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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 411



against me, for of them I am entirely innocent. I have always been a true and faithful wife to the King, although, perhaps, at times I have not shown him that humility and reverence his goodness to me, and the honour to which he raised me, deserved. I confess I have had jealous fancies and suspicions of him, which I had neither strength nor discretion to conceal ; but God knows, and is my witness, that I never otherwise sinned against him. Think not that I say this to prolong my life ; God has taught me to know how to die, and he will fortify my faith. Think not that I am so perplexed in mind as not to lay the honour of my chastity to heart when I have maintained it my whole life long. I know these, my last words, will avail me not, but to justify my honour and my chastity. As for my brother, and the others who are so unjustly condemned, I would willingly suffer many deaths to save them ; but, since it so pleases the King, I shall willingly accompany them in death, with this assurance, that I shall load an endless life with them in peace." Then, with a composed, modest air, she rose up, bowed to the lords, and was conducted out of court, Henry, not satisfied with this cruel vengeance, was resolved entirely to annul his marriage with Anno Boleyn, and to declare her issue illegitimate. He recalled to his memory that, a little after her appearance in the English court, some attachment had been acknowledged between her and the Earl of Northumberland, then Lord Percy ; but Northumberland solemnly declared that no contract or promise of marriage had passed between them, as the following letter to Cromwell shows :— " ME . SECRETARY, "This shall be to signify unto you that I perceive, by Sir Paynald Carnaby, that there is supposed a lirecontract between the Queen and me, whereupon I was not only heretofore examined upon my oath before the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, but also received the blessed sacrament upon the same, before the Duke of Norfolk and other, the King's Highness' council, learned in the spiritual law, assuring you, Mr, Secretary, by the said oath and Blessed Body, which afore I received, and hereafter intend to receive, that the same may be to my damnation, if ever there were any contract or promise of marriage between her and me. "A t Newingtou Green, the 13th of May, in tbe 28th year of the reign of our sovereign, King Henry the Eighth. " Your assured, " No RT Η.ΤΓΜΒ ERLAND,*' On the same day that this letter was written, Henry signed Anne's death warrant, and Cranmer lacking the courage, or the will, to oppose the unjust determination of his royal master, received Anne's confession; and, as it is supposed, under a promise either of saving her life, or of mitigating her punishment to decapitation, prevailed upon her not to oppose Henry's desire to nullify his marriage with her and to illegitimizo her daughter, Elizabeth, Accordingly, on tbe seventeenth of May, Cranmei held a court in his house, at Lambeth, and summoned the King and Queen, for the salvation of their souls, to appear there, and show cause why a sentence of divorce should not be pronounced. The King appeared by his proctor, Dr. Sampson. The Queen was compelled to appear in person ; and as the pretended trial was out a solemn mockery of the forms of justice, her proctors, Drs. Wotton and Barbour, admitted the precontract with Percy, and the other objections to her marriage, when Cranmer, " having previously invoked the name of Christ, and having God only before his eyes," pronounced that the marriage between Henry and Anne was, and al ways had been, null and void ; and im mediately afterwards, this decision of the Metropolitan was confirmed by the convocation and the parliament. Much speculation has been expended on Henry's motive for this supplemental vengeance. 1. " If it were good in law," remarks Lingard, " Anne had never been married to the King, she could not, therefore, have been guilty of adultery, and consequently ought not


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