« AnteriorContinuar »
'Whiste' quod Wyat, 'you maye not so much as name religion, for that wil withdraw from vs the heartes of manye: you must only make your quarel for onerrunninge by straungers. And yet to thee be it sayd in counsell, as vnto my frende, we minde onely the restitution of God's word."-Fol. 3. b.
That the good commons of England might at any time be worked upon by representations that they were being sold as slaves into the hands of strangers and foreigners, is very conceivable : but that the match between the Queen and Philip of Spain was really disliked by the people in general, or considered by them as a national grievance, may very well be questioned. At the same time, we must not be surprised, that the matter has been represented in that light by modern historians, who have too generally and too implicitly followed the statements of the most violent agitators of the period, who had, as Mr. Proctor observes, “ maliciously imagined and blowen abrode” a 66 seditious and malacious report" calculated to render the very name of the Spaniards “odible to all sortes.” Thus Bishop Burnet tell us :
“It was now apparent, the queen was to marry the prince of Spain; which gave an universal discontent to the whole nation. All that loved the Reformation saw, that not only their religion would be changed, but a Spanish government and inquisition would be set up in its stead. Those who considered the civil liberties of the kingdom, without great regard to religion, concluded that England would become a province to Spain, and they saw how they governed the Netherlands,” &c.—Hist. of Ref. Vol. ii. p. 249.
“But great discontents did now appear everywhere. The severe executions after the last rising, the marriage with Spain, and the overturning of religion concurred to alienate the nation from the government.”—Ibid. 268.
Of course it is very easy to talk of “universal discontent” and “the whole nation,” and to tell us that “ discontents” appeared "everywhere;” but perhaps it would not be easy to justify the use of such language by particular details. Certainly there were some discontents, and some attempts to create more. For instance, Stafford's rebellion, which it may be worth while to refer to more particularly, because it not only illustrates our present subject, but is a good specimen of the manner in which history is too often made. Strype gives us (from that
curious miscellany the “ Foxii MSS.") the proclamation which this rebel issued, and which begins thus :
"To all and every singular person and persons, of what estate or degree soever they be, that love the common wealthe, honoure, and libertie of this ower native countrye, and moste for the realme of England, the Lorde Thomas Stafforde, son to the Lorde Henry, rightfull Duke of Bockingham, sendythe greetinge. Knowe ye, most dearlye belovyd contrymen, that we travellinge strange realmes, and forren nations, have perfectly proved owt manye detestable treasons, which Spanyardes shamfullye and wrongfullye have pretended, and at this present have indevered themselves to worke against ower noble realme of Englande; we therfore more tenderlye favouringe, as all trewe Englishmen owghte to do, the common commodity and weal publycke of this ower natyve contrye, than ower welthe, treasure, safegarde, health, or pleasure, have with all possible spede arived here in the castell of Scarborowe, levyng owr band, wherwith we thoughte to have proved in other affayers, comyng after us, bycause we had perfect knowledge by certaine letters taken with Spanyardes at Depe, that this same castell of Scarborow, with xij other of the moste chefest and principall howldes in the realme, shalbe delyvered to xij thousand Spanyardes, before the Kinges coronation : for the Spanyardes saye, it were but vaine for the Kinge to be crowned, onlesse he maye have certaine of our strongest castelles and holdes, to resorte to at all tymes, till he maye be able to bringe in a greate armye to withstonde his enemyes, that is, to overrun and destroye the wholle realme: for, so long as Englyshemen have anye power, we truste they will never submitte themselfes to vile Spanyardes. Which treason we have disappointed ; trustinge, and firmelye belevinge, by the mighte of the omnipotente, everlastinge God, with the ayde and helpe of all trewe Englyshmen, to deliver owr country from all presente peril, daunger, and bondage, wherunto it is like to be broughte, by the moste develyshe devize of Mary, unrightful and
unworthye Quene of England, who, both by the will of hir father, Kirge Henrye the viijth, and by the lawes of this noble realme of England, hathe forfette the crowne, for marriage with a straunger. And also hathe moste justlye deserved to be deprived from the crowne, because she being naturallye borne haulfe Spanyshe and haulfe Englyshe, bearythe not herselfe indifferentlye towardes bothe nations, but showinge herselfe a whole Spanyarde, and no Englyshe woman, in lovinge Spanyardes, and hatinge Inglyshemen, inrichinge Spanyardes and robbinge Inglyshemen; sending over to Spanyardes continuallye the treasure, gowlde, and silver of our realme, to maintaine them for owr destruction ; sufferinge poore people of England to lyve in all carefull miserye, manye of them dyinge for verye hunger : and not contented with all thes myschyfes, she sekynge earnestlye by all possyble meanes to place Spanyardes in our castelles and howides, contrarye to all statutes, customes, and ordinaunces within this realme, that they maye burne and destroye the countrye iij or iiij tymes yerelye, till Englyshemen can be contented to obeye all their vyle costomes, and moste detestable doinges, wherby the
whole commonaltie of Inglande shalbe broughte to perpetual captivitie, bondage, and moste servýle slaverye, as evidently shalbe proved before all men, at our fyrste assemble.”—Mem. Vol. III. P. ii. p. 515.
This rebellious proclamation is given by Strype, in what he calls the “ Catalogue” of documents, annexed to the Memorials; and, notwithstanding something almost tautologous, the passage of his history which refers to the matter, may amuse the reader as a specimen of the unsuspecting simplicity with which Strype received and adopted every statement proceeding from what he considered the right side. If it were not so mischievous, it would be merely ludicrous to see how the rhodomontade of this rebel proclamation is transmuted into mere matter-of-fact history,
“The Government by this time became very uneasy, not only in respect of the bloodshed for religion, and the rigorous inquisitions made every where, but for the domineering of the Spaniards, which was intolerable. The English were very much disregarded, and the Spaniards ruled all; the queen, half Spanish by birth, and still more so by marriage, shewing them all favour; hating the English, and enriching the Spaniard, and sending over her treasures to Spaniards. King Philip also had required twelve of the strongest castles here in England ; which were to be put into the hands of twelve thousand of the Spanish soldiers, to be sent over against the time of his coronation, as was found by certain letters taken with Spaniards at Diep. This raised a great apprehension in the nation, that he intended to get this realm to himself by a conquest, and to reduce it under a tyranny. That nation also had carried themselves here very disobligingly to the English, and would say, that they would rather dwell among Moors and Turks, than with Englishmen; who sometimes would not bear their insolencies and oppressions without resistance.
“ This, together with a hope of restoring himself to the dukedom of Buckingham, made Thomas Stafford, of that blood, in April arrive in England out of France with forces, and possess himself of Scarborough castle ; giving out himself to be governor and protector of the realms ; intending to depose Queen Mary, whom he called, the unrightful and unworthy Queen of England, as forfeiting her crown by marriage with a stranger, and for favouring and maintaining Spaniards, and putting castles into their bands, to the destruction of the English nation. Stafford, with his party, (who were the remainders of those who made the insurrection the last year) put forth his proclamation. But the King and Queen, being greatly surprised herewith, April 30, sent out a proclamation against him and the other traitors with him ; and they were soon quelled by the Earl of Westmorland and others in those parts. Stafford and four more were taken in Scarborough castle, April 28, and brought up to the Tower: and twenty-seven more, that assisted in that exploit, were prisoners in York. May 28, Stafford was beheaded on Towerhill; and the next day three of the accomplices were executed at Tyburn, viz. Stretchley, alias Strelly, alias Stowel, Proctor, and Bradford ; that Bradford, I suppose, who wrote a large and notable letter, mentioned before, against the Spaniards."- Mem. III. ii. 66.
It does not seem to have occurred to Strype that the fact of these rebels meeting with no encouragement—their being, as he
says, soon quelled by the Earl of Westmoreland and others in those parts "—that is, by the English, who were intrusted with such a business, while " very much disregarded, and the Spaniards ruled all”—that the traitors were quietly hanged at Tyburn instead of being cut into mince-meat by the king and his twelve thousand domineering Spaniards it does not, I say, seem to have occurred to him, that these circumstances might justly excite some suspicion as to the perfect accuracy of some statements in the rebel proclamation, and his own view of the state of things in the country generally.
Whether Strype is right in supposing the John Bradford who suffered for the part which he took in this rebellion, to be the author of the work of which I have already spoken at p. 85, I do not pretend to decide ; but his mentioning him will very naturally introduce some extracts from his work. First, however, let us have the copy of verses which are appended to it, and which, as I have already stated, do not appear quite in accordance with his vehement profession of fidelity to the old religion. “I A tragicall blast of the Papisticall trompette for maintenaunce
of the Popes kingdome in Englande.
This golden chaines must reds obei :
No king shall reigne if we say nay. * It is of great importance to observe bow the rhodomontades of history are softened down. Strype says, “twelve thousand of the Spanish sol. diers to be sent over against the time of his coronation." The copy of the rebel proclamation, which he gives from the Fox MSS. leaves the matter open. But the royal proclamation against the rebels (which Strype also gives) distinctly charges the Rebel with having dishonestly stated in his "shamefull proclamation” that “the Kings Majestie, our sayde soveragne Lord hath induced and brought into this realm the number of twelve thousande straungers and Spaniardes." Which of these statements is correct I do not pretend to decide, but of course it was much more to the purpose to tell the Englishmen that the Spaniards were actually in the country, than only that they might be expected.
Now all shauen crownes to the standerd,
Make rome, pul down for the Spaniard. “Spare nother man, woman or childe,
Hange and hed them, burne them with fier:
Make rome, pul down for the Spaniard.
Splay the banner, strike vp the droome,
Make rome, pul down for the Spaniard. “Our golden hatte we muste defende,
Though Christ say nay, we wil it haue,
Make rome, pul down for the Spaniard. “ The Pope our father hathe al rule,
The deuil to him wil neuer say nay,
Make rome pul down for the Spaniard.
So that we betraye Englande to them :
Make rome, pul down for the Spaniard. “Doe you not see this Englishe in feare :
Their hart is driuen into their hose. xiii we burned of late together : Thei durst not snuffe once with their nose Now al shauen crownes to the standerd, Make rome, pul down for the Spaniard. " Hey courage, courage, my felowes al,
The getting ship must bere a proud saile,