Page:Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects.djvu/294
Submission of the Clergy.
the consideration of that 'grete sorte of wise men to be found in the House of Commons.' There were indeed both wise men and foolish in that assembly; and both had the divorce business in their minds. They were again busy on the supplies: Henry wanted money to fortify the border and the coast: they offered a tenth and fifteenth, £28,000; that was not enough; the Statutes of Wills and Uses were again broached and rejected. Independent members went further, Mr. Thomas Temys, M.P. for Westbury, proposed, and found a seconder, that the king should be asked to take back his wife; 'if he would, there would be no danger from the emperor; if he would not, fortification would be useless.' The king could not stand that: he sent for Audley, and through him explained to the Commons what a horrible conscience a man had who married his brother's wife. The question of the divorce was not before them: if they would mind their own business he would help them against the clergy; if not, not.
Whilst this was going on in Parliament convocation was asked for a grant: the clergy discussed the subject, and determined to send to the king a supplication for help. They were in a strait; the Commons were insisting on severer measures against heresy, and still were impugning the laws and courts, by which only heresy could be extirpated. Rochford and Cromwell were intriguing with the heretics; Henry himself, pretending to stand aloof, was watching every point of vantage. But they got little comfort: in answer to their supplication, the king sent down to them in a bill the three points of submission, the abdication of the right to legislate in convocation, the consent to the reform of ecclesiastical law, and the sufferance of existing canons only under the king's approval. The day after this bill was sent to the clergy, Henry, still intent on exciting the Commons against them, summoned Audley and his friends, and put before him the oath taken by the prelates to the pope on appointment; an oath which he declared incompatible with their allegiance to himself That was something for the Commons to consider: the Lords were consulted on the points which had been laid before convoca-