Cranmer, Thomas

, the first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury, was the son of Thomas Cranmer, esq. and of Agnes, daughter of Laurence Hatfield, of Willoughby, in Nottinghamshire. He was born at Aslacton, in that county, July 2, 1489, and educated in grammar learning, under a rude and severe parish-clerk, of whom he learned little, and endured much. In 1503, at the age of fourteen, he was admitted into Jesus college, in Cambridge; of which he became fellow, and where he studied such learning as the times afforded, till the age of twenty-two, | For the next four or five years he applied himself to polite literature; and for three years more, to the study of the Scriptures. After he was M. A. he married a gentleman’s daughter named Joan, living at the Dolphin, opposite Jesus-lane, and having by this match lost his fellowship, he took up his residence at the Dolphin, and became reader of the common lecture in Buckingham, now Magdalen college; but his wife dying in child-bed within a year, he was again admitted fellow of Jesus college. Upon cardinal Wolsey’s foundation of his new college at Oxford, Cranmer was nominated to be one of the fellows; but he refused the offer, or, as some say, was on the road to Oxford, when he was persuaded to return to Cambridge. In 1523, he was made D. D. reader of the theological lecture in his own college; and one of the examiners of those that took the degrees in divinity. The most immediate cause of his advancement to the greatest favour with king Henry VIII. and, in consequence of that, to the highest dignity in the church of England, was the opinion he gave in the matter of that king’s divorce. Having, on account of the plague at Cambridge, retired to Waltham-abbey, in Essex, to the house of one Mr. Cressy, to whose wife he was related, and whose sons were his pupils at the university; Edward Fox, the king’s almoner, and Stephen Gardiner, the secretary, happened accidentally to come to that house, and the conversation turning upon what then was a popular topic, the king’s divorce, Cranmer, whose opinion was asked, said, that “it would be much better to have this question, e whether a man may marry his brother’s wife, or no?’ decided and discussed by the divines, and by the authority of the word of God, than thus from year to year prolong the time by having recourse to the pope; and that this might be done as well in England in the universities here, as at Rome, or elsewhere.” This opinion being communicate-d by Dr. Fox to the king, his majesty approved of it much; saying, in his coarse language, that Cranmer “had the sow by the right ear.” On this, Cranmer was sent for to court, made the king’s chaplain, ordered to write upon the subject of the divorce, furnished with books for that purpose, and placed in the family of Thomas Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire and Ormond. When he had finished his book, he went to Cambridge to dispute upon that point, and brought several over to his opinion, which was, that, according to the Scriptures, general councils, and | ancient writers, the pope had no authority to dispense with the word of God. About this time he was presented to a living, and made archdeacon of Tauntpn. In 1530 he was sent, with some others, into France, Italy, and Germany, to discuss the affair of the king’s marriage.*


Mr. Gilpin, after offering some objections to the readiness with which Cranmer embarked in this business, his share in which we see was originally owing to the sense and spirit with which he rejected an application to the pope, in preference to the opinions of our own divines, observes, that “the cause animated him. With the illegality of the king’s marriage, he endeavoured virtually to establish the insufficiency of the pope’s dispensation; and the latter was an argument so near his heart, that it seems to have added in merit to the former. We cannot, indeed, account for his embarking so zealously in this business, without supposing his principal motive was to free his country from the tyranny of, Rome, to which this step very evidenlly led. So” desirable an end would, in some degree, he might imagine, sanctify the means." Gilpin’s Life of Cranmer, p. 22.

At Rome he got his book presented to the pope, and offered to dispute openly against the validity of king Henry’s marriage; but no one chose to engage him. While he was at Rome, the pope constituted him his pcenitentiary throughout England, Ireland, and Wales. In Germany he was sole embassador on the same affair; and in 1532 concluded a treaty of commerce between England and the Low Countries. He was also employed on an embassy to the duke of Saxony, and other Protestant princes. During his residence in Germany, he married at Nuremberg a second wife, named Anne, niece of Osiander’s wife.

Mr. Lodge observes that no authentic record of this connection remains. The journals, however, inform us that a bill passed the commons, March 9, 1562, for the restoration blood of Thomas and Margaret, children of the late archbishop Cranmer." Lodge’s Illustrations, vol. L

Upon the death of archbishop Warham, in August 1532, Cranmer was nominated for his successor; but, holding still to his opinion on the supremacy, he refused to accept of that dignity, unless he was to receive it immediately from the king, without the pope’s intervention Before his consecration, the king so far engaged him in the business of his divorce, that he made him a party and an actor almost in every step he took in that affair. He not only pronounced the sentence of divorce between king Henry and queen Catherine, at Dunstable, May the 23d, 1533, but, according to Parker, married him to Anne Boleyn; although lord Herbert says they were privately married by Rowland Lee, afterwards bishop of Litchfield and Coventry, in the presence of lady Anne’s father, mother, and brother, Dr. Cranmer, and the duke of Norfolk. However this may be, on March | 30th, 1533, he was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury, by the bishops of Lincoln, Exeter, and St. Asaph, when he made an unusual protestation. His design was by this expedient to save his liberty, to renounce every clause in his oath which barred him doing his duty to God, the king, and his country. Collier, who often argues as if he were fee’d by the church of Rome, thinks there was something of human infirmity in this management, because it was not made at Koine to the pope, nor by Cranmer’s proxies there, before the obtaining of the bulls, not perceiving that Cranmer’s opposition to the power of the pope was as uniform as it had been early, and the effect of conviction. The temporalities of the archbishopric were restored to Cranmer the 29th of April following. Soon after, he forbad all preaching throughout his diocese, and visited it this year in December. The pope threatening him with excommunication, on account of his sentence against queen Catherine, he appealed from his holiness to a general council, and in the ensuing parliaments, strenuously disputed against the pope’s supremacy. All along he showed himself a zealous promoter of the reformation; and, as the first step towards it, procured the convocation to petition the king that the Bible might be translated into English. When that was obtained, he diligently encouraged the printing and publication of it, and caused it to be recommended by royal authority, and to be dispersed as much as he possibly could. Next, he forwarded the dissolution of the monasteries, which were one of the greatest obstacles to a reformation *. He endeavoured also to restore the church of England to its original purity. In 1535 he performed a provincial visitation, in order to recommend the king’s supremacy, and preached upon that subject in several parts of his diocese, urging that the bishop of Rome was not God’s vicar upon earth, as supposed, and that that see so much boasted of, and by which name popes affected to be styled, was but a holiness in name, and that there was no such holiness at Rome, as he easily proved from the vices of the court of Rome. In

* He had originally proposed, that in study and devotion; whom the

out of 1 heir revenues, there should be bishop might transplant out of this

a provision made in every cathedral, nursery, into all the parts of his diofor readers of divinity, and of Greek cese. And thus every bishop should

and Hebrew, and a great numbor of have had a college of clergymen uqder

students to be both exercised in the his eye, to be preferred according to

dajly worship of God, and trained up their merit. Bui this design miscarried. | 1536 he divorced king Henry from Anne Boleyn. In

1537 he visited his diocese, and endeavoured to abolish the superstitious observation of holidays. In 1538, he was in a commission against the anabaptists, and visited the diocese of Hereford. The next year, he and some of the bishops fell under the king’s displeasure, because they could not be brought to give their consent in Parliament, that the monasteries should be suppressed for the king’s sole use. He also strenuously opposed the Act for the six articles, in the house of lords. It has been observed by a late biographer, that he never appeared in a more truly Christian light than on this occasion. In the midst of so general a defection (for there were numbers in the house who had hitherto shewn great forwardness in reformation), he alone made a stand. Three days he maintained his ground, and baffled the arguments of all opposers. But argument was not their weapon, and the archbishop saw himself obliged to sink under superior power. Henry ordered him to leave the house. The primate refused “It was God’s business,” he said, “and not man’s.” And when he could do no more, he boldly entered his protest, and upon the passing of the statute, sent his wife into Germany. In 1540 he was one of the commissioners for inspecting into matters of religion, and explaining some of its chief doctrines. The result of their commission was the book entitled “A necessary erudition of any Christian man.” After lord Cromwell’s death (in whose behalf he had written to the king), he retired, and lived in great privacy, meddling not at all with state affairs. In 1541, he gave orders, pursuant to the king’s directions, for taking away superstitious shrines; and exchanging Bishopsbourn for Bekesbourn, united the latter to his diocese. In 1542 he procured the “Act for the advancement of true religion, and the abolishment of the contrary,” which moderated the rigour of the six articles. But, the year following, some persons preferring accusations against him, for being an enemy to popery, he would have been ruined, had not the king interposed in his behalf. He was complained of in the house of commons, and in the privycouncil, and was very near being sent to the Tower; but the king protected him, and gave him his ring, as a token that he took the affair into his own hands. The substance of the accusations against him, which were contrived by Gardiner, the implacable enemy to the reformation, was.

Vol.X. H H | that he, with his learned men, had so infected the whole realm with their unsavoury doctrine, that three parts of the land were hecome abominable heretics. And that it might prove dangerous to the king, being likely to produce such commotions and uproars as were sprung up in Germany. And therefore, they desired that the archbishop might be cojnmitted to the Tower, till he could be examined.” In 1545 he undertook to reform the canonlaw; but the book he compiled upon that subject, was, through bishop Gardiner’s artifices, never confirmed by the king. He likewise corrected some service, or prayerbooks. Upon king Henry’s decease, he was one of the executors of his will, and one of the regents of the kingdom. February the 20th, 1545-6, he crowned king Edward VI. to whom he had been godfather; as he was also to the lady Elizabeth. Soon after, he took out a commission for executing his office of archbishop; and caused the Homilies to be composed, being himself the author of some of them; and likewise encouraged the translation of Erasmus’s paraphrase on the New Testament. He also laboured earnestly in the reformation of religion; and for that purpose, procured the repeal of the Six Articles, the establishment of the Communion in both kinds, and a new office for that sacrament, the revisal and amendment of the rest of the offices of the church, frequent preaching, a royal visitation to inspect into the manners and abilities of the clergy, and visited his own diocese himself for the same purpose. He likewise showed himself a patron to the universities, in defending their rights, securing their revenues, and encouraging learning. In 1549, he was one of the commissioners for examining bishop Bonner, with a power to imprison or deprive him of his bishopric. Upon the insurrection in Devonshire, he expressed hie zeal for religion and his prince, by giving an excellent" and full answer to the rebels’ articles, and ordered sermons to be composed and preached upon that occasion. The same year he ordained several priests and deacons according to the new form of ordination in the Common-prayer book; which, through the archbishop’s care, was now finished and settled by act of parliament*. A review was made of this

* The persons by whom it was com- of London Thomas Goodrich, bishop

posed, were Thomas Cranmer, arch- of Fly Henry Holbech, bishop of

bishop of Canterbury; Nicolas Rid- Lincoln; John Skip, bishop of Hereley, bishop of Rochester, afterwards ford; Thomas Thirlby, bishop of | Westbook towards the end of the next year, and several things changed or amended that were thought to savour too much of superstition. In 1552, it was printed again with amendments and alterations, by the archbishop’s care, and authorized by parliament. This same year, he and some others compiled the articles of religion, and caused them, to be enjoined by the king’s authority. He confined not his care to the church of England, but extended it also to those protestant foreigners who fled to England, by obtaining churches for them, and recommending them to the favour and protection of the crown.

His palace at Lambeth, says Mr. Gilpin, might be called a seminary of learned men; the greater part of whom persecution had driven from home. Here, among other celebrated reformers, Martyr, Bucer, Aless,, found sanctuary. Martyr, Bucer, and Phage, were liberally pensioned by the archbishop, till he could otherwise provide for them. It was his wish to fix them in the two universities, where he hoped their great knowledge and spirit of inquiry would forward his designs of restoring learning; and he at length obtained professorships for them all. Bucer and Phage were settled at Cambridge; where they only shewed what might have been expected from them, both dying within a few months after their arrival. But at Oxford, Martyr acted a very conspicuous part; and contributed to introduce among the students there a very liberal mode of thinking. Aless had been driven from Scotland, his native country, for the novelty of his opinions. The cause in which he suffered, added to his abilities and learning, so far recommended him to the university of Leipsic, to which he retired, that he was chosen a professor there. At this place he became acquainted with Melancthon, who, having written a treatise on some part of the controversy between the papists and protestants, was desirous of consulting the archbishop on a few points; and engaged Aless, otherwise not averse to the employment, to undertake a voyage into England for that purpose. In the course of the conference, the archbishop was

minster, afterwards of Ely; George Paul’s; Dr. Thomas Robertson, archDay, bishop of Chichester; Dr. John deacon of Leicester, afterwards dean Taylor, dean, afterwards bishop of of Durham; Dr. Simon Heines, dean Lincoln; Dr. Richard Cox, chancellor of Exeter; and Dr. John Rednflayne, of Oxford, and dean of Christ-church master of Trinity-college, in Camand Westminster, afterwards bishop of bridge. Ely Dr. Willia’m May, dean of St. | so much taken with his simplicity and learning, that he settled a pension on him, and retained him in his family. The misfortunes of the times drew Alasco also into England, where the archbishop became an early patron to him; and shewed on this occasion at least, the candour and liberality of his sentiments, by permitting a person who held many opinions very different from his own, to collect his brethren, and such as chose to communicate ttith him, into a church. At the head of this little assembly Alasco long presided, exhibiting an eminent example of piety and decency of manners. Among other learned foreigners, John Sleidan was under particular obligations to the archbishop. Sleidan was at that time engaged in writing the “History of the Reformation,” a work from which much was expected; and which the archbishop, by allowing him a pension, and opportunities of study, enabled him to prosecute with less difficulty than Jiad attended the beginning of his labours.

Another point that much employed Cranmer’s thoughts, was, to preserve the revenues of the church, which the courtiers were parcelling out among themselves. As the archbishop had in 1534- endeavoured to save the lives of bishop Fisher and sir Thomas More so now, when Tonjtall bishop of Durham came into trouble, and a bill was brought into the house of lords for attainting him for misprision of treason, Cranmer spoke freely, and protested against it, though they two were of different persuasions. In 1533, he opposed the new settlement of the crown upon lady Jane Gray, and would no way be concerned in that affair, (though at last, through many importunities, he was prevailed upon to set his hand to it,) neither would he join in any of Dudley’s ambitious projects. However, upon king Edward the Vlth’s decease, he appeared for Jane Gray. Soon after, it being reported that he had offered to sing mass at the funeral of the late king, he vindicated himself in a declaration.

After queen Mary’s accession to the throne, so obnoxious an enemy to popery could not long escape, and accordingly he was first ordered to appear before the council, and bring an inventory of his goods; which he did August the 27th, when he was commanded to keep his house, and be forth-coming. September the 13th, he was again summoned before the council, and enjoined to be at the Starchamber the next day, when he was committed to the | Tower; partly, for setting his hand to the instrument of the lady Jane’s succession; and, partly, for the public offer he had made a little before, of justifying openly“the religious proceedings of the late king. Some of his friends, foreseeing the storm that was likely to fall upon him, advised him to fly, but he absolutely refused, as unworthy of his character and the station he held. In the ensuing parliament, on November the 3d, he was attainted, and at Guildhall found guilty of high treason; on which the fruits of his archbishopric were sequestered; yet, upon his humble and repeated application, he was pardoned the treason, but it was resolved he should be proceeded against for heresy. In April 1554, he, and Ridley and Latimer, were removed to Oxford, for a public disputation with the papists on the subject of the sacrament; which was accordingly held there towards the middle of the month, with great noise, triumph, and confidence on the papists’ side, and with as much gravity, learning, modesty, and argument on the side of the protestant bishops. The 20th of April, two days after the end of these disputations, Cranmer and the two others were brought before the commissioners, and asked, whether they would subscribe (to Popery)? which they unanimously refusing, were condemned as heretics. From this sentence the archbishop appealed to the just judgment of the Almighty; and wrote to the council, giving them an account of the disputation, and desiring the queen’s pardon for his treason, which it seems was not yet remitted. By the convocation, which met this year, his” Defence of the true and Catholic doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ," was ordered to be burnt. Some of his friends petitioned the queen in his behalf; putting her in mind, how he had once preserved her, by his earnest intercessions for her, when her father had determined to send her to the Tower, and make her suffer for disobedience to the laws; so that she had reason to believe he loved her, and would speak the truth to her, more than all the rest of the clergy. But all these endeavours were ineffectual. The sentence pronounced against him by Weston at Oxford being void in law, because the Pope’s authority was not yet re-established in England, a new commission was sent from Rome for his trial and conviction. Accordingly, on September the 12th, 1555, he appeared before the commissioners; viz. Brooks bishop of | Gloucester, for the pope; and Drs. Martin and Story for the queen: the commission was opened at St. Mary’s church, Oxford, and Cranmer was accused of blasphemy and heresy, for his writings against popery; of perjury, for breaking his oath to the pope; and of incontinency, or adultery, on account of his being married: against all which he vindicated himself. At last, he was cited to appear *at Rome within eighty days, to answer in person; which he said he would do, if the king and queen would send him, but this was not done, and therefore the pope dispatched, on December the 14th, his letters executory to the king and queen, and to Bonner and Thirlby bishops of London and Ely, to degrade and deprive him. In these letters, Cranmer was declared contumacious, for not appearing at Rome within eighty days, according to his citation; as if he could have appeared at Rome, when he was all the while kept a prisoner. Upon the arrival of the letters, Bonner and Thirlby, with Dr. Martin and Dr. Story the king’s and queen’s proctors, went to Oxford to degrade him. They dressed him in all the garments and ornaments of an archbishop, only in mockery every thing was of canvass and old clouts: and then he was, piece by piece, stripped of all again. When they came to take the crosier gut of his hand, he refused to part with it, and appealed to the next general council. After he was degraded, they put him on a poor yeoman -beadle’s gown, thread- bare, and a towns-man’s cap, and remanded him to prison. From thence he wrote letters to the queen, to give her an impartial account of vyhat had passed at his degradation, to prevent mis-reports, and to justify himself in what he had said and done; and hitherto he manifested a great deal of courage and wisdom in his sufferings; but at last human frailty made him commit what he felt as the greatest blemish of his life. For, through flatteries, promises, importunities, threats, and the fear of death, he was prevailed upon to sign a recantation *, wherein he renounced the Protestant

* Strype informs us that archbishop have received the pope’s authority Cranmcr was subtilly drawn in by the within this realm, I am content to subpapists to subscribe six different pa- mit myself to their laws herein, and to pers the fust being expressed in am- take the pope for chief head of this biguous words, capable of a favoura- chuich of England, so far as God’s ble construction, tiVe five following were laws, and the laws and customs of thi| added as explanations of it. That first realm, will permit.“In the nrxt, he recantation was in these words,” For submitted himself to the Catholic as much as the king’s and queen’s ma- church of Clirist, and unto the pope, jesties, by consent of their parliament, supreme head of the same church. In | religion, and embraced again all the errors of popery; which, recantation was immediately printed and dispersed about by his enemies. Notwithstanding that, the merciless queen, not satisfied with this conquest, resolved to glut her revenge, by committing Cranmer to the flames. Accordingly, she sent for Dr. Cole, provost of Eton, and gave him instructions to prepare a sermon for that mournful occasion; and on the 24th of February a writ was signed for the execution. The 2 1st day of March, the fatal day, he was brought to St. Mary’s church, and placed on a kind of stage over against the pulpit, where Dr. Cole was to preach. While Cole was haranguing, the unfortunate Cranmer expressed great inward confusion; often lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven; and frequently pouring out floods of tears. At the end of the sermon, when Cole desired him to make an open profession of his faith, as he had promised him he would; he, first, prayed in the most fervent manner; then made an exhortation to the people present, not to set their minds upon the world; to obey

the third, he submitted to the king and qii’vn, and to all their laws, as well concerning the pope’s supremacy, as others: and promised, that he would stir and move all others to live in quietness and obedience to their majesties. As for his book, he was content to submit to the judgment of the Catholic church, and the next general council. Tiiis was followed by a fourth, wherein be- professed firmly, stedfastly, and assnndly to believe in all articles and points of the Christian religion and Catholic faith, as the Catholic church doih believe. Moreover, as concerning the sacraments, he declared he believed uiiiVig-iiediy in all poinis as the said Catholic church did. In the fifth paper, which is that in Fox, and has been thought to be his only recantation, they required of him, to renounce and anathematize all Lutheran and Zumglian heresies and errors; to acknowledge the one only Catholic church, to be that whereof the pope is the head; and to declare him Christ’s vicar. Then followed an express acknowledgment of transubstantiation, the seven sacraments, and of all the doctrines of the church of Rome in general. A sixth was still required of him, which was drawn up in so strong terms, that nothing was capable of being added to it. For it contained a large acknowledgment of all the popish errors and corruptions, and a most grievous accusation of himself as a blasphemer, enemy of Christ, and murderer of souls, on account of his being the author of king Henry’s divorce, and of all the calamities, schisms, and heresies of which that was the fountain. This was subscribed on the 18lh of March. These six papers were, soon after his death, sent to the press by Bonner, and published with the addition of another, which they had prepared for him to speak at St. Mary’s, before his execution: and though he then spoke to a quite contrary effect, and revoked his former recantations, Bonner had the confidence to publish this to the world, as if it had been approved and made use of by the archbishop. In 1736, William Whiston, M. A. published a little book, entitled “An Enquiry into the Evidence of Archbishop Cranmer’s Recantation: or reasons for a suspicion that the pretended copy of it is not genuine.” In this he supposes, that what Cranmer signed, was only the first part of the Recantation printed in Fox’s “Acts and Monuments,” as far as the words -“without which there is no Salvation,” that the rest was added by the papists, but that Cranmer never set his hand to it. | the king and queen; to love each other; and to be charitable. After this he made a confession of his faith, beg nning with the Creed, and concluding with these words, “And I believe every word and sentence taught by our Saviour Jesus Christ, his apostles and prophets, in the Old and New Testament. And now,” added he, “I come to the great thing, that so much troubleth my conscience more than any thing I ever did or said in my whole life-; and that is the setting abroad a writing contrary to the truth, which 1 here now renounce as things written with my hand contrary to the truth which 1 thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life if it might be; that is, all such bills and papers which I have written or signed with my hand since my degradation, wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished; for, may I come to the fire, it shall be first burned. As for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine. And as for the Sacrament, I believe as I have taught in my book against the bishop of Winchester.” Thunderstruck as it were with this unexpected declaration, the enraged popish crowd admonished him not to dissemble: “Ah,” replied he with tears, “since I lived hitherto, I have been a hater of falsehood, and a lover of simplicity, and never before this time have I dissembled.” On this, they pulled him off the stage with the utmost fury, and hurried him to the place of his martyrdom, over against Baliol-college; where he put off his clothes in haste, and standing in his shirt, and without shoes, was fastened with a chain to the stake. Some pressing him to agree to his former recantation, he answered, showing his hand, “This is the hand that wrote it, and therefore it shall first suffer punishment.” Fire being applied to him, he stretched out his right hand into the flame, and held it there unmoved (except that once with it he wiped his face) till it was consumed, crying with a loud voice, “This hand hath offended;” and often repeating, “This unworthy right hand.” At last, the fire getting up, he soon expired, never stirring or crying out all the while, only keeping his eyes fixed to heaven, and repeating more than once, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Such was the end of the renowned Thomas Cranmer, in the 67th year of his age, a man who deservedly ranks high among the most illustrious | characters in ecclesiastical history, although his conduct was not in all respects free from blame. Of the two instances in which Cranmer has been accused of retaining the spirit of persecution, after he had got rid of every other attribute of popery, Mr. Gilpin gives the following account: “Joan Bocher and George Paris were accused, though at different times, one for denying the humanity of Christ the other for denying his divinity. They were both tried, and condemned to the stake: and the archbishop not only consented to these acts of blood; but even persuaded the aversion of the young king into a compliance.” Your majesty must distinguish (said he, informing his royal pupil’s conscience) between common opinions, and such as are the essential articles of faith. These latter we must on no account suffer to be opposed.“Mr. Gilpin justly observes, that” nothing even plausible can be suggested in defence of the archbishop on this occasion; except only that the spirit of popery was not yet wholly repressed." That he was not, however, a man of blood, and that in every case of personal injury he was the most placable of human beings, is amply confirmed by all authorities. The last act of Henry’s reign, says the same biographer, was an act of blood; and gave the archbishop a noble opportunity of shewing, how well he had learned that great Christian lesson of forgiving an enemy. Almost without the shadow of justice, Henry had given directions to have the duke of Norfolk attainted by an act of parliament. The king’s mandate stood in lieu of guilt; and the bill passed the house with great ease. No man, except the bishop of Winchester, had been so great an enemy to the archbishop as the duke of Norfolk. He had always thwarted the primate’s measures; and oftener than once had practised against his life. How many would have seen with secret pleasure the workings of Providence against so rancorous an enemy; satisfied in having themselves no hand in his unjust fate! But the archbishop saw the affair in another light; he saw it with horror: and although the king had in a particular manner interested himself in this business, the primate opposed the bill with all his might; and when his opposition was vain, he left the house with indignation, and retired to Croydon.

He was so remarkable for this placability of temper, and for shewing kindness to those by whom he had been greatly | injured, that it is mentioned, by Shakspeare, as a common saying concerning him:

"Do my Lord of Canterbury

But one shrewd turn, and he’s your friend for ever."

Bishop Burnet takes notice of some malevolent accusations that had been privately brought to the king against Cranmer, with a view to ruin him, including a charge of heresy, and on which subject his majesty conversed with him; and the bishop adds: “His candour and simplicity wrought so on the king, that he discovered to him the whole plot that was laid against him; and said, that instead of bringing him to any trial about it, he would have him try it out, and proceed against those his accusers. But he excused himself, and said it would not be decent for him to sit judge in his own cause. But the king said to him, he was resolved none other should judge it, but those he should name. So he named his chancellor and his register; to whom the king added another: and a commission being given them, they went into Kent, and sat three weeks to find out the first contrivers of this accusation. And now every one disowned it, since they saw he was still firmly rooted in the king’s esteem and favour. But it being observed, that the commissioners proceeded faintly, Cranmer’s friends moved, that some man of courage and authority might be sent thither, to canvass this accusation more carefully. So Dr. Lee, dean of York, was brought up about Allhallow-tide, and sent into Kent.And he, who had been well acquainted with the arts of discovering secrets, when he was one of the visitors of the abbies, managed it more vigorously. He ordered a search to be made of all suspected persons; among whose papers letters were found, both from the bishop of Winchester, and Dr. London, and some of those whom Cranmer had treated with the greatest freedom and kindness, in which the whole plot against him was discovered. But it was now near the session of parliament: and the king was satisfied with the discovery, but thought it not fit to make much noise of it. And he received no addresses from the archbishop to prosecute it further: who was so noted for his clemency, and following our Saviour’s rule of doing good for evil, that it was commonly said, the way to get his favour was to do him an injury. These were the only instances in which he expressed his resentments. Two of | the conspirators against him had been persons signally obliged by him. The one was the bishop suffragan of Dover; the other was a civilian, whom he had employed much in his business. But all the notice he took of it was to shew them their letters, and to admonish them to be more faithful and honest for the future. Upon which he freely forgave them, and carried it so to them afterwards, as if he had absolutely forgotten what they had contrived against him. And a person of quality coming to him about that time, to obtain his favour and assistance in a suit, in which he was to move the king, he went about it, and had almost procured it: but the king calling to mind that he had been one of his secret accusers, asked him whether he took him for his friend. He answered that he did so. Then the king said, the other was a knave, and his mortal enemy; and bad him, when he should see him next, call him knave to his face. Cranmer answered, that such language did not become a bishop. But the king sullenly commanded him to do it; yet his modesty was such, that he could not obey so harsh a command. And so he passed the matter over. When these things came to be known, all persons, that were not unjustly prejudiced against him, acknowledged, that his behaviour was suitable to the example and doctrine of the meek and lowly Saviour of the world: and very well became so great a bishop, and such a reformer of the Christian religion; who in those sublime and extraordinary instances practised that which he taught others to do.

As archbishop Cranmer was a learned man hiinself, so he was also a great patron of all solid learning, and of whatever he thought calculated to promote it. Mr. Gilpin observes, that the archbishop always thought himself much interested in the welfare of both the universities, but of Cambridge in particular; and though he does not appear to have bad any legal power there, yet such was his interest at court, and such was the general dependence of the more eminent members of that society upon him, that scarcely any thing was d,one there, either of a public or a private nature, without consulting him. It was his chief endeavour to encourage, as much as possible, a spirit of inquiry; and to rouse the students from the slumber of their predecessors; well knowing, the libertas philosophandi was the great mean of detecting error, and that true learning could never be at variance with true religion. Ascham | and Cheke, two of the most elegant scholars of that age, were chiefly relied on, and consulted by the archbishop in this work. Leia‘.id, also, the first British antiquary, was among the archbishop’s particular friends. Leland had a wonderful facility in learning languages, and was esteemed the first linguist in Europe. The archbishop soon took notice of him; and, with his usual discernment, recommended him to be the king’s librarian. His genius threw him on the study of antiquities; and his opportunities, on those of his own country. The archbishop, in the mean time, by procuring preferment for him, enabled him to make those inquiries to which his countrymen have been so much indebted.

Among others, who were under obligations to the archbishop’s generosity, was the amiable bishop Latimer, who not choosing to be reinstated in his old bishopric, and having made but an indifferent provision for his future necessities, spent a great part of his latter life with the archbishop, at Lambeth; and besides this intimacy with learned men at home, the archbishop held a constant correspondence with most of the learned men in Europe. The great patron of Erasmus had been archbishop Warham; than whom, to give popery its due, few churchmen of those times led a more apostolical life. When Cranmer succeeded Warham, Erasmus was in the decline of age. He found, however, during the short time he lived, as beneficent a friend under the new archbishop, as he had lost in the old one. The primate corresponded also with Osiander, Melancthon, and Calvin. His foreign correspondence, indeed, was so large, that he appointed a person with a salary at Canterbury, whose chief employment it was, to forward and receive his packets.

Of the learning of archbishop Cranmer, Mr. Gilpin remarks, that it was chiefly confined to his profession. He had applied himself in Cambridge to the study of the Greek and Hebrew languages; which though esteemed at that time as the mark of heresy, appeared to him the only sources of attaining a critical knowledge of the scriptures. He had so accurately studied canon-law, that he was esteemed the best canonist in England: and his reading in theology was so extensive, and IiHi collections from the fathers so very voluminous, that there were few points in which he was not accurately informed; and on which he could not give the opinions of the several ages of the | church from the times of the apostles. f< If I had not seen with my own eyes,“says Peter Martyr,I could not easily have believed, with what infinite pains and labour he had digested his great reading into particular chapters, under the heads of councils, canons, decrees, &c. His parts were solid, rather than shining; and his memory such, that it might be called an index to the books he had read and the collections he had made.

He was a sensible writer, rather nervous than elegant. His writings were entirely confined to the great controversy which then subsisted; and contain the whole sum of the theological learning of those times. His library was filled with a very noble collection of books; and was open to all men of letters. “I meet with authors here,Roger Ascham would say, “which the two universities cannot furnish.” At the archbishop’s death, the greater part of his original Mss. were left at his palace of Ford near Canterbury, where they fell into the hands of his enemies. In the days of Elizabeth, archbishop Parker, who had an intimation that many of them were still in being, obtained an order from lord Burleigh, then secretary of state, in 1563. to search for them in all suspected places; and recovered a great number of them. They found their way afterwards into some of the principal libraries of England; but the greatest collection of them were deposited in Bene’t-college in Cambridge.

In his sermons to the people he was very plain and instructive; insisting chiefly on the essentials of Christianity. Sir Richard Morrison, a gentleman who had been much employed in embassies abroad, both under Henry the eighth and Edward the sixth, gives us this character of the archbishop’s sermons, of which he was a frequent auditor: “The subjects of his sermons, for the most part, were, from whence salvation is to be fetched and on whom the confidence of man ought to lean. They insisted much on doctrines of faith and works; and taught what the fruits of faith were, and what place was to be given to works. They instructed men in the duties they owed their neighbour; and that every one was our neighbour, to whom we might any way do good. They declared, what men ought to think of themselves, after they had done all; and lastly, what promises Christ hath made; and who they are, to whom he will make them good. Thus he brought in the true preaching of the Gospel, altogether different from the | ordinary way of preaching in those days, which was to treat concerning saints, to tell legendary tales of them, and to report miracles wrought for the confirmation of transubstantiation, and other popish corruptions. And such a heat of conviction accompanied his sermons, that the people departed from them with minds possessed of a great hatred of vice, and burning with a desire of virtue.

He was a great ceconomist of his time. He rose commonly at five o’clock; and continued in his study till nine. These early hours, he would say, were the only hours he could call his own. After breakfast he generally spent the remainder of the morning either in public or private business. His chapel-hour was eleven; and his dinner-hour twelve. After dinner, he spent an hour either in conversation with his friends, in playing at chess, or in what he liked better, overlooking a chess-board. He then retired again to his study, till his chapel- bell rang at five. After prayers, he generally walked till six, which was, in those times, the hour of supper. His evening meal was sparing. Often he ate nothing; and when that was the case, it was his usual custom, as he sat down to table, to draw on a pair of gloves; which was as much as to say, that his hands had nothing to do. After supper, he spent an hour in walking, and another in his study, retiring to his bed-chamber about nine. This was his usual mode of living when he was most vacant; but very often his afternoons, as well as his mornings, were engaged in business. To this his chess-hour after dinner was commonly first assigned, and the remainder of the afternoon as the occasion required. He generally, however, contrived, if possible, even in the busiest day, to devote some proportion of his time to his books besides the morning. And Mr. Fox tells us, he always accustomed himself to read and write in a standing posture; esteeming constant sitting very pernicious to a studious man.

He was a very amiable master in his family; and admirably preserved the difficult medium between indulgence and restraint. He had, according to the custom of the times, a very numerous retinue; among whom the most exact order was observed. Every week the steward of his household held a kind of court in the great hall of his palace, in which all family affairs were settled; servants wages were paid; complaints were heard; and faults examined. Delinquents were publicly rebuked, and after | the third admonition discharged. His hospitality and charities were great and noble, equal to his station, greater often than his abilities. A plentiful table was among the virtues of those days. His was always bountifully covered. In an upper room was spread his own; where he seldom wanted company of the first distinction. Here a great many learned foreigners were daily entertained, and partook of his bounty. In his great hall a long table was plentifully covered, every day, for guests and strangers of a lower rank; at the upper end of which were three smaller tables, designed for his own officers, and inferior gentlemen. The learned Tremellius, who had himself often been an eye-witness of the archbishop’s hospitality, gives this character of it: “Archiepiscopi domus, publicum erat doctis, et piis omnibus hospitium; quod ipse hospes, Mcecenas, et pater, talibus semper patere voluit, quoad vixit, aut potuit homo piXofevo; nee minus <pi*o*oyoj.

Among other instances of the archbishop’s charity, we have one recorded which was truly noble. After the destruction of monasteries, and before hospitals were erected, the nation saw no species of greater misery, than that of wounded and disbanded soldiers. For the use of such miserable objects, as were landed on the southern coasts of the island, the archbishop fitted up his manor-house of Beckesburn in Kent. He formed it indeed into a complete hospital; appointing a physician, a surgeon, nurses, and every thing proper, as well for food as physic. Nor did his charity stop here. Each man, on his recovery, was furnished with money to carry him home, in proportion to the distance of his abode.

It has been taken notice of, that after the passing of the act for the six articles, archbishop Cranmer sent his wife into Germany. But she afterwards returned again to England; and Mr. Strype informs us, that " in the time of king Edward, when the marriage of the clergy was allowed, he brought her forth, and lived openly with- her. 7 ’ He left behind him a widow and children but as he always kept his family in obscurity, for prudential reasons, we know little about them. They had been kindly provided for by Henry VIII.; who, without any solicitation from the primate himself, gave him a considerable grant from the abbey of Welbeck in Nottinghamshire; which his family enjoyed after his decease. King Edward made some addition to his private fortune: and his heirs were | restored in blood by an act of parliament, in the reign of Elizabeth.

His printed works are, 1. An account of Mr. Pole’s book, concerning king Henry Vlllth’s Marriage. 2. Several Letters to divers persons to king Henry VIII. to secretary Cromwell to sir William Cecil to foreign divines. 3. Three discourses upon his review of the king’s book, entitled “The Erudition of a Christian man.” 4. Other Discourses of his. 5. The Bishops’ Book, in which he had a part. 6. Answers to the fifteen articles of the rebels in Devonshire in 1549. 7. The examination of most points of religion. 8. A form for the alteration of the mass into a communion. 9. Some of the homilies. 10. A catechism, entitled “A short Instruction to Christian Religion, for the singular profit of children and young people.” 11. Against unwritten verities. 12. A defence of the true and catholic doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ; with a confutation of sundry errors concerning the same. Grounded and established upon God’s holy word, and approved by the consent of the most ancient doctors of the church. This was translated into Latin by John Young. In opposition to it, Gardiner published “An Explication and Assertion of the true Catholic Faith touching the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar, with the Confutation of a book wrote against the same.” 13. Cranmer replied in the following book, “An Answer by the reverend father in God, Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan, unto a crafty and sophistical caviilation, devised by Stephen Gardiner, doctor of law, late bishop of Winchester, against the true and godly doctrine of the most Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ. Wherein is also, as occasion serveth, answered such places of the book of Dr. Richard Smith, as may seem any thing worthy the answering. Also a true Copy of the book written, and in open court delivered by Dr. Stephen Gardiner, not one word added or diminished, but faithfully in all points agreeing with the original,London, 1551, reprinted in 1580. It was translated into Latin by sir John Cheke. An answer was also made to this book by Stephen Gardiner, under the feigned name of Marcus Antonius Constantinus, and entitled “Confutatio cavillationum, quibus sacrosanctum Eucharistiae Sacramentum ab impiis Capernaitis impeti soiet.Paris, 1552. 14. Craumer | began an Answer to this, and finished three parts of it, but lived not to complete the whole. 15. Preface to the English translation of the Bible. 16. A Speech in the house of lonls, concerning a general council. 17. Letter to king Henry VIII. in justification of Anne Boleyn, May 3, 15‘35. Is. The Reasons that led him to oppose the Six Articles. For this he had like to come into great trouble, as may be seen in Fox. 19. Resolution of some questions concerning the Sacrament. 20. Injunctions given at his visitation within the diocese of Hereford. ’Jl. A collection, of passages out of the canon law, to shew the necessity of reforming it. 22. Some queries in order to the correcting of several abuses. 23. Concerning a farther reformation, and against sacrilege. 24. Answers to some queries concerning confirmation. 25. Some considerations offered to king Edward VI. to induce him to proceed to a farther reformation. 26. Answer to the lords of the privy-council. 27. Manifesto against the Mass.

Those works of his which still remain in manuscript, are, 1. Two large volumes of collections out of holy scripture, and the ancient fathers, and later doctors and schoolmen. The first volume contains 545 pages, and the second above 559. They are chiefly upon the points controverted between us and the church of Rome; namely, about their seven sacraments, invocation of saints, images, relics, of true religion and superstition, the mass, prayer, the Virgin Mary, &c. These two volumes are in the king’s library. When they were offered to sale, they were valued at 100l. but bishop Beveridge and Dr. Jane, appraisers for the king, brought down the price to 50l. 2. The lord Burleigh had six or seven volumes more of his writing. 3. And Dr. Burnet mentions two volumes besides, that he saw, but they are supposed to be now lost. 4. There are also several letters of his in the Cottonian library. 1


In this account, grounded upon the Biog. Brit, we have much availed ourselves of Mr. Gilpin’s elegant and succinct Life of Cranmer, 1784, 8vo; but, besides referring our readers to the general histories of Burnet, Fox, &c. the principal reliance is to be placed on —Strype’s “Memorials of the most rev. father in God Thomas Cranmer,1694, fol. a narrative of great accuracy, and so highly interesting that, notwithstanding its size, it is probable that many readers have wished it could have been extended farther. Of this work the university of Oxford, much to its honour, has lately published an edition in 8vo, with some important additions and corrections by Henry Ellis, esq. of the British Museum. Some curious particulars of the archbishop’s family may be seen in the —Gent. Mag. vol. LXIl. pp. 991, 995. and LXIII. p. 120.