History of England (Froude)/Chapter 14
THE COMMISSION OF CARDINAL POLE.
THERE were glad hearts at Rome when the news came that the English commons had risen for the Church. The Pope would lose no time in despatching his blessings and his help to his faithful children. His advances had been scorned—his hopes had been blighted—his offers of renewed cordiality had been flung back to him in an insulting Act of Parliament; the high powers, it seemed, had interfered at last to avenge his quarrel and theirs. Rumour painted the insurgents as* in full triumph; but their cause was the cause of the world, and should not be left in their single hands. If France and the Empire were entangled in private quarrels, Scotland was free to act, and to make victory sure.
On Christmas eve, at St Peter's, at the marvellous mass, when as the clock marked midnight, the church, till then enveloped in darkness, shone out with the brilliance of a thousand tapers, a sword and cap were laid upon the altar,—the sword to smite the enemies of the faith, the cap, embroidered with the figure of a dove, to guard the wearer's life in his sacred enterprise. The enchanted offerings were a present of the Holy Father to James the Fifth; they were to be delivered in Scotland with the same ceremonials with which they had been consecrated; and at Rome prayers were sent up that the prince would use them in defence of Holy Church against those enemies for whom justice and judgment were now prepared; that, in estimating the value of the gifts, he would remember their mystic virtue and spiritual potency.
The Scotch were, indeed, ill-selected as allies to the northern English, their hereditary enemies; but religion had reconciled more inveterate antagonisms, and to the sanguine Paul, and his more sanguine English adviser, minor difficulties seemed as nothing, and vanished in the greatness of their cause.
Reginald Pole was now a cardinal. When hopes of peace with England had finally clouded over he was invited to Rome. It was soon after announced taat he was to be raised to high dignity in the Roman Church; and although he was warned that the acceptance of such a position would sanction the worst interpretation of his past proceedings, he contented himself with replying with his usual protestations of good meaning, and on the 20th of December he received a cardinal's hat.
His promotion, like the consecration of the cap and sword, was a consequence of the reports from England. He had been selected as the representative of the Holy See on the outbreak of the rebellion which he had foretold, and he was armed with a rank adequate to his mission, and with discretionary instructions either to proceed to England or to the nearest point to it, in France or Flanders, to which he could venture.
The condition in which he might find his own country was uncertain. If the first rumours were correct, the King might be in the power of the insurgents, or, at least, be inclined to capitulate. It was possible that the struggle was still in progress—that the friends of the Church might require assistance and direction. It was necessary, therefore, to be provided for either contingency. To the Pope, with whom he had no disguise, and under whose direction he, of course, was acting, he spoke freely of his mission as intended to support the insurrection, that the people of England might have a leader near at hand of the old royal blood, with authority from the Pope to encourage them, yet beyond the reach of the tyrant's hand. With the English Government he manœuvred delicately and dexterously. At the end of December he wrote a respectful letter to Henry, making no allusion to any intended commission, but, in his capacity merely of an English subject, going over the points at issue between his country and the Papacy, and giving his reasons for believing the right to be with the See of Rome; but stating at the same time his desire 'to satisfy his Majesty, or else to be himself satisfied,' and offering 'to repair into Flanders, there to discuss and reason with such as his Highness would appoint to entreat that matter with him.'
The proposal seemed so reasonable to Henry, that, if Pole, he said, was coming to Flanders really. with no concealed intention, he would consent willingly; and persons were selected who should go over and dispute with him. The mask was carefully sustained. The legate in his general correspondence with his friends, although he did not disguise his commission from the Holy See, or suggest as a possibility that he might himself be convinced in the intended discussion, yet spoke beforehand of his expedition merely as a peaceful one; and since he intended to commence with argument, he perhaps conceived himself to be keeping within the letter of the truth.
As his legatine credentials, five pastoral epistles were prepared by Paul.
The first was an address to his well-beloved children in England, whose apostasy he knew to have been forced upon them, and who now were giving noble proof of their fidelity in taking arms for the truth. He lauded them for their piety; he exhorted them to receive, obey, and assist his excellent representative in the high work on which he was sent.
The second was to James of Scotland—a companion to another and more explicit letter which accompanied the cap and sword—commending Pole to his care, and again dwelling on the exploits which lay before him to be achieved in England.
The third and fourth were to Francis and the Regent of the Netherlands. The French and Imperial ambassadors had both been consulted on Pole's intended expedition, and both had signified their approval of it. Paul now invited the King of France to consider the interests which were compromised by the unhappy war in Europe, and to remember his duty as a Christian prince. He urged both Francis and the Regent Mary to receive Pole as they would receive himself, as engaged upon the deepest interests of Holy Church.
A last letter was to the Prince Bishop of Liège, claiming his general assistance, and begging him, should it be necessary, to supply the legate with money.
With these missives, and with purposes of a very plain character, Reginald Pole left Rome in February. France was his first object. The events in England of the few last weeks had prepared a different reception for him from that which he expected.
The King had not lost a moment in correcting the misconceptions which the Duke of Norfolk had permitted at Doncaster. The insurgents supposed that they had done good service to the commonwealth; the King regarded them as pardoned traitors who must reward his forgiveness by loyal obedience for the future. A chasm lay between the two estimates of the same subjectj which would not readily be filled. The majority of the gentlemen had returned from their visit to London, converts to Henry's policy—or at any rate determined to support it. The clergy, and such of the people as were under their influence, remained a sullen minority. The intentions of the Government were made purposely obvious. Large garrisons, with ammunition and cannon, were thrown into Newcastle, Scarborough, and Hull. Royal officers penetrated the country where the power of the knights and nobles was adequate to protect them, compelling suspected persona to sue out their pardons by taking the oath of allegiance in a form constructed for the occasion. The most conspicuous insurgents were obliged to commit themselves to acquiescence in all the measures against which they had risen. They had believed themselves victorious: they were enduring the consequences of defeat.
Loud outcries arose on all sides. The people exclaimed that they were betrayed by the gentlemen. The pardon was a delusion; 'the King,' they said, 'had given them the fawcet and had kept the spigot.' The clergy were described as writhing with fury; they had achieved their magnificent explosion; the smoke which had darkened the sky was clearing off, and the rock was not splintered. The opportunity wa not, could not be gone; after all, it was only here and there that the treachery of the gentlemen would be fatal; the King had still but a comparatively inconsiderable force scattered in a few towns; the country generally was in a state of anarchy: the subsidy could not be collected; the monks remained in the abbeys in which they had been reinstated. The agitation began again, at particular points, to gather head.
Sir Francis Bigod, of Mogreve Castle, in Blakemore, was one of those persons who, in great questions, stand aloof from parties, holding some notion of their own, which they consider to be the true solution of the difficulty, and which they will attempt when others have failed: he was a spendthrift; his letters to Cromwell describe him as crippled with debt; he was a pedant; and had written a book on the supremacy, on an original principle; in the first rising, he said, he was ' held in great suspect and jealousy because of his learning.'
Mortified, perhaps, that his talents had not been appreciated, he now conceived that he had an occasion for the display of his powers. If the King himself had selected a leader for the insurgents who would give a death-blow to their cause, he could not have made a better choice.
The council of the north was about to undertake its functions. The Duke of Norfolk was to be the first president, and was to enter upon his duties at the end of January.
Bigod, consulting only a few monks, a certain John Hallam a retainer of Sir Robert Constable, and one or two other insignificant persons, imagined that before his arrival the vantage-ground of Doncaster might be recovered. Had Lord Darcy, or any capable person, been aware of his intentions, he would have been promptly checked; but he kept his secret, except among his own private confederates, Jan. 12.till the 12th of January, when he sent out a sudden circular, through Durham and Richmondshire, inviting a muster at Settington. Discontent is an incautious passion. The clergy gave their help, and a considerable number of people collected, though knowing nothing of the object for which they had been called together. Presently Sir Francis Bigod rode up, and mounting a hillock, addressed the crowd.
'He had invited them thither, he said, to warn them that, unless they looked to themselves, they would be all destroyed. Cleveland had risen, and other parts of the bishopric had risen, and all brave men must follow the example. The Duke of Norfolk was coming down with twenty thousand men. The gentlemen were traitors. The people were deceived by a pretended pardon, which was not a pardon, but a proclamation. None were to have the benefit of it, unless they took the King for supreme head of the Church; and that was against the Gospel. If, therefore, he said, you will take my part, I will take yours. You who will follow me, hold up your hands.'
They did not know Bigod; but in their humour they would have followed any one who had offered to lead them. Every hand went up. 'Who will not go,' they cried, 'strike off his head!' 'Now is the time to rise, or else never. Forward! forward! forward! forward now! on pain of death. Forward now, or else never; and we shall have captains just and true; and no gentlemen shall stay us.' … The spent force of the great rising could still issue in noise, if in nothing else.
Among the crowd was the eldest son of Lord Lumley, taken there, if his own word was true, by little else than curiosity. Bigod saw him; and he was pitched upon to head a party to Scarborough, and seize the castle. He went unwillingly, with followers little better than a rabble. The townspeople were languid; the castle had been newly entrenched; the black mouths of cannon gaped between the parapets. The insurgents stood gazing for a few hours on their hopeless enterprise, and at the end Lumley stole away out of the town, and left his men to shift as they could. Hull and Beverley were to be attempted on the same day by Hallam and Bigod. In both cases they hoped to succeed by a surprise. At Hull it happened to be the market day. Hallam went thither in a farmer's dress, with twenty men, the party entering the town two and two to avoid causing suspicion. He calculated on the assistance of the crowd who would be collected by the market; but he soon discovered that he was mistaken, and that unless he could escape before his disguise was betrayed, he would be taken prisoner. He had gained the open country with two or three of his followers, when, on looking round, he saw the gates closing. 'Fie!' some one cried, 'will you go and leave your men behind you?' He turned his horse, intending a rescue. At that moment his bridle was seized; and though he drew his sword, and, with his servants, made a few minutes' defence, he was overpowered, and carried to the town gaol.
Bigod's fortune was scarcely better. He succeeded in getting possession of Beverley; but the late leaders, whose names still possessed the most authority, Aske, Darcy, and Sir Robert Constable, lost not an instant in disclaiming and condemning his proceedings. His men fell away from him; he was obliged to fly, and he, too, soon after found himself a prisoner.
Nothing could have been more fortunate for the Government, nothing more vexatious to all intelligent friends of the insurrection, than this preposterous outbreak. If the King desired to escape from the conditions of Doncaster, a fresh commotion furnished him with a fair excuse. Constable sent out orders, imperiously commanding every one to remain quiet. The Duke of Norfolk, he said, was coming only with his private retinue to listen to the complaints of the people. The King was to follow at Whitsuntide, to hold a Parliament in the midst of them. Their present folly was compromising their cause, and would undo their victory. To the King both he and Aske made the most of their exertions to preserve order, and received from him his thanks and acknowledgments. Yet their position was full of danger; and to move either against the rising or in favour of it might equally injure them; they ruined Bigod; but the country people and the clergy, who were half inclined to suspect them before, saw in their circulars only fresh evidence of treachery; their huge party, so lately with the organization of an army, was gaping and splitting everywhere, and they knew not on which side to turn. Bigod's scattered followers appealed to Aske and Darcy for protection, and Aske at least ventured to engage his word for their pardons. Hallam, who was as popular as he was rash and headstrong, had been taken in arms, and was in the hands of the King's soldiers at Hull. They must either rescue him and commit themselves to fresh treason, or forfeit the influence which they retained. They consulted anxiously. February.It was still open to them to draw their swords—to fling themselves on the country, and fight out the cause which they saw too clearly was fading away. But they had lost the tide—and they had lost heart, except for half-measures, the snare and ruin of revolutionists.
Aske ventured to Hull in person, and interceded, with indirect menaces, to prevent Hallam's execution; a step which compromised himself, and could not benefit the prisoner. The general consequences which he had foreseen all followed as a matter of course. 'Bigod,' he said bitterly, 'had gone about to destroy the effect of the petition.' The Duke of Norfolk came at the end of the month; but, under the fair pretext of the continued disorders, he brought with him an army, and an army this time composed of men who would do his bidding and ask few questions.
Feb. 3.On the 3rd of February he was at Pomfret. He was instructed to respect literally the terms of the pardon, but to punish promptly all offences committed since the issue of it. By the gentlemen he was eagerly welcomed, 'being,' he wrote, 'in the greatest fear of the people that I ever saw men.' The East Riding was tolerably quiet; but to the north all was in confusion. The Earl of Westmoreland was in London. The countess was labouring to keep order, 'playing the part rather of a knight than of a lady,' but with imperfect success. The Countess of Northumberland had also exerted herself nobly. But 'there was never so much need of help as now,' wrote Sir Thomas Tempest to Norfolk, 'Northumberland is wholly out of rule; and without order to be taken in Tyndal and Redesdale, all mischief shall go at large. The barony of Langley and Hexhamshire, taking example by them, be almost as evil as they be.' Feb. 4.Similar information came in from Richmond and the Dales, and Westmoreland was in worse condition than either. In place of the disciplined army which had been at Doncaster, an armed mob was spread over the country, pillaging and burning. Happily the latter form of evil was the more easy to deal with. 'The gentlemen be in such terror,' Norfolk said, ' that they be afraid to move for their defence.' 'It shall not be long,' he added, 'ere I will look on these commons;' nor were they slow in giving him an opportunity.
Feb. 12.About the 12th of February a rabble from Kendal, Richmond, Hexham, Appleby, and Penrith, collected under one of the Musgraves, about eight thousand in number, and attacked Carlisle. They assaulted the walls, but were beaten back in confusion, and chased for many miles by Sir Thomas Clifford. Clifford's troops, hastily levied, contained a sprinkling of the professional thieves of the Border. The tendencies of these men getting the better of them, they began to pillage; and the rebels rallying, and probably reinforced, attacked them, and gained some advantage. Norfolk hurried to the scene, taking care to bring the southern levies with him; and he trusted that he had at last found an opportunity of dealing a blow which would finally restore order, and recover Henry's confidence in him, which had been somewhat shaken. 'I doubt not,' he wrote to Cromwell, 'so to use my company as it shall appear I have seen some wars. This pageant well played, it is likely all this realm shall be in better quiet during our lives. Doubt not, my lord, that I will adventure anything. I know too well what danger it should be to the whole realm if we were overthrown. Now shall appear whether for favour of these countrymen I forbare to fight with them at Doncaster, as ye know the King's Highness showed me it was thought by some I did. Those that so said shall now be proved false liars.'
The result of a battle in Norfolk's humour would have been serious to the rebels. They felt it, and their courage failed them; they broke up in panic and dispersed. On inquiry, the last explosion, like the rest, was traced to the monks; those of Sawley, Hexham, Lanercost, Newminster, and St Agatha, being the most guilty. The Duke had the power in his hands, and was determined, once for all, to close these scenes. The impunity of the first insurrection had borne its natural fruits, and wholesome severity could alone restore quiet. Martial law was proclaimed in Durham, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and the northern angle of Yorkshire; arrests were made on all sides, and a courier was despatched to inform the King of the final flight of the insurgents, and of the steps which had been taken. Henry answered promptly, sending down his thanks to Sir Thomas Clifford and Sir Christopher Dacre, who had defended Carlisle, with his full approbation of Norfolk's conduct. 'The further you wade,' he said, 'in the investigation of the behaviour of those persons that call themselves religious, the more you shall detest the great number of them. Our pleasure is, that before you shall close up our banner again you shall cause such dreadful execution to be done upon a good number of the inhabitants of every town, village, and hamlet that have offended, as they may be a fearful spectacle to all others hereafter that would practise any like matter, remembering that it should be much better that these traitors should perish in their unkind and traitorous follies, than that so slender punishment should be done upon them as the dread thereof should not be a warning to others. Finally, forasmuch as all these troubles have ensued by the solicitation and traitorous conspiracies of the monks and canons of those parts, we desire you at such places as they have conspired or kept their houses with force since the appointment at Doncaster, you shall, without pity or circumstance, cause all the monks and canons that be in any wise faulty, to be tied up without further delay or ceremony.'
The command was obeyed. March.Before the ordinary course of law was restored; 200 persons, laity and March. clergy, were hanged in various towns in Westmoreland, Cumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire. The severity was not excessive, but it was sufficient to produce the desired result. The rebellion was finished. The flame was trampled out, and a touch of human pathos hangs over the close. A brief entry among the records, relates that 'the bodies were cut down and buried by certain women.' Hallam and several of his followers were executed at Hull. Bigod, Lumley, and six others were sent to London, to await their trial with the Lincolnshire prisoners who were still in the Tower.
The turn of events promised ill for Reginald Pole, and the nature of his mission was by this time known in England. The fame had spread of the consecrated sword; and James had given fresh umbrage and caused additional suspicion by having married in the midst of the late events the Princess Magdalen of France, without consulting his uncle. The disturbances had been checked opportunely; but great as the danger was known to have been, a further peril had been on the rise to increase its volume. Pole had professed a desire for a reconciliation. The reconciliation, as Pole understood the word, was to be accomplished by the success of the rebellion which he was hastening to assist by all methods, natural and supernatural; and his affected surprise could scarcely have been genuine when he found himself proclaimed a traitor. Henry, by his success in England, had meantime recovered the judicious respect of foreign sovereigns. The French ambassador had promised the Pope a favourable reception for his legate at Paris. The legate, on his arrival at Lyons, met his first disappointment in the reports which reached him from his friends at home: approaching the French capital, he received a second and a worse, in an intimation from Francis that he would not be admitted to his presence; that unless he desired to find himself in the custody of his own Government he must leave the kingdom immediately. In the treaties between France and England, a mutual promise to give no protection to political offenders was a prominent article. Henry had required Francis to observe his obligations, and they could only be evaded by Pole's instant disappearance.
In the cruel blight of his hopes the legate had only to comply. He hastened to Cambray, and sending a courier with the Pope's letter to the Regent of the Netherlands, he avenged himself by childish complaints, which he poured out to Cromwell. The King of France had been insulted—the sacred privileges of an ambassador had been violated by the monstrous demand for his surrender. He pretended to be ignorant that treaties are made to be observed, and that foreign Courts can confer no sacred privilege on the subjects of other countries, as towards their own Governments. He reached Camrbray in the beginning of April, but he found in the Netherlands a scarcely more cordial reception than in France. He remained in that town under honourable but uneasy restraint till the end of May, when he was obliged to inform the Pope that the Regent was in so great awe and fear of 'that adversary,' the King of England, that she no more dared to receive him than Francis; that he lived in daily fear of being taken prisoner and sent to London, and the utmost favour on which she could venture was to send him under an escort to Liège. To Liège, therefore, he was obliged to retire, and there for the present the Bishop's hospitality allowed him to remain. If his journey had been attended with no other consequences but his own mortification it would scarcely have required to be noticed. Unhappily it was followed by, and probably it occasioned, the destruction of more than one brave man for whom we could have desired a better fate. While at Liège, and even from his entry into France, it is evident, from his letters to the Pope, that he maintained an active correspondence with England. AprilWhether intercepted despatches found their way into the hands of Cromwell, or whether his presence in the neighbourhood invited suspicion, and suspicion led to discovery, is uncertain; we find only that simultaneously with Pole's arrival at Cambray, Robert Aske, Lord Darcy, and Sir Robert Constable were arrested and taken to the Tower. On mid-Lent Sunday Aske had sent out his letter to 'the captains' of various districts, and meetings had been held in consequence. I am unable to ascertain either the objects or the results of these meetings; but 'to summon the King's lieges' for any object after the restoration of quiet was an act of the highest imprudence. In Easter week there was an obscure insurrection in Cleveland. Sir John and Lady Bulmer (or Margaret Cheyne, as she is termed in her indictment) had been invited to London. Lady Bulmer was proved to have said that she would as soon be torn in pieces as go to London unless the Duke of Norfolk's and Sir Ralph Ellerkar's heads were off, and then she might go where she would at the head of the commons. Her chaplain confessed to a plot between the lady, her husband, and other persons, to seize and carry off Norfolk to Wilton Castle; but in the evidence which I have discovered there is nothing to implicate either Aske or his two friends in this project.
That after the part which the latter had played they should have been jealously watched, that actions of doubtful bearing should be construed to their disfavour, was no more than they had a right to expect. Narrow interpretations of conduct, if severe, are inevitable with men who in perilous times thrust themselves into revolutionary prominence. To estimate their treatment fairly, we must ascertain, if possible, from the fragments of surviving informations against them, whether they really showed symptoms of fresh treasonable intent, or whether they were the victims of the irritation created by Pole's mission, and were less punished for their guilt than because they were dangerous and powerful. The Government insisted that they had clear proof of treason; yet the word 'treason' as certainly bore a more general meaning in Cromwell's estimate, than in the estimate of those who continued to regard the first pilgrimage as good service to the State. To the Government it was a crime to be expiated by active resistance of all similar attempts, by absolute renunciation of its articles; and if in contrast to the great body of the northern gentlemen, a few possessed of wide influence continued to maintain that they had done well, if they continued to encourage the people to expect that their petitions would be granted, if they discouraged a renewal of the commotions, avowedly because it would injure the cause; it is certain that by a Government surrounded by conspiracy, and emerging with difficulty out of an arduous position, yet determined to persevere in the policy which had created the danger, such men would be regarded with grave suspicion, even if compromised by no further overt acts of disloyalty.
But it can scarcely be said that they were wholly uncompromised. Through the months of February and March a series of evidence shows Aske, Darcy, Sir Robert Constable, a gentleman named Levening, and several others, holding aloof as an isolated group, in close and continued intercourse, yet after Bigod's capture taking no part in the pacification of the country. They had repeatedly, in public and private, assured the people that the Doncaster articles must be conceded. They were in possession of information respecting the risings in Westmoreland and Cleveland, and yet gave no information to the Government. In an intercepted letter to Lord Darcy, Aske spoke of himself as having accomplished a great enterprise—'as having played his part, and all England should perceive it.' It was proved that Darcy, when commanded in January to furnish Pomfret with stores, had repeated his former neglect—that he and Aske were still in secret possession of cannon belonging to the Government, which they had appropriated in the rebellion, and had not restored—that Aske had interfered with the authorities at Hull to prevent the punishment of traitors taken in arms—that Constable, in a letter to Bigod, told him that he had chosen a wrong time of the year, that he ought to have waited till the spring—that Lord Darcy had been heard to say that it was better to rule than be ruled—'and that where before they had had but two sovereign crowns they would now have four.'
The lightest of these charges were symptoms of an animus which the Crown prosecutors would regard as treasonable. The secretion of the artillery and Aske's conduct at Hull would ensure a condemnation where the judges were so anxious to condemn.
The materials for the prosecution were complete. It remained to proceed with the trials. But I must first mention the fate of the prisoners from Lincolnshire, who had been already disposed of. In their case there was not the complication of a pardon. They had been given up hot-handed by their confederates, as the principal instigators of the rebellion. More than a hundred seem to have been sent originally to the Tower. Upwards of half of these were liberated after a short imprisonment. On the 6th of March Sir William Parr, with a special commission, sat at Lincoln, to try the Abbot of Kirkstead, with thirty of the remainder. The Lincoln jury regarded the prisoners favourably; Thomas Moigne, one of the latter, spoke in his defence for three hours so skilfully, according to Sir William Parr's report, that 'but for the diligence of the King's Serjeant,' he and all the rest would have been acquitted. Ultimately the Crown secured their verdict: the Abbot, Moigne, and another were hanged on the following day at Lincoln, and four others a day or two later at Louth and Horncastle. The commission petitioned for the pardon of the rest. After a delay of a few weeks the King consented, and they were dismissed.
Twelve more, the Abbot of Barlings, one of his monks, and others who had been concerned in the murder of the chancellor, were then brought to the bar in the Guildhall. They had no claim to mercy; and they found none. They were hung on gibbets, at various towns, in their own county, as signs and warnings. Lord Hussey was tried by the peers. He was guilty obviously of having fled from a post which he was bound to defend. He had obstructed good subjects, who would have done their duty, had he allowed them; and he had held communication with the rebels. His indictment charges him with acts of more direct complicity, the evidence of which I have not discovered. But wherever a comparison has been possible, I have found the articles of accusation in so strict accordance with the depositions of witnesses, that the absent link may be presumed to have existed. The construction may be violent; the fact is always true. He, too, was found guilty, and executed.
With Lord Hussey the Lincolnshire list was closed. Out of fifty or sixty thousand persons who had been in armed rebellion, the Government was satisfied with the punishment of twenty. The mercy was perhaps in part dictated by prudence.
May.The turn of the northern men came next. There were three sections of them—Sir Francis Bigod, George Luraley, and those who had risen in January in the East Riding; Sir Thomas Percy, the Abbot of Fountains, the Abbot of Jervaulx, Sir John and Lady Bulmer, Sir Ralph Bulmer, and Sir Stephen Hamarton, who had been concerned in the separate commotions since suppressed by the Duke of Norfolk; and, finally, Aske, Constable, and Lord Darcy, with their adherents. In this instance the proceedings were less simple than in the former, and in some respects unusual. The inferior offenders were first tried at York. The indictments were sent in to the grand jury; and in the important case of Levening, the special confederate of Aske and Darcy, whose guilt was identical with theirs, no bill was found. The King, in high displeasure, required Norfolk to take some severe notice of this obstruction of justice. Norfolk remonstrated; and was requested, in sharper language, to send up a list of the jurors, and unravel, if possible, the cause of the acquittal. The names were forwarded. The panel was composed of fifty gentlemen, relatives, most of them, of one or other of the accused persons, and many among whom had formed part of the insurgent council at Pomfret. Levening's escape was explained; and yet it could not be remedied. The Crown was forced to continue its prosecutions, apparently with the same difficulty, and under the same uncertainty of the issue. When the trials of the higher offenders were opened in London, true bills had first to be found against them in their own counties; and the foremen of the two grand juries (for the fifty were divided into two bodies of twenty-five each) were Sir James Strangways and Sir Christopher Danby, noted, both of them, on the list which was forwarded to the Crown, as relatives of Lord Darcy, Sir Francis Bigod, and Sir John Bulmer.
May 9.On the 9th of May, however, either through intimidation or the force of evidence, the sixteen prisoners who were in the Tower, Lord Darcy, Robert Aske, Sir Robert Constable, and thirteen more were delivered over for their trials. In the six preceding weeks they had been cross-examined again and again. Of the many strange scenes which must have taken place on these occasions, one picture, but a striking one, is all which I have found. It occurred at the house of the lord chancellor, in the presence of the privy council and a crowded audience. Darcy was the subject of examination. Careless of life, and with the prophetic insight of dying men, he turned, when pressed with questions, to the lord privy seal:—
'Cromwell,' he said, 'it is thou that art the very special and chief causer of all this rebellion and mischief, and art likewise causer of the apprehension of us that be——, and dost daily earnestly travel to bring us to our ends, and to strike off our heads. I trust that ere thou die, though thou wouldest procure all the noblemen's heads within the realm to be stricken off, yet shall there one head remain that shall strike off thy head.'
Of Aske, too, we catch glimpses which show that he was something more than a remarkable insurgent leader: a short entry tells us that six or seven days after his arrest, 'his servant, Robert Wall (let his name be remembered), did cast himself upon his bed and cried, 'Oh, my master! Oh, my master! they will draw him, and hang him, and quarter him;' and therewith he did die for sorrow.' Aske had lost a friend when friends were needed. In a letter which he wrote to Cromwell, he said that he had been sent up in haste without clothes or money, that no one of his relations would help him, and that unless the King would be his good and gracious lord, he knew not how he would live. His confessions during his imprisonment were free and ample. He asked for his life, yet with a dignity which would stoop to no falsehood, and pretend to no repentance, beyond a general regret that he should have offended the King. Then, as throughout, he showed himself a brave, simple, nobleminded man.
But it was in vain; and fate was hungry for its victims. The bills being found, Darcy was arraigned before twenty-two peers, and was condemned, Cromwell undertaking to intercede for his life. The intercession, if made, was not effectual. May 16.The fifteen commoners, on the same day, were tried before a special commission in Westminster Hall. Percy, Hamarton, Sir John and Lady Bulmer pleaded guilty. The prosecution against Sir Ralph Bulmer was dropped: a verdict was given without difficulty against Aske, Constable, Bigod, Lumley, and seven more. Sixteen knights, nobles, and gentlemen, who a few months before were dictating terms to the Duke of Norfolk, and threatening to turn the tide of the Reformation, were condemned criminals waiting for death.
The executions were delayed from a doubt whether London or York should be the scene of the closing tragedy. There remain some fragments written by Darcy and Aske in the interval after their sentence. Darcy must have been nearly eighty years old; but neither the matter nor the broad, large, powerful handwriting of the following words show signs of agitation:—
'After judgment given, the petition of Thomas Lord Darcy to the King's Grace, by my Lord Privy Seal.
'First to have confession; and at a mass to receive my Maker, that I may depart like a Christian man out of this vale of misery.
'Second, that incontinent after my death my whole body may be buried with my late wife, the Lady Neville, in the Freers at Greenwich.
'Third, that the straitness of my judgment may be mitigated after the King's mercy and pleasure.
'Fourth, that my debts may be paid according to a schedule enclosed.'
Aske, in a few lines addressed also to Cromwell, spoke of his debts, and begged that some provision might be made for his family. 'They,' he said, 'never offended the King's Grace, nor were with me in council in no act during all this time, but fled into woods and houses. Good my Lord, extend your pity herein. And I most humbly ask the King's Highness, and all his council and lords, lowly forgiveness for any mine offences or words attempted or said against his Grace or any of them any time of my life; and that his Grace would save my life, if it be his pleasure, to be his bedesman—or else—to let me be full dead or that I may be dismembered, that I may piously give my spirit to God without more pain; and that I desire for the honour of God and for charity.'
The requests relating to the manner of the executions, it is satisfactory to find, were granted; and not only in the case of the two petitioners, but so far as I can learn in that of all the other sufferers. Wherever the scaffold becomes visible, the rope and the axe are the sole discernible implements of death. With respect to the other petition, I find among loose memoranda of Cromwell an entry 'for a book to be made of the wives and poor children of such as have suffered, to the intent his Grace may extend his mercy to them for their livings as to his Highness shall be thought convenient, and for payment of their debts.' The 'mercy' seems to have been liberal. The forfeited properties, on the whole, after a longer or shorter interval, were allowed to descend without diminution, in their natural order.
After some discussion it was settled that Darcy should suffer on Tower Hill; Juneand he was executed on the 20th of June. Sir Thomas Percy, Bigod, the Abbots of Fountains and Jervaulx, Hamarton, Sir John Bulmer, young Lumley, and Nicholas Tempest were hanged at Tyburn; four who had been tried with them and condemned were pardoned. Lady Bulmer died the dreadful death awarded by the English law to female treason. 'On the Friday in Whitsun week,' wrote a town correspondent of Sir Henry Saville, 'the wife of Sir John Bulmer was drawn without Newgate to Sniithfield and there burned:' and the world went its light way, thinking no more of Lady Bulmer than if she had been a mere Protestant heretic: the same letter urged Saville to hasten to London for the pleasures of the season, suggesting that he might obtain some share in the confiscated estates, of which the King would be soon disposing. Aske and Sir Robert Constable were to be sent down to Yorkshire. The King had been compelled, by the succession of fresh disorders and the punishments which had followed, to relinquish his intention of holding a summer Parliament there. The renewed disturbances had released him from his promise, and the discussion which would inevitably have been opened, would have been alike irritating and useless. He had thought subsequently of going to York on progress, and of making his presence the occasion of an amnesty; the condition of the Continent, however, the large armies, French and Imperial, which were in the field in the neighbourhood of Calais, the possibility or the alarm that the Pope might succeed in reconciling and directing them upon England, and still more the pregnancy of the Queen and the danger of some anxiety which might cause the loss of the child, combined to make so distant a journey undesirable. These at least were the reasons which he alleged to the world. His chief ground, however, as he stated in private, was the increasing infirmity of his own health and the inhibition of his physician. He resolved, therefore, that Norfolk, and not himself, should 'knit up the tragedy,' by conducting the last executions on the scene of the rebellion, and after they were over, by proclaiming a final and general pardon.
July.At the beginning of July the two remaining prisoners were placed in the custody of Sir Thomas Wentworth. They were paraded in formal state through the eastern counties, and at each town a few words of warning were addressed on the occasion to the people. Wentworth brought them thus to Lincoln, where they were delivered over to the Duke of Norfolk. Constable suffered first. He was taken to Hull, and there hanged in chains. Before his death he said that, although he had declared on his examination that he had revealed everything of importance which he knew, yet he had concealed some matter connected with Lord Darcy for fear of doing him an injury. 'He was in doubt whether he had offended God in receiving the sacrament in such manner, concealing the truth upon a good purpose.' This secret, whatever it was, he carried with him from the world. His own offences he admitted freely, protesting, however, that he had added nothing to them since the pardon.
A fuller account remains of the end of Aske. He, too, like Constable, had some mystery on his conscience which he would not reveal. In a conversation with his confessor he alluded to Darcy's connection with the Spanish ambassador; he spoke of the intention of sending for help to Flanders, and acknowledged his treason, while he shrunk from the name of traitor. He complained that Cromwell had several times promised him his life if he would make a full confession, and once he said he had a token of pardon from the King; but his bearing was quiet and brave, and if he believed himself hardly dealt with, he said so only in private to a single person.
York was chosen as his place of execution. He was drawn through the streets upon a hurdle, to be hanged afterwards from the top of a tower. On his way he told the people that he had grievously offended God, the King, and the world. God he had offended in breaking his commandments many ways; the King's Majesty he had greatly offended in breaking his laws, to which every subject was bound; and the world he had offended, 'for so much as he was the occasion that many a one had lost their lives, lands, and goods.' At the scaffold he begged the people to pray for him, ' and divers times asking the King's Highness' forgiveness, the lord chancellor, the Lord of Norfolk, the lord privy seal, the Lord of Sussex, and all the world, after certain orisons he commended his soul to God.' So we take leave of Robert Aske, closing his brief greatness with, a felon's death—an unhappy ending! Yet, as we look back now, at a distance of three centuries, when the noble and the base, the conquerors and the conquered, have been all long dead together, when nothing remains of any of them but the work, worthy or unworthy, which they achieved, and the few years which weak false hearts could purchase by denying their faith and truckling to the time appear in the retrospect in their proper insignificance, a man who risked and lost his life for a cause which he believed a just one, though he was mistaken in so believing it, is not among those whose fate deserves the most compassion, or whose career is least to be envied.
The insurrection had sunk down into rest; but it had not been wholly in vain. So far as it was just it had prevailed; and happy were they whose work was sifted for them, who were permitted to accomplish so much only for their intentions as had been wisely formed. If the reins of England had been seized by Aske and Darcy, their signal beacons of insurrection would have become blazing martyr-piles, shining dreadfully through all after-ages; and their names would have come down to posterity swathed in such epithets as cling, and will cling for ever, to the Gardiners and the Alvas.
While the noble Catholics were braving danger in England, Reginald Pole sat at safe distance on his Liège watch-tower, scenting the air for the expected battle-field; and at length, hungry and disappointed, turning sullenly away and preparing for flight. He had clung to hope till the last moment with desperate tenacity. He had laboured to inspire his friends in Italy with his own confidence. 'The leaders of the faithful,' he wrote to the Pope, 'had been duped and murdered; but the hate of the people for the Government had deepened in intensity. They were subdued for the instant by terror; but their strength was unimpaired. They were furious at the King's treachery.' 'Twice,' he wrote to Contarini, 'the children of Israel went up against Benjamin, and twice they were put to confusion, God having encouraged them to fight, and God permitting their defeat. The third time they prevailed. In like manner had the children of the Church been twice conqxiered, once God so willing it in Ireland, and now again in England. A third time they would take up their cause, and then they would triumph gloriously.' He knew what he meant. Already he was digging fresh graves for other victims; secret messengers were passing between Liège and his mother, and his mother's family, and Lord Montague and Lord Exeter were already contemplating that third effort of which he spoke. 'I do but desire to wait in this place,' he said, 'so long as the farmer waits for his crops. I have sown my seed. It will grow in its allotted time.' Contarini advised his return to Italy; and the Pope believed also that the opportunity was passed. Pole himself, alternately buoyed up with hope and plunged in despondency, seemed at times almost delirious. He spread a wild rumour that the King had sent emissaries to murder him. The Pope believed him, and became more anxious for the safety of so valuable a life. Letters passed and repassed. He could not resign himself to relinquish his enterprise. On the 21st of August he wrote that 'the English Government had made itself so detested, and the King of Scotland was so willing to assist, that with the most trifling impulse a revolution would be certain.' Events, however, so far, had not borne out his expectations. He had promised liberally, but there had been no fulfilment; and supposing at length that the chances of success were too slight to justify the risk of his longer stay, Paul put an end to his anxieties by sending him a formal recall.
The disappointment was hard to bear. One only comfort remained to him. Henry had been evidently anxious that his book should not be made known to the world. He might revise, intensify, and then publish it and taste the pleasure of a safe revenge.
But I have now to mention a minor drama of treachery winding into the interstices of the larger. When Pole first awoke serious suspicion by being raised to the Cardinalate, Michael, younger brother of Sir George Throgmorton, volunteered to Cromwell to go to Rome, make his way into Pole's service, and become a spy upon his actions. His offer was accepted. He went, and became Pole's secretary; but, instead of betraying his master, he betrayed his employers; and to him the 'Liber de Unitate Ecclesiæ' was in all probability indebted for the fresh instalment of scandals which were poured into it before publication, and which have furnished material for the Catholic biographers of Henry the Eighth. Throgmorton's ingenious duplicity enabled him to blind the English Government through the spring and summer. He supplied them with reports in a high degree laudatory of the cardinal, affirming entire confidence in the innocency of the legatine mission; and if they were not misled as to Pole's purposes, they believed in the fidelity of the spy. It was not till the day before leaving Liège that he threw off disguise, and wrote to Cromwell in language which was at last transparent.
The excellent intentions of the legate, he said, having been frustrated by events, and his pure and upright objects having been wickedly misconstrued, he was about to return to Rome. The Pope, whose gracious disposition towards England remained unabated, had issued indulgences through all Christendom for a general supplication that the King's Grace and the country might return to the Church. These would be naturally followed by a rehearsal of the King's actions, and accompanied by censures. It was likely, in addition, that, on Pole's return to Rome, his Holiness would request his consent that his book should be set in print, 'as it will be hard for him to deny, for the great confidence they have therein.' 'Hereof,' Throgmorton concluded, 'I have thought it necessary to advertise you, considering the short departure of the legate, upon whose return, as you see, hangs both the divulgating of the censures, the putting forth of his book, and the sending also of new ambassadors to all Christian princes. I suppose you have a great desire for a true knowledge of his mind and acts in this legacy. It makes many men marvel to see the King's Grace so bent to his ruin, rather than to take some way to reconcile him. Your lordship may best think what is best to be done.'
Cromwell's answer to this communication, though long, will not be thought too long by those who desire to comprehend the passions of the time, and with the time the mind of its ruling spirit.
August'I thought,' was the abrupt commencement, 'that the singular goodness of the King's Highness shewed unto you, and the great and singular clemency shewed unto that detestable traitor your master, in promising him not only forgiveness, but also forgetting of his most shameful ingratitude, unnaturalness, conspiracy against his honour, of whom he hath received no more, but even as much, and all that he hath—I thought, I say, that either this princely goodness might have brought that desperate rebel from his so sturdy malice, blindness, and pervicacy, or else have encouraged you to be his Highness's true and faithful subject. But I now remember myself too late. I might better have judged that so dishonest a master could have but even such servants as you are. No, no! loyalty mid treason seldom dwell together. There can no faithful servant so long abide the sight of so heinous a traitor to his prince. You could not all this season have been a spy for the King, but at some time your countenance should have declared your heart to be loyal. No! You and your master have both well declared how little fear of God resteth in you, which, led by vain promise of promotion, thus against his laws work treason towards your natural prince and country, to serve an enemy of God, an enemy of all honesty, an enemy of right religion, a defender of iniquity, a merchant and occupier of all deceits.
'You have bleared mine eyes once. Your credit shall never more serve you so far to deceive me the second time. Your part was to do us the King your sovereign lord had commanded you. Your praise was to be sought in obeying his Highness's pleasure, and not in serving your foolish fantasy. But now, to stick unto a rebel, to follow a traitor, to serve a friend of his which mortally hateth your sovereign lord, what folly is it to excuse such mad lewdness? Your good master, who has lately entered into the religion which has been the ruin of all religion, cannot, ye say, but be the King's high friend. He will, as ye write, declare unto the world why the King taketh him for a traitor. In this thing he needeth to travel never a deal. All princes almost know how well he hath deserved this name; yea, the King's Highness is much beholden unto some of them from whom his Grace hath learned the godly enterprisas that this silly cardinal went about. Now, if those that have made him thus mad can also persuade him to print his detestable book, where one lie leapeth in every line on another's neck, he shall be then as much bound to them for their good council as his family to him for his wise dealing. He will, I trow, have as little joy thereof as his friends and kinsfolk are like to take profit of it. Pity it is that the folly of one brainsick Pole, or, to say better, of one witless fool, should be the ruin of so great a family. Let him follow ambition as fast as he can, these that little have offended (saving that he is of their kin), were it not for the great mercy and benignity of the prince, should and might feel what it is to have such a traitor to their kinsman. Let his goodly book, the fruit of his whole study, come abroad, is there any man but he may well accuse our prince of too much clemency, and must marvel that no way is found to take away the author of such traitory? Surely when answers shall be made to his malice, there shall be very few but they will think as I do, that he hath as he deserveth, if he be brought to a most shameful death. Let him not think but though he can lie largely, there be some with us that can say truth of him. His praise shall be grief when men shall see the King's Highness's benefits towards him, and shall look upon his good heart, his grateful mind, his desire to serve the King's honour.
'Let his lewd work go forth. After that let princes judge whether the King can take the author of so famous a libel to be his true subject. Let the King's high benefits, and, which is far more to be esteemed, his singular benevolence shewed unto him of a child, come and make their plea. Can he or you think any ground safe for him to stand in? Hath he not just cause to fear lest every honest man should offer himself to revenge this so enormous unkindness? Shall he not think every honest man to be his foe? Shall not his detestable acts, written in his conscience, evermore bring him to continual sorrow? And ye know that, whensoever the King will, his Highness may bring it easily to pass that he shall think himself scarce sure of his life, although he went tied at his master's girdle. There may be found ways enough in Italy to rid a traitorous subject. Surely let him not think but, when justice can take no place by process of law at home, sometimes she may be enforced to take new means abroad.
'Amongst all your pretty news these are very pleasant, that the Bishop of Home mtendeth to make a lamentation to the world and to desire every man to pray that his old gains may return home again. Men will think that he has cause, or at least good time, to lament, not that the King of England hath pulled his realm out of thraldom, but that a great part of the world is like to do the same. Many a man weepeth for less. We blame him not if he lament. Howbeit, doubt ye not he shall find some with us that shall bid him be a better man, though they bid him not be of better cheer. If your good master take upon him to make this lamentation, as indeed I think there is no man that hath better cause to wail than he hath, assure ye him he shall lack no consolation. The Pope will desire the world to pray for the King! The hypocrisy cometh even as it should do, and standeth in place meet for it. The world knoweth right well what other wiles he has practised these three years. They shall laugh to see his Holiness come to prayer because he cannot bring to pass that he most desireth. He that the last day went about to set all princes on his Grace's top, writing letters for the bringing of this to pass, shall he not now be thought holy that thus suddenly casteth away his weapon and falleth to his beads? If sinners be heard at any time, it is when they pray for good things. He shall not pray so fast that we may return to errors, to the defence of tyranny, ungodliness, untruth, as we shall pray that his Grace long may continue our most virtuous prince, and that hypocrites never after these days shall reign over us.
'Michael, if you were either natural towards your country or your family, you would not thus shame all your kin. I pray they bide but the shame of it. This I am sure of, though they bye and bye suffer no loss of goods, yet the least suspicion shall be enough to undo the greatest of them. I can no more, but desire that your master and you may acknowledge your detestable faults and be good witnesses of the King's high mercy. Ye may turn. If ye do so I doubt not but the King will show the world that he desireth nothing more than the saving of his subjects. If ye continue in your malice and perverse blindness, doubt not but your end shall be as of all traitors. I have done what I may to save you. I must, I think, do what I can to see you condignly punished. God send you both to fare as ye deserve—either shortly to come to your allegiance, or else to a shameful death.'
The scene and the subject change. I must now take my reader below the surface of outward events to the under-current of the war of opinions, where the forces were generated which gave to the time its life and meaning. Without some insight into this region history is but a dumb show of phantoms; yet, when we gaze into it with our best efforts, we catch but uncertain images and fleeting pictures. In palace and cottage, in village church and metropolitan cathedral, at the board of the Privy Council or in the roadside alehouse, the same questions were discussed, the same passions were agitated. A mysterious change was in process in the minds of men. They knew not what it was—they could not control its speed or guide its direction. The articles and the settlement of 1536 were already buried under the froth of the insurrection. New standing-ground was to be sought for, only in its turn to slip away as it seemed to be gained; and the teachers and the taught, the governors and the governed, each separate human being, left to his own direction, was whirled along the rapids which formed the passage into a new era. A few scenes out of this strange time have been preserved for us in the records. They may pass one by one before us like the pictures in a magic slide.
The first figure that appears is a 'friar mendicant, living by the alms of the King's subjects, forming himself to the fashions of the people.' He is 'going about from house to house,' and when he comes to aged and simple people he will say to them, 'Father, or sister, what a world this is! It was not so in your father's days. It is a perilous world. They will have no pilgrimages. They will not we should pray to saints, or fast, or do any good deeds. Oh Lord, have mercy on us! I will live as my forefathers have done. And I am sure your fathers and friends were good, and ye have followed them hitherto. Continue as ye have done and believe as they believed.'
The friar disappears. A neighbour, of the new opinions, who has seen him come and go, takes his place, and then begins an argument. One says, 'my father's faith shall be my faith.' And the other, hot and foolish, answers, 'Thy father was a liar and is in hell, and so is my father in hell also. My father never knew Scripture, and now it is come forth.'
The slide again moves. We are in a village church, and there is a window gorgeously painted, representing the various events in the life and death of Thomas à Becket. The King sits on his throne, and speaks fiercely to his four knights. The knights mount their horses and gallop to Canterbury. The Archbishop is at vespers in the quire. The knights stride in and smite him dead. Then follows the retribution. In the great central compartment of the window the haughty prince is kneeling naked before the shrine of the martyr, and the monks stand round him and beat him with their rods. All over England in such images of luminous beauty the memory of the great victory of the clergy had been perpetuated. And now the particular church is Woodstock, the Court is at the park, and day after day, notwithstanding the dangerous neighbourhood, in the church aisles groups of people assemble to gaze upon the window, and priests and pardoners expatiate with an obvious application on the glories of the martyr, the Church's victory, and the humiliation of the King. Eager ears listen; eager tongues draw comparisons. A groom from the Court is lounging among the crowd, and interrupts the speakers somewhat disdainfully; he says that he sees no more reason why Becket was a saint than Robin Hood. No word is mentioned of the profanity to Henry; but a priest carries the story to Gardiner and Sir William Paulet. The groom is told that he might as well reason of the King's title as of St Thomas's; forthwith he is hurried off under charge of heresy to the Tower; and, appealing to Cromwell, there follows a storm at the council table.
August 14.We are next at Worcester, at the Lady Chapel, on the eve of the Assumption. There is a famous image of the Virgin there, and to check the superstition of the people the gorgeous dress has been taken off by Cromwell's order. A citizen of Worcester approaches the figure: 'Ah, Lady,' he cries, 'art thou stripped now? I have seen the day that as clean men had been stripped at a pair of gallows as were they that stripped them.' Then he kisses the image, and turns to the people and says, 'Ye that be disposed to offer, the figure is no worse than it was before,' 'having a remorse unto her.'
The common treads close upon the serious. On a summer evening a group of villagers are sitting at the door of an alehouse on Windermere; a certain master Alexander, a wandering ballad-singer, is 'making merry with them.' A neighbour Isaac Dickson saunters up and joins the party.
'Then the said Isaac commanded the said minstrel to sing a song he had sung at one Fairbank's house in Crossthwaite, in the county of Westmoreland, in the time of the rebellion, which song was called 'Crummock,' which was not convenient, which the said minstrel utterly denied. The said Isaac commanded the said minstrel again in a violent manner to sing the song called 'Cromwell,' and the said minstrel said he would sing none such; and then the said Isaac pulled the minstrel by the arm, and smote him about the head with the pummel of a dagger, and the same song the minstrel would not sing to die for. The third time the said Isaac commanded the minstrel to sing the same song, and the minstrel said it would turn them both to anger, and would not. And then did Isaac call for a cup of ale, and bade the minstrel sing again, which he always denied; then Isaac took the minstrel by the beard and dashed the cup of ale in his face; also, he drew his dagger and hurt master Willan, being the host of the said house, sore and grievously in the thigh, in rescuing of the said minstrel.'
Again, we find accounts of the reception which the English Bible met with in country parishes.
A circle of Protestants at Wincanton, in Somersetshire, wrote to Cromwell complaining of the curate, who would not teach them or preach to them, but 'gave his time and attention to dicing, carding, bowling, and the cross waster.' In their desire for spiritual food they applied to the rector of the next parish, who had come occasionally and given them a sermon, and had taught them to read the New Testament; when suddenly, on Good Friday, 'the unthrifty curate entered the pulpit, where he had set no foot for years,' and 'admonished his parishioners to give no credence to the new-fangled fellows which read the new books.' 'They be like knaves and Pharisees,' he said; 'they be like a dog that gnaweth a marry-bone, and never cometh to the pith, therefore avoid their company; and if any man will preach the New Testament, if I may hear him, I am ready to fight with him incontinent;' and 'indeed,' the petitioners said, 'he applyeth in such wise his school of fence so sore continually, that he feareth all his parishioners.'
So the parish clerk at Hastings made a speech to the congregation on the faults of the translation: 'It taught heresy,' he said; 'it taught that a priest might have a wife by God's law. He trusted to see the day that the book called the Bible, and all its maintain ers and upholders, should be brent.'
Here, again, is a complaint from the parishioners of Langham in Essex, against their village potentate, a person named Vigors, who with the priest oppressed and ill-used them.
'Upon Ascension day last past did two maidens sit in their pew or stool in the church, as all honest and virtuous persons used to do in matins time, saying their matins together upon an English primer. Vigors this seeing was sore angry, in so much that therefore, and for nothing else, he did bid the maidens to avoid out of the church, (calling them) errant whores, with such other odious and spiteful words. And further, upon a time within this year, one of Vigors's servants did quarrel and brawl with other children many, whom we called heretics; and as children be light and wanton, they called the said servant again Pharisee. Upon this complained Robert Smyth of our town to Vigors's, saying that it was against reason that the great fellow his servant should quarrel and fight with children. Whereupon Vigors said to his servant, 'See that thou do cut off their ears, oh errant whoreson, if they so call thee hereafter; and if thou lack a knife, I shall give thee one to do it. And if thou wilt not thus do, thou shalt no longer serve me."
On the other hand, the Protestants gave themselves no pains to make their heterodoxy decent, or to spare the feelings of their antagonists. To call 'a spade a spade,' and a rogue a rogue, were Protestant axioms. Their favourite weapons were mystery plays, which they acted up and down the country in barns, in taverns, in chambers, on occasion, before the vicar-general himself; and the language of these, as well as the language of their own daily life, seemed constructed as if to pour scorn on the old belief. Men engaged in a mortal strife usually speak plainly. Blunt words strike home, and the euphuism which, in more ingenious ages, discovers that men mean the same thing when they say opposite things was as yet unknown or unappreciated. We have heard something of the popular impieties, as they were called in the complaints of Convocation. I add a few more expressions taken at random from the depositions.—One man said 'he would as soon see an oyster-shell above the priest's head at the sacring time as the wafer. If a knave priest could make God, then would he hire one such God-maker for a year, and give him twenty pounds to make fishes and fowls.' Another said that 'if he had the cross that Christ died on, it should be the first block he would rive to the fire for any virtue that was in it.' Another, 'that a shipload of friars' girdles, nor a dungcart full of friars' cowls and boots, would not help to justification.'
On both sides the same obstinate English nature was stirred into energetic hate.
Or, once more to turn to the surviving abbeys, here, too, each house was 'divided against itself, and could not stand.' The monks of Stratford complained to Sir Thomas Cholmondley that their abbot had excommunicated them for breach of oath in revealing convent secrets to the royal visitors. Their allegiance, the brave abbot had said, was to the superior of their order abroad, not to the secular sovereign in England. He cared nothing for Acts of Parliament or King's commissions. The King could but kill him, and death was a small matter, compared to perjury. Death, therefore, he resolutely risked, and in some manner, we know not how, he escaped. Another abbot with the same courage was less fortunate. In the spring and summer of 1537 Woburn Abbey was in high confusion. The brethren were trimming to the times, anxious merely for secular habits, wives, and freedom. In the midst of them, Robert Hobbes the abbot, who in the past year had accepted the oath of supremacy in a moment of weakness, was lying worn down with sorrow, unable to govern his convent, or to endure the burden of his conscience. On Passion Sunday in that spring, dying as it seemed of a broken heart, he called the fraternity to his side, and exhorted them to charity, and prayed them to be obedient to their vows. Hard eyes and mocking lips were all the answer of the monks of Woburn. 'Then, being in a great agony, the abbot rose up in his bed, and cried out, and said, 'I would to God it would please Him to take me out of this wretched world, and I would I had died with the good men that have suffered death for holding with the Pope. My conscience—my conscience doth grudge me for it.'' Abbot Hobbes should have his wish. Strength was left him to take up his cross once more where he had cast it down. Spiteful tongues carried his words to the council, and the law, remorseless as destiny, flung its meshes over him on the instant. He was swept up to London and interrogated in the usual form—'Was he the King's subject or the Pope's?' He stood to his faith like a man, and the scaffold swallowed him.
So went the world in England, rushing forward, rocking and reeling in its course. What hand could guide it! Alone, perhaps, of living men, the King still believed that unity was possible—that these headstrong spirits were as horses broken loose, which could be caught again and harnessed for the road. For a thousand years there had been one faith in Western Christendom. From the Isles of Arran to the Danube thirty generations had followed each other to the grave who had held all to the same convictions, who had prayed all in the same words. What was this that had gone out among men that they were so changed? Why, when he had but sought to cleanse the dirt from off the temple, and restore its original beauty, should the temple itself crumble into ruins?
The sacraments, the Divine mysteries, had existed in the Church for fifteen centuries. For all those ages they had been supposed to be the rivulets which watered the earth with the graces of the Spirit. After so long experience it should have been at least possible to tell what they were, or how many they were; but the question was suddenly asked, and none could answer it. The bishops were applied to. Interrogatories were sent round among them for opinions, and some said there were three sacraments, some seven, some a hundred. The Archbishop of York insisted on the apostolical succession; the Archbishop of Canterbury believed that priests and bishops might be nominated by the Crown, and he that was so appointed needed no consecration, for his appointment was sufficient. Transubstantiation remained almost the only doctrine beyond the articles of the three creeds on which a powerful majority was agreed.
Something, however, had to be done. Another statement must be made of the doctrine of the Church of England—if the Church of England were to pretend to possess a doctrine—more complete than the last. The slander must be put to silence which confounded independence with heresy; the clergy must be provided with some guide to their teaching which it should be penal to neglect. Under orders, therefore, from the Crown, the bishops agreed at last upon a body of practical divinity, which was published under the title of 'The Bishop's Book,' or 'the Institution of a Christian Man.' It consisted of four commentaries, on the creed, the sacraments, the ten commandments, and the Lord's Prayer, and in point of language was beyond question the most beautiful composition which had as yet appeared in English prose. The doctrine was moderate, yet more Catholic, and in the matter of the sacraments, less ambiguous than the articles of 1536. The mystic number seven was restored, and the nature of sacramental grace explained in the old manner. Yet there was a manifest attempt, rather, perhaps, in tendency than in positive statement, to unite the two ideas of symbolic and instrumental efficacy, to indicate that the grace conveyed through the mechanical form was the spiritual instruction conveyed in the form of the ceremony. The union among the bishops which appeared in the title of the book was in appearance only, or rather it was assumed by the will of the King, and in obedience to his orders. When the doctrines had been determined by the bench he even thought it necessary to admonish the composers to observe their own lessons.
'Experience,' he wrote to them, 'has taught us that it is much better for no laws to be made, than when many be well made none to be kept; and even so it is imich better nothing should be written concerning religion, than when many things be well written nothing of them be taught and observed.… Our commandment is, therefore, that you agree in your preaching, and that vain praise of crafty wits and worldly estimation be laid aside, and true religion sought for. You serve God in your calling, and not your own glory or vile profit. We will no correcting of things, no glosses, that take away the text; being much desirous, notwithstanding, that if in any place you have not written so plainly as you might have done, in your sermons to the people you utter all that is in God's Word. We will have no more thwarting—no more contentions whereby the people are much more set against one another than any taketh profit by such undiscreet doctrines. We had much sooner to pray you than command you, and if the first will serve we will leave out the second. Howbeit, we will in any case that all preachers agree; for if any shall dissent, let him that will defend the worser part assure himself that he shall run into our displeasure.'
'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the soimd thereof, but we cannot tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit.' Henry would have the bishops agree; as easily could he bind the winds, and bid them blow at his pleasure. Under conditions, and within limits which he did not imagine, some measure of the agreement which he desired would be at last accomplished when the time and season would permit. Meanwhile, though his task was an impossible one, it was better to try and fail, than to sit by and let the dissensions rage. Nor was Henry a man to submit patiently to failure. He would try and try again; when milder methods were unsuccessful he would try with bills of six articles, and pains and penalties. He was wrestling against destiny; yet then, now, and ever, it was, and remains true, that in great matter of religion, in which to be right is the first condition of being right in anything—not variety of opinion, but unity—not the equal license of the wise and the foolish to choose their belief—but an ordered harmony, where wisdom prescribes a law to ignorance, is the rule which reasonable men should most desire for themselves and for mankind.
But if Henry erred, his errors might find excuse in the multitude of business which was crowded upon him. Insurrection and controversy, foreign leagues, and Papal censures did not exhaust the number of his difficulties. All evil things in nature seemed to have combined to thwart him.
In the first few years after he became King, he had paid particular attention to the navy. He had himself some skill as a naval engineer, and had conducted experiments in the construction of hulls and rigging, and in ship artillery. Other matters had subsequently called off his attention, and especially since the commencement of the Reformation every moment had brought with it its own urgent claims, and the dockyards had fallen into decay. The finances had been straitened by the Irish wars, and from motives of economy the ships which the Government possessed had fallen many of them out of commission, and were rotting in harbour. A few small vessels were kept on the coast of Ireland; but in the year 1536 there was scarcely in all the Channel a single royal cruiser carrying the English flag. Materials to man a fleet existed amply among the fishermen who went year after year in vast numbers to Iceland and to Ireland—hardy sailors, who, taught by necessity, went always armed, and had learnt to fight as well as to work; but, from a neglect not the less injurious because intelligible, the English authority in the home waters had sunk to a shadow. Pirates swarmed along the coasts—entering fearlessly into the harbours, and lying there in careless security. The war breaking out between Charles and Francis, the French and Flemish ships of war captured prizes or fought battles in the mouths of English rivers, or under the windows of English towns; and through preying upon each other as enemies in the ordinary sense, both occasionally made prey of heretic English as enemies of the Church. While the Courts of Brussels and Paris were making professions of goodwill, the cruisers of both Governments openly seized English traders and plundered English fishing vessels, and Henry had for many months been compelled by the insurrection to submit to these aggressions, and to trust his subjects along the coasts to such inadequate defences as they could themselves provide. A French galliass and galleon came into Dartmouth harbour and attempted to cut out two merchantmen which were lying there; the mayor attacked them in boats and beat them off: but the harbours in general were poorly defended, and strange scenes occasionally took place in their waters. John Arundel, of Trerice, reports the following story to Cromwell: 'There came into Falmouth haven a fleet of Spaniards, and the day after came four ships of Dieppe, men-of-war, and the Spaniards shot into the Frenchmen, and the Frenchmen shot into the Spaniards, and during three hours great guns shot between them,, and the Frenchmen were glad to come higher up the haven; and the morrow after St Paul's day the Spaniards came up to assault the Frenchmen, and the Frenchmen came up almost to the town of Truro, and went aground there. I went to the admiral of the Spaniards and commanded him to keep the King's peace, and not to follow further; but the Spaniard would not, but said, 'I will have them, or I will die for it.' And then the Spaniards put their ordnance in their boats, and shot the French admiral forty or sixty shots during a long hour, the gentlemen of the city, Mr Killigrew and Mr Trefusis, and others, taking pleasure at it. Then I went to the Spaniards and told them to leave their shooting, or I would raise the country upon them. And so the Spaniards left. My Lord, I and all the country will desire the King's Grace that we may have blockhouses made upon our haven.'
Pirates were enemies to which the people were accustomed, and they could in some measure cope with them; but commissioned vessels of war had now condescended to pirates' practices. Sandwich boatmen were pillaged by a Flemish cruiser in the Downs in the autumn of 1536. A smack belonging to Deal was twice boarded and robbed by a Flemish officer of high rank, the admiral of the Sluys.
The King had for several years been engaged in making a harbour of refuge at Dover. The workmen saw English traders off the coast, and even the very vessels which brought the iron and timber for the harbour-piers, plundered by French and Flemings under their eyes; and the London merchants declared that, although the country was nominally at peace, their ships could not venture out of port unless the Government would undertake their convoy. The remonstrances which were made, of course in loud terms, at Paris and Brussels, were received with verbal apologies, and the Queen regent gave orders that her cruisers should cease their outrages; but either their commanders believed that their conduct would be secretly winked at, or they could not be convinced that heretics were not lawful game; or perhaps the zealous subjects of the Catholic powers desired to precipitate the sluggish action of their Governments. At any rate, the same insolences continued, and no redress could be obtained.
Henry could not afford to declare war. The exchequer was ill- furnished. The rebellion had consumed the subsidy, and the abbey lands had as yet returned little profit either by their rentals or by sale. The country, however, had not yet sunk so low as to be unable to defend its own coasts and its own traders. Sufficient money was found for the immediate purpose, and a small but admirably equipped fleet was fitted out silently at Portsmouth. Sir Thomas Seymour, the Queen's brother, Sir George Carew, Sir John Dudley, and Christopher Coo, a rough English sailor, were appointed to the command; and, when the ships were ready, they swept out into the Channel. Secrecy had been observed as far as possible, in the hope of taking the offenders by surprise. The greater number of them had, unhappily, been warned, and had escaped to their own harbours; but Coo shortly brought two pirate prizes into Rye. The people of Penzance, one August afternoon, heard the thunder of distant cannon. Carew and Seymour, searching the western coast, had come on the traces of four French ships of war, which had been plundering. They came up with them in Mounts Bay, and, closing against heavy odds, they fought them there till night. At daybreak, one of the four lay on the water, a sinking wreck. The others had crawled away in the darkness, and came no more into English waters. Dudley had been even more fortunate. 'As he was lying between the Needles and the Cowe,' there came a letter to him from the Mayor of Rye, 'that the Flemings had boarded a merchant-ship belonging to that port, and had taken goods out of her valued at three hundred pounds.' 'That hearing,' he said, in his despatch to Henry, 'I, with another of your Grace's ships, made all the diligence that was possible towards the said coast of Rye; and, as it chanced, the wind served us so well that we were next morning before day against the Combe, and there we heard news that the said Flemings were departed the day before. Then we prepared towards the Downs, for the wind served for that place, and there we found lying the admiral of the Sluys, with one ship in his company besides himself, being both as well trimmed for the war as I have lightly seen. And when I had perfect knowledge that it was the admiral of the Sluys, of whom I had heard, both at Rye and at Portsmouth, divers robberies and ill-demeanours by him committed against your Highness's subjects, then I commanded my master to bring my ship to an anchor, as nigh to the said admiral as he could, to the intent to have had some communication with him; who incontinent put himself and all his men to defence, and neither would come to communication nor would send none of his men aboard of me. And when I saw what a great brag they set upon it—for they made their drumsalt to strike alarum, and every man settled them to fight—I caused my master gunner to loose a piece of ordnance, and not touched him by a good space; but he sent one to my ship, and mocked not with me, for he brake down a part of the decks of my ship, and hurt one of my gunners very sore. That done, I trifled no more with him, but caused my master to lay her aboard; and so, within a little fight, she was yielded.' Dudley's second ship had been engaged with the other Fleming; but the latter, as soon as the admiral was taken, slipped her cable and attempted to escape. The Englishman stood after her. Both ships vanished up Channel, scudding before a gale of wind; but whether the Dutchman was brought back a prize, or whether the pursuer followed too far, and found himself, as Dudley feared, caught on a lee shore off the Holland flats, the Records are silent. Pirates, however, and over-zealous privateers, in these and other encounters, were taught their lesson; and it did not, for some time, require to be repeated: 'Your subjects,' Dudley and Seymour told the King in a joint letter, 'shall not only pass and repass without danger of taking, but your Majesty shall be known to be lord of these seas.' They kept their word. In this one summer the Channel was cleared, and the nucleus was formed of the fleet which, eight years after, held in check and baffled the most powerful armament which had left the French shores against England since the Norman William crossed to Hastings.
But Henry did not rest upon his success. The impulse had been given, and the work of national defence went forward. The animus of foreign powers was evidently as bad as possible. Subjects shared the feelings of their rulers. The Pope might succeed, and most likely would succeed at last, in reconciling France and Spain; and experience proved that England lay formidably open to attack. It was no longer safe to trust wholly to the extemporized militia. The introduction of artillery was converting war into a science; and the recent proofs of the unprotected condition of the harbours should not be allowed to pass without leaving their lesson. Commissions were issued for a survey of the whole eastern and southern coasts. The most efficient gentlemen residing in the counties which touched the sea were requested to send up reports of the points where invading armies could be most easily landed, with such plans as occurred to them for the best means of throwing up defences. The plans were submitted to engineers in London; and in two years every exposed spot upon the coast was guarded by an earthwork, or a fort or blockhouse. Batteries were erected to protect the harbours at St Michael's Mount, Falmouth, Fowey, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Torbay, Portland, Calshot, Cowes, and Portsmouth. Castles (some of them remain to the present day) were built at Dover, Deal, Sandwich, and along both shores of the Thames. The walls and embankments at Guisnes and Calais were repaired and enlarged; and Hull, Scarborough, Newcastle, and Berwick-upon-Tweed were made impregnable against ordinary attack. Each of these places was defended by adequate and trained garrisons; and the musters were kept in training within twenty miles of the coast, and were held in readiness to assemble on any point at any moment.
Money was the chief difficulty. The change in the character of war created unforeseen expenses of many kinds. The cost of regular military and naval establishments, a new feature in the national system, was thrown suddenly on the Crown; and the revenue was unequal to so large a demand upon it. A fresh political arrangement was displacing the old; and the finances were necessarily long disordered before the country understood its condition, and had devised methods to meet its necessities.
At this conjuncture the abbey lands were a fortunate resource. They were disposed of rapidly—of course on easy terms to the purchasers. The insurrection as we saw had taught the necessity of filling the place of the monks with resident owners, who would maintain hospitality liberally, and on a scale to contrast favourably with the careless waste of their predecessors. Obligations to this effect were made a condition of the sales, and lowered naturally the market value of the properties. Considerable sums, however, were realized, adequate for immediate objects, though falling short of the ultimate cost of the defences of the country. At the same time the Government works found labour for the able-bodied beggars, those sturdy vagrants whose living had been gathered hitherto at the doors of the religious houses, varied only with intervals of the stocks and the cart's- tail.
Thus the spoils of the Church furnished the arms by which the Pope and the Pope's friends could be held at bay; and by degrees in the healthier portion of the nation an English enthusiasm took the place of a superstitious panic. Loyalty towards England went along with the Reformation, when the Reformation was menaced by foreign enemies; and the wide disaffection which in 1536 had threatened a revolution, became concentrated in a vindictive minority, to whom the Papacy was dearer than their country, and whose persevering conspiracies taught England at no distant time to acquiesce with its whole heart in the wisdom which chained them down by penal laws as traitors and enemies to the commonwealth.
Meanwhile, the event to which the King, the whole of England and the Continent, friends and enemies, were looking so anxiously, was approaching near. The King's health was growing visibly weaker; his corpulency was increasing, through disease and weakness of system; an inveterate ulcer had settled in his leg; and the chances of his death in consequence of it were already calculated. The whole fortune of the future seemed to depend on the issue of the Queen's pregnancy. Yet, notwithstanding his infirmities, Henry was in high spirits. At the end of the summer he was with a hunting party at Guildford, and was described as being especially affable and good-humoured. September.In September he was at Hampton Court, where the confinement was expected at the close of the month, or at the beginning of October. Strange inquiries had been made by Pole, or by Pole's secretary, on the probable sex of the child. October 12.On the 12th of October the question was decided by the birth of a prince, so long and passionately hoped for. Only a most minute intimacy with the condition of the country can make intelligible the feelings with which the news were received. The Crown had an undoubted heir. The succession was sure. The King, who was supposed to be under a curse which refused him male posterity, was relieved from the ban. Providence had borne witness for him, and had rewarded his policy. No revolution need be looked for on his death. The Catholics could not hope for their 'jolly stirring.' The anti-Papal leaders need not dread the stake for their wages. The insurrection was crushed. A prince was born. England was saved. These were the terms which many a heart repeated to itself. The Marchioness of Dorset wrote to Henry that she had received the most joyful news that came to England these many years; for the which she and all his Grace's subjects gave thanks to Almighty God, for that He had remembered his Grace and all his subjects with a prince to the comfort, universal weal, and quietness of the realm. Latimer, in a letter to Cromwell, was still more emphatic. 'There is no less rejoicing,' he said, 'for the birth of our prince, whom we hungered for so long, than there was, I trow, inter vicinos, at the birth of John the Baptist. God give us grace to yield due thanks to our Lord God, the God of England. For verily He hath shewed Himself the God of England; or rather an English God, if we will consider and ponder his proceedings with us. He hath overcome our illness with His exceeding goodness, so that we are now more compelled to serve Him and promote his Word, if the Devil of all devils be not in us. We have now the stop of various trusts and the stay of vain expectations. Let us all pray for his preservation.'
In Latimer's words, the joy and the especial causes of it are alike transparent; but a disaster followed so closely as to show that the mysterious fatality which pursued the King in his domestic relations had not ceased to overshadow him, and to furnish food for fresh superstition and fresh intrigue. The birth took place on the 12th of October. The Queen continued to do well up to the 22nd or 23rd, when it seems that, through the carelessness of her attendants, she was allowed to indulge in some improper food for which she had expressed a wish. She caught a cold at the same time; and although on the evening of the 23rd she appeared still so well that the King intended to leave Hampton Court on the following day, she became in the night alarmingly worse, and was in evident danger. In the morning the symptoms had somewhat improved, and there were hopes that the attack would pass off; but the unfortunate appearances soon returned; October 24. a few more hours she was dead.
A worse calamity could scarcely have befallen the King (unless the loss of the child had been added to that of the mother) than the death of Jane Seymour. Although she makes no figure in history, though she took small part in State questions, and we know little either of her sympathies or opinions, her name is mentioned by both Protestant and Catholic with unreserved respect. She married the King under circumstances peculiarly agitating. Her uprightness of character and sweetness of disposition had earned her husband's esteem, and with his esteem an affection deeper than he had perhaps anticipated. At her side, at his own death, he desired that his body might be laid.
When he knew that she was gone, he held a single interview with the council, and then retired to the palace at Westminster, where 'he mourned and kept himself close a great while.'
In the country the rejoicings were turned to sorrow. Owing to the preternatural excitement of the public imagination, groundless rumours instantly gained currency. It was said that, when the Queen was in labour, a lady had told the King that either the child must die or the mother; that the King had answered, Save the child, and therefore 'the child was cut out of his mother's womb.' Catherine's male children had all died in infancy. This child, it was soon believed, was dead also. Some said that the child, some that the King, some that both were dead. The Cæsarian birth passed for an established fact; while a prophecy was discovered, which said that 'He should be killed that never was born, and nature's hand or man's had brought it to pass, or soon would bring it to pass.'
These were the mere bubbles of credulity, blown by the general wind; but the interests which now depended upon the infant prince's life, caused to grave persons grave anxiety. He was but one—a single life—between the King's death and chaos, and the King was again a widower. NovemberThe greater the importance of the child's preservation to one party, the greater the temptation to the other to destroy it; and the precautions with which the royal nursery was surrounded, betray most real alarm that an attempt might be ventured to make away with him.
Instructions to the grand chamberlain were drawn, by some one in high authority, with more than the solemnity of an Act of Parliament.
'Like as there is nothing in this world so noble, just, and perfect, but that there is something contrary, that evermore envieth it, and procureth the destruction of the same, insomuch as God Himself hath the Devil repugnant to Him, Christ hath his Antichrist and persecutor, and from the highest to the lowest after such proportion, so the Prince's Grace, for all his nobility and innocency (albeit he never offended any one), yet by all likelihood he lacketh not envy nor adversaries against his Grace, who, either for ambition of their own promotion, or otherwise to fulfil their malicious perverse mind, would, perchance, if they saw opportunity, which God forbid, procure to his Grace displeasure. And although his Majesty doubteth not, but like as God for the comfort of this whole realm hath given the said prince, so of his providence He will preserve and defend him; yet, nevertheless, heed and caution ought to be taken, to avoid the evil enterprises which might be devised against his Grace, or danger of his person.'
In pursuance of such caution, it was commanded that no person, of what rank soever, except the regular attendants in the nursery, should approach the cradle, without an order under the King's hand. The food supplied for the child's use was to be largely 'assayed.' His clothes were to be washed by his own servants, and no other hand might touch them. The material was to be submitted to all tests of poison. The chamberlain or vice-chamberlain must be present morning and evening, when the prince was washed and dressed; and nothing, of any kind, bought for the use of the nursery, might be introduced till it had been aired and perfumed. No person—not even the domestics of the palace—might have access to the prince's rooms, except those who were specially appointed to them; nor might any member of the household approach London during the unhealthy season, for fear of their catching and conveying infection. Finally, during the infancy, the officers in the establishment were obliged to dispense with the attendance of pages or boys of any kind, for fear of inconvenience from their thoughtlessness.
Regulations so suspicious and minute, betray more than the exaggeration of ordinary anxiety. Fears were evidently entertained of something worse than natural infection; and we can hope only, for the credit of the Catholics, who expected to profit by the prince's death, that they were clear of the intentions which were certainly attributed to them.
Other steps were also taken, in which precaution was mixed with compliment. Should the King die within a few years, the natural protectors of the prince in his minority would be his mother's family. Sir Edward Seymour, her brother, was now created Earl of Hertford, to give him the necessary rank; and for additional security, peerages were bestowed upon three others of the council whose loyalty could be depended upon. Sir William Fitzwilliam, now lord high admiral, was created Earl of Southampton; Sir William Paulet became Lord St John; and Sir John Russell as Lord Russell, commenced a line of nobles, whose services to England wind like a silver cord through later history.
But inasmuch as, if the danger to the prince was real, the chief cause of it lay in his being an only child, as the temptation to a crime would cease when, by other sons or daughters, of unquestioned legitimacy, the success of the attempt would produce no change, and as all other interests depending now on a single life would be additionally secured, so on the very day of the Queen's death, as on the day which followed it, the privy council represented to the King the necessity of his undertaking a fresh marriage while the state of his health left a hope that he might be again a father. Henry, suffering deeply from his loss, desired at first to evade a duty in which he had little interest at any time, and which his present sorrow rendered merely distressing. The complicated treasons of Anne Boleyn had justified the precipitancy with which he had filled the place left vacant by her execution. The political obligation was now less considerable, and he hoped to be spared.
The council, however, continued to urge what his own judgment united to recommend. He saw that it must be so; and he resigned himself. 'Although his Highness is not disposed to marry again,' wrote Cromwell, in the despatch which communicated to the ambassador in France the death of Queen Jane, 'yet his tender zeal to his subjects hath already overcome his Grace's said disposition, and framed his mind both to be indifferent to the thing, and to the election of any person, from any part, that with deliberation shall be thought meet for him.'
Persons who are acquainted with the true history of Henry's later marriages, while not surprised at their unfortunate consequences, yet smile at the interpretation which popular tradition has assigned to his conduct. Popular tradition is a less safe guide through difficult passages in history than the word of statesmen who were actors upon the stage, and were concerned personally in the conduct of the events which they describe.
- 'Deum deprecantes ut dextram ense firmet caputque tuum hoc pileo vi Spiritûs Sancti per columbam figurati protegat.'—Paulus III. Regi Scotiæ: Epist. Reg. Pol., vol. ii. p. 269.
- 'Nec tam muneris qualitatem quam mysterium et vim spiritualem perpendes.'—Ibid.
- Although the Doncaster petitioners had spoken of 'their antient enemies of Scotland,' an alliance, nevertheless, in the cause of religion, was not, after all, impossible. When James V. was returning from France to Edinburgh, in the spring of 1537, his ship lay off Scarborough for a night to take in provisions—
'Where certain of the commons of the country thereabout, to the number of twelve persons—Englishmen, your Highness's servants' (I am quoting a letter of Sir Thomas Clifford to Henry VIII.)—'did come on board in the King's ship, and, being on their knees before him, thanked God of his healthful and sound repair; showing how that they had long looked for him, and how they were oppressed, slain, and murdered; desiring him for God's sake to come in, and all should be his.'—State Papers, vol v. p. 80.
- Among the records in connection with the entreaties and warnings of the privy council are copies of letters to the same effect from his mother and his brother. They are written in a tone of stiff remonstrance; and being found among the Government papers, must either have been drafts which the writers were required to transcribe, or copies furnished by themselves as evidence of their own loyalty. Lady Salisbury's implication in the affair of the Nun of Kent may have naturally led the Government to require from her some proof of allegiance.
- Reg. Polus, Paulo Tertio; Epist. Reg. Pol., vol. ii. p. 46. The letter to which I refer was written in the succeeding summer, but the language is retrospective, and refers to the object with which the mission had been undertaken.
- 'Perceiving by your last letters that there remaineth a little spark of that love and obedience towards his Majesty which your bounden duty doth require, and that by the same as well it appeareth your great suspicion is conveyed to one special point—that is, to the pretended supremacy of the Bishop of Rome—as that you shew yourself desirous either to satisfy his Majesty or to be satisfied in the same, offering yourself for that purpose to repair into Flanders, there to discourse and reason it with such as his Highness shall appoint to entreat that matter with you—for the hearty love and favour we boar to my lady your mother, my lord your brother, and others your friends here, which be right heartily sorry for your unkind proceedings in this behalf, and for that also we all desire your reconciliation to his Highness' s grace and favour, we have been all most humble suitors to his Majesty to grant your petition touching your said repair into Flanders, and have obtained our suit in the same, so as you will come thither of yourself, without commission of any other person.'—The Privy Council to Pole, Jan. 18, 1537: Rolls House MS.
- 'They shall swear and make sure faith and promise utterly to renounce and refuse all their forced oaths, and that from henceforth they shall use themselves as true and faithful subjects in all things; and that specially they shall allow, approve, support, and maintain to the uttermost of their power all and singular the acts, statutes, and laws which have been made and established in Parliament since the beginning of the reign of our most dread Sovereign Lord.'—Rolls House MS. first series, 471.
- Confession of George Lumley: Rolls House MS. first series.
- MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xix.
- Many of them are in the State Paper Office in the Cromwell Collection.
- John Hallam deposes: 'Sir Francis Bigod did say, at Walton Abbey, that 'the King's offce was to have no care of men's souls, and did read to this examinate a book made by himself, as he said, wherein was shewed what authority did belong to the Pope, what to a bishop, what to the King; and said that the head of the Church of England must be a spiritual man, as the Archbishop of Canterbury or such: but in no wise the King, for he should with the sword defend all spiritual men ; in their right.''—Rolls House MS. A. 2, 29.
- Sir Francis Bigod's Confession: Rolls House MS. first series, 416. Confession of George Lumley: Rolls House MS. The MSS. relating to the later commotions are very imperfect, and much injured.
- Lumley's Confession.
- Examination of John Hallam: Rolls House MS. A 2, 29.
- 'The King's Highness hath declared by his own mouth unto Robert Aske, that he intendeth we shall have our Parliament at York frankly and freely for the ordering and reformation of all causes for the commonwealth of this realm, and also his frank and free Convocation for the good stay and ordering of the faith and other spiritual causes, which he supposes shall come down under his great seal by my Lord of Norfolk, who comes down shortly with a mean company after a quiet manner to the great quietness and comfort of all good men. Wherefore, good and loving neighbours, let us stay ourselves and by no means follow the wilfulness of such as are disposed to spoil and to undo themselves and you both, but to resist them in all that ye may, to the best of your power; and so will I do for my part, and so know I well that all good men will do; and if it had not been for my disease which hath taken me so sore that I may neither go nor ride, I would have come and have shewed you this myself for the good stay and quietness of you all, and for the commonwealth of all the country. The Parliament and the Convocation is appointed to be at York at Whitsuntide, and the coronation of the Queen's Highness about the same time.
'Written in Spaldingmore this 16th day of January.
—Letter of Sir R. Constable to the Commons of the North on Bigod's Insurrection: Rolls House MS. first series, 276.
- For this matter see Rolls House MS. first series, 276, 416, 1144, and State Papers, vol. i. p. 529.
- 'Captain Aske was at London, and had great rewards to betray the commons: and since that he came home they have fortified Hull against the commons, ready to receive ships by the sea to destroy all the north parts.'—Demands of the Rebels who rose with Sir F. Bigod: Rolls House MS. first series, 895.
- 'Robert Aske, in a letter which he sent to Bigod, shewed that he would do the best he could for the delivery of Hallam. And that he spoke not that feignedly, it should appear that the said Aske, after that Bigod was fled, came to the King's commissioners then sitting at Hull about Hallam's examination, and shewed them how that he had heard of a great commotion that should he in the bishoprick and other places, and therefore advised them not to he hasty in proceeding to the execution of the said Hallam.
'Also divers that had been with Bigod in his commotion came to the said Aske, whom he did not apprehend, but bade them not fear, for he would get th eir pardon.'—Deposition on the Conduct of Robert Aske, MS. much injured, Rolls House, first series, 416.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 28.
- In the first surprise in October, the privy council had been obliged to levy men without looking nicely to their antecedents, and they had recruited largely from the usual depóts in times of difficulties, the sanctuaries. Manslayers, cutpurses, and other doubtful persons might have liberty for a time, and by good conduct might earn their pardon by taking service under the Crown. On the present, as on many other occasions, they had proved excellent soldiers; and those who had been with Lord Shrewsbury had been rewarded for their steadiness. Under the circumstances he had perhaps been better able to depend upon them than on the more creditable portion of his force. After the pacification at Doncaster, Norfolk was ashamed of his followers; he proposed to disband them, and supply their place with penitent volunteers from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The King, who was already displeased with Norfolk for his other proceedings, approved no better of his present suggestion. 'His Majesty,' wrote the privy council, 'marvels that you should be more earnest in the dissuasion of the retainder of them that have been but murderers and thieves (if they so have been), than you were that his Grace should not retain those that have been rebels and traitors. These men have done good rather than hurt in this troublous time, though they did it not with a good mind and intent, but for their own lucre.… What the others did no man can tell better than you. If these men may be made good men with their advancement, his Highness may think his money well employed. If they will continue evll, all the world shall think them the more worthy punishment for that they have so little regarded the clemency of his Highness calling them from their evil doings to honest preferment.'—Hardwicke State Papers, p. 33.
- Duke of Norfolk to the Earl of Sussex: State Papers, vol. i. p. 534.
- MS. State Paper Office, first series, vol. iv.
- 'I did not dare assemble the people of the country, for I knew not how they be established in their hearts, notwithstanding that their words can be no better.'—Norfolk to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office.
- Norfolk to Cromwell: MS. Ibid.
- 'This night I will send two or three hundred horse to them, and have commanded them to set fire in many places of the rebels' dwellings, thinking thereby to make them to steal away, and every man to draw near to his own for the safeguard of his house and goods, I have also commanded them that if the traitors so sparkle they shall not spare shedding of blood; for execution whereof I will send such as I am sure will not spare to fulfil my commandment.'—Norfolk to Cromwell: MS. Ibid.
- Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk: State Papers, vol. i. p. 537.
- Hall says they were hanged at Carlisle, but the official reports, as well as the King's directions, imply that the executions were not limited to one place.
- MS. State Paper Office, first series, vol. ii.
- 'Of the mind of the King towards me I had first knowledge at mine arriving in France; of the which, to show you the full motive of my mind herein, I was more ashamed to hear, for the compassion I had to the King's honour, than moved by any indignation that I, coming not only as ambassador, but as legate in the highest sort of embassage that is used among Christian princes, a prince of honour should desire another prince of like honour—'Betray the ambassador, betray the legate, and give him into mine ambassador's hands, to be brought unto me.' This was the dishonourable request, as I understand, of the King, which to me I promise you was no great displeasure, but rather, if I should say truth, I took pleasure therein, and said forthwith to my company that I never felt myself to be in full possession to be a cardinal as when I heard those tidings, whereby it pleased God to send like fortune to me as it did to those heads of the Church whose persons the cardinals do represent. In this case lived the apostles.'—Pole to Cromwell: Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 326, &c.
- The value of Pole's accusations against Henry depends so much upon his character that I must be pardoned for scrutinizing his conduct rather closely. In his letter to Cromwell, dated the 2nd of May, he insists that his actions had been cruelly misunderstood. Besides making the usual protestations of love and devotion to the King with which all his letters to the English Court are filled, he declares, in the most solemn way, that, so far from desiring to encourage the insurgents, he had prevented the Pope from taking the opportunity of putting out the censures which might have caused more troubles. 'That he had sent at that time his servant purposely to offer his service to procure by all means the King's honour, wealth, and greatness, animating, besides, those that were chief of his nearest kin to be constant in the King's service.'—Strype's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 321.
I shall lay by the side of these words a passage from his letter to the Pope written from Cambray on the 18th of the same month.
Both the French and Flemish Courts, he says, are urging him to return to Italy:—
'Eo magis quod causa ipsa quæ sola me retinere posset, et quæ huc sola traxit, ne spem quidem ullam ostendere videtur vel mininio periculo dignam, cur in his locis diutius maneam, populi tumultu qui causam ipsam fovebat ita sedato ut multi supplicio sint affecti, duces autem omnes in regis potestatem venerint.'
He goes on to say that the people had been in rebellion in defence of their religion. They had men of noble birth for their leaders; and nothing, it was thought, would more inspirit the whole party than to hear that one of their own nation was coming with authority to assist their cause; nothing which would strike deeper terror into their adversaries, or compel them to more equitable conditions.
For the present the tumult was composed, but only by fair words, and promises which had not been observed. A fresh opportunity would soon again offer. Men's minds were always rather exasperated than conquered by such treatment. The people would never believe the King's word again; and though for the moment held down by fear, would break out again with renewed fury. He thought, therefore, he had better remain in the neighbourhood, since the chief necessity of the party would be an efficient leader; and to know that they had a leader ready to come to them at any moment, yet beyond the King's reach, would be the greatest encouragement which they could receive.—Reginald Pole to the Pope: Epis. Reg. Pol., vol. ii. p. 46.
- Epist. Reg. Pol., vol. ii. p. 46.
- Bishop Hilsey to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxxv.
- Rolls House MS. first series, 416; much injured.
- The privy council, writing to the Duke of Norfolk, said: 'You may divulge the cause of their captivity to the people of those parts, that they may the rather perceive their miserable fortune, that, being once so graciously pardoned, would eftsoons combine themselves for the attempting of new treasons … not conceiving that anything is done for their former offences done before the pardon, which his Grace will in nowise remember or speak of; but for those treasons which they have committed again since in such detestable sort as no good subject would not wish their punishment for the same.'—Hardwicke State Papers, vol. i. p. 43.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 28.
- Besides his personal interference, Aske, and Constable also, had directed a notorious insurgent named Rudstone, 'in any wise to deliver Hallam from Hull.'—Rolls House MS. A. 2, 28.
- Sir Ralph Ellerkar called on Constable to join him in suppressing Bigod's movement. Constable neither came nor sent men, contenting himself with writing letters.—Rolls House MS. A 2, 28.
- Part of Pole's mission was to make peace between France and the Empire. The four sovereigns would, therefore, be the Pope, the King of Scotland, Francis, and Charles. I have gathered these accusations out of several groups among the Rolls House MSS., apparently heads of information, privy council minutes, and drafts of indictments. The particulars which I have mentioned being repeated frequently in these papers, and with much emphasis, I am inclined to think that they formed the whole of the case.
- The proofs of 'an animus' were severely construed.
A few clauses from a rough draft of the indictments will show how small a prospect of escape there was for any one who had not resolutely gone over to the Government.
Aske wrote a letter to the commons of the North, in which was written, 'Bigod intendeth to destroy the effect of our petition and commonwealth;' 'whereby,' Cromwell concluded, 'it appeareth he continued in his false opinion and traitorous heart.'
In another letter he had said to them, 'Your reasonable petitions shall be ordered by Parliament,' 'showing that he thought that their petitions were reasonable, and in writing the same he committed treason.'
Again, both Constable and he had exhorted the commons to wait for the Duke of Norfolk and the Parliament, telling them that the Duke would come only with his household servants; 'signifying plainly that, if their unreasonable requests were not complied with, they would take the matter in their own hands again.'
There are fifty 'articles' against thrm, conceived in the same spirit, of more or less importance.
- Sir William Parr to Henry VIII.: MS. State Paper Office, Letters to the King and Council, vol. v. Rolls House MS. first series, 76.
- Sir William Parr to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxxi.
- Baga de Secretis.
- Lord Hussey may have the benefit of his own denial. Cromwell promised to intercede for him if he would make a true confession. He replied thus:—
'I never knew of the beginning of the commotion in neither of the places, otherwise than is contained in the bill that I did deliver to Sir Thomas Wentworth, at Windsor. Nor I was never privy to their acts, nor never aided them in will, word, nor deed. But if I might have had 500 men I would have fought with them, or else I forsake my part of heaven; for I was never traitor, nor of none counsel of treason against his Grace; and that I will take my death upon, when it shall please God and his Highness.'
In a postscript he added:
'Now at Midsummer shall be three years, my Lord Darcy, I, and Sir Robert Constable, as we sat at the board, it happened that we spake of Sir Francis Bigod, (how) his priest, in his sermons likened Our Lady to a pudding when the meat was out, with many words more; and then my Lord Darcy said that he was a naughty priest; let him go; for in good sooth I will be none heretic; and so said I, and likewise Sir Robert Constable; for we will die Christian men.'—MS State Paper Office, second series, vol. xviii. For Lord Hussey's guilt, see Divorce of Catherine of Aragon, cap. xvi.
- 'And whereas your lordship doth write that, in case the consciences of such persons as did acquit Levening should he examined, the fear thereof might trouble others in like ease, the King's Majesty considering his treason to he most manifest, apparent, and confessed, and that all offenders in that case be principals, and none accessories, doth think it very necessary that the means used in that matter may be searched out, as a thing which may reveal many other matters worthy his Highness's knowledge; and doth therefore desire you not only to signify their names, but also to travel all that you can to beat out the mystery.'—Privy Council to the Duke of Norfolk: Hardwicke State Papers, vol. i. p. 46.
- The list is in the Rolls MS. first series, 284. Opposite the name of each juror there is a note in the margin, signifying his connections among the prisoners.
- Compare Baga de Secretis, pouch x. bundle 2, and Rolls House MS. first series, 284.
- Word illegible in the MS.
- MS. in Cromwell's own hand: Rolls House, A 2, 29, fol. 160 and 161.
- Rolls House MS. first series, 207.
- Rolls House MS. first series, 1401.
- Depositions relating to Lord Delaware: Rolls House MS.
- MS. State Paper Office, Domestic, vol. xii.
- MS. State Paper Office, Domestic, vol. xii.
- MS. Cotton. Titus. B 1, 457.
- For instance, Sir Thomas Percy's eldest son inherited the earldom of Northumberland; unfortunately, also, his father's politics and his father's fate. He was that Earl of Northumberland who rose for Mary of Scotland against Elizabeth.
- Lady Bulmer seems from the depositions to have deserved as serious punishment as any woman for the crime of high treason can be said to have deserved. One desires to know whether in any class of people there was a sense of compunction for the actual measure inflicted by the law. The following is a meagre, but still welcome, fragment upon this subject:—
'Upon Whitsunday, at breakfast, certain company was in the chauntry at Thame, when was had speech and communication of the state of the north country, being that proditors against the King's Highness should suffer to the number of ten; amongst which proditors the Lady Bulmer should suffer. There being Robert Jones, said it is a pity that she should suffer. Then to that answered John Strebilhill, saying it is no pity, if she be a traitor to her prince, but that she should have after her deserving. Then said Robert Jones, let us speak no more of this matter; for men may be blamed for speaking of the truth.'—Rolls House MS. first series, 1862.
- MS. State Paper Office:——to Henry Saville.
- A second cause 'is our most dear and most entirely beloved wife the Queen, being now quick with child, for the which we give most humble thanks to Almighty God, albeit she is in every condition of that loving inclination and reverend conformity, that she can in all things well content, satisfy, and quiet herself with that thing which we shall think expedient and determine; yet, considering that being a woman, upon some sudden and displeasant rumours and bruits that might be blown abroad in our absence, she might take impressions which might engender danger to that wherewith she is now pregnant, which God forbid, it hath been thought necessary that we should not extend our progress this year so far from her.'—Henry VIII. to the Duke of Norfolk: State Papers, vol. i. p. 552.
- MS. Rolls House, A 2, 28.
- A curious drawing of Hull, which was made about this time, with the plans of the new fortifications erected by Henry, is in the Cotton Library. A gallows stands outside the gate, with a body hanging on it, which was probably meant for Constable's.
- Immediately before 'Sir Robert Constable should receive his rights, it was asked of him if that his confession put in writing was all that he did know. To which he made answer that it was all. Notwithstanding he knew, besides that, sundrr naughty words and high cracks that my Lord Darcy had blown out, which he thought not best to show so long as the said lord was on life, partly because they should rather do hurt than good, and partly because he had no proof of them.
'But what these words were he would not declare, but in generality. Howbeit, his open confession was right good.'—MS. State Paper Office, first series, vol. i.
- A general amnesty was proclaimed immediately after.
'The notable unkindness of the people,' Norfolk said, 'had been able to have moved his Grace to have taken such punishment on the offenders as might have been terrible for all men to have thought on that should hereafter have only heard the names of sedition and rebellion.
'Yet the King's most royal Majesty, of his most tender pity and great desire that he hath rather to preserve you from the stroke of justice imminent upon your deserts, than to put you to the extremity of the same, trusting and supposing that the punishment of a few offenders in respect of the multitude, which have suffered only for an example to others to avoid the like attemptations, will be sufficient for ever to make all you and your posterities to eschew semblable offences, of his inestimable goodness and pity is content by this general proclamation to give and grant to you all, every of you, his general and free pardon.'—Rolls House MS. A 2, 28; State Papers, vol. i. p. 558.
- Like Cuthbert Tunstall, for instance, who when upbraided for denying his belief in the Pope, said, 'he had never seen the time when he thought to lose one drop of blood therefore, for sure he was that none of those that heretofore had advantage by that authority would have lost one penny to save his life.'—Tunstall to Pole: Burnet's Collectanea, p. 481.
- Epist. Reg. Pol., vol. ii. p. 46.
- Ibid. p. 64.
- Trials of Lord Montague and the Marquis of Exeter: Baga de Secretis.
- Epist. Reg. Pol., vol. ii. p. 73.
- Pole to Contarini, Epist., vol. ii. p. 64. I call the rumour wild because there is no kind of evidence for it, and because the English resident at Antwerp, John Hutton, who was one of the persons accused by Pole, was himself the person to inform the King of the story.—State Papers, vol. vii. p. 703.
- Michael Throgmorton to Cromwell: MS. penes me.
- Cromwell to Throgmorton: Rolls House MS.
- Robert Ward to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xlvi.
- Depositions relating to the Protestants in Yorkshire: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xviii.
- The monkish poetry was pressed into the service. The following is from a MS. in Balliol College, Oxford. It is of the date, perhaps, of Henry VII.
'Listen, lordlings, both great and small,
I will tell you a wonder tale,
How Holy Church was brought in bale,
Cum magnâ injuriâ.
'The greatest clerke in this land,
Thomas of Canterbury I understand,
Slain he was with wicked hand,
'The knights were sent from Henry the King:
That day they did a wicked thing;
Wicked men without lesing,
Per regis imperia.
'They sought the Bishop all about,
Within his palace and without:
Of Jesu Christ they had no doubt,
Pro suâ maliciâ.
'They opened their mouths woundily wide,
They spake to him with much pride:
'Traitor! here shalt thou abide,
Ferens mortis tædia.'
'Before the altar he kneelèd down,
And there they pared his crown,
And stirred his braines up and down,
Optans cœli gaudia.'
- Ward to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xlvi.; Miles Coverdale to Cromwell: Ibid. vol. vii.
- William Umpton to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xlv.
- MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xlvi.
- Crummock Water is a lake in Cumberland. The point of the song must have some play on the name of Cromwell, pronounced as of old, 'Crummell.'
- Rolls House MS. first series, 688.
- MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xlviii.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 30.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 30.
- Very few of these are now known to be in existence. Roy's Satire is one of the best. It would be excellent if reduced to reasonable length. The fury which the mystery plays excited in the Catholic party is a sufficient proof of the effect which they produced. An interesting letter to Cromwell, from the author of some of them, is among the State Papers. I find no further mention of him:—
'The Lord make you the instrument of my help, Lord Cromwell, that I may have liberty to preach the truth. I dedicate and offer to your lordship a 'Reverend receiving of the sacrament,' as a lenten matter declared by six children representing Christ, the word of God, Paul, Austin, a child, a man called Ignorancy, as a secret thing that shall have an end—once rehearsed afore your eyes. The priests in Suffolk will not receive me into their churches to preach; but have disdained me ever since I made a play against the Pope's councillors, Error, collyclogger of conscience, and Incredulity. I have made a play called A Rude Commonaity. I am making of another, called The Woman on the Rock, in the fire of faith refining, and a purging in the true purgatory, never to be seen but of your lordship's eye. Aid me, for Christ's sake, that I may preach Christ.'—Thomas Wylley, fatherless and forsaken: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. l.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 30.
- MS. State Paper Office.
- Rolls House MS. first series; MS. Cotton. Cleopatra, E 4.
- Answers to Questions on the Sacraments by the Bishops: Burnet's Collectanea, p. 114.
- In one of the ablest and most liberal papers which was drawn up at this time, a paper so liberal indeed as to argue from the etymology of the word presbyter that 'lay seniors, or antient men, might to some intents be called priests,' I find this passage upon the eucharist: 'As concerning the grace of consecration of the body of our Lord in form of bread and wine, we beseech your Grace that it may be prohibited to all men to persuade any manner of person to think that these words of our Master Christ, when He 'took bread and blest it and brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, and eat ye, this is my body that shall be betrayed for you,' ought to be understood figuratively. For since He that spake those words is of power to perform them literally, though no man's reason may know how that may be, yet they must believe it. And surely they that believe that God was of power to make all the world of nought, may lightly believe he was of power to make of bread his very body.'—Theological MSS. Rolls House.
- Henry VIII. to the Bishops: Rolls House MS. A 15
- The Iceland fleet is constantly mentioned in the Records. Before the discovery of Newfoundland, Iceland was the great resort of English fishermen. Those who would not venture so long a voyage, fished the coasts of Cork and Kerry. When Skeffington was besieging Dungarvon in 1535, Devonshire fishing smacks, which were accidentally in the neighbourhood, blockaded the harbour for him. The south of Ireland at the same time was the regular resort of Spaniards with the same object. Sir Anthony St Leger said that as many as two or three hundred sail might sometimes be seen at once in Valentia harbour.—State Papers, vol. v. p. 443, &c.
- MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxiv.
- MS. State Paper Office, second scries, vol. i. On the other hand the French cut out a Flemish ship from Portsmouth, and another from Southampton.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 30.
- The inventory of his losses which was sent in by the captain is noticeable as showing the equipment of a Channel fishing vessel. One last of herring, worth 4l. 13s. Three hagbushes, 15s. In money, 1l. 16s. 8d. Two long bows, 4s. Two bills and a sheaf of arrows, 3s. 8d. A pair of new boots of leather, 3s. 4d. Two barrels of double beer, 3s. 4d. Four mantles of frieze, 12s. A bonnet, 1s. 2d. In bread, candles, and other necessaries, 2s. The second time, one hogshead of double beer, 6s. MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxviii.
- Sir Thomas Cheyne writes to Cromwell: 'I have received letters from Dover that the Frenchmen on the sea hath taken worth 2000l. of goods since the King being there, and a man-of-war of Dieppe and a pinnace took the King's barge that carries the timber for his Highness's work there, and robbed and spoiled the ship and men of money, victuals, clothes, ropes, and left them not so much as their compass. And another Frenchman took away a pink in Dover roads and carried her away. And on Tuesday last a great fleet of Flemings men-of-war met with my Lord Lisle's ship laden with wool to Flanders, and one of them took all the victuals and ordnance. Thus the King's subjects be robbed and spoiled every day.'—MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. vi.
- Sir William Fitzwilliam to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office.
- Sir William Godolphin to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xiii.
- MS. State Paper Office, Letters to the King and Council, vol. i.
- MS. ibid.
- Cromwell's Memoranda: MS. Cotton. Titus, B i. Many of the plans are in the Cotton Library, executed, some of them, with great rudeness; some finished with the delicacy of monastic illuminations; some, but very few, are good working drawings. It is a mortifying proof of the backwardness of the English in engineering skill, that the King for his works at Dover sent for engineers to Spain.
- 32 Hen. VIII. cap. 50.
- Details of the equipments of many of these fortresses lie scattered among the State Papers. The expenses were enormous, but were minutely recorded.
- On whatever side we turn in this reign, we find the old and the new in collision. While the harbours, piers, and the fortresses were rising at Dover, an ancient hermit tottered night after night from his cell to a chapel on the cliff, and the tapers on the altar, before which he knelt in his lonely orisons, made a familiar beacon far over the rolling waters. The men of the rising world cared little for the sentiment of the past. The anchorite was told sternly by the workmen that his light was a signal to the King's enemies, and must burn no more; and when it was next seen, three of them waylaid the old man on his road home, threw him down, and beat him cruelly.—MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxxiii.
- Lord Montague, on the 24th of March, 1537, said, 'I dreamed that the King was dead. He is not dead, but he will die one day suddenly, his leg will kill him, and then we shall have jolly stirring.'—Trial of Lord Montague: Baga de Secretis. The King himself, in explaining to the Duke of Norfolk his reason for postponing his journey to Yorkshire in the past summer, said: 'To be frank with you, which we desire you in any wise to keep to yourself, being an humour fallen into our legs, and our physicians therefore advising us in no wise to take so far a journey in the heat of the year, whereby the same might put us to further trouble and displeasure, it hath been thought more expedient that we should, upon that respect only, though the grounds before s H'dtkd had not concurred with it now change our determination.'—State Papers, vol. i. p. 555.
- 'I assure your lordship his Grace is very sorry that ye might not be here to make good cheer as we do. He uscth himself more like a good fellow among us that be here, than like a King, and, thanked be God, I never saw him merrier in his life than he is now.'—Sir John Russell to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxxvi.
- 'Michael Throgmorton gave great charge to William Vaughan to inquire if there had been any communication upon the opinions of the physicians, whether the Queen's Grace were with child with a manchild or not.'—Hutton to Cromwell. State Papers, vol. vii. p. 703.
- State Papers, vol. i. p. 570.
- Latimer to Cromwell: State Papers, vol. i. p. 571.
- Hall is made to say she died on the 14th. The mistake was due probably to the printer. He is unlikely himself to have made so large an error.
- State Papers, vol. viii. p. 1.
- Sir John Russell to Cromwell: MS. State Paper Office, second series, vol. xxxvi.; State Papers, vol. i. p 573.
- Hall, p. 825.
- Leland wrote an ode on the occasion, which is not without some beauty:—
Spes erat ampla quidem numerosâ prole Joanna
Henricum ut faceret regem fecunda parentem.
Sed Superis aliter visum est, cruciatus acerbus
Distorsit vacuum lethali tormine ventrem.
Frigora crediderim temere contracta fuisse
In causâ, superat vis morbi; jamque salute
Desperatâ omni, nymphis hæc rettulit almis.
Non mihi mors curæ est, perituram agnosco creavit
Omnipotens—Moriar—terram tibi debeo terra:
At pius Elysiis animus spatiabitur hortis.
Deprecor hoc unum. Maturos filius annosExigat, et tandem regno det jura paterno.
Dixit et æternâ claudebat lumina nube.
Nulla dies pressit graviori clade Britannum.
Genethliacon Edwardi Principis.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 30. I trace the report to within a month of Jane Seymour's death. Sanders therefore must be held acquitted of the charge of having invented it. The circumstances of the death itself are so clear as to leave no trace of uncertainty. How many of the interesting personal anecdotes of remarkable people, which have gained and which retain the public confidence, are better founded than this? Prudence, instructed by experience, enters a general caution against all anecdotes particularly striking.
- Rolls House MS. A 2, 30.
- Instructions for the Household of Edward Prince of Wales. Rolls House MS.
- State Papers, vol. viii. p. 2.