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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

Mary issued her first Proclamation about Religion


were not wanting, however, that if the people were almost unanimous in accepting Mary as their Queen, they were not united upon religion. When Dr. Gilbert Bourne, preaching at St. Paul's Cross (Aug. 13th, 1553) praised Bishop Bonner, he was interrupted by shouts; a dagger was thrown at him; he was hustled out of the pulpit, and his life was threatened. The tumult was only appeased when Bradford, a known Protestant, appealed to the crowd. The Lord Mayor of London was authorised to declare to the people that it was not the Queen's intention to constrain men's consciences, and that she meant to trust solely to persuasion to bring them to the true faith.

Five days later (August 18th), Mary issued her first _Proclamation about Religion_, in which she advised her subjects "to live together in quiet sort and Christian charity, leaving those new-found devilish terms of papist or heretic and such like." She declared that she meant to support that religion which she had always professed; but she promised "that she would not compel any of her subjects thereunto, _unto such time as further order, by common assent, may be taken therein_"--a somewhat significant threat. The proclamation prohibited unlicensed preaching and printing "any book, matter, ballad, rhyme, interlude, process, or treatise, or to play any interlude, except they have Her Grace's special licence in writing for the same," which makes it plain that from the outset Mary did not intend that

any Protestant literature should be read by her subjects if she could help it.[496]

Mary was crowned with great ceremony on October 1st, and her first Parliament met four days later (Oct. 5th to Dec. 6th, 1553). It reversed a decision of a former Parliament, and declared that Henry VIII.'s marriage with Catharine of Aragon had been valid, and that Mary was the legitimate heir to the throne; and it wiped out all the religious legislation under Edward VI. The Council had wished the anti-papal laws of Henry VIII. to be rescinded; but Parliament, especially the House of Commons, was not prepared for anything so sweeping. The Church of England was legally restored to what it had been at the death of Henry, and Mary was left in the anomalous position of being the supreme head of the Church in England while she herself devoutly believed in the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. The title and the powers it gave were useful to restore by royal proclamation the mediaeval ritual and worship, and Mass was reintroduced in this way in December.[497]

Meanwhile the marriage of the Queen was being discussed. Mary herself decided the matter by solemnly promising the Spanish Ambassador (Oct. 19th) that she would wed Philip of Spain; the marriage treaty was signed on January 12th, 1554; the formal betrothal took place in March, and the wedding was celebrated on July 25th.[498] It was very unpopular from the first. The boys of London pelted with snowballs the servants of the Spanish embassy sent to ratify the wedding treaty (Jan. 1st, 1554); the envoys themselves were very coldly received by the populace; and Mary had to issue a proclamation commanding that all courtesy should be used to the Prince of Spain and his train coming to England to marry the Queen.[499]

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