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HIS fifteenth year of the King, there was a great plague both in London and in divers parts of the kingdom. Wherefore the King after often changes of place, whether to avoid the danger of the sickness, or to give occasion of an interview with the Archduke, or both, sailed over with his Queen to Calais. Upon his coming thither the Archduke sent an honourable ambassage unto him, as well to welcome him into those parts, as to let him know that if it pleased him he would come and do him reverence. But it was said withal, that the King might be pleased to appoint some place that were out of any walled town or fortress, for that he had denied the same upon like occasion to the French King. And though he said he made a great difference between the two Kings, yet he would be loth to give a precedent, that might make it after to be expected at his hands by another whom he trusted less. The King accepted of the courtesy, and admitted of his excuse, and appointed the place to be at Saint Peter’s Church without Calais. But withal he did visit the Archduke with ambassadors sent from himself, which were the Lord St. John and the secretary, unto whom the Archduke did the honour as (going to mass at St. Omer’s) to set the Lord Saint John on his right hand and the secretary on his left, and so to ride between them to church. They day appointed for the interview the King went on horseback some distance from Saint Peter’s Church to receive the Archduke. And upon their approaching, the Archduke made haste to light [dismount], and offered to hold the King’s stirrup at his alighting, which he would not permit, but descending from horseback they embraced with great affection. And withdrawing into the church to a place prepared, they had long conference, not only upon the confirmation of former treaties, and the freeing of commerce, but upon cross-marriage to be had between the Duke of York the King’s second son, and the Archduke’s daughter; and again between Charles, the Archduke’s son and heir, and Mary the King’s second daughter. But these blossoms of unripe marriage were but of friendly wishes, and the airs of loving entertainment; though one of them came afterwards to a conclusion in treaty, though not in effect. But during the time that the two Princes conversed and communed together in the suburbs of Calais, the demonstrations on both sides were passing hearty and affectionate; especially on the part of the Archduke; who (besides that he was a Prince of an excellent good nature) being conscious to himself how drily this King had been used by his counsel in the matter of Perkin, did strive by all means to recover it in the King’s affection. And having also his ears continually beaten with the counsels of his father and father-in-law, who in respect of their jealous hatred against the French King did always advise the Archduke to anchor himself upon the amity of King Henry of England, was glad upon this occasion to put in ure [read use?] and practice their precepts: calling the King patron, and father, and protector, (these very words the King repeats, when he certified of the loving behaviour of the Archduke to the city,) and what else he could devise to express his love and observances to the King. There came also the the King the Governor of Picardy and the Bailiff of Amiens, sent from Lewis the French King to do him honour, and to give him knowledge of his victory and winning of the duchy of Milan. It seemeth the King was well pleased with the honours he received from those parts, while he was at Calais; for he did himself certify all the news and occurrents of them in every particular from Calais to the Mayor and Aldermen of London, which no doubt made no small talk in the City. For the King, though he could not entertain the good-will of the citizens as Edward the Fourth did, yet by affability and other princely graces did ever make very much of them, and apply himself to them.
2. This year also died John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of England, and Cardinal. He was a wise man and an eloquent, but in his nature harsh and haughty, much accepted by the King, but envied by the nobility and hated of the people. Neither was his name left out of Perkin’s proclamation for any good will; but they would not bring him in amongst the King’s casting counters, because he had the image and superscription upon him of the Pope, in his honour of Cardinal. He wanne [won over] the King with secrecy and diligence, but chiefly because he was his old servant in his less fortunes, and also for that in his affections he was not without an inveterate malice against the house of York, under whom he had been in trouble. He was willing also to take envy from the King more than the King was willing to put upon him. For the King cared not for subterfuges, but would stand envy, and appear in any thing that was to his mind; which made envy still grow upon him; more universal, but less daring. But in the matter of exactions, time did after shew that the Bishop in feeding the King’s humour did rather temper it. He had been by Richard the Third committed as in custody to the Duke of Buckingham, whom he did secretly incite to revolt from King Richard. But after the Duke was engaged, and thought the Bishop should have been his chief pilot in the tempest, the Bishop was gotten into the cock-boat, and fled beyond seas. But whatsoever else was in the man, he deserveth a most happy memory, in that he was the principal means of joining the two Roses. He died of great years, but of strong health and powers.
3. The next year, which was the sixteenth year of the King and the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred, was the year of jubilee at Rome. But Pope Alexander, to save the hazard and charges of men’s journeys to Rome, thought good to make over those graces by exchange to such as would pay a convenient rate, seeing they could not come to fetch them. For which purpose was sent into England Gasper Pons a Spaniard, the Pope’s commissioner, better chosen than were the commissioners of Pope Leo afterwards employed for Germany; for he carried the business with great wisdom and semblance of holiness; insomuch as he levied great sums of money within this land to the Pope’s use, with little or no scandal. It was thought the King shared in the money. But it appeareth by a letter which Cardinal Adrian, the King’s pensioner, writ to he King from Rome some few years after, that this was not so. For this Cardinal, being to persuade Pope Julius on the King’s behalf to expedite the bull of dispensation for the marriage between Prince Henry and the Lady Katherine, finding the Pope difficile in granting thereof, doth use it as a principal argument concerning the King’s merit towards that see, that he had touched none of those deniers which had been levied by Pons in England. But that it might the better appear (for the satisfaction of the common people) that this was consecrate money, the same nuncio brought unto the King a brief from the Pope, wherein the King was exhorted and summoned to come in person against the Turk. For that the Pope, out of the care of an universal father, seeing almost under his eyes the successes and progresses of that great enemy of the faith, had had in the conclave, and with the assistance of the ambassadors of foreign Princes, divers consultations about an holy war and general expedition of Christian Princes against the Turk. Wherein it was agreed and thought fit, that the Hungarians, Polonians, and Bohemians, should make a war upon Thracia: the French and Spaniards upon Graecia; and that the Pope (willing to sacrifice himself in so good a cause) in person, and in company of the King of England, the Venetiams, (and such other states as were great in maritime power), would sail with a puissant navy through the Mediterrane unto Constantinople. And that to this end his Holiness had sent nuncios to all Christian Princes, as well for a cessation of all quarrels and differences amongst themselves, as for speedy preparations and contributions of forces and treasure for this sacred enterprise.
[4.] To this the King (who understood well the court of Rome) make an answer rather solemn than serious. Signifying that no Prince on earth should be more forward and obedient both by his person and by all his possible forces and fortunes to enter into this sacred war than himself. But that the distance of place was such, as no force that he should raise for the seas could be levied or prepared but with double the charge and double the time (at the least) that they might be from the other Princes that had their territories nearer adjoining. Besides, that neither the manner of his ships (having no galleys) nor the experience of his pilots and mariners could be so apt for those seas as theirs. And therefore that his Holiness might do well to move one of those other Kings, who lay fitter for the purpose, to accompany him by sea, whereby both all these things would be no sooner put in readiness, and with less charge, and the emulation and division of command which might grow between those Kings of Freance and Spain if they should both join in the war by land upon Graecia, might be wisely avoided. And that for his part he would not be wanting in aids and contribution. Yet notwithstanding if both these Kings should refuse, rather than his Holiness should go alone, he would await upon him as soon as he could be ready. Always provided that he might first see all the differences of the Christian Princes amongst themselves fully laid down and appeased, (as for his own part he was in none). And that he might have some good towns upon the coast of Italy put into his hands, for the retreat and safeguard of his men.
5. With this answer Gasper Pons returned, nothing at all discontented. And yet this declaration of the King (as superficial as it was) gave him that reputation abroad, as he was not long after elected by the Knights of Rhodes protector of their order; all things multiplying to honour in a prince that had gotten such high estimation for his wisdom and sufficiency.
6. There were these last two years some proceedings against heretics, which was rare in this King’s reign; and rather by penances than fire. The King had (though he were no good schoolman) the honour to convert one of them by dispute at Canterbury.
7. This year also, though the King were no more haunted with sprites, for that by the sprinkling partly of blood and partly of water he had chased them away; yet nevertheless he had certain apparitions that troubled him: still shewing themselves from one region, which was the house of York. It came so to pass that the Earl of Suffolk, son to Elizabeth eldest sister to King Edward the Fourth by John Duke of Suffolk her second husband, and brother to John Earl of Lincoln, that was slain at Stokefield, being of a hasty and choleric disposition, had killed a man in his fury. Whereupon the King gave him his pardon, but either willing to leave a cloud upon him or the better to make him feel his grace, produced him openly to plead his pardon. This wrought in the Earl, as in a haughty stomach it used to do. For the ignominy printed deeper than the grace. Whereupon he being discontented fled secretly into Flanders unto his aunt the Duchess of Burgundy. The King startled at it, wrought with him so by messages (the Lady Margaret also growing by often failing in her alchemy weary of her experiments, and partly being a little sweetened for that the King had not touched her name in the confession of Perkin,) that he came over again upon good terms, and was reconciled to the King.
8. In the beginning of the next year, being the seventeenth of the King, the Lady Katherine, fourth daughter of Ferdinando and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain, arrived in England at Plymouth the second of October, and was married to Prince Arthur in Paul’s the fourteenth of November following: the Prince being then about fifteen years of age, and the lady about eighteen. The manner of her receiving, the manner of her entry into London, and the celebrity of the marriage, were performed with great and true magnificence, in regard of cost, shew, and order. The chief man that took the care was Bishop Foxe, who was not only a grave counsellor for war or peace, but also a good surveyor of works, and a good master of ceremonies, and any thing else that was fit for the active part belonging to the service of court or state of a great King. This marriage was almost seven years in treaty, which was in part caused by the tender years of the marriage-couple; especially of the Prince. But the true reason was that these two Princes, being Princes of great policy and profound judgment, stood a great time looking one upon another’s fortunes, how they would go; knowing well that in the mean time the very treaty itself gave abroad in the world a reputation of a strait conjunction and amity between them which served on both sides to many purposes that their several affairs required, and yet they continued still free. But in the end, when the fortunes of both the Princes did grow every day more and more prosperous and assured, and that looking all about them they saw no better conditions, they shut it up.
9. The marriage-money the Princess brought (which was turned over to the King by act of renunciation) was two hundred thousand ducats: whereof one hundred thousand were payable ten days after the solemnization, and the other hundred thousand at two payments annual; but part of it to be in jewels and plate, and a due course set down to have them justly and indifferently priced. The jointure of advancement of the lady, was the third part of the principality of Wales, and the dukedom of Cornwall, and of the earldom of Chester; to be after set forth in severalty. And in case she came to be Queen of England her advancement was left indefinite; but thus; that it should be as great as ever any former Queen of England had.
10. In all the devices and conceits of the triumphs of this marriage, there was a great deal of astronomy. The lady being resembled to Hesperus, and the Prince to Arcturus; and the old King Alphonsus (that was the greatest astronomer of Kings and was ancestor to the lady) was brought in to be the fortune-teller of the match. And whoseoever had those toys in compiling, they were not altogether pedantical. But you may be sure that King Arthur the Briton, and the descent of the Lady Katherine from the house of Lancaster, was in no wise forgotten But as it should seem, it is not good to fetch fortunes from the stars. For this young Prince (that drew upon him at that time not only the hopes and affections of his country, but the eyes and expectations of foreigners) after a few months, in the beginning of April, deceased at Ludlow Castle, where he was sent to keep his resiance [residence] and court as Prince of Wales. Of this Prince, in respect he died so young, and by reason of his father’s manner of education, that did cast no great lustre upon his children, there is little particular memory. Only thus much remaineth, that he was very studious and learned beyond his years, and beyond the custom of great Princes.
11. There was a doubt ripped up in the times following, when the divorce of King Henry the Eighth from the Lady Katherine did so much busy the world whether Arthur was bedded with his lady or no, whereby that matter in fact (of carnal knowledge) might be made part of the case. And it is true that the lady herself denied it, or at least her counsel stood upon it, and would not blanch [minimize] that advantage; although the plenitude of the Pope’s power of dispensing was the main question. And this doubt was kept long open in respect of the two Queens that succeeded, Mary and Elizabeth, whose legitimations were incompatible one with another; though their succession was settled by act of Parliament. And the times that favoured Queen Mary’s legitimation would have it believed that there was no carnal knowledge between Arthur and Katherine; not that they would seem to derogate from the Pope’s absolute power to dispense even in that case; but only in point of honour, and to make the case more favourable and smooth. And the times that favoured Queen Elizabeth’s legitmation (which were the longer and the later) maintained the contrary. So much there remaineth in memory; that it was half a year’s time between the creation of Henry Prince of Wales and Prince Arrthur’s death; which was construed to be, for to expect a full time whereby it might appear whether the Lady Katherine were with child by Prince Arthur or no. Again the lady herself procured a bull for the better corroboration of the marriage, with a clause of vel forsan cognitam which was not in the first bull. There was given in evidence also when the cause of the divorce was handled, a pleasant passage, which was; that in a morning Prince Arthur upon his up-rising from bed with her called for drink, which he was not accustomed to do, and finding the gentleman of his chamber that brought him the drink to smile at it and to note it, he said merriliy that he had been in the midst of Spain which was an hot region, and his journey had made him dry; and that if the other had been in so hot a clime he would have been drier than he. Besides the Prince was upon the point of sixteen years of age when he died, and forward, and able in body.
12. The February following, Henry Duke of York was created Prince of Wales, and Earl of Chester and Flint. For the dukedom of Cornwall devolved to him by statute. The King also being fast-handed and loth to part with a second dowry, but chiefly being affectionate both by his nature and out of politic considerations to continue the alliance with Spain, prevailed with the Prince (though not without some reluctation, such as could be in those years, for he was not twelve years of age) to be contracted with the Princess Katherine: the secret providence of God ordaining that marriage to be the occasion of great events and changes.
13. The same year were the espousals of James King of Scotland and the Lady Margaret the King’s eldest daughter; which was done by proxy, and published at Paul’s Cross, the five and twentieth of January, and Te Deum solemnly sung. But certain it is, that the joy of the City thereupon shewed, by ringing of bells and bonfires and such other incense of the people, was more than could be expected in a case of so great and fresh enmity between the nations; especially in London, which was far enough off from feeling any of the former calamities of the war: and therefore might truly be attributed to a secret instinct and inspiring (which many times runneth not only in the hearts of Princes but in the pulse and veins of people) touching the happiness thereby to ensue in time to come. This marriage was in August following consummate at Edinburgh: the King bringing his daughter as far as Collyweston on the way; and then consigning her to the attendance of the Earl of Northumberland; who with a great troop of lords and ladies of honour brought her into Scotland to the King her husband.
[14.] This marriage had been in treaty by the space of almost three years, from the time that the King of Scotland did first open his mind to Bishop Foxe. The sum given in marriage by the King was ten thousand pounds: and the jointure and advancement assured by the King of Scotland was two thousand pounds a year after King James his death, and one thousand pounds a year in present for the lady’s allowance or maintenance; this to be set forth in lands, of the best and most certain revenue. During the treaty it is reported that the King remitted the matter to his counsel, and that some of the table in the freedom of counsellors (the King being present) did put the case, — that if God should take the King’s two sons without issue, that then the kingdom of England would fall to the King of Scotland, which might prejudice the monarchy of England. Wherunto the King himself replied: That if that shoild be, Scotland would be but an accession to England, and not England to Scotland; for that the greater would draw the less: and that it was a safer union for England than that of France. This passed as an oracle, and silenced those that moved the question.
15. The same year was fatal as well for deaths as marrriages; and that with equal temper. For the joys and feasts of the two marriages were compensed with the mournings and funerals of Prince Arthur (of whom we have spoken) and of Queen Elizabeth, who died in child-bed in the Tower, and the child lived not long after. There died also that year Sir Reignold Bray, who was noted tho have had with the King the greatest freedom of any counsellor; but it was but a freedom the better to set off flattery; yet he bare more than his just part of envy for the exactions.
16. At this time the King’s estate was very prosperous: secured by the amity of Scotland; strengthened by that of Spain; cherished by that of Burgundy; all domestic troubles quenched; and all noise of war (like a thunder afar off) going upon Italy. Wherefore nature, which many times is happily contained and refrained by some bands of fortune, began to take place in the King; carrying as with a strong tide his affections and thoughts unto the gathering and heaping up of treasure. And as Kings do more easily find instruments for their will and humour than for their service and honour, he had gotten for his purpose, or beyond his purpose, two instruments, Empson and Dudley; whom the people esteemed as his horse-leeches and shearers: bold men and careless of fame, and that took toll of their master’s grist. Dudley was of a good family, eloquent, and one that could put hateful business into good language. But Empson, that was the son of a sieve-maiker, triumphed always upon the deed done; putting off all other respects whatsoever. These two persons being lawyers in science and privy counsellors in authority, (as the corruption of the best things is the worst) turned law and justice into wormwood and rapine. For first their manner was to cause divers subjects to be indicted of sundry crimes; and so far forth to proceed in form of law; but when the bills were found, then presently to commit them; and nevertheless not to produce them in any reasonable time to their answer; but to suffer them to languish long in prison, and by sundry artificial devices and terrors to extort from them great fines and ransoms, which they termed compositions and mitigations.
17. Neither did they, towards the end, observe so much as the half-face of justice, in proceeding by indictment; but sent forth their precepts to attach men and convent [convey] them before themselves and some others at their private houses, in a court of commission; and there used to shuffle up a summary proceeding by examination, without trial of jury; assuming to themselves there to deal both in pleas of the crown and controversies civil.
18. Then did they also use to inthral and charge the subjects’ lands, with tenures in capite [direct ownership as crown property], by finding false offices [inquisitions], and thereby to work upon them for wardships, liveries [income on a knight’s feudal rents while is in his minority], premier seisins, [receipt of income of land owned by a minor, until he came of age] and alienations (being the fruits of those tenure); refusing (upon divers pretexts and delays) to admit men to traverse those false offices, according to the law.
Nay the King’s wards after they had accomplished their full age could not be suffered to have livery of their lands without paying excessive fines, far exceeding all reasonable rates.
They did also vex men with information of intrusion upon scarce colourable titles.
19. When men were outlawed in personal actions, they would not permit them to purchase their charters of pardon, except they paid great and intolerable sums; standing upon the strict point of law, upon which utlawries [sic] giveth forfeiture of goods. Nay contrary to all law and colour, they maintained the King ought to have the half of men’s lands and rents, during the space of full two years, for a pain in case of utlawry. They would also ruffle with [intimidate] jurors and inforce them to find as they would direct, and (if they did not) convent them, imprison them, and fine them.
20. These and many other courses, fitter to be buried than repeated, they had of preying upon the people; both like tame hawks for their master, and like wild hawks for themselves; insomuch as they grew to great riches and substance. But their principal working was upon penal laws, wherein they spared none great nor small; nor considered whether the law were possible or impossible, in use or obsolete: but raked over all old and new statutes; though many of them were made with intention rather of terror than of rigour; ever having a rabble of promoters, questmongers, and leading jurors at their command; so as they could have any thing found, either for fact or valuation.
21. There remaineth to this day a report, that the King was on a time entertained by the Earl of Oxford (that was his principal servant both for war and peace) nobly and sumptuously, at his castle at Henningham. And at the King’s going away, the Earl’s servants stood in a seemly manner in their livery coats with cognizances ranged on both sides, and made the King a lane. The King called the Earl to him, and said, “My lord, I have heard much of your hospitality, but I see it is greater than the speech. These handsome gentlemen and yeomen which I see on both sides of me are (sure) your menial servants.” The Earl smiled and said, “It may please your Grace, that were not for mine ease. They are most of them my retainers, that are comen to do me service at such a time as this, and chiefly to see your Grace.” The King started a little, and said, “By my faith (my lord) I thank you for my good cheeer, but I may not endure to have my laws broken in my sight. My attorney must speak with you.” And it is part of the report, that the Earl compounded for no less than fifteen thousand marks. And to shew further the King’s extreme diligence; I do remember to have seen long since a book of accompt of Empson’s, that had the King’s hand almost to every leaf by way of signing, as was in some places postilled [added notes] in the margin [margin] with the King’s hand likewise, where was this remembrance:
Item, Received, of such a one, five marks, for a pardon to be procured; and if the pardon do not pass, the money to be repaid; except the party be some other ways satisfied.
And over against this memorandum (of the King’s own hand),
Which I do the rather mention because it shews in the King a nearness, but yet with a kind of justness. So these little sands and grains of gold and silver (as it seemeth) holp [helped] not a little to make up the great heap and bank.
22. But meanwhile to keep the King awake, the Earl of Suffolk, having been too gay at Prince Arthur’s marriage, and sunk himself deep in debt, had yet once more a mind to be a knight-errant, and to seek adventures in foreign parts; and taking his brother with him fled again into Flanders, That no doubt which gave him confidence, was the great murmur of the people against the King’s government. And being a man of a light and rash spririt, he thought every vapour would be a tempest. Neither wanted he some party within the kingdom. For the murmur of people awakes the discontents of nobles, and again that calleth up commonly some head of sedition. The King resorting to his wonted and tried arts, caused Sir Robert Curson, captain of the castle of Hammes, (being at that time beyond sea, and therefore less likely to be wrought upon by the King) to fly from his charge and feign himself a servant of the Earl’s. This knight having insinuated himself into the secrets of the Earl, and finding by him upon whom chiefly he had either hope or hold, advertised the King thereof in great secrecy; but nevertheless maintained his own credit and inward trust with the Earl. Upon whose advertisements, the King attached Sir William Courtney Earl of Devonshire, his brother-in-law, married to the Lady Katherine, daughter to King Edward the Fourth; William Delapole, brother to the Earl of Suffolk; Sir James Tirrell and Sir John Windham, and some other meaner persons, and committed them to custody. George Lord Abergavenney and Sir Thomas Green were at the same time apprehended; but as upon less suspicion, so in a freer restraint, and were soon after delivered. The Earl of Devonshire being interessed in the blood of York, (that was rather feared than nocent [guilty],) yet as one that might be the object of other plots and designs, remained prisoner in the Tower during the King’s life. William Delapole was also long restrained, though not so straitly. But for Sir James Tirrell (against whom the blood of the innocent Princes, Edward the Fifth and his brother, did still cry from under the altar), and Sir John Windham, and the other meaner ones, they were attainted and executed; the two knights beheaded. Nevertheless to confirm the credit of Curson (who belike had not yet done all his feats of activity), there were published at Puall’s Cross about the time of the said executions the Pope’s bull of excommunication and curse against the Earl of Sulffolk and Sir Robert Curson, and some others by name, and likewise in general against all the abettors of the said Earl: wherein it must be confessed, that heaven was made too much to bow to earth, and religion to policy. But soon after, Curson when he saw time returned into England, and withal into wonted favour with the King, but worse fame with the people. Upon whose return the Earl was much dismayed, and seeing himself destitute of hopes (the Lady Margaret also by tract of time and bad success being now become cool in those attempts), after some wandering in France and Germany, and certain little projects (no better than squibs) of an exiled man, being tired out, retired again into the protection of the Archduke Philip in Flanders, who by the death of Isabella was at that time King of Castile, in the right of Joan his wife.
23. This year, being the ninetheenth of his reign, the King called his Parliament, wherein a man may easily guess how absolute the King took himself to be with his Parliament; when Dudley, that was so hateful, was made Speaker of the House of Commons. In this Parliament there were not made many statutes memorable touching public government. But those that were had still the stamp of the King’s wisdom and policy.
24. There was a statute made for the disannulling of all patents of lease or grant to such as come not upon lawful summons to serve the King in his wars, against the enemies or rebels, or that should depart without the King’s licence; with an exception of certain persons of the long-robe; providing nevertheless that they should have the King’s wages from <leaving> their house, till their return home agian. There had been the like made before for offices, and by this statute it was extended to lands. But a man may easily see by many statutes made in this King’s time, that the King thought it safest to assist martial law by law of Parliament.
25. Another statute was made, prohibiting the bringing in of manufactures of silk wrought by itself or mixt with any other thrid [thread]. But it was not of stuffs or whole-piece (for that the realm had of them no manufacture in use at that time), but of knit silk or texture of silk; as ribbands, laces, cauls, points, and girdles, etc. which the people of England could then well skill to make. This law pointed at a true principle; That where foreign materials are but superfluities, foreign manufactures should be prohibited. For that will either banish the superfluity, or gain the manufacture.
26. There was a law also of resumption of patents of gaols, and the reannexing of them to the sheriffwicks; privileged officers being no less an interuption of justice than privileged places.
27. There was likewise a law to restrain the by-laws or ordinances of corporations, which many times were against the prerogative of the King, the common law of the realm, and the liberty of the subject: being fraternities in evil. It was therefore provided, that they should not be put in execution, without the allowance of the chancellor, treasurer, and the two chief justices, or three of them; or of the two justices of circuit where the corporation was.
28. Another law was in effect to bring in the silver of the realm to the mint, in making all clipped minished or impaired coins of silver not to be current in payments; without giving any remedy of weight; but with an exception only of reasonable wearing; which was as nothing, in respect of the incertainty; and so upon the matter to set the mint on work, and to give way to new coins of silver which should then be minted.
29. There likewise was a long statute against vagabonds, wherein two things may be noted; the one, the dislike the Parliament had of gaoling of them, as that which was chargeable, pesterous, and of no open example. The other, that in the statute of this King’s time (for this of the ninetheenth year is not the only statute of that kind) there are ever coupled the punishment of vagabonds, and the forbidding of dice and cards and unlawful games unto servants and mean people, and the putting down and suppressing of alehouses; as strings of one root together, and as if the one were unprofitable without the other.
30. As for riots and retainers, there passed scarce any Parliament in this time without a law against them: the King every having an eye to might and multitude.
31. There was granted also that Parliament a subsidy, both from the temporality and the clergy. And yet nevertheless ere the year expired there went out commissions for a general benevolence; though there were no wars; no fears. The same year the City gave five thousand marks, for confirmation of their liberties; a thing fitter for the beginning of kings’ reigns than the latter ends. Neither was it a small matter that the mint gained upon the late statute, by the recoinage of groats and half-groats; now twelve-pences and six-pences. As for Empson and Dudley’s mills, they did grind more than ever. So that it was a strange thing to see what golden showers poured down upon the King’s treasury at once. The last payments of the marriage-money from Spain. The subsidy. The benevolence. The recoinage. The redemption of the city’s liberties. The casualities [income from confiscations]. And this is the more to be marvelled at, because the King had then no occasions at all of wars or troubles. He had now but one son; and one daughter unbestowed. He was wise. He was of an high mind. He needed not to make riches his glory, he did excel in so many things else; save that certainly avarice doth every find in itself matter of ambition. Belike he thought to leave his son such a kingdom and such a mass of treasure, as he might choose his greatness where he would.
32. This year was also kept the Serjeant’s feast, which was the second call in this King’s days.
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