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Reign of Edward VI page 5


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Cranmer employed himself in composing a catechism, which was published "for the singular profit and instruction of children and young people:" and a committee o: bishops and divines sat to compile a new liturgy for the use of the English Church. They took the Latin missals and breviaries for the groundwork, omitting whatever they deemed superfluous or superstitious, and adding fresh matter. Before Christmas they had compiled a book of common prayer, differing in various particulars from the one now in use, and all ministers were ordered to make use of that book, under penalty, on refusal, of forfeiture of a year's income, and six months' imprisonment for the first offence; for the second, loss of all his preferments, with twelve months' imprisonment; and for a third, imprisonment for life. Any one taking upon him to preach, except in his own house, without license from the king's visitors, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the bishop of the diocese, was liable to imprisonment. Latimer, who had resigned his bishopric in 1539, was now called forward again, and appointed to preach at St. Paul's Cross, and also in the king's privy garden, where Edward, attended by his court, used to listen to his bold and quaint eloquence for an hour together,

Gardiner, on the contrary, continued to give his decided opposition to the progress of reform. The act of general pardon at the close of the session gave him his liberty; on the 5th of January, 1548, he was called into the presence of the council, admonished, and discharged. He retired to his diocese, but there he continued to exert himself with such effect in resistance to the new doctrines and institutions, that he was again summoned before the council in June, and ordered to preach at St. Paul's Cross, on the feast of St. Peter, in presence of the king. He conducted his sermon with such adroitness, that it was only in the third part of it, where he had treated of the mass and the eucharist, which had been prohibited to him by the Protector in writing, that they could find occasion against him. The next day, June 30th, he was committed to the Tower, and detained in confinement during the remainder of the reign.

Towards the close of the year 1547, a bill passed the Commons authorising the marriage of the clergy, and on the 9th of February, 1548, a different bill for the same object was carried in the House of Lords, and accepted by the Commons.

Whilst these events had been taking place in England, the war had been steadily prosecuted against Scotland, and led to the result which might naturally be expected, but which was least expected by the Protector—that of the passing of the young queen of Scotland into the hands of the French. To woo a woman by making war on her, ravaging her estates, and murdering her friends and servants, would be thought monstrous in private life. But kings and Royal councillors have often peculiar ideas, and this had been the absurd plan of England's wooing of the Queen of Scots. Very soon after the battle of Pinkie, a council was summoned at Stirling, where the queen-dowager proposed that, to put an end to those barbarous inroads of the English on pretence of seeking the hand of the queen, they should apply to France for its assistance; and as a means of engaging it in effectual aid, they should offer the young queen in marriage to the dauphin, and that for her better security she should be educated in the French court. The news of this proposition struck Somerset with the greatest alarm. He issued a proclamation on the 5th of February, 1548, to the Scottish people, charging the evils of the war on Arran and his advisers, who, he said, had the last year suppressed the favourable offers of the English Government. He asked them what they hoped for in marrying their queen to a foreign prince, which would at once reduce Scotland to a province of France, and render perpetual the quarrel with England? For 800 years, he said, no such opportunity had offered for uniting the people of the two countries, each under their own laws, but in all the blessings of peace, union, and strength, under the common name of Britons.

To add force to his arguments, Somerset adopted both those of Henry VIII. He had used his argument of war, and now he added his argument of money. He freely bribed the Scotch nobles, and they as freely promised him their aid, but their promises were more readily given than the aid; and when Lord Wharton and the Earl of Lennox invaded the western marches, they even turned against the invaders, and drove them back across the borders with considerable slaughter. On the eastern coast, Lord Gray de Wilton marched with a powerful army to the very gates of Edinburgh. He took the town of Haddington, and placed In it a garrison of 2,000 men. He battered down several castles, burnt Musselburgh and Dalkeith, and had scarcely began his retreat when the aid promised by the French king arrived in the Forth. It consisted of 3,000 Germans and 2,000 French under D'Esse D'Espanviliers, a general of great talent and experience. Arran added to this welcome reinforcement 8,000 Scottish troops under his own command, and the united army sat down before Haddington. It was at first resolved to take it by storm; batteries were raised, and a breach made, but the governor, Sir John Wilford, defended the place with so much skill and obstinacy, and inflicted such slaughter on the assailants, that the besiegers were obliged to convert their siege into a blockade.

Whilst this was proceeding, Arran, who is supposed to have been won over to the French interest by a promise of the dukedom of Chatelherault and a pension from France, summoned the three estates of the kingdom to meet in the abbey of Haddington, where it was proposed to ratify the treaty agreed by the lords at Stirling for the marriage of the queen to the dauphin. It met with a strong opposition, though warmly advocated by the court and the clergy, and was finally confirmed by Arran and the French ambassador, D'Oyselles. De Breze and Villegaignon then set sail with four galleys as if to the French coast; but once out at sea, they put about, and passing round the north of Scotland, descended the western coast, and anchoring off Dumbarton, there received on board the young queen and her attendants, consisting of Lord and Lady Erskine, to whom she was especially entrusted, Lady Fleming, and 200 gentlemen and servants. The fleet reached Brest in safety on the 13th of August, when she was conducted to St. Germain-en-Laye, where she was met by the French court and immediately contracted to the dauphin, who was then about five years old, she being only a few months older. There was the end of all the violence, the sanguinary slaughters, the intrigues and bribery of Henry VIII. and of Somerset, to obtain the hand of the queen for the young King of England, which might have been secured by fair and honourable means. France had now contrived to snatch her away from them, and the ostensible object of the war was at an end. Henry II. of France forthwith demanded that the English should desist from all hostility against the Scots during the minority of the two princes.

Somerset refused to comply with this demand, and the war continued; he entered into secret negotiations with the Earl of Argyll, and Lord Gray had orders to do all in his power to drive the French auxiliaries from the country. Haddington was strictly besieged by the French and Scotch, and the garrison was reduced to such extremity that their powder began to fail, and they were obliged to tear up their shirts to use instead of matches. At length, a body of 200 English found means, probably by the use of their great instrument, money, to pass the watches on the side where the Scotch lay, and throw into the town considerable supplies of ammunition and provisions. A similar attempt by Sir Thomas Palmer and Sir Robert Bowes, at the head of 2,000 horse, was intercepted by the horse of both nations under D'Esse and I Lord Hume, and put to the rout with such slaughter that few escaped.

When trio news of this disaster and of the condition of the garrison in Haddington reached London, Somerset, who had now obtained letters patent from the king authorising him to call the king's subjects to arms when-? ever he deemed necessary, and to appoint lieutenants in his own name to command in his stead, both by sea and land, at once dispatched the Earl of Shrewsbury with 22,000 men to raise the siege and expel the French. On the approach of Shrewsbury, the enemy retired from the walls of Haddington; and the earl, who found the garrison in such distress that, according to Holinshed, he shed tears, supplied them with all things needful, and with fresh and untired men to maintain the siege. He then advanced in quest of the Scotch and French army, and found them posted at Musselburgh. Neither party, however, showed any great desire to come to blows. The united army lay still in its intrenchments, and Shrewsbury, after drawing out his forces, and watching the motionless army for the space of an hour, wheeled round and marched homewards. It is difficult to understand the proceedings of the English at this period. They seemed to have no hope nor courage for the attempt at any permanent advantage. Their sole object appeared to be to inflict an injury and retire pleased with revenge, but unambitious of any great result. What makes the conduct of the English commander the more strange is, that Lord Clinton, or Lord Seymour of Sudley, the Protector's brother, according to Burnet, at the same time had proceeded by sea with a formidable fleet to the same point, thus prepared to support any action of Shrewsbury's; yet the English admiral, whichever it was, made a still worse figure than the general. Balfour asserts that Clinton landed 5,000 men on the coast of Fife, to lay waste the country, but they were met by the laird of Wemyss and the barons of Fife, who routed them, killed 700 of them, and drove them into the sea; but Burnet has it that Seymour, the admiral, landed 1,500 men at St. Minius, or St. Monance, where, just as they had landed their cannon, they were attacked by the queen's natural brother, James Stuart, prior of St. Andrews, and afterwards the celebrated regent Murray, who killed 600, and took 100 prisoners; that they afterwards made a descent on Montrose in the night, but were attacked by the country people, under Erskine of Dun, who, of 800 who had landed, scarcely left any alive to regain their ships. Whichever of these accounts is correct, if either, the English admiral does not seem to have reaped anything but disgrace.

When Lord Shrewsbury returned, Lord Gray, who was left as lieutenant of the north, entered Scotland, and committed great havoc in Teviotdale and Liddesdale for the space of twenty miles. There were also fresh attempts of the French on Haddington, but nothing was effected during the year.

But during the session of Parliament commencing on the 24th of November, a question of most serious import was brought forward concerning the Protector's brother. The lord high admiral, Thomas Seymour, had all tile ambition of his elder brother, the Protector, but from some cause he had failed to acquire the same position at court. Henry VIII. had not only employed Somerset in great commissions, but had given him such marks of his confidence that, on his death, he easily engrossed all the power of the state under his son. The admiral did not witness this with indifference. The Protector, to satisfy him, got him created Baron Seymour of Sudley, and with this title he received in August, 1548, the lordship of Sudley in Gloucestershire, together with other lands and tenements in no less than eighteen counties. He made him, moreover, high admiral, a post which had been held by the Earl of Warwick, who received instead of it that of lord great chamberlain. These honours and estates might have well contented a man of even great ambition, but the aspiring of the Seymours brooked no limits. The new Lord Seymour was still restless, and could not feel content till he stood on a level with his fortunate brother. The Protector was a man who, though he had been entrusted with great commissions, and had executed his military ones with a lion-like fury, was yet of a timorous nature. He grasped at the highest honours, yet he trembled to lose them, and, therefore, coveted popularity, and was careful to maintain an outwardly irreproachable moral character. He moreover was a zealous reformer of religion, and probably was sincerely so. We have no cause to deem that he feigned this attachment to Protestant principles, though he neither understood the humility nor the humanity required by the Gospel which he contributed largely to make known. We have seen the un-Christian cruelty of his campaigns; and, in his whole bearing, after his achievement of the supreme power, he displayed the most inflated arrogance, and even violence and insolence of temper. Shrinking at the faintest murmurs of the people, stooping to the domestic yoke of a coarse, proud, and imperious wife, he treated not only his inferiors, but even his equals at the Council board, with all the offensive airs of an upstart. That these traits have not been bestowed upon him by his enemies, we have the clearest proofs in the honest expostulations of his intimate friend Paget, who wrote thus to him: - "If I loved not your grace so deeply in my heart that it cannot be taken out, I could hold my peace as some others do, and say little or nothing. But my love to your grace, and good hope that you take my meaning well, hath enforced me to signify unto your grace, that unless your grace do more quietly show your pleasure in thing wherein you will debate with other men, and hear them again graciously say their opinions, when you do require it, that will ensue whereof I would be right sorry, and your grace shall have just cause to repent, that is, that no man shall dare speak to you what he thinks, though it were never so necessary." And he adds, "However it cometh to pass I cannot tell, but of late your grace is grown great in choleric fashions whensoever you are contraried in that which you have conceived in your head;" and he entreats him to avoid this, or mischief might grow out of it.

The admiral, on the contrary, cared little for popular opinion. He was a handsome, gay man, free in his principles, by no means nice in his life or his morals extremely fascinating to ladies, and as ambitious as any man that ever lived. As he did not seem to succeed in his desire of rising to a station as lofty as that of his brother, the Protector, through the Council and political alliance, he sought to achieve this by means of marriage. There were several ladies on whom he cast his eyes for this purpose. The Princesses Mary and Elizabeth were the next in succession, and he did not hesitate to aim at securing the hand of one of them, which would have realised his soaring wishes or plunged him down at once to destruction. He seems then to have weighed the chances which a union with Lady Jane Grey might give him; but, as if not satisfied with the prospect, he suddenly determined on the queen-dowager. He had, indeed, paid his addresses to Catherine Parr before her marriage with Henry VIII., and Catherine was so much attached to him that she at first listened with obvious reluctance to Henry's proposal. No sooner was Henry dead than Seymour seems to have renewed his addresses to Catherine, and, with all her piety and prudence, the queen - dowager seems to have listened to him as promptly and readily. Though Henry only died at the end of January, 1547, in a single month, according to Leti, she had consented to a private contract of marriage, and she and Seymour had exchanged rings of betrothal. According to King Edward's journal, their marriage took place in May, but the courtship had been going on long before, and was only revealed to him when it was become dangerous to conceal it any longer, and they were privately married long before that. The marriage was publicly announced in June - a rapidity for such a transaction as strange as it was indecorous.

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Pictures for Reign of Edward VI page 5

Great Seal of Edward VI
Great Seal of Edward VI >>>>
Bearing the Fire Cross
Bearing the Fire Cross >>>>
The Duke of Somerset
The Duke of Somerset >>>>
The Herald delivering a Challenge to Single Combat
The Herald delivering a Challenge to Single Combat >>>>
Latimer Preaching before Edward VI
Latimer Preaching before Edward VI >>>>
Pillory at the Gateway of Old London Bridge
Pillory at the Gateway of Old London Bridge >>>>
Traitors Heads over the Gateway of London Bridge
Traitors Heads over the Gateway of London Bridge >>>>
Old Somerset House
Old Somerset House >>>>
An Assembly in Kets Camp
An Assembly in Kets Camp >>>>
St. Jamess Palace
St. Jamess Palace >>>>
Edward VI
Edward VI >>>>
Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
Dudley, Duke of Northumberland >>>>
Edward VI
Edward VI >>>>
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey >>>>
King Edwards last Physician
King Edwards last Physician >>>>
Edward VI. in Council
Edward VI. in Council >>>>

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