« PreviousContinue »
handle a woman in childbed of that sort; nor for my part wold not so have done for alle that I am worthe. Finally, my lord, I requyre you to send to her inno wise to come where I am, for the same should not only put me to more troble then I have (wheroff I have no nede), but myght geve me occasion to handle her otherwise than I have done yet. If she furst wrighte to me confessyng her fals slander and thereupon sue to the kynges highnes to make an ende," I uolle never refuse to do that his maiesté shalle commande me to do ; but before assewredly never; and thus hertly fare ye welle. From Bontyngford” this fryday before day. Yo' owne assuredly, “T. Nor FFALK.
Addressed, “To my veray gode lord my lord Pryve Seale.”
Sealed with a wafer, the impression a shield of England, three lions, differenced by a label of three points, encircled with the Garter.
* Misprinted “any deed” by Nott. 2 Misprinted “Bontyngfere” by Nott. * This house had been one of the manors of the abbey of St. Alban's, and was now in the Crown. * See before, p. 262,
put me away; and yowr lordshep knowyth that I hawe submytted my sellfe yn iij letters, wych yowr lordshyppe hawe sene, and yn thys iij yers he nevar sent to me gentyll message, but allweys cruell messages and thretenyngs, and he kepeth that harlott Besse Holand and all the resydue off the harlottes that bownd me, and pymacled me, and sat on my brest tyll they made me spytte blode, and I hawe bene the worse evar syne; and I reken that yff I shold cum home agayn I shold be posynede, for the lowe that he howyth to that harlott Besse Holand, and wold as well bollde them yn that as he dyd the resydue of the harlotts wych bownd me as I have rehersed affore. I wyll newar cum at my lord my husband for no fayre promyssys nor cruell handdelyng; I had rather be kepte yn the tower of London duryng my lyffe, for I am so well usyde to prissonment I care not for yt, for he wyll soffer no gentyllman to cum at me but master Conysbe and master Roylett and very fewe gentyllwomen. I beseche yowr lordsheppe to take no dysplesure with my wryttyng, for yff I my;te for fere off my lord my husband to cum to London to yow, I wolld sue to yow and nott trobble yow with no letters. I besech your lordshepe to remember wat you promysyd me iij 3ere and a halfe a gone, that 3e wolld ''' me to a better lywyng. I am sur yff I had ony frendes to put yowr lordsheppe yn rememberans, I sholld have had yt er now, ye be callyd so true off yowr promyse. I besech yow to hawe pytté uppon me, and remember I am a gentylwoman borne, and hath bene browte up dentelye, and not to lywe so barley as I do with fyfty", a quarter, and the one quarter and halfe the other ys spent before yt comyth yn ; and besydes, that I am vysyted moch with sycknes, and specyaily now a late; and many tymys besyds syns i cam to Redburne. And now age cummyth on a pase with me, and besydes that ther was newar woman that bare so a ungracyus a eldyst some and so ungracyus a dawter and unnatural as (I) hawe done. No more to yowr lordshyppe at thys tyme, but I pray God sende yow a long lyffe and good helth, and as moche honer as I wold wosshe my selfe. Wryttyn at Redburne, the
xxix day of January, “by yours moste bondon to do 3yoto any plasser doreng my loffe, “E. Norffiko
Soon after the receipt of this letter Cromwell's own career arrived at a fatal termination; and how the Duchess of Norfolk subsequently fared we have nothing to shew, but it is pretty clear she was never reconciled to the Duke. The influence which “Bess Holland ’’ retained with him up to the time of his troubles in 1546, proves this: but there still remains one act of justice to be paid to Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk, and that is, that she was not guilty of the conduct attributed to her in “Histo RY.” Mr. Howard says in one place, “History and her own letters shew,” &c., and in another, “We see in the Duke (of Norfolk's) and Lord Surrey's disgrace, the wife, the daughter, and the mistress concurring in promoting their ruin and condemnation.” " And so Dr. Nott,
“The Duchess, therefore, remained silently waiting for an opportunity to revenge her injuries; and, thinking she had found that opportunity in the present unfortunate crisis, she again preferred articles of accusation against her husband, impeaching not only his moral conduct, but his fidelity to the King.” Nott, p. xiv.
And probably like statements will be found in the pages of other historians who have noticed the proceedings against the Howards.
It is fit, however, that even History herself should be occasionally called to account; and it is not unreasonable to arraign all her statements that are not borne out by contemporary documents or contemporary testimony.
In the present case the testimony is not contemporary : for the first who makes this charge against the Duchess is Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury in his “Reign of Henry VIII. ; ” and it is clear that the only documents on which he founded it are the very letters which are still before us, where he himself perused them, in the library of Sir Robert Cotton. This is clear from the two following passages of his statement:
“having surmised a long while since two Articles against him, she again in sundry Letters to the Lord Privy Seal, both averr'd the Articles, and manifestly accus’d some of his minions,” &c. . . . “the lady his Duchess had now for above four years been separated from him.”
Lord Herbert chose to jump at the conclusion that these letters (really
* Memorials, Appx. p. 30. GENT. MAG, Wol. XXIII.
written nine years before) were connected with the period of the Duke of Norfolk's disgrace, and that the “Articles" mentioned were political charges instead of some matters of private difference : but the other documents relating to the Duke of Norfolk's accusation contain no mention of the Duchess's name. It is true his daughter and his mistress were both examined as witnesses against him and Lord Surrey; but his wife probably only heard of these matters afar off. The Duchess's letters are long, all in the same strain, and containing many repetitions; so that the one
, already inserted conveys a good idea
of the whole. Though evidently dictated by herself, they are not in her own hand, except the closing line and signature, the latter clearly NorfflkEy, a most extraordinary variety of her title. Indeed, when she takes the pen in hand herself, it is after the strangest fashion, and which gives a very low idea of the grammatical ducation of a Duchess in the reign oe Henry VII.” The following postscripts to the second letter is a specimen.
—by yours that hes most bonden to you doreng my lyffe,
E. Norf FlkEY.
“My fary god lord, Her I sand you in tokyn hoff tha neweyer a glasse haff setyl (?) set in selffer gyld in tokake (sic) hoff tha newere. I pra you takhet wort; and hy war hable het sowlld be bater. I woll het war wortha Mi pond. I pra god save you has many god save you has many (sic) god neuyers has I wold my sallf long lyffe has mess honhar. I thanke you my lord for
* In the reign of James the First there were still some high-born Duchesses no hetter instructed. See a letter of Katharine Duchess of Buckingham, (daughter of the Earl of Rutland,) in the Gentleman's Magazine for March, 1830, p. 206. * This postscript is omitted by Dr. Nott, his transcriber having probably given it up in despair. An orthographical translation is perhaps here requisite: —by yours that is most bounden to you during my life, E. Norfolk. “My very good lord, Here I send you in token of the new year a glass of . . . set in silver gilt, in token of the new year. I pray you take it [in] worth; an I were able, it should be better. I would it were worth a thousand pounds. I pray God save you as many good new-years an I would myself, to, long life [and] as 2
hal your kynesse and I pra to conten so to (sic) god lord to me has my trost hes in you nesste god. I pra you to spake to my lord my hosbond and tha kyng gras for me, that hyma haff thabater levg be for he ko morward.”
Another letter of the Duchess, “wryten att Redbourne, the xxiij day of August,” and addressed “To my very good frende maister secretary, and of the kynges moost hono'able Counseille,” is preserved in the MS. Cotton. Vesp. F. xIII. p. 79. It is chiefly complimentary, on sending some venison; but a postscript in the Duchess's own handwriting entreats the Secretary's influence with her husband, in her usual strain, to obtain her “a better living.” It was very probably addressed, like the others, to Cromwell, who was Secretary of State previously to being appointed Lord Privy Seal.
One other letter of the Duchess occurs in the former volume of the Cottonian collection.” It is addressed to her brother, Lord Stafford, on a more pleasing subject than the foregoing.
“Good brother of Staffard, I commend me unto you, and wolde be very glad to hier of your helthe, and I preye thatt I may be harty commendyd to my good lady Stafford, and to show hir thatt hir dowtthers Sewssanne and Yane (4) ys yn good helthe and mery, and desyeryng your blessynges. Nevertheles this be, good brother, yf you send me any of your dawthers, I preyou to send me my nece Doraté, for I am well acquaynted w' hir condycion all redy, and so I am nott w" the others; and ssh]e ys yongest to, and, yf she be juyged therfor she is better to breke as consarnyng hir yowth. Thus I pray God to send your helthe, and as moche onnor (honour) as
much honour. I thank you, my lord, for all your kindness; and I pray [you] to continue so good lord to me, as my trust is in you next God. I pray you to speak to my lord my husband and the King's grace for me, that I may have the better living, before he go Northward."—The phrase “take it in worth” is shown to be what the writer meant by a passage in one of the other letters: “I sende you a pore (this word Nott has translated fair instead of poor) presente of partrychys, of (xii) cockes and (one) hennys. I pray yowre lordschyppe take yt in worth. Yf I were abulle hytt schulde have bene betterr.” } Titus B. i. p. 152.
y yold (would) myself. Wretten at Redborne the (blank) [The preceding is not written in the Duchess's hand; but the remainder is. “by youre power (poor) “sister lovyeng “E. NoFFFolk.” “Brorder, I pra you to sand me my ness Dorety, by kass I kno her, kou desess se sal not lake hass long hass I liffe, and se wold be hord by me at het haless skyat he be hone kyne tha faless drab and tone and not ben I had had her to my conffort.” That is, “Brother, I pray you to send me my niece Dorothy because I know her. (Should) you decease, she shall not lack as long as I live, and she would be hard by me, it has . . . . . he be own kin (to) the false drab and . . not been I had had her to my comfort.” The letter is addressed, “To my loveyng brother my lord of Staffard.”
The Duke of Norfolk died in 1554, and was succeeded by his grandson, the elder son of the accomplished Surrey. The Duchess Elizabeth survived him. She died Nov.30, 1558, and was buried in the Howard Chapel, Lambeth. where was formerly the following epitaph written by her brother, Henry Lord Stafford. “Good Duchess of Norfolke, the Lord have mercy upon thee! who died at Lambeth the last of November 1558. “Farewell, good lady and sister dere, In erth we shall never mete here; But yet, I trust, with Godisgrace, In heven we shall deserve a place; Yet thy kindness shall nere depart During my life out of my hart; Thou wert to me both far and mere, A mother, a sister, a frende most dere: And to althy frendes most sure and fast, Whan fortune had sounded the froward blast. And to the powre a very mother, More than was know to any other; Which is thy tresure as this day, And for thy sowle they hartily pray, So I shall do that here remayne, God thy sowle preserve from payne. “By thy moste bounden brother “HENRY LoRD STAfroRd.”
The female effigy placed on the Duke's monument at Framlingham is, for the reasons mentioned in the previous memoir, p. 152, more probably a representation of the subject of our present notice, than of the Lady Anne