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Title: Henry of Monmouth, Volume 2 - Memoirs of Henry the Fifth
Author: Tyler, James Endell, 1789-1851
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Henry of Monmouth, Volume 2 - Memoirs of Henry the Fifth" ***

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected.
The original spelling has been retained.

Different spelling as been kept, e.g.:
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[Illustration: Great Seal of Owen Glyndowr as Prince of Wales.
Published by R. Bentley, 1838]

                         HENRY OF MONMOUTH:


                   OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF

                          HENRY THE FIFTH,



                      BY J. ENDELL TYLER, B.D.


               "Go, call up Cheshire and Lancashire,
                  And Derby hills, that are so free;
                But neither married man, nor widow's son;
                  No widow's curse shall go with me."

                          IN TWO VOLUMES.

                              VOL. II.

                Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.


                    PRINTED BY SAMUEL BENTLEY,
                   Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.                                     (p. iii)



Henry of Monmouth's Accession. -- National rejoicings. -- His profound
sense of the Awfulness of the Charge devolved upon him. -- Coronation.
-- First Parliament. -- Habits of business. -- He removes the remains
of Richard to Westminster. -- Redeems the Son of Hotspur, and restores
him to his forfeited honours and estates. -- Generous conduct towards
the Earl of March. -- Parliament at Leicester. -- Enactments against
Lollards. -- Henry's Foundations at Shene and Sion.                 Page 1



State of the Church. -- Henry a sincere Christian, but no Bigot. --
Degraded state of Religion. -- Council of Constance. -- Henry's
Representatives zealous promoters of Reform. -- Hallam, Bishop of
Salisbury, avowed enemy of the Popedom. -- Richard Ullerston:
primitive views of Clerical duties. -- Walden, his own Chaplain,
accuses Henry of remissness in the extirpation of Heresy. --
Forester's Letter to the King. -- Henry Beaufort's unhappy
interference. -- Petition from Oxford. -- Henry's personal exertions
in the business of Reform. -- Reflections on the then apparent dawn of
the Reformation.                                                   Page 32

CHAPTER XIX.                                                        (p. iv)


Wars with France. -- Causes which influenced Henry. -- Summary of the
affairs of France from the time of Edward III. -- Reflections on
Henry's Title. -- Affairs of France from Henry's resolution to claim
his "Dormant Rights," and "Rightful Heritage," to his invasion of
Normandy. -- Negociations. -- His Right denied by the French. --
Parliament votes him Supplies.                                     Page 70


Modern triple charge against Henry of Falsehood, Hypocrisy, and
Impiety. -- Futility of the Charge, and utter failure of the Evidence
on which alone it is grounded. -- He is urged by his people to
vindicate the Rights of his Crown, himself having a conscientious
conviction of the Justice of his Claim. -- Story of the Tennis-Balls.
-- Preparations for invading France. -- Henry's Will made at
Southampton. -- Charge of Hypocrisy again grounded on the close of
that Testament. -- Its Futility. -- He despatches to the various
Powers of Europe the grounds of his Claim on France.               Page 89



Preparations for invading France. -- Reflections on the Military and
Naval State of England. -- Mode of raising and supporting an Army. --
Song of Agincourt. -- Henry of Monmouth the Founder of the English
Royal Navy. -- Custom of impressing Vessels for the transporting of
Troops. -- Henry's exertions in Ship-building. -- Gratitude due to
him. -- Conspiracy at Southampton. -- Prevalent delusion as to Richard
II. -- The Earl of March. -- Henry's Forces. -- He sails for Normandy.
                                                                  Page 119

CHAPTER XXII.                                                        (p. v)


Henry crosses the Sea: lands at Clef de Caus: lays Siege to Harfleur.
-- Devoted Attendance on his dying Friend the Bishop of Norwich. --
Vast Treasure falls into his hands on the Surrender of Harfleur. -- He
challenges the Dauphin. -- Futile Modern Charge brought against him on
that ground.                                                      Page 143



Henry, with Troops much weakened, leaves Harfleur, fully purposed to
make for Calais, notwithstanding the threatened resistance of the
French. -- Passes the Field of Cressy. -- French resolved to engage.
-- Night before the Conflict. -- FIELD of AGINCOURT. -- Slaughter of
Prisoners. -- Henry, his enemies themselves being Judges, fully
exculpated from every suspicion of cruelty or unchivalrous bearing. --
He proceeds to Calais. -- Thence to London. -- Reception by his
Subjects. -- His modest and pious Demeanour. -- Superstitious
proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Authorities. -- Reflections. --
Songs of Agincourt.                                               Page 156



Reasons for delaying a Second Campaign. -- Sigismund undertakes to
mediate. -- Reception of Sigismund. -- French Ships scour the seas,
and lay siege to Harfleur. -- Henry's vigorous measures thereupon. --
The Emperor declares for "Henry and his Just Rights." -- Joins with
him in Canterbury Cathedral on a Day of Thanksgiving for Victory over
the French. -- With him meets the Duke of Burgundy at Calais.       (p. vi)
-- The Duke also declares for Henry. -- Second Invasion of France. --
Siege of Caen. -- Henry's Bulletin to the Mayor of London. -- Hostile
Movement of the Scots.                                            Page 203



Henry's progress in his Second Campaign. -- Siege of Rouen. --
Cardinal des Ursins. -- Supplies from London. -- Correspondence
between Henry and the Citizens. -- Negociation with the Dauphin and
with the French King. -- Henry's Irish Auxiliaries. -- Reflections on
Ireland. -- Its miserable condition. -- Wise and strong measures
adopted by Henry for its Tranquillity. -- Divisions and struggles, not
between Romanists and Protestants, but between English and Irish. --
Henry and the See of Rome. -- Thraldom of Christendom. -- The Duke of
Brittany declares for Henry. -- Spaniards join the Dauphin. --
Exhausted State of England.                                       Page 221



Bad faith of the Dauphin. -- The Duke of Burgundy brings about an
Interview between Henry and the French Authorities. -- Henry's first
Interview with the Princess Katharine of Valois. -- Her Conquest. --
The Queen's over-anxiety and indiscretion. -- Double-dealing of the
Duke of Burgundy; he joins the Dauphin; is murdered on the Bridge of
Montereau. -- The Dauphin disinherited. -- Henry's anxiety to prevent
the Escape of his Prisoners.                                      Page 249

CHAPTER XXVII.                                                     (p. vii)


Henry's extraordinary attention to the Civil and Private duties of his
station, in the midst of his career of Conquest, instanced in various
cases. -- Provost and Fellows of Oriel College. -- The Queen Dowager
is accused of Treason. -- Treaty between Henry, the French King, and
the young Duke of Burgundy. -- Henry affianced to Katharine. -- The
Dauphin is reinforced from Scotland. -- Henry, accompanied by his
Queen, returns through Normandy to England.                       Page 262



Katharine crowned. -- Henry and his Queen make a progress through a
great part of his Dominions. -- Arrival of the disastrous news of his
Brother's Death (the Duke of Clarence). -- Henry meets his Parliament.
-- Hastens to the Seat of War. -- Birth of his Son, Henry of Windsor.
-- Joins his Queen at Bois de Vincennes. -- Their magnificent
Reception at Paris. -- Henry hastens in person to succour the Duke of
Burgundy. -- Is seized by a fatal Malady. -- Returns to Vincennes. --
His Last Hour. -- HIS DEATH.                                      Page 286


Was Henry of Monmouth a Persecutor? -- Just principles of conducting
the Inquiry, and forming the Judgment. -- Modern charge against Henry.
-- Review of the prevalent opinions on Religious Liberty. -- True
principles of Christian Freedom. -- Duty of the State and of
Individuals to promote the prevalence of True Religion. -- Charge
against Henry, as Prince of Wales, for presenting a Petition against
the Lollards. -- The merciful intention of that Petition. -- His
Conduct at the Death of Badby.                                    Page 319

CHAPTER XXX.                                                      (p. viii)


The Case of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham. -- Reference to his
former Life and Character. -- Fox's Book of Martyrs. -- The
Archbishop's Statement. -- Milner. -- Hall. -- Lingard. Cobham offers
the Wager of Battle. -- Appeals peremptorily to the Pope. -- Henry's
anxiety to save him. -- He is condemned, but no Writ of Execution is
issued by the King. -- Cobham escapes from the Tower.             Page 348


Change in Henry's behaviour towards the Lollards after the affair of
St. Giles' Field. -- Examination of that affair often conducted with
great Partiality and Prejudice. -- Hume and the Old Chroniclers. --
Fox, Milner, Le Bas. -- Public Documents. -- Lord Cobham, taken in
Wales, is brought to London in a Whirlicole; condemned to be hanged as
a Traitor, and burned as a Heretic. -- Henry, then in France,
ignorant, probably, of Cobham's Capture till after his Execution. --
Concluding Reflections.                                           Page 376


The Case of John Clayton, Richard Gurmyn, and William Taylor, burnt
for Heresy, examined. -- Result of the Investigation. -- Henry not a
Persecutor. -- Reflections.                                       Page 393


No.   I. Ballad of Agincourt.                               417
No.  II. Siege of Rouen.                                    422
No. III. Authenticity of the Manuscripts--Sloane 1776, and
         Reg. 13, c. 1.                                     425

MEMOIRS OF HENRY OF MONMOUTH                                       (p. 001)





Henry IV. died at Westminster on Monday, March 20, 1413, and Henry of
Monmouth's proclamation bears date on the morrow, March 21.[1] Never
perhaps was the accession of any prince to the throne of a kingdom
hailed with a more general or enthusiastic welcome. If serious minds
had entertained forebodings of evil from his reign, (as we         (p. 002)
believe they had not,) all feelings seem to have been absorbed in one
burst of gladness. Both houses of parliament offered to swear
allegiance to him before he was crowned: a testimony of confidence and
affection never (it is said) before tendered to any English
monarch.[2] This prevalence of joyous anticipations from the accession
of their young King could not have sprung from any change of conduct
or of principle then first made known. Those who charge Henry most
unsparingly represent his conversion as having begun only at his
father's hour of dissolution. But, before that father breathed his
last, the people of England were ready to welcome most heartily his
son, such as he was then, without, as it should seem, either       (p. 003)
hearing of, or wishing for, any change. His principles and his conduct
as a ruler had been put to the test during the time he had presided at
the council-board; and the people only desired in their new King a
continuance of the same wisdom, valour, justice, integrity, and
kind-heartedness, which had so much endeared him to the nation as
their Prince. In his subjects there appears to have been room for
nothing but exultation; in the new King himself widely different
feelings prevailed. Ever, as it should seem, under an awful practical
sense, as well of the Almighty's presence and providence and majesty,
as of his own responsibility and unworthiness, Henry seems to have
been suddenly oppressed by the increased solemnity and weight of the
new duties which he found himself now called upon to discharge. The
scene of his father's death-bed, (carried off, as that monarch was, in
the very meridian of life, by a lingering loathsome disease,) and the
dying injunctions of that father, may doubtless have added much to the
acuteness and the depth of his feelings at that time. And whether he
be deemed to have been the licentious, reckless rioter which some
writers have been anxious to describe, or whether we regard him as a
sincere believer, comparing his past life (though neither licentious
nor reckless) with the perfectness of the divine law, the retrospect
might well depress him with a consciousness of his own unworthiness,
and of his total inability to perform the work which he saw        (p. 004)
before him, without the strength and guidance of divine grace. For
that strength and that guidance, we are assured, he prayed, and
laboured, and watched with all the intenseness and perseverance of an
humble faithful Christian. Those who are familiar with the expressions
of a contrite soul, will fully understand the sentiments recorded of
Henry of Monmouth at this season of his self-humiliation, and the
dedication of himself to God, and may yet be far from discovering in
them conclusive arguments in proof of his having passed his youth in
habits of gross violation of religious and moral principle. We have
already quoted the assertions of his biographer, that day and night he
sought pardon for the past, and grace for the future, to enable him to
bend his heart in faith and obedience to the Sovereign of all. And
even during the splendour and rejoicings of his coronation he appeared
to withdraw his mind entirely from the greatness of his worldly state,
thus forced upon him, and to fix his thoughts on the King of kings.[3]

                   [Footnote 1: Close Roll.]

                   [Footnote 2: "The high esteem which the nation had
                   of Henry's person produced such an entire
                   confidence in him, that both houses of parliament
                   in an address offered to swear allegiance to him
                   before he was crowned, or had taken the customary
                   oath to govern according to the laws. The King
                   thanked them for their good affections, and
                   exhorted them in their several places and stations
                   to employ all their power for the good of the
                   nation. He told them that he began his reign in
                   pardoning all that had offended him, and with such
                   a desire for his people's happiness, that he would
                   be crowned on no other condition than to make use
                   of all his authority to promote it; and prayed God
                   that, if he foresaw he was like to be any other
                   than a just and good king, he would please to take
                   him immediately out of the world, rather than seat
                   him on the throne, to live a public calamity to his
                   country."--Goodwin. See Stowe. Polyd. Verg.

                   [Footnote 3: Elmham.]

But he never seems for a day to have been drawn aside by his private
devotions from the full discharge of the practical duties of his new
station. On the Wednesday he issued summonses for a parliament to meet
within three weeks of Easter. On Friday the 7th of April, he was
conducted to the Tower by a large body of men of London, who       (p. 005)
went on horseback to attend him. The next day he was accompanied back
to Westminster, with every demonstration of loyalty and devotedness to
his person, by a great concourse of lords and knights, many of whom he
had created on the preceding evening. On the following morning, being
Passion Sunday, April 9th,[4] he was crowned with much[5] magnificence
in Westminster Abbey.[6]

                   [Footnote 4: Not Palm Sunday, but the fifth Sunday
                   in Lent, was called Passion Sunday.]

                   [Footnote 5: "With mickle royalty."--Chron. Lond.]

                   [Footnote 6: Chroniclers record that the day of his
                   coronation was a day of storm and tempest, frost
                   and snow, and that various omens of ill portent
                   arose from the circumstance.]

One of the first acts of a sovereign in England at that time was to
re-appoint the judges who were in office at the demise of his
predecessor, or to constitute new ones in their stead. Among other
changes, we find Hankford appointed as Chief Justice in the room of
Gascoyne, at least within ten days of the King's accession. For any
observation which this fact may suggest, so contrary to those
histories which repeat tales instead of seeking for the truth in
ancient records, we must refer to the chapter in which we have already
examined the credibility of the alleged insult offered by Prince Henry
to a Judge on the bench of justice.[7]

                   [Footnote 7: Henry had excited feelings of
                   confidence and admiration in the minds of foreign
                   potentates, as well as in his subjects at home.
                   Among the embassies, with offers and pledges of
                   friendship and amity, which hastened to his court
                   on his accession, are numbered those of John of
                   Portugal, Robert Duke of Albany, Regent of
                   Scotland, John King of Castile, John Duke of
                   Brittany, Charles King of France, and Pope John

The first parliament of Henry V. met in the Painted Chamber        (p. 006)
at Westminster, on Monday, 15th of May. The King was on his throne;
but the Bishop of Winchester, his uncle, then Chancellor of England,
opened the business of the session. On this, as on many similar
occasions, the chancellor, generally a prelate, addressed the
assembled states in an oration, half speech and half sermon, upon a
passage of Scripture selected as a text. On the opening of this
parliament, the chancellor informed the peers and the commons that the
King's purpose in calling them together as the Great Council of the
nation was threefold:--First, he was desirous of supporting the
throne,--"his high and royal estate;" secondly, he was bent on
maintaining the law and good government within his realm; and thirdly,
he desired to cherish the friends and to resist the enemies of his
kingdom. It is remarkable that no mention is made in this parliament
at all on the part of the King, or his chancellor, of either heresy or
Lollardism. The speaker refers to some tumults, especially at
Cirencester, where the populace appear to have attacked the abbey;
complaints also were made against the conduct of ordinaries, and some
strong enactments were passed against the usurpations of Rome,     (p. 007)
to which reference will again be made: but not a word in answer
to these complaints would lead to the inference that the spirit of
persecution was then in the ascendant. It was not till the last day of
April 1414, after the affair of St. Giles' Field, that the statute
against the Lollards was passed at Leicester.[8] The chancellor at
that subsequent period speaks of their treasonable designs to destroy
the King having been lately discovered and discomfited; and the record
expressly declares that the ordinance was made with the consent and at
the prayer of the commons.

                   [Footnote 8: Sir Edward Coke, in his 4th Inst. ch.
                   i. declares that this act was disavowed in the next
                   parliament by the Commons, for that they never
                   assented. The Author has searched the Parliament
                   Rolls in vain for the authority on which that
                   assertion was founded.]

But though neither the King nor his council gave any indication, in
his first parliament, of a desire to interfere with men's consciences
in matters of religion, the churchmen were by no means slumbering at
their post. Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, convened a council of
the bishops and clergy, who met by adjournment, in full numbers, at
St. Paul's, on the 26th of June 1413;[9] and adopted most rigorous
measures for the extirpation of heresy, levelled professedly with a
more especial aim against the ringleader of Lollardism, as he      (p. 008)
was called, the valiant and unfortunate Lord Cobham. On these
proceedings we purpose to dwell separately in another part of this
work; and, in addition to what we shall there allege, little needs be
observed here by way of anticipation. In leaving the subject, however,
as far as Henry V.'s character is concerned, it may not be out of
place to remark, that historical facts, so far from stamping on him
the mark of a religious persecutor, prove that it required all the
united efforts of the clergy and laity to induce him to put the
existing laws in force against those who were bold enough to dissent
from the Romish faith. So far from his "having watched the Lollards as
his greatest enemies," so far from "having listened to every calumny
which the zeal and hatred of the hierarchy could invent or propagate
against the unfortunate followers of Wickliff," (the conduct and
disposition ascribed to him by Milner,) we have sufficient proof of
the dissatisfaction of the church with him in this respect; and their
repeated attempts to excite him to more vigorous measures against the
rising and spreading sect. By a minute of council, May 27, 1415, we
find that, whilst preparing for his expedition to France, he is
reminded to instruct the archbishops and bishops to take measures,
each within his respective diocese, to resist the malice of the
Lollards. The King merely answered, that he had given the subject in
charge to his chancellor; and we are assured that Dr. Thomas       (p. 009)
Walden,[10] one of the most learned and powerful divines of the day,
but very violent in his opposition to the new doctrines, openly
inveighed against Henry _for his great negligence in regard to the
duty of punishing heretics_.[11] To his religious sentiments we must
again refer in the sequel, and also as the course of events may
successively suggest any observations on that head.

                   [Footnote 9: The Monday after Corpus Christi day;
                   which feast, being the Thursday after Trinity
                   Sunday, fell in the year 1413 on June 22.]

                   [Footnote 10: This Dr. Walden (so called from the
                   place of his birth in Essex) was so able a
                   disputant that he was called the Netter. He seems
                   to have written many works, which are either
                   totally lost, or are buried in temporary oblivion.]

                   [Footnote 11: Goodwin. Appendix, p. 361.]

When Henry IV. ascended the throne, parliament prayed that the Prince
might not leave the realm, but remain in England as the anchor of the
people's hopes; and, soon after his own accession,[12] Henry V. is
advised by his council to remain near London, that he might receive
prompt intelligence of whatever might arise in any quarter, and be
able to take immediate steps for the safety of the commonweal. He
seems to have carried with him even from his earliest youth, wherever
he went, a peculiar talent of exciting confidence in every one.
Whether in the field of battle, or the chamber of council,--whether as
the young Prince, just initiated in affairs of war and government, or
as the experienced captain and statesman,--his contemporaries looked
to him as a kind of guardian spirit, to protect them from          (p. 010)
harm, and lead them onward to good success. No despondency, nor even
misgivings, show themselves in the agents of any enterprise in which
he was personally engaged. The prodigious effects of these feelings in
the English towards their prince were displayed in their full
strength, perhaps, at the battle of Agincourt; but similar results are
equally, though not so strikingly, visible in many other passages of
his life.

                   [Footnote 12: Minutes of Council, 29 June 1413.]

Among the various causes to which historians have been accustomed to
attribute the general anticipations of good from Henry's reign, which
pervaded all classes, is the appointment of Gascoyne to the high
station of Chief Justice immediately upon his ascending the throne.
But we have already seen that, however gladly an eulogist would seize
on such an exalted instance of magnanimity and noble generosity, the
truth of history forbids our even admitting its probability in this
place. Henry certainly did not re-appoint Gascoyne. But, whilst we
cannot admit the tradition which would mark the true character of
Henry's mind by his behaviour to the Chief Justice, there is not
wanting many an authentic record which would amply account for his
almost unprecedented popularity at the very commencement of his reign.
Among these we must not omit to notice the resolution which he put in
practice of retiring for an hour or more every day, after his early
dinner, to receive petitions from any of his subjects, however     (p. 011)
humble,[13] who would appeal to him for his royal interposition;
to examine and consider the several cases patiently; and to redress
real grievances. Indeed, numberless little occurrences meet us on
every side, which seem to indicate very clearly that he loved the
right and hated iniquity; and that he was never more happy than whilst
engaged in deeds of justice, mercy, and charity. He seems to have
received the golden law for his rule, "See that they who are in need
and necessity have right;" and to have rejoiced in keeping that    (p. 012)
law himself, and compelling all within the sphere of his authority and
influence to observe it also.

                   [Footnote 13: Many original petitions addressed to
                   Henry are still preserved among our records. In
                   one, which may serve as a specimen of the kind of
                   application to which this custom compelled him to
                   open his ear, Richard Hunt appeals to him as a
                   "right merciable lord, moved with pity, mercy, and
                   grace." "In great desolation and heaviness of
                   heart," the petitioner states that his son-in-law,
                   Richard Peke, who had a wife and four children, and
                   had been all his life a true labourer and innocent
                   man, and well-beloved by his neighbours, had been
                   detected in taking from a vessel goods not worth
                   three shillings; for which crime his mortal enemies
                   (though they might have their property again) "sued
                   to have him dead." He urges Henry to grant him
                   "full noble grace," at the reverence of Almighty
                   God, and for passion that Christ suffered for all
                   mankind, and for the pity that he had on Mary
                   Magdalene. The petitioner then promised (as
                   petitioners now do) to pray for endless mercy on
                   Henry; he adds, moreover, what would certainly
                   sound strange in a modern petition to a monarch,
                   "And ye, gracious and sovereign lord, shall have a
                   good ox to your larder." Henry granted the
                   petition. "The King woll that this bill pass
                   without any manner of fine, or fees that longeth to

Another incident recorded of Henry of Monmouth at this period,
strongly marking the kindness and generosity and nobleness of his
mind, was the removal of the remains of Richard II. from Langley to
Westminster. Without implying any consciousness, or even suspicion of
guilt, on the part of his father as to Richard's death, we may easily
suppose Henry to have regarded the deposition of that monarch as an
act of violence, justifiable only on the ground of extreme necessity:
he might have considered him as an injured man, by whose fall his
father and himself had been raised to the throne. Instead of allowing
his name and his mortal remains to be buried in oblivion, (with the
chance moreover of raising again in men's minds fresh doubts and
surmises of his own title to the throne, for he was not Richard's
right heir,) Henry resolved to pay all the respect in his power to the
memory of the friend of his youth, and by the only means at his
command to make a sort of reparation for the indignities to which the
royal corpse had been exposed. He caused the body to be brought in
solemn funeral state to Westminster, and there to be buried,[14] with
all the honour and circumstance accustomed to be paid to the earthly
remains of royalty, by the side of his former Queen, Anne,         (p. 013)
in the tomb prepared by Richard for her and for himself. The diligent
investigator will discover many such incidents recorded of Henry V;
some of a more public and important nature than others, but all
combining to stamp on his name in broad and indelible letters the
character of a truly high-minded, generous, grateful, warm-hearted

                   [Footnote 14: The Pell Rolls acquaint us with the
                   very great expense incurred on this occasion.]

Another instance of the same feeling, carried, perhaps, in one point a
step further in generosity and Christian principle, was evinced in his
conduct towards the son of Sir Henry Percy, Hotspur, the former
antagonist of his house. This young nobleman had been carried by his
friends into Scotland, for safe keeping, on the breaking out of his
grandfather's (Northumberland's) rebellion; and was detained there, as
some say, in concealment, till Henry V. made known his determination
to restore him to his title and estates. The Scots, who were in
possession of his person, kept him as a prisoner and hostage; and
although Henry might have considered a foreign land the best home for
the son of the enemy of his family, yet so bent was he on effecting
the noble design of reinstating him in all which his father's and his
grandfather's treason had forfeited, that he consented to exchange for
him a noble Scot, who had been detained in England for thirteen years.
Mordak of Fife, son and heir of the Duke of Albany, had been taken
prisoner at the battle of Homildon Hill, in 1402, (it is curious to
remark,) by Hotspur, and his father Northumberland; and now        (p. 014)
Henry V. exchanges this personage for Hotspur's son, the heir of
Northumberland. This youth was only an infant when his father fell at
the battle of Shrewsbury; his mother was Elizabeth, eldest daughter of
Edmund Mortimer,[15] Earl of March: and thus a king, under the
circumstances of Henry, but with a less noble mind, might have
regarded him with jealousy on both sides of his parentage, and been
glad (without exposing himself to the charge of any positive act of
harshness) to allow him to remain in a foreign country deprived of his
honours and his estates. But Henry's spirit soared above these
considerations; and, in the orphan of a generous rival, he saw only a
fit object on whom to exercise his generosity and Christian charity. A
negotiation was carried on between Henry and some who represented
young Percy; care being taken to ascertain the identity of the person
who should be offered in exchange for Mordak. After certain prescribed
oaths were taken, and pledges given, and the payment of a stipulated
sum, 10,000_l._, the young man was invited to come to Henry's court
with all speed.

                   [Footnote 15: Dugdale's Baronage.]

There seems to have intervened some considerable impediment to this
proposed exchange.[16] The commission to John Hull and William
Chancellor to convey Mordak to the north bears date 21st of        (p. 015)
May; and yet instructions for a negotiation with his father, the Duke
of Albany, then Regent of Scotland, for the exchange, were issued to
Sir Ralph Evre and others, as late as the 10th of the following
December. At the parliament, however, held March 16, 1416, Henry
Percy, in the presence of the King himself, does homage for his lands
and honours. And, before Henry's death, the Pell Rolls record payments
to this Earl of Northumberland, appointed guardian of Berwick and the
East March, as regularly as, in the early part of Henry IV.'s reign,
issues had been made to his father Hotspur, and his grandfather, the
aged Earl, for the execution of the same duties. The lands of the
Percies, on their attainder, were confiscated, and given to the King's
brother, the Duke of Bedford; to whom, on restoring his lands and
honours to the young Earl, Henry made an annual compensation in part
at least for the loss.[17]

                   [Footnote 16: Minutes of Council, 21 May and 10
                   Dec. 1415. Addit. MS. 4600. Art. 147.]

                   [Footnote 17: Pell Rolls, Mich. 4. Hen. V. Many
                   documents also in Rymer refer to this transaction.]

Another example of generous behaviour in the young King towards those
whom he had in his power, and of whom less noble minds would have
entertained suspicion and jealousy, is seen in his conduct towards the
Earl of March.[18] This young nobleman, by the law of              (p. 016)
primogeniture, was rightful heir to the throne; being descended from
Lionel Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III. And so much was he a
cause of apprehension and uneasiness to Henry IV. and his council,
that it was thought necessary to keep him in close custody, and also
near the person of the King, whenever the court removed towards the
borders of the kingdom. It was in the name of this young man that his
uncle Edmund Mortimer excited all his tenantry and dependents to join
Owyn Glyndowr in rebellion against Henry IV; and on all occasions the
malcontents of the whole country, supposing Richard to be dead, held
forth the Earl of March as their liege sovereign. Henry V. could not
have been charged with unwarrantable suspicions or severity, had he
continued the same system of watchfulness over this formidable
personage, which had been observed under the reign of his predecessor.
Provided only that he treated him with kindness, few would have
wondered or complained if he had still kept him as a prisoner on
parole.[19] But Henry, to whose guardianship, whilst Prince        (p. 017)
of Wales, the young Earl had been intrusted, was no sooner seated on
the throne, than he admitted this young man into a full share of his
confidence; not with the suspicion of a rival, nor with the fear of an
enemy, but with the openness of an acknowledged and kind master
towards a trustworthy and devoted servant. The references to       (p. 018)
him which are found in the authentic records of that time (and they
are not a few) all tend to establish this point.[20] Henry immediately
gave him, on his coming of age, full and free possession of all his
manors, castles, lands, advowsons, and honours; and seems to have had
him continually in his retinue as a companion and friend. On one
occasion we may suppose that Henry's suspicions and apprehensions of
danger from the young Earl must have been roused; and yet we find him
still continued in his confidence, and still left without any
restraint or estrangement. When the conspiracy against Henry was
discovered at Southampton, the Earl of Cambridge, (as we shall see
more in detail hereafter,) in his letter of confession, declares it to
have been the intention of the conspirators to carry the Earl of March
into Wales, and to proclaim him as their lawful king. How far the
young Earl was privy to this conspiracy, or to what extent he was "art
and part" in it, does not distinctly appear. An expression, indeed, in
the early part of the Earl of Cambridge's letter, "Having the Earl of
March by his own consent, and by the assent of myself," should seem to
imply that he was by no means ignorant of the plans of the
conspirators, nor averse to them. How far, moreover, Henry thought him
guilty, is matter of doubt; but certain it is, that he deemed      (p. 019)
it necessary to have the King's pardon regularly signed in the usual
manner for all treasons, felonies, and misdemeanors. The instrument
bears date August 7, 1415, at Southampton. This document, however, by
no means proves his guilt: on many occasions such patents of pardon
were granted to prevent malicious and vexatious prosecutions.
Nevertheless, at all events, it shows that Henry's thoughts must have
been especially drawn to the relative circumstances under which
himself and the Earl of March were placed; and yet he continued to
behave towards him with the same confidence and friendship as before.
Two years afterwards, Henry appointed him his lieutenant at sea, with
full powers; yet so as not to supersede the privileges and authority
of the high admiral, the Duke of Exeter.[21] The following year, in
the summer, he was made lieutenant and guardian-general of all
Normandy; and in the December of the same year he was commissioned to
receive the homage and oaths of all in that country who owed suit and
service to the King. He fought side by side with Henry at the field of
Agincourt; and there seems to have grown stronger and riper between
them a spirit of friendship and mutual confidence.[22]

                   [Footnote 18: Roger Mortimer, fifth Earl of March,
                   son and heir of Philippa, daughter and heiress of
                   Lionel Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III,
                   died in 1398; leaving two sons, Edmund, of whom we
                   are here speaking, then about six years of age, and
                   Roger, about a year younger.]

                   [Footnote 19: In a previous section of these
                   Memoirs, brief mention has been made of the
                   abortive attempt to carry off into Wales this young
                   Earl of March and his brother, and of the generous
                   conduct of Henry of Monmouth in his endeavour to
                   restore the Duke of York to the King's favour,
                   which he had forfeited in consequence of his
                   alleged participation in that bold design. A
                   manuscript has since been brought under the
                   Author's notice, which places in a very strong
                   light the treasonable and murderous purpose of
                   those who originated the plot, and would account
                   for the most watchful and jealous caution on the
                   part of the reigning family against a repetition of
                   such attempts. Henry must have been fully aware of
                   his danger; and the fact of his throwing off all
                   suspicion towards the young Earl, and receiving him
                   with confidence and friendship, enhances our
                   estimate of the generous and noble spirit which
                   actuated him. The document, in other points
                   curious, seems to deserve a place here:

                   "The Friday after St. Vallentyne's day, anno 6
                   Henrici Quarti, ye Erll of Marche's sons was
                   secretly conveyd out of Wyndsor Castell yerly in ye
                   morninge, and fond af[ter?] by diligent serche. But
                   ye smythe, for makyng the key, lost fyrst his
                   lands; after, his heed. Ye Lady Spenser, wydow to
                   the Lord Spenser executed at Bristow, and syster to
                   ye Duke of York, was comytted cloase prysonner,
                   whare she accused her brother predict for the
                   actor, for ye children predict; and that he sholde
                   entend to breake into the King's manor att Eltham
                   ye last Crystmas by scaling the walles in ye
                   nighte, and there to murther ye Kinge; and, for
                   better proaffe hereof, that yf eyther knight or
                   squyer of England wold combatt for her in the
                   quarrell, she wold endure her body to be burned yf
                   he war vanquished. Then W. Maydsten, one of her
                   sqyres [undertook?] his Mrs. quarrell with gage of
                   his wheed [so], and was presently arrested by Lord
                   Thomas, ye Kyng's son, to the Tower, and his goods
                   confyscatt. Thomas Mowbray, Erll Marshall, accused
                   to be privy to the same, butt was
                   pardoned."--Lansdown, 860 a, fol. 288 b.]

                   [Footnote 20: 14 Nov. 1414. MS. Donat. 4600.
                   Reference is made there to June 9, 1413, not three
                   months after Henry's accession.]

                   [Footnote 21: 1417, July 20, at Porchester. 1418, 2
                   June, at Berneye. December 1418, in the camp before
                   Rouen. 11 June 1416.--Rymer.]

                   [Footnote 22: In the summer after the battle of
                   Agincourt the King "takes into his especial care
                   William of Agincourt, the prisoner of his very dear
                   cousin Edmund Earl of March."]

These are a few among the many examples upon record of the         (p. 020)
generous and noble spirit of Henry; whilst history may be challenged
to bring forward any instances of cruelty or oppression to neutralize
them. Sir Matthew Hale confessed that he could never discover any act
of public injustice and tyranny during the Lancastrian sway; and the
inquirer into Henry of Monmouth's character may be emboldened to
declare, that he can discover no act of wanton severity, or cruelty,
or unkindness in his life. The case of the prisoners in the day and on
the field of Agincourt, the fate of Lord Cobham, and the wars in
France, require each a separate examination; and in our inquiry we
must not forget the kind, and gentle, and compassionate spirit which
appears to breathe so naturally and uniformly from his heart: on the
other hand, we must not suffer ourselves to be betrayed into such a
full reliance on his character for mercy, as would lead us to give a
blind implicit sanction to all his deeds of arms. In our estimate of
his character, moreover, as indicated by his conduct previously to his
first invasion of France, and during his struggles and conquests
there, it is quite as necessary for us to bear in mind the tone, and
temper, and standard of political and moral government which prevailed
in his age, as it is essential for us, when we would estimate his
religious character, to recollect what were in that age            (p. 021)
throughout Christendom the acknowledged principles of the church in
communion with the see of Rome.

On Monday, April 30, 1414, Henry met his parliament at Leicester.[23]
Why it was not held at Westminster, we have no positive reasons
assigned in history;[24] and the suggestion of some, that the
enactments there made against the Lollards were too hateful to be
passed at the metropolis, is scarcely reasonable.[25] The Bishop of
Winchester, as Chancellor, set forth in very strong language the
treasonable practices lately discovered and discomfited; and the
parliament enacted a very severe law against all disturbers of the
peace of the realm and of the unity of the church. It is generally
said that the reading of the Bible in English was forbidden in this
session under very severe penalties; but no such enactment         (p. 022)
seems to have been recorded. The prelates, however, were the judges of
what heresy was; and to study the Holy Scriptures in the vernacular
language might well have seemed to them a very dangerous practice; to
be checked, therefore, with a strong hand. The judges, and other state
officers, were directed to take an oath to exert themselves for the
suppression of Lollardism.

                   [Footnote 23: This parliament was summoned to be at
                   Leicester on the 29th of February, but was
                   prorogued to the 30th of April. At this period
                   parliaments were by no means uniformly held at

                   [Footnote 24: In this parliament we find a petition
                   loudly complaining of the outrages of the Welsh.]

                   [Footnote 25: About this time there seems to have
                   been entertained by the legislature a most
                   determined resolution to limit the salaries of
                   chaplains in private families. Many sumptuary laws
                   were made on this subject. Provisions were made
                   repeatedly in this and other parliaments against
                   excessive payments to them. The origin of this
                   feeling does not appear to have transpired.
                   Probably it was nothing more than a jealousy
                   excited by the increasing wealth of the
                   church.--Parl. Rolls, 2 Henry V.]

Again and again are we reminded, through the few years of Henry's
reign, that the cause of liberty was progressive; and any
encroachments of the royal prerogative upon the liberties of the
Commons were restrained and corrected, with the free consent and full
approbation of the King. A petition in English, presented to him in
this parliament, in many respects a curious document, with the King's
answer, bears testimony to the same point. "Our sovereign lord,--your
humble and true lieges that been come for the commons of your land,
beseech unto your right righteousness, that so as it hath ever been
their liberty and freedom that there should be no statute nor law made
otherwise than they gave their assent thereto, considering that the
commons of your land (the which is and ever hath been a member of your
parliament) been as well assenters as petitioners, that from this time
forward, by complaint of the commons of any mischief asking remedy by
mouth of their Speaker, or else by petition written, that there never
be no law made thereupon, and engrossed as statute and law,        (p. 023)
neither by addition, neither by diminution, by no manner of term or
terms, the which should change the sentence and the intent asked by
the Speaker's mouth, or the petitions before said, given up in writing
without assent of the aforesaid commons." To this petition the
following answer was made: "The King, of his grace especial, granteth,
that from henceforth nothing be enacted to the petitions of his
commons that be contrary to their asking, whereby they should be bound
without their assent; saving alway to our liege lord his real
prerogative to grant or deny what him lust of their petitions and
askings aforesaid."

This parliament was adjourned from Leicester, and re-assembled at
Westminster on the Octaves of St. Martin, 18th November 1414. The most
gratifying record of this great council of the realm is that which
informs us of the restoration of Henry Percy to his estates and
honours. The most important subject to which the thoughts of the peers
and commons were drawn was the King's determination to recover his
rights in the realm of France.

The motives which influenced Henry to undertake this extraordinary
step can be known only to the Searcher of hearts. Some writers, in
their excessive zeal for Protestantism, anxiously bent on stamping
upon Henry the character of an ambitious tyrant and a religious
persecutor, employ no measured language in their condemnation      (p. 024)
of his designs against France. Milner thus gives his summary of the
proceedings of this reign at home and abroad. "Henry Chicheley, now
Archbishop of Canterbury, continued at the head of that see from
February 1414, to April 1443. This man deserves to be called the
firebrand of the age in which he lived. To subserve the purposes of
his own pride and tyranny, he engaged King Henry in his famous contest
with France, by which a prodigious carnage was made of the human race,
and the most dreadful miseries were brought upon both kingdoms. But
Henry was a soldier, and understood the art of war, though perfectly
ignorant of religion; and that ardour of spirit, which in youth[26]
had spent itself in vicious indulgences, was now employed under the
management of Chicheley in desolating France by one of the most unjust
wars ever waged by ambition, and in furnishing for vulgar minds matter
of declamation on the valour of the English nation. While this scene
was carrying on in France, the Archbishop at home, partly by exile,
partly by forced abjurations, and partly by the flames, domineered
over the Lollards, and almost effaced the vestiges of godliness in the

                   [Footnote 26: When his determination to recover his
                   rights was announced in parliament, he was
                   twenty-seven years of age.]

These are very hard words, much more readily written than justified.
Such sentences of condemnation require a much clearer insight      (p. 025)
into the workings of the human heart than falls to the lot of any
human being to possess, when he would examine into the motives of a
fellow-mortal. It is very easy by one sweeping clause to denounce the
war as unjust, and to ascribe it to the ambition of Henry, reckless of
human suffering. But truth requires us to weigh the whole matter far
more patiently, and to substitute evidence in the place of
assumptions, and argument instead of declamation. And it is impossible
for the biographer of Henry V. to carry his reader with him through
the scenes of his preparation for the struggle with France, and his
conduct in the several campaigns which chiefly engaged from this time
till his death all the energies of his mind and body, without
recalling somewhat in detail the circumstances of Henry's position at
this time. This, however, will require also a brief review of the
state of France through some previous years of her internal discords
and misery. Reserving them for another chapter, there are some
circumstances of a more private and domestic character which it might
be well for us first to mention in this place.

That Henry was habitually under the influence of strong religious
feelings, though his views of Christian doctrine partook much of the
general superstition of the age, is evident; and one of the first acts
of his government was to satisfy his own conscience, and to give full
testimony to the church of his piety, and zeal, and devotedness,   (p. 026)
by founding three religious houses. When, exactly a century later,
Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, communicated to his friend, Hugh
Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, his intention of founding a monastery, his
friend, instead of giving him encouragement to proceed with his plan,
remonstrated with him on the folly of building houses, and providing a
maintenance for monks, who would live in idleness, unprofitable to
themselves and to society;[27] urging him at the same time rather to
found a college for the encouragement of sound learning: and the
College of Corpus Christi in Oxford owes its existence, humanly
speaking, to that sound admonition. Perhaps, had Henry V. been
fortunate enough to meet with so able and honest an adviser, Oxford
might have had within its walls now another nursery of religion and
learning,--a monument of his piety and of his love for whatever was
commendable and of good report. Our Oxford chronicles record his
expressed intention both to reform the statutes of the University,
and also to found an establishment within the castle walls,        (p. 027)
annexing to it all the alien priories in England for its endowment, in
which efficient provision should be made for the instruction of youth
in all the best literature of the age.[28] Had he first resolved to
found his college, and reserved his religious houses for later years,
his work might still have been flourishing at this day, and might have
yet continued to flourish till the hand of spoliation and refined
barbarism shall be strong and bold enough (should ever such a calamity
visit our native land) to wrest these seminaries of Christian
principles and sound learning from the friends of religion, and order,
and peace. As it is, Henry's establishments survived him little more
than a century; and the lands which he had destined to support them
passed away into other hands, and were alienated from religious
purposes altogether.

                   [Footnote 27: The answer which Bishop Oldham is
                   said to have made on this occasion is chiefly
                   remarkable for the intimation it conveys, that the
                   downfall of the monasteries was anticipated a
                   quarter of a century before their actual
                   dissolution. "What, my lord, shall we build houses
                   and provide livelihoods for a company of bussing
                   monks, whose end and fall we may ourselves live to
                   see? No, no; it is more meet that we should provide
                   for the increase of learning, and for such as by
                   their learning shall do good to the church and
                   commonwealth."--Anthony Wood.]

                   [Footnote 28: Henry had much at heart the
                   maintenance of the truth of the Christian religion,
                   such as he received it. Of this he is thought to
                   have given early proof, by confirming a grant of
                   fifty marks yearly, during pleasure, to the prior
                   and convent of the order of Preachers in the
                   University of Oxford, to support the doctrine of
                   the Catholic faith. It will be said that this was
                   merely to repress the Lollards. Be it so, though
                   the original document is silent on that point. It
                   proves, at least, that he wished to maintain his
                   religion by argument rather than by violence. The
                   circumstance, however, of its being merely a
                   confirmation of a grant, which even his father
                   found in existence when he became King, takes away
                   much from the importance of the fact.--Pell Rolls,
                   1 Henry IV.]

The sites which Henry selected for his establishments were,        (p. 028)
one at Shene, in Surrey; the other at Sion, in the manor of Isleworth,
on the Thames.

The terms of the foundation-charters of these religious houses, their
rules, and circumstances, and possessions, it does not fall within the
plan of this work to specify in detail. The brothers and sisters
admitted into these asylums appear to have been bound by very strict
rules of self-denial and poverty.

The monastery at Shene, built on the site of Richard II.'s palace,
which he never would enter after the loss of his wife Anne, who died
there, and which on that account he utterly destroyed, was called "The
House of Jesus of Bethlehem," and was dedicated "to the honour, and
glory, and exaltation of the name of Jesus most dear;" Henry
expressing in the foundation-charter, among sentiments less worthy of
an enlightened Christian, and savouring of the superstition of those
days, that he founded the institution in pious gratitude for the
blessings of time and of eternity, which flow only from HIM.

The house of Sion in Isleworth, or Mount Sion, as it is called in the
Pope's bull of confirmation, was dedicated "to the honour, praise, and
glory of the Trinity most High, of the Virgin Mary, of the Disciples
and Apostles of God, of all Saints, and especially of the most holy
Bridget." This house was suppressed by Henry VIII; when the nuns fled
from their native country, and took refuge, first in Zealand, then at
Mechlin, whence they removed to Rouen; at last, fifteen reached    (p. 029)
Lisbon in 1594. The history of this little company of sisters is very
remarkable and interesting. In Lisbon they were well received, and
were afterwards supported by royal bounty, as well as by the
benevolence of individuals. They seem to have settled there peaceably,
and to have lived in their own house, and to have had their own
church, for more than fifty years. In 1651 their house and church were
both burnt to the ground; but, through the beneficence of the pious,
they had the happiness of seeing them restored. In 1755 this little
community suffered in common with the other unfortunate inhabitants of
Lisbon, and seem to have lost their all in the earthquake. In their
distress they cast their eyes to the land of their fathers, and
applied for the charity of their countrymen. There is something very
affecting in the language of the petition by which our countrywomen in
their calamity sought to excite the sympathy, and obtain the
benevolent aid, of their fellow-Christians at home.

     We, the underwritten, and company, having on the 1st of November
     last suffered such irreparable losses and damage by the dreadful
     earthquake and fire which destroyed this city and other parts of
     the kingdom, that we have neither house nor sanctuary left us
     wherein to retire; nor even the necessaries of life, it being out
     of the power of our friends and benefactors here to relieve us,
     they all having undergone the same misfortune and disaster. So
     that we see no other means of establishing ourselves than by
     applying to the nobility, ladies, and gentlemen of our        (p. 030)
     dear country, humbly imploring your tender compassion and pious
     charity; that, so being assisted and succoured from your
     bountiful hands, we may for the present subsist under our
     deplorable misfortune, and in time retrieve so much of our losses
     as to be able to continue always to pray for the prosperity and
     conservation of our benefactors.
                  Augustus Sulyard,           Eliz. Hodgeskin,
                  Peter Willcock.             Frances Huddleston,
                                              Cath. Baldwin,
     _Sion House, Lisbon_,                    Winifred Hill.
        _May 25, 1756_.

Through another fifty years, the little band, still keeping up the
succession by novices from England, remained in the land of their
refuge; till, in 1810, nine of them, the majority, it is said, of the
survivors, fled from the horrors of war to their native island; and
their convent, whose founder was Henry, the greatest general of his
age, became the barracks of English soldiers under Wellington, the
greatest general of the present day. On their first return they lived
in a small house in Walworth; and in 1825, the remainder, now advanced
in years and reduced to two or three in number, were still living in
the vicinity of the Potteries in Staffordshire,--the last remnant of
an English convent dissolved in the time of Henry VIII. There are at
this time mulberry-trees growing at Sion House, one of the Duke of
Northumberland's[29] mansions, which are believed, not only        (p. 031)
to have been living, but to have borne fruit, in the time of the

                   [Footnote 29: The present Duke and Duchess kindly
                   searched out and visited the remaining sisters in

                   [Footnote 30: Dugdale; ed. 1830.]

Henry seems to have had much at heart the intellectual, moral, and
religious improvement of those who might be admitted to a share of his
bounty in these establishments. The Pell Rolls record a payment "of
100_l._ part only of a larger sum, to the prior and convent of Mount
Grace, for books and other things to be supplied by them to his new
foundation at Sion."[31] Whether the prior and brethren of Mount Grace
had duplicates, or were mere agents, or parted with their own stock to
meet the wishes of their King, the record does not tell.

                   [Footnote 31: April 11, 1415.]

CHAPTER XVIII.                                                     (p. 032)



Some writers, (taking a very narrow and prejudiced view of the affairs
of the age to which our thoughts are directed in these Memoirs, and of
the agents employed in those transactions,) when they tell us, that
Henry was so devotedly attached to the church, and so zealous a friend
of her ministers, that he was called the Prince of Priests, would have
us believe that he "entirely resigned his understanding to the
guidance of the clergy." But his principles and his conduct        (p. 033)
in ecclesiastical matters have been misunderstood, and very unfairly
exaggerated and distorted. That Henry was a sincere believer in the
religion of the Cross is unquestionable; and that, in common with the
large body of believers through Christendom, he had been bred up in
the baneful error of identifying the Catholic church of Christ with
the see of Rome, is in some points of view equally evident: but that
he was a supporter of the Pope against the rights of the church in
England and other his dominions, or was an upholder of the abuses
which had then overspread the whole garden of Christ's heritage, so
far from being established by evidence, is inconsistent with the
testimony of facts. The usurpations of the Romish see called for
resistance,[32] and Henry to a certain extent resisted them. The
abuses in the church needed reformation, and Henry showed that he
possessed the spirit of a real reformer, bent on the correction of
what was wrong, but uncompromising in his maintenance of the religion
which he embraced in his heart. He gave proof of a spirit more
Catholic than Roman, more Apostolic than Papal.

                   [Footnote 32: In the early part of his father's
                   reign, an ordinance was made, charging the King's
                   officers not to suffer aliens to bring bulls or
                   other letters into the kingdom, which might injure
                   the King or his realm.--Cleop. F. III. f. 114.]

In his very first parliament strong enactments were passed forbidding
ecclesiastics to receive bishoprics and benefices from Rome, on pain
of forfeiture and exile. And on complaints being made against      (p. 034)
the ordinaries, Henry's answer is very characteristic of his
principles of church reform: "I will direct the bishops to remedy
these evils themselves; and, if they fail, then I will myself take the
matter into my own hands."

He had been little more than half a year on the throne,[33] when he
sent a peremptory mandate to the bishops of Aquitain, that they should
on no account obey any provision from the court of Rome, by which
preferment would be given to an enemy of England. And in the following
month, Dec. 11, 1413, Henry issued a prohibition, forbidding John
Bremore, clerk, whom the Pope had recommended to him when Prince of
Wales, to return to the court of Rome for the purpose of carrying on
mischievous designs against the King and his people, under a penalty
of 100_l._ And among his own bishops, countenanced and confidentially
employed by himself, were found men who protested honestly and
decidedly against the tyranny and corruption of Rome, and were as
zealously bent on restoring the church to the purity of its better
days, as were those martyrs to the truth who in the middle of the next
century sealed their testimony by their blood. To what extent Henry V.
must be regarded as having given a fair promise that, had he lived, he
would have devoted the energies of his mind to work out such an
effective reformation as would have satisfied the majority of the
people in England, and left little in that way for his successors  (p. 035)
to do, every one must determine for himself. In forming our judgment,
however, we must take into account, not only what he actually did, but
also whatever the tone, and temper, and turn of his mind (from such
intimations as we may be enabled to glean scattered up and down
through his life) might seem to have justified persons in
anticipating. It would be vain to build any theory on what might have
happened had the course of Providence in Henry's destinies been
different: and yet we may without presumption express a belief that,
had his life been spared, and had he found himself seated in peace and
security on the united throne of England and France, instead of
exhausting his resources, his powers of body and mind, and his time,
in a fruitless crusade to the Holy Land, (by which he certainly once
purposed to vindicate the honour of his Redeemer's name,) he might
have concentrated all his vast energies on the internal reformation of
the church itself. Instead of leaving her then large possessions for
the hand of the future spoiler, he might have effectually provided for
their full employment in the religious education of the whole people,
and in the maintenance of a well-educated, pious, and zealous body of
clergy, restored to their pastoral duties and devoted to the ministry.
That the church needed a vigorous and thorough, but honest and
friendly reform,--not the confiscation of her property to personal
aggrandizement and secular purposes, but the re-adjustment of what
had degenerated from its original intention,--is proved by         (p. 036)
evidence most painfully conclusive. Indeed, the enormities which had
grown up, and which were defended and cherished by the agents of Rome,
far exceed both in number and magnitude the present general opinion
with regard to those times. The Conventual system[34] had well nigh
destroyed the efficiency of parochial ministrations: what was intended
for the support of the pastor, was withdrawn to uphold the dignity and
luxury of the monastery; parsonage houses were left to fall to decay,
and hirelings of a very inferior class were employed on a miserable
pittance to discharge their perfunctory duties as they might.
"Provisions" from Rome had exempted so large a proportion of the
spirituality from episcopal jurisdiction, that, even had all the
bishops been appointed on the principle of professional excellence,
their power of restoring discipline would have been lamentably
deficient. But in their appointment was evinced the most reckless
prostitution of their sacred order. Not only was the selection of
bishops made without reference to personal merit and individual
fitness, whilst regard was had chiefly to high connexions and the
interests of the Papacy; but even children were made bishops,      (p. 037)
and the richest dignities of the church were heaped upon them:
foreigners unacquainted with the language of the people were thrust
into offices, for the due discharge of the duties of which a knowledge
of the vernacular language was absolutely necessary. The courts
ecclesiastical ground down the clergy by shameless extortions; whilst
appeals to Rome put a complete bar against any suit for justice. Their
luxury and excesses, their pride and overbearing presumption, their
devotedness to secular pursuits, the rapacious aggrandizement of
themselves and their connexions, and the total abandonment of their
spiritual duties in the cure of souls, coupled with an ignorance
almost incredible, had brought the large body of the clergy into great
disrepute, and had filled sincere Christians (whether lay or clerical,
for there were many exceptions among the clergy themselves) with an
ardent longing for a thorough and efficient reformation. It is true
that their indignation was chiefly roused by the prostitution of the
property of the church, and its alienation from the holy purposes for
which the church was endowed; and that gross neglect of discipline
rather than errors in doctrine called into life the spirit of
reformation: but even in points of faith we perceive in many clear
signs of a genuine love of Evangelical and Catholic truth; among whom
we are not without evidence sufficient to justify us in numbering the
subject of these Memoirs. Henry of Monmouth, whilst he adhered     (p. 038)
constantly to the faith of his fathers, yet manifested a sincere
desire to become more perfectly acquainted with the truth of the
Gospel; and spared no pains, even during his career of war and
victory, in providing himself with the assistance of those teachers
who had the reputation of preaching the Gospel most sincerely and
efficiently. Henry's, indeed, was not the religion which would
substitute in the scale of Christian duties punctuality of attendance
on frequent preaching for the higher and nobler exercises of
adoration. Many an unobtrusive incident intimates that his soul took
chief delight in communing with God by acts of confession, and prayer,
and praise. He seems to have imbibed the same spirit which in a
brother-monarch once gave utterance to expressions no less valuable in
the matter of sound theology, than exquisitely beautiful in their
conception:[35] "I had rather pass an hour in conversation with my
friend than hear twenty discourses in his praise." And yet Henry
delighted also in hearing Heaven's message of reconciliation
faithfully expounded, and enforced home.

                   [Footnote 33: November 7, 1413.]

                   [Footnote 34: By a statute (4 Hen. IV. 1402), after
                   the Legislature had complained that the Convents
                   put monks, and canons, and secular chaplains into
                   the parochial ministry, by no means fit for the
                   cure of souls, it is enacted, that a vicar
                   adequately endowed should be everywhere instituted;
                   and, in default of such reformation, that the
                   licence of appropriation should be forfeited.]

                   [Footnote 35: Henry III. is said to have assigned
                   to Louis IX. this reason for his preference of
                   devotional exercises to sermons.]

Whilst, for example, he was pursuing his conquests in Normandy, the
report no sooner reached him of a preacher named Vincentius, (who was
labouring zealously in the cause of Christ in various parts of
Brittany, and who was said by his earnest and affectionate         (p. 039)
preaching to have converted many to the Lord their God,) than Henry
sent for him, and took great delight in hearing his faithful
expositions of the word of truth and life. And we have good reason for
believing that the consolations of the pure doctrines of the Gospel,
as a guardian angel ministering the cup of Heaven, attended him
through life and in death.

There is no intimation dropped by historians, nor is it intended in
these Memoirs to intimate, that Henry's eyes were opened to the
doctrinal errors of the church of Rome. But there are circumstances
well worthy of consideration before we pronounce definitively on that
point. When we bear in mind that, in those days, prayers and vows were
habitually made to the Virgin for success, and, after any prosperous
issue of the supplicants' exertions in war or peace, offerings of
thanksgiving were addressed to her as the giver of victory and of
every blessing; and whilst, at the same time, we find in Henry of
Monmouth's letters and words no acknowledgment of any help but God's
only; the question may be fairly entertained, whether he had not
imbibed some portion of the pure light of Gospel truth on this very
important article of Christian faith. The Author is well aware of the
words at the close of his Will, referred to hereafter; and is very far
from saying that he should be surprised to find other instances of a
similar character. Still Henry's silence as to the power and       (p. 040)
assistance of the Virgin, the absence of prayer to her in his
devotions, many of which are especially recorded; the absence of
praise to her after victory and success, though he was very far from
taking praise to himself, always ascribing it to God Almighty only,
may seem to justify the suggestion of an inquiry into this point.

For a knowledge of the degraded state to which the church had sunk,
and her inefficiency as the guardian and dispenser of religious truth,
we are not left to the vague representations of declaimers, or the
heated exaggerations of those by whom everything savouring of Rome is
held in abomination. The preambles of the laws which were intended to
cure the evils, bear the most direct and full evidence of their
existence and extent. One parliamentary document, after prefacing that
"Benefices were founded for the honour of God, the good of the
founders, the government and relief of the parishioners, and the
advancement of the clergy," then states "that the spiritual patrons,
the regular clergy throughout the whole realm, mischievously
appropriate to themselves the said benefices, and lamentably cast to
the ground the houses and buildings, and cruelly take away and destroy
divine service, hospitality, and other works of charity, which used to
be performed in the said benefices to the poor and distressed; that
they exclude and ever debar the clergymen from promotion, and
privately convey the treasure of the realm in great sums to the court
of Rome,--to the confusion of their own souls, the grievous        (p. 041)
desolation of the parishioners[36] and the whole country, the ultimate
ruin of the clergy, the great impoverishment of the realm, and the
irrecoverable ruin of the holy church of England."[37]

                   [Footnote 36: It is curious at the same time to
                   observe what extraordinary notions the Commons, who
                   presented this petition, had formed of freedom; how
                   jealous they were of the lower orders, and how
                   determined to exclude them from sharing with
                   themselves the good things of the church's
                   temporalities. The Commons pray that (no nief or
                   vileyn) no bondswoman or bondsman, be allowed to
                   send a son to school with a view of being advanced
                   in the church; and that for the maintenance and
                   safety of the honour of all the free men of the

                   [Foonote 37: 15 Richard II. (1391.)]

A case argued before the judges in the time of Henry IV, very
interesting in itself, and closely connected in many points with the
subject of this chapter, is recorded in the Year Books. The argument
arose on a writ of Quare impedit, directed against Halomm (Hallam)
Bishop of Salisbury and Chichel (Chicheley) Bishop of St. David's,
afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. The question at issue regarded
the voidance of a prebend in the church of Salisbury, caused by
Chicheley being created Bishop of St. David's, who held that prebend,
to which he had been presented by Richard Medford, a former Bishop of
Sarum. Against the King's claim of right of presentation to the void
prebend, the defendants answered that the Pope had granted to
Chicheley licence to enjoy all the preferments which he held before,
together with his bishopric. For the King's right it was pleaded,  (p. 042)
that the creation of Chicheley took place whilst the temporalities of
Sarum were in the hands of the King, on the translation of Hallam from
York to Sarum;[38] but the question at length turned virtually upon
the power of the see of Rome to dispense with the laws of England.

                   [Footnote 38: Some persons would probably be
                   surprised, among the facts recorded in this cause,
                   (all which however are confirmed by the
                   ecclesiastical registers,) to find that by a sort
                   of retrograde promotion, according to our usual
                   ideas of episcopal preferment, a Bishop of London,
                   Nicoll Bubwith, was translated from London to
                   Salisbury, and from Salisbury to Bath and Wells.
                   The pleading also reminds us of a curious fact with
                   regard to Bishop Hallam's promotion, not generally
                   known. The record merely states that "the Bishop of
                   Sarum, that now is, was translated from York to the
                   church of Sarum." This latter translation, however,
                   (if such it can be properly called,) admits of a
                   more easy solution than the preceding. The fact is,
                   that Hallam was actually appointed by the Pope to
                   the archbishopric of York; to which appointment the
                   King objected. The nomination of the Pope was not
                   persisted in, and Hallam was consecrated Bishop of

In the first sitting (Mich. 11 Henry IV.--_i.e._ 1409), Horton for the
defendants alleged, "We continued in possession of the prebend after
Richard Hallam had received the temporalities from the hands of the
King. Subsequently to which, and before we were created Bishop of St.
David's, our Saint Peter the Apostle, reciting by his bulls that we
were elected Bishop of St. David's, granted us licence to enjoy all
our other benefices." On which, Thirning, Justice, observed, "The
grant of the Apostle in this case cannot change the law of the land."
To which Hankford (who proved himself throughout the most zealous
supporter of the omnipotence of the Popedom) merely replied, "The Pope
can do all things;" his use of the Latin words evidently showing that
he was quoting a dictum,--"Papa omnia potest." After some discussion,
and a reference to former precedents chiefly alleged by Hankford,
Thirning rejoins very significantly, "That was in ancient times, and I
will not raise the question as to the power of the Apostle;        (p. 043)
but I cannot see how he by his bulls can change the law of
England."[39] In the third deliberation, Culpeper says, "The intention
of the statute is now to be considered; and I conceive that it was
made to protect the King and other patrons in their rights, and to
restrain the encroachment of the Apostle which he makes against the
law." On the third discussion, Till argued, "Since by the law of the
land the creation of a bishop causes a voidance in fact of a benefice
before held, and by such voidance the title of presentation or
collation accrues to the patron, I say that the Apostle can by no
grant beforehand oust the patron of his right, and restrain the title
which ought to accrue to him upon such creation: for if so, he ought
to restrain and change the course of inheritance by the law of the
land; and that he cannot do, no more than if the King wished to    (p. 044)
give or grant to a man that he should hold his lands after he has
entered upon a monastic life, and professed; for such grant would be
contrary to the common law of the land, and therefore would be
altogether void. So also in this case." To this argument Horton
replied, among other points, "I take it that the Apostle may grant to
a man to hold three bishoprics at a time;" in which Hankford agreed,
"provided it were with the consent of the patrons." On which Skeene
observed, "If the Pope made such a grant, the King might retain the
temporalities in his own hands, if he wished it." To this observation,
Hankford, among many other things, said, "The Apostle can in many
cases change the course of the law of the land, and prevent the
occurrence of that which ought to follow." The same judge, pressing
again the argument on which he had before relied, asks, "What say ye?
suppose the Apostle, before a man becomes a professed monk, grants him
a dispensation to hold his benefices after his profession?"--"I say,"
replied Hill, "that in such a case he cannot deprive me of my right of

                   [Footnote 39: "Jeo ne ferra disputation del poiar
                   l'appost', mes jeo ne scay veier coment il par ses
                   bull' changer, le ley d'Engleterre."]

The question at issue was found to be so difficult of solution, and
the judges viewed the law of the case in such opposite lights, that it
was argued and debated between them by adjournment in four several
terms; at length the advocates of the Pope's omnipotence gave      (p. 045)
way, and judgment was given for the Crown.[40]

                   [Footnote 40: See Year Book, "Anno xi. Hen.
                   IIII."--Term. Mich. fol. 37; Hilar. fol. 38; Pasc.
                   fol. 59; Trin. fol. 76.]

Among many memorable facts recorded by the Year Book during the
progress of this cause, most persons probably will regard with
interest the resistance made by the Crown, at this period, against the
encroachments of the Pope,--the boundless power, ecclesiastical and
political, assumed and exercised by the pontiff, and conceded to him
in England,--and, at the same time, the spirit which shows itself on
the part of some of our judges to vindicate the supremacy of the law
of England over the alleged omnipotence of the court of Rome. The
great difference of opinion also as to the power of the Pope,
expressed by the members of the judicial bench, cannot fail to
interest every Englishman, whether lawyer or not; whilst the terms in
which some of the judges speak of the encroachments of the Apostolic
see, against which the legislature of England had deemed it necessary
to enact some stringent laws, are not a little remarkable. But to
Protestants of the present day, perhaps the most surprising feature of
all may appear to be the title ascribed to the Pope by the judges,
whilst publicly and solemnly dispensing the laws of the country. They
do not speak of him as the Pope, except once in the citation of a
Latin dictum; nor do they refer to him as a sovereign pontiff
exercising the delegated authority of the chief Apostle, and       (p. 046)
representing him in the church militant on earth: they do not give him
the title of "successor to St. Peter," or "our father filling the
Apostolic chair:"--they speak of him throughout in direct terms as
"the Apostle;" and in some passages they even call him "Saint Peter,"
and "our Saint Peter" the Apostle.[41] It is however very curious, in
tracing the argument in this cause, to lay the strong terms employed
by the advocates of the Pope's paramount authority side by side with
the striking expressions used by others of those high functionaries on
the supremacy of the English law, and the inability of the Apostolic
see in the plenitude of its power to change or dispense with the
common or statute law of the realm.

                   [Footnote 41: "L'appost'." "Nostre Saint Pier
                   l'appost'." "Bulls fait par Saint Pier."]

Abuses such as we have referred to in the previous sections of this
chapter prevailed everywhere, and called loudly for vigorous measures
to rectify them. At the same period the church through Christendom was
distracted and torn by contending factions, each supporting a pontiff
of its own.

To put an end to these disgraceful and unhappy feuds, as destructive
of the peace of Europe as they were hurtful to the cause of true
religion, and to effect a full reformation in the church, the Council
of Constance was professedly convened. That synod was summoned
nominally by Pope John XXIII, but in reality by the united voice   (p. 047)
of the sovereigns of Europe, especially at the instance of the Emperor
Sigismund himself. It falls not within the province of these Memoirs
to record the proceedings of that council, either in extinguishing the
flame of discord within the pale of the church, or in kindling the
sadder flame of persecution[42] against all who dared to think for
themselves in a matter peculiarly their own, or in its lamentable
forgetfulness of the abuses for the correction of which it was mainly
convened. The records of the Council of Constance, however, abound in
matters of interest in connection with the immediate and professed
object of this work. We infer from them that Henry V. was then taking
a lead in religious matters, and, whilst he was anxious to resist the
overbearing tyranny of Rome, he was at the same time bent on making
the religious establishment within his own kingdom an efficient means
of conveying to all his subjects the blessings of the Gospel; he was
an honest reformer of abuses, but, at the same time, the conscientious
and uncompromising supporter of the religion of his fathers.

                   [Footnote 42: It is very painful to reflect on the
                   intolerant spirit of this very Sigismund, who was
                   so anxious to reform the abuses of the church; but
                   it is forced upon us whilst we are inquiring into
                   the times of Henry. Sigismund had paid (as we shall
                   see) a visit to Henry, and he meditated another.
                   But he never put that design into execution. A
                   letter from Heretong Van Clux, Henry's minister,
                   informed his master that he must not expect to see
                   the Emperor, for he had employment at home in
                   putting down the followers of Huss. "Now I know
                   well he might not come, for this cause, that many
                   of the great lords of Bohemia have required him for
                   to let them hold the same belief that they are in.
                   And thereupon he sent them word, that rather he
                   would be dead than he would sustain them in their
                   malice. And they have answered him again, that they
                   will rather die than go from their belief. There is
                   a great power of them, lords, knights, and
                   esquires; but the greatest power is of the
                   commoners. Therefore the Emperor gathers all the
                   power that he may, to go into Bohemia upon
                   them."--See Ellis's Original Letters.]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was on the 20th of October 1414, that Robert Hallam, Bishop of
Salisbury, the Bishops of Bath and Hereford, the Abbot of          (p. 048)
Westminster, the Prior of Worcester, Lord Warwick, and others, were
commissioned by Henry to proceed to Constance, and as his
representatives[43] to treat about the reformation of the universal
church; or, as the Pell Rolls speak, "for the salvation of Christian
souls." Another body of commissioners was subsequently sent, when not
less than four hundred Englishmen went in company of the embassy,
among whom were reckoned two archbishops, seven bishops, and many
other lords and gentlemen. Of those who were first commissioned by
Henry, Robert Hallam (or Allam) was most strenuous in urging       (p. 049)
the work of reformation before and above all other matters with which
they had to do. The Cardinals were equally urgent to have the election
of Pope first settled, and then to proceed afterwards to the question
of reformation. The Bishop of Salisbury, acting, doubtless, with the
full approbation, it may be at the immediate suggestion of Henry, was
instant, in season and out of season, in forcing the work of
reformation on the Council. He was called the Emperor's right hand, so
entirely did he and Sigismund co-operate for this purpose. Indeed, the
English generally appear at first to have been among the principal
promoters of reform, and, as long as Hallam lived, to have pursued it
zealously; but on his death[44] they were much less noted for the same
zeal. Previously, however, to that event, a great schism arose     (p. 050)
among the English at Constance, and the authority of the bishops
was much disregarded. To remedy these disorders, Henry wrote a
peremptory letter (18 July 1417), commanding all his people to be
obedient to the bishops, and to abstain from all factious conduct;
enjoining them, on pain of forfeiting their goods, either to behave in
a manner becoming his subjects, or to return home; directing also,
that, in all differences of opinion, the minority should conform to
the decision of the majority.

                   [Footnote 43: This council seems to have entailed,
                   first and last, on England, a very considerable
                   expense. Within a week of the date of the
                   commission, the Pell Rolls record the payment of
                   333_l._ 6_s._ 8_d._ (a large sum in those days) "to
                   Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, sent as the
                   King's ambassador to the General Council held at
                   Constance before our lord the Pope, the Emperor,
                   and others, there assembled for the salvation of
                   Christian souls." Payments also to others are

                   [Footnote 44: Bishop Hallam died at Constance,
                   Sept. 5, 1417. On which day the Cardinal des Ursins
                   addressed a letter to Henry, praying him to appoint
                   as Hallam's successor at Salisbury, John Ketterich,
                   Bishop of Lichfield, to whose ability and zeal and
                   worth the Cardinal bears strong testimony. This
                   same Cardinal had a personal interview with Henry
                   in 1418, just before the taking of Rouen.

                   Le Neve leaves it in doubt whether Bishop Hallam
                   was buried at Constance, or in Westminster Abbey.
                   But the Author has been kindly furnished by Sir
                   Francis Palgrave, who visited Constance last year,
                   with the following interesting particulars relative
                   to the resting-place of that excellent man. "The
                   monument of Bishop Hallam consists of a slab inlaid
                   with brass, in the usual style of English memorials
                   of the same period, but quite unlike those of
                   Germany; and I have no doubt but that the brasses
                   were sent from England. He is represented at full
                   length in the episcopal dress, his head lying
                   between two shields, the royal arms of England
                   within the Garter, (as Chancellor of the order,)
                   and his own bearings. But the tomb being placed
                   exactly in front of the high altar, the attrition
                   to which it has been exposed in this part of the
                   church has nearly effaced the engravings." His
                   funeral, we are told, was attended by the assembled
                   princes and prelates and nobles of the council, who
                   followed him to the grave with every demonstration
                   of respect and sorrow.]

Bishop Hallam entertained a most rooted antipathy to the Pope and the
Popedom; and he once gave expression to his sentiments so freely and
unreservedly to the Pope himself, that his Holiness complained
grievously of him to the Emperor: but Sigismund was himself too
heartily bent on reforming the abuses of the Popedom to chide the zeal
and freedom of the English prelate. On one occasion the Bishop
maintained that a General Council was superior to the Pope (a doctrine
subsequently recognised, but then, as it should seem, new and bold);
on another he is reported to have gone so far as to affirm         (p. 051)
that the Pope, for his enormities, deserved to be burnt alive. Bishop
Hallam[45] was by no means singular either in the sentiments which he
entertained with regard to the corruptions of the Romish Church "_in
its head and its members_," and the imperative necessity of an
universal reform, or in the unreserved boldness and plainness with
which he published those sentiments. The whole of Christendom rang
with loud and bitter complaints against the avarice, the sensuality,
the overreaching and overbearing tyranny, the total degeneracy and
worthlessness of the Popes, the Cardinals, and the religious orders;
but in no place were the protests against such deplorable          (p. 052)
corruptions more unsparingly uttered than at the Council of Constance
itself: and among those who willingly offered themselves to testify,
in their Saviour's name, against such a prostitution of his blessed
Gospel to the purposes of worldly ambition, such gross depravity and
total neglect of duty, the names of many of our own countrymen are
recorded. These pillars of the church, these lights in the midst of
darkness, seem indeed to have entertained sentiments, as to the duties
and responsibilities of the Christian priesthood, worthy of the purest
age. Some of their recorded doctrines are truly edifying, and find a
response in some of the best episcopal charges and admonitions of the
Protestant church at the present day.

                   [Footnote 45: Anthony à Wood, referring to the
                   alleged resolution of the University of Oxford in
                   favour of Wickliff and his doctrines, refers to
                   this Bishop Hallam, though with some mistake. "The
                   prime broacher," he says, "of this testimonial, of
                   which we have nothing in our registers, records, or
                   books of epistles, was John Husse in the first tome
                   of his works, and from him John Fox. Against the
                   former of whom it was objected in the Council of
                   Constance, that he had openly divulged the said
                   commendatory letter in behalf of John Wickliff,
                   falsely conveyed to Prague, under the title of the
                   University of Oxford, by two students, one a
                   Bohemian, the other an Englishman. Whereupon those
                   of England who were present at the council, of
                   whom, if I mistake not, Robert Hallam, about these
                   times Bishop of Oxford [Salisbury], was one,
                   produce another letter under the seal of the
                   University, wherein, on the contrary, the members
                   thereof as much denounce against him as the other
                   was in behalf of him, and referred the matter to
                   the council to judge of it as they thought fit; but
                   how it was decided I find not."]

Among these excellent men, Dr. Richard Ullerston, of Oxford, seems to
have taken a most primitive view of the duties of a Christian bishop.
He wrote a treatise in 1408, by way of memorial for Bishop Hallam, his
friend, who urged him to the work, when that uncompromising reformer
went to the Council of Pisa. At the close of a long and powerful
exhortation to provide for the due execution by the Popes of their own
ministerial duties, and for the restoration of discipline in the
church, he thus expresses himself: "Things being thus restored to
their right order, and all abuses being cut away, the Pope will employ
himself, agreeably to the duties of his charge, in procuring peace for
Christians, not only by praying, but by preaching the Gospel       (p. 053)
himself, and sending everywhere good preachers, who by their doctrine
and example might urge on princes and people throughout the world
their several duties, and who might make a holy war upon the passions
of mankind, rooting up those sensual desires which, according to St.
James, are the source of wars and divisions in the church and in the
state." This treatise was published in Germany about the year 1700,
from a manuscript in Trinity College, Cambridge; and may be found at
the end of Van der Hardt's work on the Council of Constance. It
consists chiefly of petitions for the remedy of abuses, and is full
from beginning to end of the true spirit of genuine evangelical
religion. Dr. Ullerston remained in uninterrupted and perfect
communion with the church of Rome; and yet no Protestant, who ever
suffered at the stake for his opposition to her, could have more
faithfully exposed the practical grievances under which Christendom
then mourned in consequence of her dereliction of duty, whilst she
assumed to herself all supreme authority, and paralyzed the efforts of
national churches to remedy the crying evils of the time. The heads of
Ullerston's petitions abound with salutary suggestions; by many of the
items we are apprised of the grievances then chiefly complained of, or
the departments in which those grievances were found.

  1. On the election of a Pope.

  2. On the suppression of simony.

  3. On the exaltation of the law of Christ above all human        (p. 054)

  4. Against appropriations, _i.e._ assigning the proceeds of parochial
  cures to monasteries.

  5. On appointing only fit persons to ecclesiastical stations.

  6. Against exemptions of monasteries and individuals from episcopal

  7. Against dispensations,--those, among others, by which benefices and
  bishoprics were given to children.

  8. Against pluralities.

  9. Against appeals to Rome.

  10. Against the abuse of privileges.

  11. Against the clergy devoting themselves to secular affairs.

  12. Against the prerogatives of chanters[46] and other officers in the
  houses of the great.

                   [Footnote 46: In his arguments on this article Dr.
                   Ullerston offers some excellent reflections upon
                   the use and abuse of singing in the church. The
                   sentiments of Augustin, which he quotes, are truly
                   judicious and edifying. That eloquent father
                   lamented that often the beauty of the singing
                   withdrew his mind from the divine matter and
                   substance of what was sung; but when he remembered
                   how, on occasions of peculiar interest to him,
                   psalmody carried his soul towards heaven in holy
                   raptures, he could not help voting for its
                   continuance in the church service. Ullerston quotes
                   also two lines, not indeed specimens of classical
                   accuracy, but the spirit of which should never be
                   absent from the mind of a Christian worshipper,
                   whether a Protestant or in communion with the see
                   of Rome:

                         "Non vox sed votum, non musica chordula sed cor,
                         Non clamor sed amor, sonat in aure Dei."]

  13. Generally against extortions.                                (p. 055)

  14. Against excessive expenses in the persons and the families of the

  15. For a provision for more efficient divine service in parishes.

  16. For the restoration of peace through Christendom.

In his reflections on these points there is so much sound sense and
genuine affection for true religion, such an ardent desire pervades
them of promoting the ends for which alone an establishment can be
justified on warrant of Scripture, or is in itself desirable,--the
salvation of souls through Christ for ever,--that, had it not been out
of place, the Author would have gladly transcribed a great part of Dr.
Ullerston's sentiments into these pages. His suggestions savour
throughout of genuine piety and true practical wisdom.

To Ullerston must be added Walter Dysse, who was commissioned by Pope
Boniface IX. to proceed to Spain, Portugal, and Aquitain, to preach a
crusade against the infidels. He was a most deadly enemy to the
followers of Wicliffe, and a devoted friend to the court of Rome; yet
he could not pass over in silence the cause of the divisions and
corruptions of the church, nor the means of their effectual

But, perhaps, among all those whom the history of this Council records
as zealous promoters of a real reformation within the church itself,
our more immediate object in these Memoirs would require us        (p. 056)
to make especial mention of Thomas Walden, because he was one of Henry
of Monmouth's own chaplains,[47] and was employed by him not only in
domestic concerns, but in foreign embassies.[48] He was called the
Netter, from the expertness and success with which he caught and
mastered his antagonists in argument. He was present at the Council of
Pisa as well as of Constance. He proved himself throughout a most
bitter persecutor of heretics; and (as Van der Hardt expresses
himself) the less imbued he was with any affection towards the
disciples of Huss, or influenced by it, so much the more sincere a
censor was he of the ecclesiastical corruptions of his time. He was
bent on reforming the abuses of the church with a strong hand, and so
far the wishes of his royal master coincided with his own; but he  (p. 057)
could not prevail upon the King to go hand-in-hand with him in
persecuting the heretics. Walden was bold enough, in his mistaken
zeal, to charge Henry with a culpable remissness in what was then too
generally supposed to be the duty of a Christian sovereign.[49]

                   [Footnote 47: Thomas Gascoyne, a contemporary
                   writer, born 1403, ordained 1427, who gives us a
                   deplorable view of the ignorance and immorality of
                   the clergy of his time, mentions the appointment of
                   Walden as Henry's chaplain, in confirmation of his
                   position that he never could find that any King of
                   England retained any bishop after consecration as
                   his confessor or resident chaplain till the time of
                   Henry VI. "When (he says) Henry IV.'s confessor was
                   made a bishop, he sent him to his cure and his
                   bishopric; and Henry V, who was a very prudent King
                   indeed, and terrible to many nations, had with him
                   one doctor proficient in divinity, Thomas Walden,
                   as his confessor, who was burdened with no cure of
                   souls. Thus were Kings and Lords accustomed to
                   retain as their chaplains persons who were free
                   from all cure of souls."]

                   [Footnote 48: Pell Rolls, Mich. 7 Hen. V, he is
                   paid for his expenses in an embassy to the King of

                   [Footnote 49: L'Estrange, Counc. Constance, vol.
                   ii. p. 282; and Van der Hardt, tom. i. p. 501.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A communication made personally to Henry from Constance, in the
beginning of the year 1417,[50] deserves in this place our especial
attention. The letter, written by John Forester,[51] may perhaps be
considered a fair specimen of correspondence between Englishmen of
education at that period. As a vehicle of information on the real
state of feeling in England with regard to the church of Rome, it is
very interesting. It is, moreover, impossible to read it without
inferring that, in the opinion of the writer at least, and of those in
whose behalf he wrote, Henry's earnest desire was to reform the abuses
of the church, and to render churchmen zealous servants of the Gospel.

                   [Footnote 50: Not 1418, as it has been supposed,
                   but 1417. The date is fixed by the specifying of
                   Wednesday the 27th January, as also by the mention
                   of the Genoese ships. These ships were hired, and
                   they fought under the French against the English,
                   and were beat in July 1417, after a severe

                   [Footnote 51: Cott. MSS. Cleopatra, t. vii. p.


     "My sovereign liege Lord, and most redoubted Prince Christian to
     me on earth. I recommend me unto your high royal and imperial
     Majesty with all manner [of] honours, worships, grace, and
     goodnesses. My most glorious Lord, liketh you to wit, that the
     Wednesday, the third hour after noon, or near thereto, the seven
     and twentieth day of January, your brother['s] gracious person
     the King of Rome entered the city of Constance with your livery
     of the Collar about his neck,--a glad sight for all your liege
     men to see,--with a solemn procession of all estates, both of
     Cardinals of all nations, and your Lords in their best array with
     all your nation. He received your Lords graciously, with right
     good cheer. Of all the worshipful men of your nation he touched
     their hands, [and theirs] only, in all the great press. And then
     went my Lord of Salisbury [Hallam] before heartily to the place
     of the general Council, where that royal King should rest; and he
     entered into the pulpit where the Cardinal Candacence,[52] chief
     of the nation of France, and your especial enemy also, had
     purposed to have made the first collation[53] before the
     King,[54] in worship of the French nation. But my Lord of
     Salisbury kept possession, in worship of you and your nation; and
     he made there a right good collation that pleased the King right
     well: and forasmuch as the King was fasting at that hour, then
     would no man occupy him more that day; but on the morn        (p. 059)
     (my liege Lord) liketh you to wit, that at nine of the bell all
     your ambassadors, with all your nation in their best array, went
     to worship him in his palace, and that he gave them glad and
     gracious audience. There my Lord of Chester, the president of
     your nation, had his words to him in such a wise that it was
     worship to him and all our nation; and soon after this they took
     their leave of him. And on the morrow he sends after them again
     at ten of the clock. There he received them again every man by
     hand. Then he made a collation to our nation, and he thanked them
     especially that they had been so loving, trusty, and true to his
     nation in his absence. Also, he rehearsed there how the
     brotherhood [friendship] began between him and my Lord your
     father; and how it is now so continued and knit for you and your
     successors, with the grace of God, for ever. And he told them so
     great worship of your royal person, and such of all my Lords your
     brethren; and then of the governance of holy church, divine
     service, ornaments, and all state thereof, kept as though it were
     in Paradise, in comparison with any place that he ever came in
     before; so that from the highest unto the lowest he commended
     your glorious and gracious person, your realm, and your good
     governance. And then my Lord of Chester, our president, in the
     name of all our nation (as belongeth to his office) rehearsed
     compendiously, and in a gentle wise, all that ever the Emperor
     had said; and gave him an answer to every point so good and so
     reasonable, in so short avisement, that he has got him the thanks
     of your nation for ever. And also, sovereign liege Lord, as I may
     understand, my Lords of Salisbury and Chester are fully disposed,
     by the consent of all your other ambassadors, to suive [pursue]
     the reformation in the church, in the head and the members,
     having no regard to no benefices[55] that they have,          (p. 060)
     rather than it should be left undone. And of this I doubt me
     nought that these two lords will abide hard and nigh, always by
     the good advice and deliberation of your brother the King of
     Rome. Moreover, liketh you to wit, that on Sunday, the last day
     of January, your brother, the King of Rome, wore the gown of the
     Garters, with your collar, openly at the high mass; and he was
     lereth [learned] that the Duke of Beyer and the borough-grave
     should eat with my Lord of London the same day, and he said he
     would eat with them. Other tidings be there none, but, as it is
     said, the ambassadors of Spain should be here in Constance within
     a few days. And, on Candlemas eve, came letters from the French
     King, commanding to his nation to put out the ambassadors of the
     Duke of Burgundy from their nation; also, as it is said openly,
     that the foresaid French King hath sent to the city of Genoa, and
     forwarded a great sum of gold to [hire[56]] wage great ships and
     galleys, to destroy your ordinance and your navy of England. And
     further, the day of making this letter, Master Philip Moyar
     entered Constance in good health, thanked be God! The which God,
     of his gracious goodness, keep your high, honourable, and
     gracious person in his pleasance, and send you sovereignty and
     victory of all your enemies. Written at Constance, the second day
     of February,
                 "By your poor, true, and continual
                                             "JOHN FORESTER."

                   [Footnote 52: Cardinalis Camaracensis, or Cardinal
                   of Cambray.]

                   [Footnote 53: "Collation" meant discourse, or
                   speech, generally of a laudatory character.]

                   [Footnote 54: The Spaniards, the French, and others
                   were jealous of the English enjoying the privilege
                   of ranking and voting single-handed as one of the
                   nations, and insisted upon their being regarded
                   only as a part of a larger section of Europe, just
                   as Austria was only part of Germany. But the
                   English resisted, and preserved their privilege.]

                   [Footnote 55: This alludes to the intention of
                   putting a stop to the rich and numerous commendams
                   which were then heaped on bishops. Our English
                   prelates were determined to carry on the
                   reformation, though at their own personal

                   [Footnote 56: This negotiation was successful. The
                   French hired a fleet of long ships of the Genoese.]

                   [Footnote 57: Orator.--Petitioner, one who prayed
                   for the welfare of another.]

It is curious to remark that, on the very Sunday before this       (p. 061)
letter was written, the English bishops caused a sort of pious comedy
to be acted in the presence of the Emperor Sigismund. It was one of
those mysteries, as they were called, which had so long mingled
religious instruction (of a very questionable character) with
amusement. The fruits of these exhibitions were probably very
equivocal in that age in England, as they are on the Continent at this
day. The Germans consider this play, which was the representation of
the Nativity,[58] the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Visit of the
Magi, as the first introduction of that sort of dramatic performance
into their country. The English had caused a rehearsal to be performed
before the authorities of the place three or four times previously, in
order to make the actors perfect for their imperial audience.

                   [Footnote 58: A curious entry occurs (11th July
                   1390) in the Pell Rolls of 10_l._ ordered by the
                   King (Richard II.) to be paid to the clerks of the
                   parish churches, and other clerks in the city of
                   London, on account of the play of the Passion of
                   our Lord and the Creation of the World, by them
                   performed at Skynnerswell after the feast of
                   Bartholomew last past.]

About half a year after the date of this letter to Henry, his uncle,
Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, reached Constance in the garb of
a pilgrim, on his journey to the Holy Land. His safe-conduct is dated
July 21, 1417. His arrival at Constance was very prejudicial to the
cause of the reform of the church. The struggle then was between the
imperial party (to which the English were closely attached)        (p. 062)
and the Cardinals, whether the Pope should be first elected, or
whether the reformations in the church should take precedence of his
election. Henry Beaufort, to whom all parties seem to have paid the
utmost deference, suggested the expediency of first electing the Pope;
the Cardinals pledging themselves, that done, to proceed forthwith to
the reformation. His advice was followed, and the result must have
been a disappointment to all sincere Christians: a death-blow was
given to the hopes which had been entertained of a reform in
ecclesiastical affairs to be effected by that Council. No sooner was
Pope Martin V. elected, than both himself and the Cardinals frustrated
every attempt to secure a sound reformation; and, after sitting three
years and six months, the Council was dissolved.

The records of this Council of Constance bear incidentally most
valuable evidence to the warm interest taken by Henry in everything
over which he had any control, and in which he could beneficially
employ his power and influence. They prove, moreover, that whilst he
was a sincere promoter of a sound and wholesome reformation, and most
zealously attached to the religion in which he had been brought up,
and in which he was a conscientious believer, he was no persecutor.
Though our souls are harrowed up by the unchristian proceedings
against John Huss and Jerome of Prague, (and, could truth allow it, we
would gladly wipe away so black a stain from the annals of ages    (p. 063)
and nations called Christian,) it is a source of great satisfaction to
find that the name of Henry of Monmouth is not at all mixed up with
those deeds of blood: we find him neither encouraging nor approving
them. Not one shadow of suspicion is suggested that the persecuting
spirit, which in that Council displayed itself so outrageously and
inhumanly, found any thoughts in his breast responsive to its cruel
aspirations. We know, indeed, that Thomas Walden, his priest and
chaplain, was actuated by the spirit of persecution towards the
Lollards; but we are equally assured that, so far from being
countenanced and encouraged by his master in acts of persecuting
bigotry, he did not scruple openly in public, and solemnly in a
sermon, to charge him with a want of zeal in extirpating the enemies
of the church. From such a witness the testimony so borne to the
charity and moderation of Henry of Monmouth is very valuable and
satisfactory; abundantly outweighing all the declamation of modern
enthusiastic censors. Henry was a reformer,--he could not be persuaded
to become a persecutor.[59]

                   [Footnote 59: For satisfaction on this point, the
                   reader is especially referred to the chapter
                   entitled, "Was Henry of Monmouth a religious

Henry's reputation for having at heart the correction of all abuses in
the church, encouraged the University of Oxford to present to him a
petition, setting forth a multitude of corrupt practices which     (p. 064)
were a disgrace to the Christian religion in England; and praying
him, since God had raised him up to such an exalted place in the
church, to put forth his power in effecting a reformation.[60] This
document, preserved in Corpus Christi College in Oxford, abounds in
topics of deep and lively interest; it marks the fearful extent to
which the corrupt practices in the church had been fostered by Rome,
the ardent desire entertained in England for a reformation so early as
the commencement of the fifteenth century, and Henry's anxiety to
bring about such a reform in the discipline of the church as might
safely be adopted without giving countenance and encouragement to the
Lollards, against whom the University seems at this time to have been
decidedly hostile.

                   [Footnote 60: In this petition of the University,
                   Henry is told, that what Constantinus, Marcianus,
                   and Theodosius had been in the East, that was he in
                   the West; by his eminent Christian piety resisting
                   the accomplices of Satan, and preventing the
                   western church from sinking utterly. By his wise
                   and peaceable government of the church he was (they
                   say) best providing for the peace and security of
                   the state, whilst he cut off and cast away the
                   rank, luxuriant offshoots of offences as they grew.
                   In marking out the most notable defects and abuses,
                   they obeyed (they say) his sacred commands; and
                   they prayed him to exert his authority in
                   correcting them.]

The points to which Oxford then solicited Henry to direct his especial
care, were partly such as are no longer of general interest among us,
(excepting so far as they remind us of the mass of evils from which
the Reformation rescued us,) and partly such as must be            (p. 065)
interesting to Christians of every age.

Among the former grievances were reckoned the Pope's unlimited
creation of cardinals, all to be supported out of the revenues of the
church; the excessive grants of indulgences, by which persons were
encouraged in licentiousness; the privileges and exemptions and
scandalous immorality of the monks. The petitioners complained
bitterly that though the church of England would not admit persons
into sacred orders who were unfit and unworthy, yet the court of Rome
would repeatedly recognise such as lawful ministers.

Among the latter evils were the non-residence of incumbents, the
inadequacy of the stipends of curates, and the commendams of bishops.
The petitioners prayed, that whereas a great number both of regulars
and seculars who were presumptuous and ignorant were ordained, a
decree might be passed that all before ordination should be strictly
examined; and that a remedy should be provided against simony.[61]
They petitioned, also, that foreigners who could not speak English
should have no cures in England; and they complained of the practice
of patrons exacting from the priests whom they nominated to a benefice
a pledge that they would not sue for an augmentation of their      (p. 066)
stipend, were it never so small. They closed their petition by
praying that all bishops who were remiss in punishing heresy, and
extirpating Lollardy, might be deposed; and that all magistrates and
officers should be bound by their oath to aid in its extirpation.[62]

                   [Footnote 61: There was also a prayer to prohibit
                   the practice of confiscating the goods of Jews and
                   heathens at their baptism, a practice tending to
                   debar them from offering themselves at the font.]

                   [Footnote 62: Cotton. Tiber. B. vi. F. 64.]

Henry, deeply lamenting the gross abuses referred to in this petition,
implored the Pope to suffer them to be redressed. His Holiness agreed
to certain constitutions, by which, if fully acted upon, most of the
evils complained of would have been rectified. The Pope, however,
begged Henry in return to abrogate all the laws which had been enacted
in England to the prejudice of Rome; but the King declared his
inability to meet the wishes of his Holiness.

The extent to which the abuse of the Pope's[63] authority had been
connived at in this country,--a state of things which naturally
indisposed him towards any change for the better,--may be inferred
from two facts: that he (in defiance of the statutes of Edward III.
and Richard II.) had by his own authority created thirteen         (p. 067)
bishops in the province of Canterbury in two years; and had appointed
his nephew, Prospero Colonna, a boy of only fourteen years of age,
Archdeacon of Canterbury, with fourteen benefices in England.

                   [Footnote 63: The fact is, that Henry, during his
                   wars in France, suffered Pope Martin to exercise
                   his pretended prerogative in the disposal of
                   benefices to an extent, if not unprecedented,
                   certainly most unjustifiable. The Chapter of York
                   gave the first blow to this growing usurpation by
                   refusing to admit, in obedience to the Pope's
                   mandate, Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, into
                   the archiepiscopal see.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Before we leave this subject, we cannot but record an instance
(mentioned by Walsingham) of Henry's personal exertions in reforming
abuses. He had received complaints against the Benedictine monks of
certain grievous corruptions; and, attended only by four persons, he
went into the midst of a full assembly of that order. The meeting
consisted of sixty abbots and priors of convents, and more than three
hundred monks, who were all assembled in the Chapter-house of
Westminster. After a speech from the Bishop of Exeter, (one of those
who accompanied him,) Henry himself addressed them at great length. He
reminded them of the ancient piety of the monks, and the devotion of
his predecessors and others in founding and endowing monasteries; he
expatiated on the negligence and remissness in the discharge of their
sacred duties, which, he said, had become notorious in their times;
and he then exhibited certain articles according to which he required
them to reform themselves; earnestly entreating them to recover the
ancient spirit of religion which they had lost, and habitually to pray
for the King, the country, and the church; assuring them that, if they
followed his directions, they needed fear none of their enemies.   (p. 068)

       *       *       *       *       *

That Henry V, though earnestly desirous of a sound reform in the
discipline of the church, and the lives and ministrations of the
clergy, did never lay the axe to the root of the evil, cannot be
denied. Perhaps he was disheartened by the total failure of the united
efforts of himself and Sigismund, with their honest and zealous
adherents, at Constance. Perhaps he resolved to wait till, at the
close of his continental campaigns, in the enjoyment of peace at home
and abroad, he might be able to devote his concentrated exertions to
an object of such paramount importance. Perhaps the ambition of his
uncle Henry Beaufort, who evidently was looking for personal
aggrandizement in wealth and dignity, and who had given so decided and
unhappy a turn in the council of Constance in favour of the Pope's
party, might have devised some means for seducing his nephew's ardent
thoughts into another channel. To whatever cause we may be disposed to
attribute it, the reality is, that Henry V, when he died, had not
effected reform on any comprehensive scale in his own realm; nor had
he given any decided blow to the dominion and the corruptions of the
church of Rome. His short life was a career of wars and victories.

It pleased the Almighty, in his inscrutable wisdom, to bring       (p. 069)
about the reformation of the church in his own way, by his own means,
and at his own appointed time. We recognise his hand in the blessing
which we have inherited, and are thankful.

CHAPTER XIX.                                                       (p. 070)




It falls not within the province of these Memoirs to justify the
proceedings of Henry of Monmouth with regard to France, by an
examination into the soundness of his claims, and the abstract
principles on which he and his subjects and advisers rested them. But
it is incumbent on any one who would estimate his character uprightly,
to weigh the considerations by which he was influenced in the
undertaking, neither according to our present standard, nor
independently of all the circumstances of the age in which he lived,
and the sentiments then generally prevalent among men of education and
reputed probity.

Historians have generally represented it as an established fact    (p. 071)
that the clergy, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, alarmed
at the bold and urgent call of the Commons upon the King to seize the
church patrimony, and from its proceeds apply whatever was required by
the exigencies of the state, hit upon the expedient of stimulating him
to claim France as his inheritance; thus withdrawing his mind from a
measure so fatal to their interests. Though the evidence on which such
a tradition rests is by no means satisfactory, we may perhaps receive
it as probable. That the Commons were clamorous for the confiscation
of the ecclesiastical revenues, and that the clergy voluntarily voted
a very large subsidy to aid the King in prosecuting his alleged rights
on the Continent, are matters of historical certainty. That the
ecclesiastics, moreover, originally suggested to him the design of
reviving his dormant claim to an inheritance in the fair realm of
France, and then fostered the thought, and justified the undertaking
by argument, and pledged their priestly word for the righteousness of
his cause, is doubtless no unreasonable supposition. Still the clergy
do not appear to have been in the least more eager in the scheme, or
more anxious to protect themselves and their revenues from spoliation
by such a scheme, than were the laity enthusiastically bent on a
harvest of national glory and aggrandizement from its success.[64] In
a word, the King himself, the nobles, and the people, all seem     (p. 072)
to have been equally determined to engage in the enterprise, and
to support each other in the resolution that it was not only
practicable, but most fully justifiable by the laws of God and man.

                   [Footnote 64: The people of England gave frequent
                   proofs of their desire to seize every opportunity
                   of reaping glory from conquests in France. When the
                   Duke of Burgundy and the confederated princes, in
                   the struggle to which we have before referred,
                   applied in the first instance for assistance to
                   Henry IV, Laboureur tells us that Henry replied to
                   the latter that he was compelled to accept the
                   offer of the Duke of Burgundy, to avoid the
                   irritation and discontent of his subjects, which
                   would be raised if he neglected so favourable an
                   opportunity of forwarding the national interests.]

That Henry's high spirit predisposed him to listen with readiness and
satisfaction to the suggestions of his subjects in this behalf, we may
well believe; but that he would have been driven by a dominant
ambition to engage in a war of conquest against the acknowledged
principles of justice, his character, firmly established by undeniable
proofs of a private as well as a public nature, forbids us to admit.
It must never be forgotten that those persons who were then
universally regarded as the best and safest interpreters of law, human
and divine, assured him, on his solemn appeal to them for their
judgment,[65] that the cause in which he was embarking was just;   (p. 073)
and, as many incidents in the sequel establish, he did embark in
it without any doubts or misgivings, without the slightest scruple of
conscience; on the contrary, with a full confidence in the entire
righteousness of his cause, and a most unbounded reliance on the arm
of the God of Justice for success.

                   [Footnote 65: The "Chronicles of England" record,
                   that, "in the second year of King Henry's reign, he
                   held a council of all the lords of his realm at
                   Westminster; and there he put to them this demand,
                   and prayed and besought them of their goodness, and
                   of their good counsel and good-will, as touching
                   the right and title that he had to Normandy,
                   Gascony, and Guienne--the which the King of France
                   withheld wrongfully and unrightfully--the which his
                   ancestors before him had by true title of conquest
                   and right heritage--the which Normandy, Gascony,
                   and Guienne the good King Edward of Windsor, and
                   his ancestors before him, had holden all their
                   life's time. And his lords gave him counsel to send
                   ambassadors unto the King of France and his
                   council, demanding that he should give up to him
                   his right heritage,--that is to say, Normandy,
                   Gascony, and Guienne,--the which his predecessors
                   had holden before him, or else he would win it with
                   dint of sword in short time with the help of
                   Almighty God."]

The facts which laid the groundwork for his enterprising spirit to
build upon are very interesting; and, though they may perhaps belong
rather to general history than to Memoirs of Henry of Monmouth, yet a
brief review of them might seem altogether indispensable in this

"The preference given by the States-General to Philip of Valois above
Edward III, when he laid claim to the crown of France, led to that
disastrous war, the prominent incidents of which are familiar to every
one at all acquainted with the history of that time. Edward gained a
naval victory over the French, and conquered Philip at Cressy, and
possessed himself of Calais, which gave him an entrance into       (p. 074)
France at all times. After some interval, Edward the Black Prince, his
son, gained the famous battle of Poictiers; where King John, son and
successor of Philip of Valois, was taken prisoner. Whilst that monarch
was a captive in England, Edward entered France at the head of one
hundred thousand men, and marched to the very gates of Paris. This
successful invasion led to the treaty of Bretigny. By the terms of
that peace, Edward recovered all those ancient dependencies of Guienne
which had been wrested from his ancestors. These provinces had fallen
to the Kings of England by the marriage of Eleanor, heiress of
Guienne, with Henry II; but, from the time of John (Lackland) and
Henry III, Philip Augustus and St. Lewis, Kings of France, had so
shorn that vast territory, that nothing remained to England except
Bourdeaux, Bayonne, and Gascony. Besides, by the same treaty, Edward
secured Montreuil and Ponthieu, Calais and Guienne; and all these
possessions were ceded to him in full sovereignty without any suit or
homage due to France. Finally, he stipulated for the sum of three
millions of golden crowns as the ransom of King John. On his side, he
consented to forego all right and claim which he might have on the
crown of France. Especially he renounced all title to Normandy and
other places, which were said to be the heritage of his ancestors, and
to all the sovereignty of Brittany. This treaty was solemnly       (p. 075)
executed by King John, and observed during his life, except as to the
ransom, two-thirds of which remained undischarged at his death. But
Charles V, his son and successor, finding this peace very
disadvantageous to France, though he had himself been a party to it,
and had sworn to observe its conditions, broke it on very frivolous
grounds. He declared war against Edward, and in a very few years
recovered all that had been ceded to England by the treaty of
Bretigny, except Calais, Bayonne, Bourdeaux, and part of Guienne. This
second war was interrupted by a truce, which continued till the death
of Edward III. in 1377. During the reign of Richard II, and the
remainder of Charles V.'s life, and the first years of Charles VI, war
and peace followed each other in mutual succession, without any
important or decided advantage on either side. At last, Richard II.
and Charles VI. concluded a truce for twenty-eight years, which was
ratified by the marriage of Richard with Isabel, Charles's daughter.
From the deposition of Richard to the death of Henry IV,
notwithstanding frequent violations of the truce, both sides
maintained that it still subsisted. Such was the state of the two
crowns when Henry of Monmouth mounted the throne. France having broken
the peace of Bretigny, and maintaining that the treaty was void,
evidently the Kings of England were reinstated in all their rights
which they had before that peace. On this principle, immediately
after the disclaimer of that peace on the part of France,          (p. 076)
Edward III. resumed the title of King of France, which he had laid
aside; and his successors assumed it also. Since the commencement of
the war which followed the treaty of Bretigny there never had been
peace between the two crowns, but only truces, which do not affect the
rights of the parties. It is evident, therefore, that, when he
ascended the throne, Henry V. found himself under precisely the same
circumstances in point of right in which his great grandfather, Edward
III, was eighty years before, when he commenced the first war. Besides
this, Henry had to allege a solemn treaty, which, after it had been
unequivocally acted upon, France broke on a most trifling pretext."

Such is the representation made by the author of the Abrégé
Historique[66] of the affairs of England; and the Author is desirous
of transferring into his pages this clear and candid statement the
rather because it is written by a foreigner, who seems to have viewed
the transaction with enlightened and unprejudiced eyes.

                   [Footnote 66: "Abrégé Historique des Actes Publics
                   d'Angleterre," which now accompanies the foreign
                   edition of Rymer's Foedera.]

More modern writers, indeed, would teach us to deem it "unnecessary
for them to comment on the absurdity of Henry's claim to the French
crown in right of his descent from Isabella wife of Edward II. For
futile as her son Edward's (III.) pretensions were, Henry's were   (p. 077)
still less reasonable, as the Earl of March was in 1415 the heir
of those persons."[67]

                   [Footnote 67: Sir H. Nicolas.]

The fact on which this reasoning rests is undoubtedly true, and yet
considerations connected with that claim require to be entertained,
and weighed without haste and without prejudice; and the truth itself
warns us not to dismiss the point so summarily. Henry (it must never
be forgotten) had been bred up in the belief that Richard II. had in
the most full and unreserved manner, by his act of resignation,
yielded all his rights into the hands of the people of England, and
that those rights had been as fully and unreservedly conferred by the
nation on Henry's father. Whatever rights, moreover, the Earl of March
possessed as lineal heir to the crown, he had, as far as his own
personal interest was concerned, over and over again, not merely by a
passive acquiescence, but by repeated voluntary acts, virtually
resigned, and made over to Henry as actual King; and, lastly, it is
clear that Henry's claim was always by himself and by the nation
rested on the ground of his being King of England, and, ipso facto, as
such, heir of all his predecessors Kings of England.

On these grounds, and with such an opening offered to his ardent mind
by the distracted state of the realm of France, Henry resolved to
prefer his claim; negociating first for its amicable concession, and,
if unsuccessful in negociation, then pursuing it in the field of
battle. This appears to have been his determination from the       (p. 078)
first; but from the first he seems also to have contemplated the
probability of failure by treaty; for, from the first intimation of
his designs, he and his subjects were steadily engaged in making every
preparation[68] for a vigorous invasion of France.

In this part of our treatise a brief outline is required of the
proceedings between the resolution first taken by Henry, and his
appearance in arms on French land; nor can we satisfactorily pass on
without taking a succinct view of the internal state of that kingdom
at the time of Henry's original claim and subsequent invasion.

                   [Footnote 68: The only measures mentioned in the
                   "Foedera," before April 1415, indicative of
                   Henry's expectation that the negociations with
                   France would not terminate pacifically, are, that
                   on September 26, 1414, the exportation of gunpowder
                   was prohibited; whilst, on the 22nd, Nicholas
                   Merbury, the master, and John Louth, the clerk of
                   the King's works, guns, and other ordnance, had
                   been commanded to provide smiths and workmen, with
                   conveyance for them; that, on the 18th of the
                   following March, Richard Clyderowe and Simon Flete
                   were directed to treat with Holland for ships; and,
                   on the 22nd, the Sheriff of London was ordered to
                   summon knights, esquires, and valets, who held
                   fees, wages, or annuities by grant from the King or
                   his ancestors, to repair forthwith to London, and,
                   on pain of forfeiture, to be there by the 24th of
                   April at the latest.--Sir H. Nicolas.

                   The Pell Rolls record the payment of "2,000_l._ to
                   Richard Clitherow and Reginald Curtys, (27th
                   February 1415; ordered by the King himself to go to
                   Zealand and Holland, for the purpose of treating
                   with the Duke of Holland and others to supply ships
                   for the King's present voyage,) therewith to pay
                   divers masters and mariners, who were to accompany
                   him abroad, whither he was going in his own

SUMMARY OF THE AFFAIRS OF FRANCE.                                  (p. 079)

Charles V, surnamed the Wise, died in 1380.[69] He left to succeed him
his son Charles VI, twelve years of age; and he appointed his three
brothers to govern the kingdom during the minority,--Lewis, Duke of
Anjou, John, Duke of Berry, and Philip, Duke of Burgundy, who by their
ambition and rivalry threw the whole realm into confusion. Charles V.
left also another son, called the Duke of Orleans, who in his time
contributed to the general confusion no less than his uncles. Through
the first days of Charles's (VI.) reign, the three regents, differing
in every other point, agreed only in burdening the nation with taxes;
a circumstance which bred great discontent, and prepared the people
for separating into different factions whenever an opportunity might

                   [Footnote 69: The Author has been, in this portion
                   of his work, chiefly assisted by the authors of the
                   "Abrégé Historique," above referred to.]

The Duke of Anjou quitted France in 1381, to take possession of his
kingdom of Sicily. The King was of age to be his own master, according
to the will of his father, at fourteen; yet his uncles governed both
his estate and his person till he was twenty. In 1385, he was married
to Isabella, daughter of Stephen, Duke of Bavaria.

In 1388, Charles assumed the reins of government, discharging his
uncles, and keeping about his person his brother, the Duke of Orleans,
then seventeen, and his maternal uncle the Duke of Bourbon.

The Duke of Burgundy could not endure to see the Dukes of          (p. 080)
Orleans and Bourbon govern the kingdom in the name of the King; and in
1391 he succeeded in causing the Estates-General to transfer the
government to him under the pretext of aiding his nephew to bear the
burden of the state. Probably the King had already shown symptoms of
that imbecility which afterwards incapacitated him altogether for
managing the affairs of his kingdom. In 1395 his malady increased in
violence; and for some time the Queen his wife, the Dukes of Orleans,
Berry, Burgundy, and Bourbon, each struggled hard to retain the reins
of government in their own hands. At length the Dukes of Orleans and
Burgundy formed two opposite parties; under the banners of which, as
well the members of the court, as the subjects of the kingdom at
large, arranged themselves in hostile ranks. Queen Isabella joined the
Duke of Orleans. The Duke of Berry fluctuated between the two
factions, and had great difficulty in preventing them from coming to
extremities. In these struggles the two chiefs were so equal, and so
determined not to yield either to the other, that they left the
government to the council of the King. The Duke of Burgundy withdrew
to the Netherlands, where he was master of the earldoms of Flanders
and Artois, and the duchy of Brabant: there he died in 1403, leaving
his son John to succeed him, who became Duke of Burgundy and Count of
Flanders and Artois. His brothers shared the residue of their father's

Whilst the new Duke of Burgundy was employed in arranging his      (p. 081)
own affairs, the Queen and the Duke of Orleans conducted the
government; but with little satisfaction to the people, who found
themselves grievously oppressed by taxation. Meanwhile, the Duke of
Burgundy married his son Philip, Earl of Charolois, to Michelle, the
King's daughter; and one of his daughters was also espoused to the
Dauphin, Louis, then only nine years of age.

Some time afterwards, Charles VI. finding himself in one of his
intervals of mental health, and hearing complaints from all sides
against his Queen and the Duke of Orleans, convened an assembly of
nobles to deliberate on a remedy; and commanded the presence of the
Duke of Burgundy. On his approach, the Queen and the Duke of Orleans
withdrew, taking with them the young Dauphin. The Duke of Burgundy
followed, and overtook them; and rescued the Dauphin from their
custody. This was a source of open rupture between those princes.
There followed, indeed, an outward show of reconciliation; but their
mutual hatred was deadly still. In 1407 the Duke of Burgundy caused
the Duke of Orleans to be assassinated. He was bold enough to profess
himself the author of the murder, and powerful enough to shield
himself from any punishment, and to procure letters of free pardon.
Next year he was obliged to visit his own territory, and in his
absence his enemies caused the bill of amnesty to be reversed.

Meantime, the Duke gained a victory over the troops of Liege,      (p. 082)
and marched at the head of four thousand horsemen direct upon Paris.
The Queen withdrew at his approach, taking the King with her to Tours;
and, finding herself unable to cope with her antagonist, she consented
to an accommodation. The King received Burgundy, and reconciled him in
appearance to the Duke of Orleans, son of the murdered Duke. After
this, the Duke of Burgundy remained master of the government, and of
the person of the King.

It will be remembered that, in 1411, a powerful league was formed in
Guienne against the Duke of Burgundy, by the Dukes of Berry, Orleans,
Alençon, and the Count of Armagnac, who was governor of Languedoc and
father-in-law to the Duke of Berry; and who, being the chief conductor
of the whole affair, gave the name of Armagnacs to the party in
general opposed to Burgundy.[70] At the beginning, the Duke of
Burgundy, having received succours from Henry IV. of England, gained a
great advantage over his opponents. Subsequently, the Armagnacs,
obtaining considerable assistance from the same King, forced the Duke
of Burgundy, who was besieging them in Bourges, to make peace; one
condition of which, however, being that no one of those chiefs should
return to the court, the Duke of Burgundy still remained master of the
King's person. In this state of triumph on the part of the         (p. 083)
Duke of Burgundy, and of depression of the Armagnacs, another opponent
arose against the Duke, of whom he seems to have been previously under
no apprehension,--the Dauphin himself, his son-in-law, then only
sixteen years of age. This prince, persuaded that during his father's
illness the government could of right belong to no one but himself,
resolved to secure his own. He gained over the governor of the
Bastille, and seized that fortress. The Parisians flew to arms at the
secret instigation of the Duke of Burgundy. A surgeon, named John of
Troyes, at the head of ten or twelve thousand men, forced the gates of
the Dauphin's palace; and, carrying off the chief friends of that
prince, lodged them in prison.

                   [Footnote 70: See vol. i. p. 268.]

These events took place at the opening of the year 1413, whilst Henry
IV. was labouring under the malady of which he died. Henry V.
succeeded to the throne, March 20th of that year. At the end of April,
the malcontents of Paris, all of the Burgundian faction, committed
various excesses, and compelled both the King and the Dauphin to wear
the white cap, the badge of their party. The Dauphin[71] betook
himself at last to the Armagnacs, of whom many lived in Paris,
grievously oppressed by the government of the Duke of Burgundy; and he
planned his scheme so well, and so secretly, that at the           (p. 084)
beginning of September he found thirty thousand men in Paris ready to
support him. By his sudden and vigorous efforts he struck terror into
the opposite faction, who abandoned the Bastille and other places in
their possession, and thought of nothing but their own personal
safety. The Duke of Burgundy himself withdrew to Flanders. The
Dauphin, however, gained no permanent advantage from this success; for
the King, in one of his favourable intervals, immediately seized the
reins of government, and called his nephew the young Duke of Orleans
to his counsels. This youth induced the King to issue very violent
decrees against the Duke of Burgundy, and to execute a great number of
his partisans.

                   [Footnote 71: The Dauphin, eldest son of Charles
                   VI, was born 22nd January 1396, and died before his
                   father, without issue, on the 18th December 1415,
                   in his twentieth year.]

Such was the state of affairs in France when Henry of Monmouth first
resolved to prosecute his claims in that kingdom. The Duke of Burgundy
lost no time in endeavouring to secure the assistance of so powerful
an ally; as we find by the many safe-conducts dated before the Duke's
expulsion from Paris, which did not take place till September. Whether
Henry had, before these embassies from the Duke of Burgundy, formed
any design of claiming his supposed rights in France, or not, the
Duke's negociations must have strongly impressed him with the
distracted state of that country, and with an opening offered to the
enterprising spirit of any powerful neighbour who would promptly and
vigorously seize upon that opportunity of invading France.

"Although[72] several negociations had taken place between         (p. 085)
September 1413, and the January following, for the purpose of
prolonging the subsisting truce between England and France, it was not
until January 28, 1414, that ambassadors were appointed to treat of
peace. From the engagement then made, that Henry would not propose
marriage to any other woman than Katharine, daughter of the King of
France, until after the 1st of the ensuing May, (which term was
extended from the 18th of June to the 1st of August, and afterwards to
the 2nd of February 1415,) it is evident that a marriage with that
princess was to form one of the conditions of the treaty. But the
first intimation of a claim to the crown of France is in a commission,
dated May 1, 1414, by which the Bishop of Durham, Richard Lord Grey,
and others, were instructed to negociate that alliance, and the
restitution of such of their sovereign's rights as were withheld by
Charles. The principal claim was no less than the crown and kingdom of
France. Concession to this demand, however, being at once declared
impossible, the English ambassadors waived it, without prejudice
nevertheless to Henry's rights. They then demanded the sovereignty of
the duchies of Normandy and Touraine, the earldom of Anjou, the duchy
of Brittany, the earldom of Flanders, with all other parts of the
duchy of Aquitain, the territories which had been ceded to         (p. 086)
Edward III. by the treaty of Bretigny, and the lands between the Somme
and Graveline; to be held by Henry and his heirs, without any claim of
superiority on the part of Charles or his successors. To these demands
were added the cession of the county of Provence, and payment of the
arrears of the ransom of King John, amounting to one million six
hundred thousand crowns. It was also intimated that the marriage with
Katharine could not take place, unless a firm peace were also
established with France, and that two millions of crowns would be
expected as her dower.

                   [Footnote 72: The following paragraphs are almost
                   literally extracted from Sir Harris Nicolas's
                   "Battle of Agincourt."]

On March 14, 1415, the French ministers denied Henry's right to any
part of the dominion of their master; but, to avoid extremities, they
offered to cede the counties of Angouleme and Bayonne, with various
other territories. They said that Provence, not being among Charles's
lordships, was not withheld by him. With respect to the arrears of
ransom, they thought that, having offered so much to extend the
possessions of England, with a view of securing peace, the claim ought
to be withdrawn. Touching the marriage, which had been so frequently
discussed, though the Kings of France had been accustomed to give much
less with their daughters than six hundred thousand crowns, which sum
the Duke of Berry had offered with her in the preceding August, yet
that it should be enlarged to eight hundred thousand crowns, besides
her jewels and apparel, and the expense of sending the princess    (p. 087)
in a suitable manner to the place where she might be delivered to
Henry. But as the English ambassadors said they were not permitted to
prolong their stay in France, and had no authority to vary their
demands, Charles engaged to send an embassy to England to conclude the

During the progress of these protracted negociations Henry grew
dissatisfied; and either from impatience, or with a view of awing
France into submission, issued writs of 26th September 1414, for a
parliament to be held at Westminster after the Octaves of St. Martin,
18th November following. On that day parliament met; and the session
was opened at the command of the King by Henry Beaufort, Bishop of
Winchester, then Chancellor. In a long harangue he informed the
assembly, that their King (who was present in person) had resolved to
recover his inheritance, which had been so long and unjustly kept from
him and his progenitors, Kings of England; and that, for this purpose,
many things were necessary. Taking for his theme the text, "Whilst we
have time, let us do good," he pointed out, with more pedantry than
eloquence, that for every natural thing there were two seasons; and
that just as for the tree there was one time to bud, to flower, and to
bring forth fruit, and another time through which it was left to
repose, so was there given to man a time for peace, and a time for war
and labour: that the King, considering the value of peace and      (p. 088)
tranquillity which this kingdom then enjoyed, and also the justice
of his present quarrel, (considerations most necessary for every
prince who had to encounter enemies abroad,) deemed that the proper
time had arrived for the accomplishment of his purpose. But, to attain
this great and honourable object, three things, he said, were wanted;
namely, wise and faithful counsel from his vassals, strong and true
support from his people, and a copious subsidy from his subjects;
which each of them would readily grant, because the more their
prince's dominions were extended, the less would their burdens become;
and, these things being performed, great honour and glory would
necessarily ensue.

This address was not without effect, for the Commons, after electing
Thomas Chaucer (son, as it is said, of the poet) for their Speaker,
"granted the King, for the honour of God, and from the great love and
affection which they bore towards their sovereign, two entire
fifteenths and two entire tenths, _for the defence of the kingdom of
England and the safeguard of the seas_."

CHAPTER XX.                                                        (p. 089)


At this point of his work, the Author finds the painful duty devolved
upon him of investigating a triple charge, now for the first time
brought against Henry by a living writer. He must not shrink from the
task, though he enter upon it with a consciousness that, if
established, the charge must brand Henry's memory with indelible
disgrace, whilst his acquittal may imply censure on his accuser.[73]
He feels, nevertheless, that only one course is open for him to    (p. 090)
pursue; he must follow up the inquiry fully, fearlessly, and
impartially, whatever may be the result; and, whether he looks to
Henry or his accuser, he must adhere rigidly to the golden maxim,
"Friends are dear, but truth is dearer!"

                   [Footnote 73: Here, however, the Author begs to
                   state his most unfeigned conviction that, had the
                   Editor of the "Battle of Agincourt" allowed himself
                   more time for reflection and reconsideration of his
                   subject, his love of truth and justice (which
                   evidences itself in various parts of his works)
                   would have induced him to withdraw this triple
                   accusation. The Author sincerely gives that
                   valuable writer full credit for his generous
                   indignation at the idea of any thing savouring of
                   falsehood, as well as for his anxious desire to
                   enlist all our ancient documents, whether published
                   or yet in manuscript, in the cause of historical
                   truth; and he sincerely trusts that not one
                   expression may escape his pen which may give,
                   unnecessarily, the slightest pain to an Editor for
                   the assistance derived from whose labours he will
                   not allow this note to escape him (even at the risk
                   of tautology) without again expressing his

An Author,[74] then, to whom (as we gladly and gratefully acknowledge)
we are largely indebted for many helps supplied to the biographer and
historian, and from whom we have borrowed copiously in this part of
our work, brings a wide and violent charge against Henry's character
in those very points on which the general tenour and complexion of his
whole life would lead us to regard him as of all least assailable. He
charges him with _falsehood_, _hypocrisy_, and _impiety_. The
groundwork on which he founds these accusations is a series of letters
recorded in M. Le Laboureur's History of Charles VI. of France.

                   [Footnote 74: Sir Harris Nicolas.]

To ascertain more satisfactorily whether the charge is really      (p. 091)
substantiated, or whether it has been built upon an unsound
foundation, we will first extract the whole passage as it stands in
his work, "The Battle of Agincourt," and then sift the evidence which
the writer alleges in support of so grave an imputation.

"On the 7th April, Henry is said to have addressed the King of France
on the subject of his claims, and in reference to the embassy which
Charles had signified his intention of sending to discuss them. No
part[75] of the correspondence on this occasion occurs in the
Foedera, and it is very slightly alluded to by our historians. "To
the first of those letters Charles replied on the 16th of April, and
to the last on the 26th of that month; it is therefore evident     (p. 092)
that Henry did not wait for the answer to the first before the second
was written. These documents occur in contemporary writers; and, as
the internal evidence which they contain of being genuine is very
strong, there is no cause to doubt their authenticity. Their most
striking features are falsehood, hypocrisy, and impiety; for Henry's
solemn assurance that he was not actuated by his own ambition, but by
the wishes of his subjects, is rendered very doubtful by the fact
that, on the day after the Chancellor had solicited supplies for the
invasion of France, the Commons _merely stated_ that they granted
_them for the defence of the realm, and the safety of the seas_. The
justice claimed was, that France should be dismembered of many
important territories; and that, with the hand of Katharine, Henry
should receive a sum as unprecedented as it was exorbitant. But this
was not all, for his first demand was the crown of France itself; and
it was not until he was convinced of the impossibility of such a
concession, that he required those points to which his letters refer.
If then there was FALSEHOOD in his assertion that his demands were
dictated by the wishes of his people rather than by his own, there was
HYPOCRISY in the assurances of his moderation and love of peace, and
IMPIETY in calling the Almighty to witness the sincerity of his
protestation, and in profaning the holy writings by citing them on
such an occasion. These letters, which were probably dictated by
Cardinal Beaufort, are remarkable for the style in which they      (p. 093)
are written; in some places they approach nearly to eloquence, and they
are throughout clear, nervous, and impressive."

                   [Footnote 75: That a correspondence took place,
                   there can be no doubt; but very much doubt is
                   thrown upon the accuracy of these documents; they
                   do not appear in such a shape that we can rely upon
                   them as evidence. The Author who gives them says,
                   that he considers them capable of embellishing and
                   adorning his history. The reader is invited to sift
                   this matter thoroughly, if he thinks that the
                   writer of these Memoirs has taken a partial view of
                   the merits of the question; and he is, at the same
                   time, cautioned against regarding the principal
                   work in which these letters are found as the
                   production of M. Laboureur. Into this error he
                   might easily be led by the manner in which the book
                   has been quoted. Laboureur translated the work of
                   an anonymous writer of St. Denis, of whose
                   character nothing is known. The manuscript, in
                   Latin, is said to have been found in the library of
                   M. Le President De Thou. The original author
                   brought the history down to the year 1415, and St.
                   Jean Le Fevre continued it to 1422.]

In this threefold indictment, the first charge is "falsehood." The
falsehood is made to consist in Henry's assertion, that he was
stimulated to prosecute his claim by the wishes of his people; and the
only evidence alleged to sustain this charge of falsehood, is the fact
that parliament, in granting the supplies, so far from specifying that
the grant was made for the purpose of recovering the King's rights in
France, merely stated that it was "_for the defence of the realm, and
the safety of the seas_."

Before a charge, fixing an indelible stain on the character of a
fellow-creature, whether the individual were a king leading his armies
to victory, or the humblest subject in his realm, were made on such
grounds as these, it had been well,--well for the cause of truth, and
well for the satisfaction of the accuser,--had the nature and force of
the evidence adduced been first more carefully examined. The slightest
acquaintance with the language of parliament at that time, and the
most cursory comparison of the words of its members with their
conduct, must satisfy every one that not a shadow of suspicion is
suggested of any unwillingness on the part of the Commons to support
the King in demanding his supposed rights, and vindicating them by
arms. On the contrary, the very records of parliament themselves,  (p. 094)
which are cited to maintain against Henry the charge of falsehood,
carry with them a full and perfect refutation of the accusation,
complete in all its parts; and compel us to lament that it has been
brought so hastily, unadvisedly, and inconsiderately. Our first point
is to ascertain the force of those words in the grant alone cited to
substantiate the charge of falsehood against Henry,--what meaning was
attached to them by the Commons themselves. We shall find that the
subsidy was granted in the usual formal words, "for the defence of the
realm of England and so forth." In the first parliament of Henry for
example, the subsidy is granted in these words: "To the honour of God,
and for the great love and affection which your poor Commons of your
realm of England have to you our dread sovereign Lord, for the good of
the realm and its good governance in time to come, we have, with the
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, granted to you _for
defence of your realm of England_," and so forth,--specifying a
subsidy from wools and other merchandise; and then, in voting an
entire fifteenth and a tenth, they add, "for _the defence of the
realm, and the safeguard of the seas_." With precisely the same
justice might it be argued in this case that the Commons would not
vote the subsidy for "the support of the King's dignity and high
estate," (though that was one of the especial grounds on which he
appealed himself to the liberality of his parliament,) as it can   (p. 095)
be inferred, from the same words used in the parliament of 1415,
that the Commons of England were not forward to promote the expedition
to France. In that parallel case, however, we are quite sure the
argument would be fallacious; because in the very same session they
voted that the King's own allowance should take precedence of all
other payments of annuities and other demands, to the amount of
10,000_l._ annually.

Another instance occurs in the parliament which met October 19, 1416,
the King himself presiding: though the Chancellor, after referring
with exultation to the victories of Harfleur, "the key of France," and
of Agincourt, "where greatest part of the chivalry of France had
fallen in battle," asks for new supplies _for the express purpose_ of
carrying on the wars in France; the Commons, in voting those supplies,
as expressly state that they grant them "_for the defence of your
realm of England_."

The same conclusion is warranted by the grants of 1417 and 1419;
excepting that in these the Commons make the argument intended to
support the charge against Henry's veracity still less tenable, by
inserting a phrase which might seem to exclude the very object for
which application for the subsidy was made. The application was made
especially for the supplies necessary to carry on the war abroad; the
Commons vote the subsidy "for the defence of the realm of England _in

But, to remove all possible doubt as to the true intent and        (p. 096)
meaning of the people of England in the grant in 1414 of two entire
tenths and two entire fifteenths, we need only refer to the first act
of the next parliament, which, after rehearsing the impossibility of
the King effectually carrying on his wars abroad unless one tenth and
one fifteenth made by the former parliament, payable on the 2nd of
February, should be collected before that time, decrees that subsidy
to be due and payable on the feast of St. Lucie in the next coming
December. Nor is this all. The next act of this same parliament would
of itself prove the utter futility of the charge against Henry, as far
as that charge rests upon the evidence adduced. The parliament first
state the necessity of supplying the King with more efficient means
_for pursuing his campaign in France_, and then vote one entire tenth
and one entire fifteenth,--for what? not for the purpose which they
have expressly specified, but "_for the defence of his said realm of
England_." The preamble, however, of this act shows so clearly what
were the views and feelings of his subjects on this very point, as
well as on the justice of his claim, that a transcript of it seems
indispensable in this place.

"The Commons of the realm, in this present parliament assembled,
considering that the King our sovereign lord, for the honour of God,
and to avoid the shedding of human blood, hath caused various requests
to be made to his adversary of France to have restitution of his
_inheritance_ according to _right and justice_;[76] and for that   (p. 097)
end there have been diverse treaties, as well here as beyond the
sea, to his great costs; nevertheless he hath not, by such requests
and treaties, obtained his said inheritance, nor any important part
thereof: and since the King, neither by the revenues of his realm, nor
by any previous grant of subsidy, hath had enough wherewith to pursue
_his right_; yet, always _trusting in God_ that in his JUST _quarrel_
he shall be upheld and supported, of his own good courage hath
undertaken an expedition into those parts, pawning his jewels to
procure a supply of money, and in his own person hath passed over, and
arrived at Harfleur, and laid siege to it and taken it, and holds it
at present, having placed lords and many others there for its defence;
and then of his excellent courage, with few people in regard to the
power of France, he marched by land towards Calais, where, on his
route, many dukes, earls, and other lords, with the power of the realm
of France, to an exceeding great number, opposed him, and gave him
battle; and God, of his grace, hath given victory to our King, to the
honour and exaltation of his crown, of his own fair fame, the      (p. 098)
singular comfort of his faithful lieges, to the terror of all his
enemies, and probably to the lasting profit of all his realm."

                   [Footnote 76: This seems to have been the language
                   of judges, councillors, parliament, poets, and the
                   people at large. The voice of all England seemed to
                   be echoed by Lydgate.

                         "In honour great; for, by his puissant might,
                         He conquered all Normandy again
                         And valiantly, for all the power of France,
                         And won from them HIS OWN INHERITANCE."]

We may safely leave the issue to the verdict of any impartial mind.
The argument drawn from the language of parliament to convict Henry of
falsehood falls to the ground; it has no colour of reason in it; and
no other argument is even alluded to by the accuser. It is, moreover,
much to be regretted that the Editor of "The Battle of Agincourt,"
when he was translating so large a portion of the Chaplain's memoir,
which with great reason he implicitly follows, had not begun the work
of translation a few sentences only before its present commencement.
Our countrymen would then have seen that, from whatever sources that
Editor drew the evidence on which to build his triple charge of
hypocrisy, falsehood, and impiety against Henry V, those who knew him
best, and had the most ample opportunities of witnessing his character
and conduct, expressed at least a very opposite opinion on the point
at issue. The following are the genuine words of one who accompanied
Henry from his native shores to France, was with him at the battle of
Agincourt, and returned with him in safety to England. "Meanwhile,
after the interchange of many solemn embassies between England and
France, with a view to permanent peace, when the King found that very
many negociations and most exact treaties had been carried on in   (p. 099)
vain, by reason that the council of France, _clinging to their own
will, which they adopted as their law_, could be induced to peace by
no just mean of equity, without immense injury to the crown of
England, and perpetual disinheritance of some of the noblest portions
of his right in that realm, though for the sake of peace he was ready
to make great concessions, seeing no other remedy or means by which he
could come to his right, had recourse to the sentence of the supreme
judicature, and without blame sought to recover by the sword what the
blameworthy and unjust violence of the French had struggled so long to
usurp and keep.... He determined to regain the duchy of Normandy,
which had for a long time been _kept, against God and all justice, by
the violence of the French_."

There is, however, one declaration contained in the very volume from
which these alleged letters of Henry are extracted, which makes the
charge brought by the commentator on those letters still more
surprising.[77] It is in that very volume positively asserted, with
regard to the first rumour through France of Henry's intended
invasion, that "his subjects _had strongly_ remonstrated with      (p. 100)
him for his love of peace and rest, and his dislike of active
measures, and had _now_ INSISTED upon his undertaking the

                   [Footnote 77: The Author does not mean to imply, as
                   the result of his inquiries, that Henry was
                   altogether influenced in his determination to claim
                   the crown of France by the instigations of his
                   people. If, as we believe, he was urged by them to
                   adopt that measure, we believe also that he
                   listened with much readiness to their appeal.]

                   [Footnote 78: The words of the writer of that
                   history are too clear and forcible to justify us in
                   merely quoting their substance. The very title of
                   his chapter directs our attention to the point.
                   "Henry, King of England, constrained by his
                   subjects to renew his pretension to the crown of
                   France, makes a great movement." "The present year,
                   on the incidents of which I proceed to remark,
                   seems to me not less full of troubles and evils
                   than any of those which preceded it. It commenced
                   by a rumour, sudden but true, and which spread
                   itself everywhere, that the English, impatient of
                   repose, blaming for carelessness and want of heart
                   the repose and inactivity of their King Henry, had
                   _compelled him_ to arouse himself, and to revive by
                   the same means the pretensions of some of his
                   predecessors on the crown of France." "Les Anglais,
                   impatiens de repos à leur ordinance, blâmans de
                   nonchalance et de manque de coeur le repos et
                   l'oisiveté de leur Roi Henri, l'avaient obligé de
                   se reveiller."--M. Laboureur, Life of Charles VI,
                   translated from the Latin of a contemporary
                   ecclesiastic. Whatever be the degree of authority
                   to which this author is entitled, whilst he
                   supplies the letters on which the accusation alone
                   is founded, he as expressly contradicts, by
                   positive assertion, the inference now drawn from
                   those letters.]

The charge of hypocrisy is made to rest "on Henry assuring the French
monarch of his moderation and love of peace, whereas he must have been
conscious that he was immoderate in his demands, and was not desirous
of peace." To prove that his demands were immoderate, is not enough to
sustain this accusation; to constitute him a hypocrite, he must
_himself have been conscious_ that his demands were immoderate.    (p. 101)
But how stands the probability? He was fully persuaded that the crown
of France was his own; and he first demands the full surrender of his
alleged rights. The Commons declare that what he sought was "the
restitution of his inheritance according to _right and justice_," and
testify that he "trusted in God for support in his _just quarrel_." He
then, agreeably to the advice of his council,[79] (who acknowledge
that what he sought to recover was "his righteous heritage,        (p. 102)
the redintegration of the old rights of his crown,") withdrawing his
full demand, proposes other terms, unreasonable, no doubt, as we   (p. 103)
may view them now, but, if regarded as a substitute for the fair
kingdom of France, far from stamping on Henry the brand of hypocrisy,
when he made a profession of moderation and a love of peace.[80]

                   [Footnote 79: Among the records of the council, the
                   minutes of one of their meetings held at
                   Westminster in the second year of Henry's reign
                   deserve especial attention. The manuscript is much
                   damaged, but the general meaning is clearly
                   intelligible. The minutes first rehearse that "the
                   Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the true and
                   humble lieges and knights of the King's noble
                   realm, were there present, gathered by his royal
                   command." It then proceeds: "Ye, our noble and
                   righteous Lord and King, have in your chivalrous
                   heart and desire determined to stir and labour in
                   your recovery and redintegration of the old rights
                   of your crown, as well as for your righteous
                   heritage ... desiring upon this knightful intent
                   and purpose to have the good and high advice and
                   true meaning of us, your true knights and humble
                   lieges aforesaid. Whereupon, our sovereign Lord, as
                   well our Lords as we have communed by your high
                   commandment in these matters: and known well among
                   us all without [doubt ye are] so Christian a Prince
                   that ye would in so high a matter begin nothing but
                   that were to God's pleasance, and to eschew by all
                   ways the shedding of Christian blood; and that, if
                   algate [at all events] ye should do it, that
                   denying of right and reason were the cause [rather]
                   than wilfulheadedness. Wherefore, our sovereign and
                   gracious high Lord, it thinks, as well our Lords as
                   us in our own hearts, that it were speedful to send
                   such ambassadors to every party as [your] claim
                   requireth, sufficiently instructed for the right
                   and recovery of that is above said. And if ye, our
                   sovereign Lord, at the reverence of God, like of
                   your proper motion, without our counsel given
                   thereto, any mesne [middle] way to offer, that were
                   moderating of your whole title, or of any of your
                   claims beyond the sea; and hereupon your adverse
                   party denying you both right and reason and all
                   reasonable mesne [middle] ways, we trust all in
                   God's grace that all your works in pursuing them
                   should take the better speed and conclusion: and in
                   the mean while that all the works of readiness that
                   may be to your voyage thought or wrought, that it
                   be done by the high advice of you and your noble
                   council; seeing that the surety of your royal
                   estate, the peace of your land, the safe ward of
                   all your [realm] be well and sufficiently provided
                   for above all things. And, these observed, we shall
                   be ready with our bodies and goods, to do you the
                   service that we may to our powers, as far as we
                   ought of right, and as our ancestors have done to
                   your noble progenitors in like case."

                   This advice appears to have been followed by Henry

                   The Minutes of Council, February 2, 1415, after
                   stating the measures proposed for the safeguard of
                   the sea, and the marches of Scotland and Wales, &c.
                   during the King's absence, record this remarkable
                   advice: that Henry would direct his treasurer to
                   bring a clear statement of his debtor and creditor
                   account, the demands of the treasury, and the
                   income; also the debts incurred since the
                   coronation, and the annuities to which he was
                   pledged; "in order that, before the departure of
                   the King, such provision may be made in every part,
                   according to the amount of the charges, that the
                   mind and soul of the King might be set at ease and
                   comfort, that he might depart like a Christian
                   Prince with a good government, and the better
                   accomplish his voyage, to the pleasure of God, and
                   the singular comfort of all his faithful
                   lieges."--Acts of Privy Council, vol. ii. p. 148.]

                   [Footnote 80: A renewed charge of hypocrisy,
                   brought against Henry by the same pen, will call
                   for a renewed inquiry; and whatever further remarks
                   may be made on that topic, are reserved for the
                   page in which we shall shortly enter upon the
                   investigation of the charges.]

There remains the charge of impiety, which is made to rest on Henry
having called the Almighty to witness a falsehood, and quoted
Scripture in support of what he affirmed. It was undoubtedly too much
the practice then, as unhappily it is now, for Christians, on trivial
occasions, to appeal to Heaven, and to quote the sanction of Scripture
in very questionable matters of worldly policy. But Henry does not
appeal presumptuously, nor quote lightly; he appeals solemnly, and he
quotes reverently, in a matter of very great importance to both
kingdoms, and in a cause which he believed to be founded in right and
justice. He appealed to Heaven to witness what he regarded as true.
The page we have been examining accuses Henry of falsehood, hypocrisy,
and impiety: the evidence of facts, and the testimony of his
contemporaries, represent him to us in the character of an honest,
undisguised, and pious King.

On Tuesday, April 16, Henry held a council at Westminster, at      (p. 104)
which the Chancellor, Henry Beaufort, briefly explained the
proceedings of the great council, enumerating the causes which induced
their King, in the name of God, to undertake in his own person an
expedition for the recovery of his inheritance. On the next day the
Chancellor informed the council that the King had appointed the Duke
of Bedford to be lieutenant of England[81] during his absence; with
the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, and other
prelates and lay lords to form his council.

                   [Footnote 81: Hall says, that "he left for governor
                   behind him his mother-in-law, the Queen." And
                   Goodwin (referring for his authority to Hall and
                   Pat. 3 Hen. V. p. 2. m. 41.) states that he made
                   her regent, and the Duke of Bedford protector. But
                   this seems to have originated in mere mistake.]

As early as May 26, an order was issued to suspend the assizes through
England during the King's absence, lest his lieges who accompanied him
might be subjected to inconvenience and injustice. The defence of the
country towards Scotland and Wales was provided for, and the rate of
wages payable to his retinue and soldiers was fixed. Every duke was to
receive 13_s._ 4_d._, every earl 6_s._ 8_d._, every baron 4_s._, and
every knight 2_s._, every esquire being a man-at-arms 12_d._, every
archer 6_d._ each day; whilst for every thirty men-at-arms a reward
was assigned of one hundred marks a quarter; together with some other

In the spring and summer the King issued[82] commissions to hire   (p. 105)
ships from Holland and Zealand; to press sailors to navigate his
vessels; to provide workmen to make and repair bows; to procure carts
and waggons for the conveyance of his stores; also a supply of masons,
carpenters, and smiths, together with the materials of the respective
trades. The sheriffs of different counties were ordered to buy cattle;
and the sheriff of Hampshire was to cause bread to be baked, and ale
to be brewed, at Winchester and Southampton, and the parts adjacent,
for the use of the army.

                   [Footnote 82: The particulars of these commissions
                   may be found in Rymer, or in Sir Harris Nicolas's
                   "Battle of Agincourt," to whom the reader is
                   referred for more minute information on the

The King not only thus took effective measures for the transport and
supply of his forces, but commanded also the Archbishop and the other
prelates to array the clergy for the defence of the kingdom at home
during his absence. Every sheriff also was to proclaim that a nightly
watch should be kept till All-Saints' Day; and no taverner was to
allow any stranger to remain in his house more than one day and night,
without knowledge of the cause of his delay; and all suspicious
persons were to be committed to prison.

Though parliament had granted a liberal supply, the King, finding his
expenses to exceed his means, made a direct and powerful appeal to all
his loving subjects for a loan, with promise of repayment; and     (p. 106)
a considerable sum was raised in consequence of that appeal, but
still not enough. He was, therefore, compelled to pawn his plate and
jewels, (as he had done with his small stock in early youth during the
Welsh rebellion,) and to have recourse to all expedients for raising
the necessary sums. These expedients were often totally incompatible
with our present notions of the royal dignity; but no intimation
appears anywhere of the least unfair and dishonourable dealing on the
part of the King. His appeals to the people much resembled those of
Charles I, under still more urgent circumstances, in after ages.

A curious fact is recorded in the minutes of a council held May 25,
1415, respecting a demand for money from the companies of foreign
merchants resident in London. They were summoned before the council,
and informed that it was usual for merchants who traded in any other
country than their own to lend the government such sums as they could
bear, or else be committed to prison during pleasure. This custom was
justified on the ground of many and great privileges secured to them
in their traffic by the King's favour, from which they derived great
wealth. Certain sums were demanded, and sufficient pledges of gold,
silver, and jewels were offered; but the merchants of Florence,
Venice, and Lucca [de Luk] refused to comply, and were committed to
the custody of the warden of the Fleet Prison. From the merchants  (p. 107)
of Florence was required 1,200_l._, from those of Venice 1,000_l._,
from those of Lucca 200_l._ These strong measures seem to have worked
their intended effect, for all those guilds granted loans afterwards.

Having now effected every preparation in his power, the King passed
through London, accompanied by the Mayor and citizens (who attended
him as far as Kingston); and having made an offering at St. Paul's,
and taken leave of his mother-in-law the Queen, he proceeded on his
way towards Southampton, where all his ships and contingents were
directed to await his arrival.

Reaching Winchester, he remained there for some days from June 26th,
probably to give audience to the French ambassadors, who were
presented to him on the 30th. The Archbishop of Bourges headed that
embassy, and the Bishop of Winchester was Henry's representative and
spokesman. Much of negociating and bartering ensued, and at first many
conciliatory communications were made on both sides; the French
yielding much, the English adhering to their original demands, or
remitting little from them. At length, the reply of the Archbishop put
an abrupt end to further discussion; and Henry commanded the
ambassadors to depart, with a promise that he would soon follow them.

It is here again painful to read the unkind and unjustifiable language
of the same author, whose triple charge against Henry's religious  (p. 108)
and moral character we have just investigated, when he describes the
surprise of the French monarch and his court on the return of these
ambassadors. "Until that moment," he says, "the French court, either
_cajoled_ by Henry's _hypocrisy_, or lulled into security by a
mistaken estimate of his power, had neglected every means for
resisting the storm which was about to burst upon their country."
Henry stands convicted of no hypocrisy; and his accuser alleges no
evidence on which an impartial mind would pronounce him guilty. It is
curious as it is satisfactory to lay side by side with this unguarded
calumny the version of the circumstances of that time, made by an
unprejudiced foreigner, and a very sensible well-versed historian.[83]
"France was then governed by the Dauphin Louis, a young and
presumptuous prince, who had up to this point thought himself able to
amuse Henry by feigned negociations. Nevertheless, the preparations
going on in England having opened the eyes of his council, a
resolution was taken to send to England twelve ambassadors, at the
head of whom was the Archbishop of Bourges."

                   [Footnote 83: Abrégé Historique des Actes publics

Several contemporary writers, as well as general tradition, state
that, on occasion of one of the various embassies sent to and fro
between the courts of London and Paris, the Dauphin, then about
eighteen or nineteen years of age, sent an insulting present       (p. 109)
to Henry of a tun of tennis-balls, with a message full of contempt and
scorn,[84] implying that a racket-court was a more fit place for him
than a battle-field. It is well observed, that such an act of wilful
provocation must have convinced both parties of the hopelessness of
any attempts towards a pacific arrangement; and, since the
negociations were carried on to the very last, some discredit has
thence been attempted to be thrown on the story altogether. But it
must be remembered (as the author of the Abrégé Historique justly
remarks) that these negociations were continued, on the part of
France, merely to gain time, and withdraw Henry from his purpose;
whilst Henry, on the other side, by his renewed proposals for the hand
of Katharine, (an union on which he appears from the first to have
been heartily bent,) kept up in his enemies the hope that, to gain
that object, he would ultimately relax from many of his original
demands. Henry certainly afterwards challenged the Dauphin to single
combat, as though he had a quarrel with him personally; and nothing
can fairly be inferred against the truth of the tradition, from the
silence in the challenge on the point of such an insult having been
offered. On the whole, the evidence is decidedly in favour of the
reality of the incident; whilst Henry's reported answer is very
characteristic: "I will thank the Dauphin in person, and will      (p. 110)
carry him such tennis-balls as shall rattle his hall's roof about his
ears." And they, says the contemporary chronicler,[85] were great
gunstones for the Dauphin to play withal.

                   [Footnote 84: Otterbourne says Henry received the
                   tennis-balls whilst he was keeping his Lent at

                   [Footnote 85: Cotton MS. Claudius, A. viii.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Anxious to proceed in our narrative without further allusion to such
sweeping and unsupported charges, we must, nevertheless, here
introduce (though reluctantly) the remarks which have been suffered to
fall from the same pen, as its chief comment on the closing words of
Henry's last Will, made at this time.[86] He signed that document at
Southampton, July 24th, just three days after discovering the
conspiracy of which we must soon speak. Probably a sense of the
uncertainty of life, and the necessity of setting his house in order
without delay, were impressed deeply upon him by that unhappy event.
He felt not only that he had embarked in an enterprise the result of
which was doubtful, in which at all events he must expose his life to
numberless unforeseen perils; but that the thread of his mortal
existence might at a moment be cut asunder by the hands of the very
men to whom he looked for protection and victory. Compared with the
wills of other princes and nobles of that day, there is nothing    (p. 111)
very remarkable in Henry's. From first to last it is tinctured with
the superstitions of the corrupt form of our holy religion, then
over-spreading England.[87]

                   [Footnote 86: His very last will is not known to be
                   in existence. This testament was made seven years
                   before his death, and was probably soon cancelled.]

                   [Footnote 87: Among the saints to whose custody he
                   bequeaths his soul, his favourite and patron, John
                   of Bridlington, finds a place. Among the legacies
                   connected with his family history, we meet with a
                   bequest, to the "Bishop of Durham, of the Missal
                   and Portophore which he had received as a present
                   from his dear grandmother Joan, Countess of
                   Hereford." To the same countess a gold cyphus,--a
                   proof that in 1415 his maternal grandmother was
                   still alive. It may be worth observing that, in
                   this will, there is no legacy to the Queen, his
                   father's widow. He had, however, on the 30th June
                   preceding, "granted of especial grace to his
                   dearest mother, Joanna, Queen of England, licence
                   to live, during his absence, in his castles of
                   Windsor, Wallingford, Berkhamstead, and Hertford."]

The subscription to this testament is couched in these words: "This
is my last Will subscribed with my own hand. R.H. Jesu Mercy and
Gramercy Ladie Mary Help:" and on these words the same author makes
this observation: "According to all the biographers of Henry,
extraordinary piety was a leading trait in his character, from which
feeling the addition to his Will appears to have arisen. It seems
indeed difficult to reconcile the _lawless ambition_, much less the
_hypocrisy_,[88] which Henry displayed in his negociations, with an
obedience to the genuine dictates of Christianity; but as he       (p. 112)
rigidly observed every rite of the church, was bountiful towards its
members, and uniformly ascribed success to the Almighty, it is not
surprising that his contemporaries should have described him as
eminently pious."

                   [Footnote 88: In a few pages further, the same
                   writer thinks himself justified in adding this note
                   on a letter of Henry to Charles, "A translation of
                   this _hypocritical_ letter is given in the

On this passage the biographer of Henry had rather that his readers
should form their own comment, than that he should express the
sentiments which he cannot but entertain: he invites, however, the
lover of truth to compare this charge of _lawless ambition and
hypocrisy_ with the actual conduct of Henry at this very time.

Whilst resident in the Abbey of Tichfield,[89] about ten miles from
Southampton, he despatched to the Council of Constance, addressing
himself chiefly to the Emperor Sigismund and the other princes
assembled there, copies of the treaties between Henry IV. and the
French court relative to the restoration of Aquitain to the English
crown; remarking upon the wrong that was done to him by the gross
violation of those treaties. This shows at all events that he was not
conscious of being actuated by lawless ambition, or of acting the part
of a hypocrite; it proves that he was desirous of having the merits of
his quarrel with France examined and understood: and he seems to have
felt an assurance that those who made themselves acquainted with the
real grounds of his intended invasion would pronounce his quarrel to
be just. Otherwise he would scarcely have gone out of his way to   (p. 113)
draw the eyes of assembled Europe, (not to the boldness of an
enterprise, nor to the splendour of conquests, but) to a calm
investigation of the righteousness of his cause.[90]

                   [Footnote 89: See Cott. MS. Julius, E. iv. f. 115.]

                   [Footnote 90: The Emperor, in the league which he
                   made with Henry, records his resolution to assist
                   him in the recovery of his just rights.]

The words of his chaplain in recording this measure of Henry deserve a
place here. Indeed, every page of contemporary history proves that the
King himself had no misgivings as to the uprightness and justice of
his cause, and was ready to refer the whole to the judgment of
Christendom. "The King caused transcripts of all treaties to be
forwarded to the general council, to the Emperor Sigismund and other
Catholic princes, to the intent that all Christendom might know how
great injuries the duplicity of the French had inflicted upon him, and
that he was, reluctantly and against his will, compelled, as it were,
to raise his standard against the rebels."[91]

                   [Footnote 91: Here we cannot but recal the words
                   with which Henry afterwards, it is said, addressed
                   the Cardinal des Ursins, who was sent by the Pope
                   to mediate between him and Charles just before he
                   laid siege to Rouen. "See you not that God hath
                   brought me here as it were by the hand? There is no
                   longer a King in France. _I have a legal right over
                   that realm._ All is in confusion there; and no one
                   dreams of opposing me. Can I have a more sensible
                   proof that God, who disposes of crowns, has decreed
                   that I should place on my head the crown of
                   France?" And in his mandate to the Archbishop of
                   Canterbury to array the clergy against the enemies
                   of the church and of the faith, should any appear
                   in his absence, he says, "We are now going to
                   recover our inheritance and the rights of our
                   crown, now a long time, as is _evident to all_,
                   unjustly kept from us."--Sloane, p. 52.]

Nor can we here omit to observe, (though it be anticipating what   (p. 114)
must hereafter be again referred to in the course of the history,)
that the behaviour of the Emperor, when, in the spring of the
following year, he made a personal voyage to England on purpose to
visit Henry, and the solemn declaration of the Duke of Burgundy, (of
whose sincerity, however, no one can speak without hesitation,) "that
he had at first thought Henry unjust in his demands, but was at length
convinced of their justice," show that in the estimation of
contemporaries, and those neither churchmen nor his own subjects, who
may be suspected of partiality, Henry's character deserved better than
to be stamped with the imputation of "lawless ambition and hypocrisy."
It is very easy for any one to charge a fellow-creature with immoral
and unchristian motives; and it may carry with it the appearance of
honest indignation, and of an heroic love of virtue, religion, and
truth, when one can tear off the veil of conquest and martial glory
from the individual, and expose his naked faults to pity, or contempt,
or hatred. But a good judge, in forming his own estimate of the
motives which may have given birth to acts which fall under his
cognizance, or in guiding others to return a righteous verdict, will
not consider the most ready method of solving a difficulty to be
always the safest. Take for granted that Henry's conduct towards   (p. 115)
France is intelligible on the ground of lawless ambition and gross
hypocrisy, (though there is no proof of either,) it is equally, at
least, intelligible on the supposition of his full and undoubting
conviction of his right to all he claimed. And just as open would any
individual plaintiff be to the charge of hypocrisy, who, after having
insisted upon his full rights, and given notice of trial, and
collected his witnesses, should, on the very eve of the issue being
tried, write to the defendant, urging him to yield, and avoid the
expense and irritation of a protracted law-suit, offering at the same
time a remission of some portion of his claim,--as Henry is in
fairness chargeable with hypocrisy because he wrote to his "adversary
of France," urging him to yield, and avoid the effusion of blood. On
the very eve of his departure for the shores of Normandy, many facts
and circumstances assure us that Henry acted under a full persuasion
that he demanded of France only what was in strict justice his due
when he laid claim to those territories and honours which had been so
long withheld from the Kings of England, his predecessors. Facts are
decidedly against the charge of hypocrisy; but, even were the facts
doubtful, his general character for honesty, and openness, and manly
straightforward dealing, (to which history bears abundant evidence,)
would make the scale of justice preponderate in his favour.

In dismissing this subject, parallel with these modern accusations (p. 116)
of Henry on the ground of "cajoling hypocrisy" we may lay the
testimony borne by his contemporary, Walsingham,[92] to the
unsuspecting simplicity of his mind, which exposed him to the      (p. 117)
overreaching designs of the unprincipled and crafty. In his Ypodigma
Neustriæ, a work expressly written for the use and profit of Henry,
and with a view of putting him upon his guard against the intrigues
of foreign courts, he refers to his "innocence liable to be        (p. 118)
circumvented, and his noble character likely to be deceived, by the
cunning craftiness and hypocritical fraud and false promises of his

                   [Footnote 92: The Dedication of the Ypodigma
                   Neustriæ claims for itself a place in this work;
                   and to no part can it be more appropriately
                   appended than to this, in which modern charges
                   strongly contrasted with his view are examined. The
                   following is a literal translation of the
                   introduction to this work of Walsingham:--"To the
                   most noble and illustrious King of the French and
                   English, Henry, conqueror of Normandy, most serene
                   Prince of Wales, Lord of Ireland and Aquitain, by
                   God's grace always and everywhere victor, the
                   humblest of his servants who pray for him, Brother
                   Thomas of Walsingham, monk of the monastery of St.
                   Alban, who was first of the English martyrs, with
                   lowly recommendation wisheth health in Him who
                   giveth health to Kings. Whilst I reflected, among
                   the contemplative studies of the cloister, with how
                   great talents of virtue, and titles of victory, God
                   Almighty hath exalted,--with what gifts of especial
                   grace He hath abundantly filled you,--so that even
                   your enemies proclaim your wisdom, admire and
                   everywhere extol your discretion, and celebrate
                   your justice by the testimony of their praise, I
                   confess that I have been filled with pleasure and
                   inward joy, more gratifying far than the choicest
                   dainties. But, in the midst of this, there arises
                   in my mind a kind of cloud, which throws a shade on
                   the glad thought of my heart, whilst I am compelled
                   to fear the general habits of a nation which very
                   often has trifled with the publicly plighted vows
                   and their oath solemnly pledged. And whilst I
                   meditate on past days,--recalling the frauds,
                   crimes, factions, and enormities committed by your
                   enemies,--my soul is made anxious, and my heart is
                   disquieted within me, and my life has well-nigh
                   failed from grief, knowing that to-morrow base
                   deeds may be done as well as yesterday. And fearing
                   lest by any means your innocence may be
                   circumvented, I revolved in my mind what would best
                   minister to your safety in the midst of so many
                   dangers. At length it occurred to me to write
                   something to your Highness (whom my soul cordially
                   loves) by which you may be made more safe at once
                   and more cautious. Love conquers all things; ah! it
                   has wrought in me not to fear, though in an
                   uncultivated and unpolished style, to offer to so
                   wise and glorious a Prince what I reflected upon in
                   my mind, and to open to your serene Highness as I
                   best may what I have conceived in my heart for your
                   royal safety. Hence it is that I have endeavoured
                   to draw up a brief table of events from the
                   commencement of the conquest of Neustria [Normandy]
                   by the Normans down to their conquest of England;
                   which I have carried on to the time when your
                   Majesty, with power and victory, compelled the same
                   Normandy, alienated against right and justice from
                   your ancestors for about two hundred and twenty
                   years, to come under your yoke, and royally to be
                   governed according to your desire. Wherefore, my
                   redoubted Lord and King, in this little work I
                   offer to your inspection past deeds, various wars,
                   mutual covenants of peace; leagues, though
                   confirmed by an oath, violated; the promises,
                   pledges, offerings, treacherously made to your
                   predecessors; the deceit and hypocrisy of the
                   enemy; and whatever the antagonist could with
                   exquisite craftiness invent, by which they might
                   entrap your noble spirit. Wherefore, since it
                   becomes no one to possess knowledge more than a
                   Prince, whose learning may be most beneficial to
                   his subjects,--I, a poor and humble votary, offer
                   (if it be your will) this volume to the inspection
                   of your Highness; giving it the name of Ypodigma
                   Neustriæ, because it especially portrays the events
                   and falls of that country from the time of Rollo
                   the first Duke down to the sixth year of your happy
                   reign, which may God Almighty of his great mercy
                   crown with peace, and preserve in all prosperity!

CHAPTER XXI.                                                       (p. 119)




It is impossible for us to revert with never so cursory a glance to
the departure of Henry of Monmouth from his native shores at the head
of an armament intended to recover his alleged rights in France,
without finding various questions suggesting themselves, both on the
mode adopted for raising and embodying the men, and for transporting
the troops and military stores, and all the accompaniments of an
invading army. The Kings of England had then no standing army,     (p. 120)
nor any permanent royal fleet.

In the present volume we have often seen that on an emergence, such as
an irruption of the Scots, or the necessity of resisting the Welsh
more effectually, the sheriffs of different counties were commanded to
array the able-bodied men within their jurisdiction, and join the
royal standard by an appointed day; and, no doubt, many a motley, and
ill-favoured, and ill-appointed company were seen in the sheriff's
train. We have also been reminded with how great difficulty even these
musters could be collected, and kept together, and marched to the
place of rendezvous; and how seldom could they be brought in time to
join in the engagement for which they were destined. We have
repeatedly also learned that the nobles who would recommend themselves
to the royal favour, or espoused heartily the cause in which they were
engaged, headed their own retainers to the field, and made themselves
responsible for their maintenance and pay. In the present case we have
reason to believe that the army consisted mainly of volunteers; at
least, that the principal persons in rank and fortune joined the
King's standard without compulsion. A very lively and enthusiastic
interest in the success of his expedition prevailed through the whole
country; and the nobles redeemed their pledge, without grudging, that
they would aid him in their persons. The pay of the army was       (p. 121)
settled beforehand, at a fixed rate, from a duke downwards.[93]

                   [Footnote 93: But though a person were a volunteer,
                   yet if, after "making his muster," he failed in his
                   duty, the punishment was both summary and severe.
                   In a subsequent expedition of Henry, Hugh Annesley
                   had made his muster in the company of Lord Grey of
                   Codnor, and had received the King's pay from him,
                   but tarried nevertheless in England. He was
                   summoned before the council, and confessed his
                   delinquency; his person was forthwith committed to
                   the Fleet, and his estates seized into the King's

Whether there is any foundation at all in fact for the tradition of
Henry's resolution to take with him no married man or widow's son, the
tradition itself bears such strong testimony to the general estimate
of Henry's character for bravery at once and kindness of heart, that
it would be unpardonable to omit every reference to it altogether. The
song of Agincourt, in which it occurs, is unquestionably of ancient
origin; probably written and sung within a very few years of the
expedition.[94] Internal evidence would induce us to infer that it was
composed before Henry's death, and just after his marriage with

  "The fairest flower in all France,
  To the rose of England I give free."

                   [Footnote 94: The song will be found in a note on
                   our account of the battle of Agincourt.]

The ballad, at all events, is among the earliest of our English songs,
and was delivered down from father to son in the most distant      (p. 122)
parts of the kingdom, when very few of those who preserved the national
poetry from oblivion could read. This circumstance easily accounts for
the many various readings which are found in different copies now,
whilst these in their turn tend to establish the antiquity of the
song. The admirable simplicity and true natural beauty of the verse
will justify its repetition here, though it has already appeared in
our title-page, when it ascribes to Henry the combination of valour
and high resolve, with merciful considerateness and tender feeling for
others. Be the authority for this reported restriction, imposed by
Henry on those who were commissioned to recruit soldiers for his
expedition, what it may, (let it be founded in fact, or in the
imagination of the writer,) it bears that testimony to Henry's
character,[95] which the whole current of authentic documents tends
fully to establish. He was brave, and he was merciful.

                   [Footnote 95: Should it occur to any one, that if
                   in this case we allow the poet to have weight when
                   he speaks of what reflects honour on Henry's name,
                   we ought to assign the same credit to Shakspeare;
                   when he tells us of madcap frolics and precocious
                   dissipation, it must be remembered, that on testing
                   the accuracy of Shakspeare by an appeal to history,
                   we established a striking discrepancy between them;
                   and that Shakspeare lived more than a century after
                   the death of Henry; whereas we are led to regard
                   this song of Agincourt as contemporary with the
                   events which it celebrates; and its eulogy
                   harmonizes in perfect accordance with what history
                   might lead us to expect.]

  "Go! call up Cheshire and Lancashire,                            (p. 123)
  And Derby hills,[96] which are so free;
  But neither married man, nor widow's son,--
  No widow's curse shall go with me."

                   [Footnote 96: Query, Are these counties especially
                   mentioned as being more peculiarly Henry's own? He
                   was Duke of Lancaster, and Earl of Chester and

Of the numbers who went with Henry to France various accounts are
delivered down, and different calculations have been made. The song of
Agincourt raises the sum of the "right good company" to "thirty
thousand stout men and three:" and probably this total, embracing
servants and attendants of every kind, is not at all an exaggeration
of the number actually transported from England to Normandy; though,
if by "stout men" we are to understand warriors able to handle the
spear, the bow, the sword, and the battleaxe, we must not reckon them
at more than one-third of that number.

       *       *       *       *       *

The expedients which Henry found it necessary to adopt for the safe
transportation of this armament, compel us to review, however briefly,
the state and circumstances of English navigation at the period. The
Author has already hazarded the opinion in his Preface, that Henry of
Monmouth may with justice be regarded as the founder of the British
navy; and he feels himself called upon to refer to some facts by which
such a representation might seem to be countenanced. He gladly     (p. 124)
acknowledges that the idea was first suggested to him by the
publication of Sir Henry Ellis; whilst every subsequent research, and
every additional fact, have tended to confirm and illustrate the same

                   [Footnote 97: Mr. James, in his Naval History of
                   Great Britain, does not seem to have carried back
                   his researches beyond the reign of Henry VIII, to
                   whom he ascribes "the honour of having by his own
                   prerogative, and at his sole expense, settled the
                   constitution of the present royal navy." Much
                   undoubtedly does the English navy owe to that
                   monarch; but he would be more justly regarded as
                   its restorer and especial benefactor, than its

Though few subjects are more interesting, or more deserve the
attention of our fellow-countrymen, yet it is confessedly beyond the
province of these Memoirs to enter at any length upon a dissertation
on the naval affairs of Great Britain. Since, however, if
satisfactorily established, the fact will recommend the hero of
Agincourt to the grateful remembrance of his father-land in a
department of national strength and glory in which few of us have
probably hitherto felt indebted to him, it is hoped that these brief
remarks may not be deemed out of place.

Unquestionably, many previous sovereigns of England had directed much
of their thoughts to the maritime power of the country. From the time
of Alfred himself, downwards, we may trace, at various intervals,
evident marks of the measures adopted by our Kings and the legislature,
and also by powerful individuals and merchant companies, to keep   (p. 125)
up a succession of sea-worthy vessels, and mariners to man them. Two
hundred years before the date of Henry's expedition, as early as the
year 1212, King John seems to have established a sort of dry covered
dock at Portsmouth for the preservation of ships and their rigging
during the winter. But the very instances to which appeals have been
made by various writers, to prove the antiquity of the naval force of
South Britain, tend by their testimony to confirm the opinions we are
here disposed to adopt. In every successive reign, the annals of which
supply any information on the subject, the evidence is clear that the
rulers of England did not contemplate the establishment of a fleet
belonging to the nation as its own property. The tenures, moreover, by
which many maritime towns held their charters, whilst they evince the
importance attached to this department of an island's political power,
coincide altogether with the view we are taking. The obligation, for
example, under which the Cinque Ports lay of furnishing, whenever
required, fifty ships, manned each with twenty-four mariners, for
fifteen days, enabled the monarch indeed to calculate, from the
fulfilment of such stipulated engagements, on a certain supply,
adequate, it may be, to meet the usual demand; but at the same time it
implied that he had no fleet of his own on which he could rely. Whilst
the limited extent to which ships could be supplied by the most rigid
exaction of the terms of those tenures compelled the state, on     (p. 126)
any occasion when extraordinary efforts were requisite, to depend
upon the varying and precarious supply produced by the system of

                   [Footnote 98: See Hardy's Introduction to the Close
                   Rolls, and Lord Lyttelton's History of Henry II.]

When Henry ascended the throne, he found still in full operation this
old system of our maritime proceedings. Whenever, as we have seen, an
occasion required the transport of a considerable body of men from our
havens, or forces to be embarked for the protection of our shores and
of our merchants, in addition to the contingent, which could be
exacted from various chartered towns, the King's government was
obliged either to hire ships from foreign countries, or to lay
forcible hands by way of impressment on the vessels of his own
subjects. A few instances, more or less closely connected with the
immediate subject of our present inquiry, will serve to illustrate
that point.

When, for example, Henry's great grandfather Edward III. was preparing
for the expedition, which he headed in person, intended to relieve
Rochelle, his grandfather John of Gaunt, February 10, 1372, as we find
by the records of the Duchy of Lancaster, commanded all his stewards
in Wales to assist Walter de Wodeburgh, serjeant-at-arms, appointed by
the King to arrest all ships of twenty tons' burden [and upwards?] for
the passage of the King and his army to France, and to take        (p. 127)
sufficient security that they be all ready by the 1st of May either at
Southampton, Portsmouth, Hamel in the Rys, or Hamel Stoke.

The records of the Privy Council (11 December, probably 1405,) supply
us with an instance (one out of many) which shows, at the same time,
the great injury which the public service sustained by this system,
and the ruinous consequences which it was calculated to entail on the
merchants and the owners of ships. Henry IV. had intended to proceed
in person to Guienne; and for that purpose, with the advice of his
council, had impressed all the ships westward. His voyage was
deferred; but the ships were still, as they had been for a long time,
under arrest. The masters had sent a deputation to him to implore some
compensation for their great expenses,[99] and some means of support.
Henry then wrote to the council, praying them [vous prions] to provide
some help for these poor men; and to assure them that no long time
would elapse before their services would be called for, since either
himself or his representative would undertake the voyage. In the same
letter he prayed the council also to write under his privy seal to the
King of Portugal, to beg of him a supply of galleys, sufficient to
enable him to resist the malice of his enemies the French, and to
protect his land and his realm.

                   [Footnote 99: "Par long temps a lour grantz
                   custages et despenses."]

We must not suppose that the French monarch found himself under    (p. 128)
more favourable circumstances when he would prepare for any important
affair on the sea. The same system of impressment and hiring was
necessarily adopted in France. Thus we find, in 1417, when the French
government resolved to make a powerful effort to crush the navy of
England, the ships were first to be "hired, at a great sum of gold,
from the state of Genoa." These mercenary vessels formed the fleet
over which the Earl of Huntingdon gained a decided victory immediately
before Henry's second expedition to France.

Thus, too, (not to cite any more examples,) no sooner had Henry
determined to assert his rights on the Continent, and to enforce them
by the sword, than he despatched ambassadors to Zealand and Holland to
negociate with the Duke of Holland for a supply of ships; doubtless
assured that all which he could impress or hire in all his ports would
not be sufficient for the safe transport of his troops, and "their
furniture of war." But Henry's ardent and commanding mind soon saw how
powerful an engine, both of defence and of conquest, would be found in
a permanent royal navy, and how indispensable such an establishment
was to any insular sovereign who desired to provide for his country
the means of offering a bold front against aggression, protecting
herself from insult, maintaining her rights, and taking a lead among
the surrounding powers. He resolved, therefore, not to depend      (p. 129)
upon the precarious and unsatisfactory expedients either of hiring
vessels, which would never be his own, (in a market, too, where his
enemy might forestal him, and where his necessities would enhance the
price,) or of compelling his merchants to leave their trading, and
minister to the emergence of the state, at their own inevitable loss,
and not improbable ruin. His immediate determination was to spare
neither labour nor expense in providing a navy of his own, such as
would be ever ready at the sovereign's command to protect the coast,
to sweep the seas of those hordes of pirates which then infested them,
and to bear his forces with safety and credit to any distant shores.
He thus thought he should best secure his own ports and provinces from
foreign invasion; afford a safeguard to his own merchants, and to
those traders who would traffic with his people; and generally make
England a more formidable antagonist and a more respected neighbour.

This new line of policy he adopted very early in his reign. Whilst he
was at Southampton, (at the date of this digression, on his first
expedition to Normandy,) we find him superintending the building of
various large ships: and, two years afterwards, when news reached him
of the victory gained by his brother the Duke of Bedford over the
French fleet off Harfleur, the tidings found him making the most
effectual means for securing future victories; he was at Smalhithe in
Kent, personally superintending the building of some ships to      (p. 130)
add to his own royal navy, then only in its infancy.[100]

                   [Footnote 100: The Pell Rolls record the payment of
                   a pension which bears testimony to the interest
                   taken by Henry in his infant navy, and to the
                   kindness with which he rewarded those who had
                   faithfully served him. The pension is stated to
                   have been given "to John Hoggekyns,
                   master-carpenter, of special grace, because by long
                   working at the ships his body was much shaken and

Nor did he confine his labours in this great work to England; he
employed also his Continental resources in forwarding the same object.
A letter from one John Alcestre, from Bayonne,[101] informs us of a
ship of very considerable dimensions then on the stocks at that port,
for the building of which the mayor and "his consorts" had contracted
with Henry. The vessel was one hundred and eighty-six feet in length
from "the onmost end of the stem onto the post behind." "The stem" was
in height ninety-six feet, and the keel was in length one hundred and
twelve feet.

                   [Footnote 101: Ellis, Second Series, Letter XXI.]

Henry appears also to have acquired the reputation in foreign
countries of having a desire to possess large vessels of his own. An
agent in Spain, for example, after informing one of the King's
officers in England of his unsuccessful endeavour to cause to be
seized for the King's use four armed galleys of Provence, expected to
enter the port of Valencia, and which the King of Arragon's government
had consented to arrest for Henry, but which disappointed them     (p. 131)
by not coming to land, mentions that two new carraks (a species of
large transport vessel) were in building "at Bartholem," which the
King might have if he pleased.

The high importance which Henry attached to these rising bulwarks of
his country shows itself in various ways; in none more curious and
striking than (a fact, it is presumed, new to history,) in the solemn
religious ceremony with which they were consecrated before he
committed them to the mighty waters. One of the highest order of the
Christian ministry was employed, and similar devotions were performed
at the dedication of one of the royal "great ships," as we should find
in the consecration of a cathedral. They were called also by some of
the holiest of all names ever uttered by Christians.[102] Thus, on the
completion of the good ship the Grace-Dieu at Southampton, the
"venerable father in Christ, the Bishop of Bangor,"[103] was
commissioned by the King's council to proceed from London at the
public expense to consecrate it.

                   [Footnote 102: When he sailed from Southampton in
                   his first expedition to France, he went on board
                   his own good ship, the Trinity:

                         "But the grandest ship of all that went,
                         Was that in which our good King sailed."
                                                         _Old Ballad._]

                   [Footnote 103: Pell Rolls, 16 July 1418.]

When Henry of Monmouth died, the navy of England was doubtless yet in
its infancy;[104] but it owed its existence as a permanent royal   (p. 132)
establishment to him. We cannot look back on that "day of small
things" without feelings of admiration and gratitude; nor now that we
seem, for a time at least, free from the danger of foreign invasion,
must we forget that, in the late tremendous struggle which swept away
the monarchies and the liberties of Europe in one resistless flood, to
our navy, which had grown with the growth of our country, and
strengthened with her strength, our native land may, under the
blessing of Heaven, have been indebted for its continuance in freedom
and independence. Of those wooden walls of Old England, as a royal
establishment based on systematic principles, Henry of Monmouth was
undoubtedly the founder.

                   [Footnote 104: Among the preparations for bringing
                   Henry's corpse with all the solemn pomp which an
                   admiring, grateful, and mourning nation could
                   provide, all ships and vessels on the east coast
                   were impressed, and sent to Calais.--Pell Rolls,
                   Sept. 26, 1422.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Whilst Henry was engaged at Southampton in personally superintending
the preparations for invading France, an event occurred well fitted to
fill him equally with surprise, and indignation, and sorrow. A
conspiracy against his crown and his life was brought to light, which
had been formed by three in his company against whom he could have
entertained no suspicions: Richard of York, whom he had created Earl
of Cambridge; Henry Lord Scrope, the treasurer; and Sir Thomas Grey of
Heton. The Rolls of Parliament, containing the authentic record    (p. 133)
of the proceedings consequent upon the discovery, and the original
letters of the Earl of Cambridge, leave no question as to the designs
of the conspirators. Some doubts may exist as to their motives:
whether they were influenced singly by a generous resolution to
restore the crown to its alleged rightful heir,[105] or by some less
honourable and more selfish feeling;[106] whether by any offence taken
against Henry, or, as it is alleged, by the vast bribe offered to them
by the crown of France; or whether by more than one of these motives
combined, must remain a matter of conjecture. We cannot, perhaps, be
certified of the means by which Henry became acquainted with the plot,
nor if, as we are told, he was informed of it by the Earl of March
himself, can we ascertain beyond doubt how large or how small a share
that nobleman had in the previous deliberations and resolutions of the
conspirators. Whether he first consented to their design of        (p. 134)
setting him up as king, and then repented of so ungrateful an act
towards one who had behaved to him with so much kindness and
confidence, or whether he instantly took the resolve to nip this
treason in the bud, no documents enable us to decide. If the Earl of
Cambridge's confession be the truth, the Earl of March at one time was
himself consenting to the plot.

                   [Footnote 105: To suppose that this conspiracy
                   could have originated, as it has been lately
                   (Turner's History) suggested, in "the resisting
                   spirit which Henry's religious persecutions
                   occasioned, and which led some to wish for another
                   sovereign," is altogether gratuitous, and contrary
                   to fact. He was not carrying on religious
                   persecution, and no resisting spirit on that ground
                   had manifested itself at all.]

                   [Footnote 106: Richard of Coningsburg, second son
                   of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, fifth son of
                   Edward III, was high in favour with Henry V, who
                   created him Earl of Cambridge in the second year of
                   his reign. He married Ann, daughter of Roger
                   Mortimer, Earl of March, whose son Richard (aged
                   fourteen in the third year of Henry V,) was heir to
                   Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. Leland says, that
                   the "main design of the Earl of Cambridge's
                   conspiracy was to raise Edmund Mortimer, Earl of
                   March, to the throne, as heir to Lionel, Duke of
                   Clarence; and then, in case that Earl had no child,
                   the right would come to the Earl of Cambridge's
                   wife, (sister to the same Edmund,) and to her
                   issue, as it afterwards did; and this is most
                   likely to be true, whatever hath been otherwise
                   reported."--Lel. Coll. i. 701.]

On the 21st of July a commission was appointed, consisting of the
Earl Marshal, two of the judges,[107] six lords, and Sir Thomas
Erpingham, to try the conspirators: and the sheriff of the county was
ordered to summon a jury, who assembled at Southampton on the 2nd of
August, and found as their verdict, that, on the 20th of July, the
Earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey had traitorously conspired to
collect a body of armed men, to conduct Edmund Earl of March to    (p. 135)
the frontiers of Wales, and to proclaim him the rightful heir to
the crown, in case Richard II. were actually dead, against the
pretensions of the King, whom they intended to style "the Usurper of
England;" that they purposed to destroy the King and his brothers,
with other nobles of the land; and that Lord Scrope consented to the
said treasonable designs, and concealed them from the King.

                   [Footnote 107: To one of these, Robert Hull, the
                   payment of one hundred marks was ordered to be
                   made, February 7, 1418, for lately holding his
                   sessions in South Wales; and also for his trouble
                   and expenses in delivering the gaol at Southampton
                   of Richard Earl of Cambridge, Henry Lord Scrope,
                   and Thomas Grey, Knight, there for treason adjudged
                   and put to death.]

Lord Scrope denied having consented to the death of the King, or
having had any communication with the other conspirators on that
point; and he declared that he had communicated with them on the other
points solely to possess himself of a knowledge of their designs in
order to frustrate them. He then pleaded his peerage, and his right to
be tried by his peers.

Sentence of death in the usual manner was passed upon Grey; but the
King having, by a most rare instance of mercy in those days, remitted
that part of the sentence which directed him to be drawn on a hurdle
and hung, he was allowed to walk through the town to the Northgate,
and was there immediately beheaded. On Monday, August 5, the Duke of
Clarence presided in a court of the peers, who, having satisfied
themselves by carefully examining the record of the conviction of the
prisoners, Scrope and Cambridge, adjudged them to death. They were
both executed within a few hours of this judgment. The head of Scrope
was ordered to be affixed on one of the gates of York and the      (p. 136)
head of Grey to be stuck up at Newcastle upon Tyne, to mark the baseness
of their ingratitude, who had enjoyed so closely the confidence and
friendship of Henry.[108]

                   [Footnote 108: The King's writ, dated Southampton,
                   8th of August, orders "the head of Henry Lescrop de
                   Masham to be stuck up at York, and the head of
                   Thomas Grey de Heton to be stuck up at Newcastle
                   upon Tyne."--Close Roll, 3 Henry V. m. 16.]

Nothing is recorded officially of any bribe from France, but the fact
of "one million of gold" having been promised as the wages of their
treason is asserted by historians. "These lords, for lucre of money,"
(to use the words of a manuscript[109] apparently contemporary with
the event,) "had made promise to the Frenchmen to have slayne King
Henry and all his worthy brethren by a false trayne [treason?]
suddenly or they had beware. But Almighty God, of his great grace,
held his holy hand over them, and saved them from this perilous meyne
[band]. And for to have done this they received of the Frenchmen a
million of gold, and that was there proved openly."

                   [Footnote 109: Cotton MS. Claudius A. viii. 2.]

As to the guilt or innocence of the Earl of March himself, no proof
can be drawn from the fact of his having obtained a full and free
pardon[110] a few days after the event. "Such pardons" (as Dr. Lingard
rightly observes) "were frequently solicited by the innocent as a
measure of precaution to defeat the malice and prevent the         (p. 137)
accusations of their enemies." Sir Harris Nicolas indeed suggests,
"that it would be difficult to show an instance in which they were
granted in favour of a person who was not strongly suspected, or who
had not purchased them at the expense of his accomplices." But it
requires little more than a cursory glance at our authentic records to
be assured that Dr. Lingard's view is the more correct. Take, for
example, the pardon granted in 1412 to the Archbishop of Canterbury,
and couched in almost the same words. There is indeed in this pardon a
clause very different from the pardon of the Earl of March; but it is
a difference which only tends to establish this point, that the
pardons in many cases were _formal_, and altogether independent of the
guilt or innocence of the party. The Archbishop (Arundel) is pardoned
for all treasons, felonies, and so forth, excepting some outrageous
crimes of which he was never suspected; and also provided he was not
then lying in prison as a felon convict, or as an adherent to Owyn
Glyndowr. Many such instances occur.[111]

                   [Footnote 110: His pardon is dated 8th August.]

                   [Footnote 111: Some of the best antiquaries of the
                   present day are disposed to pronounce, that a
                   pardon was never granted, unless there had existed
                   some cause of suspicion or offence,--something, in
                   short, which might have involved in trouble the
                   individual for whom the pardon was obtained.]

On this sad subject two original letters are preserved, addressed to
Henry by the Earl of Cambridge; they are found among the "Original
Letters" published by Sir Henry Ellis, accompanied, as is          (p. 138)
usual[112] in his valuable collection, by a succinct and clear
statement of such facts as may be necessary for their elucidation. The
first contains the Earl's confession; whether written before or after
his trial, is not evident. The second sues for mercy, probably after
the jury had returned their verdict; it may be even after the sentence
was passed by the peers, though a very short portion of a day elapsed
between that sentence and his execution.

                   [Footnote 112: (Ellis, Second Series, vol. i. p.
                   44.) "This conspiracy was the first spark of the
                   flame which in the course of time consumed the two
                   houses of Lancaster and York. Richard Earl of
                   Cambridge was the father of Richard Duke of York,
                   and the grandfather of King Edward IV."]

It is curious to learn, from the first of these letters, that even
down to the year of Henry's first expedition to France, the people
were from time to time deluded by rumours that Richard II. was still
alive. The Earl of Cambridge acknowledged that the conspirators
intended to set up the Earl of March, "taking upon him the sovereignty
of this land, if yonder man's person, which they call King Richard,
had not been alive, as I wot well that he is not alive." He confessed,
also, a guilty knowledge of a conspiracy to "bring in that person
which they named King Richard, and Harry Percy out of Scotland, with a
power of Scots."

Another very curious fact is alleged in this document, interesting in
more points than one. It shows what a powerful engine in those     (p. 139)
days was the _Confessional_; and it proves also that, though Henry
has been called the King of Priests, there were some of the sacred
order in high station who were bent on his overthrow. Cambridge
declares that both the Earl of March and his man Lusy had assured him
that the Earl "was not shriven of a great while [had not attended the
priests for the purposes of confession] without his confessors, on
every occasion, putting him in penance to claim what they called his
right." His confessors would not absolve him without imposing upon
him, by way of penance, this condition, that he should claim his right
to the crown.


     My most dreadful and sovereign liege Lord, like to your Highness
     to wit [please your Highness to know] touching the purpose cast
     against your high estate. Having the Earl of March, by his own
     assent, and by the assent of myself, whereof I most me repent of
     all worldly things; and by the accord of Lord Scrope and Sir
     Thomas Grey, to have had the aforesaid Earl in the land of Wales
     without your licence, taking upon him the sovereignty of this
     land, if yonder man's person, which they call King Richard, had
     not been alive, as I wot well that he is not alive;[113] for  (p. 140)
     which point I put me wholly in your grace. And as for the form
     of a proclamation which should have been cried in the Earl's
     name as the heir to the crown of England against you, my liege
     Lord, called by untrue name Harry of Lancaster, usurper of
     England, to the intent to have made the more people to have drawn
     to him and from you; of the which cry Scrope knew not of as from
     me, but Grey did; having with the Earl a banner of the arms of
     England, having also the crown of Spain on a pallet, which, my
     liege Lord, is one of your weddys, for the which offence I put me
     wholly in your grace. And as for the purpose taken by Umfrevyle
     and Wederyngtoun for the bringing in of that person which they
     named King Richard, and Herry Percy, out of Scotland, with a
     power of Scots, and their power together seeming to them able to
     give you a battle, of the which intent Sir Thomas Grey wist of,
     but not Scrope as by me; of the which knowing I submit me wholly
     into your grace. And as for the taking of your castles in Wales,
     Davy Howell made me be host, so there were a stirring in the
     North; of the which point I put me wholly in your grace. And as
     touching the Earl of March and Lusy his man, they said me both,
     that the Earl was not shriven of a great while, but at all his
     confessors put him in penance to claim that they called his   (p. 141)
     right, that would be that time that every iknew anything that
     ever to him longed.... [The MS. is here imperfect.] Of the which
     points and articles here before written, and of all other which
     now are not in my mind, but truly as often as any to my mind
     fallen I shall duly and truly certify you thereof; beseeching to
     you, my liege Lord, for His love that suffered passion on the
     Good Friday, so have ye compassion on me, your liege man; and if
     any of these persons, whose names are contained in this bill,
     holden contrary the substance of that I have written at this
     time, I shall be ready with the might of God to make it good, as
     ye, my liege Lord, will award me.

                   [Footnote 113: The extraordinary prevalence of an
                   opinion that Richard was still alive and in
                   Scotland, has already been noticed. The Chronicle
                   of England informs us of some particulars relative
                   to the means by which the reports concerning him
                   were propagated, and the prompt, severe, and
                   decisive measures adopted by the King and his
                   supporters for suppressing them. "And at this time
                   (5 Henry IV.) Serle, yeoman of King Richard, came
                   into England out of Scotland, and told to divers
                   people that King Richard was alive in Scotland, and
                   so much people believed in his words. Wherefore a
                   great part of the people of the realm were in great
                   error and grudging against the King, through
                   information of lies and false leasing that this
                   Serle had made. But at the last he was taken in the
                   North country, and by law was judged to be drawn
                   through every city and good burgh town in England,
                   and was afterwards hanged at Tyburn and quartered."
                   It is also certain that many members of the
                   monastic orders were executed for spreading similar
                   reports. See Nichols' Leicester, vol. i. p. 368.]


     My most dreadful and sovereign liege Lord, I, Richard York, your
     humble subject and very liege man, beseech you of grace of all
     manner offenses which I have done or assented to in any kind, by
     stirring of other folk egging me thereto, wherein I wot well I
     han ill offended to your Highness; beseeching you at the
     reverence of God, that you like to take me into the hands of your
     merciful and piteous grace, thinking ye well of your great
     goodness. My liege Lord, my full trust is that ye will have
     consideration, though that my person be of no value, your high
     goodness, where God hath set you in so high estate to every liege
     man that to you longeth plenteously to give grace, that you like
     to accept this mine simple request for the love of Our Lady and
     the blissful Holy Ghost, to whom I pray that they might your
     heart induce to all pity and grace for their high goodness.

Henry having taken every precaution for the preservation of his people
at home, as well against foreign designs as against disturbers of the
peace within the realm, left Porchester Castle on the 7th of       (p. 142)
August, with the intention of superintending in person the embarkation
of his troops. This seems to have occupied him to the 10th, when he
went on board the "Royal Trinity," and immediately gave signal for the
ships to join him from the different stations in which they were
awaiting his command. The fleet consisted of about thirteen hundred
vessels of very different sizes, varying from twenty to three hundred
tons' burden. Probably, reckoning servants, attendants of every kind,
as well as fighting men, this fleet transported to the shores of
France not less than thirty thousand persons. Of these there were only
about two thousand five hundred men-at-arms, four thousand
horse-archers, four thousand foot-archers, and one thousand gunners,
miners, masons, smiths, with others. The whole amount of fighting men,
according to this calculation, does not exceed eleven thousand five
hundred. The expedition sailed with a favourable wind on Sunday,
August 11, 1415.[114]

                   [Footnote 114: It was shortly before he left London
                   on this expedition that Henry made that grant (to
                   which reference was made in the early part of our
                   first volume) of 20_l._ per annum on Joan Waring,
                   his nurse.--Rol. Pat. 3 Henry V. m. 13. It is dated
                   June 5th.]

Every document, probably, now known relative to this expedition, has
been examined by Sir Harris Nicolas; and to his able digest of the
facts relating to this part of Henry's proceedings the reader is
referred for the more minute details.

CHAPTER XXII.                                                      (p. 143)



From this time Henry's is the life rather of a general than of a King.
His successive battles, and sieges, and victories throw but
occasionally more or new light on his character; and it is not within
the limits of these Memoirs to describe his military achievements, or
to enter upon a detailed examination of his campaigns, except so far
only as the events elucidate his character, or as a knowledge of them
may be necessary for a fuller acquaintance with his life. Many
circumstances of this kind occur between the day when he quitted his
port of Southampton, and the hour which terminated his brief but
eventful career on earth. The enemies of his fair fame cite some one
or other of those transactions to prove him a mass of ambition,
superstition, and cruelty. It will be the reader's part to decide  (p. 144)
for himself whether the facts in evidence bear out those charges, or
whether a more equitable judgment would not rather pronounce him to be
a man who, in the midst of a most exciting and distracting career,
never forgot the principles of piety, justice, and mercy. To attest
his valour we need summon no evidence; though even in that point,
which the universal voice of Europe had pronounced to be unassailable,
his challenge to the Dauphin has been cited by one author as an act
that must tarnish his character. The justness of the reflection we
shall weigh hereafter. Of licentiousness after his accession to the
throne his enemies themselves have never ventured to whisper a

As Henry's fleet was leaving his native shores, two incidents are said
to have occurred of opposite omen, such as in those days of
superstition were wont to exercise powerful influence over the minds
of men far removed from the lowest ranks of the people. Swans were
seen swimming gaily and fearlessly around the ships, as if hailing
them on their own watery element; and their appearance was noted as a
happy and encouraging auspice. On the other hand, a fire broke out in
one of the large ships before Henry sailed, which did considerable
damage among the vessels, not without loss of many lives; and this was
deemed an omen of such dire portent, that many of the King's followers
would have dissuaded him from persevering in his expedition.

Henry's was a pious, but not a religiously timid or superstitious  (p. 145)
mind; and, unaffected by this incident, or the entreaties of his
friends, he proceeded on his voyage forthwith, and on Friday, August
13, at five o'clock in the afternoon, he entered the mouth of the
Seine, and anchored at a place called Clef de Caus,[115] between
Honfleur and Harfleur, three miles from the latter town. He landed his
forces without opposition; and, on coming on shore himself, he knelt
down, and prayed to Almighty God to prosper his just cause.[116]

                   [Footnote 115: At the place also where he encamped,
                   he solemnly celebrated the festival of the
                   Assumption [so called] of the Virgin Mary, a feast
                   observed, in the countries on the Continent in
                   communion with Rome, with great rejoicings and
                   religious ceremonies, in the present day.]

                   [Footnote 116: See Chronicler A, and St. Remy, p.
                   82, quoted in Nicolas' Agincourt.]

Henry resolved on laying siege to Harfleur, the inhabitants of which
seemed equally determined to resist him. The siege of Harfleur, which
commenced on Sunday, August 18, is described with great minuteness by
several writers. His brother, the Duke of Clarence, appears to have
held the most prominent place among Henry's officers; and much praise
is ascribed to him for his prowess and military talent. Every mode of
attack and defence then reckoned among martial tactics was carried out
on both sides.

In addition, however, to the wonted privations and hardships of a
protracted siege, the English host was visited by a violent        (p. 146)
disease, which spread rapidly through every grade of the army,
unsparingly thinning its ranks and carrying off its officers, and
threatening annihilation to the whole body. Whilst this calamity was
raging at its height, and making dreadful havoc among the soldiery, an
incident is recorded to have taken place, to which the mind gladly
turns from the din and turmoil of the siege, and the devastations of
that fatal scourge; and though the scene is itself the chamber of
death, we cannot but feel a melancholy satisfaction in contemplating
it for a while. An ecclesiastic, who was present in the camp, and in
attendance on his royal master, records the anecdote in the most
casual manner,[117] without a word of admiration or remark to call our
attention to it, as though he were relating a circumstance of no
unusual occurrence, and such merely as those who knew his master might
hear of without surprise; whilst few pages of history bear to any
monarch more beautiful and affecting evidence of habitual kindness of
heart, pure sympathy with a suffering fellow-creature, and devoted
fulfilment of the dearest offices of friendship. Whilst Richard
Courtenay, Bishop of Norwich, one of the victims of the dysentery, was
lingering in the agonies of death, we find Henry in the midst of his
besieging army, at the height of a very severe struggle, war and
disease raging on every side,--not in a council of his officers,   (p. 147)
planning the operations of to-morrow,--nor on his couch, giving his
body and mind repose from the fatigues and excitement of his opening
campaign,--but we see him on his knees at the death-bed of a dying
minister of religion, joining in the offices of the church so long as
the waning spirit could partake of its consolations; and then not
commissioning others, however faithful representatives they might have
been, to act in his stead, but by his own hands soothing the
sufferings of the dying prelate, and striving to make the struggle of
his latter moments less bitter. Had Henry visited the tent of the good
Bishop when he first knew of his malady, and charged any of his
numerous retinue to pay especial attention to his wants and comforts,
it would have been regarded, at such an hour of pressing emergence, as
an act worthy of a Christian King. But Henry, who in no department of
his public duties ever willingly deputed to others what he could
personally attend to himself, carried the same principle into the
exercise of the charities of private life; and has here left a pattern
of Christian sympathy and lowliness of mind, of genuine philanthropy,
and the sincere affection of true friendship, worthy of prince and
peasant alike to imitate. Bishop Courtenay is said to have been among
Henry's chosen friends, recommended to him by the singular qualities
of his head and his heart. He was a person (we are told) endowed with
intellectual and moral excellences of a very high character;       (p. 148)
and Henry knew how to appreciate the value, and cultivate the friendship,
of such a man. Having enjoyed the satisfaction and benefit of his
society in life, now, when he was on the point of quitting this world
for ever, Henry never withdrew from his bed; but, watching him with
tender anxiety till the ministers of religion had solemnized the last
rite according to the prevailing practice of the church in those days,
even then, "in his own person," he continued to supply the wants of
sinking mortality, "with his own hands[118] wiping the chilled feet"
of his dying friend. The manuscript proceeds to say, that, when life
was extinct, with pious regard for his memory, Henry caused his body
to be conveyed to England, and to be honourably buried among the royal
corpses in Westminster.

                   [Footnote 117: Sloane MS. 1776.]

                   [Footnote 118: A very curious turn has been given
                   inadvertently to this circumstance by the
                   translation of the ecclesiastic's sentence, and the
                   comment upon it, now found in the Appendix to the
                   "Battle of Agincourt." "Rege præsente, pedes ejus
                   tergente post extremam unctionem propriis
                   manibus,"--words which can only be translated so as
                   to represent the King, "after extreme unction,
                   wiping the feet" of the Bishop,--the Editor of that
                   work, by the careless blunder of an amanuensis, or
                   some unaccountable accident, is made to render by
                   the strange sentence, "_covering_ his feet _with_
                   extreme unction;" and he is then led, as a comment
                   upon that text, to observe, that "the Bishop
                   received from Henry's own hand the last offices of
                   _religion_." Extreme unction, the last of the seven
                   sacraments of the see of Rome, was administered
                   doubtless by an attendant priest.]

Three days after this prelate's death, on Wednesday, September 18th,
an agreement to surrender on the following Sunday was entered      (p. 149)
into; the inhabitants of the town pledging themselves by a most solemn
oath to abide by the terms of the agreement. The ceremony on this
occasion must have had a very imposing effect. The King's chaplain,
Benedict Bishop of Bangor, in his pontifical dress, carried the
consecrated Host to the walls of the town, preceded by thirty-two
chaplains, each in full canonicals, and attended by as many esquires,
one of whom bore a lighted taper before each priest. As soon as the
parties were sworn on the elements, the townsmen were assured that
they need fear no acts of wrong or violence, for the King wished
rather to preserve than to destroy his own territory.

On Sunday, September 22, the town was surrendered with much solemn
state into Henry's hands. At the appointed hour, Henry, being dressed
in the robes of royalty, ascended a throne erected under a silk
pavilion on the top of the hill opposite to the town. All his peers
and great men were assembled around him. "Our King"[119] (says a
writer who was probably an eye-witness) "sat in his estate as royal as
did ever any King; and, as it is said, there never was a Christian
King so royal, neither so lordly, sat in his seat as did he." From
this seat to the town a passage was formed by the English soldiers,
through which the late governor, Sir Lionel Braquemont, the Lord de
Gaucourt, and others, with the Host borne before them, attended by (p. 150)
those who had sworn to observe the treaty, and by thirty-four of the
chief inhabitants, passed to Henry's presence, "who forgave them their
injustice in keeping his own town from him; and, having hospitably
entertained them, dismissed them courteously." Thus fell into Henry's
hand one of the most important towns of Normandy, after a siege of
about thirty-six days, during which the zeal and valour of the
assailants and the besieged were equally displayed.[120]

                   [Footnote 119: Cotton MS. Cleopatra, C. iv. f. 24.]

                   [Footnote 120: Monstrelet informs us that the
                   treasure found by Henry at Harfleur was immense. A
                   letter to Henry from two of his officers,
                   "_counters of your receipt_," specifies that they
                   were then in possession for the King of treasure to
                   this amount: of coined gold, 30,000_l._; in silver
                   coined, 1,000,000_l._; and in wedges of silver,
                   drawing by estimation to half a ton weight; at the
                   same time desiring to receive instructions as to
                   the mode of conveying it to Rouen. This letter,
                   dated 19th of May, must belong to the year 1419, in
                   the January of which Rouen was taken.--Ellis's
                   Letters, xxvi.]

On the following day Henry entered the town, dismounting at the gate,
and walking barefoot to St. Martin's church, in which he gave solemn
thanks to God for his success. He then commanded all the women and
children, and the disabled, to be separated from those who had sworn
allegiance to him, as well as from those who, having refused that
oath, were regarded as prisoners. The persons thus separated were next
day sent out of the town, to the number of nearly two thousand, loudly
lamenting their fate. They were escorted by the English; and all   (p. 151)
persons belonging to the church, and the women and children, had a
present of five sous for their journey, and were permitted to dress
themselves in their best apparel, and carry each a moderate bundle
with them. It was forbidden to search the priests, and also the heads
or the bosoms of the women. At St. Aubon, about four miles from
Harfleur, they were entreated to refresh themselves with bread and
cheese and wine; at Lislebone the Marshal Boucicault received them,
and they were forwarded by water to Rouen. At Henry's invitation, many
tradesmen and others came over from England, and became inhabitants of
Harfleur; the King, with the desire of strengthening the place, having
guaranteed, by a proclamation through England, a house of inheritance
to all who would settle there.

About this time Henry sent a message to the Dauphin, challenging him
to single combat, and so to decide the dreadful struggle in which the
two kingdoms were engaged, without the further effusion of blood.
Occasion has been taken to reflect on this act of Henry's, as a stain
both on his personal valour and on his principles of justice: the
first, because he was twenty-seven years old, and the Dauphin not
twenty; the latter, because it were unjust "to expect that so
important a stake should be hazarded on the result of such a meeting."
To enhance Henry's guilt of cowardice, we are told that he challenged
"a mere youth, of whose prowess or bodily strength there is not    (p. 152)
the slightest evidence, and who died _in the December following_."
This is not the first time we have had occasion to remark on this same
writer's injustice towards Henry's memory. Why mention the Dauphin's
death in the following December, except to insinuate that Henry _knew_
he was then in a weak state of bodily health? Of this, however, there
is not the shadow of reason for suspecting Henry. On the contrary, the
evidence tends to the directly opposite conclusion. The Dauphin died
on the 25th December following; but so sudden was his decease, that a
suspicion was excited of his having been poisoned. He had for a long
time been actively engaged in heading one of the contending parties in
France, and he is reported to have been a bold and presumptuous
prince.[121] And, even a month after the battle of Agincourt, we find
him, apparently in full strength both of body and mind, exercising the
authority of the King, his father, in Paris; vigorously and
effectually resisting the entrance of the Duke of Burgundy, who
marched with his army direct to the gates of that city, determined to
force for himself an entrance into it. And, on his father's relapsing
into his malady, he vigorously seized the government, setting the Duke
of Orleans at defiance, and carrying off the King, his father, ill as
he was, to the siege of Arras.[122] Whether the difference of      (p. 153)
age between these two young warriors is so great as to justify such
strong reflections on Henry's courage, must be left to the judgment of
impartial minds. But, when the Dauphin is called a mere youth, it must
be borne in mind that he was considerably older than Henry was when he
headed his father's troops in Wales, or fought so gallantly in the
field of Shrewsbury.

                   [Footnote 121: Abrégé Historique.]

                   [Footnote 122: Ibid. p. 114.]

But we must not let this charge, affecting Henry's valour and justice,
be dismissed without observing that not only did Henry believe, but it
was the universal belief of the age, that "trial by battle" was a
proper way of ending a dispute, and one acceptable to God: one in
which the justice of the quarrel decided, more than the strength or
skill of the combatants. We have proved that there could have been no
grounds for Henry's supposing that he was sending a challenge to a
youth enervated by sickness; and the difference of age alleged now, at
length, in disparagement of Henry's valour, would have been scouted by
all the good knights of Christendom, had it been pleaded as an apology
for the Dauphin declining the challenge. Surely it indicates a
conviction that the points in which the character of a man, famed for
bravery and justice, is assailable, are few and unimportant, when such
frivolous attacks as this are made on his fair fame.

HENRY'S CHALLENGE TO THE DAUPHIN may be thus translated:--         (p. 154)

     Henry, by the grace of God, King of France and England, Lord of
     Ireland, to the high and mighty Prince, the Dauphin of Vienne,
     our cousin, eldest son of the most mighty Prince, our cousin and
     adversary of France. Whereas, from reverence to God, and to avoid
     the shedding of human blood, we have many times and in many ways
     followed and sought for peace, and have not been able to possess
     it, yet our desire to secure it increases more and more; and well
     considering that our wars are followed by the death of men, the
     destruction of countries, the wailings of women and children, and
     so many evils generally as every good Christian must lament and
     pity, especially ourselves, whom this affair most affects, as it
     does, to take all pains and diligence to find every means within
     our knowledge to avoid the above-mentioned evils and distresses,
     and to acquire the grace of God and the praise of the world. And,
     since we have thought and advised, it has seemed to us,
     considering it has pleased God to visit our cousin with
     infirmity, that the remedy rests upon us and you. And to the end
     that every one might know that we withdraw not ourselves from it,
     nor from our part in it, we offer you to put our whole quarrel,
     with God's grace, between our person and yours. And if it should
     seem to you that you cannot agree to this, because of the
     interest which you conceive our cousin, your father, has in it,
     we declare to you in this our intention, that if you will
     entertain it, and engage in it, we are well pleased that our said
     cousin, for our reverence to God, and because he is a sacred
     person, shall have and enjoy all he has at present for the term
     of his life, whatever shall happen by the will of God between us
     and you, as it shall be agreed between his council, ours,     (p. 155)
     and yours.

     So that if God shall give us the victory, the crown of France
     with its appurtenances, as our right, shall be immediately
     rendered to us without difficulty after his decease. And to this
     all the lords and estates of France shall be bound, as it shall
     be agreed between us.

     For it is better for us, cousin, thus to decide this war for ever
     between our two persons, than to suffer the misbelievers, by
     occasion of our wars, to destroy Christianity, our holy mother
     the church to remain in divisions, and the people of God to
     destroy one another. We pray much that you may have as strong a
     desire to avoid that, and to come to peace, and seek all means of
     finding it. And let us trust in God that no better way than this
     can be found. And, therefore, in discharge of our soul, and in
     charge of yours, if such great evils follow, we make to you the
     above offer.

     Protesting ever that we make this offer for the honour and fear
     of God, and for the above causes, of our own motion, without our
     royal relations, councillors, and subjects daring in so high a
     matter to advise us. Nor can it at any time to come be urged to
     our prejudice, nor in prejudice of our good right and title which
     we have at present to the said crown with its appurtenances, nor
     to the good right and title which we now have to other our lands
     and heritages on this side the sea, nor to our heirs and
     successors, if this our offer does not take full effect between
     us and you in the manner aforesaid. Given under our privy seal,
     at our town of Harfleur, the 16th[123] day of September."

                   [Footnote 123: There is a doubt whether it is the
                   xvi. or the xxvi.--the first x in the manuscript
                   having, perhaps, been obliterated by the fire which
                   damaged it.--Foed. vol. ix. 313.]

CHAPTER XXIII.                                                     (p. 156)



Immediately after the surrender of Harfleur, Henry held a council to
deliberate on his future measures. All agreed that, as winter was fast
approaching, the King and his army should return to England; but there
arose a difference of opinion as to the manner of their return. Henry
entertained an insuperable objection against returning by sea; and,
notwithstanding all the dangers to which he must inevitably be
exposed, he resolved to march through Normandy to his town of Calais.
He wished to see with his own eyes, he said, the territories which (p. 157)
were by right his own; adding, that he put full trust in God, in whose
name he had engaged in this, as he certainly deemed it, his righteous
cause. His army had been frightfully diminished by the dysentery; he
was compelled to leave a portion of the remainder to garrison
Harfleur; and, after the most impartial consideration, the number of
fighting men with whom he could enter upon his perilous journey cannot
be supposed to have exceeded 9000, whilst the strong probability is
that the army consisted of little more than 6000. What portion of
admiration for bravery, and what of blame for rashness, an
unprejudiced mind would mingle together, when endeavouring to assign
the just reward to Henry for his decision to make his way through the
very heart of his enemy's country, himself so weak in resources, his
enemy both so strong already, and gathering in overwhelming numbers
from every side, is a problem of no easy solution. Probably we are
very scantily provided with a knowledge of all his motives; and our
praise or our censure might now be very different from what it would
be, were we acquainted with all the circumstances of the case. How far
he expected that the dissensions among the French would prevent them
from uniting to offer him any formidable opposition, though not easy
to answer, is a question not to be neglected. Especially might he have
been influenced by the expectation that the French would not withdraw
their forces from the interior, from fear of the Duke of Burgundy, (p. 158)
who was ever on the watch to seize a favourable moment of attack. The
fact is beyond doubt, that, having garrisoned Harfleur, he quitted
that town about the 8th of October; leaving there all the heavy
articles and carriages, with whatever would be an impediment to his
progress, and conveying all the baggage of the army on horseback.
Henry issued a proclamation, forbidding his soldiers, on pain of
death, to be guilty of any kind of injustice or cruelty towards the
inhabitants as they passed along.

The King of France had collected an army from all sides: he had more
than 14,000 men-at-arms under valiant generals, with the greater part
of whom he remained at Rouen, watching the motions of the English. On
the 20th of October it was resolved in his council, by a large
majority, that the English should be resisted in a regular and pitched
battle. The King had received the celebrated standard, the Oriflamme,
with much solemnity: and war had been declared by unfurling that
consecrated ensign. There seemed at length to have spread through King
and princes, and nobles and people alike, an enthusiastic spirit,
determined to crush the invaders. The Dauphin himself could scarcely
be prevailed upon to obey his father's injunctions, and to abstain
from joining the army; his life being considered too precious to be
exposed to such danger.

Henry meanwhile, after leaving Harfleur,[124] proceeded without    (p. 159)
any important interruption through Montevilliers, Fecamp, Arques, a
town about four miles inland from Dieppe; and on Saturday, October 12,
he passed about half a mile to the right of the town of Eu, where part
of the French troops were quartered. These sallied out on the English
in great numbers, and very fiercely, but were soon repulsed; and a
treaty was agreed upon between Henry and the inhabitants, who supplied
refreshments to his army. He was now informed that the French would
offer him battle in a day or two, whilst he was passing the river
Somme. Undaunted by these tidings, he resolved to advance; and to
cross that river at Blanchetache, the very spot at which Edward III.
had passed it before the battle of Cressy. The field of Cressy was
only ten English miles in advance; and it may be safely inferred that
the remembrance of the struggle and victory of that day filled both
Henry himself and his men with additional zeal and resolution. By the
false assurance of a prisoner,[125] that the passage there was
defended by many noblemen with a strong force, Henry was induced to
change his route, and to proceed up the Somme on its left bank. He
reached Abbeville on Sunday the 13th of October; but, to his sad   (p. 160)
disappointment, he found all the bridges broken down, and the enemy
stationed on the opposite bank to resist his passage. At this time
Henry's situation was most perilous and dispiriting. His provisions
were nearly exhausted,--the enemy had laid waste their own country to
deprive his army of all sustenance; and no prospect was before them
but famine at once, and annihilation from the overwhelming forces of
the French. His army proceeded next day, and passed within a league of
Amiens, and were much refreshed with plenty of provisions; wine was
found in such abundance that the King was obliged to issue a
proclamation prohibiting excess. On the Thursday they reached a plain
near Corbie, from which town the French made a sally against them, but
were repulsed after a brief but spirited engagement. Here John Bromley
gallantly recovered the standard of Guienne, and for his valour was
allowed to bear its figure for his crest. Here too Henry showed that,
amidst all his perils and hardships, he was resolved to maintain the
discipline of his army by inflicting the punishment denounced by his
proclamation against violence or sacrilege. One of the soldiers was
detected with a copper-gilt pix in his sleeve,[126] which he had
stolen from a neighbouring church. Henry sentenced him forthwith to be
hung, as a warning to all others not to offend with the hope of    (p. 161)

                   [Footnote 124: On the 4th of October fishermen in
                   different parts were ordered to go with all speed,
                   taking their tackle with them, to Harfleur, to fish
                   for the support of the King and his army.]

                   [Footnote 125: This is a very curious fact, not
                   generally known. The battle of Agincourt, humanly
                   speaking, would not have been fought, had it not
                   been for the falsehood of a Frenchman.]

                   [Footnote 126: Shakspeare makes use of this
                   anecdote, and fixes the robbery on Bardolph.]

Quitting Corbie, they passed close to Nesle on the 18th October; when
Henry, on the point of laying waste that district, heard that a
passage over the Somme was at length discovered. The French,
meanwhile, had contented themselves with proceeding before him, and
guarding the passages of the river. Whether the policy of allowing the
English to exhaust their strength of body and mind be sufficient, or
not, to account for their conduct, we have not evidence enough to
pronounce decidedly; but, on many occasions, their abstinence from
striking a blow seems otherwise almost inexplicable. Henry made now
one of his most vigorous efforts to effect a passage; nothing, we are
told, could exceed his own personal exertions.[127] The French had
broken up the lanes leading to the fords, and thrown every obstacle in
the way. However, nothing seemed able to resist his resolution; and in
a few hours the whole of his army had crossed. Great was the joy of
the English on having surmounted this formidable obstacle; and they
now hoped to reach Calais without a battle. But on the following day
two heralds came to announce to Henry the resolution of the French (p. 162)
to give him battle, and to take vengeance on him for invading their
country. Henry, without any change of countenance, with much
gentleness replied, "All would be done according to the will of God."
On the heralds then asking him by what route he proposed to proceed,
"Straight to Calais" was the reply. He then advised them not to
attempt to interrupt his march, but to avoid the shedding of Christian
blood. The heralds fell down upon their knees as they first approached
him; and on dismissing them, he gave them a hundred golden crowns.
From the hour of these heralds departing, Henry and his men always
wore their warrior-dress, in readiness for battle; and he spoke to his
army with much tenderness and spirit, and evidently with a powerful
effect. To his surprise, next morning none appeared to oppose him, and
he proceeded on his journey. Many circumstances happened from day to
day, and hour to hour, calculated to dispirit the English, by exciting
an assurance that the French army was near, and waiting their own time
to seize upon their prey; delaying only in order to make their utter
demolition more certain. Henry's route probably was taken through
Peronne, Albert, Bonnieres,[128] Frevent; and he reached the river
Ternoise (called the River of Swords) without any remarkable       (p. 163)
occurrence. No sooner, however, had he passed the Ternoise, and
mounted the hill not far from Maisoncelle, than a man came, breathless,
and told the Duke of York that the enemy was approaching in countless
numbers. Henry forthwith commanded the main body to halt, and setting
spurs to his horse hastened to view the enemy, who seemed to him like
an immense forest covering the whole country. Nothing dismayed, he
ordered his troops to dismount and prepare for battle; animating them
by his calm, intrepid bearing, and by his language of kindness and
encouragement. The French, who were first seen as they were emerging
from a valley a mile off in three columns, halted at the distance of
about half a mile.

                   [Footnote 127: Sir William Bardolf, Lieutenant of
                   Calais, hearing of the King's danger, sent part of
                   his garrison to his assistance; but that little
                   body, consisting of about three hundred
                   men-at-arms, were either destroyed or taken
                   prisoners by the men of Picardy.]

                   [Footnote 128: After quitting Bonnieres, Henry
                   passed unawares beyond the place intended by his
                   officers for his quarters; but, instead of
                   returning, he replied that, being in his war-coat,
                   he could not return without displeasing God. He
                   therefore ordered his advanced guard to take a more
                   distant position, and himself occupied the spot
                   which had been intended for them. This anecdote is
                   recorded as an instance of the care with which
                   Henry avoided whatever might appear of ill omen.
                   Probably he only followed the usual maxims of an
                   army in march; that maxim originating, it may be,
                   in superstition.]

The English felt assured that they would be immediately attacked; and,
as soon as they were drawn up in order of battle, they prepared for
death. The greatest want then felt in the camp was the lack of
priests,[129] every one being anxiously desirous of making confession
and obtaining absolution. Henry's presence of mind, and noble      (p. 164)
soul, and pious trust, and intrepid spirit, showed themselves on this
occasion in words which ought never to be forgotten. Sir Walter
Hungerford having expressed his sorrow that they had not ten thousand
of those gallant archers who would be most desirous of aiding their
King in his hour of need, the King rebuked him, saying, "He spoke
idly, for, as his hope was in God, in whom he trusted for victory, he
would not, if he could, increase his forces even by a single person;
for, if it was the pleasure of the Almighty, few as were his
followers, they were sufficient to chastise the confidence of the
enemy, who relied on their numbers."

                   [Footnote 129: And yet there were so many priests
                   present (with the baggage) during the battle, that
                   the chaplain calls them the clerical army, whose
                   weapons were prayers and intercessions, "Nos qui
                   ascripti sumus clericali militiæ."]

About sun-set the French took up their quarters in the orchards and
villages of Agincourt and Ruissauville. Henry, anxiously seeking
lodgings for his exhausted soldiers, at length found in the village of
Maisoncelle a better supply for their wants than they had met with
since they left Harfleur; and a small hut afforded the King himself
protection from the weather.[130] Before the English quitted       (p. 165)
their position to go to Maisoncelle, Henry permitted all his prisoners
to depart, upon condition that if he gained the approaching battle,
they should return and surrender themselves; but, if he were defeated,
they should be released from their engagements. This night, through
nearly the whole of which rain fell heavily, was passed by the two
hostile armies, about one mile distant from each other, very
differently, but not inconsistently with their relative circumstances.
Both suffered severely from the weather as well as from fatigue; but
whilst the French, anticipating an easy and sure victory, played at
dice for their prisoners as their stake; the English, having prepared
their weapons for the conflict, betook themselves to prayer, and the
observance of the other ordinances of their religion.

                   [Footnote 130: In the "History of Agincourt," the
                   translator of the Chaplain's Memoir (Sloane 1776)
                   has given a far more faint representation than the
                   original will warrant of the sufferings to which
                   the English troops were exposed through this night
                   of present fatigue and discomfort, and of anxious
                   preparation for so tremendous a struggle as awaited
                   them on the morrow. The ecclesiastic, who was
                   himself among the sufferers, and who has furnished
                   a very graphic description of the whole affair,
                   says, "The King turned aside to a small village,
                   where we had houses, but very few indeed, and
                   gardens and orchards to rest in." "Ubi habuimus
                   domos sed paucissimas, hortosque et pomaria pro
                   requiescione nostra." This the translator renders,
                   "Where we had houses to rest in, but very scanty
                   gardens and orchards." The scanty supply was not of
                   gardens and orchards, but of houses to rest in.
                   Consequently, except such as those very few houses
                   could accommodate, the English soldiers were all
                   compelled to bivouac, exposed to the drenching
                   rains which fell through the night. Of orchards and
                   gardens there was doubtless an abundant supply, but
                   they afforded little shelter from the weather, and
                   no means to the troops of taking refreshing rest.]

At day-break, on Friday, October 25, the French drew up in order of
battle, in three lines, on the plain of Agincourt, through which was
the route to Calais. Of their numbers the accounts both of         (p. 166)
English and French writers vary exceedingly, and it is impossible to
fix upon any amount with confidence; probably, however, at the very
lowest calculation they were more than fifty thousand men.

Henry was up at break of day, and immediately attended mass. He then,
mounted on a small grey horse, bearing on his coat the arms of France
and England, and wearing a magnificent crown on his head, drew up his
men in order of battle in an open field. His main body, consisting of
men-at-arms, he commanded himself; the vanguard was committed, as a
right wing, to the Duke of York at his own request; and the rear-guard
was posted, as a left wing, under the command of the Lord Camois. The
archers were placed between the wings in the form of a wedge, with
their poles fixed before them as a protection against the cavalry.
Henry then rode along the lines, and addressed them in a speech full
of spirit, well fitted to inspire in his men enthusiastic ardour and
devotedness. "Sir," was the reply, "we pray God to give you a good
life, and victory over your enemies." At this juncture (we are told by
one historian[131]) an attempt was made at negociation, but it failed;
Henry, in the midst of all his present perils, insisting virtually on
the same terms which he had offered when in safety within the      (p. 167)
realm of England.[132]

                   [Footnote 131: St. Remy.]

                   [Footnote 132: The statement that Henry offered to
                   repair all the injury he had done to France, is
                   deservedly considered unworthy of credit.]

The King assigned to the gallant veteran, Sir Thomas Erpingham, a
friend of Henry, no less venerable for his age than distinguished for
his bravery and military skill, the honourable duty of arraying his
host. He first calmly marshalled the troops, placing the archers
foremost and the men-at-arms behind them; and then, riding in front of
the line, exhorted his brother-warriors in the name of their prince to
fight valiantly. A third time did this aged and fearless knight ride
before the ranks which were stationed to receive the first shock of
the enemy, and if possible to turn back the apparently resistless and
overwhelming tide of battle; and then, having deliberately executed
his commission to the full, he threw up into the air the truncheon
which he held in his hand, shouting, "Now strike!" and, immediately
dismounting, joined the King and his attendants, who were all on foot.
When the soldiers saw the staff in the air, and heard the cry of the
veteran, they raised such a tremendous shout as startled the enemy,
and filled them with amazement.[133]

                   [Footnote 133: The present reading in Monstrelet,
                   who details these circumstances with much life and
                   clearness, reports the word used by the English
                   warrior to have been "Nestroque," which has been,
                   with much probability, considered a corruption of
                   "Now strike!" Whether the word is now read as the
                   Author wrote it, is very questionable; many French
                   words in Monstrelet have been mistaken and
                   corrupted by his copyists.]

It was now approaching mid-day; when Henry, perceiving that the    (p. 168)
enemy would not commence the attack, but were waiting either for
reinforcements, or in the hope of compelling him by want of provisions
to surrender, issued the command, "Banners, advance!" His soldiers
fell down instantly upon the ground prostrate, and implored the
Almighty to succour them; each, as it is said, putting a morsel of
earth into his mouth in remembrance of their mortality. They then
rose, and advanced firmly towards the enemy, shouting, and with the
sound of trumpets. The Constable of France commanded his advanced
guard to meet them, who instantly obeyed, with the war-cry "Montjoye!"
The battle commenced by a shower of arrows from the English, which did
great execution. The French cavalry were immediately thrown into
confusion, chiefly in consequence of the horses rushing on the pointed
stakes which were fixed before the English archers, and, maddened with
pain, turning upon their own ranks. The battle was then tremendously
obstinate: at one time, the shock of the French body caused the
English to give way; but it was only to rush again upon their enemies
with a renewed and still more impetuous and desperate attack. Their
charge, like a torrent of mighty waters, was resistless; and the
archers, having exhausted their quivers, and betaking themselves   (p. 169)
to their swords and bills and hatchets, the slaughter among the
ranks of the French was dreadful. The Duke of Alençon endeavoured in
vain to rally his men, now giving way, and being worsted on every
side; and, returning himself to the struggle, he fell in single combat
with King Henry himself. Whilst the conflict was raging, Anthony, Duke
of Brabant, came up with such of his forces as could keep pace with
him in his rapid haste towards the field of battle, and instantly
mingled in the thickest of the fight: he fell too; gallantly, but
unsuccessfully, striving to stem the flood. The battle seemed now to
be decided, when that event took place, which every one must lament,
and which nothing but necessity could justify,--


The name of Henry of Monmouth is inseparable from the Battle of
Agincourt; and immeasurably better had it been for his fair fame had
himself and his little army been crushed in that tremendous struggle,
by the overwhelming chivalry of France, than that he should have
stained that day of conquest and glory by an act of cruelty or
vengeance. If any cause except palpable and inevitable necessity could
be proved to have suggested the dreadful mandate for his soldiers to
put their prisoners to the sword, his memory must be branded by a
stigma which no personal courage, not a whole life devoted         (p. 170)
to deeds of arms, nor any unprecedented career of conquest, could
obliterate. The charge of cruelty, however, like some other accusations,
examined at length in these Memoirs, is of comparatively recent
origin; and as in those former instances, so in this, our duty is to
ascertain the facts from the best evidence, and dispassionately to
draw our inference from those facts after an upright scrutiny and
patient weighing of the whole question in all its bearings. Our
abhorrence of the crime may well make us hesitate before we pronounce
judgment against one to whose mercy and chivalrous honour his
contemporaries bore willing and abundant testimony; the enormity of so
dreadful an example compels us, in the name of humanity and of
justice, not to screen the guilty. We may be wisely jealous of the
bias and prejudice which his brilliant talents, and his life of
patriotism and glory, may unconsciously communicate to our minds; we
must be also upon our guard lest an excessive resolution to do
justice, foster imperceptibly a morbid acquiescence in the
condemnation of the accused.

The facts, then, as they are gleaned from those authors who wrote
nearest to the time (two of whom, one French, the other English, were
actually themselves present on the field of battle, and were
eye-witnesses of some portion at least of the circumstances which they
narrate,) seem to have been these, in their order and character.

At the close of one of the most desperate struggles ever recorded  (p. 171)
in the annals of ancient or modern warfare, whilst the enemy were in
the act of quitting the field, but had not left it, the English were
employing what remained of their well nigh exhausted strength in
guarding their prisoners, and separating the living from the dead, who
lay upon each other, heaps upon heaps, in one confused and
indiscriminate mass. On a sudden a shout was raised, and reached
Henry, that a fresh reinforcement[134] of the enemy in overwhelming
numbers had attacked the baggage, and were advancing in battle-array
against him. He was himself just released from the furious conflict in
which, at the close of his almost unparalleled personal exertion, he
engaged with the Duke of Alençon, and slew him on the spot. Precisely,
also, at this juncture, the main body of the French who had been
engaged in the battle, and were apparently retreating, were seen to be
collecting in great numbers, and forming themselves into bodies,
throughout the plain, with the purpose, as it appeared, of returning
to the engagement.

                   [Footnote 134: It must be remembered that the
                   arrival of fresh reinforcements was by no means an
                   improbable occurrence. Anthony, Duke of Brabant,
                   had only reached the field with his men just before
                   the tide of battle turned finally and fatally
                   against the French; nor could Henry possibly know
                   what forces were yet hastening on to dispute with
                   him for the victory afresh.]

To delay might have been the total sacrifice of himself and his
gallant little band; to hesitate might have been death. Henry      (p. 172)
instantly, without a moment's interval, by sound of trumpet ordered
his men to form themselves, and attack the body who were advancing
upon his rear, and to put the prisoners to death, "lest they should
rush upon his men during the fight." These mandates were obeyed.[135]
The French reinforcement, advancing from the quarter where the baggage
was stationed, no sooner felt a shower of arrows, and saw a body of
men ready to give them battle, than they turned to flight; and
instantly Henry, on seeing them run, stopped the slaughter of the
prisoners, and made it known to all that he had had recourse to the
measure only in self-defence. Henry, in order to prevent the
recurrence of such a dreadful catastrophe, sent forthwith a herald to
those companies of the enemy who were still lingering very
suspiciously through the field, and charged them either to come to
battle at once, or to withdraw from his sight; adding, that, should
they array themselves afterwards to renew the battle, he would show no
mercy, nor spare either fighting-men or prisoners.

                   [Footnote 135: One author alone, Jean Le Fevre,
                   states that some of the English, who had taken the
                   prisoners of greatest note and wealth, hesitated to
                   execute the order, from an unwillingness to lose
                   their ransom; and that two hundred archers were
                   commissioned to perform the dreadful office in
                   their stead.]

Of the general accuracy of this statement of the facts little doubt
can be entertained, though in the midst of the confusion of such   (p. 173)
a battle-field it would not be matter of surprise were some of
the circumstances mistaken or exaggerated. In reflecting on this
course of incidents, the thought forces itself upon our mind, that the
mandate was given, not in cool blood, nor when there was time and
opportunity for deliberation and for calculating upon the means and
chances of safety, but upon the instant, on a sudden unexpected
renewal of the engagement from a quarter from which no danger was
anticipated; at a moment, too, when, just after the heat of the battle
was passing over, the routed enemy were collecting again in great
numbers in various parts of the field, with a view evidently of
returning to the charge and crushing their conquerors; at a moment,
too, when the English were scattered about, separating the living from
the dead, and all was yet confusion and uncertainty. Another fact, as
clearly and distinctly recorded as the original issuing of the
mandate, is, that no sooner was the danger of the immediate and
inevitable sacrifice of the lives of his men removed by the retreat of
the assailants, than, without waiting for the dispersion of those
menacing bodies then congregating around him, Henry instantly
countermanded the order, and saved the remainder of the prisoners. The
bare facts of the case, from first to last, admit of no other
alternative than for our judgment to pronounce it to have been
altogether an imperative inevitable act of self-preservation, without
the sacrifice of any life, or the suffering of any human being,    (p. 174)
beyond the absolute and indispensable necessity of the case.

But, perhaps, the most striking and conclusive testimony in
vindication of Henry's character on that day of slaughter and victory,
is borne both by the silence and also by the expressed sentiments of
the contemporary historians. This evidence deserves to be put more
prominently forward than it has ever yet been. Indeed, as long as
there was no charge of cruelty, or unnecessary violence, brought
against his name in this particular, there was little need of alleging
any evidence in his defence. It remained for modern writers, after a
lapse of centuries, to stigmatize the command as an act of barbarity,
and to represent it as having tarnished and stained the victory of him
who gave it.[136] It is, however, a most remarkable and satisfactory
circumstance that, of the contemporary historians, and those who
followed most closely upon them, who have detailed the proceedings (p. 175)
with more or less minuteness, and with a great variety though no
inconsistency of circumstances, in whose views, moreover, all
subsequent writers, with few exceptions, have unreservedly acquiesced,
not one single individual is found to cast the slightest imputation on
Henry for injustice or cruelty; while some, in their account of the
battle, have not made the most distant allusion to the circumstance.
All the earlier writers who refer to it appear, with one consent, to
have considered the order as the result of dire and unavoidable
necessity on the part of the English King. Not only so: whilst no one
who witnessed the engagement, or lived at the time, ever threw the
shadow of reproach or of complaint on Henry or his army, various
writers, especially among the French historians, join in reprobating
the unjustifiable conduct of those among the French troops who
rendered the massacre inevitable, and cast on their own countrymen the
entire responsibility and blame for the whole melancholy affair.
Instead of any attempt to sully and tarnish the glory won by the
English on that day, by pointing to their cruel and barbarous
treatment of unarmed prisoners, they visit their own people with the
very strongest terms of malediction, as the sole culpable origin and
cause of the evil. And that these were not only the sentiments of the
writers themselves, but were participated in by their countrymen at
large, is evidenced by the record of a fact which has been generally
overlooked. Those who were deemed guilty of thus exposing their    (p. 176)
countrymen to death, by unjustifiably renewing the attack when
the conflict was acknowledged to be over, and after the French
soldiery had given up the field, not only were exposed to disgrace in
their characters, but suffered punishment also for the offence in
their persons. Anticipating censure and severe handling as the
consequences of their misconduct, they made valuable presents to such
as they thought able to screen them; but so decided was the
indignation and resentment of their countrymen, that the leaders of
the offending parties were cast into prison, and suffered a long
confinement, as the punishment for their misconduct on that day.

                   [Footnote 136: The passage of M. Petitot, in his
                   History, published in the year 1825, vol. vi. p.
                   322, which contains this accusation, is as follows:
                   "The Duke of Alençon fought hand to hand with the
                   King of England, and fell gloriously. Towards the
                   end of the struggle, some hundreds of peasants of
                   Picardy, commanded by two gentlemen of the country,
                   believing that the English were vanquished, came to
                   plunder their camp. Henry, fancying that he was
                   about to be attacked by a reinforcement, whose
                   march had been concealed from him, ordered the
                   massacre of the prisoners, and only excepted the
                   princes and generals. This barbarous order was put
                   into execution, and tarnished his victory."]

The inference, then, which the facts, as they are delivered by English
and French writers, compel us to draw, coincides with the professed
sentiments of all contemporaries. Those, on the one hand, who shared
the glory and were proud of the day of Agincourt, and those, on the
other, whose national pride, and wounded honour, and participation in
the calamities poured that day upon the noblest families of France,
and in the mourning spread far and wide throughout the land, caused
them to abhor the very name of Agincourt, all sanction our adoption of
that one inference: _Henry did not stain his victory by any act of
cruelty_. His character comes out of the investigation untarnished by
a suspicion of his having wantonly shed the blood of a single

To enable the reader to judge for himself how far the view taken   (p. 177)
in the text is justified by the evidence, the Author has thought it
desirable to cite from different writers, French as well as English,
the passages at length in which they describe the transaction.

     The Chaplain of Henry V, an eye-witness, who was himself
     stationed with the baggage, and whose account is contained in the
     fasciculus known as "MS. Sloane, 1776, p. 67," thus reports the

     "When some of the enemy's foreranks were slain, those behind
     pressed over the dead, and others again falling on them were
     immediately put to death; and near Henry's banners so large was
     the pile of corpses, and of those who were thrown upon them, that
     the English stood on heaps which exceeded a man's height, and
     felled their adversaries below with swords and axes. And when, at
     length, for the space of two or three hours, that powerful body
     of the first ranks had been broken through and crushed to pieces,
     and the rest were forced to fly, our men began to move those
     heaps, and to separate the living from the dead. And behold,
     suddenly, with what angry dispensation of Providence it is not
     known, (nescitur in quâ irâ Dei,) a shout is made that the
     cavalry of the enemy in an overwhelming and fresh body were
     rallying, and forming themselves to attack our men, few in
     number, and worn out with fatigue. And the captives, without any
     respect of persons, (except the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, and
     certain other illustrious men, and a few besides,) were put the
     sword, to prevent their becoming our ruin in the approaching
     struggle. And, after a little while, the enemy, (by the
     Almighty's will,) having tasted the sharpness of our arrows, and
     seeing that our King was approaching them, left us a field of
     blood, with chariots and many other carriages filled          (p. 178)
     with provisions and weapons, lances and bows."

Jean Le Fevre, Seigneur de St. Remy, who was also an eye-witness,
being present in the English camp, records the event, and his own
opinion of it, thus:

     "Then there befel them a very great misfortune; for a large body
     of the rear-guard, in which were many French, Bretons, Gascons,
     and others, who had betaken themselves to flight, and had with
     them a large number of standards and flags, showed signs of an
     intention to fight, and were marching in order. When the English
     perceived them thus congregated, orders were given by the King of
     England for every one to slay his prisoners; but those who had
     taken them were unwilling to put them to death, because they had
     taken those only who could give a high ransom. On the King being
     apprised that they would not kill their prisoners, he gave in
     charge to a gentleman with two hundred archers to put them all to
     death. The order of the King was obeyed by this esquire, which
     was a lamentable affair; for all that body of French nobility
     were _in cold blood_ cut and hewed, head and face,--a wonderful
     THAT NOBLE CHIVALRY TO BE MURDERED, when they saw that the
     English were ready to receive them and give them battle, betook
     themselves to flight suddenly; and those who could, saved
     themselves; and the greater part of those who were on horseback
     saved themselves, but of them who were on foot the greater part
     were put to death."

Elmham thus records the transaction:--

     "The English, already wearied, and for the most part destitute of
     arms fit for a charge, when the French were arraying themselves
     for battle with a view to the renewal of the conflict, fearing
     lest the persons they had taken should rush upon them in the
     struggle, slew many of them, though noble, with the sword.    (p. 179)
     The King then, by a herald, commanded those French soldiers who
     were still occupying the field either to come to battle at once,
     or speedily to depart out of his sight; assuring them that, if
     they should again array themselves for a renewed engagement, both
     they and the prisoners yet remaining should perish without mercy,
     with the most dire vengeance which the English could inflict."

Fabyan's account differs from that of other writers only in one
particular; he represents the retirement of the French, who had
rallied for a renewal of the conflict, to have been the result of the
message sent to them by the Duke of Orleans and his fellow-prisoners,
in their panic on hearing Henry's mandate, which seemed to put their
lives into immediate jeopardy.

     "When the King, by power and grace of God more than by force of
     man, had gotten this triumphant victory, and returned his people
     from the chase of his enemies, tidings were brought to him that a
     new host of Frenchmen were coming towards him. Wherefore he
     commanded his people to be embattled; and, that done, made
     proclamation through the host that every man should slay his
     prisoners: by reason of which proclamation the Duke of Orleans,
     and the other lords of France, were in such fear, that anon, by
     the licence of the King, they sent such word unto the said host
     that they withdrew."

The contemporary author whose work is translated by Laboureur, having
in impassioned language spoken of the "eternal reproach, and ever
deplorable calamity of the miserable battle of Agincourt," instead of
attempting to make the English partake in any degree of the disgrace
which on that day stained the annals of France, tells us that Henry,
believing a great body of the vanguard, who had been broken through,
were running, not in flight, but to join the rest of the army      (p. 180)
and renew the attack, gave orders for all the prisoners to be put
to the sword; and the carnage lasted till it was known they were
actually running away. He then stopped it; and explained that his
orders were given in doubt of the enemy's intentions.--This writer
seems to have been mistaken in his view of the circumstances; but the
thought of Henry having acted unjustifiably does not seem to have
crossed his mind.

Monstrelet's account is somewhat different from the two last, and more
full in its details:

     "During the heat of the combat the English made several
     prisoners; and then came news to the King of England that the
     French were attacking them from the rear, and that they had
     already taken his sumpter-horses and baggage. This was true; for
     Robinet de Bournonville and Rifflart de Clamasse, Ysambert
     d'Azencourt, and some other men-at-arms, accompanied by six
     hundred peasants, went to plunder the baggage, and carried off a
     great quantity of the property of the camp, and a large number of
     horses, whilst those who were their guards were engaged in the
     battle. This pillage caused the King great trouble, for he saw
     also at the same time in the open field those French who had
     taken to flight rallying themselves in companies; and he doubted
     whether their intention was not to renew the engagement. He
     therefore caused a proclamation to be made by sound of trumpet,
     that every Englishman should on pain of death[137] slay his
     prisoners, to prevent their succouring their own people in the
     time of need; and then, on the sudden, followed a very great
     carnage of French prisoners. For which proceeding, Robinet de
     Bournonville and Ysambart d'Azencourt were afterwards         (p. 181)
     punished and imprisoned a long time by order of John Duke of
     Burgundy, notwithstanding they had given to Philip Earl of
     Charolois, his son, an exceedingly valuable sword, studded with
     precious stones and jewels, belonging to the King of England,
     which they had found and taken with the other booty, that the
     Earl might interest himself for them should any trouble overtake
     them in consequence of this circumstance."

     Des Ursins represents the catastrophe to have been occasioned by
     the news spread through the field that the Duke of Brittany was
     arrived with a powerful reinforcement, on which the French
     rallied. He gives, however, two accounts; in one of which he
     reports the prisoners taken by the English to be fourteen
     thousand, a number exceeding the whole body of fighting men in
     the English army.

     Paradin de Cuyseault, in his Annals of Burgundy, marks very
     strongly in how serious a light the offence of the French
     assailants was viewed by their contemporaries:

     "And this [the order for the slaughter of the prisoners] was
     executed, of which the said Bournonville and Azencourt were the
     cause: and they being accused of this charge before the Duke of
     Burgundy, his will was that they should suffer death: but the
     Earl of Charolois saved them, in return for the beautiful sword."

     Pierre de Fenin, a contemporary esquire, and a clerk of the
     household to Charles VI, employs expressions very pointedly
     exculpatory of the English; he does not speak of Henry's mandate
     at all:

     "Whilst the battle between the English and French _was yet
     pending and going on_, and the English had already almost gained
     the mastery, Isambert d'Azencourt, and Robinet de Bournonville,
     accompanied by some men-at-arms of little note, made an assault
     on the baggage of the English, and caused a great [affray]    (p. 182)
     terror. When the English saw that it was the French who were coming
     upon them to attack them, _in that necessity they felt themselves
     obliged_ to put to death many whom they had already made prisoners;
     for which the two persons above mentioned were afterwards made
     the objects of severe execration, and were also punished for the
     offence by the Duke of Burgundy."[138]

                   [Footnote 137: In the printed copies of Monstrelet
                   the reading is "de la _hart_," a mistake, it is
                   presumed, for _mort_. Many such errors occur in his

                   [Footnote 138: The Author is compelled to express
                   his regret that some of our own modern writers
                   (among others Goldsmith and Mackintosh) have been
                   led to take a different estimate of the character
                   of this transaction. Whether their judgments were
                   formed after a careful weighing of the several
                   accounts furnished by contemporary authors and
                   eye-witnesses of the conflict, or whether they
                   allowed their feelings of philanthropy, and their
                   abhorrence of cruelty, to dictate their sentence in
                   this case, the Author cannot refer to their works
                   without appealing from them to the facts as they
                   stand in those undisputed records which were
                   accessible alike to them and to ourselves. On this
                   subject Rapin, Carte, Holinshed, Nicolas, with
                   others, may be consulted.]

Among the many instances of heroism which occurred during the battle,
Henry's conduct was particularly distinguished. He fought on foot like
a lion, as our annalists express themselves, and was throughout the
noblest example of valour. Especially was his gallant rescue of his
brother, the Duke of Gloucester, remembered with admiration. That
prince had been wounded by a dagger, and thrown on the ground by the
Duke of Alençon and his soldiers, when Henry rushed between them, and
defended his brother till he was removed from the conflict. This noble
deed nearly cost him his life; for, stooping down to raise his brother,
the Duke of Alençon, or one of his men, struck him such a blow as  (p. 183)
to break off a part of his crown.

The loss on both sides has been very variously reported. Probably of
the French not less than ten thousand fell in that field of
blood;[139] of the English perhaps less than one-tenth of that number.
But France did not on that day reckon her loss by the number of the
slain; the chief of her chivalry[140] and nobility fell there.     (p. 184)
On the English side the only men of note who were slain in the battle
were the Duke of York, the Earl of Suffolk, Sir Richard Keghley, Thomas
Fitz-Henry, John de Peniton, and David Gamme.[141]

                   [Footnote 139: It is quite impossible to reconcile
                   the different accounts of the loss on the part of
                   the English. Walsingham speaks of thirty only
                   having fallen; De Fenin reports them to have been
                   four or five hundred; whilst Monstrelet raises the
                   number to sixteen hundred.

                   On the part of the French, Le Fevre says, that from
                   a hundred to six score princes fell, and about
                   seven or eight thousand of noble blood. In the
                   Annales Ecclesiastici of Baronius, continued by
                   Raynaldus, the statement of Theodoric Niemius is
                   quoted, who says (unquestionably without authority)
                   that Henry advanced from Harfleur with sixty
                   thousand men, besides two thousand in attendance on
                   the carriages. He affirms that the French had one
                   hundred thousand men; among whom were one thousand
                   Italians, commanded by Buligard, who had long
                   governed Genoa in favour of the French. He says,
                   moreover, that more than five thousand five hundred
                   French nobles were slain; and fifteen hundred taken
                   prisoners, and carried to England.]

                   [Footnote 140: Hume, with his usual inaccuracy,
                   asserts that the French army at Agincourt was
                   headed as well by the Dauphin, as by all the other
                   princes of the blood. The Dauphin wished to assist
                   his countrymen, when they resolved to intercept the
                   invaders; but, as we are expressly told by Le Fevre
                   (c. 59), was not suffered to join the rendezvous.
                   This is not the only mistake into which Hume has
                   fallen in his account of this battle. In one
                   paragraph he reports Henry to have been under the
                   necessity of marching by land from Harfleur to
                   Calais, in order to reach a place of safety from
                   which he might transport his soldiers back to
                   England; in another paragraph he represents him
                   (with the same temerity which had been evinced by
                   his predecessors before the battles of Poictiers
                   and of Cressy) to have ventured without any object
                   of moment, and merely for the _sake of plunder_, so
                   far into the enemy's country as to leave himself no
                   retreat. He tells us, moreover, that "Henry was
                   master of fourteen thousand prisoners," whom he
                   afterwards says that the King "carried with him to
                   Paris, thence to England." Hume took this also
                   without inquiry. Walsingham says, "Henry took (as
                   they say--ut ferunt,--as though even that estimate
                   required to be supported by common report,) seven
                   hundred prisoners;" and of his prisoners, how many
                   soever they were, he transported (as Des Ursins
                   tells us) only the most considerable to England,
                   dismissing the rest under promise to bring their
                   ransom to him in the field of Lendi, on the feast
                   of St. John in the summer, and, if he were not
                   there, they should be discharged of the debt.]

                   [Footnote 141: Of this gallant Welshman, the
                   following account is taken from the Appendix of the
                   "Battle of Agincourt." "Dr. Meyrick (now Sir
                   Samuel) says, Davydd Gam, _i.e._ Squint-eyed David,
                   was a native of Brecknockshire, and, holding his
                   land of the honour of Hereford, was a strenuous
                   supporter of the Lancastrian interests. He was the
                   son of Llewellyn, descended from Einion Sais, who
                   possessed a handsome property in the parishes of
                   Garthbrengy and Llanddeu. In consequence of an
                   affray in the high street of Brecknock, in which he
                   unfortunately killed his kinsman, he was compelled
                   to fly into England to avoid a threatened
                   prosecution, and became the implacable enemy of
                   Owain Glyndowr, whom he attempted to assassinate.
                   Gam, it may be supposed, was his nick-name, as he
                   called himself David Llewellyn; and there are good
                   grounds for supposing that Shakspeare has
                   caricatured him in Captain Fluellin. His
                   descendants, however, conceiving that his prowess
                   more than redeemed his natural defect, took the
                   name of Game. Sir Walter Raleigh has an eulogium
                   upon his bravery and exploits on the field of
                   Agincourt, in which he compares him to Hannibal. He
                   was knighted on the field with his two companions
                   in glory and death, Sir Roger Vaughan, of
                   Bedwardine in Herefordshire, and Sir Walter, or
                   rather Watkin Llwyd, of the lordship of Brecknock.
                   Sir Roger had married Gwladis, the daughter of Sir
                   David Gamme, who survived him, and became the wife
                   of another hero of Agincourt, Sir William Thomas of
                   Raglan; and Sir Watkin was by his marriage related
                   to Sir Roger."

                   The Author gives this passage as he finds it,
                   without having attempted to verify the statement as
                   to David Gamme's descent or history. Certainly the
                   testimony which Sir Samuel Meyrick makes Sir Walter
                   Raleigh bear to his "bravery and exploits on the
                   field of Agincourt," cannot be fairly extracted
                   from Sir Walter's own words: "But if Hannibal
                   himself had been sent forth by Mago to view the
                   Romans, he could not have returned with a more
                   gallant report in his mouth than Captain Gamme made
                   unto King Henry the Fifth, saying, 'That of the
                   Frenchmen there were enow to be killed, enow to be
                   taken prisoners, and enow to run away!'" We have no
                   doubt of Captain Gamme's gallant bearing at
                   Agincourt; but Raleigh refers to nothing beyond his
                   report of the numbers of the enemy.--Raleigh, book
                   v. sect. 8.]

The last-mentioned person is that David Gamme who was ransomed     (p. 185)
from Owyn Glendowr, and who is reported to have replied, when
questioned as to the number of the enemy, "My liege, there are enough
to be slain, enough to be taken prisoners, and enough to run away!"
This gallant speech of David Gamme immediately before the battle,  (p. 186)
has been delivered down from father to son among his Cambrian
compatriots with feelings of exultation and pride. A circumstance of a
very opposite character and tendency (which has never, it is believed,
hitherto appeared in our histories,) must not be suppressed here.
Among those who swelled the enormous host which on that day gave
battle to the King of England, were found natives of his own
Principality. During the dreadful devastations caused by Owyn
Glyndowr, great numbers left their mansions and estates a prey to his
fury, and saved themselves from personal violence by taking refuge in
England, or beyond the seas. Many, too, of those who had made
themselves notorious as Owyn's partisans, fled from Wales when his
cause began to falter, and avoided the penalty of perseverance in
their rebellion, or the humiliating alternative of submission to one
whom they deemed a tyrant and usurper. Quitting their native soil in
the enjoyment of health and strength, not a few of these inhabitants
of the Principality enlisted under the standard of foreign powers;
especially (as it is reasonable to conclude) of the King of France,
who had espoused the cause for which they were expatriated. How large
or how small a number of Welshmen fell in the ranks of the French on
that day, or how many escaped, we have no means of ascertaining. Our
attention is drawn to the subject by the record of a fact too      (p. 187)
specific, and too well authenticated, to be doubted or evaded.[142]
William Gwyn of Llanstephan, was in the army of the enemy on the field
of Agincourt, and his corpse was found among the slain. His castle of
Llanstephan was in consequence forfeited to the crown, and was granted
to the King's brother, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester.

                   [Footnote 142: The fact is recorded in the Patent
                   Rolls, P. 2, 3 Hen. V.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Being left master of the field, Henry withdrew his army a few paces,
and addressed them in a speech very characteristic of his mind. After
thanking them for their services, he bade them consider his success as
undoubted proof of the justice of his cause; and directed them not to
pride themselves on the event, but to give the glory to God. Henry
then called to him Montjoye, the principal herald of France, and
demanded of him to whom the victory belonged; who replied, that it was
to the King of England. He then asked the name of the neighbouring
castle; and, being informed that it was Agincourt, "Then," said he,
"this shall for ever be called


                   [Footnote 143: The spot from which the battle of
                   Agincourt took its name has been confounded with a
                   place named Azincourt, near the town of Bouchain in
                   French Flanders. On the position of the real field
                   of battle, and its present condition, the Author
                   has much satisfaction in making the following
                   extract from a paper read before the Royal Society
                   of Literature, April 4, 1827, by John Gordon Smith,
                   M.D. who had visited and examined the spot under
                   circumstances of peculiar interest:

                   "Perhaps I may be pardoned for relating that I had
                   the honour to receive a Waterloo medal on the field
                   of Azincour, or rather, that I had the fortune to
                   belong to one of the British regiments that
                   signalized themselves in the campaign of 1815, and
                   which afterwards was invested with the
                   above-mentioned mark of their sovereign's
                   approbation on the very spot which, nearly four
                   hundred years before, was the scene of the scarcely
                   less glorious triumph of Harry the Fifth of
                   England. In 1816 a portion of the British army was
                   cantoned in the immediate neighbourhood of this
                   celebrated field, and the corps in which I then
                   served made use of it during several months as
                   their ordinary drill-ground.... We amused ourselves
                   with reconnoitring excursions, comparing the actual
                   state of the localities with authentic accounts of
                   the transactions of 1415. The changes that have
                   taken place have been singularly few, and an
                   attentive explorer would be able to trace with
                   considerable accuracy the greater part of the route
                   pursued by the English army in their retreat out of
                   Normandy towards Calais. The field of Azincour
                   remains sufficiently in statu quo to render every
                   account of the battle perfectly intelligible; nor
                   are those wanting near the spot, whose traditionary
                   information enables them to heighten the interest
                   with oral description, accompanied by a sort of
                   ocular demonstration.

                   "Those who travel to Paris by way of St. Omer and
                   Abbeville, pass over the field of the battle, which
                   skirts the high road to the left, about sixteen
                   miles beyond St. Omer; two on the Paris side of a
                   considerable village or bourg named Fruges; about
                   eight north of the fortified town of Hesdin; and
                   thirty from Abbeville. All accounts of the battle
                   mention the hamlet of Ruisseauville, through which
                   very place the high road to Paris now passes.

                   "Azincour is a commune or parish consisting of a
                   most uninteresting collection of farmers'
                   residences and cottages, once however distinguished
                   by a castle, of which nothing now remains but the
                   foundation. The scene of the contest lies between
                   this commune and the adjoining one of Tramecour, in
                   a wood belonging to which latter the King concealed
                   those archers whose prowess and vigour contributed
                   so eminently to the glorious result. Part of the
                   wood still remains; though, if I remember rightly,
                   at the time of our visit, the corner into which the
                   bowmen were thrown had been materially thinned, if,
                   indeed, the original timber had not been entirely
                   cut down, and its place been scantily supplied by
                   brush or underwood. Some of the trees, however, in
                   the wood of Tramecour were very old in 1816.

                   "The road above mentioned is the great post-road;
                   the old road, now degenerated into a mere
                   cart-track, from Abbeville to the once celebrated
                   city of Therouanne, passes over the scene of
                   action, and must have been that by which the French
                   army reached the ground before the English, who had
                   been compelled to make a great circuit."--Vol. i.
                   part ii. p. 57.]

Henry, naturally anxious to hasten with his troops beyond the reach of
his enemies, and to arrive at Calais before they could recover     (p. 188)
from their present overwhelming distress, removed from his quarters,
passing through the field of battle early on the next day, taking his
prisoners with him. Many vague expressions occur in some writers,
which might be wrested to imply wanton cruelty in the English after
the battle; but no direct charge of the sort is brought against    (p. 189)
them; and we may reasonably hope that there was no more of human
suffering than of necessity followed so tremendous a conflict: whilst
all writers agree in recording and extolling the kindness, and
compassion, and courtesy shown by Henry to his prisoners, especially
to the Duke of Orleans; endeavouring by all means in his power to
cheer and console them. Just as after the battle of Grosmont,      (p. 190)
when he was only seventeen years old, so now in the prime of manhood,
on the field of Agincourt, we find in him the same kind and
warm-hearted conqueror: "In battle a lion; but, duty appeased, in
mercy a lamb!"

The army found great difficulty at Calais from the scarcity of
provisions; and the prisoners, as may be supposed, were in still
greater distress. The moment Henry, who was staying at Guisnes, heard
of it, he ordered vessels to be procured to convey both soldiers and
prisoners to England. Henry himself reached Calais[144] on the 29th of
October, and was received with every demonstration of loyalty. He was
met by the clergy singing Te Deum; whilst the inhabitants shouted,
"Welcome the King, our Sovereign Lord!" News reached London very
early, whilst the citizens were yet in bed, on Tuesday, October 29;
and on that day the victory was celebrated by religious processions,
in which we are told the Queen Dowager joined, though Arthur,      (p. 191)
Count of Richmond, her own son, was among the prisoners. On Monday,
November 4, the Duke of Bedford announced the welcome news officially
to parliament. Henry embarked for England on Saturday, 16th of
November, and reached Dover late on the same day, though the wind had
been very boisterous, and one or two of his vessels were lost. So
overflowing was the joy and zeal of his subjects, that we are told
they rushed into the sea, and brought him to shore in their arms. At
Canterbury he was met by the archbishop and clergy: on Friday, 22nd of
November, he slept at Eltham. The next day he was met, about ten
o'clock, at Blackheath, by the Mayor and all the civic authorities of
London, dressed in their most splendid robes, and accompanied by not
less than twenty thousand citizens on horseback.

                   [Footnote 144: Before his departure from Calais, a
                   dispute arose between him and two noblemen, who had
                   been taken prisoners at Harfleur, and set at
                   liberty on condition of surrendering themselves at
                   Calais. The merits of the case cannot now be known.
                   The one, De Gaucourt, brought an action against the
                   representatives of the other, after his death, and
                   after the death of Henry, to recover what he paid
                   for that other's [D'Estouteville's] ransom. To give
                   a colouring to his case, he charges Henry with
                   refusing to confirm the stipulations made by his
                   representatives at Harfleur, and with other harsh
                   conduct. But an ex parte statement at that time,
                   and under those circumstances, can form no ground
                   of suspicion against a third party.]

In London a most magnificent pageant was ready to welcome him. Minute
descriptions of the various devices, such probably as England had
never seen before, have come down to us. But we need take no further
notice of them than to remark, that during the splendid scene, which
lasted from ten o'clock till three, (in the course of which Henry
humbly returned thanks both in St. Paul's and in Westminster Abbey,)
the King's deportment was singularly modest. His dress was simple; he
rode gravely on, attended by a small retinue; and, his thoughts
apparently wrapped up in contemplating the power and goodness of   (p. 192)
the Almighty, he seemed altogether indifferent to the splendour of the
scenes and the devotedness of the crowds through which he passed. So
anxious was he to avoid exciting the applause of his people, that he
would not allow the helmet which he wore at Agincourt to be exhibited
on this occasion; the battered state of which bore evidence to the
danger he had encountered: nor would he allow the minstrels to compose
verses, or sing songs, to his praise; but persisted in attributing the
glory of his victory to God alone.

It is pleasing to trace the rewards[145] bestowed by Henry on his
companions in arms at Agincourt, and the measures which he adopted to
preserve their names from oblivion. With this view he doubtless caused
a roll to be made recording their names; though only a transcript of
one part has been yet discovered among the archives. We may hope that
not many years will elapse before numbers of those most interesting
documents which now lie buried in heaps of confusion will be brought
to light. Henry selected to fill every vacancy in the order of the
Garter, (not bestowed on sovereign princes,) the peers and
distinguished commanders who fought with him at Agincourt; and when he
restricted the use of coats of arms in a subsequent expedition to
those who could prove their right to them, he excepts those only who
bore arms with him at Agincourt. To commemorate this victory with more
especial honour, he created a King-at-arms, called "Agincourt."    (p. 193)

                   [Footnote 145: See "Battle of Agincourt."]

Our reformed views of Christian truth must not make us undervalue the
testimony borne to Henry's gratitude towards his companions in arms,
though they were removed by death from all earthly favours and
rewards. He did for them what he could; and though we believe him to
have been performing a vain office, and profitless to those whom it
was intended to benefit, in the prevailing superstition of those days
we see traces of the kindness and grateful spirit of the hero.[146]

                   [Footnote 146: Various entries occur in the Pell
                   Rolls of money paid for masses for the souls of
                   those who fell in these wars. Among the rest are
                   specified (26th September 1418) Lord Grey of Codnor
                   and Sir John Blount. Two thousand masses were
                   ordered for the souls of Lord Talbot and another.
                   See extracts in English, translated lately, from
                   the Pell Rolls, by Mr. F. Devon. This work, whilst
                   it acquaints the student with the sort of
                   information and evidence which the Pell Rolls may
                   supply, will in other respects assist him in his
                   inquiries; for many valuable and interesting facts
                   are presented to him in the volume: but, to
                   ascertain what those documents really do contain,
                   it is necessary (as in all other cases) to apply at
                   the fountain-head.]

Many of the French princes taken at Agincourt remained prisoners in
England for many years. The Duke of Bourbon died in confinement. The
Duke of Orleans was not released for five-and-twenty years. Whilst a
captive in the Tower of London, he had recourse to the solace of
literature; and composed many pieces of poetry, still preserved in the
British Museum, which indicate genius and cultivated taste.        (p. 194)

       *       *       *       *       *

How highly the people of England valued this victory is seen in very
many particulars. The superstition of those times was also made to
contribute to its celebrity. The victory of Agincourt was gained on
the feast of the Translation of St. John of Beverley, and was ascribed
to his merits. His festival had before been kept on the 7th of May;
but now it was ordained to be celebrated for ever on the 25th of
October. But that was the feast of Crispin and Crispianus; and so the
authorities of the church decreed that all three saints should share
in the offices of that day.[147]

                   [Footnote 147: Foed. viii. 236.]

The Archbishop declares that this ecclesiastical constitution was made
in full convocation by the will, counsel, and consent of all his
brothers, and also at the special instance of their most Christian

The document abounds to the overflow with the gross superstition of
the age. It is only by recalling what that degrading superstition was,
that we can estimate at their proper value the blessings of the
Reformation. Of the genuineness of this document there can be no
doubt. It was addressed by Henry Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury,
to the Vicar of the Bishop of London, who was then at the council of
Constance; and its preamble at least deserves a place here.

     "Henry, by divine permission, Archbishop of Canterbury,       (p. 195)
     Primate of all England, and Legate of the Apostolic see, to our
     beloved son the spiritual Vicar-general of our venerable brother
     R. by the grace of God, Bishop of London, now in foreign parts.
     The holy honour of the English church (whose praise and fame, in
     devoted veneration of God and his saints, the whole world extols
     above the churches of other regions and provinces,) requires that
     the same church shall more abound with the praises of those, and
     more exultingly rejoice in glad devotion to them, by whose
     patronage and grace of miracles she rejoices to flourish; and by
     whose pious intercession the state, not only of the church, but
     of the whole realm, together with the inward sweetness of peace
     and quiet, and with victory gained over foreign enemies, is
     defended by just rulers.

     "The grace of this help, though God to the same church, and to
     the inhabitants of the realm of England, hath often decreed to
     show by the merits of divers saints, (with whom she shines
     gloriously on every side,) yet in these last days He has
     evidently deigned more miraculously and more especially to
     console the aforesaid church, together with the aforesaid nobles,
     inhabitants, and all members of the kingdom, by the especial
     suffrage of her (almifici) gracious confessor and bishop, the
     most blessed John of Beverley, as we verily believe!

     "Oh! ineffable consolation, especially in our times, in every age
     pleasant, and ever to be called to mind; namely, the victory of
     our most Christian Prince, King Henry V. of England, and of his
     army, in the battle of Agincourt, lately fought in the parts of
     Picardy; which on the Feast of the Translation of the said Saint,
     to the honour of the divine name, and to the honour of the realm
     of England, from the boundless mercy of God, was granted to the

     "On which Feast of his Translation, whilst the struggle between
     our countrymen and the French was being carried on, as to the
     hearing of us and our brethren in our last convocation,       (p. 196)
     abundantly and especially, the true report of the inhabitants of
     that country brought the tidings, that from his tomb sacred oil
     flowed, drops falling as of sweat, indicative of the divine mercy
     towards his people, doubtless obtained by the merits of that most
     holy man.

     "Wishing, therefore, in our province to spread an increase of
     divine worship, and especially to extol further the praise of so
     great a patron, with the wills, counsel, and assent of our
     brethren and the clergy in the said convocation, and no less at
     the special instance of the said most Christian Prince, we have
     determined that the memory of that most holy confessor everywhere
     throughout our province should be exalted with feelings of
     prayers and devotions [votivis et devotis affectibus]."

       *       *       *       *       *

Then follows the decree above mentioned.

This mass of extravagant folly and blind superstition, this presumptuous
sharing of God's omnipotence and sovereign might with the power of such
poor erring fellow-mortals as the corrupt ministers of a corrupt church
had presumptuously ranked among the inhabitants of heaven,--thus daring
to forestal the judgment of Christ at the last day, and to pronounce on
the glory of a man whose spiritual state Omniscience alone can know,--it
is impossible to contemplate without feelings of gratitude that Heaven's
mercy has released us from such perverted use of the Gospel of the
Saviour; nor without a prayer that the Spirit of light and truth would
guide those of our fellow-creatures who are still walking in the same
land of darkness and error, into the clear light of Christian truth.

The Author, to whom the following "Song of Agincourt" has been     (p. 197)
familiar from his childhood, cannot refrain from inserting it here.
This is that ancient, and, as it is believed, contemporary ballad,
which has preserved to our times that golden stanza which appears in
the title page of these volumes; and every word of which reflects the
character of Henry as a hero and a merciful man. The quotation, also,
from Burnet's History of Music, and the contemporary song to which he
refers, will, it is presumed, be generally acceptable.


  As our King lay on his bed,
    All musing at the hour of prime,[148]
  He bethought him of the King of France,
    And tribute due for so long a time.

  He called unto him his lovely page,
    His lovely page then called he;
  Saying, You must go to the King in France,
    To the King in France right speedily.

  Tell him to send me my tribute home,
    Ten ton of gold that is due to me;
  Unless he send me my tribute home,
    Soon in French land I will him see.

  Away then goes this lovely page                                  (p. 198)
    As fast, as fast as he could hie;
  And, when he came to the King in France,
    He fell all down on his bended knee.

  My master greets you, sir, and says,
    Ten ton of gold is due to me;
  Unless you send me my tribute home,
    You in French land soon shall see me.

  Your master is young, and of tender age,
    Not fit to come into my degree;
  I'll send him home some tennis-balls
    That with them he may learn for to play.

  Away then goes this lovely page,
    As fast, as fast as he could hie;
  And, when he came to our gracious King,
    He fell all down on his bended knee.

  What news, what news, my trusty page?
    What news, what news dost thou bring to me?
  I bring such news from the King of France,
    That you and he can never agree.

  He says you are young, and of tender age,
    Not fit to come up to his degree;
  He has sent you home some tennis-balls,
    That with them you may learn for to play.

  Oh! then bespoke our noble King,
    A solemn vow then vowed he;
  I'll promise him such English balls
    As in French land he ne'er did see.

  Go! call up Cheshire and Lancashire,                             (p. 199)
    And Derby hills that are so free;

  They called up Cheshire and Lancashire,
    And Derby hills that are so free;
  But neither married man nor widow's son,
    Yet they had a right good company.

  He called unto him his merry men all,
    And numbered them by three and three,
  Until their number it did amount
    To thirty thousand stout men and three.

  Away then marched they into French land,
    With drums and fifes so merrily;
  Then out and spoke the King of France,
    Lo! here comes proud King Henrie!

  The first that fired, it was the French,
    They killed our Englishmen so free;
  But we killed ten thousand of the French,
    And the rest of them they did run away.

  Then marched they on to Paris gates,
    With drums and fifes so merrily;
  Oh! then bespoke the King of France,
    The Lord have mercy on my men and me!

  Oh! I will send him his tribute home,
    Ten ton of gold that is due from me;
  And the very best flower that is in all France
    To the rose of England will I give free.

                   [Footnote 148: The second line of this song is
                   variously read. Probably the original words are
                   lost. The reading in the text is conjectural.]

"At the coronation of Henry V," observes Dr. Burney, "in 1413,     (p. 200)
we hear of _no other instruments than harps_;[149] but one of that
prince's historians[150] tells us that their number in the hall was
prodigious. Henry, however, though a successful hero and a conqueror,
did not seem to take the advantage of his claim to praise; and either
was so modest or so tasteless as to discourage and even prohibit the
poets and musicians from celebrating his victories and singing his
valiant deeds. When he entered the city of London, after the battle of
Agincourt, the gates and streets were hung with tapestry, representing
the history of ancient heroes; and children were placed in temporary
turrets to sing verses. But Henry, disgusted at these vanities,
commanded, by a formal edict, that for the future no songs should be
recited by harpers, or others, in honour of the recent victory.
'_Cantus de suo triumpho fieri, seu per citharistas, vel alios
quoscunque, cantari, penitus prohibebat._'

                   [Footnote 149: Dr. Burney has here fallen into a
                   most extraordinary mistake. In the very page to
                   which he refers, Elmham, in his turgid manner,
                   assures us that at Henry's coronation the
                   tumultuous clang of so many trumpets made the
                   heavens resound with the roar of thunder. He then
                   describes the sweet strings of the harps soothing
                   the souls of the guests by their soft melody; and
                   the united music of other instruments also, by
                   their dulcet sounds, in which no discord
                   interrupted the harmony, inviting the royal
                   banqueters to full enjoyment of the festival.]

                   [Footnote 150: Thomas de Elmham, Vit. et Gest. Hen.
                   V. edit. Hearne, Oxon. 1727, cap. xii. p. 23.]

"It is somewhat extraordinary that, in spite of Henry's edicts and
prohibitions, _the only English song of so early a date, that has come
to my knowledge, of which the original music has been preserved_, is
one that was written on his victory at Agincourt in 1415. It is
preserved in the Pepysian Collection, at Magdalen College,

                   [Footnote 151: Burney's History of Music, vol. ii.
                   p. 382.]

After some observations upon the general ignorance of the          (p. 201)
transcribers of ancient music, Dr. Burney proceeds to say, "that the
copy in the Pepysian Collection is written upon vellum in Gregorian
notes, and can be little less ancient than the event which it
recorded;" and that there is with it a paper which shows that an
attempt was made in the last century (17th) to give it a modern dress,
but that too many liberties had been taken with the melody, and the
drone bass, which had been set to it for the lute, is a mere jargon.
He then presents what he says is a faithful copy of this venerable
relic of our nation's prowess and glory.

  Owre Kynge went forth to Normandy,
  With grace, and myght of chyvalry;
  The God for hym wrought marv'lusly,
  Wherefore Englonde may calle and cry,


    Deo gratias, Anglia!
    Redde pro Victoria!

  He sette a sege, the sothe to say,
  To Harflue town, with royal array;
  That toune he wan, and made a fray
  That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domes-day.
          Deo gratias! &c.

  Than, for sothe, that Knyght comely
  In Agincourt feld faught manly;
  Thorow grace of God, most myghty,
  He hath bothe felde and victory.
          Deo gratias! &c.

  Then went owre Kynge, with all his oste,                         (p. 202)
  Thorowe Fraunce, for all the Frenshe boste;
  He spared[152] for drede of leste ne most,
  Till he come to Agincourt coste.
           Deo gratias! &c.

  Ther Dukys and Earlys, Lorde and Barone,
  Were take and slayne, and that wel sone;
  And some were ledde into Lundone;
  With joye, and merth, and grete renone,
          Deo gratias! &c.

  Now gracious God he save owre Kynge,
  His peple, and all his well wyllinge;
  Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge,
  That we with merth may safely synge,
  Deo gratias, Anglia! redde pro Victoria!

                   [Footnote 152: For dread neither of least nor of

CHAPTER XXIV.                                                      (p. 203)



It has been made a subject of observation, and of conjecture as to its
cause, that Henry did not take advantage of the next spring to
prosecute his claims in France. Some[153] would have us suspect that
it was "to show that personal honour had been his leading object, that
he remained at home nearly two years afterwards without any military
movement." But a much more intelligible and palpable cause         (p. 204)
offers itself to the mind on the slightest reflection upon the
circumstances in which he was placed.[154] He had not the means ready
for invading France. His forces were diminished by a number of men
appallingly great, in proportion to the body with which he had landed
at Harfleur; and his treasury was exhausted. For his first expedition
he had borrowed the utmost which his subjects and friends either would
or could supply; and the grants made to him by his parliament had been
anticipated even to carry on the former campaign. That it was his
intention, however, when he left France after the victory of
Agincourt, to return to that country in the following spring, seems
clear from the circumstance that, on dismissing his less illustrious
prisoners at Calais, he bound them on their words to bring their
ransoms to him on the field of Lendi, at the feast of St. John in the
summer; with this voluntary proviso, that, if they did not find him
there, they should be free from all obligation to him.

                   [Footnote 153: Mr. Turner.]

                   [Footnote 154: Another view might be taken of the
                   cause of this delay on the part of Henry. Perhaps
                   he was acting prudently by allowing time for his
                   enemies to weaken each other, and to exhaust their
                   resources by the insatiable demands of civil
                   warfare. Meanwhile, he was not himself idle.]

In the mean time, a most influential mediator between the two kingdoms
appeared, the intervention of whom would, even under other
circumstances, have rendered delay imperative. Sigismund, Emperor  (p. 205)
of Germany, first visited the King of France in his capital, and
then extended his journey to England, with a view of bringing about a
peace, though all his efforts proved unavailing.

On his approach towards England, the utmost pains seem to have been
taken to make his reception worthy of his high dignity and of the
English people. The orders of council are very minute and
interesting;[155] and the arrival of Sigismund seems to have occupied
the time and thoughts of the whole nation. The Earl of Warwick was
then Captain of Calais, whose character for gallantry and courteous
bearing was so distinguished on this, as on all other occasions, that
he was called the Father of courtesy. The Emperor and his retinue of
one thousand persons, among whom were many German and Italian princes
and nobles, embarked at Calais in thirty of the King's ships, and
arrived at Dover on the 29th of April 1416. Here the Duke of       (p. 206)
Gloucester, Constable of Dover, with many noblemen, met him; and gave
him precisely that sort of reception which we should have expected
from English gentlemen under the immediate direction of Henry. As the
Emperor was ready to set his foot on land, they stepped into the water
with their drawn swords, and told him with mingled firmness and
courtesy, "that, if he came as a mediator of peace, they would receive
him with all the honours due to the imperial dignity; but if as
Emperor he challenged any sovereign power, they must tell him that the
English nation was a free people, and their King had dependence on no
monarch on earth; and they were resolved, in defence of the liberty of
the people, and the rights of their King, to oppose his landing on
their shores." The answer of the Emperor set them at ease on this
point, and he was received with every mark of respect and honour;
among other testimonies of Henry's feelings towards him, was his
installation of him as a Knight of the Garter at Windsor.[156]

                   [Footnote 155: Lord Talbot was to be associated
                   with the Captain of Calais to receive the Emperor
                   in that city. At Dover, the Duke of Gloucester,
                   with the Lords Salisbury, Furnival, and Haryngton,
                   were to welcome him to the English shores; at
                   Rochester, the Constable and Marshal of England,
                   the Earl of Oxford, and others; at Dartford, the
                   Duke of Clarence, with the Earls of March and
                   Huntingdon, Lord Grey of Ruthing, Lord Abergavenny,
                   and others, were to meet him. At Blackheath, the
                   Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and good people of London
                   were to await his arrival; whilst Henry himself was
                   to receive Sigismund between Deptford and
                   Southwark, at a place called St. Thomas
                   Watering.--"Privy Council," April 1416, Pour la
                   venue de l'Empereur.]

                   [Footnote 156: The Archbishop of Canterbury
                   commanded all his suffragans to take especial care
                   that prayers be offered in all congregations for
                   the good estate of Sigismund.--Rymer's Foed.

It is impossible not to contrast the conduct of our countrymen on this
occasion and the behaviour of Sigismund, with his conduct in France,
and the readiness with which that conduct, however humiliating, was
submitted to. Sigismund was received with much ceremony and        (p. 207)
magnificence at Paris; but, before he left it, he had surprised and
disgusted the King by exercising an act of sovereignty in the very
house of parliament. By courtesy he was seated on the chair usually
occupied by the King himself. A trial was proceeding, the result of
which seemed to turn on the knighthood of one of the litigants. The
Emperor called for a sword, and knighted the individual forthwith.

Whilst Sigismund was anxiously engaged in endeavouring to bring the
two nations to terms of peace, news arrived of an event which must
have made his efforts and mediation appear hopeless. The French had
fallen upon part of the garrison of Harfleur, and cut off a
considerable body of them. Not long after this, and whilst
negociations were pending between London and Paris, with a more
favourable appearance of a successful issue, tidings came that the
French fleet had scoured the Channel, had blockaded Southampton, and
had made various attempts on the Isle of Wight; that the Constable,
D'Armagnac, had recalled them, and they were then besieging Harfleur.
Henry and his council resolved on making an immediate and vigorous
effort to destroy that fleet; and forthwith an armament was prepared,
of which Henry expressed his determination to take the command
himself. At the urgent request, however, of the Emperor, he desisted
from that resolution, and gave the supreme command to his brother the
Duke of Bedford; who, after a most obstinate battle, gained a      (p. 208)
decided victory over the enemy, and relieved Harfleur.[157]

                   [Footnote 157: Henry was at Smalhithe in Kent
                   (August 22), superintending the building of some
                   ships, when news of this success reached him. He
                   hastened to join the Emperor, who was at
                   Canterbury, and both went to the cathedral together
                   to return thanks for the victory. This happened a
                   week subsequently to their signing of the league of
                   amity mentioned below.]

The Emperor was soon convinced that his mediation must fail, and that
France was resolved to renew the war. He then determined not to remain
neutral, but to join himself by a solemn league with Henry. The
preamble of this covenant is deeply interesting, as indicative, at
least, of the professed sentiments of Sigismund with regard to the
pretensions of Henry, and to the conduct and character of the two
belligerent kings. Sigismund declared the object of his desire to have
been the restoration of peace to the church and to Christendom; and,
with that end in view, he had endeavoured to reconcile the Kings of
England and France, but without success. The failure he ascribed
entirely to the hatred of peace which influenced the French King, to
whom he attributed also the prevalence of schism in the church, and
the disturbed state of the Christian world. He then expresses his
resolution "to form a league with Henry in the name of the Lord God of
Hosts, and to assist him in the recovery of his JUST RIGHTS."[158]
This league was signed August 15, 1416. The Emperor, shortly after (p. 209)
this unlooked-for termination of his office as mediator, left England.
Before he had proceeded onwards from Calais, Henry himself arrived at
that town. After some days, the Duke of Burgundy also joined them; and
much time was spent in secret negociations, the nature of which did
not transpire, though we may suppose both the Emperor and King were
anxious to make him a party to the league already concluded between
themselves. A covenant, however, was signed by the Duke early in
October, in which he declared that, "though he had taken part with the
enemies of Henry in time past, yet now, _being assured of his lawful
claim_, he would employ his arms in his service as the rightful King
of France."

                   [Footnote 158: Rymer, H. V. An. iv.]

The Emperor left Calais for Germany; and Henry, having concluded a
truce with France till the 2nd of February, returned to England, and
met his parliament on October 19th. Much zeal was here shown in his
behalf; and whilst the parliament granted two whole tenths and two
whole fifteenths, to be levied on the laity, the clergy gave two
tenths, to be paid by their own body. But all this was not enough;
recourse was again had to borrowing, the Dukes of Clarence, Bedford,
and Gloucester pledging themselves, in case of Henry's death, to the
repayment of the loans. Henry pawned a valuable crown to his uncle,
the Bishop of Winchester, for money to a great amount; and he pledged
very valuable jewels to the Mayor of London for another large      (p. 210)
sum. No measure was left untried, that Henry might be prepared by the
ensuing spring with men and money for the invasion of France.[159] In
the meanwhile, the French princes and nobles who had been taken
prisoners at Agincourt were anxiously negociating for their release.
In a communication of strict confidence to the Emperor, Henry declares
that all their proceedings were suspicious, and selfish, and
deceitful; that he had suffered the Duke of Bourbon to return to   (p. 211)
France on certain conditions, but that the Emperor might be assured
of his resolution to invade that country.

                   [Footnote 159: The various expedients to which both
                   Henry and his father were driven to raise supplies
                   in any way commensurate with their wants, have
                   repeatedly reminded the Author of the similar means
                   to which their unhappy successor Charles, in his
                   days of far more urgent need and necessity, had
                   recourse. The reader may perhaps be interested by
                   the following document. It is a copy of the letter
                   in which Charles applies to the Provost and Fellows
                   of Oriel College for a loan of their plate. The
                   King's letter is dated January 6th, 1642; and the
                   society, assembled in the chapel on the 8th, vote
                   unanimously to put their silver and gilt vessels at
                   the disposal of their sovereign, scarcely retaining
                   one single piece of plate. (Allocata sunt ad usum
                   serenissimi vasa argentea et deaurata pæne ad unum
                   omnia.) The one retained is said to have been the
                   chalice for the holy communion.

                   (Extracted from the Register of Oriel College.)

                         "To our trusty and well-beloved the Provost
                         and Fellowes of Oriel Colledge, in our
                         University of Oxon: Charles R.

                         "Trusty and well-beloved, wee greete you
                         well. Wee are so well satisfied with your
                         readiness and affection to our service, that
                         wee cannot doubt but you will take all
                         occasions to expresse the same; and as wee
                         are ready to sell or engage any of our land,
                         so have wee melted downe our plate for the
                         paiment of our army, raised for our defence,
                         and the preservation of our kingdome. And
                         having received severall quantityes of plate
                         from divers of our loving subjects, we have
                         removed our mint hither to our citty of
                         Oxford, for the coyning thereof.

                         "And we do hereby desire you that you will
                         lend unto us all such plate, of what kind
                         soever, which belongs to your colledge;
                         promising you to see the same iustly repaid
                         unto you after the rate of 5 _s._ the ounce
                         for white, and 5 _s._ 6 _d._ for guilt plate,
                         as soon as God shall enable us: for assure
                         yourselves wee shall never let persons of
                         whom wee have so great a care suffer for
                         their affection to us, but shall take
                         speciall order for the repaiment of what you
                         have already lent us, according to our
                         promise, and also of this you now lend in
                         plate; well knowing it to bee the goods of
                         youre colledge that you ought not to alien,
                         though no man will doubt but in such a case
                         you may lawfully lend to assist youre King in
                         such visible necessity. And wee have
                         entrusted our trusty and well-beloved Sir
                         William Parkhurst, Knt. and Thomas Bushee,
                         Esq. officers of our mint, or either of them,
                         to receive the said plate from you; who,
                         uppon weighing thereof, shall give you a
                         receipt under theire or one of their hands
                         for the same.

                         "And wee assure our selfe of your willingness
                         to gratify us herein; since, beside the more
                         publiche considerations, you cannot but know
                         how much your selves are concerned in our
                         sufferings. And wee shall ever remember this
                         particular service to your advantage.

                          "Given at our Court at Oxford, the 6 day of
                         January 1642."]

Henry's exertions were effectual; and, soon after midsummer, he found
himself prepared with men and money to renew his expedition to
Normandy in a fleet of fifteen hundred sail, and with an army of not
less than twenty-five thousand soldiers. Before he embarked,       (p. 212)
however, he commissioned Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, whose father had
been beheaded at Cirencester in the reign of Henry IV, with a squadron
to scour the seas, and secure a free passage for the transports. The
Earl was successful in a most hard-fought battle with a fleet of
Genoese large ships, sent by their republic[160] to aid the French
King; and on July 23rd 1417, Henry set sail for the coast of
France.[161] A large body of French on the shore threatened to oppose
him; but he landed his forces safely, on the 1st of August, at
Beville. As soon as his people were all safe on shore, by an act
characteristic of himself, he adopted the same measure which, on his
former expedition, had compelled him to make his way to Calais by
land. He dismissed all his ships homeward, excepting what were
required for transporting cannon; thus assuring his soldiers that they
must conquer or die, for they had no retreat.

                   [Footnote 160: In the letter from Constance, dated
                   the preceding February, Henry was informed that the
                   French had sent a large sum to Genoa to wage [hire]
                   ships to fight with England.]

                   [Footnote 161: The Muster Roll of this expedition
                   is preserved in the Chapter-house, Westminster, and
                   is pronounced to be one of the most interesting
                   records of military history now extant.--See
                   Preface to the Norman Rolls, by T.D. Hardy, Esq.]

Henry found the country altogether deserted, the inhabitants having
fled from their homes in every direction on receiving the alarming
tidings of his approach. It is said that twenty-five thousand families
fled into Brittany; and so complete was the evacuation in some     (p. 213)
districts, that there reigned through the country the stillness
of death. In Lisieux, a considerable town eighteen miles from the sea,
the English found but one old man and one woman. The people had
secured themselves, to the utmost of their means, in fortified towns,
all of which had been supplied with strong garrisons on the first news
of the intended invasion.

Henry systematically caused the most strict discipline to be observed
in his army, of which many proofs are recorded. Among other instances
we read that when a monk complained of having been robbed by a
soldier, he was desired to fix upon the guilty man. On discovering the
culprit, the King upbraided him with his baseness, and pronounced him
worthy of death; but, on making restitution, and promising never again
to be guilty of the offence, he pardoned him. "And you, friend," said
he, turning to the monk, "go back to your brethren in peace, and
attend all of you to your sacred duties without fear of me or my army.
I am not come hither as a thief to rob your churches and altars, but
as a just and merciful King to protect you from violence." Henry then
proclaimed through the army that no one should injure an ecclesiastic
on pain of death.[162] It was amusing, we are told, to see how the
numbers of the regular clergy were suddenly swollen; rustics       (p. 214)
shaving their heads, and putting on the dress of a monk, to be safe
under the terms of that protection.

                   [Footnote 162: A long list of the clergy, and of
                   the churches then taken by Henry under his
                   protection, is preserved in the Norman
                   Rolls.--Hardy's edition, p. 331.]

During this campaign Henry sent repeated bulletins of his proceedings
and successes to the mayor and aldermen of London, many of the
originals of which are still in existence; and which combine, with the
answers to them, in bearing evidence to the popularity of Henry's
person, and of the cause in which he was embarked. Some of these
documents are exceedingly interesting; but it would be needless to
transfer them all into these pages.[163] It is to be lamented that
such indisputable records are not all published, or rendered
accessible to every one who would wish to consult them. The
interspersion of a few in this part of the volume may enable the
reader to verify in more points than one the views which are here
offered of Henry's character and the feeling of the people of England
at this period. The first is a letter from Henry himself, dated August
9, 1417, at Touque, the very day of the surrender of that place, and
only a week after he landed.

                   [Footnote 163: These letters did not come within
                   the Author's knowledge before he had written these
                   brief memoirs of the last years of Henry. It is
                   very satisfactory to find them all confirmatory of
                   his previous views. He has taken especial care to
                   make every, the slightest, correction in his
                   narrative, suggested by authorities from which
                   there is no appeal.]

     "Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you oftentimes well; doing (p. 215)
     [giving] you to understand for your comfort, that, by the grace
     of God, we be safely arrived into our land of Normandy, with all
     our subjects ordained to go with us for the first passage. And
     this day, the even of St. Lawrence, about mid-day, was yolden
     [yielded] unto us the castle of Touque, about the which our
     well-beloved cousin, the Earl of Huntingdon, lay; and the keys
     of the said castle delivered unto us without the shedding of
     Christian blood, or defence made by our enemies:--the which castle
     is an honour, and all the viscounty and lordships of Ange hold
     thereof, as we have been informed of such men as were therein.
     Whereof we thank God lowly, that hym lust [he is pleased] of high
     grace to show unto us so fair beginning in our present voyage;
     desiring also that ye thank God thereof in the most best wise that
     ye can, and that ye send us from time to time such tidings be
     komerys be thwene [by comers between], as ye have in that side the
     sea. Given under our signet, at our said Castle of Touque, the 9th
     day of August.
        "To the Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen,
        and good people of our City of
        London."--Endorsed in French.

But though Henry speaks thus encouragingly of his present campaign, he
had soon much to make him anxious, and to rouse all the energies of
his mind. Among other sources of solicitude was the growing evil of
desertion. Many of his soldiers grew tired of the war, and,
dishonourably leaving his camp, stole back to their native country. Of
the prevalence of this mischief we have too clear proof in the
following writ, a copy of which was despatched to all the sheriffs of
England. It is found among the Norman Rolls, and is one of the     (p. 216)
few specimens with which Mr. Hardy has enriched the interesting
introduction to his edition of those valuable documents.[164]

                   [Footnote 164: Norman Rolls, preserved in the
                   Tower, edited by T.D. Hardy, Esq.]

     "The King to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, greeting.
     Whereas we have received certain information and undoubted
     evidence that divers of our lieges who lately came with us to our
     kingdom of France, there as we hoped stoutly to oppose and resist
     the pride and malice of our enemies, have deserted us in the
     midst of these our enemies, and without our licence have in great
     multitudes falsely and traitorously withdrawn and returned to our
     kingdom of England, and are still daily withdrawing and
     returning; which, if suffered to continue, would manifestly turn,
     not only to the continual prejudice of us, but to the serious
     injury and peril of our faithful lieges accompanying us (which
     God avert!) We, desirous, as we are bound, to provide and ordain
     a fitting remedy in this matter, do command and strictly enjoin
     you to arrest and take into custody without delay all and each of
     those whom by inquiry, information, or other means whatsoever,
     you shall discover to have been with us in our said kingdom of
     France, in our company, or in that of others, and who have
     withdrawn themselves thence without our licence under our signet,
     or that of the Constable of our army, and to deliver them as soon
     as taken to our very dear brother, John Duke of Bedford, Guardian
     of England. And, upon the fealty and allegiance wherein ye are
     bound to us, let this by no means be neglected. Witness the King,
     at his castle of Caen, in his duchy of Normandy, the 29th day of
     September.--By the King himself."

The most important siege in this campaign was that of Caen;[165]   (p. 217)
at the taking of which, after a tremendous conflict and loss of life,
Henry behaved towards the vanquished with so much mercy and kindness,
that the governors of many neighbouring towns sent to him the keys of
their gates.

                   [Footnote 165: Henry's own letter to the Mayor and
                   Aldermen of London (Liber F. fol. 200), written on
                   the 5th of September, the day after the surrender
                   of Caen, represents the loss on the part of the
                   English to have been very trifling. "On St.
                   Cuthbert's day, God, of his high grace, sent unto
                   our hands our town of Caen by assault, and with
                   right little death of our people, whereof we thank
                   our Saviour as lowly as we can; praying that ye do
                   the same, and as devoutly as ye can. Certifying you
                   also that we and our host be in good prosperity and
                   health, thanked be God of his mercy! who have you
                   in his holy keeping."]

So great was his success that the French court sent commissioners to
him to negociate for peace, but the treaty resulted in no favourable
issue; and Henry went on in his career of victory through the very
depth of winter; and became master of Bayeux, Argentan, Alençon, and
other places. He was engaged, however, in the siege of Falaise through
the whole of December, the town not surrendering till the 2nd of

It was at this time that the capture and execution of Lord Cobham took
place in England; of which we have written fully in a separate
dissertation at the close of this volume. Henry, however, probably
knew nothing of that unfortunate man's capture till he heard of his

Early in the preceding autumn [1417] an alarm spread through       (p. 218)
England in consequence of the hostile demonstration of the Scots.
There seems to be some doubt as to the extent of their movements.
Buchanan represents the whole affair as one of very little moment,
scarcely more than a border foray; but the English chroniclers lead us
to believe that it was a formidable invasion. It is said that the
Lollards were the instigators; though it is more probable that the
invitation was sent to Scotland from France, and especially through
the Duke of Orleans, then a prisoner in Pontefract, whose liberty was
consequently much straitened, as we find by an original letter of
Henry himself.[166]

                   [Footnote 166: This letter of the King's is only a
                   fragment, without date: who were the persons
                   addressed does not appear; probably he wrote it to
                   his council in 1417 or 1418. Sir Henry Ellis opens
                   his second series of Original Letters with this of
                   Henry V. It is found in MS. Cotton. Vesp. F. iii.
                   fol. 5.]

     "Furthermore, I would that ye commune with my brother, with the
     Chancellor, with my cousin of Northumberland, and my cousin of
     Westmorland; and that ye set a good ordinance for my north
     marches, and specially for the Duke of Orleans and for all the
     remnant of my prisoners of France, and also for the K. of
     Scotland. For as I am secretly informed by a man of right notable
     estate in this land, that there hath been a man of the Duke of
     Orleans in Scotland, and accorded with the Duke of Albany that
     this next summer he shall bring the mammet[167] of Scotland to
     stir what he may; and also that there should be found         (p. 219)
     ways to the having away specially of the Duke of Orleans, and
     also of the K. as well as of the remnant of my said prisoners,
     that God do defend! [which God forbid!] Wherefore I will that the
     Duke of Orleans be kept still within the castle of Pomfret,
     without going to Robertis Place, or to any other disport; for it
     is better he lack his disport than we be deceived."

                   [Footnote 167: Probably the mammet, or mawmet,
                   [puppet,] (a corruption, they say, of Mahomet,) of
                   Scotland, was the pretended Richard, the deposed
                   King, whom even now many believed to be still alive

The Scots on one side laid siege to Berwick, from which they were
driven by the Earl of Northumberland, Hotspur's son; the other part of
the Scotch army directed their attack on Roxborough, where they were
routed by the united forces of the Dukes of Exeter[168] and
Bedford,[169] and the Archbishop of York. That military prelate,
unable, from the weakness of age, to ride, yet caused himself to be
carried to the field, that surrounded by his clergy he might encourage
his people to defend their native land.

                   [Footnote 168: The Duke of Exeter was then governor
                   of Harfleur, but was in England recruiting soldiers
                   to reinforce the King's army in Normandy.]

                   [Footnote 169: It is curious to observe, that the
                   Duke of Bedford is reported to have been engaged at
                   his devotions at Bridlington in Yorkshire; and
                   that, on hearing of the invasion, he threw away his
                   beads, and marched with all the forces he could
                   muster to meet the Scots. John of Bridlington seems
                   to have been in an especial manner the patron saint
                   of Henry IV.'s family.]

After these successful military proceedings in the north of the
kingdom, parliament met on Nov. 16. They prayed for speedy judgment on
rioters and malefactors; presented a petition on the subject of Sir
John Oldcastle; supplicated for a reward to the Lord Powys, who    (p. 220)
was instrumental in seizing him; and then they voted the King a
subsidy of a tenth and a fifteenth. The clergy also in convocation
granted two tenths. In this convocation an attempt was made to
encourage learning by promoting to benefices such as had laboured long
and diligently in the Universities. This proposition was rejected in
Oxford at that time; but it received the cordial promotion and
assistance of the University in July 1421. On the latter occasion,
however, the measure, opposed as it was most vigorously by the monks,
would probably again have miscarried, had not Henry himself, "who
favoured arts and loved learned men," interposed his own authority in
its favour.

CHAPTER XXV.                                                       (p. 221)



Henry[170] meanwhile was making rapid progress in subduing Normandy;
and to induce the inhabitants to return to their homes, which they had
abandoned, he issued a proclamation promising protection and favour to
all who would acknowledge his sovereignty. He also pledged himself to
relieve his subjects from all injustice and oppression.

                   [Footnote 170: On the 12th of February 1418, an
                   order is issued to press horses, carts, and other
                   means of conveyance, to carry the jewels,
                   ornaments, and other furniture of the King's chapel
                   to Southampton.]

Whilst he was lying before the town of Louviers, the Cardinal      (p. 222)
des Ursins arrived in his camp with letters from the Pope, urging
Henry to make peace; the Cardinal of St. Mark having been sent to the
French King for the same purpose.

These offers of mediation were unavailing; and Henry, encouraged by
the distracted state of France, resolved to push his conquests to the
utmost; and, after some severe skirmishing at Pont de Larche,[171] he
proceeded to lay siege to Rouen. Did the plan of these Memoirs admit
of a fuller inquiry into the affairs of France, we might here      (p. 223)
with benefit review the proceedings of the different parties in that
country since the field of Agincourt. The result of such a review
would probably be the conviction that the divisions by which that
country was distracted not only facilitated Henry's conquests, but
alone admitted of them. His victories, even if they had ever been won,
would scarcely have followed each other so rapidly, had the King of
France, the Dauphin, and the Duke of Burgundy opposed him with united

                   [Footnote 171: Henry's own words, in a letter, 21
                   July 1418, sent from Pont de Larche to the Mayor of
                   London, are: "Since our last departing from Caen,
                   we came before our town of Louviers, and won it by
                   siege; to which place came to us the Cardinal of
                   Ursin from our holy father the Pope, for to treat
                   for the good of peace betwixt both realms, and is
                   gone again to Paris to diligence there in this same
                   matter; but what end it shall draw to we wot not as
                   yet." In this letter he informs us that the attack
                   on Pont de Larche was on the 4th of July; and that,
                   though the enemy had "assembled in great power to
                   resist us, yet God of his mercy showed so for us
                   and for our right, that it was withouten the death
                   of any man's person of ours." He adds that he had
                   just heard of the decidedly hostile intentions of
                   the Duke of Burgundy towards him; so "we hold him
                   our full enemy. He is now at Paris." The King then
                   tells them that he needs not to refer to the death
                   of the Earl of Armagnac, and the slaughter that
                   hath been at Paris; for he was assured that they
                   had full knowledge thereof. He alludes to the
                   massacre of the Armagnac faction by the partisans
                   of the Duke of Burgundy, June 12, 1418. Two
                   thousand persons were murdered in a very brief
                   space of time. The mob dragged the bodies of the
                   Constable and Chancellor through the streets (as
                   Monstrelet tells us) for two or three days.]

The citizens of Rouen, which was well garrisoned, and had an ample
store of provisions, had declared themselves for the Duke of Burgundy;
but now, in their alarm, they supplicate aid from the Dauphin against
the common enemy. His answer was, that he was compelled to employ his
troops in defending his own towns against the Duke of Burgundy.[172]

                   [Footnote 172: Henry's army had received various
                   reinforcements. One accession is recorded by an
                   item in the Pell Rolls, of rather an interesting
                   character, showing that both the Irish and the
                   ecclesiastics of Ireland gave him good and
                   acceptable proof of the interest they took in his
                   success. It is the payment of 19_l._ 17_s._ on the
                   1st of July 1418, "to masters and mariners of
                   Bristol for embarking the Prior of Kilmaynham with
                   two hundred horsemen and three hundred
                   foot-soldiers from Waterford in Ireland, to go to
                   the King in France." An entry also occurs in the
                   following October: "To the Prior of Kilmaynham
                   coming from Ireland to Southampton, with a good
                   company of men, to proceed to Normandy to serve the
                   King in the wars, 100_l._" An order from the King
                   to his Chancellor, the Bishop of Durham, to
                   expedite ships from Bristol for the transport of
                   these men from Waterford to France, is preserved
                   among the miscellaneous records in the Tower. It is
                   dated June 3rd, at Ber-nay; to which a postscript
                   was added on the next day, urging the utmost
                   expedition, as the troops were tarrying only for
                   the means of sailing.--See Bentley's Excerpta
                   Historica, p. 388.]

The whole English army, with a great train of artillery, came      (p. 224)
up before the city on the last day of July 1418, before another
harvest could afford new supplies of corn. To that one town the people
of Normandy had brought all their treasures; and those who were
intrusted with the safekeeping of the place seemed determined to
endure all the miseries of blockade and famine, rather than surrender.
Henry, with the resolution not to lavish the lives of his soldiers by
attempting to take this town by storm, laid close siege to it by land;
whilst some "good ships," which he had from the King of Portugal,
blockaded the mouth of the Seine.

Ten days after Henry laid siege to Rouen, he despatched a letter to
the Mayor and Aldermen of London, which, with their answer, cannot be
read without interest.

     "BY THE KING.

     "Right trusty and well-beloved! we greet you oft times well. And
     for as much as, in the name of Almighty God, and in our right,
     with his grace, we have laid the siege afore the city of Rouen,
     which is the most notable place in France, save Paris; at which
     siege, us nedeth [we need] greatly refreshing for us and for our
     host; and we have found you, our true lieges and subjects, of
     good will at all times to do all things that might do us worship
     and ease, whereof we can you right heartily thank; and pray you
     effectually that, in all the haste that ye may and ye will, do
     arm as many small vessels as ye may goodly, with victuals,    (p. 225)
     and namely [especially] with drink, for to come to Harfleur, and
     from thence as far as they may up the river of Seyne to Rouen ward
     with the said victual, for the refreshing of us and our said host,
     as our trust is to you; for the which vessels there shall be
     ordained sufficient conduct, with God's grace. Witting well also
     that therein ye may do us right great pleasance, and refreshing
     for all our host above said; and give us cause to show therefore
     to you ever the better lordship in time to come, with the help of
     our Saviour, the which we pray that He have you in his
     safeward.--Given under our signet, in our host afore the said city
     of Rouen, the 10th day of August.
       "To our right trusty and well-beloved the
       Mayor, Aldermen, and all the worthy
       Commoners of our city of London."

To this appeal the authorities of the city paid immediate and hearty
attention, and forwarded to Henry an answer under their common seal on
the 8th of September, (the Nativity of our Lady, the blissful maid,)
of which the following is a copy. A memorandum in Latin informs us
that the clause within brackets was for different causes kept back,
and not sent with the letters. The letter is a curious specimen of the
flattering and complimentary style of the good citizens of London when
addressing their sovereign.

     "Our most dread, most sovereign Lord, and noblest King, to the
     sovereign highness of your kingly majesty, with all manner of
     lowness and reverence, meekly we recommend us, not only as we
     ought and should, but as we best can and may; with all our
     hearts, thanking your sovereign excellence of your gracious   (p. 226)
     letters in making [us] gladsome in understanding, and passing
     comfortable in favouring our poor degrees, which ye liked late
     to send us from your host afore the city of Rouen. In which
     letters, after declaration of your most noble intent for the
     refreshing of your host, ye record so highly the readiness of our
     will and power at all times to your pleasance, and thanking us
     thereof so heartily, that truly, save only our prayer to Him that
     all good quiteth [requiteth], never was it nor might it half be
     deserved. And after seeing in your foresaid gracious letters ye
     pray us effectually to enarme as many small vessels as we may
     with victual, and specially with drink, for to come as far as
     they may in the river Seyne. And not only this, but in the
     conclusion of your sovereign letters foresaid, ye fed us so
     bounteously with the best showing of your good lordship to us in
     time coming as ye have ever done, that now and ever we shall be
     the joyfuller in this life when we remember us on so noble a
     grace. [O how may the simpless of poor lieges better or more
     clearly conceive the gracious love and favourable tendress of the
     King, their sovereign Lord, than to hear how your most excellent
     and noble person, more worth to us than all worldly riches or
     plenty, in so thin abundance of victual heavily disposed, so
     graciously and goodly declare and utter unto us, that are your
     liege men and subjects, your plain lust and pleasance, as it is
     in your said noble letters worthily contained. Certain, true
     liege man is there none, ne faithful subject could there non ne
     durst tarry or be lachesse [backward] in any wise to the
     effectual prayer and commandment of so sovereign and high a lord,
     which his noble body paineth and knightly adventureth for the
     right and welfare of us.] Our most dread, most sovereign Lord,
     and noblest King, may it please your sovereign highness to
     understand, how that your foresaid kingly prayer, as most strait
     charge and commandment, we willing in all points obey and execute
     anon, from the receipt of your said gracious letter, which    (p. 227)
     was the 19th day of August nigh noon, unto the making of these
     simple letters. What in getting and enarming of as many small
     vessels as we might, doing brew both ale and beer, purveying
     wine and other victual, for to charge with the same vessels, we
     have done our busy diligence and care, as God wot. In which vessels,
     without [besides] great plenty of other victuals, that men of
     your city of London aventuren for refreshing of your host to the
     coasts where your sovereign presence is in, we lowly send with
     gladdest will unto your sovereign excellence and kingly majesty
     by John Credy and John Combe, your officers of your said city,
     bringers of these letters, tritty botes [thirty butts] of sweet
     wine, that is to say, ten of Tyre, ten of Romeney, ten of
     Malmesey, and a thousand pipes of ale, with two thousand and five
     hundred cups for your host to drink of, which we beseech your
     high excellence and noble grace for our alder comfort and
     gladness benignly to receive and accept; not having reward
     [regard] to the little head or small value of the gift itself,
     which is simple; but to the good will and high desire that your
     poor givers thereof have to the good speed, worship, and welfare
     of your most sovereign and excellent person, of which speed and
     welfare, and all your other kingly lusts [desires] and
     pleasances, we desire highly by the said bearers of these
     letters, and other whom your sovereign highness shall like, fully
     to be learned and informed. Our most dread, most sovereign Lord,
     and noblest King, we lowly beseech the King of Heaven, whose body
     refused not for our salvation worldly pain guiltless to endure,
     that ye, your gracious person, which for our alder good and
     profit so knightly laboureth, little or nought charging bodily
     ease, in all worship and honour evermore to keep and
     preserve.--Written at Gravesend, under the seal of Mayoralty of
     your said city of London, on the day of the Nativity of our Lady,
     the blissful maid.
        "To the King, our most dread and most sovereign Lord."

After every deduction is made from this singular epistle on the    (p. 228)
ground of flattery and words of course, it proves that in expression,
at least, the Mayor and good citizens of London not only heartily
seconded Henry in his present undertakings, but identified his cause
with their own, and regarded him as fighting their battles, and
exposing himself to the dangers and privations of war in vindication
of their own rights; and probably we are fully justified in regarding
their sentiments as fairly representing the prevalent feelings of the
people of England. There were, doubtless, many exceptions, as there
ever must be in such a case, to the general unanimity; and we are not
without evidence that, during this siege of Rouen, Henry's proceedings
were commented upon unfavourably by some of his subjects at home.[173]

                   [Footnote 173: One Glomyng was charged with having
                   said, "What doth the King of England at siege
                   before Rouen? An I were there with three thousand
                   men, I would break his siege and make them of Rouen
                   dock his tail." He said, moreover, that "he were
                   not able to abide there, were it [not] that the
                   Duke of Burgundy kept his enemies from
                   him."--Donat. MS. 4601.]

During this siege negociations were set on foot by the Dauphin for an
alliance with Henry, who seemed to enter into the views of the
ambassadors heartily;[174] but at the same time similar negociations
were carried on between Henry and the King of France. In the       (p. 229)
management of these a curious dispute arose as to the language in
which the conference should be carried on: the French required that
their own should be the medium of communication; the English
remonstrating, and requiring the Latin to be employed, that the Pope
and other potentates might understand their proceedings. It was
proposed that all writings should be in duplicate, one copy in French,
the other in Latin; but Henry insisted that his ambassadors should
sign only an English or a Latin copy. During these negociations the
French ambassadors presented to the King the portrait of the Princess
Katharine,[175] which he received with great satisfaction. The treaty,
however, was broken off, and the Cardinal Des Ursins returned to Pope
Martin at Avignon. It is painful to read the account of the siege of
Rouen; misery in all its shapes is painted there.[176] Indeed, if the
accounts we have received be true, so complicated a tale of
wretchedness is scarcely upon record. But the details can give no
satisfaction; they would only harrow up the feelings, without
supplying any facts essential to the history of those months of    (p. 230)
human suffering. Henry was resolved neither to burn the town, nor
to take it by storm; but to reduce it by starvation. At length his
feelings overpowered this resolution, and he received the town upon
conditions, on the 19th January 1419.[177] Thus was Rouen subdued to
the Crown of England, two hundred and fifteen years after the conquest
of it by Philip of France in the reign of King John. Stowe tells us,
that to relieve this oppressed city Henry ordained it to be the chief
chamber of all Normandy; and directed his exchequer, his treasury, and
his coinage to be kept there. We have already seen that he caused his
vast treasures before kept in Harfleur to be brought to Rouen.

                   [Footnote 174: In a very long minute of the Privy
                   Council, the reasons assigned by Henry for wishing
                   to negociate an alliance with the Dauphin are given
                   at length; and ambassadors were appointed to treat
                   with that prince on the 26th of October
                   1418.--Foed. ix. p. 626.]

                   [Footnote 175: The Author, assisted by his friends,
                   has made diligent inquiry, both in England and on
                   the Continent, for a portrait of Katharine, with a
                   copy of which he was desirous of enriching this
                   volume; but his inquiries have ended in an
                   assurance that no portrait of her is in existence.]

                   [Footnote 176: Large cargoes of provisions of every
                   kind were forwarded from England; among others,
                   "stock fish and salmon" are enumerated in the Pell
                   Rolls, 3rd July 1419.]

                   [Footnote 177: Monstrelet says, that when Henry
                   made his entry into Rouen, he was followed by a
                   page mounted on a black horse, bearing a lance, at
                   the end of which near the point was fastened a
                   fox's brush by way of streamer, which afforded
                   great matter of remark. Elmham and Stowe give the
                   explanation of this. In 1414, he kept his Lent in
                   the castle of Kenilworth, and caused an arbour to
                   be planted there in the marsh for his pleasure,
                   among the thorns and bushes, where a fox before had
                   harboured; which fox he killed, being a thing then
                   thought to prognosticate that he should expel the
                   crafty deceit of the French King.--See Ellis,
                   Original Letters.]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is confessedly beyond the province of these Memoirs even to glance
at the affairs of Ireland, except so far as a reference to them may
bear upon the character and conduct of Henry of Monmouth. Not only,
however, does the presence of a body of native Irish, headed by    (p. 231)
one of the regular clergy of Ireland, aiding Henry at the siege of
Rouen, seem to draw our thoughts thitherward; but some documents also,
relative to our sister-land, of that date, may be thought to require a
few words in this place. During the reign of Richard II. the warlike
movements of the native Irish, who had never been conquered or
civilized, compelled that monarch to proceed to Ireland in person, and
to take the field against those wild rebels. They had formerly been
kept in comparative awe by a strong hand; but the continental wars of
Edward III. had much slackened the wonted vigilance and activity of
his government at home in checking their outbreakings against the
English settlers. They had, consequently, grown bold, and threatened
to extirpate the English altogether. Vigorous measures became
necessary, and the King twice headed an army himself to restore peace.
On his first visit he was summoned home by the prelates, to put down
the spreading sect of the Lollards; in his second, his delay, after
the landing of Bolinbroke at Ravenspurg, cost him his crown. In this
latter expedition Henry of Monmouth (as we have seen) accompanied him,
and had personal experience of the uncivilized state of the country,
and the savage character of the warfare carried on by the inhabitants.
It is curious to remark, that on several occasions Richard II.
employed the Irish prelates as his ambassadors to Rome, "for the safe
estate and prosperity of the most holy English church." The fact,  (p. 232)
however, is too evident, that all Irish dignities were bestowed
on Englishmen; and except by some assumed privilege of the Pope, or by
other proceedings equally unacceptable to the English settlers, no
native Irishman was ever in those times advanced to any high station
in the church, or even promoted to an ordinary benefice. Indeed the
law forbade such promotions.

On the principle observed throughout these Memoirs, of avoiding all
reference to the political struggles and controversies of the passing
hour, the Author will make no reflections on the past, the present, or
the future policy of England towards a country whose destinies seem so
indissolubly bound up with her own. He humbly prays that HE, who says
to the tempest "Peace, be still!" and is obeyed, may so guide and
govern the religious and moral storms by which our age is shaken on
the subject of Ireland, that in His own good time the troubled
elements may be calmed; and that truth, peace, and charity may
prevail, and bless both countries, then at length become like "a city
that is at unity in itself."

By most of those who take a wide and comprehensive range of its
history, the dissensions which have distracted Ireland, and from time
to time torn it in pieces, and caused it to flow with the blood of its
neighbours and of its own children, will probably be ascribed, not
more to the difference of religion among its inhabitants, than     (p. 233)
to the difference of origin. The struggles have been, not more
between Protestants and Romanists, not more between Catholics of the
church of England and Ireland, and Catholics in communion with the
sovereign pontiff, than between English and Irish, between those who
have regarded themselves as the aboriginal sons of the soil, and those
of Saxon or Norman descent, whom they have hated and abhorred as
intruders and invaders. The conflicts between these classes in
Ireland, as they may be traced in its chronicles, were just as
dreadful and as sanguinary before the Reformation, as ever they have
been since the separation of the reformed church from the see of Rome.
At all events, whatever may be the nature of the unhappy causes of
disunion in the present day, till within comparatively modern times
the struggles have been not more of a religious than of a national, or
perhaps of a predial, character. Authentic history teems with evidence
bearing directly on this point; and even the original documents,
references to which are interspersed through this volume, are quite
sufficient to establish it.

Among other documents confirmatory of the view here taken, which it
would be beyond the province of these Memoirs to recite, the statute
of 4 Hen. V. (1416), referring as it does to similar enactments of
previous reigns, and strongly expressive of the bitter jealousies
which existed between the two nations, seems to claim a place here.

     "Whereas it was ordained in the times of the progenitors      (p. 234)
     of our Lord the King, by statute made in the land of Ireland,
     that no one of the Irish nation be elected archbishop, bishop,
     abbot, prior, nor in any manner be received or accepted to any
     dignity or benefice within the said land; and whereas many such
     Irish, by the power of certain letters of licence to them made by
     the Lieutenants of the King there to accept and receive such
     dignities and benefices, are promoted and advanced to
     archbishoprics and bishoprics within the said land, who also have
     made their collations to Irish clerks of dignities and benefices
     there, contrary to the form and effect of the said statute; and
     consequently, since they are peers of parliament in that land,
     they bring with them to the parliaments and councils held in that
     land servants by whom the secrets of the English in that land
     have been and are from day to day discovered to the Irish people
     who are rebels against the King, to the great peril and mischief
     of the King's loyal subjects in that land: our said Lord the
     King, willing to provide remedy for his faithful subjects, with
     the consent of the Lords, and at the request of the Commons,
     wills and grants that the said statute shall be in full force,
     and be well and duly guarded, and fully executed, on pain of his
     grievous indignation."

The statute then provides, that if any bishops act against this law,
their temporalities shall be seized for the King till they have given
satisfaction; that the Lieutenants shall be prohibited from granting
such licences to Irishmen; and that all such licences, if made, shall
be null and void.

Perhaps, however, the words of the petition to the Commons, on which
this enactment was founded, are still more striking and convincing on
the subject.

     "To the honourable and wise Sires, the Commons of this        (p. 235)
     present Parliament, the poor loyal liegemen of our Sovereign Lord
     the King in Ireland. Whereas the said land is divided between two
     nations, that is to say, the said petitioners, English and of the
     English nation, and the Irish nation, those enemies to our Lord
     the King, who by crafty designs secretly, and by open destruction
     making war, are continually purposed to destroy the said lieges,
     and to conquer the land, the petitioners pray that remedy thereof
     be made."[178]

                   [Footnote 178: See Sir H. Ellis, Orig. Let. xix.]

When Henry of Monmouth succeeded to the throne, Ireland was as
wild[179] in its country, and as rude in its inhabitants, as it was in
the reign of Henry II. The English pale (as it has been correctly
said) was little more than a garrison of territory; and it was
absolutely necessary either for the English inhabitants to leave their
possessions and abandon Ireland altogether, or for the English
government to keep the aboriginal Irish in check with a strong hand,
and compel them by military force to abstain from outrage. What would
have been at the present day the state of Ireland, had Henry directed
his concentrated energies to subdue the island, and then to        (p. 236)
civilize and improve it, (measures by no means improbable had not the
conquest of France occupied him instead,) it would be profitless to
speculate. Even with his thoughts distracted by his foreign
expeditions, or rather, perhaps, almost absorbed by them, and whilst
he had but a very scanty contingent of officers and men at his
disposal for home-service, we have evidence that Ireland had not been
in so peaceable a condition for very many years as it had become under
his government. Whilst pursuing his victories on the Continent, he
laboured (and his labours were in an astonishing degree successful) to
provide for the effective administration of his own dominions with a
view to peace and justice.

                   [Footnote 179: Moryson, in his Travels, book iv. c.
                   3, gives a most extraordinary and disgusting
                   account of the habits of the Irish. The story of a
                   Bohemian Baron, who visited Morane, one of the
                   native princes, represents the Irish from the
                   highest to the lowest to have continued in the most
                   degraded state of barbarism. In their food, their
                   dwellings, their clothing, (those who had any to
                   wear,) and their general habits, if the accounts in
                   Moryson are not exaggerated, the Irish were not
                   removed many degrees from the wildest savages on

A memorial forwarded this year to Henry, probably in consequence of
certain complaints of maladministration which had been sent to the
council the preceding winter, is very interesting. It is signed by a
large number of persons, lay and ecclesiastical: bishops, abbots,
priors, archdeacons, barons, knights, and esquires joined in the
petition.[180] The prayer of the memorial was professedly to procure a
fuller remuneration to the then Lord Lieutenant,[181] John Talbot,
Lord Furnival, for his indefatigable and successful exertions      (p. 237)
in subduing "the English rebels and the Irish enemies;" it was,
however, evidently intended to obtain a still greater share of the
King's attention, and of the public expenditure in that island. The
memorial commences by expressions of loyalty to Henry's person, the
petitioners desiring above all earthly things to hear and to know of
the gracious prosperity and noble health of his renowned person, to
the principal comfort of all his subjects, but "especially of us who
are continuing in a land of war, environed by your Irish enemies and
English rebels, in point to be destroyed, if it were not that the
sovereign aid and comfort of God, and of you our gracious Lord, do
deliver us." It then states that they had prevailed upon the
Lieutenant[182] not to persevere in his intention to leave Ireland for
the purpose of applying to Henry in person for payment and relief, (p. 238)
expressing their great alarm should his presence be withdrawn from
them. The memorialists then dwell at great length upon the vast
labours, travails, and endeavours of Lord Furnival for the good of all
Henry's lieges; but those labours were only military proceedings:
every sentence of the memorial breathes of war, and slaughter, and
destruction. One of the chief topics in his praise is that he remained
many days and nights ("the which was not done before in our time") in
the lands of various of the strongest Irish enemies (specifying them
by name), taking their chief places and goods, burning, foraging, and
destroying all the country, and in many places causing the Irish
rebels to turn their weapons against each other. The document then
shows the precarious tenure of goods and of life among the English at
that time in Ireland; how they were "preyed upon and killed," and what
a wonderful change had just been effected by the vigorous measures of
Lord Furnival. "Now your lieges may suffer their goods and cattle to
remain in the fields day and night, without being stolen or sustaining
any loss, _which hath not been seen here by the space of these thirty
years past_, God be thanked, and your gracious provision!" It also
states that Maurice O'Keating, chieftain of his nation, traitor and
rebel, did on the Monday in Whitsun-week, (_i.e._ May 31st, not a
month before the date of the memorial,) "for the great fear which he
had of the Lieutenant, for himself and his nation, yield himself   (p. 239)
without any condition, with his breast against his sword's point, and
a cord about his neck, delivering without ransom the English prisoners
which he had taken before; to whom grace was granted by indenture, and
his eldest son given in pledge to be loyal lieges from henceforward to
you our sovereign Lord." This memorial, dated June 26th, "in the fifth
year of your gracious reign," 1417, must have reached Henry on the
very eve of his setting out on his second expedition to Normandy.

                   [Footnote 180: It is remarkable, that among the
                   many names affixed to this memorial, not one
                   savours of Irish extraction. They all betray their
                   Saxon or (some) their Norman origin.]

                   [Footnote 181: This John Talbot, called by courtesy
                   Lord Talbot by right of his wife, was appointed
                   Lieutenant in Ireland in the first year of Henry's
                   reign. He had been employed in the wars of Wales,
                   and was the person against whom the Mayor of
                   Shrewsbury shut the gates. He was conspicuous also
                   as a warrior in the reign of Henry IV.]

                   [Footnote 182: Lord Furnival had petitioned in the
                   spring of the preceding year, 1416, for the payment
                   of one thousand marks disallowed by the then late
                   treasurer, the Earl of Arundel. Henry, who presided
                   himself in council, gave his decision that the
                   question should be submitted to the Barons of the
                   Exchequer, who, after examining the indenture made
                   between the King and the said lord, should ordain
                   what the justice of the case required.

                   The Lieutenant had also applied for a reinforcement
                   of men-at-arms and archers, and for a supply of
                   cannon. The King allows him to make such provision
                   with regard to additional soldiers as he thinks
                   best _at his own cost_, and agrees to let him have
                   some cannon from the royal stores.--Acts of Privy
                   Council, 1416.]

The complaints, to answer which, among other objects, we have already
intimated an opinion that this memorial might possibly have been
partly prepared, were taken into consideration on the 28th of the
preceding February by the King himself in council, and are by no means
devoid of interest, though only a cursory allusion to them can be made
here. Among the grievances are certain "impositions outrageously
imposed upon them;" the seizure of the wheat and cattle belonging to
churchmen by the officers and soldiers of the Lieutenant, contrary to
the liberties of Holy Church; and the non-execution and non-observance
of the laws in consequence of the insufficiency of the officers. To
these complaints the King replies that, at the expiration of Lord
Furnival's lieutenancy, he would provide a remedy by the appointment
of good and sufficient officers. The terms of indenture, by which the
King and Lieutenant were then usually bound, probably presented    (p. 240)
an obstacle to any immediate interference.

But the most interesting point in these complaints is the prayer with
which they close. It proves that, in the view of the complainants,
(and probably theirs was the general opinion,) absenteeism was then
very prevalent, and was held to be one of the greatest evils under
which Ireland was at that time suffering; it informs us also that
Irishmen born (that is, however, men of English extraction born in
Ireland,) were advanced to benefices in England; and it shows that
many such natives of Ireland were in the habit of coming to England
for the purposes of studying the law, and of residing in the
Universities. The complainants "require that through the realm of
England proclamation be made that all persons born in Ireland, being
in England, except persons of the church beneficed, and students and
others engaged in the departments of the law, and scholars studying in
the Universities, betake themselves to the parts of Ireland, for
defence of the same.

To this petition the King only replies, that "he grants it according
to the form of the statute made in that case."

The statute to which Henry here refers was made in the first year of
his reign. It bears incidental testimony to his mild and merciful
disposition, as compared with the feelings and views of his
contemporaries; and shows that in legislation he took the lead     (p. 241)
of his parliament in preferring mild and moderate to violent and
sanguinary measures.

The Commons pray that the penalty of absenteeism after the
proclamation should be loss of life or limb, and forfeiture of goods;
the King consents only to imprisonment, instead of death and
mutilation. "The Commons," (such are the words of the record,) "for
the quiet and peace of the realm of England, and for the increase and
welfare of the land of Ireland, pray that it may be ordained in the
present parliament, that all Irishmen, and all Irish begging clerks,
called Chaumber Deakyns [chamberdeacons], be voided the realm between
Michaelmas and All Saints, on pain of loss of life and limb; except
such as are graduates in the schools, and serjeants and students of
law, and such as have inheritance in England, and 'professed
religious;' and that all the Irish who have benefices and office in
Ireland live on their benefices and offices, on pain of losing the
profits of their benefices and offices,--for the protection of the
land of Ireland." The King grants the prayer, but modifies the
severity of the penalty proposed by the Commons, limiting the
punishment to the loss of goods, and imprisonment during the royal
pleasure; and excepting merchants born in Ireland of good fame, and
their apprentices, now being in England, and those to whom the King
may grant a dispensation.

It was in the year following these proceedings that Henry received
succours from Ireland, just before he laid siege to Rouen. The     (p. 242)
Pell Rolls state that they were two hundred horse and three hundred
foot, under the command of the Prior of Kilmaynham,[183] transported
by Bristol vessels from Waterford to France. Others, doubtless, might
have joined him also from the same quarter; but it seems very probable
that Hall, or those whom he followed, exaggerated this statement, and
substituted the Lord of Kylmaine for the Prior of Kilmaynham, when
they tell us "that a band of one thousand six hundred native Irish,
armed with their own weapons of war, in mail, with darts and skaynes,
under the Lord of Kylmaine, were with Henry V. at the siege of Rouen,
and kept the way from the forest of Lyons; and so did their devoir
that none were more praised, nor did more damage to their enemies."
Still the account given of these wild Irish, by Monstrelet, would seem
to countenance the idea of a much greater number than were transported
over with the warlike Prior. "The King of England" (says that author)
"had with him in his company a vast number of Irish, of whom far the
greatest part went on foot. One of their feet was covered, the other
was naked, without having clouts, and poorly clad. Each had a target
and little javelins, with large knives of a strange fashion. And   (p. 243)
those who were mounted had no saddles, but they rode very adroitly
on their little mountain horses: and they rode upon cloths, very
nearly of the same fashion with those which the Blatiers of the French
country carry. They were, however, a very poor and slight defence,
compared with the English: besides, they were not so accoutred as to
do much damage to the French when they met. These Irish would often,
during the siege, together with the English, scour the country of
Normandy, and do infinite mischief, beyond calculation; carrying back
to their host great booty. Moreover, the said Irish on foot would
seize little children, and leap on the backs of cows with them,
carrying the children before them on the cows, and very often they
were found in that condition by the French."[184]

                   [Footnote 183: This Prior seems to have been Thomas
                   Botiller, the brother of the Earl of Ormond. He is
                   said to have died during the siege. He and his men
                   are reported to have been sent over by Lord
                   Furnival, the Lord Lieutenant. See Excerpta
                   Historica above referred to.]

                   [Footnote 184: Mons. vol. i. c. 95.]

The only other document relating to Ireland at this time, which it is
purposed to transfer into these pages, is chiefly interesting as
affording one of the many instances upon record of the personal
attention which Henry paid to the business necessary to be transacted
at home, whilst he was engaged in battles and sieges and victories
abroad. It is a petition, (in itself also of some importance in regard
to Irish history,) from Donald Macmurough, (Macmore or Macmurcoo,)
addressed to "the most high and excellent redoubted Lord the King of
England," and is dated July 24, 1421.

     "Most humbly supplicates, Donaal Macmurcoo, a prisoner in     (p. 244)
     your Tower of London, that as above all things in the world,
     (most gracious Lord,) with entire intent of his heart, he desires
     to be your liege man, and to behave towards you from this day
     forward in good faith, as is his right; and to do that loyally he
     offers to be bound by the faith of his body [his corporal oath],
     and all the sacraments of Holy Church, in any manner which you
     please graciously to ordain and appoint; and all his friends who
     are at his will, under his subjection, or at his command under
     his lordships, will promise the same by word of mouth. And for
     greater security for the time to come, as well to your most noble
     and sovereign Lordship as to your heirs and the crown of England,
     during his life loyally to hold and accomplish the same, he
     offers you his son and heir in pledge. May it please your most
     high and gracious excellence, according to his promises
     aforesaid, graciously to receive and accept him to your most
     noble and abundant grace, for God's sake and in a work of

     The petition is in French.--The answer in English is this: "Ye
     King will that he come before his counsel, and find surety as it
     may be found reasonable."

     "For Macmourgh.--Offer to be sworn to the King, and to give
     hostage thereupon."

The order of the council consequent upon this, in Latin, refers the
matter to the Lieutenant and council in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

Henry at this time appears to have had considerable intercourse with
the see of Rome. In a letter written to his resident ambassador in
that city, John Keterich, Bishop of Lichfield, he requires, in very
humble language, that his Holiness would not invade the rights of the
crown of England as settled by a concordat between Edward III.     (p. 245)
and Gregory XI; that he would provide for the admission of Englishmen
only into the priories in England which the Conqueror had annexed to
Norman abbeys; and that he would send strict injunctions to the
bishops of Ireland that the people should be taught the English
tongue, and that none should be capable of any ecclesiastical
preferment who should be ignorant of it, since the best and greatest
part of that nation understood it, and experience had shown what
disorders and confusions arose from a diversity of languages.

It is impossible to read the documents of this time without being
struck by the evidence as well of the thraldom under which the Pope
held the sovereigns and people of Christendom, as of the spirit of
piety which habitually influenced Henry.

His confessor had died, and he had applied to the Archbishop of
Canterbury to select another for him. That primate's answer is full of
interest. The Archbishop gives the King all the authority which he
himself possessed; and yet Henry is obliged to seek permission at the
court of Rome to have a confessor of his own, and to celebrate divine
service at convenient times and in convenient places. He had sent for
a chapel, with altars, vestments, and ministers, from England; and the
warrant is in existence to press carriages and horses to carry them to
the sea, to be transported to him in Normandy. This instrument is
dated February 5th, 1418, and it should seem that all these        (p. 246)
preparations were insufficient till he could obtain the Pope's licence
and dispensation in the following August.[185]

                   [Footnote 185: Archbishop Chicheley's letter to
                   Henry is preserved among the manuscripts of the
                   British Museum. MS. Cotton, Vesp. F. xiii. fol.

The Pope then gives Henry permission to have a confessor of his own
choice, who should once a year during his life, and once also at the
hour of death, give him full pardon for all the sins of which he
repented from the heart, and which he confessed with the mouth;
provided that the confessor take care to have satisfaction given to
those to whom it is due. The Pope adds an earnest hope that this
indulgence would not tempt Henry to commit unlawful acts at all more
freely than before.[186]

                   [Footnote 186: Gebennis, xv. kal. Sept. Pontif.
                   nost. ann. I. (August 18, 1418.) Rymer.]

By another act of grace, dated only ten days after the former, King
Henry is permitted to have one or more portable altars, and to have
mass at uncanonical times, and even in prohibited places, provided he
were not himself the cause of the interdict. This grant has also some
curious stipulations annexed: among others it is directed that the
doors shall be shut at such masses, the excommunicated excluded, the
service being conducted without sound of bell and with a low voice.
Especially is it enjoined that liberty to have mass before day     (p. 247)
should be used very sparingly, because since our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, is offered as a sacrifice on that altar,--and he is
the brightness of eternal light,--it is right for that to be done, not
in the darkness of night, but in the light of day.

Henry remained for some time at Rouen, and wore the ducal robes as
Duke of Normandy. A conspiracy to surrender the town to the French
King was defeated by the honourable conduct of De Bouteiller, who, on
being requested to join the conspirators, on the contrary discovered
their designs to Henry.

Early in the year 1419, the Duke of Brittany, distrusting the power of
France to defend him, were the English to turn their arms against his
territory, sought and obtained an alliance with Henry; of whose just
and honourable principles he had experienced practical proofs.

At this time the Spaniards added much to Henry's difficulties. Having
engaged to succour the Dauphin, they are said to have sent ships to
Scotland for men, part of whom they probably landed at Rochelle.
Henry's forces, however, were victorious in the south, no less than in
the north.

Still, though victorious and feared on every side, Henry found that
war and disease had so reduced his army as to compel him to apply to
his subjects at home for reinforcement. The reasons sent from      (p. 248)
Norfolk, which are probably only specimens of the returns from other
counties, would lead us to infer that most of his subjects, who were
both willing and able to join his standard, had already been drained
off. The Bishop of Norwich, and others, return that "the stoutest and
strongest of their countrymen were already in the army, and others
pleaded poverty and infirmities." Robert Waterton, to whom the King
had made an especial appeal, assured him that at the approaching
assizes at York he would urge the gentlemen of those parts to tender
their services. There seems also to have been a growing disinclination
or disability among the clergy to provide a supply of money; probably
both their means and their zeal for the cause had diminished. In the
diocese of York they complained loudly of the impoverished state of
the church, but at last voted one-half of a tenth.

CHAPTER XXVI.                                                      (p. 249)



About the month of March in the year 1419, the Dauphin proposed to
meet Henry with a view to the formation of an alliance, to which Henry
was at this time by no means averse. The Dauphin, however, acted with
very bad faith on the occasion; and, by neglecting to come according
to his solemn engagement,[187] gave unintentionally another opening to
the Duke of Burgundy to advocate a treaty between France and England.
So utterly, indeed, had the Dauphin thrown aside all thoughts of an
interview with Henry, on which he had appeared very anxiously      (p. 250)
bent, that he even made a vigorous attack on the English ambassadors
and their escort when on their road to the King of France.

                   [Footnote 187: A letter from T.F., dated Evreux,
                   (March 27th, 1419,) addressed to his friends in
                   England, tells us that "the Dauphin made great
                   instance sundry times to have personal speech with
                   the King, for the good of peace between both
                   realms;" and, on obtaining the King's consent, "he
                   fixed on the third Sunday in Lent (March 19th), at
                   his own desire and instance, making surety by his
                   oath and his letters sealed to keep that day. The
                   foresaid Rule Regent hath broke the surety
                   aforesaid, and made the King a Beau Nient [made a
                   fool of him]; so that there may be no hope had yet
                   of peace.... And so now men suppose that the King
                   will henceforth war on France; for Normandy is all
                   his, except Gysors, Euere, the Castle Gaylard, and
                   the Roche."

                   This writer gives us to understand that he and his
                   friends were heartily tired of the Continental
                   warfare, which had so long kept them from the
                   comforts of their home, and they longed to revisit
                   the white cliffs of Britain. "Pray for us, that we
                   may come soon out of this unlusty [unpleasant]
                   soldier's life, unto the life of England."--MS.
                   Donat. 4001. Sir H. Ellis assigns this to the year
                   1420; but it must have been written March 27th (the
                   Monday before Passion Sunday), 1419, just eight
                   days after the Dauphin had broken his word.

                   The same writer speaks in no very measured terms of
                   the intrigue and duplicity of foreign courts. "And
                   certes, all the ambassadors that we deal with are
                   incongrue, that is to say, in old manner of speech
                   in England, 'they be double and false;' with which
                   manner of men, I pray God, let never no true men be
                   coupled with."

                   The reasons which had induced Henry some time
                   previously to wish for an alliance with the Dauphin
                   are found in the Cot. MS.--See "Acts of Privy
                   Council," vol. ii. p. 350.]

The Duke of Burgundy, taking advantage of this juncture, succeeded,
not only in persuading the two Kings to interchange ambassadors, but
in effecting a personal conference between the royal parties.      (p. 251)
Henry agreed to come to Mante, on condition that Charles and the Duke
of Burgundy would come to Ponthoise. A large field on the banks of the
Seine, near to the gate of Melun, was selected for the meeting. The
preparations for the interview are described with great minuteness by
historians. A pavilion at an equal distance from the tents of both
nations was erected by the Queen of France, and presented to Henry;
adjoining to it were two withdrawing apartments. The King of France
was detained by indisposition at Ponthoise on the day appointed, May
30, 1419; but the Queen, the Princess, the Duke of Burgundy, and the
Count de St. Pol, on the one side, with their council and guards, and,
on the other, Henry, his two brothers, Clarence and Gloucester, his
two uncles, the Duke of Exeter and the Bishop of Winchester, the Earls
of March and Salisbury, with his council and his guard, met in this
"fair and wide mead of Melun." The Queen's tent was "a fair pavilion
of blue velvet richly embroidered with flower-de-luces; and on the top
was the figure of a flying hart, in silver, with wings enamelled."
Henry's tent was of blue and green velvet, with the figures of two
antelopes embroidered; one drawing in a mill, the other seated on high
with a branch of olive in his mouth, with this motto wrought in
several places, "After busy labour, comes victorious rest." A great
eagle of gold, with eyes of diamond, was placed above. At three    (p. 252)
in the afternoon the royal parties, having entered within the
barriers, approached each other, the Queen led by the Duke of
Burgundy, the Princess by the Count de St. Pol. Henry with a solemn
bow took the Queen by the hand and saluted her, and afterwards the
Princess; as did also his brothers, bending one knee almost to the
ground. The Duke of Burgundy paid his respects to Henry, and was
honourably received by him. Henry led the Queen into the pavilion,
taking the upper hand of her after a long dispute about this ceremony;
and having placed her in one chair of state, of cloth of gold, himself
occupied the other. Nothing further than ceremony was the apparent
object of that day's conference, though the fate of Henry perhaps
turned upon it. The Earl of Warwick, "the father of courtesy,"
addressed the Queen, and the parties separated,--the Queen's for
Ponthoise, Henry's for Mante; having first engaged to meet each other
again on the following Thursday. These conferences were carried on at
intervals till June 30th, without any satisfactory progress being made
towards peace; on that day they agreed to meet on the 3rd July, and
Henry kept his engagement, but the French disappointed him; and then,
convinced of their insincerity, and the total absence of all real
intentions on their part to bring the proceedings to a favourable
issue, he dissolved the conference, complaining loudly of the unfair
dealings of his enemies. He was chiefly, however, angry with the Duke
of Burgundy, to whom he ascribed all the blame; and who is said    (p. 253)
to have been guilty of such double-dealing as to have had frequent
interviews with the Dauphin in the neighbourhood of Paris, even during
the conference.

A circumstance connected with this meeting is too closely interwoven
with Henry's character, and conduct, and destiny, to be passed over in
silence. In preparing for the interview, the Queen had shown much
courteous attention to secure Henry's gratification; and she looked
forward to it as the hour of her daughter Katharine's[188] conquest
over his heart. That Princess was a lovely young person, and in the
very prime and bloom of her beauty; and her mother had flattered
herself that her charms would prevail over the young conqueror more
than the arms or the statesmen of France. Nor had the designing lady
altogether miscalculated the power of her daughter's charms, or the
extent of Henry's susceptibility. His heart was touched at the first
sight of Katharine, and the practised eyes of her mother saw that the
victory was won. Her daughter (she observed) had overcome a prince who
appeared till then invincible. But the wily Queen outwitted        (p. 254)
herself; and, for the present, by her own act disengaged the toils in
which Henry had been unquestionably taken. With a view of inflaming
his love for her daughter the more by her absence, and of compelling
him to comply with any conditions of a treaty, one of which would be
Katharine's hand and heart, she would not suffer the Princess to be
present at any of the following interviews: the first sight of so much
beauty had so triumphant an effect, that she would not permit a
second. But her scheme, however finely drawn, was observed by Henry;
and, indignant at the artifice, he became more inflexible than ever,
and insisted more firmly than before on his first proposals; assuring
the Duke of Burgundy that he was resolved to have the Princess with
all his other demands, or force the King of France from his throne,
and drive the Duke from the kingdom.

                   [Footnote 188: Katharine of Valois, the youngest
                   child of Charles VI. of France, (he had twelve
                   children,) was born on the 27th of October 1401;
                   just two months subsequently to her elder sister
                   Isabel's return from England after the death of her
                   husband, the unfortunate King Richard.
                   Consequently, at the date of this interview, May
                   30th, 1419, she was only in her eighteenth year;
                   Henry himself was in his thirty-second year.]

The unsuccessful issue of this famous conference was undoubtedly owing
in some measure to the Duke of Burgundy, who was for a long time
balancing in his mind the policy of joining Henry or the Dauphin.
Henry openly charged the Duke with dishonourable conduct; and then the
Duke, in a conference at Melun,[189] on Tuesday, July 11th, 1419, made
a solemn league, offensive and defensive, with the Dauphin. They   (p. 255)
engaged to join in the administration of the government without
jealousy and envy; and after mutual acts of courtesy, and ratifying
the covenant of peace by solemn oaths, they parted, professedly sworn
friends, but having war against each other in their hearts.

                   [Footnote 189: This treaty is recorded in Rymer,
                   vol. ix. p. 776. The circumstances of outward
                   courtesy, and concealed suspicion, and want of
                   faith, with which the contracting parties met,
                   deliberated, and separated on this occasion, are
                   detailed by Goodwin, p. 237.]

Henry, after the respite of these abortive negociations, again entered
upon his career of war and conquest. The next fortified town was
Ponthoise, possession of which would open his way to Paris. His
soldiers were in the highest spirits; and he seems himself, so far
from being dismayed by the union of the Duke of Burgundy with the
French court, to have been roused by a sense of his difficulties and
dangers to a still higher spirit of valour and enterprise. Ponthoise
was taken by surprise, and Henry regarded it as the most important
place he had taken during the war. How resolved soever he was to be
master of it, he would not make the attempt till after the expiration
of the truce with the Duke of Burgundy, "so punctual was he to the
observance of his faith and honour, which in brave princes are
inviolable." And, to use the words of Goodwin, "his soul was so little
altered from its natural moderation by this success, that he sent to
the King of France to tell him, that though he had taken so
considerable a town, which, being only a few leagues from Paris,
opened a way to the conquest of that capital, yet he now offered him
peace upon the same terms which he had propounded in the treaty    (p. 256)
of Melun; with this only addition, that Ponthoise also should now be
confirmed to him."

The Dauphin's troops diminished the joy of this victory by taking one
or two places by surprise. Still all Paris was in great consternation,
and the panic ran through the Isle of France; whilst Clarence marched
his troops to the very walls of the metropolis. Shortly after the fall
of Ponthoise Henry despatched letters to the citizens of London; which
were intercepted by the enemy, who took the bearer of them prisoner.
He consequently sent another despatch to the same purport, from Trie
Le Chastel, near Gisors, on the 12th of the next month. The importance
he attached to this communication, his repetition of the intercepted
letters clearly intimates: it is chiefly interesting now because it
assures us that Henry believed himself to be almost within reach of
the objects of his enterprise; whilst it acquaints us also with the
fact, that he had applied for aid to all his friends through
Christendom. The letter, it is believed, has never yet been published.

     "BY THE KING.

     "Trusty and well beloved, we greet you well; and we thank you
     with all our heart of the good-will and service that we have
     always found in you hither-to-ward; and specially of your kind
     and notable proffer of an aid, the which ye have granted to us of
     your own good motion, as our brother of Bedford and our
     Chancellor of England have written unto us, giving therein    (p. 257)
     good example in diverse wise to all the remanent of our subjects
     in our land. And so we pray you, as our trust is ye will, for to
     continue. And as to the said aid, the which ye have concluded to
     do unto us now at this time, we pray you specially that we may
     have [it] at such time and in such days as our brother of Bedford
     shall more plainly declare unto you on our behalf; letting you
     fully wit [giving you fully to understand] that we have written to
     all our friends and allies through Christendom, for to have
     succours and help of them against the same time that our said
     brother shall declare you: the which, when they hear of the arming
     and the array that ye and other of our subjects make at home in
     help of us, shall give them great courage to haste their coming
     unto us much the rather, and not fail, as we trust fully.
     Wherefore we pray you heartily that ye would do, touching the
     foresaid aid, as our said brother shall declare unto you on our
     behalf: considering that [neither] so necessary ne [nor] so
     acceptable a service as ye may do, and will do (as we trust into
     you at this time), ye might never have done into us since our wars
     in France began. For we trust fully to God's might and his mercy,
     with good help of your aid and of our land, to have a good end of
     our said war in short time, and for to come home unto you to great
     comfort and singular joy of our heart, as God knoweth: the which
     He grant us to his pleasance, and have you ever in his keeping!
     Given under our signet in our town of Pontoise, the 17th day of

     "And weteth [know], that, the foresaid 17th day of August,
     departed from us at Pontoise our letters to you direct in the
     same tenour; and because it is said the bearer of them is by our
     enemies taken into Crotey, we renouelle [renew] them here at Trye
     the Castle, the 12th day of September."

     "To the Mayor and Citizens of London."

Henry's arms were victorious through this autumn, town after       (p. 258)
town, and fortress after fortress, yielding to him; when an event took
place which had a most decided and immediate influence on his affairs
and those of France.[190] The Dauphin solicited another interview with
the Duke of Burgundy, who was cautioned by some of his friends against
trusting his person again to that prince's power; whilst others
deprecated the appearance in the Duke of any suspicion of the
Dauphin's faith and honour. The Duke proceeded to Montereau; where, on
the bridge which led to the town, a room of wood-work was prepared for
the conference; and at the end, towards the town, were successive
barriers. These excited suspicion; still the Duke quitted the town,
and entered into the place appointed. There he met the Dauphin, who
was surrounded by assassins ready to despatch his enemy at a
word.[191] Never was a more base and foul murder committed than that
by which the Duke of Burgundy was butchered on the bridge of       (p. 259)
Montereau. His own guilt is no justification of his murderers; and it
is an unsafe interpretation of the inscrutable acts of Providence to
regard his death "as the requital of divine justice."[192] He had
caused the Duke of Orleans to be assassinated in the streets of Paris,
and he now falls himself by the murderous hands of assassins. He was a
bold, presumptuous, ambitious, and licentious man; and his own vices
betrayed him to his ruin. But those by whom he fell were equally
guilty of treachery and murder, as though he had through his life been
guiltless of blood, and an example of virtue.

                   [Footnote 190: The Author is fully aware that the
                   brief notice he is able to take of many of the
                   transactions of this period, whether diplomatic or
                   military, (especially with reference to the
                   proceedings of the different parties in France,)
                   must leave his readers unfurnished with information
                   on many points, and in some instances may cause the
                   accounts which he thought indispensable in this
                   work to appear obscure and confused. He could not,
                   however, have avoided such a result of his plan in
                   these Memoirs, without changing their character
                   altogether. Goodwin, whose labours seem scarcely to
                   have been ever duly appreciated, has filled up the
                   outline here given, generally in a satisfactory
                   manner, though many original documents which have
                   been brought to light since his time have been

                   [Footnote 191: See Monstrelet, c. 211.]

                   [Footnote 192: Goodwin thus comments on his
                   death:--"Thus fell the Duke of Burgundy, who, as he
                   had caused the Duke of Orleans to be assassinated
                   in the streets of Paris, so, _by the requital of
                   divine justice_, his own life was abandoned to vile
                   treachery." How very unwise and unsafe are such
                   comments upon the dispensations of Providence is
                   most clearly evinced here. Never was a more foul
                   murder, or more desperate defiance of all law,
                   human and divine, than the Dauphin was guilty of on
                   the bridge of Montereau: and yet, instead of "his
                   life being abandoned to vile treachery by the
                   requital of divine justice," he lived forty-two
                   years after his deed of blood, succeeded to the
                   throne of his father, rescued his kingdom from the
                   hands of the English, and died through abstinence
                   from food, self-imposed from fear of poison. Far
                   more wise and more pious is it to leave such
                   speculations, and to refer all to that day of final
                   retribution, when the _righteousness of_ the
                   supreme Ruler of man's destinies shall be made _as
                   clear as the light, and his just dealing as the
                   noon day_.]

This tragedy filled the people of France with affliction for the
murdered Duke, and with horror at the Dauphin's perfidy and        (p. 260)
cruelty; but no one seemed to be rendered more decidedly hostile to
him for this act than his own mother and father. And whilst the son of
the murdered Duke swore he would never lay down his arms till he had
avenged his father's death upon his murderers, the King himself, by a
proclamation dated Troyes, January 27, 1420, declared that Charles,
Count of Ponthieu, condemned and cursed by God, by nature, and his own
parents, could have no title to the throne; and that it was just and
expedient, for the peace of the nation, that Henry, King of England,
should be established Regent of France.

Henry at this time seems to have been exceedingly apprehensive lest,
by the escape of the princes and nobles of France, his prisoners in
England, the prospect of securing his conquests by a treaty of peace
might be interrupted. An original letter, addressed by him to his
Chancellor, dated Gisors, October 1, 1419, acquaints us with his
anxiety on this subject; whilst it affords another interesting
specimen of the English language at that time, and Henry's own style.

     "Worshipful Father in God, right trusty and well-beloved, we
     greet you well.

     "And we wol and pray you, and also charge you, that as we trust
     unto you, and as ye look to have our good lordship, ye see and
     ordain that good heed be taken unto the sure keeping of our
     French prisoners within our realm, and in especial the Duke of
     Orleans, and after to the Duke of Bourbon. For their escaping,
     and principally the said Duke of Orleans, might never have    (p. 261)
     been so harmful nor prejudicial to us as it might be now if
     any of them escaped, and namely [especially] the said Duke of
     Orleans, which God forbid! And therefore, as we trust, you seeth
     that Robert Waterton, for no trust, fair speech, nor promises
     that might be made unto him, nor for none other manner of cause,
     be so blinded by the said Duke that he be the more reckless of
     his keeping; but that, in eschewing of all perils that may befal,
     he take as good heed unto the sure keeping of his person as

     "And inquire if Robert of Waterton use any reckless governance
     about the keeping of the said Duke, and writeth to him thereof
     that it may be amended. And God have you in his keeping!--Given
     under our signet, at Gizors, the first day of October.
        "To the worshipful Father in God,[193] and right
        trusty and well-beloved, the Bishop of
        Durham, our Chancellor of England."

                   [Footnote 193: This was Thomas Langley, who was
                   elected Bishop of Durham in 1406. He succeeded
                   Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, as
                   Chancellor, on the 23rd of July, 1417, and
                   continued in that office till July 1424, when Henry
                   Beaufort succeeded him. Thomas Langley was in
                   possession of the see of Durham from May 17th,
                   1406, till his death in November 1437. Dugdale,
                   (Orig. Judic.) by mistake, refers Bishop Langley's
                   appointment as Chancellor to 1418. It was July
                   23rd, 5 Henry V. in 1417.]

CHAPTER XXVII.                                                     (p. 262)



One of the most strikingly characteristic features of the
extraordinary hero, whose life and character we are endeavouring to
elucidate, forces itself especially upon our notice during his
campaigns in Normandy. Neither the flush of victory, nor the
disappointments and anxiety of a protracted siege, neither the
multiplied and distracting cares of intricate negociations, nor the
incessant trials of personal fatigue,[194] could withdraw his mind
from what might perhaps be not unfitly called the private duties   (p. 263)
of his high station.[195] If an act of injustice was made known to
him, he could not rest till he had punished the guilty party, and
compelled them to make restitution. If abuses in church or state came
under his eye, (and his eye was never closed against them,) he would
himself personally provide for the necessary reform. If disputes
threatened the peace and welfare of a community over which he had any
control, he delighted to act as mediator and to restore peace. And all
this he did in the midst of the noise, and confusion, and          (p. 264)
ceaseless disturbances of a camp in the heart of an enemy's country,
with the same anxious zeal, and attention to details, as he could have
shown in the times of profoundest peace; though now and then dropping
an expression to make his correspondent understand how much more time
and thought he would have devoted to the subject before them, were not
his mind and body so occupied by war.

                   [Footnote 194: October 28, 1419. The Pell Rolls
                   record payment of 10_l._ to Master Peter Henewer,
                   physician, appointed by the King and his council to
                   go to the King in Normandy. Probably he felt his
                   constitution even then giving way. But as early as
                   13th October 1415, after the battle of Agincourt,
                   payment is made for "diverse medicine, as well for
                   the health of the King's person as for others of
                   his army," sent to Calais.]

                   [Footnote 195: A curious and interesting instance
                   of Henry's personal attention to business in its
                   most minute details, when many of his subjects
                   would have been quite satisfied with the report of
                   another, is preserved among some of the driest and
                   most formal acts of the Privy Council. Certain
                   auditors are instructed to examine, with greater
                   accuracy than before, the accounts of the late
                   Master of the Wardrobe; and to make an especial
                   report to the council, most particularly
                   (potissimè) of such items as they shall find marked
                   in the King's own hand "ad inquirendum." Reference
                   is also made to those sums against which a black
                   mark has been placed by the King's hand. The date
                   of this minute (4th July 1421), and the place
                   (Calais) in which it states that these accounts
                   were examined by the King, add considerably to the
                   strength of this example. Henry had then just left
                   England suddenly on hearing the sad news of a
                   disastrous defeat of part of his army, and the
                   death of his brother, the Duke of Clarence, in
                   battle; and he was at Calais on his road to put
                   himself again at the head of his forces.]

Among many illustrations of this striking trait in Henry's character,
the following instances will, it is presumed, be deemed generally
interesting, and deserving a fuller notice than a brief statement of
the facts might require.

The first is a letter from Henry to his brother the Duke of Bedford,
then Guardian of England, in which he urges him to attend without
delay to some complaints from the subjects of the Duke of Brittany,
and to take prompt and efficient measures to prevent a repetition of
the injuries complained of.

     "BY THE KING.

     "Right trusty and well-beloved brother, we greet you as well. And
     as we suppose it is not out of your remembrance in what wise and
     how oft we have charged you by our letters that good and hasty
     reparation and restitution were ordained and made at all times of
     such attemptats as happened to be made by our subjects against
     the truce taken betwixt us and our brother, the Duke of Brittany;
     and, notwithstanding our said letters, diverse complaints be made
     and sent unto us for default of reparation and restitution of
     such attemptats as be made by certain of our subjects and     (p. 265)
     lieges, as ye may understand by a supplication sent to us by
     the said Duke; which supplication we send you closed within these
     letters, for to have the more plain knowledge of the truth.
     Wherefore we will and charge you that ye call to you our
     chancellor, to have knowledge of the same supplication; and, that
     done, we will that ye do send us in all haste all those persons
     that been our subjects contained in the supplication aforesaid.
     And that also in all other semblable matters ye do ordain so
     hasty and just remedy, restitution, and reparation upon such
     attemptats done by our subjects, in conservation of our truce,
     that no man have cause hereafter to complain in such wise as they
     [have] done for default of right doing; nor we cause to write to
     you alway as we done for such causes, _considered the great
     occupation we have otherwise_. And God have you in his
     keeping!--Given under our signet, in our host afore Rouen, the
     29th day of November."[196] [1418].

                   [Footnote 196: Cotton. Julius, B. vi. f. 35.]

The next instance occurs[197] on the apprehension entertained of
intended violence and general disturbance of the public peace near (p. 266)
Bourdeaux by two noblemen who disputed about the property of a
deceased lord. Henry's letter is addressed to the Council of
Bourdeaux, giving them peremptory orders to put an instant end to the
feud in his name. It is written in French.

                   [Footnote 197: The Author cannot undertake to
                   pronounce how far beyond general instructions the
                   King himself interfered in each of these
                   transactions. The letters on the subject of
                   Brittany and of Oriel College bear internal
                   evidence that they were dictated by Henry himself.
                   But the correspondence, still preserved, is too
                   voluminous for us to believe that he dictated more
                   of the letters than such as were most important or
                   most interesting to himself. Still it must be borne
                   in mind, that we have indisputable evidence of
                   Henry having minutely examined accounts, at a time
                   when he "_had great occupation otherwise_,"
                   directing in his own hand-writing inquiries to be
                   made as to various items.]

     "Very dear and faithful.--Whereas we are given to understand that
     great discord and division prevails between our dear and
     well-beloved, the Lords de Montferrant and de Lescun, on account
     of the lands of the late Lord de Castalhan; we wish this to be
     appeased with all possible speed, in the best manner possible,
     just as we ourselves would be able to end it. So we wish, and we
     charge you, that, immediately on the sight of this, you take the
     whole charge into _our_ [_? your_, _voz_, for _noz_] hands;
     giving straitly in charge to the said Lords Montferrant and de
     Lescun that neither of them make, or procure or suffer to be
     made, any riots or assemblies of people, the one against the
     other, in the meantime, under great pains upon them by you to be
     imposed, and applied to our aid. And this omit in no way, as we
     trust in you.--Given under our signet, in our castle of Gisors,
     the 26th day of September."

The following letter from Henry to the Bishop of Durham, his
Chancellor, dated 10th February 1418, and written whilst he was
engaged in the siege of Falaise, gives us a pleasing view of the care
with which he attended to the claims of individuals, and his desire to
do justice to a faithful servant.

     "Worshipful Father in God, right trusty and well-beloved.
     Forasmuch as our well-beloved squire, John Hull, hath         (p. 267)
     long time been in our ambassiat and service in the parts of
     Spain, for the which he hath complained to us he is endangered
     greatly, and certain goods of his laid to wedde [pledge];
     wherefore we wol that ye see that there be taken due accompts of
     the said John, how many days he hath stand in our said ambassiat
     and service, and thereupon that he be contented and agreed [have
     satisfaction] in the best wise as longeth unto him in this
     case.--Given under our signet, in our host beside our town of
     Falaise, the 10th day of February."[198]

                   [Footnote 198: Cotton. Vespasian, C. xii. f. 127 b.]

But whilst Henry could thus direct his thoughts to the redress of
individual grievances, in the midst of the din of war and the
excitement of the camp, he equally shows calmness, and presence of
mind, and comprehensive views of sound policy in his negociations with
foreign powers, and his instructions to his representatives at home.
In the spring of 1419, letters were received by Henry from several
cities of Flanders, which, together with his answers to them and his
instructions to his brother, will not be read without interest. The
towns of Ghent, Ypres, Bruges, and Franc apply to Henry for his
protection and friendship, or rather for a renewal or continuance of
that especial favour which they had enjoyed in former days; they refer
more particularly to the kindness of his "grandfather, John Duke of
Lancaster, of noble memory, who, because he was born among them, ever
showed them most singular love and regard." This letter,           (p. 268)
written in French, and dated 24th March 1418, is given under the seals
of the three first towns, and the seal of the Abbot of St. Andrew for
the people of Franc, because they had no common seal. Henry's answer,
in Latin, assures them, "If the people of Flanders will behave towards
England as they are said to have done in times past, we shall rejoice
to give no less valuable indications of our favour than did our father
or grandfather; and we have instructed our brother, the Duke of
Bedford, and our council, to send ambassadors with full powers to
Calais, to negociate a peace between England and you." Probably Henry
did not pen this letter himself; but, whoever indited it, the letter
contains fewer barbarisms, and has more indications of classical
scholarship in the writer, than are often found in modern Latin.[199]
Henry forwarded both the Flemish prayer and his own answer to his
brother, with instructions in English; and, shortly after, he sent a
long letter to his Chancellor, the Bishop of Durham, as well on that
negociation, as on an affair in dispute between the English merchants
and the Genoese. This document shows how minutely Henry investigated
the matters on which he wrote; and how sensible a view he took of the
interests of our commerce, and how dispassionate was his judgment. The
Genoese had seized goods belonging to English merchants, who laid
claim for a compensation. Henry's letter states the exact sum      (p. 269)
at which the English estimated their merchandise, and the lower price
fixed by the Genoese;[200] and then, in consideration of the injury
done to English commerce by the Genoese letters of marque, Henry
recommends the English merchants to accept the offer made by the
Genoese, provided they stipulate that the English merchant vessels
shall have as free course of trade to Genoa as the Genoese desired to
have to the ports of England. This correspondence is found among the
"Proceedings of the Privy Council." The whole is well deserving the
perusal of any one interested in the history of British commerce, but
is on too extensive a scale for insertion at length in this work.[201]

                   [Footnote 199: Bib. Cotton. Galba, B. i. f. 131.]

                   [Footnote 200: The English merchants (Henry says)
                   valued their goods captured at 10,000_l._ the
                   Genoese estimated them at 7,180_l._ and they are
                   willing "for to stand in our good grace and
                   benevolence, to pay without any exception 4,000_l._
                   at reasonable times; our subjects and our merchants
                   of our land having hereafter free coming and going
                   to Genoa, as they of Genoa desire to have into our
                   realm of England."]

                   [Footnote 201: A letter addressed by Henry, whilst
                   he was at Mante, to one Thomas Rees and other
                   merchants of Bristol, (October 11th, 1419,) shows
                   what accurate information he received of even
                   minute affairs in England. He tells them that they
                   have imported goods from Genoa, and he desires to
                   select from them such as he might wish to have,
                   promising to pay for them honestly.]

The only other instance which the Author of these Memoirs would add to
the preceding (though many and various examples of the same kind are
at hand) is one which brings all the associations of opening       (p. 270)
life before his mind, and recals days which can never be forgotten,
whilst they can never be remembered without the liveliest feelings of
gratitude to the Giver of every good. The days which he spent within
the walls of that college to which Henry's letter refers, are long ago
past and gone; but they have left a fragrance and relish on the mind,
and the remembrance of them is sweet.

Oriel College, founded by Edward II, not long before his unhappy
murder, for the promotion of sound learning and religious education,
has been, if any college ever was, faithful to its trust. When Henry
V. was (as we believe) studying under the care of his uncle, the
future Cardinal, John Carpenter, afterwards Bishop of Worcester, was
resident in Oriel; and between him and young Henry a close intimacy,
we are told, was formed. These friendships, cherished when the heart
is most warm, and the best feelings freshest, not only endear the two
friends to each other through life, but excite in each an interest in
whatever belongs to the other. On this principle we may believe that
Oriel College, and its peace and welfare, were objects of no ordinary
interest to Henry; certainly his friend, John Carpenter, felt so
grateful to the society in which he had imbibed the principles of
philosophy and religion, as to found one new fellowship in addition to
the eight of its original foundation, and the four founded by his
contemporary, though probably his senior, John Frank, Master       (p. 271)
of the Rolls. About the time when Henry was pursuing his victories in
France, an unhappy dispute arose to interrupt the harmony of this
little community. Perfect peace is reserved for the faithful in
heaven; on earth we must not expect to pass through life either as
insulated individuals, or as members of any society, however sound may
be its principles, and however Christian may be the general temper of
its members, without some of those disturbing vexations which admonish
us (with many other warnings) not to suffer our hopes to anchor here.
Just as in a family, quarrels in a college are the more fatal to the
comfort of its members in proportion to the narrowness of the circle
which surrounds them, and to the closeness of the bond which more
frequently compels them to meet together. The citizen of the world may
avoid one whom he cannot meet with satisfaction and pleasure; the
inmate of a college comes in contact with his brethren every day. The
place of prayer, the refectory, the social board of kindly
intercourse, all well calculated to cherish and ripen feelings of
friendship, yet if unkind sentiments are lurking in the breast, only
provoke their expression, and cherish the heartburnings, and fan the
embers of discord into a flame.

In a college the first spark of unkindness, unbrotherly, anti-social
feelings, should especially be extinguished: disunion there is more
fatal to comfort and ease, and peace of mind, and the enjoyment    (p. 272)
of whatever blessings might otherwise be in store, than in any other
community except that of husband and wife, parent and child, brother
and brother. To no combination of Christians would the Apostle with
greater earnestness repeat his injunction, "Love one another."

What was the immediate subject of dispute at the time when Henry
interfered with Oriel College, the Author has never been able to
discover. There is no auxiliary evidence, and the only source of
reasonable conjecture must be the internal testimony of the King's
letter itself. The epistle is an original, preserved in the Tower of
London; its date is 7th of July, and in the town of Mante. This fixes
it (with as much certainty as we can ever expect in such matters) to
the year 1419; when Henry seems to have made Mante his chief residence
for some time, and was certainly there both before and after the 7th
of July in that year.

This letter is very interesting, particularly to Oriel men, for other
reasons, and especially because it contains indisputable proof of the
position maintained by them, that not the Chancellor, nor the King by
his Chancellor, but the King himself in person, is the visitor. May
his interference on a similar occasion be never again needed! May
discord between the Head and the Fellows, or between the Fellows among
themselves, be for ever banished! But should the voice and the hand of
the visitor be ever required "to stint the controversy," the       (p. 273)
visitor of this "ancient and royal house"--is the King of England
only. The letter is in itself characteristic of Henry, and affords,
probably, a fair specimen of the style of an English gentleman of that

     "BY THE KING.[202]

     "Worshipful father in God, our right trusty and well-beloved, we
     greet you well. And for as much as we lately sent for Master
     Richard Garsedale, one of the contendents of the Provost of the
     Oriell, to that end that for his party should nothing be pursued,
     neither at the court of Rome nor elsewhere, but that that
     controversy should be put in respite unto our coming home with
     God's grace: for our occupation is such that we may not well
     intend to such matters here. Wherefore we will that ye make both
     the said Garsdale, which cometh now home by our leave, and
     sufficient of both the parties that neither of them shall     (p. 274)
     make further pursuit of appeal at court of Rome, nor no manner of
     pursuit there, or elsewhere, as touching the said controversy,
     unto our coming as before; at which time our intent is to put the
     same controversy to a good and righteous conclusion, and the said
     party in rest. And if any of them have the said pursuit of appeal
     hanging in court, that they abate it, and send to revoke it in all
     haste: and that they make all such as been their attornies or
     doers in court spiritual and temporal to surcease. And we will
     furthermore, as touching our said College of the Oriell, that ye
     put it in such governance as seemeth to your discretion for to do,
     unto our coming. And God have you in his keeping!--Given under our
     signet, in our town of Mante, the 7th day of July.
        "To the worshipful father in God, our right
        trusty and well-beloved, the Bishop
        of Durham, our Chancellor of England."

                   [Footnote 202: It is thought right to subjoin the
                   following transcript of this epistle in its
                   primitive garb, except the abbreviations.

                   "BY THE KYNG.

                   "Worshipful fader yn God oure right trusty and
                   welbeloved, we grete yow wel. And forasmuche as we
                   lete sende for Maistre Richard Garsedale oon of the
                   contendentes of the prevoste of the Oriell to that
                   ende that for his partie shulde no thyng be
                   poursuyd neither at the courte of Rome ne
                   elleswhere, but that that contraversie shulde be
                   put in respit unto oure comyng hoom with Goddes
                   grace, for oure occupacion is such that we mow nat
                   wel entende to suche also Lentwardyn, come afore
                   you, and that ye take surety matteres here.
                   Wherefore we wol that ye make boothe the said
                   Garsdale whiche cometh now hoom be oure leve, and
                   also Lentwardyn com afore you, and that ye take
                   seurte soufficeant of bothe the partiees, that
                   neither of hem shal make ferther poursuyt of
                   appelle at courte of Rome ner no manere of poursuyt
                   there or elleswhere as touching the said
                   contraversee unto oure comynge as before, at whiche
                   tyme oure entent ys to put the same contraversie to
                   a goode and rightwyse conclusion, and the said
                   partie yn rest. And yf any of hem have ye saide
                   poursuyt of apelle hangyng yn courte that they
                   abate hit and sende to revoke hit yn al haste, and
                   that thay make al suche as been thaire attornes or
                   doeres yn court spirituel or temporel to surcesse.
                   And we wol ferthermore as touching oure said
                   college of the Orielle that ye put hit yn suche
                   governance as semeth to yowre discrecion for to doo
                   unto oure comyng. And God have you yn his keping.
                   Yeven under oure signet in oure town of Mante, ye
                   vii. day of Juyll.
                       "To ye worshipful fader yn God our right
                       trusty and welbeloved ye Bisshop of
                       Duresme oure Chaunceller of England."]

Whilst Henry was occupied by his campaign in France, a             (p. 275)
parliament met October 16th, 1419, and voted one-fifteenth, and
one-tenth, and one-half part of them both. In this parliament that
enactment was made on which our authority chiefly rests for believing
the Queen-Dowager, Bolinbroke's widow, to have been guilty of
conspiring her son-in-law's death. The act, after declaring that she
was accused by friar John Randolf, and other credible witnesses, of
having compassed the King's death in the most horrible manner; and
that Roger Colles of Shrewsbury, and Peronell Brocart, lately living
with the Queen, were violently suspected of having been partners in
her guilt; enacted that all the lands, and castles, and possessions,
as well of the Queen as of her accomplices, should be seized for the
King's use, provision being made for the maintenance of the Queen and
her servants.

Meanwhile, much progress was made in France towards a peace between
Henry, the French King, and the young Duke of Burgundy. An armistice
was signed between Henry and Charles at Mante, November 20, but only
for the Isle of France; and, at the close of the month, the        (p. 276)
Duke of Burgundy, then at Arras, signed his consent to the articles
which Henry had commissioned his ambassadors to lay before him, which
were these:

First, that he should have the Princess of France in marriage.
Secondly, that he should not disturb the King of France in the
possession of the crown; but suffer him peaceably to enjoy it, and
receive its revenues as long as he lived. Thirdly, that the Queen also
should during her life retain her title and dignity, with such a part
of the revenues of the crown as would be suitable to maintain the
royal honour. Moreover, that the crown of France, with all its
dominions, should, after the death of the King, descend to Henry and
his heirs for ever; that, in consequence of the incapacity of the
King's mind, Henry should as Regent administer the affairs of
government, with a council of the nobles of France; with other
stipulations subservient to these grand fundamental points.

The Duke of Burgundy also agreed on certain articles[203] of amity
between himself and Henry, stipulating to give his own support of
Henry's authority and rights as Regent and King; in return for Henry's
protection of him in all his rights, and against all his enemies,
especially against the murderers of his father.

                   [Footnote 203: These articles were signed on the
                   following January during the armistice.]

To effect these great ends, a general armistice was concluded at   (p. 277)
Rouen, December 24th, to continue to the 1st of March, from which it
was provided that the Dauphin should be excluded. This truce was
afterwards prolonged to March 24th. Meanwhile, the war was vigorously
carried on by the English and Burgundian forces against the Dauphin;
whilst on the confines of Normandy, where the English at that time
were stationed, every thing was conducted by the people of the two
nations in as amicable and familiar a manner as though the peace had
absolutely been concluded, and the English King were Regent of France;
an object, as they professed, most devoutly desired by the people of
Paris, who sent their deputies to bespeak the good offices of Henry
for the preservation of their rights and liberties.[204] Henry's
ambassadors made many objections to the terms of the proposed treaty,
chiefly on the ground that, by accepting them, Henry would injure his
then title to the throne of France. But he saw himself that all
essentials were provided for; and desirous of terminating the war, and
more anxious (we may believe) to make the beloved Princess his own
wife, left Rouen on his journey to Troyes, where the French court and
the Duke of Burgundy were. Henry passed so near to the walls of Paris,
that the people hastened out of the city to see him; and they      (p. 278)
greeted him with joyous and welcoming acclamations.

                   [Footnote 204: About this time, John, Duke of
                   Bedford, the King's brother, had an offer of the
                   reversion of the crown of Naples; but the
                   negociations ended in no successful issue.]

Henry, arriving at Troyes, made an immediate visit to the King, the
Queen, and the Princess. How far the love of Henry towards Katharine
expedited the negociations we cannot tell. Every difficulty, however,
vanished; and a final agreement and perpetual peace was made and sworn
to "by Charles, King of France, and his dearest and most beloved son,
Henry, King of England, constituted heir of the crown and Regent of
France." Henry having consented during Charles's life not to assume
the title of King of France, Charles promised always to style Henry
"our most illustrious son, Henry, King of England, heir of France."
After Charles's death, the two kingdoms of England and France were to
be for ever united under one King. Many other articles swell this
solemn league, which are all subservient to these leading provisions.

This treaty was signed at Troyes, May 21, 1420, in the presence of the
Emperor Sigismund and many of the Continental princes, all of whom
became parties thereto. On the same day Katharine and Henry were
affianced before the high altar of St. Peter's Church, in Troyes; in
which city proclamation of the peace[205] was made both in the French
and the English tongue. It was afterwards proclaimed at Paris,     (p. 279)
and the principal cities of France; and, on June 24, it was proclaimed
in London, after a solemn procession and a sermon at St. Paul's Cross:
and an ordinance was made for breaking the great seal of England, and
making another, on which to the King's title should be added, "Regent
and heir-apparent of France;" and a corresponding order was given to
the officers of his mint at Rouen for a change of the inscription on
the coinage there."[206]

                   [Footnote 205: The heartfelt satisfaction and joy
                   with which this peace between the two countries was
                   generally hailed as a new and unexpected blessing,
                   is conveyed to us in a most lively manner by the
                   letter which Sir Hugh Luttrell wrote to the King on
                   the occasion, and which bears at the same time
                   incidental testimony to Henry's condescending and
                   kind attention to his old comrade in arms. Sir Hugh
                   was the Lieutenant of Harfleur, and Henry had
                   himself sent him an account of the happy issue of
                   his struggle.... He ascribes it to the providence
                   of the Creator that Henry had concluded a perpetual
                   peace between two realms which ever, out of mind of
                   any chroniclers, had been at dissension; and had
                   brought to an end what no man had hitherto wrought;
                   "thanking God," he continues, "with meek heart,
                   that he hath sent me that grace to abide the time
                   for to see it, as for the greatest gladness and
                   consolation that ever came into my heart; not
                   dreading in myself that He who hath sent you that
                   grace in so short a time, shall send you much more
                   in time coming."--Ellis's Original Letters,

                   [Footnote 206: On this subject, T.D. Hardy, Esq. in
                   his Introduction to the Charter Rolls, just
                   published by the Record Commission, gives the
                   following clear and satisfactory
                   information:--Until the 9th of April 1420, Henry V.
                   styled himself in his charters and on his great
                   seal, "Henricus Dei gratia Rex Angliæ et Franciæ et
                   Dominus Hiberniæ" And on the Norman Roll of the
                   fifth year of his reign he is sometimes styled Duke
                   of Normandy, in conjunction with his other titles,
                   as "Henry par le grace de Dieu, Roy de Fraunce et
                   d'Engleterre, Seigneur de Irlande, et Duc de
                   Normandie." On the above 9th of April he
                   relinquished the title of King of France during the
                   life-time of his father-in-law, Charles,
                   preliminary to the treaty of Troyes, which was
                   signed the 21st of May, 1420; and during the
                   remainder of his life he styled himself, "Henricus
                   Dei gratia Rex Angliæ, Heres et Regens Franciæ, et
                   Dominus Hiberniæ."

                   Notwithstanding an article in the agreement of the
                   9th of April, that during the life of Charles,
                   Henry V. should not assume the title of King of
                   France; yet within ten days he issued a precept
                   from Rouen relative to the Norman coinage, upon one
                   side of which was to be inscribed, "Henricus
                   Francorum Rex." As Henry had not then signed the
                   article of peace at Troyes, it did not perhaps
                   occur to him that he was thus breaking his
                   agreement with France.--Rot. Chart. p. xxi.]

The marriage of Henry with Katharine[207] was celebrated with      (p. 280)
great magnificence by the Archbishop of Sens, on the 30th of May, in
the presence of the principal nobility of Burgundy and France. The
Duke of Burgundy first, and then all the other assembled nobles, swore
allegiance to Henry, as Regent of France. "For," (as the
historians[208] say,) "the fame of his heroic actions in war, when his
person was unknown to them, had acquired him a universal esteem; and
they knew not what most to admire, his courage, conduct, or success.
But now his noble presence, in which there was a due mixture of    (p. 281)
majesty with affable deportment, procured a greater veneration. They
knew him to be prudent in councils, experienced in war, of an
undaunted courage in dangers, and prosperous in all his enterprises;
and therefore they persuaded themselves that their country would be
happy under the influences of his government." It is said that they
were confirmed in these anticipations of good, as well as exceedingly
delighted, by the speech which he addressed to them in full assembly,
showing the moderation and temper of his soul. At the close of his
address they unanimously expressed their confidence in his honour, and
the highest regard for his interests.

                   [Footnote 207: It is said, but whether on good
                   authority does not appear, that Henry placed
                   English attendants about the Queen's person;
                   allowing only five French to wait on her, of whom
                   three were matrons and the other two young ladies.
                   Her confessor was John Boyery (query Bouverie?),
                   doctor in theology.--Pell Rolls, 18th June 1421.]

                   [Footnote 208: See Goodwin.]

The Dauphin, however, continued to prevent the establishment of peace;
and, having obtained from the Scotch parliament a reinforcement of
seven thousand men, under the command of the Earl of Buchan, still
proved a formidable enemy to Henry. But, never relaxing his exertion
whilst any thing remained to be done, Henry prepared most vigorously
to meet the forces thus united against him.[209]

                   [Footnote 209: Among the forces which he had drawn
                   together, were a body of chosen men and archers
                   from the parts of Wales; but whether they were
                   natives of the Principality, or English soldiers
                   drawn from the garrisons there, does not
                   appear.--Pell Rolls, 3rd June, 8 Henry V. i.e.

He retained still in his camp the King of Scotland, by whose       (p. 282)
influence he had hoped to draw the Scots from the service of the
Dauphin; but they would not listen to their monarch whilst he was the
King of England's prisoner. The English army, however, was recruited
by a considerable reinforcement, which the Duke of Bedford had brought
over with him. He had governed England as Regent, during the King's
absence, with great zeal and wisdom; and he now left the Duke of
Gloucester to rule the kingdom in his stead.

Many cities and garrisons attached to the Dauphin held out with much
resolution and fidelity to his cause, and the English had full
employment in reducing them. The town of Melun was defended with most
determined obstinacy. During the protracted siege of this place, Henry
was surrounded by all the magnificence and state of a royal court
amidst the noise and disorders of war. His Queen, also, "with a
shining train of ladies," came to the camp; for whom "a fair house was
built, at such a distance as secured them from any danger of shot from
the town." The royal bride and bridegroom had been allowed a very
brief interval for that enjoyment of each other's society in
retirement and privacy which is denied to few in any rank of life
immediately on their union. Their marriage was solemnized on the 30th
of May at Paris, and for one short week only from that day are the
records silent as to Henry's residence. On the 7th of June he was at
Villeneuf, engaged again (if, indeed, there had been any           (p. 283)
interruption of his public duties,) in the business of the state. From
July the 9th to the end of September he passed, with very few
exceptions, his day alternately at Paris, and in the camp before
Melun, which was about ten leagues from the capital. It was, we may
reasonably conjecture, to make this new life of war as little irksome
to Katharine as the circumstances would allow, and to provide an
additional source of amusement and gratification, that Henry sent to
England for those new harps for himself and his Queen, to the purchase
of which at that time we have already referred.

At the surrender of Melun, a circumstance took place characteristic of
Henry's firmness and justice, mingled at the same time with feelings
of friendship and kindheartedness. A gentleman of his household, who
had fought with him at Agincourt, and was high in his esteem, was
convicted on clear evidence of having received a bribe during the
treaty for the surrender of the town, which tempted him to favour the
escape of one suspected of being an accomplice in the Duke of
Burgundy's murder. The young Duke of Burgundy and the Duke of Clarence
petitioned for his pardon; but Henry gave orders for his execution,
saying he would have no traitors in his army. At the same time he was
heard to declare he would have given fifty thousand nobles that
Bertrand de Chaumont had not been guilty of such a crime.

Shortly after the surrender of Melun, Charles and Henry went       (p. 284)
together to Paris, accompanied by their Queens. The royal party were
met by the citizens with every demonstration of joy and devotedness;
and, in honour of Henry, most persons of quality dressed themselves in
red.[210] The first solemn act performed at Paris after the rejoicings
were ended, was the attainder of the Dauphin and his accomplices for
the murder of the Duke of Burgundy. He was denounced as unworthy of
succeeding to any inheritance, and sentenced to perpetual banishment;
judgment of death being pronounced against all his accomplices. A
knowledge of these proceedings only stimulated him to further acts of

                   [Footnote 210: "The English colour." See Goodwin.]

Henry's court was at the Louvre, whilst Charles' was at the Hôtel de
St. Paul. The two courts were marked by a wide difference in splendour
and attendance. The palace of Charles was deserted, whilst Henry's was
crowded by almost all the great men of France.

Having now established the government of France, and provided for its
maintenance during his absence, Henry proceeded with his royal bride
towards England. In Normandy he was well received by the estates, who
were assembled at Rouen, and who voted him a subsidy of 400,000
livres. On leaving this place, he constituted the Duke of Clarence his
Lieutenant of Normandy, and gave commission to the Duke of Exeter  (p. 285)
to administer the government in Paris.[211] With his Queen and the
Duke of Bedford he reached his native land in safety on the last day
of January, or the first of February 1421; and he immediately
communicated to the Archbishop his wish for him to appoint a day of
public thanksgiving.[212]

                   [Footnote 211: In the parliament (2nd December
                   1420), Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, being
                   Lieutenant of the kingdom, provision was made that,
                   should the King arrive, the parliament should
                   continue to sit without any new summons: the reason
                   also is given; because the King, being heir and
                   Regent of France during the life-time of his
                   father-in-law, and King after his death, would
                   often be in England and often also in France. In
                   this parliament a prayer is preferred against the
                   Oxford scholars, who in vast numbers and armed
                   attacked gentlemen in the counties of Oxford,
                   Bucks, and Berks, and robbed them.]

                   [Footnote 212: On 30th January, the Pell Rolls
                   record payment of 20 _l._ for bows, arrows, and
                   bowstrings, a present from Henry to his
                   father-in-law, the King of France.]

CHAPTER XXVIII.                                                    (p. 286)



Henry, now in the enjoyment of peace in England, Ireland, and France,
(except only so far as the Dauphin was yet unsubdued,) in the
enjoyment, too, of a union with the most beautiful Princess of the
age, seems to have reached the highest pinnacle of his ambition and
his hopes. The Queen was crowned with great solemnity and magnificence
in Westminster Abbey,[213] on the third Sunday in Lent. (23rd February

                   [Footnote 213: Walsingham says, that she was
                   crowned on the first Sunday in Lent, which in that
                   year fell on the 9th February. But the Pell Roll
                   (Mich. 8 Hen. V.) contains a payment to divers
                   messengers sent through England, to summon the
                   spiritualty and laity to assist at the solemnizing
                   of the coronation of Katharine Queen of England, at
                   Westminster, on the third Sunday in Lent.]

After Henry had gratified his royal consort by proving to her how  (p. 287)
deep and lively an interest the people of England took in her welfare
and happiness, he retired with her for a time to Windsor. A
combination, however, of various motives, induced him to propose to
her to join him in the execution of a design on which he seems to have
been bent, and to accompany him[214] in a progress through the
kingdom. He was most anxious to ascertain by personal inspection the
state and condition of his subjects in various parts of the realm;
more especially with the view of satisfying himself that justice   (p. 288)
was impartially administered, crimes repressed, and innocence
protected. He felt also naturally a desire to present his loyal
subjects to his Queen, of whom we have many proofs that he was in no
ordinary degree proud; and, at the same time, to add to her
gratification by visiting in her society those places with which he
had early associations of pleasure, or which it would be most
interesting to a foreigner to see. He was also influenced, perhaps, in
some measure by a desire of visiting, in a sort of pilgrimage, the
shrine of the patron saint of his family, John of Bridlington; and
that of John of Beverley, the saint to whose merits the hierarchy, as
we have seen, so presumptuously ascribed the turn of the battle on the
day of Agincourt.

                   [Footnote 214: There is so much inconsistency in the
                   accounts of chroniclers as to the royal proceedings
                   on this occasion, that to attempt to reconcile them
                   all seems a hopeless task. The Author, however,
                   having been furnished with the following facts
                   ascertained from the "Teste" of several writs and
                   patents preserved in the Tower, is able to
                   recommend, with greater confidence in its accuracy,
                   the adoption of the journal offered in the text.

                   In the year 1421, King Henry V. was
                         January, from 1 to 31, at Rouen.
                               February 1,       "  Dover.
                                       2 to 28,  "  Westminster.
                                 March 1 to  5,  "  Westminster.
                                       5 to 14,  "  Uncertain.
                                            15,  "  Coventry.
                                            27,  "  Leicester.
                      From March 28 to April 2,  "  Uncertain.
                                 April 2 to  4,  "  York.
                                            15,  "  Lincoln.
                                            18,  "  York.
                                 From 18 to 30,  "  Uncertain.
                                   May 1 to 31,  "  Westminster.]

With these motives,[215] combined, it may be, with others, Henry lost
no time in carrying his intention into effect. He seems to have always
acted under a practical sense of the maxim, never to put off till
to-morrow what is to be done, and what may be done, to-day. Without
waiting for the summer, or a more advanced stage of the spring,--and,
had he delayed for longer days and more genial weather, the journey
would never have been taken,--we conclude that, about the beginning of
the second week in March, the King and Queen, attended by a large  (p. 289)
retinue of friends and nobles, began their journey northward.[216] The
first place in which we are sure they rested is Coventry, which they
reached probably about the 8th of March, and where they were certainly
on the 15th of that month, the eve of Palm Sunday. Henry had a house
at Coventry, in right of the duchy of Cornwall, called Cheylesmoor;
and probably they took up their abode in that mansion during their
stay at Coventry. The greater part of the time spent in Warwickshire
was perhaps passed in the castle of Kenilworth, a favourite residence
of his grandfather, John of Gaunt, who made very great additions to
the mansion, always afterwards called the Lancaster Buildings. Henry
himself, too, had been much employed in improving this place, and
surrounding it with pleasure-grounds and arbours,[217] instead of the
thorns and brakes which had formerly been seen there. Just seven years
before this visit with his Queen, he had drained and planted the rough
land near the castle; and the local historians tells us the spot was
called "The Plesance in the Marsh."

                   [Footnote 215: Rapin says, but, as it should seem,
                   without reason, that Henry's aim was, under colour
                   of shewing the country to the Queen, to procure by
                   his presence the election of members for the
                   parliament who would be favourable to him.]

                   [Footnote 216: MS. Cott. Domit. A. 12.]

                   [Footnote 217: Elmham says, that, in 1414, Henry
                   kept his Lent in the castle of Kenilworth, and
                   caused an arbour to be planted in the Marsh there,
                   for his pleasure, amongst the thorns and bushes
                   where a fox before had harboured, which he killed.]

From Kenilworth the royal party went (probably about the 20th of
March) to their house at Leicester, where they kept the festival   (p. 290)
of Easter.[218] Easter Sunday fell that year on the 23rd of March.
Could Henry have known of the sad calamity which befel him that very
Easter, his rejoicings would have been turned into mourning. It was at
that very time that the disastrous conflict took place, in which the
English were routed, and the Duke of Clarence, whom Henry had left his
representative on the Continent, was slain. Where the King was when
the melancholy tidings reached him, and which induced him to cut short
his progress, does not appear. We know that the joyful news of
Agincourt reached London on the fourth morning after the battle; and
probably the sad report of his brother's death, and of the
discomfiture of his troops, was posted on to Henry whilst he was at
York. Towards this, his northern capital, we conclude that he
proceeded from Leicester, about the last day of March. The inhabitants
of York had made most costly preparations for the reception of their
royal visitors; and on their arrival they welcomed their conquering
sovereign, and the partner of his joys and cares, with every
demonstration of loyalty and devotedness. The most princely presents
were offered to Henry in the most dutiful and cordial spirit of loving
and admiring subjects. How many days they remained together        (p. 291)
amidst the festivities and rejoicings of the province of York, is not
recorded; perhaps the limit to this festival was the hour when the
gloom which spread over the kingdom on the death of Clarence reached
the royal party. It is not improbable that the news of his loss gave a
turn to Henry's mind, and induced him with sentiments of piety and
mourning to leave the splendour of his court for a while, and, laying
aside the feelings of the triumphant monarch, to give himself up to
exercises of devotion, and to a preparation for the same awful change
which had so unexpectedly stopped the career of his younger brother.
Leaving his Queen among his friends and faithful lieges of York, he
proceeded on a kind of pilgrimage to Bridlington, Beverley, and
Lincoln;[219] but in what order he visited those places it does not
appear. He was at York on the 4th of April, and again on the 18th;
whilst it is equally certain that on the 15th he was at Lincoln.   (p. 292)
The author of the manuscript which tells us that his object in going
to Lincoln was to be present at the installation of Richard Flemming,
then lately elected Bishop, seems to be in error when he adds, that
the King rejoined the Queen at Pontefract, and thence proceeded to
Lincoln, and thence to London; unless, indeed, the King visited
Lincoln once by himself, and once with Katharine; a supposition in the
last degree improbable. He certainly returned to York after his
sojourn at Lincoln on the 15th. It is very probable that, when he left
York, he proceeded first to Bridlington, thence to Beverley, and so,
crossing the Humber at Hull, reached Lincoln about the 13th of April,
and, having passed two or three days there, returned to York on the
17th. The only other town mentioned by chroniclers is Pontefract.
Documents may, perhaps, be hereafter discovered to account for him
between the 18th of April, when he was certainly at York, and the 1st
of May, when he had returned to Westminster. At present we are left to
conjecture: but it cannot be thought improbable if we suppose that,
from his castle of Pontefract, (where he would have seen the Duke of
Orleans[220], then a prisoner there, whom he always treated with   (p. 293)
respect and kindness, and whom he indulged with as much relaxation of
his confinement as was compatible with his safe custody,) he took the
route for Chester, the place where he had formerly landed on his
return from Trym Castle. Thence pointing out to his bride the country
of Glyndowrdy, in which he passed his noviciate in arms; and the whole
line of the Welsh borders, with which he had been long familiar, he
would probably have passed on to Shrewsbury, where he might have taken
Katharine to the spot in the battle-field on which Hotspur fell. From
Shrewsbury, his line would be through Worcester, in which city he had
often been stationed during the Welsh rebellion; and so onwards
through Oxford, (a place he probably had visited on his journey
northward, and where he would have been delighted to show Katharine
the "narrow chamber" assigned to him when he studied there,) thus
finishing his circuit where it began, at Windsor.

                   [Footnote 218: Walsingham says, that Henry put off
                   the celebration of the feast of St. George, (which,
                   being the 23rd of April, must have fallen on a day
                   after he had left York,) and directed it to be
                   celebrated at Windsor on the Sunday after

                   [Footnote 219: His visits to the hallowed
                   resting-places of these saints are not at all
                   inconsistent with the opinion which we have
                   ventured already to give, that he was never heard
                   to address in the language of prayer or
                   thanksgiving any other being than the one true God.
                   A similar feeling of love for the holy men of God,
                   whether he could testify that love to the living,
                   or merely record it for the memory of the dead,
                   might have led him to the installation of the
                   Bishop of Lincoln, and to the tomb of John of
                   Bridlington and John of Beverley. Henry was not a
                   Protestant by profession; but, compared with the
                   hierarchy by whom he was surrounded, he approached
                   almost, if not altogether, this fundamental point
                   of difference between the two churches, the
                   rejection of the adoration of any being, save the
                   one only God.]

                   [Footnote 220: Henry's prisoners of war were
                   dispersed among various castles and strong places
                   throughout the kingdom in England and Wales.
                   Payment is recorded, July 10, 1422, to John
                   Salghall, Constable of Harlech, of 30_l._ for the
                   safe custody of thirty prisoners, conveyed by him
                   from London.--Pell Rolls, 9 Henry V.]

There are difficulties attending this supposition, to the existence of
which the Author is fully alive; but in the whole affair there is only
a choice of difficulties. He is aware that the journey from York
through Chester and Shrewsbury to Windsor would have required the
royal party to travel for fourteen days at the rate of twenty miles on
the average each day consecutively. But, on the other hand, without
such a supposition, the old chroniclers[221] must be altogether    (p. 294)
laid aside, (though there is no other evidence to make their statement
improbable,) when they assure us that Henry took Katharine to visit
his principality, as well as the distant parts of his kingdom.[222] It
must, moreover, be borne in mind that although he might have felt a
reluctance (notwithstanding the melancholy event which hastened his
return to the capital) to break off his intended progress without
visiting at least the borders of Wales, yet he was pressed for time,
and would therefore not willingly lose a day on the road. Be this as
it may, we are assured[223] that, wherever he went, his ears were in
all places open to the complaints of the injured and oppressed; he
redressed their wrongs, punished the perverters of public trusts,  (p. 295)
reformed many abuses in the local governments, and established such
ordinances as should secure for the future the impartial
administration of justice to high and low alike.

                   [Footnote 221: Holinshed and others.]

                   [Footnote 222: The Author has invariably discarded
                   the assertions of the chroniclers, however
                   positively affirmed, or frequently reiterated,
                   whenever they have appeared to be incompatible with
                   ascertained facts, or inconsistent with what would
                   otherwise be probable. In the present instance,
                   after a review of all the circumstances, and an
                   examination of all the documents with which he is
                   acquainted, though the supposition here adopted may
                   be deemed ideal and fanciful, he is inclined to
                   think that the acquiescence in that view will be
                   attended with fewer difficulties than the adoption
                   of any other.]

                   [Footnote 223: But whilst Henry was thus actively
                   employed in visiting his subjects, and spreading
                   the blessing which a good King can never fail to
                   dispense wherever his influence can be felt, his
                   ministers of state sought his directions on all
                   important matters for the management of his affairs
                   on the Continent. Thus a despatch addressed to the
                   Treasurer by William Bardolf, Lieutenant of Calais,
                   is forwarded with all speed to the King in
                   Yorkshire, that his especial pleasure might be
                   taken thereon. Payment of the messenger appears in
                   the Pell Rolls, April 1, 9 Hen. V.]

If, as we are led to believe, Henry returned by the way of Chester,
his ardent imagination and pious turn of thought would have reverted
with mingled feelings of wonder and gratitude to his journey along the
same road two-and-twenty years before; when, returning from his own
captivity in Ireland, he accompanied the captive Richard towards his
metropolis, to resign his throne there, and soon afterwards to lay
down his life. To Henry, indeed, mementos presented themselves on
every side of the frailty of all sublunary possessions, the precarious
tenure by which king or peasant alike holds any earthly thing; whilst
he was himself destined, in the revolution of the next year, to become
in his own person a marked example of the same uncertainty. His spirit
might seem to address us from the grave, in the words of a reflecting
man.[224] "A day, an hour, a moment is sufficient for the overthrow of
dominions which are thought to be grounded on foundations of adamant."

                   [Footnote 224: Casaubon, quoted by Sir Walter

       *       *       *       *       *

Where Henry was when the unexpected news arrested his progress is not
known. The certainty is, that whilst he was anxiously engaged in
reforming abuses, and preparing good laws at home; after he had    (p. 296)
also just concluded a peace with Genoa, and, by generously releasing
the King of Scotland, had bound him by the strongest ties of gratitude
and affection; his exertions were suddenly arrested by the sad news of
the defeat of his forces at Baugy in Anjou, and the death, in battle,
of his brother, the Duke of Clarence.[225] These tidings caused him to
shorten his progress, and to return to his capital, where he arrived
at furthest on the 1st of May.

                   [Footnote 225: Monstrelet says, that the flower of
                   the English chivalry, who were with the Duke, fell
                   in that field, and, besides knights and esquires,
                   from two to three thousand men; and that, with the
                   Earl of Somerset and others of noble and gentle
                   blood, about two hundred were taken prisoners.
                   There was also, he says, a dreadful slaughter of
                   the French. The English, under the Earl of
                   Salisbury, recovered the body of the Duke from the
                   enemy, and it was carried with much ceremony to
                   England, and there buried.]

The Bishop of Durham, Chancellor of England, was charged to open the
Parliament, which met on the second of that month, Henry himself being
present, in the Painted Chamber. The Chancellor's address, though in
many points strange, and well-nigh ridiculous, is too interesting to
be passed by unnoticed. He began by uttering eulogies on the King,
specifying, among other topics of praise, this merit in
particular,--that, whilst God had granted him victories and conquests
as the fruits of his labour, he never assumed the least merit to
himself, but ascribed all the glory to God only, "_following in    (p. 297)
a manner the example of the very valiant Emperor Julius Cæsar_;"
and also because as Job, when news was brought to him of the death of
all his children as they were feasting in their eldest brother's
house, praised God, saying, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken
away, the will of the Lord be done; blessed be the name of the Lord!"
so our sovereign Lord the King, when he first heard of the death of
the noble prince, the Duke of Clarence, his own dear brother, and of
the gallant knights and others slain with him, praised and blessed God
for the visitation of that calamity, as he had before had cause to
praise Him for all his prosperity. In declaring the cause of summoning
this Parliament, he mentions the desire the King had of rectifying,
according to right and justice, all abuses and wrongs which had
prevailed through the realm since his last passage to foreign lands,
especially to the injury of those who had been with him there; and
also his wish that all the laws of the realm should be maintained and
enforced, and that further provision should be made for the
[226]better governance, and peace, and universal good of the realm.
The Parliament, it is said, cheerfully voted him a fifteenth,[227] (p. 298)
though many persons petitioned against further taxation, and gave
utterance to sad complaints of their poverty. The Convocation also met
on May 5th, and on the 12th; they voted him a tenth from the revenues
of the clergy: and his uncle, the Bishop of Winchester, advanced to
him by way of loan twenty thousand pounds. The Parliament guaranteed
payment of the loans to all who should advance money to the King for
this expedition.

                   [Footnote 226: In this Parliament a statute was
                   passed, the enactment, but more especially the
                   preamble of which presents a very formidable view
                   of the drain which Henry's continental campaigns
                   had made upon the English gentry.

                   "Whereas by the statute made at Westminster, the
                   14th year of King Edward III, it was ordained and
                   established, that no Sheriff should abide in his
                   bailiwick above one year, and that then another
                   convenient should be set in his place, which should
                   have lands sufficient within his bailiwick, and
                   that no Escheator should tarry in his office above
                   a year; and whereas also, at the time of making the
                   said statute, divers valiant and sufficient persons
                   were in every county of England, to occupy and
                   govern the same offices well towards the King and
                   all his liege people; forasmuch that as well by
                   divers petilences within the realm of England, as
                   by the wars without the realm, there is now not
                   such sufficiency; it is ordained and stablished
                   that the King by authority of this Parliament may
                   make the Sheriffs and Escheators through the realm
                   at his will until the end of four years."--9 Hen.
                   V. stat. 1, c. v.]

                   [Footnote 227: This vote does not appear on the
                   Rolls of Parliament. Walsingham asserts that a
                   fifteenth was voted. Holinshed distinctly says,
                   that the "commonaltie gladly granted a fifteenth."
                   But he is no authority in such a case. The
                   Parliament, in the following December, granted a
                   tenth, and a fifteenth.]

Henry, impatient to repair the dishonour of the defeat which his
forces had sustained, and to reduce his foreign dominions to peace,
issued his writ, on the 27th of May, to the sheriffs of the several
counties to publish his proclamation that all persons should       (p. 299)
hasten with the utmost speed to join the King, and accompany him in
his voyage. And now possessing under his command a larger force than
he had ever yet raised; after procuring by subsidies and loans as
large a sum as the power or inclination of his people supplied; having
also appointed his brother, the Duke of Bedford, Regent; he left
London (never to return to it alive), on the last day of May, or the
1st of June. From the 1st to the 10th of that month he seems to have
passed his days alternately at Canterbury and Dover; though the cause
of this delay does not appear to have been recorded. To whatever the
postponement of his departure is attributable, though he left the
metropolis not later than the 1st, he did not finally quit the English
shores till the 10th of June. On the 12th he was at Rouen.[228]

                   [Footnote 228: Three days after landing his forces,
                   he despatched the Earl of Dorset with twelve
                   hundred men to relieve his uncle, the Duke of
                   Exeter, who was closely blockaded in Paris.]

The Dauphin himself with a large army was at this time besieging
Chartres, and Henry having passed by Abbeville, Beauvais, Gisors, and
Mante, marched himself with strong hand to raise that siege. On
Henry's approach the Dauphin withdrew.

Some of these facts, with others, are contained in a letter which was
forwarded from Henry to the mayor and citizens of London, (it is the
last we shall have occasion to transcribe,) and which is chiefly
remarkable for his language when speaking of the Dauphin. He       (p. 300)
will not acknowledge him to have any right to the title, and calls him
a pretender. Another point of considerable interest is the unqualified
manner in which he speaks of the cordial co-operation and sincere
attachment of the young Duke of Burgundy.


     "Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. And for as much as
     we be certain that ye will be joyful to hear good tiding of our
     estate and welfare, we signifie unto you that we be in good
     health and prosperity of our person; and so be our brother of
     Gloucester, and bel-uncle of Exeter, and all the remnant of lords
     and other persons of our host, blessed be our Lord, which grant
     you so for to be! Witting, moreover, that in our coming by
     Picardy we had disposed us for to have tarried somewhat in the
     country, for to have set it, with God's help, in better
     governance; and, while we were busy to intend therto, come
     tidings unto us that he that clepeth him [calleth himself]
     Dauphin was coming down with a great puissance unto Chartres.
     Wherefore we drove us in all haste to Paris, as well for to set
     our father of France, as the said good town of Paris, in sure
     governance, and from thence unto this our town of Mante, at which
     place we arrived on Wednesday last, to the intent for to have
     given succours, with God's grace, unto the said town of Chartres;
     and hither come unto us our brother of Burgundy with a fair
     fellowship, for to have gone with us to the said succours; the
     which our brother of Burgundy we find right a trusty, loving, and
     faithful brother unto us in all things. But, in our coming from
     Paris unto this our town of Mante, we were certified upon the
     way, by certain letters that were sent unto us, that the said
     pretense Dauphin, for certain causes that moved him, hath raised
     the said siege, and is gone into the country of Touraine      (p. 301)
     in great haste, as it is said. And we trust fully unto our Lord
     that, through his grace and mercy, all things here, that we shall
     have to do with, shall go well from henceforth, to his plesance
     and worship; who we beseech devoutly that it so may be, and to
     have you in his keeping!--Given under our signet, in our host, at
     our town of Mante, the 12th day of July."

Though the Dauphin avoided Henry altogether, he was forced to engage
with the Duke of Burgundy's army, and he suffered a most decided
defeat near Blanche Tache. Henry, meanwhile, was engaged in reducing
Dreux and other towns, still garrisoned for the Dauphin.

The town of Meaux was so strong, and so well manned, that the siege of
that one place occupied Henry from the 6th of October through the
whole winter, and to the very end of the next April. During this
protracted siege, in which the Earls of Dorset, and of Worcester, and
Lord Clifford were killed, Henry sent ambassadors to the Emperor
Sigismund for succours. He had the satisfaction, meanwhile, to hear
that his Queen was delivered of a son, at Windsor, on St. Nicholas'
day (December 6th). Whether the common report has any foundation in
truth, cannot now be certainly known: his father, however, is said to
have omened ill of the young prince when he heard of the place of his
birth, and to have spoken thus to Lord Fitz-Hugh, his chamberlain: "My
lord, I Henry, born at Monmouth, shall small time reign and get much;
and Henry, born at Windsor, shall long reign and lose all: but     (p. 302)
God's will be done!" Probably this was a prophecy forged after the
event, and ascribed to Henry without any foundation in truth.

In the session of Parliament held December 1st, 1421, under the Duke
of Bedford as Regent, one fifteenth was voted for prosecuting the war,
with this condition appended, that the first half of it should be paid
in the money then current. The gold coin had been much lessened in
value by clipping and washing; consequently the Parliament, to relieve
the people, ordained that the receivers of the tax should take all
light pieces, not wanting in weight more than 12_d._ in the noble. The
people, therefore, got rid of their gold as fast as they could, and
hoarded up their silver.[229] The Convocation also, which met at York,
September 22nd, granted a tenth.

                   [Footnote 229: Rot. Pat. ix. Henry V.]

After reducing many towns and castles, Henry proceeded to the Château
Bois de Vincennes, near Paris, to meet his Queen,[230] who had landed
at Harfleur, on the 21st of May, with a noble retinue, and under
convoy of the Regent himself. Henry and Katharine entered Paris
together, where they were magnificently received; the same painful
contrast still being felt by Charles between his court and that    (p. 303)
of his heir-apparent. The young King had put the spirit of the
Parisians to the test by a strong measure, in levying a most unpopular
tax; but the discontent did not break out into any open tumult. Indeed
(as the chroniclers record) their resentments were abated, or rather
turned into affection, when they felt the kind influences of King
Henry's just and moderate government, and observed his exact
administration of justice in redressing wrongs, and punishing without
partiality or favour the authors of them. By this just conduct he
gained especially the love of the people, who regarded him as their
father and protector.

                   [Footnote 230: Preparations had been made as early
                   as January 26th, 1422, for the Queen to leave
                   England, and meet the King at Rouen, but she did
                   not start till April.]

The Dauphin in the mean time was anxiously bent on recovering a crown
from which the victories of Henry, and the displeasure of the King his
father, had excluded him. His army was comparatively small, and he
therefore, whilst Henry was with an army in the neighbourhood, avoided
a battle, keeping always two days' march distant from him. Finding,
however, that Henry was now, at length, far away, he laid siege to
Cone, a town on the Loire, the garrison of which agreed to surrender
on the 16th of August, if they were not by that time relieved by the
Duke of Burgundy. The Duke not only sent into Flanders and Picardy to
levy troops to raise this siege, but importuned Henry also to
strengthen him with English soldiers and officers. The King's answer
was that he would come himself at the head of his whole army to    (p. 304)
the Duke's relief. This was his resolution; but God decreed otherwise.

Very shortly after this resolution, Henry was seized by a disorder, on
the exact nature of which historians are not agreed, which proved
fatal to him. Yet, though much weakened, he resolved to join his army,
which, at the first approach of his disorder, he had commanded the
Duke of Bedford to lead on to raise the siege of Cone. With this
intention he left the King[231] and Queen of France, and his own
beloved Katharine, at Senlis, and proceeded to Melun. His complaint
was then making rapid and deadly progress; and, after having been
carried in a litter with the intention of passing through his troops,
he was compelled to return to Vincennes.[232] The Duke of Bedford, who
had raised the siege of Cone without striking a blow, hearing now of
the state of danger in which his brother was, left the army, and,
accompanied by a few friends, rode full speed towards the castle,
where the King lay.

                   [Footnote 231: The King, his father-in-law,
                   survived Henry not quite two months: he died
                   October 21st, 1422.]

                   [Footnote 232: A description and history of this
                   castle will be found in a work entitled, "Histoire
                   du Donjon et du Chateau de Vincennes, par L. B.,"
                   published at Paris in 1807. The Author refers to
                   the sojourn made in this castle by Henry's son
                   (King Henry VI.) at the close of the year 1431,
                   when he visited France for the purpose of being

Henry, sensible that his end was fast approaching, desired the Duke of
Bedford, the Duke of Exeter, the Earl of Warwick, Sir Lewis        (p. 305)
Robessart, and some others, to stand round his bed; to whom we are
told he spoke to this effect: "I am come," said he, "to the end of a
life which, though short, has yet been glorious, and employed to
advance the good and honour of my people. I confess it has been spent
in war and blood; yet, since the only motive of that war was to
vindicate my rights after I had ineffectually tried milder methods,
the guilt of all the miseries it occasioned belongs not to me, but to
my enemies. As death never appeared formidable to me in so many
battles and sieges, so now, without horror, I regard it making its
gradual approach. And since it is the will of my Creator now to put a
period to my day, I cheerfully submit myself to his will." He then
mentioned two circumstances which tended to make him anxious on
leaving the world: the one, that the war was not brought to a close;
the other, that his son was an infant. But he was comforted on both
these points by the tried friendship and sound principles of the Duke
of Bedford, his brother; to whom he gave in charge both his kingdom
and his boy. He then desired the Earl of Warwick to undertake the
office of preceptor and guide to the young prince in learning and in
arms. Henry next left a charge for his brother Humfrey to be careful
that no division of affection and interests should take place between
them; he conjured them also not to quarrel with the Duke of Burgundy,
and enjoined them not to release the Duke of Orleans, and some     (p. 306)
other prisoners, till his son was arrived at years of discretion.

This was a mournful hour for those noblemen and friends and relatives
who surrounded his bed. At length, having given all necessary
directions for the government of his kingdom and his family,[233] he
fixed his thoughts wholly on another world. He urged the physicians to
tell him the real state of his disease; but they evaded any direct
answer. Very soon he required them to tell him how long, in all human
probability, he had to live. After some consultation, one of them,
speaking for the rest, knelt down and said, "Sir, think of your soul;
for, without a miracle, in our judgment you cannot survive two hours."
His confessor and other ministers of religion then surrounded his bed,
and administered the parting rite of the Roman church, as it was at
that time and is still practised. He next desired them to join in the
seven penitential psalms; and when in the 51st psalm they read, "Build
thou the walls of Jerusalem," caught by the words, Henry bade them
stop awhile; and with a loud voice declared to them, on the faith of a
dying person, that it verily had been his fixed purpose, after
settling peace in France, to proceed against the infidels, and rescue
Jerusalem from their tyranny, if it had pleased his Creator to     (p. 307)
lengthen out his days. He then requested them to proceed; and when
they had finished their devotions, between two and three o'clock in
the morning, he breathed his last.

                   [Footnote 233: Elmham says, Henry added several
                   codicils to his Will, leaving large sums to
                   discharge the debts not only of himself, but also
                   of his father, and also to reward many of his
                   faithful servants.]

Henry of Monmouth died 31st August 1422; and when he resigned his soul
into the hands of his Redeemer, he seemed to fall asleep rather than
to expire.[234]

                   [Footnote 234: Elmham.]

Such a Christian end of his mortal existence is not surprising when we
remember (a point on which his own chaplain will not suffer us to
doubt,) that every day of his life he read and meditated upon the word
of God, for the express purpose of learning how best to fear and serve
him; a daily exercise (says the chaplain) from which, when he was
engaged in it, no one even of his chief nobles and the great men of
his state[235] could withdraw him.[236]

                   [Footnote 235: Sloane, 64.]

                   [Footnote 236: It is satisfactory to find, even
                   among the mere details of expenditure, testimony
                   borne to his love of the Holy Scriptures. Among his
                   last domestic expenses is this interesting item:
                   "To John Heth 3_l._ 6_s._ for sixty-six quarterns
                   of calfskins, purchased and provided by the said
                   John, to write a Bible thereon for the use of the
                   King."--Pell Rolls, February 23, 1422, just six
                   months before his death.]

     The bowels of Henry were buried in the monastery of St. Maur; and
     his body embalmed, being put into a leaden coffin, was drawn to
     St. Denis. Before and behind the corpse were two lamps burning;
     and two hundred and fifty torches gave light to the procession.
     The Abbot and Monks of St. Denis came out to meet it, and
     solemnly preceded it to their church, where they performed    (p. 308)
     the office for the dead, the Archbishop of Paris singing the
     requiem. From St. Denis the procession advanced to Paris, where
     the body was deposited for a while in Notre Dame; and thence,
     with great and solemn pomp, it was carried to Rouen. The Queen,
     from whom the death of her husband had been before concealed,
     here met the Duke of Bedford; and made preparations for the
     conveyance of the body to England. In a bed, in the same carriage
     with the body, was laid the figure of the King, with a crown of
     gold on his head, a sceptre in his right hand, and a ball in his
     left. The covering of the bed was vermilion silk embroidered with
     gold, and over the chariot was a rich silk canopy. The chariot
     was drawn by six horses in rich harness. The first bore the arms
     of St. George, the second, the arms of Normandy; the third, those
     of King Arthur; the fourth, those of St. Edward; the fifth, the
     arms of France; the sixth, the arms of England and France. James,
     King of Scots, followed it as principal mourner. The banners of
     the saints were borne by four lords. The hatchments were carried
     by twelve captains; and around the carriage rode five hundred
     men-at-arms, all in black armour,--their horses barbed black, and
     their lances held with the points downwards. A great company
     clothed in white, and bearing lighted torches, "encompassed the
     hearse." Those of the King's household followed, and after them
     the royal family; the Queen, with a great retinue, followed at a
     league's distance. Whenever the corpse rested masses were sung
     from the first dawn of the morning till nine o'clock. The
     procession passed through Abbeville to Calais; and crossing to
     Dover, proceeded with the same solemnities towards London. When
     they approached the capital, they were met by fifteen bishops in
     their pontifical habits, and many abbots in their mitres and
     vestments, with a great company of priests and people. The
     princes of the royal family went mourning next to the hearse. The
     corpse was buried in Westminster Abbey, among its most valued

Among the public acts[237] of the realm his death is thus          (p. 309)

                   [Footnote 237: Acts of Privy Council. Cleopatra, F.
                   iv. f. I. a.]


Here we would have drawn the curtain round the bed of Henry of
Monmouth; but truth and justice compel us to tarry somewhat longer in
the chamber of death. The tongue and pen of calumny have not suffered
the dying hero to pour out his soul with his last breath in prayer and
pious ejaculations unmolested; and the accuser's name is too widely
known, and has unhappily gained too much influence in the world, for
his calumnies to be passed over as harmless. Henry, having "set his
house in order," and being certified how short a time he had to live,
declares, on the faith of a dying man, that he had been fully resolved
(had the Almighty granted him length of days to put his resolve into
effect) to proceed in person to the Holy Land, and rescue the city of
God from the pollutions and abominations of the infidels. In recording
this declaration of the expiring monarch, Hume adds a comment as full
of bitter sarcasm as it is tinctured with his characteristic       (p. 310)
spirit of scepticism. "So ingenious are men in deceiving themselves,
that Henry forgot in these moments all the blood spilt by his
ambition, and received comfort from this late and feeble resolve;
which, as the mode of those enterprises was now past, he certainly
would never have carried into execution." Had Hume been as faithful
and painstaking in the search of truth, as he was ready to adopt the
account of any transaction which was nearest at hand, and unscrupulous
in substituting his own hasty remarks in the place of well-weighed
reflections on ascertained facts, he never would have suffered so
ignorant and ill-founded a comment to disgrace his pages. Hume[238]
charges Henry with having left the world, forgetful of the
bloodguiltiness by which his soul was stained, and with a sentence of
hypocrisy and falsehood on his lips. To the first charge,--that Henry,
at the awful moment of his dissolution, deceived himself into a
forgetfulness "of all the blood spilt by his ambition,"--needs only to
be replied, that so far from his having forgotten the loss of human
life attendant upon his wars, the very page on which the historian is
so severely commenting, records that Henry spoke of that subject
openly and unreservedly to those who stood around his bed, expressing
his sure trust that the guilt of that blood did not stain his soul,
who sought only his just inheritance; but rested on the heads of   (p. 311)
those who, by their obstinate perseverance in injustice, compelled
him to appeal to the God of battle in vindication of his own rights.

                   [Footnote 238: Hume's Hist. vol. iii. ch. xix.]

Again, Henry declares, on the faith of a dying Christian Prince, that
it had verily been his fixed resolution, as soon as his wars in France
had been brought to a favourable issue, to proceed to the Holy Land.
Hume says that this was a late and feeble resolve; and the ground on
which he rests this charge of falsehood is, that the mode of those
enterprises was then past. Hume ought to have known, as an ordinary
historian, that the mode of those enterprises was not then past; and
Hume might have known that Henry's was not a death-bed resolve, to
which the expiring self-deceiver clung for comfort when the world was
receding from his sight; but that in his health and strength, and in
the mid-career of his victories, he had actually taken preliminary
measures for facilitating the execution of that very design.

With regard to the first position asserted by Hume, that "the mode of
these enterprises was gone by," the facts of history are so far from
authorizing him to make such an assertion, that they combine to expose
its rashness and unsoundness. When Henry succeeded to the throne, he
found a large naval and military force actually prepared by his father
for the proclaimed purpose of executing such an enterprise, the
undertaking of which was only prevented by his death.[239] And     (p. 312)
even a century after, the mode of those enterprises had not yet
passed; for Pope Leo X. successfully negociated a league between the
chief powers of Christendom, engaging them to unite against the
infidel dominion of the Turk. Not only were such crusades subjects of
serious and practical consideration in Europe just before Henry's
accession to the throne, and a full century after it, but, during the
last years of Henry's life, most vigorous and persevering exertions
were made by the Sovereign Pontiff to effect an immediate expedition
of the confederated powers of Christendom to Palestine, with the
avowed purpose of crushing the power of the infidels. The histories of
those times bear varied evidence to the same points: we must here,
however, confine our attention to some facts more immediately
connected with the case before us. In the year 1420,[240] July 12,
Pope Martin V, conceiving that Sigismund would very shortly bring the
war which he was then waging against the Hussites in Bohemia to an
end, in a bull dated Florence calls upon all Kings, Prelates, Lords,
and people, adjuring them most solemnly, by the shedding of Christ's
blood, to join Sigismund, and under his standard to invade the     (p. 313)
lands of the Turks, and to exterminate them. He urges the formation of
one grand general army, and for all true men to take the cross; with
his apostolic promise to all who should so assume the cross, and join
the army in their own persons and at their own charges, and also to
all who should take up arms with the _bonâ fide_ intention of joining
the army, should they die on their journey, a full remission of all
sins of which they should have repented from the heart, and confessed
with the mouth; and, "in the retribution of the just, we promise them
(says the Pontiff) an increase of eternal salvation."[241]

                   [Footnote 239: Fabyan, 388.]

                   [Footnote 240: Annales Ecclesiastici, vol. xii.
                   Ann. 1517. See much interesting matter relating to
                   the whole of this subject in these Annales
                   Ecclesiastici of Baronius, continued by Raynaldus.]

                   [Footnote 241: Florentiæ, iv. idus Julii, anno 3.
                   Annales Eccles. v. viii.]

In the following year the Pope wrote a most urgent letter to
Sigismund, pressing upon him, before and above all things, the duty of
extirpating the heresy in Bohemia; assuring him that, however
brilliant might be his career in other respects, yet by no means could
he so well secure the favour of God, renown among men, and the
stability of his throne. The Pontiff, in the same year, wrote
repeatedly to Henry, King of England, urging him to consent to terms
of peace between his country and France. We should have been glad had
we been able to contemplate the Pontiff of Rome, in the character of a
Christian mediator, urging two contending nations to be reconciled,
solely with the Christian desire of stopping the dominion of war and
blood, reconciling those who were at variance, checking the        (p. 314)
violent passions of mankind, and restoring to Europe the blessing of
peace. But his desire was to reconcile France and England, in order
that the concentrated powers of the faithful in Europe might be turned
against the heretics in the north; and, when they were exterminated,
then that the same forces might proceed to crush the infidel, and
rescue the lands of the faithful from his grasp. The ecclesiastical
historian,[242] who records the letters of the Sovereign Pontiff,
assures us that Henry, King of England, had been repeatedly admonished
by "the vicar of Christ to make peace with the French, and to dedicate
to Christ his skill in war against the Turks, those savage enemies of
the Gospel; adding (what the facts of the case did not justify him in
saying,) that, in the agonies of his last illness, Henry confessed
that he was dreadfully tormented with remorse because he had not
consecrated his martial powers by waging war against the
Mahometans."[243] Surely this testimony is of itself sufficient to
rescue Henry's memory from having vowed that he had resolved to do
what he knew he never could have done. "The mode of those          (p. 315)
enterprises was" not "past."

                   [Footnote 242: Raynaldus, Annales Ecclesiastici,
                   vol. viii. p. 556.]

                   [Footnote 243: It is not to be forgotten that Henry
                   of Monmouth had from his very childhood been
                   interested by accounts of the state of Palestine.
                   His father, as we have seen, went himself to the
                   Holy Sepulchre; and, even during Henry's wars in
                   France, his uncle, the Bishop of Winchester,
                   visited Constance as he was proceeding in the guise
                   of a pilgrim to the Holy Land.]

But Hume would have it believed that this was a late and feeble
resolve of Henry, formed on his death-bed, when he was acting the part
of a self-deceiver, forgetful of the lamentable effects of his
ambition, and seeking comfort from his self-deception in the last
moments of his life. There is strong and clear evidence that he not
only had contemplated such a measure, but had actually taken important
preliminary steps to facilitate the execution of his design, whenever
he might be happily released from his present engagements. "This
vindicatory evidence" (to use the words of Mr. Granville Penn)[244]
"of the veracity and sincerity of Henry, is a manuscript discovered at
Lille, in Flanders, in the autumn of 1819, which proves to positive
demonstration, that at the moment when Henry was suddenly arrested in
his victorious progress by the hand of death, his mind was actually,
though secretly, engaged in projecting an attack on the infidel power
in Egypt and Syria, as soon as he should have pacified the internal
agitations of France; and that a confidential military agent of high
character and distinguished rank had been despatched by him to survey
the maritime frontier of those two countries, and to procure, upon the
spot, the information necessary towards embarking in so vast an    (p. 316)

                   [Footnote 244: Mr. Granville Penn's interesting
                   paper was read before the Royal Society of
                   Literature at their first meeting in the year 1825,
                   and is recorded in the first volume of their

"The manuscript is a small quarto in vellum, in old French, finely
written in black character, and richly illuminated; consisting of
fifty-four pages, and comprising a succinct military survey of the
coasts and defences of Egypt and Syria, from Alexandria round to
Gallipoli, made by the command of Henry within the three last years of
his life, and completed and reported immediately after his unexpected
death, by which death it was rendered unavailing. The confidential
author of this survey was Gilbert de Lannoi, counsellor and
chamberlain to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and that Duke's
ambassador to Henry."

The same writer thus expresses himself in conclusion. "His declaration
was not the prompting of a sickly conscience striving to procure
delusive comfort from 'the late and feeble' resolves of a death-bed,
as Hume unworthily asserts; it was the composed and deliberate
communication of a dying captain and sovereign, disclosing to those
around him, under a strong sentiment of devotion, a secret of that
kingly office which he was then on the point of relinquishing for
ever. To enter upon an appreciation of the moral value of the
enterprise which Henry had then in prospect, would be as much out of
place here, as it would be absurd to estimate it by the rule of the
present age. In those ages, when all the higher orders of society
were either clerical or martial, much real piety of sentiment      (p. 317)
must, in innumerable instances, have been compounded with the
widely-extended romantic spirit which was ardent to hazard life on
sacred ground of Judea, rather than to suffer the continuance of its
profanation by the avowed enemy of the Christian name.

"The establishment of this point, certifying, as it does an
interesting fact hitherto unknown, and effectually repelling and
exposing an unjustifiable sarcasm directed against one of the most
illustrious princes that have graced the English crown, may acquire in
the history of truth the importance to which it might not be able to
lay claim in the political history of a people."[245]

                   [Footnote 245: This same interesting subject is far
                   more elaborately discussed by that excellent
                   antiquary the Rev. John Webb; whose Introductory
                   Dissertation and Illustrative Notes, (in the
                   Archæologia, vol. xxi. p. 281,) abound with most
                   valuable information. The title prefixed to
                   Lannoi's work is this:

                   "The Report made by Sir Gilbert de Lannoy, Knight,
                   upon surveys of several cities, ports, and rivers,
                   taken by him in Egypt and Syria, in the year of
                   grace of our Lord 1422, by order of the most high,
                   most puissant, and most excellent prince, King
                   Henry of England, heir and Regent of France, whom
                   God assoil." The whole of Mr. Webb's paper well
                   deserves perusal.]

In dismissing the immediate subject of this inquiry, the Author of
these Memoirs feels himself under the painful necessity of recording
his deliberate judgment on the inaccuracies of that celebrated writer,
whose reflections upon Henry's dying declaration have been         (p. 318)
animadverted upon here. Through the whole series of years to the
events of which these Memoirs are chiefly limited, he has been able to
find very few transactions in recording or commenting upon which Hume
has not been guilty of error; whilst the mistakes into which he has
fallen (some more, some less, gravely affecting the character of an
historian,) are generally such as an examination of the best evidence,
conducted with ordinary care, would have enabled him successfully to
avoid. Hume, unfortunately, supplied himself without stint from the
stream after it had mingled with many turbid and discolouring waters.
To draw, in each case of doubt and difficulty, from the well-head of
historical truth, would have exacted more time and labour than he was
ready to bestow. Had he prescribed to himself a system of research the
very opposite to that in which he unhappily indulged, instead of
representing Henry of Monmouth to have left the world with the
falsehood of a self-deceiver on his tongue, he would have been
compelled to record him as a man of piety, mercy, and truth.

CHAPTER XXIX.                                                      (p. 319)



In estimating the character of an individual, nothing is more
calculated to mislead ourselves, or to subject him to injustice at our
hands, than a disregard of the time, and country, and circumstances in
which he lived. It is equally unwise, and unfair, and deceitful, for a
human judge to establish one fixed standard[246] of excellence in any
department whatever of scientific or practical knowledge, and      (p. 320)
then to try the merits of all persons alike with reference to that
one test. The injustice and absurdity of estimating the talents for
investigation and acumen, the skill, and industry, and perseverance of
a chemical student, many centuries ago, by the knowledge of the most
celebrated men of the present day, and to pronounce all who fell below
that standard to have been deficient in natural talents, or in a
faithful exercise of them, would be seen and acknowledged by all. At
this time, errors in navigation would be unpardonable, which would
have implicated a pilot in no culpability at all, who lived before the
invention of the mariner's compass, and when half our globe was as yet
unknown. The same observations are applicable when we would estimate
the moral excellence of an individual, his worth in a private or a
public capacity, his character as a subject or a governor,--as the
framer, or the guardian, or the administrator of the laws. Many a
practice in ordinary social intercourse, which would not be tolerated,
and would fix a stigma on those who were examples of it as persons to
be shunned and excluded from society in one age or country, might in
another not only be endured, but be even countenanced and encouraged
by those who would take the lead in the improvement and refinement (p. 321)
of civilized life. The grand broad fundamental principles of right and
wrong must abstractedly be acknowledged always and in every place; but
in the interpretation[247] of them, and in their practical
application, we shall find in the records of successive ages every
conceivable diversity. If, in these days, we are tempted to brand with
the mark of ignorance, and superstition, and cruelty, those among our
predecessors who enacted laws against witchcraft, and condemned to
death those who were found guilty of dealings with the spirit of
wickedness, we must at the same time remember that persons who are
examples of every Christian excellence, of reverence for God's law, of
justice and charity, are now engaged in occupations which those men
held in abhorrence. They believed in the reality of witchcraft, and
condemned those who were pronounced guilty of the crime; we believe
that the crime cannot be committed, that it is merely a creature of
the imagination, and we denominate those who pretend to the power of
committing it impostors: just as by the Mosaic law they were condemned
as deceivers, pretending to possess a power and knowledge independently
of the Almighty. Our predecessors considered the lending of        (p. 322)
money upon interest as an offence against the law of God, and
reprobated those who so employed their capital as usurers, who had
forfeited all title to the name of merciful Christians;--whilst in the
present day the most scrupulous person does not hesitate, as in a
matter of conscience, to depend for the means of subsistence on such a
source of income. Assuming that in each of these two cases our views
are formed on a sounder principle of moral and religious philosophy,
we have no more right to disparage the character of any individual,
who did his best in the midst of less favourable circumstances, than
we should have to reprobate the helmsman of former days, because in
the darkness of a starless night he had no compass wherewith to save
his ship from wreck.

                   [Footnote 246: The Bible is always and everywhere
                   the standard of divine truth; but to condemn an
                   individual for wilful ignorance of its heavenly
                   doctrines, to whom no opportunity has been afforded
                   of learning them, would be unreasonable and unjust.
                   A corresponding principle applies to the
                   interpretation of the Bible. Our responsibility in
                   every case increases with our privileges and

                   [Footnote 247: It will be borne in mind, that the
                   question here is not whether there be not one
                   immutable principle, nor whether there ought not to
                   be one uniform interpretation of that principle; we
                   are inquiring only into the nature of that rule by
                   which we may equitably judge of the moral and
                   religious characters of men.]

These principles must be borne in mind, and acted upon whenever we
would examine the spirit and character of any individual on the charge
of superstition, bigotry, cruelty, and unchristian persecution. Had
not these principles unhappily been laid aside for a time and
forgotten, we should scarcely have been pained by so severe a portrait
of Henry of Monmouth, as a writer who ought to have known better has
drawn, not in the warmth of debate and the hurry of controversy, but
in the hour of reflection and quietude. "In the midst of these
tragedies died Henry V, whose military greatness is known to most
readers. His vast capacity and talents for government have been    (p. 323)
also justly celebrated. But what is man without the genuine fear
of God? This monarch, in the former part of his life, was remarkable
for dissipation and extravagance of conduct; in the latter he became
the slave of the popedom,[248] and for that reason was called the
Prince of Priests. Voluptuousness, ambition, superstition, each in
their turn, had the ascendant in this extraordinary character. Such,
however, is the dazzling nature of personal bravery and of prosperity,
that even the ignorance and folly of the bigot, and the barbarities of
the persecutor, are lost or forgotten amidst the enterprises of the
hero and the successes of the conqueror. Reason and justice lift   (p. 324)
up their voice in vain. The great and substantial defects of Henry V.
must hardly be touched on by Englishmen. The battle of Agincourt
throws a delusive splendour around the name of this victorious

                   [Footnote 248: The attachment of Henry to the See
                   of Rome, and the countenance given by him to the
                   encroachments of the Pope, have been greatly
                   exaggerated. Rapin took a different view of his
                   measures. "The proclamation" (he says) "made by
                   Henry, prohibiting the Pope's provisions, was a
                   death-blow to the court of Rome." On the death of
                   Henry, the Pope wrote a letter of condolence to the
                   council, in which he says, "We loved our son of
                   famous memory, Henry King of England, for there
                   were many and royal virtues in that Prince for
                   which he ought to be loved;" and then adds a strong
                   appeal to the council to abrogate the obnoxious
                   statutes which had so materially entrenched upon
                   his assumed prerogative. In a letter to Henry
                   himself (Kal. Nov. xiv. An. iv.) nearly two years
                   before his death, the Pope refers to a promise made
                   by Henry that he had no desire to curtail the
                   authority of the Roman See in his new dominions;
                   and also to an undertaking that he would bring the
                   obnoxious statutes under the notice of his
                   parliament; and that, "_if they could not be
                   supported on honest and lawful grounds_," he would
                   satisfy the Pope in that particular. Surely these
                   are not the expressions of one who was "the slave
                   of the Popedom."--See "Annales Ecclesiastici."]

                   [Footnote 249: Milner's Church History, vol. iv. p.

It is very painful to read this sentence; but the historian and
biographer must not be driven by such sweeping condemnation into the
opposite extreme; nor be deterred by the apprehension of unpopularity
from laying open his views both of the moral and religious question in
the abstract, and also of the acts, and character, and spirit of the
individual subject of inquiry.

The principles of religious liberty were ill understood through many
years before, and subsequently to, the time of Henry V. The sentiments
of persons in every rank of life in those days seem to have been built
upon an understanding, that the authorities, ecclesiastical and civil,
were bound in duty to expel heresy by force. It was not the case of a
dominant party enacting penalties abhorrent from the sympathies of the
mass of the people; "the people themselves wished to have it so, and
the priests bore rule by their means." So thorough a triumph had the
gigantic policy of Rome achieved over the freedom, and the wills, and
the judgments of the inhabitants of Europe! Like her other victories,
this too was the work of progressive inroads on the liberties      (p. 325)
of Christians. Never at rest, ever active, the arch-conqueror fastened
to her chariot-wheels, one by one, the most valued rights and most
solemn duties of responsible agents. The right of private judgment in
matters of religion had been resigned by the vast majority of the
people of Christendom, and the duty and responsibility in each
individual of searching for the truth himself had been laid aside long
before Henry V. was called to take a part in the affairs of this
world. Bold and noble spirits, indeed, were found in successive
periods to assert their own rights and to declare the privileges and
the duties of their fellow-creatures, and to think for themselves in a
matter which so deeply involved their own individual and eternal
welfare; whilst the bulk of mankind in Christendom not only resigned
their faith to the absolute control of the priesthood, but exacted
also from their fellow-citizens a similar surrender, on pain of losing
their share in the protection and advantages of the state. Thus had
heresy, in various nations of Europe, become synonymous with rebellion
and treason; a rejection of the determinations of the church in
matters of doctrine was identified in most men's minds with rejection
of the authority of the civil magistrate;[250] and every one who dared
to dispute the jurisdiction of Rome was regarded as a dangerous    (p. 326)
innovator, and an enemy to his own country.

                   [Footnote 250: This view of heresy we find to have
                   been at a very early date propagated and encouraged
                   by the Pope and the See of Rome. Walsingham
                   records, that, three years before Richard II.'s
                   deposition from the throne, "the Pope wrote to him
                   with a prayer (orans) that he would assist the
                   prelates of the church in the cause of God, and of
                   the King himself, and of the kingdom, against the
                   Lollards; whom he declared to be traitors, not only
                   of the church, but of the throne. And he besought
                   him with the greatest urgency (obnixiùs) to condemn
                   those whom the prelates should have declared
                   heretics.--Ypod. Neust. 1396.]

That this was a state of things to be deplored by every friend of
liberty and lover of truth, is not questioned; that domination over
the consciences of men has ever been the object of the church of Rome,
and that the spirit of persecution will ever be characteristic of her
principles, is not here denied; nor are these observations made for
the purpose of softening the feelings of abhorrence with which any
persons may be disposed to view the proceedings of a persecuting
spirit in those things which concern our most momentous interests so
awfully. We refer to these historical reminiscences solely for the
purpose of forming a more correct estimate of the individual character
of one who lived in those times, and was born, and cradled, and
educated in that atmosphere. It is easy to charge Henry V. with "the
ignorance and folly of the bigot, and the barbarities of the
persecutor;" but it were more worthy of a historian (his eye bent
singly on the truth) to substitute inquiry for assumption, and     (p. 327)
careful weighing of the evidence for indiscriminate condemnation.
There is such a thing as persecution, though the dungeon and the stake
be not employed for its instruments; and true charity will be tender
of the character of a fellow-mortal, though he is removed from this
scene of trouble and trial, and has no longer the power of answering
the accusations with which his good name is assailed. We may be as
honest as those who write most bitterly, in our abhorrence of
persecution; and yet think the individual who put its most rigid laws
into effect, deserving of compassion and pity that his lot had fallen
in such days of bigotry and ignorance, rather than of reprobation for
not having discovered for himself a more enlightened path of duty.

It is not because we are obliged to confess that even the outward acts
of Henry V. have been those of a persecutor, that these preliminary
remarks are offered; it is rather to prepare our minds for a fair
examination of his conduct, with reference to the only just and equal
standard; for a candid and searching analysis of the evidence drawn
from original sources, before it has become turbid and coloured by the
channel through which it is often forced to flow; and for an
unprejudiced judgment on his character,--a judgment perverted neither,
on the one hand, by the dazzling splendour of his victories, nor, on
the other, by that very common but most iniquitous principle of    (p. 328)
adjudication condemns the accused from hatred of the crime laid to
his charge. The Author's sentiments on the character of religious
persecution in general, and of the persecuting spirit of the church of
Rome in particular, need not be disguised. He would never be disposed
to acquit Henry V, or any other person, from a feeling of sympathy
with the spirit of persecution.

The religion of the Gospel abhors all persecution. The faith of Christ
must be maintained and propagated by more holy and heavenly weapons
than those which can be forged by human authority and power.
Persecution prevails in a Christian community only so far as the
genuine spirit of the Gospel is quenched or checked among its members.
The church has a power of compelling men to come to Christ, and to
embrace the true faith, but its instruments of compulsion must be
spiritual only: its sword must be supplied from God's own armoury. The
sentence, "Having the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men," conveys
an idea of tremendous consequences in store for those who refuse to
obey the truth; but the consequences are reserved for the immediate
dispensation of Him "who knoweth the thoughts." That believers, when
possessed of temporal power, should have recourse to bodily restraint,
and torture, and death, as the earthly punishment of those who
entertain unsound doctrine, is a monstrous invention, which can    (p. 329)
derive no countenance from "the Word," and must be supported only
by a worldly sword, and the arm of man wielding it. If, indeed,
Christians are so far forgetful of the spirit of the Gospel as, on the
plea of defending and spreading its genuine doctrines, to disturb the
peace, and shake the foundations, and threaten the overthrow of
society, the civil magistrate, whether Christian or heathen, will
interpose. But neither has he, more than the church, any authority
whatever for interfering by violence with the faith of any one. It is
the duty of a Christian magistrate to provide for his people the means
of religious instruction, and worship, and consolation; but, on the
principles which alone can be justified, he must leave them at liberty
to reject or to avail themselves of the benefit. Their neglect, or
their abuse of it, will form a subject of inquiry at another tribunal;
and the final, irreversible judgment to be pronounced there, man has
no right to anticipate by pain and punishment on earth. These are the
true principles of Christianity, and a church departs from the Gospel
whenever these principles are neglected.

In adopting, however, these principles, and making them practically
one's own, it must never be forgotten that there is a danger of
confounding them, as they are unhappily too often confounded, with the
results of a philosophy, falsely so called, which would teach
governments to be indifferent to the religion of their people,     (p. 330)
and would encourage individuals to take no interest in the
dissemination of religious truth. East is not more opposed to west,
than the spirit of persecution, which would compel others by secular
punishments to make profession of whatever doctrines the government of
a country may adopt, is opposed to that Christian wisdom which
maintains it to be equally the bounden duty of the state to provide
for the religious instruction and comfort of its members, as it is the
duty of a father to train up his own children in the faith and fear of
God. The poles are not further asunder, than that holy anxiety for the
salvation of our fellow-creatures which would impel Christians, to the
very utmost bound of the sphere of their influence, to promote as well
unity in the faith as the bond of peace and righteousness of life, is
removed from that narrow bigotry which fixes on those who differ from
ourselves the charge of wilful blindness, and obstinate hatred of the
truth, to be visited by man's rebuke here, and God's displeasure for
ever.[251] A wise and pious writer of our own has said,[252]       (p. 331)
"Show me the man who would desire to travel to heaven alone,
regardless of his fellow-creature's progress thitherward, and in that
same person I will show you one who will never be admitted there." The
principle applies equally to an individual and a commonwealth. Show me
a State which neglects to provide for the spiritual edification and
comfort of its members, and in its institutions proves itself
unconcerned as to the advancement of religious truth, and in that
State you see a commonwealth whose counsels are not guided by the
spirit of the Gospel, and therefore on which, however for a time it
may shine and dazzle men's eyes with the splendour of conquest, and be
making gigantic strides in secular aggrandizement, the blessing    (p. 332)
of the God of Truth and Love cannot be expected to descend.

                   [Footnote 251: For Christians of the present age,
                   and in our country, to pass through life without
                   partaking in any persecution, such as once
                   disgraced our legislature and the executive
                   government, does not necessarily imply a freedom of
                   the conscience from a persecuting spirit. The
                   Christian can now evince the real tone and temper
                   of his mind only in his behaviour towards his
                   fellow-creatures, and by the sentiments to which he
                   gives utterance. The Author hopes he may be
                   pardoned, if he ventures, in further illustration
                   of his principles on this subject, to make an
                   extract from his sermon lately preached at the
                   consecration of the Bishop of Salisbury. "In his
                   intercourse with those Christians whose sentiments
                   do not coincide with our own, the Christian
                   minister will never by laxity of expression or
                   conduct encourage in any an indifference to truth
                   and error, nor countenance the insidious workings
                   of latitudinarian principles. He will ever maintain
                   the truth, but never with acrimony; and, whilst his
                   duty compels him to banish and drive away all false
                   doctrine, he will feel and show towards the persons
                   of such as are in error compassionate indulgence
                   and forbearing tenderness. He knows that truth can
                   be only on one side, but he acknowledges that
                   sincerity may be on both; and he will set his mind
                   on winning back again by mild argument and
                   conciliatory conduct those who have gone astray,
                   rather than by severity in exposing their faults,
                   and a cold, forbidding, and hostile bearing,
                   indispose them to examine their mistaken views, and
                   confirm them in their spirit of alienation."]

                   [Footnote 252: Owen Feltham.]

A Christian legislature is bound by the most solemn of all
obligations to supply with parental care the means which, in the
honest exercise of its wisdom, it deems best fitted for converting the
community into a people serving God; each obedient to his law here,
each personally preparing for the awful change from time to eternity.
But with each individual member of the community, from those who make
its laws or administer them to the humblest labourer for his daily
bread, it must ultimately be left to accept or to reject, to cultivate
or neglect, the offered blessing. The moment compulsion interferes
with the free choice of the individual, the religion of the heart and
the outward observance cease to coincide, and hypocrisy, not faith
working by love, is the result. "Persecution[253] either punishes a
man for keeping a good conscience, or forces him into a bad
conscience; it either punishes sincerity, or persuades hypocrisy; it
persecutes a truth, or drives into error; and it teaches a man to
dissemble and to be safe, but never to be honest."

                   [Footnote 253: Bishop Taylor's "Liberty of
                   Prophesying," 13.]

       *       *       *       *       *

With these observations we would proceed to inquire historically into
the personal character of Henry V. with regard to religious
persecution; a prince who lived when all Christendom was full of   (p. 333)
the darkness of bigotry and superstition, and when persecution had
established its "cruel habitations" in every corner of the land.

The first occasion on which Henry of Monmouth's name is in any way
connected with religious intolerance and persecution, is recorded in
the Rolls of Parliament, 7 and 8 Henry IV. The circumstance is thus
stated by Prynne,[254] or whoever was the author of the passage which
is now found in the "Abridgment of Records in the Tower." "At this
time the clergy suborned Henry, Prince, for and in the name of the
clergy, and Sir John Tibetott the Speaker, for and in behalf of the
Commons, to exhibit a long and _bloody_ bill against certain men
called Lollards,--namely, against them that taught or preached
anything against the temporal livings of the clergy. Other points
touching Lollardy I read none; only this is to be marked, for the
better expedition in this exploit, they joined prophecies touching the
King's estate, and such as whispered and bruited that King Richard (p. 334)
should be living; the which they inserted, to the end that by the same
subtlety they might the better achieve against the poor Lollards
aforesaid. Wherein note a most unlawful and monstrous tyranny; for the
request of the same bill was, that every officer, or other minister
whatever might apprehend and inquire of such Lollards without any
other commission, and that no sanctuary should hold them."

                   [Footnote 254: This work, "published by William
                   Prynne, Esq. a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn, 1657," is
                   ascribed by him to Cotton; but it proves not to
                   have been written by Cotton, but by the two
                   brothers William and Robert Bowyer. See manuscript
                   note, by Francis Hargrave, at the commencement of
                   his copy in the British Museum. What notes and
                   observations came from the author, whether Cotton
                   or one of the Bowyers, and what were added and
                   interwoven by Prynne, it seems impossible to
                   determine. This passage (p. 456) apparently carries
                   with it internal evidence that it was penned by

The Biographer of Henry V. needs not be very anxious as to the real
intention of this petition. The allegation that Prince Henry and the
Speaker of the House of Commons were suborned by the clergy, is a pure
invention; no proof, or probable confirmation of any part of the
charge, is afforded by history. The Speaker is named as the chief
member of the House of Commons; the Prince is named as President of
the Council, and chief member of the House of Lords; each acting in
his official rather than in his individual character.

The petition was presented on Wednesday, December 22, in the
parliament 7 and 8 Henry IV. which was dissolved that same day. The
Roll records that "The Commons came before the King and Lords, and
prayed an interview with the Lords by John Tybetot the Speaker."
Different petitions were presented; one touching the succession of the
crown, and the petition in question. The petition is not drawn up in
the name of the Commons and Lords; it purports to be addressed     (p. 335)
to the King by "his humble son Henry the Prince, and the Lords
Spiritual and Temporal in this present parliament assembled;" and the
Speaker, in the name of the Commons, prays the King that the petition
might be made the law of the land until the next parliament: and the
King "graciously assents." Whatever were the real object of this law,
if its aim were merciful, the Prince ought to have no additional share
of the praise; if it were adding to the severity of the existing law,
he deserves no additional blame, from the fact of his name appearing
in the petition. In either case it appears there just as the Speaker's
does, officially. But what was the real drift of this petition?
Suppose it to have been on the side of severity, will it deserve the
character assigned to it by the author of the "Abridgment?" Can it be
called a "bloody" petition? It prayed that after the feast of Epiphany
next ensuing, without any other commission, "Lollards, and other
speakers and contrivers of news and lies, _might be apprehended_ and
_kept in safe custody till the next parliament_, and _there to answer
to the charges against them_." Suppose this to have been an extension
of a former persecuting law, it gave no power of life or death, or any
further severity against the person, than merely safe custody, a power
now given to any magistrate against persons accused of any one of a
large class of offences usually treated as light and trifling. But we
may suppose that the real bearing of this petition were altogether (p. 336)
the other way,--that it was intended to mitigate the severity of the
existing law,--to deprive the real persecutors of the power, which
they would undoubtedly have had, "of citing the suspected heretic,
punishing him by fine and imprisonment, and, in the case of a relapsed
or obstinate heretic, consigning him to the civil power for death."
This power the statute[255] 2 Hen. IV. c. 15, conferred on the
diocesans; and the petition in question might have been virtually a
suspension of that sanguinary law till the next session. If this be
so, we have precluded ourselves from ascribing any individual merit to
Henry of Monmouth above the rest of the peers who drew up the
petition; but he must share it equally with them; at all events, the
charge of his having been suborned by the clergy to present "a long
and bloody petition" falls to the ground. On this question, however,
it were better to cite the opinion of an author certainly able     (p. 337)
to take a correct view of such subjects; and who, not having Henry the
Fifth's character before him at the time, but only the historical
fact, must be regarded as an unprejudiced authority. Mr. Hallam,[256]
in his History of the Middle Ages, makes this comment upon the
proceeding in question. "We find a remarkable petition[257] in 8 Henry
IV. professedly aimed against the Lollards, but intended, as I
strongly suspect, in their favour. It condemns persons preaching
against the Catholic faith or sacraments to imprisonment against the
next parliament, where they were to abide such judgment as should be
rendered by _the King and peers of the realm_. This seems to supersede
the burning statute of 2 Henry IV, and the spiritual cognizance of
heresy. Rot. Parl. p. 583; see too p. 626. The petition was expressly
granted; but the clergy, I suppose, prevented its appearing in the
Roll."[258] Certain it is, that, unless the statute framed upon this
petition suspended the power of the existing law, the hierarchy had
full authority, without the intervention of the civil magistrate,  (p. 338)
to apprehend any one suspected of heresy, to try him, to sentence him,
and to deliver him over to the secular power for death, upon receipt
of the King's writ.[259] Certain it also is, that, on those who might
be apprehended in consequence of this petition, none of those rigours
could be visited: on the contrary, they would be placed beyond reach
of the ecclesiastical arm. Surely to talk of Prince Henry being
suborned by the priests to present a bloody petition, savours rather
of blind prejudice than of upright judgment.

                   [Footnote 255: Much doubt and many mistakes seem to
                   have prevailed as to the real state of the law in
                   England before the statute 2 Hen. IV. cap. 15. It
                   is said by the annotator on Fitzherbert that,
                   "before the time of Henry IV. no person had been
                   put to death for opinions in religion in England;"
                   but the same author himself tells us that, among
                   the crimes to be punished by burning by the common
                   law, heresy is enumerated. "No Bishop, indeed, by
                   the common law, could convict of heresy, as to loss
                   of life, but only as to penance, and for the health
                   of the soul, 'pro salute animæ.' In the case of
                   life, the conviction by the common law ought to
                   have been before the Archbishop in convocation."
                   Much information is found on this subject in
                   Fitzherbert's Book, De Naturâ Brevium.]

                   [Footnote 256: Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. iii. p.

                   [Footnote 257: An antiquary well versed in such
                   matters says, that for many years previous to this
                   petition there are several mandates upon the Patent
                   Rolls, ordering the apprehension of heretics, (who
                   appeared to have been all monks,) in consequence of
                   complaints made to the King in council by the
                   various monasteries. He had never met with any
                   entry affecting the parochial clergy.]

                   [Footnote 258: The clergy could not have prevented
                   its appearance on the Roll, but the judges (it is
                   said) might have done so.]

                   [Footnote 259: See, however, Fitzherbert, De Naturâ
                   Brevium, p. 601.]

The only other occasion which places Henry of Monmouth, whilst Prince
of Wales, before us in conjunction with bigotry, intolerance, and
persecution, is the martyrdom of a condemned heretic, executed in
Smithfield. Fox, and those who follow him, say, that the martyr was
John Badby, an artificer of Worcester, condemned first in his own
county, and then definitively sentenced by the Archbishop, the Duke of
York, the Chancellor, and others in London; the Chronicle of London
records the same transaction, but speaks of the individual as a
"_clerk_, who believed nought of the sacrament of the altar!" There is
no doubt, however, that the two accounts, as well as the Archbishop's
record, refer to the same individual, though the Chronicle of London
is mistaken as to the sphere of life in which he moved. It will be
borne in mind that the question is not, whether John Badby ended his
life gloriously in defence and in testimony of the truth, nor      (p. 339)
whether those who charged, and tried, and condemned him, were
merciless persecutors; the only point of inquiry immediately before us
is, Whether, at the death of John Badby, Henry of Monmouth showed
himself to be a persecutor. The circumstances, however, of this
martyr's charge and condemnation, independently of that question, are
by no means void of interest; though our plan precludes us from
detailing them further than they may throw more or less direct light
upon the subject of our investigation. The following statement is
taken from Archbishop Arundel's record.[260]

                   [Footnote 260: Wilkins' Concilia, Ex reg. Arundel,
                   i. fol. 15.]

       *       *       *       *       *

John Badby was an inhabitant of Evesham, in the diocese of Worcester,
and by trade a tailor. He was charged before the bishop with heresy,
and was condemned in the diocesan court. The point on which alone his
persecutors charged him, was his denial of transubstantiation. His
trial took place on the 2nd of January, 1409, and he was subsequently
brought before the Archbishop and his court in London, as a heretic
convict. His examination began on Saturday, the 1st of March 1410, at
the close of which the court resolved that he should be kept a close
prisoner till the next Wednesday, in the house of the Preaching
Friars, where the proceedings were carried on. The Archbishop, for
greater caution, said that he would himself keep possession of     (p. 340)
the key. When the Wednesday arrived, the Archbishop took, as his
advisers and assistants, so great a number of the bishops and nobles
of the land, that (in the words of his own record) it would be a task
to enumerate them: among others, however, the names of Edmund Duke of
York, John Earl of Westmoreland, Thomas Beaufort Chancellor of
England, and Lord Beaumond, are recorded.[261] Prince Henry, though
present in London, and actively engaged with some of the same noblemen
as members of the council, was not present at Badby's examination,
either on the Saturday or on the Wednesday.[262] In all his
examinations Badby seems to have conducted himself throughout with
great firmness and self-possession, and, at the same time, with much
respect towards those who were then his judges. Looking to the
circumstances in which he was placed, it is almost impossible for any
one not to be struck by the weight and pointedness of his answers. He
openly professed his belief in the ever blessed Trinity, "one
omnipotent God in Trinity;" and when pressed as to his belief in the
sacrament of the altar, he declared that, after consecration,      (p. 341)
the elements were signs of Christ's body, but he could not believe
that they were changed into the substance of his flesh and blood.
"If," he said, "a priest can by his word make God, there will be
twenty thousand Gods in England at one time. Moreover, I cannot
conceive how, when Christ at his last supper broke one piece of bread,
and gave a portion to each of his disciples, the piece of bread could
remain whole and entire as before, or that he then held his own body
in his hand." At his last appearance before the large assemblage of
the hierarchy and the temporality, when asked as to the nature of the
elements, he said, that "in the sight of God, the Duke of York, or any
child of Adam, was of higher value than the sacrament of the altar."
The Archbishop declared openly to the accused that, if he would live
according to the doctrine of Christ, he would pledge his soul for him
at the last judgment day.

                   [Footnote 261: De Roos, Master of the Rolls, was at
                   the first meeting, and a large number (multitudo
                   copiosa) of the laity and clergy.]

                   [Footnote 262: The house (the Friars' Preachers)
                   where they met, was a place in which the Prince at
                   this time often presided at the council. On the
                   10th of the following June, for example, he met the
                   Chancellor, and the Bishops of Durham, Winchester,
                   and Bath, with others, at this house.]

The registrar, in recording these proceedings, employs expressions
which too plainly indicate the frame of mind with which this poor man
was viewed by his persecutors. Had the words been attributed either to
the Archbishop himself, or to his remembrancer, by an enemy, they
might have excited a suspicion of misrepresentation or misunderstanding.
"Whilst he was under examination the poison of asps appeared about his
lips; for a very large spider, which no one saw enter, suddenly and
unexpectedly, in the sight of all, ran about his face." To this    (p. 342)
absurd statement, however, the registrar adds a sentence abounding with
painful and dreadful associations. "The Archbishop, weighing in his mind
that the Holy Spirit was not in the man at all, and seeing by his
unsubdued countenance that he had a heart hardened like Pharaoh's,
freeing themselves from him altogether, delivered him to the secular
arm; praying the noblemen who were present, not to put him to death for
his offence, nor deliver him to be punished." Whatever force this prayer
of the hierarchy was expected to have, the King's writ was ready. The
Archbishop condemned him before their early dinner, and forthwith on the
same day, after dinner, he was taken to Smithfield, and burnt in a sort
of tub to ashes. The Lambeth Register[263] mentions the mode of his
death, and affirms that he persevered in his obstinacy to the last, but
says nothing whatever about the Prince of Wales. The further proceedings
with regard to this martyr, and which connect him with the subject of
these Memoirs, are thus stated by Fox, in his Book of Martyrs.

                   [Footnote 263: Dictoque die, immediatè post
                   prandium, ex decreto regio, apud Smythfield,
                   præfatus Joh. Badby, in suâ obstinaciâ perseverans
                   usque ad mortem, catenis ferreis stipiti ligatus,
                   ac quodam vase concavo circumplexus, injectis
                   fasciculis et appositis ignibus, incineratus
                   extitit et consumptus.]

     "This thing[264] [the condemnation by the Archbishop, and     (p. 343)
     the delivery of Badby to the secular power,] being done and
     concluded in the forenoon, in the afternoon the King's writ was
     not far behind; by the force whereof John Badby was brought into
     Smithfield, and there, being put into an empty barrel, was bound
     with iron chains, fastened to a stake, having dry wood put about
     him. And as he was thus standing in the pipe or tun, (for as yet
     Perilous' bull was not in use among the bishops,) it happened
     that the Prince, the King's eldest son, was there present; who,
     showing some part of the good Samaritan, _began to endeavour and
     assay how to save the life of him_ whom the hypocritical Levites
     and Pharisees sought to put to death. _He admonished and
     counselled him that, having respect unto himself he should
     speedily withdraw himself out of these labyrinths of opinions_;
     adding oftentimes threatenings, the which would have daunted any
     man's stomach. Also Courtney, at that time Chancellor of Oxford,
     preached unto him, and informed him of the faith of holy church.
     In this mean season, the Prior of St. Bartlemew's in Smithfield,
     brought, with all solemnity, the sacrament of God's body, with
     twelve torches borne before, and so shewed the sacrament to the
     poor man being at the stake: and then they demanded of him    (p. 344)
     how he believed in it; he answered, that he well knew it was
     hallowed bread, and not God's body. And then was the tunne put
     over him, and fire put unto him. And when he felt the fire he
     cried, 'Mercy!' (calling belike upon the Lord,) and so the Prince
     immediately commanded to take away the tun and quench the fire.
     The Prince, his commandment being done, asked him if he would
     forsake heresy and take him to the faith of holy church; which
     thing if he would do, he should have goods enough: promising also
     unto him a yearly stipend out of the King's treasury, so much as
     would suffice his contentation. But this valiant champion of
     Christ rejected the Prince's fair words, as also contemned all
     men's devices, and refused the offer of worldly promises, no
     doubt but being more vehemently inflamed with the spirit of God
     than with earthly desire. Wherefore, when as yet he continued
     unmoveable in his former mind, the Prince commanded him straight
     to be put again into the pipe or tun, and that he should not
     afterwards look for any grace or favour."

                   [Footnote 264: Fox makes a curious mistake here. He
                   says, the examination in London began on _Sunday_,
                   the 1st of March. But the 1st of March was not on a
                   Sunday, but on a Saturday, in that year, 1410. Fox
                   derives his information chiefly from the Latin
                   record (_v._ Wilkins' Concilia) preserved in
                   Lambeth; and there we find that the date is Die
                   _Sabbati_, _i.e._ Saturday, not, as Fox mistakenly
                   renders it, Sunday. The computation in these
                   Memoirs is made of the historical, not the
                   ecclesiastical year.

                   The King's writ is dated March 5th, and informs us
                   that Badby was of Evesham in Worcestershire.]

Milner having told us, that "the memory of Henry is by no means free
from the imputation of cruelty," gives an unfavourable turn to the
whole affair, and ascribes a state of mind to the Prince, which Fox's
account will scarcely justify. Milner's zeal against popery and its
persecutions, often betrays him into expressions which a calm review
of all the circumstances of the case would, probably, have suggested
to his own mind the necessity of modifying and softening. Fox
attributes to Henry "some part of the good Samaritan," and puts most
prominently forward his desire and endeavour to save the poor      (p. 345)
man's life. Milner ascribes to him a violence of temper, altogether
unbecoming the melancholy circumstances of that hour of death, and
directs our thoughts chiefly to his attempt to force a conscientious
man to recant.

The account of Milner is this: "After he, Badby, had been delivered to
the secular power by the Bishops, he was by the King's writ condemned
to be burned. The Prince of Wales, happening to be present, very
earnestly exhorted him to recant, adding the most terrible menaces of
the vengeance that would overtake him if he should continue in his
obstinacy. Badby, however, was inflexible. As soon as he felt the
fire, he cried 'Mercy!' The Prince, supposing he was entreating the
mercy of his judges, ordered the fire to be quenched. 'Will you
forsake heresy,' said young Henry, 'and will you conform to the faith
of the holy church? If you will, you shall have a yearly stipend out
of the King's treasury?' The martyr was unmoved, and Henry IN A RAGE
declared that he might now look for no favour. Badby gloriously
finished his course in the flames."

The Chronicle of London, from which, in all probability, Fox drew the
materials for his description, makes one shudder at the reckless,
cold-blooded acquiescence of its author in the excruciating tortures
of a fellow-creature suffering for his faith's sake. In his eyes,
heretics were detestable pests; and an abhorrence of heresy seems  (p. 346)
to have quenched every feeling of humanity in his heart. It must be
observed, that this contemporary document speaks not a word of Henry
having been "in a rage," nor of his having commanded the sufferer to
be "straight put into the ton," nor of his having used "horrible
menaces of vengeance," nor, even in the milder expression of Fox,
"threatenings which would have daunted any man's stomach."

     "A clerk," (says the Chronicle,) "that believed nought of the
     sacrament of the altar, that is to say, God's body, was condemned
     and brought to Smithfield to be burnt. And Henry, Prince of
     Wales, then the King's eldest son, counselled him to forsake his
     heresy and hold the right way of holy church. And the Prior of
     St. Bartholomew's brought the holy sacrament of God's body with
     twelve torches lighted before, and in this wise came to this
     cursed heretic; and it was asked him how he believed, and he
     answered that he believed well that it was hallowed bread, and
     nought God's body. And then was the tonne put over him, and fire
     kindled therein; and when the wretch felt the fire he cried
     mercy, and anon the Prince commanded to take away the ton and to
     quench the fire. And then the Prince asked him if he would
     forsake his heresy, and take him to the faith of holy church;
     which if he would have done, he should have his life, and goods
     enough to live by; and the cursed shrew would not, but continued
     forth in his heresy: wherefore he was burnt."[265]

                   [Footnote 265: The chronicler adds, "A versifier
                   made of him in metre these two verses:

                       "Hereticus credat, ve perustus ab orbe recedat,
                       Ne fidem lædat: Sathan hunc baratro sibi prædat."]

There probably will not be great diversity of opinion as to the    (p. 347)
conduct of Henry, and the spirit which influenced him on this
occasion. He was present at the execution of a fellow-creature, who
was condemned to an excruciating death by the blind and cruel, but
still by the undoubted law of his country. Acting the "part of the
good Samaritan," he earnestly endeavoured to withdraw him from those
sentiments the publication of which had made him obnoxious to the law;
and he employed the means which his high station afforded him of
suspending the King's writ even at the very moment of its execution,
promising the offender pardon on his princely word, and a full
maintenance for his life. He could do no more: his humanity had
carried him even then beyond his authority, and, considering all the
circumstances, even beyond the line of discretion; and, when he found
that all his efforts were in vain, he left the law to take its own
course,--a law which had been passed and put in execution before he
had anything whatever to do with legislation and government.

CHAPTER XXX.                                                       (p. 348)



The death of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, and the circumstances
which preceded it, require a more patient and a more impartial
examination than they have often met with. But it must be borne in
mind throughout that our inquiry has for its object, neither the
condemnation of religious persecution, nor the palliation of the
spirit of Romanism,--neither the canonization of the Protestant
martyr, nor the indiscriminate inculpation of all concerned in the sad
tragedy of his condemnation and death,--but the real estimate of
Henry's character. The pursuit of this inquiry of necessity leads  (p. 349)
us through passages in the history of our country, and of our church,
which must be of deep and lively interest to every Englishman and
every Christian. It is impossible, as we proceed, not to fix our eyes
upon objects somewhat removed from the direct road along which we are
passing, and, contemplating the state of things as they were in those
days, contrast them fairly and thankfully with what is our own lot

It were a far easier work to assume that all who were engaged in
prosecuting Sir John Oldcastle were men of heartless bigotry,
unrelenting enemies to true religion, devoid of every principle of
Gospel charity, men of Belial, delighting in deeds of violence and
blood; and that the victim of their cruelty, persecuted even to the
death solely for his religious sentiments, was a pattern of every
Christian excellence, the undaunted champion of Gospel truth, the
sainted martyr of the Protestant faith. This were the more easy task,
for little further would need to be done in its accomplishment than to
select from former writers passages of indiscriminate panegyric on the
one hand, and equally indiscriminate vituperation on the other. The
investigation of doubtful and disputed facts, to the generality of
minds, is irksome and disagreeable; and its results, for the most part
removed, as they are, from extreme opinions on either side, are
received with a far less keen relish than the glowing eulogy of a
partisan, and the unsparing invective of an enemy. Truth,          (p. 350)
nevertheless, must be our object. Truth is a treasure of intrinsic
value, and will retain its worth after the adventitious and forced
estimate put upon party views and popular representations shall have
passed away.

Sir John Oldcastle, who derived the title of Lord Cobham from his
wife, was a man of great military talents and prowess, and at the same
time a man of piety and zeal for the general good. He was one of the
chief benefactors towards the new bridge at Rochester, a work then
considered of great public importance; and he founded a chantry for
the maintenance of three chaplains. Oldcastle was by no means free
from trouble during the reign of Richard II. Indeed, so unsettled was
the government, and so violent were the measures adopted against
political opponents, and so cheap and vile was human life held, that
few could reckon upon security of property or person for an hour. One
day a man was seen in a high civil or military station; the next
arrested, imprisoned, banished, or put to death. Oldcastle was very
nearly made an early victim of these violent proceedings. Among the
strong measures to which parliament had recourse about the year 1386,
they appointed fourteen lords to conduct the administration, among
whom was Lord Cobham. Just ten years afterwards he was arrested, and
adjudged to death by the parliament;[266] but his punishment, at the
earnest request of certain lords, was commuted for perpetual       (p. 351)
imprisonment,[267] a sentence from which the lords of parliament
revolted,--and he was exiled.[268] From this banishment he returned
with Henry of Lancaster, and was restored to all his possessions which
had been forfeited. Through the whole reign of Henry IV. we find him
in the King's service in Wales and on the Continent. In a summons for
a general council of prelates, lords, and knights, dated July 21,
1401, occurs the name of John Lord Cobham.[269] In the Minutes of
Council about the end of August 1404, John Oldcastle is appointed to
keep the castles and towns of the Hay and Brecknock; and when English
auxiliaries were sent to aid the Duke of Burgundy, Oldcastle was among
the officers selected for that successful enterprise. Between the
Prince of Wales and this gallant brother in arms an intimacy was
formed, which existed till the melancholy tissue of events interrupted
their friendship, and ultimately separated them for ever.

                   [Footnote 266: Monk of St. Alban's.]

                   [Footnote 267: Monk of Evesham.]

                   [Footnote 268: The Pell Rolls (22d May 1398)
                   contain an item of 20_l._ paid to Thomas Duke of
                   Surrey on account of Lord Cobham, then his

                   [Footnote 269: Records of Privy Council.]

We have already seen that Lord Cobham had given proof of a pious as
well as a liberal mind; and his piety showed itself in acts which the
Roman church sanctioned and fostered. He built and endowed a       (p. 352)
chantry for the maintenance of three chaplains. But he had imbibed a
portion of that spirit which Wickliffe's doctrines had diffused far
and wide through the land; and he not only boldly professed his
principles, but actively engaged in disseminating them. It is very
difficult to ascertain the exact truth as to the tenour and extent of
the religious opinions of the rising sect, and the degree in which
they were political dissenters, aiming at the overthrow of the
existing order of things in the state as well as in the church. Their
enemies, doubtless, have exaggerated their intentions, and have
endeavoured to rob them of all claim to the character of sincere
religious reformers; probably misrepresenting their objects, and
confounding their designs with the plots of those turbulent
spirits[270] who then agitated several countries in Europe; whilst
their friends have denied, perhaps injudiciously, any participation on
their part in seditious and treasonable practices. By the one they
have been condemned as reckless enemies to truth, and order, and
peace; by the other they are exalted into self-devoted confessors and
martyrs; in soundness of faith, integrity of life, and constancy unto
death for the truth's sake, equalling those servants and soldiers of
Christ who in the first ages sealed their belief with their blood. The
truth lies between these extremes: their enemies were bigoted      (p. 353)
or self-interested persecutors; but many among themselves, as a body,
in their language, their actions, and their professed principles, were
very far removed from that quiet, patient, peaceable demeanour which
becomes the disciples of the Cross. Doubtless there were numbers at
that time in England possessing their souls in patience, bewailing the
gloom and superstition and tyranny which through that long night of
error overspread their country, and anxiously but resignedly expecting
the dawn of a holier and brighter day. It is, however, impossible to
read the documents of the time without being convinced, not only that
the temporal establishment of the Church was threatened, but that the
civil government had good grounds for watching with a jealous eye, and
repressing with a strong hand, the violent though ill-digested schemes
of change then prevailing in England. Undoubtedly the hierarchy set
all the engines in motion for the extirpation of Lollardism, as the
principles of the rising sect were called. They felt that their
dominion over the minds of men must cease as soon as the right of
private judgment was generally acknowledged; and they resolved, at
whatever cost of charity and of blood, to maintain the hold over the
consciences, the minds, and the property of their fellow-creatures,
which the Church had devoted so many years of steady, unwearied,
undeviating policy to secure. The real question, the point on      (p. 354)
which every other question between the Protestant communions and the
Church of Rome must depend, is this: "Have individual Christians a
right to test the doctrines of the Church by the written word of God;
or must they receive with implicit credence whatever the church in
communion with the See of Rome, the only authorized and infallible
guardian and propagator of Gospel truth, decrees and propounds?" All
the other differences, however important in themselves, and
practically essential, must follow the fate of this question. The
Romanists are still aware of this, and are as much alive to it as ever
were the most uncompromising vindicators of their church in the days
of Lollardism. They took their resolution, and it was this: "Come what
will come, this heresy must be put down; the very existence of the
Church is incompatible with this rivalry: either Lollardism must be
extinguished, or it will shake the very foundations of Rome." And,
having taken this resolution, they lost no favourable opportunity of
carrying it into full effect.

                   [Footnote 270: The states of Europe were much
                   convulsed about this time by an apprehension of
                   political revolutions.]

Some writers seem to have fixed their thoughts so much on the bold and
ruthless measures adopted, or compassed, by the Church under the house
of Lancaster, as to have left unnoticed their proceedings previously
to Henry IV.'s accession. In 1394, when Richard II. made his first
expedition to Ireland, though he had been absent a very short time, so
alarmed were the heads of the Church at the progress of the new    (p. 355)
opinions, that the Archbishop of York[271] and the Bishop of London
went over in person to implore him to return forthwith and put down
the Lollards,[272] his own and the Church's formidable enemies. Many
strong measures were resorted to on that King's return, but all short
of those deeds of guilt and blood which disgraced our country through
the next reigns. The Pope, the King, and the hierarchy put forth their
united exertions, and for a season the growing danger seemed to be
repressed; but it was still silently and widely spreading. In the year
1400, before Henry IV. was settled in his throne, and whilst he was
naturally alive to every report of danger, the several estates of the
realm "pray the King to pass such a law as may effectually rid the
kingdom of those plotters against all rule and right and liberty, (for
so are the Lollards described,) whose aim is to dispossess the clergy
of their benefices, the King of his throne, and the whole realm of
tranquillity and order, exciting to the utmost of their power sedition
and insurrection." And in that year was passed the statute De      (p. 356)
hæretico comburendo, which enacted that a suspected heretic should be
cited by his diocesan, be fined, and imprisoned; and, if pronounced a
relapsed or obstinate heretic, be given over by the Church to the
secular power, to be burnt, in an elevated spot, before the people, to
strike terror the more. It was under this statute that Sir John
Oldcastle was summoned, tried, adjudged, and delivered to the secular

                   [Footnote 271: King Richard seems to have employed
                   the Irish prelates on many occasions in his
                   intercourse with Rome. Thomas Crawley, Archbishop
                   of Dublin, was sent to Pope Urban (1398, May 22nd,)
                   "for the safe estate and prosperity of the most
                   holy English church;" and John Cotton, Archbishop
                   of Armagh, was sent to Rome, (31st of August,) in
                   the same year, "on the King's secret
                   affairs."--Pell Rolls.]

                   [Footnote 272: Otterbourne.]

How long he had entertained the new opinions, or, by openly
encouraging their propagators, had incurred the anger, and drawn down
upon himself the concentrated violence of the hierarchy, does not
appear. From one circumstance we may fairly infer, that, whilst he was
aiding the Prince in the war against Owyn Glyndowr, he had not been
silent or idle in the dissemination of these principles. In the synod
held in St. Paul's, his offence of sending emissaries and preachers is
said to have been especially committed (beside the dioceses of London
and Rochester) in the diocese of Hereford; and, as we have seen, in
1404 he was especially charged with the safeguard of the town and
castle of Hay, in Herefordshire: he was also sheriff of that county in
1407. Whether he had ever communicated his sentiments to the Prince,
or not, must remain a matter only of conjecture: be this as it may, no
sooner was the first parliament of Henry V. assembled,--and they met
soon after Easter,--than Arundel convened a full assembly[273]     (p. 357)
of prelates and clergy in St. Paul's Cathedral.[274] It was there
speedily determined that the breaches in the Church could not be
repaired, nor peace and security restored, unless certain noblemen and
gentry, favourers of Lollardism, were removed, or effectually
silenced, and brought back to their allegiance. Especially, and by
name, was this decree passed against Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham;
and a resolution was taken to proceed against him forthwith. But he
was then in high favour with the King; and the Archbishop thought it
discreet to endeavour first to withdraw from him the royal favour,
before proceeding openly to put the law in force against him. And at
this point our interest in the transactions, and our desire to
ascertain the accuracy of the accounts in every particular begin to
increase; for our estimate of the tone and temper of Henry's mind, and
the real nature of his conduct, will be affected by a very slight
change of expression and turn of thought. Was Henry V. a persecutor
for religious opinions?

                   [Footnote 273: The Chronicle of London states that
                   the convocation assembled on the day of St. Edmund
                   the King, and continued until December; and "that
                   the archbishop and bishops, at St. Paul's Cross,
                   accursed Sir John Oldcastle on the Sunday, after
                   the dirge was performed royally at Westminster for
                   Richard II., on the removal of his remains."]

                   [Footnote 274: Archbishop Arundel (says Anthony à
                   Wood), who never proceeded beyond the degree of
                   bachelor of arts in this University [Oxford] or any
                   other, decreed by a provincial council, 1404, that
                   none should preach except privileged or licensed.]

Perhaps the more satisfactory course will be, first to give the    (p. 358)
statements of Fox, and one or two others, who have taken the view
of the case least favourable to Henry, and then to add the account of
the transaction as it is recorded by the Archbishop, on whose record
Fox informs us that the ground and certainty of his own history of
Lord Cobham depended. Almost all subsequent writers copy the
martyrologist exclusively and implicitly, though often with much
additional colouring.

Fox, who certainly follows the original statement in Archbishop
Arundel's register much more faithfully, than those who have taken
their facts from him, and heightened them by their own exaggerated
colouring, gives an unfavourable and an unfair turn to the whole
proceeding by one or two strokes of his pencil. His version of the
affair is this: "The King _gently_ heard those bloodthirsty prelates,
and _far otherwise than became his princely dignity_; notwithstanding
requiring, and instantly desiring them, that in respect of his noble
stock and knighthood, they would deal favourably with him, and that
they would, if possible, without all rigour or extreme handling,
reduce him to the Church's unity. He promised them also, that, in case
they were content to take some deliberation, himself would seriously
commune the matter with him. Anon after, the King sent for Lord
Cobham, and, as he was come, he called him, secretly admonishing him,
betwixt him and him, to submit himself to his mother the holy      (p. 359)
Church, and as an obedient child to acknowledge himself culpable. Unto
whom the Christian knight made this answer: 'You, most worthy prince,
I am always most ready to obey. Unto you, next my eternal God, I owe
whole obedience, and submit thereto, as I have ever done. But as
touching the Pope and his spirituality, I owe them neither suit nor
service; forasmuch as I know him by the Scriptures to be the great
Antichrist, the son of perdition, the open adversary of God, and the
abomination standing in the holy place!' When the King had heard this,
and such like sentences more, he would talk no longer with him, but
left him so utterly. And as the Archbishop resorted again unto him for
an answer, he gave him his full authority to cite him, examine him,
and punish him according to their devilish decrees, which they called
the laws of holy church."

In his comment on the answer said to have been made by Lord Cobham to
the King, Milner's zeal in favour of the accused, betrays him into
expressions against Henry which cannot be justified: "The _extreme
ignorance of Henry_ in matters of religion by no means disposed him to
relish such an answer as this; _he immediately turned away from him in
visible displeasure_, and gave up the disciple of Wickliff to the
malice of his enemies."

Hall's version is this: "The King, first having compassion on the  (p. 360)
nobleman, required the prelates, if he were a strayed sheep,[275]
rather by gentleness than by rigour to bring him back again to his old
flock: after that, he, sending for him, godly exhorted and lovingly
admonished him to reconcile himself to God and his laws. The Lord
Cobham thanked the King for his most favourable clemency, affirming
his grace to be his supreme head and competent judge, and no other."

                   [Footnote 275: Carte suggests that Lord Cobham
                   might have been one of Henry's [supposed] rakish
                   companions. But such a supposition as would stain
                   his memory with debauchery, is altogether at
                   variance with his character. Carte has no doubt of
                   the reality of Cobham's conspiracy in St. Giles'

The record, as it is found in the Archbishop's Memoirs, is as follows.
Having stated that, of the tracts which had been condemned to the
flames for their heretical contents, one consisting of many smaller
tracts full of more dangerous doctrine, tending to the subversion of
the faith and the church, was found at an illuminator's in Paternoster
Row, who confessed that it was Lord Cobham's, and another was brought
from Coventry, full of poison against the Church of God, the
Archbishop's record thus proceeds: "The day on which the said tracts
were condemned and burnt, certain tracts, containing more important
and more dangerous errors of the said Lord John Oldcastle, were read
before the King, and almost all the prelates and nobles of England, in
the closet of the King at Kennington; the said Lord John Oldcastle (p. 361)
being present and hearing it, having been especially summoned for this
purpose. Then our King himself expressed his abhorrence of those
conclusions, as the worst against the faith and the church he had ever
heard. And the said Lord John Oldcastle, being asked by the King
whether he thought the said tract was justly and deservedly condemned,
said that it was so. On being asked how he could use or possess a
tract of this sort, he said that he had never read more than two

"And be it remembered that in the said convocation the said Lord John
Oldcastle was convicted by the whole clergy of the province of
Canterbury, upon his ill-fame for errors and heretical wickedness, and
how in various dioceses he had held, assumed, and defended erroneous
and heretical conclusions; and that he had received to his house,
favoured, refreshed, and defended, chaplains suspected and even
convicted of such errors and heresies, and had sent them off to
different parts of the province to preach and sow this evil seed, to
the subversion of the faith and the state of the church.[276] And
supplication was made on the part of the same clergy to the Lord
Archbishop and the prelates, that the said John Oldcastle should   (p. 362)
be summoned to answer in person to these points. And because it seemed
right to the Lord Archbishop and the prelates, that the King ought
first to be consulted on this point, because he had been his intimate
friend, they waited upon the King at Kennington, and with all due
reverence consulted with him upon the matter. And the King returned
thanks for their obliging kindness, and prayed them, [regratiabatur
benevolentiis eorundem, et eis supplicabat,] for respect to the King
himself, because he had been his intimate friend, and also from
respect to the military order, they would defer process and execution
of every kind against him; promising them that he would labour, with
regard to him, to bring him back with all mildness and lenity from the
error of his way to the right path of truth. And if he could not
succeed in this endeavour, he would deliver him to them according to
the canonical obligations to be punished, and would assist them in
this with all his aid and with the secular arm. And the said
Archbishop and prelates acquiesced in the King's desire, but not
without the dissatisfaction and murmurs of the clergy. Then, after the
lapse of some time, when our said Lord the King had laboured long and
in various ways in the endeavour to bring back the said knight to the
sheepfold of Christ, and had reaped no fruit of his toil, but the
knight continually relapsed into a worse state than before, at length
the King, in the following month of August, being at Windsor,      (p. 363)
without further lenity sharply chided the said Lord John for his
obstinacy. And the said Lord, full of the Devil, not enduring such
chiding, withdrew without leave to his castle of Cowling in Kent; and
there fortified himself in the castle, as was publicly reported. After
that, the King sent for the Lord Archbishop, who was then at
Chichester, celebrating the Assumption of the blessed Virgin; and, on
his coming to the King at his house in Windsor Park, the King, after
rehearsing the pains he had taken, enjoined on the Archbishop, and
required him on the part of God and the Church, to proceed with all
expedition against the said Lord John Oldcastle according to the
canonical rules; and then the Archbishop proceeded against him as the
law required."[277]

                   [Footnote 276: Henry V.'s own chaplain declares,
                   "that Oldcastle attempted to infect the King's
                   highness himself with his deadly poison by his
                   crafty wiles of argument." If the King argued the
                   points with Oldcastle, how could that confessor
                   have done otherwise than strenuously endeavour to
                   bring his liege Lord to the same views of doctrine
                   which he entertained himself?]

                   [Footnote 277: Lingard speaks of "a mandate to the
                   Archbishop of Canterbury to proceed against the
                   fugitive according to law. The spiritual powers of
                   that prelate were soon exhausted. Oldcastle
                   disobeyed the summons, and laughed at his
                   excommunication; but was compelled to surrender to
                   a military force sent by the King, and was
                   conducted a prisoner to the Tower." The same author
                   (but on what authority it does not appear) tells us
                   that Oldcastle was at St. Alban's, and prophesied
                   that he should rise on the third day; which is in
                   itself most improbable.]

       *       *       *       *       *

After attentively perusing this authentic statement, comparing it with
subsequent representations, and recollecting that the utmost which
Henry did was to direct the ecclesiastical authorities to proceed
according to the laws of the land, where he had interrupted their  (p. 364)
proceedings with a view of averting the extremities on which those
authorities seemed bent--and when we learn that even that temporary
delay had called forth the decided disapprobation and remonstrance of
the clergy,--few probably among unprejudiced minds will be disposed to
view this incident in any other light than as a proof that Henry, who
was a sincere believer, was yet anxious to bring all to unity in faith
and discipline by reason and gentle means, by the force of argument
and persuasion only; and that he earnestly endeavoured to blunt the
edge of the sword with which the law had supplied the hierarchy, and
to avert the horrors of persecution. Undoubtedly, when he failed, he
directed the authorities to proceed according to law, and assisted
them in securing Cobham's person when he set them at defiance. But it
is necessary to take a comprehensive view of all the circumstances
before we pronounce judgment as to his principles or motives.

The account of Henry's own chaplain, who was prejudiced in the extreme
against the rising sect, seems undoubtedly to imply that in one stage
of the melancholy transaction Henry was more than passive, and
encouraged rather than checked the ecclesiastical authorities to
proceed; but he at the same time adds, what is of course of equal
credit, that the piety of the King deferred the extremity of
punishment and his death. He adds, "that Henry had Oldcastle
committed to the Tower, influenced by the hope that he might bring (p. 365)
him back to the true faith; and that when, towards the end of October,
the straitness of his confinement was softened, and he was, under
promise of renouncing his errors, released from his bond, he broke
prison and escaped." This was written between Oldcastle's escape and
his subsequent capture and death. If we take one part of such
evidence, we must in fairness take the other; and certainly, in that
contemporary's view, Henry was fully determined to do all he could to
save Cobham from the extreme penalty of the law.

He solicited the hierarchy, as a favour to himself, to suspend their
operations for a while; they consented to grant the suspension as a
favour to the King, upon his royal word being pledged that, should he
fail in his endeavours, he would interfere with their proceedings no
further, but on the contrary would assist them. Consistently with his
promise, and with his duty as the chief magistrate of the realm, he
could scarcely have done otherwise than he appears to have done.

After he had put forth his very utmost endeavours to rescue his
subject and friend from the ruin to which the hierarchy had destined
him, he made up his mind that the law should take its course, and that
the accused should be tried as the statute directed. Lord Cobham wrote
a confession of his faith, and, carrying it with him to the court,
presented it to the King; who, having resolved to interpose no     (p. 366)
further between the accused and the process of the law, directed him
to present it to his judges: and probably few will be disposed to
think that Henry could act otherwise, consistently with his high
station. The case was now most materially altered; Lord Cobham was in
a very different position, and so was the King. As long as his kind
offices could prevent a public prosecution, Henry spared no personal
labour or time, but zealously devoted himself to this object, though
unsuccessfully. But now the proceedings had advanced almost to their
consummation, and interference at this point could scarcely have been
consistent with the royal duty; especially when we consider what those
proceedings were. Lord Cobham had been summoned to appear before the
spiritual court, had disobeyed the citation, had been pronounced
"guilty of most deep contumacy," and had been excommunicated. Henry
could not interfere in this stage of the business with any show of
regard to the laws, agreeably to which (blind, and cruel, and
bloodthirsty, and wicked, as we may deem them,) the proceedings
undoubtedly had been conducted; he therefore, as it should seem, could
not do otherwise than direct the schedule, then presented to him by
Lord Cobham, to be referred to the tribunal which the law had
appointed to hear and determine the charges. On this turn of his
affairs, the valiant knight and sincere Christian had recourse to
various pleas and measures, for which were we to condemn him, as   (p. 367)
he has been condemned, we should act most unjustly. We must not judge
him by the standard of our own times, nor with reference to principles
on which we might justly be arraigned ourselves. But let the same
measure of justice be dealt to all alike; and whilst the eulogist of
Lord Cobham pleads in excuse the "wretched state of society" then
existing,[278] let all the circumstances of time and society and law
be taken into calm consideration before we condemn Henry, or rather
before we withhold from him the praise of moderation, liberality, and
true Christian kindness. The result of this visit to the King (to
which the Archbishop's record does not allude) is thus stated by Fox.
"Then desired Lord Cobham in the King's presence that a hundred
knights and esquires might be suffered to come in upon his purgation,
which he knew would clear him of all heresies. Moreover, he offered
himself after the law of arms to fight for life or death with any man
living, Christian or heathen, in the quarrel of his faith; the King
and the Lords of his council excepted. Finally, with all gentleness he
protested before all that were present, that he would refuse no manner
of correction that should, after the laws of God, be ministered unto
him; but that he would at all times with all meekness obey it.
Notwithstanding all this, the King suffered him to be summoned
personally in his own privy chamber." There is one circumstance of
very great importance, omitted by Milner, Turner, and others;      (p. 368)
but which cannot be neglected if we would deal fairly by Henry. Fox
gives a circumstantial statement of it; and it is of itself sufficient
to account for whatever of "strait handling" may have been shown by
the King to his unhappy friend at that hour. Lord Cobham, though he
had repeatedly professed that the King was his supreme head, and liege
Lord, and competent judge, and no other; and that he owed neither suit
nor service to the Pope, whom he denounced as Antichrist; yet now
appealed in the presence of the King peremptorily to the Pope, not on
the heat of the moment, but by a written document which he showed to
the King. The King overruled this appeal;[279] at least, he informed
the accused that he should remain in custody until it was allowed by
the Pope, and that at all events the Archbishop should be his judge.
He was then arrested again at the King's command, and taken to the
Tower of London, "to keep his day," the time appointed for his trial.
But the reader will judge more satisfactorily of the proceeding after
reading the statement of Fox himself. "Then said the Lord Cobham to
the King that he had appealed from the Archbishop to the Pope of   (p. 369)
Rome, and therefore he ought, he said, in no cause to be his judge;
and, having his appeal there at hand ready written, he showed it with
all reverence to the King. Wherewith the King was then much more
displeased than afore, and said angerly unto him that he should not
pursue his appeal; but rather he should tarry in hold till such time
as it were of the Pope allowed, and then, would he or nild he, the
Archbishop should be his judge."[280]

                   [Footnote 278: Milner.]

                   [Footnote 279: Mr. Southey builds upon this
                   circumstance a very unfavourable and unmerited
                   reflection on Henry in comparison with other
                   monarchs of England. "The Edwards' would have
                   rejoiced in so high-minded a subject as Lord
                   Cobham. But Henry V. had given his heart and
                   understanding into the keeping of the prelates, and
                   he refused to receive the paper, ordering it to be
                   delivered to them who should be his judges."]

                   [Footnote 280: It is painful to read the marginal
                   notes of Fox here. "Lord Cobham would not obey the
                   beast." Thomas Arundell, "Caiaphas sitteth in
                   consistory. The wolf was hungry; he must needs be
                   fed with blood. Bloody murderers." With many
                   others, yet more ungentle. The justice of the
                   judgment cannot but be questioned when the feelings
                   of the historian give themselves vent in such
                   language as this. Still we must make great
                   allowances for the times.

                   There are many other points in which Fox, who, be
                   it remembered, refers us to the Archbishop's Memoir
                   for evidence of the truth of his narrative, gives a
                   turn and colour to minor circumstances calculated
                   to prejudice the reader, but by no means sanctioned
                   by that Memoir. Thus Fox says, the Archbishop swore
                   all on the _Mass Book_: the Archbishop says, he
                   caused them all to be sworn on the Holy

How far at this juncture the King was competent to take upon himself
the responsibility of forbidding any further proceedings against the
individual on whose head the church had resolved to pour the full vial
of its wrath and vengeance; and, if he had by law the power, how far
he could consistently with the safety of his throne and the peace of
his kingdom have done so, are questions not hastily to be          (p. 370)
determined. Certain it is, that, not two years after Lord Cobham's
first citation, Henry seems to have been thought by the council[281]
to be so far from forward in the work of persecution, as to need from
them a memorial to be more vigilant and energetic in his measures
"against the malice of the Lollards;" and to require the Archbishops
and Bishops to do their duty in that respect. Henry, though sincerely
attached to the religion of Rome, yet, whether at the stake in
Smithfield, or in his own palace at Kennington, appears to have
endeavoured "to do the work of the good Samaritan," and to the very
verge of prudence to interpose between the execution of a cruel law,
and the sufferings of a fellow-creature for conscience sake; not by
setting himself up against the law of the kingdom over which he
reigned, but by gentleness and persuasion, and promises and threats,
to induce his subjects not to defy the law. Our inquiry does not
require or allow us to follow the steps of the devoted Lord Cobham
through his examinations before the ecclesiastical judges, nor to
pronounce upon the conduct and language either of Arundel[282] or his
prisoner. Henry seems to have taken no part in the proceedings
whatever. But after the definitive sentence had been passed, and   (p. 371)
he had been left to the secular power, and remanded in custody of  (p. 372)
Sir Robert Morley to the Tower, we must observe that though according
to Fox himself, the Archbishop had compelled the lay power by most
terrible menacings of cursings and interdictions to assist him against
that seditious apostate, schismatic, and heretic, and troubler of the
public peace, that enemy of the realm and great adversary of holy
church, (for all these hateful names did he give him,") yet the King's
writ for his execution was not forthcoming, and, as far as we have any
means of knowing, never was it issued. In the case of Sautre, the
sentence of his degradation and delivery to the secular power was
passed, and the King's writ for execution is tested on the very same
day, February 26th, 1401.[283] In the case of Badby, the sentence, the
King's writ, and the execution of the persecuted victim, followed in
one and the same day hard upon each other.[284] But though Lord Cobham
was sentenced on Monday, September 25, 1413, yet he remained in the
Tower some time,--Fox says, "a certain space;" Milner says, "some
weeks,"--and no warrant of execution was forthcoming. Indeed, as far
as the record speaks, no such writ was ever issued by the King. The
Tower was no ordinary prison, and yet Lord Cobham escaped[285] by  (p. 373)
night, no one knew how. Whether by connivance or not, and, if by
connivance, whether from any intimation of the King's wishes or not,
was never stated.[286] Many conjectures and surmises were afloat, but
no satisfactory account of his escape was ever made known to the
public. Certain it is that, had the King been a "cruel persecutor,"
had he been as ready to meet the desires of the hierarchy as his
father was in the case of Sautre or Badby, a few hours only after the
ecclesiastical sentence was passed would have borne Lord Cobham from
the power of his persecutors to the place where the wicked cease from
troubling, and where the weary are at rest. Walsingham says that both
Henry and the Archbishop were desirous of saving Oldcastle's life, and
that the Archbishop requested the King to give him a respite of forty
days.[287] But, adds Walsingham, he escaped, and spent the time in
preparing soldiers for revenge.

                   [Footnote 281: Minutes of Council, 27th May 1415.
                   Item, touching Commission "to the Archbishops and
                   Bishops to take measures each in his own diocese to
                   resist the malice of the Lollards." "The King has
                   given it in charge to his Chancellor."]

                   [Footnote 282: It is impossible not to observe upon
                   the great inaccuracy of Fox's translation of the
                   Archbishop's words, for he professes it to be a
                   translation, and the unfair turn and tone given to
                   his sentiments, together with the unjustifiable
                   addition which he has made to his definitive

                         FOX'S TRANSLATION.

                         "We sententially and definitively,
                         by this present writing,
                         judge, declare, and condemn
                         him for a most pernicious
                         and detestable heretic,
                         convicted upon the same, and
                         refusing utterly to obey the
                         church: again committing him
                         here from henceforth to the
                         secular jurisdiction, power, and
                         judgment, to _do him thereupon
                         to_ DEATH."

                         ARUNDEL'S WORDS.

                         "Him, convicted of and
                         upon such a detestable offence,
                         and unwilling to return penitently
                         to the unity of the
                         church, we sententially and
                         definitively have judged, declared,
                         and condemned for a
                         heretic, and to be in error in
                         those things which the holy
                         church of Rome and the universal
                         church teaches, hath determined,
                         and preacheth, and
                         especially in the Articles above
                         written; leaving the same as
                         a heretic henceforth to the
                         secular power."

                   "To do him unto death," may be the horrible
                   implication; but it is not, as Fox unwarrantably
                   represents it to be, part of the sentence.

                   Another instance occurs in the translation of the
                   passage in which the Archbishop gives his reasons
                   for making this public and authoritative statement
                   of the transaction.


                         "That, _upon the fear of this
                         declaration_, also the people
                         may fall from _their evil_ opinions
                         conceived _now of late_ by
                         _seditious preachers_."


                         "That the erroneous opinions
                         of the people, who perhaps
                         have conceived on this
                         subject otherwise than as the
                         truth of the fact stands, may
                         by this public declaration be

                   The Archbishop declares his object to be the
                   substitution of the true statement of the affair of
                   Lord Cobham's condemnation, in place of the false
                   opinions which were abroad; not a word about
                   "fear," or "evil opinions from seditious

                   [Footnote 283: In the Lambeth account Sautre's
                   condemnation is dated, according to the
                   ecclesiastical reckoning, February 1400; but that,
                   according to our reckoning, is 1401.]

                   [Footnote 284: The writ is dated March 5,

                   [Footnote 285: His escape must have been, at the
                   furthest, within fifteen days of his sentence; for,
                   on the 10th October, messengers were sent about,
                   forbidding any one to harbour "John Oldcastle, a
                   proved and convicted heretic."--Pell Rolls.]

                   [Footnote 286: If Cobham's escape was winked at by
                   the King, and _he knew_ of the King's kindness, it
                   is very improbable that he would immediately after
                   have been so basely ungrateful as to imagine the
                   death of his sovereign and benefactor. It is,
                   however, most probable that, had the King favoured
                   his escape, the royal interference would have been
                   kept a profound secret, as well from the prisoner,
                   as from the people at large.]

                   [Footnote 287: Walsingham (as quoted by Milner)
                   says that the Archbishop applied to the King for a
                   respite for fifty days for Lord Cobham. "If this be
                   so," Milner says, "the motives of Arundel can be no
                   great mystery. It was thought expedient to employ a
                   few weeks in lessening his credit among the people
                   by a variety of scandalous aspersions;" Milner then
                   quotes the forged recantation, of which we speak in
                   a subsequent note. It did not occur to that writer,
                   that the space of fifty days might be required to
                   forward his appeal to Rome, and receive the Pope's
                   judgment upon it.]

Had Henry been merely indifferent on this point, the writ would    (p. 374)
have issued as a matter of course. We have seen that, before any
proceedings were instituted against him, Henry used his utmost
endeavours and personal exertions to prevent the gallant knight from
falling into the dangers which threatened; and now, when nothing but
his own writ to the sheriff was wanted to bring the last scene of the
sad tragedy to a close, the King withheld it. The Archbishop, we are
told by Fox, compelled the lay power, by most terrible menacings of
cursing and interdictions, to assist him against Lord Cobham; and we
may be satisfied, the clergy, after denouncing him in convocation, and
after such vast pains had been undergone to subject him to the penalty
of death, would not have failed to press their sovereign to
extremities against this ringleader of their enemies: and yet the writ
of execution is withheld, and the condemned prisoner escapes. Whatever
inference may be drawn from these proceedings, at all events they give
no colour to the charge of persecution; on the contrary, the conduct
of Henry of Monmouth shews throughout indications of a             (p. 375)
kind-hearted good man, averse from violence, anxious to avoid
extremities, withholding his hand from shedding of blood; and that not
from a carelessness or ignorance in the matter, for he was sincerely
attached to the Roman communion, believing it to be the true religion
of Christ, and had also made proficiency in the learning of the time.
Compared with the knowledge of those who have lived in more favoured
times, and whilst the true light has shone from the sanctuary of the
Gospel on the inhabitants of our land, Henry's acquaintance with
divine things may appear scanty. But he certainly had possessed
himself of a large share of Christian verity, and he was earnestly
bent on maintaining the faith which he had espoused. The system,
however, of the law of terror found no willing supporter in him. His
forbearance from persecution sprang from a genuine feeling of
humanity, the spirit of philanthropy and kindness.

CHAPTER XXXI.                                                      (p. 376)


From the escape of Lord Cobham, or perhaps from the extraordinary
affair of St. Giles' Field, which must now engage our attention, we
perceive a most evident change in the sentiments and conduct of King
Henry towards the Lollards, and especially towards Lord Cobham. Up to
that time he seems to have considered their only crime to have been
heresy, and he anxiously employed his good offices to rescue and save
them: after that time he appears to have regarded them as his own
personal enemies, subverters of order, traitors to the throne and the
kingdom; and their heresy and schism were identified in his mind   (p. 377)
with the crimes of sedition and treason.[288] How far this view of
their principles and designs was just, has been disputed. Both sides
of the question have been strongly maintained. The inquiry is by no
means devoid of interest in itself; and, as far as Henry's conduct and
character are involved in the transactions of that time, is
indispensable; and throughout the inquiry it must be remembered that
the elucidation of his character, not the acquittal or conviction  (p. 378)
of Oldcastle and the Lollards, is the object we have in view.

                   [Footnote 288: Soon after the affair of St. Giles'
                   Field much pains seem to have been taken to
                   discover the retreat of Cobham. The Pell Rolls,
                   February 19, 1414, record payments to constables
                   and others for their careful watch and endeavours
                   to take him; and "chiefly for having found and
                   seized certain books of the Lollards in the house
                   of a parchment-maker;" and one hundred shillings as
                   an especial reward "for the great pains and
                   diligence exercised by Thomas Burton, (the King's
                   spy,) for his attentive watchfulness to the
                   operations of the Lollards now _lately rebellious_;
                   also because he fully certified _their intentions_
                   to the King for his advantage." This document (for
                   ignorance of which no former historian may deserve
                   blame, though its existence should caution every
                   one against drawing hasty conclusions from negative
                   evidence,) proves that at the Exchequer the
                   Lollards were considered as having been lately
                   rebellious, and as having had designs against the
                   King. In a deed too, signed and sealed by the
                   tenants of Lord Powis, who themselves took Lord
                   Cobham, both heresy and treason are specified as
                   the crimes of which he had been convicted "that was
                   miscreant and unbuxom to the law of God, and
                   _traitor convict_ to our most gracious sovereign
                   and his." The Patent Rolls record grants of ten
                   pounds per annum to John de Burgh, carpenter,
                   because he had discovered and delivered up certain
                   Lollards. There are other similar grants. Pat. p.
                   5. 1 Hen. V.]

Hume, depending implicitly on the old chroniclers, pronounces Cobham
as the ringleader, and his followers guilty of treason. Fox, in his
Book of Martyrs, has supplied Milner and many others with a very
different view. Even Le Bas, in his "Life of Wiclif," though he is
compelled to acknowledge that, "with every allowance for the
exaggerations of malice, of bigotry, and of terror, it is scarcely
possible to believe that imputations so dark could have been _wholly_
fictitious and unfounded," yet is unfortunately contented with the
statements and arguments of later compilers, instead of satisfying
himself from the original documents. He could scarcely have read the
terms which Henry V. used in the different documents of his pardon to
the offenders, or even in his proclamation of a reward for the capture
of Sir John Oldcastle, when he tells us, "it should never be forgotten
that the records of their persecution are wholly silent on the subject
of sedition or conspiracy."

It is curious to read the opposite accounts given of the affair of St.
Giles' Field by two modern historians, both having access to precisely
the same documents. Hume thus summarily disposes of the
case:--"Cobham, who was confined in the Tower, made his escape before
the day appointed for his execution.[289] The bold spirit of the man,
provoked by persecution and stimulated by zeal, was urged to       (p. 379)
attempt the most criminal enterprises; and his unlimited authority
over the new sect proved that he well merited the attention of the
civil magistrate. He formed, in his retreat, very violent designs
against his enemies; and, despatching his emissaries to all quarters,
appointed a general rendezvous of the party in order to seize the
person of the King at Eltham, and put their persecutors to the sword.
Henry, apprised of their intention, removed to Westminster: Cobham was
not discouraged by this disappointment, but changed the place of
rendezvous to the field near St. Giles's. The King, having shut the
gates of the city to prevent any reinforcement to the Lollards from
that quarter, came into the field in the night-time, seized such of
the conspirators as appeared, and afterwards laid hold of the several
parties who were hastening to the place appointed. It appeared that a
few only were in the secret of the conspiracy; the rest implicitly
followed their leaders: but, upon the trial of the prisoners, the
treasonable designs of the sect were rendered certain, both from
evidence and from the confession of the criminals themselves. Some
were executed, the greater number pardoned. Cobham himself, who made
his escape by flight, was not brought to justice till four years
after; when he was hanged as a traitor, and his body was burnt on the
gibbet, in execution of the sentence pronounced against him as     (p. 380)
a heretic. This criminal design, which was perhaps aggravated by the
clergy, brought discredit upon the party, and checked the progress
of that sect, which had embraced the speculative doctrines of
Wickliffe, and at the same time aspired to a reformation of
ecclesiastical abuses."

                   [Footnote 289: No day ever was appointed.]

Of the same affair Milner's version is this:--"The royal proclamation
did not put an end to the assemblies of the Lollards. Like the
primitive Christians, they met in smaller companies and more
privately, and often in the dead of the night. St. Giles' Fields, then
a thicket, was a place of frequent resort on these occasions; and here
a number of them assembled on the evening of January the 6th,
1414,[290] with the intention, as was usual, of continuing together to
a very late hour. The King was then at Eltham, a few miles from
London. He received intelligence that Lord Cobham, at the head of
twenty thousand of his party, was stationed in St. Giles' Fields for
the purpose of seizing the person of the King, putting their
persecutors to the sword, and making himself the regent of the realm.
Henry suddenly armed the few soldiers he could muster, put himself at
their head, and marched to the place. He attacked the Lollards, and
soon put them into confusion. About twenty were killed, and sixty  (p. 381)
taken: among these was one Beverley, their preacher; who, with two
others, Sir Roger Acton and John Brown, was afterwards put to death.
The King marched on, but found no more bodies of men. He thought he
had surprised only the advanced guard, whereas he had routed the whole
army. This extraordinary affair is represented by the popish writers
as a real conspiracy; and it has given them occasion to talk loudly
against the tenets of the reformers, which could encourage such
crimes. Mr. Hume also has enlisted himself on the same side of the
question, and in the most peremptory and decisive manner pronounced
Lord Cobham guilty of high treason."

                   [Footnote 290: The day was not January 6th, but
                   Wednesday the 10th.--"Die mercurii proximo post
                   Festum Epiphaniæ."--Pat. 2 Hen. V. p. 3. m. 23.]

Milner[291] depends upon "the able and satisfactory vindication of
Lord Cobham by Fox, the martyrologist," whom he affirms to have
examined with great diligence and judgment _all_ the authentic
documents. It is very dangerous to place implicit reliance on any one,
however impartial he may be; especially ought we to seek evidence for
ourselves, when an author professes, as Fox does, his object to be the
vindication of one party and the conviction of another. On this point
there are two or three unquestionably original documents, neither of
which does Fox examine, and on which probably the large majority   (p. 382)
of readers will be disposed to rest, as the safest ground for their
opinion on Henry's conduct. In the course of the very day, on the
early morning of which, and during the night preceding, the affair in
St. Giles' Field took place, the King offers a reward of five hundred
marks to any by whose counsel Lord Cobham should be taken, one
thousand marks to any who should take him, and immunities and
privileges to any city or town whose burgesses should bring him before
the King. This proclamation, dated Westminster, 11th of January 1414,
assigns these reasons for the offer of such rewards for his capture:
"Since, by his abetting, very many of our subjects called Lollards
have maintained diverse opinions against the Catholic faith; and
contrary to their duty of allegiance, and falsely and traitorously,
have imagined our death, because we have taken part against them and
their opinions as a true Christian prince, and as we are bound by the
obligation of an oath; and because they have plotted very many
designs, as well for the destruction of the Catholic faith, as of the
state of the lords and great men of our realm, as well spiritual as
temporal; and, to fulfil their wicked purpose, have designed to make
diverse unlawful assemblies, to the probable destruction of our own
person, and of the states of the lords and nobles aforesaid."

                   [Footnote 291: Milner's statement, "that it is
                   extremely probable that popish emissaries mixed
                   themselves among the Lollards for the express
                   purpose of being brought to confession," is mere

In the same proclamation we find these words, which most persons   (p. 383)
will probably interpret as a proof of Henry's desire to mingle mercy
with justice: "We, observing how some of these Lollards and others,
who have designed our death and other crimes and evils, have been
taken on the past occasion, and are condemned to death; and wishing
hereafter, in a better and more gentle manner, as far as we can, to
avoid the shedding of the blood of Christians, especially of our
subjects, whom, for the tender and especial regard we have towards
them, we desire with all anxiety of mind to preserve from
blood-shedding and personal punishment," &c.

Another offer of pardon was made in a proclamation dated March 28,
1414. It seems that many vexatious prosecutions had taken place, and
great disquietude and alarm had in consequence prevailed, and there
was danger lest the good and sound members of the community might be
condemned with the wicked and reckless disturbers of the public peace.
The King therefore offers a free pardon[292] to all who will apply for
letters of pardon before the Feast of St. John the Baptist: there are,
however, ten or twelve exceptions; among others, Sir John Oldcastle,
Thomas Talbot, Thomas Drayton, rector of Drayton Beauchamp. In the
body of this act of grace we read this pious sentiment of Henry:   (p. 384)
"We, from reverence to HIM who hath suddenly granted to us protection
and victory against many of our said enemies, and in his own holy and
good time desires to give pardon and peace to all who offend against
himself, lest he destroy them in their iniquities and sins,--we, for
the tranquillity, security, and peace of our lieges and subjects,
decree this pardon."

                   [Footnote 292: The Patent Rolls of this year shew
                   that the King's offer was gladly and gratefully
                   accepted by numbers who applied for his pardon.]

In the December of the same year was the following pardon proclaimed,
which, among other things, fixes the precise date of the affair in St.
Giles' Field, and supplies, what has been triumphantly demanded by
those who will pronounce the whole to have been a mere invention, _the
conviction of an accused party_. "Whereas John Longacre of Wykeham,
formerly of London, mercer, was indicted before William Roos of
Hamelak, and others our justices, assigned to try treasons, felonies,
&c. in our county of Middlesex, for plotting to put us and our
brothers to death, and to make Sir John Oldcastle regent of this
kingdom; and had resolved, with twenty thousand men, to execute their
wicked purpose; and on the Wednesday after the Epiphany, in the first
year of our reign, there Sir John Oldcastle and others, traitorously
persevering in such purpose, traitorously met together in St. Giles'
Great Field, and compassed our death; and the said Longacre pleaded
'not guilty,' and put himself on his country; and he was by the
inquiry [inquest] found guilty, and condemned to be drawn from     (p. 385)
the Tower of London to St. Giles' Field, and there to be hanged; we,
of our special grace, have pardoned the said John Longacre."

It is impossible for any candid mind to read these documents without
being convinced that Henry was fully and reasonably assured of the
treasonable practices of Oldcastle and his adherents, and that he was
anxious to deal as mercifully with his enemies as would be consistent
with a due regard to the peace and safety of the realm; and his
biographer considers this as all which legitimately falls within his
province. Whether Oldcastle himself were on that night in St. Giles'
Field, is now a question probably beyond the reach of certain
conclusion. The King's pardon to Longacre declares that he was
present, and there is no evidence on record against it. These are the
documents on which we must form our opinion. They are not traditionary
stories, written many years after the event; they are not manifestos
published in a foreign land; they are State-documents published on the
very spot, all in the same year, one on the very day after the
transaction, one in the March, and the last in the December following.
With reference to Fox's arguments,--whilst every one would, on many
accounts, do well to read them,--it will be immediately obvious, that
"though twenty thousand were said to be expected, and a few hundreds
only were found," yet that the large body of adherents who were to
rendezvous in St. Giles' Field were to come from the city, and     (p. 386)
that on the first news of the meeting of the Lollards Henry sent to
order the city gates to be shut.[293] Fox also says that any
conspiracy is incredible in which only three names could be fixed
upon; but this only argues in him an ignorance of the documents above
referred to, in which many persons are by name excepted from the
pardon, and reference is made to many others accused in different
parts of the country. It can no longer be doubted that Lord Cobham was
believed by Henry to have entered into a treasonable conspiracy
against the government and the person of the King; though, after he
escaped from the Tower, there is no evidence yet discovered        (p. 387)
(except the King's own declaration) to prove that he was in Fickett's
Field, as the place of meeting near St. Giles' church was called.

                   [Footnote 293: Any reference to the opinions of
                   past writers would be imperfect which should omit
                   Fuller's; he had access, it should seem, to little
                   if any other data than Fox supplied him with, and
                   yet the conclusion to which he came is this: "For
                   mine own part, I must confess myself so lost in the
                   intricacies of these relations, that I know not
                   what to assent to. On the one side, I am loath to
                   load the Lord Cobham's memory with causeless
                   crimes, knowing the perfect hatred the clergy in
                   that age bare unto him, and all that looked towards
                   the reformation in religion. Besides, that twenty
                   thousand men should be brought into the field, and
                   no place assigned whence they should have been
                   raised,[293-a] or where mustered, is clogged with
                   much improbability, the rather because only the
                   three persons as is aforesaid are mentioned by name
                   of so vast a number.

                   "On the other side (continues Fuller), I am much
                   startled with the evidence which appeareth against
                   him. Indeed I am little moved with what T.
                   Walsingham writes, (whom all later authors follow,
                   as a flock the bell-wether,) knowing him a
                   Benedictine monk of St. Alban's, bowed by interest
                   to partiality; but the records in the Tower, and
                   acts of parliament therein, wherein he was solemnly
                   condemned for a traitor as well as a heretic,
                   challenge belief. For with what confidence can any
                   private person promise credit from posterity to his
                   own writings if such public documents be not
                   entertained by him for authentical? Let Mr. Fox
                   therefore be Lord Cobham's compurgator; I dare not.
                   And, if my hand were put on the Bible, I should
                   take it back again; yet so that, as I will not
                   acquit, I will not condemn him, but leave all to
                   the last day of the revelation of the righteous
                   judgment of God."--Fuller's Church History, An.

                       [Footnote 293-a: Fuller either had not read, or had
                       forgotten, that the twenty thousand men were to be
                       raised in the city, and to be mustered in St.
                       Giles' Field; but that the timely closing of the
                       city gates is said to have prevented their junction
                       with the party beyond the walls: and he was not
                       aware of the many persons mentioned by name in
                       indictments, proclamations, and pardons.]

Of the seditious and treasonable conduct of Oldcastle, no one seems to
have entertained any doubt before the time of Fox, who wrote more than
a century and a half after the event. The Chronicle of London, written
about 1442, not thirty years after the transaction, after stating the
capture and execution of "diverse men," "much folk," among the rest "a
squire of Sir John Oldcastle," adds these words: "And certainly the
said Sir John, with great multitude of Lollards and heretics, were
purposed with full will and might to have destroyed the King and his
brethren, which be protectors of holy church, and them also that   (p. 388)
be in degree of holy order in the service of God and his church; the
which will and purpose, as God would, was let, and Sir John fled and
escaped."[294] Fox quotes the Monk of St. Alban's, whose testimony in
the book entitled "Chronicles of England, and the Fruit of Time,"
speaks in this strong language: "And in the same year (1 Henry V.)
were certain of Lolleis taken, and false heretics, that had purpose of
false treason for to have slain our King, and for to have destroyed
all the clergy of the realm, and they might have had their false
purpose. But our Lord God would not suffer it, for in haste our King
had warning thereof, and of all their false ordinance and working; and
came suddenly with his power to St. John without Smithfield: and anon
they took a captain of the Lolleis and false heretics, and brought
them unto the King's presence, and they told all their false purpose
and ordinance; and then the King commanded them to the Tower, and then
took more of them both within the city and without, and sent them to
Newgate and both Counters; and then they were brought for examination
before the clergy and the King's justices, and there they were
convicted before the clergy for their false heresy, and condemned  (p. 389)
before the justices for their false treason."

                   [Footnote 294: The "Ecclesiastical Annals"
                   attributing the respite of fifty days to the
                   interposition of the Archbishop, add, "And in the
                   course of that period Oldcastle escaped from
                   prison, and excited all the followers of Wickliffe
                   to arms, for the purpose of destroying the King and
                   the clergy."--Annales Ecclesiastici, vol. viii. p.

Walsingham says, referring to the time of Henry's first expedition,
that the Lollards, probably hearing of the treason of Grey, Scroop,
and Cambridge, at Southampton, came out of their lurking-places, and
spoke and wrote on the church-doors treason. And Oldcastle, who was in
concealment near Malvern, having heard, though by a mistake, that the
King had sailed, sent threats to Lord Burgoyne, who forthwith
collected at his castle of Haneley, near Worcester, five thousand men.
Cobham returned to his concealment; but a chaplain of his, and other
partisans, being taken, were so closely questioned that they
discovered the place in which he kept his arms concealed between two

The author published under the name of Otterbourne, refers to a
document which, if authentic, would establish Oldcastle's treasonable
practices beyond further question. "The Lollards," he says, "meanwhile
were sadly grieved by the discovery of certain schedules and
indentures between John Oldcastle and the Duke of Albany, in which the
Scots are invited to besiege Roxburgh and Berwise [Berwick]. And on
this the Duke laid siege to Berwise by sea and land." Whether all
these testimonies and original documents establish Lord Cobham's guilt
or not, it is impossible to read them without inferring that, at all
events, there was abundant reason for Henry's own conduct with     (p. 390)
regard to him.[295]

                   [Footnote 295: How far these accounts of Walsingham
                   and Otterbourne are confirmed by the authority of
                   the Pell Rolls, the reader will weigh carefully. In
                   the October and November of this year, payment is
                   made "to the serjeant of the sheriff of Southampton
                   for taking Wyche and W^m. Browne, chaplains, and
                   bringing them to make disclosures about certain
                   sums belonging to Sir John Oldcastle. Also to the
                   escheator of the county of Kent, riding sometimes
                   with twenty, sometimes with thirty horsemen, for
                   fear of the soldiers and other malefactors
                   obstinately favouring Sir John Oldcastle."]

After his escape to Wales, however, and the exception of his name from
the bill of pardon, and the offer of a reward for his capture, Henry
does not appear to have had anything whatever to do with Lord Cobham
in life or in death. There is something strange and affecting in the
circumstances of his capture and execution. It was towards the close
of the year 1417, whilst parliament was sitting, that news arrived of
the Lord Cobham having been discovered and taken in Wales. After
voting a subsidy to Henry, who was then pursuing his victories with
all his energy in France, "as soon as they heard that the public enemy
was taken, they all agreed not to dissolve parliament until he were
examined and heard." The Lord Powis was sent to bring him to London,
his men having taken him after a desperate struggle.[296] "He stood,"
says the Monk of Croyland, "at great defence long time, and was    (p. 391)
sore wounded or he would be taken. And so the Lord Powis' men brought
him out of Wales to London in a whirlicole." He was forthwith carried
before the parliament as an outlaw, on the charge of treason, and, as
an excommunicated heretic, given over to the secular power. He heard
the several convictions, and made no answer to the charges; and was
then instantly condemned to be taken to the Tower, and thence to the
new gallows in St. Giles' Field, and there to be hanged for his
treason, and to be burnt hanging for his heresy. There was,
undoubtedly, great irregularity and hurry in this proceeding. But
probably the statement of the Monk of St. Alban's is not far from the
truth. "So he was brought to Westminster, and there was examined on
certain points, and he said not nay; and so he was convicted of the
clergy for his heresy, and dampned before the justices to the death
for treason: and he was led to the Tower again, and there he was laid
on a hurdle, and drawn through the city to St. Giles' Field. And   (p. 392)
there was made a new pair of gallows, and a strong chain, and a
collar of iron for him; and there he was hanged, and burnt on the
gallows, and all for his lewdness and false opinions."

                   [Footnote 296: The warrant by the council, dated
                   December 1, 1417, authorized Edward Charleton to
                   bring the body of John Oldcastle, then in Pole
                   Castle. On February 3, 1422, the wife and executor
                   of the said Edward Charleton received part payment
                   of one thousand marks for the capture of Sir John
                   Oldcastle. There is also payment for the capture of
                   certain of his clerks and servants. He was taken
                   near Broniarth in Montgomeryshire, on a property
                   now belonging to Mr. Ormsby Gore, among whose
                   muniments there is said to be traditionary evidence
                   that the manor of Broniarth was granted to one of
                   its former possessors as a reward for securing Sir
                   John Oldcastle. The place in which he is said to
                   have been taken, is called "Lord Cobham's Field" to
                   this day.

                   There are, we are told, in the Welsh language
                   original verses referring unquestionably to Lord
                   Cobham's residence in Wales, among persons who
                   entertained the same religious views with himself,
                   and also to his return to England. The religion of
                   Rome is called in these verses "the Faith of the

And here we must close this sad tragedy, in the last scene of which
King Henry took no part. He was spared the pain of either sanctioning
or witnessing these transactions. The first information he received of
his unhappy friend's capture, probably certified him also of his
death; and whatever we may suppose to have been his sentiments on the
removal from this world of one whom he certainly believed guilty of
treason, and the enemy of his throne; his kindness of heart, and
sympathy with the brave and the good, must have made him, even in the
midst of the din of war and the flush of victory, lament the fate of
one whom for so many years he had held in affection and esteem. Henry
probably felt a melancholy satisfaction that he was spared the sad
duty, for so he must have deemed it, of sanctioning the last sentence
on his friend. They are now both in the hands of Him to whom all
hearts are open, and from whom no secret is hid; and there we leave
them to his just but merciful disposal.

CHAPTER XXXII.                                                     (p. 393)


Henry of Monmouth's name seems never to have been associated by our
historians with the death of any one condemned to the flames as a
heretic, except in the case of those two persons the circumstances of
whose last hours have been examined at length in this inquiry,--Badby,
whom he endeavoured to save even at the stake, and Oldcastle, whose
execution he respited, and for whose death he never issued the
warrant. There are, however, three prosecutions for heresy, which,
though hitherto unconnected with the question discussed in these
chapters, seem to claim a patient consideration before this inquiry is
closed, and the final answer be returned to the question, Was Henry a
persecutor for religious opinions? The names of the three persecuted
for maintaining opinions different from the dogmas of the church   (p. 394)
of Rome, to whose convictions and deaths our attention is here drawn,
are John Clayton, or Claydon, George Gurmyn,[297] and William Taylor.

                   [Footnote 297: There can be no doubt that George
                   Gurmyn, a baker, was burnt for heresy this year,
                   1415, and probably in the same fire with John
                   Claydon. Fox mentions the name as Turming; but, not
                   having been able to ascertain the truth of the
                   tradition, he leaves the whole matter in
                   uncertainty. In the Pipe Rolls, 3 Henry V, the
                   sheriffs state they had expended twenty shillings
                   about the burning of John Claydon, skinner, and
                   George Gurmyn, baker, Lollards convicted of heresy.
                   The Author has searched the records in St. Paul's
                   Cathedral, but without success, for any account of
                   the proceedings against Gurmyn. He is said to have
                   been convicted before the Bishop of London.]

The case of John Clayton, whether we look to it merely as a
well-authenticated fact of history, or seek from it ancillary evidence
as to the principles and conduct of Henry in the matter of religious
persecution, involves subjects of deep interest. The satisfaction with
which it is believed many may view it, as one of the incidents which
seem to imply that Henry was an unwilling, reluctant executor of the
penal laws of his kingdom, and took the lead of his people in
liberality and toleration, must be mingled with pain sincerely felt on
witnessing the stewards of the word of life becoming the zealous and
relentless exactors of a cruel and iniquitous law, straining to the
very utmost its enactments to cover their deeds of blood, and
sacrificing their fellow-creatures to the image they had set up. The
case of Clayton puts the excessive enormities of the hierarchy     (p. 395)
of that day in a more striking point of view than many others of the
more generally cited instances of persecution. Clayton's was not the
case of a powerful man like Cobham, whose very character and station,
and rank and influence, made him formidable: Clayton's was not the
case of a learned man, or an eloquent preacher, or an active, zealous
propagator of those new doctrines from which the see of Rome
anticipated so much evil to her cause. His was the case of a
tradesman, unable to read himself, and engaging another to read to him
out of a book which seemed to give him pleasure; the place of reading
being a private room in a private house, the time of reading being the
Lord's day, and other festivals of the church; and the witnesses
against him being his own servant and his own apprentice. Had the
record of this sad persecution been written by an enemy to the
priesthood, we should have suspected that the whole case was
misrepresented, that a colouring had been unfairly given to the
proceedings, to make them more odious in our sight; and though, at the
best, such proceedings must be detestable, we should have deemed that
in this case the facts had been distorted to meet the prejudiced views
of the writer. But the proceedings are registered in the authentic
records of the Archbishop of Canterbury,[298] and are minutely     (p. 396)
detailed in all the circumstances of time, and place, and person.

                   [Footnote 298: Printed in "Wilkins' Concilia."]

John Clayton was a currier, or skinner, living in the parish of St.
Anne's, "Aldrychgate." In those days few tradesmen could read, and he
was not an exception. But he had at an early period formed a very
favourable opinion of the new doctrines; the preaching of Wickliffe's
followers, or, it may be, of Wickliffe himself, had made so deep an
impression on his mind, that nothing could shake the firmness and
constancy of his belief to the day of his death. His predilection for
"Lollardy," as the profession of the new doctrines was called, became
known to the ecclesiastical rulers long before the statute for burning
heretics was passed in England; and his religious opinions exposed him
to great troubles and hardships, even in the reign of Richard II. He
was arrested on suspicion of heresy, and carried before Braybrook,
Bishop of London. The consequence of his conviction was imprisonment,
first in Conway Castle for two years, and subsequently in the Fleet
for the term of three years more. He then renounced the errors alleged
against him, and abjured them at the time when "Lord John Searle" was
chancellor of England, about the year 1400. Through the reign of Henry
IV, and the two first years of Henry V, Clayton seems to have remained
unmolested. No sooner, however, had Henry left England on his first
expedition to France, than Clayton was seized, tried, and          (p. 397)
condemned. There seems to have been unusual despatch evinced in every
stage of the proceedings. Clayton was not cited by regular process.
The Mayor of London arrested him, and brought him before the
Archbishop's consistory, on Saturday, August 17th, when he was
examined, and remanded till the next Monday, August 19th. On which day
he was brought up again, and finally condemned as a wilful relapsed

At that very time, Henry, having dismissed his ships, was first
commencing the siege of Harfleur; he had left England only the
preceding Sunday. Whether the time selected for Clayton's arrest and
trial was merely accidental, or whether the civil and ecclesiastical
authorities (for both were equally eager for the blood of their
victim) seized upon the opportunity of Henry's first absence from
England, is a question which ought not to be decided before all the
circumstances attending both Clayton's execution and the proceedings
against Taylor (which will be next examined) shall have been carefully
weighed. One of the witnesses, who testified to overt acts of heresy
(such as those on which he was condemned) having been seen in
Clayton's conduct a year before the time of trial, was living in the
house of the Mayor of London; and that functionary seems to have
hurried on the prosecution with more zeal than considerateness, and to
have kept the young man in readiness to give his testimony whenever a
favourable opportunity offered. Such circumstances cannot be       (p. 398)
contemplated without suspicion. At all events, the plain fact is,
that, on the very Saturday after Henry sailed from England, Clayton
was brought under arrest, not under process of citation, before the
ecclesiastical judges by the Mayor of London, who was ready with his

The charges brought against Clayton were, that, having renounced
heresy, he had again been guilty of the same crime, by associating
with persons suspected of heresy, and by having heretical books in his
possession. To establish these facts, in addition to his own
confession that he "had been imprisoned in the time of Bishop
Braybrooke on a charge of heresy, and had subsequently renounced in
the time of Chancellor Searle, and had heard read about one quarter of
the book then produced," they proceeded to examine two witnesses who
had been inmates in Clayton's family.

The first witness swore that he had been, some time past, a servant
and apprentice of John Clayton; that he had seen one John Fuller, a
fellow-servant of his, reading the book, which he then identified, to
his master, in St. Martin's Lane, on certain festival days since
Easter; that in the book were the ten commandments in English, but
what else it contained he knew not; that John Clayton seemed to be
delighted with the book, and to regard it as sound and Catholic.

Another witness, Saunder Philip, a lad fifteen years old, a        (p. 399)
servant of Clayton's, but living at the time of the trial in the house
of the Mayor of London, testified that he saw the book brought into
Clayton's house about the middle of the preceding Lent; that he heard
Clayton, his master, say that he would rather pay three times the
price of the book than be without it; and that, on several occasions,
through the year before, he saw and heard persons suspected of heresy
conversing with Clayton.

To what miserable, degrading expedients were these persecutors obliged
to condescend in compassing their designs! compelling those who ate of
the bread of the accused, and drank of his cup, and were his own
domestic servants, and confidential inmates of his home, to bear the
testimony of death against him: verifying among Christians what the
Lord of Christians prophesied as the result of pagan opposition to the
Gospel itself, "A man's foes shall be those of his own household."

The poor man himself confessed that he believed he had heard about
one-fourth part of the book read. The book produced, and identified by
the witnesses, was called "The Lantern of Light;" in which the
ecclesiastical judges pronounced many gross and wicked heresies to be
contained. Among other articles objected to, some of which were
doubtless in a more palpable manner adverse to the favourite doctrines
of Romanism, we find the following criterion of the lawfulness and
virtue of alms-giving. The author maintained that alms were        (p. 400)
neither lawful nor virtuous, unless four conditions were observed in
the distribution of them.

  1.--Unless they be given to the honour of God.

  2.--Unless they be given from goods justly gotten.

  3.--Unless they be given to one whom the donor believed to be in a
  state of Christian charity.

  4.--Unless they be given to such as in very deed, without dissembling
  or pretence, are in need.

That the parts of the book which contained the heretical doctrines
were ever read to Clayton, does not seem to have been elicited at the
examination. The witnesses could only depose to having heard the
Decalogue read in English, but nothing more; and the poor man's own
confession acknowledged only that he had heard about one quarter of
the work read. Still, on this confession and this evidence, and for
this offence, John Clayton was convicted of heresy, was condemned as a
relapsed heretic, and left without mercy to the secular power. Fox,
who quotes no authority, adds only, that he "was by the temporal
magistrates not long after had to Smithfield and burnt."

The ecclesiastical record contains no information after the sentence
passed on Monday the 19th of August, and our historians seem not to
have made any inquiries as to the fate of this man. Recent researches,
however, into original documents have been made by the Author,     (p. 401)
with the view of facilitating the present inquiry, and rendering it
more satisfactory; and the successful result of those researches
enables him to throw some additional light on the subject under
investigation. The following facts deserve especial attention. Shortly
after the above sentence was passed by the ecclesiastical authorities,
the Mayor and citizens of London wrote a letter to King Henry,
rehearsing the judgment of the ecclesiastical court on John Clayton,
and expressing their intention to make an example of the convict by
carrying the sentence into execution. But they desired the King to
send them his especial directions on the subject, as they were
desirous to avoid giving offence in this as well as in all other
affairs. The answer of Henry to this request, if it was ever made, is
certainly not recorded. The strong probability is that the execution
took place before there had been time for the King's answer, if he
ever sent one, to reach London. The sheriffs of London state in this
same year that "they had expended 20_s._ about the burning of John
Claydon, skinner, and George Gurmyn, baker, Lollards convicted of
heresy," though the day of the execution is not recorded.

It must here be remembered, that the Mayor himself arrested Clayton,
and produced the witnesses against him; that the King's writ[299] was
not necessary to authorize execution after judgment passed by      (p. 402)
the ecclesiastical authority in convocation; and that, even if it had
been necessary to procure the royal sanction, the Duke of Clarence was
left in England with full powers, as Henry's representative. Yet, in
order to avoid giving offence, though they were determined to make an
example of Clayton, they were afraid to proceed to the extreme penalty
of the law without first taking the instructions of the King. This
would scarcely have been necessary, nor would any hesitation, or   (p. 403)
scruple, or misgiving have arisen in their minds, had they not been
under a strong practical persuasion that the execution of this man
would have given their King displeasure. And when we know what
employment awaited Henry from the very day of Clayton's conviction
till his return home,--the siege of Harfleur, the harassing march
through France, the battle of Agincourt,--we cannot wonder at no
answer being recorded. Perhaps he made no answer; perhaps the      (p. 404)
letter never reached him in the midst of his struggles and dangers;
probably he did not interfere, but allowed the law to take its course.
Whatever took place between the condemnation and the death of Clayton,
every stage of the transaction, from the first arrest of the accused
on the very Saturday after Henry sailed for France, makes it quite
clear that, in the opinion of the magistrates of London, Henry would
be no willing abettor of persecution.

                   [Footnote 299: "The person who shall be burnt for
                   heresy ought to be first convict thereof by the
                   Bishop who is his diocesan, and abjured thereof;
                   and afterwards, if he relapse into that heresy, or
                   any other, then he shall be sent from the clergy to
                   the secular power, to do with him as it shall
                   please the King. And then it seemeth, the King, if
                   he will, may pardon him the same; and the form of
                   the writ is such.

                   "The King to the Mayor and Sheriffs of London,
                   greeting. Whereas the venerable father, Thomas,
                   Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England,
                   and Legate of the Apostolic See, with the consent
                   and assent of the Bishop and his brothers, the
                   suffragans, and also of the whole clergy of his
                   province in his provincial council assembled, the
                   orders of law in this behalf requisite being in all
                   things observed, by his definitive sentence
                   pronounced and declared W. Sautre (some time
                   chaplain, condemned for heresy, by him the said W.
                   heretofore in form of law abjured, and him the said
                   W. relapsed again into the said heresy) a manifest
                   heretic, and decreed him to be degraded; and hath
                   for that cause really degraded him from all
                   clerical prerogative and privilege; and hath
                   decreed him the said W. to be left, and hath really
                   left him, to the secular court, according to the
                   laws and canonical sanctions set forth in this
                   behalf; and holy mother, the church, hath nothing
                   further to do in the premises. We, therefore, being
                   zealous for justice, and a lover of the Catholic
                   faith, willing to maintain and defend holy church,
                   and the rights and liberties thereof; and, as much
                   as in us lies, to extirpate by the roots such
                   heresies and errors out of our kingdom of England,
                   and to punish heretics so convicted with condign
                   punishment; and being mindful that such heretics,
                   convicted in form aforesaid, and condemned
                   according to law, divine and human, by canonical
                   institutes on and in this behalf accustomed, ought
                   to be burnt with a burning flame of fire; we
                   command you most strictly as we can, firmly
                   enjoining, that you commit to the fire the
                   aforesaid W. being in your custody, in some public
                   and open place within the liberties of the city
                   aforesaid, before the people publicly, by reason of
                   the premises, and cause him really to be burnt in
                   the same fire in detestation of this crime, and to
                   the manifest example of other Christians. And this
                   you are by no means to omit under the peril falling
                   thereon. Witness," &c.

                   But by the statute of Henry IV. c. 15, it is
                   enacted that every Bishop in his diocese may
                   convict a man of heresy, and abjure him, and
                   afterwards convict him anew thereof, and condemn
                   him, and warn the sheriff or other officer to
                   apprehend him and burn him; and that the sheriff or
                   other officer ought to do the same by the precept
                   of the Bishop, and _without any writ from the King
                   to do the same_.

                   And note by 29 Car. II., c. 9, this writ de
                   heretico comburendo is abolished. "LAUS DEO!"--This
                   last note is by an Editor. Fitzherbert, de Naturâ
                   Brevium, p. 601.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A case, however, of no ordinary character as a matter of historical
record, and doubly important to those who take an interest in the
result of the present investigation, requires to be examined in all
its bearings (especially with reference to the dates of its several
stages) with greater care than has hitherto been bestowed upon it.

In the July of 1416, whilst the Emperor Sigismund and Henry were both
in England, Archbishop Chicheley gave evidence of his zeal by issuing
most stringent mandates, directing his suffragan bishops to make
diligent search for heretics, to report the names and circumstances of
all who were suspected of heresy under seal to the metropolitan, and
to institute process against them according to law. On the publication
of these injunctions, a most strict and searching inquisition took
place through the country. Still no one suffered the extreme penalty
of the law as a heretic convict. In the next year, no sooner       (p. 405)
was Pope Martin V. elected at Constance, than, complaining bitterly of
the neglect and apathy of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities,
the new Pontiff addressed every argument, both of encouragement and of
intimidation, to the laity and the clergy alike, urging them to unite
as one man in the work of extirpating heresy. He even applied to the
English church, that, in their overflowing zeal for the Apostolic See,
they would raise a subsidy in aid of the war then being carried on
against the heretics in Bohemia. Among those who had fallen under
suspicion of heresy, and who were watched with jealous vigilance by
the ecclesiastical authorities, was one William Taylor, who had
proceeded to his degree of Master of Arts in one of the Universities,
and had been admitted into the order of priest in the church. Taylor
was cited to appear before the consistory; and on Monday, February 12,
1420, he confessed before Archbishop Chicheley that in the time of his
predecessor (Arundel) he had been suspected of heresy; and for not
appearing, or for not answering to the charge brought against him, he
had been excommunicated, and had remained under that sentence for
fourteen years.[300] Upon his expression of sorrow and repentance, he
was commanded to appear on the following Wednesday at Lambeth, where,
in the great chapel, he received the pardon of the church on       (p. 406)
certain stipulated conditions. He was bound by solemn promises, and by
an oath on the Gospels (thrice repeated), not to offend again; and he
promised to appear in person or by his proctor at the next
convocation, there to confess his penitence. He was then set at

                   [Footnote 300: William Taylor had been cited March
                   9th, 1409, when he treated the citation with
                   contempt.--Archbishop's Register.]

Taylor, however, was not long allowed to remain unmolested. Agreeably
to the call of the sovereign Pontiff at Rome, and the peremptory
injunctions of his metropolitan, agreeably also (as it too evidently
appears by the sequel) to his own views of duty, Philip Morgan, Bishop
of Worcester, denounced the same William Taylor in full convocation,
May 5, 1421, as a person vehemently suspected of heresy. The King was
then in London, but was on the eve of leaving the kingdom; and fully
occupied in preparing to proceed forthwith to wipe off the disgrace
which had fallen on the English arms, and to restore confidence to his
troops, then much depressed by the unexpected discomfiture of their
countrymen, and the death of the Duke of Clarence in battle. On
Saturday, May 24, Taylor was put upon his trial, being produced before
the court as the Bishop of Worcester's prisoner, who had caused him to
be arrested. Of the three opinions savouring of heresy, (errorem et
hæresin sapientes,) he pleaded guilty to having entertained the two
last, but of the first he seems to have had no knowledge; indeed,  (p. 407)
it is very difficult to say what meaning could have been attached
to it.

He was charged with having maintained at Bristol.

First, That whosoever suspends on his neck any writing, by that act
takes away the honour due to God only, and renders it to the

                   [Footnote 301: Quisquis suspenderit ad collum suum
                   aliquod scriptum, ipso facto tollit honorem soli
                   Deo debitum, et præbet Diabolo.]

Secondly, That Christ was not to be prayed to in his character of man,
but only as God.

Thirdly, That the saints of heaven were not to be addressed in prayer.

On the next Monday, May 26th, he was pronounced guilty of heresy, and
condemned to perpetual imprisonment for the term of his life. So
dreadful a punishment (to which, whatever it might be, he had on his
previous release sworn to submit,) suddenly struck him to the very
heart, and caused him to show some signs of a subdued mind. On which
the Archbishop mitigated that sentence by adding to it an alternative,
"Unless he shall be able to give bail, to the satisfaction of the
Chancellor of England."

We have already intimated that Henry's thoughts were at this time
fully and anxiously occupied in preparing for an immediate expedition
to France; and it is to be observed that, on the very day after
Taylor's condemnation, the King issued his writ to the sheriffs,
commanding them to publish his proclamation for all persons to hasten
with the greatest speed to join the King in his voyage. Taylor     (p. 408)
left the court in custody, as the prisoner of the Bishop of Worcester,
to end his days in a dungeon, unless he should be able to produce the
required bail; in which case the Bishop was authorized by the court to
release him.

When Henry left London, on the Monday after Taylor's condemnation, he
left it never to return. His death, as we have seen, took place on the
last day of August 1422. That Henry knew anything of the prosecution
of this person, does not appear; and, if he had been made acquainted
with the intended proceedings, whether he expressed any opinion upon
them in favour of maintaining the faith by the secular arm, or in
favour of the gentle and mild means of persuasion,--is a matter lost
to history, and all inquiry into any of those points must be
fruitless. Nor are we informed whether the poor man could produce the
required bail, or whether he remained a prisoner till his death. Some
expressions in the record of the subsequent transactions would induce
us to infer that he had, after his condemnation, been at large and was
again taken into custody (sub custodiâ carcerali iterum arrestatus).
The striking fact, however, is this,--that Henry had not been dead six
months before this same priest was brought up a prisoner in the
custody of a jailor, and tried before the same court for a repetition
of the very same offence; or rather, perhaps, for the very same    (p. 409)
individual act for which, a year and three quarters before, he had
been condemned to perpetual imprisonment. The same accuser, the Bishop
of Worcester, charged him with having, _since his abjuration
aforesaid_, written, maintained, and communicated with a certain
priest, named Thomas Smyth, living at Bristol, on paper in his own
hand-writing, the alleged heretical opinions. Here it must be
observed, that the charge was made by the same accuser, the Bishop of
Worcester, before the same Judge Chicheley; that the place in which he
was said to have held these doctrines was in each case the same,
Bristol; that in each case the doctrines were said to have been
conveyed by writing; and that, as to the time of the offence, the
Bishop did not say it was after his previous condemnation, but only
after his recantation, which took place in February 1420, just a year
and a quarter before his sentence of imprisonment. And if we examine
the four heretical opinions which were extracted, in 1423, by the
Canonists out of his written communication to Thomas Smyth, we shall
find them in substance nothing more or less than two of the opinions
on which he was before condemned to imprisonment in 1421.

  1.--All prayer which is a petition for any supernatural or gratuitous
  gift, is to be offered to God alone.

  2.--Prayer is to be addressed only to God.[302]                  (p. 410)

                   [Footnote 302: The Canonists seem to have made some
                   distinction between the first and the second of
                   these sentences.]

  3.--To pray to any creature is to commit idolatry.

  4.--The faithful ought to address their prayers to God, not in
  reference to his humanity, but only with regard to his Deity.

This was the sum of his offence, involving precisely the identical
opinions of which he had been pronounced guilty in 1421, after his
recantation in 1420.[303]

                   [Footnote 303: Consequently he was then, in 1421,
                   as much, as afterwards in 1423, a relapsed heretic,
                   subject to the punishment of death.]

After Lynewood had given his opinion that a relapsed heretic was to be
left to the secular court, without hope of pardon, and without being
heard as to the corporal punishment, his judges proceeded to the
extreme execution of the law. Taylor was degraded on Monday the 1st of
March, 1423, in the first year of Henry VI; and, the writ for his
burning being issued on the same day, he suffered death in Smithfield.

       *       *       *       *       *

How far these circumstances may be pronounced to bear on the subject,
and to conspire in acquitting Henry of Monmouth of the charge with
which his name has been unsparingly assailed, of having been in spirit
and conduct a persecutor for religious opinions, deserves serious
consideration. When it is borne in mind that the Lollards were     (p. 411)
certainly represented to Henry as the enemies of his throne and of the
peace of the realm; that the Pope and the hierarchy of England were
loud and incessant in their appeals to the authorities to extirpate
such poisonous weeds from the garden of the Lord's heritage; that the
Emperor Sigismund was most zealous in obeying such calls of the
church, and caused his own land to flow with blood; that Henry's
prelates made a direct personal appeal to him to prosecute heretics;
that his council deemed it necessary to remind him of his duty in that
point;[304] that his own chaplain openly charged him with want of zeal
and with apathy in that good cause; that no single warrant for the
execution of any one condemned for heresy alone was ever signed, or,
as far as we can ascertain, was ever sanctioned, by him; that the only
victims of the priesthood actually burnt for heresy alone during his
reign were condemned and executed in Henry's absence from the kingdom;
and that one person sentenced to imprisonment during Henry's life was,
within a few months after his death, condemned to the flames, and
actually burnt for the same offence; when all these points are fairly
weighed, probably few will not feel satisfied that the judgment    (p. 412)
passed upon Henry, on the charge of persecution, is inconsistent with
the soundest principles of historical investigation.

                   [Footnote 304: The Minutes of Council, 27th May,
                   1415, record that the King should be advised, as to
                   issuing a commission to the Archbishops and
                   Bishops, to take measures, each in his own diocese,
                   to resist the malice of the Lollards. The King
                   replied, that he had committed the subject to the
                   charge of the chancellor.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Author, however, is induced to confess that a comparison of the
events of Henry's reign with those which preceded his accession, and
followed his death, has compelled him to form more than a merely
negative opinion on Henry of Monmouth's principles and conduct and
influence. In addition to the circumstances detailed in these
chapters, he would solicit attention to one fact, which no historical
writer seems to have noticed. During the last years of Henry IV. a
greater number of persons appear to have suffered in the fires of
martyrdom than the accounts of our chroniclers would lead us to
suppose.[305] By the cruel operation of the law, the goods and
chattels of convicted heretics were escheated to the crown; and when
Henry came to the throne, several widows and orphans were suffering
severely from the effects of that ruthless enactment. No sooner had he
the power of relieving their distress, than, in the exercise of the
most divine prerogative of the kingly office, he restored to many
their confiscated property. The most correct notion of the motives
which influenced him will be conveyed by the language itself of    (p. 413)
the several grants: "We, compassionating the poverty of Isabella,
widow of Richard Turner, who was convicted and put to death for
heresy, of our especial grace have granted to the said Isabella all
the goods and chattels to us forfeited, for the maintenance of herself
and of her children."[306] Similar grants are recorded, and all in the
first year of his reign, to Alice widow of Walter Yonge, Isabella
widow of John Horewood, and Matilda widow of John Fynche; their
several husbands having suffered for maintaining opinions then
pronounced heretical. This fact seems to be not only confirmatory of
the views we have taken of Henry's tender-heartedness and sympathy
with the afflicted and helpless, but indicative also of the absence of
whatever approaches a persecuting and vindictive spirit towards those
who had incurred the extreme penalty of the law for conscience-sake.
The Author cannot but infer that Henry's dislike of persecution placed
a considerable check on the fierceness with which it raged, both
before and after his reign; that the sanguinary intentions of the
priesthood were, to a very considerable degree, frustrated by his
known love of gentler means; and that in England a greater portion of
religious liberty was enjoyed during the years through which he sat on
the throne, than had been tolerated under the government of his
father, or was afterwards allowed through the minority of his son.

                   [Footnote 305: It will be remembered, that those
                   who were put to death in 1414, after the affair of
                   St. Giles' Field, were sentenced by the civil
                   courts on a charge of treason.]

                   [Footnote 306: Pat. p. 5, 1 Henry V.]

The Author entered upon the subject of the three last chapters     (p. 414)
with the view of ascertaining, on the best original evidence, the
validity or the unsoundness of the charge of persecution for religion
brought against Henry of Monmouth. Independently of the result of that
investigation, he confesses himself to have risen from the inquiry
impressed with mingled feelings of apprehension and of
gratitude:--gratitude for the blessings of the Reformation; and
apprehension lest, in our use of those blessings, and in the return
made to their Almighty Donor, we may be found wanting. For no maxim
can be more firmly established by the sound deductions of human
wisdom, or more unequivocally sanctioned by the express words of
revelation, than the principle that to whom much is given, of them
will much be required. And on this principle how awfully has our
increase of privileges enhanced our responsibility! By the
Reformation, Providence has rescued us from those dangers which once
attended an honest avowal of a Christian's faith; has freed us from
those gross superstitions which once darkened the whole of
Christendom; and has released us from that galling yoke under which
the disciples of the Cross were long held in bondage. The bestowal of
these blessings exacts at our hands many duties of indispensable
obligation. The Author hopes he may be pardoned, if, in closing this
subject, he refers to some of those points which press upon his    (p. 415)
own mind most seriously.

Those who are intrusted with a brighter and a more pure light of
spiritual truth, are, first of all, bound to prove by their lives that
religion is not in them a dead and inoperative letter; but a vivifying
principle, productive of practical holiness and virtue. Enlightened
Christians are bound to show forth their principles by the exercise of
every Christian excellence, and so to prove to the world that God is
with them of a truth.

Another indispensable duty is, that those who possess the truth should
individually and by combined exertions labour to spread its heavenly
influence throughout the whole mass of their fellow-creatures, not
only in every corner of their own land, but to the utmost coasts of
the civilized world, and through the still numberless regions of
barbarism and idolatry. "Freely ye have received, freely give."

Again, it were a narrow view of our duty were we to feel an anxiety
for the preservation, through the period only of our own existence
upon earth, of the benefits which we now enjoy. To be satisfied with
the assurance that provision is made for our own times, is a principle
altogether unworthy a philanthropic and a Christian mind: and the more
valuable and essential the blessing, the more steady and vigorous
should be our labour in providing for its permanency and its future
increase. If we are honest in our own choice, we believe that      (p. 416)
by delivering down to posterity, in its integrity and pureness, the
blessing which has been committed to us in especial trust, we are
transmitting not a state-device (as its enemies delight to call it),
but an institution founded on the surest principles of true philosophy
and of revelation, with a view to the best interests of the whole
human race. If, aided by the Divine Founder of the church, we resign
to those who come after us the fostering and mild, but firm and
well-grounded establishment of the Protestant faith, removed equally
from latitudinarian indifference and from the intolerance of bigotry,
with an ungrudging spirit sharing with others the liberty of
conscience we claim for ourselves, we shall transmit an inheritance
which may be to future ages what it has proved itself to be towards
many among ourselves, and of those who have gone before us,--the
instructor and guide of their youth, the strength and stay of their
manhood, the support and comfort of their declining years;--an
institution which is the faithful depository of Christian truth; the
surest guardian of civil and religious liberty; the parent of whatever
is just, and generous, and charitable, and holy. ESTO PERPETUA!

APPENDIX. No. I.                                                   (p. 417)

To those, as we are led to believe, contemporary poems, which appear
in the body of the work, the Author is induced to subjoin a "Ballad of
Agincourt," of much later date indeed, but which, for the noble
national spirit which it breathes throughout, and the vigour of its
description, cannot easily be exceeded: it is not so generally known
as it deserves to be; though some of its expressions may sound
strangely and quaintly to our ears. It will be found in Drayton's
Works, p. 424.

  "Fair stood the wind for France,
  When we our sails advance;
  Nor now to prove our chance,
    Longer will tarry;
  But, putting to the main,
  At Kaux, the mouth of Seine,
  With all his martial train,
    Landed King Harry.

  And taking many a fort,
  Furnished in warlike sort,
  Marcheth towards Agincourt,
    In happy hour.
  Skirmishing day by day,                                          (p. 418)
  With those that stopped his way;
  Where the French general lay
    With all his power.

  Who, in the height of pride,
  King Henry to deride,
  His ransom to provide,
    To the King sending:
  Which he neglects the while,
  As from a nation vile;
  Yet with an angry smile
    Their fall portending.

  And turning to his men,
  Quoth our brave Henry then,
  Though they to one be ten,
    Be not amazed.
  Yet have we well begun,
  Battles so bravely won
  Have ever to the sun
    By fame been raised.

  And for myself, quoth he,
  This my full rest shall be:
  England ne'er mourn for me,
    Nor more esteem me.
  Victor I will remain,
  Or on this earth be slain;--
  Never shall she sustain
    Loss to redeem me.[307]

  Poitiers and Cressy tell,                                        (p. 419)
  Where most their pride did swell;
  Under our swords they fell;--
    No less our skill is,
  Than when our grandsire great,
  Claiming the regal seat,
  By many a warlike feat
    Lopped the French lilies.

  The Duke of York so dread,
  The eager vaward led;
  With the main Henry sped
    Amongst his henchmen.
  Exeter had the rear,
  A braver man not there!
  How fierce and hot they were[308]
    On the false Frenchmen!

  They now to fight are gone,
  Armour on armour shone;
  Drum now to drum did groan--
    To hear was wonder;
  That with the cries they make,
  The very earth did shake;
  Trumpet to trumpet spake,
    Thunder to thunder.

  Well it thine age became,
  O noble Erpingham!
  Who didst the signal aim
    To our hid forces;
  When, from a meadow by,
  Like a storm suddenly,
  The English archery
    Stuck the French horses.

  With Spanish yew so strong,                                      (p. 420)
  Arrows a cloth-yard long,
  That like to serpent stung,
    Piercing the weather.
  None from his fellow starts,
  But playing manly parts,
  And, like true English hearts,
    Stuck close together.

  When down their bows they threw,
  And forth their bilbows drew,
  And on the French they flew;--
    Not one was tardy;
  Arms were from shoulders sent,
  Scalps to the teeth were rent;
  Down the French peasants went:--
    Our men were hardy.

  This while our noble King,
  His broad sword brandishing,
  Down the French host did ding,
    As to o'erwhelm it.
  And many a deep wound lent,
  His arms with blood besprent;
  And many a cruel dent
    Bruised his helmet.

  Gloucester, that Duke so good,
  Next of the royal blood,
  For famous England stood
    With his brave brother;
  Clarence, in steel so bright,
  Though but a maiden knight,
  Yet in that famous fight
    Scarce such another.

  Warwick in blood did wade,
  Oxford the foe invade,
  And cruel slaughter made,--
    Still as they ran up;
  Suffolk his axe did ply;                                         (p. 421)
  Beaumont and Willoughby
  Bare them right doughtily;
    Ferrers and Fanhope.

  Upon St. Crispin's day,
  Fought was this noble fray;
  Which fame did not delay
    To England to carry;
  Oh! when shall English men
  With such acts fill a pen,
  Or England breed again
    Such a King Harry!"

                   [Footnote 307: This refers to the resolution which
                   Henry is said to have made, and to have declared to
                   his men immediately before the battle: That, as he
                   was a true King and knight, England should never be
                   charged with the payment of his ransom on that day,
                   for he had rather be slain.--MS. Cott. Cleop. C.

                   [Footnote 308: The two first words of this line are
                   different in the original.]

APPENDIX, No. II.                                                  (p. 422)

To the miseries which fell upon the inhabitants of Rouen during the
siege, a brief reference has been made in the body of this work. The
following lines, by an eye-witness, record a very pleasing
circumstance indicative of Henry's piety and benevolence. The wretched
inhabitants, who could contribute no aid in the defence of the town,
were driven by the garrison beyond the gates with the most unmerciful
hardheartedness. On Christmas-day Henry offered, in honour of the
festival, to supply all the inhabitants, great and small [meste and
least], with meat and drink. His offer was met very uncourteously by
the garrison, and his benevolent intentions were in a great degree
frustrated. The poem called "The Siege of Rouen" may now be read in
the Archæologia, vol. xxi, with an interesting introduction by the
Reverend William Conybeare.


  "But then, within a little space,
  The poor people of that same place
  At every gate they were put out,
  Many a hundred on a rout.
  It was great pity them for to see,
  How women came kneeling on their knee;
  And their children also in their arms,
  For to save them from harms.
  And old men came kneeling them by,                               (p. 423)
  And there they made a doleful cry;
  And all they cried at once then,
  'Have mercy on us, ye English men!'
  Our men gave them some of their bread,
  Though they to us were now so quede.[309]
  Harm to them we did none,
  But made them again to the ditch gone:
  And there we kept them all abache,
  Because they should not see our watch:
  Many one said they would liefer be slain,
  Than turn to the city of Rouen again.
  They went forth with a strong murmuration,
  And ever they cursed their own nation;
  For the city would not let them in,
  Therefore they did full great sin;
  For many one died there for cold,
  That might full well their life have hold.
  This was at the time of Christmas:
  I may you tell of a full fair case,
  As of great meekness of our good King;
  And also of meekness a great tokening.
  Our King sent into Rouen on Christmas day,
  His heralds in a rich array;
  And said, because of this high feast,
  Both to the meste and to the least
  Within the city, and also without,
  To tell, that be scanty of victuals all about,
  All they to have meat and drink thereto,
  And again safe-conduct to come and to go.
  They said, 'Gramercy!' all lightly,
  As they had set little prize thereby;
  And unnese [scarcely] they would grant any grace
  To the poor people that out put was,
  Save to two priests, and no more them with,
  For to bring meat they granted therewith;
  'But an there come with you and mo [more],                       (p. 424)
  Truly we will shoot you too.'
  All on a row the poor people were set,
  The priests come and brought them meat;
  They ate and drank, and were full fain,
  And thanked our King with all their main;
  And as they sate, their meat to fong,
  Thus they talked them among:
  'O Mightiful Jesu!' they said then,
  'Of tender heart is the Englishmen;
  For see how this excellent King,
  That we have been ever again standing;
  And never would we obey him to,
  Nor no homage to him would we never do;
  And yet he hath on us more compassion,
  Than hath our own countrymen;
  And therefore, Lord Jesu, as Thou art full of mercy,
  Grant him grace to win his right in hey.'[310]
  And thus the poor people that time spake,
  And full good tent thereto was take;
  But when they had eaten and went their way,
  The truce adrew, and war took his way."

                   [Footnote 309: _Quede_, or quade,--evil, bad.--See
                   Glossary to Chaucer.]

                   [Footnote 310: _In hey_,--in haste, speedily.]

APPENDIX, No. III.                                                 (p. 425)


Sloane 1776, and Reg. 13, c. 1.

It will be borne in mind that the only document which contains the
charge brought against Henry of Monmouth of unfilial conduct and cruel
behaviour towards his afflicted father is a manuscript, two copies of
which are preserved in the British Museum; and that a thorough
examination of the authenticity of that manuscript was reserved for
the Appendix. Every right-minded person will agree that the magnitude
and dark character of a charge, so far from justifying a prejudice
against the accused, should induce us to sift with more scrutinizing
jealousy the evidence alleged in support of the accusation.

It will require but a very brief inspection of the two MSS., Sloane
1776, and Reg. 13, c. 1.,[311] to be assured that they are either both
transcripts from one document in that part of the volume which
contains the history of Henry IV, or that one of these is copied from
the other.[312] Unless, therefore, an intimation be given to the
contrary, it will be understood that reference is made to the Sloane
MS., which, though not copied with equal correctness in point of   (p. 426)
orthography and grammar, is still far superior to the King's in the
clearness of the writing.

                   [Footnote 311: See Sloane, p. 27. King's, p. 11, b.
                   The same gap between "nominati" and "fratris," &c.]

                   [Footnote 312: The volume in the King's Library is
                   made up of a great variety of documents independent
                   of that history and of each other.]

The Sloane MS. 1776,[313] appears to consist of four portions, though
the same hand copied the whole.

                   [Footnote 313: The Sloane MS. is assigned in the
                   Catalogue to Higden. By Sir H. Ellis, it is
                   attributed, though not correctly, to a Chaplain of
                   Henry V; a small portion only having been the work
                   of that eye-witness of the field of Agincourt. By
                   Mr. Sharon Turner, it is attributed, without a
                   shadow of reason, to Walsingham. Mr. Turner,
                   however, has, though in a very inadequate manner,
                   attempted in one part of his new edition to rectify
                   the error, leaving it altogether unacknowledged
                   where the correction is most needed, in the passage
                   where he grounds upon its testimony his severe
                   charge against Henry's character. See Turner, third
                   ed. vol. ii. p. 373 and p. 398.]

The first portion extends from the commencement to page 40.

The second from page 40 to the end of the account of Henry IV. at page

The third from the commencement of the reign of Henry V. page 50, to
his second expedition to France, mentioned in page 72.

The fourth from that point to the end, at page 94, b.

1. The first portion embraces that part of the reigns of Richard II.
and Henry IV. which falls within the range of the chronicle of the
Monk of Evesham; ending with an account of the marriage of Edmund
Mortimer with a daughter of Owyn Glyndowr, and two cases of sacrilege.

2. The second carries on the history of Henry IV. to the beginning of
his thirteenth year, and contains the passage which charges Henry V.
with the unfilial attempt to supplant his father on the throne. These
first two parts must be examined together, and in detail; the last (p. 427)
two will require only a few remarks, and may then be dismissed.

That the history which commences at p. 50 of the Sloane MS. was the
work of an ecclesiastic who attended Henry V. in his first expedition
to France, is made evident at a much earlier point of the narrative
than the translation of it by Sir Harris Nicolas, in the Appendix to
his "Battle of Agincourt," would enable us to infer. The passage
"After having passed the Isle of Wight, swans were seen," should have
been rendered, "After _we_ left the shores of the Isle of Wight
behind, swans appeared." The writer was at the battle of Agincourt,
stationed with the baggage, and with his clerical associates praying
for God's mercy to spare themselves and their countrymen.

That he was not the same person who wrote the history of Richard II.
and Henry IV, now found in the same fasciculus, seems to be placed
beyond doubt; his style is very different, and his tone of sentiment
directly at variance with what is found in the preceding portion. He
is a devoted admirer of Henry V, a characteristic which no one will
ascribe to the writer of the preceding page.[314]

                   [Footnote 314: In p. 48, b, the writer speaks of
                   "Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham," being sent as a
                   military commander to aid the Duke of Burgundy. In
                   p. 50 the same person is spoken of as Johannes _de
                   Veteri Castro_. In the former parts the word used
                   for the _enemy_ is "_æmuli_;" the Chaplain employs

This writer had composed his history before the year 1418; for of Sir
John Oldcastle he says, "that he broke prison after his condemnation,
and lurked in caves and hiding-places, _and is still lurking_."[315]
This portion of the MS. offers evidence in almost every page that its
author was an eye-witness of what he describes. Probably no        (p. 428)
doubt will be entertained that it is the genuine production of an
ecclesiastic in attendance on the King. But his work evidently ceases
at page 72, where he offers a prayer that the Almighty "would give
good success to his master, then going on his second expedition, and
grant him victory as he had twice before; and fill him with the spirit
of wisdom, and heavenly strength, and holy fear."

                   [Footnote 315: Latitavit et latitat.]

After the close of the Chaplain's narrative, the MS. loses almost all
its interest: it carries on the history through the first years of the
reign of Henry VI, and is evidently only part of what the volume once

                   [Footnote 316: From this point the manuscript
                   proceeds, in the very words of Elmham, to describe
                   Henry's second expedition.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The two former portions of the volume now claim our careful
examination; and, of these two, especially the second.

It has been already intimated, that the first part of the MS. contains
that portion of the history of Richard II. and Henry IV. which is
embraced by the memoirs of the Monk of Evesham. A careful examination
of both, and a comparison of each with the other, have induced the
Author to conclude (with what degree of probability he must leave
others to decide) that the writer had the work of the Monk before him,
and copied from it very largely, but made such alterations as we
should expect to find made by a _foreigner_, and one whose feelings
were _opposed to the Lancastrian party_; a supporter rather of the
cause of Richard, and the French, and the other enemies of
Bolinbroke's house. The Monk's work bears every mark of being the
genuine production of one who witnessed Henry IV.'s expeditions to
Wales, and who was in all his sentiments and prejudices an Englishman
and a Lancastrian. The Author fears he may be considered too minute
and tedious on this point; but, since the circumstance of the      (p. 429)
writer of the manuscript bear immediately upon the authenticity of
the charge, he trusts he shall be excused a detail which, except for
that consideration, would be superfluous.

1. They both record the execution of a Welshman, who preferred death
to treachery. The Monk adds this comment: "_We English_ too [possumus
et _nos Angli_] may derive an example here; to preserve our fidelity,
&c. even to death." The MS. thus expresses its comment: "_All English
servants_ may contemplate an example of fidelity towards their own
masters from the conduct of that Welshman."

2. Thus too, in mentioning the introduction of the fashion into
England of wearing long sleeves like a _bagpipe_, the two MSS. of the
Monk most clearly write "Bagpipe." Of the MSS. in question, the Sloane
writes Bagebyte, the Reg. "Babepipæ;"--evidently the writer in neither
case knowing the meaning of the English word which he attempted so
unsuccessfully to copy.

3. In relating the capture of Lord Grey, the Monk adds, "which we
grieve to say." The MS., without any such, expression of sympathy or
sorrow, says that "he fell into the snare which he had prepared for

                   [Footnote 317: In the MS. the word is "lacum,"
                   probably a mistake for "laqueum."]

4. The Monk merely records the return of Isabel to France; the MS.
reflects strongly on her return _without her dower_, and her feelings
of repugnance against receiving any boon from Henry, whom she regarded
as _Richard's enemy_.

5. Speaking of the battle of Homildon, the Monk says, "Of _our
countrymen_ only five were slain;" and adds, "We praise thee, O God,
because thou hast been mindful of us." The MS. says, "_And of the
English_ scarcely five were slain;" but adds no word of praise.

6. The Monk says, "From this time Owyn's cause seemed to grow      (p. 430)
and prosper, _ours_ to decrease." This is omitted in the MS.

7. Whereas the Monk (describing the character of Richard in the very
words--and many are unusual words--adopted by the MS.) records that
Richard was in the habit of sitting throughout the night till the
morning in drinking, and "other occupations not to be named:" the MS.
omits the latter phrase. The Monk says there were _two_ points of
excellence in Richard's character; the MS., though confining itself to
the two specified by the Monk, calls them "very many," "_plura_."

8. In recording the commencement of Owyn Glyndowr's rebellion, the
Monk, speaking of it as "an execrable revolt," says that the Welsh
elected Owyn against the principles of peace [contra pacem elegerunt].
The MS. says that the Welsh elected a respectable and venerable
gentleman to be their leader and prince.

Our attention is now especially called to some points in which the MS.
seems to be so full of historical mistakes and improbabilities as to
render any statement of a fact, especially of an improbable fact, not
supported by other evidence, suspicious.[318]

                   [Footnote 318: The Author on the whole is rather
                   disposed to think that, whilst the Monk records
                   accurately what fell within his own knowledge, both
                   he and the author of the Sloane MS. in this part
                   borrowed from some common document, probably more
                   than one; for in some points they vary from each
                   other in a way best reconciled by that supposition.
                   Thus, whilst the Sloane MS. tells us that Richard
                   II. on his landing came to a place _called
                   Cardech_, from which he started for Conway, the
                   Monk (not differing from him in other points) says
                   that he came to the castle of Hertlowli. They both
                   have fallen into the error of making the Earl of
                   Salisbury accompany Richard, whereas he had
                   undoubtedly been sent on before from Dublin to
                   Conway. They are both equally wrong about the
                   relative positions of Flint and Conway, and make
                   the parties all cross and recross _the bridge_ at
                   the castle of Conway, where a noble suspension
                   bridge is now thrown over the arm of the sea. After
                   the period, however, at which the Monk's narrative
                   closes, the writer of the manuscript seems to be
                   seldom free from error.]

1. Froissart (who appears to be well acquainted with the           (p. 431)
proceedings of Bolinbroke till he left the coast of France, but to
have been altogether mistaken as to his proceedings from that hour,)
states, with the greatest probability, that Bolinbroke left Paris
under plea of visiting his friend the Duke of Brittany, and having
been well received and assisted by him, set sail from some port of
Brittany [intimating that his embarkation was (as was natural) carried
on in secret, for he "_had only been informed_" that it was from
Vennes].[319] The MS., on the contrary, with the greatest
improbability, roundly asserts that Bolinbroke went to Calais,
obtained money from the treasurer, though against his will, and seized
all the ships which he could find in the port. The improbability that
Bolinbroke should have excited the suspicions of the authorities of
Calais not in his interest, from which a single boat in a few hours
could have carried the news of his hostile attempts to Richard's
friends in England, and the absurdity of making him seize all the
ships in the port of Calais to carry over his handful of friends, can
impress the reader with no favourable idea of this writer's accuracy.

                   [Footnote 319: The Monk of Evesham makes no mention
                   of Bolinbroke's proceedings before he landed in

2. No fact is more undeniably certain than that Henry IV. made his
eldest son (our Henry V.) Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall in the
parliament held immediately upon his accession; whereas the MS.
declares that Henry V. was so created in the year of the Emperor of
Constantinople's visit to England, and in the parliament which     (p. 432)
began at the feast of St. Hilary, during which Sautre was burned for a
heretic;--that is, a year and a quarter later.

3. The MS. account of Hotspur's rebellion is quite inconsistent with
facts, and altogether, in other respects, as improbable as it is
singular. The MS. says that Hotspur,[320] about Candlemas, was
commissioned to go against the Welsh rebels; but when he reached the
country with his forces, and found it to be mountainous, and fit
neither for horse nor infantry, he made a truce with Owyn, and went to
London to take the King's pleasure upon it. The reception he met with
at court drove him to his own country; and the King, as soon as he
heard of Percy gathering his people, collected those whom he believed
to be faithful to him, and hastened to meet him near Shrewsbury.
Whereas the fact is, that Henry Percy had been resident as Chief
Justice in North Wales, Constable of Caernarvon, &c. at least three
years; had besieged Conway with his own men; had routed the rebels at
Cader Idris, and most zealously persevered in his attempts to suppress
the rebellion; and had returned from the Principality at least a year
and a half before the Candlemas (1403), at which the MS. says that he
was first commissioned to go there.

                   [Footnote 320: This account of Hotspur's mission to
                   Wales is the first circumstance mentioned by the
                   manuscript after the chronicle of the Monk of
                   Evesham ends.]

The next point to which the attention of the reader is solicited will
perhaps be considered by many to involve a greater improbability than
the Author may himself attach to it. Every one who has ever read, or
heard, or written about the "Tripartite Indenture of Division" made
between Glyndowr, Mortimer, and Northumberland, fixes it, as       (p. 433)
Shakspeare does, before the battle of Shrewsbury.[321] The scene in
the house of the Archdeacon of Bangor is too exquisite for any one to
desire it to be proved a fable. But (as the Author believes) this MS.
is the only document extant which professes to record the words of
that treaty; and yet this document fixes it to a date long after the
Percies lost that "sorry field." It is represented to have been made
in the February of the year of Pope Innocent's election: if before
that election, it was made in 1404; if after it, in 1405. And
certainly the tradition is general that Northumberland, after his
flight to Scotland, visited Wales.

                   [Footnote 321: The Sloane MS. says that it was on
                   the 28th day of February; the King's MS. assigns it
                   to the 18th.]

Another point deserving consideration is the account of the conspiracy
of Mowbray and the Archbishop of York. That account is drawn up in a
manner most unfavourable to Henry IV. The MS. boldly also records the
miracle wrought in the field of the Archbishop's execution, and states
that various miracles attracted multitudes to his tomb daily. It also
affirms that, on the very day and hour of the Archbishop's execution,
Henry IV. was struck with the leprosy.[322]

                   [Footnote 322: There are similar statements in
                   Maydstone, Ang. Sac. vii. 371.]

Perhaps too it may appear strange to others, as the Author confesses
it has appeared to himself, that, up to the very last chapter of this
history of Richard II. and Henry IV, no mention whatever is made of
Henry of Monmouth, except in the unaccountable anachronism of his
creation as Prince of Wales. It is curious that an historian should
state that the young Duke of Gloucester was sent for from Ireland, and
not allude to the circumstance of the Prince being in prison with him,
and being sent for back at the same time.[323]

                   [Footnote 323: The MS. and Monk here agree.]

We are now arrived at the very last chapter, the chapter           (p. 434)
containing the charge on which Henry of Monmouth's character has been
so severely, and, if that charge be true, so justly arraigned. The
chapter professes to record the transactions of the thirteenth year of
Henry IV. The question is one of such essential importance as far as
Henry's good name is at stake, and (as the Author cannot but think) in
point too of the philosophy of history, involving principles of such
deep interest to the genuine pursuer of truth, that he would not feel
himself justified were he to abstain from transcribing the whole

"In the thirteenth year there was a great disturbance between the Duke
of Burgundy and the Duke of Orleans. Wherefore the Duke of Burgundy
sent to the Lord Henry, Prince of England,[324] for aid to oppose the
Duke of Orleans: who sent to his succour the Earl Arundell, John
Oldcastle the Lord of Cobham, the Lord Gilbert Umfravill, the Lord of
Kyme, and with them a great army; by whose prowess at Senlow [Reg.
'Senlowe'], near Paris, the Duke of Orleans was vanquished, and
cruelly routed from the field, and his followers crushed, routed, and
slain. And the same Duke of Orleans thought how he could avenge
himself against the Duke of Burgundy; and immediately he sent to King
Henry of England a great sum of gold, together with William Count
Anglam [Reg. "de Anglam"], his brother, as a hostage or surety for a
greater sum, to obtain succour from the King of England himself. And
the King did not put off sending him succour; and he appointed Lord
Thomas, his second son, Duke of Clarence, and conferred on him the
dukedom (or, as it was of old time, the earldom) of Albemarle; and
Edmund, who before was Duke of Albemarle, then, after the death    (p. 435)
of his father, he advanced to be Duke of York. And Lord John Cornwall,
who married his sister, the Duchess of Exeter, and whom the King
appointed Captain of Calais, he sent towards the parts of France with
a great power of men. And when they landed in Normandy, near Hogges,
forthwith the Lord de Hambe, with seven thousand armed men, went up
against the English to oppose them, and thus on that day there was a
great slaughter of men; for on the part of the Duke of Burgundy eight
hundred men were taken, and four hundred slain: and thus at length
victory was on the side of the English. After which the Duke, with his
army, turned off towards the country of Bourdeaux,[325] [               ]
destroying [               ] of the countrymen, collecting great sums
of money, at length arrived at Bourdeaux, and from thence they
returned to England about the vintage."

                   [Footnote 324: This is another sign that it was
                   written by a foreigner. No Englishman would have
                   been likely to call Henry the Prince of England. He
                   was either called Prince of Wales, or more
                   frequently the Prince.]

                   [Footnote 325: The Author confesses his inability
                   to discover the meaning of the words which fill up
                   the gaps left in this translation of the passage
                   "Per suas patenas de patriotis," &c. The passage
                   seems to him altogether corrupt.]

The reader's especial attention is here called to the confusion of
facts and dates, the mistakes historical, geographical, chronological,
biographical, with which this short section abounds to the overflow.
It will perhaps be difficult to find a page in any author, ancient or
modern, more full of such blunders as tend to destroy confidence in
him, when he records as a fact what is not found in any other writer,
nor is supported by ancillary evidence. The MS. states that all these
events took place in the thirteenth year of Henry IV: the MS. writes
it at length, "Anno decimo tertio," which began on the 20th September
1411. Now, allowing to the writer every latitude not involving
positive confusion, it is impossible for us to suppose, when he    (p. 436)
crowds all these events within one year, that he had any such
information on the affairs of England as would predispose us to regard
him as an authority.

1. The first application by the Duke of Burgundy for English
auxiliaries was in August 1411; and the battle of St. Cloud (the place
which the MS., evidently ignorant of its situation and name, calls
Senlow) was fought on the 10th of November 1411. The Duke of Orleans,
at the beginning of the following year, 1412, made his application to
the English court for aid against the Duke of Burgundy, but it was not
till the 18th of May 1412 that the final treaty was concluded between
Henry IV. and the Duke of Orleans; and it was not till the middle, or
the latter end of August 1412, that the Duke of Clarence was
despatched to aid the Duke of Orleans; and he remained in France till
he received news of his father's death, in April 1413; when, and not
before, he returned to England after his expedition to aid the Duke of
Orleans.[326] Yet all these events are stated in the MS. to have
fallen within the same year.[327]

                   [Footnote 326: The Duke of Clarence was at
                   Bourdeaux, February 5, 1413, and signed an
                   acquittance there, April 14, 1413. (See Rymer; and
                   Additional Charters.)]

                   [Footnote 327: The words are written in one MS. at
                   length, "decimo tertio."]

2. The MS. says that the English, after their victory over the Duke of
Burgundy's forces, returned to England at the time of vintage. The
English returned to England at the end of autumn; not after their
struggle against the Duke of Burgundy, but after their victory over
the Duke of Orleans at the bridge of St. Cloud, a year and a quarter
at least before their return from the expedition against the Duke of

3. Again, the MS. says that the Duke of Orleans sent, immediately
after the battle of St. Cloud (the Senlow of the MS.), a large     (p. 437)
sum of money to the King of England, together with his brother, the
Earl of Angouleme, as a hostage or pledge for the payment of a greater
sum, to induce the King to comply with his request. This is utter
confusion. The Earl was sent as an hostage,--not beforehand, to induce
Henry IV. to send auxiliaries,--but afterwards, to insure the payment
of large sums which the Duke of Orleans stipulated to pay to the
English after they had been some time in France, on condition of their
quitting it. The Earl of Angouleme was sent as an hostage to England
somewhat before January 25, 1413; the MS. says, at the end of 1411.

4. Again, the MS. having dated the death of John, Earl of Somerset,
Captain of Calais, in the preceding year, says that the King then made
John Cornwall Captain of Calais. Whereas the fact is, that John
Beaufort, Captain of Calais, died on Palm Sunday, 1410, and Prince
Henry was appointed to succeed him on the following Tuesday. His
appointment, by writ of privy seal, bears date March 18, 1410; and he
continued to be Captain of Calais till he succeeded to the throne.

The MS. having recorded the marriage of the Duke of Clarence with the
Countess of Somerset, and the dispute between him and the Bishop of
Winchester, in which Prince Henry took the Bishop's part against his
brother, as having taken place in this same year, proceeds with the
passage, for the purpose of ascertaining the accuracy and authenticity
of which we have been led to make so many prefatory observations.

"In the same year,[328] on the morrow of All Souls, began a parliament
at Westminster; and because the King, by reason of his infirmity,
could not in his own person be present, he appointed and ordained  (p. 438)
in his name his brother, Thomas Beaufort, then Chancellor of England,
to open, continue, and prorogue it. In which parliament Prince Henry
desired from his father the resignation of his kingdom and crown,
because that his father, by reason of his malady, could not labour for
the honour and advantage of the kingdom any longer; but in this he was
altogether unwilling to consent to him,--nay, he wished to govern the
kingdom, together with the crown and its appurtenances, as long as he
retained his vital breath. Whence the Prince, in a manner, with his
counsellors retired aggrieved; and afterwards, as it were through the
greater part of England, he joined all the nobles under his authority
in homage and pay. In the same parliament the money, as well in gold
as in silver, was somewhat lessened in weight in consequence of the
exchange of foreigners, &c."

                   [Footnote 328: Bibl. Reg. 13, C. I. 10. An. 13 Hen.
                   IV. "Eodem anno in Crastino Animarum incepit
                   parliamentum apud Westmonasterium. Et quia Rex
                   ratione suæ infirmitatis non poterat in personâ
                   propriâ interesse, assignavit et ordinavit in
                   nomine suo fratrem suum Thomam Beuforde,
                   Cancellarium tunc Angliæ, ad inchoandum,
                   continuandum, et prorogandum; in quo parliamento
                   Henricus Princeps desidevavit à patre suo regni et
                   coronæ resignacionem, eo quod pater ratione
                   ægritudinis non poterat circa honorem et utilitatem
                   regni ulteriùs laborare; sed sibi in hoc noluit
                   penitùs assentire; ymmo regnum unà cum coronâ et
                   pertinenciis, dummodo haberet spiritus vitales,
                   voluit gubernare: unde Princeps quodammodo cum suis
                   consiliariis aggravatus recessit; et posteriùs
                   quasi pro majori parte Angliæ omnes proceres suo
                   dominio in humagio et stipendio copulavit. In eodem
                   parliamento moneta tam in auro quam in argento
                   fuerat aliqualiter in pondere minorata ex causà
                   permutationis extraneorum, qui in suis partibus
                   ratione cambii magnum sibi cumulabant emolumentum,
                   et Regi et suis mercatoribus Angligenis in magnum
                   dispendium et detrimentum, &c."]

Now, there can be no doubt (1) that a parliament was held on the   (p. 439)
morrow of All Souls, in the thirteenth year of Henry IV. (1411);
(2) that it was _opened_, _continued_, and _prorogued_ by Thomas
Beaufort, the Chancellor, by commission from the King, in his absence;
(3) that an alteration in the coin was agreed upon in that parliament;
and (4), moreover, that the King declared in that parliament his
determination to allow of no innovations, nor of any encroachments on
his prerogative, but to maintain the rights and privileges of his
crown in full enjoyment, as his royal predecessors had delivered them

A superficial glance at these facts would doubtless suggest a strong
confirmation of the details of the MS. in other points, and thus
predispose us to receive the statement with regard to Prince Henry's
unfilial conduct on the authority of this document alone. But, on
close examination, these very facts, which the records of the realm
place beyond doubt, coupled with others equally indisputable, to which
we shall presently refer, demonstrate to the Author's mind that no
dependence whatever can be placed on this MS., and that the statement
is altogether apocryphal, and founded on palpable confusion.

The parliament met on the morrow of All Souls, Tuesday, November 3,
1411, (13th Henry IV,) and was opened, continued, and prorogued by the
Chancellor; but not on account of the King's indisposition, or
inability to be present. The Rolls of Parliament are most explicit on
this point. They state that the King, having been informed that very
many lords, spiritual and temporal, knights of the shire, and
burgesses, who ought to attend that parliament, had not assembled on
the appointed day, commissions the Chancellor to open the parliament,
and to prorogue it _till the following day_. And on the following day,
Wednesday, (the Lords and Commons then being in the presence of    (p. 440)
the King,) the Chancellor, by the King's command, recited the reasons
for convening the parliament, and charged the Commons to retire and
elect their Speaker.

Not only so. On the Thursday (Nov. 5), the Commons came before the
King and the Lords, and presented Thomas Chaucer as their Speaker. And
the Speaker prayed liberty of speech, &c.: and the King granted the
request, but declared that he would admit of no innovation nor
encroachment on his prerogative, but resolved to maintain his rights
as fully as his predecessors had done. On this the Speaker prayed him
to grant to the Commons, till the day following, time for putting
their protest, &c. in writing. To this the King agreed. But, forasmuch
as the King could not attend on the Friday in consequence of diverse
great and pressing matters, the time was postponed to the following
day, Saturday; when the Commons came before the King, and presented
their prayer, &c.

The fact is, that the King was repeatedly present at this parliament,
from the day before the Speaker was chosen to the very last day. On a
subsequent occasion, the Prince of Wales also, as well as the King, is
recorded to have been present, (as doubtless he was on various
occasions throughout,--probably an habitual attendant,) in what
character, and under what circumstances, whether as the supplanter of
his father or not, perhaps the words of the record may, to a certain
extent at least, enable us to pronounce.

"On Monday, the last day of November, the Speaker, in the name of the
Commons, prayed the King to thank my Lord the Prince, the Bishops of
Winchester and Durham, &c. who were assigned to be of council to the
King in the last parliament, for their great labour and diligence;
for, as it appears to the said Commons, my said Lord the Prince, and
the other Lords, have well and loyally done their duty according to
their promise in that parliament. And upon that, kneeling, my Lord the
Prince, and the other Lords, declared, by the mouth of my Lord     (p. 441)
the Prince, how they had taken pains, and labour, and diligence,
according to their promise, and the charge given them in parliament,
to their skill and knowledge. This the King remembered well [or made
good mention of], and thanked them most graciously. And he said
besides, that he was well assured, if they had had more than they had,
in the manner it had been spoken by the mouth of my Lord the Prince,
at the time the King charged them to be of his council in the said
parliament, they would have done their duty to effect more good than
was done in diverse parts for the defence, honour, good, and profit of
him and his kingdom. And our Lord the King also said, that he felt
very contented with their good and loyal diligence, counsel, and duty,
for the time they had been of his council."

This took place on the 30th of November, a month (saving two days)
after the parliament had assembled, and within less than three weeks
of its termination. It would scarcely be credible, even had the report
come through a less questionable channel, that Henry of Monmouth up to
that time had been guilty of the unfilial delinquency with which the
MS. charges him. Nor could he have made the "unnatural attempt to
dethrone his diseased father" at any period through the remaining
three weeks of the session of that parliament. At all events, such a
proceeding appears altogether irreconcilable with the conduct both of
the parliament and of the King on the very last day of their sitting.
"On Saturday, December 20th, (say the Rolls,) being the last day of
parliament, the Speaker, recommending the persons of the Queen, of the
Prince, and of other the King's sons, prayeth the advancement of their
estates; for the which the King giveth hearty thanks."

Had any such transaction taken place during this parliament as the MS.
records, would the King, on the last day of the session, without any
allusion to it, have given hearty thanks to the Commons for their
recommendation of the Prince's person (coupled with the name of    (p. 442)
his Queen and his other sons), and their prayer for further provision
for his dignity and comfort?

There are, however, two or three more circumstances upon which it may
appear material to make some observations; or even, should these
closing observations not seem altogether indispensable, yet, since
this is all new and untrodden ground, it may yet be thought safer to
anticipate conjectures, than to leave any questions unopened and
unexamined on this point--a point which the Author trusts may be set
at rest at once, and for ever.

The Author then is ready to confess his belief that both the MS. and
its commentator, the modern historian, have confounded this parliament
of November 1411 with the parliament of February 3, 1413, which was
opened in the illness of the King, and which he never was able to
attend. But if it be attempted to engraft on this fact the surmise
that it might have been in the latter parliament that the Prince
demanded the surrender of the throne, and that it is after all a mere
mistake of dates, the material fact being unshaken and unaffected,--to
this suggestion he replies, that there is no evidence, directly or
indirectly bearing on the subject, in support of such a surmise. The
only statement in printed book or manuscript known, is that which we
have now been sifting; and which with a precision, as though of set
purpose, minute and pointed, fixes the alleged transaction to the year
1411.[329] Not only so. We have, on the contrary, reason to believe
that before the meeting of the next parliament, February 1413, _all
differences had been made up between the King and his son_; and that
from the day of their reconciliation they lived in the full
interchange of paternal and filial kindness to the end. For that   (p. 443)
jealousies and alienations of confidence, fostered by the malevolence
of others,[330] had taken place between them in the course of the
preceding year, the very mention of the "ridings of gentils and huge
people with the Prince," twice recurring in the Chronicle of London,
seems of itself to force upon us. The accounts, at all events, such as
they are, which chroniclers give of their reconciliation, fix the date
of that happy issue of their estrangement to a period antecedent to
the last parliament of Henry IV. February 3.--Cras. Purif. 1413.

                   [Footnote 329: It cannot, however, be supposed that
                   this anonymous writer fabricated the story; he must
                   have copied it from some other writer, or put down
                   what he had learned by hearsay.]

                   [Footnote 330: The Author confesses his own opinion
                   to be that a party was formed at court (headed
                   probably by the Queen), jealous of the Prince's
                   influence, and determined to destroy his power with
                   his father. That, to oppose this party, the Prince
                   summoned his friends, and made a demonstration of
                   his power; (it is possible that he might have
                   expressed his readiness to act again in the
                   government for his father, as he had undoubtedly
                   done before:) and that, after much coldness and
                   alienation, father and son were fully reconciled.]

Although the life and reign of Henry IV. continued more than a year
and four months after the passing of the ordinance respecting the
coin, with an account of which this MS. abruptly closes, yet
(excepting what is involved in the extract above cited) not one single
word is said of the foreign and domestic affairs of the kingdom, or of
the life of the King, or of his death; though much of interesting
matter was at hand, and though a parliament was summoned, and actually
met fourteen months after the alteration of the coin. And such is the
close of a document, not like a yearly chronicle, or general register
of events, satisfied with giving a summary of the most remarkable
casualties in the briefest form; but a narrative which transcribes,
with unusual minuteness, the very words (at full, and with all their
technicalities,) of some of the most unimportant and prolix statutes
of Henry IV.'s reign.[331] It is not that the MS. is mechanically  (p. 444)
cut short by loss of leaves, or other accident; the Sloane ends with
an "etc." in the very middle of a page, and the King's at the foot of
the first column.

                   [Footnote 331: Sloane, p. 42. The statute for
                   assigning certain imposts for the King's household
                   is transcribed at full length, word for word. So,
                   too, in the seventh year, the statute relative to
                   the succession is copied verbatim. Of the same
                   character is the copy of the Tripartite Indenture
                   of Division.]

We need not encumber this inquiry (already too long) by any
reflections on the avidity with which this passage of the MS. has been
seized, and made the groundwork of charges against Henry of "unfilial
conduct," "unnatural rebellion" towards his father, and "the
unprincipled ambition of a Catilinarian temper," with other hard words
and harder surmises; because we are trying the value of testimony. If
that testimony is sound, modern historians may doubtless build upon it
what comments seem to them good; if we utterly destroy the validity of
the evidence, their foundation sinks from under their superstructure.

The reader, however, has probably already determined that, unless
there be in reserve some other independent, or at least auxiliary
source of evidence, the palpable contradiction and manifest confusion
reigning through this part of the MS., together with the high degree
of improbability thrown over the whole statement by the undoubted
records of the very parliament in question, justify the rejection of
the passage altogether from the pale of authentic history. The Author
confesses that he has step by step come to that conclusion.


Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

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