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whom chiefly ye ought to seek to please : which thing, for the good mind that Henry we heretofore have borne you, we pray Almighty God of his infinite mercy that you do not. Amen.
A.D. When all other the king's subjects, and the learned of the realm 1535. had taken and accepted the oath of the king's supremacy, only Fisher, the bishop of Rochester, and sir Thomas More refused (as is afore said) to be sworn ; who therefore, falling into the danger of the law, were committed to the Tower, and executed for the same, A.D. 1535. This John Fisher aforesaid had written before against Ecolampadius, whose book is yet extant, and afterwards against Luther.
Also, amongst other his acts, he had been a great enemy and perse- John cutor of John Frith, the godly and learned martyr of Jesus Christ,
bishop of whom he and sir Thomas More caused to be burned a year and a half Rochesbefore: and, shortly after, the said Fisher, to his confusion, was charged enemy to with Elizabeth Barton (called the holy maid of Kent), and found Cospel's guilty by act of parliament, as is above recorded. For bis learning and other virtues of life this bishop was well reputed and reported of by many, and also much lamented by some. But whatsoever his learning was, pity it was that he, being endued with that knowledge, should be so far drowned in such superstition ; more pity that he was so obstinate in his ignorance; but most pity of all, that he so abused the learning he had, to such cruelty as he did. But this commonly we see come to pass, as the Lord saith, that " whoso striketh with the sword shall perish with the sword,” and they that stain their hands Blood with blood, seldom do bring their bodies dry to the
grave; as commonly appeareth by the end of bloody tyrants, and especially such as be persecutors of Christ's poor members; in the number of whom Fisher were this bishop and sir Thomas More, by whom good John Frith, and More Tewkesbury, Thomas Hitten, Bayfield, with divers other good saints fors. of God, were brought to their death. It was said that the pope, to recompense bishop Fisher for his faithful service, had elected him cardinal, and sent him a cardinal's hat as far as Calais; but the head that it should stand upon, was as high as London bridge ere ever the pope's hat could come to him. Thus bishop Fisher and sir Thomas More, who a little before had put John Frith to death for heresy against the pope, were themselves executed and beheaded for treason against the king, the one the 22d of June, the other the 6th of July, beaded.
books of More,
Of sir Thomas More something hath been touched before, who was also accounted a man both witty and learned: but whatsoever he was besides, a bitter persecutor he was of good men, and a wretched enemy against the truth of the gospel, as by his books left behind him may appear; wherein most slanderously and contumeliously he Lying writeth against Luther, Zuinglius, Tyndale, Frith, Barnes, Bayfield, Bainham, Tewkesbury ; falsely belying their articles and doctrine, as (God granting me life) I have sufficient matter to prove against him.
Briefly, as he was a sore persecutor of them that stood in defence of the gospel, so again, on the other side, such a blind devotion he bare to the pope-holy see of Rome, and so wilfully stood in the pope's quarrel against his own prince, that he would not give over till he bad brought the scaffold of the Tower-hill with the axe and all, upon his own neck.
More a scofler
Edward Hall in his Chronicle,' writing of the death and manners
of this sir Thomas More, seems to stand in doubt whether to call A.D. him a foolish wise man, or a wise foolish man : for, as by nature he 1535.
was endued with a great wit, so the same again was so mingled (saith he) with taunting and mocking, that it seemed to them that best knew him, that he thought nothing to be well spoken, except he had ministered some mock in the communication ; insomuch that, at his coming to the Tower, one of the officers demanding his upper garment for his fee, meaning his gown, he answered that he should have it, and took him his cap, saying it was the uppermost gar
ment that he had. Likewise, even going to his death, at the Tower unto his gate, a poor woman called unto him, and besought him to declare
that he had certain evidences of hers in the time that he was in office (which, after he was apprehended, she could not come by), and that he would entreat that she might have them again, or else she was undone. He answered; " Good woman, have patience a little while, for the king is so good unto me, that even within this half hour he will discharge me of all businesses, and help thee himself.” Also, when he went up the stair of the scaffold, he desired one of the sheriff's officers to give him his hand to help him up, and said,
" When I come down again, let me shift for myself as well as I can.” Also the hangman kneeled down to him, asking him forgiveness of his death, as the manner is ; to whom he answered, " I forgive thee; but I promise thee that thou shalt never have honesty of the striking off my head, my neck is so short. Also, even when he should lay down his neck on the block, he, having a great grey beard, stroked out his beard, and said to the hangman, “ I pray you let me lay my beard over the block, lest you should cut it;" thus with a mock he ended his life.
There is no doubt but that the pope's holiness hath hallowed and dignified these two persons long since for catholic martyrs: neither is it to be doubted, but after a hundred years expired, they shall be also shrined and porthosed, dying as they did in the quarrel of the church of Rome, that is, in taking the bishop of Rome's part, against their own ordinary and natural prince. Whereunto (because the matter asketh a long discourse, and a peculiar tractation) I have not in this place much to contend with Cope, my friend. This briefly for a
Memorandum ’ may suffice ; that if the causes of true martyrdom ought to be pondered, and not to be numbered, and if the end of martyrs is to be weighed by judgment, and not by affection ; then the cause and quarrel of these men standing as it doth, and being tried by God's word, perhaps in the pope's kingdom they may go for martyrs, in whose cause they died; but certes in Christ's kingdom their cause will not stand, howsoever they stand themselves.
The like also is to be said of the three monks of the Charter-house, Middle Exmew, Middlemore, and Neudigate, who the same year, in the month
of June, were likewise attached and arraigned at Westminster, for executed speaking certain traitorous words against the king's crown and dig
nity; for which they were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn : whom also, because Cope, my good friend, doth repute and accept in the number of holy catholic martyrs, here would be asked of him a
(1) See page 817, edit. 4to. London, 1809.-ED.
question: What martyrs be they, who, standing before the judge, Henry deny their own words and sayings, and plead not guilty, so as these Carthusians did ? Whereby it appeareth, that they would neither A.D. have stood nor have died in that cause, as they did, if they might otherwise have escaped by denying. Wherefore, if my friend Cope had been so well advised in setting out his martyrs as God might have made him, he would first have seen the true records, and been sure of the ground of such matters, whereupon he so confidently pronounceth, and so censoriously controlleth others.
In the same cause and quarrel of treason also, the same year, a little before these aforesaid, in the month of May, were executed with the like punishment John Houghton, prior of the charter-house in London ; Robert Laurence, prior of the charter-house of Belvail ; Austin Webster, prior of the charter-house of Exham.'
Besides and with these priors suffered likewise at the same time, Nine Cartwo other priests, one called Reginald, brother of Sion, the other die in prinamed John Haile, vicar of Thistleworth. Divers other Charter- son, rehouse monks also of London were then put in prison, to the number the king's of nine or ten, and in the same prison died; for whom we will, the Lord willing, reserve another place, hereafter to treat of them more at large.
In the mean time, forasmuch as the aforesaid Cope, in his doughty Cope's dialogues, speaking of these nine worthies, doth commend them so thies. highly, and especially the three priors above recited, here by the way I would desire Master Cope simply and directly to answer me to a thing or two that I would put to him; and first of this John Houghton, that angelical prior of the Charterhouse, his old companion and acquaintance, of whom thus he writeth; “ Atqui cum Johannem illum Houghtonum cogito, non tam hominem quam angelum in humana forma intueri mihi videor, cujus eminentes virtutes, divinas dotes, et heroicam animi magnitudinem, nemo unquam poterit satis pro dignitate explicare, "3 &c. By these his own words it must needs be confessed, that the author of these dialogues, whosoever he was, had well seen and considered the form and personable stature, proportion and shape, of his excellent body, with such admiration of his personage, that, as he saith, as oft as he calleth the said John Houghton to mind, it seemeth to him even as though he saw an angel in the shape and form of a man : whose eminent virtues, moreover, whose divine gifts and heroical celsitude of mind, no man, saith he, may sufficiently express, &c. And how old was this Master Cope then, would I know, when he saw and discerned all this ? for, as I understand, Master Cope, being yet at this present scarce come to the age of forty years, he could not then be above nine
old (the other suffering A.D. 1535); at which age, in my mind, Master Cope had small discretion to judge either of any such angelical proportion of this man's personage, or of his divine qualities and heroical celsitude of his mind; and yet he remembereth him in his dialogues : Dialogues which thing, among many other probabilities, maketh me vehemently suspected to suspect that these dialogues, printed in Antwerp, A. D. 1566, were his ow he
(1) Ex Actis in Termino Paschæ, an. 27 reg. Hen. VIII.
piæ, 1566 ; see Wood's Athena Oxon, vol. 1. p. 491. Blois.-ED.
Henry brought over by Master Cope there to be printed, but were penned
and framed by another Pseudo-Copus, whatsoever, or in what fleet A.D. soever he was,
But as the case 1536. is of no great weight, so I let it pass, returning to other matters of
Shortly after the overthrow of the pope, consequently began by little and little to follow the ruin of abbeys and religious houses in England, in a right order and method by God's divine providence. For neither could the fall of monasteries have followed after, unless that suppression of the pope had gone before; neither could any true reformation of the church have been attempted, unless the sub
version of those superstitious houses had been joined withal. Suppres Whereupon, the same year, in the month of October, the king, abbeys having then Thomas Cromwell of his council, sent Dr. Lee to visit ginneth
the abbeys, priories, and nunneries in all England, and to set at in Eng° liberty all such religious persons as desired to be free, and all others
that were under the age of four and twenty years ; providing withal, that such monks, canons, and friars as were dismissed, should have given them by the abbot or prior, instead of their habit, a secular priest's gown, and forty shillings of money, and likewise the nuns to have such apparel as secular women did then commonly use, and be suffered to go where they would ; at which time also, from the said abbeys and monasteries were taken their chief jewels and relics.
A solemn procession in
of the French king's health.
When the king had thus established his supremacy, and all things were well quieted within the realm, he, like a wise prince, and having wise counsel about him, forecasting with himself what foreign dangers might fall unto him by other countries about, which were all as yet in subjection to the bishop of Rome, save only a few German princes, and misdoubting the malice of the pope, to provide therefore betimes for perils that might ensue, thought good to keep in, by all means possible, with other princes.
And first, to entertain the favour of the French king, who had
been sick a little before, and now was lately recovered to health, in Fordon, signification of public joy and friendship, the king commanded a
solemn and famous procession to be ordained through the city of London, with the waits, and children of the grammar schools, with the masters and ushers in their array: then followed the orders of the friars and canons, and the priors with their pomp of copes, crosses, candlesticks, and vergers before them. After these followed the next pageant of clerks and priests of London, all in copes likewise. Then the monks of Westminster and other abbeys, with their glorious gardeviance of crosses, candlesticks, and vergers before them, in like sort. Last of all, came the choir of Pauls, with their residentiaries; the bishop of London and the abbots following after in their pontificalibus. After these courses of the clergy went the companies of the city, with the lord mayor and aldermen in their best apparel, after their degrees. And lest it might be thought this procession of the church of London to make but a small or beggarly show, the furniture of the gay copes there worn, was counted to the number of seven hundred and fourteen. Moreover, to fill up the joy of this procession, and for the more high service to Almighty God, besides
dors to sundry
the singing choirs, and chanting of the priests, there lacked no min- Henry strels withal, to pipe at the processions. Briefly, here lacked nothing else but only the ordnance to shoot off also. But because that is A.D. used in the processions at Rome, therefore, for difference sake, the 1536. same is reserved only for the pope's own processions, and for none A piping other, in the month of October.
This grand procession was appointed for a triumph or a thanksgiving for the late recovery of the French king's health, as is afore said.
Over and besides this, the king, to nourish and retain amity with kings and princes (lest the pope, being exiled now out of England, should incite them to war against him), directed sundry ambassadors and messengers with letters and instructions. To the emperor was sent sir Thomas Wyat, to the French king sir Francis Bryan, and AmbassaDr. Edward Foxe, who was also sent to the princes of Germany; to the Scottish king was sent sir Ralph Sadler, gentleman of the king's kings. privy-chamber.
In Scotland at the same time were cast abroad divers railing ballets and slanderous rhymes against the king of England, for casting off the lady dowager, and for abolishing the pope ; for which cause the aforesaid sir Ralph Sadler, being sent into Scotland with lessons and Sir Ralph instructions how to address himself accordingly, after he had obtained ambassaaccess unto the king, and audience to be heard, first declareth the door to the affectuous and hearty commendations from the king's majesty, his king. grace's uncle, and withal delivered his letters of credence: which done, after a few words of courtly entertainment, as occasion served him to speak, the said sir Ralph Sadler, obtaining audience, thus began in the king his master's behalf to declare, as followeth. The Oration of Sir Ralph Sadler, Ambassador to the Scottish King.
Whereas there is nothing, after the glory of Almighty God, in this world so much to be tendered by kings, princes, or any honest persons, or so highly to be regarded and defended, as their honour, estimation, good fame, and name, which whosoever neglecteth is to be esteemed unnatural: and unless a man labour to avoid and extinguish the false reports, slanders, and defamations made of him by malicious persons, he may well be suspected in conscience to condemn himself: the king your uncle, considering the same, and hearing of sundry ballets, criminations, and infamous libels made and untruly forged and devised in Scotland against his grace, by your grace's subjects, not only upon trust to find with your grace such natural affection, friendship, and amity, as the nearness of blood between uncle and nephew, necessitude of reverence, proximity both of kin and dominions together doth require; but also upon assurance that your grace and wisdom will consider how these slanders and defamations, although they were but against a private person, whatsoever he were, most commonly redound and are imputed to the whole degree and estate; as the defamation of kings toucheth kings, and so of other degrees and dignities : doth send at this time to your grace, his nephew (others he might have sent more worthy; but me at this time, for lack of a better, hath he sent), to desire, pray, and require your grace, according as the nearness of blood, connexion of estate, and other things before expressed, of right and justice do require: beseeching your grace gently to weigh and balance, and well to ponder, the malice of these the said slanderers, and to call in again all the said defamatory ballets, libels, and other writings, punishing the authors and setters forth thereof according to their demerits. And furthermore, to cause open proclamations to be made through your realm, that none of the inhabitants there, shall, in any manner of wise, so misuse himself hereafter, upon such great pain and punishment as to your grace and your council shall be thought convenient for the transgression thereof: so that others, by their correction, and