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THE

LIFE

OF

DR. JOHN

J Ν

FISHER

BISHOP OF ROCHESTER IN THE REIGN OF KING HENRY VIII.

WITH AX

APPENDIX OF ILLUSTRATIVE DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS.

BY THE REV. JOHN LEWIS, A.M.
AUTHOR OF THE LIFE OF JOHN WICKLIFFE, D.D., BISHOP PECOCKL,

ETC.

NOW FIRST PRINTED FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT

PREPARED BY THE AUTHOR FOR THE PRESS.

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LONDON:
JOSEPH LILLY, 19, KING STREET, COVENT GARDEN.

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THE

LIFE

OF

DR. JOHN FISHER,

BISHOP OF ROCHESTER.

CHAP. XXIII.

1. K. Henry dissatisfied about his marrying his brother's

widow : the Bishop takes the Queen's part. 2. Some account of this matter. 3, 4. The King opens his mind to Sir Thomas More, fc. 5. Moves at Rome for a divorce. 6. Archbishop Warham proposes to the Bishops the King's scruples. 7. The King gives the Legates leave to execute their commission. 8. The Bishop pleads for the Queen. 9, 10. Writes against the divorce. 11. So does William Tyndal. 12. The King asks the opinion

of the University of Cambridge. 1. ABOUT this time the King's great business, as it 1528. was commonly called, or his divorce from Q. Katharine, came on the stage, in which our Bishop was very warm and active on the Queen's behalf, insomuch, that'he would very freely dispute for the lawfulness of her marriage, and frequently declare his mind in that matter. One instance of this is, that Staphileus, an Italian bishop, being here in Strype's England as Pope Clement's ambassador to the King, he, Memori. . either to make his court the better, or that he was so per- vol. i. p.

200. suaded in opinion, seemed fully satisfied about the justice of the King's cause : on which account he was sent back to Rome with instructions concerning it, both publick and secret. On this occasion, the Bishop of Rochester and

Eccl.

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CHAP. one Dr. Marmaduke, one of the King's Chaplain's, were XXIII.

ordered to attend him in his journey so far as Canterbury or Dover. By the way the Bishop and Staphileus happened to talk of the King's divorce, and fell into a dispute about it, in which they were both very warm and earnest. Staphileus took the King's side, and Bishop Fisher the Queen's. But Staphileus had so good an opinion of his own arguments and his management of them, that he thought, at least, he had completely baffled and silenced the Bishop. Of this he sent Cardinal Wolsey an account, and told him he wished he, the King and Queen, had been present to hear this debate, for their satisfaction on both sides; a fuller account of which, he said, Dr. Marmaduke, who was with them, would give him. But Staphileus, it's plain, reckoned too fast: since, as will be seen hereafter, far enough was the Bishop from being

convinced, and yielding to the force of his arguments. Lord Ba- 2. The Queen had been married to the King's elder con's Life of K. Hen. brother Prince Arthur, November 14, 1502, the prince VII. p. 206, being then about fifteen years of age, and the ladie about 207.

eighteen. In the beginning of April following the prince died, and left the princess a young widow. But such expectance was there of her being with child by the prince, who was forward and able in bodie, that it was above half a year after his death before prince Henry was created prince of Wales. The fortune or marriage portion of this princesse was two hundred thousand ducats, wherof one hundred thousand were paiable ten days after the solemnization of the marriage, and the other hundred thousand at two annual payments : for which her jointure was to be the third part of the principalitie of Wales, and of the dukedome of Cornwall, and of the earldome of Chester, to be after set forth in severaltie. As the prince died without issue, there was a necessity either of sending back the widow to Spain, and consequently of returning the hundred thousand ducats which the King had received, or in case she stayed in England, of giving her the third part of the principality of Wales, of the dukedom of CHAP.

XXIII. Cornwall, and of the earldom of Chester, which was settled on her in marriage. Both these things were equally grievous to a prince of Henry's frugal and parsimonious temper. It was therfore projected, that the princess should be contracted to the King's younger son Henry, now prince of Wales. This proposal was agreed to by the King and Queen of Spain, on condition the Pope's dispensation was first procured; for which this necessary

! reason was alledged, that not only Arthur and Henry were brothers, but moreover that Arthur's marriage with Catharine was solemnized in form and consummated. But against these proceedings Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, very warmly remonstrated, and told the King plainly, that this match was contrary to the law of God, with which the Pope had no power to dispence. But notwithstanding this the contract was concluded. A bull was procured from Pope Julius II. to dispense with it, in which it was recited, that in a petition lately presented to him, Henry and Catharine had set forth, that Catharine had contracted marriage with the late prince Arthur, per verba de præsenti, and that the marriage had been solemnized in form, and she perhaps carnally known by him. However, such an impression the Archbishop's remonstrance seemed to have made on the King, that the

very day the prince his son entred on his fourteenth year, he caused him to make in private a protestation against this marriage, though before trusty witnesses, and to declare, that his consent was not voluntary. And not content with this, the King on his death bed strictly charged the prince never to solemnize and consummate this his marriage with Catharine. But notwithstanding all this, Henry being now come to the crown, resolved to marry the princess. This resolution of his is said to be chiefly owing to the counsel of Fox, Bishop of Winchester, our Bishop's great friend and patron. He very much insisted on the Pope's dispensation, and the unlimited power of

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