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the English tongie, and by good and godly people,' The course, however, in which all things were with devotion and soberness, well and reverently now moving, made it impossible that what may read." Cranmer also asserts that, when the Saxon almost be called the fundamental principle of tongue, in which the first version was made, Protestantism—the free circulation of the Scrip"waned old and out of common usage," the Scrip- tures among the people, could be much longer ture was again translated into the newer lan- resisted. The convocation of 1536, accordingly, guage, “whereof," he adds, "yet also many copies' at the same time that the parliament passed the be found.” But the first English translation of first act for the dissolution of the monasteries, any part of the Scriptures that was printed was agreed by a majority, on the motion of Cranmer, the translation of the New Testament, by William to petition the king that he would give orders for Tyndal (otherwise called Hotchin), assisted by a the preparation of an English translation of the friar named Roy, and others, which appeared in Bible. The project was at first opposed by a an octavo volume at Antwerp, in 1526. The powerful party at court, and Henry for some time edition consisted of 1500 copies, nearly all of hesitated; but it was represented to him, on the which appear to have been sent over to England. other side, that nothing would make the pope
and the monks so hateful to the nation, or his own supremacy so acceptable, as giving the people the free use of the Word of God; and “these arguments," says Burnet, “joined with the power that the queen had in his affections, were so much considered by the king that he gave order for setting about it immediately.” Already, however, in the preceding year, there had been produced on the Continent a complete English translation of the Bible, by Miles Coverdale. Coverdale's Bible, which is conjectured, from the form of the types, to have been printed at Zürich, was dedi. cated to the King of England. It was in folio, and appears to have been the volume which, in 1536, immediately after the order had been issued for the preparation of a new translation to be set forth by authority, Cromwell, as the king's vicar
general and vicegerent in ecclesiastical matters, WALIAN TYNDAL-Arrer a rare print in the “ Heroologia." commanded to be procured by every parish, and
chained to a pillar or desk in the choir of the Here they were purchased and read with won-church, for all to read at their pleasure. This derful eagerness by the people, and not the less was done, that the resolution taken in favour of so for the prohibition that was issued by Wolsey, laying open the Word of God to the people might and published by every bishop in his diocese. not remain inoperative while the new translation At one time the clergy sought to repress this was in hand. To whom that work was committed, zeal for Tyndal's Testament by giving out that or how the persons engaged proceeded in it, Burthey intended immediately to put forth a trans- net says he had not been able to ascertain; the lation of their own; but the project, if it ever direction was probably left with Cranmer, with was seriously entertained, was soon thrown aside; whom the proposal had originated, and it is beand at length, about the end of May, 1530, a lieved that Coverdale was one of the principal paper was drawn up by Warham, More, Tunstal, persons employed. When the translation was at and other eminent canonists and divines, which last finished, it was sent to be printed at Paris, every incumbent was commanded to read to his by Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch; congregation, intimating that, the king having but, although the printers had previously obtained consulted certain prelates and learned men of both the French king's license to undertake the work, universities as to various treatises on doctrinal their operations were interrupted by the clamours subjects lately set out in the English tongue, they of the clergy, and they were obliged to withdraw had agreed in condemning them as containing to London, where the volume was at last finished several things that were heretical; and that, upon in April, 1539. This first authorized English the question as to the necessity or expediency of Bible, which is known by the name of Cranmer's a translation of the Bible, “they were of opinion or the Great Bible, is a folio, like Coverdale's, that, though it had been sometimes done, yet it and the text, in the main, is little more than a was not necessary, and that the king did well not corrected edition of his. On the completion of to set it out at that time in the English tongue.” | this important task, a copy of the Bible was pro Vol. II.