Page images

One gene

into unusual fierceness, by the sus- to inflict it. It is becanse this was so picion of an approaching change, certainly his temper and luis principle, that are related by Mr. Southey with his decided intolerance has left a staio upon much feeling and eloquence. The bis memory: what in his contemporaries

was only consistent with themselves and following character of Sir Thomas

with the times, . appearing monstrous in More, deserves to be given at length. him, who in other points was advanced so

far beyond his age. But by this very sn“ Sir Thomas More is represented, by periority it may partly be explained. He the Protestant Martyrologists, as a cruel perceived, in some of the crude and peripersecutor; by Catholics, as a blessed

lous opinions which were now promulinartyr. Like some of his contemporaries, gated, consequences to which the Re. he was both. But the character of this formers, in the ardour and impatience of illustrious man deserves a fairer estimate their sincerity, were blind : he saw that than has been given it, either by his adorers they tended to the subversion, not of exor his enemies. It behoves us ever to isting institutions alone, but of civil socibear in mind, that while actions are always ety itself: the atrocious frenzy of the to be judged by the immutable standard Auabaptists in Germany, confirmed bim of right and wrong, the judgment which in this apprehension; and the possibility we pass upon men must be qualified by of re-edifying the Church upon its old considerations of age, country, situation, foundations, and giving it a moral strength and other incidental circumstances; and which should resist all danger, entered it will then be found, that he who is most not into his mind, because he was concharitable in his judgment, is generally the tented with it as it stood, and in the least upjust. Sir Thomas More would, in strength of his attachment to its better any age of the world, bave ranked among principles, loved some of its errors and the wisest and best of men.

excused others. Herein he was unlike his ration earlier, he would bave appeared as friend Erasmus, whom he resembled equally a precursor of the Reformation, and per- in extent of erudition and in sportiveness haps have delayed it hy procuring the of wit. But More was characteristically correction of grosser abuses, and thereby devont: the imaginative part of Catho-, rendering its necessity less urgent. One licism had its full effect upon him; its generation later, and his natural place splendid ceremonials, its magnificent edi. would have been in Elizabeth's Council, fices, its alliance with music, painting, and among the pillars of the state, and the sculpture, (the latter arts then rapidly adfounders of the Church of England. But vancing to their highest point of excelthe circumstances wherein he was placed, leuce,) its observances, so skilfully interwere peculiarly unpropitious to his dispo- woven with the business, the festivities, sition, his happiness, and even his cha- and the ordinary economy of life, ..... in racter in after times. His high station (for these things he delighted, and all he had been made Chancellor upon Wol- these the Reformers were for sweeping sey's disgrace,) compelled him to take an

away. But the impelling motive for his active part in public affairs ; in forwarding conduct was, his assent to the tenet, that the work of persecution, he believed that belief in the doctrines of the Church was lie was discharging not only a legal, but a essential to salvation. For apon that religious, duty: and it is but too certain, tenet, whether it be held by Papist or that he performed it with activity and Protestant, toleration becoines, what it zeal. • The Lord forgive Sir Thomas has so often been called, ... soul-murder: More,' were among the last words which persecution is, in the strictest sense, a Bainham uttered amid the flames. The duty; and it is an act of religious charity Protestants who, by his orders, and some to burn beretics alive, for the purpose of of them actually in his sight, were flogged deterring others from damnation. The and racked, to make them declare with tewet is proved to be false by its intolewhom they were connected, and where rable consequences, ... and do stronger was the secret deposit of their forbidden example can be given of its injurious effect books, imputed the cruelty of the laws to

upon the heart, 'than that it should have bis personal inhumanity. In this they made Sir Thomas More a persecutor." were as opjust to him, as he was in imput. Vol. II. P. 2t. ing moral criminality to them ; for he was one of those unworldly dispositions which

The dissolution of the religious are ever more willing to endure evil than houses was advised by Cranmer, as

a measure necessary to the stability adjoining : a right honest man ; of the Reformation ; but he advised having right religious persons, being that out of their revenues bishoprics priests of right good conversation should be founded, so that the com- and living ; having such qualities of pass of the existing dioceses might virtue as we have not found the like be reduced ; and to every cathedral in no place. For there is not oue he would have annexed a divinity religious person there, but that he college for the diocese.

can and doth use, either embro. Mr. Southey suggests that re- theryng, writing books with very formed convents, for single wonen, fair hand, making their own garor as seats of literature and religious ments, carving, painting, or graffing. retirement, would have been a great The house without any slaunder or blessing to the country. The ill fame; and standing in a wet Church had then a deplorable spe- ground, very solitary ; keeping such cimen of the way in which she may hospitality, that except singular expect to be treated, whensoever good provision, it could not be the secular power shall take into its maintained with half so much land own hands the business of reforma.

more as they may spend. Such a tion: purification of doctrine is the number of the poor inhabitants nigh quail-pipe, by which worldlings are thereunto daily relieved, that we lured into the work of sacrilegious have not seen the like, having no spoliation.

more lands than they have." The abuses of monastic establish- One of the most lamentable rements were indeed enormous; and sults of the destruction of the monot any of those abuses was more nasteries, was the dispersion and injurious to the Church, than the loss of their libraries. system of appropriations, as it was made a source of revenue, without

“ The destruction of manuscripts was any respect to the spiritual duties of such, that Bale, who hated the monaste

ries, groaned over it as a shame and rethe parochial charge. But a surer

proach to the nation. Addressing King method could not have been taken, Edward upon the snbject, he says, ' I of perpetuating the evils of that sys. judge this to be true, and utter it with tem, and at the same time of doing heaviness, that neither the Britous, under away its only advantage, than the the Romans and Saxons, nor yet the Engtransferring of impropriations (or lish people, under the Danes and Norappropriations) to powerful laymen. learned monuments, as we have seen in

mans, had ever such damage of their William Thomas declared that there

our times. Our posterity may well curse were discovered amongst the friars, this wicked fact of our age, this unreamonks, and

nuns, “ not seven, but sonable spoil of England's most noble anmore than seven hundred thousand tiquities.' • As brokers in Long-lane,' deadly sins." He has himself given says Fuller,' when they buy an old suit, a pretty large catalogue ; but it is buy the linings together with the outside obvious that the grossest exaggera. parchased the buildings of monasteries,

so it was conceived meet, that such as tion was practised by their accusers, should in the saine grant have the libraries and encouraged by the King's (the stuffing thereof) conveyed unto friends. One pleasing exception them : and these ignorant owners, 80 long deserves to be remembered ; that of as they might keep a Lieger-book, or TerWolstrope—“ in behalf of which," rier, by direction thereof to find such says honest Strype,“ one Gifford, straggling acres as belonged to them, they a visitor, writ after this manner :

cared not to preserve any other monu

ments.' They were sold to grocers and The goverùor thereof is a very good chandlers; whole ship-loads were sent husband for the house, and well be- abroad to the bookbinders, that the velloved of all the inhabitants thereunto lum or parchment might be cut up in their REMEMBRANCER, No. 66.


p. 138.

trade. Covers were torn off for their Bridewell, for the correction and amend. brass bosses and clasps ; and their con- ment of the vagabond aðd lewd; provision tents served the ignorant and careless for also being made, that the decayed housewaste paper. In this manner English his- keeper should receive weekly parochial tory sustained irreparable losses, and it is relief. The King endowed these hospimore than probable that some of the tals, and moreover granted a license, that works of the ancients perished in the in- they might take in mortmain lands, to the discriminate and extensive destruction." yearly value of 400 marks, fixing that sum Vol. II. p. 125.

himself, and inserting it with his own hand

when he signed the patent, at a time when The following incident in the life he had scarcely strength to guide the pen. of Edward the Sixth, gives us a high Lord God," said be, I yield thee most idea of the piety and humility of hearty thanks, that thou hast given me life that excellent Prince.

thus long, to finish this work to the glory

of thy name! That innocent and most “ Ridley had preached before him, and exemplary life was drawing rapidly to its with that faithfulness which his preachers close, and in a few days he rendered up were encouraged to use, dwelt upon the his spirit to his Creator, praying God to pitiable condition of the poor, and the defend the realm from Papistry." Vol. II. duty of those who were in authority to provide effectual means for their relief, As soon as the service was over, the King We cannot avoid remarking by the sent him a message, desiring him not to way, that one mark of the present depart till he had spoken with him : and work's having been somewhat hasticalling for him into a gallery where no ly composed, is an occasional inconother person was present, made him there sistency in the orthography of pro

. sit down, and be covered, and gave him

per names, For instance, in Chapter hearty thauks for his sermon and his exhortation concerning the poor. “My xii. the running title is “Anne AsLord,' said he, “ye willed such as are in kew;" but in Chapter xiii. she is authority to be careful thereof, and to de- called “ Anne Ascue.” We donbt vise some good order for their relief; whether any Englishman in the wherein I think you mean me, for I am in reign of Edward VI. held opinions highest place, and therefore am the first which can with strict propriety be that must make answer unto God for my called “Socinian.” (p. 137.) negligence, if I should not be careful therein." Declaring then that he was

Amongst the martyrs who suffered before all things most willing to travail in the reign of Mary, Ridley and that way, he asked Ridley to direct him Latimer siand conspicuous in Mr. as to what measures might best be taken. Southey's pages. He repeats the Ridley, though well acquainted with the well known story of Gardiner's cruKing's virtuous disposition, was neverthe

elty. less surprised, as well as affected, by the earnestness and sincere desire of doing his “On the day when Ridley and Latimer duty, which he now expressed. He ad- suffered at Oxford, the Duke of Norfolk vised him to dicect letters to the Lord dined with Gardiner, and the dinner was Mayor, requiring bin, with such assistants delayed some hours till the Bishop's seras he should think meet, to consult upon vant arrived from Oxford post-laste, with the matter. Edward would not let him tidings that he had seen fire set to them. depart till the letter was written, and Gardiner went exultingly to the Duke then charged him to deliver it himself, with the news, and said, Now let us go to and signify his special request and express dinner! Before he rose from table be commandment, that no time might be lost was stricken with a painful disease; and in proposing what was convenient, and being carried to his bed, lay there in intolapprizing him of their proceedings. The erable torment fifteen days. His faculties work was zealously undertaken, Ridley remained animpaired, for when the Bishop himself engaging in it; and the result was, of Chichester spoke to him of free justifithat, by their advice, he founded Cbrist's cation through the merits of our Saviour, Hospital, for the education of poor chil- he exclaimed, "What, my Lord, will you dren; st. Thomas's and St. Bartholoo open that gap? To me, and such as are mew's, for the relief of the sick; and in my case, you may speak it; but open

this window to the people, and farewell re-establishment of Popery. Popery was by altogether!' Some of his last words were, these cruelties rendered an object of hor. *I have sinned with Peter, but I have not ror and hatred to the nation. Persons, wept with Peter.' The Romanists say whom neither books nor sermons would that he died in sentiments of great repent have reached, were converted to the Proance ;- no man had more to repent of, nor testant faith by the constancy with which has any man left a name more deservedly the martyrs suffered:-a subject to which odious in English history.” P. 209. they would otherwise have remained in

different, was forced upon their thoughts, Now if Mr. Southey had looked and they felt that the principle could be of into Strype, he would have found, no light importance for which so many that the old Duke of Norfolk, (who laid down their lives.” P. 241. was the person spoken of,) was The following summary of popish buried October 2, 1554; and that cruelties inflicted upon the English Latimer and Ridley were burnt, martyrs, every Protestant father will October 16, 1555; and further, do well to read to his children; and that Gardiner died not fifteen days if we are told that the spirit of paafterwards, but twenty-eight days, palism is now mitigated and subviz, on the 13th of November. If Mr. dued, we have only to say, God Southey thought it right to adopt a preserve us from the experiment ! * controverted story, he should have given his reasons for doing so.

“ The constancy of the martyrs, and the The following observations are

manifest sympathy of the people, provoked

the persecutors to farther cruelty. What made upon the death of Cranmer:

they could not effect by the fear of death, “Of all the martyrdoms during this

they hoped to accomplish by torments in great persecution, this was in all its cir- feet, hands, and neck, in the most pain

prison : their victims were fastened by the cumstances the most injurious to the Ro.

ful postures; they were scourged and man cause. It was a manifestation of in.

beaten, tortured with fire, and deprived of veterate and deadly malice toward one

food. When Gardiner sent his alms-basket who had borne his elevation with almost

to the prison, be sent with it strict charge unexampled meekness. It effectually dis

that not a scrap should be given to the heproved the argument on which the Ro

retics. The Catholic Princes had determanists rested, that the constancy of our

mined to root out what they called heresy martyrs proceeded not from confidence in their faith, and the strength which they were the only countries where they could

by fire and sword. England and Spain derived therefrom; but from vain glory, as yet act opon this determination, and the pride of consistency, and the shame of they pursued it in both to the uttermost. retracting what they had so long professed. Cardinal Pole ordered registers to be Such deceitful reasoning could have no kept of all

persons who were reconciled to place liere: Cranmer had retracted ; and

the Romish Church in every place and the sincerity of his contrition for that sin parish, that proceedings might be instituwas too plain to be denied, too public to ted against all whose names were not en. be concealed, too memorable ever to be forgotten. The agony of his repentance tion were appointed, with power to-sum

tered there. Commissioners for Inquisihad been seen by thousands; and tens of

mon and examine any persons upon oath thousands had witnessed how, when that touching their faith, and to seize upon the agony was past, he stood calm and im. property of all who did not appear to an. moveable amid the flames; a patient and willing holocaust; triumphant, not even his persecutors alone, but over himself, * We suspect that the following words over the nind as well as the body, over of Hall, a conforming papist, under Elizafear, and weakness, and death.

beth, quoted by Mr. Southey, at p. 295, “The persecution continued with una. would not unaptly describe the secret bating rigour during the whole of this wishes of some of the Irish papists at abominable reign; and the consequence least. “ Frigent apud nos hæretici ; sed was, that as the havoc wbich had been spero eos aliquando fervescere, sicut olim committed under pretext of the Re. vidimis archihæreticos in fossa illâ suburformation, made the people rejoice in the band, ubi Vulcano traditi fuerunt.”

swer their interrogatories. The only mea- system: and they succeeded in forming a sare wauting to perpetuate the spiritual scheme perfectly adapted to the purpose bondage of the nation, was the establish- for which it was designed. Under the ment of one of those accursed tribunals appearance, and with the efficient unity which were at that time in full operation and strength of an absolate monarchy, the under the Spanish government; and this company was in reality always directed in all likelihood, would have been done, if by a few of its ablest members. The most Mary's unhappy life bad been prolonged. vigilant superintendence was exercised The same temper which encouraged the over all its parts; and yet, in acting for Inquisition in Spain, and introduced it into the general service, entire liberty was althe Netherlands, would have attempted lowed to individual talents. For this reaits introduction here. The spirit of its son, the Jesnits were exempted from all laws had already been introduced; but the the stale and burthensome observances, feelings of the country were opposed to wherein the other religioners consumed so this atrocious system. The secrets of the large a portion of their time. They adprison-house could not be concealed ; mitted no person into the society, unless every where the victims found some who they perceived in him some qualities which commiserated them, and assisted them in might be advantageously employed, and communicating with their friends, even in their admirable economy every one when they were fain to write their mouro- found his appropriate place, except the ful letters with their owo blood. And refractory and the vicious. Such members when the bodies of those who died in pri- were immediately expelled, ... the Comson, either of natural disease, or in conse- pany would not be disturbed with the quence of hunger and the torments inflict- trouble of punishing, or endeavoaring to ed on them, were cast out as carrion in the correct them. “But where they found that fields, all persons being forbidden to bury devoted obedience, which was the prime them; as soon as evening closed, they were qualification of a Jesuit, there was no interred by pious hands, not without some variety of human character, from the lowest form of devotion, the archers frequently to the loftiest intellect, which they did standing by, and singing psalms.

not know how to employ, and to the best “During the four years that this perse advantage. They had domestic offices for cation continued, it appears, by authentic the ignorant and lowly; the task of educarecords, that two hundred and eighty-eight tion was committed to expert and patient persons were burnt alive: the number of scholars; men of learning and research those who perished in prison is unknown, and genius were left to follow the bent of The loss of property in London alone, con- their own happy inclinations; eloquent sequent upon the arrest or flight of so ma- members were destined for the pulpit; and ny substantial citizens, and the general while their politicians managed the affairs insecurity, was estimated at 300,000l.; nor of the society, and by directing the conwas it in wealth alone that the kingdom sciences of kings and queens, and states suffered ; the spirit of the nation sunk, and men, directed, in fact, the government of the charater, and with it the prosperity, of Catholic kingdoms, enthusiasts and fanatics the English would have been irrecoverably were despatched to preach the Gospel lost, if God in his mercy had not cut short among the heathen, or to pervert the Prothis abominable tyranny. Vol. II. p. 246.

testants. Some went to reclaim the savages

of America, others, with less success, to Mr. Southey's account of the civilize the barbarous Abyssinians, by reJesuits is worthy of serious attention ducing them to the Ronish Church. And even in these days.

they who were ambitious of martyrdom,

were ordered to Japan, where the slow “ The Jesuits had risen up in the six fire, and the more lingering death of the teenth century to perform for the Papal pit, were to be endured; or they went to Church the same service which the Men. England, which they called the European dicant Orders had rendered in the twelfth. Japan, because, going thither as missionaTheir founder, like St. Francis, was in a ries of a church which had pronounced the state of religious insanity when he began his Queen an heretic and an usurper, and forcareer; but he possessed, above all other bidden all her Catholic subjects to obey men, the rare talent of detecting his own her, on pain of excommunication, they deficiencies, and remedying them by the went to form conspiracies, and concert most patient diligence. More politic plans of rebellion, and therefore exposed heads aided him in the construction of his themselves to death as traitors,

« PreviousContinue »