Abbildungen der Seite

cession halted for the night at the dissolved convent of Sion, near Brentford, and there, it appears, some Romish bigots said, was verified the prediction of Peto, the seditious Observant friar. It was reported that some of the putrid mass within the coffin, had found its way during the night to the pavement beneath, and as dogs might possibly have licked the disgusting fluid, such was boldly represented as the fact, and thus, it was added, has the fate of Ahab overtaken him who was deaf to the admonitions of an honest Micaiah". Early on the morning of the 15th of February, the cavalcade moved onwards, and soon after mid-day was past, it reached the collegiate Church within Windsor Castle. There the royal corpse was no sooner stationed, than mitred prelates began the office for the dead; nor through the night did the vaulted aisles cease to resound at intervals with the funereal chant. On the following morning, masses were performed again, and a sermon was preached by Bishop Gardiner. The text was, “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord;" and the discourse, after some general observations upon mortality, painted in glowing colours the loss sustained by men of every rank in the deceased monarch's death, as well as the satisfaction unquestionably supplied to all from the highly promising qualities of the reigning king. Soon after the preacher had concluded, the royal coffin was lowered into its subterranean resting-place', and thus the earth was closed, amidst the pageantry of Romish worship, and the panegyrics of a prelate, decidedly Romish in principles, upon the corpse of him who had maintained during all his latter years, that Scripture is the only source of a Christian's faith.

late King and of Jane Seymour, on another the same royal achievement and that of Catharine Parr. Of the other unhappy ladies once connected with the deceased monarch, no notice appears to have been taken upon this occasion. Three of his marriages were probably treated as invalid, and the wretched event of Henry's connexion with Catharine Howard was certainly a good reason for allowing it to pass unheeded.

3“Having met with this observation in a MS. written near that time, I would not envy the world the pleasure of it." Burnet, Hist. Ref. II. 21.

Nor were the Romish honours paid to Henry's memory confined to his own dominions. At the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris were also celebrated the mournful rites, esteemed beneficial to departed spirits. Thus, in open defiance of papal authority, were the Gallic sons of Rome encouraged in believing that the rites of their religion might afford relief and solace to the soul of one who died incapable, as their spiritual chief had led his disciples to suppose, of inheriting eternal life. When however Francis heard of Henry's death, the presumptuous illiberality of interested bigots had considerably lost its influence over his mind. His health was drooping, and the departure of one who had long occupied so large a space in his thoughts, admonished him of awful

Account of King Henry's funeral. Strype, Eccl. Mem. Records, II. 289.

- Fuller, 371.

realities soon to be encountered by himself. His gaiety of spirits fled, and on the 22nd of March, he followed to the tomb his English friend. On the 19th of June was returned the compliment paid in Paris to King Henry's memory. In honour of the late French monarch were performed at St. Paul's in London, by Archbishop Cranmer, assisted by eight members of the prelacy, the funereal services of the Roman Church 6.

It was no small satisfaction to the Romanists,

• Godwin, Annal. 86.

• Strype, Mem. Cranm. 225. In justice to Cranmer, it should be recollected that the part taken by him in this solemnity did not involve of necessity his belief of the propitiatory character assigned by Romanists to the mass. The Necessary Doctrine will probably explain his views. “ It is not in the power or knowledge of any man to limit and dispense how much, and in what space of time, or to what person particularly the said masses, exequies, and suffrages do profit and avail : therefore charity requireth that whosoever causes any such masses, exequies, or suffrages to be done should yet, (though their intent be more for one than for another) cause them also to be done for the universal congregation of Christian people, quick and dead." (Formularies of Faith, Oxf. 1825. 376.) From this passage, which certainly was not disapproved by the Archbishop, it must be supposed that he considered his conduct in receiving the Lord's Supper publicly with some of his brethren of the Episcopal Bench, and in offering up his prayers both for the living and the dead, as perfectly defensible, even although it might encourage Romish opinions, which he could not approve. From the length of time, however, which elapsed between the French king's death, and the service at St. Paul's, it seems likely that there existed among the men in power a backwardness to order the performance of a ceremony, which, though apparently demanded by courtesy, was liable to misconstruction.

that King Henry had provided in his will for the continuance of soul-masses in his own case; and accordingly, they continued to lavish upon him, now that he was gone, those praises of which they had been so unsparing during his life. Such also of the royal executors as had adopted scriptural opinions, were rather unwilling to obstruct the fulfilment of their late master's testamentary desires. The judges, therefore, were required to devise a mode by which the deceased sovereign's intentions respecting services for the benefit of his soul could be securely carried into effect. Those venerable personages soon supplied the information desired, and then, in a royal chapel, were solemnised those rites which he who provided for them had swept away from other places as useless, or pernicious .

Among the clauses in the late King's will was one directing his executors to carry into effect any promises that he might have made during his life-timed. On the day after his intermento, arrangements were made for the fulfilment of this injunction. Sir William Paget, the secretary of state most in Henry's confidence, with Sir Anthony Denny, and Sir William Herbert, his most valued personal attendants, being summoned before the council, were examined upon oath' as to their knowledge of any unaccomplished promises made

[blocks in formation]

by their deceased master. These gentlemen deposed that his Majesty had intended to confer peerages upon certain individuals, to honour by higher titles others already noble, and to enhance the value of these distinctions by the grant of endowments dismembered from the immense property placed at the disposal of the crown by the ruin of the Howards. It appeared, however, that this last intention had been abandoned: for the Duke of Norfolk obtaining intelligence of it, and calculating that the sun of his family's greatness was set for ever, should his fortune be wholly dissipated, earnestly requested of the King to retain unbroken his extensive acquisitions. “My lands," he said, " are good and stately gear, fitted to provide a suitable establishment for the young Prince of Wales; upon whom, I hope that his Majesty will bestow them entire.” With the aged prisoner's entreaty Henry determined to comply, and to provide for those whom he intended to distinguish by farther pillaging the dignified clergy. All these matters having been laid before the council, it was determined that the Protector should be created Duke of Somerset ; his brother Thomas, Lord Seymour of Sudley; the Earl of Essex, brother to Queen Catharine Parr, Marquess

" Which title appertaining to the King's progenitors of the house of Lancaster, and since the expiring of the Beauforts, conferred on none but Henry, the natural son of the king deceased; was afterwards charged upon him, (the Protector,) as an argument of his aspiring to the crown ; which past all doubt he never aimed at." Heylin, Hist. Ref. 31.

« ZurückWeiter »