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The earliest letter in the collection, with the exception of the very apocryphal one from Eleutherius Bishop of Rome, to King Luccus, A.D. 169, is from Stephen Lord Scrope of Masham to King Henry the Fourth. As no other date occurs in it than the 27th of August, the precise year when it was written can only be presumed; but as he died in January 1406, and speaks of being engaged in the king's service, with his majesty's son, it may be safely assigned to the year 1401, in which Dugdale states, he attended Thomas Plantagenet, afterwards Duke of Clarence, to Ireland. The most curious part of this letter is Scrope's apology for the manner in which it was written; he being obliged, for want of a clerk, to write it himself: but as one of the few specimens which exist of correspondence at the commencement of the fifteenth century, it is well deserving of perusal. "A tres excellent, tres redoute, et mon essovereyn seigneur, le Roy,
“ Tres excellent, tres redoute, et mon essovereyn Seigneur; je me recommand a vostre haute et Reall Majeste a tant come aucun lege homme puis a son Seigneur soveryn; desyrant ad tout mon coer de oyer et savoyr bonez novelles de vos et de vostre haute Majeste, le quell je pry a ly toute puissant que tous jours maintener et encrez com vostre coer mesmes saver a multz soheyder ou deviser ; et vos doynt toujours le victoyr de tous voz enemyz: Et, tres redoute et mon essovereyn Seigneur, je vous supply par dieux, et en overe de charyte, que vos plesse, que je puis estre en vostre memoyr: Et pour tant que je suy en vostre servysse ovesk mon tres redoute Seigneur vostre Fitz, que je ne soy pas en obly. Et parce je ay envoye devant vostre haute presenz Hugh Cordoys, porteur de ceste, pour pursuer devent vostre haute presenz touchant mon bille que je ay baylle a vostre hautesse a mon deseyn de partir de vostre haute presenz, touchant le ylle de Man, en cas que vous plest que ill poursue pour le dit matre: Et altrement je le met en vostre haute et graciouse volunte. Par en bon foy de dieux, mon essovereyn Seigneur, je ne ay null espoyr, ne null eyde de null creature fors que de dieux et de vostre gracyouse et haute Majeste: Et parce par dieux, que vos plesse penser de mon pover estat, le quel je ne puis mayntener ne sustener en null manier sanz vostre gracyouse ayde. Et serteyn et en bon foy vos me troverez touz jours humble et loyale lege, et prest a touz servyces que vos me commandrez ad testous mon poayer en corps et bienz sans null fayntisse; Tres excellent, tres redoute, et mon essuer eyn seigneur, je pry aly Tout-puissant, que tous jours maynten et encrez vost haute et Realle Majeste en ioy, honer, et prosperite, com vost graciouse coeur mesmez saver a multz soheyder. Escrit a Chest, le xxvii jour de Auste, de ma propre rude mayn, en deffaute de un alt clerk. Et par ce ie supply a vost hautesse, que vos plesse me tener pou excuse de cest Lettre.
- Vost humble lege,
"S. SCROPP.”-pp. 65, 66.
A letter from that celebrated woman, the Countess of Richmond, to her son, King Henry the Seventh, is of much interest. The suit to which she alludes was, we learn from a letter in Mr. Ellis's “ Original Letters * ,” from Henry the Seventh to his mother, “ some debts and duties which is oweing and due to her in France, by the French king and others,” her whole right to which, that letter also informs us, she had then yielded to her son the king, though we may infer that the countess went first to Calais, purposely to recover them. Henry's communication is chiefly on that subject, and to which it is only necessary to refer. In the same work + a letter will be found from the countess to the king, dated at Colynton in Northamptonshire, in which she mentions the same affair. Like the following, that letter is signed “ Margaret R.” and which Mr. Ellis observes is “ signed as queen,” but it is nearly certain that the letter R. was meant to be the initial of “ Richmond.” We find, from the only date mentioned in it, that Henry the Seventh was born on St. Anne's day, the 26th of July, a fact, which has been hitherto unknown; and the affectionate manner in which she speaks of its being his majesty's birth-day, as well as the endearing expressions she uses towards him, are peculiarly striking. She was then the wife of her third husband, Thomas Earl of Derby, whom she mentions as “ my lord :” “my lord marquis” was probably the Marquis of Dorset; and “my lord of York” was Henry, the king's second son, afterwards King Henry the Eighth.
“ To the King's Grace. “ My derest and only desyred joy yn thys world, - With my moste herty lovynge blessyngs, and humble comendations: y pray oure Lord to rewarde, and thanсke your grace, for thatt yt hathe plesyd your hyghnes soo kyndly and lovyngly to be content to wryte your lettyrs of thancks to the Frenshe kying, for my greet mater, that soo longe hathe been yn sewte, as Mastyr Welby hath shewed me your bounteous goodness is plesed. I wysh my der hert and my fortune be to recover yt, y trust ye shall well perseyve y shall delle towards you as a kind lovyng modyr; and if y shuld nevyr have yt, yet your kynd delyng ys to me a thousand tymes more then all that good y can recover, and all the Frenshe kyngs mygt be myn wythall. My der hert, and yt may plese your hyghnes to lycense Master Whytstongs, for thys time, to present your honorabyll lettyrs, and begin the process of my cause; for that he so well knoweth the matter, and also brought me the wrytings from the seyd Frenshe kyng, with hys odyr lettyrs to hys parlyement at Paryse, yt shold be gretlye to my helpe, as y thynke; but all wyll y remyte to your plesyr; and if y be too bold in this, or eny my desires, y humbly beseche your grace of pardon, and that your highnes take no dysplesyr.
.“ My good kynge, y have now sent a servant of myn into Kendall, to resseyve syche anewietys as be yet hangynge opon the acounte of Sir Wyllyam Wall, my lords chapeleyn, whom y have clerly dyscharged; and if yt wull plese your mayestys oune herte, at your loyser to send me a lettyr, and command me, that y suffyr none of my tenantes be reteyned with no man, but that they be kepte for my lord of Yorke, your faire swete son, for whom they be most mete, it shall be a good excuse for me to my lord and hosbond; and then y may well and wythowte dysplesyr cause them all to be sworne, the wyche shall not aftyr be long undon: And wher your grace shewed your plesyr for
the bastard of kyng Edwards, Syr, there is neither that, or any other thing, I may do by your commandment, but y shall be glad to fullfyll to my lytyll power, with God's grace: And, my swete king, Feldyng, this berer, hath prayed me to beseche yow to be his good Lord yn a matter he seweth for to the bishop of Ely, now, as we here, electe, for a lytyll offyse nyghe to Lond. Verily, my kynge, he ys a gued and a wyse well rewled gentylman, and full trewly hathe served yow well accompanyed as well at your fyrst as all odyr occasions; and that cawsethe us to be the more bold and gladder also to speke for hym; how be yt my lord marquis hath ben very low to hym yn times past, by cause he wuld not be reteyned with him; and trwly, my good kyng, he helpythe me ryght well yn seche matters as y have besynes wythyn thys partyes: And, my der hert, y now beseche you of pardon of my long and tedyous wryting, and pray almighty God to gyve you as long, good, and prosperous lyfe as evyr had Prynce, and as herty blessings as y can axe of God. At Calais town, thys day of Seint Annes, that y dyd bryng ynto thys world my good and gracyous prynce, kynge, and only beloved son. “ Your humble servant, bede-woman, and modyer,
" MARGARET R.”—pp. 155–157. We are not sure whether the next letter we shall select, from Lady More, wife of the famous Sir Thomas More, to Cromwell, is generally known. If not, it will be very acceptable to most of our readers, for it presents a very affecting picture of the destitution to which that great man was reduced. It was evidently written about 1533, and the purport was to ask whether she might approach the king, because, from the fear then entertained of the plagué, the sudden death of any person rendered the inhabitants of the house in which he died suspected of being infested with that disease. Dr. Howard says it was copied from the original. “ To the ryght honorable, and her especyall gud maister, Maister ,
Secretarye. “ Right honorable, and my especyall gud Maister Secretarye: in my most humble wyse I recommend me unto your gud mastershypp, knowlegyng myself to be most deply boundyn to your gud maistershypp, for your monyfold gudnesse, and lovyng favour, both before this tyme, and yet dayly, now also shewyd towards my poure hus
band and me. I pray almyghtye God continew your gudnes so styll, for thereupon hangith the greatest part of my poure husbands comfort and myne. The cause of my wrytyng, at this tyme, is to certyfye your especiall gud maistershypp of my great and extreme necessyte; which, on and besydes the charge of myn owne house, doe pay weekly 15 shillings for the bord-wages of my poure husband, and his servant; for the mayntaining whereof, I have ben compellyd, of verey necessyte, to sell part of myn apparell, for lack of other substance to make money of. Wherefore my most humble petition and sewte to your maistershipp, at this tyme, is to desyre your maistershypps favorable advyse and counsell, whether I may be so bold to attende uppon the kings most gracyouse highnes. I trust theyr is no dowte in the cause of my impediment; for the yonge man, being a ploughman, had been dyseased with the aggue by the space of 3 years before that he departed. And besides this, it is now fyve weeks syth he departed, and no other person dyseased in the house sith that tyme; wherefore I most humblye beseche your especyal gud maistershipp (as my only trust is, and ells knowe not what to doe, but utterly in this world to be undone) for the love of God to consyder the premisses; and thereupponn, of your most subundant gudnes, to shewe your most favorable helpe to the comfortyng of my poure husband and me, in this our great hevynes, extreme age, and necessyte. And thus we, and all ours, shall dayly, duryng our lyves, pray to God for the prosperous successe of your ryght honorable dygnyte.
“ By your poure contynuall oratryx,
Dame Alis More.”—pp. 271-2. Every thing relating to the family of Anne Boleyn is of unusual interest; but the subjoined letter, which there can be little doubt was from her sister Mary to Secretary Cromwell, will well repay perusal from its own merits. She married, according to most pedigrees, first, William Carey, Esq., and secondly, Sir William Stafford ; and her union with the knight we discover, for the first time, from this letter, excited the displeasure of the king and queen. Unfortunately no date is mentioned; but the queen seems to have been her sister Anne Boleyn, in which case it must have been written between 1533 and 1536. There is a frankness and candour in her confession of regard for her husband that speaks volumes in her favour; and popular as the name of Anne Boleyn is, it may be doubted if the qualities of her sister's mind were not of a far more natural and amiable character. The Duke of Norfolk was her maternal uncle ; and “my lord her brother," Lord Rochford. - To the ryght wourshypefull, and my syngular good frynde, Mastar
Sekretory to the Kyngs Hynes thys be, S. S. “ Master Sekrytory after my pour recommandasshyons which ys smally to be regardyd off me that ame a pour banyshd kreatur, thys shall be to desyre you to be goode to my pour housbande and to me. I am seur yt ys nat oneknone to you the hy dysplessure that bothe
he and I have bothe of the kyngs hynes and the quens gras by the resson of our maryagge wytheout thayr knollyge, wheryn we bothe doe yelde our selfs faulty and doe knollyge that we dyd nat welle to be so hasty nor so bold wytheout thayr knollyge. But wone thyng good Master Sekretory consedor, that he was younge; and love ovarcame ressone, and for my part I saw so myche onesty yn hym that I lovyd hyme as well as he dyd me and was yn bondagge and glade I was to be at lybarty, so that for my part I saw that all the world dyd sete so lytyll by me and he so myche, that I thoute I could take no betar way but to take hyme and to forsake all other ways and lyve a pour oneste lyffe wythe hym; and so I doe pout no douts but we should, if we myht wons be so hapy to recouver the kyngs grasshyous favour and the quens. For well I myht a had a greater mane of byrth and a hyhar, but I ynsuer you I could never a had wone that should a lovyd me so well nor a mor onest man, and bysydes that, he ys bothe come offe an aunssyent stok, and agayn as mete, (yeff yt was hys grassys plesaur,) to doe the kyng servys as any young jentyllmane yne hys court; therefore good Mastar Sekretory thys shall be my sute to you that for the loue that well I kno you doe ber to all my bloude, tho’ for my part I have nat desarvyd yt, but smally bye the ressone of my vylle condasshyons, as to pout my housband to the kyngs gras that he may doe hys duty as all outhar gentyllmene doe: and good Mastar Sekretory sue for us to the kyngs hynes and beshych his hynes whyche ever was wount to take pety, to have pety one ous and that ytwoull ples hys gras of his goodines to speke to the qwens gras for ous; for as far as I cane parsayve har gras ys so hyly dysplessed wyth ous both that withoute the kyng be so good lord to ous as to wythedraw hys reguor and sue for ous we are nevar lyke to recovar har grasys favoor, whych ys to hevy to ber. And seinge ther ys no remydy, for Gods sake help ous: for we have byne now a quarter off a yer maryyd I thanke God and to late now to call that agayn; wherfor yt ys the more almones to helpe. Bout yeffe I war at my lebarty and myhte chous, I ynseure you Mastar Sekretory for my lytyll tyme I haue tryyd so myche onesty to be yne hym that I had rather beg my bred wyth hyme thane to be the gretyst quene krystynd; and I bylyve veryly he ys yne the same cas wythe me, for I bylyve veryly a would nat forsake me to be a kyng, therfor good Mastar Sekretory beyng we are so well togethar and does ynetende to lyve so oneste a lyffe, though yt be but pour, shou part of your goodenes to ous as well as you doe to all the worlde bysyds; for I promys you ye have the name to helpe all them that hathe nede, and amonkst all your suetars I dar be bolde to say that you have no mater more to be pytyd thane ours: and therfor for Gods sake be good to ous for yne you ys all our troust, and I beshych you good Mastar Sekretory pray my lord my fathar and my lady to be good to ous and to lete me have thayr blessyngs and my housband thayr good wyll, and I wool nevar desyr mor off them. Allso I pray you desyr my Lorde of Norfolk and my lorde my brouthar to be good to ous. I dar nat wryte to theme they ar so cruel agaynst ous, but yeff wyth any payne that I could take wythe my lyffe I myht wyne ther good wyls I promys you ther ys no chyld lyvyng would ventar mor than I, and