Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

term intercursus malus, and bears date at Windsor : for there be some things in it, more to the advantage of the English, than of them; especially, for that the free-fishing of the Dutch upon the coasts and seas of England, granted in the treaty of undecimo, was not by this treaty confirmed. All articles that confirm former treaties being precisely and warily limited and confirmed to matter of commerce only, and not otherwise.

It was observed, that the great tempest which drove Philip into England, blew down the golden eagle from the spire of Paul's, and in the fall it fell upon a sign of the black eagle, which was in Paul's church-yard, in the place where the school-house now standeth, and battered it, and brake it down : which was a strange stooping of a hawk upon a fowl. This the people interpreted to be an ominous prognostic upon the imperial house, which was, by interpretation also, fulfilled upon Philip the emperor's son, not only in the present disaster of the tempest, but in that that followed. For Philip arriving into Spain, and attaining the possession of the kingdom of Castile without resistance, insomuch as Ferdinando, who had spoke so great before, was with difficulty admitted to the speech of his son-in-law, sickened soon after, and deceased. Yet after such time, as there was an observation by the wisest of that court, that if he had lived, his father would have gained upon him in that sort, as he would have governed his councils and designs, if not his affections. By this all Spain returned into the power of Ferdinando in state as it was before; the rather, in regard of the infirmity of Joan his daughter, who loving her husband, by whom she had many children, dearly well, and no less beloved of him, howsoever her father, to make Philip ill-beloved of the people of Spain, gave outthat Philip used her not well, was unable in strength of mind to bear the grief of his decease, and fell distracted of her wits. Of which malady her father was thought no ways to endeavour the cure, the better to hold his legal power in Castile. So that as the felicity of Charles the eighth was said to be a dream ; so the adversity of Ferdinando was said likewise to be a dream, it passed over so soon.

About this time the King was desirous to bring into the house of Lancaster celestial honour, and became suitor to Pope Julius, to canonise King Henry the sixth for a saint; the rather, in respect of that his famous prediction of the King's own assumption to the crown. Julius referred the matter, as the manner is, to certain cardinals, to take the verification of his holy acts and miracles : but it died under the reference. The general opinion was, that Pope Julius was too dear, and that the King would not come to his rates. But it is more probable, that that Pope, who was extremely jealous of the dignity of the see of Rome, and of the acts thereof, knowing that King Henry the sixth was reputed in the world abroad but for a simple man, was afraid it would but diminish the estimation of that kind of honour, if there were not a distance kept between innocents and saints.

The same year likewise there proceeded a treaty of marriage between the King and the lady Margaret duchess dowager of Savoy, only daughter to Maximilian, and sister to the King of Castile ; a lady wise, and of great good fame. This matter had been in speech between the two Kings at their meeting, but was soon after resumed; and therein was employed for his first piece the King's then chaplain, and after the great prelate, Thomas Wolsey. It was in the end concluded, with great and ample conditions for the King, but with promise de futuro only. It may be the King was the rather induced unto it, for that he had heard more and more of the marriage to go on between his great friend and ally Ferdinando of Aragon, and madame de Fois, whereby that King began to piece with the French King, from whom he had been always before severed. So fatal a thing it is, for the greatest and straitest amities of Kings at one time or other, to have a little of the wheel : nay, there is a farther tradition in Spain, though not with us, that the King of Aragon, after he knew that the marriage between Charles the young Prince of Castile and Mary the King's second daughter went roundly on, which though it was first moved by the King of Aragon, yet it was afterwards wholly advanced and brought to perfection by Maximilian, and the friends on that side, entered into a jealousy, that the King did aspire to the government of Castilia, as adininistrator during the minority of his sonin-law; as if there should have been a competition of three for that government; Ferdinando, grandfather on the mother's side; Maximilian, grandfather on the father's side; and King Henry, father-in-law to the young Prince. Certainly it is not unlike, but the King's government, carrying the young Prince with him, would have been perhaps more welcome to the Spaniards than that of the other two. For the nobility of Castilia, that so lately put out the King of Aragon in favour of King Philip, and had discovered themselves so far, could not be but in a secret distrust and distaste of that King: And as for Max. imilian, upon twenty respects he could not have been the man.

But this purpose of the King's seemeth to me, considering the King's safe courses, never found to be enterprising or adventurous, not greatly probable, except he should have had a desire to breathe warmer, because he had ill lungs. This marriage with Margaret was protracted from time to time, in respect of the infirmity of the King, who now in the two and twentieth of his reign began to be troubled with the gout: but the defluxion taking alsó into his breast, wasted his lungs, so that thrice in a year, in a kind of return, and especially in the spring; he had great fits and labours of the phthisic: nevertheless, he continued to intend business with as great diligence, as before in his health: yet so, as upon this warning he did likewise now more seriously think of the world to come, and of making himself a saint, as well as King Henry the sixth, by treasure better employed, than to be given to Pope Julius: for this year he gave greater alms than accustomed, and discharged all prisoners about the city, that lay for fees or debts under forty shillings. He did also make haste with religious foundations; and in the year following, which was the three and twentieth, finished that of the Savoy.

!!

And hearing also of the bitter cries of his people against the oppressions of Dudley and Empson, and their complices; partly by devout persons about him, and partly by public sermons, the preachers doing their duty therein, he was touched with great remorse for the same.

Nevertheless Empson "and Dudley, though they could not but hear of these scruples in the King's conscience; yet, as if the King's soul and his money were in several offices, that the one was not to intermeddle with the other, went on with as great rage as ever. For the same three and twen. tieth year was there a sharp prosecution against Sir William Capel now the second time; and this was for matters of misgovernment in his mayoralty: the great matter being, that in some payments he had taken knowledge of false moneys, and did not his diligence to examine and beat it out, who were the offenders. For this and some other things laid to his charge, he was condemned to pay two thousand pounds; and being a man of stomach, and hardened by his former troubles, refused to pay a mite; and belike used some untoward speeches of the proceedings, for which he was sent to the Tower, and 'there remained till the King's death. Knesworth likewise, that had been lately mayor of London, and both his sheriffs, were for abuses in their offices questioned, and imprisoned, and delivered upon one thousand four hundred pounds paid. Hawis, an alderman of London, was put in trouble, and died with thought and anguish, before his business came to an end. Sir Lawrence Ailmer, who had likewise been mayor of London, and his two sheriffs, were put to the fine of one thousand pounds, And Sir Lawrence, for refusing to make payment, was committed to prison, where he ståyed till Empson himself was committed in his place.

It is no marvel, if the faults were so light, and the rates so heavy, that the King's treasure of store, that he left at his death, most of it in secret places, under his own key and keeping, at Richmond, amounted, as by tradition it is reported to have done, unto the sum of near eighteen hundred thousand pounds sterling; a huge mass of money even for these times.

The last act of state that concluded this King's temporal felicity, was the conclusion of a glorious match between his daughter Mary, and Charles Prince of Castile, afterwards the great emperor, both being of tender years: which treaty was perfected by bishop Fox, and other his commissioners at Calais, the year before the King's death. In which alliance, it seemeth, he himself took so high contentment, as in a letter which he wrote thereupon to the city of London, commanding all possible demonstrations of joy to be made for the same, he expresseth himself, as if he thought he had built a wall of brass about his kingdom: when he had for his sons-in-law, a King of Scotland, and a prince of Castile and Burgundy. So as now there was nothing to be added to this great King's felicity, being at the top of all worldly bliss, in regard of the high marriages of his children, his great renown throughout Europe, and his scarce credible riches, and the perpetual constancy of his prosperous successes, but an opportune death, to withdraw him from any future blow of fortune: which certainly (in regard of the great hatred of his people, and the title of his son, being then come to eighteen years of age, and being a bold Prince and liberal, and that gained upon the people by his very aspect and presence) had not been impossible to have come upon him.

To crown also the last year of his reign, as well as his first, he did an act of piety, rare, and worthy to be taken into imitation. For he granted forth a general pardon: as expecting a second coronation in a better kingdom. He did also declare in his will, that his mind was, that restitution should be made of those sums which had been unjustly taken by his officers.

And thus this Solomon of England, for Solomon also was too heavy upon his people in exactions, hay. ing lived two and fifty years, and thereof reigned three and twenty years, and eight months, being in perfect memory, and in a most blessed mind, in a great calm of a consuming sickness passed to a better world, the two and twentieth of April 1508, at his palace of Richmond, which himself had built.

« AnteriorContinuar »