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century; Wolsey's administration and fall; the death of Anne Boleyn, and the suppression of the monasteries, are illustrated by numerous letters from the principal personages of the age. Many minor points are alluded to, and there is no important event in the civil history of the reign which is not considered; the ecclesiastical are passed over slightly. We extract a letter from Sir Thomas More to Wolsey, written at a time when the communication between the king and his minister appears to have been carried on entirely through their celebrated secretary. The correspondence is extensive, and shews how much the king attended to his own business. We are surprised to find that Mr. Ellis thinks this a new fact.
"Hit may lyke your good Grace to be advertised that I have received your Graces lettres directed to my selfe dated the last day of Auguste, with the lettres of my Lord Admirall to your Grace, sent in post, and copies of lettres sent bytwene the Quene of Scotts and his Lordshipp concernyng the maters and affeires of Scotland, with the prudent answeris of your Grace as well to my said Lord in your awne name, as in the name of the Kings Highnes to the said Quene of Scotts. All which lettres and copies I have distinctely redde unto his Grace, who hath in the reding therof substancially considered as well the Quene his sisters lettre with the lettres agaynward devised and sent by my lord Admirall to her, and his lettres of advertisement to your Grace, as your moost politique devises and answeres un to all the same; among which the lettre which your Grace devised in the name of his Highnes to the Quene his sister, his Grace so well lyked that I never saw him lyke thing bettre; and as help me God in my pore fantasie, not causeles, for hit is for the quantite one of the best made lettres for wordis, mater, sentence, and cowching that ever I redde in my life.
"His Highnes, in your Graces lettre directed to my Lord Admirall, marked and well lyked that your Grace towched my said Lord and my Lord Dacres, in that that theire opinions had bene to the lett of the great roode which if hit had bene ere this tymè made in to Scotland, as by your prudent advice hit had if theyre opinions with other had not bene to the contrarie, hit shold, as by the Quenes lettre appereth, have bene th' occasion of some great and good effecte.
"His Highnes also well allowed that your Grace noteth not onely remisse dealing, but also some suspitione in that the Lord Dacre so litle estemede the mynde and opinion of the Kings sister, wherof he had by his servant so perfait knowledge.
"Finally his Highnes is of the mynde of your Grace, and singularly commendeth your policie in that your Grace determineth for à finall way that my Lord Admirall shall sett forth his entreprises without eny longer tracte of tyme, not ceacing to preace theym with all the annoyance possible till they fall ernestely and effectually to some
bettre trayne and conformitie. And veryly his Highnes thinketh as * your Grace writeth, that for eny lakke of those things which as he wryteth are not yet cummen to hym, he shold not have neded to forbore to have done theym with smaller roods, at the lest way some annoyauns in the meane season.
“I redde also to his Highnes the lettre of Mr. Doctor Knyght written un to your Grace, with your Grace's lettres written to my selfe, by the tenor wherof his Grace well perceiveth your moost prudent answere devised and made as well to his said embassiator as to thembassiator of themperor, concernyng the disbursyng of such money as his Highnes shold lay owte for th'entretenement of the x. lance knights wherin his Grace highly well approveth, as well your moost politique foresight, so wisely dowting leste this delay of the declaration myht happen to be a device wherby th'emperor myght spare his awne charge and entreteign th'almaignes with th❜only cost of the Kings Grace, as also your moost prudent ordre taken therin, by which his Highnes shalbe bounden to no charge excepte the Duke first passe the articles sent by Sir John Russll, and that the x almaynes be levied and joyned with the Duke and he dedeclared enemy to the French King.
"I red also to his Highnes the copie of your Graces lettres devised to M. Doctor Sampson and M. Jernyngham, wherin his Highnes well perceived and marked what labor and payn your Grace had taken as well in substantiall advertising his said embassiators at length of all occurraunts here, with the goodly rehersall of the valiaunt acquitall of his army on the See not onely there done, but also descending on the land with all his preparations and armyes sett forth and furnyshed as well toward France as Scotland, as also in your good and substantiall instructions geven un to theym for the semblable advauncyng of th'emperors army and actuall invasion to be made on that side for his part.
"His Highnes hath also seen and signed the lettres by your Grace devised in his name, as well to Don Ferdinando and to the Duke of Mechelberge in answere of their late lettres sent un to his Grace, as also to the Duke of Ferrare in commendation of the Kings orators in case the Duke accepte the ordre.
"In the reding and advising of all which things, his Highnes saied that he perceived well what labor, studie, payn, and travaile your Grace had taken in the device and pennyng of so many, so greate things, so high well dispached in so brief tyme, whan the onely redyng therof held hym above twoo howres. His Highnes therfore commaunded me to write un to your Grace that, for your labor, travaile, study, paine, and diligens he geveth your Grace his moost harty, and not more harty than highly well-deserved thanks. And thus our Lord long preserve your good Grace in honor and helth. At Okyng the first day of Septembre.
"Your humble orator and moost
"THOMAS MORE." Vol. I. p. 203.
In these days of rampant Popery, it may not be amiss to direct attention to several letters from Sir William Kingston, heutenant of the tower, to secretary Cromwell, respecting the conduct of Queen Anne Boleyn, during her imprisonment. Lingard has treated this unfortunate woman with his usual unfairness; and Cobbett is a greater brute than her husband. But they have little to say against her, except that she did not profess her innocence on the scaffold. It is evident, however, from the fragments of a letter from Sir William (Vol. II. p. 64), that she " sent for him, that he might be with her at the celebration of the sacrament, and hear her declaration touching her innocency." The conclusion is remarkable. I have seen men and also women executed, and they have been in great grief. Thys ladye hass meche joy and plesur in dethe." Is not such a fact worth a hundred declarations on the scaffold? Although for the absence of them, Mr. Ellis offers a satisfactory reason, viz. that the queen was anxious for the safety of her daughter.
The reigns of Edward VI. and Mary add little to Mr. Ellis's collection. Elizabeth is a larger contributor, and there are several disputed points upon which he adduces new evidence; but not having time to meddle with Elizabethan politics, we shall content ourselves with extracting a letter from Mr. Recorder Fleetwood to Lord Treasurer Burleigh, on the police of London. It proves that the vices of the metropolis are not of recent date. A subsequent part of the same correspondence gives us a list of reputed thieves and flash houses, the number of the latter being eighteen.
"Right honorable and my verie good Lord, uppon Thursdaye laste beinge the crastinn of Trinitie Terme, we kepte a sessions of inquyrie in London in the forenone, and in the afternone we kepte the lyke att Fynsburie for Middlesex, in which two severall sessionses all such as were so be arrayegned for felonye at the gaole deliverye were indyted. Uppon Frydaie last we sate at the Justice hall att Newgate from vij in the morninge untill vij att night, where were condempned certen horstealers, cutpurses, and such lyke, to the number of x., whereof ix. were executed, and the tenthe stayed by a meanes from the courte. These were executed uppon Saterdaye in the morninge. There was a showmaker also condempned for wyllfull murder commytted in the Blacke ffryers, who was executed uppon Mondaie in the morninge. The same daye my Lord Maior beinge absent abowte the goods of the Spannyards, and also all my Lords the justices of the benches beinge also awaye, we fewe that were there did spend the same daie abowte the searchinge out of sundrye that were receptors of ffelons, where we fownd a greate manye aswell in London, Westminster, Sowthwarke, as in all other
places abowte the same. Amongest our travells this one matter
tumbled owt by the waye, that one Wotton a gentilman borne, and sometyme a marchauntt man of good credyte, who fallinge by tyme into decaye, kepte an alehowse att Smarts keye neere Byllingesgate, and after, for some mysdemeanor beinge put downe, he reared upp a newe trade of lyffe, and in the same howse he procured all the cuttpurses abowt this cittie to repaire to his said howse. There, was a schole howse set upp to learne younge boyes to cutt purses. There were hung up two devises, the one was a pockett, the other was a purse. The pockett had in yt certain cownters and was hunge abowte with hawkes bells, and over the toppe did hannge a litle sacring bell; and he that could take owt a cownter without any noyse, was allowed to be publique ffoyster; and he that could take a peece of sylver owt of the purse without the noyse of any of the bells, he was adjudged a judiciall nypper. Nota that a ffoister is a pickpockett, and a nypper is termed a pickepurse, or a cutpurse. And as concerninge this matter, I will sett downe noe more in this place, but referr your Lordship to the paper herein enclosed.
"Saterdaye and Sondaie beinge paste, uppon Mondaie my Lord Maior, my Lord Buckhurste, the M of the Rooles, my Lord Anderson, Mr Sackford Master of the Requests, Sr. Rowland Hayward, my selffe, Mr. Owen, and Mr. Younge, with the assystaunce of Mr. Attorney and Mr. Solicitor, did arraigne one Awfeild, Webley, and Crabbe, for sparcinge abrood certen lewed, sedicious, and traytorous bookes; Awfeild did most trayterously maynteyne the booke, with longe tedious and frivolous wordes and speaches. Webley did affirme as much as Awfeild had uttered. They are both executed thorough Gods goodnes and yo' Lordshipps good helpe, as Mr. Younge told me. There came a letter to reprive Awfeild, yt was not well digested of as many as knewe of yt, but after all was well taken. When he was executed, his bodye was brought into St. Pulchers to be buried, but the parishioners would not suffer a traytor's corpes to be layed in the earthe where theire parents, wyeffs, chyldren, kynred, maisters, and old neighbors did rest and so his carcase was retourned to the buryall grounde neere Tyborne, and there I leave yt. Crabbe surelye did renownce the Pope, and my Lords and the rest of the benche moved M'. Attorney and Mr. Solicitor to be a meane to her Maiestie for him, and for that cause he was stayed. Trewelye my Lord it is nothinge needfull to wrytte for the staye of any to be repryved, for there is not any in our commyssion of London or Middlesex but we are desirous to save or staye any poore wretche, yf by color of any lawe or reason we maye doe ytt. My singler good Lord my Lord William of Wynchester was wonte to saye, "when the courte is furthest from London, then is there the best justice done in all England." I once hard as great a parsonage in office and authoritye as ever he was, and yett lyvinge, saye the same wordes. Yt is growen for a trade nowe in the courte to make meanes for repryves, twentie pownd for a reprive is nothinge, although it be but for bare tenn daies. I see it will not be holpen onles one honored gentilman, who many tymes is abused by wronge informacion (and suerlie uppon my sowle, not uppon any evill mean
inge) do staye his penn. I have not one letter for the staye of a theiffe from your Lordshippe. Fearinge that I trouble your Lordship with my-tedious lettres I end, this vijth of Julie 1585.
"Your good Lordships moste humbly bownden,
"W. FLETEWOODE." Vol. II. p. 296.
The accession of James I. his journey to London, and the circumstances connected with it, are described in some interesting letters; and an admonitory epistle from the king to his eldest son is deserving of notice.
"My sonne, that I see you not before my pairting impute it to this great occasion quhairin tyme is sa preciouse; but that shall by Goddis grace shortlie be recompencid by youre cumming to me shortlie, and continuall residence with me ever after. Lett not this newis make you proude, or insolent, for a kings sonne and heire was ye before, and na maire ar ye yett. The augmentation that is heirby lyke to fall unto you, is but in caires and heavie burthens. Be thairfor merrie, but not insolent; keepe a greatnes, but sine fastu; be resolute but not willfull; keepe your kyndnes, but in honorable sorte; choose nane to be youre play fellowis but thame that are well borne; and above all things give never goode countenance to any but according as ye shall be informed that they are in æstimation with me. Looke upon all Englishe men that shall cum to visite you as upon youre loving subjectis, not with that ceremonie as towardis straingeris, and yett with such hartlines as at this tyme they deserve. This gentleman quhom this bearare accumpanies is worthie, and of guide ranke, and nou my familiare servitoure; use him thairfore in a maire hamelie loving sorte nor otheris. I sende you herewith my booke latelie prentid: studdie and profite in it as ye wolde deserve my blessing; and as thaire can na thing happen unto you quhairof will not finde the generall grounde thairin, if not the verrie particulaire pointe touched, sa mon ye levell everie mannis opinions or advyces unto you as ye finde thaime agree or discorde with the reulis thaire sett doun, allouing and following thaire advyces that agrees with the same, mistrusting and frouning upon thaime that advyses you to the contraire. Be diligent and earnist in your studdies, that at your meiting with me, I maye praise you for youre progresse in learning. Be obedient to youre maister, for youre awin weill, and to procure my thankis; for in reverencing him ye obeye me, and honoure yourselfe. Fairuell.
"Your loving Father,
"JAMES R." Vol. III. P. 78. The most voluminous correspondent during the reigns of James and Charles is the celebrated Joseph Meade, who resided at that time at Cambridge, and appears to have been a diligent collector and disseminator of news. His letters are entertaining; but we cannot look upon them in the same light as the contents of former volumes. Sir Thomas More and Lord Burleigh could not have been ignorant of the