« ZurückWeiter »
him, declares how ungrateful he was, and how he had deceived him, wounding his innocence, by railing at, and reproaching the justice, fidelity, and diligence of his officers, by preaching publickly, and sending letters into divers parts, That by royal power and against justice, the people had lately been oppressed, the clergy confounded, the kingdom over-burdened with exactions, taxes, and tallages. And because he falsly endeavoured to obtain the name of a good pastor, which he always wanted, yet truly he was a notorious mercenary by common opinion, and his own public confession; he applied himself to assert the liberty of the church; which if it had been injured or grieved, either in persons or things, it was only and truly to be ascribed to the remissness, crafty intentions, and reprobate counsels of the archbishop wickedly pretending he had certain sentences and articles of excommunication, made in general against the violators of churchliberty and the Great Charter, to blacken the good opinion the people then had of the king, to defame his ministers, traiterously to raise sedition amongst the people, and to withdraw the affections of the earls, barons, and great men from him. Wherefore being will ing, as he was bound, to secure the integrity of his fame, to obviate the malice of the archbishop, and to avoid the snares laid for him and his, he desired to publish some other of his actions, besides those above repeated; to wit, That by his improvident advice in his nonage, he had made so many prodigal prohibited gifts and alienations, and done so many excessive favours, that his treasury was exhausted, and his crown rents beyond measure diminished; and that corrupted by bribes, he had without reasonable cause remitted great sums of money due to him, and had given much of his rents and revenue, which ought to have been applied to his own use, to persons not deserving, or converted it to his own use; and presumed to attempt other things to the detriment of his estate, damage of his royal dignity, and grievance of his subjects, abusing the power committed to him. Commanding those to whom this letter was directed, to publish it, and cause others to publish it, in such places as they should think convenient. Witness his self at Westminster, the 12th of February, in the 15th of his reign. On Ash-Wednesday, being the 21st of February, the archbishop preached in the cathedral of Canterbury, and at the end of his sermon he told the people, there were letters directed by the king to the prior and convent against him, which he desired might be read: which was done by order of the prior, and the contents of them published in the English tongue. Against which the archbishop in every point defended his innocence; and then admonished the people to pray for the king, queen, and their children; and to those that should do so devoutly, and also pray for the state of holy church, being penitent, and sorry for their sins, he granted forty days indulgence from purgatory. And the next day, being the chair
of St. Peter at Antioch, or the 22d of that month, the abbot of St. Augustine's in Canterbury, to whom and his convent the like letters had been sent, published them to the people, expounding thein in hatred to the archbishop, that so the people might have an ill opinion of him.-The very same complaints against this archbishop the king sent to the pope, though in somewhat smoother language in some parts of the epistle; and requests he might be by him removed out of the kingdom, for preserving the peace of it, and preventing other dangers that might be feared to ensue, if he staid there. Dat. apud Langele 14 die Martii.
The archbishop wrote an answer to the king's letter, which bears this title, The Excuse or Answer of the archbishop to the slanderous Libel; addressing himself by way of preface to the king, telling him there were two things by which the world was governed, the holy pontifical authority, and the royal ordained power; of which the charge of the priests was the greatest and highest, inasmuch as they were in the last judgment to give an account of kings: wherefore he ought to know, that they depend upon the judgment of priests, who might not be directed by their wills; for who could doubt but Christ's priests were to be thought the fathers and masters of kings, princes, and all faithful people. And he proceeds to inform him, that many bishops had excommunicated kings and emperors; and also to inform him what good kings were to do, and how to behave themselves toward bishops, and what reverence, honour, and respect was due to them. And he complains, that the honour due to him, in regard of his dignity, and as he was his father, was turned into disgrace, devotion into reviling, and reverence into contempt; whilst his epistles sealed with the royal seal, but more truly slanderous libels, dictated and written by his enemies, containing many crimes falsly imputed to him, were sent to the bishops of his province, deans, abbots, priors, their convents and chapters, to be published to his, and would to God not to the injury of him too; by which unthought of, that he might not say detestable fact, royal power presumed to judge the Lord God in his servants and priests; and he seemed to condemn him his spiritual father, and greatest peer of the land, against the order of God, human law, and natural reason, not called, not convicted by record, and unheard, to the danger of his soul, and as an ill example to the manifest prejudice of all the peers of England. At last, making great profession of his affection to him, and the great services he had done him, he comes to his answer, here following: that whereas he accused him, that when the kingdom of France was devolved to him by right of succession, he importuned him to make a league with the Almain to recover his rights, and was only to find expert soldiers, and he would find money; which failing, you were, you say, forced to contract great debts upon usury. To this he said, That in the beginning of his government, when
a better information of his affairs, he sent for him, &c.) The archbishop affirms, he made no promise to send money to him; and therefore such as warred in his service, could not complain of his fraud or negligence. And professing again how diligent he had been, and faithful, both then and at all times in his service, he says, as concerning his faithful friends, and those that accompanied him in his enterprizes beyond sea, who desired a fit remedy to be applied to those ill services, that brought him into those inconveniences and misfortunes; it was to be believed, according to their words, that as culpable or guilty of any fault, they were to be punished by just, not arbitrary process. Then as to his two messengers, first Nicholas Cantilupe, bringing the king's letters of credence, he only cited and enjoined him to go into Brabant to pay the king's debts, and stay there while they were paid; so that if he had been summoned to have been at London with the king, as his letters intimated, he must have been here and beyond sea at the same
he was bishop of Winchester, it was known by whose counsel he was governed. That when the kingdom had devolved to him by hereditary right, and so judged in the parliament at Northampton, the two bishops of Worcester, (Adam Orleton) Coventry and Litchfield, were sent into France to claim that kingdom in your name, and to hinder the coronation of Philip de Valois; which Embassy was the greater occasion of the war. We at that time were not employed in any of your affairs, but were hated at court, for what cause God knows. Afterwards, when it pleased your majesty to call me, with others of your privy council, to transact the public affairs, we considering the danger of mens souls, bodies, and goods by a devouring war, endeavoured with all our wer to make peace between the two kingdoms; but after all endeavours for peace proved insuccessful, and Philip had made war upon you, then in a parliament at Westminster, called for that purpose, seeing the obstinacy of Philip, it was agreed you should league with the Germans or Almains, and others. As for the pay-time. As to Ralph de Stafford, he came withment of the expences of this war, there were agreements made with certain merchants in a council at Stamford, which are to be found in Chancery; which if observed, together with other subsidies granted both by clergy and laity, and the great customs of wool, not only in our own, but in the opinion of all the council, had been sufficient for the whole war, if well managed. And your majesty knows well, that these agreements were not broken or changed by us, nor did the subsidies come to our hands; because after your first passage we staid not in this kingdom, but with the reverend fathers the cardinals and bishop of Durham, went into France to treat of peace, often going backward and forward from and to yourself, then in Brabant; and afterward, when there was no hopes of peace, staid some time with you there, and were made partakers of your necessities, and with other prelates and great men of England, became bound with you for great sums upon usury.-The second thing charged upon him in the king's letters, he says, was yet more wonderful (that when the ninth was granted, he promised effectually to assist in the levying of it; but that by reason of the non-performance of that promise, when before Tournay, he was forced to consent to a truce, contrary to his mind ;) to this he said, the whole subsidy for the ninth for the first year, was assigned to his creditors before his second passage, as might appear by the assignations themselves; and therefore it was manifest, that he neither promised to send, nor could send any thing to the siege of Tournay, especially not knowing when it began.-To the third thing, (that the necessities and great streights he was in were brought upon him oy his fault, negligence, and malice, as also of his other officers, some of whom he was forced to remove, and imprison others, lest his friends that were with him, and allies beyond sea, should leave him : and when desiring to have
out letters, and by bare word cited him to come to the king, affirming he ought not to fear any treachery, and says (this notwithstanding that though the king's letters of conduct at first view seemed sufficient for his coming to, staying at, and returning from his councils, if he had been summoned, as he was not; yet the same day he received these letters of conduct, the sheriff of Canterbury brought him the king's writ to appear at London before the king and council upon a contempt: so as though the king's letter gave him free liberty of returning, yet by the king's writ he was of necessity to fall into his enemies hands; which became not, nor could become royal majesty : nevertheless, he was, and should always be ready to answer what should be objected against him, before the prelates and peers, saving his state and order.-As to what was charged upon him (for publishing sentence of excommunication, and commanding it to be published, against the violators of ecclesiastic liberty and the Great Charter, to blacken the king's reputation, defame his ministers, and traiterously move sedition amongst the people, and to withdraw the affections of the earls, barons, nobles, and great men, from the ki g) because it seemed to affix the crime of reason upon him, in which case no king or temporal lord could be his competent judge, he protested openly and publicly, by these presents, that what he said, or nould say, he intended not to prejudice is state in any thing, but wholly to decline trial by any secular judge whatever. At last, as to his prodigality in giving away the revenues of the crown to undeserving persons, and wasting the product of them, and converting the king's treasure to his own use, he utterly denies it, asserting again his innocence, and the great service he had done, the labour and expences he had been at for the crown. And near his conclusion he says, This may suffice for answer to the scap
dalous Libel at present, and wisheth for the king's honour it had neither been wrote or published.
The king replied very briefly to this Answer; reproves him for his insolent and undutiful language; tells him how much he honoured and revered his spiritual fathers, and that he ought not to overlook their offences, when he saw them tending to the danger of him and his government and shews him his mistake, when he complained he was condemned of capital crimes, being absent and unheard, as if he in those letters wrote in his own vindication only, had proceeded criminally against him; and forbids him and all other bishops to publish any sentences of excommunication, or other things, against the rights of his crown, or derogatory to his royal dignity and prerogative, as they had been always used by his progenitors.
During this controversy between the king and archbishop, there was a parliament called to meet at Westminster, on Monday next after the 15 days of Easter, the writ of summons in ordinary bearing date March 3, at Wedestoke.
To this parliament the archbishop of Canterbury came, though he had no writ of summons; attended with a great company of his clergy, and many knights. Upon his entrance into the house, the high steward and chamberlain met him, who in the king's name forbad him to enter the parliament until he had undergone a trial in the exchequer, for divers things laid to his charge. The archbishop, lest he should move the king too much, vouchsafed to go into that court, and there took a copy of the Articles, of which his accusation consisted, and to these he promised to return an Answer. Upon which he was suffered by the king to come into parliament, and there, before the whole assembly, he declared the cause of his coming to be, for the honour, rights and liberties of the church, for the profit and commodity of the realm, and for the interest and honour of the king: and, lastly, that he might clear himself in parliament of several crimes laid to his charge, and published all over England to his prejudice.' This occasioned a great debate amongst the lords on this question, whether the nobility of the land should be put to answer, except before their peers in open parliament? A committee of twelve peers was appointed to draw up a representation to his majesty; and they were, also, to enquire concerning the crimes laid to the archbishop's charge, and fairly to represent how far they thought him blameable. Joshua Barnes is so particular in the sequel of the controversy, betwixt the king and the prelate, that we cannot do better than give it in his own words.
"Whereupon are named four bishops, four earls, and four barons, to draw up the platform for the king's view. These being also to enquire concerning the crimes laid against the archbishop, and to prepare them for the king, among other things determined, that the lord
chancellor, the lord treasurer, and other high officers of state, should be included under the names of peers; and set down a request, that all conditions and estates might enjoy their proper and peculiar liberties. By that time these things were thus forwarded, the archbishop came again to the parliament, but was forbid by the captain of the king's guard, sir William Attewood, to enter: whereupon he spake thus to the people that flocked about him, My friends, the king by his writ of summons hath called me to this parliament, and I, who am the chief peer of the realin, and who next the king have the first voice in parliament, claim the rights of my church of Canterbury, and therefore require entrance into parliament.' Tyrrel says, the archbishop was not summoned to this parliament. But when for all this being kept out by the guard, he could not enter, he took his cross in his own hands, and solemnly protested that he would not stir from that place, till the king gave him leave to come into parliament, or a sufficient reason why he should not: while he stood there in this manner, some that were by, began to revile him, telling him, that he was a traitor, and he deceived the king, and betrayed the realm. To whom the archbishop said, the curse of Almighty God, and of his blessed mother, and of saint Thomas and mine also, be upon the heads of them that inform the king so. Amen. Amen.' In this hurry certain noblemen chancing to come out, he besought them to request the king in his behalf, and for the right of his church of Canterbury; this they kindly promised him to do. And accordingly by the intercession and favour of the lords, the king gave leave for his admission into the house, where he offered to purge himself lawfully in parliament of the crimes objected against him: but he was referred to the consideration of the twelve peers, who had his cause in hand at that time. On the nineteenth of April, being Thursday, the king came into saint Edward's chamber, commonly called the painted chamber, before whom, in sight of the lords and commons, the archbishop humbled himself, and required his gracious pardon; which upon the whole parliament's general suit and entreaty, bis majesty granted. After which the archbishop desired, that whereas he was publicly defamed through the realm, he might now be arraigned in open parliament before his peers: but the king answered, he would first attend to the common affairs, and after that examine lighter matters.
The next parliament was in the 17th of Edward 3, when the king commanded, that the things touching the Arraignment of the archbishop, which remained in the hands of sir William de Kildesby, to be advised upon this parliament, should be annulled and totally outed or laid aside, as such as were neither reasonable or true: and master John de Urford was commanded to bring them into parlia ment, to be vacated there,
11. Proceedings against Joux WICKLIFFE, for Heresy, 51 Edw. III. A. D. 1377. 6 Rd. II. A. D. 1383, [Fox's Acts and Monum. 562.] Wickliffe in the presence of the duke of Lancaster, and lord Percie; who, vpon the declaration of the pope's letters made, bound him to silence, forbidding him not to entreate any more of those matters. But then through the disturbance of the bishop of London and the duke, and lord Percy, that matter was soone dispatched, as hath beene aboue recorded. And all this was done in the daies and last yeere of king Edward the third and pope Gregory the cleuenth.
THE bishops now seeing the aged king to be taken away, during the time of whose old age all the gouernment of the realme depended vpon the duke of Lancaster; and now the said bishops againe seeing the said duke, with the ford Percy, the lord marshall, to giue ouer their offices, and to remaine in their priuate houses without intermedling, thought now the time to serue them, to haue some vantage against John Wickliffe; who hitherto, vnder the protection of the foresaid duke and lord marshall, had some rest and quiet. Concerning the story of which Wickliffe, I trust (gentle reader) it is not out of thy memory what went before, how he being brought before the bishops, by the meanes of the duke and lord Henry Percy, the counsell was interrupted, and brake before nine of the clocke. By reason whereof, Wickliffe at that time escaped without any further trouble. Who notwithstanding, being by the bishops forbid to deale in that doctrine any inore, continued yet with his fellowes going barefoote, and in long frise gownes, preaching diligently vnto the people. Out of whose sermons these articles most chiefly at that time were collected. That the holy Eucharist, after the consecration, is not the very body of Christ, but figuratively.—That the church of Rome, is not the head of all churches more than any other ehurch is: Nor that Peter hath any more power giuen of Christ, than any other Apostle hath. Item, that the pope of Rome hath no Inore in the keies of the church, then hath any other within the order of priesthood.-Item, if God be, the lords temporall may lawfully and meritoriously take away their temporalities from the churchmen offending habitualiter. -Item, if any temporal lord doe know the church so offending, he is bound, vnder paine of damnation, to take the temporalities from the same.-Item, that the Gospel is a rule sufficient of it selfe to rule the life of euery christian man heere, without any other rule.—Item, that all other rules, vnder whose obseruances diuers religious persons be gouerned, doe adde no more perfection to the Gospell, than doth the white colour to the wall.-Item, that neither the pope, nor any other prelate of the church, ought to haue prisons wherein to punish transgressors.
The next yeere following, which was the yeere of our Lord 1378, being the first yeere of king Richard the second, the said pope Gregory taking his time, after the death of king Edward, sendeth his bull by the hands andmeanes (peraduenture) of one master Edmund Stafford, directed vnto the vniuersity of Oxford, rebuking them sharpely, imperiously and like a pope, for suffering so long the doctrine of John Wickliffe to take roote, and not plucking it vp with the crooked sickle of their catholike doctrine. Which Bull when it came to be exhibited vnto their hands, by the pope's messenger aforesaid; the proctors and masters of the Vniuersity, ioyning together in consultation, stood long in doubt, deliberating with themselues whether to receive the pope's Bull with honour, or to refuse and reiect it with shame.
The copy of this wilde Bull, sent to them from the pope, was this:
"Gregory the bishop, the seruant of Gods seruants, to his well beloued sonnes, the Chancellor and Vniuersity of Oxford, in the diocesse of Lincolne, greeting, and apostolicall benediction. We are compelled not onely to marnell, but also to lament, that you, considering the apostolicall seate hath giuen vnto your Vniuersity of Oxford so great fauour and priuiledge, and also for that you flow as in a large sea in the knowledge of the holy Scriptures, and ought to be champions and defenders of the ancient and catholike faith (without the which there is no saluation,) by your great negligence and sloth will suffer wild cockle, not onely to grow vp among the pure wheate of the flourishing field of your Vniuersity, but also to waxe strong and choke the corne. Neither haue ye any care (as we are enformed) to extirpe and plucke the same vp by the rootes, to the great blemishing of your renoumed name, the perill of your soules, the contempt of the church of Rome, and to the great decay of the antient faith. And further (which grieueth vs) the encrease of that filthie weed was more car-sharpely rebuked and iudged of, in Rome than in England where it sprang. Wherefore let there bee means sought by the helpe of the faithfull, to roote out the same. Grieuously it is come to our eares, that one Iohn Wickliffe,
Beside these Articles, diuers other Conclusions afterward were gathered out of his writngs and preachings by the bishops of England, which they sent diligently to pope Gregory at Rome; Where the said articles being read and perused, were condemned for hereticall and erroneous by three and twenty dinals.
In the meane time, the archbishop of Canturbury, sending forth his citations, as is aforesaid, called before him the said John
parson of Lutterworth in Lincolne diocesse, a professour of diuinitie (would God he were not rather a master of errours) is runne into a kind of detestable wickednesse, not onely and open ly publishing, but also vomiting out of the filthy dungeon of his breast, diuers professions, false and erroneous conclusions, and most wicked and damnable heresies. Whereby he might defile the faithfull sort, and bring them from the right path headlong into the way of perdition, ouerthrow the state of the church, and vtterly subuert the secular policie. Of which bis mischiefuous heresies some seeme to agree (only certaine names and termes changed) with the peruerse opinions, and vnlearned doctrine of Marsilius of Padua, and of Iobu Gandune, of vnworthie memory, whose bookes were vtterly abolished in the realme of England, by our predecessour of happy memory Iohn 22. which kingdome doth not onely flourish in power, and abundance of faculties, but is much more glorious and shining in purenesse of faith; Accustomed alwaies to bring forth men excellently learned in the true knowledge of the holy scriptures, ripe in grauity of maners, men notable in deuotion, and defenders of the catholike faith. Wherefore we will and command you by our writing apostolicall in the name of your obedience, and vpon paine of priuation of our fauour, indulgences and priuiledges granted vnto your and your vniuersity from the said see apostolicall; that hereafter ye suffer not those pestilent heresies, and those subtill and false conclusions and propositions, misconstruing the right sense of faith and good workes (howsoeuer they tearme it, or what curious implication of words soeuer they vse) any longer to be disputed of, or brought in question: Lest if it bee not withstood at the first, and plucked vp by the roots, it might perhaps be too late hereafter to prepare medicines when a greater number is infected with the contagion. And further that ye apprehend immediatly or cause to be apprehended the said Iohn Wickliffe, and deliuer him to be detained in the safe custody of our well-beloued brethren, the archbishop of Canturbury, and the bishop of London, or either of them. And if you shall find any gainesayers, corrupted with the said doctrine (which God forbid) in your said vniuersity within your iurisdiction, that shall obstinately stand in the said errours; that then in like maner ye apprehend them, and commit them to safe custody, and otherwise to doe in this case as it shall appertaine vnto you: So as by your carefull proceedings herein, your negligence past concerning the premisses may now fully be supplied and recompensed with present diligence. Whereby you shall not onely purchase vnto you the fauour and beneuolence of the seate apostolicall, but also great reward and merit of almighty God. Yeuen at Rome at S. Maries the greater, xj. Kalend. of Iune, and in the 7 yeere of our consecration."
Canturbury Simon Sudbury, to the bishop of London named William Courtney, with the Conclusions of Iohn Wickliffe therein inclosed, commanding them, by vertue of those his let ters apostolicall, and straitly enioyning them to cause the said John Wickliffe to be apprehended, and cast into prison; and that the king and the nobles of England should be admonished by them, not to giue any credit to the said Iohn Wickliffe, or to his doctrine in any wise.-Beside this bill or Bull of the Pope, sent vnto the archbishop of Canturbury and to the bishop of London, bearing the date, 11 calend. Iun. and the 7th yere of the reigne of the pope; I find, moreouer, in the said story two other Letters of the pope concerning the same matter, but differing in forme, sent vnto the same bishops and all bearing the same date both of the day, yeere, and moneth of the reigne of the said pope Gregory. Whereby it is to be supposed, that the pope either was very exquisite and solicitous about the matter, to haue Wickliffe to be apprehended, which wrote three diuers letters to one person, and al in one day, about one businesse; or else that he did suspect the bearers thereof; the scruple whereof I leaue to the judgment of the reader.-Furthermore, besides these Letters written to the vniuersity, and to the bishops, he directeth also another Epistle bearing the same date vnto king Edward; as one of my stories saith, but as another saith, to king Richard, which soundeth more neere to the truth, forasmuch as in the 7th yeere of pope Gregory the xi, which was the yeere of our Lord 1378, king Edward was not aliue. The copy of his Letters to the king here followeth:
Besides this bull sent to the vniuersity of Oxford, the said pope Gregory directed moreouer lus letters the saine time to the archbishop of
The copy of the Epistle sent by the bishop of Rome to Richard king of England, to persecute Iohn Wickliffe.
"Vnto his well-beloued sonne in Christ, Richard the most noble king of England, health, &c.-The kingdome of England, which the most highest hath put vnder your power and gouernance, being so famous and renoumed in valiancy and strength, so abundant and flowing in all kind of wealth and riches, but much more glorious, resplendent and shining through the brightnesse and cleerenesse of all godlinesse and faith, hath accustomed alwaies to bring forth men endued with the true knowledge and vnderstanding of the holy scriptures, graue in yeeres, feruent in deuotion, and defenders of the catholike faith: the which haue not only directed and instructed their owne people through their wholesome doctrine and precepts into the true path of God's commandements; but also we haue heard by the report and information of many credible persons (to our great grief and heart sorrow) that Iohn Wickliffe parson of Lutterworth, in the diocese of Lincolne, professor of diuinitie (I would to God he were no author of heresie) to be fallen into such a detestable and abominable madnesse, that he hath propounded and set forth diuers and sundry conclusions full of errours,