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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

But based on the unity of the nation


Perhaps

the success of such a scheme was not probable; but independently of this, Henry VIII had good cause to prepare himself to meet the superior power of the Emperor, with whom he had so decidedly broken. As we have already hinted, he could have no want of allies in this struggle. It was under these circumstances that he entered into relations with the powerful demagogues who were then from their central position at Lubeck labouring to transform the North, and to sever it from all Netherlandish-Burgundian influence. But it was of still more importance to him to form an alliance with the Protestant princes and estates of Germany proper, who had gradually become a power in opposition to Pope and Emperor. In the autumn of 1535 we find English ambassadors in Germany, who attended the meeting of the League at Schmalkald, and the most serious negociations were entered on. Both sides were agreed not to recognise the Council which was then announced by the Pope, for the very reason that the Pope announced it, who had no right to do so. The German princes demanded an engagement that if one of the two parties was attacked, the other should lend no support to its enemy; for the King this was not enough; he wished, in case he was attacked, to be able to reckon on support from Germany in cavalry, infantry, and ships, in return for which he was ready to give a very considerable contribution to the chest of the League. It was even proposed that he should undertake the protection of the League.[124]

style="text-align: justify;">All this however was based on a presupposition, which could not but lead the English to further ecclesiastical changes. It was not a schism affecting the constitution and administration of justice, but a complete system of dissentient Church doctrines, with which Henry VIII came in contact. The German Protestants made it a condition of their alliance with England, that there should be full agreement between them as to doctrine.

We may ask whether this was altogether possible.

If we compare the Church movements and events that had taken place during the last years in Germany and in England, their great difference is visible at a glance. In Germany the movement was theological and popular, corresponding to the wants and needs of the territorial state; in England it was juridico-canonical, not connected with appeals to the people or with free preaching, but based on the unity of the nation. Though the German Diet had for a moment inclined to the Reform and had once even given it a legal sanction, it afterwards by a majority set itself against it: to carry it through became now the part of the minority, the Protesting party. In England on the contrary all proceeded from the plan of the sovereign and the resolutions of Parliament, in which the bishops themselves with few exceptions took part. Perhaps a more deep-seated ground of difference may be that the German bishops were more independent than the English, and that an Emperor was then ruling who, being at the same time King of Spain and Naples, troubled himself little about the unity of Germany in particular; while in England a newly-formed strong political power existed which made the national interests its own and upheld them on all sides.

Despite all this the English Schism had nevertheless a deep inner analogy with the German Reformation.


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