« AnteriorContinuar »
tinction between these orders; that it had carefully omitted what was requisite to impart the sacerdotal character; and that, if it were adopted, there would be a breach in the apostolical succession in the Church. The Council nevertheless peremptorily required him to subscribe it; and, on his refusal, committed him to prison for a contempt.* Not satisfied with this, they soon after resolved to deprive him of his bishopric if he would not conform ; and they cunningly examined him with respect to the proper construction of altars, and the mode of placing them in churches, a subject on which he was known to be particularly sensitive. But he was resolute, telling them that “of other mind he thought never to be, and that consent he would not, if he were demanded to take down altars and set up tables.” Being threatened with deprivation if he did not submit within two days, he replied, “that he could not find in his conscience to do it, and should be well content to abide such end, either by deprivance or otherwise, as pleased the King's Majesty.” He was sent back to prison; a commission of delegates pronounced sentence of deprivation against him, and he was kept in close custody till the commencement of the next reign. Upon the accession of Mary he was liberated and restored to - 343 his benefice, along with the other deprived Ro|July 6, 1553.] g” a TR3 c. 1-, -, -, c. . & man Catholic Bishops; and as he was justly considered, by reason of his constancy and his private virtues, a great ornament to the ancient faith, he was soon after promoted to the archbishopric of York. It was supposed that he secretly coincided in opinion with Cardinal Pole in disapproving the violent measures of persecution to which Gardyner now resorted; but he had not the boldness openly to oppose them. A just estimate had been formed of his character when he was selected as Gardyner's successor; for however much he might wish that reason and persuasion alone might be relied upon for making converts to the true Church,-after his appointment the fires of Smithfield continued to blaze as before.* He took his seat in the Court of Chancery on the first day of Hilary term, 1556; and was found as a Judge to display patience and good sense, and to act with impartiality and integrity; but, never having had any training whatever in jurisprudence, he got
* Burnet, ii. 143, i We have a statistical table, on the authority of Lord Burghley, of burnings by Mary and her cabinet, rather favourable to the memory of Gardyner:—
However, it was Chancellor Gardyner who set the wheel of persecution in motion, and it continued to revolve when his hand had been withdrawn from it.
through his judicial business in a most unsatisfactory manner; and the clamour of the bar, and the suitors, and the public, which was thus raised, prevented the appointment of any other ecclesiastic to hold the Great Seal till Bishop Williams, the very last of his order who ever sat in the marble chair, was appointed Lord Keeper by James f. The parliament which was sitting at the death of Gardyner was dissolved, in presence of the Queen, by Ex- D 9, 1555 chancellor the Marquis of Winchester, then Lord [DEc. 9, ..] Treasurer; and another parliament was not called [JAN. 20, 1558.] till the beginning of the year 1558. & This was opened by a speech from Lord Chancellor Heath” ; but we have no account of his topics, except that he pressed for an aid to her Majesty. We may conjecture that he touched upon the loss of Calais, which had caused such universal consternation, and that he held out a hope if sufficiently liberal supplies were voted, of wiping off this national disgrace. He had immediately after to decide a question of parliamentary privilege. Thomas Eyms, burgess for Thirsk, complained to the House of Commons that, while in attendance as a member, a subpoena had been delivered to him to appear in Chancery, and that if engaged in a Chancery suit he could not discharge his duty as a representative of the people. The House, in great indignation, immediately ordered Sir Clement Higham and the Recorder of London to go to the Lord Chancellor, and require that the process should be revoked. All Chancellors hitherto have acknowledged parliamentary privilege as declared by either House, however much they may have vapoured as to what, under other circumstances, they would have done,—and the writ was quashed.: Acts, proposed by the Lord Chancellor, having been passed— to take away clergy from accessories in petty treason and murder, to allow a ta/es de circumstantibus in the case of the Queen, —and to punish such as should forcibly carry off maidens under sixteen, he, by the Queen's command, prorogued the parliament to the 5th of November. - When this day arrived Mary was approaching her end,-in a state of the greatest mental dejection from the irremediable loss of Calais, the neglect of her husband, the discontent of her subjects, the progress of the reformed religion in spite of all her cruelties, her despair of children, and the prospect of a Protestant succession. Being unable to attend in person, a commission passed the Great Seal, authorising the Chancellor and others to hold the parliament in her name ; and he delivered a speech pointing out the necessity for Some measure to restrain the evils of licentious printing, whereby sedition was now spread abroad, and showing
* I Parl. Hist, 629. f 1 Parl. Hist. 630. i Hats. Praec. 1 Parl Hist, 630, § 4 & 5 Ph. & M. c. 5, 7, 8.
that, from the destitute state of the exchequer, the Queen's forces could not be kept on foot, and the safety of the realm was endangered. He accordingly introduced a bill, enacting that “no man shall print any book or ballad, unless he be authorised thereunto by the King and Queen's Majesties’ licence under the Great Seal of England.” The art of printing had not been known in this country much more than half a century, and was already found a most formidable instrument in guiding public opinion, and in assailing or supporting the Government. During [Jun E 6, 1558.] the recess "... had been issued, stat. ing that books filled with heresy, sedition, and treason were daily brought from beyond seas, and were covertly reprinted within the realm, and ordering that “whosoever should be found to have any of the said wicked and seditious books should be reputed a rebel, and executed according to martial law.” But this was such a stretch of authority as, even in those days, caused great complaint, and probably the Judges, dependent as they were, would have resisted it. The Chancellor's bill, having passed through its previous stages, was appointed to be read the third time on the 16th of November, but when that day arrived the Queen was at the point of death, and all public business was suspended. Meanwhile some very curious proceedings were going on in the Lower house respecting the supply. The Commons, finding that the Queen had impoverished the exchequer by restoring property to the Church, and by new religious endowments, would not open their purse-strings. On the 7th of November Mary, ill as she was, sent for the Speaker, and ordered him “to show to the Commons the ill condition the nation was in ; for, though a negotiation was going on for a peace with France, prudence required that the nation should be put into a state of defence, in case it should miscarry.” Still the Commons were so dissatisfied, that, after a week's deliberation, they could come to no resolution. As a last effort, on the 14th of November, Lord Chancellor Heath, accompanied by the Duke of Norfolk, the Lord Treasurer, and several other Peers and Bishops, went down to the Commons, walked into the House, and “sated themselves in that place where the Privy Councillors used to sit,”—which we now call “the Treasury Bench.” The Speaker left his chair, and he, with the Privy Councillors in the House, came and sat on low benches before them. The Lord Chancellor then made them a speech, proving the necessity for granting a subsidy to defend the nation, both from the French and the Scots. Having concluded, he with the other Lords immediately withdrew to their own chamber.i. This proceeding does not seem to have been considered any breach of privilege, but it had not the desired effect. The two following days the Commons continued the debate. On the afternoon of the third day, while they were still in deliberation, they received a summons requiring the Speaker and their whole House to come to the bar of the Upper House, when they should hear certain matters that the Lords had to communicate to them. Upon their arrival the Lord Chancellor Heath, in a solemn tone, announced “that God had taken fö his mercy their late Sovereign. the Lady Mary, and had given them another in the person of her sister, the Lady Elizabeth, whom he prayed God to perserve and bless.” He then recommended that they should all assemble in Westminster Hall, where the Tords would come and cause her to be forthwith proclaimed Queen of England. Elizabeth was accordingly proclaimed, first in Palace Yard before the members of the two Houses, and again at [Nov. 17 Temple Bar, in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Alder- . 17.] men, and Companies of the city, amidst the deafening acclamations of the people. The new Sovereign was then at Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, where she had been living for some time in great seclusion. Early next morning, the Lord Chancellor and most of the Council waited upon her there, in a body, to give in their allegiance. Heath, as first in dignity, addressed her, congratulating her upon her accession to the throne, and the unanimity and joy with which her title was acknowledged by all classes of her subjects. Cecil had been beforehand with them, and had already gained her entire confidence, notwithstanding the part he had taken in Northumberland's treason on the death of Edward VI., by which she would have been set aside, and notwithstanding his wary conformity during the whole of Mary's reign. He had prepared an answer for her which she now delivered, to the effect that “she was struck with amazement when she considered herself and the dignity to which she was called; that her shoulders were too weak to support the burden, but it was her duty to submit to the will of God, and to seek the aid of wise and faithful advisers; that for this purpose she would, in a few days, appoint a new Council; that it was her intention to retain several of those who had been inured to business under her father, brother, and sister; and if the others were not employed, she would have them to believe that it was not through distrust of their ability or will to serve her, but through a wish to avoid that indecision and delay which so often arise from the jarring opinions of a multitude of advisers.” . Heath then on his knee tendered her the Great Seal,—rather expecting that she would desire him to take it back and to become her Lord Chancellor. At this moment it was quite uncertain what part she was to take in religion; and although there was a suspicion that she had an inclination in favour of the reformed doctrine, her conformity to the established ritual, and her famous answer when questioned about her belief in the real presence %, * “Christ was the Word that spake it, He took the bread and brake it;
* Strype, iii. 459. f 1 Parl. Hist, 631.
led Heath and the Catholic party to hope that she would now declare in their favour. To his surprise and chagrin, however, having received the Great Seal into her hand, she immediately delivered it to Sir Ambrose Cave to carry it to her private chamber, there to remain till she should otherwise direct.* * Nevertheless she spoke very courteously to the Ex-chancellor, and retained him as member of her Privy Council, along with twelve others who had served her sister, — adding eight new members. In truth, her policy, though not yet avowed, was determined upon, and she had resolved that, Cecil being her Minister, she should without violence restore the Reformation introduced under her brother, and put herself at the head of the Protestant party in Europe. It is lucky for us that she considered this to be for her interest, and that she was already afraid of all true Roman Catholics questioning her legitimacy, and preferring the title of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots-so that she felt the necessity for having the support of the Protestant States against this claim. She herself as well as Cecil and her principal advisers, were far from being bigoted on the Protestant side, and if they had taken a different view of the question of expediency, England might have remained to this day under the spiritual dominion of the Pope. The remainder of the career of Ex-chancellor Heath, though not marked by any very striking events, was most honourable to his character, and ought to make his memory revered by all denominations of Christians. Instead of following the example of the “willow-like” Marquess of Winchester, and adopting the new fashion in religion, he steadily though mildly adhered to that system in which he had been educated, and which he concientiously believed to be divine ; sacrificing not only his high civil office, but his ecclesiastical dignity of Archbishop, and contentedly retiring to poverty and obscurity. - . - His first difference with the Queen was upon the occasion of her coronation. Although she for a short time after her accession, observed a studied ambiguity, and she kept the hopes of the Catholics alive by assisting at mass, receiving the communion in one kind, burying her sister with the solemnities of the Romish
* “Memorandum Qd. die Veneris XVIII, die Novembr anno primo Dne Elizabeth Regine, eadem Dna Regina existens apud Hatfield Regia in Com. Hert. in Domo ejusdem Dne Regine ibidem, inter horas decimam et undecimam ante meri. diem ejusdem diei, in camera presencie, tunc ibidem, presentibus Edwardo Comte Derb, &c. ac aliis Magm Sigilim Angle in custod Reverendissimi in Christo Pris Nichi Archp, Ebor adtune Cancellar Angl. existens prste Dne Regine prlprftum Revssim. Prem deliberaterataceadem Dna Regina Magnum Sigillum pram de manibus predi Revssimi Pris accipies Ambrosio Cave militi deliberabat ac prftus Ambrs Cav, Miles, pr mandatum ipsius Dne Regine Magnum Sigillum prfum in privatam Cameram prote Regne secum ferebat ibidem pr protam Dnam Reginam custodiend, quousq. eadem Regina alitr duxrit diliberand.”—Rot. Cla. I Eliz.