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SOMERSET CHOSEN PROTECTOR.
cellor; and after Edward's coronation, which took place on the 28th of February, the Protector was not only confirmed in his authority by letterspatent under the great seal, but his powers were extended, and the functions of the executors were merged in those of a general council, who were bound to act by the advice and consent of the real head of the state. The boy-king had been crowned and anointed. He had taken the coronation oath. He had proclaimed a general pardon. But Somerset was the sovereign of England for the time being. He and his faithful co-executors had wealth as well as titles showered upon them, under the pretence that the late king had, by a clause in his will, required his executors to make good all that he had promised; and witnesses were ready to prove what these promises were. The same spirit of rapacity which had swallowed up so large a portion of the church property, in the days of Henry, was still unsated; and the zeal for a reformed church, earnest as it was amongst the more intelligent and truly religious of the nation, was thus exposed to reproach and misconstruction. When it was alleged that Henry VIII. had promised the earl of Hertford the revenues of six good prebends, the disinterested sincerity of the Protector in seeking a further reformation of religion might well be doubted.
In tracing the course of events in the reign of Edward VI.—a reign which lasted only six years and a half-we feel strongly impressed with the contrast between the influence of the personal character of a king whose will was almost absolute, and that of the personal character of a king whose nonage prevented him exercising any real control over public affairs. And yet we cannot speak of the tendencies of the government without feeling that the disposition, the abilities, and the acquirements of this youth, who died before he had completed his sixteenth year, could not be without some effect upon the opinions of the time, if they had little share in the direction of its policy. The "Journal " written with his own hand, which is preserved in the Cotton Library, is very remarkable, not only for what it contains but for what it omits. There is not the slightest display of learning in it-there are no puerilities. It is a very simple record of public affairs, without any expression of strong feeling. Not exhibiting any large or original views, it yet manifests a perfect acquaintance with the general nature of the matters which came under the writer's observation. A very competent judge has said, "It is perhaps somewhat brief and dry for so young an author; but the adoption of such a plan, and the accuracy with which it is written, bear marks of an untainted taste and of a considerate mind."* Of the first and second years of his reign, and of three months of the third year, it presents only a short summary. From the 24th of March, 1549, it becomes a Diary, and is continued till the 30th of November, 1552. In the introductory part, his own birth is recorded; and his early education is thus described: "Afterwards was brought up, till he came to six years old, among the women. At the sixth year of his age he was brought up in learning by Master Doctor Cox, who was after his almoner, and John Cheke, Master of Arts, two welllearned men, who sought to bring him up in learning of tongues, of the scripture, of philosophy, and all liberal sciences. Also John Belmaine, Frenchman, did teach him the French language." In a very curious pape▾
* Sir J. Mackintosh, "History," vol. ii. p. 249.
CHARACTER OF EDWARD VI.
without date, addressed to Edward by William Thomas, clerk of the council, a series of eighty-five questions upon matters of policy are put before him. These are of the most general nature, but of much significance-such as, "Whether it be better for the commonwealth that the power be in the nobility or in the people?" These questions the writer recommends by saying, "there is not so small a one amongst them as will not minister matter of much discourse worthy the argument and debating; which your highness may, either for pastime or in earnest, propone to the wisest men." * The very nature of these questions is some testimony to the opinion held of this
prince's understanding; and this opinion may be valued at a higher rate than the eulogy of Cardan, an Italian physician, who saw him professionally in 1552, that he was "a marvellous boy"-" monstrificus puellus."
At the period of Henry's death England was at peace. The pacification of 1546 with France included Scotland; and it was a leading object of Henry's policy, which he held to in his dying hour, that the union of England and Scotland should be cemented by the marriage of his son with the child Mary, the Scottish queen. The attempt to force this marriage upon Scotland had aroused the old national spirit of independence in her nobility; and the proposal of Somerset, that the former treaty for this marriage should be renewed and ratified, was coldly listened to. Within a month after the accession of Edward, the Council Book shows that a state of active hostility was approaching. On the 27th of February, Sir Andrew Dudley is appointed to the command of the ship Pauncy, to cruise in the North Seas, off the English and Scottish coasts. In less than a fortnight, Dudley had captured the Scottish vessel Lion. This casual encounter appears to have made a strong impression upon the young king, for it is recorded. with more than usual minuteness in his Journal. At this juncture an event occurred which materially affected the relations of England with France and Scotland. Francis I. died on the 31st of March, at Rambouillet. He had reigned thirty-two years; during which period his affairs had been so mixed up with those of Henry VIII., either as friends or enemies, that their fates
* See Ellis, "Second Series," vol. ii. p. 187.
INVASION OF SCOTLAND.
seemed in some degree to be linked together, and Francis had entertained a notion that he should die in the same year as the English king. When Henry died, Francis caused a funeral service to be celebrated in the church of Notre Dame; and he gradually fell into a state of dejection, which, if not a tribute of friendship to the memory of his rival in pomp and pageantry, was a submission to the lesson, which even kings must learn, that "all is vanity." The son and successor of Francis, Henry II., was playing at tennis, two days after his father's death,-by advice of his physicians. He gave a more convincing proof of his slight regard for his father's memory, by calling about him the counsellors against whom he had received a death-bed warning. Twenty days before the death of Francis, a treaty had been concluded between France and England. This the new king of France refused to ratify. He preferred to cultivate an alliance with the Scots. The duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine were the brothers of the queen-dowager
of Scotland, and they were amongst the chief advisers of the French king. To stay the progress of the reformed opinions in Scotland, and to prevent the marriage of the young Mary with Edward, were sufficient motives to a decided change of policy. The castle of St. Andrews, after the murder of cardinal Beaton, in 1546, had been held against the regent Arran, by those who were favourable to the English alliance. A truce between the regent and the possessors was concluded in February, 1547; and they subsequently proceeded to make a treaty with Somerset, in which they engaged to forward the projected marriage, and to aid any English force that should enter
Wotton to Somerset, "Tytler," vol. i. p. 38.
SOMERSET'S PROPOSAL FOR UNION.
Scotland for the purpose of obtaining possession of the queen's person. The French government, in the summer of 1547, sent a fleet to assist in the reduction of the castle. It was finally surrendered on the 29th of July, and was afterwards demolished. On the 2nd of September, the protector crossed the border at Berwick, with a powerful invading army.
It would be injustice to the policy of Somerset to assume that he entered upon the war with Scotland in the arrogant spirit with which Henry VIII. had conducted his negociations and his assaults. There was a treaty under the Great Seal of Scotland for the marriage of Edward with Mary; but the determination to demand its fulfilment was conducted in a tone of moderation, in the first instance, which shows that the empire of force was gradually yielding to the empire of opinion. The Protector addressed a remarkable letter "to the nobility and counsellors, gentlemen and commons and all other the inhabitants of the realm of Scotland," in which, with "greeting and peace,' ," he sets forth the desire of England to establish the amity of the two countries by the union of the Crowns. In this document we recognise the expression of the sagacious statesman rather than that of the ambitious intriguer-of one who saw what was inevitable, but who did not sufficiently estimate the force of national pride and individual interest in retarding a great good. What the statesmen of queen Anne had the utmost difficulty in accomplishing, the minister of king Edward vainly expected to realise by appeals to great principles which were imperfectly understood even two centuries later. Somerset said to the people of Scotland, that living in one island, speaking the same language, alike in manners and conditions, it was "unmeet, unnatural, and unchristian, that there should be betwixt us so mortal war, who, in respect of all other nations, be and should be like as two brethren." He proposed a solid union by the marriage of king Edward and queen Mary-the circumstances being so favourable that the Divine Providence manifestly pointed out the road to amity. In this union of two kingdoms, England was ready "to take the indifferent old name of Britain again, because nothing should be left on our part to be offered. We seek not to take from you your laws nor customs, but we seek to redress your oppressions, which of divers ye do sustain." If eloquent writing could have been more effectual than sturdy blows, such an appeal as this might have prevented the battle of Pinkie: "If we two, being made one by amity, be most able to defend us against all nations, and having the sea for wall, the mutual love for garrison, and God for defence, should make so noble and well-agreeing monarchy, that neither in peace we may be ashamed, nor in war afraid of any worldly or foreign power, why should not you be as desirous of the same, and have as much cause to rejoice at it as we ?" * But the words of peace were not hearkened to. The influence of France prevailed. The priests stirred up the Scottish people to resist the English heretics. Knox was a prisoner in France; and the friends of the Reformation were scattered and proscribed.
Somerset advanced from Berwick along the shore, whilst a fleet under lord Clinton kept the sea within view of the coast; and as the army marched
*This letter, given at length in Holinshed, p. 998, is far more interesting than the paraphrase of Ilayward, which Hume quotes as his authority.
BATTLE OF PINKIE.
by Dunbar, the ships were seen sailing into the Frith of Forth. Turning westward the cavalry forded the river Lynn, and the infantry crossed at Linton Bridge. Bands of Scottish horsemen now began to appear; and the earl of Warwiek was nearly taken prisoner in a rash advance. On the 8th the English were encamped near Preston-pans; and the fleet was at anchor near Musselburgh. The Scottish army was within a distance of little more than two miles; the ridge of Falside being between the two hosts. On the 9th, after a sharp skirmish, Somerset and Warwick reconnoitred the Scots from this hill. They occupied a strong position, with the sea on their left flank, and a deep marsh on their right. The river Esk protected their front; and the bridge crossing the Esk was held and strongly defended. On the morning of the 10th, when the English army began to move, it was discovered that the Scots had abandoned their strong position, and had crossed the river. They had taken up an opinion that the English were about to retreat to their ships, and would escape unless attacked in their camp. This belief was fatal to them. Although the Scots fought with the most determined valour, and successfully resisted a furious charge of the English cavalry, their rash movement had placed a portion of their force within the ability of the English "to compass them," says one present in the battle, "in that they should no ways escape us; the which by our force and number we were as well able to do as a spinner's web to catch a swarm of bees." The fight had been very doubtful until this superiority was gained in one portion of the field. A general panic then ensued; and the Scottish army fled before their slaughtering pursuers. We shall not follow Patten, the "Londoner," in his narrative of the horrible traces of this slaughter, by the sands of Leith, by the high road and King's Park to Edinburgh, and through the marsh to Dalkeith. The pursuit was not ended till nightfall; when the victors. returned to plunder the Scottish camp. This great victory-the last field, most happily, in which England and Scotland were engaged in a quarrel that could be called national—was without any benefit beyond the unsubstantial glory of the victors. Ten thousand Scots perished, and fifteen hundred were taken prisoners, without any serious loss on the part of the English. Leith was set on fire. Several castles were taken. But in three weeks after the battle of Pinkie, Somerset recrossed the Tweed; and entered London on the 8th of October, declining, however, any triumphant reception. The young king congratulated his uncle in a short and sensible letter written on the 18th of September ;† and the successful general received additional grants of landed estates. Some have ascribed the sudden return of Somerset to the necessity of resisting intrigues that were proceeding against him in the English council. It is probable that he trusted more to the gradual effects of his victory upon the minds of the Scottish nation, than to any immediate attempts to control the course of its government. But the spirit of resistance to the English heretics was excited rather than allayed by the disaster of the Black Saturday, as the day of Pinkie was long called. The desired amity was still far distant. There was a young man in the battle whose influence upon the politics of Scotland was ultimately more powerful than the prowess
* Patten's Narrative; in "Dalyell's Fragments of Scottish History."