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sewer of our mouth, aswel for the greet zele, love, and affeccion that he hath unto yor personne, as for the womanly and vertuouse governance that ye be renowned of, desireth with all his hert to do you worship by wey of mariage, bifore all creatures lyvyng, as he saith; We, desiryng th' encres, furtherance, and preferring of oure said squire for his manyfold merits and deserts, as for the good service that he hath done unto my lord and us, and yet therin dayly continueth, praye you right affectuously, that, at reverence of us, ye will have oure said squire towards his said mariage especially recommended, inclynyng you to his honest desire at this tyme; the rather by contemplacion of this oure praier, wherin we trust verreily ye shul mowe pourvey right well for yor self, to yo" greet worship and hertsease, and cause us to have yow both in suche tendernesse and faver of our good grace, that by reason ye shul holde you right well content and pleased; and how ye thinke to be disposed to our pleasir in this partie, ye will acertein us by the bringer of these. As our singler trust is in yow.
Given, etc. at Eltham, the, etc.
To Dame Jane Carew.
Considering the weakness of Henry VII.'s title to the throne, and considering also the fact that among the small remnant of 'Greater Barons' who survived the Wars of the Roses, the wearers of the white rose were the more numerous after the battle of Bosworth, it is not surprising that Henry of Richmond, during the first years of his reign, was set the troublesome task of beating off pretenders to his throne. The Court of Burgundy, where the sister of our Edward IV. was despotic, was the rendezvous of the disaffected Yorkist nobility.
Henry VII. to Sir Gilbert Talbot.
Kenilworth Castle: July, 1493.
Trusty and well beloved,-We greet you well; and not forgetting the great malice that the Lady Margaret of Burgundy beareth continually against us, as she showed lately in sending hither of a feigned boy, surmising him to have been the son of the Duke of Clarence, and caused him to be accompanied with the Earl of Lincoln, the Lord Lovel, and with great multitude of Irishmen and of Almains, whose end, blessed be God, was as ye
know well. And foreseeing now the perseverance of the same her malice, by the untrue contriving eftsoon of another feigned lad called Perkin Warbeck, born at Tournay, in Picardy, which at first into Ireland called himself the bastard son of King Richard; after that the son of the said Duke of Clarence; and now the second son of our father, King Edward the IVth, whom God assoil; wherethrough she intendeth, by promising unto the Flemings and other of the archduke's obeissaunce, to whom she laboureth daily to take her way, and by her promise to certain aliers, captains of strange nations, to have duchies, counties, baronies, and other lands, within this our royaume, to induce them thereby to land here, to the destruction and disinheritance of the noblemen and other our subjects the inhabitants of the same, and finally to the subversion of this our royaume, in case she may attaine to her malicious purpose, that God defend. We therefore, and to the intent that we may be alway purveied and in readiness to resist her malice, write unto you at this time; and will and desire you that, preparing on horseback, defensibly arrayed, four score persons, whereof we desire you to make as many spears, with their custrells,' and demi-lances, wellhorsed as ye can furnish, and the remainder to be archers and bills, ye be thoroughly appointed and ready to come upon a day's warning for to do us service of war in this case. And ye shall have for every horseman well and defensibly arrayed, that is to say, for a spear and his custrel twelvepence; a demi-lance ninepence; and an archer or bill, on horseback, eightpence by the day, from the time of your coming out unto the time of your return to your home again. And thus doing, ye shall have such thanks of us for your loving and true acquittal in that behalf as shall be to your weal and honour for time to come. We pray you herein ye will make such diligence as that ye be ready with your said number to come unto us upon any our sudden warning.
Given under our signet at our Castle of Kenilworth, the twentieth day of July (1493).
To our trusty and well-beloved Knight and
Councillor, Sir Gilbert Talbot.
Squires of the body.
Cavendish in his 'Life of Wolsey,' prints this pitiful letter from the original in the Ashmolean Museum. It is dated from Asher (Esher), whither the Cardinal was ordered to retire after judgment had been pronounced against him for having transgressed the Statute of Præmunire. In his day of authority and glory Wolsey was the haughtiest and richest subject in England; only a very few days sufficed to deprive him not only of all his former magnificence, but almost of the commonest domestic comforts.
Cardinal Wolsey to Dr. Stephen Gardiner.
My owne goode Mastyr Secretary,-Aftyr my moste herty commendacions I pray you at the reverens of God to helpe, that expedicion be usyd in my persuts, the delay wherof so replenyshyth my herte with hevynes, that I can take no reste; not for any vayne fere, but onely for the miserable condycion, that I am presently yn, and lyclyhod to contynue yn the same, onles that you, in whom ys myn assuryd truste, do help & releve me therin; For fyrst, contynuyng here in this mowest & corupt ayer, beyng enteryd into the passyon of the dropsy. Cum prostatione appetitus et continuo insomnio. I cannot lyve.
Wherfor of necessyte I must be removyd to some other dryer ayer and place, where I may have comodyte of physycyans. Secondly, havyng but Yorke, wych is now decayd by viii. C. li. by the yeere, I cannot tell how to lyve, & kepe the poore nombyr of folks wych I nowe have, my howsys ther be in decay, and of evry thyng mete for houssold onprovydyd and furnyshyd.
I have non apparell for my howsys ther, nor money to bring me thether nor to lyve wyth tyl the propysse tyme of the yeere shall come to remove thether. Thes thyngs consyderyd, Mr Secretary, must nedys make me yn agony and hevynes, myn age therwith and sycknes consyderyd, alas Mr Secretary, ye with other my lordys shewyd me, that I shuld otherwyse be furnyshyd & seyn unto, ye knowe in your lernyng & consyens, whether I shuld forfet my spiritualties of Wynchester or no. Alas! the qualytes of myn offencys consyderyd, with the gret punishment & losse of goodes that I have sustaynyd, owt to move petyfull hertys; and the moste nobyl Kyng, to whom yf yt wold please yow of your cherytable goodnes to shewe the premyses aftyr your accus
tomable wysdome & dexteryte, yt ys not to be dowbtyd, but his highnes wold have consyderacyon and compassyon, aggmentyng my lyvyng, and appoyntyng such thyngs as shuld be convenient for my furniture, wych to do shalbe to the Kyng's high honor, meryte, & dyscharge of consyens, & to you gret prayse for the bryngyng of the same to passe for your olde brynger up and lovying frende. Thys kyndnes exibite from the Kyng's hyghnes shal prolong my lyff for some lytyl whyl, thow yt shall nat be long, by the meane whereof hys grace shal take profygtt & by my deth now. What ys yt to hys hyhnes to give some convenyent porcion owt of Wynchester, & Seynt Albons, hys grace takyng with my herty good wyl the resydew. Remember, good Mr Secretary, my poore degre, & what servys I have done, and how nowe approachyng to deth I must begyn the world ageyn. 1 besech you therfore, movyd with pity and compassyon soker me in thys my calamyte, and to your power wych I knowe ys gret, releve me; and I with all myn shal not onely ascrybe thys my relef unto you, but also praye to God for the increase of your honor, & as my poore shall increase, so I shal not fayle to requyte your kyndnes.
Wrytten hastely at Asher, with the rude and shackyng hand of
And assuryd friend,
T. CARLIS EBOR.
Lord Campbell, in his 'Lives of the Chancellors,' lays particular stress on this beautiful letter written by Sir Thomas More to his wife on receipt of the news that the greater part of his house at Chelsea (with the outhouses and granaries) had been destroyed by fire. The biographer is more attracted by the unusually simple style of the composition, and by the kindliness of disposition and unaffected piety of this good and gifted martyr, than by all his other elaborate writings and speeches. A few weeks after this grievous domestic mishap, the most upright of Henry VIII.'s councillors was sworn in Lord Chancellor of England.
Sir Thomas More to his Wife.
With the Court at Woodstock: Sept. 3, 1529.
Mistress Alyce,-In my most harty will, I recomend me to you. And whereas I am enfourmed by my son Heron of the loss
of our barnes, and our neighbours also, with all the corne that was therein, albeit (saving God's pleasure) it is gret pitie of so much good corne lost, yet sith it hath liked hym to send us such a chance, we must not only be content, but also be glad of his visitation. He sent us all that we have lost and sith he hath by such a chance taken it away againe, his pleasure be fulfilled. Let us never grudge thereat, but take it in good worth, and hartely thank him, as well for adversitic, as for prosperitie. And par adventure we have more cause to thank him for our losse, than for our winning. For his wisedom better seeth what is good for us than we do ourselves. Therefore I pray you be of good cheere, and take all the howsold with you to church, and there thank God both for that he hath given us, and for that he hath left us, which if it please hym, he can increase when he will. And if it please him to leave us yet lesse, at hys pleasure be it. I praye you to make some good ensearche what my poor neighbours have loste, and bidde them take no thought therefore, and if I shold not leave myself a spone, there shall no poore neighbour of mine bere no losse by any chance happened in my house. I pray you be with my children and household mery in God. And devise somewhat with your friends, what way wer best to take, for provision to be made for corne for our household and for sede thys yere coming, if ye thinke it good that we keepe the ground still in our handes.
And whether ye think it good yt we so shall do or not, yet I think it were not best sodenlye thus to leave it all up, and to put away our folk of our farme, till we have somewhat advised us thereon. Howbeit if we have more nowe than ye shall neede, and which can get the other maister's, ye may then discharge us of them. But I would not that any men wer sodenly sent away he wote nere wether. At my coming hither, I perceived none other, but that I shold tary still with the Kinges grace. But now I shall (I think), because of this chance, get leave this next weke to come home and se you; and then shall we further devise together uppon all things, what order shall be best to take: and thus as hartely fare you well with all our children as you can wishe. At Woodstok the thirde daye of September, by the hand of Your loving husband
THOMAS MORE, Knight.