«by JANE ELIZABETH KINGSLEY-SMITH A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY The ...»
communities into \\hich they came as religious exiles. 22 To be a political refugee from an oppressive regime would not ensure a welcome. Indeed, Strasbourg, Frankfurt and Zurich, among other cities, had a strict policy on the political backgrounds of their refugees, denying
access to those guilty of'crimes against the state'. 23 Garrett writes:
It was out of this predicament [...] that the need arose for a legend of persecution and banishment. Hence it was that in all their supplications for shelter, these voluntary exiles became in their own phrase 'die armen vertrybnen Engellender', and 'poor banished Englishmen' they have remained in the sympathy of the world to the present day. 24 (italics mine) The iconography of the exile at this time also correlates with the iconography of the Protestant martyr. Foxe includes exile as one of the tribulations suffered by the martyred under Henry VIII. On Edward's succession: 'such as before were in banishment for the danger of the truth, were again received to then- country'. 25 Foxe describes Mary's reign as one in which many men, women, and children were burnt, many imprisoned, and in prison starved, divers exiled, some spoiled of goods and possessions, a great number driven from house and home.26 He shows an awareness of the suffering of Protestant exiles abroad in the case of Bartlet Green. Green's correspondence with Christopher Goodman, 'being at that present a poor exile 22 Exile-communities were established at Emden, Wesel, Frankfurt, Strasburg and Zurich with offshoots at Basel, Geneva and Aarau. See The English Reformation for a brief history of these Protestant colonies in particular the notorious Frankfurt, 286-94.
23 Garrett cites a letter written by Richard Hilles to Henry Bullinger in 1545 concerning the application of his friend, John Burcher, for the freedom of the Canton of Zurich. Hilles refers to the necessity of the exile proving himself innocent of any sedition and thus presenting himself as one persecuted Tor having embraced the pure and Christian doctrine, and freely made a profession of it'. The Marian Exiles, 12-3.
24 The Marian Exiles, 15.
25 The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe ed. by Rev. Josiah Pratt (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1877), 4th ed., 8 vols., vol 5, 703.
26 Ibid., vol. 8, 624.
beyond the seas' was intercepted and became the object of royal scrutiny when a remark of Green s about the Queen was 'misinterpreted'. Foxe is too interested in Bartlet's subsequent martyrdom to describe this exile any further. However, he later refers to the fateful letter as included among 'others, written to divers of the godly exiles', suggesting that Goodman was another persecuted Protestant. 27 In the early years of her reign, Elizabeth seemed to promise a degree of religious toleration.
Bishops were deprived of their positions and put in prison or under house arrest but the rest of the clergy remained in England practising their faith with varying degrees of compromise.
The supremacy oath was not imposed on laymen systematically nor were the fines for recusancy effectually enforced. 28 Although Nicolas Sander's The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism (1585), continued by Edward Rishton, describes how high dignitaries of the Church were 'banished the realm' in these early years, the extent to which this removal was voluntary or enforced remains unclear.29 Once again, the migration of a number of Elizabethan bishops and academics from Oxford and Cambridge may be seen as religious colonization. The exiles went to the universities of Paris, Padua, Salamanca and Louvain and to newly created Catholic colleges such as Rheims, Rome and Douai, where the intention was 27 Goodman left England voluntarily in 1554 and his name appeared in the same year with the exiles at Strasbourg. He moved to Frankfurt and then joined John Knox at Geneva where they were appointed pastors to the exile community there. From here, Goodman wrote How Superior powers oght to be obeyd of their subiects (1558) which was deeply critical of Mary and of the sovereignty of women in general. The tract was so unpopular for its splenetic tone that Goodman did not dare to return at once to England on Elizabeth's accession.
He was also involved in Coverdale's translation of the Bible and in Knox's writing.
28 Christopher Haigh describes the varying circumstances of the Catholic priests who remained in England. He explains the Elizabethan government's change to a draconian anti-Catholic policy as a reaction, not just to the Northern rebellion, but to a perceived increase in the number of English Catholics. This was largely due to the return of English priests trained abroad, particularly at the Douai seminary, to England from 1574 onwards. See English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Titdors (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 25 1The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism tr. and ed. by David Lewis (London: Burns & Dates, 1877), Bk.
4, chp. 3,261.
to train priests who might return to England and keep the faith alive there. Moreover, in 1585 the Anglican Schism refers to banishment as a 'new course', distinguished from the Act of that year which required Jesuits to leave the country. 30 This banishment of priests held in prison sounds more like transportation and here Rishton writes from personal experience, describing the reluctance of the priests to 'forsake' English Catholics (327-30). He suggests that the Church's persecutors now wish to present a more humane face to the world. The exile
But most assuredly banishment for life is no strong proof of forbearance, and in truth is the most cruel punishment, when the condition of it is death if you return. Now the priests of God are in England by the command of their superiors, and out of their own great zeal for the salvation of souls; to them, therefore, this banishment must have been harder to bear than all torture and death itself, and to the Catholic people also, thus robbed of their priests, it must have been infinitelv sad.31 Voluntary or enforced, motivated by religious zeal or political dissidence. the definition of exile is a central bone of contention in contemporary debates over Catholic persecution. In The Execution of Justice in England (1583), William Cecil argues that the Pope has been deceived by the fugitives. 32 Their support for his bull of excommunication against Elizabeth
is inspired by inherent treachery not religious conviction. Cecil writes:
not only all the rabble of the foresaid traitors that were before fled, but also all other persons that had forsaken their native countries, being of divers 30 See The Statutes at Large from the First Year of Queen Mary, to the Thirty-fifth Year of Queen Elizabeth, inclusive ed. by Danby Pickering (Cambridge: Joseph Bentham, 1763), 27 Eliz. cap. 2. The act called for those mentioned to quit the realm of England within forty days of the proclamation or face a charge of high treason. It also declared that to harbour a priest after those forty days would be a felony punishable by death; that within six months the seminarians must return to England and take the oath of allegiance or be proclaimed traitors; that it is not lawful to send one's child or ward abroad without a special licence; and that no money may be sent over to the colleges. These laws are summarised in The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism. Bk 4. chip. 11, 332-3.
31 Ibid., Bk. 4, chp. 11,326.
3: see The Execution of Justice in England by William Cecil and A True, Sincere, and Modest Defense of English Catholics by William Alien ed. by Robert VI. Kingdon (Ithaca and New York: Cornell University Press, 1965), 4.
conditions and qualities, some not able to live at home but in beggary, some discontented for lack of preferments, which they gaped for unworthily in universities and other places, some bankrupt merchants, some in a sort learned to contentions, being not contented to leam to obey the laws of the land, have many years, running up and down from country to country, practiced [sic] some in one comer, some in another, some with seeking to gather forces and money for forces, some with instigation of princes by untruths to make war upon their natural country, some with inward practices to murder the GREATEST, some with seditious writings, and very many of late with public infamous libels, full of despiteful vile terms and poisoned lies, altogether to uphold the foresaid anti-Christian and tyrannous warrant of the Pope's bill. 33 Hence, Cecil argues that no Catholic has been persecuted for his faith but rather for the sedition and treachery practised against Elizabeth in the name of that faith. He extends this argument to the seminaries, urging his readers not to be deceived by their apparently apolitical intents in sending priests across to England. It is all part of a papal master plan, 'to nourish and bring up persons disposed naturally to sedition' and to smuggle them into England for the Queen's overthrow. 34 In A True. Sincere and Modest Defense of English Catholics (1584) William Alien utterly refutes this. Protestants have fostered the misconception that all Catholics, but particularly Jesuits and seminarians, are in league with the Pope, the King of Spain, the Duke of Florence and others to invade the kingdom. 35 In fact. Alien argues, despite Elizabeth's 33 Ibid., 5-6.
34 Ibid., 6. Many of Cecil's conclusions about the Catholic exiles are dramatised in Thomas Dekker's play The Whore ofBabvlon ( 1606), possibly a revision of the Elizabethan play Truth's Supplication to Candlelight (1600), which looks back on the Elizabethan era from the same anti-Catholic perspective. In particular, Dekker repeatedly denies the exiles any religious fervour. Campeius (Edmund Campion) seems only concerned with advancement. He travels to Rome in the hope that at the Empress' court his talents will be appreciated, 2.2. In
3.1 the first Cardinal describes how Satyran (Philip II) recruits Englishmen for Rome. These include 'all such fugitives/ Whose heartes are Babylonized: all the Mutiners,/ All the damb'd Crew, that would for gold teare off' The deuills beard: All schollers that doe eate/ The bread of sorrow, want, and discontent...', 67-71 in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), vol. 2.
35 The Execution of Justice, 79-80.
excommunication. Catholics have remained loyal and have even tried to mitigate that sentence. His insistence that the Catholic exiles are quite innocent of treason flew in the face of evidence collected by Sir Francis Walsingham's spies and is similarly rejected by present day historians.36 Nevertheless, Alien's seminarians are models of hard work and endurance, spending their 'long banishment in honest poverty', never accused of the least crime or disorder by their host country. 37 He also defends the religious convictions of the exiled laymen. If their exile were motivated by secular self-interest, Alien argues, they would certainly have succumbed to the Protestants' persuasions. Instead, the Catholic exiles remain steadfast and it is England's Protestants who are being tempted across the channel to true
we in the mean space (through God's great grace) receive hundreds of your ministers, a number of your best wits, many delicate young gentlemen, and divers heirs of all ages, voluntarily fleeing from your damnable condition and seeking after God; and many of them also become priests or religious, even now when you hate, contemn, and punish priests so deadly.38 (italics mine) We have so far considered the representation of the exile as a passive, tragic figure but this was by no means the only identity available to the banished man, particularly if his flight was voluntary. Such exile becomes a heroic action and the realisation of one's vocation. In the case of Reformation England, expelled from the Roman Catholic Church, that exile came to seem the fulfilment of England's unique virtues.
Excommunication posits the expulsion of a man from the Church, from the community of Christians and from the intangible body of Christ. It is the fate of Cain doomed to wander the 36 See Kingdon's introduction on Alien's involvement in various plots, xxxiii-vii.
37 Ibid., 106.
38 Ibid., 106-7.
earth with alienation written in his flesh. In Acts and Monuments, Foxe relates word-for-word
the sentence passed upon the unknown author of certain heresies:
Accursed may they be, and given body and soul to the devil. Cursed be they, he or she, in cities and towns, in fields, in ways, in paths, in houses, out of houses, and in all other places, standing, lying, or rising, walking, running, waking, sleeping, eating, drinking, and whatsoever thing they do besides. We separate them, him or her, from the threshold, and from all the good prayers of the church; from the participation of holy mass; from all sacraments, chapels, and altars; from holy bread and holy water; [...] and we give them over utterly to the power of the fiend... 39 When this sentence was extended to England's sovereign, as it was to Henry in November 1538 and to Elizabeth in April 1570, the isolation imaginatively suffered by that realm upon its break with Rome was reinforced by divine rhetoric.40 Moreover, this latter banishment may have seemed to express the inherently marginal, even alien character of England in relation to other European powers. The kingdom had always been geographically isolated from the rest of the world. Now its isolation was marked by its governance by a woman, a declared bastard and a heretic.
In order to secure Elizabeth's position, it was vital to redefine England's self-image as an outcast. Jeffrey Knapp describes how the Virgilian aphorism about the country, 'penitos toto divisos orbe Britannos" ('the Britons wholly divided from all the world", first Eclogue) was
the English could see their island as much excluding the world as being excluded by it. What would otherwise have appeared dispiriting tokens of 39 Acts and Monuments, vol. 5, 21. Thomas Benet had put up scrolls on the doors of Exeter cathedral saying 'The pope is Antichrist; and we ought to worship God only, and no saints', 19. He was in the congregation when the excommunication was pronounced and his defiant laughter betrayed him.
40 For the terms of Pope Pius V's excommunication of Elizabeth see The Reformation in England by Philip Hughes (London: Hollis & Carter, 1952), 3 vols., vol. 3,418-20.