The Pilgrimage of Grace in the north was destined to prove a much more dangerous movement. Early in October 1536 the people of York, determined to resist, and by the middle of the month the whole country was up in arms under the leadership of Robert Aske, a country gentleman and a lawyer well-known in legal services in London. Soon the movement spread through most of the counties of the north. York was surrendered to the insurgents without a struggle. Pomfret Castle, where the Archbishop of York and many of the nobles had fled for refuge, was obliged to capitulate, and Lord Darcy, the most loyal supporter of the king in the north, agreed to join the party of Aske. Hull opened its gates to the rebels, and before the end of October a well trained army of close on 40,000 men led by the principal gentlemen of the north lay encamped four miles north of Doncaster, where the Duke of Norfolk at the head of 8,000 of the king's troops awaited the attack. The Duke, fully conscious of the inferiority of his forces and well aware that he could not count on the loyalty of his own soldiers, many of whom favoured the demands of the rebels, determined to gain time by opening negotiations for a peaceful settlement (27th Oct.). Two messengers were dispatched to submit their grievances to the king, and it was agreed that until an answer should be received both parties should observe the truce. The king met the demands for the maintenance of the old faith, the restoration of the liberties of the Church, and the dismissal of ministers like Cromwell by a long explanation and defence of his political and religious policy, and the messengers returned to announce that the Duke of Norfolk was coming for another conference. Many of the leaders argued that the time for peaceful remonstrances had passed, and that the issue could be decided now only by the sword. Had their advice been acted upon the results might have been disastrous for the king, but the extreme loyalty of both the leaders and people, and the fear that civil war in England would lead to a new Scottish invasion, determined the majority to exhaust peaceful means before having recourse to violence.
An interview between the leaders and the Duke of Norfolk, representing the king, was arranged to take place at Doncaster (5th Dec.). In the meantime a convocation of the clergy was called to meet at Pomfret to formulate the religious grievances, and a lay assembly to draw up the demands of the people. Both clergy and people insisted on the acceptance of papal supremacy, the restoration of all clergy who had been deposed for resisting royal supremacy, the destruction of heretical books, such as those written by Luther, Hus, Melanchthon, Tundale, Barnes, and St. German, the dismissal of heretical bishops and advisers such as Cromwell, and the re-establishment of religious houses. Face to face with such demands, backed as they were by an army of 40,000 men, Norfolk, fearing that resistance was impossible, had recourse to a dishonest strategy. He promised the rebels that a free Parliament would be held at York to discuss their grievances, that a full pardon would be granted to all who had taken up arms, and that in the meantime the monks and nuns would be supported from the revenues of the surrendered monasteries and convents. Aske, whose weak point had always been his extreme loyalty, agreed to these terms, and ordered his followers to disband. He was invited to attend in London for a conference with the king, and returned home to announce that Henry was coming to open the Parliament at York, and that the people might rely with confidence on the royal promises. But signs were not wanting to show that the insurgents had been betrayed, and that they must expect vengeance rather than redress. Soon it was rumoured that Hull and Scarborough were being strengthened, and that in both cities Henry intended to place royal garrisons. The people, alarmed by the dangers that threatened them, attempted vainly to seize these two towns, and throughout the north various risings took place. The Duke of Norfolk, taking advantage of this violation of the truce, and having no longer any strong forces to contend with, promptly suppressed these rebellions, proclaimed martial law, and began a campaign of wholesale butchery. Hundreds of the rebels, including abbots and priests, who were suspected of favouring the insurgents, were put to death. The leaders, Aske, Lord Darcy, Lord Hussey, Sir Thomas Percy, Sir Francis Bigod, together with the abbots of Jervaux and of Fountains, and the Prior of Bidlington were arrested. Some of them suffered the penalty of death in London, while others were sent back to be executed in their own districts. By these measures the rebellion was suppressed in the north, and the rest of the counties were intimidated into submission.
Had the Emperor decided upon supporting the people of the north the course of English history might have been different, but as war had broken out once more between France and the empire, both nations, anxious to maintain good relations with England, abstained from active interference in English affairs. Pope Paul III., deeply interested as he was in the English revolution, summoned to his assistance one who understood better than most of his contemporaries the character of the king and the condition of the country, namely, Reginald Pole. The latter, turning his back on the favour of the king and the offer of the Archbishopric of York, had left England rather than approve of the king's separation from Catharine. Henry, however, hoping to induce him to return to England, maintained friendly relations with Pole, and requested him to state frankly his views on royal supremacy. Pole replied in a long treatise afterwards published under the title /Pro ecclesiasticae unitatis Defensione/ (1536), in which he reproved the conduct of the king, and warned him of the dangers that his religious policy might involve. Henry, though deeply mortified by the substance and tone of this work, pretended not to be displeased, and in the hope of silencing his distinguished kinsman whom he now both feared and hated he urged him to come back to England. Pole's mother and brothers besought him to yield to the royal wishes, or else he should prove the ruin of all those who were dear to him. Though deeply affected by their appeals, he preferred duty to family affection. He went to Rome where he was created a cardinal (1536), and appointed to assist in drawing up a scheme of ecclesiastical reforms in preparation for the General Council. Soon news arrived in Rome that a rebellion had broken out in England, that the people were ready to die in defence of their religion, and that the king might be forced to adopt a more conciliatory attitude towards Rome. It was decided to appoint Cardinal Pole papal legate, and to send him to England. Such an appointment coming at such a time filled Henry with alarm. He feared that James V. of Scotland might be induced to lead an army across the borders to the assistance of the northern rebels, and that France and the Emperor might unite their forces against one who was regarded by both as little less than a heretic. He induced the privy council to address a letter to the cardinal (Jan. 1537) reproaching him for his ingratitude and disloyalty to the king, and inviting him to come to Flanders for a friendly discussion with the English agents. Before the legate could leave Italy the Pilgrimage of Grace had been suppressed, and all hope of a successful mission in England was lost. He passed through France and Flanders, where he received a very cool reception from Francis I. and the regent of the Netherlands, both of whom had been requested to deliver him to Henry VIII. After a short stay in the territory of the Prince-bishop of Liège he returned to Rome in August 1537.
But though the rebellion in the north had been suppressed, it was sufficiently grave to show Henry the danger incurred at home by religious innovations, while the legatine mission of Cardinal Pole made it advisable to prove to the Catholic rulers of Europe that England had not gone over to the Lutheran camp. The greatest objection taken by the conservative party in England to the /Ten Articles/, drawn up by the king and accepted by Convocation in the previous year (1536), was the absence of express reference to any Sacrament except Baptism, Penance, and the Eucharist. At the meeting of Convocation (1537) the battle was waged between the Catholic-minded bishops let by Tunstall of Durham and the Lutheran party let by Cranmer. At last the other four Sacraments were "found again," and a settlement agreeable to both parties arrived at and embodied in a treatise known as /The Institution of a Christian Man/. It consisted of four parts, the Apostle's Creed, the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the Our Father and Hail Mary. Two separate articles dealing with justification and purgatory taken from the Ten Articles previously issued were appended. The bishops submitted /The Institution/ to the judgment of the king, inviting him as supreme head of the Church to correct whatever was amiss with their doctrine, but Henry, anxious to hold himself free to bargain with the Lutheran princes if necessary, refused to take any responsibility for the work beyond ordering that it might be read in the churches for three years. Hence it was called the /Bishop's Book/.
Against this and as a concession to the reforming party in England Henry was pleased to approve of a translation of the Bible presented to him by Cranmer, and to order copies of it to be provided for the use of the faithful in every parish church (1537-38). William Tyndale, who had fled from England to Wittenberg, set himself to complete a translation of the Bible, which translation was published and smuggled into England in 1526. The translation was in itself bristling with errors, and the marginal notes were stupidly offensive. The bishops made desperate attempts to secure its suppression, but despite their efforts the obnoxious translation and even many of the more objectionable works written by the same author continued to find their way into England. The king, though nominally supporting the bishops, was not sorry that such works should be spread amongst the people, as a warning to the Pope of the consequences of a refusal to comply with the royal wishes. In 1530, however, he took counsel with the bishops and learned men to see what might be done to procure a good English translation of the Bible. They agreed that the reading of an English version of the Bible was not necessary for salvation, that, though the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue might be useful in certain circumstances and for certain people, they were more likely to be harmful at a time when erroneous books and heretical books were being propagated. Furthermore they advised that a proper correct translation should be made and placed in the king's hands, so that he might order its publication whenever he thought that a favourable moment had arrived for such a work.
Cromwell was, however, determined to push forward the new religious teachings. He was in close correspondence with an apostate Augustinian friar named Coverdale, who had been obliged to leave the country on account of his heretical opinions. At Cromwell's instigation Coverdale set himself to prepare a new translation of the Bible, and it was completed and published about 1535. Unlike that of Tyndale, who had gone to the Greek and Hebrew originals, Coverdale's Bible was made from the Vulgate with the aid of the German Lutheran translation. It was if anything even more objectionable than Tyndale's, but Cromwell intended to force it upon the clergy in the /Injunctions/ drawn up for their guidance in 1536, though apparently on further consideration he doubted the prudence of such a step, and the clause regarding the English Bible was omitted. In 1537 Cranmer presented the English Bible to Cromwell for approval. It was supposed to contain "the Old and New Testament, truly and purely translated into English by Thomas Matthew," but in reality it was only a compilation of the works of Tyndale and Coverdale made by one John Rogers. Though very objectionable from the point of view of Catholic doctrine it was approved by Cromwell as vicar-general, and copies were ordered to be placed in every church (1538). Nearly two years later Coverdale's "Great Bible" with a preface by Cranmer was published.
The results of the free use of such translations were soon apparent in the religious discussions that took place in many parts of England. Henry began to fear that he had acted unwisely in allowing the people to make their religion for themselves, and besides, as Cromwell had fallen, the conservative bishops like Gardiner of Winchester were in the ascendant. In the Convocation of 1542 grave objections were raised against these various translations, and with the approval of the king it was resolved to undertake a revision of them; but while the committee appointed for this revision was at work, a messenger arrived from the king forbidding Convocation to proceed further, as His Majesty had decided to take the matter out of the hands of the bishops and submit it to the universities. The bishops protested against this order, but their protests were unheeded, and an English Bible, that had been condemned by Convocation, was forced on the clergy and people against the advice of the ecclesiastical authorities. In 1543, however, an Act was passed in Parliament at the request of the king forbidding private individuals to take it upon themselves to interpret the Bible in any public assembly; noblemen, gentlemen householders, and even merchants might retain the English translation and read it, but this favour was denied to the lower classes "unless the king perceiving their lives to be amended by the doctrines he had set forth thought fit to give them liberty to read it."
Early in 1536 Queen Catharine died. Her heart had been broken by the conduct of the king and by separation from her daughter the Princess Mary. Time and again she had been commanded under threat of the severest punishment to accept the sentence of Cranmer's court, but both herself and the Princess refused steadfastly to subscribe to such a dishonourable verdict. After Catharine's death and merely to save her life Mary signed a document agreeing to the abolition of papal supremacy and the invalidity of her mother's marriage, though nobody attached any importance to a submission that was obtained in such circumstances. The death of Catharine was a great relief to Henry and Anne, more especially to the latter, who had some reason for believing that she herself had lost her hold on the affections of the king. Henry had already grown weary of the woman for whose sake he had put his lawful wife away and separated his kingdom from the Catholic Church, and the disappointment of his hopes for the birth of an heir to the throne confirmed his intention of ridding himself of a partner, who was regarded by his own subjects and the nations of Europe only as his concubine. She was arrested on a charge of misconduct with her brother and other gentlemen of the court, was tried before a body of the peers, and was put to death at Tyburn (17th May, 1536). Cranmer, who in his heart was convinced of her innocence, promptly held a court and pronounced her marriage with Henry null and void. On the very day of her execution he issued a license for the king to marry Jane Seymour, one of Anne's maids of honour, and before the end of the month the marriage was celebrated. In June Parliament confirmed Cranmer's sentence by declaring the invalidity of Henry's previous marriages, and the illegitimacy of Mary and Elizabeth, and by fixing the succession on the heirs of the king and Jane Seymour. Furthermore, in case there might be no children it empowered the king to determine by his will who should succeed. The object of this was to enable him to appoint as his heir his bastard son, the Duke of Richmond, but this intention was frustrated by the death of the Duke (July 1537).
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