History of England (Froude)/Chapter 28
THE EXECUTION OF THE DUKE OF SOMERSET.
FRANCE and England having completed 1551.
May.their private understanding, special embassies on both sides paraded the friendship before the world. The Marshal St André came to London in splendour, with a retinue of lords; Northampton, Goodrick, Sir Philip Hoby, and others, carried powers to Paris to arrange a marriage between Edward and the Princess Elizabeth. Though France had quarrelled with the Pope, though Henry was disclaiming an allegiance to the Council of Trent, it was remarked that the English ambassadors were received with processions, masses, and litanies in approved Catholic form. In England, such decorations of altars and churches as had escaped the mint or the hands of the grandees, were employed to decorate the royal tables on the reception of St André. The French faction in Italy interpreted the alliance to promise a return of England to the faith. The credulous among the English laboured to revive the old hope that France might unite with them in schism. At both Courts there was, as it were, an ostentatious declaration that, in matters of religion, the two countries had no intention of approximating; on neither side would the creed be sacrificed to the exigencies of policy.
Courtesy and mutual good offices might compensate, however, for differences of opinion, and the English had an opportunity for a display of integrity which passed for magnanimous. The death of Mary Stuart would have broken the chain by which the French held her subjects linked to them. A Scot sent in an offer to take her off by poison. But the council resisted the temptation amidst the applause of their friends; and the intended assassin was delivered in custody over the Calais frontier.
St André's was a visit of ceremony; he brought with him the order of St Michael for the young King. The business of the connection was transacted on the Continent.
June.The differences with Scotland had been adjusted on the 10th of June in a treaty in which the engagements of 1543 for the marriage of Edward and Mary were passed over in silence. The French and English commissioners meeting to arrange a new connection, found it necessary to peruse and consider those engagements. The Scottish promises were produced, and Northampton first demanded that the contract should be fulfilled.
'To be frank and plain with you,' Montmorency replied, 'seeing you require us so to be, the matter hath cost us both much riches and much blood; and so much doth the honour of France hang thereupon, as we cannot talk with you therein, the marriage is already concluded between her and the Dauphin, and therefore we would be glad to hear no more thereof.' The answer was of course anticipated, and was perhaps preconcerted. The King of France said that, although he had been at war with England, 'he never enterprised anything with worse will, nor more against his stomach.' 'He thanked God it was at an end, he trusted, for ever.' The English waived their claims on Mary, and made their proposals in exchange for the hand of a princess of France. Acquiescence in general terms was promptly conceded; but when the details of the arrangement came under consideration, it appeared that the French still intended to profit by the weakness and the necessities of Edward's Government. Northampton suggested that they should give with the princess, as a moderate dowry, 1,500,000 crowns. He lowered his terms on being refused, amidst shouts of laughter, to 1,400,000 crowns; then to a million, then to 800,000, and at last to 200,000; which only, 'after great reasonings and showings of precedents,' the French commissioners consented to allow. These terms, or any terms, England was obliged to accept. Dr Wotton was gone on his errand of defiance to Charles. The liberty demanded for Mary Tudor had not only been refused, and her chaplains imprisoned, but she had been informed that, if she continued obstinate, she might not herself be exempt from punishment. Lord Warwick and his friends had cast in their fortune with extreme measures, and were in no condition to drive a bargain hard.
The Emperor, however, on his side, was unable immediately to fulfil his threat of declaring war; he was compelled to content himself with repeating it. Dr Wotton's report of his interview has been injured, and is in parts illegible. Where the letter begins to be intelligible the conversation was turning upon the Protestant refugees in England.
'Here,' says Wotton, 'the Emperor, by signs and nods, willed those of his chamber to go from thence and leave him alone with me.' He then said that he had a great love for the King, and had every good will to his country; 'but the English were all now,' he said, 'so far out of the way,' that he did not know what to do about them; 'they did infect his own realm.' Wotton begged him to think better of the English; they were a people who feared God, and desired only to know how God delighted most to be served. 'You have well travailed,' Charles answered scornfully; 'you say you have chosen a good way; the world takes it for a naughty way; and ought it not to suffice you that ye spill your own souls, but ye have a mind to force others to lose theirs too. My cousin the Princess is evil handled among you, her servants plucked from her; and she still cried upon to leave mass, to forsake her religion in which her mother, her grandmother, and all our family have lived and died.'
'Sacred Majesty,' Wotton answered, 'at my coming out of England she was honourably entertained in her own house, and had such about her as she liked: and I think she is so still. I do not hear to the contrary.'
'Yes, by St Mary,' said Charles, 'there is to the contrary, and therefore say you hardly to them, I will not suffer her to be evil handled by them—I will not suffer it. Is it not enough that my aunt, her mother, was evil entreated by the King that dead is, but my cousin must be worse ordered by councillors now. I had rather she died a thousand deaths than that she should forsake her faith. The King is too young to skill of such matters.'
When Wotton urged that Mary was a subject, and must submit to the law, Charles gave the usual answer that a law made in a minority was no law at all. The Church had been ruined, the bishoprics plundered, the religion of Christ set aside or altered by the violent will of a few men who had no authority to meddle with such things. Wotton said the changes had been discussed in Parliament: the Emperor replied that Parliament was no place for the discussion of any such questions.
Seeing his humour, Wotton passed unwillingly to the second part of his instructions, and required the license for Sir Thomas Chamberlain to use the communion service at Brussels. The Emperor said distinctly and at once, that he would have no service used in his dominions which was not allowed by the Church; and if his own ambassador was refused the mass, he should be recalled; 'the cases were not like; the English service was new and naught;' 'the mass was old and approved.'
'Again,' wrote Wotton, 'he went to the Lady Mary, willing me to require your Lordships that she might have her masses still; if not, he would provide for her remedy: and if his ambassador was restrained, he had already given him orders that if the restraint came to-day, he should to-morrow depart, and ours as well.' 'He fell to earnest talk; ' he spoke again of the danger of introducing changes in Edward's infancy, 'who, when he came to his years, would take sharp account of it, and make them know what it was to bring up a king in heresy.' Wotton answered that, 'the Lords of the Council did well understand with what fear and danger they made the alteration; and the greater the peril, the more were they to be praised that would rather venture land, life, and all than not do that that God required at their hands.'
The interview ended stormily. Whether war would follow, the ambassador said he could not tell. He was certain only that the Emperor meant him to believe that there would be war; arid he recommended the council not to press matters to extremity about the Princess for a month or two; 'in that space it should appear whether the Emperor should need English amity, or whether England should have cause to be afraid of his displeasure.' The council took his advice, and mean time the French alliance was consolidated. The European difficulties of the Emperor thickened. The country, after drifting close upon a reef, escaped shipwreck, more by a change of wind than the skill of its pilots. The dominant factions were again at leisure to follow their career of misgovernment.
In contemplating the false steps of statesmen, it is difficult at all times to measure their personal responsibility, to determine how much of their errors has been due to party spirit, how much to pardonable mistake; how much again seems to have been faulty, because we see but effects, which we ascribe absolutely to the conduct of particular men, when such effects were the result, in fact, of influences spreading throughout the whole circle of society. The politicians who governed England in the minority of Edward VI., however, succeeded, at any rate, in making themselves individually execrated, and in bringing discredit upon the cause of which they were the professed defenders. All over the country discontent, social, political, and religious, was steadily on the increase. In the Privy Council Records are to be found entries perpetually recurring of persons conspiring here, or conspiring there, August.and being put to death occasionally on the spot by martial law. The prisons were full to overflowing with Catholic recusants, who would not relinquish the mass, or with persons guilty of 'lewd talk,' or 'seditious words;' this or that prisoner, as his place was required for another, being taken out to have his ears slit, or to be set upon the pillory. The greatest of the offences of the Government, the issue of base money, was drawing to an end; but it was ending as hurricanes end, the worst gust being the last.
In the teeth of statutes, in defiance of proclamations, prices rose to the level of the metallic value of the current coin, and, at last, rose beyond it. The exchanges ceased to be intelligible. In the absence of accessible tests, and with coin circulating of all degrees of purity and impurity, the common processes of buying and selling could no longer be carried on, and the council were compelled at last to yield before the general outcry.
From the enormous quantity of base silver which was now in circulation, the honest redemption of it appeared, and at the time, perhaps, really was, impossible. It remained, therefore, to throw the burden upon the country, to accept the advice of the city merchants, and call it down to its actual value. By this desperate remedy every holder of a silver coin lost upon it the difference between its cost when it passed into his hands, and its worth as a commodity in the market. Taking an average of the whole coin in circulation, the proportion of alloy was fifty per cent., and in the end, the silver currency would have to descend to half its nominal value. But the entire descent, though inevitable, was not to be accomplished at once. To relieve the shock (so the Government pretended), the first fall was made a partial one. A resolution was taken in council on the 30th of April that the shilling in future should pass for ninepence, and the groat for threepence. May.But anxiety for the convenience of the public was not the only cause of the delay in the completion of the operation. The treasury was as usual exhausted. The economy which had been attempted in the household had been more than defeated by the cost of the gendarmerie, as the force was called, which the council had been obliged to raise for their protection. The wages, food, and clothing of nine hundred men were added to the ordinary expenditure, and the revenue, which had been unequal to the usual demands upon it, was now hopelessly deficient. 'Purveying,' by which the Court was accustomed to supply its necessities, by taking what it required from the farmers at statute prices, had been forbidden by Act of Parliament. The prohibition had not been observed for the Court, it was said, must live, and the King had no money. The royal purveyors continued to take at their pleasure, paying exactly half the market prices for everything. But rapacity of this kind could supply but very poorly the hungry deficiency which was perpetually growing. In April a fresh issue of base money had been contemplated, but was for the moment postponed. The Fuggers were the resource instead; and being increasingly bad debtors, the Government were made to pay for fresh accommodation by buying a hundred thousand crowns' worth of rubies and diamonds. It was with no good humour, therefore, that they found themselves compelled to keep their hands for the future from the mint; and they determined to dip once more, and to dip deeply into the closing fountain. The fall of the coin, as I have said, was resolved upon on the 6th of May. The intention was made known to the public, and it was to take effect in the following July. The second fall could be at no great distance; it is impossible, therefore, that the council could have been any longer under a delusion on the nature of the course which they had pursued. With the consequence of it immediately before their eyes, they issued, on the 30th of May, 80,000l. worth of silver, in a coin of which two-thirds was alloy; June.on the 18th of June they issued a further 40,000l. worth in a coin of which three-quarters was alloy. Possibly, or rather probably, it was put out subject to the partial depreciation of the first fall; but every creditor of the Court, artisan, or labourer, servant, tradesman, farmer, or soldier was forced to receive that money at a fictitious value, although the council knew that a further depreciation was immediately and necessarily imminent.
This was the last grasp at the departing prey, and perhaps it transpired to the world: for so profound and so wide was the public distrust, July.that when the first fall took effect on the 9th of July, prices everywhere rather rose than declined, even allowing for the difference of denomination. In vain the council admonished the Lord Mayor, and required the Lord Mayor to admonish the wardens of the trading companies. Confidence was steadily refused to the currency as long as the worth of the coined shilling was artificially greater than the worth of the bullion of which it was made. The falling process having once begun, had to be completed with as little delay as possible, August 17.and on the 17th of August the shilling was ordered by proclamation to pass for no more than sixpence, the groat for no more than twopence, and all other silver coins in proportion. To pacify the people, to prevent curious inquiries, and also perhaps to soften the blow to the holders of the money, the Government declared their intention of enforcing the Farm Statutes, and of prohibiting the exportation of coin. A scale of prices was again issued for articles of food, with a hope that it would now be maintained; and if the cost of living was 'not to be so good cheap as when the coin was at its perfectest,' it should be 'within a fifth part of it.'
It was now possible to restore a pure silver currency—possible and also necessary; for although the depreciation was calculated fairly on the average value of the coin, the good and the bad were affected equally by the proclamation; and unless the whole existing circulation was called in and recoined, to call it down was merely to offer a premium on the debasement of all the pure shillings and groats which remained in the realm. The council saw half the truth, but unhappily only half. They undertook to set the presses at work coining silver at a pure standard; an honest shilling was to be given at the mints for every two testons, and the alloy, it was thought, would pay the cost of the stamping. But from ignorance, carelessness, or some less worthy motive, men were left to their own discretion either to bring in their money or leave it circulating at its new rate; and those who held the old coin found more advantage in exporting it as bullion, or in melting it down to the level of the lowest recent issues, in which a third or a fourth part only was pure silver. Thus the people lost their money, and prices, nevertheless, would not subside. The council abstained from further peculation. That was the extent of the amendment.
July.To increase the misery of the summer, there reappeared, in July, the strange and peculiar plague of the English nation. The sweating sickness, the most mortal of all forms of pestilence which have ever appeared in this country, selected its victims exclusively from among the natives of Great Britain. If it broke out in a foreign town, it picked out the English residents with undeviating accuracy. The sufferers were in general men between thirty and forty, and the stoutest and the healthiest most readily caught the infection. The symptoms were a sudden perspiration, accompanied with faintness and drowsiness. Those who were taken with full stomachs died immediately. Those who caught cold shivered into dissolution in a few hours. Those who yielded to the intense temptation to sleep, though but for a quarter of an hour, awoke only to die; and so rapid was the operation of the disorder that, of seven householders who one night supped together in the city of London, six before morning were corpses. 'The only remedy was to be kept close with moderate air, and to drink posset ale or such like for thirty hours, and then the danger was passed.' 'It was a terrible time,' says Stow. 'Men lost their friends by the sweat, and their money by the proclamation.' In London alone eight hundred men died in one week in July.
Visitations of pestilence in Christian countries have ever operated as a call to repentance. The effect upon the English was heightened by the singularity which confined the attack to themselves. The council, in an address of profound solemnity, invited the nation to acknowledge humbly the merited chastisements of Heaven: it was not the first time, as it will not be the last, that men have been keen-eyed to detect in others their own faults, and to call upon the world to repent of them.
July 18.The bishops were charged to invite all men to be more diligent in prayer, and less anxious for their personal interests; especially to refrain their greedy appetites from that insatiable serpent of covetousness, wherewith, most men were so infected that it seemed the one would devour another, without charity, or any godly respect 'to the poor, to their neighbours, or to the commonweal:' this it was, the council said, 'for which God had not only now poured out this plague on them, but had also prepared another plague that after this life should plague them everlastingly:' the bishops must 'use persuasions that might engender a terror to redeem men from their corrupt and naughty lives; but the clergy were chiefly to blame; 'the members of a dull head could not do well;' 'the flocks wandered because the ministers were dull and feeble.'
The people, says Holinshed, for a time were affected and agitated. 'They began to repent, to give alms, and to remember God; but as the disease ceased, so devotion in a short time decayed.' The council perhaps confined their own penitence to the exhortation of others, seeing that at the time when the disease was at its worst, they were engaged upon their last great fraud with the currency. Lulled by the panegyrics of the Protestants, who saw in them all that was most excellent, most noble, most devout, the Lords, or rather the triumvirate of Warwick, Northampton, and Sir William Herbert, who now governed England, were contented to earn their praises by fine words, by persecuting and depriving bishops inclined to be conservative, and by confiscating and appropriating the estates of the vacated sees.
When Ponet was installed as the successor of Gardiner, the estates of the bishopric of Winchester were transferred to the Crown in exchange for a few impropriated rectories. The woods on the lands of the See of London were cut down and sold. Heath, Bishop of Worcester, was deposed, and his place was taken by Hooper, the See of Gloucester, which Henry had founded, being suppressed, and the estates surrendered. Westminster, another of Henry's Sees, had been suppressed before; while a further project was on foot to depose Tunstal from the bishopric of Durham. The diocese was to be divided, part to be given to the Dean of Durham, to be endowed out of the estates of the chapter, and part to Newcastle, with a trifling salary; while the princely domains of the bishopric itself were to be shared between Warwick and his friends.
AugustBut the Protestants looked on with admiration and applause. The Papists were put out of the way. The doctrinalists were promoted to honour. Miles Coverdale went to Exeter, in the place of Voysey, Scory went to Rochester, Taylor to Lincoln. When men like these were raised to dignity, what more could be desired?
'What a swarm of false Christians have we among us,' said the large-minded Becon; 'gross gospellers, which can prattle of the gospel very finely, talk much of justification by faith, crack very stoutly for the free remission of their sins by Christ's blood. As for their almsdeeds, their praying, their watching, their fasting, they are utterly banished from these gospellers. They are puffed up with pride, they swell with envy, they wallow in pleasures, they burn with concupiscence. Their covetous acts are insatiable, the increasing their substance, the scraping together of worldly possessions. Their religion consisteth in words and disputations; in Christian acts and godly deeds nothing at all.'
Of this class of men the highest living representative was the Earl of Warwick, the ruling spirit of the English Reformation in the phase into which it now had drifted.
To return to the Princess Mary.
There being no longer, as it seemed, occasion to fear the resentment of the Emperor, August 9.the council, on the 9th of August, resolved to execute their resolution, and put an end to her resistance with a high hand. 'They considered how long and patiently the King had laboured in vain to bring her to conformity.' They 'considered how much her obstinacy and the toleration of it endangered the peace of the realm.' Her chaplains, therefore, should be compelled for the future to perform in her chapel the English service established by law, and none other; while Edward undertook to write to his sister with his own hand. The Flemish ambassador was informed at the same time, that the terms of his own residence in England must be identical with those granted to Sir Thomas Chamberlain. He should use the mass on condition only that Chamberlain might use the communion. The Duke of Somerset only defended Mary's interests. His name was attached with the rest to the resolutions of the council; but as to him the Princess had been indebted for her first license 'to keep her sacrificing knaves about her,' so he endeavoured to prevent the withdrawal of it; and partly, perhaps, from good feeling, partly from opposition to Warwick, he had begun to advocate a general toleration. Somerset, in fact, was growing weary of Protestantism, seeing what Protestantism had become. He preferred the company of his architects and masons to attendance at chapel and sermons; and Burgoyne, writing to Calvin, said that he had become so lukewarm in the service of Christ, as scarcely to have anything less at heart than religion.
No cause, however, at that time, could be benefited by tne advocacy of Somerset; and Warwick was supported by the powerful phalanx of able and dangerous men whose interest committed them to the Reformation—those who had shared, or hoped to share, in the spoils of the Church or the State—those who had divided among them the forfeited estates of the Percies, the Howards, the Courtenays, and the Poles, and would support any men or any measures which would prevent reaction.
The Princess was at Copt Hall, in Essex. On the 14th of August three of the officers of her household, Sir Robert Rochester, Sir Francis Englefield, and Sir Robert Waldegrave, were sent for by the council: the King's letter was put in their hands, with a charge to deliver it to their mistress. They were instructed to inform the chaplains that the mass must cease, and to take care, for their own part, that the order was obeyed. At the end of a week they returned to say that the Lady Mary was 'marvellously offended.' She had forbidden them to speak to her chaplains; if they persisted, she said she would discharge them from her service, and she herself would immediately leave the country. She was subject to a heart complaint, and her passion was so violent, that they were afraid to press her further for fear of the possible consequences. They had approached the subject only once afterwards, 'when they not only did not find her more conformable, but in further choler than she was before.' They could, therefore, go no further. She had written to her brother, and they had brought the letter with them.
A message, Mary said in this letter, had been brought to her by her servants on a matter which concerned the salvation of her soul; her servants were no fit messengers for the lords to have chosen. The meanest subjects in the realm would ill bear to receive such treatment through their own attendants. For the letter which Edward had written to her, it was signed indeed with his hand, but it was not his own composition, and he was too young to be a fit judge in such questions. Her father had brought her up in the Catholic faith, and she would not believe one thing and say another, nor would she submit to rule her mind by the opinions of the privy council. She entreated, therefore, that her want of conformity might be tolerated till the King was old enough to act for himself, and if this could not be, 'rather than offend God and my conscience,' she said, 'I offer my body at your will, and death shall be more welcome than life.'
The appeal was naturally ineffectual. The council would not have ventured so far, had they not been determined to go farther; and with a reprimand for the neglect of their orders, Rochester and his companions were commanded to go back and execute them. They refused. They were commanded again on their allegiance to go, and again refused, and were committed to the Fleet for contumacy. 'Pinnaces' were sent to cruise between Harwich and the mouth of the Thames to prevent an attempt at flight on the part of the Princess; and Rich, the Lord Chancellor, Sir William Petre, and Sir Anthony Wingfield took the ungracious office on themselves. Her servants, they were directed to inform Mary, had not returned to her, and would not return. They had disobeyed the King's orders, and if a privy councillor had so far misconducted himself, he would have been equally punished. Competent officers would be furnished for her household in their places. For the rest, his Majesty was grieved that her conscience was so settled in error, as he would himself express to her. She offered her body to be at the King's service, but no harm was meant to her body—the King desired only that she might have mentem sanam in corpore sano. If she had a conscience, so had the King a conscience, and the King must avoid giving offence to God by tolerating error.
The adventures of the new messengers, characteristic of Mary and of the times, shall be related in their own words.
August 28.'Having received commandment and instructions from the King's Majesty, we repaired to the Lady Mary's house at Copt Hall, on the 28th instant in the morning, where, shortly after our coming, I, the Lord Chancellor, delivered his Majesty's letter to her, which she received upon her knees, saying that, for the honour of the King's Majesty's hand wherewith the said letter was signed, she would kiss the letters, and not for the matter contained in them; for the matter, said she, I take to proceed not from his Majesty, but from you his council.
'In the reading of the letter, which she did read secretly to herself, she said these words in our hearing—Ah! good Mr Cecil took much pains here. When she had read the letter, we began to open the matter of our instructions unto her; and as I, the Lord Chancellor, began, she prayed me to be short, for, said she, I am not well at ease, and I will make you a short answer.
'After this, we told her at good length how the King's Majesty having used all the gentle means and exhortations that he might, to have reduced her to the rites of religion and order of divine service set forth by the laws of the realm, and finding her nothing conformable, but still remaining in her former errors, had resolved, by the whole estate of his Majesty's privy council, and with the consent of divers others of the nobility, that she should no longer use the private mass, nor any other divine service than is set forth by the laws of the realm; and here we offered to show her the names of all those which were present at this consultation and resolution. But she said she cared not for any rehearsal of the names, for, said she, I know you to be all of one sort therein.
'We told her further that the King's Majesty's pleasure was we should also give strait charge to her chaplains that none of them should presume to say any mass, and the like charge to all her servants that none of them should presume to hear any mass.
'Hereunto her answer was thus—
'To the King's Majesty she was, is, and August 29.ever will be his Majesty's most humble and most obedient subject and poor sister, and would most willingly obey all his commandments in anything—her conscience saved—yea, and would willingly and gladly suffer death to do his Majesty good. But rather than she will agree to use any other service than was used at the death of the late King her father, she would lay her head on a block and suffer death. But, said she, I am unworthy to suffer death in so good a quarrel. When the King's Majesty, said she, shall come to such years that he may be able to judge these things himself, his Majesty shall find me ready to obey his orders in religion; but now in these years, although he, good, sweet King, have more knowledge than any other of his years, yet it is not possible that he can be a judge of these things. If ships were to be sent to the sea, or any other thing to be done touching the policy and government of the realm, I am sure you would not think his Highness yet able to consider what were to be done. And much less, said she, can he in these years discern what is fit in matters of divinity. If my chaplains do say no mass, I can hear none; no more can my poor servants. But as for my servants, I know it shall be against their will, as it should be against mine; for if they could come where it were said, they should hear it with good will, and as for my priests, they know what they have to do. The pain of your law is but imprisonment for a short time, and if they will refuse to say mass for fear of that imprisonment, they may do therein as they will; but none of your new service, said she, shall be used in my house, and if any be said in it, I will not tarry in the house.
'After this, we declared to her Grace, for what causes the Lords of the Council had appointed Rochester, Englefield, and Waldegrave, being her servants, to open the premises unto her, and how ill and untruly they had used themselves in the charge committed unto them; and beside that, how they had manifestly disobeyed the King's Majesty's council. She said it was not the wisest counsel to appoint her servants to control her in her own house; and that her servants knew her mind therein well enough, for, of all men, she might worse endure any of them to move her in any such matters. And for their punishment, said she, my Lords may use them as they think good; and if they refused to do the message unto her and her chaplains, they be, said she, the honester men, for they should have spoken against their own conscience.
'After this, when we had at good length declared unto her our instructions, touching the promises which she claimed to have been made to the Emperor, and, besides, had opened unto her at good length all such things as we knew and had heard therein, her answer was, that she was well assured the promise was made to the Emperor; and that the same was once granted before the King's Majesty in her presence, there being there seven of the council, notwithstanding the denial thereof at her last being with his Majesty. And I have, quoth she, the Emperor's hand testifying that this promise was made, which I believe better than you all of the council; and though you esteem little the Emperor, yet should you show more favour to me for my father's sake, who made the more part of you all almost of nothing. But, as for the Emperor, said she, if he were dead, I would say as I do; and if he would give me now other advice, I would not follow it. Notwithstanding, quoth she, to be plain with you, his ambassador shall know how I am used at your hands.
'After this, we opened the King's Majesty's pleasure, for one to attend upon her Grace for the supply of Rochester's place during his absence.
'To this her answer was, that she would appoint her own officers, and that she had years sufficient for that purpose; and if we left any men there, she would go out of her gates, for they two would not dwell in one house. And, quoth she, I am sickly, and yet I will not die willingly, but will do the best I can to preserve my life. But if I shall chance to die, I will protest openly that you of the council be the causes of my death; you give me fair words, but your deeds be always ill to me.
'Having said this, she departed from us into her bed-chamber, and delivered to me, the Lord Chancellor, a ring upon her knees, with very humble recommendations to her brother, saying, that she would die his true subject and sister, and obey his commandment in all things, except in these matters of religion. But yet, said she, this shall never be told to the King's Majesty. After her departure, we called the chaplains and the rest of the household before us, and the chaplains, after some talk, promised all to obey the King's Majesty's commandment. We further commanded them, and every one of them, to give notice to some one of the council, at the least, if any mass, or other service than that set forth by the law, should hereafter be said in that house.
'Finally, when we had said and done as is aforesaid, and were gone out of the house, tarrying there for one of her chaplains, who was not with the rest when we gave the charge aforesaid unto them, the Lady Mary's Grace sent to us to speak with her one word at a window. When we were come into the court, notwithstanding that we offered to come up to her chamber, she would needs speak out of the window, and prayed us to speak to the Lords of the Council that her controller might shortly return; for, said she, since his departing, I take the accounts myself of my expenses, and learned how many loaves of bread be made of a bushel of wheat; and I wis my father and my mother never brought me up with baking and brewing; and, to be plain with you, I am weary of my office, and, therefore, if my Lords will send mine officer home, they shall do me pleasure; otherwise, if they send him to prison, I beshrew him if he go not to it merrily and with a good will. And I pray God to send you well to do in your souls and bodies too, for some of you have but weak bodies.'
As the moment draws near when Mary will step forward to the front of the historical stage, it is time to give some distinct account of her. She was born in February 1515–16, and was therefore, in her thirty-sixth year. Her face was broad, but drawn and sallow; the forehead large, though projecting too much at the top, and indicating rather passion and determination than intellectual strength. Her eyes were dauntless, bright, steady, and apparently piercing; but she was short-sighted, and insight either into character or thing was not among her capabilities. She was short and ill-figured; above the waist, she was spare, from continued ill-health; below, it is enough to say that she had inherited her father's dropsical tendencies, which were beginning to show themselves. Her voice was deep like a man's, she had a man's appetite, especially for meat; and in times of danger, a man's promptness of action But she was not without a lady's accomplishments. She embroidered well, played on the lute well; she could speak English, Latin, French, and Spanish, and she could read Italian; as we have seen, she could be her own housekeeper; and if she had masculine energy, she had with it a woman's power of braving and enduring suffering.
By instinct, by temperament, by hereditary affection, she was an earnest Catholic; and whatever Mary believed she believed thoroughly, without mental reservation, without allowing her personal interests either to tint her convictions or to tempt her to disguise them. As long as Queen Catherine lived, she had braved Henry's anger, and clung to her and to her cause. On her mother's death she had agreed to the separation from the Papacy as a question of policy touching no point of faith or conscience. She had accepted the alterations introduced by her father; and, had nothing else intervened, she might have maintained as a sovereign what she had honestly admitted as a subject. Her own persecution only, and the violent changes enforced by the doctrinal Reformers, taught her to believe that, apart from Rome, there was no security for orthodoxy.
In her interview with the messengers, she had shown herself determined, downright, and unaffected, cutting through official insincerities, and fearless of consequences, standing out for the right as she understood it. The moral relations of good and evil were inverted; and between Mary, the defender of a dying superstition, and the Lords of the Council, the patrons of liberty and right, the difference so far was as between the honest watch-dog and a crew of prowling wolves.
The dominant faction had dragged on for two years, through mean tyranny and paltry peculation. The time had come when, no longer able to continue their ill ways unmolested, they were to venture into open crime.
The Duke of Somerset had neglected the debts of the realm, till they were past retrieval. He had rushed into expensive and unsuccessful wars, crippled the revenue, and continued the debasement of the currency. He had brought the country into discredit abroad; and by forcing forward changes in religion for which the people were unprepared, he had thrown half England into insurrection. He had justly been deprived of September.the power which he had usurped and abused. Yet, for the most part, he had failed in attempts which in themselves were noble; and the Duke of Somerset might flatter himself that his own government showed brightly by the side of the scarcely less rash and more utterly ungenerous administration which had followed on his fall. Could he have recovered the Protectorate, it is not likely he would have profited by his past experience; a large vanity and a languid intellect incapacitated him for sovereign power; yet, in the face of the existing state of things, he need only be moderately blamed if he endeavoured to regain his power from the nands by which it had been wrested from him. In the past year he had provoked the jealousy and the suspicion of Warwick, by interfering in favour of Gardiner; he had been exposed, as in the instance of his mother's funeral, to petty insults and mortifications; and early in the spring of 1551 he had begun to meditate the possibility of revenging himself. Whalley, the fraudulent receiver of Yorkshire, one of the least reputable of his friends, had felt the pulses of the peers with a view to his restoration; he became privy to Catholic conspiracies without revealing them; and, after his arrest, the missing link in the evidence, the want of which had saved the Bishop of Durham from imprisonment a few months previously, was found in his desk. The council in their treatment of his friends provided him with unscrupulous partisans. Sir Ralph Vane, a distinguished soldier, had a right of pasturage by letters patent over lands which the Earl of Warwick claimed or coveted. Warwick sent his servants to drive Vane's cattle from the meadows; Vane defended his rights in arms, and was arrested and sent to the Tower, as much, perhaps, because he was a follower of the Duke, as for any offence of his own.
The confinement was soon over; but the injury remained, and Vane became ready at any moment to rise in arms. Suspected before his intentions had assumed a definite form, Somerset, on the 23rd of April, had been on the point of flying, in a supposed fear of his life, with Lord Grey, to the northern counties, to call out the people and place himself at their head. He had been prevented only by Sir William Herbert, who assured him that he was in no danger, and he had remained to oppose Warwick in the treatment of Mary. Unable to effect anything by legitimate opposition, he had listened to suggestions for a general toleration in religion; he had consulted with Lord Arundel on calling a Parliament, and appealing to the country against Warwick by proclamation; and as the design of doing something assumed form, the Duchess of Somerset brought into it her brother Sir Michael Stanhope, and her half-brother Sir Thomas Arundel. Lord Strange was set to work upon the King to induce him to break his engagements with France, and marry Lady Jane Seymour instead. A scheme was formed to arrest and imprison Warwick, Northampton, and Herbert, into which the Earl of Arundel entered eagerly and warmly, and in which Lord Paget was, at least, a silent accomplice. Sir John Yorke, the Master of the Mint, was to be taken also, 'because he could tell many pretty things;' and as a violent arrest might perhaps be violently resisted, it was not impossible that lives might be taken in the scuffle. Somerset himself admitted that the deaths of Warwick and the other noblemen had been spoken of as a contingency which might occur: an intention that they should be killed, if he ever formed such, he soon relinquished. His plan, so long as it was entertained, was to treat the Lords as he had been treated himself, and to call Parliament immediately, 'lest peradventure of one evil might happen another.' But his mind misgave him, and his purposes were vacillating First, there was a doubt whether Herbert should be included in the arrest; afterwards, according to one witness, the Duke changed his mind, 'and would meddle no further with the apprehension of any of the council, and said he was sorry he had gone so far with the Earl of Arundel.'
October.So the matter stood in the beginning of October. Among those who had been privy to the conspiracy was Sir Thomas Palmer, a soldier who had gained some credit by desperate service in the French wars, and had led the forlorn hope of cavalry who sacrificed themselves at Haddington to enable supplies to reach the blockaded garrison: a brave man, but, as it seemed, a most unscrupulous one, whose services in a dangerous enterprise might be as useful as his fidelity was uncertain.
Palmer, on the 7th of October, came to Lord Warwick's house, and 'in my Lord's garden,' writes Edward, 'he declared how St George's day last past, my Lord of Somerset, who was then going to the north, if the Master of the Horse, Sir Win. Herbert, had not assured him of his honour he should have no hurt, went to raise the people, and the Lord Grey went before to know who were his friends. Afterwards a device was made to call the Earl of Warwick to a banquet with the Marquis of Northampton and divers others, and to cut off their heads. Also, he formed a base company about them by the way to set upon them. He declared also, that Sir Ralph Vane had two thousand men in readiness; Sir Thomas Arundel had assured my Lord that the Tower was safe; Mr Partridge should raise London, and take the Great Seal with the apprentices; Seymour and Hammond should wait upon himself, and all the horses of the gensdarmes should be slain.'
Such was Palmer's story—truth and falsehood being mingled together; truth, because part of it was confirmed by other witnesses, and confessed by the Duke himself; falsehood, because Warwick (or Northumberland, as he was immediately to be) confessed before his own death that the Duke of Somerset had through his means been falsely accused; and Palmer, also, before his death, declared that the evidence to which he had sworn had been invented by Warwick, and had been maintained by himself at Warwick's request. Whether Palmer's treachery for the first time acquainted Warwick with Somerset's designs against him, or whether Warwick had watched their growth and sprang a countermine when the time was ripe, I am unable to determine. Certain only it is that Somerset, and Somerset's party, were become dangerous to him. He felt, perhaps with reason, that, if once in their power, he would find as little mercy at their hands as he intended that they should receive at his own; and inasmuch as the truth, if only the truth was known, might not ensure a conviction, inasmuch as the mere attempt at the overthrow of a faction might seem, in the eyes of the Lords who must try Somerset, rather a virtue than a crime—some additional atrocity had to be invented—something on which the law spoke too plainly for evasion, and which might diminish a sympathy otherwise likely to be troublesome.
Palmer's revelations were kept profoundly secret, except, it may be, from Herbert and Northampton, and from Edward, who, duped by the plausible zeal of Warwick for the Protestant gospel, hearing only from the fanatic enthusiasts who surrounded him adulation of the Earl as a champion of the Lord, and suspicious of his uncle as a backslider and apostate, listened and believed with the simplicity of a boy. Though nothing definite transpired, however, there were movements in the State which created in Somerset a vague feeling of uneasiness: a report reached him that Palmer had been closeted with Warwick. Parliament, which was to have met on the 13th of October, was prorogued till January. A muster of the gendarmerie was ordered for the 8th of November; and on the 11th of October there were significant and important changes in the peerage. Lord Dorset, Lady Jane Grey's father, was made Duke of Suffolk; Warwick became Duke of Northumberland; Paulet, Earl of Wiltshire, Marquis of Winchester; and Sir William Herbert Earl of Pembroke.
The elevation of the men against whose power, if not life, the late Protector was conspiring, naturally alarmed him. He sent for Cecil (now Sir William Cecil, and Secretary of State), and inquired if he was in any danger. Cecil replied 'that, if he was not guilty, he might be of good courage; if he was, he had nothing to say but to lament him.' It was an answer calculated neither to soothe nor please. The Duke, says Edward, defied Cecil, and sent for and cross-questioned Palmer. Palmer, of course, denied that he had said anything against him, true or false; and he remained anxious and uncertain till the 16th, when he appeared as usual at the meeting of the privy council.
By this time Warwick's preparations were complete. It is to be hoped that the full extent of his iniquity was kept secret between himself and his instrument, that the council, like Edward, were his dupes. October 16.In the afternoon of that day Somerset was arrested on a charge of treason, and sent to the Tower, whither he was followed immediately after by the Duchess, Lord Arundel, Sir Thomas Arundel, Paget, Grey, Stanhope, Partridge, and many more. Vane escaped across the river, and hid himself in a stable at Lambeth; but he was betrayed, or discovered, in a few hours.
Palmer now enlarged his evidence. The gendarmerie, he said, were to have been assaulted on the muster-day by Somerset's retinue and Sir Ralph Vane's two thousand footmen; the cry of liberty was to have been raised in London; and, in case of failure, the conspirators were to have fallen back on Poole or the Isle of Wight. Another witness supported this part of the story; and here, it is likely enough, that it was true. The banquet, it was further said, where the Lords were to have been killed, was to have been held at the house of Lord Paget.
The next step was to send the usual circulars to the magistrates, informing them of the near escape of the King and commonwealth from conspiracy; and letters to the same effect were sent to Pickering and Chamberlain, to lay before the Courts of Paris and Brussels. Henry affected to believe—Northumberland being in the interests of France; the Regent Mary, perhaps for the same reason, scarcely cared to conceal her incredulity.
The prosecution was temporarily interrupted by the arrival and entertainment in London of Mary of Guise, on her route from France to Scotland; and, at the same time, by an invitation from Maurice and the other Protestant princes, to join in the great enterprise about to be attempted against the Emperor. But the pageant of a royal entertainment was soon over, and Warwick and his friends were too deeply disloyal to the cause of which they were so loud professors, to join in a religious confederacy. Their own idea of foreign policy was the balance of power, which no other object, divine or human, ought to derange; and the Germans were put off with an evasive answer, and at last with an equivalent to a refusal. Northumberland's attention was demanded for a more serious object.
NovemberNovember was spent in a series of private examinations of the prisoners in the Tower. Crane, the witness who had supported Palmer, declared, on being cross-questioned, that Somerset's intentions, whatever they were, had been abandoned. Lord Arundel admitted reluctantly, and after many denials, a design formed by himself and the Duke to arrest Northumberland and Northampton at the council, and to compel a change in the mode of government. Hammond, one of the Duke's servants, deposed to a guard which the Duke kept in his ante-room. A collection of questions remain, which were addressed to the Duke himself, though his answers are lost; and these questions are important, as has been well observed, since they contain no allusion to the intended assassination. Other evidence was obtained also, but of an immaterial kind. On the 30th the witnesses were examined severally before the peers who were to sit upon the trial, and they swore all of them that their confessions were true, 'without compulsion, fear, envy, or displeasure.' Dec. 1.The next morning, the first of December, at five o'clock, in the winter darkness, the Duke was brought in a barge from the Tower to Westminster Hall. In fear of a demonstration, which the popularity of Somerset made more than likely, an order of council had been sent out the day before, that every household should keep within-doors, and that in each house one man at least should be ready with his arms, to be called out, if order should be disturbed. But the eagerness of the people defied the command to stay at home, and by daybreak Palace-yard and the court before the hall were thronged with a vast multitude, all passionately devoted to Somerset, all execrating his rival. The court was formed; Lord Winchester sitting as High Steward. Twenty- six peers, Northumberland, Northampton, and Pembroke among them, took their seats, and at nine o'clock the prisoner was led forward to the bar.
December.Under the Act of Unlawful Assemblies the late Protector was charged, under various counts, with having treasonably collected men in his house for an ill intent, as to kill the Duke of Northumberland; with having devised the death of the Lords of the Council; with having intended to raise the city of London to assault the Lords of the Council; and, finally, with having purposed to resist his arrest. On the last three counts he was further indicted for felony. As usual in trials for treason, the principal witnesses were not brought into court; their depositions, taken down elsewhere, were read aloud. The Duke, when called on to answer, admitted that he had collected men, and that he had spoken of killing Northumberland and Northampton; but afterwards he said he 'determined the contrary.' He denied an intention of raising the city of London, or the northern counties. The story of the banquet, he said, was altogether false. When Crane's evidence was read, he desired that Crane might be produced in court and confronted with him. Palmer, he said, was a worthless villain. Lord Strange was the only witness who came forward in person. Strange declared that Somerset had moved him to persuade the King to break with France, and marry Lady Seymour. This, too, Somerset denied; but Strange persisted. The peers withdrew. Northumberland, possibly in pretended moderation, but more likely to ensure a condemnation, disclaimed a desire to press the treason charge; for a lighter verdict Somerset's own confession seemed sufficient. On the first count, therefore, the Lords returned a verdict of not guilty. Amidst a murmur of applause, the sergeant-at-arms left the hall with the axe of the Tower. The anxious crowd at the doors, mistaking his appearance for a final acquittal, sent up a shout again, and again, and again, which pealed up to Charing Cross, and was heard in Long Acre. But congratulations were premature. Acquitted of treason, the Duke was found guilty of felony, which would answer equally to ensure his destruction; Winchester pronounced sentence of death; and, amidst the awful silence which followed, the Duke fell on his knees, thanking the court for his trial, and, unless Edward was deceived by a purposely false report, asked Northumberland to pardon him, confessing that he had meant his destruction. 'Duke of Somerset,' Northumberland answered from his seat, 'you see yourself a man in peril of life and sentenced to die. Once before I saved you in a like danger, nor will I desist to serve you now, though you may not believe me. Appeal to the mercy of the King's Majesty, which I doubt not he will extend to you. For myself, gladly I pardon all things which you have designed against me, and I will do my best that your life maybe spared.'
The truth is hard to read through such a maze of treachery. If it be true that Somerset confessed, either in the court or the Tower, that he had really meditated murder, he was no better than Northumberland; interest or sympathy is alike wasted upon either, and Palmer's evidence may, in that case, have been exaggerated only because the intended crime was certain, though the proof was insufficient. Yet, if Northumberland had but anticipated a blow which had been aimed against himself, his conduct would scarcely have sat so heavily on his conscience. Scarcely, too, would Cranmer or Ridley, unlike the pious flatterers of the now all-powerful statesman, have risked his anger with 'shewing their consciences' in such a cause.
But if to the historical inquirer it seems doubtful whether the guilt was on both sides or but on one, the world at the time entertained no such uncertainty. So deep was the excitement, so general the suspicion of the verdict, that it was found necessary to overawe London two days after with a parade of the gendarmerie. Arundel and Paget were examined in the Star Chamber with closed doors, but a second trial was a risk too great to be ventured.
When Parliament was prorogued in October, there had been an evident dread of the humour which might be shown by the Lower House; and measures had been taken to secure assistance there which might be depended upon. Meantime Northumberland's friends gave out that, on the trial, and since the trial, he had exerted himself in Somerset's interests with unparalleled generosity. The execution was delayed perhaps to give colour to the story, and it was reported first that the King had granted a free pardon; next it was said that a pardon had been offered, but that the Duke, counting on his own or his friends' power, would not accept it, and had flung back the generous overtures of the council with scorn and insolence. The death of his brother was brought back against him with ingenious misrepresentation. His arrogance, it was pretended, could no longer be endured, and, should he escape punishment, he would throw the whole realm into confusion to revenge himself.
Calvin, more keen-sighted than the correspondent who furnished him with these stories, meditated a remonstrance to the King, with a caution against the advisers who were betraying him. In England the general indignation could not be concealed by the loud applauses of the revolutionists. It was likely enough that, were Somerset free, there would be a convulsion; but men could not be convinced that any change would be an evil which would deliver them from the hated Northumberland.
No alteration could be expected in the popular feeling, and the irritation would be inflamed by longer delay. The execution was fixed at last for the morning of the 22nd of January.1552.
As an attempt at rescue was anticipated, an order of council again commanded all inhabitants of the city or the suburbs to keep to their houses. A thousand men-at-arms brought in from the country were drawn up on Tower Hill, and with the gendarmerie formed a ring round the scaffold; but the proclamation was not more effectual at the execution than at the trial. As the day dawned, the great square and every avenue of approach to it were thronged with spectators, pressing on all sides against the circle of armed men.
A little before eight o'clock the Tower guard brought up their prisoner. Somerset's countenance was singularly handsome, and both his features and his person were marked with an habitual expression of noble melancholy. Amidst his many faults he was every inch a gentleman. He was dressed in the splendid costume which he had worn in receptions of state. As he stepped upon the scaffold, he knelt and said a short prayer; he then rose, and, bowing to the people, spoke bareheaded.
Masters and good fellows. I am come hither to die; but a true and faithful man as any was unto the King's Majesty and to his realm. But I am condemned by a law whereunto I am subject, as we all, and therefore to show obedience I am content to die; wherewith I am well content, being a thing most heartily welcome to me; for the which I do thank God, taking it for a singular benefit as ever might have come to me otherwise. For, as I am a man, I have deserved at God's hand many deaths; and it has pleased his goodness, whereas He might have taken me suddenly, that I should neither have known Him nor myself, thus now to visit me and call me with this present death as you do see, where I have had time to remember and acknowledge Him, and to know also myself, for the which I do thank Him most heartily. And, my friends, more I have to say to you concerning religion: I have been always, being in authority, a furtherer of it to the glory of God to the uttermost of my power; whereof I am nothing soriy, but rather have cause and do rejoice most gladly that I have so done, for the greatest benefit of God that ever I had, or any man might have in this world, beseeching you all to take it so, and to follow it on still; for, if not, there will follow and come a worse and great plague.'
He was still speaking, when the crowd began suddenly to wave and shift. Through the breathless silence a noise was heard like the trampling of the feet of a large number of men approaching: some thought it was a rescue, some one thing, some another; shouts rose, away! away! the packed multitude attempted to scatter, and as the sound had created the alarm, the alarm now increased the sound. Some cried that it thundered, some that an army was coming down from heaven, some felt the earth shake under their feet. The mystery was merely that a company of soldiers, who had been ordered to be at Tower Hill by eight o'clock, and had found themselves late, were coming at a run through an adjoining street; but no one thought of looking for a reasonable cause. 'There was a rumbling,' says Machyn, 'as it had been guns shooting, and great horses coming. A thousand fell to the ground for fear, for that they on the one side thought no other but that the one was killing the other; a hundred fell into the Tower ditch, and some ran away for fear.'
In the midst of the confusion, Sir Anthony Browne was seen forcing his horse through the throng towards the scaffold, and above the clamour rose a shout of 'Pardon, pardon; a pardon from the King.'
Had Somerset been deceived, it would have been a cruel aggravation of his suffering; but he knew Northumberland too well.
He had stood in the front of the scaffold with his cap in his hand, waiting till the noise should cease. At the cry of a pardon he exclaimed: 'There is no such thing, good people; there is no such thing.' His voice quieted them, and he went on with his address:—
'It is the ordinance of God thus to die, wherewith we must be content; [I beseech you do not grieve for my fortunes; keep yourselves quiet and still, and make no disturbance, or attempt to save me, for I do not desire a longer life;] and let us now pray together for the King's Majesty, to whose Grace I have always been a faithful, true, and most loving subject, desirous always of his most prosperous success in all his affairs, and ever glad of the furtherance and helping forward of the commonwealth of his realm.'
At the concluding words voices answered, 'Yes, yes, yes.' Some one cried above the rest, 'This is found now too true.'
The Duke then drew off his rings, and gave them to the executioner. Dropping his cloak, he unbuckled his sword, which he presented to the Lieutenant of the Tower, and, after a few words with the Dean of Christ Church, who had attended him, he loosened his shirt-collar, and knelt quietly before the block. Three times he was heard to say, 'Lord Jesus, save me.' The headsman's arm rose, fell, and all was over.
The English public, often wildly wrong on general questions, are good judges, for the most part, of personal character; and so passionately was Somerset loved, that those who were nearest the scaffold started forward to dip their handkerchiefs in his blood. His errors were forgotten in the tragedy of his end; and the historian who in his life sees much to censure, who, had he recovered his Protectorate, would, perhaps, have been obliged to repeat the same story of authority unwisely caught at and unwisely used, can find but good words only for the victim of the treachery of Northumberland.
In revolutions the most excellent things are found ever in connection with the most base. The enthusiast for the improvement of mankind works side by side with the adventurer, to whom change is welcome, that he may better his fortune in the scramble: and thus it is that patriots and religious reformers show in fairest colours when their cause is ungained, when they are a struggling minority chiefly called upon to suffer. Gold and silver will not answer for the purposes of a currency till they are hardened with some interfusion of coarser metal; and truth and justice, when they have forced their way to power, make a compromise with the world, and accept some portion of the world's spirit as the price at which they may exercise their ever limited dominion. So it is at the best: too often, as the devil loves most to mar the fairest works, the good, when success is gained, are pushed aside as dreamers, or used only as a shield for the bad deeds of their confederates; they are happy if their own nature escape infection from the instruments which they use, and from the elements in which they are compelled to work.
While the lay ministers' of Edward VI. were 'sowing the wind,' where the harvest in due time would follow, Archbishop Oranmer, keeping aloof more and more from them and their doings, or meddling in them only to protest, was working silently at the English Prayerbook. No plunder of Church or Crown had touched the hands of Cranmer. No fibre of political intrigue, or crime, or conspiracy could be traced to the palace at Lambeth. He had lent himself, it was true, in his too great eagerness to carry out the Reformation, to the persecution and deposition of Bonner and Gardiner; but his share had been slight in the more recent acts of violence which recovered to the Catholics the hearts of the English people; and to the last he was considered by the ultras as timid and intellectually weak.
Whether the charge of timidity was true, he had an opportunity of showing when Edward died and Northumberland recanted; when the noisy tongues of the gospellers were heard only at a safe distance, and the so-called timid ones remained to witness to their faith in suffering. Happily for his memory, and happily for the Church of England, the Archbishop was more nobly occupied than the 'gospellers' desired to see him.
As the translation of the Bible bears upon it the imprint of the mind of Tyndal, so, while the Church of England remains, the image of Cranmer will be seen reflected on the calm surface of the Liturgy. The most beautiful portions of it are translations from the Breviary; yet the same prayers translated by others would not be those which chime like church bells in the ears of the English child. The translations, and the addresses which are original, have the same silvery melody of language, and breathe the same simplicity of spirit. So long as Cranmer trusted himself, and would not let himself be dragged beyond his convictions, he was the representative of the feelings of the best among his countrymen. With the reverent love for the past, which could appropriate its excellencies, he could feel at the same time the necessity for change. While he could no longer regard the sacraments with a superstitious idolatry, he saw in them ordinances divinely appointed, and therefore especially, if inexplicably, sacred.
In this temper, for the most part, the English Church services had now, after patient labour, been at length completed by him, and were about to be laid before Parliament. They had grown slowly. First had come the primers of Henry VIII.; then the Litany was added; and then the first Communion-book. The next step was the Prayer-book of 1549; and now at last the complete Liturgy, which survives after three hundred years. In a few sentences only, inserted apparently under the influence of Ridley, doctrinal theories were pressed beyond the point to which opinion was legitimately gravitating. The priest was converted absolutely into a minister, the altar into a table, the eucharist into a commemoration, and a commemoration only. But these peculiarities were uncongenial with the rest of the Liturgy, with which they refuse to harmonize; and on the final establishment of the Church of England, were dropped or modified. They were, in fact, the seed of vital alterations, for which the nation was unprepared; which, had Edward lived two years longer, would have produced, first, the destruction of the Church as a body politic, and then an after-fruit of re-action more inveterate than even the terrible one under Mary. But Edward died before the Liturgy could be further tampered with; and from amidst the foul weeds in which its roots were buried it stands up beautiful, the one admirable thing which the unhappy reign produced. Prematurely born, and too violently forced upon the country, it was, nevertheless, the right thing, the thing which essentially answered to the spiritual demands of the nation. They rebelled against it, because it was precipitately thrust upon them; but services which have overlived so many storms speak for their own excellence, and speak for the merit of the workman.
As the Liturgy was prepared for Parliament and people, so for the Convocation and the clergy there were drawn up a body of articles of religion: forty-two of them, as they were first devised; thirty-nine, as they are now known to the theological student. These also have survived, and, like other things in this country, have survived their utility, and the causes which gave them birth. Articles of belief they have been called; articles of teaching; articles of peace. Protestants who have restored the right of private judgment, who condemn so emphatically the articles added by the Council of Trent to the Christian creed, not for themselves only, but because human beings are not permitted to bind propositions of their own upon the consciences of believers, will scarcely pretend that they are the first. If it be unlawful for a Catholic council to enlarge the dogmatic system of Christianity, no more can it be permitted to a local Church to impose upon the judgment a series of intricate assertions on theological subtleties which the most polemical divines will not call vital, or on questions of public and private morality, where the conscience should be the only guide.
The death of the Duke of Somerset was followed by the trial and execution of Yane, Partridge, Stanhope, and Sir Thomas Arundel. The condemnation of Arundel was effected with great difficulty. Jan. 28.The jury were shut up on a day in January twenty-four hours, without fire, food, or drink, before they would agree upon a verdict, and the four sufferers died protesting their innocence.
On the 30th of January Northumberland met Parliament.
The Prayer-book passed without difficulty. Cuthbert Tunstal, the last bishop who would have opposed it, had joined Gardiner in the Tower, the letter found among Somerset's papers having furnished an excuse to lay hands upon him; and a second Act was passed for uniformity of religious worship—persons who refused to come to church being liable to censure or excommunication, those who attended any other service to imprisonment.
A zeal was affected also for the more practical parts of religion, the humour of the people becoming dangerous, and the more earnest among the Reformers insisting on being heard. In a sermon before the King, Ridley had spoken of the distress to which the spoliation of public charities had reduced the London poor. Edward sent for him afterwards, thanked him for what he had said, and asked him what should be done. Too wise to refer such a question to the council, the Bishop said that the corporation of the city were the best persons to consult with, and February.Edward wrote a letter to Sir Richard Dobbs, the mayor, with which Ridley charged himself. The corporation, in the last few years, had shown in favourable contrast with the Government. While the dependents of Somerset and Northumberland were appropriating and absorbing hospitals and schools, the Lord Mayor and aldermen had founded others at their own expense; and now, on the invitation of the King, they proceeded in the same direction with more effective energy. The House of the Grey Friars was repaired and refitted for the education of poor children, under the name of Christ's Hospital. St Thomas's Hospital, which had been suppressed, was purchased by the corporation for the reception of the impotent and diseased poor. St Bartholomew's was surrendered by the Crown into the mayor's hands, with fresh endowments; and the royal palace of Bridewell, a little later, with the estate which had belonged to the Hospital of the Savoy, was made over as a workhouse for able-bodied labourers out of employ.
Not to be left too far behind by the citizens, the Government exerted themselves in the same direction. An Act was passed in Parliament for the collection of alms for the poor in every parish. The contributions were nominally voluntary, but payment might be enforced by the reproofs of the clergy, the censures of the Church, and by punishment at the discretion of the Bishop. The scandalous frauds in the manufacture of woollen cloth having injured the credit of the trade, the sheep-farming no longer yielded its disproportionate profits; the tillage question could, therefore, be taken up again with a chance of success. Commissioners were appointed to hold district courts, to empanel juries, and compel the owners to bring their recent pastures under the plough. The Flanders Jews having made the Government susceptible on money questions, they passed a Statute of Usury, which formed a curious complement to their general administration of the finances. By the 9th of the 37th of Henry VIII., the legal interest of money was limited to ten per cent. 'But this was not meant,' it was now declared, 'as if to allow usury, which was a thing unlawful,' 'a vice most odious and detestable;' but only 'for the avoiding of more ill and inconvenience that before that time was used:' and since a sense of their duties in this matter 'could by no godly teaching and persuasion sink into the hearts of divers greedy, uncharitable, and covetous persons,' it was decreed that thenceforward no interest of any kind should be demanded or given upon any loan, under pain of forfeiture, imprisonment, and fine.
So far all had gone smoothly. On other matters the Commons were more suspicious and less tractable. The forfeiture of the estates of the Duke of Somerset gave occasion to a sharp debate. A Protestant heresy bill, introduced 'for the protection of the King's subjects from such heresies as might happen by strangers dwelling among them,' was referred to a committee of bishops; but fell through and was lost. Northumberland, intending to appropriate the estates of the bishopric of Durham, brought in a bill to deprive Tunstal, on a charge of treason, and succeeded, in spite of Cranmer's opposition, in carrying it through the Lords. March.The Lower House, however, required that Tunstal's accusers should be brought face to face with him, and that he should be heard in his defence, which for many reasons would be inconvenient. The Duke, therefore, withdrew his bill, and proceeded by commission, which did the work for him less scrupulously, but did not improve his reputation. Cranmer refused to sit, and the Bishop of Durham was deposed by a court composed of laymen.
Still more significant was the treatment which a new Statute of Treason received in the House of Commons. As the administration became more detested, incendiary pamphlets and handbills multiplied, and it was desired to restore in some degree the sharp discipline of the last reign. The Lords again complied. The Commons rejected the Government measure, and drew another of their own. In the absence of a copy of the rejected bill, it is impossible to say what it contained; it may be conjectured, however, with some certainty, that it did not contain a clause which appears in the Act as it was finally passed, a clause providing that no person should in future be attainted or convicted of treason under that or any other statute, unless the charges in the indictment should have been first proved in the presence of the accused by two witnesses at least.
Northumberland's endeavours to fill the vacant seats in the House with wise and discreet persons had been too successful. April 15.The composition did not please him, and on the 15th of April the first Parliament of Edward VI. was dissolved.
Outward events, however, continued to favour him, tempting him to believe himself irresistible, and leading him on to the fatal step which for the moment made shipwreck of the Reformation. The English council had refused the application of Duke Maurice and the princes of the League for assistance. They had declined to take part in a movement which was to break the power of Charles V. in Germany for ever, and give peace for three quarters of a century to the Lutheran churches. Magdeburg still held out; but the secret of Maurice's intentions was so well kept that, although Charles suspected him of voluntary negligence, he seems to have entertained no serious misgivings about him. He had spies in the Duke's camp; but his spies played him false, or were themselves deceived; and while Maurice was corresponding with England and France, and making preparations for a general revolt, the Emperor, in fancied security, had arranged to go to Innspruck, to be in the neighbourhood of the Council of Trent, when the Protestant representatives should present themselves there in the course of the winter.
On leaving Augsburg Charles ventured on a measure of imprudent intimidation. His inability to enforce the Interim there, even in his own presence, and under his own eyes, had exasperated him. August 26.On the 26th of August the Bishop of Arras sent for the Protestant clergy, accused them briefly of disobedience to the Imperial rescripts; and requiring them to take an oath to depart out of Germany, he ordered them at once, and without an hour's delay, to leave their houses and the town. In vain they appealed to the law, and claimed the privileges of citizens. They were driven out, and Sir Richard Morryson, writing from the spot, describes the consequences of this high-handed tyranny. 'Men do much marvel,' he wrote to the council, 'that M. d'Arras durst venture to do this; more, that he durst do it at this time; more than all, that the Emperor would consent to a thing that so easily might have turned him, his Court, yea, his whole city, to trouble; but what doth greedy ambition stick at, or what doth not desperate desire force men to attempt? The Emperor's friends be fleeting again, his enemies ready to do their worst; he must, therefore, make friends of Julius III., his surety so long as it lasteth. He must do displeasure to as many as he may, so his friend Julius be thereby pleased. The wound is yet green, and not so felt as perhaps it will be when time and trouble shall lay open the multitude and greatness of these men's miseries. Men and women are at this present so astounded at the whole of their misery that they have no leisure to peruse the parts thereof. There be few shops but some men or women be seen weeping in them; few streets but there be men in plumps, that look as they had rather do worse than suffer their present thraldom. On Friday last there were about a hundred women at the Emperor's gates, howling, and asking in their outcries where they should christen their children, or whether their children not christened should be taken as heathen dogs. They would have gone to the Emperor's house, but our Catholic Spaniards kept them out, reviling them. The Papist churches have for all this no more customers than they had—not ten of the townsmen in some of their greatest synagogues. The churches are locked up; the people sit weeping at home, and do say they will beg among Protestants, rather than live in wealth where they must be Papists. Babes new born lie unchristened; they will have no Latin christening.'
The German troops mutinied; they were 'almost all wont to go to the Protestant service, and talked madly of the banishment of their preachers.' Fresh companies of Spaniards were brought into the town, and the Germans marched beyond the walls.
Having lighted the match with his own hands, the Emperor set out for Innspruck, leaving Maurice behind him to follow out his own plans at his leisure. The Italian quarrel had expanded, and war with France was now openly declared. The Turkish fleet, as in the old times of Francis, came down into the Mediterranean as the allies of France; a Turkish army again threatened Hungary; and in the same spirit and in the same policy the French Court concluded a secret league with the Protestant princes. Maurice undertook to keep Charles in play with fair words till the moment came to strike, and, with the spring, the French troops were to enter Germany.
Sept. 1.Over the thin crust of the mine which was to burst under their feet the Council of Trent recommenced their sessions on the 1st of September. The Italian and Spanish bishops were duly in their places; the German Catholics were reported as on the way; the Diet had undertaken for the appearance of the Lutherans; the French bishops had not come, and nothing was known of them. France was the point to which the eyes of the fathers were most anxiously turning. If France was true to the Church, her differences with the Emperor could be soon composed, and all would be well. But France, if the eldest child of the Church, was also the prodigal child, forgetful of her duties to her parent. Instead of bishops, there came a letter from the King, addressed to the assembly—not as concilium, a holy council with authority; but as conventua, a convention of mere human individuals. With many doubts they turned the covering over before they would acknowledge the irreverent despatch with reading it. When the seal was broken they found professions of the utmost devotion to the Church, but a regret that the Gallican prelates would not be able to attend.
The terms on which the Lutherans were to be admitted were still unsettled. To the Pope, Charles had promised that they should appear as criminals. To Maurice he had said ambiguously that the council should be free. On this point Maurice made his first open move. He now demanded that the Protestant theologians should speak and vote with the Catholic bishops, and that the Scriptures should be the one single rule of the controversy. Further, although Charles had promised the Protestants that their persons should be in no danger, the burning of Huss by the Council of Constance showed that Catholic prelates October. held ordinary engagements lightly when they had a chance of destroying a heretic. Maurice had a copy taken, therefore, of the safe-conduct extorted by Huss's followers from the Synod of Bâle, and he forwarded a duplicate for the signature of the fathers at Trent.
The first step was followed instantly by a second. Unpermitted by the Emperor, he made terms with Magdeburg, conceding, under a show of fair words, every point for which the city was contending; and the garrison immediately took service in Maurice's own army. NovemberNext, having so far thrown off the mask, he sent a formal demand for the liberation of the Landgrave of Hesse; the Elector Palatine, the Duke of Mecklenburg, the King of Denmark, Albert of Brandenburg, and Ferdinand of Austria, attaching their signatures to the petition.
The Emperor still affected to be blind to Maurice's attitude. It was his policy to avoid seeing what, if forced upon him, he would be obliged to resent, and, resenting, was for the moment unable to punish. About the Landgrave he answered vaguely neither yes nor no. On this and other matters he could speak best, he said, in person, and he desired that Maurice would follow him to Innspruck: meantime, the ambassadors of the Lutheran States—among them Sleidan the historian—presented themselves at Trent to request the safe-conduct for the divines, and to settle the terms on which these divines were to be present. The differences between the intentions of one party and the expectations of the other became at once apparent. The ambassadors gave in a series of propositions on which their representatives expected to be heard. The Papal legates wondered at the indecency of a desire to argue where the only fit course was submission. The safe-conduct was drawn and signed; but it was altered from the Bohemian pattern, and the ambassadors would not receive it. The Archbishop of Toledo, who was acting for the Emperor, endeavoured to persuade them; but he could only prevail upon them to refer to Maurice, and Maurice ordered them to stand to their demands, and not to yield an inch. Fearful of provoking the Emperor, the fathers consented to grant the ambassadors a private audience, in which the Lutheran views could be generally stated. The ambassador of Wurtemburg required a reconstitution of the council; the Pope, he said, was a party to the suit, and was no fit judge in his own cause. The ambassador of Saxe insisted most on the safe-conduct, with an express allusion to Constance and the declaration of the bishops there that faith need not be kept with heretics. The so-called heretics, he said, further, must be admitted to vote; the past resolutions of the council must be reconsidered where they were at variance with the Confession of Augsburg. Finally, he desired to know what was to be said of the other resolution of the Council of Constance, that a council was above a Pope. This last question, says Pallavicino, drove the fathers at once among the reefs and breakers, of which Clement VII. long before had warned the Emperor.
Thus the time wore away till March, when the match had burnt to the powder. Maurice moved on Augsburg, which opened its gates to him. A French army appeared on the Rhine, and Protestant Germany was once more openly in arms.
Panic-stricken a second time, the bishops at Trent melted like the snow before the returning sun. Maurice, after restoring the expelled preachers, summoned a Diet to meet at Passau in July; and while the French took possession of Verdun and Metz, he himself, with the Duke of Mecklenburg, made his way by rapid marches into the Tyrol. Charles had invited him to Innspruck, and to Innspruck he would go. The mountain passes were fortified, but the hatred of the Tyrolese for the Spaniards was so intense, that they offered their services as guides, and betrayed the defences. April.The detachments which had been set to guard them were cut in pieces; and so swift were the movements of the German army, that the first intimation which Charles received that they had left Augsburg was the sound of their guns but a few miles distant. It was said that a mutiny among the Lanzknechts delayed the last advance of Maurice, or the Emperor would have been a prisoner. It was said, also, that Maurice was unwilling to burden himself with so considerable a captive; 'he had no cage large enough for such a bird.' May 20.But Charles, to save himself, had to fly through a midnight storm. He himself weak with gout, in a litter, his Court with such comforts as they could carry on their backs and no more, made their way in the darkness through the mountain valleys and across the swollen streams to the Venetian frontier. Maurice did not follow. He gave his troops the plunder of the Imperial palace; for himself, it was enough to know that he had broken the spell which threatened Germany with slavery. July.In July he dictated the terms of the pacification of Passau; and the Emperor, at war with France, with the Turks in the Mediterranean, and the council for which he had so long laboured scattered to all the winds, gave up the battle with the Reformation. The Landgrave and John Frederick were set free. The Confession of Augsburg was again acknowledged. The Imperial chamber was reorganized as the Protestants had so long demanded. These points, few but vital, satisfied the moderate desires of the Lutheran princes; and making up his mind to leave them thenceforward unmolested in their freedom, Charles directed his remaining strength upon France.
Broken as he was, England was now finally safe from the Emperor. In his present weakness, whatever party were dominant in England, Puritan, Anglican, or Papist, Charles V. would equally be compelled to recognize them, so long as he had France upon his hands; he would not only have to treat with them with courtesy, but be glad to accept their support. The opportunity was inviting. It tempted the Duke of Northumberland into dreams which, so long as Charles was powerful, he would not have dared to contemplate.
But, before I pass to the last phase of the Protestant administration, I must say something of the fortunes which during all this time had befallen Ireland. The men who had run so strange a course at home, had produced results no less astonishing in the sister country.
The Celtic and Celto-Norman chiefs, with whom anarchy was chronic and peace the least endurable of calamities, had for the last five years of the reign of Henry VIII., under the mild rule of Sir Anthony St Leger, remained in comparative quiet. The isolation of England in the midst of enemies, the French invasion in 1545, the internecine war with the Scots, had given them excellent opportunities for insurrection. But the temptation left them unaffected. Companies of gallowglass served in Henry's camp at Boulogne, and even in Leinster and Connaught there was a longer respite from murder and pillage than those provinces had experienced since the conquest.
Some part of his success St Leger owed to himself, but he owed more to fortune. The reins were placed in his hands, when, after a series of defeats, the Irish lords had gone to London, and had seen for the first time in their lives the wealth and resources of the country against which they had struggled; when they had been rewarded with peerages for the trouble which they had occasioned, and had been permitted to appropriate, on easy terms, the estates of the Irish monasteries.
The spoliation for a time compromised their orthodoxy, and committed them to English interests. It was not till Henry was gone that Ireland resumed her natural appearance. The policy of St Leger had been 'to make things quiet;' to overlook small offences so long as the general order was unbroken, and to be contented if each year the forms of law could be pushed something deeper beyond the borders of the Pale. His greatest success had been in prevailing upon an O'Toole to accept the decent dignity of Sheriff of Wicklow. As a further merit, and a great one, he had governed economically. While the home exchequer was so heavily strained, the Deputy of Ireland had made but few applications for money—conciliation was cheaper than force, and he had been happy in having to deal with a set of circumstances which enabled him to conciliate. His maxim had been—Ireland for the Irish; he had recommended Henry to return to the old plan of appointing an Irish deputy, and he had especially recommended the Earl of Ormond. He had naturally not pleased every one. The all-censorious Chancellor Allen had occasionally found something to condemn, and even with Ormond the deputy had not always been on terms; but so long as Henry lived, good management and good fortune combined on the whole in his favour, and his term of government was creditable and happy.
But the reform gusts which were borne across St George's Channel on the accession of the child King, swept the strings of the Irish harp, and woke the old music. 'If the Lords of the Council,' sighed a later deputy, 'had letten all things alone in the order King Henry left them, and meddled not to alter religion, the hurley-burleys had not happened.' But the Protector's mission to regenerate the world, the pillaged cathedrals, the emptied niches, and the white- washed church walls, rapidly stirred the jealousies of a passionate and susceptible people, and gave the chiefs, who by this time had made themselves secure in their new properties, an opportunity for the display of their remaining devotion.
St Leger, the pilot of the calm, was unequal to the hurricane which instantly arose. He was recalled, and his place was taken by Sir Edward Bellingham.
The tourist who has visited Athlone may remember, on the edge of the town, a half-ruined castle, on which the letters E. R. [Edwardus Rex] stand out in high and distinct relief. It is one of the few surviving memorials of the brief administration of a remarkable man.
Edward Bellingham, brought up originally by the Duke of Norfolk, attracted, in 1540, the notice of Henry VIII., and was employed by him from that time forward in various secondary services. He was in Hungary with Sir Thomas Seymour when the Turks were at Pesth. He had been on a diplomatic mission at Brussels. He was in Wallop's army at Landrecy, and afterwards with the Earl of Surrey at Boulogne. His most distinguished achievement hitherto had been when, as Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, he repulsed the attacks of the French in 1545.
When he arrived at Dublin the English Pale was fringed with a line of fire. The Irish harbours swarmed with pirates. Catholic refugees, disfrocked monks, thieves, outlaws, vagabonds, had poured across the Channel, and, under the decent cloak of sufferers for religion, were dispersed among the castles of the Irish. French and Scottish agents had followed, with plans for a French invasion, for the restoration of Gerald Fitzgerald, for the fortification of the Skerries, and the maintenance there in permanence of a French fleet.
To repress the insurgents who were in the field, to prevent the spread of conspiracy, to maintain the authority of the Government, Bellingham had no more than 900 English men-at-arms, and 500 light Irish horse; and it is enough to say for him, that with this small force he accomplished his task. The State Paper Office contains many of his letters, notes, and loose memoranda. The handwriting and the spelling are alike frightful; but the meaning, when at last arrived at, conveys an impression of resolute strength, unequalled in any other despatches of the time; and the respect becomes intelligible with which his name was ever mentioned even by the Irish themselves.
For two years he governed. In that time he cut roads through forests, and made bogs passable. Castles rose as if by magic in the dangerous districts. The harbours were cleared, the outlaws banished, the chiefs not driven by cruelty, but drawn with a hand which they could not resist, into peace. O'Connor and O'More, two of the most troublesome, were caught, tried for treason, and their lands taken from them. But when Bellmgham had made them feel that he was stronger than they, he restored O'Connor to liberty and his estates. The laws which interfered with the marriages of English and Irish, and forbade the inheritance of half-breeds, were relaxed or abolished; while mere robbery, as distinct from political conspiracy, was inexorably punished. A party of high-born marauders, who had committed an outrage in the Pale, took refuge in Thomond. O'Brien applied for their pardon, and O'Brien was one of the strongest of the Irish nobles.
Bellingham answered him thus:
'Your assured friend warns you, if you list so to take it. Of this one thing I will assure you, that those that will most entice you to take other men's causes in hand, will be the first that shall leave you if ye have need. As heretofore I have declared unto you, whatsoever he be that shall, with manifest invasion, enter, burn, and destroy the King's people, I will no more suffer it than to have my heart torn out of my body. When the King's subjects commit such offences, they are traitors and rebels, and so I will take them and use them. My Lord, this privilege I challenge, on the King my master's duty, that what of gentleness I require touching the King's affairs, it be taken and weighed as a commandment.'
He advised that the offenders should be sent in upon the instant, and to advice so given it was prudent to submit.
Lord Ormond had died, leaving his heir a minor in England. St Leger, or some one about the council who took the Irish view of things, thought the presence of a chief of a clan indispensable for their good behaviour, and sent him over. Bellingham protested. It would have been better, he said, to have kept him where he was, and brought him up with English habits. 'Authority, it was thought, would not take place without him. I pray God,' continued Bellingham, 'rather these eyes of mine should be shut up than it should be proved true; or that during the time of my deputation, I should not make a horse-boy sent from me to do as much as any should do that brought not good authority with him, how great soever they were in the land. I will not say it shall be the first day; but in small time, God willing, it shall be done with ease.'
There were few arrests; no hangings, except of thieves or murderers, no forays or terrible examples—only the resolutely expressed will of a man who intended to be obeyed, and whom men found it wiser to obey than to provoke. 'There was never deputy in the realm,' wrote an Irish gentleman to the Protector, 'that went the right way as he doth, both for the setting forth of God's word and his honour, and the honour of the King's Majesty to his Grace's commodity and the weal of his subjects.' One special point was noted of him: a friend of Cecil's, reporting afterwards on the state of the country, said—'For the short time Mr Bellingham had the charge here he did exceeding much good, as all men report. He was a perfect good justicer, and departed hence with clean hands.' With clean hands—the one man in public employment of whom perhaps such words could be used. His successes, so far as they can be seen, were chiefly due to the woodman, the roadmaker, and the mason. His universal, system was to make the country passable, to build stout fortresses, and to place in them garrisons on whom he could depend; and, this done, everything was done. The castle at Athlone overawed the line of the Shannon; Sir Andrew Brereton was set down at Lecale with a colony of settlers within view of the Earl of Tyrone; another stronghold was built in Roscoinmon, another at Cork; soldiers of Bellingham's own metal were placed in command, and that was enough.
The Irish Council, unused to the presence of such a man, were troubled with him, especially as he went his own way, careless of traditions, and not always respectful to objectors. Chancellor Allen, who had seen other deputies fall into misfortune through neglect of his advice, failed to understand that, while he had a right to guide those who were less wise than himself, his business was to obey Sir Edward Bellingham; still less could Allen comprehend why Sir Edward, when he obtruded his opinion, should 'vilipend him.'
'My Lord Deputy,' he said, 'is the best man of war that ever I saw in Ireland, having since his coming hither done more service to the King than was done—after the repressing of the Geraldines—in all the King's father's lifetime, notwithstanding all his charges.' 'Nevertheless,' the Chancellor complained, 'it is as well to have no council. He doth all himself. They be but a shadow, as a corpse without life or spirit. He doth all himself, and no man dare say the contrary, except sometimes little I, and that seldom. Nay, he saith at times that the King hath not so great an enemy in Ireland as the council is; and if they were hanged, it were a good turn. Sometimes, when he committeth a man in anger to ward, he will say, 'Content thyself, for I do no worse to thee than I will do to the best of the council if he displease me.''
Yet Allen had a true eye for merit; he had seen others in Bellingham's place filling their own coffers—making parties among the Irish, and lending themselves to the worst vices of the country. But Bellingham was pure. The Chancellor admitted that he could see but one fault in him—that he sought 'to rule alone.'
In the change of religion—since a change there was to be—the deputy proceeded with the same firmness; and although wilder task was never imposed on any man than the introduction of Protestantism with a high hand among the Irish, even here he was not wholly unsuccessful. Fitzwilliam, a priest of St Patrick's, and a personal friend of the deputy, said mass there after it was prohibited. 'Mr Fitzwilliam,' he wrote, 'where I am informed that you have gone about to infringe the King's Majesty's injunctions, being moved of charity, I require you to omit so to do, and by authority I command you, as a thing that may not be suffered, you incite nor stir no such schism amongst the King's faithful and Christian subjects; for, if you do, as by likelihood you are incited to do it, thinking, through friendship, it shall be overpassed in your behalf, trust me, as they say commonly, it shall not go with you.' Sir Edward was obeyed, being a man to whom disobedience was difficult; only it seems he gave no encouragement to the preachers. It was enough if the literal injunctions of the home Government were observed, without consigning the pulpits to voluble rhetoricians who turned their congregations into swarms of exasperated hornets.
Thus, after he had been in Ireland a year and a half, Walter Cowley, the Clerk of the Crown, was able to congratulate Bellingham on having doubled 'the King's possessions, power, obedience, and subjects in the realm, in respect as it was at his arrival.' 'The King having a force in each quarter of the country, will they or nill they,' Cowley said, 'the people must obey;' and if only 'they could now be also put from idleness,' 'if they could be compelled to inhabit and fall to husbandry, to put away their assemblies in harness, and take delight in wealth and quiet, Ireland in a little time would be as obedient and quiet as Wales.'
Unhappily for Ireland, perhaps fortunately for his own reputation, Sir Edward Bellingham, in the height of his success, was called away, it would seem by illness. 1549.In the summer of 1549 his name disappears from among the State Papers. In the autumn he was dead. The effect was immediate. The chiefs felt the rein drop loose upon their necks; French agents were again busy; and in the interregnum which followed, the Irish Council found themselves less able to do without their master than their master had been able to dispense with them. Allen having with great difficulty induced the Earl of Desmond to come to him, learnt that the country was in full relapse into disorder. 'The rough handling of the late deputy,' so Desmond said, had placed the chiefs 'in despair' of being able to continue their old habits. The natural hatred to the dominion of an alien race, the peril of religion, the promises of assistance from France and Scotland, with the opportunity created by the disorders in England, had led to a general combination through the whole island.
January.The garrisons in the castles fell into loose habits when the master's eye was off them. Their wages had fallen into arrear, and they became mutinous and profligate. There was 'neither service nor communion within any of the walls, and there were as many women, it was said, as there were men.' Even such of the Irish as professed to be loyal began to be 'haughty and strange.' A 'huge army' of French was expected to land in the spring of 1550; and, unless the home Government could make peace with France, their rule in Ireland was once more likely to be near its end. But the peace, as has been related, was made. The intrigues ceased, the Irish had no longer hopes from abroad, and Bellingham had done his work so effectually, that without help they durst not stir.
AugustIn August, St Leger, the peace-maker, was restored to his place, and a new chapter in the administration of the country was about to commence. Ireland had long been a drain upon the English finances. The stream was now to flow the other way, and, with an enchanter's wand waving over the mint, it was to become an abundant fountain of revenue. The Irish standard had been always lower than the English. When the English silver was eleven ounces fine to one of alloy, the Irish had been eight ounces fine to four of alloy. The mines in Wicklow and Arklow having been brought again into working in the late reign, Henry VIII. had hoped that with the silver raised out of them, and with a mint upon the spot, the Irish Government might at least pay their own expenses. But the plan had not yet come into operation; the Irish money had latterly been coined in England; and in the depreciation in the last three years of the reign, the Irish standard had followed the English, the harp-groats, like the latest issues in England, being half pure and half alloy. On the conclusion of the peace with France, the experiment was to be tried on a grander scale.
July 8.By a resolution of the English council, on the 8th of July, 1550, it was determined that a mint should be forthwith established in Ireland, and that it should be let out to farm for twelve months on the following conditions:—
- That the King should be at no manner of charge, great or small.
- That the King should have thirteen shillings and fourpence clear out of every pound weight that should be coined.
- That the bullion to be coined should be provided from other countries, and not from England or Ireland.
- That by this means the sum of 24,000l. at the least should be advanced to the King's Majesty within twelve months.
- That the King should appoint a master of assays and a controller.
August.An indenture was drawn on the 9th of August, between the council and Martin Perry, granting to Perry the management of the establishment on these terms; the money to be made was to be four ounces fine with eight of alloy. The pound weight of silver, if coined at a pure standard, yielded forty-eight shillings; with two-thirds of alloy, therefore, it would produce one hundred and forty-four; and if the King was to make twenty-four thousand pounds by receiving thirteen shillings and fourpence on every seven pounds four shillings that were issued, three hundred thousand pounds' worth of base coin would be let out over the Irish people in a single year.
Sir Edward Bellingham had shown the Irish one aspect of English administratipn. The home Government were preparing to show them another. The seed was sown, the harvest would be certain, and not distant. It would not, however, be gathered in by Sir Anthony St Leger, whose footing in the now swollen waters was almost instantly lost. The Lords of the Council, more anxious for the purity of the gospel than of the currency, charged St Leger especially to keep pace with the movements in England. Vainly he protested that 'he would sooner be sent to Spain.' They told him that he must go to Ireland, there to follow his vocation of making rough things smooth.
He went, and proceeded at once to follow his old course of attempting to rule the Irish by pleasing them. Among his first acts he permitted high mass to be said at Christ's Church, in Dublin, and was himself present at the service. 'To make a face of conformity he put out proclamations' for the use of the Prayer-book; but the Prayer-book was not used, and the disobedience was not noticed. The Archbishop of Dublin expostulated. St Leger put him. off with a 'Go to, go to, your matters of religion will mar all;' and placed in his hands 'a little book to read,' which he found 'so poisoned as he had never seen to maintain the mass, with transubstantiation and other naughtiness.'
Bellingham's captains, too, troubled the new deputy with acting out their old instructions. Sir Andrew Brereton, one of the best of them, had been a thorn in the side of the Earl of Tyrone. No Bishop of Monluc, or other doubtful ecclesiastic, could land in Ulster but what Brereton had his eye on him; no French emissary could leave Tyrone's castle but what Brereton would attempt to waylay him and relieve him of his despatches; and he had succeeded in intercepting one letter in which the Earl invited a French invasion, and undertook especially to betray Brereton and destroy the Lecale colony.
September.When the expectations from France came to nothing, the Earl, unable to endure longer so insulting a surveillance, laid a claim to Brereton's lands, and sent a troop of kernes to drive his cattle. The English commander, waiting till they had commenced work, set upon them, and cut half of them to pieces, two brothers of Tyrone being among the slain.
St Leger's system could not prosper with a Brereton in command of troops. The Irish lords, who appreciated the merits of a deputy who allowed them their own way, waited on him at Dublin with congratulations on his appointment, and Tyrone took the opportunity of pressing his complaints. Brereton being called on for explanations, drew out a statement of the Earl's misdoings. He came to Dublin, and being told before the Irish Council that he was accused by Tyrone of murder, 'he said he would make answer to no traitor, threw his book upon the board, and desired that the same might be openly read.' The council—they shall relate their own behaviour—'considering the same Earl to be a frail man, and not yet all of the perfectest subject, and thinking, should he know the talk of the same Mr Brereton, having of his friends and servants standing by—for it was in the open council-house—it might be a means to cause him and others of his sort and small knowledge to revolt from their duties and refuse to come to councils'—recommended moderation. It was better to answer Tyrone's complaint meekly. 'Such handling of wild men had done much harm in Ireland.' 'They would read the book, and do therein as should stand with their duties.'
Presently the Earl, foaming with indignation, appeared in person. 'He took the name of traitor very unkindly,' and demanded justice; and the end of it was that Brereton was reprimanded and deprived of his rank; the council apologized for his indiscretion; and a young St Leger of more convenient humour was sent to govern the northern colony.
The humouring an Irish chief at the expense of an honest man might have been forgiven; but St Leger was less successful than before in keeping down the expenditure, and the home Government, trusting to the supplies from the mint, sent no remittances. His applications for money were in consequence vexatiously frequent. 'Religion' did not prosper with him; and the reviving uncertainty of the relations between England and France, in the winter of 1550–51, made the presence of a stronger hand desirable. Lord Cobham was first thought of as a fit person. On second thoughts, however, it was determined not immediately to supersede St Leger. Sir James Crofts was sent over with troops and ships under his separate command, and brought instructions to survey the southern harbours, and, wherever possible, to fortify them. Crofts arrived in March, 1551. In April he went, as he was directed, into Munster, and with him went a certain John Wood, who sent an account of the journey to Sir William Cecil, with maps and plans.
April.'In this voyage,' said Wood, 'I have seen, amongst others, two goodly havens at Cork and Kinsale, as by the plots thereof shall presently appear unto you, and also a large and fruitful country of itself; but the most thereof uninhabited, and the land wasted by evil dissensions, that it is pity to behold: which disorder hath continued of a long time by want of justice, insomuch that the most part of the gentlemen, yea, I might say all, be thieves or maintainers of thieves, which thing themselves will not let to confess, as I have presently heard; and have no other way to excuse their faults but that lack of justice forceth them to keep such people as may resist their neighbours, and revenge wrong with wrong, without which they are not able to live. Thus the poor be continually overrun, bereft of their lives, and spoiled of their goods; and no marvel, for neither is God's law nor the King's known nor obeyed. The father is at war with the son, the son with the father, brother with brother, and so forth. Wedlock is not had in any price; whoredom is counted as no offence; and so throughout the realm in effect vice hath the upper hand, and virtue is nothing at all regarded. The noblemen—at the least sundry of them—hang or pardon at their pleasure, whether it be upon a privilege granted unto them, or upon an usurped power, I know not; but, undoubtedly, it is needful to be reformed. There is no cause why these people should be out of order more than others. They have shape and understanding, and are meet to be framed to as good purpose as any other the King's subjects, if the like order were taken and executed as in England and other commonwealths.'
Such was Ireland in 1551. But English order was not for the moment likely to improve it. In the early summer St Leger was finally recalled. Sir James Crofts was appointed his successor, and entered office when the industry of Martin Perry was about to produce its fruits.
In July the rise of prices commenced. Crofts, surrounded by theorists, who assured him that the remedy for this and all other inconveniences was abundance of money, at first was simply perplexed. Nov. 1.By November the truth was so far breaking upon him, that he protested against a continuance of the debasement, and entreated that the standard might be restored. The mischief had only commenced; yet even then he represented that the soldiers could no longer live upon their wages. The countrymen so suspected the money, that they would not take it upon any terms. The fortifications in the south were at a stand- still; the workmen demanded to be paid in silver, not in silvered brass. 'The town of Dublin and the whole English army would be destroyed for want of victuals if a remedy were not provided.'
The remedy would be to cry down the money to its true value, as had been done at home, and to issue no more of it—the last thing which the home Government intended. The Irish mint was to indemnify them for the loss of the sluices which they had been forced to close in England. They replied to Crofts' remonstrances, therefore, with a letter of advice.
'The beginnings of all things in which we are to prosper,' wrote Northumberland or one of his satellites, 'must have their foundation upon God; and, therefore, principally, the Christian religion must, as far forth as may, be planted and restored, the favourers and promoters thereof esteemed and cherished, and the hinderers dismayed.' This was the first point to which Crofts was to attend. Next he was to see that the laws of the realm should be better obeyed; and especially that 'the King's revenue' should be more diligently looked to, his rents be properly collected, his woods and forests attended to, and the accounts of his bailiffs duly audited. The money was a secondary question; the reformation of the coin was impossible, and the calling down objectionable. The deputy might consult the principal people in the country about it; and in the mean time there were the jewels and plate in the churches. He might take those; and if he could not pay the soldiers, he might send them away.
Sir James Crofts was well inclined to the Reformation, and under Mary almost lost his life for it. Yet, to answer the clamours of defrauded tradesmen and labourers, and soldiers too justly mutinous, with a text or a homily, was a task for which he had no disposition. He was 'a man not learned,' he replied; and they had divines for such purposes. 'The matter of the currency, in his simple opinion, was so apparent, it needed not to be consulted upon; as a proof of which he stated that to keep the army from starving, he had been driven, as the council at home had been driven, to purveying. 'We have forced the people for the time,' he said, 'to take seven shillings for that measure of corn which they sell for a mark, and twelve shillings for the beef which they sell for fifty-three shillings and four-pence. These things cannot be borne without grudge, neither is it possible it should continue.'
January.In obedience to his orders, however, the deputy invited representatives of the industrious classes in Ireland to Dublin, to discuss the first principles of commercial economy.
'I sent,' he reported after the meeting, 'for inhabitants of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Drogheda, to know the causes of the dearth of corn and cattle, and how the same might be remedied. I declared unto them how the merchants were content to sell iron, salt, coal, and other necessaries, if they might buy wine and corn as they were wont to do. And thereof grew a confusion in argument, that when the merchant should need for his house not past two or three bushels of corn, he could not upon so small an exchange live; and likewise the farmer that should have need of salts, shoes, cloth, iron, hops, and such others, could not make so many divisions of his grain, neither should he at all times need that which the merchants of necessity must sell. So it was that money must serve for the common exchange.'
But why, the question then rose, must money be only of gold and silver? why not of leather or of brass? Was it for the 'sovereign virtue' of the precious metals? was it for their cleanliness in handling? Plain only it was that when the coin was pure, all men sought for it; when it was corrupt, all men detested it. It might have been thought 'that, when the King's stamp was on the coin, it should be received of every man as it was proclaimed.' But experience showed that it was not so; and experience showed further, that good and bad money, though stamped alike, could not exist together; the bad consumed the good. One of the party then observed keenly, 'that among merchants, when cloth, silk, and other wares are sold, the owners do set on their marks, and upon proof made of the goodness of the wares and the making, with the true weight and measure, it cometh to pass that after such credit won there needeth no more but shew the mark, and sell with the best; and if the makers of such wares do after make them worse, their trade is lost, insomuch as if after they would reform the same fault, it will ask time before credit be won again.'
The Government was the merchant, the coin was the ware, the King's head was the mark. Prices had risen with bad money. Whether it was better that money should be scarce or plenty the meeting would not venture to say, only it must be pure. 'By the whole consent of the world gold and silver had gotten the estimation above other metals as meetest to make money of, and that estimation could not be altered by one little corner of the world, though it had risen but upon a fantastical opinion, when indeed it was grounded upon reason, according to the gifts that nature had wrought in those metals.'
The meeting concluded, therefore, that if the currency could not honestly be restored, they preferred the least of two evils, and desired that it should be immediately called down to its market valuation.
The opinion of the country had been taken, as the English council recommended, and the result was before them; but either it was conveyed in too abstract a language, or the mint had not yet yielded the full sum which they intended to take from it. They waited for an increase of suffering, and prices continued to rise and rise.
'The measure of corn that was wont to be at two or three shillings,' and when Crofts landed in March, 1551, was 'at six shillings and eightpence,' was sold in March, 1552, for 'thirty shillings.' March.'A cow that had been worth six shillings and eightpence sold for forty shillings; six herrings for a groat; a cow-hide for ten or twelve shillings; a tonne of Gascon wine for twelve pounds, of Spanish wine for twenty-four pounds.' The Irish beyond the Pale suffered the least. 'Every lord caused his people to keep their victuals within the country,' and the Irishman proper had little use for money—'he cared only for his belly, and that not delicately.' In Dublin, Meath, and Kildare schools were shut up; servants were turned away, from the cost of maintaining them; artisans and tradesmen would take no more apprentices: at last the markets were closed. Those who before had bought little at high prices could now buy nothing at any price; and fever followed in the rear of famine. 'All sorts of people,' Crofts passionately expostulated, 'cry for redress at my hands.' The actual cause of their misery they did not know; 'and no marvel,' 'when the wisest were blinded;' but they understood that it came from England and from English rule; 'and now,' Crofts said, 'they do collect all the enormities that have grown in so many years, so that there is among them such hatred, such disquietures of mind, such wretchedness upon the poor men and artificers, that all the crafts must decay, and towns turn to ruin, and all things either be in common, or each live by others' spoil; and thereof must needs follow slaughter, famine, and all kinds of misery.'
The people had been tried far, yet still it was not enough. The reply which the home Government now vouchsafed was a cargo of German Protestants, whom they sent over to work the silver mines in Wicklow. When a sufficient mass of bullion had been raised, the complaints of the Irish might be considered. The Germans, the distracted deputy reported in return, were idle vagabonds, not worth their keep; the currency would run foul till the day of judgment if he was to wait till it was purified through labour of theirs; and then the council said that they were sorry, and would hope and would see about things, but the King's Government must be carried on, and money they had none. But the wail of the injured people rose at last in tones too piteous to be neglected; and in June, June.Northumberland made up his mind that he could persist no longer.
Three thousand pounds' weight of bullion were sent from the Tower to Dublin, with orders to Perry to call down the coin, buy it in at the reduced valuation, and make a new issue at the old standard; while, to turn the current of Irish feeling, the council passed a resolution to restore Gerald Fitzgerald, the hero of Celtic romance, to his estates and country.
- Bishop of Ely, afterwards Chancellor.
- 'It was appointed that I should receive the Frenchmen that come hither at Westminster, when was made preparations for the purpose, and for garnish, of new vessels taken out of Church stuff, mitres, golden missals, primers, crosses, and reliques.'–Edward's Journal, June 2, 1551.
- 'There is much talk in Italy of this marriage between our master and France. They that would the French to seem big say the league is offensive and defensive. They also add, that one of the covenants is that we must return to the true faith of Holy Church, as they call it; that is, as we know it—to the blind Romish synagogue. "Would God the French King were as like to become a right Protestant as our master is unlike to become a blundering Popistant.'—Morryson to the Council: MS. Germany, Edward VI. bundle 15, State Paper Office.
- 'One Stewart, a Scotchman, meaning to poison the young Queen of Scotland, thinking thereby to get favour here, was, after he had been awhile in the Tower, delivered over the frontiers at Calais to the French, to have him punished according to his deserts.'—Edward's Journal, May 9.
- 'Men talk in this Court that one made offer to your Lordships to poison the young Scottish Queen, and that you forthwith sent to the French King word thereof; whereupon the man is committed to prison, and the young lady out of danger. Your honours are much increased by this your noble fact. Your integrities so much the more commended, that they see many are glad largely to hire whom they may by any means corrupt, and find few complaints made against such as in this point offer service. It is to your Lordships' eternal praise that ye, by this your honourable example, do teach the King's Majesty, in these his young years, to abhor foul practices—a lesson better and more worthier than is the violent catching of the fairest kingdom that the sun sheweth light unto. In spite of spite here, even those are forced to like, to allow, yea, to wonder at things rightly done, that by no entreaty can mean to follow them.'—Morryson to the Council from the Emperor's Court: MS. Germany, Edward VI. bundle 15, State Paper Office. I know no keener satire on the public morals of the age than this passage.
- Northampton to the Council; Tytler, vol. i. p. 385, &c.
- Edward's Journal, June 24.
- The surviving portions of this despatch contain so much which is characteristic of Charles, that the loss of the rest is especially to be regretted. The more so indeed because the destruction of the MS. is not due to legitimate decay, but to the use of ox-gall by some careless antiquary, who, to facilitate his own researches, wetted the ink with a material which imparts a momentary clearness, at the expense of making the writing illegible afterwards for evermore.
- Wotton to the Council: MS. Germany, bundle 15, State Paper Office.
- 'August 31. The Duke of Somerset, taking certain that began a new conspiracy for the destruction of the gentlemen at Okingham, two days past executed them with death for their offence.'—Edward's Journal.
- Especially, it would seem, in the months of April, May, and June, 1551, when a crisis was so near.—Privy Council Records, MS.
- 2 and 3 Edward VI.
- 'To show what hurt cometh by provisions to the poor man it shall not need; experience doth make it too plain. But, for example, the purveyors alloweth for a lamb worth two shillings but twelve pence; for a capon worth twelve pence, sixpence; and so after that rate: so that, after that rate, there is not the poorest man that hath anything to sell but he loseth half in the price, besides tarrying for his money; which sometimes he hath, after long suit to the officers, and great costs suing for it; and many times he never hath it.'—Causes of the dearth in England: Tytler, vol. i. p. 369.
- For the amendment of the currency, so Edward was led to believe. 'It was appointed,' he writes, 'to make 20,000 pound weight for necessity somewhat baser, to get gain sixteen thousand clear, by which the debt of the realm might be paid, the country defended from any sudden attempt, and the coin amended.'—Edward's Journal, April 10.
- Ibid. April 25.
- The numerous entries in Edward's Journal on this dry subject are curious. The King appears to have been keeping his eyes upon the council, and seeking information on the subject without their knowledge. William Thomas, Clerk of the Council, whose name has been more than once mentioned, was one of his secret advisers; and, I sometimes think, may have assisted him in the composition of his Journal. 'Upon Friday last,' Thomas writes, in an undated letter to the King, 'Mr Throgmorton declared your Majesty's pleasure unto me, and delivered me withal the notes of certain discourses, which, according to your Highness's commandment, I shall most gladly apply, to send you one every week, if it be possible for me in so little time to compass it—as indeed it were more than easy, if the daily service of mine office required not the great travail and diligence that it doth. And because he told me your Majesty would first hear mine opinion touching the reformation of the coin, albeit that I think myself both unmeet and unable to give any judgment in so great and Aveighty a matter without the advice of others; yet, since it is your Highness's pleasure to have it secret, which I do much commend, I therefore am the bolder to enterprise the declaration of my fantasy, trusting that, upon this ground, better devices and better effects may ensue than my head alone can contrive.'— to Edward VI.: Cotton. MSS. Vespasian, D. 18. Printed in Strype's Memorials, vol. iv. p. 389.
- Privy Council Records, MS.
- The second proclamation was drawn on the 1st of August, but was not put out till the 17th. The following is the text of it. In such a matter the Government must be heard for themselves:
'Whereas the King's Majesty, minding to reduce the coin of this his Highness's realm to a more fineness, hath of late, for sundry weighty considerations, partly mentioned in our proclamation of the last of April last past [It was drawn on the last of April, and issued on the 6th of May], ordained and established that the piece of silver called the teston, or shilling, should be current for nine pence, and no more; and the piece of silvered coin called the groat should likewise be current for three pence, and no more; minding, both at the time of the said proclamation and sithens also, to have reduced the coin of this realm to a fineness by such degrees as should have been less burdenous to his Majesty, and most for the ease of his Highness's loving subjects: forasmuch as sithens which time his Majesty is sundry ways informed that the excessive prices of all victuals and all other things, which of reason should have grown less as the coin is amended, is rather, by the malice and insatiable greediness of sundry men, especially such as make their gain by buying and selling, increased and waxen more excessive, to the great hindrance of the commonwealth and intolerable burden of his Majesty's loving subjects, especially of those of the poorer sort: for the remedy whereof, nothing is thought more available than the speedy reduction of the said coin more nigher his just fineness. His Majesty, therefore, by the advice of the Lords and others of his Highness's privy council, more esteeming the honour and estimation of the realm, and the wealth and commodity of his Highness's most loving subjects, than the great profit which, by the baseness of the coin, did and should continually have grown to his Majesty, hath, and by the advice aforesaid doth, ordain that, from the 17th day of this present month of August, the piece of coin called the teston, or shilling, shall be current within the realm of England and the town and Marches of Calais only for six pence sterling, and not above; and the groat for two pence sterling, and not above; the piece of two pence for a penny, the piece of a penny for a halfpenny, and the piece of a halfpenny for a farthing; and therefore straightly chargeth and commandeth every person of what estate, degree, or condition he or they may be, to pay and receive, after the said day of the present month, the said coins for no higher nor no lower value or price within this realm, upon pain of forfeiture to his Majesty of all such money as shall be paid or received at other values than by this proclamation is put forth, and also upon pain of fine and imprisonment during his Majesty's pleasure.'—MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiii. State Paper Office.
- Edward's Journal.
- Edward's Journal.
- Tytler, vol. i. p. 404. Lord Warwick affected to Cecil a keen regret for the shortcomings of the clergy, which he attributed to their marriages. 'These men,' he said, 'that the King's Majesty hath of late preferred, be so sotted of their wives and children, that they forget both their poor neighbours and all other things which to their calling appertaineth.'—Ibid. vol. ii.
- Strype; Tytler.
- Rymer, vol. vi. part 3, p. 216. The intention was to suppress both Worcester and Gloucester, and to found a new see out of the combination.—See Strype's Memorials, vol. iv. p. 45.
- Becon's Jewel of Joy.
- Council Records, MS.
- John ab Ulmis to Bullinger: Zurich Letters.
- Charges against the Duke of Somerset: Infra.
- Master Bradford spared not the proudest, and among many others, will't them to tak example be the lait Duck of Somerset, who became so cald in hering God's word, that the yeir before his last apprehension hee wald gae visit his masonis, and wald not dingye himself to gae from his gallerie to his hall for hearing of a sermon.—Letter of John Knox to the Faithful in London.
- Burgoyne to Calvin: Zurich Letters.
- Privy Council Records, MS. The Lady Mary to King Edward: Ellis, vol. ii. p. 176, 1st series; Foxe, vol. vi.
- Right dear and entirely beloved Sister, we greet you well, and let you know that it grieveth us much to perceive no amendment in you of that which we, for God's cause, your soul's health, our conscience, and the common tranquillity of the realm, have so long desired; assuring you that our sufferance hath much more demonstration of natural love than contentation of our conscience and foresight of our safety. Wherefore, although you give us occasion, as much almost as in you is, to diminish our natural love, yet we be loath to feel it decay, and mean not to be so careless of you as we be provoked. And therefore meaning your weal, and therewith joining a care not so be found guilty in our conscience to God, having cause to require forgiveness that we have so long, for respect of love towards you, omitted our bounden duty, we send at the present the Lord Rich, the Lord Chancellor of England, and our right trusty and right well-beloved Councillors, Sir Anthony Wingfield and Sir William Petre, in message to you touching the order of your house, willing you to give them firm credit in those things they shall say to you from us. Given under our signet. Windsor, August 24.—Letter of King Edward to the Lady Mary: Foxe, vol. vi.
- Report of the Commissioners to the Lady Mary, August 29: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiii. State Paper Office, printed by Ellis, 1st series, vol. ii. p. 179.
- On the 16th of February Whalley was examined before the council 'for persuading divers nobles of the realm to make the Duke of Somerset Protector at the next Parliament, and stood to the denial, the Earl of Rutland affirming it manifestly.' Edward's Journal.
- Privy Council Records, MS. March 27, 1551.
- The principal authorities for the story of Somerset's real or supposed conspiracy are the depositions and examinations in the 13th volume of the Domestic MSS. of the reign of Edward VI. State Paper Office; and the entries in Edward's Journal.
- 'Whether did Sir Miles Partridge or any other give you advice to promise the people their mass, holy water, with such other, rather than to remain so unquieted?'—Questions addressed to the Duke of Somerset: Tytler, vol. ii. p. 48.
- 'Did it proceed first from yourself or from the Earl of Arundel to have a Parliament? With how many have you conferred for the setting forth of the proclamation to persuade the people to mislike the Government, and specially the doings of the Duke of Northumberland, the Earl of Pembroke, and the Marquis of Northampton, doing them to understand that they went about to destroy the commonwealth, and also had caused the King to be displeased with the Lady Mary's Grace, the King's sister?'—Tytler, vol. ii. p. 48.
- Charges against the Duke of Somerset: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiii. State Paper Office; printed imperfectly by Tytler.
- Edward's Journal, Oct. 8.
- David Seymour; some connection of Somerset's family.
- The Duke of Northumberland, before going to the scaffold, desired an interview with Somerset's sons:—Au quels il crya mercy de l'injustice qu'il avoit faict à leur Pere Protecteur de l'Angleterre, congnoissant avoir procuré sa mort à tort et faulsement. Palmer avant sa mort a confessé que l'escripture et l'accusation qu'il advouche et maintint contre la feu Protecteur estoit fausse, fabricquée par le dict duc (de Northumberland) et advoué par luy à la requeste du dict duc. Et y a d'estranges loix par de ça sur le faict d'accusation que ce peult faire par deux temoings, encores qu'ils deposent singulierement et diversement.—Simon Renard to Charles V.: MS. Record Office. Transcribed from the archives at Brussels. If Palmer and Northumland really made these confessions, the question whether there was or was not foul play at the trial of the Duke of Somerset is set at rest; and by adopting Renard's story in the text, I show of course that I think it true; yet I have not adopted it without hesitation. Although there was a general belief, in which Cranmer and Ridley shared, that Somerset had been unfairly dealt with, it is strange that a foreign ambassador should be the only authority for so important a feature in the evidence about it. Palmer's story had nothing in it which in itself was incredible or even improbable; and unless Edward was imposed upon (which it is hard to suppose), as to the acknowledgments which were made by Somerset in open court at that time of his trial, those acknowledgments confirm in substance all that Palmer stated. Renard's letter, too, was written when Northumberland had just failed in his attempt to alter the succession; and any charge against him, however monstrous, found ready hearing among the Queen's friends. On the other hand, a distinct circumstantial statement of a competent witness is not to be lightly set aside, merely from circumstantial objections. No English minister was better informed than Renard of everything which passed in London at the time of Mary's accession. He was writing from the spot, and he was not a person to report on hearsay the flying rumours of the hour.
I give the result of my own reflections upon the subject. Readers who take an interest in the question will judge for themselves.
- The frigid hardness with which Edward relates in his Journal and one of his letters the proceedings against Somerset has been commented on with some sharpness. His age—he was but fourteen—and the miserable influences around him might excuse a greater crime. He believed that Somerset was guilty in the worst sense of the word, and with such a conviction the cold tone was natural and right.
- Lords' Journal.
- It is to be remarked that, in the subsequent proceedings, although the banquet was alluded to, the intended scene of it was not again mentioned. Neither Paget nor Arundel was tried, although, if any plot was really formed for the murder, Arundel was one of the principal persons concerned in it.
- Pickering to the Council: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Chamberlain told her of 'his Majesty's escape.' 'She said she was sorry to hear of the Duke's so evil behaviour; yet was she glad and thanked God, who had so well preserved his Highness. But is it true, she said, that the Duke meant anything to the King's Majesty's person; demanding hy what means he could be able to do the same, musing much at the matter why the Duke would shew himself so ingrate towards the King's Majesty. The thing, quoth she, is very strange, for that by all reason the Duke's whole wealth did depend upon the King's Majesty's prosperity and welfare.'—MS. Flanders, Edward VI. vol. i. State Paper Office.
- It is well explained in a despatch of Doctor Wotton, who, to do him justice, did not affect much interest in the Reformation. France, in spite of professions of friendship, he looked upon as a treacherous neighbour. 'From France,' he said, 'danger may, perhaps, be suspected, if the Protestants, plucking their heads out of the yoke, and labouring to recover their oppressed liberty, deliver the French from all fear and suspicion of the Emperor.' To sacrifice the Protestants, lest the Emperor should be too much weakened, to irritate the quarrels between the Emperor and France, lest either of them should meddle with England, was the ignoble policy of an English liberal Government.—Wotton to Cecil: MS. State Paper Office.
- Edward's Journal, November, 1551, and March, 1552.
- Confession of Lord Arundel: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiii. printed partially by Tytler.
- By Mr Tytler.
- For the particulars of Somerset's trial, see Edward's Journal, Stow, Holinshed, the Privy Council Register, the papers in vol. xiii. of the Domestic MSS. of the reign of Edward VI., the Grey Friars' Chronicle, and the second volume of Mr Tytler's Edward and Mary.
- 3 and 4 Edward VI. cap. 5: If any persons to the number of twelve or above, being assembled together, shall practise with force of arms unlawfully and of their own authority to murder, kill, slay, take, or imprison any of the King's most honourable privy council, or unlawfully to alter or change any laws made or established by authority of Parliament, and being commanded by the Sheriff of the shire, or any justice of the peace, to retire to their own houses, shall remain together for one hour after such proclamation, or after that shall attempt or do any of the things above specified, every such act shall be judged high treason.
- And yet, says Edward, 'he seemed to admit that he went about their deaths.'—Journal, December, 1551.
- Lord Coke, commenting upon the trial, observes that, even admitting the truth of the evidence, the verdict was not justified, because there had been no proclamation calling on the Duke and his confederates to disperse; and it was only by persisting, after such proclamation had been read, that his conduct came under the Treason Act. Northumberland probably anticipated the objection, and was contented with an ordinary verdict of felony under the common law.
- Edward, writing to his friend, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, says, 'After debating the matter till nine of the clock till three, the Lords went together, and there weighing that the matter seemed only to touch their lives, although afterwards more inconvenience might have followed, and that men might think they did it of malice, acquitted him of high treason, and condemned him of felony, which he seemed to have confessed.' Edward to Fitzpatrick: printed in Fuller's Church History.
- Edward to Fitzpatrick: Ibid. Edward adds, in his Journal, that two days after, Somerset confessed in the Tower that he had hired a man named Bertiville to kill Northumberland and Northampton; that Bertiville was arrested, and on being examined, confessed also.
- John ab Ulmis to Bullinger: Epistolæ Tigurinæ, p. 291.
- 'I have heard that Cranmer, and another, whom I will not name, were both in high displeasure; the one for shewing his conscience secretly, hut plainly and fully, in the Duke of Somerset's cause; and both of late, but especially Cranmer, for repugning against the spoil of the Church goods taken away without law or order of justice, by commandment of the higher powers.'—Ridley's Lamentation on the State of England: Foxe, vol. vii. p. 573. Ridley must be supposed to mean himself by the ' other ' whom he will not name.
- 'A letter to be written to the Lord Chancellor to cause search to be made how many of the Parliament House be dead since the last session, to the intent that grave and wise men might be elected to supply their place, for the avoiding of the misorder that hath been noted in sundry young men and others of small judgment.'—Privy Council Register, MS. October 28, 1551. The Council had never ventured on a second trial of the disposition of the country. The same Parliament continued to sit which was elected in 1547.
- John ab Ulmis to Bullinger: Epistolæ Tigurinæ.
- Burgoyne to Calvin: Ibid.
- 'It is notorious to every one that he was the occasion of his brother's death, who was beheaded on his information, instigated by I know not what hatred and rivalry.'—Ibid. Elizabeth, a better authority than Burgoyne, said that, so anxious was Somerset to save the admiral, that those who were determined on his death found it necessary to prevent an interview between the brothers.—Supra.
- Burgoyne to Calvin.
- Addebat ille te in animo habere de ducis morte nescis quid adversus nostros homines scribere immo ad regem ipsum.—Valerandus Pollanus Joanni Calvino: Epistolæ Tigurinæ.
- The new coinage, good as it was, could find no favour, from the dread and suspicion in which the Duke of Northumberland was held.
'December 16, there was a proclamation for the new coin, that no man should speak ill of it: for because the people said divers … that there was the ragged staff … it …'—Imperfect Fragment in the Grey Friars' Chronicle.
- There are several reports of Somerset's last words. That in the text is from an MS. printed by Sir Henry Ellis, which is simpler and shorter than the version given by Foxe and Holinshed, and was most likely the nucleus out of which the latter accounts were expanded. I have added one sentence, that marked between brackets, from Burgoyne's letter to Calvin.
- Stow was present, and ascertained carefully the origin of the alarm.
- Machyn's Diary, January 22.
- Underhill, 'the hot gospeller, tells in his Narrative how in the palmy days of Northumberland he arrested the Vicar of Stepney, 'Abbot quondam of Tower Hill,' and carried him to Croydon before the Archbishop. The vicar had disturbed the preachers in Stepney Church, caused the bells to be rung when they were at sermon, and challenged their doctrine in the pulpit. 'The Archbishop was too full of lenity,' 'a little he rebuked him, and bid him do no more so.' The Puritan's zeal was kindled. 'My Lord,' said Underbill, 'methinks you are too gentle unto so stout a Papist.'—'We have no law to punish them,' said the Archbishop.—'No law? my Lord,' the gospeller exclaimed, 'if I had your authority, I would be so bold to unvicar him, or minister some sharp punishment unto him. If ever it come to their turn, they will show you no such favour.'—'Well,' said the Archbishop, 'if God so provide, we must abide it.'—'Surely,' said Underhill, 'God will never thank you for this, but rather take the sword from such as will not use it upon his enemies.'-Underhill's Narrative, MS. Harleian, 425.
Similarly in the consecration of the elements, the sign of the cross was directed to be used in 1549, and omitted in 1552. There were other changes. The discerning reader will see the spirit of them in these comparisons.
Prayer-book of 1549.
The body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life.
And the minister delivering the sacrament of the blood, and giving every one to drink once, and no more, shall say—
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life.
Prayer-book of 1552.
Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.
And the minister that delivereth the cup shall say—
Drink this in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.
Prayer-book of Elizabeth.
The body of our Lord Christ Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.
And the minister that delivereth the cup to any one shall say—
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee and be thankful.
- Holinshed, Stow's Survey of London. Bridewell was granted by the Crown at the particular entreaty of Ridley, whose characteristic letter to Cecil on the subject survives.
Good Mr Cecil,
I must be a suitor to you in our master Christ's cause. I beseech you be good unto him. The matter is, sir, alas, he hath lyen too long abroad, as you do know, without lodging, in the streets of London, both hungry, naked, and cold. Now thanks be unto Almighty God, the citizens are willing to refresh him, and to give him both meat, drink, clothing, and tiring. But alas, sir, they lack lodging for him; for in some one house they say they are fain to lodge three families under one roof. Sir, there is a wide large house of the King's Majesty's called Bridewell that would wonderful well serve to lodge Christ in, if he might find such good friends in the Court as would procure in his cause. Surely, I have so good an opinion in the King's Majesty, that if Christ had such faithful and hearty friends that would heartily speak for him, he should undoubtedly speed at the King's Majesty's hands. Sir, I have promised my brethren the citizens in this matter to move you, because I take you for one that feareth God, and would not that Christ should lie no more abroad in the street. There is a rumour that one goeth about to buy that house of the King's Majesty, and to pull it down. If there be any such thing, for God's sake speak you in our Master's cause. I have written unto Mr Gates more at large in this matter. I join you with him and all that look for Christ's benediction in the latter day. If Mr Cheke was with you, in whose recovery God be blessed, I would surely make him in this behalf one of Christ's special advocates, or rather one of his principal proctors; and surely I would not be said nay. And thus I wish you in Christ ever well to fare. From my house at Fulham this present Sunday.
Yours in Christ,
—Lansdoune MSS. 3.
- 5 Edward VI. cap. 2.
- Ibid. cap. 6.
- 5 Edward VI. cap. 5.
- Ibid. cap. 20.
- Lords Journals, 5 and 6 Edward VI.
- It is easy to see why: there wore but forty-seven lay peers who had seats in this Parliament; thirty-one was the fullest attendance during this session, the Catholic lords systematically absenting themselves. The council and their friends, therefore, being punctually at their seats, and having bishops of their own creation at their backs, were certain in almost all cases of a majority.
- Commons Journals. 5 and 6 Edward VI.
- 'Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that no person shall be indicted, arraigned, condemned, convicted, or attainted for any treasons that now be, or hereafter shall be, which shall hereafter be perpetrated, committed, or done, unless the same offender or offenders be thereof accused by two lawful accusers, which said accusers, at the time of the arraignment of the party accused, if they be then living, shall be brought in person before the party so accused, and avow and maintain that that they have to say against the said party, to prove him guilty of the treason or offences contained in the bill of indictment laid against the party arraigned.'—5 and 6 Edward, cap. xi. sec. 9. The Act containing this salutary order was repealed by the 1st of Mary, or the reform of the English treason law would have been antedated by a century.
- Morryson and Wotton to the Council: MS. Cypher, September 1, State Paper Office.
- Morryson and Wotton to the Council, September 1: MS. State Paper Office.
- The Spanish bishops were for refusing altogether. As a middle course, the French ambassador was invited to request as a favour that the letter might be received; but the ambassador, with the utmost politeness, said, that he had no commission. At last a learned prelate suggested that, if they refused a letter which was addressed to them as a convention, they could not decently receive communications from the Germans, who called them concilium malignantium; and on the whole, therefore, it was decided to read.—Pallavicino.
- Mont to the Council: MS. Germany, bundle 15, State Paper Office. Compare Sleidan.
- The terms of submission were not generally made known, but the truth was felt before it was acknowledged. A letter from Hamburg to the English council, on the 4th of November, says: 'The city of Magdeburg hath taken good success in this treaty. They have a joyful peace. Duke Maurice is their defender, and hath taken all the soldiers of the city and camp to serve him.'—John Brigantine to the Council: MS. Germany, bundle 15, State Paper Office.
- Pallavicino exclaims angrily that the bishops at Constance declared nothing of the kind. They ruled only that safe-conducts granted by temporal princes did not bind ecclesiastical judges. The modern Romanist will, perhaps, decline all defence of a council which he regards as half heretical.
- Edward Walsh to the Duke of Northumberland: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. iv. State Paper Office.
- Correspondence of St Leger: State Papers, vol. iii.
- Sir James Crofts to the Council: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. iv. State Paper Office.
- Irish MSS. Edward VI. vols. i. and ii. State Paper Office. Among other French emissaries came John de Monluc, Bishop of Valence, accompanied by young James Melville, then a boy of fourteen. The editor of Melville's manuscript misprinted the date of the visit, representing it as having taken place in 1545; the real date is 1547–8. Melville represents Edward as being on the English throne, and the Bishop's arrival is spoken of in the State Correspondence. In spite of scandal, I must borrow a page from the story.
'John de Monluc, Bishop of Orleans, was sent ambassador from France to the queen-mother of Scotland, sister of the Duke of Guise; and when the said ambassador was to return to France, it pleased the queen-mother to send me with him. But the said Bishop went first to Ireland, commanded thereto by the King his master's letter, to know more particularly the motion and likelihood of the offer made by O'Neil, O'Donnell, O'Dochart, and O'Carroll, willing to shake off the yoke of England, and become subject to the King of France. We shipped for Ireland in the month of January. We were storm sted by the way at a little isle for seventeen days; and after great danger of the ship and our lives, we entered Loch Foyle in Ireland, upon Shrove Tuesday. Ere we landed we sent one George Paris, who had been sent to Scotland by the great O'Neil and his associates, who landed at the house of a gentleman who had married O'Dochart's daughter, dwelling at the side of a lake; who came to our ship and welcomed us, and conveyed us to his house, where we rested that night. The next morning O'Dochart came and conveyed us to his house, which was a great dark tower, where we had cold cheer, as herring and biscuit, for it was Lent. There finding two English grey friars who had fled out of England, the said friars perceiving the Bishop to look very kindly to O'Dochart's daughter, who fled from him continually, they brought with them a woman who spoke English to be with him; which harlot being kept quietly in his chamber, found a little glass within a case standing in a window, for the coffers were all wet with the sea waves that fell into the ship during the storm. She, believing it had been ordained to be eaten because it had an odoriferous smell, therefore she licked it clean out, which put the Bishop in such a rage, that he cried out for impatience, discovering his harlotry and his choler in such a sort as the friars fled and the woman followed. But the Irishmen and his own servants did laugh at the matter; for it was a vial of the most precious balm that grew in Egypt, which Solyman, the Great Turk, had given in a present to the said Bishop after he had been two years ambassador for the King of France in Turkey, and was esteemed worth 2000 crowns. In the time that we remained at O'Dochart's house, his young daughter, who fled from the Bishop, came and sought me wherever I was, and brought a priest with her who could speak English; and offered, if I would marry her, to go with me wherever I pleased. I gave her thanks, but told her I was but young, and had no estate, and was bound for France.
'Now the ambassador met in a secret part with O'Neil and his associates, and heard their offers and overtures. And the Patriarch of Ireland did meet him there, who was a Scotchman born, and was blind of both his eyes, and yet had been divers times at Rome by post. He did great honour to the ambassador, and conveyed him to see St Patrick's purgatory, which is like an old coalpit which has taken fire, by reason of the smoke that came out of the hole,' &c.—Memoirs of Sir James Melville, p. 15.
- Bellingham to O'Brien; Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. i. State Paper Office.
- Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. i. State Paper Office.
- Richard Brasier to the Protector: Irish MSS. Ibid.
- Wood to Cecil: Irish MSS. Ibid.
- Allen to the Council in London: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. i. State Paper Office.
- St Leger, at the end of 1549, informed the council 'that there had been but one sermon made in the country for three years, and that by the Bishop of Meath.'—MS. Ibid.—That one experiment was enough to deter Bellingham from encouraging a second. The Bishop, after the first venture had been made, wrote a piteous account of the prospects of Protestantism, and of his own prospects, if he persisted.
'After most hearty commendation, in like manner I thank you for your letter, and where by the same ye wished me to be defended from ill tongues—res est potius optabilis quam speranda. Ye have not heard such rumours as is here all the country over against me, as my friends doth shew me. One gentlewoman, unto whom I did christen a man child which beareth my name, came in great council to a friend of mine, desiring how she might find means to change her child's name. And he asked her why? and she said, because I would not have him bear the name of an heretic. A gentleman dwelling nigh unto me forbade his wife, which would have sent her child to be confirmed by me, so to do, saying, his child should not be confirmed by him that denied the sacrament of the altar. A friend of mine rehearsing at the market that I would preach the next Sunday, divers answered they would not come thereat, lest they should learn to be heretics. One of the lawyers declared to a multitude that it was great pity that I was not burned, for if I preached heresy, so was I worthy therefore; and if I preached right, yet was I worthy, for that I kept the truth from knowledge. This gentleman loveth no sodden meat, nor can skill but only of roasting. One of our judges said to myself that, it should be proved in my face that I preached against learning. A beneficed man of mine own promotion came unto me weeping, and desired that he might declare his mind unto me without my displeasure. I said, I was well content. My Lord, said he, before ye went last to Dublin, ye were the best beloved man in your diocese that ever came into it, and now ye are the worst beloved that ever came here. I asked wherefore. Why, said he, for ye have taken open part with the heretics, and preached against the sacrament of the altar, and deny saints, and will make us worse than Jews. If the county wist how, they would eat you. He besought me to take heed of myself, for he feared more than he durst tell me. He said, Ye have more curses than ye have hairs in your head; and I advise you, for Christ's sake, not to preach as I hear ye will do. Hereby ye may perceive what case I am in, but put all to God. And now, as mine especial friend, and a man to whom my heart beareth earnest affection, I beseech you give me your advice, not writing your name for chance.—The Bishop of Meath to Sir Edward Bellingham: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. i. State Paper Office.
- 'I asked the Earl what should be the cause of so great a combination of the wild Irish, and how long since the same had commenced. Whereunto he said the same conspiracy was concluded amongst them above a year past, only in the dread of the late deputy, which, with his rough handling of them, put them in such despair as they all conspired to join against him. To some others of council which I heard not he added the matter of religion. But, for my part, beside these causes, I judge they will the rather take the opportunity to execute their malice, hearing not only of the continuance of the outward wars and loss of our forts, and specially of the late civil displeasures in England, but also hope and comfort and aid of the Scots, promised, as it is said, by the blind bishop that came from Scotland out of Rome.'—Sir John Allen to his brother; January, 1550: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. ii. State Paper Office.
- St Leger to the Council, September, 1550: MS. Ibid.
- State Papers, vol. iii. p. 534.
- Privy Council Register. MS.
- See Ruding, vol. ii. p. 105. Ruding, describing the indenture and the proportions of alloy, says that the pound weight was to he made into a hundred and forty-four groats; in which statement, it seems, he must have mistaken the word. The pound weight of pure silver would produce a hundred and forty-four pure groats; hut the two pounds of alloy, which he admits were added to it, must have produced twice as many more.
- Sir Anthony, upon his arrival, went to the chief church of this nation, and there, after the old sort, offered to the altar of stone, to the great comfort of his too many like Papists and the discouragement of the professors of the gospel.—The Archbishop of Dublin to the English Council: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- 'Tyrone desired the French King to come with his power, and if he would so prepare to do, to help him to drive out the Jewish Englishmen out of Ireland, who were such as did nothing to the country but cumber the same and live upon the flesh that was in it, neither observing fast-days nor regarding the solemn devotion of the blessed mass or other ceremony of the Church, the French King should find him, the Earl, ready to help him with his men and all the friends he could make.'—Complaints of Sir Andrew Brereton: Irish MSS. vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- The Deputy and Council to Cecil: Irish MSS.; Edward VI. vol. ii. State Paper Office.
- Wood to Cecil: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. ii.
- Crofts to the English Council, November 1, 1551: Irish MSS. vol. iii.
- The English Council to Sir James Crofts; Irish MSS. vol. iii.
- Crofts to Cecil: Irish MSS. Ibid.
- Memoranda of the Irish Council.—Sir James Crofts to the Duke of Northumberland, December, 1551: Irish MSS. Edward VI. vol. iii. State Paper Office.
- Before the depreciation of the currency in England Gascon wine was sold for 4l. 13s. 4d. a tun; Spanish wine for 7l. 8s.—34 and 35 Henry VIII. cap. 7.
- Crofts to Cecil: Irish MSS. vol. iv.
- Crofts to Cecil, March 14: Ibid.
- Such I endeavour in charity to believe to be the meaning of a vaguely-expressed entry in the Privy Council Register. Edward, however, in his Journal, with the date of June 10, 1552, says:—
'Whereas it was agreed that there should be a pay now made to Ireland of 5000l., and then the money to be cried down; it was appointed that 3000 lbs. weight which I had in the Tower should be carried thither and coined at 3 denar fine, and that incontinent, the coin should be cried down.' The question rises what Edward meant by 3 denar fine. Was it threepence in the shilling, or 3 oz. fine to 9 oz. of alloy? or was it threepence in the groat? a coin more honest than Ireland had seen for a century. Experience of the general proceedings of the Government in such matters would lead one to choose the worst interpretation.