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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 335



XII.] THE SIX ARTICLES. 329· also. There is no reaction traceable in either. If the Seymours inherited the influence of the Boleyns, they were even more zealous for- change and plunder than their predecessors : but the real hero of the hour is Cromwell, doing his master's work with zeal. Cromwell, as the king's vicegerent, claims for himself or his deputy the presidency of Convocation, and by his presence there invests the proceedings of that body with an importance that Cranmer could not have given. All that he proposes in the way of change is passed without show of division ; and, even in the direction of doctrinal reform, he carries things as far as the king allowed. The legislation in parliament likewise is mainly ecclesiastical ; and the journals record nothing but assents. I must pass on very rapidly now. The session of 1539, in which the dissolution of the greater monasteries was accomplished and the Bill of Six Articles passed, was likewise held under the predominating power of Cromwell, who had, however, learned to sink his protestant tendencies before his master's stern orthodoxy. Convocation again worked with the Parliament, and there are traces also that the clergy attended under the praemunientes clause ; but the new prelates of Henry's nomination now outnumbered the old, and in both assemblies the abbots and priors knew that they appeared for the last time. Yet abject as was the condition of a parliament which could pass the Proclamation Act, there were still two parties at work in it. The secret history of the Six Articles, when it is known, will show that Cromwell's influence was already shaken. The king proposes to abolish the diversities of religion; Cromwell, the two archbishops, and six bishops, are named as a committee on the 3rd of May. On the 16th the Duke of Norfolk announces that the committee cannot agree, and proposes that the Six Articles be discussed


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