Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 3, 1519-1523. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1867.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
Preface, Section 7
Wolsey's policy was on the eve of being crowned with success. A strict and unintermittent watch at sea by the English fleet effectually prevented Albany's passage. Month after month slipped away, and nothing was heard of him. To increase the confusion, Dacre, unknown to Surrey, was negociating with the Chancellor of Scotland, in hopes of withdrawing him from his allegiance to the Duke, and inducing him, in conjunction with Margaret, to take the reins into his own hands, supported by the power of England. Margaret, more susceptible to flattery, listened readily to a plot which seemed to promise her that influence for which she had craved and schemed so long, and so ineffectually. What effects the insinuations of Dacre had produced upon her may be seen in her letters. She determined to act independently, and form a party for herself. To arrange a peace with England without waiting for Albany's consent, to strengthen the English interests in Scotland by keeping Albany in France, and expelling his adherents,—these were the methods by which she proposed to accomplish her purpose. If peace could be secured by her mediation, and Scotland be relieved of the hostility of England, she might reasonably expect that the Scotch, out of gratitude, would acknowledge her authority; and even if Albany, supported by foreign troops, should manage to return, he would not venture to violate a peace procured through her means, and sanctioned by the wishes and interests of the people. If she failed in this object she proposed to take her son out of the custody of the noblemen to whom he was entrusted, and escape with him over the Borders.
The protracted absence of Albany seemed to favor her designs. He was unable to keep his promise of landing in Scotland at the day appointed. One fleet in the North, another in the West, a third in the Channel, under Fitzwilliam, barred the passage. Any attempt to cross was hopeless. The Scotch lords, tired of waiting, had resolved that if he did not arrive on the last day of August, "as," says Wolsey, "I trust he shall not," they would fall from France, and make an alliance with England. But Margaret had undertaken a task beyond her powers. The Scotch lords refused to follow her bidding; their national spirit revolted from the rule of an English sovereign. Much as they might dislike the French, they were not yet prepared to sacrifice their hereditary allies to their hereditary enemies. They declined to serve under Margaret's banner; (fn. 1) and even the Chancellor seems to have withdrawn his support from her. August slipped away, and Albany came not. Yet irresolute, wavering between their hatred of England and their unwillingness to entrust the sovereignty of their nation to youthful and inexperienced hands, the Lords met on St. Giles's Eve (August 31st), in the Tolbooth, as the abbot of Kelso informed Dacre, (fn. 2) "about taking forth "the young King, and making peace with England." If the same authority is to be trusted, James, then a boy of eleven years, had written with his own hand to the Queen and the Lords, desiring to be set at liberty, and urging an arrangement with England. His request was seconded by Margaret in person, and in all probability would have been granted, had not the French ambassadors assured the assembly that the Governor would be there in six days. "That," the Queen replied, insinuating asuspicion of their statement, "was the tidings of the Canongate." But often as they had been disappointed, and improbable as the assurance seemed, the Lords determined to wait. They refused to accede to Margaret's wishes, resolving unanimously that if Albany failed to arrive within fourteen days after Michaelmas, the Prince should be left to his own disposal.
From this date Margaret's influence declined; her case, as Surrey admitted to Wolsey, was hopeless. (fn. 3) Even the dread of English invasion wrought no change in the decision of the Scotch lords. They had seen the worst. These continual and destructive inroads produced no other effect than, as the Lacedæmonian king told his countrymen more than two thousand years ago, such sufferings ever do produce,—callousness and indifference. When cruelty has done its worst, it defeats itself, and dies of its own sting. Nor, if it had been otherwise, were the afflictions of the common people, as Margaret admitted to Surrey, likely to influence the conduct of the Lords. They, in her emphatic language, laughed at injuries which only tended to alienate the hearts of those who were best affected to England, without terrifying the Lords, who eseaped unharmed. (fn. 4)
A letter was produced from Albany, in the same parliament, in which Margaret had failed to obtain possession of her son, excusing his delay, and desiring that the King should be detained at Stirling as usual. (fn. 5) He attributed his own long absence to a secret design he had set on foot for the welfare of Scotland, but had not yet been able to bring to maturity; that done, his brother Richard de la Pole, as Albany called him, tarried only till he knocked at the door, to come forth with an army and invade England. As a further encouragement to the Lords, it was given out by the Duke's adherents that he had already embarked at some port in Picardy, attended with 200 horse and 10,000 foot. If this were not an empty boast, and it is scarcely reasonable to suppose that it was wholly the offspring of Albany's vanity, it was evidently the intention of Francis to distract the King of England's attention by attacking him simultaneously in opposite quarters. Whilst Albany invaded the northern provinces with a powerful army, De la Pole was to effect a landing in the West. "I think," says Sir Robert Wingfield, to whom we are indebted for this information, (fn. 6) "that France shall have tow enough on the rock, though they seek not for more work and cost in Scotland or Italy." It might have been thought that the treason of Bourbon would have compelled Francis to contract his aims, and provide for his own safety and that of his subjects, without courting fresh adventures in a distant quarter. And nothing shows more clearly the resources and elasticity of France, and the indomitable spirit of its ruler, than that, threatened as he was by a general combination of all the Continental powers, he still fearlessly held up his head, and bade defiance to all his enemies.
With the duke of Bourbon "in his bosom," to use Wolsey's expressive words, pressed on all sides, by the Emperor in the South, by Suffolk and de Buren in the West, by the German troops under Count Felix in the East, reverses attending his arms in Italy, a victorious army advancing without opposition on his capital, and ready to thunder at its gates, Francis yet retained spirit and resolution enough to spare some thoughts for his ancient ally. Before the 25th of September Albany had landed in Scotland: he had contrived, a second time, to run the gauntlet of the English fleet without attracting observation, and effected his disembarkation in Scotland at a time and place equally unknown to friends and enemies. (fn. 7) The Lords at once flocked to his standard; whatever promises they had held out to Margaret, to Dacre, or to Surrey were now given to the winds. No other proof is needed of the great influence exercised by Albany. "The Lords are in such fear of the Duke, looking every hour for him to arrive," writes Surrey to Wolsey, "that and they had laid four of the best of their sons in hostage to forsake him, yet if he came they would break their covenant." The evidence of that influence cannot be questioned, whatever may be thought of the motive thus assigned for it. (fn. 8)
Surrey had now been lying on the Borders for six months, and, with the exception of a furious assault upon Jedburgh, and the forays already mentioned, nothing of moment had yet been accomplished towards the subjugation of Scotland, or its emancipation from the influence of Albany. The Earl's forces, superior in numbers to the Scotch, were augmented by the retinues of the Dacres, the Constables, the Cliffords, and all the Border Lords. He was well provided with a fleet, artillery, large sums of money, and munitions of war. At Edinburgh Margaret was doing her best to furnish him with intelligence, and raise a party in his favor. She had impressed upon him, more than once, the uselessness of these Border wars, and the necessity of advancing and striking a blow at Edinburgh itself. She might not have been a very competent judge of military operations, yet, when she told Surrey that a thousand men with artillery would place the capital at his mercy, "if they came suddenly," it is not improbable that, had Surrey followed her advice, and, instead of wasting time and men in petty raids upon the borders, had rapidly concentrated his forces for one great and effective blow, he might have done more towards humbling Albany's party than by all his attacks on isolated forts and undefended villages. What then was his reason for hanging back? Was it, as he stated to Wolsey, that he had not sufficient carriage for victuals even for a single day ? Was it that his forces, when united with Dacre's, would not amount, as he said, to more than 9,000 men, good and bad, and were therefore insufficient for such an enterprise ? Or did he fear that whilst he was thus engaged at a distance, "leaving the country ungarnished of men," the Scotch would take advantage of his absence, and troop over the Border like hungry wolves, carrying death and devastation before them ? It may be that all these considerations contributed to prevent the Earl, though a man of undoubted courage, from attempting the daring feat of a descent upon Edinburgh, even under the most favorable circumstances. But it is also clear that he stood somewhat in awe of the obstinate courage and passionate resistance of the Scots. Even when their houses were unroofed, their strongholds thrown down, their cattle driven off, their crops burnt before arriving at maturity, they contested every inch of ground, with incredible valor, against overwhelming numbers. Famine, plague, unutterable want and waste stared them everywhere in the face; yet their indomitable spirit could neither be quenched nor subdued. Crescit sub pondere virtus; and these terrible Border wars, which have left the stamp of their iron hoof on the face of the country ever since, served to bring out that pertinacity of purpose, that inflexible perseverance, that unswerving resolution in the Scot, which have taught him to fear no evil, to be cool and intrepid in the wildest storm, and patient under the most cruel suffering. "I assure your Grace," says Surrey to Wolsey, describing an attack upon Ferniehirst, "I found the Scots at this time the boldest men and the hottest that ever I saw in any nation." It would be hard, he adds, to encounter them, if they could muster 40,000 as good men as the 1,500 or 2,000 who at that time kept himself and Dacre at bay. (fn. 9)
At the same time it must be remembered that Surrey had other difficulties to contend with, as is clear from his various letters, in the insubordination and mutual jealousies of the Border Lords. They were divided into various factions, the Constables, the Ellerkers, the Tempests, the Savilles and the Gowers; all of them mortal enemies to Scotland, and not less mortal enemies to each other; and all of them—to a man—ready to settle their quarrels with the sword at any moment, whenever they might chance to meet. (fn. 10) Their ill blood, heated and thickened by generations of animosity, was kept at boiling pitch by the bickerings, the thefts, the disorders and mutual disputes of their several dependants. Every man and boy, from page to henchman, was animated by the spirit of clanship, and with the name inherited the feuds of his chief. On high days or working days, at church or in the market, at home or on an expedition, their passions broke out,—for the merest trifle, for the most imaginary wrong,—and set men together by the ears, circle extending upon circle, like a weird eddy of autumnal leaves,—as wild, as uncertain, and as purposeless. Any attempt to extinguish the fire was hopeless. The contagion was universal, and therefore it found no punishment:—it was native to the blood, and therefore it defied all remedy. (fn. 11)
Nor can it be supposed that Dacre, whose authority on the Borders had been paramount for many years before Surrey's arrival, would see himself superseded and his authority controlled, even by a nobleman, great as was the Earl, without occasional outbursts of jealousy and discontent. More than once, though willing to do justice to Dacre's spirit, activity and hardihood, Surrey has to lament that Dacre takes his own course, and endangers the common cause by his wilful and head strong disobedience. While Dacre, who had greater experience of the Borders, had from boyhood upwards been engaged with the Scots, reasonably imagined that his opinions were better founded than those of Surrey, a comparative stranger; and he was not always prepared to sacrifice his convictions to the demands of discipline. On one occasion he went so far as to refuse to join his forces with the Earl's, except he might be allowed to take his own road—through the shortest—though the wildest part of Scotland. (fn. 12) On another, when engaged with the Earl upon a foray, he refused at nightfall to lodge his troops within the Earl's camp, and whilst Surrey was at supper the horses broke loose, created a panic in the camp, and 800 out of 1,500 were lost by his pertinacity. "There is no hardier or better knight," says Surrey, recounting this misadventure to Wolsey, "but often he neglects order;"—a remark which might have been applied with equal truth to almost every gentleman and nobleman on the Borders. (fn. 13)
On Albany's arrival it was his first object to undo the effects of English policy in Scotland. It had been the chief aim of that policy to form an English party, with Margaret at its head. Albany found no great difficulty in detaching the Queen once more from the side she had so lately espoused. The prioress of Coldstream, her confidant, conveys the important intelligence to Sir Wm. Bulmer, that the Queen is very fickle; "therefore counsel the man ye know (Surrey) not to take on hand over much of her credence." The Governor, she assures him, had sent her fair words, and she was become half a Frenchwoman already. (fn. 14) Margaret wavered between her brother and Albany; had she received encouragement she would have preferred to have thrown in her lot with the former; but, strange to say, Henry did not meet her advances. Perhaps he had grown weary of her society when she was last in England, a few years before, and did not desire to have it renewed. He disliked the expence it entailed upon him;—that, perhaps, and that only. "Under the King's high correction, and your Grace's," writes Surrey to Wolsey, with the business habits of an Englishman, "methink it were as profitable, and more good should comethereof, to have her remain in Scotland than to come into England ... And where three or four hundred pounds in a year should please her well being there (in Scotland), peradventure 1,000 marks or 2,000 shouldscarcely do so being here." (fn. 15) With an impetuous candour, she had offered to start away into England, "in her smock, if need be;" but her liberal proposal was not as eagerly accepted as it was freely made; and she had doubts, as well she might have, how she stood in Henry's favor. With the insinuating address of a Stuart, Albany had not failed to steal upon her good graces. Next to making numerous promises, by which he never failed of flattering her vanity, he took the surest way of securing a place in her affections by rendering himself acceptable to the young prince. He permitted him to ride about Stirling at his pleasure, according to the information of an unknown correspondent; presented him with two gowns of cloth of gold and cloth of silver, begging him to be blithe and merry, as he was prepared to lay down his life in his service. (fn. 16) His attentions were not lost upon Margaret. On Sunday, says the same cynical correspondent, the Governor came to the town with three hundred men, and tarried with the Queen a quarter of an hour, "and she made evil cheer (appeared sorrowful) after his departing; but I trust in God that she shall take no displeasure (hurt); for this Monday sin ninehours she has been singing and dancing, and the Frenchmen with her." (fn. 17)
Such levity appeared scandalous in a sister of the King of England, still more in one who but a short time before had signalized her animosity against the Duke by employing every effort to keep him out of Scotland. With Margaret it was the mere dictate of policy. Placed between two great contending factions, without authority or interest with either, she resolved to use both to her own advantage, and join with those whom she found most willing to advance her purposes. In a letter to her confidant, Patrick Sinclair, sent by her secretly to Surrey, she discloses the real motive of her conduct. She was resolved to know definitely the in- tentions of both parties towards her before she determined on her course. The Governor, she says, makes her the fairest promises, and Henry's silence is ominous; still she would rather trust the King; "for the Governor," she adds, "can say one thing, and think another. But all ladies get fair words now while (until) this hosting be done; but after that I hear say that he will be right sharp, by them that know his mind; and I dread I shall have my part." (fn. 18)
The season was rapidly advancing; it was necessary for Albany, if he wished to redeem his credit, to bestir himself at once, and make some warlike demonstration against England. According to the information furnished by Margaret to Surrey, (fn. 19) the French troops attending on the Duke numbered 6,000 foot; "and I hear say (she adds) shall be put in the vanguard, because he giveth not great trust to the Scotchmen." Three thousand Almains, whose mode of fighting was novel, and therefore terrible to raw English troops, were expected daily. The Duke's munitions of war were more formidable than had ever been seen in Scotland. He had twenty-eight cannons, and four double cannons, the largest that had yet been employed in a siege. "Also," continues Margaret, he hath great pavasys (shields ?) ganging upon wheels with the artillery, to shoot and to break the hosts asunder; and of these he hath many; and every een of them hath twa sharp swords before them, that none may touch them;" besides smaller artillery and ample ammunition, and twelve ships with victuals and wine. According to the information of another correspondent, lord Ogle, (fn. 20) Albany brought with him to Dumbarton 87 ships, 100 barded horse, 500 light horse, 4,000 foot, 500 men-at-arms, 1,000 hagbusshis (musqueteers), 900 serpentines and falcons, 16 great guns, and gunpowder to the value of 10,000 crowns weight. Proclamations were dispersed by the Duke throughout Scotland, commanding all temporal men between the ages of sixty and sixteen to meet on 20th October with thirty days' victual, at the following rendezvous; Lothian, Teviotdale, and the parts adjoining, under Arran at Lawder; Kyle, Cunningham and Carrick, at Lanark, under Lennox; the Highlandmen, under Argyle, at Glasgow; the Northern men at Stirling, under Huntley.
An army so imposing had never appeared before upon the Borders. Even Surrey, not used to fear, was full of apprehension. The Duke was expected to march towards England on the next new moon after the 8th of October. The weather had been foul, with rain and snow; the roads were scarcely passable for great ordnance, except in the direction of Berwick; but Surrey was too well acquainted with the proud and impetuous spirit of the Duke, to suppose that he would be diverted from his purpose by such feeble obstacles as these. "By many ways I am advertised," he says in a letter to Wolsey, "that the duke of Albany is a marvellous wilful man, and will believe no man's counsel, but will have his own opinion followed; and because the French king hath been at so great charges, having his wife's inheritance lying within his dominions, dare not, for no Scottish counsel, forbear to invade this realm. I am also advertised that he is so passionate, that and he be apart amongst his familiars, and doth hear anything contrarious to his mind and pleasure, his accustomed manner is to take his bonnet suddenly off his head, and to throw it in the fire, and no man dare take it out, but let it to be brent. My lord Dacre doth affirm, that at his last being in Scotland he did burn above a dozen bonnets after that manner. And if he be such a man, we shall speed the better with him."
But though Surrey thus expressed his hopes of victory, he was not wholly satisfied with the means at his disposal for resisting the invasion. No account has been preserved of the forces under his command, but they could not be, in point of number or of discipline, equal to those of his opponent. The French reinforcements of Albany gave him no trouble; he shared that feeling of contempt with which they were regarded by most Englishmen of his time. But the 3,000 Almains were a more formidable force, and the enterprise was proportionably dangerous.
In these perplexities, the Earl wrote to Wolsey in a tone of remonstrance, not less unusual with him than strange as it must appear to modern readers, accustomed to form an exaggerated estimate of the Cardinal's haughty demeanor, and his master's impatience of reproof. He requests Wolsey that "some noblemen and gentlemen of the King's house, of the south parts, may be sent hither, though they bring no great numbers with them. God knoweth," he adds, "if the poorest gentleman of the King's house were here, and I at London, and were advertised of these news, I would not fail to kneel upon my knees before the King's grace, to have licence to come hither in post, to be at the day of battle. And if young noblemen and gentlemen be not desirous and willing to be at such journeys, and to take the pain and give the adventure, and the King's highness well contented with those that will so do, and not regarding others that will be but [except they be] dancers, dicers and carders, his Grace shall not be well served when he would be. For men without experience shall do small service, and experience of war will not be had without it be sought for, and the adventure given." (fn. 21)
Wolsey treated the Earl's apprehensions with coldness, if not with contempt. His reply is no less indicative of his wonderful sagacity, his keen insight into Albany's character, than it is calculated to inspire the Earl with confidence, and sting him to exertion. He told Surrey that he had been needlessly alarmed by the flying reports of the Duke's numbers and ordnance; that it was impossible for him to assemble his forces in the time specified, and transport his ammunition across the moors in such rainy and tempestuous weather. He demonstrated to Surrey,—and he spoke from his own experience of similar cases in England,—that it was not possible for the Duke to collect victuals in Scotland for thirty days, within two or three months time at the least. "Besides," added the Cardinal, "it is not unknown that king James, whom your father and you slew, was a man of great courage, well beloved and in great estimation amongst his subjects; and yet was it not little difficult for him to bring the Scots, the King's grace being then out of the realm, and the king of Scots having great treasure, victual, harness, ordnance and provision made of a long season before, in the best and most covenable time of the year, to condescend unto the invasion of England; wherein what fortune and success they had may percase be a remembrance and example to those which at a more unmeet time would think to attempt the same." He concluded his letter by assuring the Earl that the King would send him for his comfort the Lord Marquis (Dorset), Sir Nicholas Carew, Sir Francis Brian, Baynton and others, who had the reputation of being the King's favorites, and were the southern lords to whom surrey had somewhat contemptuously alluded in his letter. (fn. 22)
With the sagacity of true genius, the Cardinal had already directed the Earl what tactics he was to adopt. (fn. 23) Aware of the difficulty experienced by the Scots in procuring provisions, Wolsey advised him to stand on the defensive, and not hazard a battle except at manifest advantage. He was to keep the Duke in check, and prevent him from forcing an engagement by encamping not far from the places which the Duke meant to attack. The advanced season of the year, the impossibility of obtaining supplies upon the Borders, assiduously devastated by Dacre and the Earl during the last nine months, would ruin the Duke's enterprise, and delay was more fatal to him than battle. In venturing his troops against a series of strong forts, any one of which could easily stand a siege of some weeks, Albany had nothing to gain but barren honor; whilst the Scots, ill supplied, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and by no means inclined to treat the French and foreign aids of Albany with favor, would soon grow tired of a war from which they derived neither glory nor advantage. If the Earl conducted the "war like Fabius," and amused or wearied the Scots until their provisions were exhausted, he might then pursue them in their retreat, disappointed, hungry, discontented with their officers, and a prey to the angry elements.
These suggestions require no comment. The good sense of them is admirable; the thorough mastery they display of a subject, to which the Cardinal by education and profession could have given little attention, is an indication of genius equally at home in the most apposite and heterogeneous subjects. Though a proud and imperious man like Surrey might fret under his chains, he could not but feel that he was in the hands of a master; not one, as Shakspeare describes him,—(though he puts that speech into the mouth of a waiting-woman, judging kindly but not profoundly,)—not one that was merely "lofty and sour to them who loved him not," but whose loftiness was endurable for the superiority of his intellect. To that superiority even a proud man like Surrey bowed, as all men did; and in Wolsey's intercourse with the Earl, his authoritative reproof (if so it must be called) of Surrey's impatience was mingled with a frank admission of his own and his father's military excellence;—a bitter-sweet, which exacted from the Earl respect to the opinions of the great minister, who in temper was as lofty as himself, and far above him in all the gifts of genius.
Whilst Albany had appointed October 20, and Rosley (Roslin ?) More, two miles from Edinburgh, as the rendezvous for such of the troops as were expected from the North, those of the West were to meet at Biggar. The men of Nithsdale, Galloway and the parts adjoining were to assemble at Moffat; those of Teviotdale and the March, at Lauder. (fn. 24) All were to be in their places by the 30th of October. At this time Surrey was at Newcastle, uncertain of the way the Duke would be likely to take; whether towards Berwick or Carlisle, where Dacre was posted. If he advanced upon Carlisle, fifteen ships-of-war had been provided, to sail to Leith, and burn Edinburgh and Haddington: such, at least, was the report assiduously circulated in the hope that Albany might be deterred from taking the western route, and turn his attention to the East Borders, where Surrey was better prepared to meet him. The Duke, owing to the difficulties he experienced in collecting his forces, and in transporting his artillery, advanced by slow marches, unlike a man who feels confident of victory. But he had many difficulties to contend with: the roads were impassable from the incessant rains, the season was far advanced, the Scotch lords hung back, alleging the impossibility of bringing on their retainers. Neither Huntley nor Lennox were hearty in the cause. (fn. 25) On Thursday, 22nd October, (fn. 26) the Duke started from Edinburgh. He took the road leading to Lauder, leaving his enemies uncertain of his ultimate destination. It was his own wish to have marched towards Carlisle; but his better judgment was over-ruled by the Scotch lords, who advised him, in consequence of the weather, to invest Wark and Norham. Despatching lord Maxwell to the West with 5,000 men, (fn. 27) he himself turned in the direction of Berwick.
Before leaving Edinburgh the Duke had addressed the Lords in words calculated to rouse their national spirit, had it not been sufficiently roused already by the injuries they had suffered during the last nine months. After dwelling upon the cost and personal sacrifices he had encountered in order to rescue them from the power of the invader, and secure the independence of Scotland, he desired them to remember the fate of their late King, and the death of their fathers and nobles at Flodden. Their borders had been wasted, their people killed, their kirks and their castles demolished and burnt. And who, he exclaimed, have been the authors of all these evils? Who but an earl of England and his father. Could they not, he asked, find it in their hearts to draw the sword for Scotland, and meet that man in battle who had done them this displeasure? The Scotch lords were men of rugged mould, not used to melting; but this appeal touched the tenderest fibres. In the tumult of their conflicting emotions, and their passionate energy for revenge, Albany was for a moment transfigured into an angel of deliverance. "They kneeled of their knees," says an eyewitness, "and swore that they would do any thing that he would command them." (fn. 28)
Two days had elapsed since the Duke started from Edinburgh, and he had not yet been able to concentrate his powers. The army marched in three distinct divisions. The Westland lords drew towards Musselburgh; the French were at Lauder; the Northern lords, at Lauderdale. On the 24th, evidently with only one division of his army, Albany advanced to Melrose and Driburgh. Here several days were wasted before his musters and ammunition could arrive. Buchanan, who is stated by Pinkerton (fn. 29) to have been present, and whose information for this portion of his history was evidently derived from trustworthy sources, affirms that the Duke threw a wooden bridge across the river at this point, and crossed with his host into the English borders, but was compelled to recross the river, as the Scotch refused to follow him. Buchanan seems to have thought that no other means existed for crossing at Melrose; yet Dacre speaks of "Melrose Brig," over which the Duke passed, as a well known structure, (fn. 30) and omits all notice of this defection of the Scots.
Surrey by this time had advanced to Alnwick, followed by the earls of Westmoreland and Northumberland. The lord Marquis was posted at Berwick with six or seven thousand men; Darcy, at Bamburgh; Dacre, at Carlisle or Naworth. Keeping north of the Tweed, Albany directed his steps towards Kelso. On the 28th he was at Eccles; the next day, at Home Castle. Here five or six of his great guns were disabled by the fracture of their axle-trees. On the 1st of November he laid siege to Wark Castle.
As soon as the intentions of the Duke had become clearly known to Surrey, he concentrated his powers. Whilst Dacre marched with all his disposable forces to Ford, the Earl advanced to Holy Island. (fn. 31) It is not easy to ascertain the precise numbers on either side. Wark Castle consisted of a dungeon surrounded with double walls. As in most of the Border fortresses, the area between the walls was of great extent; it served as a place of security for the inhabitants of the surrounding district, and sheltered them, their cattle and their corn from those sudden and devastating incursions to which they were incessantly exposed. It was defended at this time by Sir William Lisle and 100 men. Surrey, in a fit of impatience, represents it as untenable, wishes it were drowned in the sea, for no garrison would stay in it. (fn. 32) Like similar forts on the Borders, it was strong enough to resist any sudden attack of moss troopers, but not to stand a regular siege; like others also, its defences had been neglected, and the expence of keeping them in repair was more than the fortress was worth.
The castle stood on the south of the Tweed. Albany planted his artillery on the north bank of the river. After battering the walls throughout Sunday and Monday, the 1st and 2nd days of November, he sent, at three o'clock of the afternoon of the 2nd, 1,000 Frenchmen (fn. 33) across in boats to carry the place by assault. The besiegers gained the outer court, but were kept at bay by the garrison for an hour and a half. Inch by inch these resolute defenders were forced back into the inner ward. But here numbers proved of little advantage. The French, repulsed in a vigorous sally, were compelled to recross the river with the loss of ten men. We know so little of the real state of Albany's army, or the difficulties which he had to encounter, that it is impossible to form a fair judgment of his conduct on this occasion, or divine the reasons why he failed to support the assault. His precipitate retreat, which looks dastardly at least, is still more unaccountable. According to Surrey's statement, the Duke was terrified on hearing of his advance to the support of Wark, which could not have held out many hours longer. But Surrey admits that he himself experienced the greatest difficulty in keeping his own army together. It was the foulest and coldest weather he had ever seen. Scarcity of food, long exposure to the cold, the horrors of winter, had so wearied his men, according to his own statement, that it would have been hard for him to have prevented their dispersion. If it were so with the English, well supplied and supported as they were, and close to their own borders, the difficulty must have been far greater with the Scots, who possessed none of these advantages. Surrey either overlooks these facts, or had no interest in remembering them. And so, though he writes in somewhat boastful terms that Albany had fled like a coward when he "came to present him battle," it is a question whether the Earl was not more indebted to the excessive severity of the weather for his victory, than to his own courage and skill. As a matter of course he received the King's thanks for his "great travail, labor, study, pain and diligence ... with all effect, right actively, valiantly and with perfect courage, discretion and good conduct taken and used, by many substantial, discreet and politic ways for resistance of the said duke of Albany." (fn. 34) But what Wolsey thought in the innermost core of his heart may be gathered from his notes on one of the Earl's dispatches. The result was no more than he had anticipated. He had warned Surrey that the Duke would never enter England,—that the invasion had been more in show than reality,—that Albany's aim was to tire out his opponents, and seize his advantage when the English troops were disbanded. Wolsey's calculations proved correct, (fn. 35) and he did not easily forgive the Earl for the enormous expence to which the country had been subjected by superfluous levies. He thought that both men and money might have been spared by the exercise of more care and foresight.
But whatever might be the motive or the cause of Albany's retreat, it wore the aspect of a most ignominious flight. He had decamped from the abbey of Eccles on Tuesday at midnight. If we may believe an anecdote preserved in a letter of Surrey to Wolsey, as the Duke was mounting his horse preparatory to his departure, the gentlemen of Teviotdale remonstrated with him on his dastardly conduct. "My lord governor," they exclaimed, ye have remained in our Borders a long season, so that all that the earl of Surrey hath left undestroyed, ye and your company have clearly wasted—(this was scarcely true)—and by the said Earl our Border is for ever undone; and ye promised us to give him battle, whereby we might recover us ... Wherefore we beseech you to abide and give him battle as ye have promised." The Duke replied angrily, "I will give him no battle, for I have no convenient company so to do;" and immediately galloped off. Hearing these words the said gentlemen being evil contented, exclaimed with one voice, "By God's blood we will never serve you more, nor never will wear your badges again;" and, tearing them off their breasts, they threw them on the ground, saying, "Would to God we were all sworn English;" and so departed from the Duke in great anger. (fn. 36)
Perhaps Surrey was not far wrong in his surmise that Albany's estimation in Scotland had sunk for ever. And yet even on that point we must reserve our judgment. It is certain that his retreat did not produce in Edinburgh the profound impression that might have been expected. Margaret, indeed, calls it an "unhonest journey," and states that she had not seen the Duke since his return; but it is clear she had not gained but rather lost influence, (fn. 37) and that the Scotch lords remained as firmly attached to Albany as before. The Duke, seeing his total inability to bring matters into a better condition, resolved to turn his back upon Scotland for ever, and desired leave of the Lords to depart. They earnestly endeavoured to dissuade him from his purpose; offered him the profits of all spiritual benefices in Scotland, with their goods and services to be at his disposal. Such proofs of their regard, coming from such a quarter, must be regarded as above suspicion, and tend much to qualify the unfavorable impressions of Albany's incapacity and cowardice. Except his belief that Arran, Lennox and others would not have followed him into England, but have betrayed him to his enemies, Albany volunteered no explanation of his conduct;—at least, this is Margaret's statement;—and yet we find on the same authority that Arran as well as Argyle, contrary to her expectations, had gone over to the Duke on his return to Edinburgh, and were among the number of those who were most anxious to detain him. (fn. 38)
This flight of the doughty duke of Albany furnished the contemporary English satirist with a subject for one of his most popular poems, and afforded him an opportunity of glorifying his patron, the earl of Surrey. Skelton's verses are of no value, except as expressing the sort of feeling with which Englishmen in general hailed the ignominious defeat of one who had been so long identified with the enemies of their country. When the hearts of the two nations, in their long and obstinate struggle, had been filled with inconceivable bitterness and mutual animosity, such lines as the following, repeated in every nook of every shire in England, served well enough to foment and represent their national antipathies.
These tidings new,
Which be as true
As the Gospel.
This duke so fell
With all his host
Of the Scottish coast,
For all their boast,
Fled like a beast.
* * *
Ye shall trow me.
False Scots are ye:
Your hearts sore fainted,
And sore attained.
Like cowards stark,
At the castle of Wark,
By the water of Tweed,
Ye had evil speed.
Like cankered curs,
Ye lost your spurs.
For in that fray
Ye ran away,
With hey dog, hey!
For Sir William Lysle
Within short while,
That valiant knight!
Put you to flight,
With his valiaunce.
Two thousand of France
Then he put back,
To your great lack,
And utter shame
Of your Scottish name.
Your chief chieftain,
Void of all brain,
Duke of Albany,
He reculed back
To his great lack;
When he heard tell,
That my lord Amrell (fn. 39)
Was coming down
To make him frown.
* * *
Like a coward knight,
He fled and durst not fight;
He ran away by night."
In this multitudinous jingle the poem runs on; incorporating in its doggrel all the popular prejudices against Albany and the Scots, which the statesmen of the time, though fully aware of their falsehood, never scrupled to employ in a more serious style whenever it suited their purposes. In fact, Skelton's verses are no more than the popular refrain of arguments gravely set forth in royal speeches and ministerial manifestoes, whenever Scotland or the duke of Albany formed the subject of remonstrance. Here is to be found the calumny, so industriously repeated by Dacre and Surrey, that the patriotism of the Duke was only a cloak for his own ambition. Thus, addressing Albany, Skelton says:—
For to defend
The young Scottish king;
But ye mean a thing,
An' ye could bring
The matter about,
To put his eyes out, (fn. 40)
And put him down,
And set his crown
On your own head,
When he were dead."
Here also is that ancient English taunt of the falsehood, the pride, and the poverty of the Scotch; their unnatural alliance with France; their malicious support of an exiled pretender to the throne of England. Here, too, is the old boast that they should one day be driven from their country. For, says Skelton,—in this more of a poet than a prophet,—
"I rede you look about,
For ye shall be driven out
Of your land in short space.
We will so follow in the chace
That ye shall have no grace
For to turn your face."
Such wars as these could not fail of producing deep and permanent effects. But, disastrous as they were at the time, they were not wholly without their advantage to both people. They tended to consolidate England more thoroughly, and to bring out the energies of the Scots. The Northern provinces, too frequently inclined to forget their allegiance and fly off from the Southern, were hurled back from the rocky barriers of Scotland, where every foot of land was bristling with rugged and determined foes, and compelled to make common cause with their Southern countrymen. The result would have been far otherwise had Scotland been peopled by a tamer race, or one less jealous of its independence; whilst, for this country generally, the incessant activity of the Scotch, their close alliance with France, their readiness to take advantage of every incautious or disloyal movement in England, drew Englishmen closer round their national Sovereign; in Skelton's doggrel,—
"At all hours to be ready
With him to live and die."
And this was an advantage which, derived by the Tudors from Scotch hostility, was lost to kings of the next generation. Nothing more was required to render the cause of any pretender to the crown desperate than to find his cause supported by the Scotch. Nothing tended more to enhance the fading popularity of an English sovereign than to see his rival accepted on the other side of the Tweed. If the claims of the exiled De la Pole had ever any chance of being realized, the moment they were supported by Albany and his people they became utterly desperate.
As to other effects, Southern men might laugh at the heroic courage of the Scots, and treat the stories told of them with incredulity. To the tame dwellers on the banks of the Thames, the ardent and romantic heroism of Scotch and Border knights, fostered by their peculiar wars, seemed little better than bombast and extravagance. But these incessant alarms, these raids by moonlight, must have produced deep and lasting impressions on the character and imaginations of the denizens of the Northern marches. Inroads into a hostile country, not in broad day, when everything is seen in its true colours, and surprise is hardly possible, but in the dim uncertain light of the moon, when every shadow is exaggerated, every crag, bush and hollow is peopled by the imagination with deadly foes, and every footfall gives back its echo near and far, must often have blanched the lips, if only for a moment, and curdled the blood of the boldest. (fn. 41) The desolation of these barren moors,—the dismantled ruins, the blackened huts, the mouldering ruins of former slaughter,—the spirits of vengeance still lurking in their ancient haunts, demanding blood for blood,—the bleak and moaning sounds,—the unearthly noises,—and more, the stern conviction that an implacable enemy was waiting for his revenge, would have it at any cost, but when and at what moment no one could anticipate; —all these must have acted as potent spells upon the minds of men. Such vague and terrible apprehensions, the more terrible because of their vagueness, no valor could wholly surmount, no resolution could entirely resist. The spirits of men might be set in an iron frame, like Dacre's; they might be as iron itself; but they must have been more than human to resist the incessant throbs of contagious sympathy occasioned by such occupations. In the fierce raid on Jedburgh, already noticed, when a panic seized the horses, Surrey tells Wolsey, "I dare not write the wonders that my lord Dacre and all his company do say they saw that night, six times, of spirits and fearful sights. And universally, all their company say plainly, the devil was that night among them six times." Who shall paint the effects of that strange gaunt scenery, more wild and drear by the misery and oppression of its population, haunted by reckless men and starving women, who lurked among the ruins of their smoking cabins and charred corn crops, steeped to the lips in suffering, and started up at unexpected turns like spectral forms? Out of the wretchedness and desolation caused by his own hands, the invader shaped for himself imaginary terrors, which like the centaur's robe, could never be shaken off, but clave and ate to the bone.
Whilst these wars were going on between the two countries, died Adrian VI., on the 14th of September 1523. His death, like the deaths of popes in general, was assigned to various causes. Peter Martyr has preserved in his gossiping letters the contradictory rumors of the day: some said he died of an affection in the throat, brought on by uncovering his head at a religious service; others, that he indulged too freely at an entertainment given by Cardinal Santa Croce. Ciacconi attributes his end to his indulgence in Flemish beer. As Peter Martyr was in Spain at the time, he merely re-echoes the Spanish reports; and, like Spanish reports in general, these flying rumors deserve small credit, for Adrian, a Fleming by birth, was never popular with the Spaniards. If the Flemings hated the Spaniards, their hate was returned with additional haughtiness and contempt. Moreover, Adrian, ungrateful to those to whom he was indebted for his exaltation, had shown but small compliance with the wishes of Charles or his ministers,—a crime the more heinous in the eyes of the Spaniards, as he had formerly been the Emperor's tutor. A much more affecting and truthful account of his last illness is given in the letters sent to Wolsey by Clerk and Hannibal from Rome. His sickness had been of some duration; according to Ortis, of no less than forty days. (fn. 42) He was attacked in August, (fn. 43) says Clerk, and was confined to his room, seldom giving audience, except once or twice to the cardinal De Medici, who appears to have ingratiated himself with the Pope after the disgrace of Soderini, and to the Emperor's ambassador, the duke of Sessa, whose contemptuous and imperious treatment were sufficient, without any other cause, to have tormented a weaker man than Adrian VI. out of his life.
According to Clerk, (fn. 44) the Pope suffered from continual pains in the reins and bladder. As he could obtain no relief, and was greatly weakened, though otherwise a hale and lusty man, (fn. 45) he called the Cardinals together, sitting up in his bed, on the 8th of September, "and there declared unto them what thorough his age and sore vexation of his disease, which still continued, he thought he should depart to the mercy of God." He desired the consent of their Eminences to his proposed distribution of certain ecclesiastical dignities; among others, of a cardinal's hat to his countryman, William Enkenvoert, bishop of Tortosa, his Datary, as a reward for his good and faithful services. Of all the ecclesiastics by whom the Pope was surrounded, Enkenvoert alone enjoyed his confidence. As Adrian was not easy of access, and showed little esteem for the Roman cardinals, treating them with an austerity to which they were unaccustomed, it is not surprising that they attributed this treaiment to the hostile influence of his confidential and favorite minister. (fn. 46)
The Cardinals expressed no small concern at the Pope's proposal. To divert him at once from his resolution, and the cardinal's hat from the unpopular Datary, they urged upon his Holiness, that if it were essential to his happiness in his dying hour to give away cardinals' hats, he had better confer this honor on one of his nephews; for the Datary, they said, had in all his transactions been uncivil, exacting, stern, and disobliging. The Pope was too fatigued and faint to continue the discussion. He swooned once or twice the night following, and never afterwards rallied.
His death was received with little demonstration of concern. Perhaps no pope had for many years been less popular. His manifest incapacity for the duties of his exalted station,—the simplicity, not to say bluntness, of his manners,—were not adequately relieved by any great qualities of genius or exhibition of administrative skill. He had no taste for painting or sculpture, and little for literature; (fn. 47) still less for that literature which was in itself a power, and had been a very effective instrument in the hands of his predecessor, whose defects as a man and a ruler were in a great measure concealed by his patronage of learning and the fine arts. The habits of Adrian were as simple as his tastes. At the time of his birth and his education, polite learning had not yet penetrated into Belgium. (fn. 48) Brought up in the old school of scholastic theology, he was indebted for the little eminence he had gained in his own country to that learning, which had ceased to command respect at Rome, and was now regarded with disdain by those who considered the professors of it as little better than barbarians, utterly behind the age, and unfitted for polite and classical society. A monk, or a schoolman, trained in the uncouth habits of the previous century, was a phenomenon to these fastidious Italians; he was regarded with something of that wonder, not unalloyed with contempt, with which their forefathers might have stared at some savage animal or untutored Goth who had strayed unawares into the marble halls and ivory palaces of the Cæsars. Nor had Adrian taken any pains to render himself agreeable to the Cardinals by conciliating their prejudices. He rarely consulted them on matters of moment. He treated them not unfrequently with positive rudeness. When, after many months of expectation, he had reached Leghorn on his first journey to Rome, (fn. 49) and was met in great pomp by the Cardinals and Italian ambassadors, amid the shouts of the people and the firing of guns, he scarcely deigned to acknowledge their courtesies with a smile. Their munificent offerings, their presents of fruit and wine, were coldly accepted. That night he chose to sup alone, and after supper he left his chamber with so much precipitation that the Cardinals in the neighboring apartment had no notice of his departure. At Ostia his steps were equally rapid and undignified. Cardinals, noblemen, ecclesiastics and ambassadors were hurled along in the impetuous stream of a rude and vulgar mob, mounted on sorry nags and mules, packed up as occasion served, broiling and panting amidst porters, grooms, and baggage drivers, under the cloudless rays of an Italian autumnal sun.
His first act after the day of his coronation was not less impolitic than ungracious. He revoked all the indulgences (indulta) which had been granted by the Cardinals from the 24th of January, when his election was notified, to the day of his arrival in Rome. He reduced the referendaries of the Papal court at a stroke from thirty to eight, allowing these disappointed holders of place no compensation. As they had purchased their offices under the previous pope, on the understanding that they should be permanent, Adrian incurred greater odium and opposition by his financial reforms than all such reforms are worth. (fn. 50) A simple-minded Fleming, incapable of counteracting the intrigues of the sharp and wily Italians by whom he was surrounded,—guided by Flemish ministers of low birth, unaccustomed to business, and suspicious of being imposed upon, but unable through want of firmness or genius to avoid it,—Adrian suffered the business of the Papal court to drift into inextricable confusion. Pressed on all sides by impatient and importunate suitors, anxious to do right, fearful of committing himself, unskilled in the tortuous processes of the Roman Chancery, he could only reiterate, in the midst of his perplexities, Cogitabimus, videbimus, and refer the baffled petitioner to his secretary or the auditor of the treasury. These officers, minute and excessive in their diligence, but wanting in tact, genius or experience, confused themselves with an endless multiplicity of small details. More and more entangled at every fresh step in the labyrinth, irresolute, despairing of any just or satisfactory result, they could do nothing else in their perplexity than refer the disappointed suitor back to the Pope, who received him with his usual dignified smile, and obsequious maxim, Cogitabimus, videbimus. "Your Holiness,"—said Balbi, the Austrian envoy, on one of these occasions,—"Fabius saved Rome by delay, and you by the same process are destroying it."
To increase Adrian's troubles, the long period which had elapsed between his election and coronation had not been favorable to habits of order and of good government. A plague devastated Rome, and carried off 28,000 of its inhabitants (fn. 51) within three months after his arrival. Adrian was urged to fly: with a firmness becoming the occasion and his exalted position, he determined to remain. But the reputation he might otherwise have gained by such an heroic resolution was lost either by his inactivity, or his inability to find means for staying the plague or alleviating the distress of his people. To have expected from him effectual sanitary precautions in such a distressing emergency would imply a total ignorance of the scientific resources of the 16th century, whether in Rome or in England. But, lacking these, there was always the devout heroism of a Borromeo to fall back upon, and men might believe and grow strong in the efficacy of prayers, who despaired of medical remedies, or disbelieved in the virtues of medical science. But Adrian's heroism was not of this exalted kind. It was rather passive than active; he shut himself up in the Vatican with Enkenvoert, his Datary, and the secretary Hezius; rarely, if ever, coming abroad; beguiling the tedious hours with reading, writing, alchemy and gardening. (fn. 52)
But the thought which weighed down his mind and crippled his energies, from the first hour he had accepted the pontificate to the last, was the state of the public finances. Leo X., if Hannibal may be trusted, had left a debt of little less than a million to his anxious successor. (fn. 53) It was the first impulse of Adrian, like that of many others in similar circumstances, to relieve his immediate necessities by borrowing money from England. "Leo X.," writes Hannibal on 8th Sept., (fn. 54) "has left the present Pope 700,000 ducats in debt, and his voyage has been costly." He had already applied for a loan of 40,000 or 50,000 ducats. "I think," says Hannibal, "25,000 will content him." The application was not favorably received. The same writer complains that he had written many times of the Pope's necessities, but could obtain no answer. (fn. 55) England was at that time in no condition to lend money; its treasury was exhausted by the personal extravagance of the King, by the fetes at Guisnes and Calais, by the mission of Wolsey to settle the disputes between Francis and the Emperor, and by the necessary preparations for war with France and Scotland. Under Leo X. many of the cardinals had crippled their property by purchasing their dignities. But if it had been otherwise, Adrian was not sufficiently gracious to induce them to make sacrifices in his behalf. Baffled, soured, disappointed, pressed by an evil fatal to his popularity,—at Rome especially,—no course remained for the unhappy Pontiff, except either to curtail the expences of the State, by forbearing to take part in any measures which required money, or to impose a tax on his reluctant subjects. He attempted both, and consequently offended all.
During his pontificate, Rhodes, the most distant outwork of Christendom, was exposed to the greatest peril from the Turk. We, indeed, have lived to see Rhodes in the hands of the enemies of the Cross for many centuries, and Christendom as vigorous as ever. But at the time of which I am writing it was the firm conviction of more than half the Christian world that if Rhodes fell, Rome and the rest of Christendom must fall with it; for the barrier against the heady flood of Maho medanism would be broken down, and there would be nothing to resist its progress. Adrian told Hannibal, the English ambassador, that he wrote the oftener and more urgently to Christian princes for peace, because of the danger of Rhodes; "for if that island were taken, the Pope could not stay in Rome, nor could any prince be in tranquillity, as Rhodes was the key of Christendom." (fn. 56) He shed tears at the dangers and miseries of these heroic defenders of the Faith,—betrayed by the indifference and faithlessness of their brethren, and isolated from the rest of the civilized world. At the reports of their courage and intrepidity, unparalleled in the annals of war, "his bowels were moved by the "strength of his emotions," to use his own words. (fn. 57) He could not suppress his grief whenever the siege was mentioned,—et dum fit sermo de oppugnatione illius, erumpunt lachrymœ (fn. 58), says Hannibal, an eyewitness of his affliction. When the news was at last brought him of the surrender, he stood for a time, silent and immovable; the profoundest sighs burst from his heart during the sad recital, and he fixed his eyes upon the ground without uttering a single word. (fn. 59) To his appeals for aid Christian princes had turned a deaf ear and returned a flinty answer; not wholly from insensibility,—partly, indeed, from incredulity. Their charity, so frequently open to the same cry, had now ceased to flow. But partly also, in the attraction of more engrossing interests at home, they felt comparative indifference to the fate of Rhodes. The idea of a common Christendom itself was beginning to pale and wane before the more powerful realities of the rising nationalities of Europe. Beautiful as a theory, it had ceased to be anything better than a theory; and men cannot live and wax strong on theories, however beautiful. So the voice of the Pope was heard like the ghostly wail of a shadow over the wide waste of Christendom, not without pity, but without any permanent effect. The old era was passing away; it was not in the power of any Pope to stay or to renew it.
This sense of poverty, combined with a conviction of his helplessness, made Adrian restless, irritable and impracticable. It increased his natural irresolution; and that again exposed him to the suspicion and dislike of his former friends and his present subjects. When Charles and Henry required him, out of gratitude, to join the confederacy against France, Adrian demurred. He would give no definite answer. He alleged his poverty, he blamed the wasteful management of his predecessor. On another occasion, (fn. 60) when he was urged by Clerk and the imperial ambassador to declare himself in favor of his confederates, he met their appeal with his everlasting smile, and his reiterated excuse of poverty, saying that the See Apostolic received too many profits from France for him to quarrel with it. They plied him with fresh arguments, but Adrian was deaf to their entreaties. "I assure your Grace," says Clerk, forgetting his habitual caution in the irritation of the moment, "Pontifex, velut rupes in mari sita, undique petita fluctibus, mansit immobilis."
These difficulties exposed him to many calumnies. He was accused of being cold, dissembling, avaricious and impracticable,—faults rather to be attributed to his position than to himself. Scrupulous of incurring fresh expences, he was slow to engage himself in measures which required money; unwilling to raise hopes he could not gratify, he would not promise what he could not perform; and to those who knew nothing of his embarrassments, his parsimony appeared like meanness. Too keenly sensitive to the sarcasms and pasquinades of a great and corrupt capital like Rome, he was once injudicious enough to visit the scoffers with resentment, and reaped in consequence the natural results of such interference,—more pitiless and pelting ridicule.
In that respect no Pope had a more bitter experience than Adrian. In his life he was compared to Tarquin, and the epigram written upon Alexander VI. was revived in his case:
"Sextus Tarquinius, Sextus Nero, Sextus et iste:
Semper et a Sextis diruta Roma fuit."
At his death a statue was erected to Macerata, his physician, "tanquam patriœ liberatori," implying that he had taken off the Pope by poison. Even in his grave his memory was not suffered to rest. He was buried in St. Andrew's chapel, between the tombs of Pius II. and Pius III.; and immediately this pasquinade appeared, "Impius inter Pios." Never was any city "gladder of Pope's death than they are of this man's," writes Clerk to Wolsey. (fn. 61) It was rumored that he had amassed much treasure; but when the doors of his private apartments, which he had built in the Borgian Tower, and of which he always carried the keys, were burst open, nothing was found except two mitres, a few cups and jewels, a piece of gold brought from India, belonging to Leo X.; and, if his enemies may be believed, implements for the transmutation of metals. The less creditable stories circulated respecting him, too readily reported and too greedily received, may be ascribed to malice. Disappointed in their hopes, his enemies attributed the disappearance of his property to Enkenvoert, cardinal of Tortosa, and accused him of carrying it off the day before. He left no money, except 800 crowns in gold.
Whatever estimation we may be inclined to form of his character, there can be no doubt that upon the Romans he left a very unfavorable impression. After Adrian VI., no Ultramontane, however exalted his virtues or indisputable his claims, could entertain the least hope of attaining the Papacy. Francis I. was locked up in Lyons, trembling for the fate of his kingdom. The sack of Genoa by the Imperialists had produced a deep impression upon Italy. From the severities inflicted on the besieged, the Italians might learn to infer what sort of treatment they had to expect if they ventured to incur the Emperor's resentment. As Sessa boasted, the Emperor's power at Rome was so great, he might "convert stones into dutiful sons." And yet even he, it is probable, could not have carried the election of a second Adrian.
But he had no thoughts of so doing. Long before the announcement of the death of Adrian, there cannot, I think, be any doubt that it had been arranged that Cardinal De Medici should succeed. It was part of the compact implicitly or explicitly made with him at the election of his predecessor. But this was a profound secret.
The news of the Pope's death was communicated in a letter, of the same date, addressed by Clerk and Hannibal to Wolsey. Before the breath had left the Pope's body, we learn from the same authors, that the Cardinals were discussing the chances of the new election. They told Wolsey that it was hard as yet to decide upon whom the garland would light; but if neither De Medici nor Farnese could secure the Papacy for themselves—and that was not probable,—the result might prove favorable to Wolsey. They added, as they might safely do, without fear of contradiction, "If your Grace were here present, ye should be as sure of it as ye be of York, and that tota curia Romana, ipsis et reverendissimis Cardinalibus, una anima, approbantibus; nor the cardinal of Medici, nor yet the proudest of them all, would no more look for it [in that event] than they would go to Jerusalem upon their thumbs!" They warned him, however, that in consequence of the unhappy precedent afforded by Adrian, his absence would prove a formidable obstacle to his success.
The news reached Wolsey at "the More" on the 30th of September, and he immediately addressed a letter to the King, then at Woodstock, briefly announcing the fact, and stating that though he considered himself "unmeet and unable to so high and great dignity," and he would, rather "than to be ten popes," continue and end his life in the King's service, doing what he could for the honor and wealth of his realm, yet "remembering what mind and opinion your Grace was of, at the last vacation, to have me preferred thereunto, thinking that it should be to the honor, benefit, and advancement of your affairs in time coming, and supposing verily that your Highness persisteth in the same mind and intent, I shall devise such instructions, commissions, and other writings, as the last time was delivered to Master Pace for that purpose; and the same I shall send to your Grace by the next post."
The next day he sent the papers for the King's signature, informing him at the same time that he had "devised a familiar letter in the King's name to the Emperor, which, if it may please your Highness to take the pain for to write with your own hand, putting thereunto your secret sign and mark, being between your Grace and the said Emperor, shall undoubtedly do singular benefit and furtherance to your gracious intent and virtuous purpose in that behalf." He professed himself wholly resigned to God's will, and equally obliged to the King, whatever the result might be, adding that he should never have aspired to so great a dignity, had he not thought that it would conduce to the King's honor and to the welfare of his kingdom.
Then alluding to the Emperor he recalled to the King's memory "the conference and communications" Charles had held with the King in that behalf. He hinted at the arguments employed by Charles on that occasion, and his promise of assistance, if Wolsey could be persuaded to become a candidate for the triple crown. How Charles redeemed his promises remains to seen.
The death of the Pope was known to lady Margaret, the Emperor's aunt, as early as the 25th of September. (fn. 62) It was communicated to the Emperor himself, in a letter, dated the 16th of the same month, by the duke of Sessa. The Emperor had expected the result; for as early as the 13th of July, or afterwards on the 2nd of October, he wrote to the Duke, stating that he had heard of the Pope's illness, and in the event of a new election Sessa was to use all his influence in favor of cardinal De Medici. (fn. 63) At this period the Emperor's affairs were far from prosperous; the tide of success was turning against him; his succors were behindhand, and his troops, as usual, were murmuring for want of pay. The 10,000 Almains under court Felix, the most important contingent in the Emperor's service, refused to serve any longer unless their wages were advanced by England. (fn. 64) In this dilemma Margaret desired De Praet, the Imperial ambassador in England, to repair to Wolsey, inform him of the death of the Pope, and offer her assistance in promoting his election to the vacant throne. (fn. 65) If we may trust the account sent by the ambassador to Charles, Wolsey expressed his gratitude for these offers, not forbearing to touch upon the promises made by the Emperor when he was with the King at Windsor. He also requested Margaret to write without a moment's delay to the Imperial ambassadors at Rome; and, the more to engage the Emperor's aid, he stated that he had made a great point that the King should write a letter to the Emperor in his own hand.
To this communication, the Emperor, then at Pampeluna, sent no reply until 27th November. Then, after expressing his regret that the letter of his ambassadors had been so long on the road, he scrupled not to assure De Praet that the news of the Pope's death had never reached him until the 4th of November or thereabouts. He admitted that a rumor to that effect had been set afloat by the French, but such was their mendacity that the Emperor gave no credence to their reports. He charged his ambassadors to inform the King and the Cardinal that he retained a perfect recollection how he and the King, his good father and brother, had opened their minds on this subject to the Cardinal; how they had exhorted him to think of it, and promised him their best services in promoting his election; and he continued, "that you may be aware with what zeal and diligence we have taken up this affair in favor of the said lord Legate, we send you copies of our letters in his behalf, directed to the duke of Sessa, our ambassador at Rome, written before the receipt of yours, as well as of others afterwards sent to the Sacred College ... You will show and read all these copies to the said sieurs, the King and the Cardinal."
Of the truth of this statement, and of the Emperor's veracity, my readers may judge for themselves from the following circumstances. On the 28th of October the duke of Sessa wrote to the Emperor, stating that he had received letters from England, in which he was strongly urged to further Wolsey's election. The English, he said, (alluding to Clerk and Hannibal,) think his election is almost sure, "as though God would work a miracle." To comply with these importunities, he informed the Emperor that he had so far consented as to recommend Wolsey for the papal chair, satisfied that his election was impossible. In his reply to this communication, the Emperor informs Sessa that he fully approves of what has been done; that as soon as ever he heard of Adrian's death he had himself written to Sessa, desiring him to use his efforts in securing the election for Wolsey, but at the same time he had taken the precaution to order the courier who carried the despatch to be detained at Barcelona! His letter is dated the 14th of December, and reached Sessa long after the election. (fn. 66)
The Cardinals had meanwhile entered the conclave, on the 1st of October. The wooden cells appointed for their lodgings were separated by short intervals, and were dis- tinguished from each other by the letters of the alphabet. For those ecclesiastics who had been elevated to the cardinalate by the late Pope the decorations were of purple, for the others green. The custody of the palace was entrusted to Ferdinand Silvio, captain of the Swiss; and 200 Germans were appointed to keep the staircases. The arrangements for the guard were similar to those adopted at Adrian's election; but in this instance the inner or fourth door was kept by the grand master of Rhodes, Villiers de Lisle Adam, who had lately been expelled by the Turks. To each Cardinal (fn. 67) three servants were allowed, and four to those whose feebleness or ill-health required the indulgence. (fn. 68) There was also a sacristan, two masters of the ceremonies, two secretaries, musicians for the mass, all of whom were sworn to secrecy. After a search made, on a false rumor, for arms supposed to be hidden in the conclave, the doors were walled up, and the windows locked with four keys, each of which was confided to a different officer. The Cardinals confessed; and the next day, being the eighth of the conclave, mass was celebrated, and the sacrament administered, by cardinal Sta. Croce in the chapel of St. Nicholas. Shortly after, three French cardinals, Auch, Lorraine, and Bourbon, made their appearance, much to the discomfort of De Medici and the imperialists. Presenting themselves at the doors of the conclave in their cloaks, or, as Clerk calls them, "their short weeds (which was thought very dissolute), with boots and spurs," they were admitted amidst much laughter. "The cardinal of Lorraine," he continues in no complacent mood, "was in a gown of crane-coloured velvet, and had a hat with feathers, which hat he left behind him for lesing. It were long to recite unto your Grace the cracks of the French faction, and with how proud boasting words they, upon the arrival of these Cardinals, threatened and overlooked every man, persuading assuredly to have a pope at their pleasure. Assuredly, the coming of these Cardinals hath troubled and impeached our good purposes marvellously." Hitherto, by sundry means, the Cardinals had contrived to send daily information to their friends without; now they were more strictly guarded. (fn. 69) On the 8th, their service was reduced, and they were restricted, according to the usual rules, to one kind of meat, either roasted or boiled.
The conclave was divided into two factions, of seniors and juniors. The latter, numbering about sixteen, supported the claims of De Medici; the seniors, superior in numbers, were determined to oppose him, and resist the nomination of any one of his party, to the utmost. The struggle was obstinate, and there was no appearance of accommodation. Various means were tried, without avail, by nominating a third party, to reconcile the contending factions; and in the pertinacity of the strife, the English ambassadors entertained hopes that Wolsey, though an absentee, might carry the election, as Adrian had done before him. (fn. 70)
If the account given by Clerk may be trusted, when the officers of the city perceived that the Cardinals were not likely to arrange their disputes for some time, they came to the door of the conclave, "where at a hole the Romans declared unto them divers hurts and annoyances that the city daily suffered by the reason of their long delay, as well in scarcity of victuals as otherwise, through other misruled persons, which they could not order; and finally said that it was a shame for them, so many wise men as they were, that they did no better or no sooner agree; exhorting them to leave their particular affections, and to think and lean unto the commonwealth, as wise men and as good men should do."
The Cardinals returned for answer that if the Romans could be contented that they "should choose one being absent," meaning Wolsey, they were almost agreed. Whereupon the Romans "made a great exclamation that in anywise they should choose some man present, etiam si truncum aut stipitem electuri forent." (fn. 71)
In a paragraph added to their letter at a subsequent date, the English ambassadors say, "Pope Alexander was chosen in eight days, Pope July in six, Pope Leo in eight, Pope Adrian in fourteen, and that was thought a very long tarrying. This is now the 24th day they have been in the conclave, with such pain and disease, that your Grace would marvel that such men as they be would suffer it. And yet by none outward appearance we cannot perceive that we be now anything nearer a Pope than we were the first day they entered the conclave ... For there is a score of the old Cardinals that have sworn and conspired together to rather suffer death than to consent unto Medicis. And the cardinal De Medicis hath another band with him, which will suffer with him all that shall be possible to the contrary."
At last, after many unsuccessful efforts to bring matters to accommodation, the party of Medici prevailed, in consequence of the intrigues of Colonna, or his real displeasure at the infidelity of his own supporters. (fn. 72) Relying on his influence to secure the election, he had agreed with De Medici to nominate cardinal Jacobati, on condition that if the nomination did not prove successful Colonna should give his support to De Medici. The latter, confiding in his superior intelligence, and better aware of the real state of feeling among Colonna's supporters, agreed to these conditions. Jacobati failed; and Colonna, irritated at his defeat, fulfilled his word, and, to the consternation of all his friends in the conclave, gave his vote to his implacable enemy De Medici, who was declared duly elected on the 17th of November, the fiftieth day from the time that the Cardinals had entered the conclave. (fn. 73)
As soon as the news reached the ears of cardinal Wolsey he addressed a letter to Henry VIII. After briefly and calmly touching upon the protracted disputes in the election, and his own prospects of success, as set forth in Clerk's letter of the 24th October, he announced that the choice had fallen on De Medici: "Of which good fortunate news, Sir, your Highness hath much cause to thank Almighty God, forasmuch as not only he is a perfect and faithful friend to the same, but that also much the rather by your means he hath attained to this dignity. And for my part, as I take God to record, I am more joyous thereof than if it had fortuned upon my person, knowing his excellent qualities most meet for the same, and how great and sure a friend your Grace and the Emperor be like to have of him, and I so good a father." (fn. 74)
His anticipations were not destined to be realized. Could he have looked into the future, he would have seen Rome sacked and burnt under Clement VII. by the imperial forces; and England, under the same Pope, divided from its allegiance to the Holy See. More than this;—he would have seen his own fate and untimely fall, intimately blended with the proceedings and conduct of one from whom he had expected so much, and at whose election he had expressed such unmitigated satisfaction. It is clear that Wolsey never had the smallest chance of obtaining the Papal crown; but if such had been his lot, though he might have retarded the progress of the Reformation, he could never have prevented it. My readers will have perused the events narrated in these pages to little purpose, if they think that this new epoch in the world's progress depended upon the election of a Pope or an Emperor, the disappointment of an Augustinian friar at Wittemberg, or the misconduct of a Papal nuncie. When life is ebbing, and the advent of a new existence is at hand, advancing as noiselessly and yet as certain as the dawn, blandly tolerant of our small cares and griefs as it sweeps along, but not the more to be diverted from its benevolent and irresistible course, we are apt to think that its progress might have been stayed had our wisdom devised different measures, and adopted in due time other remedies than those on which we relied. So is it with the death and the new life of the world. We mistake its causes; we misread its meaning. True love, and not less wise than true, will shed a tear, and strew the dead with flowers; then turning its face to the grey and shivering dawn, bind up its loins for the new race, though different to our seeming, not less full of life, not less divine, than that which has passed irrevocably away.
Lamentation over the fall of Rhodes was not confined to Adrian VI. It had reposed so long in undisturbed security, so long had it defied the Infidel, that to imagine the Turk would ever capture Rhodes, "had become a mock and a bye-word." When the news of its fall came at last, the Christian world refused to believe it. No sooner had its surrender been ascertained beyond dispute, than men like Adrian bowed to the stroke with sorrowful submission and silent tears. Their consciences were smitten with self-reproaches and vain regrets. In the midst of their selfish disputes the mighty had fallen,—the ancient glory of Christendom had become tarnished. Whilst the professors of the true faith seemed further from peace and unity than ever, the consolidation of the East—inscrutable fact!—reared on a false basis, had been accomplished. So long as a handful of devoted knights, shut up in a strong and gloomy fortress, self-excluded from the turmoils and pleasures of this world, guarded the sacred banner of the Church, it was a consolation to the generous and romantic to believe that Christian heroism was not yet wholly extinct. Now this pledge of God's favor had been swept away for the sins of mankind, and the cause of Christianity seemed desperate.
Of the events of the siege, of the feelings with which it was regarded, many curious notices will be found in this volume. Our own kings Henry VII. and Henry VIII. were the protectors of the Order; and the correspondence of the latter with the successive grand masters Caretto and Lisle-Adam cannot be read without interest. In the account of the siege, and the description of Soliman, by the English knight, Nicholas Roberts, one of the few survivors of that heroic band, many curious details have been preserved, not to be found elsewhere. (fn. 75)
To those who had watched the current of events, and the increasing conquests of the Turks in Syria and Egypt, or whose prejudices had not blinded them to the genius and administrative abilities of Soliman, it must have been evident that the independence of the Rhodians was a question of time only. It could not be allowed that a handful of men should set the whole power of the Crescent at defiance, and, instigated partly by the religious enthusiasm of the knight errant, partly by the restless spirit of the sea rover, swoop down from their lofty and solitary eyrie on the defenceless commerce of the Mediterranean, dreaded alike by Christian and by Infidel. The Rhodians were accused of making little difference between the sheep and the goats, between the followers of the Crescent and the Cross. But it must be remembered, in their justification, that this calumny originated with the Venetian and other merchants, who were trafficking their goods, and their souls at the same time, with the enemies of the Church, and dishonoring their Christian calling. This will enable us to account for the cold support which the Rhodians received in their mortal struggle from the mercantile Italian republics. (fn. 76)
Fabricius de Caretto, not insensible of the danger, was preparing for the worst when he died, in the summer of 1521. Two candidates were put forward to succeed him,—Philip Villiers de Lisle-Adam and Sir Thomas Docwra, prior of St. John's in England. Docwra was recommended by his wealth, his ability, his knowledge of courts, and his great experience; Lisle-Adam, for the skill with which he had managed the interests of the Order in France and Spain. He had, besides, greatly distinguished himself by a naval victory gained over the soldan of Egypt in the year 1510;—was seneschal to the previous Grand Master, and in 1514 visitor of all the priories belonging to the Order in France. As his name stood first in the list, and no dissentient voice was raised, Lisle-Adam was elected with acclamation. (fn. 77)
At the time of his election Lisle-Adam was at Paris, and immediately prepared to return. But misfortune attended his steps. Francis I., at that time engaged in a war with the Emperor, could lend him little assistance. On his voyage down the Rhone to Marseilles, a vessel filled with arms and ammunition was lost through the negligence of the pilot. Whilst sailing to Nice, a fire broke out in one of his four ships laden with powder. Between Corsica and Sardinia he encountered a terrible storm, in which nine of his crew were struck with lightning; and he narrowly escaped falling into the clutches of the Turkish pirate Cortagoli, (fn. 78) who was waiting to intercept him with a large fleet off Cape Malea.
The Grand Master was received by the Rhodians with enthusiasm, and was even congratulated by Soliman himself on his election. But his joy was of no long duration. Two days before his arrival Belgrade had been taken by the Turk. (fn. 79) By his success on this occasion and at Petrowar (fn. 80) shortly before, Soliman was inspired with hopes of further conquests, and he resolved to turn his arms against Rhodes. To disguise his intentions, and prevent the princes of Christendom from taking the alarm, and sending reinforcements to the Rhodians, Soliman took the precaution of intercepting all communications. A spy sent to Constantinople contrived to advertise the Grand Master of the Turk's designs by a letter conveyed in a pot of caviare. The danger was urgent; and Lisle-Adam prepared energetically to meet it. (fn. 81) Convoys of sailors, protected by the Knights, were sent over to the opposite coast of Asia, to fetch wood; the corn was cut down before it was ripe; guns and spears were examined; hand-millstones provided for grinding corn; and a survey taken of the ammunition, erroneously estimated as sufficient to last a twelvemonth's siege. The Turkish slaves were invited by large rewards to assist in the general preparations; absent knights were summoned to return; and an urgent letter, despatched to Henry VIII., requested that Sir Thomas Docwra and Sir Thomas Newport (fn. 82) might be sent to Rhodes with the money and corn they had been employed in collecting. These generous efforts of Lisle-Adam were counteracted by the intrigues of Andrew d'Amoral, a Portuguese knight, Chancellor of the Order, and next in authority to the Grand Master. The historians of the time concur in expressing their admiration of the Chancellor's eloquence, his rare scholarship, his familiar acquaintance with the writings of the elder Pliny. But his ambition was equal to his ability; and in revenge for his disappointment in failing to obtain the Grand Mastership, he is said to have maintained a treasonable correspondence with the Turk, and betrayed the plans of the Rhodians to the enemy. (fn. 83)
To add to the Grand Master's disquietude, the Italian knights insisted upon leave of absence. Irritated by his refusal of so unseasonable a demand they retired in a body to Candia, and were not without great difficulty persuaded to return.
On a review the forces of the island were estimated as follows:—312 knights, (fn. 84) not including officers belonging to the Order, 300 soldiers, 500 Cretans, besides sailors and others; between 3,000 and 4,000 townsmen capable of bearing arms; and 1,500 or 2,000 villagers fitted only to dig and carry. To these must be added, a troop of young men brought from Crete to Rhodes by Messer John Antonio de' Bonaldi, a Venetian gentleman, who happened to be trading at that time for wine in the port of Candia, and the crew of a large carrack laden with spices, commanded by Dominic Fornari, a Genoese merchant, who, in returning from Alexandria to Sicily, anchored near Rhodes, and was persuaded to share in the perils of the siege.
The most ungrateful portion of the task remained. The city, notwithstanding its proximity to the Turk, was surrounded with pleasure houses, orchards, and gardens. To supply the necessities and even the luxuries of the wealthiest and most exclusive society in Europe, a thriving Greek population had gathered round the suburbs. The olive, the vine, the pomegranate, and the fig flourished in profusion beneath the guns of the fort. Roses with their myriad blossoms,—from which the island received its name,—fruits and vegetables of all kinds, fowls, cattle and corn,—throve abundantly in the mild and delicious climate. Now every olive, vine, and fig tree within a mile of the fort had to be levelled with the ground. Amidst the lamentations of women and children, houses were razed, gardens demolished, poultry and cattle driven into the town. The Grand Master set the example by devastating with his own hand his own garden situated in front of the French bastion. Laborers and animals, crowded together within the narrow streets, ill provided with adequate lodgings, unaccustomed to the stifling atmosphere and unusual food, languished and died. A pestilence among the cattle was followed by diarrhœa and fever among the men. From the besieged the plague extended with frightful ravage to the besiegers, and proved more fatal than the sword. The Turks, consisting chiefly of hasty levies drawn from the rustic population, had no tents, but camped in the opened air. Habituated to no other occupation than that of feeding cattle, impatient of the tediousness of a protracted siege, the privations they had to endure were augmented by unclean habits, half-cooked meat, ill-baked bread, and a scanty supply of water; for the Rhodians had taken the precaution to fill the wells outside the town with flax and putrid garbage.
The main body of the Turkish fleet, preceded a few days before by a detachment of thirty galleys, hove in sight on the 24th of June. According to the account of Nicholas Roberts, (fn. 85) it consisted of 500 sail; according to others, of 350. The difference may be reconciled on the supposition that the witnesses took their reckoning at different periods of the siege, before and after the main body of the Turks had been reinforced. After manœuvring some time, apparently with a view of displaying their power, the fleet passed in a long line in view of the town, and harbored a few miles off at Parambolin (Lindo ?). To allay the excitement and calm the minds of the inhabitants, Lisle-Adam had given orders, on the 25th (24th ?) of June, for a solemn service to be celebrated in the church of St. John. Sermon done, at the close of the mass, the Grand Master solemnly commended himself, his Order, and the town to the protection of their patron saint. "And above all other words, which were too long to tell, he besought him meekly that it would please him to take the keys of that miserable city; the which keys he presented, and laid upon the altar before the image, beseeching St. John to take the keeping and protecting thereof and of all the religion."
The same day on which the fleet was descried, a procession of the host, followed by the Order and the whole population on foot, traversed the streets of Rhodes. Scarcely had the last wailing note of the litany died away, and the last acolyte disappeared, when young and old,—men, women, and children,—knights, priests, and friars,—the sick, the impotent, and the cripple,—mounted with breathless anxiety the city walls, there to gaze upon that formidable fleet, which was now doubling the neighboring shore;—to gaze, as the contemporary accounts declare, with deathlike stillness and horrible fascination, as dying men gaze, on the fatal instruments of their own destruction.
The Turks consisted, by some accounts, of 40,000 fighting men and 60,000 miners; or, if we may fill up the gaps in the letter of Sir Nicholas Roberts, of "100,000 fighting men, and 50,000 laborers with spades and picks, which were the occasion of the taking of Rhodes." Though strongly fortified, it was by no means qualified to resist a siege, and was easily invested. It was surrounded by a double, according to some accounts by a triple wall, strengthened by thirteen towers and five bastions, defended by a deep foss and a counterscarp; and, judging of the deadly effects of their guns during the siege, and the many batteries brought up by the Turks, the utmost skill had been displayed by the Knights in arranging their defences. Strict disciplinarians, well acquainted with the art of war, they had spared no pains in training their followers. Nothing was wanting, either on the part of their commander or of their engineers,—of whom Gabriel Martinengo, a gentleman of Brescia, was the most eminent,—to turn their limited resources to the best advantage. And though, perhaps, the more regular armor of the knight was deprived of half its advantage, by the heat of the climate and the season of the year, yet in their numerous sallies their long spears must have proved deadly and effective weapons against the yielding garments of the Turks, armed with a scimitar and narrow shield. (fn. 86)
To stimulate the exertions of the Knights, each nation was appointed to its respective post. At the French bastion, on the extreme left, stood the French knights, commanded by Sir John St. Aubin, with the banner of fleurs de lys. Next to them were the German knights, under their eagles, led by their commander Walderic. Then came the knights of Auvergne, commanded by the chevalier Dumesnil. The most dangerous post was assigned to the Spaniards, commanded by François de Carrieres, and to the English knights under Sir Nicholas Hussey. Here the Turk made his hottest assaults, and here also the Grand Master took his station shortly after the siege commenced. To Angelo Gentili was assigned the Italian bastion; and to Berenger de Lioncel that of the Provençal knights, towards the extreme right. These were the most important. Sir John Borough, an Englishman, Turcopolier of the Order, was appointed, with four others, to reinforce the Spanish and English bastions whenever they were too hotly pressed, and was shot whilst carrying off a banner from the enemy.
Lisle-Adam combined the piety and asceticism of the monk with the valor, self-devotion and intrepidity of the knight errant. He shared the lot of the common soldier; exposed himself to the same dangers, endured the same privations. Snatching a hasty meal on the ramparts in the day time, he not unfrequently continued at his post until the third watch of the night. A block of stone, a chance log, served him for a pillow, when he sought a brief interval of repose, worn out with incessant labor or mental excitement. A cold and rigorous judgment might have condemned him for exposing his person too freely in the various sallies of the garrisons, or in the desperate assaults made by the enemy, as they breached the walls, and poured like a torrent into the town, overwhelming for an instant with their irresistible numbers the scanty ranks of its defenders. On all other occasions he was calm, cautious and self-collected; was never elated by success, never depressedby the most formidable dangers, or the apparent hopelessness of his cause. In the alternations of good and ill fortune, in the opposite and contradictory duties of controlling the rash and urging the reluctant, of providing against disaffection from within—not uncommon in a mixed population—and daily increasing dangers from without, he lost none of that calmness, dignity and composure for which eyewitnesses tell us he was remarkable. The grace, majesty and sweetness which secured for him in more peaceable times the love and veneration of beholders, remained untarnished and undiminished in all the trying events of this most daring and desperate enterprise. What little time could be spared from the incessant duties of governor, leader and commander, was given to devotion. In his cuirass and helmet,—ready at the call of duty,—he spent a portion of the night in prayer, prostrate at the foot of the altar; or, laying aside his gauntlets, busied himself with his Psalter, devoutly repeating the Psalms of David. (fn. 87)