« PreviousContinue »
in any consultation of state. But that 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 5 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 10 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, 15 who was almost ever one; and Riseley: 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 and the archduke; containing articles both of state, com20 merce, and free fishing. This is that treaty which the Flemings call at this day intercursus 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 one and twentieth year of the King, which they call intercursus maius. 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 30 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 duchess dowager. After the intercourse 5 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 10 exaggerate both the malice, and the cruel predatory war lately made by the King of Scotland: That that King, being in amity with him, and no ways provoked, should so burn in hatred towards him, as to drink of the lees and dregs of Perkin's intoxication, who was every where else 15 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 unharmed and unprovided people, to spoil only and depopulate, contrary to the laws both of war and peace: concluding, that he could neither with 20 honour nor 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 fifteenths: for his wars were always to 25 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 parliament, 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 o 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.
But it was fatal to the King to fight for his money; and though he avoided to fight with enemies abroad, yet he was still enforced to fight for it with rebels at home: for no sooner began the subsidy to be levied in Cornwall, but the people there began to grudge and murmur. The Cornish 10 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 tinThey muttered extremely, that it was a thing not to be suffered, that for a little stir of the Scots, soon blown 15 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 20 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 Michael Joseph, a blacksmith or farrier of Bodmin, a notable talking fellow, and no less desirous to be talked of. The other was Thomas Flam25 mock, 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 30 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 now 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 5 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 10 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 15 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 farther, 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 20 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 25 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, 30 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 5 led them on from Wells to Salisbury and from Salisbury to Winchester. Thence the foolish people, ho, in effect, led 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 shewed 10 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 15 to be for the liberty of the subject. But when they were come into Kent, the country was so well settled, 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 20 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. For as it 25 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 30 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.