« AnteriorContinuar »
137.-THE INSURRECTION OF CADE.
HALL'S CHRONICLE. A certain young man of a goodly stature and pregnant wit was enticed to take upon him the name of John Mortimer, although his name was John Cade, and not for a small policy, thinking that by that surname the line and lineage of the assistant house of the earl of March, which were no small number, should be to him both adherent and favourable. This captain, not only suborned by teachers, but also enforced by privy schoolmasters, assembled together a great company of tall personages ; assuring them that their attempt was both honourable to God and the king, and also profitable to the commonwealth, promising them, that if either by force or policy they might once take the king, the queen, and other their counsellors, into their hands and governance, that they would honourably entreat the king, and so sharply handle his counsellors, that peither fifteens should hereafter be demanded, nor once any impositions or tax should be spoken of. These persuasions, with many other fair promises of liberty (which the common people more affect and desire, rather than reasonable obedience and due conformity), so animated the Kentish people, that they, with their captain above named, in good order of battle (not in great number) came to the plain of Blackheath, between Eldham and Greenwich. And to the intent that the cause of this glorious captain's coming thither might be shadowed from the king and his counsel, he sent to him an humble supplication, with loving words but with malicious intent, affirming his coming not to be against him, but against divers of his counsel, lovers of themselves and oppressors of the poor commonalty, flatterers to the king and enemies to his honour, suckers of his purse and robbers of his subjects, partial to their friends and extreme to be their enemies, for rewards corrupted and for indifferency nothing doing. This proud bill was both of the king and his counsel disdainfully taken, and therepon great consultation had, and after long debating it was concluded that such proud rebels should rather be suppressed and tamed with violence and force than with fair words or amicable answer : whereupon the king assembled a great army and marched toward them, which had lyen on Blackheath by the space of vii days. The subtil captain, named Jack Cade, intending to bring the king farther within the compass of his net, brake up his camp, and retired backward to the town of Sevenoaks, in Kent, and there, expecting his prey, encamped himself and made his abode. The queen, which bare the rule, being of his retreat well advertised, sent Sir Humphrey Stafford, knight, and William his brother, with many other gentlemen, to follow the chase of the Kentish men, thinking that they had filed; but verily they were deceived ; for at the first skirmish both the Staffords were slain, and all their company shamefully discomfited. The king's army, being at this time come to Blackheath, hearing of this discomfiture, began to grudge and murmur amongst themselves ; some wishing the Duke of York at home to aid the captain his cousin ; some desiring the overthrow of the king and his counsel ; other openly crying out on the queen and her complices. This rumour, openly spoken and commonly published, caused the king, and certain of his counsel not led by favour nor corrupted by rewards (to the intent to appease the furious rage of the inconstant multitude), to commit the Lord Say, Treasurer of England, to the Tower of London; and if other, against whom like displeasure was borne, had been present, they had likewise been served : but it was necessary that one should suffer rather than all the nobility then should perish. When the Kentish captain, or the covetous Cade, had thus obtained victory and slain the two valiant Staffords, he apparelled himself in their rich armour, and so with pomp and glory returned again toward London ; in which
retreat, divers idle and vagabond persons resorted to him from Sussex and Surrey, and from other parts, to a great number. Thus this glorious captain, compassed about and environed with a multitude of evil, rude, and rustic persons, came again to the plain of Blackheath, and there strongly encamped himself: to whom were sent by the king the Archbishop of Canterbury and Humphrey Duke of Buckingham, to commune with him of his griefs and requests. These lords found him sober in communication, wise in disputing, arrogant in heart, and stiff in his opinion, and by no ways possible to be persuaded to dissolve his army, except the king in person would come to him and assent to all things which he would require. These lords, perceiving the wilful pertinacy and manifest contumacy of this rebellious Javelin, departed to the king, declaring to him his temerarious and rash words and presumptuous requests. The king, somewhat hearing and more marking the sayings of this outrageous losel, and having daily report of the concourse and access of people which continually resorted to him, doubting as much his familiar servants as his unknown subjects (which spared not to speak that the captain's cause was profitable for the commonwealth), departed in all haste to the castle of Killingworth, in Warwickshire, leaving only behind him the Lord Scales, to keep the Tower of London. The captain, being advertised of the king's absence, came first into Southwark, and there lodged at the White Hart, prohibiting to all men murder, rape, or robbery ; by which colour he allured to him the hearts of the common people. But after that he entered into London, and cut the ropes of the drawbridge, striking his sword on London stone, saying, “Now is Mortimer lord of this city,” and rode in every street like a lordly captain. And after a flattering declaration made to the mayor of the city of his thither coming, he departed again into Southwark. And upon the third day of July he caused Sir James Fines Lord Say, and Treasurer of England, to be brought to the Guildhall of London, and there to be arraigned ; which, being before the king's justices put to answer, desired to be tried by his peers, for the longer delay of his life. The captain, perceiving his dilatory plea, by force took him from the officers and brought him to the standard in Cheap, and there, before his confession ended, caused his head to be cut off, and pitched it on a high pole, which was openly borne before him through the streets. And this cruel tyrart, not content with the murder of the Lord Say, went to Mileend, and there apprehended Sir James Cromer, then sheriff of Kent, and son-in-law to the said Lord Say, and him, without confession or excuse heard, caused there likewise to be beheaded, and his head fixed on a pole, and with these two heads this bloody butcher entered into the city again, and in despite caused them in every street kiss together, to the great detestation of all the beholders.
After this shameful murder succeeded open rapine and manifest robbery in divers houses within the city, and in especial in the house of Philip Malpas, alderman of London, and divers other : over and beside ransoming and fining of divers notable merchants, for the tuition and security of their lives and goods; as Robert Horne, alderman, which paid v. C. marks, and yet neither he or no other person was either of life or substance in a surety or safeguard. He also put to execution in Southwark divers persons, some for infringing his rules and precepts, because he would be seen indifferent; other he tormented of his old acquaintance, lest they should blase and declare his base birth and low lineage, disparaging him from his usurped name of Mortimer ; for the which he thought, and doubted not, both to have friends and fautors both in London, Kent, and Essex. The wise mayor and sage magistrates of the city of London, perceiving themselves neither to be sure of goods nor of life well warranted, determined with fear to repel and expulse this mischievous head and his ungracious company. And because the Lord Scales was ordained keeper of the Tower of London, with Mathew Gough, the often-named captain in.
Normandy (as you have heard before), they purposed to make them privy both of their intent and enterprise. The Lord Scales promised them his aid, with shooting of ordinance ; and Mathew Gough was by him appointed to assist the mayor and the Londoners, because he was both of manhood and experience greatly renowned and noised. So the captains of the city appointed took upon them in the night to keep the bridge of London, prohibiting the Kentishmen either to pass or approach. The rebels, which never soundly slept for fear of sudden chances, hearing the bridge to be kept and manned, ran with great haste to open their passage, where between both parties was a fierce and cruel encounter. Mathew Gough, more expert in martial feats than the other chieftains of the city, perceiving the Kentishmen better to stand to their tackling than his imagination expected, advised his company no further to proceed toward Southwark till the day appeared ; to the intent that the citizens, hearing where the place of the jeopardy rested, might occur their enemies and relieve their friends and companions. But this counsel came to small effect, for the multitude of the rebels drew the citizens from the stoulps at the bridge foot to the drawbridge, and began to set fire in divers houses. Alas! what sorrow it was to behold that miserable chance ; for some, desiring to eschew the fire, leapt on his enemy's weapon, and so died : fearful women, with children in their arms, armazed and appalled, leapt into the river ; other, doubting how to save themselves between fire, water, and sword, were in their houses suffocated and smouldered. Yet the captains, nothing regarding these chances, fought on the drawbridge all the night valiantly ; but, in conclusion, the rebels got the drawbridge, and drowned many, and slew John Sutton, alderman, and Robert Heysand, a hardy citizen, with many other, beside Mathew Gough, a man of great wit, much experience in feats of chivalry, the which in continual wars had valiantly served the king and his father in the part beyond the sea (as before ye have heard). But it is often seen that he which many times had vanquished his enemies in strange countries, and returned again as a conqueror, hath of his own nation afterward been shamefully murdered and brought to confusion. This hard and sore conflict endured on the bridge till is of the clock in the morning, in doubtful chance and fortune's balance. For some time the Londoners were bet back to the stoulps at Saint Magnes corner, and suddenly again the rebels were repulsed and driven back to the stoulps in Southwark ; so that both parties, being faint, weary, and fatigued, agreed to desist from fight, and to leave battle till the next day, upon condition that neither Londoners should pass into Southwark, nor the Kentishmen into London.
After this abstinence of war agreed, the lusty Kentish captain, hoping no more friends, brake up the gaols of the King's Bench and Marshalsea, and set at liberty a swarm of gallants, both meet for his service and apt for his enterprise. The Archbishop of Canterbury, being then Chancellor of England, and for his surety lying in the Tower of London, called to him the Bishop of Winchester, which also for fear lurked at Halywell. These two prelates, seeing the fury of the Kentish people, by reason of their beating back, to be mitigated and minished, passed the river of Thames from the Tower into Southwark, bringing with them, under the king's seal, a general pardon unto all the offenders; which they caused to be openly proclaimed and published. Lord ! how glad the poor people were of this pardon (yea, more than of the great Jubilee of Rome), and how they accepted the same, in so much that the whole multitude, without bidding farewell to their captain, retired the same night, every man to his own home, as men amazed and stricken with fear. But John Cade, desperate of succours, which by the friends of the Duke of York were to him promised, and seeing his company thus without his knowledge suddenly depart, mistrusting the sequel of the matter, departed secretly, in habit
disguised, into Sussex ; but all his metamorphosis and transfiguration little prevailed, for after a proclamation made that whosoever could apprehend the said Jack Cade should have for his pain a M marks, many sought for him, but few espied him, till one Alexander Iden, esquire of Kent, found him in a garden, and there, in his defence, manfully slew the caitiff Cade, and brought his dead body to London, whose head was set on London Bridge.
138.-THE WHITE AND RED ROSES.
HALL. The first blood shed in the quarrel between the houses of York and Lancaster, was at the battle of St. Alban's, in the 33rd year of the reign of Henry VI. The battle of Northampton was five years after. A compromise then took place, which is exhibited in the first scene of the third part of Shakspere's Henry VI. The Chronicler Hall thus describes the Parliament scene, as it is called,
“During this trouble was a parliament summoned to begin at Westminster in the month of October next following. Before which time Richard Duke of York, being in Ireland, by swift couriers and flying posts, was advertised of the great victory gained by his party at the field of Northampton, and also knew that the king was now in case to be kept and ordered at his pleasure and will ; wherefore, losing no time, nor slugging one hour, he sailed from Develine to Chester with no small company, and by long journeys came to the city of London, which he entered the Friday next before the feast of Saint Edward the Confessor, with a sword borne naked before him, and took his lodging in the king's own palace, whereupon the common people babbled that he should be king, and that king Henry should no longer reign. During the time of this parliament, the duke of York, with a bold countenance, entered into the chamber of the peers and sat down in the throne royal under the cloth of estate (which is the king's peculiar seat), and in the presence as well of the nobility as of the spirituality (after a pause made) said these words in effect." *
“When the duke had thus ended his oration, the lords sat still like images graven in the wall, or dumb gods, neither whispering nor speaking, as though their mouths had been sowed up. The duke, perceiving none answer to be made to his declared purpose, not well content with their sober silence and taciturnity, advised them well to digest and ponder the effect of his oration and saying, and so, neither fully displeased nor all pleased, departed to his lodging in the king's palace."
"After long arguments made, and deliberate consultation had among the peers. prelates, and commons of the realm, upon the vigil of All Saints it was condescended and agreed by the three estates, for so much as king Henry had been taken as king, by the space of xxxviii years and more, that he should enjoy the name and title of king, and have possession of the realm, during his life natural: And if he either died or resigned, or forfeited the same for infringing any point of this concord, then the said crown and authority royal should immediately be divoluted to the duke of York, if he then lived, or else to the next heir of his line and lineage, and that the duke from thenceforth should be protector and regent of the land, Provided alway, that if the king did closely or apertly study or go about to break or alter this agreement, or to compass or imagine the death or destruction of the said duke or his blood, then he to forfeit the crown, and the duke of York to take it. These articles, with many other, were not only written, sealed, and sworn by the two parties, but also were enacted in the high court of parliament. For joy whereof, the king, having in his company the said duke, rode to the cathedral church of Saint Paul within the city of London ; and there, on the day of All
Saints, went solemnly, with the diadem on his head, in procession, and was lodged a good space after in the bishop's palace, near to the said church. And upon the Saturday next ensuing Richard duke of York was, by the sound of a trumpet, solemnly proclaimed heir apparent to the crown of England, and protector of the realm."
The battle of Wakefield soon followed this hollow compromise. Hall writes thus :
“ The duke of York with his people descended down in good order and array, and was suffered to pass forward toward the main battle : but when he was in the plain ground between his castle and the town of Wakefield he was environed on every side, like a fish in a net, or a deer in a buckstall : so that he, manfully fighting, was within half an hour slain and dead, and his whole army discomfited; and with him died of his trusty friends, his two bastard uncles, Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimers, Sir Davy Halle his chief counsellor, Sir Hugh Hastings, Sir Thomas Nevel, William and Thomas Aparre, both brethren, and two thousand and eight hundred other, whereof many were young gentlemen and heirs of great parentage in the south part, whose lineages revenged their deaths within four months next and immediately ensuing. * * Whilst this battle was in fighting, a priest called Sir Robert Aspall, chaplain and schoolmaster to the young earl of Rutland, ii son to the abovenamed duke of York, scarce of the age of vii years, a fair gentleman, and a maidenlike person, perceiving that flight was more safeguard than tarrying, both for him and his master, secretly conveyed the earl out of the field, by the Lord Clifford's band, toward the town ; but ere he could enter into a house he was by the said Lord Clifford espied, followed, and taken, and by reason of his apparel demanded what he was. The young gentleman, dismayed, had not a word to speak, but kneeled on his knees imploring mercy, and desiring grace, both with holding up his hands and making dolorous countenance, for his speech was gone for fear. Save him, said his chaplain, for he is a prince's son, and peradventure may do you good hereafter. With that word, the Lord Clifford marked him, and said, By God's blood, thy father slew mine, and so will I do thee and all thy kin: and with that word struck the earl to the heart with his dagger, and bade his chaplain bear the earl's mother and brother word what he had done and said."
This ferocious revenge of Clifford is commented upon with just indignation by Hall :
“ In this act the Lord Clifford was accompted a tyrant, and no gentleman.”
He then proceeds to describe the death of the duke of York :-"This cruel Clifford and deadly bloodsupper, not content with this homicide, or childkilling, came to the place where the dead corpse of the duke of York lay, and caused his head to be stricken off, and set on it a crown of paper, and so fixed it on a pole, and presented it to the queen, not lying far from the field, in great despite and much derision, saying, Madam, your war is done, here is your king's ransom: at which present was much joy and great rejoicing ; but many laughed then that sore lamented after, as the queen herself, and her son: and many were glad then of other men's deaths, not knowing that their own were near at hand, as the Lord Clifford, and other. But, surely, man's nature is so frail, that things passed be soon forgotten, and mischiefs to come be not foreseen. After this victory by the queen and her party obtained, she caused the earl of Salisbury, with all the other prisoners, to be sent to Pomfret, and there to be beheaded, and sent all their heads, and the duke's head of York, to be set upon poles over the gate of the city of York, in despite of them and their lineage."
The circumstances attending the death of York are, however, differently told. Holinshed says :