Page images

in the Psalms. But the answer is nearer still. If Christ be there, Christ the hope of glory,—then life and immortality and eternal hopes, and not transitory promises or carnal motives, were there, there effectively, constantly, after the measure of the Gift of God.

The Providence of God, the city of God, the enemies of God, and the supplies of God's grace, I need not dwell on. These are in the Psalms, and they all have their reference to Christ, easy to understand, constantly applied in the New Testament, and generally acknowledged. Christ and His Church explain these.

So I have endeavoured to set forth a principle, which we may fail in applying, but which I conceive Christ and His Apostles exhibit. It seems also to be proved by what I believe is a fact concerning the Canon of the four first centuries. The early Church does not seem nervously anxious about the number of the books of the Gospels or the possession of a full canon of the Epistles; their faith was not lost nor their love destroyed by one less or one more of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament, for they were so fully persuaded of the fulness of the Scriptures of the Old Covenant to present Christ to their souls for salvation, that the study of them was practically accepted as making the Word of Christ dwell in them in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, for what the Old contained was what is revealed in the New.

I shall end as Bishop Hall said about the use of devotion. "I hate superstition on the one side, and looseness on the other : but I find it hard to offend in too much devotion, easy in profaneness.' So I most humbly say respecting this matter of Christ in the Psalms.'





THE disasters of the English army in France added to the discontent of the people at home, and all losses and misfortunes were attributed to Suffolk's treason. His being raised to the rank of a duke seemed only to mark him out for greater odium, and as Gaveston, Spenser, and De Vere had fallen of old, so was he now to fall.

The first commencement of his danger came in the winter of 1450. A man named William Taillebois was found lurking near the Star Chamber door, with some armed followers; and Lord Cromwell, the treasurer, who had been appointed by Glocester, declared that it was to murder him, and succeeded in getting the man fined three thousand pounds, in spite of Suffolk's interference on his behalf, which only led to the conclusion that he had been instigated by the hated favourite. Soon after, Adam Moleyns, Bishop of Chichester, who had been his partner in the treaty of Nanci, was sent down to. Portsmouth to pay the troops who were to be sent to France; but a report arose that he was the man who had sold Maine to the French, and the mob of Portsmouth rose on him and murdered him. It would seem that in his deadly terror the Bishop had endeavoured to persuade the people that it was Suffolk's doing, and not his—even, it was reported, saying that Suffolk had a seat in the King of France's council, and was as much trusted here as there.

Whatever the Bishop had said, or whatever rumour made of it, Parliament met in a mood of bitter indignation against Suffolk. He on his part thought it best to meet the storm, and demanded leave to clear himself before the King, Lords, and Commons. It was a spirited and dignified speech, beginning thus :

'Most high and dread sovereign Lord, I suppose well that it be comen to your ears, to my great heaviness and sorrow, the odious and horrible language that runs through your realm almost in every common's mouth, sounding to my highest charge and heaviest slander by a certain keeper of your privy seal, made at his death, as it is said.'

Then, as the best refutation of the calumny, he described his father's services, ending by his death before Harfleur-how his eldest brother had died at Agincourt, his second and third at Jargeau, on which day he himself had been made prisoner, when he had to pay £20,000 for his ransom, and in the meantime his younger brother died a hostage for him. 'I was myself armed, in your father's days and yours, thirty-four winters, and have had the Garter thirty. For seventeen years I abode in the wars without coming home or seeing this land, and have served you since my return fifteen years. All these things considered, if for a Frenchman's promise I should be either false or untrue to your high estate, or to this your land that I am born of, there could be no earthly punishment but it would be too little for me.'

Lord Cromwell seems to have been the chief mover in the attack upon Suffolk, and this honest defence went for nothing with the hotly prejudiced commons, who, four days after, insisted that Suffolk should be committed to the Tower till he should clear himself of the charges current against him. The Lords declared that there was no ground for his imprisonment, and a declaration was then made by which he was accused of having sold England to France, and in preparation for the coming of the French, 'stuffed his castle at Walsingford with guns and gunpowder,' to give them a place of refuge and succour.

On this ridiculous accusation it was necessary to arrest him; but the Archbishop of Canterbury at once resigned the chancellorship, which was given to the other primate, Cardinal Kemp.

In ten days' time the bill of impeachment was brought. It charged him with having advised Dunois and the other French ambassadors to bring their king to depose Henry, and set on the throne the little Margaret, only daughter to John, the last Duke of Somerset, who was by Glocester's death Henry's nearest heir, if the Beauforts were reckoned legitimate, she being betrothed to John de la Pole, Suffolk's son. Next, that he had corruptly procured the release of the Duke of Orleans, and had promised Maine to King René, and that he had continually betrayed the King's plans to the French.

These preposterous charges almost shew the real guiltlessness of the veteran on whom national hatred had fixed. Not a word was said of Glocester's death; and this, in the state of the public mind, was a virtual acquittal of Suffolk on that head.

However, the English mind had fallen into a state of frenzied prejudice, and demanded a victim. Suffolk was committed to the Tower, and there remained for a month, until seventeen new articles were produced against him. Most of them were details of the former ones, and the others vague hearsay matters. The Duke was brought to a house in the garden of the Palace of Westminster, with his own good will, for he had been told that the Tower was unsafe for him, and was brought before the peers on the 13th of March. He knelt down before the House, and was asked what he said to the charges laid against him.

They were too horrible to answer, he said. First it was treason to regard the Lady Margaret as so near the crown; then everyone knew he had intended to marry his son to the daughter of Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, if she had not died; as for the cession of Maine, the whole council were as much concerned in it as himself; and the other charges were frivolous.

The proceedings went no further that day. The King, the Council, and most of the Lords, were convinced of his innocence; but the Commons were blinded by prejudice, believed him a traitor, and made it known that they would grant no supplies unless the Court sacrificed him--the Queen's minion, as they absurdly fancied the old warrior who had fought in many a campaign before she was born.

The concern of the Court was then to put the Duke out of reach till this fury should overpass; and for this purpose the King sent for all the Lords, spiritual and temporal, to his chamber, and placed Suffolk before them, on his knees, again to answer for himself. He said that he had already shown the falsehood of all, swore that he knew no more of these treasons than an unborn child, and unreservedly threw himself on the King's mercy.

The Chancellor, Cardinal Kemp, then declared that, as he had not put himself on his peerage for trial, the King made no decision as to his guilt or innocence, but merely commanded him to quit the realm on the 1st of May for five years. Lord Beaumont then protested in the name of all the Lords that their acquiescence in this sentence was not to be a precedent for depriving them of their rights of being tried by their

peers; and a few days after, the King adjourned Parliament, to meet on the 19th of March at Leicester.

The populace were in a dreadful state of excitement, inflamed by political ballads and by seditious whisperers, who went about under feigned names, such as Bluebeard, and the like. Two thousand persons assembled at St. Giles, and searched the fields around it, in hopes of seizing and destroying the Duke ere he left London. He had notice, and evaded them; but they found his horse and servant, and used them cruelly.

Suffolk safely reached his own estates, set his affairs in order, and wrote a beautiful letter of advice to his son,-of which the Pastons preserved a copy,—bidding him to honour and obey God first, next the King, and then his mother; to avoid evil company, and choose good advisers. 'Doing thus, with the mercy of God, ye shall do right, and live in right much worship, and great heart's-rest and ease. And I will be to you as good lord and father as my heart can think. And last of all, as heartily and as lovingly as ever father blessed his child on earth, I give you the blessing of our Lord and of me, which of His infinite mercy increase you in all virtue and good living, that your blood may be His grace from kindred to kindred, multiply in this earth to His service in such wise as after the departing from this wretched world here, ye and they may glorify Him eternally amongst His angels in heaven.

Written by mine hand
The day of my departing fro this land.

Your true and loving father,


It was a longer farewell than Suffolk knew. Those who thirsted for his blood were resolved not to be balked, and kept their watch on the


His last measure was to call the knights and gentlemen of Suffolk together, and make oath of his innocence on the Sacrament before them. Then he embarked at Ipswich, with three ships, and on approaching Calais, on the 2nd of May, sent his smallest vessel to learn whether he might land there. A large ship came out to meet him, and a message was sent to desire him to come on board and speak with the captain. As soon as he set foot on deck he was greeted with the words, Welcome, traitor ! and made prisoner. He was allowed the attendance of his confessor, and wrote a long letter to the King; and thus two days passed, but his heart sank when he found that the name of the ship was the St. Nicolas of the Tower, for he had been told that he should be safe only if he escaped the Tower! On the third day he was set before a mock tribunal of the rude sailors, found guilty, and sentenced, taken out into a boat, and told to lay his head down, for he should die like a knight, and the head of this brave old gentleman was hacked off with six strokes of a rusty sword; his corpse was stripped of his mailed velvet suit, and put ashore, with his property and his servants, on the coast of Kent.

The Sheriff watched the body until word could be had from the King what was to be done with it; and it was honourably buried at Wingfield, in Suffolk. Who was the real mover in this bloody deed was never known. The sailors did indeed bitterly resent the loss of France, but if they had been the devisers of the cruelty, they would probably have slain him at once, instead of waiting, apparently, for orders. The next suspicion falls on the Duke of York, but nothing in his after life is consistent with so abominable a murder; and who was Suffolk's chief enemy-unless he were Lord Cromwell-must remain a mystery. His horrible death did not even produce any relenting, but a ballad was sung in exultation over him, putting scraps of the dirge and penitential psalms into the mouths of the friends who had been unable to save Jac Nape, as he is throughout called—i.e. Jack the Cnape, or knave, the origin of Jackanapes.

The populace of England were in a frightful state of lawless disaffection, and reports were rife that the men of Kent would be punished for the murder of Suffolk, by the Queen's desire. It was a monstrous allegation ; but the whole country was in a state of ferment, savage at the loss of the French dominions, and further excited to mischief by the soldiers whom the cessation of the war had turned loose upon the country, with all the lawless violence bred of thirty years warfare. They could not rob the sturdy well-armed English peasantry, as the routiers did the French poor; but they excited them to discontent. To the army York had been the hero, and Somerset the object of hatred, and the notion that the French Queen and the ministers had betrayed the Duke of York and sold the conquests of Henry V. with the Beauforts' connivance, excited the people to fury. How far York was responsible cannot be made out; in fact, the inner history of this reign is entirely untraceable. It sometimes seems like a parody of that of Richard II., but in that case the motives are much more evident. De Vere was a really vicious and mischievous minion, such as De la Pole never was. Richard had a strong personal animosity to Thomas of Glocester, such as gentle Henry never felt for Humfrey of the same dukedom, and the peasantry who rose under Wat Tyler had terrible grievances, of a kind which did not exist when the faction of 1450 broke out.

The chief mover was a man named John Cade, Irish by birth, but who had been a tenant of William Ayscough, Bishop of Salisbury, and in the service of Sir William Dagre. He had killed a woman in his early days, had taken sanctuary, and then escaped to France, where he had fought, some say on the French side, some on the English-not improbably on both. After the disbanding of the army he returned to Ireland, where the Duke of York was governor, and shortly after appeared in Kent, declaring that his real name was Mortimer, and

« PreviousContinue »