« PreviousContinue »
goods to the king : then commissions come forth, and he that in sight of men, in his cattle, corn, sheep, and other goods, is worth an hundred marks, or an hundred pound, will set himself at £ 10.; he will be worth no more to the king but after £ 10. Tell me, now, whether this be theft or no? His cattle, corn, sheep, in every man's eyes, shall be worth two hundred pound, besides other things, as money and plate ; and he will marry his daughter, and give with her four or five hundred marks; and yet, at the valuation, he will be a twenty pound man.
Doth he give to Cæsar that which is due to Cæsar? Doth he not rather rob the king of his bound duty and debt that he ought to the king? Yes, it is very theft; and thou mightest with as good conscience take away my cloak or my tippet from me, as so unjustly take or withhold from the king, that which the parliament hath given to the king.”
Latimer once told the congregation assembled in the shroudes of St. Paul's, that they were troubled with unpreaching prelates,--a custom of the dignified clergy he severely reprobated. He then pointed out their excuses for this omission of their duty. “They are so troubled with lordly lying ; they be so placed in palaces ; couched in courts; ruffling in their rents ; dancing in their dominions ; burthened with ambassages ; pampering of their paunches, like a monk that maketh his jubilee; munching in their inan
gers; and moyling in their gay manors and mansions; and so troubled with loitering in their lordships, that they cannot attend to it. Where then their duties? Or were ministers of the church to be comptrollers of the mint? Who Comptrolled the devil in his parish, while he comptrolled the mint ? England, I speak it to thy shame,” said Latimer : “ Is there never a nobleman to be a lord president, but it must be a prelate? Is there never a wise man in the realm to be a comptroller of the mint? I speak it to your shame; I speak it to your shame. If there be never a wise man, make a water-bearer, a tinker, a cobler, a slave, a page, --comptroller of the mint.”
Another sermon by Latimer, preached before Edward VI. March 8, 1549, [a print of the preaching-place at the palace of Westminster, and of the congregation, is annexed,] gives the following account of his family.
My father was a yeoman, and had no lands of his own; only he had a farm of three or four pound by year at the uttermost; and hereupon he tilled so much, as kept half a dozen men. He had walk for an hundred sheep, and my mother milked thirty kyne. He was able and did find the king a harness, with himself and his horse, while he came to the place that he should receive the king's wages. I can remember that I buckled his harness, when he went unto Blackheath field.
He kept me to school, or else I had not been able to have preached before the king's majesty now. He married my sisters, with five pounds, or twenty nobles a piece; so that he brought them up in godliness and fear of God. He kept hospitality for his poor neighbours, and some alms he gave poor;
and all this he did of the said farm: where he that now hath it, payeth sixteen pound by year or more, and is not able to do any thing for his prince, for himself, nor for his children, or give a cup of drink to the poor."
Anna Bullein was an exception to this prelate's censure; and is said to have been provided daily purse,
the contents of which were entirely appropriated to the poor, when she casually met with proper objects, justly thinking no week correctly passed which did not afford her pleasure in the retrospect. Impressed with this conviction, the unfortunate queen insisted that all her attendants should employ their leisure in making clothes for the poor, which it gave her infinite satisfaction to know were carefully distributed.
The extreme youth of Edward VI. when called to the exercise of the regal functions, and the early age at which he died, prevented him from fully developing his character. Every act of his life appears to have been the reverse of those of his father, and every thing his subjects could reasonably expect of their monarch was