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issued a proclamation under the Great Seal, addressed to all justices of the peace, enjoining them "to arrest all comers and tellers abroad of vain and forged tales and lies, and to commit them to the galleys, there to row in chains during the King's pleasure;" and by similar proclamations rates were fixed for the price of provisions, — penalties were imposed on such as should buy bad money under its nominal value, and the melting of the current coin was prohibited under pain of forfeiture.* The attainder of the Seymours shows that the ruling faction Adminis could still perpetrate any atrocity through parliamentary or judicial forms. Nevertheless, in this reign, able judges presided in Westminster Hall, and between party and party justice was equally administered. The prejudices against the equitable jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery subsided, and although hardly any of the decisions of the Chancellors are preserved, till near the close of the reign, when there were heavy complaints of the inexperience of Goodrich, they appear to have been satisfactory to the public. †
⚫ 2 Strype, 147. 149. 341. 491.
† Dyer's Rep
LIFE OF STEPHEN GARDYNER, LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND,
WE pass from a Chancellor appointed on account of his insignificance, that he might be a tool in the hands of others, to a man of original genius, of powerful intellect, of indeGARDYNER, pendent mind, at the same time unfortunately of narrow Chancellor. prejudices and a relentless heart, who had a powerful influence upon the events of his age, and left a distinguished name to posterity. Thomas Goodrich was succeeded by the celebrated STEPHEN GARDYNER.
Aug. 23. 1553.
The extraction of this extraordinary man has been matter of great controversy. The common statement is, that he was the natural son of Lionel Woodville, Bishop of Salisbury, brother of Elizabeth, the Queen of Edward IV.; while others insist that "he came of poor but honest parents." So much we know, that he was born at Bury St. Edmunds in the year 1483, under the reign of Richard III.
No account has reached us of his schooling, and the first notice of his education represents him as a most diligent student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. There he made great proficiency in classical learning, devoting himself to the school of the "Ciceronians," then in high fashion. At the same time he laid the foundation of his future advancement by the profound skill he acquired in the civil and canon law. In 1520 he was admitted a Doctor in both faculties, and soon after he was made Master of Trinity Hall. Having a son of the Duke of Norfolk's under his care, he acquired the friendship of that great noble, and was introduced by him to Wolsey, then in the plenitude of power as Chancellor to Henry VIII. The Cardinal was much pleased with the manners and accomplishments of the academic,—and, with his usual discernment, concluded that he might be made useful in the public service.
Gardyner was very willing to change his career, for even CHAP. with a view to advancement in the church there was then no such certain road for churchmen as secular employment. He began with being the Cardinal's private Secretary, and showed dexterity in managing the public correspondence and the private affairs of his patron. We may judge of the confidence reposed in him from the terms in which he is spoken of by Wolsey, who calls him "primarium secretissimorum consiliorum secretarium, mei dimidium, et quo neminem habeo cariorem."* The treaty of alliance with Francis I. in 1525 Intimacy being projected, Gardyner was employed to draw up the with the King. projet, and the King coming to his house at Moor Park, in Hertfordshire, found him busy at this work. Henry looked at it, liked the performance, the Secretary's conversation still better, and his fertility in the invention of expedients best of all. From this time Gardyner was consulted about the most secret affairs of State. Soon after he was made Chaplain to A. D. 1522. the King, and speedily Almoner, when he was admitted to Henry's closest familiarity and intimacy.
The question of the divorce from Catherine of Aragon A. D. 1525. King's coming up, Gardyner's consequence was much enhanced from divorce his great reputation as a jurist and canonist. Misled by his cause. ambition, and eager to conform to the King's humours, he now, and for several years afterwards, took a part of which he deeply repented when he became the great supporter of Papal power in England, and the Chancellor and Prime Minister of the daughter of Catherine. He not only gave a strong opinion as to the invalidity of Henry's first marriage, but he devoted the whole of his energies to the object of obtaining the formal dissolution of it. Having assisted in preparing questions upon the subject for the Universities at home and abroad, and in procuring favourable answers, he was himself sent as ambassador to the Court of Rome for the A. D. 1528.
purpose of furthering the divorce. As a bribe to Clement VIL, he was to procure from the Venetians the restoration to the Roman See of Ravenna and Servia, and then to extort from the gratitude or timidity of the Pope the bull and dis
CHAP. pensation which would enable Henry to get rid of the wife of whom he was tired, and to marry her of whom he was then so deeply enamoured. No better proof can be given of his high favour with Henry than that, in this embassy, he wrote him private letters not to be seen by Wolsey, whose good faith in the negotiation began to be suspected. He failed in the object of his mission, but he managed well while at Rome in advancing his own fortunes; for by rendering a service to the Bishop of Norwich, he was made Archdeacon of Norfolk; by intriguing for Wolsey's promotion to the popedom, he recommended himself more than ever to his patron*; and by the zeal and dexterity with which he conducted the secret correspondence in which he was engaged, he entirely won the heart of Henry.
Retained as counsel for the
As the divorce suit was now to be tried in England before a court consisting of Cardinal Campeggio, sent over as legate King in the for that purpose, and Cardinal Wolsey associated with him, the King immediately retained Dr. Gardyner as his counsel, and desired him to hurry home to prepare for the trial. The keen advocate, on his arrival, was indefatigable in getting up the proofs of the consummation of Catherine's marriage with Prince Arthur, and the other facts relied upon to show the nullity of the dispensation of Pope Julius, under which that marriage was solemnised. After long delays the suit was brought to a hearing, and Gardyner pleaded for his royal July, 1529. client with great learning and ability. But when a favourable judgment was expected, the cause was evoked to Rome to be decided by the Pope in person, assisted by the conclave. This step led to the fall of Wolsey. Of Gardyner's sincerity no doubts were entertained; and it was thought that he would then have been appointed to succeed as Chancellor, had it not been that, from the arrogance of the great Cardinal, and the manner in which, from his ecclesiastical character, it was supposed he had been able to thwart the King's in
While Gardyner was at Rome Clement was dangerously ill, and he so won over the cardinals, that if a vacancy had occurred it is believed that Wolsey must have succeeded. When his masterly dispositions were related, Wolsey thinking the triple crown already on his head, exclaimed, "O inestimable treasure and jewel of this realm!"
clinations, a fixed resolution had been formed that the Great CHAP. Seal should not again be intrusted to a churchman.*
But although Sir Thomas More was preferred as Chancellor, he generally confined himself to the discharge of his Is made judicial duties; and Gardyner, now Secretary of State, was of State. the chief adviser of the measures of the government. 1531 he was appointed to the see of Winchester; and hitherto Cranmer and he, who afterwards took such different courses, and proved such mortal enemies, concurred in throwing off allegiance to Rome. While Sir Thomas More sacri- Acknowledges the ficed first his office, and then his life, to his consistency, King's suGardyner, more flexible, not only acknowledged the King's premacy. supremacy, but wrote a book in defence of it, entitled, "De verâ et falsâ Obedientiâ." He was always a determined enemy of the general Lutheran doctrines; but for a while he made his creed so far coincide with his interest, as to believe that the Anglican Church, rigidly maintaining all its ancient doctrines, might be severed from the spiritual dominion of the Pope, and flourish under a layman as its head. At this time, so completely was he on the Antipapal faction, that he actually sat on the bench with Cranmer, and joined in the sentence when the marriage between Henry and Catherine was adjudged null and void.
However, he joined himself with the Duke of Norfolk and Opposes the party opposed to any farther innovation in religion, and was ever on the watch to counteract the efforts of Cranmer, supposed to be abetted by Lord Chancellor Audley to extend the Reformation. It was whispered, that he had obtained absolution from the Pope for his past backsliding on the question of the supremacy, with a dispensation to yield silent obedience to this law while it existed, on condition of his strenuous resistance to the new opinions, and his promise to take the earliest opportunity of bringing England back to full communion with the true Church.
Being sent on an embassy to Germany, he took occasion,
So pleased was Anne Boleyn with his zeal, that she was in private correspondence with him, and thus addressed him: "I thank you for my letter, wherein I perceive the willing and faithful mind you have to do me pleasure."