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constant unanimity among any considerable body of men, especially where they differ importantly in religious opinion, as did Henry's executors, it was provided in the royal will, that the government should be administered according to the decisions of the majority'.
Among the sixteen individuals now become of so much national importance, Romish principles appeared at first sight not unlikely to preponderate; for their most influential supporters were the Lord Chancellor and the Bishop of Durham, of whom both were men of distinguished abilities, and of whom the former was an active politician. On the reforming side the chief weight of authority lay with the Primate and the Earl of Hertford: of these eminent persons, however, the former had ever kept in a great measure aloof from secular affairs, and the latter was possessed of no considerable talents. When the will was opened all the executors were present, except the two Wottons, and Mr. Justice Bromley ", and they all solemnly undertook the trust devolved upon
them by their deceased sovereign. They then proceeded to the despatch of business; and it was proposed that one of their body should be commissioned by the rest to receive foreign ambassadors, and to discharge other ceremonial functions of royalty, to which the King, on account of his Richard Rich, Sir John Baker, Sir Ralph Sadler, Sir Thomas Seymour, Sir Richard Southwell, and Sir Edmund Peckham.
The King's will may be seen at length in Fuller's Ch. Hist.
Burnet, Hist. Ref. II. G.
tender age, might be found incompetent. This motion was firmly resisted by the Chancellor, who standing next to Cranmer in official rank, and being greatly his superior as a politician, had reasonably calculated upon securing for himself an effectual ascendancy among his colleagues. He was however fully sensible, that should an especial
representative of royalty be chosen, he would not be the man, and that it would probably be found impossible to retain an individual so distinguished in the situation of a mere state puppet. He therefore strenuously argued, that to render any one executor even in appearance, superior to the rest, would be an unwarrantable departure from the late King's will. At length, however, finding his reasoning ineffectual, he consented to the arrangement desired by his colleagues, and it was unanimously determined, that one of the body should be chosen Protector of the King's realms, and
governor of his person until he should attain the age of eighteen years. After some farther debate, the Earl of Hertford, as being one of the young monarch's nearest relations, yet destitute
any pretension to the throne, was elected to fill these important offices, and was invested with them under an express condition, “ that he should not do any act but by the advice and consent of the other executors, according to the will of the late King "" Hertford appears to have received his new dignity with feelings worthy of a Christian, offering up his earnest prayers for the Divine
direction in the office to which he was called o. Indeed, notwithstanding the limitations imposed upon him, it was evident that the Earl had been appointed to a situation at once arduous and important; nor is it probable that he would have attained such an elevation with so great facility, had not the young king's affection for him, his own popularity, and the mediocrity of his abilities, all concurred to influence the minds of his brother-executors.
Within a few days after the choice of a Protector, Cranmer petitioned for the royal licence to authorise him in the exercise of his archiepiscopal functions, alleging that his powers for that purpose had expired with the late King'. His petition was immediately granted as a matter of course? The other prelates were required to provide themselves with a similar licence', and none of them making any objection, the whole episcopal bench again acknowledged its absolute dependence upon the civil power. commissions granted to the prelates were framed according to the precedents of the last
Strype, Eccl. Mem. II. 23. Among the records (II. 311.) Mr. Strype has printed the Protector's prayer.
Strype, Mem. Cranm. 201. 4 By a commission dated February 7. This commission, however, did not necessarily extend to the whole term of the King's life: it was only granted durante beneplacito. " And hence I find that the Archbishop in some of his writings is styled, The commissary of our dread sovereign lord King Edward.” Ibid.
Burnet,Hist. Ref. II. 8.
reign', and by this precarious tenure did the heads of the Church in general hold their sees so long as King Edward occupied the throne. The judges, it should be recollected, were at that time, and long afterwards, similarly circumstanced.
From political arrangements the public attention was directed towards the mournful parade of the late King's funeral. Never had England seen such a ceremony conducted with greater magnifi
• “Only with this difference, that there is no mention made of Vicar-general in these commissions, as was in the former, there being none after Cromwell advanced to that dignity.” Ibid.
" This appears from a commission to displace the Bishops Tailour, Hooper, and Harley, which was issued in Queen Mary's reign, and which is printed by Bishop Burnet. (Hist. Ref. Records, II. 352.) In this instrument it is stated that the three prelates whom it was intended to remove were preferred to their respective sees "to have and to hold the same during their good behaviours, with the express clause quamdiu se bene gesserint." In the body of his history, Burnet asserts that the Bishops appointed by King Edward were not kept in this state of dependence; an assertion which has laid him open to the animadversions of Collier. (Eccl. Hist. II. 218.) It appears, however, that Burnet was correct so far as regards Bishop Ridley's case, the only one which he specifies, and which led him to draw a conclusion not strictly correct; as is evident from the following extract from the registers of the diocese of London. “For the singular learning in the sacred Scriptures, and most approved manners with which the said Nicholas (Ridley) late Bishop of Rochester, is endued, and because, according to the commendation of our Saviour, we judge him above all others worthy to be put over many things, who hath been found faithful over few, we of our grace and mere motion grant to him the Bishopric of London to have, hold, and occupy during the term of his natural life.” The Life of Bishop Ridley, by the Rev. Gloucester Ridley, L.L.B. Lond. 1763. p. 298.
cence, and the Roman Church was allowed once more to exert all her illusive powers over the human mind, in honour of a Prince who taught his countrymen to reject her fascinations with contempt. During the five days immediately following Henry's death, his corpse was laid in state within his chamber; where, besides an ample attendance of household officers, waited day and night some of the royal chaplains to chaunt those solemn services, so seductive to the living, which Romanists believe are efficacious in affording comfort to the tortured spirits of the dead. Twelve days after the body was removed from the living apartments did it repose within the chapel of the palace, and there were incessantly repeated, on a grander scale, those ministrations, deemed propitiatory, which an imaginative mind can seldom witness with indifference. While these imposing ceremonies were in progress, the Norroy king of arms, advancing at stated intervals to the entrance of the choir, said aloud to those who filled the ante-chapel, of your charity pray for the soul of the most high and mighty Prince, our late sovereign lord and king, Henry VIII.” On the 14th of February, every thing being at length in readiness, the gorgeous funeral moved from Westminster, “ the weather being very fair, and the people very desirous to see the sights.” The pro
" Account of King Henry's funeral extracted from the books belonging to the College of Arms. (Strype, Eccl. Mem. II. 299.) In this funeral procession were displayed twelve banners of arms, on one of which were emblazoned the bearings of the