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M A Y,
ART. I. Illuftrations of British History, Biography, and Manners,
in the Reigns of Henry VIII. Edward VI. Mary, Elizabeth, and
James I. Exhibited in a Series of Original Papers, selected · from the Manuscripts of the noble Families of Howard, Talbot,
and Cecil, containing, among a Variety of interesting Pieces, a great Part of the Correspondence of Elizabeth, and her Miniiters, with George, the fixth Earl of Shrewsbury, during the fif. teen Years in which Mary Queen of Scots remained in his Cur. tody : with numerous Notes and Observations. By Edmund Lodge, Erg. Pursuivant of Arms, and F. S. A. Ornamented with Portraits, &c. In Three Volumes 410. 31. 38. Boards.
T is a reasonable and just expectation, (how far it is answere
ed in fact we will not at present inquire,) that collections of authentic, original, ancient papers, will be productive of great advantages to succeeding generations. The editor, whose work is now before us, expresses himself in the introduction with so much energy on the subject, that we hall insert the few fol. lowing lines:
• They present to us a series of facts, too numerous, and too miDute, to be inserted in the history of a country : yer on these com. munications the historian must in a great measure depend, as the forest guides to truth, the only safeguards against partiality, and the lights which will direct him to the first principles of his literary dury. Minute historical facts are, to history, asif the nerves and finews, the veins and arteries, are to an animated body: they may not, separately, exhibit much of use, elegance, or just proportion, but taken collectively, they furnish ftrength, spirit, and existence itself: an historian who hath neglected to study them knows but the worst part of his profession, and, like a furgeon who is ignorant of anatomy, finks into a mere manual operator. Unfortunately, however, the modern author of a general history ofually contents himself with compiling from the most reputable of his predecessors. He sees only the more bold and prominent features of the picture VOL. VIII.
he is about to copy, or to caricature, and heightens or depresses
Allowing the pertinence and propriety of these observations,
• Our attention, (he observes,) hath of late been so frequently attracted in vaio by pretences of new lights, and extraordinary disa coveries, as to render all promises of that kind suspicious : as to the peculiar contents, therefore, of the following pages, their own mesits must plead for them ; they are before the public, and will meet with the reception which they deserve. They will derive no additional credit from the editor's boasting, and can suffer no injury from his filence,'
We proceed, therefore, with him, to take notice of the sources whence the papers have been obtained.-The manuscripts distinguished by the title, “ Talbot Papers," were extracted from fifteen volumes preserved in the library of the College of Arms, to which they were given, with many others of singular curiosity, by Henry, the fixth duke of Norfolk, of the Howards; they contain upward of fix thousand original letters, to or from the fourth, fifth, fixth, and seventh Earls of Shrewsbury.- The next are denominated “ Howard Papers,” because they have been buried, for above a century, in the multiplicity of MSS. belonging to the Norfolk family: they appear to be a second divifion of the former collection, confift ing of five hundred letters, many of which relate to the secret history of Q. Mary's imprisonment. The “ Cecil Papers,”
another source from which these volumes are derived, came about forty years ago into the pofleffion of the editor's father. They comprize nearly one thousand original manuscripts, evia dently detached from the treasure of state relics at Hatfield. Indeed, it is said, there can be little doubt of their having been haftily snatched from their proper repository by an illicit hand. Impressed with this opinion, we are informed that the editor Jately presented them to the Marquis of Salisbury, and they are now in his Lordship's possession.-To these united funds, we owe the selection which is here offered to the public.
These ancient materials are arranged, as nearly as their dates could be ascertained, in precise chronological order, and divided into four sections, according to the fucceffion of the monarchs to whose reigns they respectively belong. They are literally transcribed, even to the retention of their abbrevia. tions ; not, (says this writer,) with that whimsical tafte which suffers inscriptions to remain illegible, rather than remove the rust which obscures them; but for the sake of certain valuable intelligence with regard to our language which may be fairly expected from the varied orthography of an whole century.' An explanatory table is given, for the affistance of those who may
difficulties on this account. Notes also are added throughout, to illustrate particular passages, and to afford other information and assistance to the reader. To prevent an unreasonable increase of the marginal observations, Mr. Lodge concludes his introduction with some additions to the many particulars of the house of Talbot, which are to be found in this work. His short narrative commences with George, the fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, whose correspondence opens the present collection. This nobleman is inemorable in the Englith history for his appearance in the field at the age of sevenly years, and by a timely, but dangerous service, having the chief Thare in quelling Afke's rebellion, in the year 1536. On this presling occasion, at a great distance from the court, and surrounded, as is here said, by a barbarous people, who grew every hour more disaffected, (and reason fufficient there was for disaffection to such a government as that of Henry VIII.) he ventured on the bold measure of raising troops by his own personal authority, and had nearly subdued the insurgents in Yorkhire, before the arrival of his pardon, which, from a prince of Henry's character, he was by no means fure of ob. taining. —This event in our history, no doubt, most of our readers recollect : we have now particularly noticed it, as it affords an opportunity of introducing a letter written to the Earl, on this occasion, by Lord Cromwell:
• (No. • (No. 16. v. 1. p. 53.) “ My finguler good Lord,
1536. “ After my moit heriye recommendacyons, this Mall be to advyse the same of the recept of yo? honourable l’res; the fight whereof, we the demonitracyon of yo' nobyll courage & trewthe, hath so co'ffortyd me, that whylys I lyve, &, yf I myght, after my death, I wool & woolde, honor you & yo' posteryte, as the man & most worthy Erll that ever fervyd a Prynce, & such a chefftayn as ys worthye eternall glory. My Lorde, I assure you I wrytt thys we my veray hart ; & I pray God to gyve me sume occasyon to doo yow plesure whyll ye lyve, & to yo' pofteryte, yr I outlyve yow. I woold ye knew as well as I how the Kyng's Highness reputyth your most acceptable and loyel svyce, which ye shall right well playve by the tenor of his gracyous līres to yow dyrectyd at thys tyme. My Lord, all such habylýments & muynyfitions for the warrys which ye wrote for, we money plentye, ys alredye uppon the wey towardes yow, and fall, God willing, be we yow shortlye. And thus or Lorde send yof Lordshypp as long lyf, and aswell to fare, as I woold wysh, and then ye should be in good helth, and but xxxte yeres of age. Wryttyn at Wyndsor, the ixth deye of Octobre, Anno H. VIII. xxv11°, w' the haftye and layserless hand of hym that ys your's in hert,
THOM'S CRUMWELL. To my veray good Lord my Lord of Shrewil bury, Lord Stewarde of the King's Houshold."
Francis, the fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, was almost entirely confined to a military life, of which we have some detail in the letters during the reigns of Hen. VIII. Edw. VI. Mary, and the early years of Q. Elizabeth, who admitted him to her privy council, although he continued a Papist. However mistaken his principles were in this respect, yet since he regarded them as truth, it is to his honour that he steadfastly adhered to them : « Of the whole body of temporal peers, (it is here observed,) who had so lately and unanimously subscribed to Mary's recoge nition of the papal authority, only this nobleman, and one more, (Viscount Montague,) could now be found to oppose the revocation of that conceffion.'-- This Earl, having buried two wives, 'made an overture of marriage to the Lady Pope, widow of the famous founder of Trinity college, Oxford. Some original letters, which passed between these experienced wooers on that occasion, are extant in the unpublished 'Talbot MSS.: but the etiquette of courtship in those days required more time than could be spared by two lovers, whose united years made up somewhat more than a century; and the good old Earl was arrested by death, when perhaps he had not made balf his advance.'
George, the succeeding Earl, is a prominent figure in the English history. He was High Steward at the arraignment of the Duke of Norfolk; and, which was more diftinguishing, the Queen of Scots was committed to his custody in the year 1569, a charge which he retained for a number of years. This great affair is the topic of many or most of the letters in the fecond volume.-Mr. Lodge describes in strong terms, and with no little severity, the unpleasant, or rather the miserable Situation of this nobleman.
• In perpetual danger, from the fufpicions of one princess and the hatred of another; devoted to a service which it is to be hoped his heart did not approve, vexed by the jealousy and rapacity of an unreasonable wife, and by the excesses and quarrels of his sons, from whom he was obliged to withdraw that authoritative atten. tion, the whole of which was required by his charge ; we shall view this nobleman, through the long space of fifteen years, relinquishing that fplendor of public situation, and those blandishments of domestic life, which his exalted rank and valt wealth might have commanded, to become an instrument to the worst of tyrants, for the execution of the worst of tyrannies. Be it remembered, however, in apology for him, that he lived in a time when obedience to the will of the monarch was considered as the crown of public virtue, - when man, always she creature of prejudice, instead of difturbing the repose of society wi.h his theory of natural liberty, erred with equal absurdity, but less danger, in the practice of unconditional submilion.'
The last fentence of the above paragraph is well expressed ; it is pointed, and surely it is, at least, objectionable. What can be more dangerous, or indeed destructive, to the safety, comfort, improvement, and virtue, of mankind, than unconditional submiffion? In such a state, they are no longer reasonable creatures !-Or can it poslibly be wrong, by wise and gentle measures, to guard then against oppression, or excite them to be watchful over their liberties, that they may render their lives as easy and comfortable as they can? Virtuous governors will certainly be desirous of contributing to such a purpose: they will regard it as the only real purpote for which they are admitted to any degree of fuperiority.
We cannot refrain from inserting the account here given of Elizabeth, second wife of this Earl of Shrewsbury :
• Unsated with the wealth and the caresses of three husbands, she finished her conquests by marrying the Earl of Shrewsbury, the richest and most powerful peer of his time. “ Him she brought (lays a right reverend author, who thought is became him to speak kindly of her because he had preached her great grandson's funeral sermon) to terms of the greatest honour and advantage to herself and her children; for he not only yielded to a considerable join• Daughter of John Hardwick, of Hardwick, Derbythire.