« ForrigeFortsæt »
manner: for the king received him in state in his chamber of presence, accompanied with divers of his nobles. And Perkin well attended, as well with those that the king had sent before him, as with his own train, entered the room where the king was, and coming near to the king, and bowing a little to embrace him, he retired some paces back, and with a loud voice, that all that were present might hear him, made his declaration in this manner:
should pass in silence, or at least in a more secret relation; for that it may concern some alive, and the memory of some that are dead. Let it suffice to think, that I had then a mother living, a queen, and one that expected daily such a commandment from the tyrant, for the murdering of her children. Thus in my tender age escaping by God's mercy out of London, I was secretly conveyed over sea; where after a time the party that had me in charge, upon what new fears, change of mind, "High and mighty king, your grace, and these or practice, God knoweth, suddenly forsook me. your nobles here present, may be pleased benignly Whereby I was forced to wander abroad, and to to bow your ears to hear the tragedy of a young seek mean conditions for the sustaining of my man, that by right ought to hold in his hand the life. Wherefore distracted between several pasball of a kingdom; but by fortune is made him- sions, the one of fear to be known, lest the tyrant self a ball, tossed from misery to misery, and should have a new attempt upon me; the other from place to place. You see here before you of grief and disdain to be unknown, and to live the spectacle of a Plantagenet, who hath been in that base and servile manner that I did; I carried from the nursery to the sanctuary; from resolved with myself to expect the tyrant's death, the sanctuary to the direful prison; from the and then to put myself into my sister's hands, who prison to the hand of the cruel tormentor; and was next heir to the crown. But in this season from that hand to the wide wilderness, as I may it happened one Henry Tudor, son to Edmund truly call it, for so the world hath been to me. Tudor, Earl of Richmond, to come from France So that he that is born to a great kingdom, hath and enter into the realm, and by subtile and foul not ground to set his foot upon, more than this means to obtain the crown of the same, which to where he now standeth by your princely favour. me rightfully appertained: so that it was but a Edward the Fourth, late King of England, as change from tyrant to tyrant. This Henry, my your grace cannot but have heard, left two sons, extreme and mortal enemy, so soon as he had Edward, and Richard, Duke of York, both very knowledge of my being alive, imagined and young. Edward, the eldest, succeeded their father wrought all the subtile ways and means he could in the crown, by the name of King Edward the to procure my final destruction; for my mortal Fifth: but Richard, Duke of Gloucester, their enemy hath not only falsely surmised me to be a unnatural uncle, first thirsting after the kingdom feigned person, giving me nicknames, so abusing through ambition, and afterwards thirsting for the world; but also, to defer and put me from their blood, out of desire to secure himself, em- entry into England, hath offered large sums of ployed an instrument of his, confident to him, as money to corrupt the princes and their ministers, he thought, to murder them both. But this man with whom I have been retained; and made imthat was employed to execute that execrable portune labours to certain servants about my pertragedy, having cruelly slain King Edward, the son, to murder or poison me, and others to forsake eldest of the two, was moved, partly by remorse, and leave my righteous quarrel, and to depart and partly by some other mean, to save Richard from my service, as Sir Robert Clifford, and his brother; making a report nevertheless to the others. So that every man of reason may well tyrant, that he had performed his commandment perceive, that Henry, calling himself King of for both brethren. This report was accordingly | England, needed not to have bestowed such great believed, and published generally; so that the sums of treasure, nor so to have busied himself world hath been possessed of an opinion, that with importune and incessant labour and industry, they both were barbarously made away; though to compass my death and ruin, if I had been such ever truth hath some sparks that fly abroad, until a feigned person. But the truth of my cause it appear in due time, as this hath had. But being so manifest, moved the most Christian Almighty God, that stopped the mouth of the King Charles, and the Lady Duchess Dowager lion, and saved little Joash from the tyranny of of Burgundy, my most dear aunt, not only to Athaliah, when she massacred the king's child- acknowledge the truth thereof, but lovingly to ren; and did save Isaac, when the hand was assist me. But it seemeth that God above, for stretched forth to sacrifice him; preserved the the good of this whole island, and the knitting second brother. For I myself, that stand here of these two kingdoms of England and Scotland in your presence, am that very Richard, Duke of in a strait concord and amity, by so great an obliYork, brother of that unfortunate prince, King gation, hath reserved the placing of me on the Edward the Fifth, now the most rightful surviving imperial throne of England for the arms and sucheir male to that victorious and most noble Ed-cours of your grace. Neither is it the first time ward, of that name the fourth, late King of Eng- that a King of Scotland hath supported them that land. For the manner of my escape, it is fit it were bereft and spoiled of the kingdom of Eng
land, as of late, in fresh memory, it was done in the person of Henry the Sixth. Wherefore, for that your grace hath given clear signs, that you are in no noble quality inferior to your royal ancestors, I, so distressed a prince, was hereby moved to come and put myself into your royal hands, desiring your assistance to recover my kingdom of England; promising faithfully to bear myself towards your grace no otherwise than if I were your own natural brother; and will, upon the recovery of mine inheritance, gratefully do you all the pleasure that is in my utmost power."
deprived us of our kingdom, but likewise, by all foul and wicked means, sought to betray us, and bereave us of our life. Yet if his tyranny only extended itself to our person, although our royal blood teacheth us to be sensible of injuries, it should be less to our grief. But this Tudor, who boasteth himself to have overthrown a tyrant, hath, ever since his first entrance into his usurped reign, put little in practice but tyranny and the feats thereof.
"For King Richard, our unnatural uncle, although desire of rule did blind him, yet in his other actions, like a true Plantagenet, was noble, After Perkin had told his tale, King James an- and loved the honour of the realm, and the conswered bravely and wisely; "That whatsoever tentment and comfort of his nobles and people. he were, he should not repent him of putting|But this our mortal enemy, agreeable to the himself into his hands." And from that time meanness of his birth, hath trodden under foot forth, though there wanted not some about him, the honour of this nation: selling our best conthat would have persuaded him that all was but federates for money, and making merchandise of an illusion; yet notwithstanding, either taken the blood, estates, and fortunes of our peers and by Perkin's amiable and alluring behaviour, or subjects, by feigned wars and dishonourable inclining to the recommendation of the great peace, only to enrich his coffers. Nor unlike princes abroad, or willing to take an occasion of hath been his hateful misgovernment and evil a war against King Henry, he entertained him in deportments at home. First, he hath, to fortify all things as became the person of Richard, Duke his false quarrel, caused divers nobles of this our of York; embraced his quarrel; and, the more to realm, whom he held suspect and stood in dread put it out of doubt, that he took him to be a great of, to be cruelly murdered; as our cousin Sir prince, and not a representation only, he gave William Stanley, lord chamberlain; Sir Simon consent that this duke should take to wife the Mountfort, Sir Robert Ratcliffe, William D'AuLady Catharine Gordon, daughter to the Earl of bigny, Humphrey Stafford, and many others, beHuntley, being a near kinswoman to the king sides such as have dearly bought their lives with himself, and a young virgin of excellent beauty intolerable ransoms: some of which nobles are and virtue. now in the sanctuary. Also he hath long kept, and yet keepeth in prison, our right entirely wellbeloved cousin, Edward, son and heir to our uncle Duke of Clarence, and others; withholding from them their rightful inheritance, to the intent they should never be of might and power, to aid and assist us at our need, after the duty of their legiances. He also married by compulsion, certain of our sisters, and also the sister of our said cousin the Earl of Warwick, and divers other ladies of the royal blood, unto certain of his kinsmen and friends of simple and low degree; and putting apart all well disposed nobles, he hath none in favour and trust about his person, but Bishop Fox, Smith, Bray, Lovel, Oliver King, David Owen, Risely, Turbervile, Tiler, Chomley, Empson, James Hobart, John Cut, Garth, Henry Wyat, and such other caitiffs and villains of birth, which by subtile inventions, and pilling of the people, have been the principal finders, occasioners, and counsellors of the mis
Not long after, the King of Scots in person, with Perkin in his company, entered with a great army, though it consisted chiefly of borderers, being raised somewhat suddenly, into Northumberland. And Perkin, for a perfume before him as he went, caused to be published a proclamation of this tenor following, in the name of Richard, Duke of York, true inheritor of the crown of England:
"It hath pleased God, who putteth down the mighty from their seat, and exalteth the humble, and suffereth not the hopes of the just to perish in the end, to give us means at the length to show ourselves armed unto our lieges and people of England. But far be it from us to intend their hurt or damage, or to make war upon them, otherwise than to deliver ourselves and them from tyranny and oppression. For our mortal enemy Henry Tudor, a false usurper of the crown of England, which to us by natural and lineal right appertaineth, knowing in his own heart our un-rule and mischief now reigning in England. doubted right, we being the very Richard, Duke of York, younger son, and now surviving heir male of the noble and victorious Edward the Fourth, late King of England, hath not only * The original of this proclamation remaineth with Sir Robert Cotton, a worthy preserver and treasurer of rare
antiquities: from whose manuscripts I have had much light for the furnishing of this work.
"We remembering these premises, with the great and execrable offences daily committed and done by our foresaid great enemy and his adherents, in breaking the liberties and franchises of our mother the holy church, upon pretences of wicked and heathenish policy, to the high displea sure of Almighty God, besides the manifold trea
sons, abominable murders, manslaughters, robbe-be by us rewarded with a thousand poundin ries, extortions, the daily pilling of the people by money, forthwith to be laid down to him, and a dismes, taxes, tallages, benevolences, and other | hundred marks by the year of inheritance; besides unlawful impositions and grievous exactions, that he may otherwise merit, both toward God and with many other heinous effects, to the likely all good people, for the destruction of such a tyrant. destruction and desolation of the whole realm; "Lastly, we do all men to wit, and herein we shall, by God's grace, and the help and assistance take also God to witness, that whereas God hath of the great lords of our blood, with counsel of moved the heart of our dearest cousin, the King of other sad persons, see that the commodities of our | Scotland, to aid us in person in this our righteous realm be employed to the most advantage of the quarrel; it is altogether without any pact or prosame; the intercourse of merchandise betwixt mise, or so much as demand of any thing that may realm and realm to be ministered and handled as prejudice our crown or subjects: but contrariwise, shall more be to the common weal and pros- with promise on our said cousin's part, that whenperity of our subjects; and all such dismes, taxes, soever he shall find us in sufficient strength to tallages, benevolences, unlawful impositions, and get the upper hand of our enemy, which we hope grievous exactions, as be above rehearsed, to be will be vory suddenly, he will forthwith peaceforedone and laid apart, and never from henceforth ably return into his own kingdom; contenting himto be called upon, but in such cases as our noble self only with the glory of so honourable an enprogenitors, kings of England, have of the old time terprise, and our true and faithful love and amity; been accustomed to have the aid, succour, and which we shall ever, by the grace of Almighty help of their subjects, and true liege-men. God, so order, as shall be to the great comfort of both kingdoms.”
“ And further, we do, out of our grace and clemency, hereby as well publish and promise to all our subjects remission and free pardon of all bypast offences whatsoever, against our person or estate, in adhering to our said enemy, by whom, we know well, they have been misled, if they shall within time convenient submit themselves unto us. And for such as shall come with the foremost to assist our righteous quarrel, we shall make them so far partakers of our princely favour and bounty, as shall be highly for the comfort of them and theirs, both during their life and after their death as also we shall, by all means which God shall put into our hands, demean ourselves to give royal contentment to all degrees and estate of our people, maintaining the liberties of holy church in their entire, preserving the honours, privileges, and pre-eminences of our nobles from contempt or disparagement, according to the dignity of their blood. We shall also unyoke our people from all heavy burdens and endurances, and confirm our cities, boroughs, and towns, in their charters and freedoms, with enlargement where it shall be deserved; and in all points give our subjects cause to think, that the blessed and debonair government of our noble father King Edward, in his last times, is in us revived.
But Perkin's proclamation did little edify with the people of England; neither was he the better welcome for the company he came in. Wherefore the King of Scotland, seeing none came in to Perkin, nor none stirred anywhere in his favour, turned his enterprise into a rode; and wasted and destroyed the country of Northumberland with fire and sword. But hearing that there were forces coming against him, and not willing that they should find his men heavy and laden with booty, he returned into Scotland, with great spoils, deferring further prosecution till another time. It is said, that Perkin, acting the part of a prince handsomely, when he saw the Scottish fell to waste the country, came to the king in a passionate manner, making great lamentation, and desired, that that might not be the manner of making the war; for that no crown was so dear to his mind as that he desired to purchase it with the blood and ruin of his country, Whereunto the king answered half in sport, that he doubted much, he was careful for that that was none of his, and that he should be too good a steward for his enemy, to save the country to his use.
By this time, being the eleventh year of the king, the interruption of trade between the Eng
"And forasmuch as the putting to death, or tak-lish and the Flemish began to pinch the mering alive of our said mortal enemy, may be a mean to stay much effusion of blood, which otherwise may ensue, if by compulsion or fair promises he shall draw after him any number of our subjects to resist us, which we desire to avoid, though we be certainly informed that our said enemy is purposed and prepared to fly the land, having already made over great masses of the treasure of our crown, the better to support him in foreign parts, we do hereby declare, that whosoever shall take or distress our said enemy, though the party be of never so mean a condition, he shall
chants of both nations very sore; which moved them by all means they could devise, to affect and dispose their sovereigns respectively to open the intercourse again; wherein time favoured them. For the archduke and his council began to see, that Perkin would prove but a runagate and a citizen of the world: and that it was the part of children to fall out about babies. And the king, on his part, after the attempts upon Kent and Northumberland, began to have the business of Perkin in less estimation; so as he did not put it to account in any consultation of state But that
with the safety of his people, to whom he did owe protection, let pass these wrongs unrevenged. The parliament understood him well, and gave him a subsidy, limited to the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, besides two fifteens: for his wars were always to him as a mine of treasure of a strange kind of ore; iron at the top, and gold and silver at the bottom. At this parlia ment, for that there had been so much time spent in making laws the year before, and for that it was called purposely in respect of the Scottish war, there were no laws made to be remembered. Only there passed a law, at the suit of the merchant-adventurers of England, against the merchant-adventurers of London, for monopolizing and exacting upon the trade; which it seemeth they did a little to save themselves after the hard time they had sustained by want of trade. But those innovations were taken away by parliament.
that moved him most was, that being a king that loved wealth and treasure, he could not endure to have trade sick, nor any obstruction to continue in the gate-vein which disperseth that blood. And yet he kept state so far, as first to be sought unto. Wherein the merchant-adventurers likewise, being a strong company at that time, and well under-set with rich men, and good order, did hold out bravely; taking off the commodities of the kingdom, though they lay dead upon their hands for want of vent. At the last, commissioners met at London to treat: on the king's part, Bishop Fox, lord privy seal, Viscount Wells, Kendal, prior of Saint John's, Warham, master of the rolls, who began to gain much upon the king's opinion; Urswick, who was almost ever one; and Risely: on the archduke's part, the Lord Bevers, his admiral; the Lord Verunsel, president of Flanders, and others. These concluded a perfect treaty, both of amity and intercourse, between the king But it was fatal to the king to fight for his and the archduke; containing articles both of money; and though he avoided to fight with enestate, commerce, and free fishing. This is that mies abroad, yet he was still enforced to fight for treaty which the Flemings call at this day" inter-it with rebels at home: for no sooner began the cursus magnus;" both because it is more complete than the precedent treaties of the third and fourth year of the king; and chiefly to give it a difference from the treaty that followed in the oneand-twentieth year of the king, which they call "intercursus malus." In this treaty, there was an express article against the reception of the rebels of either prince by other; purporting, That if any such rebel should be required, by the prince whose rebel he was, of the prince confederate, that forthwith the prince confederate should by proclamation command him to avoid the country: which if he did not within fifteen days, the rebel was to stand proscribed, and put out of protection. But nevertheless in this article Perkin was not named, neither perhaps contained, because he was no rebel. But by this means his wings were clipt of his followers that were English. And it was expressly comprised in the treaty, that it should extend to the territories of the duchessdowager. After the intercourse thus restored, the English merchants came again to their mansion at Antwerp, where they were received with procession and great joy.
The winter following, being the twelfth year of his reign, the king called again his parliament; where he did much exaggerate both the malice and the cruel predatory war lately made by the King of Scotland: That the king, being in amity with him, and noways provoked, should so burn in hatred towards him, as to drink of the lees and dregs of Perkin's intoxication, who was everywhere else detected and discarded: and that when he perceived it was out of his reach to do the king any hurt, he had turned his arms upon unarmed and unprovided people, to spoil only and depopulate, contrary to the laws both of war and peace: concluding, that he could neither with honour, nor
subsidy to be levied in Cornwall, but the people there began to grudge and murmur. The Cornish being a race of men, stout of stomach, mighty of body and limb, and that lived hardly in a barren country, and many of them could, for a need, live under ground, that were tinners. They muttered extremely, that it was a thing not to be suffered, that for a little stir of the Scots, soon blown over, they should be thus grinded to powder with payments; and said it was for them to pay that had too much, and lived idly. But they would eat their bread that they got with the sweat of their brows, and no man should take it from them. And as in the tides of people once up, there want not commonly stirring winds to make them more rough; so this people did light upon two ringleaders or captains of the rout. The one was one Michael Joseph, a blacksmith or farrier, of Bodmin, a notable talking fellow, and no less desirous to be talked of. The other was Thomas Flammock, a lawyer, who, by telling his neighbours commonly upon any occasion that the law was on their side, had gotten great sway amongst them. This man talked learnedly, and as if he could tell how to make a rebellion, and never break the peace. He told the people, that subsidies were not to be granted, nor levied in this case; that is, for wars of Scotland: for that the law had provided another course, by service of escuage for those journeys; much less when all was quiet, and war was made but a pretence to poll and pill the people. And therefore that it was good they should not stand like sheep before the shearers, but put on harness, and take weapons in their hands. Yet to do no creature hurt; but go and deliver the king a strong petition for the laying down of those grievous payments, and for the punishment of those that had given him that
counsel; to make others beware how they did the like in time to come. And said, for his part he did not see how they could do the duty of true Englishmen, and good liege-men, except they did deliver the king from such wicked ones, that would destroy both him and the country. Their aim was at Archbishop Morton and Sir Reginald Bray, who were the king's screens in this envy. After that these two, Flammock and the blacksmith, had by joint and several pratings found tokens of consent in the multitude, they offered themselves to lead them, until they should hear of better men to be their leaders, which they said would be ere long: telling them further that they would be but their servants, and first in every danger; but doubted not but to make both the west-end and the east-end of England to meet in | so good a quarrel; and that all, rightly understood, was but for the king's service. The people upon these seditious instigations, did arm, most of them with bows and arrows, and bills, and such other weapons of rude and country people, and forthwith under the command of their leaders, which in such cases is ever at pleasure, marched out of Cornwall through Devonshire unto Taunton in Somersetshire, without any slaughter, violence, or spoil of the country. At Taunton they killed in fury an officious and eager commissioner for the subsidy, whom they called the Provost of Perin. Thence they marched to Wells, where the Lord Audley, with whom their leaders had before some secret intelligence, a nobleman of an ancient family, but unquiet and popular, and aspiring to ruin, came in to them, and was by them with great gladness and cries of joy accepted as their general; they being now proud that they were led by a nobleman, The Lord Audley led | them on from Wells to Salisbury, and from Salisbury to Winchester. Thence the foolish people, who, in effect, lead their leaders, had a mind to be led into Kent, fancying that the people there would join with them; contrary to all reason or judgment, considering the Kentish men had showed great loyalty and affection to the king so lately before. But the rude people had heard Flammock say, that Kent was never conquered, and that they were the freest people of England. And upon these vain noises, they looked for great matters at their hands, in a cause which they conceited to be for the liberty of the subject. But when they were come into Kent, the country was so well settled, and both by the king's late kind usage towards them, and by the credit and power of the Earl of Kent, the Lord Abergavenny, and the Lord Cobham, as neither gentleman nor yeoman came in to their aid, which did much damp and dismay many of the simpler sort; insomuch as divers of them did secretly fly from the army, and went home but the sturdier sort, and those that were most engaged, stood by it, and rather waxed proud, than failed in hopes and courage. VOL. I.-46
For as it did somewhat appal them, that the people came not in to them, so it did no less encourage them, that the king's forces had not set upon them, having marched from the west unto the east of England. Wherefore they kept on their way, and encamped upon Blackheath, between Greenwich and Eltham, threatening either to bid battle to the king, for now the seas went higher than to Morton and Bray, or to take London within his view; imagining with themselves, there to find no less fear than wealth.
But to return to the king. When first he heard of this commotion of the Cornish men, occasioned by the subsidy, he was much troubled therewith; not for itself, but in regard of the concurrence of other dangers that did hang over him at that time. For he doubted lest a war from Scotland, à rebellion from Cornwall, and the practices and conspiracies of Perkin and his partakers, would come upon him at once: knowing well, that it was a dangerous triplicity to a monarchy, to have the arms of a foreigner, the discontents of subjects, and the title of a pretender to meet. Nevertheless the occasion took him in some part well provided. For as soon as the parliament had broken up, the king had presently raised a puissant army to war upon Scotland. And King James of Scotland likewise, on his part, had made great preparations, either for defence, or for new assailing of England. But as for the king's forces, they were not only in preparation, but in readiness presently to set forth, under the conduct of D'Aubigny, the lord chamberlain. But as soon as the king understood of the rebellion of Cornwall, he stayed those forces, retaining them for his own service and safety. But therewithal he despatched the Earl of Surrey into the north, for the defence and strength of those parts, in case the Scots should stir. But for the course he held towards the rebels, it was utterly differing from his former custom and practice: which was ever full of forwardness and celerity to make head against them, or to set upon them as soon as ever they were in action. This he was wont to do. But now, besides that he was attempered by years, and less in love with dangers, by the continued fruition of a crown; it was a time when the various appearance to his thoughts of perils of several natures, and from divers parts, did make him judge it his best and surest way, to keep his strength together in the seat and centre of his kingdom: according to the ancient Indian emblem, in such a swelling season, to hold the hand upon the middle of the bladder, that no side might rise. Besides, there was no necessity put upon him to alter his counsel. For neither did the rebels spoil the country, in which case it had been dishonour to abandon his people; neither on the other side did their forces gather or increase, which might hasten him to precipitate and assail them before they grew too strong 2 H