« AnteriorContinuar »
him to man and victual a ship at Bristol, for the discovery of that island; with whom ventured also three small ships of London merchants, fraught with some gross and slight wares, fit for commerce with barbarous people. He sailed, as he affirmed at his return, and made a card thereof, very far westwards, with a quarter of the north, on the north side of Terra de Labrador, until he came to the latitude of sixty-seven degrees and an half, finding the seas still open. It is certain also, that the king's fortune had a tender of that great empire of the West Indies. Neither was
and grandsire and grandmother, and uncles and | island endued with rich commodities, procured cousins, by names and sirnames, and from what places he travelled up and down; so there was little or nothing to purpose of any thing concerning his designs, or any practices that had been held with him; nor the Duchess of Burgundy herself, that all the world did take knowledge of, as the person that had put life and being into the whole business, so much as named or pointed at. So that men missing of that they looked for, looked about for they knew not what, and were in more doubt than before; but the king chose rather not to satisfy than to kindle coals. At that time also it did not appear by any new ex-it a refusal on the king's part, but a delay by amination or commitments, that any other person of quality was discovered or appeached, though the king's closeness made that a doubt dormant. About this time, a great fire in the night time suddenly began at the king's palace of Sheen, near unto the king's own lodgings, whereby a great part of the building was consumed, with much costly household-stuff; which gave the king occasion of building from the ground that fine pile of Richmond which is now standing.
accident, that put by so great an acquest: for Christopherus Columbus, refused by the King of Portugal, who would not embrace at once both east and west, employed his brother Bartholomeus Columbus unto King Henry, to negotiate for his discovery: and it so fortuned, that he was taken by pirates at sea, by which accidental impediment he was long ere he came to the king: so long, that before he had obtained a capitulation with the king for his brother, the enterprise by him was achieved, and so the West Indies by providence were then reserved for the crown of Castile. Yet this sharpened the king so, that not only in this voyage, but again in the sixteenth year of his reign, and likewise in the eighteenth thereof, he granted forth new commissions for the discovery and investing of unknown lands.
Somewhat before this time also, there fell out a memorable accident: there was one Sebastian Gabato, a Venetian, dwelling in Bristol, a man seen and expert in cosmography and navigation. This man seeing the success, and emulating perhaps the enterprise of Christopher Columbus in that fortunate discovery towards the south-west, which had been by him made some six years be- In this fourteenth year also, by God's wonderfore, conceited with himself, that lands might ful providence, that boweth things unto his will, likewise be discovered towards the north-west. and hangeth great weights upon small wires, And surely it may be he had more firm and preg- there fell out a trifling and untoward accident, nant conjectures of it, than Columbus had of this that drew on great and happy effects. During at the first. For the two great islands of the old the truce with Scotland, there were certain and new world, being, in the shape and making Scottish young gentlemen that came into Norham of them, broad towards the north, and pointed town, and there made merry with some of the towards the south; it is likely, that the dis- English of the town; and having little to do, covery first began where the lands did near- went sometimes forth, and would stand looking est meet. And there had been before that upon the castle. Some of the garrison of the time a discovery of some lands, which they castle, observing this their doing twice or thrice, took to be islands, and were indeed the continent and having not their minds purged of the late ill of America, towards the north-west. And it blood of hostility, either suspected them, or may be that some relation of this nature coming quarrelled them for spies: whereupon they fell afterwards to the knowledge of Columbus, and at ill words, and from words to blows; so by him suppressed, (desirous rather to make his that many were wounded of either side, and the enterprise the child of his science and fortune, Scottish men, being strangers in the town, had than the follower of a former discovery,) did give the worst; insomuch as some of them were slain, him better assurance, that all was not sea, from and the rest made haste home. The matter being the west of Europe and Africa unto Asia, than complained on, and often debated before the wareither Seneca's prophecy or Plato's antiquities, dens of the marches of both sides, and no good or the nature of the tides and land-winds, and order taken: the King of Scotland took it to the like, which were the conjectures that were himself, and being much kindled, sent a herald given out, whereupon he should have relied: to the king to make protestation, that if reparathough I am not ignorant, that it was likewise tion were not done, according to the conditions laid unto the casual and wind-beaten discovery, of the truce, his king did denounce war. The a little before, of a Spanish pilot, who died in king, who had often tried fortune, and was inthe house of Columbus. But this Gabato bear-clined to peace, made answer, that what had ng the king in hand, that he would find out an been done, was utterly against his will, and
This year there was also born to the king a third son, who was christened by the name of Edmund, and shortly after died. And much about the same time came news of the death of Charles the French king, for whom there were celebrated solemn and princely obsequies.
without his privity; but if the garrison soldiers had been in fault, he would see them punished, and the truce in all points to be preserved. But this answer seemed to the Scottish king but a delay, to make the complaint breathe out with time; and therefore it did rather exasperate him than satisfy him. Bishop Fox, understanding from It was not long but Perkin, who was made of the king, that the Scottish king was still discontent quicksilver, which is hard to hold or imprison, beand impatient, being troubled that the occasion gan to stir. For, deceiving his keepers, he took of breaking of the truce should grow from his him to his heels, and made speed to the sea-coast. men, sent many humble and deprecatory letters But presently all corners were laid for him, and to the Scottish king to appease him. Whereupon such diligent pursuit and search made, as he was King James, mollified by the bishop's submis- fain to turn back, and get him to the house of sive and eloquent letters, wrote back unto him, Bethlehem, called the priory of Sheen (which had that though he were in part moved by his letters, the privilege of sanctuary) and put himself into yet he should not be fully satisfied, except he the hands of the prior of that monastery. The spake with him, as well about the compounding prior was thought a holy man, and much reveof the present differences, as about other matters renced in those days. He came to the king, and that might concern the good of both kingdoms. besought the king for Perkin's life only, leaving The bishop, advising first with the king, took him otherwise to the king's discretion. Many his journey for Scotland. The meeting was at about the king were again more hot than ever, to Melross, an abbey of the Cistercians, where the have the king to take him forth and hang him. king then abode. The king first roundly uttered But the king, that had a high stomach, and could unto the bishop his offence conceived for the not hate any that he despised, bid, "Take him insolent breach of truce, by his men of Norham forth, and set the knave in the stocks;" and so castle; whereunto Bishop Fox made such humble promising the prior his life, he caused him to be and smooth answer, as it was like oil into the brought forth. And within two or three days wound, whereby it began to heal: and this was after, upon a scaffold set up in the palace court at done in the presence of the king and his council: Westminster, he was fettered and set in the stocks After, the king spake with the bishop apart, and for the whole day. And the next day after, the opened himself unto him, saying, that these tem-like was done by him at the cross in Cheapside, porary truces and peaces were soon made, and and in both places he read his confession, of which soon broken, but that he desired a straiter amity we made mention before; and was from Cheapwith the King of England; discovering his mind, side conveyed and laid up in the Tower. Notthat if the king would give him in marriage the withstanding all this, the king was, as was partly Lady Margaret, his eldest daughter, that indeed touched before, grown to be such a partner with might be a knot indissoluble. That he knew fortune, as nobody could tell what actions the well what place and authority the bishop de- one, and what the other owned. For it was beservedly had with his master: therefore, if he lieved, generally, that Perkin was betrayed, and would take the business to heart, and deal in it that this escape was not without the king's privity, effectually, he doubted not but it would succeed who had him all the time of his flight in a line; well. The bishop answered soberly, that he and that the king did this to pick a quarrel to him thought himself rather happy than worthy to be to put him to death, and to be rid of him at once: an instrument in such a matter, but would do his but this is not probable. For that the same inbest endeavour. Wherefore the bishop returning struments who observed him in his flight, might to the king, and giving account what had passed, have kept him from getting into sanctuary. and finding the king more than well disposed in it, gave the king advice; first to proceed to a conclusion of peace, and then to go on with the treaty of marriage by degrees. Hereupon a peace was concluded, which was published a little before Christmas, in the fourteenth year of the king's reign, to continue for both the king's lives, and the over-liver of them, and a year after. In this peace there was an article contained, that no Englishman should enter into Scotland, and no Scotchman into England, without letters commendatory from the kings of either nation. This at the first sight might seem a means to continue a strangeness between the nations; but it was done to lock in the borderers.
But it was ordained, that this winding-ivy of a Plantagenet should kill the true tree itself. For Perkin, after he had been a while in the Tower, began to insinuate himself into the favour and kindness of his keepers, servants to the lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Digby, being four in number; Strangeways, Blewet, Astwood, and Long Roger. These varlets, with mountains of promises, he sought to corrupt, to obtain his escape; but knowing well, that his own fortunes were made so contemptible, as he could feed no man's hopes, and by hopes he must work, for rewards he had none, he had contrived with him self a vast and tragical plot; which was, to draw into his company Edward Plantagenet, Earl of
Warwick, then prisoner in the Tower; whom the weary life of a long imprisonment, and the often and renewing fears of being put to death, had softened to take any impression of counsel for his liberty. This young prince he thought the servants would look upon, though not upon himself: and therefore, after that by some message by one or ❘ two of them, he had tasted of the earl's consent; it was agreed that these four should murder their master the lieutenant, secretly, in the night, and make their best of such money and portable goods of his, as they should find ready at hand, and get the keys of the Tower, and presently let forth Perkin and the earl. But this conspiracy was revealed in time, before it could be executed. And in this again the opinion of the king's great wisdom did surcharge him with a sinister fame, that Perkin was but his bait to entrap the Earl of Warwick. And in the very instant while this conspiracy was in working, as if that also had been the king's industry, it was fatal, that there should break forth a counterfeit Earl of Warwick, a cordwainer's son, whose name was Ralph Wilford; a young man taught and set on by an Augustin friar, called Patrick. They both from the parts of Suffolk came forwards into Kent, where they did not only privily and underhand give out that this Wilford was the true Earl of Warwick, but also the friar, finding some light credence in the people, took the boldness in the pulpit to declare as much, and to incite the people to come in to his aid. Whereupon they were both presently apprehended, and the young fellow executed, and the friar condemned to perpetual imprisonment. This also happening so opportunely, to represent the danger to the king's estate from the Earl of Warwick, and thereby to colour the king's severity that followed; together with the madness of the friar so vainly and desperately to divulge a treason, before it had gotten any manner of strength; and the saving of the friar's life, which nevertheless was, indeed, but the privilege of his order; and the pity in the common people, which, if it run in a strong stream, doth ever cast up scandal and envy, made it generally rather talked than believed that all was but the king's device. But howsoever it were hereupon, Perkin, that had offended against grace now the third time, was at the last proceeded with, and, by commissioners of oyer and determiner, arraigned at Westminster, upon divers treasons committed and perpetrated after his coming on land, within this kingdom, for so the judges advised, for that he was a foreigner, and condemned, and a few days after executed at Tyburn; where he did again openly read his confession, and take it upon his death to be true. This was the end of this little cockatrice of a king, that was able to destroy those that did not espy him first. It was one of the longest plays of that kind that hath been in memory, and might perhaps have had another
end, if he had not met with a king both wise, stout, and fortunate.
As for Perkin's three counsellors, they had registered themselves sanctuary-men when their master did; and whether upon pardon obtained, or continuance within the privilege, they came not to be proceeded with.
There were executed with Perkin, the Mayor of Cork and his son, who had been principal abettors of his treasons. And soon after were likewise condemned eight other persons about the Tower conspiracy, whereof four were the lieutenant's men but of those eight but two were executed. And immediately after was arraigned before the Earl of Oxford, then for the time high steward of England, the poor prince, the Earl of Warwick; not for the attempt to escape simply, for that was not acted, and besides, the imprisonment not being for treason, the escape by law could not be treason, but for conspiring with Perkin to raise sedition, and to destroy the king: and the earl confessing the indictment, had judgment, and was shortly after beheaded on Tower-hill.
This was also the end, not only of this noble and commiserable person, Edward, the Earl of Warwick, eldest son to the Duke of Clarence; but likewise of the line male of the Plantagenets, which had flourished in great royalty and renown, from the time of the famous King of England, King Henry the Second. Howbeit it was a race often dipped in their own blood. It hath remained since only transplanted into other names, as well of the imperial line, as of other noble houses But it was neither guilt of crime, nor reason of state, that could quench the envy that was upon the king for this execution: so that he thought good to export it out of the land, and to lay it upon his new alley, Ferdinando, King of Spain. For these two kings understanding one another at half a word, so it was that there were letters showed out of Spain, whereby in the passage concerning the treaty of the marriage, Ferdinando had written to the king in plain terms, that he saw no assurance of his succession as long as the Earl of Warwick lived, and that he was loath to send his daughter to troubles and dangers. But hereby, as the king did in some part remove the envy from himself; so he did not observe, that he did withal bring a kind of malediction and infausting upon the marriage, as an ill prognostic: which in event so far proved true, as both Prince Arthur enjoyed a very small time after the marriage, and the Lady Catharine herself, a sad and a religious woman, long after, when King Henry the Eighth's resolution of a divorce from her was first made known to her, used some words, that she had not offended, but it was a judgment of God, for that her former marriage was made in blood; meaning that of the Earl of Warwick.
The fifteenth year of the king, there was a great plague both in London and in divers parts of the
kingdom. Wherefore the king, after often change | protector, (these very words the king repeats, of places, whether to avoid the danger of the sick- when he certified of the loving behaviour of the ness, or to give occasion of an interview with the archduke to the city,) and what else he could dearchduke, or both, sailed over with his queen to vise, to express his love and observance to the Calais. Upon his coming hither, the archduke king. There came also to the king, the governor sent an honourable embassage unto him, as well of Picardy, and the bailiff of Amiens, sent from to welcome him into those parts, as to let him Lewis the French king to do him honour, and to know, that if it pleased him, he would come and give him knowledge of his victory, and winning do him reverence. But it was said withal, that of the Duchy of Milan. It seemeth the king was the king might be pleased to appoint some place, well pleased with the honours he received from that were out of any walled town or fortress, for those parts, while he was at Calais, for he did that he had denied the same upon like occasion himself certify all the news and occurrents of them to the French king: and though he said, he made in every particular, from Calais, to the mayor a great difference between the two kings, yet he and aldermen of London, which, no doubt, made would be loath to give a precedent, that might no small talk in the city. For the king, though make it after to be expected at his hands, by an- he could not entertain the good-will of the citiother whom he trusted less. The king accepted zens, as Edward the Fourth did, yet by affability of the courtesy, and admitted of his excuse, and and other princely graces did ever make very appointed the place to be at Saint Peter's church much of them, and apply himself to them. without Calais. But withal he did visit the arch- This year also died John Morton, Archbishop duke with ambassadors sent from himself, which of Canterbury, Chancellor of England, and carwere the Lord St. John, and the secretary; unto dinal. He was a wise man, and an eloquent, whom the archduke did the honour, as, going to but in his nature, harsh and haughty; much acmass at Saint Omer's, to set the Lord St. John | cepted by the king, but envied by the nobility, on his right hand, and the secretary on his left, and hated of the people. Neither was his name and so to ride between them to church. The day left out of Perkin's proclamation for any good appointed for the interview the king went on will, but they would not bring him in amongst horseback some distance from Saint Peter's church, the king's casting counters, because he had the to receive the archduke: and upon their approach- image and superscription upon him of the pope, ing, the archduke made haste to light, and offered in his honour of cardinal. He won the king to hold the king's stirrup at his alighting; which with secrecy and diligence, but chiefly because the king would not permit, but descending from he was his old servant in his less fortunes: and horseback, they embraced with great affection; and also for that, in his affections, he was not without withdrawing into the church to a place prepared, an inveterate malice against the house of York, they had long conference, not only upon the con- under whom he had been in trouble. He was firmation of former treaties, and the freeing of com- willing also to take envy from the king, more merce, but upon cross marriages, to be had be- than the king was willing to put upon him: for tween the Duke of York, the king's second son, the king cared not for subterfuges, but would and the archduke's daughter; and again between stand envy, and appear in any thing that was to Charles, the archduke's son and heir, and Mary, his mind; which made envy still grow upon him the king's second daughter. But these blossoms more universal, but less daring. But in the matof unripe marriages were but friendly wishes, and ter of exactions, time did after show, that the the airs of loving entertainment; though one of bishop, in feeding the king's humour, did rather them came afterwards to conclusion in treaty, temper it. He had been by Richard the Third though not in effect. But during the time that committed, as in custody, to the Duke of Buckthe two princes conversed and communed toge-ingham, whom he did secretly incite to revolt ther in the suburbs of Calais, the demonstrations from King Richard. But after the duke was enon both sides were passing hearty and affection-gaged, and thought the bishop should have been ate, especially on the part of the archduke; who, his chief pilot in the tempest, the bishop was besides that he was a prince of an excellent good gotten into the cock-boat, and fled over beyond But whatsoever else was in the man, he denature, being conscious to himself how dryly the seas. king had been used by his council in the matter serveth a most happy memory, in that he was the of Perkin, did strive by all means to recover it | principal mean of joining the two roses. He died in the king's affection. And having also his ears continually beaten with the counsels of his father and father-in-law, who, in respect of their jealous hatred against the French king, did always advise the archduke to anchor himself upon the amity of King Henry of England; was glad upon this occasion to put in ure and practice their precepts, calling the king patron, and father, and
of great years, but of strong health and powers. The next year, which was the sixteenth year of the king, and the year of our Lord, one thou sand five hundred, was the year of jubilee at Rome. But Pope Alexander, to save the hazard and charges of men's journeys to Rome, thought good to make over those graces by exchange, to such as would pay a convenient rate, seeing they
could not come to fetch them. For which purpose was sent into England, Jasper Pons, a Spaniard, the pope's commissioner, better chosen than were the commissioners of Pope Leo, afterwards employed for Germany; for he carried the business with great wisdom, and semblance of holiness: insomuch as he levied great sums of money within this land to the pope's use, with little or no scandal. It was thought the king shared in the money; but it appeareth by a letter which Cardinal Adrian, the king's pensioner, wrote to the king from Rome some few years after, that this was not so. For this cardinal, being to persuade Pope Julius, on the king's behalf, to expedite the bull of dispensation for the marriage between Prince Henry and the Lady Catharine, finding the pope difficile in granting thereof, doth use it as a principal argument concerning the king's merit towards that see, that he had touched none of those deniers which had been levied by Pons in England. But that it might the better appear, for the satisfaction of the common people, that this was consecrated money, the same nuncio brought unto the king a brief from the pope, wherein the king was exhorted and summoned to come in person against the Turk: for that the pope, out of the care of a universal father, seeing almost under his eyes the successes and progresses of that great enemy of the faith, had had in the conclave, and with the assistance of the ambassadors of foreign princes, divers consultations about a holy war, and a general expedition of Christian princes against the Turk: wherein it was agreed and thought fit, that the Hungarians, Polonians, and Bohemians, should make a war upon Thracia; the French and Spaniards upon Græcia; and that the pope, willing to sacrifice himself in so good a cause, in person, and in company of the King of England, the Venetians, and such other states as were great in maritime power, would sail with a puissant navy through the Mediterranean unto Constantinople. And that to this end, his holiness had sent nuncios to all Christian princes, as well for a cessation of all quarrels and differences amongst themselves, as for speedy preparations and contributions of forces and treasure for this sacred enterprise.
To this the king, who understood well the court of Rome, made an answer rather solemn than serious: signifying,
"That no prince on earth should be more forward and obedient, both by his person, and by all his possible forces and fortunes, to enter into this sacred war, than himself. But that the distance of place was such, as no forces that he should 1aise for the seas, could be levied or prepared but with double the charge, and double the time, at the least, that they might be from the other princes, that had their territories nearer adjoining. Besides, that neither the manner of his ships,
having no galleys, nor the experience of his pilots and mariners, could be so apt for those seas as theirs. And therefore, that his holiness. might do well to move one of those other kings, who lay fitter for the purpose, to accompany him by sea. Whereby both all things would be no sooner put in readiness, and with less charge, and the emulation and division of command, which might grow between those kings of France and Spain, if they should both join in the war by land upon Græcia, might be wisely avoided; and that for his part he would not be wanting in aids and contribution. Yet, notwithstanding, if both these kings should refuse, rather than his holiness should go alone, he would wait upon him as soon as he could be ready: always provided, that he might first see all differences of the Christian princes amongst themselves fully laid down and appeased, as for his own part, he was in none, and that he might have some good towns upon the coast in Italy put into his hands, for the retreat and safeguard of his men.”
With this answer Jasper Pons returned, nothing at all discontented: and yet this declaration of the king, as superficial as it was, gave him that reputation abroad, as he was not long after elected by the Knights of Rhodes the protector of their order: all things multiplying to honour in a prince, that had gotten such high estimation for his wisdom and sufficiency.
There were these last two years some proceedings against heretics, which was rare in this king's reign, and rather by penances, than by fire. The king had, though he were no good schoolman, the honour to convert one of them by dispute, at Canterbury.
This year also, though the king were no more haunted with sprites, for that by the sprinkling, partly of blood, and partly of water, he had chased them away; yet nevertheless, he had certain apparitions that troubled him, still showing themselves from one region, which was the house of York. It came so to pass, that the Earl of Suffolk, son to Elizabeth, eldest sister to King Edward the Fourth, by John, Duke of Suffolk, her second husband, and brother to John, Earl of Lincoln, that was slain at Stokefield, being of a hasty and choleric disposition, had killed a man in his fury; whereupon the king gave him his pardon. But, either willing to leave a cloud upon him, or the better to make him feel his grace, produced him openly to plead his pardon. This wrought in the earl, as in a haughty stomach it useth to do; for the ignominy printed deeper than the grace. Wherefore he being discontent, fled secretly into Flanders, unto his aunt, the Duchess of Burgundy. The king startled at it, but, being taught by troubles to use fair and timely remedies, wrought so with him by messages, the Lady Margaret also growing, by often