Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1539 Volume 14
423. BURCHARDUS to MELANCTHON.
Two days ago, I returned home here from England. On the way, both by land and sea, dangers threatened, but God freed us from them all, as you shall learn some other time. At present I will signify something of the state of England.
The impious statute of Parliament which you saw, has indeed been enacted, at the instance especially of the bishops of London and Winchester, of whom one is dead and the other excluded from Court and public business.
Bishops Latimer and Salisbury refused to sign, and resigned their bishoprics, but beyond this nothing is done as yet, for all execution is suspended, and the King seems already displeased at the promulgation of the decree, and little favourable to those who have so astutely done this, in order to supplant Cromwell and the archbishop of Canterbury and the Chancellor, excellent men, and most friendly to the purer doctrine of the Gospel. But God in his mercy seems to have turned the wicked counsel upon the heads of its authors, for these excellent men are now in greater favour than ever, and the papistical faction (it does not confess this name, but may truly be called so) has nowise obtained its hoped-for tyranny, nor, God willing, ever will in England.
Those hypocrites, indeed, endeavoured, when occasion offered, to suppress the truth, and confuse the King with their sophistries; but they have only succeeded so far as to obtain the statute, not its execution; and to themselves, the penalty imposed in that statute against scortatores sacrificulos is intolerable. As far as I have been able to gather, these hypocrite bishops, by their sophistry and clamour, obtained this statute, than which no writing ever issued by any papists is more harsh; nor do I doubt but that (as all good men, and especially those in authority, affirm) the statute will shortly be abolished.
Also all good men have the highest hope in the coming marriage of the King and Anne, sister of the prince of Juliers, that not only that statute will be abrogated, but the true doctrine of religion received. The King often spoke with me, and always said he desired nothing else than that the Gospel truth ... (breaks off abruptly).