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restored the ascendency of the Catholic party, headed by Norfolk and Gardiner, and the Six Articles were rigorously enforced. But the king was equally severe against the deniers of his supremacy ; Catholic and Protestant “ traitors” were dragged to execution on the same hurdles; and, as was wittily said at the time, those who wero against the pope were burned, and those who were for him were hanged. A new rebellion in Yorkshire afforded a pretext for the execution of the aged countess of Salisbury, mother of cardinal Pole, who had been attainted in 1539. She was beheaded on the green within the Tower, May 27, 1541. The same fate was soon shared by queen Catherine Howard, who was clearly convicted of unchastity both before and after her marriage. She was attainted for treason, with her accomplice lady Rochfort, who had contributed to the death of her own sister-in-law, queen Anne Boleyn, and both were executed on Tower Hill, Feb. 12, 1542.
From these scenes of blood it is some relief to turn even to the disorders of the sister kingdoms. Ireland had been for some years the scene of wars between her own native parties, and of rebellions against Henry fomented by the Romanists. These tumults were only partially appeased, when Henry assumed the title of king of Ireland, instead of " lord” (Jan. 23, 1541), an act which was sanctioned by parliament in 1544.
On the Scottish frontier there had been for many years a succession of petty wars and of armed truces. In 1542 Henry declared war against the Scots, who suffered a defeat at Halidon Hill (Aug. 25), and one still more disastrous in Cumberland, near the Solway Moss (Nov. 25). This disaster is said to have broken the heart of JAMES V., who expired (Dec. 14, 1542), leaving an infant daughter Mary, whose fate was afterwards so deeply involved in the destinies of England.
Once more, as in the case of the Maid of Norway (see p. 72), there appeared an opportunity of uniting the crowns by a marriage of the young prince of Wales with the infant queen of Scots. The alliance was nearly concluded by Henry and the regent earl of Arran, when it was broken off by the influence of cardinal Beaton, the head of the Catholics in Scotland, who was already engaged in his conflict with the Scottish reformers ; and an alliance was made between Scotland and France, against which country Henry had lately formed a league with the emperor (Feb. 11, 1543).
On the 10th of July, 1543, Henry made his sixth and last inarriage, with Catherine, widow of lord Latimer, commonly known · by her maiden name of Catherine Parr. She was a woman of virtue and good sense. It is said, though on doubtful authority, that her leaning to the reformed doctrine at one time endangered her; but she escaped by her tact in managing the king's temper. At Gardiner's instigation he had given orders for her arrest, when the following scene took place : “Kate," said he, sharply, "you are a doctor.” “No, sir,” she replied, “I only wished to divert you from your pain by an argument in which you so much shine.” “Is it so, sweetheart?” exclaimed the king, “ then we are friends again." She had the rare fortune to survive her husband. The same year that Henry died (1547) she married sir Thomas Seymour, admiral, of England, and died in 1548.
The wars with Scotland and France were actively prosecuted in 1544 and the following years. In May the English burnt Edinburgh and Leith, and they continued to ravage the south of Scotland. In July Henry himself invaded France and took Boulogne; but the emperor suddenly concluded a separate peace with Francis at Crépy, and Henry returned to England (Sept. 30). In the next year (1545) the French fleet harassed the English coast, and an indecisive action was fought off the Isle of Wight. At length peace was concluded both with France and Scotland, June 7, 1546. The chief obstacle to an accommodation with the latter country had been removed by the assassination of cardinal Beaton, at St. Andrews, just when his triumph over the reformers seemed complete (May 28).
At home these last years of Henry's reign are filled with events illustrating the increasing power of the Reformation, the violent resistance of its enemies, and the inconsistencies and cruelty of the king. In 1544 Henry sent to Cranmer a translation of the Litany, for general use in solemn processions; and in the following year he added forms of morning and evening prayer, in English, to be used instead of the Breviary.
Henry's last parliament met Nov. 23, 1545; and, after voting a subsidy for the war, and passing a new law against heretics, it proceeded to settle the question of ecclesiastical property. The property of all hospitals, colleges, and chantries was vested in the crown; and the uneasiness created by the measure was removed by the magnificent foundations of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Hospital of St. Bartholomew.
On Christmas eve it was prorogued by the king in person. His speech, the last he uttered in parliament, exhibits the state of his mind in a most interesting light. Bursting into tears, he deplored the want of charity between man and man, and the prevalent religious dissensions. He exhorted his hearers to reform these evils in themselves, and the bishops and clergy to agree in teaching truth, which is one. Though the use of the Scriptures had been permitted in the English tongue, they must not be expounded by
each man as he pleased, nor “disputed and jangled in every alehouse and tavern." Thus did Henry, while pointing to the true source of knowledge, claim to subject its use to his own will, and teach, as the remedy for all evils, the charity which he never learnt. Here, too, is the key to the perplexities of his character,-qualities of the highest order, intentions of the best aim, overmastered by self-will. During the remainder of his reign, that one “ tyrant passion” had full play. Yet we must not ascribe to him all the blame of the measures urged on by bad advisers. Gardiner and Norfolk, seconded by BONNER bishop of London, renewed their persecution of the Protestants. Latimer again escaped, by the favour of the king; but they sent other victims to the flames, and the fate of the young and beautiful Anne Ascue, who suffered, with more than manly firmness, for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation, deserves perpetual pity (July, 1546). At this very time Henry proposed to the reformed princes of Germany a new “ League Christian;" and we have the best assurance of his intention to have carried on the work of the reformation.
But his career was run. A wound in his leg grew worse, and confined him to his couch (Nov. 1546). All thoughts were turned towards the succession. By a third and final act of succession (1514) the claims of the princesses Mary and Elizabeth had been admitted, next in order after their brother Edward. The prince of Wales was a delicate child of nine years old, and there must be a protector during his minority. The most likely candidate was Edward Seymour, lord Hertford, the young prince's uncle, who had distinguished himself in the late wars, but was wanting in sound judgment. As the head of the Protestants, he was obnoxious to the Catholics, to whose leaders he had given personal offence. Those leaders were the veteran duke of Norfolk and his celebrated son, Henry Howard earl of Surrey, who was the most accomplished man of his age, and whose writings have given him a high place in English literature. His splendid virtues have cast into the shade his faults of imprudence, haughtiness, and ambition; and it was in part owing to those faults that he now fell a victim to the jealous fears of Henry. On the charge of his aspiring to marry the princess Mary and succeed to the crown he was arrested and committed to the Tower, with his father (Dec. 7). They were also charged with intrigues with Gardiner for the restoration of the papacy. Surrey was tried and found guilty by a special commission, Jan. 13, 1547, and executed Jan. 19. The parliament, meeting on Jan. 14, passed an act of attainder against Norfolk, the king urging on the proceedings from the desire, as he told them in his message, to provide a successor to the dignities of Norfolk at the coronation of the prince of Wales. But this last victim was snatched from him by a power to which even kings must yield. On Thursday, Jan. 27, the royal assent was given by commission to the bill of attainder, and two hours after midnight Henry was no more. In his last moments he had sent for Cranmer, but when he reached Whitehall the king was speechless. Cranmer, “speaking comfortably to him, desired him to give some token that he put his trust in God through Jesus Christ; therewith the king wrung the archbishop's hand” and expired. He died on Jan. 28, 1547, in the 56th year of his age and the 38th of his reign.
He was buried on Feb. 16 in St. George's chapel, Windsor, in accordance with the directions of his will, which also bade the remains of queen Jane to be interred beside him. The masses, which he ordered to be said for ever, combine with his prayers to the Virgin and other expressions in the will to mark it as that of a doctrinal Catholic. The same instrument arranged the succession in accordance with the last act of parliament, but added that, in case of the failure of his children and their issue, the crown should pass to the issue of his sister the princess Mary and the duke of Suffolk, thus excluding the Scottish royal family. A council of fifteen “executors” was named to administer the government during his son's minority.
Henry's reign was one of the most, if not the most, memorable for its acts in English history. Besides all its ecclesiastical reforms, and notwithstanding the increased power of the crown, parliament gained a vast addition to its importance by Henry's constant appeals to it to sanction his acts, and by the use he made of the commons to overcome resistance in the lords. Of Henry himself it has been well said that his history is his best character and description. The popular tradition vacillates between admiration of “ bluff king Hal” and execration of a blood-stained tyrant; and, while one historian holds him up as all but “the ideal model of perfect wickedness,” another ingeniously hammers out the treasures of our old records into leaves to gild over his idol. In his own time it was said of him that “Harry loved a man"-and it was because he was a man himself -- not a hero, nor a saint, nor a monster, but a man - whose fierce temper exaggerated liuman faults and vices, but whose reign bears witness to many manly virtues ; and after both have been judged with the severest impartiality, it remains to be recorded, even of him, that
“ The man s the man, for a' that.'