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516 [492]

K. Richard. 2. Conclusions put vp to the Parliament.

it needeth not any probation. MarginaliaThe pope treasurer of the church, in steede of treasure layeth vp coales. The corolarie hereof is, that the Pope of Rome which fayned himselfe to be the profoūd treasurer of the whole Church, hauyng that same worthy iewell which is the treasure of the passion of Christ in his owne keepyng and custody, together with the merites of all the Saintes in heauen, wherby he geueth fayned indulgences and pardons a pœna & culpa: He is a treasurer almost banished out of charitie, wherby he may deliuer all captiues beyng in Purgatory at his pleasure, and make them not to come there. But here euery faythfull Christian may easely perceiue, that there is much falshode hid in our Church.

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MarginaliaHow war is lawfull, the proofe by experience. The tenth, that manslaughter (either by warre or by any pretensed law of iustice, for any temporall cause, or spirituall reuelation) is expresly cōtrary vnto the new Testament, which is the law of grace, full of mercy. This conclusion is euidently proued by the examples of the preaching of Christ here in earth, who chiefly teacheth euery man to loue his enemyes, and haue compassion vpon them, and not to kill and murther them. The reason is this, that for the most part when as men do fight, after the firste stroke, charitie is brokē: and whosoeuer dyeth without charitie, goeth the right way to hell. And beside that, we do well vnderstand and know that none of the Clergy, neither by any other lawfull reason, can deliuer any man from the punishment of death, for one deadly sinne, and not for an other: but the law of mercy which is the new Testament, forbiddeth all maner of murther. For in the Gospell it is spoken vnto our forefathers, thou shall not kill. The corolarie is: It is a very robbyng of the people, when Lordes purchase indulgences and pardons a pœna & culpa, vnto such as do helpe their armies to kill and murther the Christian people in foreine countreys for temporall gayne, as we do see certaine souldiours which do runne amongest the Heathen people to get thēselues fame and renowme by the murther & slaughter of men. Much more do they deserue euill thankes at the handes of the kyng of peace, for so much as by humility and peace, our fayth is multiplied and increased: for murtherers and manquellers, Christ doth hate and manaseth: he that striketh with the sword, shall perish with the sword.

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MarginaliaNunnes & wydowes which vow single lyfe. The xj. conclusion is, which is shame to tell: that the vow of chastitiie made in our Church by women which are frayle and vnperfite in nature, is the cause of bringyng in many great and horrible offences and vices, accident vnto the nature of man. For albeit, the murther of their children borne before their tyme, and before they are Christened, and the destruction of their nature by medicine, are filthy & foule sinnes: yet they accompanyeng amongest themselues, or with vnreasonable beastes, or with any creature not hauyng lyfe, do passe to such an vnseemelynes, that they are punished by infernall tormentes. The corolarie is, that widowes and such as take the mantell and the ring delitiously fed, we would that they were maryed, because that we can not excuse them from priuate offence of sinne.

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The. xij. that the multitude of Artes not necessary (vsed in this our Church) causeth much sinne and offēce in wast, curiositie, and disguising in curious apparell: experience and reason partly doth shew the same, for so much as nature with a few artes, is sufficient for mans vse and necessitie.

This is the whole tenor of our ambassade which Christ hath commaunded vs to prosecute at this time, most fit and conuenient for many causes. And albeit that these matters be here briefly noted and touched: yet notwithstandyng, they are more at large declared in an other booke with many other more in our owne proper toūg, which we would should be common to all Christian people. Wherfore, we earnestly desire and besech God for his great goodnes sake, that he will wholy reforme our Churche (now altogether out of frame) vnto the perfection of his first begynnyng and originall. Ex Archiuis Regiis.

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¶ These verses followyng, were annexed vnto the conclusions.


Plangunt Anglorum gentes crimen Sodomorum,
Paulus fert horum sunt idola causa malorum,
Surgunt ingrati Gyerzite Simone nati,
Nomine prælati hoc defensare parati,
Qui Reges estis populis quicunque præestis,
Qualiter his gestis, gladios prohibere potestis?

¶ The which verses are thus Englished.

The Englysh natiō doth lament, of Sodomites their sinne,
Which Paule doth playnly signify, by Idoles to begyn.
But Giersitis full ingrate, from sinfull Symon sprong.
This to defēd (though Priestes in name) make bulwarkes great and strong.
Ye princes therfore which to rule, þe people God hath placed
With iustice sword why see ye not, this euill great defaced?

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After these conclusions were thus proposed in the Parliament, the kyng not long after returned home from Dublyne into England, toward the latter end of the Parliament. MarginaliaRich Stury, Lewes Clifford, Tho. Latymer. I. Mountacute, good fauourers. Who at his returne, called certaine of his nobles vnto him, Richard Stury, Lewes Clifford, Thomas Latimer, Iohn Mountacute, &c. whom he did sharply rebuke, & did terribly threaten for that he heard them to be fauourers of that side: charging them straightly, neuer to hold, maintaine, nor fauour any more those opinions and conclusions. And namely of Richard Stury, he tooke an othe, that he should neuer from that day, fauour or defend any such opinions: which othe beyng taken, the kyng then aunswered. And I sweare (sayth he) agayne to thee, that if thou doest euer breake thyne othe, thou shalt dye for it a shamefull death, &c. Ex Chron D. Albani.

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All this while W. Courtney Archbyshop of Canterbury was yet alyue, who was a great styrrer in these matters. MarginaliaPope Vrbane 9 dead. But yet Pope Vrbane the great master of the Catholicke sect was dead and buryed vj. yeare before. Marginalia1389
Pope boniface. 9.
After whom succeded in the schismaticall sea of Rome Pope Boniface 9. who nothyng inferiour to his predecessour in all kynde of cruelnes, left no diligence vnattempted to set forward that which Vrbane had begon, in suppressyng them that were the setters forth of the light of the Gospell: MarginaliaThe letters of pope Boniface 9. to K. Richard. and had written sundry tymes to kyng Richard as well for the repealyng of the Actes of Parliament agaynst his prouisions, Quare impedit, and premunire facias: as also that he should assiste the Prelates of England in the cause of God (as he pretended) agaynst such, whom he falsly suggested to be Lollardes and traytors to the Church, to the kyng, and the Realme, &c. Thus the curteous Pope, whom he coulde not reach with his sword, at least with cruell slaūder of his malitious toung, would worke his poyson against them, Marginalia1396. which letter he wrote to the kyng in the yeare of our Lord, 1396. MarginaliaThe death of W. Courtney Archb. of Cant.
Tho. Arundell Archb. of Cant.
which was the yeare before the death of W. Courtney Archbishop of Cant. After whom succeded in that see, Thomas Arundell brother to the Earle of Arundell, beyng first Byshop of Ely, afterward Archbyshop of Yorke, and Lord Chauncelour of Englād, and at last made Archbyshop of Canterbury about the yeare of our Lord 1397. Marginalia1398. The next yeare followyng, which was the yeare of our Lord. 1398. and the 9. yeare of the pope 

Commentary  *  Close
Richard II's letter to Boniface IX

Foxe states that he obtained this letter from Richard II to Pope Boniface IX from a portion of a manuscript from Durham. (It is worth remembering that Foxe's close friend James Pilkington was the bishop of Durham; he probably sent this letter to Foxe in answer to a request from Foxe for documents that could be used in the Acts and Monuments). The letter, apparently written around 1379, was an expression of Richard's concern over the Great Schism. Foxe overread the contents of the letter to see it as an expression of claims of royal sovereignty over the Papacy. Foxe's conclusion, that Richard's mentioning a reference to the 'great departing away' of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (commonly considered a prophecy of Antichrist) meant that the king was prophesying the destruction of the Papacy, is particularly tendentious.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

, I finde in certaine Recordes of the Bishop of Duresme, a certaine letter of K. Richard 2. written to the sayd Pope Boniface: Which because I iudged not vnworthy to be sene, I thought here to annexe the same, procedyng in forme as foloweth.
To the most holy father in Christ and Lord, Lord Boniface the ix. by the grace of God high Pope of the most holy Romishe and vniuersall Church, his humble and deuout sonne Richard by the grace of God kyng of England, and Fraunce, Lord of Ireland, gretyng, and desiryng to helpe the miseries of the afflicted Church, and kissyng of that his blessed feete.
MarginaliaA letter of K. Rich. 2. to Pope Boniface. 9. WHo will giue my head water, and myne eyes streaming teares, that I may bewaile the decay and manifold troubles of our mother, which haue chaūced to her by her own children, in the distresse of this present schisme and diuisiō. For the sheepe haue forgotten the proper voyce of their shepheardes, and hyrelynges haue thrust in themselues to feede the Lordes flocke, who are clothed with the apparell of the true shepheard, chalengyng the name of honour and dignitie, resemblyng so the true shepheard, that the poore sheepe cā scarse know whom they ought to folow, or what pastour as a straunger they ought to flee, and whom they should shunne as an hyrelyng: Wherfore we are afrayd, least the holy standard of the Lord be forsaken of his host, and so that Citie being full of riches become solitary and desolate, and the land or people which was wont to say (flourishing in her prosperities) I sat as a Queene, and am not a widow, least it be destitute of the presence of her husband, and as it were so bewitched that she shal not be able to discerne his face, & so wrapped in mases, that she shall not know where to turne her, that she might more easely finde him, and that she shall with weepyng speake that saying of the spouse: I sought him whom my soule loueth, I sought him and found him not: For now we are compelled so to wander, that if any mā say, behold here is Christ, or there, we may not beleue hym so saying: and so many shepheardes haue de-

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