Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

many, who see little to be admired in his character, but who are accustomed to trace the wonderful movements of Divine Providence, will look upon him as an instrument of the bigbest benefit to this fa. voured country. His conduct will bring to the memory of some, that Assyrian monarch, wbo became the accomplisher of the purposes of God, while it was said of him, by One who knew his heart, “ Howbeit, be meaneth not so." “ Yet freedom hence her radiant banner waved, And love avenged a realm by priests enslaved ; From Catherine's wrongs a nation's bliss was

spread, And Luther's light from Henry's lawless bed.”

To those who have been inclined to regret the dissolution of monasteries, on ac. count of the hospitality to strangers, and the liberality to the poor, which some of them exercised, Mr. Gilpin's very candid statement of the case is here offered.

He is speaking of Glastonbury abbey ; which possessed more ample revenues

than any other religious house in Eng. land." Its fraternity is said to have consisted of five hundred established monks, besides nearly as many retainers on the abbey. Above four hundred children were not only educated in it, but entirely maintained. Strangers from all parts of Europe were liberally received, classed according to their sex and nation, and might consider the hospitable roof, under

which they lodged, as their own. Five · hundred travellers, with their horses, have

been lodged at once within its walls : wbile the poor, from every side of the country, waited the ringing of the alms bell; when they flocked in crowds, young and old, to the gate of the monastery ; where they received, every morning, a plentiful provision for themselves and their families :--all this appears great and noble.

66 On the other band, when we consider five hundred persons bred up in indo. lence, and lost to the commonwealth; when we consider that these houses were the great nurseries of superstition, bigotry, and ignorance; the stews of sloth, stupidity, and perhaps intemperance ; when we consider that the education received in them had not the least tincture of useful learning, good manners, or true religion, but tended rather to vilify and disgrace the human mind; when we consider that the pilgrims and strangers who resorted thither, were idle vagabonds, who got nothing abroad that was equivalent to the occupations they left at home: and when we consider, lastly, that indiscriminate alms giving is not real charity, but an avocation from labour and industry, checking every idea of exertion, and filling the mind with abject notions, we are led to acquiesce in the fate of these found. ations, and view their ruins, not only with a picturesque eye, but with moral and religious satisfaction."'*

* Gilpin's Observations on the Western Parts of England, pp. 138, 139, ...

The site of Netley abbey was granted by Henry VIII, in 1537, to Sir William Paulet ; who stood high in his favour, and who is said to have been a man of learning and talents.

Under this king, he was successively comptroller and treasurer of the household, and master of the wards. In the twenty-fifth year of his reign, he was sent, with the duke of Norfolk, to attend Fran, cis I. of France, in his intended interview with the Pope, at Marseilles. In the thirtieth, he was advanced to the dignity of a baron, by the title of lord St. John of Basing. Five years after, he was elected a knight companion of the order of the garter. In 1544, he accompanied Henry at the taking of Boulogne.

He was appointed one of the king's ex. ecutors, and one of the council to Edward VI; in the third year of whose reign he was created earl of Wiltshire; in the fourth, made lord high treasurer of Eng. land ; and, in the fifth, advanced to the title of marquis of Winchester.

: On the first of December, 1551, he sat as lord high steward, on the trial of the good duke of Somerset.

He appears to have been a principal in. strument in defeating the duke of North! umberland's design for setting Lady Jane Grey on the throne. For this service, both Mary and Elizabeth continued him

in the office of lord high treasurer; which, * notwithstanding the changeful times, he

held during thirty years. Being asked how he had contrived to keep his situa. tion through so many alterations in the government, he replied, “By being a willow and not an oak.The times in which he lived, no doubt, furnished many similar instances of political pliancy. The marquis of Winchester and the vicar of Bray were contemporaries. Peace to their memory! They well understood the doctrine of expediency, and it led them to the attainment of all that they de. sired.

This nobleman died in 1572, at the ad. vanced age of ninety-seven, at his scat of

« ПредишнаНапред »