king was dead "they should smart for it." The turn of foreign affairs gave a fresh strength to the party which sympathized with the Protestants and denounced that alliance with the Emperor which had been throughout the policy of the Howards. Henry's offer of aid to the Lutheran princes marked the triumph of this party in the royal councils; and the new steps which Cranmer was suffered to make towards an English Liturgy showed that the religious truce of Henry's later years was at last abandoned. Hertford, the head of the "new men," came more to the front as the waning health of the king brought Jane Seymour's boy, Edward, nearer to the throne. In the new reign Hertford, as the boy's uncle, was sure to play a great part; and he used his new influence to remove the only effective obstacle to his future greatness. Surrey's talk of his royal blood, the Duke's quartering of the royal arms to mark his Plantagenet descent, and some secret interviews with the French ambassador, were adroitly used to wake Henry's jealousy of the dangers which might beset the throne of his child. Norfolk and his son were alike committed to the Tower at the close of 1546. A month later Surrey was condemned and sent to the block, and his father was only saved by the sudden death of Henry the Eighth in January, 1547.
[Sidenote: Hertford made Protector.]
By an Act passed in the Parliament of 1544 it had been provided that the crown should pass to Henry's son Edward, and on Edward's death without issue to his sister Mary. Should Mary prove childless it was to go to Elizabeth, the child of Anne Boleyn. Beyond this point the Houses would make no provision, but power was given to the king to make further dispositions by will. At his death it was found that Henry had passed over the line of his sister Margaret of Scotland, and named as next in the succession to Elizabeth the daughters of his younger sister Mary by her marriage with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. As Edward was but nine years old Henry had appointed a carefully-balanced Council of Regency; but the will fell into Hertford's keeping, and when the list of regents was at last disclosed Gardiner, who had till now been the leading minister, was declared to have been excluded from the number of executors. Whether the exclusion was Henry's act or the act of the men who used his name, the absence of the bishop with the imprisonment of Norfolk threw the balance of power on the side of the "new men" who were represented by Hertford and Lisle. Their chief opponent, the Chancellor Wriothesley, struggled in vain against their next step towards supremacy, the modification of Henry's will by the nomination of Hertford as Protector of the realm and governor of Edward's person. Alleged directions from the dying king served as pretexts for the elevation of the whole party to higher rank in the state. It was to repair "the decay of the old English nobility" that Hertford raised himself to the dukedom of Somerset and his brother to the barony of Seymour, the queen's brother Lord Parr to the marquisate of Northampton, Lisle to the earldom of Warwick, Russell to that of Bedford, Wriothesley to that of Southampton. Ten of their partizans became barons, and as the number of peers in spite of recent creations still stood at about fifty such a group constituted a power in the Upper House. Alleged directions of the king were conveniently remembered to endow the new peers with public money, though the treasury was beggared and the debt pressing. The expulsion of Wriothesley from the Chancellorship and Council soon left the "new men" without a check; but they were hardly masters of the royal power when a bold stroke of Somerset laid all at his feet. A new patent of Protectorate, drawn out in the boy-king's name, empowered his uncle to act with or without the consent of his fellow-executors, and left him supreme in the realm.
[Sidenote: Somerset and the Protestants.]
Boldly and adroitly as the whole revolution had been managed, it was none the less a revolution. To crush their opponents the Council had first used, and then set aside, Henry's will. Hertford in turn by the use of his nephew's name set aside both the will and the Council. A country gentleman, who had risen by the accident of his sister's queenship to high rank at the Court, had thus by sheer intrigue and self-assertion made himself ruler of the realm. But daring and self-confident as he was, Somerset was forced by his very elevation to seek support for the power he had won by this surprise in measures which marked the retreat of the Monarchy from that position of pure absolutism which it had reached at the close of Henry's reign. The Statute that had given to royal proclamations the force of law was repealed, and several of the new felonies and treasons which Cromwell had created and used with so terrible an effect were erased from the Statute Book. The popularity however which such measures won was too vague a force to serve in the strife of the moment. Against the pressure of the conservative party who had so suddenly found themselves jockeyed out of power Somerset and the "new men" could look for no help but from the Protestants. The hope of their support united with the new Protector's personal predilections in his patronage of the innovations against which Henry had battled to the last. Cranmer had now drifted into a purely Protestant position; and his open break with the older system followed quickly on Seymour's rise to power. "This year," says a contemporary, "the Archbishop of Canterbury did eat meat openly in Lent in the Hall of Lambeth, the like of which was never seen since England was a Christian country." This notable act was followed by a rapid succession of sweeping changes. The legal prohibitions of Lollardry were rescinded; the Six Articles were repealed; a royal injunction removed all pictures and images from the churches. A formal Statute gave priests the right to marry. A resolution of Convocation which was confirmed by Parliament brought about the significant change which first definitely marked the severance of the English Church in doctrine from the Roman, by ordering that the sacrament of the altar should be administered in both kinds.
[Sidenote: The Common Prayer.]
A yet more significant change followed. The old tongue of the Church was now to be disused in public worship. The universal use of Latin had marked the Catholic and European character of the older religion: the use of English marked the strictly national and local character of the new system. In the spring of 1548 a common Communion Service in English was added to the solitary Mass of the priest; an English book of Common Prayer, the Liturgy which with slight alterations is still used in the Church of England, soon replaced the Missal and Breviary from which its contents are mainly drawn. The name "Common Prayer," which was given to the new Liturgy, marked its real import. The theory of worship which prevailed through Mediaeval Christendom, the belief that the worshipper assisted only at rites wrought for him by priestly hands, at a sacrifice wrought through priestly intervention, at the offering of prayer and praise by priestly lips, was now set at naught. "The laity," it has been picturesquely said, "were called up into the Chancel." The act of devotion became a "common prayer" of the whole body of worshippers. The Mass became a "communion" of the whole Christian fellowship. The priest was no longer the offerer of a mysterious sacrifice, the mediator between God and the worshipper; he was set on a level with the rest of the Church, and brought down to be the simple mouthpiece of the congregation.
[Sidenote: The Triumph of the Emperor.]
What gave a wider importance to these measures was their bearing on the general politics of Christendom. The adhesion of England to the Protestant cause came at a moment when Protestantism seemed on the verge of ruin. The confidence of the Lutheran princes in their ability to resist the Emperor had been seen in their refusal of succour from Henry the Eighth. But in the winter of Henry's death the secession of Duke Maurice of Saxony with many of his colleagues from the League of Schmalkald so weakened the Protestant body that Charles was able to put its leaders to the ban of the Empire. Hertford was hardly Protector when the German princes called loudly for aid; but the fifty thousand crowns which were secretly sent by the English Council could scarcely have reached them when in April 1547 Charles surprised their camp at Muhlberg and routed their whole army. The Elector of Saxony was taken prisoner; the Landgrave of Hesse surrendered in despair. His victory left Charles master of the Empire. The jealousy of the Pope indeed at once revived with the Emperor's success, and his recall of the bishops from Trent forced Charles to defer his wider plans for enforcing religious unity; while in Germany itself he was forced to reckon with Duke Maurice and the Protestant princes who had deserted the League of Schmalkald, but whose one object in joining the Emperor had been to provide a check on his after movements. For the moment therefore he was driven to prolong the religious truce by an arrangement called the "Interim." But the Emperor's purpose was now clear. Wherever his power was actually felt the religious reaction began; and the Imperial towns which held firmly to the Lutheran creed were reduced by force of arms. It was of the highest moment that in this hour of despair the Protestants saw their rule suddenly established in a new quarter, and the Lutheranism which was being trampled under foot in its own home triumphant in England. England became the common refuge of the panic-struck Protestants. Bucer and Fagius were sent to lecture at Cambridge, Peter Martyr advocated the anti-sacramentarian views of Calvin at Oxford. Cranmer welcomed refugees from every country, Germans, Italians, French, Poles, and Swiss, to his palace at Lambeth. When persecution broke out in the Low Countries the fugitive Walloons were received at London and Canterbury, and allowed to set up in both places their own churches.
[Sidenote: Pinkie Cleugh.]
But Somerset dreamed of a wider triumph for "the religion." On his death-bed Henry was said to have enforced on the Council the need of carrying out his policy of a union of Scotland with England through the marriage of its Queen with his boy. A wise statesmanship would have suffered the Protestant movement which had been growing stronger in the northern kingdom since Beaton's death to run quietly its course; and his colleagues warned Somerset to leave Scotch affairs untouched till Edward was old enough to undertake them in person. But these counsels were set aside; and a renewal of the border warfare enforced the Protector's demands for a closer union of the kingdoms. The jealousy of France was roused at once, and a French fleet appeared off the Scottish coast to reduce the castle of St. Andrews, which had been held since Beaton's death by the English partizans who murdered him. The challenge called Somerset himself to the field; and crossing the Tweed with a fine army of eighteen thousand men in the summer of 1547 the Protector pushed along the coast till he found the Scots encamped behind the Esk on the slopes of Musselburgh, six miles eastward of Edinburgh. The English invasion had drawn all the factions of the kingdom together against the stranger, and a body of "Gospellers" under Lord Angus formed the advance-guard of the Scotch army as it moved by its right on the tenth of September to turn the English position and drive Somerset into the sea. The English horse charged the Scottish front only to be flung off by its pikemen; but their triumph threw the Lowlanders into disorder, and as they pushed forward in pursuit their advance was roughly checked by the fire of a body of Italian musketeers whom Somerset had brought with him. The check was turned into a defeat by a general charge of the English line, a fatal panic broke the Scottish host, and ten thousand men fell in its headlong flight beneath the English lances.
[Sidenote: Somerset's Policy.]
Victor as he was at Pinkie Cleugh, Somerset was soon forced by famine to fall back from the wasted country. His victory indeed had been more fatal to the interests of England than a defeat. The Scots in despair turned as of old to France, and bought its protection by consenting to the child-queen's marriage with the son of Henry the Second, who had followed Francis on the throne. In the summer of 1548 Mary Stuart sailed under the escort of a French fleet and landed safely at Brest. Not only was the Tudor policy of union foiled, as it seemed, for ever, but Scotland was henceforth to be a part of the French realm. To north as to south England would feel the pressure of the French king. Nor was Somerset's policy more successful at home. The religious changes he was forcing on the land were carried through with the despotism, if not with the vigour, of Cromwell. In his acceptance of the personal supremacy of the sovereign, Gardiner was ready to bow to every change which Henry had ordered, or which his son, when of age to be fully king, might order in the days to come. But he denounced all ecclesiastical changes made during the king's minority as illegal and invalid. Untenable as it was, this protest probably represented the general mind of Englishmen; but the bishop was committed by the Council to prison in the Fleet, and though soon released was sent by the Protector to the Tower. The power of preaching was restricted by the issue of licences only to the friends of the Primate. While all counter-arguments were rigidly suppressed, a crowd of Protestant pamphleteers flooded the country with vehement invectives against the Mass and its superstitious accompaniments. The suppression of chauntries and religious gilds which was now being carried out enabled Somerset to buy the assent of noble and landowner to his measures by glutting their greed with the last spoils of the Church.
[Sidenote: The Revolts.]
But it was impossible to buy off the general aversion of the people to the Protector's measures; and German and Italian mercenaries had to be introduced to stamp out the popular discontent which broke out in the east, in the west, and in the midland counties. Everywhere men protested against the new changes and called for the maintenance of the system of Henry the Eighth. The Cornishmen refused to receive the new service "because it is like a Christmas game." In 1549 Devonshire demanded by open revolt the restoration of the Mass and the Six Articles as well as a partial re-establishment of the suppressed abbeys. The agrarian discontent woke again in the general disorder. Enclosures and evictions were going steadily on, and the bitterness of the change was being heightened by the results of the dissolution of the abbeys. Church lands had always been underlet, the monks were easy landlords, and on no estates had the peasantry been as yet so much exempt from the general revolution in culture. But the new lay masters to whom the abbey lands fell were quick to reap their full value by a rise of rents and by the same processes of eviction and enclosure as went on elsewhere. The distress was deepened by the change in the value of money which was now beginning to be felt from the mass of gold and silver which the New World was yielding to the Old, and still more by a general rise of prices that followed on the debasement of the coinage which had begun with Henry and went on yet more unscrupulously under Somerset. The trouble came at last to a head in the manufacturing districts of the eastern counties. Twenty thousand men gathered round an "oak of Reformation" near Norwich, and repulsing the royal troops in a desperate engagement renewed the old cries for a removal of evil counsellors, a prohibition of enclosures, and redress for the grievances of the poor.
[Sidenote: Somerset's Fall.]
The revolt of the Norfolk men was stamped out in blood by the energy of Lord Warwick, as the revolt in the west had been put down by Lord Russell, but the risings had given a fatal blow to Somerset's power. It had already been weakened by strife within his own family. His brother Thomas had been created Lord Seymour and raised to the post of Lord High Admiral; but, glutted as he was with lands and honours, his envy at Somerset's fortunes broke out in a secret marriage with the Queen-dowager, Catharine Parr, in an attempt on her death to marry Elizabeth, and in intrigues to win the confidence of the young king and detach him from his brother. Seymour's discontent was mounting into open revolt when in the January of 1549 he was arrested, refused a trial, attainted, and sent to the block. The stain of a brother's blood, however justly shed, rested from that hour on Somerset, while the nobles were estranged from him by his resolve to enforce the laws against enclosures and evictions, as well as by the weakness he had shown in the presence of the revolt. Able indeed as Somerset was, his temper was not that of a ruler of men; and his miserable administration had all but brought government to a standstill. While he was dreaming of a fresh invasion of Scotland the treasury was empty, not a servant of the state was paid, and the soldiers he had engaged on the Continent refused to cross the Channel in despair of receiving their hire. It was only by loans raised at ruinous interest that the Protector escaped sheer bankruptcy when the revolts in east and west came to swell the royal expenses. His weakness in tampering with the popular demands completed his ruin. The nobles dreaded a communistic outbreak like that of the Suabian peasantry, and their dread was justified by prophecies that monarchy and nobility were alike to be destroyed and a new rule set up under governors elected by the people. They dreaded yet more the being forced to disgorge their spoil to appease the discontent. At the close of 1549 therefore the Council withdrew openly from Somerset, and forced the Protector to resign.
[Sidenote: Warwick's Protectorate]
His office passed to the Earl of Warwick, to whose ruthless severity the suppression of the revolt was mainly due. The change of governors however brought about no change of system. Peace indeed was won from France by the immediate surrender of Boulogne; but the misgovernment remained as great as ever, the currency was yet further debased, and a wild attempt made to remedy the effects of this measure by a royal fixing of prices. It was in vain that Latimer denounced the prevailing greed, and bade the Protestant lords choose "either restitution or else damnation." Their sole aim seemed to be that of building up their own fortunes at the cost of the State. All pretence of winning popular sympathy was gone, and the rule of the upstart nobles who formed the Council of Regency became simply a rule of terror. "The greater part of the people," one of their creatures, Cecil, avowed, "is not in favour of defending this cause, but of aiding its adversaries; on that side are the greater part of the nobles, who absent themselves from Court, all the bishops save three or four, almost all the judges and lawyers, almost all the justices of the peace, the priests who can move their flocks any way, for the whole of the commonalty is in such a state of irritation that it will easily follow any stir towards change." But united as it was in its opposition the nation was helpless. The system of despotism which Cromwell built up had been seized by a knot of adventurers, and with German and Italian mercenaries at their disposal they rode roughshod over the land.
[Sidenote: The Reformation]
At such a moment it seemed madness to provoke foes abroad as well as at home, but the fanaticism of the young king was resolved to force on his sister Mary a compliance with the new changes, and her resistance was soon backed by the remonstrances of her cousin, the Emperor. Charles was now at the height of his power, master of Germany, preparing to make the Empire hereditary in the person of his son, Philip, and preluding a wider effort to suppress heresy throughout the world by the establishment of the Inquisition in the Netherlands and a fiery persecution which drove thousands of Walloon heretics to find a refuge in England. But heedless of dangers from without or of dangers from within Cranmer and his colleagues advanced more boldly than ever in the career of innovation. Four prelates who adhered to the older system were deprived of their sees and committed on frivolous pretexts to the Tower. A new Catechism embodied the doctrines of the reformers, and a book of Homilies which enforced the chief Protestant tenets was ordered to be read in churches. A crowning defiance was given to the doctrine of the Mass by an order to demolish the stone altars and replace them by wooden tables, which were stationed for the most part in the middle of the church. In 1552 a revised Prayer Book was issued, and every change made in it leaned directly towards the extreme Protestantism which was at this time finding a home at Geneva. On the cardinal point of difference, the question of the sacrament, the new formularies broke away not only from the doctrine of Rome but from that of Luther, and embodied the anti-sacramentarian tenets of Zwingli and Calvin. Forty-two Articles of Religion were introduced; and though since reduced by omissions to thirty-nine these have remained to this day the formal standard of doctrine in the English Church. Like the Prayer Book, they were mainly the work of Cranmer; and belonging as they did to the class of Confessions which were now being framed in Germany to be presented to the Council of Christendom which Charles was still resolute to reassemble, they marked the adhesion of England to the Protestant movement on the Continent. Even the episcopal mode of government which still connected the English Church with the old Catholic Communion was reduced to a form; in Cranmer's mind the spiritual powers of the bishops were drawn simply from the king's commission as their temporal jurisdiction was exercised in the king's name. They were reduced therefore to the position of royal officers, and called to hold their offices simply at the royal pleasure. The sufferings of the Protestants had failed to teach them the worth of religious liberty; and a new code of ecclesiastical laws, which was ordered to be drawn up by a board of Commissioners as a substitute for the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, although it shrank from the penalty of death, attached that of perpetual imprisonment or exile to the crimes of heresy, blasphemy, and adultery, and declared excommunication to involve a severance of the offender from the mercy of God and his deliverance into the tyranny of the devil. Delays in the completion of this Code prevented its legal establishment during Edward's reign; but the use of the new Liturgy and attendance at the new service were enforced by imprisonment, and subscription to the Articles of Faith was demanded by royal authority from all clergymen, churchwardens, and schoolmasters.
[Sidenote: The Religious Disorder.]
The distaste for changes so hurried and so rigorously enforced was increased by the daring speculations of the more extreme Protestants. The real value of the religious revolution of the sixteenth century to mankind lay, not in its substitution of one creed for another, but in the new spirit of enquiry, the new freedom of thought and of discussion, which was awakened during the process of change. But however familiar such a truth may be to us, it was absolutely hidden from the England of the time. Men heard with horror that the foundations of faith and morality were questioned, polygamy advocated, oaths denounced as unlawful, community of goods raised into a sacred obligation, the very Godhead of the Founder of Christianity denied. The repeal of the Statute of Heresy left indeed the powers of the Common Law intact, and Cranmer availed himself of these to send heretics of the last class without mercy to the stake. But within the Church itself the Primate's desire for uniformity was roughly resisted by the more ardent members of his own party. Hooper, who had been named Bishop of Gloucester, refused to wear the episcopal habits, and denounced them as the livery of the "harlot of Babylon," a name for the Papacy which was supposed to have been discovered in the Apocalypse. Ecclesiastical order came almost to an end. Priests flung aside the surplice as superstitious. Patrons of livings presented their huntsmen or gamekeepers to the benefices in their gift, and kept the stipend. All teaching of divinity ceased at the Universities: the students indeed had fallen off in numbers, the libraries were in part scattered or burned, the intellectual impulse of the New Learning died away. One noble measure indeed, the foundation of eighteen Grammar Schools, was destined to throw a lustre over the name of Edward, but it had no time to bear fruit in his reign.
[Sidenote: Ireland and the Reformation]
While the reckless energy of the reformers brought England to the verge of chaos, it brought Ireland to the brink of rebellion. The fall of Cromwell had been followed by a long respite in the religious changes which he was forcing on the conquered dependency; but with the accession of Edward the Sixth the system of change was renewed with all the energy of Protestant zeal. In 1551 the bishops were summoned before the deputy, Sir Anthony St. Leger, to receive the new English Liturgy which, though written in a tongue as strange to the native Irish as Latin itself, was now to supersede the Latin service-book in every diocese. The order was the signal for an open strife. "Now shall every illiterate fellow read mass," burst forth Dowdall, the Archbishop of Armagh, as he flung out of the chamber with all but one of his suffragans at his heels. Archbishop Browne of Dublin on the other hand was followed in his profession of obedience by the Bishops of Meath, Limerick, and Kildare. The government however was far from quailing before the division of the episcopate. Dowdall was driven from the country; and the vacant sees were filled with Protestants, like Bale, of the most advanced type. But no change could be wrought by measures such as these in the opinions of the people themselves. The new episcopal reformers spoke no Irish, and of their English sermons not a word was understood by the rude kernes around the pulpit. The native priests remained silent. "As for preaching we have none," reports a zealous Protestant, "without which the ignorant can have no knowledge." The prelates who used the new Prayer Book were simply regarded as heretics. The Bishop of Meath was assured by one of his flock that, "if the country wist how, they would eat you." Protestantism had failed to wrest a single Irishman from his older convictions, but it succeeded in uniting all Ireland against the Crown. The old political distinctions which had been produced by the conquest of Strongbow faded before the new struggle for a common faith. The population within the Pale and without it became one, "not as the Irish nation," it has been acutely said, "but as Catholics." A new sense of national identity was found in the identity of religion. "Both English and Irish begin to oppose your Lordship's orders," Browne had written to Cromwell at the very outset of these changes, "and to lay aside their national old quarrels."
[Sidenote: The Peace of Passau.]
Oversea indeed the perils of the new government passed suddenly away. Charles had backed Mary's resistance with threats, and as he moved forward to that mastery of the world to which he confidently looked his threats might any day become serious dangers. But the peace with England had set the French government free to act in Germany, and it found allies in the great middle party of princes whose secession from the League of Schmalkald had seemed to bring ruin to the Protestant cause. The aim of Duke Maurice in bringing them to desert the League had been to tie the Emperor's hands by the very fact of their joining him, and for a while this policy had been successful. But the death of Paul the Third, whose jealousy had till now foiled the Emperor's plans, and the accession of an Imperial nominee to the Papal throne, enabled Charles to move more boldly to his ends, and at the close of 1551 a fresh assembly of the Council at Trent, and an Imperial summons of the Lutheran powers to send divines to its sessions and to submit to its decisions, brought matters to an issue. Maurice was forced to accept the aid of the stranger and to conclude a secret treaty with France. He was engaged as a general of Charles in the siege of Magdeburg; but in the spring of 1552 the army he had then at command was suddenly marched to the south, and through the passes of the Tyrol the Duke moved straight on the Imperial camp at Innspruck. Charles was forced to flee for very life while the Council at Trent broke hastily up, and in a few months the whole Imperial design was in ruin. Henry the Second was already moving on the Rhine; to meet the French king Charles was forced to come to terms with the Lutheran princes; and his signature in the summer of a Treaty at Passau secured to their states the free exercise of the reformed religion and gave the Protestant princes their due weight in the tribunals of the empire.
[Sidenote: The Protestant Misrule.]
The humiliation of the Emperor, the fierce warfare which now engaged both his forces and those of France, removed from England the danger of outer interference. But within the misrule went recklessly on. All that men saw was a religious and political chaos, in which ecclesiastical order had perished and in which politics were dying down into the squabbles of a knot of nobles over the spoils of the Church and the Crown. Not content with Somerset's degradation, the Council charged him in 1551 with treason, and sent him to the block. Honours and lands were lavished as ever on themselves and their adherents. Warwick became Duke of Northumberland, Lord Dorset was made Duke of Suffolk, Paulet rose to the Marquisate of Winchester, Sir William Herbert was created Earl of Pembroke. The plunder of the chauntries and the gilds failed to glut the appetite of this crew of spoilers. Half the lands of every see were flung to them in vain; an attempt was made to satisfy their greed by a suppression of the wealthy see of Durham; and the whole endowments of the Church were threatened with confiscation. But while the courtiers gorged themselves with manors, the Treasury grew poorer. The coinage was again debased. Crown lands to the value of five millions of our modern money had been granted away to the friends of Somerset and Warwick. The royal expenditure mounted in seventeen years to more than four times its previous total. In spite of the brutality and bloodshed with which revolt had been suppressed, and of the foreign soldiery on whom the Council relied, there were signs of resistance which would have made less reckless statesmen pause. The temper of the Parliament had drifted far from the slavish subservience which it showed at the close of Henry's reign. The House of Commons met Northumberland's project for the pillage of the bishoprick of Durham with opposition, and rejected a new treason bill. In 1552 the Duke was compelled to force nominees of his own on the constituencies by writs from the Council before he could count on a House to his mind. Such writs had been often issued since the days of Henry the Seventh; but the ministers of Edward were driven to an expedient which shows how rapidly the temper of independence was growing. The summons of new members from places hitherto unrepresented was among the prerogatives of the Crown, and the Protectorate used this power to issue writs to small villages in the west which could be trusted to return members to its mind.
[Sidenote: Edward the Sixth.]
This "packing of Parliament" was to be largely extended in the following reigns; but it passed as yet with little comment. What really kept England quiet was a trust that the young king, who would be of age in two or three years, would then set all things right again. "When he comes of age," said a Hampshire squire, "he will see another rule, and hang up a hundred heretic knaves." Edward's temper was as lordly as that of his father, and had he once really reigned he would probably have dealt as roughly with the plunderers who had used his name as England hoped. But he was a fanatical Protestant, and his rule would almost certainly have forced on a religious strife as bitter and disastrous as the strife which broke the strength of Germany and France. From this calamity the country was saved by his waning health. Edward was now fifteen, but in the opening of 1553 the signs of coming death became too clear for Northumberland and his fellows to mistake them. By the Statute of the Succession the death of the young king would bring Mary to the throne; and as Mary was known to have refused acceptance of all changes in her father's system, and was looked on as anxious only to restore it, her accession became a subject of national hope. But to Northumberland and his fellows her succession was fatal. They had personally outraged Mary by their attempts to force her into compliance with their system. Her first act would be to free Norfolk and the bishops whom they held prisoners in the Tower, and to set these bitter enemies in power. With ruin before them the Protestant lords were ready for a fresh revolution; and the bigotry of the young king fell in with their plans.
[Sidenote: Edward's Will.]
In his zeal for "the religion," and in his absolute faith in his royal autocracy, Edward was ready to override will and statute and to set Mary's rights aside. In such a case the crown fell legally to Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who had been placed by the Act next in succession to Mary, and whose training under Catharine Parr and the Seymours gave good hopes of her Protestant sympathies. The cause of Elizabeth would have united the whole of the "new men" in its defence, and might have proved a formidable difficulty in Mary's way. But for the maintenance of his personal power Northumberland could as little count on Elizabeth as on Mary; and in Edward's death the Duke saw a chance of raising, if not himself, at any rate his own blood to the throne. He persuaded the young king that he possessed as great a right as his father to settle the succession of the Crown by will. Henry had passed by the children of his sister Margaret of Scotland, and had placed next to Elizabeth in the succession the children of his younger sister Mary, the wife of Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk. Frances, Mary's child by this marriage, was still living, the mother of three daughters by her marriage with Grey, Lord Dorset, a hot partizan of the religious changes, who had been raised under the Protectorate to the Dukedom of Suffolk. Frances was a woman of thirty-seven; but her accession to the Crown squared as little with Northumberland's plans as that of Mary or Elizabeth. In the will therefore which the young king drew up Edward was brought to pass over Frances, and to name as his successor her eldest daughter, the Lady Jane Grey. The marriage of Jane Grey with Guildford Dudley, the fourth son of Northumberland, was all that was needed to complete the unscrupulous plot. It was the celebration of this marriage in May which first woke a public suspicion of the existence of such designs, and the general murmur which followed on the suspicion might have warned the Duke of his danger. But the secret was closely kept, and it was only in June that Edward's "plan" was laid in the same strict secrecy before Northumberland's colleagues. A project which raised the Duke into a virtual sovereignty over the realm could hardly fail to stir resistance in the Council. The king however was resolute, and his will was used to set aside all scruples. The judges who represented that letters patent could not override a positive statute were forced into signing their assent by Edward's express command. To their signatures were added those of the whole Council with Cranmer at its head. The primate indeed remonstrated, but his remonstrances proved as fruitless as those of his fellow-councillors.
[Sidenote: Fall of Northumberland.]
The deed was hardly done when on the sixth of July the young king passed away. Northumberland felt little anxiety about the success of his design. He had won over Lord Hastings to his support by giving him his daughter in marriage, and had secured the help of Lord Pembroke by wedding Jane's sister, Catharine, to his son. The army, the fortresses, the foreign soldiers, were at his command; the hotter Protestants were with him; France, in dread of Mary's kinship with the Emperor, offered support to his plans. Jane therefore was at once proclaimed Queen on Edward's death, and accepted as their sovereign by the Lords of the Council. But the temper of the whole people rebelled against so lawless a usurpation. The eastern counties rose as one man to support Mary; and when Northumberland marched from London with ten thousand at his back to crush the rising, the Londoners, Protestant as they were, showed their ill-will by a stubborn silence. "The people crowd to look upon us," the Duke noted gloomily, "but not one calls 'God speed ye.'" While he halted for reinforcements his own colleagues struck him down. Eager to throw from their necks the yoke of a rival who had made himself a master, the Council no sooner saw the popular reaction than they proclaimed Mary Queen; and this step was at once followed by a declaration of the fleet in her favour, and by the announcement of the levies in every shire that they would only fight in her cause. As the tidings reached him the Duke's courage suddenly gave way. His retreat to Cambridge was the signal for a general defection. Northumberland himself threw his cap into the air and shouted with his men for Queen Mary. But his submission failed to avert his doom; and the death of the Duke drew with it the imprisonment in the Tower of the hapless girl whom he had made the tool of his ambition.