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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

But on the ordinances once enacted by King and Parliament


On

the other hand the King's influence, if we believe himself, had all possible success in the other affair, which was at any rate not less weighty. 'With the intervention of the Parliament,' he continues in the above-mentioned letter, 'we have made a law, I and the most illustrious Queen, for the punishment of heretics and all enemies of holy church; we have revived the old ordinances of the realm, which will serve this purpose very well.' It was more especially the statute against the Lollards, by which Henry V had entered into the closest alliance with the hierarchy, that was to be re-enacted by Parliament. Gardiner had not been able to carry it through in the previous session, though it was known that the Queen wished it. Under the King's influence, who was accustomed to the execution of heretics in Spain, the Lords after some deliberation let their objections drop and accepted the bill.

If we put together these four great Acts, the abolition of the Common Prayer-book, the Spanish marriage, the restoration of obedience to Rome, and the revival of the heresy laws, we could hardly doubt the intention of the members of the government, and of the Parliament, to return completely to the ancient political and religious state of things. With some members such an intention may have been the predominant one: to assume it in all, or even in the majority, would be an error.[169]

The agreement then legalised as to ecclesiastical

property, and the abolition of the monastic system, already formed such an anomaly in the Roman Catholic church, that the ecclesiastical condition of England would have always retained a very abnormal character. And the obedience expressed was by no means complete. For it should have included above all a recognition of that right of dispensation, about which the original quarrel had broken out, and the revocation of the order of succession which was based on its rejection. In fact Gardiner's intention was to bring matters to this; being besides a great enemy and even persecutor of Elizabeth, he wished to see her illegitimacy pronounced in due form;[170] the resolutions passed seemed necessarily to lead to it. Men however did not proceed this time so logically in England. They did not wish to base the future state of the realm on Papal decrees, but on the ordinances once enacted by King and Parliament. They could not deceive themselves as to the fact that Elizabeth, though she conformed outwardly, yet remained true at heart to the Protestant faith; but not on that account would the Parliament deny her right to the English throne. It also by no means entertained exactly Spanish sentiments. The Emperor expressed the wish that his son might be crowned: his ambassador's advice however was against proposing it in Parliament; since, with the high ideas entertained in England of the rights implied in the coronation, this would never be allowed. In the event of the Queen's dying before Philip, and leaving children, the guardianship was reserved to him: but even for this object conditions had been originally proposed which would have been much more advantageous to him: these the Upper House threw out. So little was even then the policy of the Queen and King at the same time the policy of the nation and Parliament. In the Privy Council the old discords continued. The government obtained a greater unity by the fact that Gardiner, who now followed the Queen's lead in every respect, carried most of the members with him by the authority which her favour gave him. As Paget and Arundel, since they could effect nothing, refused to appear any more, there always remained a secret support for the discontent that was stirring. In the beginning of 1555 traces of a conspiracy in favour of Courtenay were again detected: if the inquiry into it led to no discovery, it was because--so it was thought--the commission entrusted with it did not wish to make any.


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