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imperial palace, may embark on a foreign shore, may be lying in wait in a common sewer to seize and smite the oppressor ; but almost all these emperors meet a violent death, one beneath a pillow, another at the dagger's point. Hence all those dismal catastrophies in which tyrants, seized by an invisible hand, are made to expiate even the very tears which are called forth, after the lapse of eighteen centuries, by a bare perusal of their crimes. These are visible phenomena, that served to force upon the pagan writer a conviction of the resistance of a Supreme cause. The Christian needs no such sensible signs, knowing, as he does, that God is patient, because He is eternal. Henry, it is true, reigned in peace, and, after a life of infamy, died in his bed, but these facts alter not the conviction of the Christian, who seeks not to fathom the mysterious ways of Heaven, and who knows that the temporal impunity of the wicked forms no ground of accusation against the Deity.
We should not have undertaken to write the history of this deplorable reign, if we had no other end in view than to awaken recollections, which, as Shakespeare has elsewhere observed, are enough to make the very angels weep. The episode of the Anglican schism, studied in its causes and effects, abounds in instructive lessons, which we have endeavoured to draw out in developing the facts of history. Here we shall find reproduced that struggle between the two principles which we have already noted in our work on Luther and Calvin. In detailing the progress of the Reformation in Germany, from the time when the monk of Erfurt posted up his summons to revolt, on the walls of All Saints' Church at Wittemberg, to the hour when he dropped from ais withered fingers his pamphlet against the Papacy, it is easy to see that beyond the unity represented by the Catholic symbol, all becomes intellectual confusion, doctrinal anarchy, ideas of negation, despair in the soul and barrenness of works. To the teaching of that Church to which the world owes its civilization, what could Luther, with all his ability and all his rage, oppose? Why, a patchwork confession of faith which he continued altering and changing until his last breath, and which his followers have revised and corrected until the mute signs which represent it to the eye, no longer contain even a semblance of the original- thus, under the name of Catholic unity, destroying that universal association of souls which was the only motive to immortal deeds. The doctor of the gentiles says: Fides ex auditu, faith cometh by hearing; but how can there be faith where there are as many doctrines as teachers ?
At Geneva, Calvin established the Reformation on the ruins of all the communal liberties purchased or won by the
people and their prelates. To the wisely limited powers of the episcopacy, there soon succeeded a theocracy, which, during a struggle of twenty years against the liberal party, was sustained solely by terrorism and the gibbet. A writer of the Berlin school hasl justly observed, in speaking of the laws of Calvin, that they were written with a red hot iron,C) and Mr. James Fazy, truly says of the institutions of the Genevan, that they must have been borrowed from Decius or Valens, punishing as blasphemy every word spoken against the hierophant. Reformed Geneva resembles the city of Dante, where nothing is to be heard but sighs and groans, and weeping beneath a starless sky.
Quivi sospiri, pianti e alti guai
Any one who studies the condition of England during the period anterior to the accession of the Tudors, must be struck by the state of the free institutions which the country possessed-Magna Charta wrested from King John by the barons, and, together with this written code, instances of resistance to despotism; a House of Lords constituted of men of ancient lineage, jealous of their independence; a House of Commons that had made itself felt in the administration of affairs, and was prepared with indomitable courage to defend the immunities of the domestic hearth and individual liberty ;(b) a religious representation, which, under the name of Convocation, was empowered, independently of any authority or control on the part of the monarch, to meet in synod and to regulate everything appertaining to doctrine or to discipline. In case of need, the clergy could claim the immunities that had been acknowledged and confirmed by royal charter. The people had the right to assemble, to carry arms, to be judged
peers. When royalty, however great its power, was in need of money, it was obliged to have recourse to a vote from the Commons. Now, it should be carefully borne in mind, that all these institutions of freedom, the envy of surrounding nations, were established and had their growth under the influence of Catholicity, and it will then be seen how supremely unjust is the reproach that Catholicism has an affinity to despotism. In England it has certainly been closely linked with the representative life of
(a) Seine Gesetze waren nicht nur mit Blut geschrieben, wie des Atheniensers Draco, sondern miteinem glühenden Griffel-Das Leben Johann Calvins, t. II., 78.
(6) M. Guizot, History of Civilization in Europe.
the nation. Little solicitous about political forms, whether these take the name of Parliament, States General, Diets, or Cortes (a) it pitches its tent anywhere and everywhere, even side by side with the republican tribunals of Florence, of Venice, of Genoa, of Pisa, of Sienna, everywhere engaged in watching over popular liberty, and differing widely from Protestantism, which, in Germany, that theatre on which it made its first appearance, far from demanding popular liberty, accepted, says M. Guizot, whom we quote with peculiar pleasure, “I will not sày political servitude, but the absence of liberty."(6)
The religious revolution in England was a simple accident, and' not, as Burnet pretends, the deliberate protest of an oppressed people against the tyranny of its priesthood. In the sixteenth century, the clergy did not oppress society in England any more than in Germany. History shows us this priesthood as it really existed, “easy and tolerant."(©) In case of need, there was always the Papacy to give it lessons of wisdom and moderation. We shall soon have to contemplate a struggle between royalty, represented by Henry VIII., and the Papacy represented by Clement VII. and Paul III., and we shall see which of these two powers was on the side of justice and civilization. The Anglican schism originating in illicit amours, came forth ready made from the brain of a Tudor, and its coming was neither heralded nor provoked by any antecedent facts. This revolutionary work, M. Guizot represents as consummated by the monarch and the episcopacy, banded together for the purpose of sharing amongst themselves both the wealth and the power of which they despoiled the Pontifical hierarchy. In our opinion, the eminent publicist attaches too much importance to the part played by the episcopacy, which rather appears on the scene as the passive instrument, the submissive slave, and silent tool of royalty. True enough, the despotic monarch, for the purpose of gaining over the clergy, agreed to give up to them a portion of the spoils of the Religious Houses, but he retained within his own grasp that monstrous power of an hierophant and monarch, and in this character of phenomenal dualism, we purpose speaking of him in the two phases of bis civil and spiritual life
This history of Henry VIII., and of the Anglican schism forms, as it were, the complement of our previous labours on the Reformation, earnest, patient, and, above all, conscientious labours, as German criticisn has
(a) Balmez's Protestantism compared with Catholicisin.
admitted them to be. Moreover, we have sought inspiration at official
At Rome, the Vatican, besides the autograph letters of Henry to Anne Boleyn, has afforded us numerous documents relating to the glorious struggle between Clement VII. and the King of England, and to the diplomatic intrigues of Wolsey : from the Minerva we have obtained inedited writings on the sacking of Rome, and on the disputes in the Italian universities respecting the question of divorce between Henry and Katharine of Arragon.
At Florence, the Magliabecchian Library has furnished us with the dispatches of the Venetian Ambassadors in England. Vienna professes many letters of Charles V. which we have carefully consulted. At Paris, in the Bethune Collection, is deposited the correspondence of the French agents to the British Cabinet, a treasure of importance which Le Grand had not exhausted. But it is in the British Museum that we find the richest collection of authentic documents relative to the great political characters, Wolsey, Thomas More, Cromwell, and Pace, who took so active a part in the political and religious struggles of this epoch. There we meet with the correspondence of the Constable de Bourbon, selling the Crown of Francis I. to Henry VIII. Such are the sources from which we have drawn our information.(a)
We are far from wishing to impose our individual opinions upon our readers. Before writing our work, we called to mind what Goëthe exacts from the historian-first, to assure himself, and then to prove to his reader, that his facts belong to the domain of reality. Thanks to our official documents, which, being in autograph, that mirror of conscience, often throw quite a new light upon the past, it will become easy to confirm or to correct any private opinions, especially by comparing our inedited narratives with the testimony of the historians, biographers, publicists and philologists, whom we have consulted.
(o) The reader, who casts a glance at the notes of our history, may feel some surprise at the difference in the orthography of our quotations from texts of the same epoch. The author has in every instance endeavoured to give a faithful transcript of the original, but the friendly hand that collected the quotations, whilst preserving the meaning and character of the do nt, has often substituted a dern expression for an old word.