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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 535



The Commons,* to retain their grasp on the church property, followed the unworthy example of the Lords ; and. indeed, from the frequent changes of religious belief, the bulk of the nation, high and low, had become altogether indifferent to religious truth, and more ready to attach themselves to any form of religion which suited their convenience or interest, Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and Bonner, Bishop of London, were at the head of the persecution, which, it appears, was greatly aggravated by their private vengeance. Sir James Mackintosh assures us, " that of fourteen bishoprics, the Catholic prelates used their influence so successfully as altogether to prevent bloodshed in nine, and to reduce it within limits in the remaining five. " Bonner,1 whom all generations shall call bloody,' raged so furiously in the diocese of London, as to be charged with burning half the martyrs in the kingdom." Cardinal Bole declined to assist in this horrible persecution, and the Queen concurred in his views of clemency; but Gardiner and bis faction, supported by Philip, held the reins of government, which they handled as they pleased. In the first week of February, 1555, Rogers, prebend of St. Paul's, Saunders, rector of Allhallows, Dr. Rowland Taylor, and Bishop Hooper, the fourprotomartyrs of the Protestant Church of Fngland, were burned alive at the stake. On the tenth of February, Philip's confessor, Alphonso de Castro, preached before the court a sermon against burning persons for their religious opinion, which produced an order from court to stop the burning. The cessation, however, was but of short continuance ; in a few weeks the intolerant persecution recommenced, and, with occasional mild intcr * This censure, of coarse, does not apply to the thirty-seven members who, after vainly opposing the diabolical penal laws which ronsigned hundreds of conscientious Protestants to the flames, bodily seceded from the House of Commons in disgust, and who, for the honour of humanity, were both Catholics and Protestants, all, in the highest sense of the word, GOOD CHRISTIANS. vais, continued till the death of Mary— a period of four years, in which upwards of two hundred. Protestantsf perished in the flames for their religious opinions— "a number," remarks Dr. Lingard, "at the contemplation of which the mind is struck with horror, and learns to bless the legislation of a more tolerant age, in which dissent from established forms, though in some countries still punished with civil disabilities, is nowhere liable to the penalties of death." The Queen still continued in a deplorable state of health. Dropsy, nervous debility, and a complication of maladies caused her frequent paroxysms of excruciating pain, at times prostrated her for days together like one dead, and led her and her attendants to believe that she was pregnant, and induced a delusive hope, which her medical advisers evidently cherished to the last, that her accouchement was at hand. " In the month of March, 1555," says Grafton's Chronicle, "there was in manner none other talk but of the great preparation that was made for the Queen's lying in childbed, who had already taken up her chamber, and sundry ladies and gentlewomen were placed about her in every office of the court, insomuch, that all the court was full of midwives, nurses, and rockers ; and this talk continued almost half a year, and was affirmed true by some of her physicians and otherpersons about her, which seemed both grave and credible, insomuch that divers were punished for saying the contrary. And, moreover, commandment given in all churches for procession, with supplications and prayers to be made to Almighty God for her safe delivery : yea, and divers prayers were specially made for that purpose. And the said rumour continued so long that, at the last, report was made that she was delivered of a prince ; and, for t The number of martyrs in Mary's reign cannot be stated with any degree of certainty. Both Fox and Burnet fix it at two hundred and eighty-four; Lingard, a Catholic, at almost two hundred ; whilst Lord Burleigh says there died by imprisonment, torments, famine, and fire, near four hundred. The great majority of the sufferers were persons of neither birth) wealth, nor influence.


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