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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

That then the King built in 1540 fourteen larger ones


Los impedimentos en que esta S. M. por la malignidad del dicho rey de Francia que haze gran fundamento en la adherencia del dicho rey de Inglaterra, y la obstinacion ceguedad y pertinacia en que esta. (Report in the State Archives at Paris.)

[133] As it is said in the Emperor's letter of refusal to his ambassador at Rome. 'Los desviados de Germania se juntarian mas estrechamente con el rey de Inglaterra.' (Document in the Archives at Paris.)

[134] In a letter of the Emperor, 2 November, is mentioned 'le descontentement, que le roi d'Ingleterre prenoit de Anna de Bolans.' Papiers d'etat ii. 224.

[135] Marillac au roi, 8 Juillet 1540. 'Le peuple l'aymoit et estimoit bien fort, comme la plus douce gracieuse humaine Reyne, qu'ils eurent onque.'

[136] A description of the scene, which deserves to be known, is contained in the letter of the French ambassador, Marillac, to the Constable Montmorency, 23 June 1540.

[137] Froude iv. 104.

[138] Marillac assures us that there were not more than eight vessels in England over 500 tons, that then the King built in 1540 fourteen larger ones, among them 'le grand Henri,' over 1800 tons; he had however 'peu de maistres que entendent a l'ouvrage. Les naufs (navires) du roi sont fournies d'artillerie et de munition beaucoup mieux que de bons

pilots et de mariniers dont la plus part sont estrangers.' (Letter of 1 Oct. 1540.)



The question arises, whether it was possible permanently to hold to Henry's stand-point, to his rejection of Papal influence and to his maintenance of the Catholic doctrines as they then were. I venture to say, it was impossible: the idea involves an historical contradiction. For the doctrine too had been moulded into shape under the influence of the supreme head of the hierarchy while ascending to his height of power: they were both the product of the same times, events, tendencies: they could not be severed from each other. Perhaps they might have been both modified together, doctrine and constitution, if a form had been found under which to do it, but to reject the latter and maintain the former in its completed shape--this was impracticable.

When it was seen that Henry could not live much longer, two parties became visible in the country as well as at court, one of which, however much it disguised it, was without doubt aiming at the restoration of the Pope's supremacy, while the other was aiming at a fuller development of the Protestant principle. Henry had settled the succession so that first his son Edward, then his elder daughter (by his Spanish wife), then the younger (by Anne Boleyn), were to succeed. As the first, the sovereign who should succeed next, was a boy of nine, it was of infinite importance to settle who during the time of his minority should stand at the helm. The nearest claim was possessed by the boy's uncle on the mother's side, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, who had begun to play a leading part in Henry's court and army, was in close alliance with Queen Catharine Parr, and like her cherished Protestant sympathies. But the Norfolks with their Catholic sympathies who had previously so long exercised a leading influence on the government, would not give way to him. Norfolk's son, the Earl of Surrey, adopted the immoral plan of ensnaring the King, who though dying was yet supposed to be still susceptible to woman's charms, by means of his sister, in order to draw him back to the side of his family and the strict Catholics: a plot which failed at once when his sister refused to play such a part. The ambitious announcements into which he allowed himself to be hurried away could only bring about the opposite result: he himself was executed, his father thrown into prison, and the man who could have done most in the Catholic direction, Bishop Gardiner, was struck out of the list of those who, after the King's death, were to form the Privy Council.[139] Immediately afterwards, January 1547, Henry died. He had composed the Privy Council of men of both tendencies in the hope, as it appears, that in this way his system would be most surely upheld. But men were too much accustomed to see the highest power represented in one leading personage, for it to continue long in the hands of a Board of Councillors. From the first sittings of the Privy Council Edward VI's uncle, the Earl of Hertford, came forth as Duke of Somerset and Protector of the realm. In him the reforming tendency won the upper hand.

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