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Printed for T. Davies, in Russel-street; Becket and
De HondT; and T. CADELL, in the Strand,
ENRY the eighth was succeeded on the throne by his only son Edward the sixth, now in the ninth year of his age. The late king in his will, which he expected would be absolutely obeyed, fixed the majority of the prince at the completion of his eighteenth year ; and in the mean time appointed fixteen executors of his will, to whom, during the miniority, he Vol. III.
entrusted the government of the king and kingdom. But the vanity of his aims was foon discovered ; for the first act of the execu-. tors was to chuse the earl of Hertford, who was afterwards made duke of Somerset, as protector of the realm, and in him was lodged all the regal power, together with a privilege of naming whom he would for his privy council.
This was a favourable season for those of the reformed religion; and the eyes of the late king were no sooner closed, than all of that persuasion congratulated themselves on the event. They no longer suppressed their sentiments, but maintained their doctrines openly, in preaching and teaching, even while the laws against them continued in full force. The protector had long been regarded as the secret partizan of the reformers; and, being now freed from restraint, he scrupled not to express his intention of correcting all the abuses of the ancient religion, and of adopting still more the doctrines propagated by Luther. His power was not a little strengthened by his success againit an incursion of the Scorch, in which about eight hundred of their army were Nain; and the popularity which he gained upon this occafion, seconded his views in the further
pagation of the new doctrines. But the character of Somerset did not stand in need of the mean supports .of popularity acquired in this manner, as he was naturally humble, civil, affable, and courteous to the meaneft suitor, while all his actions were directed by motives of piety and honour.
The protector, in his schemes for advancing the reformation, had always recourse to the counsels of Cranmer, who, being a man of moderation and prudence, was averse to violent changes, and determined to bring over the people by insensible innovations to his own peculiar system. The person who op. posed with the greatest authority any farther advances towards reformation, was Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, who, though he had not obtained a place at the council-board, yer from his age, experience, and capacity, was regarded by moft men with some degree of veneration. Upon a general visitation of the church, which had been commanded by the primate and protector, Gardiner defended the use of images, which was now very openly attacked by the protestants ; he even wrote an apology for holy water ; but he particularly alleged, that it was unlawful to make any change in religion during the king's mi