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42. Remember not what God had forgotten. Last cavil.
“He was condemned for high treason, for an act done by him as an archbishop, and counsellor of state, for which he professed both his sorrow and repentance.
Did he so indeed, by the confession of this his adversary ? The more unworthy man his accuser, after this his sorrow and repentance, to upbraid him therewith! Mr. Prynne might also remember that the two Lord Chief Justices were in the same treason, whose education made them more knowing in the laws of the land ; and our Cranmer was last and least in the fault, it being long before he could be persuaded to subscribe to the disinheriting of queen Mary.
43. An Appeal to any indifferent. We appeal to the unpartial reader, upon the perusal of the premisses, whether an ordinary charity might not, yea, ought not to, have passed by these accusations ? and whether the memory of archbishop Cranmer may not justly say of Mr. Prynne, as once the king of Israel of the king of Syria, “ Wherefore, consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me ? ” Indeed, so great is his antipathy against episcopacy, that if a seraphim himself should be a bishop, he would either find or make some sick feathers in his wings. 44, 45. Cranmer divorceth King Henry, who marrieth a Lady,
and A Bullen. Cranmer was now settled in his archbishopric, and the first eminent act of his office was exercised in the king's divorce. A court is called in the priory of Dunstable in Bedfordshire, as a favourable place, indifferently distanced, but five miles from Ampthill, where queen Catherine resided. With Cranmer were the bishops of London, Winchester, Bath, and Lincoln, with many other great prelates. These summoned queen Catherine to appear before them, full fifteen days together, on whose refusal they not only adjudged her contumacious, but also pronounced her match with the king as null and unlawful by Scripture ; and soon after it was proclaimed, that henceforward none should call her “
queen, but “the dowager of prince Arthur.” And thus a few days had dispatched that divorce, which had depended many years in the court of Rome.
And now I cannot call king Henry “a bachelor,” because once married ; nor “a married man,” because as yet publicly owning no wife ; nor properly “ a widower," because his wife was not dead. Be he therefore a single, or rather“ a separated person,” remaining
MR. PRYNNE, page 134.
80 (if at all) but a very short time, as soon after solemnly married to the lady Anna Bullen, of whoin largely hereafter. 46, 47. The Imposture of Elizabeth Barton, Fisher and
More befooled by her Forgery. Now began Elizabeth Barton to play her tricks, commonly called “the holy maid of Kent;” though at this day of Kent alone is left unto her, as whose maidenship is vehemently suspected, and holiness utterly denied. She was famous on a double account: First. For knowing secrets past, and indeed she could tell any thing which was told her ; conversing with friars her familiars, and other folks confessors, who revealed many privacies unto her. Secondly. She was eminent for foretelling things to come; and some of her predictions, hit in the mark, procured to the rest the reputation of prophecy with credulous people. She foretold, that ķing Henry should not be king a full twelve-month, except he re-assumed queen Catherine to be his wife.
I am heartily sorry, that the gravity of John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, should be so light, and the sharp sight of Sir Thomas More so blind, as to give credit to so notorious an impostrix, which plunged them both into the king's deep displeasure. As for Elizabeth Barton, soon after, she was executed, with many of her accomplices and complotters. The papists at this day, unable to defend her forgery, and unwilling to confess her cheating, seek to salve all by pleading her to be distracted. Thus, if succeeding, she had been praised, and perchance canonized, for her devotion ; now, failing, she must be pardoned and pitied for her distraction.
48. Bishop Fisher imprisoned for refusing the Oath of
Supremacy. We may remember, how, not long since, the clergy did own and recognise king Henry VIII. for supreme head of the church, which was clearly carried by a plurality of voices in the Convocation. John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, was the only eminent clergyman who openly opposed it : one obnoxious to the king's displeasure, on a threefold account. First. For engaging so zealously, above the earnestness of an advocate, against the king's divorce. Secondly. For tampering with that notable impostrix, the holy maid of Kent. Thirdly. For refusing the oath of supremacy, for which he was now imprisoned. Indeed, this bishop lost himself, both with his friends and his foes, by his inconstaney at the first : seeing he who should have been as staid as the Tower was as wavering as the weathercock, neither complying with the king, nor agreeing with himself; but would, and would not, acknowledge the king's supremacy. But at last he fixed himself on the negative, and resolutely continued therein till the day of his death ; of whom more largely hereafter. 49–51. The Convocation of York denies the King's Supremacy.
Edward Lee, Archbishop of York, a furious Papist. King
Henry's Answer to York Convocation. The clergy in the province of York did also for a long time deny the king's supremacy. Indeed, the Convocation of York hath ever since struck tallies with that of Canterbury, (though not implicitly,) unanimously post-concurring therewith. But here they dissented, not because more knowing in their judgments, or tender in their consciences, but generally more superstitious and addicted to popery: insomuch that they sent two letters to the king, (I conceive them written, one from the Upper, the other from the Lower House of Convocation,) wherein they acquainted his Highness with their judgments, (interlacing many expressions of general submission) and their reasons, in a large discourse, why they could not acknowledge him to be supreme head of the church,
Give me leave to suspect Edward Lee, archbishop of York, for a secret fomenter of this difference, He was a virulent Papist, much conceited of his own learning, (which made him to write against Erasmus,) and a persecutor of Protestants : Witness John Bale, convented before him for suspicion of heresy; who in vain earnestly pleaded Scripture in his own defence, till at last he casually made use of a distinction out of Scotus, which the archbishop more valued than all which he had before more pertinently alleged out of the Old and New Testament.*
King Henry wrote a fair and large letter to the Convocation of York, too long here to be inserted, (though otherwise I have a good copy thereof,t) wherein the king began mildly to make the passage for his supremacy into their consciences, by a rational and argumentative way. He disclaimed all design by fraud to surprise, or by force to captivate, their judgments, but only to convince them of the truth and equity of what he desired. He declared | the sense a Parliament faith, a Parliament Gospel ;* and another addeth Parliament bishops, and a Parliament clergy.t Whereas upon serious examination it will appear, that there was nothing done in the Reformation of religion, save what was acted by the clergy in their Convocations, or grounded on some acts of theirs, precedent to it, with the advice, counsel, and consent of the bishops and most eminent churchmen; confirmed upon the post-fact, and not otherwise, by the civil sanction, according to the usage of the best and happiest times of Christianity.
supreme head of the church," though offensive in the sound to ignorant ears ; claiming nothing more thereby than what Christian princes in the primitive times assumed to themselves, in their own dominions ; so that, it seems, he wrought so far on their affections that at last they consented thereunto.
52, 53. A causeless Cavil. The Cavil retorted. Here I wonder at the cavil of the papists, which, being so causeless, should be so clamorous, accusing us to have a Parliament religion,
De Scriptoribus Brit. in Edwardo VI. | Communicated unto me by my good friend Dr. Littleton. 1 It is printed in the second part of “ the Cabala.”
By the same proportion in the days of queen Mary, the popish religion might have been styled “a Parliament religion ;” because, after the same had been debated on, and concluded of, in the Convocation, it was confirmed by the queen, lords, and commons, by the Act of Parliament.
TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL SIR RICHARD SHUGBOROUGH, OF SHUGBOROUGH IN WARWICKSHIRE.
Master HAWARD returned this answer to queen Mary, (demanding the causes of his coming to court) that it was partly to see her Highness, and partly that her Highness should see him ; an answer, which, though more witty than court-like, yea, more blunt than witty, she took in good part.
You will not be offended at this my Dedication, partly that I may know you, partly that I may be known unto you. Besides, being informed that you love to have your hospitable table handsomely attended with ancient servitors, I presumed that this Section, containing much of memorable antiquity, would not be unwelcome unto you.
1. The Clergy bind themselves to the King. Now, though nothing was done in matters of religion, but what was fairly and largely discussed, first, by the most learned of the clergy; yet this year the clergy in the Convocation so submitted themselves to the king, that each one severally promised in verbo sacerdotis,
“never henceforth to presume to allege, claim, or put in ure, any new canons, unless the king's most royal assent might be had unto them ;” and this soon after the same was ratified by Act of Parliament.
2, 3. A fourfold Sort of Convocations. Kings acted in Church
Matters before the Conquest. And here it will be worth my pains, and the reader's perusal, to observe the differences between English Synods or Convocations, which may eminently be distinguished into four ranks, such as were, 1. Called before the Conquest, 2. Called since the Conquest, but before the Statute of Præmunire was made. 3. Called after the aforesaid Statute, but before another made in the reign of king Henry VIII. wherein the clergy were bound up, for doing aught without the royal assent. 4. Called after the twenty-fifth year of the reign of king Henry VIII. These did plainly differ in the several manners of their meeting, and degrees of power, of their acting in spiritual matters.
As for councils, called before the Conquest, whilst the pope's power had not as yet lorded it over the kings of England, the kings ever were (if not in person) in power present thereat; as by perusing Sir HENRY SPELMAN'S “ Councils” plainly doth appear. Yea, matters both of church and commonwealth were often dictated and concluded in the same meeting, communi consensu tam cleri quam populi, episcoporum, procerum, comitum, nec non omnium sapientum, seniorum populorumque totius regni.*
4. Of the second Sort of Convocations. For the second sort, (called after the Conquest, but before the Statute of Præmunire,) the archbishops of Canterbury or York used upon
all extraordinary and immergent cases, toties quoties, as their own discretions adjudging necessary or convenient, to assemble the clergy of their respective Provinces, at what place they pleased, continuing Convocations in them so long, or dissolving them as soon, as they pleased. And this they did, either as Metropolitans, or Primates, or as Legati Nati to the pope of Rome, without any leave from the king afore obtained; and such canons and constitutions then and there concluded on were, in that
age, further ratification, obligatory to all subjected to their jurisdiction. Such were all the synods from Lankfrank to Thomas Arundel, in whose time the Statute of Præmunire was enacted.
SIR HENRY SPELMAN, anno 605, page 118.