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"privy nips” to the Balaamite priest, such as Bishop Christopherson and Miles Hoggard would not have approved', before he got the whipping, which he is said to have received ere he reached his father in the Lollards’ Tower. For “the priest took the child by the hand, and led him into the bishop's house,” says Fox; and he adds, with the absurdity which so often, and so happily neutralizes his malice," whether to the bishop or not I know not, but like enough he did.” “ Like enough "—is that all ? and is there the least likelihood of such a thing ? especially when Fox proceeds to state that the child as soon as he had been whipped was taken to his father in the tower, and fell on his knees and told him his pitiful story, how“ a priest with Balaam’s mark took him into the bishop's house, and there was he so handled ;” but not a word did the child say
of ever seeing the bishop. Fox himself dared not put more in his marginal note than "The miserable tyranny of the papists in scourging a child."
The historian, however, tells us that they detained the boy (whom they probably considered as a go-between) for three days; and at the end of that time Bonner makes his first appearance in the story. And then we are introduced to him, not burning heretics, but “ basting of himself against a great fire” in his bed-room. There is nothing to show that he had ever before heard of either John Fetty or his child; but on that occasion the father (and as far as appears the father only) was brought before him. He quickly showed by his conduct and discourse that he was either a sort of half-witted person, or else that finding himself in awkward circumstances he wished to pass for one. In that character, whether natural or artificial, he talked some sad nonsense and impertinence to the Bishop, who having, of course, gone through the necessary preliminaries of being in a marvellous rage” and a “ great fury," and then again being in “fear of the law for murdering a child,"
? See before, pp. 232, 234. The story of this poor little fellow, a martyr (if at all) to the cant language of the ribaldry in which he had been reared, forms an instructive commentary on the statements of these writers respecting what Fox describes as “ being, godly brought up.” Perhaps it is due to his mother to believe that his
father, under whose instruction he had so profited, had it in his power to be very provoking.
(for all at once it has come to be quite certain that the child was killed, and by Bonner too, and therefore he)" discharged him.” It is remarkable that on one point, Fox says absolutely nothing,—there is not a word of the prisoner's being asked to abjure, or recant, or submit, or amend his evil ways-no hint of his being offered, or signing, any bill (as Fox calls it), or of anything of the kind, so common on such occasions. " I think, however,
I think, however, that every well-informed reader will suspect that so far as prudential reasons and “ fear of the law” might weigh with a “ bloody wolf," Bonner must have known that it would have been safer for him to whip two taylor prentices to death, and hide them in his coal-house, than to discharge one prisoner committed under the warrant of Sir John Mordant without a recanta
8 As it seems difficult to imagine that Fox could have received his account of this interview on any authority but that of John Fetty himself, it is worth while to subjoin the particulars, especially as it seems probable that there was no other authority (Fox certainly refers to none) for any one word of the story.
* At his first entering into the chamber, Fetty said, 'God be here, and peace.' God be here, and peace !' quoth Bonner, that is neither God 'speed, nor good morrow.' 'If ye kick against this peace,' said Fetty, then this is not the place that I seek for.'
“A chaplain of the bishop's standing by, turned the poor man about, "and thinking to deface him said in mocking-wise, “What have we here, ' a player ?' Whilst this Fetty was standing in the bishop's chamber be espied hanging about the bishop's bed a great pair of black beads : whereupon he said, “My lord, I think the hangman is not far off; for 'the halter' (pointing to the beads) 'is here already.' At which words 'the bishop was in a MARVELLOUS RAGE.
“Then, immediately after, he espied also standing in the said bishop's chamber in the window, a little crucifix (before which belike, Bonner used to kneel in the time of his hypocritical prayers). Then he asked the bishop what it was; and he answered that it was Christ. Was he • handled so cruelly as he is here pictured ? ' quoth Fetty.
“Yea, that he was,' said the bishop.
". And even so cruelly will you handle such as come before you. For 'you are unto God's people, as Caiaphas was unto Christ.'
"The Bishop, being in a GREAT FURY, said, Thou art a vile heretic; ' and I will burn thee, or else I will spend all that I have, unto my gown.' "Nay, my lord,' said Fetty, 'ye were better to give it a poor body, that 'he may pray for you ??.
“But yet Bonner, bethinking himself of the danger that the child was 'in by their whipping, and what peril might ensue thereupon, thought better to discharge him ; which thing was accomplished. Whereupon after this and such like talk, the bishop at last discharged him, willing him to go home, and carry his child with him," &c. Certainly if Bonner was a wild beast, Feity was a Van Amburgh.
tion or submission, or some sort of voucher, to lay before the Council. But nothing, I repeat, is said about it.
Our business, however, is rather with the story of the unfortunate little creature, whom, for his impertinence, Fox has made a martyr. Within fourteen days after he had been taken home by his father the child is said to have died; and Fox most characteristically adds “Whether through this cruel scourging, or any other infirmity, I • know not; and therefore I refer the truth thereof unto 'the Lord who knoweth all secrets, and also to the discreet judgement of the wise reader;" discreet and wise historian -he gives no hint how he picked up the story, and does not venture to insinuate that the boy, or the father, or anybody else ever said that the Bishop even knew of the whipping. Such is the authority for Fuller's bold, brief, and, I suppose I may add, false statement.
But there is also the case of “Hugh Laverock a creeple, sixty-eight years old, whom he caused to be burned.” It is really not worth while to waste time on such childish stuff. If Fuller had said that nobody, of any age, lame or not lame, ought to be burned for heresy, one would fully and heartily agree with him. The law by which it was done, was execrable, and should have been altered; but while the law existed, while the government enforced it, while public opinion and even the most violent partisans of the Reformation supported it, when, as far as I know, nobody had ever thought of saying a word against it-when things were in this state what was a judge to do? Half a century ago people in general, I believe, thought that a man who had committed forgery ought to be hanged ; and, though our judges were not bloody wolves, it was a very rare thing for a convicted forger to escape the gallows. How the court and jury sworn would have stared if the counsel for the prisoner had admitted the fact without hesitation, declared that his client did it on principle, gloried in it, and would do it again as soon as he was discharged-for discharged he would of course be, seeing that he was sixty-eight years old, and could not walk without a crutch ?
Such matter is not worth answering, but I must notice here again the language in which the statement is made. He describes the “lame old man of the Parish of Barking, painter,” as one whom Bonner “caused to be burned.” Of course, if an author were writing history with any particular spite against the law of forgery and the late Serjeant Glynn, he might represent Dr. Dodd as a victim whom the bloody Recorder « caused to be hanged;" but surely nothing less than ignorance, or malice, or some particular notion of language, could lead any one to use such an expression, unless he meant to imply some particular causation. Now as to this poor man of Barking, very few particulars except his age and lameness are recorded by Fox; but yet it so happens that he does tell us that Hugh Laverock was charged with what was considered the grossest heresy"; and what is more to our purpose, we learn that one of the articles ministered to him and confessed by him, was this ;
“ That thou, the said N., being convented before certain Judges or Commissioners for thy disorder herein, and being found obstinate, wilful, and heady, wast by their commandment sent to me and my prison, to be examined by me, and process to be made against thee for thy offence herein."
But let us for a while dismiss Fuller's wild beast, or forest of wild beasts, in order to introduce a very different character. When the reader of Fox has become sufficiently familiar with the “ MARVELLOUS RAGE” and “ GREAT FURY that embellish so many of his descriptions of prelatical proceedings, to treat them as Mr. Burchell would have done,
9 “ Amongst other things thou hast misliked and earnestly spoken * against the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacrament of the Altar, and the
Unity of the Church, railing and maligning the authority of the see of • Rome and the faith observed in the same.
Hast heretofore refused, and dost refuse at this present, to be reconciled again to the • unity of the church.
Hast affirmed expressly that the mass is idolatry and abomination," &c. See Fox, viii. 140, and compare vii. 715.
1 In order even to know what this means, he must have read Fox a good deal, and not merely as I suspect some admirers of Fox do, but stopping now and then to think whether the facts which he states are really such (not merely in degree, but in kind) as to warrant the flourish with which he introduces them, or the comment which he appends to them. The EagE and Fury of prelates and persecutors is of course a constant theme, and affords many ludicrous specimens of nonsense and falsehood ; none perhaps more so than the following. If the reader turns to vol. v. p. 765, he will find that, at the "third Session against Bonner," after Cranmer had been addressing " the people," and telling them how Bonner went about to deceive them, and had appealed to the said people, to judge of the Denunciation against him, which he ordered when he calmly inquires what these tales so full of rage and fury really mean, when they mean anything he finds the bloody wolf transformed (I will not say into a spaniel, for that might imply fawning), but into something much more like a good-tempered mastiff
, who might safely be played with, and who though he might be teazed into barking and growling, had no disposition to bite, and would not do it without orders. In plainer terms, setting aside declamation, and looking at the details of facts left by those who may be called, if people please, Bonner's victims, and their friends, we find, very consistently maintained, the character of a man, straightforward and hearty, familiar and humorous, sometimes rough, perhaps coarse, naturally hot-tempered, but obviously by the testimony of his enemies) placable and easily entreated, capable of bearing most patiently much intemperate and insolent language, much reviling and low abuse directed against himself personally, against his order, and against those peculiar doctrines and practices of his church for maintaining which, he had himself suffered the loss of all things, and borne long imprisonment. At the same time not incapable of being provoked into saying harsh to be read to them by Sir John Mason.—"This done, the Archbishop. said again onto the audience, 'Lol here you hear how the Bishop of London is called for no such' matter as he would persuade you.' With this,” continues the Martyrologist, “the bishop being in a RAGING HEAT, as one CLEAN VOID OF ALL HUMANITY, turned himself about unto the people [whom the Archbishop had made his judges] saying ' -Now, what does the reader suppose he said ? of course, such a torrent of oaths, and brutal blasphemies, as no scribe, though “clean void of all humanity," unless he were also in a “raging heat,” could set down in writing. Not at all--nothing of the kind the story of the mountain in labour is clean outdone, unless we can imagine a volcano and a dormouse. Fox's owu words are literally what follow, “The bishop being in a raging heat, as
one void of all humanity, turned himself about unto the people, saying, "Well, now hear what the Bishop of London saith for his part.' But
the commissioners, seeing his INORDINATE CONTUMACY, denied him to * speak any more, saying that be used himself very DISOBEDIENTLY ; • with more like words of reproach.” This is only given as one of many specimens continually recurring, and producing, often insensibly, by dropping on the minds of thoughtless readers, fixed and obstinate, though obscure and unfounded, ideas, that they have read dreadful things about shocking rage, and passion, and inordinate contumacy, and disobedience, and merited reproach, when in fact they have merely been duped by a tale " full of sound and fury"--not indeed " signifying nothing," but signifying something very different from what they have understood, or were meant to understand by it.