History of England (Froude)/Chapter 29
AMIDST the wreck of ancient institutions, the misery of the people, and the moral and social anarchy by which the nation was disintegrated, thoughtful persons in England could not fail by this time to be asking themselves what they had gained by the Reformation.
A national reformation, if the name is more than a mockery, implies the transfer of power, power spiritual, power political, from the ignoble to the noble, from the incapable to the capable, from the ignorant to the wise. It implies a recovered perception in all classes, from highest to lowest, of the infinite excellence of right, the infinite hatefulness of wrong.
The movement commenced by Henry VIII., judged by its present results, had brought the country at last into the hands of mere adventurers. The people had exchanged a superstition which, in its grossest abuses, prescribed some shadow of respect for obedience, for a superstition which merged obedience in speculative belief; and under that baneful influence, not only the higher virtues of self-sacrifice, but the commonest duties of probity and morality, were disappearing. Private life was infected with impurity to which the licentiousness of the Catholic clergy appeared like innocence. The Government was corrupt, the courts of law were venal. The trading classes cared only to grow rich. The multitude were mutinous from oppression. Among the good who remained unpolluted, the best were still to be found on the Reforming side. Lever, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, held on unflinching to their convictions, although with hearts aching and intellects perplexed; but their influence was slight and their numbers small; and Protestants who were worthy of the name which they bore were fewer far, in these their days of prosperity, than when the bishops were hunting them out for the stake. The better order of commonplace men, who had a conscience, but no especial depth of insight—who had small sense of spiritual things, but a strong perception of human rascality—looked on in a stern and growing indignation, and, judging the tree by its fruits, waited their opportunity for reaction.
'Alas, poor child,' said a Hampshire gentleman, of Edward, 'unknown it is to him what Acts are made now-a-days; when he comes of age he will see another rule and hang up an hundred heretic knaves.' John Bale replied to 'the frantic Papist' with interested indignation; he wrote a pamphlet with a dedication to Northumberland, whom he compared to Moses, and earned a bishopric for his reward. But the words expressed a deep and general feeling; and, had the coming of age taken place, might not impossibly have proved true. Edward showed no symptoms of wavering in religion; but he was gaining an insight beyond his years into the diseases of the realm, which threatened danger to those who had abused his childhood. He had followed and Rioted down the successive tamperings with the currency. He was aware of his debts, and of the scandal of them; and we have seen him seeking political information without the knowledge of the council. He understood the necessity of economizing the expenditure, of scrutinizing the administration of the revenues, and of punishing fraud. He could actively interfere but little, but the little was in the right direction. The excessive table allowances for the household were reduced. Irregular claims for fees, which had grown up in the minority, were disallowed; the wardrobe charges were cut down; the garrisons of the forts and the Irish army were diminished, according to a schedule which Edward himself had the reputation of devising. Further, he began to inquire into the daily transactions of the council. He required notice beforehand of the business with which the council was to be occupied, and an account was given in to him each Saturday of the proceedings of the week: while in a rough draft of his will which he dictated to Sir William Petre in the year which preceded his death, he showed the silent thought with which he had marked the events of his boyhood. Should his successor, like himself, be a minor, his executors, unlike his father's, should meddle with no wars unless the country was invaded. They should alter no part of 'religion;' they should observe his 'device' for the payment of his debts, and use all means for their early settlement; and there should be no return of extravagance in the household. More remarkable is an imperfect fragment on the condition of England.
Following, boylike, the Platonic analogy between the body of the individual and the body politic, Edward saw in all men the members of a common organization, where each was to work, and each ought to be contented with the moderate gratification of his own desires. The country required an order of gentlemen; but gentlemen should not have so much as they had in France, where the peasantry was of no value. In a well-ordered commonwealth no one should have more than the proportion of the general stock would bear. In the body no member had too much or too little; in the commonwealth every man should have enough for healthy support, not enough for indulgence. Again, as every member of the body was obliged 'to work and take pains,' so there should be no unit in the commonwealth which was not 'laboursome in his vocation.' 'The gentleman should do service in his country, the serving-man should wait diligently on his master, the artisan should work at his trade, the husbandman at his tillage, the merchant in passing the tempests;' the vagabond should be banished as 'the superfluous humour of the body,' 'the spittle and filth which is put out by the strength of nature.'
Looking at England, however, as England was, the young King saw 'all things out of order.' 'Farming gentlemen and clerking knights,' neglecting their duties as overseers of the people, 'were exercising the gain of living.' 'They would have their twenty miles square of their own land or of their own farms.' Artificers and clothiers no longer worked honestly; the necessaries of life had risen in price, and the labourers had raised their wages, 'whereby to recompense the loss of things they bought.' The country swarmed with vagabonds; and those who broke the laws escaped punishment by bribery or through foolish pity. The lawyers, and even the judges, were corrupt. Peace and order were violated by religious dissensions and universal neglect of the law. Offices of trust were bought and sold; benefices impropriated, tillage-ground turned to pasture, 'not considering the sustaining of men.' The poor were robbed by the enclosures; and extravagance in dress and idle luxury of living were eating like ulcers into the State. These were the vices of the age: nor were they likely, as Edward thought, to yield in any way to the most correct formula of justification. The 'medicines to cure these sores' were to be looked for in good education, good laws, and 'just execution of the laws without respect of persons, in the example of rulers, the punishment of misdoers, and the encouragement of the good.' Corrupt magistrates should be deposed, seeing that those who were themselves guilty would not enforce the laws against their own faults; and all gentlemen and noblemen should be compelled to reside on their estates, and fulfil the duties of their place.
A king who at fifteen could sketch the work which was before him so distinctly, would in a few years have demanded a sharp account of the stewardship of the Duke of Northumberland. Unfortunately for the country, those who would have assisted him in commencing his intended improvements, Lord Derby, Lord Oxford, Lord Huntingdon, Lord Sussex, or Lord Paget, were far away in the country, sitting gloomily inactive till a change of times. Ridley was working manfully, as we have seen, in restoring the London hospitals; but Cranmer, after the destruction of Somerset, shrunk from confronting Northumberland; and, the Liturgy being completed, he was now spending his strength in the pursuit of objects which were either unattainable or would have been mischievous if attained. In the spring of 1552 he was endeavouring to take away the reproach of Protestantism by bringing the Reformed Churches to an agreement. Edward offered his kingdom as an asylum for a Protestant synod, which might meet at Oxford or Cambridge; and the Archbishop wrote to Calvin and Melancthon, entreating their support. But oil and water would combine before Zuinglian and Lutheran would acquiesce in common formulas. Protestants, as Calvin assured him, hated each other far too heartily. In another direction his exertions were equally unprofitable; and he was acting here under Calvin's advice.
The interference of the Church officials in the private concerns of the people had been among the chief provoking causes of the original revolt under Henry. The laity had flung off the yoke of the clergy. The ministers of the new order, mistaking the character of the change, imagined that the privileges and powers of the Catholic priesthood would be transferred to themselves. As teachers of 'the truth,' they were the exponents, in their own eyes, of the divine law, and they demanded the right to punish sin by spiritual censures—spiritual censures enforced by secular penalties.
Mankind, notwithstanding their frailties, are theoretically loyal to goodness; and, could there have been any security that the clergy would have confined their prosecutions to acts of immorality, that desire might perhaps have to some extent been indulged. But to the Church of Calvin, as well as to the Church of Rome, the darkest breach of the moral law was venial in comparison with errors of opinion; and the consequence which England had to expect from a restoration of clerical authority might be seen in the language of one who was loudest in the demand for it. John Knox, the shrewdest and one of the noblest of the Reformers, did not conceal his opinion that Gardiner, Bonner, and Cuthbert Tunstal might have been justly put to death for nonconformity. But Parliament had not refused absolutely to entertain the question. The Lords rejected, as we have seen; a scheme which would simply replace the bishops in the position which they had forfeited; but the old mixed commission of thirty-two had been re-established for the revision of the canon law; and in March, 1552, the commissioners would have made some progress, it was said, had not Ridley, and Goodrich, Bishop of Ely, who had succeeded Lord Rich as Chancellor, 'stood in the way with their worldly policy.' The thirty-two were afterwards reduced to eight, and in the following November a fresh commission was appointed, consisting of Cranmer, Goodrich, Coxe, and Peter Martyr, with four lawyers and civilians. The work was allowed to devolve on the Archbishop, who, with the assistance of Foxe the Martyrologist, produced the still-born volume, in which, as I have already mentioned, he claimed the continued privilege of sending obstinate heretics to the stake; and which remains to show to posterity the inability of the wisest of the clergy to comprehend their altered position. The King was already more clear-sighted than the Archbishop of Canterbury. He admitted the desirableness of discipline; 'so,' however, 'that those that should be executors of that discipline were men of tried honesty, wisdom, and judgment.' 'But because,' he said, 'those bishops who should execute it, some for Papistry, some for ignorance, some for age, some for their ill names, some for all those causes, were men unable to execute discipline, it was, therefore, a thing unmeet for such men.'
Meanwhile, amidst discussions on the remedies of evils, the evils themselves for the most part continued. Discipline could not be restored. The King's abilities did not anticipate his majority; the revenues were still misapplied, the debts of the Crown still unpaid. Officials indeed in the interests of Northumberland were permitted to indemnify themselves for their services. Bishop Ponet, for instance, composed a catechism, which was ordered for general use, and was allowed a 'monopoly of the printing.' But ordinary persons, servants, artisans, tradesmen in public employment, 'fed upon the chameleon's dish,' and still cried in vain for their wages—it might be from prison. Prices of provisions would not abate. Vainly the Duke of Northumberland reprimanded the Lord Mayor in the Guildhall—vainly butchers' carts were seized, and the meat was forfeited—vainly the dealers were threatened with the loss of their freedom and expulsion from the towns and cities; the distrust and hatred of the administration were too strong for menace.
The churches, the lead having been torn from the roofs, crumbled into ruins. Parishes were still left without incumbents, or still provided with curates who were incapable or useless. 'A thousand pulpits in England were covered with dust.' In some, four sermons had not been heard since the Preaching Friars were suppressed. 'If,' said Bernard Gilpin before the Court, 'if such a monster as Darvel Gatheren, the idol of Wales, could have set his hand to a bill to let the patron take the greater part of the profits, he might have had a benefice.' In October, 1552, there was a menace of rebellion. In December, the Government was threatened with some further unknown but imminent danger, which called out from Northumberland the most seeming admirable sentiments, which he knew so well how to affect, and could, perhaps, persuade himself that he felt. In March, so general was the disaffection, that martial law was proclaimed in many parts of the country.
The periodic sore of bankruptcy was again running. The revenue still clung to the hands by which it was collected. Fines, confiscations, church plate, church lands, mint plunder, vanished like fairy gold. The languid eiforts of the council to extricate themselves availed only to show how helpless was their embarrassment. In August, 1552, a bill fell due in Antwerp for 56,000l. Sir Thomas Gresham had been in the Low Countries in July; and as there was no money to meet the bill, he brought back with him a proposal for a further postponement on the usual terms; with a condition to which also the home Government was accustomed, that certain wares, fustians and diamonds, should be purchased of the lenders. Such transactions, however disguised, could have but one meaning: the bankers sold their jewels at their own prices; the English Government had to dispose of them for such prices as they would fetch in the market.
Northumberland was absent on the Scottish Border, and the council, freed from his authority, refused to submit to the imposition. They instructed Gresham to return to Antwerp and to say that the King would pay as soon as he could, but the times were troublesome, and he had other employment for his money: the bankers must be reasonable, and wait.
The trader sympathized with his order. Gresham pledged his own credit for payment, and he wrote earnestly to Northumberland, through whom bargains of this kind could be best conducted, to save the country from shame. It was 'neither honourable nor profitable,' he said, to put off money-lenders with a high hand. The credit of England would 'fall as low as the credit of the Emperor,' who was at that moment 'offering 16 per cent, for money, and could not obtain it.' 'The King's father, who first began to take up money upon interest, did use to take his fee penny in jewels, coppery gunpowder, or fustian, and wares had been taken ever since, when the King had made any prolongation.' So long as the loans could not be repaid the system must be continued. Thus much, however, Gresham undertook to do. Lead was fetching a high price in Antwerp. If the export of lead from England was forbidden, the price would rise still higher, while at home it would fall. The Government might take possession of the trade and make its own profits; while he would himself remain on the Continent, and would watch the exchanges, and if he could be supplied with 1200l. a week he would clear the Crown of its foreign debts in two years.
Northumberland listened to the advice upon the lead trade. He stopped the exports, and in two months learnt to his sorrow that 'princes' affairs in the Government of realms and merchants' trades were of two natures.' The City of London extricated the Crown from its embarrassments by an advance of 40,000l. The bills were renewed, but only with a slight increase. In August, the entire debts at Antwerp were 108,000l. On the 3rd of October, after the renewal, they were something under 111,000l.; while the home debts 'certainly known to be due' were, on the same 3rd of October, 125,000l. The loan from the City of London partially satisfied the foreign creditors, partially it was applied for the payment of wages, and other obligations at home. The home debts by November were reduced to 109,000l. At last, therefore, there was an attempt to do something, though the something was but small.
But these petty difficulties were not absolutely the results of carelessness and fraud. In this autumn of 1552, England narrowly escaped being again drawn into the European whirlpool.
The Peace of Passau left Charles at war with France; and by the revised treaty of 1543, as has been often said, England was bound to assist the Emperor if the Low Countries or the Rhine provinces were invaded. A French army had entered Luxembourg in July; and Charles, whose misfortunes had rendered him less scrupulous in connecting himself with heretics, applied through his ambassador for the stipulated support. The abandonment of Henry VIII. in the late war might have exonerated Edward from compliance. The treaty had been renewed since the Peace of Crêpy; but Charles had left England, notwithstanding, to work its way out of its difficulties alone' September.in the place of sending help, he had himself assumed an attitude of hostility. But either Northumberland was uncertain of his prospects and projects at home, and desired to conciliate the Emperor and Mary, or he was doubtful of the intentions of France, or he was possessed by the traditionary belief that the safety of England depended on the maintenance of the balance of power. The Emperor, without money and without friends, was contending with difficulty against an alliance between the Turks and the French. Ugly misunderstandings had sprung up between the Courts of London and Paris. The French had avenged their supposed wrongs in the usual way, by seizing English merchant ships; and Charles's request for assistance came at the moment when the council were besieged with the complaints of the owners. From the uncertain conduct of the council, it would seem that either there were conflicting opinions which balanced each other, or that one and all were perplexed and irresolute. The ambassador was first answered evasively. He was next told that the demand should be taken into consideration. Then suddenly, on the 2nd of September, the council made up their minds definitely to declare war against France. But the resolution was taken only to be abandoned immediately, and the ambassador was informed that the King could not, in his present embarrassments, hold himself bound by his father's treaties. Again in a few days the scale wavered. Sir Thomas Stukeley, a west-country gentleman, and a dependent of Somerset, had escaped abroad on the arrest of his master, and now returned with a story by which he hoped to purchase his pardon. Being believed to be a disaffected subject, he had been admitted, as he said, into the French counsels, and he was able to affirm as a certainty that Calais was about to be attacked. The King of France himself had spoken to him of the weak points in the defences, had pointed out the very plan of assault, by which, six years later, Calais was actually taken. Although, however, Henry said, 'he would in short space recover Calais, yet to adventure the same was in vain, otherwise than to seek the whole realm.' The Scots, therefore, were to enter Northumberland; he himself would land with troops at Falmouth, while the Duke of Guise would land at Dartmouth, which he knew to be undefended. That done 'he intended to proclaim and restore the mass.' Stukeley told him that 'he would be twice or thrice fought withal.' Henry said that 'he esteemed that but a peasant's fight;' at all events, he would fortify both Falmouth and Dartmouth, and hold them in gage for Calais.
The French were confident in themselves, in their fortunes, in the especial graces which attended the consecration of their sovereign. Neither promises nor alliances would stand in their way when opportunity of aggrandizement should offer itself. If either France or the Empire became dominant in Europe, England would equally find an enemy in either; and if Stukeley's story was true, the Empire must be supported.
Again, therefore, the question of peace or war was anxiously discussed, and, according to the official habit of the time, the arguments on either side were drawn out in form. Should the King join the Emperor? it was asked. For the affirmative it was urged that he was bound by treaty. The Emperor might be ruined, or would lose Burgundy, and in that case England would lose Calais; the French were bringing the Turks into Christendom, and again some redress must be obtained for the English merchants; the attitude of France was suspicious and menacing, and 'enter into war alone the King might not well;' finally, the Emperor might make peace with France exasperated by desertion, and the Catholic powers might unite against England. For the negative; the exchequer was empty: should the Emperor die, as was not unlikely, England would be left again to fight the battle alone. The German Protestants would be offended, and France, after all, might not have the intentions which were attributed to her. It might be possible so to help the Emperor as to induce the Protestant princes to unite also; to make the Turks the ground of quarrel, and to declare France an enemy of Christendom. A war on such terms would be inexpensive, and England would be strengthened by taking part in a general league. On the other hand, such a league could not be formed either rapidly or secretly; and if the attempt should be made, and fail, France would be inexpiably offended.
The ultimate resolution was to reply with a general assurance of sympathy; to offer active assistance against the Turks, and so to feel the way towards a larger combination. The Lutheran powers, having secured their own liberties, were known to be looking suspiciously on the French movements. If the Emperor would consent to act with them, England might then go further. Meantime she would recruit her finances, and prepare for all contingencies.
Charles was unable to quarrel with so meagre an answer. He had deserved no better; nor could England afford more. He was at the moment on the Rhine, just recovering from a severe attack of gout, and collecting an army to wrest Metz from the Duke of Guise. Fortune at that time seemed again turning in his favour. The French invading force had been compelled to retreat out of Lorraine, decimated by fever, Guise himself remaining with a few picked troops. De Roulx, the Imperialist general in Flanders, had carried fire and sword to the banks of the Somme, and penetrated France to within fifty miles of Paris, sacking houses, and burning towns, villages, and farms. A company of English volunteers from the Calais Pale had joined him in an attack, which all but succeeded, upon Ambletue; while Albert of Brandenburg, who had quarrelled with Maurice, and was now in the Emperor's camp, had taken the Duke of Aumale in a skirmish.
Accounts, by competent persons, of interviews with Charles V. are always interesting. When Sir Richard Morryson waited upon him with the reply of the English Government to his request for assistance, 'the Emperor,' he said, 'was at a bare table, without carpet or anything else upon it, saving his cloke, his brush, his spectacles, and his picktooth.' His lower lip had broken out during his illness, and he kept 'a green leaf' upon it, which, adding to his 'accustomed softness in speaking,' 'made his words hard to be understood.' He listened to the message kindly, but coldly, 'thinking, as Morryson might perceive, to have heard somewhat of joining force against another enemy of his' beside the Turk: but he spoke warmly of England; he talked of Henry VIII., and of the regard which they had ever entertained for each other; and it seemed as if he was speaking sincerely. 'But he hath a face,' said Morryson, 'unwont to discover any hid affection of his heart, as any face that ever I met with in all my life. White colours, which, in changing themselves, are wont in others to bring a man word how his errand is liked, have no place in his countenance. His eyes only do betray as much as can be picked out of him. He maketh me often think of Solomon's saying, Heaven is high, the earth is deep, a King's heart is unsearchable. There is in him almost nothing that speaks besides his tongue.'
October.Meantime the French King assured Sir October. William Pickering that in Stukeley's story there was no word of truth. He had never thought of attacking England since the conclusion of the peace, far less had he spoken of it. How these foreign difficulties might turn out was quite uncertain. Nevertheless, for domestic purposes or for war purposes, one thing was steadily necessary, i.e., money. Northumberland, following the steps of his father, who filled the treasury of Henry VII., and brought his own head to the block, set himself to the work with heart and goodwill. In the autumn and winter of 1552–3, no less than nine commissions were appointed with this one object; four of which were to go again over the often-trodden ground, and glean the last spoils which could be gathered from the churches. In the business of plunder the rapacity of the Crown officials had been distanced hitherto by private peculation. The halls of country-houses were hung with altar-cloths; tables and beds were quilted with copes; the knights and squires drank their claret out of chalices, and watered their horses in marble coffins. Pious clergy, gentlemen, or churchwardens had in many places secreted plate, images, or candlesticks, which force might bring to light. Bells, rich in silver, still hung silent in remote church-towers, or were buried in the vaults. Organs still pealed through the aisles in notes unsuited to a regenerate worship, and damask napkins, rich robes, consecrated banners, pious offerings of men of another faith, remained in the chests in the vestries. All these were valuable, and might be secured, and the Protestants could be persuaded into applause at the spoiling of the house of Baal. Ridley in London lent his hand. On the 4th of September the organ at St Paul's was ordered into silence preparatory to removal. On the 25th of October 'was the plucking down of all the altars and chapels in Paul's church, with all the tombs, at the commandment of the Bishop, and all the goodly stone-work that stood behind the high altar.' The monument of John of Gaunt himself would have gone down, had not the council stepped in to save it. Vestments, copes, plate, even the coin in the poor-boxes, were taken from the churches in the city. Some few peals of bells were spared for a time, but only under condition of silence. A sweep as complete cleared the parish churches throughout the country. There was one special commission for bells, vestments, and ornaments; two for plate and jewels; a fourth to search private houses for church property, and, should any such be found, to make a further profit by the fine of the offenders. NovemberA commission, again, was to examine into the rents of the Crown estates; another to sell chantry lands. The accounts of the disposition of all estates which had fallen to the Crown by confiscation or Act of Parliament since the suppression of the monasteries were to be produced and examined. The armorial bearings of families residing south of the Trent were to be investigated by the College of Heralds, and illegal quarterings to be paid for by fine or forfeit. Lastly, Northumberland himself, assisted by others on whose discretion he could rely, undertook to examine the accounts of the treasurer and receiver of the Court of Augmentations and the Court of Exchequer; of the collectors of firstfruits and of the officers of the Duchy of Lancaster; and, finally, in one frightful sweep, to call on every one who had received money in behalf of the Crown since the year 1532 to produce his books and submit them to an audit. Paymasters, purveyors, victuallers, engineers, architects, every one to whom money had been paid from the treasury for the army and navy, for the household, or for any other purpose, were included under the same schedule. If the account-books of twenty years of confusion, during the latter portion of which almost all public persons, from the council downwards, had vied with each other in the race of rapacity, were not forthcoming and in order, they were to be proceeded against without mercy.
The sale of chantry lands was expected to yield 40,000l.; the surrendered lands of the bishopric of Worcester would produce 5000l. more; the church plate and linen 20,000l.; the confiscated estates of the late fraudulent Master of the Rolls, and of Sir Thomas Arundel, who had been executed as an accomplice in Somerset's conspiracy, with a fine inflicted on Lord Paget for the same cause, were estimated at 25,000l., 'or thereabouts;' from 90,000l. to 100,000l. might be expected from the remaining commissions, could those commissions be enforced. But setting aside the injustice of calling suddenly for the accounts of twenty years, when the disorders had been so universal and the example of the ruling powers so flagrantly bad, the conduct of Northumberland and Northumberland's friends could bear inspection as little as any man's. Another large sum of 40,000l. might be looked for from the sale of the estates of the See of Durham, which was about to be suppressed; but these estates Northumberland designed for himself, and obtained a grant of them; and as he now really intended to pay off the Crown debts—as, in fact, he was supplying, and intended to continue to supply, the 1200l. weekly for which Gresham had applied for that purpose, he was obliged to look to other resources. December.A Parliament had become a necessity, unwelcome but inevitable. A Parliament must meet. The blame of the public embarrassment could be cast upon Somerset; and in a letter to the council the Duke explained the arguments on which he intended to apply for a subsidy. As the subsidy, however, could not be collected till after the next harvest, the meeting, he at first thought, might be postponed till the following Michaelmas.
Circumstances, or the influence of others, or the necessity of pacifying the people, forbade the anticipated delay. 1553.
January.The writs were sent out in January, and as Parliament would not grant money without inquiry, and inquiry could only be faced before interested or otherwise favourable judges, the best security was to fill the Lower House with men who could be depended upon. It has been maintained or assumed, by some writers, that the election of members of Parliament under the Tudor princes had but the form of freedom; that the constituencies were treated with no more respect than if they had been deans and chapters of cathedrals, who, though permitted to pray to Heaven to be guided in the selection of their bishop, must nevertheless receive that guidance through the nomination of the Crown. The account of the election of 1552–3 will enable us to form a more discriminating judgment. Northumberland's House of Commons was, in fact, chosen, like the bishops, by a congé d'élire; it was a 'convention of notables,' such as Northumberland was pleased to direct to be elected; but such a mode of election is expressly stated to have been introduced on this occasion, and if freshly introduced, did not exist before. How the voting was conducted does not appear; and it is plain that the constituencies possessed no recognized means of enforcing their own choice; but it is plain, also, that the experiment of nomination was tried as the general rule of an election for the first time.
A nomination Parliament, however, was on this occasion actually assembled. Either a circular was addressed to the sheriffs of counties or mayors of towns, simply naming the persons who were to be chosen, or the electors were instructed to accept their directions from some member of the privy council. In some instances the orders of the Crown were sent direct to the candidate himself, and the language in which the communications were conveyed implied the most entire assurance on the part of the Government that the disposition of the seats was under their control.
But for especial interference Northumberland's position especially called. The writs with the letters and circulars were sent out on the 19th of January. Jan. 14.On the 14th, Northumberland held in his hands a document which avowedly caused him uneasiness. The threatened inquiry into the distribution of the Church lands under Henry VIII. had not, perhaps, been pursued; but 'a book' had been drawn, 'of the charges of the present King and of his debts,' to the production of which, without considerable modifications, the Duke felt that he could not consent. This particular book I have been unable to discover; but it contained, among other things, an account of the various grants professing to have been made by Edward to his ministers, or, in truer language, appropriated by these ministers to their own use during Edward's reign. On the 14th of January the Duke had the report in his hands; he sent it to the Marquis of Northampton, with side-notes and reflections, the occasion and meaning of which he expressed very frankly in a letter which has fortunately survived.
'The causes,' he said, 'why I have scribbled the book so much, is that I am of opinion that we need not to be so ceremonious as to imagine the objections of every froward person, but rather to burden their minds and hearts with the King's Majesty's extreme debts and necessities, grown and risen by such occasion and means as can be denied by no man; and that we need not to seem to make account to the Commons of his Majesty's liberality and bountifulness in augmenting of his nobles, or his benevolence shewed to any his good servants, lest you might thereby make them wanton and give them occasion to take hold of your own arguments. But as it shall become no subject to argue the matter so far, so, if any should be so far out of reason, the matter will always answer itself with honour and reason to their confuting and shame.'
Although the 'scribbled' document has disappeared, the substance of it remains in a separate table of reports, which were submitted, eventually, to a subsequent Parliament, and it explains the Duke's anxiety.
The total value of the lands which had passed from the Crown, in the reign of Edward VI., by gift, sale, or exchange, had been something over a million and a half. Four hundred and thirty-five thousand pounds had professedly been paid into the treasury as purchase-money. The lands exchanged were worth 350,000l. The value of the lands given away was 730,000l. Of these given lands, estates to the extent of 1200l. a year, worth perhaps, 25,000l., went to endowments of schools and hospitals; 3600l. a year was reserved to the Crown upon the rents of the rest; and 9000l. had been paid in money to the Crown by the recipients of the royal bounty. On the exchanged land there was a reservation also of 1900l. a year.
After liberal deductions on these and all other imaginable grounds, after reasonable allowances for grants legitimately made as a reward for services, there will remain, on a computation most favourable to the council, estates worth half a million—in the modern currency about five millions—which the ministers of the Minority with their friends had appropriated—I suppose I must not say stolen—and divided among themselves. In the different lists the names of the council appear nowhere as purchasers. They exchanged occasionally, being nearest to the fountain, and having the privilege of the first draught: but, in general, when any minister of the Crown is mentioned, it is as an object merely of unmixed liberality. The literal entries are an imperfect guide, since it appeared, in the inquiries which followed the deposition of Somerset from the Protectorate, that conveyances had been made out in other names, to cover the extent of the appropriations. From the report as it stands the Lord Paget and Sir William Petre would seem, to have made the smallest use of their opportunities; Lord Pembroke to have made the best.
With the danger of these revelations impending, Northumberland must have doubtless felt the meeting of Parliament an anxious occasion, notwithstanding his care of the elections. March.The session opened on the 1st of March; and, to neutralize opposition, he had attempted to gain over, by a promise of long-coveted concessions, the support of the old-established guilds and corporations of the city of London.
The sixteenth century had seen the shipwreck of more than one time-honoured institution. The foreign trade from the port of London had been carried on from the time of the Norman sovereigns, down to a recent period, under the jurisdiction of a close body of monopolists, representatives of the various guilds and companies, entitled the Fellowship of the London Merchants. An organization which arises spontaneously has in its origin right upon its side. It springs into being as the answer to an acknowledged want which, in some degree, more satisfactory or less, it contrives to meet. It may be believed that so long as the desire to do right among them was stronger than the desire to grow rich, a close corporation conducted the trade of the country with more inherent equity, and with greater honour to the English name, than would have resulted from general competition. But exclusive privileges had ended, as usual, in the abuse of those privileges. In the twelfth year of Henry VII. the Merchant Adventurers, or unattached traders, petitioned for the right which belonged to them as freeborn Englishmen of carrying their goods into foreign countries, and selling them as they pleased, on their own terms. 'The Fellowship of London Merchants,' they said, 'for their own singular lucre, contrary to every Englishman's liberty,' had made an ordinance among themselves that no Englishman should buy or sell in the markets of the Low Countries without paying a fine to the Fellowship; and the fine had been gradually raised, till at last a demand of forty pounds was made upon every young merchant who was entering life before he could be permitted to trade.
The petition of the Adventurers was heard by Parliament. The conduct of the corporation was held to be 'contrary to all law, reason, charity, right, and conscience.' Their jurisdiction was closed, and the foreign trade was declared free.
In the first half of the century the old-established London houses had suffered from the competition; and they took advantage of the necessities of an embarrassed Government to make an effort to recover their privileges.
The reputation of English goods had unquestionably suffered in the foreign markets; and the fraudulent manufactures, which were in reality the natural growth of an age of infidelity, they represented as the effect of a disorganized intrusion of unauthorized persons into 'the feat and mystery' of merchandise.
The fall of the exchange, notoriously due to the debasement of the currency, they attributed with equal injustice to the same cause; and Northumberland, to gain the support of so strong a body, and too happy to rest on others the consequences of his own misdoings, undertook, if possible, to gratify them.
An Act was prepared in compliance with the request of Sir Thomas Gresham, to limit the number of the Adventurers, and to interfere with and hamper their trade with restrictions and disqualifications. Having thus conciliated at least one powerful party, the Duke, on the 6th of March, introduced his Subsidy Bill in the House of Commons. The preamble was drawn by himself or under his immediate direction. It repeated, as the occasion for the required grant, the words of his own letter; and the exhaustion of the exchequer was attributed exclusively to the recklessness of the Duke of Somerset, and the wars into which he had plunged the country. To relieve the country of the debt which had been thus increased, two fifteenths and tenths were demanded of the laity, to be paid in two years; with an income-tax of five per cent, on the rents of their lands for an equal period. The clergy were required to give ten per cent, for three years on their benefices or other promotions. The debates are lost. It is known only that the bill was long argued, notwithstanding Northamberland's precaution, and was carried with difficulty. Carried it was at last; but the House of Commons was far from complaisant. The retrospective examination of the public accounts had been abandoned, or if not the examination, yet the prosecution of defaulters. A measure, however, was introduced for an annual audit of the books of all collectors and receivers, with precautions to prevent peculation for the future; and so jealously was the wording of the Act examined and sifted, that it was twice drawn and redrawn before it was finally passed.
A creditable bill had been designed for the protection of the poor tenants of small cottages 'against the severing of land from houses;' and another to prevent the bishops and cathedral chapters from granting long leases on the Church lands, to be renewed upon fines. Both these measures were, unfortunately, dropped, as leading up to inconvenient questions. Again, to pacify the clergy after the late spoliations, a measure was brought forward that 'no person not a deacon should hold ecclesiastical promotions.' The Lords passed it, but the Commons declined. The country gentlemen refused to unclose their grasp upon the impropriated benefices, and the bill was lost upon the third reading.
A defeat on this last point Northumberland perhaps endured with patience. It was of more consequence to him that he was compelled to disappoint Sir Thomas Gresham and the merchants of the city. The bill which had been prepared in their favour was never introduced. A bill to repeal the Act of Henry VII. was carried in the Upper House, but the Commons were again obstinate, and the monopoly could not be restored.
Nor was it only in Parliament that the Duke encountered awkward opposition.
John Knox, who since his dismissal from France had held a commission as a preacher in Durham and Northumberland, was looked upon as a desirable person to be promoted to a bishopric. The See of Rochester was vacated in the autumn of 1552 by the translation of Ponet to Winchester, and the Duke thought of nominating Knox to it; partly, he said, 'as a whetstone to quicken the Archbishop of Canterbury, whereof he had need,' and partly—a more singular reason—to put an end to Knox's ministrations in the north, where he had habitually disobeyed the Act of Uniformity, and had not cared to conceal his objections to the Prayerbook. Northumberland communicated his intentions in a personal interview, and was not gratified at the manner in which the intimation was received. Under no temptation would Knox have accepted an office which he believed to be antichristian; but with his hard grey eyes he looked through and through into the heart of the second Moses of John Bale, and he could not tell, he said, whether he were not 'a dissembler in religion.' In fact, he thought he could tell; and, not contented with refusing to take a favour at his hands, he held it to be his duty to make known his opinions to the world. Preaching before the Court in the spring, while Parliament was sitting, in the presence of the King, Northumberland, and the council, he asked how it was that the most godly princes had officers and chief councillors the most ungodly, enemies to religion, and traitors to their princes; and quoting the characters of Ahithophel, Shebnah, and Judas, he fastened the first with a transparent allusion on Northumberland; the second he gave to Paulet, Marquis of Winchester. Judas was present also, though he pointed less certainly to the person whom he regarded as the counterpart of the treacherous apostle. He vituperated from the pulpit the vices of the Court, and the worldliness of the faction who were misgoverning the country. Since discipline could not he restored, he, and those who felt with him the enormity of the times, established by their own authority this second form of excommunication.
Northumberland, who had witnessed the fall of the old clergy, had no intention of enduring the insolence of the new. At the end of March Cranmer produced in the House of Lords his reformed code of canon law. Northumberland rose, and, turning fiercely on the Archbishop, bade him attend to the duties of his office. The clergy were going beyond their province, presuming in their sermons to touch the doings of their superiors. 'You bishops,' he said, 'look to it at your peril. Take heed that the like happen not again, or you and your preachers shall suffer for it together.' The Archbishop ventured a mild protest. He had heard no complaints of the preachers, he said; they might have spoken of vices and abuses; he did not know. 'There were vices enough,' Northumberland answered violently, 'no doubt of that;' 'the fruits of the Gospel in this life were sufficiently meagre.' Assailed in the pulpit, thwarted in the Commons, hated by the people, the haughty minister found his temper failing him, and the smooth exterior less easy to maintain. 'Those about me,' he complained to Cecil, 'are so slack as I can evil bear it; indeed, of late, but for my duty to the State, my heart could scarce endure the manner of it.' He had secured the subsidy; the continued sitting of a Parliament was inconvenient when his own nominees had opposed him; on the last of March, within a month of the meeting, it was dissolved.
It is a question on which much depends, yet one which, nevertheless, there is little chance of adequately answering, whether the fortunes of Northumberland were not now bringing him to a point where he must either rise higher or fall utterly, irrespective of the life or death of the young King. The enthusiastic correspondents of Bullinger assured him that Edward regarded the Duke as a father, and Edward by his conduct at the close of his life proved that his own confidence was not yet shaken; April.but the power of English ministers rarely survived intense unpopularity. By the accidents of the revolution, by 'stout courage and proudness of stomach,' by dexterity, perhaps by crime, Northumberland was become almost absolute—absolute as the able man can always make himself in times of disorder, if he is untroubled with moral scruples, when his competitors for power are as unprincipled as himself, and only his inferiors in capacity. But, as it was only a temporary convulsion which placed a person of so poor a type of character at the head of the Government, so Northumberland was detested while he was obeyed. Those who, like Cecil, were treated by him with apparent cordiality, those whom he had addressed as his friends, whom he seemed to intrust with his most secret thoughts, felt his influence like a nightmare. The growing discernment, the earnest interest in public affairs, and the consciousness of the disorganization of the State, which Edward exhibited more and more as he grew older, would have sooner or later brought forward other ministers; in two years he would be of age, when inquiry could not have been avoided; and Northumberland's influence would scarcely have survived the revelations which Arundel, whom he had imprisoned, Paget, whom he had stripped of his estates and expelled from the Order of the Garter, with the friends of Somerset, would have brought to light when opportunity permitted. His unpopularity in the country was a present fact, which every day became more embarrassing; and he had no friends except among the incapable or the dreamers. Wolsey, Cromwell, Somerset, had fallen successively from the same height to which Northumberland had climbed; and the Nemesis which haunts political supremacy irregularly obtained, would not have failed to overtake one whose administration had been scandalous to the empire, whose errors had arisen, not from generous weakness, not from large purposes too unscrupulously followed, but from a littleness of mind rarely combined with talents and with courage so considerable as those with which the Duke must be credited. His overthrow could not but at times have seemed likely to him, unless he could by some means rest his power on a harder foundation; and therefore it was that, as Sir Richard Morryson said, he never moved forward directly upon any subject without looking to the possible consequences to himself. He had played a double game with the Emperor. After risking the peace of the kingdom on the question of Mary's mass, he had contrived that in private she should not further be interfered with. He affected extreme Protestant opinions to keep his place with the Reformers. He was Imperialist, he was French, he had an anchor thrown out in all quarters from which a wind might blow. However events might turn, he had done something, or he had affected something, which would provide him a resource should he be driven to shift his colours.
But this uncertain attitude could not be maintained for ever. A crisis came which compelled him to choose his course.
Edward with varying health had arrived at the age fatal to the male Tudors, the age at which Prince Arthur had died, at which his brother the Duke of Richmond had died. The cough to which he was always subject had increased in the late winter. He dissolved Parliament in person, but immediately after he was removed to Greenwich in a state of marked debility, and by the end of April the gravest alarms were entertained for his life. Philosophers, who believe that great events are enveloped in great causes, that the future is evolved out of the present by laws unerring as those which regulate the processes of nature, can see in the grandest of individual men but instruments which might easily have been dispensed with; and in the cracking of the thread of a human soul but a melting raindrop, or a leaf fluttering from a bough. Centuries, it may be, take their complexion from these large influences; and broad laws of progress may shape the moulds for the casting of eras; but the living Englishman of the sixteenth century would have seen in these closet speculations but the shadow of a dream compared with the interests which depended on the result of the illness of a boy who was not yet sixteen. The eyes of England, of the Emperor, of the Pope, of the King of France, of all the civilized world, were turned with almost equal agitation to the sick-bed at Greenwich.
The reverses of France in the autumn of 1552 had produced a return of civility to England. Stukeley's stories, as we have seen, were denied or explained away. The complaints of the merchants were disposed of peaceably by commissioners, and the efforts and the anxieties of the Court of Paris were directed wholly towards Metz, where Charles in person, with the Duke of Alva and 45,000 men, had sat down to wrench his conquest from the Duke of Guise. A winter siege was an enterprise at which the Emperor in his better days would have hesitated; but since the flight from Innspruck he had been observed to be unequal to himself; and illness and bad fortune had made him obstinate. On the November.24th of November the siege was opened. The Spaniards pushed their trenches towards the walls; the French pushed trenches forwards from the walls to meet them; and the works were so close, that besiegers and besieged were in shot of each other's hand-guns.' The batteries played incessantly on the city, and breaches were opened; but fresh walls rose behind the ruins; midnight sallies carried off the Imperial guns; fever and dysentery wasted the Imperial troops. In December there came a frost harder than any living man remembered, and the gout came back to Charles, so violently, that Morryson 'supposed the Emperor should not much longer need any ambassador; there were few that could better digest Fortune's foul play than he; yet good-nature might be provoked too far.' The Spaniards might shiver to death in their tents, but Metz could not be taken; and Charles was carried back to Luxemburg, as he believed, to die.
January.As soon as the failure was known in England Northumberland, either thinking the opportunity a good one to increase his own influence, or to recover for the country its weight in the councils of Europe, offered to mediate. Sir William Pickering was instructed to make overtures for a peace at Paris. Sir Andrew Dudley, the Duke's brother, was sent to Luxemburg.
The Emperor was in extremity of sickness; so ill that Morryson, who accompanied Dudley to his bedroom, said that he had often seen him suffering, but 'never so nigh gone, never so dead in the face, his hand never so lean and pale and wan.' 'His eyes, that were wont to be full of life when all the rest had yielded to sickness, were now heavy and dull, as nigh death in their looks,' 'as ever' Morryson 'saw any.' The cunning Arras, the iron Alva, the chivalrous Egmont, were standing mournfully at the bed-side. The Prince of Savoy forced a smile as the ambassadors entered, but talked like 'a man amazed.'
Charles roused himself with an effort. He spoke with extreme difficulty, but with courtesy and clearness. He thanked the English Government for their kindness, which he said he would ever remember. But as for the peace, he did not begin the war, and he could not with honour be the first to propose terms on which to end it. His 'enemy' must speak first; and as he spoke of his enemy his fiery nature kindled up, and the faint voice sounded out clear and stern.
The same spirit was shown at Paris. Henry, too, was ready for peace; he would accept the advances of the Emperor, but he would not commence; and for the first few weeks of the year, while the season caused a compulsory armistice, the arbitration could not advance over the first preliminaries.
Yet, if peace there was to be, both parties appeared anxious to arrive at it through the mediation of England. A nuncio came in February from Rome, with an offer of the Pope's services, but he could not obtain admission into the Emperor's presence. The King of France assured Pickering that, so far as he was concerned, he desired nothing better than to place himself in English hands. Yet Pickering, who was a shrewd, clear-sighted man, at the close of a long and smooth interview, came to a conclusion 'that England would do well to trust neither of those princes.' They would regard no promise, no duty, no obligation, which might interfere with 'their own convenience.' He might have added that England also was only consulting her convenience; March.but, from the correspondence of the three Courts, there appear to have been in each of them, as usual, separate parties with separate policies whose views crossed and intercepted one another.
On the 2nd of April, the Bishop of Norwich and Sir Philip Hoby went to Brussels, whither Charles had removed, to repeat the proposals which had been made through Dudley. Morryson was recalled, but his recall was immediately countermanded; and in May, Northumberland was corresponding with him on the feasibility of the league which had been spoken of before between England, the Empire, and the German States against France. At the same time he was assuring Boisdaulphin, the French ambassador in England, 'that he would never bear arms unless in the service of his own sovereign, or of his Most Christian Majesty. And again, simultaneously, an agent of the English Government in the Netherlands was privately betraying the secrets, so far as he knew them, of Northumberland's party to Charles.
It is at once useless and unnecessary to trace the complicated involutions of a general distrust. It is clear only that so long as they were at war, both France and the Empire desired really the support of England. May.The Emperor was exhausted. France had its eye on Calais, but was in no condition, as yet, to strike for it. Northumberland, professing to be an impartial friend to both, was making secret and separate overtures to each, unknown to the other. Up to the time that Edward's illness showed a likelihood of terminating fatally, the Duke was uncertain in which direction it would be most for the advantage of England to incline the balance, while his own interests had no special bias either way. And again, aware of the disposition of the man with whom they had to deal, both Charles and Henry felt the necessity of watching the Duke; under the ostensible pretext of meeting the English offer of mediation, the ablest of their diplomatists were despatched to London to intrigue, to watch events, to obtain information by fair means, by foul means, by any means.
Simon Renard, the minister of the Emperor, had been governor of a district in Franche Comté. Unknown, as yet, to European fame, Renard was known to Sir Philip Hoby, who, writing to Cecil of the probability of Edward's death, and of the influence which he might exercise over Mary, should Mary succeed, exclaimed, 'If England should be ruled by such a councillor, woe, woe to England, for then it would come to ruin and destruction, and them that favour God's Word would be in worse case than those that were in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.' Antoine de Noailles, one of three distinguished brothers, of old and noble family had served with, honour in the wars of Francis I. He was present at the defeat of the Emperor in Provence in 1536. Succeeding d'Annebault, as admiral of the French fleet, it was he who despatched Villegaignon to Scotland with the ships which brought Mary Stuart into France; and he was governor of Bordeaux at the time when he was chosen by the King for the delicate mission to England. Noailles reached London in the middle of May. Renard not till six weeks later. From the despatches of these two, and before their arrival, from those of Scheyfne and Boisdaulphin, the ambassadors in ordinary, is to be gathered so much as can be ascertained of the secret history of the attempt of Northumberland to alter the succession to the Crown.
No sooner was Edward known to have been removed to Greenwich in consequence of illness, than his death was instinctively anticipated. Only once, after his arrival there, he was seen in the garden; after that he was confined entirely to his room. By the end of April he was spitting blood, his disorder presenting the same symptoms which had preceded the death of his brother the Duke of Richmond, and the country was felt to be on the eve of a new reign. Vast as, at such a prospect, the excitement must have been, the accession of Mary, should the King die, was looked forward to as a matter of course. The long agitation of the subject, the anxieties and the scandals which the uncertainty had occasioned in the last reign, and the deliberate settlement of the Crown by Act of Parliament as well as by her father's will, in Mary's favour, had familiarized the minds of all men with the name of the Princess as their fature sovereign, should Edward leave no children. The question had been mooted, had been discussed, had been decided; and on grounds of public safety there was no disposition to raise further doubt on a subject of so much magnitude. Although a queen was a novelty in the constitution, the people would rather submit to a queen, and to a queen of ambiguous legitimacy, than risk the chance of another War of the Roses
Personally Mary was popular. She had lived in retirement, and her objections to the later developments of the Reformation were well known; but on this point she had the support of a powerful party. The sufferings of her mother, and the religious persecution which she had herself undergone, had secured her the affection of the people, which as yet she had done nothing to forfeit. A return to communion with the See of Rome was unthought of. Mary herself was not supposed to desire what, in common with the rest of the country, she had renounced under her father. A return to the constitution of religion as her father left it, was probably the wish of three quarters of the English nation. The orthodox Catholics were outraged by the imprisonment of the bishops, and the establishment by law of opinions which they execrated as heresy. The moderate English party had no sympathy with a tyranny which had thrust the views of foreign Reformers by force upon the people. Even the citizens of London, where Protestantism had the strongest hold, had been exasperated by the offensive combination of sacrilege and spoliation with a pedantry which could not bear the sound of the church-bells, and regarded an organ as impious. The clergy at the moment when the King's illness became serious were being subjected to a compulsory subscription to the Forty-two Articles, under pain of ejection from their benefices; while the universal corruption of public functionaries, the sufferings of the poor, the ruin of the currency, and the embarrassment of the finances, reflected double discredit on the opinions of which these were considered the results. It was assumed that Mary was English, that she would govern only through an English Parliament and with English ministers. The tyranny of Rome had not been broken that it might be followed by a more intolerable tyranny of Protestantism.
Northumberland bowed outwardly to the general feeling. He supplied the Princess, who was then at Hunsdon in Hertfordshire, with regular bulletins of the King's health; and he restored to her the arms and quarterings which she had borne as heir-presumptive before the divorce of her mother. Yet it was observed that he was collecting money with unusual eagerness. There were rumours of disagreement at the council-board. It was said that Lord Pembroke had desired to leave London, and had been forcibly compelled to remain; April.and at the end of April a marriage was announced as about to take place between Lord Guilford Dudley, the Duke's fourth son, a boy of seventeen, and Lady Jane Grey. Whatever may have been his internal speculations, however, Northumberland had go far given no hints of intending a change to the privy council. Mary's friends among the Lords were in constant communication with Scheyfne, and through Scheyfne with the Princess. Not a word was spoken, not a move of importance was made, but the ambassador had instant notice. In fact, Northumberland himself was still hesitating. May.Three times in the month of May his instructions to Sir Richard Morryson were altered. At the beginning there was to be a league between England, the Empire, and the Germans. A few days later Morryson was told to go no further with it. On the 24th he was informed doubtfully that he might feel his way towards it with the Emperor again. Had the Duke intended merely to throw the Emperor off his guard, vacillation would have been unnatural and out of place. Deliberate hypocrisy cannot afford to be inconsistent.
It is needless to credit Northumberland with anxiety for the public interest. He must first have endeavoured to satisfy himself of the effects which Mary's accession would produce upon his own fortunes. Could he have hoped to retain his present authority, ambition for his family would not have tempted him into an effort to set her aside; and he may have believed that his underhand manœuvring had given him a hold on the Princess's gratitude. But he must soon have convinced himself that any such expectation would be disappointed. On the day that Mary set her foot upon the throne the gates of the Tower would open; Norfolk and Gardiner would return to the council, and the conservative lords to the Court. The lips of those that he had oppressed would be opened. Somerset's murder would rise in judgment against him. He knew too well 'the dead men's bones and all uncleanness' which lay concealed behind the fair surface of his godly professions. Was there, then, any hope that the succession could be changed? The fanatics dreaded Mary as much as Northumberland dreaded her. However moderate might be her policy, the best which they could look for would be toleration. They would lose their supremacy, and the privilege of forcing their opinions upon others. The Duke might rely, therefore, on them and on their leaders among the bishops. But the ultra-faction was numerically small and unless he could strengthen his hands with more influential support, his chances were nothing. It was possible for him, however, to work upon many of the laity with the phantom of reaction, which, under the mildest form, had its terrors for those to whom, by grant or purchase, the estates of the Church had fallen. It was possible to work upon the superstition of the King, who had been made bitter against his sister by the collision into which he had been forced with her. The weak Duke of Suffolk could be led away by the prospect of a crown for his daughter; and there were others among the new-made lords whose influence, if not fortune, depended on the continuance in power of the revolutionary party. Above all Northumberland had possession of the situation. He had the organized military force of the kingdom at his disposal, which was at this time considerable. The fleet, the arsenals, the fortresses, the treasury were all in his hands; and he might count with certainty on the support of France, which would be only too happy to prevent the Crown of England from falling to so close a connection of the Emperor.
These considerations (and there were others, perhaps, which we do not know) might have seemed to the most calculating statesman to offer a reasonable chance of success. A desperate man, with ruin staring him in the face if he left events to take their course—with power for himself and the kingdom for his family if he tried fortune and found her favourable—would have thrown the hazard with far lighter grounds of hope. The Duke waited, however, before he moved—before, probably, he took his own final resolution—till it became quite certain that Edward could not recover.
The prospect of Mary becoming Queen was naturally raising the spirits of the Imperialists. Boisdaulphin, with Noailles, who had just arrived, was correspondingly anxious; Scheyfne, they saw, was 'not asleep;' May 4.and on the 4th of May they pressed for a private interview with the Duke. They had been long anxious, they said, to be admitted to the King's presence. They had been answered that his illness made it impossible for him to receive them; but in the mean time the longer they were kept from the Court, the more significant of the approaching attitude of England their absence would appear. They suggested that, if they could not see the King, the world might be made to suppose that they had seen him. A plan was arranged. May 5.The next day they were invited to dine at Greenwich, and as they were rising from the table, Northampton brought a message into the room that Edward was expecting them. They followed into a private apartment; and while the Court believed that they were by the sick-bed, they were joined by Northumberland and others of the council, who entered at large with them on the great question of the moment. The Duke declared that he was wholly French; and as the conversation went forward, he at last asked them what they would do, were they in his (the Duke's) position. Noailles, cautious of what he committed to paper, informed his master that he did not fail to suggest what would be most to the advantage of France.
The same day, Edward being reported worse, and his attendants requiring further advice, the family physician of Northumberland was called in, with a professor of medicine from Oxford; to these a woman was afterwards added, who professed to be in possession of some mysterious specific; and before they were admitted to the sick-room they were sworn, in the presence of Northumberland, Northampton, and Suffolk, to reveal to no one the King's condition. The guard at the Tower was doubled, and a rumour spread in London that Elizabeth had been sent for to be married to Lord Warwick, whose wife was to be divorced to make room for her. A few days later Scheyfne reported that something (he knew not what) was going forward. Five hundred men had been quietly introduced into Windsor Castle by Northampton. He had been privately informed that the same nobleman, with Suffolk and two or three others, was going down into Hertfordshire, to form a cordon silently round Hunsdon, to take possession of Mary's person, when the signal should be given them from London. With evident alarm, he added that Pembroke was one of the conspirators, which, May 25.on the 25th of May, received a further and a strange confirmation. On that day London was startled with three extraordinary marriages extraordinary, and, considering the King's illness, and the rank of the ladies concerned, in the highest degree indecent. Lady Catherine Dudley was married to Lord Hastings. The two elder daughters of the Duke of Suffolk, princesses of the blood, and possible heirs of the crown, were disposed of together; Lady Jane Grey to Lord Guilford Dudley; and Lady Catherine to Pembroke's son, Lord Herbert. There had been an alarm lest Mary or Elizabeth might make some objectionable alliance with a foreigner. Care was taken that there should be no such fear on account of those who were next to them in the order of succession. That some project was concealed behind these precipitate unions, and that the Duke had secured a powerful supporter in the Earl of Pembroke, was no longer doubted.
May 30.Yet what the project was continued a mystery. On the 30th Scheyfne wrote again that the King was sinking slowly but surely. His head and legs were swelling, and he could only sleep with the assistance of opiates; he might perhaps live two months, but that was the longest; while an attempt, it was now certain, would be made to exclude Mary from the throne. Religion would be one pretext, and others could be made or found. France would assist bribed, so Scheyfne had been told, by the promise of Ireland. Elizabeth could be got rid of, or married to Warwick, or Northumberland would take her, and seize the crown for himself.
June.Through the first days of June the ambassador's reports acquired more and more consistency. As each step was taken he had instant and accurate information. There had been a difficulty in arranging the plans for the seizure of Mary. The Lords, who were to have been her captors, had either disagreed among themselves, or their fidelity was doubtful. Northumberland and his friends were buying up or securing all the arms in London; ships in the river were preparing for sea. The plan was now to wait for the King's death, and then at once to seize the noblemen who were expected to take Mary's side. Mary herself was to be invited to the Tower to receive the Crown, and then to be secured. The Duke was keeping up an appearance of studied respect towards her. He flattered himself that his secret had been kept, and that she would fall without difficulty into the snare. The Tower gates safely locked behind her, the ports were to be closed, and the evangelical preachers were to inform the people from the pulpits that, being illegitimate, she was incapable of sovereignty; that religion would be in danger; that the holders of Church property would be deprived of their estates; that the Papal jurisdiction would be restored; and that, on constitutional grounds, England could not be ruled over by a woman. Elizabeth's person would be secured with Mary's, but she would be treated with more respect, since the Duke might find it necessary to make use of her.
So stood the plot as it was communicated to Scheyfne in the first week in June. But, although Northumberland was confident of success, he was assured privately that the opposition would be more considerable than was anticipated. Mary was as generally popular as the Duke was detested; all the peers but a few, Reformers as well as Catholics, would take her side; they might appear to be swimming with the stream, but they would strike clear from it when the time came for action. The supposed secrecy was a delusion. The conspiracy was in every one's mouth, and the people were furious. The Duke was accused of having sold the country to France; but the King of France, men said, should never set foot in England. The jealousy with which Edward was guarded only stimulated suspicion. Some said that he was already dead, others that the Duke had poisoned him; to which the Protestants had their answering accusation that his sister Mary had 'overlooked' him; that his illness became mortal from the day when she was last in his presence.
In other times the popular discontent would have expressed itself in a violent form; but London was overawed by the 'gendarmerie,' who could have extinguished in blood any merely popular tumult. The council had not been formally consulted, and no opinions on either side had been officially expressed: yet none of those who were suspected of being unfavourable to the Duke felt their lives secure; Cecil, walking with a friend in Greenwich Park, whispered his own misgivings; for himself, he said, he would be no party to treason, and he had resigned his office of secretary; but he went about ever after armed, in dread, he avowed, of assassination; he secreted his money and papers and prepared to fly.
Meantime Northumberland had made important progress; he had persuaded Edward. Edward had consented by a strained imitation of the precedent of Henry VIII. to name his successor by letters patent, or by will; and the council and the Lords could thus be forced into an appearance of acquiescence which they would find it difficult to refuse to the entreaties of a dying prince. When Edward's mind was first set working upon the subject, the extremity of his danger was concealed from him, and Scheyfne was informed rightly, that one of the points pressed upon his consideration was the objection to a female sovereign. The plot was altogether precipitate and inconsistent: the Duke had resolved on nothing beyond setting Mary aside. Some time in the beginning of June Edward wrote with his own hand what he called 'his device for the succession.'
For lack of issue
male of my body to the issue male coming of the issue female, as I have after declared: to the Lady Frances's heirs males, for lack of if she have any such issue before my death: to the Lady Jane 's and her heirs males. To the Lady Catherine's heirs males. To the Lady Mary's heirs males. To the heirs males of the daughters which she [i.e. the Duchess of Suffolk] shall have hereafter. Then to the Lady Margaret's heir's males. For lack of such issue, to the heirs males of the Lady Jane's daughters. To the heirs males of the Lady Catherine's daughters; and so forth, till you come to the Lady Margaret's daughter' heirs males.'
The 'device' tells its own story; a female sovereign was not contemplated, nor was Edward, when he drew it, aware of the near approach of his death. He evidently expected to live till one or both of the recent marriages had proved fruitful; he considered the possibility of his having children of his own; and the male offspring of his cousins was preferred to his own daughters, should daughters be born to him. But such an arrangement would not have answered Northumberland's intention. The King was now made to feel that he was dying. 'The Lady Jane's heirs males' were converted, by erasure and an insertion, into 'the Lady Jane and her heirs male.' Her mother, Lady Frances, was but thirty-seven years old and might still bear a son. This contingency was anticipated by a provision that the son, to succeed, must be born while Edward was alive. Thus altered, the weak, incoherent, impracticable arrangement was submitted to the Lords as the King's desire.
The reception of it was not favourable. The Marquis of Winchester, Lord Bedford, Sir Thomas Cheyne, Lord Shrewsbury, and Lord Arundel made the obvious objections that the power of bequeathing the crown had been granted exceptionally to Henry VIII., for peculiar reasons; that the disposition which had been made by Henry had been confirmed by statute; and that it was grotesque to suppose that a prince under age, and unauthorized, could set aside an Act of Parliament at his own pleasure: the French, too, whatever present face they might please to wear, would be as little satisfied as the Emperor; if the late King's daughter were to be set aside in favour of another queen, they would, sooner or later, insist on the prior claims of Mary Stuart. The resistance was so decided that, on the 15th of June, it was believed that Northumberland would be driven after all to take possession of Elizabeth and try his fortune thus.
But the indispensable consent of Elizabeth herself, perhaps, could not be obtained; or else among the many difficulties of a hazardous enterprise those attending the substitution of Jane Grey were the least. Northumberland could not retreat; the King was eager, and force could compensate for illegality. The lives of the opposition were in Northumberland's power; and they hesitated, or they could not on the instant resolve on the course which they should pursue. A promise was made to them that Parliament should be called immediately, and that any steps which might be taken, should be subject to parliamentary revision. They bent, therefore, before the immediate danger, and waited till they could have the support of the country in taking further measures.
The question of legality was referred to the judges.
On the 11th of June Chief Justice Montague received a letter, bearing the council' s signatures, requiring him to present himself at Greenwich the following day with Sir Thomas Bromley, Sir John Baker, and the Attorney- and Solicitor-General. June 12.The learned body were admitted into the King's apartment, and the King, in the last stage of exhaustion, informed them that during his illness he had reflected on the condition and prospects of the country; the Lady Mary might marry a stranger; the laws and liberties of England might be sacrificed, and religion might be changed; he desired, therefore, that the succession might be altered. The scheme, in the corrected form, was read aloud in the room, and Edward required the judges to draw out letters patent embodying his directions.
The judges listened, and declared unanimously that the King demanded an impossibility. Letters patent would have no force against an Act of Parliament. But Edward would hear of no objections. He would have the letters patent drawn, and drawn immediately. The judges retired, requesting time.
The two next days the council were in close session, the clerks and secretaries being excluded. Noailles, since the Queen of Scots had been named as a difficulty, had been admitted no further into confidence, and could learn nothing of what was going forward; only on all sides there were notes of preparation; the equipment of the fleet was hastened; a body of troops were reviewed in the Isle of Dogs, and forty pieces of cannon were shipped for Guisnes and Calais; at last an order appeared commanding all peers and great men in England to repair at once to London.
Meanwhile the judges were studying the Act of Succession, and had discovered, beyond all doubt, that, if they obeyed the King, they would lay themselves open to prosecution as traitors. June 15.They returned to Greenwich, and repeated to the council their inability to comply. Northumberland was absent when they entered; but, hearing of their arrival and of their answer, 'he came into the council chamber, being in great rage and fury, trembling for anger; and amongst, his outrageous talk he called Sir Edward Montague traitor, and said that he would fight in his shirt with any man in the quarrel.' He was so savage, that the judges thought he would strike them, if they remained in the room. They escaped in haste; June 16.but the next day they were again sent for. They were introduced in the midst of dead silence. 'The Lords looked on them with earnest countenance, as though they had not known them.' Not a word was spoken till they were called to the King's bed-side.
Edward, dying as he was, 'with sharp words and angry countenance, asked where were the letters patent? Why had they not been drawn?' Montague said that they would be useless without an Act of Parliament, and when Edward answered that he would call a Parliament, the Chief Justice begged that the question might be deferred till the meeting. But Edward would not hear of delay. The ratification might follow; for the present, he chose to be obeyed. A voice at Montague's back exclaimed, if the judges still refused, they were traitors. No lips were opened to support them; partly, perhaps, because the King's death-bed was not a fit place for an altercation; partly because opposition at that time might have led to instant bloodshed.
Bromley was timid, Baker would go with Sir Edward, and Sir Edward was 'an old man without comfort.' They reflected that they could not be committing treason by obeying the King as long as the King was alive; and they satisfied their consciences by resolving to meddle no further after he was gone. They demanded for their greater security special instructions in writing, and a pardon if their consent should prove to have been a crime. This being granted, they complied. The remaining judges, who were next called in, agreed to the same terms, Sir James Hales, a Protestant, alone holding out to the last. The Solicitor-General Gosnold resisted long. 'How the Duke and the Earl of Shrewsbury handled him,' says Montague, 'he can tell himself.' Gosnold, too, yielded at last, and the letters patent were drawn out, engrossed, and passed under the Great Seal. The King's sisters were declared incapable of succeeding to the Crown, as being both of them illegitimate With a strange inconsequence of reasoning, it was added that, even had their birth been pure, being but of half-blood to the King, they would not be his heirs; and, further, they might compromise the country by undesirable marriages. The succession was therefore disposed in the altered order which Edward had prescribed; and the document being prepared, it remained only that Northumberland should compel every one whose rank or influence made him formidable, to commit himself to the substitution by his signature.
June 21.On the 21st of June he collected at Greenwich the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, twenty- two peers, eight eldest sons of peers, ministers, secretaries of State, judges, officers of the household. Of all whose support would be useful, of all whose opposition had to be dreaded, Lord William Howard and Lord Derby alone were absent, and Lord Derby was represented by his son. The rest came together at the Duke's bidding, and, willingly or unwillingly, gave their names to his design.
They signed without order; ardent Protestants side by side with the attached friends of Mary; city merchants intermixed with privy councillors; and some names appear in so singular a connection, that it is hazardous to suggest the principle which guided the arrangement. The judges, when they produced the document, again protested that it was worthless, and they must have signed as a form; Cecil, after long refusal, wrote his name at last at the King's desire; but insisting, as he did it, that he signed only as a witness. Many, perhaps, like Montague, saved their consciences with an intention of resisting afterwards when the King should have died. Some signed, it can hardly be doubted, with a deliberate intention of deceiving and betraying the Duke of Northumberland. Winchester, Bedford, and Cheyne continued their opposition, notwithstanding their apparent compliance; and were insisting in council, two days after, on the necessity of maintaining the original Act of Succession.
Cranmer, though he headed the list, was the last who subscribed on the 21st of June. The Archbishop, who had been on bad terms with the Duke since Somerset's death, was among the latest to be informed of his project. He, of all men, had most to fear from the accession of the daughter of Queen Catherine; but Northumberland knew his disposition too well to seek his confidence or expect his support; he had been informed only as soon as his outward concurrence became necessary. On learning the Duke's intentions, he went at once to Edward, and in the presence of Lord Northampton, remonstrated with him. Finding the King obstinate, he requested a private audience, which the Duke was too prudent to permit. He then endeavoured to move the council. Northumberland told him that the judges had acquiesced, and that it was not for him to interfere with the King's pleasure; yet he continued to hold off, and, finding his remonstrances useless, he absented himself from Greenwich on the day of the signature. But the Archbishop's name could not be dispensed with. He was sent for, and came in only after the rest had signed. He said that he had sworn to maintain the will of Henry VIII. If he signed the letters patent, he was perjured. The Duke and his friends replied that they had sworn as well as he, and if he had a conscience, so had they. He did not judge their consciences, he said, but he must act for himself by his own. He would not sign till he had again seen his master; and he was taken to the King's room.
Edward there assured him that the change of the succession had the sanction of the judges; neither himself nor his subjects could be bound by his father's will; he had a right to act for the good of the commonwealth by his own judgment. The Archbishop had not been present at Montague's protest, and knew nothing of itHe desired to see the judges himself; and the judges having satisfied their own consciences that treason was not treason while the King lived, now told him that he might sign, if he wished it, without breach of the law. He returned, still hesitating, to the King's bed-side. Edward told him he hoped that he would not stand out alone, 'and be more repugnant to his will than all the rest of the council;' and at this last appeal the Archbishop yielded. Others signed with mental reservations, of which, in their subsequent defence of themselves, they made the most. Cranmer made no reservations, and pretended to none. When called to account by Mary, he said frankly that, when he signed at last, 'he did it unfeignedly and without dissimulation.'
The letters patent were thus completed; but the Duke still felt himself insecure, and those who might be suspected of equivocating were compelled to bind themselves with a second chain. An engagement was attached to the scheme as drawn by the King, by which all the council, except Lord Arundel, promised that they would maintain the succession as it was there determined, 'to the uttermost of their power,' and 'never at any time during their lives would swerve from it.'
The last precautions were thus taken, and the conspirators had then to sit still till the King's death, which was now every day expected. Since the 11th of June he had eaten nothing; on the 14th he was thought at one time to be gone. The care of him was now exclusively committed to the nameless woman, who, when the physicians despaired, had professed a belief that she could effect a cure. But his disorder evidently grew worse, and assumed anomalous forms; it was said to be an affection of the lungs; but symptoms appeared which could have been occasioned by no disorder of the lungs. Eruptions came out over his skin; his hair fell off, and then his nails, and afterwards the joints of his toes and fingers; and rumour said that Northumberland, having made his arrangements, could not afford to wait, and was hastening the natural arrival of death with poison.
While these events were in progress, Mary, whom the Duke believed to be ignorant of all that had passed, found means, though she was narrowly watched, to communicate with Scheyfne, and desired him to let the Emperor know her situation, and ask his advice. On the 23rd of June, a rising was expected in London. The Protestant clergy, who were the only persons that heartily exerted themselves in the conspiracy, gave out in their pulpits that the King was dying, and that religion would be in danger from Mary. The people listened so ominously, that the guards at the gates were doubled. The Duke of Norfolk, Gardiner, and the other prisoners in the Tower, who had been allowed to walk on the leads and in the gardens, were confined to their rooms; Lord Dacres, who was leaving London, was detained, and other suspected persons were arrested; June 24.and on the 24th of June Scheyfne was told that the Duke found his embarrassments so great, that he was giving up the game. Three quarters of the country were determined to support Mary, and her friends on the council sent a message through Scheyfne to the Emperor, to say that the slightest demonstration, on his part, in his cousin's favour, would suffice to insure her accession.
In his extremity Northumberland was obliged again to appeal to France. It was now whispered at Paris that, should Mary become Queen, Charles had already destined her for Philip of Spain; and the union of England and Spain, under a common sovereign, was a danger which every French statesman felt himself called upon to make an effort to prevent. In the last June 27.week in June, therefore, fresh communications passed between the King of France and the conspirators; promises were given of help, at which the Duke recovered heart; he demanded a loan from the city, and when there was hesitation, he threatened that the voluntary loan should be a forced one. Troops were raised in all directions; the forts in Essex were dismantled of cannon to furnish the fleet; and by the 1st of July twenty sail were ready armed and manned at Greenwich to intercept any descent which might be attempted from Flanders: Scheyfne comforted himself with ascertaining that the crews had been pressed, and were not to be depended on; but the preparations in London threatened to crush resistance in the capital.
July 4.On the 4th of July the King was believed to be dead. A wan face had been seen at a window of the palace at Greenwich; Edward had been lifted out of bed, and carried to the casement, that the people might assure themselves with their own eyes that he was living. But the suspicion was only deepened; the spectators believed that they had seen a corpse. Scheyfne was by this time informed minutely of the circumstances of the letters patent. Parliament was to meet in September, and Parliament he was assured would replace the Princess Mary in her rights; but the danger was that in the mean time she would be made away with. She had been warned by some secret friend to move further from London, if possible, to Framlingham Castle, in Norfolk, where she would find friends.
On the first Sunday in the month it was observed that the preacher at Paul's Cross 'did neither pray for the Lady Mary's Grace, nor the Lady Elizabeth's.' On the Friday following the French ambassador detected an unusual movement; he had been promised an audience, but a message was brought to put him off. There was no longer any king in England. On the evening of Thursday, the 6th of July, the anniversary, as pious Catholics did not fail to observe, of the execution of Sir Thomas More, the last male child of the Tudor race had ceased to suffer.
- 'Considering in your noble Grace the same mighty, fervent, and religious zeal in God's cause which I have diligently marked in Moses, the servant of God.'—Strype, vol. iv. p. 39.
- Ossory in Ireland.
- See especially a remarkable Discourse on the Reformation of Abuses, printed by Burnet, and a draft of provisions which Edward intended for insertion in his will.—Strype, vol. iv. p. 120. If Edward really wrote or dictated those two papers, the 'Miracle of Nature' was no exaggerated description of him. I am bound to add, howevei-, that his Essays and Exercises, a volume of which remains in MS. in the British Museum, show nothing beyond the ordinary ability of a clever boy.
- Device for the payment of the King's Debts: Strype's Memorials, vol. iii. p. 594. Compare Edward's Journal, 1552.
- Strype, vol. iv. p. 120.
- Discourse on the Reformation of Abuses: Burnet's Collectanea.
- Correspondence between Cranmer, Calvin, and Melancthon: Epistolæ Tigurinæ.
- 'God's justice,' says Knox, in his Admonition to the Faithful in England, 'is not wont to cut off wicked men till their iniquity is so manifest that their very flatterers cannot excuse it. If Stephen Gardiner, Cuthbert Tunstal, and butcherly Bonner, false bishops of Winchester, Durham, and London, had, for their false doctrines and traitorous acts, suffered death when they justly deserved the same, then would Papists have alleged that they were men reformable,' &c. In the Constitution of the Church of Scotland, which was drawn under Knox's influence, to say mass, or to hear it, was made a capital crime—under the authority of the text, 'The idolater shall die the death.'
- Micronius to Bullinger: Epistolæ Tigurinæ.
- The Reformatio Legum.
- Discourse on the Reformation of Abuses: Burnet.
- Northumberland to Cecil: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xv. State Paper Office.
- The state of the ordnance department was but a specimen of the state of all the departments. On the 3rd of August, 1552, the Master of the Ordnance wrote to Cecil:—
'These be to beseech you for God's sake, charity's sake, yea, at this my contemplation, to help the miseries that be in the office of the ordnance for lack of money, as it is high time, being daily sundry and many poor men crying and calling for the same, to my no little grief; amongst the which is one named Charles Wolmar, gunpowder maker, now in very pitiful case, who is presently in the Counter, for that the rent of the house he dwelleth in is unpaid for a year and a half, which amounteth to 13 pounds and odd money, which cometh by reason there hath been no money paid in this office a long time. The King's Majesty is charged with the rent thereof, being put there by the King's appointment, both for the making of gunpowder, when there is money to set him a work, and also to look to certain things of his Highness's there under his charge. I heartily pray you, seeing that the said poor man, as is great pity, is nevertheless troubled for this the King's Majesty's care, to move my Lords of the Council in that behalf. Sir, I pray you that I may have an answer hereof.'—MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiv. State Paper Office.
- Strype's Memorials.
- Strype's Memorials.
- Northumberland to Cecil: MS. Domestic, vol. xiv. Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- He may have the benefit of his words so far as it will extend. He 'instantly and earnestly required the Lords of the Council to be vigilant for the preventing of these treasons so far as in them was possible to be foreseen;' 'that thereby,' he said, 'we may to our master and the world discharge ourselves like honest men, which, if we do not, having the warning that we have which cometh more of the goodness of God than of our search or care, the shame, the blame, the dishonour, the lack and reproach should, and may justly, be laid upon us to the world's end. The old saying which ever among wise men hath been holden for true, seemeth by our proceedings to be had either in derision or in small memory, being comprehended in these words—mora trahit periculum—beseeching your Lordships, for the love of God and the love which we ought to have to our master and country, let us be careful, as becometh men of honour, truth, and honesty to be. For we be called in the time of trial and trouble; and therefore let us show ourselves to be as we ought to be; that is, to be ready, not only to spend our goods, but our lands and lives, for our master and our country, and to despise the flattering of ourselves with heaping riches upon riches, house upon house, building upon building, and all through the infection of singulare commodum. And let us not only ourselves beware and fly from it as the greatest pestilence in the commonwealth, let us also be of that fortitude and courage that we be not blinded and abused by those that be infected with these infirmities.'—Northumberland to the Council: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xv. State Paper Office.
- Strype's Memorials.
- Gresham to Northumberland: Strype's Memorials, vol. iv.
- 'I pray you, and most heartily require you, to have in remembrance the restraint lately taken for the stay of lead through the realm, that it may be substantially considered; for I put you out of doubt the clamour and exclamation grow great, and may breed more dangers than can now be seen. I have, since my being in the council chamber, heard of that matter, which maketh me sorry that ever it was my hap to be a meddler in it; but shall teach me to beware of the vayne of a dry spring vhile I live; for princes' affairs specially touching the government of realms and merchants' trades are of two natures; therefore, though they be full of devices with appearance of profit, yet must they be weighted with other consequences; as in this case as much requisite as any matter that was in use a great while, for such reasons as this day were rehearsed, as knoweth the Lord.'—Northumberland to Cecil, November, 1552: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiv. State Paper Office.
- Note in Cecil's hand: MS Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiv. State Paper Office.
- Second Note in Cecil's hand: Ibid.
- Chancellor Granvelle's defence of the Peace of Crêpy was probably unknown in England, or it would have spared the council all difficulty. 'De dire,' he wrote to the Emperor, 'que le Roy d'Angleterre par la dicte paix pourra se malcontenter et pretender que votre Majesté a contrevenu à traicté—il y a, Sire, une maxime en matières d'estat comme en toutes choses, qu'il faut regarder plus à la réalité des choses que se traictent, en y conjoignant ce qu'est possible et faysable, selon Dieu et raison, que de advanturer et hazarder pour crainte de scrupules non fondez.'—Granvelle to Charles V.: Papiers d'Etat, vol. iii. p. 27.
- 'It is an old saying that we should not laugh at our neighbour when his house is on fire. I do every day hear more and more of the cruel dealings of the French against the subjects and merchants of this realm, in such lamentable sort that a number almost is ready to be desperate: wherein the honour of the prince, his council, and realm, is vehemently touched.'—Northumberland to Cecil, September, 1552: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiv. State Paper Office.
- 'Which things considered, we have more regarded our faith in our religion, our old amity and alliance with our good brother the Emperor, and the antient natural friendship that hath, in all times and adversities, continued betwixt the two noble houses of England and Burgundy, than other worldly perils and lacks that might, in appearance of reason, move us to be quiet and sit still; and be content to declare the French King's countries and subjects common enemies to us and our good brother the Emperor—no wise doubting but our said good brother will naturally, like a brother, consider this our well-tried constancy and natural love towards him. And herein you shall declare to our said good brother, that our desire is to have his advice for our best means of entry to this demonstration.'—Minute of Instructions to Sir R. Morryson, September 2, 1552: MS. Germany, Edward VI. bundle 15, State Paper Office.
- Stukeley's Deposition: MS. France, Edward VI. bundle 10, State Paper Office.
- The Cardinal of Lorraine showed Sir William Pickering the Holy Ampulla [St Ampull, Pickering calls it, like St Cross or St Sepulchre,] 'wherewith the King of France was sacred, which he said was sent from Heaven above a thousand years ago, and since by miracle preserved; through whose virtue also the King healed les escrouelles.'—Pickering to the Council: MS. Ibid.
- While the preservation of the holy ointment assured France of the continued favour of Heaven, the French preachers informed their congregations, on analogous grounds, that England had been forsaken. 'No wonder,' said a Jacobin monk in a sermon at Angiers, 'that the King of England has broken faith with France, seeing that he had broken faith with God; disant qu'il estoit hérétique et mêschant, et que le peuple de France debvroit bien louer Dieu et luy rendre grâces, et que nostre roy avoit tournu sa robe et estoit ennemy des Françoys. Depuys continuant sa mêschante affection, il a dict en publique que notre Roy d'Angleterre estoit infidèle, ce qu'il disoit estre notoire par ce que le don de faire miracles luy estoit ostée; disant que ses prédécesseurs Roys d'Angleterre avoient de cousturae de guérir du mal caduc, mais que ceste vertu luy avoit este ostée, et n'en guérissoit, plus à cause de son infidélité.'—MS. France, Edward VI. bundle 10, State Paper Office.
- Edward's Journal, September, 1552.—Discussion on the War with France, with the Instructions to Sir Richard Morryson: Cotton. MSS. Galba, 12.
- Morryson to the Council: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Grey Friars' Chronicle.
- It is to be said for Ridley that he begged and obtained the linen surplices, &c., for the use of the hospitals.
- Further Calculations of the King's Debts and of the Means of paying them: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xiv.
- From a report presented in the first year of Queen Mary, it appeared that in the last year of Edward he cleared off 60,000l.
- 'There is none other remedy,' he said, 'to bring his Majesty out of the great debts wherein, for one great part, he was left by his Highness's father, and augmented by the wilful government of the late Duke of Somerset, who took upon him the Protectorship and government of his own authority. His Highness, by the prudence of his father, left in peace with all princes, suddenly by that man's unskilful Protectorship, was plunged in wars, whereby his expenses were increased unto the point of six or seven score thousand pounds a year over and above the charges for the keeping of Boulogne. These things being now so onerous and weighty to the King's Majesty, and having all this while been put off by the best means we have been able to devise, although but slender shifts, the same is grown to such an extremity, as without it speedily be holpen by your wise heads, both dishonour and peril may follow; and seeing there is none other honourable means to reduce these evils, I think there be no man that beareth his obedient duty to his sovereign lord and country but must conform himself to think this way [of a Parliament] most honourable. The sale of lands ye have proved; the seeking of every man's doings in office ye mind to try; and yet you perceive all this cannot help to salve the sore that hath been so long suffered to fester for lack of looking unto.'—Northumberland to the Council; MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xv.
- On the 16th of August, 1553, Simon Renard, the Flemish Ambassador, writing to Charles V. of the Parliament about to be called by Mary, consulted him in Mary's name, 'si le dict parlement se doit faire général, ou y appellir particuliers et notables du pays par répresenter le parlement selon que le Duc de Northumberland l'a introduict.'—Despatches of Renard, copied from the Archives at Brussels: MS. Rolls House. Charles advised Mary to trust the people as completely as possible.
- A first draft of the circular is in the British Museum: Lansdowne MSS. 3.
'Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. Forasmuch as we have, for divers good considerations, caused a summonition of a Parliament to be made, as we doubt not ye understand the same, by our writs sent in that behalf to you, we have thought it meet, for the furtherance of such causes as are to be propounded in the same Parliament for the commonweal of our realm, that in the election of such persons as shall be sent to our Parliament, either from our counties as knights of the shire, or from our cities and boroughs, there be good regard had that the choice be made of men of gravity and knowledge in their own counties and towns, fit for their understanding and qualities to be in such a great council. And, therefore, since some part of the proceeding herein shall rest in you by virtue of your office, we do, for the great desire we have that this our Parliament may be assembled with personages out of every county of wisdom and experience, at this present recommend two gentlemen of the same county, being well furnished with all good qualities, to be knights of that shire, that is to say, —— and ——, to whom we would ye should signify this our meaning, to the intent they may prepare themselves to enter into this office, being for the weal of their country; and likewise our pleasure is that ye shall, at or before the day of the election, communicate this our purpose to the gentlemen and such other our subjects of the same, being freeholders of that county, as shall seem requisite, so as they may both see our consideration and care for the weal of the same shire, and our good memory of those two personages whom we have named unto you.'
Transversely written on the same page, in the handwriting of Northumberland's secretary, is a second form, more general.
'I will and command you that ye shall give notice, as well to the freeholders of your county as to the citizens or burgesses of any city or borough which shall have any of our writs for the election of citizens or burgesses, that they shall choose and appoint, as nigh as they possibly may, men of knowledge and experience within their counties, cities, or boroughs, so as, by the assembly of such, we may, by God's goodness, provide for the redress of the lacks in our commonwealth more effectually than hitherto hath been.
'And yet, nevertheless, our pleasure is, that when our privy council, or any of them, with their instructions in our behalf, shall recommend men of learning and wisdom, in such cases their direction be regarded and followed.'
- 'Ye shall understand that his Majesty is right desirous to have the Parliament now coming to be assembled of the chiefest men of wisdom and good counsel for the better consideration of things for the commonwealth of this realm; and, therefore, amongst divers others, hath willed us to signify unto you this his pleasure, to have you one of the Commons House, which thing we also require you to foresee, that either for the county where ye abide ye be chosen knight, or else otherwise to have some place in the House like as all others of your degree be appointed. And herein, if either his Majesty or we knew where to recommend you, according to your own desires, we would not fail but provide the same.'—The Council to Sir P. Hoby, January 19: Harleian MSS. 523.
- Northumberland to the Lord Chamberlain: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xvi.
- MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xix.
- The annual proceeds of the land sold were 21,304l. 14s. 4d.; the money paid for them, 435,277l. 12s. 1d The average value, therefore, was a fraction over twenty years' purchase. The annual proceeds of the lands given were 36,746l. 15s. 8d. which, on the same calculation, would give something over 730,000l.
- MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xix. The summary at the close of the report is made up to the death of Edward, who is there described as the late King. The report itself is stated to have been drawn up for Parliament, and was probably, therefore, presented in the first year of Mary.
- 12 Henry VII. cap. 6.
- When the House of Commons petitioned Henry VIII. against the abuses of the spiritual courts, the bishops replied to the special charges of misconduct with a defence of the principle on which their authority was founded. It is amusing to find Sir Thomas Gresham addressing Northumberland with precisely similar arguments. All that was urged, either by prelate or merchant, was most excellent, provided only that the wisdom and honesty of the jurisdiction which they defended was equal to its claims and professions. 'The exchange,' wrote Gresham, 'is one of the chiefest points in the commonweal that your Grace and the King's Majesty's Council hath to look unto; for, as the exchange riseth, so all the commodities in England falleth; and as the exchange falleth, so all the commodities in England riseth; as, also, if the exchange riseth it will be the right occasion that all our gold and silver shall remain within our realm. And, to be plain with your Grace, you shall never be able to bring this to pass except you take away one of the greatest occasions of the let and stay thereof, that there shall be no more made free of this company of Merchant Adventurers from this day forward. For verily they have been and are one of the chiefest occasions of the falling of the exchange; as also, for lack of experience they have brought the commodities of our realm clean out of reputation, as also the merchants of the same, which times past hath been most in estimation of all the merchants of the world. In the few years since the Act was made for the new Hanse the merchants and our commodities hath fallen in decay, and like to fall daily more and more, except the matter be prevented in time. For, as your Grace doth right well know, where there is no order kept, all things at length falleth to confusion. So, an it please your Grace, how it is possible that either a minstrel player, or a shoemaker, or any crafty man, or any other that hath not been brought up in the science, to have the present understanding of the feat of the Merchant Adventurers; to the which science I myself was bound prentice eight years, to come by the experience and knowledge that I have; nevertheless, I need not have been prentice, for that I was free by my father's copy. Albeit my father, Sir Richard Gresham, being a wise man, knew, although I was free by his copy, it was to no purpose except I was bound prentice to the same. So that by this it may appear to your Grace that these men that be made free by this new Hanse, for lack of knowledge, hath been and is one of the chiefest occasions of the fall of the exchange, as also hath brought our commodities out of reputation.
'As a further example to your Grace, it is not passing twenty or thirty years ago since we had for every twenty shillings sterling thirty-two shillings Flemish; and the notable number that hath from time to time run in headlong into the feat of merchandise, and so entered into credit, when they had overshot themselves and had bound themselves with more than their substance would bear, then, for saving of their names, were fain to run upon the exchange and rechange; and the merchants, knowing that they had need thereof, would not from time to time deliver their money, but at their prices. So that in these few years the plenty of these new merchants, for lack of experience, substance, and credit, hath been only the occasion that the exchange fell from thirty-two shillings to 26s. 8d., which was done afore any fall of money passed in England.
'To make an end of this matter, it may please you to understand till that the King's Majesty and you, with the rest of his Most Honourable Council, have wholly set an order in the premises, that you shall never be able to bring the commodities of this realm to such purpose as heretofore hath been; for plenty of merchants without experience is the uttermostly destruction of any realm that hath the like commodities that we have to transport, which must be kept in reputation by merchants, or else in process of time things will grow to small estimation.
'Also there is another matter which is most convenient to be looked unto in time. And this is to make a general stay that there may be no retailer occupy the feat of Merchant Adventurers, but only to keep him, and to live upon his retail; and likewise the Merchant Adventurer to occupy his feat only, and to touch no retail, for divers considerations of damage, as doth daily ensue thereof; and, for an example, the retailer comes over with the commodities of our realm, which, if a cannot sell them at his price, then a falls to bartering of them for silks and such like merchandise, and careth not to win by his cloth, for that a is sure to win by the retail of his silks. Now, the Merchant Adventurer that occupyeth no retail cometh over with our commodities to have his gains and his living thereby; and for that the retailer doth sell the self commodities better cheap than he is able to afford them, a doth not only take away the living of the Merchant Adventurer, but in process of time the few numbers of forty or fifty retailers in London will eat out all the merchants within our realm.'
Gresham seemed unconscious of the practical commentary which he was making upon his doctrine that only men who understood their business should be allowed to trade. His complaint against the retailers was merely that they were more skilful than their competitors.
'For your Grace's better instruction in the matter,' he continued, 'it may please you to understand that this last March there was one Rowland Haywood and Richard Foulkes, both retailers, as also this last year they both came in by the Hanse; which parties sold here in barter 1500 cloths of the best sort in England and took half silks for them; and the said cloths so sold here was offered by the party that bought them to sell in this town for four pounds better cheap than any Merchant Adventurer was able to afford them; which is a matter in the commonweal to be looked upon. In consideration whereof, the merchants here with one assent have made an Act to take effect at Midsummer next coming, with a proviso so far forth as the King's Majesty and his Most Honourable Council be agreeable to the same, that the retailer shall occupy only his retail, and the Merchant Adventurer his feat accordingly, to be at their liberty betwixt this and then to take to one of them which they shall seem most to their profit, which in my poor opinion seems to me a thing most reasonable.'—Gresham to the Duke of Northumberland: Flanders MSS. Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- Note for an Act be prepared for the Parliament: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol. xvi. Ibid.
- Commons Journals, 7 Edward VI.
- 7 Edward VI. 12, 13.
- It is remarkable that in an official list of measures intended to be introduced during the session there is no mention of this Act. It was probably forced upon the Government by the debates on the subsidy.—Compare 7 Edward VI. cap. 1, with the Preparatory List: MS. Domestic, Edward VI. vol xvi. State Paper Office.
- Lords' Journals, Commons' Journals, 7 Edward VI.
- Northumberland to Cecil, October 28, 1552: Tytler, vol. ii.
- Northumberland to Cecil, December 7, 1552: Tytler, vol. ii.
- 'Who, I pray you, ruled the roast in the Court all this time by stout courage and proudness of stomach? who, I pray you, ruled all by counsel and wit? Shall I name the man? I will write no more plainly than my tongue spake even to the face of such as of whom I meant. I recited the histories of Ahithophel, Shebnah, and Judas; of whom the two former had high offices and promotions, with great authority, under David and Hezekiah, and Judas was purse-bearer unto Christ Jesus.' 'Was David, said I, and Hezekiah abused by crafty councillors and dissembling hypocrites? What wonder is it that a young and innocent king be deceived by crafty, covetous, wicked, and ungodly councillors? I am greatly afraid that Ahithophel is councillor, that Judas bears the purse, and that Shebnah is scribe, controller, and treasurer.' And yet Knox afterwards accused himself for want of boldness. 'I did speak of men's faults,' he says, 'so that all men might know whom I meant; but, alas! this day my conscience accuseth me that I spake not as my duty was to have done—for I ought to have said to the wicked man expressly by his name, thou shalt die the death. Jeremiah the prophet, Elijah, Elisha, Micah, Amos, Daniel, Christ Jesus himself, and after him his apostles, expressly warned the bloodthirsty tyrants and dissembling hypocrites of their danger. Why withheld we the salt? I accuse none but myself. The blind love that I did bear to this my wicked carcase was the chief cause why I was not fervent and faithful enough. I had no will to provoke the hatred of men against me. So touched I the vices of men in the presence of the greatest that they might see themselves to be offenders; hut yet, nevertheless, I would not be seen to proclaim manifest war against the manifest wicked; whereof unfeignedly I ask God mercy.'—Admonition to the Faithful in England.
- Knox was not always just. He afterwards accused the Marquis of "Winchester of having been the first contriver of the conspiracy to set aside Mary; whereas, he was among the most consistent opponents of that conspiracy. He charged Gardiner with having advised the Spanish marriage, although there was nothing which Gardiner so much dreaded. Nevertheless, the power of passing censures on the conduct of public men, in the name of right and wrong, is one which, in some form or other, has existed, and ought to exist, in every well-ordered community. The most effective and the least objectionable instrument of such criticism is the public press as it is conducted at the present day in this country.
- Scheyfne to Charles V.: MS. Rolls House, transcribed from the Brussels Archives.
- Northumberland to Cecil: Lansdowne MSS. 3.
- Northumberland's Correspondence with Cecil in the State Paper Office flows over with confidence, public spirit, and zeal for religion, with all those studied graces of expression, which charmed and deceived the eager Protestants. Yet, on his release from the Court, when Edward was dead, and the spell was broken, entered in his Journal '7 Julii libertatem adeptus sum morte regis, ex misero aulico factus liber et mei juris.'—Life of Burghley, by Nares.
- 'Chiefly,' says Edward, in his Journal, 'because he was no gentleman born neither by the father's nor the mother's side.' Revolutionary Governments are not generally so scrupulous about high birth.
- Morryson to Cecil, MS. Germany, bundle 15, State Paper Office.
- Dudley and Morryson were admitted into the Emperor's bed-room. 'We found there,' wrote the latter, 'the Prince of Piedmont, the Duke of Alva, the Bishop of Arras, Don Diego, M. de Vaux, the Count of Egmont, with all those of his chamber, it being better furnished with hangings than ever I found it before. Mr Dudley, after reverence done to him at our entry, being almost come to his Majesty, did press to kiss his hand; but he, putting his hand to his cap, not being able, as it should seem, to put it so high as to take it off, would not suffer him to kiss it. Mr Dudley declared his instructions. The Emperor took them in very thankful part; and not being able to speak loud, and Mr Dudley, by reason of his extreme cold, not being able to hear him, did with signs will me to mark. Whereupon the Emperor, somewhat perceiving the matter, I said that Mr Dudley was so stuffed and stopped in his head, that he could not well hear unless his Majesty did speak louder, nor I well understand, unless it would please his Majesty to speak Italian. Whereupon, being willinger to speak Italian than able to speak louder, he said to me in Italian—I thank my good brother the King for his friendly sending and for his noble and princely offers, and for my part will leave nothing undone that may by any means either maintain or increase the amity. I, for my part, will at all times bear the King my good brother the affection of a father, and not fail him when my friendship may do him profit. It is much to his honour, and no small praise to him, that he, so young, hath this zeal and this care for the quietness and concord of Christendom, and such a desire to see it conserved from the Turk's tyranny.
'And where my good brother doth offer his travail with the spending of his treasure for the atoning of the French King and me, I do give him my hearty thanks for it. Marry, as I did not begin the wars, so I cannot with, mine honour make any answer to this my good brother's request till I understand what mine enemy would do.
'And here, though in very deed his Majesty was hoarse at the beginning, yet, when he came to name his enemy, he spake so loud as Mr Dudley might hear easily what he said.'—Morryson to the Council: MS. Germany, Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- 'And because it will not be,' said Morryson, 'he is in such a chafe that there are few here that can get leave from him to eat eggs this Lent. If men were as wise as he is stubborn, they might perhaps drive him to be the suitor, and to pray them to take his licenses, not only to eat eggs, but to eat eggs' sons and daughters, if they come in their way.'—Morryson to the Council: MS. Germany, Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- Pickering to the Council: MS. France, bundle 10, State Paper Office.
- Their commission was signed somewhat singularly by all the Council except Northumberland. MS. Germany, Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- MS. Ibid.
- Boisdaulphin to the King of France: Ambassades de Noailles, vol. ii.
- MS. Germany, Edward VI. State Paper Office.
- Sir Philip Hoby sent a second sad picture of Charles's condition to Cecil. 'The Prince here is very feeble and weak of body, and every day decayeth more and more in the same. So doth his credit in like manner decay, both in Germany, Italy, and all other places—nothing beloved, but disobeyed in a manner of all. Also out of soldiers' estimation. Yea, and his proceedings in every place go very ill forward. So as it seemeth unto me good fortune hath forsaken him, and he is like every day faster and faster to diminish in love, estimation, and power, than presently he doth in strength of body, all be so earnestly bent against him so far as I can perceive.'—Hoby to Cecil: Burleigh Papers, vol. i.
- Hoby to Cecil: Burleigh Papers, vol. i.
- Scheyfne to the Emperor: Scheyfne's Despatches: MS. Rolls House. Transcript from the Brussels Archives.
- Instructions to Sir Richard Morryson. Cotton. MSS. Galba, 13.
- 'Il est venu jusques à nous demander ce que nous ferions si nous estions en sa place, à quoi nous n'avons obmis, sire, de luy respondre et proposer tout ce que nous avons peu juger tendre au bien faveur et advantage de vos affaires.'—Boisdaulphin and Noailles to the King of France: Ambassades, vol. ii. pp. 6, 7.
- Northumberland said afterwards that Pembroke was the first originator of the plot. This is not likely; but the evidence does not warrant a certain conclusion.
- Scheyfne to Charles V., May 30: Rolls House MSS.
- Scheyfne to Charles V., May 30: Rolls Home MSS.
- Alford to Cecil: Tytler, vol. ii.
- It was altered by him in the interval between the first draft and his death, and the omissions and insertions mark the progress of the design. The reader will observe that the words which have a pen-stroke through them were in the original device, and were subsequently crossed out. The words in italics were insertions; but, like the original, were written by Edward himself. I transcribe from the careful copy printed for the Camden Society by Mr John Gough Nichols.—Queen Jane and Queen Mary, Appendix.
- Frances, Duchess of Suffolk, daughter of Mary, sister of Henry VIII. and Charles Brandon.
- Margaret Clifford, daughter of Eleanour, Countess of Cumberland.
- The remaining clauses refer to the Government during the Regency, should Edward die before the heir should be of age.
'If, after my death, the heir male be entered into 18 years old, then he to have the whole rule and governance thereof.
'But if he be under 18, then his mother to be governess till he enters 18 years old: but to do nothing without the advice and agreement of 6 parcel of a council to be appointed by my last will to the number of 20.
'If the mother die before the heir enter into 18, the realm to be governed by the council, provided that after he be 14 years all great matters of importance be opened to him.
'If I died without issue, and there were none heirs male, then the Lady Frances to be governess Regent. For lack of her, then her eldest daughters; and for lack of them, the Lady Margaret to be governess after, as is aforesaid, till some heir male be born, and then the mother of that child to be governess. 'And if during the rule of the governess there die four of the council, then shall she by her letters call an assembly of the council within one month following, and choose four more, wherein she shall have 3 voices: but after her death, the 16 shall choose among themselves till the heir come to 14 years old, and then he by their advice shall choose them.'
- Scheyfne: MS.
- Scheyfne to the Emperor: MS.
- Scheyfne to the Emperor: MS.
- Noailles to the King of France: Ambassades, vol. ii. p. 34.
- The tenth section of the Act declares that any person going about to undo the Act or interfere with the succession as therein ordered, should be guilty of high treason.
- Montague's Narrative: printed in Fuller's Church History.
- Noailles thought that at this time the Duke had gained over his opponents. On the 17th June, he says, he found the council in better spirits than he had seen them since his arrival. Their own explanation was that the King's health had improved. Noailles believed, however, that their satisfaction 'provenoit plus du contentement en quoy les milords se trouvent pour s'estre resolus tous en une opinion, où pour y parvenir ont tenu beaucoup de journées, estant resserrez et ne se pouvant accorder pour raison de ce que le milord trésorier et aucungs aultres estoient de contrarie volunté a celle du Due de Northumberland, lequel les avoit depuis unis et faict condescendre a la sienne.'—Noailles, vol. ii. p. 40. Scheyfne on the contrary, was assured, and believed, that the compliance was throughout assumed.
- It were curious to know—Shrewsbury had been active in opposition to the Duke, and, after Edward's death, was among the first to declare against him.
- 'As also for that the said Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth be unto us but of the half-blood, and, therefore, by the antient laws, statutes, and customs of this realm, be not inheritable unto us, although they vvere legitimate, as they be not indeed.'—Letters Patent for the Limitation of the Crown: Queen Jane and Queen Mary, p. 93.
- I transcribe Mr Nichols's excellent analysis of the signatures;—
Great officers of State and Peers:
The Archbishop of Canterbury; Goodrich, Bishop of Ely, Lord Chancellor; Marquis of Winchester, Lord Treasurer; Duke of Northumberland, Grand Master of the Household; Earl of Bedford, Lord Privy Seal; Duke of Suffolk; Marquis of Northampton; Earls of Arundel, Oxford, Westmoreland, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Huntingdon, and Pembroke; Lord Clinton, Lord Darcy; the Bishop of London; Lords Abergavenny, Cobham, Grey de Wilton, Windsor, Bray, Wentworth, Rich, Willoughby, and Paget.
Eldest Sons of Peers:
Lords, Warwick, son of the Duke of Northumberland, Fitzwalters, of ihe Earl of Sussex, Talbot, of the Earl of Shrewsbury, St John of Basing, of the Marquis of Winchester, Russell, of the Earl of Bedford, Fitzwarren, of the Earl of Bath, Gerald Fitzgerald, heir of the earldom of Kildare, Strange, son of Lord Derby, Lord Thomas Grey, brother of the Duke of Suffolk.
Officers of the Household:
Sir R. Cheyne, Treasurer and Warden of the Cinq Ports, commonly called Lord Warden; Sir William Cavendish, Treasurer for the Chamber; Sir Richard Cotton, Controller; Sir John Gates, Vice-Chamberlain.
Secretaries of State:
Sir William Petre, Sir William Cecil, Sir John Cheke.
Sir Roger Cholmeley, Chief Justice of the King's Bench; Sir Edward Montague, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; Henry Bradshaw, Chief Baron of the Exchequer; Sir John Baker, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir Humfrey Brown, Justice of the Common Pleas; Sir William Portman, Justice of the King's Bench; Sir Robert Bowes, Master of the Rolls.
The King's Sergeant:
The Solicitor General:
Sir John Mason, Sir Ralph Sadler, Sir Richard Sackville, Sir Edward North, Sir Anthony St Leger, Sir Richard Southwell.
Knights of the Privy Chamber.
Sir Thomas Wroth, Sir Henry Sydney, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, Sir Richard Blount, Sir Henry Gage.
[The Lord Mayor: Sir George Barnes.
Aldermen: Sir John Gresham, Sir Andrew Judd, Sir Richard Dobbs, Sir Augustine Hinde, Sir John Lambard, Sir Thomas Offley.
Sheriff of Middlesex: Sir William Garrard.
Sheriffs of Kent and Surrey: Sir Anthony Brown, Sir Robert Southwell.
Six Merchants of the Staple; Six Merchants Adventurers.]
The mayor and the citizens did not sign till the 8th of July.
- Lord Paget, for instance, is separated from the peers, and appears between Sir Anthony St Leger and Sir Thomas Wroth.
- Scheyfne to Charles V., June 23.
- 'The Duke never opened his mouth to me to move me; nor his heart was not such towards me, seeking long time my destruction, that he would ever trust me in such a matter, or think that I would be persuaded by him.'—Cranmer to Mary: Strype's Life of Cranmer.
- Strype's Life of Cranmer.
- Strype's Life of Cranmer.
- Queen Jane and Queen Mary, p. 90.—Montague subscribed to this, with Baker and the Attorney- and Solicitor-General, although they had assured the council to the last that the letters patent were valueless, and had, as they said, resolved to move no step, after the King's death, to carry them into effect. I suppose that the bond was devised to catch those who might have signed with reservations, and the judges having given their names once, could not help themselves.
- Hayward's Life of Edward VI. Scheyfne.
- The suspicion that Edward was poisoned was shared both by Catholic and Protestant. Machyn, a contemporary citizen of London, says that no one doubted it.—Diary, p. 35. Burcher, writing to Bullinger, says: 'That wretch, the Duke of Northumberland, has committed an enormous crime. Our excellent King was taken off by poison; his nails and hair fell off,' &c. Renard, on the 6th of August, informed Charles V. that, by Mary's order, Edward's body had been examined, and it was found 'que les artoix des piedz luy estoients tumbez et qu'il a esté empoissonné.'—Renard's Despatches: MS. Rolls House. The symptoms certainly, do not resemble those of any known disorder. On the other hand, when a life came to an end on which much depended, there was always a suspicion of poison; and although Northumberland was not a man to have hesitated, had the acceleration of the death been important to him he would have gained no advantage from it in the least commensurate with the crime. The probable truth was perhaps this: that the woman to whose exclusive care the King was culpably committed, administered mineral medicines in over-doses, and that Edward was in fact poisoned, though not by deliberate malice.
- Scheyfne to Charles V.: MS. Rolls House.
- Scheyfne to the Emperor, July 4.
- Grey Friars' Chronicle.