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scriptural and from profane histories, of kings obeyed during their minority; that his notes, however, unfortunately proved of inconsiderable use to him, partly, because his little practice in preaching, rendered his memory in the pulpit not so effective as he could have wished, partly, because the council had sent to him to read a long account of successes obtained over the rebels, and partly, because some of his papers slipped away from him while he was engaged in the delivery of his discourse. Such excuses being deemed of little value, the proceedings continued, and at the fifth session, the accused prelate was committed to the Marshalsea by order of Sir Thomas Smyth, for refusing to answer some interrogatories offered to him. At the seventh session, holden on the 1st of October, by the act of all the five employed in the investigation, who call themselves commissioners, or judges delegate, he was deprived of the bishopric of London, together with all its rights and emoluments. The grounds of this sentence, are, his connivance at adultery within his diocese, and at the conduct of those who followed foreign religious rites disapproved by the national Church * ; his absence from the sermons at St. Paul's Cross, and moreover his letters advising the lord mayor and aldermen to absent themselves; and his omitting to inculcate in his prescribed sermon the duty of obeying a mi
* “Qui externos et non probatos Ecclesiæ ritus in hoc regno sequerentur." Sent. depriv. Edm. Ep. Lond. Foxe, 1209.
nor sovereign. His offences, therefore, must be considered as chiefly political. Since, probably, , he was thought to have been remiss in repressing immorality, from a desire to see disgrace brought upon the Reformation! His connivance at the conduct of those who followed the rites of Romanism, accurately designated as foreign, his refusal to attend the reformed preachers, and his letters to the civic magistrates, were all plain indications of a resolution to resist the government in its ecclesiastical policy, to the utmost of his power. His omitting to notice the absurd pretence advanced among the insurgent peasantry, could hardly have flowed from any other cause than a desire to abstain as much as possible from topics likely to discourage the rebellion. It does not
'It was, and is still, a favourite point in Romish tactics to dwell upon the immoralities which shewed themselves with unwonted impudence at the time of the Reformation. The modern Romanists cite Protestant authors as vouchers for such facts, with a great appearance of satisfaction. To such testimony, however, these polemics are sufficiently welcome, for it is evident, that at a time when the principles of men are in an unsettled state, the frailty and corruption of human nature will be likely not only to embolden offenders, but also to multiply offences. After all, however, it is not improbable, that the complaints of immorality heard among those who conversed with the Reformers are somewhat exaggerated. The Romanists naturally made the worst of evils which appeared to flow from the ruin of their own system, and leading members of the other party, being chiefly very pious men, looked upon the vices of their contemporaries with a degree of concern which could hardly fail of disposing them to represent these delinquencies in colours more unfavourable than the case strictly warranted.
indeed seem, that there was any intention to treat him altogether as a canonical offender, for although his metropolitan, a diocesan bishop, and a distinguished dignitary were among his judges, yet the court was completed by the addition of two lay statesmen. Nor did the sentence affect his ecclesiastical character. He was in fact dismissed from the bishopric of London, an office which he had consented to hold during pleasure. That the authority from which he held that situation was justly used in cashiering him, there appears no reason to doubt; for his conduct plainly tended to contravene the policy and to menace the stability of the existing administration. After deprivation, he was detained in prison": a severity with which, it is likely, the government could not dispense. If such a man had been at large, it is most probable, that he would have embarked in projects injurious to the progress of that ecclesiastical system which illumines so brilliantly young Edward's brief career.
Whatever might be the satisfaction with which the friends of scriptural religion viewed Bishop Boner's disgrace, it was sadly alloyed by the troubles which almost immediately afterwards overtook the Protector. That nobleman had been, throughout the summer, beset with difficulties enough to baffle a genius far above his own. In addition to the tumults raging so extensively at home, unfavourable events abroad had
rendered the government highly unpopular". The French had taken some of the forts about Boulogne, and were unremitting in their endeavours to carry that place itself. Of their ultimate success in this object, there appeared, indeed, little reason to doubt, and this prospect, so mortifying to English vanity, was attributed to the negligence and incapacity of the Protector. In Scotland, also, the war either languished, or was decidedly unsuccessful: so that the nation's military fame appeared altogether upon the decline. Difficulties in the cabinet enhanced the importance of these diappointments in the field. England's only ally was the Emperor, but upon that prince's friendship no reliance could be placed. As usual, indeed, when it served his purpose, Charles was lavish of professions; but an application for effective assistance induced him to employ his habitual evasions, and he even intimated that the Romish system must be restored among them, if his English allies aimed at securing his cordial co-operation. If Somerset could have looked to France, he might, indeed, have calculated reasonably upon strengthening his administration; for that country was interested in supporting the German Protestants. The French statesmen too
" " The confusions this year occasioned that change to be made in the office of the daily prayers ; where the answer to the petition, Give peace in our time, O Lord, which was formerly, and is still continued, was now made, Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God, Burnet, Hist. Ref. II.
were anxious for peace with their insular neighbours; but then, as a preliminary, they insisted upon the restoration of Boulogne. To gratify them in this, was entirely the Protector's wish, because he felt severely the difficulty of preserving that fortress; and he justly reasoned, that it never could be worth while to make any considerable sacrifice for retaining possession of a place, which must be surrendered, according to treaty, at the end of a very few years. Among the people, however, the capture of Boulogne had given general satisfaction, and the national honour would have been tarnished in the eyes of most men if they saw that town relinquished before the stipulated period. In this view of the case a majority of the council affected to coincide. It became every day more doubtful, whether Somerset possessed ability sufficient for bringing to a prosperous issue the serious difficulties which crowded
him. His political rivals anticipated, therefore, the downfal of his power from the continuance of foreign hostilities, and hence they urged every obstacle in the way of making peace. In this state of disunion and embarrassment had the English administration passed the summer. Early in the autumn the Earl of Warwick returned to London flushed with his success against the Norfolk insurgents, and that ambitious peer no longer affected to conceal an aversion for Somerset, but openly charged upon his unfitness for the Protectorate the manifold evils which distracted the kingdom.