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1282 [1281]

K. Edw. 6. The life and vertues of king Edward.

MarginaliaAn. 1547. And here to vse the example of Plutarch in comparing kynges and rulers, the Latines with the Grekes together if I should seeke with whom to match this noble Edward, I finde not with whom to make my match more aptely, thē with good Iosias. For as the one beganne his reigne at 8. yeares of his age: so the other began at 9. Neither were their Actes and zelous procedinges in Gods cause much discrepant. MarginaliaComparison betwene Iosias and K. Edw. 6. For, as milde Iosias pluckt downe the hill altars cut downe the groues, and destroyed all monuments of Idolatrie in the temple 

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See 2 Kings 22-23. The comparison of Edward VI to Josiah seems to have been initiated by Archbishop Cranmer (Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer (New Haven, CT and London), pp. 364-5.

: the like corruptions, drosse, and deformities of Popish Idolatrie crept into the Church of Christ of long time, this Euangelicall Iosias kyng Edward remoued and purged the true Temple of the Lord. Iosias restored the true worship of God in Ierusalem, and destroyed the Idolatrous Priestes: Kyng Edward in England like wise abolishing Idolatrous Masses and false inuocation, reduced agayne religion to a right sinceritie, & more woulde haue brought to perfection if life and tyme had aunswered to his godly purpose. And though he killed not: as Iosias did, the idolatrous sacrificers, yet he put them to silence, and remoued them out of their places.

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Moreouer, in kynge Iosias dayes the holy scripture and booke of Gods worde was vtterly neglected and cast aside, which he most graciously repayred and restored agayn. And did not K. Edward the lyke with the selfe same booke of Gods blessed woorde, and with other wholesome bookes of Christian doctrine, whiche before were decayed and extinguished in his faithers daies by sharpe lawes and seuere punishmentes here in England? MarginaliaK. Iosias and K. Edward onely differ in continuance of raigne. Briefly in all pointes and respectes, betwene him and this our godly kynge no oddes is to be found but only in length of tyme and reigne. Who if he might haue reached (by the sufferaunce of God) to the cōtinuaunce of Iosias reigne: proceding in those beginninges, whiche in his youth appeared, no doubt but of his Actes, & doinges some great perfection woulde haue ensued to thys Church and Realme. But the manifold iniquities of Englishmen deserued an other plague, as after fell amongest vs: as in sequele of this story hereafter (God willing) shalbe declared. 

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The plague Foxe is referring to is the reign of Mary Tudor.

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In the meane tyme, to procede in the excellent vertures of this Christian yong Iosias (as we haue begon) although neither do we know, nor will laysure serue vs to stand vpō a full description of all his Actes: yet will we (God willing) giue a little taste of the noble nature and Princely qualities of this kyng, wherby the reader may esteme with hym selfe what is to be thought of the rest of his doinges, though they be not here all expressed.

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MarginaliaK. Edward beloued of his subiectes. And first to begyn with that whiche is the chiefest propertie of all other externe thinges in a Prince to be cōsidered, that is, to be loued of his subiectes: such were the hartes of all English people toward this kynge inclined, and so toward him still cōtinued, as neuer came prince in this realme more hyghly estemed, more amply magnified, or more dearely & tēderly beloued of all his subiectes, but especially of þe good and the learned sorte, and yet not so much beloued, as also admirable by reason of his rare towardnes and hope both of vertue and learnyng whiche in him appeared aboue the capacitie of his yeres. MarginaliaThe meeke nature of K. Edw. And as he was intierly of his subiectes beloued, so with no lesse good will he loued them agayne: of nature and dispostion meeke, and much inclined to clemencie. He alwayes spared and fauoured the life of man: as in a certaine dissertation 

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I.e., conversation.

of his once appeared, had with Master Cheke in faruouryng the life of heretickes: in so muche that when Ioane Butcher shoulde be burned 
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This is Joan Bocher, who was executed on 2 May 1550 for heresy regarding the divine and human natures.

, all the Councell coulde not moue him to put to his hand, but were fayne to get Doct. Cranmer to perswade with him, and yet neither could he with much labour induce the kyng so to do, saying: what my Lorde? wil ye haue me to send her quicke to the deuil in her error? so that D. Cranmer himselfe conessed that he had neuer so much to do in all his life, as to cause the kyng to put to his hande, saying that hee would lay all the charge therof vpon Cranmer, before God 
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Foxe rewrote his earlier mention of the execution of Joan Bocher in order to exculpate Edward VI of involvement in her death. In doing so, he placed the blame for this squarely on Cranmer and a number of scholars have objected that this was inaccurate. In his magisterial biography of Cranmer, Diarmaid MacCulloch argues that this story may be an exaggeration but that, when Joan proved obdurate in her beliefs, Cranmer approved of her execution (Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer (New Haven, CT, 1996), pp. 475-6). It should be remembered that, while Foxe anticipated modern sentiments in deploring Joan's death, the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries, Catholic and Protestant, would have approved of her burning as a deserved penalty for her egregious heresies. Foxe appears to be saying that this story came from Edward VI's tutor John Cheke. If so, it was transmitted to Foxe through intermediaries (since Cheke died in 1557), further undermining its credibility.

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.There wanted in him no prompetes of witte, grauitie of sentence, rypenes iudgement. Fauour and loue of religion was in him from his childehode: Such an organe geuen of god to the Church of England hee was, as Englande had neuer better. MarginaliaK. Edward well skilled in the tounges. Ouer and besides these notable excellencies, and other great vertues in him: adde moreouer skill & knowledge of tounges & other sciences, whereunto hee seemed rather borne then brought vp.

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Moreouer there wanted not in him to this felicitie of wit and dexteritie of nature, like happines of institutiō and good instructours. MarginaliaThe readines of K. Edward to his boke. Neither dyd there lacke agayne in him any diligence to receiue that, whiche they woulde teach hym: in so muche that in the middest of all hys play and recreation, hee would alwayes obserue and kepe his houre appointed to his study, vsing the same with much intention, till tyme called hym agayne from his booke to pastime. In this his studye, and keepyng of his houres he dyd so profite, that D. Cranmer the Archbyshop then of Caunterbury, beholdyng his towardnes, his readines in both tonges, in translatyng from Greke to Latine, from Latin to Greke agayne, in declaming with his scholefelowes without helpe of his teachers, and that ex tempore, would wepe for ioye, MarginaliaD. Cox king Edwardes Scholemaister. declaryng to D. Coxe hys scholmaister, 

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Richard Cox, the first Elizabethan bishop of Ely, was Edward VI's tutor and almoner from 1543-48. This reference is one clear indication that he was one of Foxe's sources for these tales of Edward's gifts and virtues.

that he would neuer haue thought that to haue bene in hym, except hee had seene it hym selfe.

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To recite here his witty sentences, his graue reasons, which many tymes did procede frō him, and how he woulde sometymes in a matter discoursed by his Counsaile, adde therunto of hys owne mo reasons and causes touchyng the said matter then they themselues had or could deuise, it was almost incredible in that age to see, and tedious here to prosecute.

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This in him may seme notorious and admirable, that he in these immature yeres, could tell and recite all the portes, hauens and crekes, not within hys owne realme onely, but also in Scotland, and likewyse in Fraunce, what comming in there was, how the tyde serued in euery hauen or Creke: moreouer, what burden and what wynd serued the cōmyng into the hauen. 

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The obvious bellicose intentions behind this line of study - it is necessary preparatory knowledge for invading France and Scotland - is passed over by Foxe.

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MarginaliaK. Edwarde knew the names & religion of all his Magistrates. Also of all his iustices, maiestrates, gentlemen that bare any authority within hys realme, he knew the names, their housekeping, their religion and conuersation what it was. Few sermons or none in hys court, especially in the Lord Protectors tyme, 

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I.e., during the ascendancy of the Duke of Somerset, 1548-49.

but he would be at them. Agayne, neuer was he present at any commonly, but he would excerpe thē or note them with hys owne hand.

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Besides and aboue all other notes and examples of hys commendation, as touchyng the chiefest point which ought most to touch all men, for maintainyng, promotyng, preferryng, embrasing, zealing and defendyng the true cause and quarell of Christes holy gospell, what was his study, hys zealous feruencie, hys admirable constancy therein, by thys one example followyng, amongest many other, may notably appeare.

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In the dayes of this king Edward the sixt, Carolus the Emperour made request to the said king and his counsaile to permitte Lady Mary (who after succeeded in the crowne) to haue Masse in her house without preiudice of the law. And the counsaile on a tyme sitting vpon matters of policy, hauyng that in question, sent Cranmer then Archbishop of Canterbury, and Rydley then bishop of London, to entreat the kyng for the same: who cōmyng to his grace, alledged their reasons and persuasions for the accomplishyng therof. MarginaliaThe singular constancie of king Edw. in maintayning true religion. So the king hearyng what they could say, replied hys aunswer agayne out of the Scriptures, so groundedly, grauely, and fully, that they were enforced to geue place to hys replication, and graunt the same to be true. Then they, after long debatyng in this maner with his Maiestie, laboured politickly in an other sort, and alledged what daungers the denying thereof might bryng to his grace, what breach of amitie of the Emperours part, what troubles, what vnkyndenes, and what occasions sondry wayes it would enforce. &c. Vnto whom the kyng aunswered, willyng them to content themselues, for he would (he said) spēd his lyfe and all he had, rather then to agree and graunte to that he knew certainly to be against the truth. The whiche when the Bishops heard, notwithstandyng they vrged him still to graunt, and would by no meanes haue his naye. Then the good king seyng their importunate sute, þt nedes they would haue his Maiestie consent thereto, in the end his tender hart bursting out in bitter weping and sobbing, desired them to bee content. Where at the bishops themselues, seyng the kinges zeale and constanc, wept as fast as he, and toke their leaue of his grace: and commyng from hym the Archbishop tooke maister Cheke his Scholemaister 

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Sir John Cheke was Edward VI's tutor from 1549-53. This story probably came to Foxe from Cheke, but not directly, as Cheke had died in 1557. Cheke's close friend William Cecil may possibly have related this story to Foxe.

by the hand, and sayd: Ah maister Cheke, you may be glad all the dayes of your life, that you haue such a Scholer, for he hath more Diuinitie in his little finger, then all we haue in all our bodies. MarginaliaThe Lady Maries Masse stayed by the teares of king Edward. Thus the Lady Maries Masse for that tyme was stayed.

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Ouer and besides these heauenly graces and vertues, most chiefly to be required in all faythfull and christen Magistrates whych haue gouernaunce of Christes flocke, neyther was he also vnprouided of such outwarde giftes and knowledge as appertayne to the gouernance of his realme politike. MarginaliaK. Edward skilfull in the exchaūge. In so much that neyther he was inexpert or ignoraunt of the exchaunge and all the circumstances of the same touching doynges beyond the sea, but was as skilfull in the practises therof, and could say as muche as the chiefest doers in his affaires. Likewise in the entertainyng of Embassadours, to whom he would geue aunswer, and that to euery part of their oration, to the great wonder of them that heard, doyng that in his tender yeres by hymselfe, whiche many Princes at their mature age seldome are wont to do, but by other. And as he was a great noter of things þt per-

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