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BY DR. GOLDSMITH.
ÎN FOUR VOLUMES.
THE SEVENTH EDITION.
Printed by N. Kelly,
HENRY the eighth was succeeded on the IIthrone 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 sixteen executors of his will, to whom, during the minority, he entrusted the government of the king and kingdom. But the vanity of his aims was soon discovered; for the first act of the executors was to choose 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 main.
on Palm Sunday. These were deemed ancient superstitious practices, which led to immoralities that it was thought proper to restrain. An order also was issued for the removal of all images from the churches, an innovation which was much desired by the reformers, and which alone, with regard to the populace, amounted almost to a change of the established religion. The people had for some time been extremely distracted by the opposite opinions of their preachers; and as they were totally incapable of judging the arguments advanced on either side, and naturally regarded every thing they heard at church, as of the greatest authority, much confusion and fluctuation resulted from this uncertainty. The council first endeavoured to remove the inconvenience by laying some restraints upou preaching; but finding this expedient fail, they imposed a total silence upon preachers, which, however, was removed by degrees, in proportion as the reformation gained ground among the people.
But these innovations, evidently calculated for the good of the people, were not brought about without some struggles at home, while the protector was but too busily employed against the Scotch, who, united with, and seconded by France, still pushied on their inroads with unrenitting animosity: Besides, there was still an enemy that he had yet to fear more than any of the former; and this was his own brother, lord Thomas Seyinour, the admiral, a man of uncommon talents, but proud, turbulent, and untractable. This nobleman could not endure the distinction which the king had ala ways made between him and his elder brother ; so that they divided the whole court and the kingdom by their opposite cabals and pretensions. By his flattery and address, hc had so insinuated hini. self into the good graces of the queen dowager, that, forgetting her usual prudence and decency,
she married him immediately upon the decease of the late king. This match was particularly displeasing to the elder brother's wife, who now saw that while her husband had the precedency in one place, she was obliged to yield it in another. His next step was to cabal and make a party among the nobility, who as they hated his brother, fomented his ambition. He then bribed the king's domestics to his interest; and young Edward frequently went to his house, on pretence of visiting the queen. There he ingratiated hiinself with his sovereign by the most officious assiduities, particu-, larly by supplying lin with money to distribute among his servants and favourites, without the knowledge of his governor. In the protector's absence with his army in Scotland, he made it his business to redouble all his arts and insinuations; and thus obtained a new patent for admiral, with an additional appointment. Sir William Paget perceiving the progress he daily made in the king's affection, wrote to the protector on the subject, who finished the campaign in Scotland with all possible dispatch, that he might return in time to counter-work his machinations. But before he could arrive in England, the admiral had engaged in his party several of the principal nobility, and la I even prevailed on the king hinself to write a letter to the two houses of parliament with his own hand, desiring that the admiral might be appointed his governor; but the council being apprised of his schemes, sent deputies to assure him, that if he did not desist they would deprive him of his office, send him prisoner to the tower, and prosecute him on the last act of parliament, by which he was subject to the penalty of high treason, for attempting to disturb the peace of the government. It was not without soine severe struggles within himself, and some menaces divulged among his creatures,