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seen or meditated by Parliament or the King. To alarm the Pope, Henry had three Statutes passed in this Parliament, curtailing the privileges of the Clergy.

No attack was yet made on the authority of the Pope. In the Parliament of 1531, as a new menace, a Law was enacted depriving the Pope of his fees for the consecration of English Bishops; and it was stated in the preamble that "£160,000 had passed in this way out of the realm since the second year of Henry VII.”

As His Holiness still procrastinated, the Parliament of 1532, at the desire of the King, aimed a serious. blow at the Papacy, by a Statute "For the Restraint of Appeals to Rome." By this Law whoever carried his case "out of the jurisdiction of the realm" for decision at Rome, as was customary hitherto, incurred the severest penalties. Henry withheld for a time his signature to this decided act of hostility. At last, driven furious by the Pope's inaction, he made Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury, and ordered him to assemble a Court of Inquiry, at which the Archbishop presided. This Court in May, 1533, pronounced the desired divorce; but the amorous King had already married Anne Boleyn in November, 1532, and she gave birth to a daughter, the Princess Elizabeth, in September, 1533.

The Pope declared the sentence of Cranmer null, as well as the second marriage. All hope of reconciliation with the Pope was now abandoned; and, expecting the thunders of excommunication to fall on him for this contempt of Papal authority, Henry resolved upon open war.

The first step of the King was to secure the allegiance of the English Clergy. They were summoned to choose between the spiritual authority of the King and that

of the Pope. The Clergy, in equal dread of the Parliament and the Crown, promptly recognized the King as the Head of the Church in England. Statute now followed statute against "the Bishop of Rome, otherwise called the Pope." New modes of consecrating the Archbishops and Bishops were provided, and new processes devised for carrying on the spiritual affairs of the Kingdom. Everything was planned to put an end to the power of the Pope in England, and to prevent him extracting pecuniary benefit from the English people. The House of Commons sent a Petition to the King, saying "that his subjects were greatly decayed and impoverished by the intolerable exactions of the Bishop or the See of Rome, pretending and persuading them he had the power to dispense with human laws in causes which were called spiritual, whereas your Grace's realm, recognizing no superior under God, but only your Grace, hath been, and is free from subjection to any man's laws-but only such laws as have been made within this realm, and not the laws of any foreign prince, potentate, or prelate—which the King, the Lords temporal, and the Commons in Parliament have full power to abrogate and annul as to them shall seem meet for the good of the realm.”


This was the old spirit of resistance to arbitrary rule which the Lords and Commons had displayed from Magna Charta down to the civil wars; and if the impetuous King had been more sagacious he would not have rekindled the flame of independence which was still smouldering in the breast of the Nation. With the keenest relish the Lords and Middle Class followed the headstrong Henry in his war on the despotism of the Pope, secretly meaning when the time came to put a similar check on the tyranny of the Crown.

Amid the booming of the Parliamentary guns, the King of France, Francis I., tried to reconcile Henry with the Pope. The attempt was foiled by a mere accident.

The Parliament of 1534 declared "the King's Grace to be the authorised Supreme Head of the English Church," which the Clergy had already felt themselves constrained to acknowledge. All persons were required to subscribe to this declaration by Oath. The Oath was generally taken throughout the Kingdom. Some persons refused, and were executed for High Treason. Amongst those who hesitated was the celebrated scholar, Sir Thomas More, formerly Speaker of the Commons, and who had succeeded Wolsey as Lord Chancellor. He resigned this post, disapproving of the King's quarrel with the Pope. Cranmer urged him vehemently to take the "Oath of Supremacy," but in vain. He was imprisoned in the Tower for some months, and, persisting in his obstinacy, was tried and executed. Some Charter House Monks also refused the Oath, and were beheaded in their ecclesiastical dress.

The heaviest blow at Papal influence, however, was given in the Parliament of 1535 when the Monasteries were attacked. The King was glad enough to enrich his coffers with the spoils of the Church, and the people generally thought that this confiscation of the Monasteries might diminish taxation. Still as there was great reverence for these ancient establishments, it was thought politic to undermine them adroitly before. breaking them up.

Commissioners were consequently appointed for a general inspection of the "smaller Monasteries." The Report of these Commissioners was laid on the table of the House of Commons, and was made the basis

of the Law dissolving the Monasteries. The preamble is full of animosity against these establishments, declaring that "manifest sin, vicious, carnal, and abominable luxury is daily used and committed in such little and small abbeys, priories, and other religious houses of monks, canons, and nuns. Amendment has been long tried, but their vicious living shamelessly increaseth and augmenteth." The remedy adopted was "to suppress such small houses, and that the religious persons therein be committed to great and honorable monasteries of religion in this realm wherein (thanks to God) religion is right well kept and observed." The Law then gave the King all the small Monasteries, "with their lands, tithes, and tenements, and all their ornaments, jewels, goods, moveables, and debts."


Four years later a Statute was levelled at the larger Monasteries. This Statute stated that the abbots, priors, abbesses, and prioresses had "of their own free and voluntary minds, goodwill, and assents, renounced their monasteries, abbeys, and priories, which with all their lands and other property were given to the King.

His Majesty apparently cared little for the lands, for he gave some away, and sold more at low prices to the nobility, gentry, merchants, and traders. "The liberation of so much property," says Rowland, "from the inertness of monastic rule and its distribution and diffusion amongst so many persons could not be but a benefit to the nation." Hallam thinks that a great many estates of the families of the day, both within and without the Peerage, obtained their titles at this time and in this way. Certes, most of the Nobility who had lost their property in the civil

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wars were glad to get these lands cheap, which enabled them to build up again their political and social importance. Thus it happened that the English Monarchy in driving the Pope out of England unwittingly put weapons in the hands of the Aristocracy and Middle Class which were afterwards destined to destroy its own power.

One effect of the abolition of the Monasteries was striking. Twenty-six Parliamentary abbots and two Parliamentary priors lost their seats in the House of Lords; and thus at the ensuing Parliament there were present only 20 spiritual Peers to 41 temporal Peers. Sooner or later this change was destined to have considerable influence on the position of the Crown.

It should not be inferred from the overthrow of the Papacy that the Catholic religion had been superseded in England. This was by no means the case, as will be seen from the six new Dogmas Henry desired Parliament to enforce by law :—

First, the Real Presence at the Sacrament; second, Communion in one Kind only; third, that Priests may not marry; fourth, that Vows of Chastity or Widowhood ought to be observed; fifth, that Private Masses be continued in the English Church; sixth, Auricular Confession. Any person teaching, preaching, or holding opinions contrary to these Articles was to suffer death, and to forfeit his lands and goods as a felon. It is plain from this that in Henry's time the Reformation had made very little progress, though he unquestionably prepared the ground for it very effectually.

It is singular that the frantic passion of the lustful King for Anne Boleyn led to the advent of Protestantism in England; and yet in three short years he

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