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A Child's History of England - Ch. 26-30

A Child's History of England: Chapters 1 - 2
A Child's History of England: Chapters 3 - 6
A Child's History of England: Chapters 7 - 10
A Child's History of England: Chapters 11 - 12
A Child's History of England: Chapters 13 - 16
A Child's History of England: Chapters 17 - 21
A Child's History of England: Chapters 22 - 25
A Child's History of England: Chapters 26 - 30
A Child's History of England: Chapters 31 - 35
A Child's History of England: Chapters 36 - 37

CHAPTER XXVI - ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE SEVENTH

KING HENRY THE SEVENTH did not turn out to be as fine a fellow as
the nobility and people hoped, in the first joy of their
deliverance from Richard the Third. He was very cold, crafty, and
calculating, and would do almost anything for money. He possessed
considerable ability, but his chief merit appears to have been that
he was not cruel when there was nothing to be got by it.



The new King had promised the nobles who had espoused his cause
that he would marry the Princess Elizabeth. The first thing he
did, was, to direct her to be removed from the castle of Sheriff
Hutton in Yorkshire, where Richard had placed her, and restored to
the care of her mother in London. The young Earl of Warwick,
Edward Plantagenet, son and heir of the late Duke of Clarence, had
been kept a prisoner in the same old Yorkshire Castle with her.
This boy, who was now fifteen, the new King placed in the Tower for
safety. Then he came to London in great state, and gratified the
people with a fine procession; on which kind of show he often very
much relied for keeping them in good humour. The sports and feasts
which took place were followed by a terrible fever, called the
Sweating Sickness; of which great numbers of people died. Lord
Mayors and Aldermen are thought to have suffered most from it;
whether, because they were in the habit of over-eating themselves,
or because they were very jealous of preserving filth and nuisances
in the City (as they have been since), I don't know.



The King's coronation was postponed on account of the general ill-
health, and he afterwards deferred his marriage, as if he were not
very anxious that it should take place: and, even after that,
deferred the Queen's coronation so long that he gave offence to the
York party. However, he set these things right in the end, by
hanging some men and seizing on the rich possessions of others; by
granting more popular pardons to the followers of the late King
than could, at first, be got from him; and, by employing about his
Court, some very scrupulous persons who had been employed in the
previous reign.



As this reign was principally remarkable for two very curious
impostures which have become famous in history, we will make those
two stories its principal feature.



There was a priest at Oxford of the name of Simons, who had for a
pupil a handsome boy named Lambert Simnel, the son of a baker.
Partly to gratify his own ambitious ends, and partly to carry out
the designs of a secret party formed against the King, this priest
declared that his pupil, the boy, was no other than the young Earl
of Warwick; who (as everybody might have known) was safely locked
up in the Tower of London. The priest and the boy went over to
Ireland; and, at Dublin, enlisted in their cause all ranks of the
people: who seem to have been generous enough, but exceedingly
irrational. The Earl of Kildare, the governor of Ireland, declared
that he believed the boy to be what the priest represented; and the
boy, who had been well tutored by the priest, told them such things
of his childhood, and gave them so many descriptions of the Royal
Family, that they were perpetually shouting and hurrahing, and
drinking his health, and making all kinds of noisy and thirsty
demonstrations, to express their belief in him. Nor was this
feeling confined to Ireland alone, for the Earl of Lincoln - whom
the late usurper had named as his successor - went over to the
young Pretender; and, after holding a secret correspondence with
the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy - the sister of Edward the Fourth,
who detested the present King and all his race - sailed to Dublin
with two thousand German soldiers of her providing. In this
promising state of the boy's fortunes, he was crowned there, with a
crown taken off the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary; and was
then, according to the Irish custom of those days, carried home on
the shoulders of a big chieftain possessing a great deal more
strength than sense. Father Simons, you may be sure, was mighty
busy at the coronation.



Ten days afterwards, the Germans, and the Irish, and the priest,
and the boy, and the Earl of Lincoln, all landed in Lancashire to
invade England. The King, who had good intelligence of their
movements, set up his standard at Nottingham, where vast numbers
resorted to him every day; while the Earl of Lincoln could gain but
very few. With his small force he tried to make for the town of
Newark; but the King's army getting between him and that place, he
had no choice but to risk a battle at Stoke. It soon ended in the
complete destruction of the Pretender's forces, one half of whom
were killed; among them, the Earl himself. The priest and the
baker's boy were taken prisoners. The priest, after confessing the
trick, was shut up in prison, where he afterwards died - suddenly
perhaps. The boy was taken into the King's kitchen and made a
turnspit. He was afterwards raised to the station of one of the
King's falconers; and so ended this strange imposition.



There seems reason to suspect that the Dowager Queen - always a
restless and busy woman - had had some share in tutoring the
baker's son. The King was very angry with her, whether or no. He
seized upon her property, and shut her up in a convent at
Bermondsey.



One might suppose that the end of this story would have put the
Irish people on their guard; but they were quite ready to receive a
second impostor, as they had received the first, and that same
troublesome Duchess of Burgundy soon gave them the opportunity.
All of a sudden there appeared at Cork, in a vessel arriving from
Portugal, a young man of excellent abilities, of very handsome
appearance and most winning manners, who declared himself to be
Richard, Duke of York, the second son of King Edward the Fourth.
'O,' said some, even of those ready Irish believers, 'but surely
that young Prince was murdered by his uncle in the Tower!' - 'It IS
supposed so,' said the engaging young man; 'and my brother WAS
killed in that gloomy prison; but I escaped - it don't matter how,
at present - and have been wandering about the world for seven long
years.' This explanation being quite satisfactory to numbers of
the Irish people, they began again to shout and to hurrah, and to
drink his health, and to make the noisy and thirsty demonstrations
all over again. And the big chieftain in Dublin began to look out
for another coronation, and another young King to be carried home
on his back.



Now, King Henry being then on bad terms with France, the French
King, Charles the Eighth, saw that, by pretending to believe in the
handsome young man, he could trouble his enemy sorely. So, he
invited him over to the French Court, and appointed him a body-
guard, and treated him in all respects as if he really were the
Duke of York. Peace, however, being soon concluded between the two
Kings, the pretended Duke was turned adrift, and wandered for
protection to the Duchess of Burgundy. She, after feigning to
inquire into the reality of his claims, declared him to be the very
picture of her dear departed brother; gave him a body-guard at her
Court, of thirty halberdiers; and called him by the sounding name
of the White Rose of England.



The leading members of the White Rose party in England sent over an
agent, named Sir Robert Clifford, to ascertain whether the White
Rose's claims were good: the King also sent over his agents to
inquire into the Rose's history. The White Roses declared the
young man to be really the Duke of York; the King declared him to
be PERKIN WARBECK, the son of a merchant of the city of Tournay,
who had acquired his knowledge of England, its language and
manners, from the English merchants who traded in Flanders; it was
also stated by the Royal agents that he had been in the service of
Lady Brompton, the wife of an exiled English nobleman, and that the
Duchess of Burgundy had caused him to be trained and taught,
expressly for this deception. The King then required the Archduke
Philip - who was the sovereign of Burgundy - to banish this new
Pretender, or to deliver him up; but, as the Archduke replied that
he could not control the Duchess in her own land, the King, in
revenge, took the market of English cloth away from Antwerp, and
prevented all commercial intercourse between the two countries.



He also, by arts and bribes, prevailed on Sir Robert Clifford to
betray his employers; and he denouncing several famous English
noblemen as being secretly the friends of Perkin Warbeck, the King
had three of the foremost executed at once. Whether he pardoned
the remainder because they were poor, I do not know; but it is only
too probable that he refused to pardon one famous nobleman against
whom the same Clifford soon afterwards informed separately, because
he was rich. This was no other than Sir William Stanley, who had
saved the King's life at the battle of Bosworth Field. It is very
doubtful whether his treason amounted to much more than his having
said, that if he were sure the young man was the Duke of York, he
would not take arms against him. Whatever he had done he admitted,
like an honourable spirit; and he lost his head for it, and the
covetous King gained all his wealth.



Perkin Warbeck kept quiet for three years; but, as the Flemings
began to complain heavily of the loss of their trade by the
stoppage of the Antwerp market on his account, and as it was not
unlikely that they might even go so far as to take his life, or
give him up, he found it necessary to do something. Accordingly he
made a desperate sally, and landed, with only a few hundred men, on
the coast of Deal. But he was soon glad to get back to the place
from whence he came; for the country people rose against his
followers, killed a great many, and took a hundred and fifty
prisoners: who were all driven to London, tied together with
ropes, like a team of cattle. Every one of them was hanged on some
part or other of the sea-shore; in order, that if any more men
should come over with Perkin Warbeck, they might see the bodies as
a warning before they landed.



Then the wary King, by making a treaty of commerce with the
Flemings, drove Perkin Warbeck out of that country; and, by
completely gaining over the Irish to his side, deprived him of that
asylum too. He wandered away to Scotland, and told his story at
that Court. King James the Fourth of Scotland, who was no friend
to King Henry, and had no reason to be (for King Henry had bribed
his Scotch lords to betray him more than once; but had never
succeeded in his plots), gave him a great reception, called him his
cousin, and gave him in marriage the Lady Catherine Gordon, a
beautiful and charming creature related to the royal house of
Stuart.



Alarmed by this successful reappearance of the Pretender, the King
still undermined, and bought, and bribed, and kept his doings and
Perkin Warbeck's story in the dark, when he might, one would
imagine, have rendered the matter clear to all England. But, for
all this bribing of the Scotch lords at the Scotch King's Court, he
could not procure the Pretender to be delivered up to him. James,
though not very particular in many respects, would not betray him;
and the ever-busy Duchess of Burgundy so provided him with arms,
and good soldiers, and with money besides, that he had soon a
little army of fifteen hundred men of various nations. With these,
and aided by the Scottish King in person, he crossed the border
into England, and made a proclamation to the people, in which he
called the King 'Henry Tudor;' offered large rewards to any who
should take or distress him; and announced himself as King Richard
the Fourth come to receive the homage of his faithful subjects.
His faithful subjects, however, cared nothing for him, and hated
his faithful troops: who, being of different nations, quarrelled
also among themselves. Worse than this, if worse were possible,
they began to plunder the country; upon which the White Rose said,
that he would rather lose his rights, than gain them through the
miseries of the English people. The Scottish King made a jest of
his scruples; but they and their whole force went back again
without fighting a battle.



The worst consequence of this attempt was, that a rising took place
among the people of Cornwall, who considered themselves too heavily
taxed to meet the charges of the expected war. Stimulated by
Flammock, a lawyer, and Joseph, a blacksmith, and joined by Lord
Audley and some other country gentlemen, they marched on all the
way to Deptford Bridge, where they fought a battle with the King's
army. They were defeated - though the Cornish men fought with
great bravery - and the lord was beheaded, and the lawyer and the
blacksmith were hanged, drawn, and quartered. The rest were
pardoned. The King, who believed every man to be as avaricious as
himself, and thought that money could settle anything, allowed them
to make bargains for their liberty with the soldiers who had taken
them.



Perkin Warbeck, doomed to wander up and down, and never to find
rest anywhere - a sad fate: almost a sufficient punishment for an
imposture, which he seems in time to have half believed himself -
lost his Scottish refuge through a truce being made between the two
Kings; and found himself, once more, without a country before him
in which he could lay his head. But James (always honourable and
true to him, alike when he melted down his plate, and even the
great gold chain he had been used to wear, to pay soldiers in his
cause; and now, when that cause was lost and hopeless) did not
conclude the treaty, until he had safely departed out of the
Scottish dominions. He, and his beautiful wife, who was faithful
to him under all reverses, and left her state and home to follow
his poor fortunes, were put aboard ship with everything necessary
for their comfort and protection, and sailed for Ireland.



But, the Irish people had had enough of counterfeit Earls of
Warwick and Dukes of York, for one while; and would give the White
Rose no aid. So, the White Rose - encircled by thorns indeed -
resolved to go with his beautiful wife to Cornwall as a forlorn
resource, and see what might be made of the Cornish men, who had
risen so valiantly a little while before, and who had fought so
bravely at Deptford Bridge.



To Whitsand Bay, in Cornwall, accordingly, came Perkin Warbeck and
his wife; and the lovely lady he shut up for safety in the Castle
of St. Michael's Mount, and then marched into Devonshire at the
head of three thousand Cornishmen. These were increased to six
thousand by the time of his arrival in Exeter; but, there the
people made a stout resistance, and he went on to Taunton, where he
came in sight of the King's army. The stout Cornish men, although
they were few in number, and badly armed, were so bold, that they
never thought of retreating; but bravely looked forward to a battle
on the morrow. Unhappily for them, the man who was possessed of so
many engaging qualities, and who attracted so many people to his
side when he had nothing else with which to tempt them, was not as
brave as they. In the night, when the two armies lay opposite to
each other, he mounted a swift horse and fled. When morning
dawned, the poor confiding Cornish men, discovering that they had
no leader, surrendered to the King's power. Some of them were
hanged, and the rest were pardoned and went miserably home.



Before the King pursued Perkin Warbeck to the sanctuary of Beaulieu
in the New Forest, where it was soon known that he had taken
refuge, he sent a body of horsemen to St. Michael's Mount, to seize
his wife. She was soon taken and brought as a captive before the
King. But she was so beautiful, and so good, and so devoted to the
man in whom she believed, that the King regarded her with
compassion, treated her with great respect, and placed her at
Court, near the Queen's person. And many years after Perkin
Warbeck was no more, and when his strange story had become like a
nursery tale, SHE was called the White Rose, by the people, in
remembrance of her beauty.



The sanctuary at Beaulieu was soon surrounded by the King's men;
and the King, pursuing his usual dark, artful ways, sent pretended
friends to Perkin Warbeck to persuade him to come out and surrender
himself. This he soon did; the King having taken a good look at
the man of whom he had heard so much - from behind a screen -
directed him to be well mounted, and to ride behind him at a little
distance, guarded, but not bound in any way. So they entered
London with the King's favourite show - a procession; and some of
the people hooted as the Pretender rode slowly through the streets
to the Tower; but the greater part were quiet, and very curious to
see him. From the Tower, he was taken to the Palace at
Westminster, and there lodged like a gentleman, though closely
watched. He was examined every now and then as to his imposture;
but the King was so secret in all he did, that even then he gave it
a consequence, which it cannot be supposed to have in itself
deserved.



At last Perkin Warbeck ran away, and took refuge in another
sanctuary near Richmond in Surrey. From this he was again
persuaded to deliver himself up; and, being conveyed to London, he
stood in the stocks for a whole day, outside Westminster Hall, and
there read a paper purporting to be his full confession, and
relating his history as the King's agents had originally described
it. He was then shut up in the Tower again, in the company of the
Earl of Warwick, who had now been there for fourteen years: ever
since his removal out of Yorkshire, except when the King had had
him at Court, and had shown him to the people, to prove the
imposture of the Baker's boy. It is but too probable, when we
consider the crafty character of Henry the Seventh, that these two
were brought together for a cruel purpose. A plot was soon
discovered between them and the keepers, to murder the Governor,
get possession of the keys, and proclaim Perkin Warbeck as King
Richard the Fourth. That there was some such plot, is likely; that
they were tempted into it, is at least as likely; that the
unfortunate Earl of Warwick - last male of the Plantagenet line -
was too unused to the world, and too ignorant and simple to know
much about it, whatever it was, is perfectly certain; and that it
was the King's interest to get rid of him, is no less so. He was
beheaded on Tower Hill, and Perkin Warbeck was hanged at Tyburn.



Such was the end of the pretended Duke of York, whose shadowy
history was made more shadowy - and ever will be - by the mystery
and craft of the King. If he had turned his great natural
advantages to a more honest account, he might have lived a happy
and respected life, even in those days. But he died upon a gallows
at Tyburn, leaving the Scottish lady, who had loved him so well,
kindly protected at the Queen's Court. After some time she forgot
her old loves and troubles, as many people do with Time's merciful
assistance, and married a Welsh gentleman. Her second husband, SIR
MATTHEW CRADOC, more honest and more happy than her first, lies
beside her in a tomb in the old church of Swansea.



The ill-blood between France and England in this reign, arose out
of the continued plotting of the Duchess of Burgundy, and disputes
respecting the affairs of Brittany. The King feigned to be very
patriotic, indignant, and warlike; but he always contrived so as
never to make war in reality, and always to make money. His
taxation of the people, on pretence of war with France, involved,
at one time, a very dangerous insurrection, headed by Sir John
Egremont, and a common man called John a Chambre. But it was
subdued by the royal forces, under the command of the Earl of
Surrey. The knighted John escaped to the Duchess of Burgundy, who
was ever ready to receive any one who gave the King trouble; and
the plain John was hanged at York, in the midst of a number of his
men, but on a much higher gibbet, as being a greater traitor. Hung
high or hung low, however, hanging is much the same to the person
hung.



Within a year after her marriage, the Queen had given birth to a
son, who was called Prince Arthur, in remembrance of the old
British prince of romance and story; and who, when all these events
had happened, being then in his fifteenth year, was married to
CATHERINE, the daughter of the Spanish monarch, with great
rejoicings and bright prospects; but in a very few months he
sickened and died. As soon as the King had recovered from his
grief, he thought it a pity that the fortune of the Spanish
Princess, amounting to two hundred thousand crowns, should go out
of the family; and therefore arranged that the young widow should
marry his second son HENRY, then twelve years of age, when he too
should be fifteen. There were objections to this marriage on the
part of the clergy; but, as the infallible Pope was gained over,
and, as he MUST be right, that settled the business for the time.
The King's eldest daughter was provided for, and a long course of
disturbance was considered to be set at rest, by her being married
to the Scottish King.



And now the Queen died. When the King had got over that grief too,
his mind once more reverted to his darling money for consolation,
and he thought of marrying the Dowager Queen of Naples, who was
immensely rich: but, as it turned out not to be practicable to
gain the money however practicable it might have been to gain the
lady, he gave up the idea. He was not so fond of her but that he
soon proposed to marry the Dowager Duchess of Savoy; and, soon
afterwards, the widow of the King of Castile, who was raving mad.
But he made a money-bargain instead, and married neither.



The Duchess of Burgundy, among the other discontented people to
whom she had given refuge, had sheltered EDMUND DE LA POLE (younger
brother of that Earl of Lincoln who was killed at Stoke), now Earl
of Suffolk. The King had prevailed upon him to return to the
marriage of Prince Arthur; but, he soon afterwards went away again;
and then the King, suspecting a conspiracy, resorted to his
favourite plan of sending him some treacherous friends, and buying
of those scoundrels the secrets they disclosed or invented. Some
arrests and executions took place in consequence. In the end, the
King, on a promise of not taking his life, obtained possession of
the person of Edmund de la Pole, and shut him up in the Tower.



This was his last enemy. If he had lived much longer he would have
made many more among the people, by the grinding exaction to which
he constantly exposed them, and by the tyrannical acts of his two
prime favourites in all money-raising matters, EDMUND DUDLEY and
RICHARD EMPSON. But Death - the enemy who is not to be bought off
or deceived, and on whom no money, and no treachery has any effect
- presented himself at this juncture, and ended the King's reign.
He died of the gout, on the twenty-second of April, one thousand
five hundred and nine, and in the fifty-third year of his age,
after reigning twenty-four years; he was buried in the beautiful
Chapel of Westminster Abbey, which he had himself founded, and
which still bears his name.



It was in this reign that the great CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, on behalf
of Spain, discovered what was then called The New World. Great
wonder, interest, and hope of wealth being awakened in England
thereby, the King and the merchants of London and Bristol fitted
out an English expedition for further discoveries in the New World,
and entrusted it to SEBASTIAN CABOT, of Bristol, the son of a
Venetian pilot there. He was very successful in his voyage, and
gained high reputation, both for himself and England.



 



CHAPTER XXVII - ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE EIGHTH, CALLED BLUFF KING
HAL AND BURLY KING HARRY



 



PART THE FIRST




WE now come to King Henry the Eighth, whom it has been too much the
fashion to call 'Bluff King Hal,' and 'Burly King Harry,' and other
fine names; but whom I shall take the liberty to call, plainly, one
of the most detestable villains that ever drew breath. You will be
able to judge, long before we come to the end of his life, whether
he deserves the character.



He was just eighteen years of age when he came to the throne.
People said he was handsome then; but I don't believe it. He was a
big, burly, noisy, small-eyed, large-faced, double-chinned,
swinish-looking fellow in later life (as we know from the
likenesses of him, painted by the famous HANS HOLBEIN), and it is
not easy to believe that so bad a character can ever have been
veiled under a prepossessing appearance.



He was anxious to make himself popular; and the people, who had
long disliked the late King, were very willing to believe that he
deserved to be so. He was extremely fond of show and display, and
so were they. Therefore there was great rejoicing when he married
the Princess Catherine, and when they were both crowned. And the
King fought at tournaments and always came off victorious - for the
courtiers took care of that - and there was a general outcry that
he was a wonderful man. Empson, Dudley, and their supporters were
accused of a variety of crimes they had never committed, instead of
the offences of which they really had been guilty; and they were
pilloried, and set upon horses with their faces to the tails, and
knocked about and beheaded, to the satisfaction of the people, and
the enrichment of the King.



The Pope, so indefatigable in getting the world into trouble, had
mixed himself up in a war on the continent of Europe, occasioned by
the reigning Princes of little quarrelling states in Italy having
at various times married into other Royal families, and so led to
THEIR claiming a share in those petty Governments. The King, who
discovered that he was very fond of the Pope, sent a herald to the
King of France, to say that he must not make war upon that holy
personage, because he was the father of all Christians. As the
French King did not mind this relationship in the least, and also
refused to admit a claim King Henry made to certain lands in
France, war was declared between the two countries. Not to perplex
this story with an account of the tricks and designs of all the
sovereigns who were engaged in it, it is enough to say that England
made a blundering alliance with Spain, and got stupidly taken in by
that country; which made its own terms with France when it could
and left England in the lurch. SIR EDWARD HOWARD, a bold admiral,
son of the Earl of Surrey, distinguished himself by his bravery
against the French in this business; but, unfortunately, he was
more brave than wise, for, skimming into the French harbour of
Brest with only a few row-boats, he attempted (in revenge for the
defeat and death of SIR THOMAS KNYVETT, another bold English
admiral) to take some strong French ships, well defended with
batteries of cannon. The upshot was, that he was left on board of
one of them (in consequence of its shooting away from his own
boat), with not more than about a dozen men, and was thrown into
the sea and drowned: though not until he had taken from his breast
his gold chain and gold whistle, which were the signs of his
office, and had cast them into the sea to prevent their being made
a boast of by the enemy. After this defeat - which was a great
one, for Sir Edward Howard was a man of valour and fame - the King
took it into his head to invade France in person; first executing
that dangerous Earl of Suffolk whom his father had left in the
Tower, and appointing Queen Catherine to the charge of his kingdom
in his absence. He sailed to Calais, where he was joined by
MAXIMILIAN, Emperor of Germany, who pretended to be his soldier,
and who took pay in his service: with a good deal of nonsense of
that sort, flattering enough to the vanity of a vain blusterer.
The King might be successful enough in sham fights; but his idea of
real battles chiefly consisted in pitching silken tents of bright
colours that were ignominiously blown down by the wind, and in
making a vast display of gaudy flags and golden curtains. Fortune,
however, favoured him better than he deserved; for, after much
waste of time in tent pitching, flag flying, gold curtaining, and
other such masquerading, he gave the French battle at a place
called Guinegate: where they took such an unaccountable panic, and
fled with such swiftness, that it was ever afterwards called by the
English the Battle of Spurs. Instead of following up his
advantage, the King, finding that he had had enough of real
fighting, came home again.



The Scottish King, though nearly related to Henry by marriage, had
taken part against him in this war. The Earl of Surrey, as the
English general, advanced to meet him when he came out of his own
dominions and crossed the river Tweed. The two armies came up with
one another when the Scottish King had also crossed the river Till,
and was encamped upon the last of the Cheviot Hills, called the
Hill of Flodden. Along the plain below it, the English, when the
hour of battle came, advanced. The Scottish army, which had been
drawn up in five great bodies, then came steadily down in perfect
silence. So they, in their turn, advanced to meet the English
army, which came on in one long line; and they attacked it with a
body of spearmen, under LORD HOME. At first they had the best of
it; but the English recovered themselves so bravely, and fought
with such valour, that, when the Scottish King had almost made his
way up to the Royal Standard, he was slain, and the whole Scottish
power routed. Ten thousand Scottish men lay dead that day on
Flodden Field; and among them, numbers of the nobility and gentry.
For a long time afterwards, the Scottish peasantry used to believe
that their King had not been really killed in this battle, because
no Englishman had found an iron belt he wore about his body as a
penance for having been an unnatural and undutiful son. But,
whatever became of his belt, the English had his sword and dagger,
and the ring from his finger, and his body too, covered with
wounds. There is no doubt of it; for it was seen and recognised by
English gentlemen who had known the Scottish King well.



When King Henry was making ready to renew the war in France, the
French King was contemplating peace. His queen, dying at this
time, he proposed, though he was upwards of fifty years old, to
marry King Henry's sister, the Princess Mary, who, besides being
only sixteen, was betrothed to the Duke of Suffolk. As the
inclinations of young Princesses were not much considered in such
matters, the marriage was concluded, and the poor girl was escorted
to France, where she was immediately left as the French King's
bride, with only one of all her English attendants. That one was a
pretty young girl named ANNE BOLEYN, niece of the Earl of Surrey,
who had been made Duke of Norfolk, after the victory of Flodden
Field. Anne Boleyn's is a name to be remembered, as you will
presently find.



And now the French King, who was very proud of his young wife, was
preparing for many years of happiness, and she was looking forward,
I dare say, to many years of misery, when he died within three
months, and left her a young widow. The new French monarch,
FRANCIS THE FIRST, seeing how important it was to his interests
that she should take for her second husband no one but an
Englishman, advised her first lover, the Duke of Suffolk, when King
Henry sent him over to France to fetch her home, to marry her. The
Princess being herself so fond of that Duke, as to tell him that he
must either do so then, or for ever lose her, they were wedded; and
Henry afterwards forgave them. In making interest with the King,
the Duke of Suffolk had addressed his most powerful favourite and
adviser, THOMAS WOLSEY - a name very famous in history for its rise
and downfall.



Wolsey was the son of a respectable butcher at Ipswich, in Suffolk
and received so excellent an education that he became a tutor to
the family of the Marquis of Dorset, who afterwards got him
appointed one of the late King's chaplains. On the accession of
Henry the Eighth, he was promoted and taken into great favour. He
was now Archbishop of York; the Pope had made him a Cardinal
besides; and whoever wanted influence in England or favour with the
King - whether he were a foreign monarch or an English nobleman -
was obliged to make a friend of the great Cardinal Wolsey.



He was a gay man, who could dance and jest, and sing and drink; and
those were the roads to so much, or rather so little, of a heart as
King Henry had. He was wonderfully fond of pomp and glitter, and
so was the King. He knew a good deal of the Church learning of
that time; much of which consisted in finding artful excuses and
pretences for almost any wrong thing, and in arguing that black was
white, or any other colour. This kind of learning pleased the King
too. For many such reasons, the Cardinal was high in estimation
with the King; and, being a man of far greater ability, knew as
well how to manage him, as a clever keeper may know how to manage a
wolf or a tiger, or any other cruel and uncertain beast, that may
turn upon him and tear him any day. Never had there been seen in
England such state as my Lord Cardinal kept. His wealth was
enormous; equal, it was reckoned, to the riches of the Crown. His
palaces were as splendid as the King's, and his retinue was eight
hundred strong. He held his Court, dressed out from top to toe in
flaming scarlet; and his very shoes were golden, set with precious
stones. His followers rode on blood horses; while he, with a
wonderful affectation of humility in the midst of his great
splendour, ambled on a mule with a red velvet saddle and bridle and
golden stirrups.



Through the influence of this stately priest, a grand meeting was
arranged to take place between the French and English Kings in
France; but on ground belonging to England. A prodigious show of
friendship and rejoicing was to be made on the occasion; and
heralds were sent to proclaim with brazen trumpets through all the
principal cities of Europe, that, on a certain day, the Kings of
France and England, as companions and brothers in arms, each
attended by eighteen followers, would hold a tournament against all
knights who might choose to come.



CHARLES, the new Emperor of Germany (the old one being dead),
wanted to prevent too cordial an alliance between these sovereigns,
and came over to England before the King could repair to the place
of meeting; and, besides making an agreeable impression upon him,
secured Wolsey's interest by promising that his influence should
make him Pope when the next vacancy occurred. On the day when the
Emperor left England, the King and all the Court went over to
Calais, and thence to the place of meeting, between Ardres and
Guisnes, commonly called the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Here, all
manner of expense and prodigality was lavished on the decorations
of the show; many of the knights and gentlemen being so superbly
dressed that it was said they carried their whole estates upon
their shoulders.



There were sham castles, temporary chapels, fountains running wine,
great cellars full of wine free as water to all comers, silk tents,
gold lace and foil, gilt lions, and such things without end; and,
in the midst of all, the rich Cardinal out-shone and out-glittered
all the noblemen and gentlemen assembled. After a treaty made
between the two Kings with as much solemnity as if they had
intended to keep it, the lists - nine hundred feet long, and three
hundred and twenty broad - were opened for the tournament; the
Queens of France and England looking on with great array of lords
and ladies. Then, for ten days, the two sovereigns fought five
combats every day, and always beat their polite adversaries; though
they DO write that the King of England, being thrown in a wrestle
one day by the King of France, lost his kingly temper with his
brother-in-arms, and wanted to make a quarrel of it. Then, there
is a great story belonging to this Field of the Cloth of Gold,
showing how the English were distrustful of the French, and the
French of the English, until Francis rode alone one morning to
Henry's tent; and, going in before he was out of bed, told him in
joke that he was his prisoner; and how Henry jumped out of bed and
embraced Francis; and how Francis helped Henry to dress, and warmed
his linen for him; and how Henry gave Francis a splendid jewelled
collar, and how Francis gave Henry, in return, a costly bracelet.
All this and a great deal more was so written about, and sung
about, and talked about at that time (and, indeed, since that time
too), that the world has had good cause to be sick of it, for ever.



Of course, nothing came of all these fine doings but a speedy
renewal of the war between England and France, in which the two
Royal companions and brothers in arms longed very earnestly to
damage one another. But, before it broke out again, the Duke of
Buckingham was shamefully executed on Tower Hill, on the evidence
of a discharged servant - really for nothing, except the folly of
having believed in a friar of the name of HOPKINS, who had
pretended to be a prophet, and who had mumbled and jumbled out some
nonsense about the Duke's son being destined to be very great in
the land. It was believed that the unfortunate Duke had given
offence to the great Cardinal by expressing his mind freely about
the expense and absurdity of the whole business of the Field of the
Cloth of Gold. At any rate, he was beheaded, as I have said, for
nothing. And the people who saw it done were very angry, and cried
out that it was the work of 'the butcher's son!'



The new war was a short one, though the Earl of Surrey invaded
France again, and did some injury to that country. It ended in
another treaty of peace between the two kingdoms, and in the
discovery that the Emperor of Germany was not such a good friend to
England in reality, as he pretended to be. Neither did he keep his
promise to Wolsey to make him Pope, though the King urged him. Two
Popes died in pretty quick succession; but the foreign priests were
too much for the Cardinal, and kept him out of the post. So the
Cardinal and King together found out that the Emperor of Germany
was not a man to keep faith with; broke off a projected marriage
between the King's daughter MARY, Princess of Wales, and that
sovereign; and began to consider whether it might not be well to
marry the young lady, either to Francis himself, or to his eldest
son.



There now arose at Wittemberg, in Germany, the great leader of the
mighty change in England which is called The Reformation, and which
set the people free from their slavery to the priests. This was a
learned Doctor, named MARTIN LUTHER, who knew all about them, for
he had been a priest, and even a monk, himself. The preaching and
writing of Wickliffe had set a number of men thinking on this
subject; and Luther, finding one day to his great surprise, that
there really was a book called the New Testament which the priests
did not allow to be read, and which contained truths that they
suppressed, began to be very vigorous against the whole body, from
the Pope downward. It happened, while he was yet only beginning
his vast work of awakening the nation, that an impudent fellow
named TETZEL, a friar of very bad character, came into his
neighbourhood selling what were called Indulgences, by wholesale,
to raise money for beautifying the great Cathedral of St. Peter's,
at Rome. Whoever bought an Indulgence of the Pope was supposed to
buy himself off from the punishment of Heaven for his offences.
Luther told the people that these Indulgences were worthless bits
of paper, before God, and that Tetzel and his masters were a crew
of impostors in selling them.



The King and the Cardinal were mightily indignant at this
presumption; and the King (with the help of SIR THOMAS MORE, a wise
man, whom he afterwards repaid by striking off his head) even wrote
a book about it, with which the Pope was so well pleased that he
gave the King the title of Defender of the Faith. The King and the
Cardinal also issued flaming warnings to the people not to read
Luther's books, on pain of excommunication. But they did read them
for all that; and the rumour of what was in them spread far and
wide.



When this great change was thus going on, the King began to show
himself in his truest and worst colours. Anne Boleyn, the pretty
little girl who had gone abroad to France with his sister, was by
this time grown up to be very beautiful, and was one of the ladies
in attendance on Queen Catherine. Now, Queen Catherine was no
longer young or handsome, and it is likely that she was not
particularly good-tempered; having been always rather melancholy,
and having been made more so by the deaths of four of her children
when they were very young. So, the King fell in love with the fair
Anne Boleyn, and said to himself, 'How can I be best rid of my own
troublesome wife whom I am tired of, and marry Anne?'



You recollect that Queen Catherine had been the wife of Henry's
brother. What does the King do, after thinking it over, but calls
his favourite priests about him, and says, O! his mind is in such a
dreadful state, and he is so frightfully uneasy, because he is
afraid it was not lawful for him to marry the Queen! Not one of
those priests had the courage to hint that it was rather curious he
had never thought of that before, and that his mind seemed to have
been in a tolerably jolly condition during a great many years, in
which he certainly had not fretted himself thin; but, they all
said, Ah! that was very true, and it was a serious business; and
perhaps the best way to make it right, would be for his Majesty to
be divorced! The King replied, Yes, he thought that would be the
best way, certainly; so they all went to work.



If I were to relate to you the intrigues and plots that took place
in the endeavour to get this divorce, you would think the History
of England the most tiresome book in the world. So I shall say no
more, than that after a vast deal of negotiation and evasion, the
Pope issued a commission to Cardinal Wolsey and CARDINAL CAMPEGGIO
(whom he sent over from Italy for the purpose), to try the whole
case in England. It is supposed - and I think with reason - that
Wolsey was the Queen's enemy, because she had reproved him for his
proud and gorgeous manner of life. But, he did not at first know
that the King wanted to marry Anne Boleyn; and when he did know it,
he even went down on his knees, in the endeavour to dissuade him.



The Cardinals opened their court in the Convent of the Black
Friars, near to where the bridge of that name in London now stands;
and the King and Queen, that they might be near it, took up their
lodgings at the adjoining palace of Bridewell, of which nothing now
remains but a bad prison. On the opening of the court, when the
King and Queen were called on to appear, that poor ill-used lady,
with a dignity and firmness and yet with a womanly affection worthy
to be always admired, went and kneeled at the King's feet, and said
that she had come, a stranger, to his dominions; that she had been
a good and true wife to him for twenty years; and that she could
acknowledge no power in those Cardinals to try whether she should
be considered his wife after all that time, or should be put away.
With that, she got up and left the court, and would never
afterwards come back to it.



The King pretended to be very much overcome, and said, O! my lords
and gentlemen, what a good woman she was to be sure, and how
delighted he would be to live with her unto death, but for that
terrible uneasiness in his mind which was quite wearing him away!
So, the case went on, and there was nothing but talk for two
months. Then Cardinal Campeggio, who, on behalf of the Pope,
wanted nothing so much as delay, adjourned it for two more months;
and before that time was elapsed, the Pope himself adjourned it
indefinitely, by requiring the King and Queen to come to Rome and
have it tried there. But by good luck for the King, word was
brought to him by some of his people, that they had happened to
meet at supper, THOMAS CRANMER, a learned Doctor of Cambridge, who
had proposed to urge the Pope on, by referring the case to all the
learned doctors and bishops, here and there and everywhere, and
getting their opinions that the King's marriage was unlawful. The
King, who was now in a hurry to marry Anne Boleyn, thought this
such a good idea, that he sent for Cranmer, post haste, and said to
LORD ROCHFORT, Anne Boleyn's father, 'Take this learned Doctor down
to your country-house, and there let him have a good room for a
study, and no end of books out of which to prove that I may marry
your daughter.' Lord Rochfort, not at all reluctant, made the
learned Doctor as comfortable as he could; and the learned Doctor
went to work to prove his case. All this time, the King and Anne
Boleyn were writing letters to one another almost daily, full of
impatience to have the case settled; and Anne Boleyn was showing
herself (as I think) very worthy of the fate which afterwards befel
her.



It was bad for Cardinal Wolsey that he had left Cranmer to render
this help. It was worse for him that he had tried to dissuade the
King from marrying Anne Boleyn. Such a servant as he, to such a
master as Henry, would probably have fallen in any case; but,
between the hatred of the party of the Queen that was, and the
hatred of the party of the Queen that was to be, he fell suddenly
and heavily. Going down one day to the Court of Chancery, where he
now presided, he was waited upon by the Dukes of Norfolk and
Suffolk, who told him that they brought an order to him to resign
that office, and to withdraw quietly to a house he had at Esher, in
Surrey. The Cardinal refusing, they rode off to the King; and next
day came back with a letter from him, on reading which, the
Cardinal submitted. An inventory was made out of all the riches in
his palace at York Place (now Whitehall), and he went sorrowfully
up the river, in his barge, to Putney. An abject man he was, in
spite of his pride; for being overtaken, riding out of that place
towards Esher, by one of the King's chamberlains who brought him a
kind message and a ring, he alighted from his mule, took off his
cap, and kneeled down in the dirt. His poor Fool, whom in his
prosperous days he had always kept in his palace to entertain him,
cut a far better figure than he; for, when the Cardinal said to the
chamberlain that he had nothing to send to his lord the King as a
present, but that jester who was a most excellent one, it took six
strong yeomen to remove the faithful fool from his master.



The once proud Cardinal was soon further disgraced, and wrote the
most abject letters to his vile sovereign; who humbled him one day
and encouraged him the next, according to his humour, until he was
at last ordered to go and reside in his diocese of York. He said
he was too poor; but I don't know how he made that out, for he took
a hundred and sixty servants with him, and seventy-two cart-loads
of furniture, food, and wine. He remained in that part of the
country for the best part of a year, and showed himself so improved
by his misfortunes, and was so mild and so conciliating, that he
won all hearts. And indeed, even in his proud days, he had done
some magnificent things for learning and education. At last, he
was arrested for high treason; and, coming slowly on his journey
towards London, got as far as Leicester. Arriving at Leicester
Abbey after dark, and very ill, he said - when the monks came out
at the gate with lighted torches to receive him - that he had come
to lay his bones among them. He had indeed; for he was taken to a
bed, from which he never rose again. His last words were, 'Had I
but served God as diligently as I have served the King, He would
not have given me over, in my grey hairs. Howbeit, this is my just
reward for my pains and diligence, not regarding my service to God,
but only my duty to my prince.' The news of his death was quickly
carried to the King, who was amusing himself with archery in the
garden of the magnificent Palace at Hampton Court, which that very
Wolsey had presented to him. The greatest emotion his royal mind
displayed at the loss of a servant so faithful and so ruined, was a
particular desire to lay hold of fifteen hundred pounds which the
Cardinal was reported to have hidden somewhere.



The opinions concerning the divorce, of the learned doctors and
bishops and others, being at last collected, and being generally in
the King's favour, were forwarded to the Pope, with an entreaty
that he would now grant it. The unfortunate Pope, who was a timid
man, was half distracted between his fear of his authority being
set aside in England if he did not do as he was asked, and his
dread of offending the Emperor of Germany, who was Queen
Catherine's nephew. In this state of mind he still evaded and did
nothing. Then, THOMAS CROMWELL, who had been one of Wolsey's
faithful attendants, and had remained so even in his decline,
advised the King to take the matter into his own hands, and make
himself the head of the whole Church. This, the King by various
artful means, began to do; but he recompensed the clergy by
allowing them to burn as many people as they pleased, for holding
Luther's opinions. You must understand that Sir Thomas More, the
wise man who had helped the King with his book, had been made
Chancellor in Wolsey's place. But, as he was truly attached to the
Church as it was even in its abuses, he, in this state of things,
resigned.



Being now quite resolved to get rid of Queen Catherine, and to
marry Anne Boleyn without more ado, the King made Cranmer
Archbishop of Canterbury, and directed Queen Catherine to leave the
Court. She obeyed; but replied that wherever she went, she was
Queen of England still, and would remain so, to the last. The King
then married Anne Boleyn privately; and the new Archbishop of
Canterbury, within half a year, declared his marriage with Queen
Catherine void, and crowned Anne Boleyn Queen.



She might have known that no good could ever come from such wrong,
and that the corpulent brute who had been so faithless and so cruel
to his first wife, could be more faithless and more cruel to his
second. She might have known that, even when he was in love with
her, he had been a mean and selfish coward, running away, like a
frightened cur, from her society and her house, when a dangerous
sickness broke out in it, and when she might easily have taken it
and died, as several of the household did. But, Anne Boleyn
arrived at all this knowledge too late, and bought it at a dear
price. Her bad marriage with a worse man came to its natural end.
Its natural end was not, as we shall too soon see, a natural death
for her.



 



CHAPTER XXVIII - ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE EIGHTH



 



PART THE SECOND




THE Pope was thrown into a very angry state of mind when he heard
of the King's marriage, and fumed exceedingly. Many of the English
monks and friars, seeing that their order was in danger, did the
same; some even declaimed against the King in church before his
face, and were not to be stopped until he himself roared out
'Silence!' The King, not much the worse for this, took it pretty
quietly; and was very glad when his Queen gave birth to a daughter,
who was christened ELIZABETH, and declared Princess of Wales as her
sister Mary had already been.



One of the most atrocious features of this reign was that Henry the
Eighth was always trimming between the reformed religion and the
unreformed one; so that the more he quarrelled with the Pope, the
more of his own subjects he roasted alive for not holding the
Pope's opinions. Thus, an unfortunate student named John Frith,
and a poor simple tailor named Andrew Hewet who loved him very
much, and said that whatever John Frith believed HE believed, were
burnt in Smithfield - to show what a capital Christian the King
was.



But, these were speedily followed by two much greater victims, Sir
Thomas More, and John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester. The latter,
who was a good and amiable old man, had committed no greater
offence than believing in Elizabeth Barton, called the Maid of Kent
- another of those ridiculous women who pretended to be inspired,
and to make all sorts of heavenly revelations, though they indeed
uttered nothing but evil nonsense. For this offence - as it was
pretended, but really for denying the King to be the supreme Head
of the Church - he got into trouble, and was put in prison; but,
even then, he might have been suffered to die naturally (short work
having been made of executing the Kentish Maid and her principal
followers), but that the Pope, to spite the King, resolved to make
him a cardinal. Upon that the King made a ferocious joke to the
effect that the Pope might send Fisher a red hat - which is the way
they make a cardinal - but he should have no head on which to wear
it; and he was tried with all unfairness and injustice, and
sentenced to death. He died like a noble and virtuous old man, and
left a worthy name behind him. The King supposed, I dare say, that
Sir Thomas More would be frightened by this example; but, as he was
not to be easily terrified, and, thoroughly believing in the Pope,
had made up his mind that the King was not the rightful Head of the
Church, he positively refused to say that he was. For this crime
he too was tried and sentenced, after having been in prison a whole
year. When he was doomed to death, and came away from his trial
with the edge of the executioner's axe turned towards him - as was
always done in those times when a state prisoner came to that
hopeless pass - he bore it quite serenely, and gave his blessing to
his son, who pressed through the crowd in Westminster Hall and
kneeled down to receive it. But, when he got to the Tower Wharf on
his way back to his prison, and his favourite daughter, MARGARET
ROPER, a very good woman, rushed through the guards again and
again, to kiss him and to weep upon his neck, he was overcome at
last. He soon recovered, and never more showed any feeling but
cheerfulness and courage. When he was going up the steps of the
scaffold to his death, he said jokingly to the Lieutenant of the
Tower, observing that they were weak and shook beneath his tread,
'I pray you, master Lieutenant, see me safe up; and, for my coming
down, I can shift for myself.' Also he said to the executioner,
after he had laid his head upon the block, 'Let me put my beard out
of the way; for that, at least, has never committed any treason.'
Then his head was struck off at a blow. These two executions were
worthy of King Henry the Eighth. Sir Thomas More was one of the
most virtuous men in his dominions, and the Bishop was one of his
oldest and truest friends. But to be a friend of that fellow was
almost as dangerous as to be his wife.



When the news of these two murders got to Rome, the Pope raged
against the murderer more than ever Pope raged since the world
began, and prepared a Bull, ordering his subjects to take arms
against him and dethrone him. The King took all possible
precautions to keep that document out of his dominions, and set to
work in return to suppress a great number of the English
monasteries and abbeys.



This destruction was begun by a body of commissioners, of whom
Cromwell (whom the King had taken into great favour) was the head;
and was carried on through some few years to its entire completion.
There is no doubt that many of these religious establishments were
religious in nothing but in name, and were crammed with lazy,
indolent, and sensual monks. There is no doubt that they imposed
upon the people in every possible way; that they had images moved
by wires, which they pretended were miraculously moved by Heaven;
that they had among them a whole tun measure full of teeth, all
purporting to have come out of the head of one saint, who must
indeed have been a very extraordinary person with that enormous
allowance of grinders; that they had bits of coal which they said
had fried Saint Lawrence, and bits of toe-nails which they said
belonged to other famous saints; penknives, and boots, and girdles,
which they said belonged to others; and that all these bits of
rubbish were called Relics, and adored by the ignorant people.
But, on the other hand, there is no doubt either, that the King's
officers and men punished the good monks with the bad; did great
injustice; demolished many beautiful things and many valuable
libraries; destroyed numbers of paintings, stained glass windows,
fine pavements, and carvings; and that the whole court were
ravenously greedy and rapacious for the division of this great
spoil among them. The King seems to have grown almost mad in the
ardour of this pursuit; for he declared Thomas a Becket a traitor,
though he had been dead so many years, and had his body dug up out
of his grave. He must have been as miraculous as the monks
pretended, if they had told the truth, for he was found with one
head on his shoulders, and they had shown another as his undoubted
and genuine head ever since his death; it had brought them vast
sums of money, too. The gold and jewels on his shrine filled two
great chests, and eight men tottered as they carried them away.
How rich the monasteries were you may infer from the fact that,
when they were all suppressed, one hundred and thirty thousand
pounds a year - in those days an immense sum - came to the Crown.



These things were not done without causing great discontent among
the people. The monks had been good landlords and hospitable
entertainers of all travellers, and had been accustomed to give
away a great deal of corn, and fruit, and meat, and other things.
In those days it was difficult to change goods into money, in
consequence of the roads being very few and very bad, and the
carts, and waggons of the worst description; and they must either
have given away some of the good things they possessed in enormous
quantities, or have suffered them to spoil and moulder. So, many
of the people missed what it was more agreeable to get idly than to
work for; and the monks who were driven out of their homes and
wandered about encouraged their discontent; and there were,
consequently, great risings in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. These
were put down by terrific executions, from which the monks
themselves did not escape, and the King went on grunting and
growling in his own fat way, like a Royal pig.



I have told all this story of the religious houses at one time, to
make it plainer, and to get back to the King's domestic affairs.



The unfortunate Queen Catherine was by this time dead; and the King
was by this time as tired of his second Queen as he had been of his
first. As he had fallen in love with Anne when she was in the
service of Catherine, so he now fell in love with another lady in
the service of Anne. See how wicked deeds are punished, and how
bitterly and self-reproachfully the Queen must now have thought of
her own rise to the throne! The new fancy was a LADY JANE SEYMOUR;
and the King no sooner set his mind on her, than he resolved to
have Anne Boleyn's head. So, he brought a number of charges
against Anne, accusing her of dreadful crimes which she had never
committed, and implicating in them her own brother and certain
gentlemen in her service: among whom one Norris, and Mark Smeaton
a musician, are best remembered. As the lords and councillors were
as afraid of the King and as subservient to him as the meanest
peasant in England was, they brought in Anne Boleyn guilty, and the
other unfortunate persons accused with her, guilty too. Those
gentlemen died like men, with the exception of Smeaton, who had
been tempted by the King into telling lies, which he called
confessions, and who had expected to be pardoned; but who, I am
very glad to say, was not. There was then only the Queen to
dispose of. She had been surrounded in the Tower with women spies;
had been monstrously persecuted and foully slandered; and had
received no justice. But her spirit rose with her afflictions;
and, after having in vain tried to soften the King by writing an
affecting letter to him which still exists, 'from her doleful
prison in the Tower,' she resigned herself to death. She said to
those about her, very cheerfully, that she had heard say the
executioner was a good one, and that she had a little neck (she
laughed and clasped it with her hands as she said that), and would
soon be out of her pain. And she WAS soon out of her pain, poor
creature, on the Green inside the Tower, and her body was flung
into an old box and put away in the ground under the chapel.



There is a story that the King sat in his palace listening very
anxiously for the sound of the cannon which was to announce this
new murder; and that, when he heard it come booming on the air, he
rose up in great spirits and ordered out his dogs to go a-hunting.
He was bad enough to do it; but whether he did it or not, it is
certain that he married Jane Seymour the very next day.



I have not much pleasure in recording that she lived just long
enough to give birth to a son who was christened EDWARD, and then
to die of a fever: for, I cannot but think that any woman who
married such a ruffian, and knew what innocent blood was on his
hands, deserved the axe that would assuredly have fallen on the
neck of Jane Seymour, if she had lived much longer.



Cranmer had done what he could to save some of the Church property
for purposes of religion and education; but, the great families had
been so hungry to get hold of it, that very little could be rescued
for such objects. Even MILES COVERDALE, who did the people the
inestimable service of translating the Bible into English (which
the unreformed religion never permitted to be done), was left in
poverty while the great families clutched the Church lands and
money. The people had been told that when the Crown came into
possession of these funds, it would not be necessary to tax them;
but they were taxed afresh directly afterwards. It was fortunate
for them, indeed, that so many nobles were so greedy for this
wealth; since, if it had remained with the Crown, there might have
been no end to tyranny for hundreds of years. One of the most
active writers on the Church's side against the King was a member
of his own family - a sort of distant cousin, REGINALD POLE by name
- who attacked him in the most violent manner (though he received a
pension from him all the time), and fought for the Church with his
pen, day and night. As he was beyond the King's reach - being in
Italy - the King politely invited him over to discuss the subject;
but he, knowing better than to come, and wisely staying where he
was, the King's rage fell upon his brother Lord Montague, the
Marquis of Exeter, and some other gentlemen: who were tried for
high treason in corresponding with him and aiding him - which they
probably did - and were all executed. The Pope made Reginald Pole
a cardinal; but, so much against his will, that it is thought he
even aspired in his own mind to the vacant throne of England, and
had hopes of marrying the Princess Mary. His being made a high
priest, however, put an end to all that. His mother, the venerable
Countess of Salisbury - who was, unfortunately for herself, within
the tyrant's reach - was the last of his relatives on whom his
wrath fell. When she was told to lay her grey head upon the block,
she answered the executioner, 'No! My head never committed
treason, and if you want it, you shall seize it.' So, she ran
round and round the scaffold with the executioner striking at her,
and her grey hair bedabbled with blood; and even when they held her
down upon the block she moved her head about to the last, resolved
to be no party to her own barbarous murder. All this the people
bore, as they had borne everything else.



Indeed they bore much more; for the slow fires of Smithfield were
continually burning, and people were constantly being roasted to
death - still to show what a good Christian the King was. He
defied the Pope and his Bull, which was now issued, and had come
into England; but he burned innumerable people whose only offence
was that they differed from the Pope's religious opinions. There
was a wretched man named LAMBERT, among others, who was tried for
this before the King, and with whom six bishops argued one after
another. When he was quite exhausted (as well he might be, after
six bishops), he threw himself on the King's mercy; but the King
blustered out that he had no mercy for heretics. So, HE too fed
the fire.



All this the people bore, and more than all this yet. The national
spirit seems to have been banished from the kingdom at this time.
The very people who were executed for treason, the very wives and
friends of the 'bluff' King, spoke of him on the scaffold as a good
prince, and a gentle prince - just as serfs in similar
circumstances have been known to do, under the Sultan and Bashaws
of the East, or under the fierce old tyrants of Russia, who poured
boiling and freezing water on them alternately, until they died.
The Parliament were as bad as the rest, and gave the King whatever
he wanted; among other vile accommodations, they gave him new
powers of murdering, at his will and pleasure, any one whom he
might choose to call a traitor. But the worst measure they passed
was an Act of Six Articles, commonly called at the time 'the whip
with six strings;' which punished offences against the Pope's
opinions, without mercy, and enforced the very worst parts of the
monkish religion. Cranmer would have modified it, if he could;
but, being overborne by the Romish party, had not the power. As
one of the articles declared that priests should not marry, and as
he was married himself, he sent his wife and children into Germany,
and began to tremble at his danger; none the less because he was,
and had long been, the King's friend. This whip of six strings was
made under the King's own eye. It should never be forgotten of him
how cruelly he supported the worst of the Popish doctrines when
there was nothing to be got by opposing them.



This amiable monarch now thought of taking another wife. He
proposed to the French King to have some of the ladies of the
French Court exhibited before him, that he might make his Royal
choice; but the French King answered that he would rather not have
his ladies trotted out to be shown like horses at a fair. He
proposed to the Dowager Duchess of Milan, who replied that she
might have thought of such a match if she had had two heads; but,
that only owning one, she must beg to keep it safe. At last
Cromwell represented that there was a Protestant Princess in
Germany - those who held the reformed religion were called
Protestants, because their leaders had Protested against the abuses
and impositions of the unreformed Church - named ANNE OF CLEVES,
who was beautiful, and would answer the purpose admirably. The
King said was she a large woman, because he must have a fat wife?
'O yes,' said Cromwell; 'she was very large, just the thing.' On
hearing this the King sent over his famous painter, Hans Holbein,
to take her portrait. Hans made her out to be so good-looking that
the King was satisfied, and the marriage was arranged. But,
whether anybody had paid Hans to touch up the picture; or whether
Hans, like one or two other painters, flattered a princess in the
ordinary way of business, I cannot say: all I know is, that when
Anne came over and the King went to Rochester to meet her, and
first saw her without her seeing him, he swore she was 'a great
Flanders mare,' and said he would never marry her. Being obliged
to do it now matters had gone so far, he would not give her the
presents he had prepared, and would never notice her. He never
forgave Cromwell his part in the affair. His downfall dates from
that time.



It was quickened by his enemies, in the interests of the unreformed
religion, putting in the King's way, at a state dinner, a niece of
the Duke of Norfolk, CATHERINE HOWARD, a young lady of fascinating
manners, though small in stature and not particularly beautiful.
Falling in love with her on the spot, the King soon divorced Anne
of Cleves after making her the subject of much brutal talk, on
pretence that she had been previously betrothed to some one else -
which would never do for one of his dignity - and married
Catherine. It is probable that on his wedding day, of all days in
the year, he sent his faithful Cromwell to the scaffold, and had
his head struck off. He further celebrated the occasion by burning
at one time, and causing to be drawn to the fire on the same
hurdles, some Protestant prisoners for denying the Pope's
doctrines, and some Roman Catholic prisoners for denying his own
supremacy. Still the people bore it, and not a gentleman in
England raised his hand.



But, by a just retribution, it soon came out that Catherine Howard,
before her marriage, had been really guilty of such crimes as the
King had falsely attributed to his second wife Anne Boleyn; so,
again the dreadful axe made the King a widower, and this Queen
passed away as so many in that reign had passed away before her.
As an appropriate pursuit under the circumstances, Henry then
applied himself to superintending the composition of a religious
book called 'A necessary doctrine for any Christian Man.' He must
have been a little confused in his mind, I think, at about this
period; for he was so false to himself as to be true to some one:
that some one being Cranmer, whom the Duke of Norfolk and others of
his enemies tried to ruin; but to whom the King was steadfast, and
to whom he one night gave his ring, charging him when he should
find himself, next day, accused of treason, to show it to the
council board. This Cranmer did to the confusion of his enemies.
I suppose the King thought he might want him a little longer.



He married yet once more. Yes, strange to say, he found in England
another woman who would become his wife, and she was CATHERINE
PARR, widow of Lord Latimer. She leaned towards the reformed
religion; and it is some comfort to know, that she tormented the
King considerably by arguing a variety of doctrinal points with him
on all possible occasions. She had very nearly done this to her
own destruction. After one of these conversations the King in a
very black mood actually instructed GARDINER, one of his Bishops
who favoured the Popish opinions, to draw a bill of accusation
against her, which would have inevitably brought her to the
scaffold where her predecessors had died, but that one of her
friends picked up the paper of instructions which had been dropped
in the palace, and gave her timely notice. She fell ill with
terror; but managed the King so well when he came to entrap her
into further statements - by saying that she had only spoken on
such points to divert his mind and to get some information from his
extraordinary wisdom - that he gave her a kiss and called her his
sweetheart. And, when the Chancellor came next day actually to
take her to the Tower, the King sent him about his business, and
honoured him with the epithets of a beast, a knave, and a fool. So
near was Catherine Parr to the block, and so narrow was her escape!



There was war with Scotland in this reign, and a short clumsy war
with France for favouring Scotland; but, the events at home were so
dreadful, and leave such an enduring stain on the country, that I
need say no more of what happened abroad.



A few more horrors, and this reign is over. There was a lady, ANNE
ASKEW, in Lincolnshire, who inclined to the Protestant opinions,
and whose husband being a fierce Catholic, turned her out of his
house. She came to London, and was considered as offending against
the six articles, and was taken to the Tower, and put upon the rack
- probably because it was hoped that she might, in her agony,
criminate some obnoxious persons; if falsely, so much the better.
She was tortured without uttering a cry, until the Lieutenant of
the Tower would suffer his men to torture her no more; and then two
priests who were present actually pulled off their robes, and
turned the wheels of the rack with their own hands, so rending and
twisting and breaking her that she was afterwards carried to the
fire in a chair. She was burned with three others, a gentleman, a
clergyman, and a tailor; and so the world went on.



Either the King became afraid of the power of the Duke of Norfolk,
and his son the Earl of Surrey, or they gave him some offence, but
he resolved to pull THEM down, to follow all the rest who were
gone. The son was tried first - of course for nothing - and
defended himself bravely; but of course he was found guilty, and of
course he was executed. Then his father was laid hold of, and left
for death too.



But the King himself was left for death by a Greater King, and the
earth was to be rid of him at last. He was now a swollen, hideous
spectacle, with a great hole in his leg, and so odious to every
sense that it was dreadful to approach him. When he was found to
be dying, Cranmer was sent for from his palace at Croydon, and came
with all speed, but found him speechless. Happily, in that hour he
perished. He was in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and the
thirty-eighth of his reign.



Henry the Eighth has been favoured by some Protestant writers,
because the Reformation was achieved in his time. But the mighty
merit of it lies with other men and not with him; and it can be
rendered none the worse by this monster's crimes, and none the
better by any defence of them. The plain truth is, that he was a
most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of
blood and grease upon the History of England.



 



CHAPTER XXIX - ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE SIXTH



 



HENRY THE EIGHTH had made a will, appointing a council of sixteen
to govern the kingdom for his son while he was under age (he was
now only ten years old), and another council of twelve to help
them. The most powerful of the first council was the EARL OF
HERTFORD, the young King's uncle, who lost no time in bringing his
nephew with great state up to Enfield, and thence to the Tower. It
was considered at the time a striking proof of virtue in the young
King that he was sorry for his father's death; but, as common
subjects have that virtue too, sometimes, we will say no more about
it.



There was a curious part of the late King's will, requiring his
executors to fulfil whatever promises he had made. Some of the
court wondering what these might be, the Earl of Hertford and the
other noblemen interested, said that they were promises to advance
and enrich THEM. So, the Earl of Hertford made himself DUKE OF
SOMERSET, and made his brother EDWARD SEYMOUR a baron; and there
were various similar promotions, all very agreeable to the parties
concerned, and very dutiful, no doubt, to the late King's memory.
To be more dutiful still, they made themselves rich out of the
Church lands, and were very comfortable. The new Duke of Somerset
caused himself to be declared PROTECTOR of the kingdom, and was,
indeed, the King.



As young Edward the Sixth had been brought up in the principles of
the Protestant religion, everybody knew that they would be
maintained. But Cranmer, to whom they were chiefly entrusted,
advanced them steadily and temperately. Many superstitious and
ridiculous practices were stopped; but practices which were
harmless were not interfered with.



The Duke of Somerset, the Protector, was anxious to have the young
King engaged in marriage to the young Queen of Scotland, in order
to prevent that princess from making an alliance with any foreign
power; but, as a large party in Scotland were unfavourable to this
plan, he invaded that country. His excuse for doing so was, that
the Border men - that is, the Scotch who lived in that part of the
country where England and Scotland joined - troubled the English
very much. But there were two sides to this question; for the
English Border men troubled the Scotch too; and, through many long
years, there were perpetual border quarrels which gave rise to
numbers of old tales and songs. However, the Protector invaded
Scotland; and ARRAN, the Scottish Regent, with an army twice as
large as his, advanced to meet him. They encountered on the banks
of the river Esk, within a few miles of Edinburgh; and there, after
a little skirmish, the Protector made such moderate proposals, in
offering to retire if the Scotch would only engage not to marry
their princess to any foreign prince, that the Regent thought the
English were afraid. But in this he made a horrible mistake; for
the English soldiers on land, and the English sailors on the water,
so set upon the Scotch, that they broke and fled, and more than ten
thousand of them were killed. It was a dreadful battle, for the
fugitives were slain without mercy. The ground for four miles, all
the way to Edinburgh, was strewn with dead men, and with arms, and
legs, and heads. Some hid themselves in streams and were drowned;
some threw away their armour and were killed running, almost naked;
but in this battle of Pinkey the English lost only two or three
hundred men. They were much better clothed than the Scotch; at the
poverty of whose appearance and country they were exceedingly
astonished.



A Parliament was called when Somerset came back, and it repealed
the whip with six strings, and did one or two other good things;
though it unhappily retained the punishment of burning for those
people who did not make believe to believe, in all religious
matters, what the Government had declared that they must and should
believe. It also made a foolish law (meant to put down beggars),
that any man who lived idly and loitered about for three days
together, should be burned with a hot iron, made a slave, and wear
an iron fetter. But this savage absurdity soon came to an end, and
went the way of a great many other foolish laws.



The Protector was now so proud that he sat in Parliament before all
the nobles, on the right hand of the throne. Many other noblemen,
who only wanted to be as proud if they could get a chance, became
his enemies of course; and it is supposed that he came back
suddenly from Scotland because he had received news that his
brother, LORD SEYMOUR, was becoming dangerous to him. This lord
was now High Admiral of England; a very handsome man, and a great
favourite with the Court ladies - even with the young Princess
Elizabeth, who romped with him a little more than young princesses
in these times do with any one. He had married Catherine Parr, the
late King's widow, who was now dead; and, to strengthen his power,
he secretly supplied the young King with money. He may even have
engaged with some of his brother's enemies in a plot to carry the
boy off. On these and other accusations, at any rate, he was
confined in the Tower, impeached, and found guilty; his own
brother's name being - unnatural and sad to tell - the first signed
to the warrant of his execution. He was executed on Tower Hill,
and died denying his treason. One of his last proceedings in this
world was to write two letters, one to the Princess Elizabeth, and
one to the Princess Mary, which a servant of his took charge of,
and concealed in his shoe. These letters are supposed to have
urged them against his brother, and to revenge his death. What
they truly contained is not known; but there is no doubt that he
had, at one time, obtained great influence over the Princess
Elizabeth.



All this while, the Protestant religion was making progress. The
images which the people had gradually come to worship, were removed
from the churches; the people were informed that they need not
confess themselves to priests unless they chose; a common prayer-
book was drawn up in the English language, which all could
understand, and many other improvements were made; still
moderately. For Cranmer was a very moderate man, and even
restrained the Protestant clergy from violently abusing the
unreformed religion - as they very often did, and which was not a
good example. But the people were at this time in great distress.
The rapacious nobility who had come into possession of the Church
lands, were very bad landlords. They enclosed great quantities of
ground for the feeding of sheep, which was then more profitable
than the growing of crops; and this increased the general distress.
So the people, who still understood little of what was going on
about them, and still readily believed what the homeless monks told
them - many of whom had been their good friends in their better
days - took it into their heads that all this was owing to the
reformed religion, and therefore rose, in many parts of the
country.



The most powerful risings were in Devonshire and Norfolk. In
Devonshire, the rebellion was so strong that ten thousand men
united within a few days, and even laid siege to Exeter. But LORD
RUSSELL, coming to the assistance of the citizens who defended that
town, defeated the rebels; and, not only hanged the Mayor of one
place, but hanged the vicar of another from his own church steeple.
What with hanging and killing by the sword, four thousand of the
rebels are supposed to have fallen in that one county. In Norfolk
(where the rising was more against the enclosure of open lands than
against the reformed religion), the popular leader was a man named
ROBERT KET, a tanner of Wymondham. The mob were, in the first
instance, excited against the tanner by one JOHN FLOWERDEW, a
gentleman who owed him a grudge: but the tanner was more than a
match for the gentleman, since he soon got the people on his side,
and established himself near Norwich with quite an army. There was
a large oak-tree in that place, on a spot called Moushold Hill,
which Ket named the Tree of Reformation; and under its green
boughs, he and his men sat, in the midsummer weather, holding
courts of justice, and debating affairs of state. They were even
impartial enough to allow some rather tiresome public speakers to
get up into this Tree of Reformation, and point out their errors to
them, in long discourses, while they lay listening (not always
without some grumbling and growling) in the shade below. At last,
one sunny July day, a herald appeared below the tree, and
proclaimed Ket and all his men traitors, unless from that moment
they dispersed and went home: in which case they were to receive a
pardon. But, Ket and his men made light of the herald and became
stronger than ever, until the Earl of Warwick went after them with
a sufficient force, and cut them all to pieces. A few were hanged,
drawn, and quartered, as traitors, and their limbs were sent into
various country places to be a terror to the people. Nine of them
were hanged upon nine green branches of the Oak of Reformation; and
so, for the time, that tree may be said to have withered away.



The Protector, though a haughty man, had compassion for the real
distresses of the common people, and a sincere desire to help them.
But he was too proud and too high in degree to hold even their
favour steadily; and many of the nobles always envied and hated
him, because they were as proud and not as high as he. He was at
this time building a great Palace in the Strand: to get the stone
for which he blew up church steeples with gunpowder, and pulled
down bishops' houses: thus making himself still more disliked. At
length, his principal enemy, the Earl of Warwick - Dudley by name,
and the son of that Dudley who had made himself so odious with
Empson, in the reign of Henry the Seventh - joined with seven other
members of the Council against him, formed a separate Council; and,
becoming stronger in a few days, sent him to the Tower under
twenty-nine articles of accusation. After being sentenced by the
Council to the forfeiture of all his offices and lands, he was
liberated and pardoned, on making a very humble submission. He was
even taken back into the Council again, after having suffered this
fall, and married his daughter, LADY ANNE SEYMOUR, to Warwick's
eldest son. But such a reconciliation was little likely to last,
and did not outlive a year. Warwick, having got himself made Duke
of Northumberland, and having advanced the more important of his
friends, then finished the history by causing the Duke of Somerset
and his friend LORD GREY, and others, to be arrested for treason,
in having conspired to seize and dethrone the King. They were also
accused of having intended to seize the new Duke of Northumberland,
with his friends LORD NORTHAMPTON and LORD PEMBROKE; to murder them
if they found need; and to raise the City to revolt. All this the
fallen Protector positively denied; except that he confessed to
having spoken of the murder of those three noblemen, but having
never designed it. He was acquitted of the charge of treason, and
found guilty of the other charges; so when the people - who
remembered his having been their friend, now that he was disgraced
and in danger, saw him come out from his trial with the axe turned
from him - they thought he was altogether acquitted, and sent up a
loud shout of joy.



But the Duke of Somerset was ordered to be beheaded on Tower Hill,
at eight o'clock in the morning, and proclamations were issued
bidding the citizens keep at home until after ten. They filled the
streets, however, and crowded the place of execution as soon as it
was light; and, with sad faces and sad hearts, saw the once
powerful Protector ascend the scaffold to lay his head upon the
dreadful block. While he was yet saying his last words to them
with manly courage, and telling them, in particular, how it
comforted him, at that pass, to have assisted in reforming the
national religion, a member of the Council was seen riding up on
horseback. They again thought that the Duke was saved by his
bringing a reprieve, and again shouted for joy. But the Duke
himself told them they were mistaken, and laid down his head and
had it struck off at a blow.



Many of the bystanders rushed forward and steeped their
handkerchiefs in his blood, as a mark of their affection. He had,
indeed, been capable of many good acts, and one of them was
discovered after he was no more. The Bishop of Durham, a very good
man, had been informed against to the Council, when the Duke was in
power, as having answered a treacherous letter proposing a
rebellion against the reformed religion. As the answer could not
be found, he could not be declared guilty; but it was now
discovered, hidden by the Duke himself among some private papers,
in his regard for that good man. The Bishop lost his office, and
was deprived of his possessions.



It is not very pleasant to know that while his uncle lay in prison
under sentence of death, the young King was being vastly
entertained by plays, and dances, and sham fights: but there is no
doubt of it, for he kept a journal himself. It is pleasanter to
know that not a single Roman Catholic was burnt in this reign for
holding that religion; though two wretched victims suffered for
heresy. One, a woman named JOAN BOCHER, for professing some
opinions that even she could only explain in unintelligible jargon.
The other, a Dutchman, named VON PARIS, who practised as a surgeon
in London. Edward was, to his credit, exceedingly unwilling to
sign the warrant for the woman's execution: shedding tears before
he did so, and telling Cranmer, who urged him to do it (though
Cranmer really would have spared the woman at first, but for her
own determined obstinacy), that the guilt was not his, but that of
the man who so strongly urged the dreadful act. We shall see, too
soon, whether the time ever came when Cranmer is likely to have
remembered this with sorrow and remorse.



Cranmer and RIDLEY (at first Bishop of Rochester, and afterwards
Bishop of London) were the most powerful of the clergy of this
reign. Others were imprisoned and deprived of their property for
still adhering to the unreformed religion; the most important among
whom were GARDINER Bishop of Winchester, HEATH Bishop of Worcester,
DAY Bishop of Chichester, and BONNER that Bishop of London who was
superseded by Ridley. The Princess Mary, who inherited her
mother's gloomy temper, and hated the reformed religion as
connected with her mother's wrongs and sorrows - she knew nothing
else about it, always refusing to read a single book in which it
was truly described - held by the unreformed religion too, and was
the only person in the kingdom for whom the old Mass was allowed to
be performed; nor would the young King have made that exception
even in her favour, but for the strong persuasions of Cranmer and
Ridley. He always viewed it with horror; and when he fell into a
sickly condition, after having been very ill, first of the measles
and then of the small-pox, he was greatly troubled in mind to think
that if he died, and she, the next heir to the throne, succeeded,
the Roman Catholic religion would be set up again.



This uneasiness, the Duke of Northumberland was not slow to
encourage: for, if the Princess Mary came to the throne, he, who
had taken part with the Protestants, was sure to be disgraced.
Now, the Duchess of Suffolk was descended from King Henry the
Seventh; and, if she resigned what little or no right she had, in
favour of her daughter LADY JANE GREY, that would be the succession
to promote the Duke's greatness; because LORD GUILFORD DUDLEY, one
of his sons, was, at this very time, newly married to her. So, he
worked upon the King's fears, and persuaded him to set aside both
the Princess Mary and the Princess Elizabeth, and assert his right
to appoint his successor. Accordingly the young King handed to the
Crown lawyers a writing signed half a dozen times over by himself,
appointing Lady Jane Grey to succeed to the Crown, and requiring
them to have his will made out according to law. They were much
against it at first, and told the King so; but the Duke of
Northumberland - being so violent about it that the lawyers even
expected him to beat them, and hotly declaring that, stripped to
his shirt, he would fight any man in such a quarrel - they yielded.
Cranmer, also, at first hesitated; pleading that he had sworn to
maintain the succession of the Crown to the Princess Mary; but, he
was a weak man in his resolutions, and afterwards signed the
document with the rest of the council.



It was completed none too soon; for Edward was now sinking in a
rapid decline; and, by way of making him better, they handed him
over to a woman-doctor who pretended to be able to cure it. He
speedily got worse. On the sixth of July, in the year one thousand
five hundred and fifty-three, he died, very peaceably and piously,
praying God, with his last breath, to protect the reformed
religion.



This King died in the sixteenth year of his age, and in the seventh
of his reign. It is difficult to judge what the character of one
so young might afterwards have become among so many bad, ambitious,
quarrelling nobles. But, he was an amiable boy, of very good
abilities, and had nothing coarse or cruel or brutal in his
disposition - which in the son of such a father is rather
surprising.



 



CHAPTER XXX - ENGLAND UNDER MARY



 



THE Duke of Northumberland was very anxious to keep the young
King's death a secret, in order that he might get the two
Princesses into his power. But, the Princess Mary, being informed
of that event as she was on her way to London to see her sick
brother, turned her horse's head, and rode away into Norfolk. The
Earl of Arundel was her friend, and it was he who sent her warning
of what had happened.



As the secret could not be kept, the Duke of Northumberland and the
council sent for the Lord Mayor of London and some of the aldermen,
and made a merit of telling it to them. Then, they made it known
to the people, and set off to inform Lady Jane Grey that she was to
be Queen.



She was a pretty girl of only sixteen, and was amiable, learned,
and clever. When the lords who came to her, fell on their knees
before her, and told her what tidings they brought, she was so
astonished that she fainted. On recovering, she expressed her
sorrow for the young King's death, and said that she knew she was
unfit to govern the kingdom; but that if she must be Queen, she
prayed God to direct her. She was then at Sion House, near
Brentford; and the lords took her down the river in state to the
Tower, that she might remain there (as the custom was) until she
was crowned. But the people were not at all favourable to Lady
Jane, considering that the right to be Queen was Mary's, and
greatly disliking the Duke of Northumberland. They were not put
into a better humour by the Duke's causing a vintner's servant, one
Gabriel Pot, to be taken up for expressing his dissatisfaction
among the crowd, and to have his ears nailed to the pillory, and
cut off. Some powerful men among the nobility declared on Mary's
side. They raised troops to support her cause, had her proclaimed
Queen at Norwich, and gathered around her at the castle of
Framlingham, which belonged to the Duke of Norfolk. For, she was
not considered so safe as yet, but that it was best to keep her in
a castle on the sea-coast, from whence she might be sent abroad, if
necessary.



The Council would have despatched Lady Jane's father, the Duke of
Suffolk, as the general of the army against this force; but, as
Lady Jane implored that her father might remain with her, and as he
was known to be but a weak man, they told the Duke of
Northumberland that he must take the command himself. He was not
very ready to do so, as he mistrusted the Council much; but there
was no help for it, and he set forth with a heavy heart, observing
to a lord who rode beside him through Shoreditch at the head of the
troops, that, although the people pressed in great numbers to look
at them, they were terribly silent.



And his fears for himself turned out to be well founded. While he
was waiting at Cambridge for further help from the Council, the
Council took it into their heads to turn their backs on Lady Jane's
cause, and to take up the Princess Mary's. This was chiefly owing
to the before-mentioned Earl of Arundel, who represented to the
Lord Mayor and aldermen, in a second interview with those sagacious
persons, that, as for himself, he did not perceive the Reformed
religion to be in much danger - which Lord Pembroke backed by
flourishing his sword as another kind of persuasion. The Lord
Mayor and aldermen, thus enlightened, said there could be no doubt
that the Princess Mary ought to be Queen. So, she was proclaimed
at the Cross by St. Paul's, and barrels of wine were given to the
people, and they got very drunk, and danced round blazing bonfires
- little thinking, poor wretches, what other bonfires would soon be
blazing in Queen Mary's name.



After a ten days' dream of royalty, Lady Jane Grey resigned the
Crown with great willingness, saying that she had only accepted it
in obedience to her father and mother; and went gladly back to her
pleasant house by the river, and her books. Mary then came on
towards London; and at Wanstead in Essex, was joined by her half-
sister, the Princess Elizabeth. They passed through the streets of
London to the Tower, and there the new Queen met some eminent
prisoners then confined in it, kissed them, and gave them their
liberty. Among these was that Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, who
had been imprisoned in the last reign for holding to the unreformed
religion. Him she soon made chancellor.



The Duke of Northumberland had been taken prisoner, and, together
with his son and five others, was quickly brought before the
Council. He, not unnaturally, asked that Council, in his defence,
whether it was treason to obey orders that had been issued under
the great seal; and, if it were, whether they, who had obeyed them
too, ought to be his judges? But they made light of these points;
and, being resolved to have him out of the way, soon sentenced him
to death. He had risen into power upon the death of another man,
and made but a poor show (as might be expected) when he himself lay
low. He entreated Gardiner to let him live, if it were only in a
mouse's hole; and, when he ascended the scaffold to be beheaded on
Tower Hill, addressed the people in a miserable way, saying that he
had been incited by others, and exhorting them to return to the
unreformed religion, which he told them was his faith. There seems
reason to suppose that he expected a pardon even then, in return
for this confession; but it matters little whether he did or not.
His head was struck off.



Mary was now crowned Queen. She was thirty-seven years of age,
short and thin, wrinkled in the face, and very unhealthy. But she
had a great liking for show and for bright colours, and all the
ladies of her Court were magnificently dressed. She had a great
liking too for old customs, without much sense in them; and she was
oiled in the oldest way, and blessed in the oldest way, and done
all manner of things to in the oldest way, at her coronation. I
hope they did her good.



She soon began to show her desire to put down the Reformed
religion, and put up the unreformed one: though it was dangerous
work as yet, the people being something wiser than they used to be.
They even cast a shower of stones - and among them a dagger - at
one of the royal chaplains who attacked the Reformed religion in a
public sermon. But the Queen and her priests went steadily on.
Ridley, the powerful bishop of the last reign, was seized and sent
to the Tower. LATIMER, also celebrated among the Clergy of the
last reign, was likewise sent to the Tower, and Cranmer speedily
followed. Latimer was an aged man; and, as his guards took him
through Smithfield, he looked round it, and said, 'This is a place
that hath long groaned for me.' For he knew well, what kind of
bonfires would soon be burning. Nor was the knowledge confined to
him. The prisons were fast filled with the chief Protestants, who
were there left rotting in darkness, hunger, dirt, and separation
from their friends; many, who had time left them for escape, fled
from the kingdom; and the dullest of the people began, now, to see
what was coming.



It came on fast. A Parliament was got together; not without strong
suspicion of unfairness; and they annulled the divorce, formerly
pronounced by Cranmer between the Queen's mother and King Henry the
Eighth, and unmade all the laws on the subject of religion that had
been made in the last King Edward's reign. They began their
proceedings, in violation of the law, by having the old mass said
before them in Latin, and by turning out a bishop who would not
kneel down. They also declared guilty of treason, Lady Jane Grey
for aspiring to the Crown; her husband, for being her husband; and
Cranmer, for not believing in the mass aforesaid. They then prayed
the Queen graciously to choose a husband for herself, as soon as
might be.



Now, the question who should be the Queen's husband had given rise
to a great deal of discussion, and to several contending parties.
Some said Cardinal Pole was the man - but the Queen was of opinion
that he was NOT the man, he being too old and too much of a
student. Others said that the gallant young COURTENAY, whom the
Queen had made Earl of Devonshire, was the man - and the Queen
thought so too, for a while; but she changed her mind. At last it
appeared that PHILIP, PRINCE OF SPAIN, was certainly the man -
though certainly not the people's man; for they detested the idea
of such a marriage from the beginning to the end, and murmured that
the Spaniard would establish in England, by the aid of foreign
soldiers, the worst abuses of the Popish religion, and even the
terrible Inquisition itself.



These discontents gave rise to a conspiracy for marrying young
Courtenay to the Princess Elizabeth, and setting them up, with
popular tumults all over the kingdom, against the Queen. This was
discovered in time by Gardiner; but in Kent, the old bold county,
the people rose in their old bold way. SIR THOMAS WYAT, a man of
great daring, was their leader. He raised his standard at
Maidstone, marched on to Rochester, established himself in the old
castle there, and prepared to hold out against the Duke of Norfolk,
who came against him with a party of the Queen's guards, and a body
of five hundred London men. The London men, however, were all for
Elizabeth, and not at all for Mary. They declared, under the
castle walls, for Wyat; the Duke retreated; and Wyat came on to
Deptford, at the head of fifteen thousand men.



But these, in their turn, fell away. When he came to Southwark,
there were only two thousand left. Not dismayed by finding the
London citizens in arms, and the guns at the Tower ready to oppose
his crossing the river there, Wyat led them off to Kingston-upon-
Thames, intending to cross the bridge that he knew to be in that
place, and so to work his way round to Ludgate, one of the old
gates of the City. He found the bridge broken down, but mended it,
came across, and bravely fought his way up Fleet Street to Ludgate
Hill. Finding the gate closed against him, he fought his way back
again, sword in hand, to Temple Bar. Here, being overpowered, he
surrendered himself, and three or four hundred of his men were
taken, besides a hundred killed. Wyat, in a moment of weakness
(and perhaps of torture) was afterwards made to accuse the Princess
Elizabeth as his accomplice to some very small extent. But his
manhood soon returned to him, and he refused to save his life by
making any more false confessions. He was quartered and
distributed in the usual brutal way, and from fifty to a hundred of
his followers were hanged. The rest were led out, with halters
round their necks, to be pardoned, and to make a parade of crying
out, 'God save Queen Mary!'



In the danger of this rebellion, the Queen showed herself to be a
woman of courage and spirit. She disdained to retreat to any place
of safety, and went down to the Guildhall, sceptre in hand, and
made a gallant speech to the Lord Mayor and citizens. But on the
day after Wyat's defeat, she did the most cruel act, even of her
cruel reign, in signing the warrant for the execution of Lady Jane
Grey.



They tried to persuade Lady Jane to accept the unreformed religion;
but she steadily refused. On the morning when she was to die, she
saw from her window the bleeding and headless body of her husband
brought back in a cart from the scaffold on Tower Hill where he had
laid down his life. But, as she had declined to see him before his
execution, lest she should be overpowered and not make a good end,
so, she even now showed a constancy and calmness that will never be
forgotten. She came up to the scaffold with a firm step and a
quiet face, and addressed the bystanders in a steady voice. They
were not numerous; for she was too young, too innocent and fair, to
be murdered before the people on Tower Hill, as her husband had
just been; so, the place of her execution was within the Tower
itself. She said that she had done an unlawful act in taking what
was Queen Mary's right; but that she had done so with no bad
intent, and that she died a humble Christian. She begged the
executioner to despatch her quickly, and she asked him, 'Will you
take my head off before I lay me down?' He answered, 'No, Madam,'
and then she was very quiet while they bandaged her eyes. Being
blinded, and unable to see the block on which she was to lay her
young head, she was seen to feel about for it with her hands, and
was heard to say, confused, 'O what shall I do! Where is it?'
Then they guided her to the right place, and the executioner struck
off her head. You know too well, now, what dreadful deeds the
executioner did in England, through many, many years, and how his
axe descended on the hateful block through the necks of some of the
bravest, wisest, and best in the land. But it never struck so
cruel and so vile a blow as this.



The father of Lady Jane soon followed, but was little pitied.
Queen Mary's next object was to lay hold of Elizabeth, and this was
pursued with great eagerness. Five hundred men were sent to her
retired house at Ashridge, by Berkhampstead, with orders to bring
her up, alive or dead. They got there at ten at night, when she
was sick in bed. But, their leaders followed her lady into her
bedchamber, whence she was brought out betimes next morning, and
put into a litter to be conveyed to London. She was so weak and
ill, that she was five days on the road; still, she was so resolved
to be seen by the people that she had the curtains of the litter
opened; and so, very pale and sickly, passed through the streets.
She wrote to her sister, saying she was innocent of any crime, and
asking why she was made a prisoner; but she got no answer, and was
ordered to the Tower. They took her in by the Traitor's Gate, to
which she objected, but in vain. One of the lords who conveyed her
offered to cover her with his cloak, as it was raining, but she put
it away from her, proudly and scornfully, and passed into the
Tower, and sat down in a court-yard on a stone. They besought her
to come in out of the wet; but she answered that it was better
sitting there, than in a worse place. At length she went to her
apartment, where she was kept a prisoner, though not so close a
prisoner as at Woodstock, whither she was afterwards removed, and
where she is said to have one day envied a milkmaid whom she heard
singing in the sunshine as she went through the green fields.
Gardiner, than whom there were not many worse men among the fierce
and sullen priests, cared little to keep secret his stern desire
for her death: being used to say that it was of little service to
shake off the leaves, and lop the branches of the tree of heresy,
if its root, the hope of heretics, were left. He failed, however,
in his benevolent design. Elizabeth was, at length, released; and
Hatfield House was assigned to her as a residence, under the care
of one SIR THOMAS POPE.



It would seem that Philip, the Prince of Spain, was a main cause of
this change in Elizabeth's fortunes. He was not an amiable man,
being, on the contrary, proud, overbearing, and gloomy; but he and
the Spanish lords who came over with him, assuredly did
discountenance the idea of doing any violence to the Princess. It
may have been mere prudence, but we will hope it was manhood and
honour. The Queen had been expecting her husband with great
impatience, and at length he came, to her great joy, though he
never cared much for her. They were married by Gardiner, at
Winchester, and there was more holiday-making among the people; but
they had their old distrust of this Spanish marriage, in which even
the Parliament shared. Though the members of that Parliament were
far from honest, and were strongly suspected to have been bought
with Spanish money, they would pass no bill to enable the Queen to
set aside the Princess Elizabeth and appoint her own successor.



Although Gardiner failed in this object, as well as in the darker
one of bringing the Princess to the scaffold, he went on at a great
pace in the revival of the unreformed religion. A new Parliament
was packed, in which there were no Protestants. Preparations were
made to receive Cardinal Pole in England as the Pope's messenger,
bringing his holy declaration that all the nobility who had
acquired Church property, should keep it - which was done to enlist
their selfish interest on the Pope's side. Then a great scene was
enacted, which was the triumph of the Queen's plans. Cardinal Pole
arrived in great splendour and dignity, and was received with great
pomp. The Parliament joined in a petition expressive of their
sorrow at the change in the national religion, and praying him to
receive the country again into the Popish Church. With the Queen
sitting on her throne, and the King on one side of her, and the
Cardinal on the other, and the Parliament present, Gardiner read
the petition aloud. The Cardinal then made a great speech, and was
so obliging as to say that all was forgotten and forgiven, and that
the kingdom was solemnly made Roman Catholic again.



Everything was now ready for the lighting of the terrible bonfires.
The Queen having declared to the Council, in writing, that she
would wish none of her subjects to be burnt without some of the
Council being present, and that she would particularly wish there
to be good sermons at all burnings, the Council knew pretty well
what was to be done next. So, after the Cardinal had blessed all
the bishops as a preface to the burnings, the Chancellor Gardiner
opened a High Court at Saint Mary Overy, on the Southwark side of
London Bridge, for the trial of heretics. Here, two of the late
Protestant clergymen, HOOPER, Bishop of Gloucester, and ROGERS, a
Prebendary of St. Paul's, were brought to be tried. Hooper was
tried first for being married, though a priest, and for not
believing in the mass. He admitted both of these accusations, and
said that the mass was a wicked imposition. Then they tried
Rogers, who said the same. Next morning the two were brought up to
be sentenced; and then Rogers said that his poor wife, being a
German woman and a stranger in the land, he hoped might be allowed
to come to speak to him before he died. To this the inhuman
Gardiner replied, that she was not his wife. 'Yea, but she is, my
lord,' said Rogers, 'and she hath been my wife these eighteen
years.' His request was still refused, and they were both sent to
Newgate; all those who stood in the streets to sell things, being
ordered to put out their lights that the people might not see them.
But, the people stood at their doors with candles in their hands,
and prayed for them as they went by. Soon afterwards, Rogers was
taken out of jail to be burnt in Smithfield; and, in the crowd as
he went along, he saw his poor wife and his ten children, of whom
the youngest was a little baby. And so he was burnt to death.



The next day, Hooper, who was to be burnt at Gloucester, was
brought out to take his last journey, and was made to wear a hood
over his face that he might not be known by the people. But, they
did know him for all that, down in his own part of the country;
and, when he came near Gloucester, they lined the road, making
prayers and lamentations. His guards took him to a lodging, where
he slept soundly all night. At nine o'clock next morning, he was
brought forth leaning on a staff; for he had taken cold in prison,
and was infirm. The iron stake, and the iron chain which was to
bind him to it, were fixed up near a great elm-tree in a pleasant
open place before the cathedral, where, on peaceful Sundays, he had
been accustomed to preach and to pray, when he was bishop of
Gloucester. This tree, which had no leaves then, it being
February, was filled with people; and the priests of Gloucester
College were looking complacently on from a window, and there was a
great concourse of spectators in every spot from which a glimpse of
the dreadful sight could be beheld. When the old man kneeled down
on the small platform at the foot of the stake, and prayed aloud,
the nearest people were observed to be so attentive to his prayers
that they were ordered to stand farther back; for it did not suit
the Romish Church to have those Protestant words heard. His
prayers concluded, he went up to the stake and was stripped to his
shirt, and chained ready for the fire. One of his guards had such
compassion on him that, to shorten his agonies, he tied some
packets of gunpowder about him. Then they heaped up wood and straw
and reeds, and set them all alight. But, unhappily, the wood was
green and damp, and there was a wind blowing that blew what flame
there was, away. Thus, through three-quarters of an hour, the good
old man was scorched and roasted and smoked, as the fire rose and
sank; and all that time they saw him, as he burned, moving his lips
in prayer, and beating his breast with one hand, even after the
other was burnt away and had fallen off.



Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, were taken to Oxford to dispute with
a commission of priests and doctors about the mass. They were
shamefully treated; and it is recorded that the Oxford scholars
hissed and howled and groaned, and misconducted themselves in an
anything but a scholarly way. The prisoners were taken back to
jail, and afterwards tried in St. Mary's Church. They were all
found guilty. On the sixteenth of the month of October, Ridley and
Latimer were brought out, to make another of the dreadful bonfires.



The scene of the suffering of these two good Protestant men was in
the City ditch, near Baliol College. On coming to the dreadful
spot, they kissed the stakes, and then embraced each other. And
then a learned doctor got up into a pulpit which was placed there,
and preached a sermon from the text, 'Though I give my body to be
burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.' When you
think of the charity of burning men alive, you may imagine that
this learned doctor had a rather brazen face. Ridley would have
answered his sermon when it came to an end, but was not allowed.
When Latimer was stripped, it appeared that he had dressed himself
under his other clothes, in a new shroud; and, as he stood in it
before all the people, it was noted of him, and long remembered,
that, whereas he had been stooping and feeble but a few minutes
before, he now stood upright and handsome, in the knowledge that he
was dying for a just and a great cause. Ridley's brother-in-law
was there with bags of gunpowder; and when they were both chained
up, he tied them round their bodies. Then, a light was thrown upon
the pile to fire it. 'Be of good comfort, Master Ridley,' said
Latimer, at that awful moment, 'and play the man! We shall this
day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust
shall never be put out.' And then he was seen to make motions with
his hands as if he were washing them in the flames, and to stroke
his aged face with them, and was heard to cry, 'Father of Heaven,
receive my soul!' He died quickly, but the fire, after having
burned the legs of Ridley, sunk. There he lingered, chained to the
iron post, and crying, 'O! I cannot burn! O! for Christ's sake
let the fire come unto me!' And still, when his brother-in-law had
heaped on more wood, he was heard through the blinding smoke, still
dismally crying, 'O! I cannot burn, I cannot burn!' At last, the
gunpowder caught fire, and ended his miseries.



Five days after this fearful scene, Gardiner went to his tremendous
account before God, for the cruelties he had so much assisted in
committing.



Cranmer remained still alive and in prison. He was brought out
again in February, for more examining and trying, by Bonner, Bishop
of London: another man of blood, who had succeeded to Gardiner's
work, even in his lifetime, when Gardiner was tired of it. Cranmer
was now degraded as a priest, and left for death; but, if the Queen
hated any one on earth, she hated him, and it was resolved that he
should be ruined and disgraced to the utmost. There is no doubt
that the Queen and her husband personally urged on these deeds,
because they wrote to the Council, urging them to be active in the
kindling of the fearful fires. As Cranmer was known not to be a
firm man, a plan was laid for surrounding him with artful people,
and inducing him to recant to the unreformed religion. Deans and
friars visited him, played at bowls with him, showed him various
attentions, talked persuasively with him, gave him money for his
prison comforts, and induced him to sign, I fear, as many as six
recantations. But when, after all, he was taken out to be burnt,
he was nobly true to his better self, and made a glorious end.



After prayers and a sermon, Dr. Cole, the preacher of the day (who
had been one of the artful priests about Cranmer in prison),
required him to make a public confession of his faith before the
people. This, Cole did, expecting that he would declare himself a
Roman Catholic. 'I will make a profession of my faith,' said
Cranmer, 'and with a good will too.'



Then, he arose before them all, and took from the sleeve of his
robe a written prayer and read it aloud. That done, he kneeled and
said the Lord's Prayer, all the people joining; and then he arose
again and told them that he believed in the Bible, and that in what
he had lately written, he had written what was not the truth, and
that, because his right hand had signed those papers, he would burn
his right hand first when he came to the fire. As for the Pope, he
did refuse him and denounce him as the enemy of Heaven. Hereupon
the pious Dr. Cole cried out to the guards to stop that heretic's
mouth and take him away.



So they took him away, and chained him to the stake, where he
hastily took off his own clothes to make ready for the flames. And
he stood before the people with a bald head and a white and flowing
beard. He was so firm now when the worst was come, that he again
declared against his recantation, and was so impressive and so
undismayed, that a certain lord, who was one of the directors of
the execution, called out to the men to make haste! When the fire
was lighted, Cranmer, true to his latest word, stretched out his
right hand, and crying out, 'This hand hath offended!' held it
among the flames, until it blazed and burned away. His heart was
found entire among his ashes, and he left at last a memorable name
in English history. Cardinal Pole celebrated the day by saying his
first mass, and next day he was made Archbishop of Canterbury in
Cranmer's place.



The Queen's husband, who was now mostly abroad in his own
dominions, and generally made a coarse jest of her to his more
familiar courtiers, was at war with France, and came over to seek
the assistance of England. England was very unwilling to engage in
a French war for his sake; but it happened that the King of France,
at this very time, aided a descent upon the English coast. Hence,
war was declared, greatly to Philip's satisfaction; and the Queen
raised a sum of money with which to carry it on, by every
unjustifiable means in her power. It met with no profitable
return, for the French Duke of Guise surprised Calais, and the
English sustained a complete defeat. The losses they met with in
France greatly mortified the national pride, and the Queen never
recovered the blow.



There was a bad fever raging in England at this time, and I am glad
to write that the Queen took it, and the hour of her death came.
'When I am dead and my body is opened,' she said to those around
those around her, 'ye shall find CALAIS written on my heart.' I
should have thought, if anything were written on it, they would
have found the words - JANE GREY, HOOPER, ROGERS, RIDLEY, LATIMER,
CRANMER, AND THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE BURNT ALIVE WITHIN FOUR YEARS OF
MY WICKED REIGN, INCLUDING SIXTY WOMEN AND FORTY LITTLE CHILDREN.
But it is enough that their deaths were written in Heaven.



The Queen died on the seventeenth of November, fifteen hundred and
fifty-eight, after reigning not quite five years and a half, and in
the forty-fourth year of her age. Cardinal Pole died of the same
fever next day.



As BLOODY QUEEN MARY, this woman has become famous, and as BLOODY
QUEEN MARY, she will ever be justly remembered with horror and
detestation in Great Britain. Her memory has been held in such
abhorrence that some writers have arisen in later years to take her
part, and to show that she was, upon the whole, quite an amiable
and cheerful sovereign! 'By their fruits ye shall know them,' said
OUR SAVIOUR. The stake and the fire were the fruits of this reign,
and you will judge this Queen by nothing else.

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