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He adds, that the book is ftill preferved in the Vatican library, and fhewn to ftrangers, particularly the English. There is a diftich at the bottom of the laft page, by which the King addreffes the work to his Holinefs, and his Majefty's name in his own hand-writing.
The next memorable circumftance which occurs relates to Henry's divorce, which, tho' bad enough in itfelf, our uncandid hiftorian endeavours to aggravate by the most unfair mifreprefentation. The witneffes, he fays, (from what authority we know not) had been garbled chiefly out of the kinfmen or creatures of the King and Mrs. Anne Bullen. The facts, to which they depofed, were the age of Prince Arthur and the Lady Catharine, at their marriage; the confummation of the marriage; and Henry's proteft, in his father's lifetime, against his affiance with the Queen.' Here our author forgets to tell us that this confummation was proved, as Rapin affures us, by as inconteftible evidence as any thing of that kind is capable of. Indeed Prince Arthur's health and vigour of conftitution, not to mention the declarations which he made himself the next morning, afford the strongest teftimony that the marriage had been confummated. But in truth the account of this divorce, which our author treats very much at large, without affording us any new lights, is altogether foreign from the hiftory of the Cardinal's life, as he, being then very young, was no way interested in the tranfaction, any farther than difcovering a general difapprobation of the king's intentions: notwithstanding which, Henry did not withdraw his favour from him, but conferred feveral rich benefices on him, and fent him to the univerfity of Paris, with repeated marks of his bounty. The Cardinal, however, did not make any returns of gratitude: for though Henry, as Rapin affures us, condefcended to fend him a manufcript, which contained his Apology, and the Reafons for the Measures he took against the Pope, yet Pole very difrefpe&fully anfwered him by a treatife called Ecclefiaftical Unity, couched in the moft injurious terms, wherein he compares the King to Nebuchodonozor, and exhorted the Emperor and all other Sovereigns to turn their arms against him. This charge however our author endeavours to palliate. But from what authority? Why, from the Cardinal's own apology to Edward the Sixth, wherein he cannot exprefsly deny the charge neither, but attempts to elude it, like an accomplished churchman, by a quibble: for he confeffes that he advifed the Emperor and the King of France to employ threats, and to break off all intercourfe and communication with Henry, if offices of perfuafion and friendship were to no effect.' Now, as he must have known that Henry was not a Prince to be moved by vain threats, his advising then to use menaces was indirectly
exhorting them to turn their arms against him. We fhould not have wondered, however, if fo accomplished a churchman had told a flat fib on fuch an occafion.
We pass over our Author's abfurd reflections on the Lay Supremacy, a headship with which he tells us all antiquity was unacquainted. Fie, Mr. Philips! leave the Fathers, and turn over the pages of hiftory; where you will find, on the contrary, that, during all antiquity, the head of the state was, in every well regulated kingdom, the head of the church. Were it otherwife, we must admit of an imperium in imperio, which is the most monftrous of all abfurdities; and which, while it continued here, was attended with fatal confequences: witness the reigns of Henry II. King John, Richard II. &c. and witness the many acts of parliament which, even in the days of Popish bigotry, were made to reftrain the ufurpation and tyranny of his Holinefs, and his ghoftly band.
It would lead us greatly beyond our limits, were we to animadvert on all our Author's bigotted reflections. He is fuch an accomplished churchman, that he gives no quarter to any man who dares to fhew a difpofition of thinking and judging for himfelf. Thus the facetious Erafmus falls under his lafh, and his admirable ridicule of holy impofture is cenfured as impiety and prophane fneer. Poor Mr. Pope likewife comes in for his fhare: he is lafhed for his ambiguous principles, and for prefuming to entertain advantageous fentiments of Erafmus. We must not omit however taking notice of the extravagant encomiums he paffes on the delicacy of the Cardinal's confcience, who withdrew rather than fubmit to the Lay Supremacy. It will be well if the Author is able to fhew that his hero difplayed the fame delicacy in Queen Mary's time. It will be a task worthy of his cafuiftry, to fhew how an ecclefiaftic of a delicate confcience could ftep into the fee of the unfortunate Cranmer, on the very day on which he was burned for his faith. An act fo grofs and precipitate, that many accused him of haftening the death of that prelate, out of avidity to feize his poffeffions; though others, in truth, maintain that he difapproved of the barbarity of fuch executions. But if he difapproved of them, why did he not withdraw from fuch bloody councils? Why did he continue to act as prime minifter,-a poft in which he might be prefumed to influence the proceedings of ftate? Laftly, why did he greedily feize on the fpoils of a victim facrificed against his own judgment? But we will not farther anticipate the fubject of the enfuing volume.
It will be to no purpose for us to follow our Author through the account he gives of the several embaffies and public employ
ments which were committed to the Cardinal's charge: we have already intimated that they were attended with no fuccefsful confequences; and it is happy that they were not, for the end propofed by them all was to establish or increase the Popish dominion, and to pour his vengeance on Henry for fhaking off the Papal Supremacy.
It is curious to obferve with what inveteracy our Author attacks the memory of Henry for the fuppreffion of the religious houfes. They not only, he obferves, promoted a general literary improvement, as far as it was understood or attainable in their times, but were induftrious, at different periods of our national calamities, to reftore learning, and refcue their country from the ignorance into which thofe difafters had caufed it to fall.' He then takes occafion to ridicule the quaint conceits, as he calls them, which prevailed under Elizabeth, and which are now, he tells us, the laughter of every Westminster school-boy. We do not wonder that Mr. Philips fhould diflike any thing which prevailed under the reign of good Queen Befs: but let us afk him, whether a fenfible Weftminfter fchool-boy would not equally laugh at the monkish rhymes, and chuckle at
Mingere cum bumbis
Res eft faluberrima lumbis?
Yet Mr. Philips proceeds, damning the ignorance and bad tafte of the times at every step. Indeed he does vouchsafe to except Bacon and Raleigh, and to acknowledge that all the madnefs of the civil wars could not fupprefs the genius of Milton.
But, he adds, the tranquillity of this Prince (meaning Charles the first) was of fhort date; and the fanaticifm of the commonwealth defpifed human knowledge, and was as declared a foe to taste and fcience, as to order and law.' Surely Mr. Philips muft imagine the English to be totally unacquainted with the literary hiftory of their own country, or he would never have prefumed to fpeak thus of a period, which produced fome of the most excellent treatifes that ever were penned on the fcience of government, the most important of all sciences: a period too which was diftinguished in other branches of literature for taste and genius. Does he think we have forgotten the incomparable Harrington, who explained and illuftrated the principles of liberty; and his excellent friend Nevil, and others, who laboured in the fame vineyard? or that we have loft all recollection of the great philofopher of Malmbury, who opened the way to the penetrating Locke? Does he imagine that the facetious Butler is no longer remembered? nor the immortal Dryden, who was bred, and firft fhone forth under the commonwealth? But there is nothing like a round affertion in verbo
facerdotis, and accordingly Mr. Philips does not hefitate to conclude, that it was not till Charles the Second's days that the general fenfe of the nation awakened to a difcernment in the various productions of genius, and returned to the tafte and elegance of Sir Thomas More and the cotemporaries of his era." Amazing! that Mr. Philips fhould fix this as the era of tafte and elegance, which was moftly diftinguifhed by productions of low ribaldry, buffoonry, and obfcenity! But who does not fee that he measures all excellence by the crooked line of papiftical prejudice? To what other principle can any rational and candid Reader attribute the following reflections?
Befides the advantages of literature, which the nation received from the monaftic profeffion, there were others ftill more diffused, and more univerfally felt. The referved rents of these landlords were low, and their fines eafy. A part of the produce of the farm, without money, often difcharged the tenant. A boundless hofpitality was kept up to all forts of perfons; and public entertainment given to our nobility and gentry, when they travelled. An eftimate may be made of their alms from the following inftance. While the religious houfes fubfifted, there were no provifions made by parliament to relieve the poor, no affefiment on the parifh for that purpofe: but, at prefent, this charge on the kingdom, amounts, by a low computation, to above 800,000l. a year. Now if we compare the annual income of 135,522 pounds, 18 fhillings, and 10 pence, which was the appraisement of the monaftic lands, with the Poors tax, we shall fee what the nation has gained by the diffolution. Nor does the different valuation of money in thofe and the present times make any difference in the nature of the burden, as the poffeffors of the abbey-lands would find, if this rent-charge, which is drawn on the whole nation, was levied on them only. To thefe general benefits we muft add thofe which particular parts of the community found in thefe inftitutions. The abbeys which held by knights fervice furnished a certain number of foldiers, proportioned to their eftates, and equipped them for the field, at their own charge. They paid a fum of money to defray the expence of knighthood, when that diftinction was conferred on their founder's heir; and contributed to a fortune for the marriage of their Lord's eldest daughter. The founders like wife had the privilege of corrody, or of quartering a certain number of poor fervants on the abbeys; and thus the aged and worn out with labour, who were no longer in a condition to fupport themselves, were not thrown up to ftarving, or parish collections but had a comfortable retreat, where they were maintained during life, without the hardships or marks of indigence. On thefe confiderations one of our hiftorians has made no difficulty
to affert, that it would be but an act of common juftice, to give the generality of proteftants a more favourable opinion of monafteries and the complicated and national guilt which was incurred by diffolving them, has induced others to look on the calamities which trod on the heels of this iniquity, as fo many indications of a provoked and avenging God. Of a hundred families of note and fortune, which were in the county of Norfolk before the diffolution, all that had enriched themfelves by thefe fpoils of facrilege, were either extinct, or much impaired, in Sir Henry Spelman's time, among which that great and excellent man acknowledges his own. The day which gave commencement to this crime was thought ominous; for on the meeting of the long Parliament, from which the church of EngJand dates her misfortunes, feveral perfons entreated archbishop Laud to move the King to have it adjourned for a fhort time, it being the fame day on which the legiflature, in Henry the Eighth's reign, began the diffolution of religious houfes. The anger of Heaven exercifed on the nobility a ftill feverer vengeance than in permitting their poffeffions to moulder away, and their families to fall; more of that clafs having been attainted and died by the hand of the executioner within twenty years after the diffolution, than during the preceding five hundred; which was the space between the Conqueft and that period; and the Commons, doubtlefs, in their turn, have drank deep of this cup of deadly wine. "England fate weeping, fays Camden, to fee her wealth exhaufted, her coin embafed, and her abbeys. demolished, which were the monuments of ancient piety."
Here, it must be confeffed, our Author has made a most specious display of all the arguments which have been over and over repeated on the fame occafion. With regard to the hospitality which he extols, admitting it to have been as boundless as he contends, is it not better for the induftrious husbandmen, &c. to be able to boil pots of their own, than to affemble, like so many cattle, in the fpacious hall of a lordly ecclefiaftic, and to be fed on his offals? As to his comparifon between the annual income of the monaftic lands and the prefent poor's tax, tho' he boldly affirms, without any proof, that the different valuation of money makes no difference, yet when that and the vast increase of poor, owing to the general increase of the kingdom, is taken into confideration, we fhall find the public to be no lofers by the diffolution. Befides, will any man who has the leaft idea of public policy maintain, that it is not more fafe and eligible, for the burden of the poor to be borne by the nation at large, than to have any one lazy and luxurious order of men poffeffed of fuch a disproportionate and dangerous revenue, as to take the whole charge upon themselves? Again, let us afk