« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE BRITISH ADMIRALS,
FROM THE DEPOSITION OF RICHARD II. TO THE
HENRY IV. was involved in so many troubles at home that he could not attend, for some years after his usurpation, to the pending matters of dispute with Prussia. Meantime the subjects of both countries carried on a piratical warfare, in which the English seem to have been the most successful, but also to have shown themselves the most barbarous. But the Hanse towns gradually became involved in the dispute, and the balance was then as much against the English, because the Vitalians were employed in their service, and also because the influence of their powerful and well-organised confederacy was exercised, wherever it extended, to exclude English goods, or to prevent their sale. Too many of the Hanse merchants had covertly engaged * in piracy, since
The English ambassadors affirm, that "the doers and authors of the damages, injuries, and robberies," of which they complained, were “ hired thereunto at the expenses and charges of the common societies" of the Hanse cities (Wismer and Rostok seem more especially intended); "and that the inhabitants of every household in the foresaid cities, each man, according to his ability, wittingly and purposely set forth one, two, or more men for the very same expedition wherein all and singular the foresaid trespasses were committed."-Hakluyt, i. 170.
the encouragement to it was first so rashly held out by Mecklenburg. The better part of them, however, were desirous of trading in peace; and the governments both of England and Prussia, each suffering in the diminution of their customs, assailed by the complaints of their subjects, and having, by reason of their distance from each other, and remote relations, no feelings of mutual hostility, were sincerely desirous of accommodating all A.D. differences. Accordingly, in the fifth year of Henry's 1403. reign, ambassadors from the master-general Conrad von
Jungingen came to England. They arrived in July; and the intercourse between the two countries was then re-opened till the Easter following, after which it was again to be closed, unless, in the mean time, an agreement should have been concluded. Letters were sent by a merchant of Lynn, notifying this to the grand master: the injury which both parties had sustained was charged in these letters upon "pirates roving up and down the sea;" and Henry particularly requested a more free passage for his subjects to parts of Sconia, “for the providing of herrings and of other fish there." 1404. The amicable purport of the king's letter was fully
acknowledged, and answered in a correspondent spirit. But the grand master objected to open his ports before all matters were finally settled. “To this," he said, answer (under correction of your majesty's more deliberate counsel), that it is far more expedient for both parts to have this prohibition continued than released, until such time as satisfaction be performed on both sides unto the parties endamaged, not in words only, but actually and really in deeds, or by some course of law, or friendly composition. For there is no equal or indifferent kind of consort or trade between the impoverished party and him that is enriched, between the party which hath obtained justice and him that hath obtained none, and between the offender and the party offended; because they are not moved with like affections; for the remembrance of injuries easily stirreth up inconsiderate motions of anger. Also such a kind
TRANSACTIONS WITH PRUSSIA.
of temperature or permixtion, as it were, by way of contrariety, breedeth more bitterness than sweetness, more hate than love; whereupon more grievous complaints, as well unto your highness as unto ourselves, might be occasioned. The Lord knoweth that, even now, we are too much wearied and disquieted with the importunate and instant complaints of our subjects; insomuch that we cannot, at this present, by any convenient means, release the said prohibition, before we be sufficiently informed by your majesty's ambassadors of the satisfaction of our endamaged subjects." With regard to the fishery on the coast of Sconia, he said, that, “full sore against his will,” he had been compelled to send a force against the queen of Denmark and her people, but that a truce was now concluded, and that force had returned home. "Far be it from me," he added, "that our subjects, being occupied in wars, should in any sort willingly molest any strangers of other lands or nations soever, not being our professed enemies; for this should be to oppress the innocent instead of the guilty, to condemn the just for the unjust, than which nothing can be more cruel, nor a revenge of greater impiety." Well had it been for humanity if the Teutonic order had always acted with the same equity and moderation towards its neighbours as towards distant England!
Upon the receipt of these letters, the king, from his court of parliament, then held at Coventry, sent as ambassadors to Prussia a knight, a clerk, and a citizen of London, who, it is honestly admitted, went out " very slightly informed." They went, however, with the A.B. sincere intention of consenting to whatever should appear just; and the Prussian ports were presently opened after their arrival. One of the worst cases on the part of the English had occurred about the time that the grand master's letters were written: three Livonian ships had been "robbed and rifled," and above 250 of the persons on board, "of whom some were noble and other honourable personages, and the rest common merchants and