Robert Henry.

The history of Great Britain : from the first invasion of it by the Romans under Julius Cæsar. Written on a new plan (Volume 5) online

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it is no fmall reproach to thofe times, that he died ir^
his monaftery, at an advanced age, without ever having
received any preferment.
Othe? Several other poets, or rather verfifiers, appeared in

poets. this period ; but they are not entitled to a place in ge-
neral hiftory. I am fully convinced, that the ppem^
pubiifhed a few years ago, under tht name of Thomas
Rowlie, confeffbr to William Canning, the famous mer-
chant of Briftol, were neither written by that gentleman,
nor by any other perfon, in this period. It is impoifi-
ble, however, to perufe thefe poems, without lamenting
the untimely fate of the unhappy youth who was their
real author.
MzTtid As martial muflc was much ufed and cultivated in

Btiufic. this period, it is probable that it was improved; but of
the particulars of thefe improvements we have no cer-
tain information. The band which attended Heniy V.
in France, coniifted of ten clarions, and many other

(31) Warton's Hiftory of Englifii Psetry, vol. z. p. 38.
i^i) Id. ibid, p. 51 — 100.


Ch. 5.§2* THE ARTS, 445

inftruments, and played ari hout every morning, and
another every evening, at the king's head-quarters (33).

Church mufic was cultivated with as much care andChttTch
diligence in this as in any preceding period. As the"^"^^-
dergy endeavoured to captivate the eyes of the people
by the magnificence of their churches, the beauty of
their paintings and images, the fplendour of their dreff-
cs, the pomp of their proceifions, &c, j fo they endea-
voured to charm their ears by the Iweetnefs of their mu-
fic; efpecially in cathedral and conventual churche^s^
and in the chapels of kings, prelates, and great barons,
where the fervice was daily fung by numerous bands of
men and boys, to the found of organs. This made it
neceffary for all who aiftfted in performing the public
offices of the churchy to acquire a competent knowledge
of mufic, and caufed thofe who excelled in that art to
be much admired and well rewarded.

Church mufic was not merely pra61ifed as an ait, bivt Studied m
the theory of it was ftudied as a feienee, in this period,* ^'^'^^^^*
It was one of the four fciences which conftituted the
quadriviumof the fchools; and was ftudied with great-
er attention than any of the other three, v/hich were,
arithmetic, geometry, and aftronomy. A confiderable
number of the youth vt^ho \vere educated for the church
made muiic their principal ftudy at the univerfities, in
order to obtain the academical honours of bachelors and
do6lors of mufic ; becaufe thofe who obtained thefe
honours were almoft certain of preferment. Thomas
Saintwix, do6^or of mufic, for example, was appoint-
ed provoft of King's college^ in Cambridge, by its
founder, Henry VI. A. D. 1463 (34).

Harmony was now fuperadd^d to the melody or plain counter-
chant of the ancient church. Counterpoint was invent- point,
ed, though it was very imperfectly underftood. This
new art, as it may be called, furnifhed an ample field
for exercifing the genius and indulhy of mufical ftu-
dents ; and this was the chief fubje61: of their ftudies.
A great number of tra6ls on counterpoint were writtea
in England and other countries in this period, of which

(33) Monftrelet. lib. a. ch. 2,17.

(34) Rjm. Fged. torn, 21.^.510.



ths greateft part are loft. Many pieces of this new mu-
iic were compofed for the church, but veiy few of them
have been preferved (35). The honour of inventing
counterpoint is afcribed to the Englifli by John Tin6^or,
one of the beft visiters on mufic, in this period. ^^ Of
*' which new art ffays he), as I may call it, viz. coun-
*' terpoint, the fountain and origin is faid to have been
'' among the Englifhi, of W'hom Dunftable was the
*' chief or head (36)." In thefe words, the invention
of counterpoint is afcribed to the Englifh, but not to
Dunftable, who is only faid to have been at the head of
the Englilli muficians of his time, of which there is
fufficient evidence ftill remaining (37). John Dunftable,
famous for his fuperior fkill in aftronomy and mufic,
flouriflied in the former part of the fifteenth century,
and died in London A. D. 1458. Tin6lor, who flou-
riflied in the fame century, could not be ignorant that
counterpoint was invented before the birth of Dunftable.
It is not improbable, that what Giraldus Cambreniis had
written concerning the natural harmony pra61ifed by the
people of Wales and the north of England in his time,
gave rife to the report that counterpoint was invented in
England (38).
Studied by Church mufic was not only admired and ftudied by
the laity, the clergy, but it was one of the moft pleafing amufe-
mcnts of the laity, and was cultivated with diligence
and fuccefs by perfons of the higheft rank. Henry V.
was an admirer of church mufic, and amufed himfelf
with playing on the organ (39). His contemporary,
James I. of Scodand, was a capital performer on the or-
gan, and even compofed feveral pieces of facred mufic
for the ufe of the church (40). James III. being no
lefs fond of mufic than of the other fine arts, invited
the moft famous muficians to his court, and loaded them
with favours. Sir William Rogers, a mufician, was one

(35) See Dr. Burney's Hiftory of Mufic, vol. a. c. 4, 5. Sir John
Hawkins:, vol. 3.

(36) Burney, vol. a. p. 450. (37) Id. Ibid. p. 405 — 412.
(38) SccvoJ. 3. (39) Thomas de Elmham, p. la.
(40) Scoticron, I. 16. c. a8. Alcffandio Taffbni, Pcnfieri Diverii,

lib. 10.


5. § z. T H E A R T S. 447

i>f his lix rinhappy favourites who were put to death at
Lauder; A. D. 1482(41). Ferrerius, an Italian, who
wrote the hiftory of this prince, acquaints us, that he
liad converfed with feveral celebrated muficians in Italy,
vv'ho fpoke in high terms of the excellence of Scotch
Kiufic, and the munificence of James III. in whofe
tourt, they told him, they had been educated (42).
Thefe muficians had probably belonged to tliat nume-
rous choir v/hich ki^g James efiablifhed in the chapel
6f his palace in the caftle of Stirling, and had reau'n-
ed into their own country after the death of their royal
patron, and carrried with them the knowledge of the
Scotch mnfic. Not only the kings, princes, and pre-
lates, but all tht great and opulent barons of thofe
times, had magnificent chapels in their caftles, furnifh-
ed with organs, muficians, and fingers ; and thefe no-
bles, with their friends and families, attended tire fer-
, vices of the church performed in their chapels, as agree-
able entertainTnQients as well as axSls of devotion" (43).

The people of Britain have in all ages delighted in Secular "
fecular or focial mulic It is a fufficient proof of this, m^^ic. ^
amongft many others that might be given, that the pro-
feffors of tliat art, the fcalds and minftrels, were the fa-
vourites of the great, and the idols of the people, for
Jnany ages. But long and great profperity had the fame
effedi upon thefe minftrels, that it .hath uniformly had
On every Order of men. It fwelled their numbers be-
yond all due proportion, increafed their avarice, inflam-
ed their pride, and corrupted their m.anners, and at
length loft them that public favour which they had long
enjoyed. But though the minftrels began to decline in
their credit in the prefent period, and were neither fo
highly honoured, nor fo richly rewarded, as they had
formerly been ; yet fuch of them as excelled in their
art were ftili much refpe6led. Not only all our kings,
but almoft all the nobility and men of fortune, had
bands of thefe fecular muficians or minftrels in their
.fervice, who refided in their families, and even attended

(41) See p, 174. ^ (4%) Ferrerii Hift.

j(.43) See the Northumberland Family-book, p. 3x3, 3-214. 367-^377.



them in their journies, for their amufemeiit. Thefe do-
meftic minftrels, befides their board, clothing, and
wages, which they received from their mafters, were per-
miued to perform in rich monafteries, and in the caftles
of other barons, upon occafions of feftivity, for which
they were handfomely rewarded (44). Edward IV.
A. D. 1469, on the complaint of Walter Haliday, and
his other minftrels, that many ignorant diforderly per-
fons alfumed the name of minftrels, and brought the
profeflion into difgrace, '^ gave and granted ? licence
*^ unto Walter Haliday, John Cufi", Robert Marfhall,
" Thomas Grane, Thomas Calthorne, William Cliff,
♦^ William Chriftian, and William Eynefham, his min-
*^ ftrels, and their fucccffors, to be one body and co-
** minality, perpetual, and capable in law (45)." fid-
ward, by the fame charter, gave ample powers to this
mufical corpoiaiion, for corre6ling the diforders, and
regulating the affairs, of the minftrels. But this infti-
tution neither corrected the diforders, nor retrieved the
reputation, of this fraternity.
Much ©i:* Many of the poems, fongs, and ballads, that were
it loft. fung by the minftrels and people of this period, have
undoubtedly perifhed ; but a coniiderable number of
'them have been preferved and publifhed (46). Ther
are of very different degrees of merit, and written on a
great variety of fubje6ls ; fome of them calculated to
entertain the great, and others to divert the vulgar-
But though the words of thefe poems are preferved, the
tunes to which many of them were originally fung are
now unknown ; and the moft diligent inquirers have
been able to difcover only a veiy few fpecimens of the
popular mufic of this period (47).
Secular The fecular mufic of Scotland was greatly improved

mufic of 2t this time, not by the elToits of profefled muficians,

(44) Warton Hid. Poet. vol. i. p. 91. Northumberland Book,

P- 339-

(45) Rym. Fosd. torn. ii. p. 64Z.

(46) See Reliquesof ancient Poetry, Ramfay's Evergreen, and other

{47) Sir John Hawkins, vol. 3. p. a— 17. Dr. Burney, vol. 2.
p.405— 4u.


Ch. 5- § 2. THE ARTS. 449

W by the ingenuity of one of her monarchs, James I. ?^°^_^^^^j
who feems to have been born to excel in every art and 'J^ j^Ves I,
fciellce to which he applied his mind. Walter Bovver^
abbot of Inch-colm, who was intimately acquainted
with that prince^, allures us^ that he excelled all man-
kind, both in vocal and inftrumental mufic :^ and
that he played on eight ditferent inftruments (which he
names), and efpecially on the harp, with fuch exquifite
lldll, that he feemed to be infpired (48). King James was
not only an excellent performer, but alfo a capital compof-
er, both of facred and fecular mufic ; and his fame on that
account was extenfive, and of long duration. Above
a century after his death, he was celebrated in Italy as
the inventor of a new and pleafing kind of melody,
which had been admired and imitated in that country.
This appears from the following teftimony of Aleffandro
Taflbni, a wi'iter who was well informed, and of un-
doubted credit : '^ We may reckon among us mo-
<^ derns, James king of Scotland, who not only
*' compofed many facred pieces of vocal mufic, but ^

<« alfo of himfelf invented a new kind of mufic,
*' plaintive and melancholy, different from all other ;
-«« in which he hath been imitated by Carlo Ge-
^'^ fualdo, prince of Venofa, who, in our age, hath
*' improved mufic with new and admirable inven-
*^ tions (49)-" As the prince of Venofa imitated
king James, the other muficians of Italy imitated
the prince of Venofa. '^ The moft noble Carlo
«^ Gefualdo, the prince of muficians of our age, in-
^' troduced fuch a ftyle of modulation, that other
<^^ muficians yielded the preference to him ; and all
i" fingers and players on ftringed inftruments, laying
<^ afide that of others, every where embraced
" his (50)." All the lovers, therefore, of Italian or
of Scotch mufic, are much indebted to the admirable

(48) Scotkron. lib. i6. c. i8.

(49) Aleffand. Taff. Pcnfieri Divcrfi, lib. lo. Sir John Hawkins,
vol. 4. p. 5, 6.

(50) Sir John Hawkins, vol. 3. p. 2,12.

Vol. V. G g genius


genius of king James I. who, in the gloom and fo-
litude of a prifon, invented a new kind of muiic,
plaintive indeed, and fuited to his fituation, but at
the fame time fo fweet and foothing, that it hath
given pleafure to millions in every fucceeding
age (51).

(51) For a more complete account of Scotch mufic, fee Mr. Tytlcr's
<!ifrertatio« fubjoincd to his edition of the Poetical Remains of James I.
Sdinkurgh, 1785, •






B,0 O K V.


^he Hiftory, of Commerce^ Coin, and Shipping in Great
Britain, from the acceffion of Henry W . A. D. I399>
to the acce/fton of Henry Vll. A D. 1485.

X HE commerce of Great Britain hath at all times importtac^
been an obje6l of great importance, and hath contri-ofcom-
buted fo much to the power and riches, to the comfort "^^^ce,
and happinefs, of its inhabitants, that the ftate and pro-
grefs of it merits our attention in every period, and is not
unworthy of a place in general hiftory. Triumphs, con-
quefts, and vidiories, excite a more lively joy at the time
when they are obtained, and make a greater figure in the
page of hiftory, than the peaceful, lilent adventures of
the merchant : but if they do not, in the iffue, contri-
bute to increafe the Ihips and failors, and to extend the
trade of fuch a country as Britain, they are of little or no

G % % utility.


utility, if tliey are not pernicious. Such were the cele-
brated vi6iories obtained by the Englifh in France, un-
der their heroic king, Heniy V. ; almoft equally ruinous
to the vi61:ors and the vanquiilied.
©bftruai- The trade of Britain met with many obftru6lions in the
©ns of trade, prefent period, wiiich greatly retarded its ^rogrefs and
cxtenfion. The martial fpirit that reigned in both the
Britifli^- nations, with the foreign or domellic wars m
which they were aimoft conilantly engaged, formed the
greateft of thefe obfiru6lions. In fuch turbulent times,^
commerce could not iiourifh, when war was .the only
honourable occupation, the merchant was defpifedy his
perfon and property were unfecure, and expofed to many
dangers both by fea and land. As our kings had few
fhips of their owH> whenever they had occafionfor a fleet,
to fight their enemies or tranfporfe their armies, they
prelTed into their fervice all the fhips as well as all the
failors that could be found ; which put a total ftop to
trade. Thus, to give one example out of many, Henry
V. at his firft invafion of France, A. D- 1415, prelTed
ail the fhips in the ports of England, of twenty tons and
upwards, to tranfport his army, &c. to the continent ( i ).
Even thofe who were engaged in trade had imbibed fo
much of the martial, ferocious fpirit of the times, that
they frequently a6t:ed aspirates ; and when theymetwith
fhips of inferior force, they feized or plundered them,
without diMnguifhing between friends and foes. This
obliged the mariners of othei- nations and their fbve-
reigns to make loud complaints to the court of England ;
and when they could not obtain redrels (which was often
the cafe), they were compelled to make reprifals, which
increafed the dangers of navigation, and interrupted the
intercourfe between countries that wei'e not at war ( 2) . It
was com_mon for the kings of England and other princes,
in this period, to giant letters of marque to a lingle mer-
chant, empowering him to make reprifals on the fubje6l3
of ^ ftate with which they were at peace, till he was in*
dcmnified for the loifes he had fuftained from the fubje^ls
of thatftate(3). Befides this, both the Baltic and the
Britifn leas were infefted with pirates, who feized and

(i) Rym. Feed, forrt. 9.' jr. 218.

(2) See Hakluyi's Voyatje^, .vol. i. p, 154— '•ISO. Rym Feed, torn:
S. p. '^69. 273-— 2.76. Z84, 187.

(3) Id. ibid. p. <?5. 755. 773.


Ch. 6. C O M M E R C E, &c. 4^3

plundered the flilps .of all nations without diftin61ion.«
Neither the merchants nor the Icgiilators of" this period
entertained juft ideas .of trade, or of the moft ctTe6lual
means of promQting it ; and we may reckon the mono-'
polizJRg fpirit of the former, and the imprudent regula-
tions of the latter, among the impediments that obftru^t-
ed its progrefs. The Bvitifli merchants confidered all
foreigners who came amongft them for the fake of trade
as interlopers and enemies ; and, at their inftigation, the
legiilature laid them under refl:ri61ions that were hardly
tolerable. It w^s exia61ed by the parliament of Englandy
— '^ That all foreign merchants fhould lay out all the mo-
^^ ney they received for the goods they imported, in Eng-
*^ lifh merchandi£e tp be exported — That they l"hould not
■^ carry out. any gold or filver in coin, plate, or
'' bullion, under the penalty of forfeiture — That they
*^ fhould fell all the goods they imported in the fpace of
5' three months — That one merchant ftranger fhould not
^^ fell any goods in England to another merchant-ftran^
.«c ggj. — That when a foreign merchant arrived in any port
^^ or town in England, a fufficient hoft Ihould be af -
5' figned hin>, with whom he fhould dwell, and no
^' where elfe (4)." The parliaments, both of England
and Scotland, made many laws againft the exportatioi^
of gold and filyer in any fliape, or on any account ; not
refle61ing, that if the balance of trade was againft them^
that balance muft be paid in thefe precious metals, in
fpite of all the laws that could be rnade againft it, and
that thefe laws could ferve no other purpofe but to per^
plex and diftrefs the merchant.

But the ifland of Britain is fo favourably ljtua|:ed for Retarded its
trade, and the love of gain is fp ftrong and general a paffion P^°sreis.
in the human mind, that all thefe obftru6lions, though they
retarded, did not wholly prevent the progrefs of com-
merce in this period, as will -appear from the fequel.

Henry IV. being ^ wife prince, and knowing the great ^°!^"^*'^*
importance or commerce, pvomoted it as much as the
unfettled ftate of his affairs permitted. After tedious ne-
gotiations, he put an end to the difputes and mutual de-
predations that had long prevailed between the Englifli
merchants and mariners, and thofe of the Hanfe towns

(4) Statutes, 4tb Henry IV. c. ?$. 5th Henry IV, c. ^y &c-

of .


of Germany, and of the fea-port towns of Pruffia and
Livonia, fubje61: to the grand mafter of the Teutonic or-
der of knights, who then poffefTed thefe two laft coun-
tries. Both parties made loud complaints, and gave in
high eftimates of the damages they pretended they had
fuftained ; and it required lortg difcuffipns to afcertain
the juftice of thefe eftimates. At length it was agreed,
A. D. 1409, that Henry fhould pay 15,955 gold no-
bles to the grand mafter, and 416 of the fame to the con-
fuls of the city of Hamburg, as the balance againft: his
fubje6ls (5). Among other claims, the German and
Pruffian merchants demanded damages for fome hun-
dreds of their countrymen, who had been thrown over-
board and drowned by the Englifh. To this claim
Henry made anfwer—" That when w^e fhall be adver-
** tifed of the number, ftate, and condition of the faid
*■' parties drowned, we will caufe fuffrages and prayers,
^^ and divers other holefome remedies, profitable for
" the fouls of the deceafed, and acceptable to God and
^' men, to be ordained and provided ; upon condition,
*^ that, for the fouls of our drowned countrymen, there
** be the like remedy provided by you (6)." Thefe
tranfa6lions exhibit a ftrange mixture of barbarity and
fuperftition, which too much prevailed in the times we
Companies are now defcribing.

of fordgn- Though the diflike of the Englifh to merchant-ftran-
g^rs continued through the whole of this period, and
They were expofed to frequent infults, and fubjecled by
law to various hardfhips; yet feveral companies of them
were fettled in London and other places, under the pro-
te^lion of royal charters. The German merchants of the
fteel-yard formed one of the moft ancient, opulent, and
powerful of thefe companies, being a branch of the great
commercial confederacy of the Hanfe towns in Germany
and Pruffia. This company had been highly favoured
by Henry III. who by his charters conferred upon it
various privileges and exemptions which were confirmed
by his fucceilbrs, both in the laft and prefent period.
Tkefe privileges are not diftin(9:ly known ; but it plainly
appears, that they were exempted fiom contributing to
fubfidies, tenths, and fifteenths, and weve not fubje6te4

(5) Rym. Feed. torn. 8. p. 6oi, 592,

(6) piaklujt, vol. i^ p. 177,



Ch. 6. COMMERCE, &c. 455

to the additional duties impofed, from time to time, on
goods exported and imported; paying only the ancient
cuftoms agreed upon at the time of their eftablifhment,
which were very fmall(7). It is not to be wondered,
therefore, that the Englifh merchants were not very fond
of a company of foreigners fcated in the metropolis, and
enjoying greater advantages in trade than themfelves.
This company had houfes in other towns, particularly
at Lynn and Bofton, and preferred their privileges, with
fome interruptions, almoft a century after the conclufion
of this period (8). Companies of merchants of Venice,
Genoa, Florence, Lucca, and Lombardy, were alfo fet-
tled in England, chiefly in London, prote6ted by royal
charters, and managed the trade of the ftates and cities
to which they belonged (9). In a word, a great part of
the foreign trade of England was ftill in the hands of thefe
companies of merchant-ftrangers.

The merchants of the ftaple, as they were called, were Merchaatt
formed into a corporation, or trading company, about **{" ^^* ^^*°
the beginning of the preceding period. The conftitution ^ ^*
and defign of that once rich and fiourifliing company hath
been already defcribed( 10). It ftill fubfifted, and though
it had met with fome difcouragement, was not inconh-
dcrable. This company paid no lefs for the cuftoms of
the ftaple commodities of wool, woolfels, woollen cloth,
leather, tin, and lead, it exported, A. D. 1458, than
68,000 1: containing as much filver as 136,0001. of our
money; which is a fufficient proof that its dealings were
then exteniive (11): They were ftn6lly bound by their
charter, and by law, to carry all the goods they exported
to the ftaple at Calais; and to land them at any other port
was made felony by a6l of parliament, A. D. 1439 (12).
The corporation or company of the ftaple was originally
compofed of foreigners; but by degrees fome Englifh
merchants were admitted into it, as being fitteft for ma-
naging their affairs in England, to which branch of the
bufmefs the Englifh were confined.

(7) See Anderfon's Hiftory of Commerce, vol, i. p. iii. ir^. lao.
119. 240. 279. z82. ' *

(8) W. ibid. vol. i. p. 291, 418.

(9) Id. ibid. p. 231. 235, 236. 240. 243. 301.

(10) See vol. 4. book 4. ch. 5. (11) AnderfoD, y. I. p» 27^*
(u) Statutes, i8th Htn. VI. e. ig.



Brother- The moft ancient company of Englifli merchants, of

Thomas ^^' ^^'^^^ there is any trace in hiftory, was eftablifhed about
the end of the thirteenth century, and was called — The
Brotherhood of St. Thomas Becket — in honour of that cele-
brated Englilli faint. The defign of that company was
to export the woollen cloth, which about that time began
to be manufa6lured in confiderable quantities iu Eng-
land; and as that manufa6i:ure increafed, the trade of the
brotherhood alfo increafed. Henry IV. A. D. 1406, in-
corporated this fociety by a charter, regulating their go-
vernment and their privileges. By this charter, any mer-
chant of England or Ireland, who delired it, was to be
admitted into the company, on paying a fmall fine. As
this fociety was compofed of the native fubje6fs of the
kings of England, it was favoured both by government
and by the people, made gradual incroachments on the
trade of the merchants of the ftaple, and at length ruined
that company (13).
Tngiifh fac- The Englifh merchants, obferving the advantages that
tories a-, foreigners derived from having partners and correfpond-
^^^^'^' ents of their own countries fettled in England, imitated
their example, and ellablifhed fa6iories in feveral placei»
on the continent. Henry IV. granted a charter, A. D.
1404, to the Englifh merchants reiiding in Germany,
Pruffia, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, empowering
them to hold, general affemblies, to make laws, to chufe

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