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guarding the passage, or annoying the French in their fishery. The first was an object of considerable moment, inasmuch as an English army had taken the field from Calais; the other was deemed so, Wolsey being of opinion, that "to keep the Frenchmen from their fishery was one of the greatest annoyances and displeasures that could be done unto them." Such was
the temper in which war was carried on in that age; projects of extensive ambition were entertained, and yet petty mischief was pursued with as much eagerness as if it were to affect the issue of the contest. Gonson, therefore, (who was afterwards surveyor of the navy,) was ordered to take such small ships as could be found at Calais and the Cinque Ports, and with these, and such as had escaped the storm, to guard the passage, and "impeach the fishery," till a force should be prepared, "for the tuition of the sea," that winter.* A. D. In the following year, the senseless project of de1523. stroying the haven at Calais was renewed; the French supposing that, if this were effected, they should easily take the town "for fault of rescue." The scheme was craftily designed and executed: they loaded an old ship of 400 tons "with great Caen stone," in the port of Dieppe, and brought her out with a foresail and no masts; so that, as she came before Calais, all who saw her supposed "she had been weather-driven, and had May lost her mast by tempest." It was about ten at night when she came to the mouth of the harbour, as if making thither for shelter; but she missed the channel, and turned to the sands towards Risebank, when the men on board, supposing that they were in the very channel, set her on fire, took to their boats, and so escaped by the shore. The people in Calais saw the fire, and were moved with compassion for the supposed sufferers. When the tide fell, they perceived the ship consumed, and the goodly Caen stones lying whole. They were speedily removed into the town, and the lord deputy, and the other lords in office at Calais, sent by their pursuivant
* State Papers, 98, 99, 100.-12. 21. 23.
a letter to the captain of Boulogne, desiring him to communicate their thanks to M. Lodowyk, captain of Dieppe, for sending so fair a ship and so much goodly stone to Calais. The stone, they said, they had taken into the town, where it was of much use to them for the fortifications; and, if the French would send more, they would gladly receive it at the same price.*
At this time Albany, the regent of Scotland, who had gone to France to solicit men, money, and stores for the war against England, was preparing to return with the reinforcements which he had obtained. Fitzwilliam was therefore sent with a fleet of thirty-six sail to watch the French coast, while one smaller squadron cruised in the western, and another in the northern seas. Impatient of inaction while he hovered on the coast, Fitzwilliam and his captains determined upon a descent, that they might "do some harm to Treport," which was the seaport of the neighbouring town of Eu. Their intention was perceived; the townsmen fired the beacons, aid came to them in good time from all the fortresses in that quarter, and they erected bulwarks to defend the landing. Nevertheless the English persisted in their design: 700 men made for the shore in their boats; and though the French "shot out ordnance, quarrels, and stones," they made good their landing, stormed their bulwarks, and, crying "St. George! to the gates of Treport!" pursued the fugitives. Morrice, the master-gunner, was neither so fortunate nor so well provided as he had been at Morlaix: he attempted to force an entrance by using a broken mast, which he found by the way, as a battering ram. Anthony Knivett and Francis Newdigate, with their men, ran with it to the gate; but the gate was so strong that it could not be broken, and " at every loop lay a piece o ordnance," which was well plied, so that the assailants found it expedient to retreat. They set fire to the suburbs," which was a fair street, and all was burnt." While the flames were raging there, they made for the *Hall, 658. Holinshed, 687.
haven; and being unable, owing to the state of the tide, to bring out seven fair ships which were lying there, they set fire to them and reimbarked, carrying off twenty-seven pieces of good cannon from the bulwarks, not without imminent hazard of losing those who were the last on shore; nor "without some loss and damage of men both hurt and slain; as it often happeneth," says Holinshed, “ where those who are unadvisedly assailed are found not unprovided." The king, however, was "singularly well contented with this valiant acquittal of Fitzwilliam and his company, as a thing much redounding to the honour of his grace and the nation, with high reproach and rebuke of his enemies ;" and he directed that letters of thanks might be sent them; "by which they might, to their comfort and for their courage, understand how acceptable their good service was to him." Soon afterwards Fitzwilliam got sight of twelve French ships, aboard one of which was the archbishop of Glasgow, with other persons of rank: he chased them into a French harbour; two were lost, and Albany relanded his stores, and spread a report that the expedition was deferred till the spring. Deceived thereby, the English admiral returned to his own port, and Albany then put to sea, and effected his passage safely.*
The English were more alert in annoying the enemy's coast than in protecting their own. Six well. appointed French ships met with the Katharine galley off the coast; the galley was only of forty tons, and many of the crew ashore: but the captain, one John Mariner, so encouraged his men, that all fear was set aside; and ever as the Frenchmen approached they beat them off with arrows and fighting, and still they continued from four in the morning till nine. By that time she had spent her arrows with shooting, and her bills with hewing, and her pikes with keeping them off from coming aboard; and almost all the company were sore hurt, and the captain wounded to the death." Then, having no other remedy, they sought to escape; and captain Mark
*Hall, 660. Holinshed, 687. Pinkerton, 222. State Papers (Sir T. More to Wolsey), 125.
ham, of the bark of Sandwich, seeing the chase, manfully called his men out of Sandwich haven, and made, with a fair wind, to the assistance of the galley. When the enemy left their pursuit, and prepared to attack him, he comforted his men, and made the quarters of his ship defensible. “The French set on fiercely, and their tops were higher than the top of the English ship. Out went the ordnance, quarrel, and darts of the French ; the English shot fiercely again, and when the French proffered to enter, beat them off with bills." At length the enemy with a great gun beat down the top of the bark, and slew those who manned it; lastly they struck down her mast. The conflict had now continued from ten of the clock till two. Markham strove then to regain the harbour, "and ever the English shot arrows while they had any left." The enemy durst not enter, till the arrows were all spent, so that they came aboard all at once and entered her. No action was ever maintained against greater odds; and the French, when they carried the bark into Dieppe, said they had never bought prize so dearly; it cost them twenty-seven in slain, and eighty sore hurt: the number of English who fell was twenty-three.* Soon afterwards four French ships chased the Rye fisher-boats to the very shore, and were repulsed when they landed with intent to carry them off. Some English men of war came up as they were departing, and two of the enemy were captured.†
It was surprising, at a time when maritime war was confined to predatory attacks upon the coast, that 1527. points of considerable importance should have been left without due means of defence. When Wolsey, on his return from the Continent, landed at Dover, "he found it in no little disorder,” he said, “and for lack of reparation in marvellous decay, clearly unfurnished of timber, stone, board, and of every other thing requisite; greatly unpurveyed of victual, and the poor soldiers far behind, and unpaid of their wages." Wolsey's unstable politics had now changed: he repre
* Hall, 673.
+ Ib. 674.
State Papers, 123.
sented to Henry that the wars between England and France "had been in a manner the ruin of both realms ;" and that the perpetual peace which by the king's high wisdom and providence was now to ensue, would be to his "eternal honour, glory, and renown, and to the repose, enriching, and tranquillity of his realm and his subjects for ever. The king was easily guided by a minister who had not yet been shaken in his favour, and war was declared against the emperor as the first consequence of a new alliance with France. But this was a most unpopular measure; with the common people, because "the emperor's dominions had holpen them with corn, and relieved them with grain,” whereas they could have little or none from France: with the merchants and clothiers, because all broadcloths, kerseys, and cottons + lay on their hands, insomuch that when the clothiers of Essex, Kent, Wiltshire, Suffolk, and other shires that used clothmaking, brought cloth into Blackwell Hall, in London, to be sold, as they were wont, few merchants or none bought any. When the clothiers lacked sale then they put from them their spinners, carders, tuckers, and such others that lived by cloth working, which caused the people greatly to murmur, especially in Suffolk; and if the duke of Norfolk had not wisely appeased them, no doubt but they had fallen to some riotous act. The king had seized upon all ships in the ports that belonged to any of the emperor's subjects; and this was much talked of by those who frequented the emperor's dominions, and they openly said that this interruption of commercial intercourse would lead to the great loss of the respective princes; "but yet Englishmen were content to obey the king and his council." English property was in like manner seized in the Low Countries; and "if this war was displeasant to many in England, surely it was as much, or more so, to the towns and people of Flanders, Brabant, Holland, and Zeeland, and especially to Antwerp and Bruges, where the marts were kept, and where the resort of Englishmen was; What were these?
* State Papers, 250.