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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

For his revolt from the hierarchy


When

we consider that Ireland was in revolt, Cornwall in a state of ferment, men's Catholic sympathies stirred up by foreign princes, it is easy to understand how some voices in the King's Privy Council were raised in favour of concession. Henry VIII, a true Tudor, was not the man to give in on such a point. He upbraided the rebels in haughty words with their ignorance and presumption, and repeated that all he did and ordered was in conformity with God's law and for the interests of the country; but it was mainly by promising to call a Parliament at York that he really laid the gathering storm. But at the first breach of the law that occurred he revoked this promise;[131] if he had relaxed the maintenance of his prerogative for a moment, he exercised it immediately after all the more relentlessly. He at last got all the leaders of the revolt into his hands, and appeared to the world to be conqueror. But we cannot for this reason hold that the movement did not react upon him. His plan was not, and in fact could not be, to incur the hostility of his people or endanger the crown for the sake of dogmatic opinions. True, he held to his order that the Bible should be promulgated in the English tongue, for his revolt from the hierarchy, and demand of obedience from all estates, rested on God's written word: nor did he allow himself to swerve from the legally enacted suppression of the monasteries; but he abandoned further innovations, and an altered tendency displayed itself in all his proclamations.
Even during the troubles he called on the bishops to observe the usual church ceremonies: he put forth an edict against the marriage of priests (although he had been inclined to allow it) from regard to popular opinion. The importation of books printed abroad, and any publication of a work in England itself without a previous censorship, were again prohibited. Processions, genuflexions, and other pious usages, in church and domestic life, were once more recommended. The sharpest edicts went forth against any dissent from the strict doctrine of the Sacrament and against any extreme variations in doctrine. The King actually appeared in person to take part in confuting the misbelievers. He would prove to the world that he was no heretic.

It had also already become evident that no invasion by the Emperor was at present impending. Soon after his overtures to the King of France, Charles V perceived that he could not win him over to his side. In the Spanish Council of State they took it into consideration that Henry VIII, if anything was undertaken against him, would at all times have the King of France on his side, and in his passionate temperament might be easily instigated to take steps which they would rather avoid.[132] After Catharine's death they made mutual advances, which it is true did not bring about a good understanding, but yet excluded actual hostilities. It would only disturb our view if we were here to follow one by one the manifold fluctuations in the course of these political relations and negociations. One motive in favour of peace under all circumstances was supplied by the ever-growing commerce between England and the Netherlands, on which the prosperity of both countries depended, and the destruction of which would have been injurious to the sovereigns themselves. When, some time after, the prospect of an alliance with France against England was presented to him by the interposition of the new Pope, Paul III, Charles declined it. He remarked that the German Protestants, to whom his attention must be mainly directed, would be strengthened by it.[133] At the most an interruption of this system could only be expected in case civil disturbances in England invited the Emperor to make a sudden attack. Once it even appeared as if a Yorkist movement might be combined with the religious agitation. A descendant of Edward IV, the Marquis of Exeter, formed the plan of marrying the Princess Mary, and undertaking the restoration of the old church system. He found much sympathy in the country for this plan; the co-operation of the Emperor with him might have been very dangerous.


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