Henry J. (Henry John) Van-Lennep.

The American lady's preceptor : a compilation of observations, essays and poetical effusions designed to direct the female mind in a course of pleasing and instructive reading online

. (page 8 of 18)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry John) Van-LennepThe American lady's preceptor : a compilation of observations, essays and poetical effusions designed to direct the female mind in a course of pleasing and instructive reading → online text (page 8 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

vour of the unfortunate ; and if, incited by her re-
lations, she had not assisted in urging Edward
to a deed of cruelty, which proved fatal to her
own family. Clarence, who had been restored
to favour by a defection from the earl of War-
wick, and had a principal share in the total defeat
of the Lancastrians, and the restoration of Edward,
had never been sufficiently rev/arded for these
important services. His conduct in espousing
the daughter of the earl of Warwick, the great
enemy of the house of York, in suffering him-
self to be declared prince of Wales and successor
to Henr}'- the sixth, left lasting impressions on
Edward's mind, not to be effaced by his subse-
quent treachery to Warwick and Henry. The
displeasure and jealousy of the king were fo-
mented by the queen and her relations ; and it
was principally at their suggestion, that the w*eak
and imprudent Clarence, was tried for high trea-
son, and executed ; that his son, the earl of War-
Vvdck was attainted, his fortune confiscated, and
several of Clarences estates granted to the earl of
Rivers, the queen's brother, under the hypocri-
tical pretence, that it w^ould be an advantage to
his soul after death, that his estates would be
possessed by a man whom he had so much injur-
ed during his life.

Although Richard duke of Gloucester, shared
in the imputation of co-operating in the ruin of


Clarence, yet that artful prince contrived to
throw the principal blame on the queen and her
relations, and thus increased their unpopularity-
Violent disputes took place between them and the
great officers of the court; and though Edward on
his death-bed, apparently effected a reconcilia-
tion, as the only means of securing the quiet suc-
cession to his son, yet this reconciliation was on^
ly feigned, and on the king's decease both parties
strove to secure the person of the young mo-
narch, and with it the administration of aifairs.

The party of Elizabeth had taken every precau-
tion for this purpose. Her brother, earl Rivers,
was appointed his governor ; Richard lord Grey,
her son by her first husband, had a distinguished^
place in his household ; her eldest son, lately
created the marquis of Dorset, was made govern-
or of the tower, and by that means was in posses-
sion of the arms and treasure ; and the queen in-
stantly sent orders to escort the young king to
London with a train of two thousand horse. But
these very precautions hastened, if they did not
occasion the ruin of her family, and the dethrone-
ment of her son.

The party in opposition to the queen was chief-
ly headed by lord Hastings and the duke of Buck-
ingham, who dreaded the power vested in the
hands of her family ,* and Richard, duke of Glou-
cester, who, as first prince of the blood, was by
the laws of the kingdom entitled to the regency,
conceived suspicions, that the queen intended to
exclude him from the administration, and to go-
vern in concert with her own family.

While Elizabeth was endeavouring in London
to encrease her party, she received the alarming
intelligence, that her brother earl Rivers, her son
lord Richard Grey, and th^ other officers of the


household, were seized at Stoney Stratford, where
the king was arrived in his way to London; that
all his attendants were dismissed, and a procla-
mation published expelling them from court : that
the person of young Edward was likewise secur-
ed : and that the duke of Gloucester, just return-
ing from a successful expedition against the Scots,
after having proclaimed his nephew, king Edward
the Fifth, and making the strongest professions of
loyalty and respect, was accompanying his royal
charge to London. On the first news of these
alarming transactions, Elizabeth took sanctuary
hi Westminster, with her second son the duke of
York, and her five daughters. She trusted that
the ecclesiastical privileges which had formerly
afforded her protection agaisnt the Lancastrian
party, would not be violated by her brother-in-
law, while her son was seated on the throne ; and
she resolved there to await the return of better

Meanwhile Richard accompanied the king to
London, riding bare-headed before him, and re-
peatedly called to the people, " Behold your
king," conducted him in triumph to the tower of
London. He was declared protector by the
council of state, and issued orders for the corona- '
tion of the young king. His immediate acces-
sion to power was stained with the execution of
earl Rivers, lord Richard Gray, and lord Hast-
ings ; because those noblemen were likely to op-
pose his designs on the crown. Before the queen
was made acquainted with these scenes of hor-
ror, Richard, anxious to secure the person of the
duke of York, deputed the two archbishops of
Canterbury and York, and several lords of the
council, to represent to the queen her ill-ground-
9d apprehensions, and the necessity of the young


prince's appearance at the ensuing coronation of
his brother.

The deputies found the unhappy queen sur-
rounded by her weeping children, sitting on the
floor bathed in tears, and bewailing the approach-
ing destruction of herself and family. The two
prelates were known to be persons of integrity
and honour, and being themselves persuaded of
the sincerity of the duke's intentions, they em-
ployed every argument accompanied with zeal-
ous entreaties, exhortations and assurances, to
bring Elizabeth over to the same opinion. She
persevered in her resolution for a great length of
time, and urged that the duke, by continuing,
within those sacred walls, was not only secure
himself, but also gave security to the king, whose
life no one would dare attempt while his succes-
sor and avenger remained in safety. But, finding
that no one supported her in her sentiments, and
that force, in case of refusal, v/as threatened by
the council, she at last complied. On presenting
her son, she said to him, " Farewell, my sweet
son, the Almighty be thy protector ! let me kiss
thee once more before we part, for God knows
when we shall kiss again !" Having embraced
him, she bedewed his cheeks v/ith tears, blessed
him, and then went away, leaving the child with
the lords, weeping also for her departure.

The protector had no sooner secured the per-
son of the duke of York, than he manifested his
design of seizing the crown. The queen and her
family were so obnoxious to the nobility, and so
odious to the nation in general, that he found
little difficulty in effecting his purpose, by a most
improbable and dishonourable falsity. His emis»
saries asserted, that Edward the Fourth, before
his marriage with the lady Gray, had secretly


espoused lady Elizabeth Talbot, widow of lord
Butler, and daughter of the earl of Shrewsbury.
This idle tale was believed ; his marriage with
Elizabeth was declared illegal, and Richard as-
sumed the crown. The deposed monarch and his
brother were confined in the tower, and murder-
ed by the orders of the usurper. The estates of
the queen-mother were confiscated, and that un-
fortunate princess, reduced to poverty and over-
whelmed with disgrace, had no other alternative
than to leave the sanctuary, and put herself and
her five daughters into the hands of the usurper
of her son's throne. Richard took a solemn oath
in the house of peers, that they should be in no
danger of their lives, that he would allow her
seven hundred marks a year, give to each of her
daughters a portion of two hundred marks, and
marry them to gentlemen.

Thus reduced to the state of a private gentle-
woman, Elizabeth looked forward with hopes to
the preparations of the earl of Richmond, and
promised to bestow her eldest daughter Elizabeth
on him who was considered as chief of the Lan-
caster party. But while she was secretly abet-
ting this plot against the usurper, Richard, wxU
aware that the whole success of Richmond's plan
depended on his marriage with the princess, and
being a widower by the death of his wife AnnCy.
formed the design of defeating the scheme of his
enemies, by espousing his niece Elizabeth ; and
as kings court the fair with great advantage, and
the lustre of a crown is apt to dazzle the bright-
est eyes ; both the young princess and the queen
her mother consented to this unnatural alliance
with a man, who had done them the most cruel
injuries, but now enticed them by the most tempt-
ing promises. The queen communicated the de-


sign to her son the marquis of Dorset, who was
at Paris with the earl of Richmond, and intreat-
ed him to return to England to receive the ho-
nours that had been promised him by Richard. — -
This conduct cannot be justified, unless we sup-
pose, what is not improbable, that Elizabeth, in
whose cabinet was first laid the plan of the great
confederacy, which overthrew the throne of Rich-
ard, deceived the king by false promises, and was
continuing her negociations with the earl of Rich-
mond, and urging him to hasten his invasion at
the moment that she affected to accept the alli-
ance of Richard. Richmond, alarmed v\^ith the
news of this intended marriage, hastened his pre-
parations ; landed in England, and being joined
by numerous bodies, who flocked to his standard
from all parts, he defeated and killed Richard at
the battle of Bosworth-field, and seated himself
on the throne, under the name of Henry the Se-

Elizabeth seemed now to have attained the
height of human felicity. She saw the man who
had injured her own honour, usurped her son's
throne, and murdered her family, dethroned by
the earl of Richmond, who had promised to mar-
ry her daughter, and by uniting the tw^o roses,
she gave peace and tranquillity to her distracted
country, so long torn to pieces by civil discord.

But the chagrin of Elizabeth was only to be
terminated with her life. Instead of expressing
gratitude to Elizabeth for having first laid the
plan of the greatest confederacy, to which he ow-
ed his elevation ; the gloomy and malignant Hen-
ry never forgave her consent to the alliance with
Richard, and treated her with coolness and re-
serve. Unwilling to appear as if he owed his
crown to his marriage with the heiress of the


house of York, he delayed two years the cele-
bration of that ceremony. The general joy which
his subjects testified at the marriage filled him
with displeasure. His suspicions disturbed his
tranquility, bred disgust towards his queen, poi-
soned all his domestic enjoyments ; and the ma-
lignant ideas of partv prevailed in his sullen
mind ov^er all the sentiments of gratitude to the
queen-dowager, and affection towards his virtu-
ous and obsequious consort.

The queen-dowager seeing her daughter treat-
ed with severity, herself excluded from the small-
est share of authority, her friends in disgrace,
and her party persecuted, conceived against Hen-
ry the most violent resentment. As she was pre-
paring again to discover that character of ambi-
tion and intrigue which she had betra; ed during
the reign of her husband, and the usurpation of
Richard, she was suddenly arrested and impri-
soned in the abbey of Bermondsey. In excuse
for so arbitrary an act, it was alledged that not-
withstanding a secret agreement to marry her
daughter to Henry, she had yielded to the solici-
tations and menaces of Richard, and delivered
that princess and her sisters into the hands of the
tyrant. This crime, if such it could be called,
now become obsolete, was supposed not to be the
real cause of the severity with which she was
treated ; and it was credited, or at least Henry
himself believed, that she secretely countenanced
the report that the duke of York had escaped
from the tower, and that she abetted the impos-
ture of Lambert Simmel, who personated the earl
of Warwick, and was publicly proclaimed king
at Dublin, under the name of Edward the Sixth.
These suspicions were afterwards the more con-
firmed, when it was found that the unfortimata.


queen-dowager, though she survived this disgrace
several years, was never treated with more lenity :
her large estates were confiscated, and she end-
ed her life, which had been chequered with such
various fortunes, as lord Bacon in his life of Hen-
ry the Seventh says, " in prison, poverty, and so-

The merit of Elizabeth consisted in her pru-
dent and virtuous conduct towards Edward be-
fore she became his wife ; in her compliance with
his temper after marriage, and patience under his
numerous infidelities'; in her humanity towards
the dethroned queen Margaret ; and in the emi-
nent protection she afforded to literature by found-
ing Queen's College, in the university of Cam-
bridge. Her principal defects were a restless
ambition, and too great a partiality to her rela-
tions, which was the cause of all her m.'.sfor tunes.



IF any woman could ever derive elevation of
mind from high birth and dignity of connections,
that woman was Catharine of Arragon i-— Her
fdther Ferdinand was king of Arrogan, Naples,
and Sicily ; her mother Isabella was queen of
Castile ; and her nephew, so well known under
the name of Charles the Fifth, was emperor of

Catharine was born 1485, and before she had
attained the age of sixteen, married Arthur prince
of Wales, who was scarcely fifteen, and in less
■han half a year became a widow.


In 1502, by means of a dispensation from the
Pope, she was betrothed to Henry, the brother of
Arthuf, then only twelve years of age. This
match was so contrary to the inclination of the
young prince, that he did not agree to it, till he
was compelled by the positive commands of his
father, Henry the Seventh, whose avarice ren-
dered him averse to return so considerable a
dowry as Catharine had brought into the king-

But as the nation in general was prejudiced
against the marriage of sirch near connections,
the king, though he had been so eager to have the-
espousals solemnized, gave evident proofs of his
intention to annul them. He ordered the young-
prince, as soon as he came of age, to enter a pro-
testation marriage ; and on his death-bed he
charged him, as his last injunction, not to finish
so unlawful ah alliance.

At the accession of Henry the Eighth, a coun-
cil was summoned to deliberate on this momen-
tous affair. On the one hand her former mar-
riage with the king's brother, and the inequality
of their years^ were strong objections. On the
other, the propriety of the match was supported
by Catharine's known virtue, mild temper, and
affection to the king, by the necessity of return-
ing her large dowry, by the expediency of fulfill-
ing the engagements of the late king, and the
dread of offending two such powerful sovereigns
as Ferdinand and Isabella ; whose alliance, in case
of a rupture with France, was of such great im-
portance. Henry followed the advice of his
council, and solemnized the marriage. Her per-
son being handsome, and her manner agreeable,
Henry behaved to her with affection ; and as she
possessed sound judgment, he treated her with


such confidence, that daring an expedition into
France he appointed her regent.

The king had thus for eighteen years lived up-
on terms of affection with his virtuous queen,
without feeling the smallest scruples on the vali-
dity of the marriage, or giving any outward
mark of unkindness, when suddenly his consci-
ence smote him with remorse. Many other rea-
sons, however, besides religious scruples, made
him weary of this match, and induced him to
form another connection. The queen being six
years older than the king, the decay of her beau-
ty, together with her ill health, had contributed,
notwithstanding her blameless character, to ren-
der her person unacceptable. Though she had
borne him several children, they all died in early
infancy, except the princess Mary; and it was
apprehended that should doubts of Mary's legi-
timacy be combined with the weakness of her
sex, the country might again be thrown into con-

The evils of civil convulsions, as yet recent,
arising from a disputed succession, made a deep
impression upon the minds of the people, and ren-
dered them universally desirous of any event,
which might obviate so dreadful a calamity.

But his affection for Anne Boleyn was a still
more forcible reason, and concurring with private
disgust and motives of public interest, impelled
him to seek the dissolution of his inauspicious,
and, as it was esteemed by many, unlawful mar-
riage v/ith Catharine.

Henry therefore applied to the see of Rome
for a divorce : Clement the Seventh seemed in-
clined to favour the king'i suit, and appointed a
commission, consisting of Cardinal Campegio on
the side of the pope, and cardinal Wolsey on the
side of Henry, for the trial of the marriage.



Catharine herself was naturally of a firm an4
resolute temper, and was engaged by every mo-
tive to persevere in protesting against the mea-
sure. The reluctance of yielding to her rival, who
had supplanted her in the king^s affection, excited
the most poignant affliction ,* the imputation of
incest, which was thrown upon her marriage with
Henry, struck her with the highest indignation ;
and the dread of her daughter being declared il-
legitimate awakened the feelings of a mother. — •
Actuated by these considerations, she prevailed
on Charles the Fifth to intercede with the Pope
in her favour, and to insist that the cause should
be referred to Rome, where alone she thought she
could expect justice.

Meanwhile the too legates opened their court
at London, and cited the king and queen to ap-
pear. They both presented, themselves, and the
king answered to his name when called : but Ca-
tharine instead of answering to her's, rose from
her seat and throwing herself at Henry's feet, made
a very pathetic harangue, which her virtue, dig-
nity, and misfortunes rendered uncommonly af-
fecting. She told him, " that she was a stranger
in his dominions, without protection, without
counsel, without assistance ; exposed to all the in-
justice which her enemies were pleased to im-
pose upon her; that she had quitted her native
country without other resources than her connec-
tions with him and his family ; and expected,
that instead of suffering any violence or indignity,
she should find an assylum ; that she had been
his wife during twenty years, and now appealed
to himself, in the face of the public, whether her
affectionate submission to his will had not merited
other treatment than to be thus thrown from him
with so much indignity. Their parents," she


added, " the kings of England and Spain, were
esteemed the wisest princes of their time, and
had undoLibtedlv acted by the best advice when
they concluded the treaty of marriage, which was
now represented as so criminal; that she acqui-
esced in their judgment, and would not submit
her cause to bp tried by a court, whose depend-
ance on her enemies was too notorious, ever to
allow her any hopes of obtaining from them an
equitable and impartial decision." Having ut-
tered these words, she rose, and making the king
a low reverence, departed from the court; and
never would again appear. After her departure
Henry did her the justice to acknowledge, that
she had ever been a dutiful and affectionate wife,
and that the whole tenor of her behaviour had
been conformable to the strictest rules of probity
and honour. He only insisted on his own scru-
ples with regard to the lawfulness of the maiTi-


The legates, after citing the queen anew to ap-
pear, declared her contumacious, notwithstanding
her appeal to Rome, and then proceeded to the
examination of the cause.

The business went on so rapidly that the king
was every day in expectation of a sentence in his
favour; when to his great surprize Campegio,
without the least warning, and upon frivolous
pretences, prorogued the court for five months.

The impetuous Henry, who could bear no con-
tradiction to his will, was extremely enraged at
this disappointment, was ready to encourage eve-
ry argument which might seem to prove the ne-
cessity of a divorce ; and as at this time the doc-
trines of Luther had begun to gain strength, and
the idea of the Pope's infaillibility to lose ground,
many opinions were given, which tended to call in^


question the power of the See of Rome to give a
dispensation for a marriage so contrary to the laws
both of God and man. Amongst the rest Dr.
Thomas Cranmer, an eminent divine of Cam-
bridge, happening to be in company with Gardi-
ner, secretary of state, when the business of the
divorce became the subject of conversation ; he
observed, that the readiest way either to quiet
Henry's conscience or extort the Pope's consent,
would be to consult all the universities of Europe,
with regard to this controverted point : if they
agreed to approve the king's marriage with Cath-
arine, his remorses would naturally cease ; il they
condemned it, the Pope vvould find it a difficult
matter to resist the solicitations of so great a mo-
narch, seconded by the opinion of all the learned
men in Christendom. When the king v/as in-
formed of tlie proposal, he swore, with more ala-
crity than delicacy, that Cranmer had got the rignt
sow by the ear.

His agents were immediately employed to col-
lect the judgments of all the universities in Eu-
rope ; who gave a verdict in the king's favour. —
Henry, in order to give v/eight to all these autho-
rities, engaged his nobility to recom.mend his
cause to the Pope ; and to threaten him with the
most dangerous consequences in case of a denial
of justice. But Clement, who was entirely un-
der the influence of the emperor, refused to grant
a divorce, and continued to summion the king, by
proxy, before his tribunal at Rome. Henry re-
jected such a condition, and would not even ad-
mit of any citation, which he regarded as a high
insult, and a violation of his prerogative. The
father of Anne Boleyn, created earl of Wiltshire,
carried to the Pope the king's reasons for not ap-
pearing by proxy ; and as the first instance of



disrespect from England refused to kiss his holi-
ness's slipper. ,

Henry being now fully determined to stand all
consequences, espoused the object of his affec-
tion, and obtained both from parliament and from
an ecclesiastical court, which he summoned m
contempt of the Pope's authority, a confirmation
of his divorce from Catharine, and a ratification
of his marriage with Anne Boleyn.

But the humiliation of Catharine did not end
Avith her divorce. Henry, in order to efface as
much as possible all mar^ of his first marriage,
sent to inform her, that she was henceforth to be
treated only as princess of Wales, and all means
were employed to make her acquiesce in that de-
termination. But she persevered in maintaining
the validity of her marriage ; and she would ad-
mit of no service from any person who did not
approach her with the accustomed ceremonial.

Henry, with his usual harshness, employed me-
naces against her servants, who complied with her
commands in tliis particular ; but even though
he attainted several of high treason who treated
her as queen, yet these rigorous measures never
compelled Catharine to relinquish her title and
pretensions ; and she persisted till her death in
calling herself his wife.

She died in 1536, at Kimbolton, in the county
of Huntingdon, in the fiftieth year of her age }
and on her death-bed she dictated this affection-
ate letter :

"j% most dear Lord^ King and Husband^

"THE hour of my death approaching, I

cannot choose, out of love' I bear you, but advise

you of your soul's h.ahh, which you ought t9

prefer before all considerations of the world's

L 2


flesh whatsoever. For which you have cast
me into many calamities, and yourself into many
troubles : but I forgive you all, and pray God to
do so likewise. For the rest, I commend unto
you Mary our daughter, beseeching you to be a
good father to her, as I have heretofore desired*
I must entreat you also to respect my maids, and
give them in marriage, which is not much, they
being but three ; and to all my other servants a
year's pay, besides their due, lest otherwise they
should be unprovided for. Lastly, I make a vow

1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry John) Van-LennepThe American lady's preceptor : a compilation of observations, essays and poetical effusions designed to direct the female mind in a course of pleasing and instructive reading → online text (page 8 of 18)