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England Under the Tudors by Arthur D. Innes

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the visitation and suppression of the monasteries. Those institutions,
though not popular in cities, and viewed with jealousy by the secular
clergy, provided in many country districts the only existing charitable or
educational organisations; and moreover, whatever their defects were in the
eyes of the Economist, they were much more lenient landlords than the
average lay landowner. It would have been strange indeed if some of the
dispersed monks had not allowed their tongues to wag, to the stirring up of
alarm and discontent. In the autumn of this year, the effect of these
things were seen in a rising in Lincolnshire. This was promptly suppressed
without any undue tenderness either of speech or action; but it was very
soon followed by the much more significant and formidable insurrection in
the North, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.

[Sidenote: The Pilgrimage of Grace]

The insurgents were headed by a very remarkable man, a lawyer named Robert
Aske of a good North-country family. He had taken no part in inciting
rebellion; but the position of leader was thrust upon him, and as it would
seem not unwillingly accepted. His abilities were great: the rising was
organised with much skill, and with wonderful system and discipline. Yet
Aske's very virtues unfitted him for his office under the existing
conditions. He was honest himself; he wished to avoid bloodshed: what he
sought was the remedying of genuine grievances. As with the Lincolnshire
insurgents, this meant the restoration of the monasteries, the removal of
evil councillors, notably Cromwell, the removal of the advanced bishops,
such as Cranmer and Latimer, the remission of a tax granted in 1534 which a
commission was collecting, the repeal of a recent land-act ("Statute of
Uses") which had increased the difficulty of providing younger sons with
sufficient endowments, the restoration to the Church of revenues lately
attached by the Crown. All over the North, cities and strongholds fell
into the hands of Aske's followers without a blow. With thirty thousand
well equipped and fairly disciplined troops he advanced to the Don, where
he was faced by Norfolk with a far smaller force.

[Sidenote 1: Aske beguiled]
[Sidenote 2: 1537 Suppression of the rising]

It was then that Aske committed his fatal but noble error. Had he struck
then, he could in all probability have marched triumphantly to London and
have dictated his own terms. But he did not wish to strike. He sought a
conference, and laid his proposals before Norfolk. Norfolk temporised, and
referred the proposals to London. The insurgents were allowed to believe
that they would be pardoned, and their demands be essentially conceded. The
nobles and gentry among them were appealed to privately; Norfolk even
sought to get Aske betrayed into his hands. Aske still would not give up
the hope of a peaceful solution. At last in December the King gave Norfolk
powers to concede a free pardon and a Parliament at York; but there is no
doubt that Norfolk's statements to the insurgents gave the totally
different impression that they could count upon the fulfilment of their
demands. By the King's command the leaders went South to be personally
interviewed, and returned in sanguine mood. But their army was breaking up,
and it was very soon apparent that in fact the North was being rapidly
garrisoned for the King. The pardons were accompanied by a new oath of
allegiance which showed very clearly that the grievances were not going to
be remedied. Wild spirits broke out again in deeds of violence. By this
time, the royal armies were in a position to strike. It was declared that
the conditions of the pardon had been violated; the insurgents had now no
prospect of making head in the field. Hangings were freely resorted to;
Aske and other leaders were seized and executed: an impressive series of
abbots and priors was among the victims. And so, early in 1537, ended the
one formidable insurrection of Henry's reign.

[Sidenote: The rising turned to account]

Not only had half the nobility and gentry of the North been seriously
implicated in the rising; the clergy had taken active part in fomenting
it. Being followed up by a visitation from Cromwell's most energetic
commissioners, such guilt as there had been was presented in the strongest
colours and was made a new ground for Suppression, or the application of
the drastic regulations which induced voluntary surrender; and at the same
time pains were taken to impress the Ten Articles on the public mind. These
were supplemented by the publication of the "Institution of a Christian
Man" otherwise known as the "Bishops' Book"; in which some points which had
been omitted or left vague in the Articles were laid down with a more
defined orthodoxy, though the prelates of every shade of opinion had their
share in the work. On the other hand, the preparation of an authorised
version of the Scriptures was going forward. In spite of Cromwell's
Injunction that the Bible should be set up in English and Latin in the
Churches, Coverdale's work had not been adopted; and though this was
followed by "Matthew's Bible," a combination of Tindal's and Coverdale's,
in 1537, it was not till the issue of the revised version, known on account
of its size as the Great Bible, more than a year later, that the injunction
was given general effect.

[Sidenote: 1533-36 James V.]

Abroad, the reluctant but anxious desire to maintain friendly relations
with England which attended the domination of Wolsey had practically
disappeared since the Cardinal's fall. From 1529 to 1536, there had been no
prospect of a reconciliation between Henry and Charles; Francis had only at
intervals been disposed to make advances; the demeanour of the Lutheran
princes had been cold at the best. In Scotland, the young King, who only
attained his majority in 1533, displayed that lack of confidence in the
disinterested generosity of England which seems to be always a cause of
pained surprise to the English politicians and historians. In fact it was
his firm and extremely natural conviction that his uncle was responsible
for keeping the whole border country in a perpetual state of unrest,
fomenting the rivalries of the Scottish nobility, and generally promoting
disorder, in order to bring about the subordination of the Northern to the
Southern kingdom. The clerical body in Scotland, which had always been most
energetic in maintaining resistance to England, was of course rendered more
Anglophobe than ever by Henry's ecclesiastical policy; and its influence
was strong, since it had done a good deal in the way of fighting James's
battles with his nobles. Henry proposed a conference with his nephew, to be
held at York, in 1538; James had at first welcomed the proposal, but
presently evaded it in the belief that his uncle would kidnap him, as he
had before designed to kidnap Beton. Instead he went to France, to arrange
a marriage with a daughter of Francis; and on his return was reported to
have given encouragement to the North-country rebels.

[Sidenote: 1536-37 Naval measures]

Meantime, in the Channel, the estimation in which England was held had been
shown by the increasingly piratical proceedings of French, Spanish, and
Flemish ships; since of late Henry's hands had been too full for him to
give clue attention to naval affairs. Now however the opportunity was taken
to devote some of the monastic funds to coast defence. A series of forts
was raised, commanding the principal harbours on the south coast; and a few
ships, secretly prepared, were suddenly sent out under competent captains,
to teach the channel pirates a lesson in English seamanship; which was very
effectively accomplished.

[Sidenote 1: 1537 Birth of Prince Edward]
[Sidenote 2: Marriage projects]

The problem of the succession to the throne was at last settled by the
birth of a prince in October (1537). There was now an heir whose claims if
he lived would be unassailable. But within a few weeks the queen died; and
there was still only the life of one baby to shield the country from
anarchy, in case Henry himself should die. With probably genuine
reluctance, the King agreed that he would marry again if a suitable wife
could be found for him; and the whirligig of intriguing for his union with
one or another foreign princess was set in motion; princesses related to
Charles, or to Francis, or to one of the Lutheran chiefs. Two years elapsed
before the choice was made which, led to Cromwell's downfall. And in the
meantime Mary of Guise (or Lorraine) was withdrawn from the lists by her
marriage with James V., whose Queen Madeleine had died a few months after
the nuptials: while the Duchess of Milan, a youthful niece of the Emperor,
was for some time utilised by Charles as a diplomatic asset. The risk of an
Anglo-Imperial alliance was employed by him in negotiations with Francis;
and when these negotiations were brought to a successful issue the proposed
alliance was gradually allowed to drop.

[Sidenote: 1538 Diplomatic moves]

During 1538 however, this marriage was being dangled before Henry,
accompanied by the hope that it might cause a rupture between Charles and
the Pope, from whom a dispensation would be necessary--a question which
could not now be raised without the kindling of explosive
materials. Further the English quarrel with Rome was being embittered by a
campaign against spurious relics, miracle-working shrines, and the like,
involving a particularly virulent attack on St. Thomas of Canterbury, the
type of defiant ecclesiasticism. Moreover, the arrival of a deputation of
Lutheran divines in England was ominous of the closer association of the
bodies which had revolted from Rome. Reginald Pole, a member of the house
which stood high in the Yorkist line of succession [Footnote: See
_Front_.], who had been not long before raised to the Cardinalate, had
for some time been carrying on from the Continent a violent propaganda
against Henry. Pope Paul's Bull of Deposition was again being talked of,
though there is some doubt as to whether it was actually published.

[Sidenote 1: The Exeter Conspiracy]
[Sidenote 2: Cromwell strikes]

Under all these circumstances, it is scarcely surprising that a new and
formidable conspiracy, essentially Yorkist, was brought to light. In fact
the whole country was sown with spies, and there was not much difficulty in
obtaining information of treasonable speeches, when hasty expressions of
discontent counted for treason. Now outside the offspring of Henry VII.,
the Marquis of Exeter, Edward Courtenay, was a grandson of Edward IV.; the
Poles were grandsons of his brother, Clarence, whose daughter, their mother
the Countess of Salisbury, was living still. The theory that a tyrant might
be deposed and another scion of the royal house substituted, had ample
precedent; and it is in no way improbable that the Courtenays, who were
all-powerful in the West, might have been ready enough in conjunction with
the Poles to make a bid for the throne, if they could have found or created
a favourable opportunity. The Cardinal had warning from Cromwell that the
safety of his kinsmen was jeopardised by his diatribes; while Lord
Montague, the head of the family, was on very close terms of friendship
with Exeter. Exeter's own conduct on the occasion of the Pilgrimage of
Grace had been suspicious. Out of these materials there was no difficulty
in constructing a damning case against as many members of these Plantagenet
houses as might be considered advisable: since there was no need to prove
that rebellion was actually organised. It was enough to have a record of
the use of disloyal expressions, or even of the concealment of the
knowledge that such expressions had been used. Finally it was notorious
that there was no love lost between Cromwell and the suspected
nobles. Cromwell, having collected sufficient evidence for his purpose,
struck. Geoffrey Pole, a younger brother, learned that the blow was coming
in time to turn informer. How far there was anything really deserving the
name of a conspiracy the evidence produced did not show; but the existence
of treason under the Treasons Act was indisputable. The policy which had
struck down Buckingham nearly a score of years before was repeated even
more ruthlessly. The materials for formulating a Yorkist rising were
destroyed; there was no figure-head for one left when Exeter and Montague
had been executed (Dec.), even though the old Countess of Salisbury's doom
was deferred. And men realised afresh--if there was need that they should
do so--the irresistible machinery that Cromwell had prepared for the
certain annihilation of any one worth annihilating.

[Sidenote: 1539 Menace of Invasion]

The warning was perhaps necessary; for in the beginning of 1539 the
attitude of the foreign Powers was menacing. The Pope was planning a sort
of crusade, with invasion and insurrection in Ireland as its basis. The
marriage of James of Scotland to Mary of Guise would make matters the more
dangerous if France assumed a definitely hostile attitude; and the pretence
of negotiating the union between Henry and the Duchess of Milan had been
ended by the reconciliation of Charles and Francis. A combination including
the Emperor was threatening. Wriothesly the English ambassador in the Low
Countries, did not believe on the whole that there would be a breach of the
peace, unless the Imperialists felt that their victory would be assured.
Nevertheless, a great armament was assembled in the Dutch harbours.
England, however, had awakened to the need of defence in the Channel;
fleets were assembled and forts manned. The solidarity of the country had
been demonstrated by the easy suppression of the Courtenays and Poles. If
an invasion was contemplated--which can hardly be doubted--the invaders
thought better of the situation, and the armada dispersed without any overt
hostilities taking place.

[Sidenote 1: The King and Lutheranism]
[Sidenote 2: The Six Articles]

The Lutheran conference of the previous year had been without direct
results: but it had the effect of forcing to the front the settlement of
the official position as to several points of doctrine. The advanced
bishops were distinctly inclined to admit the Lutheran views: the other
powerful body within the English Church was in strong opposition.
Theologically, the King was in agreement with the latter section, although
he retained a particularly strong and persistent personal affection for
Cranmer--apparently the only persistent affection of his life. The result
was the production of the Six Articles Act, pronouncing in favour of
Transubstantiation, clerical celibacy, auricular confession, communion in
one kind only for the laity, prayers for the dead, and the permanence of
vows once taken. On the first head there was not as yet any real difference
of opinion. As to the second, Cranmer was actually a married man when he
became archbishop, and many of the clergy, especially in country districts,
had wives, in spite of the fact that the law did not recognise the
relationship: so that an awkward situation was created. Considering the
abolition of the monasteries, the Article concerning vows was
remarkable. But on all these doctrines the views of the reformers were not
yet sufficiently crystallised to prevent their submission when the Jaw
demanded it, though it justified a determined opposition to the passing of
the law; in this Cranmer was particularly conspicuous, and two of the
bishops, Latimer and Shaxton, lost their sees. That the Act should have
been passed is not surprising; but the ferocity of the attendant penalties
is best explained by the fact that, on an attempt being made to apply the
statute in a wholesale fashion, the accused were promptly pardoned and set
at liberty. The object was not so much to punish as to silence the advanced

[Sidenote: Final Suppression of Monasteries]

At the same time two other Acts of grave import were passed. One was the
Act for the suppression and forfeiture of those religious houses which had
not been accounted for in the Act of 1536. The new Act was merely the
logical corollary of the old one. The distinction in morals between the
lesser and greater monasteries was not marked: and to the old charges of
the commissioners were added the new charges of complicity in the rebellion
of the North and in Exeter's conspiracy, and of fomenting disloyalty
generally. The measure was carried out with great harshness, and especial
severity was shown in the cases where abbots and monks attempted to conceal
the monastic treasures. The aged and beloved abbot of Glastonbury was found
guilty of treason and put to death. The great estates became for the most
part the prizes of the nobility. Some few of the houses were converted into
Chapters. There was a scheme for constructing twenty-one new bishoprics out
of the proceeds of the suppression, but the twenty-one dwindled to six.
[Footnote: Chester, Peterborough, Oxford, Gloucester, Bristol and
Westminster.] A fraction of the money was expended on the Channel
defences. But broadly speaking the vast bulk of the spoils went to no
national or ecclesiastical purpose but to the enrichment of private
individuals. Still the amount realised by the National Exchequer did no
doubt relieve the present necessity for taxation in other forms, which
would have been a more fruitful source of murmuring and discontent than
sympathy with the dispossessed monks.

[Sidenote: Royal Proclamations Act]

The second measure was the Royal Proclamations Act, giving to Royal
Proclamations made with the assent of the Privy Council the force of
law. This was the coping stone of that edifice of absolutism built up by
parliamentary enactments of which Cromwell was the Architect: an adaptation
of the system initiated by Henry VII. and developed by Wolsey; springing
now from the assertion of the doctrine of the Supreme Head, continuing with
the novel practical interpretations of that doctrine in matters
ecclesiastical, and buttressed by the Treasons Act, which effectually
translated discontent into Treason. Now the King was left in such a
position that his will became formally law unless his Privy Council opposed

[Sidenote: Anne of Cleves]

Cromwell had shattered the ecclesiastical power of resistance: he had
shattered also the dangerous elements among the nobility: he had
systematically secured parliamentary confirmation for every step. But he
wished to carry still further the anti-clericalism which was part of his
policy. He desired the domination in England of the Lutheranising section
of Churchmen, and the central idea of his foreign policy was the
construction of a Protestant League. In these respects he went beyond his
master, and in the attempt to carry his master with him, he made ship-wreck
of himself. The question of another marriage for Henry was still unsettled;
if more children were to be hoped for, it must be settled soon. Cromwell
fixed upon Anne of Cleves as politically the wife to be desired. By wedding
with her, Henry would be drawn into closer relations with the Protestant
League of Schmalkald. He painted for the King a misleading picture of the
lady's charms: the King consented to his plans; the negotiation flowed

[Sidenote 1: 1540 The Marriage]
[Sidenote 2: Fall of Cromwell]

Early in the year (1540) the bride came to England; bringing
disillusionment. Matters had gone too far for the King to draw back, and
the marriage was carried out; but his wrath was kindled against its
projector. The blow fell not less suddenly than with Wolsey. The Earl of
Essex--such was the title recently bestowed on Cromwell--was without
warning arrested and attainted of high treason. The instrument he himself
had forged and ruthlessly wielded with such terrible effect was turned as
ruthlessly against him. He had over-ridden the law. He had countenanced and
protected anti-clerical law-breakers. He had spoken in arrogant terms of
his own power. As it had availed Wolsey nothing that his breach of
praemunire had been countenanced by the King, so it availed Cromwell
nothing that the King had seemed to support him. If the King had done so,
in each case, it was merely because he in his innocence had been misled by
his minister, so that in fact their crime was aggravated. For the merciless
minister, there was no mercy. That the process against Essex was by
attainder and not by an ordinary trial is of little moment. His fate would
have been the same in any case; nor was he so scrupulous in such matters
that he can claim sympathy on that head. No voice but Cranmer's--in
lamentation rather than protest--was raised on his behalf. The mighty
minister, the most dreaded of all men who have swayed the destinies of
England, found himself in a moment as utterly helpless as the feeblest of
his victims had been. He was flung into the Tower; his stormy protests were
unheeded by the King; on July 28th, his head fell beneath the executioner's

[Sidenote: Nemesis]

Cromwell had learned his ethics and his state-craft in that school whose
doctrines are formulated in "The Prince" of Macchiavelli. He had applied
those principles with remorseless logic, untinged by the fear of God or
man, to the single end of making his master actually the most complete
autocrat that ever sat on the throne of England. His loyalty was as
unfailing as it was unscrupulous; his work had been thorough and
complete--the King was placed beyond further need of him. His reward was
the doom of a traitor. Unpitying he lived, unpitied he died. Regardless of
justice, he had swept down each obstacle in the way of his policy:
regardless of justice he was in turn struck down. By his own standards he
was judged; his end was the end he had compassed for More and
Fisher. History has no more perfect example of Nemesis.



[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

[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

[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

[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
engagement. 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

[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.



[Sidenote: Ireland, 1509-20]

Affairs in the sister island did not, after the final collapse of Perkin
Warbeck directly affect the course of events in England: so that they lend
themselves more conveniently to summary treatment. Ireland in fact hardly
thrust herself forcibly on English notice until Thomas Cromwell was in
power, and even then she only received incidental attention.

[Sidenote: Surrey in Ireland, 1520]

It appears to be generally recognised that when Gerald Earl of Kildare
finally made up his mind to serve Henry VII. loyally and was for the last
time re-instated as Deputy, he proved himself a capable ruler and kept his
wilder countrymen in some sort of order. In 1513 he was succeeded in the
Deputyship by his son Gerald, who bore a general resemblance to him, but
lacked his exceptional audacity and resourcefulness. It was not long before
the Earl of Ormonde--head of the Butlers, the traditional rivals of the
Fitzgeralds, and chief representative of the loyalist section--was
complaining of disorder and misgovernment; and in course of time, Kildare
was deposed and Surrey [Footnote: The Surrey who became Duke of Norfolk in
1524, and was under attainder when Henry died in 1547.]--son of the victor
of Flodden--was sent over to take matters in hand (1520). Kildare was
summoned to England, where after his father's fashion he made himself
popular with the King whom he accompanied to the Field of the Cloth of
Gold. Surrey was a capable soldier, and took the soldier's view of the
situation. There would be no settled government until the whole country was
brought into subjection; it must be dealt with as Edward I. had dealt with
Wales. The chiefs must be made to feel the strong hand by a series of
decisive campaigns, the whole country must be systematically garrisoned,
and the Englishry must be strengthened by planting settlements of English
colonists. Half-measures would be useless, and he could not carry out his
programme with a less force than six thousand men.

[Sidenote: Irish policy, 1520-34]

Henry however had no inclination to set about the conquest of Ireland. His
own theory, with which it may be assumed that Wolsey, now in the plenitude
of his power, was in accord, was more akin to his father's. Moreover,
Wolsey and the Howards were usually in opposition to each other. Surrey was
instructed to appeal to the reason of the contumacious chiefs; to point out
that obedience to the law is the primary condition of orderly government;
to authorise indigenous customs in preference to imposed statutes where it
should seem advisable. In fact there were two alternatives; one, to govern
by the sword, involving a military occupation of the island; the other to
endeavour to enlist the Irish nobles on the side of law and order and to
govern through them. The first policy, Surrey's, was rejected; the second
was attempted. But the Irish chiefs had no _a priori_ prejudice in
favour of law and order, and something besides rhetoric was needed to
convince them that their individual interests would be advanced by such a
policy. Henry VII. had prospered by reinstating the old Earl of Kildare;
Henry VIII. tried reinstating the young one. But precedents suggested the
unfortunate conclusion that a little treason more or less would hurt no
one, least of all a Geraldine. Things went on very much as before. Kildare
was summoned to London again, rated soundly by Wolsey, suffered a brief
imprisonment, and was again restored. Desmond, his kinsman, intrigued with
the Emperor, who was in a state of hostility to Henry because of the
divorce proceedings; Kildare was accused of complicity, and going to London
a third time in 1534 was thrown into the Tower from which he did not again
emerge. Henry had just burnt his boats in his quarrel with Rome and was by
no means in a placable mood.

[Sidenote: Fitzgerald's revolt, 1534]

Kildare had named his eldest son Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, a young man of
twenty-one, to act as Deputy in his absence; moreover he had so fortified
his castle of Maynooth and otherwise made military preparations, as to give
colour to the idea that he had rebellion in contemplation. Excited by a
report that his father had been put to death, Lord Thomas--known as Silken
Thomas from a badge worn by his men--burst into the Council at Dublin,
threw down the sword of office, and renounced his allegiance; then raised
an insurrection at the head of his friends and followers. Dublin Castle was
soon besieged by a large miscellaneous force; the Archbishop, a leader of
the loyalists, attempted to escape but was taken and foully murdered; bands
of marauders ravaged the Pale. The only effective counter-move was made by
Ormonde who rejected Fitzgerald's overtures, and, in spite of Desmond's
menacing attitude on the South-west, raided the Kildare country, and
brought Silken Thomas back in hot haste to defend his own territories.

[Sidenote: 1535 The revolt quelled]

Fitzgerald's rising began in June. Henry had appointed as Deputy Sir
William Skeffington, an old soldier who had held that office before during
Kildare's last suspension. But his departure from England with his troops
was delayed. Fitzgerald was back before Dublin in September, after a vain
attempt to win over Ormonde who defied him boldly. Again the Kildare lands
were raided, and Lord Thomas had to raise the siege; and now at the end of
October Skeffington succeeded in crossing the channel and securing Dublin,
while the rebels carried fire and sword through the neighbouring
districts. For the rest of the winter Skeffington did nothing but send out
a futile expedition, a detachment of which was ambuscaded: while the
loyalists fumed. In the spring however he shook off some of this
inactivity, whether due to sickness, advancing years, or general
incompetence, and besieged Maynooth which was reputed impregnable. The
fortress fell before long; owing to treachery as tradition relates, but
more probably to the improved siege artillery as the official despatches
affirm. Most of the garrison were promptly hanged; a fatal blow was dealt
to the insurrection. The "pardon of Maynooth" became a proverb.
Skeffington, retaining the deputyship, was replaced in command of the army
by Lord Leonard Grey, Kildare's brother-in-law, son of Lord Dorset; to whom
ultimately Silken Thomas surrendered under a vague half-promise of lenient
treatment. Kildare himself had died in the Tower not long before; Lord
Thomas and his principal kinsmen were executed after a little delay; the
one surviving representative of the great house which had "ruled all
Ireland" was a child, preserved in hiding by loyal friends and
retainers. The Geraldine power was at an end.

[Sidenote: 1535-40 Lord Leonard Grey]

Grey himself was now appointed to the deputyship in place of Skeffington,
Desmond in the south-west and O'Neill in Ulster carried on the resistance,
but were no match for Grey, who followed up his military successes by
attempting to carry out the principles of conciliation which Henry had laid
down--to the bitter indignation of those loyalists who favoured the methods
advocated in the past by Surrey. To this and to Grey's insolent temper were
due violent altercations between him and the Council. A Commission was sent
over to examine and set matters straight, but instead the commissioners
took sides with the Council or with the Deputy. Affairs were complicated by
the application to Ireland of the English theory of ecclesiastical
Reformation as understood by Henry and Cromwell. The suppression of the
monasteries was acquiesced in (though not till 1541); since their condition
was undeniably bad, and the distribution of their property convenient for
the recipients; but the revolt from Rome was antagonistic to Irish
feeling. Disloyalty to England, the natural and normal condition of
three-fourths of the island, received a new authority from the sanction of
loyalty to the Church. Grey persisted in his policy of domineering over the
English party--who would have preferred to do the domineering
themselves--and of laying himself open to the charge of favouring and
fostering rebels, especially of the Geraldine faction. Another rising of
O'Neill and Desmond in 1539 forced him to reassert his authority, but he
again allowed it to appear that he was influenced by his connexion with the
Geraldines; and in 1540 he was recalled, attainted, and
executed. Experience of Henry had taught the conclusion that to fight the
charge of treason was useless; but Grey gained nothing by throwing himself
on the royal clemency, though his admission of guilt is not under the
circumstances very conclusive.

[Sidenote: 1540 St. Leger]

Whatever the extent of his actual guilt, his downfall was due not so much
to his professed policy as to the personal methods adopted which in the end
had excited almost universal distrust and hostility. The proof of this lies
in the fact that St. Leger, his successor as Deputy, carried out the same
nominal policy with very remarkable success, and, it would seem, with
general approval: mainly because he applied the principles impartially
instead of as a partisan. The agent of conciliation was judicious,
clear-headed, and tactful, instead of being injudicious, hot-headed, and
tactless. The new Deputy distributed titles and monastic lands with a
shrewd perception of the value of the services to be purchased thereby;
legal commissioners were appointed who were allowed a due latitude in
applying native customs and relaxing the rigour of English law; a number of
important chiefs were converted into supporters of the Government instead
of its more or less open enemies; the Pale settled down into the condition
of a reasonably well ordered State. In the last years of Henry there is a
complete disappearance of the wonted turmoil. At length he had found a man
capable of administering the policy he had enunciated in 1520. The
Deputyship of St. Leger gave promise of initiating a new era; but it showed
also how completely the working out of the Irish problem would depend on
the character and capacity of the men to whom the task should be
successively entrusted.

[Sidenote: Henry "King of Ireland"]

One significant change remains to be noted. Hitherto the King of England
had borne the title of Lord of Ireland, the theory being that Ireland was
held as a fief from the Pope. As marking a final repudiation of every kind
of papal authority, Henry, after the suppression of the Geraldine rising,
assumed the style of King of Ireland. The fact that the change was needed
has some bearing on the opposed papal and royal claims to Irish
allegiance. Wales, it may be remarked, acquired citizenship when for the
first time she sent representatives to Parliament in 1537.

[Sidenote: Wolsey's work]

Throughout the first half of Henry's reign the figure of the great Cardinal
dominates the political field. In two respects at least his work was the
extension of what Henry VII. initiated. By his efforts, the personal power
of the crown became irresistible; and as the old King raised England from
being almost a negligible quantity on the Continent to become at the lowest
an effective make-weight in European combinations, so Wolsey raised her
still further to a position of equality with the two great Powers which
overshadowed all the rest. This he did by the same method of evading
serious military operations whenever the evasion was possible, and by the
exercise of a diplomatic genius almost unmatched among English
statesmen. After his fall, the King's domestic interests withdrew him from
a like active participation in the quarrels of Charles and Francis,
although in his last years he became involved in a French war.

[Sidenote: The Army]

It is singular however to observe that Wolsey won for England all the
prestige of a great military Power, after a period during which that
ancient reputation of hers had been all but completely lost, without any
single achievement memorable in the annals of war, and without producing
any commander even of the second rank. With the sole exception of Surrey's
victory at Flodden, due rather to the disastrous blunder of James than to
the Earl's exceptional ability, no striking strategical or tactical feats
are recorded, and few remarkable displays even of personal valour: nothing
at all comparable to the brilliant if sometimes hazardous operations of the
great Plantagenets. Nothing more is heard of that once triumphant arm, the
Archery: the English bowmen had not, it would seem, lost their cunning, but
they could no longer overwhelm hostile battalions. Nor does this seem to
have been owing as yet to the displacement of the bow by firearms, though
cannon both for defence and destruction of fortresses were improving--as
exemplified at Maynooth. In the Scots wars, the border moss-troopers fought
after their own fashion: but in the French wars the levies, no longer
fighting in bodies following their own lord's flag, and feeling neither a
personal tie to their leaders nor any particular bond among themselves,
repeatedly displayed mutinous tendencies--as befel in Ireland under Lord
Leonard Grey, and earlier with the entire army commanded by Dorset in 1512
and again with Suffolk's soldiery in 1523. The transition period from the
era of feudal companies to that of disciplined regiments was a long one,
particularly in England. During the whole of that period, English armies
accomplished no distinguished military achievement.

[Sidenote: The Navy]

It was otherwise with English navies. All through the Tudor period, the
nation was steadily realising its maritime capacities. Whether the
strategic meaning of "ruling the seas" was understood or not, the century
witnessed the rise of the English naval power from comparative
insignificance to an actual pre-eminence. The two Henries fostered their
fleets; when Elizabeth was reigning, the sea-faring impulse was past any
need of artificial encouragement. But it is noteworthy that coast defence
and ship-building were almost the only public purposes to which an
appreciable share of the King's ecclesiastical spoils was appropriated. The
King's ships were few, but they were supplemented by an ever-increasing
supply of armed merchant-craft; and in the French war at the end of Henry's
reign is the premonition of the great struggle with Spain, in which one
most characteristic feature was the comparative reliance of England on
sails and of her rivals on oars. As yet however, naval fighting was still
governed by military analogies.

[Sidenote: The New World]

Though Henry was keenly interested in ship-building and naval construction,
in the matter of ocean voyages and the acquisition of new realms Spain and
Portugal still left all competitors far behind. Albuquerque had already
founded a Portuguese Maritime empire in the Indian Ocean when Henry
VIII. ascended the throne, and Spain was established in the West Indies. In
1513, Balboa sighted the Pacific from the Isthmus of Darien. In 1519 Cortes
conquered Mexico; in 1520 Magelhaens passed through the straits [Footnote:
It was still believed that Tierra del Fuego was a vast continent stretching
to the South.] that bear his name, and his ships completed their voyage
round the globe in the course of the next two years; in 1532 Pizarro
conquered Peru; Brazil and the River Plate were already discovered and
appropriated. All that England had done was represented by some Bristol
explorers in the far North, some tentative efforts in the direction of
Africa; and some four voyages to Brazil, the first two under William
Hawkins, father of the more famous Sir John.

[Sidenote: Absolutism]

As Wolsey's policy was a development of that of Henry VII. in the direction
of raising England's international prestige, so it was also in the
concentration of power in the hands of the sovereign: and the process was
carried still further though in a somewhat different way when Wolsey had
fallen. It is curious to note that Henry VII. for the first half of his
reign ruled by a skilful reliance on parliamentary sanctions, in the second
half almost dispensing with parliaments. This order was reversed by his
son. For the first twenty years, there were hardly any parliaments: from
1529 there was no prolonged interval without one. The economies of the old
King sufficed to support the extravagant expenditure of his successor with
only an occasional appeal to the purses of the Commons. It was only the
necessities of a war-budget that involved such an appeal, so that none took
place between 1514 and 1523. Had Wolsey been permitted to maintain his
peace-policy unbroken, there would have been no rebuff from the House of
Commons in 1523, no trouble over the Amicable Loan two years later. The
country, habituated to an absence of parliaments, might have come to accept
a monarchy absolute in form as well as in fact.

[Sidenote: The Parliamentary sanction]

But when Wolsey fell, Henry was embarking on a policy in which he knew that
he must keep the nation on his side; the support of the body representing
the nation must be secured. Whether that support was granted spontaneously,
or was encouraged by manipulation, or spurred by the menace of coercion,
was comparatively unimportant. The powers which the King was resolved to
exercise must ostensibly at least have the sanction of national
approval. The thing was managed with such thoroughness that long before the
close of the reign the royal absolutism was confirmed by the Act which gave
the force of law to the King's proclamations, and by the authorisation for
him to devise the crown by will; and with such skill that Henry's and
Cromwell's critics are obliged to fall back on the alleged subserviency of
the parliaments to account for it, although these same subservient
parliaments were quite capable of offering an obstinate resistance whenever
their own pockets were threatened. Henry was one of those born rulers who
impress their own views on masses of men by force of will. He made the
country believe that it was with him. But behind the dominant force of
will, he possessed the instinctive sense of its limits, besides being
endowed with that final remorseless selfishness which made him ready to
make scape-goats of the most loyal servants, to deny responsibility himself
and to fling the odium upon them, as soon as he found that those limits had
been transgressed.

[Sidenote: Depression of the Nobles]

Alike, then, by his disuse and his use of parliaments, Henry strengthened
the royal power, the initiative of all legislation remaining in his
hands. To the same end he continued to depress the great nobles and to
create a new nobility dependent on royal favour. All who threatened to
display a dangerous ambition, from Buckingham on, were struck down; the
House of Norfolk survived till the end of the reign, when the Duke was
attainted and his son was sent to the block. No ancient House was
represented in the Council of Regency nominated under Henry's will. The men
who served the King were those whom he had himself raised, and could
himself cast down with a word. The edifice of his absolutism was complete,
though it was modified by the conditions under which his son and his two
daughters succeeded to the throne.

[Sidenote: Parliament and the purse]

The theory of absolutism from Richard II. to Wolsey had been that the King
should make it his aim to rule without parliaments; whereas we are
confronted with the apparent paradox that Henry was never more absolute
than when his parliaments were in almost continual session. The explanation
lies in this, that he did not usually call them to ask them for money out
of their own pockets; for the most part he invited them to approve of his
taxing some one else, by confiscations or the conversion of loans received
into free gifts--a much more congenial task. The King had found other
methods of raising revenues than by appealing to the generosity of his
faithful Commons--methods which in effect relieved them of demands which
they would otherwise have been obliged to face. The vast sums wrung from
Convocation or from the Monasteries went to relieve the Commons from
taxes. The parliament of 1523, summoned to grant subsidies, faced Wolsey
with an independence which fully justified the minister in avoiding the
risk of similar rebuffs: the Reformation parliament itself offered a
stubborn resistance to the Bill of Wards, which touched its own pocket.
Independence and resistance vanished when the incentive was withdrawn, and
the diversion of the stream of ecclesiastical wealth into the abysses of
the royal treasury was acquiesced in with a certain enthusiasm. The King
got the credit of the ends secured, his minister the odium for the methods
of obtaining them: and so year by year the crown became more potent.

[Sidenote: The Land]

The economic troubles brought about mainly by the new agricultural
conditions in the reign of the first Tudor were exaggerated in that of the
second, and were further intensified by the dissolution of the
Monasteries. The evils at which More pointed in his _Utopia_, when
Henry VIII. had been but seven years on the throne, showed no diminution
when another thirty years had passed. The new landowners who came into
possession of forfeited estates or of confiscated monastic lands continued
to substitute pasture for tillage, and to dispossess the agricultural
population as well by the reduced demand for labour as by rack-renting and
evictions. The country swarmed with sturdy beggars; and the riotous
behaviour encouraged when religious houses were dismantled or even
"visited" must have tended greatly to increase the spirit of disorder,
evidenced by the frequent popular brawling over the public reading of the
Bible. The usual remedies of punishing vagabondage, and of attempting to
force industry into unsuitable fields and to drive capital into less
lucrative investment in order to provide employment, failed--also as
usual. The landowners did not emulate the monastic practice of dispensing
charity, so that distress went unrelieved. Charity often encourages
un-thrift; but its absence sometimes leads not to industry but to thieving;
and in this reign, crimes of violence were notably abundant. The economic
conditions were therefore in fact unfavourable to thrift. But apart from
economic conditions, the practice of that virtue is apt to be largely
influenced by social standards. An ultra-extravagant court, and the
calculated magnificence of such a minister as Wolsey, went far to induce a
reckless habit of expenditure in the upper classes; and the inordinate
display of the Field of the Cloth of Gold was merely an extreme instance of
the prevalent passion for costly pageantries.

[Sidenote: Finance]

The resulting distress was not compensated in other directions. During the
earlier half of the reign, Commerce did no doubt continue to prosper; but
the King's financial methods were hardly more conducive to public industry
and thrift than his personal example. Wolsey indeed was an able finance
minister. In spite of the enormous expenditure on display, his mastery of
detail prevented mere waste; and until the pressing necessities of a
war-budget arose in 1523, enough money was found by tapping the sources to
which Henry VII. had applied, supplemented by the ample hoards which that
monarch had left behind. In 1523, the Cardinal's scheme of graduated
taxation was sound and scientific in principle, so far as existing methods
of assessment permitted. But for the remaining years of his life, the
process of raising money to meet the King's requirements was exceedingly
difficult and unpopular. After his death, the King discovered an additional
and productive source of revenue in the property of the Church; but even
this did not suffice for his needs.

[Sidenote: The Currency]

Henry therefore resorted to an expedient as disastrous as it was
dishonest--a wholesale debasement of the coinage, which was continued into
the following reign and was remedied only under Elizabeth. The first
experiment was made as early as 1526; but it was the financial
embarrassments of Henry's last years which brought about a debasement that
was almost catastrophic. From 1543 to 1551 matters went from bad to worse
till the currency was in a state of chaos: and the silver coin issued in
the last year contained only one-seventh of the pure metal that went to
that of twenty-five years before.

It followed that the purchasing power of the debased coinage sank--in other
words, prices went up. On the other hand, the new coin remaining legal
tender in England up to any amount, creditors who were paid in it lost
heavily, the Royal debtor--and others--discharging their obligations by
what was practically a payment of a few shillings in the pound. Also as a
matter of course, the better coins, with each fresh debasement, passed out
of the country or at any rate out of circulation, the base coins becoming
the medium of exchange. Thus the foundations of commercial stability were
sapped, while foreign trading operations were thrown into desperate and
ruinous confusion.

Nor did the evil end here. For the influx of silver and gold from the
Spanish possessions in America, though its effects were felt only very
gradually, tended to depreciate the exchange value of the metals
themselves. This depreciation, added to the debasement, further increased
the rise of prices. But while prices went up, money-wages did not rise in
anything like the same proportion; labour being cheapened by the continuous
displacement of the agricultural population, which was not attended by an
equivalent increase of employment in the towns, and by the dissolution of
the monasteries, which at the same time wiped out the sole existing system
of poor-relief. The natural Economic transition that began in the previous
reign, while producing wealth, was also attended by distress: now, for a
vast proportion of the population, Henry's artifical expedients for filling
his own coffers converted distress into grinding want, destitution, and

[Sidenote: Learning and Letters]

The earlier half of the reign promised well for Education; but the promise
was not duly fulfilled in the latter portion. The funds which Wolsey would
have devoted to that object were wanted for other purposes. The
Universities discarded the study of the schoolmen, but their attention was
absorbed rather by loud-voiced wrangling than by the pursuit of learning.
Nevertheless, in great families at least, the education of the younger
members was carried to a high pitch. The King, a man of accomplishments
which would have made him remarkable in any station, himself set the
example, and in this respect at least his children were not lacking; the
literary impulse was at work.

[Sidenote 1: The _Utopia_]
[Sidenote 2: Prose and Verse]
[Sidenote 3: Surrey and Wyatt]

Yet the literary achievements of Henry's time can hardly be called
great. One work by an Englishman, More's _Utopia_, alone stands out as
a classic on its own merits: and that was written in Latin, and remained
untranslated till a later reign. In its characteristic undercurrent of
humour, and its audacious idealism, it betrays the student of Plato;
standing almost alone as a product of the dawning culture. Partly by direct
statement, partly by implication, we may gather from it much information as
to the state of England in Henry's early years, much as to the political
philosophy of the finer minds of the day. But that philosophy was choked by
revolution; More himself so far departed from its tenets of toleration as
to become a religious persecutor. Most of the English writing of the reign
took the form of controversial or personal pamphlets in prose or verse;
such as the extravagant _Supplicacyon for the Beggers_, a rabid tirade
against the clergy, or Skelton's rhyme _Why come ye nal to Court_, an
attack chiefly on the Cardinal. The splendid raciness of Hugh Latimer's
sermons belongs to oratory rather than to letters. The exquisite prose of
Cranmer found its perfection in the solemn music of the Prayer-book of
Edward VI. The translations of the Bible made no great advance on
Wiclif. In the realm of verse, John Skelton was a powerful satirist with a
unique manipulation of doggerel which has permanently associated a
particular type of rhyme with his name; an original and versatile writer
was Skelton, but without that new critical sense of style which was to
become so marked a feature of the great literary outburst under
Elizabeth. Herein, two minor poets alone, Surrey and Wyatt, appear as
harbingers of the coming day. A hundred anonymous writers of Gloriana's
time produced verses as good as the best of either Wyatt or Surrey; but
these two at least discovered the way which, once found, became
comparatively easy to tread. They introduced the sonnet, learnt from
Petrarch; Surrey (the same who was executed on the eve of Henry's death)
wrote the first English blank verse. The moribund tradition of the
successors of Chaucer continued to find better exponents in Scotland than
in England, in the persons first of bishop Gawain Douglas--who perhaps
should rather be connected with the previous reign--and later of Sir David
Lyndsay. But doctrinal controversy does not provide the best atmosphere for
artistic expression. The whole literature of the reign, while showing
emphatic signs of reviving intellectual activity, is remarkable not for its
own excellence, for profundity of thought, intensity of passion, or mastery
of form, but as exhibiting the first random and tentative workings of the
new spirit.

[Sidenote: Estimate of Henry VII.]

The most arresting figure of the period is that of Henry himself. No
English King has been presented by historians in more contradictory colours
than he. One has painted him as the Warrior of God who purged the land of
the Unclean Thing: to another he is merely a libidinous tyrant. One
contrasts his honesty and honour with the habitual falsehood of his
contemporaries: to another he appears supreme in treachery. In fact, there
is an element of truth in both estimates, however exaggerated.

[Sidenote: His Morals]

In the matter of personal morality, in the restricted sense, it does not
appear--in spite of his list of wives--that he compares unfavourably with
contemporary princes. He had only one child certainly born out of
wedlock--which cannot be said even of Charles V., [Footnote: It should
perhaps be remarked that whenever Charles had a wife living he appears to
have been faithful to her. His divagations took place in the intervals.]
and contrasts with the unbridled profligacy of Francis, the frequent amours
of his Stewart brother-in-law and nephew. The stories of his relations with
both Anne and Mary Boleyn before the marriage, even if untrue (which is not
probable), would never have been told of a man whose life was clean; but it
is what may be called the accident of his numerous marriages which has
given a misleading prominence to licentious tendencies not perhaps
abnormally developed. With the exception of his passion for Anne Boleyn,
there is no trace of his amours influencing his general conduct: and it is
at least probable that after the death of Jane Seymour he would have
remained a widower, but for the desire to make the succession more
secure. Yet the story of his reign hinges upon the Divorce; and in the
divorce, however much other considerations may have influenced him, the
controlling consideration was the determination to make Anne Boleyn his
wife since she would have him on no other terms. That fact, with the
disastrous termination of the marriage with her, the fiasco of Anne of
Cleves, and the catastrophe of Katharine Howard, is responsible for the
somewhat mythical monster of popular imagination. The man who divorced two
wives and beheaded two more is too suggestive of Bluebeard to be readily
regarded as after all to some extent the victim of circumstance.

[Sidenote: His general character]

While Anne Boleyn was the object of his pursuit, Henry was dominated by his
passion for her: but that passion cooled quickly enough after
possession. Jane Seymour was not his wife long enough to put him to the
test: but it would certainly seem that his affections were short-lived and
easily transferred. This was manifestly the case with men: at least it
never appeared to cause him a moment's compunction to hand over an intimate
to the executioner. While a man was rendering him efficient service the
King was lavish of praises and rewards; when the need for him was past the
services were forgotten. His sentiments were always of the loftiest; it
habitually "consorted not with his honour or his conscience" to do
otherwise than he did; but the correspondence between his honour and
conscience on one side and his personal advantage on the other presents a
unique phenomenon. His conscience permitted him to connive at schemes for
kidnapping the King of Scots or assassinating his ministers, and his honour
permitted him to encourage his own servants in a course of action for which
he had subsequently no hesitation in sending them to the block. He could
give, prodigally; but what he gave had generally been taken from some one
else. He could protest against the cruel burden of the annates, and then
absorb them himself. And with all this, it is not difficult to suppose that
he constantly persuaded himself that he was an honest man beset with
dishonest rogues, since he rarely broke the letter of an engagement except
on the pretext of bad faith made manifest in the other party.

[Sidenote 1: His peculiar abilities]
[Sidenote 2: Intention and achievement]

Henry's ethical standards were thus in no way calculated to hamper his
actions, owing to his happy capacity for colouring his actions in
conformity with them. When he set an end before himself, no influence could
make him waver a hair's-breadth in his pursuit of it, and he spared neither
friend nor foe in the attainment of it. As a statesman he did not lay down
far-seeing designs. But he had the art of maintaining popularity, and a
shrewd eye for a good servant. Thus as a rule he gave Wolsey a free hand
and very vigorous support. But when he elected to order a change of policy,
the Cardinal proved to have been right and the King wrong. His candidature
for the Empire, and his dreams of the French and Scottish thrones show him
capable of indulging in entirely impracticable visions. The vital
achievement of his reign was the severance from Rome; and that was
merely--as far as he was concerned--the accidental outcome of the Pope's
opposition to the Divorce. In the destruction of the ecclesiastical
_imperium in imperio_, the subordination of the Church to the State,
it is difficult to tell how far the policy was his own and how far it was
Cromwell's; but the King never recognised as Cromwell did that the logical
corollary of the whole ecclesiastical policy was a Protestant League. The
defiance of Rome, and the subjection and spoliation of the Church, were
accompanied by a measure in which Cranmer was the moving spirit, and to
which Henry gave full support--the open admission of the Scriptures in the
vernacular--which made it no longer possible for the individual to disclaim
responsibility on the score that the priesthood alone held the key to the
mysteries of religion. This was in truth the keystone of the Reformation,
since it entailed upon every man the _duty_ of private judgment even
though the _right_ continued to be denied; yet this was not the effect
which Henry contemplated. Hence, out of the four points in the
ecclesiastical revolution of the reign: the subordination of the Church to
the State was a constitutional change absolutely Henry's or Cromwell's own;
the spoliation was the same, but reflects no credit on either; the
severance from Rome was an accident; and the creation of the duty, to be
ultimately recognised as the right, of private judgment was
unintentional. And on the kindred subject, the persecution of innovators
labelled as heretics, Henry's policy represented nothing but the
commonplace attitude of Authority in his times.

[Sidenote: A Dominant personality]

We cannot, in short, find in Henry a statesman remarkable for far-sighted
perceptions or ennobling idealism: but he gauged the sentiment of his
subjects and the abilities of his servants acutely and was shrewd enough as
a rule to identify himself with the schemes of those whom he trusted.
Nevertheless he stands out, with all his faults, as a very tyrannical King
yet a very kingly tyrant. If his personal ambitions and desires over-ruled
other considerations, he never forgot the greatness of the country he
ruled, and his personal ambitions at least involved England's
magnification. For good or for evil, his actions were on a great scale. He
knew his own mind, and he never shrank from the risks involved in giving
his will effect. He defied successfully the Power which had brought the
mightiest monarchs to their knees. He had the kingly quality, shared by his
great daughter, of inspiring in his servants a devotion which made them
ready to sacrifice everything for his glorification. Two of the most
powerful ministers known in English history recognised the domination of
his personality whenever he chose to exercise it.

[Sidenote: Summary]

Even when he was most feared he maintained his place in the popular
affection. His parliaments carried out his will, but his will and theirs
were in conformity: while Wolsey ruled, he rarely consulted them, but after
Wolsey's fall they were called upon to ratify all the King's measures, and
were in frequent session. He promoted a revolution, but while he lived he
controlled it; through all the accompanying shocks and upheavals his
mastery remained unshaken. The proof of the man's essential force, the
greatness we may not deny him, is made manifest by the chaos which followed
his death. He was gross; he was cruel; he was a robber; he suborned
traitors and was prepared to suborn assassins; but his selfishness,
flagrant as it was, did not wholly absorb him; behind it there was a sense
of the greatness of his office, a desire to make England great; and
therewith he had the indomitable resolution and the untiring energy for
lack of which statesmen have failed who intellectually and morally stand
far above him, while no monarch has left on the history of England a stamp
more indelible than Henry VIII.



[Sidenote: 1547 Jan.-Feb. The New Government]

In accordance with the extraordinary powers granted to him, Henry VIII.
laid down in his will both the order of succession to the throne and the
method of government to be followed during his son's minority. Under this
instrument he nominated sixteen "executors," forming virtually a Council of
Regency, giving precedence to none. Superficially, the list represented
both the progressive and the reactionary parties. Cranmer was balanced by
Tunstal of Durham; Wriothesly the Lord Chancellor was a strong
Catholic. But as a matter of fact, the influential men belonged for the
most part to the advanced section. Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, was their
leader: but Paget, Dudley (Lord Lisle), Russell, and Herbert, were all of
the same way of thinking. None of the rest were of the same weight as
these; while Norfolk, the natural head of the conservative nobility was a
prisoner in the Tower, and Gardiner, the ablest of the ecclesiastics, was
omitted from the list.

Henry died in the early morning on January 28th; the fact was not made
public till the 31st; and in the meantime, Hertford had carried the
Council, which forthwith nominated him Lord Protector. The next step was a
distribution of honours: Hertford was made Duke of Somerset; his brother,
the Lord Admiral, (not an executor), Lord Seymour of Sudeley; Dudley became
Earl of Warwick, Wriothesly Earl of Southampton, and Parr, brother of the
late King's widow, Earl of Northampton. A couple of months later, that
lady--who had succeeded in surviving two husbands including Henry--herself
wedded Seymour of Sudeley,

Southampton was the one man whose opposition on the Council was to be
feared; and he gave himself into his enemies' hands by an act of
indiscretion. He issued a commission appointing four judges to act in the
Court of Chancery, under the Great Seal, on his own responsibility: and was
promptly declared to have forfeited his office which was bestowed upon
Rich. This was immediately followed by the granting of new powers to the
Protector, enabling him to act virtually without consulting the Executors:
while he was already guardian of the King's person. In effect, Somerset
meant himself, as representing Edward, to exercise all those powers which
had been surrendered to the formidable Henry. In the meantime, the trend of
the ecclesiastical policy to be anticipated was shown by the treatment of
the bishops; who--with the approval of Cranmer--were required to receive
their commissions anew from the new King as though they had been Civil
servants. Cranmer, in the Coronation sermon, made pointed references to
Josiah, which could only be regarded as precursors of a war against
"images," and the more advanced among the clergy began to express
themselves with a freedom which would have been very promptly and
unpleasantly dealt with by the late King. Ecclesiastical conventions
received a startling shock when it was made known that the Primate himself
was openly eating meat in Lent.

To carry the Reformation beyond the stage at which it had been left by
Henry in a tolerably peaceful manner was a sufficient task in itself; but
the situation which the new Government found that it had to face, by the
time Somerset had secured his position, towards the end of March, was
complicated by many additional problems--not least among these being the
lack of funds.

[Sidenote: Relations with France]

The recent peace with France had given the English Boulogne for eight years
as security for the payment of a substantial annual sum. But while this
might be looked upon as a valuable diplomatic asset--a means to graceful
concession in return for adequate benefits--it remained an incitement to
French hostility; the more so when Francis I. followed his great
contemporary to the grave after less than two months, and was succeeded by
Henry II.; with whom the retention of Boulogne was a particularly sore
point, as he had failed in an attempt to recapture it. If England found
herself in difficulties it was tolerably certain that France would try to
recover Boulogne without waiting the eight years for its restitution.

[Sidenote: with Scotland]

France was not unlikely to find her opportunity in Scotland. There the
group who had murdered Cardinal Beton in the previous summer retained the
castle of St. Andrews in defiance of the weak government, at whose head
were the regent Arran and the queen-mother Mary of Guise, whose family was
now the most influential in France. The one means by which an English party
could be maintained in Scotland was the giving active support to the
"Castilians" as the St. Andrews faction was called; whereas French
interference on behalf of the Government would immensely strengthen the
anti-English party.

[Sidenote: with Charles V.]

The German situation was more complicated. The Emperor, supported by
Maurice of Saxony, was at war with the Lutheran League. As yet the issue of
that contest was doubtful; the League had at least a chance of success, but
had appealed to England for aid. Charles on the other hand, not wishing for
war with England, had declined the Pope's suggestion that he should enforce
the substitution of Mary for Edward on the English throne: the Pope was
annoyed, because the Schmalkaldic war was being fought on a political and
not a theological issue; and he was alienating Charles by withdrawing the
Council of Trent from that city, which was within Imperial territory, to
Bologna where Italian influences would be predominant. If then England
intervened on behalf of the League, she would reconcile the Pope and the
Emperor, and possibly unite them with France against herself. If she stood
aside, she would lose the chance of creating a powerful Protestant League,
while experience had shown that any gratitude Charles might feel would
count for less than nothing in determining his future policy. The
Government hesitated; and while they temporised, the Emperor by a sudden
blow became master of the situation. At the end of April, crossing a river
by night, he fell upon the unexpectant army of the League at Mühlberg,
crushed it, and secured its chiefs. The League of Schmalkald was
irrevocably shattered. No effective counterpoise to his power was apparent
within the Empire. Now however the task before Charles was to organise the
supremacy which had at last become convincingly actual. This, and his
quarrel with the Pope over Trent and Bologna, was likely to keep his hands
full for some time. Thus the important thing for the Protector was more
emphatically than before to conciliate France and gain over a strong party
in Scotland to support the policy of friendly relations with England;
whereof the chief corner stone was still the marriage of Edward who was
about ten years old to the four-year-old Queen of Scots.

[Sidenote: Somerset's Scottish policy]

But Somerset did not conciliate France, which had recently been further
irritated by the construction of so-called harbour works at Boulogne which
were evidently intended to be fortified, contrary to the treaty; while in
Scotland he was meditating a step which could only drive that country into
the arms of France.

Somerset in fact was one of those visionaries who are the despair of more
clear-sighted persons who are in sympathy with their objects. He suffered
from a permanent incapacity for realising the immense difficulties in his
way, and the infinite tact necessary to the accomplishment of his
aims. Hence the methods he adopted were invariably calculated to bring into
full play every conceivable force that could act in opposition. Sincerely
anxious to alleviate the lot of the rural population, he went out of his
way to irritate the landlord class into more effective combination. Almost
alone in a desire for the widest religious toleration, the moderation of
his ecclesiastical laws was discounted by the licence of speech and action
allowed to the progressives. In like manner, his theory of Scottish policy
was admirable, his practice absurd. The Union of England and Scotland was
his ideal, as it was to be the ideal in later years of that most acute of
Scottish politicians, Lethington. But he could not appreciate the absolute
necessity that the Union should be by consent; and even while endeavouring
to procure it by consent, for which he appealed in noble language whereof
the sincerity is apparent, he adopted methods which aroused the hostility
even of those Scots who were most favourably disposed to Union in the
abstract. By making common cause with the Reformers, he might have
check-mated France; yet he neglected his opportunity. His own solution of
the problem was the marriage of Edward and Mary, which he might have
brought about by diplomatic persuasion, or by carrying the Reformers with
him. Yet he could see nothing for it but to dictate his terms at the
sword's point, the one quite certain way of making sure that they would be
rejected, by setting even the Reformers against him. To make matters worse,
it was in his mind to re-assert the English sovereignty; to which Henry
had indeed audaciously affirmed his claim, though only as a right held in
reserve. This intention he had already conveyed not to the Scots but to the
French who warned him that they would stand by their old allies: while the
mere suspicion of such an insult in Scotland was enough to rouse the
fiercest hostility of the whole nation.

[Sidenote: Pinkie (Sept.)]

The natural result was that while Somerset was contenting himself with
border raids, instead of espousing the cause of the Castilians, Prance was
acting. About the beginning of July a French fleet appeared off St.
Andrews; at the end of the month the castle surrendered. English ships
might have prevented this, but the Protector elected instead to prepare a
great invasion. In September he was over the border, in command of a
considerable army, supported by a large fleet. The Scots of all parties
mustered in force and were lying between the advancing English and
Edinburgh in a strong defensive position not far from the spot made
memorable two hundred years later by the rout of Prestonpans. The English
ships were in the Forth hard by. The Scots in essence repeated the blunder
of Flodden before and of Dunbar later. A successful attack by Somerset, who
had the smaller army, was almost impossible; they thought that he was
delivered into their hand, and mistook a tactical movement for a retreat to
the ships. Abandoning their position and racing to cut him off, their
leading troops received and broke a charge of horse; but the mass of the
English, who were greatly superior in cavalry and artillery, and whose
advance had been concealed by the formation of the ground, were already at
hand and fell upon them. The Scottish army was completely shattered; ten
thousand dead or dying men were left on the field of Pinkie Cleugh. The
English loss was small.

[Sidenote: Effect of Pinkie]

Somerset however merely did very much what he had done before when he
sacked Edinburgh in the last reign, ravaging and retiring. Pillage and
destruction were arguments which invariably stiffened Scottish defiance,
and it was now absolutely certain that the Scots would not consent on any
terms to the English marriage. Dictation from England by force of arms was
the one method of minimising the internal warring of factions in the
Northern Country. Had Somerset been prepared to follow up his campaign by
an effective military occupation, his plans might have been dignified with
the name of a policy. In practice, they amounted almost to a negation of
policy. A month after the battle the only effective result for Scotland was
a renewed and intensified bitterness of hatred to England, and a
corresponding inclination to amity with France. The practical reply to the
invasion was the proposal to France of a marriage between the Queen of
Scots and the Dauphin.

For the Protector himself however, the victory of Pinkie was a personal
triumph. He returned to England in a halo of military glory and popularity,
to receive new compliments and honours, and to assume the rôle of
beneficent dictator with self-complacent confidence when Parliament met for
the first time in the beginning of November.

[Sidenote: The Progressive Reformers]

In the meantime the progressive Reformers, increasingly guided by Swiss
rather than Lutheran ideas, were already hurrying forward with their
schemes, acting upon Royal proclamations under the authority of the
Council. Injunctions were issued for the destruction of "abused" images
which term was liberally interpreted so as to cover stained glass,
paintings, and carvings which might conceivably be regarded as objects of
idolatry--that is to say, become in themselves objects of worship instead
of being recognised as mere symbols: a process which unless conducted with
the most studied moderation and caution was absolutely certain to give the
rein not only to passionate zealotry but to wanton irreverence. Cranmer
obtained an order for the reading in churches of the "Book of Homilies,"
for the most part in lieu of all other preaching. The _Paraphrase_ of
Erasmus, done into English, was ordered to be set up in the churches. A
commission was issued for a Royal Visitation, superseding the authority of
the bishops, though some months elapsed before this was fairly at
work. Paget, having the instincts of statesmanship, endeavoured to warn
Somerset against keeping too many irons in the fire; but Paget was guided
solely by political expediency, not by principle. The one man who did
boldly take up his stand on principle was Gardiner. His remonstrances were
open. He urged that the intentions of the dead King should be carried out;
that no revolutionary changes should be introduced during Edward's
minority; that arbitrary proclamations by the Council had no sanction of
law; that the personal powers bestowed upon Henry remained in abeyance
until the young King should be of age; that aggressive measures in Scotland
ought to be similarly deferred. The introduction of the Homilies, he
argued, to which authorisation had been refused in the last reign, was in
itself unjustifiable in the circumstances; the more so as--mainly by their
omissions--they were inconsistent with the doctrinal attitude affirmed by
Henry's legislation. Gardiner's remonstrances, supported by Bonner, bishop
of London, were of no effect. Matters came to a head when the two bishops
refused to submit without qualification to the injunctions. Both were
imprisoned in the Fleet, while Somerset was in Scotland.

[Sidenote: Nov. Repeal of more stringent laws; Social legislation]

In November, Parliament met, and began its career of benign legislation.
Since Cromwell's day, the land had lain under the grip of ruthless laws.
Of these the sternest were repealed as no longer necessary. The Treasons
Act disappeared; so did the old Acts against the Lollards; so did the Act
of the Six Articles. A curious attempt was made to deal with the problem of
vagrancy, the outcome of prevalent economic conditions, which the penalties
of flogging and hanging had failed to repress. The vagrant was to be
brought before the magistrates, branded, and handed over to some honest
person as a "slave" for two years. If he attempted to escape from
servitude, he was to be branded again and made a slave for life; if still
refractory he could be sentenced as a felon. The intention of the Act was
merciful, its effect probably more degrading than that of the superseded
statutes. At any rate, it failed entirely of its purpose and was repealed
after two years.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical legislation]

In matters ecclesiastical, Parliament on its own account abolished the form
of the _congé d'élire_, giving the appointments directly into the
King's hands. Also the chantries and other foundations which had been
conferred on Henry, but had not been suppressed by him, were now--despite
the strong opposition of Cranmer, Tunstal, and a few of the bishops--
formally subjected to the Council and for the most part abolished. It is to
be noted however that of the Church property acquired by the crown in this
reign a comparatively respectable though still niggardly proportion was
re-appropriated to educational purposes. [Footnote: In most cases, only in
the way of restoring pre-existing endowments.]

[Sidenote: 1548]

Convocation, sitting concurrently with Parliament, presented petitions for
representation of the clergy in parliament, for the administration of the
Communion in both kinds to the laity, for the suppression of irreverent
language about the Sacrament, and for sanctioning the marriage of the
clergy. The first was ignored; the two next were embodied in Acts of
Parliament; the last was deferred for a year. The session was rounded off
in January by a general pardon, except for the graver offences; with the
result that the imprisoned bishops were for a time released.

[Sidenote: Progress of Reformation]

Between this and the next session of Parliament, in November, the arbitrary
method of proceeding by proclamations was in full force. The Reformers did
not as yet press advanced doctrinal views. There was a proclamation for the
observance of the Lenten Fast--expressly for the sake of the
fisheries. Another enforced a new Communion Office, pending the completion
of a new Prayer-book; but in this the service of the Mass remained
unaltered and in Latin: no doctrinal change was implied, though the
Communion in both kinds was ordered to be administered to the laity, in
accordance with the recent Act and the recommendation of Convocation. More
significant was a further proclamation for the destruction of "images," in
which the distinction between "abused" images and others, previously laid
down, was cancelled. In the meantime no unauthorised innovations were to be
permitted. Cranmer was still striving vainly after his ideal of a
conference between leading continental and English reformers, who should
come to an agreement upon a common body of doctrine. It was _prima
facie_ reasonable that while awaiting the new authoritative formularies,
now avowedly in course of preparation by a commission on which the Catholic
party was not unrepresented, partisan preaching should be discouraged, and
all but licensed preachers be confined to the Homilies; it was however
unfortunate that the licences for preaching should have been systematically
granted both by Somerset and Cranmer--to whom the power was
restricted--only to keen and sometimes extravagant partisans of the "New
Learning"; a term at that time appropriated to the advocates of
Protestantism at large. It is not surprising that Gardiner so far placed
himself in opposition as to be called upon to express publicly his approval
of these proceedings, nor that he should have found himself unable to do so
in terms satisfactory to the Council. Before the summer was over the Bishop
of Winchester was relegated to the Tower. More unfortunate still was the
encouragement to sacrilegious irreverence given by the personal conduct of
the Protector, who pulled down one chapel and began to lay hands on another
in order to build himself a new palace.

[Sidenote: Somerset's ideas]

Nor were Somerset's activities confined to the campaign against "idolatry,"
a term conveniently used to include any observances which, in the eyes of
the Swiss school, savoured of superstition. With no sense of the
limitations of his own intelligence, no suspicion of the subtle skill in
adjustment needed at all times to impose ideals on a materially minded
community, unable to realise that though his object might be excellent the
methods adopted in achieving it might be fruitful of unexpected evils, he
conceived in his arrogant self-confidence that he had but to say the word
and difficulties would vanish. He resolved to appear as the Poor Man's
Friend, establishing a Court of Requests in his own house so that appeal
might be made personally to him from the normal processes of the Law; also,
he appointed a commission to investigate and deal with that evasion of the
agricultural statutes which he imagined to be the actual cause of the
prevailing distress. The end in view was admirable, the method high-handed
and unconstitutional: the policy won him popularity for the time among the
depressed classes, but roused the enmity of nobility and gentry without
achieving useful results.

[Sidenote: The French in Scotland]

Meanwhile, affairs in Scotland were aggravating the tension with France,
where the proposal to marry the Scots Queen to the French Dauphin was
approved. English troops harried the borders, and in the course of the
spring captured and garrisoned Haddington. French troops were landed in
Scotland, and the marriage proposal was formally ratified; in spite of a
belated offer from the Protector to leave Scotland alone and postpone his
own marriage scheme till Edward and Mary were old enough to have views of
their own, provided that Scotland would hold aloof from France. French
ships, evading the English by sailing round the Orkneys, took Mary on board
on the west coast and carried her off in safety to France. A diplomatist
would have seized the chance of reviving an English party, when it was
found that a violent animosity was growing up between the Scots and the
French troops; but the opportunity was allowed to pass, and the animosities
were reconciled by some minor successes of Scots and French together
against the English: while privateering operations--in other words,
authorised piracy--were going on in and near the Channel, which amounted to
something not far removed from a state of war between France and England.

[Sidenote: The Augsburg Interim]

It was fortunate that affairs in Germany continued to preclude that union
of the Catholic Powers against England which the Pope desired; since
neither Charles nor Paul would bend to the other. Charles, with no one to
fear since Mühlberg had witnessed the destruction of the League of
Schmalkald, was preparing future disaster by his high-handed attitude
within the Empire. Deeming his position absolutely secure, his tone to the
Pope was peremptory and dictatorial. The French King encouraged Paul to be
equally peremptory. In May 1548, Charles, repudiating the authority of the
Council, or section of the Council, sitting at Bologna, took the law in his
own hands and imposed the "Interim of Augsburg" on the Germans. It was one
of those compromises which satisfies no one; schismatical in the eyes of
the Catholics, in the eyes of the Protestants an insignificant
concession. Many of the latter, including the moderate and conciliatory
Bucer, withdrew to England rather than accept it. The Protector however was
secured against any present danger of a coalition between Henry II. and
Charles; while the incursion of foreign Protestants of extreme views,
especially those of the Swiss school, had a marked influence on the
ecclesiastical movement in England.

[Sidenote: Nov. Parliament]

At the end of November, Parliament again met--to reject a first, a second,
and a third Enclosures Bill, based on the report of the Agricultural
Commission; for the labouring classes were unrepresented in the
House. Making the rough places smooth proved not so simple a process as the
Protector had imagined. The petition of the clergy for the legalisation of
their marriages, deferred from the last session, was given effect, and
fasting was again enjoined on economic grounds. The real business of the
session, however, was the discussion of the new Prayer-book and the first
Act of Uniformity.

[Sidenote: 1549 A New Liturgy]

Hitherto, there had been no uniform Order of Service: a variety of "Uses"
being sanctioned. The idea however was by no means new, and had in fact
long been theoretically approved, though never pressed with sufficient
fervour to pass the stage of theoretical approbation. Cranmer had expended
an infinity of learning and labour on the work now to be issued, and to him
we owe chiefly the solemn harmonies, the gracious tenderness, of its
language. To him too in chief, but partly also to the composite character
of the "Windsor Commission" under whose auspices [Footnote: _Cf._
Moore, 183.] it was prepared, is due that conscious ambiguity of

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