over-tolerant of each other in the reign of Henry VIII; but now they could hardly be kept within one fold. The latter, indeed, no less than the former, had abjured the pope's jurisdiction and admitted the royal supremacy; but they were slow to recognise acts done by a faction during the king's minority as constitutional either in church or state. Their scruples were, however, overborne, and Cranmer's authority was used to silence their protests. He was head of the commission which examined and deprived Bishop Bonner in 1549, and of that which did the like to Bishop Gardiner in 1550–1; but Bishops Heath and Day were deprived in 1551 without his intervention, and Bishop Tunstall in 1552, by a commission consisting purely of laymen, after Cranmer had vigorously opposed a bill for his deprivation in parliament.
Cranmer, however, invited a number of illustrious foreign protestants to settle in England and give their advice to the king's council, among whom were Peter Martyr, Ochino, Bucer, Alasco the Pole, and a number of others. He sought also to promote a union of reformed churches with a common standard of doctrine, and made overtures particularly to the divines of Zurich and to Melanchthon in Germany. His efforts in this were fruitless. He was led, however, to write a book upon the sacrament, distinctly repudiating the doctrines of transubstantiation and the real presence, to which Gardiner, though imprisoned in the Tower, found means to write an answer and get it published in France, and Cranmer was driven to defend himself by a more elaborate treatise, in reply alike to Gardiner and to Dr. Richard Smith, who had been imprisoned after a scholastic disputation at Oxford with Peter Martyr on the same subject, and had afterwards escaped abroad. Further, owing to the criticisms of foreign protestants, both in England and elsewhere, on the new prayer-book, Cranmer set about revising it along with Goodrich, bishop of Ely, and some others; and, having been appointed the head of a parliamentary commission for the revision of the canon law, he drew up an elaborate scheme for that purpose, in which all the old machinery of the ecclesiastical courts was to be placed at the command of reformers in point of doctrine.
This scheme, however, was never authorised. The council of Edward were bent on carrying out the reformation in their own way by acts of parliament, and they had met with one serious difficulty already. The Princess Mary had persistently refused to adopt the new liturgy, and her brother desired the advice of Cranmer and Bishops Ridley and Ponet whether he ought to tolerate her disobedience. Their answer was that ‘to give license to sin was sin, but to suffer and wink at it for a time might be borne.’ Yet the emperor's ambassador was urgent that she should have a license by letters patent to have mass in her own chapel, and when it was refused the council found it necessary to redouble their precautions against a scheme which was certainly entertained for carrying her abroad. Elsewhere, however, no resistance was to be expected. In 1552 the revised prayer-book was authorised by a new Act of Uniformity, and to be present at any other service was visited with six months' imprisonment, even for the first offence. An interval of more than six months, however, was allowed before it came into operation, during which period such strong objections were raised by extreme protestants to the practice of kneeling at communion that the printing of the work, though already authorised by parliament, was suspended until the question was referred to Cranmer, and at length the celebrated ‘black rubric’ was inserted by authority of the council.
The execution of the Duke of Somerset in January 1552 is believed to have affected Cranmer deeply. He could not but feel that his rival Northumberland was a far more dangerous man. A commission was issued in April to seize to the king's use throughout the kingdom all such remaining church plate as the new ritual had made superfluous, and to inquire how far it had been embezzled. Cranmer was one of the commissioners in Kent, but he was slow to act on his commission, and even seems to have made some kind of protest against it, which was probably the reason why, as Cecil at this time informed him, he and his order were accused of being both covetous and inhospitable. It was a charge that had been insinuated against himself by Sir Thomas Seymour in the days of Henry VIII, and retracted by the accuser himself on the plainest evidence; and Cranmer had no difficulty in answering it now. Another commission came to him about the same time to inquire as to a new sect that had sprung up in his diocese named the Davidians, or Family of Love. This inquiry he seems to have conducted with characteristic moderation. His health at this time was less robust than usual, for he had two illnesses in the summer of 1552.
Towards the close of the year the forty-two articles of religion (afterwards reduced to the well-known thirty-nine), a compendium which he had prepared and submitted to the council, received some final corrections