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barons of this land; and then shall he be the richest king Christian.
“ 3. Item. Desireth the said captain and commons, punishment unto the false traitors, the which contrived and imagined the death of the high mightful and excellent prince the Duke of Gloucester; the which is too much to rehearse ; the which Duke was proclaimed as traitor. Upon the which quarrel we purpose all to live and die upon that it is false.
“4. Item. The Duke of Exeter, our holy father the Cardinal, the noble prince Duke of Warwick, and, also, the realm of France, the Duchy of Normandy, Gascony, and Aquitaine, Anjou and Maine, were delivered, and lost by the means of the said traitors.'
Be it observed, that the same parties complain of injury done to Duke Humphrey and to the Cardinal !
It has been suggested to me by Sir Francis Palgrave, and it seems quite clear, that Shakspeare
was banished by Richard the Second. It was probable that he would take part against the descendant of Bolingbroke, but we have heard nothing of him before.
* The other requests related chiefly to legal and local grievances. I do not understand the placing of these noblemen in the same category with Anjou and Maine. Exeter, I suppose, is Thomas Beaufort, who died in 1426, or it may be John Holland, who died in 1446 (see vol. i. p. 283). Warwick was Henry Beauchamp, who died in 1445 (vol. i. p. 407); but I know not that any one of these persons was in any way oppressed.
borrowed his account of Jack Cade's insurrection from that which is given of the rising of Wat Tyler and Jack Shaw, in the reign of Richard II. I give some extracts from Holinshed, which are very similar to the passages quoted fom the play.
“They began to shew proof of those things which they had before conceived in their minds,-beheading all such men of law, justices, and jurors, as they might catch and lay hands upon, without respect of pity, or remorse of conscience, alleging that the land could never enjoy her nature and true liberty, till all those sorts of people were dispatched out of the way. This talk liked well the ears of the common uplandish people, and by the less conveying the more, they purposed to burn and destroy all records, evidences, court-rolls, and other muniments, that the remembrance of ancient matters being removed out of mind, their landlords might not have whereby to challenge any right at their hands.
.. In furious wise they ran to the city, and at the first approach they spoiled the borough of Southwark, brake
up the prisons of the Marshalsea and the King's Bench, set the prisoners at liberty, and admitted them into their company.
What wickedness was it, to compell teachers of children in grammar schools to swear never to instruct any in their art? Again, could they have a more mischievous meaning than to burn and destroy all old and ancient monuments, and to murder
* Hol., ii. 737.
and dispatch out of the way all such as were able to commit to memory either any new or old records ? For it was dangerous among them to be known for one that was learned ; and more dangerous, if any one were found with a penner and inkhorn at his side: for such seldom or never escaped from them with life. * At Blackheath, when the greatest multitude was there got together (as some wrote), John Ball made a sermon, taking this saying or common proverb for his theme, whereupon to entreat,
· When Adam delv'd and Eve span,
Who was then a gentleman?'”+ And Holinshed is fully borne out by Walsingham.
The connexion between the rising of Cade in Kent and the designs of the Duke of York is equally obscure, whether we take the play or the histories. We have just seen that the rebels desired the king to call him to council; but the same favour was shown to Exeterg and Buckingham, both of whom afterwards fought and died for the Red Rose.
The Paston letters include ove from a person serving under Sir John Falstolf, who was taken prisoner by the rebels. He says nothing of York, but mentions a herald of the Duke of Exeter as
* P. 746.
I P. 261-275.
present in the rebel camp. No one of the Chroniclers, * prior to Fabyan, mentions the Duke of York, and Fabyan only says that Cade called himself “ Mortimer, and cousin of the Duke of York.”+ Stow is the first who tells us, that “those who favoured the Duke of York, and wished the crown upon his head, procured a commotion in Kent." I
Fabyan, and Holinshed (who closely follows him) are pretty nearly adhered to in the narrative of Cade's prowess, the defeat of the Staffords and of Matthew Gough, the committal and murder of
And so in the incident of striking the sword upon London stone; but the poet omits to say that the rebels were admitted into London by the civic authorities themselves. About the termination of the rebellion there is some doubt.8 The Chroniclers say that Cade, as well as his people, accepted the king's pardon (sent, not by Buckingham and Clifford, but by two bishops), || and that he afterwards resumed his arms. All agree that he was slain by Iden, in a garden in Sussex, into which he had, as sheriff, pursued him.
York's sudden return from Ireland, with a con
• See W. Wyrc., 469; and Cont. Croyl., 526.
I Stow, 388.
siderable force, just about the period of Cade's insurrection, affords presumptive evidence that York was concerned in the rising, and so Shakpeare means us to understand ; but, in the play, the declarations of the two leaders do not correspond. Of York it is said “He still proclaimeth, as he comes along, His arms are only to remove from thee
The Duke of Somerset, whom he terms a traitor.” And the king promises to send “ Duke Edmund to the Tower,” avowing to that duke his intention of setting him free so soon as York's forces should be dismissed ; but the dramatic Cade says nothing of Somerset (who was now in France), nor, so far as we know, did either the historical Cade, or York himself, at this time.
“He came out of Ireland with great bobaunce and inordinate people, harnessed and arrayed in manner of war, and there beat down the speres and walles in your chamber (this is addressed to the King), having no consideration for your high presence, by the which might be understood his disposition, at which time he was answered by you to his desires and demands, that it seemed to all your true subjects that the spirit of wisdom of God was in you."
This is recited from a Lancastrian record,* in
* The act of attainder of York and others, 1459; Rolls, v. 346; and W. Wyrc., 473.