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1540. Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex.
1541. Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, felled by the headsman. Dr. Barnes, the reformer and martyr; he was burnt at Smithfield.
1542. Catharine Howard. - Lady Rochford. Lord William Howard.
1546. The celebrated Anne Askew, the Protestant martyr; she was racked in the Tower, and afterwards burnt in Smithfield. Her crime was—she could not believe in the Divine presence.
1547. The Duke of Norfolk, and the poet, Lord Surrey. - Thomas Seymour of Sudely. - Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector.-John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland ; his sons, and daughter-in-law, Jane Grey.
1553. Cranmer.-Latimer; his second imprisonment in the Tower. He was kept a close prisoner, and was subject to the greatest privations. One day, the lieutenant's man came into his dungeon ; it was a frosty day, and the old man was almost starved to death. “Prythee," said he, “tell thy master that if he doth not look better after me I shall deceive him.” When the lieutenant heard this, he ran to the prelate’s dungeon, and charged him with these words. “Yes, master lieutenant," he observed with a smile, “so I said ; for look you, I am ordered to be burned, but unless you let me have some fire, I shall deceive your expectation and die of cold.” Bishop Ridley occupied a cell in the Tower at the same time ; they were burnt at Oxford together. Latimer's remark to his friend at the
stake, is nobler than the famous exclamation of Montezuma; he spoke as the lighted fagot was thrown at his own feet—“Be of good comfort, master Ridley, and play the man; by God's grace, we shall this day light such a candle in England as, I trust, shall never be put out.”
1554. Sir Thomas Wyat.—The Duke of Suffolk. -Elizabeth ; afterwards queen.
1562. Arthur and Edmund Pole. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.—John Lesley, Bishop of Ross. ---Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. — Shakspeare's Earl of Southampton.
1603. Sir Walter Raleigh.—Lord Cobham.
1606. Guy Fawkes and his accomplices. — Sir Thomas Overbury; murdered in the Tower. This crime is one of the most mysterious passages in our private annals.
1622. The Earl of Arundel. This worthy had got up a scene in conjunction with Lord Spencer, in the House of Peers ; the subject of discussion was one of some little antiquity. Spencer expressed a pretty strong opinion on the point; this the earl did not like. My lord, when the things you speak of were doing, your ancestors were keeping sheep,” said he abruptly and not very logically. “My lord,” retorted Spencer, “ when my ancestors, as you say, were keeping sheep, yours were plotting treason.” Words waxed hotter and hotter; and their lordships restored peace by sending their colleague to the Tower.-Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans. Bacon's. wit had once set free a captive from the dungeon in
which he was now confined himself. Dr. Hayward had written a work on the dethronement of Richard II. and the transfer of the crown to Henry IV., in which he had expressed sentiments highly displeasing to Elizabeth. She sent him to the Tower, and might have sent him to the scaffold, under an impression that the book was more important than it really was. She applied to her chancellor to know if it did not contain treason. "No," said Bacon, who knew his mistress and was anxious for the security of his friend, "not treason, but a great deal of felony.” “Felony !” exclaimed the queen, “ how SO
?” "Because," said the lawyer, “he hath stolen most of his expressions and conceits from Cornelius Tacitus.” The lady laughed, and relented.—The famous Sir Edward Coke.
1626. Sir John Eliot.—Sir Dudley Digges.
1628. John Felton, the assassin of the Duke of Buckingham.—The second and final imprisonment of Eliot.—Selden, Hollis, Valentine, Hobart.
1641. Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. – Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury.
1644. The Hothams, father and son. Lord Digby.-Monk, afterwards Duke of Albemarle.Colonel Hutchinson.The younger Vane.
1648. Jeremy Taylor. He was several times in prison about this period for his monarchical views ; but these were mild, and his detention seldom lasted more than a few weeks.
1651. Sir William Davenant. His life was saved by the intercession of Milton,
year of the return of Charles II., the Tower was filled in every part with the leading men of the Commonwealth. For six or eight years they continued to be committed in large numbers and in the most indecent manner. Some of the orders of commitment of that period—most of them signed by Monk—make one rise with indignation at the course which law was then constrained to take. Often the orders were delivered out blank—the names of the unfortunate suspects to be filled in afterwards ; many of the names are scratched down in different handwritings; often no offence is specified; yet the prisoners are commanded to be placed in close confinement. In fact, it is quite evident that these “ orders” were issued
much like the lettres de cachet in use at the same period in France. The famous Henry Marten was at the head of a list of nineteen persons committed in one order. Marten was the greatest wit of his day. In the House of Commons one of his brilliant sallies had often sufficed to turn a debate and secure a favourable vote. Old Aubrey tells a string of amusing anecdotes of his happy talent in this way. One day he delivered a furious philippic against Sir Harry Vane ; and when he had buried him beneath a load of sarcasm, he continued, “But, for young Sir Harry Vane so sat down. The House was astounded. Several persons cried out,
“ What have
you to say to young Sir Harry ?” He at once rose and added : “Why, if young Sir Harry lives to be old, he will be old Sir Harry.” One day a sanctimonious member made a
motion, that all profane and ungodly persons should be expelled the House. Marten rose and proposed, that all the fools should be expelled likewise. It was one of his habits to sleep a good deal—or “dogsleep” as Aubrey calls it—in the House ; of course all the dull fellows hated him, and one day when he seemed to be fast asleep on his bench, a city alderman rose to propose, that such scandalous members as sleep and neglect the business of the House be put out. The words were hardly delivered, when, to the surprise of the alderman, the wit started up
to his feet_“ Mr. Speaker, a motion has been made to turn out the nodders ; I propose that the noddees be also turned out.” It might have been expected that a lover of wit like Charles, would have spared Harry Marten his imprisonment.
1661. Harrington, author of the “Oceana.” Bishop Hall, author of the still popular “ Contemplation of the Historical Passages of the Old and New Testaments.”
1667. Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the wit, profligate, and farce-writer.-Roger, Earl of Castlemaine, the unfortunate husband of a too handsome wife. The act of commitment is very curious. It appears that the inconvenient husband of the king's chief mistress was already locked up in the Gatehouse at Westminster; but this was too near Whitehall to content the guilty lovers, so he was ordered to the Tower. One may well wonder on what pretence a subject, having such a misfortune as to be yoked in the bands of matrimony with Arabella