صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

præditoriè murdraverunt et interfecerunt, IN PRÆSENTI PARLIAMENTO NOSTRO auctoritate ejusdem parliamenti fiendi.”

(Translation.) Whereas, it is intended to proceed in the present parlia-, ment, by authority of the same, as well against HENRY, late in fact, but not in right, king of England, our avowed mortal enemy, as against other rebels and others our subjects, who , murdered and slew the most noble prince and our father, Richard, late duke of York, at Wakefield.”

The other commission is directed to Henry, duke of Buckingham, to preside as lord high steward, for the sole pose of seeing execution done on George, late duke of Clarence, the king's own brother, who stood convicted and attainted, by the then parliament, of treason committed against the royal person. The reasons assigned by the monarch for awarding execution against the duke, is a futile attempt in extenuation of one of the most cruel fratricides ever recorded. The commission is dated February 7, A. D. 1477-8, 17 Edward IV. and contains among other matter, the following remarkable passage:

“ Nos considerantes, quod justicia est virtus excellens per quam regna prosperantur, reges et principes regnant et gubernant, omnino bonum regimen politia et bonum publicum manutenantur et supportantur, quam virtutem ad Dei complacenciam præ aliquâ carnali affectione sequi et eâ uti intendimus ut debimus, multoque magis pro eo quod vinculo conscientiæ nostræ, et per solempne juramentum erga Deum sub pænâ perpetuæ dampnationis, primo, pro securitate personæ nostræ regiæ et exitus nostri, secundario pro tranquillitate et defensione ecclesiæ Christi infra regnum nostrum Angl. et tertio pro bono publico, pace et tranquillitate regni nostri prædicti ac dominorum et nobilium, et tocius communitatis ejusdem cujuscunque gradus et condicionis existant, necnon in evitatione effusionis sanguinis Christiani prospicere constringimur, licet propinquitas sanguinis, et internus et teneris amor quem ad præsatum Georgium in teneri atate suá habuimus et jerebamus, nos ad contrarium naturaliter movent et exhortant."

( Translation.) “We considering that justice is an ercellent virtue, by which kingdoms prosper, kings and princes reign and govern, and

all good rule, policy, and the public welfare, are maintained and supported; which virtue, so acceptable to God himself, we intend, as we ought, to follow and practise in preference to any other carnal affection; and the more so, as we are bound by the tie of conscience, and liable from our solemn appeal to God, to perpetual damnation ; first, we are obliged to provide for the security of our royal person, and of our issue; secondly, for the tranquillity and defence of Christ's church, within our kingdom of England; and thirdly, for the safety of the public weal, the peace and quiet of our aforesaid kingdom, and of the lords and nobility, and of the whole community, of degree and condition; and lastly, in order to avoid the shedding of Christian blood. Notwithstanding, therefore, the nearness of propinquity, and the internal and tender love which we had and bore to the aforesaid George in his infancy, his crimes now naturally induce and provoke us to act the contrary : part."



There is a curious old black letter tract in the British Museum, printed at London in 1597, and entitled

The Discouerie of the Knights of the Poste; or, the Knights of the Poste, or

Common Baylers, newly Descried. Uvherein is shewed, and plainly laid open, many leude actions, and substill deuises, which are daily practised by them, to the great abuse of most honourable councelers, learned judges, and other graue maiestrates, and also to the defrauding and utter undoing of a greate numver of her Maiestie's good and loyal subjects."

In this tract there is a full exposure of the mock bailers, or, as they were then called, the “ Knights of the Post," who will be found to have differed very little from those of our own day. The pamphlet is in the form of a dialogue, which two travellers, journeying the same way, who had formerly known each other, are supposed to enter into. One of them says:

“But hearest thou, Goodcoll? I pray thee, say : how doe all our ancient acquaintance, y good oath-takers, or common baylers, alias the knights of the poste, the lords of Lob's Bound, and heires apparant to the pillory; who are as ready to baile men out of prison, being then well pleased for their paines, as Tiron is in playing the traitor without causes.” “Tush!" quoth Goodcoll;“ that fraternity of falsehood, and fellowship of fraud, doth never lightly pass out of the old byas : they are all in health, though void of honesty ; some are at liberty to seeke a dinner where they can get it, and some, to spare shoe-leather, lie in prison. L. that old lad, is foorthcoming, though not coming forth, having the privilege to walke his stations in one of the counters in London, and so are divers others of the same profession.”

The “ Knight of the Post" is thus described : “In his attire he is neat and fine, and in his speech stately, with a long piccadevant after the French cut, and of a stately countenance." Some of these knights are said to be likely to “ live till shame either prefers them to the pillory, or misery ende their dajes,” and of one of them we have the following quaint account : “ But as concerning olde father C. why, man, hee is aulde suresby, as trustie as steele, and one that alwaies helpes at a dead lift ; for after he hath smug’d up himselfe in his borrowed apparell, with his great seale ring on his finger, of pure copper and gilt, when he comes to baile a man before a judge, being demanded if hee be a subsidie man or no, straight answers, that it shall please your good lordshippe, I have been a subsidy man this twenty winters and upwards. And then he sweares that he was seized at five pounds in the queen's books the last sessment of the subsidie ; and furder affirms it on his credit, which is as good in Cheapside as it is at the pudding-pyhouse, where they will not trust him for twopence." They are stated to change their names frequently, and seldom give their residence, for

if they shoulde not change their names, and like Proteus turn their shapes sometimes, they would often be had by the backe for their knavery,”

The title of “Knights of the Post” has, in modern times, received a more enlarged application ; but even as far back as 1657, during the protectorate of Cromwell, the newer sort of knights appears to have come under the notice of the legislature. An act was then passed for “punishing of such persons as live at high rates, and have no visible estate, profession, or calling, answerable thereunto.” The preamble recites, that “Whereas divers lewd and dissolute persons in this commonwealth live at very high rates and great expenses, having no visible estate, &c. to maintain themselves in their licentious, loose, and ungodly practices, but make it their trade and livelihood to cheat, deboyst, cozen, and deceive the young gentry, and the other good people of this commonwealth : be it enacted, &c.” The authority given to magistrates under the act was curious. Every justice of peace, mayor, or other head officer, might issue his warrant to bring such persons before him, and require bail for his appearance at the next general sessions, or in default of such bail, send him to prison, till it was provided. They were then 'to be indicted at the said sessions, "for living at high rates and great expenses, having no visible estate, profession, or calling, answerable thereunto :” and upon conviction, they were to be sent to the house of correction, and kept to hard labour for three months. Upon a second conviction for the same offence, they were to be committed as aforesaid, and detained till discharged by the justices in open sessions.

NATURALIZATION OF THE SCOTS. In the reign of queen Elizabeth, an order was issued to the lord mayor, aldermen, &c. of London, to make the strictest scrutiny throughout their several wards, and draw up an exact

list of the names of all the foreigners residing therein, classed - under their respective nations or provinces. From the return

to this order, it appears that the number of Scots then residing in London, was only forty! When a Scottish king, however, succeeded Elizabeth on the throne, the number of Scotsmen who flocked hither, as to another land of promise, increased with amazing rapidity; and it became at length a question before parliament, about admitting them to the benefits of naturalization. The proposition, as may naturally be ,supposed, gave rise to much discussion in both houses of parliament, particularly in the House of Commons, before which it came on the 14th of February, 1606. Mr. Fuller began the debate. The principal grounds of his argument were. “ That God had made people fit for every country; some for a cold, some for a hot climate ; and those several countries he hath adapted to their several natures and qualities. All grounds are not fit for one kind of grain; but some for oats, some for wheat, &c. Suppose one man is owner of two pastures, with one hedge to divide them, the one pasture bare, the other fertile and good. A wise owner will not pull down the hedge, but make gates to let the cattle in and out at pleasure; otherwise they will rush in in multitudes, and much against their will return. That the union was no more than two arms of one body. But before they be admitted, it is proper to consider what place and room we have for them. Look into the Universities; there you will find many of our own very

worthy men not preferred.Our English merchants adventure ; they go to sea with great vessels, freighted at a great charge ; the others with little vessels at a small charge. The Scotch carry their wares, in other countries up and down in packs ; and by these means have taken away all the trade from Dieppe already. Our traders are too many already, and there are impositions upon the English, from which the Scotch are discharged. The navy of Scotland is so weak as to be in misere*cordium with the meanest force. The care of a sovereign prince is, that his subjects live under hinihonestè, tutè, pacificè et jucundè.' That country is miserable where the greatesť men are exceeding rich, the poor men exceeding poor, and no mean, no proportion between both: Tenants of two .manors; whereof the one hath woods, fisheries, liberties, com, mons of estorvers, &c.—the other, a bare common, without profit; only a little turf or the like. The owner maketha grant, that the tenants of this shall be participants of the pro-. fits, &c. of the former. This beareth some shew of equity, but is plain wrong, and the grant void. The king cannot make a single village in one, to be parcel of another county. He cannot make a parcel of one kingdom parcel of another, being distinct kingdoms. If king Philip of Spain had had a son by queen Mary, he would have been king of Spain, Sicily, &c. Was it proper to naturalize those subjects? It cannot be good to mingle two swarms of bees under one hive on the sudden. When the Jews were in captivity, and were moved to mirth, and sing songs, they could not forget Jerusalem. · Let their right hand forget their left, &c. And when Abraham and Lot were brethren, Abraham said, Go thou to the right hand, and I will go to the left, &c. So, they divided, and either took that part which was fittest for him.”

Mr. Wentworth and Mr. Moore followed, and though they did not object entirely to the naturalization of the Scots, "yet” said they, “ if we naturalize them, it is necessary to have many cautions ; cautions for ecclesiastical promotions, cautions for our lands and for our trades."

Sir Francis (afterwards Lord) Bacon, spoke at great length and with great ability, in favour of the naturalization of the Scots, not so much on legal grounds, but as a matter of convenience; and as a "sign to all the world of our love towards them, and agreement with them.”

In the course of the discussion of this subject, one member was committed to the tower for making some severe reflections on the Scots : this was Sir Christopher Piggott, one of

« السابقةمتابعة »