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judicial blindness we forbear to surmise) has adopted from the pages of the most unscrupulous opponents of the English Church ; and, whilst professing to rely for his facts on historians of undoubted veracity, has presented to his readers, in a yet more offensive form than that in which he discovered them, a series of utterly unfounded or grossly exaggerated accusations against the Reformers and the Reformation.
He tells us, e.g., in p. 32, on the alleged authority of the chronicler Stow, that "the number of peasants massacred for refusing to accept Protestantism, in one year of Edward VI., by foreign mercenaries under John Lord Russell, in Devonshire, was four thousand ; and five thousand more were slain in Norfolk by the Earl of Warwick, irrespective of subsequent head. ings and hangings. So Stow's Chronicles." Nothing can be more explicit than this statement. We venture to assert, without fear of contradiction, that Dr. Littledale's readers could draw no other conclusions from the words which we have put in italics than the following-viz.: (1) that the actual number of persons put to death was 4000; (2) that the cause for which they were put to death was neither more nor less than their refusal to become Protestants; and (3) that it is from Stow's Chronicles that these facts are derived.
But how stands the case as represented by Stow ?
1. Instead of stating, as Dr. Littledale asserts, that 4000 peasants were massacred, Stow states that Lord Russell “slew and took prisoners” that number, " and after hanged divers of them.” If then 400, or even 40, instead of 4000, were hung, and the rest taken prisoners, all the conditions required to establish the accuracy of Stow's Chronicles are more than fulfilled. But (2) so far from the sole cause of the massacre being, as Dr. Littledale's words imply, the refusal of some harmless peasants to accept Protestantism, we are informed by Stow that these peasants were engaged in an armed insurrection, and were surprised in the very act of attacking the city of Exeter; and (3) so far from religious scruples being, as Dr. Littledale suggests, the sole or even primary cause of the insurrection, Stow tells us that the rebellion arose “in consequence of a proclamation for Enclosures,” which the rebels demanded should be disparked, “ also to have their old religion and Act of Six Articles restored.” Is it possible, we are tempted to ask, that Dr. Littledale can have read the cruel and sanguinary Act of which these rebels demanded the restoration ? If he has, and he can still seriously represent these armed insurgents as the victims of a cruel and relentless act of religious persecution, we think that it is but reasonable that he should first define wherein religious persecution consists; and that he should then explain how any system of government can be
maintained, whilst rebels are permitted to seek redress by force for their real or imaginary wrongs.
We forbear from any further notice of Dr. Littledale's assertion that " 5000 more” were slain in Norfolk, beyond the statement of the simple fact, that the insurrection in question is ascribed, by the historian to whom Dr. Littledale appeals as his authority, to men who “rose against inclosures, and pulled down parks and houses."'*
We will now proceed to test somewhat further the accuracy of Dr. Littledale's statements, by the examination of a few of the facts in support of which he appeals to the combined or separate authority of “Stow, Heylin, Burnet, Collier, Strype, Hallam, Froude, and Hook.” (pp. 36, 37.)
“ Cranmer's first appearance,” says Dr. Littledale, “is his detection after he had privately married ‘Black Joan,' the barmaid of a pothouse in Cambridge, at a time when he was Fellow of Jesus College, and of course pledged to celibacy. He thus showed himself as liar, by holding his fellowship under false pretences, and as thief, by cheating his lawful successor to the vacancy.” Had we felt disposed to question Dr. Littledale's intimate acquaintance with the amenities of literature,” the passage we have just quoted would justly expose us to the adverse criticism of our readers. We think, however, that in his extreme anxiety to blast the character of Cranmer, Dr. Littledale bas somewhat damaged the cause of which he is the advocate, and has incautiously betrayed the fact, that the scurrilities which he has here recorded, of which this Lecture exhibits him as a consummate master, have been gleaned from sources very different from those from which he professes to have derived his information.
It would be an inexcusable waste of time and labour were we to refute seriatim the palpably absurd charges advanced in this passage, in which ignorance and malice are alike conspicuous. The simple and conclusive answer to the several indictments preferred is to be found in the fact, of which Dr. Littledale, had he read the authorities which he cites, could not have been ignorant, that having left Jesus College for the space of one twelvemonth, during which time he was engaged as Lecturer in Buckingham (now Magdalen) College, and within which his wife, “a gentleman's daughter,”+ died, the Fellows of his own College, (whom he had so grievously wronged, according to Dr. Littledale, as a “thief” and “a liar,") conferred upon Cranmer the unwonted distinction of re-electing him into their own body. I
* Stow's Chronicles, fol. p. 596. to Dr. Littledale's absurdly prepos
† Strype's Cranmer I., p. 3 (Eccles. terous statement, that as Fellow of Hist. Soc. Ed.)
Jesus College Cranmer was “of course $ It will serve ex abundanti to reply pledged to celibacy,” that “it is disVol. 68.-No. 384.
We have neither the space, nor the inclination, to deal separately with Dr. Littledale's thirty accusations against Cranmer, of which some have been long since abandoned by every historian of any reputation; some consist of statements respecting facts diametrically opposed to the authorities to which Dr. Littledale appeals;* whilst some have been lately discussed in our own columns, in exposition of the misstatements of Mr. J. H. Blunt, in his so-called “History" of the English Reformation.
We should not have reverted here to the part which Cranmer played in the tragedy of Queen Anne Boleyn, were it not for the recent revival, by the Lambeth Librarian,t in an article entitled “Lambeth and the Archbishops," of some of the charges which have been so often preferred, on such slight and inadequate grounds, against Cranmer. Dr. Littledale's accusation is, that the Archbishop "extorted” a confession from the Queen, “whom he accounted innocent;" and that on the strength of that confession he “pronounced a decree of divorce between Henry and Anne, declaring that they never had been lawfully married.” Dr. Littledale asserts further, on the alleged authority of Burnet, that Cranmer“ did this, believing his own statement to be false."
Our reply to these accusations is : (1) that there is no evidence that Cranmer "extorted” any confession from the Queen whatsoever; (2) that there is no proof (rather the contrary) that Cranmer held the Queen to be innocent after he had heard the evidence adduced against her; (3) that if Cranmer had any discretionary power left, after hearing the Queen's confession, as to the sentence which he should pronounce, it is but reasonable to presume that he thought that, by declaring the marriage null and void, he might at least ameliorate the fate of one whom he could not save, and lastly, that we have failed to discover in Burnet any shadow of ground for the assertion that Cranmer “believed his own statement to be false.”
puted even now among Roman theo- confirmation of his statement. In a logians whether there is any obligation note appended to this 6th indictment to celibacy from any vow." See Sir against Cranmer, Dr. Littledale appeals W. Palmer's Hist. of the Church, to an “infamous document," which he (1842) vol. ii. p. 337.
minutely specifies, in which Cranmer # Ámongst them we may refer, by provides for an “abominable continway of illustration, to the alleged gency." We leave it to our readers to knowledge possessed by Cranmer of one, pronounce the verdict to which the if not two fatal obstacles to Henry's lecturer is entitled, when we assure marriage with Anne Boleyn (see No. 6). them, (1) that the document in question Those of our readers who are familiar has no reference to Henry's marriage with Mr. Froude's able and elaborate with Anne Boleyn ; and (2) that there disquisition on this subject, contained is no evidence (rather the contrary) of in the Appendix to the fourth volume Cranmer's connexion with it, beyond of his History, will probably need the fact that he was the owner of the ocular demonstration (and we are far MS. in question, which still bears his from blaming them for remaining in- autograph. credulous without it), that Dr. Little + See Macmillan's Magazine, Nov. dale actually appeals to Mr. Froude in 1869,
We now turn to the charges of the Lambeth Librarian, against whose extremely graphic and interesting article we much regret to have, as we believe, such abundant cause to take grave matter of exception. And first, it is not, we think, without reason that we enter our protest against the profuse and indiscriminate charges respecting the “baseness” and the “ degradation" of his career, with which, on such extremely insufficient evidence, the Librarian has loaded the memory of Cranmer.* Again, we must protest against the Librarian's utter disregard of dates, on the accurate observance of which, in this as in all similar cases, a correct estimate of the motives which directed the course of the actors, so materially depends.t Yet more emphatically we must record our protest against the Li. brarian's assumption of Cranmer's deliberate resolution to give sentence against the Queen, before her case was heard, and before, so far as the evidence appears, he even knew what was to be required at his hands. And yet, once more, we think that some unaccountable obliquity of vision must have preceded the following expression of opinion :-" The possible guilt of Anne may acquit her secular judges; but not even the guilt of Anne could alleviate the infamy of the Primate.” The writer, no doubt, has some explanation-whether satisfactory or otherwise, we do not pause to enquire—which enables himn to reconcile his admission of the “possible guilt” of the Queen with the alleged “mockery of the trial”; and he has, doubtless, some theory, by aid of which he has succeeded in satisfying himself that a Commission, consisting of the highest and noblest in the land, t can be fairly accused of lending themselves to the “mockery" of a trial, and at the same time acquitted of blame
* “ There never was" (says Sir W. Palmer) " a more futile or calumnious charge than this, of imputing to Cranmer the profession or practice of things which he considered sinful or unchristian. His opinions changed, and we are not bound to defend the soundness of his judgment on every particular point; but his sincerity and honesty cannot fairly be questioned.” Church History, vol. i. p. 419, 1842.
† E.g.: The Librarian assigns the delivery of Cranmer's sentence of nullity to the day which succeeded “the mockery," as he terms it, “ of her trial”; whereas the trial, as is well known, took place on Monday, the 15th of May, and the Archbishop's sentence was pronounced on Wednesday, the 17th. Again, the Librarian represents Cranmer as predicting that
Anne would become "a queen in heaven" on the day which followed upon her trial, whereas the execution did not really take place until the 19th. Once more, the Librarian represents "the world outside the little circle of the Court” as utterly unconscious of what was going on, so late as Tuesday, the 16th May; in ignorance, as it should seem, of the facts, that on the 10th of May a true bill had been found by the Grand Jury of Middlesex, and on the 11th by the Grand Jury of Kent, against the four communers, and that on the 12th the Commission had sat and a verdict of “guilty” had been given.
The court which sat in judgment on Anne and her brother, consisted of twenty-six out of fifty-three of the Peers.
in sentencing their victim to be “burned or beheaded” on the supposition of the bare “possibility” of her guilt. In these strange and monstrous propositions, as they appear to us, the Lambeth Librarian evidently discerns no difficulty and no inconsistency. But very different is the manner in which justice is dealt out to the Archbishop, and very different the principles in accordance with which both his motives and actions are scrutinised. The Librariau has refrained from explaining to what period of Anne's history he alludes when he contemplates the possibility of her “guilt." We submit that, on the supposition of her guilt, the course of the Archbishop, however great his regard for the Queen, was clear, and his duty imperative. On the presumption that the confession related to such a pre-contract as involved “just, true, and lawful impediments” to her marriage with the King,-much more if, as the Emperor was informed, Anne actually was, or declared herself to have been, married to Northumberland,—then we submit that Cranmer had no alternative,* as an administrator of the law, not a legislator, but to pronounce the sentence of nullity. If, again, the evidence on which the Queen had been already convicted was such as was deemed conclusive by Cranmer, we see not how it was possible for the Archbishop to do otherwise than to pronounce a sentence of divorce. In a word, if, as the Librarian puts the case, the guilt of Anne was clear, we maintain that the very reverse of the writer's sentence must be affirmed; so that, whereas he asserts that "not even the guilt of Anne could alleviate the infamy of the Primate,” we assert, with equal confidence, that that infamy would justly have attached to him, had he, under the influence of any personal motives, pronounced a sentence of acquittal upon one whom he knew to be guilty.
We had marked many remarkable instances of ignorance and of misrepresentation in Dr. Littledale's Lecture, to which we are unable to do more than make the briefest possible allusion. The accusations preferred against Latimer, Hooper, and Ridley, are characterised by the same unfairness and inaccuracy, of which we have given some illustrations in the case of Cranmer. The charges preferred against the leading Reformers, of cherishing, and to the utmost of their power carrying into effect, the principles of persecution, betray the same spirit which is breathed throughout the whole of the Lecture. Misrepresentations are made which the most ordinary attention to the periods at which the views of the Reformers underwent change or modification, would have obviated, the effect of which is to brand their memory with the double infamy of gross hypocrisy and deliberate cruelty. No allowance is made,
* “It is certain that the case allowed no discretion to the judge.” Soames' History of the Reforination, vol. ü. p. 138.