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which put the scriptures into the hands of the laity. The
Bible in English is the sheet anchor by which the Reforma-
tion will henceforth ride out all reactionary storms.

The fifth wife, Catherine Howard, had no doubt been
guilty of incontinence. The husband who sent her to the
scaffold was not pure. Her history, like all these matri-
monial tragedies, reveals the foulness of the court. The
sixth wife, Catherine Parr, kept her head upon her shoul-
ders. According to a current story, she was near losing
it by heresy, but by adroitly playing on the king's vanity
she escaped.

Swollen and soured by disease, the king grew more
jealous, suspicious, and bloodthirsty as he approached his
end. His fear was for the succession of his infant son,


and he was under the influence of the Seymours, his son's
uncles, and the new men. Lord Dacre of the South was

1541 put to death, nominally for the killing of a gamekeeper,
not by Dacre himself but by one of his party, in a poach-
ing affray; really to destroy a powerful noble and seize
his lands. At last the king's suspicion fell on the Duke
of Norfolk and his brilliant son, the soldier and poet Earl

1^47 of Surrey. Both were attainted for treason. Norfolk
was saved by the king's death; Surrey was murdered.
The chief proof of his treason was his assuming the arms
of Edward the Confessor in a wrong quarter of his shield.
His sister came forward as a witness against him to prove
that he had bade her, probably in jest, gain influence at
court by flirting, like Anne Boleyn, with the king. Nor-
folk also spoke against his son. The outrages on natural
affection with which this history abounds are not less
hideous than the perfidies and murders.

The will of king Henry VIII. instantly requires and
desires Christ's Mother, the blessed Virgin Mary, with all
the holy company of heaven continually to pray for him,
and provides an altar at which daily masses shall be said
for him perpetually while the world shall endure. A pro-
testant or a religious reformer he never was; nor had
protestantism or the Reformation anything to do with his

The upshot of his ecclesiastical policy was a state
church, severed from the papacy and from the rest of
Christendom, with the king for its pope, legislating for
it partly under cover of an enslaved convocation, nominat-
ing its episcopate under cover of a conge d'Slire^ acting as
supreme judge over all its causes and all its persons, regu-
lating its creed, its ritual, and its discipline. The creed

xvr HENRY VIII 341

and ritusil as finally regulated by Henry were catholic.
But by renouncing the head of the catholic church, by
destroying the monasteries, by wrecking shrines and
images, by abolishing pilgrimages, by giving the people
the Bible though in stinted measure, by stripping the
priestly order of its immunities and humbling it to
the dust, the flood-gate had been opened through which the
tide of protestantism was sure to pour. Thus Henry was
a protestant in spite of himself. Still the English Refor-
mation under him was monarchical and political. The
papal power, which, in countries where the reformation
was made by the people or the aristocracy, was abolished,
in England was transferred to the king. In the following
years, the king being a minor and the monarchy in abey-
ance, a revolution of doctrine and worship, truly called
the Reformation, will ensue.



Born 1537; Succeeded 1547; Died 1553

A UTHORIZED by a servile parliament, Henry VHI.
had presumed to treat the kingdom as his private
estate, to dispose of it by v^^ill, to put the government
into the hands of his executors, and even to invalidate
national legislation, as a testator might suspend dealings
with the estate, during the minority of his heir. The six-
teen executors, however, presently doffed that character,
donned the ordinary character of privy councillors, and
1547 formed a regency, governing with a parliament under its
control. Henry had intended to balance, in the compo-
sition of his administrative board, the two parties, the
conservative and progressive, or, as he called them, the
dull and rash, against each other. But the balance was
at once upset in favour of the progressive and rash party,
which threw itself into the doctrinal revolution. Again,
as during the . minorities of Henry HI., Richard H.,
Henry VI., and Edward V., the council becomes the
government. That character it will retain under the
sovereign when he is regnant, till it gives place to
the party cabinet. It will extend its authority from the
state to the church and will seek to exercise legislative
and judicial as well as executive power.

Henry had willed that the executors should all be




equal in authority, but a head was needed by the
government, especially in its foreign relations. With
little opposition the young king's uncle, the Earl of
Hertford, shortly created Duke of Somerset, made him-
self Protector, under a nominal engagement not to act 1547
without consent of his colleagues, which the necessities
of administration, concurring with his own ambition,
speedily set aside. That Somerset was a good soldier
his brilliant victory over the Scotch at Pinkie Cleugh 1547
proved, while the war in which that victory was gained
showed him to be a bad statesman, since it wrecked the
hope of a marriage between the young king and Mary, •
the heiress of Scotland, and threw Scotland once more
into the arms of France. Nor had he the force of character
to curb the daring, dark, and restless spirits trained in the
rivalries and conspiracies of Henry's court and council.

Edward VI. was a boy of ten, but his marvellous
precocity, both of conviction and of intelligence, made
him an influence. He had imbibed a passionate love of
the reformed religion, and an equally passionate hatred
of popery. Had he lived and remained unchanged, the
religious revolution would probably have run its full
course ; his early death, therefore, is one of the critical
events of history.

The executors were the true political offspring of the
last reign. Their first care was, under pretence of ful-
filling Henry's oral bequests, to vote themselves church
plunder and higher titles. They not only laid their 1547
hands upon the chantries in which Masses were said for
souls, the religious funds of trade guilds and everything
which retained the odour of a catholic foundation,
but upon the estates of the bishoprics and cathedral


chapters, some of which were mercilessly pillaged. The
Protector led the rapine and built for himself a palace
in the Strand, destroying churches to make room or fur-
nish materials for it. Each of these confiscations bound
the new-born aristocracy more closely than ever to the
religious revolution.

The religious revolution advanced. It was guided by
Archbishop Cranmer, who played the part of a minister of
public worship. The primate had by this time pretty
well got rid of the remnants of Catholicism which long
hung about him ; above all, of his belief in transubstan-
tiation, the keystone of the catholic faith and system.
He had at his side Latimer and Ridley, the first a rough
English Luther, full of homely force and valour, though
less eminent for discretion ; the second like Melanch-
thon, a learned and temperate, yet thoroughly protestant
divine. Bishops Gardiner and Bonner, the leaders of the
reactionary party, refusing or evading compliance with
the policy of the government, presently found them-

1547 selves in prison, where at the end of the reign both of
them were. Wriothesly, a catholic, was removed from
the chancellorship. To give protestantism free course,

1547 the Act of the Six Articles was repealed. Royal com-
missions went their rounds to extirpate all relics of

1549 popery, such as the images of saints and their effigies
in painted windows ; to see that the Bible was read,
that protestant doctrine was taught, that clergymen
preached instead of performing the magic rite of the
Mass, that instead of the festivals of the saints in the
Roman calendar the Sabbath was observed. The traces of
such commissions, in the wreck of sculptures and painted
glass, lovers of church art still view with sorrow.


The bishops Avere made to take out official patents
as servants of the crown, holding their places during the
king's pleasure, while the forms of episcopal election were
abolished, and an end was thus made of any claims to
independent power founded on apostolical succession.
Hooper, when appointed to a bishopric, refused even to
be consecrated in the episcopal vestments, which he
deemed rags of popery, and to overcome his scruples
strong pressure was required.

Henry VIII. had shrunk from alliance with the German
protestants. The new government stretched out its arms
to them, treated their churches as in full communion with
that of England, brought over two of their divines, 1548
Bucer and Peter Martyr, to help in the English Refor-
mation, and took the advice of Calvin. Calvin's doctrine,
not only respecting the eucharist, but respecting the gen-
eral relation of man to God, is more thoroughly opposed
even than that of Luther to belief in sacerdotal mediation.
It became, and for some time remained, the doctrine of
the English Reformation. High churchmen still shud-
der at the name of the Lambeth Articles, drawn up in 1595
the next reign but one by an episcopal conclave for
adoption by the church and embodying Calvinism in its
extreme form.

Cranmer meanwhile was engaged in the compilation 1540
of an English and protestant liturgy. His work was
largely a translation of the Roman offices, yet with only
so much of the old doctrine and sentiment left as might
in some degree temper change to the catholic soul. His
singular command of liturgical language enabled him to
invest a new ritual at once with a dignity and beauty
which gave it a strong hold on the heart of the wor-


shipper and have made it the mainstay of the Anglican
church. Its substantial protestantism, while, out of ten-
derness for the feelings of catholics, it retained traces of
catholic ritual, was more marked in a second version than
1549 in the first. An Act of Uniformity imposed this liturgy
1551 on the national church. Articles of Religion, thoroughly
protestant, so that the Neo-catholicism of our day struggles
with their adverse import, were framed as the manifesto
of the Anglican Reformation, and were accompanied by
a set of homilies, in which, if fasting is retained, it is
founded partly on the expediency of encouraging the fish
trade. The eucharist became a commemoration. The
altar became a communion table. Absolution, instead
of an act of the priest, became a declaration of the mercy
of God. Worship, instead of sacrifice, became common
prayer. The seven sacraments were reduced to two.
The cup was given to the laity. The chancel-rail, which
had parted the priesthood from the people, was morally
removed. The clergy were re-united with the laity by
permission to marry. With clerical celibacy departed
monastic vows. Purgatory was discarded, and with it
prayers for the dead. The mystical Latin gave way, as
the language of worship, to the vulgar tongue. The place
of the Roman calendar with its saints-days was taken by
the Calvinistic Sabbath. Crucifixes, images of saints,
pyxes, chalices, holy water, disappeared. Pilgrimages
ceased. The whole catholic and medieval system, in short,
was swept away, and replaced by the protestant system so
far as law could do it. Law could not reach the hearts
of the people, masses of whom in the more backward parts
of the kingdom, though they might be willing to part with
papal supremacy and more than willing to part with the


courts ecclesiastic, clung to the ancient faith, and still
more to the ancient forms. The shape of the edifices, too,
adapted for Mass, not for common prayer and preaching,
continued to protest against the substitution of common
prayer and preaching for the Mass. The sudden transi-
tion could not fail to involve wide-spread disorder, pro-
fanity, and confusion.

All this was done by the government without deference
to convocation and, as subsequent events show, against
the wishes of the great body of the clergy. Deference
was paid to the authority of leading divines, foreign as
well as English, but only as to that of experts and by way
of supporting acts of government. Convocation hence-
forth has no independent power. The crown and par-
liament are now, and with a brief and doubtful interlude
will remain, the supreme legislature of the church as well
as of the state. What was afterwards called the Erastian
principle is practically established as the principle of the
English polity. The power of the priest, though not the
political influence of the church, receives its death-blow.
The church of England becomes in fact a department of
the state.

Meanwhile the clergy, having refused to unite with
the other estates in parliament, had, on account of their
supposed representation in their own assembly, been
practically excluded from the House of Commons, The
bishops alone, by virtue of their baronies, retained seats
in the House of Lords, where since the abolition of the
abbacies they had become a Aveak minority. Thus the
clergy, while they lost their power as priests, forfeited
part of their privileges as citizens. A shadowy relic of
priestly immunity from secular jurisdiction and at the


same time of clerical monopoly of learning, benefit oi
clergy, lingered with relics of wager of battle and com-
purgation down to the present century in English law.

To complete the ecclesiastical polity, it was proposed
to frame a new code of ecclesiastical law, substituting a
rational and protestant discipline for the Roman peniten-
tials, and regulating in the same sense the jurisdiction of
the ecclesiastical courts. The project did not take effect,
but of the spirit in which it was framed we may judge,
since we know that it would have treated marriage no
longer as a sacrament, but as dissoluble, and would have
provided for divorce.

The Acts against the Lollards were repealed. So far

toleration advanced. But heresy was still a crime and

Anabaptists werq still burned. Their rising in Germany

1523-5 under Munzer had branded them with anarchy, political

1550 as well as religious. The fate of Joan Bocher has ex-
cited peculiar pity and has cast a deep shadow on the
fame of Cranmer, who, however, seems to have been
responsible only as a member of council and its adviser
in ecclesiastical affairs. Protestantism, the religion of
private judgment and an open Bible, knew not yet of

1553 what spirit it was. Of this the burning of Servetus by
Calvin was a hideous proof. But it is not just to com-
pare the execution of Anabaptists or Jesuits, few in
number and partly on political grounds, or the death
of Servetus, to the fires and torture-houses of the Inqui-
sition. Protestantism has long since abjured persecution
and deplored the burning of Servetus. Romanism, in

1864 its latest utterance, the Encyclical, re-asserts the funda-
mental principle of persecution, and it has never deplored
or renounced the acts of the Inquisition.


Out of the spoils of the church, Christ's Hospital and 1553
some grammar schools were founded in the name of the
young king. This was not much, but it showed the
spirit of the movement. Protestantism has generally
forwarded, Roman Catholicism, when left to itself, as in
Italy and Spain, has generally discouraged popular educa-
tion. The open Bible, if it was not free thought, was an
appeal to reason. A day when the religion of the open
Bible would conflict with free thought might come ; but
it was in the distant future.

By the progressive inhabitants of the towns the Refor-
mation seems to have been generally embraced, or at all
events received with submission. The less quick-witted
country folk clove to the celibate priesthood, to the magi-
cal sacraments, to the mystical Latin of the old liturgy, to
the intercession of the saints, to the comfortable anodyne
of confession and absolution. So, under the Roman
Empire, while the cities became Christian, the country
folk clove to the old gods. The dull flame of peasant
disaffection, we may be sure, would be fanned by the
parish priests, who, apart from the shock to their senti-
ments, the depression of their order, and the spoliation of
their church, would, as Mass-priests, be unsuited to the
duties of a pastor, which, under the new system, they
were called upon to perform. Among the simple and
ignorant peasantry of the west of England there broke
out a rebellion like the Pilgrimage of Grace. Exeter, 1549
which held out for the government and the Reformation,
was besieged and nearly taken by a peasant army. It
was with difflculty that the bankrupt and discredited
government raised forces to cope with the insurrection.
The day was turned at last against the rustic scythes


and pitchforks by the arquebuses of German and Italian
mercenaries whom the government was fain to bring into
the field, and by whose intervention as foreigners in a
struggle between English parties its popularity was not
likely to be increased. The victory was signalized by the
hanging of priests from parish steeples with mass-books
round their necks.

In the east of England, where the people were not
so primitive, there was little religious reaction, but the
government had there to contend with a dangerous insur-
rection arising from a different cause. The age was one
of economical and industrial as well as of religious revo-
lution. Organization was giving place to competition,
as the principle of industrial life. In the cities there
seems to have been an exodus from places where in-
dustry was shackled by the rules of the old guilds
and their oppressive system of apprenticeships to places
without guilds or charters, where labour and trade
were free. In the country it was the period of the
final transition from the old manorial system to the
modern and essentially commercial system of land-owner-
ship with hired labour. The landlord was enclosing the
common, by pasturing on which peasants had eked out
what was probably a poor and laborious existence. The
small holdings were being thrown together into large
farms, which paid better. Sheep farms especially were
profitable, from the great demand for wool and the small
amount of labour required. The displacement of the
little homestead by the sheep-fold is the great subject of
complaint at this time. Latimer bewails the destruction
of his father's homestead and its old-fashioned counter-
parts. Efforts were made to protect the plough by legis-


lation ; they were evidently ineffectual, and served only
to sing the dirge of the old system with its relations and
its reciprocal duties. The decay of husbandry which the
legislature deplored might be a change, ultimately, for
the better. The loss of population might be only a
displacement. The transition might be inevitable. But
transitions, though inevitable, are cruel, and there could
not fail to arise a bitter antagonism between the evicting
landlords awid the evicted tenants. The land-owner had
not yet assumed, in place of his duties as a feudal lord,
his duties as a squire.

"When I consider and weigh in my mind all these
commonwealths which nowadays anywhere do flourish, so
God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain con-
spiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities
under the name and title of the commonwealth. They
invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep
safely, without fear of losing, that they have unjustly
gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the
work and labour of the poor for as little money as may
be. These devices when the rich men have decreed to
be kept and observed under colour of the commonalty,
that is to say, also of the poor people, then they be made
laws." So wailed More in his Utopian days, with Uto-
pian exaggeration, but probably not without basis of
fact. These ideas were working then as they are now
and as they were in the days of Wat Tyler. They had
assumed a terrible form in the outbreak of communism J?\


and anarchism at Munster under John of Leyden.

In Norfolk the peasantry rose under Robert Kett, a 1549
man of substance, no John of Leyden, but apparently a
well-meaning and humane reformer. They made them-



selves masters of Norwich, where they found sympathy,
and near which they formed a great camp, with Kett's
insurrectionary tribunal, the " oak of justice," in the
midst of it. Under the oak of justice they brought
offending landlords to trial. They broke down enclosures
and killed the deer in the parks of the gentry. Yet they
committed no such atrocities as had been committed by
the insurgents under Wat Tyler. The government, after
a trial of their strength, was suiBciently impressed with
it to open negotiations ; but mutual mistrust prevailed.
The end was a pitched battle in which the discipline and
arquebuses of the foreign mercenaries, whom the govern-
ment again brought into the field, once more prevailed
over rustic strategy and arms. Executions followed of
course, and Kett, for struggling against economical des-

1549 tiny, swung in chains from the castle tower, while his
brother William swung from the steeple of his parish.
A rigorous law against riotous assemblages for the pur-

1549 pose of breaking enclosures crowned the victory of the
gentry and the government.

Incident to economical transition was the growth of
pauperism. That doleful history has begun. The slave
or serf in destitution or old age may look to his master
for support ; the independent labourer must shift for
himself, and when first turned loose he might be almost
as little capable of self-support as the emancipated slave.
The conversion of plough-land into sheep-walk must have
cast many farm-hands adrift ; so must the dissolution
of the monasteries ; so must the reduction of the feudal
trains ; while the debasement of the currency by dis-
organizing industry and trade would be sure to aggravate
the evil. Tramps multiplied and became a pest, often.


no doubt, adding outrage to mendicity. The government
swelled their number by disbanding the soldiers whom
it had hired for foreign wars. It then tried, under
Henry VIII. and again in the present reign, to repress 1547
vagabondage by savage vagrancy laws, rising in their 1549
cruelty from flogging and branding to slavery, to work-
ing in irons, even to death, while thieves were sent to
the gallows twenty in a batch. " They be cast into
prison," says More in his " Utopia," " as vagabonds be-
cause they go about and work not, whom nobody will
set to work, though they never so willingly proffer
themselves thereto." The Tudor vagrancy laws hideously
depict the attitude of the rich towards the poor in days
glorified by some as those of healthier relations and a
higher social ideal.

Honest destitution was, at the same time, not unrecog-
nized. An attempt was at first made to relieve it by
means of a system of voluntary contributions in each
parish. But voluntary contribution, however enjoined
by the government and preached by the clergy, was an
ineffectual substitute for a regular poor law.

The Protector favoured the cause of the poor. He is
interesting as the first English statesman who took that
line. He went so far as to put forth a manifesto rebuk-
ing the gentry for their covetous encroachments on the
peasants' rights and recalling them to their social duty.
" To plant brotherly love among us, to increase love
and godly charity among us, and make us know and
remember that we all, poor and rich, noble and ignoble,
gentlemen and husbandmen, and all other of whatsoever
estate they be, be members of one body mystical of our
Saviour Christ and of the body of the realm," — such was
VOL. 1 — 23


the social policy of the Protector, as set forth in his com-
mission of reform. Whether his motive was genuine
sympathy with the peasantry, personal ambition, or a
mixture of the two, we cannot say. Sir William Paget,
the shrewdest statesman of the day, in a letter to him
complains that the king's subjects were " out of all dis-

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