Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 13.djvu/33

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from his pen, and he requested that the bishops might be empowered to cause the clergy generally to subscribe them. It appears, however, that he had already framed these articles some years before, and had required by his own authority as archbishop the subscriptions of all the preachers whom he licensed. Nor did they ever, as Cranmer himself confessed, receive the sanction of convocation, though published in 1553 by the king's command, with a statement to that effect on the very title-page to which the archbishop objected as untrue. The falsehood, it seems, was justified by the council because the book ‘was set forth in the time of the convocation,’ a pretext which, lame as it was, was as little true as the statement it was advanced to justify.

When Edward was dying in 1553 Cranmer was, much against his will, dragged into Northumberland's audacious plot touching the succession. The signature of every one of the council was required to the king's will, and Cranmer at length reluctantly added his—the last in time although it stood first in place There can be no doubt as to the truth of his statement afterwards made to Queen Mary in extenuation of what he had done. He had desired to have spoken with the king alone to have made him alter his purpose, but he was not permitted. Then the king himself asked him to set his hand to the will, saying he hoped he would not be more refractory than the rest of the council. The judges, he was told, had advised the king that he had power to will away the crown, and indeed only one of them had refused to sign the document. So Cranmer too complied, and as he informed Queen Mary, having been thus induced to sign, he did it ‘unfeignedly and without dissimulation.’

He was thus committed to the cause of Lady Jane Grey, which he no doubt upheld ‘without dissimulation’ as long as it was tenable. But on 19 July her nine days' reign was over, and on the 20th Cranmer signed along with the rest of the council the order to Northumberland to disband his forces. On 7 Aug. he officiated at a communion service instead of a mass at the interment of Edward VI at Westminster. But the authority of the new prayer-book and of much else that had been done in the preceding reign was now called in question. A commission was issued to inquire into the validity of Cranmer's own acts in depriving certain bishops and causing others to be appointed in their places, and he was ordered to appear in consistory at St. Paul's and bring with him an inventory of his goods. This he accordingly did on 27 Aug. About the same time Dr. Thornden, suffragan bishop of Dover, ventured without his leave as archbishop to restore the mass in Canterbury Cathedral, and he straightway drew up a declaration that it was not done by his authority. In this manifesto he also contradicted a rumour that he was willing to say mass before the queen, and declared his readiness not only to defend the communion book of Edward VI as agreeable to Christ's institution, but to show that the mass contained ‘many horrible blasphemies.’ It was a strongly worded document, which he might probably have toned down, for he himself said that he would have enlarged it and got it set on church doors with his archiepiscopal seal attached; but having allowed his friend Bishop Scory to take a copy, the latter read it publicly in Cheapside on 5 Sept. The consequence was that he was called before the council on the 8th for disseminating seditious bills, and was, thereupon committed to the Tower.

On 13 Nov. he was taken to the Guildhall and put on his trial for treason, along with Lord Guildford Dudley. He was charged with having caused Lady Jane Grey to be proclaimed on 10 July and with having armed about twenty of his dependents in her cause, whom he sent to Cambridge in aid of Northumberland on the 16th and 17th. He pleaded not guilty, but afterwards withdrew the plea and confessed the indictment. The usual sentence for treason was pronounced upon him, and execution was ordered to be at Tyburn. His life was, however, spared by the clemency of the queen; but he was included in the act of attainder passed in parliament against the Earl of Northumberland (Statute 1 Mary, c. 19), and, his dignity being forfeited, he was afterwards spoken of as ‘the late Archbishop of Canterbury.’

He remained in the Tower till 8 March following (1554), when the lieutenant received a warrant ‘to deliver to Sir John Williams the bodies of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Ridley, and Mr. Latimer, to be by him conveyed to Oxford.’ There they were to be called upon to justify their heresies, if they could, in a theological disputation. The convocation which had met at St. Paul's, under Bishop Bonner's presidency, had been discussing the subject of the English prayer-book and the articles, both of which they declared to be heretical. The root of the evil was found in wrong opinions as to the mass, and the true doctrine of the Romanists was set forth in three articles affirmed by a large majority in the lower house with only five or six dissentients. But one of these, Philpot, archdeacon of Worcester, demanded a scholastic disputation upon