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ard; or of law, as that worthy knight whom he long used to sollicit his causes, he left all both in good fortune, and, which is more, in good fame: Things very seldom consociated in the instruments of great personages.
REIGN OF AN UNHAPPY PRINCE,
Quarto, containing seven pages, Printed at London in the year of much bloodshed, 1643.
HIS present occasion serving so opportunely fit, I thought it a labour
memorable parliament, begun in the tenth year of Richard the Second, both for the great wonders that it wrought, in the subversion of the malignants, who were near unto the king, and had distilled much pernicious counsel into his sacred ears: As also, that every good and careful reader might learn thereby to avoid diversities of miseries, and the fear and danger of a cruel death. I will therefore give a true and short narration of that which hath lain hid a long time in the shadow of forgetfulness, concerning men of great and eminent authority in this kingdom, who have been led away in the deceitful path of covetousness, and have come to an untimely and ignominious end; being famous examples to deter all men in authority, or whom favour shall raise near unto the king, from practising those, or the like courses.
When Richard, the second of that name, about the prime of his youth, swayed the imperial scepter of our realm, there flourished in his court certain peers, viz. Alexander Nevill, Archbishop of York, a man more favoured by fortune, than by the honour of his descent; Robert Vere, Duke of Ireland; Michael de la Poole, Earl of Suffolk, and then Lord Chancellor; Robert Trissilian, Lord Chief Justice of England, and Nicholas Brambre, a man, though low in parentage, yet sometime Lord Mayor of London. These men being raised by the special favour of the King, and advanced to the degree of privy-counsellors, were the men, who had the only rule of the common-wealth, which they, for a little while, governed, under the King, with great care and diligence, meriting thereby deserved commendations; but this not long did continue, for, overcome either with ambition, or with covetousness, or
with the pleasures of the court, they despised the authority of their too easy King, and, neglecting the commodity of the realm, in a short time, the revenues of the crown began to waste, the treasure was exhausted, and the commons murmured at the multiplicity of levies, and subsidies, and new ways of taxations; the peers repine to see themselves disgraced, and, in one word, the whole kingdom endured an universal misery. The nobility, seeing the miserable estate wherein themselves and the kingdom was involved, urged the King to summon a parliament, which was done shortly after; in which, amongst many other acts, Michael de la Poole was dismissed of his chancellorship, and, being accused of many crimes of injustice, as, bribery, extortion, and the like, he was committed to Windsor-Castle, and all his lands confiscated to the King. Neither did the parliament here give over, but provided for the whole state, by a mutual consent betwixt his Majesty and the prelates, the barons, and the commons; and, with an unanimous consent, they chose a committee of the lords spiritual and temporal, to depress all civil dissensions, and to appease the grudgings of the people. Of the spiritualty were chosen the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Ely, the Bishop of Winchester, &c. Of the laity were elected, by the Duke of York, the Earl of Arundel, the Lord Cobbam, the Lord Scroope, &c. these, as men eminent in virtue, were chosen by general suffrage, and (the parliament being then to be dissolved) were sworn to carry themselves as dutiful and obedient subjects in all their actions. Soon after the aforenamed chancellor, Michael de la Poole, buzzed in the King's ears (being moved with implacable fury against the parliament) that the statutes, then enacted, were prejudicial to the crown, and much derogatory to his princely prerogative, insomuch that he should not have the power in his own hands to preserve a servant, or to bestow a largess, &c. By these, and other the like impious instigations, with which the devil did continually supply them, they practised to annihilate these out of the parliament, or whatsoever might seem, by the liberty of the subject, to reflect on the royal prerogative of the prince: And, first, by their serpentine tongues, and ambitious projects, they so bewitched the noble instigation of the King, that they induced him to believe, that all the ill they did was a general good, and so wrought upon him, that he began to distaste and abhor the passed acts of his parliaments, as treacherous plots, and wicked devices. Next, they studied to ingross the riches of the kingdom into their own coffers, and, to the same end, deal so cunningly, yet pleasingly, with the King, that to some he gave ransoms of royal captives, taken in the late wars in France; to some towns, to some cities, to some lands, to others money, amounting to the sum of a 100000 marks, to the great impoverishment both of King and kingdom. Thirdly, contrary to their allegiance, they vilified the dignity of the King; they caused him to swear, that, with all his power, during his life, he should maintain and defend them from all their enemies, whether foreign or domestick. Fourthly, whereas it was enacted, that the King should sit with his parliament at Westminster, to consult of the publick affairs, through the persuasion of the aforesaid conspirators, he was drawn into the most remote parts
of his realm, to the great disparagement of his great council, and the general dissatisfaction of the kingdom. And when any of his great council came to make relation of the state of the realm unto his Majesty, they could not be granted access, unless they related the business in the presence of the conspirators, who were always ready to upbraid them, if they uttered any thing that displeased them; and though they seemed to advance it, they did as much as in them lay, to hinder the King from exercising his royal prerogative. But, though there were so many plots, conspiracies, and treasons against our state, our evermerciful God inspired into the hearts of the Duke of Gloucester, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, the spirit of valour and magnanimity, and every man, according to his ability, levied a power for the preservation of the King and kingdom; all which forces, being united, amounted to the number of 20000. And though the conspirators, by vertue of a certain spiritual commission, proclaimed throughout the city of London, That no man, upon the pain of the loss of his goods, should sell any victuals, or ammunition, to the army of the Earl of Arundel, they could not debar them from it; wherefore they counselled the King to absent himself from parliament, and not consult of the affairs of the kingdom, unless an oath were taken, that they (the said conspirators) should have no accusation urged against them: And they caused it to be proclaimed throughout London, that none, under pain of confiscation of all their goods, should speak any upbraiding speeches concerning the King, or the conspirators, which was a thing impossible to hinder. In the mean time, the three noblemen, the Duke of Gloucester, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, having mustered their troops, sent an accusation in writing to the King, against the said conspirators, the Archbishop of York, the Duke of Ireland, the Earl of Suffolk, Robert Trissilian, and Nicholas Brambre, wherein they accused them of high-treason, for proclaiming throughout all the shires where the King journied, that all barons, knights, and esquires, with the greatest of the commonalty, able to bear arms, should speedily repair to the King, for his defence against the power of the commission. As also, that, contrary to the said acts, they caused the Duke of Ireland to be created chief justice of Chester, hereby selling justice as they listed, and for giving pardons, under the broad seal, to felons, murderers, and such like: As also, they taught Ireland to look back to her pristine estate of having a King; for they plotted to have the Duke created King of Ireland; and, for to have the confirmation of this design, they allured the King to send his letters to the pope.
When these things came to the King's ears, he sent unto them, requiring to know what their demands were: Answer was returned, they desired, that the traitors, who daily committed insufferable crimes, and filled his ears with false reports, to avoid the effusion of more blood, might receive that reward their crimes deserved, and that they might have free liberty of going and coming to his grace. This the King gave consent unto; and, sitting in his throne, at the great hall in Westminster, the poor appellants, with humble reverence, bowed three times low before his Majesty on their knees, and again asked the aforesaid conspirators, guilty of high treason; whereupon, not long after,
the Duke of Ireland withdrew himself, and, marching into Cheshire, Lancashire, and Wales, raised a power of 6000 men, in the King's name, to overthrow and confound the appellants; and, marching towards London, when he found the army of the appellants was marching down the mountains, near Whitney, like a hive of bees, such a violent and cold palsy cowed them, that they flung down their arms, and yielded themselves to the mercy of the appellants; the Duke of Ireland himself, putting spurs to his horse, took the river, where he hardly escaped drowning. The conspirators, hearing of this, struck with fear, under the cover of the night, did fly by water to the tower, and seduced the King to go along with them.
Not long after, there was a conference in the tower, betwixt the King and the said appellants, at the end of which the King did swear to adhere to their counsels, so far as the true law of reason and equity did require; and, because the harvest was now ripe, presently divers of the officers of the King's houshold were excluded, as John Beauchamp, Peter Bourtoey, knights, and many others; and of the clergy, John Blake, dean of the chapel; John Lincolne, chancellor of the exchequer; John Clifford, clerk of the chapel, were kept under arrest. And thus this hideous brood of monsters, so often shaken, was quite overthrown..
On the second of February the King came to his parliament, and after him appeared the five noblemen, appellants; who, leading one another hand in hand,, with submissive gestures reverenced the King, and, by the mouth of Robert Pleasington, their speaker, they thus. declared, That the Duke of Gloucester, and themselves, came to purge themselves of the treasons laid to their charge, by their conspirators. To whom the lord chancellor, by the command of the King, answered, That the King conceived honourably of them all, especially of his cousin the Duke of Gloucester, who, being of affinity to him in a collateral line, could never (he said) be induced to attempt any treason against his Majesty. On this, after thanks humbly given to the King, the appellants requested the King, that sentence of condemnation might be given against the conspirators; but the King, being moved in conscience, and in charity, perceiving that in every work they are to remember the end, desired, that the process might cease; but the peers again importuned him, that no business might be debated, until this treason were adjudged: To which the King, at length, graciously granted his assent; and, when nothing could be produced by the conspirators to justify themselves, they were adjudged this heavy doom, that the Archbishop of York, the Duke of Ireland, the Earl of Suffolk, Tressilian, and Brambre, should be drawn from the Tower to Tyburn, and there to be hanged upon a gibbet, until they were dead, and all their lands and goods to be confiscated, that none of their posterity might by them be any way inriched. After this many more of their accomplices were taken, and indicted of high-treason, whose names here follow underwritten,
The names of such as were charged and condemned of high-treason in the aforementioned memorable parliament.
Alexander Nevill, Archbishop of York; Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland, who being banished into France, was killed with a wild boar; Michael de la Poole, Earl of Oxford, lord high chancellor; Robert Tressilian, lord chief justice of the king's-bench; Sir Nicholas Brambre, sometime lord mayor of London, made a privy-counsellor; John Blake, serjeant at arms; Thomas Uske, an intelligencer of Tressilian's. All these, except the Duke of Ireland, were hanged and drawn at the Elms, now called Tyburn.
Robert Belknap, John Holt, Roger Falthorp, William Burleigh, John Locton, and John Carey were judges; and, altho' condemned, yet their lives were saved at the intercession of the lords spiritual and temporal, and were afterwards banished into Ireland; Sir Simon Burleigh, who was condemned and beheaded; Sir John Beauchamp, steward of the houshold to the king; Sir James Beversous.
There were also condemned and detected of the aforesaid treason the Bishop of Chichester, the king's confessor; Sir Thomas Trinit, knight; Sir William Ellington, knight; Sir Nicholas Neyworth, John Slake, and John Lincoln, which last were three of the clergy. Behold these men, who feared not God, nor regarded men, but, having the laws in their own hands, wrested them now this way, and now that way, as pleased best their appetites, wresting them, at their pleasures for their own commodities, were at the last brought down to the depth of misery, from whence they were never able to free themselves.
Richard, son of the valiant and victorious Edward the Black Prince, was born at Bourdeaux, and grandchild to King Edward the Third; being eleven years old, he began his reign, the twenty-first day of June, in the year of our Lord 1377, and was crowned king at Westminster, the sixteenth day of July; in bounty, beauty, and liberality, he far surpassed all his progenitors, but was over much given to ease and quietness, little regarding the feats of arms; and, being young, was ruled most by young council, regarding little the council of the sage men of the realm; which thing turned this land to great trouble, and himself to extreme misery. For being first disgraced by his cousin Henry of Bullingbroke, Duke of Hereford, son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, he was, at length, by the general consent of parliament, deposed from his crown and kingdom, the twenty-ninth of September, 1399, and committed to prison, and afterwards wickedly murdered; for, being sent to Pomfret castle to be safely kept, and princely maintained, he was shortly after, by King Henry's direction and command, who feared, lest his estate might be shaken while King Richard lived, wickedly assaulted in his lodging, by Sir Pereu of Exton, and eight other armed men; from one of whom with a princely courage he wrested a broom-bill, therewith slew four of them, and fought with all the rest, until, coming by his own chair, in which the base cowardly knight stood for his own safety, he was by him struck with a pole ax in the hinder part of his head, so that presently he fell down and died, when he had reigned twenty-two years, seventeen weeks, and two days.