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INTERCOURSE WITH THE NETHERLANDS.
for they said that their marts were undone if the Englishmen came not there; and if there were no mart, their ships, hoys, and waggons might rest, and all artificers, hosts, and brokers might sleep, and so the people should fall into misery.” *
The age was past in which war brought with it no other evils than those of its direct infliction; when barbarous kings went to battle with as little reflection and as little foresight as they went to the chase, and their subjects followed them with as much alacrity to the one as the other. It was now beginning to be felt what complicated interests were affected by public disputes; and when some of those empty and rash advisers, who are often found in cabinets and councils, represented to Henry that he was strong enough and rich enough to make war upon any prince in Christendom, while no prince could hurt him by war or invasion, others more sagely set before him the extent of the emperor's dominion, who was "lord of all Spain, Naples, Sardinia, and so southward to Epuskaia(?), and north-eastward from Gravelines to Riga and Revel; so that English merchants passing on those coasts were ever in danger.” To this opinion the king, "as a wise, well learned, and far-casting prince," gave ear, and, "leaving the glory of war, he took mercy on his subjects." The lady Margaret, who ruled in the Netherlands, entreated him to persevere in" his godly mind and appetite of peace; and however it might hap to fall between him and Spain, yet to consider his ancient amity, and continue his good and gracious favour towards Flanders and those Low Countries, which, of all folk living, loatheth war and to have any enmity with him and his people." + A renewal of friendly intercourse was soon effected with those countries, both parties seeing their mutual interest so clearly; and how confidently the Flemings relied upon it was shown by an occurrence in the river Thames, such as was never heard of before or since. A French crayer of thirty tons lay at Margate, watching to make
Hall, 747. State Papers, 284.
* Hall, 644-616. Holinshed, 735.
prize of some Fleming that might come down the river. A crayer from Arnemuiden, which was appointed to protect the fishing-boats between Gravelines and Ostend, had come up to Gravesend to take in bread; and, having victualled, made to the seaward. Espying the French vessel, which hove toward them under a sail, the Zeelanders suspected mischief, and made themselves ready. There was little difference in the size of the vessels, the Zeelander being twenty-eight tons, but a considerable disparity in the crew; the French were thirty-eight in number, and the Zeelander only twenty-four. When they came near enough to hail the French, the Frenchman, by way of reply," shot a piece of ordnance, and with that laid the Fleming aboard and there was sore fighting, for the Frenchmen had cross-bows, and the Flemings had hand-guns." The French, however, when they had sufficiently tried the enemy's mettle, fell off, and would fain have been gone. "That seeing," says the chronicler," the Fleming whistled, and after the Frenchman made sail. Now, the wind was so strainable east that the Frenchman could sail no whither but into the Thames, and so he did, and the Fleming followed, and before Gravesend the Fleming boarded the Frenchman, and there they fought again; but away again went the Frenchman, and the Fleming after with all his sails; and so far sailed the Frenchman, that he ran along the Towerwharf as though he would have riven his ship; the Fleming set on, and entered the ship for any thing the Frenchman could do, and cried, I have taken the thief!' Sir Edmund Walsingham, lieutenant of the Tower, was on the wharf, and seeing them fight, called his men, and entered the ships, and took both the captains and their men. The Fleming boldly challenged his prize, for he said that open war was between France and Flanders, and said, further, that the Frenchman was a pirate. The king's counsel took up the matter, and made an end between them."*
* Hall, 748. "This chance was much talked of, that two ships should sail in chase from Margate to the Tower-wharf, because that, before time, such a like thing had never been heard."
MEETING BETWEEN HENRY VIII. AND FRANCIS I. 201
Another royal meeting was appointed, to confirm the new league between the kings of England and France; and though it was less magnificent than that of the Cloth of Gold, there was, on both sides, a proud display and a profuse expenditure: 2400 beds, and stabling for 2000 horses were provided in Calais, besides what the adjacent villages could contain. The two kings met between that place and Boulogne, and went on, hawking as they went, to the latter town, where both made their offering at the shrine of our Lady of Boulogne, to whom Louis XI. had done homage, and of whom, in like homage, his successors professed to hold the Boulonnois, paying upon every succession a heart of fine gold, weighing 2000 .* Sumptuous apartments had been fitted up for the king of England: his retinue was lodged, every man according to his degree, the best but straitly for lack of room; but they were most hospitably entertained: "the poultries, larders, spiceries, and cellars of wine were all open; and likewise hay and litter, and all other things; ask and have, and no man durst take any money, for the French king paid for all. He caused also two gowns to be made of white velvet, pricked with gold and damask; and the capes and vests were of frets of whipped gold of damask, very rich :" these he sent to Henry, requesting him to choose one, and wear it for his sake: SO that day the two kings were both in one suit." When the visit was returned, and the kings were saluted as they entered Calais, "what out of the town and the castle, and what out of Risebank, and the ships in the haven, the Frenchmen said they never heard such a shot. And when they were entered the mill gate, all the soldiers of the town stood on the one side, apparelled in red and blue; and on the other side of the streets stood all the serving-men of England, in coats of French tawny, with their lords' and masters' devices embroidered, and every man a scarlet cap and a white feather, which made a goodly show. There were lodged in Calais that night, besides the town-dwellers, 8000 per* St. Julien, Mélanges Historialles, p. 670.
sons at the least." Whether the guests were as straitly lodged as at Boulogne or not, they must have been quite as closely packed. "If the French king," says Hall, "made good cheer to the king of England and his train, I assure you he and his train were requited."* The concluding scene was near Sandyngfeld; the two kings "alighted on a fair green place, where was a table set, and there the Englishmen served the Frenchmen with wine, hippocras, fruit, and spice abundantly." When Henry and Francis "had communed a little, they mounted on their horses, and at the very entering of the French ground, they took hands, and with princely countenance, loving behaviour, and hearty words, each embraced the other, and so then departed." +
The peace lasted several years, which were rendered more eventful to England by the changes in religion, and the king's capricious cruelty, than any foreign war could have made them. At length Henry began to apprehend that the pope would succeed in forming a strong confederacy for the purpose of reducing this country to the obedience of the church of Rome. In his own person, therefore, he took "very laborious and painful journeys toward the sea-coast;" and caused all those places where a landing could be conveniently effected to be well surveyed and fortified; and ordered the earl of Southampton, then lord
"The king's officers of England had made preparation in every place, so that the Frenchmen were served with such multitude of divers fishes, this Friday and Saturday, that the masters of the French king's household much wondered at the provisions. So likewise on the Sunday they had all manner of flesh, fowl, spice, venison, both of fallow and red deer, and as for wine they lacked none, so that well was the Englishman that might well entertain the Frenchman. The lords of France never fetched their viands, but they were sent to them; and oftentimes their proportion of victual was so abundant, that they refused a great part thereof. The Sunday at night the French king supped with the king of England. The French king was served three courses, and his meat dressed after the French fashion; and the king of England had like courses after the English fashion; the first course of every king was forty dishes, the second sixty, the third seventy, which were costly and pleasant."- Hall, 793.
+ Hall, 790-794. "While the king of England was in the French king's dominion, he had the upper hand, and likewise had the French king in his dominion; and as the French king paid all the Englishmen's charges at Boulogne, so did the king of England at Calais, so that every thing was recompensed; saving that the king of England gave to the French king divers precious jewels and great horses, and to his nobles great plenty of plate, for the which I could never hear that he gave the king of England any other thing but the white gown, as you have heard; but to the lords of the king's council he gave certain plate and chains."
admiral, "to prepare in readiness ships for the sea, to his great cost and charges.” At the same time the old statutes against exporting goods of any kind, and importing wine and woad in any but English bottoms, were confirmed, the preamble complaining that the navy and multitude of ships had been of late marvellously impaired; the people who had their living thereby were minished and impoverished; and the towns, villages, and inhabitations adjoining the coasts utterly fallen in ruin† and decay. These acts had from time to time been relaxed, as the immediate interest of the merchants prevailed over the permanent good of the state. But the necessity of maintaining an efficient naval force was well understood, and nothing was deemed unimportant which affected its efficiency. The inhabitants of Bridport represented that the greater part of the cable ropes and other tackling for the navy, and for most other ships, had been made in their town, and the king and his subjects right well served; but that, of late, evil disposed persons, for their private lucre, had removed from the town into the adjoining country, and things had there by these persons been slightly and deceivably made, to the injury of the buyer, and enhancement of the price, and the ruin of that town, unless speedy remedy were provided. The relief for which the petitioners applied was granted: it was enacted that no hemp grown within four miles of that town should be sold any where but in that market, on pain of forfeiture; nor any cordage or other tackle made of hemp be manufactured within the same distance.§ An act was passed for amending and maintaining the ports of Plymouth, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Falmouth, and Fowey; which, it was said, had been, in
* Hall, 828.
† 32 Hen. 8. c. 14.
The emperor's ambassador represented that this act "for the provo cation of strangers to ship in English bottoms, tended greatly to the detriment of the Low Countries, and was, not without cause, very displeasantly taken there. The act, he said, had such a meaning in it, as it had been all one to have prohibited by express words that no stranger should lade in any other but English bottoms, and to make it in such sort as it is; for the alleviation, he said, of the custom causeth all men to have such regard to their own gain and lucre, that none but fools will ship in any other." State Papers, 668–676.
21 Hen. 8. c. 12.