« AnteriorContinuar »
the minority of her son. What might have been the effect of this system of persecution on the Reformation in England, had Gardyner long survived to carry it into vigorous execution, we cannot tell. His career was near its close.
On the 21st of October parliament again met, and Mary, now deserted by her husband, rode to the parliament house all alone in a horse-litter, to be seen of every one. The Lord Chancellor, by her direction, produced a Papal bull confirming the grants of Church property, and delivered a speech to both Houses, detailing the great exertions of the Government for the good of the Church, and explaining the wants of the Crown and the clergy. It was remarked that on this and the following day, when he was again in his place, he displayed uncommon ability in unfolding and defending his measures.^ But on his return from the House, on the second day, he was suddenly taken ill in his chamber, and, without being ever able to leave it, on the 12th of November he expired. Strange and groundless stories were propagated respecting the nature of his malady; and in the next age it was said he had been struck by it, as a judgment from Heaven, on the day that Bishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer were burnt, when, waiting for the joyful news, though the old Duke of Norfolk was to dine with him, he would not go to dinner till the unexampled hour of four in the afternoon t; but, on an examination of dates, it will be found that these victims had been offered up before the opening of parliament, and before he had so much distinguished himself by his eloquence.*
He felt deep penitence in his last moments. The passion of our Saviour being read to him, when they come to the denial of Peter he bid them stay there, for, saith he," Negavi cum Petro, exivi cum Petro, see! nondumftevi cum Petro." The remorse arose not from the cruelties he had inflicted, but from the temporary renunciation of his allegiance to the Pope.
To the hour of his death he was in possession of the Great Seal, and the entire confidence of his Sovereign. In those times religious controversy so completely absorbed the
* " His duobus diebus ita mihi visus est non modo seipsum iis rebus superasse quibus cseteros superare solet, ingenioj eioquentia, prudentia3 pietate, sed etiam ipsas sui corporis vires."—Bale.
t At this time it was a mark of gentility and fashion to dine early instead of late. "With us the nobility, gentry, and students do ordinarily go to dinner at eleven before noon, and to supper at five, or between five and six at afternoon. The merchants dine and sup seldom before twelve at noon and six at night. The husbandmen also dine at high noon as they call it, and sup at seven or eight; but out of term in our universities the students at ten."—Hall, Descr. G. Brit. These hours were probably reckoned rather late, for Froissart mentions^that having himself called on the Duke of Lancaster at five o'clock in the afternoon, he found that supper was over. Down to this time, the Courts of law meeting at seven in summer and eight in winter, never sat later than eleven in the forenoon; though some chancellors, like Sir Thomas More, had sitting again after dinner.
t Ridley, Latimer, and Collier, suffered at Oxford on the 16th of October, and parliament did not meet till the 21st.
attention of mankind, that we read little of him as a Judge; but, in the absence of all complaint, we may fairly infer that he acquitted himself with ability and impartiality. The profound knowledge of jurisprudence which he early acquired he kept up and extended by continual study, and his practice in the Ecclesiastical Courts must have well initiated him injudicial procedure. It had been intended that the equitable jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery over landed property should be, in a great measure, abolished by the Statute of Uses*; but by a decision of the common-law Judges, while Gardyner was Chancellor, it was held that a use could not be limited on a uset, so that the doctrine of uses was revived under the denomination of trusts, and a statute made on great deliberation, and introduced in the most solemn manner, in the result had little other efTect than to introduce a slight alteration in the formal words of a conveyance.t
As a statesman, he is to be praised for discernment and vigour. He had even a regard for the liberties as well as independence of his couutry, and on several memorable occasions gave constitutional advice to the Sovereigns whom he served^ But whatever good inclinations he had, they were all under the control of ambition, and never obstructed his rise. In the various turns of his fortune he displayed a happy lubricity of conscience, which surmounted or evaded every obstacle, convincing him that his duty
# 27 Hen. 8. c. 10.
t Jane Tyrrel's case, Dyer, 152. See Bl. Com. 336. 4 Reeve, Hist, of Law, 520.
X There is to be found in the Registrar's Book a very curious decree of Lord Chancellor Gardyner, pronounced with a view to enforce the celibacy of the clergy. He held that a lease granted by an incumbent, after he had, "contrary to his vow, and contrary to the ecclesiastical laws, married a wife," was void, and he granted an injunction against the lessee continuing in possession.—Hinkers field v Baileu Reg. Lib. 16 June, 5 P. &.M., p. 18. Jl
§ "The Lord Cromwell," says Gardyner in one of his letters, "had once put in the King's head to take upon him to have his will and pleasure regarded for a law; and thereupon I was called for at Hampton Court. And as he was very stout, Come on, my Lord of Winchester,' quoth he,' answer the King here; but speak plainly and directly, and shrink not, man. Is not that,' quoth he, 'that pleaseth the King alaw? Have you not that in the civil law, Quod Peincipi Placuit, &c. V I stood still, and wondered in my mind to what conclusion this would tend. The King saw me musing, and with gentle earnestness said, < Answer him whether it be so or no.' I would not answer the Lord Cromwell, but delivered my speech to the King, and told him that' 1 had read of Kings that had their will always received for law, but that the form of his reign to make the law his will was more sure and quiet; and by this form of government ye be established,' quoth I, 'and it is agreeable with the nature of your people. If you begin a new manner of policy, how it may frame no man can tell. The King turned his back, and left the matter."—Fox, ii. 65.
In Mary's time, the Spanish Ambassador submitted a plan to her, by which she should be rendered independent of parliament. Sending for Gardyner she made him peruse it, and abjured him, as he should answer at the judgment-seat of God, to speak his real sentiments respecting it, "Madame," replied the Chancellor, " it is a pity that so virtuous a lady should be surrounded by such sycophants. The book is nought; it is filled with things too horrible to be thought of." She behaved better than her father as above related, for she thanked him, and threw the paper into the fire —Burnet, ii. 278.
coincided with his interest. Though his strong sense and persuasive manners gave him an appearance of sincerity, he had an insidious cast of his eye, which indicated that he was always lying in wait; and he acquired at last such a character for craft and dissimulation, that the 4 aying went, " My Lord of Winchester is like Hebrew, to be read backwards"
He lived in great style at Winchester House, in Southwark, where he had a number of young gentlemen of family as his pages, whose education he superintended. His establishment was the last of this sort in England, for Cardinal Pole did not live long enough to form a great household at Lambeth, and after the Reformation the Bisops' palaces were filled with their wives and children. He daily came up the river Thames, in his splendid state barge to Whitehall and Westminster. An immense library which he had collected was destroyed by the mob during Wyatt's rebellion, "so that a man might have gone up to his knees in the leaves of books cut out and thrown under foot."*—He was interred with much pomp in the cathedral at Winchester.
Although being an ecclesiastical Chancellor, we have nothing to say of his descendants, we must not forget the progeny of his brain. He was a voluminous and popular author, but none of his writings have preserved their celebrity; not even his "Defence of Holy Water," which had a prodigious run for some years. He entered keenly into the dispute which raged in Cambridge in his time respecting the right pronunciation of Greek; and when he was chosen Chancellor of that University, notwithstanding his conservative notions, he patronised the new studies which were there introduced in rivalry to Aristotle and Aquinas. Had he lived in happier times, he might have left behind him a reputation for liberality of sentiment and humanity of conduct.t
LIFE'OF LORD CHANCELLOR HEATH.
The sudden death of Gardyner was a heavy blow to Queen Mary, in the absence of Philip; — and she was exceedingly perplexed in the choice of a successor. She might r^ 155^ ^ easily have selected an eminent lawyer from West- •■ ' '*
minster Hall, but she at once resolved that "the Keeper of her
* Stomas JLnnals, This reminds us of the destruction of Lord Mansfield's library in the riots of 1780.
t It seems unaccountable that there has never hitherto been a separate life of Gardyner, although he made such a distinguished figure in three reigns, and in one most interesting reign was not only Lord Chancellor but Prime Minister. ^*V power almost as great as that of TVolsey.
Conscience" must be an ecclesiastic. According to the common course of promotion, the Great Seal ought to have been offered to her cousin, Cardinal Pole, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury on the deprivation of Cranmer, and after the example of Wolsey, his legatine functions could have been no obstacle to this arrangement. Though Pole was not much versed in juridical practice, he was intimately acquainted with the civil as well as canon law; and, with good advice, he might have presided very reputably as an equity judge. Mary had a great personal regard for him and the highest respect for his learning and piety, but she placed no reliance on his civil wisdom, and was greatly shocked by his leaning in favour of toleration. In some respects, Bishop Bonner would have been much more agreeable to her; but, notwithstanding his claims as a furious zealot and remorseless persecutor, he was so brutally ignorant, his manners were so offensive, and he was so generally abhorred, and she was afraid to add to the odium she was sensible her government had already incurred, by placing such a man at the head of the administration of justice. The episcopal ibench furnished no other individual of whom she could entirely approve. But it was now the middle of Michaelmas term; and :some arrangement must be made for transacting the business of the Court of Chancery. In this perplexity, to obtain time for further deliberation, she issued a commission to Sir Nicholas Hare, the Master of the Rolls, and others, to hear causes and to issue writs under the Great Seal, on account of the death of Lord Chancellor Gardyner, till a successor to him should be appointed.* She, at length, fixed upon the least exceptionable person pre:sented to her choice; and
"Gn Friday, the 1st of January, in the second and third year of rj 155fi -, the reign of Philip and Mary, by the Grace of God, *- '-'of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem, and Ireland, King and Queen, Defenders of the Faith," [not Heads of the Church,] " Prince and Princess of Spain and Sicily, Archduke and Archduchess of Austria, Duke Duchess of Milan, Burgundy, and Brabant, Count and Countess of Hapsburg, Flanders, and the Tirol, between the hours of four and six in the afternoon, the Great Seal of the said King and Queen, being in the Queen's custody, inclosed in a bag of leather, covered with a bag of red velvet, at Greenwich, in her inner private chamber there, was delivered by her to the most Reverend Father in God, Nicholas, Archbishop of York, whom she then and there constituted her Chancellor of England."t
* Rot. Par. 2 & 3 Ph. & M. _ '_
t R. CL 2 & 3 Ph. & M. "Et superinde prcus Revdiss Pater N. Ebor. Archs. sigillum prm de Manibus ipsius dne Regne tunc gratulr accipiens in nobilium viroram. W. marchionis Winton. &c. prcia, curam et custodiam ejusdem Magni Sigilli Anglie de ofiic Cancellar Angl, sup. se assumens sigillum. illud penes se retinuit et retinet in prsi." The entries now are silent as to swearing in the Chan- This choice was made on the ground that the object of it was a man of spotless moral character, of undoubted orthodoxy, of respectable learning and ability, and of a quiet passive disposition; so that if he would not originate, he would not obstruct the necessary measures for consummating the reconciliation with Rome, and extinguishing the Lutheran heresy in England.
Nicholas Heath was the son of a citizen of London, and born there in the early part of the reign of Henry VII He was educated at Anthony's school, in Threadneedle Street, famous at that time for its discipline, and for the great men it turned out; among whom were two Lord Chancellors* He was entered a student at Christ College, Cambridge; and after taking his degree with distinguished credit, he was elected a fellow of Clare Hall. During one of Wolsey's visits to this University, Heath was presented to him as a great proficient in classical and theological learning. The Cardinal, who was always ready to patronise merit, took a fancy to him, made him one of his own chaplains, and afterwards chaplain to the King. Heath afterwards succeeded to be almoner to Henry; and although he never actively enlisted himself in any of the factions which divided the Court, he was successively promoted by that Sovereign to the sees of Rochesterand Worcester. Like every other Bishop in England, he was compelled to acknowledge the King's ecclesiastical superiority; but he was supposed to have a secret understanding with Rome, and he steadily concurred with Lord Chancellor Wriothesley, the Duke of Norfolk, and Bishop Gardyner, in resisting any further innovation.
During the Protectorate of the Duke of Somerset he voted in the House of Lords against all the bills for bringing about a change of religion; but, conducting his opposition with moderation, occasion could not be found for taking any violent proceedings against him till the act was passed for a new " ordinal," or form of ordination of the clergy, which was to be framed by twelve commissioners, to be appointed by the Crown. Although he had expressed his dissent to the measure, he was insidiously named one of the Commissioners, along with eleven stanch reformers. They proposed a form, which they contended preserved whatever according to Scripture was necessary for the ordination of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. He insisted that it made no material dis
cellor, and this entry is a rare instance of omitting to state that the new Chancellor took the Seal from the bag and sealed with it some writ or patent in the presence of the Sovereign.
* Here, as we have before related, Sir Thomas More received the rudiments of his education. Stowe, after celebrating the scholastic disputations he had witnessed in the churchyard of St. Bartholomew, " where upon a bank boarded about under a tree some one scholar hath stepped up, and there hath apposed and answered till he were by some better scholar overcome and put down,—and then the overcomer taking the place did the like as the first," says, UI remember there repaired to these excercises amongst others the masters and scholars of the free schools of St.. Paul's in London, of St. Peter's at Westminster, of St. Thomas Aeon's hospital, and of St. Anthony's hospital, whereof the last named commonly presented the best scholars, and had the prize in those days."—Stowe's London, p. 75.