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that there are many redeeming virtues in the history of the Cardinal. We may blame him for his faults, but there was a noble daring in many of his actions, a commanding influence even in his most ambitious measures, which render the contrast between his grandeur and his fall peculiarly touching. The inflexible consistency of his religious principles, when the question concerning them really became one of a personal nature, must win the respect of those who are most opposed to them, and for ever save his name from the epigrammatic condemnation of Johnson, who perhaps paid more attention, while he was writing it, to the satirical pungency of the phrase, than to its moral propriety. It appears to us, that Mr. Todd's work is singularly ill-timed. Any man, whose eyes are not wilfully sealed against passing events, must clearly see that the days of the established church of England are already numbered, and that it is rapidly drawing towards the close of its disastrous career. Every event which takes place, whether abroad or at home in favour of liberty, is a blow struck at the outworks of that fabric. The single fact announced by Lord Althorp very lately in the House of Commons, with respect to the see of Derry, is sufficient of itself to open in a little time upon the whole system, the flood-gates of public opinion, against which let it maintain itself if it can. The noble Lord, in answer to a question put by Mr. Hume, stated that ministers were unwilling to deal with the see in question in an isolated manner, as if that bishopric alone stood exclusively in need of regulation; that, however, the new bishop would be informed that he is to accept the dignity, subject to such alterations as the Parliament may hereafter make, and that a general measure was in the contemplation of government, with the view of distributing the excessive revenues of some of the Irish bishoprics among the poorer benefices, so as to place the latter upon a more equal footing than they are at present. Suppose this measure to be accomplished in Ireland, can any just reason be assigned wherefore the same principle should not be acted upon in England 2 We apprehend not. The discussions about the church property will then begin in good earnest; the theories about the sacredness of tithes, and about their being as validly secured to the clergy as any private property is to any private gentleman, will be blown by an indignant people into the air. The question will be asked by the dissenter, why am I to pay for a church from which I receive no benefit, which I never frequent, which I think in error? The conclusion will be, let every man pay his own pastor, and let no clergyman be paid by the state, and then we shall behold the complete downfal of a church, which has literally nothing to maintain it but acts of Parliament, and revenues plundered from the church of a former age. And it is while this process is going on in the destinies of the establishment, and going on, too, so conspicuously in the face of day, that he who runs may read, that Mr. Todd has flattered him
self into the belief, that he is rendering a valuable service to his church, by re-producing from the dusty shelves of old libraries a huge heap of theological pamphlets, which he has been pleased to entitle, not A Life, but ‘The Life of Archbishop Cranmer.” If he will but read over with a little care, and without any of the parental prejudices of an author, his own two volumes, and mark the facts which he discloses, and the astounding admissions which he makes, he must acknowledge that he has need of all the testimonies which all his friends, and his rank in the church, can afford him, chaplain though he be to the king, prebendary though he be of York, and rector though he be of Settrington, in the county of York, to protect him from being considered as one of the most treacherous and effective enemies of that very church to which he is indebted for his subsistence. The bitterest foe of the establishment could scarcely desire a more powerful auxiliary than the Rev. Henry John Todd, or evidence more conclusive with respect to the unworthy proceedings, the selfish intrigues, the weak sophistry, and the fundamental errors, by the assistance of which that historical imposture, called the reformation, was commenced, and carried on, for even yet it has not been consummated, than is to be found in this very life of Cranmer. It would be very easy for us to strengthen that evidence from other sources; but, in the remarks we have to make, we shall in no one instance go out of the two volumes which lie before us. Both Mr. Todd and his martyr, the archbishop, shall have a fair hearing: but out of their own mouths shall they be condemned. It seems that England is indebted to the Conquest for the right ancient family of Cranmer, and that from an early age” “he was accustomed to the diversions of hunting and hawking, and was skilled in the use of the bow,’ a course of preparation which, it must be acknowledged, was peculiarly appropriate for the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury ! Having been sent, at the age of fourteen, to Jesus College, Cambridge, he proceeded “among the better sort of students in “right good knowledge,”’ but in what that knowledge particularly consisted, the biographer is unable to inform us. He supposes that young Cranmer was, “perhaps, encouraged ' by Erasmus, then at Cambridge, to worthier pursuits than mere scholastic subtleties; he infers that because Cambridge was said by the same distinguished scholar to be ‘improving in elegant and useful literature,” Cranmer must have done the same, and he believes, for he has not a syllable of fact to state upon this subject, that Cranmer, who had already been elected a fellow of his college,’ was then highly distinguishing himself as a scholar, when (what
think you, gentle reader?) love interfered with learning, and prevailed !’
* He was born at Aslacton, in the county of Nottingham, on the 2d of July, 1489.
Now we by no means blame the ‘fellow” for falling in love, although he knew that marriage must cost him his fellowship, according to the statutes of his college; we shall here only remark, that the man who married at the age of twenty-three, must have then had a very small notion of devoting himself to the service of a church, which required its ministers to observe the strictest celibacy. Nor do we think that we greatly err in supposing, for we have as good a right to make hypotheses as Mr. Todd, that this hunting, hawking young gentleman, skilled in the bow, and brought up among the better sort of students at Cambridge, (who are very seldom the most moral characters in the world,) was, in fact, rather more given to dissipation than to study—at least, to the study of theology. It seems admitted, upon all hands, that the name of the female whose charms prevailed over learning was Joan, but whether her surname was Black or Brown, the archbishop himself did not know. He married her, consequently, without the slightest inquiry on the subject, having become acquainted with her at an inn or tavern, distinguished by the sign of the Dolphin, at Cambridge. It was there, at all events, that she lived after their marriage, she being the cousin of the mistress of the house, which affords no small confirmation to the assertion that she was, in truth, a woman of low condition. Fox says that she was the daughter of a gentleman; be it so: still if not a legitimate daughter, her condition would not have been raised by that circumstance. But be this as it may, we have here the undisputed facts of this ‘fellow’ taking unto himself a wife at the age of twenty-three, which places this point beyond dispute, that he did not then intend himself for the church, and of course paid no regard to the course of study necessary for that vocation. Indeed, it is stated, that now, having lost his fellowship by his marriage, he employed himself as a general tutor, doubtless for his support. Some persons have said, that he acted for a time as hostler at the inn, but we shall give him all the benefit that can arise from admitting that this was mere slander.
The first Mrs. Cranmer having died about the year 1514, as well as we can make it out, that is to say, in about a year after her marriage, the ‘fellow' was restored to his fellowship, contrary to the statutes, which exclude the widower as well as the husband, and we are told that the tenour of his academical life followed on for ten or twelve years without any material interruption. He was appointed lecturer in divinity in his own college, and it is said, we have no doubt with great truth, that his mode of discharging this office “contributed to forward the reformation,’ for, not having been properly founded in theological doctrine, he confined all his studies in that way to the Scriptures. ‘He had now,” (1526), says his biographer, “long studied the Scriptures. He had obtained the name of a Scripturist, which was given to those in the University who, by the Book of God, were led to think for themselves, and who were not without the suspicion of inclining to Luther.” “Per
suaded, as he must have been,’ continues the author, ‘by Erasmus, he would now perhaps be also convinced by Luther, that the corruptions of the Romish church were great and many’s Nevertheless, Cranmer had been already for some years a priest of that church, the corruptions of which he was thus both persuaded and convinced were great and many; and instead of abandoning at once the sacred character which he was thus abusing, as he ought to have abandoned it if he were a sincere and honest-hearted man, he still went on from day to day, outwardly conforming to doctrines which inwardly he is said to have disbelieved. So far we find, upon Mr. Todd's own shewing, that Cranmer, having sacrificed his fellowship to a wife at the age of twenty-three, had become at the age of thirty-six a confirmed hypocrite. His biographer hardly knows what became of him for two or three years; the pest called the “Sweating Sickness” drove him away from Cambridge, and we hear nothing of him except that he lived at Waltham, until the year 1528, when the validity of Henry's marriage with Catharine was the subject of discussion in every circle, learned and unlearned, throughout the country. Into this question we need not enter. We shall merely observe that the point in dispute was, whether the marriage was invalid from the beginning, or was voidable by the dispensing power of the Pope, as head of the church. If it was invalid, according to the Canon Laws, from the beginning, then there was no necessity of appealing to the Pope; if it were only voidable by the Papal power, then it was to be feared that the power, supposing it to exist, would not be exercised in favour of Henry. The opinions of theologians were much sought after upon this question. Cranmer sided with those who thought the marriage invalid ab initio, and it was to this circumstance that, in the profit-regarding language of his biographer, “he owed his introduction to preferment.’ “Where is this Dr. Cranmer ?” asked Henry, who was delighted with the intelligence, “Is he still at Waltham : " Gardiner and Fox replied that they left him there. “Marry,” said the king, “I will surely speak with him, and therefore let him be sent for out of hand. I perceive that this man hath the sow by the right ear.” He was accordingly forth with summoned into the royal presence, repeated his opinion, and was provided with board and lodging in the earl of Wiltshire's house, while he drew up a treatise in defence of the king's object, in which he argued that it was supported by the authority of the Scriptures, of general councils, and of ancient writers. Upon perusing this work the king asked him, “Will you abide by this, that you have here written, before the bishop of Rome?” Cranmer answered, “That I will do, by God's grace, if your majesty shall send me thither;” and the royal reply was, “I will send you.” The preferment to which Cranmer was thus introduced, rapidly followed; he was appointed one of the royal chaplains, and archdeacon of Taunton, and obtained also a benefice, the name of which is not mentioned. It may be supposed that his zeal in maintaining the opinion which he had formed—sincerely formed let us even allow—would not be cooled by these little remembrances, nor by the fact that he wrote his treatise in the house of the father of Anne Boleyn, who was slightly interested in the success of his argument. Cranmer and his book were both sent to Rome, in the suite of that nobleman, whose object was to obtain the divorce if possible: but strange to say the Pope, Clement, was not subdued either by the verbal or written arguments of the learned divine, and he left Rome just as he had entered it, except that, “to stay his stomach,” as Fuller expresses it, a trifling titular dignity had been conferred upon him by the Pope, to which he offered no objection, great as his horror of the Papal supremacy was supposed to have been. He was next appointed ambassador to the emperor Charles, who was almost as much opposed to the divorce as the Pope himself, and whom, no doubt, it was Henry’s object to gain over to his side of the question if possible. In this, however, he altogether failed. Indeed Cranmer had other objects in view; having become acquainted with Osiander, a pastor at Nuremberg, who favoured the idea of Henry’s divorce, he thought he could make no better return for the friendship with which that divine had favoured him, than by marrying his niece, an event which appears to have taken place in the early part of the year 1532, Cranmer having been then about forty-three years old. This fact is mentioned by Mr. Todd with the greatest possible coolness, as if it were but an ordinary affair in his eyes, that a priest of the Catholic church, who had, upon the altar of God, pledged himself, by the most solemn vows, to a life of celibacy, should, without the slightest hesitation, violate those vows, and not only do this, but still go on performing daily the usual functions of his priesthood Excuses may be found in the ardour of the passions, and perhaps even in the order of nature, which, in the eyes of mere men of the world, may be considered plausible enough, on behalf of individuals who have found themselves unable to comply with vows of this description. But what justification can, in fairness and common candour, be alleged in favour of the man, who not only tramples on sanctions of so awful a character, but still perseveres in discharging the holy office with which they were essentially connected as an inviolable condition ? If Cranmer found it necessary to take a second wife, after he had accepted of the priesthood upon terms of celibacy, the least he could have done ought to have been to cease from exercising the duties of the priesthood, for which his marriage rendered him incapacitated. But this manly course was not one that suited his dispositions. He adroitly concealed his sacrilegious nuptials, having been, as indeed we have already had occasion to observe, thoroughly experienced in the ways of hypocrisy. Thus, wherever we turn our eyes, in the early stages of the