The Holinshed Project

Holinshed Project Home

The Texts

Previous | Next

1.6. King Henrie his answer.

King Henrie his answer.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 _RIght excellent, right high & migh|tie prince, &c. We haue receiued your writing dated at Edenburgh the twentie sixt day of Iulie, by your herald Lion this bearer, wherein af|ter rehearsall and accumulation of manie surmised iniuries, griefs and dangers doon by vs and our subiects to you and your lie|ges, the specialties whereof were super|fluous to rehearse, remembring that to them and euerie of them in effect reasona|ble answer founded vpon law and consci|ence, hath tofore béene made to you & your councell; ye not onelie require vs to desist from further inuasion and vtter destructi|on of your brother and coosine the French king, but also certifie vs that you will take part in defense of the said king, and that thing which ye trust may rather cause vs to desist from pursute of him, with manie contriued occasions and communications by you causelesse sought & imagined, soun|ding to the breach of the perpetuall peace passed, concluded, and sworne betwixt you and vs, of which your imagined quarrels causelesse deuised to breake to vs, contra|rie to your oth promised, all honor & kind|nesse, we can not maruell; considering the ancient accustomed manners of your pro|genitors, which neuer kept longer faith & promise than pleased them.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Howbeit, if the loue and dread of God, nighnesse of bloud, honor of the world, law and reason had bound you, we suppose ye would neuer haue so farre proceeded, speci|allie in our absence. Wherin the pope and all princes christened may well note in you dishonorable demeanour, when ye lieng in wait, seeke the waies to doo that in our said absence, which ye would haue beene well aduised to attempt, we being within our realme and present. And for euident appro|bation héereof, we need none other proofes nor witnesses, but your owne writings heeretofore to vs sent, we being within our realme, wherein ye neuer made mention of taking part with our enimie the French king, but passed the time with vs till after our departure from our said realme. And now percase ye supposing vs so farre from our said realme, to be destitute of defense against your iniasions, haue vttered the old rancour of your mind, which in couert manner ye haue long kept secret.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Neuerthelesse, we remembring the brit|tlenes of your promise, & suspecting though not wholie beleeuing so much vnstedfast|nesse, thought it verie expedient and neces|sarie to put our said realme in a readines for resisting of your said enterprises, ha|uing firme trust in our Lord God, and the righteousnesse of our cause, with the assis|tance of our confederats & alies, we shall be able to resist the malice of schismatiks and their adherents, being by the generall councell expreslie excommunicate and in|terdicted; trusting also in time conuenient to remember our friends, and requite you and our enimies, which by such vnnaturall demeanor haue giuen sufficient cause to the disherison of you and your posteritie for euer, from the possibilitie that ye thinke to haue to the realme, which ye now attempt to inuade.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 And if the example of the king of Na|uarre, being excluded from his realme for assistance giuen to the French king, can not restraine you from this vnnaturall dealing; we suppose ye shall haue like assis|tance of the French king, as the king of Nauarre hath now, who is a king with|out a realme, & so the French king peacea|blie suffereth him to continue, wherevnto good regard would be taken. And like as we heretofore touched in this our writing, we need not to make anie further answer to the manifold griefs by you surmised in your letter: forsomuch as if anie law or reason could haue remooued you from your sensuall opinions, ye haue beene manie and oftentimes sufficientlie answered to the same: except onelie to the pretended greefs touching the denieng of our safe conduct to your ambassador last sent vnto vs.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 Whervnto we make this answer, that we had granted the said safe conduct; and if your herald would haue taken the same with him, like as he hath beene accustomed to solicit safe conducts for merchants and others heeretofore, ye might as soone haue had that, as anie other: for we neuer deni|ed safe conduct to anie your lieges to come vnto vs and no further to passe, but we see well, like as your said herald had hertofore made sinister report contrarie to truth, so hath he doone now in this case, as it is manifest and open. Finallie, as touching your requisition to desist from further at|tempting against our enimie the French king, we know you for no competent iudge of so high authoritie to requite vs in that behalfe. Wherfore (God willing) we pur|pose with the aid and assistance of our con|federats and alies to prosecute the same; and as ye doo to vs and our realme, so it shall be remembred and acquited heereaf|ter by the helpe of our Lord & our patrone saint George, who right excellent, right high and mightie prince, &c. Dated vnder our signet in our campe before Tirwine, the twelfth day of August.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 EEBO page image 298 This letter being deliuered vnto the Scotish he|rald, he departed with the same into Flanders, there to haue taken ship: but for want of readie pas|sage he staied, and returned not into Scotland till Flodden field was fought, and the king slaine. For king Iames perceiuing all the Englishmens doo|ings to tend vnto war rather than to peace, hauing taken order for the assembling of his people, imme|diatlie after he had sent foorth his herald with com|mandement to denounce the warre, he determined to inuade the English confines, and first before his maine force was come togither, the lord Humes that Englishmen fetched a bootie in Scotland. was lord chamberlaine and warden of Scotland, the thirtéenth day of August, hearing that the English|men had fetched a bootie within the Scotish ground, assembled a power, & followed them into Northum|berland, but yer he could returne he was forelaid [in Broome house, or Broome field] by the Englishmen, which breaking out of their ambushes, put the Sco|tishmen to the woorse, and of them tooke and slue ma|nie.

Fr. Thin. These wars thus begun, the king determined to go to his armie (as it séemeth) not yet fullie assem|bled. Wherevpon comming to Limuch, he went to the church to heare euensong; as the maner was. To whome, after he had entered the chappell, there Buchan. lib. 13. came an old man, whose heare was somewhat yel|lowish red, hanging downe vpon his shoulders, his forehead high with baldnesse, bare headed, hauing his bodie couered with a blewish garment, girded with white, and verie reuerent in his countenance. This man séeking the king, passed through the com|panie standing there, and drew neere to the king. Who being now come vnto him (and with a certeine rude behauiour, leaning vpon the seat wherein the king was placed) in homelie sort saied vnto him:

King Iames sent vnto thée, to giue thee admonish|ment that thou hasten not forward to the place which thou hast determined: which warning if thou doost despise, it shall succeed ill with thée, and with all such as shall attend vpon thée. Further I am comman|ded to giue thée intelligence before hand, that thou es|chue the familiaritie, custome, or counsell of women, and if thou dooest otherwise, it shall succéed to thy hurt and reproch.
After which thus spoken, he ming|led himselfe with the other companie, neither could after be found (the euensong being ended) when he was sought for by the king: for he was neuer séene after that he had thus deliuered his message. Which séemed the more strange, because that manie which stood néere him (marking all his order, and desirous to haue heard more things from him) could not per|ceiue his departure; amongest which persons (of those that meant to haue asked him further questi|ons) Dauid Lindseie (a man of approoued credit and vertue, verie well learned, and whose life was far estranged from lieng and falshood) was one, who told this same to me (saith Buchanan) as a thing most certeine; or else I would haue ouerpassed it as a fa|ble caried about by common report.]

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In the meane time was the whole power of Scot|land King Iames approched néere vnto England with his power. assembled, with the which king Iames appro|ching to the borders, and nothing abashed with the euill lucke thus at the beginning chanced to his peo|ple, purposed with greater aduantage of victorie to recouer that detriment; and herevpon he made such hast, that he would not staie for the whole power of his realme, which was in preparing to come forward The king of Scots made too much hast. vnto him; but comming to the borders, he passed o|uer the water of Twéed the two and twentith of Au|gust, and entered into England, lodging that night at Wesilham néere to the riuer of Tuisell, and the next day laid siege vnto the castell of Norham, and within shortspace wan the Braies, ouerthrew the Norham. The Braies. Barnekine, & slue diuerse within the castell, so that Barnekine. the capteine and such as had charge within it, desired the king to delaie the siege, while they might send to the earle of Surreie alreadie come with an armie into the north parts, couenanting if they were not rescued by the ninetéenth day of that moneth, they should deliuer the castell vnto the king. This was granted: and because none came within the time to the rescue, the castell was deliuered at the appoin|ted day; a great part of it was ouerthrowne and beaten downe. After this he wan the castels of Fourd and Etell, & diuerse other places of strength, Fourd and Etell taken. of which, part were ouerthrowne. He also tooke ma|nie prisoners, and sent them away into Scotland, and diuerse he assured: and thus he abode an eigh|téene daies within England, till two parts of his armie were scaled & departed home from him, which they did vpon this occasion.

Fr. Thin. The king was determined & persuaded to haue besieged Berwike (beyond which he was now pas|sed) since the same alone was more honor (than all the other places besides) if they wan it; the taking Buchan. li. 13. whereof they supposed not to be verie hard, because they were sure that the towne and castell were vn|furnished of all things for the defense thereof. Wherevpon, the king (deeming nothing too hard for his armie, especiallie, since the English were set on woorke as much as they might in the French wars) being nourished in that vanitie (by his flattering courtiers) did leaue the same vndoone at this time, meaning in his returne easilie to haue obteined it. But as they were yet at Foord, a herald of the Eng|lish came vnto them, requiring that they would ap|point a day and place, where and when both the ar|mies might ioine in battell. Wherevpon, there was a councell called amongest the Scots, in which it was agréed by the greater part, that the Scots should returne home into their countrie, least with so small a companie they might hazard the state of the whole countrie; especiallie, since that they had al|readie sufficientlie obteined fame, glorie and riches, and to the vttermost satisfied the band of amitie with the French; for there was no iust cause, why they for number (so few) and for trauell (in ouerthrowing so manie forts) so much weakened, should now againe be laid open to so great a multitude of the English dailie increasing with succors. For it was said at that time; that Thomas Haward brought into the field (besides the rest of his armie) 6000 of chosen and valiant souldiers from the English campe (in France) before Turweine.

To which persuasion (to make the matter more strange) it was further added, that if the king did depart; the English host of necessitie must be dissol|ued, and could not that yeare againe be repared, be|cause their souldiers were fet from the furthest parts of the realme; and that if the king would needs fight, that he then should doo it in his owne realme, kée|ping the time & place in his power alwaies to be ap|pointed. But when the French ambassador (and cer|teine other, fed with the French pensions) labored to the contrarie; the king being by nature fierce, and gréedie of warre, was easilie persuaded to abide his enimie in that place. In the meane time, when the English came not foorth (at the day appointed to them by the herald, which before had béene with the Scots) the noblemen of Scotland, taking occasion thereof, did afresh go to the king, declaring that their not comming to battell was onelie a traine and deceipt, deferring the matter from day to day, to the end that their force might be increased, and the Scots diminished.

Wherefore said they, we should vse the like policie against them. For since they haue not attended the EEBO page image 299 time prescribed vnto them, it is no shame to the Scots to returne into their countrie without bat|tell, or to fight within their owne limits. Of both which, the surer counsell were to follow the first; which if it be not liked, the [...] is there good occasion offered to execute the other. For [...]ce the riuer of [...] (ha|uing hi [...] banks) is not passable, but at certei [...] mi [...]es hence (excep [...] be by a bridge) some few may there resist a great multitude. Besides which, when a part of the English armie is passed the bridge, the same bridge maie easilie (by engins placed therefore) be cut in sunder; so that there shall not be passage for anie more: by means whereof, the one part of them shall be subdued on the one side of this riuer, before that anie aid can come vnto them from the other banke. The king liked neither of these deuises and persua|sions; but answered, that he would not suffer the English to depart (vnfoughten with) although there were an 100000 against him. At which rash answer, the whole nobilitie was gréeuouslie offended.

Wherevpon Archembald Dowglas earle of An|gus (which farre excelled all the others both in yéeres and authoritie) laboured to turne the kings mind with all gentle persuasions, and began to make a more ample discourse vpon the two former coun|sels giuen by the nobilitie. For he shewed that the king had fullie sa [...]isfied the request of the French, in that he had now turned the greatest part of the Eng|lish armie before bent against the French, against himselfe and his owne people; and had so wrought, that those great armies should neither hurt France nor doo anie iniurie vnto the Scots, sith they were not able long to remaine in campe in those cold places, and in a barren countrie vnfurnished of all things (by the calamities of the last warres) and in which there was no corne; and if there were, it could not be ripened (the winter comming on so fast) in those northerne parts of the realme.

And where the French ambassador dooth so much vrge vs vnto the battell, I suppose that the same should not seeme either new or strange vnto vs, that a strange man (which dooth not respect the common euill of the realme, but the priuat commoditie of his owne nation) be ouer lauish in powring out the bloud of other men. Besides which, his request is o|uer impudent, to demand of the Scots that which the French king (a man of singular experience and wisedome) dooth not iudge conuenient for his owne kingdome or dignitie, if we be ouerthrowne. Nei|ther should the losse of his host séeme more light vn|to him (although we are few in number) bicause that all they of Scotland (which excell in force, authoritie or counsell) are assembled here togither, who being slaine, the rest of the realme would soone be a preie to the victor. What? Is it more safe for vs, and more profitable to the eschewing of all danger, for him to fight at this present? No trulie. For if Lewes doo suppose, that the English (by imagined meanes) may be either made needie of monie, or else weried by de|laie; what can be doone more necessarie for the pre|sent state of things, than to compell the enimie to diuide his armie, to the end that we may ease the weight of warre against the French by one part of the host to be sent against vs, and still to hold them plaie as it were alwaies to kéepe them readie to set vpon vs, & by remoouing to giue them cause to folow vs? For so I suppose shall the glorie and shew (which these men I feare rather valiant in words than déeds, doo with their rashnesse so much pretend) be ful|lie answered. For what can happen more honorable to the king, than that we (by the ouerthrow of so ma|nie castels, by the spoile of so manie countries with sword and fire, and by the driuing home of so great booties and preies) haue doone that iniurie to them, as that their countrie shall not by the peace of ma|nie yéeres recouer hir former estate? What greater profit may we looke for by warre, than in so great tumult of warres, with great praise and honor to vs, and with shame and reproch to our enimies, to ob|teine quiet, ioined with gaine and glorie for the re|freshing of our selues? Which kind of victorie (that is gotten more by words than by swords) ch [...]e belongeth to men, and of men speciallie to the lea|ders and capteins, as such a glorie whereof the com|mon souldiers may not challenge anie part.

Which being thus spoken by earle Dowglas, although all they which were present séemed (by their countenance) to giue consent thereto: yet the king (who had with other bound himselfe to [...]ight with the English) receiued these counsels with contrarie eares; and in heat commanded Dowglas to de|part home, if he were afraid of the enimie. Where|vpon he (conceiuing some vnkindnesse, and inward|lie beholding wherevnto all these things would come by the kings rashnesse) foorthwith burst out in teares. After which (as soone as he could settle him|selfe thereto) he spake these few words.

If (said he) my former life did not cleare me from the reproch of a coward, I know not with what reason or persua|sion I might cleare or defend my selfe. For trulie so long as this my bodie was able to susteine anie la|bor, I neuer spared to spend the same in the defense of my countries helpe, and my souereignes honor. But since I sée their eares to exclude my counsell (which is the onelie thing wherewith I can now be profitable) I here leaue my two sonnes (who next vnto my countrie are most deare to me) and the rest of my kinred (of whom I greatlie account) as a cer|teine pledge of the truth and loue of my mind to|wards thée, and the common helpe of my countrie. And I pray God that he make this feare of mine to be false, and that I may rather be counted a lieng prophet, than behold those things which I feare will happen vnto vs.
Which words when the Dowglas had said to the king, he departed thence with his companie. The rest of the nobilitie (bicause they saw they could not draw the king to their mind) tooke that place for battell which was next vnto them, to the end (séeing they were much inferior in number to their enimies, for there were 26000 fighting men in the English armie, as it was knowne by the scouts) to defend themselues with the benefit of the place, and therevpon got the hill next vnto their campe.)

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In which meane time, the earle of Surrie, lieu|tenant The power of the north coun trie raised. to the king of England, hauing raised all the power of the north parts of England, came with the same towards the place where he heard that king Iames was incamped, and approching within thrée The English campe in si [...]ht of the Scotish campe. miles of the Scotish campe in full sight of the Sco|tishmen, pitcht downe his tents, and incamped with his whole armie. Although king Iames had great desire to fight with his enimies thus lodged in full view of his campe; yet bicause he was incamped in a place of great aduantage, so as the enimies could not approch to fight with him, but with great losse and danger to cast themselues away, he thought good to kéepe his ground, speciallie bicause all those of King Iames was minded to kéepe his ground. the nobilitie, who were knowne to be of experience, did not hold with their aduise that counselled him to giue battell.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 At what time the earle of Surrie had sent an of|ficer Paulus Iouius. at armes vnto him, requiring him to come foorth of his strength vnto some indifferent ground, where he would be readie to incounter him, & name|lie The earle of Huntleie his counsell. the earle of Huntleie, a man for his high valian|cie ioined with wisedome and policie, had in most re|putation of all the residue, affirmed in plaine words [besides that which Dowglasse had before said] that F [...]. T [...]in. EEBO page image 300 nothing could be either more fond or foolish, than to fight at pleasure of the enimie, and to set all on a maine chance at his will and appointment, and ther|fore it should be good for them to remaine there in place of aduantage, and with prolonging the time to trifle with the enimie, in whose campe there was al|readie His persua|sions. great scarsitie of vittels, neither was it possi|ble that they should be vittelled from the inner parts of the realme, by reason of the cumbersome waies for cariage to passe now after such abundance of continuall raine as of late was fallen, and not l [...]e as yet to ceasse, so that in sitting still and attemp|ting nothing rashlie without aduisement, the king should haue his enimies at his pleasure, as vanqui|shed without stroke striken through disaduantage of the place, and lacke of vittels to susteine their lan|guishing bodies.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 And suerlie beside the want of vittels, the foule and euill weather sore annoied both parties; for there Foule wea|ther. had not beene one faire day, no scarse one houre of faire weather of all the time the Scotish armie had lien within England, but great cold, wind & raine, which had not onelie caused manie of the Scots to returne home, but also sore vexed the Englishmen, as well in their iournie thitherwards, as also while they lay in campe against the Scotish armie. There was sending of messengers betwixt them to and fro, and the king had sent his quarell in writing vn|the earle of Surrie by his herald Ilaie the night be|fore the battell, conteining as followeth.

Previous | Next