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The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3)

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3), by James Anthony Froude, et al This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) Author: James Anthony Froude Release Date: April 4, 2005 [eBook #15537] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE REIGN OF HENRY THE EIGHTH, VOLUME 1 (OF 3)*** E-text prepared by Charles Aldarondo, Deirdre Menchaca, Keith Edkins, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team CONTENTS Froude's History Of England THE REIGN OF HENRY THE EIGHTH Volume I by JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE Introduction by W. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS M.P. B.C.L. FIRST PUBLISHED 1909 London & Toronto J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. New York E.P. Dutton & Co INTRODUCTION James Anthony Froude was born at Dartington Rectory, the youngest son of the Archdeacon of Totnes, on April 23, 1818. His father was a clergyman of the old school, as much squire as parson. In the concluding chapter to his History of England, Froude wrote that "for a hundred and forty years after the Revolution of 1688, the Church of England was able to fulfil with moderate success the wholesome functions of a religious establishment. Theological doctrinalism passed out of fashion; and the clergy, merged as they were in the body of the nation, and no longer endeavouring to elevate themselves into a separate order, were occupied healthily in impressing on their congregations the meaning of duty and moral responsibility to God." Of this sane and orthodox, b u t not over-spiritual, clergy, Archdeacon Froude was an excellent and altogether wholesome type. He was a stiff Tory; his hatred of Dissent was so uncompromising that he would not have a copy of the Pilgrim's Progress in the rectory. A stern, self-contained, reticent man, he never, in word of deed, confessed his affection for his youngest son. He was a good horseman, and was passionately fond of open-air exercises and especially of hunting. His one accomplishment was drawing, and his sketches in after years earned the praise of Ruskin. Cast in the same mould, but fashioned by different circumstances, the archdeacon's eldest son, Richard Hurrell Froude, was a man of greater intellectual brilliance and even more masterful character. He was one of the pioneers of the Oxford Movement, and it was only his early death that deposed him from his place of equality with Newman and Keble and Pusey. Anthony was a sickly child, and from his earliest years lacked the loving care of a [vii] mother. He was brought up with Spartan severity by his father and his aunt. The most venial self-indulgence was regarded as criminal. From the age of three he was inured to hardship by being ducked every morning in a trough of ice-cold water. Hurrell Froude felt no tenderness for the ailing lad. Once, in order to rouse a manly spirit in his little brother, he took him by the heels, plunged him like another Achilles into a stream, and stirred with his head the mud at the [viii] bottom. Froude has been accused, and not without justice, of not feeling a proper aversion to acts of cruelty. The horrible Boiling Act of Henry VIII. excites neither disgust nor hatred in him; and he makes smooth excuses for the illegal tortures of the rack and the screw which were inflicted on prisoners by Elizabeth and her ministers. He had himself been reared in a hardy school; he had been trained to be indifferent to pain. It may well be that his callousness in speaking of Tudor cruelties is to be traced to the influences that surrounded his loveless childhood and youth. Hurrell Froude was the idol of his younger brothers. He was a man of brilliant parts, and a born leader of men. His hatred of Radicals and Dissenters transcended even his father's dislike of them. His conception of the Church differed widely from that in which the archdeacon had been reared. To him a clergyman was a priest who belonged to a sacerdotal caste, and who ought not "to merge himself in the body of the nation." To him the Reformation was an infamous crime, and Henry VIII. was worse than the Bluebeard of the nursery. His hero was Thomas à Becket. He wrote a sketch of his life and career, which he did not live to finish. His friends ill-advisedly published it after his death. His ideal ecclesiastical statesman of modern times was Archbishop Laud. Charles I. was a martyr, and the Revolution of 1688 an inglorious blunder. To the day of his death—in spite of the harsh discipline which he received at his hands in boyhood, in spite of wide divergence of opinion in later years in all matters secular and religious—Froude never ceased to worship at his brother's shrine. Out of regard for his memory, more than from any passionate personal conviction, he associated himself while at Oxford with the Anglican movement. His affectionate admiration for Newman, neither time nor change served to impair. If Carlyle was his prophet in later years, his influence happily did not affect his style. That was based on the chaste model of Newman. He owed his early friendship with Newman to that great man's association with Hurrell Froude. Many years after, when Freeman had venomously accused him of "dealing stabs in the dark at a brother's almost forgotten fame"—poor Froude's offence was that he dared to write an essay on Thomas à Becket—he defended himself with rare emotion against the charge. "I look back upon my brother," he said, "as on the whole the most remarkable man I have ever met in my life. I [ix] have never seen any person—not one—in whom, as I now think him, the excellences of intellect and character were combined in fuller measure." As Froude's powers developed and matured, and as his experience of the world broadened, he cast away his brother's yoke, and reverted more to his father's school of thought. As his father was to him the ideal clergyman of the Church of England, so the Church before 1828 remained to him the model of what an established religion should be. He was a thorough Erastian, who believed in the subordination of the Church to the state. He detested theological doctrinalism of all kinds; he revolted against the idea that the clergy should form a separate order. The pretensions of Whitgift and Laud, the High Anglican school of
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