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1290 [1289]

K. Edw. 6. A fruitfull admonition to Iustices of peace.

and of hys lawes.

MarginaliaIustices slacke in furthering of Religion. We are informed that many of you are so negligent and so slacke herein, that it doth appeare you do looke rather, as it were, through your fingers, then diligently see to the execution of the sayde lawes and Proclamations. For if you woulde, according to your duties, to your oth, to the trust whiche the kynges Maiestie hath in you, geue your diligēce and care toward the execution of the same most godly Statutes and Iniunctions, there shoulde no disobedience, nor disorder, nor euill rule bee begon or arise in anye parte of the realme, but it should by and by be repressed, kept downe, and reformed. But it is feared, and the thyng it selfe geueth occasion thereto, that diuers of you do not onely not set foorth, but rather hinder, so much as lyeth in you, the Kynges maiesties procedynges, and are content that there should aryse some disobedience, and that men should repine against godly orders set forth by his maiestie: you do so slackly looke to the execution of the same: So that in some Shieres which bee further of, it may appeare that the people haue neuer heard of diuers of his Maiesties Proclamations, or if they haue heard, you are content to wincke at it and to neglect it, so that it is all one as though it were neuer commaunded. But if you do consider and remember your dueties, first to almighty God, and then to the kynges maiestie, the wealth of the whole Realme, the safegard of your owne selues: you must nedes see, that except such orders as the kynges Maiestie hath set, and hereafter shall appoint, bee kept, neither can the realme be defended, if the enemie should inuade, nor in peace it can not stand: but vpon the contempt of good and wholesome lawes all disorder and inconueniences shoulde come, the people shoulde be wylde and sauage, & no man sure of his own.

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And if at any tyme there was occasion and cause to be circūspect & diligent about the same, there was neuer more time then now. Now we stand in Scotland you know, and that other foreine power maketh great preparation to ayde them, and in deede doth come to their ayde: wherof we are surely informed and certified. MarginaliaThe fruite of obedience in a Realme. Wherefore if there should not be good order and obedience kept in the Realme, the Realme were lyke vtterly to be destroyed. Neuer foreine power could yet hurt or in any part preuayle in this realme, but by disobediēce and misorder within our selues. That is þe way wherwith God will plague vs, if he mynde to punishe vs. And so long as we do agree among ourselues, and be obedient to our Prince and to his godly orders and lawes, wee may be sure that god is with vs, and that foreine power shal not preuaile against vs, nor hurt vs.

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Wherfore once agayne, and styll wee must and do lay this charge vppon you that are the better of the Shyre and Iustices of the peace, that with so conuenient speede as you can you do repayre downe into your Countreis, and you shall geue warning to the gentlemen of the Shiere which haue not necessary busines here, that they repayre down ech man to his countrey, MarginaliaOrder taken for Iustices. and there both you and they, who bee reckoned the stay of euery Shiere, to see good order and rule kept: You that your Sessions of gayle deliuery and quarter Sessions be well kept, and therein your meetynges bee such, that iustice may be well and truly ministred, the offēders and malefactours punished according to the lawes of the Realme, without any feare of any man, or that for fauour you shoulde suffer those to escape, whiche with their euill example might bryng other to the lyke mishapp: And that all vagabondes, and lewd and light tale tellers and sedicious bearers of false newes of the kynges Maiesty, or of hys Counsaile, or such as will preach without licence, bee immediately by you represt and punished.

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And if there should chaunce any lewd or light felowes to make any routes or riots, or vnlawfull assemblies any seditious meetinges, vprores, or vprisinges in any place, by the seditious and deuelish motion of some priuie Traitors, MarginaliaProuision against priuie conspiracie and rebellion. that you and they appease them at the first, and apprehende the first authors and causers therof and certifie vs with spede. The lightnes of the rude and ignoraunt people must be represt and ordered by your grauitie and wisedome. And here you may not (if any such thing chaūce) dissemble with those such lewde men, and hyde your selues, for it shall be required of you if such misorder bee, and surely without your ayde & helpe, or your dissemblyng, such misorder can not bee. Nor we do not say that we feare any such thing, or that there is any such thing likely to chaunce: but we geue you warning before, lest it should chaunce.

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We haue to much experience in this realme, what inconuenience commeth of such matters. And though some lyght persons in their rage do not consider it, yet we do not doubt but you way it and know it well enough. And if it shoulde chaunce our enemies (who are mainteyned by other forrain power, and the bishop of Rome) should sodainly arriue in some place of England, MarginaliaProuision agaynst foreine power.either driuen by tempest, or of pur- pose to do hurt, ye should se such order kept by firing of their Becons, as hath already beene written vnto you by our letters to repulse the same, in so good aray as you can, as we do not doubt but you will for the safegard of your countrey, so that the enemy shall haue litle ioy of his comming: and for that purpose you shall see diligently that men haue horse harnesse, and other furniture of weapon ready, according to the Statutes and good orders of the realme, and the kinges Maiesties commaundementes. And so for this tyme ye may depart.

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MarginaliaThe singular zeale of kyng Edward and his Vncle, in reforming religion. What zealous care was in this yong kyng, and in the lord Protector his Vncle concerning reformation of christes church and sincere religion, by these Iniunctions, letters, preceptes and exhortations, as well to the bishops, as to the iustices of the realme aboue premised, it may right well appeare. Wherby we haue to note, not so much the carefull diligence of the kyng and his learned counsaile: MarginaliaThe slacknes of popishe Curates in furthering the kings procedinges. as the lingering slackenes and drawyng backe on the other side, of diuers the sayd Iustices and Lawyers, but especially of Bishops and old popish curates, by whose cloked contempte, wilfull winkyng and stubburne disobedience the booke of common prayer was long after the publishyng therof, either not knowen at all, or els very irreuerently vsed throughout many places of this realme. Which when the king by the complaint of diuers, perfectly vnderstode, beyng not a little agreeued, to see the godly agrement of the learned, the willyng consent of the Parliament, and his graces own zelous desire to take so small effect among hys subiectes: decreed presently, with the aduise of his whole Counsaile, agayne to wryte vnto all the bishops of his realme, for speedy and diligent redresse therin: willyng and commaunding them thereby, that as well they themselues should thencefoorth haue a more speciall regard to the due execution of the premisses, as also that all others within their seuerall precinctes and iurisdiction should by their good instructions and willyng example, be the more oftener and with better deuotion, moued to vse and frequent the same: As further appeareth by the contentes of hys letter here ensuyng.

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An other letter directed by the King and hys Counsaile to Boner B. of London, partly rebuking him of negligence, partly charging hym to see to the better settyng out of the seruice booke within his dioces 
Commentary  *  Close

Cattley/Pratt, V, 844: 'This letter from the king and his council to Bonner is at folio 219 of Bonner's Register.


MarginaliaAn other letter to Boner Byshop of London. RIght reuerend father in God: right trusty and welbeloued, we greete you well: and wheras after great and serious debating and long conference of the Bishops, and other graue and well learned men in the holy Scriptures, one vniforme order for common prayers and administration of the Sacramentes, hath bene and is most godly set forth, not only by the common agreement and full assent of the nobilitie and Commons of the late session of our late Parliamēt but also by the lyke assent of the bishops in the same Parliament, and of all others the learned men of thys our realme in their Synodes and conuocations prouinciall, like as it was much to our comfort to vnderstand the godly trauaile then diligently and willingly takē for the true opening of things mentioned in the sayd booke, wherby the true seruice & honour of almighty God, and the right ministration of the sacramentes beyng well and sincerely set forth accordyng to the Scriptures and vse of the primatiue church, much idolatry, vayne superstition, and great and slaunderous abuses be taken away: so it is no small occasion of sorrow vnto vs, to vnderstand by the complaints of many, MarginaliaThe kings booke neglected. that our sayd booke so much traueled for, and also sincerely set forth (as is aforesayd) remayneth in many places of this our realme, eyther not known at all, or not vsed, or at the least if it be vsed, very seldome, & that in such light & irreuerēt sort, as the people in many places eyther haue heard nothing, of if they heare, they neyther vnderstand, nor haue that spirituall delectatiō in the same, that to good Christians appertayneth. The fault wherof, lyke as we must of reason impute to you and other of your vocation, called by God thorough our appointment to haue due respect to this and such lyke matters: so consideryng that by these and such lyke occasions, our louing subiectes remayne yet still in theyr old blyndnes, and superstitious errors, and in some places in an irreligious forgetfulnes of God, wherby his wrath may be prouoked vppon vs & thē: and remembring withall, that amongest other cures cōmitted to our princely charge, we thinke thys the greatest, to see the glory and true seruice of hym maintained and extolled, by whose clemency we knowledge our selues to haue all that we haue, we could not, but by aduice and cōsent of our derest Vncle Edward duke of Somerset, gouernour of our person, and Protector of our realme, dominions and subiectes,

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