« PreviousContinue »
that imperious language, wherein the King had written to him, which needed not, save that an harsh business was unfortunately fallen into the hands of a harsh man, did not
only irritate the people, but make them conceive, by the 5 stoutness and haughtiness of delivery of the King's errand,
that himself was the author or principal persuader of that counsel : whereupon the meaner sort routed together, and suddenly assailing the earl in his house, slew him, and divers
of his servants ; and rested not there, but creating for their 10 leader Sir John Egremond, a factious person, and one, that
had of a long time borne an ill talent towards the King; and being animated also by a base fellow, called John a Chamber, a very boutefeu, who bare much sway amongst the
vulgar and popular, entered into open rebellion; and gave 15 out in flat terms, that they would go against King Henry, and fight with him for the maintenance of their liberties.
When the King was advertised of this new insurrection, being almost a fever that took him every year, after his
manner little troubled therewith, he sent Thomas earl of 20 Surrey, whom he had a little before not only released out of
the Tower, and pardoned, but also received to special favour, with a competent power against the rebels, who fought with the principal band of them, and defeated them, and
took alive John a Chamber their firebrand. As for Sir John 25 Egremond, he fled into Flanders to the lady Margaret of
Burgundy, whose palace was the sanctuary and receptacle of all traitors against the King. John a Chamber was executed at York in great state; for he was hanged upon a
gibbet raised a stage higher in the midst of a square gal30 lows, as a traitor paramount; and a number of his men that
were his chief complices, were hanged upon the lower story. round about him; and the rest were generally pardoned. Neither did the King himself omit his custom, to be first or
second in all his warlike exploits, making good his word, which was usual with him when he heard of rebels, that he desired but to see them. For immediately after he had sent down the earl of Surrey, he marched towards them himself in person. And although in his journey he heard news of the 5 victory, yet he went on as far as York, to pacify and settle those countries : and that done, returned to London, leaving the earl of Surrey for his lieutenant in the northern parts, and Sir Richard Tunstal for his principal commissioner, to levy the subsidy, whereof he did not remit a denier.
About the same time that the King lost so good a servant as the earl of Northumberland, he lost likewise a faithful friend and ally of James the third, King of Scotland, by a miserable disaster. For this unfortunate Prince, after a long smother of discontent, and hatred of many of his nobi- 15 lity and people, breaking forth at times into seditions and alterations of court, was at last distressed by them, having taken arms, and surprised the person of Prince James his son, partly by force, partly by threats, that they would otherwise deliver up the kingdom to the King of England, to 20 shadow their rebellion, and to be the titular and painted
head of those arms. Whereupon the King, finding himself too weak, sought unto King Henry, as also unto the Pope, and the King of France, to compose those troubles between him and his subjects. The Kings accordingly interposed 25 their mediation in a round and princely manner : not only by way of request and persuasion, but also by way of protestation and menace; declaring, That they thought it to be the common cause of all Kings, if subjects should be suffered to give laws unto their sovereign; and that they would ac- 30 cordingly resent it, and revenge it. But the rebels, that had shaken off the greater yoke of obedience, had likewise cast away the lesser tię of respect. And fury prevailing above
fear, made answer; That there was no talking of peace, except the King would resign his crown. Whereupon, treaty of accord taking no place, it came to a battle of Bannocks
bourn by Strivelin : in which battle the King, transported 45 with wrath and just indignation, inconsiderately fighting and
precipitating the charge, before his whole numbers came up to him, was, notwithstanding the contrary express and strait commandment of the Prince his son, slain in the pursuit,
being fled to a mill, situate in the field, where the battle was 10 fought.
As for the Pope's ambassy, which was sent by Adrian de Castello an Italian legate, and perhaps as those times were, might have prevailed more, it came too late for the
ambassy, but not for the ambassador. For passing through 15 England, and being honourably entertained, and received of
King Henry, who ever applied himself with much respect to the see of Rome, he fell into great grace with the King, and great familiarity and friendship with Morton the Chancellor :
insomuch as the King taking a liking to him, and finding 20 him to his mind, preferred him to the bishopric of Hereford,
and afterwards to that of Bath and Wells, and employed him in many of his affairs of state, that had relation to Rome. He was a man of great learning, wisdom, and dex
terity in business of state; and having not long after as25 cended to the degree of cardinal, paid the King large tribute
of his gratitude, in diligent and judicious advertisement of the occurrents of Italy. Nevertheless, in the end of his time, he was partaker of the conspiracy, which cardinal Al
phonso Petrucci and some other cardinals had plotted 30 against the life of Pope Leo. And this offence, in itself so
heinous, was yet in him aggravated by the motive thereof, which was not malice or discontent, but an aspiring mind to the papacy. And in this height of impiety there wanted not an intermixture of levity and folly; for that, as was generally believed, he was animated to expect the papacy by a fatal mockery, the prediction of a soothsayer, which was, “That “one should succeed Pope Leo, whose name should be Adrian, an aged man of mean birth, and of great learning 5 “and wisdom.” By which character and figure he took himself to be described, though it were fulfilled of Adrian the Fleming, son of a Dutch brewer, cardinal of Tortosa, and preceptor unto Charles the fifth; the same that, not changing his christian name, was afterwards called Adrian 10 the sixth.
But these things happened in the year following, which was the fifth of this King. But in the end of the fourth year the King had called again his parliament, not, as it seemeth, for any particular occasion of state: but the former 15 parliament being ended somewhat suddenly, in regard of the preparation for Britain, the King thought he had not remunerated his people sufficiently with good laws, which evermore was his retribution for treasure. And finding by the insurrection in the north, there was discontentment 20. abroad, in respect of the subsidy, he thought it good to give his subjects yet farther contentment and comfort in that kind. Certainly his times for good commonwealths' laws did excel. So as he may justly be celebrated for the best lawgiver to this nation ; after King Edward the first : for his 25 laws, whoso marks them well, are deep, and not vulgar; not made upon the spur of a particular occasion for the present, but out of providence of the future, to make the estate of his people still more and more happy; after the manner of the legislators in ancient and heroical times.
30 First therefore he made a law, suitable to his own acts and times : for as himself had in his person and marriage made a final concord, in the great suit and title for the
inable to Que incourt of buio
crown; so by this law he settled the like peace and quiet in
“ rights ;” and that upon fines levied, and solemnly pro5 claimed, the subject should have his time of watch for five
years after his titie accrued; which if he forepassed, his
right should be bound for ever after ; with some exception !!! nevertheless of minors, married women, and such incompe
This statute did in effect but restore an ancient statute of the realm, which was itself also made but in affirmance of the common law. The alteration had been by a statute, commonly called the statute of non-claim, made in the time
of Edward the third. And surely this law was a kind of 15 prognostic of the good peace, which since his time hath, for
the most part, continued in this kingdom until this day: for statutes of non-claim are fit for times of war, when men's heads are troubled, that they cannot intend their estate;
but statutes that quiet possessions, are fittest for times of 20 peace, to extinguish suits and contentions, which is one of the banes of peace.
Another statute was made, of singular policy, for the population apparently, and, if it be thoroughly considered,
for the soldiery and military forces of the realm. 25
Inclosures at that time began to be more frequent, whereby arable land, which could not be manured without people and families, was turned into pasture, which was easily rid by a few herdsmen; and tenances for years, lives, and at will, whereupon much of the yeomanry lived, were
turned into demesnes. This bred a decay of people, and, by 30
consequence, a decay of towns, churches, tithes, and the like. The King likewise knew full well, and in no wise forgot, that there ensued withal upon this a decay and dimi