The true Portraiture of King Edward the Second King ⁁of England & Lord of Ireland Duke of Aquitaine etc: He Raigned 19. yeares & Seven Months: Buried at Glocester:
Of the moſt unfortunate Prince
King Edward II.
Choice Political Obſervations on Him
and his unhappy Favourites,
Gaveston & Spencer:
Several Rare Passages of thoſe Times,
Not found in other Hiſtorians.
Found among the Papers of, and (ſuppoſed to be)
Writ by the Right Honourable
Henry Viſcount Faulkland,
Sometime Lord Deputy of Ireland.
London: Printed by A.G. and J.P. and are ſold by John
Playford, at his Shop near the Temple-Church, 16801680.
Henry Cary,Viſcount Faulkland, (among whoſe Papers the following Hiſtory was found) was born at Aldnam in Hertford-ſhire; his extraordinary Parts, being a moſt accompliſh’d Gentleman, and a complete Courtier, got him ſuch an Eſteem with King James, (who for his great Learning and Sagacity is ſtiled The Engliſh Solomon) that he thought him a Perſon fitly qualified to be Lord Deputy of Ireland, (the Government of which place required at that time a Man of more than ordinary Abilities) which Truſt he very well diſcharged. Being recalled into England, he lived honourably here, ’till by an unfortunate accident he broke his Leg in Theobald’s Park; of which ſoon after he died. He was a Perſon of great Gallantry, the Ornament and Support of his Countrey, which he ſerved with no leſs A2Faith- iv A2v Faithfulneſs and Prudence abroad, than Honour and Juſtice at home, being an excellent Stateſman. During his ſtay at the Univerſity of Oxford, his chamber was the Rendevouz of all the eminent Wits, Divines, Philoſophers, Lawyers, Hiſtorians, and Politicians of that time; from whoſe Converſation he became Eminent in all thoſe Qualifications.
The Subject of the following Hiſtory (ſuppoſed to be written by the above-mentioned Nobleman) is the unhappy Lives, and untimely Deaths, of that Unfortunate Engliſh King Edward the Second, and his two Favourites Gaveſton and Spencer; for his immoderate love to whom, (ſays Dr. Heylin, he was hated by the Nobles, and contemned by the Commons. This King (ſaith Sir Richard Baker) was a comely Perſon, and of great ſtrength, but much given to drink, which render’d him unapt to keep any thing ſecret. His greateſt fault was, he loved but one, for if his Love had been divided, it could not have been ſo violent; and though Love moderated be the beſt of Affections, yet the Extremity of it is the worſt of Paſſions. Two Virtues were eminent in him, above all his Predeceſſors, Continence and Abſtinence; ſo continent, that he left no baſe Iſſue behind v A3r behind him; ſo abſtinent, that he took no baſe Courſes for raiſing Money.
Our Author cloſes his Hiſtory without declaring the Particulars of the Murder of this Prince, wherefore I ſhall give you an account therof, as I find it ſet down by the aforesaid Sir Richard Baker.
Many ways were attempted to take away his Life. Firſt, they vexed him in his Diet, allowing him nothing that he could well endure to eat, but this ſucceeded not: Then they lodged him in a Chamber over Carrion and dead Carcaſes, enough to have poiſoned him; and indeed he told a Workman at his Window, he never endured ſo great a miſery in all his Life; but neither did this ſucceed. Then they attempted it by Poyſons, but whether by the ſtrength of his Conſtitution, or by the Divine Providence, neither did this ſucceed. At laſt the peſtilent Achitophel, the Biſhop of Hereford, deviſed a letter to his Keepers, Sir Thomas Gourney, and Sir John Mattrevers, blaming them for giving him too much liberty, and for not doing the Service which was exſ pected from them; and in the end of his Letter wrote this Line, Edvardum occidere nolite timere bonum eſt; craftily contriving it vi A3vit in this doubtful ſence, that both the Keepers might find ſufficient warrant, and himſelf excuſe. The Keepers gueſſing at his meaning, took it in the worſt ſence, and accordingly put it in Execution. They took him in his Bed, and caſting heavy Bolſters upon him, and preſſing him down, ſtifled him; and not content with that, they heated an Iron red hot, and through a Pipe thruſt it up into his Fundament, that no marks of Violence might be ſeen; but though none were ſeen, yet ſome were heard; for when the Fact was in doing, he was heard to roar and cry all the Caſtle over. This was the lamentable End of King Edward of Carnarvan, son of King Edward the Firſt,
What became of the Actors and Abettors of this deep Tragedy, Sir Winſton Churchill tells us in theſe words, with which I ſhall conclude.
Poor Prince, how unkindly was he treated, upon no other account but that of his own overgreat kindneſs! Other Princes are blamed for not being ruled by their Counſellors, he for being ſo: who whilſt he lived, they would have him thought to be a sot, but being dead, they could have found in their hearts to have made him a Saint. How far he wrong’d his people doth vii A4r doth not appear, there being very few or no Taxations laid upon them all his time; but how rude and unjuſt they were towards him, is but too manifeſt. But their violence was ſeverely paid by Divine Vengeance, not only upon the whole Kingdom, when every Vein in the Body Politic was afterwards opened, to the endangering the letting out of the Life-blood of the Monarchy in the Age following; but upon every particular Perſon conſenting to, or concern’d in his Death. For as the Throne of his Son that was thus ſet in Blood (though without his own guilt) continued to be imbru’d all his Reign, which laſted above fifty Years, with frequent Executions, Battels, or Slaughters; the Sword of Justice, or his own, being hardly ever ſheath’d all his time: So ’tis ſaid, that the Queen her ſelf dyed mad, upon the apprehenſion of her own, in Mortimer’s diſgrace, who was executed at Tiburn, and hung there two days to be a ſpectacle of Scorn. The King’s Brother Edmond had this puniſhment of his Diſloyalty, to be condemn’d to loſe his Head for his Loyalty, it being ſuggeſted (and happy it had been for him if it had been prov’d) that he endeavoured the Reſtoration of his Brother; his Death being imbitter’d by the mockery of Fortune, whilſt by keeping him upon the Scaffold five hours together, before any body could be viii A4v be found that would Execute him, he was deluded with a vain hope of being ſaved. The Fiend Tarlton, Biſhop of Hereford, who invented the curſed Oracle that juſtified the Murderers, dyed with the very ſame Torture, as if the hot Iron that ſear’d his Conſcience had been thruſt into his Bowels. Of the two Murderers, one was taken and butcher’d at Sea, the other dyed in Exile, perhaps more miſerable. And for the Noblility in general, that were Actors in the Tragedy, they had this Curſe upon them, that most of their Race were cut off by thoſe Civil Diſcords of their divided Families, to which this ſtrange Violation gave the firſt beginning, not long after.The
The Life of Edward II. King of England.
Edwardthe Second, born at Carnarvan, was immediately after the death of Edward the Firſt his Father, crowned King of England. If we may credit the Hiſtorians of thoſe times, this Prince was of an Aſpect fair and lovely, carrying in his outward appearance many promiſing predictions of a ſingular expectation. But the judgment, not the eye muſt have preheminence in the cenſure of Human paſſages, the viſible Calender is not the true character of inward perfection, evidently proved in the Life, Reign, and untimely Death of this unfortunate Monarch.B His 2 B1v 2
His Story Eclipſeth this glorious Morning, making the noontide of his Soveraignty full of Tyrannical oppreſſions, and the Evening more memorable by his Death and Ruine. Time, the diſcoverer of truth, makes evident his impoſture, and ſhews him to the World, in Converſation light, in Will violent, in Condition wayward, and in Paſſion irreconcileable.
Edward his Father, a King no leſs Wiſe than Fortunate, by his diſcreet Providence, and the Glory of his Arms, had laid him the ſure Foundation of a happy Monarchy. He makes it his laſt care ſo to inable and inſtruct him, that he might be powerful enough to keep it ſo. From this Conſideration he leads him to the Scotiſh Wars, and brings him home an exact and able Scholar in the Art Military. He ſhews him the benefit of Time and Occaſion, and makes him underſtand the right uſe and advantage. He inſtructs him with the precious Rules of Diſcipline, that he might truly know how to obey, before he came to command a Kingdom. Laſtly, he opens the cloſet of his Heart, and preſents him with the politic Myſteries of State, and teacheth him how to uſe them by his own Example, letting him know, that all theſe helps are little enough to ſupport the weight of a Crown, if there were not a correſpondent worth in him that wears it.
Theſe Principles make the way open, but the prudent Father had a remaining task of a much harder temper. He beheld many ſad remonſtrations of a depraved and vicious Inclination, theſe muſt be purified, or his other cautions were uſeleſs and to little purpoſe. A corruption in Nature; that 3 B2r3 that by practice hath won it ſelf the habit of being ill, requires a more than ordinary care to give it reformation. Tenderneſs of Fatherly Love abuſeth his belief, and makes him aſcribe the imperfections of the Son, to the heat of Youth, want of Experience, and the wickedneſs of thoſe that had betray’d his unripe Knowledge, and eaſie Nature, with ſo baſe impreſſions. He imagins, Age, and the ſad burthen of a Kingdom, would in the ſence of Honour, work him to thoughts more innocent and noble; yet he neglects not the beſt means to prepare and aſſure it. He extends the height of Entreaty, and uſeth the befitting ſeverity of his paternal Power, making his Son know he muſt be fit for a Scepter, before he enjoy it. He takes from him thoſe tainted humours of his Leproſie, and enjoyns him by all the ties of Duty and Obedience, no more to admit the Society of ſo baſe and unworthy Companions. Gaveſton, the Ganimede of his affections, a Man, as baſe in birth as conditions, he ſentenceth to perpetual Exile.
The melancholy Apparitions of this loth to depart, gives the aged Father an aſſurance, that this Syren had too dear a Room in the wanton Cabinet of his Son’s heart. He ſtrives to enlighten his mind, and to make him quit the memory of that dotage, which he foreſaw in time would be his deſtruction. But death overtakes him before he could give it perfection, the time is come, that he muſt, by the Law of Nature, reſign both his Life and Kingdom.
He ſummons his Son, and bequeaths him this dying Legacy, commanding him, as he will in another day anſwer his diſobedience, never to B2repeal 4 B2v4 repeal his ſentence. To his Kindred and Peers, that with ſad Tears, and watry Eyes, were the companions of his Death-bed, he ſhortly diſcourſeth the baſe conditions of this Paraſite, and lets them underſtand, both their own, and the Kingdom’s danger, if they withſtood not his return, if it were occaſioned. They knew his injuctions were juſt, and promiſe to obſerve them, he is not ſatisfied till they bind it with an Oath, and vow religiouſly to perform it. This ſends him out of the World with more confidence, than in the true knowledge of his Son’s wilful diſpoſition he had cauſe to ground on.
The Father’s Funeral Rights performed, Edward in the pride of his years undertakes the Crown, and guidance of this glorious Kingdom. He glories in the advantage, knowing himſelf to be an abſolute King, and at liberty; yet thinks it not enough, till the belief of the Kingdom did equally aſſure it. He eſteems no Act more proper to confirm it, than running in a direct ſtrain of oppoſition againſt his Predeceſſor’s will and pleaſure. The ſtrong motives of his violent affection ſuggeſts reaſons, that the Majeſty of a King may not be confined from his deareſt pleaſure. When he was a Son, and a Subject, he had witneſſed his obedience, being now a King and a Soveraign, he expects a correſpondance of the ſame nature. Where there was ſo ready an inclination in the Will, Reaſon found ſtrength enough to warrant it, which made him make Gaveſton’s return the firſt Act of his Soveraignty. No proteſtation of his Lords, nor perſuaſion of his Council, can work a diverſion, or win ſo much as a befitting reſpect. The Barons that 5 B3r5 that were unable to withſtand, are contented to obey, attending the iſſue of this ſo dangerous a reſolution. Where the News was ſo pleaſing, the Journey is as ſudden, Gaveſton loſeth not a minute, till he felt the embraces of his Royal Lord and Maſter.
Edward having thus regained his beloved Damon, is ſo tranſported with his preſence, that he forgets the will and ordinary reſpect due to the greateſt Lords and Pillers of his Kingdom; and hence proceeds their firſt diſcontent and Murmur. Many ways are invented to diſſolve this enchantment, but none more fit and worthy then to engage him in the ſacred knot of Wedlock. The Intereſt of a Wife, was believed the only remedy to engroſs or divert theſe illegible, which they beheld ſo looſely and unworthily proſtituted. Iſabel, the Daughter of the French King, the goodlieſt and illegibleof her time, is moved, and the illegibleplauſibly accepted.
This ſends Edward, ſcarce a King of nine Months ſtanding, into France, and brings him back, ſeas’d of a Jewel, which not being rightly valued, occaſioned his enſuing Ruin. The excellency of ſo ſweet and vertuous a companion could not ſo ſurprize her Bridegroom, but Gaveſton ſtill kept poſſeſſion of the faireſt room in his affections. He makes it more notorious by creating him Earl of Cornewal, and the Gift of the goodly Caſtle and Lordſhip of Wallingford.
Gaveſton applies himſelf wholly to the humour of the King, and makes each word that falls from his mouth an Oracle; their affections go hand in hand, and the apparent injuſtice of the one never B3illegible 6 B3v6 found contradiction in the other. The Subjects Voice was ſo fortunate, that it was always concurrent where the King maintained the party: If the diſcourse were Arms, Gaveſton extoll’d it as an Heroic Vertue; if Peace, he maintained it not more uſeful than neceſſary; unlawful pleaſure he ſtiled a noble Recreation; and unjuſt Actions, the proper and becoming Fruits of an abſolute Monarchy. Theſe Gloſes ſo betray the willing ear that heard them, that no Honour is thought good and great enough for the Reporter. The greateſt Commands and Offices are in the perſon or diſpoſure of Gaveſton. The command of War, and all Proviſions Foreign and Domeſtic, are committed ſolely to his care and cuſtody. All Treaties for Peace or War had their ſucceſs or ruin by his direction and pleaſure. The King Signed no Diſpatch private or public, but by his conſent or appointment. So that all men believed their Soveraign to be but a meer Royal ſhadow, without a real ſubſtance. Neither was it enough to advance him beyond his deſert, or the rules of a modeſt proportion; But his Power muſt be made more extant in the Commitment to the Tower of the Biſhop of Cheſter, whom he quarrels as the occaſion of his firſt baniſhment.
Theſe inſolencies, carried with ſo great a height and contempt, are accompanied with all the remonſtrances of a juſtly grieved Kingdom. The ancient Nobility that diſdained ſuch an Equal, juſtly exclaim againſt the Iniquity of the time, that made him their Superiour. The grave Senators, that underſtood their own worths, are diſcontent to ſee themſelves rejected, while Upſtarts, by Money or Favour, poſſeſs 7 B4r7 poſſeſs the higher places. The Soldier that with his Blood had purchas’d his Experience, laments his own diſhonour, ſeeing unworthy Striplings advanced, while he like the ruins of a goodly Building is left to the wide World without uſe or reparation. The Commons in a more intemperate faſhion make known their griefs, and ſad oppreſſions.
Gaveſton, that both ſaw and knew the general diſcontent, ſought not to redreſs it, but with an ill adviſed confidence ſtrives to out-dare the worſt of his approaching danger. Lincoln, Warwick, and Pembroke, whoſe noble hearts diſdained the o’regrown height of this untimely Muſherompt, let the King know their fidelity, and his apparent Error. He muſt free himſelf, and right them, or elſe they will ſeek it in another Faſhion.
Edward knew their Complaints were juſt, yet was moſt unwilling to hear or relieve them; till ſeeing their ſtrong reſolution, and himſelf wholly unprovided to withſtand the danger, he makes his affections ſtoop to the preſent neceſſity, and conſents to a ſecond baniſment of his ſo dearly beloved Favourite. Gaveſton, in the height and pride of his ambition, is enforced to leave his Protector, and to make Ireland the place of his Abiding. With a ſad heart he takes his leave, departing yet with a more deſire of revenge, than ſorrow for his abſence.
All things thus reconciled, the Kingdom began to receive a new life; mens hopes were ſuitable to their deſires, and all things ſeem to promiſe a ſwift and fair Reformation. But the bewitching Charms of this wily Serpent made it ſoon evident, B4that 8 B4v8 that alone his death muſt prevent his miſchief. The perſonal correſpondency taken away, the affections of the reſtleſs King becomes far more violent. In the ſhort interim of his abſence, many reciprocal and ſweet meſſages interchangeably paſs betwixt them: Edward receives none, but he returns with a Golden Intereſt. He is not more ſensible of his loſs, than the Affront and Injury, which perſuades him, it were too great indignity for him to ſuffer at the hand of a Subject: Though with his own hazard he once more calls him home, pacifying the incenſed Lords with an aſſurance of reconciliation and amendment. Thoſe ſtrict Admonitions ſo fully expreſt, were not powerful enough to reclaim the Fondneſs of the one, and Inſolency of the other.
The King regaining thus his beloved Minion, dotes on him in a far greater meaſure; and he to make the Muſic perfect, is of a far more violent temper. He affronts and condemns his Adverſaries, the ancient Nobility, ſurreptitiouſly waſting and imbezelling the Revenues of the Crown. He enflames the King’s heart, ſo apt to receive it with all the motives of revenge, unquietneſs, and diſorder. The Jewels of the Crown, and that rich Table and Treſſels of Gold, are purloin’d and pawn’d to ſupply this wanton Riot. He had ſo true a knowledge of his Maſter’s weakneſs, that he made him ſolely his. His Creatures were alone prefer’d, his Agents were the guides, and no man hath the King’s ear, hand, or purſe, but ſuch as were by Gaveſton prefer’d or recommended.
Edward in his voluptuous ſenſuality ſupplies the place, but he had the ſole execution of that Royal Pre- 9 B5r9 Prerogative, that was alone proper to the Crown. The Nobility, whoſe Lyon-hearts ſtrugled betwixt the ſence of their juſt grief and allegiance, at length reſolve, the King as to himſelf, muſt be ſo to them and the Kingdom, or they may no more endure it. With grave and weighty Reaſons, they make the King know both the error and the vanity of his Affections; letting him truly underſtand, that they had a dear Intereſt, both in him and the Kingdom, which they would no longer ſuffer to be ſo abuſed and miſguided.
Edward, being himſelf thus hardly preſt, and that no entreaty or diſſimulation could prevail, he muſt now ſet right the diſorders of the Kingdom, or have his work done to his hand, with leſs honour and more danger. Once more he ſubſcribes to their will, which he ſees he cannot withſtand or alter. Gaveſton is again baniſh’d, and makes Flanders, the next Neighbour, the place of his reception. Infinite was the joy of the Kingdom, who now expected a ſecure Freedom from that dangerous Convulſion that threatned ſo apparent an inteſtine ruin.
This their imaginary Happineſs was made more real and perfect, in the knowledge that Windſor had bleſt them with an Heir Apparent. The Royal Father is pleaſed with the News, but had not (whether his divining Spirit, or Gaveſton’s abſence were the cauſe) thoſe true expreſſions of joy that in justice became ſo great a Bleſſing. The abſence of his Minion could not lighten his heavy Soul, but all other comforts ſeemed vain and counterfeit, his diſtracted brains take new and deſperate reſolutions; he revokes the ſentence of his grief, and vows 10 B5v10 vows to juſtifie it againſt the utmoſt ſtrength of Contradiction.
He that dares do thoſe things that are diſhoneſt and unjuſt, is not aſham’d to juſtifie and maintain them: This Error gave this unfortunate King more Enemies than he had Friends to defend them. Kings that once falſifie their Faiths, more by their proper Will than a neceſſary Impulſion, grow infamous to foreign Nations, and fearful or ſuſpected to their own peculiar Subjects. He that is guilty of doing ill, and juſtifies the action, makes it evident, he hath won unto himſelf a habit of doing ſo, and a daring impudence to maintain it by the protection, of which he believes all things in a politic wiſdom lawful. This poſition may for a time flatter the Profeſſor, but it perpetually ends with Infamy, which ſtands with Reaſon and Juſtice; for as vertue is the Road-way to perfection, ſo is the corruption of a falſe heart, the true path to a certain and an unpittied ruin.
The enraged Barons are not more ſenſible of their own diſparagement, than the inconſtancy and injuſtice of their Soveraign. They think this affront done to them and the whole Kingdom, of too high a nature to be diſpens’d with, yet with a temperate reſolution they a while attend the iſſue. The Actions of injuſtice ſeldom leſſen; they believe progreſſion to be in all things an excellent Moral vertue. He that hath a will to do ill, and doth it, ſeldom looks back until he be at the top of the Stairs. This makes the ill affected return of this our Favourite, more infamous and hated. With an imperious ſtorm he lets the Lords know, he meditates nothing but revenge, and waits 11 B6r11 waits a fit advantage to entertain it. They believe time ill loſt in ſo weighty a cauſe, and therefore draw themſelves and their Forces together, before the King could prevent, or his abuſer ſhun it. The Clouds preſaging ſo great a ſtorm, he ſtudies the beſt means he could to avoid it. The general diſtaſt of the Kingdom takes from him the hope of an able party. ScarboroughCaſtle his laſt refuge he makes his Sanctuary, but it was too weak againſt the number of his Enemies, and the juſtice of their quarrel. He falls at length into the power of thoſe, from whom he had no cauſe to expect protection or mercy. The Butterflies of the time, that were the Friends of his Fortunes, not him, ſeeing the Seaſon chang’d, betake themſelves to the warmer Climate. His Greatneſs had won him many Servants, but they were but Retainers, that like Rats forſook the Houſe when they beheld it falling. The Spring was laden with many glorious and goodly Bloſſoms, but the Winter of his Age leaves him naked, without a Leaf to truſt to.
In this uncomfortable caſe remains this glorious Cedar, in the hands of thoſe whom in his greater height he had too much condemn’d and abuſed. They reſolve to make ſhort and ſure work, unwilling to receive a command to the contrary, which they muſt not obey, though it ſhould come from him to whom they had ſworn Obedience. Forſaken, unpittied, ſcorn’d, and hated, he falls under the the hands of Juſtice. Gaverſeed is the place which gives the Epilogue to this fatal Tragedy, whence his Adverſaries return more ſatisfied than aſſured.Thus 12 B6v 12
Thus fell that glorious Minion of Edward the Second, who for a time appeared liked a blazing Comet, and ſway’d the juriſdiction of the ſtate of England, and her Confederates. He did not remember in the ſmiles and embraces of his lovely Miſtris, that ſhe was blind, nor made himſelf ſuch a refuge as might ſecure him when ſhe prov’d unconſtant. Such a Providence had made his end as glorious, as his beginning fortunate, leaving neither to the juſt cenſure of Time or Envy.
The King’s vexations in the Knowledge, are as infinite as hopeleſs, his Paſſions tranſport him beyond the height of Sorrow. He vows a bitter revenge, which in his weakneſs he ſtrives to execute with more ſpeed than adviſement. The graver Senators, that had moſt Intereſt in his favour, mildly diſcourſe his loſs to the beſt advantage. They lay before him his contempt and abuſive carriage, his inſolence, Honour beyond his Birth, and Wealth above his Merit, which muſt to all Ages give a juſt cauſe to approve their Actions, and his Fortune. The leaſt touch of his memory adds more to the King’s affliction, who is fixt not to forget, or forgive, ſo bold and heinous a Treſpaſs.
The operations in the King were yet ſo powerful, but the jealouſies of the Actors are as cautelous, ſo fair a warning-piece bids them in time make good their own ſecurity. Lincoln, the principal Pillar of this Faction, follows his Adverſary to the Grave, but with a much fairer Fortune. This Man was a goodly piece of true Nobility, being in Speech and converſation ſweet and affable; in reſolution grave and weighty; his aged temper active above 13 B7r13 above belief; and his wiſdom far more excellent in a ſolid inward knowledge, than in outward appearance.
When the harbinger of Death pluck’d him by the Sleeve, and he ſaw and knew he muſt leave the World, he calls unto him Thomas Earl of Lancaſter, that had married his Daughter, giving him a ſtrict Impoſition on his Death-bed, that he ſhould carefully maintain the welfare of the Kingdom, and make good his place among the Barons. This reverend old Stateſman ſaw the King’s ways, and knew him to be a moſt implacable Enemy, and with a kind of ſpeculative prediction, would often ſeem to lament the Miſery of the time, where either the King, Kingdom, or both muſt ſuffer. The Son, whoſe noble Heart was before ſeaſoned with the ſame impreſſions, aſſures it, which he in time as really performs, though it coſt him the loſs of his Eſtate, Life, and Honour.
Things are too far paſt to admit a reconciliation; the King’s Meditations are ſolely fix’d upon revenge; and the Lords, how they may prevent, or withſtand it. The Kingdom hangs in a doubtful ſuſpence, and all Mens minds are variouſly carried with the expectation of what would be the iſſue. Meditation and interceſſion brings it at length to Parliamentary diſcuſſion, which being aſſembled at London, enacts many excellent Laws, and binds both the King and Lords by a ſolemn Oath to obſerve them. Thus the violence of this Fire is a while ſuppreſſed, and raked up in the Embers, that it may (in opportunity and advantage) beget a great danger.A 14 B7v 14
A new occaſion preſents it ſelf, that makes each part temporize for a while, and ſmothers the thoughts of the enſuing Rumour. Robert le Bruce re-enters Scotland, whence he had been by Edward the Firſt expuls’d, inverting all the Engliſh Inſtitutions, that had ſo lately ſetled the Peace and ſubjection of the Kingdom. Edward, tender of his Honour, and careful to preſerve that purchaſe, that had proved ſo dear a bargain, adjourns his private ſpleen, and provides to ſuppreſs this unlook’d for Rebellion. He knew the juſtice of his quarrel, and wakens from the Dream, that had given him ſo large a cauſe of ſorrow. He gives his intentions a ſmall intermiſſion, and a leſs reſpite; with all ſpeed he levies an Army, and leads it with his own Perſon. Whether it were the juſtice of Heaven, or his own misfortune or improvidence, the Scots attend and encounter him, making Eaſtrivelyn the fatal witneſs of his diſaſter. His Army loſt and defeated, he returns home laden with his own ſhame and ſorrow. His return is welcomed with a ſtrange Impoſter, that pretends himſelf the Heir of Edward the Firſt, and the King the Son of a Baker. A Tale ſo weak in truth and probability wins neither belief or credit. Voidras, this imaginary King, is apprehended, and makes Northampton Gallows the firſt Stair of his Preferment. His Execution is accompanied with as ſtrange a ſtory, which ſuggeſts the inſtigation of a Spirit, that in likeneſs of a Cat, had for two years ſpace adviſed it.
The King, with a true feeling grief, lamenting his dishonourable Return from Scotland, where his noble Father had ſo oft diſplay’d his victorious Arms 15 B8r 15 Arms, doth vow with a ſpeedy reſcue to revenge it. He communicates his reſolution with the whole body of his Council, who are in their advice equally concurrent in the Action. The former loſs exacts a more care, and a better proviſion. York, as the fitteſt place, is made the Senate of this grave Aſſembly. Thither reſort all the Sages of the Kingdom, and make it their firſt deliberation to ſecure Berwick, that is one of the Keys of the Kingdom, and expoſed to the greateſt hazard. This Charge is given to Sir Peter Spalden, who was believed able enough, both in fidelity and valour. A ſhort time diſcovers him truly poſſeſt of neither. A ſmall Sum of Money, with an expectant Preferment promiſed, betrays the truſt repoſed, and gives the Scots the full poſſeſſion of the Charge to him committed.
The Pope, wiſely foreſeeing into the miſery of this diſſention, out of his Chriſtian and pious care, ſends over two Cardinals, to mediate a Peace and Agreement. They being arrived in England, find the King well diſpoſed, ſo the Conditions might be reaſonable, and ſuch as might become his Intereſt and Honour. They paſs from hence into Scotland, and are by the way with a barbarous Example ſurprized and robb’d. The King is infinitely diſcontented with ſo inhuman an Act, which threw a taint upon the whole Nation. Great enquiry is preſently made, which finds out the Actors, and ſends Sir Peter Middleton, and Sir Walter Selby, to a ſhameful and untimely execution. Immediately at the heels of this follows another Example, no leſs infamous, and full of danger. Sir 16 B8v16 Sir Gilbert Denvil, and others, pretending themſelves to be Outlaws, with a jolly Army, to the number of Two hundred, ramble up and down the Country, acting divers notorious Inſolencies and Robberies. The Fame of an attempt ſo new and unexpected, without a ſpeedy prevention, ſeemed to intimate a greater danger. A Commiſſion is immediately ſent out, which apprehends the heads of this encreaſing miſchief and delivers them over to the hand of Juſtice. They which confeſt themſelves out of the protection of the Law, and glory in their being ſo, fall under his rigour.
Thoſe that duly examined the truth of this action, believed the pretence to be but a Mask, that hid a more perilous intention. The King, by his untemperate and undiſcreet actions, had loſt the hearts of his People, and there was a general face of diſcontent throughout the whole Kingdom. The Ulcers feſtered daily more and more, which ſeemed to preſage and threaten, without ſome ſpeedy prevention, a dangerous iſſue. All Men diſcover their ill affections, expecting but a Patron that durſt declare himſelf, and adventure to hang the Bell about the Cat’s Neck. If this diſorderly attempt, which was but to taſt the Peoples Inclinations, had ſucceded, the King (as it was to be feared) had much ſooner felt the general loſs, and revolt of his whole Kingdom. But this work was reſerved to future time, and the operation of thoſe, who had the time to effect it with more power and pretence of Juſtice. The crying Maladies of this Climat were ſuch, that the Divine Power ſent down at one and the ſelfſameſame 17 C1r17 ſame inſtant his three fatal Executioners, Plague, Dearth, and Famine, to call upon us for a repentant Reformation. No part of the Kingdom is free, but was grievouſly afflicted by the unmerciful Proſecution of one, or all theſe fatal angry Siſters. So great a Miſery was too much, but it is ſeconded with a ſudden Invaſion of the hungry Scots, who apprehending the advantage of the preſent Viſitation, and ill Eſtate of their Neighbours, like a Land-Flood, over-run the naked and unprovided Borders.
The Archbiſhop of York, a grave and wiſe Prelate in his Element, but as far from the Nature, as Name of a Soldier, reſolves to oppoſe this overdaring and inſolent Eruption. He levies in haſt an Army, in number hopeful; but it was compos’d of Men, fitter to pray for the ſucceſs of a Battel, than to fight it. With theſe, and an undaunted hoping Spirit, he affronts the Scots, and gives them Battel, making Mitton upon Swale, that honoured his Enemies with the Glory of a ſecond Triumph, the place of his Diſaſter. Many Religious Church-men, with the purchaſe of their Lives, begin their firſt Apprentiſhip in Arms; whoſe loſs chriſt’ned this overthrow The White Battel.
The intent of this grave Prelate was queſtionleſs worthy of a great and ſingular Commendation, but the Act was wholly inconſiderate, weak, and unadviſed. It was not proper for his Calling to undertake a Military Function, in which he had no experience; neither did it agree with his Wiſdom or Piety to be an Actor in Blood, though the occaſion were ſo great and weighty. Too much care Cand 18 C1v18 and confidence improperly expreſt, doth many times overthrow and ruin the Cauſe it ſeeks to ſtrengthen and advantage. There ought to be in all conſiderations of this nature, a mature Deliberation before we come to Action, elſe we loſe the Glory of our Aims, and commit all to the uncertain hazard of Time and Fortune. The Cardinals are now returned out of Scotland, by whom the King truly underſtands that the hopes of Peace are deſperate. Their leave taken, and loſſes fairly repaired, they return to Rome, acquainting his Holineſs with the ſucceſs of their Employment. The Pope being truly informed, that the Scots were neither conformable to his Will, or the general Good, excommunicates both that uſurping King and Kingdom.
The King, nearly touch’d with the loſs of Berwick, enflamed with the Inſolency of his barbarous Enemies, and grieved with ſo great a loſs of his People, reſolves no more to ſuffer, but to tranſport the War into the very Bowels of Scotland. To this effect, with ſpeed he haſtens out his Directions, and gives preſent Order for the levying of Men, Arms, and Money, to begin the War, and continue it. The Royal Command, and deſire of Revenge, gives Wings to this Reſolution. An Army is ready, and attends the King’s Pleaſure, before he conceits his Will truly underſtood, or bruited. Nothing is wanting but his own Perſon, or a fit Commander to lead them; he loſeth no time, but appears in the Head of his Army before his Enemies had the leaſt knowledge of this Aſſembly. With a hopeful Expectation he leads them on, and makes Berwick the Rendezvous that 19 C2r19 that ſhould make his Number compleat and perfect. Before this Strength that had the warranty of Art and Nature, he makes the firſt Experiment of this Expedition. The Town begirt, was not more confident of their own ſtrength, than aſſured of a ſpeedy ſupply or reſcue. This gave the King a longer delay than he believed, and his Enemies leaſure to raiſe and enable their Proviſions. They ſaw it a work too full of Danger and Hazard, to venture the breach of the Body of ſo great an Army, that in Worth and Number ſo far exceeded. The memory of former Paſſages and Trials, taught them how to underſtand their preſent condition; this begets in them a Reſolution more ſolid and hopeful. They leave the Road-way, and war rather by Diſcretion than Valour, which ſucceeds ſo fortunately, that they ſurprize all the Engliſh Proviſions, and enforce the King to a ſecond Return, more Fortunate, yet much leſs Honourable. It is true, he retreated, and brought back his Army in ſafety, but he had quitted the Siege which he had vowed to continue againſt the United Power of Scotland, and loſt wholly all that Wealth and Luggage he had carried with him.
This fill’d all Men’s mouths with a complaining Grief, and made Foreign Nations think the Engliſh had loſt their former luſter, and renowned valour. It was wondred, that an Enemy ſo weak and contemptible, ſhould three ſeveral times ſucceſſively, bear away the Garland from thoſe, that had ſo often, and knew the way ſo well to win and wear it.
But now begins a ſecond Fire of a higher Nature, that made the Kingdom a Theater ſtain’d C2with 20 C2v20 with the nobleſt Blood, that within her Confines had or Life or Being. The King, diſcouraged with his Foreign Fortune, lays aſide the thoughts of Arms, and recalls into his wanton Heart the bewitching vanities of his Youth, that had formerly bred him ſuch Diſtemper. He was Royally attended, but it was by thoſe that made their Tongues, rather the Orators of a pleaſing falſhood, than a true ſincerity. Theſe were fit Inſtruments for ſuch an ear, that would not hear, unleſs the Muſic anſwered in an even correſpondency. The Infidelity of the Servant is in a true Conſtruction the Miſery of the Maſter, which is more or leſs dangerous, as is the weight and meaſure of his Employment. It is in the Election of a Crown a principal Conſideration, to chuſe ſuch Attendants, whoſe Integrity may be the Inducement, as well as the Ability, elſe the imaginary help proves rather a Danger than Aſſiſtance. Neither is it ſafe or honourable, for the Majeſty of a King, to ſeem to depend ſolely on the Wiſdom, Care, or Fidelity of one particular Servant. Multiplicity of able Men is the Glory and Safety of a Crown, which falls by degrees into confuſion, when one Man alone acts all parts, whence proceeds a World of Error and Confuſion.
The King was not ignorant, that ſuch a courſe would make ſuch as were his but at ſecond hand, yet he reſolves to make a new choice, of one to ſupply the room of his loſt beloved Gaveſton. Though his diſeaſed Court was furniſhed with a large variety, yet his Eye fixeth on Hugh, the younger of the Spencers, who was always tractable and conformable to the King’s Will and Pleaſure.ſure 21 C3r21 ſure. This Man was in ſhew ſmooth and humble, of an inſinuating Spirit, one that knew his Maſter’s ways, and was ever careful to obſerve them. He had applied himſelf wholly to Edward’s will, and fed his wanton pleaſures with the ſtrains of their own Affection. Heat of Spirit, and height of Blood conſult more with Paſſion than Reaſon, and a ſhort Deliberation may ſerve, where the Subject was ſo pleaſing, and to each ſide agreeable.
The King, to make his Reſolutions eminent, with more haſt than adviſement, makes him his Lord Chamberlain, and lets the World know, it was his Love and Will that thus advanc’d him. Scarcely is this new great Officer warm in his unbefitting Authority, but he exactly follows his Predeceſſor-precedent to the Life, making all things lawful that were agreable to his Maſter’s Will, or his fantaſtical Humour.
The Peers of the Kingdom, that ſaw the ſudden and haſty Growth of this undeſerving Canker, reſolve to lop or root it up, before it ſhould o’retop their Luſter. Spencer, that in the precedent Story of Gaveſton, beheld the danger of his own condition, begins in time to provide and ſtrengthen a Party. His aged Father, fitter for his Beads than Action, he makes a young Courtier, and wins the King to give him Power and Aſſiſtance. He labours to remove from his Maſter’s ear all ſuch as might endanger him, and ſupplies their places with ſuch as were his Creatures. Thoſe that were too high for ſuch a ſurpriſal, by Perſuaſion, Money, or Alliance, he ſeeks to engage, and make the Parties of this his coming Faction. The Body of the Court thus aſſured, his Actions in C3the 22 C3v22 the State went in an even Correſpondency. Thoſe that held him at a diſtance, valuing their Fidelity and Honour before ſo baſe an advantage, ſaw themſelves diſgracefully caſhier’d, and others inſtalled in their Rooms, that had neither Worth, Birth, or Merit. The Factious Entertainers of his proffered Amity, not only enjoy their own, but are advanced higher, which made them but the Inſtruments to act and further the Corruptions of his Will and wicked Nature.
This Foundation laid, they now ſeem to contemn all fear of danger, and in that aſſurance, expreſs their Contempt and Scorn againſt the Nobility, who they knew would never entertain their Society or Friendſhip. While thus the Rule and Manage of all the Royal Affairs in their Power, was daily more and more abuſed, the Incenſed Barons meet at Sherborough, where the Earl of Lancaſter, the Prime Agent, lays before them (in a ſhort and grave Diſcourſe) the Iniquity and Danger that ſeemed eminently to threaten both them and the whole Kingdom, if ſuch a Reſolution were not taken, as might aſſure a ſpeedy Prevention. The Fore-knowledge of their Soveraign’s Behaviour, which would obſerve no Rule or Proportion in his immodeſt Affections, gave them ſmall hope to prevail by Perſuaſion or Entreaty. They too well underſtood that Spencer’s Pride was too great and haughty to go leſs without Compulſion, and they muſt ſink a Key, or neither the Kingdom or themſelves (againſt ſo Inveterate a Hatred) could expect in reaſon Safety or Aſſurance. Hertford, Mowbray, and Clifford, ſore a higher pitch, and in plain terms affirm, That all other Reſolutionstions 23 C4r23 tions were vain and hopeleſs, ’twas only Arms that muſt right the Time and State ſo much diſorder’d. Benningfield and Mortimer approve this Reſolution, and as ſoon give it Life and Action. They enter furiouſly on the Poſſeſſions of their Enemies, ſpoyling and waſting like profeſs’d Enemies.
Such an Outrage flies with a nimble Wing to the ears of the Owner, who as ſoon makes the King the ſharer of his Intelligence, and encreaſeth it to his own advantage. The King ſenſible of ſo great an Affront, and as tender of the one, as cruel to the other, publiſheth by Proclamation the ſentence of his Royal Will and Pleaſure. The Actors of this Miſdemeanor muſt appear and juſtifie themſelves, or preſently forſake the Kingdom.
The Lords that ſaw their Intereſts at Stake, as they had begun, reſolve to maintain the Quarrel. New Levies and Preparations are dayly made, to make good the ſucceeding Iſſue. Yet the more to juſtifie thoſe Arms, that in the beſt conſtruction was deemed Rebellions, they ſend to the King a fair and humble Meſſage. The Tenour whereof lets him know, their Intentions were fair and honeſt, and the Arms thus levied, were rather to defend, than offend his Perſon; only they in all humility deſire, he would be graciouſly pleaſed to remove and puniſh thoſe Vipers, which had too near a Room in his Royal Heart, whereby they had overthrown and undone the Peace and Tranquillity of the Kingdom.
The King that fears, is enforc’d to believe: he knew their Informations were juſt, and he had no Power to deny, or withſtand them. He aſſures a Reformation; to make it more real, he adjourns C4it 24 C4v24 it to the enſuing Parliament, which is immediately ſummoned to appear at London. The jealous Lords, that too well knew the cunning and hatred of their malicious Adverſaries, appear like themſelves, bravely attended with a Crew of luſty Yeomen well Arm’d, which ſtiled this The Parliament of White Bands. The Major, ſeeing ſuch a Confluence from all parts of the Kingdom, ſo ill enclined and well appointed, with a careful Providence reinforceth the City Guards, and planteth a ſtrong Watch throughout all the ſtrengths and parts of his Juriſdiction.
This great Aſſembly being now met, the complaining Barons find in both Houſes a ready Belief, and as ſudden a Cenſure. A ſolemn Declaration gives the King knowledge of their Sentence, which commands both the Spencers, Father and Son, into perpetual Exile. The King, as weak in his diſability, as wilful in the leaſt advantage, gives a ſad and unwilling conſent; which being known, gives the Spencers no time of Imparleance; their Judgment is immediately put in Execution, and they find more Servants than they deſired to attend them to Dover, where they are immediately ſhip’d to go ſeek a new Fortune. The Elder, whoſe Snowy age, and more Innocence, deſerved Pity, makes his Tears witneſs his true ſorrow, and his Tongue unfold them. He taxeth his Son’s Vanity and Ambition, and his own Weakneſs, that had ſo eaſily conſented to his Ruin. He laments his misfortune, that in the Winter of his Age had caſt him from his Inheritance, and had made him the Sea-mark and ſcorn of a whole Kingdom. He confeſſeth the folly, that led him (by indirect means) 25 C5r25 means) to the preſervation of his high and ill acquired Greatneſs. He wiſheth his carriage had been ſuch, that in this ſo ſad a change of Fortune, he might have found either Pity or Aſſiſtance. But it is the inſeparable Companion of Greatneſs that is gotten in the By-way, and not by a juſt Deſert or Vertue. It labours to ſupport it ſelf more by cunning and falſhood, than by a ſweet and winning temper, when it is of all other the moſt erroneous Maxim, that believes, Affections can be in a ſubordinate way gotten or aſſured. They are the proper Functions of the Soul, which move alone in their own courſe, without force, or the leaſt impulſion. All other ways are but Temporary Proviſions, that ſerve the preſent advantage, but he that by a juſt Deſert wins the love and belief of his worth, hath laid a ſure Foundation, making his Honour his own, and the Succeſſion hereditary and permanent, to his everlaſting Glory.
Theſe imperious Servants thus removed, the Father, in obedience of his Doom, betakes himſelf to a Foreign Quietneſs. The Son, of a more turbulent and revengeful Spirit, keeps ſtill a Seaboard in the skirts of the Kingdom, and falling ſhort in Power, to requite the Authors of his diſgrace, he expreſſeth his malice to the whole Nation. The Merchants free from all ſuſpitions in their Voyages and Returns, are pillaged and rifled, and he the principal Actor.
Such a Domeſtic Piracy begets a general terror and exclamation, which fills the King’s ears, and preſſeth, (as it required) a ſpeedy prevention or remedy. He knew the Action was foul, but it was 26 C5v26 was one of his own that had done it; and ſuch a one that was too dearly valued, to be either perſecuted or puniſhed. He ſtudies firſt to ſatisfie his own Paſſion, before he right this injurious carriage againſt the Subject. This makes him reject the wholeſome Admonitions of Friends, the Validity of his Laws, and thoſe fearful Apparitions that preſent him with the danger of ſo foul an Enterprize, while with an Example new, and full of aſſured hazard, he repeals the ſentence of their Exile. This Act gave him too large a time of Repentance, and may be a befitting inſtance to all enſuing poſterity. The Actions of a Crown are Exemplary, and ſhould be clean, pure, and innocent; the ſtains of their Errors dye not with them, but are regiſtred in the ſtory of their Lives, either with Honour or Infamy.
But to proceed in this Hiſtorical Relation: The Spencers thus recalled, and reinveſted in their former Favour, they expreſs themſelves in another kind, and now by a ſtrong hand ſtrive to cruſh by degrees all thoſe of the adverſe Faction. Sir Bartholomew Baldſmer was the firſt that taſted their fury and injuſtice. His Caſtle of Leedes in Kent, under a pretended and feigned Title, is ſurprized and taken from him, without a due Form, or any Legal Proceeding. Their return, and the abrogation of that Law that baniſhed them, was provocation enough, there needed not this ſecond Motive to enflame the hearts of the angry Barons. But when the unjuſt Oppreſſion of the Knight (their Ally and Confederate) was divulged, and came to their ears, they vow a bitter Revenge, and make ſpeed to put it in Execution. They ſee the 27 C6r27 the Fruits of their dalliance, and long abuſed confidence, and waken out of that ſlumber that had fed him with the Chimera’s of ſo dull and cold a proceeding.
The King, who formerly had been ſo often ſurprized, in time arrives to provide a Remedy: he knew his Arms and not his Tongue muſt plead the injuſtice of his Actions, wherein if he again failed, he feared another manner of Proceeding. The Spencers, that evidently ſaw the eminency of their own dangers, make it their Maſter-piece to cruſh the Serpent in the head before it grew to perfection. They knew the height of their Offences were beyond the hope of mercy, and there was no way left of aſſurance, but that, which they muſt wade through in blood, and make good with the Sword their Lives, or elſe be ſure to loſe them. An Army is provided, and appears at Shrewsbury almoſt before it was bruited. The firſt exploit ſieſeth the two Mortimers, that had begun again their former Invaſion of the Spencers. Their ſtrength was great enough for ſuch an Incurſion, but much too weak to withſtand or encounter this Royal Army. The firſt hanſel ſo fortunate, gives life to their Adverſaries, and Impriſons them in the Tower, before their Aſſociates could be truly informed, or ready to relieve them.
There is now left no time to diſpute: The Barons muſt with their Arms warrant their Proceedings, or they muſt miſcarry in the Action. They had ſoon gathered a ſtrength, with which they reſolve to encounter the King at Burton. The knowledge of the great Power that came againſt them, and their own Weakneſs, wins them to a retreat 28 C6v28 retreat, not more dangerous than diſhonourable. But their Reaſons were juſt and weighty; the Earl of Lancaster had ſent Sir Robert Holland to raiſe his Tenants and Friends, which he hoped would in time reinforce his Army.
Valence Earl of Pembrook, that commands his Maſter’s Forces, ſeeing the diſorder of their going off, lays hold of the advantage, and chargeth them ſo hotly, that they break and betake themſelves to their heels, with great loſſes and confuſion. Holland entruſted by the Earl of Lancaſter, having accordingly performed the work he was employed in, marching up to the Reſcue, is advertized of the State of their Affairs, which makes him ſeek his own Peace, and reſign this ſupply wholly up, to be diſpoſed of at the King’s Will and Pleaſure. The Supply ſo unexpected is graciouſly received, and there is a ſet reſolution to employ it to the beſt advantage.
The deſpairing Lords, with their Adherents with much ado recover Pomfret, there a ſecond Deliberation is taken, which held it the ſafeſt courſe to paſs on, and to poſſeſs the Caſtle of Donſtanborough, which was deemed a ſtrength tenable enough until they could reinforce their Party, or work their own Conditions. This Reſolution is preſently attempted with more haſt than fortune. Sir Andrew Harkely meets and encounters them at Burrowbrig, where Hertford, Clifford, and others, died honourably, in maintaining a brave defence, while Lancaſter, Mowbray, and many of their Adherents were taken, and with their Heads paid the ranſom of their Errors. The Spencers, like two furious Tigers that had ſeized their Prey, give 29 C7r29 give not their incenſed Maſter leave to deliberate on the weight of ſo ſad a Work; the Lives of many brave Subjects are taken away in an inſtant, and each part of the Kingdom is ſtained with loſs of that noble Blood, that had been much more gloriouſly ſpent in a Foreign War, than in theſe Domeſtic and Civil Tumults.
Edward, that was apparently guilty of too many other Vices, drowns their memory in this ſo cruel and bloody a Tyranny. The wreaking Blood of ſo many brave Gentlemen ſo unfortunately and untimely loſt, doth cry for vengeance, and hurry on the deſtruction of the chief and principal Actors. Mercy ſhould precede the ſeverity of Juſtice, if not to all, yet to ſome, ſince they were not alike guilty. If Lancaſter had been of ſo unnoble a Diſpoſition, the Spencers had neither had time nor cauſe to rejoyce in his Ruin. How often had they by a full advantage had Power of theſe their Enemies, yet made it evident, their aims were not Blood but Reformation. And aſſuredly in this their laſt Act, their Intents towards the Crown were innocent in all other reſpects, than the deſire of ſupporting it with more Honour. As things fell afterwards out, it had been to the King a Happineſs if their Arms had prevailed, for this Victory was the principal and fundamental Cauſe of his enſuing Ruin. Fear, and the expectation of danger, kept both him and his Favourites in a better temper, ſo long as there was ſo ſtrong a Bridle. Certainly in the Regiment of a Kingdom, it is a wiſe and diſcreet Conſideration to maintain and uphold a divided Faction, and to countenance them ſo, that the one may be ſtill a coun- 30 C7v30 counerpoiſe to the other; by this means the King ſhall be more truly ſerved and informed.
The Subject that is too far exalted, and hath no one to contradict or queſtion him, conſiders not the Juſtice, but the Means to preſerve him, by which the Judgment of the King is taxed, and he is robb’d of the Hearts of his People. The greater the height, the ſtronger is the working to maintain it, which ſeldom goes alone, but is accompanied for the moſt part with thoſe State-Actions of Impiety and Injuſtice, which draws with it ſo perpetual an envy and hatred, that it leads him headlong to a fatal and diſhonourable Concluſion. Though the Fury of this enraged King had ſo fully acted this bloody Tragedy, yet Mortimer is ſpared, rather out of Forgetfulneſs than Pity, whoſe Life had been more available than all theſe, that with ſo great a ſpeed had felt his Rigour. But he is reſerved for a ſecond courſe, to teach the Spencers that ſame legem talionis, and Edward, the plain Song of his Error. The Kingdom ſeems now in better Peace and ſetled; the principal Pillars of the Common-wealth are taken away, and thoſe which remained are utterly diſheartned in the daner of ſo freſh an Example.
This gains ſuch a liberty to theſe triumphing Sycophants, that they make the whole Kingdom, as it were, the juſt Fruits of an abſolute Conqueſt, The King approves and maintains their Actions, giving them the Regal Power for their Warranty. All kind of inſolent and unjuſt Oppreſſions are now confidently practiſed, without contradiction or queſtion. No Exaction or unlawful Action is left unattempted, while the grieved Kingdom languiſhetheth 31 C8r31 eth under the burden, yet durſt not ſtir to redreſs it. The great Ones ſuffer baſely beyond their Birth or Honour, yet look faintly one upon another, not daring to revenge their Quarrel. The Commons murmuring complain, yet find not a Man that will give them heart or leading.
The watchful Spencers, that ſaw and knew the general hatred, and infamy of their own conditions, leſſen not their height, or fear the Sequel. With a politic care they uſe their beſt means to prevent it. The King’s Humour naturally vicious, they feed, with all the proper objects, that might please or more betray his ſenſes. They ſtrive to make him alike hateful to his Subjects, that in the change of Fortune they might together run one and the ſelf-ſame hazard.
There is yet another piece of State to this great work as proper. Edward is but a Man, and a Creature in nothing more conſtant than his Affections, yet theſe with age and time may alter, this gap muſt be ſo ſtop’d, that they may be more aſſured. Hugh, the younger of the Spencers, who had a ſearching Brain, wiſe and active, believes this work had two ſeveral dependences, the one to keep him in continual Fear, the other in a perpetual Want. Theſe being marſhalled with Diſcretion, he knew would knit faſt his Maſter’s Love, and add to the opinion of his Wiſdom and Fidelity; impoſing a kind of neceſſary Impulſion ſtill to continue him. In his Breaſt alone was lock’d all the paſſages and myſteries of State, whereby he was moſt able to provide for the future inconveniences.From 32 C8v 32
From this ground, with a kind of looſe ſcorn, he continues the French Correſpondence, and ſecretly contriveth a continuance of the Scotiſh Rebellion. He omits no Act of Contempt againſt the antient Nobility, that they might in the ſence of their diſgrace be, or at leaſt dayly threaten ſome new Combuſtion. The confluence of ſo many threatning dangers work the wiſhed effect, and keep the king in perpetual fear and agitation. The ill ſucceſs of his Armies, and Expeditions in their Memory, help ſtrongly to encreaſe it: Yet is not his faithful Servant neglective in the ſecond and remaining part. He ſo orders his buſineſs within doors and without, that the Royal Treaſure of the Crown is profuſely waſted and ſpent without Accompt or Honour. The antient Plate and Jewels of the Crown are in the Lombard, and their Engagement drowned, before it had the warmth of a ſure poſſeſſion. The Subject is rack’d with ſtrange Inventions, and new unheard of Propoſitions for Money, and many great Loans required, beyond all proportion or order. Laſtly, the Royal Demeans are ſet at Sale, and all things that might make Money within the Kingdom.
To ſupply theſe inconveniences, which are now grown to a greater height than the Plotter of them intended; a new Parliament is called at York, where the elder Spencer is advanced to the Earldom of Wincheſter; and Harkely, another Chip of the ſame Block, is made Earl of Carliſle. Baldocke, a mean Man in Birth, Worth, and Ability, is made Lord Chancellor of England.
In this Parliament, which was by Fear and Favour made to his hand, he makes known the great- 33 D1r33 greatneſs of his Want and Occaſions, the juſtly aggrieved Commons entring into a deep conſideration of the times, freely give the ſixth Penny of all the Temporal Goods throughout the whole Kingdom.
When this Act came to the general knowledge, it utterly eſtranged the Hearts of the Subjects, which plead an Impoſſibility to perform it, in reſpect of thoſe many former Exactions. Yet after ſome light conteſtation it is levyed, no man daring to make ſo much as a ſhew of reſiſtance.
If we may credit all the Antient Hiſtorians, who ſeem to agree in this Relation, there were ſeen at this time many Sights, fearful and prodigious. Amongſt them no one was ſo remarkable, as that which for ſix hours ſpace ſhewed the glorious Sun cloathed all in perfect Blood, to the great Admiration and Amazement of all thoſe that beheld it. Following times, that had recorded it in their Memories by the ſequel, believed it the fatal Prediction of the enſuing Miſeries. Thoſe that more aptly cenſure the preſent view of a Wonder, conceited, the juſt Heavens ſhew’d their incenſed Anger, for the Noble Blood of the Earl of Lancaſter, and his Adherents, ſo cruelly ſhed, without Compaſſion or Mercy.
The Scots working on the condition of the times, ſo much dejected and amazed, ſeize the advantage. They ſaw by the laſt Parliamentary Proceedings, that the King was ſo enabled, as the hope of any Attempt in England, was altogether hopeleſs. Yet they reſolve to be doing ſomewhere within the King’s Dominions, or at the leaſt his Juriſdiction. This draws them to aſſemble themſelves, and to DAttempt 34 D1v34 Attempt a ſurpriſal of the Northern places of Ireland. As the Action was vain, ſo the Succeſs proved as unfortunate; they are defeated, ſlain, overthrown, and return not with the twentieth part of their number.
The King remembring thoſe many Indignities he had ſuffered, and reſenting this their laſt Attempt, with an implacable ſcorn and anger, reſolves to let them ſpeedily know that he meant to call them to an after reckoning. Upon this he ſends out his Summons, to call his Men of War together, and makes all Proviſions be prepared, for this ſo conſtantly reſolved a Journey. His former Miſfortunes had inſtructed him to undertake this Deſign much more ſtrongly and warily. And this ſo grave a Conſideration brought him together the remaining Glory and Strength of the greater part of his Kingdom. With theſe he marcheth forward, and invadeth the nearer parts of Scotland; but whether it were the Infidelity of thoſe about him, the will and pleaſure of Him that is the Guider and Directer of Human Actions, or the unfortunate Deſtiny of this unhappy King, he is enforc’d to return, without doing any Act that is truly worthy his Greatneſs or Memory.
The wily Scots, that durſt not ſet upon the Face of his Army, wait upon the Rear, and in a watch’d opportunity, ſurpriſe his Stuff and Treaſure. This ſends him home a third time a diſcontented Man, and whether with a juſt Guilt, or to transfer his own Fault upon others, the newly created Earl of Carliſle is put to a ſhameful Execution. The Grounds againſt him were very probable, but not certain, and it was enough that he is believed, like 35 D2r35 like Judas, for Money to have ſold his Maſter. The principal Motive that may lead us to think he was deeply faulty, was the Honour and Gravity of his Tryal, which gave him, on a full hearing, ſo ſincere and ſharp a Sentence.
Scarcely is the King ſettled, after his tedious Journey, when comes a ſtranger News, That the French King had made a Hoſtile Attempt upon the Frontier parts of Guyen, which was ſeconded with a Declaration, That he was no longer reſolved to entertain the Friendſhip or Peace with Englande.
This Feat had been cunningly before-hand wrought by the ſecret working of Spencer, yet he deſired to have it ſtill in Agitation, and not in Action. He wiſht his Maſter thence might be poſſeſt with the fear of War, and not feel it. The French were of another mind, they ſaw into the great Diſorders and Miſguidance of England, and thought it a fit time, either by War or Policy, to unite ſo goodly a Branch of their Kingdom. It is true, they had matcht a Daughter of France to the Crown of England, and had ſolemnly ſwore a Peace, but theſe they thought might be with eaſe diſpenſt with on ſo weighty a Cauſe, and ſo fair an Advantage. Edward ſeeing into the danger, and taxing bitterly the Infidelity of the French, begins to ſurvey his own Condition, whereby he might accordingly ſort his reſolution, either to entertain the War, or to ſeek Peace upon ſome Honourable, or at leaſt reaſonable Conditions.
He in this paſſage finds himſelf more hated and feared, than beloved; he ſaw his Coffers empty, the Scotiſh War and Surpriſal had quite exhauſted D2the 36 D2v36 the Sinews of his laſt Parliamentary Contribution. He feared the Inclination of the Subject would refuſe any further Supply, or in conſenting, make it conditional, which he was wholly unwilling to undergo or adventure.
Laſtly, The Misfortune that waited on him ever ſince he was abſolute, he feared had eſtranged and dejected ſo the Hearts of his Soldiers, that they would hardly be drawn forth, or act any thing with their accuſtomed Valour and Reſolution. In this Diſtraction, he ſeeks not by the Advice of a grave Council to qualifie or prevent it, this Medicine he conceits worſe than the Diſeaſe, but calls unto him Spencer, the Cabinet of his Heart, he alone is thought fit to communicate this deep Secret, and to give the Reſolution. His Father Baldock, and the reſt of that Faction, by his perſuaſion and entreaty, are admitted to make the Party greater, and the Diſcourſe more ſerious and likely. Before them is laid the Condition of the King, the Eſtate of the Kingdom, their own Danger, and the Intentions of their Foreign Adverſary. Many ſeveral ways are deviſed and adviſed, and in concluſion, no one is believed more ſound and proper, than that the Queen ſhould perſonally mediate the Atonement with her Royal Brother. This as it was cunningly laid, ſo had it a double uſe and reflection. The Spencers ſaw the Subject more inclinable to adore the riſing Sun, in which Act they thought the Queen’s Mediation and Preſence would be a dangerous Inſtigator. They believed her abſence could not work ſuch and ſo great an aſſiſtance as might countervail the domeſtic danger. They knew the French light 37 D3r37 light and inconſtant, and thoſe which with a kind of natural fear, abhorr’d the Engliſh Wars, out of the limit of their own Kingdom. And in the worſt conſtruction they conceited Money, or a reſignation of that part was holden by the King in France, would beget a Peace at their own will and pleaſure. Yet theſe Conſiderations were attended with ſome doubts, which delayed and put off the execution.
The Queen, who had long hated the Inſolency of the Spencers, and pitying the languiſhing Eſtate of the Kingdom, reſolves in her mind all the poſſible ways to reform them. Love and Jealouſie, two powerful Motives, ſpurr’d her on to undertake it. She ſaw the King a ſtranger to her Bed, and revelling in the embraces of his wanton Minions, without ſo much as a glance or look on her deſerving Beauty. This contempt had begot in her Impreſſions of a like, though not ſo wanton and licentious a Nature. She wanting a fit Subject for her Affections to work on (her Wedlock being thus eſtranged) had fixed her wandring Eye upon the goodly ſhape and beauty of gallant Mortimer. He was not behind hand in the reception and comely entertainment of ſo rich and deſired a Purchaſe. But his laſt Act had lodg’d him in the Tower, which was a Cage too ſtrait to crown their deſires with their full perfection, yet is there a ſweet correſpondency continued, Letters and many loving Meſſages bring their Hearts together, though their Bodies were divided.
By theſe is Mortimer informed of the Reſolution for the intended Journey of his Royal Miſtreſs, whom he vows to attend, or loſe his Life D3in 38 D3v38 in the adventure. The Queen underſtanding the Intentions of her Servant, ſtrives to advance her diſpatch, and haſtens it with all her beſt indeavours. But where was ſo great an Inconſtancy, there could be no expectation, that this Propoſition ſhould be more aſſur’d or permanent. New delays and doubts interpoſe, inſomuch, that the hopes of this Journey were now grown cold and deſperate.
The Queen ſeeing her ſelf deluded, and this opportunity ſtoln from her, by thoſe whom ſhe before ſo mortally hated, ſets her own brains a working, to invent a ſpeedy remedy. She was therein ſo fortunate, as to pretend a Journey of Devotion and Pilgrimage to Saint Thomas of Canterbury, which by her Overſeers was wholly unſuſpected. Things thus prepared, by a faithful Meſſenger ſhe gives Mortimer the knowledge of her Deſign, who prepares himſelf with a more dangerous Stratagem to meet it. Her eldeſt Son, her deareſt comfort, and the chief ſpring that muſt ſet all theſe wheels a going, ſhe leaves not behind, but makes him the Companion of her Travels.
The King’s Joy was great, that ſaw by this occaſion, he ſhould gain a free liberty to enjoy his ſtoln Pleaſures, which were before ſo narrowly attended by the jealous eyes of his Queen, that in this kind had been ſo often wronged.
The aſpiring Spencers were well pleaſed, that to be aſſured would have given a free conſent to her perpetual abſence. A ſhort time brings her to the end of ſo ſhort a journey, where ſhe makes her ſtay of the ſame meaſure. Winchelſey had the honour to have the laſt farewel of this pair of precious 39 D4r39 precious Jewels. Thither comes Mortimer, having made a fortunate Eſcape, and with the Earl ofillegible1 letterane reſolves to venture his Life in the Attendance and Service of ſo brave a Miſtreſs. An Exploit ſo weighty and dangerous gave no time of ſtay or ceremony. They immediately Embark, and make a tryal where they may find another Climate more propitious and fortunate. The watry Billows and the peaceful Winds, as if they were conſenting to their Enterpriſe, entertain them with an aſpect clear and quiet, ſending them with a freſh and pleaſing Gale ſafe to their deſired Port of Bulloign.
The King and Spencers being truly enformed, are ſtartled with the matter and manner of their Eſcape. They knew the Birds were too far flown to be catcht or reclaimed; and did imagin the Plot was too ſurely laid that had ſo proſperous a beginning. Now all the former Reſolutions are uſeleſs; new Deliberations are required how this Breach may be handſomly ſodered, or the threatning danger prevented. All other ways are deemed ſhort, that one of taking off the King of France was believed moſt ſure and eaſie. They knew the French ſtrain to be giddy, light, and covetous, and applied themſelves in the right Key to fit theſe ſeveral humours.
The King, whoſe preſaging ſoul miſgave his welfare, grows ſad and melancholy, calling to mind the Injuſtice of his own Actions, and the fair Cauſe his Wife had to ſeek her right and refuge. The neglect and breach of Wedlock was ſo great an Error, but ſo to contemn ſo ſweet and great a Queen, was a fault, in his own thoughts, deſerv’d D4a 40 D4v40 a heavy cenſure. She had not only felt a particular ſhare of her own grief, but ſuffered deeply in the general ſorrow of the whole Kingdom. Thoſe which had erected their petty Tyrannies over the Subject, were in like ſort authoris’d by him that ought to have had an equal ſhare of her affliction, more and more to abuſe her.
The ſad Imprſſions of theſe Diſorders, and the reeking Blood of ſo many noble and brave Subjects, ſo baſely ſpilt, do ſeem to cry for Vengeance. This, for a while, wrought deeply in his diſtreſſed thoughts, but a ſmall intermiſſion brings him back to his former temper. A cuſtomary habit of a depraved Nature, dulleth the ſenſe of the Soul and Conſcience; ſo that when our better Angels ſummon us to reſtitution and repentance, the want of a lively true apprehension, leads us blindfold into a dangerous deſpairing hazard.
The French King having notice of his Siſter’s arrival, with a wondrouus plauſible and ſeeming Joy, doth entertain it with an honourable Attendance, fitting more her Eſtate, Birth, and Dignity, than her preſent miſerable condition: ſhe is waited on to Paris, where ſhe is ſoon Viſited by the Royal King, her Brother. When ſhe beheld the refuge of her hopes, ſhe falls upon her Knee, and with a ſweetly coming modeſty, ſhe thus begins her Story.
The King, unwilling to ſuffer ſuch an Idolatry from her that had a Father, Brother, and Huſband ſo great and Royal, takes her up in his Arms, and then attends her Motives.Great 41 D5r 41
Great Sir, quoth ſhe) behold in me, your moſt unfortunate Siſter, the true Picture of a dejected Greatneſs, and the eſſential ſubſtance of an unhappy Wedlock. I have with a ſuffering, beyond the belief of my Sex, overcome a world of bitter Tryals. Time leſſens not, but adds to my Afflictions; my Burthen is grown too heavy for my long abuſed Patience. Yet ’tis not I alone, but a whole Kingdom, heretofore truly glorious, that are thus unjuſtly wronged. My bluſhing Cheek may give you knowledge, I too much Honour the Cauſe of mine Affliction, to let my Tongue diſcover it. Yet this in Duty and Modeſty I may ingenuouſly confeſs, My Royal Huſband is too far ſeduced, his Ear is too open, his Will too violent, and his Heart too free, to thoſe bewitching Syrens, that make his Errors their Profit and Glory. All hope of his return is loſt, ſo long as they ſhall live, and remain his Leaders. How many of his nobleſt and braveſt Subjects have attempted his freedom, and by an unjuſt and inglorious Death miſcarried? Alaſs! all expectations are vain and deſperate; if I had not known the impoſſibility to diſinchant him, I had not in ſo mean and miſerable a caſe ſtoln to you for Succour. You have a fair way to make known to the World, the truth of your own Glory and Goodneſs. Fortune leads you by the hand to an Action not more Juſt than Honourable, if you would diſpute it. Can there be a more precious Motive to invite you, than the view of theſe unhappy Ruins? See here two Royal Branches of the Flower-de-luce withering, ſullied, and depreſſed. Would you truly conſider, how great and noble a Work it is, to ſupport thoſe that are unworthily oppreſſed, Heaven and Earth muſt witneſs the 42 D5v42 the true value of your Worth and my Petition. Let it not breed a Jealouſie or Diſcouragement, that I appear before you, and ſeek your help with ſo poor a Train and mean Attendance. Beſides the Juſtice of my Cauſe, I bring with me the Griefs and Hearts of a Kingdom, that have both Sworn and Vow’d to defend it. Nor may you with reaſon doubt their Integrity, while you have my wretched ſelf, and the Heir apparent to be your Pawn and Warrant. For God’s ſake, Sir, by your own Virtue and Goodneſs I deſire it, and in the challenge of that Royal Blood whereof by the Laws of God, Men, and Nature, I have ſo large a Share and Intereſt. Let not after Ages taint your Memory with ſuch an Aſpersion, That you are the firſt of all the Kings of France, that denied to relieve a Siſter ſo deeply wronged and diſtreſſed.
She would have ſpoken more, but here the big ſwoln Fountains of her watry Eyes diſcharge their heavy burthen. Her Tears, like Orient Pearls, bedew her lovely Cheeks, while ſhe with a ſilent Rhetoric invites a noble pity. Her ſad Complaint won a general remorſe, and her liquid Tears, a deep and ſtrong compaſſion. Her Brother vows Revenge, and promiſeth to make England and the World know ſhe was his Siſter.
The Lords and Peers of France tender their ready help and aſſiſtance; the Service is ſo hotly purſu’d, that the poor Queen, with an abuſed confidence, believes ſhe ſhall be ſpeedily and ſtrongly righted. ’Twas not alone her Error, it is a general Diſeaſe. We eaſily credit that News we moſt deſire and hope for.The 43 D6r 43
The Spencers, whoſe watchful eyes were ſoon informed of theſe Paſſages, too late condemn their own Improvidence and Folly, that gave the wronged Queen ſo fit and fair an advantage. They fear not all the Power of France, but ſuſpect Inteſtine danger, where they knew the Hearts of all were alien’d and eſtranged. They well enough underſtood the vanity of Female Paſſion, but ſuſpect, that the riſing Son would be follow’d and admir’d, whilſt their declining Maſter would be left forſaken and dejected. Theſe Conceits work ſo deeply, that they conclude they muſt fall, if they could not ſtop the Foreign Danger. The Engliſh were Cow’d, there was in them no fear, unleſs the ſtrangers ſtrength gave them new Life and Spirit. In ſo weighty a Cauſe there was no time left for delay or dalliance. They diſpatch preſently away their Agents to the French Court, laden with the Treaſure of the Kingdom, and many glorious Promiſes. They inſtruct them how to apply themſelves to the Time and preſent Neceſſity, and teach them the way to work and undermine the Queen’s Proceedings.
Theſe Meſſengers arriving at Paris, find the French heat well qualified and cooled. This gave them more time and hope, to bring their Maſter’s Will and their own Imployment to a ſpeedy perfection. They ſet upon the Pillars of State, ſuch as in their Maſter’s Ear or in his Council had moſt ſway and preheminence: they give freely and promiſe more, till they have won a firm and fair aſſurance. No one had an Intereſt, and was known to be a favourer of the adverſe Party, but his Tongue is tied with a golden Chain to a perpetual ſilence.When 44 D6v 44
When thus this Practice was ripe, the King is perſuaded of the danger and peril of ſo great and weighty an Action. His Siſter’s Reputation and intemperate Carriage, though tenderly, is often touched. A Woman’s Paſſion is believed too weak a Reaſon to engage two ſo Warlike Nations in a War, wherein themſelves had formerly ſo often ſuffered.
The King, for all his firſt great and high Expreſſion, had much rather have to do with the Engliſh in their own Kingdom than in France, yet was well enough content not to try their Arms in either. Yet ſtill he feeds his ſorrowing Siſter with good words, pretending many vain Excuſes, which made her ſuſpect and doubt his meaning. She arms her ſelf with a noble patience, hopeful at leaſt, that ſhe and her ſon might there remain in peace and ſafety.
By the intercourſe of Meſſages that had ſo often paſs’d and repaſs’d, the Spencers are aſſured, that their Affairs in France went fairly on, by which they were well onward in their Journey.
There could be yet no certain or aſſured confidence, until they had again gotten the Queen and her Son into Poſſeſſion. No Promiſe or Perſuaſion is left to win her to return, but her Ears were ſtopt, ſhe too well knew the ſweet Enticements of ſuch alluring Serpents. This Project falling ſhort, a ſolemn Letter is fram’d from King Edward to the Pope, and a Meſſenger after their own hearts appointed to carry it. The Contents were full of Humility and Bitterneſs, complaining to his Holineſs, That his Wife had, without juſt Causſe, forſaken both Him and his Kingdom, carrying 45 D7r45 carrying away his Son, the ſtay of his Age, without his leave or licenſe; a Traytor to Him and his Crown, that had publickly acted a Rebellion, and was taken and Impriſon’d for it, had made an eſcape, and was now her ſole Companion; and though he was not haſty to report or credit, yet he had juſt causſe to fear he was the abuſer of his Wedlock. The King of France, with whom he had ſworn ſo ſolemn and firm a League, being Summon’d, had denied to reſtore her.
Theſe goodly Gloſſes and Pretexts find a ready paſſage, and an eaſie belief where there was none to contradict, or juſtifie. If theſe Aſperſions had been as they were pretended, juſt and true, the Fact had been odious, and juſtly deſerved a fair and ſpeedy reformation. The greater Cardinals, that were at that time moſt great and eminent, had taſted deeply of the King’s bounty, which gave the Pope a daily inſtigation to pity and reform ſo great and groſs an Error. On which an Admonition is preſently ſent out to the French King, that he cauſe immediately the Queen of England to depart forth of his Dominions.
Whilſt this device was in action, the Engliſh diſcontented Barons ſend privily to the Queen, informing her, that they were almoſt cruſh’d to pieces with their ſuffering. They ſolicit her to haſten her return, and promiſe really to engage themſelves and their Eſtates in her Quarrel. With a joyful heart (as it deſerves) ſhe entertains this loving proffer. And the more to advance her declining Affairs, ſhe inſtantly acquaints her Brother with the tender. He had then newly received his Summons from the Pope, which taking out of his Pocket, 46 D7v46 Pocket, he delivers her back, wiſhing her to peruſe and read it. The amazed Queen, when ſhe beheld ſo ſad a Sentence, falls humbly on her Knees, and deſires, That his Majeſty would grant her but ſo much favour, that ſhe might more truly inform his Holineſs, and juſtifie her ſelf by a fairer and noble trial. With Tears ſhe inſtanceth the malice of her Adverſaries, that had taken ſo ſtrange a courſe both to abuſe and wrong her. Her Brother, glad of ſuch a Protection to ſhadow his diſhonourable and unnatural falſhood, lets her know the neceſſity of his Obedience, and that he muſt not for her ſake adventure the Cenſure and Interdiction of himſelf and a whole Kingdom. He wiſheth her to arm her ſelf with patience, and to return and make a peace with her Huſband, in which Act himſelf would uſe both the perſuaſion and ſtrength of his beſt Power and Intereſt, letting her withal know, that ſhe had but a ſhort time to deliberate, for ſhe muſt inſtantly leave his Kingdom. Scarcely had he ended theſe his laſt unwelcom words, when away he flings, with a ſeeming diſcontented ſhew of ſorrow, rejoyceing inwardly, that he had freed himſelf of the Expence of her Entertainment, and found ſo fair a colour to avoid the Juſtice of her daily Importunity.
The drooping Queen, thus abandoned, with an amazed grief, relates this unkind ſad paſſage to her faithful Servants, Cane and Mortimer. Their valiant hearts make good the loſs of their hopes; they accuſe the injuſtice of time, and exclaim againſt the French unnatural baſeneſs. Mortimer, whoſe inflamed Paſſion flew a higher pitch, breaks out, and with a bold freedom, would have fallen to 47 D8r47 to a bitter Expoſtulation. The Queen, that knew the danger, and was loth to hazard that little miſerable freedom ſhe had left, with ſweet and mild perſuaſions reclaims him to a milder temper. She had a ſecond doubt, leſt in ſuch a conteſtation ſhe might be ſent back againſt her will to her Huſband. This makes her temporize, and cunningly ſeem to provide for a voluntary return, which might prevent that danger. She failing in the Maſter, yet taſts a-new his Servants, and leaves no means unattempted to bring about and alter ſo hard a ſtrickt a Cenſure. They that were the firſt betrayers of her hopes, do now with a more confidence and conſtancy expreſs it, and with one voice ſing the ſame Tune with their Maſter; declining Miſery, the touchſtone of Friendſhip, finds it ſelf ſhunn’d, like ſome infectious Feaver. The ſunſhine of Fortune hath as many Profeſſors as Beams, but if her Glory be once eclipſed, they all, with a coward baſeneſs, ſeek ſome other ſuccour. This Leſſon, that is ſo frequent and familiar, ſhould guide our election more by judgment than affection. They are not to be choſen or valued, that in the pretence of Love, though it be for our proper good or ſervice, will act any thing that is baſe and unworthy; the ſame in the leaſt change will not be ſqueamiſh, for a poor advantage to confirm their former practice, though it be to our loſs or deſtruction. Where Virtue guides our choice, it begins with truth and honour, ending with a like reſplendent glory. No worldly croſs, nor height of affliction, leſſens the worth and value of ſuch a Friend, who, like a goodly Rock, in fury of the greateſt Storms, makes good his proper 48 D8v48 proper ſtation. Mutual correſpondency in affections ought to be pure and innocent; if private reſpects taint the ſincerity of the intentions, it makes this traffick rather a commerce than friendſhip. Opinion of faith is a powerful Motive, yet not weighty enough, unleſs it become as well with real ability, as appearance, the ſubject of our Election.
But to proceed, The Queen being in this diſtreſſed Agony, finds an unexpected refuge. The gracious God of Heaven, who never forſakes thoſe which are his, ſends her a comfort when her dying hopes were almoſt ſunk and deſperate.
Robert of Artois, a Man as truly Valiant, as Noble, was one of the firſt that in the French Court had tendered the Queen his Service. He was a wiſe, grave, and ſteddy, well reſolved Gentleman; his firſt Devotion was not led by matter of Form or Complement, but was truly grounded on a true Compaſſion and Honour. This brave Friend beholding with a noble eye, the Vanity of his fellow Friends and Courtiers, and looking into the Miſery of the Queens forſaken Condition, ſets up his reſt to appear like himſelf, a Friend in all her Fortune, firm and conſtant. In this reſolution he waits a fitting opportunity to let her ſee and know it. The time was favourable, he finds her in her melancholy Chamber, confuſed in her reſtleſs thoughts, with many ſad diſtractions. She fancying the occaſion of the coming of ſo great a perſon was great and weighty, with a ſilent and attentive Ear expects his Meſſage.Madam, 49 E1r 49
Madam, (quoth he) It is the moſt excellent part of Wiſdom, with an equal Virtue, to entertain the different kinds of Fortune. This World is but a meer compoſition of Troubles, which ſeems greater or leſs, as is the quality of the Heart that entertains them. I confeſs the Juſtice of your Grief, and truly ſhare it, but Tears and Sorrow are not means to relieve or right you. The juſt Heavens aſſiſt thoſe that with an active and lively hope invoke their Succour. The tenderneſs of your Sex, and former free Condition is yet a ſtranger to theſe Trials; Time will let you know they are the familiar attendants of our frail ſtructure of fleſh and blood, when you will confeſs it too great a weakneſs to ſink under the burthen of our Afflictions. For your own goodneſs (Noble Queen) erect and elevate your thus dejected Spirits: behold in me the Character of an unworthy, but true Friend, that am reſolved my Life and State ſhall attend and run with you the ſelf-ſame Fortune. You may no longer make this unthankful Climate, the place of your Birth, the ſtage of your abiding; the way is pav’d with Gold to your deſtruction. Wherefore, if my Advice may ſway, let ſpeed prevent your danger. The confines of the ſacred Empire are near adjoining, where are many brave Princes, who may happily afford you Succour; at the worſt, you may there enjoy a more aſſured peace and ſafety. Neither do I preſume to direct this courſe, but lay it humbly before you, offering my faithful Service to attend you, to what part ſoever of the Univerſal World your reſolution ſhall fix on, deſiring you to be aſſured my Life, before my Faith ſhall periſh; for I have vow’d my ſelf, and will continue your everlaſting Servant.E In- 50 E1v 50
Infinitely was the Queen rejoyced in this ſo grave and ſincere an Expreſſion, ſhe doubles a world of Promiſes and Thanks for this ſo free an offer, and with a ſecret and wary Carriage ſhe ſpeedily provides to begin her thus reſolved Journey. Though here ſhe ſaw a far leſs appearance of hope, when her deareſt Brother, and her Native Kingdom had forſaken her, yet ſhe reſolves the trial rather than to return, without a more aſſurance. She knew ſhe had too far waded, and incens’d her malicious Adverſaries, to expect a reconciliation, and feared to be mewed up from all hope of future advantage. Theſe Conſiderations made her with a ſad heart and weeping Eyes forſake the fruitful limits of ingrateful France, and betake her ſelf to her laſt, but moſt uncertain Refuge. The Condition that is truly miſerable, finds few real Friends, but never wants Infidelity to increase its ſorrow.
Stapleton,Biſhop of Exeter, who had fled to the Queen, and made himſelf a ſharer in this weighty Action, forſakes her Party. He ſeeing the French hopes vaniſhed, and theſe remaining ſo poorly grounded, thought to work his Peace by loſing his Faith, and in this conceit, in haſt, returns for England. His Intelligence reconciles and wins him favour, but it was purchas’d at too dear a rate, that ſtain’d the Honour of ſo high a Calling, and made him moſt unworthy of ſo divine and grave a Profeſſion.
By this Treachery, the King and Spencers underſtand both the Queen’s Reſolution and Weakneſs. They fear not the German Motions, that were 51 E2r51 were a dull ſad Nation, that ſeldom uſe to fight for nothing. Time hath at laſt brought out Royal Engliſh Pilgrims to the ſhrine of their devotion. The Earl of Heynault, a Man truly noble and virtuous, underſtanding her arrival within the Precincts of his Juriſdiction, gives her a free and loving welcom. This bountiful honeſt Earl, eſteems it his glory to entertain ſo Princely Gueſts like themſelves, and to become the Patron of their ſo weak condition. He had a Brother that made his Arms the honour of his Profeſſion, who thinks the Eſtate of this forſaken Queen in juſtice deſerv’d a true relief and pity. He tenders her his Service, and believes the occaſion happily offer’d, that might leave to enſuing Times the Memory of his Virtue, Worth, and Valor.
So fair a Morning puts the Queen in hope the Evening would prove as fortunate : By all thoſe winning graces of a diſtreſſed Beauty, ſhe ſtrives to confirm and more engage this firſt and fair affection.
The Earl having knowledge of his Brother’s reſolution, thought the Attempt too full of hazard, and with a grave and mild temper, commending the nobility and greatneſs of his Spirit, adviſeth him to quit the Action; he lays before him the weakneſs of the Foundation, the Queen was in want of Men and Money, and had not ſuch a Correſpondency in England, as might warrant her againſt her incenſed Huſband, who was waited on by ſo warlike and valiant a Nation. He in like ſort acquaints him, how impoſſible a thing it was for him to raiſe ſuch an Army as might credit the E2Cauſe, 52 E2v52 Cauſe, and countenance the beginning. True Valor conſiſting not in daring Impoſſibilites, but expoſing it ſelf where Reaſon, Judgment, and Diſcretion were the leaders.
Sir John with a quiet patience hears his Brother’s Admonitions, which he knew ſprung from the freedom of an honeſt and a loving heart, but he imagined Age had robb’d his Breaſt and Head of all their Noble Vigor.
Sir, (quoth he) If You and all the World forſake this Noble Lady, my ſingle Arm ſhall maintain her Quarrel, ſince I had rather loſe my Life than my Faith, ſo full and freely engaged. After Ages ſhall not blot the Glory of our Houſe, ſo great and noble, with ſo inglorious a ſtain of baſeneſs and infidelity: ſuch Precedents are ſeldom ſeen, and ought to be more tenderly regarded. A Queen and the Heir apparent of ſo great a Crown pleading ſo juſt a pity, nor may, nor ſhall be forſaken. If in the Reaſon of State you liſt not to be an Actor, reſerve your ſelf, and make not the King of England your Enemy. Know I have both Arms and Friends, I will pawn them all, rather than in the leaſt degree falſifie my Word and Promiſe.
Theſe words, ſpoken with ſuch a reſolution and fearleſs bravery, ſtopt all reply and contradiction. The Queen, that had already both a French and an Italian Trick, had no leſs reaſon here to doubt it. She knew no means would be left unattempted from her Domeſtic Spies, to make her once more forſaken. This enforceth her with a more Importunitytunity 53 E3r53 tunity to haſten and advance her Enterpriſe. All the good Offices, that might ſpur on the enflamed heart of her brave Protector, ſhe makes the Handmaids of her Female Wiſdom. But alas they needed not her careful Agent, they had quickly gotten together a voluntary Troop of Three Hundred well reſolved Gallants, that vow themſelves to follow him even into the mouth of the Canon. He ſtays not to encreaſe his number with a multitude, but believes if there were an anſwering Correſpondency in the Engliſh, with theſe, to overrun the Kingdom. Arms, Shipping, and all Proviſions neceſſary attend their coming. They, with the glory of their hopes, lead the revived Queen a Shipboard. Now do they expoſe themſelves to the firſt tryal of their Fortune, aiming at Donge Port to take their hop’d pſſeſſion. The Heavens, that favoured their Deſign, out of their preſent fear preſerves them beyond belief or expectation. Her Adverſaries had a forerunning knowledge of their intended place of landing, and had there provided to give them a hot and bitter welcom. The raging Billows and the bluſtring Winds, or rather the Divine Providence, after the ſecond day’s extremity, brings them aland ſafe at Orwel, near Harwich. They were ignorant, being driven to and fro by the violence of the Weather, what part of the Kingdom they had light on; and were as much diſtreſſed with the Unſhipping of their Men and Baggage, as with the want of Harbour and Victual. Three whole days in diſorder and confuſion they make the bleak and yielding Sands their habitation, perceiving the vanity of their raſh E3and 54 E3v 54 and deſperate Attempt, which in the leaſt oppoſition or encounter muſt have wrought their confuſion. It was in vain to attend longer here, where they ſaw ſo ſmall ſign of better Entertainment; this makes them march on with this little weatherbeaten Troop, to win and Conquer a Kingdom. St.Saint Hammonds, an Abby of black Monks, was honoured with the welcom of their long loſt Miſtreſs; here ſhe and her Princely Son had their firſt Reception and Entertainment.
The bruit of this Novelty, like a Welch Hubbub, had quickly overtaken the willing Ears of the diſpleaſed Commons. Who, ever deſirous of Innovation, like Bees, in ſwarms, do run to her aſſiſtance. The Barons ſo depreſ’d and unjuſtly grieved, with itching Ears attend the News of this advantage. When the tydings of their arrival came to their knowledge, with ſo liberal a relation, which made her Army ten times greater than it was, they loſe no time for fear of ſome prevention.
Henry of Lancaſter was the firſt, who was ſeconded by many others of the braver Peers of the Kingdom. By this means the Queen and her adherent ſtrangers loſe the depth of that Agitation, that till now had kept them doubtful.
The King, that till this time had ſlumbered out the Prologue of this enſuing Danger, ſecure in the belief of the Spencers Strength and Providence, in ſo general a Revolt, awakens from his licentious Pleaſure, and beholds nothing but a grim and fearful face of Sorrow. The Council of his Cabinet, accompanied with their own guilt, are affrighted in 55 E4r55 in the ſad apparitions of their approaching ruin. The time of prevention is loſt, their abuſed confidence had only labour’d to ſhut the Gate, but not aſſur’d the Family. The preſent neceſſity admits no long deliberation, this flame was too violent to be quenched, and ſuch a courſe is to be taken as may rather aſſure them time to temporize, than with a ſtrong hand to ſtrive to repel it.
The City’s Guard is recommended to Stapleton, that had ſo unhappily, and with ſo little credit changed his Maſter. The King and the Spencers forſaken, but yet ſtrongly attended with the guilt of ſo many and ſo foul Errors, fly to Briſtol, a Town ſtrong enough, and well provided. Arundel, and the elder Spencer, undertake the defence of the City, while the King and the others make the Caſtle their hope and refuge.
The Queen being informed, that the King had forſaken his Royal Chamber, and had ſtoll’n a flight to Briſtol, ſhe ſoon apprehends, and lays hold of the advantage, addreſſing a fair but mandatory Letter to the Mayor, to keep the City to the uſe of her and her Son, that was ſo like to be his Soveraign. The inconſtant Citizens, that ever cleave to the ſtronger Party, are eaſily perſuaded and entreated. Stapleton, that foreſaw and fear’d the danger, ſummons the Mayor to ſurrender him the Keys of the Gates for his aſſurance. Chickwell, that was then Lord Mayor, incens’d with the Imperiouſneſs and Injuſtice of this Demand, apprehends this inconſiderate Biſhop, and without all reſpect to his Place or Dignity, makes his Head the Sacrifice to appeaſe the angry Commons. This E4act 56 E4v56 act had too far engag’d him to recoil, he muſt now wholly adhere to the Queen’s Faction. Four of the graveſt and moſt ſubſtantial Burghers are ſent, to let her truly underſtand their Devotion. They are graciouſly and lovingly received, the Mayor hath thanks for his late bloody Act, which was ſtiled an excellent piece of Juſtice.
This Gap thus ſtopp’d, with her Army ſhe marcheth to the Cage that kept thoſe Birds, whoſe Wings ſhe would be clipping. She knew if ſhe ſtruck not while the Iron was hot, the heat of a popular Faction would quickly ſink and leſſen. All the way of her Journey, ſhe finds according to heart’s deſire, a free and noble welcom. Her Troops, like Snow-balls, in her motion more and more increaſing. When ſhe came before this great and goodly City, ſhe ſaw it was a ſtrength by Art and Nature, and did believe it furniſhed to outwear a Siege of long continuance, which made both her and her adherents more jealous, and ſuſpect the iſſue. Where the Perſon of an anointed King was at ſtake, there could be no aſſurance. But ſmiling Fortune, that had turn’d her wheel, reſolves this doubt, and makes the Action eaſie. The Citizens, that knew not the Laws of War or Honour, will not expoſe their Lives and Goods to the mercy of the Strangers, and the hazard of an unruly Conqueſt. They had too much taſted the afflictions of the Kingdom, to think the Quarrel juſt, or to adventure their Protection at ſo dear a hazard, for thoſe that had been the cauſe and inſtrument of ſo much Blood and Trouble.From 57 E5r 57
From this Conſideration they ſend an humble Meſſage to the Queen, and deſire as well to capitulate for their Commanders, as their own Intereſt. All other Conditions are deſpiſed and diſ dained; if they will have Grace, they muſt purchaſe it with the reſignation and delivering up their Captains. This doom was eſteemed heavy, they would have been glad that ſhe had had her will, but were themſelves unwilling to be the Actors. But the time no more Imparleance admitted, neither could they have a delay or remedy. The Queen, that had won ſo far upon their yielding hearts, knew their Condition well enough, and would not give them reſpit, but calls upon their preſent Anſwer.
This round and ſmart Summons brings with one and the ſame art, Arundel, Spencer, and the City, into her poſſeſſion. This part of the Prey thus gotten, no time is loſt to call them to a reckoning. Sir Thomas Wadge, the Marſhal of the Army, recites a ſhort Calendar of their large Offences, when by a general conſent they are approved guilty, and without Judge, or other Jury, they are ſentenc’d to be drawn and hanged, and their Bodies to remain upon the Gibbet. The rigour of this doom, Spencer, the Father, feels, that was Ninety years old, and could not long have liv’d by the courſe of Nature.
The Caſtle-walls, and the eyes of the King, and his unhappy Son, were witneſſes of this ſad Spectacle and his diſaſter. This praludium gives them the ſence of their enſuing ſtory, which with a world of melancholy thoughts, they ſtudy to preventvent 58 E5v58 vent or alter. A deſpairing reſolution at length wins them to a deſperate hazard. While the Queen was labouring to ſurpriſe their Fortreſs, which was like too long to hold good, if ſome ſtratagem were not found to get it, there were no Citizens to betray them, it needed not, themſelves were ſoon the Actors. They ſteal into a ſmall Bark that rode within the Harbour, hoping by this means to make an eſcape undiſcover’d; they find the mercileſs waves and winds a like cruel. Twice had they gain’d St. Vincent’s Rock, but from that Reach were hurried back with ſuddain Guſts and Tempeſts. The often going off and return of this unguided Pinnace, begets a ſhrewd ſuſpicion. At length ſhe is ſurpriz’d, and in her Bulk is found that Treaſure that ends the War, and gave the work perfection.
The King is comforted with the ſmooth Language of thoſe which had the honour to take him, and believes the Title of a King, Father, and Huſband, would preſerve his Life, if not his Soveraignty.
The Queen having now made the Victory perfect, no Enemy or other work remaining, reſolves with her ſelf to uſe it to her beſt advantage. Yet ſhe gives her incenſed paſſion preheminence, revenge muſt precede her deſire and ſtrong ambition. No ſooner had Sir Henry Beamond brought the impriſon’d King and his dejected Favorite to the Army, but ſhe diſpatcheth away her Huſband to Barkley- Caſtle, and Spencer is deliver’d over to the Martial, and immediately hath the like entertainment only, he hath ſomewhat a longer time, and a far more cruel 59 E6r59 cruel Sentence than his Father. All things thus ordered, the Queen removes to Hereford, and in all the places of her paſſage is welcomed with joyful Acclamations. With a kind of inſultant triumphing tyranny, far unworthy the Nobility of her Sex and Virtue, ſhe makes her poor condemned adverſary in a ſtrange diſguiſe attend her Progreſs. He was ſet upon a poor, lean, deformed Jade, and cloathed in a Tabarce, the Robe in thoſe days due to the baſeſt Thieves and Raſcals, and ſo was led through all the Market-Towns and Villages, with Trumpets ſounding before him, and all the ſpightful diſgraces and affronts that they could deviſe to caſt upon him.
Certainly this Man was infinitely tyrannical and vicious, deſerving more than could be laid upon him, yet it had been much more to the Queen’s Reputation and Honour, if ſhe had given him a fair and legal Tryal by his Peers, according to that ancient and laudable Cuſtom of England, wherein by his death he might have given both the Law and his Adverſaries a full ſatisfaction. It is certainly, give it what other title you will, an argument of a wondrous baſe condition, to inſult or to tyrannize over thoſe poor Ruins which Fortune hath thrown into our power. A noble pity is the argument of an honourable and ſweet diſpoſition, and the life of Man is great enough to expiate all offences. To ſatisfie our paſſions with the bittereſt extremity of our power, may juſtly be ſtiled rather a ſalvage and barbarous Cruelty, than true and perfect Juſtice. No queſtion it was a pleaſing ſight to all the wronged Subjects, to ſee ſuch 60 E6v60 ſuch a leprous Monſter ſo monſtrously uſed. But when the heat of blood was paſt, and men had recollected their ſences, it then appeared to be too great a blemiſh to a Queen, a Woman, and a Victor. But whether ſhe were now weary with impoſing, or he with ſuffering, Hereford, on a lofty Gibbet, of an extraordinary height, erected on purpoſe, gives him the end of all his Torments. Which being performed, Order is left behind for the Execution of Arundel four days after, which is accordingly performed.
I could never yet read a fair and juſt cauſe, why this Earl loſt his Life, unleſs it may be counted Treaſon not to forſake his Lord and Maſter, to whom he had ſo ſolemnly ſwore his Faith and Obedience. It certainly was no ſuch capital fault, to accompany and ſeek to defend his Soveraign, when he was by all others forſaken, that by their Vows and Oaths ought to have been as deeply engaged. If being taken with thoſe that were ſo corrupt and wicked occaſion’d it, I ſee no reason, why he alone was Executed, and thoſe, that in their knowledge, were his only Inſtruments and Creatures, were ſuffered to live, and be promoted. But we may not properly expect Reaſon in Womens Actions, whoſe Paſſions are their principal guide and mover.
Now ſhe is come to London, and received with all the Honour due to ſo great a Queen and Conqueſt, the People croud to ſee her, and with applauding ſhouts extol her, that in the leaſt change of Fortune would be the firſt ſhould cut her Throat, or do her any other miſchief.A 61 E7r 61
A Parliament is immediately call’d and aſſembled, in which the Pack was before-hand eaſily laid, for Edward had loſt the Hearts and Love of all his People; the Errors and Abuſes of the Kingdom are there with too great a liberty againſt a Sacred King yet living, laid open and diſcourſed. All men were of one mind, a preſent Reformation muſt be had, which, in a true conſtruction, was but a meer politic Treaſon. The three Eſtates preſently aſſent to the depoſition of the Elder, and raiſing the Younger Edward, to the ſole Regiment and guidance of the Kingdom; not a Peer, Biſhop, Knight, or Burgeſs, ſpeaks a word in defence of him that was their Maſter but; divers are ſent from both Houſes to the yet King, to let him know their Declaration. When they were come into his preſence, Truſſel, Speaker in the lower Houſe, in the Name of the whole Kingdom, reſign’d up all the Homage due to him, and then pronounceth the Sentence of his Deprivation.
Edward, that long before had notice of theſe Proceedings, arms himſelf to receive it with patience. He gives them back no Anſwer, knowing a conteſtation or denial might haſten on his death, and a conſent had made him guilty by his own confeſſion.
Thus did this unfortunate King, after he had with perpetual agitation and trouble, governed this Kingdom Eighteen Years, odd Months and Days, loſe it by his own Diſorder and Improvidence, accompanied with the treachery and falſhood of his own Subjects. And that which is moſt miraculous, an Army of three or four hundred men, entred 62 E7v62 entred his Dominions, and took from him the Rule and Governance, without ſo much as a blow given, or the loſs of one Man more than ſuch as periſhed by the hand of Juſtice. In a declining Fortune all things conſpire a ruin, yet never was it ſeen, that ſo great a King fell with ſo little Honour, and ſo great an Infidelity. But what could be expected when to ſatiſfie his own unjuſt Paſſions, he had conſented to the Oppreſſions of his Subjects, tyranniz’d over the Nobility, abus’d his Wedlock, and loſt all fatherly care of the Kingdom, and that Iſſue that was to ſucceed him. Certainly it is no leſs honourable than proper, for the Majeſty and Greatneſs of a King, to have that ſame free and full uſe of his Affection and Favour, that each particular Man hath in his œconomic Government; yet as his Calling is the greateſt, ſuch ſhould be his Care, to ſquare them always out by thoſe Sacred Rules of Equity and Juſtice; for if they once tranſcend or exceed, falling into an extremity, they are the Predictions of a fatal and inevitable Ruin. Let the Favorite taſt the King’s Bounty and enjoy his Ear, but let him not engroſs it wholly, or take upon him the ſway and governaunce of all the Affairs of his Maſter; this begets not more Envy than multiplicity of Error, whoſe effects do for the moſt part occaſion a deſperate Convulſion, if not the deſtruction of that State where it hath his allowance and practice. As Kings ought to limit their Favours, ſo ought they to be curious in the Election, for perſons of baſer or meaner quality exalted, are followed at the heels with a perpetual murmer and hatred.Neither 63 E8r 63
Neither is it ſafe or proper, that all the principal Dignities or Strengths of a Kingdom ſhould be committed to the Fidelity of any one particular Subject, though never ſo gracious or able. There muſt be then a kind of Impulſive neceſſity ſtill to continue his Power, and approve his Actions, elſe, having the Keys in his hand, he may at all times open the Gates to a Foreign Trouble, or a Domeſtic Miſchief.
The Number of Servants, as it is the Maſter’s Honour, ſo is the knowledge of their Ability his Glory. Where by a diſcreet diſtribution, they find variety of Imployment, and are indifferently heard, both in Advice and Action, they more ſecure their Maſters ſafety and greatneſs. Kings, in their Deliberations, ſhould be ſwayed by the whole body of a Council, and, in my opinion, ſhould take it ill, to have any Servant eſteemed much wiſer than his Maſter. Their Royal Glory ſhould be pure and tranſparent, ſuffering not the leaſt eclipſe, or ſhadow: Be the advice of a ſingle Wit never ſo grave and weighty, let the Act and Honour be ſolely the Kings, which adds more and more to the belief of his ability and greatneſs.
If once the Royal Heart be ſo given over to Senſuality, that the befitting and neceſſary Cares of a Kingdom ſeem a burthen, and by Letter of Attorney aſſigned over to the Fidelity of another, he is then by his own Indiſcretion no more an abſolute King, but at ſecond hand and by direction. It is the Practic and not the Theoric Act of State that aws and aſſures the heart of the Subject, this being once doubtful or ſuſpect, eſtrangeth the will of our 64 E8v64 our Obedience, and gives a belief of liberty to the Actions of Diſorder and Injuſtice.
Neither is the Error and Imbecility of a Crown more prejudicial to it ſelf, than dangerous in the Example. Majeſtic Vanities and Vices find a ready imitation and practice, ſo that it may be concluded, an ill King may endanger the Virtue and Goodneſs of a whole Kingdom. Our Nature is prone to the worſer part, which we more readily are inclined to practice, with the condition of time, and ſo powerful and eminent a Precedent.
Kings that are ſubject to a natural weakneſs, or grown to the practice of any other particular Error, by corruption, ſhould act their deeds of darkneſs with ſuch a reſerved ſecrecy and caution, that there be not a ſuſpicion to taint him; for if it once win an open knowledge, beſides the particular aſperſion, it brings with it an enſuing ſuppoſed liberty of Practice, both in Court and State, by his Example.
As theſe are moſt proper to the Affections, ſo are there ſome as neceſſary Inſtructions for Kingly Paſſions, which, of the two, are more violent and dangerous.
Though it a while delay the concluding part of this Hiſtory, yet my Pen muſt not leave them untouched. I muſt confeſs, if Man could maſter and govern theſe rebellious Monſters, he might juſtly merit rather the name of an Angel than a mortal Creature. But this, in a true perfection, is moſt impoſſible. It is yet in Divinity and all Moral Conſtruction, the moſt abſolute Maſter-piece of this our Pilgrimage, to diſpoſe them ſo, that they 65 F1r65 they wait on the operations of the Soul rather as obedient Servants than looſe and uncontrouled Vagabonds. A King that is in theſe deficient, having ſo unlimited a Power, and making his Will his Law, in ſhort time loſeth the Honour of his Calling, and makes himſelf a Tyrant. Intemperate and heady Actions beget but diſorder and confuſion, and if they end in blood without a warranty of apparent Juſtice, or inevitable Neceſſity, they cry to Heaven for a deſerved vengeance. The Law hath Advantages and Puniſhments enough for thoſe that lie at his mercy. Let not incenſed haſt betray the Royality of a Crown, to make it ſelf both Judge and Executioner. Kings are Gods on Earth, and ought in all their Actions to direct the imitation after a Divine Nature, which inclines to Mercy more than Juſtice. Mens Lives once loſt cannot be redeemed; there ought therefore to be a tender conſideration before they be taken, leſt the injuſtice of the actor in time be brought to ſuffer in the ſame meaſure. As is the quality of the Fact, ſo is the condition of his Agent to be maturely deliberated, wherein there may be ſuch dependencies, that it is for the Crown more profitable, ſafe, and honourable, to ſave, or delay the Execution of the Law, than to advance or haſten it. Howſoever, it is the more innocent and excellent way to offend in the better part, and rather to let the Law, than once own Virtue and Goodneſs to be viſibly deficient, and diſeſteemed. The Actions of Repentance are numbred with the Regiſter of our Miſdemeanours, where none appear more fearful than thoſe, which an inconſiderate Fury, or the violence of Paſſion, Fhath 66 F1v66 hath acted with too much haſt and cruelty. Let then the height of ſo great and excellent a Calling be ſuited with as ſweet a temper, neither to precipitate or ſlow, but with a ſteddy and well-adviſed Motion.
As theſe Conſiderations are in the one part neceſſary, ſo ought there to be a correſpondent Worth and Care in him that hath the happineſs to enjoy in ſo great a meaſure his Royal Maſter’s Ear and Favour. If the Actions of the King be never ſo clear and innocent, yet he muſt favour or protect the Error of ſo great a Servant, which makes him an Acceſſary, if not an Actor, in the unjuſt Oppreſſion of his Kingdom. It is not diſcretion, neither hath it any Society, with the well grounded Rules of Wiſdom, for the Subject to exalt or amplifie the height of his own Glory, it is in the Eye of all, too great a preſuming Inſolence, and Kings themſelves will rather alter their Affections, than to be outſhined or dazled in their own Sphere and Element.
He that hath made his Maſter’s Love, and hath aſcended the Stairs of his Preferment, ſhould make the ſame Vertue the ſtay of his Advantage, framing his carriage to his Equals and Inferiors, with a like ſweet and winning Temper. If he ſwerve from this ſacred Rule, and arrive to win Fear, or a vain Adoration, let him know, the firſt is the Companion of Truſt and Safety, the other of a jealous Diffidence, that muſt betray his Life and Honour.
But to return to our Hiſtory, which now removes Edward the Father to Killingworth, where he 67 F2r67 he remains under the keeping of the Earl of Lancaſter, while his unripe Son is crowned King, and the Queen, with Mortimer, take into their hands the whole Sway, and Adminiſtration of the Kingdom. Their firſt Act ſends Baldock the Lord Chancellour to Newgate, a fit Cage for ſuch a Haggard, though far unworthy the Eminency of his height and dignity.
Now do the recollected Spirits of the Kingdom begin to ſurvey and examin the injuſtice of that Act, that had diſrobed and put down a King, their unqueſtionable Soveraign, that had been ſo ſolemnly Anointed, and ſo long enjoyed the Regiment of the Kingdom: They find the condition of their Eſtate but little altered, and according to the vanity of their Hearts, are as ready to attempt a new Innovation. Many Suits are made to the King, and the Protectors, to releaſe him out of his Impriſonment, but all prove vain and fruitleſs. The Black Fryers were in this requeſt more earneſt, who in their denial, ſought to bring it to paſs by force or ſurpriſal. They make Donhead, one of their number, their Captain, but he knew better the uſe of Church-Ornaments, than how to handle his Weapons, or manage an Army; he is intercepted and ſent to Priſon, where he dies, before he had ſo much as muſter’d his Congregation.
This Cloud diſperſed, the Queen believes it a fit time to take her leave of her aſſiſtant Strangers, who mainly haſten their departure. She was unwilling they ſhould be witneſſes to the unnatural ſucceeding Tragedy, which was too much for her F2own 68 F2v68 own Kingdom, and unfit for the Strangers Climate, which was filled with the belief of her Vertue and Honour. She liberally and freely requites to each particular the minute of his Pains and Travel, but Sir John of Henalt, and the better ſort, are honoured with many rich Jewels and Gifts, beſides continuing Annuities, and annual Revenues. They hold themſelves nobly contented, and taking a ſolemn leave, are honourably attended to Dover, leaving the Kingdom with a merrier Eye, than when they firſt beheld it.
Now is the Earl of Lancaſter, who, though he had leaſt cauſe, was nobly diſpoſed towards his old Maſter removed, and delivers over his Charge by Indenture, to Sir Morice Barkeley, and Sir John Mattrevers, who lead him back to his firſt place of Impriſonment, where, in the preſence of his Keepers, he one day in a melancholy Paſſion, doth thus diſcourſe his Sorrows:Alas! Is my Offence ſo great, that it deſerves nor pity nor aſſiſtance? Is human Piety and Goodneſs ſo wholly loſt, that neither in Child, Wife, Servant, or Subject, appears the leaſt expreſſion of Love or Duty? Admit my Errors unexcuſable, wherein I will not juſtifie my ſelf, nor accuſe others: though it hath taken from me the Glory of my former Being, I am yet a Father and a Huſband, theſe titles are without the juriſdiction of Fortune. If I be ſo, where is the Affection and Duty that becomes the Child, and Wedloc? Sure my Miſery hath not made me ſuch a Baſilisk or Monſter, that my ſight ſhould beget or Fear or Hatred; can they believe a danger in the viſitation of a poor diſtreſſed 69 F3r 69 diſtreſſed Captive? I know their hardned Hearts are not ſo noble and apt for Compaſſion, that they need ſuſpect themſelves or me in ſo poor a courteſie. What then occaſions this neglect or eſtrangement? Are they not content to enjoy all that was mine, as yet by the Laws of God, Man, and Nature, but they muſt deſpiſe and forſake my withered Ruines? Alas! I know my poor Children are Innocent, both they, and my injurious Queen, are betrayed by cunning wicked Mortimer, whom if I had paid with his juſt deſert, when Heaven, and his own Guilt, had laid him at my Mercy, I had not lived to endure this Affliction, nor he to be the inſulting Inſtrument of my Diſhonour. But Time, and this ſad Trial, hath taught me Patience, and learned me how to know the height of my Misfortunes, which (if my divining Spirit err not) will not be long unſeen and unrevenged. Am I unworthy to be ſeen? I am then unfit to live, and will receive it as a well-becoming pity, if my Death may ſend me hence from this ſo great a Sorrow.
When he had thus ended, and with a few manly Tears ſmother’d in the depth of that heart-breaking ſigh that enforc’d his ſilence, he was by one of his Attendance made this ruff uncivil Anſwer:My Lord, your Wife and Children are jealous, and fearful of your cruel furious Nature, whereof both they and the Kingdom have too true a knowledge to truſt you: Beſides, they are informed your reſolution is fixed to do them miſchief, if they approach your danger. This F3keeps 70 F3v70 keeps your Queen from you, ſhe once ſo truly loved.
My Queen, (quoth he) hath ſhe that remaining Title, while I that made her ſo am leſs than nothing. Alas poor wretched Woman! Hath ſhe, nor could ſhe find no other more tolerable excuſe than this, ſo faint a pretended fear and danger? Is there a poſſibility in her ſuſpicion? Or have I the means (if I were ſo reſolved) to do it, that am here a poor forſaken Man, as far from Power as Comfort? And, fellow, thou that takeſt ſo audacious and ſawcy a Liberty, to character thy Soveraign’s Diſpoſition, which thou art bound to Honour, and not to queſtion: Know Edward’s Heart is as free from thy baſe Aſperſion, as thine from Truth or Honeſty.
When he had ended theſe words, he retires himſelf to his Chamber ſad and melancholy, believing his caſe was hard and deſperate, when ſo baſe a Groom durſt face to face affront him. The Queen and Mortimer revelling now in the height of their Ambition and Felicity, had yet a wary Eye to the main, which they knew did principally reſt on the ſafeguard and ſure keeping of the depoſed King. Though they had all the marks and eſſential parts of an abſolute Soveraignty, the Name alone excepted, yet they had unquiet and troubled thoughts in the fear and imagination of loſing it. They ſaw their plauſible Incomes was dully continued, and there was a beginning murmur againſt the manner of their Proceedings. They knew there was no conſtancy in the People, that would be 71 F4r71 be as ready to taken them off, as they were to bring them on, in any new ſtirring or Innovation. The Lords that were their principal Supporters were content, but not ſatisfied, all things concurring to make them ſuſpect their own condition.
Edward the Father’s faults were extenuated, his Vices aſcribed to thoſe that had betrayed him, and his Eſtate infinitely pitied, that had ſo diſhonourable a uſage, far ſhort of what in juſtice appertained to the honour of his firſt Calling. Theſe Reports made their Ears tingle, and incites them in time to think upon ſome befitting Remedy. Many ways and devices are thought upon, but they all are ſubject to ſome manifeſt imperfection. On this Mortimer falls to the matter roundly, and tells the Queen plainly, That there is no way left to make all ſure, but abſolutely to take away the Cauſe, and to leave the Party by Edward’s death hopeleſs, that by his life ſought to make a new Combuſtion.
The Queen, whoſe Heart was yet innocent of ſo deep a Tranſgreſſion, was deeply and inwardly troubled with this unhappy Propoſition. She believed his ſufferings were already greater than his faults, and was unwilling to ſtain the opinion of her worth and vertue, with ſo foul an Act of injuſtice. She was aſſured it could not be ſo done, but it would be diſcovered; if the Eyes of Men could be blinded, yet that all-knowing power of Heaven would reveal and puniſh it. Such deep Actions of crying Sins are ſeldom long unrevenged, which made her moſt unwilling that her conſent ſhould paſs, or be aſſiſtant. To kill a F4King 72 F4v72 King, her Husband, that had once ſo dearly loved her, was more than an Act of Blood, nor could ſhe expect, but that the Son grown up would revenge the death of the Father. Therefore (quoth ſhe) ſweet Mortimer, let us reſolve rather any other hazard, than this which is waited on with ſo great Infamy and certain Ruin.
Mortimer replies, Madam, who hath the benefit of time, and neglects the advantage, if he fall is juſtly unworthy pity or compaſſion. Have you expoſed your ſelf to all the bitter Tryals of Fortune, and having overcome them according to your deſire, are you willing to return to your own condition, and former ſorrow? If it be ſo, Mortimer is wretched in ſacrificing his Devotion and Heart to ſuch a Female weakneſs. In caſes of extremity, a tenderneſs of Conſcience begets a certain danger, nor is it diſproportionable ſo to continue a Crown, that by blood was gotten and ſurpriſed; had Edward known I ſhould have liv’d to ſee his Ruin, my Head had paid my ranſom. The impreſſions of Fear make his ſubject leſs in ſence than apparition; think not of me ſo poor a Brain, but I as well know how to work as move it, ſuch Actions are not to be done, but ſuch a way as may prevent proof, if not ſuſpicion. But why do I ſeek thus to charm your Ears, if you be willing he ſhall live, let him, let the inclining People ſet him free to call you to an account for his oppreſſion, let him parallel his Spencer’s death in your Affliction, perhaps he’l ſpare you for your Bro- 73 F5r73 Brother’s ſake, who he knows ſo dearly loves you, and did ſo bravely witneſs it in your Affliction, perhaps he’l ſuffer you ſtill to guide the Crown, and your fair Son to wear it. If you be pleas’d you may abide the Trial. Mortimer’s reſolved, ſince you neglect his Judgment, you will as ſoon forget his Service, which he will in time prevent, before it be debarred.
With this he flings away, as if he meant, to give his words a real Execution. The amazed Queen purſues and overtakes him. Stay, gentle Mortimer, (quoth ſhe) forgive my Error, I am a Woman fitter to take advice than to give it. Think not I prize thy Love ſo little as to loſe thee. If Edward muſt dye, I will not ſeek to divert it, only I thus much beg, I may not be partaker, or privy to the time, means, or manner.Madam, leave that to me, who will alone both undertake the Act and Danger; all I require from you, is but to ſeal a Warrant to change his former Keepers.
Sir Morris Barkley had been tamper’d withall, and was ſo far from conſent, that he plainly declared he did abhor the Action. This Anſwer ſuddenly diſchargeth him, and commits his Maſters Guard to Sir Thomas Gourney, and his former Partner Mattrevers. They having received both their Warrant and Priſoner, convey him to Cork-Caſtle, the place in all the World he moſt hated. Some ſay he was foretold by certain Magic Spels, that this place was to him both fatal and ominous. But whatſoe’re the cauſe was, he was at his firſt arrival deeply ſad and paſſionate. His Keepers, to repel 74 F5v74 repel this humour, and make him leſs ſuſpicious, feed him with pleaſant Diſcourſe, and better Entertainment, while his miſgiving Spirit was heavy, ſad, and melancholy.
The Night before his Death he ſupp’d heartily, and went to Bed betimes; ſcarcely were his heavy Eyes lock’d up in ſilent ſlumber, when his forſworn traiterous Murderers enter his Chamber, and finding him aſleep, inhumanely and barbarouſly ſtifled him, before he could avoid or reſiſt it. The writers differ mainly in the manner of his Death, but all conclude him murder’d, yet ſo, that the way, on ſearch and view, could not be known or diſcover’d. A ſmall paſſage of time gave the moſt part of all theſe Actors of his Death, an end fit for their deſerts, and this ſo bloody an Action. Their ſeveral Relations and Confeſſions occaſion ſo many various Reports, and different kinds of Writing; the truth whereof is not much material, ſince all agree, he came to an unnatural and untimely Death.
Thus fell that unhappy King Edward the Second, who was Son and Father to two of the moſt glorious Kings that ever held the Monarchy of the Engliſh Nation. Main Reaſons are given probable enough to inſtance the neceſſity of his fall, which queſtionleſs were the ſecondary means to work it. But his Doom was regiſtred by that inſcrutable Providence of Heaven, who with the ſelf-ſame Sentence puniſh’d both him, and Richard the Second his great Grandchild, who were guilty of the ſame Offences. The Example of theſe two ſo unfortunate Kings may be juſtly a leading precedent to all Poſterity.Cer- 75 F6r 75
Certainly we have had other Kings as faulty and vicious, that have o’re-liv’d their Errors, and died not by a violent hand, but by the ordinary and eaſie courſe of Nature. The condition and quality of theſe, was not in themſelves more perilous and exorbitant, than hurtful and dangerous to the Eſtate, Peace, and Tranquillity of the whole Kingdom. If by height of Youth, height of Fortune, or a corrupt natural Inclination, the Royal Afflictions looſely fly at random; yet if it extend no farther than the ſatisfaction of the proper Appetite, it may obſcure the Glory, but not ſupplant the ſtrength and welfare of a Monarchy. But when it is in it ſelf not only vicious and ill affected, but doth patrocine and maintain it in others, not bluſhing in ſuch a juſtification, it is a forerunning and preſaging evidence, that betokens a fatal and unpitied Ruin.
It is too much in a King, that hath ſo great a Charge delivered to his care and cuſtody, to be diſſolute, or wantonly given, but when it falls into a ſecond Error, which makes more Kings than one in the ſelf-ſame Kingdom, he opens the way to his own deſtruction. The Subjects hearts, as they are obliged, ſo are they continued by the Majeſty and Goodneſs of a King; if either of theſe prove proſtitute, it unties the Links of Duty and Allegiance, and hunts after Change and Innovation.
It is of ſo ſingular and great a conſequence, that Kings ought to be well adviſed, and ſparingly to accumulate their Honours and Favours, wherein both the Time, Perſon, and Occaſion, ought to be both 76 F6v76 both worthy and weighty; for the Eye of the Subject waits curiouſly on his Actions, which finding them degenerating from his own Greatneſs, and inclinable to their Oppreſſion, vary their Integrity to a murmuring diſcontent, which is the Harbinger to a revolt and miſchief. Nor is it proper, (if the Soveraign’s Affections muſt dote) that the Object of their weakneſs ſhould ſway the Government of the Kingdom. Such an Intermixtion begets confuſion and Error, and is attended by a perpetual envy and hatred.
Is it poſſible but there muſt be perpetual Error and Injuſtice, where all things are carried more by Favour and Affection, than Law and Reaſon? Or can the leſſer Fountains be clear, when that main Spring that feeds them is tainted and polluted? Alas, common and familiar Experience tells, that the Actions and principal Uſe of a Favourite, is to make good by his ſtrength and favour, thoſe Deſigns that are in themſelves unjuſt, perverſe, and inſupportable.
A good Cauſe in the Integrity of Time, needs no protection but its own Innocence; but where the ſacred Rules of Juſtice are inverted, the ſincerity of the Law abuſed, the conſcience of the Judge corrupted or enforced, and all things made Mercenary, or carried by indirect Favour, what expectation can there be, but that Kingdom, which is the Theater of ſo infamous a practice, ſhould fall ſpeedily into a fearful and deſperate Convulſion. Though the Hiſtories of theſe times are plentifully, ſtor’d, and few Common-wealths are free from the Examples of this nature, yet I ſhall not 77 F7r77 not need any other inſtance than the ſtory of this unfortunate Prince, whoſe time preſents a perfect Mirror, wherein enſuing Kings may ſee how full of danger and hazard it is, for one Man’s love to ſell the Affections and Peace of the whole Kingdom.
Had Edwardillegibleparticular been far worſe than he was, he might have ſtill ſubſiſted, but when for his inglorious Minions Gaveſton and Spencer, who ſucceſſively engroſs him, he fell to thoſe injurious and diſſolute Actions, that made all Men, and the Kingdom, pray to their inſolent and imperious Humours, he quickly found both Heaven and Earth reſolved to work his Ruin. Not only his own, but theirs, and thoſe of their ignoble Agents, were made his proper Errors, which took ſo wholly from him the Love and Hearts of his Subjects, that he found neither Arms nor Tongue to defend him. A more remarkable Miſery I think no time of ours produceth, that brings this King to deſtruction, without ſo much as any one Kinſman, Friend, or Subject, that declared himſelf in his Quarrel.
But he found the Climacteric year of his Reign before he did expect it: And made that unhappy Caſtle, which he ever hated, the witneſs of his cruel Murder; where I muſt leave him, ’till he find a more honourable place of Burial, and my weary Pen a fortunate Subject, that may invite it to ſome other new Relation.
Books ſold by John Playford, at his Shop near the Temple-Church,
- Muſic’s Recreation on the Viol Lyra-way, containing a Collection of New Leſſons, with Inſtructions for Beginners. Price 2.s.
- Apollo’s Banquet for the Treble-Violin, containing new Theater-Tunes, Ayres, Corants, Sarabands, Jigs, and Horn-pipes; to which is added, the Tunes of the new French Dances: Alſo Rules and Directions for Practitioners on the Treble- Violin.Price 1 s. 6 d.
- The Treaſury of Muſic, containing three Books of Select Ayres and Dialogues to ſing to the Theorbo- Lute, or Baſs-Viol; Compoſed by Mr. Henry Laws, and others. All bound in one Volum in Folio. Price 10s.
- Choice Ayres, Songs, and Dialogues, being moſt of the neweſt Songs ſung at Court, and at public Theaters. Compoſed by ſeveral Gentlemen of His Majeſties Muſic, in Folio, newly reprinted with large Additions.Price 3s.
- The Muſical Companion, containing Catches, Ayres, and Songs, for two, three, or four Voices, bound up in Quarto.Price 3 s.6 d.
- The Introduction to the Skill of Muſic, both Vocal and Inſtrumental, by J.John Playford, in Octavo Price bound 2.s.