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journey from thence. The dean the next day after, made an eloquent oration, wherein he openly disgraced and defamed his person. I lament greatly their case, who so rashly, without any advisement, gave themselves to be mocked among grave and witty men. You have heard now a true story for our doctor was the chief and principal doer of that tragedy." —Pox, vol. vi. p. 139.
We may just observe, that in all this, (written several years after the supposed publication at Hamburgh,) there is not a word of Bishop Bonner or his Preface; nor do I recollect that, when he was in circumstances somewhat similar to those of Gardiner, he made any such claim as Gardiner now did, and as he had quite an equal right to make if the Preface was his. If, however, it be said that we ought not to expect anything about Bonner's part of the book in the process relating to Gardiner, it must still be allowed that it would not have been surprising if some word about it had escaped; and that if Gardiner believed himself to be indebted to Bonner for such fervent co-operation and patronage, it was ungrateful in him to pass by so fair an occasion of mentioning it, when it might have been of service to his fellow-sufferer.
But enough has, perhaps, been said to convince the reader that if Gardiner did write the Oration, he had no inconsistency or tergiversation to be ashamed of; and that whether the author of the Preface deserved praise or blame for his work, was a question that in no way touched Bishop Bonner.
§ 1. GENERAL STATEMENTS AND FULLER'S IN PARTICULAR. The character of Bonner for cruelty is so established, that it is superfluous to collect testimonies from the various writers by whom the charge has been brought; especially considering what I have already had occasion to quote in the course of these Essays'.
1 See what is quoted before from Bale, p. 40; from Ponet, p. 57 ; and from Traheron, p. 65. After them it is almost needless to quote Burnet, Strype, or even Fox, much less Fuller, Heylin, and more modern writers. Indeed, these charges have been so often, and so vehemently repeated, and have so passed into a proverb, that it is much less necessary to prove their existence, or exhibit their nature, than to deprecate the appearance of maintaining a paradox by suggesting the idea that they are gross exaggerations, and in a very great degree false, and slanderous.
As, however, I do not see that I can be suspected of any partial motive, in wishing to illustrate this part of our ecclesiastical history, and as my conscience acquits me of all sympathy with any person of whatever party or name (Cranmer, Calvin, or Bonner) in so far as he thought of maintaining or enforcing Christianity by fire and faggot, I shall not dilate on this point; but in order to come to an immediate understanding with the reader, I will at once say, that I not only believe those contemporary writers whom I have quoted, as well as some others, to have indulged in rhodomontade declamation, and in scurrility as odious for its falsehood as for its coarseness; but that I believe their coloured and exaggerated accounts of facts to have been still farther coloured and exaggerated—I will add, perverted and falsified-by more modern copyists. I do not say that it has been done in most cases with bad purpose, or in all even knowingly; I only state my belief that it has, in fact, been done; and that stories have been handed from one careless writer to another, containing monstrous falsehoods, even beyond what might be warranted by the statements of the most loose and declamatory writers of the time. I will give a specimen from one of our most respectable ecclesiastical historians, which will not only explain my meaning, but form a very suitable introduction to what I wish further to state.
Fuller, in his Church History, gives an account of the Marian persecution, which he divides according to Dioceses; and after stating what occurred in several of them he proceeds:
“Cross we the Thames to come into Middlesex, and Essex, the Diocese of London under Bishop Bonner, whom all generations shall call Bloody. St. Paul mentioneth his fighting with Beasts at Ephesus after the manner of men, which some expound, his encountering with people, men for their shape and sex; but beasts for their crueli mindes, and manners. In the same sense we may say, that Lion, Tiger, Wolfe, Bear ; yea, a whole forest of wilde beasts met in Bonner, killing two hundred in the compasse of three yeers. And, as if his cruelty had made him Metropolitan of all England, he stood not on distinction of Dioceses, but martyred all, wheresoever he met them. Thus Mr. Philpot belonged to Gardiner's Jurisdiction, and often pleaded in vain, that Bonner was none of his Ordinary, yet Bonner (Ordinary, or Extraordinary) dispatch'd him, who cared not whence men came but onely whither he sent them. No sex, quality, or age, escap'd him, whose fury reached from John Fetty a lad of eight yeers old, by him scourged to death; even unto Hugh Laverock, a Creeple, sixty eight yeers old, whom he caused to be burnt.”. Ch. Hist. Book VIII. p. 18.
Now, as to the forest of wild beasts one hardly knows what to say ; it is scarcely tangible ; but I may be allowed to suggest that if a whole forest of wild beasts, ranging among a crowd of defenceless sheep, devoured only two hundred in three years, they must have been, for wild beasts, rather moderate in their food. But let this stand by till we have looked at more specific statements.
In the first place it must not be passed over—for the greatness of the number, and the shortness of the time, are the points intended to impress the reader—that it would have been more fair to have said three years and three quarters; for there was as much of a fourth year as elapsed between the 4th of February and the 10th of November. Again as to the number ; I have no idea why Fuller says that Bonner killed “two hundred.” If he means the whole number who suffered, that was considerably greater; and it would have been better for his reputation if he had stuck to the old lie, which he might have put off on Fox, without at all risking his own credit;“ This cannibal, in three years space, three hundred martyrs
slew, They were his food; he loved so blood; he SPARED NONE he
knew.”2 There is, however, something in this half-hearted modesty of Fuller which places him in an awkward position ; for as the magnitude of falsehoods is not calculated by the laws of arithmetical progression, it is almost as bad to talk of two hundred as of three. I know of no authority but his own caprice for assigning to Bonner this lion's share of the
prey. He had enough to render exaggeration perfectly gratuitous. Hume states (I believe quite correctly, I am sure he is not
2 Fox, vol. viii. p. 482.
far wrong) that the cases of martyrdom which occurred during the whole of Mary's reign amounted to 277. If anybody can show that Bonner had anything to do, directly or indirectly, with more than about 120 I shall wonder. Some reader may say “Was it not bad enough to kill 120 in three years and three quarters ?” But I beg him to observe that I have not made any such admission; and that when I speak of Bonner's having "anything to do” with a case of martyrdom, I wish my words to be taken as strictly as possible. For instance, no reasonable person would think of saying that Bonner had anything to do with the martyrdom of Cranmer; yet I include that case in the number of those with which he was concerned, simply because he was one of the bishops who went by a special commission to Oxford to perform the ceremony of degrading the Archbishop.
But this will be clearer presently ;-to proceed with Fuller :-he tells us that Bonner took upon him as if he had been metropolitan of all England, "and that he stood not on distinction of dioceses, but martyred all, wheresoever be met them.” I believe this to be absolutely and entirely untrue. A caviller might say, though I believe it is the only case in which he could say anything of the kind, that when Bonner went, by special commission, to Oxford to perform the ceremony of degrading Cranmer, he “met" him out of his own diocese. But except this (which is no real exception) I suspect it would be impossible to name a case in which Bonner martyred, or examined, or meddled with anybody whatever, except upon the particular ground, distinctly stated in articles officially ministered, that the prisoner had been “met” in the Bishop of London's diocese, and was under his jurisdiction; and further that it was on this ground, and by virtue of this jurisdiction, that the bishop was interfering in the business,
Moreover, I know of only one case in which that claim grounded on diocese and jurisdiction was questioned by a prisoner; and that is the very one of Philpot which Fuller quotes; but which is so far from giving colour to his statement, that it most clearly exposes its gross falsehood. Philpot, in the course of an examination, said that he had not offended my Lord of London, and asked why he should be called before him. Bonner (according to Philpot's own account of the matter) did not answer by roaring like a forest of wild beasts, or by pretending to be a metropolitan, but soberly and articulately replied “Yes, I have to lay to your charge that you have offended in my diocese, by speaking against the blessed sacrament of the altar; and therefore I may call you, and proceed against you, to punish you by the law.” To this Philpot says he answered, “I have not . offended in your diocese : for that which I spake of the
sacrament was in Paul's Church in the Convocation house, · which (as I understand) is a peculiar jurisdiction, belonging • to the dean of Paul's, and therefore is counted of your * lordship's diocese, but not in your diocese.” This seems to have been new light to Bonner, who exclaimed “Is not Paul's Church in my diocese ? well I wot it costeth me a good deal of money by the year, the leading thereof." It is not to our purpose to enter into this dispute, which was repeatedly renewed between the parties ; but I will add in a note one specimen which may be enough to show, that Bonner did not take upon him to examine Philpot either as a wild beast, or a metropolitan, but (whether right or wrong in fact or in law) simply on the ground of jurisdiction in his own particular Diocese.
3 Fox, vii. 614. The passage quoted in the text occurred at Philpot's fourth examination. The subject had been repeatedly discussed before, and was touched on again at his fifth, I bid. 620 ; resumed in his seventh, Ibid. 639 ; again in a private conference with Bonner, Ibid. 646; and perhaps on other occasions ; but by the tenth the Bishop seems to have got rather tired of it, and the following conversation is reported to have taken place. The first speaker was one of two homely gentlemen ”unknown to Philpot, who happened to be present, and seems to have said nothing but what is here recorded.
“ Gentleman. Why do you not require absolution at my lord's hands • here now?
“Philpot. Because he is not mine ordinary, neither bath by the law ‘ any thing to do with me of right.
" London. What an obstinate fool is this! I tell thec, I will be thine ordinary, whether thou wilt or no. “Philpot. And because of this your unrighteous force towards me, I have appealed from you, and require you, master registrar, that my • appeal may be entered in writing.
“ London. Have you heard such a froward fellow as this ? he seemed yesterday to be very tractable, and I had a good hope of him. I tell thee, thon art of my diocese. “ Philpot. I am of Winchester diocese, and not of London diocese. “ London. I pray you, may not a man be of two dioceses at once ? “ Philpot. No, that he cannot. “ London. Lo, will you see what an ignorant fool this is in the law, in