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Close of Henry's Reign. 'I
309 dences of the people and the heroes of Scottish independence. In spite of í rumour and expectation, they were incredulous of danger. The preparations of the English might have been known, but they were supposed to be intended for France. The strength of their enemies on the sea was a new phenomenon of which they had no experience, and, without experience could have no belief.ob The Channel had been free to their cruisers: they had ravaged the English coasts, and robbed English traders, from Berwick to the
Land's End. An invasion in their own waters was the last perib which seemed to have been anticipated. Soon after daybreak strange ships were reported inside the Bass Rock. As the sun rose the numbers appeared more considerable, the white sails passing in from seaward, and coming up the Forth in a stream, of which the end was still invisible. The good citizens went out upon the Castle Hill and Arthur's Seat, and to crags and places eminent, to gaze on the unintelligible spectacle-- the silent vessels, countless as a flight of sea-birds, appearing from behind the horizon, and covering the blue level of the water. What were they . What did they mean? Mid-day came; they drew nearer in the light air, and keen eyes saw on the leading ships the flutter of St. George's Cross. But still sate the cardinal at his dinner, showing as though there had been no danger appearingi's The English were come, was the cry. The English were come to destroy them. The cardinal skrippit and said, it is but the Iceland fleet; they are come to make us a show, and to put us in fears.' It would soon be known what they were. The first line as they came off Leith rounded up into the wind, dropped their anchors, and lay motionless. One by one, as the rest followed in, they took their
places in the floating forest. While the sun was still in the sky the anxious watchers counted two hundred sail. Wot f5IDTOS ITMI9 DIOSO =[ No message came on shore. There was neither signal nor offer to communicate ; only in the twilight boats were seen stealing out from under the shadow of the hulls, taking soundings, as it seemed, under Grantoun crags, and round the eastern edges of the harbour. fleto bos y# The brief May night closed in. By the dawning of Sunday the whole sea was alive with life. The galleys and lighter transports were moving in towards the land. Soldiers were swarming on the decks of the ships, or passing down over the sides into the barges. It was the English army come indeed in its might and terror. The port was open, and the undefended town could attempt no resistance. The inhabitants fled up into Edinburgh, entering at one gate, as, at another, Arran and the cardinal were dashing out at the best speed of their swiftest horses. Before noon ten thousand men had disembarked in the leisure of overwhelming strength. The owners of the desolate houses had saved nothing. The merchants' stock was in their warehouses, and everything which was found was quietly appropriated. The joints of meat which had been provided for the Sunday dinners were cooked and consumed by the English men-at-arms. In the after- . noon Blackness Castle was broken open, and the State prisoners, Sir George Douglas and Lord Angus among them, were dismissed to liberty
And here is the description of the attack of the French fleet in 1545:
* The king was at Portsmouth, having gone down to review the fleet, when, on the 18th of July, two hundred sail were reported at the back of the Isle of Wight. The entire force, of the enemy, which had been collected, had been safely transported across the ChannelWith boats feeling the way in front with sounding lines, they rounded St. Helen's Point, and took up their position in a line which extended from Brading harbour almost to Ryde. In the light evening breeze fourteen English ships stood across to reconnoitre: D’Annebault came to meet them with the galleys, and there was some distant firing; but there was no intention of an engagement. The English withdrew, and night closed in.
"The morning which followed was breathlessly calm. Lisle's fleet lay all inside in the Spit, the heavy sails hanging motionless on the yards, the smoke from the chimneys of the cottages on shore rising in blue columns straight up into the air. It was a morning beautiful with the beauty of an English summer and an English sea; but, for the work before him, Lord Lisle would have gladly heard the west wind among his shrouds. At this time he had not a galley to oppose to the five-andtwenty which D'Annebault had brought with him; and in such weather the galleys had all the advantages of the modern gun-boats. From the single long gun wbich each of them carried in the bow, they poured shot for an hour into the tall stationary hulls of the line-of-battle ships; and, keeping in constant motion, they were themselves in perfect security. According to the French account of the action, the Great Harry suffered so severely as almost to be sunk at her anchorage; and, had the calm continued, they believed that they could have destroyed the entire fleet. As the morning drew on, however, the offshore breeze sprung up suddenly; the large ships began to glide through the water; a number of frigates—long narrow vessels so swift, the French said, that they could outsail their fastest shallops--came out with incredible swiftness; and the fortune of the day was changed. The enemy were afraid to turn, lest they should be run over; if they attempted to escape into the wind they would be cut off from their own fleet. The main line advanced barely in time to save them; and the English, whose object was to draw the enemy into action under
of their own fortresses, and among the shoals of the Spit, retired to their old ground. The loss on both sides had been insignificant;
but the occasion was rendered memorable by a misfortune. The Mary Rose, a ship of six hundred tons, and one of the finest in the navy, was among the vessels engaged with the galleys. She was commanded by Sir George Carew, and manned with a crew, who were said, all of them, to be fitter, in their own conceit, to order than obey, and to be incompetent for ordinary work. The ports were open for the action, the guns were run out, and in consequence of the calm had been imperfectly secured. The breeze rising suddenly, and the vessel laying over, the windward tier slipped across the deck, and as she yielded further to the weight, the lee-ports were depressed below the
Death of Henry VIII. I
-311 water-line, the ship instantly filled, and carried down with her every soul who was on board. Almost at the same moment, the French treasure-ship La Maitresse, was also reported to be sinking. She had been strained at sea, and the shock of her own cannon completed the mischief." There was but just time to save her crew, and remove the money-chest, when she too was disabled. She was towed to the mouth of Brading Harbour, and left on shore.'
At length, in January, 1547, Henry VIII. was summoned to his-final account. Historians will probably always differ about the charneter of a man who, if judged by what he accomplished, "must be considered grent, if carefully looked at will display a mixed nature of energy, craft, selfishiness, and recklessness, if viewed superficially will appear a monster of crimes. Mr. Froude thus gives us his idea of him, which is formed entirely from a contemplation of his achievements, and seems to us absurdly favourable : 5. "That the Romanists should have regarded him as a tyrant is natural ; and were it true that English subjects owed fealty to the Pope, their feeling was just. Bat, however desirable it may be to leave religious opinion unfettered, it is certain that, if England was legitimately free, she could tolerate no difference of opinion on a question of allegiance, so long as Europe was conspiring to bring her back into slavery. So long as the Romanists refused to admit without mental reservation that, if foreign enemies invaded this country in the Pope's name, their place must be at the side of their own sovereign, 'religion' might palliate the moral guilt of their treason, but it could not exempt them from its punishment.
* But these matters have been discussed in the details of this history, where alone they can be understood.
Beyond, and besides the Reformation, the constitution of these islands now rests in large measure on foundations laid in this reign. Henry brought Ireland within the reach of English civilization. He absorbed Wales and the Palatinate into the general English system. He it was who raised the House of Commons from the narrow duty of voting supplies, and of passing without discussion the measures of the Privy Council, and converted them into the first power in the state under the crown. When he ascended the throne, so little did the Commons care for their privileges that their attendance at the sessions of Parliament was enforced by a law. They woke into life in 1529, and they became the right hand of the king to subdue the resistance of the House of Lords, and to force upon them a course of legislation which from their hearts they detested. Other kings in times of difficulty summoned their 'great councils,' composed of peers, or prelates
* For this extraordinary statement Mr. Froude gives us no authority whatever; and we conceive it is contradicted impliedly by Hall, and most clearly by the event of this and subsequent reigns.
Great merits of the Work. I
lowed out this principles To give life and form, however, to the materials of history is the privilege of genius, and out readers may form somet opinion, from the extraets we have selected, of Mr. Froude's success in this respect, although a perfect judgment upon it can only be attained by a perusal of his entire work. After such a perusał we say at once that no English Historian has so thoroughly exemplified the art of grouping events in their proper relations, of maintaining true historical proportion, and of presenting to the mind a complete and harmonious narrative.: And, as regards the particular subject, no English historian has
, ever grouped and reproduced it in such clear and vigorous vitality. In these volumes we feel that the age of Henry VIII. is before us, not indeed restored to us with perfect accuracy, but still represented to us into dramatic aspect in which its stinting events are placed in their proper order and subordination." How admirable is the delineation of the different feelings which animated the parties of England when the great shock and crisis of the Refor. mation broke up the long rest of the human intellect, and sent it forth on a career full of trouble, difficulty, and glory! How vividly we see again the vast heavings of that moral earthquake in which the elements of a great nation's life were wildly convulsed, and noble and ignoble natures coalesced into yast faetions, sustained upon principles which, on either side, were worthy of a mighty conflict. How clear and perfect is the representation of the attitude of the Powers of Europe to each other in the long and dubious game which was played between them from 1529 to 1540 ; and how stirring and brilliant is the account of England's position throughout șit! How profound, too, and accurate, are some of the reflections which pervade the narrative, and yet which ar olways relevant to it and explain it! Take the following passage upon the causes which petrify religion into formalism, as an example:
Had it been possible for mankind to sustain themselves upon this single principle without disguising its simplicity, their history would have been painted'in far other colours than those which have so long chequered its' surface. This, however,' has not been given to us, and perhaps it never will be given. As the soul is clothed in flesh, and only thus is able to perform its functions on the earth, where it is sent to live ; as the thought must find a word before it can pass from mind to mind; so every great truth seeks some body, some outward form in i which to exhibit its powers: It appears in the world, and men lay hold of it, and represent it to themselves in histories, in forms of words, in sacramental symbols; and these things which, in their proper nature, are but illustrations, stiffen into essential fact, and
, become part of the reality. . So arises in era after era an outward and