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England under the Tudors By Arthur D. Innes Characters: 38244

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05


HENRY VIII (vi), 1540-47-HENRY'S LAST YEARS

[Sidenote: 1540 Katherine Howard]

The complaisant and very plain lady who had been the cause of Cromwell's downfall had no objection (subject to compensation), to being discarded on technical grounds by her spouse. Before the minister was dead, the marriage had been pronounced null: not without compensatory gifts. But her brother the Duke of Cleves was less easily pacified, and all prospect of an alliance with the Protestant League was at an end. A new bride was promptly found for the King in the person of Katharine Howard, a kinswoman of the Duke of Norfolk-a marriage which marked the renewal of the ascendancy of the old nobility in alliance with the reactionary Church party.

[Sidenote: The King his own Minister]

Thirty-one years had passed since Henry, in the first flush of a manhood exceptionally rich in promise, but untried and inexperienced, had taken his place on the throne of England as the successor of the most astute sovereign in Europe. For nearly twenty years thereafter Wolsey had served him with such latitude of action that nearly every one except the Cardinal believed that he dominated the King. After a brief interval, for nearly ten years more the same statement would have applied to Cromwell. While those two great ministers held office, each of them towered immeasurably above all his fellow-subjects: though each knew that the brilliant boy had hardened into a masterful King who could hurl him headlong with a nod. But when Cromwell had fallen, none took his place; there is no statesman who stands out conspicuous. Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, brother of Jane Seymour, showed some military capacity; Paget proved himself an astute diplomatist; Cranmer and Gardiner led the rival Church parties, but neither the parties nor their leaders exercised any semblance of control over the Supreme Head. Abroad, Henry's battle with the Pope was won: at home his autocracy was established alike as temporal and spiritual head of the nation. There was no one left who needed crushing. Cromwell had seen to that before he was dispensed with. After that revolutionary decade, there were no more marked changes. There were incidents in the now slowly moving course of the reformation; there was even an unimportant insurrection; but the chief interest of Henry's closing years is once more to be found mainly in foreign relations, and more especially in those with Scotland.

[Sidenote: England and the European Powers]

On the continent, the two leading Powers, France and the Empire, were in a chronic state of antagonism only occasionally veiled: while the Pope was in permanent opposition to England. This situation was complicated by the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant German Princes. When Charles was disposed to religious toleration, the League were his very good subjects, the Pope became antagonistic, and a Franco-papal alliance threatened. When Charles leaned to intolerance, the Pope grew favourable to him, and Francis turned a friendly eye on the perturbed Protestant League. Charles, Francis, and the League, would each of them have been pleased to make use of England, but none of them wished to be of service to her: and now Thomas Cromwell's great desire of bringing about a cordial relation between England and the League had been frustrated instead of furthered by the affair of Anne of Cleves. The risk of this alliance had forced Charles into a conciliatory attitude towards Francis; relieved from it, he could now revert to his normal attitude. At the end of 1540, the Emperor and the French King were almost within measurable distance of hostilities, while the relations between the latter and Henry were becoming seriously strained by his neglect to pay the instalments of cash due under past treaties. For the time being, however, there was no immediate likelihood of a breach of the peace.

[Sidenote: Cardinal Beton]

In Scotland, James Beton Archbishop of St. Andrews, the most consistent enemy of England, had died in 1539, and had been succeeded, both in his office and his influence, by his nephew, the still more famous Cardinal, David Beton. The Cardinal was the last of the old school of militant ecclesiastical statesmen; a foe to the English the more deadly because of Henry's anti-clerical policy, as well as on account of traditional views, and of the specific grounds of distrust for which Henry himself had been responsible during twenty years past-including the proposal to let Angus kidnap James Beton [Footnote: Cf. p. 81.] under a safe-conduct. He was moreover a zealous persecutor of heretics; which greatly intensified the bitterness with which all the historians of the reforming party treated not only the man himself but the whole policy which he was supposed to have instigated. In Scotland, religious reformers were almost of necessity Anglophiles, since Henry did all he could to encourage their doctrines.

North of the Tweed, English writers have relied so much on the statements of John Knox and Buchanan that the persistent hostility not only of the King and the clergy but also of the Scottish Commons to Henry's overtures is generally represented as mere frowardness. It was in fact due to a distrust sufficiently accounted for by the English King's undeniable complicity in the deliberate fostering of disorder, and more than justified by his re-assertion in public documents of the English claim to suzerainty which had been finally and decisively repudiated at Bannockburn-a repudiation confirmed by treaty [Footnote: It is true that this had not prevented Edward III. from re-asserting the claim.] in 1328.

[Sidenote: Scotland and England, 1541]

In 1541 the attempt was renewed to bring about a conference with the Scots King at York; again it failed, after James had seemed to commit himself. Henry was indignant, and recriminations passed on the subject and on that of border raids, which culminated in the following summer in the affair of Haddon Rigg when an English party was very badly handled. It is a curious illustration of Henry's notions of honour that-although the two countries were nominally at peace-Wharton, one of the English Wardens of the Marches, proposed to take advantage of James's 1542 roving propensities and arrange to have him captured and brought prisoner to England; a scheme which Henry apparently approved, but fortunately for his own credit referred to his Council, whose consciences were less adaptable. In October, the English indulged in a week's invasion of Scotland, and the Scottish King would have responded in kind but that his nobles thought better of it.

[Sidenote: Solway Moss (Nov.)]

The counter-invasion however was not long delayed. The popular accounts of it are mainly derived from the narrative of John Knox; according to whom the Scottish army, ill-led and disorderly, was utterly routed with immense slaughter by three or four hundred English yeomen who succeeded in gathering together and smiting them after the analogy of Gideon. But the dispatches of Wharton [Footnote: Hamilton Papers. Lang, Hist. Scot., i., 455. Froude, iv., 190 (Ed. 1864), follows Knox picturesquely.], the Warden of the Marches, show that, acting on some days' information, he had ready a force of from 2,000 to 3,000 men, with whom, having watched his opportunity, he fell upon the very badly organised Scottish levies and entangled them in the morass called Solway Moss. The completeness of the disaster has not been over-rated; but it was an intelligible operation of war, not a miracle. James was prostrated by the blow. In three weeks time (December 14th, 1542) he was dead, and his week-old daughter Mary inherited the woful burden of the Scottish crown.

[Sidenote: Intervening events]

In the meantime, there had been a futile insurrection in the North, headed by Sir John Neville, in the Spring of 1541; which led to the execution not only of Neville himself, but of the old Countess of Salisbury-niece of Edward IV., mother of the Poles, and grandchild of the "King-maker". Not long after this, the Norfolk interest suffered a severe shock at Henry's court from the discovery of flagrant and confessed misconduct on the part of the monarch's fifth spouse, Katharine Howard; she was attainted and beheaded, in February, 1542, and succeeded by Katharine Parr; who was fortunate enough to outlive her husband.

[Sidenote: 1543 Henry's Scottish policy]

Solway Moss inspired Henry with a fresh determination to invade and chastise Scotland; but James's death suggested a simpler method. For the moment, Beton was in the hands of his enemies. Henry proposed that the baby Mary should be betrothed to his own son Edward, that the government of Scotland should be vested in a Council which he could control, and that sundry English garrisons should be planted in the country. The Scots lords captured at Solway Moss were quite ready to promise support to his plans as the price of returning home: they were also ready to break faith with the English King when they got there; and did so. As soon as the lords were out of Henry's reach, the Scots Estates demanded modifications in the proposed treaty which would have made it nugatory from the English point of view. A Scottish Prince might have been allowed to wed an English Princess; but Scotland would not take her King from England. It was not long before the Cardinal recovered his ascendancy, and, acting in conjunction with the queen-mother, Mary of Guise, sought the aid and alliance of France.

[Sidenote: Alliance with Charles]

The French King was already at war with Charles, and his relations with England were exceedingly strained; whilst he was openly declaring his determination to support Scotland, and French ships were playing the pirate in the Channel. The Emperor on the other hand had quieted the Protestant league by his tolerant attitude at the Diet of Ratisbon (1541); but the Duke of Cleves, Henry's enemy, was defying him. Hence the whole conditions pointed to an anti-French rapprochement between Charles and Henry; which took the form of a treaty of alliance early in 1543. If the territories of either Power were invaded, the other was to render assistance: and thereafter neither was to make peace unless his ally was satisfied also. The French King attempted to detach England by offering to meet the bulk of her separate requirements; and considering the prevailing standard of bad faith, it is to Henry's credit that he refused these overtures.

[Sidenote: War with France]

In the early summer Francis invaded Flanders, and an English force, not numerous but in good trim, entered Picardy. The Imperial troops however awaited the arrival of Charles himself from the South, and it was not till August that he took the field, having gathered his army, largely composed of Spanish soldiery, at Spires. But his first objective proved to be not France but Cleves which he brought to rapid submission and treated with great severity. In October he began to concert operations with the English, and a scheme was prepared, to be given effect in the following summer: when the English were to invade France by way of Calais, and the Emperor by way of the Upper Rhine, the two armies converging on Paris.

[Sidenote: 1544 Domestic Affairs]

Though the French campaign was thus deferred, the early months of 1544 were not uneventful. In the realm of domestic affairs, we observe that the King was now resorting with vigour to the worst expedient of bad financiers, a monstrous debasement [Footnote: See infra p. 180] of the currency. Also he had recently raised a considerable forced loan, pending the collection of subsidies already voted by Parliament but not yet due. An act was now passed in effect converting the loan into a gift, by reason of the necessities of the war-a measure not practically different from the voting of an additional subsidy. Parliament also had the satisfaction of being invited to lay down the succession to the throne in accordance with Henry's wishes, although he had already been empowered to fix it without appeal-an apt illustration of his preference for following Constitutional forms whenever there was no risk of his objects being interfered with. After Prince Edward and his heirs, Mary was to succeed, and after her Elizabeth. Beyond Henry's own offspring, the claims of the Stewarts through Margaret Tudor were postponed to those of the descendants of the younger sister Mary.

[Sidenote: Intrigues in Scotland]

In Scotland, Beton was in power, carrying out a drastic policy of religious persecution; the nobility were in their normal condition of kaleidoscopic flux, taking sides for or against Henry, the Cardinal, and each other, as the moment's interests might suggest. The Anglicising party made a pact with England to repudiate the French alliance, hand over the baby Queen if they could, and accept Henry's control. Scotland was to be invaded. Certain zealous spirits proposed to assassinate the Cardinal if they could do so under Henry's aegis, but the opportunity passed before he replied to their overtures-to the effect that the scheme was eminently laudable, but that he could not openly move in the matter. The assassination of a tyrant was not looked on as an act deserving of severe moral condemnation; many zealots would have accounted it a virtuous deed, to risk their lives for such an end. But a King [Footnote: Froude, iv., 319 (Ed. 1864), apparently defends Henry on the ground that he regarded Beton as a traitor; and saw "no reason to discourage the despatch of a public enemy".] who encouraged even while declining to hire assassins stands in a different category from such persons.

[Sidenote: Edinburgh Sacked]

In the beginning of May, Edinburgh was startled by the appearance in the Forth of a great English fleet. The idea of an invasion in this form had never presented itself. There was no army to give battle. The Cardinal and his friends fled. The English landed and sacked Leith. Edinburgh was in no condition for defence; the resistance of the citizens, though stubborn, was easily overwhelmed. The city was pillaged; the county for miles round was laid waste; and then, satisfied with his work of simple destruction, Hertford, the English commander, withdrew. Scotland was leaderless and powerless to strike: for months to come, the English Wardens of the Marches were free to carry out a series of devastating raids with practical immunity. Under these circumstances, Henry dismissed the idea of organising a subordinate government: anarchy in Scotland suited him equally well, without involving responsibilities or taxing his resources. His serious attention was given to the Continent.

[Sidenote: The French War]

During May, separate overtures were made on behalf of France both to Charles and Henry with a view to severing their alliance; each however declined entirely to treat apart from the other. More-over, at the Diet of Spires, Charles took a strong line in favour of the maintenance of the ordinances of Ratisbon and generally of deferring all religious differences till the war with France should be over. With the Pope supporting France and advocating alliance with the Turk as a less dangerous enemy to Christianity than the ecclesiastical rebel of England, Charles was not disposed to show favour to the Catholic princes of the Empire.

[Sidenote: Charles makes peace at Crepy (Sept.)]

The time was now at hand for the campaign to commence: and Henry proposed a modification of the original scheme. According to his view, it would be better for the two armies to concentrate in force on the frontiers while a single detachment penetrated as far into France as might seem wise. Charles however insisted on his plan of two separate invasions. Henry could not refuse, but pointed out that his own march on Paris was conditioned by the thorough reduction of the country as he advanced; notably of Boulogne and Montreuil which would otherwise perpetually threaten his communications. The English proceeded to lay siege to these two places, and the Emperor attacked St. Dizier. Until these strongholds were captured, the two armies were respectively unable to advance. With August, Francis renewed his scheme of making separate overtures accompanied by suggestions to each monarch that his ally was trying to make terms for himself. Each again refused to treat apart from the other. At last St. Dizier fell, and Charles advanced into France, passing by Chalons and a considerable French army which was enabled to act on his line of communications. Hence he very soon found himself in grave difficulties. Thereupon he informed Henry that unless the English marched straight upon Paris, regardless of Boulogne and Montreuil, (which he knew to be strategically impossible) he would have to accept for himself the terms offered by Francis. Boulogne was taken (September 14th) three days after the message was received, but Montreuil held out. Henry had honourably refused to make terms for himself; but on September 19th Charles signed the peace of Crepy-amounting to a simple desertion of his ally.

Boulogne was lost to the French, and though they were now free to concentrate their forces against the English, all attempts to re-capture it were repulsed. Henry felt no disposition to abate his own terms or to resign Boulogne: Francis required him to do both. Charles politely repudiated any obligation to armed intervention, despite the efforts of Gardiner to persuade him-much to the bishop's disappointment, since the Lutheran Princes, alarmed by the Emperor's conduct, were again making overtures to England.

[Sidenote: 1545 Ancram Moor]

In Scotland, the policy of destruction adopted by the English throughout 1544 had driven the country to a temporary rally, and a severe reverse was inflicted on the Southron, beguiled into an ambuscade, at Ancram Moor in February 1545; whereby Francis was encouraged to maintain, and Charles to assume, hostility to Henry: who in turn unsuccessfully sought the Lutheran alliance-a failure due to the persistent distrust of the German Princes, who could never make up their minds whether the promises of the King or the Emperor were the less to be relied on. To the quarrel over the desertion of England by Charles at the peace of Crepy, was added a quarrel over the seizure by the English of Flemish ships carrying what would now be called contraband of war, and the arrest in retaliation of English subjects in Flanders.

[Sidenote: A French Invasion]

The isolation of England was complete: and Francis now looked to effect a successful invasion; to which end a great fleet was collected. But there was now a respectable English navy, supplemented by ships from every port on the southern coast. The threat of invasion raised the whole country in arms. In the latter part of July, the French armada was off the Solent, and a landing was accomplished in the Isle of Wight; but though there were various demonstrations and a few skirmishes, there was no general enga

gement. The French could not get into the Solent: the English would not come out in force, so long as the lack of a sufficient breeze gave the fighting advantage to the enemy's oar-driven galleys. Finally, plague broke out in the French fleet which retired about the middle of August. Its dispersion allowed of the relief of Boulogne; which was becoming somewhat straitened, being blockaded on the land side by a large army.

[Sidenote: 1546 Terms of Peace]

Thus when the autumn set in, the offensive operations of the French had resulted in complete failure though there had been no important engagement: and in the meantime, the temporary nature of the reverse at Ancram Moor had been demonstrated by renewed ravages in Scotland directed by Hertford. The altered aspect of affairs made Francis ready to treat, and changed the tone of Charles from hostility to conciliation. Negotiations were set on foot; but in the course of them it became clear not only that Henry was determined to keep Boulogne but that Charles had no intention of letting Milan go. England's readiness to continue the struggle was demonstrated by the strength of the forces she threw onto French soil in the following March, and in May Francis proposed terms. Most of the cash claims were to be paid up; part were to be referred to arbitration; and Boulogne was to remain for eight years in the hands of the English as security. The financial pressure of the war had been terribly heavy, so that the expedient of debasing the coinage had been repeated in order to supplement taxation. Henry accepted the French terms; and almost simultaneously his hands were strengthened by the assassination of his most resolute opponent in Scotland, Cardinal Beton (May 29th, 1546). The Peace with France was concluded in June.

[Sidenote: 1532-46 Events in Europe]

Before proceeding with the account of the ecclesiastical movement in England during these six years, and with the narrative of the concluding six months of Henry's reign, we must turn aside to observe certain events on the Continent which have not hitherto fallen under our notice, since they did not at the time exercise a direct effect on English policy, and were not immediately influenced thereby. Yet since the treaty of Nuremberg in 1532-the point down to which, in a previous chapter, we followed the course of the Reformation in Europe-a compromise which served as a modus vivendi between the Protestant League and the Catholic subjects of the Empire, important developments had been taking place, which very materially, if indirectly, affected the subsequent course of events in England as well as on the Continent. The period corresponds roughly with the pontificate of Paul III. which lasted from 1534 to 1549.

[Sidenote: The Lutherans and the Papacy]

The idea that the ecclesiastical reconciliation of Christendom was still possible-apart from the banned and recalcitrant sovereign of England-was one of which a considerable body of Churchmen by no means despaired. There were men like Contarini and Pole on the one side and Melanchthon on the other whose doctrinal attitude did not seem to be hopelessly irreconcilable. But while the Lutherans demanded for themselves a latitude of opinion beyond what the Pope would ever have been prepared to concede, the two sides laid down two contradictory propositions as the condition of reconciliation, in respect of the validity of Papal authority. Each was willing, even anxious, for a General Council; but neither would admit one unless so constituted as to imply that its own view was postulated and ipso facto the opposing view ruled out of court. The Emperor, though anti-Lutheran, was unwilling either to enforce his view at the sword's point, or to subordinate himself to the Pope. The French King was equally ready to win papal favour by persecuting his own protestant subjects, and to encourage the protestant subjects of the Emperor, according as one course or the other seemed more likely to embarrass Charles. Finally the Pope, while set upon the suppression of the Lutheran heretics, was desperately afraid of the accession of strength to Charles which would result from their complete disappearance as a political factor: and he was almost equally afraid that if a Council could not be carried through, Charles would call a national Synod of the Empire to settle the religious question independently.

[Sidenote 1: 1541 Conference of Ratisbon]

[Sidenote 2: 1542 Council of Trent]

Thus attempts to bring about a General Council failed repeatedly. The nearest approach to reconciliation was achieved when a conference was arranged at Ratisbon (1541) at which there were papal as well as Lutheran representatives and it seemed as if common ground of agreement was in course of emerging. But Luther himself held aloof; Paul III. would not ratify the concessions that Contarini and others were willing to make. The Conference ended in failure; and Charles-always embarrassed in his dealings with the Protestants by his need of their support against threatening Turkish aggression-was obliged, a good deal against his private inclinations, to reaffirm the Nuremberg toleration. The result was a renewal of negotiations between Pope and Emperor for the calling of a General Council; whereof the outcome was that in May 1542 the Pope summoned the famous Council of Trent which did not conclude its sittings till twenty years later. Although the Council was formally called for the end of the year, it did not succeed in holding a working Session till 1546; after the spring of 1547 it was transferred to Bologna; nor did it get to work again (once more at Trent) till 1551. The fundamental point however is that, by its constitution, the Lutheran controversy was prejudged and the Lutheran party effectively excluded. It was not a Council representing Christendom; it stood for the Church of Rome seeking internal reformation for itself and arrogating Catholicity to itself. Hence arose the custom of using the terms Catholic and Protestant as party labels for those within and without the "orthodox" pale, in spite of the objection more particularly of the Anglican body to its implied exclusion from the "Catholic" Church and inclusion in the same category with the Lutheran and Calvinistic bodies. The historian cannot admit that Rome has a right to monopolise the title of Catholic; but during the period when Europe was practically divided politically into two religious camps, it is difficult to avoid using the current labels though their adoption is in some degree misleading.

[Sidenote: 1548 Death of Luther]

With the convocation of the Council of Trent, such hope as there had been for a reunion of Christendom was practically terminated. Its first working sessions in 1546 were contemporaneous with the death of the man who had led the revolt against Rome. But if Martin Luther had been a great cleaving force, in Germany itself his influence had been consistently exerted for national unity. To him more than to any other man it was due that Germany had not as yet been plunged into a civil war. He was hardly gone, when the forces of discord broke loose.

[Sidenote: 1546-49 Charles and the Protestant League]

Charles in fact found the Schmalkaldic League a thorn in his side, and had for some time been resolved on its extinction should a favourable opportunity occur. His war with Francis was terminated by the Peace [Footnote: P. 162, ante.] of Crêpy in September 1544; the pressure from Turkey was relaxed; there was no probability that either England or France would commit themselves to helping the League. In the summer of 1546, the League was put to the ban of the Empire; in the following summer it was crushed at the battle of Mühlberg, largely owing to the support given to the Emperor by the young Protestant Duke of Saxony, Maurice. But while this triumph broke up the League, and led Charles to regard himself as all-powerful, it frightened the Pope into an attitude of hostility; the Protestants were not annihilated; the course taken by Charles satisfied neither party within the Empire; and we shall shortly find a new and formidable Nationalist and anti-Spanish movement evolved in Germany with surprising suddenness and effectiveness.

During these years two religious developments had been in progress-one among the Protestants, the other among the Catholics-both destined to play a very large part in future history. These were the rise of John Calvin on one side and on the other the institution of the Society of Jesus familiarly known as the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: The Order Of Jesuits]

This Order was the creation of a Spaniard, Ignatius Loyola. Born in the same year as Henry VIII. he was taking active part as a knight in the wars of 1521, when he was crippled by a cannon shot. He rose from his sick bed a religious enthusiast; with the conception forming in his brain of an association for the service of his Divine Master based on the principles of military obedience carried to the extreme logical point. He devoted many years to training himself, body and brain and soul, for the carrying out of the idea. In course of time he found kindred spirits; at Montmartre in 1534 a little company of seven solemnly vowed themselves to the work. All of them men of birth and high breeding, with rich intellectual endowments and full of an intense devotional fervour, they soon attracted disciples; and in 1543 the new Order was formally sanctioned by the Pope. Utter obedience was their rule, thorough education of their members the primary requirement. Every Jesuit was a consummately cultivated man of the world as well as a religious devotee, responding absolutely to the control of a superior officer as a finished piece of machinery answers to the touch of the engineer; accounting death in the service a welcome martyrdom; shrinking from no act demanded for the fulfilment of orders which might not be questioned. Within a few years of its institution, the Society had developed into one of the most potent organisations, whether for good or for evil, that the world has ever known.

[Sidenote: Calvin]

While Loyola was preparing himself for his work, John Calvin was growing up in Picardy. Having adopted the tenets of the Swiss Reformers, the persecution of the heretics-within French territory-by the Most Christian King compelled him to take refuge in Switzerland. There, when only twenty-seven years of age, he published the work known as the "Institutes," setting forth that grim theology, the extreme logical outcome of the Zwinglian position, which is associated with his name; a system far more antagonistic to that of Rome than was Luther's. His head-quarters, save for a brief interval of banishment, were at Geneva, where he established about 1542 an absolute authority, no less rigorous or intolerant of opposition than the papacy itself; constructing a theory of ecclesiastical government that dominated the civil as the old Church had never dominated the State, and carried the stark severity of its controlling supervision into every detail of private conduct: banishing the comparative tolerance and charity which had distinguished the Zurich school.

[Sidenote: The ecclesiastical revolution in England]

In the meantime the course of the Reformation in England had been almost stationary. The whole movement in fact during Henry's reign took outwardly the form not of a revision of Religion but of a revolution in the relations of Church and State-a revolution already completed when Cromwell was struck down. Until his day, Englishmen-ecclesiastics and laymen alike-recognised the authority of the Holy See, though not always its claim to unqualified obedience. That authority was now finally and totally repudiated: none external to the kingdom was admitted; the Church was affirmed to be the Church of England, coterminous with the State; while a new interpretation was put upon the supremacy heretofore claimed from time to time by the secular Sovereign. Not only was the right assumed by the crown of diverting or even confiscating ecclesiastical revenues and of controlling episcopal appointments-so that it was even held doubtful whether the demise of the ruler did not necessitate re-appointment-but the power was appropriated, (though not in set terms), of ultimately deciding points of doctrine and promulgating the formulae of uniformity. This was the essential change which had taken place: resisted to the point of martyrdom by a few like More and Fisher; submitted to under protest by the majority of the clergy; actively promoted by only a very few of them, such as Cranmer. In asserting the position of the Crown, however, the Defender of the Faith admitted no innovations in doctrine and not many in ritual and observances. Now and again, for political purposes, Henry dallied with the Lutheran League; but in this direction he made no concession.

[Sidenote: 1540-46 Progressives and Reactionaries]

No marked alteration then appears after the death of the Vicar-General. Nevertheless, the contest between the progressive and reactionary parties was not inactive. In one direction alone, however, did the former achieve a distinct success. There was an increasing feeling in favour of the use of the vulgar tongue in place of Latin, not only in rendering the Scriptures but also in the services of the Church. The advanced section had already so far won the contest in respect of the Bible that the reactionaries could only fight for a fresh revision in which stereotyped terms with old associations might be re-instated in place of the new phrases which were compatible with, even if they did not suggest, meanings subversive of traditional ideas-a project which was quashed [Footnote: A revising Commission had been appointed; but was suddenly cancelled, with an announcement that the work was to be entrusted to the Universities; which however was not done. The probable explanation is that Cranmer, seeing the bent of the Commission, influenced the King to withdraw the work from their hands, and it was then allowed to drop.] when its intention became manifest. Measures however were taken to restrict the miscellaneous discussion of doctrine, which had not unnaturally degenerated into frequent displays of gross irreverence and indecent brawling; while on the other hand the use of a Litany in English instead of Latin was by Cranmer's influence introduced in 1544.

[Sidenote: 1543 The King's Book]

A year earlier the third formulary of faith-the two preceding had been the Ten Articles and the Bishops' Book-was issued under the title of the "Erudition of a Christian Man," popularly known as the "King's Book". This was the outcome of a group of reports drawn up by bishops and divines, severally, in answer to a series of questions submitted to them. The reports showed great diversities of opinion on disputed questions; but the book which received the imprimatur of Convocation and of the King was in the main a restatement of the doctrines of the Bishops' Book with a more explicit declaration on Transubstantiation and on Celibacy in accordance with the Law as laid down in the Six Articles. Throughout the preliminary discussions, Cranmer had championed the most advanced views which had hitherto been held compatible with orthodoxy; and, becoming shortly afterwards the object of direct attack as the real disseminator of heresy, he openly avowed to the King that he retained the opinions he had held before the passing of the Six Articles Act although he obeyed the statute. Henry, to the general surprise, refused to withdraw his favour from the Archbishop, and caused much alarm to the opposing party by the manner in which he rebuked the Primate's traducers. The circumstances deserve special notice because they show that Cranmer was not the mere cringing time-server that he is sometimes represented to have been; and also as proving that the King himself was for once capable of feeling a sincere and continuous affection.

[Sidenote: Henry stationary]

The hopes of the reactionary party were in fact somewhat dashed by the "King's Book"; since, despite Cromwell's death, the Six Articles still marked the limit of their influence. A companion volume, known as the Rationale, dealing with rites and ceremonies on lines antagonistic to Cranmer, was refused the royal sanction. Henry never lapsed from his professed attitude of rigid orthodoxy. But he showed an increasing disposition to check random and malignant prosecutions for heresy and to give the accused something like fair trial; more especially after the culminating iniquity of Anne Ascue's martyrdom (in the last year of his reign) for denying the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. The system of ecclesiastical spoliation was also in 1546 rounded off, by the formal transfer to the crown of chantries which had not been swept away in the dissolution of the monasteries.

[Sidenote: 1546 Attainder of Surrey]

The autumn of 1546 arrived. The King's health was known to be exceedingly precarious, and it was practically certain that there must be some form of regency or protectorate until the boy prince of Wales should attain a responsible age. The most prominent men were on the one side the Duke of Norfolk and Gardiner, on the other the Earl of Hertford and Cranmer. The King's attitude was more favourable to the second of the two parties; the conduct of the Earl of Surrey, Norfolk's son, ensured them the domination. Surrey was entitled to bear on his shield the Arms of England, as a descendant of the Plantagenets; [Footnote: See Front. He traced through his mother and the Staffords to Edward III, and also through the other line to Thomas, son of Edward I.] but he assumed quarterings proper only to the heir-apparent. He used language which showed that he counted on a Norfolk regency and might have meant that it would be claimed by force. And he was proved to have urged his own sister, Lady Richmond, to become the King's mistress in order to acquire political influence over him. It was also found that the Duke, his father, long a partisan of France, had held secret conversations with the French Ambassador. These charges were easily construed into treason under the comprehensive interpretation of that term which Thomas Cromwell had introduced. Surrey was sent to the block: his father escaped the same fate merely by the accident that death claimed Henry himself only a few hours after the Act of attainder was passed. The inevitable result followed, that practically the whole power of the State was found to be vested in Hertford and his supporters.

[Sidenote: 1547 Death of Henry]

On the 28th of January 1547, the masterful monarch was dead: to be followed to the grave two months later by one of his two great rivals, Francis. Of the three princes who for thirty years had dominated Europe, only one was left. A greater than any of them-he who, also thirty years ago, had kindled the religious conflagration-Martin Luther, had passed away a twelvemonth before.

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